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 🙂

MY FAVORITE PARK IN DISNEY WORLD!

MY FAVORITE PARK IN DISNEY WORLD!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

VALENTINES DAY IN DISNEY?!

VALENTINES DAY IN DISNEY?!

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

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

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

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

A BREAK DOWN OF WDW DINING PLANS!

A BREAK DOWN OF WDW DINING PLANS!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Which plan is best for you?

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

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

Are the dining plans worth it?

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

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

Dining plan tips.

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

Personal thoughts…

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

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

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

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

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

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 😉

 

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 🙂

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 🙂

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 🙂

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! 🙂