4. Go On a Vacation With Friends

Here it is, the long-awaited Disney post!

Last year, my big (Kayla) and my little (Heather) planned a weekend together in Corning, NY, where my big lives. Our plans for the weekend included exploring town, visiting the Corning Glass Museum, and having a wine and cheese party.

Kayla, Heather, and I got to make our own glass pumpkins!

Kayla, Heather, and I got to make our own glass pumpkins last fall!

After that weekend, we decided to do something similar once a year. My parents were about to leave for a trip to Disney World, which was hosting their annual Food and Wine Festival. Maybe it was one too many glasses bottles of Red Cat, but we thought that was a GREAT IDEA. Of course, a trip to Disney World involves a little planning and a lot of money. We decided that we would try to plan the trip for the following year. We started doing our research and saving our money. In April (six months after we came up with this crazy idea) we set our plans in stone – a week in Disney World at the end of October – during the Food and Wine Festival!

Heather and Kayla with their Belgian snack!

Heather and Kayla with their Belgian snack!

I’ve been to Disney before. I’ve been on other big trips before. But honestly, I don’t think I’ve put this much planning into any other trip! First we had to plan the big things – dates, flights, tickets, hotel. Oh yeah, and saving a ton of money. Our planning didn’t stop once we booked the trip – the weeks leading up to the trip was filled with finalizing the smaller details – dinner reservations and daily itineraries…Disney is a big place and we had to do it all! I even bought a Disney guide book that surprisingly gave me a lot more advice than I thought it would.

On our last night there, Heather and I climbed a bunch of the Lion King and Little Mermaid statues!!

On our last night there, Heather and I climbed a bunch of the Lion King and Little Mermaid statues!!

So what were some of the highlights of our trip? I really liked the hotel we were at! We stayed at the Art of Animation resort and while all Disney resorts are “themed” this is the only one that is Disney-themed! Every day I got to walk past giant statues of Little Mermaid and Lion King characters. Also, we specifically planned our trip to be during the Food and Wine Festival and we made sure to go to Epcot eat around the “world” each day! Let me tell you, after that, going back to the dining hall was ROUGH. My favorite meal was actually in Magic Kingdom – we went ate at Cinderella’s Royal Table! If you are ever interested in doing this, you need to make reservations six months in advance.

CIN. DER. EL. LA.

CIN. DER. EL. LA.

Probably my favorite memory of the trip was our “Disney Marathon” as we like to call it. One of the things that Disney does best is their night shows. Imagine the best fireworks display you have ever seen, multiply that by ten, and then have it happen EVERY SINGLE NIGHT. We decided that we were going to go Fantasmic in Disney Hollywood studios and then RUSH to Magic Kingdom to catch their fireworks show and second parade. We planned this very carefully and it made a ton of sense in our mind, but wound up looking more like the airport scene from Home Alone 2 than we thought it would. For Fantasmic, we sat in the very back row…there’s really not a bad seat in the house. When the show ended, we jumped up and RAN to a bus to the Contemporary Resort. From there, we took the monorail to Magic Kingdom and ran inside just in time for the start of the fireworks show. I know that doesn’t sound very complicated, but trust me. Unless you have attempted this, YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND.

Probably my favorite picture from the trip!

Probably my favorite picture from the trip!

Next year’s “Wine and Cheese” event will probably be MUCH smaller in scale (and much cheaper…my savings account has never been so empty!). I’m really glad I got to go on this trip with two of my closest friends. If anybody out there thinks that they are too old for Disney, you are NEVER too old for Disney.

Biggle's First Trip to Disney

Biggle’s First Trip to Disney

Oh and if anybody out there thinks that it is socially acceptable to bring your iPad to a theme park and use it to take pictures and hold it high above your head so you can film an entire fireworks show…it’s not. [=

Don't be this guy.

Don’t be this guy.

Advertisements

62. Try a New Food

I was kind of a picky eater growing up. I didn’t like anything spicy and I hated vegetables and basically if it wasn’t mac and cheese, I wasn’t going to eat it. To be fair, I would try “plain” things like salmon or sweet potatoes or mushrooms, but I wound turn down jalapeno poppers and potato skins.

Since high school, I’ve become more adventurous with my food. I love sushi and I even put hot sauce on things sometimes. (Risky, I know!) Part of the reason we chose October to visit Disney World was because the annual Food and Wine Festival was happening. I think I was there for it once when I was a kid, but my parents have gone pretty recently, so Kayla, Heather, and I knew what to expect. When we arrived at Epcot, we picked up our passports and ate our way around the world!

The passport lists all of the options available at each country’s stand. They even have a spot to stamp your passport!

Because of the small size of each dish, we were willing to try new things! We would try to order different things at each country so we could sample more than one thing, but there were a few times that we all wanted the same thing. Some new-to-me foods on this trip? Grilled lamb chop, escargot, fisherman’s pie, and honey wine.

The escargot was our big risk! None of us had eaten snails before. They kind of have the same texture as steam clams – kind of rubbery. I think if they had just been chilling on a plate, we wouldn’t have been so willing to eat them, but they were cooked into this pastry and covered in a sauce. I didn’t hate it, but I’m not sure if I’d order it on my own again.

Heather with the escargot!

Heather with the escargot!

I definitely want to get back to Disney again and hopefully I can time it with the Food and Wine Festival so I can eat my way around the world again!