Disney World 2017

June 18, 2017

Growing up as a kid, I'd always wanted to visit disneyworld but at the time my family was never really able to afford it. We'd all been to Disney Land once but I was around 7 at the time and given how terrible my memory has always been, I wouldn’t trust my recollection to be accurate. As an example, I remember the castle at Disney Land being huge when I was a kid, but going back last year, it turns out the castle is tiny with an entrance door not much taller than around 4 feet. Regardless, Disney World was always something just out of reach, and while my dad always promised that we would go, he never got around to it. Knowing what I know now, the reason was probably the price and I can’t help but laugh to myself when I think about how damn expensive the place is. Funnily enough, my first trip to Disney World actually came with some friends and it was absolutely amazing.

At the time, I was getting rather burned out on YouTube and needed a break from the daily grind of video production. A friend of mind hit me up and invited me out alongside his wife and a couple of their friends and I figured “Why not? At the very least it gets me a break for 8 or 9 days.” So I cranked out a dozen or so videos over the course of the next week and a half, packed my stuff and flew down to Florida.

Having only visited Orlando once or twice, each time around March or April, I immediately realized the mistake we’d made in booking our trip for August when the heat was so oppressive I could have sworn I saw the devil walking around. We stayed at the Port Orleans French Quarter and to be honest, I thought the rooms would have a little more pizzazz. I'm not trying to sound like I'm complaining and I didn’t expect something on the order of a five-star hotel given the nightly rate but the rooms seemed a bit dated and lacked a few of the extras that come standard on most hotel rooms these days. In the end it didn’t matter too much to us since we spent most of the days roaming around the various parks anyway.

Something that took me by surprise was the fact that once you pass the “Welcome To Disney World” sign, you are officially on the park grounds, and despite all of the driving and traveling around, it wasn’t until the end of our trip that we actually left "Disney World". Let that sink in for a second: There were overpasses, smaller highways and the like, all of which encompass the entirety of Disney World. Another fun fact is that in total, ranging from the higher ups consisting of what I would call a board of directors all the way down to the guy picking up trash, Disney World employs some 70,000 people.

The first park we checked out was Animal Kingdom and while it’s not at the top of my list, it was certainly enjoyable. It’s really more of a “walk around and look at things” sort of park as opposed of a traditional theme park, but if you find yourself neutral towards the various forms of wildlife or lack interest entirely, you’ll probably find yourself getting pretty bored pretty fast. The Harambe Safari was pretty cool in that I got to see some pretty exotic stuff like Elephants and Lions, but if I were going to sight see wildlife, I’d rather see a lion chase down and eat a gazelle as opposed to sitting on a rock relaxing. Maybe that’s a bit morbid of me but what can I say? I like seeing semi-violent stuff.

This might come as a surprise with me being an adult, but Epcot Center was not at the top of my list in ranking the various parks, but it comes in at a close second. I think the thing I enjoyed most about Epcot was the combination of culture, food and alcohol. If you’ve never been to Epcot, the initial foray is actually a bit of a deception. At first it just looks like a giant golf ball with a few stores but once you get to the backside, there is this amazing tour of around 22 countries. From what I understand, Disney cycles them out periodically but the most prominent and consistent countries available are China, Japan, the United States, Canada, England and a handful of others. Not only does Disney fly in residents from the various nations throughout Epcot, but you can also sample almost anything ranging from alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks to snacks, meals and desserts.

By and large, my favorite country for drinks was Germany which sold among other things, Schöfferhofer, a 50/50 Hefeweizen and Grapefruit beer blend. For dinner, we took to Japan which largely sold sushi and a variety of other items. While it was most likely the priciest of the restaurants available, between the Sake, Sushi and Sashimi, we ended up having one hell of a night.

Hopping and skipping over Hollywood Studios and Disney Springs, the best Park as far as I was concerned was definitely Magic Kingdom. What’s funny about Magic Kingdom is that the commercials always depict grown adults discovering their inner child while we’re met with around 30 seconds of smiles and laughter, and to be honest, this is exactly what it’s like. I actually ended up getting there a few hours before my friends so I had a chance to roam around and check out a few things here and there.

I ended up getting to the park during the Festival of Fantasy, a parade held once a day at 3pm which highlights all of Disney’s characters. It was one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen and was a direct shot of nostalgia into my veins. You have to remember, I’m 33, so Lion King, Pocahantas, Mulan and all of those 90’s Disney movies were a direct part of my childhood, and so seeing a parade with Timon and Pumbaa alongside all of the characters I grew up with was magical. When you add this to the litany of stores and ice cream shops placed all throughout the park, it’s literally a dreamland for anyone who’s ever experienced the magic of Disney at some point in their life.

Anywho, the fireworks at the end of the night were definitely the highlight of my experience and that makes sense considering that they were accompanied by a movie of sorts that was broadcast on the front of the castle itself. A word of advice, should you ever find yourself going to Magic Kingdom, people usually line up and setup spots for the fireworks about 2 hours before they start, but with the evening winding down and everyone calling it a night around 10pm, Magic Kingdom served as an amazing way to end our trip.

Something else to point out here is that I’m leaving out a lot of things available within the park itself like Tomorrowland, Pirates of The Caribbean and the shops of Disney Springs, but I’m also assuming that someone reading this might also want to head to Disney World pretty soon so I don’t want to spoil too much. In any event, I’m gonna go ahead and bring this bit of a spiel to an end, and I will catch you guys later. Peace!

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