In May 2016 we booked a two-week holiday in Disney World Florida with a work bonus my Husband received and little did we know it would change our entire outlook on life and how we would holiday for the foreseeable.
After the long 9-hour flight from the UK to Orlando with two children aged 4 and 20 months we collected our hire car and drove through the golden gates to the most magical place on earth. We stayed in one of the moderate hotels, Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, which was absolutely beautiful. The children were so excited when they saw the room was pirate themed and the pool was fantastic with a magnificent Children’s pool and numerous slides into the larger pool. The Food court covered all of our quick service needs, small wait times and the refillable mugs included in the dining plan were a god send.
My daughters face lit up like the north star when she saw the Iconic Cinderella’s castle for the first time. I cried obviously, first of many happy tearful moments I had. We experienced the Once upon a Time firework display from the tomorrowland terrace while enjoying the dessert party when my daughter turned to us and said “Dreams really do come true…” that was it, that was the moment that Disney world took a piece of my husband and my hearts that will never be replaced.
The attention to detail is unbelievable, not a corner left spare or a staff member without a smile. My husband and I were blown away with the sheer quality of all six parks. The magic flows throughout 24/7. If the children don’t fancy the rides one day they can watch one of the many, many shows that Disney has to offer. Beauty and Beast Live and Finding Nemo on stage are a couple of my absolute favourites.
I had the most amazing strawberry lemonade slush, which has now become my summer drink craving. The moment we have a hot day my mind drifts away longing to return to Disney. The food on offer in Disney is beyond delicious. Two weeks is not enough time to explore every bakery, you would need to be an annual pass holder. Check out http://www.disneyfoodblog.com to see some of the magnificent treats on offer, I follow them on social media sites to keep up to date with all the new mouth-watering Disney food and beverages.
We returned home after two of the best weeks anyone could wish for. Our Disney mad daughter had secured some heart warming memories. Our son, who loved every second, may not remember that specific trip but he bathed in the magic during our time there. I swam with sharks and fish and my husband says his best part of all was all our faces watching every magical event unfold. We had found the end of the rainbow.
We longed to return to Disney World and had planned to return in 2019 but a twist with my husbands work schedule meant he wouldn’t be around much of 2019 and we would have to postpone until 2020. This was crushing as our son who is now nearly 4 has developed the same passion/ obsession for Disney, specifically the Clubhouse clan and the Princesses, and I knew having seen my Daughter fall in love with Disney World, I just knew my Son would also.
So, we made the slightly insane choice to book for the only time my Husband and daughter had off at the same time this year which unfortunately was only a week. We knew we had to cut a lot out of our holiday plans but at the same time the things the children, my son especially, would see and do would be worth it and then some. The cost isn’t a great deal cheaper for one week as it’s the flights that cost the bulk of the expense, but the experience my son would get would be priceless so we stepped on the wild side for once.
We flew with Virgin on our first trip to Orlando who were amazing, but we went with another airline on our recent trip (sounds a bit like Chomas Took) and safe to say will not be using them again.
But back to the magic…. We stayed in a budget Disney hotel to bring the cost down due to the sudden booking. It was absolutely fine, honestly it was. Our room was a little cramped for five people but that just means next time we go we need to book a family suite as most of the Disney Hotels offer them. The Art of Animation Family Suites look perfect for families or large groups, particularly with little ones as they have awesome themed rooms.
When we returned to the Magic Kingdom entrance I couldn’t quite believe we were back there, ‘our family happy place’. Once you make your way around the corner on Main Street USA the Iconic Castle steals your view. Its like a worry catcher, where you feel the weight of all life’s worries just being lifted above you and you step inside the Disney bubble. I have heard a lot of people speak of the Disney bubble in a negative manner, believing it gives people a false sense of reality.
I personally find this criticism a humongous positive. I think its wonderful that you can pack up your worries, stresses and strains and send those on vacation while you sink into a real-life wonderland.
My Sons face and body just froze when he saw the Castle, he couldn’t quite believe we were there and my girls were both fit to burst with excitement. I cried, of course. Find me a Disney Mum that doesn’t cry for the whole holiday with immense amounts of joy.
The staff are exceptionally helpful, I’m yet to see a miserable cast member. The weeks spent planning two outfits per person, per day, is rewarded with constant compliments towards the children and even the Hubby and me. Its amazing how great it feels when someone compliments you as a family. Fist bump moments right there.
My little beauties were so in awe with Rapunzel as they both adore her, my son a little more I’d say but she is adored none the less. My sons favourite was the Tea Cups in Magic Kingdom, we laughed uncontrollably on them. And my eldest daughters favourite was without a shadow of doubt, Avatars Flight of Passage. That experience needs to be on everybody’s bucket list. Its mind blowing amazing and to experience it with my first-born Princess just put the cherry on top for me.
My baby girl just fell in love with all the club house characters. All the dining experiences we did just made her trip. Even at 11 months the magic is captivating. Chef Mickeys in the Contempory Resort is an absolute must, as is Vine and Dine in Hollywood Studios. I will create a separate blog with a numerical list of my top favourite restaurants, rides, snacks and must buys as that alone I could write a novel on.
The new Pandora world stole the show for me on this trip. It was breath taking and personally I think Disney’s best area in ALL of the parks. I know that is a huge shout, but I stand by it. Animal Kingdom is my most favourite place on earth. The Kilimanjaro Safari ride makes my holiday as I get to see elephants, Giraffes, hippos, lions, crocodiles and many more beautiful animals all up close, but the effort put into the reserve makes you feel as though you are actually driving through the African plains. The atmosphere when you wonder through Africa and Asia gives the children a real glimpse into other beautiful cultures. I tip my hat to Disney as they have created a short-term escape route from a busy life for all ages.
After a very busy week visiting two parks on every day, including several trips to Disney Springs to eat in some of the most amazing themed restaurants and visit the humongous Disney store, our week came to an end and five very sad people had to make the long journey back home. This was made a little sadder as I tried several times a day to locate the exquisite Rose Gold Minnie Ears but unfortunately, they were out of stock for our whole trip and unbelievably they came into stock the day after we landed home. For those that know me that is so very typical.
I can in fact confirm as we thought that a week is definitely not long enough to absorb everything Disney world has to offer. With six parks and Disney Springs that fills a full week’s itinerary.
For anyone wondering if a trip to Disney World is worth the price tag I would say it most definitely is. What you get for your money is more than worth it. Try searching early to find great flight deals if you are booking it all by yourself like I do, or if you are using a travel advisor ask for quotes for the Disney hotels when the free dining offers start around April each year. The ticket cost when broken down to per person per day for 14 days is a fraction of the entry cost to most UK attractions and in my option Disney World is no way comparable to any of them. It is like entering another universe.
Let the saving commence and fingers crossed we will be back very soon.