Spontaneous Disney World trip? Why not?!
Hey hi hello! It's the Small Fries!
Yeah, so you probably noticed we went to Orlando, again. I'm sure you're not surprised but let us explain how and why this trip all came about! We swear we aren't crazy...
So Nick has been SOOO busy since January writing and recording a new record with his band, as I'm sure most of you have heard. There have been lots of twists and turns in our lives that came along with this process, which caused us to cancel our honeymoon, and reschedule our flights, hotels and plans 2+ times. Everything has since been sorted out and is 100% a- okay!!! However, to say it's been a long and stressful few months would be an understatement... but I'm guessing you'd all agree with us when I say that we thought we could use a little vacation from everything when Nick finally was scheduled to come home.
With that being said, we decided to take advantage of the incredible deals we had found online to visit Orlando for a few days to get away + relax!
I'll be sharing my sneak techniques and tricks to finding the best deals online in a blog post LATER, as so many of you have asked about traveling on a budget! This post is going to cover the highlights of our most recent trip to Orlando, Florida - focusing on the Must Do's and *new* things we tried out this time around!
Ok, let's get into it!
Where we stay: Wyndham Garden Lake Buena Vista near Disney Springs
WE LOOOOVE this hotel, you guys. Like, LOOOOVE. This wasn't our first time staying at this particular hotel; in december we spent a few days there after extending our trip last minute. On that same trip in December, we had booked a few days staying at a Disney-owned hotel on Walt Disney World property. (We won't be staying there ever again.) Once we had the back-to-back experience of staying in the Wyndham Hotel and the Disney hotel, our minds had been easily made up, and we knew we'd absolutely be returning to the Wyndham many more times in the future. You can walk, uber or shuttle to all the fun stuff! They have THE SAME CHARACTER BREAKFAST as the Disney hotels!!!! LIKE EXACTLY THE SAME. They have a partnership with the parks so you still feel like you're at Disney World, getting what everyone else gets! Mickey Waffles and all! Goofy and Pluto even came to hang out!
If you guessed this was all my doing, you're wrong... Nick lives for Character Dining! ;)
Where we went: first stop, Disney Springs!
We always walk across the street from the hotel to Disney Springs - our faaaavorite hangout, wander-around, fun spot! It's massive. It's got everything you might need. We can't get enough of it! A few of our fav spots in Disney Springs are Morimoto, STK, World of Disney, The Boathouse, UNIQLO, and Free People! They also have tons of live entertainment and even a rad movie theatre we love visiting. Our first night in Orlando was spent at Disney Springs, wandering around seeing a movie, and enjoying a date night at STK.
The next day (our first full day in Orlando) we spent at a Disney waterpark; Typhoon Lagoon!
If you haven't been following Nick and I on our social media, let me get you up to speed - Nick had NEVER in his entire life been to a waterpark!!! AH! Crazy, right?! So obviously, given such beautiful weather and an insane discount, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to take this newbie to one of the best waterparks out there! This waterpark is really rad and we totally recommend if you're into that kinda thing. The whole place is themed with "shipwreck" type stuff. We loved it! After a long day filled with a lazy river, giant rafts and inner tube slides, Nick confirmed what I already suspected - the waterpark was a massive hit!
(He actually loved it so much that we ended up spending the last day of our vacation floating around the lazy river at the other Disney waterpark; Blizzard Beach.)
The following day we spent at Universal Orlando!
If you haven't been keeping up with us and our adventures, you may not know what we've been to Universal Orlando a handful of times. (You can read about that HERE and HERE.) We're pretty darn good at it by now. The important thing about visiting crazy theme parks like Walt Disney World and Universal is to have a good strategy. Being Annual Passholders for Universal Studios Hollywood and Disneyland Resort in California, we're pros at that kinda thing! We have plans to share more about theme park tips and our personal strategy in an upcoming post. Stay tuned for that!
Though we've been to Universal Orlando a few times, we haven't done everything the parks have to offer. This time around, we thought we'd try some new things as well as some fun oldies! One of the new things we did was ride Doctor Doom's Fearfall. (It was my idea. Sorry, Nick. LOL) omg guys, terrifying but SO fun... once your feet are back on the ground. We also spent more time walking around Harry Potter World taking in all the details. It's incredible when you stop and fully take in your surroundings there... we're always finding new hidden gems. If you need a break from all the walking, find yourself a bench in Diagon Alley or Knockturn Alley.
We also decided to try a new themed drink in Diagon Alley called "Fishy Green Ale". This was a MISTAKE. After cracking up and watching eachothers faces while we tried to sip this non-alcoholic, minty, boba-type drink with bursting blueberry flavored pearls, we happily tossed it into the trash can.
Stick with the Butterbeer, everyone.
We honestly LOVE visiting Universal Orlando. Nick and I can usually tackle both parks (Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure) in one day, using the Hogwarts Express to travel from park-to-park. This time, we walked 5.72 miles that day!
Again, not our first rodeo BUT we did do things a little differently this time around to mix it up a bit! (You can read about it HERE and HERE.) Yes, we did 3 parks in one day. Disney World is made up of 4 theme parks, but we decided to pass on Animal Kingdom on this trip. Starting at Hollywood Studios, we knocked out all our go-to favs; Rockin' Rollercoaster, the Tower of Terror, and stopping for a snack at the Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater. We wandered around areas we hadn't seen before, mostly because there's a ton of construction going on in what will be Star Wars Land! YAY. We came across some cool Muppet "graffiti" that I obviously loved.
Next, we hopped on the shuttle to head over to Epcot!
Epcot is currently having their annual Flower and Garden Festival. The whole park is filled with temporary additions, including one of our favorite walk-through exhibits - the Butterfly Gardens! Nick and I accidentally stumbled upon a street show featuring Professor Bunsen and Beeker of the Muppets. They even chose me to be in their show! We had never seen the show before so it was really exciting and hilarious to both of us. Another rad discovery we made at Epcot was in the China Pavillion. They had a special exhibit on the newest Disney Park, Shanghai Disneyland! It was SO interesting and cool to see some of the latest and greatestin Disney technology. We definitely want to visit there some day. Ps- how cute are these Starbucks/Disney Parks cups?!
Our next move was to Magic Kingdom Park, via the Monorail!
We had never taken the Monorail from Epcot to Magic Kingdom so we got quite a thrill out of the unique views and vast jungle that makes up the "World". Random fact: there are TONS of armadillos that live on Disney property, so we were keeping an eye out for those on our ride too! At MK, we had 3 FastPass+ reservations so our agenda was slightly structured because of those set times. Our time in Magic Kingdom is usually just hitting the classic rides which are also our favorites, but this time we were only there in the evening so everything we did felt slightly different. We know it sounds silly, but everything seems to go faster in the dark! It was the best way to end our long (7am-1am), busy (9+miles walked) ridiculously fun-filled day. One major recommendation - ride the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train at night!!!
That pretty much sums up the semi-short version of our spontaneous getaway! It was enormously relaxing despite what it might sound like! haha Nick and I had a wonderful time and can't wait to go back, though it may not be any time soon! We definitely have more in the works, trips and otherwise, so stick around! All of that will be shared very soon. Our biggest trip yet is just around the corner!!!
We hope you enjoyed hearing about our whirlwind trip! Let us know what you want to hear more about or if you have any thoughts!! And obviously, if you guys have any questions or comments, be sure to leave them below and we'll definitely respond! :)
Jenna + Nick