My first stop in Orlando was at Disney Springs! The Jock Lindsey's Hangar Bar at Disney Springs debuted around the end of September 2015; the Hangar Bar is themed after Indiana Jones and I would say it's the coolest venue at Disney Springs. The homemade pretzels are served with a side of their semi-spicy mustard and beer infused cheese. So good! Other than that, you can't go wrong with any of their drinks and for those who don't like alcohol, they have a variety of teas and delicious fruity drinks to choose from. The food menu consists of appetizers that are very sharable. Seating is first come first serve and the environment casual and relaxed. There is indoor and outdoor seating (beautiful view of the lake). If you order the "Anything Goes", all the bartenders will shout out "ANYTHING GOES". Do make it a point to swing by this bar whenever you're in Orlando, and one of the good thing about Disney Springs is that you don't have to pay for parking.
For those first timers who will be going to Disney World in the near future, here are some tips for you. November is a very good month to go since the Christmas decorations are up and people are very jolly, but when are people not jolly at Disney... it is the "happiest place on Earth!" I believe that buying the 2 day hopper pass is well worth the price. You get to enjoy the parks within 14 days of when you first visit. I purchased the 2 day hopper pass and went back to back (Thursday and Friday). Pre-purchase your tickets at the Disney's website so you can get your tickets for "will call" or have them mailed to you if you are buying them weeks in advance. Make it a point to download the "My Disney Experience - Walt Disney World" app so you can view the wait times and reserve for the "FastPass+" in advance. Below was my itinerary to give you an idea so you can fully enjoy the four theme parks within 2 days.
- Park at Epcot (parking is $20). Arrive when it opened at 9 am (hours varies depending on the season).
- Take the bus to Animal Kingdom
- Rides/attractions that are a must: Expedition Everest (my fave), Kilimanjaro Safaris, Kali River Rapids, Dinosaurs
- Take the bus back to Epcot
- Reserve your Fastpass+ for these rides/attractions at Epcot: Test Track, Spaceship Earth, Mission Space, Soaring
- Enjoy the food from around the World at Epcot (Germany and French quarters were my favorites) and stay until the light/fireworks show (if you're too tired, save the light and fireworks show at Epcot for the next day).
In order to experience the boat, monorail, and bus (all the complimentary rides to each park that Disney has to offer when you park in their lot), make it a point to park at Epcot. If you don't want to pay for parking, a lot of hotels around the area provide complimentary shuttle buses straight to Epcot.
- Park at Epcot at 9 am. Take the boat to Hollywood Studios.
- Rides/attractions that are a must: Tower of Terror, Rock 'N' Roller Coaster, Toy Story Mania
- Swing by the 50's Prime Time Cafe to enjoy the best Peanut Butter & Jelly Milk Shake
- Take the bus to Magic Kingdom
- Reserve your Fastpass+ for these rides/attractions at Magic Kingdom: Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Space Mountian, Peter Pan's Flight, Indiana Jones, Splash Mountian, Jungle Cruise
- Note that you can only reserve 3 Fastpass+ per day, however, once you use all 3, you can get additional (I didn't try it, but that's what I read)
- Casey's Corner has the most delicious mini corn dogs and don't forget to try the Dole Whip Float near the Jungle Cruise
- Definitely stay for the firework show that happens in front of the Cinderella's Castle at Magic Kingdom...it's mind blowing and very magical.
- Take the monorail back to Epcot to enjoy the fireworks and light show. Time varies, but that night, it was showcasing at 10 pm.
Let me know if you have any questions or need any recommendations!
Other than Disney World in Orlando, there are hundreds of activities for those who love adventure. Example, head on over to Wekiva Springs State Park to go swimming in the natural springs (do swim in the area where swimming is allowed since there are gators that will take off a limp or two. Rent a kayak/canoe at the springs and you can paddle amongst gators and turtles!