Kingston is completely obsessed with learning about ALL the countries around the world – their customs, languages, culture, food… He talks about it nonstop and is always looking at a map, atlas, or globe! So earlier this month we took him to Epcot for his 8th birthday. We knew he would love the World Showcase! When he was little we did annual passes for a year but quickly learned we aren’t annual pass people, and never even made it to Epcot that year. This trip turned out to be the best idea we’ve had in a long time though! We finally found an Almeida-approved Disney park! Epcot’s World Showcase doesn’t even open until 11:00am, so there’s none of this getting up with the sun to beat everyone to the park first! And the rides were all kinda lame, so we didn’t feel like we were missing out or needing to rush around from one thing to the next.
Kingston carried around his little passport (okay, Anderson carried it around in my leopard backpack that he wore all day like a true Disney dad) and got stamps from each country. Norway and Great Britain were his favs! Did you know they sell passports at the park? They look like the real deal, and there’s a spot in each “country” called Kidcot where someone signs and stamps the passport. Some of them wrote his name in their language or drew a cute picture for him too. This was definitely a highlight for King!
We had pizza for lunch in Italy, saw Santas from all over the world, listened to a British rock band, rode 3 rides, read EVERY SINGLE informative sign, and ate all the birthday treats! Our geography-obsessed birthday boy had the best day!
After walking over 10 miles around the park we wanted a relaxing hotel that still had plenty for Kingston to do, and the Hilton Orlando was the perfect spot! This was our first time staying at this property, and they gave us a suite with an adjoining room – so we had plenty of room to relax. It’s always nice having a suite when we travel with Kingston, because if we’re just in one room he stays up too late or we have to crash really early so he’ll sleep. He went to bed in his own room, and we stayed up and watched movies both nights. Win, win! And the beds were so comfortable! The number one way I judge a hotel is the beds. If everything else is great, but we don’t sleep well, no bueno. We aren’t going back! Ha! Hilton Orlando definitely passed that test though. The day after Epcot we all slept in until 9:00!
The property is located right off International Drive, next to the Convention Center, but it’s so big that we felt like we were hidden away from the busyness of Orlando. A winding water slide, 2 pools (one for adults only), lazy river, brand new splash pad, private cabanas, fire pits, and hot tubs meant entertainment was everywhere we looked.
And the hotel offers seven unique dining options, from full-service to quick grab-and-go style. We enjoyed the classic breakfast buffet, and fueled up before starting our days. (The Almeidas love a big breakfast buffet!) It came in especially handy on our Epcot day, because we had a lunch reservation at 2:00pm. I was like, “Load up on breakfast, people!” Lunch is in about 12 hours!” ha!
The customer service at Hilton Orlando was incredible. They found out it was Kingston’s birthday and left a card, balloons, and chocolate for him in our room one afternoon! He was pumped! Little details like that make me want to visit a hotel again and again. We’ve definitely found our official Orlando escape. The only downside to this weekend was that we only had one afternoon to enjoy the pool area, so we’re already planning another stay! Next time we probably won’t even do a park. We’ll just hang at the hotel all weekend, so we can really enjoy everything it has to offer. I’ll be in a private cabana if anyone needs me. 🙂