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!
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?
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…
…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
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:
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
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:
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
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.
Disney’s Fort Wilderness
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…
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?