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Our Best Trip Ever to Disney World – part 2

I’m still working on catching up blog posts with our trips from last year.  So today we are finishing up our fall trip to Disney World.  When we visit WDW, we always like to choose our accommodations based on the order we are visiting the parks. Because travel time is wasted time in my mind, we choose resorts that have the easiest and shortest transportation to the parks we are visiting.

Wilderness Lodge was where we chose for the first part of this trip because it was so convenient to Magic Kingdom (where we spent our first 2 days.)  All we had to do was hop on a boat down at the dock, and in just a few minutes we were at the park.

After our time at Magic Kingdom, the next park we planned to visit was Animal Kingdom. The only resort that is close to it is Animal Kingdom Resort, but we did not really want to stay there because it is really not close to any other park.

Since we would be visiting Epcot on the day after our Animal Kingdom visit, we looked at resorts that are in close proximity to it.  The hotels in the Boardwalk area are within easy walking distance of that park.  So Beach Club resort was our choice for that.  With its light and cheerful colors, it was quite a contrast to Wilderness Lodge!

It is supposed to evoke a seaside resort from around the early 1900’s.

I definitely picked up on that atmosphere in this long hallway with all its wicker chairs.

And check out the cute art work!! 🙂

Here is our room.  We checked out of Wilderness Lodge, drove over to Beach Club, and had a super easy EARLY check-in there (yay!)

Little beach touches with a Disney nod were all around the room.

Sorry this photo is so fuzzy.  It was dark over there by the bathroom, and turning on the lights created a glare on the mirror.

After we dropped everything off, we caught the park bus to Animal Kingdom.  It was cloudy, but we never encountered rain the entire day.

We had fastpasses for Kilimanjaro Safaris first thing.  I have read that it is good to do the safari early in the day since the animals are more active in the morning.  It was amazing how many we saw that day!

I took a lot more photos of various animals, but this post is going to be too long to show you all of them.  So moving on….We rode several rides, and then went to see the always wonderful Lion King show.

Remember how I said we did not encounter rain the entire day?  Well, it did actually rain.  We just happened to be inside the show when it did. 🙂

We had lunch at Yak and Yeti Restaurant (reservations made months in advance.)  Their Kobe beef burger was by far the best burger I have ever had in my life.  When our daughter’s college roommate ate there, she had the burger as well and thought the same thing.  So if you go, and you love burgers like I do, order theirs.  You’ll be glad you did. 🙂

After lunch we decided to walk some of the trails in the park to burn off some of those burger calories. 🙂  There is always such lush vegetation all around Animal Kingdom.

We had a fastpass for later in the day, so we took a break and went back to our resort.  (I needed a power nap at that point!)  Then we returned around 5:30 that evening for our final ride…Avatar Flight of Passage.

Without a fastpass, it is usually a little more than a 2 hour wait in line for the ride, but by some miracle I was able to get a fastpass.  Avatar is located in Pandora, Animal Kingdom’s all new land.  All of it is modeled after the scenes and settings in the gorgeous science fiction film, Avatar…and it is a beauty to behold.  Disney has truly outdone itself here.

And the Avatar ride is without a doubt the best thing that Disney has ever created in my mind.  I loved loved loved Soarin’ over in Epcot, but the Avatar ride far exceeds it.  I would wait the 2+hours in line without a fastpass just to ride this ride.  It is that good.  You sit on a bike type apparatus that simulates riding on a flying animal, and you do indeed feel as if you are flying.  The scenery you view on the surrounding screen is gorgeous, and you feel the mist and wind in your face.  The technology behind it is simply amazing.  If you have ridden it, you will enjoy the video below.  If you haven’t experienced it yet and don’t want to spoil it for yourself, don’t watch it.  Just know this is only small portion of the experience.  Nothing compares to the 3-D imagery, the surround sound, and the feeling of riding on a flying animal.

After Avatar, we watched the Tree of Life Awakenings, and then we took our seat to watch the beautifully relaxing Rivers of Light show. And that wrapped up our day at Animal Kingdom.

The following morning we were up early to stroll the quick walk over to Epcot.  It was a gorgeous day with blue blue skies!

I love being able to go in the “back door” at Epcot – The International Gateway.  If you are there when the park opens, you pretty much have that area of Epcot to yourself.

None of the shops in that area are open until around 11:00, but it is so much fun just to be able to wander through the area and enjoy the architecture and the landscaping without having to worry about crowds.

That is my idea of Disney magic. 🙂

We timed our visit so that we could be there during their annual Food and Wine festival where you can purchase small samples of assorted dishes.  (My husband calls that “snacking.” 🙂 )  Canada’s filet mignon is still my favorite “snack.”

If you come in the “back door” of the park, you have to walk through all of World Showcase to reach the front of Epcot.

We rode a number of rides (including Soarin’) and snacked our way around the world.  By late afternoon, we had seen and experienced most of what we wanted to in the park, so again we took a break.

And then we returned after dark to experience Illuminations, the impressive fireworks show in Epcot.


This was our final night in the parks, so we took our time leaving to walk back to the resort.  Everything was even more beautiful lit up at night.

After checking out of Beach Club the next morning, we decided to spend a couple of hours shopping in Disney Springs.  Lunch was at The Boathouse with its charming Amphicars (that you can actually take a ride in!)

I have admired old boats for a very long time, and vintage Chris Crafts are some of my favorites.  The Boathouse even had one of them inside!

And it was available as a dining table!  (Not sure I would have had the heart to cut up one of those beauties for a dining spot though.)

Our meals were excellent.  I had fish tacos, and my husband had shrimp and grits.

We made one last stop in Disney Springs at Erin McKenna’s Bakery to pick up some gluten free sweets to take home. 🙂

And our wonderful trip came to a close.  Thank you so much for following along with me as I have shared it here.  Next up we will be looking at a truly gorgeous house and a couple of other special buildings.  Hope you will be back!

Until next time…

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Kathy - February 14, 2018 - 4:35 pm

I prefer Beach Club. I bet you would never have guessed that! The Chris Craft made an awesome place to eat, The Lion King is my favorite show and I LOVE fireworks! You covered it well!!

Shannan Harris - February 13, 2018 - 4:40 pm

Oh how I want to go!
I have only been to Disneyland but Disneyworld is on my list!
I am turning 50 this year so the fall trip is pretty tempting!

Thank you for sharing, your adventures, descriptions and of course photos, are so enjoyable!

I’d love to plan my 50th party with you!

Thanks Kelly!

Karen K from Buffalo - February 13, 2018 - 12:37 pm

It’s been a few years since my husband & I were there. A lot has changed. I enjoyed your trip & thank you for sharing!!

Kristy - February 13, 2018 - 12:27 pm

This has been one of the best commentaries I have ever read about a visit to WDW. You did a fabulous job describing your visit. I have never been to Disney, so your descriptions were quite helpful. I hope to visit Epcot one day.

Dee - February 13, 2018 - 11:24 am

Thank you so much for the tour and the memories. You saw the park in the best way ever. When we went it was so crowded. I so look forward to your posts and can hardly wait for the next one. Thank you Kelly

Louvina - February 13, 2018 - 10:04 am

Enjoyed back to back Disney posts!! Love seeing your photos and things you like to do when at the Magic Kingdom and WDW!! Almost as good as being there! I have been there at holidays, special events and at early morning with very few guests present— which is delightful!! Glad my parents got to visit with us when our kids were young and later! Several of my family members have been employed there through the years. Nice to be guests and forgo the entrance fee!! 🙂 It truly is the happiest place on earth— or at least one of the 🤗! We all become kids when there!! Glad you enjoyed every minute— y’ll Come back! Y’ hear?

Leslie Anne Tarabella - February 13, 2018 - 9:27 am

So many new things since I was last there. I must return soon! I have tickets that are still good for one more day! I love your idea of staying close to the park you are visiting.

Our Best Trip Ever to Disney World – part 1

Please forgive my non-seasonal post here.  I am trying to catch up on all the things I missed sharing with you from last year.  Last fall (yes, fall!) my husband and I made a trip to Walt Disney World.  We had been there with friends.  We had taken our children, and we took our mothers the previous year, but we had never made a trip there with just the two of us.

It was wonderful!!  (We may never take our kids again. LOL) We stayed at Wilderness Lodge for the first part of the trip.  I have written about that amazing building before – modeled after the Old Faithful Inn in Yellowstone National Park, but we had never stayed there.

The lobby is very impressive.  I think the rooms are a little on the small size, but they were certainly nice enough for us.

We were staying on the concierge level because I had watched for months to get a good special. Chocolates were waiting on us in our room. (Always a good sign!)

This was the view from our window.  You can see the relatively new cabins that are part of the resort and the Contemporary Resort off in the distance.

We arrived on a Sunday afternoon in mid September with tickets in hand for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween party.  I just love this Disney event!  And I was hoping for low crowds this early in the season.  We ate lunch, checked into our room, and then hopped on one of the boats that take you to the park.

You do not have to buy a park ticket since your ticket for MNSSHP gets you in after 4:00 – which is a good deal if you can stay up until the park closes at midnight.  Our first stop in the park was to get one of the “party only” foods – candy corn ice cream.  It was good but didn’t really taste like candy corn to me.

It was fun to see so many people dressed for the event – many in costumes, and many like us with matching shirts.  We were able to ride a number of rides with little to no wait.  After a few hours we had dinner then found a place to sit for the fireworks.

The Halloween fireworks are about the best there are at Disney, (in my opinion) and that particular show is only done during the MNSSHP.  The parade for the party is done twice during the night with the earlier one more crowded.  So we opted to go to the second parade that evening.  You can see that even it was still quite crowded.

The previous year we had gone to the 1st parade and did not have great seats to view it.  This year we snagged a spot right on Main Street, and wow did it make a difference!!  We were sooo close to the floats and the performers!! 🙂

Many of them even interacted with us.

This guy made a good Jack Sparrow.  Don’t you agree?

The music is so catchy, and the “scary” things are not really scary at all.  It is all done in good fun. 🙂

Around midnight we headed back to the lodge for the evening.

For Monday, I had managed to get breakfast reservations at Be Our Guest restaurant.  This had been a goal of mine for many years…both so that we could see the Beast’s castle and also, so that we could enter the park before other guests.  We made it there at 7:00 a.m. (by catching a bus since the boats didn’t run that early.)  These were the “lines” at this time of day.  🙂

I absolutely loved being able to see and photograph a nearly empty park!  (It made up for the few hours of sleep we had gotten since we had stayed out so late the night before.)

Such a beautiful morning!!

Have you ever seen the park this empty?!

We arrived at the “castle” and followed the long hall down to where you check in.

And this was the room where we were served our meal.

I had the croissant doughnut, and my husband had the open faced bacon and egg sandwich.  Both of the dishes were good, but I was a little scared to eat very much knowing we were about to be riding roller coasters.

After the meal we did head on to some of the rides.  This is what the wait looked like at It’s a Small World. 🙂

Next up was my favorite, The Haunted Mansion.  We rode it several times over the course of this trip.

The architecture around the park is just so pretty.

This was the week after Hurricane Irma had hit Florida forcing Disney to close for 2 days. Tom Sawyer’s Island sustained some damage from the storm.  We could not go on it due to the damage, but we did take a boat ride around it (and yes, you could see trees down all over it.)

We took a break in the afternoon to return to the lodge for lunch, and then we came back to the park for the evening.

Again we rode a few more rides, and then we had dinner at Columbia Harbor House.  One of the main reasons I had wanted to go back to Magic Kingdom for another day was for the fireworks show.  For many years we had watched the Wishes fireworks display, but we had never seen the new one – Happily Ever After.

It was amazing!

I was afraid it would not compare to our sentimental favorite of Wishes, but it even surpassed it.  I highly recommend it!

After the show, we stayed around for one more special performance, and then we headed back to our room.

We had started our day outside the train station, and we finished it there as well.

On every trip we had previously made to Disney, I always left feeling like I did not really get to see everything.  That was not the case this time.  I honestly felt like we saw everything that the Magic Kingdom had to offer…which was a good feeling. 🙂  Part 2 is coming next.  We change our accommodations and go to a different hotel (to be closer to another park) and we ride THE best ride we have EVER ridden in our life!  Hope you will be back for it. 🙂

Until next time…

p.s.  Happy birthday Louvina!

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Kathy - February 14, 2018 - 11:18 am

Great post, Kelly! I am glad you went when it was not so crowded. This brought back great memories. My first trip to Disney World was as a sophomore in high school. Our hs band got to play in the parade and on the steps of the caste. A fellow teacher and I took my kids to Disney for eight straight years for spring break. We closed the park down every single time. It certainly is a magical place. I hope to go again with grandchildren.

Anita - February 12, 2018 - 7:59 pm

Kelly, I am so glad that you posted this – we were at Disney for 10 days in December – family trip kids & grands – we stayed at Wildernesd Lifge and I was wondering what the lobby looked like without the biggest tallest Christmas tree that I have ever seen! Now, I know! We loved staying there – thank you for sharing!

The Lobby had the fragrance of cinnamon sugar cookies – was that just for the holidays? I wondered about that too!

My best,

Ann - February 12, 2018 - 6:12 pm

I love the pictures of the Wilderness Lodge the most! Looks like an amazing trip.

Anne from Atlanta - February 12, 2018 - 6:09 pm

What a fun post! You are always doing the best things! Can’t wait for Part 2.

Linda - February 12, 2018 - 5:45 pm

I’ve only been able to go to Disneyland one time, just a few years ago. Your post makes me want to go again!

Marianne in Mo. - February 12, 2018 - 3:18 pm

I am 64 years old, and have never been to Disney anything. 🙁
I suggested to my kids a few years ago that we should ALL make a family trip there, as I wanted to see it with my grandkids. Most of my family immediately said no, that I wouldn’t last a day there! Even though I told them I would not demand to be with them the whole time, they still said it was not the place for me. Oh well, guess it’s another thing I will never do, with my health not the best these days. Wish we could have afforded it when the girls were young, but that was not possible. Thanks for taking me along on this trip!

Dee - February 12, 2018 - 12:29 pm

I too love Disney World. We went with our daughter and family for a marathon they were running. I love the park. They have a way to make all of us feel like children again. Thank you for sharing your trip with is. It brought back some very good memories. I can hardly wait for your next post.

Louvina - February 12, 2018 - 12:02 pm

Oh, how much fun was that trip! Just like 2 little kids living a fantasy! Doing what you want – when you wanted to!! Love that time of season at WDW! I’ve always wanted to go to Fort Wilderness and stay there or the campground. That was the week we were forced out of our house due to losing our roof to the hurricane and had to stay at Universal Resort – no vacation for us – but was so thankful to have a room and AC! Thank you for sharing your fun time! PS – the last line of the blog – just MADE my day! 💕🤗Omgoodness! Thank you!! 😘

Sandy - February 12, 2018 - 10:55 am

Visited Disneyland in 1973 and 31 years ago our family toured Disney World. Another trip to Disney World is on my Wishlist. Thank you for sharing your trips around the States. Can’t wait to view your “new house.”

Kim - February 12, 2018 - 10:52 am

Love the pictures! What camera do you use?

Patricia - February 12, 2018 - 9:12 am

Your travel posts are so enjoyable to read and such great info ! Have really missed your blog and glad you are back posting again…..looking forward to Disney Part II. !! Thanks so much for a great blog !

Nancy - February 12, 2018 - 8:56 am

The year my husband and I got married (30 years ago!) I got mono shortly after we were married and by early spring I felt like I needed sunshine in order to really recover, so we packed up and went to Disney World for a few days. We didn’t walk ourselves to death because I just didn’t have the strength yet, and we had the BEST trip we’ve ever taken there. Can’t wait to go again with just the two of us now that the kids are grown!

Paula - February 12, 2018 - 7:41 am

Hi Kelly,

What a great trip! My husband worked for the Disney Company for 20 years, so I have managed to be in an almost empty park a few times—it is magical even when it is “where your husband works!” One of my favorite memories is of taking our three little kids (at the time) to MNSSH. Such a fun night! We didn’t stay on property until years later (after we had moved away), and I am so glad we have now done that a few times. Our most recent trip was a couple of years ago, when we took our daughter and a friend for her 16th birthday. My husband and I got to spend a good bit of that trip on our own, with the girls “checking in” thru the day and evening. Now, you’ve got me thinking we need to plan another visit! Can’t wait to read about the rest of your stay!

S u b s c r i b e   b y   E m a i l