Sibling Trip: Going To Meet The Mouse

About four years ago, my sister Monica and I started a new “Siblings’ Trip” tradition, where every year or two we’d leave our spouses and children at home to enjoy some dedicated time together. The pandemic put those plans on hold for a bit, but we just returned from a week at Walt Disney World – The Happiest Place On Earth…and it, indeed was a “magical” time! Lots of laughing, squealing, eating, drinking and shopping!

Here some tips and snaps from our trip…

I made us special t-shirts, using my Cricut, for most of the days of our stay. These black and gold 50th Anniversary t-shirts were particularly popular. I got asked multiple times where we got them…and twice Minnie singled me out, blowing kisses and hearts from her parade float perch.

Where We Stayed: Boardwalk Inn

A lot folks think that the best WDW hotels are the three along the monorail at Magic Kingdom (Contemporary, Polynesian and Grand Floridian), but I actually like the Epcot-centric hotels best (Beach Club, Yacht Club and Boardwalk Inn). They’re directly connected to Epcot with a dedicated entrance between the English and French pavilions in the World Showcase, which is a where I like to hang out with a glass or three of wine and delicious international food.

Plus, by staying on-property you can access the parks 30 minutes earlier than the general public – important for jumping on the most popular rides – and if you’re at a “Deluxe” category resort (we were), there are certain nights where you can also stay late in some parks…again, good for enjoying attractions with long waits during normal operating hours.

** TIP: Never book your own Walt Disney World vacation. It’s complicated with so many choices that you’ll drown in them. I always use Melissa Ulrich with Trips To The Mouse and recommend that you do too! I’ve shared more tips here too. **

Where We Ate: Where Didn’t We?!

There’s so much good food at Walt Disney World. Seriously, their food scene is seriously under-rated. We always try to do one full-service sit-down meal each day to allow for recharging and to make sure we’re not eating too much junk food. Plus, most of the sit-downs serve beer, wine and spirits.

Here are my top picks (from this trip and previous ones):

  • Magic Kingdom: Jungle Navigator Co. LTD Skipper Canteen (try to get a seat in the back room with the framed butterflies on the wall)
  • Epcot: Katsura Grill is my favorite quick service place in all of WDW. It’s in an elevated, park-like setting with outdoor seating tucked throughout the garden. And the food is excellent too.
  • Hollywood Studios: The Brown Derby is a replica of the iconic Hollywood eatery with a delicious Cobb Salad, charcuterie and martinis.
  • Animal Kingdom: The winner of this trip for me was the towering Ahi Tuna Nachos from Yak & Yeti. The were as satisfying to the eyes as they were to my belly.
In each of the parks, you can take a “Where’s Waldo”-like photo. It’s a fun twist that not a lot of people realize is a thing. (That’s Monica and me just outside of the garden area, lower right.)
Even though this looks much more crowded than it actually was, it was the “fullest” moment we experienced. Everyone is waiting for the big light show and iconic fireworks to start lighting up the sky over Cinderella’s castle.
Toy Story Land at Hollywood Studios
Galaxy’s Edge at Hollywood Studios
Inside “Rise of the Resistance” at Hollywood Studios…one of the most fun rides of the trip!
Hey Minnie!
We battled Zurg…and I won!
No trip to the Magic Kingdom is complete without stopping by “The Hall of Presidents,” one of the original attractions, conceived by Walt Disney himself, to illustrate the importance of the office over the person who holds it. It’s inspiring, educational and a marvel of engineering.
See ya again soon, pal!
Cooper

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