As you might have seen, I recently flew out to Disneyworld in Orlando, Florida. As a Disney fan, I was over the moon to join in on this exciting adventure for their Summer Awaken trip. I spent a few days there, before heading on a 3-day Disney cruise. I will not bore you if you kept up to date with my Instagram posts (you can view them by using the hashtag #DisneyxMFD) and Snapchats. Instead, I thought I would share my highlights from the trip, as well as a photo diary. I highly recommend this for a fun trip with friends, or a magical family trip.
-During my trip, I stayed at the Grand Floridian Hotel & Spa – a gorgeous and grand hotel. The city of Disney in Orlando have quite a selection of hotels in comparison to the other Disneys, so there is really one for everyone, but if you’re looking for something luxurious and grand, I would definitely recommend this.
-I’m all for 1-2 day trips at some Disney parks, but Disney World definitely needs a couple days to experience the 4 main parks they have (Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios)
-Within the Magic Kingdom (which is home to Fantasy Land, where the famous fairytale castle is). Make sure to book dinner in advance at the ‘Be Our Guest’ restaurant, which is a replica of the Beauty and the Beast ballroom and castle, and you also get to meet the beast! The Magic Kingdom will also be introducing new characters this summer including Rapunzel, Anna and Elsa from ‘Frozen’, Tiana from ‘Princess and the Frog’, as well as the new Latin Disney Princess, Elena of Avalor.
-Epcot was one of my favorite parks. If you’re a fan of the Disney Princesses, I definitely wouldn’t miss the breakfast with all the Disney princesses, and you really save time standing in all those long lines! It’s a pretty exciting year for Epcot due to the launch of the Norway Pavillion, where Anna and Elsa from ‘Frozen’ will be meeting guests daily, as well as a new ride called Frozen Ever After.
-If you love animals, you will be so impressed with Animal Kingdom, home to an incredible attraction, Kilimanjaro Safari (an African Safari with real animals in their natural habitat), and don’t leave without lunch at Yak & Yeti restaurant, an Asian restaurant with some good food – I recommend the sweet and sour chicken with a side of garlic noodles. This summer, they will be launching the Jungle Book show!
-Lastly, Hollywood Studios is a great spot for the older kids due to the thrill rides, but they are also really having a moment with Star Wars, from a live stage show to Star Wars themed firework shows.
I must say, I never really thought you could shop for anything other than Disney on a week at Disney. Disney World Orlando is the largest Disney around the world consisting of 4 theme parks and 2 water parks, but it’s also its own city. Within that city, is a beautiful shopping town called Disney Springs. Having come a week after they introduced a bunch of stores, it was definitely a place I wish I had more time to spend.
With quite a selection from your Disney stores, a huge Starbucks, a large Zara, and a Wolfgang Puck restaurant, I found myself catching up on shopping during my trip, and thought it’s great for anyone that wants to get their shopping done during a family trip. Not very far, there’s a Vineyard Outlet Mall outside of Disney (which houses Lululemon, American Eagle and Lacoste to name a few), as well as Florida Mall, but here were some of my favorite spots in Disney Springs.
-Sephora: I know we have our own Sephora in the city, but no one will argue that shopping at Sephora in the US is pretty exciting. I manage to stock up on US brands we can’t find in the UAE, as well as newly launched products. (Sephora have just launched their own eyelashes range!)
-American Threads: A store I haven’t shopped at previously, and reminded me of the American store, Brandi Melville. Everything at AT is light, easy and perfect for the summer. I stocked up on light tops and linen playsuits.
-Pandora: I loved the fact that you could get exclusive Disney Pandora pieces (I am a Disney girl at heart)
-Free People: One of my favorite mid range to high street brands in the US, I am always stocking up on dresses and bohemian-inspired jewelry when I visit Free People, so I was excited to see they were opening at Disney Springs this Summer.
-Getting around: They have options of buses, monorails and boats. To avoid getting frustrated, do keep me in mind getting around hotels, Disney Parks and Disney Springs will take around 45 mins to an hour.
-Disney have the option of getting a VIP guide to take you around. Quite pricey at USD400/hour but you skip all the long lines, and a private car takes you from door to door so it can take you 10-15 minutes between parks.
To add to your experience, or if you’re spending your summer in one of the Disney spots that is a departure for a cruise, I highly recommend adding this to your schedule, especially if you have kids. I did the shortest one available, which was on the DREAM. You get an all-inclusive service — all you can eat food and beverages) and the sweetest staff taking care of you. There is so much entertainment on board; the shows, including the Golden Mickey, are must sees. We also got to enjoy a Pirates of the Caribbean themed night! Our cruise started from Florida, stopped in Nassau in The Bahamas and ended with our last day on Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay.
I hope you enjoyed all the coverage, and hope I inspired your next vacation!