The Best of WDW

I’m feeling a little homesick this week, and I am more than ready for our Disney World vacation in April. So, to try to relieve some of this homesickness, I give you my rankings of various WDW Resort things. I welcome all opinions and arguments to these lists as they are my personal opinions. Also, I have only stayed at three resorts on property, so I’m not ranking those. BUT Animal Kingdom Lodge has been the best so far.

The Parks in Order of Amazingness 

Disclaimer here: the last time I went to WDW Great Movie Ride was open and Pandora was barely doing soft openings. It’s been a hot second. The water parks are not listed as I have not been to them.

  1. Hollywood Studios. I worked here, but even before that MGM was my favorite park.
  2. Magic Kingdom
  3. EPCOT
  4. Animal Kingdom

Top Five Shows to See

  1. Fantasmic (Forever will be my ultimate favorite show on the resort.)
  2. Festival of the Lion King
  3. Wishes (RIP)
  4. Illuminations
  5. Beauty and the Beast
  6. Bonus: the Jedi Training at Hollywood Studios. I’m not sure if it counts as a show, but I loved working that ice cream stand watching the kids fight Darth Vader (especially on the busy days when Darth Maul came out to “Duel of the Fates” and kids always screamed. It was great.)

Top Ten Rides (of all parks)

  1. Pirates of the Caribbean
  2. Haunted Mansion
  3. Rockin’ Roller Coaster staring Aerosmith
  4. Jungle Cruise
  5. Space Mountain
  6. Mount Everest
  7. Tower of Terror
  8. Star Tours
  9. Great Movie Ride (SUPER RIP)
  10. Universe of Energy (also RIP)

Top Character Dining Experiences

I’m going more by location here. I don’t remember all the exact names of the dining experiences.

  1. Cinderella’s Castle with the princesses
  2. Polynesian Resort with Lilo and Stitch
  3. Chef Mickey
  4. Crystal Palace with Winnie the Pooh
  5. Tucker House at Animal Kingdom

Best Time to be at the Parks

  1. Halloween. Hands down.
  2. Not Spring break.

Best Parades

  1. Boo to You (see above. You shouldn’t be surprised here.)
  2. Pixar Play Parade (I miss this one. Saw it everyday during my DCP.)
  3. Spectro-magic (My whole life was basically this parade until a couple years ago.)

Best Snacks

  1. Jalapeno cream cheese pretzel (honestly I don’t know if this is still available. I sold them on the Streets of America during my program. The best pretzel ever.)
  2. Mickey Pretzel
  3. Popcorn
  4. Funnel cake
  5. Mickey ice cream bar

Best Sit Down Restaurants

  1. Si-fi Drive in
  2. Be Our Guest
  3. That place in Norway in EPCOT
  4. T-REX (Okay, that one is in Disney Springs, still counts)

Best Character Meet and Greets

  1. Gaston. Hands down. Best interaction of all time.
  2. Mickey. Tears every time.
  3. Peter Pan
  4. Tiana and Naveen
  5. Rapunzel
  6. Merida
  7. Chip and Dale
  8. Mary Poppins (I love her, and she’s my husband’s favorite so she makes top ten)
  9. Kylo Ren. He scared me.
  10. Belle. My favorite Disney gal and the princess I most relate to.

 

There is so much more I wish I could include, but I have to stop at some point. Like I said earlier, these are my personal opinions based off of my experiences. I know people will disagree on some things (not Gaston though. If you don’t think he’s perfect then you’re just wrong.), and I would love to hear your own lists!

Out of Vacation and Into the Fire

I got chosen as fire warden for the office, so that “into the fire” bit of the title made me laugh and I am not ashamed of that. I find myself to be hilarious.

The cruise was AMAZING. We were on Brilliance of the Seas sailing out of Tampa. The weather was beautiful, the food was to die for, and we got chased by what is now Hurricane Michael back to the states. We had an ocean balcony room, and I will probably never go to a non-ocean balcony ever again. It was so peaceful sitting out there watching the waves.

For Taylor’s birthday, I got him an excursion at Grand Cayman that took us to the city of Hell and to the turtle sanctuary on the island. My man loves him some turtles. He was so happy and excited. We got to touch the turtles, pick up the turtles, and even swim with the turtles. We also learned a fun fact about Grand Cayman: chickens and iguanas are EVERYWHERE. My mom would have hated every minute.

That night we also ate at Chops which is the specialty steakhouse on board. This may sound bad, but that steak was my favorite part of the cruise. I am still dreaming about that fillet, guys. Chops is forever a must do for us on cruises.

Cozumel we literally got off the ship, went to the duty free store, and bought some good liquor for half the price as it is at home. I estimate that the bottles will last us a few years as we barely drink, but worth it.

The shows and quizes were so much fun. I mainly watched them while Taylor gambled, but it was a fantastic time. I even finished four books in the one week we were gone! One was already half done before we boarded, but I’m still claiming four.

Of course, I came back to work a week before extended tax deadline, so I’m VERY busy now. The tax department is on fire trying to crank out returns. I do like being busy as it takes my mind off the fact that I am no longer on vacation, but I would be lying if I said I have not looked at our Alaskan cruise planner for our sailing next August.

Cruises are great. Best vacations ever (plus you get A LOT for your money). I must really try hard to stay out of the post vacation funk to survive this deadline.

I’m on Vacation!

I’m going to be quiet this week. I am sailing with my husband on Brillance of the Seas to the west Caribbean. I’ll be back next week, and I promise to tell you all highlights.

This cruise is to celebrate our second wedding anniversary (which is today, yay!) and my husband’s birthday (which is tomorrow, double yay!). It will be a week of beautiful ocean views, yummy food, and alochol. Oh, and we get to swim with sea turtles and go to Hell. It’s going to be a good trip.

Hope everyone has a good week!

Cruisin’ My Way to Vacation

Vacations are both amazing a necessary. Sometimes you just need a break from everything, especially when things get hectic. It’s all part of self care and mental health. And while I am a huge fan of the beach and theme parks (mainly Disney World), the best getaway is the open ocean.

I am 31 days from my anniversary/ husband’s birthday cruise and exactly one year away from our Alaskan cruise.

Cruises are amazing because you usually do not have cell phone reception or internet when you are on the ship. You can buy packages that give you access to these things, but I like the break from technology and social media. Therefore, no one back home can reach you and you can relax all you want.

You also get a lot of bang for your buck on cruises. The price of a room on a cruise ship includes 3 meals a day and beverages at these meals. You get access to shows and games and pools and casinos (not free, you have to gamble your own money). Some of the bigger ships have ice skating and bumper cars. You just have to get to the port and everything else is taken care of.

My husband and I are a fan of purchasing the extra beverage packages for soda, specialty coffees, and alcohol. These packages are not a one size fit all, so there is some guesswork on if the package is worth it, but we find that we get our money’s worth.

Excursions are fun, but not required. These are not included in the cruise fare, so we tend to choose one or two depending on the number of ports and if we have been there before. I am perfectly content with enjoying an almost empty ship on port days, and a lot of the amenities, like the spa, have discounts on those days.

I have only sailed on Royal Caribbean to the Caribbean so far. Alaska will be a major change for me, especially since I do not like cold. But the excursions there are so much different than the excursions in the caribbean- there is no snorkeling in Alaska. Their big thing is fishing and whales. Yay whales!

I will probably be a life long cruiser, and while I love RCCL, I do need to do a Disney cruise at least once. Maybe that will be in the near future (like 2020 at the soonest). If you have never been on a cruise, I recommend them. They have something for everyone, no matter the age (I have friends who have told me the kids’ programs are fantastic, and I remember having a blast when I went on a cruise when I was like 10). Just don’t forget to wash your hands.

Vacations are Bad for Studying

But are SO worth it for the mental health benefits.

You may have noticed I have been quiet the past week. Well, I was on a staycation/ vacation. I spent the beginning of the week spending some quality time at home and doing things with my husband before ending the week at the beach for the second annual girls’ weekend I do with my mom, aunts, and best friend.

I got to relax and not worry about anything until I got home last night. Then I realized I did not look at any of my CPA exam notes for ten days. I had the intention to- I downloaded my notes onto my new Kindle Paperwhite with the intention of reading over them while lounging on the beach. Instead, I reread Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and half of Prisoner of Azkaban for the hundredth time (no regrets there).

I have exactly a month before I take the FAR exam for the fifth time. It’s past time to get serious, but I have a plan: do nothing on the weekends until after the 24th (with one exception for Fantasy Football League draft day). I need to crack down on doing multiple choice questions and practice exams and copying my notes so I get something ingrained in my head. Easier said than done, I know, but it is a necessary evil. My scores so far have not been great, so I really have to focus if I want to pass this exam (and I REALLY want to pass).

So, to all of my family and friends, I am not mad at you. I am not going through a mental health down spiral. I am ignoring you. I am studying. I still love you. See you Labor Day weekend.