Let’s Book A Resort! (Part 1)

Let Me Help You Choose Your Next Walt Disney World Resort. Each week I will pick and write about MY recommended resort for the upcoming Summer months.

Depending on what time of the year you plan on vacation, what resort you pick can make a big difference on the comfort level of your trip.

Disclaimer: these are my personal thoughts and opinions, I am not in any way affiliated with Disney or paid by Disney – I cannot be held responsible for anything that may or could go wrong on your vacation. I have had 9 Disney World Vacations since 2006, and eat, breath and live Disney. I LOVE talking Disney.

YOU’RE GOING TO DISNEY WORLD!!!!!

Heading to Disney World anytime soon or trying to decide for the following year?

Planning out your next Disney World Vacation but trying to decide which resort to stay with? I can help. It all pretty much depends on you, your traveling companions, budget and the travel party’s health.

Budgeting for a Value Resort?

Disney World has 3, well 4 “Value Resorts” to offer. There is Pop Century (most popular), The All Star Resorts and Art of Animation. The All Star Resorts are comprised of The All Star Movies, The All Star Music and the All Stars Sports. All of the resorts mentioned are very Disney themed and super fun! However they are the smallest of rooms on Disney property but the most affordable. Each has their own quick service food court and super fun themed pools. Art of Animation is considered “Value” because it is geared for families and the 2 double bed rooms in the Little Mermaid Section are the cheapest of rooms but the hardest to get, since there aren’t many. The Lion King section and Nemo section have family suites which sleep 6 people and have 2 bedrooms, but do not be fooled – you will be paying closer to the cost of a deluxe resort for these accommodations.

Traveling During Summer Months? Summer in Florida starts in May and ends around November.

Summer is approaching!

Something to keep in mind:

The Value Resorts are amazingly themed and so incredibly fun but they are not well shaded, and if you do not have a preferred room there is a possibility of having a long walk to your room. So if you are planning a vacation during anytime between the months of June through the end of October keep in mind it is going to be HOT. ALL of these resorts do not have much shade or trees so they are HOT. My family has found that when we travel to Disney during the summer months we try to avoid these resorts. With that being said, if you are traveling anytime between November through April these resorts are absolutely lovely and lively to meet your budget. If you can only travel between these summer months and are only able to stay at one of the value resorts (Excluding Art of Animation) I recommend spending a little more for a preferred room – it will definitely be worth it!

Art of Animation is considered “Value” because it is geared for larger families and the 2 double bed rooms in the Little Mermaid Section are the cheapest of rooms but the hardest to get, since there aren’t many. *NOTE* If you book a Little Mermaid Room, you will have about a *10-15 minute walk *OUTSIDE* from your room to the food/busing* and this extra walking can be tough when you are already putting in a lot of walking inside the parks and it is hot. During the Winter months, this walk may not feel as tough. At Art of Animation at The Lion King section and Nemo section, both have family suites which sleep 6 people (1 master bedroom, 1 murphy bed and 1 pull-out sofa) and have 2 bathrooms which is closer to the food and busing, but do not be fooled – you will be paying closer to the cost of a deluxe resort for these accommodations. We stayed in the Cars section in August of 2016 and while my children loved the resort it was a lot of hot extra walking in the sun and my kids ended up getting heat rash during that trip – it wasn’t the worst thing in the world but it was definitely easier the following year when we stayed at the Animal Kingdom Lodge in 2017.

This week’s Hotel of Choice for Summer Travel:

Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

We all know how quickly those summer Florida rainstorms fly in out of nowhere, it is nice to being lodging at a resort where all the rooms are condensed into 1 main building for convenience, ease and comfort.

It is easier to walk through air conditioned buildings than in the hot Florida summer sun.*

Join Chip and Dale at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge themed to the Pacific North West.

It is very rare to find characters at a Value Resort! You are more likely to have interactions at mainly Deluxe and sometimes Moderate Resorts.

Once again Disney has outdone themselves with another massive and gorgeous lobby with impressive details in all of it’s architecture at the Wilderness Lodge, a Deluxe Resort. ***Avoid heat rash*** by staying here where inside the main building you will find your lobby, restaurants, gift shop and rooms – all while being inside the A/C. A small walk to the boat to get to Magic Kingdom and a quick and easy walk to Disney’s transportation bus stop. Having the boat as an alternate method of transportation makes it all the more magical. Boat rides tend to make it feel a little more like vacation getaway for me anyway! Wilderness Lodge is set to open fully in just a few months, June 2021!

This deluxe resort is the cheapest among the Magic Kingdom Resorts and is well liked by guests. Compared to value resorts: along with your quick service you have 2 additional restaurants plus a lounge. Furthermore, you have Geyser Point Bar and Grill offered as an outdoor dining option which offers breakfast, lunch and dinner with a beautiful view of the lake and your typical pool bar with snacks and refreshments.

At the Wilderness Lodge we dined at Whispering Canyon Café where you definitely need to ask for ketchup! Inside joke here! The Whispering Canyon Café is an interactive western-themed experience with fun games and delicious food. Since I had booked this trip last minute we were not able to get a reservation at Artist Point which is Story Book Dining with Snow White and other characters.

Value resorts only offer 1 quick service dining location and pool bars (but no indoor lounge) per each value resort. At the Wilderness Lodge you also have boat rental access, and a lake beach area (no swimming) which again are not offered at a Value. All Moderate and Deluxe pools have a slide in their main pool. Disney’s Wilderness Lodge also gains EASY ACCESS to the surrounding resorts for dining options with the boat. You can actually take the boat to the Contemporary and walk through the Grand Floridian to the Polynesian if you wanted to!

When we vacationed at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge in August of 2019 our room had a beautiful view of the Magic Kingdom Castle and we were able to view the fireworks from our room! At any of the Magic Kingdom Resorts there are areas usually on the beaches where you can view the fireworks. It was a terrific surprise and an added bonus!

More than a resort… More than a vacation….

Each time we vacation at Disney we always choose a NEW sabbatical and that always gives us the feeling of a different trip. Each resort has a different vibe and theme creating a new exciting adventure! We NEVER have the feeling of “Oh we’re doing this again” or “its the same thing again” – its a new and exciting feeling of being in that Disney bubble, escaping reality and being pampered along the way.

For Future Post-Covid Times Stay at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge when it is fully open.

Become Whisked Away Into the Savanna by staying at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge in the Jambo House.

On a budget? No problem, do not book a room with a view of the Savanna to save hundreds. There are viewing areas all over this intricately designed immersive resort. Basically dropped at the door of the resort from Disney’s transportation buses, you enter into the lobby of the lodge you instantly view the breathtaking cathedral window and you are instantly immersed in the atmosphere, and blown away by the integrated thematic African decorative details and conveniently located award winning restaurants. In addition to everything being inside, the resort is a very shaded resort; even while waiting for the busing, no matter what time of the day you are NEVER in the sun! Considered a deluxe resort but when choosing a room with no views, it is more of a moderate resort pricing. Animal Kingdom Lodge’s Jambo house offers an attractive dimly-lit ambiance with the smells of delicious food that radiates the hotel. What could be more magical then staring off into the savanna watching giraffes and zebra play right from inside your resort? Read my full review here of the Animal Kingdom Lodge! At this current time (March 2021) Animal Kingdom Lodge is not fully opened and operating to capacity – but hoping within the next year it will be! Keep checking for updates.

It is possible to stay in one of the DVC Villas at Jambo House or Kidani Village currently, but the resort itself is not fully open.

Disney Deluxe Resorts can be pretty pricey – you can always stay for LESS at a Disney World Deluxe Resort by renting DVC (Disney Vacation Club) points through an accredited DVC rental like http://www.dvcrentalstore.com and https://dvcrequest.com/ with David’s DVC Vacation Rentals.

ALWAYS CALL AHEAD TO CHECK TO SEE WHAT IS OPEN AND WHAT IS CLOSED AT YOUR RESORT OF CHOICE!

With current Covid regulations there is a lot more that is involved into going into planning your next Disney World Vacation and you need to have things planned out well in advanced.

Look out for my next recommendation coming next week!

Check out my latest post on how to pack for this coming summer travel by clicking here!

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Animal Kingdom Lodge Resort Tour Family Vacation 2017

Check out a video of our tour of the Animal Kingdom Lodge Resort 2017

 

QUICK TIP:  If it is your first time staying at Animal Kingdom Lodge and you go out to the parks, as you hop onto the Disney Transportation System bus for a ride back – * take note as to where the bus will drop you off.  If you are staying in Jambo House the bus usually stops at Kidani Village first and then Jambo House.

 

Click HERE for my full article review of the Animal Kingdom Lodge

Click HERE for a tour of the Art of Animation Resort 

Click HERE for money saving tips for a Walt Disney World Vacation  $$$$$

Talking Mickey at Magic Kingdom: Rumors Talking Mickey will be discontinued.

If you are heading to Walt Disney World within the next month or two make sure you get in a visit with Talking Mickey before his voice is discontinued!

With the rumors that Magic Kingdom will be retiring the “Talking Mickey” that you can meet and greet inside of Town Square Theater, we are so sad!  Being able to talk to Mickey and have him answer was such a fun experience! We are so saddened to hear this news but so happy to have had the experience!

If you click below, here is a video of our experience with meeting Talking Mickey Mouse from our August 2016 trip!

Turn the volume up!

https://instagram.com/p/BJTyv81jZ5t/

MK_TSTHEATERCCHAR_20160818_7776504017

Town Square Theater is located directly next door to Tony’s Town Square Restaurant – there is actually an entrance way attached. 

Talking Mickey will end soon: Picture 2013 Tony's Town Square Restaurant
Talking Mickey will end soon: Picture 2013 Tony’s Town Square Restaurant

Talking Mickey will end soon: Picture 2013 Tony's Town Square Restaurant
Talking Mickey will end soon: Picture 2013 Tony’s Town Square Restaurant

Just for the sole purpose of all these amazing character meet and greets you definitely want to have purchased Memory Maker for easy amazing photos.  Click HERE to read about Memory Maker!

If you are considering dining reservations but need some help – click HERE for an easy guide on How To Do Disney Dining! 

Need some tips on SAVING $$ Money $$ for your next Disney World vacation in addition to asking for DISNEY GIFT cards for all upcoming special occasions? – click HERE!

For some amazing pictures of the ANIMAL KINGDOM LODGE and my full review – click HERE!

When is your next Disney World Vacation?

 

Animal Kingdom Lodge Pool and Slide

Check out our video of the Animal Kingdom Lodge Slide and Pool!

As we sit here freezing with this ultra cold blast traveling up the East Coast, lets enjoy some pics and videos from summer!

 

Animal Kingdom Lodge
Animal Kingdom Lodge – Pool Slide

Please bare with me as we learn to create and edit Videos!

Looking for a review of the Animal Kingdom Lodge? Click here!

Need some tricks for saving for a Walt Disney World Vacation? Click Here!

When is your next Walt Disney World Vacation?

LISTEN TO WDW TODAY ON THE APP OR YOUTUBE!

You can watch and listen to the Walt Disney Resort WDW Resort TV Channel on YouTube?!

Oh my word! How exciting!

For those of us that live far and aren’t able to travel to Disney as often as we would love, we can listen to recorded versions of the Walt Disney World Resort Channel ( WDW Resort TV) that is played in your hotel room during your stay.IMG_6665

When you are staying at a Walt Disney World Resort and you wake up and put the TV on, it automatically goes to this channel.  This channel is super helpful in not just playing awesome Disney music but it gives you times for all the parks and Disney Springs for that day!

How super nifty is this?

I didn’t realize that you could also find Walt Disney World or Disneyland music “loops” on YouTube as well. All kinds to search through!

 

Also if you feel like watching “Disney World Must Do’s with Stacey”, its on YouTube too!

I hope I’m not the last to know – and if I am – I apologize! 🙂  But as for  now, I’m so super excited to find these and be able to listen to the magic whenever I want and feel a little closer to the magic!

Sometimes it’s the little things in life.

When is your next Disney World Vacation?

Want to know more about Animal Kingdom Lodge!? Click here!

Click here to read my review on Hollywood Studio’s Star Wars Galactic Desert Party!

Click here to read about Disney World’s Memory Maker!

Click here to read one of my Disney World Tips!

Click here to read about HOW TO DO Disney World Dining!

<a href=”http://now <a href=http://Amazon FreeTime Unlimited Free Trial” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>Check out Amazon’s Free Time Unlimited Access to 13,000 child-friendly books, movies, TV shows, educational apps and games by clicking here! 

We loved Jedi Training at Hollywood Studios!

A MUST for those Star Wars Fans!

We loved Jedi Training at Hollywood Studios!
We loved Jedi Training at Hollywood Studios!

Back during our Walt Disney World Resort stay in August of 2016, our children decided to try the Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple in Hollywood Studios.  I must say how amazing it was and my youngest who is now 7, keeps asking when he will get to do it again!  Who doesn’t want to fight against the amazing Sith Lord Darth Vader?

To be a part of the action:

  1. On the day you are attending Hollywood Studios, get to the park before opening, so once it does open you can head towards the sign ups for Jedi Training which is behind the Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular.  At this area where you sign up, and as long as it isn’t sold out, THEY will give you a time to show up for it.  So you go about your morning, keeping in mind the time you need to return. I believe only children ages 4-12 can register.
  2. When you show up at your designated time, they will have all the children sit in a shaded area going over the rules and whats about to come.  They will be handed their Jedi training robes and a complimentary bottle of water.
  3. When it’s time the children will be escorted in a parade
  4. carrying a sign in the front, over to the staging area next to the Star Tours attraction.
  5. Then the children are escorted up on stage where they begin their Jedi training and eventually get to battle Darth Vader and there is a special surprise appearance from Kylo Ren.IMG_6812I was handed a nifty card for all the Photopass pictures – but I cannot remember if it was included in Memory Maker or if I had to go to where the card directed – so definitely check your card so you don’t miss any pictures! STUDIO_JTA1_20160820_389250288160 - CopySTUDIO_JTA1_20160820_389250288235

The kids do look hot and sweaty because this was taken in mid-August of 2016.  I remember sweat dripping down my forehead and off my face as I watched the show. LOL 🙂

But we were having such a great time – it didn’t bother us.  We always have dining reservations inside air conditioning for breaks as well. 

This is a great time for some ice water, cooling towels and some neck fans!

As with everything inside Disney World – Simply Amazing – is how to describe the feeling you have as you watch your child battle Darth Vader. Every child gets a turn, so no worries.

We loved Jedi Training at Hollywood Studios!
We loved Jedi Training at Hollywood Studios!

We loved Jedi Training at Hollywood Studios!
We loved Jedi Training at Hollywood Studios!

We loved Jedi Training at Hollywood Studios!
We loved Jedi Training at Hollywood Studios!

There are so many exciting and amazing things to do inside of Hollywood Studios especially Star Wars related!

We are really looking forward to the opening of Galaxy’s Edge!

What are you most excited about for your next Walt Disney World Vacation??

Review of the Star Wars Galactic Desert Party – Read all about it here!

Do you need some product reviews for your next trip? Click Here!

Check out my recent Travel Tip Here! 

The Traveler’s Checklist – for the Female in the Party….

Traveling to Someplace Warm – like Disney World??

Here are my top travel essentials for when traveling to where it’s hot – like Disney World!

1) Teva Sandals

My number one item when I am traveling anywhere warm are my wonderful Teva Sandals.  Not only are they waterproof and dry within minutes, but they are hiking sandals with shock absorption!!!! When I wear my wonderful Teva Sandals, my back can never feel better no matter how long I’m standing in line or how much walking I am doing and I suffer with degenerative disc disease.  Let me say that they are much more comfortable and supportive than sneakers – even when they aren’t broken in yet!

2) Monistat Chafing Relief Powder Gel

I use this where the backpack that I carry all day, lays on my arms – so when wearing tank tops, the backpack doesn’t rub and hurt my arms!  I also use this when I am wearing short shorts where my thighs touch. (I was never a skinny person, so after having children I am more on the heavier side)  This way I don’t have to worry about my thighs chafing each other.  I have also used it where I had brought a super old, worn out pair of Teva’s on a super HOT vacation to Hershey park, and there was something that was rubbing my foot, and it instantly stopped any blister from being formed.  You can literally use this stuff on anything that may cause discomfort!  It’s clear and has no smell, so you don’t even notice you have it on.  I even put it on my son’s neck to stop any irritation from a tag.

3) Easy Hair Extensions 

Now, when we pay extra money for that fantastic memory maker we want to make sure we look fabulous in every professional shot taken.  I finally came to the realization that as I age, my hair is only getting thinner and it just doesn’t look as nice as it used to. Hair can really make or break how you feel about yourself in a picture.   I found a few types of extensions that I brought to Disney and it worked rather well.  When going in such extreme heat, it works even better putting my hair up.  The first hair extension that I have brought is a clip on – the claw simply clips onto your ponytail – so easy!  It gave me long luxurious curls and went totally unnoticeable. (Notice my Teva Sandals in the pictures below.)

The Traveler's Checklist - for the Female in the Party....
The Traveler’s Checklist – for the Female in the Party….

The Traveler's Checklist - for the Female in the Party....

The Traveler's Checklist - for the Female in the Party....
The Traveler’s Checklist – for the Female in the Party….

This year’s Disney trip 2017 I ordered these clip-in 20″, curly Synthetic 7 piece hair extensions.  These are awesome because they come so curly, but the curl does stick strong, even after washing.  The only problem I found was in the heat of August, they felt so unbelievably heavy in my hair…. compared to the claw clip-in from the pictures above, where it did feel slightly heavy (not going to lie) but these were definitely heavier.

The Traveler's Checklist - for the Female in the Party....
Disney Dining: Chef Mickey’s at the Contemporary Resort

The Traveler's Checklist - for the Female in the Party....
The Traveler’s Checklist – for the Female in the Party….

I also bought this newer product called Secret Extensions – Hair Extensions by Daisy Fuentes and it is a great product to add a little bit of volume to your hair.  However it is not good for putting back when you are hot and sweaty. You basically have to leave it down.WDWRESORTSANDMORE_PARKFARECHAR1_20170812_404139739055

4) Dove Deordorant

Next on the list is Dove Deodorant  When you are in Disney World in long lines and perspiring, you really want good protection.  I also like to use Dove Deodorant as another chafing & prevention. I usually roll it all over my back to prevent excessive sweating, as well as on my inner thighs before I apply the Monistat Chafing Relief Gel, and on the back of the upper parts of my thighs where I sit and shorts rub the thighs – especially when I’m wearing short shorts. I roll it on the sides of my stomach, and the front of my stomach and under where my bra sits – this way it prevents a lot of extra sweating and I don’t have to worry about any foul smells. Sometimes I purchase a separate Dove Deodorant to use on my feet.

5) Makeup – this is for the gals that love and enjoy makeup.  (If you don’t, then don’t bother wasting your time reading this tip!)

Now we are getting to my most favorite part of this article and it’s makeup!  When you have to worry about excessive sweating, you don’t want to worry about your makeup running with the sweat.  I like to use a foundation that is NOT going anywhere and that would be MAC Prolongwear Foundation Revlon makes a great color stay foundation that is comparable and cheaper.  

Then after I apply the foundation and let it sit for a few minutes I like to use a setting powder called Dermablend Loose Setting Powder and this way I know it’s not going anywhere.

Next for eyes I use a concealer by Este Lauder called Perfectionist Youth-Infusing Brightening Serum and Concealer – and once I apply that I usually pat some more Dermablend over my eyelids.

Following, I like to dab some Mac Studio Fix Powder Plus Foundation over the rest of my face before applying some blush or bronzer.  I always use both a non-waterproof mascara mixed with a waterproof mascara and my recent favorite mascara to use ever is Two Faced Better Than Sex Mascara and you MUST use the waterproof over all, as your last few swipes to ensure that its not coming off – you never know when you will get a splash going down the big hill on Splash Mountain or maybe you try the Kali River Rapids at Animal Kingdom?!! Freshly, I have found this amazingly easy lash-extender called Divaderm Lash Extender in a bottle – you simply brush it on in between coats of mascara! I personally LOVE the look of false eyelashes but who has time or wants to sit and play with them?!  This is just an easy way of getting thick gorgeous lashes. Make sure you start out with a coat or two, and then after you apply finish up with a few coats of waterproof.

The Traveler's Checklist - for the Female in the Party....
The Traveler’s Checklist – for the Female in the Party….

After my lashes dry, I use a color stay liquid eyeliner on the lids of my eyes – Mac has a great one called Mac Liquid Last – I have been on water slides and have had buckets of water dumped on my head and this did NOT run one bit LOL!!!  Revlon has a great Color Stay liner .  I usually like to choose brown when it comes to eyeliners.

6) Wet Brush

What a great discovery! The Wet Brush – good for any hair type to detangle hair after the shower. The Wet Brush makes combing through knots so much quicker when trying to leave the hotel to head to the parks.  With all the wear and tear on my poor hair, it sometimes really needs help with those pesky knots.

7) Redkin Diamond Oil Shampoo & Conditioner

My favorite shampoo and conditioner to bring on vacation for when you just want perfectly shiny hair is Redkin Diamond Oil Shampoo and Conditioner.  It really creates a tremendous vivid glow that also helps out with matching your hair to those extensions!  🙂  Love the smell of this shampoo and conditioner too.  I usually like to put Redkin All Soft Conditioner on top of the Diamond Oil Conditioner and let it sit for a few minutes for deep conditioning, while I soap the rest of myself. My favorite PRODUCT for my hair currently is Garnier Fructis Sleek and Shine which is very comparable to Paul Mitchell Super Skinny.      I also really love Thick and Full Biotin and Collagen Weightless Healing Oil Treatment that I use along with the Sleek and Shine. 

8) Face Wash

This Diz Lover’s desired way to clean my face at night is with simple organic coconut oil this way my face is never dried out.  I simply apply coconut oil and take a wet warm cloth and scrub.  When I feel like I need a deeper clean, I turn to Ponds Cold Cream.

9) Moisturizer

When I use a moisturizer and especially in the summer, I always make sure it contains an SPF.  My favorite at the moment is Oil of Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream with Sunscreen. 

10) Lightweight Backpack

Wow!  You have not felt a lightweight backpack until you have felt this!  Super light backpack on your back.  It only made it through 1 short beach vacation, 1 short Hershey Park Vacation and then a 11 day Disney Vacation before it went in the garbage.  I believe it would have lasted longer had I not been carrying around my children’s IPads in my pack. It’s called a Venture Pal Lightweight Packable Durable Travel Hiking Backpack.  Its probably the best $15 I have ever spent on a backpack!

11) Neck Fan

One thing we discovered this past 2017 Disney Vacation was that the kids, and my husband and I enjoyed Mini Neck Fans, much more than carrying around the big spray fans that you can purchase inside the parks.  I originally purchased my mini neck fan in the travel section of Harmon Cosmetics but the highlighted link is to one on Amazon.com . They don’t take up much space at all – unlike the big spray fans.  We also enjoyed mini cooling neck towels as opposed to the normal sized cooling towels.  The less you have to lug around – the happier everyone is!  Besides, I have learned you can walk up to any quick service station and ask for 2 cups of ice, or ice water when you’re hot!

12) Alarm Clock / Nightlight

I always use my IPhone as an Alarm Clock, but if you need, don’t forget to pack one!  When we fly to Disney and luggage is limited, I usually pack a few small flashlights that I use as nightlights.  They seem to do the trick.  When we drive I can snag some of my kids battery operated candles that we use as nightlights for them.

13) Meds

Lastly, I ALWAYS make sure to pack all sorts of medicines!  The last thing you want to do is become ill while at Disney World!  Always, always, always make sure you have your allergy meds as well as Benedryl!  You never know what sort of itchy bite you may get, or what allergic reaction you could possibly have (even though we hope that never happens).

In my backpack that I always carry inside parks (or wherever we are vacationing)  contains:

*Itch creams for bug bites – Cortisone / Benedryl / Desitin / Aquaphor

*Motrin / Tylenol

*First aid like band aides and neosporin

*Sanitizing Wipes / Sanitizer

*Drinks / Snacks

*MiniFan

*Cooling Towel

*Baby Wipes

*Sweatshirts – sometimes you freeze when walking into air conditioning after sweating all day and sometimes it cools off at night – you just never know!

*Lolipops (not just for children but I have a diabetic husband so we have to keep Gluclose Tablets as well)

*Phone Charger – I have had an My Charge from Amazon.com for 5 years now and it still works! Here is the latest version on Amazon.com.  I paid $60 back then and incredibly it STILL works great! My only complaint is that its a little heavy but its usable! 

We usually start taking extra-strength Probiotics a week to 2 weeks prior to ANY vacation and then make sure we bring extra-strength Probiotics during our vacation. The brand we use is Culturelle Extra Strength Digestive Health.

For EVERY vacation I also make sure we have a lot of WetOnes antibacterial hand wipes on hand, as well as hand sanitizer.  I try to sanitize after each ride and wash hands as soon as we enter a restaurant.  I also like to use Essential Oils as an immune booster while there too – like Theives and Frankincense by Young Living.  Peppermint can help any congestion or motion sickness, and can be used as an anti-viral as well.

Also, don’t forget to pack your typical Motrin / Tylenol – and remember meds for any sort of stomach upset, like Tums, Pepto etc.  We use children’s Dramamine as we travel to and from our destination.

I like to bring a lot of baby wipes to clean up throughout the day as well.

Lollipops can be a great way to pass the time while waiting on lines for rides!  We also love to play Disney Trivia with each other (if you run out of ideas there is an app for that which is easy to use on your phone).

I shouldn’t have to mention this one but….. Sunscreen!  Pack your sunscreen and sunglasses.  Who wants to get stuck without those essentials?

When is your next Disney World Vacation?

Check out my article on Saving Space in your Luggage: Shipping Yourself Items to your Disney World Resort prior to check in!

DizLover Top Travel Tip

Top Travel Tip Alert!

Ship yourself a box of “extras” when FLYING to Disney World to reduce luggage and luggage weight.

Ship extra items to resist making your luggage overweight or having to carry more….

The first time we took our children to Disney World our oldest had just turned 5 and our youngest was only 2 years old.  So we decided to ship ourselves diapers, swim diapers, wipes and other baby needs as an alternative to packing inside the luggage, and with all the latest airline rules and regulations it really made things much simpler.

Flying to Disney World? Heres a Top Travel Tip!
Flying to Disney World? Heres a Top Travel Tip!

Any Disney World Resort will take packages up to 2 weeks prior to your check in date.

How to address your packages for shipment.

  • Disney’s Art of Animation Resort
  • *Hold for: John Smith
  • 555-123-4567
  • Check in date: December 4, 2017
  • Confirmation Vacation Package Number: A52656521313
  • 1850 Animation Way, Orlando
  • FL, 32830

A few things I sometimes like to ship to myself when I fly to Disney World:

  • Snacks
  • Water/Drinks (capri suns / gatorade)
  • Sunscreen
  • Shampoo / Conditioner (small sample size in drug store plastic bottles)
  • Wipes
  • Vitamins / Probiotics
  • Desitin
  • Soaps
  • Lotions
  • Hand Sanitizer and Hand Sanitizing Wipes – LOTS of these!  I like to wipe off after every ride!
  • Dollar Store Hamper (to throw away before we check out)
  • Paper Towel
  • Garbage Bags / Plastic Bags
  • Any surprises for the kids
  • Dollar Store Umbrellas
  • Extra Ponchos
  • Laundry Soaps and fabric softner
  • Travel Size Wrinkle Releaser
  • Extra Hangers that can be thrown away
  • Small Flash Lights
  • Dollar Store Glow Sticks
  • Batteries
  • Mini Neck Fans
  • Spray Fans (fill them up with ice before you head to a park for ultimate coolness)
  • Paper Cups

I normally like to take a box and start preparing months before the trip.  As I go along and think “Oh this could go in the box to be shipped” and throw it in the box.  Then about 2 weeks prior to check in, I fix up the box – pack it properly and ship it off with no sweat!

Just make sure you don’t pack to much to bring back home with you and what you do pack make sure its small enough to use it up before your trip home!

What other travel questions do you have?

Post a comment below!

Read my other Daily Travel Tip and let me know what you think.

Check out my article on How to Do Disney World Dining!

Walt Disney World Memory Maker

Memory Maker: Is it worth it?

Memory Maker - Magic Kingdom - Disney World
Memory Maker – Magic Kingdom – Disney World

 

Memory Maker - Disney World
Splash Mountain – Memory Maker – Disney World

One of many decisions to make when planning your Walt Disney World vacation is adding Memory Maker to your package.

Memory Maker - Disney World
Memory Maker – Disney World

What is Memory Maker?

Memory Maker is Disney’s Way to letting you enjoy unlimited Photo Pass photos that are available to be taken by Disney’s professional photographers and cameras at several Photo Pass Locations located all throughout all of Disney World’s Parks.

You no longer have to purchase photos taken separately when you have Memory Maker.  One major plus is any pictures taken while ON RIDES will be added to your Photo Pass stream!!!!

Memory Maker - Walt Disney World
In the front row of DINOSAUR in Animal Kingdom… we all looked a little afraid. LOL Love this shot – we will remember it forever!

You can conveniently view, download and share your Disney PhotoPass memories on MyDisneyPhotoPass.com and on the My Disney Experience Mobile App.

Memory Maker - Disney World
Memory Maker – Disney World

Memory Maker - Disney WorldMemory Maker is linked to your account; and which also your Magic Band is scanned whenever you have a picture taken with a Photo Pass Photographer as well as any photos taken on rides that contain Photo Pass shots.

Memory Maker also gives you lots of Disney World extra pictures of just Mickey, scenery, other characters and more! It’s so easy and convenient to be able to take any picture you choose and all are yours to use at your discretion – and you never know when a surprise rare-character shot will pop up along the way!

Disney World Memory Maker
A Surprise Picture with Jack Skellington taken at Disney World’s Art of Animation Resort in the Summer of 2016.

We purchase Memory Maker on every vacation because when we travel to Disney World, no vacation is ever the same!

**When you return home after your vacation is sadly over, you have 30 days to go online to the My Disney Experience website http://www.mydisneyexperience.com and download ALL of your Memory Maker pictures to save and do with as you please!!!**

Memory Maker - Pirates League -Disney World
Memory Maker – Pirates League -Disney World

We have different pictures taken with every trip. (I am not sure if it was available during my children’s first trip in 2013. So unfortunately I have no Photo Pass pictures from that time and they were only 2 and a very young 5!)  It’s capturing my children as they are growing up Disney and we have so many beautiful family portraits, especially since in Disney World is the only place where I do not always have to be the photographer! 

There are so many extra touches and surprises like  a little photo-video of your family on the Mine Train.

Where else can you get a picture taken on a roller coaster????

Memory Maker -Disney World
Memory Maker -Disney World

Countless beautiful photos with extra touches that you cannot get anywhere else!

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Memory Maker – Disney World

How much is Memory Maker?

Memory Maker - Epcot - Disney World
Memory Maker – Epcot – Disney World

Currently an advanced purchase of Memory Maker is $169.00, or if you add it on while there it would be $199.00.  I HIGHLY recommend the advanced purchase of Memory Maker! You will not regret it!  Just add it on to your vacation package.

You can easily find Photo Pass locations on the My Disney Experience Map while inside the parks.

 

Photo Pass Locations on My Disney Experience App inside Disney World

*IF, for some obscure reason you cannot find something on the My Disney Experience App, simply ask a Cast Member – they will be more than happy to guide you.  Never fear – there is always someone to ask for help in Disney World.

Memory Maker - Hollywood Studios - Disney World
Memory Maker – Hollywood Studios – Disney World

Disney World Photographers do some pretty magical things!

Memory Maker - Jedi Training - Hollywood Studios - Disney World
Memory Maker – Jedi Training – Hollywood Studios – Disney World

Check out my Top Tip for traveling to Walt Disney World!

Will you purchase Memory Maker for your next Disney World Vacation?

Disney Dining: How to, and tips.

How this Diz Lover Plans and Does Dining at Walt Disney World!

As with any Walt Disney World Vacation, planning is KEY especially for Disney Dining! The extra time spent planning your dining is well worth it and will make for an easier more magical, guided vacation.

Mark your calendar!  Make dining reservations 180 days prior to your trip and you will want to make sure you wake up and get those dining reservations done – especially for those hard-to-get reservations like Be Our Guest and so on. You should receive an email or, you can call to find out what your date will be to mark the date you can start reserving, when booking your vacation.

*In knowing this you will need to plan out which of the parks you will be at, each day of your trip.  You will need to know this anyway 60 days prior when it’s time to make your Fast Pass Selections!

Depending upon if you are night owls or early birds….. We are normally early birds so I usually like to have early breakfast reservations to get inside the parks before they open.  Making breakfast reservations BEFORE park opening is a great way to get into the parks before the crowds as well as before park opening – which can get you on popular rides at no wait time.. I would make them for 8am or earlier.  You won’t need to make fast passes until 11am and later if you can manage to get to parks early.  Its not easy but its worth it.  We like to take an afternoon nap and head back out around dinner time to hop on rides while people eat.  We like to do a quick service dinner at our resort cafeteria most times. When traveling from hotel to park you need to give yourself enough travel time for reservations so if you have a dining reservation at 8am then you will want to be at the bus stop at your hotel by 7am.

You aren’t going to get much sleep – this IS Disney World we are talking about here…  It is not a relaxing vacation!  But one of the best ever!  If you are night owls, then this won’t work for you and you will need fast passes in the afternoons because that is when the parks crowd up.  And night owls will stay at parks later so you will want to utilize extra magic hours and stay late for rides.

You will need to CHECK prior to your vacation (when scheduling your dining and check AGAIN when it gets closer just in case times change) and take note to which parks has extra magic hours… you won’t need morning breakfast reservations because during Extra Magic Hours you can enter at 8:00am as long as you are staying Disney Property.  Morning Extra Magic hours allow everyone staying on Disney Property in early and I find it to be really crowded… so I try to avoid it…. HOWEVER extra magic hours at night – which Magic Kingdom will stay open until 12am – 2am at times is a great time to utilize the extra magic hours, if you can manage to stay up!

You can cancel dining reservations with no problem, up to 1 day before the date you are due to dine. If you need to cancel day of, you can always walk to guest services and explain what happened and they will remove the $10 a person or whatever the cancellation fee is.

Plus, you always want to keep checking for special dining events that may be offered…. back in May of 2015 I found a special once-in-a-lifetime Jedi Mickey dinner at Hollywood & Vine where Mickey and pals were dressed up like Star Wars Characters!

Disney Dining Plans – which one is best for your family?

Keeping in mind, if you don’t have deluxe dining plan but the regular Disney dining plan you won’t be able to eat at more than 1 table service per day and 1 quick service, 2 snacks per person. So one meal per day, will come out of your pocket. Here are the details for The Disney Dining Plan.

We prefer Deluxe Dining because to us, it feels all-inclusive and it is really nice to not worry about having to pay for any food while there – it is all paid for before you go! You have the flexibility of not worrying about where you are eating and if you want 3 sit-downs a day, you can do it!  3 Table Services per day, per person and each person gets an appetizer and desert as well as 1 alcoholic beverage or beverage of your choice with each meal. Deluxe Dining Plan gets you 2 snacks per day, per person. Click here for the details for THE DELUXE DINING PLAN.

A buffet is typically cheaper than a regular menu and way cheaper than a dinner show.  A buffet without the dining plan would typically cost a family of 4 about $200 for the meal depending on breakfast or dinner.  A breakfast quick service meal for 4 people will cost around $50 per family – some things to keep in mind.

If you choose the regular Disney Dining plan you could always use your snack credits for a small breakfast like yogurt or muffins.

****You do receive a refillable mug, included in ALL dining plans – which you can use inside your resort Cafeteria for all the coffee, tea, soda and water you want!  You may use your refillable mug at any resort quick service.

The third option of the Disney Dining Plans is the Quick Service, where you receive 3 quick service meals per day. Click Here for the details for Quick Service.

Magic Kingdom Dining

Character dining at Magic Kingdom would be at the Crystal Palace with Pooh and Tigger and friends. The characters are there for every meal and the buffet is good – we always go there at least once during our stay.  They do offer characters at all 3 meal times though.

*Our children had been to the Pirate’s League prior to eating here that day, so they still had some makeup leftover.  Pooh decided to play with one of their pirate hats below in the pictures.

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Disney Dining: the Crystal Palace at Magic Kingdom

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Disney Dining: the Crystal Palace at Magic Kingdom

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Disney Dining: the Crystal Palace at Magic Kingdom

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Disney Dining: the Crystal Palace at Magic Kingdom

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Disney Dining: the Crystal Palace at Magic Kingdom

Cinderella’s Royal Table –  INSIDE the Castle, with some princesses like Snow White and Belle and Aurora.  Not sure on the food as we never ate there but I do believe it takes 2 meal credits per person instead of 1.

Be Our Guest – Beast is only there during dinner hours. We had breakfast reservations and the food was nothing to brag about. I hear dinner is much better! But beware: all the food served there is French. The restaurant itself is spectacular; the room with the Rose in it that has lightning in the windows is a MUST-SEE. Go there for dinner instead if you go!

Tony’s in MK is a great restaurant but no character dining. We always have a good meal there and you can see the afternoon Move it Shake Parade pass by.

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Liberty Tree Tavern (another place in MK with no character dining)  dinner buffet is like a Thanksgiving dinner family style.
A Character Meal Must-Do is Chef Mickey’s which is located inside the Contemporary Resort.  When you arrive for check-in, there is a Disney Photographer set up for a family photo-op.

Dine as you meet Mickey, Goofy , Donald, Minnie and Pluto. The food is excellent! It’s a 15 minute walk to the entrance of MK or you can take the monorail.

To travel to Chef Mickey’s you need to bus to Magic Kingdom and then hop on the monorail or walk.   ***if you have the time*** Dining here takes up a few hours away from rides but so worth it and a great experience!

There is a quick service place in Tomorrowland and also in Fantasyland across from the Merry Go Round.  Disney quick services are similar to fast food chains except the quality is exceptional and I believe there are live cooks working; but when you order, you take a tray and carry your food to your table. Quick Services aren’t bad in Disney. All Disney Resort Hotels offer a quick service dining location.

Epcot – for Epcot you are in heaven no matter where you eat. Every food from every culture is offered there.

We have had a great meal in Italy at Via Napoli and didn’t need a reservation.

Disney Dining: Via Napoli inside Italy in Epcot
Disney Dining: Via Napoli inside Italy in Epcot

We have also dined at Le Cellier (picture below) in Canada which took 2 table service credits – it was delectable as well as a beautiful restaurant, but NOT child-friendly in the slightest and no characters.

How to SAVE $ money on your next Disney Vacation!
How to SAVE $ money on your next Disney Vacation!

Character dining in Epcot is offered at the Garden Grill, with Chip and Dale and Mickey and Pluto.  This restaurant is super cool because the venue slowly spins as you eat!  Breakfast is served family style! They have an excellent breakfast and you are located upstairs from Soarin’ and the Land ride is located to your right which you can view as you rotate.  It doesn’t go fast at all – I was afraid I would feel motion sickness, but you do not even know you’re moving because it goes so slow.

To dine with Princesses try the Akershus Royal Banquet Hall.

Another place we have heard raving reviews is the Biergarten Restaurant located in Germany where the festive German restaurant has a Bavarian buffet, oompah bands & beer served in stein.  People love the singing and dancing in the bands but it is loud –  so keep that in mind.

Coral Reef is a restaurant located near the Nemo ride – where you dine in an aquarium but you will have a better experience at T-Rex Cafe in Disney Springs, or Rainforest Cafe located in Animal Kingdom or Disney Springs (Downtown). We were not thrilled with the Coral Reef food. Not many choices but sometimes it is perfect for the convenience.

As you pass by Mexico they have delicious Margaritas.

All Disney Parks serve alcohol except for Magic Kingdom.  Alcohol is now included in the Disney Dining Plan!

Our Kids loved T-Rex Cafe in Disney Springs last year! (2016)  We enjoyed a delicious meal and drinks with a cool volcano desert – which we were able to order being on the Deluxe Dining Plan!

Hollywood Studios

NEVER go to Hollywood Studios without dining reservations!  The quick service option are limited here.

Character dining in Hollywood Studios would be at Hollywood & Vine where are 3 meals are great – all 3 meals are buffet style.  This is where you meet the Disney Jr characters.  Handy Manny, Sofia, Jake and Doc McStuffins.  We loved breakfast and lunch there. Dinner is Minnie’s Seasonal Dine with Mickey and pals.

Minnie's Seasonal Dine: Summer. Hollywood & Vine.
Minnie’s Seasonal Dine: Summer. Hollywood & Vine.

Mama Melrose Restaurant has wonderful Italian food. You can get a Fantasmic package when you reserve here – it goes along with your dining table service at no extra charge. But keep in mind they now offer a Star Wars fireworks show at night.  You would need 2 separate nights there to do both.  The seats for the Fantasmic package were amazing.

Sci-fi Drive in Dine in Theater, is exceptional.  Your table looks like a car and its set up to look like it is night-time and you are at a drive in eating. They play old Mickey Cartoons on the screen.  We really enjoyed this restaurant.  If you don’t have a reservation you may have a short wait depending on crowd levels – if you are going at heavy crowd times I would expect long waits or not to be seated at all.

Animal Kingdom

Character dining at Tusker House is a MUST.  They offer a great buffet for all 3 meals and you see Safari Mickey, Goofy, Donald, Daisy and Minnie.  Tusker House is a fantastic buffet.  At dinner there were no chicken nuggets offered on the buffet; so when I asked the waiter, the chef brought out a plate full of chicken nuggets – again some Disney Magic! Most restaurants are so accommodating!

We tried Yak n Yeti (located near Mount Everest) this summer and it was amazing!  It is an Asian themed restaurant ad it was amazing!! My kids are picky and the restaurants we eat in always have something for problem eaters.

Animal Kingdom feels like the hottest park to us.  Most rides are outside and no A/C.  Eating inside the A/C feels great.  We have only eaten at 1 quick service in Animal Kingdom and it wasn’t bad.

(Be sure to see the Lion King Show and the Nemo Show while in Animal Kingdom.)

We ate at Rainforest Cafe and LOVED it!!  You do have to walk back near park entrance to dine here and they will re-scan your magic band to re-enter the park. Rainforest Cafe IS included in the dining plan!

Like Chef Mickey’s (located at the Contemporary) another great dining experience is at the Polynesian Resort called Ohana – where you dine with Stitch, Lilo, Pluto and Mickey.  The food is excellent but since it is so popular you do spend a lot of time waiting to get in (even with a reservation) and waiting for characters.  They do a parade with your kids around the restaurant. Also, is a bar while waiting to be seated. But you have to travel to Magic Kingdom, then take a boat or monorail to the Polynesian.  We took the boat back to Magic Kingdom after we were done and it was just lovely!

Disney Dining: Ohana at the Polynesian Resort
Disney Dining: Ohana at the Polynesian Resort

Polynesian also has a dinner show called the Spirit oh Aloha – is a thrilling show with hula dancers, and the flame throwers – I have also heard it to have rave reviews. It is covered under your table service credits so you could definitely use your dining plan for this.  If you are taking it easy one night with the family, not wanting to do rides, this is something to go see.  We personally haven’t done this yet because we are always so busy trying to cram in rides.

Mickey’s Backyard BBQ (another dinner show) located at the Fort Wilderness Resort – Here you have dancing with the characters and says: Feast on an all-you-care-to-enjoy BBQ spread to cowboy rope tricks and the rootin’ tootin’ tunes of a live country-western band. Then mosey on over to the dance floor for line dancing led by Disney Friends. (characters).

The last dinner show I know about is the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue, also at Fort Wilderness Resort, is where you the join the Pioneer Hall Players for 2 hours of rousing Wild West dancing, singing and zany vaudeville comedy….. In between skits and song standards, chow down on buckets of all-you-care-to-enjoy fried chicken and smoked BBQ pork ribs, as well as a tossed green salad, baked beans, fresh-baked cornbread and strawberry shortcake. Unlimited draft beer, wine and sangria are included.  You are able to choose seating in different areas so definitely call or check it out online first.

This past Summer 2017, we tried breakfast at the Grand Floridian at 1900 Park Fare -and it was the best breakfast buffet hands down. The kids will LOVE Alice in Wonderland, the Mad Hatter, Mary Poppins, Pooh and a beautiful family photo op with Tigger when you are leaving the restaurant.  They actually had gummy bears for the kids on the buffet!  I hear lunch and dinner is great too – only different characters include: Cinderella, Prince Charming, the Step Sisters and Lady Tremaine.

Disney Dining: 1900 Park Fare at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort

Disney Dining: 1900 Park Fare at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort

On our way to Disney’s Grand Floridian for breakfast at 1900 Park Fare, we took a boat from Magic Kingdom to the Grand Floridian.  The Captain of the Boat magically knew that we were celebrating our son’s birthday and let him drive the ship and honk the horn on the way over.  What a great experience!

Another out-of-parks great dining experience is the Cape May Cafe – located at Disney’s Beach Club Resort – characters are breakfast buffet only.  The rest of the day is a Seafood buffet which I hear rave reviews about.  You would have to travel to Magic Kingdom and then take the bus to Beach Club.

You have the ability to link other guests to your dining reservations – it is easy to call or add them on www.mydisneyexperience.com .

One last dining experience I have heard about is Whispering Canyon Cafe dinner – again located at Fort Wilderness Resort, where the wait-staff entertains your table with some comedy and supposedly the food is out of this world.  People say it is a whimsical experience. Servers have tricks up their sleeves with crazy games and silly gags during your meal.

If you plan to celebrate a birthday while there, I would call Disney Dining in advance and have them make a note in ALL of your plans (- every single reservation you have -) that you will be celebrating a family member’s birthday.  Each restaurant does something different, whether its a special cupcake or they sing and you blow out a candle.

*Always call ahead to let them know of any allergies or special requests as well!

Check out our video slideshow of our Summer 2017 Walt Disney World Resort Vacation Here.

Be sure to read my article on ways to SAVE money on your next Disney World Vacation!

When is your next Walt Disney World Vacation?