So only 2 ½ short weeks after returning from California, Chris and I were off to Walt Disney World in Florida for a long weekend. The purpose of our trip was for me to participate in two runDisney events.. the Jingle Jungle 5K and the Wine and Dine Half Marathon. Both races were on Saturday and we decided to extend our trip a few days to do some tours that we have always talked about doing but have never made the time to do.
Day 1 started off with a very early morning flight down to Orlando. Everything went smoothly and we were on the Magical Express bus and checked in to our resort by 10:30 am. We were staying at Port Orleans French Quarter. This was our 4th time staying at this resort. It is one of my favorites! Our room was ready so we got to stop there for a quick regroup. We had a great location. We were in building 4, right next to the main building. If we went to the right when exiting our room, we would go down the stairs and be right at the entrance to the food court. If we went left, we would go down the stairs, walk across a small parking area and be at the resort buses.
When I booked our package (I wasn’t yet a travel planner), I used the runDisney package. It was a very affordable rate that included a 4 day park hopper pass for Chris. I did not need a pass because my annual pass is still valid until January. The down side was that we would not receive his pass or even a ticket number for him until we arrived. Which meant that I could not make any fastpass+ reservations before our trip. Yes, I could have made them for just myself but that isn’t nice J. I wasn’t real happy about that and did call several times to see if anything could be done about it. The only option was to remove the ticket from our reservation and purchase it separately at the full price. If this was our first and maybe only trip to WDW, I probably would have done that. But since we have been many times before, and we will be there many times in the future, we decided to just leave it and deal with it.
At check in, I received his pass and when we got to the room, I loaded it onto our My Disney Experience account. Loading it was easy and then I started to play around with seeing what FastPass+ reservations I could get. I couldn’t get most of the “E ticket” attractions, which I had expected, but I got enough to get us started.
We then headed out front to hop on a bus to the Expo. Typically I don’t like to go to the Expo early on the first day because it is usually crowded. We thought about waiting until later but we want to just get what I needed and be done there for the day so off we went.
And yes, it was crowded! Picking up my number for the 5K was easy. The lines for the half marathon were long but they did move along so it wasn’t too bad. We ran into a few friends from Team All Ears which is always excellent!! And then we headed to the next building to get my tshirts. No lines there so it was a quick pick up. I’m not really into looking around at the expo and it was crowded. So we just made our way out and back to the French Quarter.
Our bags from Magical Express had arrived so I was able to get us a little organized and then we went over to Hollywood Studios.
Another difference on this trip was that we decided to not make any dining reservations. We wanted to just be free to do what we wanted and were fine with grabbing food when we felt like eating where ever we happened to be. And overall, that worked out fine.
We did some rides in Hollywood Studios and enjoyed walking around. We made sure to do the Frozen Sing a long for a few reasons. Yes, I like Frozen and I know all the songs. Also, I like to check out anything new that I haven’t done before. But I mainly wanted to see the reactions of the girls in the audience. My opinion in general is that the show was just ok. I had expected more of the actual characters being on the stage but most of the “sing a long” is done with movie clips on the large screen with the words underneath so you can sing along. Meh. But the little girl sitting in front of me made the whole experience worthwhile. In general, there was some singing for most of the songs. But when they got to “Let it Go” you could hear everyone. The little girl in front of me not only sang out the whole song at the top of her lungs, but she did every hand motion and body movement of Elsa in the movie. She was so into it and it was so cute to watch.
Since our Fastpass+ selection was limited and Fantasmic was available, we decided to see what that was like and then we could compare it to the Disneyland version which was still fresh in our memory. With the fastpass, we had a return time and a seating area that was reserved. The seats were fine and we only waited about an hour for the show to start. Chris and I were split on our comparison. He thought the California version was much better than WDW. I enjoyed both but thought the WDW was slightly better. It might have been because the part at the end when all of the characters are on the boat did not happen in California due to refurbishment of the boat and that is one of my favorite parts. And the space in WDW is much bigger. Either way we were glad we stayed for it and got to see both versions so close together.
We grabbed some popcorn for the road and headed back to the resort. I had an early wake up for the 5K in the morning.
I have been a huge Disney and travel fan since childhood. I love going to new places and, of course, heading to Disney as often as I can.