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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 Reasons You Need to Meet the Citizens of Main Street

Meet the Citizens of Main Street USA

It’s so easy to get lost under the spell of Main Street USA. I know that I do, once we cross under the train station I get teary eyed as soon as the castle comes into full view. The castle’s beauty has some sort of crazy tractor beam effect that once it’s in sight, it just draws you closer and closer. HOWEVER, there is charm right there on Main Street USA that absolutely should not be missed! Linger for awhile before you make an immediate mad dash for the Mine Train, and here’s 5 reasons why it’s worth your time to meet the Citizens.

Reason #1: The Trolley Show dancers!

Sing it with me…”I’m walking right down the middle of Main Street USAAAAAAAA”. Nothing and nobody can turn that frown upside down quicker than catching one of these performances!

Reason #2: The Dapper Dans!

They are SO good that they are a staple in EVERY Disney park. This collection of crooners has been a part of Main Street since opening day and can be spotted seven days a week. In fact, in those early days, the Dapper Dans were the only park employees allowed to wear mustaches. (Today, along with everyone else, they are clean shaven.) Although they can be seen all along Main Street, their real home is the “Harmony Barbershop” named after the trademark harmonies found in all of the Dans’ songs.

Reason #3: Casey’s Corner Pianists

Talk about job security, the resident pianist at Casey’s Corner, Jim Omohundro has been tickling those ivories for over 30 years! Decked out in his famous red and white striped jacket Jim loves to entertain with his renditions of jazz and ragtime hits. He never misses a chance to get to know guests and loves chatting with the youngest of guests indulging in one of Casey’s famous hot dogs while grooving to some of his tunes.

Reason #4: Fire Chief, Smokey Miller

Autograph hounds rejoice, the coolest autograph to be had on main Street isn’t from Pluto or Marie, but from Main Street USA’s  own Volunteer Fire Chief, Smokey Miller. Chief Miller has one of the most unique signatures in all of Walt Disney World and loves signing autographs for any guest lucky enough to spot him hanging out on Main Street.

Reason #5: The Women Suffragists

My personal favorite are the lovely (and hilarious) Women Suffragists; Hildegard Olivia Harding and Beatrice Starr. These two budding politicians are all about swaying the good folks of Main Street to get out there and vote. Their bigger platform is a passionate push for equality and making sure their Main Street “sisters” are taking to the polls for womens’ rights! They are outspoken, witty, dressed to the nines and on a mission. I. Adore. Them.

Grab yourself a cup of coffee, a delicious Main Street Bakery pastry, breathe in the sights and sounds of Main Street, USA, and get to know some of these amazing characters dying to welcome you to your new “hometown”. You’ll be humming the tunes and giggling to yourself all the way to Space Mountain.

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 | 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|

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|