Posts Tagged With: Disney Dining

T.G.I.F. Pic Of The Week – Sweet Treats Await You At Disney Springs!

Disney World has been undergoing a TON of changes lately, and one of the bigger ones is the transition of the former Downtown Disney Area to the new Disney Springs – where you will now find even MORE entertainment, shopping, and dining options than ever before! One thing you will find PLENTY of in Disney Springs is desserts – check out these decadent ways to get your sugar rush on:



There are few things more satisfying on a hot Orlando day than a freshly scooped cone of shaved ice, and the Florida Snow Company Stand serves up just that – in a variety of sweet flavors to mix and match into your perfectly sweet, refreshing treat!


ghiradelli gold rush

A stop at the Ghiradelli Ice Cream & Chocolate Shop is a MUST on any trip to Disney Springs – and even if you didn’t plan on going there, the smell of chocolate and freshly baked waffle cones is bound to lure you right in! Personally I always go for the Gold Rush Sundae – with hot fudge and peanut butter sauces made in house, but they have a ton of different options to pick from, and you can also pick up some packaged candy to take home with you too



One of the newest additions to the Disney Springs Dessert lineup is Sprinkles Cupcakes – The freshly baked gourmet cupcakes that are insanely popular on the west coast have made their way to Orlando!

Sprinkles ATM

And should you happen to be visiting outside of their normal hours, you can grab a late night cupcake from their Cupcake ATM – that’s right – a machine that distributes cupcakes!



And to round out our Disney Springs Dessert Tour – a stop at Vivoli il Gelato, where you can savor hand crafted Gelati, Sorbetti, espresso drinks and much more. Doesn’t get much more authentically Italian than this!

Now if you will excuse me, I need to go get something to satisfy MY sweet tooth – as I am now SUPER hungry and drooling from thinking about all these amazing treats – TGIF!

Categories: Adult Walt Disney World, Disney Food, Disney in Pictures, Disney News, Disney Restaurants, DIsney Springs, Walt Disney World | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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


MB 2

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

MB 7


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!


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

My Top 5 WDW Money Saving Tips


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

T.G.I.F. Pic Of The Week – Dining In Paradise At Disney’s Aulani Resort

I have written about Aulani before – it’s Disney’s Resort and Spa located in beautifully tropical Hawaii, and it is a place I would LOVE to go with my husband – and we are hoping to make it there for our 10 year wedding anniversary (which gives us 6 years to save up and plan for it!)

If you’re considering going, then I think you’re making a SUPER smart choice – beautiful views, clear water, plenty of activities for everyone of all ages, and then there’s the FOOD – you won’t want to miss all that they have to offer in that department either…

AulaniDining BeachLounge

Off The Hook is an open air lounge that’s located right on the beach, and they serve up plenty of tropical drinks, as well as an assortment of fresh appetizers like shrimp cocktail and beef sliders

AulaniDIning Makahiki

If you’re a fan of buffet dining, then you’ll want to check out Makahiki-The Bounty Of The Islands – where you can join your favorite Disney characters for breakfast, and enjoy a peaceful delicious dinner of seafood and asian inspired entrees

AulaniDining AmaAma

If you’re looking for more of a gourmet experience, then Ama Ama is the place for you – contemporary Hawaiian dishes are served up here (with an oceanside view of course!) for breakfast, lunch, and dinner – oh, and they make all their own desserts fresh in-house daily

AulaniDining ShaveIce

Or let’s say you are in a hurry or just looking for a quick snack to tide you over – then might I recommend you check out some of the Aulani Quick Service Dining Options – which include traditional Hawaiian shaved ice, hot dogs/chicken tenders, salads, pretzels and more!

Aulani has it all – a full service spa, amazing rooms and service, plenty of activities to keep you and your family busy and happy, amazing ocean views, and some pretty awesome FOOD too! Hope you get a chance to visit this amazing vacation spot someday and that you get to indulge in all the amazing cuisine they have to offer!



Categories: Adult Walt Disney World, Disney Food, Disney in Pictures, Disney Restaurants, Disney Vacation Planning, The World Outside Disney | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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


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 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

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