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5 Epcot Myths BUSTED!

Bust These 5 Epcot Myths to Boost Your Disney Vacation Experience

by Suzanne Burmeister

If you want to sample some amazing dining options at Epcot, book early!

When I was a kid, I remember not being as thrilled about visiting Walt Disney World during the days when we went to Epcot. But lately, those have been my favorite theme park days—simply because Epcot offers relief from the crowds as well as boasts some of the best restaurants in the entire theme park area. Bust these five Epcot myths, and you’ll find yourself treasuring your vacation all the more.

Myth #1: Epcot doesn’t have any good rides.

Reality: You’ll find a lot of fan favorite rides here, such as Soarin’. Kids will love Frozen Ever After, The Seas With Nemo and Friends, Journey Into Imagination With Figment, and the Gran Fiesta Tour Starring the Three Caballeros. Thrill seekers will love Test Track and Mission: SPACE. Plus, a lot of new attractions will be coming soon to Epcot, including a Guardians of the Galaxy attraction as well as Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure.

That means you have a lot of options for theme park guests looking for rides.

Heads up: When you make your FastPass selections, you can only choose one of these three highly popular rides:

  • Soarin’
  • Frozen Ever After
  • Test Track

Make sure you come up with a plan as to which ride your party desires most.

Myth 2: You can find better merchandise elsewhere.

Reality: According to many Disney experts (including me), the best place to find the memorabilia you want is at Mouse Gear, an enormous store in Epcot’s future world. You can find everything from plush toys to t-shirts to candy.

Bet bet: While visiting other parks, keep your eye out for future purchases. Then you can make all of them at once at Mouse Gear, because this store will most likely carry it. (However, I’ve found a few instances where we had to go back to Magic Kingdom for men’s pajama pants, because they weren’t here.)

Did you know? If you don’t want to carry all those bags, have them sent back to your resort—for free! Just make sure you’re not leaving early the next day, because it usually takes up to 24 hours for it to transfer.

Myth 3: You should avoid Epcot during busy times.

Reality: Epcot sprawls across 300 acres, making it three times the size of Magic Kingdom. (Technically, the largest park is Animal Kingdom, though I’d say the guest area is not). Epcot has so much more visitor area to explore than many other parks. Even when the crowd is at its peak population, you may not know it because there’s so much space. For instance, if you walked the entire World Showcase from Mexico to Canada, you’d be covering 1.25 miles!

That’s why this location is recommended when you’re trying to avoid feeling trapped by people!

Myth 4: You don’t need reservations for Epcot’s numerous World Showcase restaurants.

Reality: Epcot boasts some of the best restaurants in all of Disney World. If you fancy German, you can swing a stein at the Biergarten Restaurant. Looking for something out of the ordinary? You can try Moroccan at Restaurant Marrakesh. That being said, if you’re going to wait until you’re there to get a table, you might be out of luck. These restaurants book up to 180 days in advance, meaning you may find yourself scrambling to find something free.

Best bet: Figure out what restaurant you want to visit well in advance. Book early! Also, remember you will be charged $10 per party member if you don’t bother showing up.

Myth 5: Epcot is boring!

Reality: You may feel like Epcot doesn’t have a lot to offer, but you would be wrong. You can immerse yourself in a variety of offerings: from the different cultures featured in the World Showcase to the thrilling Test Track. Plus, Epcot features a lot of festivals during the year, such as the Food & Wine Festival.

If this sounds like your kind of Disney daydream, we can help make it a reality! Send us an email or fill out this quote form and tell us a little bit about the Magical Disney adventure you are looking to have. Our Authorized Disney Vacation Planners with Destinations to Travel are out of this world!

By | April 19th, 2019|Disness Reports|

5 Magic Kingdom Myths BUSTED!

Busted! These 5 Magic Kingdom myths are history!

by Suzanne Burmeister

If you’re getting ready for a Disney World trip of a lifetime, then you may find yourself hearing conflicting reports about what Magic Kingdom has to offer. Here are 5 myths—and 5 realities—that can make all the difference in your next trip!

Myth 1: You Need a FastPass for ‘It’s a Small World.’

Reality: You most likely don’t need to use a FastPass to board the Small World boats. The reason is that this a fast-moving ride and not usually as crowded as others. (As in, check out the ride across the street: Peter Pan’s Flight, which always boasts some of the longest ride waits of the entire park.) Some people really hate this repetitive sing-song ride—especially those with older, less sentimental kids—which may account for the lesser wait times. However, if this is one of your classic favorites, and you don’t want to linger in the line, go for it.

My FastPass recommendations are to go for the rides with the highest wait times: Seven Dwarfs Mine Ride, Peter Pan’s Flight, and so on. You can hopefully catch the other rides (like Pirates of the Caribbean or Haunted Mansion) early in the morning, near park closing, or during parades/fireworks.

Myth 2: Don’t Waste Your Time on The Carousel of Progress.

Reality: The Carousel of Progress has many great qualities going for it—not just the nostalgia of seeing an audio-animatronics show discussing the evolution of technology. They are the following:

  • Typically, you’ll have a short wait time.
  • You’ll get to enjoy some fabulous creature comforts, including air-conditioning and plush seats. After a long day of theme parking, you’ll find a welcome respite in this rotating theater. This is often my favorite spot for my kids’ nap or bottle-feeding time.
  • You’ll snicker at the wonderfully hilarious image of the “future,” which features an outdated video game among other things. I’ve heard rumors of it being updated for years, but as far as I know, this isn’t happening yet.

Myth 3: The Backstage Tour of Magic Kingdom is the Only Tour There.

Reality: Park Tours are wonderful and fascinating. If you’ve gone to Magic Kingdom as many times as I have, you may want something out of the ordinary. However, the Keys to the Kingdom is a 5-hour commitment and an additional $99 more than your park admission ticket. However, you have another option.

You can go on a much shorter tour called “Marceline to Magic Kingdom,” which clocks in at 3 hours and costs only $49. I highly recommend it. (Be forewarned: you have to show up to the park very early, but you’ll get a chance to take empty-of-people castle pics!) You’ll also get one-of-a-kind insight into Magic Kingdom’s history. My favorite part was seeing the backstage workings of Haunted Mansion’s famous ballroom scene!

Myth 4: You Can Only Get Counter Service Food at Magic Kingdom.

Reality: You can find a lot of sit down restaurants in Magic Kingdom. Check out Liberty Tavern, Tony’s Town Square Restaurant, Cinderella’s Royal Table, and so on. Most all of them require reservations, so you should definitely be aware of that critical 180-day reservation window.

My favorite would be going to Be Our Guest for lunch, which is a nice middle ground. Dining here for lunch still requires you to fill your own cup at the soda fountain and order your food at a kiosk rather than from a server. A server delivers your selections, however. Lunch here still requires reservations and books up early! The Croque Monsieur sandwich is my favorite!

Myth 5: Once You’re In Magic Kingdom, You Should Never Leave!

Reality: While you may never want to leave the happiest place on Earth, you need to be practical. Even if you have a 1 Park Per Day ticket, you can still leave the park and return later. This may be a good strategy on crowded days, because giving yourself and your family a little down time in the afternoon may make all the difference. You won’t be so worn out and will be eager to enjoy all the magic this incredible place has to the offer—without the stress!

If this sounds like your kind of Disney daydream, we can help make it a reality! Send us an email or fill out this quote form and tell us a little bit about the Magical Disney adventure you are looking to have. Our Authorized Disney Vacation Planners with Destinations to Travel are out of this world!

By | April 19th, 2019|Disness Reports|

Friday in Fantasyland: Epcot All the Way!

March 2019 | by Suzanne Burmeister

“We can go back to the Magic Kingdom again sometime?” is a question my four-year-old daughter often asks, and now I’ve caught the bug. I am imagining my next trip in a fantastical-nebulous sense. No clear date in mind. However, Magic Kingdom isn’t where my mind is zooming at the moment. Instead, it’s Epcot.

Eating: My husband and I were recently interested in the Epcot Food and Wine festival, mostly because it might mean that he and I could disregard our diets. We could visit the marketplaces without having to make any dining reservations, each of us sharing plates of daring food that interest us. My husband is partial to German food, so I know we would go there for certain. Our kids might partake of some new foods, too. But it would be a leisurely stroll around the World Showcase.

Rides: No trip to Epcot is complete, however, without visiting the rides. My kids love the Gran Fiesta Tour starring the Three Caballeros. And while my daughter hasn’t reached obsessive levels of Frozen fandom of most other little girls, she does enjoy the ride! (Maybe the upcoming Frozen 2 will change that!)

My dad is as big of a Disney fan as I am, so my parents would likely join us too—and Mom’s favorite ride is Soarin’. We might take advantage of Disney’s Ride Swap program, so we wouldn’t have to get a Fastpass there. We would simply take my daughter on it twice, as we did last time.

Once my husband digests his food, he’d want to go on Test Track. And who knows, maybe by then, my daughter would be ready to try it for herself. On the other hand, my husband dislikes the Journey into Imagination with Figment (while my infant son seemed to adore it), so we would, of course, torture him with that.

Me? I like Spaceship Earth. I only hope my kids don’t choose Chinese as a language, as my daughter did once by accident!

Characters: One of my favorite stops is the Meet Mickey & Friends character spot inside Epcot, which is great to hit when the wait times are low.  We would shuffle through and meet Mickey, Minnie, and Goofy. I remember when my infant daughter met Minnie, and afterwards, I changed her in the nearby restroom. She could not stop babbling, and I attribute that moment to when she first started talking!

Shopping: Finally, we would peruse Mouse Gear, which is often where we splurge. The selection there is huge, and my kids love to pick out their own stuffed animals. My husband and I are giant fans of both Disney coffee mugs and adult pajama pants. We would either visit the store last, or we would send our purchases to the campground to pick up later.

Even though Epcot sometimes seems the lowest park on people’s preference list, you can find a lot to do there. We often make more memorable memories there than any other place, simply because they are so unexpected.

If this sounds like your kind of Disney daydream, we can help make it a reality! Send us an email or fill out this quote form and tell us a little bit about the Magical Disney adventure you are looking to have. Our Authorized Disney Vacation Planners with Destinations to Travel are out of this world!

By | March 15th, 2019|Disness Reports|

Special Ticketed Event: A First Timer’s Review

March 2019 | by Suzanne Burmeister

The scenario? Two grandparents, two parents, and two kids (aged 3 and 1) contemplating spending even MORE money for a special ticketed event. I’ll cut to the chase: It’s worth it.

My family and I went to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party on Sunday, November 25, 2019. We waited until around 4pm to make our way over to Magic Kingdom with my two kids, meaning we did not use one of our park day tickets on the same day. We solely went to the special ticketed event.

Beware—Warning—Heads Up: We did not have our tickets. We only had our confirmation number, so we had to waste an enormous amount of time at Will Call trying to get our tickets. It was annoying, so if you can get your tickets beforehand, do it.

We decided to have dinner, so we ate at Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Café. We filled up on burgers, just as Cast Members started to pass out the free treats. The cookies and hot cocoa were a big hit with my daughter.

But then, we began to do the rides. Because we were there for the Merry Christmas Party, we did not have fast passes for any rides. But no one else did either, which meant that everyone was on the same playing field.

Good idea: After some research, we decided to avoid the first parade and go for the second one. That meant while most people were scoping out seats to watch the holiday parade, the ride wait times sank lower and lower. We often walked right onto rides.

Because this was our first time at the parks for the entire trip, I was aware of which FastPasses we had. In other words, we were going to Magic Kingdom two more times, which mean I had six FastPasses already set. So we went for things we did not have FastPasses for, like Dumbo, Tea Cups, the “Jingle Cruise,” and so on.

A personal highlight: My daughter, 3, tried Goofy’s Barnstormer with no wait. This was my experiment to see if she could handle roller coasters, and she absolutely loved it. I felt as though we were good to go for Slinky Dog later in the trip (her most coveted ride).

The weather was cool and fabulous, and the decorations were magical. While I’m certain the crowds were still present, we managed to navigate the park with no problem whatsoever. Because of the short wait times, we managed to go on more rides during this ticketed event than we did during the other two days at Magic Kingdom.

On my bucket list was watching the 360 degree fireworks with my dad. I first saw them years ago when I went to Magic Kingdom for New Year’s Eve—and um, never again. However, my fireworks-loving father had never experienced any fireworks like that, but this ticketed event satisfied the desire for Dad to see this.

Okay, here’s the mildly bad: So here’s the thing. I was at the park with an almost four-years-old and a one-year-old. We decided to wait for the second parade, which means we slid into a viewing spot around 11pm at night. And after all the fun we had? The kids were sound asleep and missed the parade entirely.

So if your kids can make it to those late hours, then you’re getting the most bang for your buck. However, our little ones fell asleep—meaning we paid for extra time in the park where we were pushing our double stroller around with sleeping kids. It wasn’t a huge deal, but I would have liked for them to have seen Santa!

Now that we’re several months away from when we attended this event, we all agree that we would definitely go for another ticketed event. It doesn’t have to be a holiday party. We would even enjoy extra hours if it meant we could enjoy a bunch of rides with little to no wait in a short amount of time. Ideally, our kids will be old enough to make it to midnight at least.

So do it. Pay the extra money. You won’t be sorry!

If you think you want to try a special ticketed event, we can help make it a reality! Send us an email or fill out this quote form and tell us a little bit about the Magical Disney adventure you are looking to have. Our Authorized Disney Vacation Planners with Destinations to Travel are out of this world!

By | March 12th, 2019|Disness Reports|

Top 50 Best Walt Disney World Attractions

Every Walt Disney World vacation would not be complete without experiencing at least some of the many world-class, innovative, unforgettable attractions throughout its 4 theme parks.  Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disney’s Animal Kingdom are home to (collectively) over 50 attractions – each of which can create magical memories that last a lifetime from just one ride.

I’ve been visiting Walt Disney World multiple times each year since long before I can even remember. Amounting to over 60 visits to “the most magical place on earth,” I’ve spent so many special moments here – many of which have taken place on my long list of favorite attractions. From the Imagineering that brings them to life to the connections we develop with their stories, I have a deep appreciation for these unparalleled experiences as a die-hard Disney nut. When I sat down to create a list of the top 50 best attractions at Walt Disney World, I kept my love of touching stories, nostalgia, thrills, art and technology in mind. Though I’m a fan of all of them, here are my rankings (in order) of the top 50 attractions at Walt Disney World.

50. Astro Orbiter

49. Mad Tea Party

48. Mickey’s PhilharMagic

47. Country Bear Jamboree

46. Muppet*Vision 3D

45. Primeval Whirl

44. The Barnstormer

43. Magic Carpets of Aladdin

42. Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor

41. Mission: SPACE

40. Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room

39. Dumbo The Flying Elephant

38. Under The Sea ~ Journey of The Little Mermaid

37. The American Adventure

36. Kali River Rapids

35. Alien Swirling Saucers

34. Prince Charming Regal Carrousel

33. The Seas with Nemo & Friends

32. Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin

31. Living With The Land

30. Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros

29. Journey Into Imagination with Figment

28. The Many Adventures of Winnie The Pooh

27. Star Tours – The Adventure Continues

26. “it’s a small world”

25. Test Track

24. Jungle Cruise

23. WDW Railroad


21. Hall of Presidents

20. Carousel of Progress

19. Toy Story Mania!

18. Na’vi River Journey

17. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

16. Kilimanjaro Safaris

15. Spaceship Earth

14. Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover

13. Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

12. Soarin’ Around The World

11. Peter Pan’s Flight

10. Frozen Ever After

9. Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster

8. Slinky Dog Dash

7. The Twilight Zone – Tower of Terror

6. Space Mountain

5. Splash Mountain

4. Expedition Everest

3. Pirates of The Caribbean

2. The Haunted Mansion

1. Avatar Flight of Passage

Which attraction would be #1 on your list of top Walt Disney World attractions?  Tell me if/how your list would be different in the comments below!

By | March 4th, 2019|Disness Reports|