I’m not sure if many people read these year in review blogs, but I love them. I like seeing what other people/travellers were up to and it’s a nice way to look back on what you did each year.
2018 was by far one of the busiest and best years of my life. I started the new year literally in Walt Disney World. I celebrated by drinking cocktails in Hollywood Studios and watched the Epcot fireworks from the Boardwalk.
Travel Stats For 2018:
Hotels stayed in: 14
Hostels stayed in: 3
Countries lived in: 2
Countries Visited: 4
Nights slept in a tent: 11
Nights slept in a native hogan: 1
National Parks Visited: 6
States Visited: 10
Canadian Provinces Visited: 3
Flights Taken: 17
The first week of January I spent a night staying Club Level at the Grand Floridian, celebrating 6 months of working for the mouse with my arrival group. We stuffed our faces with scones and drank prosseco by the bottle.
Mid January saw me road tripping to some new states. I stayed at Disney’s Hilton Head Island Resort for 2 nights and we squeezed in a visit to Savannah, Georgia.
I finally finished off the month of January and started February with a four-day visit to Disneyland. We flew to Los Angeles on January 31st, and this was one of the highlights of my year in Orlando. Everything was perfect. We could be basic bitches together, wear matching spirit jerseys, be massive kids and it was great! My dream of staying at the Disneyland Hotel finally came true, and at 60% off and free entry into the parks, I’m so glad I managed to do it.
I returned home to Orlando for one entire day, then repacked and left again aboard the Disney Dream cruise for the Bahamas. The five days I spent aboard the ship were some of the best of this year. I returned to work talking about nothing but this cruise. I posted on Instagram for weeks after. There became a running joke at work where I’d constantly be asked “Did you go on cruise??” “Did you go to the Bahamas??” Why yes, yes I did!
This month I was also one of the lucky people chosen from my work location to go on a backstage tour of the ride “star tours” in Disney’s Hollywood Studios
In March I booked a spontaneous trip to Cancun to visit my friend Laura who was backpacking through central america. It was a short 4-day trip but it was amazing. Apart from the disgusting hostel from hell I stayed in, the place was incredible. I can’t wait to check out more of Mexico, and eat more of it’s wonderful food.
In April I stayed Club Level at Animal Kingdom Lodge and ate at Victoria & Alberts. At $350 per person, Victoria & Alberts is hands down the most I have ever spent on dinner. But, once again it was a once in a lifetime opportunity. And I’ll never do it again.
I then flew to Vegas, met my boyfriend and watched my sister get married as her Maid of Honour. This was my 6th visit to Las Vegas, and it was starting to get boring. I’ve partied here PLENTY of times, I’ve seen most of the clubs, I’ve gambled in tons of Casinos, I’ve been to the buffets etc. Matt and I aren’t too fond of the place anymore, so I booked us a tour to see the Grand Canyon. It was a good trip. I then took another 6 days off work to show Matt why Walt Disney World is the happiest place on earth and he is converted, even if he says he isn’t!
In May this year I stayed home in Orlando to try and gather at least some savings, and spend my last few weeks with friends who left the program a month before me. I did squeeze in a club level stay at the Wilderness Lodge. And finally got to attend the “Starlit Splash” party. Disney closes their Typhoon Lagoon water park in April and hosts an event for all international and college program participants.
In June, I said goodbye to some amazing girls, stayed at Disney’s Art of Animation, ate at California Grill and spent four days in New Orleans with my friend Hollie. It was an exhausting month but I regret nothing!
This was also the month I had the best graduation with Mickey and Minnie, and attended the Sunrise Yoga event for Cast Members, in front of Cinderella Castle. I got to test out the new rides at Toy Story land before the area officially opened to the public.
The end of June also saw me doing my last ever staycay while a Disney Cast Member. My roommate Sammy and I surprised our other two roommates by going halves on a stay in a Royal Princess room at New Orleans Riverside. Just like the headboard at the Disneyland Hotel, the headboards here twinkled in the same way.
I had my last ever Lasses/Happy Mondays and cried my eyes out dressed like an Hawaiian. Spent my last day at Universal Studios and celebrated my friend Lily’s birthday with a character breakfast at Tusker House.
July started with me celebrating Canada Day in Epcot, wishing I had spent it with Matt but I can say I will this year! On July 3rd I had my very last day working as a Disney Cast Member at the UK Pavilion. My year out in Orlando had flown by. It felt like just yesterday I was celebrating 6 months at the Grand Flo. But as I always told myself, I went all out, and did everything I wanted. Took every opportunity and enjoyed every moment.
I spent my last night in Walt Disney World watching the July 4th Fireworks at Magic Kingdom and crying hysterically. While I was going to miss this place, the thing I was going to miss most were my friends.
On July 5th, I said goodbye to my roommates, and left apartment 909 in Vista Way. It was the end of an Era. And even though there were many things I disliked about Disney Housing, I was really sad to be leaving. I flew to Los Angeles that day and stayed with my sister for a week.
On the drive to her apartment we passed Buena Vista Street, and I thought “Hey! this is where the Walt Disney Studios are!” and sure enough we passed it right after. My sister lives 5 minutes away from the studios. So my first day in Burbank I went for a visit as my cast ID was still active. I’d only ever dreamed about visiting the Walt Disney Studios, and here I was, walking around wherever I wanted. Here is where I said my final goodbyes to Disney.
That same week, I visited the Hollywood sign and almost passed out in the mountains. Good times.
After a week in Los Angeles, I flew back to Vegas yet again. I spent less than 24 hours here and that was all I needed. This is where I picked up my G Adventures tour. After being so anxious about doing my first ever guided tour by myself I had the most amazing two weeks and was sad to be leaving behind so many friends. My sister met me in San Francisco where we spent 3 nights exploring the city then flew back to Burbank.
I spent another 2 nights at my sisters apartment to pick up my extra luggage and then flew to Washington D.C.
In August I wrapped up my four days in Washington D.C. then spent two nights in Philadelphia and ended my time in the States on a bucket list high: New York City. New York was my top destination for as long as I can remember and I went all out in the city.
I said goodbye to my friend James and flew to Toronto. Spent four days in the city staying with my future-brother-in-law. Matt flew in shortly after and we made our way to his parents cottage on the lake. Here we spent 3 weeks paddle boarding, canoeing and… FISHING! I learnt to fish, and actually enjoyed it.
August was the month I finally got to see Niagara Falls! Horseshoe Falls is on the Canadian side, and the bigger half of Niagara Falls. We spent a couple hours here getting soaked in the mist.
The 1st of September we flew back to Vancouver and I moved back to Whistler. Within a couple of days I’d managed to find a job – yay!
This was the first year I spent my birthday in Canada – that’s three years in a row I’ve spent it somewhere new. We went to Vallea Lumina – a light show in the mountains. October was also the month I… GOT ENGAGED!! Under the mountains no less!
In November I became unemployed as my IEC visa expired (boo!) So what did I do? I traveled of course! I flew to Montreal to visit a friend before she moved back home with a day trip to Quebec City. Then spent a few more days in Toronto visiting more friends, and a week with my new in-laws visiting my wedding venue.
I celebrated my second Christmas here in Canada, and first as an engaged woman with my fiance. December was a quiet month, but I managed to squeeze in a visit to the Capilano Suspension Bridge.
Worst hotel stay:
Hostel Mundo Maya in Cancun was by far the worst place I ever stayed in my life. The entire room was filled with ants. I played a game I like to call “Is it an ant or just an itch?” It felt like they were crawling over me all night long. I mean, JUST LOOK AT IT. It wasn’t fun at the time but now I think about it, I cringe with laughter.
Best Hotel Stay
The Disneyland Hotel. The bed headboard sings goodnight to you, enough said? And it’s attached to Trader Sam’s!
Getting engaged was by far the best moment of 2018. I can’t wait for our wedding this coming August!
Best Travel Moment
This is a tough one. The four days I spent on the Disney Dream were some of the best, most relaxing I’ve had in a long time. But sleeping overnight in a Hogan inside Monument Valley was pretty awesome too.
Plans for 2019
I don’t know how 2019 is going to top 2018. I mean other than the fact that I’M GETTING MARRIED! In a forest, by the river!
Naturally my wedding is my main priority for this year, and all my funds will be focusing on this. My status here in Canada right now is in Limbo, so I don’t know if I’m coming or going.
Ideally I’d love to explore more of Canada. I’d love to finally hit up Banff, and go wine Tasting in the Okanagan Valley.
I’d love to do a cruise to Alaska, as there are tons that leave from Vancouver.
I plan on returning to the UK after 2 and a half years away. I really miss my cat – and my family! And if I return I’d like to try squeezing in a quick trip somewhere in Europe.
I think the best plan for this year is really no plan!
What would you like to achieve in 2019? What were your travel highlights of 2018?