Monday, July 2, 2018

Vacationing in Orlando, Part 1

I know I talked about the hotel we stayed at in Orlando, but I wanted to share more about the trip itself. I'm going to split it into two posts, because as usual on any trip I take, there were some minor disasters that I want to take some time to talk about. But today's post will be disaster free!

I know when people hear Orlando, they think Disney. And we did spend a day of our trip at Disney, but we didn't want this trip to be Disney only. Not only is Disney expensive, but it's also exhausting! You're spending long, hot days at the park, and you're not getting back to your hotel until midnight (or later). It's so magical and fun, but it's a lot! So this time, we decided on a day at Disney, a day at Universal, and a day at Sea World (at my dad's request).

I could talk about Disney forever. They do such an amazing job at making every single guest feel welcome at their parks, including people with disabilities. I was actually noticing that I saw more people who use wheelchairs in one day at Disney than I do in a month in my day-to-day life! This really says something to me - Disney is so well-known for making people with disabilities feel included that those people feel like it's worth it to travel there (see my post here for traveling with a disability). Across the parks, there are some rids you can actually ride your wheelchair on to, there are accessible viewing areas for each and every show and parade, their online dining reservations have a checkbox specifically for accessibility, and most of all - the cast members are unfailingly kind and friendly.

This trip, we only did Animal Kingdom, which is definitely a smaller park. We were a little bit disappointed that the new Pandora section didn't have any accessible rides (rides that you don't have to transfer out of your chair), but we still enjoyed walking around the area and looking at the cool theming - Disney does immersive so well! We also had a delicious Father's Day dinner in the park, and got to see the relatively new nighttime show, Rivers of Light, which was incredible!
Our day at Universal revolved around Harry Potter world. We knew ahead of time that none of the rides at Universal other than the Hogwarts Express were ones we could ride in our wheelchairs, so we mostly went to look around and shop. We'd been once before, but they expanded the Harry Potter part since then, so we got to explore Diagon Alley too this time, which was fun! A lot of the shops are the same in the two areas (Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley), but we still had a great time exploring them all. And the Hogwarts Express was really fun - I don't want to give away details, but they make the ride between parks a fun one.

I haven't talked about this much here, but I'm a huge Food Network fan, and I love watching Iron Chef. So when I found out that there was a Morimoto in Disney Springs, the Disney-owned area with restaurants and shopping, I knew I had to go. The meal was so delicious, and the service was incredible! I will be dreaming of going back until my next trip to Orlando.

I spent the rest of my time relaxing on the screened in porch, reading a lot, and just enjoying the time off! The week felt like it went so quickly, as usual - I think this time it felt even quicker because of the few hiccups at the beginning of the trip... which I'll talk about in tomorrow's post!

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