Monday, February 18, 2013

Magical Moments - Romantic Disney (Guest Post)

In 2011 and again in 2012 we introduced a few posts exploring the romantic side of Disney.  Today, we are happy to announce a guest post that continues in the spirit of those Romantic Disney posts.  Additionally, this post comes courtesy of Nikki Bechtel, who is no stranger to DLuminations as she may be best known to most of you as the author of an earlier guest post exploring life in the College Program.  So, without further ado, we humbly hand the spotlight to Nikki…
This summer, my husband Josh and I are planning to take a trip to Disney World.  Without our children. Eeek! I am so excited that I can hardly stand it. We will celebrate our 8th anniversary this year, and the trip is in part for that (even though 8 is a weird year to celebrate when you think about it). However, the REAL celebration is this: We are done having kids. Donʼt get me wrong, I love them to the end of this Earth, but I am excited that I am finished with that stage of my life. Our oldest will start school in the Fall, and it feels like the start of a whole new phase as a family. So we celebrate. I absolutely love to plan trips for us, and I certainly love it when those plans include the three most magical words I know. Walt Disney World. However, as the planner, there is little room for intrigue, adventure, and, yes, even romance. At the beginning stages of planning for this trip, I came up with a great idea that I think will help to feel more of the magic that I have kind of lost since I became our familyʼs official travel agent! We are going to be there for five days, and in the parks possibly for three. We have decided that each one of us is in charge of a whole day. The idea is simple: plan a day around the other. The only problem is that there are SO MANY wonderful things to do that it is hard just to plan one day. I think there are a few important factors to consider in making plans.
What does your significant other especially enjoy? Make a list a few months before, and start doing a little research on what fits. What have you not had the opportunity to do before? What are budget allowances for the day? If only our resources were unlimited...I could plan one SERIOUSLY awesome day. But they arenʼt, so sometimes I have to get creative.

Here is what one day might look like:  Joshʼs favorite park is Animal Kingdom and he loves camp-y things, so I might theme the whole day around Animal Kingdom and the outdoors. A pretty easy start to the day would simply be to spend the day, at least in part, at Animal Kingdom. We will start the day with the “Wild by Design” tour, which is a look into the Imagineerʼs development of the park and the animal keepers that work there. Josh usually comes home with more pictures of animals than people, so I think he will love it. Itʼs a three hour tour (hello, Gilligan) and finished by lunchtime.
On the way out of Africa, weʼll stop at the Dawa Bar so that Josh can enjoy an African beer (what can I say, my man loves beer) and I might enjoy a glass of wine myself before we continue with the day. We have always heard great things about Yak & Yeti, so lunch or a quick afternoon snack before the dinner menu kicks in is next in line. We have to be sure to experience Everest at least a couple of times because we never ride together anymore. With big plans for the evening, weʼll leave the park by about 2 or three in the afternoon.
Josh thinks the monorail is a very cool mode of transportation, so we will bus over to Epcot or Magic Kingdom just to catch the monorail for fun. If we have enough time, we can pop into Magic Kingdom just to ride Pirates, or stop off the monorail at a few of the resorts around the lagoon to see the theming (we are both suckers for a good Disney theme).
For dinner, we will spend the evening at Mickeyʼs Backyard BBQ. This does require advance reservations, so I would have to book to ensure seating. The food served fits right in with Joshʼs tastes, and I think he would really love the atmosphere. To cap off the evening, we could find a spot around the lagoon to watch the Magic Kingdom fireworks and as a little surprise, Iʼll have a yummy cigar tucked away just for him.

Another dayʼs plan could go a little like this (if my husband reads this, YAY!): **Written from my husbandʼs point of view, if only he could read my mind**
My wife loves EPCOT.  With three little ones, it is often skipped in favor of Magic Kingdom or Animal Kingdom, so a morning wandering through will be right up her alley.  Living with the Land is her favorite attraction, and every time we are there, she comments about the Behind the Seeds tour. So, thatʼs what we are doing this morning. Itʼs only one hour and $18 per adult, so itʼs a great option for us. After the tour, we will hit a few attractions, and then head out of the park for the rest of the day.

While we were in Disney in December, we tried to go to 50ʼs Prime Time cafe, but it was a big fat bust. Today, we are trying again. Because we are already in EPCOT, we are going to take the boat from here to Hollywood to have lunch. Since itʼs the middle of the day, we will probably share an entree so that we are not stuffed. Because...we are off to the Tower of Terror. Nikki has either been pregnant or weʼve had little ones with us on our last trips, so she has skipped out on her favorite thrill ride. Not today! After we have had a chance to ride once or twice (maybe three or four times), weʼll leave Hollywood and head to Downtown for the evening.

Itʼs not often that we just get to stroll and shop, so thatʼs just what we will do. A few evening options could include catching a late night movie (which we NEVER do anymore), bowling at Splitsville (because although Nikki doesnʼt love to bowl, she does love kitschy retro, so itʼs perfect), or I might even take the plunge and suffer through La Nouba just for my wife, even though I will secretly enjoy it. Back at the hotel, Iʼll have a bottle of her favorite wine waiting so we can head back and relax. We donʼt often get to do that by ourselves.

There are a MILLION options for fun at Disney World, whether you choose to visit a park or stay out of them altogether for the day. While I was writing, I started to think of all these wonderful things we could do just the two of us! There are excursions of all kinds, restaurants of all flavors, desserts of decadence all around, and creative experiences throughout the property!
A few of my favorite ideas not included in the “maybe days” above include:
* Keys to the Kingdom tour in Magic Kingdom. 5 hours, $74. Not too shabby for a unique experience, especially if you are a behind the scenes nerd like me.
* Spend a night at a “dream” resort. Mine would be the Wilderness Lodge. But, a bit too pricey for this time in our life. Maybe our tenth anniversary!
* A carriage ride at Fort Wilderness or Port Orleans. $45 for up to 4 people. During Halloween and Christmas, the rides are themed appropriately. Yes, please.
* Dessert at Ghiradelliʼs in Downtown, without my daughters wanting another bite before I can take my first.
The point is simply this: make them feel special. I am a wife, mom, teacher, cook, maid, crafter- all of these things and a hundred more that apply to so many women. Josh is a husband, dad, firefighter, lawn care guy, cook, garbage man, handy man; his list is long and exhausting as well. Make a list of what they love, match it up to great experiences at WDW, take a break, and just love each other for a day. Now, I canʼt wait to actually put a plan into action. And Josh, if you are reading this, take notes and donʼt expect that cigar.
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