Walt Disney World Vacation – Travel Back to Arizona

With our days at the parks over, it was unfortunately time to leave Walt Disney World and head back West. The plan for our final day was to relax, get some last-minute shopping and activities in, and maybe sample a few more sweets before we left. With the day’s events already planned out and our transportation to the airport secured, it was time to have a carefree day before we said goodbye to our Disney vacation.

Smiles. That is why I do this.
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Walt Disney World Vacation – Hollywood Studios

After the slight letdown that was our Day Three at Animal Kingdom, it was time to ramp the intensity back up at the final park of our trip: Hollywood Studios. Last time we were here, most of our day was spent on character experiences, which really was not an option this time around due to COVID protocols. This year, the girls were all about the thrill rides, so it was going to be less of a stroll through the park and more of using our time efficiently. But with Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and Toy Story Land ahead of us, we were all anticipating having a good time. Remember when I said that Magic Kingdom was going to be our best day? For once, I was happy to be wrong.

A Jedi can sometimes see into the future and I definitely picked the right shirt for the occasion… just saying.
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Walt Disney World Vacation – Animal Kingdom

After coming off of our best day so far on our vacation, we were headed into our third day at the parks and would be visiting Animal Kingdom. It was bound to be a little bit of a drop in excitement compared to the Magic Kingdom, but none of us were prepared at how far that drop would be. But we kept our heads held high and tried to make the best out of it.

And even before Encanto hit Disney Plus, they were already in love.
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Walt Disney World Vacation – Magic Kingdom

After taking a warm-up lap in EPCOT, it was time to set the pace for the entire vacation by heading to the Magic Kingdom (I swear, this whole post is not going to be full of running metaphors, as writing this is going to be a marathon, not a sprint). This was the main event during our last trip to Walt Disney World (WDW) and we were anticipating it was going to be the same this time around. The girls, the grandparents, and I were all pretty pumped and nothing was going to stop us from getting our vacation back on track and enjoying the heck out of the park. Magic Kingdom and the best day of our entire vacation? Yeah, this is going to be a long post…

A dozen pictures at this location and this was the only one where Gabriella even remotely smiled
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Walt Disney World Vacation – EPCOT

After our terrible travel day and a half day enjoying the resort, we tried to right the ship during the first park visit of our vacation. After a full night’s sleep and a morning of going over the day’s initial plan, we were ready to go to EPCOT to get our Walt Disney World (WDW) Christmas vacation back on track.

Papa was very disappointed that the “EPCOT Ball” was not a golfing simulator
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Walt Disney World Vacation – Travel to Orlando

For our vacation this year, we decided on going to Walt Disney World (WDW) for Christmas. The girls have been very excited about the prospect of going back for a while now, but last year was just a little too hectic for everyone to try to squeeze it in. Since we were not going to visit any of my family for Christmas and my Mom is a Disney fanatic, Grandma and Papa decided to join us on our vacation. At the time we planned and booked the trip, the Delta variant was subsiding and the WDW parks were still limited to around 70% capacity, so it seemed like the perfect time to try to get in a family Christmas Vacation in with Mickey and Minnie Mouse in Florida.

Same Disney Bags, New Disney Adventure
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Walt Disney World – Return Trip

While our time visiting the Walt Disney World (WDW) parks was over, we still had a half-day at the resort and then the flight home.  As I stated before, I wish I had planned for a day in the middle of our vacation to just enjoy the resort, so we spent the last day at WDW trying to squeeze in as much fun as possible.  While tired yet happy, we just did not want our vacation to end until we arrived back at our house.

All packed up and ready to go!
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Walt Disney World – Day Four (Magic Kingdom)

So we finally made it to Day Four of our Walt Disney World (WDW) vacation (thanks for sticking with us), with the Magic Kingdom batting cleanup.  This was definitely the grand finale, as the girls were not only going to meet their favorite Disney princesses in their respective dresses, but also dine at Cinderella’s Royal Table in her castle (which the girls labelled, “The Princess Dinner,” even though it was technically for lunch).  This was set-up as our best day of the trip and it did not disappoint in the least.

True Story: It took them ten minutes to sit still for this picture.
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Walt Disney World – Day Three (Animal Kingdom)

With two parks down and two to go, our Walt Disney World (WDW) vacation was halfway over.  But it was far from the end and we were going to keep up the pace until  we got on the flight home.  Day Three was Gabriella’s pick and she chose to go to Disney’s Animal Kingdom.  She is a huge animal lover and her perfect day back home is going to either the Reid Park Zoo in Tucson or the OdySea Aquarium in Scottsdale (at age three, without any pressure or influence from me, she wants to be either a veterinarian or a dolphin trainer).

Grab your popcorn and get your paint on.  The post is about to begin.
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Walt Disney World – Day Two (Hollywood Studios)

With one full day already in the books, the Calkins Family decided that Hollywood Studios was going to be the next park at Walt Disney World (WDW) that we were going to attend (which we actually decided weeks before so that we could lock in our FastPasses).  While the girls were extremely excited about the prospect of seeing Woody and Buzz Lightyear, I was looking forward to seeing if Gabriella grew in the past week (or if the sign was a tad short) so that she could ride Star Tours.  Either way, this was going to be another amazing day on our family vacation.

Or as Dad calls it, “The Star Wars Park.”
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