by Felicia Tiberi (Adulting DisFe)
If you’re anything like me, there is so much at the Walt Disney World Resort that you love and want to do but there is no way you can possibly have enough time to do it all. You end up having to pick and choose your priorities. It becomes a real Disney Dilemma. Again, if you’re anything like me, you just go back to Walt Disney World again and do the things you didn’t have time for last visit! However, that doesn’t make the picking and choosing any easier.
When I first brought my boyfriend to Walt Disney World in May 2017, I found many instances of this sort. He had never been, so picking and choosing priorities was involved with every decision we made. My boyfriend and I are big Star Wars fans and when we were at Hollywood Studios, we both really wanted to see the nighttime projection show, “Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular”. This was something that I hadn’t even seen yet! That being said, I LOVE Fantasmic!. I have seen it every time I’ve been in Disney World and it is one of my absolute favorite shows. This made it a huge priority for my boyfriend to see it as well. We decided we would go to both Hollywood Studios nighttime shows (note: Fantasmic! starts at 9pm and A Galactic Spectacular starts at 9:30pm). I naively believed we could successfully do this and simply miss the beginning of the Star Wars show.
If you have ever been to Fantasmic! and left the amphitheater post-show, you know that it is a slow and painstaking process. That place is huge and the masses of people they can fit into it is incredible. My boyfriend and I had seats deep inside the theater, which made a fast exit even more of a challenge. Fantasmic! ended and we slowly attempted making our way up and out. We could see the fireworks and lights from the Star Wars show over the tops of the theater we were inevitably stuck in. We then made the mistake to abandon our current strategy and turn around to go down and back up the theater in another area. This, of course, made no difference. When we finally had exited the theater and made our way to the center of the park where the Star Wars show takes place, it was still going on! We then ran around all sorts of people in all sorts of spots to find a location to watch the show. We finally found an area that had some kind of view and watched the remaining two minutes of the show. A huge bummer for our Star Wars hunger.
In retrospect, we could have opted to take a seat close to the exit of the Fantasmic! theater and maybe left a few minutes early for a better chance at viewing most of both shows. But when the timing is that close, picking one will cause the least stress.
The following year, this past May, we made the decision of forgoing Fantasmic! in order to fully view Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular. While it made me very sad not to see it because I always see it, the Star Wars show is 100% worth watching if you are a Star Wars fan. The lights and the lasers really make the show a lot of fun.
Having seen both now, I don’t really know that I can decide which to see! Star Wars is super fun but Fantasmic! has a special place in my heart. I think from here on out, I might let the decision be up to whoever I am traveling with!
How about you? What’s your Disney dilemma and how do you handle it?
Follow Felicia and her Disney adventures through her blog Adulting DisFe! If you’d like to learn more about these experiences and find out which is the right choice for your next Disney vacation, contact us at email@example.com.
It’s your highly anticipated Walt Disney World Resorts vacation, you’ve planned, you’ve saved, you’ve stared up at the ceiling going over packing lists and alas, it’s finally here! And now, now it’s raining. Sigh. Now what!? Often times our Disness motto is, “Strap on your poncho and get after it!” Florida’s rain showers are a great crowd thinner if you’re willing to brave some wet sneakers and soggy churros. Yet, we understand that wading through the puddles and riding out the storm may not be everyone’s idea of a good time. Never fear, there are plenty of really fun rainy day options at Walt Disney World. There’s no need to sulk, no to camp out in your room and watch TV, this vacation is still going to be fun, memorable and no amount of rain can dampen pixie dust!
For starters, you rarely have to look beyond your own resort for some great activities! Every day, resorts at every level are full of activities (many free) that all guests are welcome to enjoy. An itinerary can be found in your room, or just take a walk down to the concierge desk and see what’s happening. Did you know that every day at the Art of Animation there’s an animation drawing class? For free, all guests (of any resort) can pop in for Disney character drawing classes at 11am, 2pm and 5pm. (Classes fill up quickly, plan on arriving about thirty minutes prior to class time.) There’s also no shortage of trivia and Bingo games in resort food courts all across Disney. How about learning how to make one of those super cute Mickey head tie dye shirts that you see floating around the parks, classes happen at the resorts! (Just check for days and times.) It’s also a great time to explore your resort, check out the shop(s), do some pin trading, have a great meal, hit the arcade, there’s no shortage of activities if you just venture downstairs to take a peek.
When is the last time you’ve gone bowling as a family? For us, it’s one of those activities we know is available in our hometown, but rarely take advantage of due to crazy life schedules. A Disney vacation is the perfect time to slow down and enjoy each other, and a rainy day in Disney is a great time to hit Splitsville! A fun, competitive family game of bowling at Splitsville in Disney Springs is a great way to spend a rainy day. After you’ve worked up an appetite knocking down pins like a boss, you can enjoy a meal together at their full service (and dining plan friendly) restaurant. They have great appetizers (loaded fries-yum), sushi, pizza, massive burgers and a huge variety of entrees to choose from. You can easily spend an entire afternoon at Splitsville and forget about all the rain and cloudy mess that drove you inside in the first place!
It may seem like a crazy idea if you’re trying to avoid the rain, but don’t completely count out visiting the parks in the rain. The beauty of Disney is that very few of the attractions will close during the rain. There are the obvious closures that have to happen in a heavier downpour situation (Test Track at Epcot is not a friend to the rain) but there are lots of opportunities to duck in and out and still get to ride and experience your favorite attractions. Our favorite rainy day park is Epcot. (This could also be out of necessity as it seems to ALWAYS rain on the day that we have planned for Epcot.) Grab the kids some passports and let them linger a little longer in the Kidcot locations. These Cast Members are incredible, your kids won’t even realize they are learning something new and you will get some extra time to explore the amazing gift shops in the various countries. (If you’ve never really spent time in the Morocco “marketplace” area, where their Kidcot location is, you’ve been missing out. You are instantly transported to “a whole new world.”)
There’s also so much to see and experience in “The Land” pavilion. Kids of ALL ages will love spending time in the aquarium above the Seas With Nemo attraction. Check out the Pixar Short Film Festival in the Imagination Pavilion (seriously, do it, these short films are amazing) and let the kids go crazy in the Mission Space Advanced Training Lab. (That’s astronaut code for giant interactive playground with computers, games and no need to control their volume!)
The World Showcase is a delicious place to wander, taste test different cuisines and commit to a nice, long, meal that you can savor and rave about while you wait out the rain. (How about dinner AND a show, check out the “Biergarten” in Germany, or a fun character meal at the “Garden Grill in the Land.” )
Looking back over our trips in the past, it’s funny to remember how some of our rainy days actually ended up being some of our favorite Disney trip days. The rain added a sense of adventure, dodging drops as we head out to our next experience and also taking some extra time to explore, find and enjoy many attractions and areas that we may have otherwise overlooked had we not been forced to slow down and learn to dance in the rain a bit. How do you handle the rain on a Disney vacation? Are you a poncho up and get out there or a wait for it to pass kind of traveler?
A question that surfaces quite a bit in our Get Down to Disness Facebook Group is whether or not Walt Disney World is an allergy free environment for your family’s vacation. The answer to this a resounding YES! Absolutely! Disney’s superior level of customer really presents itself in the stories that we hear of guests that traveled once fearing how seriously their allergies would be treated and how difficult it would be to navigate on their vacation. We hear so many positive accounts of how Disney bent over backwards for guests with allergy concerns, but yet, we aren’t surprised. It IS Disney World we are talking about after all.
Our number one piece of advice when dining in Disney World is to share your concern with Cast Members and servers at any restaurant you are dining at whether it be a food cart, a quick service, table service or a Signature dining restaurant. Often times there are separate allergy friendly menus available (think Udi’s gluten free buns for your burgers or hot dogs) or at a table service/buffet restaurant a Chef will come to walk your family through the menu and/or buffet line and help you navigate through the food options. Special requests are never treated as a nuisance or inconvenience, the staff at Disney eateries truly want your dining experience to be safe, worry-free and delicious.
However, sometimes you just want to be able to wander the parks and not have to worry about anything, especially your allergy. When you are tired and ready to just rest with a delicious snack you just want to make it simple. We have complied a list of our TOP TEN favorite gluten-free snacks across all of Walt Disney World. These are no-brainers, and a great to refuel while you rest those feet and settle in for some prime people watching.
1-LeFou’s Brew at Gaston’s Tavern
Found in the (newish) Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom this family friendly, fun “brew” is so refreshing you may quickly regret the decision to share it with your beloved family. (I know I did!) It’s such an interesting blend of flavors, on paper it sounds weird, but it’s an amazing flavor combination. Take frozen apple juice, add a hint of marshmallow and top it with some passion fruit foam and you have THE funkiest drink you will have your entire trip.
2-The iconic Dole Whip at Magic Kingdom & Animal Kingdom
You would be hard pressed to find a Disney “best of” snack list anywhere that doesn’t contain the iconic Dole Whip. (Or my own preference, the Dole whip Float, add pineapple juice and cue the drool.) Located in the Adventureland section of Magic Kingdom at “Aloha Isle” the Dole Whip always draws a crowd. The Dole Whip is on nearly every vacationer’s trip bucket list. If pineapple isn’t your jam, there is a frozen, non-alcoholic Pina Colada also at the Aloha Isle that is amazing. (And now that drinks are allowed into the Tiki Tiki Room this is a must-have! Tropical feeling drink, singing birds AND air conditioning, lead the way!)
Popcorn and their adorable collectible buckets are big business at Walt Disney World Resorts. Popcorn carts can be found just about everywhere you turn at all of the parks. Popcorn is a great, satisfying and gluten free snack that is a quick, filling, portable treat that can be munched on while you try to beat the crowd to Space Mountain. Walt Disney World’s popcorn is also dairy-free and vegan!
4-Mickey Head Premium Ice Cream Bars
I dare you to take a trip to the parks and be able to pass up an opportunity to snag one of these delicious and gluten free snacks! Few things taste better and are more refreshing in the hot Florida sun than a Mickey Head Ice Cream bar. Although they may be gluten free they certainly aren’t mess-free. Grab loads of napkins and chow down fast, they can melt in record time! (Less time to share, chow down!)
5-Soft Serve Ice Cream at Auntie Gravity’s
Speaking of ice cream, the bars may not be everyone’s preference. I am a soft serve kind of gal and I can’t resist a cup of chocolate vanilla swirl soft serve at Auntie Gravity’s in Tomorrowland. By avoiding the cone I am able to remain gluten free and am less likely to end up wearing my yummy dessert.
6-“Snacks With Character”
You may or may not have noticed that throughout many retail locations there are LOADS of portable, packable snack bags that can satisfy whatever you are craving, sweet, salty or both packed in together! You can find “Snacks With Character” brand cookies, brownies, trail mixes, energy bars and they are gluten-free. We love to grab a few and stash them in our park bag for when the kids get “hangry” while waiting in the infamous “Peter Pan’s Flight” stand-by line.
7-Erin McKenna’s Bakery NYC’s goodies
Located in Disney Springs, Erin McKenna’s Bakery NYC is loaded with vegan and gluten-free baked cookies cupcakes and other pastries. Everything is SO amazing you’ll think that you fell off the gluten-free wagon for sure! They also have an area of vegan soft serve and gluten free toppings to smother that frozen goodness in! It’s worth the trip to Disney Springs for sure, and gives you a great excuse to do some shopping!
8-Goofy’s Candy Company Gummies
Gummies are hard to resist, even better they won’t melt into a hot mess in your park bag. These are great to munch on in line, poolside at your resort or a great gift for the folks back home. (And is truly just a snack credit, a souvenir that is a snack credit-sign me up!)
9-“Marshmallow Dream Bar” at Starbucks
I’m a sucker for a good, old fashioned rice crispy treat. I love the simplicity of it and something about being in Disney with a beloved treat from my childhood is just perfection. I’m instantly a knobby-kneed seven year old again. Many of the Starbucks locations around the Disney Parks (including Main Street USA) has the “Marshmallow Dream Bar” it’s a gluten free rice crispy snack that is every bit as delicious as the ones you remembering at every kiddie bake sale of your childhood.
10-Cricket Flour Chips
Oh yea, I REALLY have your attention now, don’t I. Okay, maybe this isn’t THE most delicious gluten-free snack you’ll find at Disney, but it’s certainly a conversation starter. And much like the famed “Beverly” soda at Epcot’s “Club Cool” it’s one of those Disney trip rites of passage, much like these Cricket chips at Animal Kingdom’s Terra Treats carts. (A great allergy friendly treat cart that even serves gluten free beer…you know, to wash your cricket chips down with.) Go ahead, we dare you.
What ae your favorite gluten-free or allergy-free treats at Walt Disney World? How do you plan ahead and make sure your trip is worry-free?
Next month, I will be attending Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party for the SIXTH time. I’m a Christmas fanatic, but I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this party! Not only do I love it, but I think you will too. Can I answer if it’s “worth it” to you? No, it’s a subjective topic. However, I can outline five things that make it worth it for ME and maybe that will help.
5. Lower Crowds: Don’t fool yourself, this party is very popular, so it won’t be an empty park. However, with so many unique experiences available that only party attendees can have, the lines for attractions tend to be much shorter than your average park day. Especially toward the end of the night and particularly on mid-week party nights.
4. Dance Parties/Shows: While there are several dance parties going on in the Magic Kingdom on party nights, the show to end all shows is the Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular starring the Sanderson Sisters from the movie “Hocus Pocus”. With special appearances by our favorite Disney villains, this outrageous show is everything you want from a Halloween stage performance and more! The music, the special effects, the dancing, and the creepy factor all get you in that spooky Halloween mood.
3. Rare Character Meet and Greets: While I am not a huge “Nightmare Before Christmas” fan, I will wait in line to meet all the seven Dwarfs in a heartbeat! Disney brings out all the heavy hitters for party nights and they are dressed in their Halloween costumes. The photo opportunities are amazing! Jack and Sally are among the most popular characters to see at this party and the line can be very long. Plan ahead! ºoº
2. Trick or Treating: Tricks might be for kids, but Trick or Treating is for everyone! The Cast Members hand out generous helpings of name brand, fun-size candy at a plethora of locations. There really is no limit to how much trick or treating you can do, but be warned, those bags get heavy! If you are looking to score some candy to snack on, hit a few lines early, then wait until the end of the night to enjoy shorter lines and even bigger servings. My family took home so much candy one year, we had enough to hand out to kids at our door on Halloween night. It’s a nice perk for the price you pay for the tickets.
1. The Boo to You Parade: There is no better reason to attend this party than the Boo to You Parade. This statement is coming from a non-parade person. I have yet to see the Festival of Fantasy parade in it’s entirety, but I never miss an opportunity to experience Boo to You. Lead by the Headless Horseman with a ride through Liberty Square all the way down Main Street USA, this parade is a traveling stage show of amazingly happy haunts. The Haunted Mansion grave diggers, the ghost dancers, the villains and lovable characters round out what is hands down the best part of the night. It’s so good, that there are two each night. The second parade viewers enjoy lower crowds.
How about you? What’s your reason or reasons for splurging on Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween party tickets? We would love to hear from you in the comments. If you’d like to learn more about this party and find out if it’s the right choice for your next Disney vacation, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
One of my favorites things to discuss is what to eat at Walt Disney World Resorts. Dining in and around “the happiest place on earth” is MY happy place. There are so many incredible options out there, and although we do try to mix things up a bit with each trip we also have some tried & true favorites that we work into our plans each trip. Topping that list for me is 1900 Park Fare at the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa.
We first discovered this fun and delicious buffet-style character meal restaurant about 10 years ago when our oldest was just a toddler. The atmosphere is 100% family friendly, it’s elegantly decorated with a touch of whimsy but is not at all somewhere that you are afraid to rest your elbows on the table or have a cranky little one. Our daughter was in full on Princess obsessive mode and we were always on the hunt for those Disney Princess “wow” experiences. Let’s face it, dining at Cinderella’s Royal Table is AMAZING, but pricey. We’ve done it twice now for both of our girls and now the purse strings are tightly drawn. In my opinion, 1900 Park Fare is the Princess PLUS meal and is the best character meal at Walt Disney World. The “Happily Ever After” dinner is fun for both the kids AND the adults. Guests will have a chance to meet Cinderella, Prince Charming, Lady Tremaine and her hysterically hilarious daughters Drisella and Anastasia. Even my Princess loving tot was completely over Cindy and fully in love and giggling away with Lady Tremaine and the stepsisters. These three are incredibly funny, perfectly “in character” and absolutely unforgettable. The meal itself is not to be missed either, this is such a unique buffet with flavors essentially from all around the world. There is truly something for everyone, for the carnivores like me, hit the melt in your mouth carving station. There’s also peel and eat shrimp, steamed mussels, savory butternut squash ravioli, salads and 1900 Park Fare’s signature Strawberry Soup. (Sounds super weird, but give it a shot, it’s surprisingly refreshing.)
A few years ago we were looking to shake things up and decided to try 1900 Park Fare’s “Supercalifragilistic Breakfast (& Brunch)” and have never looked back. (I might have drooled a bit just typing about it.) We aren’t huge fans of starting the day with a big, time consuming character breakfast, we like to get up, eat light and hit the parks early. 1900 Park Fare is an exception to the rule for us. This delicious breakfast/brunch has a decidedly English flair and is wonderful. I want to bathe in their crepes with blueberry sauce, I can’t get enough of their Eggs Benedict and of course Mickey waffles are there waiting to be drenched in warm maple syrup. Just when you thought Strawberry Soup was just for dinner, surprise, it’s delicious in the morning too! The food is our biggest draw, the fresh, unique offerings are satisfying and delicious. The characters, for us, are a fun side benefit while we stuff our faces.
At the “Supercalifragalistic” breakfast guests can chat with Mary Poppins and learn all about her delightful carpet bag. Alice also pops by for a fun, mile a minute chat. She’s so adorable and you just never know what she’s going to come up with. Tigger will bounce by for some fuzzy hugs and guests will have a great photo and hug opportunity with Pooh as they leave the restaurant. Here’s “Fare” warning, the Mad Hatter is also one of the characters chatting up guests throughout breakfast. It seems as though folks either love him or are completely annoyed by him. Just as you’d imagine, he’s intrusive, in your face and says the craziest things. My youngest had so much fun with him while my oldest was freaked out and hid by the Strawberry Soup until he left our table.
Our favorite thing after loading up on our gut busting breakfast is to take the small resort boat from the Grand Floridian over to the Magic Kingdom. We love the less crowded, slower pace, the time to digest and have so much fun laughing about the character shenanigans in the (slightly) cool Florida breeze. It’s a perfect start to our day, and creates memories we will never forget.
What is the character meal that just keeps you coming back for more each time you visit? Tell us in the comments!