Category Archives: FastPass

Best Day Ever! (Epcot in 1 Day)

Continuing the “Best Day Ever, Disney in 1 Day” series, today I am focusing on doing Epcot in a day.    Epcot has such a different vibe than the other parks.  I remember on my anniversary trip with my husband, I didn’t feel the pressure to walk at a fast pace to try and cram it all in, as I have done at some of the other parks.  Every time I have visited Epcot, I am instantly thrown into a fantastic mood, ready to see what adventures lie ahead.  Fasten your seatbelts….here is Epcot in 1 Day.

But first….Frozen

Starting the day off with trying to hit all of the “big ticket” rides, as you enter Epcot, head directly for Frozen and try to be amongst the first few to take in this ride.  It is an experience like no other.   Then, make your way back to fly into The Land and soar around the world on Soarin.  Now…some choose to do this in the reverse order as I have listed them.  My personal reasons for doing Frozen first, are that even if you were fortunate enough to snag a Fastpass+ for Frozen, it is a ride worth doing a second time, as the lines tend to get incredibly long for this ride, and in my experience, the standby time for Soarin is less than Frozen.  Then, meander over and buckle up for Test Track, my son’s favorite ride at Epcot.  As he bravely said on our first ride in the “fast lane”….”Mom, I am SO driving like this someday!”.  So…to start your day off:

  • Frozen
  • Soarin
  • Test Track

Mid Morning Must Do’s

After a high speed morning and with your adrenaline running, it’s time for a quick bite to eat before continuing down the path.  You can either eat first, then attempt more attractions, or if you are still full from eating before entering the park, try these rides then grab some tasty deliciousness.  Here are my suggestions for that mid morning trek:

  • Sunshine Seasons, a food court located in The Land Pavillion, is a great food choice if you want fast and on the go.
  • Garden Grill, also located in The Land Pavillion.  A rotating restaurant featuring Chip and Dale, Mickey and Pluto.  Devour the Mickey waffles and Chip’s Sticky Buns.
  • Living with the Land
  • The Seas with Nemo and Friends
  • Journey into the Imagination with Figment (this is what catapulted my son’s love of all things Figment)

An Afternoon Around the World (Showcase)

This is quite possibly one of the most educational and beautiful things you can experience while traveling through Epcot.  I tend to forget I am truly at Disney World when I venture through the World Showcase.  The Pavilions are so authentic, so deep in cultural history, that you feel that you are truly immersing yourself into somewhere farther away than Florida.  My biggest suggestion is to tap into every country.  Some love to fill up their “passports”.  Some love to “Snack Around the World”, and others prefer to “Drink Around the World”.  Whatever your preference is, you won’t regret all the culture and history that you will take in.  Here are a few of my favorites:

  • Morocco:  Meet Jasmine and Aladdin, and sit down and indulge in a henna tattoo like my daughter did.
  • France:  The gardens….the replica Eiffel Tower, and meeting Belle and Aurora was at the top of my list for France.  Not to mention the baked goods at Les Halles Boulangerie-Patisserie, “c’est délicieux”!!!
  • China:  Reflections of China, meeting Mulan (she’s beautiful), and the Jeweled Dragon Acrobats
  • Italy:  The gondolas, the juggler, the gelati, the authentic architecture.
  • American Adventures:  a wonderful Audio-Animatronic of our country’s history

(Club) Cool Down

After venturing through the World Showcase, it’s definitely time for a late afternoon break.  What better way than to head over to Club Cool and sample FREE soft drinks from around the world?  My kids loved this.  The kid in me loved this.  Do it…you won’t regret this pit stop.

Ciao Down

After you cool down, it’s time to chow down, and what better way to rejuvenate before finishing out your evening, than to head back over to Italy for a delicious pizza.  Via Napoli is definitely the best pizza at Disney World.  However, if you want the ultimate character Meet & Greet at Epcot, head over to Norway and dine at Akershus.  Similar to Cinderella’s Royal Table at Magic Kingdom, this is a great character interaction and photo opportunity all while you enjoying your tremendous food.

Mission:  Possible

While your food is digesting, there is still time to hit a few more notable attractions before ending the night.

  • Mission:  Space.  I love this ride, and they have two levels, one more intense than the other.
  • Spaceship Earth:  This ride is a must do for your day at Epcot.  You get to go inside the “golf ball”…no, it’s not a golf ball, but that is the big joke about it!  It’s really a geodesic sphere that doubles as the icon of Epcot and also a dark ride through the history of communication.
  • The Art of Disney- While this isn’t a ride….it is a beautiful gallery of Disney paintings, sculptures, and trinkets.

Illuminate the Night

End your night right by watching the history of the world through fireworks.  It pays homage to multiple cultures and makes us all realize that we are all in this together.  A glorious production of color and light, fireworks, pyrotechnics, water fountains, fire effects, lasers, and searchlights on the park’s World Showcase Lagoon.

There you have it!  A “Best Day Ever” event for one day at Epcot.  Stay tuned for my next post continuing “Best Day Ever” featuring one day plans for Hollywood Studios.   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:  debbie.lands@magical-vacations.com or visit my website at www.magical-vacations.com/debbie.lands  See ya soon, pals!

 

 

 

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!

So This Is Love

Can’t you see the look of truly smitten love in his eyes?  Isn’t Alice just a beautiful and glorious girl to look at?  On this day, my sweet boy was exhausted and ready for a swim to help ease his swollen and tired feet.  We had to take off his orthotic shoes and just leave on his SMO’s to help get some air to them, and were about to head back to the monorail when sweet Alice came walking down the lane.  All of the sudden,  her gracious and loving smile and her caring voice as she spoke directly to my son, made him feel like he was floating on a cloud.  Life got just a little sweeter for these few moments.

Love is love, however you want to put a spin on it.  Whether it is through the eyes of an eight year old looking at a beautiful princess that has caught his eye, or through the eyes of his thirty nine year old mother as she is admiring the beautiful flowers that surround their resort.  Love comes in a variety of packages, whether it is bandaging someone’s blisters from walking too much, or riding “It’s a Small World” with your brother, even though you hate it.  Just because he loves it.  Love is taking risks, seeking out adventure.  Love is apologizing and loving someone for exactly who they are.  Love is letting someone have your favorite Dole Whip.  Love is going on the Astro Orbiter with your family (even though you are deathly afraid!!!!) and holding on tight, just to be with your family and show them that you can always tackle your dreams head on.

Love. Is. Love.  I love being with my loves at Disney.

Let me show you how to be with your loves at Disney World or our other Disney locations and adventures.  debbie.lands@magical-vacations.com  See you soon pals!

 

You Can Fly

When there’s a smile in your heart, there’s no better time to start                                    Think of all the joy you’ll find, when you leave the world behind                                        And bid your cares goodbye!  You can fly! You can fly!                                                                                                       YOU CAN FLY!”       – You Can Fly- Peter Pan

I love that song, and not because of the movie, but because of the encouragement that it provides when you have a little “faith, trust, and pixie dust” floating around in your life.  Sometimes in life, we are overwhelmed, over-worked, and over-scheduled.  Those were the thoughts from our pastor this week.  He was right.  We spend so much time trying to meet every demand on our calendars, hit every deadline, attend every meeting, practice, concert, and it all becomes too much.  Stress takes over our ragged bodies, and we begin to deflate a little each time it happens.

But if you are wise, and turn your thoughts to something “lighter” when you are upset, things can begin to look up.  This photo for instance, was not one that I originally planned.  But as we were waiting in line for Peter Pan’s Flight, I caught a glimpse of these two, side by side, enjoying a loving moment together, holding onto each other’s hands and “ooh-ing and ahh-ing” about the scenes from the movie.  Gabe’s legs were pretty wore out from the day, and we had to park his wheelchair and walk just a bit to this ride.  It wasn’t bad, but a little longer than we had anticipated.  Syd knew he needed a hug and some love, and instantly, he was back to giggling and having a good time.  It also just happened to be at the spot in line, where your shadow is cast along the wall.  I knew, I needed to get my camera out, because I wanted to remember this moment forever.  A glimpse at this photo, gives me a glimpse at what I live for:  my family.  At the end of the day, no matter what meeting was attended, what game was played, what plans were made, my family is everything to me, and they are the reason that I want to better my life.  They are the reason I know I have been blessed, and they are the reason why, no matter what happens, I have to just smile and be grateful for all I have been given.  When my life bucket “feels” empty, I know it is something I have done to myself, but also within myself, I can think about the ones I love, and suddenly, my life bucket is full, overflowing.  Amazing how one photo can remind you of everything you live for.  They give me my wings, and they allow me to fly.

I have been very fortunate to have a family who supports my dreams, and who knows that without their love, I would be able to make it, but I wouldn’t be as fulfilled.  Love gives us wings we didn’t realize we had.  Just like in Peter Pan, they believed in themselves and each other, and that faith allowed them to fly.

We do Disney because of that feeling, the way we believe in each other, and how we support each other’s dreams.  Disney allows us to “never grow up”, to relive moments that we loved as children, and to explore our passions while being together as a family.  I would love to give you the same experiences that I have shared with my family.  Let’s create some magic together, and find out where our wings can take us:  debbie.lands@magical-vacations.com

 

Baby Mine

Today is a lovely day to talk about love…..

While this blog is mainly about “how to do” Disney, it is also a way for me to include what Disney means to me and why I love it so much.  It is a way for me to explain why I am so passionate about what I do.  It is also a way for me to go back through my photos, and recall how they made me feel.  This photo is one of my favorites ever taken…….Let me tell you why.

First, it is a photo of my Sydney and Gabe, after a ride that I adore….Dumbo.  A classic, simple ride at Magic Kingdom that lifts you high into the air, with spectacular views of the nightly fireworks (which is when we chose to go).  The lights, the sounds, the music that we heard….made it all so brilliantly beautiful.  Hearing my children giggling and then seeing them cuddle and point to the fireworks that seemed as though we could touch them, was one of the most magical moments I experienced that evening.  When the ride was over, we of course, took the time to take this photo op, so we could always remember that we had this night together, soaring with Dumbo.  “Don’t just fly….Soar!”, as the movie goes…..and that’s exactly what we did.

Next, the main song from Dumbo, “Baby Mine”, was a song that I sang to my babies, night after night, and sometimes during their afternoon nap times, every single day of their lives when they were little.  It holds a particular fondness to me, that I will forever cherish as their mother.  I simply can not hear the song, or even think of this movie, and not think back to when they were tiny babies, wrapped tightly in my arms, when it felt as though nothing else existed during those moments except us.  As a mother, I would give anything to have one more glide in the rocking chair with them, one more afternoon of stroking their eyebrows as I sang to them, watching them fade away.  Those days are long gone now, but the memories, I will hold in my heart for the rest of my life.  So, for me, Dumbo will always be the most precious Disney movie to me, and maybe now, the most precious ride, for the memories it has given me, as a parent.  And just like the lyrics say, “You’re so precious to me, sweet as can be, Baby of Mine,”.

Finally,  when I was a young child, Dumbo was my favorite movie, and my children have always known that.  If they see a Dumbo trinket in a store, they beg to buy it so I can have it.  So, the connection that is there, between my love of Dumbo, and myself and my children, is something that we feel and we share together.  It is something I shared with my parents as well.  My father loved the crows that sang in the movie, “When I See an Elephant Fly,” and he will tell you those were his favorite parts of the movie.  My mother used to watch Dumbo with me, and I would crawl in her lap as she would stroke my hair and rock me, sometimes, to sleep as well.   The parts that would make me so sad, when Dumbo would be made fun of by others, my mother would just hold me, and remind me of what Timothy said to him, “The very things that hold you down are going to lift you up,”.  She always helped me see the positive when I was down, just like Timothy did for sweet Dumbo.

What I love the very most about Disney are the memories that it has given me, that I am able to carry with me and recreate with my family.  A movie, such as Dumbo, that I have loved for over thirty years, still makes me feel the same way when I watch it, and it holds so much more meaning for me now that I can share it with my children as well.   Then, to be able to go to Disney World, and put it into live action, riding the rides, feeling as if you are really a part of something magical, all while being with people you love and cherish.  There truly is nothing like it.

That is why I wanted to take this job, to share my love of Disney with others, and while doing so, allowing others to share their Disney love with their families.  I love helping others find their magical moments.  I love helping others find a ways to connect something from their past and make it part of their present, something they can share with people that they love.  Let’s find that magic together.  Contact me today to start your Disney adventures:  debbie.lands@magical-vacations.com

 

 

For the First Time in Forever…(Part 5)

Wrapping up my blog series, today I will jump into using FastPass + and MagicBands, two of my favorite things from WDW!

Fastpass+

A question I get asked regularly is “What is a FastPass+?”.  Essentially, it reserves a spot for you on a ride/attraction.  The best thing?  It is FREE!  You can choose your FastPass+ selections 60 days prior to your trip, and when choosing, it gives you a choice of time frames to select from (if mutltiple time slots are available).  You will have an hour window in which to physically complete your FastPass+.  Each guest is given three FastPass+ selections per day, and upon completion, you can even select a fourth!  If you are a park hopper, the fourth one can be inside a different park, but the first three MUST be completed within the same park.  So, if you are NOT a park hopper, then the fourth one will be completed within the same park as well.

As mentioned before, FastPass+ can be booked at 60 days out from your trip via the My Disney Experience App, or website, or can even be done from inside the park at one of the kiosks on the day of your trip.  This can be done once your tickets are purchased AND if you are staying on property during your trip.  The selections are then stored in your app,  MagicBands, or also on your physical park ticket.  I would have to stress that it is highly recommended/critical to book FastPass+ in advance for those highly sought after rides and attractions.  This summer, Pandora debuted during my trip.  I regret now NOT taking the time to check it out, as the lines were 240 minutes long every single day, for MOST of the day,  during our trip (it debuted the day before we arrived).  No one wants to spend that much time in line, when you have planned so many other things to do while at Disney.  There is no guarantee you will get exactly what you want, but the chances are much higher if you are able to book at your 60 day window.

You use your MagicBand Mickey Head (see the one in my picture above) to meet up to the ride’s RFID Mickey Head as you walk into the attraction opening.  There will be a line for FastPass+ and for Stand-by.  It always feels SO GOOD (but honestly, I have also felt a little guilty!!!) going in on the FastPass+ side, knowing that at most, you may only have another 10-15 minute wait for a ride, as compared to some coveted rides where there is a 90-120 minute wait in the Stand-by line.  You can arrive 5 minutes early or 15 minutes past your “selected time”, which, in theory, gives you more than an hour to complete the ride.  Things happen, and this is one nice option to have.  Having pre-selected times for rides also allows for the opportunity to do other things while waiting for your next ride such as grab a quick bite to eat, pose for some pictures, do some shopping, or simply rest!

The great thing about using a company like Magical Vacations, is that it is OUR JOB to book these reservations for you.  So, if you were to use me as your specialist, we would discuss together some choices that your would like to have for your trip, and then after I have them selected for you at your 60 day mark, you get a quick email from me stating which ones are confirmed!  Even as a specialist, we can’t guarantee to get 100% of what you want, but we can take the stress away from having to try it alone.

MagicBands

The next most popular question I get asked is “what are those colorful bracelets everyone wears?”  Why, in fact, those are MagicBands!  That is what you see in my image above.

MagicBands are fantastically designed by Disney to incorporate a vast amount of knowledge in one piece.  They double as:  room keys, credit cards, park tickets, food reservations, park photos, and FastPass+ selections.  You can store ALL of this information into your MagicBands, for every single person on your trip.  No more carrying a separate card for your room, or only getting “two” as we do at hotels.  Every member in your party can have access to the room with their own customized MagicBand.

As I stated above,  it also stores credit card information.  So, you don’t HAVE to carry a separate wallet unless you want to.  Just like with the room keys, anyone in your party can have access to using their MagicBands for payment.  You choose a PIN password for payment info after touching your MickeyHead on your MagicBand to the one on the payment sensor.  Done!  This way, if you were to lose a MagicBand, your payment information is still secure via PIN password protection.

The park photo storage option is probably one of the most clever ideas invented for this handy wristband.  When you enter a ride using your MagicBand, the ride then has knowledge that you were on the ride, and at premium photo opportunities with specific rides, you will have your photo taken.  After the ride, you can view your photo on available screens, and near them are, guess what, more of the Mickey Head sensors.  You place yours to theirs, and voila!  The photo is now stored as yours and will pop up on your app using your Memory Maker package, which can be purchased as an add-on for your trip.  You can also pose for pictures throughout the park, such as character experiences, and those photographers can link their photos to your package using Mickey Heads from their devices.

Each person will get to choose their color of MagicBand as part of your package, and it will be needed to get in to the parks or to access your rides.  You will also have the physical tickets that can be used should a MagicBand become lost.

MagicBands are also waterproof, so there is no need to take them off when swimming!  Did I mention they are FREE?  MagicBands have become such an integral part of the Disney system, I can’t imagine now not using them.  There are MagicBands that can be purchased if you would rather use them than the standard solid colors, and you can also buy add-on waterproof vinyl images from sites like Etsy (like I have shown on mine).    You can also buy accessories such as MagicBandits to slide onto your band.

I would love to give you a FREE custom quote on a magical trip.  If this sounds like a trip of a lifetime for you, please let me help make that happen!  Contact me at:  debbie.lands@magical-vacations.com to get started!