Top 5 Things to Put in Your Park Bag

It doesn’t have to be a big bag or it could just be pockets but you won’t regret taking some of these along.

5. Sunglasses, or a hat if you like. But the sun is bright so do yourself and your people a favor and get sunglasses for all.

4. Hand Sanitizer, just think about how much stuff you touch and how everyone else does it too, ick.

3. Sunscreen, apply before you leave your room, but don’t forget to reapply during the day.

2. Moleskin, you never know when a pesky blister might show up.

1. External phone charger, using apps will drain your phone’s battery so quickly, this will help you recharge without having to stop what you are doing in the parks.

‘Frozen’ News Round Up

The rumors that Maelstrom in the Norway Pavilion in Epcot was going to be changed into a Frozen attraction have proved to be true. In a statement made by the Disney Parks Blog, Maelstrom will be sailing on its final voyage October 5, 2014. The new attraction is slated to open early 2016. The Norway Pavilion will also have a royal meet and greet with the sisters from Frozen (yes another meet and greet for Anna and Elsa!). In the meantime the pavilion will still be open during construction.

Photo courtesy of Disney Parks Blog

Photo courtesy of Disney Parks Blog

Because of the popularity of the Frozen Summer Fun Live at Hollywood Studios some aspects of this are being extended. For the First Time in Forever: A ‘Frozen’ Sing-Along Celebration, is presented up to 10 times per day at the Premiere Theater on Streets of America. This fun and interactive show has been extended indefinitely. Another item extended is Wandering Oaken’s Trading Post and Frozen Funland. It will move September 28, 2014 from Soundstage One to a new location in Streets of America near the exit of the Backlot Tour.  The new location will allow the play area to be much larger. This is also the place to get your frozen merchandise as well.

If you are going down for the Christmas holiday season you will be able to see some of the Frozen characters at the Magic Kingdom. Anna, Elsa, Kristoff, and Olaf will be in Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade as well as some ice cutters and ice skaters. This parade runs during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party on select nights in November and December and then daily from December 20-31, 2014.

Starting November 5, 2014 and running through the end of the year, Anna and Elsa will be in a new show in front of Cinderella Castle, showing nightly. This will feature Queen Elsa using her powers to transform the castle into an ice palace.

Prioritizing our must-dos in Disneyland Park

Our last full day at Disneyland started with an early breakfast at Storyteller’s Cafe in the Grand Californian Hotel. This breakfast is hosted by Chip and Dale and features all kinds of critters, in addition to the chipmunks we met Koda and Meeko.

IMG_8260 The characters were fun and the food was incredible. It was a buffet with an omelet station and lots of boxed cereals we took for snacks for later.IMG_8268 IMG_8302 Once we finished breakfast we headed to Disneyland. We had made a customized Touring Plan on the Lines App from http://www.touringplans.com. We had lots of things we wanted to do and with it being Easter week and high crowds we needed some guidance.

We started out with the Jungle Cruise. We had an excellent skipper and Anthony loved all of the surprises throughout the ride.IMG_8339 Next we headed to Tomorrowland and rode Buzz Lightyear. This is one of Anthony’s favorites and the one is Disneyland is better because you can remove the shooters from their perch.IMG_8350 Afterwards we trucked it over to Pirates of the Caribbean– in my opinion this one is superior to the one in Walt Disney World…. and it has a steeper drop– it wasn’t too steep as I’m a wimp about drops and found this one to be fine.

Our next stop was to go The Matterhorn Bobsleds. On our way we stopped at the grotto next to Sleeping Beauty’s castle. My sister could not believe that there was a Snow White scene next to Aurora’s castle. She was thinking the three fairies would be a better fit. IMG_8366 The Matterhorn Bobsleds are a Disneyland icon and a unique attraction. My husband and sister rode this and I hung out with Anthony as he napped. They liked it, although it was a quick ride. My husband said it’s similar to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad in intensity level.IMG_8368 One of my main objectives of the day was to head over to Big Thunder Ranch. This is a covered hoedown area and it was hosting a Springtime Round-up featuring classic characters in their Easter outfits and popular Disney bunnies. Click here to see our review of this. This was one of our favorite places-not many people seemed to know about it and was the only place in the park without crowds. Afterwards we got to meet Jessie- she was a lot of fun!IMG_8396 After lunch and a few more rides we decided to head out of the park for an afternoon break. As we were walking by the castle, Alice and the Mad Hatter were walking by completely unattended (which would never happen at Disney World). Alice stopped at Anthony’s stroller and complimented his outfit and the Mad Hatter told him that he looks like a chimney sweep because he still had his Easter hat on. It was completely random magic–sometimes the best kind there is. IMG_842452872020095 We headed back to our hotel for a mid-day break, nap, and to start packing to fly home.IMG_8436 Dinner that evening was at Goofy’s Kitchen. I was really looking forward to this one as there is a huge variety of characters and heard good things about the food. The food was fine, but they charge this as a premium character meal. I do not think the buffet was worth the premium price tag.

There were lots of characters: Goofy greeted us at the door, we met Aladdin, Minnie, Chip, Dale, the Mad Hatter and a few more. We had the least amount of character interaction here. They seemed very rushed and sometimes skipped tables. I much prefer the other character meals we had.52872020098 IMG_8474We ended the night early since we were all exhausted from the long day!

This is part of my trip report on our April 2014 visit to Disneyland, Califorina. To read more posts about this trip, click here.

 

Podcast Episode 22: Over and Underrated Attractions – Magic Kingdom Part 2

This week’s episode wraps up our over and underrated series!  We hope you’ve had as much fun listening as we’ve had recording.  In this episode, we talk about our favorite underrated attractions in the Magic Kingdom.  Be sure to listen all the way to the end for a neat phone charging tidbit!

Happy listening!

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Review of Guardians of the Galaxy

This past weekend, I went to see the Guardians of the Galaxy. I give this movie two thumbs up! It had all the makings of a great movie. It was funny, touching, exciting, and even a bit of romance. This film is based on a Marvel comic book series by same name.

The movie is about hero Peter Quill who is taken from Earth as a child. We fast-forward from there to when he is grown. He is a Ravager, a type of Space Pirate who finds items that he sells to a broker.  He finds an orb and has no small amount of danger for his trouble. He attempts to sell it and is refused by the broker. At this point he meets Gamora, Rocket and Groot. Along the way he and the others meet Drax while in prison. They form an alliance which is uneasy at times. They set out to stop Ronan from getting his hands on a dangerous orb that he wants to use to exact revenge on an entire planet.

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The acting were superb and the entire look of the movie is so well done. The sound track is awesome. You can find the full listing here which includes the songs from the “Awesome Mix Vol. 1”.

The rating is PG-13 for language and violence. I like to use Common Sense Media to check ratings for kids.

There is sequel slated for release July 28, 2017.

Ways To Celebrate Your Birthday at Disney World

What better place could you possibly imagine to celebrate your birthday other than Disney World! Disney offers plenty of ways to make sure your birthday is extra special.

1) Your first order of business should be to get a Birthday Pin from the front desk if you’re staying at a Disney resort, or from Guest Services at any of the four Disney theme parks. The button will alert cast members that it’s your special day, and maybe even lead to a little extra pixie dust. At the very least expect a lot of “Happy Birthday!”‘s

birthdaypin

2) A special meal. Think about making an advance dining reservation at one of Disney’s many restaurants. In addition to a great meal, if you (or your agent!) put a note on your dining reservation you might get a special birthday treat! The most popular location for birthday meals is, of course, Cinderella’s Royal Table for breakfast to start your birthday special or dinner to take in the Wishes fireworks show. For adults only, another special (though very pricey!) restaurant is Victoria & Albert’s, winner of the AAA Five Diamond award. Another great option is the Tomorrowland Terrace Dessert Party at the Magic Kingdom. More mouthwatering desserts than you can imagine and a killer view of the Wishes fireworks show over Cinderella’s castle? That practically spells birthday to me!

cinderellas

3) Pamper yourself! For children, there is the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique or Pirate’s League, which I covered in a previous Four Things Friday feature here. For adults, there is the spa! Get a massage, a facial, relax in a custom bath treatment and much more. There are several spas on Disney property, but the most popular is Senses at the Grand Floridian.

4) Take a challenge! Have you ever heard of the four parks in one day challenge? How about choosing your favorite ride/rides at each Disney park (Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom) and riding them all the same day! Bonus if you can find a way to use the three main modes of Disney transportation: bus, monorail and ferry! I can’t think of a better way to celebrate a birthday at Disney World.

Have you celebrated a birthday at Disney? What did you or someone else do to make your day extra special?

Best Resorts For Large Families

sofa bed and kitchenette

If, like mine, your family busts the nuclear family model of 2.5 kids (how does one get half a kid anyway?) then you know that staying in standard hotel rooms can be a bit of a challenge.  I’m going to give you some suggestions that will make choosing a Disney resort for a large family much easier.

Basic hotel room setup: beds in the main room, one bathroom

A family of five can easily stay at most any Deluxe level resort as they typically have two queen size beds and a day bed.  Some even have a queen size bed and a set of bunk beds (Animal Kingdom Lodge and Wilderness Lodge).  Kids love bunk beds.

There is one Moderate level resort that can accommodate a family of five, and that’s Port Orleans Riverside.  If you can get a room in the Alligator Bayou section, some of those rooms have 2 queen size beds plus a pull down banquette bunk.  The bunk is only designed to sleep one child aged 9 and under, so keep that in mind.

Suites

Several of the resorts have suite style rooms which include a master bedroom and bath, a main room with sofa beds and or sleeping chairs and a second bathroom.  The most affordable of these options are the family suites at Art of Animation and All Star Music. These suites will sleep up to six guests.

Villas

Many of the Deluxe level resorts offer villas that come in different sizes: studio, one bedroom, two bedrooms, or three bedrooms.  These rooms will have a fully stocked kitchen plus in room laundry facilities.  These rooms are great at accommodating large families, as well as big extended families.

One last thing to keep in mind that children under 3 in a crib can be accommodated at all Disney resorts with out affecting the guest count.  So technically a family of four plus a baby can stay in a room designated for only four people.

Be sure to contact one of the Dole Whipped team for further explanation or help deciding which resort is right for you.  We love to help!

New Event during Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party for 2014

Villains’ Sinister Soiree: A Wicked Takeover of Cinderella Castle is a new addition to the Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party at the Magic Kingdom in fall 2014. The event is $99 plus tax on top of the price ticket for the party.

Here is the description for the party and what is included with that price.

 Join Lady Tremaine and her villainous friends at the witching hour for the season’s most decadent dessert party. Taking place during Mickey’s Not-So-Scary-Halloween Party, it’s the Villains’ Sinister Soiree: A Wicked Takeover of Cinderella Castle!

 

Set within the majestic halls of Cinderella’s Royal Table, don’t miss your chance to meet a menagerie of malevolent special guests—all while you indulge in devilish desserts and wicked entertainment.

 

As the evening continues, follow fellow Guests to the dining room, where the surroundings have transformed into an upscale, villainous atmosphere. Inside, enjoy the eerie entertainment as a piano player provides live music, accompanied by a few haunting solos from Lady Tremaine herself.

 

By purchasing a ticket to both Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party and the Villains’ Sinister Soiree: A Wicked Takeover of Cinderella Castle, you’ll receive preferred viewing for the 8:15 performance of Mickey’s “Boo-to-You” Halloween Parade, as well preferred viewing for the Happy HalloWishes Fireworks Spectacular.

 

Plus, you’ll be treated to the Dessert Soiree at Cinderella’s Table—a delightful affair where you can feast your senses on Lady Tremaine’s eerie musical talents, over-the-top desserts and specialty non-alcoholic beverages. You’ll even receive an autograph card and a souvenir Maleficent dragon cup!

Dates for the Halloween party with the Dessert Soiree at Cinderella’s Royal Table, taking place at both 10:15 PM and 11:45 PM on September 1, 9, 12, 16, 23, 26, 28 and October 2, 3, 5, 9, 10, 13, 16, 17, 19, 21, 23, 24, 26, 28, 30 and 31, 2014; and at 10:15 PM only on September 14, 19, and 21, 2014.

If you would like more information or to make reservations contact your favorite Dole Whipped agent at dolewhipped@gmail.com or call Disney directly.

Podcast Episode 21: Over and Underrated – Magic Kingdom Part 1

The Dole Whipped girls discuss the last park in the over/underrated series, Magic Kingdom!  Find out which attractions we love but might not choose to Fast Pass.  We also give our opinion on the Anna and Elsa meet and greet so you don’t want to miss it!

Happy listening!

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California Adventure with Cars, Monsters, and Mickey!

We started the next morning early at California Adventure.  This park has an Extra Magic Hour, just for resort guests unlike Disneyland’s Magic Morning, which is for anyone with a 3-day Park-Hopper.

We got to see the newly-created Buena Vista Street without a mob of people, and it was absolutely breathtaking. IMG_7943 IMG_7968 IMG_7933 IMG_7951

 

We immediately went to Carsland. Craig and my sister, Jessica, went to Radiator Springs Racers. Anthony and I had breakfast at Flo’s V-8 Cafe.  After we enjoyed Carsland with minimal crowds. While Jessica and I rode Radiator Springs, Craig brought Anthony to Bugsland.

Once we finished with those lands we went over to the Monster’s Inc. ride. This was so much fun. You ride through Monstropolis in a taxi car and experience the story of Monsters Inc. My son is a huge Monsters fan so we rode this two or three times.  Then we met Sully!
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After our morning we went over to the Paradise Pier Hotel for Mickey’s Surf’s Up Breakfast. The buffet was far superior than the Plaza Inn. There weren’t as many characters, but we had amazing characters here too.
52872020053 IMG_8202Daisy and Minnie loved Anthony. They came up and sat right next to him in our booth. Daisy was full of hugs and Minnie helped Anthony eat his breakfast and drink his milk. Each one spent 5-10 minutes with us. We were one of the last customers in the restaurant which I think is what resulted in so much time spent with Anthony.
IMG_8086 IMG_8101After our meal, we headed back to the Disneyland Hotel and everyone took a nap! After nap time, it was time for our date night!

Craig and I had dinner at Carthay Circle restaurant–which was outstanding. The bread, appetizers and entrees didn’t disappoint.  Our waiter was outstanding he was full of tips and information and was a true Disney fan, which is always a treat.

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After our dinner we headed over to Disneyland and had Dole Whips for dessert.

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We then rode the monorail from Tomorrowland into Downtown Disney and walked the short way back to our hotel.

This is Part 4 of my trip report to Disneyland. To read the other posts, click here for the Table of Contents.