Disney World Tips – My Favorite Place on Earth

When I was growing up, all I ever wanted to do was go to Disney World; we just couldn’t afford it.  I knew when I got married and my kids were old enough I had to go.  After planning and saving for two years, Tim and I were able to take our three in 2015. We’ve been back several times since then.  Honestly, I love to travel and see new places, but if I could pick the destination, I’d pick Disney World.

img_1559

I’m a major planner and I like to know how things are going to work before I get there so I’ve done a lot of research for Disney.  And now I’m going to share some of my favorite tips, tricks, and advice I’ve learned along the way.

RESORTS

We’ve stayed on property and off property and I definitely recommend staying on property.  It offers so many perks and conveniences. The immersive experience is second to none.  The bus system that transports you to all the parks, including the water parks, the resorts, and Disney Springs is so helpful and convenient. Our first trip we stayed at Art of Animation in a Lion King family suite, which sleeps 6.  The hotel is sectioned off into Little Mermaid, Finding Nemo, Cars, and Lion King rooms.  The lobby, food court, and grounds feature artwork of the different stages of animation along with massive sculptures of characters from these movies. My husband’s favorite was Rafiki and the kids loved the Elephant Graveyard. Fun fact about the pool, it plays music under the water. How fun is that? The food court has lots of options and is included in the dining plans as a Quick Service choice. While we absolutely loved this resort, to be honest, we only used the pool once and just slept in the rooms (we like to hit the parks hard).  We probably wouldn’t choose this resort again because there are more affordable options for what we use our room for.  If you like to enjoy all the amenities and have downtime in your room, this is super fun option for you, especially for little ones who love those movies.

 

 

 

For our Christmas trip in 2016, we tent camped in Fort Wilderness.  Now, I’m going to preface this with we are camping people.  Tim and I both grew up tent camping and we take our kids a lot, so we knew what we were getting into.  If this is your first time in a tent, I wouldn’t suggest this be your first experience.  That being said, we really enjoyed it.  The site was large; we put up two tents and had 9 people staying on the site. The bath-houses are immaculate.  You have to use your magic band to get into them, which is reassuring that random visitors can’t wander in.  The bus system is included and you can also ferry to Magic Kingdom, which we loved doing.  There’s several restaurants (check out Hoop-De-Doo Review) and shops on site, which is lovely.  There’s also a pool, beach, and splash pad (we didn’t use them as it was a bit chilly for a December in FL but they looked super fun). You can actually see the Magic Kingdom Fireworks from the beach.  There’s RV and tent spaces as well as cabins.  If a tent doesn’t scare you, you can save a ton of money on your stay here.  I think a tent site is about $75 now depending on your dates.

 

 

If you want to splurge, I’d suggest Grand Floridian or The Contemporary.  While, we haven’t stayed at either personally, we’ve eaten and visited them on multiple occasions and in my opinion the are quintessentially Disney. Also, don’t miss all the restaurants inside the resorts. There’s some amazing options, including Character Dining. We love the breakfast and dinner at 1900 Park Fare and the breakfast at Chef Mickey, with the big 5 (Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Pluto, and Goofy) is our favorite.

As I said, I much prefer staying on Disney property, but staying off-site has its perks.  You’ll definitely save money and if you go at the right times (early), parking isn’t too bad. We’ve also ubered and if you’re doing that I’ve got a couple of suggestions.  One, if you’re ubering to Magic Kingdom, request your drop-off/pick-up at the Caribbean Resort.  Way less crowded and just a short walk to the gates. You could also do the Transportation and Ticket Center, which is fun because you can ride the monorail if you’re not in a rush.

All in all, I don’t think you can go wrong with where you stay because you’ll still be in Disney.

Now I’ll break down the parks with our favorite restaurants, rides, fast passes, tips, and experiences.

MAGIC KINGDOM

img_1544

MK is by far my favorite park.  I just can’t help but grin the entire time I’m there. It’s my most visited park and when I only have a day, I’m going there. My first time walking in, I cried and Tim took the ugliest pictures of me doing so, but I’m so glad he did.  When you walk onto Main Street you have to get a castle picture, it’s the rules. Okay, not really, but honestly, if you don’t get a Main Street Castle picture, did you even actually go to Disney? I save the shops for later in the day but you have to hit up the Emporium and the Bakery.  Get a balloon too.  They’re the cutest.  We always get there early, see the rope drop show, then book it to Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.  This will be the hardest fast pass to find and usually the longest line.  Using this little trick saves you time and guarantees you have an awesome first ride.  It is the smoothest coaster I’ve ever been on and beautifully designed.  All the kids love it. Another tip for Seven Dwarfs, ride it at night.  The line will be shorter (because everyone is saving spots for Happily Ever After) and you can see the fireworks while riding.  It’s pretty magical.

While in Fantasyland, we then like to do Winnie the Pooh, Under the Sea, Prince Charming’s Carousel, and It’s A Small World. We’ll also go visit the princesses in Princess Hall that day.

Depending on which fast passes we have, we usually then make our way to Frontierland to ride Haunted Mansion, Splash Mountain, and Big Thunder Mountain then Adeventureland for Swiss Family Robinson’s Tree House (Tim loves it), Pirates of the Caribbean, Jungle Cruise, and the Magic Carpets.  Then it’s Tomorrowland to do Space Mountain, Carousel of Progress, and Buzz Lightyear.  Next we head back to Fantasyland for Peter Pan, Monsters Inc, Barnstormer, and Dumbo. Then we try to hit all our favs again until fireworks.

One more note, don’t miss the Festival of Fantasy Parade. We stumbled upon it our first trip and it’s become one of our must-dos. The “floats” are amazing! Maleficent is a highlight and the kids loved waving at all the characters and dancing along.

Fastpasses:

  • Peter Pan’s Flight – this line is always 90 mins or higher but it’s such a cute ride, you have to do it.
  • Seven Dwarfs Mine Train – if you can get one, snag it fast. It’s hard to come by. You’ll love this ride.
  • Space Mountain – while inside and air-conditioned, it’s a kind of tedious wait, so we usually fast pass this one.
  • Splash Mountain – long lines, 90% of which is outside. Definitely wanna skip this wait if you can.
  • Big Thunder – if we’re running low on options we will skip this fast pass because there are lots of little fun things to do while you wait but the line can get pretty long, so your preference. Lynie loves this attraction!
  • Haunted Mansion – the line for this is super fun with lots of little details hidden through-out but it gets hot so we usually FP this one.

Skip the Fast Pass:

  • Under the Sea, Journey of the Little Mermaid – I’ve never waited in this line longer than 20 mins and that was on a weekend at the beginning of August. It’s my favorite ride, so we usually do it twice.  Then we pop over next door and visit Ariel.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean. The line moves quick. Don’t waste the fast pass.
  • Winnie the Pooh – this is the coolest line.  There is all kinds of fun little games and interactive things for the kids to do while you wait.  Even Caleb likes it.
  • Monsters Inc Laugh Floor – this attraction is fun and always moves fast. Tip, try to sit on a row with the lamps. That’s where the cameras are that choose people for the show. Tim is dying to be “That Guy”.

Restaurants:

There’s several places that we love to eat MK.  I’ll try to rank them here.

  • Cinderella’s Royal Table – while we have had better meals in Disney, the atmosphere and experience cannot be beat here.  The Princess Dinner in Cinderella’s Castle will cost you 2 Table Credits if you’re using the dining plan, but it’s a definite must, at least once.  Several different Princesses are introduced and then make they’re way around the table.  Who actually is there varies from night-to-night, we saw Cinderella, Snow White, Ariel, Jasmine, and Aurora. The food is very good but this will be the best character dining experience you have.
  • Be Our Guest – a close second to CRT in ambiance is Be Our Guest.  You’ll dine in Beast’s castle, which is separated into sections, the Grand Ballroom, the Rose Gallery, and the West Wing. All of which are stunning.  They offer breakfast, lunch, and dinner; fun fact a lot of people don’t realize, if you can snag a lunch reservation, it’s a Quick Service credit instead of Table.  We took advantage of this and will definitely do it again.  Do take note that the Beast character is only present during dinner and this is the only place you’ll see him.  BOG is located in Fantasyland near the bridge.  The food is French inspired and so yummy.  Caleb still raves about the Potato Leek Soup.  And, of course, try the Grey Stuff.  It’s delicious.
  • Peco Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe – We love Peco Bill’s! It’s located in Frontierland and you get a lot of bang for your buck.  It is included in the dining plan as a Quick Service.  They have burgers and tex mex.  We all ended up getting various types of Nachos last time we were here and they did not disappoint. It’s a lot of food and we actually have split meals here to save dining credits.
  • Casey’s – The famous footlong hotdogs live up to the hype. We split them and, again, save dining credits.  The fries are really good too, and I’m kind of a fry-snob. They have regular size hot dogs if footlongs aren’t your thing.  It’s in a great location at the end of Main Street.  We usually grab Casey’s and then get ready for the fireworks show.  Also a Quick Service.
  • Columbia Harbor House – located in Frontierland they have great seafood options.  We all really enjoyed  the food and always add it to our list.  Its right near Haunted Mansion so we usually ride that then go to Columbia Harbor House for some fried shrimp or lobster roll.
  • Liberty Tree Tavern – also in Frontierland, this is a Table Service restaurant that is family style.  We ate here on our Christmas trip with 9 people and it was so yummy.  We’re southern so the family style was right up our ally, although the menu is New England fare influenced. The Colonial theme is so quaint. It’s a great little sit-down meal.
  • Tony’s Town Square – first let me start by saying the theme here, Lady and the Tramp, is the cutest.  It’s very Italian inspired and the little sculpture of Lady and the Tramp in the center is beautiful.  That being said, the food here isn’t fantastic.  The pasta is only so, so.  Not bad, but not the level we’d come to expect in Disney.  If you’re a Lady fan, you have to try it, otherwise, we probably won’t be back there.

 

 

EPCOT

img_1563I always say you don’t visit Epcot for the rides, although there are some good ones, you go for the experiences.  World Showcase is one of our favorites so we spend a lot of time there. We like to start in Future World and then work our way back to World Showcase. And then we cap off the day with the Illuminations show, which is sadly ending in 2019. I’m sure the new show will be just as fantastic though. Make sure you don’t miss the character spot photo-op with the Big 5. We loved Goofy!

Fastpasses:

Note : Epcot has tier’s.  You can’t just fast pass whichever three you want.  I’ll give you my priority order.

Tier I (choose one from this tier):

  • Frozen Ever After – it’s not as bad as it was, but this line gets crazy long.  I always try to get this one.
  • Test Track – this line is super fun and interactive so if you don’t get this pass it’s worth the wait, but wait times do get up there.
  • Soarin’ – this is my last priority pick only because you usually can find lull times, where the line isn’t too long.  Definitely ride though, it’s so fun!

Tier II (choose two from this tier):

  • Spaceship Earth – a slow, dark ride inside the Epcot ball that is so informative and interesting.  My kiddos loved all the history and the “glimpse” into the future.
  • Mission: Space – I’ll preface this one by saying if you don’t like confined spaces and have motion sickness, this might not be for you.  It’s tight spaces and can give some pretty intense vertigo.
  • Turtle Talk – this little show is so fun!  All the kids get to sit at the front of the “tank” and Crush comes out and talks to them.  There are jokes and he answers questions.  Chloe got chosen to ask a question and it made her whole day.
  • The Seas with Nemo and Friends – honestly I wouldn’t waste a FP on this.  We have never waited in line for this.  We walk through until we get on.  It’s very similar to Journey Under the Sea.

For my homeschool mamas looking to get some education in, make sure you also check out Innoventions, located in Future World.  Lots of hands-on science and technology experiences, my kids (and us) had a blast and learned a lot.  You can also get a “passport” at any shop in Epcot and when you visit each country, stop at the Kidcot Fun Stops and get your passport filled in.  Great experience and keepsake.

e6fc0d02-7763-4106-9b17-eb3c5c242478

Another fun thing Tim and I did was “Kissing Around the World”.  We got a smoochie picture in every country.  It was a super sweet way to celebrate our relationship and adventures together

 

 

Restaurants:

Like I said, we are World Showcase lovers, so we try to eat in as many countries as we can.  Here are a few of our favorites.

  • Le Cellier – Canada – This is, hands-down, our favorite restaurant in all of Disney.  It will cost you two Table Service credits but the meal is 100% worth it.  Best steak I have ever had.  I had risotto that was to die for. The desserts are delicious. Our waitress was from Ottawa and we had the best time talking hockey with her.  The atmosphere is like a cozy lodge.  I can’t recommend it enough! It will be worth every penny.
  • Teppan Edo – Japan – A great value for a Table Service credit, this Japanese steakhouse is amazing.  Our chef created a Santa Mickey out of onions before he even started cooking!  He let everyone come back behind the cooktop to pose and take a picture.  This was a WDW highlight for Tim, as he has always wanted to learn to be a teppanyaki chef as a hobby.  The food was great and we took back leftovers to our resort and had them as midnight snack.
  • Tangierine Cafe – Morocco – Tim and Caleb ate here (the girls and I went to France) and they still haven’t stopped talking about how good their meals were.  Morocco is one my favorite countries in Epcot because it is so vibrant and beautiful. Obviously, the food lives up as well.
  • Les Halles Boulangerie & Patisserie – France – While the boys dined in Morocco, this is where the ladies ate.  We had wonderful French sandwiches and of course finished off the meal with Macarons. It took a little while to get through the line to order and get our food, but the little dining area was so quaint and the food was wonderful.  Chloe has to get macarons every time we visit now.
  • Snacking/Drinking Around the World – We’ve done this a little bit but we intend to hit every country next time.  It’s pretty self-explanatory, you get one snack and/or drink per country. Tim and I started the “Drink Around the World” our last Christmas visit but we did not finish it.  Now that alcoholic drinks are included on the dining plan, this won’t be as expensive. We get one drink and split it. Saves money and our sobriety.  Definitely get a margarita in Mexico, it was our top pick (of what we tried). I was a big fan of the Processeco in Italy, too.
  • Sunshine Seasons Food Court – this is actually located in Future World, in the Land Pavilion.  Tons of options and a great place to use a Quick Service credit.
  • Akershus Royal Banquet Hall – this the Norwegian Table Service and they offer a Princess Lunch, which is a great was to get your Princess Character meal if you don’t want to spend two credits at CRT.  The food was only okay for us and there’s some definite authentic Norwegian options that are fun to try if you want to branch out.  My kids actually really enjoyed the meatballs.

 

 

img_1576

HOLLYWOOD STUDIOS

HS (formerly MGM) is Tim and Caleb’s favorite park.  They’re Star Wars fanboys, so go figure.  HS is definitely home to more “thrill rides” so if that’s your jam, HS is for you.  There are so many fun things to do and with all the exciting things added (and being added), this park may make a jump to our family’s favorite.  The new Toy Story Land just opened, and while we haven’t personally been yet, friends and family have done nothing but rave about it. It is so well designed and executed.  Honestly, no one out does Disney when it comes to details.

 

Fastpasses:

Hollywood Studios runs off a similar system as Epcot, tiers. The tier choices have changed with the addition of Toy Story Land.  Here’s the updated version.

Tier I (choose one from this tier):

  • Slinky Dog Dash – this is the new “it” ride and wait times are almost always 75+ minute waits.  If you want to save this FP or can’t get one, I’d suggest trying the same strategy we use for Seven Dwarfs, go straight there at rope drop.
  • Alien Swirling Saucers – another new ride but this one has been slightly easier to FP than Slinky.  And the waits haven’t been as long as other Toy Story attractions.
  • Toy Story Mania! – this is, by and far, Tim’s favorite ride.  You ride in the cart and play a shooting arcade game throughout.  It’s one of his life’s goals to achieve the highest score; he of course always crushes us. This ride used to always be a for sure, fast pass, with one of the longest waits in Disney, but since adding a third track, wait times are more reasonable.  We like to FP this one and then ride it again, later in the day, during a slower time.

Tier II (choose two from this tier):

  • Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster – I love this coaster, as do the kids.  It’s a super fun, smooth ride and who could not enjoy the Aerosmith soundtrack? You can usually find a lull in wait times here (40 mins or less) so we usually skip this pass but it’s definitely worth one if you do want to FP it.
  • Star Tours – we always FP this one, only because we ride it multiple times.  We love this virtual ride, that’s guided by C3-PO. If you get motion sick easily, beware.  You wear 3D glasses for this and it could be rough for you.
  • The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror – we love this ride.  Lynie hates it, but we always bribe her to ride, because (1) her reactions are worth the price of the Memory Maker alone and (2) she secretly loves it.  We always FP this one. The wait can get long and tedious, so I say it’s a necessary FP.

Tier II Skips the FastPass:

*These are Tier II options available but I’d suggest not wasting a FP on*

  • Voyage of the Little Mermaid – this a cute, fun show with cool puppets (similar to the Finding Nemo Show in Animal Kingdom). I love Ariel more than most, but don’t waste a FP on this one.  You’ll have no problem getting into a show.
  • Disney Junior Live on Stage – Lynie loved this when we attended, she was 5 and 6. And she had the best time.  Caleb achieved best big bro status by not only, not complaining, but dancing and singing along with her.  Chloe took a nap.
  • Frozen Sing-Along – again, this used to take longer to get into, but not so much now.  I wouldn’t worry about FPing it.
  • Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular – again, not usually a long wait to see. But is a great show, so if you want prime seats, you may want to use a FP or try to get an extra after using your initial three.
  • Muppet Vision – this is my biggest “DON’T WASTE A FASTPASS”! There is never a line.  Not once have I seen a wait for this.  Super cute, fun show, and we all love it, but DON’T WASTE A FASTPASS.
  • Fantasmic – I sadly admit, I have never seen this show. I know, why am I even writing about Disney without seeing this one.  Honestly, we’ve intended to see it every time and then we just, for various reasons, always end up missing it. It will happen next time.  I’d suggest getting a Fantasmic dining or dessert party reservation and skipping the FP on this one.
  • Beauty and the Beast – this is my second favorite stage show (I’ll get to my first later) but not worth the FP.  You’ll be able to get into show pretty easily, just keep an eye on the showtimes.

Some other experiences that we love include:

  • The March of the First Order – so much fun! A parade of Storm Troopers going through the park.
  • Jedi Training – send the kid participating (12 and under only) with one parent in the morning to sign up. They only take so many kids, so if its important to you, get there early.  It’s a fun show and the kids are adorable, really makes their day to be able to fight Darth Vader.
  • Character Spots – there are so many good character photo spots here, Chewbacca, Kylo Ren, Jawas, and Storm Troopers.  You’ll get some great photos.

Restaurants:

To be honest we don’t love the restaurants in HS.  Just our opinion.  They aren’t bad, food tastes good, and the atmosphere is always fun and very detailed, we just have had better food at other parks.  So, we just don’t get excited about the options here. *shrugs* Here’s my suggestions, because you’ll obviously have to eat while in the park.

  • Mama Melrose – good Italian food.  We especially loved the bread.
  • Hollywood & Vine – we did the Disney Junior Character Breakfast and we all had a blast with it. A good option for little ones.
  • PizzeRizzo – The rumor is this one is being changed over to a seasonal restaurant, but if it’s open while your there, it’s a great Quick Service option and a great value if paying out-of-pocket.  We enjoyed the Pizza.
  • Woody’s Lunch Box – we haven’t been since the opening of Toy Story Land, but word on the street is, this place is amazing.  Fingers crossed it is.
  • Sci-Fi Dine-In – good food and good experience
  • 50’s Prime Time – listen, I have heard people say this place is so fun and a good time. The deal is, everyone is “family” so the servers will poke and make fun (think a watered-down Dick’s experience) during your meal. That is just not for me.  If you like that kind of thing, this is the place would be fun for you, I just don’t dig it. The food looks delicious though. *shurgs again*

Bonus tip for you, and my favorite Disney advice, the best funnel cakes in all of Disney World is at the stand beside Indiana Jones.  We eat so many of them every time we go.  I don’t know what it is, but hands down, our favorite snack.

 

img_1548

 

ANIMAL KINGDOM

Full disclosure, Tim isn’t a massive fan of AK so we’ve only been twice and we haven’t been since Pandora opened, which I hear is out of this world. I enjoy the park and the attractions and shows are top-notch; I’m not sure why Tim isn’t a fan. I suspect it was our hottest and most crowded day, and it put a sour taste in his mouth that he hasn’t gotten over yet. So take all the following with a grain of salt. Home to my favorite show, delicious food options, great attractions, and one of a kind experiences.

 

Fastpasses:

Animal Kingdom is also a Tier system.

Tier I (chose one):

  • Flight of Passage – widely regarded as Disney World’s best ride, this Avatar attraction should be top of your list.  Still hard to come by, if you score one, don’t pass it up. Deploy Seven Dwarfs strategy if you can’t get a FP.
  • Navi River Ride – I hear this a beautiful ride and great for a break during the day. Only choose this option if Flight of Passage isn’t available (or your little ones are under 44″ and thus too small for FOP).

Tier II (chose two):

  • Expedition Everest – one of our Top 5 rides.  We adore this coaster.  The setting and details are amazing.
  • Dinosaur – a little jumpier than other Disney rides, this one will send you back in time to try and rescue a dinosaur.  No spoilers, but you’ll definitely want to check out your picture at the end.
  • Kali River Rapids – this is a water raft ride that we really enjoyed.  Prepare to get wet.
  • Kilimanjaro Safari – we love this Safari tour! The tour guides are fantastic and seeing all the animals is amazing. We’ve only done morning tours but I hear nighttime is when the animals are more active.
  • Festival of the Lion King – if you haven’t guessed already, this is my favorite show at Disney. I can’t say enough good things about it.  We all loved every minute, even Tim, who is not a show guy.
  • Primeval Whirl – we usually skip this one, just because this type of coaster isn’t our cup of tea, but that’s just us.  I’d put this at the lower end of the FP priority.

Skip the Fastpass:

  • It’s Tough to Be a Bug – located in the Tree of Life, this attraction is a fun, fast-moving line, and super cute show.  We always enjoy it, but no FP needed.
  • Finding Nemo Musical – Tim napped through this show, but we all really enjoyed it.  The performances are wonderful.  Don’t worry about a FP for it though.
  • Adventures Outpost – this is wonderful character spot with Safari Mickey and Minnie, but not FP necessary.  Lynie had her most magical moment here. She had a Baby Minnie stuffie that she had been carrying all day.  The moment she walked in Mickey and Minnie oohed and aahed over her stuffie and took turns rocking it. It made her whole day. So I suggest definitely doing this photo-op just don’t worry about a FP to do so.

Restaurants:

  • Rainforest Cafe – we love this one and the food is fantastic. Great place to sit down and cool-off. There’s also one located in Disney Springs as well if you miss it in AK.
  • Flame Tree Barbecue – lots of food per meal, we split like 2 entrees between the 5 of us.  The pulled pork and chicken were our top choices, and southern approved (you know how seriously we take our BBQ). Great use of a Quick Service.
  • Yak & Yeti – Amazing Asian-inspired entrees, don’t miss this one. Tasty and the atmosphere is beautiful. There’s also a Quick Service counter located right beside it with some great, quicker choices.
  • Pizzafari – it’s pizza.  What else do I need to say?
  • Restaurantosaurus – yummy burgers and sandwiches, familiar food for your pickier eaters, which I know that’s not always just this kids.

 

img_1572

BLIZZARD BEACH and TYPHOON LAGOON

Tim loves water parks.  Like, loves them. So we had to do them on our first trip. They live up. Best water parks we’ve been to hands down.  Blizzard Beach has more of your big slides and the wave pool has an actual beach. It’s great! There’s a kids section that has a zipline and little obstacle course. All the kids had a blast on it. There’s also a “ski lift” you ride which was Lynie’s favorite part.  Typhoon Lagoon was my favorite of the two, personally. The lazy river is absolutely huge, you can snorkel with sharks, swim in the giant wave pool, or tube slide to your heart’s content. Typhoon Lagoon also offers surfing lessons some mornings. You sign up in advance and have to be at the park very early. We took Caleb for his special surprise (more on the girls later). We woke up at 5 am and drove over to Typhoon Lagoon to get him already to go. There was a handful of other people there and 3 instructors. You get registered, sign all the waivers, get a quick tutorial on what’s going to happen, and try a few pop-ups on land. Then it’s time to give it go. Two instructors get in the wave pool and space out and two people swim in with their boards (one per instructor). I’m don’t mean to brag (okay, maybe I do) but Caleb was crazy good at surfing. He popped-up and rode his first wave all the way to the end; there’s a line where you jump off, come out of the water, then walk back around to await your next turn. The whole experience is a couple of hours and by the end of it Caleb was doing tricks. Once you’re all done for the day, you get a certificate to celebrate. It was such a one of a kind experience for Caleb, if you can swing the cost and have the time, I’d highly recommend it.

 

DISNEY SPRINGS

I’m a shopper so any time I’m anywhere remotely close to Orlando, I stop at Disney Springs. The shopping is stellar (not just Disney shops either) and the restaurants are amazing. My favorite shops include The World of Disney, where we get all our souvenirs and ears, Alex and Ani, Disney Style, Mickey’s Pantry, Once Upon a Toy, where you can build your own Potato Head, Star Wars Trading Post, The Lego Store, and Disney’s Day of Christmas. You could really make it a day shopping here.

There are tons of restaurants to choose from, honestly so many, so I’m just going to list my favorites here:

  • Polite Pig – Amazing barbecue. Make sure you get the brussel sprouts and thank me later.
  • Cookes – The is the Irish Quick Service (Raglan Road is the sit down version). We always go back here, the food is amazing,
  • Rainforest Cafe – if you missed the location in AK, you can try this one.
  • The Daily Poutine – our Canadian friends introduced us to poutine and we get some every chance we get. I mean, it doesn’t get any better than fries, cheese, and gravy.
  • Dockside Margaritas – not really a restaurant but the margs are top-notch.
  • House of Blues – they have a sit-down and a window to order from, we get snacks from the window.

There’s also a ton of entertainment options while you’re there.  It started monsooning while we there once and we decided to try the Splitsville bowling ally. Beware, it’s very expensive bowling, but true to Disney, it’s the best bowling we’ve ever done. You get a table at your lane where you can sit and eat while you bowl, there’s also automatic bumpers that move up and down for your little ones. Every so often there’s Irish dancing in front of Raglan Road, and they take participants from the crowded to dance along. Lynie did this and had a blast.

 

FINAL THOUGHTS and TIPS

To round out this post, here are my last bits of advice.

  • Memory Maker – if you spend money on anything, spend it on this. It’s worth every cent. Not only do you get all the great shots throughout the park with the Disney photographers, you get all your ride photos and videos. You just have the photographer scan your magic band or scan yourself after the ride. The Tower of Terror video alone was enough for us to buy it. Make sure you ask for magic shots too!
  • Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique – another splurge that’s worth it. This is what the girls did after Caleb surfed. You pick out which princess dress you want and then you get hair, make-up, and nails done by your Fairy Godmother. There’s varying degrees of packages you can get so you can go with whatever fits your budget, but if you can, this is an amazing experience for your little girls. Chloe loves BBB! And don’t worry if you can’t get an appointment in Magic Kingdom. It’s just as magical and wonderful in Disney Springs.
  • Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party – both are 100% “dos” if you’re there and its in your budget. It is a separate, extra ticket, that will allow you into MK early the day of the party. We went to MVMCP and it’s absolutely beautiful. There’s all kinds of Christmas-y snacks and smells and it “snows” on Main Street. The special parade is so magical and make sure you don’t miss Santa! We haven’t ever purchased tickets for MNSSHP but we had late dinner reservations during it and walked through the park while it was going on. Before we exited we got to see the parade, which is full of villains and so fun! The trick or treating looked so exciting. And this is the only time adults are permitted to wear costumes in the park. We cheated a little by leaving as slow as possible and next time we’re there during this time, we’re definitely going. Also, during both parties there are special characters out that you normally don’t see.

This turned into a much longer post than I intended … apparently I have a lot to say about WDW! I hope it helps in some way and if you have any questions or tips of your own please comment them!

All the love,

Kristina

One thought on “Disney World Tips – My Favorite Place on Earth

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.