THE QUESTION IS, WHERE DO YOU GO FOR A HONEY MOON? DISNEYWORLD OF COURSE!
A trip to the magical place of Disneyworld, Florida for our honeymoon was absolutely unbelievable. Me and Karly have never been to Disneyworld before nor have we been massive fans of anything Disney, apart from the films. We knew we would both love to visit it someday, so choosing it for our honeymoon getaway was an ideal choice to go and experience such an awesome place. A few of our friends went a couple of years before us which kinda got us excited to look into this trip a little more. Infact everyone we spoke to about going to Disney spoke highly of the experiences they had there.
We decided a three week Florida vacation should be enough to celebrate our wedding. Two weeks sunbathing is not really what we are in to and we feel we needed to spend some energy running around everyday. We both agreed that if we were to go and do this then we needed to do it over an extended period of time to make the most of our trip away. Our plan was to start in Disney and do nine days then head on over to International Drive in Orlando and work our way around the Universal Parks. After Universal we drove over the west coast of Florida to a place called Clearwater, for a bit of chill.
Knowing very little about the trip and what we were about to be be exposed to, I geared my self up with my Sony A6500, 16mm Lens & a Gopro ready to document everything that we planned to do. I love to capture any memories that happen for me and Karly and this being a special vacation I wanted to make a little video of all that we see. You can catch the video at the end of the blog, It’s definitely worth a watch.
WHERE DID WE STAY IN DISNEY?
Like the big kids me and Karly are, we decided to stay in the cheesiest and most child like accomodation there was, welcome to the ‘Art Of Animation‘ hotel. Being an animator myself, I’m a big fan of the animated films by Disney so it was only logical to stay in a place that had a little meaning to it. Unfamiliar to how Americans do things, I was instantly met with all or nothing, a go big or go home design mentality. It’s absolutely insane the amount of effort that is put in to creating a visual experience for guests. The whole of the complex is filled with character cameos on a massive scale as well as design features to fit the surroundings of the theme for each hotel section. We stayed in ‘The Little Mermaid’ section, music, massive statues of the films characters and cartoon shell headboards on our beds were there to welcome you on your stay.
THE DISNEY EXPERIENCE
The experiences we had in Disney are by far the best you could ever imagine. It’s a big fun show and you’re part of it. Don’t get me wrong, its an extremely costly trip, and dollars do rack up whilst over there, but I would definitely do it all over again. Never have I had such interaction with staff members who never break out of character or who can’t do enough to help you out. Both me and Karly were massively into The Animal Kingdom, it was such a great park to visit with all the animals, rides & experiences, there was something on offer for everyone. Karly was completely taken back with the fact she got to see a Hippo, I was too as I have never seen one before, so majestic and beastly. One of the marvels at this park is all the hard work they put into the animal training such as the bird shows, it’s totally unreal to watch. With lots of sections in this place we had to do two days as it was that jam packed with things to do, The Avatar, Pandora world is so out of this world, like a dream land with breathtaking scenery on a grand scale. This park is divided into different ‘continents’ with Africa and Asia, the decor, plants and animals are all reflected as they would be had you been stood amongst these incredible places. The African Zulu dancers gave us one hell of a show before inviting us up to dance with them, and we listened to an African lady singing whilst eating our jambalaya in the Harambe Market.
Hollywood Studios also stood out due to the epic white knuckle rides such as Rock and Roller Coaster and Tower of Terror. The Toy Story land here was also jaw dropping. It was like walking into a giant toy room. Even as adults, we totally appreciated every detail that had been put into this mesmerising world, just like stepping into the film. The characters here also created such a ‘buzz’ (see what I did there!?), especially the green army men. They were so in sync and attention grabbing, everyone in the park stopped to take it all in.
Epcot was also much appreciated and we used this as a day to take it slightly easier. Saying that, we still managed to drink our way around the world, sampling wines in France, beers in Germany and limoncello in Italy. Karly was extremely giddy to meet her child hood heroine, Mary Poppins, and we also enjoyed interacting with Crush from Finding Nemo in Turtle Talk with Crush.
The evening shows within all of the parks were out of this world. The fireworks at The Magic Kingdom were crazy good, but we were mostly impressed with the projected animations on to the castle, literally sending shivers down your spine. The Fantasmic show at Hollywood Studios was probably our favourite, the use of pyrotechnics combined with the complex water show and booming surround sound was enough to make you have a lump in your throat. Every second there was something to wow you, this is definitely not one to be missed.
Each and every park had its own ‘wow’ features, even if you don’t do rides, you cannot go and not enjoy yourself. For overall experience, Animal Kingdom was our favourite, but we genuinely had the maximum amount of fun every single day.
We couldnt have manged this trip without askings friends for advice about it. Disney needs careful planning and organising, you are out the hotel door at 8:00am and back home at 12:00am. They are full of days of non stop entertainment.
OFF TO SEE HOGWARTS AT UNIVERSAL
The next stage of the Honeymoon saw us off to our next adventure to Universal Studios. We stayed on International drive which is only around 10 mins in an UBER to the Universal Park. The Rosen Inn was our home for the next 5 days as we explored the surrounding areas before we headed to Universal in the oncoming days. We found many hidden treasures along our mini stay on International Drive. Cafe TuTu Tango’s was an brilliant restuarant to eat at along with Rocco’s Tacco’s. The Amercian dining thing is right up my street and I couldn’t get enough of the food I was being served.
After being treated like kings at Disney, Universal felt a little deflating. We had been used to being totally spoiled by the staff and experiences at Disney, and although we very much enjoyed our time at Universal, in hindsight it was not much different to visiting a UK Theme Park. We did however, experience some excellent eateries within the Universal Citywalk, such as Voodoo Donut, Cinnabon, Bubba Gump Shrimp and Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville.
We tried to explore the area around International Drive in addition to visiting the Universal Parks, and enjoyed an incredible Escape Room, Lockbusters as well as a top game of mini golf. We even attended the cinema one afternoon to watch ‘The Purge’ which was very eerie, just me and Karly in an auditorium watching an intense horror movie, we were convinced something was going to happen to us! After a very long walk, we found a diamond of a breakfast haunt, First Watch, where we had the most unbelievable pankcakes and smashed avocado on toast.
Of an evening we explored further and went on the Orlando Eye, were treated to some fine live music from Tin Roof and meandered down to the piano duelling bar Howl at the Moon. We began to fall in love with this area of Orlando just before it was time to move on to the next leg of our adventure…
INTERESTED IN OUR HONEYMOON VIDEO?
CLEARWATER, OUR FINAL DESTINATION
My time was due to put my driving skills to the test in America and to drive on the other side of the road. We hired a car to get ourselves across the state to Clearwater in Tampa. We needed this little chill out session away from the hustle and bustle of Orlando, this place was just perfect.
We spent 5 days recouporating ourselves with food and beer whilst staying in a very nice hotel called The Sandpearl. This place is paradise. The white sandy beaches are pristine, needing no filter whatsoever. It all felt so natural, with the fresh catches of the day and some fantastic craft ale bars in The Bait House and Surfside Taphouse (special mention to Keith James Music – awesome guy). We enjoyed the dramatic weather, especially watching the epic lightning shows.
One of our favourite days was our last day were we played beanbag toss in hammering rain, then took a stroll through Clearwater whilst the sky was electrical, finally ending in a condensated clammy beach hut, supping chilled beer and eating dirty food with the locals. During our time in Clearwater we took a 14 mile bike ride down to towards India Rocks Beach, where we stumbled across a roadside bar, Crabby Bill’s. We hitched an Uber here the next day to drink the night away and play ring toss whilst making friends with a local guy and his wife. We were extremely heartbroken to leave this place behind, as we both admitted it had stolen a place in our hearts.
WE WANT TO GO BACK
All year we both have talked about our return trip to Florida, when this will happen, who knows? It will go down in our private history books as one of the most incredible experiences for the both of us. I would 100% recommend this holiday to anyone. The images I manged to capture along the way are below, feel free to take a peak at our Honeymoon Journey to Disney World, Universal and Clearwater.