Spend A Weekend With Me In Disney World!

Happy Sunday everyone!

So, as many of you may already know, I spent my winter holidays this year travelling with my family down to Florida. We spent the first part of our getaway located in the Delray area of West Palm Beach (if you’re interested, you can read all about that here!) before moving on to Disney World!

My family and I are definitely amongst some of the more seasoned Disney travellers — we’ve been countless times, and we all know what we like and what we don’t. So, for today’s post, I’ve compiled a little guide based on our day-by-day of this years trip! This post specifically features Disney’s Magic and Animal Kingdom, as well as Universal Studios. However, if you have any other questions about Disney World and it’s other parks, eats, hotels or attractions that I didn’t visit/discuss this time around, feel free to message me! Chances are I’ve experienced it before, and I’d be more than happy to help anyone (especially if you’re planning your own Disney getaway!).

Our Accommodations

This time around, we chose to stay at Disney’s Polynesian Resort. I’ve stayed in this resort before, but not since I was very young, so it was a crazy little blast from the past. Not only is this resort full of beautiful decor and lush gardens, it’s just two monorail stops away from the Magic Kingdom — making it a very convenient place to stay for the duration of a Disney getaway.

This resort features a whole campus of buildings (and waterfront villas!!!), multiple pools, a restaurant and bar plus so many other activities — meaning if you’re staying for a longer trip, there’s no limit on fun stuff to do right at the hotel.

Our stay was rather short, so I didn’t really get the chance to indulge in any of these extras — but it was still a great place to stay with some of the most friendly hotel staff I’ve ever come across. (Plus, when you stay in any Disney Resort you usually get the option of entering the park an hour earlier than the general public!).

Friday: Universal Studios

Friday morning, my family and I woke up crazy early and took a little road trip down from Delray to Orlando. One thing that’s pretty important, especially if you’re not planning a week-long trip with all kinds of time, is to ensure you get to the parks as close to opening as possible to avoid crazy lines. The lines at just about any ride at Universal Studios are bound to be insane, but all of their biggest attractions (such as the rides included in Harry Potter World) can get to be hours long — so you need as much time as possible to fit it all in!

What To Do

Universal Studios, in my opinion, is definitely known for their crazy VR-type rides and bigger rollercoasters. While this definitely makes it a little less friendly for little ones, some of these rides are incredibly mind-blowing and an experience unlike any other. In terms of the absolute best, can’t-miss rides, I’d have to say the rides that combine VR-type video into the ride are the most important, since I’ve never experienced anything like them anywhere else. My can’t-miss rides would have to be:

  • Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey
  • Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts
  • The Simpson’s Ride
  • The Amazing Adventures of Spider Man
  • Skull Island: Reign of Kong
  • The Incredible Hulk Coaster
What To Eat

I feel like I may be stating the obvious here, but the absolute can’t-miss food at Universal Studios definitely comes down to one thing: Butter Beer. Even if you’re not a Harry Potter fan, this stuff is absolutely delicious and totally worth trying. Otherwise, there’s all kinds of other Harry Potter themed food and candies you can try at HoneyDukes that are all outstanding. If you’re looking for a full meal, there’s countless restaurants at the entrance of the park, as well as stands that offer classic theme-park fare.

Helpful Tips

The lines at Universal Studios are the longest I’ve seen at any theme park, both in Florida and worldwide, so it’s definitely best to plan out your day as much as possible, and arrive as early as you can. Plus, if you’re willing to spend a little extra money to spend on Express Passes, it’ll definitely make your day a whole lot more action-packed and enjoyable.

Saturday: The Magic Kingdom

The Magic Kingdom is arguably the most iconic attraction at Disney World — everyone can instantly recognize the classic Cinderella castle from any picture, any time. If you’ve never been to Disney before, this is obviously the one park you can’t miss. And, like me, if you’ve already been — then the nostalgia that this park has to offer is basically unparalleled. Even though it rained through most of our morning here, we didn’t let that stop us from enjoying all of our all-time favourite rides.

What To Do

The Magic Kingdom, for me at least, is definitely more of a nostalgia experience rather than a day full of thrill rides and coasters. This year, there were a couple rides my family had to cut from the usual list (such as the Magic Carpets of Aladdin and Dumbo the Flying Elephant rides) due to weather and time restrictions, however, this really helped me narrow down my personal list of can’t miss rides in the park. While this list may change a bit person to person as it is, once again, rather nostalgia based, I feel like I’ve got down pretty much every classic you’d need to see if you’re going for a first-time vacation.

My absolute, all-time favourite rides that you HAVE to visit if you’re heading to Disney’s Magic Kingdom would have to be:

  • The Pirates of the Caribbean
  • Thunder Mountain
  • It’s A Small World (my sister’s all time favourite, she would KILL me if I didn’t add it to the list)
  • Peter Pan’s Flight
  • The Jungle Cruise
  • Space Mountain (a classic, although I do find it a little terrifying and whiplash inducing)
  • The Haunted Mansion
  • Splash Mountain
What To Eat

While there are countless snacks and sweets all around the Magic Kingdom that are absolutely fantastic, I feel I’d have to argue the can’t-miss classic this park has to offer would definitely be the Dole Whip. Not only is is sweet and delicious, it defiantly helps to have a nice, cool snack whenever the sun comes out in the Florida heat. My sister would definitely also argue the turkey legs are a can’t-miss, but I usually pass on those — they’re too barbaric for me!

Helpful Tips

Disney doesn’t offer a more expensive, express-pass type of ticket — however, you do get 3 Fast-Passes per day in each park that you can re-book for another ride as soon as you use them up. My recommendation would definitely be to try to book your three passes for some of the most popular rides — such as Thunder Mountain, Pirates of the Caribbean and Space Mountain — and try to arrive as early as possible to fit in as many others as you can. From there, you can always rebook your passes as you use them up for any other rides you don’t want to miss! As well, if you’re staying at a Disney Resort, they often feature a Magic Hour where you get the option to enter the park an hour before the general public. Don’t let the early hour dissuade you — it’s 100% worth it to wake up early and hit as many rides as you can before the lines start getting crazy.

Sunday: The Animal Kingdom

We finished up Sunday by heading off to the Animal Kingdom. While the overall vibe of the Animal Kingdom is a lot less ride-based than the other Disney parks, over the last ten years it’s developed a couple newer rides that definitely bring the thrills ride-lovers may be hoping for.

What To Do

One of the newest, biggest attractions Disney has to offer is it’s two newest Avatar-themed rides — Avatar Flight of Passage and Na’vi River Journey. Both of these rides offer the best new ride technology Disney has to offer — the former with a similar VR-type experience to the rides at Universal and the latter with animatronics and live-action effects. While I only have three “can’t-miss” (confession: I actually haven’t been on one of these, but I really wish I had the chance) rides for the Animal Kingdom, these three rides honestly may be the best Disney has to offer. The top three rides, without a doubt, are most definitely:

  • Expedition Everest
  • Na’vi River Journey
  • Avatar Flight of Passage

I’ll give a little more explanation here because I feel these rides deserve it. Expedition Everest is not only one of the coolest rollercoasters I’ve ever been on — no VR or 3D effects required. Plus, it’s the biggest thrill ride that I can think of at Disney World offhand — it actually has huge drops and is more of a classic coaster. It’s so fun, the first time I ever rode it with my family we legit went on it about 13 times straight. It’s THAT good.

The Na’vi River Journey ride and the Avatar Flight of Passage are two of the newest to Disney’s parks. The rides are based on the 2009 film Avatar, which Disney will be releasing a sequel to later this year. This means that not only have they just installed these attractions, there’s actually and entire area of the Animal Kingdom built to replicate the Avatar world. I will admit — it was not only strikingly realistic and similar to the films, but also pretty awe-inspiring. While I (sadly) only got the chance to go on the Na’vi River Journey ride (and therefore it’s the only one I can really speak on), I have to say, I was beyond impressed. This ride is not meant to be a thriller, but rather a smooth water ride through a nighttime landscape straight out of the Avatar world. Not only was it incredibly true to the film and absolutely stunning — there were also a couple of incredibly realistic animatronic versions of a few characters from the film. I’m talking so real, it was almost a little scary. I’ve truly never seen anything like it before, ever. If you’re ever visiting the Animal Kingdom, trust me, you don’t want to miss this ride.

What To Eat
Photo by Andrijana Bozic on Unsplash

This park is full of just about any kind of cuisine you could ever want — since it has different areas themed after different parts of the world, there’s a wide array of food from all different cultures. While, obviously, we didn’t get a chance to try everything, I have to say the little food carts around the park really have some fantastic eats. My two personal favourites were definitely the barbecued corn on the cob in the African exhibit, and the stir-fried pork and rice in the Asian exhibit.

Helpful Tips

Since all my tips about Fast-Passes don’t differ much from those I shared about the Magic Kingdom, I’ll just leave you with this tidbit of advice: the new Avatar rides are just about impossible to get on if you don’t book a Fast-Pass for them in advance. Any other ride at the Animal Kingdom may have a wait, but if you want to experience these rides you won’t be wasting your advance Fast Passes booking both of them, that’s for sure.

Where To Eat

Morimoto Asia

Our first night in Orlando, we headed over to Disney Spring’s to Masaharu Morimoto’s Asian fusion restaurant. To start off, my family and I split a couple appetizers — a round of Shumai as well as some tempura-fried popcorn shrimp. To finish off appetizers, we split the chef’s famous spare ribs — which were beyond spectacular. If you get the chance to visit this restaurant, then trust me — these spare ribs are their signature dish for a reason.

For dinner I ordered a plate of Orange Chicken, which was both delicious and remarkably large. Not that I’m complaining, though — I was absolutely starving after the long day I had (we had to wake sip at 5am in order to make the trek from Delray to Orlando!). For dessert, we split an order of Mochi — which was not at all what we expected it to be, but absolutely delicious nonetheless. You can see it pictured below, but in case you were wondering — it was made of an almond-flavour pudding, fresh fruit, popping boba, and mango sauce. Overall, it was an amazing meal — I’d definitely recommend checking this place out if you’re planning a Disney getaway any time in the near future.

Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill

Okay, honestly, I wasn’t really expecting to eat one of the best meals of my life at Disney World — but this restaurant really delivered. The menu keeps it pretty simple, opting for a couple classics rather than an overwhelming list of options. However, there’s still all kinds of options for even the pickiest of eaters. My family and I ordered the three meatball appetizer and Burrata to share — and while you can NEVER go wrong with Burrata, the meatballs were absolutely to die for as well. Seriously, meatballs can basically never be bad — but these ones really took it to the next level.

For my entree, I ordered burrata-filled tortellini. I’m sure my comments above, both about the food quality and my love of burrata, probably give you a good idea of how I felt about this meal, but I’ll still say it, just in case: this was absolutely one of the most fantastic meals I’ve had. Its hard to go wrong with simplicity, and just pasta, tomato sauce and burrata can really be one of the best combinations food has to offer.

On top of all this, my family and I shared a vanilla bean creme brûlée (a classic favourite of mine), which was also fantastic. On top of all this, the cocktails were delicious and the service, while a little slow, was still pretty top-notch. Seriously, if you’re planning a trip to Disney any time soon, be sure to book this restaurant for at least one meal during your stay.

And that’s it for my Florida, USA travel segment! I hope you all enjoyed it, and hopefully if you’re planning a trip to the area anytime soon you got some useful tips and recommendations. I hope you’re all having an amazing week and that you’re absolutely crushing your January goals — be sure not to let up on that post-new years motivation!

Be sure to stay tuned next week to hear all about what it’s like getting a lash lift and my personal experience with it! Is it a worthwhile alternative to lash extensions, is it safe, is it long lasting? Don’t worry, I have all your questions (and more) covered! As well, if you’re hoping to feed your wanderlust just a little more, stay tuned for my next travel diary coming up next month — any guesses where I’ll be going next?

Much love,

Meredith

Places To Eat: Toronto Edition!

Toronto, Ontario

Hey y’all!

This past week I’ve been back in my hometown — Toronto, Ontario! Being the largest city in Canada, Toronto is somewhat of a cultural hub and has a HUGE foodie culture. So I figured I’d share some of the places I hit up this week that have been my favourites to visit whenever I go home!

For When You’re Craving Chinese

If you’re looking for a bit of an upscale meal, Kwan is a great place to check out. Not only is it’s Chinese food to DIE for, but it has a lovely, cozy atmosphere and a great vibe overall. If you go, don’t miss out on the truffle fried rice, sesame chicken or chilli garlic shrimp — I literally order these every time I go and they’re outstanding every time.

For When You’re In The Mood For Sweets
Booyah Ice Cream

Booyah Ice cream is straight up one of my favourite places to go for cool treats in the summer. Not only do they have their own store-made ice cream, they also offer Kawartha Dairy and soft serve! Their homemade flavours are to DIE for, just the other day I got these two scoops of Earl Gray and Honey Lavander and I was in love. On top of all that, you have the option to get it in an ice cream sandwich (featuring homemade cookies) or even ice cream tacos! This place really is one of my favourites to visit in the hot Toronto summers.

For When You’re Feeling Fancy

Buca Yorkville

If you’re feeling up for something bougie and love Italian food as much as I do, Buca is a must-try. It’s a little on the pricier side, but oh man is it ever worth it. Everything here is amazing, from the appetizers to the desserts (their pine panna cotta is unreal). On top of that, the environment is amazing and the service was next level. 100% recommend for a classy night out.

For When You’re Craving Mexican
La Playa Hacienda

This place seriously has some of the best food I’ve ever eaten. For years, it’s been a go-to every time I go home–I’ve been sure to introduce everyone I know and they all fell in love. The tacos are outstanding, the drinks are incredible, and if you go be sure to try the Elote–it’s a personal favourite of mine. On top of all that, the vibe here is so cool, there really isn’t anything not to love.

For When You Need Your Bubble Tea Fix
Labothéry

There’s so many amazing places to get bubble tea in Toronto, but this one is just SO fun. You get to choose for yourself from so many flavours (complete with the ability to mix and match) plus so many tapioca and jelly add-ins that are so different from other places I’ve been to. This stuff was so amazing, seriously, even if it’s not nearby it’s worth the trek.

And that’s it for this time! Stay tuned for more Toronto hot spots when I go visit again this fall. I hope you enjoyed this blog, and if you have any suggestions for where to hit up on my next trip home I’d love to hear it!

Love you all,

Meredith

Spend A Day With Me In Bangkok!

Hey everyone and welcome to my first travel blog!

Soooooo to kick off our South East Asia trip, me and my best friend Nylah arrived in Bangkok, Thailand for a quick first stop before we get going. We’ve mostly just been getting our bearings and acclimating to the time difference, especially since we’re going to come back to Bangkok later on for the bulk of exploring this city. Also, this is my first time blogging from my phone so please bear with me through whatever technological struggles I encounter!

B Story Cafe

This cafe was honestly one of the best little places I’ve ever discovered travelling. Not only was it ADORABLE, but the food was amazing (and not just because it was my first meal in like twelve hours). The fried rice I got was honestly out of this world, plus the Thai Tea I ordered with it was quite possibly the most refreshing drink I’ve had in my life. If you’re ever in Bangkok and need a quick, easy, casual place to stop in for food check this place out, seriously. 10/10 would recommend. They have so many food options as well, both Thai and Western, so there’s something for everyone here.

Hungry Nerd Restaurant

For dinner we followed a recommendation and tried out the Hungry Nerd restaurant. It was kind of nice as all the food was pretty Western influenced so it wasn’t too hard on our stomachs as we get used to the sudden dietary changes, however it was all almost 100% meat and therefore not vegetarian friendly. However, it was still great and exactly what we needed after a long day.

Sights

We didn’t have much planned for today as we’re heading back to Bangkok later on in our trip; we figured it would be good to take some time to relax and get ready for our next stop, so we kept it simple and just did a little on-foot exploring. Walking the streets of a new city is one of the easiest ways to take in a new culture, as a lot of culture is made up in the little things. Some of my favourite little differences were the fruit stalls, the tuck tucks, the motorbikes and most of all, the street cats! Everyone who knows me knows that I’m a sucker for cats and the area around our hostel in Bangkok literally had unlimited cats. It was amazing.

Anyway, that’s more a less it! We’ve already left for Chaing Mai and have a jam-packed few days so the next post will certainly be more exciting. Be sure to check back for more travels and reviews over the next month!

Love y’all endlessly,

Meredith