Disney World, or as I like to call it, home. This was trip number…6? I think. I don’t know…I’ve started to lose count. People always say “You’re going to Disney again?!”and for those who haven’t been, or haven’t experienced it like I have, they don’t know the magic If someone offered me a trip anywhere in the world right now, I wouldn’t hesitate to respond with “Disney World”. There’s truly no place like it on earth! It is just so magical & really is the happiest place on earth. The characters, the food, the rides, the people. There’s no other place I’d rather call my second home. They treat you like the princess you deserve to be treated like & you are pretty much in a constant state of smiling. Amidst the frustration that (often) happens because of heat, lineups & crowds, it is always worth it to see that castle. This trip proved that dreams really do come true when my 12 year old sister, Allanah, got to dance her way down main street.
Allanah & I both dance at Coastal Dance Company, one of the best dance studios in the city run by two of the most amazing people I know. A company called Dance the Magic provided them with the opportunity to have their dancers dance in a showcase at Hollywood Studios & Dance in the parade in Magic Kingdom. Unfortunately, I was too old to take part, not that I’m jealous or anything 😉 In all seriousness, it melted my heart to see Allanah’s dreams come true, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t shed a big sister tear or several. I cannot begin to thank these two companies enough for making it happen & making those girls shine like the stars they are.
Now that you know the backstory, let’s talk about the trip. We typically stay on site at Disney, but this trip was a little different with the dance stuff, so we split our time up between off site & on site.
I didn’t take as many photos as I usually do this trip. (Mind you, most would still say it was a lot) I’ve been to Disney so many times, this time round I focused on enjoying it rather than living behind the lens & lugging my big camera with me every single day.
After a long travel day, we arrived at our first home away from home, Lake Buena Vista Suites. The next day we had a relaxing day-spent the morning in the pool, followed by shopping & the obligatory Golden Corral lunch. That evening, we were off to Disney Springs. Last time we were to Disney, in 2015, it was still Downtown Disney & it wasn’t completed it’s transition into Disney Springs. All I can say is WOW! The shopping, the food, the nightlife. It’s unreal. It’s like a town of it’s own. It’s a little Vegas meets Disney. Allanah & I started our evening by going to Splitsville bowling alley for supper & bowling, while Mom & my stepdad, Byron, enjoyed a nice meal alone at Paradiso 37. Splitsville was amazing! It’s nice to relax and do something out of the ordinary at Disney. This was a great first day activity while you’re getting ready for a busy week of parks! After that, Allanah & I did some shopping & later met up with Mom & Byron to ride in the Characters in Flight hot air balloon. This is something that has been on our bucket list for years, and we finally did it. It was a long wait, but it was worth it. We went up when the fireworks at all 4 parks were going off at the same time, it was an incredible view. After we finished up there, Byron & Allanah did some shopping, while mom & I scoped out some of the new bars like Jock Lindsay’s Hangar Bar & Raglan Road. At Raglan Road, we had several different beers from Ireland. I can’t remember most of the names because to be honest, I didn’t like them…and I’m a beer girl! But they were mostly dark beers. I did however love kilkenny, magners pear cider & Harp. Our last stop was the World of Disney store to purchase our first souvenirs.
Thursday, it was time for Animal Kingdom. Usually our first park is Magic Kingdom, so this was a little backwards to me. We got to explore all of the new additions and extended hours at animal kingdom. I wish I could say we got to visit Pandora, but it won’t be completed for another couple weeks 😦 We spent our day riding all the rides, with our favorite of course being Expedition Everest. We saw the Lion King show, which is a must every trip. Supper time, we dined at Tusker House with Mickey & Pals where we enjoyed a buffet & took advantage of the Rivers of Light dining package. Rivers of Light is a brand new show & it was absolutely beautiful. The projections on water, the floating lillies & stained glass animals. Definitely one of my favorite shows at Disney. After the show, we headed to the tree of life to watch it ‘come to life’. Again, this is brand new, because Animal Kingdom has never been opened past 6pm until recently! It was basically a projection show on the tree, and it was absolutely beautiful. You got to see the animals ‘come to life’ & watch a projection show. It was the perfect evening to a beautiful day at Animal Kingdom.
The next day, we took a day off from the parks. Allanah needed to rest and stay on her A game for her big upcoming dance weekend! We did do a bit of shopping, then we had to move from the condo to Disney resort! We stayed at Caribbean Beach Resort for the next 3 days. After settling in at the resort, we met the rest of the dance team at Mickey’s Backyard BBQ at Fort Wilderness Resort for supper. Hands down, one of my FAVORITE meals on Disney. Open air, unlimited BBQ, unlimited alcohol, country music & characters. What more could I need? I mean really. The girls all had fun & so did the grown ups.
Saturday was Dance the Magic showcase day!! We didn’t want to do anything too strenuous in the morning, so we went to Typhoon Lagoon for a few hours, where we rode several slides, including the new MisAdventure Falls which was a ton of fun. After that, we headed back to the resort to get Allanah ready for the big show. It took me 3 hours to do her hair. Yes…3 hours. Her hair might be short, but it sure is thick & it had to be perfect. The dancers all headed to Hollywood Studios just after supper & the adults hopped on the resort transportation to get to the show. Mom & I had a fast pass for rockin roller coaster & by some weird twist of fate, we made it in time. It was her first time riding the ride, and although she’ll never admit it, she loved it 😉 We made it back to the Beauty & The Beast stage just in time for the show. To say there was some amazing dancers in the showcase would be an understatement, they were all beautiful. I may be a little biased, but I think Coastal was the best! They were absolutely flawless. I could not have been more proud! After the showcase, Allanah & I went to mee Moana-one of the characters we’d been looking forward to meeting most! Then, it was time for the new Star Wars Fireworks show, which was AWESOME! Another amazing day.
Next up, it was finally time for me to go home, to Magic Kingdom, to where my heart belongs. I know…I’m cheesey. The dancers left around 10am for their jam packed day of rehearsals followed by the parade. I remember telling mom that I’d hop on the resort transportation to be there right at park open rather than wait for everyone, and meet them there. Mom thought there was no need to go early, to which Byron said “Look who you’re talkin to. You know she’s going early with or without us.” And that I did! It was actually kind of nice having some alone time in the park. I watched the new castle stage show, went to Mickey’s PhilarMagic, did some shopping & rode a few rides before meeting mom & Byron for our first fast pass Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.
After that, we did some rides we’d never done in our many times at disney; Pirates of the Caribbean & Tom Sawyers Island. I can’t lie, Tom Sawyer’s Island was pretty boring. Its basically just trails & walking. There’s already enough walking in the parks!! But at least we can say we’ve done it now. Mid afternoon-it was parade time. I cannot explain to you the feeling I got when I saw my sister dance down main street in front of the castle. Proud? Proud is not even the word. I have never seen her look so happy in all her life. She truly had the time of her life. I’m tearing up just thinking about it!! All the dancers were spot on & killed it, despite the nearly 40 degree heat! For the rest of the evening, we enjoyed more rides, had a cinnamon bun at Gaston’s Tavern & watched our very last ever “Wishes” fireworks show. I can’t talk about it…I’m in denial. I’m not afraid of change, and I love all the changes Disney is making, but they’ve just gone too far! No, not really. I’m sure the new show will be beautiful. But that show makes me cry every. Single. Time. It was more disheartening, because I was stuck watching it alone. After Gaston’s Tavern I went to “save us seats” yeah….at 30 minutes before showtime good luck with that one! My family ended up on the other side of the crowd and couldn’t get to me and I got stuck with an awful view. So I decided, shag it, and went to the side of the castle where there was no crowd and enjoyed them. Watching them from the back or on the side for a different view has actually been on my bucket list, but not for the last time seeing Wishes. So I was disappointed at that, but I enjoyed it nonetheless! The last show of the night was the new projection show. This was beautiful and I did have a great view…with my family this time…so I was over not seeing the fireworks 😉
Monday was Epcot day. We actually started our day at Disney’s Boardwalk, where we ate at Trattoria Al Forno for the Bon Voyage Breakfast with Rapunzel, Flynn, Ariel & Eric. This was only the second day for this breakfast, I still can’t believe we landed a reservation!!! It was fantastic, right from the food to the characters & the experience. I couldn’t have asked for better. We then headed to Epcot’s back entrance via boat. We toured half the countries while making our way to our first fast pass at Mission Space. After that ride, we had some lunch & relaxed, then Allanah & I went on a couple more rides before meeting everyone for supper at Via Napoli in the Italy pavillion. BEST pizza I have ever had in all my life!!! And it was a mosntrous size, but not a drop was left. After supper, Allanah & I toured the rest of the countries, while I had a scattered drink in a few countries, and I helped Allanah with her Phineas & Ferb mobile game which was super fun. We made our way back then to the new Frozen ride-fantastic as I’d expected! The night ended with the Illuminations fireworks show-always a beautiful show.
On our last day, we park hopped & did Magic Kingdom in the morning & Hollywood Studios at night. We finished whatever rides we hadn’t completed, met whatever characters we still hadn’t & had a great day. Allanah rode Tower of Terror (twice) for the first time & rockin roller coaster for the first time! As for me…it’s probably my last Tower of Terror ride. I hate it. I love it…but I hate it. I could ride rockin roller all day long. Allanah loved both rides….she’s finally a big girl! 😉 We finished off our evening at Minnie’s Springtime Dine at Hollywood & Vine-one of the best Disney buffets I’ve had. Last, we of course saw Fantasmic, this still remains my favorite show on Disney. Absolutely stunning & the perfect end to a perfect week.
I can’t let this post go by without thanking my mom & stepdad for once again taking me along for the trip of a lifetime. It means the world to me, making magical memories with you 🙂 In this family, we do Disney 😉
As you can probably tell, I could talk about Disney forever. I miss it all day every day. They say the only cure for Disney blues is to start planning your next trip…so that’s what I will do! Fall 2018…here we come. I hope 😉