A Pirate’s Life

Ahhhh, the fireworks.  Probably one of the most magical of elements that Disney has to offer.  It seems to be the culmination of everything Disney that you feel inside your heart.  From the sights of the glorious colors and the giant arrays of light, to the flashes of nostalgia as you watch memories of Disney productions flash before your eyes, to even the smells of the freshly lit fireworks blazing high in the sky, Disney really knows how to put on a show, and how to dazzle its audience in the process.

So what are your fireworks options?  Here is one of my favorite fireworks excursions that we have been able to experience.

Pirates & Pals Fireworks Dessert Voyage

This was an amazing experience that not only my children enjoyed, but my mother and I did as well.  We began our evening at the Contemporary Resort, heading downstairs to check-in.  The kiddos set off on a scavenger hunt for “treasure” while we waited for the party to begin.  While they were looking around, there were tons of themed decorations everywhere, really getting my son in the mood to be a pirate for the evening.  Think treasure chests, almost a “One Eyed Willie” scene from “The Goonies”.   I personally loved it.  After we checked in, we were all given bandanas to wear as well, and a little pouch full of “gold”.  Disney doesn’t disappoint with its packages.  They make sure that even though you pay a little extra, you definitely come out on top with what you are given in terms of experience and having something to walk away with.

When it was time for the party to begin, we arrived back and entered a room full of decadent sweets and enough drinks to quench the thirst of every adult and child attending.  There was music playing, lights flashing, and none other than Captain Hook and Mr. Smee dancing and carrying on with all the littles.  Everyone had the opportunity to have their photo taken with those two crazy characters.  When the photos were over, Hook and Smee began mingling with the families again.  Smee found his way over to my mom, who had on a “Smee” shirt, Hook found me and loved my “Hook” shirt and he gave my son a VERY hard time about his Peter Pan shirt, but all in good Disney fun, of course.

When the dance party had ended, we followed Captain Hook out to our “ship” where we sailed out on the “high seas” (aka Seven Seas Lagoon) and had the most roaring time with our captain.   Captain Hook and Mr. Smee stayed on land while we set sail, singing songs,  listening to pirate tales, engaging in some Disney trivia, and our captain made sure that every child attending got a prize from the treasure chest before disembarking.  As we were out on our boat, we were able to see a glorious version of the Magic Kingdom nightly fireworks show, and also hear it as well, as it was being projected through the speakers on the boat.  As we returned to the Contemporary, we were greeted by a very special guest:  Peter Pan.  I was able to keep this a surprise from my son, who at the time, was a huge Peter Pan fan.   Definitely worth the money spent on this trip and I would definitely do this one again.  While you don’t get as close of a view as some other shows will give you, the character experience was amazing.

When I think of this trip to Disney, this is one of the first memories to pop in my head.  First, it was my mother’s FIRST trip to Disney.  EVER.  And to have this kind of experience was beyond anything she could compare it to.  This really set the bar high for other experiences.  Great job by all cast members on this excursion.

Let’s make some magic together for your next adventure.  Contact me today:  debbie.lands@magical-vacations.com or go to my website to receive a custom quote.  Make sure to select Debbie in the agent drop down box: www.magical-vacations.com/debbie.lands

See ya soon, pals!



Almost There

We are often asked “when is the best time to go to Disney World?”.  Guests are mainly asking in regards to a combination of getting the most bang for their buck and also being inside the parks during the least busiest time of the year.


Here is a list of the anticipated crowd levels for the upcoming year, based on past park crowd levels.  Keep in mind, the parks stay open later during the busier times of the year, and are not open as late during the least busier times of the year.

Least Busiest

  • Mid-January through early March (except for holiday weekends)
  • June through early July
  • Labor Day through early October

Relatively Busy

  • Late April
  • Late-May
  • Mid-July through Labor Day
  • Late October through Thanksgiving week
  • The week leading up to Christmas week
  • runDisney event weekends
  • Early to mid-December

Busiest Time

  • MLK Day weekend
  • Super Bowl weekend
  • Presidents’ Day weekend
  • The two weeks bordering Easter
  • Mid-March through early to mid-April/Spring/Easter Break
  • Early to mid-October
  • Thanksgiving week
  • Christmas week through Marathon weekend in January


Not only do people want to know due to crowds, but also because of weather.  Typically speaking, the best times of year to travel for the best overall weather experience are:

  • Late September
  • October
  • Early November
  • Late February
  • March
  • April

Specialty Events

There are so many things to encounter while traveling to Disney World.  One of the most magical experiences is getting to see the park in all of its glory as it is decorated during some of the Specialty Events that happen each year at Disney.  These events include some or all of the parks becoming transformed with new and lavish themed decor.  Some of these events are:

  • Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party at Magic Kingdom
  • Festival of the Arts at Epcot
  • Flower and Garden Festival at Epcot
  • Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party at Magic Kingdom
  • Epcot’s International Food and Wine Festival

I’ve been to Disney when there were literally less than twenty people in the lines, and I’ve been when there where stand-by lines for rides that seemed endless.  For me, there is never a “bad time” to be at Disney.   Contact me today to get turn your dreams into realities and get you a Minnie Box:  debbie.lands@magical-vacations.com or visit my site: www.magical-vacations.com/debbie.lands



Spoonful of Sugar

Oh Boy!  This sure is a fun blog post today! One of my favorite topics is food!  And one of my favorite things at Disney is the variety of food that they offer, especially what the countries have to offer at Epcot.

But today, my focus is on the sweets at Disney, in particular, my favorite sweets at Disney.  Here is a list of my top five savory sugar treats at Disney, which will hopefully clue you in as to what you should sample when you make your journey there!

  • Dole Whip:  Yes, I know, I have mentioned this treat several times already.  That’s  because it is sooooo good!  You must try it if and when you go to Disney World.  A luscious mix of creamy, non-dairy, soft serve, deliciousness (even better as a float).  Some even claim it is EVEN better with rum.  I’ve yet to try that mix.  It can not be bought just anywhere at Disney World, only at the Polynesian Resort and at Aloha Isle in Adventureland at Magic Kingdom.
  • The Kitchen Sink: Admitting that I love this borders of me being a glutton.  However, if you notice from the photo above, it is SHARED with four people and we did NOT finish it!  It is absolutely, everything you could possibly want in a dessert, all thrown into one, well, sink!  Here is a list of all the ingredients inside this delectable dessert:
  • fudge topping
  • butterscotch topping
  • peanut butter topping
  • banana slices
  • cinnamon spice cupcake
  • angel food cupcake
  • vanilla ice cream
  • chocolate ice cream
  • strawberry ice cream
  • mint chocolate chip ice cream
  • coffee ice cream
  • chocolate syrup
  • marshmallow crème
  • strawberry topping
  • pineapple topping
  • dairy whipped topping
  • 1 brownie
  • 1 regular-sized (2 ounce) candy bar
  • 4 chocolate cookies with cream filling
  • sliced toasted almonds
  • dark and white chocolate shavings
  • chocolate cookies with cream filling, crushed
  • chopped jellied orange slices (approximately 2 large slices)
  • milk chocolate chip morsels
  • peanut butter chip morsels
  • chocolate sprinkles
  • rainbow sprinkles
  • ½ cup drained maraschino cherries

So now you can see why it is called “The Kitchen Sink”!  This can be found at the Beach Club Resort, at Beaches and Cream.  Wonderful atmosphere, wonderful cast members and a great environment for attempting this dessert!

  • Ice Cream Sundae at 50’s Prime Time Cafe:  Can you tell by now that we love chocolate?  Oh my goodness these were fantastic!!!!  Not nearly the ingredients that were in the kitchen sink, but every bit as delectable.  We didn’t all finish our desserts, as they were pretty rich, but since they came with our meal plan, we went ahead and splurged and ate on them as much as we could, which didn’t leave much room for supper!  Somehow, on this trip, we didn’t gain a single pound, but I’m guessing it was due to all the walking!
  • The Grey Stuff (It’s Delicious):  I have also wrote about this before, the dessert that comes with a meal at Be Our Guest Restaurant at Disney World.  It is a chocolate cupcake with cookie creme and topped with Lumiere’s famous “Grey Stuff”.  Divine.  Also a favorite of mine there, the Lemon Meringue Cupcake.  It is a vanilla spongecake with a lemon custard filling, topped with a flamed meringue icing.
  • Chocolate Croissant: If you love chocolate and you loved baked goods…..this is about as perfect of a blend of breakfast meets dessert as someone could make.  You feel like a child who asks for chocolate for breakfast, except this is totally acceptable!  This counts as a snack with your Quick Service meal credits, so a huge win-win!

And there you have it, my top five sweet treats at Disney.  Notice all but one involved chocolate…makes me really think I need to count my carbs during my next terip!  But as I mentioned above, I have yet to gain weight on a Disney trip!  And let me tell you, I indulge on the food!  Because what good is a vacation going to be if we have to watch what we eat all day?  Just be cautious, don’t make yourself sick, and enjoy your life, one sweet bite at a time….at Disney.  Let me help you make this happen.  Feel free to email me to get your trip of a lifetime started.  debbie.lands@magical-vacations.com





True Love’s Kiss

Since today is my wedding anniversary, I thought I would take this time to talk about how wonderful it can be to do Disney with people in love.  You see, this photo was taken last year, as my husband and I were celebrating our wedding anniversary.  He was gracious enough to indulge me in a weekend getaway, just the two of us.  We had never done Disney without our kids before, so I knew that not only this was going to be a romantic journey for us, but it would also give me a chance to show my sweetie the adult side of Disney.

We used our DVC points and stayed at the Beach Club Villas for this short stay.  It was beyond perfect for us, although we were literally minutes away from missing our flight TO Disney! That’s a memory that is funny now…..but back then…..stressful!

We took an early-bird flight so we could arrive in Orlando at 10am.  We skipped the Magical Express and decided to splurge and use Tiffany Towncar for a personal ride to the villas.  It was an added expense, but our trip was so short that we didn’t want to lose a single minute.  So, after our very short drive, we were checked-in immediately, received our “Happy Anniversary” buttons and headed for Epcot.

We spent the entire day there, hitting the rides I thought he would love (Soarin, Test Track, Spaceship Earth, Mission Space), and honestly, doing the things I thought he would enjoy most, “Drinks Around the World”.  There was no rush, no hustle.  Just the two of us, hand in hand, gliding our way around the countries, remembering why we loved each other so much, and realizing how vital “adult time” really is in a relationship.

The weather was wonderful, beautiful during the day, and so chilly at night that we had to buy jackets!  We went back to the room to get ready for dinner, ate supper at Chef Mickey’s at the Contemporary Resort, and then headed to the DVC lounge at Bay Lake Tower for drinks and to watch the fireworks from the amazing balcony.  Nothing felt better than watching those with my love, even though I was shivering!  We were cold and thought it was time to call it a night, but before we left, we rode the monorail over to the Polynesian so I could get my favorite Disney dessert, a Dole Whip!  After that, we headed back to the Beach Club, and we “thought” we were done for the night,  when we decided differently.  We again, realized, it’s just the two of us, so let’s enjoy this night for as long as we can.

We went for a walk around the property, and strolled around, hand in hand, over to the Boardwalk resort.  We spent three hours walking outside together, and literally, saw no one until we got to the Boardwalk.  Once there, we got a bite to eat, and headed back “home”.

The next morning, we slept in, had breakfast together, snuck in one more adult drink before heading back to Epcot for short stroll.  We bought the kids some souvenirs, and by the time we ate lunch,  it was time to catch the Magical Express so we could fly back home.  It was only two days together, one full day and a half at the parks, but it felt like it was a week together.  We needed that for us, and we vowed to always make time like this for each other.

It made my husband appreciate Disney in a different way. It can be exhausting at times when you are traveling with your whole family.  But this time, this trip, with just the two of us….it was magical….and definitely something we will do again this year.

If this sounds like something you and your sweetheart would love to do, please feel free to visit my website to get a custom quote www.magical-vacations/debbie.lands  or email me at debbie.lands@magical-vacations.com.  See ya soon pal!

I Wan’na Be Like You-uuu

One of my favorite things to talk about with Disney are the great opportunities to interact with characters.  We have been very fortunate to have the chance to have ALOT of character meet & greet’s over the years, and it has not only been on the “to do” list for my children, but also for me as well.  I love seeing the excitement in their eyes as their on screen characters come to life.

I can not call this a “top” character meet & greet, because we have yet to run into a character that we didn’t love.  For now, let’s just say these have been our top so far……  Let’s start with my featured image:

Joy and Sadness (Epcot):  They.  Were.  Amazing.  The time they spent with my children, the way they moved around them.  Joy was literally hopping and dancing everywhere, and Sadness told my son she adored him simply because he wore glasses, just like her.  When we left our meet and greet, they both fell to their knees in a “we’re not worthy” kind of manner” and left us all giggling for hours afterwards.  I get the best feeling when I tell the stories about our time with them.  They devoted great time to us, so much, that they earned a compliment card from us.

Sorcerer Mickey (Hollywood Studios):  The area that we met him in was truly something “Fantasmic”.  Mickey seemed truly larger than life during this character meet and greet.  Maybe it was because we came in out of a torrential downpour to see him.  Or maybe it was just the Pixie Dust that we felt had been spread over us.  Either way, Mickey was great about spending time with us and we loved meeting him.

Cinderella and Tiana (Magic Kingdom): Both of these princesses were true to their character!  They carried on conversations with us as if we were their best friends.  Cinderella talked to my son until he was practically floating away on a cloud, and even called him her “Prince Charming”.  Tiana talked to us about her mother and how we know she’s the best cook in all of N’Orleans!  She was magical, graceful, and beautiful.  When we mentioned how we would see her at her Riverboat Dessert party the following day, she told us all about how Naveen would be there too.  We loved these ladies.

Rafiki (Animal Kingdom):  Oh how we loved Rafiki!  He took mutiple pictures with our kiddos and we just loved how he signed their autograph books.  Very engaging and definitely worth our time!

O’hana Breakfast Characters (Polynesian Resort): Lilo, Stitch, Mickey, Pluto:  Maybe it was the food, or maybe it was the music.  Maybe it was the dance line.  But when these characters came around to see us at our tables, they laughed with us, did sign language, signed autograph books, and interacted with our kiddos in the perfect way.  The perfect way to start our day.

Tusker House (Animal Kingdom) Mickey, Donald, Goofy, Daisy:  Again, tremendous food, followed by characters who weaved their way into our hearts.  Daisy flirted and hugged on our boys, and Mickey was just as sweet as he could be.  Donald and Goofy played around and signed autographs, and we all were full of smiles.

Cinderella’s Royal Table (Magic Kingdom) and Akershus (Epcot): Divine meals while being surrounded by the princesses.  They spent so much time with us and we had opportunities for real conversations with them.  It didn’t feel rushed at all and was definitely worth the time and money, especially being inside the castle .

This is my list of our top character meet and greets.  For your opportunity to do this and more, please visit my website:  www.magical-vacations.com/debbie.lands or feel free to email me at: debbie.lands@magical-vacations.com to get your vacation planning started.  Remember that my custom quotes are free, along with all of my services.  All of our resort packages come with a complimentary Minnie Box.  Let’s create some magic today!