Earlier this month, Ali and I got to experience Walt Disney World for the very first time! We both grew up with busy families and never had the opportunity to go to Disney World. I was once very close to going as I was in Orlando and even visited Downtown Disney but did not get to go into the park as the group of people I was with had been several times. I hadn’t planned on going until we had children old enough to enjoy it so why Disney World now? My dad called us a few months ago and told us how he had been wanting to take us on a vacation since we had been married but it had never worked because of my school schedule. He mentioned that Chevrolet was working with Disney World on customer service and they were having a convention at Disney World in June. He asked us if we wanted to go. My obvious answer was, “Heck yes we do!!!!” As busy as we are, we did not have time to master plan a trip, but we did pretty good for a spurt of the moment trip. We had basically four full days at WDW and visited three of the four parks. We stayed in the Contemporary Resort which is one of the original hotels that was built at the same time the Magic Kingdom (original park) was built. The hotel is different than all of the other resorts in the fact that the monorail that travels throughout WDW actually travels right through the middle of the Contemporary. One of the best parts of the hotel was our room key. This thing was literally the key to the kingdom. You could buy anything with this room key. Ali and I got so used to swiping this card for anything that when they deactivated it on our departure I wanted to weep. HA HA! I guess I thought I could take it back home and use it to buy anything as well. To properly write out this blog and give all of the details, it would literally take hours and you would most likely not want to read it so I’ll keep it brief. Here were some of the highlights of our trip!
Day 1: Epcot Center
We started the day with a way overpriced breakfast at the hotel restaurant “Chef Mickey’s.” The food was good, but the dancing Disney characters was pretty awesome. Anytime Goofy comes dancing up on your breakfast, you can’t help but smile! The Epcot Center was an amazing park that was originally designed as a master-planned community by Walt Disney. The park is basically a small lake with several countries represented all the way around. We visited places like Canada, Germany, Switzerland, Morocco etc. The people who worked in each “country” were actually from that country which made it a very cool experience. There were few rides in this park, but we did ride the space adventure ride inside the “giant golf ball.” We ate dinner at a pizza place in “Italy” and stayed for their awesome nightly fireworks show.
Day 2: Magic Kingdom
The Magic Kingdom is the original park and features the really cool castle right in the middle of the park. This park was packed! We rode the space mountain ride and a few other forgettable rides but the environment was awesome! We saw a Disney parade with most of the characters and then saw a short play on the front stage of the castle. Later that night we at at the California Grill on the top of the Contemporary Resort and watched the Magic Kingdom fireworks from the roof. The steak was fantastic and the fireworks were way cool!
Day 3: Hollywood Studios
The Hollywood Studios park was the movie-themed park and was my favorite park of the three we visited. Ali and I rode the Rock’n Coaster early in the day which is a fantastic coaster featuring the band Aerosmith. We would ride it later in the evening as I somehow talked both my parents into riding it with us. During the day we caught a short play of “Beauty in the Beast” which we all loved! We then checked out the Indiana Jones stunt show which was fantastic as well. Dad was at his conference all day but met us in the evening. We all went through the Toy Story ride which was one of the coolest things in the entire park. This ride was packed all day long and we were very glad we took advantage of the “fast pass” system early in the day so we didn’t have to wait in line for hours! At the end of the day we watched the “Fantasmic” show which was nothing short of astounding. It was so cool seeing my parents taken back to their childhoods and even getting a little emotional. Every time we left one of Disney’s parks we were left with one conclusion: Disney does nothing short of incredible! It truly is amazing that this company invents technology that can only be described as “magical!”
Day 4: Down Day
On day four, we actually got to lay out by the beautiful pool for an hour before the weather became stormy. An hour was long enough for me to resemble the color of Sebastian from the Little Mermaid. We spent a good chunk of the day at Downtown Disney where I discovered this was the place I had visited over 1o years ago. The only reason I knew this was because of the gigantic Locnus Monster made out of legos! I remember standing in awe of this when I visited Florida in the year 2000. We picked up some souvenirs and shipped them back home. We had dinner at an itialian restaurant there where we saw “That 70′s Show” star: Topher Grace. We got back early enough for Ali and I to walk over to the Magic Kingdom to try and photograph the fireworks from up close. I had a very short tripod on me so I knew I had to get close so some kid wouldn’t be standing up in front of my photos. Ali and I acted like security guards with my flashlight and squeezed our way through the thousands of people watching the light-up parade until I got to the very front of the castle. There was no one there so I set up shot with my tripod and Canon 5D Mark III. I did not have a neutral density filter for my Fisheye Lens so you will see a lot of smoke in my shots. Ali videotaped the entire show while trying to keep some kids from Uganda or something from jumping up in front of her. The shots came out pretty good for the vantage point we were at. Most of the fireworks came from way behind the castle so I was unable to see those from my perspective. This was however one of the biggest highlights of the trip for me.
Day 5: Heading home
We got up early and packed so we could swing back by Downtown Disney to finish up our shopping. Ali and I spent a solid hour looking for new sunglasses until we finally found some we liked. As soon as Ali walked out of the store she started to get nauscious so we went back in to exchange them for another pair. They did the same thing so we went back again and on the third try we finally got some that didn’t hurt her eyes. We at lunch at the Bongo’s cuban restaurant that had been recommended to me by the mother of two of my patients. It was fantastic! We got back to the hotel and hopped on the Disney’s Magical Express and departed for the airport. One of the best things about flying with dad is that he books his Southwest tickets early and always gets “Business Select” which meant all four of use go to board first and we snatched up the emergency row quick!
It was a fantastic trip and one that we will never forget. I think now after going to Disney World as an adult that there is no way I would have appreciated it near as much as a kid. It took nearly 30 years for me to get to go to Disney World and I have to say it was way worth it! Thanks again mom and dad for taking us to such a magical place. I hope one day our kids will be able to experience this magical place too! If they still have blogs at that time, you can bet that I’ll post that trip as well! -Barnezy-