Travel With Me: My Trip to Disney & Hidden Disney Secrets Exposed

In today’s blog post I thought I would share something a little different with you all. I will be sharing a photo travel log with you all from my recent trip to Disney World in Florida with my boyfriend and his family. I thought it would be fun to share my experiences on this trip with you all, while leaving you with some tips and tricks for navigating Disney. Before we jump in, make sure to that you follow my InstagramFacebook and Pinterest to get more updates from me on my day to day life. 

When we went to Disney we were blessed to have really hot weather the whole entire trip. The average temperature was 85 F and sunny everyday. We stayed in a 3 bedroom condo at the Wyndham Lake Buena Vista Hotel. This resort was really nice. It had multiple pools, hot tubs, lazy rivers, mini-golfing, ping-pong, jungle gyms, and kids activities all included. It was very big but a very beautiful place and a great location.   

December 26, 2018 – Travel to Florida

We spent 21 hours driving from Southern Ontario to Orlando, Florida. It took longer than expected because of a huge accident in the Atlanta area. None the less, we got there safe and sound, so that’s all that matters. We ended up spending this night with my boyfriends cousins. 

Tip: Make sure to bring movies for entertainment and medications for any possible illnesses along the way. 

December 27th, 2018 – Exploring and Settling In 

Today we got our room at the Wyndham Lake Buena Vista Hotel but before heading over to our hotel we decided to stop and explore a little outlet mall for some food. After dinner and settling in, we decided to go take a little ride on the monorail and stop at a few of the resorts in Disney. 

Tip: The Wyndham hotel was on Disney property, but it was not a Disney hotel. So, in order to take Disney transportation (monorail or buses), we needed to drive over to a hotel and park there in order to use the transportation. This is a great way to use their transportation and explore all of Disney while not paying a premium for a Disney hotel. 

Here is the amazing Christmas tree and Ginger Bread House at the Grand Floridian Resort.

December 28th, 2018 – Morning Date & Swimming

Today my boyfriend and I went off to have breakfast at the Polynesian hotel. We went to Kona Cafe and got the Tonga Toast each. Last time we were in Disney we got this as well and it is honestly to die for. By afternoon we went back to our hotel and spent time by the pool with Chris’ family for the rest of the day. 

The amazing Tonga Toast at the Kona Cafe and a picture of me in the Polynesian Hotel. 

December 29th, 2018 – Day at Epcot

Our first park day was at Epcot. We got up bright and early at 6am to prepare and be at the park by 8am. We knew the crowds would be intense so we decided to get there early so we could get on a ride first thing in the morning with no line. We went on Mission Space first thing. As a judge for the crowds, 20 minutes after the park opened there was a 2 hour wait for this ride. After this ride we explored around some of Future World before we used our Fast Passes. We got Spaceship Earth, Living with the Land, and Soarin’ as our Fast Passes. After all of these rides we took a break for lunch. For lunch we went to Sunshine Seasons. It had a good selection of food that everyone could eat, so I would recommend this for a fast dining location. Once this was done we went on the Seas with Nemo and Friends.

After our rides, we decided to explore all the countries. I decided to make it a challenge for myself to get a pressed penny in every country. This is a fun challenge to take on if you are going with kids, and it is relatively cheap. There are 11 countries to explore and each pressed penny costs 51cents. Later on at night we enjoyed the firework show and by 11pm we were pooped and ready for bed. 

Tip: Christmas is the busiest time of year at Disney World, so it is important to try to plan in advance. Make sure to get Fast Passes for 3 rides as soon as possible before your visit and also get there early to make sure you get on a ride quickly in the morning. The morning is the quietest time in the parks, so try to take advantage of this. 

December 30th, 2018 – Cocoa Beach

Today we went to Cocoa Beach for the day. Half of the family went off surfing and half of us went fishing. I decided to go fishing. At around 5pm we went for dinner at Rusty’s Seafood and Oyster Bar. Chris and I had been there before and we had the best fish. I would highly recommend this place for really good, locally caught seafood. 

December 31st, 2018 – Relaxing & New Years Eve Festivities 
Chris’ extended family came down this year to Florida and so today we spent the day hanging out with his whole family. All together we had 29 people chilling by the pool. This day we spent time hanging out and catching up with everyone. For dinner we all barbecued some hamburgers (our hotel had some really nice grills for use). 

After dinner, all of the older cousins and siblings went out for New Years Eve. We ended up making our way to Disney Springs to enjoy all of the festivities. There were 2 stages with entertainment and tons of street vendors for alcohol. I ended up getting a huge margarita with Chris to ring in the New Year with.  

Tip: New Years Eve is busy anywhere you go in Disney, so be prepared to have a lot of crowds. Just try to go with the flow, and embrace the crowds as much as possible. 

January 1st, 2019 – Exploring & Date Night 

This morning we took it slow and decided to go exploring around a few more hotels in Disney. We explored around the Contemporary and Wilderness Lodge before coming back to the resort to enjoy more of the pool. That night Chris and I went on a date night to Boardwalk. Last time we came to Disney we had the best time exploring Boardwalk and so we decided to make it a tradition to do this on every trip to Disney. While exploring we got the most amazing ice cream at the Ample Hills Creamery. It had some of the most unusual flavors, but they were all so good. 

January 2nd – A Day in the Most Magical Place on Earth 

Our second park day was at the Magic Kingdom. Again we got up at 6am, and were out of the condo by 7:15. Parking at this park is a little trickier, as you cant walk to the park (for the most part). Rather you need to take a boat or monorail. We opted for the boat. The Magic Kingdom allows people to enter the park usually by 8am and allows guests to walk up to the castle area. We were in the park and waiting by the ropes by 8:30am

Once 9am hit, we ran over to Space Mountain as we didn’t have a fast pass for this ride. After riding, we went to Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin. After these rides it was 9:45. By this time, the park began filling up. Following this, we met up with the rest of our group (they waited an hour for 7 Dwarves Mine Train), and went to the Little Mermaid ride. Once this ride was over, it was time for our fastpasses. 

We planned our Fast Passes for Haunted Mansion, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, and Splash Mountain. Our first one was at 11:30. By noon, it was insanely busy at the park. During the afternoon, we got on only a handful of rides due to the crowds. Although it was busy, we made the best of it! 

Around 7pm we scouted out a spot to watch the fireworks which were at 8pm. For the new show “Happily Ever After” it is critical to get a spot in front of the castle to take in this amazing projection and firework show. This was by far the coolest firework/light show I’ve seen! It should be a must do on everyones list! By the end of the fireworks, we were tired, and ended up heading home around 10pm. Although it was the busiest theme park I’ve ever experienced, it was still a successful day (despite not getting on every ride!)

Tip: I highly recommend scheduling Fast Passes in the 11:30-1:30 window. This allows you to get some rides in early in the morning without waiting a long time because the crowds are usually lower in the morning.

January 3rd – A Day With Freinds & A Night in Hawaii 

Today we met up with two of our friend from home who happened to be in Fort Meyers the same time that we were in Orlando. They drove up to see us and we spent the day with them. During the morning we went to Disney Springs and explored some of the shops. Around noon we went over to Disney’s Beach Club Resort. Here we went to Beaches and Cream to try the infamous Kitchen Sink. This huge ice cream sundae has 8 scoops of ice cream and 18 toppings. None the less, we ended up eating it all. After this we decided to explore Disney’s Swan and Dolphin resort and also Animal Kingdom Lodge. 

Later on we went to a Luau with Chris’ family and cousins. It was a really cool dinner show experience and the all-you-can-eat food and drinks were really good. I would recommend this show for a family as a fun night out. 

Tip: Reservations for Beaches and Cream go fast, so try to book them 3-4 months in advance. We happened to get lucky and get a reservation by chance, but they are seriously always sold out. 

January 4th – Soaking in the Final Rays 

Today was our final day in Florida so we decided to spend it soaking in some rays. At night we went out for dinner to Sweet Tomato which was really good. This is a salad bar restaurant and they also have some soups, pasta, and pizza. After this we went and did a final stop for some souvenirs. 

January 5th & 6th, 2019 – Driving Home

On the way home we spent two days driving all the way home. The traffic was really good on the way home so it made for a much smoother ride. 

I had a lot of fun on this trip and was amble to see a lot in the 8 days that we were in Florida. I was amazed with my body and how well it was able to keep up this trip. 3 months ago I could have never imagined walking around for 2 hours, not to mention spending 14 hours in a park. This just goes to show that there is a reason for every season. I went through years of pain, but this allowed me to come out stronger than ever. I am now feeling great, and am relatively pain free. I hope this serves as a reminder to you that you will grow, you will heal, you will get better, it will just take time. Be patient, and remember that the good times will come, but for now, try to enjoy the ride.  

I hope you enjoyed this post and found my tips helpful for your next trip to Disney. Before you go, make sure that you subscribed to my blog to get email updates every time I post. Also be sure to follow me on InstagramFacebook and Pinterest to get more updates from me on my day to day life. 

Your Trusty Gutsy Gal, 
Nathalie xx 

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Nathalie is a Canadian entrepreneur, blogger, architectural designer, and Crohn’s warrior. Nathalie graduated from her final university degree in Spring 2020 with a Master’s of Architecture. Nathalie decided to start this blog to share her journey and experiences. She shares daily advice on all things health, lifestyle, self love, motivation and environmentalism on the blog and over on Facebook and Instagram.

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