Posts Tagged ‘disney world’

All it Takes is Faith and Trust! (And a Little Bit of Help from the Touring Plans Readers)

by on September 2, 2015

All it takes is faith and trust

“All it takes is faith and trust!” – Peter Pan

It’s no secret that I am a planner. A crazy-nutcase-super-planner (I admit it). I don’t take even a short trip to Disney World without planning FastPass + selections and Advanced Dining Reservations at the earliest opportunity. I mean, have you read my articles on planning for spontaneity? If my introductory and advanced courses in leveraging MyMagic+ didn’t paint a vivid picture for you of my planning love, I’m not sure what would.

As I was planning for our upcoming trip over Labor Day weekend, a wild thought occurred to me. What if, for one of the days of our trip, I didn’t pre-plan anything? (Cue intense hyperventilation.) I know that some people are critical of MyMagic+, citing that it “forces” them to plan their trips months in advance. I don’t share in that sentiment, and even though I don’t personally go the non-planning route that doesn’t mean I believe it can’t be done. (Did everyone follow that convoluted sentence? I plan because I want to, not because I believe that one must plan in order to have a good time at Walt Disney World.)

Now you might be asking yourself, “How would this type-A planner know that someone can enjoy a day in Disney without planning?! She probably doesn’t even know how to have an impromptu day at Disney World!” Valid points, dear readers, and those thoughts are precisely what have led me to this particular experiment. And YOU are the key to this experiment. Essentially, I need you to tell me what to do.

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print

What I Wish I Knew Before My Visit to California Adventure

by on August 27, 2015

Carthay Circle Restaurant

Carthay Circle Restaurant

I recently went to the Disneyland Resort for the very first time. As a frequent visitor to Walt Disney World since childhood, I was beyond excited to experience a Disney Park as a first time guest, particularly Disney’s California Adventure as it is a totally unique park and would be a great sampling of the Golden State for this California Newbie! But even before I even passed through the turnstiles, I did my homework on Disney’s California Adventure so that I could avoid some of the rookie mistakes and maximize my time in the park. Even so, there were definitely some things that I either didn’t expect or wish I would’ve known to help my day run more smoothly. So glean from my first hand experience fellow Disneyland Resort Rookies and discover what I wish I knew before my visit to California Adventure.

Have a Wardrobe Strategy for Grizzly River Run – If you’re looking to experience Grizzly River Run, the park’s incredible raft ride at Grizzly Peak, I would strongly suggest wearing clothes that dry quickly or picking up a poncho at Rushin’ River Outfitters. There are lockers available for free near the huge bear statue, but only if you pick up your stuff within 2 hours.

Disney’s California Adventure Park Could Be a One Day Park – Some may disagree with me on this, but hear me out! While I loved my day at Disney’s California Adventure, and can’t wait to go back, I felt like I was able to accomplish the best of the park in a single day with proper planning while I needed two days at the Disneyland Park. For example, during my visit in July and with the help of FASTPASSES, I was able to ride almost all of the park’s most popular attractions, do a little shopping and dining, and squeezed in a showing of World of Color in one day. If you only have a short time to check out the Disneyland Resort, I would suggest setting aside two for the Disneyland Park and one for California Adventure.

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print

Making Memorable Character Interactions

by on August 26, 2015

Interacting with all of the great Disney characters is one of the most memorable experiences guests can have at a Disney park. On all of the planning DVDs, TV specials, and commercials, kids joyously run into the open arms of Mickey and adults engaged in light-hearted sword-play with pirates. But the reality is often children cowering behind their parents and adults awkwardly posing next characters, treating them more as props or marginally liked relatives, rather than the wickedly cool physical personification of the great icons that they are. So, how do you overcome character fear and lackluster photos? Let’s explore some ways to break the ice.

Spice up your character interactions and get great photos!

Spice up your character interactions and get great photos!

First, there are two types of characters in the Disney parks, face characters and fur characters. Face characters are characters where you can see their face and they speak with you. Most princess (Aurora, Snow White, Cinderella, etc) fall into this category. Fur characters are characters that cannot speak with guests, Chip and Dale, Goofy, and Mr. Incredible are “fur” characters. But don’t be fooled, just because they don’t talk, doesn’t mean they don’t have anything to say!

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print

Menu Monday: Rainforest Café Showdown

by on August 24, 2015

Rainforest CafeMy family and I are big fans of the Rainforest Café. During our travels across the country, we always make a point to visit this restaurant every chance we get. In the last few years, we’ve dined at the Rainforest Café in Disneyland, Las Vegas, Dallas, San Antonio, Galveston, and of course, Downtown Disney (Springs) and Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

What keeps us going back again and again? We are suckers for a good theme! The more immersive and detailed the environment, the more we love it. This, coincidentally, is one of the main reasons we repeatedly visit Disney World as well. There’s just nothing quite like escaping to another “world” whether it’s for just a meal or for an entire trip. During our summer vacation this year, my family and I had the opportunity to dine at both Disney World locations. Are you considering a visit to the “rainforests” of Downtown Disney and Animal Kingdom? Trying to decide which one is best for you? Then read on for the complete Rainforest Café Showdown; your adventure is about to begin!

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print

History of Walt Disney World’s Cinderella Castle

by on August 24, 2015

Photo - Rikki NiblettWhile washing after dinner dishes, I allow my brain time to wander.

Re-reading that first sentence, it makes me sound exactly like Cinderella. Do I have a future of being a Disney Princess after all?! Ahem, anyway….

Often, my mind will start planning future vacations. Where does it go approximately 99% of the time?

Walt Disney World.

My imagination starts at the entrance of Magic Kingdom. I hear the whistle of the steam train and the smell of popcorn. As I walk past Main Street, U.S.A. (stopping to grab Starbucks because parenting), my eyes dart straight ahead to a beautiful structure. A magnificent place I can only ever dream to live inside of: Cinderella Castle.

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print

Disney With Small Children: Lessons Learned

by on August 21, 2015

Mickey BarAs a parent, taking your kids to Walt Disney World or Disneyland is a rite of passage of sorts. Whether you are a Disney parks veteran looking forward to taking your first family trip or a first timer deciding it’s time to visit Disney, there is no joy like getting the opportunity to experience “Disney magic” through the eyes of a small child. Even if you feel like you’ve got this whole parenting thing wired, though, a trip to Walt Disney World presents a unique set of challenges that are often overlooked by parents engrossed in their halcyon childhood memories and idyllic expectations of these trips. Being aware of these potential pitfalls will help you get ahead of them and prevent them from disrupting your vacation!

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print

Easy DisneyBounding for Families

by on August 20, 2015

If you’ve ever visited a Disney park, it is likely that you have seen people dressed in clothing (not costumes) that is evocative of a specific Disney character. This is called DisneyBounding. DisneyBounding can be extremely fun, whether you take pleasure in planning intricate outfits or whether you like to do something on the more conservative side, like wearing a character t-shirt. I always enjoy seeing DisneyBounding, particularly when it is done by a group or a family. When everyone gets into the spirit, it just takes it to the next level!

Easy DisneyBounding for Families

While I applaud the families that can go all-out and DisneyBound with every single detail represented perfectly, the reality is that different levels of interest and ease will impact a group’s DisneyBounding efforts. For example, while your daughter might be thrilled to walk around in a dress that screams Ariel, and you are happy to join in the fun in an Ursula-themed outfit, and your husband gets in on the fun with some King Triton-esque apparel, maybe your son isn’t so keen on representing Prince Eric. By the time all is said and done, all you can get him to do is carry around a toy sword (because seriously, who wouldn’t want to carry around a toy sword?!). While there is nothing wrong with a partially DisneyBounding family, you were hoping for something a little more engaging for everyone. My solution for this – keep it simple.

I’m going to share some easy DisneyBounding ideas that can be accomplished with t-shirts or tops that focus in particular on groups and pairs. I’ve participated in a lot of this type of DisneyBounding, and the reactions from guests and cast members are always fantastic! The upside to this approach is that even the most conservative in your group can usually be persuaded to wear a t-shirt (bribing the over-21’s in the crowd with adult beverages is also quite effective).

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print

Disneyland vs. Disney World Attractions: Pirates of the Caribbean

by on August 14, 2015

Pirates3

Disneyland’s Pirates of the Caribbean

Walt Disney World and the Disneyland Resort share a number of the same attractions, such as Space Mountain, Peter Pan’s Flight, “it’s a small world,” and many others. But if you think that these attractions are the same on both coasts, you would be mistaken. One of the many things I love about Disney is that they never do the same thing twice; and while the attractions that can be found on both coasts may share the same names and themes, they do have differences too. Hey, who doesn’t like variety, right? But you have to wonder, which resort has the best version of a popular attraction? Which Disney Park has the bragging rights? Well, that’s what I’m going to find out beginning with one of the most popular attractions ever in Disneyland vs. Disney World Attractions: Pirates of the Caribbean!

What is Pirates of the Caribbean?

Pirates of the Caribbean is one of Disney’s most brilliant attractions of all time! It even inspired the popular Pirates of the Caribbean film franchise starring Johnny Depp. The attraction is a boat ride which takes guests back in time to the days where pirates looted and pillaged the Caribbean through incredibly detailed scenes, audio-animatronic pirates, and a terrific balance of both humor and danger. Pirates of the Caribbean’s signature song, “Yo Ho, Yo Ho, A Pirate’s Life For Me” by “X” Atencio and George Bruns is also just as famous as the attraction itself and has had adults and children humming along for decades.

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print

Custom Mickey Ears Tutorial and Giveaway

by on August 13, 2015

Custom Mickey Ears 1

Planning outfits is one of the best parts of a trip!

I love building up excitement before trips to Disney World. I think it stems from my love of planning: planning meals, planning FastPass+ selections, and even planning outfits. Ohhhhh, I love planning outfits for Disney! Whether you view it as Disney bounding or just spirited dressing, I love focusing on every aspect, down to the details (except for shoes – my feet demand comfort in Disney, so it’s tennis shoes 99% of the time!). One of my favorite details is my custom Mickey ears.

To make a (very) long story short, a little over a year ago I wanted some custom ears, and I knew I could make something better than what I saw on Etsy (certainly cheaper), so I set out to create my own pattern. Since then, I’ve perfected the design, and I’m very pleased to be able to share this tutorial with you. If you’ve got some basic sewing skills and can wield a hot glue gun, I’m confident you can make your own custom Mickey ears, too!

Do you feel like maybe your crafting skills aren’t up to snuff to make your own Mickey ears? No problem! Read through to the end of the post for how you can enter to win your very own custom Mickey ears, made by me!

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print

2015 Disney D23 Expo Predictions

by on August 12, 2015

D23expologo

This week marks the fourth ever D23 Expo, which is the exposition event for Disney D23 (the official fan club for The Walt Disney Company). Since 2009, and every second year after that, the event has offered fans the chance to come together and celebrate all things Disney while also getting a sneak peek at upcoming projects across the company’s numerous divisions including parks, film and even video games. With rumors swirling about possible announcements for quite some time now, speculation and anticipation are at a fever pitch. One of my favorite parts of any event like this is making predictions because a) it offers me the chance to brag about how right I was or b) laugh at how wrong I was. I can’t lose! With that in mind, here are my ten predictions for the D23 Expo.

©Disney

©Disney

10. Hollywood Studios Gets a New Name

Let’s get one of the big ones out of the way. Every Disney fan at this point knows that Hollywood Studios is getting a huge revamp. With the new changes will also come a new name for the park, which was previously revealed by Disney CEO Bob Iger after he got tricked by a young fan at the annual shareholders’ meeting. From everything I’ve read, the most popular new name appears to be Hollywood Adventure but at this point, it’s anybody’s guess.

Chance it happens: 90%

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print