Disney’s Boardwalk Resort


Disney’s Boardwalk Resort Hotel (aka as my favorite Disney resort) helps make Disney come alive for me and my group when we visit! I have stayed at many different resorts (pretty much almost all of them minus Old Key West, All Stars and Caribbean Beach) but only missing out on these three, I am thinking I can safely state a favorite! I used to be 100% a Poly girl until last May when I decided to stay over at Boardwalk to be closer to Star Wars Weekend themed events and a quick walk to EPCOT. It was such an amazing location and resort we opted to stay there again in December.

When you drive up to the entrance of the Boardwalk you see a majestic and beautiful resort spread out on a hill. From the front it looks like a Coastal resort and in reality Disney themed it like the Atlantic City Boardwalk from the 1920’s era. When you enter the lobby you will see a beautiful carousel and some comfortable seats and sofas to wait on while you check in. Now one thing about this resort is it can be quite large and spread out, so know your needs and plans. We always request a first floor room that is on the backside so we can scoot out to the boats or EPCOT easy…so yes when we do need to go to the front you may have a little walk but if Magic Kingdom or Animal Kingdom are your main destinations then no problem, just request a room near the lobby. I promise this was never a problem for us…the convenience of EPCOT and Disney’s Hollywood Studios more than made up for any walking to the lobby!

The rooms are heavenly in my opinion. They are light and airy and continue that coastal feel. I love how comfortable yet calming everything in the room is and it helps wake you up in the morning! Here are some pics from a 1 bedroom villa…

IMG_0210 IMG_0207

Now in addition to a huge master bedroom there is a two room bathroom (vanity and hot tub are in a completely separate room from the toilet, shower and wash stand) so helps with multiple people getting ready at the same time. Also there is a large living room and kitchen in the same design. They have regular rooms and villas and a special garden suite that if you are ever lucky enough to stay in you must bring me!

Now for the two most special things about this hotel…the boardwalk and the location. So, to go to EPCOT you just walk right out the back and over to EPCOT in about 5-10 minutes. If you are tired or want to save your walking feet then hop on a Friendship boat and motor over to EPCOT and back. The dock is right outside the Boardwalk’s backside.

What about Disney’s Hollywood Studios? Well you can walk in about 15-20 minutes or same thing, take the boat (I take the  boat!)

When you walk out the back to the boat dock what you see may surprise you! It is a whole other fun area of Disney to explore. Some do not even know it is there or know how special it is! There are several amazing eateries including Flying Fish and the Boardwalk Bakery. Also, there are a few kiosks to grab a slice of pizza or hot dog. All around the Boardwalk area are benches and tables to eat or people watch! At nights the place lights up and their are Surrey Bikes to rent and carnival games and tons more! I am not going to tell you everything because you need to visit on your own.


Do you love the Boardwalk area? What is your favorite resort?



Rain Days at Disney

We’ve all been there. A perfectly sunny day at Disney World can turn into one with drenching rain that the drop of a hat. The good news is that rain doesn’t need to ruin your fun! There are plenty of things to do at Disney World when the drops are falling.

  • The first and most obvious suggestion for what to do at Disney in the rain is to don your poncho and flip-flops, and power through! A lot of times this choice will pay off in the form of shorter lines for attractions, which is always a good thing. Often (usually in the summer) the rain storms are over quickly and you can get back to your regularly scheduled fun.

  • Check out some Walt Disney World Resort Hotels. It might give you an idea of where you’d like to stay for your next vacation! A popular plan is to board the monorail and see the Polynesian, the Grand Floridian, and the Contemporary. These are three of Disney’s most popular resorts! Each resort has its own atmosphere. You could grab lunch at one of their counter service restaurants, walk around and see the unique Disney touch at each hotel (including some Hidden Mickey’s!) and do some shopping at the gift shops.


  • Hang out at Disney Springs. You could easily wait out even the longest rain storm at World of Disney alone! World of Disney is a 50,000 square foot store filled with everything Disney. I personally love the jewelry and women’s clothing sections. I usually get all my souvenirs here because there really is something for everyone. You could also check out Disney’s Pin Trading store, Disney’s Days of Christmas (my favorite! I love all the ornaments), the Art of Disney with amazing artwork, and tons of other stores. My personal recommendation is to end your time at Disney Springs with a treat from Ghiradelli!

  • Go swimming! Provided there is no lightning, of course. Otherwise, it’s a perfect time to check out the pools! Disney resorts have a variety of water fun options, from splash pad areas to water slides and themed pools hanging out at the pool is always fun.

What do you do at Disney when it rains? Let me know if I’m missing out on some fun ideas!

Customized Walt Disney World Maps

Before we took our vacation I wanted to be able to have my family take a look at the park layouts.  Some of the parks are very large and set up in interesting ways.  For instance the Magic Kingdom is like a wheel with spokes and a hub, Epcot is similar but has a circular World Showcase.  Then Hollywood Studios is just plain confusing.  A way to help combat the overwhelming feeling of going into the parks without an idea is to order park maps!  The maps are totally free and Disney will delivery them pretty quickly.

You can check the attractions that are favorites, or ones you really want to try out.  We had a lot of fun using the extra stickers to mark attractions that we wanted to do.  It also really helped give me a general idea of where things were located.  I highly recommend you place an order after you book your trip but before you are going to arrive.

MapOf course you can get park maps at the parks, they are smaller, thinner, and tri-fold.  It is always a great idea to pick up a map and times guide as soon as you enter the parks.  This will help you plan out your day and they fit easily in your pocket or bag.

Podcast: Episode 7, Character Meals

In the 6th episode of the Dole Whipped: Dishing on Disney podcast Shannon, Dana, Jillian and Jamie discuss character meals: their favorites and not so favorites, best values and hidden gems! Happy listening!

Link for Desktop: Podcast Garden

Link to iTunes


Welcome Show at Magic Kingdom

Mayor Train Staion
The Welcome Show is probably one of the best lesser known shows at the Magic Kingdom. It is a short show featuring the Mayor of Main Street USA (or sometimes other Main Street characters), dancers, and some Disney characters including Mickey himself and ends with some fireworks.

The Mayor of Main Street USA is a lovely character who greets visitors to the Magic Kingdom and gets people excited about the opening of the park. He is joined by some dancers in turn of the century costumes as they dance and sing in front of the Main Street USA Train Station.
Welcome Show

When they are done the spectators are treated to the sight of the steam train pulling into the station with a whole cast of characters like Peter Pan and Wendy, Alice and the White Rabbit, Mary Poppins, Chip and Dale, Pluto and Minnie, and of course Mickey. You can also see the Family of the Day. That is right, if you get there early enough and the stars align you could have the chance to be the ones waving back at the crowd.Welcome Show

The music that accompanies the show is catchy (and possibly familiar if you have seen some musicals) and you will find yourself singing or humming along. And it is so much fun to count down to the opening of the Magic Kingdom.

It won’t take a large part of your day but it is the best way to start off right and you may even leave with a tear in your eye.

Staying Cool at Disney World

With the summer finally headed our way, I have HEAT on the mind. As bad as it seems in New England sometimes, Florida heat during the summer can be absolutely brutal. Don’t despair! There are ways to stay cool at Disney, and I’m going to tell you about them!

1) The first and most obvious way to keep cool at Disney is to stay hydrated. You’re allowed to bring your water bottles into the parks (as long as they’re not glass) so make sure to have them loaded up cold and ready when you leave for the parks for the day. Some people complain about the taste of Florida water in the fountains. I’ve personally never noticed it, but you can also go to any counter service restaurant and ask for a cup of water with ice. It’s free, and a good way to help you cool down. Another place for free, cold beverages is Club Cool at Epcot. Located in Future World, Club Cool features different sodas from around the world. Don’t forget to try the Beverly 😉


2) Cool treats: The most delicious way to stay cool at Disney is to enjoy a frozen treat! My personal favorites are as follows: The Dole Whip at Magic Kingdom, Grey Goose Citron Lemonade Slush at Epcot (not for children!), the homemade ice cream sandwich at Hollywood Studios and a Mickey Premium bar at Animal Kingdom (though they’re available at all 4 parks!)

3) If you have the water parks and more option on your tickets (or if you’re a promo client and got a one day entry for FREE!) head to a water park to cool down! With the water parks and more tickets you could enjoy a water park every day (that you have a ticket for, that is) if you so choose. Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach are both great options. If you don’t have water park tickets you can always enjoy your resort pool (moderates and above even include water slides!) or even the Casey Jr. Splash ‘N’ Soak Station in the Fantasyland section of the Magic Kingdom. Water play is the most fun way to cool down!


4) Arriving early in the morning and enjoying the parks before the heat of the day really comes out is the BEST way to avoid overheating at Disney. Mid-day is when the heat gets really bad, so if you can avoid it by getting most of your intensive park touring in the morning morning that will leave the afternoon free for swimming or relaxing in the air conditioning. It’s a win-win, really!

How do you cool down at Disney? Whats your favorite frozen treat to enjoy?

Podcast: Episode 7, Cast Member Chris!

A very special episode of the Dole Whipped podcast today, we have our very first guest! Former college program Cast Member Christ joins Shannon, Tara, Jillian and Jamie to discuss his time in the program and share some of his favorite things. Happy Listening!

Link for Desktop: Podcast Garden

Link to iTunes


Chip ‘n Dale’s Harvest Feast: Dinner at the Garden Grill Restaurant

Quick Facts
Location: Epcot inside of The Land Pavillion
Hours: 4:00-8:00 p.m. 
Characters: Chip, Dale, Mickey, and Pluto  (characters are always subject to change)
Dining Plan: 1 credit

This character meal is served family-style. The restaurant rotates extremely slowly and you rotate through different scenes of the Living with the Land ride. The four characters here were a lot of fun and they visited us more than once!

  • Basket of Warm Bread with Orange Blossom Honey Butter
  • “Living with the Land” Harvest-inspired Farmer’s Salad
  • Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes
  • Char-grilled Filet of Beef with Demi-Glace Steak Butter
  • Garden Fresh Vegetables
  • Roasted All-Natural Turkey Breast with Stuffing and a House-made Gravy
  • Sustainable Fish of the Day with Tomato Jam

Kids’ Meals

  • Roasted All-Natural Turkey Breast served with Whole-Grain Rice Pilaf, Steamed Broccoli, and Fruit Cup.
  • Chicken Drumstick served with Baked Macaroni & Cheese, Broccoli, Crispy Sweet Potato Sticks


  • Seasonal Skillet Dessert with Vanilla Bean Whipped Cream

We truly enjoyed our meal here. The food is basic and simple, but well executed. We will definitely be back.

Gluten-free options:
The chef sent out some warmed bread and I got to enjoy that delicious orange blossom butter. Most of the items were actually gluten free, with the exception of the stuffing, which was brought out on a separate plate. The gluten-free dessert was from frozen pre-made cookies. There was nothing wrong with the cookies, but I always appreciate how some restaurants go above and beyond for Celiac customers.

The characters here are pretty laid back and have always spent a lot time with my son.

In Conclusion
I highly recommend this meal for kids because the characters are great and the kids can revel in the fact that they ate inside of a ride!

Port Orleans French Quarter Resort Review

FQ Walk

Port Orleans French Quarter is an adorable New Orleans-themed moderate resort at Walt Disney World. It is situated on the Sassagoula River with stunning views, perfectly manicured walking and running trails along the river and boat access to Downtown Disney. It is also centrally located between the Magic Kingdom and Epcot which means short travel times to both parks. As a moderate resort it features a large pool area with a water slide, hot tub/whirlpool, and even a splash pool for the little ones.

The reason I chose this resort for my last vacation was its size. It is the smallest resort at 1,008 rooms so it is not a far walk to your room, the lobby, restaurant, pool, or bus stop no matter where you are located.

This resort was refurbished not too long ago and the rooms were fresh and clean and large enough for my family of three adults and one child, all of our luggage (and shopping bags of course) with room to move around. The color scheme is gold and purple with dark wood with two queen beds (or one king). The rooms feature two sinks that are just out side of the rest of the bathroom which allows at least two people to get ready at the same time. There is also a curtain between the sink and the bed area that can be pulled to allow the rest of your group to sleep in a little longer.

For food you can check out the Quick Service, Sassagoula Floatworks, which serves Louisiana/New Orleans/Cajun-inspired foods like jambalaya, barbecue, or Creole burgers. You can also get basic burgers, hot dogs, pizza, and pasta. The bakery inside the food court serves fresh baked goods and you can get delicious beignets, and Mickey Rice Krispie treats. Grab-and-go food like cereal, fruit, granola bars, chips, juice, milk and other snacks are available. There is also a pool-side bar, Mardi Grogs, with great drinks and even better service. The food here is simple but very delicious. And of course if you choose to get the refillable mugs or have the dining plan there is plenty of hot or cold drinks to choose from.

If you don’t fancy a day at the parks there is plenty to do around the resort for kids and adults. At dusk there are movies shown, campfires, where for a small charge you can get the fixins’ for s’mores and huddle around a bonfire. You can of course hit up the pool and then the kids can join in the fun activities. The cast members play fun games with the kids like hot potato, but with water balloons or guessing games. You can also let your kids play on the playground or there are bikes and fishing equipment for rent. There are horse-drawn carriage rides or pirate adventures for kids available at an additional cost. There is plenty to do just at this resort if you would like to have a slow day.
Water Balloon POFQ

You cannot go wrong if you choose to stay at this beautiful, exciting, and fun resort.

Etsy Round Up: Disney Edition

If you’re like me, you love scouring Etsy for new ways to spend your money.  The site is loaded with all kinds of Disney inspired goodies.  I thought it would be nice to highlight a few of them.  Feel free to share your own links in the comments!

If you’ve got daughters, chances are they’re way into Frozen.  This hand crocheted beanie cap is perfect for the little snow queen in your life.  $25 plus shipping from ILikeYarn.

If you love The Little Mermaid, you need this dinglehopper necklace to be part of your world.  $15 plus shipping from Shanana.

You worked hard today, why not treat yourself to a glass of wine out of one of these amazing hand-painted wineglasses?  $50 for a set of two glasses from DrawingsByBOBA.

You love Dole Whips, right?  You can imagine that cool burst of pineapple on your tongue, can’t you?  Why not fragrance your whole house with that amazing scent with one of these vegan soy candles?  The 8oz candle is on sale for $7 plus shipping from WalterandRosie.

There are literally thousands of awesome Disney items available on Etsy so unearth some treasures and share them here!