Walt Disney World (FL)

Attraction Overview: Living with the Land + Video

by on August 1, 2017

I’m off to Epcot this morning! Care to join me?

Hop in my boat as I guide you through the attraction, Living with the Land.

Warning: Corny jokes ahead.

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SATURDAY SIX: 6 Reasons We LOVE Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground

by on July 29, 2017

This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at Six Reasons We LOVE Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground. With 26 on-site resorts at Walt Disney World, there is a wide variety of choices for families coming down. We’ve covered many here on the SATURDAY SIX including Value Resorts (Art of Animation and Pop Century), Moderates (Port Orleans Riverside and Coronado Springs), and Deluxe (Contemporary and Animal Kingdom Lodge). We also can’t forget the Disney Vacation Club resorts such as Old Key West. Today we are going to take a look at one of WDW’s original resorts, Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground.

Fort Wilderness. (photo by Julia Mascardo)

Overlooked by many Disney guests because it is not a traditional hotel, Fort Wilderness is one of the oldest resorts at WDW opening about a month after the Magic Kingdom all the way back in 1971. Since that time, the entire area has gone through a lot of changes and is really one of the most special places on property. Today we’re going to take a look at some of our favorite parts of Fort Wilderness, and let’s kickoff the countdown with…

# 6 – Tri-Circle-D Ranch

Talk about a “hidden gem” at Walt Disney World, and one that is hidden in plain sight. Located directly next to Pioneer Hall – and Disney’s legendary Hoop Dee Doo Musical Revue (we’ll get to that later) – is Tri-Circle-D Ranch, home to all the horses at WDW. That’s right, from the horses you’ll see pulling the trolley on Main Street USA to the Headless Horseman’s steed at MNSSHP, they all spend their off time here at the Ranch. Aside from just walking around and admiring their beautiful animals, the Ranch also offers pony rides for children and horseback rides for those aged 9 and up (while walking around the Ranch is free, there is a charge for rides.)

At the back of the Ranch there is a giant barn, and inside you’ll find a wonderful tribute to the history of horses and the Walt Disney Company (including some fantastic pictures of Walt himself with horses.) Here you can also see many horses hanging out in their stalls, and outside of each there is a placard giving some information about each horse. I highly recommend taking a trip to the Tri-Circle-D Ranch on your next WDW visit. There are so many types of breeds that call the Ranch home including Arabian, Clydesdale, Belgian, and Shetland ponies.

Tri-Circle-D Ranch. (photo by Brandon Glover)

Tri-Circle-D Ranch. (photo by Brandon Glover)

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Walt Disney World Preview – Week of July 29

by on July 27, 2017

It’s time for another Walt Disney World preview! Listed below is everything you need to know for the week ahead. Enjoy!

Special Events

  • Surprise! Some summer blockout dates have been lifted for those with either a Disney Silver Annual or Disney Weekday Select Pass. Feel free to head on over to the parks on August 1st. For an exact list of blockout dates, click here!
  • At Disney Springs, the Star Wars section of Once Upon a Toy will undergo a refurb beginning July 31st. Star Wars merchandise will be moved to Marketplace Fun Finds starting August 2nd.

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Online Check-In Now Available on the My Disney Experience App

by on July 27, 2017

Online Check-inOne of my favorite things to do prior to a Walt Disney World vacation is to do online check-in.  Well, now Disney is allowing me to be able to participate in the online check-in process right from my smart phone!

Today, a new update was pushed out to the App Store for iOS devices and Google Play for Android devices and it allows Guests to check-in for their resort stay up to 60 days in advance of their vacation.

The process will therefore expedite the Guest’s arrival and will provide them with additional convenience nd flexibility. Guests who complete the online check-in process will be able to bypass the front desk when they arrive at the hotel, because they will be texted their resort room number. Guests who know which room they are staying in as soon as they arrive to their hotel will complete their check-in by unlocking their room, when it is ready, simply by using the MagicBands that sent to them prior to their arrival.

Don’t worry, if you have special room requests, you can still make them here. (Though, shameless plug, may I suggest that instead you consider using our Automatic Room Request to make your room requests instead. ;)) Ed.- If you plan to use TouringPlans’ room request tool, do not make requests through MyDisneyExperience. MDE will override a request made through TouringPlans.


When completing online check-in, you can also add your credit card information and authorize charges, submit your estimated arrival time, and sign up to receive notifications that your room is ready.

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Groceries at Disney World – Garden Grocer vs. Amazon Prime Now

by on July 25, 2017

As you’re probably well aware by now, Disney vacations aren’t cheap. But there is one area you can cut costs without damaging the vacation experience – food. By supplementing signature dining experiences and Dole Whips with groceries back in the room, you can get the best of both worlds while still saving time and money. One part of that plan that doesn’t save time, though, is traipsing around an unfamiliar grocery store trying to find your groceries. Luckily, a few services now offer to do that part for you. We’re comparing two of the most popular services, Garden Grocer and Amazon Prime Now, to help you figure out which one is best for you. 

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Best Ice Cream in Walt Disney World

by on July 24, 2017

Just in time to cool off in the summer heat, I’m back to rank the top ten best ice cream offerings in Walt Disney World! This may be my most divisive list yet – everyone’s got their sentimental favorites when it comes to this tasty treat. Check out my rankings to see where your favorites fall!

Best Ice Cream in Disney World


10. Ghirardelli Soda Fountain & Chocolate Shop (Disney Springs)

A longtime staple of Downtown Disney and now Disney Springs, the Ghirardelli Soda Fountain offers overflowing sundaes, floats, scoops, and cups of several flavors of ice cream, complete with specialty chocolate treats like decadent brownies and cookies, or milk and dark chocolate hot fudge. Lines here are often long, but for a picture-perfect classic sundae, chock-full of chocolate, it’s hard to resist.

  1. Vivoli il GelatoVivoli il Gelato (Disney Springs)

World-famous gelato, straight from Italy… What more can you ask for on a hot day in the middle of central Florida? With tons of flavors and serving options (cups, cones, shakes, and even tasty espresso-soaked gelato called affogato), Vivoli il Gelato is the perfect stop in The Landing for a sweet treat.

  1. Landscape of Flavors (Disney’s Art of Animation Resort)

Gelato from Landscape of FlavorsHidden in a corner of the Art of Animation food court lies a secret stash of sweetness – a small selection of gelato and toppings is available on a rotating basis in the cold counter just next to the refrigerated grab-and-go food section of Landscape of Flavors. Cast Members will scoop and top your selection for you, and while it’s a smaller flavor selection (usually only four or five a day) than most other ice cream locations around Walt Disney World, the flavor and texture of the gelato here is perfect, plus, bonus: toppings!

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Disney Park, Resort Employees See Hours Cut Starting Tomorrow

by on July 22, 2017

We’ve heard that Disney is making a small reduction to some Castmember shifts at its domestic parks and resorts beginning with tomorrow’s work week. We hear the cutbacks will run from July 23 through September 30, 2017, the last day of Disney’s fiscal year.

The scope of these cutbacks appears to be smaller than we’d heard proposed earlier this month, which is good news.

Theme Park and Crowd Calendar Impacts

Cutting back staff hours at the theme parks may increase wait times at the rides. We believe that earlier cutbacks contributed to higher wait times starting in 2016. Our crowd calendar is based on wait times at popular rides. If these cutbacks increase wait times, you may see higher crowd levels than predicted.

We estimate that we’ll need to collect 14 days of data with the new staff levels before our crowd models can reflect their impacts. That means a new crowd calendar update would be available the week of August 7. We post the previous day’s crowd levels on the calendar, so you can follow this along from home.

Resort Impacts

We’re told that resort staff cutbacks are relatively minor. Most guests may not see a change in service levels.

Walt Disney World Preview – Week of July 22nd

by on July 20, 2017


It’s almost Friday! Let’s get into that weekend mindset a day early with your weekly Walt Disney World preview!

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Last Minute Disney Trip Checklist

by on July 18, 2017

last minute Disney trip checklist

So you have decided to go to Walt Disney World…and it’s totally last minute! Perhaps it’s a holiday, a long weekend, a business trip, or maybe you just need a Disney World fix. Maybe you’re trying to catch Ellen’s Energy Adventure or the Great Movie Ride one last time before they close for good. Even though many folks spend months planning a trip, you can plan yours in as little time as you have, as long as you’re organized. This article will take you through the planning and decision-making process step by step for a truly magical last-minute Disney trip.

Questions you need to be able to answer up front before you start your planning:

  • Who? (Who is going? Who is organizing?)
  • What? (What’s my budget? What am I hoping to accomplish?)
  • When? (When would I like to go, and when do I have to go home?)
  • Where? (Where am I staying? Where am I getting my transportation?)
  • Why? (Is there something special I am making this trip for that I need to factor in?)
  • How? (All those pesky logistics that we’ll be brainstorming here.)

Ready to get planning? Let’s get started!

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Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside: Pools, Dining and Recreation

by on July 18, 2017

Photo - Angela DahlgrenWelcome back to Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside!

Back in Part One, we talked theme, rooms and room views. Today, I’m covering the pools, dining and recreation.

PS. There’s no singing in this episode. I thought you all deserved the break.


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