Walt Disney World Recap Video September 2018 Part 2

You may have seen part one of my Walt Disney World Recap Video September 2018.

Well, I am back with part two of our trip! Check out the video below for all the Disney fun, and be sure to hit “subscribe” so you don’t miss any videos on my channel. I would venture to say that Emma Kate had the time of her life.

 

 

We love Disney in the fall, the Halloween Party, Food and Wine Festival, and decorations are all amazing. Now we can’t wait for the Christmas decorations! (Ok, maybe we can wait until after Halloween!) What is your favorite time of year to visit Walt Disney World?

Walt Disney World Recap Video September 2018

Hola friends! Some of you may have seen the video recap of our media event with Disney. After the event was over, we extended our trip by a few days. I had a friend in town that let us stay with her for a bit, then we got a room at Port Orleans Riverside for a couple of days to make it an almost week-long trip. We ate at some of our favorites and really enjoyed just being together and taking our time. Check out some of the fun in the video below.

Don’t forget to hit “subscribe” so you don’t miss any future videos!

Thanks for watching y’all!

Tips for an Adults Only Disney Trip

Update: This post on tips for an adults only Disney trip originally appeared in 2016, but I have updated it for 2018. Thanks for reading!

It’s no secret I love Walt Disney World. When I tell some of my friends my husband and I are going alone to Walt Disney World for the weekend without Emma Kate, they look at like I’m crazy. Why would I want to spend my adults only time with a bunch of kids? That’s when I get to explain our “Disney style”, and how it’s very different than a trip would look with Emma Kate in tow. While trips with her are super special and so much fun, there are “other ways” to tour the world as well.

Tips for an adults only Disney trip

So, here are my top five tips for an adults-only Disney trip, and maybe you will then see why we find our time in Disney so relaxing and enjoyable.

1.) Go Deluxe: I know it’s not in everyone’s budget, but if you can swing it (go at a cheaper time of year, use discounts, save up for a year etc.) I recommend staying at a deluxe resort, and if you save lots of pennies, splurge on a club level stay. I have stayed club level at all the Disney resorts, and it is truly a special treat. Honestly, it’s not worth it if you plan to jump up every morning, grab breakfast at the park, and stay gone until bedtime, but if you want to enjoy Disney at a leisurely pace, it’s the way to go. (Think: continental breakfast, snacks in the afternoon, wine and appetizers in the evenings, cordials and desserts at night.) Plus a lounge for you to sit in and read a book, chat with family members, or simply use it as a meeting spot. There are also dedicated cast members who help just club level guests with questions, dining reservations, and more. We love to eat and relax so it works for us!

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Even if you can’t splurge for club level, I recommend a deluxe resort if you plan to take things slow and spend time at your resort. Deluxe resorts have the best pool areas, lobbies, and food options, so there is plenty to do just soaking up the theming.

Even if you can’t splurge for club level, I recommend a deluxe resort if you plan to take things slow and spend time at your resort. Deluxe resorts have the best pool areas, lobbies, and food options, so there is plenty to do just soaking up the theming.

2.) Less park days: Here is where you can actually save some money. If you are going for a week, only get 4-5 days of park tickets and spend your other days doing things around your resort,  or even visiting the other resorts on property. There is plenty to do, which leads me to the next tip…

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3.) Beyond the Theme Parks: Since you have a couple of “free days” with no park tickets, take time to explore some of the lesser-known Disney fun such as Disney Springs, miniature golf, water parks, going fishing or parasailing, or enjoy tea at the Grand Floridian. I actually wrote two blog posts a while back about things to do beyond the theme parks. You can check them out here and here. Check out the awesome cabanas you can rent pictured below if you are at the Contemporary!

 Adults Only Disney Trip

4.) Sit on a bench: I know this sounds silly, but to this day it is one of my favorite things to do in Disney. People watching. I love grabbing Starbucks and finding a bench or laying in the hub grass at Magic Kingdom, and just watching the crowds go by while soaking up the Disney atmosphere. I feel like so many people rush from one ride to the next, that they don’t always take the time to really just soak in the fact that they are in Disney World! Stop and take a break and just be for a little while on your next trip. Grab some popcorn or a drink and just savor the moment.

 Adults Only Disney Trip

5.) Eat. A lot: I know everyone eats more on vacation, but when you are traveling with small kids, you typically don’t eat at fancy table service restaurants enjoying four-course meals. It’s more of let’s stick some chicken nuggets in your mouth and move on before they have a meltdown. This is your chance to enjoy some of the nicer restaurants, just taking your time and enjoying your vacation and the atmosphere. Some of my favorites are: California Grill, Narcoossees, Yachtsman Steakhouse, Citricos, and Artist Point. Be sure to schedule in a lot of time to sit and eat nice dinners, or even nice breakfasts and lunches, too! Whatever you want, it’s your vacation!

This was on our honeymoon! Babies!

These are just some of my tips for planning an adults only WDW vacation. The key is to relax and enjoy without feeling like you need to be somewhere every five minutes. That doesn’t sound very relaxing and enjoyable to this girl. You earned those vacation days my friend, and you don’t have to have your kids with you to enjoy Walt Disney World. Have fun!

 Adults Only Disney Trip

RELATED: Sign up for my FREE My Disney Experience and Magic Bands E-Course!

QOTD: What is your favorite tip for an adults only Disney trip?

#DisneyKids Media Event Video Recap

Disclosure: We attended a media event at Walt Disney World, however, all opinions are my own. 

In September, we had the privilege of attending a #DisneyKids media event at Walt Disney World centered around preschoolers and Toy Story Land. We also got to eat at Homecomin’, Hollywood and Vine, the Grand Floridian, and also enjoyed Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. Check out this recap video we made of our amazing experience! Parents of preschoolers, these activities are a must with your kiddos! so much fun! Don’t forget to subscribe to my channel after watching. 🙂

 

What is your favorite thing about Toy Story Land? Have you been to the Halloween party or any of the restaurants we dined at?

#disneykids

Related: Toy Story Land with a preschooler

Related again: Art of Animation Cars family suite

Toy Story Land Disney World with a Preschooler

Disclosure: We attended a #DisneyKids media event at Toy Story land Disney World, however, all opinions are my own.

Disney's toy story land with a preschooler

When I first heard that Walt Disney World was creating Toy Story Land, I was pumped. Not only would I get to experience the nostalgia of a favorite movie series I grew up with, but I just couldn’t wait to see what Disney was going to DO with it. You know, how they always go above and beyond with every little detail? Well, I can tell you that it does not disappoint, and it was amazing getting to experience Toy Story land with a preschooler who loves the films as much as I do.

Pro tip: Go early before the crowds so you can see all the fun details!

Life-size characters, bright colors, and an amazing “backyard” to explore as one of Andy’s toys. It’s so exciting as you turn the corner and see Woody waiting to tip his hat and greet you as you enter the land. My four year old LOVED all the fun “toy”, details, and seeing her favorites everywhere she turned.

Toy Story Land with a Preschooler

Pro tip: The sun is blinding at this photopass spot, so maybe come back later in the day for a pic!

There are tons more “toy-sized” characters to discover, including meet and greets with some of the stars. Emma Kate even found fun characters to pose with as we waited for our breakfast at the new quick service dining location. This dining location, Woody’s Lunchbox, has some great food options not found at other locations.

Pro tip: Woody’s Lunchbox has breakfast! We had a delicious yogurt parfait that hit the spot!

Of course, We loved taking photos in front of several of the famous “walls.”

Related: The Walls of Toy Story Land

Toy Story Land with a Preschooler

Emma Kate was a little scared to ride Slinky Dog Dash (her mom and dad loved it!) But she ADORES Alien Swirling Saucers and it is her new favorite Disney ride. She also still has a huge love for Toy Story Mania. I can’t blame her, I do too! Even the exit queue of Toy Story Mania is a blast

Pro Tip: The exit queue is also where two of the fun walls are located as well.

Adding Toy Story Land  Disney World to Hollywood Studios is a huge plus in our book. We already love the fun and shows at this park, (not to mention character breakfast at Hollywood and Vine), so now it’s even more valuable to us as a family with a small child. One thing we have yet to do is go at night. I guess we need to make another trip back!

Toy Story Land Disney World

Disney’s Art of Animation: Cars Family Suite

Disclosure: I attended a #DisneyKids media event at Disney’s Art of Animation resort in a Cars family suite with most expenses paid, however, all opinions are my own.

Walt Disney World is all about kids and families, so it was no surprise to me a few years ago when the building of the family suites at Art of Animation was announced. Sleeping six, it was to be a more affordable way for larger families to all stay in one room, (or for smaller families like ours to just have some more space and privacy.)

Cars family suite at Disney's Art of Animation resort

The larger than life iconic characters situated throughout the resort, plus fun names like the “big blue (Nemo) pool” and a bar aptly named “The Drop Off,” all make for an adorable family-friendly resort option for those visiting the land of the mouse.

There are four distinct areas at the resort: The Little Mermaid standard rooms, and then three sets of family suites modeled after Finding Nemo, the Lion King, and Cars. We were given a Cars family suite in building one on the third floor, and I have to say, for someone who admittedly loves the deluxe resorts at Disney, I fell in love with this resort. All it took was seeing my daughter’s face light up as she recognized character after character for me to be sold.

cars family suite

We took photos with all the vehicles of cars fame, just like we were standing in line for characters at the theme parks. She ran down the streets of Radiator Springs, and took a dip in the Big Blue Pool. (Note: there is a pool at the Cars section but it wasn’t as ‘hoppin as the main/Nemo pool.)

We had our car, so we were able to park directly behind our building which was nice. We took the elevator up to the 3rd floor and immediately noticed so many fun themed touches such as colorful carpets and traffic cones as lights outside the doors.

We used our Magic Bands to open the door, and were greeted with a very spacious suite with so many fun Disney touches. There are two full bathrooms in the suite, one in the living/dining area, and then one in the master which makes getting ready in the morning a breeze.

The sofa in the living room folds out into a bed for two, and there is a TV as well as a kitchenette complete with refrigerator, coffee pot, and microwave. They even had paper bowls and plates stocked and ready for us.

The coolest part of the suite is the table. It has four chairs around it, and at night, you can pull it down and it turns into a bed that can sleep two. This is where Emma Kate slept and she loved having her own little space.

We admittedly pack way too much when we travel, so it was nice having wall space to put our stuff without constantly tripping over it. Also, Emma Kate goes to bed pretty early, so being able to put her to bed then go into the master and shut the door to give her more time to sleep was awesome. At nap time, we put her in our bed and we hung out in the living room, so everyone was able to get the rest they needed in the Cars family suite.

Our floor was very quiet, and it was just a quick walk over to the lobby to eat, grab a bus, or go to the pool and shops. We loved the location of the resort as well, as it was super close to Disney Springs and Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

I never thought I would say this, but when traveling with my four-year-old, I think I would prefer staying in an Art of Animation family suite over a regular room at a deluxe resort simply for the space and the fact that it seems the most “Disney” themed through the eyes of a child. When I’m in Disney World with my daughter, it’s all about her, and they are only little for so long, yall. I want to watch her fall in love with what I grew up with, over and over and over again. The thought and imagination put into the Art of Animation resort gives me just that, and I’m so grateful. We loved our stay in a Cars family suite and will definitely be back!

Check out this video room tour from our Cars family suite:

 

Related: 5 Reasons to Stay at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort

ESPN WWOS Media FAM Day 4

Disclosure: I was invited to a 3-night media event by Walt Disney World, however, all opinions are my own.

(Check out day 123 and 3 part 2 before reading this one!)

On day 4 of our trip, the media FAM was over, but Disney was kind enough to give us park tickets so we could have one more day of fun before heading home. We decided to go to Toy Story Land for the very first time and I’m so glad we did!

We checked out of the Boardwalk and drove over to Disney’s Hollywood Studios to make our way to the brand new area. It is SO adorable and has so many fun details. We were able to ride Slinky Dog Dash, Alien Swirling Saucers (three times) and Toy Story Mania. We were not able to eat at Woody’s Lunchbox, but that just means we have to go back.

Related: The Walls of Toy Story Land

Emma Kate did NOT want to do Slinky Dog Dash, so Bobby and I took turns riding it and taking her on AlienSwillingg Saucers which she loved.

 

 

She screamed (happy scream) the whole time.

 

I adored all the little hidden nooks and areas with cute theming. Be sure to look for Andy’s footprint on the ground and the backyard fence off in the distance. The exit que of Toy Story Mania is really cute too, so even if you aren’t riding the ride be sure to go check it out (near the giant Pixar ball).

Slinky Dog Dash was a lot of fun and just the right amount of thrill for me. The que was really cute as well, but it was really warm as there isn’t much shade in the longer parts of the line.

A must for photo opps is the giant sign as you enter. There was a photopass photographer hanging around when we went by.

Also, the restroom was really cute, it’s in the back to the left of the land.

We ate lunch at Sci-Fi but I don’t have any pictures since it’s pretty dark in there. It was nice to sit in the air conditioning for a while before going back out again. Before we left we got pictures with Donald which was a great way to cap off the trip. Little miss slept the whole way back to Tampa, so I would say the trip was a success. Thanks so much, Disney!

 

What’s New at Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party 2018

Disclosure: I was invited to Disney’s media night for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party 2018, however, all opinions are my own.

What a night! The first night of Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party did not disappoint. There were characters and rides and desserts and candy and new ride overlays, and fireworks and did I say candy?

This is my favorite event at Walt Disney World, so while I knew I would have fun, I didn’t know there would be so many new amazing additions this year. The “new stuff” can be broken down into three main categories: food, entertainment, and merchandise. I will go through each but be warned, reading this post will make you want to buy a ticket ASAP.

what's new at Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party 2018

Food:

(Please note, while most of these desserts are new, a couple of them are repeats from last year.) We were treated (haha) to a special cooking demo where we saw exactly how the not so poison apples are constructed, and then we got to eat our own. I can attest that they are very delicious but VERY rich and sweet. No way I could have eaten a whole one by myself.

No-So-Poison Apple Cupcake – Main Street Bakery

Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party 2018

Maleficent Dessert – Storybook Treats

Madame Leota Dessert – Liberty Square Market

Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party 2018

Hitchhiking Ghost Dessert – Aloha Isle

Worms & Dirt – Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Café

Jack Skellington Cake Push Pop – Sleepy Hollow

Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party 2018

Oogie Boogie Meringue – Gaston’s Tavern

Pumpkin chesecake – Main Street Bakery

Candy corn milkshake with cotton candy and Mickey marshmallow:

There are other offerings like a burger with tater tots and special nachos, the above were just things we were able to take photos of.

Related: Tips for taking your toddler or preschooler to Mickey’s Not so Scary Halloween Party

Merchandise: 

This year just so happens to be the 25th anniversary of one of my ALL TIME favorite movies, Hocus Pocus. I was super pumped a few years about when the Sanderson sisters were added to the stage show line up at the party, so you can imagine my excitement when I got to see all the special 25th-anniversary merchandise.

I purchased the black cauldron mug, it was just so adorable and I had to get something to commemorate the 25th anniversary.

It’s all so cute! I may or may not also have my eye on the amuck amuck amuck spirit jersey.

There are ornaments, shirts, pins, a mug, bag, and so much more all for Hocus Pocus.

There are also special annual passholder options available for purchase.

I also was smitten over this adorable glow in the dark magic band. The box glows, too!

Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party 2018

In addition to the Hocus Pocus amazing-ness, there was regular Halloween merchandise. I snagged a few photos for you:

Merchandise can be found during the event at the Emporium on Main Street, and at Big Top Souvenirs in the Storybook Circus area of New Fantasyland. Frontier Trading Post will also offer the event pins.

Entertainment: 

New this year on the entertainment front, three rides have had special elements added to them:

Pirates of the Caribbean: Live action pirates have been added to the ride, as you search for “Gunpowder Pete” on your journey. We had the privilege of hearing all about it and more from a cast member and his pirate friend.

Space Mountain: Hurdle through space completely in the dark with a new soundtrack and special effects.

Mad Tea Party: As you spin faster and faster there are new lights and a cool new spooky soundtrack.

Also new for this year is a Disney Junior dance party in the Storybook Circus area of Fantasyland. Here you can party with a DJ and friend like Doc MuStuffins and Timon from the Lion Guard.

Whether it is your first or fifteenth time at the party, there is something for everyone. We watched the parade, fireworks, and got tons of candy. The decorations are on point, the vibe is amazing, and it’s the most fun you will have this Halloween season.

What is your favorite part of the party? Any new food you are excited to try or merchandise you are ready to buy? Stay tuned later this week for a video recap of our night at Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party 2018!

Visit MickeyHalloween.com for ticket info, and start planning your visit for these party nights: August 24, 28, 31; September 3, 7, 9, 11, 14, 16, 18, 21, 23, 25, 28, 30; October 2, 4, 5, 8, 9, 11, 12, 14, 16, 18, 19, 21, 23, 25, 26, 28, 30, and 31. Prices start at $75 for adults.

Check out this video I took at the party!

*If you want to check out all my Instagram stories from the night of the party, go to my profile and click the highlight titled “Mickey’s NSSHP”

Real Life Tips for Disney’s Blizzard Beach

Disclosure: Disney provided me with park tickets and meal cards for the day, however, all opinions and tips for Disney’s Blizzard Beach are my own.

I see a lot of Disney tips posts floating around that have great information, but it’s either things that everyone already knows, or it’s not practical tips to help you make the best of your day at the water park. As a real-life mom with a very real life diva three-year-old, I need the “good stuff” when it comes to tips. With that being said, let’s get down to business:

Tips for Disney's Blizzard Beach

Tips for Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park

1.) Wear water shoes: Florida is hot (and water is wet, I know I know). While Disney does an amazing (seriously, amazing) job of having water sprayers spraying down the sidewalks in a lot of places at the water park, it’s impractical for every square inch of the sidewalk to be wet. This creates very hot pavement for a large portion of the year. Solution: water shoes. Not only will you be thankful for them when you see others frantically running from wet spot to wet spot, but they really come in handy if you or your kids prefer to “walk” in the lazy river.

For instance, my darling three-year-old did not want an intertube in the giant river MADE FOR INTERTUBES, no no, she just wanted to wear her puddle jumper and run along the bottom. Even when her smart mommy told her that she was going to make her feet raw, darling daughter paid no mind and well, you can guess who was crying on the way home (ok, so maybe that was both of us, because her screaming plus traffic on I-4 tends to make me a bit teary.)

Real Life Tip: When you have a 3-year-old, the lazy river isn’t super relaxing, so set the bar low. It IS a ton of fun though, but relaxing…not so much.

2.) Tikes Peak for small kids = a parents dream: When you come into the main area of the park, be sure to hang a right and head into Tike’s Peak if you have a toddler or preschool-aged child. You will thank me later. This adorable area is a scaled-down version of Mt. Gushmore, and not only is this space mostly contained (re: once they go up the top of the “mountain” the only way down is the way they just came walking up, or to go down a slide), but it’s also super adorably themed and has PLENTY for the little Mouseketeers to do. We honestly could have stayed in this area the entire day and never gone to any other parts of the park and my child would have been happy.

Real life tip #2: Keep an eye out for photopass photographers in this area. They tend to hang out in the wading pool area and will snap pics of your kids for you. They can link to your magic band or give you a card to link later. There are usually a lot people vying for these action shot pics, so you may have to wait a minute to grab the photographers attention, but it’s well worth it!

3.) Check all the food options: It’s tempting to think that Blizzard Beach will have standard water park fare on the menu, and while you will find your favorite comfort foods, there is also plenty of vegan and vegetarian options. I had the hot dog with bacon and mac and cheese, and check out some of these other options in my photos below. Doesn’t exactly look like your typical quick service meal, right?

Tips for Disney's Blizzard Beach

Real Life Tip #3: There are several food locations scattered through the park so be sure to check out all the menus beforehand. The lines can get a little long at high noon so eat a little earlier or a later to avoid the rush.

4.) Refillable drinks: If you are familiar with Disney resorts, you may know about rapid refillable mugs. Blizzard Beach has their own version that is good for the entire day for $11.99 on sodas and the like. (Sadly no alcohol.) You can also hang on to it and bring it back another day for a discounted price on your next day of refills. If you plan to stay all day I think this is a great deal. Best to stay hydrated in the sun!

Tips for Disney's Blizzard Beach

Real life tip #4: For those that like adult beverages, there are plenty of places to get them. My favorite is the bar right in front of Melt Away Bay (the wave pool) because it’s a great spot for people watching and has a nice view.

Related: Beyond the Parks Part 1

5.) Arrive before park opening or mid-afternoon: I know I know, this sounds contradictory. Allow me to explain. If you plan to stay all day or prefer the morning hours like we do, arrive early. Every time we have gone we have been allowed in the gates before the advertised opening. While there are PLENTY of chairs at the park, some of the more coveted areas and areas in the shade go more quickly, especially areas along the wave pool and in Tike’s Peak.

Tips for Disney's Blizzard Beach

Real Life Tip #5: Tike’s Peak chairs go super quickly because all the parents want to lounge in them and sit fruity drinks while they “watch” their children play. Or maybe that’s just me? Either way, head there first to put down your stuff if you are wanting to have a seat.

A lot of people leave after lunch or in the early afternoon after there wee ones have had enough (hand raise) so this opens up chairs and spots in line for those willing to come in the afternoon after the initial crowd has gone home.

Tips for Disney's Blizzard Beach

Tips for Disney’s Blizzard Beach

Blizzard Beach is an amazing place to visit while at the Walt Disney World resort. The lines are usually never super long, it boasts an almost mile long lazy river, and most of the slides are family friendly. In fact, only 3 slides have height requirements! Whether you are a local coming in for the day or in the middle of a week-long vacation, be sure not to skip out on this fun opportunity to make some “real life” memories with your family. Be sure to check out my recap video below of our fun-filled day in our happy place and thanks for reading my tips for Disney’s Blizzard Beach.

ESPN WWOS Media FAM Day 3 Part 2

Disclosure: I was invited to a 3-night media event by Walt Disney World, however, all opinions are my own.

(Check out day 1, 2, and 3 before reading this one!)

We left off on day three after our time at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. Disney then provided us with Minnie Vans to go wherever we needed to go! It was so much fun to use this awesome new(ish) service. Since Bobby and Emma Kate were at Animal Kingdom, that’s where I headed in my van to meet up with them.

It. was. hot. We only stayed a little while and Bobby did Flights of Passage while Emma Kate and I did the Navi River Journey.

Our plan was to head back to the Boardwalk and then go to the pool, but it started storming as soon as we got back. So we decided to just take a rest and Bobby would take her later while I was at the final event for the trip.

I met up with the group and we rode over to EPCOT. We were having dinner out on the patio of Spice Road Table. I was excited because I had only ever had drinks here and not a meal. Meanwhile, EK and Bobby hung out on the Boardwalk and went to the pool.

The drinks at Spice Road Table are delicious and we had an amazing view of the water.

I had the filet and it was delicious. (The restaurant also did a great job accommodating allergies in our group!)

We had a great time eating and chatting, and then took a leisurely walk over to our Illuminations dessert party. Due to the threat of rain, they set up the party inside, and then after we had dessert we walked out to our special spot for the fireworks.

The show was great, but then sadly it was time to say goodbye to the new friends I had made on the trip. I learned so much about the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex, and can’t wait until EK is old enough to play there herself.

Don’t go away just yet, the next day we headed to Toy Story Land before going home, and I will do one more post all about it. A huge thanks to Disney for hosting us!