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Jun 22 2006

Jen’s musings on WDW

Everyone, especially parents, should go to Disney World without the kids at least once. WDW is technically for kids, but I guarantee Tom and I had MUCH more fun than any other parent there. You could tell which parents had the young kids…they were the ones who were grey and frazzled and desperately looking for a bathroom. We know; we took the boys to Disney Land last summer and it wasn’t easy. Last time we were at WDW, it was before we had the boys, but we had 150+ band kids with us. Not exactly relaxing. So our 10th anniversary trip was back to Orlando, but on our terms. And it was wonderful. It was our only chance to go and have the big “grownup” trip before we’re empty-nesters. There’s no way we’ll be able to get away with going there again without the boys! LOL So we went all-out. Pre-paid the trip over several months, so it wouldn’t kill us. Planned it almost to death, but still had spontaneity. So here’s some thoughts.

Get the premier dining plan. Not the regular ole’ “Magic Your Way” dining plan, but the premier dining plan. I have no idea how much it cost (Tom did all the trip planning, bless his heart), but I guarandamntee that we ate the cost and then some. We got a breakfast, a lunch, and a dinner every day we were there. Counter service was an entree, a dessert, and a drink. Table service was an appetizer, an entree, a dessert, and a drink. No booze or souvie cups. Don’t use up all your meals on counter service, eat at the table places. For example, we ate at Bistro de Paris ($$$), California Grill at the top of the Contemporary Resort during the Magic Kingdom fireworks ($$$$$), a character breakfast ($$), all sorts of places we never would have eaten at if we were actually laying out the cash there. And we never would have ordered appetizers and dessert as well. So we ate really really well. Anyone who thinks you can’t have awesome food at WDW needs to talk to me. (burp…)

Pack ponchos, don’t buy them at the parks. We bought them there, not knowing that Tropical Storm Alberto was about to visit. We got wet, very very wet. The Disney ponchos keep off most rain, but a tropical storm did them in. They ripped by the second day of downpour. Oh, and when you do get hit by rain, don’t leave; everyone else does and it’s a great time to hit the big attractions.

Remember, this was an anniversary trip. Long planned, long saved-for. Tom and I haven’t had a vacation alone since our honeymoon, so this was a splurge trip. He surprised me with a fireworks cruise on our last night there. On a catamaran, our guide cruised us (and just us) around the lagoon, then stopped in front of Cinderella’s Castle to watch the fireworks. Damn, I have a great man. No idea he was doing that.

Uh, super-splurge trip. We had our big anniversary dinner (three weeks early) at…Victoria and Albert’s. It’s a five-star restaurant at the Grand Floridian. Holy Smokes, what a meal. We got our own personalized menus. Unreal. Still can’t believe we ate there. We’d been saying for years that we wanted to eat there someday and someday came. We’ll likely never eat there again. But it was worth every single penny.

Wait in line to get your picture taken with Mickey at least once. You can’t go visit the mouse at his house and not say hi. I kissed his nose and he pretended to faint. Hey, it was payback for Minnie smooching Tom at the character breakfast.

Expedition Everest and Mission to Mars ROCK. Worth the wait.

Without kids there begging for souvies at every turn, I went selfish and bought most of the photos of us on the thrill rides. The pic of Tom on Tower of Terror is priceless; I’m surprised he can get back on an elevator. I’m proud of him.

Uh, wear appropriate clothing. The um, large woman with the super-tight leggings…um, the full-frontal wedgie look is really out this season.

The Magical Gatherings plan is wonderful. We didn’t use it, but we saw so many extended families there having a wonderful time. That’s the way to do it; Grandma and Grandpa have fun with the grandkids, and mom and dad get some help.

It’s a Small World is still annoying as hell. I’m convinced the people who work there get reduced cost Prozac. One guy working there was obviously at a cross-roads: go postal or go berzerk. He decided to go berzerk. I was almost homicidal before we even got on the ride and it was my stupid idea to ride it. Hey, it was raining and the ride is indoors. I slept with that damn song in my head all night.

We had tickets to the Cirque du Soleil show La Nouba included in our plan. I was less than excited to go, I’ve never been a big fan of Cirque, I only went because we already had the tickets. It was incredible. I’d never pay to go see a show, but this was worth it. The performers were amazing, especially the four 8 year old Chinese girls. Wow.

Hit the safari at Animal Kingdom first thing, preferably in the rain. We saw more animals than we thought we would. Nothing like being five feet from a giraffe. Loved it.

Take advantage of sending your souvenirs back to your resort (if you’re on property) or to the front of the park (if you’re off property). It’s free and then you don’t have to lug them around.

Plan your next trip (ok, this one with the kids) before you even leave, so you know you’ll be back. I had so much fun. We’ll go back when the boys are past diapers and strollers. WDW is NOT for little kids, and a lot more for adults than you’d believe.

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