Most of my blogs of late have been about a planned trip during the holiday season in the first part of December. Our plans have changed and we are now going to find a new bit of magic for our 35th wedding anniversary. Now we plan to go to Walt Disney World, our happy place. the first full week of October. Like our 30th anniversary five years ago, we decided to visit during the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival. So at last, plans have been made and we have real live, honest to goodness reservations at Walt Disney World. I am extremely excited to finally be going after a couple of years away, and the fact that this will be the longest Walt Disney World trip the McNair family has ever taken makes me a bit giddy. Our adventure opens on October 4th as our Delta Airlines 717 leaves at 6:30 am from Indianapolis International Airport to take us to the most magical place on earth. Since our return flight doesn’t leave until the evening of the 13th we purchased 10-day Parkhopper tickets. We can go to the parks each day of our vacation including arrival and departure days. The incremental cost of the 10-day tickets, as opposed to the 9-day tickets, is relatively small so it only made sense that we should get the 10-day tickets. We are going to hit the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival very hard this year. So we will be traveling between parks quite a bit. We already have made reservations for several of the food and beverage pairings with several Celebrity Chefs. The Parkhopper option was an absolute requirement for us. I cannot wait to get on the jet and go!
This trip’s resort of choice will be the All-Star Sports Value Resort. We chose to stay at the All-Star Sports Resort for a few reasons. First, We are very familiar with the resort, having stayed there a couple of times. Second, We like that this resort is the first bus stop in the All-Star Resort area. Third, the cost of the room was much more manageable. We were tempted to stay at the Boardwalk and if my wife’s mom had wanted to come, we would have stayed at the cabins at Fort Wilderness. The extra cost for the resort would have meant fewer days for our stay and since my Mother-in-law didn’t want to come with us, our choice was simple. In my book, extra days beat more expensive resorts any day. The All-Star Sports food court is nice for grabbing a bit of breakfast before plunging into the parks and the rooms are comfortable. Besides, to be honest, we tend to be out in the parks most of the time, sometimes returning late to our rooms. We want to be surrounded by the Disney experience and the All-Stars provide that. On most days, however, the room isn’t much more than a place to sleep.
We had successfully booked our anniversary dinner at the Flying Fish on the Boardwalk and within a few days, we changed our minds. We rebooked our anniversary dinner at Enso’s hideaway and we will indulge in Enso’s Sunday supper. We have scored ADR’s for dinner at ‘Ohana (one of my favorites) and California Grill (another great place to eat) along with breakfast at Be Our Guest. We have Reservations for Jaleo and Morimoto’s in Disney Springs. Can anybody say Asian Style Ribs? It is truly difficult to get enough of the ribs at Morimoto’s. Since our trip to Spain last year, we have had a taste for the delicious cuisine of Spain. Jose Andres has a reputation for being one of the best Spanish Chefs in the U.S. I also loved his series on PBS, “Made in Spain”. Our ADR’s tend to be very dynamic, changing it seems on a daily basis. New reservations come available as people change their plan. The times that they give up for our favorite places may fit our schedule better. I’m sure that our ADR’s will change a great deal before we get aboard our aircraft to Walt Disney World. We will find more events to book as well now that we have the dates nailed down. Since I like to eat, I will probably write a whole blog dedicated to the food we enjoyed this time around in Disney World.
I’m thrilled to get an opportunity to go earlier than I had planned and I love the thought of spending our anniversary together where we have spent so many other anniversaries. 35 years ago on October 6th, I married the love of my life in a simple ceremony in a small church just north of where I currently live. We celebrated our first wedding anniversary in 1985 at Walt Disney World. At that time, Walt Disney World consisted of a couple of resort hotels around the resort loop and the Magic Kingdom and EPCOT Center. EPCOT was just getting its feet under itself on our first magical visit as a married couple. I remember Epcot as being amazing, new and very much for an adult audience. EPCOT has been my favorite park for many years. We only spent a couple of days in Disney World and we stayed in a Sheraton that was off property. For a new family just getting started, it was quite an outlay of funds. Wow, was it worth it!
For many years after, Disney just sort of simmered on the back burner of my brain until we went back in the year 2000 with my parents and our kids. That rekindled my love for Disney and restarted our visits to Walt Disney World, so, 25 years after our first wedding anniversary trip, on our 26th wedding anniversary, we decided that it was time to go back to the parks and celebrate. While our anniversary is in October, the actual date didn’t matter much to us. We were celebrating our years together in one of the best places in the world to celebrate. Our thoughts were that going over the holidays, Disney World would be amazing. We were right! The decorations were astonishing. Snow on Main Street was remarkable and we saw, for the first time, the Osborne Spectacle of Dancing Lights on the Streets of America. Sadly, the Streets of America were demolished to make way for the new Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge. I look forward to Galaxy’s Edge but I cannot help but wax a more than a bit nostalgic when it comes to the Spectacle of Dancing Lights.
So, four years later, our 30th anniversary came round. True to form, we decided to make the trip down to Walt Disney World again and this time we wanted to spend our actual anniversary date at one of the wonderful Signature restaurants you can find throughout the Disney Property. 30 years after my wife and I exchanged our vows in that small church in North Terre Haute, we indulged in one of the best meals we have had at Disney world at Narcoossees. After which, from the Dock at Narcoossee’s, we watched the Electrical Water Pageant. We held each other’s hand as we watched iconic floats passed us by on the Seven seas lagoon. To this day, five years later, it chokes me up thinking about it.
Well, now I have the opportunity to write about stuff that is going to be happening instead of lingering on past trips. We have ordered new T-shirts for the trip and are looking at magic bands. There is still some time before our Fastpasses can be made and where we can get them might make us redo many of our dining reservations. I want to see Galaxy’s Edge, experience the Flight of Passage and the Navi River journey. We haven’t had a chance to ride the Frozen attraction in Epcot. I have to see the Rivers of Light and the new Happily Ever After Fireworks show. So much has changed since my last trip that the 10 days we have at Disney will be full! I will write more on the attractions for which we could get Fastpasses and what food and Wine choices we made in future blogs!