I have just returned from the most amazing two weeks in Walt Disney World. All the planning definitely paid off – I really feel like we had the best time that we could by having so much sorted, dining all booked and by knowing which rides to do first etc. We didn’t wait for more than 20 minutes for anything and we walked right onto loads of rides, including Space Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain, Rock n Rollercoaster, Soarin’ and even (drum roll please)… Toy Story Mania!
I have come back with so many ideas and things that I’d like to share with you all, that I just don’t know where to start! It is also kind of manic at the moment, with two weeks worth of work, laundry and life to catch up on. So for now, here’s some headlines from our holiday – some of which I’ll be covering in more detail over the coming months.
Oh boy sooooo much food! I’ve written notes on all of it and tried to take photos. And I have a new found respect for all the food bloggers and reviewers out there. The amount of times we dug in and then remembered half way through the meal that we were meant to be taking photos of it! Reviews to come of 5 signature restaurants; California Grill, Narcoossees, Artist Point, Citricos and Jiko, and regular restaurants including O’hana, Boma and Kona – and Bubba Gump Shrimp! We also ate a different quick-service restaurant nearly every day so I’ll be covering those too. I’m actually quite proud of the fact that in two entire weeks, I only ate one burger!
2. The hotel
Old Key West – our first time staying here and we really enjoyed it. The laid back atmosphere, refurbished room (sort of) and excellent bus service both helped make this a great resort for us. Not that there weren’t a few niggles too…
3. The events
This is the first time in all our trips to Disney that we’ve specifically attended one of their events. Firstly, there was the more generic Flower and Garden Festival, which was more impressive than I would have ever imagined, especially for someone who struggles to keep any kind of plant alive. Then the Pixar Weekend, which was my favourite by far. Listening to the talks by the guys that actually make these films was really inspiring – and of course made me want to work for Pixar as much as I want to work for Disney! And then the Star Wars weekend – where we attended the first day and so the opening of the Star tours attraction. And trust me you do not have to be a Star Wars fan to get something out of this event (apparently, you shouldn’t say ‘oh look, it’s one of those little furry things’ when an ewok walks by – the people around me gave me some disgusted looks!)
HOT! Hot, hot, hot, hot, hot, hot, hot. We left the UK at the end of a mini heatwave – it had hit about 21C at one point and was leveling at around 18 or 19. That’s about 70F. Even when it is the heart of summer in the UK it is around 25C – i.e. 77F. It was in the low 90s for most of our trip – which I’ve now discovered is around 33C. We had one afternoon of rain and the next day it was slightly cooler but it went right back up again. But in general, it felt really hot to us and I was practically bathing in sun tan lotion. But we were chatting in the shop and one guy said he was enjoying the cooler temperatures because it was over 100 back home so I guess it is all relative!
5. The disappointments
There were actually a few – although in a ‘that’s a shame’ kind of way’ rather than the ruining the holiday kind. The first was Boma – I’d heard such good things but apart from a few really good items, the rest seemed a little mediocre and nothing was hot enough. Star Tours was also a disappointment to me – I’m going to be in the minority but I really don’t think the new ride is that great. And finally, my biggest let down of all – Jiko! Previously my absolute favourite restaurant, this time served up average food and poor service. I’ll cover all of these in more detail soon.
6. My two new tips
- Don’t try to do too much. We totally ran out of time and there is so much that we wanted to do and didn’t manage to accomplish. But we did try and it exhausted us. We were up at 6am every day to get to the start of the extra magic hours and out till late. We thought we were handling it fine, but it ultimately led to me sobbing and my hubby sulking over a missed breakfast ADR and the resulting lack of pancakes – slight over reactions on both of our parts! Don’t let doing too much affect your holiday folks! We’re adults, we shook it off quickly (an hour of not talking is quickly, right!?) but if you’ve got little ones, you probably have to accept even more that you just can’t do it all! As two adults, we’d still do the early starts and long days, but maybe mix it up with the odd lie-in!
- Be flexible. I am the ultimate planner and had every day and meal worked out in precise detail. But when we found we wanted to different things, we went with it. We switched round two meals, cancelled three and booked another 4! We changed our minds about what to do on a regular basis and had a more enjoyable holiday because of it.
I had to share my biggest ‘ahh’ moment. At the front of a very long queue waiting to meet characters was a little boy, around 4 years old. He was dressed up as Buzz Lightyear and for some reason was sobbing his little heart out. Now I’ve no idea why, something could have been wrong, or he might have been overcome with emotion, all I saw was this little sobbing child absolutely launch himself into Chewbacca’s arms. Chewbacca was knelt down to him and how he managed to keep his balance with the force of that hug, I don’t know but the entire crowd did a collective ‘ahhhh’ as a the huge Chewbacca enveloped the little crying Buzz Lightyear in a massive hug! And that’s something I never thought I’d write!
I feel like we’ve been planning this holiday forever and I’m soooo disappointed that it is over right now – I’ve only been back a few days. I’ve already priced up another one for next year, but we can’t book it yet. So for now, writing about this holiday and seeing all the fabulous photos we took (all 4000 of them!) is going to have suffice. Over the next few weeks and months I’ll be writing a bit more about a lot of the things I’ve mentioned and more – that will just have to keep me going until the next trip. And until then, here’s a pretty little word cloud that I put together that I think sums up our holiday:
BRiTMiCK is a blog aimed at British visitors to Walt Disney World, helping you to make the most of your holiday. Follow @Britmickuk for the latest on whats going on at BRiTMiCK and other Disney sites.