7 THINGS NO ONE WILL TELL YOU BEFORE HEADING TO WDW!

7 THINGS NO ONE WILL TELL YOU BEFORE HEADING TO WDW!

Happy Sunday! Before starting this post, I want to apologize that I’ve been gone for so long! I had my bachelorette party, then I was sick with walking pnemonia, then I was too busy getting things ready for the wedding, then it was wedding weekend! I have some exciting posts coming up to talk all about our stay at Animal Kingdom Lodge and our Disney Fairytale Wedding! Be sure to stay tuned 🙂


There is so much that goes into planning a Disney vacation – from dates and airfare to dining reservations and Fastpass+, the list goes on and on. These days it’s really hard to just head to your vacation without all of the preplanning and details. However, there are some important details that people won’t tell you while you’re planning that might really come in handy! Here are seven things that I think you must know before heading to your WDW vacation:

  1. You now have to pay for parking at your Disney resort. Back in early 2018, WDW announced that guests would now be charged a nightly fee for overnight parking at resorts. The prices vary based on which category resort you are staying ($13/night for Value, $19/night Moderate, and $24/night Deluxe) and will be charged at the end of your stay. Prior to this, parking at a Disney resort overnight was included in your stay. So, if you’re renting a car or driving to the resort for your stay, be prepared to pay those fees when checking out!
  2. The Disney rash is a real thing! Disney World in it’s entirety is about twice the size of Manhattan, or 40 square miles. On an average park day, you can expect to walk anywhere from 10-15 miles! This type of exercise probably isn’t worked into your daily life, which can lead to the dreaded Disney rash. Also known as “golfer’s rash”, the Disney rash causes irritation to the blood vessels in your lower leg. This is caused by walking an extended period of time in heat and humidity. To avoid this, make sure you’re getting those steps in and getting your body ready before you head to your vacation!
  3. Everything will be a line. Literally, everything. From waiting for busses, to baggage check and security, to scanning your tickets to get in the park and everything after that – there will always be a line. You might get lucky and be able to  walk right on an attraction, but those experiences are few and far in between. Be prepared for the lines and you will be a lot less frustrated!
  4. Not everyone is in a happy and magical mood. You’ll see kids crying, parents arguing, elders annoyed – you’ll probably even bicker with your loved ones yourself. The extreme temperatures, long park days, and crowds of people are enough to put anyone on edge. To avoid arguments work resort breaks into the hot days, expect that things won’t always go to plan, and understand that you will have to wait 10 minutes to get your Dole Whip.
  5. Your vacation will not be perfect, no matter how much you plan! Things happen, and things will go wrong. Make the best of anything that is thrown your way on your vacation and it will be much more enjoyable! Remember, over planning is your enemy! Make. Time. For. Mid. Day. Breaks!
  6. Being late doesn’t always mean you’re “late”. Your Fastpass+ might only be an hour window, but you will have a grace period of about 15 minutes after the window closes to still make that reservation! Same goes for dining reservations – there is usually about a half hour grace period. Be sure to ask cast members nicely and don’t go in expecting anything, but they will usually work with you happily!
  7. It’s going to be hot. Pretty much no matter when you come to WDW – it will be hot. You might be lucky and find yourself here during the whole two weeks of “winter” temperatures [mid 50’s-60’s], but chances are – it’ll be hot. Bring layers, a ton of water, sunscreen, fans, even an umbrella. Be prepared!

I cannot stress enough that your magical Disney vacation will not go to plan. Things will go wrong, but what’s most important is being able to run with those challenges! Keep these seven tips in mind, though, and it’ll make for a much smoother vacation 🙂

Thanks for reading! Be sure to subscribe to our blog so you’re notified of any new posts. We have some super exciting wedding content coming up that you won’t want to miss! See ya real soon 🙂

8 THINGS I WISH I KNEW BEFORE MY FIRST TRIP TO WDW!

8 THINGS I WISH I KNEW BEFORE MY FIRST TRIP TO WDW!

Planning a WDW vacation can be stressful, especially if you’ve never been to the resort/parks and don’t know exactly what to plan for. I thought I was completely ready for our first trip – I had our park backpacks packed and ready, I chose weather appropriate clothing, I made sure we had sunscreen and bandaids – but there were some things I had no idea about that I should have been prepared for.

Although my fiancé and I had the best time on our first WDW vacation (you can read all about it here: OUR FIRST DISNEY TRIP AS A COUPLE!), there are some things that I wish I had known before our trip! Had I known these things, it would have went for a much smoother vacation. So, here are 8 things that I wish I had known before our first trip that would have made for an even more magical vacation!

  1. The My Disney Experience app is a necessity. From booking Fastpass+ and ADR’s to checking wait times for rides, navigating your way around the park, finding out showtimes for parades and fireworks – the list goes on and on. I made the mistake of not having this app during my first visit to the park and found myself asking cast members question after question that could have easily been answered in the app! The app can be downloaded on all smartphones and is free, making it an absolute necessity!
  2. Take advantage of the Fastpass+ booking window. The wait times are very long – especially in peak seasons (which is basically all the time now). Guests staying on property can book their Fastpass+ reservations 60 days in advance, while other guests with tickets-only [and Passholders] can book up to 30 days in advance. Use those windows to your advantage and be sure to score your must-have rides! Some Fastpass+ reservation ideas can be found here: BEST RIDES FOR FASTPASS+ RESERVATIONS!.
  3. Making Advance Dining Reservations (ADR’s) is necessary to get into a good table service restaurant for dinner. If you read all about our first Disney trip, you’ll know that we had a very hard time finding any table service restaurant to eat dinner at. Your family, your feet, and your body will thank you if you score reservations at an indoor, air conditioned “sit down” restaurant. Guests staying on property can book ADR’s up to 180 days in advance!
  4. Make sure you pack comfortable, supportive shoes. Our first trip, I made the mistake of wearing sandals to Magic Kingdom and ended the night with blisters covering my feet. Be sure that the shoes you pack for the park are comfortable, supportive, and broken in! Once again, your feet will thank you!
  5. Adding the Park Hopper option to your ticket isn’t really worth it. I’ve mentioned this time and time again in my blog and when giving advice to people heading to WDW for their magical vacations – the park hopper, in my opinion, is not worth it. If you’re staying on property for enough time that you can visit all four parks in four separate days, make it a point to do that. If you’re not staying long enough to visit all of the parks, find out which parks are your priority. It takes so much time out of your day to go from park to park, and it hinders your overall experience.
  6. Dining plans are totally worth it. For my fiancé and I, the DDP completely makes sense. We eat three meals a day, we tend to order the more expensive things on the menu, and it is very convenient for us. Had I known how much we would enjoy and appreciate the DDP, I would have added it on to every one of our WDW vacations! I made an entire blog about DDP’s (A BREAK DOWN OF WDW DINING PLANS!) which will break down into great detail what plan is best for you, if any at all!
  7. Be prepared to wait in line – for everythingSeriously – everything. From the monorails and busses, to baggage check and getting into the gates, to getting your photo’s taken by a Photopass member and more you will constantly be in a line. The more prepared you are for it, the less stressed out you will be! As I mentioned above, you can cut down the wait times for these lines by doing things such as heading to the parks at rope drop, making ADR’s, booking Fastpass+ reservations, and having a strategy.
  8. Amazon can ship things to your resort. This is something that I recently found out and never had the chance to take advantage of when I visited the WDW resort for vacations! You can have Amazon ship packages to your resort, and the resort will hold them until checking in. Then, they will bring the packages right to your room! This can come in handy if you forget a necessity at home, but a good friend recently used it to order an inexpensive stroller for her child! This way, she didn’t have to pack her bulky stroller, and planned to donate it to a charity before she left. The possibilities are endless!

As you can see, there are still useful tips and tricks that even I am learning about as time goes on. There will never be a straightforward way to book the perfect vacation, but knowing some of these things ahead of time will only help you in the end!

There you have it! 8 things I wish I knew before my first trip to WDW! Leave a comment below telling me something you wish you’d have known before your first visit that would have made things a little smoother! Also, be sure to subscribe to our blog so you’re notified of any new posts. Thanks for reading, see ya real soon 🙂

VALENTINES DAY IN DISNEY?!

VALENTINES DAY IN DISNEY?!

Valentine’s Day is just a few days away, and what better place to spend it than in the Most Magical Place on Earth? Although WDW is viewed as a family friendly vacation destination, there are plenty of things adults can do for a romantic date night. I thought it might be fun today to list a few fun and romantic date ideas for couples this Valentine’s Day!

  1. Spend the evening in Disney Springs. Disney Springs is one of my favorite places to just go visit. Grab a bite to eat, go watch a movie, see a live band or performer, do some shopping – the possibilities there are endless. On vacations, or even now, this  is a place my fiance and I love to get dressed up and go to for a night of fun!
  2. Have dinner at the Sci-Fi Diner in Hollywood Studios. Although it may not seem like it, I think this restaurant can be extremely romantic! There’s just something about sitting in a “car” under the “stars” watching a movie with your loved one that brings major date vibes!
  3. Watch a fireworks show. This is, in my opinion, as romantic as it can get in WDW. Especially if you’re watching Happily Ever After in MK. Between the story told through the projections and the fireworks themselves, this makes for a perfect ending to a romantic night.
  4. Buy a nice gift. This is a tradition my fiance and I have held since we’d come visit for vacations – we’d buy each other “surprises”. It’s almost as if it’s a contest on who can get the better gift. We’d pick a store, set a price point, and split up to find each other the perfect gift/surprise/momento of our day and our vacation. This tradition is still one of our favorites. Some other things we’ve (he’s) done include sneaking to the “bathroom” – aka Pandora or a store – and surprising me with jewelry, balloons, ice cream, etc. It always makes him feel good to surprise me and make me happy, and I love that he’d always think of me and get excited to do so! Definitely something I’d suggest on a romantic date night to WDW!
  5. Go on a few dark rides. Whether it’s Peter Pan’s Flight, Little Mermaid, Winnie the Pooh, or even Haunted Mansion, these rides have potential to be super romantic. Simply just by sitting in your own private ride vehicle and getting to admire the beauty of the ride is something that makes for a romantic time.
  6. Catch a show. One of our favorites to catch when we need a little romance added into our day is Beauty and the Beast in Hollywood Studios. Nothing like seeing a classing and favorite fairy tale come to life right before your eyes!
  7. Play putt-putt at Fantasia Gardens Miniature Golf Course. Mini golf always makes for a fun date with your significant other. Adding the Disney touch to it just makes it that much better of a time!
  8. Simply walking around Magic Kingdom holding hands. There is nothing more simple, and more romantic, than walking hand-in-hand down Main Street USA. You just feel the magic all around you, and if you’re truly in the moment it can make for an unforgettable experience. Just head to MK without a plan and see where the night takes you!

I absolutely could  have went on and on with this list.  As I mentioned above, there’s just something about the magic and the “Disney touch” that can make any experience a romantic one. So, if you’re headed to the parks this Valentine’s Day, keep a few of these ideas in mind to create an unforgettable experience!

Thanks for reading! Do you have any magical and romantic date ideas for WDW that I didn’t mention?  Leave them in a comment down below! Don’t forget to subscribe to our blog to be notified when we post next. Happy Valentine’s Day, I’ll see ya real soon 😉

REVISITING WHERE WE GOT ENGAGED!

REVISITING WHERE WE GOT ENGAGED!

If you followed my blog months back, you might have read one of my first posts which was the story of Dee and I getting engaged in Disney Springs (if you haven’t read it yet, here’s the link: OUR DISNEY WORLD ENGAGEMENT STORY). That night we would have never imagined that two years from then, we’d be living minutes away from The Most Magical Place on Earth and yet here we are!

So, of course, we decided we just had to go back and reminisce on our most memorable moment together yet. For months we planned to head to Disney Springs January 3, 2019 and relive everything we felt that same day in 2017 – and the experience didn’t fall short.

All day, we were elated because not only was it the anniversary of our engagement, but we had just (FINALLY) rung in our wedding year. All we could talk about was how we couldn’t believe two years had flown by so quickly and how now we are living our dream.

So, we headed to Disney Springs and the first thing we noticed was how much more crowded it was compared to two years ago! Both parking garages were full, but after driving around the Lime Garage for a bit we finally found a spot. Walking into DS itself, it was jam packed. But, unlike Christmas Eve, that didn’t stop us from having a magical time or even hinder our experience.

Since we parked in the Lime Garage, our first stop was the 45 foot tall Christmas tree in the middle of the shopping center – which is the tree my soon-to-be husband proposed in front of. It truly felt like stepping into a time warp because the tree was exactly how I remembered it. The same golden shimmery garland glistened around the tree with illuminating baubles that were larger than our heads scattered throughout. Just seeing the beauty of the tree itself brought a flood of emotions with it reminding me of that magical moment two years ago. Of course, we stopped and snapped a few pictures and stared at the trees beauty a little more before heading on.

Next stop was to grab a bite to eat at Chicken Guy. Now, obviously this new quick-service restaurant just opened this past summer 2018, but Dee had yet to try it out! If you  read my rave review on the restaurant (CHICKEN GUY: A REVIEW), then you’d know that it is amazing and I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to eat there let alone introduce it to my fiance! It did not disappoint.

Last, we embarked on  the journey all the way across DS to the Christmas Tree Trail. This seasonal attraction holds 27 themed trees that you can admire while walking in a winter wonderland – with snow and all! Our first experience walking along the CTT was the night we got engaged, before he popped the question, so it was another nostalgic and magical moment.

There were a few differences this year compared to two years ago, but in good ways! First, there was more snow falling which only added to the magical feeling. Also, there were a few different trees including a Haunted Mansion themed tree which is officially my favorite. The last difference I noticed was instead of a curved trail that just basically went along one path, this year there were different sections/areas. I’m assuming this change was to help with crowds – which there were a ton of – and it did, but it wasn’t as smooth of a walk. Either way, it was still such a wonderful experience!

After the Christmas Tree Trail, there was a little photo spot with Goofy, Pluto, and Donald statues that was exactly the same two years ago, so of course we had to snap a picture there as well!

After the trail, we decided to head back home and relax for the rest of the night. It was so beyond nice to revisit where we got engaged and relive that night. However, since then we have done nothing but look ahead into the future. We also decided that day that, due to many reasons, we are going to have a small and intimate wedding ceremony and celebrating in Walt Disney World instead of our big wedding that we had been planning. Later in the summer, we are going to head back home to Ohio for a week and have a party with all of our friends and family to celebrate our marriage. We have been non stop talking to family, planning for this new decision, and looking forward to the best day of our lives. We are truly living in a fairy tale. Only 138 days to go!

Thanks so much for reading! Be sure to subscribe to our blog to be notified of any new posts. Also, check out the then and now pictures below! See ya real soon 😉

FOOD AND WINE 2018: FIRST IMPRESSIONS

FOOD AND WINE 2018: FIRST IMPRESSIONS

This Friday, I finally had the chance to head to Epcot’s International Food and Wine Festival! Although I’ve been to this festival several times in the past, I feel as though I had a different experience this year. Below, I am going to dive into some of the aspects of the festival that left “first impressions” for this years festival. If you are unsure what this festival is, check out my blog post all about it hereA GUIDE TO EPCOT’S INTERNATIONAL FOOD AND WINE FESTIVAL 2018.

Crowd Level

This year, as I mentioned above, was the first year we visited the festival on a Friday night. Usually, we head to the festival during the week and midday. This choice we made definitely affected how we experienced the festival based on the higher crowd volume.

From the moment we pulled in to the parking lot, we waited almost 10 minutes in line to finally get in to a spot. We then waited over a half hour between bag check and the entrance. When waiting, I made a comment that they must have a pretty great entertainer for the night and that had to be the reason for the crowds – but I was wrong.

The park itself didn’t feel overly crowded until we got into World Showcase. WS definitely had to be over capacity because it was beyond packed. Literally, I couldn’t tell you how many times a stroller was rammed into my ankles and how many times people bumped into me. Lesson learned: not the best idea to head to the festival on a Friday night!

Du Jour Dance Party 

Heading to and from the World Showcase, we came across the new Du Jour Dance Party being offered at the festival this year. When we first arrived, it was still light out, so there were mostly kids taking advantage of the party. However, when we were leaving, there were all adults on the dance floor. It was fun to see both kids and adults enjoying this added bonus!

Photopass 

I was very unimpressed with the Photopass options at this festival. To begin, there was no Photopass cast member at the front of the park in front of the beautiful set-up for Food and Wine with Spaceship Earth in the background. This is a prime photo spot, and I was very sad there wasn’t someone there tending to guests to take advantage of this!

Next, we headed to an area behind the Du Jour Dance Party where there is another FAW set-up with a large pink cake for photos. We took a photo here last year and were excited to do it again. The Photopass cast member rushed us through our pictures (which seems to be happening more and more in the parks!), and then later we noticed she must have had her settings wrong because we ended up with the couples photo’s who went before us!

Lastly, WDW kept Snow White out to do a meet-and-greet during the festival which I thought was so fun, considering it was far past the usual time that characters are out. However, there was no Photopass person with her, so the character attendant had to take photo’s on my cell phone. They ended up poor quality because of the lighting in the area, and I’m sad we didn’t get better photos!

Hopefully, these instances aren’t something that happen continually at the festival!

Eat to the Beat 

The performer for the night was Living Colour. This is a group I’m not familiar with, but I know my parents are. My fiancé and I sat for about a minute to watch the performance, but quickly got bored and left. They’re great performers, just not the group for us!

Food and Drink Samplings 

Before heading to the festival, my fiancé and I chose to eat dinner before hand with the plan of grabbing a dessert or small snack in World Showcase along with a drink or two. We ended up each having two drinks, and I got a snack. The following is a short blurb about each item we tried:

  • Mariachi Loco: Beverage, Mexico: Margarita with Libelula Tequila Joven, Mango Purée and Chamoy – $9.00
    • My fiancé got this drink, but neither of us were impressed. It had a dried mango slice inside of the drink, and it seemed to leave a bad after taste. I wouldn’t recommend!
  • La Chancla: Beverage, Mexico: Red Wine Sangria mixed with Fruit Juice – $8.75
    • Just a basic sangria – good, but nothing too special about it. However, I would absolutely get it again!
  • Wild Mushroom Beef Filet Mignon with Truffle Butter Sauce: Snack, Canada: $8.00
    • This is one of the most popular dishes at FAW, and I can see why. It was a small portion, which I expected, but so amazingly delicious. The sauce was exceptional, and the cut of meat was clearly a great quality and so tender. I will absolutely get this dish the next time I visit FAW, and highly recommend it!

Overall, I was very disappointed with our first visit to Food and Wine 2018 this year. I am hoping that my next visit is more enjoyable, which I am sure it will be! Nonetheless, Food and Wine is still my favorite festival at the parks and absolutely a must-do for guests. I’m already looking forward to my next visit!

Thanks for reading 🙂 Below are some pictures of the night! Be sure to like this post, and follow my blog!

7 REASONS TO VISIT WDW IN THE FALL

7 REASONS TO VISIT WDW IN THE FALL

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I love the fall season. Although I’m not a fan of pumpkin spice, I love the scents, the decorations, and the HOLIDAYS! No one does fall better, though, than Walt Disney World. That’s why today I am going to give you seven reasons why you should visit WDW during the fall season!

1. The Decorations. Walking down Main Street USA will give you that “fall feeling” even if it is 90+ degrees in central Florida. WDW does such an amazing job lining the roofs of the markets with pumpkins and Jack-o-Lanterns as well as putting Mickey-inspired pumpkin wreaths on each lamp post and hanging brown, orange, red and white banners all over. These touches really bring a small-town feeling to the park and create the perfect aesthetic for the season!

2. Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party. I already wrote a long, lengthy post about why MNSSHP is a must-do on your Disney vacation. Dressing up no matter what your age is and going Trick-or-Treating itself is fun, but to add every other aspect WDW does during the party creates a truly magical experience!

3. Epcot’s International Food and Wine Festival. Another event that I’ve created a lengthy blog post about, this event (which is free with admission to the park) is engaging no matter your age! I love the idea of trying food dishes and popular drinks from countries around the world. Although it isn’t a “fall” experience, it happens during the fall time, which is reason enough to visit!

4. The Treats. Fall time in the parks inspires chef’s to create endless fall themed treats – sweet and savory! Of course, you can expect your classic pumpkin spiced desserts, but also some fun treats inspired by your favorite Halloween and fall-holiday characters and movies! My favorites every year are the candy and caramel apples!

5. The Crowds. On non-MNSSHP nights as well as weekdays, you can expect the crowds to be lower than normal. This doesn’t mean, necessarily, that the park will be empty with no wait times on favorite attractions, but the wait times will be bearable. Being that fall is when children go back to school, most parents don’t want to pull their young kids out for a week to go on a family vacation. This was always a major deciding factor on when I would plan my WDW vacation!

6. The Weather. Although you can’t expect traditional fall weather in Orlando, it starts to cool down in October and the humidity isn’t as strong. The change in the weather makes it much more easier to do full park days, especially compared to the summer months.

7. Lower-Than-Normal Prices. Since fall isn’t as busy as other months, resort prices are usually a bit lower as well as the price of park tickets! The only time you will see “peak” season prices is the week of Labor Day, Halloween, and Thanksgiving. Other than that, expect to pay quite a bit less than that summer or Christmas vacation you’re looking in to!

So there you have it, 7 reasons why you should visit Walt Disney World Resort during the fall season! We love it here this time of year, and I am confident that you would too.

Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed this post 🙂 Leave a comment down below about when you think it’s the best time to visit the resort. Also, be sure to like this post and follow my blog. Have a great week!

A GUIDE TO EPCOT’S INTERNATIONAL FOOD AND WINE FESTIVAL 2018

A GUIDE TO EPCOT’S INTERNATIONAL FOOD AND WINE FESTIVAL 2018

This Thursday, August 30th, 2018, one of the best festivals Epcot has to offer begins – Epcot’s International Food and Wine Festival! The event will run daily from the 30th to November 12th, offering many special food and beverage options for guests to try as well as a few special events. The festival itself is free with park admission with hundreds of food and beverage options available for guests to sample throughout World Showcase.

As a general overview, the International Food and Wine Festival includes over 30 international booths all around World Showcase themed to different countries including The Caribbean Islands, Hawaii, Greece, Thailand, and more. Each booth will offer about three different snack-sized dishes (usually two savory and one dessert) that are popular in that country as well as at least three different alcoholic beverages.

Prices for the food and beverage items usually range on average between $3 – $8 each. To purchase, each booth will take cash, credit or debit cards, MagicBands, Disney gift cards, and Disney Reward Dollars. The best part about this festival, in my opinion, is that many of the food items can be bought using snack credits if you have a Disney Dining Plan! For me, this is a big thing because when we have the dining plan, we normally don’t use even half of our snack credits (you’re allotted 2 a day, per person), so this is a great perk! However, if you are an Annual Passholder like myself, don’t expect to use your Passholder discount as they do not accept them at the booths.

This event is a very popular event both for tourists and local residents of the parks. There are many adults and older couples that take yearly vacations to the resort specifically for this event, and local residents attend the event regularly. Because of it’s popularity, Disney seems to run it longer and longer every year (but no one is complaining!). Don’t expect light crowds, but do expect tons of fun – and to be hooked!

Now that we’ve discussed the basic information of the festival, let’s dive deeper into the fun and unique offerings of the event! If I were to list every event offered, this blog would be never ending. However, below I am going to list some of the most popular and interesting events that I feel are worth highlighting!

Party for the Senses  

Party for the Senses is probably the most popular event during the festival, loved by many regulars as well as new guests. This is a pre-reserved and pre-paid experience where a special host will lead festivities for guests catered around eating, drinking, and fun. During the event, you will be offered several favorite dishes and beverages from the festival, and will be entertained by a live performer. The event is pretty pricey (starting at $229!), and is only offered on select weekend nights during the festival, but it is something worth doing if you’d like to try multiple offerings from the FAW!

Sunday Brunch with the Chef 

On nine select days during the festival, guests can purchase tickets for a two-hour brunch event with a special guest celebrity chef! Some well known chefs that will be hosting brunches include Alex Gaurnaschelli and Chef Art Smith. The brunch will offer a breakfast buffet, a wine toast, a Q&A with the celebrity chef, and a photo op! This event is also pricy at $129 a person, but is something well worth doing if there’s a celebrity chef on the list you’d love to see!

Make It, Mix It, Celebrate It Hands-On Workshops 

Offered every Wednesday and Thursday during the festival, guests can reserve a space in this event to learn various culinary tips and tricks from well known and experienced chefs. Some of the classes may teach you how to bake a cake or make unique cocktails! The event costs $39 a person, but is something that is well worth doing if you’d like to impress your friends and family back home!

Eat to the Beat Concert Series

Eat to the Beat is an event that most festival goers are most excited for every year! You can reserve your spot at this event by making a dining reservation at various restaurants around the World Showcase on the nights that it is being offered. Itself, Eat to the Beat is a concert series with well known musical acts on select nights including performances by Tiffany, 98 Degrees, Plain White Tee’s, and more!

Disney Du Jour Dance Party 

A character dance party for kids and adults alike, this experience is a new kid-friendly offering to the festival. Held on weekend nights, guests can join several characters ranging from Remmy (Ratatouille), Lilo and Stitch, Chip and Dale, or more friends to engage in interactive dances and activities. There will also be special appearances by Radio Disney stars! What’s best about this event is that it is free for all guests with park admission.

Remmy’s Hide and Squeek 

Another kid-friendly (and free) option for the festival, guests can go on a scavenger hunt to find the 15 Remmy statues hidden around World Showcase. Ask a cast member in the park for a Hide and Squeek guide map and be on your way!

Junior Chef Kitchen 

Something that I am most excited about and will be attending even though I am 25 years old is the Junior Chef Kitchen offering! The event is free, however guests must register for the event the day-of at the festival center. Once the event begins, junior chefs will be guided through creating some unique dishes including candy sushi! The event will be offered every Sunday with limited availability.

For a detailed guide including the 30+ booth with menu options as well as details about the other festival offerings, go check out the Food and Wine guide on WDW Info, or at this link: http://www.wdwinfo.com/disney-world/epcot/food-wine-festival.htm.

For myself, I know that I am very excited for this festival to begin! This, along with MNNSHP, is a must-do event during the Fall season. Every year, I am blown away by each food option or beverage that I try, and look forward to trying some new things this year!

Thanks for reading! Let me know in the comments below what you’re most excited for during the International Food and Wine Festival. Also, be sure to subscribe to my blog so you’re notified whenever I post! 🙂

MICKEY’S NOT-SO-SCARY HALLOWEEN PARTY HAS BEGUN!!

MICKEY’S NOT-SO-SCARY HALLOWEEN PARTY HAS BEGUN!!

It’s the beginning of the most wonderful time of the year – the holidays are near! Unlike most people, I consider “the holidays” and “the most wonderful time of the year” to start when Halloween season begins! Coming from Ohio, I just love everything about the fall season – the leaves, the weather, the clothing, the scents, the decorations, the traditions, and most importantly, Halloween and Thanksgiving.

Disney just started their hard ticketed Halloween celebration, Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party and people have mixed views on its early start. Some thing it’s waaaay too early to decorate and celebrate the fall holiday, while others, like myself, think it wasn’t soon enough! Regardless of your viewpoint, the party started yesterday (Friday, August 17) and there is plenty of fun to be had! Let’s talk about all of the party offerings this year. **This is going to be a long one, so buckle up!

First, as I mentioned above, this is a hard ticketed event. That means that on top of your annual pass or your normal park ticket, you must purchase a party ticket specifically for the night you choose to go. The party is select nights between August 17th through October 31, and tickets start at $70 a person. Although the party doesn’t start until 7:00 p.m., with your hard ticket you are able to enter the park at 4:00 p.m. and eat dinner, walk around, or go on a few attractions before the fun begins!

Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party has a lot of unique offerings for guests including special fireworks, trick-or-treating, a special parade, and fun shows on the castles stage. The party also includes treats unique to the party as well as special character meet-and-greets! Below, I will list and briefly talk about the unique offerings.

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Mickey’s Boo to You Halloween Parade

With two shows a night, this themed parade features haunted floats, your favorite characters dressed up in fun costumes, and well known villains! A highlight of the parade, in my opinion, is the Haunted Mansion float with the famous Hitchhiking Ghosts aboard!

Pro tip: Watch the later parade as it is less crowded, and more special to see with the floats and characters lit up in the dark night! Sets the tone perfectly for the spooky party.

Happy Hallowishes Fireworks

Although every Magic Kingdom fireworks show is a can’t-miss show, this is the best one of the year in my opinion! Join the ghosts from the Haunted Mansion to watch the castle light up the night highlighting Disney villains.

Pro tip: Try to find a spot between Casey’s Corner and the statue of Mickey and Walt. A spot too close to the castle or too far up Main Street will limit your view!

Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular 

My all time favorite event of the entire night because who just doesn’t love Hocus Pocus? Shown three times a night, watch The Sanderson Sisters take the castle stage to return to the world and take over the kindgdom on this hallow celebration. Joined by characters such as Oogie Boogie and Malificent, the sisters put on a show which includes singing songs from the movie!

Pro-tip: Unlike the fireworks, try to get a spot for this show closer to the stage – this way, you’ll be able to see and appreciate all of the little details!

Cadaver Dans 

A team of themed Dapper Dans can be found in Frontierland preforming special songs and shows throughout the night. At five different times during the party, you can catch the Dan’s performing well-known songs such as Cruella Devil, Grim Grinning Ghosts, and more!

Unique Character Meet and Greets

Ever wished to meet your favorite villains, or the characters from The Nightmare Before Christmas? This party is your chance! With over 30 unique meet and greet options, you can find characters such as Jack and Sally, Lots’-o-Huggin’ Bear, Cruella DeVil, Moana, and more!

Pro-tip: Most of the character meet and greet options during the party are those that normally aren’t in the park, so if they have your favorite character be sure to find where they are stationed!

Special Attraction Transformations

A first for Disney World’s Halloween celebrations, three attractions are being transformed for party nights. Space Mountain will include a new spooky soundtrack with special effects; The Mad Tea Party is filled with new lights and effects that can make your costume light up and dance while riding; and Pirates of the Carribean will have a live character in the attraction for a little added fun!

Pro-tip: If you want to experience these attractions with the special effects for the party, ride them after the party starts (so, not between 4:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.).

Trick-or-Treating 

No matter your age, be sure to hit a few of the Trick or Treating stations around the park! During the check-in process for the event, you will be given a bag to use for all of the candy you collect – and it will be a lot! The spots where the Trick or Treat stations are can be found on the event map.

Pro-tip: At check-in, let the cast member know if you have any allergies. They will give you a special allergy friendly trick-or-treat bag, and this will let the stations know of your allergies as well! This way, you’ll be able to get treats that you can actually eat and enjoy.

One-of-a-Kind Treats

Disney does an amazing job at creating themed treats for their hard ticketed events, and the Halloween party doesn’t fall short! With dozens of items to choose from, you’ll be sure to find something you must try! A few of my favorites this year include:

  • Malificent Ice Cream: This spooky treat is made up of lime soft-serve ice cream in a black waffle cone, topped with chocolate Malificent horns and sprinkles!
  • Mickey’s Halloween Cinnamon Roll: A Mickey-shaped cinnamon roll topped with icing and a chocolate spider-web!
  • Haunted Mansion Ghost Dessert: A cream puff shaped like the Doom Buggy from the ride which includes spooky purple cream and a photo of the Hitchhiking Ghosts made of chocolate!

Party Merchandise

If you are a shopper like me, you will fall in love with all of the merchandise for the party! From unique popcorn buckets to limited-edition MagicBands and pins, to clothing and spooky ears, there is so much to choose from! The best part is – most of the items are available for purchase throughout the entirety of the season, not just on party nights! A few of my favorites include:

  • A Hocus Pocus inspired Spirit Jersey
  • Limited-edition Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party MagicBand (with only 4,000 made!)
  • Oogie Boogie popcorn bucket
  • Haunted Mansion inspired Minnie ears.

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Costume’s

Now that we have discussed the unique offerings, lets discuss costumes! Whether you want to go full out, or just wear Halloween-inspired clothing, be sure to get in the spirit and dress up for the occasion! Below are a few pro-tips when considering a costume for the event:

  1. Before becoming set on a costume, be sure to check out Disney’s costume guidelines. In a nutshell, these guidelines state that you cannot wear masks, you cannot bring weapons of any kind, the costume cannot be inappropriate and must be family friendly, and an adult may not impersonate a character in their costume (by taking photo’s with guests, etc.). The entirety of these guidelines can be found on Disney’s website.
  2. Dress light! Especially if you are attending the party in August or September, it will still be very hot and humid in Orlando. Be sure that your costume is breathable, isn’t heavy, and is comfortable for you to walk around in for a few hours.
  3. Be unique when considering your costumes! Everyone is dressed up, and it’s more fun when you create something that not everyone is going as that year.

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I could go on and on about this party, but I think I’m going to stop it here. I plan on attending the event in September and October, so be on the lookout for a full review/memory blog about the event around then! I know I’m very excited that it is here, and I can’t wait to dress up and head to the event!

Thanks for reading! Below are some photo’s of the event that I have attended the past two years! Leave a comment down below letting me know if you think the party is starting too early, or if it hasn’t started early enough! Be sure to subscribe and like this blog as well! 🙂

OUR FIRST DISNEY TRIP AS A COUPLE!

OUR FIRST DISNEY TRIP AS A COUPLE!

Going to Disney World with your family as a kid is a totally different experience compared to going to Disney World with your significant other as I am sure it is different compared to going with your kids, and so on. As I already talked about my first trip as a child, I thought I’d reminisce on my first trip to Disney World with Dee.

Our first trip to WDW together was only a few months into dating. We came down to Florida to visit my mom, with my brother and his girlfriend at the time, and we all decided we would head to Disney together! It was in May of 2016, and this is a “first time trip” that I remember every detail of. This was also my first trip as an adult, second trip ever to WDW, and I made a LOT of rookie mistakes that I will never make again!

On this trip, we did just a two-night stay at a Disney partner resort in the Disney Springs area. Since we were just staying two nights, we thought it would be best to just do one park day, and spend the other two days at the hotel or exploring Disney Springs. The hotel was a Wyndham resort, and it was nice. It had a character breakfast which was awesome (featuring Goofy and Pluto), a spacious pool, and a spacious and clean room. Personally, I’d prefer to stay in a Disney-owned resort on property, but this is a great option for those looking to save some money!

The first night we chose to go to Disney Springs, and this is where I made my biggest rookie mistake. This was my first trip as an adult, like I said above, and I hadn’t yet gotten into the world of The Dis podcasts or other Disney blogs, so I didn’t know what to expect. The area itself is GORGEOUS and I was taken aback with all of the shops and dining options. I fell in love with the World of Disney store, of course, and it was a great night. That is, until it was time to EAT. I didn’t have the My Disney Experience app, and most importantly, I didn’t know that you needed to make a reservation if you wanted to eat anywhere nice.

I’m not kidding when I say every restaurant we tried to get in to had over an hour wait, or no wait. It wasn’t even a super-crazy-busy time on property as a whole, but still there were no options for eating because I didn’t make a reservation. We ended up waiting over an hour to eat at T-Rex Cafe, and did not have a good experience. We felt rushed, they messed up both of our dishes, and the dishes as a whole were not pleasing. Lesson learned number one: Book reservations as early as possible. I never made that mistake again!

The next day we chose to make our park day. I had an annual pass and dee had a ticket with a park hopper, so we planned to do Animal Kingdom in the morning and Magic Kingdom at night. We woke up super early, got ready, met with the rest of my family, and got on the bus to head to the park. This was when I got sick…..

I’m not sure why, but I got extremely nauseated. My face was flushed, I had a fever, but I was determined to lot let it ruin my day – until we got into Animal Kingdom. I seriously could not walk more than 10 feet without having to sit down and just stop. It was only like 9:00 a.m. and it wasn’t super humid yet in Florida, so it wasn’t the heat, it was because I had come down with something. Dee got me a water and surprised me with silver sequence Minnie ears to try to make me feel better (I’m so lucky), we sat on a bench for about a half hour, and we decided to head back to the resort. By the time we got on the bus, it was like the flip of a switch and I was perfectly fine. Seriously, no idea what happened!

We decided to just head right to Magic Kingdom, so we sat once again and waited at the resort for a bus. While waiting, my shoe became untied so dee (once again, being perfect) knelt down to tie it. I wasn’t even paying attention until I felt him pulling my shoe strings, so I looked down and smiled and said thank you and he looked up and smiled and said your welcome. Well, there was a couple standing behind him and they thought that he was proposing and got VERY excited, but then disappointed when they realized that he wasn’t proposing. And this is where Dee got the lovely idea to propose to me every. single. Disney. vacation.

Anyways, we got to Magic Kingdom and had honestly one of the best park days we have ever had together. There’s just something about your first experience with someone at Disney World that makes it so special, and this was that experience. We rode all of our favorite rides, but we had to wait in long lines because I didn’t make any fast pass reservations (rookie mistake number 2!). We also only ate quick service because, of course, I didn’t have dining reservations (rookie mistake number 3!). But there were some really special highlights of this day as well.

The first highlight was Dee fake proposing to me for the first time during the fireworks. With a blue ring pop. Just to get attention from everyone else and laugh at me. And it worked, by the way. Who knew this trip would start a whole tradition! (Side note: this was when Wishes was still the nighttime spectacular at the park, and that in itself was so magical. I miss that show!)

The last highlight, which is honestly my favorite of the whole trip, was during our last ride of the night. The park was open until midnight, and it was about 11:30. The last ride we needed to go on was Pirates of the Caribbean. We entered the cue, walked all the way down, and got to the part where it splits into two for faster boarding purposes. The cast member at this part asked which side we wanted to go on, since there were not THAT many people in line, and I jokingly said “whichever one that lets us have our own boat!”. He then, literally, told the rest of the people to wait, escorted us over, and got us on our OWN BOAT for the ride. The people behind us in line did not look to happy, but we were ecstatic. There is nothing like riding in your own boat on Pirates for your last ride of the night – it was so beyond magical. This is a memory I will never forget and will always cherish. I wish I remembered this cast members name because he was just beyond amazing!

This also started another tradition – Dee getting me a light-up Mickey balloon before leaving the parks. He surprised me with it (again!) right before the fireworks when he snuck off to buy the ring pop, and I fell in love with it. Every WDW vacation after that he’s gotten me a light-up Mickey balloon on our last night. Now that we live here, he doesn’t get me one every time, but he sneaks one every once in a while 🙂

The next morning, we packed up and got ready to go after our character breakfast at the resort. We had a late checkout, so we decided to once again head to Disney Springs to walk around. Dee and I talked about how we didn’t want to leave and really contemplated on buying him another ticket and going to another park.

This was when our obsession began. There’s just something about Walt Disney World that just takes you to this magical, special place. Since then, it’s really become “our thing”, and I wouldn’t change that for the world! Like I said, my first trip to the resort with my family was a totally different expereience than my first trip to the resort with my fiance, and I’m sure it will be a totally different experience once again when we bring our children for their first trip – and I cannot wait for those memories!

Below are some pictures from that trip. Fair warning, they are NOT good quality – crazy how much iPhone camera’s have improved in two years! Thanks for reading 🙂

BEST VALUE RESORT ON PROPERTY?!

BEST VALUE RESORT ON PROPERTY?!

There are five value resorts on Disney World property: All Star Music, All Star Sports, All Star Music, Pop Century, and Art of Animation. The value resort category are the lowest tier priced resorts on property. Even as the “lowest tier”, these resorts are (in my opinion) the most Disney immersive on property and the most family friendly in terms of decor and appearance. I’m lucky to have had the chance to stay at all of these value resorts, and I think I have an answer for the best value resort on property.

Art of Animation! 

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Art of Animation is the newest resort on Disney property, made up of just under 1,990 rooms in total. The hotel does have single rooms, but is made mostly of family suites. The theme of the hotel is a kudos to Disney animation, and has four main themed areas: The Lion King, Finding Nemo, The Little Mermaid, and Cars.

Each of the “themed” areas are somewhat broken up into their own little hotel clusters. Other than the theming themselves, which I will get into a little later, there are some minor differences between the clusters. First off, The Little Mermaid area is the only area where you can find single rooms and no family suites. Also, The Lion King section is the only section without a pool, but has a playground themed to “the animal graveyard” in the movie. Lastly, the Finding Nemo section has the largest pool area, where you can hear the music playing under water with special speakers and sometimes even hear the characters talking! This area is also the only pool with a pool bar in the resort.

There are two very strong reasons why this value resort stands out from the rest: the immersive theming, the food court, and a pretty unique offering.

THEMING

You first get the impression of the theming of AoA as soon as you walk in to the main building. The first thing you see is a long wall to the left of sketches, based on the four movies featured at this resort. The sketches start from the “early” stages, then as the wall goes on, the sketches get more and more “finished” until the very back wall where you see colorful scenes from the movies themselves. There are chandeliers hanging from the ceiling decorated with sketches as well, and the wall behind reception is illuminated with bright colors with lights all the way down.

Although all of the value resorts have larger-than-life sized statues and props which are perfect for photo ops or even just to admire, AoA stands out from the rest. The statues are part of a larger scene within the sectioned areas, and you really feel like you’re a part of the story. For example, in the Lion King section of the resort, they have the elephant graveyard, there is a section of pride rock where Scar is laying and watching over the kingdom, and the scene where Timon, Pumbaa, and Simba are walking along the log singing Hakuna Matata is centered in the area, high above your head to admire. Another example is in the Cars area of the resort, where as soon as you enter that section you are completely immersed into Radiator Springs, where you walk along Route 66 to meet all of your favorite characters from the movie.

The theming also doesn’t stop outside of the building, but continues into the room. Each room, no matter if it is the single room or family suite, is deeply themed to the section you are staying in. Even down to the smallest of details such as the tiles in the shower, you truly get the feeling that you are staying in the world where you are immersed.

FOOD COURT

AoA is well known to have one of the best food courts out of all resorts on property. Named The Landscape of Flavors, the food court itself is broken up into different stations based on what you would like to eat, but in a circular fashion which makes it easy to navigate. The different stations include salad and cold sandwiches, an Italian foods station, a Mongolian foods station, and a hot sandwich station. There are also coolers which have drinks as well as fruit and vegetable options, sushi, yogurt, and more. You can also head over to the dessert area where there are many delicious dishes offered!

Breakfast is a whole different story. Breakfast is the only meal my fiance and I eat daily at the resort on property because, of course, we have to start of the day fueled up. This was the last resort we’ve ever stayed at, and up until staying at this resort, the breakfast options were pretty much the same across the board from the eggs to the potatoes to the other offerings. However, Landscape of Flavors puts their own twist on every dish, including the breakfast potatoes which are my favorite, that makes it unique.

You can just taste the high quality of food that is being utilized when you eat at any station or for any meal at this food court. I really can’t put into words why it stands out for the rest, you’ll just have to take my word for it and try it yourself!

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UNIQUE EXPERIENCE

The one thing that put this resort over the top for me was their unique (and free!) daily offering – illustration classes! Offered three times a day, you can head to the resort lobby to engage in an illustration class where you’ll learn how to draw a famous Disney character. What I love about this is that it isn’t just always Mickey Mouse, but instead they switch up the characters and focus mainly on the four intellectual properties showcased at the resort.

WDW used to offer something similar at Hollywood Studios, but removed it and relocated it to this location. I think it is a perfect fit, as the entire theme around the resort is animation. What I love the best, though, is that it is such a unique experience that you can do for free. It is a can’t-be-missed experience!

Disney's Art of Animation Resort.
Disney’s Art of Animation Resort.

Overall, this is a resort I suggest time and time again to people who ask me for advice, or ask me to help them, when planning their Walt Disney World vacation. This is a resort you don’t mind spending time at during the day, and honestly there isn’t a resort that is anything like it on property. If you are a lover of Disney animation, have children, or are just looking for an immersive experience on property, I highly suggest a stay at Art of Animation!

Thanks for reading 🙂 See you Wednesday!