Our Epic Disney Vacation

To Travel is to Live – Hans Christian Andersen, And live we have.

Epic Disney Vacation

I have always had a real wanderlust, a desire to travel, as Children though we never did, so I would dream of faraway places, adventures, travelling the world.

When we got married we decided to travel so in between work and renovations on our house, the years before our kids where born were spent travelling the high country of Victoria, relaxing in the Whitsundays and driving around the USA including a child-free trip to Disneyland.

I was hooked Disneyland was all that I had imagined as a young child living in a busy house in Melbourne.

Since then we have been back a couple more times, the first time when our older two were 4 and 6, then again when our four kids where 1,3,8 and 10. Our kids are caught up in the Magic of Disney too.

The minute we get back they start planning the next trip and after the trip in 2016, our oldest decided she had a goal.

Her goal was to go to every Disney Park / resort in the world.

She managed to tick the next item of her list when we went to the Disney Aulani resort in 2017, but her travel goal was still much bigger than that.

At home we have a Dream board that the kids have made, they cut out all the places they want to visit in the world and attached it to a board that sits near our dining room table. Every day as we sit for dinner we are reminded of where we have been and where we want to go. As you can see Disney is a huge part of this.

One of the best thing about being a parent is watching your children dream big dreams. Whether that is academic goals, sporting goals, theatre goals or even travel goals. What is even better than seeing them dream big goals is being in the position to help them achieve that. Whether that is being the taxi each week as they run from after-school commitments, whether it is helping motivate them to study for that next trip, or to plan the epic Disney trip so your kids can visit not only Disneyland on New Years Eve, but then also go a Disney Cruise before finishing off the trip with two weeks in Florida and Disneyworld.

Epic Disney Vacation

Our Epic Disney trip didn’t start off that way though. It started much smaller.

We had wanted to visit the East Coast of U.S.A again we had visited back in 2011 and had some work commitments that meant we were heading over. We decided that as we had to go there for work we may as well bring the kids and visit Disneyworld. Then we decided well if we were heading all the way over there spending almost 24 hours in an aeroplane with four kids we may as well do a Disney cruise as well. As who knows when we would get back over there.

Epic Disney Vacation

We remembered how exhausted we were after our last trip with the flight to LA and sitting in a crowded airport before our flight to New York and decided with kids it would be better to break it up and spend a couple of days in LA before our flight to Orlando. Allowing us to fly directly into LA and spend a few days there.

Now anyone flying with a big family knows it is often hard to get accommodation to fit all of you. Hotels can never guarantee interconnecting rooms, so you are often forced to look into apartments or hotels with family suites.

As we were going over New Year’s Eve meant our search got even harder and the only available accommodation we could find was in Anaheim. Now tell me if you are staying in Anaheim how could you not visit Disneyland?

Epic Disney Vacation

So our epic Disney trip was born.

Itinerary

Disneyland hotel – 3 nights

Hyatt Regency Orlando Airport Hotel – 1 night (this Hotel was amazing, I will follow this up later in another post on why you should stay here before your Disney cruise)

Disney Dream – 3-night Bahamian cruise including a stopover in Nassau and Castaway Cay

Old Key West resort – 12 nights including a 10 day Disneyworld pass, 1-day pass to Universal Studios.

Magic Castle Hotel – Hollywood – 3 nights

The whole trip was amazing and whilst I have started posting about it previously over the next month I will be posting even more content about our Epic Disney Vacation.

Epic Disney Vacation

 

To Travel is to Live – Hans Christian Andersen, And live we have. Join us on our epic Disney Vacation, where we went to DIsneyland, a Disney cruise and Disneyworld To Travel is to Live – Hans Christian Andersen, And live we have. Join us on our epic Disney Vacation, where we went to DIsneyland, a Disney cruise and Disneyworld To Travel is to Live – Hans Christian Andersen, And live we have. Join us on our epic Disney Vacation, where we went to DIsneyland, a Disney cruise and Disneyworld

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Disney’s California Adventure Park, World of Colour

On our previous trips to Disneyland our first nights always involved booking a Dining Package with a special viewing area at World of Colour.

World of Colour is California Adventure Parks amazing night time celebration.

It uses a combination of water, lights, fire, Colour, music and images to really make the dream of Walt Disney come alive.

We where heartbroken to hear of its extended shutdown after maintenance plans went wrong.

Back in April 2018 it was to be shutdown for six weeks with the theming of Pixar Pier and the incredicoaster. But it’s reopen date came and went…..

It was pushed back to Fall, and that too came and went…

Then it was going to ready by Christmas, but our recent trip came and went and it was still shut down.

There where still amazing things to see at nighttime but we definitely missed our Disney tradition

I was very excited to hear that the World of Colour is back operating tonight.

We might have missed it on our last trip to Disneyland however we enjoyed it and videoed it so like to watch it on YouTube.

Now it is back operational we will make sure we do it next time.

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Walt Disney World’s – The Kiss Goodnight

Have you ever wondered how the Magic Kingdom says Goodnight of an evening?

the best kept secret in Magic Kingdom

Thirty minutes after the park has closed for the evening, Magic Kingdom has a great 2 minute way they say Goodnight.

I first heard about this little known tradition in the park on a facebook thread on one of my favorite Disney groups. I was instantly interested in it. I was not sure that I would get to experience it as it is not listed on any official times. It runs at a different time each night. But I thought it would be worth the wait to try.

So on one of our nights, I stayed back with our older two children to make it until the end of the night.

We had a brilliant day and made sure we jumped in line for our last ride a couple minutes before closing, then headed to main street and waited.

The Kiss Goodnight takes just on two minutes, and it is a special way to say Goodnight after a great day of fun.

The night we stayed back the park was still packed when we watched, it was only about twenty minutes after closing. People were still milling around, looking at the shops, taking photos in front of the castle, and then it started.

As soon as the deep voice came over the speakers, Ladies, and Gentlemen, boys and girls, I was transfixed. Whilst people continued to talk around us, we stood and we watched, so thankful that we had spent our day at the most magical place on earth.

The Kiss goodnight doesn’t run every night, it doesn’t run on a set schedule. But if you are lucky to see it, it is worth the wait.

To see it, you need to be on Main Street, as it all revolves around the Castle. The castle lights up when you wish upon a Star plays and you are further engulfed in the magic of Disneyworld.

 

Have you ever wondered what happens when Magic Kingdom is finished for the night? Have you ever wondered what happens when Magic Kingdom is finished for the night? Have you ever wondered what happens when Magic Kingdom is finished for the night? Just on two minutes, Walt Disney World The Kiss Goodnight is the beautiful way that the Magic Kingdom Finishes up for the evening.

 

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Magic Castle Hotel – Hollywood

If you want to find a little bit of Magic in Hollywood then look no further than the Magic Castle Hotel.

The Magic Castle Hotel is a very popular hotel located within walking distance to popular tourist destinations like Grauman’s chinese theatre, (Mann’s Chinese Theatre), Madame Tassauds wax museum, and the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Don’t be put off by The Magic Castle Hotel 3 star rating, it’s service is 5 star.

What sets the hotel apart from all the others we have stayed at In Los Angeles are it’s staff, from the minute you arrive the service is amazing.

You are treated with a welcome drink, our children where offered some complimentary snacks.

They organised a booster seat for us so we could go on a Hollywood tour, and even helped us to our room with our bags. Nothing is a problem for them.

Probably the highlight for busy families though is the laundry service. You drop off your dirty washing to reception and they clean, dry and fold it for you free of charge.

They do say to allow 24 hours for it, however we dropped ours off just after lunch on our way to Santa Monica Pier and it was back in our room that night before we returned home.

At the Magic Castle Hotel it is all about the little things, they offer a continental breakfast each morning, free snack foods at reception, complimentary soda (soft drink), a popsicle hotline, where your kids can order a popsicle anytime of the day and will be delivered out to them near the pool.

They have games for the kids out at the table to keep them amused.

When I say they offer complimentary snack foods the list is quite extensive from Potato Chips, Doritos, Cheetos, peanuts, Pretzels, microwave popcorn, Grabola Bars, Kit Kats, Snickers, Sour Patch Kids, Skittles, Reece Cups, Hershey’s Chocolate, Choc chip cookies, the list goes on.

The rooms have been renovated and are very clean and comfortable.

Their is a selection of either single rooms, one bedroom or two bedroom suites.

We stayed in the 2 bedroom suite and it had a King size bed in one room, 2 single beds in the other and a large fold out couch in the lounge room.

It has a seperate dining room that had a table for eating dinner on, then a kitchen which had another smaller table that could fit two people.

For those of you who want to cook, they have a full kitchen available, and a supermarket also within walking distance.

As we where only staying for a couple of days and wanted to explore we didn’t make use of the kitchen, however we did appreciate the extra space.

Another great way the Magic Castle goes above and beyond is through their take away service.

Instead of having to order it yourself, you just tell the reception staff what you are after and they will order it for you.

We get like pizza and the girls at the front desk recommended the restaurant Asparagus, and we where impressed with not just the taste, but the size of the pizza’s.

We ordered 2 of their pizzas, and had some left over.

For is the Magic Castle Hotel really was a magical place to stay.

When we head to Hollywood next we will be heading back to the Magic Castle Hotel as it really was a pleasure to stay there.

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Top 9 things to do in Toy Story Land, Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World.

Since we decided we were heading to Orlando to visit Walt Disney World, our youngest has been so excited about their new land “Toy Story Land” in Hollywood studios. Toy Story Land did not disappoint, it is a fun, cheerful land with decorations and rides that are larger than life.

Everywhere you go in Toy Story Land you will be greeted as if you are a toy playing in Andy’s backyard.

We have put together our top 9 things to do in Toy Story Land, they are not in any particular order.

Slinky Dog Dash

One of the most popular new rides in the park is the Slinky Dog Dash roller coaster. The ride is great for younger children that like thrill rides as you only have to be 97cm or taller to ride it. Like all of Toy Story Land, the theming is on point, with lots of fun starting in the queue. The queue has great sketches of the ride that “Andy has drawn in crayon”.

Slinky Dog dash is still the most popular ride in Hollywood studios with wait times often hitting 2-3 hours, like all the rides in Toy Story Land it has Fastpass, so if you can make sure you put this as a priority when booking your fastpasses. But if you not lucky enough to get one, grab your phone, log in to Disney Play and wait, its worth it.

 

Green Army Men

The Green Army men are great new entertainment in Toy Story Land, The Green Army Patrol come out at random time during the days, and sometimes play their drum patrol, other times they take photos with the guests. It is such a fun part of the Land.

Green Army Men, Toy Story Land

Like all the things in Toy Story Land, the theming is on point, even down to the way their shoes have large plastic bases. From the minute we went into the Land our kids were on the lookout for the familiar sounds of the drums.

 

Alien Swirling Saucers

The other new ride in Toy Story Land is Alien Swirling Saucers, this fun ride is very similar to Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree in Disneyland, just different themed, for guests 32 inches (81 cm) and above. You climb in your alien swirling saucer and you swing around listening to some fun themed music.

Character meet and Greets

If you want a chance to take a photo with Buzz, Woody, Jessie then make sure you head down to Toy Story Land.

Search for hidden Mickeys

Our children love searching for Hidden Mickeys around the Parks and resorts, and there are a couple of great ones to find in Toy Story Land.

Our children’s favorite where the one Hidden in the queue for Alien Swirling saucers. A welcome distraction in the line. Also in the dock of slinky dog dash, is a hidden mickey in the clouds.

Green Army Men Toy Story Land hidden Mickey

Toy Story Mania

Whilst Toy Story Mania has been at Hollywood Studios for over ten years, with Toy Story Land it got a new fun entrance. Toy Story Mania, is one of my favorite rides in Disney World (and Disneyland). There is no height requirement to go on this 4D adventure.

You wear fun oversized yellow 3D glasses aboard spinning vehicles that travel through virtual environments all based on classic carnival midway games as the name suggests.

Woody’s Lunchbox

Now a stop at Toy storyland would not be complete without visiting Woody’s lunchbox. Woody’s lunchbox is such a cute area, however, seating is limited, it is themed as if Andy has turned his own lunchbox into a fun walk-up window for his toys to eat at.

The menu is pretty limited with Sandwiches, melts and soda’s are the main choices. The portion sizes are really quite large.

Soak in the ambiance of Toy Story Land

Part of the wonder of Toy Story Land is in all the details. The Imagineers have gone all out in the land, from the hidden easter eggs located all around the land. A Disneyland Viewmaster slide in the queue for Toy Story Mania, the blocks that spell out dates that are important to Pixar, the larger than life statues of all your favorite characters.

Look down and you can see Andy’s footprints etched into the concrete. Once in Toy Story Land, you really will begin to feel like a toy in an oversized world

An icy pole on a themed seat

Finally make sure you grab yourself a nice cool icy treat, sit down on one of the popsicle chairs and really appreciate the fact that you are in Disneyworld.

Toy Story Land is only a small part of the Larger Hollywood studios, home to Disney Junior Dance Party, The Incredibles, Hollywood Tower of terror, and a great variety of Star Wars shows. It surely is a must do on your next trip to Florida.

 

Have you been to Toy Story Land? Hollywood studios? Let us know in the comments below.

Make sure you keep reading all about our epic Disney Trip, where we went to Disneyland, a Disney Cruise, and Walt Disney World.

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Toy Story Land did not disappoint, it is a fun, cheerful land with decorations and rides that are larger than life. Everywhere you go in Toy Story Land you will be greeted as if you are a toy playing in Andy's backyard.  We have put together our top 9 things to do in Toy Story Land, they are not in any particular order. Toy Story Land did not disappoint, it is a fun, cheerful land with decorations and rides that are larger than life. Everywhere you go in Toy Story Land you will be greeted as if you are a toy playing in Andy's backyard.  We have put together our top 9 things to do in Toy Story Land, they are not in any particular order. Toy Story Land did not disappoint, it is a fun, cheerful land with decorations and rides that are larger than life. Everywhere you go in Toy Story Land you will be greeted as if you are a toy playing in Andy's backyard.  We have put together our top 9 things to do in Toy Story Land, they are not in any particular order.

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Dinner at Blue Bayou in Disneyland

On our recent trip to Disneyland, we were very lucky to get a dinner reservation at Blue Bayou. This restaurant has been on my to-do list the last few times we went to Disneyland but it is quite hard to get into and you really need to book in advance.

The Blue Bayou has been open for over 50 years opening back on March 18th, 1967.

The Blue Bayou is located within the same building as the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. Whilst you are seated inside the building, It is themed like you are outside at night out on the bayou.

As you sit overlooking the start of the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, you hear crickets, frogs, you see the glow of fireflies in the background and it all adds to the atmosphere.

The menu is themed as well, you can order a Mint Julep or a Louisiana Lemonade. Our children loved the Louisiana Lemonade and would have gone back here every day just to order this lemonade.

The Mint Julep was great however is incredibly strong so only order it if you like a lot of mint.

Blue Bayou Disneyland Blue Bayou Disneyland Blue Bayou Disneyland

Now to make the most of your dining reservation, make sure you request a table by the water. It might mean waiting a few more minutes for your table, but it is well worth the wait.

 

Menu (As of January 2019)

Starters
Fried Calamari – $14.00

Crab Hush Puppies – $12.00

Golden Beet Salad – $12.00

House Salad – $6.00

N’awlins Gumbo – $7.00

Entrées

Surf & Turf – $50.00

Herb-crusted Rack of Lamb – $44.00

Bone-In Rib-Eye – $46.00

Catch of the Day – $39.00

Roasted Chicken Maison – $35.00

Seafood Pasta – $35.00

Bone-In Pork Loin – $35.00

Vegetable Pasta – $30.00

Desserts

Vanilla Bean Crème Brûlée – $9.00

8-Layer Chocolate Hazelnut Cake – $10.00

Kids Meals

Served with Seasonal Vegetables and Fruit with a choice of Small Lowfat Milk or Small Dasani® Water

Sustainable Fish – $12.00
Pan-seared and served with Pasta topped with Marinara

Chicken Breast – $10.00
Pan-seared and served with Pasta topped with Marinara

Mickey’s Cheesy Macaroni – $9.00

Chef’s Beef Specialty – $13.00

Non-Alcoholic Specialty Beverage

Louisiana Lemonade – $7.75
Minute Maid® Lemonade, Sprite®, Mango, Raspberry, served with a souvenir glow cube

Mint Julep – $5.00

Mint Julep with Souvenir Glow Cube – $8.00

 

The Blue Bayou really is a must see restaurant at Disneyland the Herb-crusted Rack of Lamb was divine. Probably my favorite meal of the whole trip to Disneyland. (Unfortunately hard to take photos due to the dark nature of the restaurant).

Blue Bayou Disneyland

Have you ever been to the Blue Bayou?

Did you order the Mint Julep, what did you think?

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On our recent trip to Disneyland, we were very lucky to get a dinner reservation at Blue Bayou. This restaurant has been on my to-do list the last few times we went to Disneyland but it is quite hard to get into and you really need to book in advance. On our recent trip to Disneyland, we were very lucky to get a dinner reservation at Blue Bayou. This restaurant has been on my to-do list the last few times we went to Disneyland but it is quite hard to get into and you really need to book in advance.

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Snorkeling at Castaway Cay

Imagine snorkeling out into the clear blue waters of the Bahamas, the water temperature a beautiful 25℃, the water crystal clear, the sand a glistening white color.

You swim around looking at the amazing fish and then you see it heading towards you. A Magnificent Sea turtle. You then spend the next two-three minutes swimming with the majestic sea animal.

This was our experience when we recently went on an amazing Disney Cruise on the Disney Dream and snorkeled at Disney’s Castaway Cay.

Disney’s Castaway Cay is Disney’s own private island, located in the Bahamas, near the Great Aboca Island. Back in 1999, Disney signed a 99-year lease from the Bahamian Government which allows it to be an exclusive port for the Disney Cruise line. And like all things Disney they quickly invested in the island to make it a tropical oasis.

Imagine snorkeling out into the clear blue waters of the Bahamas, the water temperature a beautiful 25℃, the water crystal clear, the sand a glistening white color.

The real advantage of Castaway Cay is the fact that the Cruise ships can dock on the island which makes disembarking a very quick and easy process. In the past, most cruise ships would have to tender off whatever island they are stopping at, and you would have to catch a smaller boat over to the island. But not at Castaway Cay. Instead, you just wander down to the main level and walk off the boat. Using your Drivers license (Or passport) as ID, and your key to the world card.

Disney cruise line - dream Castaway Cay

Castaway is a beautiful island to visit and has so much to do, you can hire a bike, go on waterslides, shop, swim, eat. There are kids clubs for your children and even adult only areas. There is also a huge list of activities you can participate in, including glass bottom boats. So with so much to do, you might decide that snorkeling isn’t high on your list. If that’s the case I suggest you reconsider as it really was a beautiful place to snorkel.

Now you can bring your own snorkeling gear on the Cruise ship, but if space is an issue you can hire it on Castaway Cay, and I have to admit it’s not cheap. But it’s one of those times you think to yourself. I have spent all this money getting here, surely I can pay $34.00 to hire an adult sized mask, a snorkel, a snorkel vest (mandatory) you blow these up to add extra buoyancy and a pair of fins. Kids aged 5-9 can hire children sized ones for only $18.00

Initially, I wasn’t going to head out in the water, the boys were just going to head out whilst I relaxed on the beach, but I am so glad I went out. These experiences, like the Rainbow Reef in Disney Aulani resort, are moments in time that I will remember for a very long time, and now thanks to youtube, you can too.

Make sure you keep reading all about our epic Disney Trip, where we went to Disneyland, a Disney Cruise, and Walt Disney World.

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Imagine snorkeling out into the clear blue waters of the Bahamas, the water temperature a warm 25℃, the crystal clear water. Imagine snorkeling out into the clear blue waters of the Bahamas, the water temperature a warm 25℃, the crystal clear water.   See why you should go snorkeling at Castaway Cay Imagine snorkeling out into the clear blue waters of the Bahamas, the water temperature a warm 25℃, the crystal clear water.   See why you should go snorkeling at Castaway Cay

Have you ever been snorkeling before?

 

 

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All about the Disney Dining Plan

Back in 2005, Walt Disney World introduced something new and exciting in the Park, the Disney Dining Plan.

This allows guests staying at Walt Disney Hotels to prepay for their meals, it is a great way for you to prepay for your trip.

Disney Dining Plan is available for all guests staying at a Walt Disney World Hotel aged 3 and up, however, there are some rules in place.

  • All Members of the reservation must select the Dining Plan.
  • Children are classified between 3-9 years old.
  • Children under 3 (share off their parent’s plate) or you will need to pay OOP (Out of Pocket)
  • Children 10 + will be paying adult prices even if they choose Children’s meals.
  • The credits get loaded onto your complimentary magic band.
  • However most do not include Tips, you will have to pay those OOP.
  • Just like Cinderella, Your credits expire at Midnight on the last day of your reservation.

 

Disney Aulani resort

 

The Disney Dining plan comes in three levels.

Disney Quick service Plan

2 quick service meals per night of your stay

  • 1 Entree (Main meal)
  • 1 Non-alcoholic beverage for people under 21 (Milkshakes, Smoothies, Premium hot chocolates, Soda (Soft drink for Australians) Coffee or Tea
  • 1 Alcoholic (or non-alcoholic) for people over 21 (Includes Beer, Cider, Wine, Sangria, Mixed drinks, Speciality Cocktails)

2 Snacks per night of your stay

1 refillable mug per stay (only refillable in the resorts)

Disney Dining Plan

1 quick service meal per night of your stay which includes

  • 1 Entree (Main meal)
  • 1 Non-alcoholic beverage for people under 21
  • 1 Alcoholic (or non-alcoholic) for people over 21

1 Table service meal per night of your stay

  • 1 Entree (Main meal) (Or a Full Buffet or Family Style meal)
  • 1 Desert (Available for Lunch and Dinner)
  • 1 Non-alcoholic beverage for people under 21
  • 1 Alcoholic (or non-alcoholic) for people over 21

2 Snacks per day

1 refillable mug per stay (only refillable in the resorts)

Disney Deluxe Dining Plan

3 Meals (can be either Quick service or Table service)

– If table service this also includes an appetiser.

2 Snacks per day

1 refillable mug per stay (only refillable in the resorts)

There are more than 100 restaurants, that accept the Disney Dining plan. This includes a huge variety of styles, from traditional sit-down, Buffet or family service.

They also include a variety of special dining.

Character Dining

A great opportunity for your children to not only dine with their favorite characters but also get autographs without a huge line.

Walt Disney World has so many different character dining, from Princesses, Villians, Winnie the Pooh, Mickey and friends, Lilo and Stitch, Alice and Wonderland and even Playhouse Disney characters.

These are located in the parks and in the resorts.

Walt Disney World

Signature Dining (Take 2 Dining credits)

Walt Disney world has a great variety of Signature Dining experiences, these restaurants are restaurants that are normally more expensive when paying OOP, or extremely hard to get into.

These include Steakhouses like Le Cellier and Boathouse. To California Grill which overlooks the Magic Kingdom.

Dine in a Castle (Two Table service dining credits)

* Breakfast and Lunch is Quick Service for Be our guest.

You can make a reservation in both of the Disney Castles. Cinderella’s and the beasts.

Cinderella’s Royal table (Gratuities are Included)

You can eat Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner inside Cinderella’s castle. As you enter you meet Cinderella then as you dine, other Princesses come to join you at your table.

Cinderella’s royal table includes an appetiser, entree (main meal) and a dessert and a beverage.

Be our guest. (Prix Fixe menu)

Whilst it is traditionally thought as a Character dining experience, it actually isn’t classified as one.

Guests can dine in Beast castle, in either the Grand Ballroom, The West Wing or the Castle Gallery.

On most nights (Dinner only) you meet beast in his Library after you have finished your meal.

Guests booked for Breakfast and Lunch also get to Dine in the Castle, however, the Beast will not be present.

Dinner shows (Two Table service dining credits) (Tips are included)

Walt Disney World has a variety of dinner shows that you can book to use with your Dining credits, from the Hoop De Doo Revue ( located at the Fort Wilderness resort).

The Spirit of Aloha (Polynesian Resort). Mickey’s Backyard BBQ, at Fort Wilderness.

Private In-room dining (Two Table service dining credits) (Tips are included)

At some resorts, you can order private in-room dining and they will be charged at two dining credits. You will receive

– 1 Entree (Main meal) (Or a Full Buffet or Family Style meal)

– 1 Desert (Available for Lunch and Dinner)

– 1 Non-alcoholic beverage for people under 21

– 1 Alcoholic (or non-alcoholic) for people over 21

Pizza Delivery (Two Table service dining credits) (Tips are included)

– 1 Pizza Entree item (Main Meal)

– 2 Non-alcoholic beverage for people under 21 or Alcoholic (or non-alcoholic) for people over 21

– 2 Desserts

Cost – 2019

Disney Quick Service Plan

Adult $52.50

Children $23.78

Disney Dining Plan

Adult $75.49

Children $27.98

Disney Deluxe Dining Plan

Adult $116.25

Children $43.49

Once you have included your Disney Dining Plan on your reservation then the fun starts, Walt Disney World allows you to book your ADR, or Advance dining reservations 180 days out for your trip. We had such fun choosing our favorite restaurants to visit.

Your Fastpasses are booked 60 days out (When staying on property) so we then had fun again rescheduling a couple to make sure we got the prized Avatar flights of passage Fastpass.

The Disney dining plan is only available at Walt Disney World, one of a few key differences between the parks. You can find out more key differences on my article, Disneyworld vs Disneyland

So this is all the important information about the Disney Dining plan, now to work out which Dining plan suits you.

What is your experience with the Disney Dining plan? Did it work for you? Do you think it was worth it?

Make sure you follow us on youtube so you can see all the amazing videos of our upcoming trip to Disney.

 

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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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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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