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My 2022 Trip to Disney World & Universal as an Adult

Anyone that hasn't been living under a rock, should know about the "Happiest Place on Earth"; Disney World. Is it actually the Happiest Place on Earth? Well for some the long lines, the waves of children, and the cost simply isn't worth it. But I haven't been since the early 2000s with my family, so I decided to experience it as an adult.




Before You Go

For my folks worried about the cost, I get it. Truly I do. However, you can book your arrival dates with Disney 365 to 499 days before you go. This gives you a year or more to make payments as you can; as long as it is paid off 4 weeks before you go.


Wear good shoes. You will be doing a lot of walking and shoes will make or break your trip. Stay hydrated. Your trip will be cut short if you pass out or can't get past the headache that comes with heat exhaustion and dehydration. Utilize the My Disney Experience app. Here you can review the wait times for each ride, view park maps, make meal reservations, view your PhotoPass pictures, and more. Make your meal reservations in advance. Why? There is no guarantee that you will be able to dine at your ideal restaurant on the day of. Not only is DisneyWorld known for its theme park experience, but the dining experiences are also just as popular. Budget your money. Some people will plan their whole trip around the time riding the rides and do not take into account spending money for meals, snacks, and merchandise. These things add up you guys; be ready for it.


As for the waves of children? It can be avoided slightly by getting to the parks early & going during the slower time of year for Disney; which is January and September. Since it can get a little chilly in Orlando in January, my party and I decided on September.

 

Day 1 - Sunday

Originally we were going to leave early Monday morning, check into the resort, and then hit our first park. However, we wanted to get the most out of our experience & not be tired due to traveling. So we decided to leave on a Sunday night & stay at a cheap hotel so that we were ready for a full day of fun on Monday.

 

Day 2 - Monday

We woke up literally before the sun came up & took advantage of the free continental breakfast at our cheap 1-night stay hotel and Ubered to the Disney All-Star Music Resort. Keep in mind that Disney has a LOT of resort options to choose from. We chose this resort specifically due to the cheaper price.





Since our rooms were not ready when we arrived, the staff allowed us to leave our luggage there so that we could jump on the complimentary shuttle to Magic Kingdom. By 9 am we were walking into the park and by 4 pm our room was ready and we were napping at the resort. (Hahaha) Keep in mind that even though it is September in Orlando, the heat is still going to drain you. Stay hydrated! I mean we have enough energy for dinner right?



Before we arrived in Orlando, we made dinner reservations at Splitsville, one of the many restaurants in Disney Springs (what is considered 'downtown Disney'). Making meal reservations prior to arriving is a MUST. This saves on the question of "Where & what are we eating" as well as time that can be spent doing something else.


REMINDER that dining out is not cheap. At all. So please be sure to budget your funds so you are not broke as a joke by the end of your trip.



To walk off all the food we ate, we shopped around Disney Springs before hopping back on the shuttle back to the resort.




 

Day 3 - Tuesday

Im sure some of you are wondering, what time should I get to the park? The earlier the better. We woke up around 5:30 am to get ready, eat at the resort or some of the food we brought with us, and get on the shuttle to be at the park at 8 am. The earlier you go the shorter the ride lines are & fewer kids. On top of this, we decided what rides we wanted to prioritize by utilizing the Disney Experience app,


Hollywood Studios was our park for today and let me tell you PLEASE do not ride the Tower of Terror first; wait for your food to digest. I made this mistake and almost threw up. Do not be like me.


This is personally my favorite theme park due to the Star Wars Galaxy's Edge. Disney really knows how to immerse you into a whole new world, making you feel as if you aren't even in Orlando. Star Wars nerds, Galaxy's Edge has Blue milk! You can even add a shot of rum for an extra charge. Or you can get green milk with a shot of tequila. Take a stop at Ronto Roasters while you are there for a quick snack; the Ronto wrap was pretty cheap and very filling. For my roller coaster people, the Rockin Roller Coaster is worth the wait in line.





For dinner, we made reservations at the Sci-Fi Dine in Theatre in ADVANCE. This restaurant is themed after a 50's drive-in movie theatre where your table is a CAR. Cute right?






 

Day 4 - Wednesday

Today is not a Disney day for us. We took this day to visit Universal Studios & Islands of Adventure!


Unfortunately throughout the day, I had to keep reminding myself that I WAS NOT at a Disney park. The customer service does not touch Disney by a mile. The rides at Universal are also not as accommodating as the rides at Disney. If you are a heavier or thicker person, you will not be able to ride a good amount of what Universal offers. Which is extremely unfortunate if you have just spent $175 plus for a single-day ticket. Universal also takes advantage of the "off-season" to do maintenance on rides so you will encounter a few rides closed.


Though I am in no rush to return to Universal anytime soon getting a wand from Ollivander's and lunch at the Leaky Cauldron in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter was worth it. Even if the Hogwarts Express was closed.





 

Day 5 - Thursday

Another early day for Disney and we are headed to Epcot! While there are not many rides in Epcot as in the other parks, you can look forward to the different seasonal food events they host. For us, it was the Food & Wine Festival. Throughout Epcot, there are different countries in the World Showcase. Each country during the food and wine festival and a signature menu. I opted for a Teriyaki Chicken Bow Bun and a Frozen Martini.




Ride-wise, we hopped on the new Guardians of the Galaxy Cosmic Rewind roller coaster; where you are capped out at 2 rides for Disney value resort guests. There is also a virtual queue for this line which is pretty new to Disney Word. Since my last visit, the Mission Space ride has been updated to accommodate those that do not want an as intense ride experience; you can choose between what is essentially "basic" and "intermediate" ride intensity.




 


Day 6 - Friday

We visited two parks today; Hollywood Studios and Magic Kingdom. The first half of the day was Hollywood Studios! I took the time to ride the rides that I skipped out on Day 3 and to re-ride the ones I really enjoyed.


Being drained from the Orlando heat, we went back to the resort to collect ourselves and to get ready for Mickey's Not-so-Scary Halloween Party at Magic Kingdom. For those that do not know what this event is, you can stay past the park closing time, dress up as your favorite Disney character as well and enjoy the complimentary candy provided by Disney. There is also a Disney Villians parade as well as the signature fireworks every Disney goer raves about.





 

Day 7 & 8 - Satuday & Sunday

It's the last day at the Happiest Place on Earth. Though I have enjoyed my trip, I do miss my dog. (Im a dog mom okay? Don't judge) Up again bright and early for breakfast and time to jump on the shuttle bus to Animal Kingdom!


After waiting in line to get my picture taken in front of the Tree of Life (home to It's Tough to Be a Bug), my first ride was Expedition Everest. I rode it a few times since the line was short and I was waiting for the rest of my party to arrive since we did not all ride the same shuttle bus.


From Dinoland to Asia, Disney again has worked its magic of making you feel as if you are in a whole new world (pun intended). To beat the heat, I suggest hopping in line for Kilimanjaro Safari or seeing the Festival of the Lion King.


For brunch, we had reservations at Tusker House, in Africa of Animal Kingdom. We did wait for a few minutes after checking in at the host stand. However, the waiting area features a bar where we could grab water and it was covered so we had shade. Do NOT forget to grab a turkey leg from Dinoland, as I did. But I did make up for it and tried one of the seasonal Dole whips.





Back to the resort for a well-needed nap, but the day isn't over! We had to make sure we didn't leave Orlando without all of the Disney gear our hearts desired so we ran on over to Disney Springs as our last stop on this week-long journey. If you are a LEGOS fan, you can't miss the LEGO store. Literally. It's kind of hard to not see the multiple giant Disney LEGO creations outside the building. Want to find anything and everything Mickey & Minnie? The World of Disney Shop is the place to go. There is a LOT of merchandise in the store, you are bound to find at least 1 thing - or 20 - you can not go home without.


Shopping is done, we headed back to the resort via shuttle and snored the night away. Especially since we had an early flight back home the next day.





Final Thoughts


I would like to stay at a different Disney resort the next time I go. It is not that our accommodations were not nice, but the deluxe and premium resorts have more transportation options versus waiting forever on a heavily pack shuttle.


I am grateful for my refillable water bottle & fanny pack. This allowed me to carry the basic items I needed as well as have access to an unlimited source of free water versus paying $3 plus for a bottle of water.


Universal is not Disney. I was disappointed at the lack of rides that someone in my party should ride due to the restrictions of the ride seating. Plus customer service was not very friendly nor empathic to compensating them. Too many closed rides & I will not be in a rush to go back during the off-season.




Be sure to follow me on Instagram at @nabrel_says to stay in the loop on future posts and travels!



Until my next adventure,

Anastasia











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