Magic Kingdom & Vacation Wrap Up!

Five days till’ Christmas! Can ya even wrap your noggin’ around it?! We leave this evening to go back to OH, and I have two more posts to whip up before then. Thankfully I am all packed, so now is devoted to time to write! My favorite 🙂

After Epcot, we walked back to our hotel (only about a half-mile away) and soaked up the gorgeous golden sunset on our way.

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We passed through the boardwalk on our way back. This boardwalk had a fun, relaxing, carnival inspired vibe. And it’s way cleaner and nicer than typical touristy boardwalks.

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Since DJ and I arrived to Disney later than everyone else, we didn’t have the chance to ride the Tower of Terror with them earlier in the week. Luckily, we had a bit of time before dinner, so we decided to go to Hollywood Studios to ride the legendary ride!

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I LOVED Tower of Terror. That and Avatar were my two favorites. Now I finally understand what the hype is all about!

We decided to eat on the Boardwalk at Big River Grille. My picture didn’t come out great since it was dimly lit, but I had a salmon salad. I was craving some greens after all the sugar and carbs that day, and that hit the spot. We ate outside, and although it was a chilly evening, the space heaters definitely helped keep us toasty.

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We even witnessed a beautiful fireworks display.

We all went back to the hotel and watched The Office for a bit. I couldn’t keep my eyes open; insomnia didn’t have a chance to set in that night! On Saturday December 8th  I woke up feeling refreshed & ready to go. I woke up early to run and study, and then we all met up to go to Magic Kingdom.

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I know I keep saying it, but I just loved all the Christmas decor.

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Cinderella’s castle!!

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First ride: Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. This was a fun little coaster for sure!

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And now… for another favorite- Splash Mountain!!!

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This picture below cracks me up every. single. time.

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After this we headed over to the Haunted Mansion ride.

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On the way we saw the big parade!

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*cue the spooky sounds- ooooOOoooOoooOOOooo*

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It was, again, a very immersive ride. I cannot get over the design & creativity of everything in Disney.

For lunch we went to Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe. Below pictured is the loaded fries- they had flaming hot cheetos on top! YUM!

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They even had a vegan sloppy joe. Score.

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We tried to ride Space Mountain, but it was shut down for the day. Always need an excuse to go back 😉

We perused the park a bit more before heading back.

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Here are more shots we grabbed from around the resort on our way back…

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There is an endless amount of activities for all ages.

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DJ and I decided to squeeze in a game of mini golf across the street before dinner. We hadn’t been in ages!

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SO much fun. I forgot how much I loved this game. DJ only won by only a hair!

For one last hurrah, we had dinner at the spectacular restaurant, Il Mulino located in the Swan hotel (sister of the Dolphin where we stayed). OH.my.goodness. Easily the best Italian restaurant I’ve ever been to!

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They started us with a little complimentary appetizer that had salami on one side and eggplant antipasto on the other. The eggplant- sooo tasty.

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The bread had several options, and I opted for the pizza bread. I could have ate five slices for my meal alone. I savored every little nibble.

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Two orders of meatballs for the table!

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The caprese almost looked like mouse ears! I don’t know if they did that on purpose, but an excellent presentation nonetheless. It sure was refreshing!

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I have been wanting to try truffle oil pasta for a while now. Sometimes I will go down truffle pasta rabbit holes on Instagram. I found a few places in SF that have it, so I said for my birthday I would like to go to one of the to try it. However, when I saw Rigatoni con Funghi with truffle oil on the menu, I didn’t hesitate in deciding what to order! And it lived up to, if not surpassed, my expectations! Now I have to find a new food to stalk 😉

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The Deej ordered the tortellini alla panna with meat tortellini and peas in a cream sauce. So good! I definitely had a bite (or two).

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Dessert though… WOW was this ever next level tastebud explosions. We split the cheesecake, tiramisu, and flourless chocolate cake. I don’t think I could choose a favorite…. it was all actual perfection.

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Final group photo for the trip <3 This was truly an unforgettably magical week.

Question for you:

  • What is an item on your food bucket list?

xo <3

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Animal Kingdom!

Hey hey!!! I was putting this post together and realized it was basically 99% food pics per usual. I shook my head and thought to myself, “ya dun it again, kid”. I guess food is just too darn photogenic, but I’ll fill in the gaps with words (also per usual) haha. Y’all have your snacks ready? Let’s gooo!

After wizarding our way through Harry Potter World we passed through Jurassic Park and The Comic Book Land to ride the Hulk Ride (what a blast!) & then went back to the hotel. We were all pretty tired and chilled to the bone after the cool day. We decided to order takeout from a hotel restaurant and stay in the cozy community room to play CodeNames with the whole gang. If you guys haven’t played this game, ya need to! It’s soo much fun and perfect to whip out with the family for the holidays (or anytime).

For our meals we ordered from Todd English’s Blue Zoo (located within the hotel). I had the Blackened Florida Grouper and da-da-dannng was it ever delicious. It came with black eyed pea puree, polenta “johnny” cake, jumbo lump crab meat, and creole cream. Every bite was heaven.

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DJ had the lobster carbonara. Obvi, it was good. I mean it has “lobster” and “carbonara” in its name after all. Can’t go wrong with that!

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After several rounds of seriously our new favorite game ever, we called it a night. I definitely slept more that night than the one before! On December 6th I woke up at 6:45 am (3:45 my time… oy vey!) to study & get my training run in for the day. It was worth it though when followed by a stellar breakfast (and lots and lots of coffee). We had a hotel breakfast with my mom-in-law and stepdad in law, Gordie, before meeting up with the rest of the group. This breakfast had so many nomz!!! Here is a little roundup.

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Gosh, this breakfast was sooo tasty & fresh & delicious. Mmmm! I love the combo of a muffin, fruit, yogurt, and granola.

Time for Animal Kingdom!

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Immediately after going through the entrance we were greeted by a walking tree. Only in Disney!

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And thennn we were greeted by the tree of life!

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We first went to Dinoland to ride the Dinosaur ride. Too fun!

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Then we headed in the direction of Expedition Everest. This may have been the ride I was most excited for yet.

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SOOO. much. fun! Also that kids face in the back….poor thing doesn’t know what he got himself into. hahah.

We walked around a bit more and had lunch at the Tusker House Cafe.

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This buffet had alll the goodies- there was something for everyone! I loved every bite, but their hummus was particularly yummy!

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Time for the Safari ride. Buckle up!

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This guy below is definitely my Monday mood.

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I was amazed at how close we were able to get to the animals.

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It’s a real life Lion King!!! Naaaaaaants ingonyama bagithi baba

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The whole fam in front of the tree of life 🙂 <3 Just love this group so much.

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PANDORA TIME! I love love loveeed the movie Avatar when I saw it for the first time. I remember watching it when I was in high school.. I was home on a weekend recovering from being sick and just got lost in the beautiful world while lying on the couch like a log. I was awestruck by this recreation of Pandora at Disney. My pictures do not even come close to doing any type of justice. It’s just one of those things y’all will have to see for yourselves 😉 Blogger meet up in Disney?!

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Below are some epic adult beverages you can grab at the stand Pongu Pongu in Pandora. They have boba right on top. On your left is the Rum Blossom and on the right is the Mo’ara Margarita. Mmmm!

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*PS. Thank you to the fam for being so patient and helpful ( and for being hand models) through the trip*

Time to head to the Avatar Flight of Passage. ok….WOAH. Where do I find the words?! This is easily one of the coolest VR rides ever ever ever. I didn’t know this type of technology existed?!?! If you go to Animal Kingdom you HAVE to ride this ride. Definitely get the fast past though, because the regular line is crazyyy long (rightfully so). This and Tower of Terror were probably my two favorite rides from the week. Although Escape from Gringotts was up there too.

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After going back to the hotel we got dressed up then went to Shula’s within the hotel for dinner to celebrate DJ’s sister, Renee’s, birthday! I love that her birthday fell during the trip- we rarely get to see her with all our crazy schedules, nonetheless on her birthday, so the fact that we could celebrate ALL together was very special <3

We started off with warm, fluffy, perfect bread… *insert drool face* good lawd. That bread… I will dream of it for all of my days…

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For an appetizer DJ and I split the seafood trio of shrimp cocktail, crab meat, and lobster tail served with a trio of sauces. My mouth is watering all over again!

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For my main, I had maybe the most delicious scallops I have ever tasted..

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DJ’s steak… (once again, probably needs no description 😉 ).

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And sides that will blow your socks off!! Crab mac and cheese.. me oh my was this ever good! Holy moly, I could have ate that as my meal alone!

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& Some scrumptious asparagus..

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Dessert was a chocolate souffle DJ and I split. 2018 has been the year of souffles—savory, sweet, and pancaked! If it’s on the menu, we basically have to try it. We compared this to Cafe Jacqueline– yes .. that good!

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Picture is a bit pixelated since I stole it from the good ole’ f-book, but ya get the idea 😉

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We slept so well that night after such a phenomenal meal. In the morning, DJ and I snuck in a run then grabbed some coffee from Fuel downstairs in the lobby. That coffee touched my very souuul. No no, that statement is not dramatic at all.

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DJ enjoyed a ham and cheese sandwich, and I had some leftover breakfast from the day before- fruit, granola, and yogurt.

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Next we go to Epcot!!! Wooohoo!! I probs should edit this post, but I’m too excited to share.. so we’ll just post it with all errors and whatnot, k?!

Question for you:

  • Favorite Disney movie of all time?

xo <3

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