Just returned from my 3rd trip to Walt Disney World in 2 years and I have to say that it was JUST as fun as each of the others. I think it's impossible not to have a good time at WDW. We stayed at Pop Century and went for 6 days. I'm convinced that for me, my ideal timeframe is definitely 6 days at a minimum if I plan to do all of the parks and not kill myself along the way. This trip was at the end of May and was still pretty good from a crowd control perspective but it was VERY hot and humid. That was a bit surprising but we got through it. Following is a topline review of my week in the parks.
Being from Los Angeles, there is really only one flight I see working for me and that is the direct red eye from LAX to MCO. The reason why I love this flight is that you get there early in the morning and don't waste a full vacation day on a plane but ALSO taking the red eye ensures I'm always super tired that first night and makes adjusting to the time zone change much easier for the rest of the trip.
As mentioned before, I also really love staying on property because it allows for more flexibility, Extra Magic Hours, and access to the Magical Express from the airport which is such a dream. We arrived on the morning of the 17th and went straight to Hollywood Studios. I always love starting my trip with Hollywood Studios because as of now it's not really a full day park so it gives you flexibility in when you arrive and you'll still be able to get everything in. We did every ride and still had plenty of time for pictures and a few shows including Beauty and the Beast and Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular. For dinner we ate at the 50's Prime Time Diner which I was STOKED about. Our waitress had fun with us and the food was great! We stayed the full night and left shortly after watching the Star Wars Fireworks show.
The next day we decided to hit up Magic Kingdom. I love doing a big park like Magic Kingdom next because that's probably the most rested I'll be the whole trip so I know I'll have the energy for it. We left super early in the morning so that we'd be there right at rope drop and got in some of the most popular rides right away. For lunch we went to Be Our Guest which is definitely my favorite dining experience in Magic Kingdom. The rest of the day was really spent running around and trying to hit as many rides as we could (we did a pretty good job of getting almost everything in). I found the illusive "purple wall" and we even had time for a Nutella & fruit waffle from Sleepy Hollow (my all time favorite Disney parks snack). By the time the end of the day came we were so tired we got some chili to-go and found a spot in the hub to wait and watch the fireworks. Happily Ever After is the new nighttime fireworks show in Magic Kingdom and it definitely made me cry a little bit watching it for the first time.
The next day we took a break from the parks. This was a new addition to my normal WDW trip experience. I really wanted to try giving myself some down time. We began the morning by taking a cab to the nearest Walt Disney World outlet. There are several outlets but they only exist in Orlando and are called the Disney Character Warehouse. This is the only outlet where you can find official Disney Parks merchandise for crazy low prices. We went around 11am and found out the hard way that you definitely need to be there as soon as the store opens if you have any hope of getting anything good. All of the good stuff is taken within about an hour of store opening. After spending a few hours outlet shopping we went back to the resort and walked around the resort. I didn't realize how close we were to the Art of Animation resort and somehow we found ourselves over there at the pool! It was such a cool resort and I would definitely add this one to my list for my next visit.
Next we did Animal Kingdom. We were there 1 week before Pandora was opening so that was such a tease. We could see the beauty from afar but couldn't go in. LOL. Animal Kingdom has quickly become one of my favorite parks. I love all of the authenticity and beauty of nature that it promotes. The food is also fantastic. There are so many snacks everywhere and I still have SO many more to try. It also has my favorite ride, Expedition Everest, and my favorite show, Finding Nemo, the Musical. I can't wait to go back and hang out again at Animal Kingdom and finally see Pandora!
We ended our trip with a day at Epcot during the Flower & Garden Festival. I absolutely adore the Flower & Garden Festival. It's becoming a tradition to go each year. Beyond the amazing food and drinks "around the world", there is also such incredible beauty with all of the topiaries and extra flowers everywhere! I find it VERY difficult to do Epcot in one day. There isn't much shade so on a hot summer day it is really brutal to be outside that long. Also, it's quite big and there is so much to see and EAT. You can easily spend the whole day in just one half of the world, let alone trying to get any rides in. We got to the park very early and tried to get on Test Track right away, only to have it break down on us. We luckily got a fastpass to come back at any point later that day but that required leaving the World Showcase in order to do that. This trip was the first time I got to ride Frozen Ever After and WOW, did I LOVE this ride! I can't wait to do it again sometime soon!
The last day we went to Disney Springs. This was my first time since Downtown Disney became Disney Springs. It's such a beautiful space and I loved the selection of restaurants and stores chosen for this retail space. I wish I would have done this earlier in my trip because there was a lot I would have wanted to buy to wear for my stay! That said, it was good to have this low key day on our travel day out.