We landed at MCO Tuesday morning, around 9:30, and (after stopping for Starbucks) headed for the Disney’s Magical Express counter, where we caught our transportation to our hotel, Disney’s Art of Animation Resort.
After dropping off our stuff in the hotel room, we boarded a bus and headed for Epcot, where in addition to regular Epcot attractions, they also had special attractions for the Food and Wine Festival. Because of our special dietary situation, we were not able to partake in most of the Food and Wine Festival stuff, but we did visit the Ghirardelli exhibit in the Festival Center (where we got free chocolate samples), took refuge in the Chase Cardmember Lounge when it was raining (where we got free soda/water and my sister was able to charge her phone), and attended one of the Eat to the Beat concerts, featuring Sugar Ray.
In terms of regular attractions, we did Soarin’ for the first time – it was actually good, I enjoyed it (but I was definitely glad that we had fastpasses for it – I would not have wanted to wait in line for that). I liked the new reimagined Test Track (and we won!), and of course I loved my usuals, like Finding Nemo. We also did the Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros (in Mexico) for the first time. It was cute. We did it with my sister’s coworker’s wife and 2.5 yr old daughter – the kid loved it. We also met plenty of characters!
Tuesday night we went to Downtown Disney. We wandered stores and looked at/photographed LEGO structures before heading off to World of Disney for our souvenir shopping. We capped off the night with an ice cream sundae from Ghirardelli (using a coupon we had gotten at the Food and Wine Festival) and then headed back to the hotel to rest after a long day.
Wednesday was Magic Kingdom. We got to the park shortly after it opened (we wanted to get there when it first opened, but we’re not morning people, so we were a little behind schedule). We started off with Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin (one of our favorite rides, and one we often do early in the morning), followed by Space Mountain (because we figured the line would be shorter first thing in the morning) . . . and then I needed my Starbucks (I’m very picky about my coffee, so I love that I can now get Starbucks in the park).
Once I had my coffee, we took pictures with a few characters, and then headed off to Fantasyland. In Fantasyland, we did old staples like the carousel, Mad Tea Party (teacups), The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Dumbo (the new line was cool), and It’s a Small World. I also met (mermaid) Ariel for the first time (I had met her in her princess dress on my last trip to California – and proceeded to freak her out by obsessing over how excited I was). We also did new rides like Little Mermaid (which we did in California also, but the line here was cooler), Enchanted Tales with Belle (which was really cute), and The Barnstormer. Oh, and we caught the Celebrate a Dream Come True Parade, which is ending soon.
After Fantasyland, we ate lunch (that we brought with us) sitting at Gaston’s Tavern, and then went to one of our favorite all-time rides – Big Thunder Mountain. We met Cinderella and Aurora at Princess Fairytale Hall, hit up the Haunted Mansion (which we don’t always do, but it was a short line), and went on our favorite nighttime ride – Pirates of the Caribbean. After Magic Carpets of Aladdin and another Buzz Lightyear, we were done for the day. We saw part of the night show while sitting at Cosmic Ray’s eating dinner, which was cool.
And that was day 2. It was our “least active” day – only 24,960 steps (the other days were over 25k). But it was very productive, even though we had lines.
Thursday morning we spent an hour or so taking pictures of our hotel.
Brief interlude: One of the things I love so much about Disney parks and Disney hotels is the attention to detail. As we were walking around the hotel, we were awed by the amount of detail and the dedication to the theme that went into each and every building and decoration. It really was incredible. I recommend that anyone who goes down to Disney World, whether you stay there or not, take some time to go over to Art of Animation Resort and look at everything. It really is Disney magic.
Our first park of the day was Animal Kingdom. We didn’t do much at Animal Kingdom, mostly because of lines and lack of time. We met a bunch of characters, saw Festival of the Lion King (amazing show), went on Expedition Everest (awesome ride), and saw some animals (I really wanted to see a tiger). We only spent about 4 hours at Animal Kingdom, and we definitely could have done more, but we had another park on the agenda and we decided not to stay at AK any longer.
Our second park on Thursday, and overall last park (as it generally is on our trips) was Hollywood Studios. We started by eating our pre-packed lunch (except that I kinda forgot to pack bread, so I had PB & pretzels instead of a PB&J sandwich). After that we went on Toy Story Mania, which is one of our favorite rides, and Muppet Vision 3D. We met Woody, Buzz, Lightning McQueen, Mater, Mr. Incredible, and Frozone, but did not meet Mike and Sully (from Monsters Inc) because their line was too long. We went on the Great Movie Ride for the first time, which did not really impress me, and took longer than I thought it would, so we didn’t get to go on Rock’n’Roller Coaster (also would have been our first time, but I was excited about it). We did get to see Fantasmic! (we had fastpass for it), which really was an excellent show – reminded me a lot of World of Color out in California, but with a lot more than just water effects. I liked it a lot.
After that we printed Photopass pictures (and once again had a problem with the printer, just as we did last time we were in Florida, and once again got something free), then went back to the hotel, ate dinner, and then packed.
Then we had to catch a 5:45 AM bus to the airport Friday morning.
And that was my trip to Disney World. I hope I get to go back soon!