We may not have won a Super Bowl but we are certainly excited to be going back to the “Happiest Place on Earth” after taking a year away to focus on finishing up my graduate studies and pursuing various work-related opportunities. I believe this is going to be a very special year as we experience several “family firsts” with this upcoming vacation.
First, this will be our first stay at a Deluxe Resort. Due to the “Free Dining” promotion this summer, we were able to stretch our budget a stay at one of our bucket list resorts, Animal Kingdom Lodge. This has been a dream of our family for quite some time. While we will certainly miss our home resort Pop Century, we believe the experiences in store at AKL will be priceless memories. From the unique resort dining to Uzima Springs Pool, I foresee a lot of time being spent at the resort compared to previous years.
Speaking of unique dining, we have already began our planning our dining experiences where we also hope to check several locations off our dining bucket list. Below is our currently list:
- Liberty Tree Tavern – One of our all-time favorite locations not only in the Magic Kingdom but all of our Walt Disney World. Liberty Tree offers some of the best comfort food and generous portions.
- Sanaa – This is one of our bucket list experiences we are very excited to visit. Considered to be one of the most delicious hidden gems in Walt Disney World, located at Animal Kingdom Lodge, offers a very unique menu and boasts a beautiful view of the Savannah while you enjoy your meal. I cannot wait to review this experience!
- Rose & Crown Dining Room – Another first time experience and bucket list location that has been recommended to us time and time again. While we did not take advantage of the Illumination package, Rose & Crown sits in a beautiful location and I have heard to food is equally delicious.
- Chef Mickey’s – While Chef Mickey’s may not have the best of food compared to other sit-down Walt Disney dining experiences, it certainly has an atmosphere that is all Disney. Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoy their buffet but Chef Mickey’s is all about the experience. Dining in one of Disney’s original resorts, in the midst of all the beloved characters, all while the monorails glide by, it’s a must do.
- Whispering Canyon Cafe – This is another “experience” that I simply cannot get enough of each year. Whispering Canyon is simply just fun! From all ketchup, oversized drinking mugs, and even an occasional pony ride, you just have to experience it to understand. If the unique experience wasn’t enough, the food is fantastic. I highly recommend their traditional “all you care to eat” signature dish.
Other honorable dining mentions:
- Flame Tree BBQ
- Sleepy Hollow Inn
- Beaches and Cream Soda Shop
- Aloha Isle
- Les Halles Boulangerie Pastisserie
When it comes to attractions, we are looking forward to all of our usual favorites but most of all, we are excited to experience Toy Story Land for the first time. While we are going to be just a few months shy of Star Wars Land, the NBA Experience, Disney Skyline, and other new additions, there will be plenty of new to take in while still squeezing in all that Disney has to offer.
Our Top 5 “must do’s” for Summer 2019:
- Slinky Dog Coaster (hopefully at night)
- Avatar’s Flight of Passage
- Expedition Everest
- Space Mountain
While we are still some time away from our trip, it is still never too early to begin planning. We are still waiting for some other news to drop such as Mickey and Minne’s Runaway Railway opening date, Fastpasses will be opening relatively soon and the best of experiences fill up fast. We’ll be posting more as we draw closer to our trip and hopefully we’ll even be able to share some livestreams of new experiences. Stay tuned!