If you follow me on Tiktok, you know that I’m a Disney Adult through and through, but my husband? He is not. In fact, he has a 5 year rule. As in, he’s agreed he’ll go to Disney with me once every 5 years. That’s it. Sometimes it works out more often than that (our honeymoon in WDW was in 2015, but we also snuck in a trip to Disneyland in 2017).
However, this year marked five years since our last trip, so it was time for his next trip with me. And I was more excited than ever, because the two Disney trips we’d taken together before? Those were both rushed. The Navy only gave him a few days off for our Honeymoon (a year and a half late, too) and we squeezed our Honeymoon into 4 days. Our Disneyland trip was only a 2 day trip. So neither were exactly relaxing. Which has always been one of my husband’s chief complaints. But this time? This time we had an entire week, and I was ready to do things differently.
Not only did I plan for this trip to last a bit longer, but I also planned it to coincide with Food & Wine, because if there’s one thing my husband loves? It’s good food, and food that’s outside of what he typically gets to eat on a day to day basis. (Want to see what we thought of the Food and Wine Festival? Read this blog post.)
We stayed at The Boardwalk Inn, which gave us the ability to walk into both EPCOT and Hollywood Studios – the two parks that my husband was most interested in. Being so close to EPCOT also meant that we could zip in to grab a snack at one of the festival booths when we felt like it.
Overall, we loved the location of the hotel, but there were a few things that didn’t thrill us. First, we had a water view – which I was incredibly excited about when I booked it. But it turns out that having a view of the water is really pretty, but also really noisy in the case of the Boardwalk. Between people walking around at night, and the speaker playing music facing directly towards our room, sleep was noisy and the light pollution wasn’t great. Which, for me, wasn’t an issue. But if you’re a really light sleeper, like my husband, it’s worth noting. We also didn’t really ever even take in the view.
Our other main issue with the Boardwalk, is that pretty much all of the dining options are outside on the actual Boardwalk instead of inside of the hotel. Again, probably not an issue normally, but because we went at the beginning of September, it rained nearly every single evening. And when it rains, no one wants to go outside in the rain just to get to food.
I’ve got other thoughts on the hotel, but I’ll give a full review in a separate post. For now, let’s go through a day by day look at the entire trip.
On our first day, we got up at 4:00 am and hit the road by 4:30 so we could avoid the traffic. Where we’re coming from, if we get on the road before 5:00, we can get to Disney in about six and a half hours. If we wait until everyone else starts hitting the road as well, we can end up looking at at eight or more hour drive.
Once we got to St. Augustine, we stopped at Buc-ees for gas, and for Russell’s first ever Buc-ee’s experience.
Then we got back on the road, and finally got down to Disney. Our room wasn’t ready yet, so we left everything in the car, and immediately headed down the Boardwalk into EPCOT. We got Russell a beer in Mexico, and headed over to ride Frozen Ever After. It’s my favorite ride, and Russell and I tend to have very different tastes in rides, but look at this grin the ride camera caught on his face.
Next we grabbed some food in India, The Alps, and a Crepe over in France before heading back to the hotel and getting settled in our room. We took a nap and when we woke up, the sky was looking ominous so we headed out to the car to grab all of our stuff. When we first got outside, there were light sprinkles, but before we even got to the car it was an outright downpour.
After getting unpacked and the rain had slowed a bit, we headed back into EPCOT for more Food and Wine foods, and some rides. On the way back, the rain started up again, and we were SOAKED. The hotel was nice enough to leave some towels by the door though, which was super helpful.
The next day we got up bright and early for my favorite park – Animal Kingdom. We rope dropped Flight of Passage, of course, and it was Russell’s first time riding. Then we did the Navi River Journey, Expedition Everest (which my motion sickness did not enjoy), and grabbed coffee breakfast before walking around and looking at the various animals on the trails.
Then we watched The Festival of the Lion King (the acrobatic monkeys really stole the show, as usual), and jumped on the safari before grabbing lunch at the Santu’li Canteen. Russell was blown away by the blueberry cream cheese mousse dessert.
Afterwards I grabbed a Rum Blossom and accidentally spilt half of the rum all over myself. But it was by far the best drink I had the entire trip even so.
After a nap at the hotel, we went over to play mini golf on the Fantasia course. We’d never played before, and it was cute but so many of the elements weren’t working so that was kind of a bummer. Also a bummer? The family of 5 that held up six groups on every hole and didn’t let anyone play through. That mini golf course does not have much shade, let me tell you.
After golf, we walked back into EPCOT and grabbed some desserts from Les Halles Boulangerie & Patisserie so that we could eat them while we watched our football game that evening. Then we went back to our room, dropped off the desserts, and headed back down to the Boardwalk to grab dinner from the To Go Cart. Our expectations were low, but the food was honestly incredible. Russell had the Carne Asada Fries, and I had the chicken finger basket and both of us were blown away. Then we turned on the football game (Go Cocks!) where I disappointed my husband by not being able to keep my eyes open to watch it. I know, I know, first game of the season …. How could I not be more excited than sleepy? I don’t know. I really don’t. I was trying … I just couldn’t keep my eyes open. But hey, they won!
Day 3 was our Magic Kingdom day, and the first day we used Genie+. I was able to snag 4 of them that morning. We grabbed lunch at Casey’s, where Russell tried the Pain and Panic hot dog. At that point, the park was getting too crowded for our liking, so we decided to resort hop the monorail resorts. Russell grabbed a beer at the Polynesian and we sat on the beach while he drank it and enjoyed some peace quiet and the view of the water. When we hopped over to the Grand Floridian, we stopped into the Enchanted Rose for a drink. The lounge was gorgeous, and we didn’t even know it was there. We just happened to stumble upon it right before opening that day.
Then we took the monorail back to the Ticket and Transportation Center, and hopped onto the EPCOT monorail to get back to our hotel. Only, we made the critical error of not accounting for the late afternoon showers and we ended up at the front of EPCOT with no rain jackets.
After a short nap, we hopped over to Disney Springs and had dinner at Blaze based on a recommendation from a good friend of mine. It was delicious and everything I needed that night. We went over to grab a sundae from Ghiradellis’ but because it was Labor Day weekend, the crowds were insane so after we ate the ice cream, we headed back to the hotel.
Day 4 was our Hollywood Studios day, and the second day we used Genie+. I was only able to grab two for the morning. In the future, I’d still probably use Genie+ for Hollywood, but I’d start with Slinky Dog instead of Runaway Railway. I was just so excited for Russell to check out Runaway Railway, that I grabbed that first. Rookie Mistake.
We rope dropped Rise, got a decent way into the line, and were told that it was down. Knowing how crazy this line gets, we decided to stay put and wait it out. After about 20 minutes, the let everyone out a back entrance and scanned our magic bands to give us all a bonus lightning lane pass for what they told us would work for everything EXCEPT Rise.
Spoiler alert: not only did it not work for Rise, but it also didn’t work for Slinky Dog or Runaway Railway. Only for the lower tier attractions that didn’t need one anyways. We would have been less annoyed if I hadn’t heard THREE different cast members say it would work for everything except Rise.
That being said, Russell LOVED Runaway Railway, which made my heart so happy because like I mentioned before, we tend to not enjoy the same type of rides. We also tried both the Blue and Green milk, and are both very team Blue milk.
After we got some rides and some snacks in, we had a reservation over at Oga’s Cantina, which happened to be my first ever drink in a bar … at 29. I know, I know. But this drink was the perfect first drink at a bar, to be honest. It had dry ice at the bottom, and bubbled the entire time I was drinking it. And look how pretty it is!
Then we explored Galaxy’s Edge a bit, and grabbed lunch at Docking Bay 7. One of Russell’s comments was how impressed he is by how improved Disney’s quick service choices were. When we went for our Honeymoon in 2015, the majority of the quick service choices were the typical burgers and hot dogs.
That evening, we had dinner at the Grand Floridian Cafe (That 50th anniversary fried chicken is incredible!), and then went over to the Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. Somehow we had a total miracle and it didn’t rain that evening! The only evening of our entire trip where there wasn’t late afternoon rain.
I’ll do a full recap of the party in its own post, but in summary, the Villain Spelltacular was INCREDIBLE, the parade could have been skipped, and next time I attend a party, I’ll go in with a better game plan. We attempted to do a little of everything, and ended up not feeling like we were able to accomplish much of anything.
But hey, how cute were our costumes, huh? Russell picked out our theme himself. I was going to let him off the hook with something easy like Mike and Sulley (because I already have a full Mike costume), but he wanted Russell and Kevin and I think we pulled it off well.
Since we attended the party the night before, day 5 was a rest day for us. We started the morning off with breakfast at Ale & Compass. I also grabbed an Individual Lightning Lane Pass for Rise since we weren’t able to get on the day before. After breakfast we spent the morning at the hotel pool, before heading into Hollywood Studios to grab lunch at the ABC Commissary and then riding Rise.
Then we made our way to Disney Springs, and were able to get into Gideon’s with only a 20 minute wait. We tried three different cookies, and my favorite was the cookies and cream one. Crowds were much smaller than they were the other day, so we walked around and did some window shopping before grabbing dinner at Raglan Road.
Day 6 was our rope drop at EPCOT morning, and we hit up Remy’s first, then Frozen again, and finally Guardians – which we purchased an Individual Lightning Lane pass for. Russell loved it, but you will absolutely never get me on that motion sickness death trap ever again.
In our picture, everyone else on our cart is looking down at whatever is happening on the ride. I, however, am just closing my eyes and praying for it to end quickly. If you get motion sick – I 100% do not recommend. I’ve seen some people say that they have terrible motion sickness and it doesn’t bother them but I took two dramamine that morning and couldn’t open my eyes at all during it. And I felt terrible during it. A coaster that goes backwards, spinning motions, and screens? Nope. All of the hallmarks of a ride that would make me motion sick with even one of those attributes. And this one had all three.
However, if you don’t get motion sick, the technology is truly incredible. My husband was blown away by the ride. And let’s face it, Guardians anything is always going to be great.
After riding Guardians, we grabbed coffee and walked around the World Showcase and checked out what the different countries had to offer. The food booths don’t open until 11:00 (except for Belgium and their waffles), and crowds were really low, so we were able to just walk through at a leisurely pace and really explore.
After the booths opened up, we spent the rest of the day eating. We worked our way through as many of the food booths as we could, ending the day with drinks and an appetizer at the Space 220 Lounge. We were too stuffed from Food and Wine to really enjoy food there, but the experience was a lot of fun and it really did feel like you were dining out in space and looking over at earth.
We spent our final full day taking things slow as well. We used the monorail to head over to the Magic Kingdom resort area. First, we grabbed coffee at the Polynesian, and then we made our way over to Shades of Green. We haven’t stayed there yet, but since my husband is a disabled vet, we have the ability to, but we just haven’t. So we wanted to check it out and take a look around. Huge perk: they’ve got a Starbucks inside.
After that, we went back to EPCOT for more Food and Wine food. Then we took the Skyliner to the Rivieria to check it out. We also walked over to the Caribbean Beach Resort before hopping back on the Skyliner and heading back to EPCOT. I wanted to take him over to Pop Century and Art of Animation as well, but we could tell the storms were moving in, and we didn’t want to get stuck over there without the Skyliner running. Since it rained almost daily, the Skyliner was down a LOT during our stay. And sure enough, when we got off at the EPCOT station, the gates were closed and they were turning people away! I’m not sure I’ll stay at a Skyliner resort during hurricane season based on what we saw during this trip.
We ended our final night with dinner at Sanaa. We got there a little early so that we could watch the animals, and we got there right before feeding time so the animals were very active and moving around a ton. We started dinner with the bread service because I’ve heard so many people rave about it, and it did not disappoint. It was a great way to end our final day.
We woke up on our final morning, and walked over to Beach Club to have breakfast at Cape May’s Cafe. Being a buffet, I honestly wasn’t expecting much, but we were blown away. Not only did the buffet have a ton of options, but it was also really good. Definitely one we would do again.
Then, we hit the road and made our way back home to our girls. All in all, it was a great trip. I didn’t quite turn Russell into a Disney Adult, but he did have a good time, and I think his next trip will come about with a bit more enthusiasm. Even if it will be another five years.
And if you’re excited for your own upcoming trip to Walt Disney World, grab my sample WDW itinerary to get started planning today!
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