With my move to Romania swiftly closing in on me, I decided to take a trip with some of my girlfriends to “The Happiest Place on Earth”, Walt Disney World.
Yes – Disney is for adults too. No – this wasn’t my first time. My husband and I have been to Disney world a total of five times together and to Disneyland three times. We are definitely a fanatics. But this trip was a girls only journey. Going with friends that are more educated in the ways of Disney and the parks, one friend used to work there, I learned so much and had a different experience than I had before.
DISNEY’S ALL-STAR MUSIC RESORT
They All-Star Resorts—Music, Movies, and Sports—are decent for the value. Definitely more family oriented than some of the higher star Disney resorts. It worked out well for this quick trip, but when I return with my husband we will stay somewhere like the Polynesian or Contemporary. I did enjoy the special amenities for staying at a Disney resort: one keycard to rule them all—access to your room, the parks, used for dining plan payment, fast passes and more; extended theme park hours; resort transportation / parking; and purchases delivered to resorts. I will definitely stay on Disney property next time.
AWESOME RESTAURANTS & THE DISNEY DINING PLAN
I have never used the Disney dinging plan before. For my first time out we did the basic plan. Daily we received three credits—1 snack, 1 counter service, and 1 sit down service. Some of the nicer sit down restaurants required two credits, like the California Grille. But trust me, it was worth it! The California Grill is located on the top floor of the Contemporary Resort. With their large windows and viewing deck, it makes watching the “Wishes” fireworks display over the Magic Kingdom fantastic! Plus the food is to die for. That has to be my favorite dining location we had, though all the others are a close second.
Reservations are a must for these sit downs to guarantee your table. During our stay we enjoyed the food at Boma—Flavors of Africa (Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge), Teppan Edo (Japan Pavilion at EPCOT), O’Hana (Disney’s Polynesian Resort), House of Blues (Downtown Disney), and California Grill (Disney’s Contemporary Resort). Watching Magic Kingdom’s “Wishes” fireworks display from here is breathtaking, so make your reservations! Needless to say I brought back a few extra pounds with me from all the good eats, but it was worth it!
CHRISTMAS WITH DISNEY MAGIC
This was my second time going to Disney World around Christmas time. But, I believe this is the first time I truly experienced Disney magic for the holidays. Every park had it’s only special way of kicking off the holidays Disney style.
Holiday decor all over Main Street USA set the mood when entering the park. But the center of Christmas beauty, which also happens to be the central icon of Disney World, Cinderella’s castle. If you want more Christmas magic than just a decked out castle, you will want to pay the extra fee to come to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. The park officially shuts down at 7 p.m. on a Party night. Only those with special wristbands can stay to party. There are special fireworks and a light show that is projected onto the castle. There is also a Christmas party parade. Free unlimited hot cocoa and cookies are given out around the park. And once the party starts it snows on Main Street USA! Most of the popular rides are open. This is definitely worth it IF you don’t already have a park ticket for that day. I enjoyed the additional park hours with Christmas mixed in. But if you’re already using a park day you’ve paid for, you will still need to pay additional $60 to attend the party and stay in the park.
At first glance, there isn’t much decoration throughout the park. When you enter the Streets of America, you will see the buildings blanked with strings of lights and holiday fixtures overhead that are turned off. Wait until dusk. That is when the magic of the holiday season comes alive at Hollywood Studios. The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights was dedicated to Disney years ago so the world could experience the magic that one family, the Osbornes, once used to decorate their home. Every 15 minutes the lights flicker and “dance” to popular holiday tunes. In the five hours after the initial lighting of the street, I found myself on this street again and again, listening to the music and dancing along. It really fills you with holiday glee.
OVERALL FINAL THOUGHTS
So was it worth the journey and the now slightly relieved pain of being on my feet for hours on end while running around the parks… DEFINITELY! We had a blast! I’m already thinking the next time I can get to Disney World it will have to be at Christmas time. I now believe it is the best time to go. I’m glad I could get in one more visit before heading to Romania.