I have had a love for Disney for as long as I can remember. When I was a child, I remember getting so excited to see the Disney movies like Bambi, Pinocchio, Cinderella, Snow White and Sleeping Beauty at the theater with my mom. I loved acting out the stories of Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and Snow White as I listened to my Read-Along Records. I remember being so envious of a friend that was fortunate enough to go to Disney World shortly after Space Mountain opened.
I had never been to Disney until I was an adult. My first trip was September 2012 when my husband and I took my then 3 year old daughter. While I was super excited to go on vacation, I never understood all the hoopla over going to Disney until I went. I always just considered it another amusement park, but Disney themed. Disney is SO MUCH more than an amusement park. It transports you to another world, another place. A place where adults get to be kids again and it’s OK! A place where you get to see childhood through your own children’s eyes. A place where you can shut out everyday life and be fully immersed in vacation AND your family. It’s truly MY happy place. Since that first visit where I literally teared up walking down Main Street for the first time and seeing my daughter's first experience meeting a princess, I can’t imagine NOT going to Disney for vacation. We have been every year since. My husband and I often say, “We’ve been bitten by the mouse…and bit HARD”. Even though we have been 5 years in a row, it never gets old. There is always something new to do or discover. Every year we have our “favorite” things we MUST do, but we try to add new things too. Every year has been a completely different experience.
The best part is…I love planning my vacation as much as I like taking my vacation, but I also know how much research I did our first year. Who am I kidding, I’ve done it every year. I’ve spent hours scouring over the Disney site, blogs and forums. I want to get the most out of my vacation. I also know, this process is not for everyone. That’s why I want to help others in planning their vacation….because in my world, planning a trip to Disney is the next best thing to being at Disney.
Kellie is a College of Disney Knowledge graduate and a Universal Orlando Resort Specialist.
Kellie’s Walt Disney World Favorites:
Value Resort: Pop Century
Magic Kingdom – Pirates of the Caribbean, Small World, Mickey’s Haunted Mansion, Under the Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid, Move-it-Shake-it Celebrate it, Festival of Fantasy Parade
Epcot: Gran Fiesta Tour (this just makes me happy), Living with the Land
Hollywood Studios: Star Tours, Beauty and the Beast LIVE on Stage, Voyage of the Little Mermaid, Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular Fireworks
Animal Kingdom: Expedition Everest, It’s Tough to be a Bug
Akershus - authentic Norwegian food that is super yummy! Must try the meatballs. This is my very favorite restaurant in all of Disney.
Sunshine Seasons – MANY options and choices
Columbia Harbour House: Shrimp…MMM! Fantastic Quick Service that’s more like table service
Crystal Palace: Breakfast Buffet – Delicious. So many options.
Be Our Guest – Love going to lunch here. It’s considered quick service and the food and atmosphere is FABULOUS.
Gaston’s Tavern: Great place for a snack, must try a cinnamon roll
ABC Commissary – great place for quick service, many choices and air conditioned
Fairfax Fare – great BBQ
Hollywood and Vine – Cute for the little ones
Starring Rolls Café – delicious baked goods. Great snack stop
Flame Tree Barbeque – MMMMMM!
Mickey’s Ice Cream Sandwich – I don’t know what it is about the ice cream in this ice cream sandwich, but there is nothing else like it.