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 🙂

CHRISTMAS IN WDW: A REVIEW

CHRISTMAS IN WDW: A REVIEW

This past Christmas was my first time experiencing it with the Disney magic. I’d always dreamed of spending the holiday in WDW and experiencing all of the unique offerings in all of the park. This year, my fiance and I went all in and tried to experience as much as we could during the holiday season, and we pretty much hit everything!

I absolutely loved the International Festival of the Holidays at EPCOT along with the Candlelight Processional (you can read all about that experience here: EPCOT’S CANDLELIGHT PROCESSIONAL: A REVIEW), Flurry of Fun at Hollywood Studios was a great time, and of course for nostalgic reasons The Holidays at Disney Springs was my favorite. One of my favorites also happened to be the gingerbread displays at the resorts! There was one experience, however, that I was very disappointed in – and that was Christmas Eve in the Magic Kingdom.

I didn’t have the chance to attend Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party this year, but I didn’t stress it too much as I knew that the week of Christmas I’d be able to experience just about everything unique about the party for free. Christmas Eve is the biggest night of the year in my family (we’re Italian, it’s a huge deal) and I knew I would be upset that I was missing our yearly party, so I saved Christmas Eve to experience all of the Magic Kingdom Christmas fun – and I wish I hadn’t.

There were several things that were a must do for me in MK on Christmas Eve – A Frozen Holiday Wish, Mickey’s Most Merriest Celebration Castle Show, Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade, and of course Holiday Wishes fireworks. So, the first experience we planned to see for the day was the parade at 3:30. My fiance and I got to the park around 1:30 to grab a bite to eat first, and it was then that we knew we were already way too late.

Main Street was already  lined with people sitting and waiting for  the parade that was two hours away. The walkways were so crowded that you honestly couldn’t take two  steps without running into someone. Also, I’m pretty sure about a dozen strollers, scooters, and wheelchairs rammed into my ankles within the first five minutes of being there. I knew to expect crowds, however I didn’t know it got this crowded.

After quickly eating, we finally found a spot for the parade about an hour before it started. We didn’t get a front row spot, but were behind a few people with more people behind us. Once the parade started, people were pushing their way up so much to the point where my fiance and I were sandwiched between people. Also, there were kids on their parents shoulders right in front of us, so we could barely see the parade itself. This is where the disappointment started.

After the parade, we had Fastpass+ reservations for the Jingle Cruise. When we showed up within our timeframe, the FP line was so far back that we were near Aladdin’s ride. At the end of the line was a cast member, who informed us it was a 45 minute wait – for the Fastpass+  line! So, we instead decided to go on Pirates of  the Caribbean, which had a suspiciously low wait time which was completely inaccurate and, was in fact, a much longer wait than stated.

After Pirates, we decided to head back to the castle to watch the Frozen castle show. It was about 5:00 at this point, so the show was almost an hour and a half out. We ended up finding pretty good spots and sat to wait. It was a beautiful sight, as always, to watch the castle light up minute by minute while it was getting darker and darker out. Finally, it was showtime and I was so excited – until parents began putting their children on their shoulders yet again and the crowds began pushing forward. Once again, my view was completely blocked and I was unable to see a majority of the show.

By this time, the park seemed  somehow ten times more crowded and my fiance and I just decided we’d enjoy the night more if we headed home and had a lowkey evening. Making the choice to miss the fireworks and Mickey’s castle show was a hard one, but I know there is always next year.

Now, I feel like I need to pause and say that I am not one to complain about standing in lines, crowds in Disney, or Disney in general. It is my happy place. However, being a tad bit homesick already had me in a bit of a funk, and then having a hard time experiencing everything I’d been looking forward to for years was just a bit of a let down. I also know that I have the opportunity to experience  these shows for years and years to come, and for some of these families it might be their once in a lifetime experience.

Overall, this was definitely a learning experience for me. Every other holiday event in WDW that I got to partake in was a great time, and it was because I hit those things before the busiest week of the year. Next year, my fiance and I know to head to MK a little earlier and make those memories when it isn’t so wild.

Would I recommend WDW during the holiday season? Absolutely – it is beyond beautiful and magical and everything I’d hoped. But, would I recommend WDW the week between Christmas and New Years? Probably not.

I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas, and has a safe New Years!Below are a few pictures of our time in MK on Christmas Eve. If you enjoyed today’s post, be sure to subscribe to our blog to be notified of any new posts. Happy holidays, 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 🙂

HOLLYWOOD STUDIOS “FLURRY OF FUN”

HOLLYWOOD STUDIOS “FLURRY OF FUN”

The holiday celebrations in WDW have officially begun! The parks, the resorts, and even Disney Springs are all dressed in beautiful holiday decorations, each with unique offerings in their own way. Later in the month, I am going to have a blog post discussing all of the holiday offerings found on property, but today I want to focus on one of my person favorites – Flurry of Fun in Hollywood Studios.

Although I’ve visited the parks countless times over the past few years, I’ve never visited WDW during the holiday season, so all of these new experiences are beyond magical to me. Yesterday, my fiancé and I decided to check out the holiday experiences at Hollywood Studios and we were not disappointed!

From the decorations to the snow falling on Sunset Blvd to the tree lighting ceremony in the middle of Echo lake, Flurry of Fun absolutely put me in the Christmas spirit. It has been a while since we have been able to experience something new (to us) on property, and these offerings completely took my breath away!

Below, I am going to list all of the events that are offered nightly in Hollywood Studios as part of the Flurry of Fun celebration. Unfortunately, we were not able to experience every single event, but I am determined to head back to this park soon and check some more boxes off my list!

Echo Lake Decorations 

WDW imagineers transformed Echo Lake into a winter wonderland. The larger-than-life Christmas tree is placed right in the middle of the lake, surrounded by giant Christmas ornament bulbs and other decorations. The Echo Lake dinosaur, Gertie, was even dressed for the occasion with a Santa hat!

Around Echo lake there are plenty of Photopass cast members to take your picture in front of the festive set up. And, at dusk, they do a nightly tree-lighting ceremony that is definitely something worth seeing!

Sunset Blvd Seasons Greetings 

There is so much to talk about that imagineers have done to Sunset Blvd in celebration of the holidays. To start, one of the most exciting things that happens is the transformation of The Hollywood Tower of Terror. Using the same projection mapping technology that is used for Cinderella’s Castle shows, watch the “hotel” come alive with projections of various holiday-themed scenes aligned with classic Christmas songs. Laser effects are also used throughout the show to create that special “Hollywood” feeling.

My favorite part, however, is the SNOW that falls periodically throughout the night. It may not snow in Hollywood, California, but that added magical touch is the icing on the cake to this fun entertainment experience.

Meet Santa Claus and other Character Meet-and-Greets 

What is a holiday celebration without meeting the big man in red? Up until December 24, Santa is stationed in the Once Upon a Time building on Sunset Blvd from park open to close. Also throughout the park, you can find the Fab 5 dressed in their holiday for photo ops, including Goofy dressed as Santa Claus!

One of the best places to meet the characters in holiday outfits, however, is at Hollywood & Vine for Minnie’s Holiday Dine. You can find Goofy in his Santa outfit at a few different spots throughout the park at various times of the day, but a dinner at this table-service restaurant will ensure you get to see the entire gang in their holiday best.

Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM!

About a half hour after park closing, guests can gather around the Chinese Theater to experience this holiday themed nighttime spectacular. Projection mapping is also used on the theater and is joined by fireworks, holiday music, and more to create a merry holiday show!

Toy Story Land Holiday Overlay 

If you have gotten the chance to visit Toy Story Land, you are well aware that year-round it is kind of decorated for Christmas, as you can see the characters stringing Christmas lights above your heads as decoration. However, WDW imagineers took it one step further to add a total holiday overlay in the park and it is spectacular.

The overlay includes larger-than-life Christmas cookies scattered as decorations around the park and characters dressed in holiday-themed outfits and/or accessories. There are also some fun ride overlays as well, including holiday music and special projections in Alien Swirling Saucers and the sound of jingling bells on Slinky Dog Dash as he races across the track.

I truly feel as though this blog doesn’t even do Flurry of Fun at Hollywood Studios justice. Imagineers and the cast members truly went above and beyond to create a completely magical holiday experience. It’s so tough to feel in the holiday spirit when you live in Florida (because it still feels like summertime), but one short night in this park did that for me. Below are a few extra pictures of the park!

But, there you have it! A short guide to Hollywood Studios Flurry of Fun. I absolutely recommend checking this event out if you are on (or near) WDW property from now until December 31. You will not be disappointed!

Thanks for reading 🙂 Be sure to like this post and subscribe to my blog so you can be notified when I post next! See ya soon 🙂

MICKEY’S VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS PARTY: A GUIDE

MICKEY’S VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS PARTY: A GUIDE

As if Halloween hadn’t come and gone quick enough, this upcoming Friday (November 8th) marks the first day of Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party! Within days, Magic Kingdom was transformed from spooky szn to the holidays, and I couldn’t be more excited.

There is a lot to look forward to and do in WDW during the holidays (watch out for a future blog post where I outline all of the fun events and activities available on property!), but MVMCP is a can’t miss event. In anticipation of the event, here is a guide of everything you need to know about the event!


General Information

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is held select nights November 8th through December 21. The party is a hard ticketed event, which means that you need to purchase a ticket for the event separately from a general park admission ticket. The prices for the party range from $95 – $125 depending on the night the event is held and how big of a crowd they anticipate (higher prices = anticipated busier party dates). There are also special rates for annual pass holders and Florida residents.

MVMCP starts at 7:00 p.m. and ends at 12:00 a.m. Just like a ticket to Mickeys Not So Scary Halloween Party, even though the event doesn’t start until 7:00, your party ticket alone will get you into Magic Kingdom as early as 4:00, which I highly recommend taking advantage of! Doing this will allow you to grab a bite to eat and ride a few attractions before the fun of the party begins. There is so much to do at the party itself that it is hard to fit everything you want to do into one visit, so arriving earlier and checking some things off of your “must do” list will be a big help in the end!


Unique Offerings  

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party has a lot of unique offerings for guests including special fireworks, trick-or-treating, a special parade, and fun shows on the castles stage. The party also includes treats unique to the party as well as special character meet-and-greets! Below, I will list and briefly talk about the unique offerings.

A Frozen Holiday Wish

Watch Queen Elsa take over Cinderella’s Castle by illuminating it with the Castle Dream Lights. This 7 minute show is put on twice a night and definitely puts you in the spirit for the party!

Pro tip: Try and catch the later offering of this show. The first one is always the busiest and most crowded, especially because it will also have guests who do not have tickets to the event and haven’t left the park yet.

Holiday Wishes Fireworks

Only put on once a night, this merry version of the old Wishes fireworks will put you in a magical holiday mood. Like HalloWishes, this fireworks show has a grand finale that includes 360 degree fireworks around the park.

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

Mickey’s Most Merriest Celebration

See the castle come alive four times a night as Mickey invites all of his friends over for a holiday themed celebration. The stage show includes tons of your favorite characters along with fireworks and castle projections.

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

Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade

Separate from the pre-recorded Disney Christmas Parade that airs Christmas day, MVMCP offers two showtimes for a unique Christmas themed parade experience. Watch as your favorite characters pass by in their best holiday outfits. Of course, Santa ends the parade with his reindeer sending his wishes to all.

Pro tip:Watch the later parade as it is less crowded, and more special to see with the floats and characters lit up in the dark night!

A Totally Tomorrowland Christmas Show

Join your favorite Tomorrowland characters including Mike and Sully, Buzz, Stitch, and more for a 20 minute holiday themed stage show. The show is put on several times a night and is on the stage located in between Carousel of Progress and Space Mountain. 

Unique Character Meet-and-Greets

One of the main draws to any hard ticketed event is the unique character meet-and-greet experiences offered. Usually, the characters that you can find at these events are those you can only come by during special parties. Some unique offerings set for this years MVMCP include Jack Skellington (in his Sandy Claws suit), Moana, Scrooge McDuck, Mary Poppins, and so many more.

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

Snow on Main Street

Periodically throughout the night, snow will fall down on Main Street USA. Nothing like a flurry from Elsa to get into the holiday spirit!

Holiday Treat Stops

Much like the trick-or-treating experience at MNSSHP, there are stations set up throughout the park offering complimentary hot chocolate, cookies, and other treats. The stations are set up and open until the end of the party, and there is no limit to how many you visit!

Pro tip: There are gluten free and allergy friendly options available upon request!

Party Merchandise

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

  • Limited edition Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party Magic Band (only 3,000 made!)
  • Unique advent calendars (my favorite right now is the 12 Days of Socks calendar!)
  • Holiday-inspired Spirit Jersey

One-of-a-Kind Treats

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

  • Peppermint Ice Cream Sundae: Find this minty treat at the Plaza Ice Cream Parlor on Main Street USA!
  • Sandy Claws Push-Pop: Similar to the Jack Skellington Push Pop offered at MNSSHP, this cake push-pop with pudding and sprinkles can be found at Sleepy Hollow in Liberty Square.
  • Holiday Cinnamon Roll: A Mickey-shaped cinnamon roll with red and green icing over top and a white chocolate snowflake, this treat can be found at Main Street Bakery on Main Street USA!

Photo Op’s

There are several PhotoPass special photo opportunities being offered during the party. Special themed magic shots as well as larger-than-life props can be used to make your photos extra special. To take advantage of these photo ops, find a PhotoPass cast member, utilize Memory Maker, and you will have unique holiday pictures for extra memories!

Some locations from last year where the special photo options were available included the main entrance, Fantasyland, Ariel’s Grotto, Main Street, Haunted Mansion, and more. Just ask a PhotoPass cast member for more information!


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

Thanks for reading! If you liked today’s post, be sure to like it down below and subscribe to my blog so you can be notified when I post new content! See ya soon 🙂