What do you get for a man turning 30? A trip to Disney World - where you can escape the cold and have the best time. Our trip kicked off at Orlando World Center Marriott, which has 28 floors and almost 1900 rooms - this place is massive. It definitely has a feel of a hotel designed for business and golf trips but has a lot to offer families! First off the suite we had was huge and provided a great base, along with the view from the 20th floor enabling us to see various Disney fireworks shows on our first night.
Each Disney park was somewhere between 10 and 20 minutes via Lyft and there was rarely a wait. The hotel does offer a shuttle but we were tending to get to the parks before they opened so wanted to be on our own schedule.
So, as I said, the hotel was great. All the food options were excellent, the breakfast buffet had so many options (the best fruit selection I've ever seen!!) and the hotel did an amazing French onion soup for lunch! Plenty of choice for vegans and vegetarians too! By the time we left they had also decked the hotel out for the holidays and they really did a wonderful job. For activities on site we only dived in (pun intended) to the pools -- which includes a separate kids pool with a mini slide, 2 larger slides elsewhere, a jacuzzi and one of the largest hotel pools I've ever seen. The kids pool was a great way for Jayne to cool off and it was relatively well shaded from the intensity of the Florida sunshine.
Our favorite restaurant on site was actually High Velocity the sports bar!!
As some of you may know Magic Kingdom will let you in to explore Main Street USA an hour before the official opening time. You can't go on the rides at this time but it is a great opportunity to take in the spectacle of Disney without too many people around. In this hour they also have the vintage cars and a vintage double decker bus driving along Main Street USA and of course the opening show kicks off about 5/10 minutes before the opening time.
We love Magic Kingdom, Jayne is obsessed with Pirates so that is always a must-do ride. Our new discovery was Barnstormer, which Jayne was obsessed with. She can sometimes get a bit scared on rides with drops (including Frozen in Epcot), but she absolutely loved this small rollercoaster! Another classic was Enchanted Tales with Belle. I think it is always the first thing we do, because Jayne loves it so much. Carousel of Progress and It's a Small World can't be missed either.
Best new food discovery for us in Magic Kingdom this trip was the amazing veggie hot dog at Casey's Corner along Main Street USA.
So this was our first time experiencing Epcot while the Food and Wine Festival was ongoing. Some amazing options including a garlic snail croissant in France that Tom ate!! Our really great food find here was using the quick service restaurant in Japan - amazing value plus Jayne loves miso and edamame!
Norway in Epcot was crazy this trip, which coincided with the release of Frozen 2, so we actually skipped attempting the meet and greet. We did however get to see Sleeping Beauty in France and Snow White in Germany!. Also, following the ride with Figment we got to meet Jayne's latest obsession -- Vanellope from Wreck It Ralph, which we didn't even know about, so that was really exciting for her! As ever Spaceship Earth was very enjoyable! Epcot is also home to one of the best and most time efficient meet and greets with Disney Pals at Epcot Center. The queue is usually very short and it includes Mickey, Minnie and Goofy. So instead of waiting up to an hour at the theatre in Magic Kingdom, make this your Mickey stop!
This was probably the most time we've spent at Hollywood Studios on any of our trips. As ever we really enjoyed the Beauty and the Beast show and Jayne loved dancing at the Disney Jr Dance Party! Toy Story land really is amazing, with cool character meet and greets. However, if you don't have fast passes for the rides it might be a long day - the queues were absolutely insane so it will be interesting to see if the virtual queueing for the new Star Wars ride gets trialed on other popular rides around the parks! Toy Story Land has a great quick service food place and I'm excited to test out their full restaurant when it opens next year!