I just got home from Disney this past Friday, and while I’m already missing it greatly, I have some rituals I go through after each vacation to ease the pain of re-entering the real world. I go through and edit all of the photos I took, listen to some Disney music, and occasionally I will write a trip report to help me to remember all the details of my Disney vacation. I’m going to break this trip report up into two parts, so be sure to check back next week for the second half. And I hope reading this brings a little Disney magic to your day!
Day one of my Disney vacation involved getting up at five am to catch a flight to Florida with my mom. We were lucky to land early and after quick stops on the Disney’s Magical Express bus at Old Key West and Saratoga Springs, were at Port Orleans French Quarter (my favorite moderate resort) by around eleven am. We had planned our first day entirely around wandering through Epcot and being able to see all of the amazing topiaries and floral displays from this year’s Flower & Garden Festival. First off we wanted to try and get a FastPass for the new version of Test Track, as it wasn’t open yet on our last trip in November. Even at noon, the line was about an hour and a half long and the FastPasses were too close to our dinner reservation that night. So instead we decided to pay a visit to The Land and get a FastPass for Soarin’. While there we ate in our favorite quick service dining location on property, Sunshine Seasons. Nothing beats their strawberry shortcake! We then rode Living with the Land and Journey into Imagination with Figment. After walking through Future World West, we headed over to the Tinkerbell and Fairies themed butterfly house, where we found beautiful topiaries of numerous fairies, gorgeous floral beds, and of course butterflies. While the flowers are all in full bloom, there were hundreds of butterflies still in their cocoons, so if you are planning on visiting in a few weeks, there will be many more butterflies for you to enjoy as well. We then walked through the Oz playground which was wonderfully themed and included some carnival-like game booths such as ring toss and bean bag throws. My favorite two touches of the Oz themed area were the giant poppies which appeared to be made out of glass and around five/six feet tall, and Oz’s balloon which was deflated and draped over nearby bushes to appear as though he really landed there. We then continued on through all of World Showcase starting on the Canada side and took our time exploring the pavilions and all of the amazing flower beds, arrangements, and topiaries. We also sampled champagne from France and the Waterkist Farms Heirloom Tomatoes with house-made Mozzarella, Minus 8 Vinegar and Basil from the Cottage booth. Once we worked our way around to Mexico, we hopped on the Grand Fiesta Tour featuring the Three Caballeros and then continued on to check out the Flower & Garden Festival center in the old Wonders of Life Pavilion. Unfortunately, we only had a few minutes to browse the center as it was closing at five o’clock, so we quickly scanned the merchandise and took in our surroundings. After the center, we headed back to The Land to use our FastPass for Soarin’ and found it was time to head to our dinner reservations at Kona Café in the Polynesian. We took the monorail to the Ticket and Transportation Center and walked over to the Polynesian, taking time to wander the grounds a little bit on our way. The Polynesian is my favorite resort on property, so I love being able to visit and wader on each trip. Once we arrived at the Grand Ceremonial House and walked upstairs to Kona Café, we were quickly seated and started to dig in on the delicious bread and macadamia nut-honey butter. I also ordered a Lapu Lapu, which if you read my post last week you will know that it’s my favorite drink on property and it definitely didn’t disappoint. The food in Kona Café was excellent as always, and my dinner consisted of the New York Strip Steak and the Chocolate Torte. After finishing dinner, we were debating whether to head over to the Magic Kingdom to do a few attractions before it closed for the night at 11 pm. But we decided that we were too tired from getting up so early for our flight, so we headed back to the room to call it an early night and rest up for the next day at the Magic Kingdom.
We were up bright and early Monday morning and found ourselves headed back to The Polynesian for breakfast. Now, breakfast here is a big deal for me- Tonga Toast may be one of my favorite foods in the world, and definitely obligatory on our trips. So we headed straight to Captain Cook’s to have our Tonga Toast for breakfast, and then took the monorail to the Magic Kingdom, arriving in time to see the opening show. Once the gates were open, we headed straight to Adventureland and rode the Jungle Cruise and Pirates of the Caribbean. We then continued around through Frontierland and over to Liberty Square riding Bight Thunder Mountain, Splash Mountain, and the Haunted Mansion along the way. After the Haunted Mansion, we stopped in the new Tangled themed restroom area to check out all of the new great details. My personal favorite touches from the Tangled area were the paintings that continued all throughout the ceiling inside the restroom and the hidden Pasquals in the scenery. Working our way through Fantasyland, we rode it’s a small world and Under the Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid. We also walked to Dumbo, however the line was too long so we continued on to Tomorrowland instead. I picked up a FastPass for Space Mountain (which I unfortunately didn’t end up using), and we rode Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin, the Carousel of Progress, and the Tomorrowland Transit Authority. The TTA is one of my favorite attractions in all of WDW and it rarely ever has a wait, I highly recommend trying it if you haven’t- it offers great views of Tomorrowland, breezes on hot days, and a chance to sit back and relax for a few minutes. At this point we decided to head back to the hotel to go swimming for a few hours before returning to the Magic Kingdom again that night. We had lunch in the Sassagoula food court and lounged by the pool for a little while, recharging our batteries. Once we were back in the Magic Kingdom, we rode the WDW Railroad to Storybook Circus and found Dumbo with a much shorter line, so we decided to ride it. The new circus tent waiting area is gorgeous and a great place to cool down and let kids blow off some energy playing. Afterwards we made sure to stop and ride the Mad Tea Party as I knew it was closing for refurbishment the day after and we would not get to experience it again on our trip. After a stop at Mickey’s Philharmagic, we stopped to eat lunch in Columbia Harbor House. Next time you are there try the Lighthouse Sandwich, it was delicious! We then were able to just get on the last sailing of the Liberty Belle for the night and got to basically watch the sun set as we sailed through the Rivers of America. At this point, I still hadn’t gotten to ride Space Mountain as I missed my FastPass when we returned to the hotel, so we headed back over to Tomorrowland to check out how long the line was. Unfortunately we found that it was broken down. We stopped to talk to a Cast Member who told us that it had been down for over four hours and that was the third time that day! So instead, we decided to ride the TTA again and even got glimpses of inside Space Mountain with the lights on since it was down. We then rode Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin again and then Monster’s Inc. Laugh Floor. At that point, it was around 9:45 pm and Wishes started at 10, so we situated ourselves on the bridge connecting the hub and Tomorrowland with a pretty good view. After watching Wishes, we walked over to the curb of the hub and sat ourselves down to wait for the 11 pm Main Street Electrical Parade. While waiting we saw the castle projection show Celebrate the Magic! and then enjoyed the parade with a great view. After a long day, we were pretty tired so we wandered a little bit on Main Street before heading back to the buses and back to our resort.
Tuesday morning began bright and early as we wanted to be at Epcot before its 8 am Extra Magic Hours opening. While we had a plan for the order we wanted to see things, Test Track proved to re-write our entire plan as it was down most of the morning. Immediately at opening, we headed to Test Track to find it down so we doubled back and headed for The Land where we rode Soarin’. We then tried Test Track again with no luck, so I rode Mission Space (the orange track, of course!). With still no luck for Test Track, we were beginning to lose hope that we would be able to experience it on this vacation. We headed back over to the Seas with Nemo and Friends and rode the attraction. We were also able to watch one of the Dolphins in Depth tours interacting with the dolphins in one of the aquarium tanks. After watching the dolphins for a few minutes, we headed back over to Test Track where we heard a familiar sound- cars running along the outside track. A Cast Member told us that it was still closed, but if the cars were running to not go far. Apparently a lot of other people had the same idea, as a huge line was forming despite it still being technically down. My mom jumped on the line that was forming and I went to wait by the FastPass kiosks. This planned worked perfectly as there was such a bottleneck when the ride officially opened that by the time my mom had gotten to the main queue entrance, I had already procured the FastPasses and was waiting for her. We got to ride twice back to back, and though we thought the new look was great we were slightly disappointed. Both times we rode the screens displaying our car’s results were blank so we had no idea how our design was holding up. We also got stuck waiting to go into the design studio the second time around for about twenty minutes when the attraction went down again. All in all we were pretty happy though that we got to experience it twice. At this point, we were starving so we headed back across to Sunshine Seasons again (can you tell we crisscross the parks a lot while there?), and got some small banana loafs as we didn’t want to eat too much before our lunch reservation. After eating we visited the butterfly house again and then headed over to Canada where we saw O’ Canada. Afterwards it was time for our reservation at Le Cellier. The pretzel bread was delicious, as was the “Le Cellier” Mushroom Filet Mignon. For dessert I had the White Chocolate Cheesecake which was so rich and tasted excellent. To accompany my meal, I also ordered a Blanche de Chambly which was a very crisp and delicious beer- definitely recommend it if you are planning on eating at Le Cellier. Once we finished up at Le Cellier, we walked (okay, more like waddled) over to the International Gateway to take the boat over to Hollywood Studios. Once we got to DHS, we rode The Great Movie Ride, The Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow, the Studio Backlot Tour, Muppet Vision 3D, Star Tours, Tower of Terror, and Rock n’ Roller Coaster twice (hooray for the single rider queue!). Of all the attractions in Hollywood Studios, my favorite has always been Muppet Vision 3D, there are just so many great sight gags throughout the experience, my favorite being the inclusion of characters from it’s a small world singing their signature song during the chaotic finale. Perhaps the best part of the entire attraction comes in a quote from Sam Eagle- “It’s a salute to all nations, but mostly America.” A close second favorite attraction in Hollywood Studios is the Tower of Terror. There are so many amazing details intricately worked into the attraction and its scenes, and I find that every time I visit I discover something new. After working our way around the park and experiencing a lot of attractions, we entered into Fantasmic pretty early to ensure that we had seats. We have always had the worst luck with Fantasmic, from it being cancelled halfway through the performance, to it being cancelled due to lightening after we’ve waited for an hour, to it being delayed for over a half hour once and starting just after we had given up and left the park. This time was a total success as we somehow ended up sitting dead center in the second row with no one in front of us. It was an amazing view of the show, and other than getting a little wet from all the mist, I was so happy to have finally seen it again. After Fantasmic, we headed back to our resort where we picked up some late night beignets and called it a night.
I hope you enjoyed this first part of my trip report! I would love to hear your thoughts or reactions, so let me know in the comments below! Be sure to stay tuned next week for the second half of my recent Disney vacation!
Caitlin Corsello was born and raised in New York. She graduated from Adelphi University with a Masters in Mental Health Counseling in 2012. Her love for Disney started as an infant and has continued to grow with family vacations to Disney parks almost every year since. She holds a particular interest in WDW’s parks and attractions, never passing up an opportunity to visit. She looks forward to continuing to explore and learn about all things Disney and to share that passion with readers.