Theme Park of the Day: Disney's Animal Kingdom

June 2011 WDW Trip

Walt Disney World: Things I am looking forward to on this year's WDW trip.

From Don Neal
Posted March 7, 2011 at 10:05 PM
Well, for our third year in a row...we are headed to WDW. I never wanted to be "that" guy that did the same thing every year or "that Disney fan" that would just go and give money to the mouse year after year. Well guess what...I'm "that guy". LOL :P

My kids will be 12, 10, and 8 this summer and they still enjoy the magic. I know it won't be long before it won't be the same for them so we are headed back again. Next year is our 15 year anniversary so me and my wife are taking the "the big trip" next year so definitely no Disney...well, not for the kids anyway. ;)

The fun part is we haven't told the kids yet. I lost my job in January and we thought we were going to have to cancel but I quickly landed on my feet which is a miracle in this economy. That and a decent severance package and were still on schedule for WDW! WOOT!

So we told the kids we were still taking a vacation but didn't know where yet. Lies, terrible lies. What mean parents! Right? Can't wait to see the look on their faces :) We leave May 28th and are returning June 6th.

So things I am looking forward to this year:
- The looks on their faces #1!!! :)
- We are doing 7 days at the parks instead of 6 like we have done the last two years. This extra day is going to allow us to take our time, relax, and soak it in even more.
- Star Tours II will be open when we go. Can't wait to see the update!
- We were able to increase our savings plan for the trip a little over the last two years and will be able to enjoy a Table Service meal every night and be waited on. We rotated every other night on past trips.
- New restaurants we haven't eaten at before: San Angel Inn, Wolfgang Puck Express, Hollywood & Vine, and for the kids...Pizza Planet along with all our favorites.
- My soon to be 10 year old daughter's first ride on Rockin' Roller Coaster. She gave me her word if we went, she would ride it. She chickened out just before boarding last year. >:)
- Riding Everest with all three of my kids over and over and over and over and ...well you get the picture. ;)
- Seeing Fantasmic again. Saw it in 2009 but missed it in 2010.
- First year with no stroller! I won't know what to do with that extra hour I will get back from "Stroller Management" pick it up, park it, pick it up, park it...
- Bringing home more Vinylmations to add to our Toy Story 3 and Muppet collection.

What are some things other people are looking forward to? =D

From James Rao
Posted March 8, 2011 at 5:13 AM
Sadly, I still have to save for another year to make my next Disney trip (Carsland here I come!), so I will not be enjoying the magic as I did in 2010. But, I for one am looking forward to your detailed trip report, Don! If I can't have the magic in person, I can at least live vicariously through your report!

From Don Neal
Posted March 8, 2011 at 6:03 AM
Hi James!

We tossed Disneyland around but for the price to fly all five of us out there and get a room big enough for our family, the price point was beyond what I was willing to pay for now. But we are planning to get out to California at some point.

We'll see about the trip report, I hate to let anyone down but it always seems I start strong and then never finish them. LOL Maybe this year I'll do more play by play as we go. Hmm.

Oh and I tried and tried to talk the wife into trying Ragland Road but she is set on Earl of Sandwich and Wolfgang Puck Express when we visit DTD. I'll get there at some point. :P

From Lauren Hayhurst
Posted March 8, 2011 at 6:10 AM
Hi Don!

Your message has got me really excited as we are now counting down in days! We fly out NEXT WEEK on Thursday 17th March for 3 and a bit weeks. Have been planning and saving since our last trip in 2007! Doing the week-long Disney cruise around the Caribbean first, then legging it to the villa for our 2-week park holiday. I'm currently in the phase of: we've-been-saving-for-so-long-I-can't-believe-it's-actually-happening!!!!

So the things I'm looking forward to are:

1. The cruise obviously, but that's a bit different really and I don't hear much chat of it on here. (Pirates in the Caribbean party, meeting the Princesses, Deck party, Disney kareoke.)

2. Really looking forward to the new Toy Story area in HS, as haven't seen it yet. The 3D shooting games sounds wicked.

3. Riding Everest with my husband as he's never done it!

4. Having tea in Japan in EPCOT, as this is the first trip we've ever booked resaurants in advance. Also eating at Tony's Town Square!

5. The feeling of rounding the corner on Main Street and seeing the castle for the first time again...Butterflies in my stomach and almost uncontrolable excitment as we run to Space Mountain!

And I'll leave it there. BTW Don, dont bank on it that your kids will grow out of the magic...I'm 27 and I'm going on holiday with my new husband (32) and my parents! I hate letting them go to Disney without me! Good job the four of us get on so well! And the magic has really only got better and better!

So enjoy your trip and thanks for your post. I'll write a 'highlights' report when I get home 12th April!!!

From Don Neal
Posted March 8, 2011 at 9:29 AM
Hi Lauren,

Thanks for the post. I think we are getting each other even more excited. I enjoyed reading about your plans. The cruise sounds like fun. We are thinking of doing one in a few years with the kids. I know they would enjoy it.

You'll love Toy Story, it's a lot of fun. I look forward to reading your report! Take care and have fun! :)

From Terri Pierce
Posted March 8, 2011 at 10:46 AM
Boyfriend and I are going for our 5th anniversary in December before all the younger kids get out of school.

Looking forward to:

1. Churros. I love churros.

2. Being able to slow down and just look at stuff. When we went with my parents and sister last fall we were stuck running back and forth between rides and couldn't actually slow down and soak in any "Magic".

3. Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party

4. Bittersweet last ride on Snow White before the new coaster comes out.

5. Trying out T-Rex restaurant

6. Sitting down at a decent restaurant in park/Downtown instead of burgers and fries everyday.

From Terri Pierce
Posted March 8, 2011 at 10:52 AM
Also I agree with Lauren. The older I get the more I enjoy Disney world. When I was younger sure I loved meeting the mouse himself, and Tigger etc but now that I'm older I've started researching Disney himself and all the history behind the parks and it makes it that much more magical. Also I would recommend reading a book such as "The Hidden Magic of Walt Disney" or any book about the park. It tells you little things to look out for in the park and you can really impress your kids with it.

That's got to go before churros- looking for all the things we've read about in the book!

From Don Neal
Posted March 8, 2011 at 11:17 AM
My son (sixth grader) has done projects both about Walt Disney and Jim Henson. He is a walking history book on both of them and related topics which is good...most of the time. :)

He loves muppets and Disney stuff. It's killing him to think we aren't going but then he acts like he knows there is a chance. :D

So I assume he won't lose interest too quickly even though he is approaching teen status.

From Larry Duke
Posted March 8, 2011 at 1:48 PM
We are heading down in June for our first "Major" Family vacation. Eight total in the party.

We will have two Disney new-comers and two grandsons along for the trip.

The two grandsons are so excited everytime they see a WDW TV spot they start yelling and jumping around.

Our first trip was 32 years ago for our honeymoon. We have visited three times since with the last five years ago.

I am looking forward to seeing the grandsons faces when they walk into the Magic Kingdom. We have a tradition. Arrive at the part at 6:30 the first night there. Walk through the tunnel below the railway and close our eyes just before we walk in.

Three months and three days and counting.

From Brandon Townsend
Posted March 8, 2011 at 8:49 PM
My kids and I will be staying at the Swan later this month and I'm looking forward to being able to walk into Epcot from the hotel.
We are going to visit all four parks in one day, which will take some planning.
Otherwise just looking forward to the excitement my family gets from the whole Disney experience.

From Anthony Murphy
Posted March 8, 2011 at 9:06 PM
I am looking forward seeing my brother's girlfriend, who has never been there in her life, smile and discover what magic the parks have!

From Ray Schroeder
Posted March 8, 2011 at 9:02 PM
OMG Lauren, a three week vacation. That's great. We work too much here in the States. Have fun.
I'm looking forward to the Food and Wine fest this fall. I missed it for the past two years. I can't wait for all the construction to be complete at DL and WDW.

From Lauren Hayhurst
Posted March 9, 2011 at 1:40 AM
Hey Ray - I know we're really lucky in the UK in that respect...especially when your job has flexible hours and you can save up holiday and take it all at once. But believe me it's not a regular occurance! My colleagues are like 'three weeks? how'd you wangle that?!' Hopefully it'll feel never ending...

And Terri, I know that book too! My mum and i have been reading it non-stop for months now, got to look out for the talking bins (garbage cans) in Tomorrow Land, and apparently somewhere along Main Street, in one of the shops, near the cash desks there is a lonely old-style telephone on the wall. if you pick up the receiver you can hear an arguement between two of the tenants upstairs!!! I'll defo be looking out for that. (Think we'll take book with us and remember a couple of hidden gems to look out for everyday).

And what you said about enjoy decent meals instead of take out - I'm with you on that. That's one of our priorities this time. (not sure why it hasn't occured to us before) And just slowing down...we're even thinking of arriving at a park at a lesiurely 11am if we feel like it, and generally absorbing the experience.

OMG I've got 7 Big Sleeps to go! Thanks again for this discussion thread, I've really enjoying hearing all your plans and it's nice to know that everyone else counts down the months / weeks / days and can't wait to go back!

From Lauren Hayhurst
Posted March 9, 2011 at 1:47 AM
PS I'm with you on the churros... and the popcorn and the Mickey Premier ice cream bars and the candy floss and the sweet shop on Main Street and the toffee apples in Downtown and the .... Can't wait for this pre-holiday dieting to be over :-P

From Don Neal
Posted March 9, 2011 at 8:01 AM
Larry, sounds like a great trip. I always love to see people experience something for the first time. And WDW is something you can't really explain to people, you have to experience it.


Anthony, that will be fun being there on her first visit.


Three weeks! Wow! We do 8-10 days when we go. I feel like I am just really starting to feel like I am truly relaxed when it's time to head home. Three weeks will be amazing!

From Carrie Hood
Posted March 10, 2011 at 6:18 AM
I won't be back down to WDW or the Orlando area until 2012-2013 myself. It's oddly nice not to have to save every bit of extra money for a single vacation! We simply can't get the time off work or miss the two weeks of school right now, so last year we decided we'd wait until the new fanstyland expansion was all finished up to head back down! It's kind of sad not to be going, more for me then my husband since I grew up down in Orlando. However we'll be going on a Cruse this year so at least I get to see something new!

Now incase you didn't know, I try to tell everyone about the Disney Outlets! There are two of them located at Prime Outlets and Premium Outlets. I always hit them for discounted merchandise and clothing before I start serious shopping at the parks!

San Angel Inn. It was closed last year while we where down but it's been one of my favorite restaurants in Epcot since I was very small indeed, the counter service outside at the Cantina is excellent too! I make a point of having my daily snack there before getting into the heavy shopping that World Showcase presents me!
And speaking of Epcot..
Try the Sake bar in Japan for a bit of an adult type refreshment. They have some amazing sake and the prices are decent for Disney! I brought several bottles home myself! ;)

Earl of Sandwich! GO! I promise your not going to be disappointed, this is a favorite among even locals for a good bite of food, the Hawaiian is simply made of awesome. We always stop on our way out and bring them home for my parents who are as addicted as my husband and I.

It simply great to hear your kids love the Muppets and Henson, so many now don't even know who Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy are now! This was always one of our favorite attractions and the gift shop isn't bad either!

Have lots of fun and let us know how the Fantasyland expansion is going!

From Don Neal
Posted March 10, 2011 at 7:40 AM
I was a big fan of the muppets when I was a kid so I have all their movies on DVD and several seasons of the show on DVD as well. I made it a priority to watch them all with the kids and then of course the ride at DHS really helped. Now the kids have muppet clothes, stuffed animals, and collectibles. Neat to see pop culture being passed down. :)

Really looking forward to San Angel Inn. The Mexico area is one of my favorites. I love the boat ride. Not sure why but it's a must do for me when we go.

From Orrin Carstarphen
Posted March 10, 2011 at 10:14 AM
Leaving May 28 myself, unfortunately we are only doing 5 days instead of our customary 7. We are taking our 2 year old grandaughter on her first trip and also my mother who hasn't been since her and my dad took the kids back in '75. Sadly my dad passed away last year and won't be joining us. Using the counter-service meals for the first time so any tips or suggestions would be appreciated.

From Don Neal
Posted April 6, 2011 at 2:37 PM
Not that 10 days in Orlando and a bunch of days at Disney could get much better but this week we found out that some really great friends of ours from Atlanta who we don't get to see very often are going to be at Disney the exact same week as us. WOOT!

Now for a double bonus, flights had gone up a lot since we originally planned the trip and was looking like it was going to cost us upwards of $400 more than we planned. Good news we found a work around and are flying in the day before we had originally planned and only cost us $70 above our original estimate.

And now the trifecta! I emailed the condo owner to let them know we would be a day early and since it was available, how much would the extra day cost. They gave it to us at no charge since they likely weren't going to fill it anyway. WOOT!

This trip just keeps getting better and better.

From Betty Rohrer
Posted April 6, 2011 at 5:24 PM
i am getting to go to orlando a week later than you. my "adopted" daughter's son is getting a make a wish trip and i am getting to go as the second adult. a short trip,3 days Disney, 2days universal and 1 day sea world. we are staying at give kids the world village, which is going to be different as we usually stay on site. we have so much planned for us but not enough days, going to need a vacation to rest up from our trip

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