Reader, I’ve put the deposit down on my honeymoon.
I feel like I was just writing a post about my engagement story, and now I’m writing about my honeymoon! The last two years have gone by in a whirlwind, and not just with wedding planning (the pandemic, I’m referring to the global pandemic.) Whilst I am getting married in July 2022, our honeymoon is planned to be in November 2022. I am fully aware that this is a year away yet, but I am nothing if not excited and prepared.
So this leads to the question – “where are you going?” Well, as you may be able to tell from the title of this post, we are going to Orlando. Give me 26 degree sunshine, swimming in blue pools, and drinking fresh orange juice squeezed from the best Floridian oranges. That answer tends to lead to the next question – “ohh are you going to Disney World?” Hot diggity darn, we are! I’ll be honest with you, my fiancé and I aren’t Disney adults, if you get my drift. We don’t have Disney décor, or know all the words to Frozen, and the idea of meeting characters at breakfast makes us feel a little ehhhh. That’s not to diss anyone who finds joy in everything Disney-fied; more power to you my friends! But we are both film buffs and love the nostalgia and artistry of the films. So, let’s circle back to 2019, when we decided to take a holiday in November 2019. Our holiday of choice was Disney World, where we knew we would have a good time, but we didn’t realise how good. It was the thrill of the rides, the feel of the sun, the unadulterated joy of the parks, mixed with the delicious food, the rest and relaxation, and the experience of doing something so different. So, we decided to do it all again in 2022. But this time not on a recent graduate’s budget – on a honeymoon budget.
So, where are you staying?
We are staying at the Coronado Springs Resort, which is one of the Disney Resorts. We did think about trying hotels and villas further away from the parks, buuut the perks were too good not to stay at a Disney Resort. As we are staying on property, we’ve received nearly $900 worth of dining credit, a $100 gift card, free photo passes, plus discounts on meals and experiences. Plus, thanks to America’s car hire laws, my fiancé won’t be able to drive in America by the time we head on our honeymoon, so we can rely on the free Disney transport between parks, hotels, and other areas.
Out of more than twenty-five Disney resorts to choose from, we chose Coronado Springs – an American South-west meets Salvador Dali inspired resort. It is a moderate resort (on the scale of Disney’s budget, moderate, deluxe tiered approach) with super minimal Disney-isms but stellar theming. Previously, we stayed at the All Star Sports Resort, as it was the most budget of all the budget options. It was bright, Mickey-fied, and All-American – everything you would expect from a stereotype of Disney, and we didn’t mind this considering it was our first trip. But as a honeymoon-ing couple, who just want good vibes, roller coasters, and mojitos, Coronado was the way to go. We’ve settled on booking one of the standard rooms that are spread across the resort. Originally, we had our eyes set on staying in the tower but boy oh boy, it was a price jump. Maybe we’ll try to upgrade closer to the time, maybe my ‘honeymoon’ reservation may be useful, but whatever happens, the room we have booked will be more than wonderful enough for our home-away-from-home.
When are you going?
We’re actually going in November 2022, four months after our wedding. It might not be right after tying the knot after but it’s still our honeymoon and I’ll fight anyone who says otherwise. Now I know the summer is your typical time to take a holiday, but we certainly have our reasons for choosing to go after the summer – four in fact!
Firstly, travelling at the end of July? Only to be surrounded by schoolchildren on their summer holidays? No thank you. Big no. Secondly, have you heard of hurricane season? From June to October, Florida is hit with storms and hurricanes, with September being the worst month. Contrary to popular belief, I do not want to be stuck in a hotel room with my husband on our honeymoon, I want to be making the most out of the trip. Thirdly, the heat. Florida is hitting 33 degrees in the summer months, and the humidity is on another scale. Neither walking around the parks nor laying by the pool in a damp heat sounds like fun. So I’ll stick to my 25 degree November weather thank you very much. The fourth, final, biggest clincher; we’re all about saving that money, baby…
Summer presents the problem of children being on holidays so of course prices go up across the board. November, which is post-Halloween, pre-Christmas, and away from half-terms offers a much more budget friendly option. The only downside is that our deal which gave us that lovely free dining credit was only viable for travelling on certain dates, which means one of our final days will be over Thanksgiving; a surprisingly busy day for the parks. Lucky for us at Thanksgiving, you’ll find me in the spa, Rory on the golf course, and then we’ll be sipping margaritas by the pool.
What have you got planned?
Let’s get the obvious out of the way – yes we will be going to the theme parks. As we are staying at Disney, we got a steal of a deal for our Disney tickets, and will be buying tickets to visit the three Universal Studios parks too. But as we’ve been before, we’ve done the mad rush of the parks and have learnt what’s the best way for us to approach this trip. We know exactly what we want to do again, what we want to do differently, and what we’ll avoid. So whilst you can guarantee we’ll be jumping on all the rides and trying out every food option, we will be leaving a lot more time for soaking up the sun, swimming in the pool, playing mini golf, and making the most of Coronado Springs.
Okay, so making the most of it and taking it easy. But it’s your honeymoon! Do you have any special events or dinners planned?
Oh boy do we. We’ve kind of split our plans into two categories; experiences and dining.
Let’s talk dining!
Starting with dining, there are two restaurants and bars on our list that we visited last time that have shot straight to the top of our honeymoon list. The first is Coral Reef in EPCOT. Folks, it’s a restaurant inside of a man-made coral reef aquarium, where you get to watch sea life pass you by as you eat dinner. How cool?! This was our one ‘fancy’ meal in 2019 and we were so impressed with the food and experience, we can’t wait to book it again.
Our other dining experience that went straight on the list was Oga’s Cantina in Hollywood Studios. If you know me and my partner in real life, you’ll know we are a pair of Star Wars nerds, and are unashamedly so. So when the Star Wars themed land of Galaxy’s Edge opened just before we arrived, you know we were scouting around for reservations to the bar that is themed along the lines of the Mos Eisley cantina. Well, the theming and the drinks were on another level – some may say, even out of this world. Yes, the price tag for the drinks and the bar snacks are not the cheapest, but as a Star Wars fan, it was incredible.
The other two special dining plans we have are a lot more honeymoon-esque. First of all, we have our sights set on Tiffins; the signature restaurant at Animal Kingdom that comes with three dollar signs on the price scale. You can tell this isn’t your usual theme park fayre. Tiffins carries a lot of Asian and Indian dishes as well as some beautiful cocktail offerings, and I have yet to hear a single bad thing about the restaurant online. Originally, I thought a meal at Tiffins or our resort restaurants would be the priciest meals we have, but then we remembered our other dining excursion – Victoria & Albert’s. No, not the award winning British museum, but the award winning, Five Diamond, fine dining experience found at the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. Now, I am not a fancy woman. I have to Google ‘what is cocktail attire?’, I get confused by posh silverware, and the thought of wearing heels sends a shiver down my spine. But if there’s one time in my life to experience real fine-dining, my honeymoon is it. A seven-course tasting menu at Victoria & Albert’s, complete with wine pairings, would come to about $530, not including tax or gratuity. Ooof that’s top dollar. Victoria & Albert’s has yet to re-open since COVID, but if it does, and if someone purchases the experience as part of our registry, we would love to experience it.
Speaking of experiences, let’s move on to them and get the wining and dining out of the way!
Experiences, excursions, events – oh my!
Well, not fully out of the way… One of the experiences on our honeymoon list is a rather unofficial Disney task called Drinking Around the World. EPCOT, the Disney park centred on culture and learning, has an area called World Showcase; a circular loop around a lake, made up of twelve countries. There are shows, museums, galleries, and eateries at each of these countries, and the idea is that you have a drink at each of them. A cultural pub crawl! And you know us Brits love a good pub crawl…Another experience we have our eyes on involves hiring a boat for an hour, speeding across the lake, and feeling the Florida sun on our necks as we drink prosecco like the fancy people we are pretending to be. However, the final experience we have planned really does break that illusion. We want to build a lightsaber. Considering Rory’s initial chat up line to me was ‘have you seen the trailer for the new Star Wars film?’ then this is the most us thing on this list. We know building a lightsaber is an expensive souvenir, we know it will be annoying to get home, but we know it will look incredible as a light fixture in our lounge.
To be honest, I’m just mostly excited to be relaxing with the love of my life in the sunshine. And that’s the most special thing about the honeymoon in my eyes.
So, those are our plans for our Florida honeymoon in 2022! Yes, the countdown has begun and I am not ashamed. I do have just one more thing to say, aimed at any folks out there looking to travel to Florida for a honeymoon. Just do it (sorry, I didn’t mean to steal your brand, Nike). Don’t listen to the ‘traditional’ folks who say it’s not a place for a honeymoon, or there are better places to visit, or that it’s a waste of money. It’s your honeymoon, not theirs. Just tell them to eff off, and go and celebrate your marriage on a warm, sunny, nostalgic, joyous, whirlwind of a honeymoon. Oh, and make sure to send them a postcard.