Archives for December 2015

The Top 5 Best Steaks In Disney World

I have to say upfront that my beautiful wife makes all of our meal reservations. (Thanks baby…love ya!)  With that being said, I have been to almost all of the restaurants in Disney World over the years and feel the need to share the top 5 best steaks that I have ever eaten.  I know right now that experiences can be different from day to day at the same restaurants, but I do believe Disney has kept that to a bare minimum.  Without further ado, here is my list of must eat steaks if you are visiting the house of mouse down in Florida.

5.  When it comes to steak, you might not think that a seafood restaurant would make the list, but I have to tell you that the Flying Fish Cafe can make a mean fish and a meaner steak.  flying fish cafeI was told by many different Disney Food aficionados that I would not be disappointed in ordering a steak from there.  Some went as far as to tell me that it is their absolute favorite place to order one.  Trust me when I say I was up for the challenge and went there ready to crush another steak.  After ordering the Char-crusted Angus New York Strip Steak, I was thoroughly pleased with trying it out.  If you are curious about their whole menu, you can take a look here in order to plan out your meal in its entirety.  Now I have to say that it was not my number 1 pick, but it definitely made my list of places I want to return to for another beef go around.

4.  I give this spot to Shula’s Steakhouse located over at the Dolphin Hotel.  My experience with this restaurant came last year when I asked by a coworker to join him and his family for a steak dinner of a lifetime.  shulas steakhouseThis place is a must see in presentation of the steaks.  The first impression was spectacular in terms of the waiter bringing a cart of meats out and explaining the different cuts to the table.  It was a very high brow place to dine at and the prices reflect that, so be prepared for the price shock ahead of time.  For example, a 48 ounce porterhouse will cost you $108 and that is not including tip or tax or even side items.  But is it worth it?  Well, I wouldn’t be putting it on my list if it wasn’t absolutely delicious.  By the way, use the Tables in Wonderland card if you can to save 20% on your entire meal.  There is nothing better than looking at a ton of great football memorabilia while enjoying your steak.  This restaurant needs to make your list of steakhouses to visit before going Vegan.

3.  Making a nice appearance is the California Grill in the Contemporary Resort.  There is something about the oak-fired filet of beef that just can’t be beat.  California GrillThe prices are par for the course when eating in Disney World, but the steak is outstanding.  The restaurant is located in the Contemporary, giving you a chance to see one of the more prestigious hotels on Disney property close up.  If you have access to the Monorail, you can just take that right to the hotel and hop into one of the best steak dinners that you have ever tasted, all it takes is faith and trust in my taste buds as well as my review and you will be a few pounds heavier after leaving the California Grill.

2.  Narcoossee’s at the Grand Floridian could of easily been number one, but due to my heart strings being tugged by the restaurant that claimed the top spot, Narcoossee’s settles for number two.Narcoossees Restaurant in Disney World I have to tell you that there is no better view to watch Wishes then right on the wrap around porch.  You can even see Tinker Bell flying down to the ground.  Not that this is a review about the side benefits of eating at certain restaurants, but listening to the show and having a great location to watch is fantastic.  Now let’s couple that with one of the most amazing steaks you can order and you have yourself the perfect dinner night out.  I am a self proclaimed Filet Mignon connoisseur and this place is one that you will not want to miss.  The steaks are always grilled to perfection and the atmosphere is perfect with the lakefront view.   There isn’t much better than watching the water show or Wishes from the comfort of the restaurant.  So close, but still my number two choice of best steaks in Disney World.

1. In all my time in Disney World, I have yet to come across a more perfect steak then the ones I have had at Le Cellier in the Canadian part of Epcot.  le cellier steakhouseI make it my mission to visit this restaurant at least once if not twice every time I visit Disney World.  Even writing this article, my mouth is watering thinking of that perfect cut of Filet Mignon with wild mushroom risotto and white truffle-herb butter sauce.  I couple that with their amazing pretzel bread and Le Cellier signature poutine with Canadian cheddar, black truffle and red wine reduction to make the perfect meal.  If you have never eaten at “The Cellar”, then you are in for a major treat.  Everyone who works there is from the great country to our north with a story to share and great service on their minds.  If you have eaten there before, I hope this write up brings back some great memories about the times you had there.

Well there you have it, the five best steaks in Disney World according to me.  If I missed one of your favorites, feel free to put it in the comments, there is a chance, albeit a small one, that I have yet to try it. I am always on the lookout for a new top five favorite when it comes to my beef.

10 Top Fastpasses to Snag at Walt Disney World

You are planning out your Walt Disney World vacation.  Of course, everyone in your family has different ideas as to which Fastpass they want to use.  Being the adult that you are, you will most likely just give in to your children’s wishes.  After all, love is putting someone else’s needs before yours.  However, maybe showing your children this article will persuade them into choosing the Fastpass experience that YOU want instead.  :)

This list is a comprehensive list of all of my favorites.  I did not organize this by park, but, rather, by my favorite rides. (keeping in mind how much the ride lines build up)  If you are interested in seeing just the top 5 Fastpasses to get in a specific park, then please read The Top 5 Fastpasses to Snag In Each Disney World Park.)

10.  Kilimanjaro Safari- Animal Kingdom.  The Kilimanjaro Safari is a relaxing ride in a touring vehicle.  Ok, I take that back.  It can be a bit bumpy.  But the fun part is that you get to see animals in a recreation of their natural habitat.  The nice thing about getting a Fastpass for the safari is that you can plan when you go.  However, please remember that the animals tend to be more active in the morning and evening.  If you choose a Fastpass time for Kilimanjaro Safari in the afternoon, please know that many of the animals are resting then.

9.  Kali River Rapids- Animal Kingdom.  My entire family loves the Kali River Rapids.  You will be in a large floating car (probably with another family since it holds 12).  The largest drop is at the very end, with dips, turns, and unexpected waterfalls along the way.  We love to use this Fastpass in the afternoon when it is very hot out.  It cools you off instantly, and then allows you to be comfortable to ride a few more rides.  You WILL get wet, so be prepared for that.  I have seen people actually use their ponchos on this ride.  You may want to do that if you are a female with a white t-shirt on.  lol.  Also, if you have a backpack or bag with you, there is a center area to store these items so they do not get wet.  I purposefully bring a garbage bag to put all of our items in, and then place that bag inside of the holding area in the car.  We have not had anything get wet this way.  Oh, one more tip.  Take off your hats.  I have seen people lose them due to falling water and the splashing.

8.  Haunted Mansion-  Magic Kingdom.  This is one you don’t want to miss.  Although it is possible to stand in the regular queue to ride this ride and possibly not have a long wait, we like to get a Fastpass for it.  The queue line is interesting, but if you want to get into the ride quickly, so not take the line when it breaks off to the left.  This is so you can read the tombstones.  We prefer to continue staying to the right in order to bypass that crowd and get on as quickly as possible.  Once inside, you will be placed in a holding area.  From there, you are directed to doom buggies.  Yes, you read that right.  The ride takes you through the haunted mansion, with holographic effects.  My favorite part is at the end.  You might find a ghost riding with you!

7.  Big Thunder Mountain Railroad- Magic Kingdom.  I had a hard time deciding between my number 6 and this one for number 7.  The reason I chose this one for 7 is because it may be easier for you to ride Big Thunder Mountain Railroad without a Fastpass if you are at the park fairly early in the morning.  Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is newer and, therefore, may possibly have a longer wait.  Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is a moderate roller coaster.  No super huge drops.  It has a western feel to it.  Now, I am going to have Splash Mountain further up on my list, and these two are located next to each other in the parks.  If you decide to get a Fastpass for Splash Mountain, and you are able to come directly to the park at rope drop, then you can ride BTMR first and then do your Fastpass for Splash.  No reason to waste a Fastpass on both if you will be at the park early.  Be careful about putting your hands up on this ride if you are riding with a child.  You WILL get thrown around on the seat.  My daughter has been crushed by her dad, the poor thing.

6.  Seven Dwarfs Mine Train-  Magic Kingdom.  The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is a moderate roller coaster.  It is very similar to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, except the theme is completely different.  Whereas BTMR has a western theme, this ride actually does have the theme of the Seven Dwarfs!  I have a great time on this ride.  You can easily hold up your hands on this ride, too, because you are in your own little portion of the seat.  It is a tight fit for an adult.  I have seen discussion on other Disney message boards about the fact that this ride is not for very large people because you may be uncomfortable in your seat.  If you have Memory Maker as part of your vacation package, this ride actually records you and your family as you ride, and you will have a video of all of you riding the ride with the song “Hi-ho, Hi-ho, It’s Off To Work We Go.”  I was so surprised by this.  That is another reason this ride is number 6 instead of 7.  I prefer the theming of this one better, too.

Disney Rock 'n Rollercoaster

My sweet girl on Disney’s Rock ‘n Rollercoaster

5.  Rock ‘n Rollercoaster-  Hollywood Studios.  OK, whereas the previous two roller coasters were moderate, this one is definitely intense.  At the start of the ride, you go from 0-60 in like 5 seconds.  Then, you can expect some upside-downs and twists and turns.  This ride does have a shoulder harness, whereas the previous two are just lap bars.  This ride is in the dark, although you will see some lit highway signs as you ride.  Also, you will hear Aerosmith “Love in an Elevator” loudly throughout the whole ride.  As much as I love this ride, I can only ride it once.  Maybe it is old age, but even though I have tons of fun on it, I still have a slight headache when I get off.  Also, just wanted to mention.  If you have older children or if you are adults riding, you may not need a Fastpass if you decide to ride single rider.  The single rider line bypasses all of the preshow activities, too, so you will get up to the front quicker.  You won’t sit together, but you will be used to fill in the seats for odd numbered parties.  My daughter and I have done the single rider line and it literally took us 5 minutes until we rode.  (the wait on it was 50 minutes for the regular line)

Test Track in Disney's Epcot

Crazy family on Test Track in Epcot

4.  Test Track- Epcot.  These last 4 spots were tough in deciding my order.  I love Test Track.  You design your own car, and then your “car” is tested against the “cars” that other riders within your same car.  Did that make sense?  This ride holds 6 riders to a car.  You make your “cars” by twos.  You will see what I mean when you get there.  My favorite part is when you get outside.  That is all I will say…no spoilers.  The seats on the outsides have shoulder belts, and the middle only has a lap belt.  I just wanted to mention that in case it makes a difference to you.  Test Track is another ride in which you might be able to ride single rider instead of waiting in line as a group.  If you do not mind riding it with another family, then you will get through quicker in single rider line.  However, please know that you will not be able to design your own car when you ride single rider.

3.  Splash Mountain- Magic Kingdom.  Wow, these last three.  Depends upon the day when you ask me what order I would put them in.  It was tough deciding.  Splash Mountain is a classic log flume ride with wonderful Disney theming.  Br’er Rabbit is the main character along with Br’er Fox and Br’er Bear who always try to get the rabbit.  The fun part of this ride is seeing the animatronics.  It truly is a “show” before the main log flume drop into the briar patch.  You may get wet on this ride.  It all depends upon your location in the flume, as well as how many other people are in the flume with you.  On your way down the main drop, you will have your picture taken.  There have been people who go all out to get the funniest photo opportunity.  Look here.

2.  Soarin’- Epcot.  Seriously, I don’t know of ANYONE who does not like this ride.  It is amazing.  The only way you may not need a Fastpass for this ride is if you are one of the first people at rope drop.  Then you want to make a beeline for the ride and get in line right away.  Otherwise, don’t worry and go for a Fastpass.  Now, if you want to ride Test Track, too, without any wait, then I would suggest doing single rider line on Test Track because you will only be able to get one Fastpass out of these two rides since it is in the same category.  Soarin’ is a ride that makes you feel like you are soaring over a variety of different landscapes, including Disneyland!  In addition, there are scents that waft throughout the ride as you encounter them in your trip.  So much fun!  It is a relaxing ride for the whole family.

1. Toy Story- Hollywood Studios.  This is a fun arcade type game where you shoot at targets.  Now, this is my fav.  Why?  Because my husband and kids and I ALWAYS make this a competition to try to beat our high scores.  We do try to beat each other, but our main goal is to beat ourselves.  I have all of our scores in my phone, so we look back at them each time we go.  My husband has been the high score of the car and even of the hour.  He is pretty good!  I will give you a hint, though.  There are secrets in this game…secrets that you need to know in order to unlock special abilities in order to get more points.   I could ride this ride again and again and again in theory, but in reality, my arm needs a rest after each time.  If you want to ride more than once, I recommend going straight to the ride first thing when you reach Hollywood Studios and then having a Fastpass scheduled for later in the day.  Who doesn’t like Toy Story?  Nobody.  That is the same feel you will get for this ride after you have tried it.

In a nutshell, there are so many great rides when making your Walt Disney World Fastpass selections!  I know that you may not agree with my list, and that is ok.  I would be willing to take a bet, however, that at least ONE of your favorites is in my top 10.  :)

 

The Best Disney Vacation Club Resort Without A Doubt

I can already hear the screams of terror coming from those who disagree with what I am about to write.  The Beach Club is, without a doubt, the best Disney Vacation Club resort out there.  The following 5 reasons will sum up how I came to this decision and why you will want to stay there.

  1.  Let’s just start with the main draw to staying at the Beach Club:  their pool.  In case you are unaware, if you stay at the Beach Club Resort, you are allowed to use almost any other pool at the other DVC resorts, but those staying at the other resorts may not use  yours.  The Beach Club pool is exclusively for members staying at Beach Club and no one else.  Not that this is enough, it also happens to be the largest and nicest pool, in my opinion, on Disney property.  The awesome water slide will keep the kids occupied for hours while you and the spouse can grab a few drinks at the pool bar.  But wait, there is more.  They also have a very nice quick service area at the bar that you can order burgers and what not so everyone is full of grub.
  2. Another great aspect of staying at the Beach Club Resort is the location.  I just love waking up and knowing that if I want to go to Hollywood Studios or Epcot, that I can just walk over.  No buses to wait for or parking spots to find.  The Beach Club happens to be in the middle of both of the aforementioned parks.  It doesn’t mean you have to walk to them, but it is a great option to have in your pocket.  The walk itself is absolutely beautiful.  You get to follow the canal over to Hollywood Studios and see all the great views that come with that.  Then on your way to Epcot, you get a great look at the lake and its beach.  When going to Epcot, you also get to use the back entrance which most people don’t even realize is there.  The wait is hardly anything compared to going out to the front entrance.  Using this entrance brings you in at the World Showcase and allows you access to the many great meals awaiting you.  (I recommend Le Cellier in the Canada portion of the World Showcase…best filet mignon ever!)
  3. A little hidden that is in this resort is the Beaches and Cream restaurant.  This happens to be one of my favorite spots to eat in this resort area.  They are famous for their Kitchen Sink dessert, which is a boat load of ice cream and toppings.  You can see exactly what is in it here.  It is a very simple and small place that gives you some of the best burgers, hot dogs, and chicken sandwiches out there.  If you miss the ice cream shops of yesteryear, then you are going to love this place.  Then after enjoying your food and drinks, you can step out right to the pool and enjoy the number 1 reason for staying at the Beach Club.
  4. When you are hungry or thirsty, you have the Marketplace to take care of these issues.  As you can see from the picture, there are a ton of great options for eating at a very affordable price.  Sometimes it is just nice to walk a short distance to a great place to eat and relax.  The Marketplace gives you just that, a simple but pleasurable eating experience.  It also sells quite a few different items that you can enjoy in your room if you are up to cooking in during your vacation.  (I just can’t do it with all the great restaurants in Disney World to add to my waistline.)  But my overall favorite thing about the Marketplace is the ability to send the kids down to refill our drinking mugs at their self service drink station.  Of course you need to buy the mugs first, but it becomes quite an adventure for the kiddos once you release them to the great big world all by themselves.  (Think of it as them getting their drivers license you sending them out for some goodies while you relax at home…they love doing it and you get service with a smile.)
  5. This final spot was a difficult one to fill.  There are so many great reasons to stay at the Beach Club, but one stands out altogether.  The fact that you have Jellyrolls within a very short walking distance.  If you are unfamiliar with Jellyrolls, it is a good old fashion piano bar with dueling pianos to boot.  I have spent more time there then I would like to admit.  These piano players are phenomenal and give outstanding performances night in and night out.  If you are looking for a great adult night out, then look no further then Jellyrolls to fit the bill.  Just bring tons of 5’s and 10’s to request songs from the musicians.  They take requests all night long, and you will be surprised at how many songs they know.  And, at the end of the night, you are able to walk OR stumble home depending on how much “fun” you had. (Don’t worry, there are a ton of like-minded fun seekers there to enjoy the music and beverages with.)

You will never know unless you try, but I can tell you from personal experience that the Beach Club Resort has just about everything you will need for an outstanding vacation that everyone in the family will enjoy.  Remember that it is a little pricey, but you get what you pay for and this place will not disappoint.  Welcome home and enjoy your stay; I know I did!

11 Myths about Fastpass at Walt Disney World

fast pass KilimanjaroIf you are reading this article right now, it means that 1.  you most likely know what a Fastpass is, and, 2.  you are most likely planning your Walt Disney World vacation!  Yay!  However, please bear with me, as there may be some vacationers who are not “in the know” about Fastpasses.  No worries!  Do you hear that?  It’s the winds of change.  Read this article, and you will no longer be in the dark about Fastpasses and what they can mean for your Walt Disney World vacation.

First of all, let me explain to you what a Fastpass actually is.  Called Fastpass at Disneyland and Fastpass+ at Walt Disney World, this virtual system allows for queuing control for Disney, but also allows guests to gain access to rides more quickly than if they were to stand in the regular queue lines.  Within the theme parks, each ride has a maximum number of guests that it can serve per hour or per day.  Let’s use Beauty and the Beast Theater at Hollywood Studios as an example.  This theater holds 1,500 people for each show.  Let’s say on an average day, Disney’s Hollywood Studios offers 6 different shows.  This means that 9,000 people can experience this production per day.  Now, what Disney does is take a portion of each showing and offer Fastpasses for it.  So, maybe they offer 300 Fastpasses for each of the 6 shows.  This allows the crowds to be spaced out so that all guests will not want to go to one showing.  Disney doesn’t want all of its guests flocking to one attraction while other attractions may have very few guests.  It is very smart on Disney’s part to give them some queuing control.  On the flip side, as a guest, Fastpasses are nice because you gain quicker access to the attraction.  You do not have to wait in the regular queue line, and you are given priority for seating/riding in the attraction. fast pass test track disney world Overall, it is a well-thought out process that is a win-win for everyone.

There are myths out there for Fastpass, and gosh only knows where they come from.  The human race…it’s a mess.  Follow me on my journey to explain everything you need to know about Disney’s Fastpass.

REMEMBER….THE FOLLOWING LIST CONTAINS MYTHS THAT ARE NOT TRUE!  Please read the full post in order to understand each point fully.

  1.  Fastpasses are for rich people.  You have to pay for them.  This is INCORRECT.  Fastpasses are provided to every park visitor.  No joke, so many times I have been in a Fastpass line, and I hear a little kid in the regular queue complain to his mom.  She tells him they can’t afford to pay for the special lines.  I just shake my head.
  2. You can have more than one fastpass per hour.  This is INCORRECT.  You may schedule one fastpass per hour.  This is actually nice.  Some of the parks are so spread out.  The one Fastpass per hour allows you ample time to get from one attraction to another (with riding it in between).  And, yes, you may have time to do other things in between.
  3. Fastpasses give you a certain time that you have to be at an attraction.  This is incorrect as far as having to be there at an EXACT time.  They give you what they call a Fastpass window.  When you select it, you are selecting an hour time frame in which to attend that attraction.
  4. Fastpasses are paper tickets.  OK, this one is partially incorrect.  Although it is possible that a cast member may have given you paper Fastpasses for something,(many times they are offered as a complimentary service to make up for disgruntled guests) in fact, your Fastpasses will be virtual.  You will be able to set them up online, and all of their information will be placed on your Magic Band.  In the old days, guests had to trek across the park to and fro to get paper Fastpasses.  The new system has eliminated all of that fuss, and it is very nice now for those of you who might want to sleep in.  You will no longer have to make rope drop in order to score the best Fastpasses.
  5. You must wait to get your Fastpasses the day you visit each park.  This is INCORRECT.  Although you CAN schedule Fastpass selections at kiosks throughout each theme park, you can set up your Fastpass selections 60 days before your vacation if you have a valid ticket.
  6. If I have an annual pass or park tickets, they must be activated in order to create my Fastpass selections.  This is INCORRECT.  You can have the voucher for your annual pass or tickets and use the will call number provided to you to make your Fastpass selections online.  I know this one for a fact because I recently was speaking to a Disney cast member at DVC Member Services, and she explained this to me.
  7. I can schedule as many Fastpasses for as many hours that I will be in the park.  This is INCORRECT.  You can schedule up to 3 before attending the park.  Once all 3 of those have been used, you can use the kiosks throughout the park to schedule a 4th.  Just remember that you MUST finish using all 3 Fastpasses in order to schedule the 4th.
  8. I won’t be able to ride any good rides without Fastpass.  This is INCORRECT.  With proper planning, you can still enjoy attractions by standing in the regular queue.  (see our article How to Enjoy Disney without Fastpasses)
  9. If I buy my ticket the day of my visit, I won’t be able to use Fastpass.  This is INCORRECT.  You will be able to visit a Fastpass kiosk immediately after entering the park to make your Fastpass selections for the rest of your stay in that park.
  10. I can make Fastpasses for different parks if I plan to parkhop.  This is INCORRECT.  You can only schedule your 3 Fastpass selections in one park per day.  You can still enjoy the benefits of park hopping, but you cannot schedule Fastpasses in the park you will be hopping to unless you didn’t schedule Fastpasses in the first park you visited.  (see our article “How to Enjoy Disney with Parkhopping)
  11.  If I miss my Fastpass time, I miss out on using that Fastpass.  This is INCORRECT.  You can still go to a kiosk and reschedule your Fastpass for a later time or a different attraction.  (see our article “How to Set Up my Disney Fastpasses”)

Well, I hope this takes care of some of the myths surrounding Disney’s Fastpass.

10 Things You Didn’t Know You Needed For Your Walt Disney World Vacation

Hey, folks!  OK, so you are planning a trip to visit the Grand Master Mouse.  Terrific!  Your first trip to Walt Disney World is kinda like giving birth.  You hear things about it, but nobody really tells you the whole truth.  The only thing you can do is experience it to fully understand the experience.  (and, let me tell you, there are certain things about giving birth that maybe aren’t so pleasant)  For those of you who have been to WDW, you will understand this list completely, and, hopefully, get a chuckle out of it.  For those who haven’t been, take these as tips to help you get through what will be an awesome vacation.

10.  Money, money, and more money.  Let’s face it.  Mickey is not cheap.  He is like the Saks Fifth Avenue of vacation destinations.  Therefore, if you wanna make the most out of your vacation, either figure out some savings tips (we have savings tips in our article, 10 Ways to Save Money on a Walt Disney World Vacation) or take lots of money with you.  First, figure out how much you think you will need.  Remember, there are a lot of expenses, such as resorts, dining, entertainment, souvenirs, snacks, etc.  OK, do you have your number?  Now double that.  Now add a couple hundred more.  Ha!   Seriously, though.  I don’t mean to scare you, but you go through money like water in Walt Disney World.

9.  Patience.  Scenario.  You are staying at Disney’s Boardwalk Inn.  You have dining reservations at the Hoop De Doo Revue.  (I could so go for the sangria and cornbread right this second!)  You don’t have your own transportation, so you rely on Disney transportation.  You go out front to catch the bus.  You wait 10 minutes for your bus.  (we usually play Rock, Paper, Scissors.  Read about fun ways to pass the time waiting on Disney transportation at our article, 10 Ways to Pass the Time While Waiting for Disney Transportation)  The trip takes 10 minutes in moderate traffic, and that is by car, so add 5 minutes for the bus.  Also, please remember that this bus loop goes to the Swan/Dolphin, Yacht Club, and Beach Club.  Add in 10 minutes for those stops.  You finally reach your destination at Disney’s Fort Wilderness.  But hold on, you have to get through Fort Wilderness from the Outpost Depot where you have been dropped off, to the Settlement Depot using internal buses.  Add in 10-20 minutes to use the internal bus.  Lovely.  Long story short (too late), it is gonna take you a really long time to get places.

You will also need patience when you hit the parks.  Lines can be extremely long, especially for newer attractions and/or character experiences.  Even though you will have made your fast pass selections up to 60 days ahead of time (see our article on The Top 10 Fast Passes to Snag at Walt Disney World), you will be waiting in lines for other attractions.  Waiting in lines for snacks.  Waiting in lines for drinks.  Waiting in lines for photopass photographers.  Waiting in line for information.  Waiting in lines to buy souvenirs.  You get the idea.

Obviously, patience is a virtue that you will definitely need when visiting Walt Disney World.

8.  Body Glide.  I know this one sounds a little funny, but, believe me, it won’t be funny after it is already too late.  You will do a lot of walking.  A lot.  Depending upon your body type, you may have certain parts that rub a little when you walk.  For the average walk in the grocery store or just daily life in general, this isn’t going to matter much.  However, when you are walking upwards of 7-10 miles a day, yes, it will matter.  A lot.  You will have friction burns that will be so painful it may ruin your vacation.  I have seen people with such burns in between their thighs, and I just cringe thinking of the pain they must be in every time they take a step.  So, your choice…either Jenny Craig for a couple of months before your vacation or buy some body glide.  You won’t be sorry.

7.  Good shoes.  Speaking of walking a lot, let’s talk about the fact that you will truly be walking miles and miles every day.  Now, people…newsflash….Disney is not the place to walk a catwalk.  Leave your stilettos at home.  For some of you, your own regular sneakers may be comfortable enough, but some of you may want to purchase special shoes just for your Disney trip.  If you do this, be sure to wear them for awhile before your trip to make sure that they will be comfortable and broken in a little.   You will find that investing in a good pair of walking shoes for each member of your family may make your trip much better than if you didn’t have them.  (for recommendations on walking shoes for your Disney trip, read our article The Top 10 Walking Shoes for Disney)

6.  Band-aids.  Ok.  Even with an investment in number 5, you want to have band-aids on hand in the parks.  Why?  Just in case a blister forms on your foot somewhere is one reason.  But a second reason, for those who have young children, is that boo-boos still happen at Walt Disney World.  Sometimes a tiny little cut can cause a meltdown.  Band-aids seem to have a magical healing quality that suddenly makes everything better.  Please put a couple in your bag.  If you don’t use them, no biggie.  (please see our article, How to Do Disney with Toddlers and Young Children for more important things to remember when visiting with kids.)  However, by having those bandaids at just the right moment, you will become a hero even better than Aladdin’s genie, and you don’t even need magic!

5.  Lemon Juice.  You probably won’t find this one on any other Disney site, but I swear by the powers of lemon juice.  I want you to think a moment of how many people walk through the turnstiles of the Disney parks each day.  Thousands.  Tens of thousands.  There is bound to be someone with infectious germs of some kind.  Some of those germs will be of the gastrointestinal variety.  There is nothing worse than getting the poops and pukes while on vacation.  For years and years, I have been giving my family lemon juice or lemonade during the winter months and when we are at Disney.  A couple of teaspoons each day will suffice.  I had heard that it stops you from getting sick.  My husband and I are teachers, and we are often exposed; we have students who puke in our own classrooms.  We start taking lemon juice when exposed and, voila!, we stay healthy.  As we speak, I have a large gallon container of homemade lemon juice in my refrigerator.  Some people have laughed at me.  They have not believed me.  Now, just recently, I have read studies being done on lemons.  It has been found that lemon juice stops the norovirus from multiplying in a person’s body!  Take that, you nonbelievers!  (Google it if you don’t believe me!)  So, we will continue to take our lemon juice.  You can buy a little lemon shaped container of the concentrated lemon juice, put it in a baggie, and place it in your checked luggage. (not kidding…the container actually looks like a lemon)  If it is too sour to take by itself, grab a couple of sugar packets from a restaurant.  Take a teaspoon twice a day with a spoonful of sugar.  After all, a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down.

4.  Ponchos.  Isn’t it funny that we all take showers or baths; we completely emerge ourselves in water, but when it happens naturally in mother nature, we act like the water falling down in the form of rain is like acid that will make us melt.  Well, guess what, folks?  You can stop the “acid” from melting you with a little doohickey called a poncho.  In fact, using said poncho will allow you to continue on, enjoying the Disney experience, while other non-prepared guests will be flocking toward the exit like poor unfortunate souls.  The poncho won’t take up much space, so definitely consider packing one per person.  Touring the parks in the rain is one of my family’s favorite things to do.  Oh, did I forget to mention the fact that it rains often in Florida?  Yeah.  Count on it.  Sometimes daily depending upon the time of year when you go.

3.  Water.  Ironically, even though number 4 makes it sound like you would have all of the water you need, you have to plan for drinking water.  If you are on the Disney Dining plan, you can use a snack credit for a water.  But, let’s be realistic.  When given a choice of a water or a cupcake, which do you choose?  Open up those snack credits for what they were truly meant for and do one of the following:  1.  Bring your own case of water (or even two) or, if you have flown, take a taxi or uber to a grocery store to purchase your own case(s) of water.  Trust me, the time you take away from your vacation to do this is worth it.  Let’s price it out…it would cost roughly $5.99 for 24 waters in a grocery store.  This is 25 cents a bottle.  Disney’s markup is 1,000%.  Their waters cost $2.50 each.  If, over the course of the week, you bought 24 waters in the park, it would cost you $60.  Some people might argue that they don’t want to take time out to go to the grocery store, plus the cost of a taxi kind of defeats the purpose of saving money.  Well, you are not going to spend $54 to go to the grocery store by taxi, first of all.  Secondly, if it really bothers you, you can order from food delivery services.  They deliver the items right to your front desk.  There may be a surcharge if you don’t order a minimum dollar amount, but that won’t be more than $10-15.  A DEFINITE savings.  So, save those snack credits for the dole whip or the cupcake or the churro or the cookie or the cake pop or the popcorn or the mickey bar or the soft pretzel.  Not the water.  Spend the $20 to get a couple of cases delivered to your resort.

2.  Empathy.  Empathy-  the definition is the ability to understand and share the feelings of others.  People are so entitled.  Even in the most magical place on Earth, I have seen people not acting their age.  And, I am not talking about the kids!  Remember that you are in an amusement park.  Amusement park on a grand scale.  You aren’t the only one in the park.  I suppose if you wanted to spend 7.5 million for 75,000 one-day passes to buy out the whole park for a day, they may let you do that.  However, I am willing to bet my oldest child that none of you reading could do that.  (because let’s face it, if someone would have 7.5 mil to spend, they most likely have staff to figure things out for them.  They certainly wouldn’t be reading this site.)  OK, so have you heard of a thing called sharing?  How about common courtesy?  Also, you have NO IDEA what someone’s story is.  You don’t know if their child has autism.  You don’t know if they just had back surgery.  You don’t know if they just recently endured a loss of a family member.  You just don’t know.  If everyone follows the adage of “Treat others the way you would like to be treated,” then we won’t have line cutters and disgruntled moans and complaints and a ton of other unfortunate behaviors that strike people when they don’t get their own way.

1.  A plan.  Don’t wing it.  Please don’t wing it.  You won’t get to experience much of the magic if you wing it.  Take advantage of the fact that you can make your dining reservations 180 days out.  If you decide later that you change your mind, no big deal.  You can cancel within 24-48 hours with no penalty.  (depends on the restaurant or dining experience, so please make sure to read the agreement when you book) Also, fastpasses.  Get them.  No, you don’t have to pay for them.  You can book them on the Disney website at 60 days out if you have your ticket.  Therefore, you will schedule the high demand rides ahead of time, and you will be able to go through the fast pass lines.  Plan, plan, plan.  Take some time to research and become knowledgeable about WDW.  Don’t be like a friend of mine who could not get a reservation on Thanksgiving.  She ended up eating in the Moroccan restaurant in Epcot because that was the only place that would take her and her family.  (Not saying that it is a bad place to eat, but when you think of Thanksgiving, do you think of couscous, hummus, or shish kebobs?  I didn’t think so.)

Alright, so maybe these things weren’t as bad as some of the things a woman isn’t told before giving birth.  But, hopefully now you feel a little more prepared for your Walt Disney World trip.

Did you look for the Disney movie references?  Within every article at Slickmouse, we will slickly slip in a Disney quote or two from Disney movies.

 

 

 

Animal Kingdom DVC Point Chart For 2016

The following DVC point chart is for Animal Kingdom during 2016.  The seasons are broken into Adventure, Choice, Dream, Magic, and Premier.

DISNEY’S ANIMAL KINGDOM VILLAS
Vacation Points Per Night
V – Value Accommodation
S – Standard View
SV – Savanna View
C – Kilimanjaro Club Concierge
2016 STUDIO
(Sleeps up to 4)     
1-BEDROOM
VACATION HOME

(All sleep up to 4, most sleep up to 5)  
2-BEDROOM
VACATION HOME

(All sleep up to 8, most sleep up to 9 )
Grand Villa
(Sleeps up to 12)
    V S SV C   V S SV C   V S SV C   S SV
ADVENTURE
January 1-31
September 1-30
December 1-14
Sun-Thu 9

11

14 17 Sun-Thu 19 22 29 35 Sun-Thu 25 30 37 47 Sun-Thu 69 75
Fri-Sat 12 13 16 20 Fri-Sat 22 26 32 39 Fri-Sat 30 35 44 54 Fri-Sat 78 85
CHOICE
October 1-November 22
November 26-30
December 15-23
Sun-Thu 9 12 16 18 Sun-Thu 22 25 31 37 Sun-Thu 29 31 40 50 Sun-Thu 73 79
Fri-Sat 12 14 18 21 Fri-Sat 24 28 34 42 Fri-Sat 34 37 48 56 Fri-Sat 82 89
DREAM
February 1-15
May 1-June 10
August 16-31
Sun-Thu 10 13 17 20 Sun-Thu 23 28 34 40 Sun-Thu 30 35 43 54 Sun-Thu 83 90
Fri-Sat 13 15 19 22 Fri-Sat 26 30 36 46 Fri-Sat 35 40 51 62 Fri-Sat 94 102
MAGIC
February 16-March 19
April 3-30
June 11- August 15
November 23-25
Sun-Thu 13 16 19 21 Sun-Thu 26 32 38 45 Sun-Thu 33 39 50 61 Sun-Thu 97 105
Fri-Sat 15 18 22 24 Fri-Sat 29 34 41 51 Fri-Sat 39 46 61 69 Fri-Sat 111 121
PREMIER
March 20-April 2
December 24-31
Sun-Thu 16 20 25 29 Sun-Thu 32 37 46 58 Sun-Thu 44 53 67 79 Sun-Thu 116 126
Fri-Sat 19 23 28 33 Fri-Sat 37 44 52 66 Fri-Sat 51 59 75 90 Fri-Sat 135 144