Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Trip Report: Orlando in August is hot, Hot, HOT!

I love Walt Disney World and will squeeze in a vacation whenever I can.  My boyfriend, Max, worked his last co-op rotation over the summer and hadn't been on a vacation since our Disney Fantasy Western Caribbean Cruise.  He finished work on Friday, August 15 and returned to school on Wednesday, August 20.  Four days?  Just enough time for a short trip to Disney!

Boardwalk

Max, however, had other ideas.  He had been trying to convince me to take a trip to Universal Studios' Islands of Adventure for years.  "It's better.  The rides are better.  It's so much better than Disney."  Better than Disney?  I think not.  But I had visited Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure a few times when I was younger, most recently in 2007, and remembered having a good time.  So perhaps it was time we returned...

So we looked into making this a completely Universal vacation.... but the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and Frozen Summer Fun were enough to convince Max that we should fit in some Disney time.  Initially, we planned two days at Universal and two days at Disney, but after pricing tickets, it was a better deal to take advantage of the "more you play, the less you pay" deal and purchase a one-day pass to Islands of Adventure and three-day park hopper passes to Walt Disney World (multi-day tickets cost less per day the more days you add).  And being a Disney World annual passholder, my wallet was very happy to be spending more time at the World.

Our traveling party included Max's family friend, Natalie, and her sister, Rachel, who flew all the way from Houston, Texas to join us on our 8-hour car ride to Orlando!

We stayed at the Hilton in Downtown Disney.  Natalie and Max's mother both have a lot of Hilton HHonor points and so generously used them on this trip.  I was excited to stay at this hotel because it's in a great location and has the added benefit of Disney Extra Magic Hours (on scheduled days, a specific park will open one hour early or two hours later).  The Hilton Downtown Disney is the only off-property hotel that offers Extra Magic Hours to its guests.

You're invited to join us on our hot, Hot, HOT Orlando adventure... but fortunately with the added comfort of your air-conditioning! Go ahead and bookmark this page, as it will serve as an index for the Trip Report. The links below will become active as each post is published!

[Day 1] Magic Kingdom - Mad rush to the Mine Train and visit to First Aid
[Day 2] A Visit to the Dark Side... aka Universal's Islands of Adventure
[Day 3] Epcot + DHS - Breakfast with Donald and Drinking Around World Showcase
[Day 4] DHS - Attempting the Kitchen Sink and finding the Greatest Souvenir EVER

Also, be sure to check out my review of our lunch at Cinderella's Royal Table.

Thanks for following along!  Have you ever ventured to the "Dark Side"?  Let me know why and how you liked it in the comments below!