At the end of January, I attended a conference hosted by a client of mine in St. Petersburg, Florida. Since a travel stipend was already covering my flight and hotel stay during the conference(one of the many perks of that some freelance jobs offer), I jumped at the chance to take advantage of the opportunity and extend my stay! After my conference wrapped up, I hopped in my rental car and drove to Orlando for a couple of days at Disney World.
I love everything about Disney World.
Just thinking about the park brings to mind trips there with my parents and brother as a child. I loved meeting the characters, riding the BarnStormer, getting sweets on Main Street, and exploring the World Showcase at Epcot. In fact, I fully credit Epcot with inspiring me to want to travel! As a kid, I was fascinated by the different countries represented there. I loved trying the different foods and meeting cast members who were from those countries. I still do!
Unfortunately, on this trip, I didn’t have time to visit Epcot, but I did spend a day at Magic Kingdom. But first, I spent the rest of my day after driving to Orlando doing another of my favorite Disney activities; walking Disney Springs and visiting a few of the Disney resorts!
I love Disney Springs and the Disney Resorts because there is so much to do that doesn’t cost anything!
Many of the stores at Disney Springs are experiences on their own. I have a lanyard full of Disney Pins, and while I love trading them, I find it stressful to do at the parks. I’m usually rushing to the next attraction, and many of the gift shops in the parks get crowded. But at Disney Springs and the gift shops in the resorts, there is space to look and time to wander! Many of the stores also have pinboards that you can trade with.
Of course, there are also plenty of fun things to experience that do cost. I come from a family of sweet tooths, so we had to try out the cupcake vending machine at Sprinkles and try these gorgeous treats from Amorette’s Patisserie.
After walking around Disney Springs for a while, we hopped on one of the water shuttles to ride to Disney’s Port Orleans. My mom and I love New Orleans, so this is always one of our favorite stops while in Orlando. We visited around Mardi Gras, so I had to indulge in a mini King Cake from the bakery there!
After Port Orleans, we hopped a bus from Disney Springs over to the Wilderness Lodge. Alongside the Animal Kingdom Lodge, this is my favorite resort. It’s inspired by actual lodges in National Parks out west. The outdoor pool area is incredible, and I love that it’s situated on the lake. We hopped another water taxi to take us across to Fort Wilderness Campground, where we browsed the stores and ended up eating dinner at Trail’s End Restaurant. We finished our day with another walk around Disney Springs
The next day, we went to Magic Kingdom!
This was an especially exciting visit for me. Although I’ve been to Orlando several times in recent years, I was always passing through and hadn’t been in the parks since high school. It was cloudy and a bit chilly, but after surviving the Bomb Cyclone and sub-zero temps during my visit to Washington, D.C. several weeks earlier, it felt like heaven to me!
With the help of a few well-planned fast passes and plenty of strategizing, we were able to ride so much even though the park was pretty busy. I absolutely loved using the new Disney Parks app. It made it so easy to check wait times on rides without having to trek back and forth across the park to find out that the line was incredibly long. When our three allotted fast passes were used, we were even able to nab another one. As someone who is constantly looking for fast solutions and smart apps to manage my freelance jobs, I love anytime I can cut out wasted time!
My trip to Disney might have been brief, but it definitely has me itching to start planning another one! I may even try to make it back this summer.
The ability to spend a weekend at Disney in the middle of winter is something that I never dreamed of being able to do. Disney was always a summer destination that my family spent years planning and saving for. I decided to go to the parks just two weeks before! Living the digital nomad life and the ability to earn a living from freelance jobs have opened up doors that I never, ever dreamed of.
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