Orlando & Atlanta '19
Updated: Sep 23, 2019
10 years later and Nick is back in the Dirty South! This trip was very spontaneous, we booked for WDW and barely picked out our magicband colors before it got sent to Amy's house.
We left on a red eye flight to Atlanta and arrived early Easter morning.
After a good 8 hours in the car, we finally arrived in Orlando. Amy and I decided to splurge and stay at Disney's Coronado Springs Resort for the three nights that we will be here. I would definitely stay at Coronado again, rooms were clean and very modern.
Monday, April 22nd
My game plan for Disney World is to always try to do a park each day if time permits. However since we barely had 2.5 days here, we had to plan accordingly and do half days at every park except for Magic Kingdom.
Plan: Lunch at 50's Prime Time
Goal: Ride Slinky Dog Dash, ride Alien Swirling Saucers, and of course, eat everything on my bucket list.
50's Prime Time for lunch was definitely one of the top 5 memorable moments of this trip. This restaurant isn't a typical restaurant, they sing, they banter, they even feed you! For me, the meal was average, your traditional 1950s TV dinner, but their peanut butter and jelly milkshake was freaking delicious! Nick actually enjoyed his chicken pot pie because it brought back childhood memories. Overall, I would definitely dine here again for the ambience.
After lunch, we headed straight for Slinky Dog Dash. Honestly I don't even know how long we waited for this, but it was long enough that we were done with HS rides for the trip.
My hat almost flew off, luckily I was ninja and caught it in time. Funny story is that Nick and I knew that we both saw a flash during the ride, came off the ride to look for our photo. We never found it... but it showed up on our Photopass! Yup, this ride automatically scans your Magicband, so freaking cool!
Nick and I came to the realization that we usually start our trip at Hollywood Studios. I think it's due to the fact that this park has the least to offer for us, the only time that we did spend most of our trip here was during the Star Wars Weekends back in 2015.
We took our first Minnie Van from Coronado to Epcot, a Minnie van is a Lyft service specifically for Disney World with cast members as drivers. The wait wasn't too bad, but our driver did tell us wait times are worst in the mornings for breakfast and after park closings.
Plan: Eat everything at Flower and Garden Festival
Goal: Ride Test Track
We were able to pick up some last minute fastpass for Test Track.
I didn't think it was necessary to post the food pictures as they are uploaded on IG. Definitely head there to see what we ate if you're interested.
Walking around the World Showcase and eating everything that look appealing was quite time consuming. By the time we got to the last booth, Illuminations was about to start and to avoid the crowds, Nick and I headed back to the hotel.
Best part of the evening was watching these two interact.
Tuesday, April 23rd
Plan: Lunch at Liberty Tree Tavern, Pirates & Pals Fireworks Voyage at Contemporary Hotel
Goal: Take group picture with a character, ride some rides, stay eating.
Our first family trip to WDW together!
For lunch, we had reservations at Liberty Tree Tavern. Once you step inside the restaurant, you are immediately transformed back to 18th-century colonial America. They have Thanksgiving style meals where you can have a whole feast or order a la carte. Nick and I both got The Bell Burger and it was amazing!! Just think of a burger with lobster, bacon, and eggs. So freaking delicious, one of the best burgers I have ever had.
During lunch, I had kept an eye out for any posts regarding the characters of the day in front of the flagpole on Main Street. There is no predicting which rare set of characters will come out on any given day, but I needed to meet Abby Mallard out of everyone. I don't know how I got so lucky, but Abby Mallard was meeting with Chicken Little! Another top 5 memorable moment!
We tried to stay sane with the heat by riding rides and drinking lots of fluid. Eventually, Amy, Huy, and Hudson left to head back to the room so Nick and I wasted time until our Pirates & Pals Fireworks Voyage later.
As Nick and I were heading out, Abby and Chicken Little were roaming around Main Street so I had to take another picture.
If you know my obsession with meeting characters, you know that I will do anything and everything to meet a new character. The one character that has given me the biggest challenge is/was Mr. Smee from Peter Pan. It honestly took me 5 years, 3 Disney parks (Disneyland, Epcot, Disneyland Paris), and 1 firework show later to finally meet him.
A guaranteed way to meet Mr. Smee was the Pirates & Pals Firework Voyage. Originally I signed up for the main purpose of meeting him, but omgoodness, the whole experience was amazing.
From Magic Kingdom, we hopped on the monorail that would take us to the Disney's Contemporary Hotel. There are three different monorail tracks, one goes to the parking lot, the other goes to the three expensive hotels, and one that goes to Epcot. Because Disney's Contemporary Hotel is one of the hotels on the monorail route, it was very easy to get to, and as always we were quite early.
We checked in and they gave us bandanas to wear. While waiting, you can do a scavenger hunt, we opted out since we were both tired. Once it was time to head into the little banquet room, we were immediately greeted by Mr. Smee and Captain Hook.
Nick came up with the gameplan to take our autograph books and have Captain Hook sign while I got solo pictures with Smee.
After our meet and greet, we enjoyed ourselves to the snacks, ice cream, and drinks that they provided. We were even allowed to bring some snacks with us on our voyage out to the Seven Seas Lagoon. Since it was a big group, we were split into two groups and were escorted by either Hook and Smee to head to their respective boats. Each boat had a pirate that would keep us entertained with songs and trivia questions.
Nick and I got super lucky, we were placed on the side of the boat that had no obstructed view of the fireworks.
It was seriously so magical being on the water watching the Happily Ever After Fireworks show that I definitely had shed a tear or two. There's no other way to experience fireworks from here on out for me. This is the number #1 memorable moment of this trip.
After fireworks, we were greeted by Peter Pan.
Please ignore my overly cheesy smile, tonight was simply amazing.
If you are heading to WDW, I highly recommend the Pirates & Pals Fireworks Voyage. Originally meeting Mr. Smee was the only reason we signed up for this, but now I can say that Smee was an added bonus.
Wednesday, April 24th
And just like that, we are now on the last few hours of our WDW trip.
Plan: Lunch at Sanaa
Goals: Meet Kevin, ride Everest, ride Flights of Passage, take picture with Launchpad, eat some more.
I was very on top of things this trip and actually remembered to take a picture in front of each of the different parks' landmark.
Within minutes of entering Animal Kingdom, Amy and I immediately spotted Kevin. She's definitely hard to miss, but she does move fast. This is another top 5 memorable moments of the trip. I really can't explain the joy I had then when I saw her or even now when I see her on Instagram. She is definitely a great addition to Animal Kingdom.
Don't you love that I also look like Russell today? Hudson was very curious as to why there was a giant bird beside us.
While Amy, Huy, and Hudson went to ride Kilimanjaro Safaris, Nick and I did single rider for Expedition Everest. No way could we skip out on riding our favorite Disney ride while we are here.
Nick and I both convinced our seat partners to put their hands up. My seat buddy kept getting reassurance from her family that she was going to be okay. The irony is that her family seat in front of us ;)
Unfortunately Nick and I didn't make it on Flights of Passage, we figured we would utilize the time to walk around the park instead.
For our last meal, we headed to Disney's Animal Kingdom Villas to dine at Sanaa. We dined here because I heard it was delicious and the animals right outside the restaurant were great for kids.
All the raving was true! Great food and even better view. Oh you know, just Nick and a zebra eating lunch.
I am definitely adding Animal Kingdom Lodge to my bucket list of where to stay when at WDW. Such a cool hotel.
Top 5 things I enjoyed eating/drinking in no particular order:
1. Peanut Butter & Jelly Milk Shake from 50's Prime Time Cafe in Hollywood Studios
2. The Bell Burger from Liberty Tree Tavern in Magic Kingdom
3. Cheeseburger Spring Roll from Adventureland cart in Magic Kingdom
4. Slow-Roasted Sliced Grilled Beef Bowl from Satu'li Canteen in Animal Kingdom
5. Tandoor Chicken from Sanaa restaurant in Disney's Animal Kingdom Villas
Already missing WDW, when can we do this again?
Nick and I went back to my old stomping grounds. Stone Mountain always representing! Up until I was 13 years old, this was my home.
My childhood home used to be a ripe avocado green, the new owners decided they like rotten avocado brown instead. No offense to the new owners of course.
We really went down memory lane and drove by my old elementary school. Amazing how close everything is now that I'm older and have a better sense of direction. It felt like it took forever to walk home from school everyday.
You can't go to Stone Mountain, Georgia and not see Stone Mountain for yourself. Unfortunately the day we went, it was too windy and cable cars weren't running, however we got this awesome backdrop to work with.
And just like that, our trip comes to an end. No trip ends without having dinner with the whole family. This is all of my Ngo cousins.
Thank you to my family for always welcoming us into their homes and spoiling us. Thank you Georgia for having good cool weather, thank you Florida for not raining on us.
As always, thanks for following along!
Until our next trip, see y'all!