Our Walt Disney World vacation was sponsored by Disney. All opinions are my own*
Three years ago we took our first ever family vacation and we decided that Walt Disney World would be perfect and it was the best decision ever. We had spoken about visiting Disney World again during Christmas and New Years because who wouldn’t want to kick it with Mickey, Beauty and the Best and the rest of the clan during the holidays? Plus, it would be Gunner’s first time and the first time at Disney World is always a magical feeling.
Fast forward a little bit, now stop, I checked my inbox and got such an amazing experience from Walt himself! Well you know what I mean– an invitation inviting my family to experience all four Walt Disney World Theme Parks including world class dining, character experiences, and attractions. I know, I know. I didn’t read past that and quickly forwarded the email to my boyfriend who verified that my eyes weren’t being deceived and my mind wasn’t losing it. We were going on a vacation!
After surprising the kids that we were going on vacation and then having them figure out we were at Disney we headed to our hotel. The first time we visited we stayed at Pop Century Resort (read that post for pricing on different resorts), but this time Disney hooked us up with The Grand Floridian Resort and Spa. Introducing Victorian elegance with dashes of modern sophistication and luxurious views. For views of the hotel check out our vlog from the first day.
Myself, along with a few other bloggers/Youtubers also were invited and they were amazing! Always fun meeting new people who do what you do…
1- Melanie from Story of Five
2- Jessica Flores from Domesticated Me
3- Yanira Giselle
What’s New at Walt Disney World?
Were there any changes in the parks this time around? Nope! Disney always stays the same… NOT!
Epcot our first stop for our vacation
Let’s start with Epcot which is how we started the first day. When we went three years ago they were just starting to build Norway, you know from Frozen where Anna and Elsa are from, so we missed out on anything Frozen back then. This time the Frozen section was complete and the attractions were; The Royal Sommerhus, which is the only place to do a meet-and-greet, and the Frozen Ever After ride, which is a boat ride somewhat like The Little Mermaid boat ride at Magic Kingdom. One tip I would definitely recommend is to get a Fast Pass for the ride. Without it we probably would’ve had to wait an hour.
Also, at Epcot we were filmed by the Disney crew, not for a commercial, but something special for us! Once I get that footage I’ll be sure to share!
You can get my Cinderella Bibbidi Bibbidi boo tee at Shop Disney!
A huge change this time around was Downtown Disney now being called Disney Springs. When we went three years back there wasn’t much; for one there weren’t loads of shops like there is now. They seemed to have closed a lot of the open space and filled it with not just shops, but beautiful views like “The Landing.” Let’s not forget new restaurants too like one which was newly built, The Edison— themed as a 1920s-era electric company! I love the 1920’s, do you not remember our Roaring 1920’s party? The Edison was huge, gorgeous with it’s industrial and gothic touches throughout the whole restaurant. The restaurant can be viewed on this Youtube video.
Moving on to Hollywood Studios there were some changes such as the backlot being closed for construction. There was the new “Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular” firework show which interacts with the projectors on the Chinese theater. So now, at Hollywood studios there’s the Starwars firework show and the original “Fantasmic” fireworks show which takes place on the water.
One thing I was sad to see go was the the Animator’s zone where Baymax was first placed and they had workshops. The whole Disney Jr. crew was there with character meet-ups and they’re shows. We got to see the Toy Story Land model which gave us a look at what it was going to look like and you guys, they never shy away from details! It’s design is the “Honey I Shrunk the Kids” concept. Thus miniaturizing the guests and enlarging the world you’re submerged in. You’re essential the toys roaming Andy’s Backyard. The landscape is based off Andy’s Lunchbox, Tinkertoy fencing, Prizes wine at Pizza Planet, etc. Who will be there June 30th?
Ziana’s adorable Minnie Mouse shirt is also from the shop Disney store.
Animal Kingdom is always breathtaking– I feel like one with nature. Not much has changed here like my favorite, “Kilimanjaro Safaris,” which is the open-air vehicle ride through the African savanna where we saw a giraffe come right up to the vehicle or the “Festival of The Lion King,” where Ziana was picked to perform in! Super jealous by the way– check it out here!
The huge change here at Animal Kingdom was “Pandora: The World of Avatar”. This is by far my favorite section here. The design aesthetics was that out of the movie Avatar, from the fun rides that took you on a simulated 3D ride on the back of a banshee (Flight of Passage), to the rhythm of the drum ceremony to the food and the drinks– it was amazing! That “Flight of Passage” ride is no joke! I wasn’t sure if I wanted to speak about the food at Satu’li Canteen because it’d make me hungry and then I’d end up in the kitchen, but I have to share. This place is a must to eat at. It’s American cuisine with hearty dishes and familiar flavors from another world—- wholesome grains, fresh vegetables and hearty proteins. Top that off with a colorful Pongu-Pongu drink and life is set!
Lastly, we have Magic Kingdom, which is the same– still magical, biggest park and tons to do! Always the best vacation!
Which is your favorite park to visit?
If you’re staying at a Disney resort make sure to get the “Welcome package” which comes with a lot of goodies and special glasses that you can wear during the fireworks for a magical surprise.