WDW wrap-up

So 3 months later I’m finally wrapping up my Walt Disney World trip report. YAY! I’ve covered what we did in the theme parks but thought I’d share some random pics and details as well.

The holidays were the perfect time to visit. All the parks and resorts were decorated and everything was so festive. LOVED IT.

We had a total of 9 full days in the parks which, I know, is A LOT of time at WDW. But seriously, we could have used a few extra days. In hindsight, I think we would have been much happier skipping Miami and staying at WDW the full 2 weeks. There’s just SO MUCH to do! While we visited each of the 4 main theme parks and played mini golf (not to mention took a day to leave Disney property and visit Harry Potter at Hogwarts), we didn’t have the chance to rent bikes and ride around the grounds of our hotel or take the segway tour around Epcot or even visit one of the water parks. I guess there’s always next time! 🙂

Since it was Rob’s first visit to WDW, I figured we might as well go all out and book a deluxe hotel (the other hotel categories are moderates and values). We stayed at the Wilderness Lodge and I absolutely fell in love with it. It was a fantastic home base for our stay. Just look!

The entrance gate… seeing it for the first time got me SO excited.

First look!

The gorgeous lobby.

The grounds are so beautiful. I miss it SO MUCH.

Another great feature of the Wilderness Lodge is the boat transportation to the Magic Kingdom (in addition to buses to all parks and destinations). So even though we rented a car, we took advantage of the boat system a few times. So fun!

We also booked a dining plan for our stay. It sounds really strange, right? Like why would you want to have a dining plan for meals that would probably consist of burgers and fries? At least that’s what I thought at first. But I discovered that dining is an experience all its own at WDW. Each park and all the resorts have a variety of options that aren’t the typical theme park food you might expect.

I also learned that WDW periodically offers free dining promotions to the public for package reservations booked for specific dates. I normally like to do all the planning for our trips but tracking these promotions is a full time job in itself. So THE BEST decision I made was to work with a travel agent, Mouseketrips. They did all the legwork and when free dining was released, they applied it to my reservation and I used the savings to upgrade to DELUXE dining. It’s a RIDICULOUS amount of food but we were going to take FULL ADVANTAGE. Food is an important part of our vacation experience, after all. 🙂

We had 20 (!!!) table service reservations over the course of 10 days plus the 3 snacks we were allotted each day (we used these a lot for fruit, croissants and orange juice in the morning). There were definitely a few meals that were forgettable, some that were average but many were spectacular so I’d like to share some favorites. Beware lots of pics (I can’t help it – I take pics of food – it’s a thing)…

Best Overall Experience

Le Cellier in EPCOT. We had the most amazing service here. AND the food was fantastic too. Pretzel bread, the most amazing lobster salad, filet with mushroom risotto — all capped off with pina colada rooibos tea. YUMMERS.

Favorite Meals (From Start to Finish)

Jiko at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. Bold & unique flavors. My braised beef short ribs were to die for.

Yak & Yeti at the Animal Kingdom. Asian fusion. Yummy rice!

Favorite Breakfasts

Buffet at Boma. Offerings from all over Africa. They had a delicious frunch juice, which was a mix of lemonade and orange, pineapple, mango juices. SO GOOD.

Kona Cafe at the Polynesian. Hawaiian-inspired. How can you go wrong?

Kouzzina by Cat Cora at the Boardwalk. Truly a hidden gem. Plus they had amazing iced coffee.

Favorite Appetizers

Lobster chopped salad from Le Cellier at EPCOT.

Smoky Portobello Mushroom Soup from Artist Point at the Wilderness Lodge. Scrumptious.

Best Comfort Food

Fried Chicken from 50’s Prime Time Cafe at Hollywood Studios. NOMMY.

Favorite Seafood Entree

Cedar Plank-Roasted Wild King Salmon from Artist Point at the Wilderness Lodge.

Favorite Snacks

Caramel corn, caramel & chocolate-covered strawberries, caramel rolls with marshmallow cream… Mmm Mmm Good.

Favorite Desserts

Caramelized Banana Napoleon from Flying Fish Cafe at the Boardwalk.

Creme Brulee from Les Chefs de France at EPCOT. SOLID.

Bread pudding from Ohana at the Polynesian. OH. EM. GEE.

Best Ambiance

California Grill at the Contemporary. We had an amazing table right by the window with this view!

Annnnndddd… that’s all folks! Thanks for indulging me. 🙂

We had an unbelievably magical vacation. Until next time WDW!