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Podcast 62 – Answering Your Questions!

Pixie Dust Fan Disney Podcast Episode 62

Answering Your Disney Questions

You asked and we answered! We are reading your questions and sharing our thoughts. Anything from where to eat Thanksgiving dinner to how we met!

Questions:

Jessica asked:  Maybe you guys already said this but how did you and Carrie meet? What brought on the friendship?

Nikki asked: My question is, have you ever done the parks on Super Bowl Sunday? I have been told the park is practically empty due to American’s fanaticism over football. We were planning on going to WDW this year before your cruise. Until we found out Super Bowl was in Miami…which is where we sailed out of.

Bryce asked:  I have two questions! My wife and I are going to WDW over Thanksgiving. 1. How in the world do you get into Be Our Guest restaurant in Magic Kingdom 2. What is the best place to eat Thanksgiving on Disney Property?

Sheila asked:  What/who is your favorite character

Tyler asked:  I would like to know how you feel with the new live action movies. From Cinderella to the new Mulan including lion king. For some this was the second age of Disney movies so the remakes can feel weird. Are they taking two steps forward and one step back or just cashing in on a name and story that’s already done.

Show Notes and References:

Get to know Carolyn on episode 5 where we talk about the Disney difference

Find us online:

Website: www.PixieDustFan.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/PixieDustFan

Instagram:  www.instagram.com/PixieDustFan

Carrie on Instagram:  www.instagram.com/muppetcrazy/

Join our Facebook group:  Pixie Dust Fans

Support Pixie Dust Fan by shopping at Disney and Amazon 

Pixie Dust Fan merchandise available at Enchanted Collectors

I have resort tours on YouTube as well – check out my channel!

Don’t forget to sign up to stay in touch with Pixie Dust Fan news!

Podcast 61 – Disney Bucket Lists

Pixie Dust Fan Disney Podcast Episode 61

Disney bucket lists

On this episode of the podcast we have narrowed our bucket lists down to 5 ‘achievable’ things.  These are things we believe we can make happen in the future, it’s just a matter of the right planning.  As a bonus, we have thrown in a couple of things that would require miracles for us to make happen, but we’re still dreaming!

Show Notes and References:

Disney bucket lists with Dustin is on Episode 30

The Van Gogh exhibit Carrie went to – website here

Pictures from the Disney Store adventures

 

Find us online:

Website: www.PixieDustFan.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/PixieDustFan

Instagram:  www.instagram.com/PixieDustFan

Carrie on Instagram:  www.instagram.com/muppetcrazy/

Join our Facebook group:  Pixie Dust Fans

Support Pixie Dust Fan by shopping at Disney and Amazon 

Pixie Dust Fan merchandise available at Enchanted Collectors

I have resort tours on YouTube as well – check out my channel!

Don’t forget to sign up to stay in touch with Pixie Dust Fan news!

Podcast 60 – The “No Idea” Podcast Episode

Pixie Dust Fan Disney Podcast Episode 60

The “No Idea” Podcast Episode

On this episode of the podcast there are a variety of topics covered.  Carrie and Francine share their thoughts on limited edition Disney merchandise, the borders still being closed and a  Disney+ pick.  Daniel LaRusso – remember him?  There are some laughs and discussions about him too.

Show Notes and References:

Find Pixie Dust Fan merchandise at Enchanted Collectors

Podcast episode 7 has a review and recap of Carrie and Francine’s Coast to Coast Adventure

Disney bucket lists with Dustin is on Episode 30

We Like Theme Parks Podcast available on iTunes and all podcast players

Pictures from the Disney Store adventures

Support our friend with her hospital bills

Find us online:

Website: www.PixieDustFan.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/PixieDustFan

Instagram:  www.instagram.com/PixieDustFan

Carrie on Instagram:  www.instagram.com/muppetcrazy/

Join our Facebook group:  Pixie Dust Fans

Support Pixie Dust Fan by shopping at Disney and Amazon 

Pixie Dust Fan merchandise available at Enchanted Collectors

I have resort tours on YouTube as well – check out my channel!

Don’t forget to sign up to stay in touch with Pixie Dust Fan news!

Podcast 59 – Conversation With Disney Legend Bob Gurr

Pixie Dust Fan Disney Podcast Episode 59

A conversation with Disney legend Bob Gurr

Disney Chat with Pixie Dust Fan on Apple Podcasts

Disney Podcast Pixie Dust Fan On Google

On this episode of the podcast, Carrie and Francine have a conversation with Disney legend Bob Gurr.  Bob shares stories from his time working with Walt Disney, how Roy Disney solved a dispute at the company and how he HAD to ride a roller coaster before working on the Matterhorn.  He has incredible insight and opinions on leadership, creativity and resourcefulness that he tells through personal experiences.  At the end Bob shares how he finds pixie dust in his days, you won’t believe it!

Show Notes and References:

For signed merchandise including the new Bobsled collectible visit www.fandomproductions.com

The Waltland tour website www.Waltland.com

Find Bob’s book on Amazon with key word Bob Gurr

Find us online:

Website: www.PixieDustFan.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/PixieDustFan

Instagram:  www.instagram.com/PixieDustFan

Carrie on Instagram:  www.instagram.com/muppetcrazy/

Join our Facebook group:  Pixie Dust Fans

Support Pixie Dust Fan by shopping at Disney and Amazon 

I have resort tours on YouTube as well – check out my channel!

Don’t forget to sign up to stay in touch with Pixie Dust Fan news!

Podcast 58 – Entertaining on Disney Cruise Line

Pixie Dust Fan Disney Podcast Episode 58

Entertaining on Disney Cruise Line – A conversation with Soul Duo

On this episode of the podcast we chat with musical guests Soul Duo about life at sea and working on board Disney Cruise Line.

Sonia and Paul have been delighting audiences on the Disney ships for over 5 years until the recent suspension of cruising.  For now they are entertaining virtually from home until they can get back on board to sail again.  They are sharing all sorts of fun information from eating onboard to favourite ports, what kind of cabin they have and the hidden talents of some of the crew that you wouldn’t expect!

You can catch Soul Duo’s weekly live streams on their Facebook page

Show Notes and References:

Find Soul Duo on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube

Listen to our 10 reasons we love Disney Cruise Line on Episode 50

Let’s Make Some Magic Stickers – Etsy shop

Find us online:

Website: www.PixieDustFan.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/PixieDustFan

Instagram:  www.instagram.com/PixieDustFan

Carrie on Instagram:  www.instagram.com/muppetcrazy/

Join our Facebook group:  Pixie Dust Fans

Support Pixie Dust Fan by shopping at Disney and Amazon 

I have resort tours on YouTube as well – check out my channel!

What's it like to live and work on a Disney ship?

Don’t forget to sign up to stay in touch with Pixie Dust Fan news!

Podcast 57 – Lessons from our first year of the podcast

Pixie Dust Fan Disney Podcast Episode 51

Disney news and updates 

Thanks for listening to Pixie Dust Fan Podcast

It’s our first anniversary and we’re taking a look back at all of the lessons we have learned along the way. We are amazed that it has been a year, so much has happened and yet it feels like yesterday since we started.

Show Notes and References:

Thanks to Aydin at Pure Magic Vacations for reminding us!  Hear Aydin talk about visiting Disney with a non-Disney person on Podcast 12

Listen to the Disney Difference with the lovely Carolyn on Podcast 5

Sending Pixie Dust to our friend – you can donate here

Find us online

Website: www.PixieDustFan.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/PixieDustFan

Instagram:  www.instagram.com/PixieDustFan

Carrie on Instagram

Join our Facebook group:  Pixie Dust Fans

Support Pixie Dust Fan by shopping at Disney and Amazon 

 

Don’t forget to sign up to stay in touch with Pixie Dust Fan news!

Baby Yoda Echo Dot Stand

Baby Yoda echo dot holder

Mandalorian fans have something other than the new season to be excited about!

Coming on August 20th, 2020 – The Mandalorian: The Child, Stand for 3rd Generation Amazon Echo Dot

Made by Otterbox, it’s made with durable material to withstand high-use for everyday enjoyment.  Otterbox has some great quality cell phone cases, I’m certain this will be no different.

This fun new stand is a great way to integrate a little Baby Yoda in to your home decor.

Available on pre-order now on Amazon. 

I did read that it was not available to ship to Canada but a very ‘shop savvy’ follower sent me the link so we CAN order in Canada!  You can find it in my shop here

Will you be ordering one of these?

Shop our store for other Mandalorian favourites – don’t forget the plush!

Baby Yoda Plush

 

Podcast 56 – Love it or leave it – Reviewing attractions at Hollywood Studios

Pixie Dust Fan Disney Podcast Episode 56

Love it or leave it – Hollywood Studios Edition

On this episode of the podcast we take a virtual walk through Disney’s Hollywood Studios.  We review each attraction and decide if we love it or leave it when we’re there.  We might even suggest a few things for refurbishment too.

Show Notes and References:

Carrie and I talk about our Rise of the Resistance experience in episode 26 of the podcast

Find us online:

Website: www.PixieDustFan.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/PixieDustFan

Instagram:  www.instagram.com/PixieDustFan

Carrie on Instagram:  www.instagram.com/muppetcrazy/

Join our Facebook group:  Pixie Dust Fans

Support Pixie Dust Fan by shopping at Disney and Amazon 

I have resort tours on YouTube as well – check out my channel!

Don’t forget to sign up to stay in touch with Pixie Dust Fan news!

Podcast 55 – Things to do in Walt Disney World outside of the theme parks

Pixie Dust Fan Disney Podcast Episode 55

Things to do in Walt Disney World outside of the theme parks

When planning a trip to Walt Disney World, most people focus on the parks. But did you know there is a TON of stuff to do besides visiting the Disney theme parks? There are activities all over the Disney property that you don’t need a park ticket for. The best thing? They’re all on property so you don’t need to worry about leaving the Disney bubble!

Show Notes and References:

Podcast episode 37 – Why you should stay at Disney’s Fort Wilderness

Fort Wilderness Blog Post – why it’s like paradise!

Splitsville lunch review

Virtual Reality – experience The Void at Disney Springs

Find Us Online:

Carrie on Instagram

Website: www.PixieDustFan.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/PixieDustFan

Instagram:  www.instagram.com/PixieDustFan

Join our Facebook group:  Pixie Dust Fans

Support Pixie Dust Fan by shopping at Disney and Amazon 

I have resort tours on YouTube as well – check out my channel!

 

Don’t forget to sign up to stay in touch with Pixie Dust Fan news!

What Is Disney Vacation Club?

What is Disney Vacation Club?  Is Disney Vacation Club worth it?

Is Disney Vacation Club worth it?  How does it work?  We are exploring the pros and cons of membership and answering the most common questions about buying a Disney Vacation Club contract.  

But first…..

What IS Disney Vacation Club (DVC)?

The Disney Vacation Club is Disney’s answer to vacation time shares, and it’s a popular investment for many die-hard fans. 

While typical time shares have you securing a finite amount of time per year at a location, the Disney timeshare is more flexible in allowing you to customize your use.  Members buy a contract of “points” that are replenished each year.  For example – my very first contract I bought was for 160 points at Bay Lake Tower in 2009 while the resort was under construction.  At that time the price per point was approximately $112 USD per point (that was a good deal back then).   Each year I pay maintenance fees for the resort and my 160 points are replenished.  The length of my contract was for 50 years.   

Bay Lake Tower DVC

My DVC Resort – Bay Lake Tower is connected to Disney’s Contemporary Resort

Please note that this article is my opinion and perspective and does not contain details of every aspect of Disney Vacation Club Membership.  For full details you should refer to the offical DVC page.

Where can you use Disney Vacation Club points? 

There are 3 collections available for your points to use. 

  • Disney Collection
  • Concierge Collection
  • World Collection – RCI Resorts

The Disney Collection

You can use your points at Disney Vacation Club Resorts such as Disney’s Beach Club, or Wilderness Lodge in Walt Disney World or Disney’s Grand Californian when visiting Disneyland.  Aulani is a fantastic DVC resort in Ko Olina Hawaii or maybe you’d like a stay at Disney’s Hilton Head Resort in South Carolina. 

Concierge Collection

This collection of hotels and resorts include a variety of spots from the Royal Garden in London England to the Fairmont hotels in Chicago and San Francisco. 

World Collection – RCI Resorts

RCI is a large timeshare vacation exchange network that includes hotels in Spain, Indonesia, South Africa and Portugal.  There is quite a variety of destinations in this collection.

For a full list of resorts you can check the official list here

Is it worth DVC if I’m not always staying in a Disney resort?

I have never used my points outside of a Disney resort.  I think I would consider it if I needed to go somewhere else as a one off, but that isn’t the reason I bought it. If you’re an avid traveller who is always exploring different destinations – DVC is probably not what you need. 

DVC Points for Cruising Disney

Using DVC points on a cruise is not a good idea.

Using your points on a Disney Cruise is not the best use of your points either.  The trade of points for a cruise is just not worth it and not a good value.  If you’re a big Disney Cruiser – I wouldn’t buy DVC for that.

How many DVC points do I need for a week at Walt Disney World?

There are many variables that are considered in the point calculations:

  • What time of year are you going?
  • What type of room do you need?
  • What resort are you staying at?

Points for a week at Walt Disney World examples:

Disney’s Bay Lake Tower Resort (Further info here)

  • November 14-23, 2020
  • Deluxe Studio Lake View Room
  • 165 Points

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas – Jambo House

  • March 7–13, 2021
  • 1 Bedroom Villa – Savanna View
  • 231 Points

Same week in a standard view at Kadani Village (no animal view) is 195 vacation points for the 1 bedroom.

Disney’s Riviera Resort (Further info here)  

  • February 7-13, 2021
  • 2 Bedroom Villa – Preferred View
  • 370 Points

And my BUCKET LIST stay…

Disney’s Bay Lake Tower

  • February 7-13, 2021
  • 3 Bedroom Grand Villa Theme Park View
  • 754 Points

 I quoted different weeks rather than spend the time searching for availability.  Keep in mind this is just a guideline to give you an idea of what’s available and how many points are needed.

What are the different DVC room types?

You can use your points for rooms at the resorts that are not villas such as Disney’s Art of Animation or Disney’s Coronado Springs and have a room the same as if you were paying cash.  The point are a bit high in my opinion if you’re not staying at a DVC resort, I don’t think it’s a good value.

In the DVC resorts, you generally have Studios and 1,2 and 3 bedroom units.  They come in different variations and can be quite fancy such as the bungalows at the Polynesian Village Resort (starting at 115 points per night) or the Cabins at Copper Creek (starting at 87 points per night).  While beautiful, you would need a very big contract if they were your desired accommodations each year.

Disneys copper creek cabin from outside

Copper Creek Cabin

Can you bank and borrow points?

Yes, but since I’m always in a state of “borrow” I can’t speak to the banking!  I have bought 2 more contracts since my first 160 points and I now have 310.  My sister also has 300 points and we still don’t have enough.  We are usually borrowing from the next year.  Why do we go through so many points?  2 reasons – we travel with bigger groups sometimes and need 2 bedrooms OR we can’t get a studio when we want to go for the length of our trip.

Is booking a DVC resort easy?

So you’ve bought your Disney Vacation Club and now want to book your stay – can you get what you want?  Sometimes.

It is important that you buy your points at the resort that you would like to stay at most often, this makes it your “home resort”.  You can book your home resort 11 months in advance while the other resorts you can only book 7 months ahead.  If your home resort is NOT the Beach Club or Boardwalk, chances are slim that you will be able to get a reservation there during one of the EPCOT festivals when you try to book at the 7 month window.   It’s even harder if you’re trying to get a studio as those are usually the first to go.

Disneys Boardwalk 1 Bedroom Villa Bedroom

Disney’s Boardwalk Resort bedroom in the 1 bedroom villa

Given that I don’t like to plan 11 or even 7 months in advance, I really struggle when booking.  We often end up with split stays (where we are in 2 or 3 different resorts in a week) OR we have to get a bigger room than we need (like a 1 bedroom for two of us).  It’s not like I’m not booking the week before we go, it’s usually 3 or 4 months in advance, but I rarely get the resort I want for the full time I need.  For many people they book at the 11 month mark and this isn’t an issue for them, but it really is for me.  If you would like to go to Disneyland and use your DVC points?  Let’s just say getting a reservation for a week at Disney’s Grand Californian is like winning the lottery at 7 months!  There are some tricks that require getting 1 day at a time in advance and then each day try and get another (I think they call it walking the reservation?).  I have heard it works sometimes – but I think it’s a lot of effort.

Does Disney Vacation Club save you money?

It depends.  I wish I had a straightforward answer for this but it’s different for everyone and so many factors to consider.   If you need to finance the initial purchase the interest will add to your upfront cost and the yearly maintenance fees add to the investment as well.  The maintenance fees are calculated per point, the bigger the contract – the more the fees will be.  Try doing the math over the length of the contract and include the increase in fees each year.  If you’re buying resale make sure you understand how many years in the contract and what perks you get with that purchase.

Disneys Port Orleans French Quarter

Disneys Port Orleans French Quarter Resort

You also should consider where you would stay normally vs where you have to stay for your points to realize their value.  If you would normally visit when Disney has a promotion and get a 20% room discount at Disney’s Pop Century or Port Orleans Resorts – spending points on a 1 bedroom at the Beach Club is not a fair trade.  Yes, you will be staying in deluxe accommodations, but you are still paying for them with your points.  Due to availability you can end up staying in a bigger room than you need or staying somewhere you really didn’t want to stay.  Consider the time of year you normally go, could you maximize regular promotions or is it a slower season where. your DVC points could be utilized properly.  

Are there perks to owning Disney Vacation Club? 

YES – there are some great perks.  I definitely make the most of the Annual Pass discount that is offered to DVC members!  There are food and merchandise discounts as well, sometimes as much as 20% which can be a big savings if you’re a shopper like me.  The tours in the parks also have discounts, we have done Caring for Giants more times than I want to count as a result. 

There are special “Member Cruises” on Disney Cruise Line specific for DVC members as well as events like “Moonlight Magic” where a park is open late for DVC members only or previews when new things are opening.  I have only ever managed to get to a couple of these because my vacations didn’t line up properly OR I couldn’t get a ticket.  I was thrilled to get to the Animal Kingdom one for Pandora opening and getting a sneak peek there.  These events are limited capacity, so you’re not always guaranteed a spot at the DVC events.  I like to consider them an added bonus – but I wouldn’t factor them in to my purchase decision unless I was local.

Knowing what I know – would I buy DVC again? 

I’m not sure I would buy it today knowing what I know, primarily because the price has increase and availability is a real issue.  More often than not I can’t get the resort I want for the time I need.  Yes, I love staying in the 1 or 2 bedrooms, but I am paying for it.  I spend the points for the bigger rooms because I want a certain resort or I just don’t want to have to pack up and move multiple times in a week.  The 1 and 2 bedrooms have more availability – but then I run out of points even faster.  Once the yearly points are gone I pay for the rest of my stays, I take advantage of the promotions available and try out the non-DVC resorts. 

I have Disney friends who have sold their contracts due to the availability issues or because they wanted to cruise more and found it more economical to sell.  Yes, you can buy DVC on the resale market – but beware of the reduced perks and restrictions that Disney has put in place for those contracts, of course they want to encourage you buy direct from Disney.

As a die-hard Disney fan who visits multiple times a year, and given what I paid for mine all those years ago – I’m happy with my DVC purchase overall.  I love the discounts – but I would get the same food & merchandise discount with an annual pass anyway.  I think the best part is that I have pre-paid some of my resort stays for years in advance.  My contracts are all paid off and I don’t need to worry about that expense when I’m planning my next trip.  With my annual pass and my DVC points I only have to consider the cost of my flights, food and shopping for most of my trips.  

Is Disney Vacation Club for everyone?  No.  Is it good for Disney fans?  Maybe.  I would suggest that if you are considering buying DVC that you do the math and your research.  Read the contracts and crunch the numbers.  While I have given you my views and some high-level insight, there is much more to using your DVC than I have covered.  It’s important to be very realistic about how you vacation today, and how your family will vacation in the future.

My friend Carrie and I have both been members for years and we shared our thoughts on Podcast Episode 35 “What is Disney Vacation Club”.   Have a listen to the episode if you want some more perspective and watch the video below for a tour of a 1 bedroom at Disney’s Riviera Resort.

Are you a DVC member?  Are you planning on buying?  Leave a comment and let me know.

Podcast 54 – Returning to EPCOT

Pixie Dust Fan Disney Podcast Episode 54

Returning to EPCOT with social distancing and park updates

On this episode of the podcast we are covering all the recent news including delays to Spaceship Earth refurb and Stitch’s Great Escape.

We also talk about what’s it like to visit EPCOT now that it’s open again. What precautions have they put in place to keep guests safe? What happens if you fail the temperature check at the park entrance? Who is working in the World Showcase?  We answer these questions and more on this episode of the podcast.

Show Notes and References:

We talked about how excited we were for the Disney Store to open – and it opened right after we recorded.  Here are Carrie and I going in the day it opened:

Find Carrie on Instagram

Pixie Dust Fan Online:

Website: www.PixieDustFan.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/PixieDustFan

Instagram:  www.instagram.com/PixieDustFan

Join our Facebook group:  Pixie Dust Fans

Support Pixie Dust Fan by shopping at Disney and Amazon 

I have resort tours on YouTube as well – check out my channel!

Don’t forget to sign up to stay in touch with Pixie Dust Fan news!

Podcast 53 – Returning To The Magic Kingdom

Pixie Dust Fan Disney Podcast Episode 53

Returning to the Magic Kingdom

What’s it like to visit the Magic Kingdom now that it’s open again? What precautions have they put in place to keep guests safe? Wearing a mask, Plexiglas shields in the lines, and no fastpasses? Is the Magic still there??  We talk about it all with our friend Curtis who got to experience the Magic Kingdom when it opened and he shares all this thoughts about it on this episode of the podcast!

Show Notes and References:

Resort Reviews on the blog:  www.pixiedustfan.com/resorts

Find Carrie on Instagram

Pixie Dust Fan Online:

Website: www.PixieDustFan.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/PixieDustFan

Instagram:  www.instagram.com/PixieDustFan

Join our Facebook group:  Pixie Dust Fans

Support Pixie Dust Fan by shopping at Disney and Amazon 

I have resort tours on YouTube as well – check out my channel!

Don’t forget to sign up to stay in touch with Pixie Dust Fan news!

Podcast 52 – Walt Disney World Resort Categories – What’s The Difference?

Pixie Dust Fan Disney Podcast Episode 52

Walt Disney World Resort Categories – What’s The Difference?

What is the difference between Value, Moderate, Deluxe and Deluxe Villa resorts at Walt Disney World? How do you choose which one is right for you?

It’s a difficult decision and so much of it should be based on your personal needs for YOUR vacation. On this podcast Carrie and I review some of the things we love about each category and our personal favourites for each.

Show Notes and References:

Resort Reviews on the blog:  www.pixiedustfan.com/resorts

Find Carrie on Instagram

Pixie Dust Fan Online:

Website: www.PixieDustFan.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/PixieDustFan

Instagram:  www.instagram.com/PixieDustFan

Join our Facebook group:  Pixie Dust Fans

Support Pixie Dust Fan by shopping at Disney and Amazon 

I have resort tours on YouTube as well – check out my channel!

Don’t forget to sign up to stay in touch with Pixie Dust Fan news!

How To Code With Disney’s Codeillusion

Learn how to code with Disney

When you think of Disney, you think of entertainment – but there are many aspects of the company that are focused on education.  While it isn’t as obvious in the parks and movies – there is always a lesson somewhere inside.

Disney does have a more ‘education focused’ branch of the company called the Disney Institute.  They offer professional development courses, consulting services and will host conventions for large corporations.  I have had the opportunity to attend one of the courses on Disney’s Approach To Customer Service and I can tell you that they design learning the way they tell stories, it’s incredibly engaging and unbelievably entertaining.

When Disney teamed up with a Japanese game creator to make a new web-based training program to teach coding – it just made sense.  Storytelling with your favorite Disney characters while learning coding skills is the perfect lesson for kids today.  (Exclusive discount code for Pixie Dust Fans – use PIXIEDUSTFAN10 at checkout on Codeillusion)

Learn to code with Disney and Codeillusion

Basic coding skills are a minimum requirement for many entry level jobs today.  More advanced coding skills can help secure higher salaries and opportunities.  Teaching kids HTML, CSS and Javascript helps set them up for success in the future.

This is where Disney Codeillusion comes in.

This online program offers 125 lessons that are an average of 30 minutes each. 

Components of Codeillusion Course

Players receive a collectible Magic Book Starter Kit to collect postcard prizes they earn when they complete modules. 

Codeillusion Magic Book Inside

Imagine tutorials featuring these 14 Disney movies, wouldn’t we all want to go back to school this way?

  • Aladdin
  • Alice in Wonderland
  • Beauty and the Beast
  • Big Hero 6
  • Frozen
  • Lilo and Stitch
  • Little Mermaid
  • Sleeping Beauty
  • Ralph Breaks the Internet
  • Snow White
  • Tangled
  • Winnie the Pooh
  • Wreck-It Ralph
  • Zootopia

Engaging lessons are key to anyone completing a course. As Scott Kramer described in his article in Forbes “I’ve invested several hours into it so far. My early impressions are that I could see it really capturing the imagination of kids. Essentially — and this is difficult to put properly into words — you log in, take on the role of a character and then interact with other characters including Mickey Mouse, Goofy and Donald Duck.”

When I was approached about Disney Codeillusion and offered a free trial to review it, I was excited.  In my unmagical job I taught myself basic coding skills when I started out, but I now lead a team of people who are expert “coders” doing data analytics every day.  I understand the principles of coding – but couldn’t sit down and write a query myself.  Couple my ‘day job’ with my Disney obsession and this course was perfect for me to try.

I had a ton of fun with these lessons.  Each one builds on the previous one and allowed me to reinforce what I had learned already.  The added bonus of having Disney characters just helped to keep me engaged.

Codeillusion Zootopia Lesson

I love Zootopia!

I did wonder how it would entertain someone younger, so I did engage the help of my family and asked for his opinion.  As an early teen whiz already working in computers and taking courses for coding – he said it was good, it taught the ‘right stuff’ but of course with his current studies it was a bit basic for him.  He spent a few hours on the first lessons and they really do start at the beginning of “how to code”.  He really like the way the course flowed and said if he was starting to learn, he would have really liked to do this course.

So would I recommend the course?  If I was starting my career again I would sign up for it as an adult for sure.  For children I think it’s a great idea to learn coding skills while they’re young so that it’s easier to build on later.  The course is reasonably priced in my opinion at $899 USD – a good value for the amount of information.  If you choose to purchase the program I have the opportunity to offer you $200 off when you use the code PIXIEDUSTFAN10 – with the discount you can get ALL of the lessons for $699.  Check out all the details at here at Codeillusion and sign up for a free trial to test it out.

UPDATE in Septmeber 2020 – There is a NEW product Disney Codeillusion Prime.  It gives you lifetime access to all 125 lessons with 7 interactive chapters covering Game Development, Web Design, and Media art in 4 core programming languages – HTML, JavaScript, Processing and CSS. Each lesson comes with a virtual mentor, helpful hints, and clues, ensuring you’ll never get stuck so you can continue learning at your own pace, on your own time.  It is a lower price, but there is still a way to save – for $100 off, use code: PIXIEDUSTPRIME.

Be sure to let me know if you try it out, I would love to hear your thoughts on the program and what you learned.  Who knows – you could be learning how to code the next big game and working for Disney in the future!

Podcast 51 – Disney News and Updates Including Splash Mountain Refurb

Pixie Dust Fan Disney Podcast Episode 51

Disney news and updates 

In this episode of the podcast we are covering all the Disney news and updates including the delayed opening of Disneyland, Splash Mountain refurbishment and the NBA teams moving in to Walt Disney World.  Carrie and I also share our latest “how we’re coping” during the lockdown and what we’re most excited about when we return to the magic!

Show Notes and References:

Cruising Concierge – is it worth it?  I have reviewed it all on THIS blog post.

Find Carrie on Instagram

Pixie Dust Fan Online:

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Join our Facebook group:  Pixie Dust Fans

Support Pixie Dust Fan by shopping at Disney and Amazon 

My Pixie Dust – hand painted Merida rock from Julie!

 

My logo hand painted on the back of the rock!

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8 Reasons Why You Should Visit Disneyland

Disneyland Sleeping Beauty Castle

Disneyland in California is where it all began, it’s the only park that Walt Disney opened and dedicated himself.  It was a challenging opening with many issues on that day, but it has remained a constant site of magic in Anaheim since 1955.

It is difficult not to compare Disneyland to Walt Disney World during my visits, and I always worried that it would be distracting.  The size difference is very noticable, but it doesn’t take long to realize that Disneyland has some amazing things that make it SO very different from Walt Disney World.

Below are 8 reasons you should visit Disneyland!

1.  Walk In Walt’s Footsteps

Walt Disney World (WDW) has the Keys to the Kingdom tour that I have done many times but the “Walk in Walt’s Footsteps tour” had something that WDW didn’t – Walt himself.  Throughout the tour there were many stops along the way where we stood in the park and listened through our earpieces to Walt’s own voice talking about the very place that we were standing in. As we listened to his dedication speech, there were quite a few misty eyes in the group and I found myself covered in goose bumps as we walked in his footsteps.  The tour was an additional cost to the park admission, but worth every penny.

Throughout the park you can FEEL the history of Walt, you can see his influence.  Once of my favorite spots to visit is the Main Street Opera House where you can visit Walt’s Griffith Park bench where he dreamt up Disneyland.

Disneyland Walt Disney Influence

 

2.  Cars Land

While I know this is technically in California Adventure – I still consider it all part of Disneyland.  In my opinion, Cars Land is one of the BEST themed lands in Walt Disney World or Disneyland.   Walking up Route 66 and approaching the Cadillac Range mountains while passing Flo’s Café – it doesn’t get any better!  You honestly feel like you’re right in the middle of the movie – the animated movie.  How is that possible?  I don’t know, but they make it happen.  Radiator Springs Racers is the big feature attraction here and it does not disappoint.  It’s such an immersive experience; I don’t think they could have possibly made it any better!

Radiator Springs California Adventure

3.  The Haunted Mansion

The Haunted Mansion in Disneyland is a different layout and building than you see at Walt Disney World.  Without the overhangs, you get to watch as you walk toward the Mansion and enter through the front door.  While much of the attraction is similar – it does reside in New Orleans Square in Disneyland and Liberty Square at Walt Disney World.  

Haunted Mansion DL

It looks like a big mansion

The other fun fact about this Mansion is that it gets transformed for Halloween for Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas – it was ghoulishly fun to see the additions of these characters in to the already wonderful mansion.  The Hatbox Ghost who originally made a short appearance in the mansion in 1969 has materialized again and is one of the 999 happy haunts that live there. Remember though…there is room for 1,000 and they’re always looking for volunteers!

 

4.  Attractions I Miss

I can’t talk about Disneyland without covering the fact the Mr Toad still lives at Disneyland. One of my absolute favorite attractions when I was a kid was replaced by Winnie the Pooh at Walt Disney World, but it’s still at Disneyland!  It’s so much fun to experience some of the old dark attractions that are long gone from Walt Disney World.  Between Toad and Snow White’s Scary Adventures – I can spend my whole morning in Fantasyland enjoying them again and again.

Mr Toad Disneyland

  5.  Fantasmic

 

Fantasmic was a similar show to WDW, but with some very different elements.  The first noticeable difference was that due to the size of Disneyland, I felt much closer to the show than I do at WDW since we usually sit near the back of the theatre for an easy exit.  When you’re sitting that close to the show, it’s larger than life and feels incredibly immersive.  You have a much different perspective when you can clearly see all of the elements of the show.   At Disneyland they had Peter Pan – a giant pirate ship with Peter, Wendy, Captain Hook, Smee and all the others fighting on top of the masts. I have to say – I was impressed with what they were able to do with such a small space!

Disneyland Fantasmic

6.  The Food

The dining experiences at Disneyland are delicious.  From restaraunts to snacks – there is something for everyone and THEN some!  The Blue Bayou (inside the Pirates of the Caribbean) and Carthay Circle Restaurant in California Adventure were incredible experiences.  From Mint Juleps and Beignets at Cafe Orleans to the BEST character breakfast at the Plaza Inn – you will never be lost looking for a good table service spot.

Disneyland Food

Now if quick service and snacking are more your speed – there are plenty of things to keep you going!  Corn Dogs at the Corn Dog Castle, Mac & Cheese at the Cozy Cone Motel, Churros everywhere and popcorn?  Yes – sweet treats, salty snacks and dole whip of course.  If you want to grab and go with some BBQ – Bengal Barbecue was one of my favourites.  A vegetable or beef skewer hit the spot perfectly.  The variety of options was impressive, you would never go hungry.

Disneyland Snacks

 

 

7.  The Grand Californian

In fairness, I have only stayed at the Grand California and Paradise Pier – but the Grand Californian is my favourite.  The hotel is not onloy gorgeous but it has it’s own enterance to the California Adventure park, that’s how CLOSE you are to the parks.  When you stay at the Grand Californian you are right in the middle of Downtown Disney and Disneyland park is just a short walk away.  It makes it very easy to take a break mid day and go back to the resort to unwind and relax.   The Disneyland hotel hosts Trader Sam’s Tiki Enchanted Tiki Bar and it’s close by, I highly recommend stopping by for a drink here!

Grand Californian Hotel

8.  The Relaxed Vibe

It’s difficult to explain the feeling – but there doesn’t seem to be the ‘frenzy’ of planning that there is at Walt Disney World.  We have guessed that it’s due to the fact that so many of the visitors at Disneyland are locals – but we never felt pressure or rushed to get things done.  The characters wander around (most without cast members) – the Max Pass you arrange that day, you can get dining reservations without being up at 6am 6 months in advance.  Imagine that?  A “go with the flow” experience!  Honestly – as much as I love Walt Disney World, I absolutely adore the relaxed way I can spend my days at Disneyland.  I’m not a planner by nature – so this suits me just fine.  I love to get up in the morning and decide what to do – without having it all planned in advance.  THAT is a big plus for me.

An honorable mention…. Oswald

Before there was Mickey – there was Oswald.   Oswald made his debut in 1927 as one of Walt’s first animated stars and he signed a contract with a distributor who brokered a deal with Universal.  During contract negotiations the following year, Walt discovered that he no longer owned the rights to Oswald.  It was on that train ride home that a devastated Walt Disney first drew Mickey Mouse.  In 2006 Disney regained the rights to Oswald and he used to appear at Disneyland! The fact that this lucky rabbit came before Mickey felt like such a big piece of Disney history – I was thrilled to meet him and have my picture taken.  I’m hopeful that he will return for photo ops soon.

Oswald

Meeting Oswald in Disneyland

Have you been to Disneyland??  Do you agree with my thoughts?  Leave me a comment and let me know.

Podcast 50 – 10 Reasons We Love Disney Cruise Line

Pixie Dust Fan Disney Podcast Episode 50

10 Reasons We Love Disney Cruise Line

Cruising is a totally different kind of vacation, but a Disney Cruise? It’s like nothing else! There is the perfect mixture of relaxation and activities, suitable for everyone in your party. If you have kids (or don’t) – you won’t be disappointed. On this podcast Carrie and I are sharing our top 10 reasons we love to cruise with Disney.

Show Notes and References:

Podcast episode 29 with Matt where we talk about the servers and kids clubs Cruising Disney with a former cruise ship engineer

Podcast episode 26 where I talk about the Pixie Dust Fan cruise on Disney Trip Report – January 2020

Video of Kids Club activities on board below!

Find Carrie on Instagram

Pixie Dust Fan Online:

Website: www.PixieDustFan.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/PixieDustFan

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Join our Facebook group:  Pixie Dust Fans

Support Pixie Dust Fan by shopping at Disney and Amazon 

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Been there, done that – and you’re going to Disney again?

Sleepy Hollow with CastleSomeone asked me today “how can you be excited about another trip to Walt Disney World, isn’t it the same as it was the last time you were there?”.   They were implying that I had already ‘been there, done that’.  Yes – I was there 2 months ago, and multiple times last year – but no, it never gets boring.

The next question I hear is “haven’t you seen it all?” – and the simple answer is NO!  Walt Disney World is always changing so there is something ‘new’ to see or do every time I visit.

Here’s why I’m excited about my next trip!

Different Resorts

I have stayed in all of the Walt Disney World Resort properties.  It took me a while to get to stay at the Yacht Club (I don’t know why I kept missing that one!) but I finally did it!  With each trip there is always something new to check out at a resort, so I like to mix it up!  There are so many different room types too – sometimes it’s nice to splurge on a more “resort based” vacation where you hang out and enjoy the resort more than the parks.  Splurging on a Cabin at Copper Creek would give you the whole “home away from home” feel to relax and enjoy, and you’re not far from the pool!

Night Time Shows

I’m always so excited as I love the night-time entertainment!  The big concern is how to decide between Rivers of Light, Epcot Forever, Star Wars fireworks & Fantasmic at Hollywood Stuidos and Happily Ever After and the Magic Kingdom?   I think I need more nights…

Pixie Dust Fan's Tee Public Store

Pixie Dust Fan’s Tee Public Store

New Dining

There is ALWAYS something new to eat – and this trip is no exception!  I could seriously eat the new desserts all week for every meal, but I do want to try at least 1 new restaurant on each trip.  It’s hard to decide sometimes because there are some great options.  Each trip brings a new dilemma of deciding between our tried and true favourites, or something new.

Shopping & New Merchandise

Yes – shopping is a bit part of my trip.  Wandering through the stores and seeing the new, unique and custom merchandise?  It’s so much fun.  I love to visit Disney Springs for just a regular “shopping day” but then I also have to hit all the stores in the parks.  Resort shops?  You don’t want to miss those because sometimes they have different things too!  You can find a lot of the merchandise online at ShopDisney.com but it’s not quite the same as when you can touch it.

Walt once said ‘Disneyland will never be completed. It will continue to grow as long as there is imagination left in the world.’  I’m so glad this vision is carried on at Walt Disney World, I continue to be amazed and inspired each time I step on the Disney property and revitalize my own imagination.

What keeps you going back?

 

Podcast 49 – Top 3 Stage Shows At Walt Disney World

Pixie Dust Fan Disney Podcast Episode 49

Our Top 3 Stage Shows At Walt Disney World

When you think of Walt Disney World you think of attractions. Did you know there are stage shows in the parks too? We’re sharing our top 3 favourites!

Show Notes and References:

Find Carrie on Instagram

Pixie Dust Fan Online:

Website: www.PixieDustFan.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/PixieDustFan

Instagram:  www.instagram.com/PixieDustFan

Join our Facebook group:  Pixie Dust Fans

Support Pixie Dust Fan by shopping at Disney and Amazon 

 

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Disney Cruise Without Kids – 6 Reasons You Should Try It!

Disney Cruise Without Kids

I travel to Walt Disney World a few times per year, I am a Disney fanatic who would go every week if I could.   I have a couple of ‘non Disney’ friends who are now fans of visiting Walt Disney World once they realized how great it was for adults without kids.  Convincing them that a Disney Cruise without kids was a good idea was a whole other story!  They had visions of being ‘trapped at sea’ with hundreds of kids surrounding them screaming and crying.  I had to call upon my cruising experience to tell them the benefits of cruising Disney without kids.

Disney Cruise Line Sunset

1.  The Staterooms

These staterooms are larger than most I have seen on other cruise lines, but they also have a sense of elegance about them.   The split bathroom in most staterooms give you the ability for 2 people to get ready for dinner at the same time – something that is very valuable when you’re sharing a room!  We have had 4 adults in a stateroom for a few of our cruises and been VERY thankful for having that split bathroom when we were getting ready.  The Deluxe Family Stateroom was a TON of room for 4 of us.

 2.  Dining

The dining experiences on a Disney Cruise are spectacular.  Going to a different dining room each night and having servers that stay with you for the duration of your cruise is awesome. I told them on the first night what a picky eater I am and I got terrific recommendations catered to me each night that followed.  The servers did tell us that if we didn’t finish our bottle of wine at dinner that they would bring it the next night, but somehow that was never necessary.   The specialty dining in Palo or Remy is a full indulgence not to be missed!  Just look at some of the sweet treats from our Palo brunch!

Disney Cruise Palo Brunch

3.  The Adult Only Pool

This pool is an oasis at sea!   With a hot tub and bar near by, this was by far my favorite place to be during the day.
It’s quiet, inviting and relaxing. The crew is fantastic at replenishing my drink whenever I need it.  I sit by the pool reading on my iPad – with my biggest exertion being to get up and get in to the pool when I need to cool down.  There are no kids, no loud sounds – just peace.

Disney Cruise Adult Pool

There’s a pool part to swim, or just this lounge area to sit and relax in the water.

4.  The Spa

Senses is the ultimate relaxation!  From Spa treatments to salon services – there is plenty to choose from for an afternoon of pampering!  I haven’t had the opportunity yet to get the pampering – but I did try acupuncture on the ship after I pulled a muscle, they had me feeling great in no time. Next time I’m checking out the spa in more detail!

5.  The Bars and Lounges

There are so many adult only bars at night to explore that I missed the 687 pub on a ship I had sailed on 3 times!  My favorites on the Disney Dream are Skyline and Pink.  Skyline has a huge ‘window’ that changes every 15 minutes showing you the skyline of a different city, it really is spectacular.

Skyline Bar Disney Dream Pixie Dust Fan Cruise

Here we are in the Skyline Lounge on the Pixie Dust Fan Cruise

Pink is themed to look like the inside of a champagne bottle with bubbles everywhere.  Keep watch in some of the bubbles during your stay – you may just see a pink elephant appear!

Pink Bar Disney Dream

When you see the elephants, maybe you’ve had too much to drink!

There are comedy clubs, sports bars and dance clubs – something for everyone!

For some extra fun for adults, they often have mixology classes or champagne tasting in the afternoon.  These were a great value and a lot of fun.  We discovered Rosa Regale at one of these events and often have it at Walt Disney World when we visit.

Rosa Regale on Disney Cruise Line

Some Rosa Regale on the verandah at night is so relaxing!

6.  Castaway Cay
Castaway Cay (Disney’s private island in the Bahamas) is home to Serenity Bay, the adult’s only part of the island.  It is the most relaxing and beautiful beach I have ever been to. The sand is soft, there are plenty of umbrellas for shade and the water is clear. Need a drink?  They have cast members walking the beach to take your order. Feel like snorkeling or bike riding? They have that too… there are plenty of activities if that’s what you enjoy!

Castaway Cay Pixie Dust Cruise

Castaway Cay has a little shopping too!

We like to make the most of our day when visiting Castaway Cay and rent a private cabana on Serenity Bay, it’s our little piece of paradise. We have our own hammock and inner tubes, a fridge with cold water and pop, and a button to call our cabana host if we need anything.  It really is the ultimate day of bliss.

Castaway Cay Cabana Serenity Bay

Whether you travel with children or not, Disney Cruise Line has something for everyone.  With all of the kids activities and clubs on board, parents can indulge in some of these adult activities while the children having a ball in their own clubs with the new friends they’ve met.

 Once I had shared the highlights with my friends, the question was ‘when do we go?’  We decided that the ONLY way we could do our first cruise together was in style, so we splurged on concierge. If you’re ever looking for luxury – this is it!  Make sure you check out my review of the concierge experience and stateroom!

Have you done an adult only Disney cruise?  Would you recommend it?

If you want some details from a cruise ship insider – listen to our Podcast episode 29 where we chat about cruising Disney with a former cruise ship engineer!

Podcast 48 – Love It Or Leave It – Fantasyland Edition

Pixie Dust Fan Disney Podcast Episode 48

Love it or leave it – Fantasyland Edition

Carrie and I take a virtual walk through Fantasyland in the Magic Kingdom. For each attraction, shop and restaurant we decide if we love it or leave it!

Show Notes and References:

Find Carrie on Instagram

Friar’s Nook review of the tater tots

Pixie Dust Fan Online:

Website: www.PixieDustFan.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/PixieDustFan

Instagram:  www.instagram.com/PixieDustFan

Join our Facebook group:  Pixie Dust Fans

Support Pixie Dust Fan by shopping at Disney and Amazon 

 

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Podcast 47 – Disney Springs Reopened – What’s It Like?

Pixie Dust Fan Disney Podcast Episode 47

Disney Springs Reopened – What’s It Like Now?

Carrie and I chat with our friend Curtis about his recent visit to Disney Springs, his journey to calling Orlando “home” and what we’re most looking forward to when the Disney and Universal parks open. Halloween Horror Night? Not for me!

Show Notes and References:

Find Carrie on Instagram

Pixie Dust Fan Online:

Website: www.PixieDustFan.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/PixieDustFan

Instagram:  www.instagram.com/PixieDustFan

Join our Facebook group:  Pixie Dust Fans

Support Pixie Dust Fan by shopping at Disney and Amazon 

 

Don’t forget to sign up to stay in touch with Pixie Dust Fan news!

Podcast 46 – Snacking Around World Showcase At Epcot

Pixie Dust Fan Disney Podcast Episode 46

Snacking Around World Showcase At Epcot

Carrie and I thought it would be a great idea to share with everyone what our favorite snacks are at Epcot, especially in World Showcase.  There is so much variety, so many things to choose from but we thought we had a good handle on it and had covered a LOT of them personally.  We virtually walked around the countries and talked about what we would snack on!

Show Notes and References:

Find Carrie on Instagram

Wondering what the Pin Events are?  Here’s a Fairy Tales Pin Event Review that Carrie talks about and we did a whole discussion about pin trading on Episode 4

The Bakery Cupcake Goodness where Carrie ordered her butter tarts!

The Reality TV streaming service HayU

Pixie Dust Fan Online:

Website: www.PixieDustFan.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/PixieDustFan

Instagram:  www.instagram.com/PixieDustFan

Join our Facebook group:  Pixie Dust Fans

Support Pixie Dust Fan by shopping at Disney and Amazon 

Don’t forget to sign up to stay in touch with Pixie Dust Fan news!

Podcast 45 – Disney Springs Phased Reopening and How We Stay Positive

Pixie Dust Fan Disney Podcast Episode 45

Disney Springs Phased Opening and How We are Staying Positive

With everything going on, it’s exciting to see that Disney Springs has a phased reopening plan.  Soon guests will be able to visit Disney Springs (even though it’s limited), but it’s a start!

Carrie and I are also discussing how we’re STILL staying positive throughout it all.  Staying home, but staying entertained!  

Show Notes and References:

Find Carrie on Instagram

Haunted Mansion Merch from Disney Parks Blog

Josh Gad’s YouTube channel – watch the Back to the Future reunion

Muppet Guys Talking Website

Good Food Boxes – Pixie Dust Fan affiliate link to get a bonus if you want to try it

Star Wars Face Mask

My Star Wars Face Mask!

Pixie Dust Fan Online:

Website: www.PixieDustFan.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/PixieDustFan

Instagram:  www.instagram.com/PixieDustFan

Join our Facebook group:  Pixie Dust Fans

Visit our Amazon store for items we talk about on any of the podcast episodes, or to support Pixie Dust Fan shop here

Don’t forget to sign up to stay in touch with Pixie Dust Fan news!

Top 5 Myths About Using A Disney Travel Agent

Do not disturb I'm planning my Disney Vacation

Whether it’s your first Disney vacation or your hundredth, you should use a travel agent who specializes in Disney vacations.  This topic is debated frequently in many Facebook Groups, but I often see some big misconceptions given for reasons against it.  I decided it was time to correct some of that misinformation.

Here are my top 5 myths about booking with a reputable Disney Travel Agent

1.  You will pay extra

A good Disney Travel Agent never charges planning fees.  Your Disney vacation will cost the SAME as if you booked it directly with Disney yourself.  Instead of costing you money, they will tell you where you might be able to save some money or what ‘upgrades’ would be worth it.  

2.  You lose control of your vacation

Nothing could be FURTHER from the truth.  You can control as much or as little as you like!  You can book all of your own fastpasses, dining, Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique reservations and special events if that’s what you want to do.  The beauty is that if you don’t want to book those things – you have an agent who will do it for you free of charge.  Yes – they will get up at 6am or 7am to do this for you, but if you are an early bird – you can do it all yourself if you prefer.

Donald Duck Dream Along With Mickey

Donald Duck Dream Along With Mickey

3.  You don’t need one

Honestly, I need one…. and I’ve been visiting for over 40 years!  I don’t need one to do my fastpasses or dining (my sister does all that stuff!), but staying doing the legwork for changes to a vacation is priceless.  If there is a promotion, event, or website glitch that requires a call to Disney – the agent calls for you.  You don’t have to sit on hold for hours and HOURS when the room promotion comes out, or when you have to change dates because of a hurricane coming or a pandemic closing the parks – an agent does that for you.

4.  All of the information is online anyway

Sure, and you still can do your own research when you’re using a travel agent, but they’ll help you decipher the truth from the ‘click bait’ online.  We all have friends who have advice or read something somewhere, but how do you know what’s really going on?  Use an agent to bounce around ideas with your specific goals and family in mind.  Good agents draw on the tribal knowledge within their team and their own frequent experience to provide specific information tailored to your needs.  Why would you not want that extra resource at your disposal if it doesn’t cost you anything?

5.  They’re all the same

No, they aren’t all the same.  There are so many variables when choosing an agency to work with, and you need to make sure that they know what they’re doing!  Agencies with Disney’s EarMarked status indicates their level of experience and knowledge with Disney products.  It is important to find an agency with that status, but also an agency built by people who truly love what they do.  I recommend Pure Magic Vacations always.

Do you use a travel agent to book your Disney vacation?

 

Podcast 44 – Attractions We Won’t Ride Again

Pixie Dust Fan Disney Podcast Episode 44

Attractions We Will Never Ride Again At Walt Disney World

We love Walt Disney World (no surprise) but yet there are some attractions that we will NEVER ride again!  Carrie and I review our lists and we agree on some, but not all.  What could possibly keep us from enjoying all the Disney magic?  Well… we have some very good reasons for avoiding these attractions at all costs!

Show Notes and References:

Find Carrie on Instagram

Attractions I miss and ones I’m glad are gone podcast

Astro Orbiter – here’s the blog on the whole Astro Orbiter experience

Good Food Boxes – Pixie Dust Fan affiliate link to get a bonus if you want to try it

Pixie Dust Fan Online:

Website: www.PixieDustFan.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/PixieDustFan

Instagram:  www.instagram.com/PixieDustFan

Join our Facebook group:  Pixie Dust Fans

Visit our Amazon store for items we talk about on any of the podcast episodes, or to support Pixie Dust Fan shop here

Don’t forget to sign up to stay in touch with Pixie Dust Fan news!

Podcast 43 – Virtual Hide and Seek at Walt Disney World

Pixie Dust Fan Disney Podcast Episode 43

Virtual Hide and Seek at Walt Disney World

A creative way to feel like you’re in Walt Disney World – playing virtual hide and seek! It’s a fun conversation as we try to find each other in the World. It’s harder than you would imagine to ask Yes/No questions to narrow it down.

And for the record – this may have been the most challenging podcast to edit!  At the 9:50 minute mark Carrie makes reference to how I’d have to edit and how hard it will be…and she was right.

Show Notes and References:

Our Didnee Side on Facebook @OurDidneeSide, on YouTube, or Instagram

Find Carrie on Instagram

For help booking your vacation – we recommend is Pure Magic Vacations

The game Cheryl was talking about as her pixie dust of the week is Animal Crossing New Horizons 

Pixie Dust Fan Online:

Website: www.PixieDustFan.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/PixieDustFan

Instagram:  www.instagram.com/PixieDustFan

Join our Facebook group:  Pixie Dust Fans

Visit our Amazon store for items we talk about on any of the podcast episodes, or to support Pixie Dust Fan shop here

SUBSCRIBE TO THE PODCAST!

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Podcast 42 – Ranking The 6 US Disney Parks

Pixie Dust Fan Disney Podcast Episode 42

Ranking the Disney Parks 1 through 6.  Our favorites might surprise you!

Listen to Disney Chat With Pixie Dust Fan on Apple Podcasts, Google, Spotify and MORE

If you had to list the 6 US Disney Parks in order of your most to least favourite, could you?  It’s a difficult exercise when you love them all!

Carrie and explore how we would rank the parks in order and how our lists have changed and evolved over time.  We consider park closures, construction, nostalgia and people watching – they are ALL factors in our decisions.

Show Notes and References:

Adam The Woo YouTube that inspired the topic found here

Frankie and Grace on Netflix here

Visiting Disneyland AND Walt Disney World in one trip – Our Coast To Coast Adventure on Episode 7

Caring for Giants at Disney’s Animal Kingdom here

Carrie’s Instagram:  @muppetcrazy

Pixie Dust Fan Online:

Website: www.PixieDustFan.com

Instagram:  www.instagram.com/PixieDustFan

Facebook: www.facebook.com/PixieDustFan

Join our Facebook group:  Pixie Dust Fans

Visit our Amazon store for items we talk about on any of the podcast episodes, or to support Pixie Dust Fan shop here

SUBSCRIBE TO THE PODCAST!

Don’t forget to sign up to stay in touch with Pixie Dust Fan news!

Podcast 41 – Drinks Around The Monorail Resorts At Walt Disney World

Pixie Dust Fan Disney Podcast Episode 41

Drinks Around The Monorail Resorts At Walt Disney World

Listen to Disney Chat With Pixie Dust Fan on Apple Podcasts, Google, Spotify and MORE

Outside of the parks, there’s a whole “World” at Walt Disney World.  On this episode we talk about where to stop for a drink at the Monorail resorts.

Show Notes and References:

Marrie on Instagram @mariespuremagicvacations

Carrie on Instagram @muppetcrazy

My Pixie Dust

Pixie Dust Fan Online:

Website: www.PixieDustFan.com

Instagram:  www.instagram.com/PixieDustFan

Facebook: www.facebook.com/PixieDustFan

Join our Facebook group:  Pixie Dust Fans

Visit our Amazon store for items we talk about on any of the podcast episodes, or to support Pixie Dust Fan shop here

SUBSCRIBE TO THE PODCAST!

Don’t forget to sign up to stay in touch with Pixie Dust Fan news!

Podcast 40 – Still at home. Where we are finding our Pixie Dust

Pixie Dust Fan Disney Podcast Episode 40

Still at home, how we’re finding the magic 

Listen to Disney Chat With Pixie Dust Fan on Apple Podcasts, Google, Spotify and MORE

Social distancing, working at home – how we are staying positive and entertained during this ‘lock down’.

Show Notes and References:

The ‘grombrey’ Instagram account Carrie was talking about

Hot Things on the First We Feast account on YouTube

The cupcake from the Cheshire Cafe – read about it here

Pixie Dust Fan Online:

Website: www.PixieDustFan.com

Instagram:  www.instagram.com/PixieDustFan

Facebook: www.facebook.com/PixieDustFan

Join our Facebook group:  Pixie Dust Fans

Visit our Amazon store for items we talk about on any of the podcast episodes, or to support Pixie Dust Fan shop here

SUBSCRIBE TO THE PODCAST!

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Podcast 39 – Behind The Scenes of Disney’s Broadway Musical Newsies

Pixie Dust Fan Disney Podcast Episode 39

Behind The Scenes of Disney’s Broadway Musical Newsies

What is it like to star in the hit Broadway musical Newsies? I’m talking to Aisha de Haas and Capathia Jenkins who both played Medda Larkin!

Aisha and Capathia sat down with me to talk about all things theatre, Newsies, being best friends on the road and what it’s like to work for the mouse.   These two lovely ladies were funny, heartfelt and inspiring.

Show Notes and References:

Aisha de Haas Website and Instagram

Capathia Jenkins Website and Instagram

Newsies on Disney+ starring Aisha can be found here

Does he love you duet on YouTube

Pixie Dust Fan Online:

Website: www.PixieDustFan.com

Instagram:  www.instagram.com/PixieDustFan

Facebook: www.facebook.com/PixieDustFan

Join our Facebook group:  Pixie Dust Fans

Visit our Amazon store for items we talk about on any of the podcast episodes, or to support Pixie Dust Fan shop here

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Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’ at Disney Springs

Chef Art Smith's Homecomin'I am not a “foodie” who follows cooking shows.  I have a hard enough time not stuffing my face while sitting on my couch, so why would I watch an hour long show that akes everything look so delicious?  If you ask me, that’s a temptation that I can’t handle!

The first time my family suggested that we visit Chef Art Smith’s restaurant at Disney Springs, I had no idea who he was.  Of course they knew who he was because two of them are addicted to cooking shows and are the type of people who get excited about a new kitchen appliance.  I was worried that it would be some ‘fancy food’ – but they assured me that it was famous for fried chicken.

We arrived at Chef Art Smith’s Homecoming for our reservation.  I really liked the way the interior was laid out; it was very inviting and open.  The details and theming were impressive, you really felt like you were in someone’s home in the south with the screened in front porch.

Inside Chef Art Smith's Homecomin'

Everyone was enjoying themselves and the atmosphere when my sister took out her phone and started snapping pictures of some man.  I couldn’t figure out what she was doing, until this man came to the table and I realized that this was THE Chef Art Smith.  He was a lovely man who chatted with us and posed for pictures.  Let’s just say a few people at our table were very excited to get to meet him!

Chef Art Smith

My nephew and sister were over the moon to meet him!

I have been back to Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin at Disney Springs many times since that first visit.  When friends join us at Walt Disney World it is usually one of the places we take them to.  There is a great variety of drinks on the menu

I’m generally a beer drinker – so that’s my drink of choice

But once – we thought we were smart and tried the moonshine tasting.  Let’s just say – WOW!  It burned… a lot of it burned going down, but I can now say I’ve tried all sorts of moonshine, and I can safely say I don’t like it.

Art Smith Moonshine Taster

What I do like though is the starters.  We have tried a few including the Jasper Board (An array of Southern goodness perfect for sharing with the table. Smoked fish dip, pimento cheese, char-grilled smoked sausage, bread and butter pickles, candied pecans, and buttermilk crackers)

Art Smith Jasper Board

I’m missing the crackers in this pic

And a bunch of puppies (House-made hushpuppies served with pimento cheese and red jalapeño jelly)

Art Smith Bunch of Puppies

These were surprisingly yummy!

But my absolute favourite starter is the Church Lady Deviled Eggs

Art Smith Church Lady Deviled Eggs

At one point I thought of placing an order all to myself and skipping my main course – they were THAT good

The problem with the starters is that they are so good, you run the risk of not leaving enough room for the main course!

 

 

Yes, Art Smith is famous for the fried chicken, and with good reason.  That chicken is so moist and tender you could mash it up with a spoon if you wanted.  The skin is perfectly seasoned and yummy that I can’t NOT get the chicken when I go. The big debate is what sides you order WITH the chicken.

I usually get the fried chicken and doughnuts, because – well… where else do you get doughnuts WITH your dinner?

Art Smiths Chicken

But there are so many great side items to choose from… you could just order 3 sides?

Art Smith Side Dishes

Mac & Cheese, Biscuits and Mashed Potatoes

If you are a Mac and Cheese lover, honestly – you don’t want to miss this.  It’s SO incredibly cheesy – sometimes we’ll just order one as a side for the table we all share because we just need a couple of bites.

Art Smith Mac and Cheese

We can’t NOT get an order of Mac and Cheese

Once the main course is over, I can honestly never think about dessert.  I have taken my leftovers more times than I care to share – but I will say the chicken is great the next morning for breakfast in the room or a late night snack!

BUT – if you do have room, my friend have split the famous Hummingbird Cake

Art Smith Hummingbird Cake

The famous pineapple-banana cake with cream cheese frosting

Have you eaten here?  Did you make it to dessert or did you have to take your leftovers with you?

I’d love to hear from you how your meal was!  There are some great places to eat at Disney Springs it’s so hard to choose!

 

Podcast 38 – Visiting Disney With A Child On The Autism Spectrum

Pixie Dust Fan Disney Podcast Episode 38

Visiting Disney With A Child On The Autism Spectrum

How can you experience the magic and not the meltdown when you visit Disney with a child on the autism spectrum?  Jenn is sharing her tips for how she plans her vacation to acommodate both of her children, one of which has autism.

Show Notes and References:

Find Jenn on Facebook: www.facebook.com/jenniferatpuremagicvacations or email jennifer@puremagicvacations.ca

Jenn’s blog:  Experience the magic and not the meltdown

Blog – Garden Grill Character Dining at Epcot

Pixie Dust Fan Online:

Website: www.PixieDustFan.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/PixieDustFan

Instagram:  www.instagram.com/PixieDustFan

Join our Facebook group:  Pixie Dust Fans

Visit our Amazon store for items we talk about on any of the podcast episodes, or to support Pixie Dust Fan shop here

SUBSCRIBE TO THE PODCAST!

Don’t forget to sign up to stay in touch with Pixie Dust Fan news!

Podcast 37 – Why You Should Stay At Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort

Pixie Dust Fan Disney Podcast Episode 37

Why You Should Stay At Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort

Listen to Disney Chat With Pixie Dust Fan on Apple Podcasts, Google, Spotify and MORE

On this episode we’re chatting with Gary about how much he loves Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and what has kept him going back for 22 visits – and counting!

The blog that Gary wrote about Disney’s Fort Wilderness was titled “Disney Camping – Paradise Found”, and that is what he describes in this episode.  From the peace and quiet to the dog parade, we cover everything you need to know about this home away from home.

Show Notes and References:

Carol and Gary’s Website

Fort Wilderness Blog Gary Wrote for Pixie Dust Fan

Find Pixie Dust Fan Online:

Website: www.PixieDustFan.com

Instagram:  www.instagram.com/PixieDustFan

Facebook: www.facebook.com/PixieDustFan

Join our Facebook group:  Pixie Dust Fans

Visit our Amazon store for items we talk about on any of the podcast episodes, or to support Pixie Dust Fan shop here

 

SUBSCRIBE TO THE PODCAST!

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Like We Needed MORE Reasons To Love Disney

The Disney Company response to Covid-19

It’s no secret I’m a pretty big Disney fan (obviously!) – but there are times when I see the company doing things that just melt my heart even more than before.  Disney’s response during Covid-19 has been one of those times.

Here are some of the ways that Disney has given me reason to smile.

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Pixie Dust Fan's Tee Public Store

Pixie Dust Fan’s Tee Public Store

They donated ponchos to hospitals

Hospitals were making requests for additional protective garments and Disney donated 150,000 rain ponchos as well as more than 100,000 N95 masks.  

The “top” dogs cut their salaries

Yes, in order to reduce the expenses for the company, Disney executives have taken a pay cut.  Disney’s executive chairman Bob Iger is forgoing his full salary while the new CEO Bob Chapek is reducing his salary by 50%.  Other executives are taking pay cuts too:

  • Vice president salaries will be reduced by 20%
  • Senior vice president salaries by 25%
  • Executive vice president salaries by 30%

I don’t know about you, but I don’t see that happening at a lot of other companies.

They addressed Cast Member concerns immediately

Disney announced the closures of Disneyland and Walt Disney World “in an abundance of caution”, that’s when I knew things were seriousl with the virus.  Do you know what else they did when they announced the closures?  They communicated at the same time that they would pay their cast members during that time.  This was out of the gate – right in the releases.  It set an example, a tone that hopefully other large companies would follow, even if only to save face.  Disney took a stand showing compassion for their cast members – even at what I am sure is a great expense.

Disney Covid 19 Release

One of the many updates Disney posted on their websites

Disney Donated All Of The Excess Food

All of the food that was on hand for the parks and resorts that would not be used was donated to help the communities.

In Orlando the food was donated to Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida, enough for over 18,000 meals!

In California the food was donated to the Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County and Disneyland Paris donated to local and national associations in France. 

Disney has art lessons online

Now we have #BetterTogether:  Draw Mickey Mouse at Home with a Disney Parks Artist

Fun right?  Who doesn’t want to learn to draw Mickey?  This was a fan favorite at the D23 Expo a couple of years ago and now it’s all online to entertain us all while we’re at home during the ‘social distancing’ exercise to stop the spread of the Corona virus.

If you don’t want to draw Mickey there are a whole ton of other characters you can learn to draw!

  • Sally from Tim Burton’s ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’
  • Celebrate Spring With Daisy Duck
  • Aladdin’s Pal, Genie
  • Tinker Bell
  • Buzz Lightyear from ‘Toy Story’
  • ‘Frozen’ Voice Actor Josh Gad Tests His Skills at Drawing Olaf
  • Hiro from ‘Big Hero 6′
  • Mickey’s Pal Pluto
  • Baymax From ‘Big Hero 6’
  • Rapunzel’s Buddy, Pascal
  • Stitch
  • Winnie the Pooh
  • Jack Skellington
  • Oswald the Lucky Rabbit
  •  ‘Frozen’s’ Anna
  • Do You Want to Draw a Snowman?

You can find all of the links to the tutorials on the DISNEY PARKS BLOG.  

If you want a little peek – check out the Winnie The Pooh One!

Imagineering in a Box

According to the Disney parks Blog:

“Imagineering in a Box is a series of interactive lessons in theme park design and engineering, designed to give a behind-the-scenes peek into Imagineering’s development process. It combines 32 videos of actual Imagineers, real-world case studies, and lots of interactive activities to give you the opportunity to dream and design your very own theme park experience!

With so many families at home together right now, we thought this would be an especially useful time to share this program with you. It’s available to all and completely free.”

Check out the courses here 

I will warn you – when you watch the “Welcome to Imagineering In A Box” video – if you’re a Disney fan it’s all the feels and yes, my eyes were a little misty!

They released Frozen 2 on Disney+ 3 months early

Given that most of us are at home flipping channels AND the kids are out of school while most schools are closed for a very extended March break, it was a welcome surprise that Frozen 2 would be available on Disney+.  We are all looking for stuff to keep us entertained, Carrie and I talked about what we were doing on the podcast, but I am sure there are a whole whack of parents who were happy this was released early…. and then after it played for the 12th time – maybe they weren’t so happy!  

They were generous with changes and refunds.

Disney was VERY accomodating with changes, refunds and fees during this time.  They extended the due dates for final payments, waived all change fees and offered some very generous credits to re-book for cancelled Disney Cruise Line sailings.  On select sailings the credit for a future cruise was 150% of what they paid for the cancelled one.

Disney does what it does best… gives us hope and positivity!

I don’t know about you, but I always have a smile on my face when I see Mickey’s posts on Instagram!

Aside from ALL of that – there are so many Disney stars who are doing their part to bring smiles to our faces.  I think my favorite so far has been Josh Gad (Olaf) reading bed time stories on Twitter!

How cute is this??  Have you watched any?

Google Street View of Disney Parks

Inside Disney Parks with Google Street Views Castle Pic
Google has street views from inside the Disney Parks in Orlando and California and they are awesome!

These views allow you to see the park as you would if you were standing in it.  It helps people who are planning their trips get a real look at how the parks are laid out and show first time visitors how BIG they are.

For those of us that need a Disney ‘fix’ while we’re at home, you can literally walk around online using the Google Street view of some of your favourite places!

Some of the street views you can find:

Magic Kingdom

Pandora – The World Of Avatar

Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Epcot

Disney Springs

Disney’s Hollywood Studios

 

Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park

Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park 

ESPN Wide World of Sports

California Adventure

Disneyland Park

Downtown Disney

You could spend hours exploring these street views and looking inside restaraunts, seeing the attractions and wandering World Showcase.

Inside Disney Parks with Google Street Views Main Street

I have spend a “little” time exploring and I have to say, I’m addicted!

Some of my favourites:

Seeing Chewie at Star Wars Launch Bay 

Remembering my fabulous dinner at Carthay Circle in the table on the left here

Or visiting my favourite snack place in Epcot

There are SO many things you can explore with these views!  I know that some are outdated, but in my mind they are still pretty good and give me the Disney fix that I need.

What’s your favourite thing you’ve found on the street view?  Leave me a comment and let me know!

Don’t forget to share it with your Disney friends! 

Podcast 36 – Social Distancing Week 2

Pixie Dust Fan Disney Podcast Episode 36

Social Distancing Week 2 – How We are Staying Positive

Listen to Disney Chat With Pixie Dust Fan on Apple Podcasts, Google, Spotify and MORE

Week 2 of social distancing.  The parks are still closed, no new Disney news – how Carrie and Pixie Dust Fan are staying positive and entertained through Covid-19

Show Notes and References:

Carrie’s Netflix show Tiger King

Friends Lego Set HERE

YouTube of the Jungle Cruise Skippers at home

Find Pixie Dust Fan Online:

Website: www.PixieDustFan.com

Instagram:  www.instagram.com/PixieDustFan

Facebook: www.facebook.com/PixieDustFan

Join our Facebook group:  Pixie Dust Fans

Visit our Amazon store for items we talk about on any of the podcast episodes, or to support Pixie Dust Fan shop here

SUBSCRIBE TO THE PODCAST!

Don’t forget to sign up to stay in touch with Pixie Dust Fan news!

Podcast 35 – What is Disney Vacation Club?

Pixie Dust Fan Disney Podcast Episode 35

What is Disney Vacation Club?  Is it a good investment? Should you buy? 

 

Listen to Disney Chat With Pixie Dust Fan on Apple Podcasts, Google, Spotify and MORE

Carrie and Pixie Dust Fan reveal their thoughts on Disney Vacation Club including favourite resorts and the pros and cons of membership!

Show Notes and References:

Disney Vacation Club Website

Find Pixie Dust Fan Online:

Website: www.PixieDustFan.com

Instagram:  www.instagram.com/PixieDustFan

Facebook: www.facebook.com/PixieDustFan

Join our Facebook group:  Pixie Dust Fans

Visit our Amazon store for items we talk about on any of the podcast episodes, or to support Pixie Dust Fan shop here

SUBSCRIBE TO THE PODCAST!

Don’t forget to sign up to stay in touch with Pixie Dust Fan news!

Disney Puzzles Are Fun For Everyone

Magic Kingdom PuzzleThere is something so relaxing about putting a puzzle together.  It takes focus, patience and a little creativity.  It forces you to look at things differently and clear your head of other distractions.  Time can pass without notice when you sit down to concentrate on a puzzle, that’s why it is such a popular family activity.  For families it brings you together to one common goal, forcing you to help each other find the pieces needed to move forward.  Some of the best family conversations can be had over a great puzzle.

Now you throw in to the mix a great Disney puzzle and it makes the activity even more magical!   There is a Disney puzzle suitable for any occasion – and all skill levels!

My sister is a huge puzzle fan and I inevitably end up buying her one or two for Christmas.  She love the princess ones, but honestly I can’t go wrong with any of them.   Although I will admit that she can get frustrated when there are TOO many pieces all the same color!  Yes, I have heard that complaint from her 😉

My Disney Puzzles

Some of Becky’s Favourites

Let’s take a look at some of the Disney puzzles for all ages: 

Mickey Mouse and Friends Jumbo Knob Wooden Puzzle

Mickey Mouse and Friends Jumbo Knob Wooden Puzzle

Everyone has to start somewhere!   This cute little wooden puzzle is recommended for children 18 months to 3 years.  Puzzles at this age encourage fine motor skills development and color recognition.  Brought to you by Melissa and Doug, a couple with 6 kids of their own – they have a toy for EVERY stage of development!  

If Frozen 2 is more your style

Disney Frozen 2 25Piece Foam Puzzle

Disney Frozen 2 25Piece Foam Puzzle

This foam puzzle is perfect for kids ages 4 and up with 25 soft pieces that are easy for the kids to hold.  

When it’s time to graduate to 100 pieces, this Princess puzzle is perfect

Disney Princess 100pc Jigsaw Puzzle

Disney Princess 100pc Jigsaw Puzzle

For ages 6 and up this 100 piece puzzle features some of our favourite Disney princesses!

Now somewhere between the children’s puzzles and the more advanced puzzles – there are a few 500 piece puzzles, but not many!

Summer Greetings 500 Piece Puzzle

With the similar colours this puzzle could be harder than it looks!

The really funny and intricate puzzles are all over 1,000 pieces.  Not suitable for young kids, these puzzles could be a few evenings of quality family time while you figure out these!

Disney Villainous Maleficent 1000 Piece Jigsaw Puzzle

Disney Villainous Maleficent 1000 Piece Jigsaw Puzzle

 

Not only could I spend hours DOING these puzzles I could spend hours SEARCING for puzzles online!

But when you’re ready for the challenge – the ULTIMATE Disney Challenge and you are graduating from the 1,000 piece puzzle – there are two puzzles I found that would be EPIC – but would require too much room in my house to assemble!

Ravensburger Mickey Through The Years 40,320 Piece Jigsaw Puzzle

One of the largest Mickey puzzles in the world at 40,320 pieces!

At 40,320 pieces, this would be a challenge for anyone!  But at $599 on Amazon, I won’t be buying it anytime soon!

And then there is this one, I think it’s awesome – but again… too big for my house and too expensive for me to buy:

Memorable Disney Moments 40320 Piece Jigsaw Puzzle

Memorable Moments

I do love the thought of pulling together all of these classic memorable Disney moments in to one giant puzzle – but 40,320 pieces is so overwhelming!  With my luck I would lose 1 or 2 pieces and discover it at the end!  

Do you do puzzles at home?  What’s the largest one you’ve done?

 

Podcast 34 – The Parks Are Closed And We Are At Home. Keeping The Pixie Dust Alive

Pixie Dust Fan Disney Podcast Episode 34

The Parks Are Closed And We Are At Home. Keeping The Pixie Dust Alive!

Listen to Disney Chat With Pixie Dust Fan on Apple Podcasts, Google, Spotify and MORE

Carrie and Pixie Dust Fan chat about how they’re staying entertained and keeping positive while practicing social distancing during Covid 19.  What talk about what movies we’re watching and how we are coping while we work from home for our unmagical jobs!

Show Notes and References:

Sign up for Disney+

Find Pixie Dust Fan Online:

Website: www.PixieDustFan.com

Instagram:  www.instagram.com/PixieDustFan

Facebook: www.facebook.com/PixieDustFan

Join our Facebook group:  Pixie Dust Fans

Visit our Amazon store for items we talk about on any of the podcast episodes, or to support Pixie Dust Fan shop here

SUBSCRIBE TO THE PODCAST!

Don’t forget to sign up to stay in touch with Pixie Dust Fan news!

Podcast 33 – What Is RunDisney All About?

Pixie Dust Fan Disney Podcast Episode 33

What Is RunDisney?  Do You Need To Be A Runner?

Listen to Disney Chat With Pixie Dust Fan on Apple Podcasts, Google, Spotify and MORE

On this episode we explore the RunDisney events with Jamie – a frequent participant.  Jamie explains how the events work, how you get some of those cool medals AND she tells you the strategy for meeting some of the characters during the race.

Show Notes and References:

Find Jamie on Instagram and Facebook

To book your vacation with Jamie, email her at JamieP@PureMagicVacations.ca

Jamie’s Blog Post:  RunDisney Virtual Series Celebrating 80 Years of Marvel

The Inside Disney Podcast can be found here

Find Pixie Dust Fan Online:

Website: www.PixieDustFan.com

Instagram:  www.instagram.com/PixieDustFan

Facebook: www.facebook.com/PixieDustFan

Join our Facebook group:  Pixie Dust Fans

Visit our Amazon store for items we talk about on any of the podcast episodes, or to support Pixie Dust Fan shop here

Jamie’s Medals!

RunDisney Medals

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Podcast 32 – Dreams Coming True With Disney’s Fairytale Weddings

Pixie Dust Fan Disney Podcast Episode 32

Dreams Come True With Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings On Disney+

Listen to Disney Chat With Pixie Dust Fan on Apple Podcasts, Google, Spotify and MORE

Ali Diane is a singer/songwriter from Seattle who had some big dreams come true with Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings on Disney+

On this episode we explore when her love for Disney started, how she became a cast member and met her friend and how that ALL led up to her singing on Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings!  She offers a behind the scenes look at the production of the show and what it meant to her to be ‘working for Disney’.

Show Notes and References:

Ali Diane on Instagram

Ali Diane on Facebook

Listen to the song here

Watch Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings on Disney+ here

Find Pixie Dust Fan Online:

Website: www.PixieDustFan.com

Instagram:  www.instagram.com/PixieDustFan

Facebook: www.facebook.com/PixieDustFan

Join our Facebook group:  Pixie Dust Fans

Visit our Amazon store for items we talk about on any of the podcast episodes, or to support Pixie Dust Fan shop here

SUBSCRIBE TO THE PODCAST!

Don’t forget to sign up to stay in touch with Pixie Dust Fan news!

Disney Facebook Groups – Some Aren’t So Magical After All

Disney Facebook GroupsI don’t know about you, but Facebook a part of my every day routine.  I love that I can sign in and see tidbits from people’s lives and connect with those that I don’t get to see often enough.  I have made some wonderful friends on Facebook from the Disney community, and it’s always fun to follow along on their vacations, getting ideas of things I might like to try the next time I visit.  I keep up to date on news and little gossip, but I always remember to take each piece of information with a grain of salt unless it comes from an official Disney source.

Disney groups on Facebook used to be a real source of entertainment for me.   I was always amazed by how perfect strangers can get so angry with each other over silly stuff, it was like the online version of the Real Housewives series.  I have to admit that I used to read these posts, but I rarely commented.  I would get out my popcorn, sit back and enjoy the show until an admin deleted the thread, but I just can’t do that anymore.

While there are a LOT of Dinsey groups on Facebook, there are a few that are managed by some real characters (pun intended!) that really bother me.   I’m not sure if it’s just my love of Disney that finds them offensive or the manner in which the Admins conduct themselves that disturbs me.  It’s expected that any really frequent visitor will have a few negative reviews or experiences in the parks.  We won’t like everything, but we can and should share those opinions in a manner that is useful and constructive to the community who are planning their vacation.

There are a couple of groups that drove me crazy that I had to remove myself from.  The first is one that is run by a local who sells merchandise with Disney copyright images, I often wonder why Disney hasn’t shut it down.   While the admin doesn’t work for Disney, he represents the ‘ultimate fan’ to some people online.  He has posted about restaurants that give him tummy issues (only he isn’t so delicate with his words).  He’s made videos ranting about guests suggesting that the majority of them don’t shower and has called them idiots and morons.   His representation of what is wrong with the parks is inflammatory and creates hostility in those that follow him.  He has many social media posts that are bullying, racist and downright unkind, not the kind of ‘Disney fan’ you would want to follow.

Pixie Dust Fan's Tee Public Store

Pixie Dust Fan’s Tee Public Store

The second group that makes me cringe is one that is actually sponsored by a BUSINESS that rents out Disney Vacation Club points.  I bring up the sponsorship because it’s fascinating to me that a business would want to be associated with this group.  The admins are mean – and take great pride in BEING mean to others.  They have entire threads in the group meant for shaming guests!  They encourage pictures of guests doing things that they deem ‘not right’ in the parks and then they each take turns shaming them.  For example – they will post a picture of someone sleeping in a resort lobby and call it ‘hobo napping’.  What they don’t know is if this person is ill, or if they have some kind of disorder, or if they are unbelievably tired because they were up all night with a sick child.  They don’t know the circumstances, but feel like making fun of them is the right thing to do.  I think it’s horrible and for that reason, I would NEVER support the business that sponsors them and will go out of my way to make sure others don’t either.  Can you imagine finding YOUR picture online because someone caught you nodding off at Disney?

There are people who are researching their first trip to Walt Disney World in these Facebook groups.  It’s sad because they’re reading these rants and reviews, and their expectations of their vacation are being tarnished by them.

I think it’s important for people to have a safe place to ask their questions and share their love of Disney!  You can’t be in an environment where you may get a public shaming for asking a question.  That’s the real reason I decided to create a Pixie Dust Fans group on Facebook.  It’s a place where everyone is nice – and welcoming!  We talk about the Disney stuff that makes us happy – after all, isn’t that what Disney is all about??  Stop by and see us, you’ll be glad you did!

What’s your biggest pet peeve about Facebook groups?

 

Podcast 31 – Why the ‘Walt’ is important with Jeff Barnes

Pixie Dust Fan Disney Podcast Episode 31

Why the WALT in Walt Disney World is so important

Listen to Disney Chat With Pixie Dust Fan on Apple Podcasts, Google, Spotify and MORE

It has always been important to me that I call it Walt Disney World.  It became a pet peeve of mine when I would see blogs and social media posts referring to it as ‘Disney World’ – I always want to comment” don’t forget WALT”!  When I saw some top Disney executives call it ‘Disney World’ I started to doubt myself, is it really supposed to be Walt?  Who could I ask to clear this up for me?  The best person I knew to talk about the history of Walt would be Jeff Barnes!

Jeff Barnes is is the best-selling author of The Wisdom of Walt: Leadership Lessons from the Happiest Place on Earth and Beyond the Wisdom of Walt: Life Lessons from the Most Magical Place on Earth. Known as Dr. Disneyland, he teaches the only accredited college course on the History of Disneyland.  I think this makes him more than qualified to talk about this subject!

It was a blast talking to Jeff and hearing the stories and history of Walt and Roy – and their journey to Walt Disney World

Show Notes and References:

Jeff Barnes Website:  The Wisdom Of Walt

Buy Jeff’s Books:

The Wisdom of Walt: Leadership Lessons from the Happiest Place on Earth

Beyond the Wisdom of Walt: Life Lessons from the Most Magical Place on Earth

Find Pixie Dust Fan Online:

Website: www.PixieDustFan.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/PixieDustFan

Instagram:  www.instagram.com/PixieDustFan

Join our Facebook group:  Pixie Dust Fans

Visit our Amazon store for items we talk about on any of the podcast episodes, or to support Pixie Dust Fan shop here

SUBSCRIBE TO THE PODCAST!

Don’t forget to sign up to stay in touch with Pixie Dust Fan news!

Copper Creek Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

The Copper Creek Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge are not the ‘cabin’ that I would be used to – there is no camping here, it’s not even glamping.  These cabins are luxury.

These two-bedroom waterfront cabins feature a full kitchen, private porch and a hot tub with views of Bay Lake.

Copper Creek Cabin Bedroom

The bedrooms are spacious and if you look closely, there is a little reading bench next to the window!  Lots of USB charges and outlets in the night stands next to the bed.  That makes a huge difference when you need to charge your phone at night for the next day at the parks!

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Pixie Dust Fan's Tee Public Store

Pixie Dust Fan’s Tee Public Store

Lots of space at the vanity but I’m not sure I would use the soaker tub if I had a hot tub?

While at Walt Disney World you often think about being at the parks from morning to night, I really like to enjoy my resort.  I think I could totally carve out some time to relax and enjoy this cabin.  It’s so peaceful and away from the hussle and bussle of the parks, but close enough to the Magic Kingdom that you’re never far from the excitement.  

Copper Creek Cabin living room

Imagine some great family time hanging out in this living room?   The fireplace is a nice touch.  The cabins sleep up to 8 adults, and the living space is big enough to acommodate the whole party.

If you wanted to order some groceries for your stay – you could totally be cooking full family meals in the fully equipped kitchen!

Copper Creek Cabin kitchen

 

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There’s even plenty of space for you all to sit down and enjoy your meal.  Although we would probably use it for games and stuff…. maybe some take out from Geyser Point. If you haven’t been to Geyser Point – you need to check it out and it’s so conveniently close to the cabins!

Copper Creek Cabin dining

Of course the real relaxation comes in the porch, this is where I’d love to sit and just be quiet….

Copper Creek Cabin picnic

Alright – not at the picnic table, but in the plunge pool!

Copper Creek Cabin plunge pool

There is a fence around the pool so if you have little ones, you don’t need to worry.

Rules Copper Creek Cabin

Disney’s Wilderness Lodge is a terrific option for families who want to be near the Magic Kingdom, but not on the monorail line.  A quick boat ride from the dock will have you at the Magic Kingdom in no time.

The theming is on point and the views from around the property are breathtaking.  Head down to the beach and you can see the fireworks and electrical water pageant at night.

If you don’t want to splurge on the cabin but still need a little more space?  The 1 bedrooms are great too!  I have a full walkthrough video of the 1 bedroom below.

Have you stayed at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge?  What did you love about it?  Let us know in the comments below!

 

Podcast 30 – Let’s Talk Disney Bucket Lists!

Pixie Dust Fan Disney Podcast Episode 30

Disney bucket lists – what’s on yours?

Listen to Disney Chat With Pixie Dust Fan on Apple Podcasts, Google, Spotify and MORE

Disney bucket lists – we all have one!  On this episode of the podcast Dustin Fuhs and I talk about our bucket list items and what’s important to each of us.  We may have gone off topic a few times, but it was a lot of fun so I left it all in!  You have to let me know if you have some of the same bucket list items!

Show Notes and References:

Find Dustin on his podcasts:

We Like Theme Parks

The Universal Joint Podcast

Steps to Magic

Pixie Dust Fan Online:

Website: www.PixieDustFan.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/PixieDustFan

Instagram:  www.instagram.com/PixieDustFan

Join our Facebook group:  Pixie Dust Fans

Visit our Amazon store for items we talk about on any of the podcast episodes, or to support Pixie Dust Fan shop here

SUBSCRIBE TO THE PODCAST!

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Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa Deluxe Studio Room

Penguin Fountain Grand Floridian
Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa is one of the most iconic resorts on Disney property.  There are SO many great reasons to stay at this resort, in fact – I did a blog on the Top 5 Reasons to stay here. Aside from the regular resort rooms though, in a separate building is the Disney Vacation Club rooms, the Villas as they’re called.  What is a Deluxe Villa Studio?  I’ve got all the answers below on what I love about these rooms!

5 Reasons I Love The Deluxe Studio Villa At Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort

1 They have a little kitchenette

You can’t cook in it – and that’s fine by me.  I don’t like to cook at home, so I wouldn’t do it on vacation.  What I do like is the coffee maker, toaster and sink… feels like a spot to have our snacks or a cup of tea.  While all rooms now have the mini fridge – this kitchenette has a microwave.  Perfect for heating up some leftovers I brought home from dinner for a late night snack!

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2 They have a Dumbo bed

Seriously – a Dumbo bed!!  Now this is meant for kids, but this fold down bed (trundle bed) is incredible.  Look inside!  Who doesn’t want to sleep in a bed that has Dumbo inside??

Grand Floridian Dumbo Bed

3 They have 2 showers

When you travel with a family, getting ready can be a bit tricky!  Sometimes I travel with 3 or 4 women in a room, all trying to get ready at the same time!  It’s a scheduling nightmare in some rooms, but in the Deluxe Studios at Disney’s Grand Floridian – you get 2 showers!  There is a gorgeous stand up shower as well as a bathtub/shower combo!  2 people can get ready at the same time – cutting the time in the morning to get out the door in half!

Grand Floridian Deluxe Studio Shower

I love the tiles in the shower!

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4 It’s at the Grand Floridian!

Ok, maybe that’s a bit of a cheat but c’mon!  The Grand Floridian is one of the most gorgeous resorts on property.  It’s on the Monorail line, has some great food options AND it has some terrific theming!  In the specific building that the villas are in there is incredible references to Mary Poppins from the Penguin Fountain when you enter to the finishing touches on the elevator.

Mary Poppins Umbrella Elevator

Can you see it?

If you want to know why you should stay at the Grand Floridian you can read my top 5 reasons here.  The other thing that makes this resort so unique is having Afternoon Tea.  It is one of the best experiences and a lovely way to spend an afternoon… check out the post to see what Afternoon Tea is all about!

5 There is “relaxing space”

I love the fact that there is a couch with coffee tables and another round table in these rooms.  We spend time in the room when I’m working and I need to upload content, download pics etc – so it makes a big difference to us that there’s a place for me to work and a place for my travel party to sit!  No sitting on the bed, there is an actual comfy couch!  There is also a balcony – this makes for a great place to unwind after a day in the parks!

I have a full walk through video tour below of the Deluxe Studio!  Have you stayed in one of these rooms?

Podcast 29 – Cruising Disney With A Former Cruise Ship Engineer

Pixie Dust Fan Disney Podcast Episode 29

Cruising Disney with a former cruise ship engineer

Listen to Disney Chat With Pixie Dust Fan on Apple Podcasts, Google, Spotify and MORE

Have you ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes on a cruise ship?  I always do!  On this episode of the podcast I’m chatting with my friend Matt who used to work on some pretty big cruise lines.  He’s filling us in on his thoughts on the Disney Cruise he just took against the backdrop of his experience as an engineer on other lines.  Some funny stories AND he reveals what the number one guest question was that he answered all the time!

Show Notes and References:

Matt’s wife Jenn’s Facebook Page

Hear Jenn talking about her time during the hurricane on episode 6 and our chat about the Disney Dining plan on episode 25.

That’s Matt on the far right!

 

Pixie Dust Fan Online:

Website: www.PixieDustFan.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/PixieDustFan

Instagram:  www.instagram.com/PixieDustFan

Join our Facebook group:  Pixie Dust Fans

Visit our Amazon store for items we talk about on any of the podcast episodes, or to support Pixie Dust Fan shop here

SUBSCRIBE TO THE PODCAST!

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Button Giveaway

 

Subscribe to win!

Current subscribers are automatically entered to win.  Winner will be drawn randomly from all email addresses collected on March 15th.  The winner will be contacted by email to claim their prize and must be claimed before March 29th.  Value of the buttons is $9.99 USD and the odds of winning is dependent on the number of entries.

Contest is open to residents of Canada, US and the UK.

Podcast 28 – Seasonal Parties at Disney

Pixie Dust Fan Disney Podcast Episode 28

Seasonal Parties at Disney

The seasonal parties at Disney are incredibly popular – but what happens at these parties?  We’re covering all the details of Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.  Here’s all the details you need to know!

Show Notes and References:

Carrie’s cat documentary find on Netlix #Cats_the_mewvie 

Pixie Dust Fan Online:

Website: www.PixieDustFan.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/PixieDustFan

Instagram:  www.instagram.com/PixieDustFan

Join our Facebook group:  Pixie Dust Fans

Visit our Amazon store for items we talk about on any of the podcast episodes, or to support Pixie Dust Fan shop here

SUBSCRIBE TO THE PODCAST!

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5 Reasons To Love Disney’s Riviera Resort

Disney Riviera Resort 1 bedroom
Disney’s Riviera Resort at Walt Disney World is the newest Disney Vacation Club Resort and it has everything you could want and more!

Each resort at Walt Disney World Resort has it’s pros and cons, but it all depends on what is important to YOU for your vacation.

I’ve come up with 5 reasons to love Disney’s Riviera Resort

1  Skyliner Access

Disney’s new mode of transportation is not only efficient – it’s fun too!!  I am in awe of the Disney Skyliner and how quickly it can move you from point A to point B.  With it’s own Skyliner station you can get to Hollywood Studios and Epcot with ease.  Want to mix things up and dine at a different resort?

You can get to:

Disney’s Art of Animation Resort

Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort

Disney’s Pop Century Resort

Riviera Resort Skyliner

2  The Villas

Granted I only stayed in the 1 bedroom villa, but there are some new options at this resort including a studio that sleeps 2!  It’s nice if you’re doing a solo trip to have the option of a smaller studio.  

The 1 bedroom was gorgeous though.  All the amenities we needed plus som bright windows, a balcony with a view and as many USB stations as I could use!!  The big soaker tub, the shower and the beds were so comfy!  Check out the full room tour here:

 3  Character Dining

At the top of Disney’s Riviera Resort you have the Breakfast a la Art with Mickey and Friends character dining experience.  Let me tell you – it was so much fun!

The food was delicious – and so well themed.  The ‘art’ theme was all throughout the meal.  Look at how the pastries came out

Riviera Resort Character breakfast

Check out our art supplies!

The characters all has specific back stories and fabulous outfits.

Minnie is a poet, Mickey is a painter, Donald is a sculptor and Daisy is a dancer!  

Riviera Resort Minnie Mouse

4  The Views

The rooftop terrace is something to see – we got a chance to go out and explore after breakfast and those views are breathtaking!!

Riviera Resort Roof Top Patio

Wouldn’t you love to relax here one night?

Being able to see the Tower of terror off in the distance, and look down on Caribbean Beach – see the Swan and Dolphin?  You won’t find views like this anywhere else!

Disney Riviera Resort Views

Dinner at Topolino’s and staying till fireworks time – you’ll see Hollywood Studios AND Epcot from up here!

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5  The Art – So Much WALT

The art work at Disney’s Riviera resort is right up my alley.  I love all of the classics that are represented

Riviera Resort Art

Gorgeous painting of the castle.

What struck me the most aside from the classic Disney paintings was the amount of pictures of Walt Disney and his family.  These pictures are so unique and show him on vacation, smiling, dreaming.  This is the man that created it all – and it’s wonderful to see his presence in this new resort.

Riviera Resort Walt Disney Pics

What do you think?  Will this be on your list to stay at Disney’s Riviera Resort?

If you want to hear a full review – check out Podcast Episode 27 for my review!

 

Podcast 27 – Disney’s Riviera Resort Review

Pixie Dust Fan Disney Podcast Episode 27

Disney’s Riviera Resort Review

Staying at the newest Disney Vacation Club resort – I have a full review of what I thought!

Are you planning to try Disney’s Riviera Resort?  The one bedroom was … well WOW!

Find out my thoughts on the resort and some other tidbits of Disney chat to share!

Show Notes and References:

Pixie Dust Fan Online:

Website: www.PixieDustFan.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/PixieDustFan

Instagram:  www.instagram.com/PixieDustFan

Join our Facebook group:  Pixie Dust Fans

Visit our Amazon store for items we talk about on any of the podcast episodes, or to support Pixie Dust Fan shop here

SUBSCRIBE TO THE PODCAST!

Don’t forget to sign up to stay in touch with Pixie Dust Fan news!

How Do You Use Disney’s Magical Express?

Disneys Magical Express Bus

Disney’s Magical Express is a complimentary transportation to and from Orlando International Airport (MCO) for guests staying at a select Walt Disney World Resort hotels.  I’ve got a full post on What IS Disney’s Magical Express, but here you’re going to learn:

How do you use Disney’s Magical Express?

Here’s step by step what you need to know to enjoy this fantastic COMPLIMENTARY service!

Make your reservation

If you’ve booked your Walt Disney World resort package with a good Disney Travel Agent, they will make the reservation for you.  If you booked yourself, you would need to submit the request for transportation with Disney direct or online here.

When you request Disney’s Magical Express you need to provide:

  • Resort Name
  • Resort Reservation Number
  • Number of Guests (they must be on the reservation to use the Magical Express)
  • Airline
  • Flight Number
  • Mailing address for the luggage tags

Recieve your information package:

UPDATE – Beginning July 2020 – Luggage transfers will not be provided.  You must pick up your luggage at the carousel and take it with you to the bus.  It’s unclear if this will revert back at a later time.

Your luggage tags will arrive in advance of your trip if you have provided enough time for them to send them – usually 2 or 3 weeks is sufficient but the more time the better!

Disney Magical Express Luggage Tags

The luggage tags will have all of the information that Disney needs to retrieve your luggage from the carousel and deliver it to your ROOM at your Walt Disney World Resort IF you put the tags on your luggage before you check them at your departure airport.  This service of luggage delivery is NOT available if your flight lands between 10PM and 5AM.

Some things to keep in mind if you choose to have Disney bring your luggage:

  • Your luggage may not arrive until 3 hours after you do
  • Keep medications and important documents with you
  • If you plan activities for as soon as you arrive at the resort – make sure you have the necessary things with you (like your bathing suit!)
  • If you have your Magic Band already – keep it with you and don’t pack it in your luggage

If you did NOT get your luggage tags in advance, not to worry!  You can still have Disney pick up your luggage for you – just head to the Magical Express Service location and give the representative your claim tickets from the airline!

You can also choose to NOT put the tags on and pick your luggage up yourself and take it to the motorcoach with you.  If you decide that you are going to retrieve your own luggage – do NOT put the tags on. 

Get on the plane in your home town – you’re going to WALT DISNEY WORLD!

Make sure you’re prepared for ALL of the things that go with flying… here’s a list of some simple (but often forgot) things you should plan for

Arrival at Orlando International Airport

When you land (YAY!) it’s so exciting, you just can’t WAIT to get to Walt Disney World.  Now – you need to find the Magical Express!

Orlando Airport (MCO) is probably one of the best signed airports I’ve been to, they have signs everywhere.

MCO Shuttle

DOMESTIC ARRIVALS:

Jump on the first ‘ride’ of the trip – the train from your arrival gate to the main terminal

Upon arrival in the main terminal, follow the signs

Either pick up your bags at the carousels here

OR

Keep following the signs to the Ground Transportation Area in Terminal B on level 1

MCO Ground Transportation

INTERNATIONAL ARRIVALS:

When you get off the plane, enter the US Immigration Checkpoint

After you get your luggage – proceed to the Customs Checkpoint

After completing the customs and immigrations process, decide if you’re taking your luggage with you or if you want Disney to transfer it.  If you would like Disney to transfer it, put it BACK on the carousel.

NOW YOU get to experience the first ‘ride’ of the trip – the train from your arrival gate to the main terminal

Upon arrival in the main terminal, follow the signs to the Ground Transportation Area in Terminal B on level 1

Arrive at the Magical Express Counter in Terminal B Level 1

Magical Express Arrival Counter

As you pass all of the car rental companies etc – you’ll see the Magical Express counter.  Here is where you will present either your Magic Bands OR your resort reservation confirmation.  Don’t worry if you don’t have your Magic Bands in advance, Disney can only ship to some countries.  If they can’t be shipped – they will be waiting at your resort for you.

When you check in with your Magic Bands or Resort confirmation, the cast member will validate the members of your party are all there and then direct you to a ‘lane’ – the bus line for your resort.  Resorts in the same area share buses, so there could be 3 or 4 stops on the bus route, but it’s generally pretty quick.  People on the bus don’t dilly-dally because they are anxious to start their vacation!

Magical Express Lines

Get on that bus!

When your bus arrives the cast member will direct you to the bus in the bay.  Here’s where the driver will load your luggage in to the base of the bus if you’ve brought it with you.  If you didn’t bring it – it will be coming separately and NOT on this bus.  Take your seat on the bus – remember that the first couple of rows are reserved for guests with mobility issues and they will be marked as such.

Inside Disneys Magical Express

Each seat is comfy and you get a great view of the overhead TVs that will show you some fun things you need to know before you start your vacation.  It’s the perfect way to get you excited for what’s to come!

Individual lighting and vents are above the seat for comfort and there is a restroom at the back of almost all of the buses.

No car seats required, the little ones can sit on their own seat or your lap.

Sit back, enjoy the show on the TV – you’ll be at the resort in no time!

The driver will call out the name of the resorts as they pull in – make sure you’re getting off at YOUR resort!  Gratuities are appreciated by these drivers.

Now you’ve arrived – go check in and start your vacation!!  Remember if you didn’t bring your luggage it will arrive up to 3 hours later.

 

Have FUN!  UNTIL…….

IT’S time to go home

The wonderful people at Disney’s Magical Express will drop by your resort room the day before you are set to check out and hang the ‘eviction’ notice on your door.

Inside the envelope will be all of the information you need for a smooth ride to the airport.

Magical Express Check Out Letter

HOLD ON TO THIS PAPER – this is your confirmation and “ticket” to get on the bus.

Make note of the pick up time – and be there EXTRA early!

Disney does NOT want to be responsible for people missing flights, so they keep a very tight schedule.  If the bus says it’s leaving at 7:50 – its leaving at 7:50.  Don’t be late.

The morning of departure

Arrive EARLY to the bus stop at your resort with your luggage.  It will be transported with you on the bus to Orlando International Airport

Magical Express Departure Bus Stop

Have your paperwork with you – make sure you have that letter they left you the night before!  It confirms your seats and time on Disney’s Magical Express

When the bus arrives, the driver will load your luggage and you can take a seat on what is now known as “Disney’s Tragical Express“.  You know – it’s tragic ’cause the vacation is over right??

Sit back in your seat and watch the cartoons… they try to cheer you up and make you laugh!

Upon arrival at the airport the driver will unload your luggage and be appreciative of any gratuities.

Take your luggaage, wave goodbye to the Mickey bus and find your check in counter for your airline.

*For select resorts and guests, there is a Resort Airline Check In service available so that you can check in for your flight at your resort.   If you plan to use this service, make sure you allow plenty of time for it before your scheduled departure.

Enjoy Orlando International Airport

Even though the vacation is over, there is still plenty of shopping and fun things to see in the airport!  On your train ride back to the terminal, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer will thank you for coming.  It’s funny, I’m always happy to hear is voice on the train when I arrive and when I leave… it’s like the two bookends of the trip!

Have you used Disney’s Magical Express?

What is Disney’s Magical Express?

Disney Magical Express
Disney’s Magical Express is round trip complimentary transportation between Orlando International Airport and your Walt Disney World resort in Florida.

Yes, you read that right, it’s complimentary (FREE) for all guests staying at a Disney Resort hotel in Walt Disney World for the dates of their resort reservations.  

There are many benefits to Disney’s Magical Express:

Cost Savings

Save money because you don’t need to rent a car, Uber or taxi to and from the airport to your resort.  

Of course if you want luxury travel to/from the airport I would recommend a Minnie Van!  But…they’re not free 🙂

Accessibility

Car Seats – Transportation is provided via motor coach and child safety seats are not recommended.  Children can sit on their own seat, or on the lap of an adult.  This saves you bringing and or renting a car seat!

Wheelchairs – the motor coach will accommodate wheelchairs too!  Just make sure you indicate that on your Magical Express reservation or let your Travel Agent know.

Service Animals – Service animals can join their owners on Disney Transportation motorcoaches

Convenience

No need to worry about directions on how to get there or fuss with a rental car, let Disney do the driving for you.

Select Disney Resort hotels offer airline check in before boarding the Magical Express.  Full details are here

 

Disney Magic

 

You’ve finally arrived in Orlando and you’re ready to start your vacation!  What better way to start than with a bus ride with videos all about what you can expect on your vacation!  This is when the excitement really kicks it up a notch!  When you’re returning to the airport – there are some great cartoons you can watch! 

 

On your next vacation to Walt Disney World will YOU use this service?

 

For details on HOW to use Disney’s Magical Express – click here.

 

 

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Podcast 26 – Disney Trip Overview January 2020

Pixie Dust Fan Disney Podcast Episode 26

Disney Trip Report – January 2020

A look back at my January vacation including

– Rise of the Resistance boarding groups

– Bathroom breaks in the Rise of Resistance line!

– Carrie’s first ride on Rise of the Resistance

– The Pixie Dust Fan cruise

 – Experiencing a Disney Cruise with first timers

Show Notes and References:

Pixie Dust Fan Online:

Website: www.PixieDustFan.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/PixieDustFan

Instagram:  www.instagram.com/PixieDustFan

Join our Facebook group:  Pixie Dust Fans

Visit our Amazon store for items we talk about on any of the podcast episodes, or to support Pixie Dust Fan shop here

SUBSCRIBE TO THE PODCAST!

Don’t forget to sign up to stay in touch with Pixie Dust Fan news!

Podcast 25 – Disney Dining Plan – Is It Worth It?

Pixie Dust Fan Disney Podcast Episode 25

Disney Dining Plan – Is It Worth It?

Visiting Walt Disney World it’s difficult to navigate all of the components.  Do you buy the dining plan?  Will it save you money?  Is it more hassle than it’s worth?

On this episode of the podcast we review the 3 dining plans and talk about the pros and cons of each.  We also go over some of our favorite snacks and places to USE the dining plans if you get one.

We share lots of details and opinions to help you decide if the Disney Dining Plan is worth it!

 

Show Notes and References:

Find Jenn on Facebook: www.facebook.com/jenniferatpuremagicvacations or email jennifer@puremagicvacations.ca

Pixie Dust Fan Online:

Website: www.PixieDustFan.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/PixieDustFan

Instagram:  www.instagram.com/PixieDustFan

Join our Facebook group:  Pixie Dust Fans

Visit our Amazon store for items we talk about on any of the podcast episodes, or to support Pixie Dust Fan shop here

SUBSCRIBE TO THE PODCAST!

Don’t forget to sign up to stay in touch with Pixie Dust Fan news!

Podcast 24 – Planning My Land And Sea Disney Vacation

Pixie Dust Fan Disney Podcast Episode 24

Disney Parks AND Disney Cruise – Planning my land and sea vacation!

Cruising is always more fun with friends, that’s how the Pixie Dust Fan cruise came to ‘be’.  Just some friends talking about how it would be awesome if we all cruised together again.

Before long – we had a whole plan for a cruise and a BUNCH of friends joining us!  Now I’ve tacked on some park time before and after and I can’t wait to get started.

In this episode I talk about all of the cruise planning, what I’m most looking forward to AND the park time and some DVC insights.

Show Notes and References:

Follow the Pixie Dust Fan Cruise on social using #PixieDustFanCruise

Find Pixie Dust Fan Online:

Website: www.PixieDustFan.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/PixieDustFan

Instagram:  www.instagram.com/PixieDustFan

Join our Facebook group:  Pixie Dust Fans

Visit our Amazon store for items we talk about on any of the podcast episodes, or to support Pixie Dust Fan shop here

SUBSCRIBE TO THE PODCAST!

Don’t forget to sign up to stay in touch with Pixie Dust Fan news!

Podcast 23 – Disney Weddings Planning The Big Day

Pixie Dust Fan Disney Podcast Episode 23

Planning a Disney Wedding!

You want your wedding day to be magical, special, memorable.  So what do you do when it’s 2 Disney fans getting married?  You plan the wedding in Walt Disney World of course!

Scott shares on the podcast how the wedding plans are coming along, what he’s looking forward to and how the trip is all coming together!

Show Notes and References:

Find Scott on Facebook and instagram @PMV_Scott

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/PMVScott/

Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/pmv_scott/

Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings – plan yours here

Join our Facebook group:  Pixie Dust Fans

Visit our Amazon store for items we talk about on any of the podcast episodes, or to support Pixie Dust Fan shop here

SUBSCRIBE TO THE PODCAST!

Don’t forget to sign up to stay in touch with Pixie Dust Fan news!

Podcast 22 – Looking Forward To Disney In 2020

Pixie Dust Fan Disney Podcast Episode 22

It’s a NEW YEAR!  Let’s look forward!

It’s the start of a new year, and a new decade! In this episode we explore what we’re most excited about at Disney for 2020!

Show Notes and References:

Lense Cleaning Wipes HERE

Join our Facebook group:  Pixie Dust Fans

Visit our Amazon store for items we talk about on any of the podcast episodes, or to support Pixie Dust Fan shop here

SUBSCRIBE TO THE PODCAST!

Don’t forget to sign up to stay in touch with Pixie Dust Fan news!

Avatar Flight of Passage Review at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Pandora Flight of PassageAvatar Flight of Passage was an attraction that I was determined I had to try. The reviews said that it was not good for those with motion sickness and it could be intense, but I had to experience it at least once. Since I had the opportunity to visit during a preview before the official opening, I went straight over to Flight of Passage and there was no wait. I stood for a second, took a deep breath and thought, “I guess I’m doing this!”

Here are my thoughts on the new Flight of Passage at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.  It’s an overview of my experience with some information you should know before you go, but without too many spoilers!

The queue was impressive – but long

The outdoor portion of the queue for Flight of Passage is gorgeous. You’re walking slightly up hill and have a perfect view of the floating mountains. There will be some great pictures and selfies taken from this line! 

Once you leave the outdoor area, you enter in to something that looks like a cave. You will be happier in here since there is air conditioning and shade from the Florida sun. As the cave transitions in to the building, you’re able to see paintings, a bioluminescent mining area and of course – a real Avatar. I had seen the Avatar on many different online videos, but I didn’t appreciate the size or details of it until I had seen it in person.

 

While I didn’t have a wait for Flight of Passage, it struck me as I was walking through this queue how long it took me to get to the end. It seemed like quite a long walk with the capacity to hold VERY long lines.

The claustrophobia

Nearing the end of the line, you enter the first of 2 pre-shows. The first room is where you are matched to your Avatar. It is primarily a video with some special effects, but the room felt a bit small to me. I was glad I was the last one in and had some space behind me. We were in there a few minutes when we moved on to the next briefing – the vehicle seating system is explained and you get your 3D glasses.

The vehicle

I don’t like feeling ‘trapped’ anywhere and this was my biggest fear for this vehicle. I am the person who sits at the end of the row in a movie theatre to avoid feeling like I can’t get out. Knowing that things would come and encapsulate on this attraction had me very nervous. I straddled the vehicle like a bicycle and leaned forward towards the support in front of me. I chose to leave a little bit of space between the support and myself and prepared myself for the various restraints that were coming. As the restraints were activated, I heard the man beside me gasp a little. The man had leaned so far forward that the restraint at his back was way too restrictive and a cast member had to come and adjust it.   I was happy with the amount of space I had and didn’t feel closed in with the back restraint at all. Maybe it’s because I had my legs out in front of me as opposed to at the side, but I didn’t even feel the ones on my legs at all. I did notice that this might be quite restrictive and uncomfortable though for my Pooh-sized friends. There is a test vehicle outside of the attraction for you to try before waiting in line.

The flight

Once the ride started I was in awe. Disney has created an attraction where I really FELT like I was flying on the back of a Banshee. It wasn’t just the sights, sounds and smells, but when my Banshee took a break on a branch of a tree, I could FEEL it breathing underneath me. The scenery is breathtaking and colorful, it seemed so real! There is no comparison in my mind to Soarin or Star Tours – this attraction made me forget that I was sitting on an attraction vehicle with 3D goggles on. I was transported, and I flew on a Banshee.

The motion sickness

Pandora 2I feel sick on Star Tours and have never made it back on Mission Space since it opened; I was worried about Flight of Passage. I went first thing in the morning, took some motion sickness pills and didn’t eat anything before the ride. There were a few moments where the Banshee took some sharp turns and some drastic drops where I had to close my eyes. Closing my eyes for a second or two really helped, especially when were flying through some tight spaces. I do think the cool breeze on my face helped me avoid overheating that happens when I’m nauseous. I really didn’t feel sick at all, I suspect that might have had something to do with the pills I took.

The 4 things you need to know:

  1. The queue has been designed to hold lines of up to 4 hours inside. The wait will be long.
  2. There is a lot of walking for the queue as well as upon exiting. Be prepared for inclines and stairs, especially if you have trouble walking.
  3. There are moments that those who are prone to motion sickness or claustrophobia will struggle, but they are short lived.
  4. Love or hate Avatar the movie (I didn’t love it), this attraction is among the best on Disney property and you should experience it once. I know I will be back to try it again.

My only criticism, and it’s a big one
Surprisingly, this attraction is not friendly to certain body types or guests with mobility issues. I would have thought that Disney would have invested in making sure that more people could experience it – not less.  Take a look at this blog post so that you can review the seat restrictions before you go.

If you want to see a good video of the queue – check out this video from our friends at Pure Magic Vacations!

 

  Have you experienced Flight of Passage? What did you think?  

Disney Parks Live Streaming – 4 Reasons I Love It

Disney Parks Live New Years Eve

The #DisneyParksLIVE streams have been such a terrific addition to Disney’s social media presence.  With all of the bloggers and vloggers who visit the parks and live stream (myself included), it only makes sense that Disney participate.  This way Disney can present the full live stream of an event with a professional video that showcases it properly.

With all of the special events, it is exciting to follow the Disney Parks Blog to see what’s coming next on the live streams!

On December 31st, #DisneyParksLIVE will share with us the “Fantasy In The Sky Firworks” – LIVE from the Magic Kingdom!

The live stream will start at 11:45 PM ET – To watch – visit  Disney Parks Blog

Here are the top 4 things I love about #DisneyParksLive streams

1. Comfort of watching at home

I get to sit on my couch on a Sunday night and watch the Boo To You Parade instead of thinking about my dreaded work week ahead?  Or how about when I can’t get to the parks for the 4th of July or New Years Eve?  No problem – I can stream them in on my TV!

2. Social Interaction with other Disney fans

I get to tweet and chat with other Disney fans on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.  It is always fun to connect with Disney fans from all over the world, and a few from Toronto too!  Just use the hashtag #DisneyParksLIVE and you’ll find conversations on every platform!

3. When I can’t be in Disney, I don’t miss the big events

I have the chance to see some things live, as they happen!  From theme park announcements to Expos, I don’t miss a thing.

4. I get to experience a little magic at home

I feel like I’m still experiencing some magic – even though I’m at home.  If I can’t be there, at least I can escape for a few minutes and feel like I have a front row seat!  Who doesn’t want a little magic from home?

Are you following #DisneyParksLive?  What has been your favourite one?  Let us know in the comments below!

It’s so much fun to visit Walt Disney World during the holidays – on episode 17 of the Pixie Dust Fan Podcast I talk about what the best things are about visiting during the holiday season.

Podcast 21 – The best gifts Disney gave us this year

Pixie Dust Fan Disney Podcast Episode 21

The best gifts Disney gave us this year!

It’s gift giving season, so Carrie and Pixie Dust Fan chat about what gifts Disney gave us this year that brought us the most joy!

Show Notes and References:

Blog post about the Disney Pin event Fairy Tails

Carrie and I talk all about pin trading on episode 4

Join our Facebook group:  Pixie Dust Fans

Visit our Amazon store for items we talk about on any of the podcast episodes, or to support Pixie Dust Fan shop here

SUBSCRIBE TO THE PODCAST!

Don’t forget to sign up to stay in touch with Pixie Dust Fan news!

Podcast 20 – How I Afford To Go To Disney So Often

Pixie Dust Fan Disney Podcast Episode 20

How I Afford To Go To Disney So Often

I get asked this question all the time.  It’s a bit uncomfortable – but I know that some of you are curious and are looking for your own ways to get to the magic more often!!  Here I’m discussing my top 10 things I do to afford my Disney vacations.

Show Notes and References:

Blog post I refer to on the same topic How I Afford Disney

My new Alexa Alarm Clock

Join our Facebook group:  Pixie Dust Fans

Visit our Amazon store for items we talk about on any of the podcast episodes, or to support Pixie Dust Fan shop here

SUBSCRIBE TO THE PODCAST!

Don’t forget to sign up to stay in touch with Pixie Dust Fan news!

Podcast 19 – Rise of the Resistance and Travel With Kids – WDW Trip Report December 2019

Pixie Dust Fan Disney Podcast Episode 19

Walt Disney World Trip Report – December 2019

My full trip report from December 2019 including my first experience with Star Wars Rise of the Resistance (no spoilers).  Carrie and I are talking about it all from Epcot Forever and Tshirt shopping – it’s all here!

Show Notes and References:

Podcast where Carrie and I talk about our first experience in Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge Episode 7 – Coast to Coast Disney Adventure

Airport Taxi in Toronto I used:  Toronto Airport Limo Service

We Like Theme Parks Podcast Instagram Account

Join our Facebook group:  Pixie Dust Fans

Visit our Amazon store for items we talk about on any of the podcast episodes, or to support Pixie Dust Fan shop here

SUBSCRIBE TO THE PODCAST!

Don’t forget to sign up to stay in touch with Pixie Dust Fan news!

Podcast 18 – Thanksgiving At Walt Disney World – Enjoying Despite The Crowds

Pixie Dust Fan Disney Podcast Episode 18

Thanksgiving At Walt Disney World – Travelling With 15 People During A Busy Time

Thanksgiving week is busy at Walt Disney World. On this episode Katie and I catch up about the trip she was planning the last time she was on the podcast.  15 family members on a Disney vacation during peak season?  We cover where they ate, how they handled the crowds and how they made the most of their time!

Show Notes and References:

Katie’s Most Delightful Thoughts Podcast here

Katie’s Most Delightful Thoughts Group on Facebook here

Episode where Katie and I talked about her planning this trip:  Episode 9

Join our Pixie Dust Fans Facebook group:  Pixie Dust Fans

Visit our Amazon store for items we talk about on any of the podcast episodes, or to support Pixie Dust Fan shop here

Don’t forget to sign up to stay in touch with Pixie Dust Fan news!

Avatar Flight Of Passage Seats Explained

Pandora Flight of Passage

Avatar Flight of Passage at Disney’s Animal Kingdom is arguably one of the BEST attractions at any of the parks.  It’s thrilling, exciting, intense and immersive, it’s an attraction not to be missed.  Unless of course you’re a certain body shape.

I remember visiting Universal Studios when the Harry Potter attractions first opened and being disappointed. They had made a fantastic new experience, but they couldn’t make it for everyone?  It was brand new, they had so many options for design, yet they were limiting many people from experiencing it.

Flight of Passage test seat out front of the attraction

Flight of Passage test seat out front of the attraction

In order to experience Avatar Flight of Passage you need to ‘fit’ on the vehicle.  I say “on” because it’s like a motorcycle where you straddle the seat.  You lean forward on the chest bar and pull your feet forward.

Avatar Flight Of Passage Seat Explained

Restraints are activated after you are in position – one comes across your back and two more behind your legs.  The key is the ‘click’ on the restraints to ensure that it has you secure.

 

 

It may not necessarily be a size issue that prevents people from getting the ‘click’, sometimes it’s a body shape issue that prevents the restraints from locking.  The size of your calves can prevent the leg restraints from locking, it’s not just your size around the middle.  It’s not something you want to force or it would make for a very uncomfortable ride!

Avatar Flight Of Passage Sample Seat View

When the restraints are acti