... with LeSportsac and their Disney inspired bags. True love. The news today of the Cinderella line on the horizon reminded me how much I love the Disney Tink Collection and my beautiful backpack. I'll share photos next week once I have it monogrammed.
The huge update/expansion at Downtown Disney has been fun to watch, the transformation into Disney Springs is right around the corner! Here's the latest from the Disney Parks Blog, looks like some real progress!
Disney Parks Blog
For me, Epcot is simpler than Magic Kingdom. If I get to ride Test Track, Shop at Mitsukoshi Department Store, eat fish and chips from Rose & Crown Pub, and watch Illuminations: it’s a successful day.
But Epcot is so much more than that! Divided in 2 huge sections, Future World and the World Showcase, Epcot has more than enough to fill your day, and still leave plenty for future visits.
Don’t skip the classics: For me that means Spaceship earth in Future world, and do Ellen’s Energy Adventure at least once in your life. In France, Impressions De France is a lovely place to stop and get off your feet for a bit in the AC.
Do the “big” rides! Soarin’ and Test Track are always fun! I personally also really enjoy Mission Space, the more intense version – but it is NOT for everyone!
See the characters: The princesses can be found in their respective countries – Mulan in China, Belle and Aurora in France, Snow White in Germany, Jasmine in Morocco, and even Mary Poppins in England! If you are a Disney Rewards Visa member with Chase, there is a special Meet and Greet location in Innovations West where you can meet some of the Fab Five in the afternoons. This is a huge perk since Mickey and Friends typically have long wait times and no one wants to spend the day in line!
EAT ALL THE FOOD! I can’t say it enough – the fish & chips are AMAZING. You can get it from either the Rose & Crown Pub or from Yorkshire County Fish Shop if you weren’t able to score reservations at the pub. Les Halles Boulangerie & Pâtisserie is just outside Impressions De France and has a delicious assortment of warm lunch food and pastries. Club Cool is a quick pit stop to try sodas from around the world, but don’t try the Beverly. Whoever told you to try it is not your friend.
Shop! A huge part of the different countries is hidden near/around/inside the gift shops so don’t be scared to just take a look! The Brass Bazaar in Morocco and Mitsukoshi Department Store in Japan are my personal favorites.
Don't skip the fireworks! Illuminations is spectacular and the whole World Showcase has wonderful views of the show.
Confession: I’ve never done Captain EO, Journey into Imagination with Figment, Gran Fiesta Tour Featuring the Three Caballeros, or The Circle of Life. I know, I know, I’m working on it.
I'm looking forward to exploring more of Epcot on our next Disney Parks trip and also seeing what new attractions they create in the future!
I'm completely thrilled to have been chosen to host a DisneySide @Home Celebration! Hopefully in the next week or so, I'll be receiving a "pixie dust-filled" box of goodies to host a DisneySide party for my multi-generational family!
Until then, keep up with the fun on my instagram as I plan!
If possible, try to attend the Magic Kingdom on a day you can utilize extra magic hours. This park is by far the most attended and crowds can be limiting and overwhelming so extra magic hours are great to take advantage of less busy times for attractions.
Conquer the mountains – Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Splash Mountain, and now Seven Dwarfs Mine Train are all fun, best to ride them early in the day to avoid long lines later and risk missing the chance. Space Mountain is not my favorite – I don’t like the dark.
Take it slow – Take time to ride the Walt Disney World Railroad around the kingdom! It offers beautiful views and a chance to get off your feet for a bit. Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress and the Tomorrowland Transit Authoriy People Mover are also nice for a little break and rarely have lines to battle.
Be a kid – Peter Pan’s Flight, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Under the Sea ~ Voyage of the Little Mermaid, Dumbo, and even the Mad Tea Party often get passed over as being for kids, but don’t miss them!
See the shows! – Mickey’s PhilharMagic, Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room, Monster’s Inc Laugh Floor, Country Bear Jamboree, Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade and of course Wishes.
Ride it 2x – Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean, Jungle Cruise, and Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin are all full of details you may miss the first time around!
Stop and smell the roses – Spend some time on Main St. USA, eat a dole whip while watching people mill around Cinderella Castle. It’s a beautiful park, full of details – take time to enjoy!
Don’t forget to eat! - The Crystal Palace and Cinderella’s Royal Table are both fun character meals, 1 in a day is plenty for the amount of food you get! You have to try Be Our Guest Restaurant: quick service lunch if you’re short on time! For while on the go, my favorite quick service stops are Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Café, Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Café, and Casey’s Corner.
The Magic Kingdom is beautiful and has so much to offer – try not to overdo it! See as much as you can without rushing from place to place, be sure to remember you are on vacation and should be having fun!
When vacationing at Walt Disney World Resort, there’s a particular order I like to visit the parks.
This week I’ll be sharing my “must-do’s” for each park – with some alternatives depending on what kind of party you are travelling with.
After the short ride from Port Canaveral and a futile stop at McDonalds in search of Diet Dr. Pepper – we arrived at Animal Kingdom Lodge. Previously we had only ever walked through the lobby of the resort to look at the animals, never actually stayed there. It is a beautiful and HUGE resort. Our room wasn’t ready, so we got breakfast from The Mara and explored the pool area at both Kidani Village and Jambo House. We also had reservations for Sanaa for a late lunch to try the naan, I highly recommend it!
After a very chill afternoon, we made our way to the Polynesian for The Spirit of Aloha Luau. David had gone once as a kid and had good memories, so we thought it was a good addition to our list of things to give a try while travelling without kids in a small group.
One very valuable reminder we got on this trip was how big Walt Disney World resort is. It’s a long, long ways from AKL to pretty much anywhere else on property. I’m sure on future trips we will always choose to stay at Animal Kingdom Lodge ONLY when visiting Animal Kingdom.
Prior to our dinner show, we went to the Tambu Lounge to try some of the much-hyped adult beverages. I tried the Backscratcher and Lala got the Lapu Lapu – both were highly satisfying.
We LOVED the Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show. The food was incredible, the show was interactive and entertaining, and the ambiance was pure Disney magic. David was forced to participate in the birthday dance, Lala and David shared the Anniversary dance, and Michael was chosen to perform on stage by some of the dancers. The bottomless beer and wine didn’t hurt, and we all had a blast.
Sadly it was a long bus ride back to our resort and we were all beat by the time we got back.
However bright and early the next morning as per usual on a park day, I was first up and ready to go!
We all got to the park just in time for our breakfast at Cinderella’s Royal Table. The princesses were as pretty and gracious as ever. And Cinderella was very obliging in helping Lala and I recreate a picture from our very first trip to visit her Royal Table.
Next we got to take Lala and David on their first tour of New Fantasyland. First up was Under the Sea – the Voyage of the Little Mermaid and visiting my favorite princess in mermaid form. That was followed by Dumbo the Flying Elephant and the Barnstomer. We went over to Adventureland next for Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room and to wait for the parade. This was the first time any of us had seen the Festival of Fantasy parade and it was mesmerizing! Seeing Anna and Elsa was exciting, but my favorite was Maleficent! We had lunch at Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Café which was extremely crowded, but it’s worth it for the burger bar!
After lunch we proceeded to ride all the rides! Big Thunder Mountain, Splash Mountain, Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin, PeopleMover, Walt Disney World Railroad, and Pirates of the Caribbean. After Pirates, we stopped for DoleWhip on our way to visit our beautiful home resort, The Grand Floridian. I highly recommend a break in the middle of a hot, crowded park day. Mizner’s Lounge is the perfect spot for a little rest, a cool beverage, and to freshen up. The Concierge was also able to help us book an additional FastPass reservation for the Haunted Mansion which we hadn’t gotten to yet. After an hour or so we headed back to the Magic Kingdom to use our last FastPass and have dinner at the Beast’s castle. Be Our Guest Restaurant is a magnificent part of New Fantasyland and we were lucky to get the reservation!
Instagram and Tumblr are my favorite "Social Media" sources. Although I am not at Disney World often enough, through Instagram I get to see what's going on at the parks on a daily basis. Some of my favorite Disney Instagram accounts are:
Go give them a follow! Also, if there are any fun ones I'm missing, let me know!
The bus ride was short and after only an hour or so we could see the huge ship towering over the cruise terminal. Inside the terminal, we were greeted by multiple cheerful cast members including some from Disney Vacation Club at a little kiosk. Check in went quickly, and within minutes we were being announced aboard Disney’s Magic.
It is a beautiful ship. Gorgeous. The elegance of classic maritime sprinkled with pixie dust. Our rooms were bigger than I expected, and very neat and clean. We dropped our carry on bags and headed to update our excursions for Castaway Cay. The cast member at guest services was extremely helpful, and was even able to get us brunch reservations at Palo. We had an early lunch at Cabanas and explored until the member party.
The member party was super fun. This was our first trip ever as members, so to meet other members and hear their stories was very exciting! We loved the DVC goodies and wore our hats the whole trip!
Dinner that night was at Lumiere’s and of course everything was delicious. I went to bed early in preparation for our early morning.
Day 2- Nassau, Bahamas
I dragged out of bed close to 7:30 the next morning and went in search of Lala, David, and Michael but mostly coffee. I found coffee first, and on a hunch went to look for them at the gym. There they were- being all active and fit. Weird. This was vacation for me and considering I don’t work out at home why start now? We had a quick breakfast before meeting our group for our catamaran and snorkeling excursion.
The hour-long catamaran was lovely – so good to be outside in the fresh air and in the sun. Once we got to the little cove for snorkeling, the wind picked up and the water got rough. I didn’t stay in the water too long since the current was so strong and I really just wanted to lay in the sun.
Dinner that night was at Animators Palate and was everything we had hoped for and more. The dining room was intricate and interactive and the after dinner animation show was delightful.
After dinner we put on our jammies and went to see Captain America: The Winter Soldier at the Buena Vista Theatre.
Day 3- Castaway Cay, Bahamas
Another early morning on day 3, this time for us to do the RunDisney Castaway Cay 5k. I was in it for the medal and sightseeing. Little did we know, that it was a long HOT walk to the start of the race. Michael and David ran, Lala was kind enough to walk with me. While getting to see the island was fun, it was very, very hot. Only through t-shirt and adult beverage bribery did I agree to finish it with Lala, although she did let me off the hook from the jog down the airstrip. After the “race” the guys went off to parasail, and we went in search of Serenity Bay. After all that time in the sun, the trams were confusing for some reason. We found it and it was paradise. Pristine white sand, crystal clear blue water, and sunshine.
After a few hours there, clouds began to roll in so we headed back to the ship. Our timing was perfect, as we had the slides to ourselves for over an hour. I was not a fan of the AquaDunk – to say the least. The whole floor dropping out from under you thing reminded me too much of gallows. I also panicked a little and uncrossed my ankles so my feet were by my ears when I got to the bottom. Not a fan. Michael and David loved it though!
I should mention that I love chicken fingers. Love. So I was at Pete’s Boiler Bites at least 2x a day to eat the world’s best chicken fingers. Unfortunately that meant I was not hungry for dinner that night at Carioca’s, although it looked delicious. It was Pirates in the Caribbean night so after dinner we waited up on deck for the fireworks. Possibly due to the storm earlier, it seemed as though the fireworks were cut short.
Day 4 – At Sea
Sadly our morning to sleep in was interrupted by the bridge calling for “Red Party, red party!” around 6am. There was apparently some smoke on deck 2 and they chose to evacuate decks 2 and 3. We went ahead and got up to go up on deck to see what was up. The sun was up, and coffee was available, so going back to bed was not really an option. We laid around on deck until our 10am brunch reservation at Palo.
Oh my word Palo. Possibly my favorite meal – ever. Incredible service, impeccable food, and immaculate views.
A much needed nap immediately followed brunch, I’ve never eaten so much in my life. The rest of the day was easy going, mostly pool and relaxing. I also came across one of my favorite cast members ever who delivered some special magic – more on that later.
Our last dinner on board was at Lumiere’s and it was delightful. We did not have a disappointing meal our entire trip. The blow of “the last night” was softened knowing our trip wasn’t over when it was time to debark but packing was still not my favorite.
Day 5 – Port Canaveral
We were some of the first people off the ship in the morning as another adventure was waiting for us! We were also lucky enough to beat the crowd through customs and security to the busses. Since we were traveling without children, they put us in a shuttle van instead of on a bus, so only one stop before our hotel! The rest of our trip to follow in part 3…
The first trailer for Cinderella was released this week, and I could not be happier. Cinderella was my first Disney movie ever, so to hear the store again is very exciting. movies.disney.com/cinderella