Hello, everyone! I am now back home safely from my vacation. I did not have as much time as I originally expected to write about my experiences as they went along, so now that I am back, I am excited to write it all out before I forget everything (hopefully).
Well, let us get started with the second day of my vacation!
I woke up in our hotel room at about 5:50 AM, which was only ten minutes before the alarm was to go off; this realization was a delight, as I usually wake up far too early on the days I arrive at my destination on vacation. After sitting around for a while and being the last one to be ready, we had a quick breakfast. We then finished packing up, I made some tea, and we checked out at approximately 8:30 AM.
For the first couple hours of the drive that day, I listened to lots of music, and primarily songs that I recently added to my music library before we left for vacation. We passed by Atlanta towards the beginning of the drive, but it was so foggy that morning that it was difficult to see the city.
I began to drift off for a while after we passed the city, but I made sure to later continue my new tradition of watching Star Wars movies on the journey to Walt Disney World. Since I watched The Empire Strikes Back on my last vacation, I watched Return of the Jedi this time around. I would not say that it is one of my favorite Star Wars films, but it was still fun to watch, and seeing Carrie Fisher on my screen was bittersweet. While watching the movie, a huge rainstorm went through; it became so bad that we went through side-roads off the highway for a while. Later on, we stopped at a gas station, which happened to have the best gas station bathroom I have ever encountered. It was truly wonderful by gas station bathroom standards, and maybe even above that caliber entirely. At this point, we were approximately forty minutes away from our next stop, which would be right around the end of Georgia and the start of Florida; thus, the temperature was quite pleasant.
After the next part of our drive, we stopped for lunch at our traditional spot. There was a bit of a wait, which simultaneously made me worried about our arrival time at our destination and gave me an opportunity to admire the obvious church attire worn by our fellow guests. The “southern hospitality” was definitely apparent throughout our stop; for example a kind waitress gave me, a coffee drinker during the meal, a huge to-go cup full of fresh coffee for our drive upon request of the cup itself. What can I say…I just love unnecessary amounts of caffeine!
We then drove through the Florida state line, which I later realized that I did not really appreciate in the moment, as I was more concerned with the quality of the pictures I took of the various signs (they did not even turn out well, by the way). To fulfill another tradition of ours, we stopped at the Florida Welcome Center. I was so excited to see that the parking lot was seldom busy, and was surprised that there were so little people there on New Year’s Day. I even had some joyful pictures taken of me with the building.
Well, we then realized that it was actually closed.
We took some time to mope and dramatically look through the windows to see the free orange juice still flowing through its containers, waiting to be consumed by tourists like us, before leaving to take advantage of the extra time we could have since it was closed. We did take some of the insanely large maps that were available in a bin outside of the building, though.
For the next segment of our journey, I finally finished watching Return of the Jedi, and listened to a very lengthy playlist (it has two hundred seventy-two songs in it) that I created years ago specifically for driving through Florida. It held up as a feel-good playlist, which I did not even have the opportunity to finish.
Once again, we continued another odd tradition of ours by taking a break at a specific rest stop we always visit. It was quite crowded there, and the blue sky and palm trees made me excited for my arrival in Florida, although looking in the mirror at my now-frizzy hair (thanks, Florida humidity) slightly dampened this happiness of mine.
It was only a forty-five minute drive until our arrival at Walt Disney World. We were lucky enough to not encounter any traffic in Florida, so we had a smooth and seemingly fast ride to the resort. Consequently, I feverishly organized all of the bags and items near me in the car to prepare for our arrival.
A couple previously selected songs accompanied my arrival at Walt Disney World at around 5:30 PM with much joy. As we drove into my favorite resort, Disney’s BoardWalk Resort, quickly had our bags taken (which seems to be the most frantic part of our vacation), and checked in, the whole process did not feel real. In fact, it took quite a while for me to truly feel as though I was at one of my favorite places on this planet. This odd feeling is likely because I spend so much time looking at pictures and videos of the resort that when I am actually seeing it in person, it seems like a dream.
After spending some time in our room and watching a bit of the iconic Must Do Disney channel, we took a bus to Magic Kingdom. Much to my surprise (in a positive way), we were one of two parties on the bus, and we got to sit in the front-facing back seats. We took the ride to the park, but instead of entering it, we took one of my favorite walks at Walt Disney World–the walk to Disney’s Contemporary Resort. Seeing the lights of Tomorrowland while walking underneath the monorail is always exhilarating for me, especially on our first night at the resort. It was during this time that it finally hit me that I was at Walt Disney World, and this realization made me incredibly happy. The walk took about fifteen minutes, and we then had dinner at Contempo Cafe, which has become another tradition for us. It was delicious, as usual, but we debated where to go next while eating. I was hoping to resort-hop that night, but we decided to visit Disney Springs after the insistence of the others.
We had to wait for the bus for about fifteen minutes, and the bus became packed (along with the roads in the area), but we eventually arrived at the newly-renovated area.
I would like to say that I am definitely glad that we visited Disney Springs. Every new part of the area was absolutely gorgeous in-person, even with the large amount of people there with us. We quickly tried to see the Starbright Holidays drone show, and although we did
not have the best view, it was still amazing to see. Afterwards, we poked our heads into many of the new restaurants at Disney Springs and walked through some of the shops. I was quite excited to go into Uniqlo, and I ended up purchasing an adorable Monsters Inc. shirt there. More walking occurred following my purchase, and we ended up at the Coca-Cola Store, primarily to visit the rooftop bar. We stood up there for a while, and I made sure to take in the special views. It was then time to leave,
so we took a quick walk through the rest of the new areas and went back to the bus stop. Once again, the wait was a bit long, but we left around 10:15 PM. The trip back to the BoardWalk was very short once we got through the immediate traffic, which meant that we had a good amount of time to walk along the BoardWalk itself. Even if everything was closed (the stores were closing at 11:00 PM) and no one wanted to accompany me, I would have made sure to walk along the water so I could really appreciate our arrival at the resort anyways, to be honest. As previously mentioned, it is my favorite resort, so actually having time to go take pictures, walk along and see the new additions and renovations, and marvel at new merchandise in the stores was greatly appreciated.
Following this fulfilling walk around the resort, we went back to our room, started to prepare for the next day, and had a peaceful sleep.
Stay tuned for my recap of our next day at Walt Disney World; it included a lovely visit to Hollywood Studios and my glorious reunion with my favorite park, Epcot!
Have a magical day!