Hakuna Matata

It's been almost two weeks now and I'm still not over my Disney hangover. How do you really get past having Mickey shaped everything and perfect customer service all the time? Not to mention, the amazing scents all over Disney Parks and resorts. Sure beats the trash and smell of gasoline here in NYC!

This trip was the first one in a year that we haven't had to do something. 

Last September, we flew into Vegas, we were driven to Anaheim by my dad (bless his soul for wanting to spend some extra time with us) and Alice and I had a half marathon that Sunday. This past April, I had a half marathon as well as our engagement shoot. Phew. I can't just relax and enjoy Disney, can I?

Well, I'm happy to say that this trip, Nicholas and I took Timon and Pumbaa's philosophy to the maximum level. 

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We planned this trip months ago – I'm pretty sure we had everything booked the month after we got back from our April trip, actually. What we actually didn't know about at the time that we booked the trip was that Food & Wine Festival was going on! Needless to say, we had to go to that. 

Rather than leaving rushed after work, we took an extra day off and left on the Friday morning – which actually worked out beautifully. By the time we arrived at MCO, my phone chimed that our room was ready. We dropped off our bags and headed to Disney Springs to check out the newness that opened since our last trip. 

b.b. wolf's bbq disney springs risa xu
disney springs daily poutine risa xu
 

Magic Kingdom

Our entire second day was spent in Magic Kingdom, minus our first stop at 'Ohana for character breakfast! Nicholas has been wanting to meet Stitch since we saw him on Main Street last time (but the line was WAY too long) so I figured the best way to meet Stitch was to go to character dining!

Our  must FastPass+ ride has now become the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. We actually ended up on this ride twice – once with FastPass+ and once more after the fireworks when the line was shorter. I must say, riding your favorite ride at night is amazing!

magic kingdom seven dwarfs mine train risa xu
seven dwarfs mine train night risa xu

If you haven't had the chance to watch the projection show (Celebrate the Magic) and the fireworks show that immediately follows it, I highly suggest you do. And while, I may be just a bit Disney obsessed (which my future mother-in-law calls the understatement of the century), I will say that I teared up a little bit watching these two shows. I'm just a giant 5 year old.  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ 

What made the fireworks show extra special was the fact that the last time NIcholas saw Tink fly over Cinderella's Castle was when he was 11! So it was extra special for us. 

 

Animal Kingdom

Our second park day was actually a Park Hopper day! We knew that we had to check out Food & Wine but we also wanted to head over to Animal Kingdom since we hadn't spent any time there last trip. I mean, as far as I'm concerned, this is wedding research right? When our guests ask our favorite food or rides from the different parks, we need to be able to tell them.

We didn't FastPass+ any of the rides in Animal Kingdom since we could only do one park per day in advance. Frozen Ever After was much more important to me – I'm serious. Who wants to wait 70 minutes in line for ANYTHING?!

It ended up working out because Kali River Rapids and Expedition Everest only had a 30 minute wait. We ended up going on Kali River Rapids twice! We had lots of fun on the animal exhibits and meeting Dug & Russell. Animal Kingdom is a bit less crazy than the other two parks and we really enjoyed that aspect. The nature walks and having the surroundings be a little less loud and crazy were a nice contrast to what we're used to at WDW.

PS, if you haven't been on Expedition Everest before, get ready to scream.

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Epcot + Food & Wine

Let me just start off by saying, Frozen Ever After is worth one of your FastPass+ selections. Go ahead and just book a time for yourself on your next trip. The ride itself is quite short but I loved every second of it. Disney did a beautiful job bringing the characters to life and who doesn't love when Elsa belts out 'Let It Go?'

frozen ever after epcot risa xu

As for Food & Wine, my advice would be to pace yourself. Nicholas and I drank way too fast when we got there. The drinks taste SO good that you forget there's alcohol in them.

Food wise, we enjoyed:

  • China
    • Beijing Roast Duck
    • Sichuan Spicy Chicken
    • Black Pepper Shrimp
    • Chicken Pot Stickers
  • Greece
    • Spanakopita
  • Poland
    • Kielbasa & Potato Pierogi

Drink wise, we had:

  • the Frozen Mojito from Islands of the Caribbean
  • the Pumpkin Chai Tea Frozen Cocktail from Ireland, and
  • our must-get every time now in Epcot: the Frozen Kirin from Japan. 

 

 

We didn't eat or drink much as I thought we would, partly because I think the Frozen Kirin kept us full for quite some time. Nicholas and I had also been eating healthy for the month and a half prior to our trip so our appetites weren't quite as big as they would have been normally.

We stayed for the fireworks show at Epcot as well. Even though I didn't react the same way as I did to the Magic Kingdom show (there just wasn't going to be anything that topped that), it's something I definitely recommend staying until closing for!

 

Wedding Planning

Maybe, possibly, the most exciting part of our trip was visiting our potential wedding venues!

And while I won't share too many details about the venues (I want to keep things a surprise for our guests!), I will say that I was blown away by the small details and care that have been put into the Wedding Pavilion. It will be going under renovations that will be completed by January but even so, it was so great to see the venues in person. Nicholas and I both feel confident in our decision to start our Happily Ever After at the Most Magical Place on Earth (not actually IN Magic Kingdom, but hey, you can see Cinderella's Castle from the Wedding Pavilion!) Now, if it could just hurry to November so we can get our date confirmed!

One last magical moment that made my trip – I met Richard! He's a Disney legend that has been a Cast Member since 1991! Isn't that insane? You can read more about him here

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Wow – this recap was much longer than I thought it would be! Sorry about that – if you've made it this far, thank you :)

I have a lot of exciting things coming up for the rest of the year and I can't wait to share everything with all of you! If you have any WDW experiences you'd like to share or have any questions about my trip(s), comment below or find me on social!

Until next time, in the words of a famous bouncy tiger, TTFN – ta ta for now!