Just a bit of a disclaimer about this post…it is rather long but it has some tips if you are going to WDW. Also, I mention names of places but I have no affiliation with any company. I am sharing this post as my own personal experience with my own personal opinions. 

We got back from our trip to Orlando and Walt Disney World a week ago Sunday but I’m finally getting back into a routine. It seems like it’s taking longer and longer to get back on track after we’ve been away. Maybe it’s because we don’t travel as much as we used to?

Our Trip to Walt Disney World | chatfieldcourt.com

Well, we’re home from our 5 day excursion so I thought I’d share some of the highlights and a few tips with you. We used to live in Florida, from 2004-2011, and we visited Disney alot often when the kids were growing up. It’s one of my favorite places to go and it’s been too long since we’ve visited…5 years to be exact and yes, we still enjoy it even though we no longer have kids at home.

Our Trip to Walt Disney World | chatfieldcourt.comWhenever we travel we try to spend as little as possible and this trip was no exception. Our airline tickets were insanely cheap, we got a great deal on a rental car and I rented a nice condo on Homeaway.com about 8 miles from WDW. I love staying onsite at a Disney resort but the prices were outrageous this time and we are in the room only to sleep so, for us, it wasn’t worth the expense. Make no mistake though, WDW is an expensive place to visit so we try to spend our money wisely by cutting corners when we can, like staying in a condo 8 miles from WDW, so that we can visit a park and eat dinner at a great restaurant.

Our Trip to Walt Disney World | chatfieldcourt.com

When I made all of our travel and sleeping reservations, I also researched and booked our dinner reservations, bought park passes and booked fast passes for the parks we were going to visit. WDW offers magic bands, that you register on Disney.com, that are used as your room key, for park admission and all of your reservations for anything Disney, including fast passes. Since we didn’t stay onsite I had to buy our magic bands but I’m so glad that I did, and we can use them again the next time we visit.

Our Trip to Walt Disney World | chatfieldcourt.comI also downloaded the Disney app on my Iphone which listed my itinerary, including my fast pass times and our dinner reservations. I could also check wait times for rides and the times for fireworks and parades. We used the app tons, even to find the nearest restroom.

The first night there was hubs birthday and we tried a new place, Narcoosee’s. It’s on the lagoon at the Grand Floridian where you can see the castle at Magic Kingdom and the Contemporary. It was pricey but oh.my.goodness it was delicious, our best meal, and after dinner we stood on their deck and watched Wishes, the Magic Kingdom’s fireworks, complete with music. All in all, a great experience.

Our Trip to Walt Disney World | chatfieldcourt.com

The next day we went to EPCOT. What a great day we had with absolutely beautiful weather and no big crowds. After taking a few pics at Spaceship Earth, we headed back to France where we ate lunch at Chefs De France. I’ve read glowing reviews on this place and it didn’t disappoint.

Our Trip to Walt Disney World | chatfieldcourt.com

I didn’t think it was as good as our dinner the night before but hubs loved his meal. After a fun and easy day of walking around all the countries and going on a few rides, you gotta go in Spaceship Earth, we strolled over to England for our dinner reservations at the Rose & Crown Pub. Since we had a big lunch, fish and chips was the perfect meal for us. We ended up eating there at the right time because we were escorted to their VIP section, right on the lagoon, to watch the awesome fireworks show.

Our Trip to Walt Disney World | chatfieldcourt.com

Our second day, Friday, was a more relaxed day spent driving around to a few resorts we always visit, riding the monorail and visiting Downtown Disney.

Our Trip to Walt Disney World | chatfieldcourt.com I read about Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto at the Polynesian so we stopped in there for an afternoon cocktail. It was a fun and unique bar but the drink prices were a little steep. After our Grotto experience we headed to dinner at the Beach Club’s Cape May Cafe…love the steamed clams and crab!

On Saturday we spent the day at Hollywood Studios. It was a Star Wars weekend, unbeknownst to us, so we spent the day fighting crowds in the rain and humidity. We had a great time but I wouldn’t go on a special weekend like that again. Our dinner reservations for this night were at Sanaa at the Animal Kingdom Lodge.

Our Trip to Walt Disney World | chatfieldcourt.comInstead of driving our rental there, we took the resort bus from the park to the lodge. This was our first time at this restaurant and we ended up having a great meal with awesome service and a curious dining companion. We sat right next to the window looking out on the savannah and this guy (or gal) stood there watching us for a good 30 minutes.

Our Trip to Walt Disney World | chatfieldcourt.comAll the food we had was delicious but they are known for their bread service…fresh made naan with dipping sauces. OMG…so good.

Our Trip to Walt Disney World | chatfieldcourt.com

After dinner, and one last look at the animals, we hopped on a bus for Hollywood Studios to see Fantasmic! We haven’t seen this show in many years so we really enjoyed it. Back in the parking lot in our car, we were treated to some more awesome fireworks that were part of the Star Wars festivities. A perfect ending to a great day and a fun vacation.

On Sunday we headed home to Chicago and the chilly weather, it was 45 when we landed. Ugh…maybe the weather’s the reason I had a hard time getting back on schedule.

If you’re still with me, congrats you made it to the end. Thanks so much for sticking with me through this long post. If you have any questions about Disney or Orlando, please leave a comment. I read and answer every one. 🙂 Hope you have a great week!

You can find me at …Between Naps on the Porch | A Stroll Thru Life | Savvy Southern Style | Sand and Sisal | The Shabby Nest | Cozy Little House | French Country Cottage | Over 50 Feeling 40 | Dixie Delights 

 

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No decorating today. I’m still not 100%, so I didn’t do a whole lot this weekend. I did want to share a little bit about our vacation to sunny Florida that we took a few weeks ago.

Sunny Florida | chatfieldcourt.comEarlier this month, my husband and I went to Florida for a few days to escape the very cold and very snowy winter we are having in the Chicago area. Usually I do a lot of research and planning but this was really spur of the moment, so we kind of just picked a place and made arrangements. We used to take the girls camping in Destin, which is in the panhandle, when they were growing up, so we decided that it would be fun to go back after so many years. The only problem with going to Destin in February is that it’s a little chilly there. After watching the weather for a few days, we realized that if we wanted some really warm weather, we would need to go further South. Since we got our airline tickets using points, we didn’t want to pay to change our tickets, so we planned on staying for a night in Destin and then driving 6 hours down to Orlando. We ended up staying 3 of our 5 days in Orlando and I’m so glad that we did that. The weather was sunny and warm and 80 degrees every day we were there. We visited some of our favorite spots but we didn’t go to any parks this time, as our plans were to just relax and not spend a lot of money. Did you know that there are a ton of things to do in Orlando that cost nothing or next to nothing? We lived near Orlando for 7 years and have visited a lot, so we have learned a thing or two about what to do and what not to do.

Sunny Florida | chatfieldcourt.com

Unfortunately, my husband got the stomach flu on day 3 in Orlando and ended up spending the day in bed. This is the man who never.ever.gets.sick. I was on my own that day so I went to Animal Kingdom Lodge (my favorite resort to visit) to see if they had found the sunglasses that I lost on the first night we were there 🙁 and to see the animals. I took lots of pictures, bought a snack in the food court, and sat at the pool to enjoy the sun and do some people watching.

Sunny Florida | chatfieldcourt.com

We ended up driving through rain the whole way back to Destin. My husband was feeling a little better but I was coming down with what he had. Not fun sitting in a car for 6 hours when you have the stomach flu. 🙁

We were supposed to leave the next day to fly home, but because of the bad weather in the Southeast, our flights were cancelled and we couldn’t get new flights out for 2 more days. After spending too many hours trying to get information and book our flights, we ended up driving back to Pensacola, where we were flying out of, and got a hotel right on the beach. It wasn’t all that warm, but it was beautiful and sunny and peaceful. We were able to watch the sun rise and set and it was the 2 most relaxing days of our vacation.

Sunny Florida | chatfieldcourt.comThe Margaritaville Hotel was right next to our hotel, it was sold out because of Valentine’s Day so we couldn’t get a room , but we ate lunch there one afternoon and I took lots of pics. They had beautiful decor and delicious margaritas!

Sunny Florida | chatfieldcourt.com

So although I lost my expensive (to me) sunglasses, we drove a lot of miles, we got the stomach flu and our flights were cancelled, we ended up having a great vacation. You don’t realize how much you really need to get away and spend time together until you go and do it. 🙂

Thanks for stopping by and letting me indulge in my vacation memories. Hope you have a great week!

 

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