Honeymoon in My Hometown: Walt Disney World

I wasn’t sure whether or not I wanted to jump on the bandwagon with this bee series. I live in Atlanta and I’ve spent a lot of time in Boston, but I wouldn’t really consider either my hometown. I grew up in South Florida, but I wouldn’t know what to write about because I haven’t lived there in years! So, I decided to focus on a place where I’ve spent a lot of time in my life: Walt Disney World. Here’s the catch: we’re not gonna set foot inside the parks!

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Obviously, I love the parks. But one of the great things about Disney is that the magic doesn’t end at Space Mountain and ice cream bars. Resort-hopping is one of my favorite things to do at Disney because it allows you to be immersed in the magic without having to deal with the crowds. Best of all, the resorts are all about the details falling into place under a broader theme…sound familiar? ;) Let’s start with my personal favorite, shall we?

Disney’s BoardWalk

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The moment you walk through the hotel’s doors, you’ll feel as though you’ve stepped back in time. The Boardwalk is designed to look like something out of early 1900s Atlantic City or Coney Island. The resort includes the main hotel and several small villas set on a lake. And yes, there is an actual boardwalk! Give in to nostalgia as you play carnival games and take pictures in an old fashioned photo booth. Grab some tasty hummus at Spoodles, or if you’re looking for something a little more gourmet, try the Flying Fish Cafe. One of the things that separates Boardwalk from other resorts is the nightlife. Catch the game at ESPN, grab some beer at Big River Grille and Brewing Works or…

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…hit up the Atlantic Dance Hall for some clubbing! If you do feel like going to the parks, EPCOT is within walking distance.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

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This is not your typical Disney resort. Imagine waking up in a rustic, wood-framed bed. You glance above at the African masks that line the walls. You get up, walk over to the window to greet the day, and OH HI GIRAFFE! Yep, the Animal Kingdom Lodge sits on about 30 acres of savanna. It depends on the time and the weather, but you’re likely to see all sorts of beautiful animals just outside your window. If you’re looking for a better guarantee for wildlife sightings, you can cozy up with your fellow newlywed aboard the Sunset Safari. This tour is pretty much the closest thing you can get to an actual safari without going to Africa. You’ll tour the savanna for 1.5 hours and learn all about the vegetation, the landscape, and animals like these guys:

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The dining experience is also quite unique. We have a pretty good mix of international cuisine in Atlanta, but even then, a good African restaurant is hard to come by! For exotic and intimate dining, check out Jiko. Or, if you’re feeling adventurous and want to try a variety of smoky and spicy dishes, check out the buffet at Boma. Even though it’s a family-friendly place, even the tables for two fill up fast so recommendations are highly recommended! Finish up your night with some live music at the Sunset Lounge.

Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa

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From unconventional Disney, to Disney at its most traditional form. Oh. My. Goodness. This place is just STUNNING. If you’re looking for a fancy, upscale, absolutely luxurious honeymoon, this is it. The Grand comes with tennis courts, its own beach, monorail service to and from Magic Kingdom, and yes, there is a spa. Bonus points if you’re honeymooning during the holiday season because guess what? There’s a life-sized gingerbread house in the lobby:

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You can walk over to the Wedding Pavilion and reminisce about your recent nuptials, or relax in your Honeymoon Suite’s jacuzzi. For romantic dining at its finest, check out Victoria and Albert’s.

Disney’s Contemporary Resort

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This one isn’t really my style, but I wanted to share it with you because of a few fabulous highlights. First of all, the actual hotel rooms are among the largest of all the Disney resorts. Secondly, you could not pick a better location. The monorail will take you to Magic Kingdom and EPCOT, but it also goes by the Polynesian Resort and The Grand. Additionally, you can take a boat to Fort Wilderness Lodge. With all of these hot spots at your fingertips, it’s easy to participate in something my cousins call “The Monorail Pub Crawl!” But that’s another post for another day.

Since the Contemporary Resort sits on the lagoon, it offers lots of recreational options such as parasailing and fishing. My favorite thing to do at The Contemporary is eat at the California Grille. Why? The view is unparalleled.

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Disney’s Fort Wilderness

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Fort Wilderness just screams Classic Disney to me. It’s Disney at its roots…think Davey Crockett! The lodge (shown above) is beautiful, but the resort doesn’t stop there. Fort Wilderness also offers cabins, tents, and sites for RV parking, making it perfect for honeymooners who are willing to rough it!

My favorite part of Fort Wilderness is Hoop Dee Doo, the musical revue held at Pioneer Hall. Sure, it’s a little touristy, but it makes for good people-watching and the show is fun! Plus it’s all you can eat…and all you can drink. Mmm sangria…

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Mr. Lion hoop-dee-doo-ing after some serious sangria

That concludes the romantic and resort-y Disney tour! Are any of you planning on honeymooning at Disney?

BLOGGER

Mrs. Lioness

Location:
Atlanta
Wedding Date:
April 2011
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comments

  1. Guest Icon Guest
    Iveth, Guest @ 12:34 pm

    love this post!

  2. Member
    Miss Beaumont 117 posts, Blushing bee @ 12:34 pm

    Oh I’m so happy you did this post! WDW is my FI and I’s favorite place in the whole world and Boardwalk is our favorite hotel. I’m glad there are others that appreciate the amazing details OUTSIDE the parks at WDW.

    He proposed on the beach in front of Beach Club on Oct 22 during our most recent trip. It was so perfect because it was still in Disney but not your standard proposal in the parks.

  3. Member
    JillBill 425 posts, Helper bee @ 12:35 pm

    As I was reading your post, I just kept thinking to myself, “check… check… check…”

    Thanks for naming pretty much all of my family’s favorite WDW restaurants! We love it there, although we haven’t gathered the stones to make a trip from PA and NOT enter the parks… maybe soon… (doubtful!)

  4. Member
    MissLakeBum 92 posts, Worker bee @ 12:51 pm

    I loved staying at Animal Kingdom :D Seeing the animals from our room every morning was truly amazing! We saw a lot of giraffes from our window but no lions or lionesses. The dining there is also yummy, we mainly did breakfast but it was still delicious.

    Another plus, if you do visit the parks the shuttle bus usually doesn’t fill up, so no long bus line (unlike some of the other hotels).

  5. Member
    catholicbride 212 posts, Helper bee @ 12:52 pm

    We honeymooned at WDW and stayed at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. It was fabulous! I highly recommend the breakfast at Boma…so many delicious choices.

  6. Member
    Erisque 246 posts, Helper bee @ 12:53 pm

    FYI – Spoodles isn’t there anymore, it’s been replaced by Cat Cora’s restaurant called Kouzzina. Sorry!

    We honeymooned at Disney World and had a great time! Since we were on a fairly small budget, we couldn’t afford to stay at a Deluxe resort, but we had an awesome time at Coronado Springs. We had a King size room in the Casitas area and it was very romantic and quiet.

  7. Guest Icon Guest
    Lauren, Guest @ 1:05 pm

    Yes!!! My fiance and I got engaged right on the boardwalk! We’re staying at his family’s, and now my, favorite resort, Old Key West, and then switching it up half way through the honeymoon and going over to check out the new Bay Lake Tower at the Contemporary. My future MIL and FIL are vacation club members, and so he has been to every resort on the place, and we wanted to go somewhere we could both explore for the first time together =) We’re planning a similar, relaxing vibe too. We want to get some parks in for the kid in me, err-us, and spend alternate days at the parks and relaxing at the pool and going to dinners and strolling leisurely around Epcot and the Boardwalk. And we’re planning a spa day at the Grand Floridian as well.

    I’ve had a few people kind of roll their eyes at the whole Disney World honey moon thing, but I think it can be completely fun for people like us who are just big kids and love to be active, and also romantic when you hit all the right spots….California Grill and watching the fire works is a must!

    We also have friends getting married in the gazebo outside the Beach & Yacht Club about 6 months after our wedding. You can see the spot where my fiance proposed from the place they’ll say their vows…how romantic is that?!

  8. Member
    starfish 1902 posts, Buzzing bee @ 1:11 pm

    I love Disney! :) Good Hotel choices, I also love the Polynesian. It’s smaller, so it seems a little more intimate.

  9. Member
    Violachap 677 posts, Busy bee @ 2:07 pm

    We Honeymooned at Disney! We didn’t stay in one of these resorts, but we did stay in the Shades of Green Resort (Government/Military Resort) on Disney Grounds. It was pretty awesome! I told DH that we have to go back and stay at Grand Floridian, it’s my favorite :-) We had dinner there at Narcoosee’s, and got a spot on the water watching the Magic Kingdom fireworks show! It was perfect. Disney is wonderful!

  10. Member
    jaguar 6235 posts, Bee Keeper @ 3:44 pm

    I wish we’d stayed in some of those – we had a budget Disney trip but it was STILL awesome! ;)

  11. Member
    vtbride2010 152 posts, Blushing bee @ 3:47 pm

    I totally used to work at Disney’s Boardwalk Resort! OMG I LOVE LOVE LOVE it there!!!!! I would also mention Jelly Rolls on the Boardwalk – my favorite night spot!

    I also am a HUGE fan of PI (Pleasure Island) if you like to dance and drink and get silly – this is the place to do it!

    I think Disney can be super romantic – Dinner at Narcoossee’s at the Grand Floridian – watching the Magic Kingdom fireworks away from all of the noise and hussel!? It IS magic!

    I totally loved working there and for about every day for 6 months could go to any park I wished any time! It was a thin slice of heaven!

    I also worked at the Animal Kingdom Lodge too – that place rocks! You can see giraffes and other wild life right outside your window!? How frickin’ cool is that?

    Okay – geekin’ out a little bit over here.

    I heart Disney!!

  12. Guest Icon Guest
    Lioness Bmaid%25252BEmily, Guest @ 5:26 pm

    Melt.

  13. Member
    glasses 2749 posts, Sugar bee @ 6:33 pm

    Awesome! I want to drag Mr. G to Orlando but he actually hates Disney so this is useful!

  14. Member
    lioness 819 posts, Busy bee @ 10:18 pm

    @Erisque: Thanks for the tip! I haven’t been in about a year (which is a long time for us) so I feel so out of the loop! Hmm…I’ll have to check out the new place…

    @Mrs. Starfish: LOVE the Poly! That one also holds a special place in my heart. Additionally, it is an integral part of the monorail pub crawl ;)

    @Lioness Bmaid%25252BEmily: <3

    @Mrs. Glasses: Ummm…that’s because he’s never been with me! Seriously though, Mr. Lion used to hate Disney too…I convinced him otherwise. Don’t worry, we’ll plan a trip and I promise I’ll have him wearing ears by the end of the day :)

  15. Guest Icon Guest
    Sister Lioness, Guest @ 11:13 pm

    The happiest honeymoon on earth!!! I feel like a monorail pub crawl may be in our very near future.

  16. Member
    Freeze Pops 82 posts, Worker bee @ 3:12 pm

    Love it! I’m a SoFla kid, too (and a fellow Gator!). I think the Boardwalk is Disney’s best kept secret, but I never miss it! Love that place!

    And the Boardwalk gazebo is one of Disney’s pre-fab wedding spots. I’m still trying to convince the (non-Floridian) mister that this is a good idea.

  17. Member
    Freeze Pops 82 posts, Worker bee @ 3:14 pm

    And @Miss Lioness, can you convince Mr. Freeze Pops to love WDW, too? I can’t get him out of the “It’s a place for kids” mindset, so we’ve never been together :( What a Scrooge McDuck!

  18. Member
    butrfly684 14 posts, Newbee @ 10:19 pm

    We are going on a cruise out of Baltimore that ports in Port Canaveral for 12 hours one day and we plan on going to Disney for the day. I can’t decide if I want to go to Magic Kingdom for the whole princess experience. You know, the veil and mickey top hat ears and the buttons that say “Just Married” ( I REALLY want the veil with the Minnie ears, really, REALLY bad) or Animal Kingdom (because I have never been there) and I LOVE wildlife! Hmmm decisions, decisions…. :)

  19. Member
    MrsG2Bee 50 posts, Worker bee @ 8:56 am

    I just got back about a month ago from my honeymoon in WDW – It was a blast but you are making a very wise decision not to go to the parks! I found the crowds in the parks made it sort of not-relaxing – great idea!

  20. Member
    MrsG2Bee 50 posts, Worker bee @ 8:57 am

    Oh and PS – if you want the bride and groom ears – order them in advance if you can – We weren’t able to find them down there!

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