Regular readers will know that I will be back in Orlando in December. But this time I’ll be bringing three friends.
I want to blow their minds.
Regular readers will also know that I’ve just returned from Orlando — from my third trip this year, and my ninth since I started visiting WDW in 2017.
Did you ever eat something as a kid that made you sick and turned you against that thing for the rest of your life? That kinda happened to me in Orlando in June. I got hit by some kind of heat-related sickness and, it turns out, COVID. I spent two of my four WDW days in bed. It kinda turned me against the place.
I want to fall in love with WDW again.
The initial motivation for this upcoming trip was to see Orlando through fresh eyes. To try to recapture the thrill I felt on my first trip by seeing that thrill in my friends.
The outline plan is this.
Sunday: Fly London to Orlando. Anty has never been in a plane before. Stuart has never flown further than Europe. Minds will already be blown. (I upgraded us all to Premium Economy, which is like domestic business class. And made sure Anty has a window seat.) On arrival, transfer to the Hard Rock at UOR. The parks will probably be closed by the time we’re settled in, so I guess we explore the hotel and CityWalk and get to bed at a sensible time.
Monday, Tuesday: UOR with EPs. I’ve got this. I know what I’m doing. Not difficult to blow minds.
Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday: Transfer to ASMo. We have four-day park-hoppers. This is where you people come in.
Sunday: Disney Springs (also you people) and then flight home.
At this stage of the planning I’m trying to make a list of absolute must-dos. Premium, Grade A, only-at-Disney experiences that will cause jaws to drop and will stop Anty moaning about how disappointing it all is. And persuade Paul that it’s not just some lame kids theme park.
So this is where you come in. What would be on your list?
I want to be careful with costs, so I’m not looking for up-charge activities. MVMCP and WAT, for example, are out. They have asked for one “posh” dinner. But realistically that means only one.
Here are my initial thoughts.
For the posh dinner I’m thinking CG — with a reservation time that has us arriving in daylight so that we see WDW in the sunshine and at night, via the sunset. The 50th anniversary dinner is good, and affordable (and prix fixe, which makes budgeting clear). You get the view. You get the fireworks. I can’t think of anywhere better. Oh, and you get the Contemporary: not impressive at Christmas, but an OG hotel that the monorail fricken drives right through.
WL, AKL and the GF: they’re all stunning at any time, but at Christmas they’re unbeatable. WL could be a side-trip from the CR before / after dinner. Via boat (see comment at point 4). Oh, or breakfast there. They’ll enjoy the shenanigans. AKL could include breakfast at Boma — one of my favourites.
Trader Sam’s has been requested: @juliamc knows how to get us in.
I’d like to do a character meal. My own favourite is CM, but that’s at CR and I don’t want to go there twice. I personally don’t like the character outfits at TT, or the food, but the venue has awesome views. And is on the Skyliner. (Hitting multiple modes of transportation is important to Anty.) TH isn’t a very exciting venue, and the food may be too adventurous. Inexplicably, GG breakfast is still not back. Nor is 1900PF, one of my favourites.
Oga’s, presumably. And Space 220 (ideally lounge, to control costs).
Harmonious, obviously. Trashchantment, too. (Well, they won’t realise it’s trash. And if Tink deigns to fly, that is kinda jaw-dropping.) I feel like they might find Fantasmic boring. Sorry.
What other spectacular dining options are there? Sci-Fi? (I’ve still never been.) 50s Diner? (They might enjoy the shenanigans there. And I’ve never been.) These also serve the kind of basic food I know they’ll like. BOG? Nah. Too expensive. Not that jaw-dropping.
Obviously I know what I’m doing rides-wise. I’m not sure they’ll be much into shows. (And I don’t think I could sell them the Candlelight Processional.)
Disney Springs? Balloon thing? Boat-car thing? Expensive cookie place that people rave about?
Your ideas? What blows you away?