The Disness Report Blog

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5 Reasons Why The Plaza Restaurant is my Home Away From Home Burger Joint

I know that you guys feel me, Walt Disney World Resort is our home away from home. We’ve been visiting for so many years, so often that we know it like the backs of our hands. We have our favorite resorts, our favorite attractions, our must have souvenirs and we ABSOLUTELY have our favorite places to eat. For me, The Plaza Restaurant is just home.

Reason #1: Location, location, location! Main Street U.S.A. turns me into a misty mess. I am reduced to tears EVERY time I step foot on to it’s iconic sidewalks. When I head into The Plaza Restaurant to eat (in air conditioned bliss) I am still immersed in the beauty and nostalgia of my beloved Main Street. The Plaza’s charming, yet elegant decor is warm and welcoming. Speaking of welcoming, just like at any good, hometown haunt, the Citizens of Main Street like swing by and sometimes even break into a stirring rendition of “Happy Birthday” to a lucky fellow townsfolk. (Can’t get that at “Be Our Guest”, just sayin’)

Reason #2: We all want that coveted empty castle shot. Still, while everyone else is breaking their backs to get that early breakfast reservation at the more popular character digs, I know I can typically secure my breakfast reservation at The Plaza fairly easily. Picture me, enjoying my leisurely breakfast of savory Lobster Benedict where it’s quiet, it’s calm, and we are in and out in under an hour ready for our castle close-up.

Reason #3: The Plaza Restaurant SEES me, really sees me. When they were considering new menu options back in 2017 I really feel like my friends at The Plaza really considered MY needs. (Like any good, home town place will do, spoil the loyal!) That’s when they introduced the “Bottomless Milkshake.” Yea, you read that right, it’s bottomless. Unlimited. Gut busting if you’re up to the challenge. I can mix my flavors, I can indulge in the “flavor of the month” until I’m so stuffed that the sweet Mayor has to roll me out the door. Pure joy in a glass.

Reason #4: It’s a “Table Service” restaurant, but the good folks of Main Street know that we are still a family on a budget. You will find several delicious sandwich options that are within the same price range st what you will find at Quick Service locations “outside of town.” It’s nice to have the best of both worlds, time to catch up with our favorite servers, a good meal and still have some spending cash leftover!

Reason #5: There’s menu options that will surely suit everyone at the table. I am a huge fan of their Plaza Loaded fries and Fried Green Tomato Sandwich. The husband loves the meatloaf platter with the amazing garlic mashed potatoes. (Don’t tell Grandma, but its’ even better than hers!) Our kiddos mindlessly munch on the chicken strawberry salad or the Brisket Mac & Cheese, whatever gets them to the warm butterscotch bread pudding dessert the fastest.

There’s something idyllic and sweet about feeling completely at home even while on our Magical vacation. The Plaza Restaurant is a slice of home away from home and I can’t wait to slide back into our corner, window table with my bottomless shake and watch the fireworks all while feeling like I’m in my own backyard.

If you’re ready to stop dreaming about a Disney vacation, 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 30th, 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|

Fridays in Fantasyland: Wild for Wilderness Lodge

If I were at the Walt Disney World Resort today, I would be staying at the Wilderness Lodge for the first time EVER.

The weather has taken a turn for the chilly, days are getting shorter (seriously, dark at dinner, C’MON!) and summer is becoming more and more of a distant memory. In these dire, fuzzy sock clad days I can only look to my tried & true Walt Disney World Resort Vacations to snap me out of my seasonal depression disorder. On this Friday in Fantasyland my family and I  will be checking into The Wilderness Lodge resort for the first time EVER! Ahhh, I’m letting that feeling of Deluxe Disney resort service warm me in between sips of my thrice reheated morning coffee.

For awhile, (pre-kids) the husband and I experimented with lots of different resorts, both on and off property. (I’ll say it once, and it’s just my opinion, but off property was the worst vacation mistake we’ve ever made. Ever. And I am a gal who has purchased a vacation off of an auction website, I KNOW mistakes. But, I digress…) For the last several years my family of four has stayed in the Art of Animation resort suites. We are big fans and in spite of the fact that we truly just use this resort to crash we enjoyed having the extra space to spread out in. We’ve also LOVED the luxury of having two bathrooms which made getting to bed at night and out the door in the morning a cinch. However, today, I’m dreaming of going Deluxe baby, the family is movin’ on up to the Wilderness Lodge!

Deluxe resorts always seemed like an unobtainable extravagance. Staying in a deluxe resort always seemed like something that was only afforded by “the other half.” (You know, the Jones-es or whomever else we are supposed to be keeping up with.) Surely this family of four, with two full price ticketed mini “adults” (13 & 10) and one Stay at Home Mom would never grace the doors of a deluxe resort…unless it was to dine at one of their AMAZING table service restaurants. I was chatting with my travel agent  about our upcoming vacation and she said something to me that was SHOCKING…she said, “You do realize that for what you’ve been paying to stay in the AOA suites you could essentially be staying deluxe.” Jaw dropped. It’s true that prices have steadily been increasing the last few years and as we’ve just been booking (mindlessly if we are being honest) the bounceback offer year after year. I never really took the time to do the math. I’m telling you people, agents KNOW this business, this advice was FREE and unsolicited, just a great agent sharing her knowledge and love of the resorts. (And when she booked this amazing vacation for us…also FREE. I have literally paid someone to think for me. Winning.)

Back to my fantasy…We pull up outside (thank you Magical Express) of the Wilderness Lodge and the four of us release a  simultaneous gasp of awe. We’ve been scouring the web for pictures and insider scoop so that we can make the absolute most of this DELUXE vacation. (You’ve been warned, I’m in such shock that we are here, I can’t stop saying deluxe!) The pictures do not do this expansive resort justice. It is far more picturesque than I could have ever imagined. It seems crazy, but even the sky seems more blue all around this resort. It’s a slice of wilderness heaven right here in the middle of Walt Disney World. When we leave the bus it feels like we are on a completely different vacation. We have been transported to the most magnificent lodge somewhere peaceful, beautiful and in spite of it’s size, incredibly quaint and warm feeling. The lobby is massive, the woodworking is stunning and a Cast Member welcomes us immediately and follows our eyes to the impressively carved totem poles placed around the lobby area. We learn that an artist CARVED these two 55 foot tall totem poles over the course of about six months time. They both tell a story that you can “read” by following the story on the poles from bottom to top.

Once we are checked in, we race up to our room. The room absolutely does NOT disappoint, the lodge theme is consistent and welcoming. The colors warm and the details are adorable. The girls are over the moon about having a balcony that has a beautiful nature view and they remark how incredible it is to have a view like this in the middle of Florida! At the registration desk a Cast Member gave the girls a resort wide Hidden Mickey scavenger hunt sheet. For the first time in their history of coming to WDW they are not ready to race out to the parks, in fact, they are BEGGING to stay at the resort and explore! We stop for a minute to grab and fill our refillable mugs (a must-do every trip), then take their scavenger hunt sheets and go on our Hidden Mickey search. Along the way we see the resort’s magnificent Copper Creek Springs pool, the girls’ eyes light up the second they see the 67 foot water slide built into the rocks. The husband’s eyes light up when he sees the size of a burger being carried from the Geyser Point Bar and Grill. It’s in this moment that I know that the scavenger hunt is postponed and grabbing bathing suits and burgers is the more pressing issue. I can’t tell you the last time we’ve visited Disney that everyone has wanted to have a resort day. It’s been YEARS since the family has just wanted to enjoy the pool and amenities around us. It certainly doesn’t hurt that this pool’s water slide rivals that of any water park and that the convenience of delicious, hot food is a major plus! (In fact, I can lounge here, order and they will bring the food out to me. Pinch me people!)

After splashing around in the pool, we decide to do something we’ve never done before, we rent some bikes and ride around the resort visit the neighboring Fort Wilderness area. The girls can’t believe there are horses to ride, an area to fish, a place to learn archery and somewhere to come back later to roast marshmallows and see Chip & Dale! The area is beautiful, heavily wooded, the shade is a welcome retreat from the Florida sun and you almost forget that the humidity is probably at 100%.

There’s so much to see, the girls have loved riding the horses, visiting with the ponies and checking out the campgrounds that we’ve completely lost track of time. The rumbling of our stomachs remind us that it’s almost dinner time! We head back to our resort, and even though we spent much of the day enjoying the many amenities we are still mouths agape when the resort comes back into full view. “Our hotel has a WATER FALL,”my youngest shouts.

We are surprising the girls by having dinner at the BRAND NEW character dining experience at the Artist Point restaurant within our resort. (Opening officially December 16th, but c’mon, this is MY fantasy so of course it’s already open!) Our girls are OBSESSED with Disney Villains, they’re such good kids we think they like living vicariously through these animated villainous divas. The Evil Queen is a HUGE favorite of theirs, and when we learned she would be at this character meal we KNEW that was too cool of an opportunity to pass up. The rustic ambiance is the perfect backdrop for meeting Snow White, Dopey, Grumpy and of course the Queen. As much as we love the characters we are also a family of four foodies. The prix fixe menu is mouthwatering, with items such as  winter squash bisque, Royal Prime Rib Roast and a flight of fun, film inspired desserts.

The meal is hearty and we clean our plates and waddle out of the restaurant. We let our meal settle by hitting the adorable Wilderness Lodge Mercantile where the girls are ready to pin trade with eager Cast Members who sweetly engage the girls. We are excited to know that from the Wilderness Lodge boat dock we will later on be able to watch the Electrical Water Pageant without having to brave the crowds over at the Magic Kingdom. We decide that tonight we will watch the water show, then slip into even comfier clothes and check out the resort’s “movie under the stars.” (Something else we’ve never taken advantage of when we were staying value and just falling into our beds at night.)

Tomorrow we will do the parks up, we will hit them HARD. I’m looking forward to taking the boat across to the Magic Kingdom and not starting the day on a crowded bus. I can’t help but wonder what took us SO long to stay at this fan favorite resort? The important thing is we are here now, taking it all in and TRULY enjoying the entire PACKAGE that we have purchased rather than just rushing from point A to point B. And just think, this was all because I decided to trust a travel agent, no hard sell, no pressure, just some awesome “why didn’t I think of that” advice. Seems like even though I have been planning these trips for our family for AGES even I can still learn from this awesome community of Disney lovers. Please, no one wake me from this Fantasyland Friday, it’s way to cold to go out and grab the paper…leave me here by the pool please.

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 | January 25th, 2019|Disness Reports|