#Adulting · Animal Kingdom · Characters/Meet & Greets · Disney Characters · Disney Dining · Disney Princesses · Disney Shows · Disney Springs · Disney Travel Tip · Disney World Resort · Epcot · Hollywood Studios · Magic Kingdom · Meg the Travel Agent · Trip Report · Walt Disney World

Walt Disney World Trip Report

July 2019

We got engaged at Disney, we Honeymooned there – it was time for another milestone trip. Our first trip in 10 years without our littles for our 10th Anniversary.

Resort Review

We arrived late afternoon to our home away from home for the weekend – the Polynesian. This was our first time staying here. We absolutely loved it and may or may not be thinking of joining DVC because of our stay here. The experience, amenities, and customer service were definitely elevated at this resort.

From the moment you check in and you get your Leis, you feel like part of their Ohana. We left our bags will Bell Services and went to check out our room. We had a balcony on the third floor in the Fiji Building (which was exactly what I requested when I called Disney with my room preferences; yay for Travel Agents!). It was beautiful. It was diagonal from the Great Ceremonial House where the restaurants, shops, & Monorail Platform are. Super close! Our view was of Bay Lake, the beach, and gardens. I spent each morning reading on that balcony and we sat out there one night to watch a beautiful storm pass through.

We enjoyed the beach & view of Magic Kingdom. Two of the nights we were able to watch the Fireworks over Magic Kingdom from the beach. Once was Happily Ever After and the other was the 4th of July Fireworks. We also saw the Electric Light Parade which I have enjoyed since I was a young child and I am SO glad they still show it each night.

We took full advantage of what the resort had to offer. We shopped in both shops at the resort. Between the two they have a wide selection of clothing, jewelry, accessories, toys, as well as things you would need that you may have forgotten at home, drinks, snacks, and more. The one thing I was looking for that I couldn’t find (a certain pair of earrings), a cast member looked in their inventory and found them for me at a shop in Epcot and had them for me the following day. Amazing service! We swam in both pools but we preferred the Lava Pool. The Oasis pool was beautiful but much more quiet. We liked the buzz and excitement of the Lave pool more. It is great that there are both options though! As for lounges & restaurants, we experienced Tambu Lounge, Capt. Cooks, & Trader Sam’s. The food and experiences were great at all 3 but my favorite would definitely be Trader Sam’s.

This is a must see for sure! We got right in without a wait which surprised me. The wait staff reacts differently to each item ordered off the menu and it becomes an experience the entire lounge takes part in. Between that and the decor, I could have spent hours there. Tip: Try to sit on a bar stool instead of on one of the couches – they have a fun surprise! Then there was transportation. I have not stayed at a Monorail resort in many years. In my opinion, it was worth every penny for that perk. It was super easy to come back for a swim mid-afternoon and took almost no time. It was great to visit other quick services and lounges along the Monorail line. We also had table service reservations at the Grand Floridian and the Contemporary so it was really nice to be so close to those. The buses for Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom were frequent so no issue there either. Transportation at the Polynesian is on point!

Just the general feel and environment that this resort offers is so great. We felt relaxed and as if we were on a beautiful lush island while staying there. It was very immersive and I hope to take the littles back on a trip in the not-so-far future.

Disney Springs

We spent the first evening snacking and sipping our way around Disney Springs. Our first stop was the DockSide Margarita Bar. We were drawn right in by the music. There was a gentleman playing all kinds of fun music. He was quite talented and especially shocked me when he started playing the conch shell as an instrument. He was great!

We headed over to Paddlefish. Formerly Fulton’s Crab House, this large (docked) paddleboat is a great place to stop for food & drinks. I highly recommend heading to the rooftop. The view from up there is great and they have some amazing Ice pops!

The Hangar Bar was next on the list – Inspired by Jock Lindsay, Indiana Jones’ Pilot. We love the fun decor and all the nods to the movies and Jock’s travels. We always stop here for the pretzel – it comes with some great beer cheese & tasty mustard. Its a nice little snack that we like to order and snack on. We sit out on the dry-docked boat that looks like it is straight out of The Jungle Cruise. There, we listened to the music at the near-by stage and watched the Amphicars come and go.

Winebar George is a great little spot. This time we stopped at “The Basket” which is basically like a little grab-and-go window. You can get the Frozcato as well as the Dole Whip so it is worth a stop!

From there we needed a bite to eat. Figuring we would check out something new, we stopped in at D-Luxe Burger. Fairly typical quick service – you order at a window, get a pager and wait for your food. In the meantime you can help yourself to a number of amazing dips for your fries and burgers. They let you add on toppings-i.e. bacon, at NO CHARGE. I was kinda shocked honestly. So we got a bunch of dips and waited for our food to arrive and guess what? These. Burgers. Rock. Oh good gracious, it was tasty – stop there if you are looking for a delicious but quick burger. You will not be disappointed!

I wanted to show the Husband some of the neat places I learned about on my most recent training trip. I took him down the hidden staircase for Enzo’s. We grabbed a quick drink here (wishing we were not so full because this Italian food looked and smelled fantastic) and then I took him through the “secret” back exit. Once through there we arrived in the Basement of The Edison. It was super crowded and the house band was real good. After that, we called it a night – wouldn’t you?!

Magic Kingdom

This is the weekend before 4th of July so this place is hoppin’! However the new fastpass+ system seemed to do a fairly decent job of spreading everyone around. We were able to do all the mountains and all the attractions we wanted to do (along with a meet-up with my favorite Princess) and we were out of there by 4! It all comes down to the way you spend your Fastpasses and which itinerary you follow. Using a few tips and tricks, it is not hard to see all that you want, even on a Holiday Weekend. One of my favorite parts of helping guests plan their trips is maximizing their time in the parks. It is kind of a Disney Science and I like to think I am not too shabby at it!

Construction is in full swing for Tron. They were not actively working during the day but so much progress has been made in just the few months since I was last here. I am getting super excited about it!

Delicious Bites worth Noting:

  • Loaded Waffle Fries from Golden Oak Outpost
  • Loaded Tots from The Friar’s Nook
  • Spicy Chicken Waffle from Sleepy Hallow

Animal Kingdom

The only part of Animal Kingdom that felt crowded was Pandora – No surprise there. We avoided Pandora because we fastpassed Flight of Passage for later in the day and went out on one of the first Safari’s of the day. I think we will try to do each trip going forward. There was SO much animal activity. We were even chased by an ostrich and the driver had to drive straight through the next habitat to get us away from him. My favorite was watching a lion and lioness play. It was like watching two furry kittens – they were having a lot of fun.

It was my mission to find and smooch on Kevin-The Snipe from Up. He can be found roaming the Kingdom. Well, he actually found me and came right up to us and pointed to our Anniversary pins and clucked a bunch. Nothing like a congratulations from a Snipe – my vacation was complete.

Delicious Bites worth Noting:

  • Mac & Cheese with Pulled Pork from Eight Spoon Cafe
  • Haystacks from Zuri Sweets Shop

We also found a neat little Nook over by Dinosaur! It is a Paleontologist’s Tent with some fun decor. The mixologist we encountered was fun and really knowledgeable. It seems to be more of an adult place but it did not say children couldn’t come in. We just liked the quiet and laid back vibe with the great theming as a background.

As usual, I took my stroll around the tree to see what new animals I could spot. I found what I think are reindeer! I will be doing my Christmas in July soon so I thought they were fitting!

Pandora was amazing, as always. It is quite breathtaking when you sit back and just consider your surroundings. Grab a beverage at Pongu Pongu and have a seat and take it all in. It is so worth taking the 5 minutes to do so.

Hollywood Studios

We got to the park 20 minutes before it opened and wound up very close to the opening line that they stop you at. We dropped back a bit because I insisted on going into the Trolley Car Cafe! We walked back to Toy Story to ride Midway Mania (already fastpassed Slinky Dog Dash for later). Wait was 5 minutes and when we came off, it was still 5 minutes. Swirling Saucers had no wait but Slinky was already up to 25 minutes. If you do not have a fastpass, go there first!

The highlight of the day was watching one of the Star Wars stage shows while facetiming our littles. We had a front row spot and I had a storm trooper come up to within a half-inch of my face. It scared the kids from 5 states away – but they loved it. I am excited to return in September and see what additional characters we can meet up with other than what they currently offer. My daughter would lose her mind if she could meet Rey and the same goes for me if I could meet Darth Maul. Can’t wait!

Delicious Bites worth Noting:

  • Peanut butter Crunch Cupcake at Trolley Car (OH my word…)
  • BBQ Brisket Melt at Woody’s Lunch Box
  • Chocolate Hazelnut Lunch Box Tart at Woody’s Lunch Box

Epcot

We had a Fastpass for Test Track so we got to the park about a half hour after opening and went right to Soarin’. It had no wait. The park was still quiet so we were able to get in a few more rides before our first Fastpass.

We caught not one, but two showings of The Jammitors. They do not perform the same act so you can see something different each time. If you have never stopped to see this short sidewalk show, you should! They are my husband’s favorite so we always see at least one showing. They give out fun little stickers that say “Junior Jammitor” which the Husband proudly wore the rest of the day…goof.

We finished up in Future World and headed for the Countries in World Showcase. We really went in depth into each country. We saw the inside of buildings and shops that we had not been able to enter for years because of impatient littles.

Special Places to check out –

  • La Cava in Mexico – the Guacamole is fantastic and it is a neat little spot off the beaten path
  • The walkways in China around the water are very pretty and they are full of fish and polywogs
  • The Fountain in Italy – a quiet and shady spot that is a peaceful spot to rest – note the grape vines full of grapes!
  • The Bazaar in Morocco – walk through all the different shops, they are so neat and different
  • The fountains & shops in France

While I have tried the phone booths in the United Kingdom as have several others, I have not gotten them to do much of anything in the past few years. While messing around with the phone, a Cast Member came up to us and said, “No, you are trying the wrong numbers. Call this number.” So we turned around to dial it and when we turned back, he was gone. We were soon delighted with a congratulatory message from Mickey and Minnie on our anniversary. THAT was some crazy Disney Magic! I love when it isn’t planned and just happens. I teared up a little.

We returned to our resort that evening to find the Magical Express folder on our door. What a sad sight! HOWEVER! We took advantage of our in-room bounceback offer and are already booked to return in September. This way I can visit Star Wars and Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party and relay any and all information I learn! If you have questions about where to find these offers, reach out to me!

If you would like me to assist in planning your Dream Vacation, contact me today and let’s get started!! My services are free of charge and I can help save you time and money! My passion and knowledge of Disney can really save you some stress and make your trip more enjoyable. Plus, qualifying reservations receive our Minnie Box! Our special thank you gift that is sent to you prior to departure for your trip. It is full of surprises and Magic and other wonderful things to enhance your stay.

Animal Kingdom · Disney Springs · Disney Travel Tip · Disney World Resort · Epcot · Extra Magical Events · Hollywood Studios · Magic Kingdom · New for Animal Kingdom · New for Disney World Resort · New for Epcot · New for Hollywood Studios · New for Magic Kingdom · Walt Disney World

2019 Walt Disney World Holiday Guide

© Disney

2019 is going to be a Very Merry Holiday at Walt Disney World. There will be new offerings all over the resort as well as the return to several favorites.

Animal Kingdom

For the very first time, Animal Kingdom is going to completely deck the halls! New decor in every land, new street performances and entertainment, holiday lanterns that will glow, and even Pandora will celebrate and Earth Holiday thanks to some of the humans that stayed behind.

In the evenings, all the lands will sparkle with holiday splendor and the Tree of Life will take on a wintery appearance and holiday tunes will be heard. Starting November 8th, come see how the Holidays transform this magical land full of beautiful animals, far off lands, and some of your favorite Disney Pals!

Epcot

The Candlelight Processional will return once again during Festival of the Holidays. Candlelight Processional Dining packages will also be available. From November 29-December 30, guests can discover holiday traditions, festive bites & sips, and special entertainment through 11 countries. In addition to the 11 countries, there will be Holiday Kitchens from additional places around the world. They will also be offering wonderful treats to try.

For the kiddos (and kiddos at heart), you will be able to hunt for Chip & Dal again in their Christmas Tree Scavenger Hunt. We always find this is a great activity to keep the littles busy while we check out the countries.

Hollywood Studios

Many of our favorites will return to Hollywood this year. Olaf will make his grand appearance in a fantastic holiday Finale of “For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Holiday Sing-Along”. This ending is different from the normal show and brought me to tears. It was so sweet.

“Jingle Bell, Jingle Bam” is set to return. We loved this display on the Chinese theater. It is a great combination of projections, fireworks, and great music. I recommend finding a good spot about a half hour prior to it starting because that street fills up FAST!

One of the neatest things I found last year was the show on Sunset that was projected onto the Hollywood Tower Hotel. Set to music along with some blustery surprises, this one was one of my kids favorites. It is on a loop so it is not hard to catch. We must have seen it at least four times!

WHO KNOWS what is in store for the holidays at Galaxy’s Edge. I wonder how they will decorate for the holidays! I am excited to visit and find out and maybe pick up a gift for someone special from a Galaxy Far, Far Away!

Magic Kingdom

Magic Kingdom will be decked out in its traditional Holiday decor. The magic really comes to life when you visit during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. There is special stage shows, a beautiful parade concluded with Santa, himself, and NEW this year is a new Holiday Fireworks Display.

Minnie’s Wonderful Christmastime is an all-new Nighttime Spectacular coming to Magic Kingdom this Holiday season. This Park-Wide display will be set to holiday tunes that will warm your heart. HINT: This is the one Fireworks show that we INSIST we watch from Main Street.

The beautiful Once Upon A Christmas Time parade will be back along with other favorites – “Totally Tomorrowland Christmas’ Stage Show, “Mickey’s Most Merriest Celebration”, and of course, Elsa’s “Frozen Holiday Wish”

Resorts

We will update these as they are confirmed but as in years past, resorts will be decorated for the holiday. Some of my favorites to visit:

  • Gingerbread House at Grand Floridian
  • Chocolate Display at Contemporary
  • Holiday Tree at Wilderness Lodge, Grand Floridian, and several other resorts that display these themed Holiday Beauties.

Disney Springs

In addition to all the amazing holiday shopping you can get done, Disney Springs is a Holiday Destination all on its own.

You can stroll down the Christmas Tree trail where you can see custom-decorated trees. Each tree will be decorated to a specific holiday theme. I cannot wait to see what themes there will be this year.

Guests are welcome to come visit Santa in his Chalet until December 24th when he has to head back north. From there, Santa Goofy will meet with guests until the 31st.

Need something to occupy the littles with while you get some shopping done? Experiment 626 is hiding in Disney Springs. You and your family can hunt for Stitch in his Holiday Gift Hunt.

These are just some of the few things we already know are lined up. There is so much more to be announced and it will be updated here as I learn of them.

If you are ready to start planning your holiday trip, contact me today for a no-obligation quote! My services are free of charge and I am happy to help you from start to finish with anythin you may need. Let me help plan your most Merry trip ever!

Animal Kingdom · Disney Travel Tip · Epcot · Hollywood Studios · Magic Kingdom · Walt Disney World

Extra, Extra Magic Hours

© Disney

Extra (additional), Extra Magic Hours are coming to Disney World this Fall!

Because of all the excitement surrounding Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, Disney is opening adding more Extra Magic Hours to the calendar.

Extra Magic Hours are offered at a select Disney World park each day. They happen either before the park opens or after the park closes. They are available at no charge to Disney Resort Guests and other select hotel guests only. They typically last an hour or two and the park in which it is offered rotates.

Well now – With the addition of Extra, Extra Magic Hours, you will have way more options and a lot more time available to be in the parks. This is what they are offering now to Disney Resort and other Select Hotel Guests:

  • Hollywood Studios will open daily at 6am from September 1st – November 2nd.
  • Magic Kingdom will open daily at 7am from August 29th – November 2nd
  • Animal Kingdom will open daily at 7am from August 29th – November 2nd
  • Epcot will still have occasional Extra Magic Hours as it does now

This adds several hours of possible park touring time to your vacation. It also definitely has me rethinking how I will plan Fastpasses for my guests traveling in the fall as well as my own trips.

If you would like some guidance on how to take full advantage of these Extra, Extra Magic Hours or even if this just gets you so excited that you are now ready to book a trip, contact me today!

#Adulting · Animal Kingdom · Disney Dining · Epcot · Hollywood Studios · Magic Kingdom · Typhoon Lagoon · Walt Disney World

#Adulting in Disney: Part 2

There may not be anything like seeing Walt Disney World through the eyes of a child. However, it can be an equally awesome place for adults. There are so many things that are easier when traveling without children and the biggest that comes to mind is getting through the Parks. No carriage to park & find, no littles stopping at every turn – it is amazing how much more I accomplished in the Parks when I did not have my littles with me. Oh MAN did I miss them, but the difference in the experience is totally worth it every once and a while.

#Adulting in Disney Parks

Just a few of the great things you can do while #Adulting in Disney Parks:

  • Rides that have height requirements – The thrill rides are a breeze when all in your party reach the minimum height.
  • After Hours – Disney’s After Hours is a great experience that I think all adults should try. There are so few guests in the park because it gets LATE. You can ride and re-ride your favorites with limited wait times, see your favorite characters with almost no wait times and get some awesome photos because the parks are very empty. Due to the hours of this even is not something my littles are old enough for – hello Disney meltdowns! (With littles I would do the Early Magic Hours.
  • “Adult” Dining Experiences – There are many restaurants in Disney Parks that are nicer & possibly more romantic when it is adults only. In addition, most kids won’t enjoy their menu or the atmosphere like adults will. Le Cellier & Tiffins are good examples.
  • H2O Glow Nites – The fantastic party at Typhoon Lagoon has an all adults area. “The Wharf” is a little spot just for us grown-ups! A must-do when this party is running in the summer.
  • Epcot Festivals – Sipping & Snacking around the world during one of Epcot’s many festivals is such a fun couples, group, or girls weekend event.
  • La Cava – A fantastic tequila bar inside the Mexico Pavilion in Epcot. It is on the darker side and really not very kid friendly. – Try the Avocado Margarita!
  • Disney Tours – There are a number of fun and different tours that have height and age requirements. The famous “Key’s to the Kingdom Tour” and “Epcot Seas Adventure Divequest” are among some of my favorites and will not permite children.
  • World Showcase Wine Walk – a great way to taste the wines of the different countries in Epcot. You get a great souvenir cup as well. Hint: If you don’t mine sharing, you can just purchase one glass and sample wines together.
  • Nomad Lounge – Tucked beside Tiffins, this is a great little lounge with a great view and they offer beverages from around the world and small plates.
  • Baseline Taphouse – New to Hollywood Studios, a corner pub serving up California based beverages.
  • The many shops in all the parks – It is much easier to walk around stores and enjoy yourself when you have no one in tow!

Disney World Parks are a great destination, even without kids! Get your friends or significant other together and let’s get a trip put together for you! We can add any/all of these to your itinerary!!

Next up: Epcot gets its own #Adulting page because it is very much my favorite park to adult at. Stay tuned!

Animal Kingdom · Characters/Meet & Greets · Disney Characters · Extra Magical Events · New for Animal Kingdom · Walt Disney World

Disney Updates & Circle of Flavors

I have spend the last week in Walt Disney World and while I was away, several important things were released. I wanted to catch up on a few important items before I start my trip report. I learned SO much and I am excited to share it all with you.

© Disney

Circle of Flavors: Harambe at Night comes to Animal Kingdom

This new dining adventure begins on July 24th, 2019. It will honor and showcase several beautiful animals and will celebrate “The Lion King”. This event is both fun and educational. While on this culinary journey, you will learn about the importance of certain African animals, the daily challenges they face, and what Disney is doing to protect them.

Start your journey at the Wildlife Express Train Station. Here, you will have hors d’oeuvres and beverages – both alcoholic and non-alcoholic.

After a short ride to Rafiki’s Planet Watch, you will be greeted by some great friends – Timon & Rafiki. The characters will meet, greet, and interact as well as provide some fun activities. More light snacks and beverages will be served here as well.

From there, guests get back on the train and head to Harambe Market which is where the main part of this event takes place. Once in Harambe, you will be able to enjoy many dishes, both savory and sweet. They will be paired with unique beverages.

Reservations are recommended! Contact me for more information or to add this to your vacation package.

Animal Kingdom · Characters/Meet & Greets · Disney Characters · Disney Travel Tip · Extra Magical Events · Hollywood Studios · Magic Kingdom · Star Wars · Walt Disney World

Disney World After Hours Extended

© Disney

Disney has added more “After Hours” evenings to the calendar.

After Hours is a great ticketed evening that allows you to enter the park as early as 7PM. Once inside, you are permitted to stay in the park 3 hours after park closing. Only a limited number of tickets are sold so seeing your favorite attractions and meeting your favorite characters will have short wait times. In addition, ice cream, popcorn, and some beverages are included with your admission.

This is available at Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, and Hollywood Studios.

  • Animal Kingdom: May 7, 14 and 21; June 4, 11 and 18
  • Hollywood Studios: May 1, 4, 10, 17, 24 and 31; June 14, 21 and 28
  • Magic Kingdom: May 2, 9, 16, 23 and 30

Two of the additional After Hours Events that will be offered at Hollywood Studios will be special-

May 1 – Celebrate Disney’s Hollywood Studios 30th Anniversary. There will be special merchandise, character greeting opportunities, food to celebrate.

May 4 – May the 4th Be With You! – Dress up as your favorite Star Wars Character (Be sure to check guidelines) and be a part of the celebration. any characters will be out for meet & greets and there will be special food & merchandise offerings.

Contact me for any questions or if you would like to purchase a package so you can be a part of some of the magic!

Animal Kingdom · Blizzard Beach · California Adventure · Disney Springs · Disney Travel Tip · Disney World Resort · Disneyland · Downtown Disney District · Epcot · Hollywood Studios · Magic Kingdom · New for Animal Kingdom · New for California Adventure · New for Disneyland · New for Epcot · New for Hollywood Studios · New for Magic Kingdom · Typhoon Lagoon · Walt Disney World

Disney Puts New Rules Into Place

© Disney

With all of the big changes coming to Walt Disney World and Disneyland over the next few years, Disney felt the need to restrict a few things. These changes are for the safety and concern of their guests. These new policies & changes will go into effect May 1st.

Strollers

They are restricting the size of stroller permitted into the parks. If you are traveling with a stroller, the new maximum dimensions are 31″ (79cm) wide and 52″ (132cm) long or smaller. This is a GOOD thing. The smaller stroller you have, the easier it is for you to navigate through crowds. If everyone complies, foot traffic will move much smoother.

Wagons

Disney will no longer permit wagons. The wagon style strollers such as the ones made by “Keenz” will not be permitted either, even though you can “push” them like a stroller.

Smoking

Every time I read that, I hear it in Mrs. Doubtfire’s voice. No? Just me? Ok, anyway, there will no longer be smoking sections inside Disney Parks. There will be a designated smoking area outside of the parks near the entrance instead. This will be in effect for all of Walt Disney World, Disney Water parks, Disney Springs, ESPN, Disneyland and Downtown Disney. For guests that are staying in a Resort Hotel or may venture to one for dining/entertainment, they will also each have a designated smoking area. This does include vaping as well.

Loose/Dry Ice

Disney happily let’s us all bring in coolers with our own drinks and food. What they will no longer allow are coolers full of “loose ice” or dry ice. They encourage the use of ice packs and if you require loose ice for any reason, it is available at no charge at their quick service restaurants.

Let me know if you would like clarification on any of these or if you have any questions!