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 ūüôā

Our Room

The Resort

Our View

HOLIDAYS AT DISNEY SPRINGS: A GUIDE

HOLIDAYS AT DISNEY SPRINGS: A GUIDE

Let’s be honest – no one does the holiday season better than Walt Disney World resorts. If you read my last blog,¬†HOLIDAY CELEBRATIONS IN WDW!, or have visited the resort during the holiday season you have a pretty good understanding of just how well they celebrate this season. However, there is one event specifically that holds a special place in my heart –¬†The Holidays at Disney Springs.¬†

If you know me, you know that my fiance proposed at Disney Springs right after the¬†Christmas Tree Trail and in front of the focal point tree. (If you want to read more about it, check out: OUR DISNEY WORLD ENGAGEMENT STORY). It is truly my favorite place to celebrate on property, and on top of the nostalgic reason there are plenty of reasons why. Let’s dive in to all that Disney Springs has to offer during the holiday season!

Christmas Tree Trail

The best part of the¬†Holidays at Disney Springs¬†offering is the¬†Christmas Tree Trail. While walking through “snowfall”, guests will enjoy 27 decorated Christmas Trees, each themed to their favorite Disney movies and attractions. Some of my favorites this year include trees themed to¬†The Haunted Mansion, Beauty and the Beast, and even a¬†Pluto tree!

While walking along the trail, there are plenty of photo ops as well as encounters with toy soldiers along the way. There may even be a few carolers and other entertainment along the way!

Santa’s Chalet

What’s a holiday celebration without the chance to meet Santa Claus? Guests can head over to the Christmas Tree Trail cottage and sign in for an encounter with Mr. Claus himself. PhotoPass+ is available for guests who want the meet-and-greet documented, or you can use your own camera or cell phone if you do not have¬†Memory Maker.¬†

What is best about this opportunity is that you don’t have to¬†wait in line, which we all know is how you will spend at least half of your time on WDW property. Instead, guests check in at the podium with one of Santa’s helpers and provide a phone number. While waiting, guests can shop or grab a snack and will be notified via text message when to return for their meet-and-greet with Santa.

Stitch’s Holiday Gift Hunt

A fun and engaging adventure for children of all ages to embark on, guests will follow Stitch along a mischievous quest of Christmas shopping. Using a Holiday Gift Hunt booklet [that can be picked up at various locations around Disney Springs), guests will go on a 12-stop scavenger hunt to find each place Stitch has run off to in order to get a new gift. Guests will mark off each stop with a sticker, and once the hunt is finished, the completed booklet can be redeemed for a special treat!

Holiday Decor

From the moment you enter Disney Springs, be prepared to be surrounded by gorgeous and larger-than-life holiday trees and decorations. There are plenty of photo-op spots scattered around the Springs as well, leaving so much to see and admire!

Shopping and Special Treats

It’s no secret that Disney Springs is a destination spot for shopping, which makes it a great place to knock some gifts off of your holiday shopping list. Along the way, stop at eateries such as¬†Goofy’s Candy Shop, Ghirardelli Ice Cream and Coffee Shop,¬†and¬†Amorette’s Patisserie¬†for special holiday-themed sweets and treats.

Well, there you have it! Everything there is to do and see uniquely themed to the holiday season at Disney Springs. The Christmas Tree Trail is worth heading to Disney Springs in and of itself in my opinion, but there is still so much more to experience.

Thanks for reading! Be sure to like this post, and subscribe to our blog so you are notified whenever a new post is published ūüôā Happy Holidays!

HOLIDAY CELEBRATIONS IN WDW!

HOLIDAY CELEBRATIONS IN WDW!

The holidays are a magical time Рeveryone 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 ūüėČ 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‚ÄôS 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 ūüôā

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¬†here:¬†A GUIDE TO EPCOT‚ÄôS 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 Рbut 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 fianc√© 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 Pur√©e and Chamoy ‚Äď $9.00
    • My fianc√© 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 ‚Äď $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 ūüôā Below are some pictures of the night! Be sure to like this post, and follow my blog!

BEST RIDES FOR FASTPASS+ RESERVATIONS!

BEST RIDES FOR FASTPASS+ RESERVATIONS!

If you’ve ever been to Disney World, you are well aware that the wait times for popular attractions can be off-putting. For beloved attractions such as¬†Peter Pan in Magic Kingdom,¬†Soarin’ in Epcot, Avatar: Flight of Passage in Animal Kingdom, and Rockin’ Roller Coaster in Hollywood Studios, you can expect to wait well over an hour in the stand-by queue. This is why Fastpass+ reservations are key when planning for your stay!

For those of you who are unaware, Fastpass+ is a reservation for a ride that you can book for you and your party. These reservations basically “hold” your place in line within an hour long window, and when you arrive for your reservation you basically walk right on to the attraction. The service itself is free, but is very limited.

The terms and conditions for this feature are as followed: 1. Each guest is allotted 3 Fastpass+ reservations per day within the same park. 2. These reservations can begin to be reserved 30 days in advance or 60 days in advance with a hotel reservation. 3. The reservations can be made within your¬†My Disney Experience app or on Disney World’s website.

Since you are only able to book 3 Fastpass+ reservations in advance per day, it is important to be sure that you are choosing the rides that not only fit your interest, but that are worth wasting 1 of the 3 reservations on. Below, I am going to outline what I feel are the top three attractions worth reserving in each of the four theme parks, with a few honorable mentions. I would like to state that I am choosing based on crowd popularity as well as my own interests! Let’s get started:

Magic Kingdom

Luckily in MK, there aren’t any specifications on tiered rides (I will get into that in the later parks), so as long as you book as early in advance as you can, you will be able to book any attraction you’d like as long as it’s still available. In MK, I use my Fastpass+ reservations on:

  • Space Mountain¬†(average wait time: 65 minutes)
  • Seven Dwarfs Mine Train¬†(average wait time: 110 minutes)
  • Peter Pan’s Flight¬†(average wait time: 90 minutes)

Some honorable mentions that are also worth booking Fastpass+ reservations include: Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and Splash Mountain. Also, when the new Tron coaster opens, I am sure that will take one of my top three spots!

Epcot

Unlike MK, Epcot has tiered attractions. Tier 1 attractions are those that are most popular (such as Frozen Ever After, Soarin’, and Test Track), while tier 2 attractions are those which usually have less of a wait time. When using Fastpass+ in this park as well as the AK and HS, you are only able to book¬†one tier 1 attraction with FP+, and the other two reservations can be utilized on tier 2. So, my choices for Epcot would be:

Tier 1: 

  • Soarin’¬†(average wait time: 75 minutes)

Tier 2: 

  • Mission Space
  • Spaceship Earth

Honorable mentions in the tier 1 category that I would choose if I were unable to book¬†Soarin’ would be¬†Frozen Ever After or¬†Test Track. To be completely honest, I do not have any honorable mentions for tier 2 rides – I usually don’t even utilize all 3 FP+ reservations in Epcot, and instead just book my tier 1 choice!

Animal Kingdom

As I mentioned above, AK is also  on a tiered ride system. There are two attractions to choose from in the tier 1 category, and those are both of the attractions in Pandora. Other than that, all other attractions are tier 2 in AK and are able to be booked together. My AK choices for FP+ are:

Tier 1:

  • Avatar: Flight of Passage¬†(average wait time: 120 minutes)

Tier 2:

  • Kilimanjaro Safari¬†(average wait time: 80 minutes)
  • Expedition Everest (average wait time: 90 minutes)

As far as honorable mentions, I do not have one for tier 1 attractions. In tier 2, however, it would go to Dinosaur.

Hollywood Studios

HS is the third land using a tiered attraction system. Currently, all tier 1 attractions are the three located in Toy Story Land.¬†However, this is something to expect to change when Galaxy’s Edge opens in 2019. My choices for HS are:

Tier 1:

  • Slinky Dog Dash (average wait time: 90 minutes)

Tier 2

  • Tower of Terror (average wait time: 45 minutes)
  • Rockin’ Rollercoaster¬†(average wait time: 110 minutes)

I would have to say that any other attraction [that you can actually ride] in HS is worth an honorable mention. However, do not waste your FP+ reservations on shows in this theme park! You will be able to see and experience the shows regardless of having a FP+ reservation. Use FP+ to get more out of your day by cutting down your wait for attractions!

There you have it – the attractions I feel are well worth FP+ reservations. To wrap up, here are a few pro-tips when planning your FP+ reservations:

  • Take advantage of the open windows, and book as far in advance as possible! I was always booking my FP+ reservations first thing in the morning when the 60 day window opened and¬†still struggled to get some of my favorite attractions.
  • Book your FP+ reservations early in the day. Once you use all three, you can start to book FP+ reservations using the app one at a time. This is the best way to get the most out of your day!
  • You can arrive five minutes earlier or five minutes later than your hour window and still go on the attraction. They give you a grace period both ways!

I hope you enjoyed today’s post! Be sure to like this post and subscribe to my blog if you haven’t already. Thanks for reading ūüôā

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 ūüôā 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! ūüôā