Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Take-5 Trip Report: 3/10/2014

Ah, the trip report. You know, there's got to be some art to weaving a compelling narrative out of one's day in a Disney park; it is a gift, and one that I do not possess. However, I will not allow my deficient ability to tell thrilling tales of Disney days gone by (without sounding like Lady and the Tramp's good ol' Trusty) to impede the sharing of fun experiences. So I found a compromise- a middle ground of sorts-, that relays my adventures the best way I know how. And how is that, you may ask? Through a countdown-style list that highlights the best attractions, experiences, and cuisine of the most magical place on earth! This post centers around my most recent trip to Epcot and the Magic Kingdom (I couldn't pick just one!) over my Spring Break! So, without further ado, here are my picks!

1) Main Street USA... at dusk.

Featuring "Stranger and his Smartphone"

There really is nothing like the ambience of Main Street, U.S.A. Nowhere else in the world can a person be so quickly and seamless transported into the warm nostalgia of yesteryear, and not question for a moment that he or she has travelled to a literal" memory lane". Though the pristine promenade is lovely at all hours of the day, I find the spot most magical at twilight, just as the sun is slinking away. Suddenly, marquee lights twinkle and shop windows illuminate the sidewalks as they beckon you to come inside. Something about it strikes me as supremely magical in a way that cannot be accomplished in bright daylight or fully-fledged nighttime. On Main Street, twilight casts a spell that draws us ever more deeply into the idyllic that the area represents.

2) A Leisurely Afternoon

Solo trips also facilitate one of my favorite pastimes- getting video greetings for my young cousins!

If you've been around the blog for a little while, you've probably gathered that I am a firm supporter of the "flying solo" approach to the parks (if you haven't, you can read more about it here!). For me, spending a day by my lonesome at Walt Disney World is actually quite relaxing, if you can believe it. In fact, I feel the same way about heading to the Magic Kingdom as some folks do when they're off to the beach or the mall. I'm just hanging out! Yes, it may be a tad unorthodox, and I still adore sharing the joy of Disney parks with friends and family, but I will never say no to a chill-day at Disney World.

3) FastPass+

FastPass selections for a preschooler at heart. 

 I know, I know: "WHAT?!

Believe me, to say I was fully prepared to loathe this system would be the understatement of the year. However, the new FastPass system actually made my day a lot easier. While I don't think it's necessarily an improvement upon the old system, FP+ presented some opportunities I wouldn't have had otherwise. Since I chose to use the service the Magic Kingdom portion of the day, I timed my  selection just as the parade was ending to avoid the notorious kiosk queues. Beating the crowd was a huge factor in allowing me to quickly and painlessly select my three FP+ attractions, then go along my merry way. 

I wasn't too concerned with hitting the big E-tickets this trip, so I picked up times for a few nostalgic gems. FP+ served this purpose particularly well, since it gave me the chance to experience attractions that I often have to pass by because of long wait*. With MyMagic+ extended to Annual Passholders and a MagicBand personalized and ready to ship, I anxiously await the day that I am able to plan my times in advance and make a magical day run even more smoothly!

* With the exception Small World. I will always- always- make time for those precious singing babies. 

4) Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival

Sing it with me! "IIIII knoooow youuu..."

Walt Disney World is pretty on-point in the landscaping department year-round, but every spring Epcot pulls out all the stops to bring their horticultural game to the next level. With millions of meticulously manicured blooms and nearly one hundred topiaries trimmed into the characters we all know and love, I dare you not to be rendered speechless by at least one of the Festival's breathtaking floral creations... I sure was!

The Festival's Outdoor Kitchens (returning after smashing success at the 2013 event) were a delectable addition. With so many options, I could only decide on one treat, but man, did I pick the right one. The Sweet Potato Waffle with Pineapple Soft Serve (come one guys, we all know it's Dole Whip) held the  perfect balance between the sweet-tartness of the pineapple and and the mellow notes of the waffle. Seriously, guys- it was to die for. 

Yes, please.

5) A Festival of Fantasy!

Just a handful of the parade's amazing floats!

Fun story: the day of my visit also happened to be the second day ever of the Magic Kingdom's brand-new Festival of Fantasy parade! I'll admit that I was initially rather sad to say goodbye to Celebrate a Dream Come True, but this whimsical tribute to all things Fantasyland is a more-than-worthy successor! The spectacle is jam-packed with units representing beloved characters old and new, from classics like Dumbo and Pinocchio to more recent royals Merida, Anna, and Elsa. The infectious music, vibrant costumes, and impeccable choreography make this parade a party from beginning to end!

Do you have a favorite experience from a Disney day! Share it in the comments below!

Love and Pixie Dust,
Becca :)

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