We just got back from Walt Disney World, where we spent seven days celebrating our honeymoon in the most magical way possible.
Spending Christmas at Disney and being in Magic Kingdom on Christmas Day has always been a top bucket list item for me (and Justin by default), and I am so happy we did it now before we start growing our family. No, I am not pregnant, but this trip was definitely the one big thing we wanted to do before we have children.
Despite the crowds and me coming down with a cold, we had so much fun.
Now that we’re home and settled back in to our normal routine, I am ready to share our favorite memories from the trip.
Arriving at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
From the moment we arrived, it was a magical experience. We drove through this incredible gate, right up to the front of the lodge to check-in. As we approached the front door, a Disney employee (AKA Cast Member) came up to us and said, “Are you the Schaefers?”
How did he know???
He walked us to the front desk where another Cast Member helped us check in and gave us our celebration buttons to wear for our honeymoon.
I am beyond happy that we chose Disney’s Wilderness Lodge for our honeymoon resort. It was the perfect winter retreat.
The view from our sixth-floor room was breathtaking. I could have stayed there forever.
And holy cow, the Christmas decorations at the Wilderness Lodge were stunning.
I loved walking through the lobby each day, looking up at the magnificent tree (above). It was one of my favorite parts of our trip.
The Christmas Tree at The Grand Floridian
Dinner at Narcoossee’s
This was our swanky date night dinner to celebrate the beginning of our trip. We enjoyed cocktails, and I had a lovely surf & turf meal featuring sirloin steak and lobster tail. Dessert was divine.
We were even able to watch Magic Kingdom’s evening fireworks from our table.
What a perfect way to start our honeymoon.
Animal Kingdom to Kick Off Park Adventures
Disney life, happy wife.
Pandora for the First Time
Pandora – The World of Avatar at Animal Kingdom is stunning. I couldn’t stop looking up at the floating mountains and the gorgeous glowing fauna and flora.
We were able to ride Na’vi River Journey our first day in the park and Flight of Passage on our last day.
I couldn’t leave without trying the Night Blossom at Pongu Pongu. It’s a sweet mixture of limeade with apple and desert pear flavors topped with passion fruit boba balls.
Lunch at Flame Tree Barbecue
Flame Tree Barbecue is our favorite Quick Service spot in all of Walt Disney World. The food is delicious and plentiful, especially for being a Quick Service restaurant. It definitely gives you the best value for your dollar.
I got a pulled pork barbecue sandwich and Justin got the ribs, chicken and pulled pork sampler plate. Both count as Quick Service meals on the Disney Dining Plan.
We also had a beautiful view of Expedition Everest while we ate.
Holiday Decorations at Epcot
Drinking Around the World
Gingerbread Carousel at the Beach Club Resort
Dinner at Cape May Cafe
We thoroughly enjoyed the seafood-and-more dinner buffet at Cape May Cafe. Especially the crab legs (my favorite).
Breakfast at Kona Cafe
Breakfast at Kona Cafe before a big day at Magic Kingdom was perfect. We shared a press pot of coffee and I ate the Tonga Toast — banana-stuffed French toast rolled in cinnamon sugar and served with a strawberry compote.
Decorations at Magic Kingdom
“Here you leave today and enter the world of yesterday, tomorrow and fantasy.”
Lunch at Coral Reef
I have wanted to eat at Coral Reef in Epcot since the ’90s when every single ABC sitcom filmed an episode there.
The food was good, but not the best we had. The entire dining experience and being seated next to the living coral reef was incredible. We spent most of our meal pointing to different fish in the water, completely in awe of everything swimming past.
Dinner at Be Our Guest
We ate at Be Our Guest in Magic Kingdom during our trip in 2016, but loved it so much that we had to dine here again. And this time we met the Beast.
As always, the food was superb. I felt so terrible during dinner, though. My cold was kicking my butt at this point.
Christmas Eve & No Parks Day
By day 5, we were exhausted and ready for a break from the parks. I was feeling pretty sick, but we ventured to Disney Springs anyway to see the Christmas Tree Trail.
There were so many different trees decorated to the theme of various Disney movies. It was fun to walk through and look at each one.
Dinner at ‘Ohana
Christmas Eve night we enjoyed dinner at ‘Ohana inside the Polynesian Resort. Our server kept bringing out skewers of sweet-and-sour chicken, grilled shrimp and steak, as well as side dishes of dumplings, stir-fried vegetables, lo mein noodles and salad.
It was truly a feast — a feast that I couldn’t snap pictures of because of how dark the restaurant was. Oh well, it will live forever in our memories.
Christmas Day at Magic Kingdom
This was one of the highlights of our trip. It was magical — and chaotic — to be in Magic Kingdom on the happiest day of the year.
I enjoyed every minute of it, but would probably never do it again. It was a fun experience, but being inside the park when it’s at capacity (approximately 100,000 people) is not something I care to do again. Disney is known for their attention to detail and exceptional customer service, but even they couldn’t keep up with the crowd volume.
We knew what we were getting ourselves into, though.
I will say, if you plan to visit Disney World during Christmas, go into it with no expectations. Lines are long for everything (even the bathrooms), there are people everywhere, the parks aren’t as clean as they normally are, and folks can be pretty rude. There is no way you will see and do everything during this time of year, so don’t plan on it. If you can only go to WDW once in your lifetime, go sometime other than Christmas if you want the best experience possible.
Sunrise over the Boat Dock at Wilderness Lodge
This was our view as we waited on the boat to take us from our hotel to Magic Kingdom on Christmas morning. Seriously, how gorgeous is that?
Breakfast at The Crystal Palace in Magic Kingdom
We had reservations for Christmas breakfast at The Crystal Palace, an all-you-can-eat restaurant in Magic Kingdom. Luckily, our reservations were for when the park opened, so we were some of the first people inside Magic Kingdom that day. It was so nice to leisurely stroll down Main Street, U.S.A. before the crowds took over.
Characters from Winnie the Pooh walk around to each table for pictures.
Riding Avatar: Flight of Passage
On our last night, we were able to ride the new Flight of Passage. I am glad we got FastPasses months ago for this attraction because the average wait time for it was about five hours. That’s crazy!
Riding Expedition Everest at Night
Something else that was new to us during this trip was riding Expedition Everest at night. I highly suggest this. It makes the already exhilarating ride much more exciting. The couple sitting in front of us had never been on Everest before and were asking us how we liked it. We gave a raving review of the ride, and they ended up having a blast on it.
Well, that’s it from our most recent adventure. We hope to make it back to WDW late in 2019 for the opening of the new Star Wars attractions. Plus, that will put us back on track for our every-other-year Disney World vacations. And who knows, maybe we’ll be traveling with a new little Schaefer at that time.