Truth be told, I did not want a Disney World honeymoon.
Because we visit the house of mouse every other year (on average) I wrinkled my nose and shook my head from side to side whenever someone asked if we were planning to do Disney for our honeymoon.
“We want to do something different, something we have never done together before,” I would say to anyone willing to believe me.
For several months I researched cruises, Sandals destinations, and numerous other tropical getaways. I pitched idea after idea to my fella, but I never truly felt excited about any of the options I presented.
Finally, one day, we reached a decision. We were going to go as far south as we could in the United States. We were going to Key West.
We picked out our hotel, started a list of restaurants to grub at and bars to stumble out of, and we even saved ideas for fun excursions.
Then, we totaled it all up and our jaws hit the floor.
“We could take three Disney vacations for the cost of this one,”
were my exact words to Justin.
And that was that — that is the story of how we decided on Disney World for our honeymoon.
Because Justin and I act like adult-sized unsupervised children most of the time, Disney is our playground. Between rides, swanky restaurants, yummy drinks, and all the sights, we just have so much fun together when we’re there. For us, it is the best place to disconnect from adult life and have good, old-fashioned fun.
And like any true Disney fan, we have Disney bucket lists. The very tip-top first item on mine? I want to be in Magic Kingdom on Christmas Day.
That’s crazy, right? Who wants to be in a theme park on the one day a year it is guaranteed to hit maximum capacity (roughly 100,000 guests).
I do, I do!
Disney World is magical no matter what time of year you go, but the thought of being there when they roll out the extra magical red carpet for the most magical time of year makes my Disney heart beat beyond control.
Therefore, we decided to take our honeymoon in December — three months after our September wedding — because this will most likely be the last time we visit Disney before we have children (and the only chance we have for it to be just the two of us at Disney on Christmas Day).
It’s practical and makes perfect sense to us.
Making this decision allowed me to start planning the trip. And planning a Disney World vacation is half the fun.
Disney offers many options for staying “on property” — ranging from reasonably priced to breaking the bank — and we feel that we are at a point in our WDW vacations where we have exhausted our stays at those value-priced resorts. Well, for this special trip at least.
Since we will be on our honeymoon, the fella and I decided to spend a little more on our accommodations and actually take time to enjoy the resort (something we typically don’t do).
After looking at practically every “moderate” and “deluxe” hotel WDW offers, we chose Disney’s Wilderness Lodge.
- It’s the least expensive of the deluxe hotels
- The rooms feature a balcony which is perfect for relaxing after a long park day
- I fell in love with images of the hotel decorated for Christmas
- The main lobby is a beautiful rustic luxury theme inspired by National Park lodges found in the Great American Northwest — perfect for a winter getaway in Florida
- I want to sit in a rocking chair in front of the grand fireplace in the evenings and sip cocktails
Photos by: Disney Tourist Blog
Disney’s Wilderness Lodge at Christmas.
PRO CONFESSION: I always stay on Disney property because I see no benefit of not staying in a Disney resort hotel. I have read plenty of blogs that weigh the pros and cons of on- and off-property hotels, and while staying off property might save you a few dollars, Disney makes staying on property too convenient for me to even think about spending my money elsewhere.
Transportation is the biggest benefit of staying on property. Disney provides a shuttle to your resort hotel from Orlando International Airport and back to MCO at the end of your trip. During your stay, motor coaches, ferry boats, and Disney’s famous Monorail run between your hotel, the parks, and Disney Springs. You don’t NEED to have a car at WDW, and not having to navigate traffic actually makes the vacation much more enjoyable.
Because we stay at the Disney resort hotels, we package the hotel, park tickets, and dining plan to make our trips as seamless as possible.
That means that once we get there, our entire vacation, including our food, is paid for.
The only things we pay for out of pocket are alcoholic beverages, any additional food that isn’t included in the dining plan, souvenirs, and activities such as golf and spa services.
This year, we are going all out with our package since this is an extra special vacation celebrating our marriage.
The options we elected include:
- Seven nights at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge with a courtyard view
- Five-day park ticket
- Park Hopper (so we can visit multiple parks each day)
- Disney Dining Plan (includes one quick-service meal per person, per night; one table-service meal per person, per night; two snacks per person, per night; one refillable drink mug per person)
- Memory Maker (unlimited photos taken by professional Disney photographers)
Even though I have had nearly every detail of our honeymoon planned since January, I waited to book our vacation package until Disney announced their fall and winter promotions (AKA free Disney Dining Plan with the purchase of a hotel and ticket package).
PRO CONFESSION: Based on previous years, I knew that Disney would announce the check-in dates for the free dining promotion sometime toward the end of April.
Being able to book our trip with free dining greatly impacted our hotel choice. While the Wilderness Lodge was our top choice, the only way we could afford to stay there was with the dining promotion. Without the promotion, we would stay at a moderate resort hotel (preferably Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside).
So, I waited, and I did everything I could to prepare myself for Monday morning, April 24 — the rumored date that booking would be available for the free Disney Dining Plan.
It wildly felt like Black Friday but for super Disney nerds. It is common knowledge in the Disney community that on the day this mega promotion is released each year, phone lines to official WDW travel planners are tied for hours and disneyworld.com is one click away from crashing.
I was ready for battle, though, and poised to login to My Disney Experience as early as I needed to on that Monday morning in order to secure our dream honeymoon at the best possible price.
Jackpot. I got it. I was up at 5 a.m., but I got it.
I was skeptical of creating a honeymoon registry. I thought it would be tacky, and I didn’t want our friends and family to think we were soliciting them for money.
The more I looked into it, though, I decided that maybe it wouldn’t be a terrible idea to put together a registry. It is actually kind of cool, and the fella and I had fun picking out activities to register for.
Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings & Honeymoons has partnered with Honeymoon Wishes to provide extensive registry options for couples.
We registered for basic items such as park tickets and credit toward our hotel, but we also included extras that we would probably never splurge for by ourselves such as spa services, golf, dining at Disney’s finest restaurant Victoria & Albert’s, and Animal Kingdom’s Wild Africa Trek.
To see how we set up our Disney honeymoon registry, visit our page on Honeymoon Wishes.
That is the magic number in Disney vacation world because at 180 days before your trip check-in, you can make dining reservations. And it is highly recommended that you make reservations at any table-service restaurant you hope to dine at.
Naturally, some restaurants are far more popular than others and book up quickly. I always mark on my calendar what day is 180 days before our vacation so that I know to be up early, ready to book dining reservations.
PRO CONFESSION: Restaurants that are most difficult to get into include, but are not limited to, Be Our Guest, Chef Mickey’s, and Cinderella’s Royal Table. If any of those are at the top of your wish list, make sure to book it first. If you don’t snag an available reservation when you see it, you will most likely miss out.
While we are not quite at the magical 180-day mark yet, I still have our list of desired table-service eateries on hand for when the time comes.
Ranked by highest level of priority:
- Crystal Palace (for Christmas Morning breakfast)
- Kona Cafe (for breakfast)
- Be Our Guest (we dined here during our last trip, loved it, and want to go back)
- Coral Reef
- 1900 Park Fare
- Cape May Cafe
- Hollywood Brown Derby
- Garden Grill
60 days prior to your check-in date you will be able to make FastPass+ selections.
FastPass+ allows park guests to reserve access to select attractions, entertainment, and character experiences in advance at no additional cost. Basically, it’s a “skip-the-line” service.
One of the biggest negative — and incorrect — statements I hear people make about Disney World is the wait times for rides.
“I’m not standing in a line for two hours to ride some ride.”
Well, friend, have you ever actually been to a Disney park? Unless it is a new, mega-popular attraction, the chance of you standing in a line for two hours is slim to none.
Disney has taken great care to prevent that from happening so that guests get the best experience possible.
PRO CONFESSION: Take my advice and utilize FastPass+. The ability to basically walk on to rides will change your experience for the better.
Each Disney World park has certain rides that seem to maintain 60- to 90-minute wait times while other rides hold steady at 20-minute waits. Those rides that average the longest wait times are the ones you want to secure FastPass+ reservations for first.
For our December vacation, I have already made a list of our desired top three FastPass+ selections for each park. Some of our choices are based on average wait times, others are because there are several new-to-us attractions we want to be sure to experience.
- Peter Pan’s Flight: One of the original attractions at Magic Kingdom, this ride maintains steady, long wait times all day, every day. It is a visually stunning and unique experience, plus, Peter Pan is one of my favorites from Disney animated classics. I always secure a FastPass for this one because, while I love the ride, I am not willing to stand in a line for 45 minutes or longer for it.
- Seven Dwarfs Mine Train: This ride is still fairly new, and I kid you not, from the moment the park opens to the minute it closes, the Mine Train has a 90-minute wait. FastPass is a must for this one.
- Space Mountain: Another oldie but goodie. Sometimes you can get lucky with Space Mountain and only wait for 15 minutes. Other times, waits creep up to 60 minutes or longer. This is an attraction I could ride over and over again, but I still like to have a reserved FastPass for at least one of those trips through space.
- Frozen Ever After: I cannot wait to experience this new attraction in the Norway pavilion of Epcot’s World Showcase. I am positive that wait times for Frozen Ever After will be ridiculously long, and I am not willing to miss out.
- Soarin’: The only ride I have ever stood in line for 90 minutes for, and I refuse to ever do that again. Plus, Soarin’ recently underwent major updates and improvements, so I am excited to see the changes Disney made to this popular attraction.
- Test Track: I only discovered a love for Test Track within the last three years. Now, it’s a must-do.
- Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster
- Star Tours
- Tower of Terror
These are the most thrilling in Hollywood Studios and therefore have the longest wait times. Plus, they are some of my most favorite attractions in all of WDW.
- Expedition Everest: Love, love, love this exciting ride, especially the surprise that awaits first-time riders.
- Kilimanjaro Safaris: To make your Animal Kingdom visit the most enjoyable experience possible, make sure to secure FastPass reservations for Kilimanjaro Safaris. We like to schedule our FastPass for this adventure for first thing in the morning so it’s not yet terribly hot outside. Plus, we like to grab a bloody mary at Dawa Bar before hopping on our safari.
- Avatar Flight of Passage/Na’vi River Journey: With the all-new land of Pandora opening this Spring, I anticipate these two attractions to be wildly popular during our visit in December. They both look incredible, so I am going to try to secure a FastPass for each. However, if I can’t FastPass both, I am leaning toward Flight of Passage. Na’vi River Journey looks beautiful, though, so I am torn.
WDW is known for its holiday celebrations at Christmastime, and I want to experience that magic at least once in my life.
I want to stand in awe of Cinderella Castle draped in glowing holiday lights and walk down Main Street, U.S.A. captivated by the tinsel trimmings; I want to hang with Mickey at his Very Merry Christmas Party and watch the evening fireworks from a special dessert party at Tomorrowland Terrace; I want to take in the much talked about decorations at the Grand Floridian; and I want to sit in the cozy rocking chairs in the lobby of our hotel with a drink in my hand and enjoy the enormous Christmas tree the Wilderness Lodge is sure to put up.
This is our dream trip, and we want to do it all. And the reason for us forgoing Christmas with our family is so we CAN do it all and see it all (or at least try to).
Drinking Around the World at Epcot:
We attempted to tackle this (un)official Disney World drinking game during our last visit in 2016 for our six-year anniversary. We didn’t make it very far around Epcot’s World Showcase before we ran out of steam.
I am almost certain that to most folks here in the Bible Belt, the desire to have a drink at each of the 11 countries represented in Epcot is not appealing. And the fact that I want to (and will) complete this feat is ghastly.
It is a game — one that many, many folks before us have played. Since we are going all out for this trip, we are determined to stumble all the way around the world.
I even took the time to create these adorable “passports” for our honeymoon. They provide a space to check-off and write what drinks we sip in each country. They are laminated, and I will attach them to a lanyard for us to wear around our necks.
See, it’s fun and perfect for a honeymoon with your best friend.
You have to remember, though, that this will be our last trip to WDW before we have children, and our last opportunity to drink around the world. That’s what we tell ourselves, at least.
PRO CONFESSION: The best part is, we can hop on a Disney shuttle at the end of a long day of drinking and safely head back to our hotel.
I swear, we do not have a drinking problem. This is just another one of the quintessential “Disney for adults” experiences, and it is something we have wanted to do for many years.
This quest is a little tamer than Drinking Around the World.
PRO CONFESSION: To complete the Monorail bar crawl, you start at any of the resort hotels on the Monorail line (Contemporary, Polynesian, and Grand Floridian), have a drink at one (or more) of the bars inside that hotel, then hop on the Monorail, get off at the next hotel on the line, and enjoy a drink at one of the bars inside that hotel. You do this until you’ve had at least one drink at each hotel.
Side note, these are the swankiest hotels on Disney property.
This will make for a fun evening out with my new hubby. We will pair this adventure with dinner at ‘Ohana inside the Polynesian Village Resort so that we can have before- and after-dinner drinks.
Completing the monorail crawl will also allow us to see the elaborate holiday decorations in each of these three resorts.
Golf & Spa:
Because Justin enjoys playing golf and I anticipate needing a massage after all the stress of the wedding is over, we are planning to carve out time during our week at WDW for these things.
It will be nice to enjoy a few hours together away from the hustle and bustle of the theme parks.
Beaches & Cream Soda Shop:
While a round of golf and a few hours at one of Disney’s top-rated spas will be enjoyable for a couple in their late-20s, don’t let those plans fool you into thinking that Justin and I are fully developed adults.
Because what we are most pumped about is splitting the Kitchen Sink sundae at Beaches & Cream Soda Shop.
Meant to serve four (or more), this sweet treat piles scoops of vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, cookies and cream, and mint chocolate chip ice cream and covers them in every topping the soda shop has.
Do I think we will finish the Kitchen Sink? Absolutely not, but it will be something different for us to experience together.
Go big or go home, right?
Happily Ever After Button:
Finally, as part of our honeymoon fun, I cannot wait to wear a “Happily Ever After” celebration button everywhere.
PRO CONFESSION: Disney celebration buttons are free to all park guests, and no matter what you’re celebrating (first visit, birthday, honeymoon, engagement), they are perfect souvenirs.
Wow, that was a lot of information. Thanks for sticking with me through all that, and hopefully you snagged some great tips and tricks for your WDW vacation. Make sure to follow Dammit, Hali for even more Disney and honeymoon advice.