This past week, Triangle Around Town shut off all its computers, ignored any wine or beer events, held off from writing any blogs and packed our bags for a 5-day jaunt to sunny Florida. We were Disney bound.
During our stay we visited Magic Kingdom, Epcot and Animal Kingdom. We took part in the Monorail Pub Crawl as well as some shopping at the outlet mall and perusing around the brand new Disney Springs (which we barely recognized from our last visit).
While driving home at the end of the week, we decided to put together a list of some of our favorite things from our latest vacations ... and here we go!
10. MEETING FRIENDS
We went to Disney with good friends, but it's always an added bonus when other friends we hadn't seen in awhile were also at Disney the same time as us. What does that mean? Well, a hop on the ferry from Magic Kingdom to Fort Wilderness for adult beverages and some catching up.
9. CUSTOMER SERVICE
We had some of the best service from our table servers at many of the restaurants we visited while at Disney. From Crystal Place to the California Grille. Our servers were great. You're probably thinking, "Well, it's Disney, they need to be nice." But that's not always the case. You'll see the downside of customer service in another blog. Even employees at Disney Springs were helpful with telling us how to spend our remaining food credits before we left WDW.
From atop of the Contemporary Resort while having dinner at the California Grill to standing near Main Street at the Magic Kingdom – Disney fireworks are magical. We also caught the fireworks at Epcot as well.
7. STAYING AT A DISNEY RESORT
There are many perks when you stay at a Disney resort. All the resorts are on Disney property, so they're all close to the parks. Staying at the resort, you get free parking at all the parks instead of having to pay $20 each day. Another plus are your Disney Magic Bands and Disney Meal Plans.
6. TRADER SAM'S GROG GROTTO
This little known bar located inside the Polynesian resort is a great place to visit. This bar features many specialty cocktails such as the Polynesian Pearl, Krakatoa Punch, HippopotoMai-Tai and the Uh-Oa! We should have spent the entire evening in there trying all the drinks – but we didn't. Just be warned, the bar's maximum capacity is 51, and you can be on a wait list for over an hour, just to get inside – and then it's a crap shoot if you get a table or you need to stand.
5. THE RIDES
Part of the Disney experience are the rides. And this time around we got to experience three of Disney's latest rides – Pandora's Flight of Passage, Frozen and the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. Flight of Passage was an amazing ride, but come early to the park and make a beeline for this or you're looking at a 2-plus hour wait for the rest of the day. Frozen was interesting just seeing how they changed up Maelstorm. And the Mine Train ... well it was a fun ride, but very short. Other enjoyable rides include Test Track, Soarin', Expedition Everest, Big Thunder Railroad and Space Mountain.
4. THE FOOD
Signing up for the Disney Meal Plan prior to arrival introduced us to many great new food items. From jumbo scallops and beef filet at California Grill to an incredible buffet at Boma, we tried some amazing food. We ate braised pork (Coq Au Vin-style) and Croque Monsieur while sitting inside Beast's castle at Be Our Guest in Magic Kingdom. At the Polynesian we had chicken breast with pineapple sambal and red quinoa and pork nachos with a spicy mayo and pineapple salsa. And that doesn't include all the food we had at Epcot's Food and Wine Festival.
This was the first time we visited Disney World staying at a resort as well as visiting other resorts around the parks. Unlike our usual "grab and go" meals, with the meal plan we were exposed to incredible restaurants we may never have even knew existed. One of the highlights of Epcot, believe it or not, was the Short Film Festival (formerly 'Honey, I Shrunk the Kids' and 'Captain EO'). Three short Disney originals that had us all smiling on the way out. Another first was seeing the River of Lights show at Animal Kingdom.
2. MEETING POOH AND FRIENDS
We used one of our table credits at Magic Kingdom's Crystal Palace. This character-themed buffet is home to Winnie the Pooh and all his friends. The buffet food was on par with your typical buffet with carved meats, vegetables and starches – but the thing that makes this dinner stand out was meeting Pooh and his friends. First Winnie. Then Piglet. Following him came Eeyore and finally Tigger. If you love Pooh Bear like us, and have a table credit, this might be a great option for you.
1. FOOD AND WINE FESTIVAL
This was one of the main reasons for our Disney vacation. Two days at Epcot to experience the food and wine festival. Epcot featured 35 kiosks with food and drink from around the world just in time for the park's 35th anniversary. Grab your passport and make your rounds throughout the park to find all the great food. Kahlua pork sliders, lobster rolls, corned beef hash with beer fondue and tender beef filet from Canada are just a few of the items you'll find on our tour. Not to mention all the wine, beer and spirits you can drink up as well.