Thursday, September 30, 2010

When you wish upon a star...

This past weekend, Cam and I took a little trip to the happiest place on Earth--Walt Disney World! We had originally planed to go there last year for Cam's birthday, but we ended up going to Tennessee instead. So this year, Disney had a promotion called "Give a Day, Get a Disney Day," where if you volunteered you received a free one day pass to the park. The goal of the program was to inspire one million people to give back to their communities, so back in April, Cam and I spent a Saturday removing invasive plants from a park in Ann Arbor. We decided we wanted to go and use our passes in the fall because we had heard that was a much less busy time at the park. Another reason that I really wanted us to plan this trip to Walt Disney World was because Cam had never been. This concept was so foreign to my family/everyone Cam met in Michigan because it seems that everyone in the Midwest makes the pilgrimage to Orlando at some point or another. But since Cam is from Oregon, he hadn't gone, so we thought it would be fun for the two of us to go down there, because Disney is not just for kids...

We left on Thursday afternoon, and flew out of Asheville, NC...on our flight was delayed...both out of Asheville...and Atlanta...I'm not the biggest fan of Delta, can you tell? But we finally made it to Orlando, and boarded Mickey's Magical Express Shuttle to our hotel a little after midnight. There were tons of families with little kids on the bus, and even though it was so late, they were all so excited. All the parents looked exhausted, but were taking pictures and video of their kids on the bus, and all the enthusiasm of the kids was contagious. We finally made it to our hotel, Animal Kingdom Lodge, and were really impressed; it was beautiful inside! The decor was very tribal, and their were African artifacts all over the place. We had a room overlooking the savanna in the back of the hotel, so when we woke up Friday morning, it was great to get ready and drink our coffee while watching the animals from our balcony. There were lots of different overlook points to see all the antelope, zebras, giraffes, birds and other animals from all over the gorgeous hotel grounds, so we had a lot of fun exploring. I'd highly recommend staying here to anyone going to WDW.

We spent Friday at Epcot, and I was really excited because I thought that this was the park that Cam would like best since it has such a focus on science. A lot of the rides and exhibits at Epcot are about technology and the environment, and we had a great time checking everything out. The other half of Epcot is the World Showcase, which features 14 different "countries" from around the globe. We had crepes in France, gelato in Italy, and Chinese China, obviously. (There is also an American section...where Cam got a turkey leg that was so good!) Clearly we wanted our visit to these fake countries to be just like our real visit to Europe, aka eating as much as humanly possible. We watched Epcot's fireworks show and went on the GM TestTrack ride which was really cool!


Saturday, we got up early and went to have breakfast at the Contemporary Resort right by the Magic Kingdom. We had breakfast at Chef Mickey's, one of the Disney restaurants where you can dine with the characters. We ate a huge buffet breakfast, and we got pictures with all the characters which was lots of fun. Then it was time for the classic Disney experience--going to the Magic Kingdom. While Cam really liked Epcot, I don't think it was quite what he was expecting because it's a lot more about science and travel than it is about Mickey and Minnie. But the Magic Kingdom had all the magic and whimsy that he was looking for, and no matter how old you are, you feel like a kid when you walk in to the park. MK was all decked out for fall, with pumpkins and adorable harvest decorations everywhere. (Never mind the fact that it's only September and it was 85 degrees outside...) We walked up Main Street USA to the castle and I even got a picture of Cam in front of the castle/Walt & Mickey statue wearing his bright orange "1st Visit!" button. (He refused to wear it around the park, but said he'd take one picture with it on!) We had a great day at the park and got to ride all the classic rides, with no more than a 20 minute waits for anything, which was awesome. The only thing we didn't get to ride was "It's a Small World" because it was closed for renovations, but other than that, we were able to ride everything, and we were ready to leave the park by 4 in the afternoon. We spent the rest of the weekend relaxing by the pool and eating dinner @ Artist Point in Wilderness Lodge. We were back at home in Greenville by Sunday afternoon, so it was a really fast weekend. I'm really glad we went, and that Cam got to have the Disney experience. But I'm pretty sure that we won't be going back for at least 10 years until we have some little kiddies to take there!  

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