I found such great words of wisdom and advice here, while planning my trip. One of my favorite things about the group is reading other people’s trip reports, because it feels like I can live through a whole Disney day and experience the magic for a few minutes. I’ve decided to write my own trip report here, for anyone else living vicariously through others vacations and planning their own enjoy our highlights and learn from our mistakes! Enjoy!
Background: We currently reside in Reno, Nevada. This was essentially our first trip to WDW and our first solo trip for more than a weekend together as well as our honeymoon! I had previously been to WDW once at about age eight. It was right before my parents divorce, so although I have some memories I was very young and most of the trip has been long since forgotten. DH is 27 and I am 26, we are both foodies (although I am definitely a way less picky eater).
Day One, June 4, 2017: We had finalized the majority of our packing the day prior on our post-wedding high. We woke up early and scrambled to pack a few last minute items, but isn’t there always something you forget? The Reno International Airport is tiny, but also has cancelled flights regularly due to weather and wind. This can result in extreme chaos during early morning flight hours, so we arrived early. There was no line at the counter and we were quickly able to check our bags and make our way through security. A quick breakfast and coffee stop and we were on the first leg of our flight. I have to give a quick shout out here to Southwest. They are my preferred airline, because I always receive excellent customer service. Also, I love reading their customer stories online and in their magazine. I truly believe that customer service like this deserves to be rewarded, so I will deal with their awkward pick your own seat on the flight procedures every time. tangent ended. We flew through Chicago Midway, I have flown through this airport for work and DH went to boot camp in Chicago, so it was nice to have a quick stop in a place we were both individually familiar with. We shared a Chicago hot dog, because when in Rome. Am I right? and were quickly back in the air to Orlando.
Once we touched down, I was immediately bouncing with excitement and ready to go. Due to surprise tickets to Kennedy Space Center as a wedding gift, we ended up with an extra ticket day. This meant we could immediately head from the resort to Pandora. (Insert heart-eyed emojis here). We touched down at about 6:35 (five minutes ahead of schedule) and immediately headed to the magical express. This being our first trip, it was difficult for my attention span to stay with the signs to ME Check-in and not just run outside to the first ME bus I saw through the window. Luckily we made it, and there was already a bus waiting. We along with two more families boarded the bus and headed to the world. Due to my overwhelming amount of research and reading so many stories, comments, and trip reports, I was worried about ME and it taking forever to get to our resort. Luckily we were the second stop!
When we pulled up at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort, I knew I had made the right choice for our honeymoon. The resort is closely placed near Hollywood Studios and Epcot (our projected favorites), with its own bus service, but sort of a quiet romantic vibe. We didn’t receive a room text, so we headed to the front desk. Our cast member was friendly and gave us plenty of resort information as well as our Happily Ever After Buttons. After check-in we ran to the room to drop our bags. I had reserved a preferred king room and requested close to transportation. We were about a six minute walk from El Centro and the food court and only about a four minute walk to the bus stop. As this resort is being renovated, I expected the room to need updating. However, we both questioned if we received an updated room because everything was so wonderful. After dumping our gear we headed to the bus stop. As Tink must have been looking down on us and sprinkled her pixie dust, we waited less than five minutes and the first bus was for Animal Kingdom.
Once we arrived at Animal Kingdom, I explained our loose touring plan to DH. Fast pass for the Safari, Fast pass for Everest, some sort of dinner/snack, and then Pandora for as long as we can stand it. We walked up the side left side of Animal Kingdom, we could even see the entrance to Pandora. I did a quick check of the wait times. Although it was almost 10:00 p.m. Pandora was packed and I didn’t want to waste our FPs, so it would have to wait. We arrived at the Safari and at that point I was worried because it was dark. Although 10:00 p.m. in Orlando our west-coast selves weren’t ready for it to be nighttime. We rode the safari and got to see more animals than I expected. The tower of Giraffes was fun as well as the hippos and then onto my favorite the lions. They were perched atop their rocks overlooking the savannah. It was the highlight of my ride.
Next, we started the hunt for dinner. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize a lot of the stands would be closed in preparation for park closing. We stopped at Harambe’s as planned, but DH being himself didn’t want to try anything on their menu. At this point, I was too hungry to care. We stopped at a snack stand and ended up with hummus and veggies and a water for me and a Mickey icecream sandwich for DH. My hummus and veggies was good the pita was wonderful. The hummus was a little thinner than I prefer. By the time I looked at DH, there was no sandwich or wrapper left in sight. I took that to mean he was happy. After a quick bite, we immediately walked on Everest. As this was both of our first time to Animal Kingdom, we were surprised by the backwards portion of the ride and the amount of force at the end on the turns. We both loved the ride and our hilarious photos.
Now the time had come, we slowly wandered through Dino-Land and past Flame Tree BBQ back to Pandora. As we walked in, I looked around and knew this was the right choice for a honeymoon. DH was pointing out plants and foot prints and the mountains with a look of amazement. We wandered through the land and gift shops before ending at Pongu Pongu. We ordered a Mo’ara Margarita and the Pongu Lumpia. I’m not sure why we ordered a margarita, neither of us are drinkers and neither of us are especially fond of tequila. I guess the amazing themeing and promise of blood orange sucked us in. We both had a few sips and weren’t especially amazed by the drink. I think Boba is just not for us. The jelly casing freaked me out a bit, so it got donated to the adult party next us consuming a variety of alcoholic beverages. Disney magic my friends. Next was the lumpia, neither of us had ever tried traditional lumpia before. We loved the sweet of the sugar cream cheese and the acidity of the pineapple. This was a snack credit well spent.
Next we checked the wait times, 45 minutes for Na’vi River Journey was do able, so we hopped in line. The people behind us had been riding this on a loop and were telling us all about the ride and the line theming. I always enjoy meeting other disney fanatics and hearing their thoughts. Their teenage daughters were watching The Force Awakens on an iPad in line, so as the conversation dulled we all caught a bit of Kylo’s mood swings. Then next thing we knew, it was our turn! Let me just stop here to say, this queue is fantastic. I was amazed with the tiny details and plants throughout the land, but the braided cabana really felt like something from Pandora.
We got in our boat, row three. If you are not looking for Pandora spoilers, catch my next day post. For everyone else, this was amazing. In more than a new cool ride, but in an awing way. I rode through most of the ride with my mouth open amazed. This is a traditional boat ride, it is extremely smooth with no drops or splashing. Think Its a Small World. As we floated through the landscaping is so detailed and layered that as it gets further away a small screen is placed in the back so you can experience Mo’ara wildlife, see Na’vi and their banshees, etc. It was absolutely amazing. Also don’t forget to look up as some of my favorite pieces of this ride were above us. This ride is much shorter than I anticipated, less than five minutes of ride time. Especially for a boat ride and a 45+ minute wait, we felt a little jipped. Now time for my favorite part, the shaman. She is stunning and scaled to actual Na’vi size it was amazing to compare her to my 5’4" self. She sings to her yaweh and moves so smoothly I questioned if she was real. She blinks her eyes, and wiggles her toes. Truly the best anamatronic I’ve seen to date.
After Na’vi River Journey the line for Flight of Passage was still 120+ minutes, and having been up since 3:00 a.m. we called it a day and headed back to CSR. I don’t remember the bus wait or trip back, we were exhausted. Once we opened the door to our room and saw our luggage had arrived. I turned up the air conditioner and we crawled into bed dreaming of our next adventure. Day 2 Kennedy Space Center.