There was no doubt I was going to do a blog about my family’s spring break trip to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. Sorry it took so long. I decided because of the week that we had, that I am going to do two blogs. One normal one now and one about the food. The food one will come later. There is a lot to share. Let’s just say according to my Fitbit, I averaged around 23,000 steps a day. I want to give a big shout out first to Emily for watching our house and the puppy girls. I believe you are their favorite.
Oh how much I love Disney’s Magical Express. We dropped our luggage off at the airport in St. Louis and about 2 hrs after we arrived at our hotel in Disney World, there was our luggage. That is just part of the Disney touch. You arrive at the Orlando airport and there are plenty of signs to get you to the Magical Express area. Before we went through the lines, we had to put on our Magic Bands and they would stay on our wrist every waking hour of the week. Magic Bands are your ticket to everywhere. They have your hotel access, park passes, Fast Pass + information, and payment method all in one and stored electronically. Anyway, we boarded a bus and we were at out hotel some 45 minutes later.
Saturday was spent relaxing and exploring the Downtown Disney area. We stayed this trip at Disney’s Port Orleans French Quarter resort. That’s a smaller, New Orleans themed hotel with lots of trees and shade. The Downtown area is going thru lots of construction with expansion there and I am excited what that will bring later. We found out that when the construction is all done, they will rename the Downtown area ‘Disney Springs.’ Kind of cool, the name goes with the expanding Saratoga Springs hotel. There is lots of shopping and exploring to do there. We did a lot but were kind of saddened by the lack of pet items. There used to be a dedicated store, but it seemed to have been replaced by something lame.
Sunday was a long day exclusively at the Magic Kingdom. We got there when they opened and could have stayed there 17 hours that day. Think we made 13 of those. We were the first on Jungle Cruise. We enjoy getting there early as you always get a chance to chat with the cast members. The day was filled with our only trip to Splash Mountain, our first to Space Mountain, and Big Thunder Mountain. Got our mountains in for the day. It was a fun day to start our park hopping for the week since it is the only day we ended up staying in one park all day. Nothing beats the Magic Kingdom.
Monday was another long day. This time we started early at Animal Kingdom thanks to an extra magic hour. This is where it is advantageous to stay on property. We walked right onto the Kilimanjaro Safari and we got lots of pictures of the animals. It really is cool to get Disney’s take on a wild animal park. They do it very well. They also got rid of the campiness of the Safari ride that there used to be and made it purely an animal safari. We got on another mountain early with the smaller amount of people in the park, Expedition Everest. Josh hated this ride when we first took him on it years ago. We all rode it twice that day due to jumping into the single rider line for our second trip. In the afternoon we headed over to Hollywood Studios where we had our fast passes set up for the day. Yes, I got my Muppet fix in with Muppet Vision 3D. We also got Josh to ride Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. Think it might have been his first time but he might have rode it with Aunt Joanne years ago. The evening ended with us meeting some very nice cast members while waiting for them to let us into Fantasmic. Light rain forced us to break out our ponchos for the only time in the week and we enjoyed one of our favorite shows brought to the Studios from Disneyland.
Tuesday had us most of the day at EPCOT and finishing back at the Magic Kingdom. EPCOT had the early magic hour and we got to almost walk on Test Track and ride it again in the single rider line before it got too busy. They have updated the ride since we had been there last and it is much better. Your group gets to create your own car and upload into your Magic Band. Then you load it into your vehicle and you see how your design performs. Very cool. After the ride you can drive your car around a track or make a commercial. We did both. Nice upgrade. Here we also got to see two of our friends, Figment and Crush around riding Soarin’. Love this ride and the views of our old home of California. We explored some of the rides in Mexico and Norway in the EPCOT World Showcase or international area. We also felt sorry for the people waiting up to four hours in line to see the Princesses from Frozen. They are temporarily in Norway. Word is that they will be moved to the Magic Kingdom. After dinner we spent some time hopping on a few rides at Magic Kingdom. I also learned that while checking into every ride on the Foursquare app, you can get hints of hidden Mickeys on each ride in the comments area. It was fun reading all the things about the rides. We even found the abstract Donald Duck on a chair in the Haunted Mansion we saw in a comment.
Wednesday was all about planning around our favorite dinner spot so we started at Animal Kingdom and headed to EPCOT after lunch. More animals and Everest for today at Animal Kingdom along with seeing the Finding Nemo Musical show. Always a good show. One of my favorite parts of the movie is used only after the show stops. Seagulls on the side of the stage saying ‘mine, mine, mine.’ Found a small souvenir afterwards; see if you can find it next time you are over. Going to EPCOT we found out that Disney now has buses that go directly between parks. This was new to us since we stayed off property last trip. Another very cool Disney touch. We enjoyed a calm evening walking around EPCOT and hitting some of the slower things. We were amazed all week by the Flower & Garden show they were hosting. Loved the topiaries included one featuring ‘Muppets Most Wanted’. We got to watch the Illuminations fireworks show and called it a night at about 9:30.
On Thursday morning we decided we needed to sleep in a bit. There were no early magic hours for us. It was a good decision. We headed to Hollywood Studios late morning and got to see Voyage of Little Mermaid. Nice show, glad we used Fast Pass +. Same goes for the Indiana Jones Stunt Show. Nicely done action show with live stunt guys. Same act as I remember seeing it last time 5 plus years ago. Finally we got a chance to ride Josh’s favorite ride, Aerosmith’s Rock N Roller Coaster. It, as always, was rockin’. After a cool experience at dinner we got a bonus Fast Pass and used it on one last trip to Toy Story Mania. Man does your forearm hurt after that ride. Was much better fast passing it then the 90 minute wait we had earlier in the week. Then we headed over to the Magic Kingdom so Lyn could see the Wishes fireworks. Was a good ending to the day.
Friday morning took us back to EPCOT for the last time this trip. We got on Soarin’ right away without a Fast Pass so that was fun. After an early lunch we did the Seas pavilion and rode Nemo and Friends via Fast Pass and Living with the Land. If given more time I would have liked to have done the gardening tour. My Grandpa tried to give me a green thumb as a kid and I try my hand in it when I can. Having a garden is a good thing to me. Then to cap off EPCOT we ended with Test Track. Great way to end that park. After dinner we headed for one last time to Magic Kingdom. Haunted Mansion, Space Mountain, and Buzz Lightyear capped off the night and the trip.
Saturday was up early to drop our luggage off with an airport representative at the hotel and then a bit later we were on the bus to the airport. That morning is when the heaviest of rains happened all week. God bidding us farewell on our journey home. After a somewhat bumpy flight, we were happy to see Emily again at the airport in a much chillier St. Louis.
Next trip, please come join us. It is always more fun on vacation with family and friends.