It’s been over a month since I returned from my amazing Orlando holiday and I’m still not over it. The holiday was everything I wanted it to be and SO much more. I feel like I am now a total Disney addict and as soon as we were back in the UK I just wanted to go back straight away!
I knew I wanted to do a trip report, detailing what we did each day as well as thoughts and reviews on hotels, food and of course the parks! This is more for myself than anyone else but I’d be over the moon if any of you lovely lot wanted to read it! I’m going to split this into two posts, so week 1..lets go!
Travel Day, Sunday 25th November
We took the long drive from Newcastle to London Gatwick the night before and stayed over night in the Hampton By Hilton. This hotel is conveniently located in the north terminal, where we needed to be, so the morning was very chilled, absolutely the least stressed and anxious I have ever been before getting a flight!
We booked our holiday with Virgin and access to the V-room was included in our package. I was apprehensive of what it would be like, but we were starving so we headed straight there. It was actually really great, the staff were all so polite and friendly and the place was half empty, we got comfy chairs by the window so we could look out at all the planes. There was a great selection of hot breakfast food as well as cereals, pastries, baked goods, hot and cold drinks…all free!
Our flight was delayed by about an hour but the time in the airport seemed to whizz by and we felt really chilled out. The flight was OK, but sitting on a plane for 9 hours was never going to be fun, I was so relieved by the time we finally made it to Orlando!
Even with the excitement of arriving, waiting in line for an hour at immigration and then the slight stress of finding the rental car location and driving for the first time in America, in the dark, with busy traffic made me less than thrilled. All this was topped off once we checked in, went to our room and was met with the most unpleasant smell. I admit…I was tired, pissed off and about to cry! Now let this be a lesson to you all (or at least those who hate to complain about something) to always speak up if there’s an issue! The lovely lady at the front desk switched us no problem and we ended up getting a room upgrade and moving to a much better location.
Our hotel was on I -drive, so although we were extremely tired we made a quick trip across the road to IHop for my first proper American diner experience and then took a trip to an extremely busy Walmart to get some supplies. Eventually we headed to bed absolutely shattered from all the travel.
Day 1, Monday
The jet lag was apparent straight away making us both wake up around 3am. After about 6 I gave up trying to sleep any more, I was wide awake and getting super excited about our first day in the Magic Kingdom! Now, being a naïve first timer, I did not appreciate what a treck it is to get to this park! After our drive, ride on the tram and then the ferry we were there, walking down Main Street and seeing the Castle for the first time! I just knew at that moment, that this wasn’t going to be a once in a life time holiday, I would need to come back! I would also really recommend getting the ferry the first time you go there, it definitely adds to the magic and the view is amazing!
Our first day did not disappoint. We had some great FastPasses, Pirates, Splash and Space Mountain! We also managed to fit in Big Thunder too! We watched the Festival of Fantasy parade which was amazing and had our first Disney snacks; a pretzel and frozen coke. The jet lag got a bit too much for us and there was no way we were going to last until the fireworks and ended up heading out the park around 6pm, absolutely elated and shattered from our first Disney day.
Day 2, Tuesday
Waking early came in handy here as we got up and headed out to Animal Kingdom arriving for opening. Everest was our first FastPass which we rode again straight away, this easily became one of our favourite rides. We absolutely loved the atmosphere of this park and there are so many wonderful shows and rides. Then it was time to head to Pandora….I did tons of research and watched so many vlogs, but it was nothing compared to actually being there, it was genuinely so breath taking. I absolutely love the Disney magic of taking you totally out of your normal day to day life and making you feel…literally all the feels! We got to ride Na’vi River Journey, which again..just breath taking! I would highly recommend eating at Satu’li Canteen, far from bog standard fast food, the food is really really good and you don’t feel like you’re eating junk at all. We then took the plunge and got in the queue for Flight of Passage…. 2 hours later and we did not regret a thing. This ride lives up to the hype, it is fantastic.
For the evening we headed over to Disney Springs where I was on the hunt for a Disney jumper as it was surprisingly cold! Then for dinner we ate at Planet Hollywood, where we ate brilliant burgers. To be honest we weren’t that impressed with the inside, Rich had been years ago and it was really different and unfortunately he was really disappointed…but the food was really tasty. Disney Springs was beautiful at night and I had my first ever trip to Sephora, and we spent ages in World of Disney where I made my first purchase of the trip!
Day 3, Wednesday
We decided to have a more relaxing morning and went to try the infamous pancakes at IHop and then wandered up and down I-Drive. Then we headed over to the Disney Winter Summerland mini golf which was included in our tickets, we love mini golf anyway and the course was so much fun (we played the winter course).
Later that afternoon it was time to visit Hollywood Studios for the first time. We headed straight for Toy Story Land and again decided to take the plunge and queue for Slinky Dog. We waited around an hour, the ride was so fun and the theming is amazing. To be honest I wouldn’t wait that long for this kind of ride, it’s so short it was over so quickly! We also managed to ride Star Tours, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster and Tower of Terror. I was nervous for this one, I never thought I liked that dropping sensation but Rich was adamant we rode it…and I am so glad! The theming and just the thrill of it, incredible! We debated seeing Fantasmic but in the end we went back to ride Toy Story Mania (so fun!) and then queued up for Slinky Dog just before closing at 8, which we got to ride again after about a 20 minute wait!
Day 4, Thursday
Thursday was our first day at Universal, we headed straight for Islands of Adventure and it was so deserted! It was a pretty cold day again and we were there right at opening and got so much done! We did Spiderman, Kong and Jurassic Park – this last one was an error in jeans when there’s no sunshine….don’t make the same mistake I did! Also the queue for Kong is so dark…and it was literally just us walking through, I was so scared! Next up, what we really wanted to see, Hogwarts and Hogsmead. The Harry Potter bits did not disappoint, definitely my favourite part of Universal.
We rode Forbidden journey twice which was amazing and had such a nice time wandering around Hogsmead, there is so much to see it’s so detailed. Next we took a ride on the Hogwarts Express to get into the Studios park. Again the theming is great and you literally feel like you have arrived in a train station, again Diagon Alley did not disappoint! Escape from Gringotts is also a brilliant ride and just all the theming AGAIN…wow! We then headed out to ride Men in Black and went into Simpsons land where we ate at krusty Burger, so good! Once it got to about 5pm we were both feeling a little headachey, which I think was the result of going on so many 4D rides, there are a lot at Universal! So we headed back out to City Walk and decided on a cinema date where we watched Fantastic Beasts which we hadn’t had time to see at home before we left.
Day 5, Friday
Today was another day at Universal, we headed to Studios park first this time. It was a much busier day, probably as the sun was shining again! We went to ride the Mummy which was so good, one of our favourite Universal rides besides the Harry Potter ones. Somehow, and I really don’t know how, Rich convinced me to ride Rip Ride Rocket. This was definitely my limit and I hated it! That slow vertical climb was just too much for me (I have a fear of heights!) it was so horrible I did not enjoy one second of it! We then headed back into Diagon Alley to ride Gringotts again and managed to ride the train the other way back to Islands of Adventure. Definitely try and ride it both ways as it’s a different experience, well worth it. Since it was really warm today we decided to go for it and did all the water rides; first up Jurassic park again. I really love this ride it’s great fun. Next up, Bilge Rat Barges. This was hilarious. It was just us and a mum and young daughter. There is no avoiding getting wet on this ride, I mean not just a little wet but soaked through to your skin! You can’t even be mad, it just makes you laugh and laugh and laugh. Since we were drenched we did the final water ride, Rip Saw Falls. The ride carts aren’t the comfiest and it’s a little difficult getting in and out, I kindly let Rich go at the front….also another one where you truly get drenched.
We were so wet by this point we relented and paid $5 for a dryer, well worth it! Then it was time to leave as we wanted to go to Hard Rock café for lunch, we love this chain and always go when we’re somewhere that has one. Such a good meal and really excellent service. I still can’t get over how much food they give you in America! After a little break back at the hotel we headed to Epcot for the evening! It was so busy but we managed to get on a few rides; Frozen, Spaceship Earth, Mission Space and Soarin’. All of the rides were amazing, and the world showcase was huge so we didn’t make it very far!
Day 6, Saturday
After a pretty full on first week we decided to have a more chilled morning starting off with a McDonalds breakfast! Why do we not have McGriddles in the UK!? Next up was a bit of a wander in the shops; Target, Mall of Millenia and Best Buy. Rich bought some fancy headphones and I made a couple of cheeky Sephora purchases. After a more chilled morning we were ready to head back to Magic Kingdom. Being on holiday we had totally lost track of the days and didn’t consider that it was a weekend, the park was really busy and we hadn’t booked many FastPasses for the time we arrived! In the end we ended up buying a pin trading starter kit and it turned out to be so much fun, we’re both now a little pin obsessed! We then had our first Small World experience and made it out in time to dash across to catch Happily Ever After for the first time. We got there about 10 minutes before so just managed to squeeze into a spot, but it wasn’t the best view. As soon as it started where we were stood really didn’t really matter and I welled up about 5 times throughout the show. It is incredible, there are no other words!!
Wow, that was long, and a good place to end this first week! If ANYONE made it this far I just want to say a big thank you! Week 2 will be coming in a future post so if you enjoyed this, look out for that, as well as some more roundup/ favourites posts of all things Disney!
Talk soon x
First time in the Magic Kingdom
The Wildest Ride in the Wilderness!
I see a banshee!
Heading to Everest
Tree of Life
Lunch at Satu’li Canteen
Toy Story Land
Heading to Star Tours
Put your head back!
Screaming my head off
The Adventure Begins
Honeydukes sweet shop
Trying a butter beer
Catching the train
Inside Gringotts bank!
Prepare to get wet…
Hard Rock cafe
Hard Rock Cafe
Festival of the Holidays
Mickey shaped food!