Disney Rides/Attractions

T.G.I.F. Pic Of The Week – Adding Some Extra “Magic” To Your Magic Bands

Have you been to Disney World recently? If so, you probably have had a chance to try out their new Magic Band system – and if not, let me give you a quick rundown on what you’re missing out on: the Magic Band is essentially a bracelet that contains and electronic chip, which acts as your park ticket, your method of payment at the Parks for souvenirs/food etc, your WDW Resort room key, and it even stores your Fastpass/Dining Reservation information too. Pretty cool for a little bracelet, right? The design of the band itself is pretty basic – so of course people have come up with plenty of ways to personalize their Magic Bands:

     MB 1

There are plenty of accessories available for sale at the Disney Parks

MB3

MB 2

….And then there’s the “after-market” Magic Band Accessories – many of which are available through sites like Etsy

MB 7

MB4

MB 5

Or if you’re the crafty type, you can always decorate it yourself

MB 6

For those who like a little sparkle in their lives, check out this easy Magic Band Glitter DIY

Magic Bands

Personally I like to keep it simple – a little Muppet charm and I’m good to go!

TGIF!

Categories: Adult Walt Disney World, Disney Food, Disney in Pictures, Disney Resorts, Disney Rides/Attractions, Walt Disney World | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

T.G.I.F. Pic Of The Week – Packing For the WDW Parks – My Top 5 “Must Haves”

When you’re getting ready to leave your WDW Resort hotel room and head to the Disney Parks for the day, there are some items you will DEFINITELY want to make sure you bring along with you:

ponchos

PONCHOS are super essential – as it can (and likely will) rain while you’re at the Parks

AK Tree Adults

Sunscreen – apply it often, and be liberal with it. No one wants to get burned as red as Sebastian the crab on your first day at WDW. See how white me and my family are? Well – sunscreen helps us stay that way

WaterBottles

Water bottles – fill them up with water and ice before you head out, and be sure to drink a LOT and refill as needed when at the Parks – as that Florida sun can be brutal, and dehydration is no fun

baggies

Ziploc baggies in assorted sizes – they come in handy for a LOT of things, trust me

Photos MIckeyCAM

Multiple cameras – because you’ll want to capture all the great parts of this vacation, trust me. And yes that is a Mickey film camera – cool, right?

Moral of the story? Be prepared, and you will spend more time having fun on your WDW vacation

TGIF!

Categories: Adult Walt Disney World, Disney in Pictures, Disney Resorts, Disney Rides/Attractions, Disney Vacation Planning, Walt Disney World | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

T.G.I.F. Pic Of The Week – Inside Space Mountain (WARNING – SPOILER ALERT!)

SM Outside

Ok, so if you don’t like to know how things work or to have the “magic” of a ride ruined for you, then you will probably NOT want to read on – but if you’re curious (like me!), then check out these photos of Space Mountain WITH THE LIGHTS ON:

SM5 SM2 SM4 SM3 SM1SM6

Weird, right? I hope I never have to see if while I’m on it – because that probably means someone got hurt or something – but I think it’s really interesting to see what is inside one of my favorite rides

TGIF!

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

When Is The BEST Time To Go To WDW?

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I get asked this a lot – people always want to know when is the best time to travel to Walt Disney World – and let’s be real – what they are REALLY asking is when is the cheapest/least crowded time to go. I can’t blame them – Disney is expensive, and the crowds can really put a damper on your fun (that you paid so much for). So, in the interest of saving money and attempting to avoid the crowds, here are my top three best times to visit WDW:

Early December: The crowds won’t be super light at this time, so you might be wondering “why rank this as a top choice?” and that would be solely based on the Christmas decorations. That’s right – they are THAT amazing – the decorations, the live entertainment and Christmas music, the huge Christmas trees at each Park, the gingerbread displays, the Christmas/holiday themed food – it’s all amazing, and worth braving a bit of a crowd for. If you’re a huge Christmas fanatic (like me!) I highly recommend you consider an early December WDW trip. While going the week of Christmas may seem appealing – I advise you to resist the urge – as the Resort prices are higher, and the crowds are INSANE – so earlier in the month is generally a much better choice

Late September/Early October: This time of year at Disney World is great for a lot of reasons. The attendance numbers tend to be some of the lowest of the year, due in part to the return of most kids to school in September (and parents not wanting to take their kids out of classes so soon after they have just begun!). The weather is mild (still warm but not as painfully hot and humid as the summer months), and fall season is in full swing at the Parks! There are pumpkins everywhere you turn, plus seasonal fall foods are offered around the Parks too (pumpkin flavored items galore – yum!). If you’re a big Halloween fan, this is the perfect time for you to go to WDW – as Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party begins in late September and runs through October. The Party includes trick or treating, a special Halloween themed parade, and plenty of character meet and greets as well

Early May: Statistically this is one of the best times to go to WDW, as the attendance numbers tend to be some of the lowest of any other time of the year. And since it’s not a “peak” time – the prices to stay at WDW are lower, too! If crowds are your main concern when planning your Disney trip, then this is your time to go! The weather is great too – you might see some rain, but overall, spring at Disney is warm (but not hot!) and sunny, which means you’ll be able to get in plenty of pool and water park time

So there they are, my top 3 Best Times to travel to Disney World. Obviously, this is just my opinion and you might have a totally different experience or other thoughts on the matter – but from what I have seen, these are the best. I would love to know what YOU think thoughwhat’s your favorite time to travel to WDW (aside from ANYTIME, of course, ha!)

Categories: Adult Walt Disney World, Disney Food, Disney Rides/Attractions, Disney Special Events, Disney Vacation Planning, Walt Disney World | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

My Top 5 WDW Money Saving Tips

Luggage

As much as I love Walt Disney World, I am the first to admit – it is NOT a cheap place to visit – Resort room, park tickets, food, souvenirs, transportation, incidentals…it all adds up QUICK. Luckily, there are some things you can do to help lessen the financial burden that comes with planning a WDW vacation. Check out my top WDW money saving tips:

Sharing Is Caring: WDW has some seriously amazing food – they serve up every style of cuisine you can imagine, and it’s all delicious. Much of it is also very LARGE – their portions tend to be big, and this can be a big plus for you budget-conscious travelers. Many meals are so large that they can be easily shared by two children or even two adults. Check out some sharable meal/snack options here

Stay at a Value Resort: Walt Disney World has a TON of hotels on property, and all offer amazing service and helpful staff, but some are definitely fancier (ie – more expensive!) than others. There are Deluxe, Moderate, and Value level Resorts – with corresponding price levels as well. If you’re on a budget, the Value Resorts are the way to go for you and your family. They are all great places to stay (I should know, as I have stayed at all 5!), and while the rooms are pretty standard (nothing fancy, no frills), they are quite a bit cheaper than the other WDW Resorts, so if cost is your bottom line, the Value Resorts are worth checking out
*Bonusstaying on property will also help save on transportation costs – as Resort guests get complimentary shuttles to/from the Orlando airport via Disney’s Magical Express, and they are also able to utilize all on-site transportation options (boats/monorails/buses) free of cost as well

Plan Ahead: Anything you can do in advance will help you in the long run – researching restaurants (including costs, menus, etc), making lists of things to bring, checking out which rides/shows/foods your family might like, and just overall knowing the lay of the land will help avoid impulse purchases and unnecessary spending (buying a $4 bottle of water when there’s a bathroom/water fountain right around the corner, for example…)

Set A Budget: Use that research and those “planning ahead” skills to come up with rough estimates for costs of: airfare/gas, rental car, food, drinks, hotel, park tickets, and incidentals. Set a souvenir budget for your kids, and one for yourself too – and then make sure you stick to it – no matter HOW much they beg for “just ONE MORE PIN!”, or that giant balloon/stuffed animal/hoodie – trust me, your wallet will thank you – as souvenirs are pretty expensive at WDW, and the cost of just “one more thing” per person adds up QUICKLY

Pack Smart: In addition to making a list FAR in advance of items to pack, I suggest you start packing way in advance too. A few weeks before my trip I will print out my packing list (yes, I type it – don’t judge), and set my suitcase out with items I know I won’t need again before my trip. I also have some “must pack” items – ponchos, sunscreen, park-friendly snacks (trail mix, granola bars, etc – another big money saver!), a water bottle, and comfortable sneakers
Packing Tip – I wear all my “bulkiest” items when flying to save precious suitcase space: sneakers, jeans, and a hoodie are all a part of my standard travel attire, which leaves me more room for other necessities in my bags

Hopefully you can use some (or all!) of the above advice to help you save money on what can otherwise turn into a VERY costly Walt Disney World Trip – and even though I try and save money whenever possible and am all about budgeting, I know that a Disney vacation is worth every penny in the end – the fun you’ll have and the memories you’ll make are items you can’t put a price tag on

Categories: Adult Walt Disney World, Disney Food, Disney Restaurants, Disney Rides/Attractions, Disney Vacation Planning, Walt Disney World | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

My Top 5 Tips For Saving Time At WDW

Magic Bands

Walt Disney World is a busy place – there are hardly ever any non-busy times at the Parks anymore, which means you can expect to wait for everything from bathrooms to rides and everything in between, too. No one wants to stand around in lines all day, so I suggest you use my top WDW time saving tips to help avoid some of that waiting:

Use The Fastpass+ option: Disney allows you to essentially “Reserve” your spot on 3 rides each day – you pick a time online (you can do this up to 60 days before your trip!), and the information is stored on your Magic Band. You then go to the ride at the designated time, scan your magic band, and go through the (MUCH SHORTER) fastpass line and are on your favorite ride in no time! No 3 hour wait times for you (yes, wait times for rides can get that long – and trust me, it’s not pretty) – this can be a MAJOR time saver for sure!

Make An Itinerary: I know some people hate planning out their days and want to just go with the flow while on vacation – and that will work sometimes at Disney, but I find that it’s good to have even just a basic “what Parks you want to go to which days” type of plan – that way you can plan fastpasses and meals around what park you will be at, and you can avoid having to spend time traveling to another park to try and get there in time for your dining reservation….been there, done that – and that’s why I make an itinerary now!

Hook Up Your Credit Card To Your Magic Band: Magic Bands are amazing – the tiny chip in this bracelet holds the key to your room, your dining reservations, your park tickets, your fastpasses, and your payment information if you want – and trust me, you DO want! Pay for drinks, snacks, souvenirs, meals with just a wave of your wrist! Plus that way you don’t even really need to carry around your credit cards with you when you head to the Parks – win, win!

Make ADR’s: ADR stands for Advance Dining Reservation – which means you can book what table service meals you want to eat at before your trip (180 days before, to be exact!), and when you arrive at the restaurant at the reservation time, you’re put on the list for the next available table for your party. Disney is so crowded these days that walking up to a sit down restaurant and expecting to get a table is near impossible – so I HIGHLY recommend you make some ADR’s before your trip, or else you might end up waiting a LONG time to eat, or waste time trying to find another less busy place to eat

Eat at “Off” Times: Avoid the noon hour and the 5-6pm hours for lunch and dinner – as pretty much ALL Disney dining spots are SUPER crowded at this time, and you’ll end up waiting in long lines for food, and might have to fight someone for an available table too – not worth it, in my opinion. Have a late breakfast, so that you can wait to eat lunch until after 1pm, you’ll save time this way for sure!

Basically – I recommend you plan ahead – and use the ALL the technology Disney has to offer – Magic bands, fastpasses, ADR’s, their mobile app, pre-trip booking via computer – use them, and you will for sure save time and frustration on your next Disney Trip

Categories: Adult Walt Disney World, Disney Food, Disney Restaurants, Disney Rides/Attractions, Disney Vacation Planning, Walt Disney World | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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