Hey guys, Mrs. *Not* Bearded Broker here taking over the blog today to tell you about our most recent Disney trip. I know you guys are probably sick of hearing Mr. Bearded Broker ramble on about mortgages and finances, blah, blah, blah. Today’s post is all about having fun!
Justin and I both visited Disney World as kids, but we both wanted to experience it as adults before having kids of our own. (No that doesn’t mean a baby is coming anytime soon). We’re also huge Harry Potter fans and wanted to visit Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley at Universal Studios. My mom planned the whole trip along with a travel agent, which I highly recommend using for Disney. There are SO MANY details and tips that it can be very overwhelming.
Our very first day in Orlando, we went to Disney’s Wilderness Lodge and had dinner at Whispering Canyon Cafe. They brought out huge portions of smoked meats and sides and put on quite the show.
On day one in the parks, we visited Disney’s Epcot and toured each of the countries. We ate lunch at the Pattisserie in France, which consisted of Jambon-Buerre (ham and cheese croissant), pumpkin soup, and a raspberry lemon macaron. We met Princess Jasmine in Morocco and witnessed a pearl harvesting in Japan. The ride Frozen Ever After, located in Norway, which was the longest wait of the day, but the new life-like technology Disney uses is pretty amazing. We ended the day with the best meal of the entire week at Le Cellier in Canada. We both had filet mignon with mushroom risotto and maple creme brulee. It was the best steak I have ever had. They even brought me gluten-free rolls with butter to enjoy before my meal. One thing Disney is very good at is catering to food allergies. The service is top-notch and they go above and beyond to make sure you are satisfied.
Day two, we ventured on to Universal’s Islands of Adventure where the Incredible Hulk and Harry Potter’s Hogsmeade are found. The very first ride of the day was the Incredible Hulk roller coaster. I am not a big fan of roller coasters and this one is a monster of a ride. Inside the ride waiting area, you go through a second security screening to make sure you have ZERO loose objects. No phones, sunglasses, wallets, chapsticks, NOTHING is allowed because of the dangers of flying objects. The line leads up several ramps and stairs and they really try to make you feel as if you were in Hulk’s laboratory. Of course at this point I wanted to puke or pass out from being nervous. Once you get on the coaster and you’re properly strapped in, they launch you at a top speed of 67 mph through thick fog and you immediately drop and then go upside down on a loop. It literally goes 0-40 in two seconds. Of course, once it was over I realized it was a fun ride, but it is definitely intimidating. After the Hulk, we rode The Amazing Adventures of Spider Man, Popeye and Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges, and Jurassic Park River Aventure. I do recommend taking cheap flip-flops to wear on the water rides because you WILL get wet. They have “People Dryers” outside each water ride, but they do not dry your shoes. We then visited Hodsmeade and rode Harry Potter’s Forbidden Journey. Walking to this ride gives you a tour of Hogwarts. If you are prone to motion sickness, I do not recommend this ride. The ride itself is awesome, but it’s essentially a roller coaster/virtual simulator and it’s like you’re riding on a broomstick during a quidditch match. Again, awesome, but take motion sickness medicine before-hand. We had lunch at the Three Broomticks and tried the delicious frozen butterbeer. I had rotissere chicken, roasted potatoes, and a huge corn on the cob. Justin had fish and chips. We then sat through a wand demonstration at Olivander’s Wand Shop and purchased our own “Elder Wand” which belonged to Professor Dumbledore in the books/movies. *nerd alert* There are several places throughout Hodsmeade and Diagon Alley to perform “spells” and its pretty magical (pun intended). We finished the day riding the Flight of the Hippogriff roller coaster, which is a small very tame coaster.
Day three, we visited Disney’s Animal Kingdom. This was probably our favorite being the animal lovers we are. Pandora-The World of Avatar at AK runs a tight race with Harry Potter at Universal. If you’re an Avatar fan then Pandora will blow your mind with how realistic everything appears. We got in right at rope drop and went straight to the Na’vi River Journey. The animatronics for this ride were insane. The Avatars throughout the ride make you question whether they’re actually fake or not. Thankfully, we had fast passes for Flight of Passage because the wait was 180 minutes. Once inside, they “scan” your DNA and match you up with an Avatar. Once you are strapped in on your mountain banshee they take you on a journey through Pandora. The special effects were stellar and included water and air to make you think you were really flying through the air in a far away world. Warning: this ride also causes intense motion sickness due to the motion and virtual simulation, but it is worth it! Best ride in Disney World hands down. For lunch we went to Satu’li Canteen in Pandora. I had chicken over a bed of red and sweet potatoes with a chimichurri sauce. Justin had sliced beef over rice with the same sauce. For dinner we didn’t have a reservation, but we lucked up and got a table at Yak and Yeti. I had gluten-free sweet and sour chicken with rice and a super yummy strawberry cake for dessert. Justin had regular sweet and sour chicken with rice and had chocolate cake for dessert.
Day four, we went to Universal Studios Orlando. This time we went straight to Harry Potter’s Diagon Alley and rode the Escape from Gringott’s ride. In my opinion, this ride is better than Forbidden Journey for the sheer fact that it doesn’t turn you upside down, which means it doesn’t cause as much motion sickness. This ride allows you to tour Gringott’s Bank and takes you on a thrilling ride trying to escape the wrath of Voldemort and his Deatheaters. We ate lunch at the Leaky Cauldron where we had frozen butterbeer again (because it’s just that good). I had a gluten-free chicken sandwich and Justin had fish and chips. We also toured Diagon Alley for quite a while casting spells and touring all the shops. There’s even a dragon on top of Gringott’s that breathes real fire every so often. We took the Hogwart’s Express to Hogsmeade and back as well. After adventuring with Harry Potter and the gang, Justin rode Rip Ride Rockit. This was one ride I said absolutely no to. It starts you off climbing a 167 feet and then drops you straight down. After the drop its a pretty normal coaster, but the height was enough for me. We continued our day with Revenge of the Mummy (a pretty awesome roller coaster), Shrek 3-D, and Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon.
Day five, we explored Disney’s Magic Kingdom. We had fast passes for Big Thunder Mountain, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, and Space Mountain. We also rode the Haunted Mansion and The Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Undersea Adventure. For dinner, we joined the Beast in his castle at Be Our Guest. We both had steak with potatoes and veggies. I had a gluten-free lemon cream puff for dessert and Justin had “The Gray Stuff”. We ended the night with the Once Upon a Time Castle Projection Show complete with fireworks- it was pure magic.
On our last day in the parks, we visited Disney’s Hollywood Studios. We got there early enough to ride Rock’n’Roller Coaster without much of a wait. Justin rode Tower or Terror then we spent the rest of the day enjoying shows and smaller rides. We ate lunch at Mama Melrose and I had gluten-free pasta and vanilla gelato. Justin had chicken parmesan and a chocolate dessert. Overall the food was mediocre here and not somewhere I’d want to go again. The best part of the day was watching the Fantasmic Show and Fireworks. It’s an incredible animated show projected on water where many of the characters can be seen along with fireworks and pyrotechnics.
Our very last day in Orlando, we visited Port Orleans Riverside Resort so I could get gluten-free beignets and then took a boat ride to Disney Spring’s. We had lunch at D-Luxe Burger which included a gluten free Diablo burger with fries and a regular Diablo burger for Justin.
Overall, we had a blast despite being exhausted from walking over 60 miles in a week. I could write pages and pages about our experience, but I’ll stop here. I understand the Disney obsession now and can’t wait to go back!