Greetings all! It’s Joanna here and I’m happy to return back to work after my vacation! I was lucky enough to spend a week at the most magical place on earth- Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida! This was my first time visiting in 20 years and it was amazing. I know there are a lot of fellow Disney fans out there and I thought it would be fun to share some of my trip highlights with all of you.
Here’s a little background story for ya…
(insert my best Sophia Petrillo voice here) Picture it. Summer of 1995. 4 year old Joanna and her brother are surprised by their parents with a Walt Disney World vacation. They have a great week and make lots of memories along the way.
Flash forward to 2015. Joanna and her brother are now 24 years old and actually remember very little about their childhood trip to the Magic Kingdom. Sure there’s some old dusty Mickey Mouse ears in the attic and a faded character autograph book in the bottom of a junk drawer, but minimal memories come to mind. Joanna took it upon herself to take a trip back to Florida and re-do Walt Disney World as an adult with her best friend, Chrissy.
And here we are now! I have returned back to beautiful New Jersey ready to share my trip with all of you!
I had the pleasure of spending an entire week at Walt Disney World (for short, I will now simply refer to it as Disney) with my best friend. We flew into Orlando International Airport from New Jersey and hopped on Disney’s Magical Express. The bus took us to our resort and the trip had begun! We stayed at one of Disney’s Value Resorts – All Star Music. It was conveniently located near Animal Kingdom and fit neatly within our budget. The themed buildings were adorable and the 2 pools (yes, I said 2) were great for a late night dip after spending the days in the parks. We took advantage of the free bus transportation everyday and it made our commute to and from and parks quick and painless. I highly recommend staying at one of these resorts if you are looking to book a trip with a large group or family. Friendly staff, clean rooms, 2 large swimming pools, quick service food court, fully stocked gift shop, and free park transportation. What more could you want? It was great!
Over the course of 5 days we visited Downtown Disney, Animal Kingdom, Epcot, Magic Kingdom, and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. The park hopper option gave us total flexibility and we were able to visit multiple parks in 1 day. It was well worth the money! The Disney Dining Plan also made meal times a breeze. Reservations were set and we were able to enjoy all kinds of cuisine. I could literally write an entire novel about my vacation, but I will keep it short and sweet for you, just highlighting my favorite parts of the trip. I took over 200 photos (yes, I really mean that) throughout the course of roughly 5 days, so the spark notes version is up ahead!
Downtown Disney was a fun place to start the trip. There was a huge array of shops, eateries, and attractions. The first purchase was of course my ears. These things have really changed since my last visit! Now you can get headbands instead of hats and there are literally hundreds of styles to choose from. A simple red bow and black ears combination worked for me. I wore my ears all week and everywhere we went, even to dinner! It’s totally necessary and I felt like a little kid again! After dinner at Paradiso 37, we made a quick stop at the Harley Davidson store. I bought t-shirts for my family and headed back to the hotel. It was a wet and rainy night!
While at Animal Kingdom we took a ride on the Kilimanjaro Safari and saw some really cool animals. The safari even came to a halt as we waited for a family of rhinos to cross the road. As a huge animal lover, I had a great time. There were giraffes, zebras, flamingos, and so much more! An ostrich even came right up to our tour vehicle. It was a really fun way to start the morning! The animals were a little camera shy though!
I was flooded with emotions as we approached the front gates of Magic Kingdom. I saw the beautiful castle and was almost in tears (happy tears of course!). It truly is the happiest place on earth. Throughout the week we made several trips to Magic Kingdom. I am not much of a roller coaster fan, but I made sure to test out all the kiddie rides. I think I enjoyed them way more than some of the little kids! Some of my favorites were Peter Pan’s Flight, Ariel’s Undersea Adventure, and of course, It’s A Small World. If you haven’t noticed already, I truly am a kid at heart. I may be 24 years old, but I’m forever a little girl on the inside!
The best part of Magic Kingdom was all the character meet and greets! I got to meet most of my favorite Disney characters and take full advantage of the photo opportunities! Below are a few of my favorite shots. Let me tell you, the 1 hour wait to meet Anna and Elsa from Frozen was certainly worth it! Breakfast at the Crystal Palace was great too. Winnie the Pooh and all his friends were there with us! And how could we not enjoy lunch at Be Our Guest? It was amazing! The fireworks show at the end of the night is probably one of the prettiest displays you’ll ever see.
If you’re a foodie like me, Epcot is definitely the park for you. I spent most of my trip wandering around the World Showcase. The cuisine is authentic and delicious. Of course I had to pay a visit to bellissimo Italia! My father was born and raised there, so Italy was #1 on my list. I was able to pick up a couple of my favorite Italian candies and treats from a small gift shop. It felt like I was at my Nana Rosa’s house! Mexico was my absolute favorite country to visit. Chrissy and I are both true Italians, but my goodness do we love Mexican food and culture. Donald Duck even made an appearance!
Germany was so much fun too! They had some of the greatest beer I ever tasted and provided a very interesting dining experience. There was music and dancing and it was such a fun environment to be in. We even got a chance to meet the beautiful Snow White herself while strolling along Germany.
I hope to visit the U.K. someday, but until then, this is the next best thing. We had way too much fun with the red telephone booths and talking in British accents. We made sure to pick up some Doctor Who merchandise for our dear friend, Jess and stop for a quick photo with Alice too! Not much of a fish and chips kinda girl, but it sure looked delicious!
We even had dinner with the big man himself at the Garden Grill – Mickey Mouse that is! I couldn’t leave Florida without getting a hug and kiss from everyone’s favorite mouse! …M-I-C-K-E-Y- M-O-U-S-E…
The last park we visited was Disney’s Hollywood Studios. It was a blast from the past and I loved everything about it! We ate lunch at Pizza Planet, which was a childhood dream come true for me. Toy Story is one of my absolute favorite movies and it was super cool! We also had time to see the Frozen Sing-Along Celebration at the Hyperion Theater. We may have been the oldest people in the theater, but we had a great time. I’m a little obsessed with Frozen and I had to belt out at least 1 rendition of “Let It Go” while visiting Disney World. (I’m so sorry to anyone who was sitting next to or around me that day.) It was a short afternoon spent at the park, but it was a lot of fun. The scenery was so nice to look at.
Sadly, our vacation came to an end and we had to head back home to the Garden State. Way too much money was spent on souvenirs, but it was all in good fun. Walt Disney World is for children and adults of all ages. No matter who you are or where you are from or how old you are, it puts a huge smile on your face that you just cannot experience anywhere else. It is a really nice break from reality and it makes you feel good. I’m hoping to take my whole family for a visit next time!
Congratulations! You made it to the end of this blog! You kept on scrolling down and reading and you made it, so thank you! I absolutely love sharing my vacation and travel stories and I hope you find them enjoyable. It’s not all about fabric here ya know! We like to have fun outside of work too! Coincidentally, the day before I left for my vacation is the day our new Disney fabric delivery came in. Somehow it all comes back to Fabric Textile Products, Inc. I look forward to hearing about your Disney trips as well! Feel free to comment below! (PS- Thumbs up to those of you who totally picked up on my Golden Girls reference.)
With Warm Regards Always,
Fabric Textile Products, Inc.
*Disclaimer: All personal images used in this post belong to Joanna Maruca and Christin Fimiani. They may not be reused or recopied without our permission. Peter Pan image is courtesy of Pinterest. Thank you.*