Now that summer is finally here, I’m going back to blogging. The first thing I’d like to write about is our recent trip to Walt Disney World in Orlando. It’s truly one of our favorite places to visit.
Most people associate Walt Disney World with enjoying it with young children, which is true. But traveling with adults and older children is also lots of fun. This year, our family ranged in age from 10 to 21 plus my husband and myself. We all had a fantastic time and didn’t want to leave.
We arrived on a Saturday and checked into the Old Key West Resort, which is a Disney Vacation Club Resort. We aren’t members of the Vacation Club but we are seriously considering buying into it. Our “villa” was a beautiful 2 bedroom that slept all 7 of us comfortably. We were on the third floor of building number 46 which provided a beautiful view of Bay Lake. We had a comfortable patio which we used daily for coffee in the morning and a glass or two of wine after a long day in the parks. We enjoyed watching the boat traffic and the peaceful surroundings. Of all the resorts we have stayed in, and we’ve stayed in almost every Disney Resort, Old Key West is now our favorite. There’s something very nice about having room for our large family to spread out comfortably and to have a space for each of us to retreat to when we want to.
Beginning Sunday, we hit the parks. We did one park in the morning, took a break after lunch to go back to the room and swim and relax and went back to a different park in the early evening. That’s why the park-hopper passes are so great. They allow you to “hop” from park to park at no additional charge.
On Wednesdays at the Animal Kingdom Lodge, they have Wine Tasting Events. For $25 you can attend a wine tasting at their fabulous restaurant, Jiko’s. My husband and I took part in this event and had a wonderful time. We sampled three wines from South Africa. Our host, Mike was extremely knowledgeable about the wines we tasted and we enjoyed the accompanying cheese and fruit plate. We met two very nice couples at the tasting that we enjoyed visiting with. There was no rush for us to leave and we were encouraged to taste additional wines if we wanted to. It was definitely an experience I would recommend. You’ll need to make reservations.
My oldest daughter celebrated her 18th birthday in Disneyworld so we went out to dinner at another wonderful restaurant at the Animal Kingdom Lodge called Saana. The cuisine is South African and fabulous. It’s overlooking the savanna and if you’re lucky enough to get a window seat, you can enjoy the zebras and other animals outside.
For her 18th birthday, I ordered from Disney Florists, a gift basket to have placed in our room while we were out visiting the parks. It was a great memory and a beautiful basket. In it was a Mickey shaped box made out of chocolate and filled with chocolates, a personalized beach towel and other goodies all wrapped in cellephane and adorned with Disney ribbon and balloons. It was a very nice surprise for her.
For her birthday breakfast, our newly turned 18 year old wanted to do a Character Breakfast. We made reservations at Ohana’s at the Polynesian resort. The food was an all you can eat assortment of fruit, eggs, waffles, biscuits, sausage and bacon. Mickey, Minnie, Lilo, Stitch and Pluto visited each table for pictures. It’s great that my kids don’t feel too “old” for the characters.
Since it’s getting harder for all my kids to be in the same place at the same time, we decided to have a family portrait taken. We called Disney Fine Arts and Photography to arrange a time to have this done. We met our photographer at the Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club Resort near Epcot and he took some beautiful pictures of our family together as well as individual pictures of the kids. It was very affordable. For $150, he took quite a lot of pictures and put them on a CD for us to download and make into pictures. Definitely a wonderful investment.
It always amazes me how much fun we all have in Walt Disney World, even as our kids grow up. There’s something for everyone here. EJ and I enjoy walking through Epcot sampling the delicious pastries and cool drinks, from the Grand Marnier orange slush in France to the Tequila bar in Mexico. From the wonderful Italian restaurants to the German Biergarten. Not to forget to mention the fun rides in Future world. We also all enjoy the rides at the Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios and visiting the unique stores and restaurants in Downtown Disney, but it’s nice to slow down a little and there are places to do that everywhere.
It’s a place where, no matter the age, everyone can have a wonderful time. It’s not just about the rides and the parks. Disneyworld has become a place to find great food and wonderful entertainment.
Joanie Zisk is a freelance recipe developer and food writer/photographer, and blogs at ZagLeft. She loves creating in the kitchen, traveling, a great bottle of wine and yoga. She is the author of College Meals - 30 Days of Recipes and has written for many online publications. Come say hello and follow Joanie on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and LinkedIn.