Nov 21

“Mommy, why do you love Disney so much?”

My son has asked me on several occasions why I love Disney so much.  Most of the time I just told him, “I don’t know, I just do.”  Well, I finally really thought about it the other day and was able to give him an actual answer.  I realized there are a few reasons to why I love it so much.  First, let me just say it has something to do with the fact that now I am a mom!  I get to see everything through my child’s eyes and see him get excited about different things.  Disney is an all magical place with everything right there at once.  To see your child’s eyes light up the first time they see their favorite character, the first time they see that castle, to eat lunch with Pooh and friends, etc., etc. – it is amazing and I still get goosebumps thinking about it.  Each time you go it is a different experience with your children or even yourself.  You see things you hadn’t before or your child is older and now they enjoy the rides more, or whatever it may be.

I get to make dreams come true for other people!  Whether it is someone who is going on their 20th trip or someone who is going on their 1st trip.  I LOVE making people happy and want people to enjoy themselves.  I want them to have that magical trip!

And my last reason, well, I get to be a kid myself.  I told that to my son and he laughed and said, “You just said you get to be a kid!”  Well, I do!  Why not act like a kid and enjoy yourself?  Let your child(ren) see you acting silly.  Live a little.  Have fun and be a kid!

Nov 20

Art of Animation Food Court review – how is it?

My family and I recently had the pleasure of staying in a Lion King Suite at Disney’s brand new Art of Animation Resort.  We loved the oversized decorations throughout the resort, the extra space in the suite and, of course, the massive Finding Nemo theme pool. 

 

I was especially excited to try out the newest food court on Disney property, Landscape of Flavors, so we stopped there for lunch on our first day.  The first thing that struck me was the size of the dining area. There are four themed seating areas, based on different areas of the resort, Cars, Finding Nemo, Lion King and the Little Mermaid.  We had no problem finding a table with so many seating areas.

The food options in Landscape of Flavors are not your typical food court options.  There are 5 food counters that let you choose from a variety of food options depending on the meal time.  At lunch we saw Indian, pizza, pasta, burgers, sandwiches, salads and more.  Breakfast choices included traditional breakfast fare like pancakes, omelets, French toast, Mickey waffles (Yea!) and breakfast sandwiches. 

 At each counter, your food is prepared fresh as you wait.  (My only complaint was another day at lunch they only had one person making sandwiches, which really slowed down the line.)  My husband had a make your own salad, the kids opted for macaroni and cheese and I chose a burger.  How could I not when the sample looked like Mickey Mouse?

 

 

Being on the dining plan, we also all got drinks, desserts and sides with our meals.  We loved that a smoothie counted as a dessert on the meal plan.  There were plenty of other dessert options, including these amazing cupcakes and one of my Disney favorites, chocolate covered rice cereal treats.  Yum!

As a part of the meal plan we were also all given the refillable travel mugs for drinks from the food court.  Between this and the drinks included on the meal plan, we were never short on drinks in the hot Florida sun.

Along with counter service choices, the food court has coolers full of drinks, snack items and quick meal options.  We all really enjoyed our meals at Landscape of Flavors.  The food was fresh, different and tasty.  For the most part, we had very short lines and very short waits for food and to check out.  We typically don’t eat any meals other than breakfast at our resort when we’re at Walt Disney World, because we prefer to eat in the parks.  However, we found the choices at Landscape of Flavors so great that we ate lunch there a few times during our trip.   

 

Overall, the Art of Animation was fantastic and the food court was great for my family.  I would highly recommend a stay there on your next trip.  And, if you can send me a few of those cupcakes, that would be super!

 

Happy planning,

Amy

 

 

Amy is a Disney loving Mom of two boys. She, her husband and her boys love talking about Disney World, reading about Disney World, planning for Disney World and most of all, visiting Disney World! She is a regular writer and “Pinterest Guru” for Walt Disney World Hints.

Nov 09

Surprise! We are going to Disney Series/Blog #5

The last blog you saw that the letter was from Tinker Bell.  Well there are 2 in this one and it will finally come full circle.  This time they received two letters.  The first one was from a grumpy short fellow.  The second one was from a Princess and her prince.

This one I thought was very cute and Grumpy!

This next letter invites them to a dinner as you can see, 1900 Park Fare to be exact.  They really had a dinner reserved for that night.  This was the first actual clue that the kids knew of a date.  They received these letters on Sunday and they were leaving on that Saturday.  They figured it out that it was from Cinderella and Prince Charming.

With this letter they finally figured out they were going to Disney World.  Well, I have to say the reaction was not what you have seen on Disney commercials or even what you may have seen posted from other people.  It just goes to prove that you shouldn’t expect your children to react the same as others.  The reaction was very disappointing to the mom especially.  Her son got mad and accused them of lying to him and the daughter was like, o.k., we are going to Disney.  Like it was no big deal.  It wasn’t until the mom said “Really?  We are going to Disney?” and got really excited that her daughter finally screamed and said “We are going to Disney!”  I’ve seen the video and it was disappointing!  But by the next day they were very excited and they had a GREAT time while they were there.

 

Nov 09

Surprise! We are going to Disney Series/Blog #4

I really must do better about posting my blogs.  In my last blog you saw that my friends’ children received a letter from Captain Hook.  It was stabbed into their house.  This one comes from someone that is really small and has wings.  Can you guess?  Her letter was so small in print and in size that it would have been easy to miss.  So they wouldn’t miss it, their father attached a small rose with the letter.

They found this letter on their porch.  Here is a picture of the letter and you can see that is was small next to the rose.

In fact, this letter was so small they had to get a magnifying glass to read it.  By this time they realized that this letter was from none other than Tinker Bell.  Once they figured that out, they went backwards and figured out the last one was from Captain Hook and the one before that was from Ariel.  The first one was still stumping them.  But guess what?  They still didn’t realize they were going to Disney World.  The next ones will set it all in motion for them.  Stay tuned……

 

Oct 30

Good Table Service Restaurants

I have been asked numerous times lately about where are good places to eat at Disney World?  Well, I have compiled a list of restaurants that I have heard were good or that I have personally eaten at.  Take a look at the list and see if your favorite is on here.  If not, add it in the comments and I will add it to the list.

Character Meals

  1. Chef Mickey’s – breakfast – Characters – Mickey, Donald, Minnie and Pluto (Contemporary Resort)
  2. Crystal Palace – breakfast, lunch and dinner – characters – Pooh, Eeyore, Tigger and sometimes Piglet (Magic Kingdom)
  3. Cinderella’s Royal Table – breakfast, lunch and dinner – princesses (Magic Kingdom) – this takes 2 dining credits
  4. Garden Grill – dinner – Chip and Dale, Mickey and can’t remember who else (good food) (Epcot)
  5. Mickey’s Backyard BBQ
  6. Tusker House – Breakfast and lunch – Donald and friends (Animal Kingdom)
  7. Ohana – breakfast – Lilo and Stitch (Polynesian Resort)
  8. Akershus Royal Banquet – Princesses (Epcot)
  9. Cape May Cafe – breakfast (Beach Resort)
  10. Hollywood and Vine – Little Eienstiens, Jake & Agent Oso (Hollywood Studios)
  11. Cinderella’s Happily Ever After (1900 Park Fare) (Grand Floridian) 

                Supercalifragilistic breakfast with Mary Poppins and friends

                Dinner – Cinderella, Price Charming, Step mother and step sisters – lots of fun!

 Magic Kingdom

  1. Liberty Tree Tavern
  2. Be Our Guest – brand new in Fantasyland – dinner is sit down – lunch is Quick service

 Epcot

  1. Coral Reef
  2. La Hacienda
  3. Le Cellier – VERY GOOD – my personal favorite – 2 dining credits
  4. San Angel
  5. Via Napoli

 Hollywood Studios

  1. 50’s Prime Time
  2. Sci-Fi Dine In

 Animal Kingdom

  1. Rainforest Cafe

 Resorts

  1. Boma
  2. Cape May Cafe – seafood dinner
  3. Hoop Dee Doo – 2 dining credits
  4. Trails End
  5. Disney’s Spirit of Aloha 2 dining credits
  6. ‘Ohana
  7. Whispering Canyon Cafe

 Downtown Disney

  1. Cookes of Dublin

 

Oct 25

Expectations! What happens if you set them too high? Part 2

This comes from my other friend who had her own take on Expectations.  I will just let you read it for yourself.  Thanks Heather!

Disney is magical and so are the dreams that are conjured up by the parents that every moment of their vacation there is going to be just like the pictures you see online. Here are the facts and myths of MY Disney vacation:
 
1) Myth: the picture of the little girls lovingly hugging Cinderella
Fact: my two year old rubs Cinderella’s dress, tells her she looks pretty but immediately asks where is Rapunzel??
 
2) Myth: that you will speak lovingly to your children and your husband the entire time you’re there because there won’t be any need to do otherwise.
Fact: That is just nonsense.
 
3) Myth: That when you ask your kid, “What was your most favorite part of Disney World?” that they answer “Magic Kingdom” or “Epcot” or “the $15 face painting.”
Fact: That when you ask your kid, “What was your most favorite part of Disney World?” they will answer “The pool at the hotel.”
 
4) Myth: that you really won’t need the ponchos you bought.
Fact: YOU WILL.
 
5) Myth: It will only take a few minutes to get from your hotel (even if you stay at Disney) to whatever park you go to that day.
Fact: It takes a lot longer than that if you consider the time you have to wait for the bus and then the ride there. Consider this when you are making an effort to get to a reservation.
 
6) Myth: Your husband will not complain when his feet get wet by the rain. (Because he must be the ONLY person in the entire park that this happens to….)
Fact: He WILL.
 
7) Myth: that you are in shape enough that the walking and standing and lugging strollers and bags and children won’t affect you.
Fact: you will feel like you need to rent a hoveround by day 2.
 
8) Myth: that you won’t spend any money on souvinirs.
Fact: you are delusional.
  
These are just a few things that happened on our Disney vacation….but we still had a WONDERFUL time and made a lot of beautiful memories. I think that when I booked the trip, the grandeur in my mind grew and grew and grew. Let’s face it; Disney is very expensive. So, making the commitment to go is MAJOR. With that being said, you want the best, most special vacation that you just spent several thousand dollars on to go not only well, you want it to go FANTASTICALLY! I personally was trying to make the most of every minute of the day because it might be a “once-a-decade” kind of thing for us. But, I had to remember that my expectations are not the same as my children’s expectations. While they are whining because they want to finish coloring their picture at the hotel breakfast table, I am wanting them to have the same burning desire that I have about catching the bus to go to Epcot. THAT ISN’T GOING TO HAPPEN. I think the most important thing to remember is that unless you are at Disney World on your honeymoon, you most likely booked the trip FOR YOUR KIDS. Don’t impose YOUR expecations on your kids’ good time. Afterall, this is their trip. They are going to have a great time–but you have to let things happen at a natural pace. Once I realized that I could go to Disney World every single day for 6 months and never actually see it all, I relaxed. Enjoy the moment. Don’t spend it wishing you were moving faster, doing more things, spending less money! Relax!

Oct 25

Expectations! What happens if you set them too high? Part 1

I was talking to some friends the other day and we got to talking about their recent trips to Disney.  We realized that, if you are like me, you have your perfect vacation all set out in your mind.  You know what you are going to do and what you expect to happen.  But then it all becomes a reality and you realize your “Dream Vacation” is exactly that, a “DREAM”.  REALITY CHECK!  Just because you are at the most magical place doesn’t mean that life isn’t going to happen.

Here is a quote from one of my friends.  “We have not been to Disney in 5 years, so upon the conclusion of our trip this past week I can say I have learned a lot about expectations. I went into this trip with high expectations on the way my children were going to react and act from the moment we told them until the end of the trip. Needless to say, I came out of it disappointed. Don’t get me wrong. We had a great time and the kids had moments of extreme excitement but what I envisioned was way off. When planning a Disney trip (or any trip) it is easy to imagine how things will go. After days of disappointment (and some wise words from my mother -Don’t tell her I said that) I agreed that my expectations for the trip were too high. I mean why would my kids be on their best behavior’s, be SUPER grateful for everything and not complain once? Why did I think that being in a place where you are running around and trying to see and do everything that my husband and I would be all lovey dovey the whole time?  The expectations you have can make or break your trip.  Everyone will be getting less sleep and doing ALOT more activity and walking around. So expect tired and cranky (from the kids too) or take breaks or sleep in. Try not to change the families normal sleep schedule too much or you will have some crankiness to deal with.”
 
So all this to say, don’t set your expectations so high that you are disappointed and mad that your trip isn’t going as planned.  Be flexible and go with the flow.  It will make your trip more enjoyable.  And if you find yourself getting upset, take 10 to 15 minutes to head to the bathroom by yourself and re-group.
 
I have to thank my friends, Mary and Heather, for contributing to this blog post.  Thanks!

 

Oct 23

Disney Cruise Line vs. Royal Caribbean

I haven’t taken a Disney Cruise yet but I have been on several Royal Caribbean Cruises.  I was talking to a cast member of Disney Cruise line this morning and was asking her the difference between the two and she shared a bunch of information with me.  She said she just got off a Royal Caribbean cruise so it was all fresh in her mind.

Here are some things that Disney Cruise ships have:

  1. Full Movie Theater
  2. No Fees for movies in your staterooms with 175 to choose from – Royal Caribbean charges $12 per movie.
  3. They have a 24 hour beverage machine on the pool deck.  This is HUGE!  Royal Caribbean you have to purchase a drink cart or pay for each one.  Very EXPENSIVE!
  4. They have fireworks at sea – on the night of Pirate Night there is a deck party up on the pool deck and they shoot off fireworks.  Disney Cruise line is the ONLY cruise line that has fireworks at sea.
  5. The rooms on Disney ships are bigger.
  6. The kids programs are SO MUCH better.
  7. You rotate in 3 different restaurants each night (now adult only restaurants are extra) – Royal Caribbean you stay in the same restaurant unless you pay to go to a different one.
  8. There is a 24 hour ICE CREAM machine!
  9. OH!  I cannot forget that the 2 newest ships (Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy) have the first ever AquaDuck – water coaster at sea!  I cannot wait to get on this!

 

I am sure there are more differences but these are just a few to get you started.  Yes, a Disney Cruise may be more expensive than a Royal Caribbean cruise but given all the extras it is worth it.  I look forward to taking my next cruise on Disney!

Oct 22

Surprise! We are going to Disney Series/Blog #3

Alright, I left you hanging long enough.  Sorry!  The next letter in the series comes from none other than Captain Hook.  Take a look at the letter, then let me tell you how they received this letter:

Of course, the letter was signed “H.” so they had to figure it out.  Well, this letter was stabbed into the side of their house with a dagger.  The mom pretended to be scared about it and the son just grinned and said “It’s an adventure!”  He started to give her ideas of what it could mean and he started to scare his little sister a little.  Here is a picture of it stuck into the house:

After talking more about it and thinking it over they thought this might be Captain Hook.  Disney might have been mentioned but that was it.  They still didn’t outright guess it.  The next letter comes from a fairy.  Stay tuned…….

Oct 10

Surprise! We are going to Disney Series/Blog #2

Last week I shared with you about a friend who was surprising their kids with a trip to Disney.  I shared the first letter and now I want to share the second letter with you.

 

 

This was a hint at their room.  I got them a room at the Art of Animation resort in a Little Mermaid Room.  Can you guess who this letter is from?  If you guessed Ariel, you are correct.  I think her husband did a great job on the letters.  This one was found in the yard while they were out playing.  It just appeared.  The kids were excited when they got this letter.  They thought that it had something to do with their upcoming beach trip.  Wait until you see the next letter and where it was found.  Stay tuned……

 

 

 

Oct 06

Park tickets…..what is the difference?

Are Disney Park ticket choices confusing to you?  To those who have visted multiple times you may have this down but to those who are first time visitors it can be confusing.  So, let me take a moment to explain the difference in park tickets.

Base tickets – this is a ticket that will get you into ONE park per day.  You CANNOT go to one park (Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios or Animal Kingdom) and then decide during the day to switch to another one.  You also CANNOT use 2 days worth of tickets in one day either.  You have 14 days to use your ticket from the first day of use. Tickets are valid indefinitely until you use them (then the 14 day rule applies).  You can upgrade/add options as long as you have ONE day left on your ticket.

Park Hopper tickets – this type of ticket allows you to go to any combination of parks (Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Animal Kingdom, and Hollywood Studios) in one day.  If you want to visit all of the parks in one day you can do this with this type of ticket.  Same thing with the base ticket you have 14 days to use your ticket from the first day of use and they are valid indefinitely until you use them (then the 14 day rule applies).  You can also upgrade this ticket too.

No Expiration tickets – this is exactly what it says.  These tickets never expire so you can use part of them now and the remainder 5-10 years from now.  If you have the money and know you are going to Disney more than once this might be a good option to do.  It will cost more money upfront but in the long run it will save you money.  Let’s say you buy a 10 day park ticket (the more days you buy the better the deal is per day).  You use 5 days of your tickets for your trip now.  Then when you decide to go later in another year, the same year or even 3 years from now, you have your tickets and since the prices of tickets go up every year you have just saved that money because you had already bought your tickets.  Use your tickets and get a room only reservation and you are set.  Only thing with this is you can’t add the dining plan because you have to do a package deal by buying the tickets.  But you can save money by seeing if Disney is offering a room discount and save there.

Water Parks Fun and more tickets – this ticket includes visits to your choice of Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park, Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park, DisneyQuest Indoor Interactive Theme Park, Disney’s Oak Trail Golf Course, ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, Disney’s Fantasia Gardens Miniature Golf Course or Disney’s Winter Summerland Miniature Golf Course.

Well this is my explanation of park tickets.  If you have any other questions, please feel free to ask.  Share your comments below – what type of ticket do you get?

 

Oct 05

Surprise! We are going to Disney World – Series/Blog post #1

As I indicated earlier I was going to do a series on how my friend is surprising her kids with their upcoming Disney trip.

The first step was they sent a letter to their kids in the mail and it said this:

Can you guess who this letter is from?  If you guessed Mickey, you are correct.  They have been to Disney before but it had been several years ago.  They started the letter series about 4 weeks in advance of their upcoming trip.  Some weeks they only got 1 letter, like this one.  Other weeks they got 2 letters, as in my next post.  Keep watching to see how it ends……  Her husband wrote all the letters and I have to say he did an amazing job!

 

Oct 05

Do you surprise the kids with a Disney trip?

How do you tell your kids that you are taking a Disney trip?  The two times that we have taken our son we told him right away.  Then we started counting down.  I have always wanted to surprise him with a trip and not tell him until the day we leave.  Well, guess what?  We are doing just that this December.  I cannot wait until that day comes and we wake him up early that morning and say we are going to Disney right now, get dressed.

On that note, I am going to do a series of blog posts about surprising the kids.  I have a friend who is doing the same thing and not telling her kids either but she is in a way.  I am going to write up how she went about telling them over the next few weeks right up until they finally guess it.  Which at this point they haven’t actually put it all together yet.

I will also have a blog post when our day actually arrives and how our son reacted.  So, what about you?  How have you told your kids you are taking a Disney trip?  Post your comments and let us know.

Aug 22

Fly to Florida for $15.00-20.00? Yes, you saw that correct.

I recently got airfare on Southwest to Florida for $15.00 for 3 people.  Yes, you read that correctly.  Did you know that Southwest has a VISA and if you sign up, from time to time, they will give you 50,000 bonus points.  Yes, the VISA does have a $69 annual fee but you add that to the $15.00 it still comes out a LOT cheaper than 3 plane tickets.  They have recently added a stipulation that you must spend $1000 within the first 3 months before you get the 50,000 bonus points.  Well, if you are planning on taking a trip to Disney, you could easily spend $1000.  Charge your Disney reservations to the card and BINGO you have spend the $1000 and have gotten 50,000 bonus points.  Then just watch for the Southwest Sales, which come out usually every Tuesday afternoon and use those points to buy your tickets to Disney.  If you are a couple thousand short (if you are a family of 4) then you buy the extra points which amount to about $75 and you have 4 plane tickets to Disney for about a total of $164 ($20 for taxes and fee, $69 annual fee and the $75 for extra points) – well under the regular price of 4 plane tickets.