A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes… Imagine yourself on a pirate ship set sail across the Caribbean in search of lost treasure, flying over England in search of Neverland, or finding your fairy godmother that turns a pumpkin into a carriage and your pet mice into beautiful white horses. Whichever scenario you choose they all lead you to one place. The pirate ship will dock, you’ll arrive at Neverland, and the pumpkin carriage will arrive at Cinderella’s castle. Pretty soon you will enter a world where fantasies are brought to life, wishes are made, and dreams come true. Believe it or not, this magical place is the place where your dreams start to come to life. It’s a place that teaches you to go after your dreams and goals no matter how hard they are to reach.
My parents took me to Disney for the first time when I was only 18 months old. This was way before the Animal Kingdom was even thought of. Throughout my life, I have probably been to Disney at least 30 times or more. I’m not even kidding you. It’s seriously my favorite place in the world. There is just something about this place. It truly is magical!!!! Y’all should see me when I’m watching Disney movies at home and the beginning starts where they show the castle and train with the fireworks. (You know what I’m talking about) lol. I seriously start jumping up and down like a little kid.
Over the years I have learned the inside and outs of Disney. Everyone at work always comes to me to plan their Disney vacations. They tell me all the time “Ash you need to be a Disney Vacation planner. Honestly, I probably would. I mean how fun would it be to plan family vacations to Disney?! I thought I would share with you all some of my favorite things to do and places to go while you’re at the most magical place on earth… Walt Disney World.
TRANSPORTATION: First things first flight and transportation. When visiting Walt Disney World numerous families will fly into Orlando International Airport (MCO) which is only 18 miles outside of Disney. If you are staying at one of the Disney Resorts, Disney provides you with free transportation to and from the airport on their Disney Magical Express. You will be assigned a bus based on what Disney Resort you are staying at. If you are not planning on renting a car I highly recommend this option. It is extremely easy to navigate and stress-free. While your inside Disney, Disney provides a bus system that will take you anywhere inside Disney property. This is by far the best way to travel and the cheapest seeing you won’t have to pay for parking. It’s super easy to use. Just find the bus and the location you’d like to go to and your off 🙂 There is also the Disney Monorail system. This one is my favorite and you get some of the most amazing views of the Magic Kingdom and Seven Seas Lagoon. Especially at night!! The monorail runs between Epcot, Magic Kingdom, and the Transportation Center. It also stops at three of Walt Disney Deluxe Resorts along the way (Grand Floridian, Contemporary, and Disney Polynesian). Another fun way for transportation is Disney Minnie Vans and y’all are the cutest thing ever. Some Disney resorts also provide water transportation to and from the parks. All Aboard!! My family and I have used the boats a few times. There is usually a shorter line for the boats when traveling back after the park closes. Disney also just came out with new transportation called Disney Skyliner which drops guests off at 4 Disney resorts (Disney Riviera, Pop Century, Disney Art of Animation, and Disney Caribbean Beach). The Skyliner is an aerial gondola ride, which conveniently connects Disney’s Hollywood Studios and the International Gateway at Epcot to the 4 Disney resorts listed above.
DISNEY RESORTS: Disney offers many resorts depending on how much you want to spend or if you are traveling with large families. They group them by Value, Moderate, Deluxe, or Villa Resorts. Over the years I have stayed at many of Disney’s resorts and y’all they are all amazing. You seriously can’t go wrong. I thought I would list out my favorites below and tell you a little bit about them.
Disney Animal Kingdom Lodge: Disney’s Animal Kingdom makes you feel like you are stepping into the heart of Africa. With 4 lush savannahs and over 200 animals, this resort has the most spectacular views. The guest that stay here can enjoy a special Wanyama Safari and Dinner for up-close animal encounters followed by a delectable, multi-course feast. Animal Kingdom Lodge offers African-inspired specialties and classic American favorites for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. On the property, you will encounter many animals. You can also enjoy sitting outside around a campfire. Each room is spacious and if you are traveling with little ones you can also book a room with bunk beds. They also offer villa options for those traveling with larger groups.
Disney Polynesian Resort: Step into the world of Aloha. This tropical resort offering an oasis of tropical palms and lush vegetation makes you feel like you are in the heart of Hawaii. This resort offers world-class restaurants and you can even enjoy a family-style luau at the Disney Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show. Not only does this resort make you feel like you are in paradise but you have some of the best views to see the fireworks from Cinderella’s castle. Disney Polynesian is 1 of 4 resorts that connect to the Disney Monorail system. This makes getting to the parks extremely convenient. If you are looking for more room this resort also offers these amazing villas which are just breathtaking. Check out Disney Polynesian Villas & Bungalows for more information.
Disney Wilderness Lodge: Escape to the rustic majesty of America’s Great Northwest. Inspired by America’s great outdoors this resort offers it all. From nature trails through pine forests to rocking chairs that overlook a spectacular waterfall to the beautiful stone fireplace inside the lodge. This is one of my favorite resorts on Disney’s property and we have stayed here a handful of times. Not only does this resort have breathtaking views but you can get to the Magic Kingdom by boat. This makes it easy to get to and from the park. This resort just came out with cabins on the water for those traveling with families and y’all they are AMAZING. I would love to stay in them one day. I can’t even begin to describe how beautiful they are. They seriously make you feel like you are staying somewhere out in the wilderness. For more information check out Cooper Creek Villas at Disney Wilderness Lodge.
Disney Port Orleans Riverside Disney Port Orleans Riverside is one of Disney Moderate Resorts. This resort makes you feel like you are in the heart of Louisiana. Princess & the Frog anyone?! Delighted with a picturesque setting that evokes the romance of rural Louisiana or you can take a stroll along the Sassagoula River to Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter.
THINGS TO DO: There is so much to at Walt Disney World whether it’s touring, dinner shows, outdoor activities, or horseback riding. No matter what age you are there is something for everyone 🙂 DID YOU KNOW? If you plan your trip just right you can see the parks decorated for Fall & Christmas all within the same week?? I’ve been wanting to do this for the longest time and we finally did. It was so cool. I still can’t believe they transform the park in one night from fall to Christmas!! How amazing is that? I went ahead and listed some of my favorite things to do at Walt Disney World. I hope you enjoy it 🙂
Fall Into The Magic Of Walt Disney World – Autumn at the most magical place on earth!! Join Mickey & Friends for Halloween at Walt Disney World where you can eat spooktacular food and Trick-or-Treat around the park with your favorite Characters. One thing I love about fall at Walt Disney is the International Food & Wine Festival at Epcot. Y’all the food is AMAZING and you can taste food around the world at Epcot in all 11 countries.
Here Comes Mickey & Santa Too – I don’t know about you but I absolutely love Christmas Time. It’s such a special time to spend with friends and family to be thankful and blessed for what you have. Spending the holidays at Walt Disney is so magical. The whole resort is decorated and is absolutely stunning. Little ones can enjoy Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party offering Savor delicious yuletide sweets, Minnie’s wonderful Christmastime fireworks, and of course who doesn’t want to see SANTA!!
TOURS: A few years ago I surprised my mom with a special trip to Disney for Mother’s Day. We had a blast just the two of us running around the parks and going on tours we have never done before. One of my favorite things we did on this trip was going on the Wild African Trek which is a tour at the Disney Animal Kingdom where you get close encounters with exotic African wildlife. During your tour, you will get to walk along a grassland path, cross a rope bridge with alligators below, and ride on a safari vehicle over an open savannah. Not only do you get to learn about all the amazing animals on this tour but at the very end, they give you a special code that you can use to access and download images taken during your Wild Africa Trek experience. During your tour, you will stop and enjoy some first-class, African-inspired snacks while looking at the animals over the savannah. They offer different options depending on what time of day you take the tour.
- Air-dried beef and prosciutto
- Smoked salmon roulade with dill
- Fig cake with Boursin cheese
- Brie cheese and apricot
- Berry yogurt and dried cranberries
- Fresh fruit marinated in mint and ginger
- Chicken curry salad
- Sun-dried tomato hummus and mini pita
- Marinated tandoori shrimp
- Smoked salmon roulade with dill
- Air-dried beef and prosciutto
- Fresh fruit marinated in mint and ginger
For more information on things to do at Walt Disney World please visit their Tours & Events.
DISNEY SPRINGS: Many of you may remember this area as Downtown Disney and boy has this place changed over the last few years. Not only has this place had a huge makeover but they also made parking a breeze since the last time I was here. Disney Springs is home to a collection of shops and award-winning restaurants in an outdoor setting.
PARKS & TICKETS: Now let’s get down to the fun part. Many people ask me all the time what kind of ticket package they should do. First things first. One thing I highly recommend is getting the Disney Hopper Pass option with your tickets. It cost more but I promise you it’s worth every penny. This allows you to visit multiple theme parks on the same day and comes in handy especially if you are traveling with little ones. My family has been doing this ever since they came out with this option. One thing I love most about this option is if you are traveling with little ones this allows you to head back to the hotel for a few hours to take a nap, relax, and enjoy the pool and be able to come back to the park later on in the evening. I highly recommend checking with your work to see if they offer employee perks. This will help save you money. The company where my mom and I both work offer us amazing discounts on theme parks and Disney is one of them. Last time we went to Disney as a family we were able to buy a 3-day pass and get two days free which was amazing. If your work does not offer this option keep checking Disney special offers. They are always running amazing deals for families. Another way to save money is to visit Disney during their low seasons. This will also help with the lines not being as long. Disney also came out with a special option called Disney After Hours where you can purchase a special events ticket and enter the parks later for 3 hours. They only offer a limited number of these tickets which helps the lines not be as long. I highly recommend this option if there are rides you want to experience without waiting in the long lines.
MAGIC KINGDOM: The Magic Kingdom is home to Cinderella’s Castle. This is one of my favorite parks. Actually, who are we kidding I love them all but this one holds a special place in my heart. Not only does this park have many amazing rides but it’s home to the best fireworks in the world. I’m not even kidding you. Every time the fireworks started I cry lol I know, I know it sounds cheesy but I think it’s because this park is full of so much magic. This is the park where it all began, the park that taught me to go after my goals, and the place that taught me anything is possible if you believe. The Magic Kingdom is made up of 4 different lands (Tomorrow Land, Adventureland, Fantasyland, and Frontierland). Some of my favorite rides at the Magic Kingdom are the Haunted Mansion, Seven Dwarfs Mine Ride, Pirates of the Caribbean, Big Thunder Mountain, The Hall Of Presidents, and Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress. While you’re here don’t forget to stop and get yourself a delicious treat at Aloha Isle. 🙂
EPCOT: Disney Epcot is like no other place on Earth. It is here where you can travel around the globe to 11 countries (Norway, Mexico, Canada, Italy, Japan, China, Germany, United States, Morocco, France, and the United Kingdom) all in one place. Each country offers amazing food and shops where you can pick up one-of-a-kind treasures. Epcot is home to the International Food & Wine Festival and the International Flower & Garden Festival. Some of my favorite things to do at Epcot are Frozen Ever After, Living With The Land, Test Track, Soaring, and Sea Base.
HOLLYWOOD STUDIOS: Hollywood Studios has done a complete makeover since I was a kid and is now the home to the new favorite Toy Story Land. It literally feels like you stepped into the movie with Buzz, Woody, Jessie, Bullseye, Slinky, and all your childhood friends. It is here where you can watch some amazing shows and join in on some sing-alongs. AND did I mention they have an amazing firework show?
ANIMAL KINGDOM: I saved one of the best for last. If you know me you know I have unconditional love for animals. I love learning about them, helping them, and watching them. There is so much you can learn. Disney Animal Kingdom is like one big giant zoo and may I add the best zoo in the world. They take the word “zoo” to a whole other level. I can’t even begin to describe how amazing this place is. It’s like nothing I have ever seen before and there is so much to do. The Animal Kingdom is not only home to some amazing animals but recently just opened up a new attraction called ” The World of Avatar”. Some of my favorite things to do inside the Animal Kingdom are Dinosaur, Expedition Everest, It’s Tough To Be A Bug, Kilimanjaro Safari, and the Festival of the Lion King.
I have been to Disney many times in my life and each time I go back it’s a whole new experience. One thing I know is Walt Disney World will never be finished. They will keep adding and improving and each experience to the most magical place on earth will be better than the last. No matter how old you are there is something here for everyone. I can’t wait to be able to experience Disney with my future children. I will seriously be the mom waking her kids up a four in the morning and surprise them with a trip to Disney. This MAGICAL place has taught me so much growing up and it’s something I hope to pass down to my children. Remember the story I told you in the beginning about that fairytale place where fantasies were brought to life? Well, this is where it all started. Since the first time I went to Disney, I have been a girl following her goals no matter how hard they may seem. I encourage you all to go after your goals and dig deep into your inner Disney. Remember what Walt Disney said, “it’s kind of fun to do the impossible”. I hope this helps you plan your next Disney trip. Should you have any questions I am happy to help 🙂