Posts Tagged ‘disney world’

Food and Wine Festival: Epcot vs. Busch Gardens

by on April 13, 2015

The waterbound octopus topiary is just one of the sights at the Busch Gardens Food and Wine Festival

The waterbound octopus topiary is just one of the sights at the Busch Gardens Food and Wine Festival

Look, I love Epcot, and because you’re a faceless (but doubtlessly beautiful and well dressed) internet entity, I’m going to project and say you love Epcot, too, and one of the things we both love about it is the International Food and Wine Festival. What’s not to love about food and adult beverages from all over the world amassed in one beautiful sunny location? But this year, for the first time, we have… other options. Saturdays and Sundays from March 7th to April 26th, Busch Gardens Tampa is having their very first Food and Wine Festival, and as a local who now has literally been wined and dined by both of her beloved theme parks, it’s only fitting that I tell you what you’re missing if you stay in Orlando, and what the differences are. Is this a “one is better than the other” situation? Given that the events take place at different times of the year in different locations with different offerings, not really. It’s more my hope to let Epcot fans know that there’s something else going on nearby in Florida now that they really might want to make a visit to when their tummies are a’rumblin’ if they’re on vacation. Hey, if you’re gonna be a foodie, at least be an equal opportunity foodie!

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Packing Tips for a Day at Walt Disney World + Video

by on March 26, 2015

Photo - Angela DahlgrenAfter a long day of travel to Walt Disney World, you check into your hotel completely exhausted. All you want to do is plop down on the bed and catch some zzzz’s.

Just as you’re about to close your eyes, you remember – You haven’t packed your backpack for the parks tomorrow!

Not to worry! I’ve provided a list of park essentials to make packing efficient and easy.

Not in a reading mood? Check out my video at the bottom of this post!

The Bare Necessities

Photo - Angela Dahlgren

Top 3: Wallet, Ticket, Phone

  • Park Ticket: Don’t forget that golden ticket at the hotel! Yes, you can use your MagicBand to get into the parks, but it’s nice to have a hard copy if you run into issues at the turnstile.
  • Wallet: License, cash, cards, insurance info, etc.
  • MagicBand: Linking your My Disney Experience account to your MagicBand will give you quick access to your park ticket, room key, FastPass+ and dining reservations as its conveniently located around your wrist. You can even pay with your MagicBand! Since your MB is your room key, there is no back-up key (unless you ask for one at check-in), so make sure it’s with you before you leave!
  • Phone: If you have a smart phone, there are two apps I recommend checking out. The TouringPlans Disney World Lines App helps you plan out your day at the parks with crowd calendars, wait times and customized Touring Plans. The second app is My Disney Experience which, if you have an account, holds all of your reservations, tickets and itineraries.
  • Camera: Disney World is full of endless photo opportunities. Don’t be without a camera!

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Why This Disney World Regular Wants to Go on a Disney Cruise

by on March 25, 2015

DisneyCruiseLine_Dream

The Disney Dream

Disney World is my favorite place on earth and I love to visit as much as I can. There’s plenty to do with four theme parks, two water parks, a shopping district, and a number of incredibly themed resorts; but this Disney World Regular has her eye set on another Disney vacation for her next trip: a Disney Cruise! I have wanted to experience the Disney Cruise Line for years; but I must admit, I’m not much of a beach person and when having to choose between Disney World and a Disney Cruise, Disney World has always won out. But lately, I’ve learned a lot more about the Disney Cruise Line and have actually booked my first Disney Cruise on the Disney Dream for this summer! So keep reading to find out why this Disney World Regular wants to go on a Disney Cruise.

Castaway Cay

Castaway Cay (Photo Courtesy of www.disneyworldenthusiast.com)

To Visit Castaway Cay: For anyone who knows about Castaway Cay, this should be an easy one. I mean, it’s Disney’s own private island! Who wouldn’t want to go there? The Disney Cruise Line ships are able to pull right up to the island and enjoy designated beaches: the Family Beach, Serenity Bay Beach for adults, and even a beach area reserved just for teens. There are characters, places to eat, shops, water play areas, and the chance to experience Port Adventures, otherwise known as excursions. Just a few things to do on Castaway Cay include biking, glass bottom boats, snorkeling, parasailing, and even the chance to run the Castaway Cay 5-K. Basically, Castaway Cay sounds like a real life Neverland where there’s something for everyone and every preference, but all with the Disney touch. Want to know more? Check out how to have the perfect day at Castaway Cay.

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Why I’m Going to Tokyo Disneyland Next Year Instead

by on March 25, 2015

Tokyo DisneySea- PIcture from Guy Selga

Tokyo DisneySea- Picture from Guy Selga

Traveling is an obsession. The more you travel the stronger this obsession becomes. And there is only one way to keep this “passion” in control and that is by (obviously) traveling. For me, staying put in one place gets harder and harder. This is why traveling is so important to me. Since living and traveling to a dozen different countries in the past several years, my obsession for traveling has grown and has become a part of me. It is something that I think about all the time, which is why every few months I go back home (Southern California) to visit family, friends, and to just get away. But discovering new and desirable places is my main goal. And if these places happen to have an amazing theme park—especially Disney—then that is icing on the cake.

Going to Disney World for the first time—back in 2012—was awesome. I had a great time with friends and exploring one of the best Disney theme park resorts on Earth. After my first trip, I decided to make Disney World a bi-yearly adventure. Unfortunately for me, a couple of things happened: Disney theme park prices went up and learning more about Tokyo Disneyland. I made the choice to forgo my Disney World voyages and invest that money—and time–on a trip would be more thrilling and exciting. Even if that means I will have to pinch my pennies as hard as possible.

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Disney World Planning Challenges: Managing Your Disney Evening

by on March 24, 2015

So you’ve had a great day at Disney World! What should you do next? Follow up that great day with a fantastic evening, of course.TouringPlans logo

Whether you have a full-fledged touring plan in mind or decide to focus on more subdued activities during your evening, Disney World offers plenty of choices. This article highlights specific tips and looks at TouringPlans.com tools and information that can help make your evening a success.

An Evening in the Parks

Making a smooth transition from a day to an evening in Disney World will keep your vacation fun on track. Maybe you are just starting your vacation and planning some park time on the night of your arrival day. Or you have taken a resort break and plan to return to the parks later. Maybe you have taken the day off from the theme parks with plans to go into a park at night. Or you are extending a day already in the parks into the evening.

Great Movie Ride night by Sarah Graffam

The Great Movie Ride glows at night

In all of these cases, when planning for some park time at night, it’s important to consider factors such as what time to depart for the parks, how to get to there, whether to plan activities in advance, and—finally—when you may want to plan on heading back to your hotel. A bit of strategic planning can help you get to the fun as soon as possible.

Getting Off to a Good Start. One of the best ways to avoid feeling rushed when starting off your evening is to avoid the temptation to plan for only the most optimistic conditions in terms of timing. Instead, if it’s your arrival day, be sure to build in some extra time for getting to the World from the airport and checking into your hotel. My family generally expects to get from the airport to a park in 2.5 to 3 hours when stopping at our resort first.

If you have already started your vacation, be sure to leave time for the kids to have a last minute snack or take a final dip in the pool during an afternoon break.

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Disney It Yourself: StormStruck and THINK App Reviews

by on March 11, 2015

Photo - Angela DahlgrenWe’ve reached the conclusion of my Innovention-based game review series. To read about the Great Piggy Bank Adventure app, click here. For Habit Heroes and Sum of All Thrills, click here.

Today, we’ve got apps based off of the StormStruck and THINK exhibits. Let’s get this storm brewin’!

StormStruck: A Tale of Two Homes was first introduced April 16, 2012 in the iTunes App Store. It has had no updates since its release and requires iOS 3.1.3 or later. The app, presented by the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes, Inc. (or FLASH), is compatible with the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. I had no issues when downloading the program on to my second generation iPad and iPhone 6.

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Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge Kilimanjaro Club – an incomparable experience

by on March 8, 2015

No other Walt Disney World resorts offers the level of cultural immersion and exotic experiences that can be discovered at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. It is my favorite Walt Disney World Resort; my heart practically sings the minute I set foot in the awe-inspiring lobby. As a Disney Vacation Club Member, Animal Kingdom Lodge is one of my two home resorts. One of my favorite ways to use our membership is to indulge in the Kilimanjaro Club level. Whether you are a DVC Member or not, from the level of service, the multiple food & beverage offerings, and the overall luxury, the Kilimanjaro Club Level is an unforgettable experience.

So what makes the Kilimanjaro Club so exceptional? And what special value does it represent for DVC Members? Let’s embark on a safari of sorts as we explore all that makes this one of the most incredible experiences offered at Walt Disney World.

DSC00664

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Disney It Yourself: Habit Heroes App and Sum of All Thrills Game Reviews

by on March 3, 2015

IMG_2171

Here I am again with more game reviews based off of different attractions found at Innoventions. If you missed my review of the Great Piggy Bank Adventure App, read that here.

These reviews are part of my new series, DIY (Disney It Yourself), where I explore different ways to enjoy Disney Parks at home.

As you’ll soon see, I experienced hits along with a few misses. First on the list: the Habit Heroes App!

Habit Heroes

The Habit Heroes app was introduced in the Apple App Store December 12th, 2012. It can also be downloaded via Google Play. It is based off the attraction of the same name, found at Innoventions East in Epcot. The app states:

The Habit Heroes mobile app is a comic book that chronicles the adventures of the healthy Habit Heroes as they clean up health hazards around the globe. Each comic book issue unlocks an interactive tool that helps foster healthy habits in your every day life.

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Why This Disney World Regular Wants to Visit Disneyland

by on February 26, 2015

Sleeping Beauty Castle

Sleeping Beauty Castle

Disney World is my favorite place on earth and I love to visit as much as I can. There’s plenty to do with four theme parks, two water parks, a shopping district, and a number of incredibly themed resorts; but this Disney World Regular has her eye set on another Disney Park for her next trip. Where? The Disneyland Resort! But why? After all, the Disneyland Resort is much smaller, as is its castle, and many of the rides found at Disney World are also at both Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure. There’s also no water parks or as nearly many resorts. But wait! I have some good reasons, many of which Disneyland fans are sure to back me up on. In fact, many of my fellow Disney fans argue that the Disneyland Resort is better than Disney World on a number of points. So keep reading to find out why this Disney World Regular wants to visit Disneyland.

To Be A Park Newbie: My first trip to Disney World took place when I was nine months old. You see, both of my parents were Disney fanatics and couldn’t wait to introduce me to the Disney magic. Throughout my childhood, we took as many trips as we could. In fact, one of my earliest childhood memories is lying on my bed and studying the Disney World park maps from our most recent trip. I know that I was incredibly fortunate to have visited Disney World throughout my childhood, a tradition I’ve continued to this day; but I must admit that just once, I would like to see my favorite place on earth with new eyes, like a first-time guest who has no idea what’s around the next corner. But seeing how I can’t do that, I can go to the Disneyland Resort! I’ve always wanted to go. It’s Walt’s original vision and is the reason why there’s a Disney World in the first place. Not only would a visit be fulfilling as a Disney Fan, but I would love the chance to be a park newbie, to actually need those free parks at the entrance, and to sport one of those first-time visit buttons!

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A Non-Park Disney Vacation

by on February 25, 2015

As a non-Florida resident, my trips to Walt Disney World are not as frequent as I’d like. And when I get the opportunity to get to my favorite place on earth, I plan every moment of every day and pack in as much pixie dust as possible. It’s not uncommon for me to only get 4-5 hours of sleep a night as I open and close parks and fill the days with finely-tuned Touring Plans and FastPass+ reservations. These trips usually end with me in a Disney-induced coma on a plane heading back to the southwest, but completely content. I imagine it’s what marathon runners must feel like. Yeah, it can be painful, and sometimes you wonder if you’re insane for committing to this, but afterword it’s such a triumph and you can’t help but feel proud for all you’ve accomplished.

Photo - Michael Dahlgren

It’s vision that brings us all joy.
Photo by Michael Dahlgren

When I was presented with the opportunity to be in Orlando for a work conference, my heart simultaneously leapt and crashed all at once. What a great excuse for an impromptu Disney trip (especially with a flight and 2 hotel nights paid for)! But then I looked at my budget, there’s a reason I didn’t have a Disney trip in the works already – I was already over-extended and committed to other trips this year. But how could I be in Orlando – so close to the House of the Mouse and NOT go?! The mere idea violates my very nature as a Disneyphile. I confided my disappointment in friend who kindly suggested, why don’t I just pick one park to go to for a day? That suggestion is almost more unnatural. One park? How can I choose one park? That’s like choosing a favorite child! I love them all! Choose the classic innocence and magic of Magic Kingdom over the food and culture of Epcot?  Or the details and natural beauty of Animal Kingdom over the stomach churning thrill rides of Hollywood Studios? No, no – there’s no way to pick just one park! The thought then occurred to me, I could do the four-parks-in-one-day challenge. But with only one day to dedicate to parks, I couldn’t be cheated that way. And I know that there’s no way I could only do one or two attractions in each park and pass by everything else without knowing I’d be right back to really do the park justice. And the time spent traveling between parks would take up too much precious time. So, that ruled out four park hopping.

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