The reservations have been made and the flights are booked for the #CoolestSummer at Walt Disney World. Advance Dining Reservations, you ask? I’ve got that covered as well. I am still contemplating our FastPass+ selections, but for now, my mind is focused on something else…packing!
I’m not talking about just any kind of packing. I’m talking about packing for a family of 5 for a duration of 15 nights. What’s more? Our nephew is joining us for part of it, and we are staying at two Walt Disney World Resorts before embarking on one very magical voyage on Disney Cruise Line.
We have done this before, so it’s not my first (Frontierland) Hoedown! The task is still a daunting one. Lucky for us, we are Disney Vacation Club Members. That means one very important thing, a game changer actually. Can you say “washing machine?!” Don’t worry, this is not an ad for Disney Vacation Club. We just happen to be members and couldn’t live without the washing facilities in our room. But you may want to keep in mind that you can also find washing facilities at all of the Walt Disney World Resorts, and depending on the size of your travel party and your length of stay you may just find that little tidbit of information useful.
Ok, back to packing! I always begin by making a list. I can’t live without my lists. As a matter of fact, I am KNOWN for my list making abilities. LOL! But seriously, never underestimate the importance of a good list.
Packing clothes is the easy part as far as I’m concerned. My first list has to do with all the extras. Things like sunscreen, contacts, glasses, toothpaste, hairbrushes, band -aids, hand sanitizer, make-up, medicines, etc. are the important things to remember. Then the list gets bigger from there!
Incidentally, I have already started that list even though our trip is still a few months away. This way, I can add things as I think of them. This eliminates the pressure of having to remember all this important things at the last minute. I keep the list readily available so that I can easily edit it at a moments notice.
Next comes the clothing items. Lets face it. Airline checked bag prices can be obscene! That is an import thing to note when you start planning how many clothing items you plan to bring along.
Which brings me back to utilizing the laundry facilities. For a 15 night trip, I pack around 6 outfits for each member of our family. It is ridiculously simple to throw in a load at the end of the night and then in to the dryer right when we wake up. If you plan to use community laundry facilities, you can utilize them when you are enjoying downtime at your resort.
Since the July/August heat in Orlando allows you the ability to practically fry an egg on the sidewalk, we only pack shorts, shirts, and light dresses. This also leaves more room in the luggage. How’s THAT for a space saving tip? Before you start planning and packing, you will want to make sure to check the carry-on restrictions for your particular airline.
If your plans include a Land/Sea vacation, like mine, there are some particulars you will definitely want to remember. Although your cruise is prepaid, be sure to remember to pack cash to tip your servers, room steward, etc.
Incidentally, on the first day of your cruise, you’ll want to pack a “day bag.” This is because your checked luggage may not be delivered to your stateroom until after1:30pm or even later. Some items you may want to include in your bag are medications, swimwear, sunscreen, sunglasses, contacts/eyewear, change of clothes (if needed), collared shirts for men, and personal electronics.
Lastly, remember to bring along all the important items specific to a Disney vacation! As a matter of fact, I suggest you make another list! Tops on mine are autograph books, park tickets, rain ponchos, Magic Bands, pin trading lanyards, and EARS.
Thanks for stopping by. I hope my advice helps some of you as you plan your MAGICAL Disney vacation.
DISCLOSURE: I was an invited guest of Discovery Cove, however all opinions are my own.
Planning a visit to Discovery Cove can be overwhelming as it is a place that you only dream of visiting.
Yesterday I shared an Introduction to Discovery Cove, and today I wanted to share some of my favorite tips that I learned from researching before I went and from being there for a day.
Pick Six: Tips For Making The Most Of Your Visit to Discovery Cove
1. Travel Lightly
While you may think that you being at the park all day means packing a huge bag, but before you break out the extra-large backpack let’s take a look at what’s provided, prohibited, and suggested first.
Discovery Cove provides each guest with wetsuits and/or swim vests, mask and snorkel,sample of specially formulated sunscreen that is safe for use in the animal habitats, towels, and beach chairs.
Since meals, snacks and drinks are provided with admission to Discovery Cove, no other food, beverages or coolers are permitted.
You will want to bring your own swimsuits, and, if you want, water socks or rubber pool shoes, hat, sunglasses, cover-up, and dry clothes (I will talk more about this one later).
And to be completely honest, I will be wearing water socks or rubber pool shoes on my next visit as the bottom of The Grand Reef and Dolphin Lagoon can be slippery. I may not look ‘cool’, but I will feel better!
Some other items that you may consider bringing are books and magazines, a mp3 player with headset or similar items to relax on the beach with, and a camera to catch all of your special moments.
I brought my phone to take care of all of the above, but you may want to invest in a waterproof case or pouch if you are planning on this option.
Please remember if you are participating in the Trainer for a Day program, you are required to wear footwear during some portions of their day.
Also, make sure that you leave any jewelry at home! With the exception of watches and wedding bands, Discovery Cove guests may not wear jewelry, for the safety of the animals.
2. Dietary Needs
You may want to research the Discover cove menus before you arrive, so you can view your options for any dietary needs before you arrive.
If you do have dietary needs, upon arriving at a meal facility go straight to the cashier and ask to speak with a supervisor in order to discuss the severity of your allergens and determine a meal that will be safe for you.
Discovery Cove offers several allergen friendly prepackaged items for your special dietary needs. The supervisor at the main meal facility will have a list and location of these items.
It’s important to note that not all of the park meal facilities are free from cross contact. In order to ensure your meal is safe, make sure you discuss the preparation process for your meal with the supervisor as you place your order to ensure no cross-contact takes place. 3. Get to Discovery Cove Early
Discovery Cove has operating hours of 8:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. daily, however guests can begin the check-in process at 7:15 a.m.
While the check-in process doesn’t take a long time, getting there early means that having breakfast and getting settled in for the day doesn’t eat into any of your useable time in the park.
It really gave us the opportunity to settle in and enjoy breakfast!
4. Go to the Explorer’s Aviary First
Speaking of breakfast…Who doesn’t like to start their day off with a great meal?
Visiting the Explorer’s Aviary first thing is a great way to have a lot of interaction with the birds.
You will definitely make a lot of ‘friends’!
I have never worn a wetsuit before so the thought of wearing one was incredibly intimidating, however the wonderful attendants were extremely helpful with sizing and tips for putting the wetsuit on.
You also have the choice of receiving a full wetsuit, short wetsuit, or a swim vest.
But what is REALLY important to know is that you can switch out your wetsuit at any time.
For example, I decided to sport a swim vest for most of the day but opted for a short wetsuit for my Dolphin Swim Experience since the water is a little cooler in Dolphin Lagoon.
6. Bring a Change of Clothes
After a full day at Discovery Cove, you will be absolutely exhausted! I mean it! All that swimming around can wear you out.
One thing that I was glad that I did was to take a few minutes before I left to run into the bath house for a quick shower to freshen up.
Each bath house has an ample amount of showers, is stocked with towels, and each shower has eco-friendly shampoo, conditioner, and body wash.
They also provide plastic bags for you to put your wet suits and sandy shoes.
Shopping for the perfect Disney Inspired Valentine’s Day gift far from Walt Disney World can be difficult and sometimes cause even the coolest cucumber to get a little antsy as the big day draws closer.
However, with so many big box retailers carrying more Disney Merchandise the daunting task of finding the perfect gift for your favorite Disney Fan has become easier.
So what I thought I would do is take you along to one of my go-to stores, Walgreens, to share some of my favorite last minute tips for putting together a great Valentine’s Day gift!
Before we go any further, this post is not sponsored by Walgreens or anything along those lines. I just genuinely like shopping there!
Tips For Last Minute Disney Inspired Valentine’s Day Shopping
1. While you want your Valentine’s Day gift to be super adorable for this holiday, make sure that it matches the style of the recipient.
I like to decorate a shelf in our den with holiday Disney items, and while I love a good romance I am not so big on ‘mushy’ gifts.
For someone who is like me, these fun Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse decorative items would be a great option! (I hope you heard that Dave!!!)
2. We all have favorite characters, but when you are tight on time keep it to the classic characters!
If your significant other loves an obscure character, you may drive yourself bananas trying to find something specific for them if you’re like me and have waited to the last moment.
I especially love these mugs, water bottles, and cups that show Mickey and Minnie as a perfectly matched pair!
3. Don’t be afraid of buying plush for Valentine’s Day!
You make think that plush is for the little ones, but it definitely is not.
Walgreens has a pretty sizable selection of plush for a broad spectrum of taste.
While you can never go wrong with a Mickey Mouse or Minnie Mouse plush, this heart shaped pillow with the both of them is absolutely adorable!
4. Let them eat chocolate on Valentine’s Day!
While this is number four on my list, it is number one in my heart!
5. Little ones need some Valentine’s Day love, too!
Zoe always comes home with a metric ton of candy from her school pals on Valentine’s Day, so I like to find fun small toys and activities for her goodies.
What I also like to do is instead of buying one Valentine’s Day card, I like to get her Valentine’s Day cards like the ones she gets in school. She always gets a kick out of opening all the little cards!
6. Don’t forget the card and wrapping!
Walgreens carries a variety of Hallmark cards and products, and this year the cards are even more adorable than ever.
This year, I found some great Valentine’s Day gift bags and matching tissue paper that will make you look like a Pro!
Don’t skimp on the wrapping!!! When the delivery method of the gift matches the spirit of what’s inside you have just taken yourself to the next level of gift giving!
I hope that these tips for last minute Disney inspired shopping were helpful, and if you happen to see this Walgreens…call me! 😉
With the Grand Opening of Diagon Alley today, I thought I would share some of time saving tips and tricks!
1. The Dragon’s Fire
The a 60ft, seven-ton, fire-breathing Ukrainian Ironbelly dragon breathes fire every 15 minutes, and there is a loud build up so you have plenty of time to get your camera ready!
It was awesome!
My favorite spot to watch from is the stairs to nowhere, just behind Hagrid’s Motorbike next to Gringott’s. It was great seeing the expressions on people’s faces as they watched for the first time!
Water in Diagon Alley is ‘Gilly Water’, and it is available only at a few Diagon Alley food and beverage locations for $4.00.
But to take your Gilly Water experience to the next level, you can add one of four potions to it for an additional $4.25 at Eternelle’s Elixir of Refreshment, located in the arcade across from the stage.
The Four potions that you can purchase (with their coresponding flavors) are:
Fire Protection Potion: Watermelon
Babbling Beverage: Fruit Punch
Draught of Peace: Mixed Berry
Elixir to Induce Euphoria: Pineapple
If you want to try a potion, but want to skip out on the Gilly Water you can purchase the vial and add it to your own water.
3. Gringott’s Money Exchange
At the Gringott’s Money Exchange, you can exchange Muggle money for Gringott’s Bank Notes.
The Gringott’s Money Exchange is a separate location, next to Wiseacre’s Wizarding Equipment and across from Eternelle’s Elixir of Refreshment under the arcade in Diagon Alley.
This is a really cool experience, because you get to interact with animatronic goblin who oversees the exchange of currency.
These Bank Notes can be spent anywhere, but I have a feeling that most people will save them instead of spending them.
4. Pram Parking
There are several adorable signs that say ‘Pram Parking’ throughout the arcade in Diagon Alley.
With the streets being uneven, large crowds, tight walkways, and stores with intricate displays, having a place to park your pram out of the way is a great idea.
Pram parking is located just to the right of Wiseacre’s Wizarding Equipment, and you will find a helpful witch or wizard there to help you.
5. Butterbeer Ice Cream
Butterbeer Ice Cream is my everything! In my eyes, it is the perfect ice cream of all time.
That being said, the line to head into Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream Parlour are often times long.
But if it is Butterbeer Ice Cream you are seeking, you can head over to the Fountain of Fair Fortune, located across from the Magical Menagerie near Knockturn Alley.
The Fountain of Fair Fortune is also a great place to grab a Butterbeer, Frozen Butterbeer, Fishy Green Ale, Gillywater, Wizard’s Brew, Dragon Scale, Strongbow, Fuller’s London Pride, and Amstel Light.
6. When it rains it pours
When it rains, and often times it does rain in Orlando, Diagon Alley is my new favorite place to visit!
With an arcade over most of the open areas, tons of shops, and ample covered spaces there are a lot of great places to duck into while you wait out the storm.
My favorite place to go though, is Knockturn Alley! This sinister place is completely covered, and is home to what might be my favorite shop Borgin and Burkes!
Plus, there are a lot of interactive wand experiences in this area to keep little ones occupied as you wander the dark alley ways.
We will be covering more about Diagon Alley at the Universal Orlando Resort, so make sure you keep up with our adventures on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!
Continuing in our new series of videos on our YouTube Channel called Short, Short Tips, I thought that I would share with you a little think I like to call my ‘Bag of Necessity’.
My ‘Bag of Necessity’ is just my fun name for the bag of things that I like to keep with me when I’m carrying a smaller bag in the park that has all the things that make me more comfortable having on hand just in case.
I feel like Mary Poppins, because I keep a lot of things in the bag. I like the Lesportsac Rectangular Cosmetic Bag, because it is lightweight and holds a lot of stuff!
In my ‘Bag of Necessity’ I keep the following things:
I am always on the look out for Theme Park Hacks that can help make our day in the Park more enjoyable!
You may ask what is a Theme Park Hack?
A Theme Park Hack is when you take ordinary thing and use it at it is not intended for an extraordinary outcome. This is not about breaking rules or cheating the system, just little quirky things that I like to do.
Theme Park Hack: No Plate? No Problem!
Zoe is really particular about how she eats her food, and her main issue happens when we are grabbing a quick bite to eat in the parks.
Typically food is served in paper baskets, and since she is not the neatest of eaters she usually knocks over the basket a few times spilling stuff everywhere.
So instead of taking the food out and placing it on the tray or on napkins, here is how I like to make a plate out of a paper basket at Quick Service Restaurants!
If you look at the corners of the basket, you will notice that they’re just glued together.
Gently (and carefully depending on how full of food your basket is), separate the corners.
Smooth them out, and BAM! you’ve got yourself a plate!
Pretty simple, but it has been a great trick for our family that has made meals on the go easier!
Do you have any Theme Park Hack that you or your family uses? We would love to hear about them!!!
If you have never eaten from a local Food Truck before, specifically one in Orlando, then you are missing out! There are many amazing gourmet trucks to be found, from BBQ, to Sushi, to burgers, to dessert trucks, there are many options for you to try! The best way to be able to try a range of all they offer is to attend a food truck night. A lot of local communities have organized monthly food truck events now, or there are food truck bazaars that travel around major locations around central Florida bringing a huge selection of trucks to your local Malls or Downtown areas.
My husband and I love to go round to the food truck events, so I thought for those of you who haven’t done that before, that I would compile a list of tips for attending a food truck night. I could think of many, but I will keep it to just 10 so it can hopefully help start you off, in descending order…
Tip Number 10:
Look up ahead of time where your nearest Food Truck event will be. A quick search online will lead you to many sites that will list where they are and when.
Tip Number 9:
Come Hungry! Sounds silly but you will find so many dishes you will want to try, from all different trucks, so bring your hunger and prepare to be amazed at what you will find.
Bring chairs and/or tables. This is something you may not think would be useful, but these events can take place among lake sides, parking lots, downtown areas, and many do not have any seats available. Bringing chairs, or even blankets, mean you can hang out more and relax while you try your selections. This is especially helpful if you have children or elderly friends or family members who would prefer the comfort of a chair and table.
Tip Number 7:
Bring friends or family! If you come in groups, it means everyone can maximize their options as you can split dishes and get to try things that normally you wouldn’t get to if you were only choosing one item.
Bring an umbrella in the car or in your bag with you. Many food truck nights take place during the summer months in which we have our torrential downpours in the afternoons/early evenings. Most of these nights the trucks continue come rain or shine, so don’t let the rain put you off!
Tip Number 5:
Bring cash or cards. The majority of the trucks accept cash and credit cards now, so no need to stop at the ATM if you don’t have cash, just bring a major credit card and you’ll be good to go! Many will even email the receipt directly to you, and you can even add gratuity to these also.
Don’t stop at the first truck you see, its true that you will most likely find options at every truck you like the sound of, but walk around all the trucks first and see what they have. You will be surprised how many options there are, and for many diets too!
Tip Number 3:
Do you own a dog? Bring them with you! Not only may your dog love to socialize with the others there, but there are sometimes dog specialty food trucks also, featuring organic treats and refreshments for your best friend!
Arrive early to avoid lines! Many food truck nights can get very busy, especially ones close to downtown areas where people can walk by on their way home from work. Getting there at the beginning of the night is always best if you can, the later it gets the longer the lines get, and since most of the items are cooked fresh for you, there may be a long wait if you arrive later on.
Tip Number 1:
Social media! Many, if not all, of the food trucks use social media to get the word out about not only which locations they will be in, but also what new menu items they will feature and any special offers going on. Its also a great way to keep in touch with your favorite truck, or to ask any questions ahead of time. They tend to monitor them closely so don’t expect a long wait to hear back from them, whether its Twitter, Facebook or emailing, they will be more than happy to answer any questions you may have. If you look at the trucks, many will have decals and wraps stating how to contact them online.
Now all that is left for you to do is start looking up where your local food truck event is. Whether it’s in Orlando, Chicago or L.A, there are many out there to find, you will not be disappointed! Good luck and remember….arrive hungry!
During the holiday season, the Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center is transformed into a Christmas Wonderland filled with perfect poinsettias, more than 2 million twinkling lights, lavish and gorgeous holiday displays, a breathtaking 54-foot-tall majestic Christmas tree, DreamWorks Animation characters Meet & Greet opportunities, spectacular live entertainment, and most of all ICE!
ICE! featuresmore than 2 million pounds of hand-carved, vibrant ice sculptures bringing to life several scenes from Frosty the Snowman in a 9-degree retelling of this Christmas classic!You’ll want to make sure that you bundle up (you will also be provided with oversize parkas) to keep warm enough to take a few trips on the two-story ice slides!
Preparing for a visit to Ice! at the Gaylord Palms Resort takes a lot of planning, and here are some of my favorite tips and tricks we have learned over the years!
Dress in Layers:I can’t stress this one enough! Make sure that you are prepared for the 9 degrees you will find inside of Ice! by protecting your fingers, nose, and toes! You will be given a nice a long parka to wear inside, make sure that you get one that is extra roomy I will explain in a moment, but it is definitely not sufficient to keep you warm for long periods of time. I over-do my layering, and I have never regretted it!
No Pockets: The parkas that you will be wearing do not have pockets, so I usually carry a small cross-body purse that is loose to wear under my parka to allow for easy access to my phone, Chapstick, and other things that I might need while I am inside.
Phones:Your phones and cameras will get super cold, and even shutdown if you take them out a lot to take pictures. I like to stash my phone on the inside of my gloves to keep it warm and easily accessible. Also, if you are planning to wear gloves make sure that they are gloves that let you work your phone’s touch screen without taking them off. Gloves like this are a lifesaver!!!
Cameras:Going from regular room temperature to cold so quickly can make camera lenses fog up quickly. There is a short movie that you watch before entering Ice!that is a colder temperature than the room before, so use this as an opportunity to get your camera used to the cold. Like my phone, I try to have a warmer spot for my camera when it’s not in use.
Look around:Looking around may seem like a silly tip, but if you take an extra moment to take in the details you will find extra design features and maybe even a slightly hidden ice tunnel! Don’t rush! Take as long as you need in each room!
Slides: If you are 2 or 62, take a moment to slide on the ice slides at least once! The slides are a ton of fun, and you are missing out if you don’t take a turn! Your roomy coat comes in handy here, because to ensure the best slide possible make sure that your jacket is completely underneath you and then lean back as you slide. One of the lovely slide monitors told me about leaning back this year, and it makes for a fast run down the slide!
Little Ones:You will quickly notice that all of the parkas provided by the Gaylord Palms are blue and it can be hard to distinguish since everyone has their hood up. One way that I make sure that I can quickly spot my daughter is by wrapping her in a brightly colored scarf and hat. Also, make sure that you are wearing something that they can easily recognize in the crowds that can form around the slides!
Taking Pictures: You may notice when you first start taking photos that they seem dark. Don’t be tempted to use your flash, because it creates bright spots in pictures and can make the colors all wonky. My best advice, as I am not a master photographer, is to get close to what you are taking a picture of and to use a photo editing app or program afterwards.
HAVE FUN!Ice! is a lot of fun, so make sure that you enjoy it for as long as you can stand the 9 degrees!
Make sure that you check out the 2013 bonus area, the Frostbite Factory featuring Artisans in Action. This live ice-carving zone allows you to get up close to watch a masterful ice carver from Harbin, China, home of the International Ice and Snow Festival, as he creates amazing sculptures before your eyes! He is part of a team of 40 talented artisans who travel from Harbin to work meticulously for more than a month to slice and shave 6,000 blocks of colored and clear ice, each weighing approximately 400 pounds, to carve this incredible experience. This area features great information about how the sculptures are created, too!
ICE! is open daily from Nov. 23, 2013 to Jan. 5, 2014, including holidays. Ticket prices start at $16.99. For more information and to purchase tickets, go to www.ChristmasAtGaylordPalms.com.
The Gaylord Palms Resort is located five minutes from the gates of Walt Disney World at 6000 W. Osceola Parkway, Kissimmee, FL 34746.
Disclaimer:Through a partnership with the Gaylord Palms, I received admission to Ice! and accommodations at the Resort. All opinions are my own.
Celebrating Halloween in Celebration can be full of treats or tricks depending on how prepared you are, so join us for a Pick Six full of tips for making the most of Halloween in Celebration!
Pick Six: Halloween in Celebration
1. The Pirate Ship House
No visit to Halloween in Celebration is complete without a visit to the Pirate Ship House which is located on the corner of Mulberry Avenue and Celebration Avenue!
The Pirate Ship House is a private residence that completely transforms into a swashbuckling Trick-or-Treating experience with a detailed facade that runs along the entire front of the house that is full of pirate skeletons, treasures, cannons, and even a gangplank.
Lines to Trick-or-Treat here are almost as scary as facing the Kraken, so make sure you are patient and give the crew of this home an extra Yo Ho for all that they have created!
2. Community Presbyterian Church Pumpkin Patch
Community Presbyterian Church, located at 511 Celebration Avenue, is more than just a place to buy a pumpkin when you are experiencing Halloween in Celebration.
In its 6th year, the Pumpkin Patch is full of photo opportunities for kids of all ages, and most importantly proceeds benefit Help Now of Osceola!
The Community Presbyterian Church Pumpkin Patch is open daily!
Monday thru Thursday 9 am – dusk
Friday and Saturday 9 am – 10 pm
Sunday noon – dusk
3. Downtown Celebration
Downtown Celebration is full of great stores and restaurants with Halloween treats, so you will definitely want to take some extra time exploring this area!
There is no way to candy coat this…Trick-or-Treating during Halloween in Celebration can make even the best of us a little witchy!
The first thing to keep in mind is that families start haunting houses early, usually around 5:30 pm for the younger monsters, so don’t worry about being too early for the fun!
Now I warn you first about how early Trick-or-Treaters hit the pavement, because the streets of Celebration (especially in the Downtown Area) can get extremely congested!
It’s important to keep in mind that in Celebration there aren’t a ton of parking lots and street parking can be scare, so you will want to think ahead about your route and plan accordingly. My best advice is to get here as early as possible, grab a bite downtown, and take in all the fun you can!
And finally, lines can get bananas long for candy at houses in the Downtown Celebration area! One year our line went in both directions for a block with 4 of us handing out candy…I kid you not!!!
5. House Decorations
While we all can’t have Pirate Ship Houses, during Halloween in Celebration you’ll find a lot of houses decorated to the nines and most of them have at least one fun ‘Disney’ side!
6. Have fun
Happy Halloween from my family to yours!!!
We hope you have a fun night celebrating Halloween in Celebration, and if you are here make sure you share your pictures with us!!!
We’ll be posting more pictures from Halloween in Celebration on our Facebook Page, so drop by and let us know what you think!
Disney MagicBand: Using the My Disney Experience App at Walt Disney World
Continuing on our YouTube channel, we are starting a very basic look at how to set up and use your MagicBand and during the upcoming days we’ll be adding to this playlist with all sorts of great ways to make sure that you get the most out of your experience.
In this video we talk about setting up and using the My Disney Experience App on your smartphone to really make the most of your MagicBand use and your time in general at Walt Disney World.
I also give you insights into two of my favorite overlooked features of the My Disney Experience App and how to get the whole family involved using it to visit the parks.
We’d love to hear your questions, comments, or things that you would like us to cover in future MagicBand videos, so please leave a comment below or under the video!
Make sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel to keep up to date with all you MagicBand news and use!
Disney MagicBand: Setting Up Your My Disney Experience Account Online for Walt Disney World
On our YouTube channel, we are starting a very basic look at how to set up and use your MagicBand and during the upcoming days we’ll be adding to this playlist with all sorts of great ways to make sure that you get the most out of your experience.
In this video we talk about setting up your online My Disney Experience profile on www.disneyworld.com which is the best place to start the use of you MagicBand on your visit to Walt Disney World.
We’d love to hear your questions, comments, or things that you would like us to cover in future MagicBand videos, so please leave a comment below or under the video!
Make sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel to keep up to date with all you MagicBand news and use!
Coming up on July 11th at Full Sail University, WWE NXT returns for what is shaping up to be yet another great night of wrestling featuring many of your favorite NXT superstars as well as appearances by WWE Superstars Dolph Ziggler and the current WWE Diva’s Champion, AJ Lee.
I have had some amazing experiences attending NXTmyself, however, in this post I wanted to take the time to give both first timers and other NXT fans some tips and hints about attending future NXT events.
One tip that I cannot stress enough is to buy your tickets for the event early. Tickets typically go on sale on the NXT ticketing website the day after the last NXT taping at Full Sail University has taken place and the best seats will often sell out quickly. However, if you are lucky enough to be at the Full Sail taping, tickets for the next NXT event go on sale directly after the show, giving you a bit of a jump start over those not in attendance. Seats are available for as little as $10 which enables you to access GA bleacher seating around the Full Sail Live arena. If you want to sit ringside, for $5 more you can purchase what is known as Gold Circle seating which brings you even closer to the action.
Another tip is to arrive early to the events. If you purchased tickets via will call, the line typically begins to form a few hours before to get into the arena so you want to make sure you grab your tickets early enough to get a good spot in line. In past events, we have made a point of arriving not later than 4:30pm as doors typically open around 5:45 pm with the show itself starting at 6:30 pm. By arriving early, not only will you not have to worry about rushing to find seats but also you’ll avoid any last-minute traffic coming into the event.
One last tip I have when attending NXT tapings is to make sure you follow WWE NXT on Twitter and Instagram as they constantly keep you up to date with any promotions, pre-sale codes and contests that may be going on during the show. Currently, NXT is holding an Instagram contest where if you dress up as your favorite NXT or WWE Superstar/Diva and then post a photo to Instagram with the name of the superstar, your twitter handle and the hashtag #NXTInstaSLAM you could win an exclusive meet-and-greet with a WWE Superstar before the 7/11 NXT TV Taping at Full Sail University. Entries must be submitted by 7/10 at 11:59 pm EST so be sure to enter as soon as possible!
For further questions about attending any of the WWE NXT Full Sail Live Tapings, please feel free to comment below or be sure to check out my past post about my own personal NXT experience.
The WWE Performance Center opens next week, and we’ll be there covering the action! Until then, don’t forget to check out our video of the WWE Performance Center Announcement!
With the mad rush of Spring Break at Walt Disney World upon us, I thought I would share some of my family’s tips for dealing with the large crowds at Walt Disney World at this time of year.
When it is super busy at the parks our goal is to try to make the experience as fun and stress-free as possible, while still getting to take in as many attractions and shows as possible in on a busy day.
So here are MY 7 Must Do’s to make a busy time of year fun for the whole family!
1. Have a plan of attack!
I know this one sounds like a no-brainer, but take inventory of everyone’s favorite rides and must see shows and prioritize them. When we visit, I often find that my ability to come up with a ‘Plan B’ on the fly is what really makes or breaks a great day at the Parks since you never know what your day is going to bring.
Make sure you visit our friends over at Touring Plans, because they REALLY know how to plan a day if you are looking to make the most of every minute of your day!
2. Make your day filled with games.
In ev’ry job that must be done
There is an element of fun
You find the fun and snap!
The job’s a game
Mary Poppins had the absolute right idea! Your job is to make the most of your day in Walt Disney World, so spit spot!
Why not see how many character shirts you see in a day with extra points going to the more rare characters? Or see if you can find Cast Members from all 50 states. Maybe you can even try your hand at becoming at Hidden Mickey Hunter!
3. Look for things you might have overlooked before that others might, too.
I know this one sounds a little weird, but stick with me!
I often get stuck in the rut of following a pattern of attractions and shows when I visit the parks; however I am now constantly on the lookout for the little things I didn’t see before.
My absolute favorite one of these activities is to go the Animation Academy thanks to Betsy! I will warn you that this will take up a good chunk of time, since classes are held every 30 minutes and you can sometimes have to wait as classes tend to fill up. While you are waiting there is a ton to do and fun trivia to keep you all company.
I promise that you will not regret dedicating some time to trying your hand at the Animation Academy.
4. Pay a visit to the 2013 Flower and Garden Festival at Epcot.
The 2013 Flower and Garden Festival at Epcot is an outstanding way to spend the day, but you can really make the most of your visit by taking your time to smell the roses!
Spend time in the garden exhibits and in the Flower and Garden Festival Center, take the Tea Tour offered in the United Kingdom Pavilion, stroll through the Kinsey Collection in the American Adventure Pavilion to escape the heat, and finally make sure that you find your favorite character topiary and pose for a great picture with them.
5. Take a visit to Fort Wilderness with the family.
If any tip could possibly get me into hot water with the ‘locals’, this might be it…
Fort Wilderness is the absolute best kept secret at Walt Disney World, and once you figure this out you will be hooked!
The recreation offerings at Fort Wilderness are amazing, and ideal for this time of year to take advantage of the great weather! Some of the more unique activities you will find at the resort are archery, horse and pony riding adventures, jogging trails through meadows and cypress groves, and wagon rides for the whole family to enjoy.
But you have to wait all day to get to my absolute favorite thing to do at Fort Wilderness, which is attending Chip ’N Dale’s Campfire Sing-a-long followed by a movie under the stars. During the Campfire Sing-a-long you get to sing and dance with two of the best (not that I am biased or anything) characters…Chip ‘N Dale! And then you get to watch a great Disney movie under the stars, while you roast marshmallows (which are available for purchase at the campfire area) over the campfires that are always roaring thanks to great Fort Wilderness Cast Members.
Whether you are a history nut who wants to take the Keys to the Kingdom tour or walk on the wild side with a Wild African Trek, you are sure to find a tour that fits your interests at Walt Disney World!
A tour that I have taken many times and thoroughly enjoy is the Behind the Seeds tour in the Land Pavilion at Epcot. This tour is my favorite since it is extremely affordable (Adults $18.00/Children $14.00 with Annual Pass discounts available), appropriate for all ages (they even have special strollers and wheelchairs for use on the tour), and gives you the thrill of being backstage while being ‘in’ an attraction. The tour is also offered several times a day, so it is very schedule friendly!
I am really looking forward to making more time in my schedule for tours at Walt Disney World this year!
7. Be prepared!
I know I sound like I am out of the Festival of the Lion King with my final tip, but it is possibly the most important one I could give you!
The last thing you want on a busy day is to NEED something, and have to wait in long lines to buy something that you left in your room or didn’t think to bring. This is the one tip that I still struggle with and have to remind myself of on a constant basis.
When we visit the park as a family we always try to bring a ‘family bag’ that is full of essentials that we find ourselves needing every visit.
And here is a list of what our ‘family bag’ contains:
Umbrellas – It’s Florida, and it’s going to rain when you least expect it!
Snacks – We make sure to bring small snacks that won’t melt in the hot sun to help keep spirits high during longer than expected waits for kids and adults.
Trading Pins – It is always useful to keep a few of these babies handy!
Autograph Book and Sharpie – Zoe ebbs and flows on wanting autographs, but it is a better safe than sorry thing for us now.
Ziploc Bags – We carry them in several sizes to make sure that our electronics are safe from the rain (please see umbrellas).
Lip Balm & Sunscreen – Pretty self-explanatory for these two items.
Baby Wipes – You can get small packages with fun Disney prints, and baby wipes are good for anything…Baby wipes for Moms are like duct tape for MacGyver!
I hope that you’ve enjoyed my tips, and that if you are visiting Walt Disney World for Spring Break that you have an absolutely amazing time!!!
The SeaWorld Just For Kids Festival Is A Great Time For the Whole Family
Featuring performances by kids’ favorite entertainers, party zone area and more
During the SeaWorld Just For Kids Festival, the paths of SeaWorld Orlando are full of fun kid-friendly music, live performances, games, dancing, and more during this four week festival, which is included in the price of admission.
Zoe’s (and our) favorite part of Just For Kids was the concert, and this year the SeaWorld Just For Kids concert lineup is amazing!
We were able to see the Imagination Movers during the first week, but there are still two Saturdays left to experience some great performances.
Saturday, January 26 Choo-Choo Soul with Genevieve
Starring Genevieve Goings, Choo-Choo Soul allows parents to enjoy the same music their kids do. Featuring soulful and current renditions of the ABC’s, 1-2-3’s, and learning how to be polite, Choo-Choo Soul is a diverse and incredibly hip duo, teaching children through music on an animated train.
Saturday, February 4 Kratt Brothers Live featuring the stars of Wild Kratts
The Kratt Brothers are Chris and Martin Kratt and they are the creators and producers of the widely popular children’s animated series Wild Kratts that airs on PBS. They are the recipients of the 2012 Parents’ Choice Recommended Award.
You will definitely want to make sure that you catch a concert while at the SeaWorld Just For Kids Festival, but you may want to keep a few things in mind when planning your day.
The admission to the concerts is included with park admission, with show times at 11 a.m., 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. at SeaWorld’s Nautilus Theater.
However, to attend guests will need to pick up concert tickets across from Nautilus Theater in order to attend the shows, and tickets will be distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis starting at 9 a.m. each event day. Since shows can and do fill up I absolutely suggest going to the ticket distribution area as soon as you get to SeaWorld, to make sure that you are able to attend the show that best works for your (and especially your little one’s) schedule. Also note that if you are a Platinum Pass Holder, you will not have reserved seating for the concerts.
Once you have your tickets, you are also going to want to arrive 30-45 minutes before show time to line up outside of the Nautilus Theater to ensure that you have a good seat for the concert.
Once you are inside you will also want to make sure that you know that there is a bathroom located at the back of the Nautilus Theater which is an amazingly convenient thing with little ones, that dancing in the aisles is allowed (and encouraged), and that you will want to make sure that you are prepared for fun!
Before the concert begins there are two acts by the Dragon Legend Acrobats from China that you won’t want to miss! While the acts are pretty amazing, they are also a great way to get your little one accustomed the concert atmosphere.
BUT…if you are like me, you will want to find some way around all of the waiting before the concerts and for that you have two options…
SeaWorld Just For Kids Great Eats & Concert Seats:
It’s easy to reserve your seats to the show by pre-purchasing one of the below dining options.
Elmo’s VIP Character Breakfast – 9 a.m. at Sharks Underwater Grill
Children (2-9) $39.00 / Adults (10+) $49.00
At Elmo’s VIP Character Breakfast, families will enjoy a full-service breakfast experience at Sharks Underwater Grill with Elmo and one of his special Sesame Street friends. Following breakfast, little ones, (and parents, too), will visit with everyone’s favorite Sesame Street friends for photos. In addition to that, each family will receive one complimentary 6×8 photo. Those attending the 9 a.m. VIP breakfast will receive VIP seating for the 11 a.m. SeaWorld Just For Kids concert.
Another great bonus is that by attending Elmo’s VIP Character Breakfast you will receive complimentary Valet Parking at SeaWorld Orlando.
Shamu & Friends Character Breakfast Buffet at Terrace Garden – 2 seatings, 9 a.m. and 11 a.m.
Children (2-9) $29.00 / Adults (10+) $39.00
At the Shamu & Friends Character Breakfast Buffet, not only will you get to meet your favorite SeaWorld characters, you will also receive guaranteed admission to specific Just For Kids concerts.
You’ll enjoy and all you care to eat buffet at Terrace Garden Buffet restaurant, and also receive a complimentary 6×8 family photo from the Breakfast. For the concerts, 9:00 am breakfast guests will receive admission to the 2:00 pm concert and 11:00 am breakfast guests will receive admission to the 4:00 pm concert.
With both Character Breakfasts,guests must make sure to arrive at the theater 15 minutes prior to show time to guarantee seating.
If you are Passholders, you can visit the Passholder Site to receive 10% off of these Great Eats & Concert Seats Packages.
We are HUGE fans of the Character Breakfasts offered at SeaWorld, and I cannot recommend them highly enough! The food is delicious, and it offers you the opportunity to spend more time playing in the park rather than running to grab tickets and waiting to get into the Theater.
SeaWorld Just For Kids Festival Highlights:
There is a lot more to the SeaWorld Just For Kids Festival than just fun concerts! The whole park is filled with great kid-centric activities, meet and greet opportunities, and shows!
This year there are three new great experiences that have been added to the SeaWorld Just For Kids Festival.
New! Franklin, from the beloved children’s show Franklin and Friends™
Hey, it’s Franklin!
You can meet SeaWorld’s newest friend Franklin located near Pelican Preserve, across from Flamingo Point. Franklin is available at the Woodland for meet and greet opportunities, autographs, and photos (there is a SeaWorld Photographer at the meet and greet) throughout the day at 9:30 am, 10:30 am, 11:30 am, 1:30 pm, 2:30 pm, 3:30 pm, and 4:30 pm.
Exclusive Franklin-branded merchandise will also be available near the meet and greet area.
Zoe really loved the opportunity to meet one of her favorite characters in a really cute setting! I will warn you that it can get really warm in that area and there isn’t much shade in this area, so you’ll want to make sure the sun is at your back for pictures and it isn’t too warm out while you wait. Also, if you want to minimize your wait make sure to visit Franklin during show and concert times!
New! Elmo Rocks!(Located at Seafire Inn)
In Elmo Rocks, Elmo, Cookie Monster, Zoe, Abby Cadabby, Bert and Ernie are getting for their very own rock concert located at the Seafire Inn!
The show is full of fun music, dancing, and lots of audience participation. Zoe really enjoyed herself and danced all over the place! You will want to check the time’s guide for show times, but shows are typically at 11:00 am, 2:00 pm, 3:30 pm, and 5:30 pm.
Again, you are going to want to show up 15-30 minutes early to the Seafire Inn to make sure you grab a seat for the show! You will have a rockin’ good time!
New! Enhanced Ocean Adventures Kids Program
The Ocean Adventure Program was the highlight of Zoe’s day, outside of the concerts, because she got the chance to experience some of her favorite areas of SeaWorld Orlando in an even better way.
Using the event map children will look for the Sea Star icons inside the park, where they’ll partake in exciting educational activities about animals that make their home at SeaWorld. At each location kids will collect a stamp and a limited edition Just For Kids Explorer’s card. Once they visit all four locations, Wild Arctic, Stingray Lagoon, Manta Aquarium, and near the Shark Encounter, they’ll receive a coupon to redeem at select gift shops for a special prize. Limit one prize per participating child.
Zoe had an absolutely amazing time talking to the knowledgeable and friendly SeaWorld staff, and she wanted to do it again when she was done!
If you are worried about your schedule for the day and how the Ocean Adventures Kids Program will fit in, don’t be! Each station takes less than 5 minutes, and the SeaWorld staff knows how to get in some great information and fun while keeping the line moving.
SeaWorld Just For Kids Specials
The best way to experience all of the fun, music, treats and more at Just for Kids is with a Fun Card, where Florida residents pay for a day and play all year through Dec. 31, 2013. Fun Card members can enjoy all four weeks of Just for Kids fun and all of the amazing special events throughout the year, plus the unforgettable animal encounters, world-class thrill rides and family fun found only at SeaWorld. Fun Cards are available at SeaWorldOrlando.com, at the front gate, or by calling 1-888-800-5447.
Weekly Review September 17-21, 2012 – Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Week And More
Weekly Review time!!! This past week here at On the Go has been full of great stuff, and it has been a little different since we double posted with Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party information about week!!!
Also, we added a new contributor, Beth, to the site! Welcome Aboard!!!
Now it’s time to look back at all that happened September 17-21!!!
The Winter Park Sip and Stroll is coming up on September 27th, and it will celebrate the city’s 125th Anniversary of Incorporation!
We started our Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party coverage with Tip, Tricks, and Information. There is so much to do and see at Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party!!!
Then we looked at the Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Merchandise with prices. These tend to go quickly, so if you are attending a Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party you will want to definitely go in search of these items early!