I promise, this is the last time I’ll talk about our honeymoon. Promise! (at least for awhile) 😉
I’ve said it many times before during my honeymoon recaps, but I’ll say it one more time: Disney World is a fantastic place to honeymoon.
We considered many different destinations for our honeymoon and ultimately decided to go to Orlando and we couldn’t have been happier with our decision. We spent a full week on-site at Disney World’s Coronado Springs Resort, visited all four parks, went to Islands of Adventure for one afternoon and ate at many of the fantastic restaurants Disney offers!
If you’re considering traveling to Walt Disney World for your honeymoon (or even in general!), I hope that some of these tips come in handy:
Both Kevin and I had been to Disney World many times as a kid, and again most recently for a day in Dec. 2012, but we had never planned a weeklong trip for ourselves. We read a ton of different blogs and planning websites to help us. Here are some of our favorites:
- Disney Tourist Blog
- Disney Food Blog
- Your First Visit
- Mouse Savers (great site for promotions/special offers)
- Dis Boards (great forums on a variety of topics)
Staying on-site vs. off-site
We are biased, but Kevin and I don’t think we’d ever do a Disney World trip without staying on-site. We think that the benefits far outweigh any money you may save by staying at a local hotel off-site. Here are some of the reasons why we love staying on-site:
- Disney’s Magical Express – This is the free airport shuttle that takes you from the Orlando International Airport and to the your WDW resort hotel. It is well worth not renting a car or taking a cab. Also, with the Magical Express, you don’t have to worry about your luggage! Just check it at the airport you depart from, and Disney will deliver it to you room within a few hours of you arriving. So convenient.
- Feels like Disney all the time – From the moment we hopped aboard the Magical Express, we felt like we were truly at Disney World. The resort hotels do a great job of making you feel like you’re in WDW even if you’re not at a park. That “omg I’m at Disney World” feeling is constant when you’re on-site (in my opinion). I really don’t think that people would have the “full experience” staying off-site.
- Free parking at the parks – If you drove, you don’t have to pay for parking at the resorts. If you didn’t drive – no worries, you can take the monorail, ferry boats or bus systems to get to/from the parks and resorts.
- Extra hours at the park! – Each day, one of the parks open either an hour early or stays open an hour late to WDW resort hotel guests only. Take advantage!
Advance Dinner Reservations (ADRs)
Disney allows you to book reservations up to 180 days (six months) in advance, which seems insanely far in advance, but there were some restaurants we couldn’t get into because we didn’t book in advance enough.
Here are some of the restaurants where we had a hard time finding ADRs for (*some we ultimately did):
- Be Our Guest (ADRs for dinner only)
- 50’s Prime-Time Café*
- Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater*
- Le Cellier
- California Grill
- Victoria & Alberts (we didn’t try to book a reservation here, but I didn’t see any pop up when searching)
- Cinderella’s Royal Table
My best advice for booking reservations? Book when you see it! You can always cancel with no penalty (as long as you cancel more than 24 hours in advance per Disney’s new table-service reservation policy), so you might as well be safer than sorry and go ahead and make a reservation even if you aren’t 100 percent sure that it will work with your plans.
If you can’t find a certain reservation at first, keep checking as you get closer to your trip. Some people book multiple reservations and cancel, or sometimes their plans just change! I’d also recommend looking at the Dis Board’s reservation cancellation boards for the month you’re traveling – people post their cancellations on there all the time. That’s how we found a handful of our ADRs!
Our Restaurant Recommendations
Speaking of great restaurant options, Kevin and I were there for an entire week and we still didn’t make a dent in all of the dining options Disney World offers. Here are some of our favorites (click on the link to be directed to the review/post about the restaurant):
- 50’s Prime-Time Cafe (lunch)
- Be Our Guest (lunch) *Highly recommended*
- Jiko – The Cooking Place (dinner) *Highly recommended*
- ‘Ohana (breakfast)
- Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater (lunch)
- Yak & Yeti (dinner)
- Ask for a “Just Married” button to wear. We got so many “congrats!” from various Cast Members – they really knew how to make us feel special. We also got some free desserts, too!
- Splurge! Upgrade! Go to fancy restaurants! Eat too many desserts! Order $9 margaritas! Buy Mickey ears you’ll only wear once! When we initially planned our honeymoon, we decided to spend a few days out in Colorado for a minimoon, with plans to take a larger honeymoon at a later date. Over time, our minds changed and we decided to visit Disney World. One thing lead to another and a 5-night stint at a Value resort turned into a 7-night stay at a Moderate level resort, where we upgraded to Club Level. You only honeymoon once! We have no regrets! (Obviously this only applies if budget allows)
- Don’t try to fit it all in. It’s not possible. Read: it’s not possible. Decide on a few things that you really want to do and be more spontaneous the rest of the time.
- Take breaks. When I traveled to Disney as a kid, we were there when the parks opened and we were there to shut them down. This is your honeymoon, people! Go back to the resort in the middle of the afternoon to nap. Stay up really late. Drink a little too much. Do typical honeymooner activities. 😉 Sleep in. Again: don’t try to fit it all in. You won’t.
- Wear good shoes. I read that the average person walks 10-12 miles in one day at the parks. So again, wear good shoes.
- Use a travel agent to make things easier. My aunt’s very good friend Kris is a travel agent and I had no idea that travel agents are free! They get a kickback for the trips that they book, but it cost nothing to you (at least ours didn’t). Kris made everything a lot easier for us and while she found us the same rate that we found ourselves, it was nice knowing she gets a little paycheck from us using her.
- DON’T LEAVE THE DAY AFTER YOUR WEDDING. This is my biggest piece of advice to brides and grooms everywhere! I can’t tell you how much of a whirlwind the day after the wedding is, with friends/family to say goodbye to, opening gifts/brunch and more. Not to mention: you’re tired! Kevin and I were asleep by 9 p.m. the day after our wedding; not such a romantic first night of your honeymoon. Do yourselves a favor and leave two days after your wedding.
As I said above, there are so many tips and resources out there for people planning their next Disney World vacation, but I hope that these are useful!