Four weeks from this very minute, I’ll be in Walt Disney World–and yet I’ve not written much about my plans. The reason? I am trying to keep everything a secret from one specific person–my mom.
This sounds strange, I know, but hear me out. You see, my mom is coming with me on this trip. It is to be the Disney World trip she never had, after I had a complete OCD-induced nervous breakdown on our family Disney trip twenty-one years ago and ruined the entire vacation. So this trip is intended to make up for that trip, and as such, I’m hoping to work in many surprises for my dear mother.
Fortunately, she assured me that she won’t read this post. Mom–if you’re reading this–stop now!
I’ve been planning this trip since last Thanksgiving–one week after I returned from my first ‘real’ trip to Disney for the NCTE convention. Much to my surprise and shock, I really enjoyed Disney World and, despite a rather rigorous convention schedule, I managed to make it to The Magic Kingdom for a day, Animal Kingdom on my own for a morning, and Epcot for one long night of drinking around the world.
Additionally, I’ve been back to Walt Disney World one time since November, as part of my research for both my in-progress book and my educational travel blog. While I didn’t write about that experience on this blog, you can read my trip report HERE.
But this trip will be different. This trip will be a vacation.
The theme of this vacation–because every vacation needs a theme–is ‘The Full Mickey’. What does that mean? To me, ‘The Full Mickey’ is the most quintessentially Disney experience imaginable, complete with character photos, pin trading, fireworks, Mickey bars, and It’s a Small World. Additionally, I’ve managed to work in at least one special experience per day.
We will be staying on-site, because that’s what you need to do for a Full Mickey trip. My mother selected Animal Kingdom Lodge as her resort of choice, and we’ve decided to forego a rental car and use Disney transportation the entire time. I tried out Disney’s Magical Express on my last trip and determined that it was, in fact, both magical and express.
On our first full day, we will be going to Hollywood Studios in the morning, and ending our day on Animal Kingdom Lodge’s Wanyama Safari tour, which includes dinner at Jiko. Day two is a very special day–it’s Mother’s Day! We didn’t plan it like this–in fact, we didn’t realize we’d be there over Mother’s Day until after we booked the flight. So even though all of the planning websites advise against it, we’re going to The Magic Kingdom for Mother’s Day.
I’m not concerned about crowds, however, because we’ll only be in the park until around 2pm, at which point surprise number two occurs–I’ve made a reservation at the Tea Room in the Grand Floridian Resort. This is possibly the thing I’m most looking forward to for the entire trip, as my mom love tea rooms–and I can only imagine the one at the Grand Floridian will be, well, rather grand.
Day three takes us to Animal Kingdom, a park my mother is looking forward to because she loves animals, and I’m looking forward to because I love Expedition Everest. I’m hoping to get her to ride with me–but we shall see. If not, there’s always the single rider line!
Post-Animal Kingdom, I have yet another special experience planned–dinner at California Grill to watch the Wishes fireworks show. Of all of the restaurants in my Disney Guide Book, my mom selected California Grill as the one she’d really like to visit. She has good taste, if I do say so myself!
While I hate to put my favorite park off until the last day of the trip, it makes the most sense for us to visit Epcot on day four. The special event planned for this day? The Segway Around the World tour followed by lots of shopping in World Showcase. I’m pretty confident my mom will love Epcot as much as I do.
Our last day together is only half of a day, as her flight leaves at 2:30 in the afternoon. I say ‘her flight’ because, well, I’m not leaving! I’m staying in Orlando for an additional four nights with my husband, who is arriving later that night on the same plane my mother flew out on.
But I will be leaving Walt Disney World–for the ‘other’ Orlando Resort and Theme Park–Universal Orlando. I’ll be staying at Royal Pacific Resort, walking distance from the main thing we are looking forward to–The Wizarding World of Harry Potter!
My husband and I plan to spend four days and nights drinking butter beer, utilizing our on-site hotel front of the line passes, soaking up the sun at the resort pool, and drinking the evenings away at City Walk. It will be a very, very different type of vacation than the previous four days with my mother–but hopefully it will be equally fun. Have I mentioned that I can’t wait!?! Only 27 more days…!!!