Podcast Episode 133: Animal Kingdom Quick Service Locations

We know visiting Animal Kingdom can give you an elephant-sized appetite so we’re talking about all the quick service options you can find there.  From burgers to pizza to more ethnic style cuisine, you can find something delicious at Animal Kingdom!

Happy listening!

Listen to Desktop

Listen to iTunes

 

Top 5 Reasons To Go To Disney Without Kids

In November I was really excited to take an adults only trip with my favorite Dole Whippies to Walt Disney World.  You would not believe the amount of people who were incredulous about the idea of going to Disney without my child, with other adults!  But let me tell you, it was an amazing choice!  Here are some great reasons why you should take a kid free trip to Walt Disney World.


5. No sharing! Unless you want to!  You know how your child will order ice cream that is  blue just because it is blue, and you order a delicious mint chocolate chip scoop?  Except yours always looks more appealing once it shows up.  Well no sharing required, you get that Dole Whip to your self!

4. Explore the World Showcase!  This is one place it is hard to appreciate with kids who are just looking for their next snack or attraction.  You can really soak in the atmosphere of the different pavilions and experience all there is to do at your own pace!

3.You don’t have to get the light up toy.  You know, the kind on the cart that comes out at dusk and they are so bright and flashy and your kid MUST have it and you have to figure out how to get it home.  Not this time! You can stroll smugly by and keep your wallet in your purse or pocket.


2. Sleep in and stay out late.  Both of these things can be very hard to accomplish with kids of any ages, they get tired or grumpy or both.  Well this happens with adults too, but it is generally a little easier to handle.  You can take advantage of nighttime extra magic hours and enjoy really low crowds.  No reason to get up early with the little ones, just close the curtain and hit snooze!

1. Freedom, sweet freedom.  You get to choose which attraction you want to do, which character to meet.  You can push lunch back by and hour and not have too many melt downs.  Or maybe you decide to linger over a drink or dessert.  Or you can try on all the tiaras in the shop in Germany and accomplish nothing else that day.  But that is ok because you do what you want.photopass_visiting_mk_393054706674

I can’t recommend enough how much fun it is to feel like a kid at Walt Disney World by going without kids. It is good for the soul and trust me, you will be a better parent for it when you return home!

 

Cabins at Fort Wilderness Review

img_0125Back in November, the ladies of Dole Whipped stayed at the Cabins for a girls weekend. None of us had stayed there since the refurbishment in early 2016 so we thought we’d try them out.

First of all, the cabins measure at approximately 504 sq ft and sleep up to 6.  Each cabin has a main living area with a sleeper sofa, an arm chair, a dining table, plus a fully stocked kitchen with a full size side by side refrigerator.  There is a large bathroom and then a bedroom with a queen size bed plus a set of bunk beds.  Each cabin comes with a deck and a picnic table.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The cabins are very attractively furnished and outfitted.  They’re just really cute!  We loved the kind of rustic feel of them, but they were still comfortable.  The kitchen was outfitted with almost everything you’d need to make a simple meal, provided you don’t need a full size oven…because there is no oven!  They do have a combination microwave/convection oven, but if you thought you were going to be able to cook up some frozen pizzas or bake a cake, think again!

Because the cabins are in the Moderate resort category, you get the basic soaps and shampoos.  There is housekeeping service every day and they’ll even do the dishes for you!

Fort Wilderness is a lovely resort.  We saw lots of wildlife just hanging around which was very cool, however, you do feel a bit isolated and out of the “Disney bubble”, in my opinion.  There are very limited food options within the resort.  They do have Trail’s End and PJ’s Southern Takeout, but if you’re looking for a good quick service option, there is none.  There are a couple of outposts that sell things like fresh fruits and vegetables, deli meats, canned goods, boxes of prepared pastries, sodas, and the like.  It’s a good option if you need ingredients, but not so much if you’re looking for a ready to go meal.

Transportation to the parks is via water taxi to Magic Kingdom, and buses to everywhere else.  You could opt to take the boat to Magic Kingdom, then hop on the monorail to the TTC, then change to the Epcot monorail.  The boat to Magic Kingdom was great, but we opted to drive (we had Tara’s car) to the other parks.  It’s not the most conveniently located resort for parks that aren’t Magic Kingdom.  The buses for the other parks are located up in the front of the resort so if your cabin or campsite is in the back, you’ll have to take the internal bus to get to the front.  There are a couple of other options to get around the resort, which we’ll talk about in a minute.

The other issue that we ran into during our stay internal resort transportation.  The resort is huge.  Our cabin was near the front of the resort where the check in desk is but the boat launch to Magic Kingdom was near the back of the resort.  We’re talking a good mile or more from our front door to the boat launch.  That’s not always going to be doable.  There is an internal bus system that you can use, but we weren’t sure how regular it passed through.  We also wanted to note that there are no car parking lots at the resort other than the front lot at check in and the parking spaces available at the cabins or the campsites.  You’re not able to drive your car from your cabin to the boat launch as there wouldn’t be anywhere to park the car!

How we opted to solve this problem was by renting a golf cart for our stay.  They are available for rent up by the check in desk.  The prices start at around $59 plus tax for a four seat cart.  We found the cart pretty much necessary for convenience plus it was just a lot of fun to drive!

img_0037

We found the cabin very nice and a good way to get a lot of beds in a small space, but logistically, it was a bit of a pain.  The resort itself was so large that getting around was inconvenient.  The price may be right for larger groups or families, but we’d prefer to be a bit more centrally located.

Walt Disney World Wedding Photos

If you listened to Episode 129 of the Podcast you heard all about Amanda & Kevin’s amazing Walt Disney World wedding. Check out some of the details in the post below to see some of the things we talked about!

Ceremony:

Reception (slideshow):

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

And my personal favorite (because… WOW!!) the in park portrait session, click to enlarge:

P&J’s Southern Takeout Review

img_0044

So on our girls trip back in November, the first restaurant we tried was Trail’s End/P&J’s Southern Takeout.  As we’ve mentioned before, we found Fort Wilderness a bit lacking in available food options.  It was about 1 or 2 in the afternoon by the time we stumbled upon Trail’s End, and at that time they were at the tail end of their brunch buffet.  None of us were in the mood for brunch, however, we found out that P&J’s inside Trail’s End does a few takeout lunch options.

Now, the keyword here is “takeout”.  I don’t believe you are meant to eat your food at the restaurant there.  There are a few picnic tables outside, however, when we were there all the tables under cover were occupied, and it had started raining.  Since the brunch buffet was over, there was no one eating inside Trail’s End, so we asked one of the cast members there if we could sit inside and eat.  They very nicely allowed us to do so.

The menu at P&J’s is quite limited.  You can choose from a large cheese or pepperoni pizza, a BBQ pork sandwich, a turkey wrap, a salami/ham/turkey sandwich on focaccia bread, a caesar salad with chicken, and fried chicken.

Shannon:  Tara and I had the pepperoni pizza.  It was made to order and served hot.  While it’s not Via Napoli, it was actually pretty good, I thought.  I’d eat it again.

Tara: The pizza was good. It was not the room service cardboard type pizza (thankfully!) and it was a decent pizza. I would definitely order it again and enjoyed it.

Jillian: I chose the Chuckwagon Wrap, which was smoked turkey, provolone cheese, lettuce, and basil aioli on a sundried tomato wrap for my first Disney meal.  It was filling without being so heavy.  The portion size was great and the chips were so delicious!  I love a homemade chip and these were perfectly cooked and salted.  Plus it came in a cute to go box!  I would definitely order this again!

Jamie: I had the “Lone Rider” which was 2 pieces of fried chicken with cornbread, plus a choice of 2 sides: macaroni and cheese, coleslaw and mashed potatoes. I chose the first two. The chicken was very good! Pretty typical fried chicken, but it hit the spot since I was so hungry. Neither the mac and cheese or coleslaw were very good in my opinion.

Overall, I feel like the food we had was fine, but Fort Wilderness is maybe not the best place to be if you’re looking for a lot of quick food options.

 

Walt Disney World 2017 on a $2,500 Budget

Recently we did a podcast with 2017 pricing and looked at many different budgets. My budget was for $2,500.  The guidelines were that is must be for 3 nights and 3 day park tickets for a family of 2 adults, 2 children 10 and 5.

My trip was June 12-16, 2017 at Port Orleans French Quarter in a standard room with 5 day base tickets the total is $2440.70

Photo via Disney.com

If we cheat a little bit and go over budget you can add Memory Maker and the grand total would be $2589.70

I wanted to also price out a similar vacation that included some type of dining plan.  Using the same dates of June 12-16 we move over to a value resort All Star Movies standard room.  For tickets we have the 3 day base tickets and the Quick Service Dining Plan the total is $2466.98.  Bringing this just under the budget!

Photo Via Disney.com

Of course these are priced out without any type of discount.  If a discount is available that will help you save some money as well.

Walt Disney World for Two on a $5,000 Budget

You can go to Walt Disney World on all different types of budgets. You can make it work for $2,000 or less and you can splurge and go and drop the price of a car on a week going all out! There are so many ways and shapes of vacations and one option that I love is a fun and intimate trip for 2 on a moderately deluxe budget of $5,000. Yes, I say moderately deluxe at $5,000 and I know it is only two people, but you can throw down some serious money at Disney if you let me (um if you want!).

Pricing is rack rate, so this is without ANY special promotions or discounts and I always recommend booking what you can afford without a discount. Discounts/promotions are NOT guaranteed, inventory is limited, and if you do get a promotion applied I think it is awesome to use it to upgrade. Club level? Deluxe dining? Fireworks cruise? Or if not an upgrade, extra money in your pockets for some fun souvenirs (I am a fan of Olszewski’s trinkets, especially his light boxes).

Okay back to my romantic trip for 2! So, here is what I think would be great!

Option 1 – Dates September 18 – 24, 2017 – almost a whole week away from the world with your special someone!

Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort  – Standard Room with Standard View. I love this resort for so many reasons. I find it romantic, nostalgic and such a beautiful property to walk around. Plus the dining options are some of the best and you can grab a daily Dole Whip!

Included in this option is a 5 day park hopper. You definitely want a park hopper on this trip, because you are going to want to hop over to different parks for some amazing dinners and have the freedom of changing your mind on this trip for 2. You only need 5 days because on your trip for 2 you are going to want at least one full day to spend at the resort, sleep in, no alarms, sit by the pool, leisurely stroll around, and do some shopping.

And also, the standard Disney Dining Plan. Did you want Deluxe on this trip so you could go all out with some 2 credit meals and really be Disney foodies? Yes, well I did too, but I wanted the Poly more on this option and I am a fan of longer trips. This is my romantic trip for 2, so this is what it is for Option 1.

This is coming in at $4,919.68 so right there at budget!

Option 2 – Dates September 18 – 24, 2017

Disney’s Beach Club Resort – Standard Room with Standard View. I love this resort for 01b5f40980d67c08bb48dc3ffd63d5cea01f079fcbyour trip for 2 as the location is great for 2 adults. You can walk or boat to Epcot and Hollywood Studios. So, easy peasy (lemon squeasy) to go to Epcot and drink or snack around the World in the afternoon, take a break and a nap, then back to finish your Around the World challenge. I have found whether it is Drink or Snack Around the World a nap is a must. Plus, the pool here at Beach Club, which is named Stormalong Bay, is the best on property and has a sandy bottom and lazy river which is perfect to spend some lazy time!

I included 5 day park hopper for same reasons as above. Plus with Stormalong Bay you are going to want to be lazy for at least a full day!

This time, I was able to get deluxe dining in without going over budget! The Epcot resorts are a great option for deluxe stays, they are typically a little less expensive than the monorail resorts, but for resorts they are super nice and super convenient to Epcot and Hollywood Studios.

Total Cost – $4,877.45

Option 3 – Dates September 20 – 24, 2017

Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort Outer Building, Standard View, CLUB LEVEL wanted to include the Grand Floridian as being the Flagship and such a great option. Plus, a trip for 2 that includes the G Flo and Club Level is a top option, but I did have to shorten the trip. Oh well, the club level makes up for it!

Nar1

4 day Park Hoppers since it is a shorter trip.

Standard Disney Dining Plan and club level makes this a dream trip for comfort and convenience! And being on the monorail is the cherry on top!

Total Cost – $4,901.91

Option 4 – Dates September 20 – 24, 2017

Disney’s Boardwalk Inn – Outer Building, Garden Room – CLUB LEVEL I had to include 0118bd0cb8c9ece4bc67c88835fd59fea18c5511cc
this option because the Garden Room (or cottages) are the most amazing option for a 2 person stay. You get your own little two-story cottage complete with your own fenced in garden, mail box and cute white picket fence. You are right across from a quiet pool and not too far from the club level lounge. These cottages are special and very limited (total of 14 I think). I truly loved everything about them.

I did 4 day Park Hoppers. Though you will love the cottage so much you may not want to leave!

No dining plan, which is sad, but to keep on budget and since you are going to love hanging around your cottage and pool area and be so close to club level it is okay to skip the dining plan this time!

Total Cost – $4,777.27

So, these are just a few options for your romantic trip for 2 to Disney! Which trip do you want to take?

 

runDisney Playlist Part II

Ready for some more Disney music inspiration for your runDisney or Disney themed playlist?  Well look no further!  Here is part II with a new list of upbeat and fun songs to help pass the time while you are training or just doing some exercising.

 

  1. One Little Spark- Journey into Imagination with Figment
  2. I Just Can’t Wait to be King-The Lion King
  3. Kiss the Girl- The Little Mermaid
  4. You’re Welcome- Moana
  5. I’ll Make a Man Out of You- Mulan
  6. Prince Ali- Aladdin
  7. Sugar Rush- Wreck-It Ralph
  8. Topsy Turvy- The Hunchback of Notre-Dame
  9. It’s A Small World- It’s a Small World attraction
  10. Be Our Guest- Beauty and the Beast
  11. Hawaiian Roller Coaster Ride- Lilo and Stitch
  12. Monsters Inc- Monsters Inc
  13. The Best Time of your Life- Carousel of Progress
  14. Dig a Little Deeper- Princess and the Frog
  15. Three Caballeros- Gran Fiesta Tour
  16. Trashin’ the Camp- Tarzan
  17. Fixer Upper- Frozen
  18. Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo- Cinderella
  19. The Bear Band Serenade- Country Bears Jamboree
  20. I’ve Got a Dream- Tangled
  21. One Step Ahead- Aladdin
  22. Zero to Hero- Hercules
  23. You Can Fly- Peter Pan
  24. Almost There- Princess and the Frog
  25. We Know the Way- Moana

 

I hope you’ve enjoyed adding some new music to your playlist!  Happy Trails runners!

Did you miss Part I?  No problem, check it out here.

 

Club Level Series: Wilderness Lodge

Did I save the best for last with the Club Level Series and Wilderness Lodge? Well, you will have to try them all yourself to see because the one thing I know to be a fact is everyone has a favorite and no two people can agree! So, the good news is to find out which is your favorite you will need to stay club level at all the deluxe resorts and then let me know which you love the best!

Wilderness Lodge Resort is a deluxe resort that is considered a Magic Kingdom resort. It is not on the monorail but does have a nice, quick boat ride to and from Magic Kingdom that makes it desirable. Though currently under a massive renovation so if you are staying here make sure you are aware of what the renovations will impact during your dates. But, moving on to the club.

wilderness-lodge-resort-00-full

First, a note about a change that is happening with all club levels and this is in the Itinerary Planning Office (“IPO”). Prior to this post, each club level guest received an email from the IPO at their resort and it was where you could get help planning, get reservations made for you prior to your stay, ask questions, etc. This service is being changed and is currently not available – so we are hearing. There has been no official announcements, just rumors, so we will not address those but as soon as we hear we will let you know! But, if you are staying club level and do not receive this email – this is why. If you do receive it or are reached out to by the IPO – let us know! We are investigating what all is going on in this department!

old-faithful-club

The lounge at Wilderness Lodge is called the Old Faithful Club and is located on the Seventh Floor and you will need to be staying club level to access the floor via the elevator. So, sadly no sneaking in or just wandering around! It is private and exclusive to those that have paid for the extra perks!

ofc

Club level extra perks at Wilderness Lodge are the same as all other club level perks at the other Deluxe resorts. These include plush bathrobes in room, turn-down service with chocolates on your pillow, lounge access with complimentary food and drinks, spa quality toiletries (favorite of mine!), and private check-in.

Room types that you can get if you are staying club level at Wilderness Lodge include 2 queen beds, 1 queen bed with a set of bunk beds or a king bed. Also, if you are in a suite at Wilderness Lodge you will automatically have club level included in your reservation.

ofc-infoThe food – yes, it always comes down to the food! Here is a schedule and a sample of what is offered at Old Faithful Club at Wilderness Lodge:

Breakfast 7am-10am (coffee service starts at 6:30am) – Continental breakfast with pastries, muffins, bagels, yogurt, fruit, and cereal.

 

ofc-bfast

Excellent way to start the day!

Refreshments 11:30am-4pm – small snack foods. They will have crudite, cookies and chips (homemade chips!) with dipping sauce, candies and nuts.

Wine and Cheese Selections 5pm-7pm – Cheese platter, salads, Antipasti platter, BBQ Chicken Skewers, Venison Meatballs in Sweet and Sour Sauce, then these amazing Peanut Butter and Jelly Shooters with a Puff Pastry.

pbj-shooters

 

BBQ Chicken Skewers

BBQ Chicken Skewers

Cordials and Desserts 8pm-10pm – Apple Crisp, Cookies (several varieties), and Magic Bars. This is also when they broke out some of their fine liqueurs to taste or a glass of wine if you prefer.

They always have soda, water, milk and non-alcoholic options as well!