The Best Table Service restaurants at Walt Disney World for solo travelers ~ By Guest Author Katie Miller

Published July 25, 2014 by Krista Joy
Some might balk at enjoying a Table Service restaurant solo, but just because you’re traveling alone doesn’t mean you shouldn’t enjoy a nice meal.  There are lots of great Quick Service options at Disney but there’s something to be said for taking the time to savor a meal at one of the unique restaurants at Walt Disney World.
So what are the best Table Service restaurants at Walt Disney World for solo travelers? 
* Sanaa, Animal Kingdom Lodge 
The menu at Sanaa is not to be missed; the bread service alone is worth going there!  The vibe at Sanaa, although a touch upscale, is very comfortable for solo diners.  Asked to be seated a table near the window and see the animals roaming the savannah at the resort, or relax at the very comfortable bar area.  You can’t miss with Sanaa – even if you’re not staying at Animal Kingdom Lodge, it’s worth a trip to eat there!
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* Rose and Crown Pub, Epcot’s World Showcase
What’s better than kicking back with a pint, watching the world go by at Epcot?  Not much, that’s for sure!  Not only does the Rose and Crown Pub (located at the UK pavilion on the World Showcase) have awesome food and great drinks, if you eat there in the evening you can request a table that faces the water and watch Illuminations, Epcot’s nighttime fireworks show. A perfect ending to your Disney day!

* Kona Cafe, The Polynesian
If you’re looking for a great breakfast option, look no further than Kona Cafe, located at Disney’s Polynesian Resort.  There are some incredible options to choose from, including the famous Tonga Toast, the most decadent french toast. YUM!  In addition to delicious entrees they also have the famous Kona coffee; be sure to get it in the french press – there’s no better way to start your day! (and pssst: They have awesome lunch and dinner, too!)

* Artist Point, Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
Where should you go if you’re looking for an upscale dining experience?  Take time for an evening meal at Artist Point, located at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge.  The setting is simply gorgeous and incredibly relaxing, and the service is top-notch. Every solo traveler should take time to treat themselves to a special meal, and Artist Point definitely fits the bill.

* Beaches and Cream Soda Shop, Disney’s Beach Club Resort
If you like diners, amazing desserts and a “retro” vibe, be sure and schedule a meal at Beaches and Cream Soda Shop at Disney’s Beach Club Resort. The atmosphere of Beaches and Cream is super laid-back and fun, and hearkens to diners of yesteryear. Sit at a table, booth or better yet right at the counter, and transport yourself right back to the 1950s. The burgers and fries are great, but be sure to save some room for the ice cream!  The picture here is the No Way Jose – peanut butter, chocolate sauce AND ice cream?! Sign me up!
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Where are your favorite places to solo dine at Walt Disney World?
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*Katie Miller runs The Most Delightful Place, a blog where she shares her love of Disney theme parks and the Disney Cruise Line.  As a solo traveler, she has a unique perspective on traveling Disney on your own and is highly qualified to share her ideas for the best Restaurants at Walt Disney World for Solo Travelers. Katie is also an agent with Mouse World Travel, and would love to help you plan magical trips to the Most Delightful Places on Earth!  Check out her facebook page HERE.  If you would like to be a guest author for Disneyways please click HERE  for full details.

 

 

Finally! A Solution For Your Multiple MagicBands

Published July 24, 2014 by Krista Joy

What you see in the photo below is a WONDERFUL problem to have. Disney loves sending multiple MagicBands to their returning guests, passholders, and more. First time guests may even find themselves with multiple MagicBands if the conditions are right. Lucky people like David Ciscon who visit several times (pictured in the photo below) have started quite a collection.

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The solution? You may want to try wearing them when you you are back home, long after your Disney vacation is over. Why not keep that Disney magic with you everyday?  MagicBands and My Fantasy Bands are waterproof and durable! With My Fantasy Bands – you can mix, match, coordinate with your outfits and wear a different character every day of the week on your MagicBands! Each My Fantasy Band you buy is recommended for single application. One application will stay on for 3+ years! Check out their list of frequently asked questions HERE.

Photo credits below go to MyFantasyBands.com

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I could write all day about my love for these, the detail, the quality, and why I believe EVERY Disney fan in the world who owns (or will soon own!) a MagicBand – or a collection of them- may want to consider owning a My Fantasy Band for every mood and occasion. But this post is more about the visuals – so I hope you’ve enjoyed all of these photos! If you are wanting a more detailed post, please check out what I wrote for Chip! This post is located HERE.

 

Get all of your My Fantasy Band details and SO much more by following them on facebook or by visiting MyFantasyBands.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Top 10 Tips for First Time Disney Guests

Published July 6, 2014 by Krista Joy

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Top 10 Tips for First Time Guests by Guest Author Jen B.

10) Stay on property

Though this could easily be further down on the list and closer to one of the most important tips for your first visit, many of the following tips are only available if staying on property, so alas, your #10 tip! Disney offers more than 25 different hotels that are broken down into various categories according to price (value, moderate, deluxe, and deluxe villas). Staying on Walt Disney World property puts you that much closer to the magic, provides you with extra benefits, and presents you with even more hidden Disney magic. Each hotel is themed differently, so find the one that fits you and your party the best and book your stay!

9) Try ALL forms of Disney Transportation

In order to take full advantage of all the transportation opportunities Disney has to offer, you must be staying at a resort. Rather than paying for parking and waiting in long traffic lines, opt for the complimentary buses, monorail, ferry, walkways, and magical express. Each form of travel is unique and serves as a great way to both start and end your magical days at WDW!  Disney buses pick up from every resort and arrive every 15 minutes or so. They start running before parks open and drive all day until after parks close. The monorail is a must ride for your first visit as it is an attraction within itself! Another neat option is the ferry between some of the resorts and MK. Lastly, start your vacation the right way and let Magical Express pick up your bags from baggage claim once you arrive at Orlando International Airport. Hop on that motor coach and head right to the parks, there’s tons to see and do!

8) Extra Magic Hours & Fast Pass

With so much to see and do, plus the benefit of being a WDW resort guest, be sure to take advantage of the Extra Magic Hours and Fast Pass Times. Every day one of the four main parks either opens up to 1 hour early or stays open up to three hours late.  Only guests staying in a WDW resort can take advantage of these times when crowds are minimal! Use this time to see the wild animals roaming the savannah after their morning stretches, ride the Tower of Terror before the wait time climbs to 2 hours, or stroll down Main Street USA and window shop without the crowds and endless strollers!

7) Park Hop!

 Adding the Park Hopper option to your Magic Your Way Base Ticket is truly a personal preference, but I would advise that you do! When vacationing to WDW you can either plan every minute of your vacation or agree to be flexible, but either way, the ability to travel from park to park to help with either schedule will make your vacation much less stressful and far more magical! I can’t tell you how many times we woke up to catch the first Kilimanjaro Safari ride, but then wanted to see the Wishes Nighttime Spectacular before bed that same night. On a first time trip, it might seem overwhelming and you might be sitting there saying, “This is crazy. One park per day is far more than enough, Disney offers so much!”, but I find the park hopper option to be far less overwhelming. When on vacation, one is supposed to be relieved of all stress, free of all plans, and in favor of spontaneity. Be spontaneous and hop!

6) Visit Magic Kingdom in 2 days (There’s far too much magic to explore!)

After reading #7, this is only necessary. Given that the park is broken into different lands (Tomorrowland, Fantasyland, Adventureland, Frontierland, and Main Street USA) it’s almost as if this park is really 5 parks in one. Thus, the more time you can spend here the better. Strolling through the shops on Main St. and watching the parade that rides down the street as well, can easily eat up a solid chunk of your afternoon. Pending ride wait times and if you enjoy a sit down meal or not, no matter how early you enter, or how late you stay, Magic Kingdom deserves at least two days. Just think, this was Walt’s dream and the very first part of the Walt Disney World grounds. Plus the castle serves as the iconic staple of all things Disney. All first-timers should truly immerse themselves in all the magic that the Magic Kingdom has to offer. Don’t rush through it!

5) Bring your own snacks and drinks but splurge on a Main Street Treat!

When you’re waiting for the parade to start (as it is suggested that you find your spot along the parade route at least thirty minutes before it is to begin) enjoy a delicious treat from one of the many shops and snack stands. Disney, in an attempt to cut back on cost for it’s guests, allows you to bring in your own snacks and refillable water bottles, but the Mickey ice cream bars, Dole Whips, or anything from the Main Street Confectionary will appeal to your taste buds and please your tummy, just as much as a honey jar does for Winnie the Pooh!

4) Slow Down & Take Part in Character Meet and Greets

It is unacceptable to visit Walt Disney World without meeting Mickey Mouse right? What about his sweetheart Minnie Mouse? Or his friends Goofy, Pluto, Cinderella, Winnie the Pooh, and Donald Duck? Though the lines may often seem long, there is nothing better than interacting with the characters that roam the parks—this is when the magic truly comes to life.  Take a picture with Donald Duck wearing his sombrero in the Mexico pavilion of Epcot; meet Rafiki in the jungle at Animal Kingdom; high five Sully and his pal Mike Wazowski on the Laugh Floor in Hollywood Studios; or spend some time chatting with the princesses in Princess Fairytale Hall in the Magic Kingdom. Hugs are free, autographs are unique, and interactions with all of Disney’s characters, whether you are young or old, last a lifetime!

3) See the Shows & Parades

Festival of Fantasy Parade, Main Street Electrical Parade, Wishes Nighttime Spectacular, Illuminations, and Fantasmic. just to name a few. Walt Disney World prides itself on all the intricate details it employs for the fantastic, heart-pumping, ear-to-ear smiling, sing along shows and parades throughout each park everyday.  Take a break from the sun, find some shade, sit back and relax. Immerse yourself in Disney Entertainment. Without it, no first time visit is complete.

2) Timing is Everything…On many different accounts!

First things first, plan the proper length of stay for your visit. My suggestion is at least a week, but of course that decision is up to you! Don’t try to cram all four parks into a 3-day visit.  It’s just not worth it. In addition, plan your first visit for the right time of year. Take into account all factors including first, what works best for you and your family, but also weather, crowd control, and WDW specials and promotions.

Next, once visiting WDW, timing continues to be everything. Save valuable time as you venture through the parks by using your time wisely.  Eat your meals during non-meal times, either earlier than normal or after the rush; Ride the most popular attractions during major parade times or fireworks shows; Take breaks during the middle of the day and go swimming in your resort pools or enjoy a nap to recharge!  And lastly but most importantly, by no means rush through the parks. Slow down, you’re on vacation in the happiest place on earth! Enjoy every millisecond!

1) Allow the magic to erase your fears!

2, 10, 14, 27, 42, 60, 75…no matter your age, Walt Disney World is a place for you to always feel like a kid. Allow the magic to erase all of your fears. Celebrate your first visit, and every consecutive visit afterwards, by releasing all your fears and fully embracing the happiest place on earth! Conquer your wardrobe fears and wear something that you wouldn’t think to in your “normal” life. Embrace your inner child and break out that Goofy t-shirt. Or, buy yourself your first official pair of Mickey ears, in whatever style suits you best, and wear them around the parks for a full day, at least. Conquer your fear of heights and free fall 13 stories on Hollywood Studios’ Tower or Terror or face the Yeti on Animal Kingdom’s Everest.  Conquer your fear of the dark and ride Aerosmith’s Rockin’ Rollercoaster at Hollywood Studios or Space Mountain at Magic Kingdom. Conquer your fear of all things haunted by gliding through the Haunted Mansion. Conquer your fear of stage fright and bright lights by volunteering to be an extra in the Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular show at Hollywood Studios. Conquer your fear of singing and dancing in public by singing along and dancing to the beat at Animal Kingdom’s Festival of the Lion King or any of the shows at the stage at Cinderella’s Castle in Magic Kingdom. Lastly, conquer your fear of the unknown by allowing the magic to take control and see what Walt Disney World has in store for your very first visit!

Most of all, get that trip booked and enjoy your magical first time at Walt Disney World!

Feel free to comment with YOUR tips for first timers – or email guest blogger Jen at diariesofdisney@gmail.com if you have questions about any of these tips!

 

Dads Respond to Disney’s Frozen

Published June 20, 2014 by Krista Joy

If you took a moment to look into my brain…

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You’d probably find LOTS of songs and lyrics to the movie Frozen. I LOVE this music. The movie, it’s characters, and everything about it, have made an impression on me forever. It is obvious these Dads feel the same way, despite the efforts of  “don’t let them in…don’t let them see!”  They’re just being the good Dads they always have to be!  :)  This one goes out to all those Disney Dads out there!

Top 3 Reasons for Any Season – Basq Skin Care “It’s a Small World” Collection

Published June 9, 2014 by Krista Joy

Have you heard the buzz about the exciting collaboration between the Basq Skin Care line and Disney? Want to win a free set for yourself?

In addition to many other products, Basq carries a wonderful line they call the “It’s a Small World” collection. The Basq company was very generous to send me some samples to try so that I could give you my honest opinion. Since then, I have already bought another set for myself, one to give away to one of you,  and one for my beautiful niece, who happens to be expecting a baby in August. Can you tell I am in love?!  These products are fantastic for expectant mothers and babies,  but they also have qualities that any woman can enjoy in any season of her life. Here are my top 3 reasons why you may want to give the “It’s a Small World” collection a try!

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1. These products are sensitivity and allergy tested!

Some people are allergic to even the purest foods and products, but it is good to know that the Basq line is clinically tested if you tend to be sensitive. Not  just the “It’s a Small World” line – but all Basq products – are Paraben-free, Phthalate-free, SLS Free and not tested on animals. Basq really has a passion for bringing you skin care that is safe, nurturing and of the highest quality. Having tried the products for myself – I can tell you this passion really shows! The scent of the “It’s a Small World’ line is extremely light – and gentle enough even for a baby’s delicate senses. It’s perfect for every day use and, in my opinion, would not compete with other scents you may want to wear if you are in the mood for layering fragrances.

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2. Everyone can use a little luxury at a price that won’t break the bank.

This line is classified as a luxury skin care collection, but surprisingly, it doesn’t have the exorbitant cost one might expect. Basq is sold online and in fine maternity and baby boutiques across the country, including Saks.com, A Pea in the Pod and Destination Maternity, and even outside the US in various international locations. When money is no object and luxury is key – celebrities like Heidi Klum, Christy Turlington, Marcia Cross, Sheryl Crow (and more!) are using this line to keep their head to toe glow. Hey, if it’s good enough for Heidi, it’s good enough for me!

Here’s more exciting news! Right now you can save an additional 35% on your Basq Skin Care “It’s a Small World Collection” just by typing in DISNEYWAYS at check out! Basq just made it even more affordable to add a little pampering and luxury to our day. Not just for the rich and famous, this is a line that all of us can enjoy!

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3. The Art of Mary Blair…

The packaging of the “It’s a Small World” Collection displays the original colorful and playful artistry of Mary Blair. Most Disney fans will recognize her name and association with the mid-century artwork created for the classic Small World attraction that we all know and love.  Mary Blair was one of Walt Disney’s favorite artists. Walt personally responded to her use of color and the storytelling aspect of her art, but especially to the underlying emotion it encompassed. Iconic Disney animated films from 1943 to 1953 – such as The Three Caballeros, Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland, and Peter Pan all had the Mary Blair touch. You can also see her work in large-scale theme park murals such as the one you can find to this day at Walt Disney World’s Contemporary resort located here in my home town of Orlando! Owning these beautiful products is like keeping a little piece of  the Disney magic right in your vanity drawer.

So there you have it, my top 3 reasons why I think you will love Basq Skin Care – no matter what season of life you are in.

Click HERE to try it for yourself – and be sure to enter DISNEYWAYS at check out for your 35% off discount!

I wanted you to be there with me when I opened the products for the first time  – so I asked my 17 year-old “baby” to film this video. :)  Obviously I am a nervous wreck on camera and this is not my best work, but hopefully you can pick up my honest reaction to everything, and feel a little more confident if you decide to give them a try. Have a magical day!

If you are reading this post before June 15, 2014 you can click HERE find out how you can enter to win your own set of Basq skin care for free!

Follow along with my niece, Tanya, as she writes about her pregnancy at Florida Hospital’s 40 weeks with me!

Disney News, Celebrity Interviews and More for YOU on the Disney Parks Podcast

Published June 7, 2014 by Krista Joy

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Disney news, information, hints, tips and secrets from the Disney Parks around the globe! Interviews with some of your favorite Disney celebrities AND correspondents! Prizes, contests and meetups! This podcast has got it all! Disneyways and Disney by the Numbers are adding some new avenues to bring you more Disney magic – and we hope you will come join in on the fun. Welcome to the Disney Parks Podcast!

Podcasts are multimedia digital files made available on the internet for downloading to a portable media player or directly on your computer. It’s like a radio show that you get to listen to whenever you want, such as when you are on a walk, at they gym, or driving to work. There are podcasts on just about any subject imaginable – and Disney is one of the best subjects out there. Thanks to my friend Tony Caselnova of DisneyByTheNumbers.com - I am extremely overjoyed and thankful to be a co-host on the Disney Parks Podcast. 

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In addition to co-hosting TWO SHOWS A WEEK on the air, I am having a blast helping to organize meetups with our listeners, assisting with social media, writing scripts, working on the Disney Parks Podcast website, and administering contests! There is so much to do – working together has been awesome –  and the show has opened doors for Tony and I that we could have never opened on our own. We have enjoyed things like backstage tours of Walt Disney World, new relationships with stars in the Disney community (folks that we never dreamed we’d even get to meet!) and wonderful feedback from our listeners and friends. I am always in a good mood and feeling great during and after each podcast. I hope you will tune in and enjoy the same!

Incredible Disney celebrity interviews on the show have included Pat Carroll, the voice of Ursula…

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 And MANY more!

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Tony and I are local to Orlando and consider our home Park to be Walt Disney World. What makes the Disney Parks Podcast different, is that we strive to give you news from the Disney Parks around the globe! This is why we TREASURE our featured on-scene correspondents. They are a crucial part of the show, and each one of them is a local to the Disney Park they represent – around the globe!

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Laura, our Disneyland Paris correspondent made this awesome video when she first came on board, and we got such a thrill from it. Thank you Laura!

Podcasting has been on my list of things to do since I began blogging here at Disneyways, because it fits in to our mission and goal to bring you Disney magic where ever you are!  I can’t begin to tell you how thankful I am for this wonderful opportunity. I truly love being a part of the many different facets in front of the mic, and behind the scenes. The show has been very successful and has a large audience, but if you aren’t yet listening in – we need YOU!

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Here are some ways to tune in:

You can catch the latest episode by visiting DisneyParksPodcast.com directly from your computer and clicking “Listen Now!” on the Disney Parks Podcast site. From there, just choose your episode. Look for the small grey circle with the sideways white triangle inside. Click on that circle and make sure your speakers are on. The show will begin immediately.

You can also download the Stitcher Radio App here.

Find us on YouTube here.

Head over to iTunes and subscribeThis will give you access to each episode as soon as it is released. To learn more about how to subscribe to a podcast in iTunes click here.

 

If you like what you hear – please rate us with lots of gold stars. This makes it easier for new people to discover Disney Parks Podcast when they are searching to upload a new one to their collection.

Please head over and “like” our facebook page HERE and add us to your interests list! I will be posting there daily to help keep you up to date on the latest!

You can also follow us on Twitter  and Pinterest!

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Thank you so much for the support you have already shown me in this new endeavor. Disneyways readers and subscribers are AWESOME and I appreciate you all more than you will ever know.

Have a magical day!!

PS Do  you want to be a part of The Disney Parks Podcast? We are looking for individuals and businesses who offer only the BEST in Disney related products and services! Please let us know if you (or someone you know!) is interested in sponsoring a future event, giveaways, or even future episodes. We do not accept coupons or any prizes that require action on the winner’s part.  Just fill out this form for more information!

3 Steps to Save for Your Trip to Disney! By Guest Author Poet Mase

Published May 28, 2014 by Krista Joy

3 Steps to Save for Your Trip to Disney! ~ Written By Poet Mase

So, the decision’s been made…you’re going to Disney! Congratulations! A world of fun and excitement awaits! Whether you’ll be staying for a day or a week, you’re in for a great time!

But first, you’re going to need to make sure that your funds will hold out for as long as you’d like them to. It’s no fun when money worries intrude on your time at the Happiest (or Most Magical) Place on Earth, and a little planning before the trip will keep the good times rolling. So, here are three steps to ensure that the magic never ends on your Disney vacation:

Set a Savings Goal!

Saving for a trip to Disney is a little like running a race. If you don’t know where the finish line is, you’ll have a hard time finishing. By defining a concrete goal, you can craft a timeline for your savings, making it easier to monitor how far you’ve come and how far you have left to go.

When setting your savings goal, it’s important to consider all of the expenses that go with a Disney vacation so you don’t end up kicking yourself later. What time of year are you going to visit? How long are planning to stay? Which hotel or resort fits your budget and preference? Which parks do you want to visit? Is a dining plan a good option for your family? Will there be any money left over for snacks and souvenirs? Tally up all of the relevant financial considerations, and you’ll be well on your way to a great vacation!

Stay on Track!

Just as important as defining your savings goal is making a plan for how you’ll get from here to there. There are a hundred daily temptations threatening to drain your growing vacation fund, so your best defense is devise a savings strategy.

If you have room in your regular budget, the best way to save for your family’s Disney adventure is to set aside regular contributions directly from your paycheck each pay period. By making automatic contributions, there’s less temptation to divert your dollars elsewhere. The key here is to make contributing to your vacation fund into a routine, regardless of the amount of money actually put aside every week or month, so even if it’s only five or ten dollars, stick to the schedule!

Once you start contributing, though, stick to your saving strategy by making your chosen account, cookie jar, or spot under the mattress untouchable. Staying true to your saving strategy can be difficult when unforeseeable expenses crop up, so try getting ahead of the game by identifying opportunities to spend less on daily purchases. Can you nurse one cup of coffee throughout the day instead of buying a second in the afternoon? How about cooking up some pasta instead of ordering take-out one night a week? If your resolve ever wavers, just imagine the look on everyone’s faces when they’re walking down Main Street U.S.A. after arriving at Disney on your vacation!

Plan for Fun!

Now that you’ve got your goal in sight and you’re chipping away with regular contributions, it’s time to think about ways to maximize your ability to pay for fun at the park.

When I was a kid, my family’s approach was to build a “slush fund” for fun things that would normally be out of the question for a family as frugal as ours – things like snacks, souvenirs, and video games. Whenever someone had some spare change – or even a few extra dollars – he or she would toss it into a large plastic jug. After almost a year of watching our slush fund grow, we counted it all up and were amazed by how much we had saved!

The slush fund is a great way to avoid tantrums and grumbling tummies on your trip, but it’s also a good way to get the entire family involved in saving for your Disney vacation. If the trip is going to be a surprise or if your kids are already responsible savers, you can even choose not to divulge the true purpose of the slush fund until just before the trip. Watch everyone’s excitement when the big secret is revealed!

Whatever your financial means may be, making a plan to pay for your trip to Disney is hugely important. With a little planning and self-discipline, you and your family will be rewarded with a magical vacation full of smiles and memories!

What are your favorite ways to plan for a Disney vacation? Share your ideas in the comments below!

Poet Mase is a writer of fiction whose passion for life translates directly to his work. A firm believer in the power of story to explain and to evolve notions of the human condition, Poet favors allegorical narrative structures that develop meaningful themes while relentlessly driving captivating plot lines. Poet is a founding member of the Order of the Raconteur and is currently working on several independent projects in the adventure and science fiction genres. His stories run the gamut from flash fiction to novel-length tales.
Prior to focusing on his creative work full-time, Poet wrote for IGN.com‘s Comics channel, contributing comic book reviews, interviews, and the occasional editorial as a freelance writer. Poet can be reached on Twitter at @PoetMase, on Facebook, and via his blog at http://poetmase.wordpress.com/

Do you want to be a guest author? Click HERE to learn how!

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