ANIMAL KINGDOM LODGE: A REVIEW

ANIMAL KINGDOM LODGE: A REVIEW

As part of our Disney Fairytale Wedding package, it was a requirement for the bride and groom to stay on property for four consecutive nights. This wasn’t a problem, as I thought it would be a great addition to our wedding and a fun mini honeymoon!

Dee and I have a plan to never stay at the same resort twice, until there are no more resorts on WDW property to stay at. We have all of the value resorts covered and most of the moderates, so we knew we’d be staying in a deluxe resort. The next step was to look at which resort was our dream resort, since it was our wedding weekend, and we landed on Animal Kingdom Lodge!

We booked a Deluxe Studio Suite, Savannah View at the Jambo House. We requested early check-in, since my bridesmaids and I would be getting to the resort around 10:00 that morning. Dee wouldn’t be showing up until after the wedding, as we planned to not see each other or stay together until then. He stayed at the Polynesian Resort for the first part of our stay to be closest to the ceremony space.

Finally, this is where my review begins. I am going to base my review on three categories: (1) Customer service, (2) Food options, and (3) Room/Resort Amenities.


Customer Service

In this category, they get a 10/10. If it were possible to go over ten, they absolutely would.

The outstanding customer service started the minute we pulled up to the resort. My car was beyond packed – I had my wedding dress and everything else we needed for the wedding, our suitcases, gifts for the entire wedding party, wine and champagne, snacks – literally a car full. The bell attendees at the front of the resort immediately unpacked my car. Since it was too early to officially be “checked in”, they kept my things safely in the baggage area, but allowed us to go in and out to grab what we needed until we had our room.

Next, during check-in, I was speaking with the receptionist about the size of the studio I had booked. I explained to her that the morning of my wedding, all of my bridesmaids would be with me plus my hair dresser and MUA as well as all of my family. I asked if that room was large enough to accommodate all of those people, and she assured me it would be fine. I didn’t find out until later that she upgraded my room from the studio to a Deluxe 1 Bedroom Suite, Savannah View. It was a DVC room, and let me tell you – it was able to accommodate all of those people. It was very spacious, laid out nicely, and was perfect for what we needed. We didn’t even find out about the upgrade until unlocking our room and walking inside. It was a wonderful surprise!

Another magical moment that was made for us was at the pool bar. The first day there, my bridesmaids and I frequented the pool bar – both while sitting at the pool, and as a stop before heading for my bachelorette party. My MOH, Megan, made sure everyone knew I was getting married the following day. The next day, after the ceremony, our friends and family came to our resort and suite to swim and hang out. We, of course, frequented the pool bar. The same bartender as the day before was working and he remembered our group. He ended up surprising Dee and I with a plate full of sweets as a congratulations. The plate included zebra domes (my favorite!), homemade chocolate candies, and truffles. It was such a cute surprise!

The great customer service doesn’t stop there. The cast members native to Africa were a joy to speak with – one even gave Dee and I a complimentary light saber and autographed pictures from Mickey and Minnie! The bartenders at the bar inside of the resort were also very engaging and a pleasure. One of the cast members that worked in The Mara recognized us daily and would be sure to acknowledge us. It truly felt like a community of people that enjoyed their job and loved creating magic. Everything that was done for us was done without expectation, and it was beyond magical.


Food Options

For the food category, I would score 9/10!

During our stay, we wanted a laid back honeymoon. We headed to MK for an evening, but the rest of our time was really spent at the resort. We ordered room service and ate (plenty of times) at The Mara, but that was it. We really wanted to try Boma, but we couldn’t score any reservations and the wait was always a bit too long.

However, room service and The Mara did not disappoint! Room service was pretty pricey, of course, but the food was always still hot and spectacular. The Mara offered plenty of different and unique options, which was a refreshing change from the rest of the resort food court options we have had in the past. The food was, once again, always hot and tasted fresh. We ate 2-3 meals there a day, during the whole stay, and I never felt bored of the food.

The reason why this category only got a 9/10, even though all the food we had was awesome, is because of how hard it was for us to get into Boma. I would have loved to had tried that option since I’ve heard such good things about them, but I’ll just have to make reservations and head there another time!


Room and Resort Amenities

I give this category a 10/10!

I’ve already touched on the room – it was beautiful. When first walking in, you see a full size kitchen equipped with a dish washer, oven/stove, full size refrigerator, and microwave. There was also plenty of counter space, a large sink, and the cupboards were filled with cups, plates, bowls, etc. The kitchen flows into the living room that included a dining table (for four), a couch that pulled out to a queen size bed, two end tables, a coffee table, and a large chair which pulled out to a twin sized bed. There were also two french doors that opened to the very large balcony which overlooked the Savannah.

There was then a hallway that lead to the bedroom and bathroom. The bedroom had a California king size bed, a chair, a desk, a large television, a dresser, and an armoire. It was very spacious, and also had two french doors which opened up to the balcony. The bathroom was separated into two areas – the area with a sink, a mirror, and a closer, then the area with the toilet and shower/Jacuzzi tub. There was also a closet with a washer and dryer in unit!

I am still mesmerized by the room. As if the upgrade wasn’t enough, I loved the balcony with the beautiful view. You really can’t beat waking up every morning to a giraffe 100 yards away from you and zebra all around. It was beyond breathtaking, and I don’t think I could have spent too much time out on that balcony!

As far as amenities, there were plenty. Our favorite was the pool, which was large and had a pool bar and a water slide. It was surrounded by tropical greenery that gave it an exotic view. There were also fire pits where they had fires in the evenings, and they offered plenty of other activities during the day. Of course, the best amenity was the Savannah itself, which included plenty of fun and exotic animals to see!


To wrap it up, this resort is beyond a dream. If you’re looking for a staycation at WDW – a resort that you don’t have to leave – this is it. Never did I get bored just sitting at the resort. There is plenty to do, and so much to explore, that a week there just at the resort would be an event in itself.

I could honestly go on and on about this resort, but I’ll end it here. Below are some pictures of our room, our view, and the resort. Thanks for reading! Be sure to subscribe to our blog so you’re notified when we post next. See ya real soon ūüôā

Our Room

The Resort

Our View

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 Рand 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 Рuntil 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 ūüôā

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 Рespecially 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!

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 fianc√© 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 ūüôā Be sure to like this post and subscribe to my blog so you can be notified when I post next! See ya soon ūüôā

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 ‚Äď this way, you‚Äôll 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 ‚Äď 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 ūüôā

BEST TIME TO VISIT WDW?!

BEST TIME TO VISIT WDW?!

Being the Disney nerd I am, I constantly get asked the question [regarding crowd size] “When is the best time to visit Disney World?”. Although I would love to say the Halloween and Christmas seasons due to the festivities, decorations, and vibes, it can be very busy during these times of the year. People are well aware of the large crowd volumes in the parks as a whole, so what¬†is the answer?

I want to first start off with stating that there is no longer a “slow” season in WDW. Crowd levels vary from moderate to extreme, but no matter when you go there¬†will be crowds and there¬†will be 45+ minute waits for beloved attractions. However, going during a time where there is¬†a¬†moderate crowd level will make your trip much more enjoyable. Below are the top three best times to avoid extreme crowds in WDW.

  1. The end of January. December into the beginning of January is one of the most busiest seasons for the resort, if not the busiest. With the Christmas and New Years celebrations as well as the Run Disney marathons, crowd levels can be unbearable. However, once the festivities and marathons are over and children are back in school, the end of January marks one of the best times to visit the resort. Not only are the crowds bearable, but the weather is cooler-than-normal for central Florida temperatures.
  2. Middle-End of May. Spring break is over and children are still in school, so this makes a great time to head to WDW. Although not¬†as low of crowd levels as number 1, this is the “calm before the storm” before the summer months. It’s also not during the rain season and not unbearably hot, which makes the weather easy to manage! An added bonus, this is when¬†Epcot’s Flower and Garden Festival is in full bloom, which is a fun and beautiful can’t-miss event!
  3. End of September/Beginning of October. Although it can still be very hot and during the rain season, this is another great time to visit and avoid large crowd levels. Students are just starting school and it isn’t too close to Halloween, which makes this the perfect time to visit. What makes this time of the year even better is that Magic Kingdom is decorated for fall and you can still hit Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party if you’re looking for some added fun!

Once again, I would like to point out that none of these three times is a slow season. Unfortunately, there will be crowds and longer wait times for popular attractions. However, these different times of year have wait times and crowd levels that are easier to manage compared to the summer months and the holidays. Below are a few pro tips to get the most out of your vacation even during these moderate times of year!

  • Visit parks during the week¬†days. During the weekends, locals (like myself) often frequent the parks, adding to the crowds. The best times to go are during the week days, where children are in school and parents/adults are working.
  • Use Fastpass+ Reservations. It is always nice when you don’t have to wait an hour or more to ride your most favorite attractions. Be sure to use the open window (60 days out with a resort reservation, 30 days out with just tickets) to book your allotted 3 Fastpass+ reservations per day.
  • Expect to wait in lines.¬†If you are going during these times of year, or any time of year, and expect to wait little-or-no time to ride an attraction, meet a character, or even to order food you will be highly disappointed. For literally everything you do on property, you will be waiting in lines. Be prepared for this by downloading fun games to play in line, bringing something to keep the kids busy, or just go in with the understanding that there¬†will be a wait so that your time in WDW isn’t ruined!

I hope these tips help you plan your future WDW adventure! Thanks for reading ūüôā Be sure to like this post, and follow my blog to get updates on new posts. See ya next time!

CHICKEN GUY: A REVIEW

CHICKEN GUY: A REVIEW

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

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

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

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

The Service

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

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

The Environment 

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

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

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The Food

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Final Thoughts

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

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

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FOOD AND WINE 2018: FIRST IMPRESSIONS

FOOD AND WINE 2018: FIRST IMPRESSIONS

This Friday, I finally had the chance to head to Epcot’s International Food and Wine Festival! Although I’ve been to this festival several times in the past, I feel as though I had a different experience this year. Below, I am going to dive into some of the aspects of the festival that left “first impressions” for this years festival. If you are unsure what this festival is, check out my blog post all about it¬†here:¬†A GUIDE TO EPCOT‚ÄôS INTERNATIONAL FOOD AND WINE FESTIVAL 2018.

Crowd Level

This year, as I mentioned above, was the first year we visited the festival on a Friday night. Usually, we head to the festival during the week and midday. This choice we made definitely affected how we experienced the festival based on the higher crowd volume.

From the moment we pulled in to the parking lot, we waited almost 10 minutes in line to finally get in to a spot. We then waited over a half hour between bag check and the entrance. When waiting, I made a comment that they must have a pretty great entertainer for the night and that had to be the reason for the crowds Рbut I was wrong.

The park itself didn’t feel overly crowded until we got into World Showcase. WS definitely had to be over capacity because it was beyond packed. Literally, I couldn’t tell you how many times a stroller was rammed into my ankles and how many times people bumped into me. Lesson learned: not the best idea to head to the festival on a Friday night!

Du Jour Dance Party 

Heading to and from the World Showcase, we came across the new Du Jour Dance Party being offered at the festival this year. When we first arrived, it was still light out, so there were mostly kids taking advantage of the party. However, when we were leaving, there were all adults on the dance floor. It was fun to see both kids and adults enjoying this added bonus!

Photopass 

I was very unimpressed with the Photopass options at this festival. To begin, there was no Photopass cast member at the front of the park in front of the beautiful set-up for Food and Wine with Spaceship Earth in the background. This is a prime photo spot, and I was very sad there wasn’t someone there tending to guests to take advantage of this!

Next, we headed to an area behind the¬†Du Jour Dance Party¬†where there is another FAW set-up with a large pink cake for photos. We took a photo here last year and were excited to do it again. The Photopass cast member rushed us through our pictures (which seems to be happening more and more in the parks!), and then later we noticed she must have had her settings wrong because we ended up with the couples photo’s who went before us!

Lastly, WDW kept Snow White out to do a meet-and-greet during the festival which I thought was so fun, considering it was far past the usual time that characters are out. However, there was no Photopass person with her, so the character attendant had to take photo’s on my cell phone. They ended up poor quality because of the lighting in the area, and I’m sad we didn’t get better photos!

Hopefully, these instances aren’t something that happen continually at the festival!

Eat to the Beat 

The performer for the night was¬†Living Colour. This is a group I’m not familiar with, but I know my parents are. My fianc√© and I sat for about a minute to watch the performance, but quickly got bored and left. They’re great performers, just not the group for us!

Food and Drink Samplings 

Before heading to the festival, my fiancé and I chose to eat dinner before hand with the plan of grabbing a dessert or small snack in World Showcase along with a drink or two. We ended up each having two drinks, and I got a snack. The following is a short blurb about each item we tried:

  • Mariachi Loco: Beverage, Mexico:¬†Margarita with Libelula Tequila Joven, Mango Pur√©e and Chamoy ‚Äď $9.00
    • My fianc√© got this drink, but neither of us were impressed. It had a dried mango slice inside of the drink, and it seemed to leave a bad after taste. I wouldn’t recommend!
  • La Chancla: Beverage, Mexico:¬†Red Wine Sangria mixed with Fruit Juice ‚Äď $8.75
    • Just a basic sangria – good, but nothing too special about it. However, I would absolutely get it again!
  • Wild Mushroom Beef Filet Mignon with Truffle Butter Sauce: Snack, Canada: $8.00
    • This is one of the most popular dishes at FAW, and I can see why. It was a small portion, which I expected, but so amazingly delicious. The sauce was exceptional, and the cut of meat was clearly a great quality and so tender. I will absolutely get this dish the next time I visit FAW, and highly recommend it!

Overall, I was very disappointed with our first visit to Food and Wine 2018 this year. I am hoping that my next visit is more enjoyable, which I am sure it will be! Nonetheless, Food and Wine is still my favorite festival at the parks and absolutely a must-do for guests. I’m already looking forward to my next visit!

Thanks for reading ūüôā Below are some pictures of the night! Be sure to like this post, and follow my blog!

7 REASONS TO VISIT WDW IN THE FALL

7 REASONS TO VISIT WDW IN THE FALL

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I love the fall season. Although I’m not a fan of pumpkin spice, I love the scents, the decorations, and the HOLIDAYS! No one does fall better, though, than Walt Disney World. That’s why today I am going to give you seven reasons why you should visit WDW during the fall season!

1. The Decorations.¬†Walking down Main Street USA will give you that “fall feeling” even if it is 90+ degrees in central Florida. WDW does such an amazing job lining the roofs of the markets with pumpkins and Jack-o-Lanterns as well as putting Mickey-inspired pumpkin wreaths on each lamp post and hanging brown, orange, red and white banners all over. These touches really bring a small-town feeling to the park and create the perfect aesthetic for the season!

2. Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party.¬†I already wrote a long, lengthy post about why MNSSHP is a must-do on your Disney vacation. Dressing up no matter what your age is and going Trick-or-Treating itself is fun, but to add every other aspect WDW does during the party creates a truly magical experience!

3. Epcot’s International Food and Wine Festival.¬†Another event that I’ve created a lengthy blog post about, this event (which is¬†free with admission to the park) is engaging no matter your age! I love the idea of trying food dishes and popular drinks from countries around the world. Although it isn’t a “fall” experience, it happens¬†during the fall time, which is reason enough to visit!

4. The¬†Treats. Fall time in the parks inspires chef’s to create endless fall themed treats – sweet and savory! Of course, you can expect your classic pumpkin spiced desserts, but also some fun treats inspired by your favorite Halloween and fall-holiday characters and movies! My favorites every year are the candy and caramel apples!

5. The Crowds. On non-MNSSHP nights as well as weekdays, you can expect the crowds to be lower than normal. This doesn’t mean, necessarily, that the park will be empty with no wait times on favorite attractions, but the wait times will be bearable. Being that fall is when children go back to school, most parents don’t want to pull their young kids out for a week to go on a family vacation. This was always a major deciding factor on when I would plan my WDW vacation!

6. The Weather. Although you can’t expect¬†traditional fall weather in Orlando, it starts to cool down in October and the humidity isn’t as strong. The change in the weather makes it much more easier to do full park days, especially compared to the summer months.

7. Lower-Than-Normal Prices. Since fall isn’t as busy as other months, resort prices are usually a bit lower as well as the price of park tickets! The only time you will see “peak” season prices is the week of Labor Day, Halloween, and Thanksgiving. Other than that, expect to pay quite a bit less than that summer or Christmas vacation you’re looking in to!

So there you have it, 7 reasons why you should visit Walt Disney World Resort during the fall season! We love it here this time of year, and I am confident that you would too.

Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed this post ūüôā Leave a comment down below about when you think it’s the best time to visit the resort. Also, be sure to like this post and follow my blog. Have a great week!

TOY STORY LAND: A REVIEW

TOY STORY LAND: A REVIEW

Toy Story Land is a new addition to Hollywood Studios that opened June 30th. My fiancé and I also moved from Ohio to Orlando, Florida on June 30th, and have been lucky to experience it several times this summer!

Toy Story Land is, obviously, based on the Toy Story movie franchise. The story is that Andy has created an amusement park in his back yard for all of his toys, and when you enter the park you “shrink down” to the size of a green army man. Toy Story Land consists of three rides, one quick service restaurant, and two meet-and-greet areas. If you’d like to know my honest opinion about the land itself as well as each experience within it, read below! Also, be sure to hang out until the end of the bog for some pictures of TSL!

Toy Story Land – Size

As a Toy Story fanatic, I was hoping to be immersed into this huge land – which was not the case. In planning, TSL itself was intended to be much larger and have more to it, but for budgetary reasons, a lot was cut. The land size itself is okay for what it is, but I was just hoping for more.

Toy Story Land РTheming 

Unlike how I feel about the size of TSL, the theming of this land is so immersive and perfect for what it is meant to be! Following the story, it really feels as though you’ve stepped into an amusement park put together by a kid. From popsicle stick walls, to benches made of dominoes, to Christmas lights being held up by characters, pencils, and straws. The list could go on and on – the theming related to the story is just incredible. The best time to see it, however, is at night when it’s lit up!

Slinky Dog Dash

After budgetary cuts to the roller coaster, making it shorter, and initially being compared to Barnstormer, I had very low expectations for this attraction. However, it is now one of my favorite rides in WDW! Although it is a “family” coaster, it doesn’t go too slowly or too fast, which makes it just fun and enjoyable for children of all ages. What I love about the ride is that it still isn’t too short (which I was nervous about!), and that it has two launches. Definitely a must-do attraction in Hollywood Studios!

Side note: I rode this coaster for the first time at night during the Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular nighttime show and it was magical. If you can time it up just right, I would highly recommend!

Alien Swirling Saucers 

Much like Slinky Dog, I didn’t have high hopes for this attraction. However, I was also pleasantly surprised with this as well! On this attraction, you are in a cart driven by an alien from Pizza Planet while you spin around and around. ¬†Much like¬†Mad Hatters Tea Party in MK, the ride just makes you happy – I found myself and Dee laughing the entire ride. If the line is under 20 minutes, I would highly recommend! Like Slinky Dog and the ride itself, the best time to go on this attraction is at night – the lighting and effects make the attraction even more enjoyable!

Toy Story Midway Mania

I’m not really going to go into much detail on this attraction, as it has been a part of Hollywood Studios for several years now and is a fun experience. I think it, obviously, fits very well into the theming of the land and is always a popular attraction in HS.

Andy’s Lunchbox¬†

The only eatery in TSL, Andy’s Lunchbox is a quick-service outdoor location that offers sandwiches, snacks, and beverages – basically what you’d expect in a lunchbox! The land itself is sponsored by Bellvita cheese, and that sponsorship shows A LOT in this area – there is a huge Bellvita cheese wheel at the top of the ordering window, and some of the chairs are made of the Bellvita casings. The sandwiches itself are unique and pleasing, and this location offer both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. The only thing that is disappointing is that there is a very small sitting area, which is almost always full, and no indoor seating space.

Character Meet and Greets 

There are two areas you can meet characters in TSL: by the entrance of¬†Toy Story Midway Mania, and near the entrance of the land itself. You can meet Woody near the entrance, while Buzz and Jesse are together near Midway Mania.¬†The character meet and greets are as you’d expect for WDW, but I miss the air conditioned and themed queue with the designated photo area for Woody and Buzz in Pixar Place!

They’ve also incorporated army men – and women – in TSL to walk around for photo ops, hula hoop competitions, and more. The army men – and women – are a lot more interactive in TSL than they were in Pixar Place, which is a major bonus.

Miscellaneous 

  1. Shade. The major issue that I’ve read on other blog reviews about the land and completely agree with is the lack of shaded areas in TSL. To be more specific – unless you go to where the restrooms are, there is NO shade in TSL. Being that we are in central Florida, I’m not sure how this was overlooked by imagineers. Especially being that all of the queue’s for the attractions, 2 of the 3 attractions themselves, and the quick service location in the ride are all outdoors. The ONLY place to get air conditioning and to get out of the heat is to ride¬†Midway Mania or use the restroom. Hopefully trees, umbrella’s, or some other solution will be added by next summer!
  2. Photo spots. There are so many great photo spots available in TSL! Some crowd favorites are: Woody at the entrance of the park, the popsicle wall, and the alien near¬†Alien Swirling Saucers.¬†With all of the “toys” that were used to create this land, the photo opportunities are endless!
  3. Lack of merchandise spots. Although there is plenty of Toy Story Land merchandise to be found around Hollywood Studios, what this land lacks the most is a shop! There is an outdoor cart that has some merchandise, but I do not feel this is enough for what is supposed to be a popular area. It was rumored that an Al’s Toy Barn was supposed to be in TSL for a merchandise shop before budgetary cuts, and I think this would have been a great addition to this area that is sadly missed! Not only would they probably have sold¬†more¬†TSL merchandise to spur-of-the-moment buyers, it would have been a shaded and air conditioned spot that would have perfectly fit the theme of the land.

Final Thoughts

Overall, I absolutely love this land! Although it is on the smaller side, it truly brings that nostalgic feeling of my childhood back and makes me really feel as though I am in Andy’s back yard. I am disappointed of all that was cut from the land, but I am satisfied with what has still been included. This is a must-do for first time WDW vacation families as well as Toy Story lovers, and I’d highly recommend!

Thanks for reading! If you’ve been to TSL this summer, leave a comment down below letting me know your thoughts! Also, if you enjoyed this blog, be sure to subscribe and like it down below ūüôā

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