Plane tickets are ridiculous during the holidays. Unfortunately I have not made mega bucks yet, so I had to decide whether I wanted to go home during Thanksgiving or Christmas. Obviously Christmas took precedence. This would be my first Thanksgiving away from my family, but I wasn’t going to let that stop me from making it memorable. So, Jon and I planned a trip to DisneyWorld! We literally bought the tickets from the travel office on base the weekend before Thanksgiving. We left as soon as Jon got off work on Tuesday and drove as far as we could before pulling over in a Walmart parking lot to sleep in the car for the night. We arrived the next day, checked into our hotel, the Red Lion Kissimmee Maingate, and headed to Hollywood Studios. We got into the park around 4pm and stayed until closing. Of course we were there at one of the busiest times of year, but it was still a blast. Below are some pics from each of the parks.

Hollywood Studios – Park highlights include the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith, Beauty and the Beast musical, and the Fantasmic firework show.

Epcot – Park highlights include Soarin’, Spaceship Earth, and all of the different country sections. There are rides, videos, and authentic cuisines at each country’s village. You felt like you were really there!

Magic Kingdom – Park highlights include Splash Mountain, Space Mountain, Monster’s Inc. Laugh Floor, and the Happily Ever After Firework Show.

Animal Kingdom – Park highlights include Avatar Flight of Passage, Expedition Everest, and Kilimanjaro Safaris.

All in all, DisneyWorld is an absolute blast, but I am glad that I went to DisneyLand growing up. I don’t know how fun it would be with kids or even as a kid as it requires a lot more walking. I guess my advice would be if you live in the west and haven’t been to DisneyLand, go there first. If you have kids under 10, go to DisneyLand. But if you have older kids or don’t have any and are willing to have jam packed days full of walking, go to DisneyWorld.

If you decide to go, I am no expert in how to Disney, but I do have a few tips on how to save money! Obviously if you can get your tickets through the military, do that. Stay at a cheap hotel. Many of them offer shuttles into the park so it doesn’t matter if you’re super close. All you really need is a bed and a shower. We bought food at the grocery store such as tuna, trail mix, and apples and ate that in the park instead of dining at the restaurants. It also gave us more time to go on more rides, because we just ate while we were waiting in line! We bought cereal and oatmeal for breakfast and mac and cheese and rice packs that we microwaved at the hotel for dinner. This was definitely a no frills vacation.

P.S. They have these things called Magic Bands where you can reserve up to 3 fast passes per day on the app before you get to DisneyWorld. As soon as you get your tickets, I would recommend trying to book your fast passes. They go quick! But you can always change them.

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