travel · walt disney world

Walt Disney World – A Quick Trip Report

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I’m back in the land of the normal living (barely!), as I recently returned from a fifteen night stay at Walt Disney World. I’m not actually sure what number trip this was, as I’ve actually lost count. (how bad is that?!)

We travelled as a group again – 5 adults and 1 toddler, so stayed in a 2 bedroom villa at Saratoga Springs Resort. This works out for us, as we all have our own separate space. This really isn’t my favourite resort, its just too big! Included in our reservation was the free Disney Dining Plan again, this was amazing. This year one alcoholic beverage was included with the meal. The server would say which drinks this was.

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We hit all the parks multiple times (actually Disney Hollywood Studios was only once!) and the family did a water park. (I don’t like them, so I skip that day). We visited Disney Springs a lot, as its so close to our resort.

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We also changed it up a little this year by including a 3 night Disney cruise in the middle (all my idea, and was the first ever cruise for all my family). I will do another blog post on that separately.

Dining wise – we did have quite a few ADR’s booked, but ended up cancelling some and making new ones for on the day! We had no issues getting last minute reservations, sometimes its nice to be more spontaneous and not so rigid in the days plans.

So we tried out Toyko Dining and Garden Grill for the first times. (Pictured below is the bento Box from Tokyo Dining) We also headed over to Fort Wilderness and Trails End for a special meal for the vegans in my family. They had a 7 course meal! The rest of us had the normal buffet and I tried a Moonshine Margarita. My absolute favourite was Brunch at California Grill – again another separate post on that.

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I only did one new tour this trip, which was the Caring for Giants at Animal Kingdom. I managed to ride Flight of Passage another three times! It’s just so clever, and it really has shot into my top rides list.

The Flower and Garden Festival was still on whilst we was there, I love this festival. Epcot is so pretty with all the extra flowers and topiaries. I also enjoyed the Coco exhibit in the Mexico pavilion, and the gods one in Norway.

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I finally saw Happily Ever After at Magic Kingdom, and I was so disappointed. It just didn’t feel like it tugged on my emotions like Wishes did. I also feel they tried to shoehorn in too many characters, I get that its nice to highlight others, but was just too many for me! And I watched it more than once, and still didn’t enjoy it.

I did one disneybound this year – I went as Lilo! I took far too many Disney wall photos and made my parents honourary photographers for the trip.

If you want to listen to my trip overview, I actually was on the Disney dream Girls Podcast last week – here is the link! http://disneydreamgirlspodcast.blogspot.com/

If anyone has any questions or needs any tips for future trips – please feel to ask!

 

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?

Disney World · walt disney world

Disney’s The Magic Behind Our Steam Trains Tour, Walt Disney World

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This was one of the tours I went on, on last visit to Disney.

I have done a lot of the backstage Disney tours offered, and am always keen to do more. I knew of Walt’s love for trains (who doesn’t?!) and decided to book this one too.

It was a very early start, you had to be at Magic Kingdom for 7.15am! No transport was available, so we drove our hire car to the Contemporary Resort, and then walked over.

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We met outside the entrance, and then walked into a very empty park – bliss! The tour guide let us stop for a while and take some photos.

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I can’t remember the name of our guide, but she was so enthusiastic and passionate about the steam trains! She clearly loved her job.

It starts off with a ride on the train, one was already set up and in use. So we went round the park, until we got to the roundhouse exit. (This is located at the Fantasyland Station). You then go backwards, so you are now backstage and arrive at The Roundhouse. The train we was in and looking at was the Roger E. Broggie.

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This is where the steam trains are kept overnight, maintained and serviced. We was encouraged to take photos, but not to touch or lean on the train as it was so hot!

We was broken up into groups of 3 or 4, and took turns going up into the cab, where our tour guide explained how the train starts, works and the jobs of the two cast members. It sounds like a very hard working role, and when she said how hot the cab can get in those summer Florida month’s – wow! That’s dedication.

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When you are there, you get to see a cast member light the engines – you actually see the flames, and you also get to witness “a pop-off”. I will let you experience that for yourself!

After this portion of the tour, we got back on the train and headed to Main Street.

Under the Main Street station is a section, with posters and information on the four people the trains are named after. Walter E. Disney, Lilly Belle, Roy O. Disney and Roger E. Broggie. Our tour guide went quickly through the stories and how they got chosen. I personally hadn’t noticed this before, and think it’s a very nice touch to honour the people. If you haven’t noticed this either – maybe go check it out on your next visit!

We then went upstairs to the station, and took a seat on a few benches. There was then a flipboard with old photos and more information about steam trains. For example Walt’s own train in his garden and the story behind that.

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The tour finished here, and we was each given a pin. The tour itself lasts approximately three hours, and you need a valid ticket to get into the park.

I did enjoy the tour, and I always love hearing stories about Walt Disney. The bonus of an empty park in the morning, and going backstage are always highlights for me.

 

 

 

Disney World

Hiring a Sea Raycer, Walt Disney World

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There is more to the World that meets the eye. Look beyond the theme parks, and you will discover a wide range of activities available. One of my favourites is the Sea Racyers – the small 2 person boats you see zipping across Seven Seas Lagoon.

These are available at several resorts. I’ve hired these quite a few times with my family on past holidays. On a previous trip my partner and I went to the Contemporary Resort and hired one from there.

The price is not too expensive, ( I have just double checked, and the current price is $32 per half hour) and you show a valid driving license. You also have to be over 5ft tall, which seems a crazy rule as there are no pedals and the screen is low to see over! You are given a life jacket, and some quick instructions.

We chose a 30 minute slot. And then the fun begins, they do have a limit of a top speed, but once you out are on the open water, it does feel much faster!

As we hired the boat from Contemporary (you have to return the boat to where you hired it from), we decided to go across to Seven Seas Lagoon first, so off we went, the weather was lovely, waving at children passing on the main transportation boats and me taking lots of photos!

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You get some great shots of the hotels from a different view point, you also do see lots of wildlife.

After we had completed a circle in the Seven seas Lagoon, we headed back to Bay Lake, driving around to Fort Wilderness Resort and beyond. You also circle around the now extinct Discovery Island.

It’s a really exhilarating activity as well as pleasurably calming! I would recommend to everyone who is old enough (and tall enough!) to hire one! And don’t forget sun protection for your thighs.

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Disney World

4 Parks, 1 Day – Walt Disney World Challenge!

Last year was an eventful holiday at Disney. As I mentioned, I was proposed to in a surprise engagement, so I had an unexpected week with my fiancé. Then once he flew home, I still had another 5/6 days with my parents.

I’m all about trying new things at Disney and my Disney bucket list is huge, and is always growing! I had the mad idea of doing all four parks in 1 day! This idea was made the evening before at dinner, so we made a quick plan.

I suggested 2 attractions and then something to eat/drink in each park before moving on. We half made decisions on which attractions to choose based on previous trips and what we knew would be quick and easy to ride. We also decided to be flexible in case the queue was long, or the attraction was shut.

At the time we were staying at Animal Kingdom Lodge, so it made logical sense to start at Animal Kingdom.

We got the bus to animal kingdom, it wasn’t actually that early! It was after 10am (shock horror!), we went on its tough to be a bug soon as we got in the park, we wasn’t hungry so grabbed a snack of a dole whip. Also for some reason (I can’t remember why, maybe we had plans to go to Animal kingdom that day), we had a Fastpass for expedition Everest, so we rode that and headed out. Park 1 done!

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We got on a direct bus to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Here we rode Star Tours (queue wasn’t too long and we knew the actual ride didn’t last too long), and then Muppet Vision 3D. We also had a sit down with some cold water and a chicken caesar salad. Park 2 done! We then took a boat to Epcot.

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Once at Epcot, we headed to The Seas with Nemo & friends, then straight over to Journey into Imagination with Figment. We realised we had made good time so far, and it was only late afternoon, and we was already at the third park! So we had a stroll around World Showcase. We stopped at Mexico, where I had loaded nachos and a hibiscus margarita – yum! Park 3 done!

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We then got a Monorail to Magic Kingdom. We went to the Enchanted Tiki Room, had a Nutella fruit waffle from Sleepy Hollow, then headed to carousel of Progress. Park 4 done! We had did it. Completed the 4 parks in 1 day challenge!

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Now we was tired, and at this point my parents decided to leave. I elected to stay, so I watched celebrate the magic twice, the electrical parade and wishes!

I also decided to stay until The Last Kiss Goodnight (another first for me! Another tick on the Disney bucket list –yes!).

So I then had the chance to have photos of me down an empty main street! Another amazing dream come true. I also had my own Disney bus back to my resort. So I left the hotel at 10.20am and didn’t get back until 12.40am!! I was so exhausted, but the day was totally worth it!

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Disney World

Walt Disney: From Marceline to the Magic Kingdom Tour

 

 

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One of my favourite things to do at Walt Disney World is the tours! I have done quite a few now, and have a few more booked for my next visit. I thought I would review some, to help decide if anyone wants to try one.

I experienced the above mentioned tour  (3 years ago now, so may have changed slightly).  I chose this as it was a good price – $30 for 3 hours and also it starts before Magic Kingdom is open!

It starts at 8.15am by the Main Street guest services; you are given an individual ear piece so you can hear the guide. I do think our group was a little too large, and she did mention it was a bit bigger than normal.

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Seeing Main Street mostly empty, and freshly washed down was great! I say mainly as so many other tours were there! So our group went to Liberty Square to start the tour, there wasn’t even any background music, and there was no other person in sight!

 

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Our tour guide Julie, was a really nice girl from Chicago who genuinely loved Disney and Walt, and the Magic Kingdom.

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Once we had the beginning speech we all headed to the Haunted Mansion, Julie discussing the new additions to the queue. We then all rode Haunted Mansion, Julie continuing to give up facts throughout the ride. Those headsets have a decent range! She sat in the middle of the group on her own doom buggy, and people before and after her could still hear her talking.

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After we went to the new Tangled toilets, where she pointed out some hidden Pascals, I think she said there was 12 in that area. Also it was a restroom and 10 minute break.

We then moved on to some behind the scenes magic at Haunted Mansion, this was unexpected and my favourite part of the tour! (no photos!). We all then walked to Cinderella’s Castle where we were informed about the mosaic and the artists.

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After this discussion, we walked round to Winnie the Pooh, we all got straight to the front of the queue, some clues was discussed before the ride as our headsets wouldn’t work whilst on the ride. After there was some talking too – did we spot Mr Toad handing over to Pooh?

We then walked through Tomorrowland to all ride Carousel of Progress, we had the whole theatre to ourselves for our group. Throughout the show, Julie gave us facts and pointed out hidden Mickeys.

After the show was a quick question and answering, and the tour was done!

We were then free to explore ourselves. It lasted a little shorter than advertised, about 2 and half hours, and I honestly thought the whole tour was going to take part on Main Street and be about the names in the windows and inspiration from Missouri! Overall, the tour was a nice length and I did enjoy it, and would recommend.