TravelAmerica

It's a kind of magic

AmericaBy Jenny Lambert
Jenny and Jamie with friends
Jenny and Jamie with friends

I don’t know whose smile was bigger as we headed to Disney World, Florida – mine or that of my nine-year-old son, Jamie. Let’s face it, whether you’re a child or an adult, Disney World has to be top of everyone’s list of places to visit at least once in your lifetime.

It’s the most magical place on earth, and that’s exactly what we discovered on our recent trip.  Disney don’t do things by halves, the wizards in the Kingdom are continuously adding to the theme park with the latest addition being the MyMagic+ wristband, which I will explain a little later on.

Walt Disney World Resort is a 40-square-mile dreamland that is jam-packed with so many attractions that you will barely find  a minute to spare.

On our first day, we enjoyed a character breakfast with some ‘Mickey Waffles’ in Disney’s Contemporary Resort. Mickey and Minnie were there to greet us which was a real treat – and even Elsa and Anna of Frozen fame came by to say hello. 

Afterwards we headed to the Magic Kingdom. The place is exactly what it says on the tin – magic. We crammed in numerous rides, including the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. This newly-opened family rollercoaster was so much fun we went on it twice.  

Next up was Space Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain before heading for a scrumptous lunch in Tony’s Town Square restaurant. This little gem of a restaurant, where we tucked into spaghetti and meatballs, has superb views of the amazing parades that grace the main street. This was definitely one of the highlights of our whole trip.

Jenny meets Anna and Elsa

After lunch we were straight back to the attractions, packing in as many as we could before dinner that evening at the authentic Italian Via Napoli restaurant, which is  situated in another of Disney’s resorts, 

At the end the day we were treated to a stunning dessert party called IllumiNations, Reflections of the Earth, which is a magnificent fireworks show that celebrates the spirit of humanity.

After a soothing night’s sleep at the majestic Animal Kingdom Lodge hotel, you will instantly feel like you have stepped into the heart of Africa. We had the most amazing views from our room overlooking savannas that are home to more than 200 mammals and birds. Waking up to a giraffe outside your balcony is pretty special.

We set off on our way for our second day of adventure. It was Sea Raycers at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa Marina for some fun on the water in our own mini-motorboats before a wonderful lunch in the Grand Floridian Cafe.

After lunch it was back to Epcot where we enjoyed thrilling rides such as Soarin’, Test Track, Mission: Space, Spaceship Earth and The Seas With Nemo & Friends.

Heading back to Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa that evening, we had one of the most amazing meals we have ever had – in Citrico’s restaurant, with stunning views to boot. 

Also on the menu was a dessert party, featuring the ‘Wishes’ night-time spectacular fireworks display, which can only be described has breathtaking. 

On our third day, still buzzing with  adrenaline, we crammed in a wildlife-spotting experience at Kilimanjaro Safaris before heading to Hollywood Studios for the afternoon. Here we got the scare of a lifetime on rides such as The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster and Toy Story Mania.

That evening we dined at Hollywood Brown Derby, which is a replica of the famous Brown Derby, a Tinseltown landmark steeped in glamour and glitz. The food was amazing with lobster a speciality.

Our night ended with a spectacular viewing for Fantasmic! – a stunning fireworks and water extravaganza. 

Our whole experience was made so much easier with Disney’s new MagicBands. These bands can do pretty much everything around the Disney resorts. 

The MagicBand is connected to your credit or debit card – and not only does it look cool, it is the key to your room, it gets you into the FastPass+ entrance for the attractions and connects you to Disney’s Photopass photos, which is another ingenious feature. 

This means there is no need to carry around a cumbersome camera bag. When you get off your ride, your photo will be there waiting for you. With a simple tap of your MagicBand your photo is sent to your Disney account. 

There are also Disney photographers located all around the parks for picture opportunities. 

Disney really did exceed all of our expectations and much, much more. It’s a magical place and we can’t wait to return with the whole family. Plus there’s a Frozen attraction coming to Epcot next year.