I am excited to get to spend three weeks immersed in educating students, learning from those around me, and experiencing various aspects of Walt Disney World. I am very thankful that I work at an institution that has an opportunity like this to do creative things with students that will be unique, engaging learning experiences for all people involved, myself included. As an applied mathematician and a Disney fan, I'm excited to mix these two interests. Now that I have a family of my own, I'm excited to experience Disney World as a parent of two boys, one who will have his first Disney World experience and one seasoned veteran who will turn four during our May X trip!
Disney Springs (formerly Downtown Disney) has undergone a big transformation since I was last in Disney World, and there are many new restaurants either already open or coming soon. One in particular I'd like to try is Morimoto Asia. Two other restaurants I really enjoy are quite different from each other: Boma and Victoria and Albert's. Boma is an African-themed buffet that offers the perfect opportunity to try new cuisine and flavors without committing to an entire entree of unknown things. The food delicious and after dinner you can explore the hotel and check out the giraffes and other animals wandering around outside. Victoria and Albert's is a lovely place to eat dinner. It's quite fancy and exquisite. The food, service, and ambience are incredible. I've been lucky enough to eat there twice already -- once on my honeymoon and once to celebrate our five-year wedding anniversary. It's definitely a restaurant reserved for very special occasions, but it is certainly one of my favorites!
Last time I was in Disney World I was pregnant, which meant I couldn't ride many of the thrill rides, so I'm excited to get to experience some of my favorite attractions again! In the Magic Kingdom, I enjoy Big Thunder Mountain Railroad because when I was a kid, I was afraid of roller coasters and that was the first one I rode -- now I'm hooked! I'm also looking forward to riding the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train with my oldest son, who is now tall enough to start to ride some "big kid" rides. It'll be fun to get to experience some new things with him for the first time.
At Epcot, Test Track and Spaceship Earth are two of my favorites. Spaceship Earth is a classic ride that I remember from my childhood and as an adult, I appreciate the history (and the restful time in cruising through air conditioning). I also like that you get to go inside "the big golf ball." Test Track is an attraction that was being built when I was a teenager and never got to experience back then. It was not until I returned as an adult that I got to experience it and I really like it!
In Hollywood Studios, Toy Story Mania, Rock N' Roller Coaster, and Tower of Terror are attractions that I always look forward to experiencing. Toy Story Mania is fun for all ages and I like that it's an interactive game, so it's different every time. As I mentioned before, I love roller coasters and Rock N' Roller Coaster is the only roller coaster at WDW that goes upside down. Tower of Terror is so immersive with the theming and thrills that I always enjoy it too!
Lastly, in the Animal Kingdom, the two attractions I'm looking forward to experiencing are Kilimanjaro Safaris and Expedition Everest. I love seeing the exotic animals in Kilimanjaro Safaris because Disney does an amazing job of keeping the animals safe, happy, and where they're supposed to be without any visible interference. There are no visible fences that keep animals out of trouble, so from the guest experience, it seems like you're in the African wilderness, but you're in central Florida. Expedition Everest is the first ride we rode with my six-year-old nephew on my first trip back to WDW as an adult. Despite the fact that none of the adults had experienced the ride before, we talked my nephew into riding. Needless to say, it's a fast-paced thrill ride, so he was a bit freaked out. I love the roller coaster, but he didn't at the time! During our May X trip, Animal Kingdom will be open in the evenings (a new offering), so we'll get to experience this park after dark, which will bring a new look to both the safari and Expedition Everest!