Disney Recap - Trip Details & Resort Hopping

Monday, June 01, 2015



Things have been pretty quiet in May, because it's been quite a busy month!

If you've been a reader for awhile, you may remember that back in 2013, we had decided that we were going to try to go to Disney that year. Unfortunately, that didn't end up happening. However, if you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen that a few weeks ago, we finally made that trip a reality!

We flew to Orlando from Indianapolis via Southwest. I was a little nervous about it, having heard that Southwest isn't the most plus-size friendly airline (I've previously only ever flown American), but it ended up being fine. I almost needed a seatbelt extender, but didn't (though honestly, I probably would have been more comfortable with one, but I was too embarrassed to ask for one if it wasn't absolutely necessary). I got a window seat, which I have always preferred. However, for some weird reason, I ended up feeling sick, which had never happened to me on a flight before.

Disney's Magical Express, the bus service that runs from Orlando International Airport to the Disney resorts was very efficient. All we had to do was touch our MagicBands onto a post, and it told them where we were staying, so we were directed to the appropriate line for the appropriate bus. Since there are many resorts, the buses tend to serve several resorts that are close together; ours took vacationers to Saratoga Springs, Old Key West, and both Port Orleans resorts.

We stayed at Port Orleans French Quarter, and it was a beautiful resort. I haven't been to New Orleans, but I greatly enjoyed the atmosphere. The rooms were clean and well-appointed, and even though our room was on the farthest side of the farthest building (I had requested a room away from the pool, and they certainly delivered!), it was still only a couple of minutes to the food court or bus stop.

one of seven buildings housing rooms at the resort

The small size of the resort was certainly an asset, and despite the fact that there were several guests at the resort, we didn't really see many while walking around (though there were usually several at the pool and food court).

decorative horse head posts

It was quiet and relaxing, and the Sassagoula River, which runs along the resort, made for some lovely views.

the Sassagoula River

While we didn't really have time to take advantage of it, they also offered nightly movies under the stars. The gift shop was nice, and Tom really enjoyed the arcade (we had Skee-Ball competitions; I'm usually better at it, but he beat me almost every time). The food court wasn't impressive for dinner (for me, anyway), so I pretty much lived off macaroni and cheese kids meals when we ate there. I did get beignets for breakfast one day, and they were really good (though there was a little too much powdered sugar in my opinion).

We didn't get to visit all of the other resorts while we were there, but we did visit a few others.

Since Port Orleans Riverside was right next door, we did go over there one night for dinner. The resort is lovely, and the dock area by the restaurants was a great place to unwind at the end of the day. I think Tom got a burger, and I tried the make your own pasta bar (I got penne with pesto, broccoli, and parmesan, and it was pretty good).

After touring the Animal Kingdom, we decided to go check out the Animal Kingdom Lodge. We didn't spend a whole lot of time there, but I thought that although the layout was a little confusing (we got lost trying to find the food court twice), it was a really cool place (and the food court, The Mara, was excellent -- I had the falafel pita, which was amazing, and the zebra domes, which are like little bites of heaven, and Tom had the chicken caesar salad).

I really enjoyed the BoardwWalk Inn; it might have been my favorite of the resorts we visited. It was so charming, and I loved the lakefront location. We had lunch at Big River Grille and Brewing Works, which was tasty (though not necessarily anything to write home about) and affordable; I had the roasted turkey & swiss sandwich, and Tom had the big brew cheeseburger.

BoardWalk Inn's boardwalk, as seen from Crescent Lake
Though we did not explore them, we also saw the Yacht Club, Beach Club, Swan, and Dolphin from the outside.

We spent very little time at the Grand Floridian, but it was gorgeous. I felt extremely underdressed to even walk in there. I've heard it's especially lovely at Christmas.

Narcoossee's restaurant at the Grand Floridian

We spent a little more time at the Contemporary (where I have always wanted to stay), as we met friends there for dinner one night. We ate at the food court (Contempo Cafe), which was also excellent; I had the hot smoked turkey sandwich (turkey, brie, arugula, apples, apple butter, and honey mustard on challah, and it was freaking awesome), and if I remember correctly, Tom had the angus bacon cheeseburger.

Following dinner at the Contemporary, we all took the monorail over to the Polynesian, which was Tom's favorite resort. We got ice cream at Pineapple Lanai (a pineapple float for me, vanilla for Tom) and watched Wishes from the pool area. Unfortunately, we didn't have time to watch the Electrical Water Pageant, but I'm really hoping to check it out the next time we go.

Because we are planning on going again. We made the (admittedly, very ambitious) goal of going every year before we even finished our first day in the parks! We're hoping that the next time, one way or another, we'll be a party of three.

Tomorrow -- Magic Kingdom!

Part 2 - Magic Kingdom
Part 3 - Hollywood Studios
Part 4 - Animal Kingdom & Downtown Disney
Part 5 - Epcot

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