When we were first planning our move to the beautiful state of Florida, one recurring theme that kept surfacing was the anticipation of being able to visit the parks at a moment’s notice. As we’ve mentioned before, what we envisioned as a short drive to Walt Disney World can actually take us anywhere from 35-55 minutes to arrive, depending on traffic. We try to schedule our Disney trips in on Wednesday afternoons/early evenings (kids have early release from school) and the weekends. School and homework commitments always take priority over our fun time at the parks, and there really isn’t sufficient time on a normal school day to drive over two hours round trip for an hour in the park. This past weekend was a three-day weekend (end of the first grading period for the kids), so we were able to squeeze in an extra day at Walt Disney World. It was not our intention to visit all four parks this weekend; just happened to work out that way!
We rely on the WDW Lines app (downloaded to our smartphones) when we decide which park to visit. (Please see touringplans.com for more information). It is an excellent resource and well worth the small investment: it rates the individual parks based on how crowded they are expected to be, list show times, and estimated wait times for all the attractions.
We decided Saturday to visit the Animal Kingdom. Believe it or not, this was our first visit to AK since our move in July, mainly because we didn’t feel a need to roast ourselves in the hot Florida sun. For us, Animal Kingdom is by far the hottest park. We know others may disagree, but we knew there would be plenty of cooler temperatures in the upcoming months, and we were fine with delaying our visit. We were thrilled to see how close the parking lot tram brought us to the entrance, as we were used to quite the hike when we stayed on property and used Disney transportation.
[As a side note, one of our ‘wants’ is to stay on Disney property at each of the resort hotels. We have decided that when this happens, we will use our own vehicle and not the Disney bus transportation service. We much prefer using the parking lot and trams: it is more convenient and less stressful.]
Ben faced his fear of Expedition Everest: he first tried it in 2007 and quickly placed it on his list (of things he was afraid of!). It is now a must-do attraction at Animal Kingdom! He absolutely loved it! Yay Ben!
Sunday was a Magic Kingdom and Epcot Day: Epcot, because of Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, MK closes at 7:00. We chose to take the monorail over to Epcot for a couple of hours. Magic Kingdom is by far our favorite park, and while it can be an inconvenience to have to take a ferry boat or monorail from the TTC to the Magic Kingdom, most days we enjoy the magical approach as the way Walt Disney wanted it to be.
Naturally, this left Disney’s Hollywood Studios for Monday; this is our second favorite park: Rock N Roller Coaster, the Tower of Terror and Star Tours are absolute must-dos. We went into the 5 & 10 store on Hollywood Boulevard for the first time ever, and discovered a lot of things that we would love to have for Christmas…:=) Thought you might want to take a look too!
Toy Story Mania is also one of our favorites: we always joke with Ben that he so needs to stop coloring on the walls, and that we’re going to have to take his crayons away :=)
We have been asked: what is the best thing about going to the parks now that we live here? We would say the ability to enjoy the parks and really take in the theming of the attractions and surroundings, without feeling the need to rush around and do it all. Walt Disney World isn’t going anywhere, and neither are we–we have plenty of time to explore and enjoy everything it has to offer.