Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Day Tripper

My parents moved back to Florida in 2000 after being away for over 30 years.  We visited frequently, thanks to grandparents, aunts, and uncles, but aside from 2 years in middle school, I never fully lived in Florida.  By the time my parents found their way back home, I was 19, in college, and always too busy practicing clarinet (yes, I am a geek) or studying to ever think about the Disney Collegiate Program or any of the other fun jobs that so many of my friends have done.  But, I started frequenting Disney here and there, almost always for only 1 day.  

My college roommate, Ruth (hi Ruth!  See you in 70-some days), who lived only an hour or so north of my parents, we would drive to school and home together (anywhere from 11-14 hours depending on speed/traffic/stops) and so many times, listen to Disney music on our trips.  But, knowing that we were so close to each other (an hour) and so close to WDW (2 hours from her, 3 from my parents), we would head north on the turnpike every chance we got.  

Thanksgiving, in between semesters (aka winter break), spring break, summer - any chance we had, we made the trip.  I would leave my house the night before and crash on her couch, or leave at 6 am, drive to pick her up, then speed on the Turnpike until we found our favorite route: The Osceola Parkway.  We'd spend the entire day in the parks, then leave that night to drive back home.  

I can think of 2 trips in college - one spring break that we stayed at a HoJo on I-4 (hey, it was $50 and we were college kids) for a night and another night, where along with another Fellow Floridian, Shelly, we grabbed a last minute room at an All-Star Resort, and crashed.  

Over the past 10 years, I have spent a lot of time (in normal people standards) in the parks.  At least 20 days.  Actually, including this past trip, at least 24.  With one guaranteed trip already in 2011 and the possibility of a 2nd half marathon trip to either Disneyland (a 1st!) or the Food and Wine Festival, the number keeps going up.

But, thanks to the crazy world of social media, I'm realized I'm behind in many ways.  One of the most notable?  Food.  When you have 1 day in the parks, there is rarely time for fancy food stops.  The pretzel carts, Cosmic Rays, and another other quick service, I rarely sat down for a meal.  Heck, until our June trip, I never actually considered making an ADR.  I remember a trip in 2001 or 2002 (pre-dining plan) that we walked up to Cinderella Castle and made same day lunch reservations.  Another Thanksgiving trip a few years later, we walked up to the Italy Pavilion and made 7pm dinner reservations.  Obviously, times have changed with restaurants booking up 180 days in advance, but I've heard on good record, that with so many ADR's made, a good percentage is cancelled, so walking up can happen.  

As a day tripper, I almost always skipped Animal Kingdom and Disney's Hollywood Studios.  In fact, I've only been to both of them 2 or 3 times in the past 10 years.  My husband and I checked out the Boardwalk for the first time on our trip in June of 2009 and I have yet to check out the Animal Kingdom Lodge, though we will hopefully check it out on our trip in January.  

Now living in the DC area, I'm too far to visit on a regular basis and with a baby, a day trip is no longer a good idea.  No more over-exhausting my husbands feet running the parks for 1-2 days.  Time to get to know the ins and outs, the restaurants, resorts, heck even Downtown Disney (first trip: June 2010).  I love that after all of the trips, the parks still have so much to offer.

Talk about magic!

Thanks for stopping by,


  1. Great article! Really enjoyed reading it.

    Food is such an important part of the Disney experience. :)

  2. hi Jenn!

    I want to do the food and wine. yes. and disneyland. and more races. yes yes and yes.

    the ultimate day trip was new year's eve 2009. me, katrina t, tristi and devin hit ALL 4 parks from 11am-3am. EPIC

  3. Very interesting post and blog.

    On our last trip to WDW, my wife and I thoroughly enjoyed the Boma breakfast buffet at Animal Kingdom Lodge. It's a little pricey, but the food was nutritious and delicious. And we loved the atmosphere. The Lodge is a wonderful place to relax and explore...even if you're not staying there.

    Let me know if you'd like to exchange "followers/links".