In mid-November, we had the incredible opportunity to go back to Florida to spend a couple of days in Walt Disney World. This was following Melvin’s retirement and the sale of our home in California. What we thought was going to be a few days to get away and relax (downsizing your life takes an unexpected physical and emotional toil on a person) turned into a celebration of our next phase of life. Long days and lots of good food with dear friends left us with little time to relax. But it was all worth it in the end.
We met up with our friends, Dan & Velora who arranged for all of us to stay
at Jambo House in the Animal Kingdom Lodge. The view from our room was truly amazing with giraffes, zebras, wildebeest and many other animals that wandered the grounds outside our windows. It has always amazed us the amount of research that Disney had to conduct in order to provide an environment where the animals would not merely survive, but thrive and live healthy lives.
Before we head much deeper into this post, we want to make something clear. This theme park is “Walt Disney World,” not “Disney World” as many want to call it. After Walt’s passing in 1966, his brother Roy was tasked with seeing the park through to completion; and with that he wanted to make sure that everyone remembered that this place was Walt’s dream.
We didn’t have much time on this trip, but we did have the opportunity to see the “Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights.” This year will be the last for what has become an annual tradition in the Hollywood Studio Park. The Streets of America are decorated with millions of lights that dance to music that fills the air. This show starts at sundown and continues to park closing every night through the Christmas season. On select nights, one can enjoy a special dessert party with reserved seating from which to enjoy the show.
The Magic Kingdom is fully decorated for Christmas. Any Disney park at this time of year is such a magnificent sight – unlike any we have experienced elsewhere. Unfortunately, we didn’t heed the advice of seasoned experts to Walt Disney World: Always be prepared for rain! It began raining on us around 4:00 in the afternoon and didn’t let up through the evening, so we had to leave since we weren’t ready to deal with the rain. We had been fortunate the previous visits that we didn’t experience inclement weather, but not this time. Next trip we will come with rain coats – just in case! Needless to say, we didn’t get to see Main Street and Cinderella’s Castle all lit up. But there is always next year (or next trip) – and that is how we end many visits into a Disney park.
EPCOT (Experimental Prototype Community Of Tomorrow)
On our last day, we finally got to complete the full walk through all the international pavilions in EPCOT. There are unique areas in this part of the park and they have some really amazing food. There are 11 countries depicted through the World Showcase, each depicting something from their culture and heritage. This is an area that is not heavily traveled, but is well worth your time to see and experience a sampling of many world cultures in a short amount of time.
Walt Disney World is enormous, and that is an understatement. Having lived in California for 28 years and about 2 hours north of Disneyland, we have become well acquainted with the scale and intimacy of the Anaheim resort. So we usually don’t fret about not getting something done/seen/ridden/eaten on a Disneyland trip, knowing that we can return anytime, but Florida is a different animal. We have now been three times in the past two years, and we don’t know how many visits it will take to do/see/ride/eat the majority of Walt Disney World, but it is certainly worth trying.
This much we do know, we will be returning for a week in mid-February to run the Enchanted 10K and that will give us another chance to experience something new.