RAINY DAY PARK TIPS +AN ANNOUNCEMENT!

RAINY DAY PARK TIPS +AN ANNOUNCEMENT!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

EPCOT FESTIVALS: RANKED BEST TO WORST

EPCOT FESTIVALS: RANKED BEST TO WORST

If you’re a fan of Disney World, you know all about the EPCOT festivals. Personally, one of my favorite things about WDW are the festivals at EPCOT. However, it seems like there is always a festival going on! One ends, and other begins. Although I think thats a bit much, all of the festivals are different in their own ways which make them each their own.

I thought it might be fun to dive deeper into the four festivals and rank them in order of best to worst. To rank them, I am going to take three things into consideration: (1) The time of year the festival is offered, (2) The offerings/unique things to do at the festival, and (3) My own personal interest. I would like to note that these are all solely based on my own personal opinion and your opinion might differ – and that’s okay!

I am going to rank them in order from best to worst. I will say that none of the four are bad, and I enjoy every single one! However, some festivals outshine others. Let’s get started!


1. EPCOT’S International Festival of the Holidays. 

This past holiday season was the first time I got to experience this festival and I was blown away. Literally, last year if you would have asked me which festival was my favorite, I would have answered Flower and Garden without a doubt. As we can see now, that opinion has changed drastically! Here are some reasons why this festival is the “best” on my list based on the three characteristics I outlined above.

  • Time of year. Christmas is my favorite holiday, so it is only right that I love the time of year this festival is offered. From the decor, to the theming, to just the overall vibe – it absolutely draws me in. The only downfall to this festival when considering the time of year is that if you go to the festival between the week of Christmas to the week after New Years – it is crazy packed.
  • Unique offerings. One of my favorite things at this festival ended up being the Candlelight Processional. If you are struggling to get into the Christmas spirit, watch this show (which is free with park admission!) and that will change quickly. Other than that, each country has story tellers to tell how their country celebrates the winter holidays, there are carolers, there are unique food and wine offerings – I could go on and on. Check out our excerpt to last year’s festival to learn more in this blog: HOLIDAY CELEBRATIONS IN WDW!
  • Personal interest. I already mentioned this above, but I am all about winter holiday’s. Given that there is a whole festival dedicated toward celebrating these holidays around the world? I was living.

2. EPCOT’S Flower and Garden Festival 

It was actually really hard to choose whether the #2 spot would be Flower and Garden or Food and Wine – they both hold a special place in my heart! There are three specific reasons why Flower and Garden took second place: It was the first EPCOT festival I had ever experienced, my fiancé and I visited the festival every year we have been dating, and it completely transforms the park with beauty! However, let’s dive in to some specifics with the three characteristics I mentioned above:

  • Time of year. When I wasn’t a local, coming to visit WDW in May was a guarantee every year. It isn’t too crowded and the weather is perfect. Being that Flower and Garden starts in March and runs through May, the festival has the luck of those two factors. Other than that, this festival happens in the midst of Spring, and seeing the vibrant flowers all around you, completely transforming the park, makes visiting this festival in EPCOT a must-do experience.
  • Unique offerings. Aside from the beautiful floral details literally everywhere, there are plenty of things to do and see at this festival. From admiring the topiaries to attending a concert as part of the Garden Rocks concert series, to venturing through a butterfly garden – the things that are available to do at this festival are never ending. This was another reason why this festival beat out Food and Wine for the number 2 spot – there is so much more to do! Unfortunately, I have yet to make a blog post about this festival, but it’s coming!
  • Personal interest. Honestly, the beauty of this festival encompasses me every time I experience it. The flower details and topiaries alone are enough to take your breath away! Especially when I’d come to visit from Ohio, it was just a beautiful sight to see.

3. EPCOT’S Food and Wine Festival

Although this is at the #3 spot, I absolutely LOVE this festival. It’s an entire festival dedicated to literal food and wine, and I’m Italian – what isn’t there to love!? However, this festival fell down to this spot based on the combination of unique offerings based on my personal preference. The aesthetic and decor that goes above and beyond for the International Festival of the Holidays and Flower and Garden also couldn’t be beat by this festival. However, Food and Wine still holds a very special place in my heart! Let’s break it down into the three main characteristics:

  • Time of year. This is another festival where the time of year makes it that much more enjoyable. The festival usually starts in August and runs through mid-November. A vast majority of this festival runs through another one of the slower seasons in WDW. This might change, however, considering Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opens August 29 and I am sure this will bring heavy crowds!
  • Unique offerings. Last year, there were plenty of things offered at this festival including Eat to the Beat concerts, cooking demonstrations, wine tastings, and more. I outlined the entire festival in a guide that can be found here: A GUIDE TO EPCOT’S INTERNATIONAL FOOD AND WINE FESTIVAL 2018. There are a ton of things to be done at this festival, all unique to the theme, but they are almost all things that can be done at places outside of the festival.
  • Personal interest. As I mentioned above – I’m Italian. Food and wine are two things that are very big in my family and I grew up with. It’s how you bond with friends, how you show love for your family, it was a huge part of our family culture. So, of course I’m always elated over an entire festival dedicated to those things! Like I mentioned, based on this sole reason itself, this festival will always hold a special place in my heart!

4. EPCOT’S Festival of the Art’s 

This year was also the first time I got to experience this festival. This festival is the newest offering of the four, and is obviously based all around the arts. I had fun, and there were a lot of unique offerings, however I really wasn’t as impressed as I am when I attend any of the other festivals! Let’s look at the characteristics outlined below:

  • Time of year. This festival happens basically right after International Festival of the Holiday’s ends. It’s colder in Florida, which makes it a lot more bearable to attend during the day, but it is also Disney’s racing season. Both time I attended this festival, it was packed with people who raced in one of the marathons! Also, unlike the top three festivals, this particular festival doesn’t happen in a time that necessarily reminds you of the arts – but when would that even be? In my opinion, it just seems like this was a festival Disney came up with to fill in some space during the year where there wasn’t a festival.
  • Unique offerings. There were some pretty cool offerings during this festival that we loved. Guests were able to watch Broadway-style performances, live painting performances, paint/graffiti part of a wall as part of an entire picture, purchase art, see living statues, and more. The theming was absolutely there and there was plenty of things to do, but nothing was offered, in my opinion, that was a can’t miss experience.
  • Personal interest.love art exhibits and museums. I would take heading to a museum or art exhibit any day over heading to a festival or party. However, this festival seemed more like artists selling their art and Disney selling their products than celebrating art itself. I was hoping to see a lot more art showcases than art on sale, and I just didn’t really have those experiences.

And there you have it, EPCOT’s festivals ranked best to worst! I will say, as I think I’ve said in this blog now several times, I do absolutely love all of these festivals. EPCOT is my favorite park, so of course I get very excited when there are different things to experience!

Thanks for reading! Do you agree with my rankings? How would you rank the festivals? Let me know in the comments below! Also, be sure to subscribe to the blog so you’re notified when I post next. Have a great week, see ya real soon 🙂

PLANNING OUR DISNEY FAIRYTALE WEDDING: PART I

PLANNING OUR DISNEY FAIRYTALE WEDDING: PART I

In honor of my wedding being less than 100 days away (yay!), I thought it would be fun to create a series where I document the planning process of our Disney Fairytale wedding! In this series, I’ll take you along the planning process with me in anticipation of our big day.

But first, let’s backtrack a bit. Up until about January, we had an entire destination wedding planned. The wedding was set to be at Bilmar Beach Resort in St. Petersburg, Florida for all of our family and friends on May 25, 2019. We were looking at 150-200 guests, and it was going to be beautiful.

The closer and closer the wedding got the more stress that was added on. Our family and friends began stressing about getting time off of work and if they could afford it, it was hard finding vendors due to the wedding being Memorial Day weekend, and the list could go on and on. So, finally, my fiance and I decided we would cancel our “big” wedding and elope. That is what leads us to the start of Part I of our Disney Fairytale Wedding series…

Part I: Booking our Fairytale Wedding 

Choosing Our Package

When considering and brainstorming places to elope, one of the major factors we were considering was what would be easily accessible while still fitting into our lifestyle. We didn’t want to just head to a courthouse – we wanted something that would compliment who we were. I started googling “Places to elope in Orlando, Florida”, and Disney Fairytale weddings popped up. We knew then that we would be having a Disney Fairytale wedding.

There are three tiers to choose from for a Disney wedding, and this is where the planning began. The three options are:

  • Wishes: Starting at $12,000 with a minimum of 18 guests.
  • Escape: Starting at $7,000 with a maximum of 18 guests.
  • Memories: Starting at $3,500 with a maximum of 4 guests.

Initially, we thought that the Memories package would fit best for us since we wanted to do a simple elopement. However, the more we discussed the idea of our “special day”, we couldn’t picture saying I Do without our parents and siblings with us. We decided that the Escape package was the best fit for us, and this is where the fun began.

Disney’s Escape Wedding Package

Now that we chose which package would best fit our vision and our guest list, we then contacted a Sales Representative to get further information on how the package works and what is included. Our representative, Joe De Matei, was outstanding and a big help in this first stage of the planning process! During about an hour-long consultation on the phone, I was given the following information on what would be included in our special day:

  • A one-hour ceremony. Within this hour-long time frame, we would have the traditional wedding ceremony including a processional and a recessional. The hour also includes champagne toasts, a cake cutting ceremony, and a first dance.
    • There were several venues to choose from, which I will get more into a little later.
  • A two-tier cake and two bottles of champagne. These two items, as part of the ceremony, are included in the package cost.
  • A solo violinist. The violinist is included for the ceremony, and the song choices for the sand ceremony, processional, recessional, first dance, cake cutting, and more would be decided upon by my fiance and I. We were informed that they have pre-set songs we could choose from, or we could make special  requests ahead of time!
  • A bouquet and boutonniere. For the bride and groom only. There are several options to choose from!
  • A four-hour limousine charter. This can be used for our bridal party or any special guests.
  • 2-hour service of a Disney photographer. The photographer would be there to capture all moments during the ceremony, as well as photos of the bridal party and family after the ceremony has ended.
    • Included with the photographer is a 20-photo personalized album as well as a USB of all photo’s taken on the special day with printing rights.
  • An on-site wedding coordinator, room specialist, and photography coordinator. This team is assigned to you after booking the package.

A few other things that I took note of in regard to the package are…

  • There are several enhancement options that can be added on to customize the special day including floral decor for the ceremony space, additional hours for photography, videography, floral for the bridal party, and more.
  • We were able to set up a room block with special rates for rooms and tickets for our guests. If our guests reserve 10 room nights in total, we are provided with a complimentary nights stay at the resort of our choice.
  • We are required to have a four-night stay booked as the couple, and the reservation has to be linked to our package.

Lastly, some things that are necessary (or, that I found necessary) for our special day and are not included in the package are:

  • An officiant. We are provided with a list to choose from, but the officiant must be paid for and booked seperately.
  • Floral for our bridal party. We have the option of ordering floral through the Disney floral department or bringing in our own.
  • A reserved space to get ready for the bridal party. This one is fine, as we are able to get ready in our hotel rooms and be escorted in the limo to the ceremony space.

After speaking with Joe, we decided that this package was perfect for our elopement and fit our dream very nicely. This moves us into the next part of the process, which is deciding on a venue and putting a “soft hold” on our package!

Choosing our Venue

With the Escape package, we had five different venues to choose from:

  • Disney’s Wedding Pavilion at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort
  • Canada Terrace at the Canada Pavilion in EPCOT
  • Sea Breeze Point at Disney’s Boardwalk Resort
  • Wedding Gazebo at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort 
  • Luau Pointe at Disney’s Polynesian Resort

Our first choice was the Canada Terrace in EPCOT. We love that park, and the backdrop of the ceremony space is the waterfall in the back of the Canada pavilion. However, even though the date we wanted was open (May 24), the only time slot available was 9:00am, as they only do ceremonies before park opening which – to us – was entirely too early!

Our second choice was Luau Pointe. We absolutely love the Polynesian, and this ceremony space is beautiful. It’s very tropical and surrounded by beautiful greenery with the backdrop being Seven Seas Lagoon. Since we initially were supposed to get married on the beach, we figured this was perfect! After deciding on this ceremony spot, we were informed that the 1:00pm slot was already reserved, but a 9:00am and an 11:00am ceremony was open and available. As I mentioned above, 9:00am was too early for our taste, so we decided on the 11:00 slot!

Soft-Hold of our Date and Venue

The next and final step of the booking experience was to put a “soft hold” on our ceremony venue, date, and time. What this basically meant was that everything was reserved in our name for about a month’s time span while the Letter of Agreement was being drawn up and until the deposit was set.

To draw up the Letter of Agreement, I had about two weeks to fill out a form from Joe. On the form, I had to choose up to three resorts for our our room block (one value, one moderate, and one deluxe) as well as a resort for our complimentary room. I also had to provide him with basic information including our contact information and our parents’. Since it was easy information, that part of the process only took about three days.

After sending in that information, it took about another two weeks for Joe and his team to draw up a Letter of Agreement. I had to review that all of the information was correct, and my fiance and I had to sign the document. We then had about two more weeks to get the deposit of $1,000 over to them. Once everything was signed and they received the deposit, Joe and his team took about another week to sign the document on their end as well as assign us our wedding coordinator team.

And, that brings us to the end of Part I of our Disney Fairytale Wedding series! Part II in our series will be information on how we planned every detail of our wedding with our coordinating team, so be on the look-out!

Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoy this series! We are so excited for our special day, adn cannot wait to share it with all of you! Below are some photo’s of the venue we chose (Luau Pointe)! Be sure to subscribe to our blog so you’re notified when we post next! See ya real soon 😉

A BREAK DOWN OF WDW DINING PLANS!

A BREAK DOWN OF WDW DINING PLANS!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Which plan is best for you?

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

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

Are the dining plans worth it?

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

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

Dining plan tips.

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

Personal thoughts…

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

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

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

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

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

19 THINGS COMING TO WDW IN 2019!

19 THINGS COMING TO WDW IN 2019!

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

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

Magic Kingdom

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

Hollywood Studios

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

EPCOT

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

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

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

Disney Springs

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

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

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

Disney Resorts

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

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

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

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

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

 

EPCOT’S CANDLELIGHT PROCESSIONAL: A REVIEW

EPCOT’S CANDLELIGHT PROCESSIONAL: A REVIEW

Last night, I finally had the chance to see EPCOT’s Candlelight Processional in person. This event, part of EPCOT’s International Festival of the Holidays, is held in the American pavilion in World Showcase. Alongside a mass choir, the Voices of Liberty, and a 50 piece orchestra, a celebrity narrator tells the story of Christmas.

This event is held daily during three showtimes: 5:00 p.m., 6:45 p.m., and 8:15 p.m. and is running through December 30th. To see the show, you don’t have to purchase a ticket, but to guarantee a seat you can reserve a dining package for breakfast, lunch, or dinner at several restaurants around EPCOT.

There have  been plenty of well known celebrity narrators this year, including Neil Patrick Harris and John Stamos, but I made it a point to experience my first Candlelight Processional narrated by the beautiful Auli’i Cravalho (also known as the voice actor of Moana).

For this review, I am going to focus on the dining package reservation vs. standby line, the narrator, and the overall experience. I’ll start by saying, however, that this is absolutely a must-do experience if you are on property or nearby when it is offered! I was blown away by the event itself, and I don’t think any words that I type will truly do it justice. But, let’s jump right in!

Dining Package Reservations vs. Standby Line

The Candlelight Processional is a free event with park  admission, however the standby line can get pretty insane – especially if the celebrity narrator is well known. As this was my first experience attending the event, I did plenty of research and found out that it was common for people to wait in the standby line for over three hours to grab a seat at one of the three showings.

One way to avoid the standby line and guarantee a seat, however, is to make a dining package reservation for the day of the event you’d like to see. There are several restaurants that offer the dining package, and have options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. However, the dining  packages can be expensive, reaching up to $70 per adult for a dinner.

I went back and forth between planning to wait in the standby line and just booking a reservation, but I decided [only a few hours before we left] that I didn’t want to chance not  being able to see Cravalho in person, since Moana is an absolute favorite of mine. I couldn’t find any available dinner reservations, but there were plenty of lunch reservations available and I ended up snagging  a 2:30 reservation at Garden Grill. The lunch included beverages, an appetizer, a family style meal, and dessert. Also included was a ticket for the 6:45 showing of the Candlelight Processional.

It ended up being a  good choice doing the dining package, because the standby line was seriously insane. Even the dining package line was crazy long, and we got there 45 minutes  before the event even started. We ended up finding out that they use the dining package to reserve 75% of the seating in the theater, leaving only 25% for standby guests.

So, long story short – as far as standby vs. dining  package, I would suggest the dining package if it is your first time seeing the event or if it is a celebrity narrator you just have to see. I definitely wouldn’t have paid for the dining package someone were  performing that I didn’t really care to see, but then again I don’t think I’d stand in a three hour line either!

Celebrity Narrator 

I mean… What can I say really?! Auli’i Cravalho is just as lively and spirited as Moana, and it really made the overall experience that much more magical. It was so obvious that she was honored to be there, so into the story, and absolutely loved the choir. You could see her mouthing and singing along to the songs with the chorus behind her, and she just seemed so moved and touched by the experience. I would absolutely go see her ten times over!

The Overall Experience 

I have to start out by saying that, in a country where there is so much fuss over “political correctness” and sensitivity, I am very surprised Disney puts on such a religious show. Between the story itself, the songs that accompanied it, and the overall story – it is a very Christian ceremony. That being said, I fear that one day (sooner, rather than later), someone somewhere will protest this event and it will be a thing of the past. I would absolutely recommend seeing it within the next upcoming years if it is a bucket list event.

Overall, it was truly a magical experience that really puts you in the holiday spirit. It was nice to be so immersed in a show that discussed the true reason for the season in such a beautiful way. The orchestra was outstanding, the choir was breathtaking, and the story was so beautifully told. It really has you step back from the hustle and bustle of the holiday itself and appreciate what this is all truly about.

All in all, like I said about three times above, this is a must-do experience if you’re on property for the holidays. The celebrity narrators are a nice touch, but really it’s all about the message and the beauty behind it all. Below, I’ll add a few clips of some of my favorite parts of the show (they’re poor quality, done on my iPhone – sorry in advance :)!

Thanks for reading today’s post! Be sure to subscribe to our blog to be notified of any new posts. Happy holidays, see ya real soon!

HOLIDAY CELEBRATIONS IN WDW!

HOLIDAY CELEBRATIONS IN WDW!

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

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

Magic Kingdom

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

Epcot 

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

Hollywood Studios

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

Animal Kingdom

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

Disney Springs

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

Disney Resorts 

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

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

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

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

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

WHERE TO GET A THANKSGIVING MEAL IN WDW?

WHERE TO GET A THANKSGIVING MEAL IN WDW?

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

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

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

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

EPCOT

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

Disney Springs 

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

Disney World Resorts

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

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

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

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

Just a few side notes…

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

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

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

WHAT TO PACK IN YOUR PARK BAG?!

WHAT TO PACK IN YOUR PARK BAG?!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

10 ROOKIE MISTAKES TO AVOID WHEN VISITING WDW!

10 ROOKIE MISTAKES TO AVOID WHEN VISITING WDW!

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

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

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

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