On June 20, 2013, my family will be making it’s first pilgrimage to Disneyland! The Park, as my friends know it, is, of course, the original, the one that started it all, the signature park of Walt Disney’s incredible legacy. Since we have never been to Disneyland before, I have been in crazy planning mode for the past several months, looking at all of the attractions, dining, resorts, and on and on, to come up with the things that we want to experience when we get to Disneyland. That process has led me to create a countdown on my own blog, aptly titled 100 Days til Disneyland. Each day I am focusing on a different experience at the Park and sharing it with you over at my blog, My Dreams of Disney. You can see the list thus far by clicking on the 100 Days til Disneyland link.
Based on the research that I’ve done so far, I am sharing with you today my top ten things to experience at Disneyland! Please read it all, and then, in the comments, tell me which ones you like and don’t like, and tell me your own top ten list, or tell me how many of mine are on your list!
Top 10 things to experience at Disneyland
I’ve decided to do this as a countdown list, Letterman Style, so that when you get to #1 on the list, you will know that that experience is at the top of my list to experience! So, starting at number 10:
10.) Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride
This attraction is one that I have never experienced, but I’ve heard so much about it, I’ve got to take a look at it! I don’t know if I’ll like it or not, but I’m guessing that it will leave me wishing it was still around at the Magic Kingdom!
Of course this attraction is on my list! I love Peter Pan’s Flight at the Magic Kingdom, and I can’t wait to see what it is like at Disneyland! Is it better, worse, or the same everyone? Let me know!
February 5th marked the 60th anniversary of the release of the classic Disney movie Peter Pan! As a result, Walt Disney Pictures released the movie on Blu-Ray, and I was privileged to be able to review it for Chip and Company! I hope that the words I convey to you in this review are sufficient to make you go right out and purchase the movie, because let me tell you, there are some incredible things that this movie has — especially in the bonus features — that I had never seen before!
Right out of the gate, I saw a really neat feature that I had never experienced before. I was getting ready to watch the movie with my daughter Sophie and her best friend Riley, and Sophie was making a popcorn for us all to enjoy! The movie was about to start, but the popcorn wasn’t ready yet, so I paused it — and when I did so, I got a countdown clock that indicated that, if I didn’t hit play within 10 seconds, we would be taken to special Pirate Training activities!
When it comes to visiting Walt Disney World, there are so many things to see and do that it almost seems impossible to see it all! When we visit, we take about a week to see as many of the sites and sounds of all four parks, but what if you only have one day? Is it worth it to attempt to see all four parks in one day?
This challenge is known as the Disney World Challenge — and I’ll tell you, it probably isn’t easy, but I certainly think it is possible!
Before you start, you do need to do a little pre-DWC (Disney World Challenge) planning. To make the most out of your time, here are some questions you’ll want to get answers too.
- Pick a day that has either the Magic Kingdom or Epcot with evening Extra Magic Hours.
- Decide what attractions you’re going to absolutely need to ride at each of the parks.
- Are you driving to each of the parks or utilizing Disney Transportation?
- I recommend starting your day with Disney’s Animal Kingdom park.
- Lastly, make sure that you have park hopper tickets or annual passes — standard Magic Your Way tickets without Park Hopper will not allow you to get in to all the parks on the same day.
For those that aren’t aware, the Tables in Wonderland program is a special discount card that you purchase to get 20% off of dining costs at various restaurants at the Walt Disney World dining locations. However, there are some things that you need to know about the TiW program:
1. The TiW card can only be purchased by a person that has an annual pass, or by a Florida Resident.
2. The card costs $100 for Annual Passholders, and $125 for Florida Residents.
3. As I mentioned, the TiW program will discount 20% off of all your food and drink purchases (including alcohol) at many of the Walt Disney World restaurants, but not all of them. Check here for a list of restaurants.
4. The TiW card can be used for the cardholder and up to nine guests dining with the cardholder.
5. An automatic 18% gratuity is included when using the TiW card, regardless of the size of the party.
6. If you are thinking of buying the TiW card, you need to do some research to make sure that the discount will be at least equal to the cost you are paying for the card.
On the other side of the equation, the Disney Dining Plan has several different choices available. The three main ones are the Disney Quick Service Dining Plan; the original Disney Plus Dining Plan, and the Disney Deluxe Dining Plan. You can also add the Wine and Dine component to your Dining Plan or Deluxe Dining Plan, but that is a separate add-on charge, also they have a Magic Your Way Premium Package that has all kinds of add ons.
One of the biggest questions you can ask a person who is planning their Disney vacation is “What Disney Character Meals are you doing?” However, this simple question brings up a whole lot of different perspectives, and opens up the discussion towards the ultimate question: “Are Disney Character Dining meals at Walt Disney World worth it?” In this post, I will be presenting several vital pieces of evidence to illustrate why Character meals are a great value for you and your family.
When my family plans it’s Walt Disney World vacations, one of the key components of our planning is deciding what table service restaurants we want to eat at. For us, most of the time we will choose a character dining restaurant over a casual dining location for the following reasons:
- By choosing a character dining restaurant, we are able to get autographs from our favorite characters while we enjoy our meal — and that is one less line we need to wait in!
- Often, the character dining restaurants offer the characters in unique costumes that is related to the setting that you find them at — for example, Mickey and Minnie in their western getups at Mickey’s Backyard BBQ. This adds a dimension to your pictures that might be missing otherwise.
- Often, it can be hard to find a particular character at a location other than the restaurant they are featured at. For example, when Sophie was younger, she had very little interest in Epcot, but she loved Winnie the Pooh. Booking a meal at The Crystal Palace allowed her to see Pooh without having to go over to the United Kingdom just to find him in the back of the pavilion (and then having to wait in line to see him!)
- I know that a lot of people think that all that is served at character restaurants is the standard Disney buffet — but I say why is that a bad thing? I pay a fixed amount, I get all I can eat, we see our favorite characters, and perhaps most importantly based on our travel schedule — we get out of the summer heat for a while to relax as we eat!
- Lastly, at some of the better character restaurants, you also get a special photo package with your favorite character. At Cinderella’s Royal Table your party will get a photo package with Cinderella, and at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall (Princess Storybook Dining) your party will get a photo package — usually with Belle. These pictures are incredibly good, and are included in the price of your meal, so enjoy them!
So there you have it, my top five reasons why Character Dining is worth it for your family! I’ll leave it to another of the Chip and Company writers to offer rebuttal. I hope that you have found this helpful! What are your thoughts about character dining? Yay or Nay? Let us know in the comments, please!
- Where to start when Planning a Trip to Walt Disney World (chipandco.com)
- How many of these Top 10 Disney Must Do’s have you done? (chipandco.com)
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