Dan and I had a couple of ideas for our honeymoon – however when we saw an amazingly cheap flight deal for one of our preferred locations it made the decision for us. So off we went to Orlando, USA and headed for Walt Disney World (not to be confused with Disney Land in Florida) in search of fun times, adventure and experiences of a life time! (As I’m slightly obsessive I had already researched and knew that all this and more was going to be right at our fingertips at the ‘Happiest Place on Earth’!)
Dan and Paula dressed up for the Halloween Party
After a gruelling 12 hour flight from Brisbane to Los Angeles, we had a quick 3 hour stop over and then directly onto another 5 hour flight across the country to Orlando. By the time we arrived in Orlando, picked up our bags and made it to the ‘Disney Magical Express’ (the courtesy bus from the Airport) we had been “awake” approximately 25 hours and were utterly exhausted. I’d recommend if anyone is planning this trip – to take a day in LA, get a hotel and rest!
We stayed at the Pop Century (value resort) for the majority of the trip. This accommodation was budget (and the food seemed to specifically cater to this cost saving group) but it allowed us to stay at the deluxe Animal Kingdom Lodge resort for the last two nights of our honeymoon. This worked for us, as we were rarely in our room for the first week or so as we were constantly sightseeing and visiting the park attractions and other theme parks in the Orlando region. However if we did do it again we’d spend the money and stay at the Animal Kingdom for the whole trip. Their restaurants were amazing!
Pop Century Resort Area near main pool
Foyer of the Animal Kingdom Lodge
The food is WDW’s biggest let down. It consists mostly of fatty fast food. Seek out the more upmarket restaurants at the resorts or Downtown Disney for better quality food. We loved House of Blues at Downtown Disney and the Californian Grill at the Contemporary Resort for good quality food.
Dan with ‘toy soldier’ near the Toy Story Mania Ride at Hollywood Studios
Sheriff Woody at the parade at Magic Kingdom
We saw and did so many things. (There is so much to see and do we actually didn’t make it into the city of Orlando in the whole 18 days we were there!)
– went to Sea World and saw Shamu,
– rode an ‘enchanted bench’ through Harry Potter’s Forbidden Journey ride (and other fantastical sights at the newly opened Wizarding World of Harry Potter) at Universal Studios,
– saw Cirque du Soleil’s La Nouba at Downtown Disney (the only place you can see this show in the world),
– went hot air ballooning for Dan’s very special 30th with Orlando Balloon Rides
– attended our first American Halloween party at Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween party,
– Went on a romantic carriage ride around the Fort Wilderness Camp Grounds in WDW (which we kindly were given as a wedding gift – Disney World Wedding Registry ! Check it out – worth a look!)
– Spent a whole day at the Walt Disney World Speedway where Dan got to drive (by himself!) and ride a-long in a NASCAR and Indy Car for his 30th birthday
– Had a romantic dinner while watching the “Wishes” fireworks from the Californian Grill restaurant that overlooks the Magic Kingdom
– Experienced the Wanyama Safari Resort Tour through the grounds of the Animal Kingdom Lodge (where we got sniffed by a giraffe!) and then had an amazing 3 course dinner at Jiko.
– And saw all WDW’s 4 main theme parks being The Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom.
Seaworld – 5 killer whales splash the crowd during the ‘Believe’ show
Hogwarts Castle at Universal Studios (at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter)
Ollivander’s Wand Shop at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter
3 of the 12 balloons that took off on the same morning as our balloon ride
Pirate pose at the Halloween Party!
Dan and Paula after their carriage ride
Dan’s ride-a-long in the Indy Car
– Take the time to sleep! (the one day we went flat out all day and didn’t have a nap was the night we saw La Nouba. We had amazing seats – but that didn’t stop me from nodding off sometimes…)
– Off peak season is the key to a good WDW trip! The crowds are still big – but they are MUCH bigger in peak season
– Do your research and book in advance anything you really want to do
– Be prepared to negotiate, compromise and have some disappointments – (we didn’t get a king bed the whole trip; it didn’t stop us though from pushing our 2 doubles together!) It might be your honeymoon but it doesn’t mean you go to the top of the line.
Fireworks spectacular at Mickey’s Not-So-Scarey Halloween Party
What we loved:
We loved everything but I think we had the most fun at the Halloween party!
Ms Polka Dot says: Paula and Dan had such a fun honeymoon (see their wedding here) – appealing to all the big (or little) kids hiding somewhere within each of us! Thank you for this fun and sparkly post – I especially liked the photo of the ‘shower’ the crowds got from the five killer whales – hmmmmm!
All photos taken by Paula and Dan
Paula tells us: I’m 24 and live in Townsville, North Queensland with my new hubby Daniel, and our dog Zeus.