Review of Walt Disney World
This has been months of preparation to make sure that my friends' wedding went off without a hitch. I know I was only part of the bridal party and my list of duties wasn't long as such, but I always worry about my friends and making sure the pieces all fall into place. Especially with the pandemic still very much a daunting shadow looming over our lives, of course I was paranoid. Luckily, this wasn't my friend's first Disney rodeo and she made it look like it was a walk in the park! I'm really thankful for all our friends that made this possible (including you for ordering commissions from me.)
The bride suggested to many of the guests, including myself, to get a travel agent. The person she suggested was Beth Horton from Franceth Travels. She was so helpful in making sure that I was well informed on all the deals and tricks to make this a magical trip. We stayed for 5 days and 4 nights, at the Pop Century Resort, which is themed off of the past decades (50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s.) We were even able to connect our flights to make sure we could get our luggage sent to the resort. I'm a little more paranoid than I'd like to admit (especially because I had some ADORABLE Disneybounds that I didn't want to get lost.) I even sent my bridesmaid dress and shoes with my roommate who drove down because I didn't want anything to happen to it. Even though our flight was early in the morning, and we hadn't traveled since 2019, it was a relatively simple and a pretty painless process. There were mask signs everywhere and if you weren't eating or drinking, staff would be firm and tell you to put your mask on. They even corrected folks that had it under their nose.
On the flight, they told you that if you refused to wear a mask, or wear it improperly, you could be fined and potentially put on the no-fly list. I have no issue with that, since I'd rather everyone be protected around me than have people throwing fits. We actually landed earlier in Orlando than we were scheduled to, which I was super excited for. Everyone told me to have the myDisney experience app downloaded, which made the entire trip completely manageable. One thing I did not know ahead of time was to be able to check into my room 24 hours before we actually arrived. So there was a slight delay on us getting to our room. I was cranky by this point and needed to eat something, so we ordered food from the Pop Century's restaurant. They even had an impossible burger! I ate everything like my life depended on it, and finally our room was ready. We schlepped our things to the room and laid down for a minute before heading to Disney Springs to celebrate the bachelorette party. Keesha wanted it to be Villains themed and everyone looked absolutely amazing as their chosen villain. I obviously went with Facilier and we just walked around and enjoy
ed the sights. I also went ahead and bought Tolia a really expensive Lego set as an early Valentine's gift, which he's working on as I type this. He surprised me with the Tiana cake my friends had sent to me before the trip. It. Was. Delicious.
After a bit, we walked around and enjoyed the scenes and music. I was hell-bent to find any Tiana merch and was sorely disappointed in how little there actually was. Even the cast members work
ing the stores were confused by me asking for her. I was told there would be a lot of Black hype since it is Black History Month, but I had to hunt hard for what I found. I ended up getting a Tiana magicband, a larger magnet, a tiny wood block, and Tolia got me a large print of Tiana and Lottie sitting together. There was more Little Green Men merchandise than there was Tiana. After our shopping spree, we hobbled back to our bus, which took us directly to Pop Century. We passed the heck out and slept as deep as I have ever slept.
Before Tolia and I could hit Magic Kingdom for our first day at the parks, I needed to meet up for the rehearsal for the wedding. Due to some miscommunication, assumptions, and having the direction sense of a baby, both the Maid of Honor and I were late. We still made our way over to the resort we needed to be at to get filled in. I really did not realize just how large Disney was or how much walking I would need to do. I did not pack the correct shoes and so Tolia had to zip over to the Springs to get us a couple supplies for the wedding and to be able to walk around comfortably. We met up at Magic Kingdom to get changed and start
our vacation. I had never been to such an incredible, immersive park. Cast members were so amazingly friendly and helpful. If I had a question, they were quick to answer and were so sweet in their compliments. Everyone knew immediately that I was Disneybounding Tiana and loved Tolia's Naveen. We got to take some gorgeous photos at a few of the photo spots. Tolia really hammed it up for me and I cannot wait to put those into the scrapbook! We snacked on the most tasty Dole Whip I could even hope to try, called the "I Lava You Float" which had pop rocks on top of the pineapple Dole Whip, which sat atop a bit of strawberry fanta. I had never had anything like it and got the goofiest picture of Tolia.
We luckily didn't have a very crowded park day, so we were able to hop onto the Haunted Mansion ride pretty quickly. I got some great photos from that ride, and it was such a fun experience. We only rode a couple more rides, including the Ariel ride, Space Mountain, and the Carousel of Progress. We took a break between all of that and exploring the park, by munching on a Mickey shaped cinnamon roll, some apples, and some orange juice. On the Carousel of Progress, it honestly was such a weird, prophetic ride. But they tell you at the beginning of the ride that it's 20 minutes long and you cannot leave. They say this at least three times, and even from all of that, a very fussy baby and flustered dad tried to get up. If you have a fussy baby, you do not get on a ride you cannot get off of. It's a pain for the cast members, and a huuuuuge annoyance for all of the folks stuck with you. After that nightmare was over (crying babies give me headaches,) we headed to the Beast's castle for Be Our Guest. This was for our dinner reservations and it was the best.
First, they ask you if you have any food allergies, and I'm lactose intolerant, so they immediately jotted that down. We were seated almost immediately and told that if we weren't at our table, we needed to wear our masks. Our server was so cute and had such a great sense of humor. I treated myself to the pomegranate limeade in the glowing chalice while Tolia stayed with water. Our three course meals were French Onion Soup (mine did not have the cheese baked on it), Filet Minon and the Vegetable Melody, and for dessert, Tolia had the Grey Stuff and I had the Raspberry Lemon Curd and Shortcake. All in all, the meal was absolutely incredible to experience, and I would 100000% do it again.
We met up with the Maid of Honor to ride back to the Bridal Suite in order to make sure we'd make it to hair and makeup. I had to be awake at 3 am to get gussied up. It was a really great ego boost, but oh man, I hate being up early. I especially distaste it because I was too excited to sleep! I really felt like Marilyn Monroe, and loved seeing the other bridesmaids with their whole getup. I was really honored to be a part of this Bridal Party and be able to make this wedding happen. I know I only fluffed the dress and made sure nothing got ripped or dirty, but that's still a really important job. We hopped onto the bus to head to Epcot and got some photos taken before lining up and having the most stressful minute of my life. We weren't standing next to folks to make sure the risk was lowered. I had to walk down the aisle alone and good lord I wasn't expecting my heels to clack as loud as they did down the German Pavilion. I managed not to cry until I got to my seat, and then my roommate Jen asked me if I was okay. I kinda coughed and my mask got wet with snot. It was a hilarious moment but oh my lord was it embarrassing. After the ceremony, I cried at how gorgeous and happy Keesha and Adam looked as they had their first dance. The emotions from all of this was extremely overwhelming.
We got some gorgeous photos, which I really want to display in my house, as well as my scrapbook. Keesha absolutely looked like an angel. After some more photos, we headed over to the bridge between the UK and France. Kimmee (MoH) and I took just a little bit longer because our shoes really messed with our feet. I thought I was going to be walking with a giant, and got my dress altered for the 6 inch heels (big mistake, 0/10 will not do again). After we eventually made it, we enjoyed one of the best brunches we've ever had the pleasure of having. They had plenty of choices for my dietary restrictions, and were so polite. That was the moment Tolia decided that we were getting married at Disney (I do not want this, but maybe Tolia can convince me.) The cake was probably my favorite part. There were two choices: Red Velvet and the Churro flavor. I chose Churro, and Tolia got the Velvet. Probably the most delicious cake I've ever had. We left the reception shortly after so that I could get off my feet and change. They insisted that I wear shoes, but at this point, my feet had swollen so much, I had extreme difficulty putting them on. I admit that after 30+ hours of being awake, my body and mind were done, so I snapped, yelling about how stupid shoes are. After breathing for a moment, we got to the Bridal suite, to grab my things, then headed back to the resort to bathe and nap. I looked at my ankles and they had swollen to about 3 times their normal size.
My wonderful friend Lauren told me to put my feet up and I rested for a couple of hours before going back to Epcot to actually enjoy the park. Tolia had chosen our Disneybounds for the day, going with Prince Eric and Ursula from the Little Mermaid. Everyone complimented him, and someone even bought him a bubble tea. I found some of the coolest things at the different stalls, but spent most of my budget on food and a couple of souvenirs for Jen, Tolia's mom, and myself. I found some gorgeous Tiana art that I just *had* to purchase, and they sit on my mantel. We made our way slowly around Epcot before seeing the gorgeous bride in her wedding day fit. I laughed as our friends brought her so many drinks. Poor dear had to double fist frozen drinks. I hung out for a few minutes before we finished our tour with Mexico, Canada, and the UK before hobbling back to our room. I slept really heckin good afterwards.
We awoke Saturday morning, still pooped, but ready to hit Hollywood Studios. I made the mistake of thinking we were going to see Pandora, but found out later that Pandora was in Animal Kingdom. Which, if we didn't have dinner reservations, we could have made our way to that park. We had purchased the Park Hopper pass, which we didn't actually use, so it was kind of a waste of money. I'm glad we found out now, and it wasn't that expensive, but we know for next time. We spent the most amount of time at this park, but thought we were going to spend the least, since it was the smallest. We rode the Star Tours ride, and I got a little dizzy from the glasses. After getting out of that, we made our way into the Chinese Theater replica to ride the Mickey and Minnie Picnic ride, which seemed like such a weird concept. It was such an incredible ride that really was such an awesome experience. While we waited in line, we got Mickey pretzels, where the cheese messed with my stomach (it wasn't even real cheese, I thought I was safe.)
We had to take a quick bathroom break and then hustled into the Galaxy's Edge, where Tolia had a nerdgasm of Star Wars proportions. We got so many photos of all the immersive scenery and had the pleasure of trying blue and green milk (which my buddy Ulises said I had to try.) We weren't able to ride any rides, but got to enjoy the park for what it was. I wish I had been able to get on the Rise of the Resistance ride, but it literally booked up in about 30 seconds. We did go to the Droid Depot and Tolia almost convinced me to make a droid for myself, but that $100 price tag and the fact that there weren't any spots left dissuaded me from that. Tolia and I then went to the Toy Story world, but not before getting our photos taken with Grogu edited in. It was really funny to have a Maul-bound and R2-D2-bound surrounding the baby Yoda.
Tolia did not enjoy the Toy Story world, only because everything looked like it came out of a toy box. He hated it and tried to force me along, even after I asked him to let me rest my ankles. The line for the Slink ride was absolutely insane and Tolia didn't want to ride even before that. Unfortunately, we didn't stay too long so I didn't get any good photos. We walked back to the main part of the Studios. We wanted to go ride the Tower of Terror and spent the longest time we had that weekend waiting in that line. Approximately an hour and a half after we entered the line, we got on. It's proper name is the Twilight Zone's Tower of Terror, and it was my favorite ride for the trip. While it was short, it was so beautiful and immersive! Tolia and I look so calm in our pictures, but I'm grinning ear to ear under my mask. We also had three or four cast members congratulate us on our marriage (I had gotten a button for Keesha's wedding, but they thought it was for us.) Tolia told me to run with it and I really thought he was going to propose. After finishing the ride, we got a couple of souvenirs for our friends and then headed back to our room to rest. I had a call that told me I needed to link my flight times to get my Magical Express info. The Cast Member was again, so patient and helpful while I got my information and made sure I knew that if I had any other questions, to call at any time.
We took a quick nap and almost accidentally exposed a poor cleaning lady to Tolia's very toasty, very nakey body. He was laying down, trying to cool and the poor woman wanted to give us clean towels! We turned her away, then rested until we needed to leave for our dinner reservations at Morimoto Asia Restaurant. I was so excited to get the reservations for that before we left. The atmosphere of the facility was so incredible and breath-taking. Tolia and I got a few photos before sitting down in front of the kitchen. It was huge and a very well-kept and even though it was not super researched, we enjoyed a Tonkatsu Ramen (T), and I enjoyed a Yellowtail dish that they finished preparing in front of me. Tolia's face was absolutely priceless. The meal itself was pretty expensive, but they made it absolutely worth it. Tolia almost got me to spend $100 on 3oz of Wagyu beef. ALMOST. But we shared some sushi rolls and got our photos taken by their in-house photographer. She was so beautiful and friendly.
We finished the evening by looking for luggage to pack all the stuff I had bought this week, and came out with a pretty reasonably priced backpack that held just about everything extra. The only exception was the giant Lego set. Every TSA member was very jealous of Tolia. We made it back to the room with little delay and packed, not wanting to be late the next morning for the Express back to the airport. I really wish we could have stayed a couple more days, if only to miss out on this blizzard I'm currently looking out the window at. There wasn't too too many folks travelling home, but we still had to wait to get through TSA and find food. Southwest had cancelled all their flights, stranding a few of my friends. As far as I know, they won't be able to come home before Wednesday.
We only had one or two people that were sick while we were travelling home, but we're still working on making sure it wasn't COVID related. Otherwise, I believe the entire trip to and of Disney was so safe and we shouldn't have any risk. I'm still exhausted from all the travelling and walking (Pokemon Go says I walked well over 50km.) I'm hoping today (Tuesday) I can get started working on some orders again, as well as pack up the orders I wasn't able to get out before we went on the trip. I hope I can catch up very quickly, as the vacation was very much needed. Even during the midst of a pandemic, I had never felt safer. While the heat was a bit exhausting, especially while wearing a mask, it was absolutely doable, so if you can't go to the grocery store and wear your mask (I'm specifically talking about anti-maskers) you're weak and don't deserve to be out in public. Tolia and I spent 12+ hours almost every day for 5 days straight to make sure we did our civic duty. And honestly, I couldn't have asked for a better partner to do this with. I do really hope I can go back to Disney soon enough, maybe after I get vaccinated. I also know I'd love to go to Animal Kingdom, since I love animals so so much.
I hope that if you decide to go on a vacation soon, that you stay safe, and make sure that you have fun. These past few years have been just a bit hectic and everyone deserves some time to relax and unwind. I wish I could have swam, but I didn't feel safe with all the masks off. If you've made it this far, please tell me what your favorite part of my trip was! I would love to hear what you think and can't wait to get orders cranked out. Thank you so much for your patience, and I hope you stay warm and safe.