Disney World: Magic Kingdom

Hola and welcome back to our adventures! It’s been a while (Since January) since we’ve taken a trip – and oh, did we miss it! This time, we went to Orlando, FL for two full weeks. We did Disney, Clearwater, NASA, and more and had fantastic weather to boot – we couldn’t have been happier.

Getting There

We actually DROVE down to Florida from Ottawa in Canada, which for those of you who don’t know, is a 22+ hour drive – or about two days of driving including stops. It was super cool to see the foliage, scenery, and cultures change on the drive down (as well as the temperature getting HOTTER!).

Magic Kingdom

Our very first Disney park was MAGIC KINGDOM (you know, the one with the Castle?) and we had pretty good weather for it. It was sunny and super hot. We were in the park from open to close, which is 9am – 9pm (a 12 hour day!) but I’m glad we got to do so much and see almost everything we wanted to see. We did the teacups ride (above), saw an incredible fireworks show (below) and went on many, many other super fun rides! The atmosphere, theming and interactive cue lines were amazing, even though line-ups could be long sometimes – they didn’t seem too bad with all the cool stuff you can do while proceeding through the lines!

 

Fireworks Show

We managed to get a great spot for the fireworks/projection show at Magic Kingdom. They do these shows EVERY night, which is crazy! The music, projections and fireworks were very well done and we were incredibly impressed with the show overall and how the crowds were managed. Lots of people, but well organized! Getting back home after the show was a lot better than we anticipated as well.

 

The Food

So, we HAD a plan to make our lunches ahead of time and bring them into the park with us to save time and money from waiting in lines and purchasing food there ($9.00 USD for a hot dog?!). That didn’t go so well for our first day because we FORGOT our lunch! Regardless, we got some good hot dogs, a giant turkey leg (for Marco, of course) and a yummy slushy complete with Disney silly straw! The meals were ok, but we packed our lunches for the remainder of the trips!

The Culture

Disney World’s Magic Kingdom has different “areas” or “zones” throughout the park which all signify different cultures or time periods and the zones are very well themed. The theming is what makes Disney World so special. Characters only appear in zones that are relevant to their “theme”, the music is theme specific, what they sell in the shops, the food, the architecture – EVERYTHING! Way more interactive and “magical” than your typical amusement park.

Character Meetings

Meeting Characters is super cool and fun – especially if you get to meet your fave Disney character! We found the wait times were pretty lengthy for a quick meet and greet and photo-op – we are adults after all. The characters are always IN CHARACTER – no matter how old you are, so prepare for some cheesy conversations and funny comments straight outta the films. I endured the 45 minute wait to meet Ariel from The Little Mermaid because she is my all-time fave, but we didn’t bother to wait for others. Unless you are a kid, or with a kid, it’s a long wait time for a photo!

 

 

 

Do’s & Don’ts: Staying In Hotels

Whether you travel boujee or frugal, you’ve most likely stayed in a hotel or motel before. While staying as a guest in a foreign place it is sometimes easy to lose sight of common courtesy or general “rules” to look out for. Here are some of our top Do’s and Don’ts for staying in hotels.

DO – Get a safe box, especially if you are staying for a long period of time. Most hotel staff will respect your belongings and room, but unfortunately for those few who do not, we need to take extra precautions. Most rooms come with a safe.

DON’T – Abuse room service. I’ve literally never rung room service. It is a nice luxury to have, and if it is offered at your hotel feel free to use it. However, keep in mind that the servers and hotel staff are people too and should not be treated as a servant. Room service can also be quite costly.

DO – Tip the cleaning staff. Depending on where you are vacationing, the staff may get paid minimal wages or less to work at the hotel you are staying at. For some workers getting tips could mean being able to afford their rent or not. Even just a few dollars can show your appreciation for their help and can go a long way.

DON’T  – Throw a rowdy party. You’re on holidays, go out to the club or a bar and drink and dance all you want, as loud as you want without disturbing anyone’s sleep. People are literally paying to sleep there and will be displeased if your shenanigans get in the way of that. The last thing you want is a noise complaint, fine, or angry vacationers.

DO – Try to clean up after yourself as much as possible. Whether I am on vacation or not I also want to minimize the amount of work others need to do. Things like making the bed or taking out the trash are things you aren’t obligated to do because you do not have access to clean sheets nor a garbage disposal, however, you can clear clutter, fold your clothes and hang your towels.

DON’T – Steal hotel property. It’s ok to take the shampoo, body lotion and hand soap, but do not take the towels, bed sheets, or anything else that is not up for grabs. Not only is this not right, but hotels do inventory checks after guests leave and if anything is missing you will be paying for it!

Agree? Disagree? What was the craziest hotel experience you had? Share with us and drop us a comment below! We would love to hear from you!

The Lights Fest: Ottawa, ON

Many months ago I decided to buy an early bird ticket to this Lights Festival I saw advertised online. It looked incredible in the photos and I saw it as an opportunity to have an inexpensive (only cost me $25.00 CAD per ticket), different and romantic night out. It was an incredible experience.

Getting There
The Lights Festival in Ottawa was expecting over 5,000 participants (wow!), so as you can imagine there was quite a bit of traffic build up. We were supposed to arrive before 6:00pm, but due to the traffic we did not get into the festival until nearly 7pm! Regardless, we were able to find a great parking spot and still had time to find a great spot on the grass to sit and listen to some live music.

The Festival
The atmosphere was incredible. There were so many people of all ages sitting either on blankets on the grass or in their chairs. There were tiki torches all over the place to light the place up even in the dark. Everyone was given one lantern each and you were given a little marker too so you could decorate it or write something sentimental on it. Some people dedicated the lantern to their lost loved ones while others decided to write a wish or simply draw a picture.

While everyone was decorating their lanterns there were some live local talents playing on the stage. The music was really good and occasionally they would have some small contests for prizes like t-shirts.

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Lighting The Lanterns
It takes two people to light a lantern due to their size, so basically Marco was on one side and I was on the other. We brought the lantern over to the tiki torch to light it up. You need to hold the lantern close to the ground for a few seconds so the hot air gets trapped inside, and then you let it go! It’s quite a quick process, actually, and we didn’t get the photos we were 100% expecting to get but we still made some great memories!

It was quite magical to see 5,000+ lanterns float up into the night sky. They played music as this happened and just so happened to be one of my favourite songs – Hallelujah – I cried a little bit (tears of joy!). It was absolutely breathtaking, words cannot even describe it.

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They actually do these festivals all over the place (primarily Canada and the US I believe). You can check them out here: https://thelightsfest.com/ and see if they are coming to a town near you. I would highly recommend it. Have you been to a Lights Festival before? What were your thoughts? Drop us a comment below – we would love to hear from you!