Tips &Tricks – Chip and Co http://www.chipandco.com Disney Theme Park & Disney Movie News, Disney World & Disneyland Planning Tips, Disney Dining, Reviews and More! Thu, 30 Jun 2016 16:27:50 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.5.3 http://www.chipandco.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/512-icon-54ced060v1_site_icon-32x32.png Tips &Tricks – Chip and Co http://www.chipandco.com 32 32 Top 5 reasons to stay “On Site” at Walt Disney World http://www.chipandco.com/top-5-reasons-stay-site-walt-disney-world-243132/ http://www.chipandco.com/top-5-reasons-stay-site-walt-disney-world-243132/#respond Mon, 27 Jun 2016 15:00:14 +0000 http://www.chipandco.com/?p=243132 I have always been a big fan of staying at Walt Disney World’s on site Resorts – for MANY reasons. If you’re planning a WDW trip and you aren’t sure if you want to stay on site or off site, maybe these Top 5 reasons to stay “On Site” at Walt Disney World will help sway […]

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I have always been a big fan of staying at Walt Disney World’s on site Resorts – for MANY reasons. If you’re planning a WDW trip and you aren’t sure if you want to stay on site or off site, maybe these Top 5 reasons to stay “On Site” at Walt Disney World will help sway you:

Magical Express: Disney provides free shuttle service from the Orlando airport to all WDW Resort Hotels – and they will even grab your luggage from baggage claim for you and bring it to your room! Return service is also provided, and they can help with checking bags when you are headed back home, too. In my opinion, this is one of the best perks of staying at a WDW Resort – as it eliminates the following questions: “should we rent a car? How will we get to the hotel? Where is baggage claim? Where are our bags?, etc – you get the idea. It just is one less thing to have to worry about, plus you get to start the “Disney experience” early – at the airport, when you reach the Magical Express desk and there’s a smiling Disney cast member waiting to greet you – you can let out a sigh of relief and let the Mouse take it from there!

Top Notch Service: I mentioned that smiling cast member who greets you at the Magical Express – well – that’s just the beginning. WDW Resort employees are amazing – polite, efficient, knowledgeable, and they will really go above and beyond to make sure your stay is as magical as possible. They are always there with a smile and a helping hand, and it honestly might seem like this is impossible – you’re probably thinking “can people be THAT helpful/happy all the time?” and the answer is YES – they can, and they are. They can answer almost any question you have, and if they don’t know the answer – they will make sure they find you the person that does. The smiles on their faces really make a difference in helping you feel relaxed and happy – which you should be, since you’re on vacation (you deserve it!)

Resort Food RULES: Each WDW Resort has on-site dining available, and we aren’t talking just some lame continental breakfast either. Freshly prepared hot meals using only the best ingredients is what you will find at these dining spots. All Resorts have some sort of “Quick Dining” location – where you can grab both fresh and pre-packaged snacks/meals, and many Resorts also offer a variety of sit down restaurants too – seafood, steak, sushi, burgers & sandwiches, pasta – there’s something for everyone, and the beauty of it is that you don’t even have to leave your hotel to get it

Extra Magic Hours: Each day, one of the 4 Walt Disney World theme parks opens one hour early or remains open up to 2 hours after regular closing time – and the best part is, only people who stay at WDW Resort Hotels are allowed to take advantage of these extra park hours. So that means shorter lines and fewer crowds for you early birds (or night owls), and the chance to experience more rides (some twice or more in a row if you’re lucky!) and attractions. I have also gotten some pretty amazing pictures of Cinderella’s Castle thanks to Extra Magic Hours – it’s a great perk that’s definitely worth waking up early for

Being IN The Magic: There’s nothing quite like waking up and knowing that you’re IN WALT DISNEY WORLD – it’s just such a unique experience, and staying at a WDW hotel makes it just that much more special and magical! There’s transportation available at all WDW Resorts to all of the theme parks, water parks, and Disney Springs – most is bus transportation, but there are also boats and monorails at select Resorts. Some Resorts are even close enough that you can walk right to the Parks – can’t get much closer to the Mouse than that!

Hopefully these perks have helped convince you that staying at a Disney World Resort Hotel is the way to go – because who doesn’t want to make their vacation even better by staying right in the middle of all the action? I know I do!

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Top 4 Tips for Meeting your favorite Disney Characters at Walt Disney World http://www.chipandco.com/top-4-tips-for-meeting-your-favorite-disney-characters-at-walt-disney-world-240141/ http://www.chipandco.com/top-4-tips-for-meeting-your-favorite-disney-characters-at-walt-disney-world-240141/#respond Thu, 23 Jun 2016 11:44:13 +0000 http://www.chipandco.com/?p=240141 One of the best things about traveling to Walt Disney World is that you can get the chance to rub elbows with some of the most famous characters ever – we’re talking Mickey & Minnie, Anna & Elsa, and so many more, too! Character meet and greets are a super important part of each day […]

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One of the best things about traveling to Walt Disney World is that you can get the chance to rub elbows with some of the most famous characters ever – we’re talking Mickey & Minnie, Anna & Elsa, and so many more, too! Character meet and greets are a super important part of each day my family spends at the Disney Parks – and I’m betting they will be for you, too! It can be overwhelming, not knowing where the characters might be or how your little one can get to meet their all-time favorites, but you needn’t worry – help is here!

Here’s our Top 4 Tips for Meeting your favorite Disney Characters at Walt Disney World:

Technology Is Your Friend: Let’s be real – you use your smartphone all the time anyways, you’ll have it out a lot to take pictures while you’re in Disney, so you might as well use it to help you meet characters, right? You’ll want to download the My Disney Experience app well in advance of your trip, so you have time to get used to it and play around with its features – and one of the best features of the app is the Character locater – just click on the “Characters” tab from the main screen and up comes an alphabetical list of characters and the times/places that you can meet up with them. As if that isn’t amazing enough, you can even sort by location so you can view the Characters for the Parks you’re currently at, or plan ahead for the day too!

Character Meals Are A MUST: For those of you who are unfamiliar with Character Dining, let me school you real quick – it’s basically a meal where you get to meet anywhere from 3-5 characters all in one place – and the best part is – they come to YOU! That’s right, pretty much all character meals (with the exception of Mickey’s Backyard BBQ), follow the same pattern – where the characters circulate from table to table, and for most places it takes about and hour and a half to get to see all the characters. Word of warning if you’re new to character dining: these restaurants can be loud and crowded – but you shouldn’t let that deter you from planning to eat at these places – as they can be truly amazing experiences! Character meals allow you to be treated like royalty and meet all the Disney Princesses, or join the Fab Five (Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, and Pluto) at Mickey’s place – Chef Mickey’s. So if nothing else, you’re getting a chance to meet multiple characters in one place, while enjoying a delicious meal – and that’s what we call vacation multitasking at its finest!

The Waiting Game: Even if you come armed with a strategy and have a list and plan out when and where you’re going to meet up with your “must see” characters, be warned – it may not go totally as planned. You might miss a character due to a delay at another ride, or you might end up still waiting an hour in line to see a character (even if you planned ahead!). So the best planning advice I can give you is to plan on doing some standing around and waiting – take that chance to practice patience, and make sure you bring along some snacks/drinks, and maybe a few new little toys or books to occupy your kids (or you!) while you inch forward towards the main attraction – whoever it may be! And remember – it will all be worth it when you see your little one’s face light up when they see Mickey for the first time (trust me!)

Be Prepared: I swear, the main reason the lines to meet characters move so slowly is because people are not ready when it finally is their turn – and there’s nothing more frustrating than watching someone fumble with their camera and waste everyone’s time even more when they should have already been ready to go. So – don’t be that guy. BE PREPARED – Have your camera ready with the right settings and the lens cap off (or have your smartphone’s camera open and ready to fire away), Have your autograph book open and your pen uncapped. Ask your kids what they want to say when it’s their turn and practice it with them if needed. All of this might sound a bit silly, or even like it should be common sense – but believe me it is NOT – so save everyone (and yourselves!) some time and practice good character etiquette to help keep the line moving and reduce the wait times for everyone else

Back in the day (and we are talking the early 90’s here), my family traveled to Disney World every spring – and my dad was our planning guru. He was truly a master of character meet and greets – he knew where they would be, and made sure I got to see every character I could. His method? Well, he always made sure to grab the most updated park maps/schedules as soon as we arrived, and he made sure to study up on them so he could have an idea of what to expect, and if all else failed, he asked a Cast Member, and that advice still rings true today – the staff at Walt Disney World can answer pretty much any question you might have, and they always do so with a smile!

Meeting up with your favorite characters doesn’t have to be hard, and if you follow my tips above, you’ll be sure to have some amazing character interactions on your next trip to Walt Disney World!

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2017 Walt Disney World Vacation Packages are now Available to Book http://www.chipandco.com/2017-walt-disney-world-vacation-packages-now-available-book-242775/ http://www.chipandco.com/2017-walt-disney-world-vacation-packages-now-available-book-242775/#comments Tue, 21 Jun 2016 11:00:00 +0000 http://www.chipandco.com/?p=242775 Walt Disney World has released vacation packages and pricing for 2017 travel dates. Reservations can be made up to 499 days in advance so guests wishing to travel in November and December will still need to wait a bit longer before they’re able to book. Consider booking your next Disney vacation with a Disney Travel Agent […]

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Walt Disney World has released vacation packages and pricing for 2017 travel dates. Reservations can be made up to 499 days in advance so guests wishing to travel in November and December will still need to wait a bit longer before they’re able to book.

Consider booking your next Disney vacation with a Disney Travel Agent that specializes in Disney travel. It costs the same whether you choose to book on your own or through an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner such as MickeyTravels. In addition to first-hand knowledge of the Disney Parks, guests will enjoy the following FREE planning services:

  • Detailed Trip Itinerary
  • Discount Monitoring to Help Save you Time & Money
  • Updated Park Hours
  • Schedule of Fireworks, Parades and Shows
  • Assistance with FastPass+ Selections
  • Assistance with Advance Dining Reservations
  • Magical Express Transportation
  • Extra Pixie Dust to Help make your Vacation Magical!

Perhaps the biggest benefit to utilizing a Disney  Travel Agent is that you will have only one point of contact throughout the planning process. Rather than call Disney and wait on hold for the next agent, reach out to your own personal travel agent for a quick response. This especially comes in handy on the days special offers are released.  Why spend the morning waiting on hold for hours when your Travel Agent can do it for you?

Walt Disney World is constantly changing and it can often be difficult for guests to keep on top of it all. Since MickeyTravels only books Disney Destinations, our agents are very knowledgeable about recent updates and any future developments. Trust your Disney vacation to a Disney Travel Agent who specializes in “Making Magic One Vacation at a Time…”

Click here for recent updates to the 2017 Disney Dining Plans.

Thinking of a Walt Disney World vacation in 2017 but not sure where to begin?  Contact lbourget@mickeytravels.com or visit my Facebook page here to request a FREE travel quote.  My goal is to make your Disney experience as magical and stress free as possible! 

 

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Choosing The Best Disney World Value Resort For Your Family http://www.chipandco.com/choosing-best-disney-world-value-resort-family-242217/ http://www.chipandco.com/choosing-best-disney-world-value-resort-family-242217/#respond Sun, 19 Jun 2016 12:23:03 +0000 http://www.chipandco.com/?p=242217 When it comes to picking a Walt Disney World Resort, the choices can be a bit overwhelming – as there are more than a dozen amazing on site hotels to choose from! Over the years, I have been lucky enough to stay at many of them, and while I love them ALL, I have to […]

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When it comes to picking a Walt Disney World Resort, the choices can be a bit overwhelming – as there are more than a dozen amazing on site hotels to choose from! Over the years, I have been lucky enough to stay at many of them, and while I love them ALL, I have to say, for my family, the Value Resorts make the most sense for our needs.

If you’re trying to figure out what Resort is right for you, then you will want to read on for the lowdown on the WDW Value Resorts:

“What does “Value Resort” Mean?” – Well, as the name implies, these are the cheapest Hotel rooms on Walt Disney World Property – there are 5 of them total, with prices ranging from $100-$200 a night (lower prices during “non-peak” times, and during holidays/weekends the rates would be higher). The rooms are on the smaller side, and have either two double or one king bed. One slight drawback to this “Value” category is that the hotels themselves are the furthest from the Disney Parks. They are still on Disney World property, but it takes a bit longer to get to the Parks than a more expensive hotel would (as the more expensive ones are closer, naturally). Overall, the Value Resorts are perfect for you if you plan on using your hotel as just a place to sleep, and are a great way to save some money, too!

Similarities: There are some things that all WDW Value Resorts have in common – they are all HUGE – which means that while it may be easier to book a room here than at smaller Resorts, it also means the buses, food court, and Resort itself might feed crowded at times, and it also means that your room might be a 10 minute or more walk to the bus stops/food/lobby (of course, Disney lets you pay more to book a “Preferred” room closer to the main pool/lobby should you choose to do so). All Value Resorts have multiple pools, with a pool bar adjacent to the “main” pool. When it comes to dining, you’ll find a “food court” like eatery at all Value Resorts, where different stations offer different types of food (Italian pasta/pizzas, salads/sandwiches, ice cream/gelato, etc) and are open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner (and well into the evening, too). They all offer bus transportation to all the Disney Parks and Disney Springs – and Disney is really good about sending extra buses right away if there are long lines to board

Themes: The main difference between each of the Value Resorts is that each of them has their own unique theme, which is carried on throughout the lobby, rooms, pools, and hotel grounds. There’s All-Star Movies (think giant movie reels), All-Star Sports (giant footballs), and All-Star Music (giant saxaphones and trumpets), and then there is Pop Century (An ode to “pop culture” over the last several decades – giant hippie flowers and Rubik’s Cubes), and last but not least – The Art Of Animation Resort which is themed after some of Disney’s best animated movies (Finding Nemo, The Little Mermaid, The Lion King, and Cars). As you might have been able to guess, these are NOT subtle themes – as the décor is BIG, BRIGHT and LOUD – it’s really a hit with the little ones!

Room For More: Speaking of little ones, if you are thinking that a standard size hotel room would NOT be enough space for you and your family to spread out, then you might want to think of booking a family suite instead. They sleep up to 6, and offer a separate bedroom, pull out sofa beds, 2 bathrooms, and a kitchenette. There are some at the All Star Music Resort, and a whole bunch more at the Art of Animation Resort. Prices are a bit more for these, running around $200-$300 a night (again, depending on what time of year you go). The price may be higher, but the extra space and ability to prepare simple meals (breakfast before you head to the parks, for example) makes it a much better choice for many families (not to mention – 2 bathrooms is a LOT more convenient than the whole family sharing just one!)

My family has really enjoyed staying at all the WDW Value Resorts – overall, the service has been amazing, and while they may not offer as many amenities as the Moderate or Deluxe hotels, we believe that the lower price is worth that trade off, and hopefully this helped convince you to check out the Value Resorts for your next trip, too!

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Stay Cool at Disney with the Frogg Toggs Chilly Pad http://www.chipandco.com/stay-cool-disney-frogg-toggs-chilly-pad-242638/ http://www.chipandco.com/stay-cool-disney-frogg-toggs-chilly-pad-242638/#respond Sat, 18 Jun 2016 21:00:03 +0000 http://www.chipandco.com/?p=242638 There is no denying that Walt Disney World in the summer months can be a very hot experience, but there are ways to help cool off in the summer heat! One of my favorite and affordable tricks is cooling towels, like the Frogg Toggs Chilly Pads. Being a Florida native, I sometimes like to think […]

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Frogg Toggs

There is no denying that Walt Disney World in the summer months can be a very hot experience, but there are ways to help cool off in the summer heat! One of my favorite and affordable tricks is cooling towels, like the Frogg Toggs Chilly Pads.

Being a Florida native, I sometimes like to think I don’t need tips and tricks, I’m used to this heat! I’m stubborn, but when braving the heat at last year’s 24 Hour Disney event a friend of mine gave me a few of these Frogg Toggs. Now I won’t travel to the Parks during the summer months with out them! Frogg Toggs Chilly Pads are a cooling towel that will keep you cool for hours. This towel can absorb eight times its weight in water providing longer evaporation times than conventional towels. An internal polyester mesh reinforcing material allows it to dry you off, while it cools you down. Simply moisten the towel, wring out excess, and it starts working immediately.

I actually like to use these more than the misting fans, because they are a lot more portable. I don’t have to struggle to find a place for it when I hope on Big Thunder Mountain, and they are affordable enough to get one for everyone so there’s no fighting over them.

These are great for all kinds of other summer activities as well, so you’ll get more use out of them than just Disney.  They also come in a wide variety of colors! You can get yours with Amazon Prime free shipping here!

What are your favorite tricks for surviving the summer heat at Walt Disney World?

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Pixar’s Finding Dory Movie Review http://www.chipandco.com/pixars-finding-dory-movie-review-242298/ http://www.chipandco.com/pixars-finding-dory-movie-review-242298/#respond Thu, 16 Jun 2016 15:00:19 +0000 http://www.chipandco.com/?p=242298 I have always been a movie buff. And being a movie buff, I love to talk about movies–not only my general likes and dislikes of the films I see, but I like to dissect them, looking at the different layers and try to really understand the story and character decisions. Whenever I go see a […]

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I have always been a movie buff. And being a movie buff, I love to talk about movies–not only my general likes and dislikes of the films I see, but I like to dissect them, looking at the different layers and try to really understand the story and character decisions. Whenever I go see a movie, what I look forward to the most is discussing them afterward with friends and family.

I have to admit, Finding Dory” has been one of the toughest movies ever for me to review.

“Finding Nemo” is one of my absolute Pixar films, and with having a thirteen year lapse between the first and the sequel, I had no idea what to expect. Off the bat, I realized the story couldn’t be predictable, because if it was an easy story to think up, it would have been made years sooner. Realizing this, I set some pretty high expectations, wanting a story that was intricate, unexpected, yet still seemed to fit naturally with the film’s established characters and settings. I was afraid that my excitement mixed with my expectations would set me up to not feel satisfied with the film.

The sequel picks up a year after “Finding Nemo” takes place, with Dory having the revelation that she has a family somewhere. The only problem is Dory doesn’t remember where they are. Because of Dory’s short term memory loss, she needs Marlin to help her on her journey, to assure she doesn’t get lost in the big blue. Throughout the film, she continues to have snippets of memories that reveal more about her storied past, all the while making new friends, taking risks, and breaking out of her comfort zone.

I was able to have the pleasure of seeing an early screening of “Finding Dory” at the Walt Disney Studio Lot in Burbank about a week ago, and having had several days to process the film, I still haven’t been able to stop talking about it each day, and has been on the forefront of my mind. It was definitely unforgettable.

The reason why this film has proved difficult for me to review, is because it is hard to put “Finding Dory” into words. The story was beyond what I expected, and had many signature Pixar moments of tear-jerking emotion. But unlike the format of many Pixar films where the movie opens with emotion, climaxes with adventure, and ends with happily ever after, this film toggled between all three of these things.

With Dory having short term memory loss, and is in general a very optimistic fish, she bounces back fairly quickly from a negative emotion or event. The audience is taken on a roller coaster of emotions, which really works to reveal the layers of Dory’s character that we never even knew we were there. The story is told in a way that we experience Dory’s life in the same fun, chaotic, and sometimes uncomfortable way she lives moment-to-moment.

A movie centered around the happy-go-lucky Dory could have easily been a slapstick, goofy adventure. It was shocking yet refreshing to see Pixar make bold moves by really dissecting every aspect about Dory, and learning more about this character than meets the surface. It’s overall message will really resonate with all of us, and our internal struggles and emotions we often push aside and don’t tackle head on in our own lives.

Where many films are either on opposite ends of the spectrum, being low in stakes and light in the storytelling and character development, or drawing on a plot too long or in too much serious, this film somehow finds the perfect balance. This is very telling of the level of story telling at Pixar studios, and how their films aren’t just “cartoons” but cinematic films that hold their own. They accomplished the perfect balance of fun, emotion, character development, adventure, and telling a story relevant to our modern time.

Although emotionally deep, kids will be able to grasp the general concept of everything going on, so I would say any age could go see it. With all honesty, this has quickly become my all-time favorite Pixar film, and I can’t recommend it enough to go see.

“Finding Dory” will be released nationwide June 17th.

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Top Disney World Souvenirs For Kids http://www.chipandco.com/top-disney-world-souvenirs-kids-234796/ http://www.chipandco.com/top-disney-world-souvenirs-kids-234796/#respond Tue, 14 Jun 2016 12:10:11 +0000 http://www.chipandco.com/?p=234796 The struggle is real – to find the kids a souvenir that they like, you like, and isn’t absurdly expensive can seem near impossible, and add in that it ideally should be something they can actually get some practical use out of – well, forget it, right? WRONG! If you plan ahead and look around, […]

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The struggle is real – to find the kids a souvenir that they like, you like, and isn’t absurdly expensive can seem near impossible, and add in that it ideally should be something they can actually get some practical use out of – well, forget it, right? WRONG! If you plan ahead and look around, you’ll see that there are plenty of great, useful things you can purchase for your kids at Walt Disney World.

So read on for my top picks for Disney World Souvenirs for kids:

Pens/Pencils: The classic Mickey head shaped pen is a great small, inexpensive souvenir that they can bring back to school with them, and they come in tons of styles (and pencil versions too!). Disney also makes sets of nicer pens/pencils, as well as packs of colored pencils, crayons, markers, etc – perfect for your little artist. Another good choice to go along with those is a notebook/journal or Disney coloring book – I always loved having a journal to write/sketch in, and well – you’re NEVER too old to color, in my opinion!

Dining/Dinnerware: Every kid has to eat, right? So serve up those chicken nuggets and mac and cheese at home in style – with a Disney cute bowl or plate. Even my son (who is only 18 months old!) recognizes when one of his favorite characters is on his dinner plate or cup, so these are good for kids of all ages. A reusable water bottle is also a really useful souvenir – and the Parks offer them in a variety of styles/characters.

Deck Of Cards/Board Game: Normally anything that falls into the “toy” category is tricky when it comes to the question of “will they actually USE it at home?” – but there are a few toys that might actually get some use by the kids, and the adults too! Disney has several different styles of decks of cards for sale (including awesome haunted mansion themed ones, and star wars ones too!), and they sell some great Disney themed games too – like Tower of Terror Jenga, Haunted Mansion life, Disney Candyland, Muppets Yahtzee, assorted jigsaw puzzles, and more. I personally LOVE a good family game night – so these are all things that me and my family would get a ton of use out of.

A Bag: No matter what age, there’s always plenty of STUFF that kids need when you take them places – so why not buy them their very own Disney backpack or suitcase? There are tons of options to choose from, and they will get such a thrill out of having something as adult as their very own suitcase! And backpacks come in handy all the time – school, camp, weekend at Grandma’s – the possibilities are endless, and it’s definitely something they will get a lot of use out of.

There are some souvenirs I tend to steer the kids away from – including glow sticks/light up toys, those fans that you fill with water and can mist yourself with (cool when you’re in Florida, but not so useful at home), large stuffed animals, small ones are ok, and costume/dress up items – as they tend to be VERY expensive at the Parks, and if they want them badly enough, you can usually find them online for cheaper.

Hopefully you find this list helpful and keep these suggestions in the back of your mind when heading to Walt Disney World – they can help you save precious suitcase space, and money too!

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Tips & Tricks for Traveling To Disney World with Toddlers http://www.chipandco.com/tips-tricks-traveling-disney-world-toddlers-240386/ http://www.chipandco.com/tips-tricks-traveling-disney-world-toddlers-240386/#respond Sat, 11 Jun 2016 11:53:40 +0000 http://www.chipandco.com/?p=240386 As all you parents out there know, life with toddlers is a unique experience (interpret that however you like…). They are amazing and learning different things every day, and there is no stage in life quite like it. Toddlers love experiencing new things and places, so what better way to introduce them to new things […]

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As all you parents out there know, life with toddlers is a unique experience (interpret that however you like…). They are amazing and learning different things every day, and there is no stage in life quite like it. Toddlers love experiencing new things and places, so what better way to introduce them to new things than with a trip to Walt Disney World!!

Here are some tips to help you plan for that magical trip with your little one: Walt Disney World “Do’s and Don’t’s” when traveling with toddlers:

DO:

Involve Them In The Planning: They may not understand it all, and will think when you say “We’re going to Disney!” that means right now even if its months away, but toddlers retain more than we think. Let them help make decisions, but break it down in toddler friendly terms, like “do you want to eat breakfast with Winnie The Pooh, or with Mickey Mouse?”, and “Do you want to go see the animals on the first day, or the Castle?” – thank and praise them for their input, and then when you get to Disney, remind them that they chose this meal/park/ride – they will love getting to make “big people” decisions!

Prepare Them: Show them pictures and videos of the rides/parks and explain to them how it all works – The Parks, the lines, the rides, the characters, etc. Especially the characters – try and get them some character interaction (like at a local theme park perhaps?) before you head to Disney, so you can get an idea of how they might react. If that’s not possible, just show them videos of other kids their age meeting and hugging and getting excited to meet their favorite characters

Pack Smart: Make sure you have plenty of snacks, drinks, and toys for the plane ride, ride lines, bus/boat rides – basically, be prepared for all the time you will spend waiting with lots of toddler-friendly distractions. New little toys/books can be bought cheaply at the dollar store – think things like bubbles, matchbox cars, coloring books, stickers, etc – these are all very useful in helping to prevent toddler meltdowns. Make sure you also back an extra change of clothes (or 2!) for your little one when you head off to the Parks, plus all the standard necessities like sunscreen, hats/hoodies/sunglasses, water bottles, extra wipes and kleenex, etc

DON’T:

Stray TOO Far From Your Toddler’s Regular Schedule: Obviously you’re on vacation, and in a new place, so you can’t expect to always stay 100% on schedule when it comes to naps or meals, but do the best you can to keep meals/snacks around the same time, and while you might not really get a chance to “nap” while touring the Parks, you can definitely make “quiet time” a reality – find a shady spot to spread out with your toddler, and bring a few books and their stuff animal or blanket, and encourage them to lay down in their stroller/on your lap for a bit, and if they nap, great, and if not – at least they got to unwind for a bit. If you’re able to leave the Parks somewhat easily (like if you’re staying on-site at a WDW Resort), then you can head back to your hotel for quiet time/naptime/pool time after lunch, and then be refreshed and ready to head back out to the Parks for dinner!

Do Too Much: On your little one’s first trip to WDW you want them to be able to see and do as much as possible, so it’s easy to try and overplan or to try and squeeze in just one last ride before lunch – and that’s where things can get dicey. Keep a close eye on your toddler – notice when they seem to be dragging, and assess the situation – maybe they just need to be carried for a bit, or maybe a break is in order – take LOTS of breaks – for snacks, drinks, or just to sit down for a few minutes. Your toddler is probably on sensory overload – so any chance you can take to do nothing while at WDW is a plus, gives them a chance to recharge, and the frequent breaks will keep you from overwhelming them

Expect Everything To Go As Planned: No matter how much you prepare for your WDW trip – the reality is that nothing with a toddler ever goes exactly as you plan it – and that’s ok! My best advice is to have a plan, but to be willing to be spontaneous too – it’s ok if you don’t ride every ride or meet every character, and if your toddler likes the train the best and wants to ride it 8 times – then do it! That’s how you make the best memories sometimes, by throwing the plan out the window and letting fate decide your day!

What about you have you traveled to WDW with toddlers? What are your best tips and tricks for making the most out of your vacation with them?

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Enjoy Dessert and a Nightcap at Amorette’s Patisserie in Disney Springs http://www.chipandco.com/enjoy-dessert-nightcap-amorettes-patisserie-disney-springs-240477/ http://www.chipandco.com/enjoy-dessert-nightcap-amorettes-patisserie-disney-springs-240477/#respond Wed, 08 Jun 2016 23:00:52 +0000 http://www.chipandco.com/?p=240477 Do you enjoy a sweet treat along with a nightcap to wind down at the end of a long day?  If you answered yes then Amorette’s Patisserie, owned and operated by Disney, and located in the Disney Springs Town Center, is the place for you.  Amorette’s means “little loves” and this superior shop certainly puts […]

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Amorette's

Do you enjoy a sweet treat along with a nightcap to wind down at the end of a long day?  If you answered yes then Amorette’s Patisserie, owned and operated by Disney, and located in the Disney Springs Town Center, is the place for you.  Amorette’s means “little loves” and this superior shop certainly puts a lot of love into the design and flavor of their pastries.  The same can be said for the alcoholic, non-alcoholic, hot, and cold drinks offered at this establishment.  Amorette’s Patisserie also offers gluten-free and vegetarian menu options.

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The pastry choices are unique and, depending on your palette, the offerings are absolutely mouth-watering.  For a light, melt-in-your mouth option try the “Dancing with Pavlova.”  This meringue crisp contains a raspberry pate de fruit jelly and chantilly for a delightful combination of flavors.  If you are a chocolate lover, try the “Avant Garde.”  This chocolate mousse is made with chocolate chiffon cake and chocolate crumble offering a rich, yet light, chocolate treat .  For those adventurous types, try the “Sunrise Tokyo Bay.”  This yuzu chiffon cake is made with green tea crumble, yuzu jam, and mandarin creating an amazing burst of tartness and sweetness at the same time.  If you enjoy cheesecake then you must try the “49th and Broadway.”  This version of New York Cheesecake contains lemon curd, blueberries, and chantilly for an incredible mixture of flavor and texture.  The “Reflections in Memphis” offers a combination of peanut butter mousse, banana pate de fruit jelly, chiffon cake, and carmelized bacon pieces for a taste that is reminscent of a visit to Memphis, TN.  Amorette’s calls their strawberry tart “Strawberry Fields of O. C.”  and combines lemon curd with strawberry mousse and basil sugar for a merger of flavors you will want to savor.  Their “Palais Garnier” is a traditional opera cake containing almond cake with coffee buttercream and chocolate ganache.  The “Viennesse Waltz” is a classic sacher torte with chocolate almond financier cake, chantilly, and apricot jam.

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Did you know that Key Lime Pie is the official pie for the state of Florida?  Amorette’s Patisserie has appropriately named their key lime tart the “Sunset on Mile Marker 0.”  In case you might be interested, Mile Marker 0 is located at the end of US 1 in Key West, Florida.  This popular landmark signifies the end of US 1, which begins in the upper part of Maine, and is the southernmost point of the United States.  “Sunset on Mile Marker 0” is a key lime tart that is made with chantilly and baked meringue offering a smooth balance to the acidity of the lime.

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If you enjoy an eclair, like I do, then you may want to try one of Amorette’s Patisserie Eclairs.  They offer four types: Pistachio, Lemon Meringue, Raspberry, and Caramel Coffee.  My personal favorite is the Pistachio Eclair made with a lovely pistachio cream and a pastry that is so light and airy that it just melts away in your mouth.  I had the distinct pleasure of having one of the pastry chefs show me how they create the decorative topping for the eclairs.  They begin by painting white chocolate onto a special paper coated with colored cocoa butter.  After the chocolate has cooled and hardened they remove the white chocolate plaque from the paper to be placed on the top of the eclair.  If you have a question, just ask.  The team members were more than happy to explain, and show me, how they make these edible toppings.

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You have many options for ordering your nightcap as well.  From beautiful champagnes and sparkling wines, to coffees, hot chocolates, and lovely cold milk, there is something here for everyone.  I absolutely loved the “Iron Horse Fairytale Celebration Cuvee.”  After all what better reason to celebrate a Fairy Tale is there than a visit to Disney World?  If you enjoy coffee, the guests in this establishment, that I spoke with, raved about the quality and flavor of the coffee they were drinking.  There is cold milk, popular amongst the youngsters and those who really just prefer to follow a sweet treat with a glass of cold milk.  I believe that the most popular beverage is going to be, hands-down, the Amorette’s Hot Chocolate Ganache.  This is not your typical hot chocolate.  It is delectable hot chocolate with chantilly and shaved dark chocolate meant to linger over for a time.  You may want to find a table and enjoy your wonderful treats.  If you do not have time to stay, you can place your order and have it delivered to your Disney Resort.

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Are you celebrating something during your visit?  Amorette’s Patisserie has specialty cakes that you can order.  Whether it is Amorette’s 10 layer Signature Cake, Mickey Mouse Cake, Minnie Mouse Cake, or Goofy Cake, you will be thrilled with the finished product.  You can pre-order your cake by calling 407-934-3500 at least 72 hours in advance.  Once your cake is ready, it will be packaged in a beautiful boutique-style Amorette’s signature hat box.  The presentation is quite beautiful.

Which pastry and nightcap will you choose?  Please leave your comments in the box below.  Bon Appetit!

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Blu-Ray Review – Disney’s Zootopia http://www.chipandco.com/blu-ray-review-disneys-zootopia-240562/ http://www.chipandco.com/blu-ray-review-disneys-zootopia-240562/#respond Tue, 07 Jun 2016 17:00:08 +0000 http://www.chipandco.com/?p=240562 “Zootopia” has been an incredible success critically and financially, having just crossed the $1 billion threshold on June 5th, making it the second highest grossing Walt Disney Animation Studios film of all time! Disney definitely nailed it with this film, and created a Blu-Ray of bonus features worthy of how incredible this movie is! Often […]

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Zootopia” has been an incredible success critically and financially, having just crossed the $1 billion threshold on June 5th, making it the second highest grossing Walt Disney Animation Studios film of all time! Disney definitely nailed it with this film, and created a Blu-Ray of bonus features worthy of how incredible this movie is!

Often times, it seems that the Blu-Ray of a film can be pretty lack-luster in its bonus feature offering, and not really give us the in-depth behind the scenes looks at the making-of that fans crave. I was pleasantly surprised, however, not only with how in-depth these bonus features were, but also incredibly entertaining! Let’s take a look at each one:

  • Zoology: The Roundtables – This is a series of interviews with the directors, costumers, and other crew members who discuss the exciting moments (and the challenges) of making this film. It felt really personable, and like a fun conversation with the crew rather than documentary-style talking heads, which I enjoyed. They talk about fun challenges, such as figuring out how to tailor clothes to various types of animals, and the progression of the movie’s characters as the film moved along in development.
  • The Origin of an Animal Tale – I felt this was a unique bonus feature, talking about how there was a change of the film’s main character fairly late in the game. I feel like we often don’t hear about why major changes sometimes happen during the development of a film, so it was interesting to hear how they felt such creative shifts can benefit a story so dramatically.
  • Research: A True-Life Adventure – This bonus feature was so fun to watch! We watched the documentation of the animators doing their research on the character’s real-life animal counterparts at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and in Africa. It was incredible to watch how they’re “true-life adventures” were interpreted onto the screen with anthropomorphic animals.
  • Z.P.D. Forensic Files – This bonus feature focuses on all the Easter eggs hidden in the movie. They couldn’t show all of them, as there were way too many to list! But they showed some pretty interesting ones that would have been near impossible to notice otherwise!
  • Scoretopia – Documentation on the making of the film’s score, which was composed by Michael Giacchino. You get to see the use of dozens of instruments with tribal flairs, which I hadn’t noticed prior to watching this feature. Having seen the movie again after watching the bonus features, it really created a new love and appreciation for the dedication and passion behind the film’s score.
  • Deleted Characters – A discussion with the directors about some characters that were storyboarded, but ulitmately eliminated from the final film. Since I can’t get enough of “Zootopia”, I loved getting a little extra of the film by getting a taste of some more hilarious and intriguing characters within the world of Zootopia.
  • Deleted Scenes – Many of these are more like alternate versions of scenes already in the film, as opposed to full on deleted scenes. Some of the deleted scenes were actually quite funny, and I loved that the deleted scenes felt lengthy and like actual scenes. I feel like many bonus features on Blu-Rays are more like short, scene transitions. I especially enjoyed the deleted scene entitled “Detective Work”, where we get to see how small animals like Judy cope with technology more suited for larger animals.
  • “Try Everything” Music Video – The music video is Shakira‘s “Try Everything” with clips of the film cut together throughout the video. I keep playing it over and over again, not only because it’s an uplifting and catchy song, but because my toddler can’t stop dancing to it!

Overall, I would highly recommend getting the Blu-Ray of Zootopia, or purchase on Disney Movies Anywhere when it becomes available June 7th! The bonus features have a lot of substance, fun, and give fans a very satisfying behind-the-scenes look of the film.

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Top Disney Souvenir Picks For Adults http://www.chipandco.com/top-disney-souvenir-picks-adults-236946/ http://www.chipandco.com/top-disney-souvenir-picks-adults-236946/#comments Mon, 06 Jun 2016 12:00:29 +0000 http://www.chipandco.com/?p=236946 We we all know how awesome vacation souvenirs are when you’re a kid, but who says adults can’t bring home some awesome Disney keepsakes too? Read on for my top Disney souvenir picks for adults: Tech Accessories: Disney World shops and stores offer tons of great iphone and android phone cases/covers, and you now have the […]

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We we all know how awesome vacation souvenirs are when you’re a kid, but who says adults can’t bring home some awesome Disney keepsakes too? Read on for my top Disney souvenir picks for adults:

  • Tech Accessories: Disney World shops and stores offer tons of great iphone and android phone cases/covers, and you now have the ability to personalize these too – with the Create your own phone case kiosks coming to the Parks this Spring!
  • Bags/Totes/Purses: We all need to carry our stuff from place to place, so why not do it in style? One of the benefits of being an adult is that you can sometimes splurge a bit more on some nicer things – like a Disney Dooney and Bourke or Vera Bradley perhaps? They come in a variety of sizes, styles and patterns, and while the price tag might seem a bit steep for some of the bigger bags – it’s a small price to pay for something so classic! Guys aren’t left out of this category either – there are some really nicely made bags and other items in the Twenty Eight & Main Collection that are perfect for the man in your life
  • Kitchenware: I have to admit, this is a personal favorite of mine – and any time I enter a store at one of the Disney Parks, I am immediately scanning the shelves to find the home goods and kitchenware. It’s a weakness of mine – and I partly blame Disney for making SO MANY perfect yet practical things! Oven mitts, serving spoons/spatulas, plates, silverware, cups, bowls, mugs (I cannot say no to a cute Disney Mug), even aprons – they sell all this and more, and these could not be more amazingly useful – we all need spatulas right? So why not make it a DISNEY spatula!
  • Jewelry/watches: There is a HUGE selection of jewelry and watches available at various spots throughout the Disney Parks – there’s the Crislu collection which features Mickey in a variety of rings/necklaces/earrings and bracelets, Disney Pandora charms, Disney Alex & Ani bracelets, and SOOO much more. There’s a lot available for a reasonable price too, like really cute earrings and necklaces for under $20, and they also sell tons of diamond and gold items featuring Mickey and Pals, too
  • Personalized Souvenirs: There are a lot of spots around the Parks that will engrave/personalize various items – things like wine glasses/mugs and other drinkware, wooden and glass picture frames, leather accessories like bracelets or keychains, Christmas ornaments, and of course the iconic Mickey Ears – something no one should be without (no matter their age!). What better way to commemorate an amazing Disney vacation than with a personalized souvenir? We got an engraved photo frame last time we were at WDW, and put our picture from 1900 Park Fare in it

I LOVE buying Disney souvenirs as an adult – but I have to admit that my favorite one of ALL time is trip photos – all the pictures I take at Disney are super special to me, and I love displaying them and reliving the great times and memories captured in the pictures. But I want to know what you think – what’s YOUR favorite Disney “adult” souvenir?

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What’s To Eat at the Magic Kingdom for Snack Time! http://www.chipandco.com/whats-eat-magic-kingdom-snack-time-233541/ http://www.chipandco.com/whats-eat-magic-kingdom-snack-time-233541/#comments Tue, 31 May 2016 12:25:12 +0000 http://www.chipandco.com/?p=233541 Walt Disney World is home to some of the best food on the planet (at least in my opinion anyway!). There are TONS of restaurants and different types of cuisines, but I have to say – my favorite category in the Disney food world is the SNACKS – and yes, snacks are a real food […]

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Sharing CinnRoll

Walt Disney World is home to some of the best food on the planet (at least in my opinion anyway!). There are TONS of restaurants and different types of cuisines, but I have to say – my favorite category in the Disney food world is the SNACKS – and yes, snacks are a real food category – especially at WDW!

I especially enjoy snacking my way around the Magic Kingdom – and here are my top picks:

Dole Whip: It’s a must have on a hot Florida day – not to mention it’s one of the most iconic Disney snacks ever! A cup full of cool, refreshing pineapple soft serve is a simple yet delicious thing – plus you can get it swirled with vanilla, or served as a float with pineapple juice (that’s my personal favorite). Aloha Isle over in Adventureland is the best place to snag one of these – it’s worth the (sometimes long) wait in line for sure! Learn how to make them at home here!

Giant Cinnamon Bun: These used to be served at the Main Street Bakery before it was refurbished as a Starbucks, and luckily it did not disappear – as it can now be found over in Gaston’s Tavern. The recipe hasn’t changed – they are still the huge, dense, yeast-y rolls as they were when the Bakery had them – with a nice thick cinnamon swirl, and plenty of ooey gooey glaze-like frosting on top, too – they are a must try! And while some of you may see a cinnamon bun as a mere “breakfast food” – I urge you to reconsider – as these are amazing any time of day, and are big enough to share (if you’re into sharing, that is)

Waffle Sandwich: Ok, so picture a huge Belgian style waffle – crispy on the outside, steaming hot and soft on the inside – you got that mental image conjured? Ok – so now, stuff said waffle with assorted amazing toppings – like Nutella and fresh fruit, or sweet and spicy breaded chicken, or ham and swiss – and if you’re liking what you’re seeing in your mind, just imagine how good it will actually taste once you head over to Sleepy Hollow and order one. They are divine – perfect for sharing, and definitely unique – I mean who else would think of something like this but the folks at WDW? If you’re not into waffles, Sleepy Hollow also has funnel cakes , ice cream, root beer floats, and more – it’s a great little spot to stop for a snack

Corn Dog Nuggets: Bit size hot dogs wrapped in delicious corn dog batter and deep fried? Yes – it’s for real, and you can get them over at Casey’s Corner on Main Street USA. The nuggets themselves are delicious, crispy outside, soft inside, with a plump hot dog in the center – but I have to say, the location is part of the appeal here too – there are few things better than grabbing some of these to enjoy while watching the parade come down Main Street. Casey’s also serves up hot dogs (with toppings like chili or pulled pork!), fries, and nachos – just like you’d find at the Ballpark (only more delicious, of course)

English Toffee: Handmade toffee coated in melted chocolate and nuts is one of my all-time favorite Disney treats, and you’ll find it at the Main Street Confectionery – a perfect place to stop to stock up on all of your candy needs. Cake pops, fudge, candy apples, cupcakes, cookies, bulk and bagged candy, and much more are for sale here – so good luck walking out of there empty handed! The toffee is sublime – it is always fresh, and while its packed with sugar (what good toffee isn’t, after all?), it manages to come off as not overly sweet, which makes it a winner for me every time

Well, it’s official – my mouth is watering, and I want to plan my next WDW trip solely based on the fact that I will get to eat all of these awesome snacks. It may seem weird that a vacation be centered so much around food, but people who think that probably have never been to Walt Disney World – because it truly is a foodie paradise. And after having sampled a lot of what they have to offer, I always come back to these old standbys.

What about you – what are your must have Magic Kingdom Snacks?

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Tree of Life Awakens as Darkness Descends Upon Disney’s Animal Kingdom http://www.chipandco.com/tree-life-awakens-darkness-descends-upon-disneys-animal-kingdom-240122/ http://www.chipandco.com/tree-life-awakens-darkness-descends-upon-disneys-animal-kingdom-240122/#respond Mon, 30 May 2016 20:30:26 +0000 http://www.chipandco.com/?p=240122 As darkness descends upon Disney’s Animal Kingdom the Tree of Life is Awakened with brilliant hues of color and light.  When the tree awakens, fireflies magically reveal animal spirits as they emerge from the trunk of the tree.  The Awakenings are set to a fitting musical track.  Spirit creatures such as a deer, a fox, and a […]

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Awakened

As darkness descends upon Disney’s Animal Kingdom the Tree of Life is Awakened with brilliant hues of color and light.  When the tree awakens, fireflies magically reveal animal spirits as they emerge from the trunk of the tree.  The Awakenings are set to a fitting musical track.  Spirit creatures such as a deer, a fox, and a pair of hummingbirds will appear and embark on separate journeys.  Each experience is its own entity and lasts approximately three to four minutes.  The Tree of Life will Awaken randomly about every fifteen to twenty minutes throughout the evening.

Unlike the new Harambe Village Acrobats and The Jungle Book: Alive With Magic, this new night-time experience is not listed in the Times Guide.  One reason for this fact is that the Awakenings do not have set times.  If you wish to catch each awakenings journey, you will need to spend quite a bit of your evening in front of the Tree of Life.  However, I can assure you that your time and efforts will not go un-rewarded.  Each Awakening is truly magical and I believe these new experiences need to be added to everybody’s “Not To Be Missed” list.

Many of us are quite familiar with the Tree of Life as it appears during the day.  This iconic image of Disney’s Animal Kingdom stands 145 feet tall, is a must-see during the daylight hours, and can be seen from most areas of the park.  While this is impressive, the Tree of Life is even more spectacular at night.  Words and pictures cannot do it true justice.  The Tree of Life has been sleeping at night since the opening of Animal Kingdom on Earth Day in 1998.  With the animal spirits emerging from the tree as if they have always been there, I truly believe that this icon has been majestically awaiting it’s time of awakening.

We were able to get some videos from the Animal Kingdom from this weekend including the The Jungle Book: Alive With Magic & Awakening of the Tree of life.  We hope you enjoy them!

What do you think of the new night-time shows?  Please share your comments below.

 

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Disney World Transportation 101 – What To Expect http://www.chipandco.com/disney-world-transportation-101-expect-239686/ http://www.chipandco.com/disney-world-transportation-101-expect-239686/#comments Mon, 30 May 2016 12:10:24 +0000 http://www.chipandco.com/?p=239686 Walt Disney World is a BIG PLACE – like 40 square miles big! To put that in perspective, that’s about the same size as San Francisco, or two Manhattan islands. Needless to say, one cannot expect to traverse the Disney World Parks by foot alone! Disney has its own internal transportation system in place, and it’s […]

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Walt Disney World is a BIG PLACE – like 40 square miles big! To put that in perspective, that’s about the same size as San Francisco, or two Manhattan islands. Needless to say, one cannot expect to traverse the Disney World Parks by foot alone! Disney has its own internal transportation system in place, and it’s designed to help make your life easier and allow you to spend more time enjoying all the Disney Magic!

Read on for a rundown of the basics of Disney World transportation:

Disney’s Magical Express is likely the first encounter you will have with Disney World transportation – as it’s the shuttle that brings you (and your luggage!) from the Orlando Airport to your WDW Resort Hotel , and then back again after your vacation is over (which has earned the return trip the name of “Tragical Express” – because no one wants to leave Disney World). When planning your Disney World vacation I highly suggest you plan to stay at one of Disney’s many awesome on site Resorts so that you can take advantage of this shuttle service, as it’s a great benefit that’s included for Disney World Resort guests (read more about other benefits of staying on site here)

Once you’re on site, you’ll have a variety of options to get you where you want to go, in the form of buses, monorails, and boats. All Value Resorts offer BUS transportation to the Parks/water parks/Disney Springs, and it’s once you move up to Moderate and Deluxe Resorts that you will see more options available to you:

  • BOAT transportation to the Magic Kingdom is available from: Fort Wilderness, Grand Floridian Resort, Polynesian Village Resort, and Wilderness Lodge.
  • BOAT Transportation to Epcot and Hollywood Studios is available from: Boardwalk Inn, Beach & Yacht Club Resorts, and Disney’s Swan & Dolphin Hotels.
  • BOAT Transportation to Disney Springs is available from: Port Orleans Riverside & French Quarter Resorts, Old Key West, and Saratoga Springs Resort.
  • MONORAIL Transportation connects the following places: Magic Kingdom, Contemporary Resort, Grand Floridian, Polynesian Village, and the Ticket and Transportation Center. From the Ticket and Transportation center itself, you can also catch an express monorail to both Epcot and the Magic Kingdom

Getting From Place To Place: Based on the above, it might seem like getting from point A to point B is impossibly confusing – and while it is a lot to try and understand, you really don’t have to remember all of it – as any WDW Cast Member will help you plot out your destination, and most of the time it’s as easy as taking a bus from your hotel directly to the Disney Parks. The one thing I do want to mention is that sometimes Disney World transportation runs on what I like to call “Disney Time” – which means that it might take slightly longer to get to your destination than you originally thought – between waiting for the bus/monorail/boat and then the unloading process, then the loading process, then the bus is full and they have to send another one…well, you get the picture – and it’s best just to assume you will need some extra time to get from place to place. While it may not be the world’s fastest transportation system, it manages to be as efficient as it can – considering just how many people they are moving around on a daily basis

Bottom line is – regardless of how much you take advantage of the amazing WDW Transportation system, you still will want to make sure you wear your most comfortable walking shoes when heading out for a day at the Disney Parks – personally I recommend/prefer sneakers that have been slightly worn in (but aren’t super old/worn out). You WILL be doing a LOT of walking at the Parks, so this is the one time that you should NOT worry about how fashionable your footwear is – as comfort is key here!

So what Disney World Transportation is your favorite? Let us know in the comment box below.

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Create Your Own DIY Dole Whips At Home http://www.chipandco.com/create-diy-dole-whips-home-240080/ http://www.chipandco.com/create-diy-dole-whips-home-240080/#respond Sat, 28 May 2016 21:00:25 +0000 http://www.chipandco.com/?p=240080 I scream you scream we all scream for… Dole Whips! Ah yes, those deliciously refreshing treats from Disney that have become iconic. I don’t know about you though, but I crave them when I’m not at Disney, so I love this fun way to create DIY Dole Whips a home! To have fresh and tasty Dole […]

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DIY Dole Whips

I scream you scream we all scream for… Dole Whips! Ah yes, those deliciously refreshing treats from Disney that have become iconic. I don’t know about you though, but I crave them when I’m not at Disney, so I love this fun way to create DIY Dole Whips a home!

To have fresh and tasty Dole Whips at home when ever you want, will really only require two main things. First a good Soft Serve Ice Cream Maker, you want a quality one that will hold up. The next, and most important item, is the Dole Whip brand Pineapple Soft Serve Mix. With these two lovely items you can be serving up with tropical treat of Disney vacation memories in no time. I like the Cuisinart Soft Serve Ice Cream Maker because it’s upright and has a place to set a bowl under, and a cone holder too if you want more versatility. Another fun thing to add if you’re making them at home, is a maraschino cherry, to make it a Disneyland Dole Whip! For me never having been to Disneyland (SAD I KNOW!!) it’s the closest I’ll ever get to the Californian version.

Cuisinart Soft Serve Ice Cream Maker

DIY Dole Whips Maker

Dole Pineapple Soft Serve Mix

DIY Dole Whip Mix

So there we go! Our own fun way to have a taste of Disney at home when ever we like, and great for parties too! Can we say Adventureland Themed Party? Have you ever wanted to make your own DIY Dole Whips at home?

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Host Your Own “Inside Out” Movie Night! http://www.chipandco.com/host-inside-movie-night-239186/ http://www.chipandco.com/host-inside-movie-night-239186/#respond Sun, 22 May 2016 12:00:09 +0000 http://www.chipandco.com/?p=239186 Have you had the chance to see Disney/Pixar’s “Inside Out” yet? I just saw it for the first time (I know, I am a bit behind, whoops!), and I really loved it (check out a review of the blu ray here!) – it’s such a creative theme/story for a movie, to get a glimpse into […]

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Inside-Out

Have you had the chance to see Disney/Pixar’s “Inside Out” yet? I just saw it for the first time (I know, I am a bit behind, whoops!), and I really loved it (check out a review of the blu ray here!) – it’s such a creative theme/story for a movie, to get a glimpse into what someone is actually thinking/feeling, and in a way that’s fun and easy for those of all ages to understand. The movie follows an 11 year old girl through some tough times – and shows her emotions Fear, Anger, Disgust, Sadness, and Joy hard at work – and I have to admit, I have never seen anything quite like this movie. Little ones will love the visual aspect of it, and older kids will relate to the feelings and the struggles that Riley, our main character, is facing. Inside Out is the PERFECT movie to show at your next DIY Movie Night – and here are some ideas to make the night even more fun:

Décor: This is actually a pretty easy movie to decorate for – as each emotion is represented by it’s own color – Joy is yellow, Sadness is blue, Anger is red, Disgust is green, and Fear is purple – so you can easily head over to your local party store for an assortment of plates, cups, cutlery, tablecloths and streamers in those colors. Since the movie is relatively new, you can easily purchase stuffed animals, figurines and other toys/trinkets themed after the emotions from places like Wal-Mart, Target, Amazon, and the Disney Store

Food: Every good movie night has to have some awesome snacks – so how about serving a “pop of Joy” – little cups of buttered popcorn, “Donut be Sad” blue frosted donuts, “Anger me not” red velvet cupcakes with orange frosting, “Not so disgusting” Green smoothies. Or “Fear’s Panko-Protected Green Beans” – which are breaded and baked green beans? Rainbow colored gumballs/other round candies serve as perfect “memories”, and really anything rainbow colored is bound to go over well with the little ones! Check out more themed food ideas here

Activities: This is a great chance to talk about feelings with your kids – explaining what each emotion is, and what it looks like, and then asking them to give you examples of each is a great activity that the whole family can take part in. If you’re looking for more of a hands on activity, check out this DIY memory ball activity, or this collection of assorted free printables – including number and word activities, too! This Inside out memory game is a great activity for younger kids, while older kids can benefit from some of these tips and tricks for teaching kids about emotions. Who says movie night can’t be educational, too?

If you need more party ideas, check out these great ideas (and these,too!)

I loved this movie – it made me laugh, it made me cry, it brought me joy…well, you get the idea. It really is the perfect movie to show at your next Disney DIY Movie night as it’s perfect fun for the whole family!

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Top 10 Disney World Rides to experience at Night http://www.chipandco.com/top-10-disney-world-rides-experience-night-235658/ http://www.chipandco.com/top-10-disney-world-rides-experience-night-235658/#respond Sun, 15 May 2016 13:51:14 +0000 http://www.chipandco.com/?p=235658 I’m a big proponent of getting to rope drop, taking advantage of early extra magic hours and getting on as many rides as you can in the morning before the crowds, but there is a different kind of Magic at night. The energy is different at nighttime when the lights come on and the parks […]

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Dumbo

I’m a big proponent of getting to rope drop, taking advantage of early extra magic hours and getting on as many rides as you can in the morning before the crowds, but there is a different kind of Magic at night. The energy is different at nighttime when the lights come on and the parks are extra beautiful. Especially at Magic Kingdom, the music seems a little louder, the scents from Main Street are more fragrant and of course the brilliant lighting of Wishes fireworks and the Main Street Electrical Parade give an ambiance that just can’t be replicated during the day.

Here are my top picks for rides not to miss when the sun goes down:

  1. DUMBO. When Dumbo was moved and capacity doubled they also did an entirely new lighting scheme. The way the light bounces off the water is electric and the ride is the perfect speed and height to take in all the beauty of Fantasyland and parts of Tomorrowland all lit up.
  2. BIG THUNDER MOUNTAIN RAILROAD. The spectacular lighting on this ride at night gives it an entirely different feel from the daytime as many of the details come to life and it almost seems faster! The best tip about riding this attraction at night is be sure to check the guide for when Wishes is taking place and hop on the wildest ride in the wilderness for one of the best Wishes views in the park.
  3. SPLASH MOUNTAIN. After you ride Big Thunder Mountain Railroad trot next store to Splash Mountain. Make sure you keep your eyes open at the top of drop, it’s one of the best views of the Magic Kingdom, you can even see Cinderella’s Castle. Are you brave enough to have your camera ready?
  4. TWILIGHT ZONE TOWER OF TERROR. You think this ride is scary during the daytime? Try it at night! There is nothing quite like those doors opening and you see Hollywood Studios glowing before you in the darkness…..then you plummet.
  5. JUNGLE CRUISE. This ride in the daytime is a pretty tame boat ride through the jungle with some corny jokes, but at nighttime I would say this ride may even scare your little ones. Something about total darkness on a boat in the jungle is sure to give you chills. You may even hear some different jokes!
  6. TOMORROWLAND TRANSIT AUTHORITY PEOPLEMOVER. This is an elevated 10 minute tour of Tomorrowland where you can just sit back, relax and take in the beauty of the night.
  7. SEVEN DWARFS MINE TRAIN. Well let’s be honest, it’s nice to get on this ride any time of day when visiting Magic Kingdom but if you are lucky enough to go on at night I think you will like it even more. It’s the perfect location being right in the middle of Fantasyland. With every twist and turn you can see a different view of Fantasyland, and the final scene of the Dwarves’ home is so much more Magical and detailed at night.
  8. EXPEDITION EVEREST. With the new nighttime magic and extended hours coming soon to Animal Kingdom we are really going to be able to get some extra thrills from the Yeti at night!
  9. KILIMANJARO SAFARI.  This ride was previously off limits to guests after sundown but starting Memorial Weekend this ride will be open at night! You will be able to venture out onto the savanna for a nighttime safari tour and see the animals in a whole new light. (even some new animals) During the nighttime safari there will be strategically placed lighting so you will get to view the rarely seen nocturnal habits of the reserve’s animals.
  10. TEST TRACK. I can’t leave out a ride at Epcot to experience at night. While this ride starts our indoors, the thrill factor takes place outdoors. Zippin’ around that track at night just makes you want to put both hands up in the air and scream as you whip around those turns. Try timing this ride with Illuminations for some seriously amazing views.

Remember, FastPass+ has new enhancements including once you use your first three FastPass+ selections you can now go on your MDE app and add more, you can even select your preferred time of day, so pick some of these attractions to experience at night.

If you need help planning your next Disney World vacation contact me, an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner at MickeyTravels, for all your needs. Not only will I book your FastPass+ rides for your 60 days out, I can help you with dining reservations, tours, shows, and more along with answering any and all Disney questions you have to make your trip the most Magical possible. Did I mention my services are FREE? Contact me at mary@mickeytravels.com. We have some Amazing specials going on!

 

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Top 10 Unique Experiences at Walt Disney World http://www.chipandco.com/top-10-unique-experiences-walt-disney-world-238861/ http://www.chipandco.com/top-10-unique-experiences-walt-disney-world-238861/#respond Sat, 14 May 2016 12:30:48 +0000 http://www.chipandco.com/?p=238861 Walt Disney World truly has something for everyone. Whether you are travelling with children, as a family reunion, or taking an adults only trip – you can be sure to find unique experiences all over the park. Check out my top 10 unique experiences at Walt Disney World and add a little extra magic to […]

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Walt Disney World truly has something for everyone. Whether you are travelling with children, as a family reunion, or taking an adults only trip – you can be sure to find unique experiences all over the park. Check out my top 10 unique experiences at Walt Disney World and add a little extra magic to your next Disney Vacation.

Take a Behind the Scenes Tour: One of my new favorite things to do at Walt Disney World is take a behind the scenes tour. Tours range in price from super affordable to extravagant (at least for my budget). On my last trip to WDW I did the Keys to the Kingdom Tour at Magic Kingdom and the Behind the Seeds Tour at Epcot. Both were incredible experiences that I would definitely suggest to any die-hard Disney fan. On my next trip, I plan on taking a more in-depth tour of Epcot and the Animal Kingdom tour is on my Disney Bucket List.

Book a Dessert Party: Shame on me, but until my last trip to Disney, I did not know about the dessert parties! We debated between Magic Kingdom and Epcot for quite awhile, but really it came down to availability for us – we could only get in to the Epcot party. Which to be honest was our first choice because of the alcohol offerings. Come to these events hungry! There were so many dessert options we could not even try them all.

runDisney: If you are a runner, these events are totally cool. I am not a runner, but these runDisney events make me want to become one. I love a good themed event and from Princess, to Tinker Bell, to Star Wars, runDisney events offer a theme for everyone! Even better, these events offer exclusive merchandise. Do you think it would be wrong to sign up just for the merchandise?

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Golf Outing: Do you have a golfer in the family? Did you know that there are 3 golf courses offering 18 holes of championship layouts at Disney World? Well, now you do. Whether you are looking for a championship course, or a more relaxed 9 hole walking course, Walt Disney World has got you covered. You can be sure to spot some Mickey shaped sand traps too – a great photo op for the Disney golfer.

Resort hop at Christmas Time: Spending Christmas at Disney does not have to break the bank or skimp on traditions. Spend a day taking the monorail and bus system to the different deluxe resorts and check out the holiday splendor. Resorts such as the Grand Floridian really go all out for the holidays and will have you in the Christmas spirit in no time!

Jellyrolls: Ready for a more adult atmosphere after the parks? Check out Jellyrolls, the dueling piano bar located at Disney’s BoardWalk. Jellyrolls serves guest 21 and over – so raise a glass, sing along, and let the good times roll!

Scat Cat’s Club: Located in Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter, this jazz-themed club with transport you to New Orleans with the music, drinks, and appetizers. Scat Cat’s Club opens at 4pm and keeps the party going until 1am. This is the perfect stop for an adult-only trip.

Wishes at California Grill: I LOVE Wishes! It is my favorite fireworks show on property. Although I have never had a chance to experience it from California Grill, this is another one on my Disney Bucket List. Lights dim as the music is piped into the restaurant—immersing Guests in the magic of the night. Dining before the fireworks? Bring your receipt to the check-in desk on the 2nd floor for reentry to California Grill. Then, enjoy the show either from California Grill Lounge or the outside observation deck. Guests with a dining reservation after the fireworks are also invited to watch the show from the lounge or observation deck.

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Pirate Cruise: Great for parties with children, scallywags 4 to 12 years of age can set sail on a pirate adventure for approximately 2 hours, following clues to discover hidden treasure. Sailing to exotic “ports of call” (Resort marinas), they’ll hear legends of pirates past and discover clues that may just lead to a bountiful treasure chest. With four different Pirate Adventures to choose from, there is something for every pirate in training.

Characters in Flight: Take flight at Disney Springs and soar high above in a tethered hot air balloon. Characters in Flight is available most days and nights throughout the year and is a great one of a kind experience.

What is your favorite one-of-a-kind Walt Disney World activity? Are there any hidden gems that we should know about? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Monica is an Alumna of the Disney College Program. When she is not walking down the middle of Main Street USA you can find her wandering the World Showcase, or enjoying a Dole Whip while racing to her favorite attractions. When she is forced to endure life outside of Walt Disney World, you can find her in Ann Arbor, Michigan where she lives and works. You can visit her Disney lifestyle blog here.

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How To Survive Those Looooooong Stretches Between Disney Trips http://www.chipandco.com/survive-looooooong-stretches-disney-trips-234144/ http://www.chipandco.com/survive-looooooong-stretches-disney-trips-234144/#respond Sun, 08 May 2016 12:00:36 +0000 http://www.chipandco.com/?p=234144 I wish I could afford to go to Walt Disney World every year – heck I would go there every day if I could and never tire of it! But the reality for me (as for a lot of you, I’m sure) is that the expense of a WDW vacation is a luxury that I […]

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BigWaffle

I wish I could afford to go to Walt Disney World every year – heck I would go there every day if I could and never tire of it! But the reality for me (as for a lot of you, I’m sure) is that the expense of a WDW vacation is a luxury that I work hard to be able to afford every few years, and that means there’s some pretty LONNNGGGG stretches between Disney trips for me. So how do I survive until I can get my next “Disney Fix”? Read on to find out:

Disney Movie Nights: This is one of my favorite ways to keep the “Disney Magic” alive in my house – we all take turns picking a movie, and then get some snacks and activities to go along with it. Check out our ideas for Finding Nemo, Cinderella, and Up themed movie nights. This is an easy way to get everyone in your family involved in combatting the Disney withdrawal symptoms

Saving: Even if you don’t have any Disney trips planned yet, you can always start a WDW vacation fund – here’s a DIY to help you create a spot to stash all that loose change (for future use at WDW!). Or if you’re not really the crafty type, could always start an official Disney Vacation Savings Account. Check out more ways to save here – and remember – it’s never too early to start saving towards your Disney dream vacation

Reading: I like to stay on top of all that is new in the Disney “World” – so obviously I am reading Chip and Co every day without fail, and I also like to check out the Disney Parks Blog for updates, too. Beyond that, I make it a habit to purchase at least 1 new WDW guidebook every year, and to read up on changes and reviews in my free time. It’s important to me to stay abreast of the changes happening at Disney – as I want to know what to expect when I go, plus – it’s fun to read about all the ways they are making things even better for their visitors

Planning: Once you actually book your WDW vacation, there’s plenty of planning you can do. You can figure out what to pack (tips on that here!), where to eat and what places to make ADR’s for, what rides and shows you might want to see, and you can even work on a trip itinerary, too!

If you’re patiently (or impatiently!) waiting to go on your next WDW trip, hopefully you can make the wait seem a bit shorter (or at least slightly less painful!) with these tips. If you have any other tips, I would love to hear them, and would also love to know – when’s YOUR next Disney trip?

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2016 Pricing and Details for Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party http://www.chipandco.com/2016-pricing-details-mickeys-not-scary-halloween-party-mickeys-merry-christmass-party-236096/ http://www.chipandco.com/2016-pricing-details-mickeys-not-scary-halloween-party-mickeys-merry-christmass-party-236096/#respond Thu, 05 May 2016 12:01:24 +0000 http://www.chipandco.com/?p=236096 Tickets for both Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party are now available to purchase and can be ordered online or by calling (407) 939-5277. Three of the most popular table service restaurants will be available for dinner during this year’s Halloween Party and the popular HalloWishes Dessert Premium Package will once […]

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Tickets for both Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party are now available to purchase and can be ordered online or by calling (407) 939-5277.

Three of the most popular table service restaurants will be available for dinner during this year’s Halloween Party and the popular HalloWishes Dessert Premium Package will once again be returning.

Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party dates and pricing for 2016:

  • September 2, 8, 11, 13, 16, 18, 20, 25 – $72.00 plus tax age 10+, $67.00 plus tax age 3-9 in advance, $79.00/$74 same-day. Annual Passholder and DVC Member discount: $67 plus tax age 10+, $62 plus tax age 3-9.
  • September 29, 30 – $79.00 plus tax age 10+, $74.00 plus tax age 3-9 in advance, $88/$83.00 same-day. Annual Passholder and DVC Member discount: $73 plus tax age 10+, $68 plus tax age 3-9.
  • September 23 – $85.00 plus tax age 10+, $80.00 plus tax age 3-9. Annual Passholder and DVC Member discount: $78 plus tax age 10+, $73 plus tax age 3-9.
  • October 2, 6 – $86.00 plus tax age 10+, $81.00 plus tax age 3-9 in advance, $95.00/$90 same-day. Annual Passholder and DVC Member discount: $80 plus tax age 10+, $75 plus tax age 3-9.
  • October 4, 10, 11, 13, 16, 18, 20, 23, 25, 27 – $91.00 plus tax age 10+, $86.00 plus tax age 3-9 in advance, $95.00/$90 same-day. DVC Member discount: $88 plus tax age 10+, $83 plus tax age 3-9 (no discount on October 23, 25 or 27).
  • October 7, 14, 21, 28, 30 – $95.00 plus tax age 10+, $90.00 plus tax age 3-9.
  • October 31– $105.00 plus tax age 10+, $100.00 plus tax age 3-9.

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Enchanted Table Service Dining

Make mealtime part of the magic with dining experiences that serve up great food, fun and fantasy. During the specially ticketed Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, 3 of the most popular and engaging table service restaurants in Magic Kingdom park are open for dinner.

  • Be Our Guest
    Venture to the Beast’s Castle for a sumptuous show-stopping supper served in one of 3 sensational dining rooms.
  • Crystal Palace
    Feeling rumbly in your tumbly? Join Winnie the Pooh and friends for a delightful dinner buffet.

Dining reservations are strongly recommended. To reserve your table during Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, please call (407) 939-3463 or (407) WDW-DINE.

Please note: Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party tickets are required to book a dinner reservation.

Happy HalloWishes Dessert Premium Package

On select evenings from Friday, September 2 through Monday, October 31, enjoy Mickey’s “Boo-To-You” Halloween Parade from a special reserved Main Street, U.S.A. location. Experience fun, frightful floats and kooky-spooky Disney Characters dressed in their Halloween finest—followed by a private dessert party with to-die-for views of the Happy HalloWishes fireworks bursting above Cinderella Castle!

At a table draped in black tablecloth with a flickering jack-o’-lantern, dine on Halloween-themed cupcakes and desserts prepared that same day by our pastry chef, with a bountiful buffet of sweet treats like chocolate-dipped strawberries, chocolate mousse, ice cream, cheeses and fresh, seasonal fruits. Make a toast to the best ghost at your table with sparkling cider, signature lemonades, specialty Halloween drinks, hot chocolate, coffee or tea—and then marvel as the sky above explodes with color, music and light!

The Happy HalloWishes Dessert Premium Package costs $79 for adults and $47 for children (ages 3 – 9), plus tax. A separate Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party ticket is also required and is not included in the price of the package.

The package will be available on the following dates:

  • September 2, 8, 11, 13, 16, 18, 20, 23, 25, 29 and 30
  • October 2, 4, 6, 7, 10, 11, 13, 14, 16, 18, 20, 21, 23, 25, 27, 28, 30 and 31

Check-In Times and Locations

  • Guests who have purchased the Happy HalloWishes Dessert Premium Package may check in from 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM at the Will Call booth outside the Magic Kingdom park Main Entrance, where they will receive a credential for identification.
  • Starting at 7:30 PM, Guests will meet at the parade viewing area located by the flag pole in Town Square (inside the park after you pass under the train station) to see Mickey’s “Boo-to-You” Halloween Parade, which will start at 8:35 PM.
  • After the parade, Guests will be escorted to Tomorrowland Terrace Restaurant, the location for both the dessert party and the Happy HalloWishes fireworks viewing at 10:00 PM. Guests who miss the parade viewing can check in directly at Tomorrowland Terrace Restaurant at 9:30 PM.

Call (407) 939-3463 to reserve your premium package or book online. Guests under 18 years of age must have parent or guardian permission to call.

Holidays Santa Mickey

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party dates and pricing for 2016:

  • November 7, 8, 11, 15 and December 1– $91.00 plus tax age 10+, $86.00 plus tax age 3-9. Annual Passholder and DVC Member discount: $84 plus tax age 10+, $79 plus tax age 3-9.
  • November 10, 13 – $86.00 plus tax age 10+, $81.00 plus tax age 3-9 in advance, $91.00/$86 same-day. Annual Passholder and DVC Member discount: $79 plus tax age 10+, $74 plus tax age 3-9.
  • November 18, 27, 29, December 2, 4, 6, 8, 11, 13 – $92.00 plus tax age 10+, $87.00 plus tax age 3-9 in advance, $96/$91.00 same-day. DVC Member discount (November 18, 27, 29 and December 6 only): $89 plus tax age 10+, $84 plus tax age 3-9.
  • December 9, 15 – $96.00 plus tax age 10+, $91.00 plus tax age 3-9
  • December 16, 18, 22 – $99.00 plus tax age 10+, $94.00 plus tax age 3-9

Contact lbourget@mickeytravels.com or visit my Facebook page here to start planning your Halloween or Christmas themed Walt Disney World vacation. All of my planning services are 100% FREE. 

Photo Credit: Disney

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