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


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


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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

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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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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


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


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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


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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

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Baby Yoda T-Shirts From Mandalorian

Baby Yoda T-shirts


I am in LOVE with Baby Yoda from the Mandalorian series on Disney Plus.  Seriously – it isn’t the ‘actual Yoda’, but a baby of the same species as Yoda.  (For the record… I recognize it seems weird to say the ‘actual Yoda’ – like Yoda was real… but he is real to so many of us!)

We KNEW that this would be a shopping frenzy – who DOESN’T want something baby Yoda related?   I had already planned to scour the shops at Walt Disney World next week for baby Yoda merch – but Amazon has come through with all sorts of fun merchandise.  Being the total T-shirt addict that I am, I was so excited to see this selection.  Now the question is – which one(s) will I buy for myself?  Or put on my wish list??   They have a variety of colours and sizes – so many choices!!!

Take a peek at these!  Click the pictures to shop the Amazon store.  The store is a .com link – if you live in Canada, don’t worry – they will ship to Canada, but you need to use the .com link to shop.

There is an entire shop for Mandalorian with all sorts of great stuff to buy.  How will you decide?  What will you put on your list?

This article contains affiliate links

Podcast 17 – 9 Reasons To Visit Disney During The Holiday Season

Pixie Dust Fan Disney Podcast Episode 17

9 Reasons to visit Walt Disney World over the holiday season

The holiday season is a really magical time at Walt Disney World. Here are 9 things you don’t want to miss at Walt Disney World during the holidays!

Show Notes and References:

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 16 – It’s Hard Being A Canadian Disney Fan

Pixie Dust Fan Disney Podcast Episode 16

It’s Difficult Being A Canadian Disney Fan

Sometimes it’s really difficult being a Canadian Disney Fan.  There are some special challenges for those of us that live outside of the United States.  On this episode Carrie and I explore all of the things that make it hard for Canadian Disney fans like us.

Show Notes and References:

Canadian Disney Addict Blog

Video clip so you know who Walter is!

Off Duty Movers – Facebook Page

Join the 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 15 – My First Thoughts On Disney Plus

Pixie Dust Fan Disney Podcast Episode 15

My first thoughts on Disney+ 

10 Million people subscribed to Disney+ on November 12th – and of course I was one of them!

I was overwhelmed and couldn’t wait to share with you my first thoughts on the service.  What I didn’t expect was what my nephew Andrew thought about the service and the new Star Wars show – Mandalorian.  

Show Notes and References:

Join the 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 14 – Where Disneyland Has An Edge Over Walt Disney World

Pixie Dust Fan Disney Podcast Episode 14

Where does Disneyland have an edge over Walt Disney World?

It’s the great debate – Disneyland vs Walt Disney World.  Carrie and I always have this discussion… Her favourite is Disneyland and mine is Walt Disney World – but we both love them BOTH.

In this episode we talk about the places where Disneyland has an edge over Walt Disney World! 

Show Notes and References:

Carrie’s Disneyland Vloggers:  Best Life and Beyond

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!

Gift Ideas For A Disney Fan

What do you buy a Disney fan?

It’s that time of year again, when you start the conversations of “what do you want for Christmas?”.

Personally, I dread these conversations every year.  

It was different when we had little ones to spoil and there were so many different things you could buy them.  There was always the one or two toys that were difficult to get – the “IT” toy of the year that required lining up at stores at midnight to get one of whatever the thing was!  In my day it was a Cabbage Patch Kid, but more recently it has become special video games or consoles.  Either way there was always the excitement of trying to get that ONE thing that was so special.

Now that the kids are grown and we’re buying for adults – it’s much more difficult because we don’t NEED anything.  If we needed something, we would have bought it for ourselves.  So that rules out stuff we need – what about stuff we would like??  

For the Disney fan, there is always stuff we would LIKE but maybe don’t NEED?  I had some fun searching online for some stuff that would be fun to have… but I probably wouldn’t buy for myself unless I had some extra money lying around!  Click any of the pictures for the links to buy!

For more recommendations and to support Pixie Dust Fan – visit our Amazon Stores



I’m Done Adulting I’m Going To Disney Wine Glass

Truth be told I don’t even really like wine all that much, but I think these are fun for when you’ve got company over?  Just to show a little Disney side?

Disney T-Shirts

A girl can NEVER have enough tshirts… seriously!  And this one ‘speaks’ to me of course!  I have a lot of Disney T-shirts, but I try to refrain from buying them outside of the parks or else my collection will REALLY be out of hand.  I try to limit my purchases to the parks and sometimes the Disney Store – but these shirts online are really tempting me!

Disney Dooney & Bourke

I have a thing about Dooney’s … and I have enough of them – well more than enough, but I love this Orange Bird one!  I would never buy it because I have too many blue purses – but this one is so cute!

A Disney Kitchen Gone Wild!

I already have a full on Disney kitchen – but there are some other items I could ‘clutter’ my countertop with happily!

The Fruit Basket

I don’t buy fruits because well…they go bad in my house long before I would eat them, but this is just too cute!  And affordable… if I had fruit I’d want it.  But maybe it doesn’t look so good empty?

A Cake Pan

How fun would it be to bake a cake with Mickey baked in?  If I could bake… or cook at all – this would be fun.   

Mickey’s Lunch Box

Again… if I took my lunch to work on a regular basis – this would be something I would buy.   At this point I have 4 or 5 different lunch bags and all the tupperwear I can handle – and I still don’t take it to work often enough to justify buying this.  But if I WAS going to buy a new one – this would be it! 

Millennium Falcon Waffle Maker

Here’s another one – how do you even make a waffle?  But I might learn just to have a Millennium Falcon shaped waffle on a Saturday morning.  I mean how cool is this?  Maybe it’s like pancakes?  Do they make the boxed stuff that you just add eggs?  I need to investigate this – and now you know how useless I am in the kitchen!   

Mickey Mouse Chocolate Fountain

 It’s Mickey Mouse and chocolate – enough said?  Do I need to really sell this one?  I think the big danger for me here would be that I might never leave the house… I’d be eating chocolate covered everything.  Well MAYBE that’s how I start eating more fruit??  hmmmmm… there could be a case made here for this!  laughing

Disney Art and Collectibles

I may have quite a bit of Disney art already in my house.  In fact, I think I have art upstairs that I haven’t even hung up yet – but I can’t help it… good art and collectibles just tug at my heart strings and I want them all.  I have to practice restraint with some of them because they’re not like t-shirts, I can’t afford to buy that many!

Mickey’s Creative Journey

This is such a fantastic piece – Mickey through the years.. but notice each Mickey has a ‘hand’ in the next?  I love it – and I am sure I could find a place to hang it in my house!

Winnie The Pooh Tree Climbers

Winnie the Pooh holds a special place in my heart for so many reasons.  This one is so fantastic because it’s long and thin… would fit perfectly in so many places in my house that traditional stuff does not.

False Window Frame Mural

Wouldn’t you love to be able to stare out the window at home and see the castle?  I would – if I thought I could put this decal up properly I would be buying it!

Peter Pan Wall Decal

And even though this is shown in a nursery – I would TOTALLY have it in my house!!  I love this… but I do fear I wouldn’t get it stuck on properly?  Have you ever done one of these?  Was it easy?

RARE Disney Collectibles

Walt Disney loved trains, and if money wasn’t an issue – this would be a fantastic piece to have in my house.  It’s quite the collectible with a limited edition of only 1,000 made and the details look incredible on it.  Wouldn’t this be a great conversation point with visitors at your house?  I guess only if they were Disney fans!  This one is NOT available to be shipped to Canada.  Sometimes it’s really hard being a Canadian Disney Fan!

Disney Accessories

It’s always fun to have some Disney touches in your accessories – and this Mickey Mouse sterling silver necklace is perfect!  There’s also a Minnie version if you’d prefer to have a bow! 

I am of course addicted to Alex and Ani as well, those bracelets are always a fun souvenir!  Carrie and I talked about those on the podcast about souvenirs because they are the perfect way to remember your trip every day when you’re wearing them!

What about a watch for him?  These Mickey Mouse watches are the perfect gift for the Disney guy in your life!   

Our Own Droid

Admittedly, this one is WAY out there…. And I have NO idea what I would do with it, or even where I’d put it – but it’s cool.  If I had a bigger house and lots of money… I would have my own voice activated R2D2!

A Trip Of Course?

When in doubt – gift cards that will help me GET to Walt Disney World, Disneyland or on a Disney Cruise is always welcome!

Disney fans aren’t REALLY that hard to buy for.  We’re easy to please – something that reminds us of our happy place and all of the memories is all we need!  Oh… and a little Faith, Trust and Pixie Dust?  ……. I couldn’t resist!

While you’re buying gifts for your loved ones, consider donating to a local charity to pay it forward… everyone could use some extra Pixie Dust.

For more recommendations and to support Pixie Dust Fan – visit our Amazon Stores




Podcast 13 – Crazy Disney Fans and Magic Kingdom Fun

Pixie Dust Fan Podcast Episode 13

Crazy Disney Fans & Magic Kingdom FastPass+ Chat

Sometimes Disney fans can be over the top!  In this episode Carrie and I cover the craziness over the missing ketchup and Fuel Rod swapping charges.

We also eventually get to talk about Fastpass+ at the Magic Kingdom and what 3 attractions we would pick if we could only get 3 Fastpasses for the week.

Show Notes and References:

What’s a Fuel Rod Blog

Charges for Fuel Rod swapping called off

Bob Iger’s Audible Book – The Ride Of A Lifetime

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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5 Rookie Mistakes When Planning A Walt Disney World Vacation

Disney Rookie MistakesBeing an avid Disney Fanatic who has been visiting Walt Disney World since 1974, people are always asking me for help booking their vacations.  I hear horror stories of people who booked their Disney trip by themselves or with a travel agent who doesn’t have much personal experience.  There is so much to see and do at Walt Disney World that you can’t just show up and wing it.  Here are the  5 rookie mistakes I see people make when planning a Walt Disney World vacation.

1.  Buying only a 2 or 3 day park tickets

There are 4 theme parks to visit!  Walt Disney world is roughly the size of Ottawa – there is no way you’re going to see it all in a couple of days.  Trying to cram everything in to 2 or even 3 days makes for very long days and stressful times, especially with little ones.  If you experience an attraction that you love, don’t you want the opportunity to do it again and not be stressing about the next thing on the itinerary?

2.  Not buying a hopper pass

Yes… this is one that some disagree with – but I really believe that a hopper pass is worth it.   For example – Fantasmic is only happening on Monday and Wednesday the week you’re there – guess what days will be busiest at Hollywood Studios?  With the hopper pass you can enjoy another park during the day and then head over in time for the night time entertainment elsewhere.  The flexibility of the hopper pass is extremely valuable in my opinion, and you won’t realize how much until you’re there.

3.  Not staying on property

Yes, there are some fabulous Deluxe resorts on property, but if those aren’t in your budget you should explore the Value and Moderate resort categories.   These resorts are on Disney property, they are well themed, convenient and affordable!  That’s right – these resorts will give you all of the benefits of staying on property (including extra magic hours) but there is real savings in the transportation.  Disney’s Magical Express will pick you up at the airport and take you to your resort and back again when the vacation is over.  The transportation all over the property includes buses, monorails, boats and the Skyliner!  It’s all included, there is no need to rent a car! 

4.  Missing fastpasses & dining reservations

If you’ve never been to Walt Disney World – how would you know what you want to see?  Fastpasses can really help you make the most out of your days in the parks and avoid some of the lines at the more popular attractions. Dining reservations?  If all your little one wants to do is meet the princesses – arrange to have a meal where they will come to your table to meet them!   Having a travel agent who specializes in planning Disney vacations can help you with all of that.  There are a lot of myths about using one, but I can guarantee you that the RIGHT agent can help you plan the BEST vacation.

5.  They over plan!

I know, that kind of contradicts what I said in point 4, but there’s something to be said for just enjoying the moment.  If you want to eat with the Princesses – then yes, you need a reservation.  However, planning all of your attractions in a strict itinerary takes all of the fun out of being there.  I’ve seen many families racing around the park to make sure they are ‘on schedule’ and it really takes away from all of the wonderful things they could experience if they took a moment to slow down!

A Walt Disney World vacation can be an amazing experience making memories you will treasure forever.  Knowing how to get the most out of your vacation will give you time to enjoy the magic!

Have you made any of these mistakes?  We’d love to hear what tips you have, comment below!

Explore some of the resorts we have reviewed here

Fuel Rods Continue To Be Free Swaps At Disney

Fuel Rod DisneyThe Fuel Rod is one of my ‘must have’ items when I visit Walt Disney World, so I was very concerned when news broke that they were going to start charging $3 for every swap!  I know that I could use the one I bought on Amazon instead and charge it myself, but it is convenient!  I have to charge my phone probably 3 times per day while I’m in the parks.  Taking videos and pictures, doing live streams – it drains the battery.  Having the ability to swap the Fuel Rod is better than carrying one of the bigger batteries that would hold 3 or 4 charges worth, the Fuel Rod is much lighter in my bag.

Disney had started putting signs on the Fuel Rod kiosks announcing the $3 fee for a swap after they had previously had unlimited ones.  They updated the website to say the same:

From the Disney site when the charges were first being communicated

My friend Carolyn from Pure Magic was there on October 27th and snagged a pic for me of the stickers on the Fuel Rod stations

Fuel Rod charged $3 for every swap

Stickers showing $3 Charge as of November 1st 2020

There was quite a backlash from the Internet about the charges and a lawsuit was even filed?  Really?  A lawsuit over the fact that you were promised unlimited swaps and now it’s $3?  I think the world has gone mad… and I refuse to link to the ‘lawsuit’ articles because I personally think it’s ridiculous.  Anyway…

As of November 1st – Disney has reconsidered and has taken the stickers OFF of the Fuel Rod locations and has released the following statement:

“A decision has been made to not implement the $3 portable charger swap fee until further notice. Guests can continue to swap their FuelRod portable chargers using FuelRod’s owned and operated kiosks at Walt Disney World Resort for no additional cost at this time.”

The Walt Disney World website now shows this again:

Fuel Rod description Disney site

Back to normal

I am happy about the reversal in the decision – but can’t for the life of me figure out why they would change it?  Did they not KNOW there would be people complaining?  Did they get more complaints than they realized?  We may never know… For now – I’ll put the Fuel Rods back in my travel bag and enjoy the unlimited swaps!


Podcast 12 – Visiting Walt Disney World With A Non-Disney Person

Pixie Dust Fan Podcast Episode 12

Visiting Walt Disney World With A Non-Disney Person – Top 5 Suggestions

Not everyone is excited about going to Walt Disney World for the family vacation.  I know right?  Hard to believe?

What do you do when you’re visiting Walt Disney World with someone who maybe isn’t as thrilled to be there?  My friend Aydin and I share our top 5 suggestions of things to do that are a little ‘less Disney’.

Show Notes and References:

Find Aydin online:  Website, Facebook & Instagram

Top 5 Date Night Activities Blog

Full review of afternoon tea at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa

If you’re going to try the Void – read my review here

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!

Fuel Rod – Keeping Your Phone Charged at Disney

Phone charger Disney

The Fuel Rod is one of my ‘must have’ items when I visit Walt Disney World!

One of my biggest challenges at Walt Disney World has always been keeping my electronics charged. Taking videos and photos, posting on social media, my Iphone and camera would barely make it to lunch time.

There are places in the Walt Disney World parks that you can charge your devices. For example, over near the Tangled washrooms in the Magic Kingdom are some very cute little tree stumps with ports to charge your phone.

When I’m in the parks though, I prefer to be able to charge ‘on the go’ and not be stuck sitting in one place to top up my battery life.

The Fuel Rod is $30 USD and available at many locations throughout the Walt Disney World Parks and Resorts.

Fuel Rod DisneyInside of the Fuel Rod package you will find:

  • One fully charged portable battery
  • One 6” USB to micro-USB cable (for most Android devices)
  • One Apple 30-pin to USB cable (for iPhone and iPad generations 1-4)
  • One Apple Lightning to USB cable (for iPhone generations 5+)

Having that first one fully charged enables you to charge your phone immediately. When I purchased mine, it charged my iPhone fully from 15% battery.  The convenience of the Fuel Rod vs the charges you buy on Amazon is the ability to swap it out in the machine for a fully charged one – at NO COST.  There were some changes and updates to the program speculated in October 2019 – but Disney has reversed the decision to start charging for swaps.

As of November 2019 – there will now be a charge to swap your fuel rod.  My friend Carolyn took this picture of the kiosk at Disney Springs.

The Fuel Rod Station at Disney Springs

The Fuel Rod Station at Disney Springs

Fuel Rod charged $3 for every swap

They will now be charging $3 for every swap

At $3 per swap, I know that I won’t use the Fuel Rod the way that I used to.  I liked that it was light weight and while only carried 1 full charge – it was perfect because I could swap it multiple times during the day.  Now that there’s a charge, I will probably just carry the bigger battery I bought from Amazon that charges my phone multiple times.  Then I can charge that fuel bank overnight in the resort.

It’s a shame that the change is coming – but clearly there is a business reason for it.  I just wonder if the money made from the swaps will compensate for those that won’t buy new ones?

Have you purchased a Fuel Rod?  Will you purchase one now that there is a charge for swaps?

Podcast 11 – Shopping at Disney Springs

Pixie Dust Fan Podcast Episode 11

Shopping at Disney Springs

 Disney Springs is like a whole other destination at Walt Disney World!  In this episode Carrie and I talk about the stores that we absolutely don’t want to miss when we visit Disney Springs.

Oh… and Carrie spills the beans on her bucket list Shaquille O’Neal selfie!

Show Notes and References:

The Void – you have to check it out!

We Like Theme Parks Podcast

Leave a review for us on Apple Podcasts here

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 10 – Quick Service Meals In The Magic Kingdom

Pixie Dust Fan Podcast Episode 10

Quick service meals in the Magic Kingdom

Eating quick service meals when you’re visiting the Magic Kingdom can be overwhelming – how do you choose?  Here I’m sharing my favourite spots to grab a bite in the Magic Kingdom!

Show Notes and References:

Mobile Order Blog

My Michael Iceberg YouTube video

Leave a review for us on Apple Podcasts here

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 9 – Living Close To Disney And Travelling With 15 People

Pixie Dust Fan Podcast Episode 9

Living close to Walt Disney World & Travelling with 15 people!

Chatting with the delightful Katie about what it’s like to live so close to Walt Disney World that you can drive there for the night!  Also, what’s it like to plan a Disney trip for 15 people?  Ya, we chat about it all!

Show Notes and References:

Katie’s Delightful Podcast is here

Find Katie on Instagram @katie_c_miller

Katie’s group on Facebook 

Astro Orbiter Review

The Alice Network Book & The Huntress Katie’s suggested books!

Tim Horton’s Steeped Tea Bags

Afternoon Tea at the Grand Floridian Review

Visit our Amazon store for items we talk about on any of the podcast episodes here

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

Splitsville At Disney Springs Is More Than Bowling

Splitsville at Disney Springs is more than just a bowling alley, it’s a dining experience you don’t want to miss.

I was one of those people who rolled my eyes when others suggested I go to eat at Splitsville.  I mean c’mon – it’s a bowling alley surrounded by restaurants of award winning chefs like Art Smith, Wolfgang Puck and Chef Morimoto.   Why on EARTH would I take one of my meals at Disney Springs and go to the bowling alley if I wasn’t bowling?  That made no sense to me.

Until the day my sister and I were at Disney Springs and found ourselves on the West Side just before lunch without a reservation anywhere.  It was hot, we were hungry and we had just picked up cigars for my nephew at Sosa’s after a morning of shopping.  We were all the way down at the end of the West Side and just wanted to sit, relax and have a beer.

Remembering everyone telling me that Splitsville was the place to be – I figured we would at least get a drink in there to cool off.  Why not see if they could take us?

I had never even been inside of Splitsville before and I was immediately impressed with the size!  The two floors hold 30 lanes of bowling and 5 bars, there’s even a small little gift shop with some cute souvenirs!

Splitsville Disney Springs Bar Tables

Lots of space and a great view!

We were taken upstairs to one of the bars and seated by the widow, what a view we had.  The seating was comfortable and we were impressed at how bright and spacious it was.  I know it was lunch time and it wasn’t busy, but even if it had been full – there was still lots of space between the tables.

The menu was HUGE, it was so surprising how many choices there was on this menu.  We were both hungry and I started to think there were too many choices because I couldn’t decide!  I have heard the Sushi is amazing and our server said he dines there for sushi on his days off!  But I’m not a sushi gal, so I had to find something more suitable.

Splitsville Lunch Menu at Disney Springs

The menu had SO many choices for lunch!

We ordered drinks and perused the menu – I finally decided on the buffalo chicken sandwich and my sister had the sweet and spicy chicken.  Yes – both chicken dishes, you might think a little boring.

While we were waiting for our meals I decided it was a good time to wander around and get some pics inside.  I loved seeing the families playing together, enjoying their games while nibbling on the snacks at the end of their lanes.  This would be a perfect spot for an afternoon outside of the parks to do something together as a family – they were having a LOT of laughs!

Splitsville Bowling Lane at Disney Springs

Splitsville Bowling Lane Score board

Our meals arrived at our table and they looked delicious, but so often that happens and looks are deceiving… 

Ummmm NO.  They were every bit as good as they looked and then some!

Splitsville Buffalo Sandwich

This was incredibly delicious!

My chicken sandwich was the right kind of spice, it was hot – but not burning my mouth so much that it wasn’t enjoyable.  Can I say I love crinkle cut fries too?

I had a taste of my sisters chicken too, it was so flavourful.  It was such a large serving but it was SO good that we couldn’t leave any of the chicken behind! 

Splitsville Sweet and Spicy Chicken

This chicken dish was amazing – even with the vegetables it might be on my list for next visit!

As we left we laughed about how we weren’t going to go in – and now it’s on our list of places we need to go back to.  My sister now wants to try the sushi, and I just want another bite of that chicken sandwich!

Yes – we’ll be back at Splitsville in Disney Springs.  Maybe next time we’ll actually try the bowling!  Dining and bowling are booked separately, if you want to reserve your lanes call (407) 938-7467

Splitsville Disney Springs Gift Shop

We will be back – for SURE

Have you eaten at Splitsville yet?  What did you have?

Podcast 8 – Disney attractions I miss and one I’m glad is gone!

Pixie Dust Fan Podcast Episode 8

Disney Attractions I Miss & One That I’m Glad Is Gone!

With all of the changes going on at Walt Disney World these days it got me thinking about the attractions that I miss, the ones that really helped me fall in love with Disney all those years ago.  Some of them bring back so many great memories but there is one attraction that I am so glad is gone.  I can’t BELIEVE it was EVER in a Disney park.

Show Notes and References:

Old home movies of Walt Disney World here

Blog on If You Had Wings here

Visit our Amazon store for items we talk about on any of the podcast episodes here

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

Disney Skyliner Now Open

The Disney Skyliner is a whole new way to get around at Walt Disney World!  This state of the art system provides new transportation options for those visiting Epcot and Hollywood Studios from 4 Disney resorts.  The gondola connects Pop Century, Art of Animation, Caribbean Beach and the NEW Disney Vacation Club property – Disney’s Riviera Resort to both Epcot and Hollywood Studios.

This map shows the routes and connections for the Skyliner!

There was a lot of talk before these were open because they weren’t going to have air conditioning.  Each car has ventilation with a cross breeze that generates while the car is in motion.  You can see the openings at the top of the cars that create the breeze to keep guests comfortable. 

Of course with any Disney opening – there is special merchandise available to celebrate the ocassion!

This new option for transportation is giving us something special aside from getting from point A to point B, this gives us a view from ABOVE the Disney property.  While you’re travelling along the routes you will have a new perspective, espcially over the water enroute to Art of Animation, coming in to International Gateway at Epcot and being above Caribbean Beach?  These are all going to be very picture worthy shots!

The other cool thing about the gondolas is that they are equipped to handle ECVs and Wheelchairs without disrupting the flow of the cars.  Much like the cars in Toy Story Midway Mania – the cars that are equipped for Wheelchairs and ECVs can be taken in and out of the rotation while guests board.  This allows the guests to board safely without feeling rushed or holding up all of the other cars on the line. 

Efficiency and fun – all rolled in to one.  What could be better?

I have friends who are a bit afraid of heights that may opt for the bus, but I think I’ll be enjoying this new mode of transportation for years to come!

What do you think?  Will you be riding?  

Podcast 7 – Highlights Of A Coast To Coast Disney Adventure

Pixie Dust Fan Podcast Episode 7

Top 3 things from a coast to coast Disney adventure!

Carrie and I are talking about the top 3 highlights from our coast to coast Disney adventure! Disneyland AND Walt Disney World in one epic trip, it was really hard to narrow down to 3 things each – but we did it!

Show Notes and References:

Blog on Gran Destino Tower including the link to the YouTube video is here

My portable desk fan here

Visit our Amazon store for items we talk about on any of the podcast episodes here

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

How To Use Disney’s Minnie Van Service

Minnie Van At Walt Disney WorldWhen the Minnie Van service was first announced, I was pretty excited.  Having another option to renting a car or taking the bus was something I had been hoping for.  I love that Disney has so many transportation options, but it isn’t always the most comfortable at the end of a long night when I just want to get back to my room.

I had the opportunity to try the Minnie Van service when it first launched and I could not have been happier.  I didn’t just try the service once, I loved it so much I used it 8 times in 4 days!  My poor rental car stayed in the parking lot for 4 days untouched!

Pixie Dust Fan Amazon Store

Shop my wish list of products!

Once you download the Lyft app and have the Minnie Vans activated, you will see all of the options for cars – and one clearly marked “Minnie Van” (with ears of course!)

Minnie Van Lyft Options

You select the Minnie Van as the car you want – and then ‘Request Minnie Van Service’.  It will show you if any vans are in your area.  Mine was so close because it was literally parked outside while I was requesting it!

Minnie Van Request Service

You’l be able to see on your app the car number, the licence plate as well as the estimated time of arrival.  You can watch the car on the map as it’s coming and will get a text message (if enabled) when the car arrives.

Minnie Van Pick Up

The app itself takes care of the payment using the credit card you entered when you set up the app.  It’s a flat rate plus mile pricing structure to take you anywhere on Disney property.  After your ride you do have the option to tip the cast member if you choose.

Minnie Van Car 40

The vans are large and comfortable vehicles that can seat up to 6 passengers.  Each Minnie Van has 2 car seats in the trunk if you need them for the little ones!  There are vans that also service guests with special needs such as wheelchairs or ECV’s, those can be arranged by calling 407-828-3500.

Minnie Van Car Seats

Minnie Van Car Seats

Minnie Vans are available at all Walt Disney World resorts and anywhere on property.

There are many reasons to use the Minnie Van service, you can read about my top 5 here.

Is this something you would use at Walt Disney World?

Podcast 6 – Hurricanes at Disney and a 24 hour trip?

Pixie Dust Fan Podcast Episode 6

Hurricanes at Disney and a 24 hour trip!

In this episode I get to chat with Jenn about what it was like being in Walt Disney World as Hurricane Dorian was headed to Orlando.  We’ll cover all of the confusion and flight craziness – along with a 24 hour whirwind trip that was totally NOT planned!

Show Notes and References:

Jenn at Pure Magic Vacations Facebook here

Pixie Dust Fan Cruise here

Pixie Dust Fans Group here

Pure Magic Vacations Make A Wish Donation Page here

Visit our Amazon store for items we talk about on any of the podcast episodes here

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

Disney Skyliner Opening

Disney SkylinerDisney’s gondola system will be ready to transport guests beginning September 29, 2019.   This state of the art system will provide new transportation options for those wanting to visit Epcot and Hollywood Studios from 4 Disney resorts.  The gondola will connect Pop Century, Art of Animation, Caribbean Beach and the NEW Disney Vacation Club property – Disney’s Riviera Resort to both Epcot and Hollywood Studios.

I am excited for this skyliner, I think it’s going to be a unique experience with some fantastic views.  Aside from the time I went Parasailing on Bay Lake – I’ve never really had a birds eye view of Disney property that wasn’t the top of Bay Lake or the Contemporary.  The heights could be an issue for some, I know that I have friends who are already saying “you won’t get me up there”.

There has been a lot of fuss over these gondolas, especially discussions about air conditioning.  Disney has assured us that there is ventilation.  I mean, can you imagine Disney creating this whole experience and then making it so uncomfortable that people won’t want to be on it?  Ya, I didn’t think so either.

I think they’re a fabulous ‘throw back’ to the ones that were in the Magic Kingdom when I was a kid – and I can’t WAIT to ride the new ones!  What do you think?  Will you be riding?


Button Giveaway

Disney Buttons

Subscribe to win!



Current subscribers are automatically entered to win.  Winner will be drawn randomly from all email addresses collected on October 12th.  The winner will be contacted by email to claim their prize and must be claimed before October 20th.  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 5 – The Disney Difference

Pixie Dust Fan Podcast Episode 5

The Disney Difference

In this episode I get to chat with Carolyn about what the Disney difference is! Here we’re talking parks, Disney Cruise Line and Adventures by Disney!  We may get a little off topic and chat about a whole bunch of stuff!

Show Notes and References:

Pure Magic Vacations online here

Pixie Dust Fan Cruise here

Pixie Dust Fans Group here

Visit our Amazon store for items we talk about on any of the podcast episodes here

Carolyn’s Massage Therapist here

Joe Rhode Instagram here

Michael McIntyre’s “Send To All” with Jamie Oliver here

This episode is dedicated to our friend Ed Day.  Ed was our friend who passed away earlier this year.  Ed was a huge supporter who encouraged both Carolyn and I to take risks, do things outside of our comfort zone and see the positive side of everything.  Ed was a friend to everyone he met.. and we miss him all the time.  

This one is for you buddy – I couldn’t have done this without you.  

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

Gran Destino Tower at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort Review

Disney's Gran Destino Tower full review including a room tourDisney’s Gran Destino Tower opened in July 2019 at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort.  The tower offers an additional 545 guest rooms to an already large resort of now over 2,000 rooms and I just HAD to get back and check it out for myself. 

I had stayed at Cornado Springs a handful of times before the renovations started and I had sort of an “on the fence” view of the resort that was directly related to where my room was and what my plans were.  

On a visit with my sister we stayed in a standard room – and we had friends in a pool view room, both were lovely rooms.  One afternoon we decided it would be a great idea to meet for drinks while the kids had a swim at the main pool.  “No problem – we’ll be there” we said.  We started to walk, it was noon and over 100 degrees… and I thought we would never make it!  It was a long walk in that heat and I was determined never to make that walk again.  That was the time I didn’t like the resort.

On another visit with my friend, we stayed in a preferred room and had no intention of ever going to the main pool.  We spent a lot of time in the main building and it was so close to our room, that was the time I loved the resort.  

Now it’s time to stay in the new Gran Destino Tower.  Would I love it?  From the moment I walked in, I knew that this moderate resort was going to blow me away!!

Gran Destino Tower Entrance

Gran Destino Tower Entrance.


Disney has different tiers of resorts ranging from value to deluxe.  Disney’s Coronado Springs is considered a moderate resort, Pop Century is a value resort and the Grand Floridian would be an example of a deluxe.  There is also the Disney Vacation Club villas and camping, but that’s a whole other blog.

With Coronado Springs and Gran Destino Tower being in the moderate category, I wasn’t expecting such grandeur, it is gorgeous!

Gran Destino Tower Lobby Disney Coronado Springs

The picture of Walt and Mickey – bigger than I expected, and so wonderful to see!


The tower is named for the 2003 Disney animated short “Destino” which started in 1946 as a collaboration between Walt Disney and Salvador Dali.  

David Stofcik, an executive architect at Walt Disney Imagineering said “We didn’t want to make it too much color everywhere.  If it was everywhere, then everybody’s screaming, screaming, screaming it’s too much. So we wanted to downplay and really pick our points.”  And they did – the colours are vibrant, but never too much. 

The lobby itself is visually stunning.  There was a long line when we arrived to check in so we had plenty of time to take it all in.  It’s more of an open concept check in where some cast may come from behind the counter and walk you to a stand up table or seat to discuss your queries with a tablet.

We got our room number and headed to the 7th floor.  The elevators are the new technology where you enter your floor number on the pad and it tells you which elevator to go to, the idea being that they group people together for a faster experience.  I don’t know if the system works that way, but we never really waited a long time for an elevator!

Gran Destino Tower Room

Gran Destino Tower Room

The room?  Well, what can I say – it was gorgeous!  Plenty of space for 2 of us, a LARGE bathroom and of course I love the shower.

The stand up showers at Walt Disney World always have such nice tiles and lighting, I am constantly admiring and dreaming of a home remodel of my shower!  

If I had 1 complaint about the room it would be that the shower, vanity and toilet were all in 1 room.  I prefer at the resorts where the shower/toilet are separate from the vanity – it just helps when you have a couple of people trying to get ready in the morning.   There are some rooms configured a little differently with the water closet, I think I would have liked that more.

The beds are the raised ones so you can get your suitcase underneath and there is a huge desk space if you had to do work.  Of course there are the standard fridge, iron, hair dryer and safe as well in the room.

After we got settled in our room, we were STARVING!  It had been a long travel day for us and we headed over to Rix Sports Bar and Grill in the main building.  The walk over was all indoors which would prove to be helpful on a rainy day!

Let me tell you, Rix was amazing – the food was DELICIOUS and definitely someplace I would expect to return.   And we did.  The NEXT night!  That’s how good it was!

Three Bridges Bar and Grill

Three Bridges Bar and Grill is the perfect place to gather!

Aside from Rix, we did have the opportunity to try the new Three Bridges Bar & Grill while meeting some friends for drinks and appetizers.

Sitting in the middle of the lake, connected by three bridges to the resort, this place is not to be missed.  There was a lovely breeze off of the water and terrific views as we caught up with our friends and enjoyed some great conversation.  

I have a full walk through of the lobby, room and Rix and Three Bridges.  Take a look and let me know what you think!

Podcast 4 – Disney Pin Trading

Pixie Dust Fan Podcast Episode 4

Disney Pin Trading

Thank you so much for tuning in to Episode 4!  In this episode Carrie and I chat about pin trading at Disney!  We cover how she got started, how it works and what these big “pin events” are!  

Show Notes and References:

Visit our Amazon store for some of the items we talk about on the podcast here

McDonald’s mobile ordering here

Loblaws Click and Collect here


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

Disney Steps Up After Hurricane Dorian

Hurricane Dorian has ripped through the Bahamas and left immense devestation in its path.  Anyone watching the news coverage has been overwhelmed by the images – I can’t imagine the distress for the people who live there.  Homes and businesses completely destroyed, it’s destruction like we haven’t seen before.

The Walt Disney Company has a special connection to the Bahamas.  Disney Cruise Line ships are registered in the Bahamas and Nassau is a frequent port on the itinerary.  Disney has two private islands in the Bahamas, Castaway Cay and the NEW Lighthouse Point.

Given the ties and love for the Bahamas, The Walt Disney Company led by Disney Cruise Line has committed to donate more than $1 million to help relief and recovery efforts. 

The statement from the company read in part:

“This commitment includes a $1 million donation to non-profit relief agencies who will be undertaking recovery and rebuilding efforts, as well as the provision of supplies – including food staples and basic construction materials – to those in impacted areas.

Earlier today, our Chairman and CEO Bob Iger shared, “The Walt Disney Company stands with the people of The Bahamas affected by Hurricane Dorian.” He went on to say, “We hope our $1 million donation will provide much-needed relief and help our neighbors, colleagues, and all those impacted by this devastating storm begin the long process of recovery as they work to put their lives and communities back together.” 

The Walt Disney Company is a great example of a community leader who stepped up quickly to offer support.

There were questions about Castaway Cay and the cast members who live there, but Disney has confirmed that all cast were safe during the storm.

The cast members were in a storm shelter that was constructed specifically for hurricanes and the winds measured were no worse than a tropical storm.  The logistics of removing the cast from the island would have included boat trips as well as planes to get them out of the bahamas – these were all factors I’m sure in the decision to leave them on the island.  It’s always safety first with Disney.

The president of Disney Cruise Line, Jeff Vahle said:

“The Bahamas is such a special place to us and our guests, and we have watched the devastation created by Hurricane Dorian with concern and heartache.  We stand with the Bahamian people, and especially those in Abaco and Grand Bahama, as they recover from the worst storm to ever make landfall in The Bahamas. As the needs in these communities are assessed, we are prepared to aid the relief and recovery efforts through funding, the provision of supplies and by providing support to our Bahamian Crew Members.”

There are many reasons to love the Walt Disney Company – this is just one more great reason in my opinion.

Hurricane Dorian – Impact on Walt Disney World

Hurricane Dorian has been creating chaos in for a few days now, and with good reason – this is one powerful storm.  The hurricane is making it’s way through the Bahamas and has had devastating impacts to the residents there.

With the storm moving so slowly, forecasters have had trouble knowing when the storm will hit Florida.  The Orlando Airport was first to say they were going to cease operations due to Dorian.  On Friday August 30th they posted they would close on September 1st ahead of the storm.  

This was rather surprising given it was so far in advance – and the forecasters were unable to predict it’s path.  Airlines would not cancel the flights, they were still holding out hope that the path would change and it did.  Orlando Airport decided it would delay the closure until it had more information.

Now that there is a better indication of when the winds and storm will impact Florida – the airport and Theme Parks are altering their operations.

On Tuesday September 3rd – Walt Disney World will have altered operating hours.  The operating hours have changed since the first release of information and you should check the official Disney sites for the most up to date information.

Disney has released the information here and states that there is nothing more important than the safety of the guests and cast members – and that is true.  SAFETY is always first at Disney – ALWAYS.  You should always be checking on any updates to the schedule from Disney directly.  If you are staying at a Disney resort you will get a lot of communication and information – your TV will have updates too.

I was able to witness first hand how Disney handles things during a storm – I was there during Hurricane Irma, and I couldn’t have felt more safe.  They took GREAT care of us, kept us informed and really made sure that first and foremost we were SAFE.

It was an incredible experience, being from Toronto we don’t get that kind of weather.  We were at Bay Lake Tower during the hurricane and rode out the storm and the curfew there.  Here’s a video of what it was like waiting for the hurricane.

Here’s a little tour of the Contemporary grounds after Irma came through.

If you HAVE to be in Florida during a hurricane, you want to be at Walt Disney World.  I know many locals pack up and head to the resorts to ride out the storms.  

If you need information on storms from someone who does NOT try to scare everyone for ratings – THIS is the guy you want to follow on Facebook.  He’s calm, reliable and surprisingly accurate!

For the accurate information on hurricane policies – visit Walt Disney World’s offical site here.

Make sure that you follow the official Walt Disney World page on Facebook for updates on closures and timelines.  

Have you been in Walt Disney World during a hurricane?

Podcast 3 – Top 5 Disney Souvenirs

Pixie Dust Fan Podcast Episode 3

Top 5 Disney Souvenirs

Thank you so much for tuning in to Episode 3!  In this episode Carrie and I chat about what our favorite Disney souvenirs are and what we always buy.  Here we reveal what our top 5 Disney souvenirs are – and why we love them!

Show Notes and References:

Visit our Amazon store for some of the items we talked about on the podcast here

Good Food Subscription here

Art Supplies Subscription here

5 Guys Burgers here

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

It’s Funny How The Universe Works

It’s funny how the universe works isn’t it?  Somehow it brought a bunch of Disney fans together – for a whole new reason.

I have been struggling ever since I quit smoking, I expected to feel better instantly.  I really thought the reason I didn’t feel good all these years was because I was a smoker, and when I quit – I would feel better.  I had all the promises of a ‘healthier you’ and I was really looking forward to walking quickly AND talking at the same time – without sounding like I was going to collapse.  I thought things were going to change fast, I would see the benefits and feel so great – just like I did before I started smoking.  Only problem with that?  I was 30 years YOUNGER when I started smoking and quite a few pounds lighter!

Of course as you age your body doesn’t respond the way you think it should.  In my head I’m still in my 20s, but my body with all of it’s fantastic challenges reminds me EVERY DAY that I am no where near my 20’s.  From the CPAP machine I wake up with to the aches and pains that I just accept when my feet hit the floor.  I have all these dental issues and the RING that doesn’t fit on my finger because of swelling is driving me crazy, yes – I’m getting old.  While I know that I am far from healthy – I also know that the state I’m in is not only because of my age. I’m not taking care of ME.  I take a fist full of vitamins every morning because I want to feel like I’m taking action – but I know it’s not enough.  If I REALLY wanted to take care of ME, I would do more than take a fist full of vitamins every day.

I recognize my metabolism is slowing with age, my digestion is not what it used to be and when I don’t get enough sleep it shows ALL over my face.  My sleep patterns are so different now, I don’t have the desire to party all night long anymore!  I was chatting with my friend the other day about how we now plan for BBQs at 2pm so we can have beer, chat and be home in our beds on the Saturday night by 10pm!  Ya… that’s the glorious life I have now, and I love it!  BUT – it could be better… it could be better if I took CARE of myself and put some focus on ME.

I know all of this intellectually, what I need to do to get healthy – but it STILL wasn’t sinking in!  The Universe had not given up on me though….it was going to MAKE me see the importance of taking care of me, that I needed a little focus … even if I didn’t want to.

So this Friday morning I’m doing my Instagram post – my casual Friday Disney shirt.  What shirt am I wearing?  My Disney snack shirt… to match my Disney snack phone case… I love Disney snacks.  Well… I love ALL snacks which may be part of my problem.

I post the pic to Instagram and scroll facebook before I leave the house – I see a video clip of Mel Robbins telling someone “I don’t believe in diets – I believe in getting healthy”.  I still don’t get it…

I leave the house and get in the car to drive to the Doctor – I’m listening to Tony Robbins tell people that you get stuck in your comfort zone.  That once you define yourself a certain way and SIZE – you will continue to be that way unless you change your thoughts about yourself.  Ya… that’s true I thought… I know a lot of people like that.  I’m still not thinking of ME…

I’m sitting at the Doctor’s office in the waiting room – I needed to just pop in to see him about something for my dentist.  I’m scrolling Pixie Dust Fans group on my phone and I see the most heartfelt post from one of the members – talking about how she was motivated to lose weight after seeing her Photopass pics from her Disney trip, but that she had gained some weight back and knew that the Pixie Dust Fans would be behind her as she focused on getting healthy.  I see a comment that suggests we should create a pixie group for this kind of support.  Imagine that – a group on getting healthy created by ME?  It’s almost laughable…The universe chuckles – “you’re not LISTENING”

I get called in to the room, the Doctor walks in and IMMEDIATELY gives me sh*t for not seeing him over the last 3 years.  He says to me “why are you not taking care of yourself?  I’m proud of you for quitting smoking – but you NEED to have your yearly physical and regular blood work!”.  Ya, ya… ok – I’ll book the physical and do the blood test… whatever to get you off my back. He walks me to reception and MAKES me book the appointment.  Then the Universe drops the hammer.

I get in my car, driving to work and the next podcast comes on.  It’s Pat Flynn talking about about building a community and serving those people who follow you online.  The penny drops – the timing has all been orchestrated for me to realize I need to do this.  I have to create a place for people to support each other to be healthier and maybe then I will be healthier too?

Light. Bulb. Moment.  

It is ALL connected – the podcast, the group, my page – it’s about having more Pixie Dust in your days and FEELING BETTER.  Emotional and physical health… we all want that!  It’s time we support that in each other in creating that in our lives.  This group HAD to be created, and along came Pixie Dust Fans Get Healthy

My mother always said – “old age doesney come alone” (in her Scottish accent) and she was right.  The aging process brings with it a whole  bunch of STUFF that I was not prepared for, but it also brings the wisdom of knowing what you need to do to make your day to day LIFE better!  What a great ride this can be when you share it with a supportive community!  Let’s ALL take care of ourselves – we can DO IT together!  Thank you so much Lauar and Jennifer for inspiring!!

Get Inspired – 8 Travel Bloggers Share Vacation Ideas

What happens when you ask a bunch of expert travel bloggers to share some of their favourite vacations?  You get a whole mixed bag of fantastic information and ideas for your vacation!  

I always find it so fascinating to get different opinions and perspectives given that we all experience vacations differently.  It’s interesting to see what pieces were important to the author and what they focus on.  I think it’s these details that help you find people to follow, when you connect with someone that shares similar views.  I had someone tell me she liked my YouTube room tours because they focus on details that are important to her, but other videos had glossed over.  Funny what little things bring people together!

So if you’re looking for some different perspectives and vacation ideas, I have 8 blogs below that might inspire you!

1.  Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge Food And Drink by Didi

This post spoke to me – of COURSE it did, it’s about Star Wars, food and drink – how could I not be all in?  Didi had a fantastic visit to Galaxy’s Edge in Disneyland when it opened and I have used her post to narrow down the list of things I want to try on my visit.  Surprisingly the beer isn’t calling to me – but the Yub Nub is! 

Check out Didi’s full review here.

2.  Beaches near Disney by Jen

When I was younger we always had a ‘split stay’ vacation in Florida, we would spend a week at a beach and a week at Walt Disney World.  Since I am usually going to Florida for Disney only, I have neglected and sort of forgotten about all the wonderful beaches nearby that you can visit outside of the theme parks.  Why don’t I do this anymore?  

Jen has some great insight in to Siesta Key, read it here.

3.  Jekyll Island with kids by Kayla

So, I have to admit – I had never even HEARD of Jekyll Island until Kayla’s post.  While she focuses on visiting this gem in Georgia with kids, the pictures look so lovely I think I want to go!  It’s obviously a different vacation than I’m used to, but it’s so easy to forget sometimes that there are great places outside of Florida!

Find out what Kayla loves about Jekyll Island here.

4.  White Island Tour by Albion 

This is a trip that’s WAY out of my typical adventures, but it does sound incredible!  An active volcano would be amazing to see up close, but when you look at these pictures you realize HOW CLOSE this tour takes you.   If you’ve got a trip to New Zealand in your future – this is something you really don’t want to miss.  Imagine the stories those kids were telling their friends when they got home?

Read all about Albion’s adventure here.

5.  Tokyo with Kids by Allison

Allison let her tween and teen plan her vacation to Tokyo and you won’t believe the stuff they did.  From a Pokemon Center to the Bullet Train, they spent a full 10 days there exploring.  There are so many things to experience and Allison has listed her 12 things to do in Tokyo with kids.

Find Allison’s List Here

6.  Universal Orlando – Visiting with a family, Lisa’s perspective

Universal is a big tourist destination in Orlando, but a very different experience from Disney of course.  Lisa has some views on why you shouldn’t wait until your kids are older to experience Universal.  I had not tried Mel’s Drive-In when I was visited – this was a great reminder!  

Lisa’s overview of visiting Universal Orlando is here.

7.  Embarkation on Disney Cruise Line from Carrie

From your day bag to security to having your camera ready, Carrie has some great tips and reminders for your boarding process. I have enjoyed so many Disney Cruises that I can’t imagine sailing on any others.  The process, customer service and class – it’s just top notch!

Carrie’s embarkation tips are here.

8.  Disney Cruise Line Spooky Sailing review by Sarah

Sarah shares her insights and reviews from her Halloween on the seas sailing in 2016!  From boarding the ship to being ON the cruise for Halloween night, what a treat!  I have yet to do a Halloween cruise – might have to get one of those booked!

Read Sarah’s review here.

So what did you think?  Have you got some vacation inspiration now?  

Call my friends at Pure Magic Vacations to help you plan your next adventure!

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Garden Grill Breakfast Review

Disney’s Garden Grill Restaurant at Epcot is a hidden gem that I recently discovered.  I’ve always known the restaraunt was there, but it was never a priority for us to try given that there are so many terrific places to eat in Epcot.  I couldn’t decide where I wanted to eat on one of my visits so I asked my Facebook community what I should try and they voted for the Garden Grill.  It was decided – and we promptly made breakfast reservations.

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Since my sister and I were staying at the Boardwalk, we decided to have a bit of a later breakfast and take our time walking over in the morning.  That’s one of the great benefits of staying at one of the Epcot area resorts like the Boardwalk, Yacht Club and Beach Club.   It was a nice walk over and entering through the International Gateway before World Showcase opens is always a great opportunity for some photos with no one in them!  It didn’t take us long before we were at the Land pavillion and walking up to the Garden Grill Restaurant.

The restaurant itslef is circular, and it rotates!  It’s very slight – you can barely notice it – but you need to watch your step when you’re walking on the the platform.

Can you spot the hidden Mickey?

The tables were all facing ‘outward’ so there was no one with their back to the characters as they came around.  We had Mickey, Pluto, Chip and Dale come by and they took their time.  We got to spend some quality time with them taking pictures, they came around twice!  I assume that’s not the normal practice, it might have been because it wasn’t busy when we went – but we weren’t complaining!

Now for the food.  It was delicious.  So good in fact that I now want to go back for dinner to try that!

The server started with our drink order – there were specialty drinks we could have purchased, but I stuck with tea and water.

The fruit bowl came out and the fruit was so juicy and flavorful.

Disney’s Garden Grill Restaurant breakfast fruit bowl

The problem is they brought out the sticky bun – and then I didn’t want to eat anything else.

Garden Grill Sticky Bun

Doesn’t this sticky bun look amazing??

The skillet came out with eggs, bacon, potato barrels, waffles, sausage and a salsa.  There was a chocolate sauce and of course syrup.

Honestly it was way too much food for my sister and I – but we could have ordered more of anything.  That’s the beauty of the family style all you can eat, you can ask for more of whatever you like!  BUT – that can be an issue too… because I could have technically sat there eating all of it all day!

Garden Grill Breakfast at Epcot

There is way too much food for the 2 of us!

The restaraunt was clean, bright and comfortable.  The food was delicious and the character interaction was spot on!  The price – it was $38 USD each + tax for breakfast, in my opinion well worth it.  We had a leisurely breakfast with good food and our ‘friends’ stopped by to take pictures.  All in all, this is now on my list of one of my favorite places to eat at Epcot!

I took some video here that includes shots of the restaurant as it spins and some close ups of the food.

Have you eaten at the Garden Grill in Epcot?  Should I go back for dinner?

Podcast 2 – How To Be Friends With A Disney Fan

Pixie Dust Fan Podcast Episode 2

How To Be Friends With A Disney Fan

Thank you so much for tuning in to Episode 2!  In this episode I am sharing with you the tips and tricks that “non-Disney” friends need to know in order to navigate a friendship with a true Disney fan!  You don’t want to miss this top 10 list!

Show Notes and References:

Disney Purses here

Disney Cutlery here

Katie’s Most Delightful Thoughts Podcast:  http://themostdelightfulthoughtspodcast.libsyn.com

Westjet Mastercard can be found here

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

Podcast 1 – Welcome And Introductions

Pixie Dust Fan Podcast Episode 1

Welcome & Introductions

Thank you so much for tuning in to Episode 1!  In this episode I will share a little about who I am, how I became a Disney fan and what you can expect for future podcast episodes.  It’s a bit nerve wracking – but exciting to share my love of Disney with you in a different way!

Find the podcast on iTunes

Show Notes and References:

Who is Pixie Dust Fan:  https://www.pixiedustfan.com/pixie-dust-fan/

Katie’s Most Delightful Thoughts Podcast:  http://themostdelightfulthoughtspodcast.libsyn.com

Jenna Kutcher’s Podcast:  https://podcast.jennakutcher.com 

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


Subscribe to win! 

Winner will be drawn randomly from all email addresses collected on August 10th.  The winner will be contacted by email to claim their prize and must be claimed before August 17th.  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.

Walt Disney World Grocery Delivery

Groceries for DisneySo you’re heading to Walt Disney World and thinking about how much spending money you’ll need each day for incidentals.  For me – my biggest cost is my bottles of water.  Really, the ‘healthiest’ thing I do is drink plenty of water – I always have a bottle of it with me and when it’s hot out – I drink a ton!  First thing in the morning I drink a full bottle and at $3.50 each, it adds up quickly.   How can I save a little money when I’m at the resort and have a fridge full of it?  The answer is simple – have a case delivered to my resort.

There are a few options for Walt Disney World grocery delivery, here’s a few things you need to know.

1. Charges

There is a $6 USD charge for any deliveries at your Walt Disney World resort for which you need bell services to bring to your room.  If you want to go to bell services to pick up your packages, they are at no charge.   I personally prefer to have them bring them to my room – $6 is worth the convenience to me!  Don’t forget to tip them as well.

There are also delivery charges from the grocery provider, don’t forget to consider those when you are calculating the savings.

2.  Garden Grocer

Garden Grocer is a full grocery store near Walt Disney World that will deliver your groceries to your resort!  It’s a great way to stock up on some of the things you’ll need – without having to rent a car or jump in a cab or Uber to go get it.  You can order juice, bread, snacks, chips, beer/wine and cases of water!  I always place an order before my trip and it’s waiting for me at bell services when I arrive.  They even keep the refrigerated items cold for me!

My typical shopping order when travelling with children includes cases of water, juice, milk, bagels, bananas, cheese slices, chips, granola bars & beer.  Yes, beer – the grown ups enjoy an adult beverage after the kids have gone to bed!  You need to provide proof that you are over 21 for the purchase by submitting a copy of your photo ID.

The delivery fee is currently $14 USD, but there is no minimum order.  Based on my bottled water savings, I’m still coming out WAY ahead by having cases delivered that I can fill our fridge with.  If there’s an item you need that isn’t on the website – no problem, just fill in the special request form and they will let you know what they can get for you.  It’s that simple.  If you order in advance, they also have additional savings based on how far ahead you order it!  

I have ordered ahead from Garden Grocer more times than I can count and I have always been pleased.  My orders always arrive on time and complete – I have never had an issue where I didn’t get an item or the wrong thing arrived.  They always deliver exactly what I ordered.

3.  Amazon

If you are an Amazon Prime member, you can use the Amazon Prime Delivery service!  Amazon Prime NOW can be ordered on short notice – with a 2 hour delivery window, it’s quick!

You can also order with Amazon itself (without the NOW) if you’re not a prime member and that delivery time is generally 2 days.

I don’t normally recommend anyplace other than Garden Grocer or Amazon.  Both are very reputable companies obviously!  Garden Grocer works with all the Disney resorts and is a little more personalized.  You can speak to someone who is local if you want to change/update your order.  That’s why they will always be my first choice.

Have you ordered groceries for your Disney vacation?  


Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance

Rise of the Resistance Star Wars Walt Disney World and Disneyland The dates are IN!  Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance will open in Walt Disney World Resort on December 5th, 2019.   The same attraction will open at Disneyland on January 17th, 2020.

Star Wars Land in both parks has created quite a stir and a lot of hype since they were first announced at the D23 Expo in 2017.   Fans have been anxiously awaiting the opening in both parks.

Disneyland was the first to open in May of this year with Walt Disney World opening it’s version on August 29th.  The challenge with both lands is that the Rise of the Resistance attraction would NOT open with the lands.   As of today – we have the dates for when it will open in both parks!

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Rise of the Resistance is said to be the “most immersive and advanced attraction ever imagined in a Disney Park”.  Given how immersive Flight of Passage is, I can’t imagine what this will be like!  

With components of the attraction including heroes of the resistance, escaping a star destroyer and avoiding Kylo Ren – what could possibly top this?  I don’t know but I can’t WAIT to find out!

Are YOU going to change your vacation dates to be sure you can experience Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance?  Leave me a comment below!

Disney’s Main Street Electrical Parade Returns To Disneyland

Disney’s Main Street Electrical Parade made it’s debut in Disneyland on June 17, 1972 and will be returning for a short time at Disneyland Resort.  Beginning on August 2nd with nightly performances through September 30th, 2019, guests will once again get to experience one of the most beloved parades in Disney history.  

I never had the opportuntiy to see the parade in Disneyland, my memories are from Walt Disney World where a slightly different version of the parade debuted in June of 1977.  Seeing the Main Street Electrical Parade was always really magical.  When you stand on Main Street and see those floats coming with all the LIGHTS, it’s overwhelming.  

As with all of Walt Disney World memories, the Main Street Electrical Parade holds so many great ones for me.  I had ambitions of being IN the parade either driving one of the little bugs, or as a trumpeter!  I think many of us have these goals we remember from our times there as kids.  On one of our Keys to the Kingdom tours we had a VIP guide who told us the story of his first time seeing that parade and how he told his Mum right then and there that one day he would play the trumpet on that float.  Sure enough, after high school he got a job at Walt Disney World, playing a trumpeter on the float.  It was then that he realized they didn’t actually PLAY a trumpet, and that he had made his dreams come true.

Petes Dragon Elliot Main Street Electrical Parade

Pete’s Dragon Elliot was larger than life!

I remember being little watching this parade and being in AWE of Pete’s Dragon Elliot.  He was so overwhelming, so BIG – and one of my favorite movies so it was pretty cool to see.  But the big emotional connection to this parade for me came when I saw it during a trip when I was 10 years old.  My sister Becky, my brother-in-law Keith and his friend Barry took me to Walt Disney World for Easter.  I knew I was going to have a ball – Keith and Barry were like brothers to me and while they were older than me, they totally made a point of coming down to my maturity level!  It was really the first time that we had been away without my Mum and Dad and they were given strict instructions about how to ‘take care of me’ especially in the Florida sun since I was so fair.  I think it may have been day 2 or 3 when I officially had sun stroke.  

Here I am with my sun stroke!

Given that we had limited time at the Magic Kingdom, there was no time for sick days!  The only way to get through it was to get me a wheelchair and keep on going.  There were points in the day that my teeth were chattering because I had such a fever that they had to buy me some Disney towels to wrap myself in to try and ‘warm up’.  I really think they had no idea what to do, and there was no internet to google!

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We sat down to get our spot on Main Street to watch the parade, it wasn’t nearly as busy as it gets today.  It wasn’t our first time seeing the parade but we loved it so much we made sure to see it every time we could.

Cinderella in her coach

Cindrella was in her carriage and Prince Charming was on a different float.  His float had a lighted staircase where he stood at the top holding a pillow with the glass slipper.  As his float passed us, he looked me right in the eye, bowed, and made the gesture of offering the slipper to me.  I was SO excited!  Prince Charming had noticed ME and offered ME the slipper!  I’m not sure why that one moment made me so happy, maybe it was the fever – but I really believed that Prince Charming thought that I was special.  If I close my eyes right now I can see him and feel the excitement all over again.  I remember my brothers making fun of me for being so excited (cause thats what brothers do) and teased me for days about going back to find my Prince Charming!  

Prince Charming Main Street Electrical Parade

MY Prince Charming on his staircase! It’s not the greatest picture, but it’s what I have from that night!

I often think back to that parade, it was a moment – a split second that left such an imprint in my memory and heart.  I felt SO special in that moment and I’m sure that Prince Charming from that float had NO idea what it meant to me.  He had no idea that such a small gesture would lift my spirits and make me feel so special.  I’m sure that 10 year olds now are a little more savvy than I was back then, but I can’t see that parade without thinking about that moment. 

I have so many memories like that from growing up at Walt Disney World that has made me the fan I am today.  Each time I visit there are new experiences, new moments created that give me all the feels – what do they call them in Inside Out?   Ya, that was definately a core memory for me.  

Here’s a look back at what it was like back then!  When was your first trip? 

5 Reasons I Love Disney’s Beach Club Resort

Walt Disney World Resort Beach Club Bed and DeskDisney’s Beach Club Resort at Walt Disney World is everything you could want in a deluxe resort.  While it’s sort of the sister resort to the Yacht Club, it has it’s own unique theme and style that makes it different!

Each Walt Disney World Resort has pros and cons – and some can be very subjective depending on what is important to you for your vacation.

I’ve come up with my TOP 5 reasons why the Beach Club is one of my favorite resorts!

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1  Location

How can you go wrong when you are really a SHORT walk to Epcot?  While there are 3 resorts in this area (The Beach Club, The Boardwalk and the Yacht Club), the Beach Club is the closest to Epcot for walking.  It’s a short stroll via the International Gateway and when you arrive at Epcot it brings you in to World Showcase between the UK and France.  At the end of the night after fireworks it feels so good not to have to wait for a boat, monorail or bus – you can walk back to your room!  It also makes it REALLY handy if you’re spending the day at Epcot and want to pop back for a quick swim in the afternoon, you don’t feel like you’re spending a ton of time travelling.

International Gateway WDW

Take the International Gateway to walk between Epcot and the Yacht Club, Beach Club and Boardwalk Resorts

The other fantastic parts about the location is the ease of walking to the Boardwalk as well as taking the boat to Hollywood Studios!  You can technically walk to Hollywood Studios too – but it’s a bit of a hike in my opinion.  I think your’e better off taking the Friendship Boats!

Disney Friendship Boat Sign

Take the boat from the lighthouse at the resort over to Hollywood Studios!

The Boardwalk is among some of the best places for date night while in Walt Disney World too!


2  The Rooms

The rooms at this resort are a highlight for me.  They are bright, comfortable, large and welcoming.  I love the use of space and the large vanity area along with all of the USB and power outlets in the room!  Here’s the room tour so you can see for yourself!

 3  Activities And Relaxation

Stormalong Bay is shared with Disney’s Yacht Club and has a 230 foot waterslide (one of the highest at Walt Disney World), a lazy river, a sand bottom pool and SO much more!  There is a reason it is so popular that you need a wrist band to prove you’re staying there to use it.  And yes, they check wrist bands!

Stormalong Bay Walt Disney World

One of the best pools on Disney Property. Only resort guests are permitted to use the pool.

Aside from the fantastic water slide and pools, there are plenty of places for a little rest and relaxation!  The Beach has everything you’d need to just breathe… relax, and chill.  One of my favorite things is to sit on the beach here and just watch the boats coming and going.  It’s such a great spot to unwind and take a minute.

Disney Beach Club Beach

Perfect place to just sit back, grab a drink and unwind.

4  The Food

If you’re looking for a terrific buffet – look no further than Cape May!  Here you can find a character breakfast in the mornings, or a great seafood buffet in the evenings!

Cape May Breakfast is character dining too!

And you can’t talk about this place withough mention of Beaches & Cream Soda Shop!  While they serve great food, milkshakes and ice cream – they are BEST known for the Kitchen Sink.  Imagine all the ice cream, toppings and cookies you could get at an ice cream shop thrown in to one big kitchen sink?  You get the idea… you can read my review of this great place here.  I have tried the kitchen sink myself – but I needed help from my friends!!

5  The Villas

This resort is also a Disney Vacation Club Resort, meaning there are villas available as well as regular rooms.  These villas offer 1, 2 and 3 bedroom units for bigger parties that have full kitchens in them as well!  It’s very convenient when we vacation with a larger party – or even when it’s just 4 adults, having the extra space is perfect for us without getting 2 or 3 separate rooms.  We sometimes make breakfast in the kitchen for the kids or some lunch snacks, it’s also great for having the separate bedroom if the kids need to go to bed before the adults are ready!  Check out the tour of the two bedroom unit below!

What do you think?  Have you stayed here before?


Disney’s Copper Creek 1 Bedroom Villa

Disney Wilderness Lodge CourtyardDisney’s Copper Creek 1 bedroom villa was an upgrade I wasn’t expecting.  I was staying at Wilderness Lodge for 1 night before transferring to the Beach Club.  Since it was just me, I had arranged for a standard view studio for the night.

When I arrived at the resort at 7pm – my studio wasn’t ready.  The lovely cast member was doing everything she could to contact someone in mousekeeping to get the room cleaned.  I was tired after my flight and I really just wanted to get in to my room, but it wasn’t her fault.  I left my luggage with bell services and went shopping in the gift shop for a while, I can’t complain about having time to shop.


About 15 minutes later I was coming out of the shop when she called me over – my room was ready.  She winked and said “enjoy” and told me to take the elevators at the end of the lobby to the 7th floor.

Copper Creek Room Number 7117

When I opened the door to room 7117 I could have fallen over.  She had upgraded me to a 1 bedroom villa!  This huge room was all mine for the night, and I was over the moon.  I couldn’t help but think how great this place would be for families.

Given that Wilderness Lodge is just a boat ride from the Magic Kingdom, it’s always been a great location.  If you were going to spend time at the Magic Kingdom, but also wanted to be ‘away’ and not on the monorail line – this resort is perfect.  Don’t miss the opportunity to stop by Geyser Point Bar & Grill for some drinks and terrific views.  It’s just so relaxing!

If you had planned to eat a few meals in your room, or really just want to spread out – these 1 bedrooms are a home away from home.

Walking in to the room you can see the full kitchen equipped with everything you could need to make a full meal.  The dishwasher, full stove and fridge – it was all there.

Copper Creek 1 bedroom villa living room

The living room/dining room were spacious.  Enough space for a family to chill after a meal or at the end of a long day.  That’s what these units are great for, just hanging out.

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There’s a bathroom with a vanity and stand-up shower, but the best part is the second vanity area with a HUGE soaker tub.  This tub was deep, if I had been there longer, I may have tried it out.

Copper Creek Villa Soaker Bathtub

The bedroom was spacious, plenty of storage space and another TV to watch from bed.   The villa has a balcony off of the bedroom, and a second from the living room.

I loved this unit and will recommend it to anyone who is looking to stay near the Magic Kingdom but not on the monorail line.  While the studios are great, this is the perfect option if you wanted a little more room.  I took a full video tour so you could see everything!

Let me know what you think!

Why I Watermark My Photos

Why I watermark my photosA question that I get asked is ‘why do you ruin a good picture by putting your logo on it?’.  My response is usually ‘so people know the source and hopefully come find my blog if they like the picture’.  That’s my politically correct response, but it’s only part of the reason.

The other reason is – people will steal my content.

Just this weekend I created a piece of content for Mother’s Day.  I spent time gathering my magic bands, setting them up (they kept falling over!), just to get the shot of the different ones.  Then I spent time in the photo editor I had making the graphic, deciding on the fonts to use and color filter to apply.  I debated putting lots of logos on it because I thought it was a clever graphic, but I decided my logo at the bottom and my website across the picture was good enough.  I didn’t want to ‘ruin’ the picture as some would say of others I’ve done.

This was my post:

My original Mother’s Day Post. My logo at the bottom and my website in the middle

That same day – I had friends send me this post from a group:

Mothers Day Stolen Content post

The group content

Yes – that is the graphic I spent my time making, and someone deliberately cropped my logo from the bottom AND COVERED my website on the top.  

It was reported to the group admins who replied that the person who posted wasn’t deliberately trying to steal the content – they were following the group rules.  I assume that means the group rules prohibit links/references to other pages and groups.  I get that… but then please don’t share it at all.  

The post was reported to Facebook and eventually the admins removed it from the group.  But not before the post has been downloaded and uploaded again elsewhere… without my logo.  Once the image is out there – it’s done.

Now the altered image is making the rounds instead of my original content

As a creator, I’m thrilled when I see my content being shared and people respond and relate to it.  I just wish that the people who were interacting with it knew where it came from so that they could find me and enjoy more of it.

Some fans have downloaded and uploaded my pictures.  While the social platforms don’t recognize it if it isn’t shared, these individuals do leave my logo there so that others know where it’s from.  I am grateful for that.

This one appears with my logo

What really irks me are the big pages who know better, and are just lazy. I spent hours creating this post because I thought it was fun and engaging:

How fun is this? I had some great comments!

Only to see this post from a page with over a million followers who did this:

Even some people commented “Hey that’s Pixie Dust Fan’s post”

It was not the only time this particular page has taken my content and manipulated it or just copied it.  I didn’t blur out their name because hey – I wouldn’t want to cover their logo, let’s give them credit.

I debated if I was going to comment, post or say anything on Facebook but I decided a blog post was better.  I will reference this blog every time I get the question ‘why do you ruin your pictures’.  It will also serve as a good reminder to me – I need more watermarks that are harder to cover up.  

I appreciate all of the support that I have and people that share my original content.  

THANK YOU Pixie Dust Fans!

Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge My First Look Inside

Big Wheels, Space Invaders, Jack Tripper and Star Wars.  

If you were born in the 70s, just reading that list would make you smile.  I have special memories attached to each one.

  • The boys I had a crush on who rode their Big Wheels in the courtyard in front of my house. 
  • My Mum and Dad arguing with me over the controllers for Space Invaders that we played on the one TV we had.
  • Every week laughing at Jack, Janet and Chrissy while I ate ketchup chips washed down with a can of Coke
  • Seeing Star Wars for the very first time with my brother as I idolized Leia and fell in love with Han Solo.

Each memory brings such emotion, and this is why I cried on April 30th when I stepped behind the wall and saw Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.

I was invited to a social media event that had us touring resorts, tasting menus and attending presentations about all of the amazing things coming to Walt Disney World this year.  It was an incredible adventure, full of surprises and activities that I am so grateful that I was a part of.

Social Media Event Check In #DiscoverWDWMagic


One of the days on our itinerary said we were going to Hollywood Studios for “Guest speakers on Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and a look into the future of Hollywood Studios”.  I was so excited to read that we were going to be talking about Star Wars, but I almost FAINTED when I read that we needed to be wearing pants and closed toe hard sole shoes.  WHAT??  That can’t be.  Are we going to a construction site??  In my head I’m thinking to myself “don’t get excited, it’s not going to be that, it can’t POSSIBLY be that, you are NOT going to see Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge”.


And then they tell us, we’re GOING IN to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.  I almost hyperventilated. 

We walked through the door on the right. Lots of activity going on before we went through!


We were divided in to small groups of 5 to go inside.  We had our Disney guide (who had been with us for the social media event) and then we had 2 people from Imagineering who could tell us about the land and answer questions .  We were given safety glasses and reminded that there could be no photos.  My safety glasses are now a treasured souvenir!

I will hold on to these safety glasses as a souvenir of a wonderful day!

As we entered through the door, we could see a HUGE model of Galaxy’s Edge on a table.  The model is used for the purposes of painting and carving the rock work in the land.  The model itself was about 3 years old and some of buildings that were on it had not made it to the final phase. 


We got ‘oriented’ by looking at the model to see where we were in the land.  We were in the shadows and the sunlight was streaming in under the archway that we were about to walk through.  As we walked down the path and stood in the sun, I was overwhelmed.  

While I have no pictures to share, I can tell you that this land is like nothing I had imagined.  We have all seen the artist drawings, the concept art and every little nugget and fly over by a drone that’s been leaked.  What you can’t get from all of those things is the SIZE of this land, everything was bigger than I expected.  From where we stood, we could only see a fraction of the 14 acre land, and it was incredible.  

Star Wars Galaxys Edge

Of course there are all of the Disney details in Galaxy’s Edge including footprints from some kind of creature on Batuu.  The storytelling is on point with only one spire being black that serves as sort of the organizing place on Batuu.  If you need fuel or to make a trade, you go to the Black Spire Outpost.   The dome and the walls of the cantina will be scarred by the pilots who failed to put the Falcon down properly.  I stood in awe listening to all of the details they shared, including that we have Rex from the old Star Tours as a DJ in the cantina!

As we turned to leave, I was holding back the emotion that was taking over.  The lovely girl that was with us whispered in my ear “it’s okay to cry, many have cried when they see it”.  So, I did.  I had to share my thoughts with everyone right away – so I put on my sunglasses and went live on Facebook.  I don’t even think I made sense, I just had to tell everyone!

For every one of us who wanted to be a Jedi, Galaxy’s Edge is everything we dreamed of and more.  While we may pushing 50 – we are all going to be kids again when we visit Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.

Can you imagine taking your friends to Galaxy’s Edge?  Bob Iger took some special guests, oh to be a fly on those walls!

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opens in Disneyland on May 31st and Walt Disney World on August 29th with the Millennium Falcon:  Smugglers Run attraction.  The Rise of the Resistance attraction will open later in the year.  

Are you excited about Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge?   Do YOU have a trip booked to go?  If you don’t – contact my friends at Pure Magic Vacations for a quote!  May the force be with you!


Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge Extra Magic Hours

EXTRA EXTRAThis fall, guests of Disney Resort hotels and other select hotels will have more opportunities to take advantage of the Extra Magic Hours with a new limited time EXTRA EXTRA Magic Hours!

This new benefit WILL include Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.  I will include other experiences at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Magic Kingdom – but really, the big ticket is Star Wars. 

Hollywood Studios:

September 1 – November 2nd the park will have these new Extra, Extra Magic hours between 6am and 9am for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge as well as Toy Story Land attractions.

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge officially opens on August 29th.  From August 29-31st the park will be open at 6am for EVERYONE – not just resort guests.  You can expect long lines and the park reaching capacity early in the day.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom – Extra, Extra Magic Hours will happen daily Aug. 29-Nov. 2, from 7-8 a.m., featuring Pandora – The World of Avatar and other attractions throughout the park (same as today’s morning Extra Magic Hours offerings).

Magic Kingdom – Extra, Extra Magic Hours are scheduled every day between Aug. 29th to Nov. 2nd between 7 and 8 am.

The Extra, Extra Magic Hours benefit is open to those guests staying at a Walt Disney World Resort who also have a valid theme park ticket.

It’s important to note that not all Walt Disney World attractions are available with the Extra Magic Hours benefit.  Disney is working to curb some of the influx of guests that will arrive with the opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and I think this is the first step in doing so.

Are you visiting Walt Disney World for the opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge?

How excited are you?


15 Disney Facebook Group Posts That Irritate Me

Disney Facebook GroupsIf you’re a Disney Fan, you probably belong to a bunch of Facebook Groups dedicated to Disney.  I’m sure you would agree that some are better than others, but it’s more than just the admins that make them good or bad, it’s the members.  I had to remove myself from a handful of these groups because I was so irritated by some of the posts that were becoming more and more frequent.  

Here are the top 15 posts that irritate me in Disney Facebook Groups

1.  And GO! 

This is a post I see in a lot of groups, not just Disney.  Something like “Where should I eat dinner tonight?  AND GO!”.  What does this mean?  Go where?  Did you just start a race to answer your question?  Where is the “On your mark, get set” part?


Disney Race

2.  Has anyone ever….

Think about your question for a moment.  You’re in a group of DISNEY FANS – asking ‘has anyone ever eaten at Be Our Guest’, the only acceptable answers are “Yes” and “No”.  You didn’t ask for our opinion, you didn’t ask what our favourite dish is – you asked if we had eaten there.  Yes, we have.


3.  Bye Felicia Posts

I actually had to google this to find out why this was a thing (apparently it’s a line from a movie).  We’ve all seen it, a post gets heated and the original poster says “I’m leaving” and 200 other people come back with stupid memes that say “Bye Felicia”.  It drives me crazy!  They are leaving your group – let it go and move on!  Why keep the post alive so you can all demonstrate how ‘cool’ you are by not caring about the stranger online who doesn’t want to talk to you anymore?

#MobMentality #YoureNotCool

4.  The . or “following”

You do NOT have to add a comment to get notifications on a post.  Go to the top right corner of the thread, pull down the box and “turn notifications on”.  For those of us that HAVE turned the notifications on, I don’t want a notification of your ‘following’ post.


Turn On Facebook Notifications5.  There is garbage in my room!!!  What do I do??

Okay – so you’re in Walt Disney World, and the garbage in your room was not emptied by Mousekeeping when they made your beds.  Should you:

1.  Go to your favourite Facebook Group online and ask 7,000 people for their opinions?

2.  Pick up your in-room phone 10 feet from where you’re standing and ask to speak to someone in Mousekeeping so they can come and empty it?

3.  Wait until you get HOME from your trip and then go to your favourite Facebook group and ask 7,000 people what you should do about it?

You would be surprised how often this post appears in some groups!  They usually turn in to an argument when there are 3000 opinions that vary from “You’re in Disney, be happy about that” to “I would demand a full refund because that ruins your stay!”.  The debate gets heated and the Bye Felicia posts start or the bullies come jump on the bandwagon.

#HelpYourself #SolveYourProblem

6.  I’m not selling posts

When you post a picture of the t-shirt you made with “I’m not selling it” and include a link to where you can buy it, you’re selling.  Don’t try to say you’re looking for opinions or feedback – it’s obvious.


7.  Guest Shaming

Yes it is extremely rude to take your shoes off and put them on the furniture – but I don’t need a picture of it.  The topic has been done 7,432 times and apparently (based on the comments) the people in the group would NEVER do this so you’re not providing a public service here.  Move on and stop sharing random pictures of stranger’s feet!


8.  Seats on the bus  

How many times have you seen the post “I was on the bus and my mother was standing and no one offered her a seat!  I’m outraged!”.  I was raised to give up my seat to anyone who looked like they needed it, many other people were too – you just didn’t get one of us on your bus.  The people who are at home and replying to your post are not offering any solutions or making it better.  Unfortunately there are inconsiderate people everywhere, this is a transit problem, not a Disney problem and could be debated till the cows come home.


Standing Room Only

If you want a guaranteed seat, get a Minnie Van.

9.  “Why is it so expensive”

Ummm… what kind of answer are you expecting?  Did you really want me to detail the attractions, parks, resort benefits and food quality to explain the price?  Or do you just want me to click your Go Fund Me link to donate so that it isn’t expensive for YOU?  You need to figure out how to afford your own trip.


10.    Can I break the rules?

“Can I put 6 people in a room that they say only sleeps 4 people?”

“Can I add lifts to my kids shoes so he’s tall enough for the ride?  He really wants to try the big ones.”

No.  Just no.  The room is a fire code and the height requirement is there so your child doesn’t get HURT.  The rules are there for a reason – follow them.



11.  I know you’re not supposed to, but…..

‘How can I use the pool at the Beach Club?  I’m staying at All Stars’

‘Can I park for free at the Contemporary Resort and walk to the Magic Kingdom?  I don’t want to pay for parking at the park’

‘How can I stay in the Magic Kingdom for the Christmas party if I didn’t buy a ticket?  Can I just wait in the stores till the parade?’

If you want a deluxe pool, stay at a deluxe resort.  If you want to park at the Contemporary, stay at the Contemporary.  If you want to go to the party, buy a ticket.  It’s really that simple.  Stop asking people to help you find a loophole to do something you know is wrong.

#TheyWillFindYou #YouGetWhatYouPayFor

12.  What’s the weather like?

Honestly – it depends what weather forecast you look at as no two are ever the same.  Try Google – and decide which one you want to believe.  I can guarantee you that most of the responses you get are screen shots of weather apps and sites that people found on google.

#TryGoogle. #GoogleIsYourFriend

Weather at Disney

Unless you’re at the Christmas Party of course!

13.  Cross Posting

When you’re a big Disney fan you belong to a bunch of different groups.  So when someone posts the SAME post in 6 different groups, I see the post 6 different times!  Please just pick one group and post it in there, or at the very least change the question slightly so it’s not so obvious it’s a duplicate?


14.  I need Pixie Dust

I know this might sound harsh, but the endless posts from people asking for Pixie Dust for their sick mother, dog, uncle or friend is sad.  It makes me sad to read those stories and see the pain that people are in.  While I don’t want to dismiss their pain, it’s not why I joined a Disney group.  I joined the Disney group to remind me of my happy place, not feel sorrow for strangers in their most difficult times.  I do have empathy for you, but this isn’t the place.

#IKnowItsSelfish #ThisIsWhyIDontWatchTheNews

15.  I need a name…

So you got a dog, cat, fish or turtle and need a ‘Disney Name’ for it.  Congratulations on your pet!  If you’re responsible enough for a pet – I trust you can handle the responsibility of naming it.  If you need suggestions – google “Disney Dog Names”.


My biggest fear when I started my Pixie Dust Fans group was that it would turn in to one of ‘those’ groups.  I knew that I didn’t have enough time to moderate it, but fans of my page were asking me to create one.  It turns out that it’s a fantastic group of people who have no drama, all fun and are really NICE to each other.  I’m so happy to watch it grow and only hope I don’t get too many of these posts!

How many of these drive you crazy too?  Leave me a comment and let me know if I missed any!

Disney Dollars – A Rare Disney Collectible!

Disney Dollars Cover

You’ve probably heard it said that Disney has a license to print money! Well, that’s true . . . not long ago they actually did print their own money!

Disney Dollars could be purchased in plenty of Disney locations and guests could spend them in a variety of ways!

1990 $1 Bill D

Almost a decade ago I wrote a blog about Disney Dollars. I asked readers to imagine they were at the Happiest Place on Earth with a pocketful of cash!

What could be better? How about being at the Happiest Place on Earth and that pocketful of cash had pictures of your favorite Disney characters!

1990 $5 Bill D

I asked them to imagine that they had a pocketful of Disney Dollars. How cool would that be? Almost like a pocketful of Pixie Dust!

My wife Carol used to keep Disney Dollars on hand to use for special gifts . . . sometimes when friends or family were heading on a Disney vacation, their birthday or anniversary gift from us would include a small envelope stuffed with a few Disney Dollars. Everyone was always delighted with a gift of Disney Dollars.

1990 $10 Bill D

Alas, that all came to an end in 2016. The last Disney Dollars were sold on May 14, 2016. Those wonderful little sheets of spendable Pixie Dust were replaced by plastic gift cards . . . most Disney fans said “BAH HUMBUG”!

Can I still buy Disney Dollars?

Yes, but not from Disney.

2001 $10 Bill A

Disney Dollars used to be available at Guest Relations in all the Florida theme parks and water parks. At Disneyland they were available at one cashier location in The Emporium.

There is, however, an active market where Disneyana Collectors can buy old specimens. Check out a few online shopping sites, like e-Bay or Amazon to see how valuable Disney Dollars have become.

2002 $1 Bill A

Can I still spend Disney Dollars?

Yes, you can . . . but I don’t recommend it!

The last I heard, Disney Dollars were still accepted at ticketing locations, food & beverage venues, merchandise locations, recreation areas, resort concierge desks, resort front desks and Guest Relations at all theme parks and water parks. Since they haven’t been in active circulation for several years I wouldn’t be at all surprised if you got a ‘deer-in-the-headlights’ look from some of the newer cast members when you present a Disney Dollar to pay for something.

2002 $5 Bill A

I’m sure they are still accepted at Guest Services . . . but don’t forget, they are worth a lot more than ‘face value’ to collectors.

Let’s look back at the history of Disney Dollars.

They were first released to the public on May 5, 1987. The bills came in $1 and $5 denominations from 1987 to 1989 but in 1990 they added the $10 bill to the list.

2003 $10 Bill A

As I said earlier, they very desirable items for Disney memorabilia fans. Naturally Carol is an avid Disney collector so she has set aside a nice variety of Disney Dollars in her permanent collection. You can take a closer look at her collection here: http://www.carol-anne.ca/Disney Dollars.htm

Over the years some of the series featured specific themes such as park anniversaries or pirates and princesses. The Disney artists who designed the notes never missed a trick as they strove for the “cuteness factor”.

2008 $10 Bill A

Disney Dollars were printed on high quality bank note paper and incorporated anti-counterfeiting features such as microprinting, and hard to scan/copy reflective ink with embossed imprinting on the front and back of the bill. In addition the bills were printed with serial numbers and letters which were unique to each bill. Disney Dollars created for Disneyland in Anaheim bore a serial number beginning with A and those created for Walt Disney World in Florida and The Disney Stores began with D and T respectively.

In 2005 only, Disneyland (A) and Walt Disney World (D) released $50 bills that were designed by Disney artist Charles Boyer for Disneyland’s 50th Anniversary Celebration. Mr. Boyer personally signed a number of these bills and a signed copy is a very valuable collectible indeed!

New Disney dollars were been produced every year from 1987 to 2014, except 1992, 2004, 2006 and 2010. In 2011 the only bill produced was the $1 denomination.

2011 $1 Bill F

Disney Dollars have even been portrayed in cloisonné pin form for Disney Pin Collectors . . . and yes, Carol has quite a few of these too!

Disney fans everywhere were disappointed when Disney announced the end of this truly unique form of currency back in May 2016. These wonderful little bits of Disney magic were permanently replaced by dull plastic gift cards.

Trading Pins 1

Of course, Disney are masters at marketing . . . and they’ve discovered that if gift cards are cute enough, they too can become collectible . . . so those dull plastic cards have brightened up a great deal over the past few years!

Trading Pins 2

Do you have any Disney Dollars tucked away in your collection of Disney memorabilia?

If you do, be sure to take very good care of them because they’re quickly becoming irreplaceable!


Gary Cruise

Gary Cruise

Gary is a retired banker who lives in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. He first visited Walt Disney World in 1977 and has returned many, many times over the years. Since retiring he and his wife Carol enjoy the parks a number of times each year. They especially like staying at Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground with their Shetland sheep dogs.


Disney’s Magic Kingdom Sleepy Hollow – The Hidden Gem

Sleepy Hollow with CastleSleepy Hollow in the Magic Kingdom can be easily overlooked.  Located just off to the left of the castle, you’re often so focused on the castle you don’t notice this little treasure!  Trust me, after looking at the menu and seeing my pictures, you’ll add this to your list of places to visit!

Located often in the shadows of Cinderella Castle, Sleepy Hollow is just inside of the entrance to Liberty Square.   A quick service location with a menu of snacky food – what could be better than that?

Dining plans are not accepted at this location, always check the official Disney pages for up to date information on inclusions and exclusions.

It’s no secret that I like to snack, I love cupcakes and all sorts of sweets!  So this fresh fruit waffle is exactly what I need!

Sleepy Hollow Waffle

Somehow with the fruit on it I feel like it’s healthy??

Honestly, the fruit just makes it feel like it should be considered a healthy option – but the chocolate spread is what kinda makes me suspect it isn’t.

If you’re looking for a little protein, there is a sweet and spicy chicken sandwich.  On a waffle… Yes – on a waffle with some slaw – and it’s as delicious as it looks.

Sleepy Hollow Chicken Waffle

The chicken was cooked perfectly!

I think you’re supposed to fold these up and eat them like a sandwhich, but they’re just too big.  We had to use a knife and fork for them – and we probably could have shared it.

For the hot dog lover in our group he had to get the pretzel dog.  He said that was good, but maybe not the best dog he’s ever tasted.  I think this place should probably be more about the waffles.  Casey’s has great hot dogs if that’s what you’re after.

Sleepy Hollow Dog

Comes with the house made chips

The menu itself is small but it’s worth stopping by.  I only wish that there was more seating in the area to enjoy the food and the view.

Sleepy Hollow Menu

Have you eaten at Sleepy Hollow?  What did you have?  That Ice Cream sandwich is calling to me!


Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel And Spa – 5 Reasons To Stay

Disney Grand Californian SignAs a frequent Walt Disney World visitor, I always struggle with selecting a resort when I’m going to Disneyland.  I always start by looking at Disney’s Paradise Pier or Disneyland Hotel, I’ve even looked at offsite options too, but the Grand Californian always seems to be screaming my name.   While I have yet to try the others, I’m comfortable sharing why I think you should stay at Disney’s Grand Californian.

My top 5 reasons you should stay at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel and Spa

1.  The Rooms

These rooms are a fair size, plenty big for 4 adults to share if needed.  On my recent trip there were 3 of us and we had lots of room.  There was even plenty of space for 3 women to have all their toiletries at the vanity! 

Grand Californian Vanity

The vanity area – we had no problem storing all of our stuff!

The beds are queens and we couldn’t even use all the drawer space we had.  Your luggage can be stored under the bed – leaving space for other things (like shoes and purchases) in the hall.   The decor and artwork was fun, and not over the top, there was a classy elegance with Disney inspiration.

Disney's Grand Californian Room

Room under the bed to store your luggage!

And the sofa bed?  How CUTE is it?

Grand Californian Sofa Bed

The sofa bed was so cute – and could sleep an adult in a pinch if they weren’t too tall.

2.  The Arrival

There is something about pulling up to this resort, walking through that big entrance and seeing that magnificent lobby, the grandeur of it all is breathtaking.  Lots of seating to relax in the lobby and you can get food and drinks there too! 

Grand Californian Piano Player

The piano music was a great touch in the lobby

If you’re there in the evenings and the piano player is there, you’re in for a treat!  With those ceilings and open space, the acoustics are amazing!

3.  The Amenities

Granted, I have not swam in the pool or taken advantage of the gym (who DOES that on vacation??) – but the amenities are great for those who want them!  The pool, the gym, the spa (why have I not done that?) Valet parking and the laundry rooms are all there to make your stay more magical.  WiFi is available throughout the hotel, I never had an issue connecting.

Grand Californian Carpet

The carpet in the hall – it’s so FUN! Can you spot the characters?

4.  California Adventure Park Special Entrance 

A special entrance to Disney’s California Adventure Park is a nice touch.  As a Walt Disney World guest, you can’t get anywhere NEAR that close to a park from your resort.  Even with the Beach Club or Bay Lake Tower – it’s still quite a walk to a park.  With this entrance – you are 30 steps from security to the inside of the park.  It’s amazing and unbelievably convenient.

Grand Californian Security to California Adventure

This is the security entrance and the hotel – taken from INSIDE of California Adventure Park

5.  Location, location, location

Aside from the entrance to California Adventure Park, you are right IN Downtown Disney.  All of that shopping and food is right at your doorstep!  We walked out one night for cupcakes at Sprinkles and another night for a pretzel to take back to the room, the pretzel was still hot!

Grand Californian Shopping

Shopping was a bit TOO easy at Downtown Disney!

It was a 15-20 minute (or so) walk to Walgreens to grab a few cases of water and a $7 Lyft ride back.  It was a leisurely walk and we saw all the other offsite properties that we had looked at staying at.

Disneyland Walk to Walgreens

The walk to Walgreens, all these palm trees – you KNOW you’re on vacation then!

The walk through Downtown Disney to the park entrances is quick, you’re really right there.  If you wanted to pop back to your room for an hour to rest, you could do it so easily!  Where else can you walk to a castle and back to your room without breaking a sweat?  You could just walk in to get a churro and back to the pool if you wanted!

Disneyland Drive

It’s all about location!

There you have it – my top 5 reasons for staying at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel and Spa.  Have you stayed here?  

Check out my room tour here 

runDisney Virtual Series Celebrating 80 Years Of Marvel

Calling all superheroes: It’s time to begin training to save the world… or at least earn some hardware that would make The Collector jealous!


Registration for runDisney’s 2019 Virtual Race Series opened on March 29, 2019 and I jumped at the chance to register for this awesome challenge with incredible bling. runDisney is hosting the Virtual Series this summer, celebrating 80 years of Marvel with incredible Iron Man, Black Panther, and Captain Marvel themed medals. But what is a virtual run?

runDisney Virtual Run

The virtual series allows you to participate in one or all of the virtual 5Ks from wherever you are. There is no race course, no race day, and no travel required. You can choose to run, walk, or jog your 5K around your neighborhood, on your lunch break, or even on the treadmill. You are given one month to complete your 5K, for example: the Captain Marvel themed 5K has to be completed between June 1-30, 2019. Completion is based on the honor system, but you can submit your time on runDisney’s finisher website and download your race certificate once you’re done.


The virtual series is made up of 3 Marvel-themed 5K’s: Captain Marvel in June, Iron Man in July, and Black Panther in August. You can sign up for any of those runs individually or you can sign up for the Virtual Series Challenge where you completed all 3 and earn a bonus 4th medal for the Challenge.

RunDisney Dopey Medal

This was my bling from the runDisney I did at Walt Disney World!

The runDisney Virtual Series is a great introduction to runDisney events and a great way to bring a little Disney magic to your summer while at home. It is also a good way to train for other races, kick-start a new goal, or build up your walking stamina for those long park days in your future. If you’re new to running or new to runDisney events, I promise once you received your first medal, you’ll be hooked. The bling alone is one of my favorite reasons to run!


I love the simplicity and inclusivity of these virtual events. It allows you to participate from wherever you are, gives you the flexibility of a month to fit one 5K into your schedule, and can be done at whatever fitness level you are at.

runDisney Medals

I have participated in a ‘few’ runDisney events!

I signed up for the runDisney Virtual Series Challenge and I can’t wait to share the details with you throughout the summer. I would like to challenge you to sign up for one of these events with me! If you’re up for the task, sign up for any of the 2019 runDisneyVirtual Series events or the challenge. I’ll be checking in throughout the summer months and if you complete any of the events, I’ll enter you in a draw to win a fun, Marvel themed prize at the end of the summer!

Are you with me??  Who is IN?

Let me know on my Facebook Page if you’re going to join the challenge!


RunDisney Jamie Patrick

Showing Mickey my medals!

To book your next magical vacation with Jamie – contact her at JamieP@puremagicvacations.ca


Disney Parks Ban Wagons And Smoking

There are rules you need to follow when you visit Disney property.  Whether its a resort, theme park or shopping district – they have rules in place to ensure a safe and happy environment for all guests.

Disney Know Before You Go

As you would expect, these rules need to be updated and refreshed at times.  The changes in the spring of 2019 are outlined below:

1.  Loose and Dry Ice is not permitted

Disney Ice Not Permitted

I can only assume this was difficult at security check points to search.

If you’re planning to bring a cooler to the park with some food or beverages you must use reusable ice packs.  You can no longer fill up your cooler with loose or dry ice.  Keep in mind your cooler cannot be bigger than 24″ long x 15″ wide x 18″ high.

2.  Stroller Size Restrictions

Stroller Size Disney

Strollers can not be any larger than 31″ wide and 52″ long.  Many strollers on the market fit within these guidelines including double jogging strollers.

Pixie Dust Fan Amazon Store

Shop my wish list of products!

3.  Wagons are prohibited

Wagons At Disney

Wagons were not allowed in the parks (something you pull behind you) but then there came ‘stroller wagons’ that you could push.  Disney has specifically called out wagons of any kind – they are no longer allowed in the parks.

4.  Disney Parks Are Now Non-Smoking

Disney Bans Smoking

No smoking inside Walt Disney World or Disneyland theme parks, water parks, ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex or Downtown Disney in California.

As of May 1, 2019 Diney Parks in both Florida and California will be smoke free.  Designated areas will be provided outside of the parks.

I can’t tell you how happy I am that I quit smoking last year.  This would have been really difficult for me to deal with – not being able to smoke in the parks.  I know the smoking areas need to be out of the way – I’m just not sure they had to be OUT of the parks!  I guess we’ll see what they have planned when it rolls out on May 1st.

Disney Rules

You can always find the rules on Disney’s official websites

Are you impacted by these changes?



Pixie Dust Fan Cruise

Disney Dream ShipJoin us on the Disney Dream for the FIRST EVER Pixie Dust Fan cruise January 20, 2020!  I thought it would be fun to get a bunch of Pixie Dust Fans on the same sailing!

Sailing from Port Canaveral, Florida – this 4 night itinerary has something for everyone!

Day 1 – Depart from Port Canaveral Florida 

Day 2 – Nassau, Bahamas

Day 3 – Disney Castaway Cay

Day 4 – Day at Sea

Day 5 – Disembark – Port Canaveral 

Enjoy meeting other Pixie Dust Fans with exclusive meet-ups, group gatherings and special surprises only when you book your cruise with Pure Magic Vacations.  

If you have ever thought about going on a cruise and you’re a Pixie Dust Fan – this is the one for you!  Experience all of the fantastic things that Disney Cruise Line has to offer, and sprinkle in some new friends from the community you belong to online.  

I can’t wait to see you on board!  Should we meet for soft serve ice cream first?  Or a drink in the lounge?  These decisions… they are hard ones!


Want to join us?  Request a quote here


Geyser Point Bar and Grill Review

Geyser Point Bar and Grill at DuskGeyser Point Bar & Grill at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Resort is one of my favourite places on Disney property to relax, unwind and have a drink.

This bar has everything you could possibly want  for a little escape from the parks and the hustle and bustle.  The views are lovely and peaceful – the water is calming and there are both indoor and outdoor seating areas. 

Geyser Point tables

Comfy atmosphere and seating to settle in for a bit and chill

The food is delicious!  Quinoa is not something I would normally eat… but ya, it’s good!!

Geyser Point Crispy Chicken Sandwich

The crispy chicken sandwich is amazing – highly recommend!

Chicken sandwich is a big YES PLEASE

Drinks?  Oh my… I don’t hide it, I’m usually a beer drinker and I love Bud Light Lime.  BUT they have plenty of other fabulous beers and cocktails worth trying.  

Geyser Point Huckleberry Punch

The Huckleberry Punch is worth trying!

One afternoon we sat here for a couple of hours (yes, we enjoyed ourselves!) and we watched people come and go and try all sorts of different drinks.  Yes, for people watching this is a good spot too!

Geyser Point Bar

Bar area with TVs

TVs are available over the bar for the times when there’s a sports event you don’t want to miss?  I think they had some football game on when we were there, or maybe it was basketball?  I’m not sure – I wasn’t really paying attention!

The staff are very welcoming.  Happy to suggest a new drink to try, food to eat… or to take a picture of you!

Geyserb Point Cast Members

We asked him to take our picture!

It was hilarious – we asked our server if he would mind taking our picture and this is what we got!  We were laughing so hard at the total photobomb.  He was wonderful, funny, attentive and entertaining.  What more could you ask for?

Have you checked out Geyser Point Bar and Grill yet?  What are you waiting for?

Why The PeopleMover Is One Of My Must Do Attractions At The Magic Kingdom

PeopleMover SignIf you’re visiting the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World, make sure you  take a ride on the PeopleMover!  

The PeopleMover first opened in the Magic Kingdom in 1975 and has had a few names since then.  It started as the WEDway PeopleMover and changed to the Tomorrowland Transit Authority (TTA) in 1994.  In 2010 it was renamed to the Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover and continues to have that name today.  

This classic attraction was ahead of it’s time using technology that uses magnets to propel the vehicles along the track (I am really over simplifying here!).  This pollution free technology was was developed by WED Enterprises, the original version of Disney Imagineering.  

Fun Fact:  The WED stands for Walter Elias Disney. 

This PeopleMover attraction is located in Tomorrowland and has no height restrictions, all of the little ones can experience it.  The only restriction is that you must be ambulatory – you have to be able to walk on to the attraction and sit in the vehicle.  There is a spinning platform that moves at the same speed as the vehicle, but please be careful if you’re not too steady on your feet. 

PeopleMover Seats

These vehicles move at the same speed as the moving platform


Once ‘on board’ the PeopleMover you will travel around Tomorrowland getting some pretty unique views that you can’t get anywhere else.  You will travel through Space Mountain and Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin and see these attractions from a different perspective. 

Cinderella Castle From PeopleMover

The view of Cinderella Castle is gorgeous both day and night!


Seeing Cinderella Castle and Astro Orbiter from here makes for some great photos!  My favourite part of this entire experience is when you enter in to a tunnel for a look at Progress City.

Progress City is the very detailed model of what Walt’s vision for Epcot was in the beginning.  While it looks nothing like the Epcot that we know and love today, it gives you a glimpse of what Walt was trying to accomplish – to build a real community of tomorrow.  It’s fascinating to me how forward thinking he was.

Astro Orbiter from PeopleMover

A GREAT view of Astro Orbiter from the PeopleMover


The full journey around Tomorrowland on the PeopleMover is approximately 10 minutes and very rarely has a long wait.  It’s the perfect spot to enjoy some shade from the sun, some great views and a little relaxation! 

Is the PeopleMover on your list of must do attractions at the Magic Kingdom?  How many times do you ride in a visit?

Review: Copper Creek Studio at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Resort

Wilderness Lodge LobbyStaying in a Copper Creek Studio was something I was really looking forward to.  Disney’s Wilderness Lodge is a fantastic resort with so many great amenities that I needed to check out the studios.

The resort itself is of course, gorgeous.  When you walk in to the lobby you are overwhelmed by how beautiful it is.  With the big fireplace in the corner, I could sit there for hours and never leave the lobby!

Wilderness Lodge Fire Place

It’s a great place to chill out for a bit in a nice rocking chair!

We made our way to room 4111 by taking the elevators at the end of the lobby.  The walk to our room wasn’t long, and the hallways were relatively quiet at all times.  I don’t find this lobby to be particularly noisy anyway, but you certainly couldn’t hear any sounds from it in our room,

When you open the door to the studio it seems quite long.  There’s a little kitchenette with fridge, toaster and microwave.  Having it along the wall made use of the available space nicely.

Copper Creek Room From Doorway

The room is quite long when you open the door. They have made good use of the space.

The bathroom/vanity were rustic looking and big.  I loved the tiles in the bathroom and the vanity area was big enough for 2 women unpacking their toiletries!

The bed was comfortable as was the couch.  Having the USB ports in the end tables is always a big plus for us.  We need a lot of charging outlets.

Copper Creek Studio Villa Bed

They were both comfortable, in fact maybe a little too much!

Our view from our balcony was overlooking the water just outside of the main building, it made for a nice place to sit and relax!

Copper Creek View From Balcony

We really enjoyed sitting on our balcony. This was nice and quiet, never many people around in this area.

If I had to pick one thing that we didn’t enjoy about the room, it was hearing our neighbours talking.  Totally not their fault, but I think that the hardwood floors allowed the sound to travel between our rooms under the connecting door.  Not a huge deal, but I could see this being an irritant to some. 

Overall, we enjoyed our stay here, but I think a lot of the enjoyment was the resort itself.  We made the most of the resort by having dinner with Snow White, having drinks and snacks at Territory Lounge and spending an afternoon at Geyser Point Bar and Grill.  

See the video tour below of the studio.  Have you stayed in one?

Storybook Dining with Snow White at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

Story Book Dining TableCharacter dining is always a fun thing when you visit Walt Disney World, and Storybook dining with Snow White might be just what you’re looking for!

Located at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge resort, this dinner has the theming nailed.  Artist Point has been transformed in to the Enchanted Forest with many details from the ceiling to the table that immerse you in the experience.

Story Book Dining Artist Point

It really is a forest!


First lets talk characters.

Snow White, Dopey and Grumpy all make stops at your table for pictures.  Throughout the meal there are a couple of intervals for songs and a little dance, and then the Evil Queen appears.  She will not come to your table and waits at the photo op in the middle of the restaurant.  Your server will tell you that she does NOT like to be approached and you must wait to be invited, which happens to be when you’ve paid the bill they will ‘invite’ you to see her before you go. 

Snow White Dinner

I was excited to meet each one of them, well – except the Queen! She was a bit scary!

Now, on to the food…

The prix-fixe (fixed price) menu dinner offers a choice of individual plated entrées and shared starters and desserts, all themed perfectly for the occasion! 

The serving tray in the centre of the table looks like a tree with three branches – this is where your starters and desserts will be placed.

The starters included Hunter’s Pie, Winter Squash Bisque and Wicked Shrimp Cocktail

Wicked Shrimp Cocktail

Wicked Shrimp Cocktail


I’m not a fan of shrimp, so I skipped that.  My table mates said it was great.

The Winter Squash Bisque was unexpected.  If you follow my blog, you’ll know I’m a fairly picky eater and tend to avoid things that don’t ‘sound’ good to me – squash does not sound good and I’ve never tried it.  In the spirit of stepping outside of my comfort zone – I tried it.  WOW – I would have eaten an entire bowl if given the choice, I was sad it was just a small sampling in a black cauldron (which was super cute!).  There was a lollipop that came with it of marshmallow?  Yes, it was delicious!

Winter Squash Bisque

Winter Squash Bisque. Isn’t the cauldron so cute?


The Hunter’s Pie was chicken and had a kind of fruit sauce to go with them, it was good (not as good as the squash!), but it was tasty.  

Hunters Pie

The Hunter’s Pie


I had the opportunity to dine here twice and tried both the Royal Prime Rib Roast as well as the Brother’s Grimm Roasted Chicken for my entrees.

The Brother’s Grimm Roasted Chicken was different.  It came with confit potatoes, roasted brussle sprouts, apples and chestnut butter.  I will admit, the apple / chicken combo had me questioning my choice, but it was ok.  I didn’t hate it, but I wouldn’t run back to get it again.

Brothers Grimm Roasted Chicken

Brother’s Grimm Roasted Chicken


The Royal Prime Rib Roast was a very large serving with horseradish mashed potato, carrots and a popover (that’s like a Yorkshire pudding to me!). While I liked the dish, I don’t particularly like horseradish and had hoped it was just a hint in the potatoes, but it was actually a fairly strong taste.

Royal Prime Rib Roast

Royal Prime Rib Roast fit for royalty!


The desserts were quite a treat and of course the theming continued.  The “Poison” apple, Fairy Tale Gooseberry Pie and the Miner’s Treasure all arrived at the table, one of each for us.

Again, picky eater here – I had to google “What is Gooseberry Pie”.  I took a small piece, didn’t like it – didn’t eat it.  If you like Gooseberry Pie (or even know what it is) – you might like it!

Fairy Tale Gooseberry Pie

Fairy Tale Gooseberry Pie, I did google it


The “Poison” Apple was a white chocolate-apple mousse – it was good, and sweet – all things sugary though are good to me!

Poison Apple Story Book Dining

Anyone care for a poison apple?


My favourite was the Miner’s Treasures although others would say the buttercream icing was too sweet… I didn’t think so.  It was like a cupcake in a glass, how can that be wrong?  There were some chocolate gems in there too!

Miners Treasures

Miner’s Treasures were very yummy


The final dessert arrived after the other three – the Hunter’s Gift to the Queen.  This was delicious, but THIS is the height of theming.  The video below shows you the full effects of the presentation when they bring this to the table.

The Hunters Gift to the Queen

The Hunter’s Gift to the Queen. Watch the video to see how it arrives!


Have you experienced this yet?  Are you going to add this to your list for your next Walt Disney World vacation?


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Review – Friar’s Nook at Disney’s Magic Kingdom

The Friars NookFriar’s Nook at the Magic Kingdom has always been a place I walked by.  I may have stopped for a cold drink once in a while, but it’s never been on my list of places to eat.  I suspect it’s because I usually stop at Storybook Treats next door – they have some fantastic ice cream treats that has always lured me away from Friar’s Nook.  Until now.

Menu at Friars Nook

The Menu

Friar Nook Menu

How to choose??

Friar’s Nook had a few people mulling about before it opened and some looked like off-duty cast members.  That’s always a good sign if the cast members like it, they know where the good food is!

Bill from Friars Nook

Our bill. It was worth every penny

When the window opened I ordered 2 different ‘tot’ dishes for my sister and I.

I opted for the loaded buffalo chicken tots, and all I can say is WOW!!  These were just the right amount of spicy with a little celery, bleu cheese crumbles, and a bit of garlic ranch dressing.  Seriously, all of that together – how can you NOT love it?  It was delicious!

Loaded Buffalo Chicken Tots

Loaded Buffalo Chicken Tots

My sister decided she wanted the creamy bacon macaroni & cheese tots.  There was a healthy amount of bacon and the macaroni was cooked well and not drowning in sauce.  It was very tasty!

Mac and Cheese Tots

Creamy Bacon Macaroni & Cheese

If you haven’t tried the food at Friar’s Nook, I suggest you do.  I loved the buffalo chicken, but next time I might even try the loaded fiesta tots – they are ground beef chili, tomatoes and peppers – on TOTS!  I love all kinds of potatoes, so a place that’s all about tots is my kinda place!

Have you eaten here?  What dish is your favourite?


DIY Mickey Mouse Lamp

DIY Mickey Lamp Disney fans everywhere do what they can to bring some Disney magic in to their everyday lives.  For some of us, that includes decorating our homes with Disney touches.

It can be as simple as a tea towel in the kitchen or bathroom, or a collection of ornaments or art work.  The possibilities are endless.  

You could choose to go full on Disney decor, or more subtle touches that only a true Disney fanatic would notice.  I like to think that I’m subtle – but the truth is, I’m not.  My house screams “Disney Fan” from the moment you walk in the door!  

Disney Decor

A few Disney decorations around the house!

So now I’ll say, “OK, maybe I’m not so subtle… “ and just admit it.  I have not-so hidden Mickey’s everywhere.  Which is why I’m surprised that I’m missing such a fabulous piece of Disney decor – why don’t I have one??

I’m talking about these fantastic lamps!

These lamps are perfect for indoor and outdoor display, they’re fully functional AND make some great decorations over the holidays!

Halloween Mickey Lamps

Where you buy one?  You don’t – you MAKE one!  They are a total Disney DIY project, that doesn’t seem to be as hard as you would think, or it’s just that my friend Gary has spelled out the step by step instructions so clearly that it seems easy?

Check out Gary’s post here – full instructions on how to make your own AND a full video tutorial too.  Can’t get any more in depth training than that!

Who is going to make a Mickey lamp for their house?

New Credit Card Policy At Walt Disney World Resorts

A new payment card policy is being implemented at Walt Disney World Resorts beginning on February 27th, 2019.  The new policy with apply to guests who wish to put a card on file for payment at check in.

When the policy goes in to effect, Disney Resorts will place incremental authorization holds on the listed card for the estimated incidental expenses, in addition to any balance due on the reservation.

On the day of arrival, Disney Resort hotels will place an authorization hold on whatever card was given for the balance due on the reservation plus $100 to cover estimated incidental expenses. If the guest spends more than the original $100 hold, the incremental holds will be obtained automatically.  The holds placed on the card will never exceed the current balance due plus $100.

As a guest of the Walt Disney World Resort properties, you do have the option of checking in and NOT giving a credit card.  This will restrict you from charging on your MagicBand.

Guests who have completed their online check in who arrive after February 27th will be getting notification of these changes.


Disneyland Resort Increases Ticket Prices Before Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge Opening

Disneyland Ticket IncreaseDisneyland has just announced an increase to ticket prices that has the internet all a buzz.

The increases to the single and multi day tickets are not unreasonable when you consider the opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge this year. Disneyland Single and Multi Day Ticket IncreaseThe largest price increases came to the annual passholders.

Disneyland Annual Pass Price Increases

The premier pass is the one that offers access to both Disneyland and Walt Disney World, and has the biggest jump in price.

It happens every time there is an increase, fans are up in arms saying they’ll never visit again, but sometimes you have to put things in to perspective like this Twitter fan.

It is clear that the increase is meant to curb the crowds they anticipate will visit for Galaxy’s Edge.  The over zealous Star Wars fans will not be discouraged by a price increase, in fact I know many who would pay extra for the opportuity to visit with lower crowds – myself included.  I suspect this increase is to encourage more locals to purchase the tickets with blackout dates – this way Disney can control the crowd levels to some extent.

What do you think of the increases?  Will it deter you from visiting Disneyland?



Astro Orbiter – Why I Will Never Ride Again

Astro OrbiterAstro Orbiter in the Magic Kingdom has always puzzled me.  I have been visiting Walt Disney World since 1974 and apparently this attraction originally opened in 1974 as StarJets.  It was later refreshed and updated in the mid 90’s to be Astro Orbiter.

The funny thing is, I don’t ever remember being on this attraction.  How could I have visited Walt Disney World all these years and never been on it?  My family seem to think I had, but it was bugging me – I had to experience it.  There couldn’t be an attraction at Walt Disney World that I hadn’t been on at least once?

I was there with my 2 sisters and brother in law when I happened to notice there was NO line.  I figured this was my chance.  No one wanted to go with me, but that was ok – I told them to grab a seat and I would be right back.

Astro Orbiter View

Before I knew it – I was in the elevator on the ride up the 2 stories.  I figured this would be fun, like Dumbo only with rocket ships.  I was wrong – these were not like Dumbo at all.

Astro Orbiter Rocket

This rocket was next to impossible to get in and out of!

If I were 10 years old, this may have been fun.  Even in my 20’s I may have gotten a kick out of it, but in my (cough) 40’s – this was not fun at all.  The rocket required me to ‘climb’ in and then basically sit almost flat in the ship with my feet out in front of me.  A bit like Space Mountain, but much more flat – like no seat.  Once I finally got in to my rocket, I wasn’t sure how I would ever get out.

Astro Orbiter Rocket Lever

Once my feet were out front, I wasn’t sure what to do!

The attraction was fun, spinning around and using the handle to make my rocket go up and down.  Some pretty spectacular views from up there but after 3 or 4 ’rounds’ I started to feel dizzy.  Maybe it’s because it’s higher up or maybe it’s because you’re on a bit of a slant, but I have never felt that way on Dumbo.  I took a quick selfie as ‘proof’ that I had been on the attraction, so I would never have to do it again.

Astro Orbiter Selfie

Proof I was on it!

Once it stopped and we were back, I REALLY struggled to get up and out of my rocket.  I tried to turn, get up on my knees, pull myself up with the sides of the rocket – if it wasn’t so sad it would have been comical.  I was too old, and I knew it.  I finally managed to maneuver my way upright and was the opposite of graceful as I exited.   I think I gave a few people a good chuckle – and that’s really all that matters.

Here’s a quick peek from above!

5 Reasons To Stay At Disney’s Bay Lake Tower

Bay Lake TowerDisney’s Bay Lake Tower is one of my absolute favorite places to stay when I visit Walt Disney World.  While all of the resorts have their own unique charm and benefits, Bay Lake Tower has everything that is important to me – and then some!

Here are my top 5 reasons I love Disney’s Bay Lake Tower!

1.  Proximity to Magic Kingdom

You can’t beat this proximity, there is NO other resort that’s closer to the Magic Kingdom.  You have to walk PAST Bay Lake Tower if you’re walking from the Contemporary!   There is nothing like being able to walk to the park, and better yet – LEAVING after fireworks and not having to get on a boat, bus or monorail?  Priceless!

The other benefit of being so close is being able to watch the fireworks from pretty much anywhere.  If you splurge for a Theme Park View you’ll be blown away, but even if you didn’t – you can see the fireworks from anywhere out front really.

Bay Lake Tower Fireworks

Seeing the fireworks from Bay Lake Tower – it’s that close!

2.  Proximity to the Contemporary Resort

I think if I had to pick 1 resort as my all time favourite it would be the Contemporary.  I don’t know how much of it is nostalgia, but it has some pretty terrific stuff that makes it my favourite.  Staying at Bay Lake Tower you get the benefit of being able to walk over and jump on the Monorail, shop in the fantastic stores, eat at Contempo Cafe or have a drink at the Outer Rim.  Can you say table for 2 at California Grill and I can walk back to my room after?  Ya, it’s that close – and it’s wonderful!

3.  There is nothing IN the resort itself

This may sound like a drawback, but it isn’t.  There is no food court or restaurant or even stores in Bay Lake Tower.  The only thing is the Top Of The World lounge for Disney Vacation Club members on (you guessed it) the top floor.  Otherwise, it’s just resort rooms.  What that means?  No one has any reason to be in Bay Lake Tower if they’re not staying there.  No crowds, no loud hallways – just peace and quiet!  Of course it has a pool, laundry room and games – but nothing of ‘fun’ inside the resort.

Bay Lake Tower Pool

The pool at Bay Lake Tower

4.  Room Variety

The ability to book a studio, 1 bedroom or 2 bedroom comes in VERY handy for my family.  When we travel as an extended group – we like to stay together and normally get the 2 bedroom.  We have a full kitchen in there so that we can make breakfasts and the living room makes it comfortable for us to hang out as adults when the kids have gone to bed.  I have YET to stay in a 3 bedroom… but I’m working on it!

The 1 bedroom units also feature 2 full bathrooms.  This is the PERFECT set up when we have 4 adults, there’s nothing worse than 4 us trying to share the same bathroom!

The only thing that I wish was a little better was the configuration of the studios.  They didn’t utilize the space very well – it’s really only suitable for 2 or 3 adults maximum.  If you go with 3 or 4 adults, you better REALLY like each other!  Otherwise, I would suggest staying at the Contemporary Resort where the rooms are MUCH bigger than the studio at Bay Lake.

Bay Lake Tower Living Room

Part of the living room at Bay Lake Tower

5.  Being IN The Bubble

When you arrive at Walt Disney World, you enter the ‘bubble’ as I like to call it.  It’s the place where you cross the threshold and the outside world doesn’t exist, at least that’s what I try to do.  When you stay at one of the Monorail/Magic Kingdom resorts, you are REALLY next to the magic.  You can hear the train whistle in the park, you can see the boats on Bay Lake and at night you can see the fireworks.  Being ‘surrounded’ by all of those sites and sounds really do drown out the ‘real world’ just for a bit.   Yes, you can feel this way staying anywhere on property, but being THAT close to the Magic Kingdom just gives it that little extra Pixie Dust.

Check out the 1 bedroom at Bay Lake Tower and tell me what you think! 

Caribbean Beach Resort Pirate Room Review

Caribbean Beach Pirate RoomDo you want to be a Pirate?  Well, maybe a Disney Pirate!  When you stay at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, you can choose to have a room fit for any good pirate! 

The Caribbean Beach Resort is in the moderate category for Disney Resorts and has a beautiful tropical theme.  The Old Port Royale lobby area is bright and breezy and the new Skyliner will be a welcome addition to the resort offering a new mode of transportation.  

The Pirate rooms at the resort sleep up to 4 adults and have standard and water view options.  The rooms are located in Trinidad South – the farthest from the main building, but only about a 10-15 minute walk.

The rooms are very well themed.  Where else would you get to sleep in a bed that looks like a pirate ship?   The beds were relatively comfortable on my recent stay and I appreciated that the pillows were nice and fluffy!

Caribbean Beach Resort Pirate Beds

The Jolly Roger curtain between the room and the vanity area was a nice touch for added privacy.  I like having that divider to just be able to have some extra ‘space’ that is separate from the rest of the room

Caribbean Beach Resort Jolly Roger

As with all Disney resort rooms, there were extra amenities like the safe, ironing board and extra bedding if you needed.

Caribbean Beach Resort Closet

The pirate rooms do have the new soap dispensers that are mounted on the walls of the shower instead of the little bottles.  These were filled every day by Mousekeeping and we never had an issue using them.

Caribbean Beach Resort Shower H2o

Mounted on the wall in the shower

The room was comfortable for us and had everything we needed.  There was a seating area with a table and chairs,  a fridge and plenty of drawer/storage space for our clothes.  You can see a full walk through of the room in the video below.

My only real irritant with the room was that it felt a little dark.  Even with the lights over each of the beds, I’m not sure if it was the color scheme or something else, but it just felt a bit dark to me.  I am the person who turns on all my lights when I get home though, so you can take that opinion of how dark it was with a grain of salt.

Have you stayed in a Pirate room?  What did you think? 

Disney Cracking Down On Merchandise Resellers

Disney Shopping AddictionIs Disney finally cracking down on resellers and personal shoppers?  According to the Orange County Register, Disney has quietly been penalizing those who resell merchandise from the parks.

Personal shoppers and resellers have become more prevalent in the Disney community in recent years.  The Disney marketing machine has created a frenzy around many limited release items ranging from $30 popcorn buckets to $400 purses.  Some people have chosen to capitalize on this new trend of Disney collectors and will buy up all of the inventory they can so that they may sell it at an unbelievable profit.

Personal shoppers are a little different than the resellers.  Generally a personal shopper has an order from a client who can’t be at the parks (like myself in Toronto) when these items are released.  They are buying for clients with a standard mark up that is established before the shopping takes place.  For example, a personal shopper would use their annual pass for a 10%-20% discount on the item and then will sell it to you for 10%-20% above the regular price.  It’s expensive, but not astronomical.  A reseller will do the same and charge multiple times the regular price depending on how ‘hot’ the item is.

Disney has apparenlty started cancelling the annual passes of some who participate in these practices in Disneyland.  The Orange County Register spoke with Samantha Cudnohufsky, an Annual Passholder who had a small personal shipping business. She received a letter recently advising that her Annual Pass had been revoked for a year.  In a phone call a few days later she was told her “pass was revoked because [she] was purchasing items, selling them and making a profit against Disney.”  

Disney clearly states in the pass holder terms that “benefits and discounts are for personal use only and may not be used for any commercial purpose including, without limitation, to obtain or purchase items or services with the intent to resell such items or services.”  

So far this has been reported in Disneyland, but I am hopeful they start the crack down on Walt Disney World as well.  I have written about this before, read my blog about why you shouldn’t buy from eBay here.

Maybe then I’ll find a Haunted Mansion Dooney Satchel that I really don’t need.

What are your thoughts on this?  Have you used a personal shopper or bought merchandise from eBay?

Share Your Ears For Make-A-Wish 2018

Wouldn’t you like to help make wishes come true for children with critical illnesses?  Thanks to Disney, helping has never been easier!

As we all celebrate 90 years of Mickey Mouse, you can help these children by  Sharing Your Ears – pictures of your ears will go farther than you imagined.

Disney has committed:  “From 4-17 November 2018, take a photo showing off your “Mickey Mouse ears” – or any creative “ears” – and upload it to Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. For every public post with #ShareYourEars, Disney Worldwide Services will donate US $5 to Make-A-Wish, up to US $2 million to grant even more wishes. This is all part of the Disney Team of Heroes commitment to deliver comfort and inspiration to families around the world.”


Disney has been a partner of Make-A-Wish since 1980 and has helped grant more than 130,000 wishes. 

What ears will you be sharing?


Disney’s Vero Beach Vacation Journal

Disney's Vero BeachDisney’s Vero Beach Resort is just 2 hours away from Walt Disney World Resort, but offers a whole different kind of vacation.  My two sisters and brother-in-law drove from Toronto to Disney’s Vero Beach to celebrate my sister’s birthdays.  I was meeting them later for a week at Walt Disney World, but they wanted a few days by the beach first.  

My brother-in-law captured his thoughts in a daily journal that he sent to me so that I could get a glimpse of their time there.  Now I’m sharing this journal with you, with his permission of course!

Vero Beach Room

The Room

Day 1 – First Full Day and the Crab Stop

First full day at Disney’s Vero Beach and it is an amazing place. Spent an hour walking the near white sands of the beach, listening to the rhythm of the waves hitting the shore is so relaxing. We also spent time at the poolside watching the young guests enjoying themselves, the sight of the young guests having fun in the pool or playing along with “Brandon” the activity representative is proof that Disney has succeeded in creating another location for children and their families to enjoy. There is no shortage of eating establishments at the hotel, however because we had to get some groceries we decided to eat lunch outside of the hotel. We decided on a seafood restaurant called the “Crab Stop” which is located about 13 km away in Sebastian. We were greeted warmly by Diane (hostess) and the table service was provided by Tammy. This is a great restaurant located on the water that offers a wide variety and high quality of seafood. The Lobster snack pack, the Shrimp, and lobster bites are definitely recommended. Given the opportunity we would go back.

The Crab Stop

The food at the Crab Stop was delicious!

Day 2 – Loggerhead Turtles and Insect Repellant

Witnessed the information session on Loggerhead turtles just outside our balcony held every day at 7:00am. Went for a leisurely walk on the beach, there is definitely a therapeutic feeling seeing and hearing the rhythm of the wave thrash against the shore, it is medicine to ease a stressful mind. Decided to have a freshly made sandwich at the Wind & Waves Market for breakfast (delicious and made to perfection). We relaxed again by the pool, at first it wasn’t as busy as it was yesterday, however as the time went on it began to fill up with a good balance of kids and adults. Found other guests to be very friendly and cordial, always greeting you and initiating conversations and showing a genuine interest on where we came from and what is it like. We had dinner at the Wind & Wave Grill, there is a substantial variety of appetizers and  entrees. I would recommend the Conch chowder and the short rib pot roast, other items our table had that were delicious are crab cakes, calamari and the shrimp boil. Words of advice if someone in your party is celebrating a birthday, inform the staff  and you will be pleasantly surprised. A couple of things that we have noticed today is that there is complimentary laundry facilities (6 dryers and 3 washing machines) should you run out of clean clothes, there is also a soap powder vending machine which when purchased is charged to your room and finally if you happen to be one of the few who get bitten by local insects (sand flies a.k.a. no see um ) they will provided insect repellent free at the front desk

Day 3 – Name That Tune and Bobby’s

Walked the beach again after the breakfast we had at Wind & Waves market (bacon & eggs on an all grain bagel), lots of activity at the pool today “Name that tune” and the slide challenge. Also have to give credit to life guards who were quick to respond to 2 kids who swallowed some water. Went to “Bobby’s” in Vero Beach ( about 15 minutes south of hotel) had a great dinner. Our party had calamari, grilled chicken breast, hamburger and beef dip sandwich all were excellent and reasonably priced. Tonight we took part in the “Majority Rules” game held in the “Green Cabin Room” hosted by Cameron.

Vero Beach Pool


Day 4 – Surfers and Relaxation

Did a walkabout the property and have to admit that the grounds are amazing, just like the other Disney properties, today there was an abundance of surfers out and many sunbathers on the beach. The activity today at the pool was a scavenger hunt (which I am sure was meant for the kids, however there were a lot of adults participating) the prizes like the other days were little packets of candies. You can’t help but notice that Walt achieved his ultimate goal of releasing the kid in all of us. This is certainly a place where you can let go of all your stress and worries while here.  The activity in the Green Cabin Room was trivia hosted by Gary (obviously all Disney related questions) the room was relatively packed with most people participating, a good time was had by one and all.

A relaxing and enjoyable time at Disney’s Vero Beach Resort

On Day 5 the group were coming to pick me up at the airport, but managed to have enough time for a character meal before leaving Vero Beach.  My sister is a huge Donald Duck fan – so she wasn’t leaving until she saw him.

Character Dining Vero Beach

It’s all about Donald Duck

Have you stayed at Disney’s Vero Beach?  Will you visit again?


5 Reasons To Stay At Disney’s Yacht Club Resort

Yacht Club Resort Walt Disney WorldDisney’s Yacht Club Resort is a deluxe resort on Disney property, and it’s in the deluxe category for good reason.  Every resort has it’s own unique theme, and this one is no exception.  The nautical theme throughout the grounds is authentic, but also feels relaxed yet classy.  It’s a resort that I found welcoming, and one I will stay at again.

Each Disney resort has it’s own pros and cons depending on what you’re looking for in a vacation.  For me, I’m hard pressed to find a reason NOT to stay at the Yacht Club.  Here’s 5 reasons why the Yacht Club should be on your list to try.

1  Proximity to Epcot

Being able to walk to Epcot is one of my favourite things for the Beach Club, The Boardwalk and the Yacht Club.  It’s a great feeling at the end of the night after the fireworks when the park is busy – you can just walk back to your resort.  No need to wait for a boat, bus or monorail – no need to squish in to one of those modes of transportation with 362 strangers who are all tired and cranky.  You can walk with all the space around you that you’d like.  As someone who is not a big fan of crowds and being in enclosed spaces with crowds, this luxury is worth its weight in gold to me.

International Gateway WDW

Take the International Gateway to walk between Epcot and the Yacht Club, Beach Club and Boardwalk Resorts

2  Proximity to Hollywood Studios

I didn’t group this with Epcot because it’s a little different.  You CAN walk to Hollywood Studios, but it is a little farther – and I have never done that walk.  It really just feels too long for me, so I’ve always taken the boat.   Even thought it’s crowded at closing, I would still prefer these boats with a few short stops and open air to the bus.

3  The Pools

Stormalong Bay is shared with Disney’s Beach Club, it’s THAT big!  With almost 800,000 gallons of water, the area has:

  • 230 foot waterslide (one of the highest at Walt Disney World)
  • life sized ship wreck replica
  • lazy river
  • 3 whirlpool spas
  • sand bottom pool
  • gently sloped entry to the pool for little ones with a miniature water slide

If some quiet time is more your speed, you can find 3 quiet pools located throughout Disney’s Yacht & Beach Club Resorts, each with it’s own whirlpool spa.  Could it sound any better?

Stormalong Bay Walt Disney World

One of the best pools on Disney Property. Only resort guests are permitted to use the pool.

4  The Steakhouse

The Yachtsman Steakhouse is fine dining, with what some would call the best steak on property.  There is a dress code in effect and while it’s not super strict, they do welcome dressier outfits – bringing a more elegant feel to the restaurant.   The menu will make your mouth water, reservations are strongly recommended.

5  The Rooms

Staying in all the resorts at Walt Disney World over the years, I can absolutely say that I would stay at the Yacht Club again.  The room was bright, spacious and inviting.  We had plenty of room for 4 adults and never felt crowded.  The beds were comfortable and there were plenty of charging stations for all of our devices.  The storage space would have been terrific if we were staying longer and having the room under the beds for our suitcases just made it that much more roomy.

I am not sure if being dog friendly is a pro or con for this resort.  I like dogs, so it doesn’t bother me that they are allowed to stay in the resort, but for those who don’t like dogs, or are allergic – this might be an issue.  There are select resorts on Disney property where you can bring your dog to stay with you and this is one of them.

Disney Dog Friendly Resort

This alerts the cast members that there is a dog in the room

An honourable mention of a plus at the resort should go to the Ship Shape Fitness/Spa services.  While I like the idea of a massage, I can’t speak to the fitness facility… why do they have these things on vacation?  I can’t get on a treadmill at home – I’m not about to try one at Walt Disney World!  Maybe they could magically shed the pounds I put on in cupcakes?  Maybe that’s what they’re for?  I may never know….

Check out this video tour of Disney’s Yacht Club Resort


Date-Based Tickets at Walt Disney World

Date Based TicketsHow much are tickets to visit Walt Disney World?  The answer now depends on the date you want to visit.

On October 16th, Walt Disney World will introduce a new pricing structure for park tickets where the cost is based on the dates you want to visit.  Disney is rolling out this new model along with a new online portal that is meant to simplify these changes.

Disney has said the reason for the changes is to “better distribute attendance throughout the year so that we can continue to improve and deliver a great experience.”

The actual pricing has not yet been released, but it will be interesting to see how different the price is for different dates.  The value of course will be in off peak times, and you will pay a premium to be there on New Years Eve I’m sure!  I think the problem will be with guests trying to compare dates and pricing – there are now more variables to consider when booking your vacation.  First you have to decide how many days, what parks, to hop or not?  Now you have to also consider if you’re arriving on the peak day of the week in peak season?  Should you arrive Sunday instead to get the better pricing than Tuesday?  The resorts have always fluctuated in price for peak times and weekends, but now that tickets will as well – the packages could have a substantial difference depending on when you arrive.

The change has not been well received on social media:

With all of these changes, it highlights yet another reason to use a travel agent who specializes in Disney travel.  I can’t imagine the big booking engines will be able to explain this one!  It will also make the comparison shopping that much harder – how do you know you have ALL the same components?

Stay tuned for more updates as they are released, this currently only applies to Walt Disney World in Orlando.

What do you think of these changes?

How Much Does A Minnie Van Cost?

Minnie Van PriceHow much does a Minnie Van cost?  Well, it all depends where you’re going!

When Disney launched this service as a pilot in 2017 it was $20 USD for a trip anywhere on Disney property.  I was a big fan of the Minnie Vans and have used them on multiple trips.  The service is so easy to use and has become a permanent fixture on property.  As the program has evolved over time, so has the pricing.  What started out as a flat fee has now become based on distance.

The price for a Minnie Van is now $15 USD flat rate PLUS $3.15 per mile.

Minnie Van Pricing

Price details found in the Lyft app when requesting a Minnie Van

While Uber and Lyft generally have a price surge model (fares go up when demand is greater), the two companies are very similar on pricing.  Both Uber and Lyft charge around $1.00 to start a ride and $1.50 per mile, and .25 cents per minute. When we average that out, it equals about $2.00 per mile.  These are just general estimates and vary by city – but it gives you an idea of the pricing comparison.

Minnie Van Marketing

There are many reasons that I would prefer a Minnie Van vs an Uber or Lyft, but the biggest one is peace of mind.  I know that the person driving me is a cast member and not a random stranger.  I know that effectively a cast member is a stranger – but I think I trust Disney’s ‘screening process’ a little more than those other companies.

Minnie Van Grand Floridian

Price of a Minnie Van from the Grand Floridian to Epcot

The biggest challenge in my mind now is the price.  It is more expensive than ever to take a Minnie Van on property, unless you’re going a short distance.  $29 USD is quite a bit in my opinion for a lift from the Grand Floridian to Epcot – but I can tell you that at the end of a long day… I will gladly pay $30 to take me back to my resort if I don’t have to wait for a bus or monorail and get to travel in style!

What do you think?  Would you use the Minnie Van service to avoid the bus?

Pixie Dust Fan Amazon Store

Shop from my wish list of products!

The Grand Floridian Cafe Review Walt Disney World

Grand Floridian Cafe SeatingDining options at Walt Disney World can be totally overwhelming.  If you’re a first time (or repeat visitor) it can feel a little stressful making sure you get those must-have reservations.  If you spend any time online in Facebook groups or reading some of the sites that create the hype – you would think that your vacation will be ruined if you don’t get the coveted Be Our Guest, Cinderella’s Royal Table or Chef Mickey reservation.  Nothing could be further from the truth!

It is incredible how many delicious places there are to eat at Walt Disney World, and some of my favourite Disney table services are the ones that you can typically get reservations for at the last minute.  These places are like the best kept secrets – and I’m now going to tell you about one, the Grand Floridian Cafe.

This overlooked restaurant sits next to the entrance to 1900 Park Fare, but it is often not even noticed in the hustle to get to the character dining.  It is elegant, yet unpretentious and you’re welcome to dine in your park attire.  It’s casual, yet classy – with the roses on the table and great views of the grounds, the atmosphere is relaxed and warm.

Grand Floridian Cafe Rose

I have eaten at the Grand Floridian Cafe a few times now, and have never NOT enjoyed my meal.  I’ve had breakfast once, but dinner multiple times and am often conflicted about booking a breakfast and dinner on the same trip at the same restaurant.  #TooManyGoodChoices

The dinner menu at the Grand Floridian Cafe has quite a variety of dishes.  From steak to meatloaf, salmon or grits, there is something for everyone.   We took our time enjoying our drinks with the bread and butter while deciding on the menu.

Grand Floridian Cafe

My friends decided on the sirloin and scallops and miso-glazed salmon

rand Floridian Cafe Steak and Scallops

Sirloin and Scallops


Grand Floridian Cafe Salmon


I had to have the buttermilk fried chicken.  It just sounds delicious – buttermilk fried chicken, doesn’t it sound mouth watering?  Well – I can tell you, it WAS very tasty!  It was so juicy, but seasoned and crispy on the outside.  There was even KALE on the plate, and I ate it.. which if you knew me, you would know that it must have been REALLY good for me to eat the kale!

Grand Floridian Cafe Chicken

Buttermilk chicken

When the waiter came by to show us the dessert menu, we all said we couldn’t… but then we did.  The menu had a dessert sampler for 2 – but there were 4 desserts and 4 of us.  It worked out perfectly that we each wanted a different one!   We were stuffed, but managed to eat our individual desserts as they were the perfect size for just a little taste.

Grand Floridian Cafe Desserts

The dessert sampler

Next time I’ll make sure to leave more room for a full size dessert, because I do love my desserts!  Maybe I should cut out the salad starter?  That would help…

Looking for a hidden gem quick service?  Check out this place here.



How Do You Afford To Go To Disney So Often?

How can you afford DisneyIt always amazes me that I get asked the question “How can you afford to go to Disney so often?”.  It’s an uncomfortable question because I never know how to answer it.  Are people expecting me to tell them how much money I earn?  I can assure you, I don’t make any money from Pixie Dust Fan at the moment, but I’m hopeful one day it becomes a full time career.  If you have tips on this I’m all ears!

I do have an unmagical job in the corporate world that pays my bills, but it doesn’t afford a big disposable income.  I have to prioritize Disney vacations over most other things in order to visit as often as I do.  While I still think it’s an awkward question – I’m going to answer it in hopes that you can learn a trick or two so that you can visit more often!

These are 10 things that I do to prioritize and save money for my Disney vacations.

1.  I don’t buy clothes, and when I do – they’re not expensive

Ask anyone I work with in my corporate job, I don’t have an extensive wardrobe.   I keep my work clothes until they don’t fit anymore or fall apart, whichever comes first.  They aren’t expensive to begin with – and I purposely buy things that are mix and match so that I can appear to have more outfits than I really do.

2.  I buy no name and discount brands at the grocery store

Yes – I scrimp everywhere else that I can.  I buy no name paper towel and no name frozen pizzas.  My garbage and recycling bags are no name and tend to rip easily – but that’s okay, I just make sure I’m careful when I carry them to the curb.  Each dollar saved can go towards a treat in the parks!  

Recycle Bags

They do the job!


 3.  I don’t spend money on entertainment

I’m too old to go clubbing and I don’t really go ‘out’ and spend money on entertainment anymore.  It’s rare for me to go out and spend money on dinner, food or drinks unless I’m in Disney.  At home, I’m normally at work or at home checking in on Pixie Dust Fans, I don’t have time to go out spending money, my big splurges are going to the movies when a new Star Wars movie is released!

4.  I do my own repairs 

It’s amazing the repairs you can do with a toolbox and YouTube video!  I have fixed many things around my house by myself (the toilet running, the shower leaking and resetting the pilot light on my water heater to name a few).  All of these have saved me a bunch of money on professional service calls.  When I can’t fix it myself, I weigh the price of the call out vs the inconvenience.  For example – my washing machine ‘errors out’ during the spin cycle.  I can bypass the error by restarting the machine.  It’s a royal pain, running up and down the stairs twice for every load of laundry – but the price of repair is the same as 4 nights at Pop Century.  It’s okay – I could use the exercise anyway!


I don’t look quite so glamorous!

5.  I measure all spending in relation to Disney vacations

Before I buy anything, I think about what I could do in Disney for the same money and then determine if it’s worth it.  For example, if I wanted to spend an evening out for a nice dinner and a concert, I could easily spend $150.  For that money I could pay for a Halloween or Christmas party ticket, or 2 really great table service meals, or a night at a Disney resort – I know what I would rather have!  On a smaller scale, 3 steeped teas at Tim Horton’s would be the same as a chocolate covered pineapple spear or a dole whip.  When you put it in to those terms, it makes it much easier to save money!

Dole Whips

I’ll trade the lovely Tim Horton’s tea for these any day!

6.  Each pay has something for Disney

I have friends at work who say they ‘pay themselves’ on every pay day – they put X amount in a retirement plan or RRSP.  I do something similar, but it’s the Disney fund!  I have a separate savings account that automatically transfers money on pay day for vacations.


7.  I use the tools that my bank offers me

I have a USD bank account where I deposit money whenever I can.  When I do it in smaller increments, I don’t feel the ‘sting’ of the exchange rate so much.  I also have a prepaid USD Visa from my bank.  I load that up so that when I’m there, I have a limit of money I can spend.  Well… I like to think I limit it, but when a new Dooney is released, that’s when the OTHER Visa comes out.  

CIBC Prepaid USD Visa

I like having a balance sitting on my card – it helps me budget (sometimes!)

8.  I quit smoking

After 30 years I finally quit smoking!  Feels weird putting it in writing – but I’m calling it FINAL!  What I spent in cigarettes was insane, but I never gave it a second thought because I NEEDED it.  Now I choose to use the cigarette money for flights (believe it or not, it’s the same price for a round trip flight as it was for 1 month of smokes).  Every time I think to myself “that’s crazy to go down for 4 days” I remind myself that not so long ago I would have literally set that money on fire.  It’s how I rationalize it – and it works for me! 

9.  I buy an annual pass and I am a Disney Vacation Club Member

Buying an annual pass is a no brainer when you visit as many times as I do during the year.  My Disney Vacation Club purchase was the right investment for me when I bought it before Bay Lake Tower opened because I didn’t have to finance it for long and the dollar was good.   When you finance a DVC membership and then add the maintenance fees – you won’t be ‘saving’ money for years.

Passholder Entrance

I don’t know what I would do without my annual pass!

10.  I use a travel agent

While I have DVC points, I never have enough points to cover all of my trips, so I use Pure Magic Vacations for those ones.  Even with ALL of my trips to Walt Disney World – I still book with a travel agent because I don’t want to have to research what promotions are available or sit on hold long distance if I want to change it.  I don’t have them book my dining or fastpasses because I like to do that myself, but the room booking or cruise bookings they do for me.  This is their profession – they know what they’re doing and it’s no cost to me, why wouldn’t I use them?

I need to get back to Disney

It really is my happy place, so I make it a priority in my life.

There you have it, my list of things that I do at home to make sure I have money for my Disney vacations!    It’s clear that I prioritize my Disney vacations, because they are important to me.  These trips are what make me happy – so how could I not make them a priority in my life?

Do you do any of these things?  How do YOU save for your Disney vacations?


D23 The Official Disney Fan Club For Who?

D23 Fan ClubUPDATE AUGUST 20, 2018 –

Just when you start to feel like Disney has let you down, they make it RIGHT!  Canadian fans, UK fans, Fans from everywhere BUT the US were upset when Disney announced on August 16th that gold memberships could only be sold to those living in the US.  We were all upset and disappointed, how could they turn their backs on us?  Don’t they value us?  I knew there had to be more to the story.

On August 20th Disney sent an email explaining – this was due in part to the new privacy regulations and they are working to find a solution.  In the meantime, they are adding an additional 12 months to existing memberships at no cost!  This means that there will be no issue purchasing or attending D23 events and expos.

August 20th Email

Disney – you really know customer service.  We get it, things happen… but I can always count on you to make it right.  Thanks for continuing to be a company that makes me feel like a valued fan!



I have come to accept that it’s not easy being a Canadian Disney fan.  There are so many things that make it harder for us, from the inability to have our magic bands and other great merchandise shipped across the border to the actual shipping costs of the things we can get!  But despite the challenges, we are always loyal and committed to our addiction.

One of the things that us crazy Disney fans love is to feel is like you’re part of the ‘club’, the official club of Disney fans.  For years, it was sort of a society that we created, where we found each other and knew we had a shared a love of all things Disney.  Back in 2009 Disney embraced us all and created a real OFFICIAL Disney fan club, D23.  We were all thrilled to sign up.

Oswald D23

Over the years D23 has grown and includes different tiers of membership tied to different benefits.  The basic membership is free and includes email newsletters and the opportunity to declare that you’re part of the club.

The real ‘gold’ is in the GOLD membership.  The gold membership includes D23’s Annual Member Gift, the quarterly publication magazine, access to exclusive D23 events, discounts and more.

D23 Gold Member

Being a Gold Member made us all feel special, even though we paid crazy amounts in shipping for those publications – we were happy to do it, because it meant we were included.

In the email sent on August 16th, D23 advised that they would no longer be able to offer gold memberships to those members outside of the United States.  They indicated that they were ‘exploring options’ and ‘updates would be provided when a solution is identified’.

D23 Email

Disney does not release statements without carefully considering the language and I choose to believe that something out of their control has required them to make this change.

Fans on Twitter have been expressing their frustrations



Clearly something happened – I can’t imagine that Disney would create this PR nightmare voluntarily!

For now, I’ll take a deep breath and wait for word to find out when I can join the ‘in crowd’ again.  I just hope they don’t take too long to figure this all out – there are some events I would like to attend!

Were you a D23 Gold Member?  What do you think happened?


Top 5 Myths About Using A Disney Travel Agent

Do Not DisturbWhether 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

Your Disney vacation will cost the SAME as if you booked it directly with Disney yourself.  A good agent can 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 your own fastpasses, dining, Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique reservations and special events if you’d prefer.  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.


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!  My travel agent doesn’t do my fastpasses or dining (although I probably should let her since I’m terrible at it!).  Where I get a TON of value is when there is a promotion or event, or website glitch that requires a call to Disney. I don’t have to sit on hold for 4 hours when the room promotion comes out, or when I have to change my dates because of the hurricane coming – my agent does that for me.


4.  All of the information is online anyway

Sure, and you still can do your own research when you’re using a travel agent.  You can make decisions based on what you’ve read online, what your friend at work told you and what you saw on TV.  Where you can use the agent is to bounce around ideas with your specific goals in mind.  Agents can draw on the tribal knowledge within their team to provide specific feedback for your family and will have very recent experiences to share with you.  Why not have that extra resource at your disposal?


5.  They’re all the same

No, they aren’t!  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 – they love what they do, and they know what they’re doing!

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


Frozen Dessert Party At Epcot Review

The Frozen Ever After Dessert Party at Epcot is an opportunity to eat some sweet treats, reserve a great spot for Illuminations AND experience the Frozen attraction without a long wait!  Who wouldn’t want to do all that??

The evening that we did the Frozen Dessert Party, the weather was not the greatest.  We checked in at World Showcase Plaza, located next to Disney Traders.  We were directed to the Frozen attraction and were led upstairs to a room where our desserts would be served inside.

The room was decorated with some cute ‘candle’ holders on the tables, and there was plenty of seating for everyone.

There was quite a variety of drinks including pop, juice, coffee/tea, water, beer, sangria and wine!


Canned soft drinks

Frozen Dessert Party Drinks

Water, Juice, Coffee and Tea

Then it was time to look at the food… and wow – there was a lot to enjoy!


The Fresh Fruit was yummy

Frozen Dessert Party Bread and cheese

Cheese fondue was fun – I even had some broccoli!

My favourites were the cheese fondue, freeze dried popcorn, Elsa’s Blue velvet cupcakes and the S’mores pudding cake.

Blue Velvet cupcakes – loved the icing on these!

S’more pudding – it was delicious!!

All of the treats were tasty, but I will admit to having second helpings of the cheese, popcorn and cake.


My first tasting

While I didn’t feel rushed, the time did pass quickly and it was time to go to our viewing area for Illuminations.  It was probably a good thing it was time to go – or I may have gone back for 3rd, 4th and 7th helpings of that S’mores pudding cake!


The viewing area was right at the base of World Showcase – directly across from the American pavilion.  It was a good place to watch from – and there was plenty of room.  If we had the desserts outside, we would have had assigned tables, but it would have still been a great view.

Frozen Dessert Party Illuminations viewing area

We purposely stood back from the railing – there was so much room

Once Illuminations were over, you are led back to the Frozen attraction where you are escorted on without a wait.  I have to confess, we didn’t go!  We were staying at the Boardwalk and it was hot and sticky – we didn’t feel like walking all the way back to Norway when we were already half way ‘home’.  Don’t worry – we have been on the attraction before, so we didn’t feel like we were missing out.

Was it worth the money?  It all depends on what is important to you.  The admission was $79 per adult (10 and up) and $49 USD per child (3-9 years).  You don’t need to fastpass Frozen during the day (or stand in the lines!) and you also get a fantastic view for Illuminations. This was probably the best view I’ve ever had for Illuminations since I avoid crowded areas we are normally standing way back.  I enjoyed the desserts maybe a little too much, but that’s what I was there for!  Overall, we had a great experience and I was glad we had done it once, but I don’t think it will be something we do all the time.

Have you done the Frozen dessert party at Epcot?  What did you think?


B.B. Wolf’s Sausage Co At Disney Springs

BB Wolf's B.B. Wolf’s Sausage Co at Disney Springs was one of those places that I knew I had to try,  The problem with Disney Springs is that there are too many great places to eat and snack, that I rarely find myself ready for something spontaneous when I have passed this particular kiosk.  I decided I had to make a trip to Disney Springs just to TRY this place given that my Facebook followers had encouraged it!

So I don’t know HOW it went right over my head, but BB Wolf’s?  Big Bad Wolf’s that serves 3 Little Pigs?  Ya, I’m ashamed to admit it – but it never clicked!

The kiosk is located at the end of the bridge closer to Paddlefish and almost across from the Lego store.  It’s important to note that finding a place to eat your food could be challenging on a busy night as there no dedicated area for BB Wolf’s seating.  We were there in the afternoon, so we managed to grab a table right across from the kiosk that had an umbrella.  I don’t particularly like eating outside, especially when it’s hot, but this was more of a snack than a meal.

BB Wolf's Menu

I was travelling with a friend who really loves hot dogs, so it wasn’t difficult to convince him that we should eat here.   I wanted to try the basic hot dog – no frills, no salad – just a good old fashioned hot dog that I could compare to the ones I like at Cosmic Rays.

BB Wolf Hot Dog

All Beef Quarter Pound Hot Dog

The hot dog was good – but the only ‘toppings’ available were mustard and ketchup.  No relish, onions, tomatoes, pickles – nothing extra.  While I’m a bit of a plain eater – this was a bit too plain for me.

My friends decided to be a bit more adventurous and tried the Greek Dog and the trio.

The Greek Dog

The feedback on the Greek Dog was that it was a salad – on a hot dog.  There was plenty of salad on the dog, in fact they could have just eaten the salad itself.

3 Little Pigs Trio

The Trio was different, plenty of toppings on each and the house made pickles were delicious.  I know that they have switched up what type of dogs are in the trio from time to time – so it’s best to check the menu when you arrive to see if they are something you might like.

For us – the hot dogs were okay, but I wouldn’t be racing back for them.  What I WOULD make sure I get to have again is the House Made Pretzel Braid.  It is served with cheese fondue and mustard, and was awesome!

The Pretzel Braid with cheese fondue

This was something I could happily snack on while roaming around Disney Springs, something to fill the gap before a dinner reservation.  This way I can save the Sprinkles Cupcake for after dinner!

Have you eaten at B.B. Wolf’s?  What did you think?


Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort Review

The Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort are a very different option to the other resorts on property, there’s nothing else like them!  I’ve stayed in a Cabin twice now, and I feel like I can honestly give my opinion of the things I liked and didn’t like about the cabins.


What I liked


Stock your fridge for your arrival

Yes, you can order groceries to be waiting in your cabin when you arrive!  How great would that be to arrive at your cabin to find your
favourite cold drink in the fridge and milk or cream to make your first coffee or tea?  To order your items click here.


Full Kitchen

I know that for some, the last thing you want to do on vacation is cook, but for others – cooking a few meals can cut down on costs and leave some money for souvenir shopping!  It’s also very nice to have a full size fridge that gets really cold, along with a stove and microwave to heat up the leftovers that we had from the night before.


It’s quiet

Even in the best resorts – if you have a loud neighbour, it can be annoying.  In the cabins, you are not ‘connected’ to anyone else, in fact the cabins are a decent distance from each other.  Both times we have stayed here I have never heard our neighbours.  It’s a very quiet and peaceful sleep here.Fort Wilderness Cabin Couch


The deck

We loved sitting on the deck.  It was fun to eat out there, have a morning coffee – it was just nice to feel like I was ‘out in the wild’, and yet be only 6 feet from the coffee pot in the kitchen.


Proximity to the Magic Kingdom

Being able to take a boat over to the Magic Kingdom and see see the Electrical Water Pageant is a huge bonus!


It’s recreation overload

While we are pretty ‘relaxed’ people who enjoy sitting on the deck, we could have been REALLY busy if we took advantage of all the recreational activities that Fort Wilderness had to offer!

There is archery, a ranch, pony rides, basketball and bicycle rentals to name a few.  You could have this all done by the evening and then participate in a campfire sing-a-long!  Seriously, you could spend a week here and never go to a park just enjoying everything it has to offer.  For a full list – check here.


The dining options

Okay – I know I said one of the great things was being able to cook, but the other great thing is being close to some GREAT dining options!  The Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue is definitely a favourite of many Disney fans, but I have to say that Trail’s End Restaurant is a hidden gem!  It’s a fantastic buffet that we’ve grown quite fond of, we will make our way over for dinner even when we’re not staying there!



Not a fan –


The resort is BIG

There is an internal bus service to get you from your cabin to the restaurants or shops – but if you weren’t in the closest loop, you couldn’t walk there.  If you can, the best way to vacation here is to rent a golf cart!  It’s the best and most convenient way to get around and not be dependent on the bus.


The bedroom 

I feel like the bunk beds being in the same room with the mater bed didn’t make a lot of sense for our party.  There were 4 adults, so we choose for two to sleep on the pull out couch in the living room vs us all in the 1 bedroom.


I don’t like camping

Okay – this isn’t camping, I know that.  There’s running water, a full kitchen, bathroom and a comfy bed – but it’s still ‘close to nature’!  I prefer the trees like the ones at the Grand Floridian 🙂

Have you stayed in the cabins?  What did you think?

For a full walkthrough – see my video below!


Google Street View of Disney Parks

Google has released street views from inside 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 will help people who are planning 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


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.

I have spend a “little” time exploring today 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 think I’m addicted!

What’s your favourite thing you’ve found on the street view?


Feeding The Wildlife At Disney

Don’t Feed The Wildlife signs are scattered all over Walt Disney World, yet on any given day you can find someone feeding them.  What gives?  WHY would you do this?

While the Disney Parks have lots of Mice and Ducks running around – the majority of them are there to sign autographs and get pictures taken with!  Mickey and Donald won’t accept your snacks and don’t need to be fed.

There is a lot of real wildlife around the property and many just ignore the signs asking you not to feed them.  Here are some of the reasons you should NOT feed the wildlife.

Our food isn’t good for them

Take a look at this photo below.  A family in Epcot were enjoying their gigantic turkey leg but decided they didn’t want the skin.  Instead of throwing it out, they gave it to this bird who of course could not ‘bite’ it much less swallow it.  I was waiting for him to drop it so I could take it away, but it ran off with it hanging out of its mouth.

Turkey Leg Skin

Providing our ‘human’ snacks to these animals might be fun for your kids to see, but extremely dangerous to the wildlife.  They can’t chew or process the food that we can and can become very ill from it.

After you’ve had your fun watching them trying to eat the popcorn you just threw, they are struggling to swallow and digest the high amount of salt you have just injected in to their diet.

It attracts other wildlife to the area

Have you noticed that there are areas in the parks where you will find a high concentration of squirrels or birds?  They have been ‘trained’ that these are the areas where there are plenty of people with food that will feed them.  WE have trained them to come to these areas to get fed because too many people are feeding them.  There is such a crowd some days you would think the birds sent a mass text to their friends that there’s a big lunch crowd outside of the American Adventure and they should all come!

They lose their fear of people and that is dangerous for everyone

As these animals become accustomed to being fed by humans, they lose their natural instincts to be afraid of us.  When they are not afraid, they become more aggressive.  I have witnessed birds swoop down and take a French fry out of someones hand or a squirrel rip apart a stroller full of snacks.  What would happen if the bird or squirrel bit a child?  The family would be screaming the house down – even if they were feeding it popcorn seconds before.

We have to remember that we train the wildlife how to behave with our own actions.  This is why Disney has signs everywhere – for our SAFETY and the safety of the wildlife.

The next time you have a snack that you don’t want to finish, walk to the nearest trash can and dispose of it.  The trash cans are everywhere, and it’s the right thing to do.  Don’t be one of those annoying guests who can’t follow the rules.

The Void Star Wars Virtual Reality At Disney Springs

Star Wars Secrets of The EmpireThe Void at Disney Springs just might be my new favourite thing.  This ‘hyper reality’ experience is taking virtual reality to a whole new level, and it’s incredible!

Being a family of Star Wars geeks, we knew that we had to try this experience at The Void.  Since it was virtual reality, there were 2 in our group that thought it might be a bit much for them and they opted out.  That left 4 of us to try it – my nephew, his two sons and myself which worked out well since the experience is in groups of 4.  It’s important to note that guests must be a minimum of 48 inches tall and at least 10 years of age to participate, and a waiver is signed before you enter.

We purchased our tickets for $29.95 USD in advance and selected a time slot before our dinner at Art Smith’s.  We had no idea what it would be like – but we were excited for what was to be an immersive Star Wars experience.

The Void Secrets Of The Empire Inside

Once we checked in, we were taken to a set-up room where we watched a short video and scanned our wrist bands.  Then it was off to get our VR gear on – and that was interesting!

The full gear included a vest and a helmet (with microphone) that allowed you to talk to the other members of our group.  In total I would say it all weighed about 10 pounds but didn’t feel uncomfortable.

When they took us in to the room and we pulled our visors down, we were laughing trying to talk to each other and realized we were now Storm Troopers.  It was hysterical seeing the youngest one as a miniature Storm Trooper and when we stuck out our hands we could see that we had ‘on’ the full Trooper uniform!

The experience took us on a mission where we could interact with things and use levers on the wall to open doors.  We knew then that we really had to work together to complete our mission.  To say that it was ‘immersive’ would be an understatement – we were THERE.  At one point there was a bridge to walk across, high up above boiling lava, and I can tell you that I literally felt like I could fall off of this bridge!  The kids had to reach back and take my hand to guide me across.

Secrets of the Empire The Void

The next thing I knew we were under attack.  We had blasters in our hands and were shooting at Storm Troopers, feeling the recoil with our shots and ducking behind things for cover.  We were shouting to each other to find a safe place to shoot from while one was trying to break the code to get us out of harms way.

I don’t want to give away any details of the mission that might ruin your experience.  What I will tell you is that you HAVE to try it!  The Void was an experience like nothing else and I am so glad we decided to try it.  The kids thought it was the coolest thing ever, and the big kids did too!



Have you tried this yet?


Mobile Ordering Available With Disney Dining Plan

Mobile Food Ordering WDWBeginning January 31st, 2018 – Disney’s Mobile Ordering is available to guests using a Disney Dining Plan.

Mobile ordering allows guests to order their quick service meal via the My Disney Experience app to avoid waiting in line for a cashier. Using the app, you can order your meal and be notified when it’s ready for pick up.  For details on how to use the service – click here. 

Mobile ordering has been such a welcome feature at the select quick service locations, but was previously not available to guests with a dining plan – until now.  Mobile Food Ordering DisneyGuests with any of the three Disney Dining Plans can order their meal or snack and choose if they would like to redeem dining plan credits or pay by credit card.  The new ability to track your remaining dining credits on the app is an added convenience.  I can’t wait to see it rolled out to additional locations!

Check out the ‘how to’ video here:

What I Have Learned From Pixie Dust Fans

Lessons from Pixie Dust FansYou can be scared, but do it anyway.

That’s what I wrote a year ago as one of the 5 things I had learned.  I had launched my new website and decided to focus on Pixie Dust Fan, I was terrified.  What if it was a failure?  What if no one liked it?

I decided to try anyway and my Facebook page grew from 1.5k followers to almost 24k!  It was beyond what I thought was possible, and so many surprises along the way.  It has been an incredible journey, but what I never expected is how much I would learn from all of you.

Here are the 5 things that YOU taught me this year

1.  Strangers Are Kind

Most of you don’t know me personally, yet so many of you have offered me kind words and encouragement this year.  It is your support that has given me the motivation to keep going.

Have faith in your dreams


2.  Social Media Is Exciting

I spend a LOT of time preparing posts for social media to share with you all and waiting to see what ones resonate with you is fascinating!  I have spent hours creating memes that I thought were funny only to have them flop – then a simple picture of my tea cup gets a ton of buzz!  It’s always a thrill to see people engage with a post and comment about what is going on in their lives that connects with the post.

3.  I Need New Experiences

Getting feedback from you has made my vacations better!  Hearing your feedback and stories has inspired me to try new things and revisit some old ones while I’m at Walt Disney World.  I am always keeping my eyes open for things to post and I’m motivated to try new experiences so that I can share them with you.  Some of the recommendations you’ve given me have become my new favourite things.

Mr Kamals Fries At Disney’s Animal Kingdom

4.  I Don’t Have To Be Perfect

When my video is a little shaky or I tape it with my thumb in front of the lense for the first 2 minutes (true story), you still watch and forgive my amateur status.  When my grammar and spelling isn’t perfect, you don’t write hateful comments or correct me.  You have told me you’re happy to share the Disney passion and it’s okay that I mess up, and I can’t tell you how much that means to me!


5.  Disney Fans Need Pixie Dust In Their Days

I have a friend at work who always says the way to get me out of a bad mood is to talk about Disney.  She wishes that she had something similar that could instantly change her mood and brighten her day.

That’s what Disney is for so many of us, something that lifts our spirits and takes our minds off of the negative stuff that surrounds us every day.  It might just be a picture of a mug or a discussion about fastpasses and ears, but it brings a moment of joy in to our days.

I am truly humbled by all of your support this year, and grateful for the lessons you have taught me.  You all are the Pixie Dust in my days.

I wish you a healthy, happy and prosperous 2018 with many magical moments to celebrate!


Avatar Flight Of Passage Seats

Avatar Flight Of Passage Seat Side ViewAvatar Flight of Passage at 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

Universal had a test seat outside of the attraction and I remember thinking how cruel that was.  If you weren’t sure that you would fit you could subject yourself to the stares and humiliation of trying to squeeze your body in just far enough for the vehicle to lock.  I was annoyed and self-righteous, Disney would NEVER do that I thought to myself.  And then they did.

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.

Avatar Flight Of Passage Sample Seat View

When the restraints are activated and locked

While I understand that the test seat out front is to prevent guests from waiting in line only to find out they can’t ride, I can’t help but think that there has to be a better option.  Testing your ‘size’ in front of everyone is not a very magical experience for anyone.  I am hopeful that Disney is listening to the guest feedback and working on some flexible restraints that can accommodate more people.

 With the enormous wait times for this attraction, I would suggest anyone who is worried to try the test seat.  While it isn’t ideal, I wouldn’t want you to skip the attraction all together – it really is as good as everyone says.

If you want to read the full review of the attraction – you can read it here.

Did you try the test seat for Flight of Passage before you rode?


Pop Century Resort Refurbished Room Review

Pop Century Beds Walt Disney WorldDisney’s Pop Century Resort is within the value category of resorts at Walt Disney World and a popular choice for many fans.  I had the opportunity to stay in both an ‘older’ room as well as a refurbished one and as you would expect, the renovated room was a whole different feel.

Our original room felt very similar to our stay at All Star Movies.  It was a basic room, some cute decor, but looking very ‘worn’.  It was clean, it was functional, but nothing special aside from the Disney touches.

When we moved to the refurbished room at Pop Century after a night in the ‘older’ rooms, I was beyond pleasantly surprised!  Since this is a value resort, I was expecting it to be clean, functional and basic with a little touch of Disney.  As we opened the door, I was shocked.

Here are 8 reasons I loved the refurbished room at Disney’s Pop Century Resort:

1.  the room was bright

I have seen many complaints online about it resembling a ‘hospital room’ with the white walls and white furniture, but I loved it.   When I’m at home the first thing I do is turn on all of the lights, I can’t handle being in a dimly lit room, so this room was perfect for me!

2.  The Space

Since the one bed folds back up, there was plenty of space in the centre of the room.  There was only 2 of us, but we didn’t feel like we were in each other’s way like we did in the original rooms.

Pop Century Bed and Table

When the bed is “up” there is plenty of room.

3.  Beds

I have to admit, we both slept GREAT at the resort!  Tons of pillows (we had 8 pillows between 2 of us!) and the mattress was very comfortable.  I slept on the bed that pulled down from the wall and my sister slept in the permanent one.  They are both listed as Queen Size, but it did feel like mine was a little tiny bit smaller – I wish I had brought a measuring tape!  Even though it ‘appeared’ a little smaller, it still felt bigger than a double bed.

4.  The Safe

I don’t worry about things going missing much at Walt Disney World, but it can happen.  It’s always a good idea to lock up your valuables when you’re not there.  I locked up my laptop, Ipad, Passport and extra cameras with plenty of space left over.  I was impressed with the depth and width of the safe and could have fit a bunch of more things in there.  The safe was easy to operate allowing you to set your own PIN code to open it.

5.  Fridge

Some of the resorts have the older fridges, but these new ones with the glass doors really keep your drinks cold.  I drink a LOT of water, and it’s important to me that it’s ice cold – especially on a hot day.  These fridges do not disappoint!  In fact, on day 2 I had to turn it down a bit since my water bottles were freezing a little.

Pop Century Fridge

The shelves are removable so you can make room for taller items

6.  Vanity Area

Big vanity area, ironing board and iron, big mirror, storage space and a place to hang up your clothes made this a great use of the space.  We had lots of room for all of our toiletries as well as storing some of the shopping we did in the little cubbies, keeping it out of the way and making the room feel less cluttered.  Yes – we can do some serious damage when we’re shopping!

7.  Shower

I’m not a fan of shower curtains, especially at a hotel.  I don’t know why, but they always make me feel like it’s so dark and confined.  In these new rooms the shower had sliding glass doors and there was plenty of light!  The water pressure was great and there was the option of the hand held vs rain shower.

Pop Century Bathroom

Very bright and clean

8.  Power And USB

This room had so many outlets and USB stations that we didn’t use them all.  It’s always a challenge with us to charge our devices.  With 2 phones, 2 iPads, 2 iWatches, laptops, Fuel Rods and cameras, we struggle at the end of the day to get them all plugged in.  In this room, we were able to plug in 8 devices at a time on the unit under the TV – that was very handy for us!

Pop Century USB Outlets

While there are many factors that should go in to choosing a resort, the room is an important one.  Pop Century Resort’s refurbished rooms are clean, spacious and fun – with touches of Disney sprinkled throughout.  I would definitely stay in a refurbished room again.

Check out my tour of the room on YouTube:

Why You Shouldn’t Buy Disney Parks Merchandise On Ebay

Rose Gold Ears EbayDisney releases new merchandise all the time at the parks.  There’s a different pin, popcorn bucket or Dooney purse for every season.  Occasionally – although it’s becoming more frequent, there are items that are just next to impossible to get!  These items are all over social media and everyone is going crazy to get their hands on the newest “must have” thing.   While I totally get the “I have to have it!” mentality – I am urging you NOT to buy these items on sites like eBay.  Here’s why.

1.  These items are marked up – drastically

Have you seen the hype about the Rose Gold Ears?  Honestly, I can’t figure out what’s so great about them – but many people have asked me to pick them up a pair when I’m there.  These things sell for $24.99 at the parks and $75 online (plus shipping!).  Why would you want to pay 3 times the value of an item from a seller who probably has an annual pass and only paid $20 for them?

2.  It’s because of the eBay sellers you can’t get these items for yourself

I have been in the parks when the latest and greatest craze was going on and you can see the resellers stocking up, buying as many of the items as they can carry.  As soon as they get information that shelves have been restocked, they are at the park clearing those same shelves.  THIS is why you can’t get one for yourself.  When you buy from these sellers, you’re keeping them in business and the circle continues.

oogie boogie popcorn bucket

$85 For a popcorn bucket! Don’t forget the $65 shipping!

3.  The personal shoppers are more reputable

While some may do both, the vast majority of the personal shoppers at Disney are only buying these items for clients who have already ordered them.  They are not buying 30 in the hopes that they can sell them later.  They’re also not selling them at an astronomical mark up – they have a small fee that is the same for all of their purchases and are not taking advantage of the newest hot topic.

4.  Disney will always have more if you’re patient

Remember those Haunted Mansion Dooney bags?  I really wanted one of those, so much that I was tempted to break my own rule and pay the crazy $1000 for a bag that was $200 in the parks.  But I didn’t.  While there were some days where I was panicking thinking I’d never get one – I stood my ground.  In my last 3 trips there have been HUNDREDS of these purses all over the parks.  Disney is not going to stop making things that people want, it might just take them some time to get the inventory out.

I can only hope that at some point Disney puts a limit on the number of these items that someone can purchase.  It wouldn’t stop these sellers, but it sure would slow them down so that others can get a chance to buy these fabulous for ourselves!

Have you bought anything on eBay?


5 Things You Need To Know Before Your Disney Cruise

Disney Cruise StackPlanning a Disney Cruise is an exciting time, but it’s important you don’t overlook the finer details in that plan!  While I know that some travellers will say ‘of course’ when they read this, I can tell you that I have heard a lot of experienced cruisers who have made some of these mistakes.  It’s always better to be safe than sorry!

Here are the 5 things you NEED to know before you sail.

1.  Proper Documentation.

You MUST have all of the documentation required to sail.  When in doubt – more is better.  I have read a few posts lately of people planning their cruise, asking their Facebook Group what identification is needed and showing up at the port without the right stuff.  Guess what?  No cruise for them… and their Facebook Group couldn’t help them.

Visit Disney’s site – read it thoroughly.  Cruise security is like Airport security – they don’t ‘overlook’ things.

I know you don’t want to consider it, but if you are sick or injured while on the cruise, you may not be permitted to fly without a passport.  While you *may* be on a cruise that does not require you to have a passport – it’s better to be safe than sorry.  Avoid the hassle – have a passport.


2.  Know what can you bring on board.

Sounds simple and common sense, no guns, no bicycles, no underwater scooters (that’s a thing?), but not all things prohibited are common knowledge.  Did you know you are not permitted to bring an extension cord on board?  Heating pads and musical instruments aren’t allowed either.  Make sure you check Disney’s page of permitted items before you pack your suitcase.  I’m not listing them all here as they can change at any time – but you can find the official list here.

Disney Cruise extension cord

3.  Make sure you have the proper currency for where you’re going.

On board all charges are in US Dollars.  However, you need to be prepared for the ports you visit and what currency they accept.   You also need to notify your credit card company before you travel if there’s a chance they might flag it for unusual activity.

4.  Departure Times.

Cruise ships wait for no one.  It’s imperative that you book your arrival time at the port with plenty of buffer for unforeseen issues.  Flight delays or traffic can cause you to miss your sailing.  When booking your port adventures, it’s the same rule – make sure you have PLENTY of time to get back to the ship after your adventure.  I think we’ve all seen the video of the couple running down the dock as their ship sails away.

Woody Pixar Apple Watch

5.  Contact information while on board.

It’s never a fun thought, but if you have people at home that may need to reach you while you’re sailing, it’s important to provide them the contact information before you sail.  When you receive your booklet from Disney Cruise Line, there are cards inside with instructions on how to reach you.

While most of these things are not the ‘fun’ side of planning your cruise, they are a necessity.   Once you’ve dealt with all of this stuff – you can enjoy your magical Disney Cruise!

If you want to see some other first time mistakes – check out this post First Time Mistakes

Have I missed anything you think is important?  Leave a comment and let me know!


Fireworks For The Visually Impaired

Tactical FireworksWhat if there was a firework show that the visually impaired could enjoy?  How would that even work?  Leave it to the minds at Disney Research to come up with a solution – a firework show you can feel!

We know that Disney is always looking for innovative ways for all guests to enjoy magical experiences.  Service animals are frequent visitors at the parks and provide assistance to those who need them.  For the hearing impaired they provide sign language interpretation for live shows and handheld captioning devices at the parks.  You can find out more about what they offer for the hearing impaired here.

Fireworks on the other hand are a show that you ‘see’ – but it looks like they may have found a way for guests who are visually impaired to enjoy them in the future!

In an article on Disney Research

“We present Feeling Fireworks, a tactile firework show. Feeling Fireworks is aimed at making fireworks more inclusive for blind and visually impaired users, in a novel experience that can be shared by all. Tactile effects are created using directable water jets that spray onto the rear of a flexible screen, with different nozzles for different firework effects.”

Based on the information provided in the article it looks like this is still in the early stages of development, but it’s fun to think of all of the possibilities!

Imagine that – I think it should be filed under “what will they think of next”.

Check out the video below:

One Thing Most Disney Travellers Don’t Plan For

Empty PlaneThe one component of the perfect Disney vacation that most travellers don’t prepare for is the airport.  Sure you’ve planned your dining, tickets and resort, but what good is it if you can’t get there?  Do you know what the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) expects from you?  Are you ready for what is waiting for you at the airport?

The mission of the TSA is to “Protect the nation’s transportation systems to ensure freedom of movement for people and commerce”.  Sounds kind of generic but there are specific things that the TSA do every day to keep us safe – and they could very well disrupt our travel plans!

While each airport has different procedures, there are some general guidelines that can help make your flights as painless as possible.

Here are 9 things you need to know before you get ready to fly.


When the airline suggests arriving 2 hours before your flight, it’s for a reason.  Security check points can have extremely long waits for a variety of reasons.

Recently there have been many posts from travellers at Orlando International Airport that the TSA has been swabbing each package of candy in a carry-on.  This has created some rather long lines given so many families flying home from Disney are bringing home lots of treats.  Do you want to miss your flight because you didn’t leave enough time for your 20 bags of candy to be swabbed?  And if you don’t have the candy – you can bet someone in front of you will!

This is a view you don’t want to miss!


Seems like a no brainer, but you would be amazed how many people don’t know what the required documentation is!  Your airline will have all of the information about what is required based on the cities that you’re flying to and from.  Make sure if both parents are not travelling together that you have the required paperwork to allow you to take the child with you.   Make sure these documents are in your carry-on, and not your checked bag!


While some items that are not allowed in your carry-on are obvious (like a firearm or dynamite) – others are not.  Did you know that you Christmas Crackers and foam toy swords are not permitted?  What about the cordless curling iron your teenager always has in her bag for those last minute touch ups?

It’s important to check before you get to the airport!  For the TSA list of items you can and can’t bring click here.

Disney Shopping

What can you put in your checked luggage vs your carry-on?


Each airline has their own guidelines to how big your luggage and carry-on can be.  Know the dimensions allowed and the weight.  Having your checked bag be overweight can be very costly!  Invest in a luggage scale like this one from Amazon – we weigh our luggage ourselves before we leave to avoid surprises and delays.


When you’re going through security you may be asked to remove your shoes, jackets, belts and jewelry.  Anything that could set off the metal detectors can delay the process.  FYI – those lovely Alex and Ani bracelets trigger it every time!  I make sure mine are in my carry-on or checked bag.


Still have that airline tag on your bag from your last trip?  Remove it.  While the airline will probably catch that one, it’s best to avoid any possibly confusion for the baggage handlers.

Have a luggage tag with your name and contact information attached to your checked bag.  Consider using your work address for security reasons and your cell phone number since it will be with you.

Disney luggage


I wish I could tell you how many times I have been travelling with someone who has ‘lost’ their boarding pass.  It’s easy to do – you use the restroom, get a drink, do a little shopping and leave it on the counter.  You’re going to need it to board the plane – so make sure it’s always with you.  I have a ‘passport wallet’ like this one to make sure I have everything together at all times.


Don’t waste time trying to find your airline or your gate.  Some airports are HUGE and can take a great deal of time trying to get from one place to another.  Connecting flights can be disastrous if you haven’t left enough time in between them to get to where you’re going.


Your airline website and the airport websites are the place to get the best information.  Check your flight status for delays, expected wait times and terminal maps before you go.  Lots of well meaning strangers on Facebook & Twitter will give you advice, but they won’t be there to help you if you get denied boarding.

Orlando International Airport site:  https://www.orlandoairports.net

Flying is a critical piece in your vacation that deserves attention.  With the right planning you can avoid unnecessary stress and enjoy the journey as well as the destination.

“A goal without a plan is just a wish.”

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Have you experienced issues at the airport that you weren’t prepared for?  Leave us a comment below!

*Disclosure:  We are a participant in the Amazon Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon and affiliated sites.

Dogs Welcome At Select Walt Disney World Resorts

Mickey and PlutoBeginning Sunday, October 15th, 2017, the Walt Disney World Resort will welcome guests – and their dogs – to four of its resort properties, and I’m not sure how I feel about it.

Guests at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort, Disney Port Orleans Resort – Riverside, Disney’s Art of Animation Resort and the cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground will be permitted to have up to 2 dogs in their resort room for an additional charge.

Each property’s per night / per room pet-cleaning rate is:

  • Disney’s Art of Animation Resort $50/night
  • Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside Resort $50/night
  • Disney’s Yacht Club Resort $75/night
  • Cabins at Disney’s Ft. Wilderness Resort $50/night

While Disney states that the guests are responsible for the proper care, behaviour and waste maintenance of the dogs, I struggle to see how it will be enforced.

The rules indicate that the dogs must be well behaved and should not be left unattended in the room for more that 7 hours.  If the dog is making noise while you are out (at the parks enjoying your vacation) they will call you to address the issue within 30 minutes.  Given that Disney recommends up to 90 minutes to travel on property for dining reservations, I’m not sure how they expect owners to come back to their resort within 30 minutes to address ‘noise’.

I must admit that when I read the announcement, my first reaction was “NO”, this is not a good idea.  I love some dogs, but I’m afraid of big ones – I have been all my life, so the thought of a big dog being in the hallway with me at my resort makes me very uncomfortable.  There are people with severe allergies who would be concerned about checking in to a room where the previous occupant had 4 legs, but that is an issue today with service animals.


Anna’s dog loves Disney too!

I know that Disney will do whatever they can to make ALL of their guests happy, but I think I may have to reserve judgement on this one until I see it in action.  I was not affected adversely by any of the dogs on property during Hurricane Irma, it was quite the opposite.  I loved seeing them playing around outside of the resort and they were all lovely, gentle dogs that I had the pleasure of being around.

On the other hand, I know that not all pet owners are responsible and not all dogs are well behaved.  My sister has 2 west highland terriers, and while I love them dearly – they bark at their own shadows.  That’s not a metaphor or exaggeration – if there is too much sunlight, it drives them CRAZY and they will spend hours barking at their own shadows.  I will reiterate again, I do love them – but I wouldn’t want to be in a resort room next to them… especially on a sunny day!

Angus and Dug

Angus & Dug Looking Well Behaved – no shadows!

Disney Facebook groups and Twitter have been very active with people sharing their opinions.  Guests feel very strongly both for and against it, but it’s big news!  Even People picked up the story today!

Service animals have been in the parks and resorts for years, and while there has been some chatter about people taking advantage of the ‘service animal designation’ – the volume of animals was pretty limited.  How will this change with this new policy?  Only time will tell.

I believe it will still be a small number of guests who will pay the cleaning fee in addition to their resort reservation to bring their dogs with them.  Who would want to pay $50 per day to leave your dog at the resort while you’re at the Magic Kingdom?   Why not have them at the Best Friends Pet Care Centre where they would not be alone and have plenty of activities to keep them entertained?

Otis 2

How much trouble could this guy cause??

While the logistics of how this will work are still to be seen, it will be interesting to watch how Disney handles the negative feedback to this and multiple requests for ‘deep cleaning’ of the rooms before check in.  Many resorts outside of Disney have this option and it’s a positive thing for many whose kids have 4 legs.  The question is how Disney will manage it.  Will Mousekeeping be overloaded trying to thoroughly clean the rooms?  Will the landscaping crews find more than just dirt around the flowers?  Or will everyone be responsible, respect the other guests, follow the rules and enjoy having their dogs with them at the happiest place on earth?

Angus and Dug 2

Angus and Dug looking sweet!

We shall see… but just so you know – my sister’s dogs (Dug and Angus) will NEVER be on vacation with me 🙂

For full details – please see the official information here

Will you take your dogs on vacation to Walt Disney World?  What do you think of this decision?


Afternoon Tea At Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort

Afternoon Tea Table MenuAfternoon tea at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort was something that I always wanted to try.  I love a good cup of tea, I love finger sandwiches and I think anyone reading my blog knows – I LOVE dessert.  What a perfect afternoon activity this would be for me!

We made reservations the day before and were lucky they were able to take us.  We arrived at the Garden Tea Room and were seated right away.  They led us to our table and I was immediately struck by how pretty and relaxing it looked.

We looked at the menu to decide what each of us would order (there were 3 of us).  Two of us had The Bedfordshire ($35) and one had the Cheshire Tea ($50) that included a Fruit and Cheese plate.

Afternoon Tea Table

Our Table For Afternoon Tea

My biggest problem with the menu was that I wanted more than 1 dessert (of course!).  Our host was happy to tell me that I could order an extra dessert for an additional charge.  Since I knew I would be writing a blog for this experience, I thought it was a good idea to try more things (that’s my story anyway!).

I have found that it’s difficult to get a good steeped cup of tea in the US, so I was really looking forward to my tea.  I chose the 2nd Flush Darjeeling tea, I love Orange Pekoe tea with milk and sugar.  My sister and friend both wanted to try something different and less traditional – and went with the Superfruity and Mango Ginger.  We were all very happy with our selections.

Tea Pots Afternoon Tea Grand Floridian

Tea Pot and Cosy

When our tea pots arrived we each had our own tea cosy that was perfect for keeping our tea hot throughout our entire experience.  I have lots of them at home, but this cosy was GOOD!  The pots were a good size and I think I probably filled my cup 6 or 7 times with it.

Afternoon Tea Cheese Plate

Fruit and Cheese Plate

When they brought out our tiers of plates, my first thought was “those sandwiches aren’t going to fill me”.  I was hungry that day (we had skipped breakfast) and was glad I had ordered the extra dessert.  I’m not a big fan of scones or tarts so I figured I wouldn’t eat much off of the second plate anyway.  I’m a bit of a picky eater, and assumed I’d mainly just eat the dessert!

Afternoon Tea Tier

All the plates of goodness!

Boy was I wrong!

First the sandwiches – I ate every one, and every bite!  I was so surprised that I enjoyed them all – the Sweet Curry Chicken had a little kick, I almost wish there had been two of them.   You can’t go wrong with Egg Salad or Cucumber, but the Roasted Tomato was perfect too.  Onion tart?  Sounded weird to me – but I liked it!

Afternoon Tea Sandwiches

Cucumber, Sweet Curry Chicken, Egg Salad, Fire Roasted Tomato With Oregano Goat Cheese, Onion Tart

The second course was the scone and tart.  I don’t like raisins as a rule, but there were only a few in the scone that I could pick out.  I loved the lemon curd (did I just say that?) and the creme – I ate all of it and moved on to the Strawberry Tart.  Tarts aren’t my favourite – but this one was light with just the right amount of strawberry flavour.

Afternoon Tea Scone and Tart

Raisin Scone with clotted creme, lemon curd and apricot jam. Strawberry Tart.

I took a deep breath at that point and wondered why I ordered the extra dessert, I was already getting full!  Good thing I’m sure I won’t like the Macaroons!  (I had a bite, not my favourite – I don’t like them normally anyway).

Afternoon Tea Dessert Tier Grand Floridian

Mousse filled swan, French Macaroon, Chocolate Covered Strawberry, Strawberries and whipped creme.

At this point I’ve had about 4 cups of tea and I’m thoroughly enjoying the relaxing afternoon.  I sat for a minute before trying to decide what delicious part of the dessert I would eat first.

Chocolate Strawberries have to be chilled with the right amount of sweetness… and the one I got was perfect.  The mousse filled swan was light and tasty – but my absolute favourite was the strawberries topped with whipped creme.   As much as I thought I was full, I almost finished the bowl it was so good.

Strawberry and creme inside

I had read a review online for the Afternoon Tea and almost didn’t book it, I am so glad that we decided to try it anyway.  This is something that I will make sure to do again.

Reviews online may have been mixed, but my experience was wonderful.  We had a leisurely afternoon with great food and a excellent cups of tea!  It was the perfect way to spend some time away from the hustle and bustle of the parks and just sit back and relax.  There were some little ones at the next table who seemed to be enjoying their Mrs. Potts Tea as well – there was something for everyone!

Have you tried afternoon tea?  What was your experience like?


5 Reasons To Use Disney’s Minnie Van Service

Minnie Van Grand Floridian Car 32Minnie Vans are the newest form of transportation at Walt Disney World, and worth every penny to me.  They operate similar to Lyft and Uber, but use a slightly different pricing model to take you anywhere on Disney property.

Here are the top 5 reasons you should try the Minnie Van service the next time you’re in Walt Disney World

1.  It’s a Disney Service – Safety First

There are car seats for the little ones and each driver goes through a rigorous 8 hour training class on how to install them.  There are vans that are equipped to transfer guests with wheelchairs and ECVs.  The Cast Members driving know exactly where they’re going without looking at the GPS on their phones.  Safety first – and it shows.

Minnie Van Car Seats

Minnie Van Car Seats

2.  Access to Cast Member Only Roads

Did my drive seem shorter with a Minnie Van vs a regular Lyft?  Absolutely!  Our driver was able to utilize the Cast Member Only roads in the back of Fort Wilderness to get us to our destination quickly.

 3.  Preferred Drop Points

Since this service is Disney, they obviously give preference to their drivers.  The drop off and pick up points are much more convenient to guests.  At the Magic Kingdom you will not have to go to the Ticket and Transportation Centre first, they will drop you at the bus dock right outside.  Regular Lyft drivers are not able to go to the bus stops at the Magic Kingdom so we found this a huge plus.  Less walking and much more convenient to be in a Minnie Van.

Animal Kingdom Pick Up

4.  Uninterrupted Cast Member Time

On a recent trip we took as many as 8 Minnie Van trips – all with wonderful cast members!  Having the time in the vehicle to chat with them one on one was such a treat, we even had the same cast member twice.

The Cast Members we met had such great stories about their careers with Disney, there were a few that we didn’t want the ride to end because we were enjoying the chat so much!

5.  Convenience and Comfort

Being able to see where the car was when it was on it’s way is one of the great things I love about Uber and Lyft.  Knowing the approximate arrival time is somehow comforting when you’re waiting after walking around all day.

Minnie Van Music

With Air Conditioning controls in the front and the back – we never had an uncomfortable temperature and the background Disney music was an added bonus.

Being able to go from resort to resort without transferring to a different bus made me very happy!

Minnie Vans are  available at all Walt Disney World Resorts.  If you would like to know how to use the service – click here for instructions.

Have you tried Disney’s Minnie Van service?  What did you think?

Top 5 Reasons To Stay At Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort

Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa at Walt Disney World has to be one of the most beautiful and elegant resorts on property.  When it first opened, I assumed I would never stay there.  Princess Diana had stayed at the Grand Floridian, would I even fit in with the ‘posh people’?

I couldn’t have been more wrong.

Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa is a place that everyone should have on their bucket list.  It’s bright, classy and inviting.

Here are my 5 favourite reasons for staying here.

1.  The Disney theming is a little less obvious than it is at the Value resorts, but it’s there.

Take a look at the marble floors, you’ll find all sorts of Disney characters.

Grand Floridian Chip


2.  Shopping

While the stores don’t thrill me that much, Bain is a MUST for me every trip.  They have some great lotions and bath salts, but the Basin White scent is my favourite.  The scent reminds me of the Grand Floridian and when I wear it everyday – I have a little piece of it with me.


Full list of shops can be found here

3.  Monorail Access

There is something special about being able to take the Monorail to the Magic Kingdom.  It’s the perfect way to arrive!  It also makes it really convenient to get to the Ticket and Transportation Centre to go to Epcot too.

Grand Floridian Monorail

Having the Contemporary Resort and the Polynesian on the monorail loop gives you a convenient way to resort hop for different dining and shopping without having to take a bus or drive.


4.  The Rooms

The rooms at the Grand Floridian are large and some offer amazing views of the Seven Seas Lagoon or the Magic Kingdom.  I have stayed in the regular rooms and the villas and was thrilled with all of them.

Grand Floridian 2 Bedroom

Master Bedroom – 2 Bedroom Villa

No matter which room, which view – they were incredible.   All rooms come with a mini fridge, in room safe, ceiling fan, and coffee maker.  In the main resort, there is turn down service – but not in the Disney Vacation Club villas.

Grand Floridian Turn Down

Turn Down Service – Complete With Chocolates!


5.  Dining Options

There are many great dining options at the Grand Floridian.

The quick service at Gasparilla Island Grill is worth visiting, we have enjoyed pizza and sandwiches here.  The dessert was delicious too!

For table service you can’t go wrong with either the Grand Floridian Cafe or Narcoossee’s.  I haven’t tried Victoria & Albert’s yet – that’s on my bucket list!

For a full list of dining options, see Disney’s official list here

The video below has a full walk through of a Deluxe Studio Room!

What do you think of the resort?


Disneyland Cast Member Retires After 60 Years

Oscar Martinez DisneylandThe longest-tenured Cast Member at the Disneyland Resort has retired after 60 years of service.

Oscar Martinez began working in the Fantasyland quick service locations but spent the last 50 years working at the cafe on Main Street U.S.A.

On January 19th, 2017, Oscar was presented with an award that was created for him at Walt Disney Imagineering – to celebrate his achievements with the company.

Oscar had many fond memories of his years spent at Disneyland, especially watching Walt himself walk the park.

After 60 years, Oscar retired on September 27th, 2017.


Disney To Pay Workers For Lost Wages From Irma

Contemporary Resort IrmaThe damages at Walt Disney World due to Hurricane Irma were not as bad as they could have been.  There were lots of downed trees and debris – but nothing that couldn’t be repaired.  For the most part, all resorts were operational the next day with the exception of Fort Wilderness which had been evacuated before the storm.

Many of the Cast Members though weren’t so lucky.  They have homes that are damaged and/or flooded.  A few of the Cast Members I spoke to at The Polynesian Resort were happy to come to work where there is air conditioning.  Missing 2 days of work when the parks were closed means lost wages for some when they are trying to rebuild and replace after the storm.

Disney has confirmed that they will pay the union and non-union members for their shifts for the two days that the parks were closed.

Contempoary Resort Irma Damage

Disney had already announced they would donate $2.5 million to help those impacted by Hurricane Irma.  During the storm Walt Disney World and Disney Cruise Line donated meals, provided storage for supplies and power-utility vehicles, donated bedding to shelters, and made rooms available for first responders.

It’s a great gesture from the Disney company and kudos to the executives that made those decisions to take care of their employees as well as the community.


The BEST Purchase I’ve Made At Disney

Cooling Towel InstructionsIt is very easy to overheat at Walt Disney World, no matter how much water you drink!  I drink a LOT of water so I never have an issue of dehydrating, but intense heat is something I can’t handle.  I tend to avoid the summer months when possible for this very reason, but sometimes you arrive at Walt Disney World and it’s just TOO HOT.

Being Canadian, we love our summer months, but I’m not out walking for 12 hours in that heat.  At Walt Disney World I’m walking from building to building just looking for the air conditioned relief!

The other night at Animal Kingdom I stumbled across these ‘cooling towels’.  I had read about them online, but didn’t pay too much attention to it.  Since the weather said it ‘felt like’ 40 – I would have tried ANYTHING to cool down a little.  I decided to buy the towels for myself and friends and give it a shot.  If we didn’t do something, we were going to have to leave the park or sit in some air conditioning for an hour – I couldn’t take much more heat.

Disney Cooling Towel

The directions said:

  1. Wet it
  2. Wring it
  3. Snap it

Off to the restrooms we went to wet our towels.  I was concerned because the water that comes from those sinks isn’t cold – I figured I’d end up with a lukewarm towel wrapped around me!

I shouldn’t have worried, this towel was the BEST purchase I have made in the last week here.  They stay cool for between 90 and 120 minutes!  They aren’t heavy like some of the other cooling towels I’ve bought before.  They still have a bit of water in them after you wring them out so your shirt may get a little damp around the collar – but it really wasn’t a concern for us.  Every time we stopped at a restroom we wet them again – and presto, instant cooling.

The towels were $16.90 USD and available throughout the parks.  They are machine washable and and worth every penny!  I honestly don’t know how I survived without it.

Have you bought one of the cooling towels?  What did you think?

Disney After Hours Event Returns For 2018

Disney After HoursThe popular After Hours event at Walt Disney World will return to the Magic Kingdom in 2018.  The special ticket event is an amazing night time experience that you don’t want to miss!

The Magic Kingdom event allows for entry as early as 7pm with the ticket purchase.  You will experience little to no wait times at some great attractions, you feel like you have the park to yourself!

I have experienced the After Hours Event and it was wonderful.  Having a limited number of guests in the park let us ride Space Mountain and the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train without waiting at all.  We rode the mine train 3 times in a row, just walking right back on.  It was so much fun.

The events are currently scheduled in 2018 for:

  • January 19, 26, and 30
  • February 8 and 15
  • March 1 and 8

Tickets are $119.00 USD each and can be purchased here

Check out the great fun you can have below

Have you experienced the After Hours Event?  Did you love it as much as I did?

Disney Parks To Open After Irma

Hurricane Irma WDW Before the StormTheme parks in Walt Disney World are getting ready to open on September 12th, 2017 after Hurricane Irma hit Florida.

After being closed September 10th and 11th, guests are anxious to get in to the parks to see how they held up.  There are many trees down around the resorts, and clean up efforts began as soon as it was safe for Cast Members to be outside.

Hours for the parks for September 12th are:

Magic Kingdom

Extra Magic Hours 8AM – 9AM

Park Hours 9AM – 7PM

Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party 7PM – 12AM


Park Hours 9AM – 9PM

Extra Magic Hours 9PM – 11PM

Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Park Hours 9AM – 9PM

Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Park Hours 9AM – 9PM

Disney Springs

Hours 10AM – 12AM

Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach Water Parks show as closed on the Disney site, but open on the 13th.  Keep checking for more updates.

Irma Preparations At Disney Resorts

Disney Notification IrmaWith Hurricane Irma approaching Walt Disney World, all Disney parks are closed September 10th and 11th.

Communication has been great from Disney.  Updates left in our room and alerts on My Disney Experience has made sure that we all know what to expect as we ride out the storm.

At the Contemporary Resort, you can see one of the Monorails parked inside.

Monorail Parked Irma

The tug (the thing that pulls the Monorail if it breaks down) is also parked inside.

Monorail Tug Irma

Disney has many activities for the kids on the second floor all set up.  I didn’t take pictures of that because there were children there – but they had bean bag toss, giant Jenga, Connect Four, and a bunch of others.  The kids looked like they were having a good time.

Recreation Irma

They had a make-shift movie theatre – equipped with free popcorn and water machines.

Disney Movies

And of course – the characters were out meeting guests.  We saw Mickey, Pluto, Goofy and Donald.  The Cast Member told us they were having a contest with some of the other resorts – sharing the magic!  So they asked us to Hashtag our pics #IrmaContemporaryResort

Irma Contemporary Resort

My Sister (who is celebrating her birthday this trip) was THRILLED that she got to see Donald.  He really is #1!

Now we just wait and watch the weather to see what happens next.


The Calm Before Irma At Disney

Hurricane Irma WDW Before the StormIt was a gorgeous night at Walt Disney World after the showers earlier in the evening.  The clouds had gone and the severe humidity had passed, it was very comfortable.

As we were out watching Happily Ever After from our balcony at Bay Lake Tower, 2 notices were delivered to our room about the approaching Hurricane Irma.

The first was the Resort Impacts outlining important details we needed to know.  It included advice on dining, snacks and bottled beverages as well as the channel we should be watching for updates.  Disney also has offered complimentary Disney films on the in-room TV until further notice.

The second was our room impacts.

This outlined the operating hours of the parks for Saturday September 9th, 2017

  • Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disney’s Animal Kingdom will be closing at  7pm
  • Magic Kingdom, Epcot and Disney Springs will be closing at 9pm
  • All nighttime spectaculars have been cancelled
  • All Theme Parks and Disney Springs will be closed Sunday September 10th and Monday September 11th.

The notice also advised that guests could may be confined to their rooms fro 24 to 48 hours until any curfews are lifted.

Hurricane Irma Room Impacts

Disney is doing everything to ensure the safety of guests and cast members while waiting for Hurricane Irma’s arrival.


Disney Cruise Line Sailings Cancelled

Disney Dream Hurricane IrmaDue to the anticipated path of Hurricane Irma, Disney has issued emails to guests notifying them of the cancellations of their cruise.

In an email sent to guests (see below), Disney Cruise Line has cancelled the September 8th and September 11th, 2017 sailings on the Disney Dream.

Disney is offering guests a 25% discount on a future sailing if the call to rebook between September 18th and October 18th.

While I can imagine that this decision did not come lightly, Disney has made the decision to put safety above all else – and that’s what they do best.

I was scheduled to be sailing on the Dream on September 11th and will be rebooking my cruise for another date.

DCL Cancellation Irma


The Boathouse At Disney Springs Review

The Boathouse Disney SpringsWith so many great places to eat at Disney Springs, it makes for a very difficult decision if you’ve only got time for one.  We had a chance to have lunch at The Boathouse and I can tell you, it did not disappoint!  Often when I hear rave reviews about a place I am disappointed.  I guess I have such a high expectation that there is no way for it to be met.  This was not the case with the Boathouse.

When we arrived I was pleasantly surprised with how ‘open’ it felt.  There was plenty of room and lots of natural light coming in.  I don’t know what the lighting would be in the evenings, but I did love the feel during the day.

The Boathouse Disney Springs Inside

The decor was fun, with nautical themes and a full size booth inside of a boat in the middle of the dining room.   There are other dining rooms in this restaurant, but we were seated next to this boat.

The Boathouse Booth in a Boat

We started off with water and pop while we looked at the menu.  The waiter brought out some bread that was so good that I could have just had that for lunch and would have been satisfied.

The Boathouse Bread

My sister Becky ordered the New England Lobster Roll.  She’s a big fan of lobster and said she was sure there was an entire lobster in it.

The Boathouse Lobster Roll

I ordered the Smokehouse Angus Brisket French Dip as recommended by our waiter.  I couldn’t believe the size of it when he brought it out.

The Boathouse Brisket

The meat was so tender and full of flavour that I started to wish I hadn’t eaten so much bread.

Boathouse Brisket Inside

Becky and I both got the French fries with our meals and both agreed that they were delicious!  While we both got huge portions of fries, we made a good dent in them. When the waiter came back and asked if we wanted dessert, we both thought we couldn’t… but then we saw the people at the next table having theirs – and decided we had to try it! Becky had the Key Lime Pie In A Mason Jar

The Boathouse Key Lime Pie

And I had (surprise!) the Double Chocolate Bundt Cake

The Boathouse Double Chocolate Bundt Cake

To say that dessert was yummy is a huge understatement.  I couldn’t stop myself eating this cake even though I was thoroughly stuffed.

Double Chocolate Dessert The Boathouse

I can’t say there was anything about the Boathouse that we didn’t enjoy.  It’s making it very difficult for us to decide where to go when we visit.  We love Art Smith’s Homecomin’ as well as Morimoto – too many choices!!  Seems like we might just need a week vacation just to eat around Disney Springs??

PS – after this dessert, I had to get my Sprinkles cupcakes to go!

Have you eaten at The Boathouse?

The Wisdom Of Walt

Jeff BarnesThe Wisdom Of Walt is a look at the success and failures of Walt Disney as he relentlessly pursued his dreams.  The author, Jeff Barnes, has captured Disney history with his own unique storytelling and personal experiences to provide insight in to how we can make our own dreams a reality.

Jeff Barnes is a Disney fan as well as a history buff, university professor and author.  He took his passions and combined them together to write his first book The Wisdom of Walt, leadership lessons from the happiest place on earth.

Jeff outlines actionable lessons using Disney storytelling to help you succeed in your own life, you will want to read it more than once.  His personal reflections provide a connection that make him both relatable and inspirational.

From the very first chapter of “Sitting On A Park Bench”, Jeff takes us through Walt’s earliest vision for Disneyland and both the success and challenges he faced.  Jeff’s ability to relate these stories to things that you can incorporate in your own life make it a blueprint for dreamers everywhere.

It is important to remember that before you achieve your dreams you will fail.  This book offers the perfect balance between hard reminders and motivation to continue chasing your dreams.

As I move through my own journey, I will always remember Jeff’s quote “You can’t Fastpass success”.

Jeff’s newest book Beyond The Wisdom Of Walt will be available October 1, 2017.  I can’t wait to read the next one!







Updates To My Disney Experience App

My Disney Experience AppThe My Disney Experience app has upped its game by adding some features that we’ve all been waiting for.  In a move that integrates even more information in to your smartphone, it has made the app an even more important piece of your Walt Disney World vacation.



1.  Track Dining Plan Credits

My Disney Experience Track Dining

Tracking your Disney Dining credits has always been a bit of a pain for my family.  When we travel with 7 of us, it’s difficult to know how many credits are left – especially with snacks and quick service meals when we split up.  While we normally eat all of our table service meals together, the snacks and quick service are the challenge.

The newest update allows guests to track their dining plan credits and see how many were issued, redeemed and are still available for use.

This may mean that I won’t be trying to use up 20 snack credits in 2 days.  I think it will make things much easier for planning!


2.  Check Resort Purchases

Disney Resort Purchases Tracking

This one might be both good and bad for me!  Many times I’m standing in a store staring at a new Dooney when I wonder “how muchmoney have I already spent this week?” – now I won’t have to wonder.  The problem is that I’m usually able to convince myself I haven’t spent that much and then I buy the Dooney – this app will remind me, it is not in my budget!  Good thing or bad thing?  We’ll see on my next visit.


3.  Renew Annual Pass

I am an annual pass holder and this update will make it even easier for me to renew.  Disney is the master at making it convenient for you to spend money!

Disney Annual Pass Renewal

The My Disney Experience app has become the ‘hub’ for your Disney vacation planning and management.  From mobile food ordering to fastpass and dining plan management, it’s a “must have” when you’re visiting Walt Disney World.

Are you excited about these features?




Mobile Food Ordering New Locations Added Walt Disney World

Mobile Food Ordering DisneyOrdering a quick service meal at Walt Disney World is getting easier every day!  I had the opportunity to try the Mobile Ordering feature at Pandora – The World Of Avatar for the first time and I was impressed.  It save time as well as the aggravation of standing in a long line for food.

Due to the popularity of the service, Disney has expanded it to even more locations!

Now you can pre-order your quick service meal at any of the locations below:

Magic Kingdom Park:

  • Columbia Harbour House
  • Cosmic Ray’s Starlight CaféMobile Food Ordering WDW
  • Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn & Cafe
  • Pinocchio Village Haus
  • Tomorrowland Terrace Restaurant (seasonally)


  • Electric Umbrella
  • Liberty Inn

Disney’s Hollywood Studios:

  • ABC Commissary

    Order is ready confirmation in the app

  • Backlot Express
  • PizzeRizzo

Disney’s Animal Kingdom:

  • Flame Tree Barbecue
  • Pizzafari
  • Restaurantosaurus
  • Satu’li Canteen

Disney Springs:

  • D-Luxe Burger

Currently the only form of payment accepted through the app is credit card, but I assume that will be updated in the future for more options.  Anyone on the dining plan or with dietary restrictions must place their order with a cashier.

Disney has said that they are working on expanding it to even more locations.  I am excited about this and can’t wait to use it again when I visit!

Have you tried it yet?


Complimentary Toiletries Replaced With Pump Dispensers At Disney

Disney H2O SoapThere are indications that Disney may be getting rid of the cute little toiletry bottles of H2O that we have grown to love and replacing them with refillable dispensers.

It has been reported by many fan sites that Port Orleans Riverside recently had pump dispensers of the H2O products rather than the individual travel sized bottles.

The little bottles were a small treat in your room, some terrific products in sample sizes for you to try.  Obviously the thought was that it would encourage you to buy the product in the gift shop so that you could take a little bit of Disney home with you.

Is this a cost cutting measure?  Or Disney’s attempt to be more green and reduce the amount of waste and plastic bottles?

Many guests are not happy about the changes with one fan even making a ‘save the soap’ video!



And if you REALLY wanted some – of course they are for sale on eBay!



It is not clear yet if this will be rolled out across all resorts and resort categories.

What do you think of the potential changes?


Satu’li Canteen Review At Disney’s Animal Kingdom’s Pandora – The World Of Avatar

blueberry cream cheese mousseOn our visit to Pandora we had to have lunch at Satu’li Canteen.  We were there early enough to do breakfast, but I really wanted the lunch menu so we waited until they started serving lunch.

When we arrived at the Satu’li Canteen I was immediately impressed with the amount of seating offered, there were plenty of tables available both inside and out.  The theming was detailed, showcasing Na’vi artwork and different items, but since I wasn’t a huge fan of the movie – some of these details were lost on me.

The line and ordering stations are similar to other quick service restaurants around the parks with the cashier in the middle with a line on either side.  After you pay, you step up to the window to collect your order.  There is also Mobile Ordering available at this location.  You can read more about that here.

Satuli Canteen Quick Serve Ordering

For lunch we both knew that we had to try some kind of bao bun.  I opted for the cheeseburger (of course) while Becky had the vegetable curry.

My cheeseburger pod was filled with ground beef, ketchup, mustard, pickle, and cheddar cheese

Becky’s vegetable curry had eggplant, cauliflower, sweet potato, carrots, and shallot cilantro cream

Satuli Pods

Both of our dishes were served with vegetable slaw and vegatable chips.

Normally I can’t eat a burger without french fries (aren’t they mandatory??) – but these chips were good!  The pod was a little chewy so the crunchy chips were a great balance.   The slaw was light and a bit tangy, somehow it all just worked together!

Inside Satuli Pod

Becky enjoyed her curry as well, but when I tasted it – it was a bit too much curry for me.

The portions were really big, but we had to have dessert (how could we not?).

Satuli Chocolate Cake

I had the chocolate cake while Becky had the blueberry cream cheese mousse.

blueberry cream cheese mousse

Both were good, but the chocolate ‘cake’ seemed less like a cake and more like a mousse.  The blueberry one was light and delicious and of course so pretty that you wanted to take multiple pictures of it!

Would I recommend Satu’li Canteen?  Yes.  It’s a great atmosphere, different food from elsewhere in the park and it’s good.

Have you been?  What did you have?


Mobile Food Ordering At Walt Disney World

Mobile Food Ordering WDWMobile ordering quick service food at Walt Disney World has really improved meal time for me!

One of my biggest pet peeves was always having to wait in a HUGE line for a “quick service” meal.  It hardly felt like “quick service” when I had to stand in line for 15 minutes just to order.  Yes, you can avoid the lines if you don’t eat lunch at 12 or dinner at 5, but what happens if I’m hungry at noon?  Now I can order it from my phone and avoid those lines!

At select Walt Disney World quick service locations, you can pre-order your meal on the My Disney Experience app right from your smartphone.  I had the opportunity to try it when we ate at Satu’li Canteen in Pandora at Animal Kingdom and I have to say – I LOVE it!

Technology is a great thing – when it works.  I was a little hesitant trying this since there wasn’t much of a line and I was really hungry, but thought I’d give it a go for research purposes!

Selecting my meal

It allowed me to select my sides, sauces etc.

Adding dessert

So far so good. 

Payment screen

Payment was done right on my Visa that is linked in my Disney account.

Let them know I’m here to start preparing my order

When you select the “I’m Here, Prepare My Order” option – they start preparing your meal.  

Then you wait….

Order is ready confirmation in the app

The notification was in the app – but it also gave me an ‘alert’ notification on my iPhone too!

iPhone alert

And lunch was served!  It was a great experience, no lines.- quick food.  What more could I ask for?  Maybe that they roll it out at more locations in the parks AND resorts?

Satuli Pods

Have you tried mobile ordering yet?  Was it as easy to use as it was for me?


Minnie Themed Transportation Option

Minnie Vans DisneyI have always maintained that there is no need to rent a car when you’re staying on Disney property at Walt Disney World.  The Magical Express will take you back and forth to the airport and the bus, monorail, or boats will take you anywhere else for FREE.  Why would you pay extra to rent a car?  Because you want the convenience and comfort.

At the end of the night when you’re leaving a park it can be very crowded.  While Disney does their best to make sure they have plenty of buses, monorails and boats, there is inevitably a long line for some of them when a park closes for the evening.  If you’re willing to pay extra to avoid the crowds, a car rental, taxi or Uber were your only options – until now.

Guests staying at Disney’s Boardwalk, Yacht and Beach Club Resorts will are the first to test out this new mode of transportation.  Guests are able to arrange their own private transfer within Disney property from a smartphone.  Each van comes equipped with two car seats for children stored in the trunk if they are not required.  A trip is $20 USD flat fee for up to 6 passengers.

Minnie Vans D23With the launch of the Express Transportation option I was happy to pay extra for a little comfort when I was park hopping.  The new Minnie Vans are going to be a welcome cost at the end of a long night when I just want to get back to my resort and put my feet up.

I can’t wait to test them out!  Stay tuned for my full review!


All Star Movies Resort Review

Disneys All Star Movies HerbieAfter all of my visits to Walt Disney World, this was my first time staying at the All Star Movies.  I had toured the resort at length, but it’s a very different experience when you’re staying there.


When we arrived at the resort, there was a rather long line for check in.  I don’t know if this is normal (as I said, this was my first visit here) – but the line was long.  I assumed that a Magical Express bus had just arrived (we drove) and that was why there were so many people.  We decided to go grab a quick bite in the food court and let the line subside.  When we returned after dinner, it was a little shorter – but not by much.

Disneys All Star Movies Check In

There were only 2 of us staying in the room, and we were comfortable with the space, the rooms are 260 square feet in size.  There were two double beds so we each had our own.  The All Star Resorts sleep up to 4 people in a room, but I think if it were 4 adults it would have been a little crowded.

Disneys All Star Movies Beds

The bathroom was a bit small, but I had expected that.  The vanity area was a decent size for the two of us.

Disneys All Star Movies Bathroom

Storage space was not in abundance, but was enough for 2 women to unpack everything.  The closet area next to the vanity is big enough to hold your suitcases.  If you have 4 people unpacking, you might not fit it all in the drawer spaces (if you pack like we do!).

Disneys All Star Movies Vanity

When we went for dinner at the World Premier Food Court we were happy with the variety of selections.  The Majestic Shop had pizza, mac and cheese, and flatbreads.  I opted for the Roxy Shop that had burgers, hot dogs and chicken nuggets, although the pot roast at the Lyric Shop looked good too!  I of course finished my meal with a treat from the Rialto Shop where they had some pretty cool desserts.

Disneys All Star Movies Food

While we didn’t have time to enjoy the pools (we were leaving on a Disney Cruise the next day) I did have a chance to take a look around and soak in the atmosphere.  There are two pools for the All Star Movies, the Duck Pond Pool and Fantasia.  The Duck Pond Pool is a Mighty Ducks theme and the Fantasia pool is of course themed after Fantasia with a big Sorcerer Mickey fountain.  The pools are very cute and have life jackets are available for the little ones who aren’t strong swimmers yet.

Disneys All Star Movies Fantasia Pool

I had heard stories that the All Star Resorts were often the place for larger groups of kids to stay on school events or cheerleading competitions due to the affordability of them.  Once I was settled in my room I went to go to get some ice from the machine and I saw them pull up – 3 large buses of teenagers!   It turned out that they were well behaved and were not loud at all that evening, so I can safely say my experience at the resort was not impacted.

All Star Movies Scene

Would I stay at the All Star Movies again?  It depends.  If I’m looking for an economy trip – absolutely.  It had all the amenities of staying on Disney property, it was clean, it was cheerful and the cast members were great.  That being said, I like to relax a little at my resort and this just had a little too much hustle and bustle for me.

How about you?  Have you stayed at an All Star Resort?  Leave us a comment below!

Disneys All Star Movies TV Fridge and dresser

Fridge, Dresser and TV

Disneys All Star Movies Table


Disneys All Star Movies Coat Rack

Coat Hanger

Disneys All Star Movies Pool Bar

Pool Bar

Disneys All Star Movies

One Of The Buildings

Disneys All Star Movies World Premier Food Court

Food Court Seating Area



Real Life Luke Skywalker X-34 Landspeeder

Luke Skywalker landspeederLuke Skywalker’s landspeeder was revealed at Comic-Con in San Diego in early 2017.  This kid-sized vehicle has realistic details that has Star Wars fans excited.

Designed for children ages 4 and up, the landspeeder seats 2 pint-sized passengers weighing up to 130 pounds.  The exterior has all of the trimmings you would expect to find on an landspeeder, including distressed paint and a big dent on the nose, just like Luke’s.

Although it has a very close resemblance to the X-34 landspeeder from Star Wars: A New Hope, it rides on wheels.  There is no hovering, but it’s still the coolest thing in this galaxy.

Inside of the vehicle is an interactive dashboard with lights and sounds from the movie.  Among the sounds you can hear the engine, R2-D2 or dialog from Luke Skywalker himself.

“Look it, theres a Droid on the scanner.  Dead ahead.  Might be our little Artoo unit.  Hit the accelerator!” – Luke Skywalker 


The gear shift allows for speeds of 2 or 5 mph in the forward position or 2 mph in reverse.  Running on a rechargeable 12V battery, it’s much smaller than the original would have been, weighing just 59.9 pounds.

Star Wars landspeeder_console

Built by Radio Flyer, the landspeeder was originally only available at Toys R Us. It’s a little more expensive than a kid-sized Ferrari, but has all of the features an aspiring Jedi would want to have.  When you are battling Darth Vader, you need more than a lightsaber and the force, you need the right vehicle.


When Star Wars first hit the movie screens in 1977, we all aspired to be Luke, Han or Leia.  We reenacted movie scenes in the playground and used our little red wagons and Big Wheels to simulate landspeeders and the Millennium Falcon.  I suspect many of us who had this playtime ritual are now trying to figure out how to ‘fit’ in the new landspeeder and take it for a spin.  Maybe I could drive it to work one day, imagine how jealous my friends would be?


Disney Park Updates From D23 Expo Recap

D23 ExpoBig plans were announced for Walt Disney World Parks and Resorts at the D23 Expo.  From new resorts, park expansions and Disney Cruise Line updates, it was so hard to keep track of it all.  Below is a summary of the big announcements that will impact Walt Disney World.    

1.  Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge

Set to open in 2019 first at Disneyland and later that year in Walt Disney World, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge promises to be a fully immersive experience with 2 major attractions.   One attraction is reported to make you feel like your on a Star Destroyer, but I am MOST excited about the second – flying the Millennium Falcon!   The lands will give you an opportunity to dine at the cantina and see some of your favorite characters!


2.  Star Wars Resort at Walt Disney World

No opening date has been set, but this new resort is just what Star Wars fans have been looking for! According to Bob Chapek, Chairman of Walt Disney Parks & Resorts, this will be a revolutionary new vacation experience.


3.  Epcot Getting 2 New Attractions

Guardians of the Galaxy attraction will be added to Future World and will replace the Universe of Energy. A Ratatouille inspired attraction will be added to the France pavilion in World Showcase.   Guests will be “shrunk” to Remy’s size inside of Gusteau’s restaurant in this 4D experience, similar to the attraction in Paris. Specific opening dates have not been released for either attraction but they are scheduled to be open before Walt Disney World’s 50th anniversary in 2021.


4.  Mickey Themed Ride

Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway is coming to Disney’s Hollywood Studios! An attraction inspired by Mickey Shorts will put you inside the world of a Mickey cartoon! No opening date has been announced, but the Great Movie Ride will be closing to make way for this new adventure.


5.  TRON Is Coming To The Magic Kingdom

Being built next to Space Mountain, we can’t think of a better spot for this new attraction.   TRON Lightcycle Power Run is a coaster style attraction at Shanghai Disneyland and we can’t wait to see it here. No opening date has been announced, but it will be open in time for the 50th anniversary of Walt Disney World.


6.  Space Dining At Epcot

Epcot is a great place to visit for dining reservations and will be even more appealing with the opening of a new themed restaurant! Sitting next to the Mission: Space attraction, guests will be dining in space – with views from high above Earth!


7.  New Transportation Options and Disney Vacation Club Resort

Disney Skyliner gondolas will soon connect Disney’s Art of Animation, Pop Century and Caribbean Beach Resorts to Hollywood Studios and the International Gateway at Epcot. The gondolas will also connect Hollywood Studios and Epcot’s International Gateway to a new Disney Vacation Club Resort called Disney’s Riviera Resort.   New Minnie themed vehicles will offer point-to-point transportation options for guests. Rumored to be something of an Uber type service, it could be a great way to avoid the buses. No costs or opening times have been released.


8.  A New Theatre At Magic Kingdom

Main Street U.S.A will have a new theatre based on a 1920’s theatre from Kansas City where Walt Disney lived when he left Marceline.   With the success of shows like Frozen Live at the Hyperion in Disneyland, this is sure to be a great addition!


9.  Toy Story Land

During the summer of 2018, Toy Story Land will open at Hollywood Studios! This new land will let guests explore Andy’s backyard with all of their favorite Toy Story characters.   Along with the exploration there will be 2 new themed attractions. The Slinky Dog Dash will be a family coaster while the Alien Swirling Saucers will have aliens trying to capture your rocket toy vehicle with The Claw! How exciting does this sound??


Outside of Walt Disney World

  • Disney Cruise Line Expansion

Disney Cruise Line announced last year that they were building two new ships. At the D23 Expo it was revealed that there is a third new ship coming!

  • California Adventure Park Super Heroes

Spider-Man and the Avengers will join guardians of the Galaxy at Disney California Adventure Park. More details on this to come!

  • Pixar Pier

More updates for Disney California Adventure Park include a new look for Paradise Pier by creating neighborhoods filled with stories from some of your favorite Pixar movies. This permanent addition will open during a limited time celebration in 2018. The very popular Paint The Night parade will return, but this time to Disney California Adventure park!

  • Disneyland Paris Marvel Characters

Disney’s Hotel New York will be updated to include Marvel theming! Who doesn’t want to stay in a resort that reflects the worlds of The Avengers, Spider Man and Iron Man?

Which update are you most excited about?  Let us know in the comments!


What is a Magic Band at Walt Disney World?

Magic Band TerminalSimply put, a Magic Band is a wristband that contains all of the information stored in your My Disney Experience account. Inside of the band there is a small chip that interacts with different terminals throughout Walt Disney World. Magic Bands are complimentary with your Walt Disney World resort stay or you can purchase them if you’re not staying on property.

Magic Bands are incredibly convenient – here are 6 ways you will love using yours!

  1. Access to your Walt Disney World resort room

Instead of keys or key cards, your Magic Band will unlock your resort room door. Tapping your Magic Band to the small device on the outside of your door will unlock it! The doors automatically lock when you leave, so make sure you’re always wearing your band! 

  1. Your park tickets

When your Disney park tickets linked to you’re my Disney Experience account they are accessible via your Magic Band. When you arrive at the parks you scan your Magic Band for entry. There is also a finger scan that connects your band to you personally in case you lose it.

The My Disney Experience Site where you can plan your adventures!

  1. Fastpasses

Once all of your fastpass reservations are made, you use your Magic Band to redeem them. When you arrive at the attraction, tap your band to the fastpass device and it updates your account that you have used your fastpass. When you make more fastpass reservations they are automatically added to your band!

  1. Dining credits

If you have the Disney dining plan, your dining credits are stored on your magic band. When you want to redeem them for a meal or snack credit you tap the band to the terminal and enter your personal pin. The pin protects you in the event you lose your band, no one can take your dining credits.

  1. Charging and shopping

If you’re staying at a Disney resort, you can charge your purchases to your room or credit card! They also have a pin associated with this feature to protect you if someone else has your Magic Band. Disney really does make spending money easy…

  1. Photopass

When you see a Disney photographer in the parks, you have to stop and get a picture! They are a great way to make sure everyone is in the shot. After the photographer takes your pictures they scan your magic band and your photos are magically added to you’re my Disney Experience account.  If you have purchased Memory Maker you’re all set, if not – you can purchase the photos individually.

Magic Band helps you organize your vacation and manage it through your My Disney Experience account. You can customize the color, add decorative pins to them and reuse them until the battery dies (approx. 2 years).   If you’re a stickler for matching them to your outfits, you can collect all the different colors like Carrie did! They really are the perfect accessory to any outfit when you’re at Walt Disney World!

What color Magic Band will you get?


California Grill Brunch Review

Charcutterie at California GrillBunch at Disney’s California Grill was on my wish list of new things to do. On a recent trip I had the opportunity to book reservations, so I knew I had to try it.

Dinner at California Grill is one of my favorites. Since I had such a good experience having brunch at Narcoosee’s – I figured this one had to be equally as good.

When we arrived, there was an entire section of the bar with mimosas waiting. Little did we know that these were bottomless and soon found out that our waiter would be bringing us new ones before the first one was done.

Mimosa at California Grill

There was a bloody mary bar available for an additional cost if that was your choice of drink. While they looked delicious, we decided to stick with our mimosas.

Bloody Mary Bar at California Grill Brunch

Bloody Mary Bar

We reviewed the menu to make our entree selections.  My sister Becky selected the Chef’s Frittata and I chose the Grilled Hanger Steak.

Once our entrée order was placed, we were able to visit the self-serve stations. There was real variety of things to choose from.

Becky’s self-serve selections

I’m not a fan of seafood, so I tasted everything that I thought I might like. The food was good, really flavorful and visually appealing.

California Grill Self Serve Plate

My first plate from the self-serve options

When our entrees arrived, I was regretting having the second helping of bread and mimosas, but I powered through. My steak was delicious, cooked exactly as I had asked with no pink in it.

Grilled Hanger Steak at California Grill

Grilled Hanger Steak – Two Eggs-Any Style, Chimichurri, Marble Potato Hash, Charred Red Onion

Becky enjoyed her frittata and said the potatoes were exceptional.

Frittata at California Grill

Frittata – Three Lake Meadow Farms Eggs, Heirloom Tomatoes, Roasted Poblanos, Chorizo, creamy Goat Cheese, and Marble Potato Hash

We took a small break before ordering tea and waited for our dessert plate to come. If you’ve read my blog before, you know I’m a huge fan of dessert – but I have to admit, I was underwhelmed.

Brunch Dessert at California Grill

The plate didn’t look as yummy as the dinner dessert does. While I tasted everything on the plate, there was nothing that made me say “wow, I need to have that again”.

When the bill arrived our total for brunch was $165 USD including our Tables in Wonderland discount.

Since I’m a gal who is all about dessert, Narcoosee’s was my favorite of the two, based solely on the desserts.  I think on my next trip I’ll save California Grill for dinner so that I can enjoy the Chocolate Pudding Cake.

Check out the video below for a walk through of Brunch at California Grill at Disney’s Contemporary Resort


Have you tried brunch at California Grill?  Leave us a comment below and let us know what you thought!


Caring For Giants Review at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Caring for Giants Disney's Animal KingdomCaring for Giants is a tour offered at Disney’s Animal Kingdom giving you a closer look at the elephants.  The cost of the tour is in addition to your park admission, but read below why I think it’s a great value!

My sister Becky is a huge fan of the elephants. Over the years she has tried multiple times on Kilimanjaro Safaris to capture the perfect picture of a baby elephant to no avail. We haven’t figured out if we are moving through the area too quickly or her photography skills are the issue (I think it’s the latter), but it’s been a challenge! When she heard about this tour, we had to try it. It might be the only way for her to capture the elusive photo of a baby elephant.

We arrived at Animal Kingdom and checked in next to Kilimanjaro Safaris. We were warned that there was no bathroom breaks on this tour, so best to visit the facilities before we left.Stella Baby Elephant Animal KingdomThere were 8 of us on the tour and we boarded a bus back stage to take us to the viewing area. The driver gave us a lot of information about how the animals are protected and the fencing around the enclosures backstage. We were amazed to see fencing that wasn’t related to the savannah and the explanation made sense – the fencing is to keep the native Florida Wildlife out of the savanna.

When we arrived at the viewing area we realized that we were on the other side of Kilimanjaro Safaris and could see the attraction vehicles passing in the distance. The first cast member told us about how they care for the elephants and some of the rituals they have with them.Elephants Caring for Giants

The second cast member that spoke to us was a cultural representative from Zimbabwe. While she had only been working there for 3 weeks, she did a fantastic job of telling us about the research being done by the Disney Conservation Fund.   She shared details about one of the projects where they found a solution that allows farmers to protect their farms without harming the elephants. It was fascinating; I could have listened to her for hours.Caring for Giants Elephant

Aside from the great information from the cast members, we got some fantastic views of the elephants! We were told that the views really depend on the elephants; they are free to roam around and may not stand in the ideal spot for your photos.   This is important to recognize that Disney allows them the freedom to do as they please. We were lucky to have so many come around, it was the first tour of the morning and they tend to be more active.

Caring for Giants Stella

My sister with baby Stella in the background.

Caring for Giants was worth every penny of the $30 we paid for it. We spent an hour with some fascinating cast members and of course – the elephants. We loved the tour so much that we’ll be adding this as a regular ‘must do’ on our trips. Not only did my sister get a picture of a baby elephant, she got one WITH a baby elephant!




FastPass Crackdown – Cheaters Will Be Cheaters

7DMT Magic KingdomFastPass+ at Walt Disney World is a free service that allows you to effectively schedule up to 3 attractions in advance to avoid the long standby lines. If you stay at a Disney resort, you can make your selections 60 days in advance of your trip, if you’re staying offsite it’s 30 days.

FastPass+ was always a fair system, free to everyone with a valid park admission. Unlike those “other guys” who offer a paid service to skip the lines, Disney has a limit to how many FastPasses are available per hour for each attraction. At the other parks, if you have paid for this service you can skip the line on the same attraction all day if you would like. Imagine that – 100 people all skipping the line multiple times on the Hulk. How long do you think that standby line will be? For those who don’t pay, it can be a substantially longer wait than it had to be. Your ability to experience the attractions is directly tied to how much you were willing to pay.

At Walt Disney World, everyone had a fair shot at a FastPass for the big attractions – that was until a loophole was found.

MDE FPIt has been reported that people were using the in park kiosks to book FastPasses with expired