All posts tagged Florida

Disney Parks Podcast Meetups During the All-Night Party May 24th!

Published May 16, 2013 by Disneyways.com

Are you coming to the  all-night party on Friday May 24th?If you missed the announcement, Magic Kingdom Park in Florida will be staying open from 6AM May 24th  – to 6AM on May 25th , 2013, local time.

I would LOVE to meet you during this Monstrous event!

Won’t you stop by and say hello?

The Disney Parks Podcast Team, including myself,  is hosting meetups at various times and places:
1st  Location – 7PM May 24th on the train station 2nd floor
2nd Location – 9PM  May 24th at the Rose Garden near Tomorrowland – this is also known as the  old swan boat dock
3rd Location – 11:59PM May 24th at Tomorrowland Terrace ( Upper eating area)

If you get a minute, please RSVP here, so we will know to look for you!

While you’re on the event page – please drop us a line. We look forward to hearing from you!
disney parks podcast

Your Questions Answered! Super Cool RFID Card Secret that You Will Only Find HERE!

Published March 22, 2013 by Disneyways.com

March 21st 2013, I posted on facebook that I was headed to get my new touch and go plastic version of the Disney annual pass, and turn in my old paper one. I asked you to send me your questions about this whole process – and we got some great ones! Some came by email, some by PM, and some were posted in various groups. I have much more I will post on the process and FUN I had getting this new touch-and-go pass, but I wanted to get to your awesome questions first.

Before we get started – I need to make a couple of shout-outs! I asked my Twitter and Facebook friends to guess which character I picked for my new pass. The correct answer was Minnie!

photo (26)

Robert Bearden of the fabulous MickeyUpdates.com was the first to answer correctly on Facebook! Honorable mention goes to Anne @_annaporter and Michelle @cmch22 for being my only 2 guessers on Twitter. Thank you so much to everyone who played along!

To my friends over at the Disney Dreamers group – you have a special place in my heart. I love you guys! Samantha, I know you are so proud. Thank you – and all the Dreamers – for your constant support.

Finally, another big thank you to each and every person who sent in questions, especially my wonderful Disneyways subscribers! You guys are the heart and soul of this whole thing. Thank you for taking this journey with me!

Enough mushy stuff…on with the questions!

Chantal G. – “Silly question are they plastic cards??? I am not all that fond of the paper ones.” Chantal…no Disney question is ever silly to me! Things change at lightning speed sometimes and a there is a seemingly never ending amount of new Disney information. Yes, these cards are plastic, and similar in size, width and flexibility as a driver’s license. I love it – I hope you do too.

Here is what I thought was the super cool secret part that (as far as I know) NOBODY else has posted any where on the internet. Get this…the cast members told me we don’t even have to take the thing out of our wallet for it to work. Of course I tried it…


They were right! I think I embarrassed my husband a little bit with how completely excited I was about this!!! I can’t promise it will work for everybody – but Disneyways readers will be informed enough to know they can try! I hope everyone will give it a shot- and let me know how it works for you!!

Linda R. – “I was wondering .. Do Season Passholders get the new card too or just annual passholders?” Linda this is for all passholders. Annual, seasonal, weekday and even Epcot after 4 passes will have the option to upgrade to plastic.

Mindy C. – “What determines whether your passes include parking or not? Is it a special kind of annual pass, or premium vs. regular?” Mindy, if you have a regular or premium annual pass, it includes parking – and this will not change when you switch to the new plastic card. There will be no doubt when you get it because the bottom of the card will have an orange stripe (see Minnie above) AND the back will have a red stripe like this:


Getting through the parking plaza will be a breeze. The cast members won’t have to squint like they do at the little black print on the old paper passes.

If you have a Florida resident seasonal or weekday pass – it does not include parking – and that won’t change. Your new card will have a black stripe on the bottom. If you buy a ticket as a day guest – your stripe will be green. See examples below:


Paul D. – “Are we allowed to request a character?” Paul this was a hot topic today! I am happy to report the answer is YES.

Alexis M. – “No more Pluto cards?” Alexis, Pluto is not an option at this time. Keep in mind however, you do not have to switch to the new plastic card. Also – please check out our post from January by clicking here. This post shows official pictures from Disney depicting the wonderful customization options we will get to choose once the MagicBands are released. The cast member last night was so cute, he said “They are going to be as customizable as CROCS!” Referencing the shoes people wear that you can decorate.

The next few questions were about Magicbands:

Samantha J. – “What if someone has sensitive skin and couldn’t wear the MagicBands, would be another option ?” Samantha, the cast members told me last night that Disney invested thousands of dollars doing research to create a MagicBand that will not irritate even the most sensitive skin. It is also breathable so our arms won’t sweat. We can adjust the MagicBand to fit even a child – so they are one size fits (almost) all. Again, MagicBands are optional. You don’t have to switch over to one if you don’t want to.

Shannon K.W. – “Okay…so just so I have this straight (because my family thinks I have all the answers and I would like to continue to keep them fooled…hahaha!) Do we also have the option of bracelets…or is it just annual pass cards?” Shannon I love your question! Right now, our only option is upgrading to the plastic card if we choose. Disney will be rolling out the MagicBands as soon as that technology is ready. No word yet on an exact date. Make sure you are subscribed to Disneyways so you will know the minute we find out!

Mark G. – “Still confused on if we will get replacements in the mail or will we have to go to guest relations when we go in June.” Mark, the cast members I spoke to last night were pretty confident that we will be able to get our new tickets or possibly Magicbands – if that technology is ready- as early as May 20th via the web, and then of course, if you order them on-line, they would arrive by mail. If you don’t have yours in time then you will head to guest relations when you get here. There are two more things they wanted me to be sure to tell you. One, if you haven’t already, you will want to be sure to register for an account here. Two, make sure you remember what email address you use to register this account. This is very important because all your MagicBand communication will go to that email address. Check your spam folder periodically if stuff tends to get sent there by accident sometimes.

The last questions I got were about Disneyland. Irene L. and Nichole M. thanks so much for asking! The information I heard (thanks Alexis M.) – was that Disneyland is not expected to have these new technologies until 2014 or later. You just never know with Disney, so keep an eye out for any changes there. I will do my best to watch – but Disneyways – for now, is mostly a Disney World resource (unofficially of course!)

Whew! I think that about does it. Again, if I missed your question, please let me know right away – the quickest being by facebook. I accept all friend requests.

You can also email me any time Disneyways@Disneyways.com There will be many more blog posts on this subject to come!

Now, in case there was ANY doubt in your mind about how much of a dork I really am….I have provided this lovely video. I did not know my husband was filming so what you are getting here is the real me. Check out this new little card and your MagicBand – in action – and listen to the little noise it makes! “Wow….that is really cool.”


World Secret – How to get a free sandwich in Downtown Disney

Published March 19, 2013 by Disneyways.com



Who says there is no such thing as a free lunch? ME. 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?

Today I found a World Secret that I thought was pretty special – an offer for a FREE sandwich. The catch – it’s only good during the month of your birthday.


Earl of Sandwich is located in Downtown Disney Marketplace. The very first store was opened here in Orlando by a direct descendant of the actual guy who invented what we now know as sandwiches – back in 1762. Carrying on the family tradition, The Earl of Sandwich in Downtown Disney is dedicated to bringing you “the world’s greatest hot sandwich.”

You may have heard the sound of rejoicing when Disney food lovers every where got the news that the Earl in Downtown Disney began offering the Holiday Turkey Sandwich year round. Some have said it really is the “world’s greatest” or more specifically as holiday heaven on a bun. To us rookies who haven’t yet tried it, it is basically turkey, stuffing, cranberry, and a little mayo served toasted on a freshly baked roll.

Sounds AWESOME to me, but maybe it doesn’t sound like your favorite?

No problem, Earl of Sandwich in Downtown Disney’s Marketplace offers a variety of hot and cold sandwiches, salads, ice cream, smoothies, lemonade, boxed lunches, and prepared “Grab & Go” items. Breakfast offerings include several cold items as well as hot breakfast sandwiches.

Already a pretty great value, most sandwiches here are right around $6.99. But enough of that – let’s get on with the FREE part!

All you need to do to get your FREE sandwich from Earl is sign up for The eClub. Once you do that, you get a printable voucher a few weeks before your birthday. You have your entire birthday month to print and use it. Just like all of their sandwiches, your birthday sandwich will come wrapped in gold foil – like some sort of wonderful smelling currency.

Here is the fine print, in case you are little skeptical like me, and don’t want to have to squint later:

We (Earl of Sandwich) respect your privacy and will not rent or sell your information. By providing your email address you are opting-in to receive emails from Earl of Sandwich and all other restaurant concepts under the Earl of Sandwich (USA), LLC brand of companies. You may opt out of this list at any time.”

Click HERE to sign up for your free birthday sandwich!

Oh, and if you can’t come to Downtown Disney during your birthday month – Earl has places all over the country where you can get your free birthday sandwich. Hopefully there is one near you.

My friend Heidi is celebrating her birthday today and she just so happened to post about Earl too! You can read her blog here!
Hers has lots of yummy food descriptions and photos. Mmmmm….I am hungry.

So what are your thoughts? Have you gotten a free sandwich from Earl or was this the first time you heard about this particular World Secret?


World Secrets – Best Burgers and More Near Raglan Road

Published March 17, 2013 by Disneyways.com

First – the food part of today’s World Secret. Raglan Road is THE place to go for Irish food and entertainment in the Downtown Disney area. The menu comes complete with Bangers and Mash (that’s a fancy Irish name for sausage and mashed potatoes) – but did you know you will also find some of the absolute BEST burgers on property here? It’s true.


Photo credit: nutfreefam.blogspot.com

You can enjoy all that Raglan Road offers from a comfy table – or if you prefer – belly up to their 130 year old bar. It’s imported all the way from Ireland!

Cooke’s of Dublin is a quick service restaurant located right next to Raglan Road, and it offers a selection of the exact same food that Raglan Road serves – at a much lower price! The secret (inside the secret) of Cooke’s – is the “Doh-Bars” which are donut battered Snickers and Mars bars.


It’s enough to make me want to move to Ireland. But, don’t worry, one can cancel out the calories from your Doh-Bar with a healthy salad, because Cooke’s has those too.

Before you enter Raglan Road, look for a replica bronze statue of the famous Irish poet, Patrick Kavanagh, sitting on his bronze park bench.

Regarded as one of the foremost poets of the 20th century, Patrick Kavanagh’s best known works include the novel Tarry Flynn and of course the poem Raglan Road.

Folks in Dublin often saw Patrick relaxing alone on a park bench by the Grand canal. When he passed away in 1967 after a long struggle with lung cancer, he was commemorated with the original statue in Ireland. To this day, after every St. Patrick’s Day parade you’ll find his friends gathering at that bench.


Here is the actual statue in Ireland. Photo credit Flickr.com

Raglan Road pub’s replica of this statue is the only one you will find outside of Ireland. This version has a shorter bench, so there is no room to sit next to poor old Patrick, and perhaps he would prefer it that way.  I think it is rather fitting, and symbolic of his original poem. I have added a copy here so you can decide for yourself.

Read carefully and you will see that he explains how, despite his best judgement, he fell for a girl that he knew would break his heart.

On Raglan Road

“On Raglan Road on an autumn day I met her first and knew

That her dark hair would weave a snare that I might one day rue;

I saw the danger, yet I walked along the enchanted way,

And I said, let grief be a fallen leaf at the dawning of the day.

On Grafton Street in November we tripped lightly along the ledge

Of the deep ravine where can be seen the worth of passion’s pledge,

The Queen of Hearts still making tarts and I not making hay –

O I loved too much and by such and such is happiness thrown away.

I gave her gifts of the mind I gave her the secret sign that’s known

To the artists who have known the true gods of sound and stone

And word and tint. I did not stint for I gave her poems to say.

With her own name there and her own dark hair like clouds over fields of May

On a quiet street where old ghosts meet I see her walking now

Away from me so hurriedly my reason must allow

That I had wooed not as I should a creature made of clay –

When the angel woos the clay he’d lose his wings at the dawn of day.”

~Patrick Kavanagh

Do’s and Don’ts for doing Disney with preschoolers ~ by Jennifer

Published February 23, 2013 by Disneyways.com

Going to any Disney park or resort should be a magical experience for the whole family, but especially your young ones. They will forever cherish those priceless memories, and your entire family will reminisce on the magical Disney vacation they first took together.

lion king

It is truly the happiest place on Earth, especially if you follow these tips!

Do stay on site

Staying on Disney property will make your trip much easier. You will have access to Disney’s reliable, comfortable, and safe transportation throughout your stay. From the moment you step off the plane to the day you head home, you will not need to worry about finding transportation to your hotel, the parks, or to any places on Disney property. This should keep your little ones more focused and should prevent them from feeling frustrated as the long days of commuting wear them down.


Do bring or rent a stroller

Click here to see my post on how to make your stroller stand out in the crowd!

Even if you never use a stroller for your toddler, you definitely will need one in Disney World. There is a lot of walking, and a lot of stuff you will be bringing with you. Little ones will want a place to sit and rest, get shade from the sun, and possibly even nap. In addition, the stroller is a great way to store all the stuff you will bring with you.

Do keep hydrated and pack snacks

Photo property of CheapskatePrincess.com

YES you can bring food into the parks. Check with guest services for current rules on this. Make sure you keep yourself, the other adults in your party and your kids hydrated and fed. Hydration is especially crucial as it can get very warm, and you will be doing a lot of walking. Granola bars and other simple snacks will keep them happy when waiting on lines for rides and attractions.

Do plan breaks during your day

If you are relentlessly on a roll, the whole family will be melting down by noon. A great idea is to get to the park when it opens, then head back to the hotel midday for naps, rest and maybe swim. Then head back to a park in the late afternoon.


The Big Blue Pool at the Art of Animation Resort

Do pack small gifts that you can carry with you and give out when needed


You can also find fun toys on etsy.com like this one from SweetsByEj.

There is merchandise to be bought everywhere you look. Before your vacation, visit a Disney Outlet or other related retailer (I always find stuff at Dollar Stores and Walgreens) to stock up on t-shirts, figurines, stickers and stuffed animals. You will save a lot of money when your kids are begging for something, and you can take out a surprise item for them!

Do not try to do everything


There is so much to do and see, and you will want to do everything. Resist the urge. Pick out the rides and attractions you feel your children will enjoy the most. Your children are little, so keep it to one park a day. Remember: you want a reason to come back! There are different phases where kids can enjoy Disney!

Do not force your child to go on a ride if he or she is resistant

If your child does not want to go on a ride, see an attraction or meet a popular Disney mascot, do not try to force him or her. Even if you have waited an incredibly long time, or if you just “know” your child will love the ride, attraction, or their favorite Disney hero, let them skip it.

Do not forget sunblock


Even on cloudy days, everyone in your party needs sunblock. Unless you are at an inside ride or attraction, do not forget that there is very little shade at the parks. Even on colder days, the California or Florida sun can be very strong. Protect the skin of your whole family, especially our little ones who are more susceptible to burns. If you are traveling in the winter months you will still need it

Do not travel at the most crowded times of the year

If at all possible, try to avoid the most popular times. These include all major holidays, long weekends, and most of the summer. Try to pick the off times such as late September to early November, early December, mid January to early February, and early to mid May. While you will find crowds at all times, these times will be more manageable. Those lines will weigh on the you, and not to mention fussy toddlers.

Do not forget a light sweater and blankets for the evenings

The days may get incredibly warm, but as the sun sets it can get cooler. Depending on the month as well, the later half of the day and evenings can get really chilly. Make sure you pack a sweatshirt for every member of your party. For the little ones, you might even want to make sure you have a blanket they can snuggle under in their stroller.

EmbroideryMark makes a pillow, backpack, and blanket all in one! You can even get it personalized.

If you follow these easy tips you are sure to have a fantastic vacation! I cant guarantee there won’t be a meltdown here and there, but it will be much more manageable.

Jennifer is an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner with Destinations In Florida travel, offering FREE concierge planning services for all guests. Contact her today for a FREE quote.



Dude, Where’s Our Stroller? A tip for helping your stroller stand out in the crowd at Disney ~ written by Jennifer

Published February 17, 2013 by Disneyways.com

Obviously when you go to Disney you have to expect strollers, it comes with the territory. What most do not expect is that there is stroller parking in each “Land” or area you visit, to help prevent clutter near the attraction entrances. The stroller parking areas are monitored by cast members, who have one job – playing musical strollers. When one stroller leaves the pack, the cast members organize the rest back in to nice neat lines. I cannot tell you how many times we came out of an attraction and played a game I like to call;

“Dude, wheres our stroller?”

We finally wised up to the stroller game and bought a balloon to add the the stroller for the week.

See the difference? Photo from wdwstrollers.com

I tell you there is extra Magic in Disney balloons! In our experience, Disney balloons can last an entire week without deflating! So on your next visit, put a bright tag or a balloon on your stroller to help it stand out from the rest. Don’t waste time and energy playing “Dude, where’s our stroller?”


Jennifer is an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner with Destinations in Florida. It costs nothing extra to use a travel planner and you get lots of great perks. Free autograph books, coloring sheets, hidden Mickey hunts and more!

2013 Epcot Flower and Garden Festival Menu Highlights and Food Locations

Published February 1, 2013 by Disneyways.com

Yes, you read that right. Taking a hint from the huge success of the Epcot Food and Wine Festival, food kiosks will be added in the World Showcase in 2013 during Epcot Flower and Garden Festival. What does this mean? Well, we will get to try some delicious new foods and beverages as we stroll around to see Disney characters in topiary, and rock out to the Flower Power Concert series (among other things!).


I can’t even tell you how excited I am about this – but if a picture speaks a thousand words…

This is how I feel.

Don’t worry  – there are no squirrels on the menu.

Instead, Epcot chefs have some other things in mind.

Some highlights will include:

  • Smokehouse Barbecue and Brew in the American Adventure
  • Primavera Kitchen in the Italy pavilion
  • Hanami in the Japan pavilion
  • Florida Fresh -in the World Showcase Promenade

Menu items will include:

  • Shrimp with grits
  • Zellwood corn
  • Angel food cake with macerated Florida berries
  • Watermelon salad with pickled red onions
  • Feta cheese and balsamic reduction
  • Sweet “frushi” made with fresh fruits and coconut rice.

Specialty drinks will include:

  • Dole Whip with Spiced Rum
  • Hot Sun Tomato Wine from Florida Orange Groves Winery
  • Frozen Desert Violet Lemonade (non-alcoholic)
  • Wild Berry Slush (non-alcoholic)

 Tip: Need a map so you can plan your snack attack? Click here for a link to all of them from WDWInfo.com

What are your thoughts on these menu items?

Epcot’s UK and Canada Paviion Phone Booths are Ringing in the Magic!

Published January 5, 2013 by Disneyways.com

Do you remember seeing these on your last visit to Epcot’s World Showcase? Perhaps you or your family members have climbed inside and posed for photos?

Even if you’ve never been to Epcot at all, you may have heard about the phone booths. So where exactly are they? You will find them in the United Kingdom pavilion located close to the restrooms. These restrooms are on the right as you come into the pavilion from the Canadian side. There is also a lesser-known Canadian phone booth.

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Here’s how to find that one:

On the way up the stairs at the Canada pavilion, you can see the coat of arms of the “Canadian National Hotels.” Just a few more steps and you’ll see that elusive Canadian phone booth. It looks very similar to the ones in the UK.

Did you know they are working phone booths? They really are! Some sources say you can make outbound calls from them and some say you can not. One thing is for sure…you can make an inbound call to the phone booths when ever you’d like.

Are you missing Disney and need to add a little magic to your day? Give the phone booths a call! Sometimes you will hear a busy signal or a fax machine. Other times a Disney guest will pick up and be so shocked to hear your voice on the other end that they just hang up. However, there are lots of great stories about Epcot visitors who will talk to you about everything from the Florida weather, the restaurants, crazy drivers, and maybe even local places to find great frozen yogurt. If you reach ME – I promise to talk your ear off.

Locals and other guests taking a day trip to Epcot sometimes enjoy using their cell phones to play jokes on their friends. Tales abound about calling other members of their own party to surprise them with their best Goofy or Donald impression! Give it a try! You know you want to.

I just met you, and this is crazy, but here‘s the numbers – call them maybe?

(Sorry — I couldn’t resist! Here’s the video if you don’t get the joke.)

Have you called before? How did it go? Do you plan on calling?

Please share your story!

Local Orlando News Station Covers New Fantasyland

Published December 2, 2012 by Disneyways.com

Click here to see the Fantasyland tour from a local Orlando news station!

Gator Spotted in Magic Kingdom! Keep Arms and Legs Inside the Boat!

Published December 2, 2012 by Disneyways.com

With all this talk about the dragon that flew over New Fantasyland during a media event in 2012 –  it was bound to happen. Conversation reemerged about  about this video of the Splash Mountain gator. My first thought?  Of course there are gators in Splash Mountain! They sing, dance and play the fiddle!

But this gator is not the singing kind – or even the University of Florida kind. I thought this story couldn’t possibly be true – so I had to see for myself.

The guests weren’t  in any danger since the gator was not IN the Splash Mountain attraction itself.  He was actually in the Rivers of America (where the riverboat and the rafts are) safely separated from guests on the ride by a dividing wall. I can’t believe people on the bridge were feeding the thing popcorn, however. That is just asking for trouble.

How did the gator get in to Magic Kingdom without a ticket? Well, this body of water he is enjoying is said to lead to a waterway – that then leads to Seven Seas Lagoon and finally empties in to Bay Lake. I’ve lived in Orlando my entire life so I can tell you from experience that Gators abound in Florida lakes. Man made or natural bodies of water can attract them, they do not discriminate. It is not unusual to see news stories about gators that have found their way to the backyard pools of Florida homeowners!

However…this is Disney after all…and this was filmed way back in 2003. I imagine some sort of precautions have been taken since then that would prevent anything like this from happening again. Unless of course…this is actually a baby dragon. I have heard that 9 years is about how long dragons take to mature into adults.

Maybe this guy just wanted to get a good spot for the parade or fireworks like the rest of us. What do you think?

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