This post has nothing to do with camping, sorry! While we especially love to camp at Disney’s Fort Wilderness, we also love Disney and we live just far enough away from Walt Disney World that a long weekend trip is too much of a hike to stay at Fort Wilderness. Maybe some day we will live close enough that we can do a weekend at the Fort, but for now we are limiting those campouts to a week or more.
However, that doesn’t stop us from hopping on a plane a few times a year and visiting our favorite mouse!
Earlier in the summer, we were lucky enough to secure spots for a passholder only event at the new Toy Story Land. Around the same time we also secured an amazingly discounted rate at the Grand Dame of all Walt Disney World Hotels, the Grand Floridian. As a family we decided it’s our goal to stay at all of the WDW property resorts. With such a great rate, we were happy to book this for our long weekend stay.
Here is a view out from our building of the resort, with a great viewing area to watch the Magic Kingdom fireworks. We watched the Mickey’s Not so Scary Halloween event fireworks one night from here, super convenient to be about 2 minutes up a flight of stairs to our room.
The hotel was AMAZING. I had actually stayed here for a work event previously, but our family has not. People have different opinions about the value that staying on a monorail property offers. I have to say, there is a LOT of value in the convenience the monorail provides. Here’s Roy, he assured me that a monorail property is worth the price!
The main purpose of our weekend was to visit Toy Story Land, as I mentioned we secured attendance in a passholder event on Friday before the park opened. It was very VERY early, but VERY VERY VERY worth it! We took a bus from the Grand Floridian over to Hollywood Studios, we were the only 3 on the bus! Don’t these two look ecstatic to ride the Slinky Dog Dash?????
Our event started at 7am, the park was schedule to be open at 9am. We left the Grand Floridan at 6:05am, coffee in hand. This is a “slinky selfie” that someone else snapped for us.
We literally were chomping at the bits to get into Toy Story Land!!!! And, when the gates opened, there were less than 200 people entering. We have NEVER been into a park like that and it was just so cool to be escorted through Hollywood Studios by cast members right to Slinky Dog!
Some people possibly would think we are shutting the park down in these pictures, but we were just ready to go that early……and I can not repeat enough…..IT WAS SOOOOOOO WORTH IT!!!!!
Slinky Dog was a great ride, and of course the themed area was amazing! What else would you expect, right???
By the time 8:45 rolled around, Tripp had ridden Slinky Dog Dash 6 times!!!! I stopped at 4, because I knew when the rest of Hollywood Studios opened, we would be taking off toward Aerosmith’s Rockin Roller Coaster when the non passholders that day started the long lines at Slinky. We also rode Toy Story Midway Mania twice and the Alien Swirling Saucers twice, PLUS ate breakfast at Woody’s Lunch Box. ALL IN LESS THAN 2 HOURS. We had been on the fence about renewing our passes for the upcoming year, since we didn’t reserve a Holiday 2018 campsite at Fort Wilderness early enough. However, we are no longer on the fence and will be renewing ASAP with the hope we can do the same type of event when the new Star Wars themed area, Galaxy’s Edge, opens in 2019. This event was honestly one of the coolest things we have EVER done at Disney. We felt like such Rock Stars!
After our Toy Story Land preview and riding the other Hollywood Studio attractions we wanted to visit, we were tired. An afternoon at our lovely pool and lunch from the pool bar was exactly what we needed! Of course, I didn’t take any pictures at the pool:-( But, it was GREAT. A huge pool, lots of comfy lounge chairs, a very fun waterslide and some tropical drinks and yummy lunch of lobster salad sliders. Everyone was relaxed and ready to head to EPCOT for the food and wine festival later that evening.
Roy LOVES sampling the craft beers and tasty foods at EPCOT each fall during this festival. Tripp also loves to read up on the different items and collect stamps from the different countries. We are usually proud of his adventurousness…..plus, when he tries something new, we typically bribe him with a treat like this…..
By the end of the weekend, we had spent time in all 4 of the Walt Disney World parks. Sampled LOTS of different treats from around the world at EPCOT. The highlight was definitely a tie, between Toy Story Land practically all alone and staying at the Grand Floridian.
Even though it was really hot for the duration of our weekend, we were pleasantly surprised by how active the animals on our Safari at the Animal Kingdom. Of all the many MANY times we have taken the Safari, this is definitely the closest we encountered a giraffe or rhino!
And I love that my boy who is getting to be so grown up, still lets me get away with riding my favorite rides which may be a little “kiddish” for him. I just adore the Magic Kingdom carousel.
It’s really hard to explain why we love Disney so much, but I do know every year, every time I walk into the Magic Kingdom bright and early. As I watch all of the cast members do their last minutes things to prepare for guests and see the castle ahead, this sight brings me to tears of happiness.
And even though we are always sad to leave the Happiest Place on Earth, we also know that Mickey’s famous “last words” are oh so true……
See ya real soon!!!