Disney has dropped a great promotion this morning. Disney Bound guests who book their packages by July 7, 2018 and stay during limited dates between August-September and November-December 2018 will receive this promotion. These packages are VERY LIMITED, so if you are interested, get in touch with me today! email@example.com
Today I will be beginning a blog series on how to do Disney in a day, specifically, how to do each Disney park in one day. We will begin by jumping right into Magic Kingdom, and how to make the most of a day at the most famous park at Walt Disney World.
The ideal way to start your day at Magic Kingdom is to hit Fantasyland first. Fantasyland tends to draw much bigger crowds as the day progresses, so hit this area first before the stand by lines grow deeper. These attractions will be worth your while:
- Peter Pan’s Flight
- Enchanted Tales with Belle
- Journey of The Little Mermaid
- It’s A Small World
Mid-Morning Must Do’s
After conquering Fantasyland, and the day begins to warm up a bit, it will be time for a mid morning snack. I suggest hitting up my favorite, Aloha Isle, for the very famous Dole Whip. While over there, stroll over and begin these next attractions:
- Pirates of the Caribbean
- Jungle Cruise
- Haunted Mansion
- (if time allows) Space Mountain
Lunch Power Hour
Grab a quick bite, at one of the amazing quick service restaurants to save valuable park touring time. It will give you a chance to rejuvenate and power up for a fun filled afternoon. My suggestions would be:
- Be Our Guest (quick service for breakfast and lunch only)
- Cosmic Ray’s
- Columbia Harbour House
- Pinocchio Village Haus
The Florida sun can be intense, so take advantage of some of the air-conditioned attractions as you blaze through the early to mid afternoon hours. Here are some of my favorite places to cool down and take in some magical moments:
- The Country Bear Jamboree
- Mickey’s PhilharMagic (my favorite!)
- Space Mountain
- Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover
- The Hall of Presidents
- Parades and Dance Parties
- Honorable Mention: Princess/Character Meet & Greets (if time allows)
Time to take another food break, as you have survived the heat of the day! Here are some awesome places to take a break, relax, and prep for the most magical time of the day.
- Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn
- Tortuga Tavern
- Sleepy Hollow Refreshments
To cap off the evening, here are a few things that are even better to experience at night. First of all, you HAVE to make time/space to see the “Happily Ever After” nighttime fireworks show. It is beautiful….magical….and experience you do not want to miss.
Then….if you choose, you can always try to catch some of these throughout the day, especially if you see a short standby time. However, they are extra magical at night, with Magic Kingdom lighting up the night sky with the fantastic fireworks displays if you choose to ride instead of watch the fireworks from near the castle. If you are a first timer, go see the fireworks. If you are a returning guest, and are ok to get a glimpse of them from atop of ride (which is amazing, by the way), here is my list of favorite nighttime adventures:
- Astro Orbiter
- Splash Mountain
- Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
- Liberty Belle-Riverboat
- Jungle Cruise
- Seven Dwarf’s Mine Train
- Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover
- Peter Pan (while this is an inside ride, it has been my experience to find shorter standby lines as the night progresses)
There you have it! A “Best Day Ever” event for one day at Magic Kingdom. Stay tuned for my next post continuing “Best Day Ever” featuring one day plans for Epcot. Don’t forget to contact me to plan your Best Day Ever, whether it be at Walt Disney World, Disneyland, a Disney Cruise, a stay at Aulani, or jetting off on Adventures by Disney. I can also make your dreams come true at Universal Studios in Orlando. Find me at : firstname.lastname@example.org or visit my website at www.magical-vacations.com/debbie.lands See ya soon, pals!
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. email@example.com
You can’t help but want to sing the lyrics when you are at Disney and you hear this famous song. You even believe it, “my, oh, my what a wonderful day!”. So, what exactly makes a great day at Disney? Loved ones being there to share in the day with you, of course. Spreading some “pixie dust” for others (good deeds such as letting someone have your spot in line, giving someone something that is special to you, or simply helping someone who is lost). I like to find as many of these opportunities to spread some pixie dust as possible, not only because it’s good for my children to see so they know how to act as adults, but also, maybe your good deed will change the course of someone’s day for the better.
Another way of making a great day at Disney is getting to indulge in some of your favorites. Keep in mind, these are MY personal favorites, and while I know there are some amazing things I will be leaving off of this list, I have to keep it fairly short. So…with that being said, I’m going to list my top five things to do at each park, according to my taste. Kind of a “if I only had one day at Disney, what would you suggest?” post.
Magic Kingdom Favorites
This is REALLY hard. I have SO many things I could put on this list. But, when I think of Magic Kingdom, these things come to mind:
- Peter Pan’s Flight: This ride just comes to mind when I think of Magic Kingdom. The wait is ALWAYS long, and you will do yourself a huge favor if you are able to get a fastpass for this ride. Hop aboard a magical ship that takes you through the famous movie scenes and truly feel as if “you can fly”.
- Pirates of the Caribbean: Another ride that SMELLS and FEELS like you are truly in the movie. The water, the darkness, the smell of the sea….admist a backdrop of magnificent ships and Captain Jack Sparrow. This is a ride that we go on again and again. Some days we have needed a fastpass, and others, we have been able to go right in. Trust me, you won’t regret it!
- Dine like a Princess at Be Our Guest AND Cinderella’s Royal Table: BOG is more budget friendly and you can sample “the grey stuff (it’s delicious!)”. Snag a breakfast or lunch dining option for Quick Service, or choose a Dinner serving time for Table Service and a chance to see “The Beast”. Or, if you are more into all of the Princesses and dining at “THE” castle at Magic Kingdom, then make your advanced dining reservations (ADR’s) at the 180 day mark out from your trip to ensure you are able to snag this coveted character table experience. Even my youngest son loved this dining opportunity. We had our meal at 7:20, and it ended just as the fireworks began at night. As we left, we had nowhere to go except the front row for prime fireworks seating! What a bonus!
- Main Street, USA: What I love about this is that it is supposed to mimic Walt Disney’s hometown of Marceline, Missouri (my home state!). The architecture, the shops, the quaint cafe’s and ice cream parlors all scream of days gone by and truly make you yearn for simpler times. It is a beautiful glimpse into where he grew up and of a time that can only be re-imagined with the dreams of someone like Mr. Disney.
- Splash Mountain: Without a doubt, this ride is worth your time. One thing my family and I commented on was how long this ride was prior to the actual uphill climb towards the thrilling descent. Lots of crazy characters that really take you back in time, to the movie “Song of the South” with the famous Br’er Rabbit.
BONUS; Dumbo, while it typically doesn’t require a fastpass, is also one of my favorites, especially at night, for you to see all the beautiful lights at Magic Kingdom. Finally, while you are at Magic Kingdom, you need to stop by and try their famous Dole Whips! A refreshing pineapple creamy treat that I look forward to each trip! Finally, you MUST stay for the “Happily Ever After” fireworks special, as mentioned above!
For me, Epcot is equally as hard. I have always struggled between which park is my favorite, not that I have to choose, but Epcot is also a park in which I could spend two to three days of my trip just wandering around and enjoying all of the experiences that it has to offer. With that being said…..here are my personal favorites.
- Soarin: I could ride this over and over and over again. The sights of some of the world’s most iconic locations, the hang gliding feel of the ride, the gigantic screen, the music, and we can’t forget the smells that go along with each “stop” you make on the voyage. You feel you are truly there. Fastpasses are suggested for this ride, although if you get there early in the day, you could hop on.
- Test Track: In the words of my son, “I’m so going to drive like this someday!”. Test Track allows you to “build” a car, design the best features possible for not only a safe ride, but also a very fast ride. Your car will go on multiple “tests” prior to being out in the open for the ride of your life. This ride was simply amazing. Fastpasses are suggested for this ride as well.
- Spaceship Earth: Getting to go inside the iconic feature of Epcot, the enormous geosphere (referred to by many as a “giant golf ball”), is amazing. I have never needed a fastpass for this ride. Spaceship Earth takes a little jaunt through our civilization and how communication has transformed over time.
- The Seas with Nemo and Friends: If you love the movie, you will love the ride. A fastpass is typically not needed for this ride. Journey through the seas as you go on a search for Nemo. You truly feel that you are taking a dive!
- Frozen Ever After: I must begin this with telling you that a fastpass will definitely be required for this encounter. Even if you aren’t a fan of the movie, you will enjoy this ride. Take a ride through Norway with some cool Audio Animatronic figures and songs and let the ride show you how “cool” being frozen can be.
BONUS You must stay for the IllumiNations fireworks spectacular. Also…..The. Food. That is all. It’s amazing. Sample some from as many countries as your stomach can tolerate! Finally, the countries themselves are their own attractions. There isn’t just one that I can say we loved the most. But one example is that while in Morocco, my daughter got some amazing henna drawn on her hand that lasted well beyond our trip. Epcot is simply amazing.
Hollywood Studios Favorites
There is so much that I love about Hollywood Studios. I loved walking in and seeing the Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. There are currently alot of changes going on at Hollywood Studios, and this post could very well be edited with some new favorites after our next trip this spring. Let me hop into what my favorites were up to our last trip in 2017.
- Fantasmic: It helps to snag a fastpass for this epic firework extravaganza. Sit down and enjoy this show that includes Mickey Mouse, fireworks, boats, ships, FIRE, and glorious scenes from dozens of Disney classic films. There are live characters blended in with the digital projections, all taking you in and reminding you of why you love Disney so much.
- Toy Story Mania: Grab a fastpass for this ride, or arrive early to hop to this one. Toy Story Mania is a 3D Based “game” in which you compete with the person sitting next to you to get the most points by going through several Toy Story themed rooms. Very cute, VERY fun, and definitely worth your time.
- Beauty and the Beast: Live on Stage: Lots of singing and dancing, in this condensed version of the movie. Fastpasses are optional, but not usually needed. Sit back and enjoy the songs of Beauty and the Beast, watch the characters in motion, and feel as if you have watched the entire movie all over again.
- MuppetVision 3D: This may have been my son AND my husband’s favorite attraction at Hollywood Studios. They are both HUGE Muppets fans (cmon, who doesn’t love “Kermie”). There are bits of Muppet-type humor woven in throughout the pre-show and main feature, and it leaves you feeling a little nostalgic for the days when the Muppets were at the height of their popularity. A fantastic attraction for the kid in you.
- Star Tours: The Adventure Continues: Calling all Star Wars fans….this ride is a MUST! Super exciting fun and adventure awaits on this motion simulator ride. The ride is one big adrenaline rush as you are on a fast paced track with lots of dips and swerves and turns through the Star Wars locations. Definitely grab a fastpass for this adventure!
BONUS: Twilight Zone Tower of Terror….My daughter and sweet friend Katie LOVED it and I know it deserves to be on this list. Jump onboard as you manuever through the Twilight Zone in this free fall thrill ride. Also, if you have time, watch the stage show Voyage of the Little Mermaid. It’s a nice little adventure with Ariel and friends.
Animal Kingdom Favorites
Animal Kingdom is in a world of its own. To me, it’s a park where you really start to feel you are in another world, miles away from civilization. Give Animal Kingdom a chance to show you all that it has to offer. You won’t regret it!
- Kilimanjaro Safari’s: You will need a fastpass to catch this trek. It is simply amazing, how you feel you have been transformed into the jungle. Something only Disney can design. The live animals, the glorious waterfalls, the “bumpy” ride that feels like you are really riding on a real safari adventure. Remember, most animals are usually alert and active early in the morning or right before sunset. Try to get your fastpass for those times!
- Avatar Flight of Passage: The new “it” ride at AK. Climb on the back of a banshee (which you can even feel “breathing”), and soar and glide your way through Pandora. You will experience smells and sights like no other and the wind and water from the ocean. Needing a fastpass isn’t even a question…it’s a must!
- Expedition Everest: Amazing to see at night, where you can see all the lights that Animal Kingdom has to offer. Expedition Everest is an amazing thrill ride that goes forwards, backwards, and you encounter a Yeti that can frighten even the toughest of people! Hold on tight during this ride! Fastpasses recommended, unless you can grab a spot early in the morning at park opening.
- Kali River Rapids: Remember how I advised on bringing ponchos for the Florida showers that pop up out of nowhere? You also need those ponchos for this ride unless you want to leave drenched (like my husband was!). You never know when you will get soaked on this ride, but it’s inevitable, it will happen. Journey through the rainforest and ruins on this whitewater rapids ride. Try to book it for later in your day, so you don’t take the chance of being soaked for the rest of your afternoon. Lockers are available for storage and highly recommended. You could even sneak in a dry set of clothes.
- Festival of the Lion King: This. Show. I don’t know that there is a better show at Disney. Acrobats, fire, animals, singers, themed costumes and larger than life characters make this a stand out performance. I was simply in awe throughout this show. Do it.
BONUS: It’s Tough to Be a Bug: The cast of A Bug’s Life takes you through an interactive and educational story on insect. Finding Nemo: The Musical is a condensed version of the movie but so worth it. A great mix of live actors simulating the glorious characters from the movie make you feel that you are right there in the ocean with them. Extra songs and lots of moments that make you laugh make this show unforgettable.
That’s it! These are a list of my personal favorites, maybe even some of yours. If you would like to seek out another adventure at Disney or this stimulates your need to go for the first time, let me help you make that happen! firstname.lastname@example.org
Today I will be discussing “food” at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World. I could go on and on about this topic, for my palette waters every single time I think about particular desserts I have sampled or meals I have engaged in. I have never once been disappointed in food that I have encountered while vacationing.
So what are the food options while vacationing at Disney? Many. Today’s blog won’t go into specific restaurant choices and things of that nature, but more so, helping you make the decision on whether or not choosing a dining plan is the right decision for your family. Then, if you do choose a dining plan, helping you understand the differences and understanding better which would be the best fit for you.
No Dining Plans for Me!
Let’s begin with the option of not choosing a dining plan, which I have done before. Even with this choice, there are many options and ways to experience food while vacationing. Whether you are using a dining plan or paying as you go, you can make ADR’s (Advanced Dining Reservations) at 180 days out from your trip. I highly suggest this if your family is looking to book some coveted character meals or there is a restaurant that is on your “to do” list. Again, at Magical Vacations, we can take of all of this for you, so you don’t have to think about it!
Disney is gracious enough to allow food and drinks into the park, which gives people the choice to bring in their own snacks. I have done this, and it is a fantastic option to have in my purse or my backpack. Especially for those times when you are in between meals or waiting in line for a ride and just need a quick pick me up. If you choose not to bring in your own snacks and drinks, there are food options to be found everywhere at the parks and back at the resorts. Just follow your nose and it will lead you to one! Prices are honestly better than what you would find at a professional ballgame or a concert and the food you get for your money is incredible. If you bring your own water bottle in with you, there are many water fountains to be found for you to get a quick fill up as well, which saves from buying fountain sodas. Let’s face it, we need that water on our vacationing days anyway!
If you made ADR’s as mentioned above, then you will have a little bit of comfort knowing where your next meal is coming from. If you didn’t make ADR’s, you will need to make the decisions depending on what park or resort you are at, as to which dining location you will choose for your meal. Choose wisely according to the time of day, as certain locations fill up quicker the closer you get to normal dining times. If you didn’t make ADR’s, just keep in mind that you may need to allow some “wait time” to go along with your meals. Even with quick dining options, there is a bit of a wait with the lines.
Also, many resorts have rooms with mini refrigerators, coffee makers, microwave ovens, and toasters. It is a nice option to have for those who would like to have at least one meal in their room per day. There are several businesses that delivery groceries right to Bell Services at your resort for a slight fee. Again, a great option to have if you want to have a stash of snacks available to take to the parks with you or know that you want to eat every breakfast together in your room. Room Service is also available and I can say, the pizza we ordered from the Polynesian this past summer might have been the best pizza I have ever tasted!
The best advice I can give to someone not using the dining plan or ADR’s is to be willing to be flexible. You may really want to eat at a particular location, but it may be busy at the time that your stomach is growling, and you don’t feel you can wait 30 more minutes. Make choices that won’t leave you hangry! We all know what that feeling is like and it doesn’t make for a fun vacation!
Now let’s jump into the different types of dining plans for Disneyland and Walt Disney World.
Dining at Disneyland with Vouchers
Disneyland offers a “Dine in the Magic” voucher system. Guests pay in advance for dining that they anticipate they will enjoy while on their trip. While it may not necessarily be a money “saver”, it does give you peace of mind that the food portion of your trip is taken care of. Vouchers will expire at the end of the year and are non-refundable.
A slight difference between this plan and the one we will discuss at Disney World is that you do not have to purchase vouchers for everyone in your party and the vouchers can be for any length, not the exact length of your stay as it is at Disney World. Also, ADR’s at Disneyland are 60 days in advance, a difference between this and the 180 days at Disney World.
There are four different plans and I will quickly discuss each one of those.
Donald’s 2 Day
- Adult $106/Child $64
- 2 Character Dining Vouchers, 2 Dining Certificates ($15 for adults/$10 children), and 2 Snack Vouchers
Goofy’s 3 Day
- Adult $159/Child $96
- 3 Character Dining Vouchers, 3 Dining Certificates ($15 for adults/$10 children), and 3 Snack Vouchers
Minnie’s 4 Day
- Adult $219/Child $132
- 3 Character Dining Vouchers, 1 Premium Character Dining, 4 Dining Certificates ($15 for adults/$10 children), and 4 Snack Vouchers
Mickey’s 5 Day
- Adult $272/Child $164
- 4 Character Dining Vouchers, 1 Premium Character Dining, 5 Dining Certificates ($15 for adults/$10 children), and 5 Snack Vouchers
Please note: Child rates are for young ones ages 3-9 years old. Vouchers may be used at any Full Service or Counter-Service restaurant. Vouchers can not be used for alcoholic beverages, room service, holiday buffets, Downtown Disney restaurants, and merchandise.
Next, we will move on to our final point, the Walt Disney World Disney Dining Plan.
Dining at Disney World with the Disney Dining Plan
There will be some similarities between this plan and the one from Disneyland. Dining plans offer peace of mind, knowing that if you have made ADR’s, you know where your next meal is coming from AND you don’t have to have extra cash prepared for anything except for gratuities at table service restaurants. The cost of the dining plan was figured into the resort package. Many people like the idea of knowing that it is already taken care of before they get to their vacation. While you will still have to decide between what quick service meals you would like and what snacks you want to choose, knowing that you have particular types of meals covered on a plan allows families to decide just how much to eat at other meals. The Dining plans are offered for those staying with their DVC (Disney Vacation Club) points or who purchased a Magic Your Way package.
Once again, remember that table service dining reservations can be made at 180 days prior to your vacation. Take advantage of that option. We missed Be Our Guest on the trip with my mother, and it was the ONLY restaurant that she wanted to go to. During this particular trip, we booked everything at three months out, so instead of having 180 days, we only had less than 90 days and it was already taken for our vacation dates.
Here is a breakdown of cost for the 2018 Dining Plan options:
Quick Service Plan
- Adults $52.49/Children $21.75 per night
- 2 Quick Service Meals, 2 Snacks, 1 Refillable Mug per person
Quick Service meals to me are similar to fast food. While it can still be a meal you eat together at the table, you order at the counter and pick up your own food. The refillable mugs will be included with each package and are really great to have. You can use them at your resort to get a quick drink to take back to your room, or as my kids would do, make several trips back and forth to refill!
- Adults $75.49/Children $25.80 per night
- 1 Table Service Meal, 1 Quick Service Meal, 2 Snacks, 1 Refillable Mug per person
Table Service meals are just like eating at a regular sit down restaurant. You have a server, they come and take your order, and gratuity is considered to be something given at the end of the meal. The servers/cast members REALLY do a great job with their guests and always interact with the families in a fun way. We have used this plan the most and feel it gave our family alot of flexibility with meal options. Since we were given a table service meal each night that we were there, it allowed for great character dining experiences which my children still talk about.
- Adults $116.24/Children $39.90 per night
- 3 Meals (any combo of table-service and quick service), 2 Snacks, 1 Refillable Mug per person
I always think of my husband when I think of the Deluxe plan. His favorite part of our Disney trips has easily been the food. We tried the Standard Plan once with him and he was still hungry, while I was very full and had not finished my food! However, he could easily finish mine for me and fill up. The Deluxe Plan is great for those families who come to Disney for the food. They know the food is excellent and they want to take every opportunity to take part in each course! It allows families quite possibly the most flexibility in their dining options because you have choices on your meals.
These are JUST the basics that cover the Dining Options. There are so many other things in which I can cover to help you navigate your way through the Dining Plan choices, and I will in a future blog. I know when I first learned about the dining plan, I was very overwhelmed! However, I will gather some helpful tips and share those with you at a later date.
In my next blog, I will discuss what to pack in your backpack for a day at the parks! If you have decided to make a magical dream come true, please contact me to let me help you make that happen: email@example.com