Tuesday, October 27, 2015

7 Awesome Reasons to visit Epcot!

Over the years, I have heard many people say.... "Epcot's not really for kids." Or they'll ask, "Won't my kids be bored there?" My answer is NO! They will NOT be bored! Epcot is a fabulous park for kids! Here are my reasons why!

1- The Living Seas Pavilion. This is a really fun pavilion. Your journey under the sea starts with a really cool attraction- The Seas with Nemo and Friends. I don't want to spoil it for anyone, but it's a really neat ride that combines real aquatic life with technology. And when you're done, you can explore the pavilion, which is home to all sorts of awesome fish and sea animals. My favorite part is the sea horses :) So cute! You can also check out Bruce's Sub hub and learn all about sharks with interactive games and play areas. And where else can you get your picture taken inside a giant shark's mouth??? And don't forget about Turtle Talk with Crush! He's so cool!

2- The Imagination Pavilion. Another fun pavilion! This one starts with a cute little attraction called Journey into the Imagination with Figment. It's a tram ride that gets your imagination flowing with surprises and fun and a cute song that will be stuck in your head all day! When the ride's over, check out Image Works with all kinds of fun interactive things to keep the imagination going. The Captain EO 3D show is there too, which is pretty darn cool, regardless of how old it is. (I saw this show way back in 1989 at Disneyland!)

3- Spaceship Earth. Yep. The giant silver ball in the middle of Epcot! Most people don't even realize there is an attraction inside! And it is such a cool one. One of my favs at Epcot! Take a trip through time to discover how the way we communicate has changed scene the dawn of time. And then you can create your own video of the future--with your face in it-- and email it to yourself! At the end of the attraction, there are all sorts of interactive games to play. Very cool and even a little futuristic!

4- Soarin'! Now this IS my favorite attraction in all of Epcot! Take a seat in a gigantic hang glider and prepare yourself for awesomeness. Soarin' takes guests up into the air, feet dangling, into a huge domed screen that completely surrounds you. You'll soar through California, experiencing sites and smells. This attraction was original created for Disneyland, but will soon be updated to showcase sights from all around the world, not just California.

5- Test Track. This is one fast ride! Design your race car before you go in, then test it's features while you ride. Up hills, around turns, then out on the open road to see how fast you can go! This is really fun. It has been re-themed recently and the updated version is pretty darn cool.

6- World Showcase. I just love visiting all the countries. I know it's not the same as a real world tour, but it might be the closest I ever get. I think it's really fun to get a glimpse of each country's culture and history and meet some of the people who were born and raised there. Each country is a little different in it's offerings. Mexico has a great little boat ride that's like a Mexican it's a small world. China and Canada have really cool films. The USA has a great animatronic show. There are always fun street shows going on and lots of cool nooks and crannies to explore. Every single one has amazing shops with really cool merchandise and awesome food and beverages. Plus, this is the place to meet some of your favorite characters in the country where they're from! And if the kids need something else fun to do, check out the Agent P Adventure-- an interactive game that takes them to several countries in World Showcase looking for clues.

7- Kidcot stations. My kids really love these! Each country in World Showcase has a special station for kids. They can start wherever they'd like and receive a cardboard character in a stick. (Right now it's Perry the Platypus!) They can color him in and then at each stop, they collect a stamp on the back or on the wooden handle from each country. For a small fee, kids can also purchase a Passport. When they stop at each country, the Kidcot Cast Members will stamp their book and write a little message in their native language. Very cool keepsake.

So, what is your favorite thing to do at Epcot? Do you think it's as awesome as I do?

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Top 5 reasons to stay at the Value Resorts!

Our most recent stay was at Allstar Music!

I'm a HUGE fan of the Disney value resorts! Here's why:

1- THEMING! All Disney resorts have impeccable theming, but the Value resorts are pretty special. If you want to be completely immersed in Disney-ness, the Values are where it's at. Larger than life icons, bright colors, characters galore! Everywhere you turn there is some kind of cool Disney thing that appeals to adults as well as kids. The Allstars have classic Disney characters as well as newer ones, that tie into Sports, Music, or Movies. Pop Century has all the fun things adults loved as kids, that the newer generation is just being introduced to. Where else is there a life-sized fooseball table? And the newest, Art of Animation, celebrates the amazing artists who create our favorite Disney characters.

2- PRICE! We adore Disney World, and go as often as we can, but we aren't as rich as we wished we were! LOL! Sometimes, we have to keep our vacation budget as trim as possible. And that means cutting corners where we can. The best place to cut corners is by staying at a Value Resort. Pricing per night ranges from $85 to $189, depending on which Value you choose, what season you're visiting Disney World, and if you'd like a preferred room location or not. That's a great price, in my opinion! And they still include all the perks of being a Disney World resort guest, like free transportation, extra magic hours, package delivery, and the ability to book the Disney Dining Plan. And let's not forget all the fabulous promotions Disney offers every season! So those prices are often even cheaper!

3- FOOD! We are huge fans of food at Disney World, and it's no secret that the best counter service meals of all the resorts are served at the Values. Each has a huge cafeteria-style food court with all sorts of offerings, from early morning til late at night. Art of Animation's Landscape of Flavors has some really unique offerings, while the Allstars and Pop Century stick to American fare. The Pop Century food court is the only place to get tie-dyed cheese cake!!

4- NO FRILLS! I'm not sure how many people will agree this is a perk, but I think it is. We are park people. Even when we've planned extended trips and swore we were going to have more down time, we just didn't. We like being in the parks. Yes, we like to swim and take advantage of the pool area fun, but usually only on arrival day, or in the evening. So for us, the Values are perfect. We don't care about a water slide or hot tub. We spend very little time in our room, so we don't care if it's smaller than the rooms at the Moderate and Deluxe resorts. We couldn't care less that there isn't a table service restaurant to dine at.

5- CUSTOMER SERVICE! Regardless of where you stay on Disney property, you still receive the same level of customer service. Which is pretty darn high, if you ask me! Every Cast Member I have encountered at my many Value resort stays has always gone above and beyond to make us feel special and accommodate us as best they can.

So what do you think of the Value resorts? Have I missed a reason? Share your fabulous experiences!!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Top 5 reasons to book the Quick Service Disney Dining Plan!

I love to eat. I find zero shame in admitting that. And I especially love to eat in Disney World! The Disney Dining Plan has made eating very easy! Here are my top 5 reasons why I love the Quick Service Dining Plan!

1- SAVES TIME! For shorter Disney trips, we like to soak up every minute we can and use them to our fullest ability. Counter meals are just faster. Especially if you dine during off times. We usually eat early lunches. Most counter places open at 11, some are 11:30. We get there right after opening. The lines are short and we have no trouble getting a table. Same with dinner. We'll shoot for 4:30-5 ish, after the lunch crowd has dined and the dinner crowd isn't ready. We can be in and out in maybe 45 minutes, as opposed to the hour and a half it takes at most sit down restaurants.

2- YOU GET MORE! I've done the math. Even if we all ordered the cheapest meal, shared drinks, skipped dessert (or at least only treated ourselves occasionally) we don't come out ahead of what the Quick Service plan costs. I don't know about you, but I would much rather spend the same amount of money and get MORE!

3- DESSERT! Every meal on the Quick Service Dining Plan comes with dessert. Yep. EVERY. SINGLE. MEAL! That's a perk for sure! I dream about the Triple Chocolate Cake.......

4- RESORT MUG! Yep! Even the Quick Service plan comes with a refillable resort mug for every guest on the plan! It is only fillable at your resort, but it is definitely a great perk!

5- SNACKS! For me, a Disney trip is special because of all the fun treats I don't get to experience at home. Dole Whips, Mickey Bars, Smoothies, Floats, every awesome treat in World Showcase! There are a thousand different things to try and you get to try one every day of your trip!

So...what do you think? Have you done the Quick Service Dining Plan before? Would you do it again? What's your favorite use of a snack credit???

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

A few words about Cast Members

Every trip we have ever taken to Walt Disney World, a big part of what has made it all so wonderful is the employees....the Cast Members. They often go out of their way to help or make you smile. I openly admit I feel special when someone calls me Princess...and I'm 38! They really know how to make guests feel special and add that extra touch to make you feel as if you have been transported out of reality. They act the part and live it. Some of the best experiences with Cast Members have been at The Haunted Mansion and Tower of Terror. So so awesome. And the Jungle Cruise operators? Amazing! I heard that's the most sought after job on property :) Even their uniforms coordinate with their job and it all adds to the overall magic.

And they really seem to love their job! I have been all over social media for many years and have had the opportunity to chat with current and former WDW cast members. They adore every minute of it. (Well, I'm sure not every minute...I know there is aggravating stuff associated with working at the largest amusement park on the planet!) But they genuinely want to be there. They wear their name tags like a badge of honor.

So next time you're at a Disney park, play along! Take pictures! The people at Disney are part of what makes it so awesome!

Friday, October 9, 2015

It's Official!!!!!

I'm so so excited!! I haven't posted about it on here yet, since I was waiting for it all to be official! But I signed my contract the other day and officially graduated yesterday.

I am now an independent travel agent with Fairytale Journeys specializing in Disney vacations!! I completed the College of Disney Knowledge course yesterday! And scored a perfect 100%!

And now that I've officially started this excited new business, I wonder why I didn't do it sooner. So many times friends and family told me I should become a travel agent. But I never wanted to deal with all kinds of other vacations. I just wanted to do Disney. And I didn't think I wanted to deal with all the official stuff. I didn't want to work at an actual travel agency. I need to be home. I wasn't going to give up my writing career. I would have loved to just help people plan their Disney days and pick which restaurants to eat at.

But one day a few weeks ago...I can't even explain how it all happened... I started researching online travel agencies who specialized in Disney vacations. And I filled out a couple applications. Within a few days, I had a response and a request for a phone interview. She was awesome and offered me the position that day. It's been a bit of a whirlwind ever since. And it's everything I could have hoped for. The parts I didn't want to do aren't nearly as hard as I'd thought and I have SOOOOOO much support from my agency- Fairytale Journeys. I'm already building a clientele- I have 3 trips booked already!! And a few more leads who are interested.

I'm really excited for his new venture. I feel like the luckiest girl ever. How many people can say they have their dream job? And I have two......

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Restaurant Spotlight: Sci Fi Dine In Theater

Years ago, way back in the year 2000, I took my first trip to Walt Disney World. It was a spur of the moment trip. We got major deals on a hotel and a rental car, airfare and park passes, too. I didn't even know there were Disney resorts. My husband and I just went. It was on my list of things to do before we had kids. It was a budget trip, but it was my first time ever, so I didn't care. But we did manage to eat at two sit down restaurants. And one of them was Sci Fi Dine in Theater.

And the second I walked in, I was BLOWN AWAY. I really felt like I was outside at a drive in movie.

We have been back many times since that first trip. Our kids adore it just as much as we do. The tables are pretty darn cool. It's nothing new to eat in your car, but these are are very unique. Each seat has a table.

The menu is a tad limited, (check it out here) but the burgers are tasty. I've had the ribs and steak, and both were good.

But it's the atmosphere is what brings us back. It really takes you back to a time when life was just different. That whole transportation to another time and place thing that I LOVE about Disney. The old science fiction movie clips are awesome :) I especially love the old commercials and drive in cartoons.

For our upcoming trip, I made a special reservation. They are doing breakfast for a limited time. The menu sounds awesome (check it out here!)

So if you like themed restaurants and being transported to another time and place, definitely check out Sci Fi Dine In Theater restaurant at Disney's Hollywood Studios!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Why do you love Disney?

I was recently asked why I love Disney World. It's a tough question because it's very hard to pick one reason!

For us, family time is very important. Our everyday lives are very busy, especially now that the kids are getting older. Sports and clubs, homework. My own work schedule and hubby's, too. I used to always insist on dinner together every night, but sadly, even that is starting to diminish. And I swore it never would :( So when we go on vacation, and are able to escape from everything, we are truly able to get back our family and just relax and have fun.

I love Disney because they give you a complete escape. It's so much more than an amusement park in the middle of Florida. You are transported to another world. A world where fantasy becomes reality, where adventure lurks around every corner, where the impossible becomes possible. You're part of the story, not just an observer. Your stresses and responsibilities are miles away, and not just geographically.

Even your meals are an escape!

Disney does many things right, but in my opinion, the biggest is having the ability to whisk you out of your everyday life and transport you someplace really special...someplace magical. :)