Tuesday, January 4, 2022


Disney World (Orlando, FL)

For this year, Disney World was having their 50th anniversary celebration. And since Elliot is at that prime age of 6 years old, we figured it was a good time to go. So for the kids' winter break, we headed out to Orlando to check out Disney World (3 days) and Universal Studios (1 day). 

It would be everyone's first time to visit The Most Magical Place on Earth.

But flying six people to Orlando was not really an option. I'm already paying for four days of Disney World and Universal tickets (times six each day 😬) on top of lodging, food, souvenirs... it would add up fast. So yeah, driving it was.

Drive to Orlando
Leaving for the trip, the plan was to spend the night around Pensacola and to continue the next day on to Orlando. Even though the drive was broken into two days, it was still brutal. The random traffic congestion along the way was so bad. Beaumont, TX. Mobile, AL. The Florida turnpike. And driving in heavy rain during the night with a lot of cars around was stressful. On the road for 10 hours on the first day followed by 8 hours on the next day... 18 hours total! 😑

Whenever we drive through Louisiana, we always stop at Cafe du Monde for beignets (Covington, LA).

Bojangle's chicken sandwich was legit (Gainesville, FL).

Day 1: Disney Springs
More chicken sandwiches at D-Luxe Burger.

Donuts do make me happy...

So we each got a huge donut at Everglazed.

We had to get a Dole Whip, of course.

Christmas tree scavenger hunt.

It's "snowing" in Florida.

Day 2: Epcot
We made it to the giant golf ball. And why is Tyson the one sitting in the stroller?

The boys and I created our own cars and rode Test Track...

While Elliot did (another) scavenger hunt. This time trying to find Olaf in the many different countries.

Taking a break in Italy.

Italian food at Via Napoli Ristorante e Pizzeria.

The boys did the Cookie Stroll...

While Lynn, Elliot, and I waited 115 minutes in line for Frozen Ever After.

And this is the moment we got stuck. We'll later find out rides break down frequently at Disney World. 😑

Still waiting for the ride to start back up... 

Remy's Ratatouille Adventure would be one of Elliot's favorite rides at Disney World.

Leaving Epcot a few minutes before closing.

Day 3: Magic Kingdom
We finally arrived at Magic Kingdom.

Elliot and I were part of the show at Monsters, Inc Laugh Floor.

The kiddos got milk and cookies and ice cream for dessert at The Plaza Restaurant.

Trying to pull the sword out of the stone.

Everyone got to ride the classic teacups at Mad Tea Party.

Elliot and I rode Dumbo the Flying Elephant (while the rest went to Splash Mountain).

And we went to Under the Sea. This is the moment our ride broke down. At least we got stuck in front of the star of the show.

Wet, rainy, and crowded. Yuck.

The boys and I rode another classic, Space Mountain.

Our last ride of the day, Buzz's Space Ranger Spin, which also broke down mid-ride.

We finished the day with fireworks.

Day 4: Disney's Hollywood Studios
Another rainy day in Orlando.

The boys are so much bigger since the last time they saw DJ from Cars.

Elliot sang her heart out at The Frozen Sing-Along.

I was willing to pay for this ride but even that was unavailable. And there's no way I'm waiting 3.5 hours.

We opted to ride the Millennium Falcon instead.

My co-pilot and two gunners ready to go.

We had to get the classic Mickey ice cream bar.

Day 5: Universal Studios
Our last full day in Orlando spent at Universal Studios.

We had to buy this hoodie since the temperature drastically dropped.

Being a huge Simpsons fan when I was a kid, I loved walking around Springfield.

I had to get a picture in front of Lard Lad Donuts. 

Diagon Alley was so packed.

Butterbeer ice cream, cold Butterbeer, and hot Butterbeer... it was all good.

Exhausted after going five days non-stop, we called it quits early. But I had to get some Voodoo doughnuts before we left.

Portillo's for dinner. Just as good as I remembered from our Chicago trip years ago.

Drive home
For the drive home, we drove straight. No sleeping overnight because we wanted to be back by Christmas Eve. We left around 7:15 a.m. EST and made it home at 10:45 p.m. CST. 16.5 hours on the road... 😑

The navigation was surprisingly accurate.

Whew~ That trip was exhausting. Would I do it again? Yes and no. 
  1. I would never drive to Orlando again. If we do go again, we're definitely flying. 
  2. I wouldn't go back-to-back-to-back-to-back. Probably two days max before incorporating a day off to rest. An entire day on your feet, constantly walking and standing was rough. 
  3. I would go during the off season and avoid the busier times like Christmas break. It was so crowded. People were annoying... especially those that cut the line to catch up to their group or those fat people on scooters taking up so much real estate. 
But I'm glad we made this trip. We all got to experience Disney World for the first time, together as a family. 

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