Ahhhh, I’m super duper excited to recap my “Adults at Disney” press trip for you guys. I’m cramming 3 days into 1 so today’s post is gonna be longer than usual. I’m pumped to spill the beans on everything though! It was a truly unforgettable trip, and I feel so blessed that I was able to experience it all with Scenic Path. Shoutout to DCFoodporn – he was supposed to come with us, but scheduling didn’t work out [insert sad face]. No worries though – that just means we all have to go back again soon! Anywho, we have a lot to cover so let’s get to it…
Arriving in Orlando
I love flying to FL because it’s a no-hassle experience. They have a bajillion direct flights, and you’re only in the air for about 2.5 hours. If you’re looking to escape the cold and enjoy some serious fun in the sun, I highly recommend heading to Orlando. I got into MCO at around 1:30 but decided to wait for Robby. I grabbed a quick lunch at Panda Express (they have a huge food court) and chilled in their lounge until 4:30. They had free wi-fi there so I just worked while I waited. We’re long distance (from SF to Baltimore) so we only get to see each other once every 2-3 months. Needless to say, I was stoked to see him. After we said our hellos, we walked over to the Magical Express (side B, level 1 at MCO) to get to our hotel, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa. We were running kind of late so we rushed to get to the welcome dinner at Enzo’s Hideaway at Disney Springs.
A Lavish Welcome Dinner at Enzo’s Hideaway
We actually both had a migraine, but that didn’t stop us from stuffing our faces. First course was an impressive spread of charcuterie. We’re huge fans of prosciutto so we were thrilled to get our nom on! Second was the pasta dish pictured below. Think perfectly cooked noodz with just the right amount of sauce topped with high-quality parmesan. For the third course, we had a choice between fish and meat. Both options sounded incredible, but we decided to go with short rib! We ended our meal on a sweet note with a slice of Tiramisu and a cup of cappuccino.
After our amazing dinner, we all walked over to The VOID for Secrets of the Empire Hyper-Reality. And ermergerd guys, it was seriously one of the coolest things I’ve ever experienced in my entire life, like I’m not playin’. I’ve always been big into laser tag and paintball so I was super excited, but this was next level shiz. It completely and utterly blew me away.
Virtual Reality Gameplay That’ll Leave You Speechless
You get placed into a group of four and register as a team. Then you go into a room and customize your storm trooper uniform – I was pink because I’m Kimberly the pink power ranger, duh. You go into a separate room to gear up AND wait for virtual reality madness, and by “madness” I mean “mind-blowing amazingness.” No words can express how freaking incredible it was – I’d recommend booking a flight JUST to check this attraction out. The simulation feels so real! Basically, you’re a spy storm trooper that gets caught, and you have to fight off your enemies with laser guns. You even get to face Darth Vader!
Drinks and Entertainment at The Edison
After our adrenaline died down, we walked over to The Edison, an industrial gothic themed entertainment venue, for drinks. Dancers were doing their thang suspended from the ceiling and singers were performing really cool covers live (similar to the style of Postmodern Jukebox) – I love them BTW so definitely check them out. I didn’t feel like drinking any alcohol so I got a delish apple mocktail. I can’t remember what it was called, but I believe it was the first one listed on the menu!
A Brief Tour of the Grand Floridian
Robby and I were honestly exhausted at that point so we bussed over to the Grand Floridian to pass out. We couldn’t resist snapping pics on the way though! BTW, the resort’s name was SO fitting because their hotel was, well, grand. Ha! If you’re looking for a luxe place to stay in Orlando, def. book a room here because it doesn’t get better than the GF. They have a pool + hot tub that’s open 24/7 along with a world-class spa so treat yoself.
Also, the bed in the room was really comfortable, and the toiletries were super high quality. I know that’s kind of a weird thing to say, but I totally judge hotels based on toiletries…just like I judge restaurants based on their complimentary bread, ha. Does anyone else do this or am I just a weirdo? Pro tip: make sure you take full advantage of their foot cream. It was a godsend after walking around all day.
Starting the Day Off Right with Noms at the Grand Floridian
We woke up hungry and excited to start the day! We wanted something substantial so we walked over to one of Grand Floridian’s breakfast/lunch joints. Robby got a Three Egg Omelet ($15) with onions, bell peppers, and ham, and it was served with cheesy hash brown casserole. I got their Grand Breakfast ($16), and it came with 2 eggs, bacon, sausage and hash brown casserole. The service was impeccable, and the decor was super cute! We sipped coffee and relaxed for a bit before meeting the others in the Lobby for our transport to Animal Kingdom.
above: comfy goodness || below: my adorable pink fast pass with my v-day chocolates c/o Robby
Adults at Disney Exploring Pandora
We got there around 11:30 and started our day off with Na’vi River Journey. I was beyond impressed with the animatronics, but unless you have a fast pass, I recommend skipping this and heading directly to Flight of Passage! The effects were super realistic, and I definitely enjoyed the ride, but if you have to wait 4+ hours, do so in FoP because honestly, it was THE best ever. I know I said that about the VOID, but this was just as good. Both rides blew my freaking mind, and I loved it SO much that I did it a second time after lunch.
Basically, you transform into a Na’vi and explore Pandora on the back of an Ikran (the dragon-like creatures from the movie). It’s VR so you’ll feel like you’re there! I don’t want to spoil anything for you so I won’t reveal any more deets, but trust me when I say it’s an absolute must. I don’t want to use the words “life changing,” buttttttt it was life changing, HA!
Afterwards, we hit up Pongu Pongu for drinks. Robby got a margarita (the red drink on the right), and I got another non-alcoholic goodie. I can’t remember what this beverage was called, but ISN’T IT PRETTY!!! Almost too cute to drink. It was really yummy, too! I was worried it’d be too sweet, but it totally hit the spot. Also, I loved that they added bubbles to the mix.
Lunching at Satu’li Canteen: Healthy & Delish
We were actually hungry at that point so we all headed to Satu’li Canteen for noms. Their steamed pods (aka bao) sounded really good, but Robby and I decided to build our own bowls because we wanted to be extra healthy. I got mine with grilled beef, cole slaw and brown rice, and he got his with greens, chicken and slaw. This was def. one of my fave meals at Disney! The meat was super tender and flavorful, and the slaw added great texture. If you’re looking to eat clean without sacrificing taste, definitely head on over.
After lunch, we split up and explored Animal Kingdom. We only had an hour of free time so we were powerwalkin’! We wanted to go on the safari + ride Everest, but we didn’t have enough time because we went on Flight of Passage a second time. We walked around and took pics though. We also shared a cup of frozen lemonade, which was ridiculously refreshing (and surprisingly low on calories).
Apparently Everest was AMAZING! I’m terrified of rollercoasters, but I’m kind of bummed that I didn’t get to experience it for myself. Maybe I’ll man up and tackle it the next time I’m there! Here’s a shot of it from afar – isn’t it impressive? Disney goes all out for real. Honestly, I’m MORE impressed with them as an adult than I was when I was a kid – their parks and resorts are so ridiculously well done. No detail is too small for them!
Magic Kingdom Shenanigans
We met up with everyone at around 3:30 for our transport to Magic Kingdom. They gave us ample time to explore so we took full advantage. We went on the Haunted Mansion, Jungle Cruise, The Magic Carpets of Aladdin, and Pirates of the Caribbean. We also wanted to splurge on a nomtastic dessert while we were there so we got some Dole Whip while we were in Adventureland. And ermergerd guys, if you haven’t tried this soft serve, you need to STAT. Robby and I got ours with pineapple upside down cake, and it was so good that it was stupid – click to see a pic of it on our food instagram.
Obligatory shots of Magic Kingdom…
Afterwards, we met up with everyone at Tomorrowland Terrace for the Happily Ever After Dessert Party before heading to the VIP viewing area in the Plaza Garden for fireworks. The dessert bar was so well stocked. There was everything from cheese to macarons, and we may or may not have stuffed our faces hardcore. The chocolate covered strawberries were my personal fave, but everything was really good.
We relaxed with friends before fireworks at 8! The show was absolutely spectacular, and I highly, HIGHLY recommend it. The effects are phenomenal, and I can guarantee that you and whoever’s with you will enjoy it regardless of age. See the shots below? I don’t know if you can tell by the photo, but even the TREES were sparkling. Like I said, Disney doesn’t mess around.
Yay for fireworks – such an incredible ending to a magical day!
Exploring Epcot with Friends
I don’t really remember liking Epcot as a little kid? I don’t know what was up with me back then because I freaking LOVED it this time around. We had free time from 11:30-3 so we hit up as much as humanly possible. We started our day off with VR (virtual reality) because we were so blown away by Flight of Passage. As expected, Soarin’ was amazing, too! Basically, you’re on a huge hang glider that’s flying all over the world – you see everything from polar bears to pyramids, and you experience the smells as well (!!!)
Designing My Own Virtual Car + Testing It
After that, we walked over to Test Track for ride no. 2. Basically, you design your own car (feel free to make it look as cray as possible, ha), and you take it on a test drive. You get in a 6-passenger simulation car that puts your vehicle through a handful of tests. It’s all super fun, and you go helllllllla fast at the very end – just giving you guys a heads up. When you get off the ride, they score and rank your vehicles! I think our placed second? We’ll just say it came first though *winks*
Traveling All Around the World
We were hungry at that point, but we wanted to explore more so we powered through and walked around their World Showcase (ie. different countries you can explore). We spent extra time in Japan, China and Morocco – definitely my favorite “countries” to explore! We lunched at Tangierine Cafe (part of the Moroccan pavilion), and got lamb wraps – such a good call because they were absolutely delicious! They were topped with red onion, lettuce, tomato and tzatziki sauce and came with two side salads. The salads weren’t really my jam, but the wrap was totally on point!
Shopping around Morocco…
above: a Japanese pagoda with drummers performing || below: the Epcot “golf ball” from afar
above: the cutest grass panda || below: strolling around China
Can we just talk about how cool these shots are? Also, you can kind of see Moti below, ha! He’s carrying Stitch in his backpack – let’s see if you can spot him!
Ermergerd, Toy Story Land Spoilers + Facing My Fears
We met up with the crew at 4 to go to Hollywood Studios! Once we got there, Disney kicked things off by giving us a sneak peak of Toy Story Land (opening this summer). BTW, I’m going back there STAT to check it out once it opens because it looks ah-MA-zing. After the tour, we hit up Tower of Terror, andddd I’m not going to lie to you guys…it was TERRIFYING. I went on it when I was a little kid but couldn’t remember anything. I’m not a huge fan of scary rides, but Robby loves them so I grew a pair and did it with him. It was scary AF! I’m pretty sure that’s just me though because there was a 7-year-old on it too, and she was having the TIME OF HER LIFE, ha. I used Memory Maker to get a vid + photos afterwards, and my face = priceless.
After the ride, we hit up a food stand to get a root beer float + frozen lemonade. We weren’t especially hungry, but it was hot out and we wanted to cool down. Both of the aforementioned drinks were BOMB btw. Anywho, we rested for a bit before heading over to PizzaRizzo for our final dinner as a social media fam [insert sad face here]. I didn’t take any shots of the meal, but they had a lovely buffet set up with chicken, melt-in-your-mouth beef, veggies, ridiculously delish mashed taters, and more.
The very last thing on our agenda was the Star Wars Galactic Spectacular, but we had extra time to kill so we hit up Star Tours and Toy Story Mania. Star Tours was yet another bamf 3d/VR ride. Whether you’re a fan or not, I promise you’ll have a blast! Basically, you get on a spaceship with other passengers and explore the Star Wars galaxy. Think Flight of Passage but for Star Wars.
Facing Off Against My Handsome Man Friend
Toy Story Mania was also really fun. It’s a 4D shooting game that actually goes on for quite some time. Grab a friend and have a friendly competition! You go around and see who can get the most amount of points. Robby beat me, BUT IT WAS A FLUKE. He was totally spraying and praying so I was actually the winner, ha – my accuracy was MUCH better than his, but whatever. Ha! BTW, I may or may not be competitive.
Star Wars Galactic Spectacular at Hollywood Studios
After serious gameplay, we got more snacks – because we obviously didn’t eat enough, ha – and walked over to watch fireworks. I honestly don’t know which show I liked more sooo my suggestion would be to go see both! If you’re a diehard Star Wars fan like my man friend, you’ll def. enjoy this more. The show has some killer special effects, and it’s super exciting to watch so go early to get good seats.
After the show, we said our goodbyes and bussed home. I had to be up at 4 to catch my flight back to Baltimore so I decided to turn in early. A bunch of others went to Disney Springs to shop though! When I got back to my room, I was surprised by the CUTEST dessert set-up. Isn’t this adorable? Candy and cookies FTW. Darth Vader was the first to go because I’m a sucker for all things chocolate. Andddd that’s it, guys. Words can’t even begin to express how much I enjoyed this trip. I’m so beyond grateful to the Disney for the invite, and I can’t wait to go back for more fun.
Key takeaways if you’re planning on hitting up Disney:
- Get a fast pass! Seriously, this is a MUST. I’ve visited without it, and the wait times are borderline unbearable. Their FP is seriously life-changing, and I won’t go back without it in the future.
- Visit one park per day if you can! There’s SO much to see so I recommend setting aside a day for each (at least). Honestly, the next time I go back, I’m gonna do one park every TWO days.
- Take advantage of the Ferry if you’re staying at a Disney resort. They come every 5 minutes or so and get you home SO quickly! If you have a choice between bus or ferry, definitely go with the latter.
- Make sure to stick around for fireworks at the end of the night! You’ll probably be tired, but you’re on vacay, and the shows are too good to miss.
- Go on any and every 3d or VR ride/game available. Star Tours, Flight of Passage, Soarin’ and Secrets of the Empire Hyper Reality were unforgettable rides that left us legit speechless. Don’t just take my word for it though – go and experience it for yourself. You can come back and thank me afterwards!
- Take full advantage of Memory Maker. I’m a blogger so I carry my DSLR everywhere, but if you’d prefer not to lug around extra gear, there are photographers EVERYWHERE. Have them snap a pic and swipe your card or fancy Disney band for later.
- “Adults at Disney” was the PERFECT name for this press trip. Everyone comes as a kid or brings their family later on, but it’s SO much fun as an adult. Come with your SO or squad and have the time of your life! Alright guys, that’s it for today. I’m gonna leave y’all because this was hellllllla long, but don’t hesitate to reach out at all if you have questions. I’m always happy to hear from you guys so feel free to email, tweet, dm, whatever. Sending you all hugs from the DMV!