Who else has ever wanted to just show up to the airport and hop on whatever flight was available? We didn’t quite do that, but we did do as close as you can with that the last weekend of September. We went to Oktoberfest in Lovettsville and were talking about what we should do since we were both off on Monday. I threw out the crazy idea of wanting to just go somewhere and that somewhere being Disney World since we hadn’t gone during fall before and it was the 50th anniversary. After some back and forth, we decided to just do it and booked our flights to leave in less than 16 hours using our United miles to Orlando, Florida. Crazy, right?
We were giddy with excitement over our impromptu, crazy bookings. Luckily, we have travel points with United and Hilton thanks to our travel cards. So, our only out of pocket expenses were the tickets to Disney World, souvenirs, food, and Uber rides. We quickly packed our travel backpacks, traveling the lightest we ever have, before heading to bed for some sleep before leaving for our 36 hour adventure to Disney World.
We rolled out of bed bright and early and made our way to the airport to catch our two hour flight to Orlando. The second we landed, we grabbed an Uber straight to Magic Kingdom to start our whirlwind adventure. The last time we went to Disney World was when we went together with our families when we were around 12 and 14 years old, so everything was very different going as adults. It was, of course, crowded but so magical. The 50th anniversary celebrations didn’t change that much with the whole Disney experience. The biggest change we saw was Cinderella’s Castle. They completed re-painted it and changed its look, which was pretty cool. There were also a few signs that had “50” on them and a pair of commemorative ears, as well as being on gifts bags.
Pro Tip: Download the Disney World app so you can check ride wait times, have a map to help you find your way around the park, order food (we recommend ordering ahead of time so you can avoid waiting in line), access your Genie Pass to skip lines, and more.
Almost immediately upon entering the park, we walked straight into a parade. After the parade, we made our way into a souvenir shop to buy my first two pairs of ears! I, of course, got a pair of the special light-up 50th edition ears and a Halloween pair to go hand-in-hand with the Halloween theme currently going on at the park. After grabbing my ears, we made our way to grab some lunch at The Lunching Pad. We grabbed an order of fries and chicken tenders to split, which was the perfect amount for us. The chicken tenders were surprisingly good. After finishing our lunch, we scheduled our first Genie Pass ride.
Pro Tip: Get the Genie Pass the morning before you head to the park and schedule your first ride so you can walk straight there once you enter the park. The passes are $15 a person and can only be purchased the morning of. The way the pass works, is by giving you a time window to arrive at the ride so you can skip the long lines. The problem, you can’t schedule more than one ride at a time and you will often have to wait two hours or more before your time window, but the second you scan your pass for that ride, you are able to reserve your time window for the next ride.
Magic Kingdom closed at 6:00PM for the Halloween Party (if you wish to go to the party in the future, make sure to purchase your tickets in advance). After riding a bunch or rides and wondering the park for a while, we left to grab the monorail to Epcot since we had purchased the Hopper Pass. We were particularly excited to go to Epcot since we are now over 21 and can “drink our way around the world.” Let me just say, it was a lot of fun! We spent around $200 for the both of us to have a drink at every country within Epcot and to grab a bite to eat from two of the countries. I think we only missed two countries in total. Toward the end of the circle, we did start sharing drinks since we were definitely feeling it by then.
Pro Tip: If you purchase a Hopper Pass, which is definitely a good idea if you are trying to see all the parks in a short window, you cannot enter another park until after 2:00PM and you must reserve the first park you wish to enter. The earliest they will let you enter the second park is 1:55PM. So, plan accordingly to avoid having to wait in the sun for the next park to allow entrance.
If attempting to drink your way around the world at Epcot, be prepared to encounter several people who have been thoroughly indulging, but the lines move surprisingly quickly for how long they often seem. However, we recommend going in the evening (we arrived at about 6:00PM) since during the middle of the day it will be hot and the sun mixed with alcohol, little shade, and few areas to sit don’t mix well. We wound up going back to Epcot at 2PM the following day to hit up the two or three countries we didn’t get to the previous evening and the difference was palpable with how hot it was. Make sure to remain hydrated so you don’t get overheated.
Our first day at Disney came to a close with an epic fireworks show at Epcot followed by a delicious, large slice of pizza from Pizza Window on Disney’s BoardWalk about a quarter to a half mile outside the park.
We woke up bright and early on Monday and grabbed an Uber to Hollywood Studios to start our second day of adventure. On our way to the park, we scheduled our first ride for Rockin’ Roller Coaster, a staple from our childhood adventures to Disney. After we got off the ride, we tried to schedule the the new Star Wars Rise of the Resistance, but the wait was hours long and we didn’t want to waste the little time we had trying to ride it, so we went to schedule Tower of Terror. However, by the time we went to schedule that, the wait for our time window was going to be two or three hours, that’s when we tried to use our fast pass on Rockin’ Roller Coaster again, only to find out that we couldn’t use it more than once. Resigned to not be able to use our fast pass any longer, we got in the outrageously long line for Tower of Terror and waited for about an hour to ride before heading over to Woody’s Lunchbox for some lunch.
We were honestly a bit disappointed in how the Genie Pass worked since we weren’t able to use it more than once per ride and couldn’t schedule several rides at once, so it was somewhat wasted on our second day. The better way would be if we could schedule the rides for the day to more efficiently utilize our time. We were also rather disappointed in how long the wait was to get our lunch despite ordering ahead and arriving at our designated arrival window. We still had to wait another 15 or more minutes before we got our food, all while standing since all the tables were full. Many tables were occupied by only one or two people who weren’t even eating, so we had to walk all the way back to the main part of the park to find a bench to sit on and eat our lunch. At this point my feet were killing me, so I wasn’t too happy with not being able to find anywhere to sit and eat.
Having had enough of the overly crowded Hollywood Studios and not being able to go on many of the rides due to the long lines, we grabbed a gondola to head back to Epcot to hit up the last two or three countries and grab dinner at The Coral Reef. We had originally planned to get dinner at The Rainforest Cafe in Animal Kingdom, but were unable to make reservations any earlier than 7:00PM, and by then we were going to be in the air heading home. So, we decided not to go to Animal Kingdom and instead grab dinner at The Coral Reef in Epcot.
Pro Tip: Make restaurant reservations in advance to ensure you get a table, especially if it’s a more popular restaurant.
The Coral Reef is a really cool restaurant with a full wall that is a side of an aquarium. You get to eat in front of the aquarium that has sharks and various other fish swimming about. We had gone there as kids when we went with our families one of the other two times we ventured to Disney. It was just as cool of an experience, only this time we were able to get cocktails with color changing ice cubes. The food was also surprisingly filling and rather large portions. We left full and satisfied and made our way out of the park in time to grab an Uber straight to the airport to catch our flight home and end our 36-hour adventure to Disney World.
Lindsey and Russ
Have you ever done a spontaneous trip? Let us know in the comments below!
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