Disney Is My Love Language

Seriously, though. If it’s possible, the title of this post is true…and I’m not too embarrassed about it.

Well, maybe a little…but that’s okay.

 

If you read my previous post, you know that my husband and I recently celebrated 10 years of marriage. I keep telling him it’s been the best 10 years of his life and “you’re welcome!” LOL! All kidding aside, it really has been a great decade of learning and growing together – if you want to read more about that, you can find that post here.

A little back story: We celebrated our first anniversary at Disney World. I had made the comment (aka: dropped the hint) that I wanted to go to Disney together before we had kids. We married on Valentine’s Day of 2009, found out I was pregnant with our first, sweet baby girl in early December, and he surprised me with an anniversary trip to Disney World on Christmas day. It truly was a surprise – he had bought the tickets and booked the hotel all on his own – and I was just thankful that the only gift my husband was giving me on our first Christmas together wasn’t the handheld video camera I had opened that morning!(Because if your true love language is Gifts, you know how important that little detail is!)

We had planned to celebrate our 10th anniversary by going all-out one weekend in early March…attending a Braves Spring Training game at Disney’s Wide World of Sports, doing the Keys to the Kingdom Tour at Magic Kingdom, and hitting Hollywood Studios for their After Hours event. As that week played out, 2 of our 3 kids were sick and we cancelled our plans. We rescheduled our weekend away for March 22 -24th. Better late than never, right?

 

FRIDAY | Travel Day

We’re pretty lucky that we live only about 4 to 4.5 hours from The Most Magical Place On Earth, so if we leave at breakfast, we’re eating lunch with the Mouse. We got a much later start than I prefer this time though, which put us getting to our hotel around 11pm. With Friday out of the picture for adventuring, we decided we’d get an earlier start to make the most of our only full day in the parks!

 

SATURDAYMorning : Epcot, Flower & Garden Festival


First things first: I hated Epcot as a kid. I always thought it was boring and too much walking and not enough “fun stuff”. As an adult, though, I love it! It’s probably one of my favorites – especially when I’m kid-free and can walk around and really look at and take in all the details of each country in the World Showcase. This was the first time (that I can really remember) being at Epcot during the Flower & Garden Festival and as cheesy as it sounds, it was magical.

We arrived in time to get in the area just in front of Spaceship Earth (that iconic, silver “golf ball” as my daughter calls it) and waited with a few hundred other eager families for the ropes to drop so we could book it to either Soarin’ or Test Track – the two most popular rides at the front of the park. The cast members gave the all-clear and it’s all you can do to not get your toes smushed by double strollers or the random teen checking their cell phone instead of watching where their feet are going! Jared smirked as he made the comment “Why don’t you walk this fast when we’re getting groceries?” Such a funny guy, that one!

We made it to Test Track (we had fast passes for Soarin’ later) only to find a cast member announcing the ride would have a delayed opening due to “technical difficulties.” Boo. Instead of taking our chances and waiting in line for who-knows-how-long, we walked across the hub to The Seas with Nemo and Friends. Rode the ride, browsed the aquarium – which wasn’t busy at all yet – and then headed to Journey Into Imagination with Figment simply because the wait was 5 minutes. Those two aren’t too shabby, but let’s just say they ARE rides my kids put a high priority on riding.

From there, we walked around and looked at some of the topiaries that make the Flower & Garden Festival so popular. We found Figment, Mater & Lightning McQueen, and a couple of penguins made from trash pulled from the ocean!

We found a butterfly tent and walked through, but one of the cast members noted that it was still a little chilly for the butterflies to be moving about just yet. While walking through the tent, my fellow Disney fanatic friend informed me Test Track was open and the line was something like 30-40 minutes, so we booked it across the hub and to the ride. I think we waited around 35-ish minutes, but the que is pretty interactive and helps make the wait seem less, well, boring. I think this is one of Jared’s favorite rides, so I’m glad we were able to make it!

After Test Track, we found some more topiaries – Woody, Buzz, Bo Peep, and her sheep! They’re hidden on the back side near Test Track with a cute play area for kids…complete with the Barrel of Monkeys monkeys hanging in the trees! We then walked BACK across the hub to ride Living With the Land. Even if I didn’t have a farmer hubby, this calm boat ride has always been interesting to me! I love seeing the hydroponics and aquaculture that they use to grow much of the veggies and fruit that they serve at some of the Epcot restaurants! There’s even a section of edible flowers on display…beautiful and fascinating, I’m not sure I’d eat a flower. At least, not on purpose.

After these rides, we had a little over an hour until our fast pass for Soarin’, so we decided to grab some lunch. When we visited on our first anniversary, we ate at San Angel in the Mexico Pavilion, so we decided to walk over and see what the wait time was looking like. (On our way, we made a quick stop at Port of Entry so I could grab my Annual Passholder magnet. This one has Pluto with a botanical background and it’s basically the cutest thing ever.) We also spotted Donald Duck, Huey, Dewey, and Louie topiaries on our way over to Mexico! I also spotted Mickey and Minnie, but didn’t get a pic of them! Right as we got in to Mexico, we found the Three Caballeros topiaries, too!

 

 

SATURDAYLunch at San Angel, Soarin’, and World Showcase

As we walked in to the pavilion, I wasn’t certain we’d get a table…the place was packed! The Disney magic prevailed, though, and we walked right in, grabbed a table for 2 and ordered more than we’d ever eat. We could’ve split a meal, easily, but we always seem to forget that! So after we stuffed our faces with chips, fresh salsa, and some of the best Mexican cuisine I’ve eaten in the south, we waddled our way out of the Mexico pavilion and over to cash in our fast pass at Soarin’.

The Annual Passholder group I’m in on Facebook has debated whether the “old” Soarin’ or “new” Soarin’ is the best, and I’ll have to say I’m partial to the new one. I’m not a fan of heights, but I LOVE this ride! I love how you smell the different scents as you “fly” over different areas across the globe – it’s such an incredible experience! (It’s also an easy ride to do right after you’ve eaten a big lunch!)

From there, we headed to World Showcase to stroll. I always prefer to start to the right, in Canada, and go counter clockwise. Not sure why, but it’s what I do! If you’re traveling with kids and still want to stop and see each country, I highly suggest the Kidcot experience, where your munchkin gets a “passport”. Each country has a Kidcot station with an activity (usually a coloring page-type thing) for them to complete to get their passport stamped. They’re engaged, entertained, and doing things and you get to see each country with minimal whining…I call it a win!

Long story short, we strolled the World Showcase, found some super cute topiaries, made a pit stop by the gift shop, and decided to take a nap break before going to Hollywood Studios for After Hours at 7pm. It was every bit of 80 degrees and we were worn out from the heat and walking. Don’t underestimate the reviving power of a good nap in a cold hotel room, friend! Especially at Disney World. During Spring Break Week. Did I mention it was 80? Just checking.

Here’s some more topiaries from around the World:

 

SATURDAY PM: After Hours (Special Ticketed Event) at Hollywood Studios

Y’all. If you ever have the opportunity to go to After Hours at the parks, DO IT. The tickets get you in the park about an hour before closing, then you get a full 3-4 hours in the park after hours. My friend, Lacey, and I did AH at Magic Kingdom last June and it blew. our. minds. I think we rode, like 12-14 things in a matter of about 3.5-4 hours. There are a limited number of tickets sold, there are very few little kids, and it includes a variety of select snacks and drinks. Did I mention the cost for the special event ticket is comparable to a day ticket? Yup. And if you’re only attending AH, you don’t need a separate park admission ticket in addition to your event ticket. SCORE!

So – back to this trip. We decided to do AH at Hollywood Studios and I’m so glad we did! We ultimately spent about 4 hours in the park total and here’s what all we did:

  • ate at the ABC Commissary – a quick service dining place. Jared had the Southwest BBQ Burger and I had the Mediterranean Salad. Delish!
  • Rode Star Tours
  • Rode Tower of Terror
  • Rode Rockin’ Rollercoaster
  • Rode Slinky Dog Dash (2x)
  • Rode Alien Swirling Saucers
  • Rode Toy Story Mania (2x)
  • Grabbed some free drinks

By this point, we were pooped from a full day and we’d ridden everything we wanted. It was about 11pm when we got back to the car and we were wiped! I wish I hadn’t eaten that salad because I’m a snacker and I would’ve much rather just grabbed the free popcorn and ice cream bars included in our event ticket in between rides…but we had a blast and it all worked out!

My only pics from AH:

 

SUNDAY: Magic Kingdom

Note to self: Never go to Disney during Spring Break unless you absolutely have ZERO other options.

Another note to self: Never go to Disney without kids the first weekend of Spring Break unless your trip was supposed to be two weeks ago and you just really have no choice.

Now that that’s settled, we decided to head to Magic Kingdom to wind up our trip. We park, go through bag check, and walk to the TTC (Transportation and Ticket Center) to find a MASSIVE crowd of people waiting for the monorail to the parks and the ferry boat to MK. I may or may not have immediately texted my Disney pal, Lacey, and said “We’re not even in the park and I’m already over it.” LOL! I’ll admit – I’m a brat…but when you’ve experienced “slow” days with lower attendance or events like After Hours where you literally are in, on, and out of a ride in about 5-8 minutes, it’s hard to deal with shoulder-to-shoulder people, y’all!

Long story short, we ultimately hopped on the monorail to the resorts and made it to the park entrance. It probably took a little longer, but we weren’t as crowded in the monorail as we would’ve been, so it played out well, in my opinion. This was the first time I immediately went to the top of the train station to snap a pic down Main Street. It was worth it! There was maybe one other person up there, we got to take in the view, and snap a selfie before heading off to find something to ride!

Since we planned this trip last minute, we didn’t score any good fast passes pre-trip. The only ones we got were Little Mermaid, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Buzz Lightyear, so we knew if we wanted to ride anything, there were some waits in our future. We’re nerds, so after finding Lady & Tramp’s paw prints by Tony’s in the Town Square, we went to Hall of Presidents to see the updates since the last time we visited. I always leave that presentation with a new pride and excitement about our country and the men who lead it. I may not agree with everything, but what a blessing to live in a country where our voice matters, right? From there, we rode Little Mermaid, the Tea Cups, and decided to wait in line for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. Jared had never ridden it, and the hour and a half wait went by fairly quickly. It was so worth the wait to look over and see him smiling while we rode it!

We had a little time before our Buzz fast pass was usable, so we swung by the Plaza Ice Cream Parlor for a sweet treat. Jared got a brownie sundae and I couldn’t decide between a Raspberry sorbet or Mint Chocolate Chip cone…the ultimate deciding factor was the fact that the MCC came complete with mini chocolate Mickey ears. SOLD! (It was delicious, by the way!) You can see my cute ice cream over on this Insta post!

We headed over to use our Buzz Lightyear fast passes and I’ll be darned if that joker husband of mine didn’t swirl that car so fast my favorite sunglasses flipped right off my head at the beginning of the ride! I was bitter, he we determined to beat me still, and we both laughed about it later as I used every opportunity to talk about how bright the sun was and how it must be so nice to have sunglasses to wear to keep the sun out of his eyes…hehe. Alas, he DID beat me at Buzz, but only because he cheated, y’all.

After the Buzz-tastrophe, we walked over to the Tomorrowland Power & Light Company to get the one souvenir I was determined not to leave without: a Walk Around the World Commemorative Brick! If you’ve ever been to the Magic Kingdom, you’ve no doubt seen the bricks around the front gate. I remember when they were selling them back when I was a kid and thought it was so cool that a family or couple could literally have their memory AT Disney World! They’re removing those bricks soon and the people who purchased one can get a replica one, but that also means any ol’ anybody can snag one, too! We got one to celebrate our 10th Anniversary and I love it so much! You choose your icon, choose your wording, and can add a date to the bottom – and it’s printed right there! We went with the 6″ size (there’s an 8″ size, as well).

 

After getting my ultimate souvenir, we headed out of the park and made a pit stop at Disney Springs. I quite literally left Jared in the car to nap, went to World of Disney, grabbed the exclusive Dapper Yellow jersey, a Mickey silicone ice cube tray, and an Alex and Ani bracelet. Got back to the car, fueled up, and hit the road to head back home. We made it in by 10:30pm Sunday night and can’t tell you how many times we audibly thanked the good Lord that we weren’t in the bumper-to-bumper southbound traffic.

Even though our trip didn’t play out the way we had it planned two weeks prior, we had a blast! Celebrating your first and tenth anniversary at The Most Magical Place on Earth isn’t a bad way to do it, friend. The only thing I love more than sneaking down to the World is the guy I got to sneak down there with this weekend.

 

So I want to know – have you checked out any of the After Hours events? What did you think? Obviously, I’m sold – but tell me what your favorite Disney park is! Have you celebrated an anniversary at WDW? Leave a comment and share your memories with me!

 

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