Hollywood Studios Tips

Arrive early, at least 30 minutes. As with Epcot sometimes the park will open early so if you are there early you will be one of the first ones in the gates! Of course you can always make a reservation for Hollywood and Vine for a pre-park opening breakfast.

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Go right! If you want to check out the headliners most of them are to the right side of the park.

In Disney Jr Live on Stage don’t sit in the front. The view is not going to be great but if you sit towards the middle/back then you will have a much better view of the show.

If you plan to sign your child or children up for Jedi Training Academy this will be one of the first stops you want to make. You will get a show time and make sure to show up with plenty of time to spare.

Get the Fantasmic! Dinner Package. This costs nothing extra. You can use your dining plan credits and get reserved seating and save your FastPass+ for something else. Plus the seating for Fantasmic! is in a really great spot!

Check out The Magic of Disney Animation, you can meet characters, take an animation class and see some really neat Disney memorabilia.

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Make a plan, this is important for Hollywood Studios if you want to see more than two shows. In a park that is show heavy you have to make sure you are in the correct place at the time the shows start or you will be waiting a while for the next one.

Meet characters! This is a great park for hard to find characters like the Disney Junior gang or Phineas and Ferb. It is usually home to the newest characters, previous to Hiro and Baymax from Big Hero 6 there was Wreck it Ralph and Vanellope so always check for new character meets!

A and S with Vanellope

Try a cupcake! Hollywood Studios always seems to have always changing cupcakes with some great standbys too. Well worth a snack credit!

See fireworks. If there are fireworks going on at Hollywood Studios do not miss them! They are by far the best of all the parks. Plus it will be less crowded than the Magic Kingdom.

Have a missed a great tip? Share it here I would love to add it to my list!

How To Save Money On A Disney Vacation

card_classic_nemo_front-300x186Have you been dreaming of taking your family on the perfect Disney vacation but you’re afraid you can’t afford it?  I have some tips that will help you save money and make those dreams a reality.

1.  Travel during the off-season.

People will say that there is no off-season at Disney and that’s not entirely true.  There are certain slower times of year that are perfect for visiting.  There is usually some kind of discount for those times as well and using that will definitely save you money!

2.  Think twice about the dining plan.

While extremely convenient, the Disney dining plan is not always a cost effective option.  Think about how you and your family eat, especially when you’re on vacation.  Price out a typical food day using the menus on Disney’s website to see if you’ll even eat enough to justify the cost.  If you plan on doing at least one character meal, the dining plan can save you some cash, since those meals tend to be more expensive.

3.  Consider getting a travel incentive credit card.

There are many different kinds of credit cards that offer a cash back or similar incentives on everyday purchases.  A lot of people use the Disney Chase Visa for their Disney vacations.  One other perk with the Disney Visa is they sometimes offer promotions to cardholders first before it’s release to the general public.

4.  Pack Snacks.

Did you know you can bring your own food and drinks into the parks?  There are certain rules like no glass or coolers, but you can definitely bring your little one’s favorite crackers and juice.  Bringing in your own snacks and drinks can save you from purchasing more expensive snacks at the park later on, saving you a wad of cash.

5.  Purchase autograph books and costumes offsite.

This is kind of a no-brainer, but purchasing autograph books and pens at the parks can be more expensive.  The Disney store website often has Disney Parks products on sale and purchasing them beforehand can save you some money.  Same goes for Disney costumes your kids might want to wear to the parks.

What’s your favorite Disney vacation money saving tip?  Leave it in the comments below!

Hidden Gem? Animal Kingdom Kidani Kids Pool Area

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The whole pool area is great and the kids play area is super cute!

 

On my recent visit to the World we were lucky enough to be able to stay at Animal Kingdom Lodge.

Kidani Pool Chairs...extra comfy!

Kidani Pool Chairs…extra comfy!

Animal Kingdom is a favorite for many, including myself, but I had not stayed there in a few years. On this visit we stayed in a one bedroom villa in Kidani and LOVED it. One area I have never heard about it is the pool area at Kidani called the Samwati Spring Pool and the kids pool area at Kidani. It is never mentioned in passing when talking about the pools and so I just assumed Kidani’s pool in general was a standard Disney pool (great but nothing too special). Well I was wrong. The pool area for everyone is very nice, chairs are great and it has The Maji Bar for when you get hungry or need a cold drink.

One of the great things is it was never very crowded and the theme is the African Wilderness so the decor and ambience is amazing. They do have games like Bingo and trivia and Movie Nights so make sure to check the schedule if you want to partake or avoid these times.

I was exploring the area and came upon the kids area and was fascinated by how much there was for kids to play and the music piped in and seriously hidden gem. It is a large interactive water play area intended for kids under 48″ tall. In addition there are two water slides at the Samwati Springs Pool which is great. One is a traditional larger slide intended for the big kids and then a smaller slide that is just for preschoolers.

In addition it has a zero entry access at the pool and so once again a great option for the little ones!

So, I thought I would share some pictures of the area so you can see how special it is and it may be great for your next vacation.

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Splashes of water to run through are everywhere!

Splashes of water to run through are everywhere!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The jungle gym set and slide are just the right size for your little ones!

 

 

 

 

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The water pulley system helped keep you cool as you played!

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I can just see little brothers cooling each other off with the little water squirt cannons (just to be nice haha!)

 

 

 

 

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Mom and Dad can hang out in the hot tub while all the fun is going on around them!

 

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Do not be afraid to climb up the big rock slide!

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The main pool area is a great place to unwind and take a nap! Enjoy the lush plants and order a drink or sandwich at the Maji Bar and relax.

 

So have you been to this pool at Kidani Village in Animal Kingdom Lodge? What were your impressions? What is your favorite pool?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Podcast Episode 52: Disney For Boys

If you’ve got a boy in your life that you want to bring to Disney but you can’t think of anything to do that doesn’t have to do with princesses and fairies, then this is a must-listen for you!  We give you the low down on everything boy-centric at Walt Disney World.  We’ve got ideas for rides, shows, restaurants, and more!  Don’t miss it!

Happy listening

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Breakfast Options at Epcot

A recap of your breakfast options at Epcot. To say there aren’t many options for breakfast at Epcot is a bit of an understatement! With the World Showcase not opening until 11am Epcot is usually a better choice for lunch or dinner, but if you do happen to have an early morning planned at Epcot there are still a few options for you.

Snack/Quick Service

Starbucks Fountain View: The typical pastries and coffee are served at this Starbucks location but you can also find some more hearty offerings like breakfast sandwiches, wraps and smoothies. This Starbucks location also features an exclusive Epcot mug from Starbucks collectible “You Are Here” series (Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios also have their own mugs, as will the Starbucks Animal Kingdom location when it opens) so be sure to pick one up if you’re into Starbucks or Disney collectables… or both!

Sunshine Seasons: Sunshine Seasons provides a more filling quick service breakfast if you’re looking for good fuel to start your Disney day. From breakfast platters featuring bacon, eggs, sausage and potatoes to a breakfast panini, oatmeal, bagels and more there is plenty to choose from. Consistently getting some of the highest ratings from guests for food quality, Sunshine Seasons is a great option for breakfast in Epcot.

Table Service

Akershus Royal Banquet Hall: The only table service breakfast at Epcot, Akershus is a do not miss for my family. For breakfast we all prefer Akershus to Cinderella’s Royal Table. The food is delicious and the character interaction is top notch! Plates of bacon, eggs, sausage and potato casserole are served to your table, and there is also a buffet of pastries, yogurt, fruit and more that is available to you. Akerhsus is a great way to start your day at Epcot!

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Animal Kingdom Tips

Animal Kingdom gets a bad rap and I admit I am guilty of adding to it. But to redeem myself here are some tips that you may find helpful when exploring Disney’s Animal Kingdom!

The Kilimanjaro Safaris is worth doing more than once. If you can get a FastPass+ for this for later in the day then go on first thing. The animals may be more active in the morning and no two rides will be the same.614

Save Kali River Rapids for the end of your day, unless it is really hot. This way you will not have to walk around the park in wet clothes all day long. Alternatively you could always wear quick drying clothes or take an extra outfit with you. There are lockers located near the attraction.

Plan to take in at least one of the major stage shows. There are two great choices, Finding Nemo the Musical and Festival of the Lion King. Both are really well done and you can’t go wrong with either choice, but don’t waste a FastPass+ on it since there is plenty of seating for either.

Plan a pre-park opening breakfast at Tusker House. You can get in the park early have a great breakfast and then be in the park back by the Kilimanjaro Safaris when the park opens.

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The Boneyard is a great place for kids to blow off some steam. Parents can also sit back and take a quick break while the kids play and dig.

Check out the Wilderness Explorers and earn badges. You will probably learn a lot on the way and maybe explore parts of the park you would not have otherwise seen!

Plan a dinner at Animal Kingdom Lodge. The restaurants in the park are fine but you will find some great places just a short bus ride away. Plus it gives you a chance to see this gorgeous resort and you just may plan to stay there next time.

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While Animal Kingdom isn’t the most popular park but there are some great attractions and shows here that are worth seeing!

Podcast Episode 51: Flower & Garden Festival Recap

Join us this week as we talk about Dana’s and Tara’s recent visits to the Epcot Flower & Garden Festival!  They tell us all about the beautiful topiaries, the fabulous exhibits, and most importantly, the food!  If you’ve never been to the Flower & Garden Festival, I promise you’ll want to book your own trip for next year after you hear this!  Don’t miss it!

Happy listening

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Walt Disney World with a Reluctant Park Visitor

We all know someone, they could be a family member, a co-worker, a child or even yourself. The person who is reluctant to embrace a Disney vacation. Maybe this person has never been to Disney and thinks (wrongly) that it is for kids, or they have been and feel “over it” (the horror!), but you or your children, or friends want to go again. How do you get this reluctant Disney goer to agree to a vacation that will make everyone happy? I know just how you feel and here are my suggestions to helping every single person in your party to have a magical vacation.

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*Let the reluctant Disney goer help with the planning. Some of these people will have no interest in helping with the planning stages of it, but you should at least ask. Maybe they saw a resort, attraction or restaurant that appealed to them, make sure you get it on your to-do list. Plus they could have a very different idea of what they would like to do. Possibly, they want to hang by the pool while you are thinking of being in parks rope drop to close.

*Do what interests them! If there is a lady in your life who doesn’t want to go but you know she loves the spa, book her a treatment while you take the kids or yourself off to play in the parks or at Downtown Disney. If he loves to golf book him a tee-time at one of the multiple courses. Maybe your tween is into card games, take them to play Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom.

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*Make an attraction to-do list for each person. They may overlap but if every person has 3 things they want to do in a park and you can accomplish them it will keep the peace and you might find something new to love. If your significant other loves history make sure she or he takes in Hall of Presidents. If you think rollercoasters are the best part of a park make sure to hit them all in a day.

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*Take breaks! You are walking and moving all day long, maybe what everyone needs is a break in the afternoon to swim or nap or have a nice sit down meal. Lots of meltdowns from kids and adults alike can be avoided by taking a break, or even by cooling off or having a snack.

* Stop and smell the roses.  Well, maybe not literally but at Disney there is a lot to look at, to see and do so take your time.  Maybe your little one has short legs or you are all just tired after a long day and know the lines for the bus or monorail will be long, just take a seat on a bench and wait for the largest part of the crowds to go down before you leave the park.  Plus you may catch the Kiss Goodnight if you are in the Magic Kingdom.

*Don’t go overboard. Sure they just might like the vacation you’ve planned but make sure you don’t bug them asking if they like this or that. And don’t rub it in their faces when they ask when the next vacation is going to be.

Of course if they would prefer not to go at all this is an option too and you can save a bundle of money by going solo or with a smaller party and everyone is happy!

If you want to get more ideas check out our podcast on this very topic!

If you have any other tips for helping a reluctant Disney goer make the trip easier to bear let me know in the comments!

What Does $8,000 Get a Family of 4 at Walt Disney World?

We loved doing this podcast for you and so many wrote to us that they loved listening that if  you missed it you can catch it here: http://dolewhipped.com/2015/03/16/podcast-episode-43-how-far-does-your-money-go-at-disney/

So I had a bit of a fantasy budget. Not everyone wants to spend $8,000 on vacation and I totally understand that! But it is fun to dream and for those of you that do want to either have a trip that is once in a lifetime or you just roll that way – hey we are here to help! :) The scenarios below are the same as the others and all scenarios are for a family of 2 adults, 2 children under 9 and they are all rack rate pricing – so if a promotion drops you can extend your trip even longer! I will tell you I was surprised to some degree that I was not ever able to stay a week at the top-tier rooms (Club and Theme Park View) because it was too far over budget…I truly need $10,000 for my fantasy trip. Well, the truth is I need Cinderella’s Suite and so I am not sure what to do there – anyone know?

With this type of budget I stuck with the Deluxe Category of course and really treated myself to fantastic resorts!

6 night stay at the Polynesian Resort (garden view – Club Level) with 7 day Park Hopper and Water Park and More tickets, Memory Maker and Deluxe Dining Plan for $7,900.30.

Thanks to Disneyworld.go.com for the picture!

Thanks to Disneyworld.go.com for the picture!

7 night stay at Boardwalk Inn in a Standard Room that is Club Level (the best for the Fantasy!) 8 day Park Hopper and Water Park and More tickets, Disney Dining Plan and Memory Maker for $8,011.64.

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5 nights at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge with a Courtyard View with 6 day Park Hopper and Water Park and More Tickets and the Platinum Package at $8,202.04. The Platinum Package truly pampers you and includes: Disney Deluxe Dining, unlimited use of select recreation activities including golf, one admission per person to Cirque du Soleil show – La Nouba, Preferred Fireworks Viewing, unlimited admissions to select theme park tour, unlimited admissions to children’s activity centers, personalized pre-arrival itinerary planning, dazzling fireworks cruise (one cruise per party), one spa treatment per person, reserved seating for Fantasmic!, private in-room child care and nightly turndown service, and more!

Thanks to Disneyworld.go.com for the great picture!

Thanks to Disneyworld.go.com for the great picture!

I loved exploring the options and one day would love to do the Platinum Package but with all those extras I might miss park time?! I am sure I would survive and with all the added stress the spa treatment will help melt that away.

Tell me about your fantasy trip? Is one of these right up your alley or are you looking for something different?

Disney Parks and Disney Movies- Epcot and Magic Kingdom

This is part 2 of familiarizing yourself with the Disney Parks by watching movies that directly relate to attractions or shows from the parks.  This week I am focusing on Magic Kingdom and Epcot.  As I said before this is not an exhaustive list but it should give you something to spend all those hours while waiting for your next Disney vacation!

Epcot:
Gran Fiesta Tour-Three Caballeros If you can get your hands on a copy it is a pretty neat film from 1977 you get to know Donald and his friends.

Turtle Talk with Crush and The Seas with Nemo and Friends-Finding Nemo Knowing the characters from each of these is a bonus since you will know the story of Nemo.

Magic Kingdom:
Swiss Family Treehouse-Swiss Family Robinson Here is another that might be hard to get your hands on but you will understand this attraction so much better with some background story of the family and their home.

Pirates of the Caribbean- Pirates of the Caribbean The attraction inspired the movies which re-inspired the ride. It is neat to see the original scenes that are now in the film.

Journey of the Little Mermaid-The Little Mermaid Like in Hollywood Studios you will want to brush up on your Scuttle speak before hitting this attraction.

Enchanted Tales with Belle and Be Our Guest Restaurant- Beauty and the Beast Knowing this movie will help you know the part you have in this little play. Plus how neat is it to see a movie come to life.

Monster Inc, Laugh Floor- Monsters Inc You don’t need to know about the monster world to enjoy this show but you will appreciate it more.

Peter Pan’s Flight-Peter Pan You won’t want to miss this classic while you gain your Disney movie education and it will help you catch the little things in this attraction

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train- Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs This attraction only gives a little taste of the movie but you will love to watch this for the first time or re-watch if it has been a while.

Now that you’ve seen them all which movie would you like to see an attraction based on?