When Joshua and I got married back in November I was still in school, and because missing one day of my school is equivalent to missing one week we decided to go on our honeymoon during my Christmas break.
The day after Christmas Joshua and I got dropped off at the airport by my sis (who also house sat for us) around 4:30am. Our flight from Sacramento, CA to Houston Texas left at 6:15am and didn’t arrive till around lunch time. When we left Sacramento it was cold and rainy, so we were quite surprised to find it to be 42°F in Houston. An hour later we flew out from Houston, TX to Orlando, FL where it was a whopping 36°F!
We took Disney’s Magical Express to our hotel: Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort.
We had quite a hike to our room since the property is so spread out. This is definitely the kind of resort that’s made for warm weather where you can walk around in your swim suit. Because it was freezing outside, the 15 minute walk to our room was no fun, especially since we had to walk back out again to go to dinner. Our room was quite lovely though!
We grabbed maps to all the parks from the lobby, sat down, and planned out what attractions we’d like to see at what parks. Monday would be Animal Kingdom, Tuesday would be EPCOT, Wednesday would be Hollywood Studios, and we’d fit in Magic Kingdom here and there.
Monday was our first day at Disney World. We started it off by going to Animal Kingdom!
We got there closer to lunch time since we slept in, so we had a late breakfast/early lunch at the Tusker House. After we ate our first attraction was the Kilimanjaro Safaris. This was such a cool experience and what blew me away was the fact that even on Disney property they still have to worry about poaching because of the kind of animals they have.
After we went on the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail, we took the Wildlife Express Train to Rafiki’s Planet Watch where we got to see where they keep the safari animals at night, check out the veterinary examination room (if you come at the right time you can see them doing procedures on the animals), and the all their conservation efforts. It was very educational!
They even had an area where they monitor the poop from different animals, and on display they had a family made of poop, hehe.
Next on our list was to Asia home of Expedition Everest (the equivalent to Disneyland’s Matterhorn). What I loved about this ride (and other attractions too) was while waiting in line you got to walk through a museum. In this case we got to walk through a Yeti museum since the ride was all about finding the big scary Yeti.
I thought the ride was a lot of fun, but unfortunately Joshua did not enjoy it. He doesn’t do rollercoasters or anything that has sharp turns and sudden drops, so this ride was not his cup of tea. Still he managed to try going on it with me. ♥
Our last attraction at Animal Kingdom was the DINOSAUR ride. The only way I can describe this ride is it’s basically like the Indiana Jones ride at Disneyland except instead of Indiana Jones you have dinosaurs. In other words, both Joshua and I had a blast!
For dinner, Joshua and I headed over to Downtown Disney so we could eat at Planet Hollywood. When we booked our trip we signed up for the Disney Dining Plan, and thank goodness we did because it’s been like our VIP pass into restaurants. We got seated right away!
Joshua had never been to Planet Hollywood, whereas I’ve been twice (before they all closed down in California), so it was neat to share the experience with him. We had a $15 voucher plus our honeymoon registry, so we ate quite well.
Tuesday we went back over to Downtown Disney real quick so I could exchange my sweatshirt for a different size. From there we headed to EPCOT.
Unfortunately we didn’t get to go on most of the attractions we wanted to because all the Fastpasses were sold out for the entire day, and the stand-by wait times were 2+ hours. Considering it was still freezing cold, we didn’t feel like spending the day waiting in lines. Instead we checked out the GM showroom down by Test Track.
My hubby had lots of fun looking at all the vehicles, hehe.
We then wandered “around the world” checking out Mexico, Norway, China, Germany, Japan, Morocco, Colonial USA, France, the UK, and Canada.
Most of the “countries” just had gift shops and restaurants, so there wasn’t a whole lot to do there. As we made our way out of the park we went on Spaceship Earth, which luckily the wait time was only 30 minutes. I enjoyed that ride a lot! You get to go up inside the big EPCOT dome and see the evolution of communication!
Because of the fiasco with the other attractions, we were done early with EPCOT, so we decided to head over to Magic Kingdom.
Originally we were just going to see the things they had that Disneyland didn’t have, but it turns out there wasn’t that much. In fact, Disneyland actually has a whole lot more than Magic Kingdom, so I didn’t feel disappointed knowing all I have is Disneyland in California. We went on Haunted Mansion and it’s a small world, both of which were shorter than the ones at Disneyland. In fact the only attraction really worth seeing was The Hall of Presidents. Everything else? Disneyland does it WAY better!
Wednesday morning we had a delicious breakfast at the Pepper Market located in our hotel. Then we were off to Disney’s Hollywood Studios, which turned out to be my favorite park. Basically it’s like a Disney version of Universal Studios.
The first ride we went on was The Great Movie Ride which takes you through a replica of Grauman’s Chinese Theater and ultimately to where you get to ride in these carts through several different movies. My friend Kelli works as one of the tour guides on this ride, so it was neat to see what her job entailed.
Next it was Voyage of The Little Mermaid, which ended up being a bit disappointing due to the fact that the chick who played Ariel sucked at singing. We then checked out Journey Into Narnia: Prince Caspian which was cool because we got to see a ton of props from the movie.
Next on our list was the Studio Backlot Tour, which was probably my favorite attraction. We got to see all kinds of props, models, etc. from all kinds of movies including the Flight of the Navigator ship, one of the sail barges from Return of the Jedi, and a Hoth cruiser from Empire Strikes Back!
The tour dropped us into the American Film Institute Showcase where we got to see more props and models, including a time-line of cameras used in film-making.
We had a very late lunch over at Pizza Planet (yes, THE Pizza Planet from Toy Story), and then checked out the whole Star Wars area by Star Tours. Star Tours is getting badly-needed upgrade, so it’s shut down right now, but it was cool to check out the area around it since they made it look like you were on Endor.
Yup, needless to say I geeked out a bit.
By then we were pretty much done with what we wanted to see at Hollywood Studios, so we went back to the Magic Kingdom. We took the train around the whole park, which was disappointing because it didn’t have the Grand Canyon/Primeval World dioramas like at Disneyland. We then went on Pirates of the Caribbean, which again sucked because not only was it shorter than the ride at Disneyland, the way they had the lines organized was unpleasant. We kept going back-and-forth from being in one big group line to bottle-necking into a single file line. Not fun.
We came back to the hotel and ordered room service since the next day we were planning on getting an early start to Universal Studios the next day. Both Joshua and I were feeling pretty run down, especially since Joshua had been fighting a cold since the beginning of the week.
The next morning we were up early, had another breakfast at the Pepper Market, and then waited for the shuttle to take us and a few other people to Universal Studios. Despite having a hearty breakfast and some coffee, I felt like a train ran over me, and this feeling continued throughout the day along with coughing, chills, runny nose, and fatigue. Add a lot of walking, waiting and people, it was not a good day for me.
At Universal, we wanted to see The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Terminator 2 in 3D, and the E.T. ride. We started with Harry Potter first, which was a good thing because as if the crowds weren’t big enough, it seemed like more people were showing up by the time we left.
I loved and hated Harry Potter. I hated it because there were WAAAAY too many people. Seriously, we had to wait 2 hours just to get into the actual Harry Potter part of the park; it was either wait two hours to get in or wait an hour in line to get a ticket to come back between 4:30pm and 5:30pm. Then when we got in we couldn’t even go on any of the rides because the wait-time was 3 hours or more, and we couldn’t go into any of the shops like Honeydukes, Zonko’s or Ollivander’s because they too had lines to get in. It was nuts!
Luckily I did get to see Hogwarts. Instead of waiting 3+ hours to go on the Forbidden Journey ride, Joshua and I did a quick walk-through tour of Hogwarts. Unfortunately it dropped us in a gift shop that was so crowded I could barely look at anything.
We did get our Butterbeer. I got it frozen and Joshua got it regular. Everyone has asked me what it tastes like. It’s basically REALLY GOOD cream soda! We had two rounds it was so good, and luckily the lines for that weren’t bad at all.
Sipping the Butterbeer was the only thing that was making me feel slightly better, but for the most part that day I was sick as a dog. We probably spent 30 minutes in Harry Potter just because it was way too crowded. Hopefully one day I can visit again, and I won’t be sick nor will there be as many people.
When we went on Termintator and E.T. those rides were fine because everyone was in Harry Potter land. Still I was pretty sick so we headed back to the hotel to order room service for dinner. I ended up going to bed early thanks to some NyQuil.
During the day I was texting my friend Kelli about New Year’s Eve plans, but told her we’d have to cancel due to me feeling pretty sick. That evening we had a complimentary bottle of champagne delivered to our hotel room which turned out to be from Kelli. We ended up using that to toast the New Year the next night.
Friday we would have gone back to Universal, but considering how sick I was, we lounged around the hotel all day long. By Friday it finally felt like Florida weather, so I was able to go experience the pool area.
I tried to soak my sickness away in the 22-person hot tub while Joshua played in the arcade. In the afternoon I treated myself to a mani/pedi at the salon, and then we went to dinner at the Rainforest Cafe in Downtown Disney. We came back to the hotel and watched Back to the Future Part III until it was 5 till midnight. Turned on the TV, opened up the champagne and nommed on our treats from Goofy’s Candy Co. and rang in the New Year as husband and wife.
The next morning, my long-time friend from Sugarloaf days, Kelli, and her boyfriend came to the hotel to have breakfast with us before we flew home.
It was so fun to catch up!
Despite the “record low temperatures” and being sick, we really did have a great time. We’re definitely planning on coming back in several years. Until then, we’re pretty happy that we still have Disneyland.
You can check out all the photos I took from out trip on Flickr!
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The Lovely Geek is a one-woman studio based in Sacramento, CA working with small businesses throughout the United States.