Last Minute Easter Shopping

Home Goods!

Mikey and I ran to Home Goods yesterday afternoon… we were surprised to find LEGO storage boxes that are actual LEGO themselves!

We also spotted 2 MICKEY Mouse plushies!

We spotted 2 Baby Yoda / The Child / Grogu Banks in the children’s section

For some other last minute gifts I am adding to my kids Easter Baskets I am waiting on a few LEGO to come and also waiting on some LED lights for Nicky’s bedroom. Plus they still love to play with Star Wars Light Sabers – so waiting on that as well!

I just need to finish a basket for my parents and my inlaws as well as my nephews!

Happy Easter 🐣🐇🐰 Shopping Everyone!

Continue reading “Last Minute Easter Shopping”

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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Disney World Travel Tip:

TIP OF THE DAY

When planning your next Disney World Vacation you will want to make sure that you check out the PARK HOURS for each day of your trip on the Disney World Website . Each day, the different parks may have extra magic hours and special events that MAY affect your visit. You can do this several months in advance, but definitely check again a few days before you leave for vacation and be open & flexible to any changes you may need to make!!!

Usually special events like Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Merry Christmas Party will be posted inside the park hours. These events are extra ticketed events that cost addtional money to your vacation, and listed around 6 months in advance. If you do not have tickets to one of these parties, you might not want to attend Magic Kingdom during a day that they are offered since guests without tickets to the party because those guests will be asked to start leaving around 6pm and need to be out of the park by 7pm.

Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party runs from the middle of August through October and Mickey’s Merry Christmas Party runs from November through Christmas Day and both events are offered sometimes 2 or 3 nights a week – so be sure to check!!!

However, the website doesn’t always specifiy what type of event and may just say “Special Event” and close the park early. While we were vacationing in January I did not realize on the last night of our trip, we were supposed to be in Magic Kingdom, they closed the park early at 8pm for a “Special Event”. It could have been anything – maybe a Disney Villains After Hours?! Who knows – but its something good to keep in mind.

Make note!!!! Visiting Walt Disney World at different times of the year will also affect park hours. We noticed during our August Vacation that some night Magic Kingdom was staying open until midnight where in January it was closing around 9pm or 10pm! In January as beautiful as Christmas is, you are missing a lot of daylight.

Extra Magic Hours will also affect your visit. Last August, while we were in Magic Kingdom during night-time Extra Magic Hours, we found it frustrating that they did not allow you to make any Fast Passes at this time and we found the lines to be sort of long! So depending on how long your stay is, you might be able to avoid that and there might be times where you cannot.

It seems that Disney World is forever changing and now with the world’s pandemic who knows what changes are going to be made going forward?! We are just staying positive and optimistic while being safe.

There might be the case where the special events and parties will not be offered for a year or two.

I’ll be here following and listening to let you know as soon as I do!

Here’s to hoping and praying the world is healed soon.

When are you planning your next Walt Disney World Vacation?

Click here for my info on upgrading to WDW Annual Passes!

We Upgraded to Disney Annual Passholders! Discount Secrets Revealed….

This past August 2019, while we were vacationing in the World at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Resort, for our second trip of the year, we were in a pretty good position and decided to upgrade to Annual Passes for all the perks!

Disney’s Wilderness Lodge August 2019

It was pretty easy to upgrade, while we were in Magic Kingdom on the first morning of our stay we simply went over to City Hall on Main Street. It was so easy and of course the cast members are always so helpful. As soon as you upgrade you are instantly able to recieve merchandise dicsount of 20% in just about all of Disney World’s Retail Locations. The discount varys on the dining locations depending where you eat, but we always get the Deluxe Dining Plan, so we weren’t worried about using our discount there. You can however, get the discount on any snack or type of food at your Disney World Resort Hotel that is Disney OWNED and almost all the locations (if not all) throughout the parks, so if you are buying a soda or snack or even a meal out of pocket you will get a discount!

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So if you are thinking about upgrading during your stay, I do not recommend waiting until the end of your trip because it actually will be activated on the first day of your trip and why miss out on that merchandise discount?!

The next best perk about being an Annual Passholder was the amazing discount that popped up when we were looking to go and arrive on New Year’s Eve and stay for a week. We got a huge discount at the Grand Floridian – it was bigger than what was being offered at Polynesian and Contemporary – and almost all of the resorts were booked up as well. We couldn’t pass up how much cheaper it was to stay at the Grand Floridian than at Polynesian which was our first hotel choice.

I wanted to make sure we arrived before New Year’s Eve so we wouldn’t miss the last Christmas Parade in Magic Kingdom which is on December 31.

So we flew down Monday night, December 30 after my husband worked half a day. We checked in for 2 nights at a Lagoon View and then checked out and checked into the discounted room from Wednesday January 1 and checked out Tuesday January 7. We definitely saved a few thousand dollars. So when booking with an annual pass discount definitely check on the different dates around your time of travel as well as what the different hotels are offering – hopefully you can be flexible!

We had family meet us one night in Disney Springs during our January trip for dinner, and we were even able to apply our APD to our family member’s dinner bill, which was fantastic. *Note, this might not always be the case but you never know where the Disney Magic may arise!* (They were able to park at our hotel and spend some time with us at the resort before we took the bus to Disney Springs – just let the hotel know in advance they are coming. Your company will need to povide some ID and they need your room number.)

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A Disney World Annual Pass also gives you discounts at various hotel spas and salons as well as some entertainment inside of Disney World such as AMC, fishing, the Amphicar Tour at Disney Springs, Miniature Golf, Marina Boat Rentals, Bowling, Horse & Carriage Rides at the Resorts andmore. You can also receive a discount on some of the tours provided inside the parks! There is also a discount for purchasing Tables in Wonderland. I believe that provide a discount when you renew your AP around the time it expires (they might give you a 2 week window after).

Being a Disney World Annual Passholder also gives you a discount on most extra ticketed events like Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party or Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party! Do your research.

Let’s not forget about Memory Maker! The Memory Maker is included in your Annual Pass purchase. *Even if only 1 member of your family purchases the Annual Pass, you still recieve all the benefits! Memory Maker includes all the photopass photos provided by Disney and the professional photographer photos (located throughout the parks,) those photos are added into your My Disney Experience App. You have access to all your Memory Maker Photos until your Annual Pass expires so you have time to download and store them. So unlike how each time you book a vacation you have to pay an extra fee to purchase Memory Maker, and Annual Pass includes it for every single visit.

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We were hoping to go this July or August but sadly with the current world crisis, we aren’t sure if it will be safe enough to travel with our children and my diabetic husband. So if you were considering a Walt Disney World Annual Passes it might be a great time to save for 2021. I always believe good things are ahead! I hope you’re staying safe and healthy at this time!

When is your next Disney World Vacation?

If you have any questions please feel free to ask!

Check out last year’s Easter Vacation at Port Orleans by click here!

Check out our Disney World’s Art of Animation Discussion with the Kids here:

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  $$$$$

Art of Animation – Resort Tour Video

Walt Disney World’s Art of Animation🌟

Click on the video below for a fun tour of Art of Animation from our 2016 Trip!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vfBRKTIy9Vc&t=186s

 

Check out my full review of Walt Disney World’s Art of Animation Resort by clicking HERE! 

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!