I realize it has been a while since my last travel post. A tragic family loss last spring has set a blue mood around most of our travel this year, and left me not feeling much like sharing with the world. But part of travel is about escaping everyday life and renewing the spirit. And that is exactly what GB, SB, and I tried to do with our end of summer trip to Disney this year. So I am kicking off the fall season with a post about the “Happiest Place on Earth”.
Every 3 years or so we somehow manage to roll into Disney World. Conveniently located between the two sets of in-laws does makes it a convenient stop. SB does not realize how lucky she is to have such easy access to the worlds, “happiest place on earth”. This year SB decided to trade in her summer birthday party for a couple of days at a Disney Resort. As you can guess we had one very excited kid. And a very excited Mom and Dad too.
Our first day at Disney World was spent exploring the southern style Port Orleans Resort. We were happy to find out our Royal Guest Room was located in one of the grand white buildings that line the Magnolia Bend river. SB fell in love with our Princess Tiana themed room that was full of every princess detail anyone could dream of. As soon as we opened the door, she was greeted by a wall of Disney Princess photos, and digital firework displays over the beds. It was completely Disney magical.
The Sassagoula Steamboat Waterfront, and SB on the Ol’ Man Island pool ‘s 95 foot water slide at Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside Resort.
After checking in to our room, it was time to take a walk and explore the main waterfront area of our resort. We had read online that the walk to the main resort building is a long one, but we did not find it to be that bad and the landscape along the way was beautiful. We are city folk, and use to walking to get around town. But we did decide August in Florida is too hot for renting bikes or sitting around the fishing hole. Lucky for us the Sassagoula Steamboat building offered a relaxing water taxi ride to the Downtown Disney shopping area for an afternoon of air-conditioned fun. I remembered to bring the I fan bought in China 3 years ago, and this felt like the perfect time to use it. Slowly floating along the old southern styled river while fanning myself really made it feel like I had stepped right into the historic past. Remember Disney is the master at creating postcard picture perfect experiences.
The view of our resort and Downtown Disney from the water taxi.
Dining at Sanaa Animal Kingodm
That evening we were in for a real treat. We met one of GB’s childhood friends for dinner at Sanaa, the African safari themed restaurant at the Animal Kingdom resort. I had read amazing reviews of this place on Trip Advisor, and was looking forward to this dining occasion for months. Upon checking in, we were given a pager and sent down a long walkway towards the animal viewing platform to wait. Here we were entertained by a menagerie of safari animals that live right in the middle of the resort. The exotic entertainment made the wait time go by fast. Maybe even a little too fast. Dinner did not disappoint, and everyone agreed the naan bread served on a large board with dipping sauce was definitely the highlight of the meal. After dinner we all headed back out to the animal viewing platform for one last look at the animals using the special night goggles Disney provided. It was a real treat.
Trip Tip: If you are going to Disney World, be sure to book your dining experiences months in advance. The good places fill up fast.
The welcoming ceremony at Magic Kingdom
On the second day SB dragged GB and I out of bed bright and early.Today was Magic Kingdom day, and we had to get to the park in time for the opening ceremony. We were able to catch a shuttle right in front of our resort and arrived at the park gate just in time to see Micky and friends welcome us from the vantage styled Walt Disney World Railroad. Once inside the park we made our way straight to the back of the park for French themed breakfast at the popular Be Our Guest restaurant. On the way we discovered that many of the rides in the back of the park had very short lines, allowing us to stop and catch a ride on the Tomorrowland Speedway and Small World before our big breakfast feast.
Trip Tip: A few days after leaving Disney I read a magazine article that recommends starting at the back of the park to get the best ride times. Apparently it is human nature to start at the front of the park, and work towards the back.
Everyone needs a Princess selfie!!
By the time afternoon rolled around, we were all hot, tired and ready for a nap. Who gave this Florida sun permission to be so hot?!! This is where the benefit of staying in a Disney resort hotel really pays off. We were all able to go back to our room for a nap and shower before returning to the park for all the evening fun. Some of our favorites like Space Mountain, the new Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, and the Electrical Parade were all on our evening itinerary.
LB watching the fireworks at Magic Kingdom
Our adventure at Disney World turned out to be a much needed escape from the stress and sadness surrounding our Florida trip this year. It gave us time to relax and take a breath before returning to the reality of this years’ life. At the end, we all just had one wish. Next time we visit Disney we want to stay for 3 nights. 2 nights was just not enough!