Disney Restaurants

Top Five Ways We Will Be Cutting Costs On Our Next WDW Trip

AdultOneDay

My husband and I are expecting a baby in October – which is SUPER exciting and amazing – and we can’t wait to be able to take the little guy to Disney in hopes that he loves it as much as we do! However – since that is likely several years away, we have been talking about a vacation he and I might take just the two of us in a year or so – we are hoping to go to Disney (again, of course, what did you expect?!), but we know that money will be MUCH tighter with a baby to take care of, so I have been brainstorming and have come up with these top five money saving tips that we will be using on our next trip:

Pack Our Own Supplies: You can buy almost everything you could need at Walt Disney World – but it comes at a price, and I don’t know about you, but spending $18 on a bottle of sunscreen (that costs $8 at home) – doesn’t exactly thrill me – its not the best souvenir ever, that’s for sure. So we like to make sure we think ahead and pack stuff we know we will need: sunscreen (in small TSA approved bottles since we don’t like to check luggage!), ponchos, extra camera batteries and phone/tablet chargers, and another big one is medicine – I like to travel with a little mobile medicine cabinet – advil, tylenol, tums, NyQuil, and band-aids/neosporin are some things you might want to consider including in your “take to the Parks” bag – you’ll be glad you did, trust me!

Bring Food From Home: We like to pack snacks to help keep us tided over between meals – things that are easy to eat on the go work best – like granola bars, small packages of nuts/pretzels/trail mix, dried fruit, gum (not really a snack, but you won’t find it for sale at any WDW stores so best to pack your own!), water bottles – which we like to fill and freeze using our room fridge (perfect for those long hot days at the Parks), and most important of all – breakfast! It might seem strange to pack breakfast in your suitcase for the whole vacation, but its such a money and time saver – apples, bagels, peanut butter, fruit cups, cereal – these are items we have found to work the best over the years – you can usually purchase some small variety of these and some perishable items like milk, fruit, etc at your WDW Resort gift shop to supplement what you brought – and while the prices are high, they are still cheaper than a Disney breakfast (which can cost around $8-$15 a person – yikes!)

Share Meals: Being that we are a party of 2 adult travelers (for now, until our son is old enough to come with us!), we are lucky in that it’s easy for us to split meals – and many Disney meals and snacks are large enough to allow for this. Most meals include an entrée and a side, and then sharing a drink helps save money too – check out this article for more sharing ideas

Skip The Dining Plan: This might seem like a strange one – as the dining plan is hugely convenient, being that you pay for it before you even arrive and then just swipe your Magic Band when it comes time to pay, and you’re done! But – it isn’t always cost effective, especially if you have people in your party who aren’t big eaters or who can share most larger meals. This time around, we will be skipping the upfront cost (which is a BIG savings), and bringing our own breakfast, sharing lunch, and then splurging on 1 or 2 nicer sit down dinners – which will save us a lot in the long run (and still allow us to sneak in a few character meals too, which is imperative!)

Souvenirs: Disney souvenirs are pricey. Amazing, but pricey. I usually make myself a budget before I leave for any WDW trip regarding what souvenirs I want and how much they are and which ones I really want versus which ones aren’t really necessary. I do this by using the DisneyStore.com website to estimate prices and see what items might be available for me to buy at Disney. I mean – in reality, no one needs more than 1 or 2 souvenirs, and I always have loved trip photos so much that they end up being my favorite souvenir each and every time – a great way to relive the memories for years to come. So stick to 1 or 2 small things per person (and make that clear to the kids before you leave!) and then make sure you take tons of pictures – those are the most cherished souvenir anyway (in my opinion that is!)

You might have noticed that the majority of these money saving tips involve FOOD – and it’s not because we want to deprive ourselves of all the amazing Disney Dining options – but rather because the cost of dining at Disney is HIGH – meals are expensive, and yes the food is amazing – but it adds up quickly, especially if you are paying out of pocket for your whole party for every meal

Check out more money saving ideas here, and hopefully you will be able to make a WDW trip an affordable reality soon for your family!

Categories: Adult Walt Disney World, Disney Dining Plan, Disney Food, Disney Restaurants, Disney Vacation Planning, Walt Disney World | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

T.G.I.F. Pic Of The Week – Hidden Mickeys Are Everywhere!

Disney World is known for their attention to detail (among other things!) – and they are so intricate in their theming and decorating that they even have Hidden Mickey’s throughout the Parks – it could be his silhouette, or the three circles of his head – but they are all over – if you know where to look…

 HiddenMickeyAK

This one is located at Animal Kingdom – outside the entrance to the Mombasa Marketplace Store in Africa

 Hidden Mickey MM

This one is part of a dalmation statue that sits just inside the entrance to Mama Melrose’s Restaurant in Hollywood Studios

 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The front courtyard of Hollywood Studios’ Rock N Roller Coaster is home to this Aerosmith mural – featuring a familiarly patterned shirt…

HiddenMickey WilLodge

Inside the lobby of Disney’s beautiful Wilderness Lodge Resort you’ll spot this Mickey on the upper right corner of the fireplace

There’s a whole book to help you look for them! Have you spotted some Hidden Mickeys while at WDW? Or at home maybe? Which one is YOUR favorite?

TGIF!

Categories: Animal Kingdom, Disney in Pictures, Disney Resorts, Disney Restaurants, Disney Rides/Attractions, Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Only have ONE Day To Spend In Disney? Then Follow This Plan…

Cp Tigger

I personally can’t imagine a Florida vacation without Disney World – but I also know that there is a TON of great stuff to see and do outside of Disney – beaches, theme parks, shopping, restaurants – so much so that you can even spend a whole vacation in Florida without going to Disney (not something I personally would suggest of course, but hey, to each their own!). If you’re heading to Florida for vacation, I highly recommend you try and work in a day at Walt Disney World – it’s a fun experience, and while it can’t ALL be seen in one day, you can definitely see a lot and have a ton of fun doing it!

If you’re looking at spending just one day at WDW, then here are some tips and tricks to help you plan and prepare:

-Spring for the Park Hopper option – This is an additional cost on top of Theme Park admission, but it’s worth every penny – it allows you to visit multiple Parks in one day, and while I wouldn’t recommend attempting all 4 Parks in 1 day, I think that 2 or possibly even 3 is doable, and the Park Hopper option allows you to “hop” between the Parks with ease!

-Get there early, and plan to stay late – If you’ve only got one day to see WDW, you better make the best of it – arrive when the Park opens, and stay until it closes. I realize this isn’t always feasible depending on how far away you’re traveling from, or if you have young kids with you – but you want to get the most bang for your buck – plan to stay for the WHOLE day (or as much of it as you can manage!)

-Pack Wisely – Make sure you come with everything you need to get you through a long day of walking and being outside – Hoodies, sunscreen, snacks (granola bars, fruit, trail mix etc), water bottles, ponchos, and make sure everyone wears comfortable (aka broken in) sneakers and socks – your feet will thank you later! Of course, most of these items are also available to purchase at the various Disney souvenir shops – but it will cost you – and best to save your money for something you actually want, am I right?

-Do Your Homework – A little planning goes a long way – check out official Park Info and figure out which rides and attractions you might want to get fastpasses for, and if you’re going to eat at table service restaurants, you’ll want to make Advance Dining Reservations for those for sure

As part of your planning, you will want to have an itinerary in place so that you can make the most of your day. Here’s my suggested plan for a Day at Disney World:

-Arrive at the Magic Kingdom when the Park opens for the day, and spend the morning there. If you’re there right when it opens, you can hit some of the more popular attractions and rides without a long wait, and once the Park starts to fill up, you can head over to rides with quicker moving lines, like the Haunted
Mansion
, Pirates of the Caribbean, and the Carousel of Progress

-Bring breakfast with you or eat before you arrive, and then fuel up with lunch at the Crystal Palace – a character meal serving up breakfast, lunch and dinner buffet style – and the best part is – your favorite 100 Acre Wood characters are there too! Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Eeyore, and Piglet all make their rounds for hugs, autographs, and pictures while you enjoy the fresh delicious buffet offerings – carved meats, an assortment of cold salads and hot sides, and some great desserts too! This not only gives you a chance to meet 4 characters in one place, but you can enjoy some delicious food and relax a bit before getting back out there!

-Once the afternoon hits, I recommend switching gears and heading to another Park – head over to Disney’s Hollywood Studios, where you can experience all the glitz and glamour of Old Hollywood! Stroll down Hollywood Boulevard and take it all in – the décor, the music, the sites, the entertainment – it’s a movie lovers dream! Here is where your planning will come in handy – you will want to plan to use your Fastpasses here – for popular rides like Aerosmith’s Rock’n Roller Coaster, the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, and Toy Story Midway Mania. You’ll definitely want to check out the Art of Disney Animation too – and the Muppets 3D show and the Great Movie Ride. There’s a lot to see here! Take your time and stroll through the “Streets”, and if you get a chance, grab a delicious treat (giant butterfinger cupcake perhaps?) at Starring Roles Cafe

-With all the walking you’ve been doing all day, you need a nice relaxing dinner, don’t you think? Head over to Downtown Disney for dinner and plenty of retail therapy! Downtown Disney is a shopping and entertainment mecca – with plenty of great stores, restaurants, clubs, bars, and they even have a movie theater and a bowling alley! Make plans to dine at my favorite spot – Raglan Road Irish Pub – where they have a huge bar with tons of beer options, plus a delicious menu featuring Irish classics (fish and chips, bangers and mash, shepherd’s pie to name a few), and live nightly entertainment – a band playing Irish tunes, plus Irish dancers too! Once you are full and ready for a stroll, do some shopping at some of Downtown Disney’s specialty shops, or grab a drink at the House of Blues

-Once you’re all shopped out, you can easily hop a bus back to the Magic Kingdom – where you can head on home, OR stay and enjoy the nightly fireworks (hey, if you’re only there for one day, might as well end that day with a BANG, right?)

Disney World is a place that’s best enjoyed over several days (several days, several times a year if I could afford it!), but it is possible to plan one day at Disney and have a great time – hope these tips help convince you to do a day at Disney on your next Florida vacation!

Categories: Adult Walt Disney World, Disney Food, Disney Restaurants, Disney Rides/Attractions, Disney Vacation Planning, Downtown Disney, Hollywood Studios, Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

T.G.I.F. Pic Of The Week – Enjoy Some 100 Acre Wood Fun In The Magic Kingdom

 

As a kid, I REALLY loved Winnie The Pooh – so much so that I wore out the video tapes (yeah, videos – you remember, the ancestor to the blu-ray?). Luckily for me, I can get my Winnie the Pooh fix right at the Magic Kingdom as there’s a ride and restaurant just for us 100 Acre Wood Fanatics!

Pooh5

Pooh1

Pooh2

Pooh3

The Crystal Palace is a buffet that serves up breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily – with a side helping of characters of course! Pooh, Tigger, Piglet and Eeyore circulate and hand out hugs and autographs and pose for pictures while you get to enjoy the delicious buffet! Check out my breakfast review on the Disney Food Blog for more details

Pooh7

Pooh8

Pooh9

Then once you are full from your delicious Crystal Palace eats, I suggest you head over to The Many Adventures Of Winnie The Pooh ride (don’t worry, it is safe to ride on a full stomach – and kid friendly too!) – where you travel through the classic Winnie The Pooh stories (blustery day and Heffelumps anyone?) while riding in an adorable honey pot

Pooh10

Oh – but don’t be sad once the ride is over! As there is of course a gift shop where you can bring home your very own Eeyore or other cuddly Pooh character!

TGIF!

Categories: Disney Food, Disney in Pictures, Disney Restaurants, Disney Rides/Attractions, Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Trying Out Disney’s New Magic Band System

Magic Bands

The Family That Magic Bands Together Stays Together

I have to admit – I wasn’t sure about using Disney’s new Magic Bands system at first – I was sure it would be hard to setup, and confusing to use once we got to Disney World – but I was actually pleasantly surprised with how much I enjoyed them!

A few months before the trip, I went online to the My Disney Experience website and setup all 4 of us (myself and my husband, and then I linked my parents reservation too) with profiles, and I have to say – this was probably the worst part of the process. The My Disney Experience Website was not the most user friendly – it was slow, often the pages “couldn’t be found” or the “server was busy”, but once I was finally able to set all 4 of us up with profiles on the site, we were able to customize our Magic Bands, and they were shipped to us about a month before our trip

I was also able to setup our Fastpass+ through the website, and I would say the only drawback to this was that you can only have 3 fastpasses per person per day, and they can’t be at 2 different parks – which to me is a bit limiting, but I understand that they can’t let everyone go nuts and have as many as they want. However, I hope they look at this limitation in the future and come up with some kind of alternative – anything is possible!

Once we were at the Resort, I was able to use the My Disney Experience app on my iphone to check dining reservation and Fastpass times, and change them if need be – which was nice. The app was pretty slow too and didn’t always want to work correctly, but I am guessing those kinks will be worked out soon, since the Magic Band system will be rolled out all over the World very soon (while we were there, the Magic Bands were only being tested by select Resorts).

We were able to use the Bands to pay at Restaurants, shops, snack carts, and they were our fastpass and park admission tickets as well. I am glad we were able to test out the Magic Bands system, and can’t wait what new technology Disney comes up with next!

Learn more about the Magic Band system Here

Categories: Adult Walt Disney World, Disney Dining Plan, Disney Food, Disney News, Disney Resorts, Disney Restaurants, Disney Vacation Planning, Walt Disney World | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Landscape Of Flavors Offers Delicious Fresh Menu Options For All!

My family and I were lucky enough to get to travel to Walt Disney World last month for Christmas, and even luckier still to get to stay in the NEWEST Disney Resort – The Art of Animation Resort. Let me tell you, this place did NOT disappoint, the Little Mermaid/Finding Nemo/Lion King/Cars themes were awesome, the service was great as usual, and probably the best thing about the Resort is its Landscape of Flavors Food Court – which offers up tons of great and unique menu options. Here’s a rundown of what you can expect to find here:

photo 2

Breakfast: Omelete station, pancakes, Mickey Waffles, French toast, make your own yogurt/fruit/granola parfait, breakfast sandwiches (like this “steak” sandwich, and the chicken sausage sandwich!) breakfast platters (both American AND Mongolian!), and tons of bakery and packaged choices (fruits, yogurts, etc)

photo 1

Lunch/Dinner: Create your own salad station (a personal favorite of mine!), Mongolian grill, hamburgers/sandwiches, pizza/pasta (and cheesy pesto bread yum!), plus packaged items like salads, sandwiches, and sushi

photo 3

Desserts: There’s a bakery case that was offering some delicious seasonal options while we were there – sugar free cranberry apple pie, Pecan pumpkin tart, Gingerbread cookies, and then there were also cupcakes and other cookies, and then there’s the gelato station – serving up tons of great flavors (including seasonal ones like peppermint and pumpkin!). Or you can go a bit healthier and have a fruit smoothie whipped up just the way you like it (strawberry/banana/mango comes to mind? Yum!)

Drinks: They offer the standard Coca Cola soda machines (which offer Sprite Zero in addition to Diet Coke and light lemonade, which I was glad to see!), as well as plenty of bottled choices: waters, Gatorade/Vitamin water, smoothies, juices, and a decent selection of beer and wine too (available by the single serving, or full size bottles/six packs are available too!)

Our personal favorites from the Landscape of Flavors? It’s REALLY a tough call, but for me personally it had to be the Pumpkin Pecan Tart (which I got multiple times!) and I know my parents really loved the Cranberry Apple Pie, and my husband loved the Mongolian Sausage plate – which was delicious sausage served with rice, two sides, and fresh naan bread

We will definitely be staying here again, partly (ok, largely!) due to how amazing the food was! I would highly recommend the Resort (and its food!) to anyone and everyone!

Categories: Disney Food, Disney in Pictures, Disney Resorts, Disney Restaurants, Walt Disney World | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Blog at WordPress.com. The Adventure Journal Theme.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 63 other followers