walt disney world

California Grill Brunch, Walt Disney World

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On our last trip, I had one dining request and that was brunch at California Grill. I’m a huge breakfast food fan and brunch is even better!

The only thing is, its Sundays only. So when our ADRs became available to book, I was straight on it – with no luck! We arrived on a Saturday, so we didn’t have too many Sunday’s, and as we was on a cruise, that whole weekend was out also. I left it for a bit (and sulked lets be honest), and a few weeks later tried again. And suddenly an opening had appeared, I grabbed that table pretty quick.

It was the first Sunday, so literally our first morning! As we had the Disney dining plan, it used up 2 credits each. Once you arrive you are given a glass of mimosa (ours didn’t have the orange juice in, it seemed like prosecco with boba balls – and judging by others photo’s, it does seem to change).

We was shown our table, the restaurant itself wasn’t overly packed, there was musicians there, it was sunny, and it was our first Disney morning! Life was good!

We was handed a menu, which was quite big! But the brunch is technically split into 2 parts – one is self serve with all the different sections and the other is the hot food which is bought to you.

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We all chose to walk around the self serve before making any selections, and boy is there a lot of food!

Bakery part with croissants and sweet treats, granola, sushi, charcatueri with meats and cheeses, a bloody mary bar (my sister had a virgin one with all the accompaniments which you choose yourself) a crepe section,(my mum had one and said it was really good) and you can eat as much as you want, and go back and forth! You know when there is loads of food you want to try, and when you get back to the table – you have such a mish mash of food on your plate!

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For the hot food menu, I chose the eggs benedict with salmon , along with another bellini. It was tasty, and I honestly was getting so full.

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They then bought over the dessert plate. This was mostly untouched as everyone was so full! But I did have a nice coffee with cream to round it all up, and nibbled on a few bits.

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During the meal, we wondered outside to admire the views, and it was nice, as I had only been there of an evening.

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I really enjoyed the brunch, and if anyone has done the Palo brunch on a Disney ship, its very very similar to that. It was pricey, but as we was on the DDP, we only paid for the service charge. I think this is a test, and if its popluar they will roll it out elsewhere or offer more than one day a week

If you wanted a special treat, or something different with less rush and kids, honestly I think its worth it! Lots of food, great views, drinks topped up, live music. Go and enjoy!

walt disney world

Pandora – The World of Avatar, Animal Kingdom


 

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Pandora – The World of Avatar is based on the massively huge hit film Avatar. When the new land was announced, the feelings were mixed and oh boy did it take years to build!

I watched the film (not at the cinema), and wasn’t a massive fan. I just didn’t get the hype. How was it the biggest film ever?!

But as a hardcore Walt Disney World fan, nothing was going to stop me from visiting this new part of Animal Kingdom! Pandora has been open nearly a year now, but I only just to experience for the first time in March this year. I waited impatiently for ten months watching what felt like everyone on Facebook and Instagram seeing and marvelling at it all . I did however avoid reviews of Flight of Passage, as I wanted to experience that first hand.

After my cruise, I booked my partner and I a one day ticket to Animal Kingdom. And even more luckily I got us fastpasses for Flight of Passage! Our fastpass wasn’t until the evening, but I wasn’t waiting until then to see it! So we had breakfast at the resort, and didn’t stress – I had seen photos of the morning rush for Pandora and I did not want to be involved in that!

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Once in the park, we did have a fatspass for Everest, it then started raining so we ran to Finding Nemo: The Musical and then we did make our way to Pandora, and there was no queue to get in to the land. So we took our time, strolled round and took it all in.

The first thing that struck me was the background noises, it was like a jungle! There’s lots of photo opportunities, and not ones that need people and posing, but just the landscapes and the plants and the floating mountains! The imaginers have clearly put a lot of time and effort into this.

We decided to try lunch at Satu’li Canteen, this was the first time we tried Mobile ordering (the CM suggested we did as the queue was huge!). We both tried a bowl, I had the chicken and my partner had the beef. I like the fact you then choose the base and the sauce, so there is a lot of options! I also chose the Blueberry Cream Cheese Mousse as I had seen photos and it looked so interesting. The lunch was nice, and I would recommend it.

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Then directly outside is Pongu Pongu – Pandora’s lounge/bar. These drinks looked so instgrambbale! I chose the Mo’ara Margarita and my boyfriend had the Rum Blossom, he also got the Pongu Lumpia (which is Pineapple Cream Cheese Spring Roll) – I didn’t even try that as it didn’t look nice! Now I love a cocktail, and margaritas are my favourite. But it was just so sweet, and I couldn’t finish it. The same with the rum blossom.

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We then decided to queue for the Na’vi river Journey, as you can get fastpasses for both attractions in Pandora.  The queue had died down, and we queued for about an hour. This attraction lasted less than five minutes, it was so short – we was in shock! It was clever, cute and everything but just too short for the amount of time waiting.

We then came back later in the day for our Flight of Passage. I don’t want to say too much, as I know lots of people still haven’t rode it. This attraction is genuinely amazing, and very clever. The technology they have used is quite something and gives a glimpse into the future star wars rides. We wanted to ride it again straightway but the queue was 135 minutes at 7pm!

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It was certainly different of a night, so you do need to visit the land twice. My photos on the iPhone didn’t come out great, but I’m sure the proper photographers with the cameras get better ones! It’s all lit up and the strange plants are glowing – as is the floor!

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Overall, its a completely immersive experience and you don’t feel like you are in Walt Disney World anymore. So take time out of your next Animal Kingdom day and venture into Pandora. (I know obviously you would do this anyway!!) Have you visited Pandora yet? What were your thought’s? If not yet – Is it on your list?!

 

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Walt Disney World – Saratoga Springs Resort

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I thought I would write about Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort. We stayed here previously in the year for the first time, and we have recently booked for next year.

According to Disney website, they describe the resort as “Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa is an equestrian-themed, Victorian-style Resort hotel”.

We chose this resort as there was five adults and a baby travelling. We saved more money by booking a two bedroom villa then two separate standard rooms.

Out of the Disney villa resorts, Saratoga Springs consistently came up the cheapest, and none of us had stayed at this resort, so it was chosen (another one off the list!).

In our villa, we had two double bedrooms, two bathrooms, a kitchen, the front room (which also was my bedroom as I slept on the pull out sofabed) and a patio. (We was on the ground floor). The rooms also come with washer/dryer, one of the baths is a whirlpool. There was plenty of room for all of us, and technically it could sleep up to eight people! I liked the Maximus pillows!

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We had a room in The Grandstand section, this had benefits/disadvantages. This is the first stop for buses, so we often got a seat, but then had to amuse a one year old and add extra travel time to the journey whilst it went all the way around the resort! It was very time consuming, as it’s such a large resort!

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You check in at The Carriage House, this is also where quick service (Artist’s Palette) and a sit down restaurant is (The Turf Club Bar & Grill). I only had a few breakfast’s here… Mickey Waffles! And a not so great lunch. We didn’t go to the sit down restaurant, so I can’t comment on that. (There’s just too much other choice).

We visited Disney springs a lot, as there is a lovely boat ride to the Springs. There is walkways, I myself didn’t walk it, but my family did and said it was quite a walk. We think it’s because we was on the far end of the resort.

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There was lots of photo ops around the resort, but I just didn’t get the chance to get to them! Maybe next year, when I have a bit of spare time. This particular one is right outside the main doors to the reception, so I got this one!

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I think there was five pools. This was the one nearest to our room block. There was also a big main pool by The Carriage House. I didn’t go, but my family did! All very family friendly.

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I would really recommended if there are groups/families travelling together. We made use of the kitchen mostly in the mornings, as we bought cereal/bread and used the coffee machine. Which if we was in a rush (I had four backstage tours – so saved time in the morning!), or if you wasn’t on the dining plan, could definitely save money for food.

It’s definitely not my favourite resort, (The Polynesian has my heart) but it did grow on me. I am looking forward to next year already!

 

 

 

Disney World · walt disney world

Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party Review

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I have always wanted to go to the Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party (MNSSHP), it was on my Disney bucket list, and two years ago I was in Walt Disney World on the right dates!

October 31st – actual Halloween was our final night of the holiday, so I asked the rest of my holiday party (my boyfriend and his family), if they wanted to come to and it was booked! I was so excited, Halloween in the Magic Kingdom, and what a way to end the holiday.

We hadn’t planned to dress up, but USA is huge on Halloween and we got sucked in! We went to Wal Mart and Target and ended up buying costumes. I found a cheap kids one, and loved it. Then my partners sister did my excellent make up. I was a mime! I had so many compliments that night.

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I had read what we needed to, and lots of information. But sadly that went all wrong! We didn’t get in the Magic Kingdom until 7pm – rookie mistake! We also missed where a cast member was giving out the trick and treat bags! So when we went to the first stop – luckily they had 4 spare on the cart!

I would suggest getting the special party map, as that will show you the trick and treat stations, and what extra character’s there are. In case you don’t get a map, look out for these.

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I really wanted to meet Jack and sally, but the queue was over 2 hours – which was half the party so we skipped that! We did go to Tomorrowland dance party, and danced with Monsters and Boo from Monsters Inc.

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I loved that all the classic characters were dressed up, I caught Donald and Daisy as they was leaving a meet and greet. Look at Donald in a pumpkin! He caught me looking and waved.

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I was shocked that they shut pirates of the Caribbean and turned the entrance into a trick or treat station. I thought pirates was  a perfect Halloween ride! I also sadly didn’t get a chance to eat any of the special treats – the food and snacks in the shops/restaurants!

We watched Hallowishes, which I really enjoyed, and we also watched the second showing of the Boo to You parade – again I had researched, and this one was quieter. So we got a seat on Main Street and sat on the pavement. I had been wanting to see the Headless Horseman for years! I did get some photos – they are not great, as everyone had their flashes on! But I saw him!

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I loved the parade, the uniqueness of the characters – Madam Leota, the gravediggers, pirates and Captain Jack Sparrow, various villain’s, Wreck it Ralph and Vanellope, Oogie Boogie and more.

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I also loved they had changed the lighting on Main Street, it was all very effective, and they played music throughout the park, like Thriller and monster mash.

I did enjoy the party, I really did – but to me for a special ticketed event, it was way too packed. Seven Dwarves Mine Train was over an hour, everywhere was super crowded, and I know it was Halloween, but I thought a select number of people was allowed in, not that many thousands!

I also was expecting a LOT more sweets/candy – but I realised after, the photos I have seen are people, who just go round and round to each station, and must have more than one bag. I did see people whose prams/strollers were loaded with bags, and they just pointed at each station to get them filled up.

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So yes I would go again, – I would be in the park by 4pm and having an early dinner so I was already there before the rush (which was my original plan!), and I would go earlier in the year, so it would be quieter (and cheaper!).

What about you – have you ever been to MNSSHP?

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My Favourite’s at Walt Disney World

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As you know Walt Disney World in Florida, is one of my favourite places – well it’s my second home! I feel so comfy there, and always have an amazing holiday with lots of new memories and photos. It’s always on my mind, and I’m so envious of people that live close by.  So thought would do a list of my favourite’s!

Resort: Polynesian

Park: Magic Kingdom

Magic Kingdom Lands: Main Street / Adventureland / Tomorrowland

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Attraction’s: –

Magic – Pirates of the Caribbean / Splash Mountain / TTA

Epcot – Spaceship Earth / Soarin’ (Although I am not such a fan of the new one)

Hollywood Studios – Tower of Terror / Star Tours

Animal Kingdom – Kilimanjaro Safaris (although I preferred the old version as high lighting poaching is important)

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Restaurant: I am stuck on this one. I used to love Kona Café for breakfast but they took away the Big Kahuna, but I still like the restaurant. I also really enjoyed California Grill and Teppan Edo on the last trip

Character Meal: Ohana breakfast

Bar: Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto

Transport: Monorail / Boat

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Parade: Electrical Parade (sad times)

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Character meets: Minnie and Mickey (but had a great Daisy meet at Epcot, and I loved our Pocahontas at Animal Kingdom!)

Epcot Pavilion: Mexico

Things to do: Backstage tours, and new photos!

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How about you? What are you favourite’s? Let me know!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Disney World · walt disney world

My Favourite Disney Resort at Walt Disney World

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I’ve decided to write about my favourite Disney resort – Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. I know everyone has their own preferences and beloved bases, and this is mine.

I have stayed here twice before. Years and years ago (aah the good old fountain lobby – which I still miss), I stayed with my family for two weeks! (I think this is before sky high rates!), and the second time was five of us in one room. Both times we had ground floor rooms. The first one we even had a view of the monorail.

I haven’t stayed since, as I’m on a quest to stay at ALL the Disney resorts! It’s top of my Disney Bucket List.

So many reasons I love this place.

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This resort is perfect to me because it’s chilled, and it never feels crowed – it’s got that  relaxed vibe going on.  All the cast members say Aloha to you, and wear great shirts.

The restaurants available are all great choices for all meals options – Kona cafe, Ohana, Captain Cooks. Kona Café used to be my favourite breakfast – but they took the Big Kahuna off the menu, I was not impressed. I do love the Kona coffee there.

The great bars/lounges – Tambu Lounge has unique drinks, and of course my favourite Trader Sam’s!

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There is a beach, which has chairs and hammocks, you can rest and observe the view – Cinderella’s Castle, and if you pop back to that same place at evening, you can watch the fireworks.

The new addition is the Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows – which I think topped everyone’s bucket list as soon as they was announced! I doubt I will ever afford to stay in one – but a girl can dream.

I also love wondering the biggest shop – BouTiki. This year I even bought a kids Polynesian resort shirt!

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In the evening, all the tiki torches are lit, and as soon as you’re back from the parks and the crowds, you instantly relax, and get a second wind, and go and grab a coffee (or cocktail).

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Even when we don’t stay there, I make a point of booking a restaurant there, or just going to visit the resort. My holiday doesn’t feel complete without it!

So if you haven’t considered this resort before, or if costs are too much, maybe try for it a few nights, and maybe like me, your fall in love with the place?

What’s your favourite Disney resort?

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Disney World · walt disney world

Backstage Tales Tour, Animal Kingdom – Walt Disney World

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On my last trip to the world, as I mentioned I did a few backstage tours. One of them was the Backstage Tales tour located at Animal Kingdom.

The tour costs $90 plus tax. It starts at 7.30am, but you need to arrive fifteen minutes before. The tour lasts four hours. We chose to drive and park. You meet just inside the front of the park, you are given your name badge and head set.

The tour starts as you walk through The Oasis, where they talk about the history of the park, and Joe Rohde (I got a few questions right too!). At this point as we was still in the park, we was allowed to take photos.

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As the park was so empty, and it was so pretty in the morning sun, I was already snapping away! When else would you get a selfie in front of an empty Tree of Life?! So all of the photos on this blog post, are all from the very start as no pictures was allowed during the backstage portions (which was the rest of the tour!), but they was such pretty photos I’ve included them!

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We walked through to Africa to the Pangani Forest Exploration and then through to the bird aviary. I t was so nice, as it was so quiet just our tour group in there! We had our own cast member talk through all the birds, and their charactristics and a few stories. We was also given the option to feed them live meal worms.

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After this we then went backstage straight away. We was led to a mini bus, which would then remain ours for the whole tour. As you know Animal Kingdom is huge, so the bus was used to get to one part to the other.

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I don’t want to spoil the tour for people, as I love surprises but you do visit the kitchens where all the food is prepared, quite a few backstage areas of the animals housing parts, which was amazing. You get really close to the animals! I was desperate to stroke a rhino!!

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At each animal part, you spoke to a specialist who works with these animals day in and out, and also answers any questions you have. Every Cast Member we met was really friendly, knowledgeable and clearly loved the animals!

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There was also a break, where you could have a hot drink or water, with a snack. This was then followed by a little talk about the conservation fund. The animals they spoke about on my particular tour was tortoises. Here we was told that a portion of our ticket for the tour went to the conservation fund!

At the end of the tour, you can keep your name tag and you are given a water bottle.

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Overall, I did really enjoy the tour, and it was nice to see some more of Animal Kingdom. It did feel a little over priced, but we had two cast members for the whole tour, and the use of the bus.