On this episode we’re chatting with Gary about how much he loves Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and what has kept him going back for 22 visits – and counting!
The blog that Gary wrote about Disney’s Fort Wilderness was titled “Disney Camping – Paradise Found”, and that is what he describes in this episode. From the peace and quiet to the dog parade, we cover everything you need to know about this home away from home.
It’s no secret I’m a pretty big Disney fan (obviously!) – but there are times when I see the company doing things that just melt my heart even more than before. Disney’s response during Covid-19 has been one of those times.
Here are some of the ways that Disney has given me reason to smile.
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They donated ponchos to hospitals
Hospitals were making requests for additional protective garments and Disney donated 150,000 rain ponchos as well as more than 100,000 N95 masks.
The “top” dogs cut their salaries
Yes, in order to reduce the expenses for the company, Disney executives have taken a pay cut. Disney’s executive chairman Bob Iger is forgoing his full salary while the new CEO Bob Chapek is reducing his salary by 50%. Other executives are taking pay cuts too:
Vice president salaries will be reduced by 20%
Senior vice president salaries by 25%
Executive vice president salaries by 30%
I don’t know about you, but I don’t see that happening at a lot of other companies.
They addressed Cast Member concerns immediately
Disney announced the closures of Disneyland and Walt Disney World “in an abundance of caution”, that’s when I knew things were seriousl with the virus. Do you know what else they did when they announced the closures? They communicated at the same time that they would pay their cast members during that time. This was out of the gate – right in the releases. It set an example, a tone that hopefully other large companies would follow, even if only to save face. Disney took a stand showing compassion for their cast members – even at what I am sure is a great expense.
One of the many updates Disney posted on their websites
Disney Donated All Of The Excess Food
All of the food that was on hand for the parks and resorts that would not be used was donated to help the communities.
In Orlando the food was donated to Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida, enough for over 18,000 meals!
In California the food was donated to the Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County and Disneyland Paris donated to local and national associations in France.
Fun right? Who doesn’t want to learn to draw Mickey? This was a fan favorite at the D23 Expo a couple of years ago and now it’s all online to entertain us all while we’re at home during the ‘social distancing’ exercise to stop the spread of the Corona virus.
If you don’t want to draw Mickey there are a whole ton of other characters you can learn to draw!
Sally from Tim Burton’s ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’
Celebrate Spring With Daisy Duck
Aladdin’s Pal, Genie
Buzz Lightyear from ‘Toy Story’
‘Frozen’ Voice Actor Josh Gad Tests His Skills at Drawing Olaf
If you want a little peek – check out the Winnie The Pooh One!
Imagineering in a Box
According to the Disney parks Blog:
“Imagineering in a Box is a series of interactive lessons in theme park design and engineering, designed to give a behind-the-scenes peek into Imagineering’s development process. It combines 32 videos of actual Imagineers, real-world case studies, and lots of interactive activities to give you the opportunity to dream and design your very own theme park experience!
With so many families at home together right now, we thought this would be an especially useful time to share this program with you. It’s available to all and completely free.”
I will warn you – when you watch the “Welcome to Imagineering In A Box” video – if you’re a Disney fan it’s all the feels and yes, my eyes were a little misty!
They released Frozen 2 on Disney+ 3 months early
Given that most of us are at home flipping channels AND the kids are out of school while most schools are closed for a very extended March break, it was a welcome surprise that Frozen 2 would be available on Disney+. We are all looking for stuff to keep us entertained, Carrie and I talked about what we were doing on the podcast, but I am sure there are a whole whack of parents who were happy this was released early…. and then after it played for the 12th time – maybe they weren’t so happy!
They were generous with changes and refunds.
Disney was VERY accomodating with changes, refunds and fees during this time. They extended the due dates for final payments, waived all change fees and offered some very generous credits to re-book for cancelled Disney Cruise Line sailings. On select sailings the credit for a future cruise was 150% of what they paid for the cancelled one.
Disney does what it does best… gives us hope and positivity!
I don’t know about you, but I always have a smile on my face when I see Mickey’s posts on Instagram!
Google has street views from inside the Disney Parks in Orlando and California and they are awesome!
These views allow you to see the park as you would if you were standing in it. It helps people who are planning their trips get a real look at how the parks are laid out and show first time visitors how BIG they are.
For those of us that need a Disney ‘fix’ while we’re at home, you can literally walk around online using the Google Street view of some of your favourite places!
There is something so relaxing about putting a puzzle together. It takes focus, patience and a little creativity. It forces you to look at things differently and clear your head of other distractions. Time can pass without notice when you sit down to concentrate on a puzzle, that’s why it is such a popular family activity. For families it brings you together to one common goal, forcing you to help each other find the pieces needed to move forward. Some of the best family conversations can be had over a great puzzle.
Now you throw in to the mix a great Disney puzzle and it makes the activity even more magical! There is a Disney puzzle suitable for any occasion – and all skill levels!
My sister is a huge puzzle fan and I inevitably end up buying her one or two for Christmas. She love the princess ones, but honestly I can’t go wrong with any of them. Although I will admit that she can get frustrated when there are TOO many pieces all the same color! Yes, I have heard that complaint from her 😉
Some of Becky’s Favourites
Let’s take a look at some of the Disney puzzles for all ages:
Mickey Mouse and Friends Jumbo Knob Wooden Puzzle
Everyone has to start somewhere! This cute little wooden puzzle is recommended for children 18 months to 3 years. Puzzles at this age encourage fine motor skills development and color recognition. Brought to you by Melissa and Doug, a couple with 6 kids of their own – they have a toy for EVERY stage of development!
If Frozen 2 is more your style
Disney Frozen 2 25Piece Foam Puzzle
This foam puzzle is perfect for kids ages 4 and up with 25 soft pieces that are easy for the kids to hold.
When it’s time to graduate to 100 pieces, this Princess puzzle is perfect
Disney Princess 100pc Jigsaw Puzzle
For ages 6 and up this 100 piece puzzle features some of our favourite Disney princesses!
Now somewhere between the children’s puzzles and the more advanced puzzles – there are a few 500 piece puzzles, but not many!
With the similar colours this puzzle could be harder than it looks!
The really funny and intricate puzzles are all over 1,000 pieces. Not suitable for young kids, these puzzles could be a few evenings of quality family time while you figure out these!
Disney Villainous Maleficent 1000 Piece Jigsaw Puzzle
But when you’re ready for the challenge – the ULTIMATE Disney Challenge and you are graduating from the 1,000 piece puzzle – there are two puzzles I found that would be EPIC – but would require too much room in my house to assemble!
One of the largest Mickey puzzles in the world at 40,320 pieces!
At 40,320 pieces, this would be a challenge for anyone! But at $599 on Amazon, I won’t be buying it anytime soon!
And then there is this one, I think it’s awesome – but again… too big for my house and too expensive for me to buy:
I do love the thought of pulling together all of these classic memorable Disney moments in to one giant puzzle – but 40,320 pieces is so overwhelming! With my luck I would lose 1 or 2 pieces and discover it at the end!
Do you do puzzles at home? What’s the largest one you’ve done?
Carrie and Pixie Dust Fan chat about how they’re staying entertained and keeping positive while practicing social distancing during Covid 19. What talk about what movies we’re watching and how we are coping while we work from home for our unmagical jobs!
On this episode we explore the RunDisney events with Jamie – a frequent participant. Jamie explains how the events work, how you get some of those cool medals AND she tells you the strategy for meeting some of the characters during the race.
Ali Diane is a singer/songwriter from Seattle who had some big dreams come true with Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings on Disney+
On this episode we explore when her love for Disney started, how she became a cast member and met her friend and how that ALL led up to her singing on Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings! She offers a behind the scenes look at the production of the show and what it meant to her to be ‘working for Disney’.
It has always been important to me that I call it Walt Disney World. It became a pet peeve of mine when I would see blogs and social media posts referring to it as ‘Disney World’ – I always want to comment” don’t forget WALT”! When I saw some top Disney executives call it ‘Disney World’ I started to doubt myself, is it really supposed to be Walt? Who could I ask to clear this up for me? The best person I knew to talk about the history of Walt would be Jeff Barnes!
Jeff Barnes is is the best-selling author of The Wisdom of Walt: Leadership Lessons from the Happiest Place on Earth and Beyond the Wisdom of Walt: Life Lessons from the Most Magical Place on Earth. Known as Dr. Disneyland, he teaches the only accredited college course on the History of Disneyland. I think this makes him more than qualified to talk about this subject!
It was a blast talking to Jeff and hearing the stories and history of Walt and Roy – and their journey to Walt Disney World
The Copper Creek Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge are not the ‘cabin’ that I would be used to – there is no camping here, it’s not even glamping. These cabins are luxury.
These two-bedroom waterfront cabins feature a full kitchen, private porch and a hot tub with views of Bay Lake.
The bedrooms are spacious and if you look closely, there is a little reading bench next to the window! Lots of USB charges and outlets in the night stands next to the bed. That makes a huge difference when you need to charge your phone at night for the next day at the parks!
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Lots of space at the vanity but I’m not sure I would use the soaker tub if I had a hot tub?
While at Walt Disney World you often think about being at the parks from morning to night, I really like to enjoy my resort. I think I could totally carve out some time to relax and enjoy this cabin. It’s so peaceful and away from the hussle and bussle of the parks, but close enough to the Magic Kingdom that you’re never far from the excitement.
Imagine some great family time hanging out in this living room? The fireplace is a nice touch. The cabins sleep up to 8 adults, and the living space is big enough to acommodate the whole party.
If you wanted to order some groceries for your stay – you could totally be cooking full family meals in the fully equipped kitchen!
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There’s even plenty of space for you all to sit down and enjoy your meal. Although we would probably use it for games and stuff…. maybe some take out from Geyser Point. If you haven’t been to Geyser Point – you need to check it out and it’s so conveniently close to the cabins!
Of course the real relaxation comes in the porch, this is where I’d love to sit and just be quiet….
Alright – not at the picnic table, but in the plunge pool!
There is a fence around the pool so if you have little ones, you don’t need to worry.
Disney’s Wilderness Lodge is a terrific option for families who want to be near the Magic Kingdom, but not on the monorail line. A quick boat ride from the dock will have you at the Magic Kingdom in no time.
The theming is on point and the views from around the property are breathtaking. Head down to the beach and you can see the fireworks and electrical water pageant at night.
If you don’t want to splurge on the cabin but still need a little more space? The 1 bedrooms are great too! I have a full walkthrough video of the 1 bedroom below.
Have you stayed at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge? What did you love about it? Let us know in the comments below!
Disney bucket lists – we all have one! On this episode of the podcast Dustin Fuhs and I talk about our bucket list items and what’s important to each of us. We may have gone off topic a few times, but it was a lot of fun so I left it all in! You have to let me know if you have some of the same bucket list items!
Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa is one of the most iconic resorts on Disney property. There are SO many great reasons to stay at this resort, in fact – I did a blog on the Top 5 Reasons to stay here. Aside from the regular resort rooms though, in a separate building is the Disney Vacation Club rooms, the Villas as they’re called. What is a Deluxe Villa Studio? I’ve got all the answers below on what I love about these rooms!
5 Reasons I Love The Deluxe Studio Villa At Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort
1 They have a little kitchenette
You can’t cook in it – and that’s fine by me. I don’t like to cook at home, so I wouldn’t do it on vacation. What I do like is the coffee maker, toaster and sink… feels like a spot to have our snacks or a cup of tea. While all rooms now have the mini fridge – this kitchenette has a microwave. Perfect for heating up some leftovers I brought home from dinner for a late night snack!
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2 They have a Dumbo bed
Seriously – a Dumbo bed!! Now this is meant for kids, but this fold down bed (trundle bed) is incredible. Look inside! Who doesn’t want to sleep in a bed that has Dumbo inside??
3 They have 2 showers
When you travel with a family, getting ready can be a bit tricky! Sometimes I travel with 3 or 4 women in a room, all trying to get ready at the same time! It’s a scheduling nightmare in some rooms, but in the Deluxe Studios at Disney’s Grand Floridian – you get 2 showers! There is a gorgeous stand up shower as well as a bathtub/shower combo! 2 people can get ready at the same time – cutting the time in the morning to get out the door in half!
I love the tiles in the shower!
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4 It’s at the Grand Floridian!
Ok, maybe that’s a bit of a cheat but c’mon! The Grand Floridian is one of the most gorgeous resorts on property. It’s on the Monorail line, has some great food options AND it has some terrific theming! In the specific building that the villas are in there is incredible references to Mary Poppins from the Penguin Fountain when you enter to the finishing touches on the elevator.
Can you see it?
If you want to know why you should stay at the Grand Floridian you can read my top 5 reasons here. The other thing that makes this resort so unique is having Afternoon Tea. It is one of the best experiences and a lovely way to spend an afternoon… check out the post to see what Afternoon Tea is all about!
5 There is “relaxing space”
I love the fact that there is a couch with coffee tables and another round table in these rooms. We spend time in the room when I’m working and I need to upload content, download pics etc – so it makes a big difference to us that there’s a place for me to work and a place for my travel party to sit! No sitting on the bed, there is an actual comfy couch! There is also a balcony – this makes for a great place to unwind after a day in the parks!
I have a full walk through video tour below of the Deluxe Studio! Have you stayed in one of these rooms?
Have you ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes on a cruise ship? I always do! On this episode of the podcast I’m chatting with my friend Matt who used to work on some pretty big cruise lines. He’s filling us in on his thoughts on the Disney Cruise he just took against the backdrop of his experience as an engineer on other lines. Some funny stories AND he reveals what the number one guest question was that he answered all the time!
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The seasonal parties at Disney are incredibly popular – but what happens at these parties? We’re covering all the details of Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. Here’s all the details you need to know!
Disney’s Riviera Resort at Walt Disney World is the newest Disney Vacation Club Resort and it has everything you could want and more!
Each resort at Walt Disney World Resort has it’s pros and cons, but it all depends on what is important to YOU for your vacation.
I’ve come up with 5 reasons to love Disney’s Riviera Resort
1 Skyliner Access
Disney’s new mode of transportation is not only efficient – it’s fun too!! I am in awe of the Disney Skyliner and how quickly it can move you from point A to point B. With it’s own Skyliner station you can get to Hollywood Studios and Epcot with ease. Want to mix things up and dine at a different resort?
Granted I only stayed in the 1 bedroom villa, but there are some new options at this resort including a studio that sleeps 2! It’s nice if you’re doing a solo trip to have the option of a smaller studio.
The 1 bedroom was gorgeous though. All the amenities we needed plus som bright windows, a balcony with a view and as many USB stations as I could use!! The big soaker tub, the shower and the beds were so comfy! Check out the full room tour here:
3 Character Dining
At the top of Disney’s Riviera Resort you have the Breakfast a la Art with Mickey and Friends character dining experience. Let me tell you – it was so much fun!
The food was delicious – and so well themed. The ‘art’ theme was all throughout the meal. Look at how the pastries came out
Check out our art supplies!
The characters all has specific back stories and fabulous outfits.
Minnie is a poet, Mickey is a painter, Donald is a sculptor and Daisy is a dancer!
4 The Views
The rooftop terrace is something to see – we got a chance to go out and explore after breakfast and those views are breathtaking!!
Wouldn’t you love to relax here one night?
Being able to see the Tower of terror off in the distance, and look down on Caribbean Beach – see the Swan and Dolphin? You won’t find views like this anywhere else!
Dinner at Topolino’s and staying till fireworks time – you’ll see Hollywood Studios AND Epcot from up here!
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5 The Art – So Much WALT
The art work at Disney’s Riviera resort is right up my alley. I love all of the classics that are represented
Gorgeous painting of the castle.
What struck me the most aside from the classic Disney paintings was the amount of pictures of Walt Disney and his family. These pictures are so unique and show him on vacation, smiling, dreaming. This is the man that created it all – and it’s wonderful to see his presence in this new resort.
What do you think? Will this be on your list to stay at Disney’s Riviera Resort?
Disney’s Magical Express is a complimentary transportation to and from Orlando International Airport (MCO) for guests staying at a select Walt Disney World Resort hotels. I’ve got a full post on What IS Disney’s Magical Express, but here you’re going to learn:
How do you use Disney’s Magical Express?
Here’s step by step what you need to know to enjoy this fantastic COMPLIMENTARY service!
Make your reservation
If you’ve booked your Walt Disney World resort package with a good Disney Travel Agent, they will make the reservation for you. If you booked yourself, you would need to submit the request for transportation with Disney direct or online here.
When you request Disney’s Magical Express you need to provide:
Resort Reservation Number
Number of Guests (they must be on the reservation to use the Magical Express)
Mailing address for the luggage tags
Recieve your luggage tags
Your luggage tags will arrive in advance of your trip if you have provided enough time for them to send them – usually 2 or 3 weeks is sufficient but the more time the better!
The luggage tags will have all of the information that Disney needs to retrieve your luggage from the carousel and deliver it to your ROOM at your Walt Disney World Resort IF you put the tags on your luggage before you check them at your departure airport. This service of luggage delivery is NOT available if your flight lands between 10PM and 5AM.
Some things to keep in mind if you choose to have Disney bring your luggage:
Your luggage may not arrive until 3 hours after you do
Keep medications and important documents with you
If you plan activities for as soon as you arrive at the resort – make sure you have the necessary things with you (like your bathing suit!)
If you have your Magic Band already – keep it with you and don’t pack it in your luggage
If you did NOT get your luggage tags in advance, not to worry! You can still have Disney pick up your luggage for you – just head to the Magical Express Service location and give the representative your claim tickets from the airline!
You can also choose to NOT put the tags on and pick your luggage up yourself and take it to the motorcoach with you. If you decide that you are going to retrieve your own luggage – do NOT put the tags on.
Get on the plane in your home town – you’re going to WALT DISNEY WORLD!
Make sure you’re prepared for ALL of the things that go with flying… here’s a list of some simple (but often forgot) things you should plan for
Arrival at Orlando International Airport
When you land (YAY!) it’s so exciting, you just can’t WAIT to get to Walt Disney World. Now – you need to find the Magical Express!
Orlando Airport (MCO) is probably one of the best signed airports I’ve been to, they have signs everywhere.
Jump on the first ‘ride’ of the trip – the train from your arrival gate to the main terminal
Upon arrival in the main terminal, follow the signs
Either pick up your bags at the carousels here
Keep following the signs to the Ground Transportation Area in Terminal B on level 1
When you get off the plane, enter the US Immigration Checkpoint
After you get your luggage – proceed to the Customs Checkpoint
After completing the customs and immigrations process, decide if you’re taking your luggage with you or if you want Disney to transfer it. If you would like Disney to transfer it, put it BACK on the carousel.
NOW YOU get to experience the first ‘ride’ of the trip – the train from your arrival gate to the main terminal
Upon arrival in the main terminal, follow the signs to the Ground Transportation Area in Terminal B on level 1
Arrive at the Magical Express Counter in Terminal B Level 1
As you pass all of the car rental companies etc – you’ll see the Magical Express counter. Here is where you will present either your Magic Bands OR your resort reservation confirmation. Don’t worry if you don’t have your Magic Bands in advance, Disney can only ship to some countries. If they can’t be shipped – they will be waiting at your resort for you.
When you check in with your Magic Bands or Resort confirmation, the cast member will validate the members of your party are all there and then direct you to a ‘lane’ – the bus line for your resort. Resorts in the same area share buses, so there could be 3 or 4 stops on the bus route, but it’s generally pretty quick. People on the bus don’t dilly-dally because they are anxious to start their vacation!
Get on that bus!
When your bus arrives the cast member will direct you to the bus in the bay. Here’s where the driver will load your luggage in to the base of the bus if you’ve brought it with you. If you didn’t bring it – it will be coming separately and NOT on this bus. Take your seat on the bus – remember that the first couple of rows are reserved for guests with mobility issues and they will be marked as such.
Each seat is comfy and you get a great view of the overhead TVs that will show you some fun things you need to know before you start your vacation. It’s the perfect way to get you excited for what’s to come!
Individual lighting and vents are above the seat for comfort and there is a restroom at the back of almost all of the buses.
No car seats required, the little ones can sit on their own seat or your lap.
Sit back, enjoy the show on the TV – you’ll be at the resort in no time!
The driver will call out the name of the resorts as they pull in – make sure you’re getting off at YOUR resort! Gratuities are appreciated by these drivers.
Now you’ve arrived – go check in and start your vacation!! Remember if you didn’t bring your luggage it will arrive up to 3 hours later.
Have FUN! UNTIL…….
IT’S time to go home
The wonderful people at Disney’s Magical Express will drop by your resort room the day before you are set to check out and hang the ‘eviction’ notice on your door.
Inside the envelope will be all of the information you need for a smooth ride to the airport.
HOLD ON TO THIS PAPER – this is your confirmation and “ticket” to get on the bus.
Make note of the pick up time – and be there EXTRA early!
Disney does NOT want to be responsible for people missing flights, so they keep a very tight schedule. If the bus says it’s leaving at 7:50 – its leaving at 7:50. Don’t be late.
The morning of departure
Arrive EARLY to the bus stop at your resort with your luggage. It will be transported with you on the bus to Orlando International Airport
Have your paperwork with you – make sure you have that letter they left you the night before! It confirms your seats and time on Disney’s Magical Express
When the bus arrives, the driver will load your luggage and you can take a seat on what is now known as “Disney’s Tragical Express“. You know – it’s tragic ’cause the vacation is over right??
Sit back in your seat and watch the cartoons… they try to cheer you up and make you laugh!
Upon arrival at the airport the driver will unload your luggage and be appreciative of any gratuities.
Take your luggaage, wave goodbye to the Mickey bus and find your check in counter for your airline.
*For select resorts and guests, there is a Resort Airline Check In service available so that you can check in for your flight at your resort. If you plan to use this service, make sure you allow plenty of time for it before your scheduled departure.
Enjoy Orlando International Airport
Even though the vacation is over, there is still plenty of shopping and fun things to see in the airport! On your train ride back to the terminal, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer will thank you for coming. It’s funny, I’m always happy to hear is voice on the train when I arrive and when I leave… it’s like the two bookends of the trip!
Save money because you don’t need to rent a car, Uber or taxi to and from the airport to your resort.
Of course if you want luxury travel to/from the airport I would recommend a Minnie Van! But…they’re not free 🙂
Car Seats – Transportation is provided via motor coach and child safety seats are not recommended.Children can sit on their own seat, or on the lap of an adult.This saves you bringing and or renting a car seat!
Wheelchairs – the motor coach will accommodate wheelchairs too!Just make sure you indicate that on your Magical Express reservation or let your Travel Agent know.
Service Animals – Service animals can join their owners on Disney Transportation motorcoaches
No need to worry about directions or even your luggage if you don’t want to!Your luggage can be picked up for you at the carousel and delivered later to your room if you use the luggage tags provided.
Select Disney Resort hotels offer airline check in before boarding the Magical Express.Full details are here
You’ve finally arrived in Orlando and you’re ready to start your vacation!What better way to start than with a bus ride with videos all about what you can expect on your vacation!This is when the excitement really kicks it up a notch!When you’re returning to the airport – there are some great cartoons you can watch!
On your next vacation to Walt Disney World will YOU use this service?
Avatar Flight of Passage was an attraction that I was determined I had to try. The reviews said that it was not good for those with motion sickness and it could be intense, but I had to experience it at least once. Since I had the opportunity to visit during a preview before the official opening, I went straight over to Flight of Passage and there was no wait. I stood for a second, took a deep breath and thought, “I guess I’m doing this!”
Here are my thoughts on the new Flight of Passage at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. It’s an overview of my experience with some information you should know before you go, but without too many spoilers!
The queue was impressive – but long
The outdoor portion of the queue for Flight of Passage is gorgeous. You’re walking slightly up hill and have a perfect view of the floating mountains. There will be some great pictures and selfies taken from this line!
Once you leave the outdoor area, you enter in to something that looks like a cave. You will be happier in here since there is air conditioning and shade from the Florida sun. As the cave transitions in to the building, you’re able to see paintings, a bioluminescent mining area and of course – a real Avatar. I had seen the Avatar on many different online videos, but I didn’t appreciate the size or details of it until I had seen it in person.
While I didn’t have a wait for Flight of Passage, it struck me as I was walking through this queue how long it took me to get to the end. It seemed like quite a long walk with the capacity to hold VERY long lines.
Nearing the end of the line, you enter the first of 2 pre-shows. The first room is where you are matched to your Avatar. It is primarily a video with some special effects, but the room felt a bit small to me. I was glad I was the last one in and had some space behind me. We were in there a few minutes when we moved on to the next briefing – the vehicle seating system is explained and you get your 3D glasses.
I don’t like feeling ‘trapped’ anywhere and this was my biggest fear for this vehicle. I am the person who sits at the end of the row in a movie theatre to avoid feeling like I can’t get out. Knowing that things would come and encapsulate on this attraction had me very nervous. I straddled the vehicle like a bicycle and leaned forward towards the support in front of me. I chose to leave a little bit of space between the support and myself and prepared myself for the various restraints that were coming. As the restraints were activated, I heard the man beside me gasp a little. The man had leaned so far forward that the restraint at his back was way too restrictive and a cast member had to come and adjust it. I was happy with the amount of space I had and didn’t feel closed in with the back restraint at all. Maybe it’s because I had my legs out in front of me as opposed to at the side, but I didn’t even feel the ones on my legs at all. I did notice that this might be quite restrictive and uncomfortable though for my Pooh-sized friends. There is a test vehicle outside of the attraction for you to try before waiting in line.
Once the ride started I was in awe. Disney has created an attraction where I really FELT like I was flying on the back of a Banshee. It wasn’t just the sights, sounds and smells, but when my Banshee took a break on a branch of a tree, I could FEEL it breathing underneath me. The scenery is breathtaking and colorful, it seemed so real! There is no comparison in my mind to Soarin or Star Tours – this attraction made me forget that I was sitting on an attraction vehicle with 3D goggles on. I was transported, and I flew on a Banshee.
The motion sickness
I feel sick on Star Tours and have never made it back on Mission Space since it opened; I was worried about Flight of Passage. I went first thing in the morning, took some motion sickness pills and didn’t eat anything before the ride. There were a few moments where the Banshee took some sharp turns and some drastic drops where I had to close my eyes. Closing my eyes for a second or two really helped, especially when were flying through some tight spaces. I do think the cool breeze on my face helped me avoid overheating that happens when I’m nauseous. I really didn’t feel sick at all, I suspect that might have had something to do with the pills I took.
The 4 things you need to know:
The queue has been designed to hold lines of up to 4 hours inside. The wait will be long.
There is a lot of walking for the queue as well as upon exiting. Be prepared for inclines and stairs, especially if you have trouble walking.
There are moments that those who are prone to motion sickness or claustrophobia will struggle, but they are short lived.
Love or hate Avatar the movie (I didn’t love it), this attraction is among the best on Disney property and you should experience it once. I know I will be back to try it again.
My only criticism, and it’s a big one Surprisingly, this attraction is not friendly to certain body types or guests with mobility issues. I would have thought that Disney would have invested in making sure that more people could experience it – not less. Take a look at this blog post so that you can review the seat restrictions before you go.
If you want to see a good video of the queue – check out this video from our friends at Pure Magic Vacations!
Have you experienced Flight of Passage? What did you think?
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!
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.
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.
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!
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!
Avatar Flight of Passage at Disney’s Animal Kingdom is arguably one of the BEST attractions at any of the parks. It’s thrilling, exciting, intense and immersive, it’s an attraction not to be missed. Unless of course you’re a certain body shape.
I remember visiting Universal Studios when the Harry Potter attractions first opened and being disappointed. They had made a fantastic new experience, but they couldn’t make it for everyone? It was brand new, they had so many options for design, yet they were limiting many people from experiencing it.
Flight of Passage test seat out front of the attraction
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.
Restraints are activated after you are in position – one comes across your back and two more behind your legs. The key is the ‘click’ on the restraints to ensure that it has you secure.
It may not necessarily be a size issue that prevents people from getting the ‘click’, sometimes it’s a body shape issue that prevents the restraints from locking. The size of your calves can prevent the leg restraints from locking, it’s not just your size around the middle. It’s not something you want to force or it would make for a very uncomfortable ride!
When the restraints are activated and locked
When the restraints are activated it really does hold you in place. Based on the attraction theatre and how you experience it, it makes sense that you need to be secure. If you want a full review of the attraction, click HERE
Did you have any issues with the seat?
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?
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.
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.
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.
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
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?
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!
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!
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
Being 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!
The 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
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:
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!
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’.
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.
Inside 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
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?
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!
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!
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.
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!
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!
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!
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
We will be back – for SURE
Have you eaten at Splitsville yet? What did you have?
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.
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!
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
When 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!
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!)
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!
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.
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.
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 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?
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!
Disney’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?
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!
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.
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Disney’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.
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!
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
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 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!
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 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?
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
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!!
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!
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?
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.
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!
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!
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.
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!
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?
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!
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!
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So 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.
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.
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?
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 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.
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!
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?
Disney’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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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.
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!
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!
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.
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!
Disney’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.
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.
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.
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!
A 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:
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.
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.
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!
This 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.
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.
If 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?
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?
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.
5. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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!
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.
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”!
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.
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.
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.
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”.
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.
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.
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!
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 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.
Sleepy 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!
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.
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.
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.
Have you eaten at Sleepy Hollow? What did you have? That Ice Cream sandwich is calling to me!
As 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!
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.
Room under the bed to store your luggage!
And the sofa bed? How CUTE is it?
The sofa bed was so cute – and could sleep an adult in a pinch if they weren’t too tall.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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?
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?
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.
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.
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!