Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Florida March 2014

Several months ago I made plans at work to head to the annual Women in Aviation International Conference. We take aviation students to the conference each year, and I was excited that I got the chance to attend and see what it is all about. Of course, it was a HUGE perk that it was in Orlando, Florida - specifically in Walt Disney World! We decided to make a vacation out of it!

I headed to Orlando on Wednesday, March 5th, and Bryce joined me on Thursday, March 6th. My mom and dad were willing to watch little Stratton man while we went out playing. They loved having him, and he loved being there. He actually cried as we pulled away from there house the night we picked him up. Hmmm...think he likes those grandparents much?!!

The conference was excellent. I took three future female pilots. They were a great bunch of girls to travel with and be with. Aviation for women really is a tough industry. I look up to these women and the goals that they have. I sat at the Utah State info booth for the majority of the three day conference. I love sharing the good word about Utah State and USU Aviation. I love my job!

It was SO great to have Bryce with me. I would have missed him like crazy if I was alone, so I am way glad we were able to make it work for him to come out with me. The conference was at Disney's Coronado Springs Resort. WOW! We will probably never stay anywhere so nice again. It was beautiful!

We were lucky with weather when we were in Florida. It rained the days of the conference, and was BEAUTIFUL the days after. It made it easy to be inside sitting at a table while I needed to be, and even better to enjoy playing Disney Tourist while we went to the theme parks. One evening we hit Epcot. It was neat, but I was not super impressed. Most of the international areas were closed, so we rode a few rides and caught the fire works. It was a good place to start off our Disney adventure.

{A Nemo picture for Stratton}
{Yes, this "troll horn" Bryce needed cost way more than it was worth! But, he was happy!}

The next park we hit was Hollywood Studios. Our favorites about this park were Tower of Terror and the Buzz Lightyear ride. We also watched a few cool shows, and even ate at Pizza Planet! The park was not crowded at all, so it was nice that we could do mostly whatever we wanted. We spent half a day here and saw most things. 

We spent the second half of this day in Animal Kingdom. We were not planning on going to this park, but we decided to when we felt like we did everything we wanted to in Hollywood Studios. We are SO glad we did, because it ended up being our very favorite theme park! It was kind of like a glorified zoo with rides. Here we were also able to hit almost every ride. It was awesome! We saw some characters, enjoyed the shaded paths, and rode our favorite ride, Expedition Everest. We HIGHLY recommend this park to everyone! It was fun to see the animals on the relaxing drive-through rides and still get some excitement on the more thrilling rides. Bryce got pooped on by a bird, but Animal Kingdom, you were good to us!

On our final day we hit Magic Kingdom - the pinnacle of everything Disney! We rode a bus to Epcot then caught the Monorail to Magic Kingdom. It was impressive and fun! Monorail is a good idea! This park was great because it is just simply amazing! Every building, flowerbed, and bench has meaning. It is an impressive sight to behold. Having said this, when we showed up there was a crane RIGHT behind the castle, so that ruined our photo-op, but no big deal. This park definitely had the most people, but again, we were still able to hit like every ride we wanted to. Our longest wait was for the new Little Mermaid ride, and to be honest I would never say it was worth it, but at least we can say we did it. We left the park for lunch and went back to the hotel for a siesta. This little couple wore themselves right out! After a little nap at the hotel pool, we headed to dinner at the Polynesian Resort, and then back for more magic in the Kingdom. We watched a little slide/movie show on the facade of the castle when we got back. Now that was cool!! We also caught a glimpse of a parade, but we went and rode rides at this time, and that was a great idea because we literally walked right on to like four of them. Magic Kingdom certainly held up to all the hype! 

{Are you impressed with the matching expressions?!}

The trip was a HUGE success! We missed our little Stratton boy like crazy, but we were glad that we were able to play hard, and enjoy the time together.

{Bear Lake from the sky! We also flew right over Cache Valley - VERY COOL!}

Travel Notes:
  • Walt Disney World was impressive, but super similar to Disneyland. The difference is space. Disneyland and California Adventure cram in just about everything that Disney World has to offer; Disney World just has more space between it all. 
  • The first week in March was a great time for a Walt Disney World visit. The weather was excellent, and the park traffic was minimal. We hit the parks on week days, so that probably helped, but really, we could not have asked for better timing.
  • The first few nights we stayed at Disney's Coronado Springs and then we switched to Disney's Movie Resort to save a few bucks. We DEFINITELY saw a difference! Everything at the high class resort was nicer. There were fewer kids at Coronado Springs (this is nice with or without kids!), the food was better, the rooms were nicer, the cleanliness TOTALLY noticeable. The cost difference was also quite steep. We talked it over, and seriously think it might be worth paying more money for a nicer place in the future. 
  • We REALLY missed our 20 month old Stratton boy, but absolutely feel it was best not to have him there. Sure, there were things he would have totally loved, but it was nice that we did not have to worry about naps, snacks, and a whiny child (yes, he gets whiny!). We were able to ride every ride, stay as long as we wanted, and did not have to lug baby items with us. We think this is a vacation he will appreciate much more when he is older. 
  • The first day on Disney property we bought a refillable mug. Best $18 we spent on the whole trip! We can refill the mug at any resort. If you know Bryce at all, you will know this was a brilliant investment for us!
{Magic Bands - best idea ever! Disney sure knows how to make it simple to spend money!}
{Ah...the refillable mug!}