RAINY DAY PARK TIPS +AN ANNOUNCEMENT!

RAINY DAY PARK TIPS +AN ANNOUNCEMENT!

If you’ve visited Florida during the summer, you know that it rains every. day. If you let it, the rain can really put a damper on your day. However, rainy days in WDW make for the best park days. If you plan to head to the parks during a rainy day, here are some tips that will help make it a smooth and fun day!

  • Do not leave the parks! Instead, head to the parks right before it’s supposed to rain. People usually rope drop during rainy days and leave right when it starts to pour, which clears out the parks! FP+ reservations get canceled last minute and wait times drop. Not to mention, the rain cools everything down, which makes the Florida summer heat a lot easier to bear.
  • Pack an extra pair of socks. Or, wear comfortable sandals (but not flip flops!). If you get caught in a rain storm, your feet are bound to get wet – and there’s nothing like walking around with wet socks and shoes! Bring a pair of socks to ensure your feet stay dry and comfortable.
  • Bring a gallon sized ziplock bag. I also mentioned this tip in my WHAT TO PACK IN YOUR PARK BAG?! post. Bringing a ziplock bag will keep your electronics and other valuable items dry during rain storm or even water rides.
  • Buy a poncho before heading to the parks. WDW ponchos are cute, but they are pretty expensive as far as ponchos go (about $12 for an adult size). Instead, head to Target or a drug store before your trip and purchase a poncho there. That will run you a fraction of the cost and work just as well!
  • Get ready to be flexible with your plans. Any rides, character meet-and-greets, nighttime spectaculars, and shows will probably be closed during storms. If you have a FP+ reservation for these rides, MDE will probably issue you a Multiple Experiences FP that can be used at any tier 2 attraction. Go in to a rainy day with an open mind that things might be canceled or might not go your way and it’ll be a lot easier to accept when it happens.
  • Wait out the rain in a queue or while eating a meal. The good thing about the rain in Florida is that it usually only lasts about an hour or rains on and off – it’s never a consistent down pour. Most people cram into the closest store or restroom area once it starts raining to wait it out. Instead, use this time wisely and head to an indoor ride or a restaurant. Waiting or sitting for 30-45 minutes will give the rain enough time to clear up so you can head to your next adventure!
  • Watch for the Rainy Day Cavalcade parade! This tip only works if you’re heading to Magic Kingdom on a rainy day. If it is too wet for the characters during the Festival of Fantasy parade or Move it, Shake it! dance party, you will catch a rare and interesting show! The RDCP is a cute and fun substitute, and you will catch a handful of characters as well.

There you have it – a few tips on rainy days in the park! Honestly, rainy days in WDW make for the most fun days of them all, so do not let the rain or storms scare you away! Instead, keep these tips in the back of your mind and you’ll have a blast.

Now, time for an announcement! Well, two announcements actually. First, we are starting a Youtube channel! We have already recorded a few great videos and can’t wait to share them with you all. Be on the lookout for the first video release!

Our second, and largest announcement, is that we are undergoing some new changes! To make our blog more personal and upgrade everyone’s experience, we are changing our name and heading to a new site! Starting next Sunday, our new blog site will be http://happilyeverclinkscale.com! 

If you can’t already tell from the URL, our new blog name will be Happily Ever Clinkscale. We feel that this new branding will allow us to connect to our readers more, and provide a more modern experience! You can head over to the site now, subscribe, and check it out! We will be announcing a fun giveaway on that page shortly for subscribers only, so make sure you’re subscribed to be entered!

Thanks for reading! We hope you’re as excited for the announcements as we are. Be sure to subscribe to our blog so you’re notified of when we post next. See ya real soon 🙂

ANIMAL KINGDOM LODGE: A REVIEW

ANIMAL KINGDOM LODGE: A REVIEW

As part of our Disney Fairytale Wedding package, it was a requirement for the bride and groom to stay on property for four consecutive nights. This wasn’t a problem, as I thought it would be a great addition to our wedding and a fun mini honeymoon!

Dee and I have a plan to never stay at the same resort twice, until there are no more resorts on WDW property to stay at. We have all of the value resorts covered and most of the moderates, so we knew we’d be staying in a deluxe resort. The next step was to look at which resort was our dream resort, since it was our wedding weekend, and we landed on Animal Kingdom Lodge!

We booked a Deluxe Studio Suite, Savannah View at the Jambo House. We requested early check-in, since my bridesmaids and I would be getting to the resort around 10:00 that morning. Dee wouldn’t be showing up until after the wedding, as we planned to not see each other or stay together until then. He stayed at the Polynesian Resort for the first part of our stay to be closest to the ceremony space.

Finally, this is where my review begins. I am going to base my review on three categories: (1) Customer service, (2) Food options, and (3) Room/Resort Amenities.


Customer Service

In this category, they get a 10/10. If it were possible to go over ten, they absolutely would.

The outstanding customer service started the minute we pulled up to the resort. My car was beyond packed – I had my wedding dress and everything else we needed for the wedding, our suitcases, gifts for the entire wedding party, wine and champagne, snacks – literally a car full. The bell attendees at the front of the resort immediately unpacked my car. Since it was too early to officially be “checked in”, they kept my things safely in the baggage area, but allowed us to go in and out to grab what we needed until we had our room.

Next, during check-in, I was speaking with the receptionist about the size of the studio I had booked. I explained to her that the morning of my wedding, all of my bridesmaids would be with me plus my hair dresser and MUA as well as all of my family. I asked if that room was large enough to accommodate all of those people, and she assured me it would be fine. I didn’t find out until later that she upgraded my room from the studio to a Deluxe 1 Bedroom Suite, Savannah View. It was a DVC room, and let me tell you – it was able to accommodate all of those people. It was very spacious, laid out nicely, and was perfect for what we needed. We didn’t even find out about the upgrade until unlocking our room and walking inside. It was a wonderful surprise!

Another magical moment that was made for us was at the pool bar. The first day there, my bridesmaids and I frequented the pool bar – both while sitting at the pool, and as a stop before heading for my bachelorette party. My MOH, Megan, made sure everyone knew I was getting married the following day. The next day, after the ceremony, our friends and family came to our resort and suite to swim and hang out. We, of course, frequented the pool bar. The same bartender as the day before was working and he remembered our group. He ended up surprising Dee and I with a plate full of sweets as a congratulations. The plate included zebra domes (my favorite!), homemade chocolate candies, and truffles. It was such a cute surprise!

The great customer service doesn’t stop there. The cast members native to Africa were a joy to speak with – one even gave Dee and I a complimentary light saber and autographed pictures from Mickey and Minnie! The bartenders at the bar inside of the resort were also very engaging and a pleasure. One of the cast members that worked in The Mara recognized us daily and would be sure to acknowledge us. It truly felt like a community of people that enjoyed their job and loved creating magic. Everything that was done for us was done without expectation, and it was beyond magical.


Food Options

For the food category, I would score 9/10!

During our stay, we wanted a laid back honeymoon. We headed to MK for an evening, but the rest of our time was really spent at the resort. We ordered room service and ate (plenty of times) at The Mara, but that was it. We really wanted to try Boma, but we couldn’t score any reservations and the wait was always a bit too long.

However, room service and The Mara did not disappoint! Room service was pretty pricey, of course, but the food was always still hot and spectacular. The Mara offered plenty of different and unique options, which was a refreshing change from the rest of the resort food court options we have had in the past. The food was, once again, always hot and tasted fresh. We ate 2-3 meals there a day, during the whole stay, and I never felt bored of the food.

The reason why this category only got a 9/10, even though all the food we had was awesome, is because of how hard it was for us to get into Boma. I would have loved to had tried that option since I’ve heard such good things about them, but I’ll just have to make reservations and head there another time!


Room and Resort Amenities

I give this category a 10/10!

I’ve already touched on the room – it was beautiful. When first walking in, you see a full size kitchen equipped with a dish washer, oven/stove, full size refrigerator, and microwave. There was also plenty of counter space, a large sink, and the cupboards were filled with cups, plates, bowls, etc. The kitchen flows into the living room that included a dining table (for four), a couch that pulled out to a queen size bed, two end tables, a coffee table, and a large chair which pulled out to a twin sized bed. There were also two french doors that opened to the very large balcony which overlooked the Savannah.

There was then a hallway that lead to the bedroom and bathroom. The bedroom had a California king size bed, a chair, a desk, a large television, a dresser, and an armoire. It was very spacious, and also had two french doors which opened up to the balcony. The bathroom was separated into two areas – the area with a sink, a mirror, and a closer, then the area with the toilet and shower/Jacuzzi tub. There was also a closet with a washer and dryer in unit!

I am still mesmerized by the room. As if the upgrade wasn’t enough, I loved the balcony with the beautiful view. You really can’t beat waking up every morning to a giraffe 100 yards away from you and zebra all around. It was beyond breathtaking, and I don’t think I could have spent too much time out on that balcony!

As far as amenities, there were plenty. Our favorite was the pool, which was large and had a pool bar and a water slide. It was surrounded by tropical greenery that gave it an exotic view. There were also fire pits where they had fires in the evenings, and they offered plenty of other activities during the day. Of course, the best amenity was the Savannah itself, which included plenty of fun and exotic animals to see!


To wrap it up, this resort is beyond a dream. If you’re looking for a staycation at WDW – a resort that you don’t have to leave – this is it. Never did I get bored just sitting at the resort. There is plenty to do, and so much to explore, that a week there just at the resort would be an event in itself.

I could honestly go on and on about this resort, but I’ll end it here. Below are some pictures of our room, our view, and the resort. Thanks for reading! Be sure to subscribe to our blog so you’re notified when we post next. See ya real soon 🙂

Our Room

The Resort

Our View

MY FAVORITE PARK IN DISNEY WORLD!

MY FAVORITE PARK IN DISNEY WORLD!

One question I’m always asked when helping others plan their Disney World vacations, or just discussing WDW in general, is “What’s your favorite park?”. This is always hard for me to answer, because I love all of the parks, but I do have my favorites!

To start, I never include Magic Kingdom when considering which park is my favorite. Since MK is the flagship park of WDW, of course it takes the cake. If you only have one day on property, I would suggest spending the day in entirety there. Because of this, I literally take it out of consideration because, duh, it’s a given! So when answering this question, I give that mini spiel then consider the remaining parks to decide which is my “favorite”.

After MK, Disney World has three main parks – EPCOT, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom. Aside from that, there are also two water parks on property (Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach) as well as a dining and shopping area, Disney Springs. DS is literally my most favorite place to spend an evening on property, but since it isn’t a “park”, I take that [as well as the water parks] out of the equation.

That leaves EPCOT, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom. Honestly, it’s a hard tie for me between two of the three and whichever I consider my “favorite” depends on my mood. Those two parks are…

EPCOT. When I was younger, I remember EPCOT being my least favorite park on property. It had no appeal to me, and was honestly quite boring. Now that I’m older [and don’t have kids of my own], this park is one in which I find myself wanting to go to quite often. Between the festivals, the ability to drink and snack around the world, and the opportunity to immerse myself in several different cultures, I thoroughly enjoy this park. All Disney parks are for kids of all ages, but I feel that this one more than the other’s is more enjoyable and draws more attention from an adult crowd! If I’m in the mood for a drink or for some exciting snacks, this is the park I head to.

Hollywood Studios. To me, this is just such a fun and exciting park. Right now, it doesn’t appeal too much to too many people due to the lack of attractions and it’s size, but that soon will change when Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opens. The draw for me to this park, and the reason why it’s considered my favorite is really due to the atmosphere. I love the feeling of being in “old” Hollywood. The shows, attractions, and street performers are all some of my favorite things on all of property! Even before Toy Story Land opened, this was a park I had to go to every visit to WDW. So, if I’m in the mood for a good time filled with entertainment and thrill, I head to HS!

As I mentioned above, Disney Springs is an honorable mention. This is a great place for a date night and for people to head when they want something that is on property but doesn’t scream Disney. DS has a whole different vibe of it’s own, and it’s really a great place to head with your significant other to eat, grab a drink, do some shopping, be entertained and have some fun. From the AMC movie theater to Splitsville bowling alley to the Characters in Flight hot air balloon ride and so much more, it really is a great place for a date night!

And there you have it! My favorite (well, two favorites!) Disney World park! Which park, aside from Magic Kingdom is your favorite? Leave a comment below to let me know!

Thanks for reading! Be sure to subscribe to our blog so you’re notified of any upcoming posts. Have a great week, we’ll see ya real soon 🙂

A BREAK DOWN OF WDW DINING PLANS!

A BREAK DOWN OF WDW DINING PLANS!

When helping friends and families plan their magical vacations, I often get asked several questions about Disney World dining plans. The dining plans can be confusing to first-time guests or those who have never used one in the past. So today, I thought I would break down the disney dining plans based on the questions I’m often asked!

Before I dive into the dining plans themselves, it is important to get a basic understanding of the different types of dining options that you will come across on property. There are four main types:

Grab-and-Go: Grab-and-go locations are usually stands in the park that have a walk up window with readily prepared foods and beverages. Mostly, these offer snacks such as popcorn, Mickey pretzels, cotton candy, churros, ice cream, and more. They are normally just small, walk up stands located outdoors with little-to-no seating.

Quick Service: I refer to these locations as the “fast food” locations in WDW. Quick service locations are usually indoors. They will have a cashier/window waiting area for guests to walk up and order food, and an indoor or covered seating area that is first come, first serve. There are no servers at these locations.

Table Service: Table service locations are traditional “sit down” meals. At these indoor locations, you will check in at the hostess stand in the front and wait to be seated. You will have a server, and will need to leave gratuity. These locations may be buffets, a traditional “order-off-the-menu” style dinner, a family style dinner, or may have a prix fixe menu.

Signature Dining: Signature dining locations are also “sit down” meals, however they are typically higher quality, more expensive, popular character dining spots, or dinner shows.

Now that we have those four types of dining broken down, we can finally dive into the three dining plans WDW currently has available for guests. Keep in mind, these plans are what are currently offered at their current prices in 2019. Below, I will break down the three different plans into pricing per person as well as what is included in each:

  1. Quick Service Dining Plan ($52.20/day for adults, $23.78/day kids 3-9)
    • 2 quick service credits (per person, per night of stay)
    • 2 snack credits (per person, per night of stay)
    • Refillable mug (1 per person)
  2. Disney Dining Plan ($75.49/day for adults, $27.98/day kids 3-9)
    • 1 table service credit (per person, per night of stay)
    • 1 quick service credit (per person, per night of stay)
    • 2 snack credits (per person, per night of stay)
    • Refillable mug (1 per person)
  3. Deluxe Dining Plan ($116.25/day for adults, $43.49/day kids 3-9)
    • 3 meal credits – each credit can be used for any combination of table service or quick service meals (per person, per night of stay)
    • 2 snack credits (per person, per night of stay)
    • Refillable mug (1 per person)

Which plan is best for you?

When considering which plan is best for you and your family, there are several factors that come in to play. Here are some things for you to keep in mind before you make a decision regarding a dining plan:

  • You can only book a dining plan if you are staying at a Disney-owned resort. If you are only going for the day, or are staying at a hotel not owned by Disney World, you will not be able to add a dining plan.
  • Refillable mugs are only refillable at your resort. You can fill and refill this mug as often as you’d like, but only at the resort you are staying in. If you bring it into the parks, you’ll have to purchase a beverage to put inside, or fill it with water from a water fountain!
  • Each person in your party must be on the dining plan, and you must have a dining plan for each night of your stay. You cannot assign a dining plan to only a few in your party if you are all booked under the same reservation. Likewise, you cannot choose to limit your dining plan to certain days of your stay.
  • Although the credits are assigned “per night”, you don’t have a limit or a requirement on when you have to use your credits. Much like a college dining plan, you can use your credits at your leisure. Usually, we save up all of our snack credits until the end of our stay, then purchase candy and other edible souvenirs for our friends and family!
  • Signature dining requires 2 table service credits per meal, per person. No matter what plan you are on, whether it’s the Disney Dining Plan or the Deluxe Dining Plan, you will need to cash in two table service credits to eat at signature restaurants. This factor is a major one in and of itself, which will make or break the difference between the Disney or Deluxe plans for your family!
  • Snack” credits can be redeemed for a pretty wide margin of options. There are really so many options for snacks – from ice cream, to Starbucks drinks, to certain food items offered at EPCOT festivals – there is so much to choose from. You will be able to tell if an item can be considered as a snack credit if it has the DDP purple icon next to it – or, just ask a cast member!
  • Children under 3 eat free. You will not need to purchase a dining plan (or ticket) for any children in your party under 3. They will be able to eat off of your plates!
  • All meals on the Quick Service Dining Plan and Disney Dining Plan include a meal and a dessert per person.
  • All meals on the Deluxe Dining Plan include an appetizer, meal, and dessert per person. This one can be a lot of food, so take that into consideration when deciding which is best for your family. You’re paying for it regardless, and it will be a waste for your family to have this level of the dining plan if you won’t eat it all – you will not get your money’s worth.
  • All meals on any dining plan include one drink – either alcoholic or non-alcoholic. Drinks may include beer and wine, soft drinks, and even milk shakes! There may be limitations, and you would only get refills on the soft drinks, but the option is definitely a nice addition.
  • Gratuity is NOT included. Some people think that if they get a dining plan, they won’t have to touch their wallets at all – which isn’t necessarily the case. You will need to pay gratuity to servers at table service meals, and may need to pay more if you order an extra beverage or two.
  • You can track your credits on the My Disney Experience app, or on your receipts. Your credits will show up as a sum of everyone’s in your party, so be mindful of how many credits each of you has left as a whole.

Are the dining plans worth it?

I often get asked if the dining plans are worth it, and there isn’t a baseline answer – It really depends on your family and your preference. Here are a few things that I tell friends and family when posed with that question..

  1. It is really easy to waste money on dining plans. If your family isn’t going to use every credit or consume all that is offered in the meals, then you’re basically throwing money away. It may not seem like it on paper, but you really do get a ton of food.
  2. Be sure to weigh the factors of how much time you want to spend eating vs. how much time you want to be in the parks. If it’s your first, or once-in-a-lifetime visit to WDW, I would stick with either the Quick Service or Disney Dining plans. Eating at a table service restaurant may take up to two hours out of your day, which is a long time when you want to experience everything there is to do in the parks.
  3. It is convenient. One of the main reasons my fiance and I love the dining plan so much is it’s convenience. Although we still factor gratuities into our budget, it is nice to not have to worry about how much to put aside for meals.

Dining plan tips.

  1. Do not waste snack credits on bottles of water. It’s easy and convenient, and I’ll admit I have fallen victim to doing this, but it really isn’t worth it. Instead, ask for a cup of ice water – which is free – and fill up your refillable mugs.
  2. Plan your days ahead. Have a game plan of what parks you are going to be in per day and MAKE ADVANCED DINING RESERVATIONS! Also, have a game plan in mind on how you will take advantage of the quick service and snack credits – will you get snacks for breakfast, and use a quick service credit for lunch? Will you buy breakfast, use a credit for lunch, and save your snack credits for an EPCOT festival? You don’t need to have it planned down to where you’ll eat and when, but keep a general plan in the back of your mind.
  3. Order the more expensive things on the menu. Get your money’s worth!

Personal thoughts…

Personally, my fiance and I love the dining plans. When we would come for vacations, we added on a dining plan every time. We would usually do the Disney Dining plan, but we’ve tried the Deluxe and found it to be worth it. Once we did the dining plan once, we never went back to not adding it on. The convenience factor was what really got us, and we never wasted food.

We would frequent the parks so much (3 times a year) that we didn’t mind spending half of our day sitting down and eating because we’d done everything in the parks. That may be different for other people, and it’s really all based on your individual priorities.

I hope that this breakdown helped you better understand the different dining plans offered at WDW! I get asked more questions about these plans, and just dining in general, than I do about anything else when helping others plan their vacations. It may seem very confusing now, but [in my opinion] in the end a dining package makes your vacation a bit more magical.

Another question I get asked very often are which restaurants specifically are one credit vs. two. Let me know in the comments below if you’d like to see a blog where I list all of the restaurants, sorted by quick service locations and locations that are one table service credit vs two table service credits!

Thanks for reading! Be sure to subscribe to our blog so you’re notified of any new posts. Have a great week, we’ll see ya real soon 🙂

19 THINGS COMING TO WDW IN 2019!

19 THINGS COMING TO WDW IN 2019!

Although I still can’t believe 2019 is here, we are already a few weeks in. 2019 has been such an anticipated year for the Disney parks, with no exception to WDW itself. Besides the much anticipated opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, there are a ton of new happenings set for WDW.

Below are 19 new things coming to WDW in 2019 including attractions, lands, restaurants, resorts, and more. As you can expect, with all of these new openings will come heavy, heavy crowds – especially in fall and there after. So, if you’re heading to WDW in 2019, here are some things you can expect!

Magic Kingdom

1. Mickey and Minnie’s Surprise Celebration: Last November, Mickey celebrated his 90th birthday. A celebration of this milestone is heading to WDW running January 18 through September 30th. As part of the celebration, guests can expect a new dance party as well as fun and unique food and merchandise offerings.

Hollywood Studios

2. Hollywood Studios 30th Anniversary Celebration: Hollywood Studios is celebrating its 30th anniversary, and with it is bringing some much anticipated attractions and events! The celebration will begin May 30th, with several openings to follow.

3. Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge: Probably the most anticipated land to open since its announcement at D23 in 2017, Galaxy’s Edge is almost here. Although we don’t have an exact opening date yet, Disney has announced guests can expect to explore the immersive new land in “late fall”. Below are the new attractions and eateries that will be opening with the park. (There is a very immersive hotel opening attached to the land, but it is not anticipated to open until 2020-2021.)

4. Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance: On this attraction, guests will be in the middle of a battle between the First Order and the Resistance. It seems as though there will be a larger-than-life animatronic of Kylo Ren that the ride vehicle will face during the ride. This is the most anticipated attraction in the land!

5. Millenium Falcon: Smugglers Run: In an attraction that seems to be a mixture of Mission: Space and Star Tours, guests will be put into the cockpit of the Millenium Falcon and work together as a team to navigate the ship.

6. Oga’s Cantina: If you’ve seen the movies in the Star Wars franchise, then Oga’s Cantina  may sound familiar with you. Guests will be able to enter the cantina for eats and beverages (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) while being served by characters in the galaxy. This dining experience is sure to be very immersive and a great addition to the park.

7. Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway: The first ever Mickey and Minnie themed attraction is finally making its way into the Disney parks, taking place of the beloved Great Movie Ride in the Chinese Theater. Guests will hop on Goofy’s locomotive to head to the premier of a new Mickey short-movie in this “2-and-a-half-D” attraction. It is anticipated to open fall 2019.

8. Pixar Place Reimagined to Municiberg: Starting January 18, Pixar Place (which used to be the home to all things Toy Story before the opening of the new land) will be transformed into Municiberg and taken over by the Incredibles! Guests will be offered new meet-and-greet opportunities with Frozone, Mr. Incredible, and even Edna Mode! There will also be a Jack Jack themed scavenger hunt in the alley.

9. Lightning McQueen’s Racing  Academy: Set to open “early 2019”, Lightning McQueen will be putting on a show for guests near Rockin’ Roller Coaster. Along with friends Tow Mater and Cruz Ramirez, McQueen is set to show his fans all about what he’s learned as a racer.

10. Wonderful World of Animation: Lastly, in celebration of 90 years of Mickey, guests can expect a new nighttime spectacular projected on the Chinese theater. The show is set to open May 2019, and will likely replace the current nighttime show Movie Magic. The show will feature lazers and state-of-the-art projections to celebrate 90 years of Disney animation.

EPCOT

11. EPCOT Forever: This new (and temporary) nighttime spectacular is set to begin when Illuminations: Reflections of Earth ends in fall 2019. The show will include lazers, kites, fireworks, and special music and lighting effects. As mentioned, the show will be temporary, and will end when the new permanent nighttime spectacular beings in 2020, A Celebration of Disney Music.

12. Beauty and the Beast Sing Along: In the France pavilion, guests will find a new IP attraction themed to the beloved Beauty and the Beast. The show is being designed with help from Don Hahn, who produced both the animated and live action versions of Beauty and the Beast. As of now, there is no opening date announced.

13. Signature Dining Experience in Japan: Although there is no name to this restaurant or opening date announced, construction is well underway and it is assumed further details will be announced any time now. The new restaurant will be signature dining, which means it will require two credits on the Disney Dining plan.

Disney Springs

14. City Works Eatery and Pour House: Set to open 2019 comes another restaurant and bar in Disney Springs. The Pour House will feature craft beer and American eats, and will offer many screens to watch sporting events including a 165″ television.

15. Jaleo by Jose Andres: This two-story, Spanish style restaurant is set to open winter 2019. Uniquely inspired by an artichoke (yes, an artichoke), the building is set to have no solid walls, and will be completely open to the outside. This table-service restaurant will be considered signature dining, which means it will be a bit pricey and two credits on a DDP.

16. NBA Experience: This is what my fiance is most excited about coming in summer 2019, and a place I know we will spend many, many evenings at in the future. This immersive experience will invite guests into a replica of an NBA arena. Along with dining options, guests can explore a media room and a locker room, partake in a Combine, and a dunk-contest as well as other games and challenges. Construction has been under way for over a year now and this place looks huge, so I am sure it will not disappoint any basketball fans that pay it a visit.

Disney Resorts

17. Disney Skyliner: The new gondola-style mode of transportation is set to open in fall 2019. The new transportation system will connect parks EPCOT and Hollywood Studios to Pop Century, Art of Animation, and Carribean Beach resorts as well as the new Riviera Resort. Although highly anticipated, there are several questions surrounding this system that we won’t have answers to when it opens including – are they air conditioned? What will happen/how will they run (or not run) during rain and thunder/lightning storms? I guess we will wait and see how this pans out when it finally opens!

18. Disney’s Riviera Resort: A new DVC resort is set to open in Fall 2019 – just in time for Galaxy’s Edge! The resort is themed based on Walt’s visits to the European Mediterranean coastline, which sounds beautiful. The resort will hold about 300 units of various types including DVC as well as standard rooms and everything in between.

19. Coronado Springs: Grand Destino Tower and Hotel Expansion: Disney is adding so much to this convention resort that I had to include it in the “new” happenings in 2019. The biggest addition is the 15-story Grand Destino Tower set in the middle of the resort including 545 new guest rooms. The tower is set to open July 2019, and is already taking reservations. Along with the new tower came a rehab of the guest rooms in the rest of the resorts, along with a new table service restaurant.

And, there you have it! 19 new things coming to WDW in 2019. Believe it or not, there is even more coming including the reopening of Rafiki’s Planet Watch, a new dance party in MK, a Lion King celebration in honor of it’s 25th anniversary, and more. It will be a crazy and exciting year for the parks, but also a busy one. Be sure to plan your trips smart, and expect it to be a little crazy – especially toward the end of the year!

Thanks for reading! As always, be sure to subscribe to our blog to be notified of any new posts. Hope you enjoyed today’s post, see ya real soon 😉

 

HOLIDAY CELEBRATIONS IN WDW!

HOLIDAY CELEBRATIONS IN WDW!

The holidays are a magical time – everyone is merry and bright, and you can really feel holiday cheer in the air. What better place to celebrate the holidays, however, than WDW?! Disney World does a fantastic job celebrating the holidays, and they have so many special offerings of events, attractions, and more.

Now that Thanksgiving is over and everyone is in the Christmas spirit, I thought I’d outline every offering on Disney property where you can enjoy some holiday magic! Since there is so much, I am going to (try) to keep the explanations at a minimum. However, be on the lookout from now to Christmas day, as I plan to review every holiday experience I encounter at WDW! There may even be a few extra blog posts than normal 😉 But for now, let’s get started!

Magic Kingdom

  • Mickeys Very Merry Christmas Party: For more details on this hard ticketed event, check out my blog post all about it: MICKEY’S VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS PARTY: A GUIDE
  • Jingle Cruise: WDW imagineers overlay the Jungle Cruise attraction with holiday themed elements including decorations, snowy scenery, and a few holiday puns.
  • A Frozen Holiday Wish and Castle Dream Lights: Offered nightly starting mid-November, watch Elsa transform Cinderella’s castle into an ice palace in this castle stage show!

Epcot 

  • International Festival of the Holidays: Another festival offered in EPCOT’S Word Showcase, but themed to the holidays. You can find special drinks and food offerings at 16 “holiday kitchens” around World Showcase as well as unique entertainment, merchandise, and a holiday themed scavenger hunt! Be on the lookout for a future blog post where I create a guide to this holiday event!
  • Candlelight Precessional: Offered during three showtimes every night between November 22 and December 30, this event is a can’t miss for the holiday season. Narrated by a celebrity guest, enjoy a large choir with a 50 piece orchestra telling the story of Christmas in a beautiful way. Some celebrity narrators include Neil Patrick Harris, John Stamos, and new to this year, the voice of Moana – Auli’I Cravalho!
  • Illuminations: Reflections of Earth Holiday Ending: Enjoy a special holiday ending to EPCOT’s nighttime spectacular, Illuminations.

Hollywood Studios

  • Flurry of Fun: The offerings at HS this year for the holidays are endless and beyond perfect! To read more about them in detail, including Seasons Greetings on Sunset Blvd and Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM!, check out the post I made all about it: HOLLYWOOD STUDIOS “FLURRY OF FUN”

Animal Kingdom

  • Diwali Holiday Festival of Lights: A celebration of Diwali, the holiday festival of lights in India, is being added into Up, A Great Bird Adventure starting November 8th and running through January 6.
  • Holiday Meet and Greet with Mickey and Minnie: Meet Minnie and Mickey dressed and ready for the holidays.

Disney Springs

  • Christmas Tree Trail: One of my favorite offerings on property, walk along a snowy trail of 27 Christmas trees, all decorated based on favorite Disney classics!
  • Stitch’s Holiday Gift Hunt: Children, and adults, can embark on this hunt to help Stitch find all of the Christmas gifts he’s lost around Disney Springs! Guests who complete the scavenger hunt will earn a special prize!
  • Santa’s Chalet: Meet Santa and give him your wishlist at this special meet and greet location!

Disney Resorts 

  • Sleigh Rides: Head over to Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and Campgrounds to embark on a 25 minute horse-drawn sleigh ride.
  • Gingerbread Displays: Visit any of the Deluxe resorts and you will find larger-than-life gingerbread displays! Some of my favorites this year include Cinderella’s Castle display at the Contemporary Resort and the Victorian-inspired life size gingerbread house at the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa.

On top of all of these unique offerings, you can expect to see pretty much every inch of the parks and resorts decked out in Christmas decorations. From large Christmas trees in resort lobbies and somewhere located in the parks, to garland and wreaths galore, WDW spares no expense to decorate in honor of the holidays. You can also expect to see your favorite characters in their holiday best as well as unique entertainment offerings at various places on property.

If you’re a shopper like me, the merchandise being offered this year is nothing short of excellent. Themed popcorn buckets, holiday MagicBands, pajamas, advent calendars, spirit jerseys, hats and Minnie ears are only a few vaguely described offerings you are likely to find. However, grab them quick, as the Halloween merchandise was all pretty much sold out before the holiday came itself!

Lastly, I have to mention the holiday treats. Everywhere you turn in the parks, there will be some unique treats themed to the holidays that look absolutely delicious. Most of them are also very photogenic, which I think is a thing that Disney is trying to do with their treats now. I’ve heard some good things and some bad things about the offerings this year, but nevertheless they’re always worth a try!

Thanks for reading! I hope this quick guide to the holiday offerings at WDW gave you some unique ideas for things to check out this holiday season! Be sure to like this post, and subscribe to my blog to be notified when I post next! Happy Holidays 🙂

WHERE TO GET A THANKSGIVING MEAL IN WDW?

WHERE TO GET A THANKSGIVING MEAL IN WDW?

The week of Thanksgiving is one of the most crowded weeks in WDW. Due to the week-long vacation, families often choose this time to take their vacation. However, even if  you’re on vacation for Thanksgiving, that doesn’t mean you have to skip the traditional turkey and fixings meal!

In recent years, WDW has done a fantastic job of setting up Thanksgiving themed menus with several restaurants across property, both in parks and in resorts. They usually announce on the Disney Parks Blog these restaurants and their menus months in advance – but this year, with only a week until Thanksgiving, Disney has been pretty tight lipped. Some participating restaurants were mentioned, but there aren’t nearly as much as in past years on the list. There haven’t even been mention for restaurants offering a turkey dinner at all in either Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, or even Magic Kingdom!

In honor of Turkey Day being only a few days away, I am going to list the restaurants that have been announced to have a special Thanksgiving feast planned so far. After that, I am going to list one restaurant that isn’t on the list, but is somewhere perfect to go for a turkey feast.

First, let’s talk about the restaurants that have officially been announced to hold a Thanksgiving dinner feast:

EPCOT

  • Rose and Crown Pub and Dining Room (United Kingdom) – One table service credit, offering lunch and dinner.
  • Coral Reef Restaurant (Future World) – One table service credit, offering lunch and dinner.
  • Le Cellier Steakhouse (Canada) – Two table service credits, offering lunch and dinner.
  • Akershus Royal Banquet Hall (Norway) – One table service credit, offering lunch and dinner.
  • Biergarten (Germany) – One table service credit, offering lunch and dinner buffets.

Disney Springs 

  • Wine Bar George – One table service credit, offering dinner only.

Disney World Resorts

  • Sanaa (Animal Kingdom Lodge) – One table service credit, offering lunch and dinner.
  •  Cape May Cafe (Beach Club Resort) – One table service credit, offering dinner only.
  • Whispering Canyon Cafe (Wilderness Lodge) – One table service credit, offering family style lunch and dinner.
  • California Grill (Contemporary Resort) – Two table service credits, offering dinner only.
  • Trail’s End (Fort Wilderness Resort & Campgrounds) – One table service credit, offering brunch and dinner buffets.
  • Ale & Compass (Yacht Club) – One table service credit, offering brunch and dinner buffets.

As you can see, there truly aren’t that many offerings compared to how many restaurants are located on property, and how many offered featured Thanksgiving feasts in years past. This will absolutely make it hard to find a reservation or get a table by walking in. However, there are some restaurants that may not have a “featured” meal, but definitely have that “Thanksgiving Day” home feeling that would be great for a Thanksgiving dinner. One, however, stands out from the rest.

Liberty Tree Tavern is a table service restaurant located in Liberty Square in the Magic Kingdom. This restaurant is described by Disney as “…an 18th century colonial American theme with an all-you-care-to enjoy dinner buffet of Thanksgiving fare.” Although I’ve only ever eaten at this restaurant twice, it is the epitome of a traditional Thanksgiving feast. And, best of all, with the amount of food that you are provided with this restaurant is only one table service credit on the DDP!

Year round, the restaurant offers a set menu of traditional turkey day offerings including salad, turkey, pot roast, pork, mashed potatoes, vegetables, stuffing, mac and cheese, gravy, and dessert. The feast is served family style, which means literally all of the food is brought over in large portions, placed in the center of your table, and you can serve yourself to any amount you choose. It is also bottomless, so if you run out of stuffing and you’re craving more, all you have to do is ask. The food and the atmosphere put you in a Thanksgiving mood, no matter if it is November or July. Even without the “featured” acknowledgment of Disney for Thanksgiving feasts this year, I would absolutely recommend this table service meal above the rest for your holiday dinner.

Just a few side notes…

These planned Thanksgiving meals are only planned for Thanksgiving Day, and most are only for lunch and dinner, or brunch and dinner. It is going to be very difficult trying to snag a table by just walking in when you are ready to eat. If you would like to score a seat at one of these restaurants, I suggest trying to find a dining reservation as soon as possible. I also suggest eating outside of normal “meal” times, as it is usually a bit easier to grab a table.

Also, it is not uncommon for several other table service and quick service restaurants to end up having some sort of holiday offering on Thanksgiving. I am sure there will be many other places to grab a turkey meal, but these places listed above are featured special holiday meals on property. If you absolutely cannot get in to any of these restaurants and are dead set on a turkey feast Thanksgiving day, I would speak with some cast members to find out where some other options can be found that aren’t “featured” this year!

Thanks for reading! If you’re considering spending your Thanksgiving day on property, I hope this article helped you create a plan on where to eat your turkey feast! Be sure to like this post, and subscribe to my blog to be notified whenever I post next! Have a great Thanksgiving 🙂

WHAT TO PACK IN YOUR PARK BAG?!

WHAT TO PACK IN YOUR PARK BAG?!

If you read last weeks blog post, 10 ROOKIE MISTAKES TO AVOID WHEN VISITING WDW!, you saw that one of the rookie mistakes I mentioned is not bringing a backpack to the parks. Park days can be long and tiring, and it is best to be prepared. Today, I am going to list the things that I feel are most important to pack in your park bag!

First, let’s start with the necessities. These are things that I feel are items you need with you in the parks. Sure, you can purchase these items in the park if you need them, but it’s better if you have them readily available! Here’s a list of ten necessities to pack in your park bag:

  1. Bandaids. Walking over 10 miles a day, you or someone in your party is bound to get blisters. Do yourself a favor and come prepared with a few bandaids!
  2. Ziplock bags. These will be another life savor! I always carry at least one sandwich size and one gallon size ziplock bag in my backpack. If it rains or you choose to go on a ride where you may get wet, you can stick your phones, cameras, and other valuables in these to keep them safe and dry!
  3. Ponchos/Personal Umbrella. Weather can be unpredictable in central Florida. Come prepared with ponchos or an umbrella so you don’t have to find shelter during a downpour.
  4. Necessary medicines. Aside from any medication that are necessary for you to take throughout the day, it is always a good idea to carry Tylenol and Dramamine in case an emergency arises. I usually buy the travel tubes and throw them in my bag to keep handy at all times!
  5. Change of socks. If you wear tennis shoes to the park, always be sure to carry a spare pair of socks. If you get caught in a rainstorm or go on a water ride, your socks are likely to get wet and likely will need to be changed!
  6. Water/Reusable Water Bottle. Water is pretty pricey in the parks, so I am always sure to pack a reusable water bottle or a bottle of water if I have one handy. You can always refill your water bottles at water fountains around the parks, or ask for a cup of ice water from quick service locations.
  7. Snacks. Snacks are another factor that can be pretty expensive in the parks. Pack light snacks such as chips, fruit, or granola bars in your backpack to munch on in-between meals!
  8. Wireless charger. If you want to take photos throughout the day or utilize the My Disney Experience app, your phone is likely to die before the night is over. To avoid this, be sure to pack a pre-charged wireless charger!
  9. Deodorant. Central Florida does get very hot – and humid. You’ll need to freshen up halfway through a park day, and having deodorant in your backpack will be a lifesaver. Seriously, you’ll thank me later.
  10. Tissues. You never know when you’ll need a tissue! Be sure to carry a small travel pack in case of emergency!

Even with all of those items I’ve listed above, there are also a few other items I never head to the park without. Although they aren’t necessities, they are things that I utilize during every visit to the park! Here are a few extra fun items to consider packing in your park bag:

  • Autograph book and pen. I am always sure to bring my autograph book, as I love meeting characters in the parks! Character meet-and-greet’s are unique interactions, and they are best documented with a photo and an autograph.
  • Sunglasses. It’s central Florida, it’s sunny. Enough said!
  • Printed daily itinerary. After making my dining reservations and Fastpass+ selections, I always print my daily itinerary from Disney’s website online. In case my phone dies or something happens, I like having my reservation confirmation numbers with the times and locations on hand.
  • Permanent marker. During every Disney vacation, I would have my top favorite character sign my MagicBand as an extra souvenir. My fiancé does something similar, as he has Pluto sign his Pluto hat whenever we do a meet-and-greet with that character. This is when a permanent marker comes in handy!

There you have it, the items I feel are most important to pack in a park bag! As a side note, I would like to clarify that I am an adult without kids, so if you do have kids your packing list will look a bit different. These are just necessities I find that are useful during each trip I’ve taken to WDW!

I hope you enjoyed todays post! Let me know in the comments what some items are that you feel are necessary to pack in a park bag. Be sure to like this post, and subscribe to my blog to be notified of any new postings! Thanks for reading, I’ll see ya soon! 🙂

10 ROOKIE MISTAKES TO AVOID WHEN VISITING WDW!

10 ROOKIE MISTAKES TO AVOID WHEN VISITING WDW!

When visiting WDW resort for either day or a week-long vacation, it is important to have  a game plan. There is so much to do, a lot of ground to cover, and a ton of people all around you. It will make your time in WDW so much more enjoyable and efficient if you can avoid some mistakes that most rookies and first timers do when visiting the parks!

A lot of the mistakes on this list are things that I did when I would first come to visit the parks. After doing research, getting more familiar with the resort, and a ton of trial-and-error, I found I was doing way more than I needed to! So, below is a list of 10 rookie mistakes to avoid when you visit WDW resort. This list is in no particular order, just a compiled list of things to think about.

  1. Not coming to the parks prepared. A backpack filled with “Disney survival” items will be your best friend during a park day. Including items such as bandaids, deodorant, extra socks, ponchos, a portable phone charger, and ziplock bags will be helpful throughout the day. Be sure, however, to not use a backpack that is too large or too heavy, as it will become a burden!
  2. Not bringing water or snacks. Contraire to popular belief, you are able to bring your own food and drinks into WDW – and I highly suggest it. Everything in Disney is so expensive, it will help in the long run if you cut down on costs by packing a few bottles of water and snacks in your backpack.
  3. Not using Fastpass+ reservations. As I’ve mentioned before in a previous blog post (BEST RIDES FOR FASTPASS+ RESERVATIONS!), utilizing Fastpass+ will cut down on your wait times in the parks and make your day more efficient overall. Be sure to utilize the booking window and book the reservations smart to get the best out of this tool!
  4. Not taking advantage of the My Disney Experience app. This app is definitely a life saver when in the parks. With an account, you can use this app to check wait times on all rides throughout the park, check showtimes for entertainment and spectaculars, utilize a digital park map that will give you directions to a specific location, and so much more. However, it will eat your phone battery if you leave it constantly running in the background, so be sure to close it out after every use!
  5. Not booking dining reservations ahead of time. This was the biggest mistake I made when visiting my first time, and something that I will never do again! For table service restaurants, unless you want to wait over an hour to sit down and eat it is so important to make dining reservations ahead of time. Keep an eye out for a future blog post where I talk about the best table service restaurants in each park 😉
  6. Park hopping. Although this is a fun concept that I have done several times, park hopping in my opinion is not worth paying for or doing. Doing multiple parks in one day takes so many experiences away from what is possible, especially with the now normal crowd levels. In my opinion, choose one park per day and make the most of that experience! It will make your vacation much more enjoyable.
  7. Wearing the wrong shoes. Of course you want to look cute heading to the parks, but give your feet a break! Avoid shoes with no support such as sandals and flip flops, and be sure to not wear brand new shoes. Birkenstocks and running shoes will truly be your best friend. There is no damper on a Disney day than multiple blisters or hurting feet!
  8. Underplanning. This goes along the lines of making Fastpass+ reservations and dining reservations. Be sure to at least have a game plan of which park you plan to visit each day, where and when you’d like to eat, and your can’t miss attractions and experiences.
  9. Overplanning. Opposite of number 8, it is so important to be sure not to over plan. Weather, crowd levels, and other factors can cause plans to veer from what you’d like, so be sure that your entire day isn’t planned and that you are willing to be flexible with your ideas.
  10. Staying in the parks from open to close. This is also something I am guilty of doing many, many times. On a four-day park vacation, we would be in the park from rope drop to close, and were completely drained. Other than the fact that it is a long day in itself, the heat can become unbearable in central Florida and you’ll find yourself walking 15-17 miles at the least. Instead, hit rope drop, stay until lunch time, go back to the resort and relax around the pool or take a nap, then head back before dinner time to enjoy the rest of the day. It really makes all the difference in an enjoyable experience!

So there you have it! My list of top 10 rookie mistakes to avoid when visiting WDW! I hope you enjoyed today’s post. Be sure to like the post, and follow my blog! See ya soon 🙂

BEST TIME TO VISIT WDW?!

BEST TIME TO VISIT WDW?!

Being the Disney nerd I am, I constantly get asked the question [regarding crowd size] “When is the best time to visit Disney World?”. Although I would love to say the Halloween and Christmas seasons due to the festivities, decorations, and vibes, it can be very busy during these times of the year. People are well aware of the large crowd volumes in the parks as a whole, so what is the answer?

I want to first start off with stating that there is no longer a “slow” season in WDW. Crowd levels vary from moderate to extreme, but no matter when you go there will be crowds and there will be 45+ minute waits for beloved attractions. However, going during a time where there is a moderate crowd level will make your trip much more enjoyable. Below are the top three best times to avoid extreme crowds in WDW.

  1. The end of January. December into the beginning of January is one of the most busiest seasons for the resort, if not the busiest. With the Christmas and New Years celebrations as well as the Run Disney marathons, crowd levels can be unbearable. However, once the festivities and marathons are over and children are back in school, the end of January marks one of the best times to visit the resort. Not only are the crowds bearable, but the weather is cooler-than-normal for central Florida temperatures.
  2. Middle-End of May. Spring break is over and children are still in school, so this makes a great time to head to WDW. Although not as low of crowd levels as number 1, this is the “calm before the storm” before the summer months. It’s also not during the rain season and not unbearably hot, which makes the weather easy to manage! An added bonus, this is when Epcot’s Flower and Garden Festival is in full bloom, which is a fun and beautiful can’t-miss event!
  3. End of September/Beginning of October. Although it can still be very hot and during the rain season, this is another great time to visit and avoid large crowd levels. Students are just starting school and it isn’t too close to Halloween, which makes this the perfect time to visit. What makes this time of the year even better is that Magic Kingdom is decorated for fall and you can still hit Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party if you’re looking for some added fun!

Once again, I would like to point out that none of these three times is a slow season. Unfortunately, there will be crowds and longer wait times for popular attractions. However, these different times of year have wait times and crowd levels that are easier to manage compared to the summer months and the holidays. Below are a few pro tips to get the most out of your vacation even during these moderate times of year!

  • Visit parks during the week days. During the weekends, locals (like myself) often frequent the parks, adding to the crowds. The best times to go are during the week days, where children are in school and parents/adults are working.
  • Use Fastpass+ Reservations. It is always nice when you don’t have to wait an hour or more to ride your most favorite attractions. Be sure to use the open window (60 days out with a resort reservation, 30 days out with just tickets) to book your allotted 3 Fastpass+ reservations per day.
  • Expect to wait in lines. If you are going during these times of year, or any time of year, and expect to wait little-or-no time to ride an attraction, meet a character, or even to order food you will be highly disappointed. For literally everything you do on property, you will be waiting in lines. Be prepared for this by downloading fun games to play in line, bringing something to keep the kids busy, or just go in with the understanding that there will be a wait so that your time in WDW isn’t ruined!

I hope these tips help you plan your future WDW adventure! Thanks for reading 🙂 Be sure to like this post, and follow my blog to get updates on new posts. See ya next time!