Filed under: Hidden Orlando,Just For Fun,Leisure,Theme Parks,Vacation Tips |

This is why you need a 2 week stay and why a vacation home makes the most sense

Operation Disney World

Can you do the theme park mecca of the world in less than a week? One intrepid travel journalist finds out.


I’ve been a Disney fan for as long as I can remember. My room was decorated with giant Disney character decals when I was growing up, I never missed their iconic movies when they hit theatres, and after visiting Disneyland for the first time, I vowed I would live there. 27 years have passed since that vow was made, and although I don’t live in Sleeping Beauty’s castle as I’d once hoped, living in Los Angeles is close enough.

But one issue remained: despite all my Disney conditioning I still hadn’t been to the granddaddy of Disney theme parks, Disneyworld in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. With four theme parks, two water parks, a huge downtown shopping area and tons of hotels covering an area the size of San Francisco, I knew it wasn’t going to be a quick afternoon visit… but I only had five days to accomplish everything that I wanted to do. It was going to be a challenge considering I was going during high season, but anything is possible with a little pixie dust. Or sugar and caffeine. Whichever.
Day Zero: Arrival
My flight from Los Angeles to Orlando was quick and painless, highlighted by the airing of High School Musical 2. But the real joy began as soon as I got off the plane and met up with a representative at Disney’s Magical Express. Rather than drop a grip on a cab to get me to my hotel, I signed up to take Disneyworld’s efficient bus system from the airport to check in at Fort Wilderness Lodge. I checked in at the counter and gave them my departure information to make a reservation for when I was ready to leave, hopped on the bus, and rode comfortably as it dropped off at three other hotels before letting me off at mine.
A word about my first hotel: awesome. Another word? Big bang for little buck (okay, so that’s more than one word.) Fort Wilderness is actually one of the original hotel sites from when Disneyworld first opened, though back then it was just a campground. Now it’s a combination camp ground and hotel, featuring one-bedroom cabins with fully functioning kitchens and a great-sized living room. It’s perfect for a family of three, four or more to share. After tearing into a gift basket of s’mores fixings – something you can arrange when you make your reservation – my friend Danica arrived and we walked down the street to dine at the Hoop De Doo Review, a hoe-down style dinner theatre featuring a talented group of entertainers singing and dancing to down-home favorites the whole family can enjoy as they nosh on buckets of fried chicken and delicious ribs. With full bellies we retired for the evening to get some rest. Tomorrow was going to be a big day!
Rides ridden: 0
Sore Foot-o-Meter (on a scale of 1 to 10): 0
Sheer Childish Glee (on a scale of 1 to 10): 7.5
Day One: The Magic Kingdom
Because I’d made arrangements to have breakfast at the Crystal Palace with Winnie the Pooh and friends, I dragged Danica out the door by 7:30am to take the boat launch across the lake to the Magic Kingdom. We decided to run for the bus instead, which got us there right on time for a fabulous buffet complete with face time with our favorite characters from the Hundred Acre Woods (mine is Tigger, in case you were wondering.) And then it was time to comb the park! We started through Adventureland, riding Aladdin’s Magic Carpets and Pirates of the Caribbean, following it up with the classic log ride Splash Mountain, rollercoaster Big Thunder Mountain, the Haunted Mansion, a tour through Fantasyland, and finally, Tomorrowland, where I gleefully jumped aboard the Tomorrowland Transit Authority (formerly known as the Peoplemover.) And while the crowds were pretty thick, Danica and I were able to do a lot of major rides before we left the park for dinner.
Taking an about-face from the Hoop De Doo, we decided to have dinner at the California Grill atop the Contemporary Hotel, which is accessible by Monorail. There, we noshed on Asian-influenced California cuisine and delicious wine as we waited for the fireworks to start. The Grill has an outdoor walkway area that broadcasts the music for the show so that you can get a bird’s eye view of all the action without missing the magic of the music. It was a stunning display of light and sound, and no less beautiful from afar. Once they were finished, we returned to the park to get our Extra Magic Hours wristbands that would give us access to the park for three hours after it closed, just because we were staying at an on-site hotel. During that time we were able to get on all the things that were backed up all day: the brand new Monster’s Inc Laugh Floor, the Fantasyland favorite dark ride Peter Pan’s Flight, the interactive Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin… and It’s A Small World for the 187th time (it was Danica’s choice, not mine!) Though I wanted to do a full 18 hours at the Magic Kingdom, I conceded defeat when we hit 17. With sore feet and an incredible amount of exhaustion, we collapsed in our cabin and decided we’d have to sleep in if we were going to have any energy for the next day.
Rides ridden and shows seen: 22
Sore Foot-o-Meter: 10
Sheer Childish Glee: 11
Day Two: Disney Hollywood Studios
I opened my eye to look at the clock, which read 10:02am. Part of me was sad that we’d missed being at Hollywood Studios right when they opened, but I also knew we had Extra Magic Hours for three hours after park closing, so I needed my energy. Our first stop on day two? The Sci-Fi Dine-In Restaurant, a tribute to drive-in movie theatres of the past that allows you to order salads, burgers and fries from the comfort of your classic Cadillac as you watch B-movie clips on a big screen. It was the perfect way to regain energy for the day ahead.
Fastpasses were already gone for Rockin’ Rollercoaster and Tower of Terror, so instead Danica and I took a tour through the park to get the lay of the land. Walking back down Sunset Boulevard past all the shops and eateries, we crossed over the hub to Commissary Lane, which led us to Jedi Academy right next to Star Tours (which Danica rode and loved, being a Star Wars nerd.) We followed the path to Muppets 3-D, then wandered back up to the main hub area where we got on the Great Movie Ride, which brings classic scenes of your favorite movies to life with audio anamatronics. It was a fantastic experience. But soon it was time for us to take our VIP seats at the Hollywood Theatre to see Fantasmic, an amazing fireworks, animation and live theatre-type show that must be seen to be believed. We followed that up with reservations at the Brown Derby, where we had their famous Cobb Salad and Ahi Tuna – yum!
Finally, it was time for Extra Magic Hours. I leapt into line for Rockin’ Roller Coaster – Fastpasses for after hours were already gone – and I waited. And waited. And finally I got on… only to have the ride stop for safety reasons. Drat! Though it was neat to see the coaster with the lights on (the whole thing takes place in the dark with a rock n’ roll soundtrack by Aerosmith), I wanted the full effect. And with Tower of Terror’s lines stretching long into the night – not to mention, my feet still hurt from Day One – I vowed to ride both on the last day before we split.
Rides ridden and shows seen: 9
Sore Foot-o-Meter: 8
Sheer Childish Glee: 9
Day Three: Epcot
Before we started our third theme park, we switched hotels so we could try another on-site experience, this time in Animal Kingdom Lodge. Our room overlooked a wildlife area that boasted oxen, ostriches and giraffes, all within photographic reach from our balcony. The breakfast buffet at Boma was the perfect way to start the day, featuring American classics alongside some African breakfast favorites.
Magic Hours for Epcot took place before park opening instead of after park closing, so Danica and I immediately rode Soarin’ – a cool hang gliding simulation ride that originated at sister park Disney’s California Adventure – before Fastpassing Test Track. As we waited for our time to come up, we checked out The Seas with Nemo and Friends, riding the ride inspired by the movie and partaking in a session of Turtle Talk with Crush (you’ll definitely want to take the little ones to Turtle Talk, dude!) We bounced around Futureworld for the first few hours in the morning until World Showcase opened, at which point we shifted our focus to wandering from country to country, sampling authentic foods and buying goodies. The highlight of our dining experience came with the newly opened Teppan Edo in Japan, which granted us the opportunity to see our steak and seafood cooked to perfection right in front of us. It was all we could do to roll ourselves out of there in order to check out Italy and China, followed by the Malestrom boat ride in Norway.
By then it was Danica’s moment of truth – riding Mission: Space. I’ll admit it – I was too chicken to go. Speed me all over the place on Test Track or lift me 40 feet off the ground on Soarin’ and I’m fine, but motion simulators and I just don’t agree. So I sat outside and enjoyed the evening while Danica road the milder version of the ride and deemed it “awesome.” Once again facing exhaustion, we departed for our new home at Animal Kingdom Lodge and ordered incredible room service before falling asleep. I was disappointed that I had to miss Epcot’s fireworks show – IllumiNations, which is reportedly incredible – but I was nearly dead on my feet.
Rides ridden and shows seen: 10
Sore Foot-o-Meter: 6
Sheer Childish Glee: 8
Day Four: Animal Kingdom
It was the moment I’d been waiting for since spring of 2006. That’s when Expedition Everest first opened at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and ever since I’d been chomping at the bit to get to the East coast so I could hop aboard. Naturally it was the first ride Danica and I did that day, and though the standby line was long, it was well worth the wait. We were seated in last row – which, for me, was a much more intense experience than first – and though I had to endure Danica’s shrill cries of terror directly in my ear, Everest turned out to be everything I hoped it would. Knowing the Kilimanjaro Safaris would shut down by dusk, we immediately hightailed it to the other end of the park. The safari was beautiful and informative, giving us an up close and personal view of hippos, crocodiles, elephants, emus, lions and giraffes, among many other. Our guide was both entertaining and knowledgeable, and had we not had so many other things to do that day, we probably would’ve taken a second trip.
Having only had a quick and light breakfast at the Rainforest Café at the entrance to the park, Danica and I opted to lunch at the newly opened Yak and Yeti, right next to Everest (the duck with steamed veggies was incredibly good!) And then it was off to Dinoland U.S.A., where we rode Dinosaur – a thrilling chase though a primeval world in search of dinosaurs – and followed up with a spin on Primeval Whirl (cue Danica’s shrill cries again!) Dinoland had tons of stuff for kids to do, offering a great mix of attractions and games. But seeing as we were no longer six years-old (well, kinda…), Danica and I moved on to check out the nature trails around the Tree of Life – the icon of the park – and settled in for a viewing of It’s Tough To Be A Bug, the 3D show featuring characters from Pixar’s A Bug’s Life. We were going to try and catch Finding Nemo: The Musical, but we weren’t able to squeeze it in before our evening plans. A word to the wise – this show is incredibly well done, and incredibly popular. Make sure you get in line early. Thankfully it has several showings throughout the day!
We left the park early in the afternoon to do a quick shopping tour of Downtown Disney, which is – in a word – huge. Massively huge. Colossally huge. Danica loaded up on gifts for her son at Once Upon a Toy and World of Disney, while I inhaled the delicious scents of Basin. We didn’t have tons of time, though, as we had tickets to catch the inventive and beautiful Cirque Du Soleil performance of La Nouba, a performance created specifically for the Disneyworld Resort. The show was simply fabulous, featuring so much action you almost didn’t know where to look next! And it’s one the whole family can enjoy, too. Following the show, we skipped back over to Epcot for dinner at the Coral Reef where we dined next to a giant aquarium teeming with fish, sharks and spotted eagle rays as we noshed on – what else? – seafood. It almost made up for missing Finding Nemo: The Musical, making the perfect ending to the perfect day.
Rides ridden and shows seen: 9
Sore Foot-o-Meter: 7
Sheer Childish Glee: 9.5
Day Five: All four parks.
Having gotten our notice from Disney’s Magic Express the day before departure, Danica and I knew we had to meet our bus back to the airport by 4pm. That meant we had a scant seven hours to cram in as many things as we possibly could before departure. Lucky for us the Magic Kingdom had morning Magic Hours, so we took off for early entry at the crack of dawn. But before we left, we checked our luggage right at the concierge desk and got our boarding passes so we didn’t have to worry about it at the airport. It’s just another one of those Disney touches that make a vacation that much easier to navigate.
And we were off! First, the Magic Kingdom, where we leapt aboard the Disneyland Railroad for a farewell ride around the park before hitting stores in Fantasyland for more souvenir gifts for family and friends. Then we hopped on the Monorail to have lunch at the Kona Café in the Polynesian Resort. The Hawaiian-influenced menu offered the perfect mix of lunchables with salads, sandwiches and entrees boasting an Island flare. Then it was back on the Monorail to Epcot, where we ducked inside the Mexico pavilion to ride the Grand Fiesta Tour boat ride. Next, a quick bus ride over to Hollywood Studios, where I Fastpassed Tower of Terror and did Rockin’ Rollercoaster while I “waited.” Rockin’ Rollercoaster was easily one of the best roller coasters I’d ever been on, and Terror’s fifth dimension room was as awesome as I’d heard it described. But there was no time for repeat ridings, ‘cause we had to bus it over to Animal Kingdom again for one more riding of Expedition Everest and a bit of a walkabout through the animal trails, like the Maharajah Jungle Trek. We made it back to the hotel with moments to spare, hopped aboard the Magical Express, and waved a fond farewell to the resort as we ventured back to the airport. Whew!
Rides ridden and shows seen: 6
Sore Foot-o-Meter: 12
Sheer Childish Glee: 50
Although I was impressed with how much we accomplished in five days at Disneyworld, it’s not a schedule I’d want to repeat. I was almost done for after the first day! If I had to do it all over again – which, actually, I’d like to – I’d take at least a week to see everything, if not more. Those two extra days would’ve made a world of difference – especially for some much needed down time. That said, the experience was no less magical, wondrous or fun. I may be an adult, but Disney magic will have a hold on my inner child until the day I die.

vodafone tl yükleme kontör yükleme hamile giyim turkcell fatura alanya escort işbankası kredi kartı borç sorgulama elektrik faturası ödeme turkcell tl yükleme tl yükleme hgs yükleme pvp serverler site ekle r57 shell indir antalya escort yapı kredi borç sorgulama finansbank borç sorgulama akbank borç sorgulama ogs yükleme enerjisa fatura ödeme clk akdeniz fatura ödeme