Huge Discount on WDW Park Tickets

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This is a pretty big deal!

Disney just announced Thursday that they are going to be offering a huge discount on park tickets for certain days.

The “4 Park Magic Ticket” allows guests one admission to each of the four theme parks on four separate days for only $70 per day plus tax.

The window to use the ticket is now through May 26, 2017. Block out days are Dec. 17-Jan. 2 and April 10-21.

This is an amazing deal considering tickets are well over $100 and their isn’t an upcharge for the Magic Kingdom.

It also sounds like these tickets will be available during the RunDisney Marathon weekend in January and the Princess Half Marathon weekend in February.

If you can pair this with a room discount, you can really have a great bargain on your hands.

The “4 Park Magic Ticket” is on sale now and can be purchased at Disneyworld.com/tickets or by calling 407-939-5277.

Does this low ticket price entice you to visit Walt Disney World toward the beginning of 2017? Leave your comments below.

Tot Five: A Cure for the Vacation Hangover

When you are finished with your vacation, one of the hardest things you have to deal with what I call the “vacation hangover.” Your heart is still in the vacation destination that you left, but you are now at home and reality has hit.

Work around the house, errands and work outside of the house, remind us why we went on vacation in the first place.

Here are my Tot Five ways you can get over your vacation hangover and back into everyday life.

1. Look back on your vacation photos or movies

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By looking at your vacation photos and any video that you might have taken, can help you recall all the little moments that made your vacation so special.

Seeing photos of your little Mousekatot giggling on Dumbo or eating a Mickey Ice Cream bar for the first time will help ease you back into reality.

2. Watch your favorite Disney film

 

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Photo courtesy of Doctor Disney

 

Watching your favorite Disney movie is like almost being back in Walt Disney World.

Since many of the parks take their cues from the films you can always feel like you are back in your favorite movie flying on the Magic Carpets with Aladdin, eating in the Beast’s castle or in Pooh’s honeypot going through the pages of his book.

3. Cook your favorite Disney recipe

 

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Photo courtesy of Disney Parks

 

One of my favorite things about our Disney vacations is all of the delicious food that is available at the plethora of restaurants.

By going online and doing a search for Disney’s recipes, you can find all sorts of options available.

People in the Disney community are always anxious to share any recipes that they might pick up from the various Disney chefs in the resort.

Also, if you have any Disney cookbooks from either Food and Wine Festival or other special events, you can create some delicious meals that will bring back delicious memories.

4. Scrapbook

Wiether you decided to do traditional paper scrapbooking or digital scrapbooking, it can be a wonderful way to relive those memories.

Adding quotes or writing out a memory that corresponds to the photo, can help you relive the magical moments of your vacation.

5. Plan for your next vacation

This is my personal favorite.

It doesn’t matter if you plan on going on your next vacation next year, five years from now, or you don’t have any idea, you can still plan and play by picturing your dream vacation.

Pick out everything from your hotel, to the restaurants you want to eat and even pick your Fastpasses+.

Since you are just pretending, go crazy and plan your dream vacation.

Do you have any tips of how you avoid the dreaded vacation hangover? Leave your comments below.

 

 

 

Prepare to Let Your Belly Shake Like a Bowl Full of Jelly

The imaginers at Walt Disney World are smart.

They know that people go nuts during the annual Food and Wine Festival in Epcot.

When we were there last week it was so hard to move because the booths were jam packed with people waiting in line to savor international food and beverages.

So how can Disney bring more magic to the resort’s holiday season?  By adding international themed food booths to Epcot’s Holidays Around the World.

 

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Photo courtesy of Walt Disney World
Joining the various seasonal activitites that have been a long standing tradition at Epcot during the holiday season will be these food booths.

The Disney Food Blog has an awesome entry about all the various booths, complete with photos of some of the holiday themed delacasies that have been offered in the past.

Germany

Called Proust! The German themed holiday pavilion has been a staple of the holiday festivitites for awhile. But, this year their offerings are expanded to include an artisan cheese plate, Sauerbraten with red cabbage and spätzle, Williams Punch, the Carmel Kiss and Gluwein.

If the spätzle is anything like the kind that is served in the German restaurant, it should be delicious.

America

Disney decided to stick to the holiday traditions when it came time to create the menu for the American booth.

This year, guests can enjoy roasted turkey with stuffing, mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce, pork tenderloin with green bean casserole, roasted  sweet potato wedges and a champagne Demi-Glace.

Don’t forget the alcoholic beverages such as Firenog, Shipyard Eggnog White Porter Aged on Bourbon, and more.

Switzerland

While this country doesn’t have a perminant presence in Epcot, they will be represented this holiday season with a booth situated between France and Morocco.

Food selections including duck confit, dumplings and roasted Brussels sprouts with a fig reduction.

My personal favorite offering at this booth would be the cheese fondue in a bread bowl.

Sachertorte will be prepared with chocolate cake, apricot jam and dark chocolate glaze in addition to other tasty temptations.

American South

The holidays are all about comfort food. That is why comfort foods are going to shine at a booth dedicated to this region of the United States.

Hoppin’ John (a traditional treat for New Year’s Eve with black eyed peas, ham hocks and kale over rice with cornbread crumbles), blackened catfish with white cheddar grits and okra, tomato and onion stew and a chocolate pecan tart will be available.

Spain/Latin America

 

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Photo courtesy of Walt Disney World

In honor of the Feast of the Three Kings a special booth has been erected that will offer a variety of foods from this region. Offerings include a shredded beef tamale with avocado creama, roasted pork with mashed yucca and pickled green bananas.

Of course traditional Three Kings Bread will be available for purchase.

Beverages will include Coquito (coconut milk) and for the adults, a rum floater.

There will also be plenty of holiday offerings throughout the parks including Mickey Santa Hat Cupcake, gingerbread ice cream, panettone and more.

What holiday treats sound most tempting to you? Leave your comments below.

 

 

Memory Maker: Worth the Money?

Walt Disney World is all about creating memories that you will remember for years to come.

If you are anything like me, you will want a more concrete reminder of your wonderful and magical vacation. Between photographs and videos you are able to chronical the vacation and have it to look back on for years to come.

Unfortunately, there is always that one person that is never in all of the photos: the family photographer.

Disney saw this as a problem that they needed to solve for their guests and started to offer Photopass Photographers.

Situated at various picturesque locations throughout the park, at character meet and greets and more are these photographers that will take your photo, scan your Magicband and put all of your photos together on a cloud where you can access them to download, print or plaster on a variety of products. It is free to take the photos and look at them online. But, if you want to print or download there is a fee.

If you want to purchase a lot of these photos, it can become expensive and money can quickly add up.

Fortunately, there is a product that makes this process easier and offers your more bang for your buck: Memory Maker.

In a previous blog post I talked about how the Memory Maker works and the price point.

Now, after our recent trip to “The World” we had the chance to test out the Memory Maker and I have to say that I was very happy with the purchase.

We went through the My Disney Experience App to purchase it. I would recommend this rout because it will automatically link to your account. (We didn’t know this at first and spent a lot of time checking at our hotel’s front desk and with a Photopass kiosk to see if it was connected.)

After you take a few photos, you will see them on your app and they will have the Photopass watermark over them. I saw this and thought something went wrong with our Memory Maker. After some time, you will be prompted to follow a few commands that will activate the Memory Maker. From this point on the photos will appear without the watermark.

If you have other people connected to your account as “friends” on My Disney Experience they will be able to see the photos, but it will have the watermark.

If you have Memory Maker you can also add the on ride photos to your downloads by going to the photo kiosk and taping your MagicBand to the proper Mickey circle that corresponds with your photo.

My final verdict is that the Memory Maker is worth the price. The photographers are great and will let you take your own photos as well. The photos are great quality and now everyone can be in the photo together. We were so happy with the results we also opted to purchase the $29.99 archive quality DVD of our photos.

Does the Memory Maker sound like something your family would benefit from? Leave your comments below.

Tot Five: For the Health of it

When I often think of Walt Disney World, I think of an indulgent vacation with a lot of relaxation.

However, just because you are on vacation, it doesn’t mean that you have to take a vacation away from your healthy lifestyle.

While Mickey ice cream bars, churros and giant turkey legs might sound good, if you take it to the extrememe you might regret it when you get home.

Here are my tot five tips on staying healthy while at Walt Disney World.

1. Eat Healthy

 

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Photo courtesy of Walt Disney World.

You are on vacation, and the last thing you want to do is worry about if you are eating healthy or not. It’s your vacation so you want to enjoy your food a little more than you would at home. This is fine as long as you work in a little healthy foods every now and again.

At Disney this is easy to do. All restaurnts, including quick service, offer healthy options like salads, rice dishes, lean sources of protein and more.

For the Mousekatots, you can look for the Mickey Check on menus throughout the resort. This will indicate the healthiest options for the little ones.

2. Portion Control

If you are going to grab a bite to eat for breakfast, lunch or a small dinner and you want to watch your calories, you can always purchase a child’s meal for yourself.

Even on the dining plan you can use a credit for a child’s meal (and if a child has a dining plan they can use the credit for an adult meal. They aren’t separated into adult and child catagories like they used to be.)

3. Swap out your dessert credit for a snack

If you are on the dining plan, you are entitled to dessert with your counter service restaurant.

Instead of getting a dessert, you can swap it in for anything that is considered a snack like a piece of fresh fruit.

4. Exercise

 

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Photo courtesy of Walt Disney World

If you go on a Walt Disney World vacation you are going to do a lot of walking.

But, if you are a runner or enjoy going for a morning walk to get some exercise or take in the sights and sounds of your resort, Disney has something for you.

In a partnership with new balance, the athletic shoe company, each of the resorts has a map that shows you the best and safest places to run or walk at your resort as well as the distance.

These maps are usually on sign posts around the resort. If you can’t find them, ask at the front desk and they should be able to point you in the right direction.

5. Balance is Key

While eating healthy and exercising is important while you are on vacation, you also want to cut yourself some slack. Treat yo self!

If you have been healthy all day, a nice little treat won’t undo all of it.

Also, if you do put a little weight on during your vacation, don’t stress. It is your vacation and you can always lose what you put on.

What are your tips for staying healthy while at Walt Disney World? Leave it in the comments below.

 

 

 

 

Pixie Dust Starts at the Airport

 

 

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Photo courtesy of Walt Disney World

The build up to a vacation of Walt Disney World is exciting!

You count down the days, make your FastPass+ reservations and plan your dining experiences. So, you are anxious of starting your Disney vacation as soon as you can.

Luckily, if you are flying to the resort, you can experience your first taste of what it means to have a magical experience.

Say, hello to “Disney’s Magical Express.”

After your plane lands you can go straight to the area reserved for Disney’s Magical Express.

Once you arrive here and you scan your Magic Bands, you are then funneled into a line based on what resort you are staying at. (This service is only available for those who are Disney resort guests.)

You will then be told what bus to board. You will most likely be on a bus with people from a couple other resorts, but don’t worry you will make it to your resort.

 

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Photo courtesy of WDW for Grownups

My favorite part of the whole Magic Express experience is that your luggage arrives from the airport magically in your room.

No waiting at baggage claim for your luggage, no need to drag it through the airport, it just shows up in your room.

Also, thanks to the ability to do online check-in before you leave, you can head straight to your room without having to go to a front desk to check in.

After you do your online check -in you will receive a text message with your room number once it is ready.

But, as with any type of air travel, keep your important items like jewelry, medication, special clothing like running gear and Halloween costumes, with you in your carryon.

Have you used Magical Express before? Leave your thoughts below.

For more tips about navigating Walt Disney World, especially if you have a toddler in your family, pick up a copy of Mousekatots available in Kindle and paperback formats.

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Tot Five: News out of WDW This Week

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Photo courtesy of Disney Parks Blog

There have been a lot of announcements out of Walt Disney World this week including a new holiday show, new princess meet and greet, the return of favorite food items and more.

For this week’s Tot Five we will take a look all of this news so you can plan your upcoming holiday vacation.

1. “Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM!”

Even thought Halloween isn’t here yet, Walt Disney World is looking to the holiday season and just made an exciting announcement concerning Hollywood Studios.

A new nighttime projection show, “Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM!” (JBJB) will start Nov. 14 at the studios.

According to the Disney Park’s Blog, “The show comes to life on, above and around the Chinese Theater with state-of-the-art projections, special effects, fireworks and a rousing seasonal musical score.”

The show will feature musical numbers from Disney favorite movies including “Mickey’s Christmas Carol,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “The Nightmare Before Christmas” and more.

There will also be a Holiday Dessert Party that can be purchased for an additional fee.

2. Meet and Greet with Princess Elena of Avalor at the Magic Kingdom

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Photo courtesy of Disney Parks Blog

Ever since the coronation of Princess Elena of Avalor it was only a matter of time before she started meeting guests in the kingdom.

Starting Nov. 24 Princess Elena will meet with guests at the Princess Fairytale Hall with her other princess friends

I am so bummed out that we are going to miss seeing her when we go down for our latest trip.

3. DINOSAUR down for a longer than planned Refurb

The Animal Kingdom attraction was closed this summer for a refurbishment and was scheduled to open next Thursday, is going to be closed for awhile longer.

There have been reports of people who made FastPass+ reservations for the high intensity attraction all the way out to the middle of November have had their passes switched out for Expedition Everest passes.

So far, there hasn’t been an official comment about what happened with the attraction. I just hope that it isn’t going extinct.

4. Culinary favorite makes a return

Fans of the Sweet and Spicy Chicken Waffle Sandwich at Sleepy Hollow can rejoice. The snack is back.

The sandwich, available at this eatery located at Liberty Square in Magic Kingdom, retails for $10.29.

5. Magical Night Time Weddings

Wanna get married at the Magic Kingdom at Night? You can do that now.

Yep, you can have your own Cinderella dream wedding after 11 p.m. at the kingdom and can be custom made for whatever your heart desires.

The wedding can accommodate up to 300 guests in Fantasyland.

Watch the video below to see a snippet of what your dream wedding can be like.

What are you most excited about when it comes to these new announcements? Leave your comments below.

Restaurant Spotlight: Tangerine Café

 

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Photo courtesy of Walt Disney World

When people think of going to one of Disney’s many quick service restaurants, the thoughts of fatty burgers and fries might fill their head.

But, just like with everything else with Walt Disney World, you can set the bar higher and treat you and your family to better tasting food that is rich in flavor and nutrition and will help fuel you for the rest of your day.

Enter Epcot’s Tangerine Café, situated in the Morocco pavilion.

It offers a variety of options that help give guests a taste of Africa without compromising flavor and authenticity.

Open for both lunch and dinner it offers a variety of entrees, sides, kids meals and desserts.

Entrées include Mediterranean Chicken Wrap, Mediterranean Falafel Wrap, Shawarma Chicken Platter, Vegetarian Platter, Mediterranean Sliders Combo, Mediterranean Lamb Wrap, Shawarma Chicken and Lamb Platter, Shawarma Lamb Platter and Moroccan Kefta Sandwich. Sides include Hummus, Tangerine Couscous Salad, Lentil Salad, Tabouleh, Marinated Olives and French Fries. Kids’ Meals include a Hamburger and Chicken Tenders.

There are a variety of tasty desserts and beverages that can also be purchased at Tangerine Café.

 

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Photo courtesy of Walt Disney World

The average cost of an Entrée is $10.

The café is included on the Disney Dining Plan and will count as a quick service credit.

Will you add Tangerine Café to your list of must try restaurants on your next trip? Leave your comments below.

For more tips and a complete list of menu items for the various restaurants in Walt Disney World, pick up your copy of Mousekatots.

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Disney FAQ: Hurricanes

 

 

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All eyes are currently on the weather as people watch to see what will happen with Hurricane Irma that is schedule to hit land sometime tonight or tomorrow.

One area for concern seems to be central Florida, which is the home of Walt Disney World.

While people know that weather can dampen their Disney vacation, it is good to know what happens if there is a hurricane projected to hit the area during your vacation.

Luckily, Disney makes safety its top priority and has addressed issues that may arise during the unpredictable hurricane season.

Q: What happens if a hurricane warning is called within seven days of my planned vacation?

Disney A: Disney’s response is that if the National Hurricane Center has issued a warning for either your hometown or the Orlando area, you can call in advance to reschedule or cancel your vacation package and most room only reservations (booked through Disney) without the Disney fees imposed. This does not include any third party products such as airfare, rental cars, etc.

This also includes Disney’s Vero Beach Resort of Disney’s Hilton Head Island Resort.

Q: If I need to reschedule due to a hurricane, will I be guaranteed my same accommodations?

Disney A: Disney says they cannot guarantee the availability of similar accommodations for your newly scheduled travel days. However, all of the money that you paid for your accommodations, theme park tickets, dining plans and other Disney services will be applied to your future trip.

Any discounts or special offers that applied to your original reservation will not apply to your new reservation. This includes, if you were getting the free dining plan offer during your original travel dates, and rescheduled during a time that is not offered, you will need to pay for the dining plan.

Q: Will Walt Disney World close in the event of a hurricane?

A: The short answer is yes. If history is any indication, the parks have closed at least four times due to anticipation of hurricanes: Sept. 15 in 1999 for Hurricane Floyd, Sept. 4-5 2004 for Hurricane Francis and later in the same year, Sept. 26 for Hurricane Jeanne. Hurricane Charlie in 2004 was also responsible for a multi-day closure.

Q: Does Disney have an evacuation plan in place?

A: Yes. Disney will evacuate because safety is their top priority. You can believe that Disney has a plan in place to handle this in an orderly and timely manner. Here is a video of the evacuation of the parks for Hurricane Charlie:


Q: I am stuck in a hurricane at Walt Disney World, now what?

A: No one wants to be in this position, but find comfort in the fact that Disney will do whatever they can in their power to make sure that you are safe and comfortable.

TouringPlans.com, a wonderful website, said in a post that on-property guests have participated in movie marathons and ate from sandwich buffets while waiting it out. If things get really dangerous guests will be asked to evacuate their rooms and move to a protected, interior ballroom at the hotel.

And, you can find comfort in the fact that Walt Disney World earned the Storm Ready designation from the NOAA, which makes it one of the safest places in the United States if a storm would strike.

Have you ever been to Walt Disney World during a hurricane? Leave your comments below.

No Bones About It

We seem to live in the community of second hand sales.

Through late spring and early fall, people are always having garage and yard sales. We also have a lot of second hand sales that are tailored to specific interests.

For example, we look to keep an eye out for children’s sales. These sales are often huge and feature a variety of items from clothing, children’s furniture, all kinds of toys, strollers, highchairs, etc.

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Just Between Friends sale at David Lawrence Convention Center

For us, we are always trying to find unique toys that might be a little older and therefor difficult to find elsewhere. For example, Lily is really into VeggieTales right now. (Like obsessed. You have no idea how many times I have heard the “We are the Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything” song.) If you have ever looked to find VeggieTales toys online recently, it is difficult to find these toys online that are a complete set. So I thought this might be the best place to find these toys.

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So many dollhouses to choose from.

We struck out.

But, we got a really cute Scooby Doo haunted house, a bunch of books and a Hello Kitty toy food truck. The prices were a little higher than what we had experienced when we went to different sales from this organization in the past.

Since we were only at the sale for about two hours, we decided to give Lily the choose of either going to the zoo or the museum. She chose the museum because she wanted to see the dinosaurs.

The Carnegie Museum of Natural History has a wonderful dinosaur exhibit. It features plenty of complete skeletons and a lot of interactive displays. (Look for a future blog that explores this topic in depth.)

One of the areas that is really cute and perfect for your Mousekatot is the dig area.

Here participants are given googles, a chisel and a brush and allowed to go and uncover some dinosaurs in an excavation site.

Lily really loved digging and uncovering the dinosaurs.

One of the reasons why we visit the museum so often is because we have a family membership to the Carnegie Museum system. This means we can visit the museums as many times as we want without having to pay. We received this membership as a family Christmas present last year, and it will be on the top of our list again this Christmas.

We ended the day by going to one of Lily’s favorite restaurants, Mad Mex, which is part of a local chain. Her favorite food is Mexican and Mad Mex is Mexican with a little bit of California flair.

We really had a wonderful weekend that was full of wonderful family time and adventure.

How did you spend your weekend? Leave your comments below.