Three Years of Central Florida

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We just got back to California from a trip to Central Florida to visit James’ parents. We spent most of our time visiting the theme parks in the area, being something that we thoroughly enjoy (as can be further evidenced by our trip to Disneyland Paris, and our love for Disneyland). Here are some photos from our trips to Florida over the past few years.

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For me, the differences between the Florida parks and those in Southern California were a bit strange but wonderful at the same time. When I first stepped into the Magic Kingdom, I was blown away by the view looking down Main Street, U.S.A. toward Cinderella Castle. The small differences in the Magic Kingdoms in particular are so interesting to compare.

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Casey’s Corner is an example of a slight twist of what I am used to at Disneyland here at home.

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There are so many restaurants on property that I have not yet eaten at, but plan to try all of them. The one that I am most excited to go into on a future trip is the Crystal Palace.

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On our first trip to Florida, we attended Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party. Here we are riding Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin while dressed up as Constance the bride and one of her decapitated husbands from the Haunted Mansion.

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These Tangled themed bathrooms now stand where the Fantasyland Skyway Station once stood. It was one of James’ favorite parts of Fantasyland, but we do both love this rest area despite what was demolished to build it.

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There is constant construction at Disney parks, and in my few trips I have already seen massive changes. Who could have guessed when I peeked through this window last year that Seven Dwarfs Mine Train would turn out to be my favorite ride in the Magic Kingdom!

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All of New Fantasyland was under construction on my first visit. Of course, I had no conception of what things were like before that construction started so it has all felt seamless, but James is still getting used to the new layout after years of visiting.

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The moat around the hub was drained to start a large renovation. One of the casualties of this renovation was the Plaza Swan Boat landing dock. James never rode the Swan Boats, as they have been gone for decades, but this forgotten structure was another one of his favorite quiet spots around the park.

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It’s so exciting to see the finished result of all the construction when we come back on later trips. I absolutely fell in love with the Be Our Guest Restaurant’s elegance and immaculate details from Beauty and the Beast.

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We can ride The Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Undersea Adventure whenever we want at Disney California Adventure, but we have to come to Florida to walk through this amazing queue with Prince Eric’s castle.

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James did his best to explain to me how great EPCOT Center was, but I did not fully grasp how wonderful Epcot would be until I was there myself. Even though it has been undergoing a severe identity crisis for decades now, it still manages to inspire a first time visitor. The day of my first visit coincided with the 30th anniversary, and we were able to see a presentation by people who worked on the park including Disney Legend Marty Sklar.

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The Morocco Pavilion is perhaps the most expansive pavilion in World Showcase, and one of our favorites. You can really lose yourself in the alleyways and courtyards.

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This map was a main feature of the queue for Maelstrom in the Norway pavilion before it was very sadly closed to build a Frozen attraction.

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We have visited Epcot during both the International Flower and Garden Festival and the International Food and Wine Festival.

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The first time we went to Florida together, we stayed at Disney’s Port Orleans Resort French Quarter. James was so excited to show me all of the hotels on Disney property. I couldn’t believe that there were so many worlds to explore!

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We like to stay at different hotels each time to fully enjoy each one. Here I am outside of our room at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort.

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Universal Orlando doesn’t quite have the ‘Disney Difference’ but The Wizarding World of Harry Potter comes very close. As a fan of the books, I was all too eager to explore both Hogsmead and the new Diagon Alley.

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Here is an amazing forced perspective view of Hogwarts.

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This network of alleys at Universal Studios Florida is a holdout from its days as a functioning backlot. Just a short distance away from cash grabs that capitalize on current hits, you can still escape into this world dripping with atmosphere, where around any corner you may run into a gang of bootleggers loading up crates of moonshine.

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On our most recent trip, we stayed at Universal’s newly constructed Cabana Bay Beach Resort. It is the perfect mid-century modern Florida experience.

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There are still plenty of attractions in Central Florida that I have not seen, not to mention revisiting my favorites. I know that we will be taking many trips in the coming years, and I look forward to enjoying new adventures at the Walt Disney World Resort and Universal Orlando.

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One Comment on “Three Years of Central Florida”

  1. […] take many trips to Disney Parks, both domestic and abroad, and the work of Walt Disney Imagineering has had a tremendous influence on our sense of […]


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