Here at Walt Express, we have a whole new series asking our guest bloggers and readers to tell us about their first Disney vacation. Our fifth installment is from a new guest blogger, Denie.
A Magical Sweet 16 at Walt Disney World
Our daughter was finally having her ‘sweet sixteenth’ birthday when we decided to plan our first family trip to Orlando, Florida at the happiest place on earth. I felt extremely overwhelmed not knowing what to expect while booking our hotel, Disney dining, and trying to figure out all the things there was to do at Disney World . My husband, daughter, nine year old son, and I were so excited and ready to be on vacation!
Getting off the plane, we could already feel the magic while walking down the red carpet to get onto the Magical Express. The Magical Express is a thirty minute bus ride that takes you from the airport to your hotel; for us that trip was to Disney’s All-Star Sports resort. Once we got checked into our room, we walked around the hotel and I still remember the kids faces when they saw all of the sports related figures, like Mickey Mouse playing basketball and Goofy playing hockey. There were so many activities going on, including games by the main pool, the gift shop, and the arcade room; we didn’t know where to start!
The next morning we woke the kids up bright and early so we could get some breakfast and start our day. We were all very impressed with the breakfast that they had for quick service (the Mickey Mouse waffles are a must!) They had so many options, which is great for picky eaters like my son.
We started our first day off at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Before our trip we YouTubed many different videos of the attractions so our first stop was the Hollywood Tower of Terror. It took a little bribing to get my daughter on it, but she ended up absolutely loving it; still to this day it is her favorite ride. Some other musts are Aerosmith’s Rockin’ Rollercoaster and Toy Story Midway Mania. We aren’t a huge fan of arcade games, but Toy Story Midway Mania definitely had the kids excited and laughing. The best advice I could give is get fast passes for these rides because the lines could be terribly long, especially in the summer time! Another must see at Hollywood Studios is Fantasmic, which is a night show with pyrotechnics and lights. Although every show at Disney is amazing, this show definitely added magic to our night.
Bright and early the next morning we headed towards Disney’s Animal Kingdom for breakfast at Tusker House in Africa section of the park. I definitely recommend making reservations for breakfast here at least once. Not only is the buffet absolutely amazing, the characters also go around to your tables for autographs and pictures. We make sure every trip that we save one morning for Tusker House now, because it really was SO GOOD! After breakfast, we headed to the Safari which is such a relaxing, yet fun ride. It’s a must and any child will absolutely love it. Another ride that the entire family was anxious to ride was Mt. Everest. Walking up to the rollercoaster all you can see is a big mountain which makes it so exciting and fun. I don’t want to spoil the ride but it’s something worth getting fastpasses for! 🙂 My son’s favorite ride was Dinosaur, which is a ride in Dino-land that takes you back in time on a jeep back with the dinosaurs of course. This ride isn’t really for young kids just because its so dark and loud. Another must see show in Animal Kingdom is Lion King. This show gets the whole family involved and is so creative, we all loved it.
After our morning in the wild we took the bus to Epcot for the rest of the afternoon. We weren’t really sure what to expect walking into Epcot but the kids ended up enjoying some of the rides like Soarin’ and Fast Track, which we also got fastpasses for. For the younger kids, a great show is Turtle Talk with Crush where Crush from Finding Nemo has actual conversations with the crowd. To me, Epcot is more for the older children and adults because of the different countries and long walking they weren’t too excited about it. The night show is absolutely beautiful and a must see as well. Its very touching and shows how the technology has changed throughout the years with some great music and fireworks!
One of our last days was the most exciting because it was a day we spent at Magic Kingdom. I still remember the first time my 16 year old daughter saw the castle, she instantly started crying. Just the environment walking into the park is so magical. We spent all day running around riding all the rides we heard about like Dumbo, Splash Mountain, and Space Mountain. My kids fell in love with Magic Kingdom right away. It can be very overwhelming at first, not knowing what to do because there is so much going on but it is so worth it. As a surprise, we headed to Cinderella Castle for dinner and to surprise Emily for her birthday. Walking into the castle, you get your picture taken with Cinderella which my daughter has been searching everywhere to get a picture with her. We were then escorted upstairs to the restaurant where all of the princesses, including the fairy god mother, were walking around taking pictures and signing autographs. Emily was on cloud nine. The cast members came out with a ‘Happy Birthday Emily,’ cake and we all sang to her. I will never forget that magical memory and neither will my daughter.
Walt Disney World is the one magical place that your kids, including yourself, will forget your age and make so many family memories together. Six years after our first trip, we still have the most magical time at Walt Disney World and we look forward to our next trip at the happiest place on earth!
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