Memories of a Magical Disney World New Year

So we had a wonderful time on our Disney vacation. 🙂

We tried new things, were blessed with amazing weather, and had the chance to share precious family time. We laughed, we sang, we clapped, we ate, we walked (and walked and walked), we were moved, we were silly, we learned new things and met new people….

In short, we started 2011 off in the most magical way.

As I have thought about doing a trip report for you, I realized quickly that I can’t do ONE because it would be a book! So instead, over the coming weeks, I’ll share different aspects of our trip that will hopefully help you in planning your next Disney vacation.

Today, I want to share a few highlights, along with some new things that this veteran Disney vacationer experienced on our trip to Walt Disney World:

First, we found a few “non-obvious” places for fireworks and parades. I have heard this recommended before but somehow we never actually did it. On this trip we did. We watched the Christmas parade over in Frontierland, right in front of Pecos Bill’s (having just finished lunch there) and had no problem finding a front row space to watch…on the day before New Year’s Eve. Likewise, we watched Holiday Wishes on one of the pathways that lead to the Tomorrowland bridge….it winds down below The Plaza Restaurant and there was literally no one there. Great view, and Tinkerbell flew right over us.

We went to Epcot for New Year’s Eve prepared to stay the entire day…which we did. While we might have been able to leave for a break and then return, based on the perfect weather and corresponding crowds, we decided not to chance it. We knew what to expect and took it very easy, keeping things low key and relaxed. Our daughter decided to try out the Kim Possible phones and had a blast (more on this in a coming article). I took advantage of places to relax when available. We found a place for the NYE fireworks EARLY, took turns blanket sitting, made friends with people from Brazil who were right next to us….and celebrated with them when it was the New Year in Brazil (which was before us).  In fact, welcoming a New Year with people who were literally from around the world seemed like the best possible way to celebrate…and we think that Walt Disney would have approved. 🙂

We were a bit lazy on New Year’s Day. We started with a late breakfast at Cape May buffet and then DD and I enjoyed a VERY special belated Christmas present from Santa: we went to the Grand Floridian spa. 🙂 If you ever have the chance to splurge on one thing for yourself….do this. You deserve it.

DD then joined DH at Magic Kingdom where they pretty much walked onto every ride there. Surprise for us: crowds practically disappeared starting on New Year’s Day, so it ended up being a very productive attraction day. After spending the afternoon taking pictures, I joined them for dinner at ‘Ohana, and then we returned to Magic Kingdom for the evening. Main Street Electrical Parade, Holiday Wishes….and riding Big Thunder Mountain in the dark all were perfect ways to end the perfect Disney day.

On Sunday we went to Hollywood Studios and those of you who were following along on our Facebook page know that we had a 5 minute wait for Toy Story Mania! We were there before park opening, and at rope drop, our DD went to Tower of Terror and apparently got the first FastPasses of the day there while DH and I went to get in line at Toy Story. We were entering the building as she arrived. Everyone else apparently went to get FastPasses for this ride, so the FastPass return time for TSM grew rapidly…while the stand-by line grew much more slowly. This strategy allowed us to ride/see everything we wanted to see before lunch. In the afternoon, we headed to ESPN Zone on the Boardwalk to cheer on our Steelers…and meet some really fun folks while there. 🙂

And I changed one of our ADRs again! At the last minute! Seeing that we were likely to be at ESPN Zone all afternoon, and then heading back to Hollywood Studios for the Osborne Lights in the evening, I decided to change dinner to the Captain’s Grill at Yacht Club since it was nearby, and I’m so glad that I did….it was amazing, in fact probably my favorite dinner! Once again, proving my motto for this trip: “Change is Good”. 🙂

Oh….and pictures of the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights truly do NOT do them justice. If you love Disney World, put this on your bucket list!

For our last day, we returned to our favorite park, Epcot, and took the “Undiscovered Future World” tour. I cannot recommend this tour enough! Interesting, and fun, we were able to see some “behind the scenes” places, and ride Soarin’ again. And we learned a lot of fascinating details, not the least of which was to always “remember to look up and look down” because there are a lot of cool things to see that most of us normally miss because we’re so busy running to the next ride/attraction.

And then we left to return home. 🙁

Any Disney vacation goes so quickly, doesn’t it? It seems like you plan for an eternity (and for many of us that planning does last months or years even!) and then it finally arrives…..and in the blink of an eye, it’s over. But the memories remain, and that of course, is the true magic of Disney.

Then the planning starts all over again!

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