My 10 Favourite Things from our 2 Disney Vacations in 2018
This past year we were very fortunate to head to Walt Disney World not once but twice. For ideas on how you can make this a reality for your family check out this previous post by clicking this link. When I look back on these 2 trips I’ve come up with a list of 10 things that were my absolute favourite. Check them out and maybe you’ll want to add them to your plans for your upcoming Disney trip.
On our January vacation, we ventured over to Fort Wilderness resort to take in the nighttime event Chip n Dale Campfire Sing a Long. This is a free event that takes place each night at Fort Wilderness. It lasts about 15 minutes and features these two chipmunks and a troubadour of sorts leading the campfire group in song. Each night children are selected to bring Chip n Dale out to the crowd and sing a long with them. Our children were selected, making this event extra special and memorable.
9. Staying at Wilderness Lodge
On our January vacation we had a multiple resort stay and part of that vacation was spent at Wilderness Lodge. It’s a Magic Kingdom resort and has an elaborate lobby and beautiful grounds; with two fantastic pools: Copper Creek Pool and Boulder Ridge Pool. We stayed on the top floor, in a really unique villa. For the full details on our amazing room check out this previous post. I love the theme of this resort, the huge log cabin, the creeks and falls found around the resort. It is one of my favourites.
8. Riding Hollywood Tower of Terror with MacKenzie
MacKenzie turned 5 during our January vacation, making her tall enough to ride many of the attractions found around Walt Disney World. Tower of Terror was one of them. My mom was with us so both Jeff and I were able to take her on the attraction. She was definitely scared but she took it like a champ. Seeing her face as we dropped again and again, and seeing her lift right off the bench over and over was hilarious! By the time we make it back in 2020 she should be ready to ride this again.
7. Eating at Artist Point
Artist Point has recently changed into a character dining experience featuring Snow White, but when we were there in August it was still a Signature restaurant. It was our first meal on the Deluxe Dining Plan and it truly impressed us. We had excellent service, the food (each and every course) was exquisite. The salad that came with my salmon was especially memorable for me. There were things in my salad that I had never tasted before and likely never will again. It seems that quality of the food hasn’t changed with the other changes to the restaurant so I would still recommend heading to this restaurant. It’s found off the lobby of the Wilderness Lodge and is only open for supper.
6. Pool Hopping
During our August vacation, swimming in the pool was as huge a part of our vacation as the dining. It was so hot! So we spent most of the day in our resort’s pools, Saratoga Springs, or at other resort’s pools by pool hopping. It was a really relaxing part of our vacation. We swam in each of Saratoga Spring’s pools, I loved swimming at the Congress Park pool, taking in the view of Disney Springs while cooling off in the pool. We swam at the pools at Animal Kingdom Lodge, both Jambo House and Kidani Village. We even got into Stormalong Bay one afternoon. Read this previous post on how we did that.
5. Riding Seven Dwarf’s Mine Train with Lincoln
Seven Dwarf’s Mine Train is a fantastic attraction. The roller coaster is fast, with lots of twists and drops. But it’s also an attraction that is built for smaller guests which meant Lincoln, almost 3 at the time, was able to ride it. Seeing the look on his face while the carts rocked and dropped was priceless. You only get your first ride once and sharing that with him was definitely a highlight.
4. Storm Troopers at Hollywood Studios
I have been a fan of Star Wars since we rode Star Tours back in the 90’s. We’ve passed along this appreciation onto our children. They’ve grown up with the books and some toys. Lincoln has always been inclined to Storm Troopers so seeing them in real life was a must for him. This was our first time back to Hollywood Studios since Disney had purchased Lucasfilm and the Storm Troopers walking around unexpectedly was such a thrill. Seeing them approach guests to question them was like being in one of the films. I LOVED IT!!! We took many pictures and watched the March of the First Order. It was surreal.
3. Flights of Passage
Pandora-The Land of Avatar is found at the Animal Kingdom. In this area of the park there is much to see and do, including the two attractions: Flights of Passage and Na’Vi River Journey. Before heading here I had no idea what to expect. I hadn’t watched any videos about the rides or read any reviews. I wanted to be surprised. And man I was not disappointed. Flights of Passage was incredible. I loved the way you could feel the Banshee breathing while you were riding it. Looking up and seeing how many guests were on the ride at the same time as me was daunting. I would strongly recommend grabbing a FastPass for this attraction, if you can’t nab one then use the tricks from this previous post on getting into the Animal Kingdom early and on flights of passage before the park even opens.
2. Celebrating MacKenzie’s Birthday at the Magic Kingdom
When we had to cancel our trip back in 2017 due to Hurricane Irma we had a really hard time reschedule our vacation. Most of the accommodations were already booked for the coming months, the best availability was in January. We already had a vacation booked for April and decided that we would combine 2 vacations into one big vacation in January to celebrate MacKenzie’s 5th birthday. It certainly helped with the let down of not being able to get to Disney as soon as we had expected. The whole day was about her, she got to decide which rides we went on, she got her face painted, met the characters she wanted to meet. It was a really magical day. What a wonderful place to spend a birthday. For ideas on how to celebrate a birthday at Disney check out this previous post.
My absolute favourite thing that occurred on either vacation was the fireworks display during the Moonlight Magic event at Epcot for DVC members. The event took place only twice over the course of two weeks, so I expected a few fireworks to be the extent of the show but boy was I wrong. There was music and the fireworks worked in harmony to create in incredible nighttime display. And all just for members and their guests. There was no cost for this event and yet this fireworks display was orchestrated and planned out as if we had paid a park admission. It brought tears to my eyes. It really made me feel valued as members of the Disney Vacation Club. That they want to create these special moments for us to remember forever. I will never forget it.
*Special mention: Food Goals
My special mention that didn’t make the top 10, because I didn’t get to enjoy them in August, is my food goals. For both trips I made a list of food items I wanted to try. It totally changed the food I ate during our January vacation and took me to places I had never been before. I loved my Ice Cream Cookie Sandwich from Sleepy Hollow and my Caramel Apple from Big Top Souvenirs. I didn’t eat half of my list I made for August because we just ate so much food on the Deluxe Dining Plan. But I will never again vacation at Disney without one of these lists. For ideas on how to make your own check out this previous post.
Over the next year, 2019, we won’t be making our way down to Disney World but we will have fun planning our trip, maybe even trips for 2020. Looking back on our two 2018 vacations makes it easier to adjust to the idea of not heading down in this calendar year. For reasons why we’re not heading down in 2019, check out this previous post. Happy Planning, Friends.