Day 1 - Fly To Orlando / Disney Springs
Upon arrival to Orlando, we grabbed a light brunch and headed straight to the hotel. Stayed at the Knights Inn (decent hotel, nothing particularly special) and after dropping off our stuff and getting a moment of rest, we took the complimentary shuttle for Disney Springs. Disney Springs is basically Downtown Disney for those familiar with Disneyland but so much more vast and tons of places to eat and shop. After shopping around, getting a few chocolate samples at the Ghiradelli, we decided to have lunch at D-Luxe Burger, a good burger spot that was quick service. There's plenty of choices for all types of eaters. After a few more snacks, we headed back to the hotel to rest up for the next couple days.
Highlights - Lots of great restaurants, buses everywhere to get you around Disney World
Day 2 - Universal Studios - Islands of Adventure
Universal Studios in Florida is incredibly vast with two theme parks (over Hollywood's one). The rides are plentiful: Incredible Hulk Coaster, Amazing Adventures of Spiderman and many other Marvel themed attractions. But the real seller here is the two Harry Potter themed lands, one in each Universal park. They're connected together by the Hogwarts Express train (which allows you to travel back and forth if you have a hopper pass). Amazing. Flight of the Hippogriff, Ollivanders wand shop, HP and the Forbidden Journey, the list goes on and on. Hogsmeade has plenty to satisfy the Harry Potter fan in you. We then had dinner at the Three Broomsticks (Hogs Head Pub) and it was surprisingly delicious. End it all with a Butterbeer and we were one happy couple.
Highlights - Harry Potter World, butterbeer, lots of Marvel based rides
Day 3 - Disney World - Animal Kingdom
The fiance was definitely hyped up most for these two days and they did not disappoint. Started off at Animal Kingtom where we rode the Kilimanjaro Safari (really great time, the host was fantastic and it literally feels like you're in the middle of a safari) and followed that up eith Expedition Everest (arguably the best ride in Disney World). By then, it was lunch time and we chose the Tusker House Restaurant, a character dining buffet. All the characters were dressed in cute safari costumes and took pictures with all the sitting parties (perfect for families, couples). After lunch, we watched the Festival of the Lion King (entertaining live show for families) and the Tree of Life Sunset show (the giant tree gets lit up with incredible animated projections). Topped off the night with Ohana (polynesian buffet) and the Jungle Book fireworks show. Animal Kingdom might be our favorite park at Disney World.
Highlights - The Tree of Life (illuminated at night), Kilimanjaro Safari, Expedition Everest, the buffets Ohana and Tusker House
Day 4 - Disney World - Epcot
Epcot was the next park and while many believe it to be the most lacking of the Disney parks, my fiance and I enjoyed the scenery and ammenities. We started off with Soarin Over California (great ride flying over lifelike projections of California landscapes), Disney and Pixar's Short Film Fest (theater of Pixar shorts, loved this) and Test Track (a fun fast ride, similar to Radiator Springs Racers in DCA). Topped off with food visits at many of the small quick service eateries, lunch at San Angel Inn (great scenic restaurant, Mexican cuisine) and dinner at Chefs De France (good fresh cuisine). We wanted to push for other restaurants but many were booked well in advance. Advice! Use Mousedining to book your reservations months before you take your Disney trip!
Highlights - Royal Caribbean check in was very smooth, great scenic drive to the port
Days 5-7- Caribbean Cruise, Headed to Bahamas (CocoKay)
To top off the trip, we drove down to the Miami port to take a cruise ship to the Bahamas. We chose Royal Caribbean because of the value, but our previous cruise via Carnival was far more enjoyable. I believe in the future, we'll stick with Carnival or maybe even try another cruise line. Having said this, Royal was still good and gave us plenty to eat, see and do on the cruise ship. When we arrived at the Bahamas resort, it was a private island with special chefs, vast beaches and volleyball and activities for all to enjoy. Super fun and made lots of new friends. CocoKay is a fairly lowkey resort though so don't expect 5 star service and ammenities. It's good for a short trip.
Highlights - Cruise ammenities are always great, lots of food and activities to do
Day 8 - Flight back home
Lowlights - Sad times, but can't wait to come back!