Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve wanted to go to Disney World. Even as a teenager and young adult, I remember watching shows on the Travel Channel and Food Network that featured Disney World, and I was totally captivated by all the incredible decor and scenery. It truly did seem magical, and I was determined to make it there one day. Well, last week, I finally got a chance to go, and it really was as magical as it seems! Unfortunately, I’m still not feeling 100% (still pursuing a diagnosis at this time) and there were insane crowds for Thanksgiving, but it was still wonderful! I only had one full day there, so I was determined to make the most of it!
Last Saturday, I was up early. We needed to be at the airport around 10, so I finished packing and made a smoothie with Amazing Grass greens, collagen peptides, turmeric, blueberries, spinach and kale, raspberries, ginger, hemp seed oil, and flax. I also took an Immunity Shot with ginger and turmeric since I wanted to avoid catching anything on the plane.
This was the first plane ride my husband and I have ever been on together!
Before we got on the plane, he had a coffee, hot dog, and beer, which I can’t imagine doing since I need to take Dramamine before flying, but he was fine! He also got a whiskey and coke while we were in the air, and I had a ginger ale. The flight from Chicago to Orlando was pretty short; we made it there in a little over two hours.
It was exciting to see the palm trees as soon as we landed. This was my third time in Florida (I’ve been in Tampa and Ft. Lauderdale) and Julian’s first, but the palm trees never get old, especially when coming from cold Chicago weather. We made our way to Disney’s Magical Express shuttle and got on the bus to go to the resort we were staying at, All Star Movies. The ride was a little over thirty minutes, and I seriously teared up as we went under the Walt Disney World sign–I couldn’t believe I was finally there.
Our room was in the Love Bug hotel. After we checked in, we got our magic bands, which were so awesome (at least they were to a Disney newbie like me!). These bands get you into your hotel room, into the parks, and pay for items you’d like to purchase since they’re connected to your account.
We stopped at the food court in the resort to grab something quick to eat. I found their menu a bit disappointing, but I hadn’t eaten anything since the morning smoothie, so I wanted to get something. I found a “power salad” in the refrigerated section that had grilled chicken, mixed greens, shredded cabbage, and dried cranberries. I couldn’t resist trying this Minnie strawberry shortcake cupcake.
We caught the sunset just as we were leaving.
Since it was a bit later in the day and we wanted to have a full-day experience at the parks, we decided to head to Disney Springs, which is also known as downtown Disney. It was insanely crowded because of the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, but it was still a fun time. All of Disney was all decked out for Christmas. The palm trees looked so cute wrapped in glittering lights.
We walked around for quite a bit. I guess I expected something a little different when I thought of “downtown Disney.” This kind of seemed like a giant mall, but there was a lot to do and see there. Julian was not much of a fan, though. I think it would be great to check it out when there are less crowds. I especially liked looking out over the water.
As you can see, I was enjoying the ambiance and Christmas decorations a bit more than he was.
We went into some of the stores and restaurants to check out the offerings. Julian got a frozen sake and then we decided to go to Sprinkles for more cupcakes. He ordered a root beer float and we decided to try the dark chocolate banana, chocolate marshmallow, and Oreo cupcakes. They were all great. It started to get a little chilly, so after walking around some more, we decided to head back to the hotel so we could be up bright and early for the Magic Kingdom the next day!
I woke up early and ate the Oreo cupcake for breakfast (hey, gotta start the day at Magic Kingdom off special, right?), showered, and put on my Mickey ears.
I was so excited that this day was finally here. I ran outside to test the weather and determined it was going to be a beautiful November Florida day.
We headed over to the shuttle area and waited to board the bus. The cool thing about the Disney resorts is that they all have shuttles to and from the parks and airports to make it easy to get around.
When we arrived, I think I may have been more excited than some of the kids on the bus. After waving our magic bands (still so cool) to get in, we were greeted by the iconic Main Street and view of the castle. There was so much to take in!
When we finally got to the castle, I couldn’t believe how beautiful it was. The weather was warm and I was in a place I’d always wanted to visit with my best friend. I was feeling very thankful and overwhelmed.
We’d been hoping to get breakfast there, but it really was super-crowded, and most of the restaurants required reservations. We found breakfast sandwiches at Westward Ho, but the people in front of us got the last ones! We decided to just walk around and enjoy all the scenery and figured we’d eventually come upon something.
Since I am a total newbie, I missed out on a lot! I didn’t know about using the fast passes, making restaurant reservations, etc., but since it was my first time, I knew there would be so much to do that it would be okay regardless. We stopped at the Harbour House and I grabbed a salad. I would have loved to try the Be Our Guest restaurant; that will be a must for next time!
We went through Adventureland, Fantasyland, Frontierland, Tomorrowland, Liberty Square, and Main Street. The lines were outrageously long due to the crowds, but we got to go to the Haunted Mansion, Under the Sea, and more. I enjoyed that the lines were interactive.
We spent a lot of the day exploring and wandering in and out of the lands and stores. While I wish we could have gone on more rides, I am glad I had a day to really soak it all in.
I was on the hunt for some Disney treats. I’m not a huge fan of caramel apples or crispy rice treats, and those were everywhere. Of course, I had to try a Dole Whip since I’ve heard so much about them!
I loved all the Christmas decorations around the park.
I was so disappointed that I was going to miss the Magic Kingdom at night, but it was closing at 6 for Mickey’s Christmas Party, and the tickets were sold out. I will absolutely have to go back, but this gave us an opportunity to visit another park. We decided on Hollywood Studios. We both knew we’d love the Animal Kingdom, but we wanted to be able to devote a full day to that, so now we have to come back! We headed back to our hotel and decided to grab something quick to eat. I found a chicken avocado sandwich with sweet potato fries (still not impressed with the menu) and a seasonal hot chocolate cupcake.
Back in the room, I changed into pants and put on a sweater and jacket since it was getting chillier out. I really wanted to go in the pool at the resort. The water seemed like it was heated, but it was so cold out! We headed back to the shuttle area and boarded the bus to Hollywood Studios. We pulled up right as the sun was setting.
When you enter, you have to scan your magic band and your fingerprint! It was pretty cool. The park was just as decorated and lit up as the rest of Disney, and it was really beautiful at night.
We decided to explore the park and try to hop on any rides that didn’t have insane lines. We made it on the Star Tours ride and would have loved to try the roller coasters or Tower of Terror, but I let myself by blown away by all the scenery.
We spent a lot of time walking around Galaxy’s Edge and checking out all the Star Wars exhibits. Julian got a Gold Squadron lager and I had a Surly Sarlacc, which had Ketel One Botanical Grapefruit and Rose vodka, limeade, spicy mango and raspberry. After, we decided to check out the Muppets 3-D movie.
We got to see the fireworks show, which was beautiful, and spent the rest of the evening walking around until the park closed. Julian wanted to get me a souvenir to remember the trip, and just like a kid, I chose a stuffed animal.
We headed to bed and I vowed to get up and get in the pool the next morning, but it was only 49 degrees! Unfortunately, the Magical Express gets you to the airport three hours early, so we had to leave the hotel at 10:45 a.m. I was so sad to be leaving Florida.
Although I am still figuring out my health journey, I am glad I got to go on this trip. It was so much fun, and it was as magical as I expected. I absolutely want to go back to see the other parks and hope to try it in the off-season for less crowds. I am officially a Disney World lover!