Woot woot! It’s time to talk honeymoon!
It’s been almost a month, yet it’s taken me this long to put how amazing our honeymoon was into words. And because we’re waiting to get our pictures back from our photographer, I feel like it might be best to start recapping our wedding with our honeymoon first!
Hold onto your hats, folks. Coming from the blogger who managed to drag out a 4-day Bahama cruise into 7 different posts, these honeymoon posts will be long ones.
Honeymoon Recap 1: Arrived in Orlando
As some of you know, Kevin and I decided to go to Orlando, FL for our honeymoon. Making a decision on where we went for our honeymoon was not a decision we made lightly and actually Orlando was one of the last cities we thought about when doing our research.
As described on our wedding website, we played “process of elimination” when choosing our honeymoon destination.
When we first got engaged, we decided to take a “mini moon” out to Colorado for a few days to do some skiing, hiking, camping, white-water rafting, etc. – all weather permitting, with the hopes of taking a bigger honeymoon in 2014. But at the end of the day, we decided we didn’t want to have to pray for a certain type of weather and hope it would cooperate to allow us to do any of those things.
So we sat down one afternoon and went through nearly every destination we could think of with our budget and timeframe in mind:
- Europe – out of our budget for right after the wedding and we would want to stay much longer than a week when we go
- Hawaii – see above
- Mexico/all-inclusive – we aren’t really “lay on the beach” people. We love it for the first 2-3 days, but then we’re like “what’s next!?” While we can both be lazy at times and enjoy the beaches (and beverages) – we really like going out and exploring. Plus, we assume an all-inclusive may be in our near-ish future with some friends.
- Cruise – none of the dates on any cruise line worked with our timeframe, unfortunately.
- California – we knew we would be there in Sept. for a wedding and we didn’t think it’d be that exciting to return a month later
- Alaska – too cold in October
- Canada (yes, we considered Canada) – too cold in October
- Northeast – too cold for what we want to do in October
- Texas – neither of us really had a desire to go there
- Washington D.C. – seemed like too much of a “serious” historical trip rather than honeymoon destination
- Las Vegas (yes, we considered Vegas) – we decided to go back for a long weekend sometime in the near-ish future
- Florida – we ruled out a week of beachness above, so we looked at Orlando
We both love adventuring on vacations and we wanted to go somewhere with warmer weather. It had to fit in our budget and we had to be able to fit everything we wanted to do there in a week. While we’ve both been to Orlando many times (and most recently for our cruise in December 2012), we have always loved it. Also, when we saw that the Epcot International Wine & Food Festival was taking place during our honeymoon, I think we were both immediately sold! Good food + us (well, Gabby) = perfection!
The best advice I can give any bride and groom is to wait a day to go on their honeymoon. It was truly the best decision we made! My aunt hosted a brunch for us so we could open presents with close family/friends the morning after our wedding, and we took a few out-of-town guests to the Anheuser Busch Brewery for a tour after that, so we would have missed out on more fun if we left Sunday morning! Also, we were so exhausted on Sunday, so it was nice to relax with family back at my parent’s house and take our time the next morning. Our flight wasn’t until 4 p.m. so we slept in, did some laundry, went to lunch with my German family who were in town for our wedding and headed to the airport with plenty of time.
We flew Southwest, so we weren’t upgraded to first class or anything, but I wore a white sweatshirt that said “bride” on the back, which was gifted to me by my bridesmaids the morning of my wedding. I also carried my bouquet (because I paid for fresh flowers, I was going to get full usage out of them!) and between those two things, one TSA agent noticed we were on our honeymoon and let us skip the line in security and bumped us to the front of the line. Woot, perk #1!
We boarded and left on time with no hassles or delays (whew!). Kev and I knew we’d order drinks because well, you only honeymoon once, so we ordered and the kind gentleman who was sitting next to us bought our round of drinks as a congrats. And then he bought another round. How nice! Woot, perk #2!
We arrived at the Orlando International Airport and headed to the Disney Magical Express area to catch our bus to the resort!
Disney does such a great job of making you feel like you’re in Disney World from the moment you step off the plane, starting with the little video they show on board the Disney Magical Express.
We decided to stay at Coronado Springs Resort, which is a “moderate” level Walt Disney World Resort. Actually, when we first booked our honeymoon, we were originally going to do a really cheap 4-day stay at the Pop Century Resort, which is a “value” level resort. But then we decided to upgrade to a “moderate” resort because it’s our honeymoon (we said this too many times when planning). Then we upgraded to the Business Club level, which was totally worth it. Then we added two extra days. Because YOLO. (Seriously.)
Our room was super nice, and had a ceiling fan which we thought was a nice little bonus.
We were welcomed to these cute little kissing swan towel guys.
We also received a cute message from Mickey and Minnie on our answering machine upon our arrival! Disney thinks of everything.
Staying on-site has a ton of perks (I’ll post specifically about that later), but one of the best parts is not having to worry about your luggage. Because we flew Southwest, we each checked a bag and Disney has a system similar to cruise lines where they will take your bag from baggage claim and deliver it to your room within a few hours of you arriving. Pretty darn convenient. Because our bags hadn’t arrived yet, we decided to check out the Business Club level lounge.
Second best decision we made (besides leaving the Monday after our wedding) was splurging on the Business Club level at our resort. Available for only a handful of guests, this lounge located close to our room was open for continental breakfast between 7 a.m. – 10 a.m. and for happy hour between 5 p.m. – 10 p.m. Yes, you read that correctly. Five hours of free booze!
They had Bud Light, Corona Light, Yuengling, white wine, red wine and sangria each night. We tried ’em all because we spent some quality time in the lounge.
After a few drinks, our stomachs were growling so we went to one of the on-site restaurants for dinner.
We visited Disney World during their free dining promotion, so we received the standard Disney Dining Plan for free when we purchased our package. Pretty legit. The Disney Dining Plan can be a bit confusing, and there are multiple different “levels” of it, but with our standard plan, we received 1 snack credit, 1 counter/quick service credit and 1 table credit per person, per day. You also get a refillable mug but Kevin and I don’t drink a lot of soda so we thought this was a little silly. Although we do use our mugs more at home than we did in the parks. It’s a nice souvenir!
- Snack – constitutes as a pretzel, ice cream, bottled water, soda, a piece of fruit, items at the International Food & Wine Festival (we hoarded our snack credits to use them during this).
- Counter/Quick service – in general, any restaurant where you don’t get waited on by a waiter or waitress. You order the food, pick it up yourself, sit down and clean up. With 1 credit, you get a non-alcoholic beverage (like bottled water, soda, shake, etc.), entree and dessert.
- Table service – in general, any restaurant where you have a waiter or waitress. With 1 credit, you get a non-alcoholic beverage (like bottled water, soda, shake, etc.), entree and dessert.
Disney does a great job of marking what dining plans can be used on what, and we did a lot of pre-planning of our meals because some of the restaurants we really wanted required Advanced Dining Reservations, so we did our best to maximize our dining.
Anyways! We were starving so we headed to the Pepper Market, which is a counter/quick service restaurant located on the grounds of our resort. Coronado Springs Resort is Spanish-colonial/Mexican themed, so the Pepper Market had a great selection of tex-mex foods. Nachos for me! (duh) and a quesadilla for Kevin. I was actually quite disappointed in my nachos, but I do have to remember that they were making these at like 10 p.m. (remember, we got our dollars worth of the lounge and it didn’t close until 10!) and the chips had probably been sitting out for awhile. Kevin’s quesadilla was pretty fresh, so we ended up both eating that.
One thing we noticed on our trip is how much food you get on the Disney Dining Plan. We received dessert with our nachos and quesadilla, but we took our cookies back to our room to eat later because we were too full from dinner.
That’s it for now! There’s a lot more coming, I can promise ya that. 🙂
(At the end of these recap posts, I’ll do a post on some basic FAQ about Disney World, honeymooning at Disney, any dining plan questions, staying on-site vs. off-site, planning resources etc., so if you have any questions, leave a comment and I’ll be sure to address them!)