Orlando Vacation 2017

Hello!

After a refreshing vacation to good ol’ Florida, I’m back and ready to jump back in. I was so lucky to be able to take a week-long trip to see one of my closest friends from high school, Rachel.

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I left Tuesday evening, trading in rainy, chilly MD for sunny and warm FL. It hardly rained at all while I was there and I’m very thankful considering my original trip was supposed to happen in September but was rescheduled due to Hurricane Irma.
Rachel retrieved me from the airport and we spent the evening catching up at Miller’s Ale House, which is a pretty standard ale house type of place, and strolling about the Orlando Eye.

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Wednesday, Rachel had to work during the day so I did some GRE studying and used UberEats for the first time (Qdoba chicken taco salad and chips and queso.) Once Rachel came home from work, we made our way to Universal CityWalk to take IG pics, grab dinner, and take in the sights. One of the things I love about the parks in Orlando is that they all have gorgeous water features, my inner Pisces was in heaven! We ended up eating at Margaritaville, which even though it is a chain, I’ve never been to before. Overall it was pretty tasty but for whatever reason our water tasted like salty bread??? V strange.

Finally, I grabbed dessert at Toothsome Chocolate Emporium. This is a really interesting place because it has all these delectable chocolates, sweets, and macarons but oddly enough it has a Steampunk theme. I’m not sure I really understand that whole scheme but my S’mores cake thing was really delicious.

Thursday was another study during the day, party at night day. We had a reservation at Splitsville in Disney Springs. It’s a really interesting restaurant because it has a bowling alley too. The food was just ok though so I probably wouldn’t recommend. We also walked around the shops making a special stop at Basin, which is basically the Lush of Disney. A nice thing that you can do is purchase your bath bombs or other bath products and have them shipped to your house instead of trying to fly them home with you. It ended up only being about $5 and they made it back to MD before me, so I would definitely recommend that if you want to try the products but don’t want to travel with them. Here is also where I found out that my bank decided to halt my debit card due to “fraudulent purchases” and for whatever reason called my parents’ house instead of me. Although annoying, I tried not to let it detract too much from the trip.

Disney Springs also has a Sprinkles Cupcake ATM! I’ve seen these all over the web in NYC and LA but I’ve never been to one before and of course when we went to buy cupcakes, the ATM was down. 😦 Nevertheless we went inside to buy them and they are some of the best cupcakes I’ve ever had! I went with Orange Cranberry and Red Velvet (a signature)– definitely worth the hype in my opinion, although it probably would’ve been more fun and memorable to actually get them out of the ATM. Dare I mention that they are reminiscent of boobs in appearance lol! 😉

Again, more water features and a cool hot air balloon that you can pay to ride in.

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Friday was a full Disney day. We hit up Epcot for the Food and Wine Festival and just YES! It was amazing and if you’re planning a trip to Disney as an adult without kids, I would 100% recommend planning a vacation during this time. We each loaded up a gift card wristband with $50 and ate to our hearts content. I honestly can’t remember everything we ate but a few highlights for me were the Belgian waffles, cannoli, cauliflower almond milk risotto, mac and cheese, spicy chicken on a bao bun, bratwurst on pretzel rolls and honestly so much more! We were definitely full at night’s end.

As for rides, we were able ride Frozen ever After, Soarin’ (SO bomb! Make sure you ride this and especially get a FastPass), Nemo and Friends (the manatees are soooo effing cute), Grand Fiesta Tour starring the Three Cabelleros (Mexico is my favorite country in Epcot and would definitely recommend checking it out, love the night market feel to it), Test Track (waited two hours, barely moving, and then our car design station didn’t work), and Living with the Land. Basically this trip was more for eating than sightseeing but I’m ok with that.

One of my favorite places in Epcot besides Mexico is Morocco! The detail is amazing and one day I hope to travel to Marrakech.

Saturday was a chill day.  I went to a work event with Rachel and then we met up with her friends for an amazing brunch at Metro Diner (I still drool when I look at the picture), saw a perfect rainbow, and walked around the mall where I may have treated myself at Sephora. 😉

Huevos Rancheros (Still drooling)

Sunday was another full Disney day. We got up early to do Animal Kingdom in the morning. We rode Kilimanjaro Safari Rides and Expedition Everest, took a ton of cute pics, and ate at the Satu’li Canteen at Pandora. I had this weird and amazing Cheeseburger Steamed Pods-Bao buns. We didn’t have time to wait in line for either of the rides in Pandora because we needed to hustle to Magic Kingdom.

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Next we hopped over to Magic Kingdom and to be honest I’m still salty at Disney for the tomfoolery they pulled. Basically at this time of year they start doing Christmas parties at 7pm on multiple days of the week, Sunday being one of them. I didn’t know this when I purchased my tickets. We got to MK around 1PM and only had 5 hours to enjoy the park because they start kicking people out at 6PM. Honestly, I’m mostly annoyed that they didn’t have this advertised when I bought my tickets, otherwise we would’ve been able to rearrange our schedule to go on a day when the park was open to the general public later.

As for what we were able to do in MK, we had FastPasses for Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Space Mountain. Other rides we were able to ride were It’s a Small World, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin, and Tomorrowland PeopleMover. We didn’t eat a sit down meal here but I did snack on a Dole whip twist, a Mickey soft pretzel, and a red velvet Mickey cake pop. Though I would have liked to have more time to explore the shops and ride more rides, I’m glad that I was able to take time to visit Rachel and go to Disney for my fourth time. I know some people don’t even get to go once in their lives and it is a really magical place.

Monday was a chill day where we went to dinner and walked around a different mall and just enjoyed each others’ company to finish out my vacation. Tuesday I flew back to MD bright and early. All in all it was an amazing trip and I’m so incredibly grateful that I was able to spend time with Rachel and I’m thankful to Rachel for allowing me to stay in her house and taking time off of work to hang out with me. Lesson I learned: triple check the hours of the parks before you buy $$$ tickets.

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Thanks for reading! I’d love to read in the comments what some of your favorite trips have been or what some of your dream trips are!

Until next time-Stay Inspired!

-Ashley

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