Orlando 2018: The Highs and Lows

28th October 2018 5 min read

And just like that, we’re back. After a short hiatus while we enjoyed our Orlando trip (and a week where we sulked because the Disney blues are an actual real life thing) we’re now here to talk all about it.

There will be lots of content coming over the next few months, but we thought we’d start with an overview of the highs and lows of our Orlando 2018 trip.

The highs

1. Food and Wine Festival with Travel Couple

Food and wine festival with Chris and Sarah

We’ll start off with the positives – as there were so bloody many. The Epcot International Food and Wine Festival with Chris and Sarah from Travel Couple was one of the absolute highlights of our trip. Not only did we experience some amazing food – China and Morocco were the best in Charlotte’s opinion – but we also got to enjoy some really good company.

It’s always scary meeting internet friends in real life but with Chris and Sarah we had nothing to worry about – we all got on like a house on fire. They got engaged the night before we met too, and we were just so honoured to get to celebrate such a special moment with them. A real favourite day of our holiday.

2. All Star Sports

All Star Sports

Don’t get me wrong, this place isn’t perfect. But as an affordable hotel in Walt Disney World? You can’t really go wrong. We paid £1,300 for our room for 14 nights and felt it was well worth its value.

The beds were comfortable, although not big at all, the pool was close, the food was pretty good, and it was perfectly located for all four of the theme parks. If we booked again, we won’t hesitate to consider the All Stars if we are after affordable onsite accommodation.

3. Flight of Passage

I said in my new things to try at Animal Kingdom post that I was worried about Flight of Passage being a let-down as it’s so, so hyped.

Well, I’m thrilled to share that it wasn’t. Neither of us knew much about it and are so glad we didn’t as it truly took our breath away. Because of that, I don’t want to share too many details here but the one thing that I really loved was the smells – just incredible.

There is something else that blew my mind too, and if you’ve ridden it you’ll probably know what I mean, but I don’t want to give it away here – simply amazing!

4. Toy Story Land

Toy Story is my favourite Disney film, but I wasn’t sure what to expect from Walt Disney World’s newest land. Again, we avoided any spoilers and I’m so glad we did as this is my favourite themed area in Hollywood Studios now. It’s just amazing and as an ardent Toy Story fan, it totally does the series justice.

I loved this area so much that I actually cried when we walked in, despite it being jam-packed. I’m going to save all my thoughts for an attraction review but it’s safe to say I fell a little bit in love with this place.

5. California Grill

California Grill

Last but by no means least is California Grill. We had some great meals during our trip, but this was absolutely the best one. The view of Magic Kingdom from up there can’t be explained – it’s truly breath-taking – and the food was absolutely delicious.

Watching Happily Ever After from the balcony is probably my favourite holiday memory, I just felt so overwhelmed and lucky. Worth the price of the meal alone and the best view of the fireworks bar none. If you have a dining plan and haven’t booked Cali Grill yet, I urge you to do it now.

The lows

1. The operations at Universal Studios

Universal Studios operations

You’ll have to wait for the vlogs for the full lowdown on this, but we were really disappointed with the operations at Universal. We only had two days here, so booked Hard Rock Hotel to take advantage of Express passes. Even with the passes we queued a fair while for Fallon and Fast and Furious, even though they were posting short waits.

Everything just felt slow and arduous which was just completely different to our experience in 2017. Overall, Universal was a bit of a miss for us this time round.

2. ‘Ohana

Oh dear, what can I say about ‘Ohana? I was SO looking forward to this reservation – having missed out in 2017 – and it was such a disappointment. The worst food we had all holiday, including the bang average burger they serve in Krusty Burger at Universal Studios.

We were super rushed – I mean brought the bill before the dessert kind of rushed – and the whole experience was really lacking in atmosphere. Not the worst meal of my life, but for the price, I expected much, much more.

3. The buses at All Star Sports

All Star Sports buses

As we said, we really liked All Star Sports but there was one small problem – the buses. They were always packed and seemed to take forever to arrive. Although All Star Sports is the first hotel on the route, the buses do swing by movies and music, so you can be on there 10–15 minutes before the journey even gets going.

The shared bus also meant it got pretty busy on the way back from the parks and was often difficult to get a seat. Not so bad at the beginning of the trip, but once our feet were killing towards the end, it was a little bit frustrating.

Also, Disney Springs is miles away and there was often an hour difference between us arriving at the bus stop and landing in Disney Springs.

4. Blizzard Beach

Blizzard Beach

Ahhh, the park that man forgot. We ventured to Blizzard Beach for a day of respite when my feet were feeling particularly sore and tired. I’ve been before and remember thinking it was pretty good.

Turns out, I was wrong.

The place literally felt abandoned, it was dirty, the rides were disappointing, and the layout was downright confusing. We chose it over Typhoon Lagoon because it was nearer to our hotel, but I wish we’d ventured that bit further. I assume this place is on its way out because it didn’t look like it was first in line when it comes to upkeep.

In comparison to Volcano Bay it’s actually a bit of a joke. A complete miss from both of us.

5. Fast and Furious Supercharged

Fast and Furious Supercharged

I hate to be negative about Universal when they are chucking out so many new rides a year but my god, this ride is downright awful.

Literally, it has no redeeming features. When the queue is the best part of an attraction, you know you’re in trouble.

The storyline was boring, the ride vehicle meant that our views were constricted, barely anything happened, and it was over in about two minutes. We expected something, well… fast. What we got was one of the least thrilling experiences in Orlando. Not worth even a 10-minute wait.

So that’s it, the highs and lows of our most recent trip to Orlando. What do you think about our list?


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A thirty-something married couple from the UK.

Walk in the Parks is a millennial travel and lifestyle blog about theme parks, tourist attractions and Disney. Created to share our adventures and help other thirty-somethings add thrill and magic to their holidays.

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