This past week, the family and I went on a trip to Florida. Here’s our story:
On the first leg of the trip, we went to Panama City Beach. We stayed at the Holiday Inn, right on the Gulf of Mexico. Beautiful resort. Plus, sugar-white sand and lovely, clear water. The next morning, we headed to Disney, and to our home for the week: The All Star Music Resort. There are certainly pros and cons to staying at this resort. Food was great (get the dining plan! You will have more food credits than you’ll ever know what to do with). Theming was great. Disney transportation was actually easy to manage (once we parked the car, we took the buses). My biggest complaint? My bed was like a rock, and the pillow was like a boulder. NOT comfortable at all! Even without sleep, I was ready to go the next morning.
Day 1: Epcot
Talk about nostalgia! Journey into Imagination has changed (not necessarily for the better), but the moment I saw my favorite purple dragon – Figment – I got teary eyed. And the “One Little Spark” song… ::sigh:: We also rode Mission: Space and Soarin’. Both were a great bit of fun. World Showcase was absolutely alive, as we visited during the Food and Wine Festival. I wish I could have sampled some of the fare, but we were saving our tummies for lunch at Nine Dragons in the China pavillion. Great place! The rest of the countries were great fun. I got to pick an oyster in Japan, which held a gorgeous pearl. And, we saw Smash Mouth at the “Eat to the Beat” concert. My favorite band! Live! Talk about a thrill. Speaking of thrills, onto….
Day 2: Animal Kingdom
This park didn’t exist the last time I was in Disney World (over 20 years ago!). It’s awesome. Dinosaur! threw us for a loop. Talk about a wild ride! Kali River Rapids got us wet…but not as wet as I thought we’d get! The Tree of Life, a man made centerpiece for the park, is breathtaking. Seeing all the animal carvings was great. Even better? My daughter ran into her friend from school! What a great surprise. I wasn’t brave enough to ride Expedition: Everest, but hubby did. He enjoyed it. We all enjoyed Tusker House for dinner. Goofy, Mickey, Donald, and Daisy kept us company.
Day 3: Hollywood Studio
The Muppets! Phineas and Ferb! The Great Movie Ride! Songs from musical movies! Talk about heaven. We saw the Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular, too, where they show how stunts and such are done. Wow. Memories. I’d forgotten that when I was an actress, I DID do all my own stunts. It’s a pretty cool park. Got to get a picture in front of Mr. Gold’s Pawnshop. Once Upon a Time fans will recognize that reference. I wore my Hook shirt for good measure. 😉 We didn’t have as much time in this park, because we attended the “Spirit of Aloha” dinner show/luau that evening over at the Polynesian resort.
Day 4: Magic Kingdom
Oh, how I ADORE this park! Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean, Peter Pan’s Flight, It’s a Small World… My nostalgia meter was off the charts! Plus, we got to see Anna and Elsa from Frozen. Laugh if you want. I love Frozen. “Let It Go” helped me transition from actress back to writer. If you ever go, make sure you have LeFou Brew at Gaston’s Tavern. The Not-So-Scary Halloween Party was INSANE! Seeing the Sanderson Sisters perform with all the other Disney villains was great. So was the Boo to You parade. Trick-or-Treating. Rides. Awesomeness! The only downside is that hubby and son missed it because my son was sick. That’s okay, because…
Day 5: Magic Kingdom, Part Two
Yep, that’s right. We decided to use our last day to revist the Magic Kingdom. I had to share the magic with my WHOLE family. At Gaston’s Tavern, on the advice of someone we met on the bus (lots of chatter while on buses and waiting in lines), we tried the cinnamon roll. It was HUGE and DELICIOUS! We also got some shopping done.
On Saturday morning, we headed to Disney Springs to grab some things we saw on our first trip Sunday evening. I can’t share what we got, because they’re gifts. 😉 After Disney Springs, we headed back up to the Holiday Inn at Panama City Beach. Swimming in the ocean! Relaxing in the hot tub! A great way to end a wild week. I was, however, happy to get home on Sunday. My pups were thrilled to get home, too. They spent the entire week at the “luxury pet resort” in our hometown.
Final observations: Amazing food, super nice people (who outnumbered the selfish jerks, thankfully), and awesome memories to last a lifetime.