Tips and Tricks

All posts in the Tips and Tricks category

World Secrets: How to Get a Free Appetizer or Dessert in Disney Springs

Published July 29, 2015 by Disneyways.com

Today I found a World Secret that I thought was pretty special – an offer for a FREE appetizer or dessert (or $25 to spend on whatever you would like!) at your choice of Fulton’s Crab House, Portobello, or Wolfgang Puck’s Grand Cafe in Disney Springs. BONUS perk! Walk into any of them without a reservation and totally get a table! Whaaaat? Could this be true – or are we in Fantasyland here?

I am one of those people who looks for the fine print and thinks there always has to be a catch. There are some great posts and articles all over the internet about cheap eats at Walt Disney World – but how often do you hear about anything being completely free? I read the fine print for you just now, and here’s the deal.

Fulton’s Crab House, Portobello, and Wolfgang Puck’s Grand Cafe belong to a group called Levy Restaurants. Levy Restaurants says that nobody loves your more than family, and they want us to be a part of their family. They will treat you as one of their own when you become a Levy Restaurants Orlando Preferred Member. Here are some of the perks:

        • NO RESERVATION REQUIRED! Can you imagine? Walk right into any of these restaurants and get a table without calling ahead!
        • First glimpses at menu updates and special events
        • Tips, trends, and recipes for you right from the chefs
        • Preferred rates on all events at any of the three restaurants
        • After you get your free sandwich at Earl’s…this magical card will get you a special birthday treat at one of the Levy’s
        • A special card you can pick up on your next visit to the restaurant

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1) Enroll online by simply filling out the online Registration Form and you’ll receive a confirmation email that will contain your temporary card number. Give your temporary card number to your server on your next visit and you’ll receive a physical loyalty card in its place.

2) You can also enroll during your next visit to Fultons, Portobello, or Wofgang Puck’s Grand Cafe locations in Disney Springs. Just let your server know you’d like to join the program. You’ll receive your loyalty card upon signing up and then you can register it online.

For every dollar you spend at these dining facilities, you receive 1 point. So when you get home from dinner, go ahead and redeem your points, or check your balance of points, by logging in to your personal account and navigating to the redemption page. Be sure to register your card and provide your email address to take advantage of these offers. You can also check your point balance by calling 1-888-272-7068.

So here it is!! At every 250-point increment, you may add $25 reward dollars directly onto your preferred card. You can redeem the reward dollars online and use them for a future dining experience at one of these participating locations!

A couple of my (other) dream point levels to score:

6,000 points – Perfect Night Out
Enjoy a night out on the town for four (4) with a four-course Chef’s Tasting Dinner including wine at the Levy Preferred restaurant of your choice. Transportation to and from your dinner is included. (Reservations must be made at least 2 weeks in advance; excludes Spiaggia) *

35,000 points – Disney Family Getaway
Treat the family to a magical Disney Vacation! Includes airfare for four (4) to Orlando, a 3-night stay at a Disney Hotel, four (4) Disney theme park passes, one (1) lunch at Fulton’s Crab House and one (1) dinner at Portobello. Includes mouse ears!*

Still have questions? Get full details HERE.

CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP TO GET YOUR CARD AND BE ON  YOUR WAY TO YOUR $25 REWARD!

Do you have the card yet? What have your experiences been with this? Leave me a note in the comments below!

“The Complete Walt Disney World 2015” by Julie and Mike Neal – A Book Review by Samantha Jolicoeur

Published June 24, 2015 by jpmdo

 

The Complete WDW Book

This is not the first time I have read the Neal’s books, and much like their previous years’ books, this one did not disappoint. With extensive details and photos that immerse the reader into the magic, you will find yourself turning page after page!

As a mother of 3, two of which being 1 year old twins, I do not find much time for myself these days and, to my dismay, I am not too hip on the latest news going on with the World, Walt Disney World, that is. I used to pride myself in “being in the loop” and staying on top of news, but it just isn’t feasible these days. I knew, with my upcoming trip, I wanted to get some additional information from more than the Internet. I wanted something reputable, and I knew this book would be a fantastic place to start.

I put the children to bed, finished up the daily chores, and got comfy with the book. Needless to say, I read it all in one sitting, long into the early hours of the next morning. I could not get enough of the detailed information and color photos. ALL of the photographs in their books are in full color and taken by the authors – how amazing is that?

I found only one Tinkerbell-sized error in the book and that was mentioning that 8+ guests will be charged an automatic 18% gratuity on their table service bills (page 360). The correct information regarding this policy is actually 6 or more guests, infants included.

Onto the pleasantries, and this book is chock full of them! Julie and Mike include so many details of each and every aspect of the Walt Disney World Resort. I love how they incorporate their own preferences and opinions. I am always looking for true reviews, in lieu of basic, every day knowledge. It made me feel like I was speaking with the authors, not just reading a book about Disney.

The book is laid-out in a way where you can find any topic very easily: organized by Parks, Accommodations, new information, MyMagic+, Characters, and so much more! They go through the very best of each Park, and then a more in-depth review is done later within the chapter. Above and beyond the detailed explanations of each attraction, you will find Hidden Mickey tips and other special secrets. Personally, I am a fan of the Tips and Facts – you can never soak in enough Disney trivia! There is also other useful information, such as approximate wait times based on time of day, and an example of the best course of action to conquer your Park day. With their vast Park knowledge and experience, I would bet that their plans are top notch!

There truly is not one piece of information you will NOT find in this wonderful book. From where to find ATMs to where to eat the best steak. It is easy to find the information you are looking for, as well, if you are not keen on reading the entire book (although, I do not recommend that). Each section is color-coded, there is an A-Z section that approaches almost every relevant Disney subject, and, finally, an index at the end of the book to direct you to the exact page discussing the topic you are looking for.

I would recommend this book to each and every person, Disney-newbie or veteran, young or old. I have read many different Disney travel guides, books, trivia and, so much more, but this is the very best of the best. They have kept up with the very latest information, and you seriously cannot beat their tips and advice. Children will love to read this book along with you and learn all about the attractions before experiencing them. You will be able to help them get an idea of what to expect before the trip, plus there is information regarding scare factors.

Not that you’ll need help doing so, but this book will increase your excitement about your upcoming trip! You won’t have to worry about whether the information is up-to-date, because these books have been coming along yearly for quite some time now, and I do hope they continue! You can purchase their books online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

“There is more treasure in books, than in all the pirates’ loot on Treasure Island” – Walt Disney

Book Review: Jeff Heimbuch’s Main Street Windows: A Complete Guide to Disney’s Whimsical Tributes by Jennifer Vichko

Published December 1, 2014 by jpmdo

There’s no greater feeling of excitement than when you’re ‘walking right down the middle of Main Street, USA.’  There, after walking under the train station, you’ll get first official sighting of the Castle, catch a sweet smell from the Confectionary wafting through the air and maybe even have to step aside for a Trolley or two.  Some guests like to make a beeline to rides and attractions right after rope drop – which is a great strategy! – however I can’t help but take my time and enjoy all the sights, sounds and smells of the street I wish I lived on!

It’s no surprise that the Walt Disney Company pays attention to little things.  From Hidden Mickeys in the parks and resorts to Easter Eggs in movies, Imagineers and Animators alike truly reward their fans for noticing the tiny details.  One of the lesser known hidden gems for guests at Disney Parks are the cryptic tributes in the advertisements in each of the windows that line Main Street.  I’ve walked up and down this Street many times and was shocked to find out how little I actually knew about this huge honor!

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In his new book, Main Street Windows: A Complete Guide to Disney’s Whimsical Tributes, author Jeff Heimbuch takes us on tour of all the Main Street windows of Disneyland, Magic Kingdom, Tokyo Disneyland, Disneyland Paris and Hong Kong Disneyland.  Much like Hidden Mickeys, Disney has not produced a full listing of the windows anywhere else in the world so Heimbuch’s gorgeous pictures and descriptions now serve as the official catalog.

Each page features a full-color photograph of a window (or two) and a breakdown of the names featured and meaning behind it.  Though most people are well aware that Disney pays attention to even the smallest of details the fact that almost every window pays tribute to someone that contributed something special to the Disney organization is incredible!

For example, one window in Disneyland has the following advertisement:

Ragin’ Ray’s

River Rafting Expeditions

Experienced Guides since ’55

Ray Van De Warker

Owner Guide

The author goes on to illustrate the meaning behind this particular window, describing the career path of Ray Van De Warker.  He started his tenure at Disney as summer help in 1955 and eventually became head of the Davy Crocket Explorer Canoes where he inadvertently helped start a yearly Disneyland tradition of Racing Around the Rivers of America.  I love the humor behind these tributes and am sure the honorees are incredibly grateful for the acknowledgments.

I can’t even being to think about all the time and effort Heimbuch spent in creating this guide.  From obtaining stunning photographs of each and every window in all of the Magic Kingdom-esque parks to researching the details behind the advertisements, his hard work certainly has not gone unnoticed.  Main Street Windows: A Complete Guide to Disney’s Whimsical Tributes is a great addition to any Disney fan’s library and I can’t wait to take it with me on my next trip to the Magic Kingdom to spot some of my new favorite features of Main Street, USA.

Jennifer Vichko is a lifelong fan of all things Disney and is thrilled to be reliving the magic through the eyes of her one-year-old daughter. She resides in Pennsylvania with her Husband of 6 years where her hobbies include decorating, DIY and planning her family’s next Disney vacation.

Elsa Inspired Jamberry Nail Wraps by Guest Author Tanya Shores

Published November 20, 2014 by jpmdo

I’m back with more information on Jamberry and some new Disney-inspired designs! If you are planning a Disney vacation anytime in the future, it would be awesome to take a long what us Jamberry consultants call a “Jamicure”! Since Jamberry nail wraps last up to 2 weeks on fingers and 4 weeks on toes, you won’t have to spend a minute thinking about your nails and worrying about chips during your vacation. Jamberry nail wraps are completely water-safe, so you can definitely spend all day in the pool at your hotel or go on any water rides at the parks without worrying about ruining your beautiful nails. Also, no last minute trips to the salon while you’re busy prepping for your trip – you can EASILY give yourself the perfect Jamicure!

Jamberry is much more cost efficient than a mani/pedi at the salon (a single sheet gives you 2 pedicures, 2 manicures, and 8-16+ accent nails!), which means more money for your Disney trip!

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In my last post (https://disneyways.com/2014/09/06/meet-tanya-your-official-jamberry-consultant-for-disneyways/), I shared some fun Disney-inspired character designs that I created in our custom Jamberry nail art studio. I’ve now created a few Princess-inspired designs. It would be so much fun to have Elsa-inspired nails when you meet Elsa in the new Frozen attractions at Epcot! I have also created designs inspired by Cinderella and Aurora (my favorite princess!).

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Let me know if you have any other characters or princesses you would like to see a design for. I’ll be posting soon with some beachy-Disney designs to get everyone ready for those Disney cruises! Winter will be over before we know it (unless you spend too much time around Elsa ;-)).

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You can contact me on my Jamberry Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/tshoresjamberry) with any questions or to get info on how to order these special Disney-inspired custom nail wraps. Find out more about Jamberry on my Independent Consultant site (http://tshoresjam.jamberrynails.net).

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Top Five Activities for Tweens and Teens at Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party ~ By Guest Author Karyn Locke

Published August 23, 2014 by Disneyways.com

Top Five Activities for Tweens and Teens at Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party

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Halloween parties are a snap when you’ve got wee ones. Dress them up in a costume and hand them a bag for their treats and they’re all set. So, what if you’ve got a tween or teenager that has maybe outgrown the Halloween costume or trick-or-treating fun? Can they still have a blast at Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party at Walt Disney World? You betcha! Here’s a list of the top five activities for tweens and teens at Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party:

5. Embrace the Lines and People Watch

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Let’s face it: There will always be some sort of line when you visit Walt Disney World (unless you visit on a really rainy day and magically manage to get a photo of Aloha Isle with no line. But that’s another story.) So what can your tween or teen do while their younger siblings are queued up in a goodie line or a character meet and greet? People Watch! My tween daughter loves checking out other visitor’s costumes and has even made a few new Disney friends while waiting in line at the party. Visitors from all over the world love going to Disney at Halloween and The Kid adores pointing out their elaborate costumes. She’s even come up with ideas for next year’s costume while people watching. Or you and your tween or teen can have a seat on Main Street and watch the party crowd stroll toward Cinderella Castle. After a full day in the park plus and a long night ahead of us, it’s a blast to just sit and take in the sights, sounds, and smells of the most magical place on earth!

4. Let Them Eat Cake! Or Cupcakes! Or Popcorn! Or a Mickey Premium!

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I’m sure you all know that tweens and teens are insatiable when it comes to food; I know I hear, “Mom, what’s in the fridge to eat?” at least a dozen times a day. Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party has so many tasty options from table service to counter service to snack carts no fewer than a 60-second walk away from each other that it’s easy to give them what they want- fun food! The Kid loves the fun Halloween-themed goodies in Magic Kingdom and I find it easy to splurge when it comes to caloric intake at Disney. I mean, Disney sprinkles pixie dust on all of their food and makes them calorie-free, right? Wishful thinking.

3. Hallowishes Fireworks Display

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Tweens and teens may try to act more mature, but one glance at yours when they’re watching Hallowishes (or if you’re a stickler for details its official title is Happy HalloWishes: A Grim Grinning Ghosts Spooktacular in the Sky) and you may just see that tiny tot from years ago in their eyes. There’s plenty of viewing spots, our favorite being right in front of Cinderella Castle. Although, we have watched them from Astro Orbiter and they were pretty amazing, too.

2. Mickey’s Boo to You (and You, and You, and You) Parade

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One of The Kid’s top requests when we visit the Magic Kingdom at Halloween is to watch Mickey’s Boo to You Halloween Parade. Yes, we all end up singing the VERY catchy tune for hours and even days afterwards and The Kid loves to somehow manage to start singing it at the very moment I’ve forgotten about it, but the parade is a blast! She loves seeing Disney characters in their Halloween costumes dancing and singing, especially the villains. It’s always a joy for me to watch her stick her hand out at the very end of the parade for a lollipop from the cast members with Goofy’s Candy Company. While you’re waiting for the parade to begin, take advantage of Disney cast members that love to take photos and encourage your tween or teen to act silly while having their photo taken. It always works for us.

1. Magic Kingdom Rides and Meet and Greets with No Line

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This has always been on the top of The Kid’s list. Most families are taking their kids around to meet and greets or queueing up to add to their candy haul, but we find the best time to ride the popular rides at Magic Kingdom is during Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party! We head for the Mountains and generally walk right on and then hit Haunted Mansion at least a half-dozen times. The HM cast members go all out for the party as well, and she adores how they look “antiqued”. If you’ve got older teens that like to head off on their own and you are comfortable with it, they’ll have the time of their lives riding the popular MK rides without much of a wait. As for Disney character meet and greets, the bulk of the partygoers will be getting autographs from The Seven Dwarfs and Jack Skellington and Sally, so feel free to head for daily meet and greets that you didn’t want to wait in line for during the day. We were able to walk right up to Merida from Brave, get a few pics, and were headed back to the party in under 10 minutes.

How do you keep a smile on your tween or teens face at Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party? I’d love to hear your suggestions!

Karyn Locke, Marketing and Social Media Guroo and Mid-America Guroo for trekaroo.com is a travel writer from Ohio that has a passion for all things Disney and a hankering for Dole Whip Floats at least three times a week. Also creator and blogger for www.sandandorsnow.com, she’s happy to give Disney tips to anyone that asks and is pleased as punch that her family shares her love of the most magical place on earth.

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

Published July 25, 2014 by Disneyways.com
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 Disneyways.com

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 ~ By Guest Author Jen

Published July 6, 2014 by Disneyways.com

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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!

 

Magic Kingdom Hidden Gems and Disney Parks Podcast News

Published April 16, 2014 by Disneyways.com

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This episode of the Disney Parks Podcast brings you the Disney news mixed in with some really interesting Magic Kingdom hidden gems!

  • What question should you ask the “maids” at the Haunted Mansion?
  • Where can you find a picture of Walt in the Carousel of Progress?
  • Why can’t you buy gum at the Magic Kingdom?
  • Why is the walkway at the Magic Kingdom red?

Get your answers to these questions and more on this episodeLook 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.

Leave us a message at 407-476-8898 with some of your favorite Magic Kingdom hidden gems. Your voice mail might be played on the show! 

Last night I got some exciting news. During the month of April our number of downloads per show has more than tripled. That means that there are 3 times as many potential listeners than there were just last month. We want to thank everyone who is tuning in. We are working hard to keep bringing you 2 exciting shows every week. We have some amazing interviews that will be published in May. Thank you for telling your friends about us and for leaving all those great reviews in iTunes!

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Have a magical day!

3 Quick Tips for Keeping Fit on Your Disney Vacation ~ By Guest Author Scarlet

Published February 27, 2014 by Disneyways.com

With every step in Disneyworld you face temptation, extensive buffets, delicious desserts and enough fast food to last a lifetime – all of which are practically impossible to resist.
Now you are in the happiest place in the world, so I by no means suggest that you deny yourself – but after months of planning (and, if you’re anything like me, a few panic gym sessions to get water park ready) the last thing you want is to ruin your trip by feeling bloated and sluggish and uncomfortable in your clothes.
water park
First of all, the probability is that you’ll put on a little weight over the course of your Disney holiday – so I certainly wouldn’t advise saving your tightest, figure hugging outfit for the last night – but here are a few cheeky ways to help you to get a bit of exercise in to ensure the weight gain is a just pound or two rather than half a stone.
Now, if you’re lucky enough to find yourself staying at one of the luxurious Disney Spa resorts you’ll be able to take advantage of the on-site gyms… but, if you want my personal opinion, the last thing you want to do is to waste valuable Disney time slaving away on the treadmill. So here are my top three ways to exercise without taking away from the magic…
Get Your Walk On!
You’d be surprised at the amount of walking that you do every day, not just the hours upon hours you spend roaming around the parks but, (if you’re staying on-site) the countless trips back and forth to your hotel room for various forgotten items, outfit changes and the essential unlimited diet coke refills from the food court. If you want a bit of perspective then invest in a $15 pedometer to wear on your first day – it’ll help give you an insight how many calories you are burning off on an average day and you may find out that you don’t need to feel guilty about that dessert after all! That said, please don’t start wearing your pedometer everywhere you go; ladies, clipping it to the elastic of your knickers under your favourite dress is a definite no-no, unless you want to look like you have an unsightly growth!
Get Clenching!
This is a bit of a strange one, but make the most of those precious half hours that you spend queuing and clench your bum! A few tight squeeze and releases a day and you’ll find you’ve got an ass than can rival Pippa Middleton’s in no time!
Find your inner child!
The water parks and resort pools are a fabulous way to cool down after a long morning in the parks – not to mention a source of great photos – but all that running up the steps to the slides will burn off a surprising amount of calories – and if anyone asks, it’s interval training not immaturity!
Most importantly, enjoy yourself and don’t let worrying about your weight affect your holiday in the best place on earth!
***

Ever since her first trip aged 10, Scarlett has been WDW obsessed. She’s a huge advocate that Disney isn’t just for kids and also the author of Scarlet Wonderland, a lifestyle blog for people who are fabulously imperfect, up for a laugh and don’t take themselves too seriously.

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