MY FAVORITE PARK IN DISNEY WORLD!

MY FAVORITE PARK IN DISNEY WORLD!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 😉

A BREAK DOWN OF WDW DINING PLANS!

A BREAK DOWN OF WDW DINING PLANS!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Which plan is best for you?

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

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

Are the dining plans worth it?

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

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

Dining plan tips.

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

Personal thoughts…

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

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

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

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

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

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 😉

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 🙂 Happy Holidays!

HOLIDAY CELEBRATIONS IN WDW!

HOLIDAY CELEBRATIONS IN WDW!

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

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

Magic Kingdom

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

Epcot 

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

Hollywood Studios

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

Animal Kingdom

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

Disney Springs

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

Disney Resorts 

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

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

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

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

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

WHERE TO GET A THANKSGIVING MEAL IN WDW?

WHERE TO GET A THANKSGIVING MEAL IN WDW?

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

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

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

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

EPCOT

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

Disney Springs 

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

Disney World Resorts

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

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

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

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

Just a few side notes…

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

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

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

CHICKEN GUY: A REVIEW

CHICKEN GUY: A REVIEW

So, todays blog is actually a day late BUT for good reason! For this blog, I wanted to review the new quick service location in Disney Springs, Chicken Guy, but my first experience wasn’t so great. I thought it would be unfair to completely rip it apart, so I made a quick decision to go back and try it again – which turned out to be a great choice! So, below is my review of Chicken Guy in Disney Springs. Enjoy!

Chicken Guy is a quick service restaurant that recently opened this past August. The mayor of Flavortown himself, Guy Fieri, created and opened this restaurant as a partnership with Planet Hollywood owner Robert Earl as a cannot-miss dining experience.

The chicken restaurant has a menu full of in-house made chicken tenders, chicken sandwiches, chicken salads, and a variety of sides along with 20 house made signature sauces. What’s best about this quick service location is that it is affordable, with no single menu item more than $8.99. A full menu with pricing can be found on the WDW official site.

For this review, I focused on three main aspects: the service, the environment, and the food (of course). Let’s dive in!

The Service

During both visits, the service at this restaurant has been exactly what I would expect from a Disney dining experience (which is a great thing!). Each cast member I encountered was friendly and helpful, but still efficient in managing the time they spent with customers to reduce wait times in line for others.

What really impressed me was the knowledge of the different types of sauces (taste, details) considering there are so many unique sauces to choose from, and also that managers/supervisors were working just as hard as and performing tasks that cast members were doing as well. During both visits, the small eatery was busy both inside and out, and all cast members as well as managers were non-stop working to ensure the best possible experience for guests.

The Environment 

Aesthetically, the eatery is designed as a basic modern fast food restaurant. There is nothing that really “wowed” me as far as the decor and design. Especially with the colors of the restaurant, it reminded me of a Chick-Fil-A. Having said that, it isn’t a bad thing, it’s just nothing super special.

What did disappoint me is how small the indoor space is. Being that they added this eatery into Planet Hollywood’s building, I can assume they were limited on space. They made up for the small indoor seating options with plenty of outdoor tables but it all just feels very crammed and crowded. Luckily, I was able to score an indoor table during one of my two visits, but it is evident that an indoor table is hard to come across due to the limited availability.

5E7CA59B-5F4C-4672-AE84-FA34074B8333

The Food

Before trying Chicken Guy for the first time, I read nothing but good reviews for this place and was very excited to try it out! However, when going for the first time myself I was very disappointed with the food I ordered which is why I had to give it another try before this post. During my first visit, I had a chicken caesar salad with grilled chicken, and during my second visit I did the three tender chicken combo with fries. Here is a bit more detailed review of each dish:

  • Chopped Chicken Caesar Salad – $8.49: Crispy Fried or Grilled All-natural Tenders, Crispy Romaine, Parmesan, House-made Croutons and Caesar Dressing. 

I am normally a very big fan of caesar salads and was super excited to try this dish due to the huge raves of the restaurant as a whole but ended up very disappointed.

First of all, the salad was huge but came in a bowl/dish that was way too small. They didn’t toss the salad in the dressing, which is typical for a caesar salad (I know, first world problems), and the small bowl/dish that the salad came in made it too hard to mix on my own. Also, the dressing was alright, nothing to be too excited for, but they definitely did not give me enough for the large salad (and they charge for more!). Lastly, the croutons were soft and not hard and crunchy like you would expect.

The grilled chicken, however, was fantastic and definitely the highlight of the dish. It was packed with flavor, juicy, and perfectly cooked. It’s really the only part of the salad I truly enjoyed!

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

  • Three Tenders$5.99 ($11.49 combo with fries): three Tenders (Crispy Fried or Grilled All-natural) plus your choice of any two Signature Sauces. 

This is one of the most popular items on the menu, and is what I decided to go with during my second visit. I was not disappointed! This is something I would absolutely recommend time and time again.

To begin, you could tell that these tenders were made with good quality chicken. You could also tell they were fresh and not frozen. The tenders themselves were juicy and perfectly cooked inside.

I went with the crispy tenders this time, and the breading was perfect – flavorful, crisp, and perfectly thick but not too-thick. What I loved most about these tenders was that they weren’t greasy, which is something I am always concerned about when ordering crispy tenders.

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

I also had the Bourbon BBQ sauce and the fries, which were both great items as well. You could tell the BBQ sauce was homemade and unique, and the fries were seasoned to make them a staple to this restaurant as well.

Final Thoughts

Overall, this is a great quick service restaurant in Disney Springs! I am glad that I went back and gave it another chance, because I now can understand where the hype has come from. Between the affordable menu to it’s unique offerings and tasty dishes, I would absolutely recommend this location to anyone heading to WDW.

Thanks for reading! Just in case you were wondering, I’ve posted a picture below of Guy’s 20 signature sauces available at Chicken Guy. Anyways, be sure to like and subscribe to my page to stay updated with all of my new posts. See you soon!

E06D76B1-B57F-45F3-8ED4-444B8B335236

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 🙂

OUR DISNEY WORLD ENGAGEMENT STORY

OUR DISNEY WORLD ENGAGEMENT STORY

Getting engaged at Disney World was always my dream. So much so, that I remember  in the beginning of our relationship jokingly telling Dee that I would say NO to his proposal if he didn’t do it in the Most Magical Place On Earth. On January 3, 2016, that dream became a reality. Here’s the story:

So I want to start off by saying that’s my fiance and I are both extremely awkward people by nature because this story definitely shows it. It was the first night of our WDW vacation, which we always start by dressing nicely and heading to Disney Springs for dinner and a little shopping. Even though the holidays had just passed, they still had the Christmas Tree walk, and after dinner Dee and I took a stroll through the attraction.

I remember how magical it felt because it was snowing. Being that I am from Ohio, I actually hate snow but there’s just something about “pretend” snow in central Florida that makes it so much different. All of the trees were lit up and shining because it was evening, and we were admiring all of the different theme decorated trees during the walk.

After the walk, being just so happy to be back in Disney and loving life, I guess my fiance decided that right then and there was that perfect moment to pop the question. He took me over to the main Christmas tree that greets guests at the entrance of Disney Springs and had me sit on a bench while he made a phone call. Usually he will make phone calls in front of me, so automatically I thought something was off. He ended up calling 3-4 people which I can only assume were his close family and/or friends, then eventually came back to the bench.

When he came back, he asked me to come with him and we walked about 10 feet to stand right in front of the tree. Then,  he told me to “stay here” and just left. At this point I knew something was up, but I wasn’t sure exactly what. All of a sudden, a family comes up in front of me looking at me and whispering, which automatically made me nervous and skeptical. I immediately started looking for Dee, and he popped up out of nowhere with a snarky grin.

Before he even got on his knee, I saw the mother of the family in front of me start to point her phone at me while the rest of the family was smiling and waiting. I knew then exactly what was about to happen and immediately I thought YES before he even had the chance to ask. Literally, by the time he got on his knee, my awkward self already had my hand out for him to put the ring on! LOL.

Obviously, he laughed at me as most would, asked the question while still giggling, I asked him “ARE YOU SERIOUS” about five times, and he slid the beautiful ring on my finger. By now a crowd had gathered around the tree, and there was an applause.

Later that night, he told me that his plan was to propose in front of the castle during the fireworks, but he didn’t want to wait. This itself is actually funny, because during every Disney World vacation we’ve taken together, he has FAKE proposed with ring pops, a promise ring, and even literally nothing during the fireworks and has actually faked people out (including Cast Members!). I think that where and how he proposed was absolutely perfect, and I wouldn’t change a thing about it for the world.

The rest of our vacation was filled with so much joy. Characters noticed we’d just gotten engaged and would work that into our interactions, we’d get free desserts from restaurants, and almost every cast member that saw our buttons congratulated us. Getting engaged on property just took an amazing, life changing event and made it even more magical than it already was.

This is a day that I will never forget – I still get butterflies and tear up just thinking about it. The parks were a special place to us already, but now our travels to WDW mean so much more than just a “vacation”. We will always associate the parks with where a new chapter in our lives began. Next up, the wedding!