Disney Planning: Epcot

So, it’s 2:00 am and I can’t sleep so I figured since I didn’t get to post yesterday, I’d start today’s post early!  Today we are going to talk about the last major park – Epcot. (Disney does have water parks, but we won’t be discussing them in this blog).  Going back to my favorite here we will be looking at the easy WDW Epcot touring map.

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Like I suggested with Magic Kingdom, if you have the time, I would suggest Epcot over a two day time span.  This will really give you the opportunity to focus on rides, and to focus on exploring the countries!  Okay, now down to business!

Red rides (as I’m sure you know by now) are done during the first hour, or using a fastpass at a later time. For these we have:

  • Test Track
  • Soarin

Test Track

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This ride is unique in that it is a ride that “test drives” a car.  This car is tested on weather, speed, handling, etc., and is about a mile long.  This also has interactive fun before and after the ride where you can create your own virtual car and then see how it preforms on tests, make a commercial for your car, and even drive it through a virtual landscape. Pretty cool, right?!

Soarin’

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Soarin’ takes you on a virtual hand gliding adventure through California! It’s been extremely popular since opening (I’m sure you can see why), and even has games that can be played while waiting in line!  Both Soarin’ and Test Track have height restrictions: Riders must be 40 inches or taller.

Now onto our yellow rides! These are best completed within the first/last two hours the park is open (or with a fastpass).  These include:

  • Spaceship Earth
  • Character Spot
  • Turtle Talk
  • Sum of All Thrills
  • Mission:SPACE

Spaceship Earth

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Located inside the “Epcot Ball”, this is probably one of the most well known, and well loved Disney rides.  Take a journey through human history, and then end in the future! After your ride through the past, you will end up in an interactive play area!  This play area offers various experiences such as: building a 3D human body, a driving simulation, and learning how to manage power in a city.  All of the activities introduce important educational concepts, in a super fun way!  This is one of my all time favorite places to go!

Character Spot

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Character Spot is essentially the spot in Disney where you are sure to find Mickey, Minnie, and Goofy! As these characters can see long wait times, it is suggested to get them out of the way early.   Aside from our typical Disney friends, you can also meet Baymax here! I’m super excited to see him myself!

Turtle Talk

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Turtle Talk with Crush is interactive, and creates a different experience for everyone.  This is your chance to talk to Crush in a 15 minute conversation.  You can ask him anything about his life, his friends, or even marine biology!  This is completely unscripted, which makes it much more unique and enjoyable for everyone in your family.

Sum of all Thrills

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Sum of all Thrills is located in Innoventions.  Innoventions has 3 interactive experiences including Stormstuck, where you get caught in a storm and then build a storm safety kit for your family, Colortopia, where you can color, create your own hues, and learn how colors impact daily life, and finally  Sum of all Thrills, which allows you to engineer your own thrill ride and then ride it in a 4D simulation!

Mission: SPACE

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Mission: SPACE gives you an authentic NASA training experience! What’s cooler than that? It’s a simulation ride where you must navigate through space! This ride offers two options: The Orange Team which is a more intense ride. Orange Team spins and tilts to simulate G-forces when entering and leaving the Earth.  Green Team is less intense, and is just a motion simulation ride.  Both very awesome experiences, but if you are unsure, stick with the Green Team!

Now we move on to our anytime attractions:

  • Ellen’s Energy Adventure
  • The Seas with Nemo and Friends
  • Journey into the Imagination with Figment
  • Circle of Life
  • Living with the Land
  • Frozen Ever After*

Ellen’s Energy Adventure

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In this ride, you will learn about the history  and future of energy sources with Ellen and Bill Nye! You’ll go back to when Dinosaurs roamed the earth, and at the end you’ll have a show down to see how much you’ve learned about energy!

The Seas with Nemo and Friends

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Board the “clamobile” and help find Nemo! This ride takes you under the seas through coral reefs, and running from big angler fish! The fun’s not over when the ride ends.  Afterwards, enjoy the huge aquarium at your leisure!

Journey into the Imagination with Figment

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In this ride, you will journey through sensory labs to learn all about the 5 senses!

Circle of Life

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Walking around all day gets exhausting. Relax a little with this 20 minute short film about conservation efforts as explained by our favorite Lion King characters.

Living with the Land

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This is a ride depicting the future of food production! Like all the food you see? No problem! You can actually try these foods at Sunshine Seasons or Garden Grill Restaurant!

Frozen Ever After*

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In this new ride, opening sometime this summer (2016), you will get on a Norwegian vessel and travel through Arendelle! I don’t have too much information on this as it hasn’t opened yet.  If you happen to go this summer, let us know how it is!

Aside from these, there are a few little rides an attractions scattered throughout the countries, but as they aren’t extremely popular, I didn’t include them here.  If you are interested in information about them look through Epcot’s website here.

Epcot also offers a pretty decent amount of character meets:

  • Aladdin & Jasmine
  • Belle
  • Alice
  • Daisy & Donald
  • Mickey & Minnie
  • Goofy & Pluto
  • Mary Poppins
  • Mulan
  • Snow White
  • Frozen characters may also soon be available sometime this summer.

Like the other parks, Epcot also offers a night time show.  This show, called IllumiNations is a light show over the water that focuses on the story of Earth.

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LIGHT THE NIGHT Spectacular fireworks customized to a symphonic score burst above Epcot’s World Showcase Lagoon during IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth. Lasers, a revolving Earth Globe and leaping flames co-star in this 13-minute spectacle. IllumiNations is the nightly finale at Epcot at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (Computer-generated image). (Copyright 2001. THE WALT DISNEY COMPANY.)

I hope you enjoyed the last few days talking parks with me! Stayed tuned for what we have coming up tomorrow! 😉

**All pictures are property of Walt Disney World, and it’s affiliates.**

 

 

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Disney Planning: Hollywood Studios

Today we are going to discuss Hollywood Studios.  Funny story actually, when I was talking to my mother about the trip and I mentioned HS, she had no idea what I was talking about. The last time my parents were there was in about 1997, and it was called MGM at that point in time. Hollywood Studios definitely makes sense for this park, and if you’ve never been there you’re about to see why.

So again we are going to use an Easy WDW map because the color coding makes things much easier to explain.  Remember to get more information about planning your trip around these map suggestions you can visit the site directly at easy WDW.

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Just as our previous two maps, red attractions are to be done in the first hour, or of course, use a fastpass. It is important to mention that Hollywood Studios uses a tiered system when it comes to fastpass use. You can pick ONE tier 1 attraction and TWO tier 2 attractions for your initial selections:

Tier One :

  1. Toy Story Mania
  2. Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster
  3. Fantasmic
  4. The Great Movie Ride
  5. Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage

Tier Two :

  1. Tower of Terror
  2. Voyage of the Little Mermaid
  3. Star Tours
  4. Frozen Sing-Along
  5. Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular
  6. Disney Jr. Live on Stage
  7. Muppet Vision 3D
  8. Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show

Attractions to hit within the first hour (without fastpass use):

  • Rock n’ Roller Coaster
  • Tower of Terror
  • Toy Story Mania
  • Jedi Training Sign up

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Jedi Training sign up occurs as soon as the park opens. It has limited availability and is first come first served so if this is something your young one may want to take part it, I’d stop there first.  Jedi Training is only open to those from ages 4-12.  You may sign up for a show time, and return 30 minutes prior to that show.  Kids will get to learn how to yield lightsabers, and even get to confront Darth Vader! Pretty cool for a young Star Wars fan!

Toy Story Mania allows you to play 5 interactive games with your favorite Toy Story characters! It’s 4-D so you may get blasted with air/water!  I supplied a little video from a Disney commercial because it’s cute.

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Tower of Terror is a thrill ride based on the T.V. series the Twilight Zone. Travel into the unknown, and then plummet 13 stories.  Definitely a must do for thrill seekers!

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Rock n’ Roller Coaster is another great one for thrill seekers! Anyone who has been to Disney knows what this ride is all about – Aerosmith songs and taking off at 60 mph – so hold on to your hats my friends!

As far as attractions to hit within the first/last two hours of operation we only have two:

  • The Great Movie Ride
  • Star Wars 3D

For the most part, the reason The Great Movie Ride is here is because it takes about 22 minutes to go through the whole ride. So wait times can get a bit long for this one.  If traveling through various movies is something you’re in to, I’d suggest hitting this one early, or grabbing a fastpass!

All other attractions are listed as “anytime” attractions:

*You may notice I didn’t include Lights, Motors, Action! in this line-up. That’s because as of today (April 2, 2016) this ride is permanently closed. I’m sure to make room for something bigger and better!*

  • Beauty and the Beast live on stage
  • Indiana Jones
  • Frozen Sing-along
  • Muppet Vision 3D
  • One Man’s Dream
  • Little Mermaid
  • Disney Jr. Live on stage
  • Star wars Launch Bay

Beauty and the Beast Live on stage

This is a 25 minute live show of Beauty and the Beast. While there is fastpass available for this show, it’s not necessary. Arrive a few minutes before the next showtime, and you should be good to go! The theater sits about 1,500 people so wait times are usually not an issue.

Indiana Jones

This is a 30 minute stunt show that reenacts popular Indiana Jones movie scenes! They even explain how to stage fight, fall, and other interesting stunt facts!  Adults can raise their hands to volunteer as extra’s during the show, too!

Frozen Sing-along

This is also a 30 minute show that retells the story of Anna and Elsa. Of course, all of the iconic Frozen songs come to life during the show.  Great for any Frozen enthusiast. As you can imagine, this one is quite popular. If you were going to use a fastpass for a show, this would be a good one to use it for as your initial selection (adding as a 4th selection later may be difficult).

Muppet Vision 3D

While this is a 3D muppet show, there are also kid friendly 4D effects as well such as being splashed with a little water or being tickled by soft fur. This show is based on the popular  Muppet Show created by Jim Hensen.  It’s a great interactive experience, and one of the reasons it’s a go-to for me!

One Man’s Dream

This is a gallery walk-through with artifacts from walt Disney himself, along with behind the scenes information! When you finish your walk-through there is a 15 minute video about Walt’s life.  This video area also plays sneak peeks of new movies, so pay attention!

Voyage of the Little Mermaid

The Little Mermaid is a 17 minute long live show of the Little Mermaid.  It includes puppets, live performers, and movie clips.  This is on our “must-do” list as we have a mermaid lover in our family.  From what I’ve read, this theater is also on the small side, so if you can, a fastpass might be a good idea.

Disney Jr. Live on Stage

Disney Junior’s on stage show is about 24 minutes, and features Sofia the First, Doc McStuffins, Jake and the Neverland Pirates, and of course the characters from Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.  If you have a little one with you, this is definitely something they are sure to love!

Star Wars Launch Bay

This is a gallery type attraction featuring exhibits dealing the the Star Wars saga. You can see replica props, learn facts, meet characters, and watch a 1o minute behind-the-scenes video!

 

Not enough star studded fun? No worries, you can meet them!

  • Kylo Ren
  • Mickey Mouse
  • Buzz & Woody
  • Mike & Sulley
  • Chewbacca
  • Sofia the First
  • Doc McStuffins
  • Jake
  • Donald & Daisy

Kid’s jumping all over needing to expel some excess energy?  No fears, Disney’s got you covered with the Honey, I shrunk the Kid’s playground!  Everything is extra large, to make you feel small. I even loved this in high school. It’s so cool!  Your kids are bound to lover running around in this larger-than-live playground!

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Looking for some night time fun?  Hollywood studios is on it! They have nightly Star Wars inspired fireworks displays, and then there is the Fantasmic show!

I didn’t mention Fantasmic earlier because this falls into a category of it’s own.  This show is offered anywhere between 1 to 3 times in a night (3x is reserved for extremely high crowds), on select nights.  This is a 30 minute long light and water show.  Mickey Mouse stars as the sorcerers apprentice, and brings many of our beloved characters to life (and maybe some we don’t love so much)! This show is amazing, and I saw it a few years ago! If you prefer to have preferred seating you can do a Fantasmic! Dining Package for dinner and a show! Find more information here.

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As always, see you next time! Please feel free to leave questions and comments!

**All pictures are property of Walt Disney World, and it’s affiliates.**

Disney Planning: Animal Kingdom

I know many people still skip Animal Kingdom, or use it as a half day park, BUT Disney is continuing to expand this park and it is becoming closer to a full day adventure. Personally, if you paid for the tickets you might as well enjoy the full experience.  Not everything in Animal Kingdom is ride affiliated, but there are plenty of other great experiences available!

Using the easy WDW map for planning we get this:

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Just as last time with the Magic Kingdom map, we have red attractions within the first hour (or with a fast pass at a later time)

  1. Kilimanjaro Safaris
  2. Expedition Everest

     

     

Yellow attractions should be done within the first or last two hours the park is open (or use a fastpass).

  1. Kali River Rapids (do this early if it’s hot, otherwise save for later)
  2. Dinosaur (dark and can be scary for small children)
  3. Finding Nemo the Musical (running time is 40min)
  4. Adventurers Outpost (Meet and greet with Minnie and Mickey)
  5. Primeval Whirl
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Kali River Rapids

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Dinosaur

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Finding Nemo the Musical

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Primeval Whirl

 

Now we are onto the “anytime” attractions!

  1. Festival of the Lion King
  2. Tree of Life – It’s Tough to be a Bug
  3. The Boneyard
  4. Wilderness Explorers
  5. Flights of Wonder
  6. Jungle Trek
  7. Forest Trail
  8. Express Train
  9. Conservation Station
  10. Habitat Habit
  11. Affection Section

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Because so many people bypass this awesome park, I’d like to explain each attraction a little more in detail than I did with the Magic Kingdom. Especially because a lot of these attractions are more interactive.

Festival of the Lion King

This is basically a 30 minute broadway show of the Lion King. There are songs from the movie, and there are points where you are asked to make animal noises.  It’s fun for the whole family!

It’s Tough to be a Bug

This was my favorite part about Animal Kingdom the last time I went. It’s a 3D  film and live show about how to survive as a bug! It’s interactive, and very fun! There is the possibility that very young children may be frightened during certain parts of the show, so use your discretion!

The Boneyard

The Boneyard is a Dinosaur inspired playground for kids.  There is a dig site, maze, covered slides, and plenty of things to climb on! It’s great fun for everyone (even adults!).  However, there is scheduled construction for The Boneyard set to take place in the fall sometime (if I remember correctly).  Check the site here about more information for when you plan to visit!

Wilderness Explorers

Now this, is pretty cool for younger kids! There are over 30 badges to collect (in order to get them all you would need multiple trips to Animal Kingdom, Disney isn’t that dumb hehe). To get badges you must complete different wilderness tasks, such as checking off each animal you see, learn how to play an African drum, or help diagnose a sea turtle’s health issue! To get started, simply stop by any of the 3 Wilderness Explorers stops to receive your guide, and then go have some fun!

Flights of Wonder

This is a 25 minute bird show where you will be introduced to some astounding bird species! They will show off their talents for you, and you will learn about each bird and the current conservation efforts for that species. It’s fun and educational!

Jungle Trek

The Maharajah Jungle Trek is a self guided tour through Southeast “Asia”. You will follow the trail to various animals including tigers, water buffalo, and fruit bats. There will be “observation stations” where you can take photos of the animals, and learn more about them.

Forest Trail

The Pangani Forest Exploration trail takes you to Africa where you will encounter some amazing animals friends including hippos and gorillas! This is also a self guided tour which allows you to learn more about the animals you see, AND how Disney is actively working to preserve their habitats.

Express Train

The express train is the only way to Rafiki’s Planet Watch which includes the affection section, conservation station, and habitat habit.

Affection Section

The affection section is basically a petting zoo. You can big goats, sheep, pigs, donkeys, and cows. Everyone loves to love on some cute animals! Don’t worry, there are hand washing sinks for before and after touching the animals!

Conservation Station

The conservation station promotes conservation awareness in an interactive and fun way for everyone.  There are 10 areas in the conservation station including a 3D audio adventure with grandma Willow, animals encounters stage that features a rotating list of animals to meet, and a science center ! For the complete list of areas visit the conservation station website.

Habitat Habit

This is another self guided path, but this one gives tips on how to help with conservation efforts! It’s a beautiful walking path, and home to tamarin monkeys!

 

Animal Kingdom also has a decent list of Characters to meet:

  • Baloo & King Louie
  • Pocahontas
  • Flik
  • Russel and Doug
  • Rafiki
  • Goofy and Pluto
  • Minnie and Mickey
  • Tarzan
  • Donald
  • Chip and Dale

AND EXCITING NEWS! Most people were not staying in Animal Kingdom all day because there was nothing to keep them there at night, but not for long! Animal Kingdom will reveal it’s own night show! Starting April 22, 2016 there will be a nightly water light show, as well as the Tree of Life lighting up at various times! So stick around and enjoy the show!

*For more information about the Animal Kingdom visit here.

** All pictures are property of Disney and it’s affiliates.

Disney Planning: Magic Kingdom

Hello friends! Sorry for the few days off, visiting family gets kind of busy and exhausting 😉 Anyway, I was going to talk about all of the Disney parks in ONE post, but I figured I could give you more information about each park if we discussed them separately. So we are going to start with my favorite park: Magic Kingdom.

Magic Kingdom has the MOST available fastpass attractions with about 60 total options.  Honestly, Magic Kingdom is a two day park if you have the time to do it that way, but not to worry you can totally make it a one day trip (you’ll just have to skip a few things).  After posting my last entry I found that the easy WDW site had fantastic park touring cheat sheets.  They have options that vary based on how many days you’ll be visiting the park, and what time you plan on arriving. VERY helpful so definitely check it out.  They created the map below to help you determine which rides to go for first (and which ones are best to use with a fastpass):

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Red rides indicate ones you should get to within the first hour the park is open (or use a fastpass after that time frame).  These rides include:

  • Space Mountain
  • Indy Speedway
  • Mine Train
  • Peter Pan
  • Princess Meet (Anna & Elsa or Rapunzel & Cinderella)

Yellow attractions indicate ones you should get to within the first two hours the park is open, or the last two hours the park is open (or of course use a fastpass option):

  • It’s a small world
  • Haunted Mansion
  • Winnie the Pooh
  • Enchanted Tales with Belle
  • Journey of the Little Mermaid
  • Ariel’s Grotto
  • Dumbo
  • Buzz Lightyear
  • Mickey Mouse Meet
  • Tinker Bell Meet
  • Pirates of the Caribbean
  • Jungle Cruise
  • Aladdin’s Carpets
  • Splash Mountain
  • Big Thunder Mountain
  • Haunted Mansion

The other attractions listed in green are what they referred to as “anytime” attractions.  Usually these attractions have smaller lines so using a fastpass would be silly.  These attractions are suggested in between fastpass times:

  • Hall of Presidents
  • Mickey’s PhilharMagic
  • Regal Carrousel
  • Tea Party
  • Pete’s Silly Slideshow
  • Stitch’s Great Escape
  • Carousel of Progress
  • Monster’s Inc Laugh Floor
  • Swiss Family Treehouse
  • Tiki Room
  • Country Bears

Magic Kingdom, like the other Disney Parks offers “extra magic hours” about once a week. Extra magic hours can be before the park officially opens, or after the park officially closes. Extra hours is usually a two hour time span.  For instance, say that the park closes at 8pm on a Wednesday night. If they are offering extra magic hours, certain attractions will stay running until 10pm that night.  It’s a pretty cool so make sure you check which park is offering extra magic hours during your stay!

This park also offers the most character meets, and is probably why I think it has the most “magical”.  These characters include:

  • Anna and Elsa
  • Rapunzel and Cinderella
  • Alice
  • Chip and Dale
  • Tinkerbell
  • Buzz Lightyear
  • Ariel
  • Aladdin and Jasmine
  • Donald and Daisy
  • Mickey and Minnie
  • Goofy
  • Pluto
  • Gaston
  • The Beast (only during dinner dining at Be Our Guest)
  • Merida
  • Peter Pan
  • Tiana
  • Pooh and Tigger
  • Woody and Jessie

Want more?! On top of THOSE characters that you can meet in the park you can also meet characters while you eat if you choose to do character dining ! Character dining is available at Cinderella’s Table and The Crystal Palace.

Cinderella’s Table allows you to meet many of the princesses without waiting in long lines. Which princesses you’ll see vary, but it is usually some variation of Ariel, Jasmine, Aurora, Cinderella, Snow White, Belle, and Rapunzel. (So yes if you really want to meet Anna and Elsa I recommend a fastpass for their meet and greet!)

The Crystal Palace allows you to meet Winnie Pooh and friends while you eat!  We personally aren’t doing this because Hailey doesn’t like Winnie the Pooh, but otherwise it is a wonderful dining option!

Again, I feel it is important to note that while dinner at Be Our Guest is not labeled ‘character dining’ it is the only place to meet the Beast!

Below I have added a slideshow of various attractions ! Until next time!

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(All photographs are property of Disney and its affiliates).

*For a list of all attractions, entertainment, and dining in Magic Kingdom visit Magic Kingdom’s Website.*

 

Disney Planning: Magicbands & Fastpass+

Hello again! I started this blog post earlier in the day after getting some last minute shopping done (since my daughter decided to wear her Easter shoes before Easter and completely destroy them lol).   However, my dad isn’t too computer savvy , and after I walked away he went on the computer.  In his mind, in order to use the computer himself he needs to close out every open tab, and just start over. It’s too funny to actually be mad about. So I’m gonna try this again!

Today we are going to talk about magicbands and fastpasses!  I considered not touching on this as a blog post, but I was a little overwhelmed and confused by the information about them when I first starting planning our vacation so I figured it might be worth mentioning.

Magicbands

Magicbands are an all-in-one kind of thing that is exclusively for those staying in a Disney resort!  After booking your Disney vacation, you can create a My Disney Experience Account.  This will allow you to choose the color of your magicbands, and link all of your information to them. 

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Magicbands and basic color choice are free of charge, and will be sent to your home before you leave for your trip.  You can, of course, pay to make them extra special by choosing patterns instead of solid colors OR charms! (shown below) In order to get these cool skins and charms on the Disney Store website.

So what exactly does your magicband DO?  Well, are you sick of always having to have a keycard for your room, tickets for the parks, and tickets for your meals?  Always afraid you’re going to lose one of them?  Fear no more! All of this information is IN your magicband. Charges can also be made to the magicband, but only when staying at a Disney resort and when a credit card is presented at the hotel during check-in (the magicband charges will be charged to your resort account). It opens your resort room, it’s your park ticket, AND it holds your meal plan.  You can ALSO save your fastpass selections on your magicband!  All-in-all it’s a pretty cool service.  While these are given to Disney resort customers, anyone can order them through the Disney store and collect them all!

FastPass+

So what is the deal with fastpasses? You can reserve time to visit attractions, entertainment, and character experiences.  When you reserve a time you have an entire hour to arrive. For example,let’s say you make a fastpass selection to meet Tiana at 3pm.  You have from 3pm-4pm to arrive for that experience.   You can even arrange for special viewing areas during select shows.  Fastpass selections can be made up to 60days before check-in if you’re staying in a Disney resort.   You can only make 3 fastpass selections in advance for each day.  After you redeem the first three, you can make another 3 selections at fastpass stations located around the parks! 

There are definitely tricks to getting the most out of the fastpass experience. For the BEST information on how to do this, and suggested times and plans for park attractions I highly suggest touringplans.com

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Come back tomorrow! I’ll be writing about each Disney park !

Disney Planning: Extras

I’m writing this a little later than I would have liked to, but being home with family and friends always means running around to see everyone! I do enjoy seeing all of my loved ones, but it’s nice to sit down and relax after a busy day! So today I thought we could discuss Disney extra’s!  Just those things that can make your tip that much more magical!

I did want to start off by stating (because I forgot to in my last post) that most table service restaurants take reservations 180 days in advance, and is HIGHLY suggested for places like Cinderella’s Castle.  My advice is if you’d rather not wait in line forever, and if you really have your heart set on certain restaurants that you make a reservation in advance.

Now that we have that out of the way, let’s talk magical moments! We will be discussing the following ideas:

  1. In-room celebrations
  2. Dining extras
  3. Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique
  4. Tinkerbell gifts

 

In-Room Celebrations

In-room celebrations are offered to any party staying in a Disney Resort through Disney Floral and Gifts.  These celebrations vary in theme and include welcome, birthday, Christmas, Halloween, Princess, Pirate, and Frozen celebrations.  Basically what happens is you can pick an in-room celebration on their website (or by calling them directly) and a staff member will deliver your celebration to your resort and DECORATE YOUR ROOM for when you return.  This really adds that special touch of magic for little ones.  Prices vary and range from reasonable to extravagant!  Check out the site for yourself, they have some pretty cool things. You can even design your own celebration package!

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Dining Extras

Want to spice things up at dinner for a loved ones birthday or anniversary?  Don’t fret, Disney has thought of that, too.  You can go back to Disney Floral and Gifts and order celebrations to your restaurant ! For example, since we plan on having Hailey’s birthday dinner at Cinderella’s Table we were looking into their princess packages that can be delivered.

They offer My Disney Fairy Tale Proclamation for $285.95

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My Storybook Moment for $143.95

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and Her Royal Highness Package for $110

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I emailed them concerning these packages, and I feel it is also good to know you can also order things separately.  I was told you can just have balloons, or a Tiara waiting for them if you wish!  I think this is awesome because it allows you to add extra magic without breaking the bank.  In order to do something outside the packages shown on the Disney Floral and Gifts sight, you would need to call them!

** It is important to note that these prices do not include taxes or gratuity**

You can find more information on these packages here.

Certain restaurants and resorts also allow you to order cakes that can be delivered to the location you desire.  For the list of all cakes available and at which locations you can find more information here.

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Example of 1-2 person cake

 

Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique

One of the coolest things I found was this princess dress up boutique!  It has two locations in Disney World : One in Magic Kingdom inside Cinderella’s Castle, and one in Disney Springs (formerly downtown Disney).   This boutique allows your child (ages 3-12) have a complete princess makeover.  There are various package options that steadily increase in price.  Planning for a little man? No worries! You can do Knight and Pirate makeovers, too! Learn more about what’s included in each package by visiting the boutique’s website here.

 

Tinker Bell Gifts

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Tinker Bell gifts are a parent made creation! I can’t seem to find where the idea originated from, but the idea is pretty simple: Stock up on Disney memorabilia before arriving in order to save money, and make the trip extra special!  Why are they called Tinkerbell gifts?  Because the fairy leaves them, of course! From what I could find, you are to leave a gift containing those things you’ll need for the days adventures for the kids to find in the morning! I love this idea!

Ideas for  things to include in Tinkerbell gifts include:

  • Poncho/raincoat
  • Mouse ears
  • Glowsticks/light up wand
  • sunglasses
  • bathing suit
  • autograph book
  • hat
  • P.J.’s
  • Disney Clothing
  • Pins
  • Lanyard
  • Snacks
  • Toys

And that’s about all I have for tonight! Stay tuned for tomorrow when we discuss fastpass+ and magicbands!

*All Disney Photos are compliments of Walt Disney World website or affiliated pages.*

Disney Planning: Meals

Good morning!  Today is a great day. It’s beautiful outside, and I get to surprise my family by coming home to visit 2 days early! (Shhhhh don’t tell!)  So I figured before I finish packing and cleaning the car (bc I don’t really feel like it) , I would post today’s Disney planning blog!

Today we are going to talk about meals and restaurants in Disney.  I’m sure it comes as no surprise that eating in the parks is expensive.  There are plenty of blogs that focus on spending the least, and let it be known that you can bring snacks and things into the park with you, HOWEVER, being that Hailey is an only child I really wanted to make the experience big.  Each time I have gone to Disney I was never able to do character dining or any other “extra magical” thing, and so I really wanted to make that a priority for her.

Disney has a few meal plans you can choose from (each comes with a refillable mug):

  1. Quick service plan – this includes 2 quick service meals for each day of your visit and 1 snack.
  2. Regular dining plan – this includes 1 table service, 1 quick service, and 1 snack for each day of your stay.
  3. Deluxe dining plan – includes 3 credits that can be used on either table service or quick service and 2 snack credits.

So what do you get ?

  • Quick service meals come with entree, non-alcoholic beverage,and dessert (except at breakfast).  Quick service meals are valued at about $18.
  • Table service meals include the same as quick service meals (unless you have a deluxe plan. The deluxe plan also includes an appetizer.) Table service meals are valued at about $37.
  • Snacks are basically anything below $5 such as bottled water, ice cream, and baked goods.

For more detailed information about what qualifies as quick service, table service, and snacks I would suggest the following links:

WDW Prepschool

2016 Dining Plan

I chose the Regular dining plan because I feel like that gives us more than enough meals in the parks.  The best way to utilize the meal plan is to spend more than the estimated value I listed above.  (The link of WDW prepschool does a good job of explaining that).  Based on this idea is how I decided which restaurants we would visit when in each park.

Magic Kingdom (we will spend 2 days in)

  • Quick Service credit at Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe
  • Table Service Credit at Be Our Guest (meet the Beast)
  • Quick Service credit Columbia Harbour House
  • Table Service credit Cinderella’s Table (Cinderella’s table is princess character dining. This fine dining establishment requires you to use TWO table service credits per person.  This is not the best way to use your credits, but this is where we have decided to eat for her birthday dinner.)

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Hollywood Studios

  • Quick Service credit at ABC commissary
  • Table Service credit at 50’s Prime Time Cafe

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Animal Kingdom

  • Quick service credit at Restaurantosaurus
  • Table Service credit at Rainforest Cafe (I know this is a chain, but the decor is very cool especially for young kids.)

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Epcot

  • Quick Service credit at Liberty Inn (there is no preview photo)
  • Table Service at Coral Reef
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Coral Reef

For more information about park restaurants, AND their menus simply go here.

Disney Planning: Step 1

Disney planning is a lot of work, in my opinion, but I also tend to be a stickler for details with this kind of thing.  How did I even start planning?  Funny story: Kurt randomly stated one evening that we should take the little one to Disney sometime within the next few years while she is still in her “princess” phase.  I agreed, and the idea soon began to consume me.  So, I went online and started looking at pricing and all of that fun stuff.  I messaged a friend who had recently done a Disney trip as well, and she sent me a bunch of information.  After looking over everything for a few days, I called a travel agency and booked everything while Kurt was at work (cause I’m sneaky).  Now I am planning for a Disney vacation in October! Yay!

What to do first:

  1. I would definitely suggest looking up deals and packages for the time you will be attending.  Since I booked so far in advance, Disney had not yet sent out any discounts for the fall, but I was too excited to wait. 😉
  2. Call different travel agencies! A lot of times they can get you great package deals, and instead of paying everything up front you can make payments.
  3. Definitely decide WHEN to go. You can find the estimated size of the crowd for each day of the month, and plan around then.  Obviously the busiest times are the summer and holidays. Here is the crowd calendar for 2016:
    As found on WDWprepschool.com

    As found on WDWprepschool.com

    (Walt Disney World Prep School has some GREAT resources so I highly suggest checking them out.)

  4. After deciding all of that, decide which parks you will go to on what days and make any dinner reservations you may need (I HIGHLY suggest this, especially for character dining).

 

So what did I decide on?  I booked our trip through our local AAA agency.  Our package includes 7 day tickets, 7 day 6 night stay in a Disney resort, and a Dining Plus package.  Our total came to $2977.  There are definitely CHEAPER ways to go about this, but I didn’t feel that was a bad price for how long we are staying, and I was high on the adrenaline of actually booking the trip!

Disney resorts are more expensive, and you CAN stay OUTSIDE the park in a cheaper hotel, but Disney Resorts give you added perks that I didn’t feel like trading for a few bucks.  Disney Resorts themselves vary in price, and some of them can get very expensive.  Most of my friends had stayed in what Disney refers to as “value resorts” such as Pop Century or All Star Music.  I decided on the Art of Animation Resort (which is still a ‘value resort’, but can be just a little bit more expensive than the other value resorts).   Why is the Art of Animation a few more bucks than the others?  I’d guess it’s the what they decorate the rooms.  Each room has a movie “theme” from The Little Mermaid, The Lion King, Cars, or Finding Nemo.   All of these rooms are deluxe suites and can sleep up to 6 adults (and are super awesome but a bit pricey), except for the Little Mermaid rooms.   Little Mermaid rooms are standard rooms and cost significantly less, and sleep up to 4 adults.  Seeing as we are a family of 3, and our daughter loves the Little Mermaid; I decided on the standard room.   The rooms are adorable, and the resort itself is pretty cool!

Disney's Art Of Animation Entrance Sign

Art of Animation Resort

 

 

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Lobby of Resort

 

 

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One of 3 pool areas

 

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Little Mermaid Standard Room

 

 

 

Dining at the Art of Animation is limited to one quick service restaurant inside called Landscape of Flavors (photo below). However, for the amount of time we actually plan to spend at the resort, the food offered there is not of great concern to us.  PLUS SIDE:  there is a poolside bar, and yes by bar I mean adult beverages.

landscape-of-flavors-gallery03

 

Each Disney Resort also has the following amenities available on site:

  1. Children’s Arcade
  2. Gift Shop
  3. Pools
  4. Playgrounds
  5. Running Trails
  6. Movie Nights under the stars  (movies, time, and location vary so you would need to check with the resort for ones during your stay).

I’m excited that the resorts offer these things for the simple reason that we plan on driving (16 hours) to Florida. Check in for Disney Resorts are not available until 3pm so we figure by the time we get there from all the driving in the middle of the afternoon, a park is going to be a no go for the day.  Instead, the plan is to go for a swim, hang out in the arcade or playground, and go to bed early to prepare for the parks the next day.  This will give us some time to relax before all the excitement and adventure begins !

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post about the meal plans and where to eat!

Welcome

photo credit: http://apnalia.clubefl.gr/?p=396

I have always enjoyed writing, and have considered blogging many times but for whatever reason I have never done so.  Maybe it’s because I use Facebook as a point of explaining my feelings, but I’ve decided recently that probably isn’t the best place to post rants, ideas, and the like when people are not necessarily looking for it.  Not that people are always more open-minded when it comes to blog posts, but at least if you are on my blog I would assume you are at least interested in the content instead of being forced to read it on your news feed.  Anyway, welcome to my blog!  I plan to cover an array of everything really, but being that I am a mom, most of my posts will probably be mommy related!  We are currently planning a trip to Disney as a surprise for our daughters fifth birthday so you will definitely hear a lot about trip planning and such! I do not have a TON of time right now to write, so I will post an update later this evening. Have a great day!