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For our March Calendar Shot, we picked the best spot to enjoy March Madness at WDW: The ESPN Club!
It's a hard call when choosing between Disney's Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach, as both water parks offer two creative themes and a variety of ways to get wet! Now some guests are loyal fans of Typhoon Lagoon, while others always lean towards the truly unique Blizzard Beach; and to help you decide, we're pitting these parks against one another to see which one comes out on top!
Winner: Blizzard Beach
Overall, we ended up giving slightly higher ratings to Blizzard Beach, particularly when it came to slides and décor; however, you can't discount Typhoon Lagoon's wave pool. Of all the attractions at both of Disney's water parks, Typhoon Lagoon's Surf Pool is our all-time favorite! Typhoon Lagoon is also the preferable choice if you're looking for tamer attractions and relaxation; but then again, if you're looking for lots to do, amazing theming, and thrills, then Blizzard Beach is for you.
This week we are recommending:
They took away the bleachers and television showing Goofy sports cartoons! News! Casey’s Corner in Disney World’s Magic Kingdom Reopens with Updated Indoor Seating Area. Not too happy with this change...
Overly Dramatic Disney Movie Posters, so funny.
We're pretty sure "Let It Go" has it in the bag, don't you think? Check out Disney Academy Awards Preview.
Seven Must-Eat Disney Treats for 2014! We want to try a pressed ice cream sandwich!
Have you heard? Some Disney Resorts are eliminating boat rentals! Know which ones so it won't impact your plans!
Walt Disney World announces Cinderella Castle plaza expansion with new gardens, more fireworks viewing at Magic Kingdom. Wow! Big changes!
How cute! Tinkerbell Shoes and Pixie Hollow Coast to Coast.
Just today, Disney has announced another 24 hour event at the Magic Kingdom for May 23rd at 6 AM to May 24 at 6 AM! The Magic Kingdom promises a gathering of Disney heroes and villains, and wants guests to dress up to show off their Disney Side!
However, only certain attractions and entertainment will be available and there are some rules for those who dress up. Anyway, the past two 24 hour events have been amazing, and we're so glad Disney has chosen to offer yet another to help kick off the summer; however, 24 hours in the Magic Kingdom can be really exhausting and may require some strategy in order to have a successful venture.
So if you're headed to this exciting upcoming event, here are a few strategies to get you through the day!
The Magic Kingdom always offers a morning show at rope drop to kick off the day, and a special 24 hour event is no exception! Kids are sure to get a kick out of seeing their favorite characters and all the hoopla, so we recommend arriving at least 30 minutes early to start off the day and then retreat back to your resort after lunch for a nap!
This event is usually very popular, so crowds and lines are to be expected. Therefore, you should probably head to a few of the popular attractions when you first enter the park. We recommend heading straight to Fantasyland to cross off a couple of your kids' favorites. Save the shopping and snacking and shows for later on or when your energy is running low.
Hungry for breakfast? Try to hit some of the snack stands or restaurants at the back of the park as the lines and seating areas won't be as crowded as they will be towards the front. We would also suggest booking a character breakfast for brunch! Late morning hours usually bring heavier crowds, so this way you can skip the long lines and hang out with some characters instead! A brunch character meal can also help serve as a late lunch, giving you two meals in one if you're on a tight budget!
So this is when it tends to get hot and very, very crowded! Even though the idea is to spend 24 hours in the park, that doesn't mean you have to! We suggest heading back to your resort for a much-needed nap, a cool-down in the pool, or both! You and the kids are sure to be miserable if you try to tackle the park all day with no sleep; and trust us, it won't be magical. If you can't head back to your resort, then hop on the Monorail for a relaxing ride, retreat to some of the deluxe resorts, or find a place to relax at the parks and maybe some shade where the kids can nap. Like what? The Hall of Presidents offers a cool, air-conditioned lobby with seating, and the show is a good place to catch a few winks. The TTA WedWay PeopleMover offers a breezy, relaxing ride on which you can recharge, and it's definitely kid-friendly. You could also go to the second floor of the Columbia Harbor House restaurant, which few people know about, and which offers plenty of places to sit. The new Tangled bathroom area is often crowded, but it does offer shaded seating and a place to recharge your phones and electronics.
Thinking about dinner? Most restaurants and counter services spots are going to be crowded on a day like this, so we suggest trying to eat at an off-time, such as around four o'clock or even spring for a late dinner once the crowds have calmed down. Again, you could always board the monorail to eat at a local resort too.
The Magic Kingdom is absolutely magical at night when everything is lit up, and it's a great time to explore as the temperatures are cooler. Try to hop on board some attractions during the evening fireworks and parades; and if you want some of the fireworks yourself, head to New Fantasyland for a great view if Main Street and the Hub is a little too crowded.
According to past years, the crowds really begin to thin after midnight as most parents are taking their kids back to the resorts for the night. However, if you have spent the afternoon recharging and you think your kids are rested, this time of the night is perfect for getting in a lot of rides and really lets you experience what the 24 hour event is all about! After all, when would you ever get to ride "it's a small world" at 3 AM, right? Plus, the Magic Kingdom now has a Starbucks on Main Street to help keep adults caffeinated; and for the kids, be sure to bring your stroller or rent one if you can, take frequent breaks, and try to catch some characters for pics!
Around 6 AM:
Be sure to get picture of the clock on Main Street USA before you leave to commemorate your 24 hour Disney Day. If you're driving home, have some pillows and blankets in the car so your little princes and princesses can get some sleep!
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This portrait of Ronald Reagan can be found inside the Hall of Presidents, but did you know that President Reagan was present at an opening of a Disney park and later starred in a park attraction? It's true! Ronald Reagan helped co-host the opening of Disneyland, and then later was added to the Hall of Presidents when he was elected!
Afternoon showers are anything but unusual in Central Florida; but on occasion, it can really pour! So how do you enjoy the Disney magic when it's wet and dreary? We've got you covered!
What You Need: Those who have been to WDW before know that comfort is key; and when it's wet and dreary, there are a few extra things that should be thought of in order to keep you and any kids in tow comfortable.
First of all, you probably need a poncho. An umbrella is great for light showers; but we highly doubt you want to carry around a cumbersome umbrella all day, especially if you have little ones and a shopping bag or two. Plus, if it's a heavy rain, an umbrella isn't going to keep your clothes dry anyway. That's why we recommend getting a poncho for you and the kids which are available at most Disney gift shops. Although, it may be more cost efficient to purchase ponchos at your local grocerty store before you leave, as Disney's can be a little pricey. Your own ponchos will help you and the kids stand out, which is something very handy when you're in a crowd!
Secondly, we suggest wearing clothes that are made of a waterproof material, such as athletic shorts or light t-shirts or even water-resistant jackets. This way you will still stay dry and warm.
Now we have to talk about shoes. After all, shoes and aching feet are probably the most common complaints you will hear at WDW. While some guests are most comfortable in flip-flops, they are sure to be slipping and sliding in the rain; and some shoes can rub blisters when they get wet. Therefore, plan accordingly! You'll be glad you did!
What to Do: One of the pros to rainy days is that lines for some attractions are usually shorter! Also, many of the Magic Kingdom rides and shows are indoors or at least covered, such as Pirates of the Caribbean, Jungle Cruise, The Enchanted Tiki Room, Country Bear Jamboree, Walt Disney World Railroad, Hall of Presidents, Haunted Mansion, Peter Pan's Flight, "it's a small world", Mickey's Philharmagic, Under the Sea - Journey of the Little Mermaid, Enchanted Tales with Belle, the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Mad Tea Party, Space Mountain, Stitch's Great Escape, Monsters Inc Laugh Floor, WedWay PeopleMover, Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin, and Walt Disney's Carousel of Progress.
Other Rainy Day Activities:
Rainy Day Character Cavalcade- During some really wet and rainy days, when it's unsafe to put on the three o'clock parade, the Magic Kingdom puts on a "Rainy Day Character Cavalcade." This alternative parade features Cast Members dressed in rain boots and slickers as characters ride by on some of the Main Street Vehicles! Is it as great as the standard parade? Not really. However, it does add some magic to the dreary weather and shows that Disney will do what they can so that nothing stands in the way of a great, Disney day. Check out a video below!
Shopping - Most of the shops on Main Street USA are conveniently connected, meaning you can just move from shop to shop without ever venturing out into the weather! (We also use the connecting shops as an alternative to the crowded streets!) Anyway, a little bit of rain is a great excuse to do some souvenir shopping, and Main Street USA is one of the best places to do it.
Resorts - WDW resorts try to help out with the rain by providing towels for guests coming in out of the weather or with supplying games and activities in the lobby for kids!
So as you can see, you can still enjoy a magical day at the Magic Kingdom regardless of the weather! What's your favorite thing to do in a Disney downpour? Share with us!
This week we are recommending:
Check out some Enchanted Art on the Disney Cruise Line!
What’s New in Walt Disney World: February 22nd, 2014, we want one of these new icon mugs!
We needed this... How to Cope with Waiting in Line for a Dole Whip.
News! Epcot Food and Wine Festival Adds an Extra Week in 2014! Yay!
Yeah, we're not too happy about these announcements, No More Hyperspace Hoopla & Disney World raises Ticket Prices.
Animal Kingdom Dance Party in DinoLand USA - Photos and Video, definitely want to check this out!
I didn't know some of these, did you? 10 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Up.
We recently booked a Disney World Vacation for Spring Break at the Beach Club Villas! Naturally, we are extremely excited, but also curious about the new
FastPass+ system seeing how it was still only in the testing stages
during our last visit.
Now we had always considered ourselves to be FastPass experts. We were that family who sent someone ahead with all your tickets first thing in the morning, knew the tips and tricks, and
strategically planned when to ride what. Therefore, when Disney announced their
new system, we found ourselves back in the dark.
While our vacation is still about two weeks away, we have now gained some knowledge about the new FastPass+ system and even received our arm bands in the mail! Here are a few things we have learned so far...
5.) Only Three FP for One Park- Perhaps the biggest change for us is only being allowed three FastPasses per day and at only one park. We like to park hop so we usually grab a FastPass at one park, ride the attraction, and then move onto another park later in the day to use a FastPass on another. This new system seems to be geared more towards base ticket users, and it's going to be adjustment for visitors who prefer to hop.
4.) Character Meets & Fireworks - For the first time, guests can now secure FastPasses for experiences beyond attractions! This is something we're pretty excited about. With FastPass+, you can now reserve a FastPass to meet with the princesses at the Magic Kingdom, and characters at Epcot and Animal Kingdom. It's also pretty great that you can reserve a spot for fireworks display, like Illuminations at Epcot. This could really save visitors some time in that they don't have to rush to claim a spot way before the display even starts. Also, there have been reports of the Be Our Guest Restaurant offering FastPasses, but only by invitation.
3.) Better Times - When we booked our FastPasses online, we found some great times! For example, we secured a FastPass for Toy Story Midway Mania at around noon for the day we plan to visit. In the past, that kind of FastPass time has been hard to get unless you arrive first thing in the morning. On the other hand, you are at the mercy of the system for what FastPass time you're offered as opposed to arriving early to earn the time you want.
2.) There are Options - When you reserve your FastPass with the online FastPass+, you are given a Best Match option with the times Disney thinks would be best. However, on the same tab, there are other matches with different times and arrangements. Be sure to check this out to see what best works for you.
1.) There are Categories - Perhaps the most surprising discovery of the new FastPass+ system is that guests are restricted to attraction categories when booking their FastPasses. For example, at Epcot you can't get a FastPass for Soarin' and Test Track on the same day. For us, this was a big disappointment, especially since we used to get FastPasses for both with the old system. So why did Disney do this? Our best guess is that they had to restrict the number of FastPasses when it comes to parks like Epcot as they only have a few rides. If they gave out whatever you wanted, then the FastPass lines would be worse than the stand-by lines! Fortunately, not all parks have restrictions, so that does ease our pain a little.
So we're still not entirely sure how we feel about Disney's new FastPass+, but we're sure we will be learning more in the coming weeks and hopefully pick up a few tips too!
Today, we are listing where we eat at Epcot, along with a few tips! This was definitely a hard one, as Epcot is our go-to location for some of the best dining on property. Are any of these dining destinations your favorites too?
1.) Le Cellier Steakhouse
Every time we visit WDW, we have to make a reservation at Le Cellier Steakhouse, primarily because of the dish pictured above: Le Cellier's famous Filet Mignon with Mushroom Risotto! It's probably the best dish we have ever had and is always delicious! We're also big fans of the restaurant's Cheddar Cheese Soup and Pretzel Bread too! Anyway, Le Cellier features a wine cellar theme and can be found behind, and somewhat underneath, the Canada pavilion. Be sure to give it a try!
1.) The dining room is small, so be aware that reservations fill up quick!
2.) Disney has special, illuminated menus to help you read in the dim light!
3.) Each section of the restaurant is named after one of the Canadian provinces.
4.) Order the Chocolate Mousse. You'll understand once you see it.
2.) Les Halles Boulangerie Patisserie
France's bakery had always been popular, but there's even more reason to visit now since it has been refurbished and expanded. Les Halles offers sandwiches, breads, cheeses, and lots and lots of sweet treats like napoleons, éclairs, crème brulees, tarts, and so much more! This is where we go for a light lunch, and a something sweet, when working our way around World Showcase; and the new expanded seating is an added plus too.
1.) The bathroom near the seating area only has one stall, so be prepared to wait.
2.) Don't want to eat now? Ask for a to-go bag when you pay. Some guests purchase French bread and butter to take back to their resort for later.
3.) Sunshine Seasons
Located on the first floor of the Land pavilion is Sunshine Seasons, one of the best counter service spots in all of WDW! Sunshine Seasons has several stations, each offering a different themed menu; but what's refreshing is that the menu items are healthy and hearty and some of the ingredients and side dishes are actually grown in the pavilion's greenhouses!
1.) While there is a ton of seating, this place is so popular that it's often crowded.
2.) Sunshine Seasons is one of the few counter service spots that offer breakfast.
3.) The dessert section is awesome! Try the Crème Brulee or the Banana Cake.
4.) To see where some of your fruits and veggies are grown, take a ride on the Living with the Land attraction next door.
4.) Akershus Storybook Dining
This restaurant is still somewhat of a hidden gem, but we consider it to be one of the best character meals on property. Akershus can be found at the Norway pavilion and is themed to be a Norwegian castle. Inside, you can get your picture with Belle and then enjoy a character meal with other Disney princesses! It's definitely a great alternative to Cinderella's Royal Table at the Magic Kingdom. The lunch and dinner menus offer Norwegian fare, but it's not too exotic and quite delicious; and the small buffet offers yummy varieties of meats, cheeses, and more.
1.) We consider Akershus to be a much better value than Cinderella's Royal Table as you get to take advantage of a main dish and a mini-buffet. Also, in our experience, Akershus's menu is much tastier!
2.) If you book an Akershus breakfast, you may get to experience World Showcase before it opens to the public! Be sure to bring your camera!
5.) Les Chefs de France
Les Chefs de France truly makes you feel as if you dining in Paris with it's gilded mirrors, sunny atriums, and delicious, French fare! We like to visit for lunch to take advantage of the three course menu; and if you like cheesy dishes and delicious soups, you'll like it too! Also, the service here is always top-notch and it's usually pretty easy to get reservations.
1.) You can never go wrong with Les Chefs de France's Vanilla Crème Brulee!
2.) A small Remy from Pixar's Ratatouille used to be brought to each table to entertain guests, but his visits have now been discontinued..
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"T" is for Downtown Disney's Tren-D! It's one of our favorite shops in all of WDW.