It’s been a while now since our holiday to Florida, in fact, so much has happened between then and now it feels like an absolute lifetime ago. I participate regularly on a forum called The Dibb where many people do full lengthy trip reports of their visits to Walt Disney World. Whilst I really enjoy reading this and am always full of great intentions, I just don’t have the energy, or more importantly the memory for that, so another popular idea on the forums is a highs and lows post.
I realise that this post won’t be that interesting for a lot of people but if you’ve been to Walt Disney World or you are considering it in the future (and I firmly believe everyone should go at least once!) then you might find something here that you find interesting.
Remember these are purely my own thoughts, other people will have a different view altogether, that’s what makes us unique. It’s also worth mentioning, this is not a review or sponsored post of any type. Unfortunately my trip was entirely funded out of my own pocket!
WALT DISNEY WORLD – THE HIGHS
Characters – Obviously it goes without saying but all the characters and the interactions are fabulous. I did wonder if my children would have outgrown character meets this time around but definitely not! Favourites were definitely Anna & Elsa, Russell and Doug from Up and Pluto & Goofy.
Weather – It’s August, what’s not to love! If you know Florida, you’ll know that travelling in August can be somewhat of a risk. Daily, heavy, thunderstorms are extremely common. As it turns out, we arrived after an incredibly wet period and ended up with an unseasonably dry spell. This is of course a HIGH as rain can stop play big time. It was ultra hot though, and this could have quite as easily ended up as a low. Air conditioning is your friend!
Fastpass+ – The new Fastpass+ scheme is pretty controversial, and definitely a Marmite topic. I happened to love it, however if you’re not a planner then I can see why this would gripe you. Personally I liked the ability to book fastpasses for key attractions, even if it did take some really quite meticulous planning. It meant we had a more relaxed holiday and actually spent a lot more time sitting around the pool, as we knew we could still go out at midday and get on the best rides. Definitely took away some stress.
Food – The food at Disney is always a highlight for me and the biggest element of my planning. I shall be doing a whole separate post on this in the future. The restaurants at Walt Disney World are outstanding – so much variety and choice, and the themeing is excellent. Sure, like Fastpasses, you need to get yourself SUPER organised and book in advance (180 days in advance for the very popular ones) but it’s well worth it. Absolutely no excuse for eating burgers and fries every night.
The people – When I say the people, I am not just talking about the cast members, who cannot do enough for you, I am also talking about other guests. We came across some really truly lovely American people. When trying to find a space for the parades (see LOWS!) a lovely family let us squeeze in next to them. Not only this, they also gave my children glow sticks. Such a lovely random act of kindness. When my son was violently sick all over the floor (and down my leg, naturally) some lovely Americans came to our aid with bottles of water and baby wipes. Really helped to take the pain out of a stressful situation.
Our hotel – We stayed at Animal Kingdom Lodge and cannot recommend it enough. It totally WOWed us and having stayed at some of the more value resorts in the past, the difference here was that it really felt more of a vacation rather than a theme park holiday. There were tons of activities at night including looking at the animals through night vision goggles – something my children adored. Our room was standard issue Disney but was in a great location – exactly where we had requested – within spitting distance of the food, lobby and transport. Perfect.
Disney Transport – Not everyone loves the Disney Transportation and a whole lot of whinging can be done about the buses but when you think about it, they move a lot of people, to a lot of different places and are pretty regular. We never waited more than 20 minutes for a bus. I don’t know anywhere else I have been to that runs such an efficient service.
Wifi – Noticeable from my visit in 2011 was wifi. I know we shouldn’t care about having wifi on holiday but this was really helpful when we wanted to modify ride or restaurant reservations, or check out wait times using the the My Disney Experience App.
Wilderness Explorers at Animal Kingdom – Something we very nearly totally overlooked was the Wilderness Explorers experience at Animal Kingdom, an activity where children complete challenges and collect “badges” in their Wilderness Explorer books. It takes a lot of exploring in the park and encouraged us into other areas we’d not been before – we realised how much we’d missed out on in the past. The children thoroughly enjoyed this activity and collected all 30 badges, even though by the end of the day we were flagging!
Enchanted Tales with Belle – This is a new attraction in the Fantasyland park extension so we weren’t really sure what to expect. We loved it! It was an interactive experience and the special moment was when my daughter got picked to be the Beast and danced with Belle. What a beautiful moment we’ll never forget, dancing with your favourite princess at Walt Disney World. I won’t lie, it brought a tear to my eye.
Dreamliner – We flew out on the new Dreamliner. I was a little nervous given all the media reports in the run up to our trip and I’ll admit, I didn’t really get the hype once aboard, however it got us into Orlando an hour early so for that reason alone – it’s a high!
I’m in danger of boring you all to sleep so I’ll leave my HIGHS there and continue the LOWS in another post very soon!
If you’ve been to Walt Disney World, I’d love to hear your thoughts on my HIGHS or what you would include in your own!