Happy Thursday babes!
I’ve been waiting to find some downtime to crank out this post for you guys, as I have so many places to see, things to do, and pictures to share!
I've made it easy for you to access everything we did/saw/ate so everything in bold is linked so you can click on the words and it'll direct you to the site to access details, menus, information and more! Every photo that includes a shoppable outfit is also linked so all you have to do is click the photo and it'll direct you to shop the outfits!
Just two weeks ago, me and my sister took a vacation to Florida where we spent a few days in Orlando doing all the Disney & Universal parks, then made our way to Melbourne Beach for a few days. I wanted to write a longer recap everything we did on this vacation, as we did so much in the week we were there!
We arrived in Orlando on a Thursday and once getting out of the airport, picking up our rental car, and getting situated in the hotel, we spent the night at Disney Springs. If you’re unfamiliar with Disney Springs, it was just opened last year and has tons of amazing spots to dine and shop. Disney Springs is like the amusement park for adults —-food, booze, shopping. There are a ton of fun places we went here, including Maria & Enzo’s, Raglon Road Pub, and Terralina Crafted Italian.
Maria & Enzo’s is absolutely gorgeous! It is a more on the spendy side, but the food was well worth it as well as the service. Terralina had the best salad and sandwiches that were bigger than our heads—seriously! These are two restaurants I would definitely recommend if you’re ever in Disney Springs.
Our second day in Orlando brought us beautiful weather and so much to do. Me and my trusty tripod spent the afternoon doing a fun little shoot while my sister went to a tour/meeting. I spent probably 45 minutes hunting down the best “Instagram worthy spots in Orlando” and I literally found nothing you guys lol, I’m not kidding. Either everything was too far away, or it didn’t fit the type of vibe I was going for with the shoot, or anything else. Just as I was about to give up, I decided to check my maps and find any larger green area on the map near me, and it landed me at Tibet-Butler Preserve.
Tibet was SO pretty, I’m not even exaggerating. It was all greenland, trees, plants and more. It was fun to shoot there because I had this idea in mind that I wanted my photos to look tropical, you know…because I’m in Florida. And it was the perfect spot! My new favorite FL gem.
One thing to keep in mind at Epcot is that you can spend a lot of money there—and fast (well I guess you can at any Disney park but there’s alcohol and food literally everywhere around you here and so it loops you in to try a little bit of everything). My favorite part about Epcot was that it was split into different locations around the world (if you’re unaware) and they did a phenomenal job at capturing the essence of each culture.
We were able to spend a few hours here, so if you’re planning a trip to Epcot soon, we spent about 5-6 here. We didn’t do a lot of rides, it was more sightseeing and eating/drinking, so I would plan on at least 6 hours here!
Following Epcot, we took on Animal Kingdom and Magic Kingdom the next day. We spent good 5 hours at Animal Kingdom. Going into this trip, we originally weren’t planning to do Animal Kingdom but are glad we did because it ended up being one and of me and my sisters favorite parks. Animal Kingdom also had the best food options and the biggest variety (well so did Epcot but you get the gist).
The wait time at Animal for rides are very very long, so plan on getting fast passes well in advance for this park. We didn’t really plan that well and ended up not being able to do a lot of the rides due to not being able to get fast passes in time, but it was still really amazing to see. See some photos below!
One thing I really liked about the parks is that there are shuttles to go to and from, so then if you have a park hopper pass (I would recommend this if you’re planning to multiple parks in one day! It saves money overall). We were able to park in Animal Kingdom (parking is $25 in any park), and we took the shuttle to Magic Kingdom
Magic Kingdom has the longest lines to get into the park alone, and it was for sure the busiest. But it was so beautiful. I was so excited to see the castle. We spent the most time at this park (about 7-8 hours), and watched the fireworks show they put on at 8pm. One thing to be aware of is that there is an actual show they cast onto the castle at 7:30pm before the actual fireworks show at 8pm (we were confused about this so just wanted to point it out in case you’re anything like us).
The fireworks show was amazing (it did pour on us for a good 20 min but still worth it), and I would definitely recommend staying for them if you’re there at night.
I would say the food at Magic Kingdom is pretty okay, there wasn’t as much variety as other parks but that makes sense (it’s family friendly). It’s more American food at every single place, so just something to keep in mind! But you can bring a cooler in your car and leave the park during the afternoon to eat food you brought and be able to re-enter.
Doing two Disney parks in one day was very tiring (especially since we did Epcot the night before), but it was well worth it if you’re looking to save some money. Just plan on wearing comfortable shoes and remember that just because it’s cloudy/chillier in the morning or at night doesn’t mean it won’t be blazing hot during the day! So dress efficiently and bring a backpack to store a jacket in!
The day after Magic Kingdom, we went to two Universal Parks. We did both Harry Potter parks (must have a park hopper to do this!) and it was one of my favorites we went to. We took the Hogwarts Express between the parks and while you're in the train they play a video on the window of what it would look like outside if you were actually on the real one!
The Harry Potter rides were literally the most fun rides I’ve ever been on, I’m not even lying and that says a lot because I’m not one to ever be too fond of rides! They were really well-thought out and cool to experience. The rest of Universal and the was also fascinating, and I was interested by the fact that it’s all split up by US locations (I had no idea before). One place I would recommend eating at in Universal is Finnegan's. The service was great, and the food was also very good!
After Universal we drove to Melbourne Beach and stayed at the Crowne Plaza Melbourne-Oceanfront. This hotel is one place I would recommend/suggest staying at if you’re looking for something on the beach, relaxed and lowkey. The views are amazing, the restaurant at the hotel is exceptionally good, and overall we just had a really great experience there.
We spent our time in Melbourne on the beach, at the pool, and eating (a lot). We drove up to Cocoa Beach (only about a 20 minute drive) and got Sushi at Siam Orchid. The menu is huge and they have a wide variety of food for everyone!
Another restaurant we went to that I absolutely loved both the style and food at was Backwater in Melbourne. The really fun aspect of this restaurant is that you can actually make your own pancakes right at your table. They have tables with built in skillets and you fill out a menu (pictured below), of what type of batter you want, how much, if you want colorful batter, the toppings, and sides! This restaurant also falls on the cheaper side and I would list this as a must-do if you’re in Melbourne!
We did a lot on this vacation but it was so much exciting and so well worth it! I hope you enjoyed this vacation recap and you can check out even more of my outfits from there on LIKEtoKNOW.it by following me @abbygraf!