Photography on your holidays.

Why is Photography on holidays so important?

I love taking photos and videos whilst on holidays, whether I am walking around with my DSLR, my GoPro or just with my phone there is something magical about taking some photos to help keep your memories of the trip fresh in your mind when you get back.

But even more than that, Good Photography on holidays can help inspire others to get out their and travel, see Australia, see the world.

My top 5 reasons you should be taking more Photos on your next holiday.

    1. Photos help you remember.

      • Photographs can help you remember a time, a place, even a group of people. I look back at the grainy shots I took from my first trip to Ayers Rock back in the ’90s as a child and it brings me back to a different time. I begin to remember songs that I listened to on the long bus trip there. (Thanks Green Day – time of my life). I begin to remember hearing about Robert Harvey winning the Brownlow as I look at a photo of us sitting at the Glen Helen Homestead.
      • Photos help me remember places, to inspire me to go back and see the changes. I remember looking at photos of one of my first trips up to the Daintree Forest against photos from my recent holiday and it helps you remember the way it was, to the way it is now.
    2. Photos inspire others to travel

      • I have visited so many places after seeing a photo on Instagram that has made me go… Wow. We would never have stopped at Eucla and wondered the amazing sand dunes to see the Old telegraph station except we were shown a photo after a family members trip there.  On our last trip to the Whitsundays, we took a helicopter flight over Heart Reef, as I was inspired to see it for myself. I hope that my photography can do that too.
    3. Photographs inspire you to observe more.
      • I have found now that I am taking more Landscape photos, I spend more time looking at my surroundings. I stop to see the little toadstools / Mushrooms growing in the Grass. I look up at night to see the ghostly patterns the trees make against the clouds.
      • Now I spend more time slowing down, taking the time to go on walks on our trips, I explore more, hoping to find that perfect spot to take my next photo.
    4. People will want to see your photos.

      • If you spend a little more time taking photographs of the area around you, interesting views, interesting landmarks. People will want to see your photos. Instead of seeing the same photo over and over they will be inspired by all the new places you explore and photograph.
    5. Legacy

      • A few years ago I made a photo album that had a lot of photos of my grandfather in it. These photos where so important as he died many years before I was born. Without these photos, I would have never have known what he looked like. I love the fact that my children’s children will get to see the adventures we went on. They will see photos of us, feeding Kangaroos, climbing mountains, wandering through National Parks.  For many years to come, they will continue to tell my story.

Koala Park Creswick

 

To see more of my photography head across to my Photography page.

Do you take Photo’s when you are on holidays? What motivates you?

 

 

 

 

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Koala Park – Creswick

Creswick’s Koala Park.

In 1942, forestry students built the Koala Park by constructing a fence in a section of the forest just out of Creswick to be used as a breeding area for koalas.

They released Koalas into the enclosure to breed and boost the numbers of the local population. However, there was one big problem with their plan. Koalas can climb. They were able to climb the fence and spread into the surrounding forest.

Now there is just as much chance to see a Koala in Creswick State Forest as Creswick’s Koala’s Park. However, it is the perfect place to go for a walk and see the beautiful environment around.

The walks should take you between 45 mins to an hour and a half depending on which path you decide to take.

Koala Park Creswick

Koala Park Creswick

Koala Park Creswick

Koala Park Creswick

Creswick’s Koala Park is only 30 minutes out of Ballarat and is well worth a visit.

If you want to see more Australian Animals then make sure you check out Ballarat Wildlife Park.

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Ten restaurants / counter Service at Disneyworld we are looking forward to visiting.

There is something magical about Disney, whether you are organising a trip to Disney’s Aulani resort, Disneyland, a Disney Cruise or Disneyworld, the magic begins when you make the decision to go and start planning.

Each trip has its own timeline, Disneyland requires little upfront planning, fastpasses can only be organised on the day, and restaurants can be booked 60 days out. There is not a huge range of restaurants available in the parks, with a higher quantity of table service restaurants. With more of the dining located in Downtown Disney only a small walk away from the Parks.

Whilst Disney cruises can be booked up to 15 months before depending on what time of year. For booking Port adventurers that all depends on your level on the cruise. ie Concierge and Platinum guests can book specialty restaurants and Port adventures 120 days out. Gold Castaway – 105 days, Silver 90 Days and First timers – 75 days out.

Disney Aulani, most bookings are done, either when you are there or in the weeks leading up to your trip.

However, Disneyworld involves a bit more planning. Fastpasses are booked either 30/60 days out depending on where you are staying. And most of the rides with long wait times will be all prebooked by that 60-day window. Restaurants are open for booking almost 6 months before your trip. So you are supposed to know 180 days before your trip what park you would like to spend each day at.

This took a lot for me to get my head around as we are normally very spontaneous with our meals especially when on holidays.

Disneyworld has over 55 restaurants, and another 24 restaurants in Disney Springs, Boardwalk and ESPN area. Food is such an integral part of the Disneyworld experience. Many of the restaurants are booked out 180 days out, and if you want to grab dinner at one of the more exclusive restaurants like Be our guest or Cinderellas royal table you don’t want to miss your ADR window.

In the lead up to our trip, we have been watching DFB on youtube and going through to work out our top ten restaurants we want to go to.

1. Be our guest

Who hasn’t wanted to have dinner in Beast’s castle, taste the grey stuff and see if it really is delicious. Be our guest is located in the Fantasyland in the Magic Kingdom, in the theme and appearance of Beast’s castle. Be our guest is a Counter Service restaurant for Breakfast and Lunchtime and a Table Service Signature dining experience at Dinner time. Dinner is a 3-course prix fixe meal and if using the Dining Plan takes two Dining credits.

After Dinner, most nights you are able to meet the beast in the library after Dinner. Whilst they don’t guarantee you can see the Beast most nights he is there.

2. Cinderella’s Royal Table

Every young Princess dream is to have Dinner in a castle, and Cinderella’s royal table not only lets you eat in the amazing setting but allows you to meet multiple princesses in one dining setting. Cinderella’s royal table is also a 3-course prix fixe meal and if using the Dining Plan takes two Dining credits.

3. Rainforest Cafe

This might be an unpopular opinion, but in our family, we love Rainforest Cafe, each time we have visited Disneyland one of our favorite places to eat was the Rainforest Cafe. When our children wouldn’t sleep due to Jetlag, we would end up their late at night drinking their smoothies and eating their brownies. We were heartbroken when we heard that they were closing at Disneyland, so of course, we had to book into the Rainforest Cafe at Animal Kingdom on one of our AK days. We find the ambiance amazing, the smoothies divine and the Brownie’s delicious.

4. Liberty Tree Tavern

Thanks to the Musical “Hamilton” Our daughter loves American History, she has spent months learning all there is to know about Alexander Hamilton, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington. So when she found out there was a restaurant themed to six influential American figures, this was the top of her list.

The food is in the theme of a Thanksgiving meal, who doesn’t love Turkey and sides.

5. Woody’s lunchbox

Woody’s Lunchbox is less about the food and more about the theming. Our youngest loves Toy Story, but then again who doesn’t, and when he heard that you can have Lunch at Woody’s lunchbox, it was the first place he wanted to visit. It is a counter service restaurant that has a fairly limited menu. With Soups, Sandwichs and melts on the menu.

6. Sci-Fi Dine Inn theater

Disney love theming, and from all accounts Sci-Fi Dine Inn theater has got theming down to a fine art. My oldest son loves the thought of eating dinner in a car shaped booth. Watching Sci-fi scenes on the big screen, whilst eating burger and chips. What more could an eleven-year-old want?

7. Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue

We love Ribs in our house, we also love Live music and being entertained and when we heard we could go to Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and combine the two we where sold. Now we don’t like being part of the action so we made sure we didn’t choose the Level 1 seating. Instead, we will sit back munch on fresh salad, fried chicken and delicious ribs whilst watching the show.

8. Chef Mickey

Chef Mickey is the number one restaurant for our oldest, located at Disney’s Contemporary Resort it will be a great opportunity for us to explore one of the other resorts.  Like most children, ours love Breakfast Buffets, the thought of being able to choose whatever food they like at breakfast really excites them. I still remember the looks on their faces when they went to Goofy’s kitchen for the first time and saw the collection of pastries, chocolate mousse, Mickey waffles. As soon as we started planning Chef Mickey was added to the list. The thought of being able to see the original Disney characters combined with all you can eat buffet. Simply amazing.

Mickey mouse waffle

9. Aloha Isle

Who doesn’t love Dole Whips? One of our priorities when going to Adventureland in Disneyland is having a Dole whip, and when we heard that you can go to Aloha Isle in Adventureland in Disneyworld to get one, it was quickly added to our list.

10. Crepes des Chefs de France

The reason is in the title, Crepes. I love Crepes, and whilst they don’t have my favorite flavor, Lemon and Sugar I can’t wait to grab a Crepe to enjoy the light delicious snack when we head to Epcot.

If you have traveled to Walt Disney World, do you agree with our list?

What are the top restaurants you want to visit in Disneyworld?

Let us know in the comments below.

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Feeding the Kangaroo’s at Ballarat Wildlife Park.

When you think about Australian Animals, a few instantly come to mind.

Think about it? What would be the first animals you think of?

Kangaroo’s, Koala’s, Emus and Platypus would have to be the iconic Australian Animals that tourist coming to the country are keen to see.

If you want to find a great hands-on experience then look no further than Ballarat Wildlife Park to get up close and personal with the local animals.

Ballarat Wildlife Park is only one hour and twenty minutes from Melbourne CBD, and is open 364 days a year, from 9 am – 5 pm.

Admission

  • Adults $35
  • Concession $29
  • Children $19.50
  • Family (2A & up to 4C) $95.00

Yearly Pass Cost

  • Family Membership (2A & up to 4C) $170
  • Sole Parent Yearly Membership $120
  • Individual Yearly Membership $65

Every day Ballarat Wildlife Park holds Complimentary Guided tours, Animals shows, and Presentation.

There are also opportunities for you to pay extra for special Animal Encounters, including gorgeous photos.

Ballarat Wildlife Park - Animal Encounter

Ballarat Wildlife Park has a shop, and a nice cafe so you can have a nice drink and bite to eat before you head down to help feed the locals.

That is why so many people flock to the Park, Whilst animals like the Meerkats, Dingos, Crocodiles, Alligators, and Wombats are popular it’s the free-roaming kangaroos that you find all over the Wildlife Park that have everyone excited.

If you want to feed the Kangaroo’s all you need is to grab some Kangaroo Food at the front and wander around the Park. If you are lucky you might even get to feed a gorgeous little joey or see one nestled in its mum’s pouch.

Ballarat Wildlife Park is definitely on our list of top ten things to do in Ballarat.

What iconic Australian Animals do you think of?

Linking up with Feet do travel

Have you ever wanted to feed a Kangaroo?

When you think about Australian Animals, a few instantly come to mind. Think about it? What would be the first animals you think of? Kangaroo’s, Koala’s, Emus and Platypus would have to be the iconic Australian Animals that tourist coming to the country are keen to see. If you want to find a great hands-on experience then look no further than Ballarat Wildlife Park to get up close and personal with the local animals.

When you think about Australian Animals, a few instantly come to mind. Think about it? What would be the first animals you think of? Kangaroo’s, Koala’s, Emus and Platypus would have to be the iconic Australian Animals that tourist coming to the country are keen to see. If you want to find a great hands-on experience then look no further than Ballarat Wildlife Park to get up close and personal with the local animals.

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Disney Youtube channels to watch in 2018

Are you planning a Disney adventure, do you have your heart set on a trip to Disneyland, Disney world? Maybe you want a tropical oasis in Hawaii but with a Disney twist. Or you might be wanting to Cruise with Mickey mouse on the Disney Cruise Line? The best way for you to get into the Disney spirit is to turn on youtube and start dreaming and planning your adventure with our list of Disney Youtube channels.

We have compiled a list and which ones are best for you would depend on whether you are heading to the East Coast to Disney World, or the West Coast to explore Disneyland.

Make sure you subscribe to our page to as we will be beginning to show lots of great videos from our upcoming Disney adventures.

Disney Food Blog

At the moment our first Disney youtube channel we check out is The Disney Food Blog. The Disney food blog has been going since 2009. It showcases both Disneyland and Disney World and a small number of videos on the Disney Cruise Line. Most of the Disney Food Blog videos are about the Disney World. AJ from Disney Food Blog is an amazing wealth of knowledge and her vlogs are uploaded every couple of days.

She talks all about Disney Food, attractions and experiences. But the videos of the amazing foods will make you hungry, and get you planning your next adventure.

Tim Tracker 

Over half a million people subscribe to Tim. Tim is a great Disney youtube vlogger and he posts videos all about Walt Disney World. But what we really love watching is his amazing walkthroughs of all the Disney resorts. We have used these videos to work out which of the 25 resorts would be the best fit for our families upcoming Walt Disney World trip. Tim also posts videos about Universal Orlando and the occasional trip to Disneyland on the West Coast. Tim is often joined by his wife Jenn who also has her own youtube channel.

Disney Parks

Disney Parks is the official Disney Parks youtube channel. This is a great fun youtube channel that has up to date information about all the Parks, resorts and Cruise line.

Inside the Magic

Inside the Magic is a great channel full of information about not only Disneyworld but Disneyland and Universal Studios. Normally there will be three to four new videos posted each week. They have some great POV ride Videos.

Disunplugged 

We have only recently got into their youtube channel, but have been listening to their podcasts for quite a while. The DIS Unplugged is a discussion podcast that is all things Disney, most of the team is located in Orlando so it definitely has a West Coast feel. They also have a Disneyland weekly discussion and a Universal Orlando podcast.

Fresh Baked 

If you are heading to Disneyland then you might want to head over to Fresh Baked they are a fun youtube channel that posts multiple times a week all about Disneyland.

TPM vids

TPMvids are videos all about the Disney theme parks, they are a mixture of Top ten videos, Disney secrets and also great videos about Disney History.

Innoventions Media

We also love watching the Walt Disney World Planning Video. We found it over at Innoventions Media. They also have the Walt Disney Resorts Video uploaded as well.

 

What are your favorite youtube channels that you love to watch? Let us know in the comments as we love to hear about new videos to watch about the Happiest place on earth.

 

Are you planning a Disney adventure, do you have your heart set on a trip to Disneyland, Disney world? Maybe you want a tropical oasis in Hawaii but with a Disney twist. Or you might be wanting to Cruise with Mickey mouse on the Disney Cruise Line? The best way for you to get into the Disney spirit is to turn on youtube and start dreaming and planning your adventure with our list of Disney Youtube channels.

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Disneyland vs Disneyworld. The Facts.

Traveling to the states and want to experience some Disney Magic. Then you need to visit Disneyworld or Disneyland.

Many people that have never been to a Disney Park, think that Disneyworld and Disneyland are the same thing. But they are two very different parks in two very different locations in U.S.A

The Facts about Disneyworld vs Disneyland

Disneyworld vs Disneyland

Location

Disneyland is located in California on the West Coast of America, whereas Disneyworld is located 2496 MIles away on the East Coast of America in Orlando Florida.

Size

Disneyland resort is set on 500 acres. Whereas Disneyworld is 500 times the size, set on 25000 acres of land. Roughly the same size as San Fransisco.

Theme Parks

Disneyworld has 4 Theme Parks and 2 Water Parks

  • Magic Kingdom
  • Epcot
  • Hollywood Studios
  • Animal Kingdom
  • Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park
  • Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park

Disneyland has 2 Theme Parks.

Hotels

Disneyworld has 25 resorts on property.

Disneyland has 3 resorts on property.

Transportation

At Disneyworld, all resort guests get free use of the Buses that run from Disney Springs to all the different resorts and Parks. Depending on your location some resorts also have monorail access, boats, and ferries.

Due to the size of the resort, it is impossible for you to walk from park to park. Each park is between 10-15 minutes drive.

Whereas due to the size of the Disneyland resort you are able to walk between the different parks and hotels. If you are lucky enough to be staying at the Grand California Hotel, you have your own entry straight into California Adventure Park.

The Castles

Disneyworld is home to Cinderella’s castle. It is 189 feet tall and has 27 different towers. You are able to dine inside Cinderella’s Castle, at the restaurant Cinderella’s Royal Table. Children can also experience Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique inside the castle. Cinderella’s castle was completed in 1971.

Disneyland is the home of Sleeping Beauty Castle, it opened on July 17, 1955, it is the oldest of all the castles, and the only castle that’s construction was overseen by Walt Disney. Disneyland castle is a lot smaller than Disneyworld as it is only 77 feet tall, however through forced perspective, it does look bigger.  Sleeping Beauty’s castle has a great walkthrough, that tells the story of Sleeping beauty through dioramas. It also has a room that allows people that can’t climb the steps to watch a virtual walkthrough on a TV.

Disneyland Resort

Fastpass system

Disneyland uses a Fastpass or Max pass system. They can only be booked on the day of your trip. FastPass uses kiosks located near the rides, MaxPass is an electronic system you use on your phone.

Whereas Disneyworld uses FastPass+ these fast passes can be booked 30 days in advance if staying off property, or 60 days in advance if staying on property. (To find out more check out my post on FastPass+

The rides at Disneyworld vs Disneyland rides.

Of the four parks at Walt Disney World, Magic Kingdom is the park that was made very similar to Disneyland, they share many of the rides. However, there are also differences as well

Winnie the Pooh ride Disneyland

  • Astro Orbiter
  • Autopia in Disneyland is very similar to Disneyworld’s Tomorrowland Speedway
  • Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
  • Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters
  • Carousel – King Arthur Carrousel at Disneyland and Prince Charming Regal Carrousel at Walt Disney World.
  • Castle Disneyland has Sleeping Beauty Castle and Cinderella’s Castle in Walt Disney world.
  • Disney Monorail
  • Disney Railroad
  • Dumbo the Flying Elephant
  • Fantasmic
  • Haunted Mansion
  • Innoventions
  • It’s a Small World
  • Jungle Cruise, at Walt Disneyworld they have an inside section.
  • Mad Tea Party
  • Peter Pan’s Flight
  • Pirates of the Caribbean (Disneyland is the original and much longer, with more drops)
  • Riverboat – Disneyland has Mark Twain Riverboat and Walt Disney Walt.
  • Snow White’s Scary Adventures
  • Soarin’ Over the world
  • Space Mountain
  • Splash Mountain
  • Star Tours: The Adventures Continues
  • The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
  • Tom Sawyer Island
  • Toy Story Mania
  • Treehouses, Disneyland has Tarzan’s treehouse, and Walt Disneyworld has Swiss Family Treehouse.
  • Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room

But there are some rides that are exclusive to each park.

If you want to ride on Indiana Jones, you will need to make a visit to Disneyland, if your child loves Cars then a visit to Radiator Springs in California Adventure Park is a must. If you want to soar like a Banshee on flights of passage you need to go to Walt Disney World.

 

Traveling to the states and want to experience some Disney Magic. Then you need to visit Disneyworld or Disneyland.Many people that have never been to a Disney Park, think that Disneyworld and Disneyland are the same thing. But they are two very different parks in two very different locations in U.S.A So Disneyworld vs Disneyland what are the differences.
Traveling to the states and want to experience some Disney Magic. Then you need to visit Disneyworld or Disneyland.Many people that have never been to a Disney Park, think that Disneyworld and Disneyland are the same thing. But they are two very different parks in two very different locations in U.S.A So Disneyworld vs Disneyland what are the differences.
Traveling to the states and want to experience some Disney Magic. Then you need to visit Disneyworld or Disneyland.Many people that have never been to a Disney Park, think that Disneyworld and Disneyland are the same thing. But they are two very different parks in two very different locations in U.S.A So Disneyworld vs Disneyland what are the differences.
Traveling to the states and want to experience some Disney Magic. Then you need to visit Disneyworld or Disneyland.Many people that have never been to a Disney Park, think that Disneyworld and Disneyland are the same thing. But they are two very different parks in two very different locations in U.S.A So Disneyworld vs Disneyland what are the differences.
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Discover Walt Disney World’s Fastpass+

What is a Fastpass?

Disney’s Fastpass, Fastpass+ and MaxPass are three very different virtual queuing systems that take the frustrations and wait times out of some of the attractions at the Disney parks.

What is important to know is that not all rides have Fastpass. However, most of the rides with the longest wait times do have FastPass available.

The Fastpass (Disneyland) and Fastpass+ (Walt Disney World) is free for everyone to use, however, the MaxPass (available at Disneyland) comes with a charge of $10 per person per day. At the moment this also comes with Photopass access on the day of your MaxPass, making it worth the $10 charge.

Fastpass require you to go to a Fastpass machine, normally located near the ride’s entrance and you put your admission ticket into the machine and it gives you a cardboard ticket with your return time and allows you to go have more fun in the park whilst you wait. Then when your allocated time is their you pop back in the FastPass line and get on the ride in a matter of minutes.

MaxPass (Available at Disneyland) allows you to make your Fastpass selections on your mobile phone, whilst you are in the park. It is linked to your ticket so if you have a Park hopper you are able to make the selections in either of the parks. Just like The other FastPass systems, it is not available on all rides, just the rides that have the FastPass available.

FastPass +

Disney’s Fastpass+ service lets you reserve some shows, attractions and rides in the park in advance. All you need is a valid theme park ticket. With over 60 experiences to choose from and the flexibility to amend your selections at any time, it is a very handy tool. If you link your My Disney account with your friends and family that are going on your trip with you, it allows you to book for others in your trip as well.

  • You make your bookings 30 days in advance if you are staying off property, or 60 days in advance if you are staying on property.
  • You can make your bookings either by the website, or the mobile app. FastPass+ kiosks are also available in the Park.
  • There are two ways you can use your FastPass+ either by using your entry card or your magic band.

How does FastPass+ Work

What is a Magic Band?

MagicBands are bracelets that contain RFID radios, they are free for all Disney Resort guests and Annual Passholders. The Magic Bands hold all the information you need to connect your Park tickets, Your dining Plan credits, act as a Room key, payments and even your Photopass information. You can also charge food and merchandise purchases to your Disney Resort hotel room.

While other guests receive a card with an RFID chip inside, they can also use a MagicBand by purchasing them either online or at the parks at Walt Disney World.

How many rides can I book on FastPass+

Initially, you are able to choose three rides on FastPass+ when you have been on all three rides you are then able to choose one more at a time.

The important thing you need to know is that you cannot choose any more FastPasses until you have used all three, so if you decide to use your FastPass for one of the night time events you will not be able to choose any other FastPasses until the event has commenced.

Another important thing to understand is the tier system at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Epcot & Disney Hollywood Studios. At each of these parks, you must choose one ride from Tier 1, and two from Tier 2.

Other rules are

  • You can’t book the same ride in your group of three rides.
  • FastPass times cant overlap.
  • All three initial rides must be in the same park. However, after you have been on all three rides you can choose your next ride in any of the parks. To allow for Park Hopping.

What rides are Fastpass+

Magic Kingdom Fastpass+ Rides.

The Barnstormer
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin
Dumbo the Flying Elephant
Enchanted Tales with Belle
The Haunted Mansion
It’s a small world
Jungle Cruise
Mad Tea Party
The Magic Carpets of Aladdin
The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
Mickey’s PhilharMagic
Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor
Peter Pan’s Flight
Pirates of the Caribbean
Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
Space Mountain
Splash Mountain
Tomorrowland Speedway
Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid

Meet Ariel at Her Grotto
Meet Cinderella & Elena at Princess Fairytale Hall
Meet Rapunzel and Tiana at Princess Fairytale Hall
Meet Tinker Bell at Town Square Theater

EPCOT FastPass+

Tier A
Frozen Ever After
IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth
Meet Disney Pals at the Epcot Character Spot
Soarin’
Test Track

Tier B
Disney & Pixar Short Film Festival
Journey Into Imagination With Figment
Living with the Land
Mission: SPACE
The Seas with Nemo & Friends
Spaceship Earth
Turtle Talk with Crush

Disney Hollywood Studios FastPass+

Tier A
Alien Swirling Saucers
For the First Time In Forever:
Slinky Dog Dash
Toy Story Mania!

Tier B

Beauty and the Beast – Live on Stage
Fantasmic!
A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration
Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular!
Muppet*Vision 3D
Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith
Star Tours: The Adventures Continue
The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
Voyage of the Little Mermaid

Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway Opens 2019

Disney Animal Kingdom FastPass+

Tier A
Avatar Flight of Passage
Na’vi River Journey

Tier B

Dinosaur
Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain
Festival of the Lion King
Finding Nemo – The Musical
It’s Tough to Be a Bug!
Kali River Rapids
Kilimanjaro Safaris
Meet Favorite Disney Pals at Adventurers Outpost
Primeval Whirl
Rivers of Light
UP! A Great Bird Adventure

 

Have you used the FastPass+ system at Walt Disney World? Did you find it easy to use? Tell us in the comments below.

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Planning a Disneyworld trip. The 5 most important steps.

Are you planning a Disneyworld trip? 

When Walt Disney first opened Disneyland in 1955, who would have imagined over 65 years later there would be multiple Parks in multiple locations.

Disneyland, Walt Disney World, Disneyland Paris, Shanghai Disney, and Tokyo Disney.

Each of these Parks all requires their own level of research and planning but none more than Walt Disney World, the largest of all the Parks. The size of the entire Walt Disney World resort is 40 Square miles roughly the same size as San Francisco

Whereas in Disneyland you can organise your Fast passes on the day of your trip, at Walt Disney World fast passes are organised either 30 or 60 days out (depending on your accommodation).

Dining reservations are made up to 180 days out, compared to Disneylands 60 days out.

We have been to Disneyland on multiple occasions both before we had children, and then with our four children and I have to admit except for our accommodation, and preorganising our Bibbity Bobbity Boutique and Goofy’s Kitchen. There was not a lot to do before we arrived. However, our next trip to Walt Disney World is a little bit different.

Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique

Planning a Disney world trip.

Step 1, When Planning a Disneyworld trip

Choose your dates carefully.

  • Most of our trips to Disneyland have taken place over Australia’s winter/spring. It’s the perfect time to escape the chill and head across to the states. During this time there are often great specials on flights to Los Angeles and when you are traveling with four children, these flights quickly add up. Unfortunately, though that is right in the middle of Hurricane season over in the East Coast of U.S.A. The Hurricane season runs from June through to November most years
  • Crowds. There are quite a few factors that influence crowds at WDW, from Marathons, Cheer competitions, Public Holidays to Spring break. So when looking at your dates make sure you find a crowd calculator to see if there are some dates that you should simply avoid.
  • This also comes into how many days should you go? Unlike Disneyland, Walt Disney World is made up of 6 parks. 4 Theme Parks and 2 water parks, not to mention Universal Studios that is only a short Uber trip away. Depending on what time of the year you are going, you need to work out how many days would be enough. Most of my research has said that you need a minimum of one day per park, and even then you will miss out on plenty of rides, attractions, and shows.
  • Obviously though sometimes you have no choice but to go at a certain time, after being at Disneyland for the Diamond celebrations when the park was at capacity a few years ago, we have come up with a motto. Better to be at a packed Disney resort than stuck at home. So no matter the time make the most of it.

Step 2, When Planning a Disneyworld trip

– Where are you going to stay?

  • The First decision you need to make is whether you are going to stay on property or off. The Real advantages of staying on property are!
    1. The ability to get your fast passes 60 days before your trip, compared to 30 days when staying off property.
    2. Free Ground transportation from your resort to the Parks.
    3. Extra Theme park hours
    4. Disney Dining Plan
    5. Location
    6. Any items you purchase in the parks can be sent back to your room so you don’t have to carry them around the park
  • If you are staying on property, what level of Accommodation are you after? Walt Disney World has 25 resorts to choose from. They are classed as Value resorts, Moderate resorts, Deluxe resorts, and Deluxe Villas. Obviously depending on the number of guests in your party your choice of accommodation can be fairly limited. AS we travel in a group of 6 we find it a lot harder to find accommodation that will accommodate all of us, than if you were traveling in groups of 5 or less.

Value: 

Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort
Disney’s All-Star Music Resort
Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort
Disney’s Art of Animation Resort
Disney’s Pop Century Resort
The Campsites at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort

Moderate:

Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort
Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort
Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter
Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside
The Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort

Deluxe:

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
Disney’s Beach Club Resort
Disney’s BoardWalk Inn
Disney’s Contemporary Resort
Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort
Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
Disney’s Yacht Club Resort

Deluxe Villas:

Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort
Boulder Ridge Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
Copper Creek Villas & Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas – Jambo House
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas – Kidani Village
Disney’s Beach Club Villas
Disney’s BoardWalk Villas
Disney’s Old Key West Resort
Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows
Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa
The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa

Step 3 – When Planning a Disneyworld trip.

Should you do the Dining Plan?

Another big difference when planning your Disneyworld trip is the Disney Dining Plan. The Disney Dining plan allows you to prepurchase your dining before you get to the park for a predetermined price.

There are three levels of the Dining Plan. (2019 Prices)

Quick-Service Dining Plan

Adults $52.50 (9 plus)

Children $23.78 (3-9 Years)

Per guest, for each night of your stay:
2 self-service meals
1 non-alcoholic/alcoholic drink per meal
2 selected snacks
Refillable mug (This can only be refilled at the resorts, not in the parks)

Disney Dining Plan

Adults $75.49 (9 plus)

Children $27.98 (3-9 Years)

Per guest, for each night of your stay:
1 waiter service meal
1 self-service meal
1 non-alcoholic/alcoholic drink per meal
2 selected snacks
Refillable mug (This can only be refilled at the resorts, not in the parks)

Deluxe Dining Plan

Adults $116.25 (9 plus)

Children $43.49 (3-9 Years)

Per guest, for each night of your stay:
3 waiter or self-service meals
1 non-alcoholic/alcoholic drink per meal
2 selected snacks
Refillable mug (This can only be refilled at the resorts, not in the parks)

When you arrive at the resort they load all your credits onto your magic bands, so you can use as many of them you want each day. So if one day you decide you don’t want any snacks, you can purchase more snacks on another day. You just need to make sure you use up all your credits before midnight on the day you check out.

One look on any of the Walt Disney World Facebook groups will have you confused as to whether you should or shouldn’t do the Disney plan, you need to work out what you want for a trip. Ask yourself these questions

  • The age of your children, all children 9 years and over have to pay adult prices.
  • How much do you eat?
  • How many days are you going to be doing things outside of the park, as the Dining plan is for every day of the whole trip? So if you are at Universal for a couple of days you will still pay for those days.
  • There are still additional costs associated with it, Ie Tips are not included in Table service meals.
  • What sort of foods do you normally eat?

Walt Disney World

Step 4 – When Planning a Disneyworld trip

What Ticket should you buy?

There are three different tickets you can purchase to get into Walt Disney World. Obviously, each level comes with a different price.

Park ticket

  • Access to 4 Theme Parks
  • No Park Hopping
  • No Water Parks

Park Hopper

  • Access to 4 Theme Parks
  • Multiple parks per day
  • No Water Parks

Park Hopper Plus

  • Access to 4 Theme Parks
  • Multiple parks per day
  • Water Parks
  • Also you can visit one of these Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park, Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park, ESPN Wide World of Sports, Greens fees at Disney’s Oak Trail Golf Course; one round of mini golf at Disney’s Fantasia Gardens Miniature Golf Course (prior to 4pm) or One round of mini golf at Disney’s Winter Summerland Miniature Golf Course (prior to 4pm) each day.

Step 5 – When Planning a Disneyworld trip

What Park are you visiting on what day?

  • Fastpasses

The big difference between planning a Disneyland and Walt Disney World trip is the Fast pass system at each park. Disneyworld has a system called Fastpass+ in this system you are able to book your fast passes either 30 days out or 60 days out if you are staying on property. The problem with this is that you then need to work out what resort you want to be at 60 days before your trip.

With Fastpass+, you can only prebook your fast passes at the one park. So if you are desperate to get on one of the must do rides, like Animal Kingdoms Flights of passage and get a FastPass on Day 3 of your trip, then you are stuck planning your day around the park.

Now if you have a hopper you can skip out after your fast passes.

  • Meal reservations

Another tricky thing is Meal reservations, some of the restaurants are booked up 180 days in advance if you want a dinner reservation at “Be Our Guest Restaurant” you often need to book it 6 months in advance. Once again if you manage to swing a dinner reservation and don’t have a Park Hopper pass you are then stuck at a certain park for the day.

  • Crowds

The interesting thing about Walt Disney World is often there will be different events running on different days so the crowds can be very busy at one park, and very slow at others. This is something you should keep in mind.

Magic hours (Often the park with extra magic hours is a lot busier)

  • Special events.

Some days the parks will close earlier for a special ticketed event, Keep that in mind as if you are planning to spend the day at the Magic Kingdom and then find out it is closing 3 hours earlier, it will be very disappointing. (however often if you have a park hopper ticket the morning of special events are known to be a little bit quieter as people without Park hopper tickets often avoid the park that day.

Star Tours WDW Planning a Disneyworld trip

Have you been to Disneyworld before? Do you agree with the 5 most important planning steps to planning a Disneyworld trip?

 

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Knife Fork Spoon Kitchen – Ballarat

Knife Fork Spoon in Ballarat is a gorgeous little cafe that is open 7 days a week in Ballarat.

Those local to Ballarat know it as a place to get the Instagram favorite “Freakshakes” as well as some other delicious sweet and savory foods.

Located in Lydiard Street within a short walk of the Regent cinemas, Ballarat Art Gallery it is a lovely place to sit and relax when you are in Ballarat.

Now since the Canberra Cafe Patissez, started the Freak shake back in 2015, all around Australia Cafe’s have begun making these amazing calorie loaded milkshakes. So many times though they look amazing, but the taste of the milkshakes is obviously an afterthought and the milkshakes lack flavor.  But not at Knife Fork and Spoon, their milkshake flavour is amazing.

Knife Fork Spoon Ballarat
Salted Caramel Freakshake, from Knife Fork Spoon Ballarat

No matter your age you can enjoy the Freakshake, with a small kids version also available, that comes with a little bit of fairy floss (cotton candy) and decorated with sprinkles around the edge. It also has colored popcorn and some lollies/lollypops as decoration.

Knife Fork Spoon Ballarat
Children’s Freakshake, from Knife Fork Spoon Ballarat

Knife fork Spoon caters for everyone, and if you do bring your children there they have coloring in for the kids to do, Bags of wipes (Well needed after all these sticky treats). But the favorite place for kids is located outside the back a great blackboard wall.

To keep you warm in Ballarat’s often cooler weather is a nice Gas heater.

Knife Fork Spoon Ballarat

Knife Fork Spoon Ballarat Knife Fork Spoon Ballarat Knife Fork Spoon Ballarat

Knife Fork and Spoon is so much more than the freakshakes they also have a great collection of sweet and savory food. My favorite is the amazing Pulled Pulled Tacos.

Knife Fork Spoon Ballarat
Pulled Pork Taco, from Knife Fork Spoon Ballarat

Whereas my children love the Ham and Cheese Toastie that comes with some delicious Tomato Relish.

Knife Fork Spoon Ballarat
Ham and Cheese Toastie, from Knife Fork Spoon Ballarat

There are cakes, waffles and so much more. A quick search of the #knifeforkspoon on Instagram and you can see all the amazing food, so beautifully presented.

Knife Fork Spoon Ballarat
Kids Waffles by Knife Fork Spoon Ballarat

To go there and have amazing food is one thing, but the thing that makes Knife Fork and Spoon stand out from other local cafes is the service. We went in recently for our daughters birthday, and one of the staff overheard one of the guests wish her a Happy Birthday. When her freakshake came out they had added a sparkler and another lollypop for her.

It made her day.

Knife Fork Spoon Ballarat
S’more Freakshake, from Knife Fork Spoon Ballarat
Knife Fork Spoon Ballarat
Caramello Freakshake, from Knife Fork Spoon Ballarat
Knife Fork Spoon Ballarat
Willy Wonka Freakshake, from Knife Fork Spoon Ballarat

So if you are ever in Ballarat, make sure that you pop into 16 Lydiard Street Ballarat, and find Knife Fork Spoon Ballarat.

 

Have you ever tried a “Freakshake” before? What is your favorite flavor?

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Onslow, Western Australia

A visit to Onslow in Western Australia.

Onslow Western Australia

A beautiful coastal town rich in beauty and history.

On the north side of the Exmouth turnoff on the North West coastal Highway {Highay 1} is the turnoff to Onslow.
The 80 kilometers of excellent sealed road reveals quarries, salt lakes, and other mining ventures and is well worth the effort.
The town itself is neat and clean with two caravan parks. One is in the middle of town on the. Foreshore, by far the most popular, and the other out of town at an accommodation camp set up for the construction workers building the plants operating close to the town.
Salt is exported from here and has it’s own jetty and loading facility to service the large ocean cargo ships that dock there.
There are gas rigs out in the Indian Ocean relatively close to shore where gas is piped into a processing plant some kilometers from the town and then exported from its own loading facility further along the bay.
Another smaller gas plant provides power for the salt works.

With the industries set up there, it was hoped Onslow would become a thriving regional town with many new building programs in the pipeline, and land subdivisions carried out.
Some of these have been completed eg upgrades to the hospital and primary school and a beautiful swimming pool complex. BHP has also contributed to the town with an excellent sporting complex and several new homes have been built.

Sadly, however, the town hasn’t reached its expectations at this point, and with the construction workers basically gone, the town’s progress has slowed.

We are told regular workers at the various plants use the very good airport as a fly in, fly out service, but that permanent worker are requested to live in the town.

The town caravan park is booked out over June, July so bookings are advised. Unsure about the Discovery Park approx 3 k’s out of town. Apparently, school holidays over the tourist season are very popular.
There is an overflow park down at the Showgrounds however

The first time we decided to come here, we were advised against it as being boring and uninteresting. To us, and obviously many others, it is far from that!!

The fishermen really love it there and there are many ‘permanents” booked into the park year in, year out for months at a time.

The relics of Old Onslow have been set up as a drive yourself tour with historical points of interest written on markers as you make your way around. Most interesting.

Near the old town, there is a river where free campers delight to spend much time fishing and relaxing.

A town museum has a pictorial mural on the street frontage taking you through the various stages of the area’s history, even if you don’t have the time to visit the actual museum.

The most endearing part of Onslow for me is the beautiful war memorial set up on the hill at the start of the interesting boardwalk that runs along the beach leading to the salt jetty.
It faces due east so that the sun rises through it’s centre. Absolutely spectacular, and a very popular photo shot.
“We will remember them” is inscribed on the arch.

Alongside, this is a concrete bench seat with two brass slouch hats just resting there. Very sobering and personal. You want to look around for the soldiers who may have left them there, or maybe they are the ones we are remembering. Just lovely.

Apparently, Onslow was a fuel depot during the war for the allies and the vicinity was bombed.

Onslow Western Australia Onslow Western Australia Onslow Western Australia Onslow Western Australia

We have really enjoyed our trip through Western Australia and hope you enjoy hearing all about it.

Love Merril and Bob.

Take a visit to Onslow in Western Australia. A beautiful coastal town rich in wonder and history.
Take a visit to Onslow in Western Australia. A beautiful coastal town rich in wonder and history.
Take a visit to Onslow in Western Australia. A beautiful coastal town rich in wonder and history.

 

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