Written by linzeeloulabelle on 17 Nov, 2013
My husband and I spent our honeymoon (and got married) in Orlando, Florida in September/ October this year. However, we weren’t planning on this being a wedding and honeymoon at the time we booked it. The holiday was supposed to be a celebration for his…Read More
My husband and I spent our honeymoon (and got married) in Orlando, Florida in September/ October this year. However, we weren’t planning on this being a wedding and honeymoon at the time we booked it. The holiday was supposed to be a celebration for his 30th birthday and for me graduating from university. Although our reasons for being there changed, we had a fabulous time and thoroughly loved our time there. For me, Orlando is the perfect destination for families who have members of all ages. One of the main draws to Orlando is quite obviously Disney for the younger children. However, this was something I desperately wanted to do as I had wanted to go since I was a child. I was slightly worried that Disney would be too aimed at young children but I was pleasantly surprised. Disney offers a whole range of things to do such as the main park (Magic Kingdom), Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios and more. Each park seemed to have something for everyone. There are rides and attractions for the younger kids and bigger ones for the adults. My husband and I found plenty to do and enjoy at each of the Disney parks we visited. The drawback to Disney is that it can take up the whole two weeks of your holiday if you let it. There is so much to do and see. I think we were lucky because we didn’t go with children so we were able to miss out a lot of the things aimed at a young audience. If you’re wanting a more grown up theme park though, Universal Studios is the place to be. Both Universal and Islands of Adventure have bigger, more exciting rides but each also has a section for the younger children which I thought was a nice touch. Out of the theme parks, Universal was easily my favourite but I think that might have been more because it is based around more current films such as Harry Potter and Marvel films. My husband is a massive Harry Potter fan so this was a big draw for us as he was desperate to see The Wizarding World and to go on the rides there. While you can spend a whole day in each Universal park, it is also possible to do both in a day if you’re willing to miss out some things while you’re there. Theme parks in Orlando are expensive though and you can easily spend a small fortune here, especially if you have children begging for Micky or Minnie mouse ears etc. T-shirts will cost you $20 plus while your basic hotdog and fries can easily set you back around $8 a person. Both Disney and Universal have a souvenir for everyone and yes, we did buy a fair bit while we were there although we didn’t go too mad. For those with more money, Disney and Universal artwork is available to buy in a couple of places and this type of thing could be a real treat to bring back with you. We stayed in the Lake Buena Vista area of Orlando and here we found at least 4 discount souvenir shops. These all sold Disney and Universal items at much lower prices than in the actual parks. However, you must be careful as some of the merchandise is not authentic but you can find some real bargains if you look hard enough. These shops might be the kinds of places to take the kids if you want to get them something that’s cheap if you know they won’t appreciate the value of items from the official park shops. International Drive (I-Drive) is the other must go to place in Orlando. Here you will find a street miles long with, again, something for everyone. I-Drive is home to a lot of the dinner shows and I can easily recommend the Pirate’s Dinner Adventure after going there myself. This is such an exciting and entertaining show with the chance for audience participation. It was certainly a night to remember for us. Also on I-Drive is a whole range of museums such as Ripley’s and experience attractions such as Titanic and CSI. If you’ve had enough of this kind of thing though, you can easily head over to Wet N Wild for a day in the water park to escape the heat!Orlando is also a shopper’s paradise. At either end of I-Drive are two outlet malls. They are both by the same company although each has some shops that the other doesn’t which means they’re both worth visiting. At these malls, you can find so many branded shops such as Ted Baker, Ralph Lauren, Nike and Gap. The items available are at a much lower price than you’ll find anywhere in the UK and I know some people go to Orlando just for the shopping. In fact, the people staying in the hotel room next to us only went over to do their Christmas shopping. My husband and I did quite a lot of ours while we were there too. I managed to get myself a Ted Baker bag for roughly £60 whereas it would have cost £130 over here. Maybe this is an American thing rather than an Orlando thing, but we found the locals to be so nice. We don’t get customer service like they have there in the UK and it was something I missed as soon as we came home. No matter where we were, people were more than happy to help us with directions or to tell us how to use the bus system etc. We originally thought that people working in restaurants etc. were overly nice because we knew they relied on the tips but it did seem that they were actually being genuine. It was wonderful to feel so special everywhere we went. Orlando is such an exhausting place to visit and I have no idea how families with a couple of children do it for a week, let alone two. The theme parks get annoying after a couple of days so it would be wise to break up your visits if you can and do something in between. However, I would not have changed our honeymoon for the world. John and I had a magical time and I think that is what Orlando is… a magical place where dreams are made. Close
Written by Wildcat Dianne on 19 Apr, 2013
Now with my trip to Nationals booked, it was a good night's rest before our next morning's Medical Assisting Competition. Pam, Danielle, and I planned to dress in identical Grey's Anatomy scrubs in the color Cabernet for States, but Pam got a pair of…Read More
Now with my trip to Nationals booked, it was a good night's rest before our next morning's Medical Assisting Competition. Pam, Danielle, and I planned to dress in identical Grey's Anatomy scrubs in the color Cabernet for States, but Pam got a pair of pants too big and couldn't order another pair before States, and Danielle got ones too small and couldn't order another set on time either. So Pam was in her shirt and brown pants from school and Danielle wore her tan and brown scrubs from school, while I was the only one in a complete Cabernet outfit. Oh well. We were just happy to be competing in the final events which was hands on stuff and would determine our placement in Nationals should we qualify.
So Saturday morning at 8:30 a.m., we gathered at Fiesta Ballroom area of the hotel and waited to be led into the room for our competition one at a time. We had to report at 6 minute intervals and compete. Pam was nervous and Danielle and I were telling her to breathe. I was getting nervous too, and was running to the bathroom every couple of minutes with nervous bladder. I could have used some deep breathing. Pam went first, followed, by me, then Danielle and then our three other competitors. I went in to competition and got points for being prepared and then went on to compete in taking medical histories from patients and prescription refills over the phone. My nerves got the best of me, and I didn't feel I did a great job but I was proud I made it that far. I was happy it was all over and went back to the room and got into my bathing suit and went to the hot tub to soak my worries away, took a long walk around the resort, had an early dinner, then went back to the room and got back into the monkey suit for the Grand Awards Ceremony at 7:30. This was just for us college folk and it would be less crowded in the Coronado Ballroom.
After taking pictures and having fun with our PSC classmates, we got into the ballroom for the Awards Ceremony. Our category came soon, and we held our breath. We vowed before Orlando to place at least one of us in the top three for Nationals, and that is what happened. Danielle finished 4th, I was 5th, and Pam, who was more nervous than we were finished 2nd. We were really happy for her, and Pam later celebrated her victory with a big piece of chocolate cake from the Rix Cafe. Pensacola State College won a lot of medals and ribbons that night, and about 20 of us are going to Nationals in June. We just had our first meeting about the trip to Nationals last Wednesday, and we are so excited to be taking another trip. This time it's a longer bus ride, but we will have more room to stretch out! I was on Cloud 9 for days after the States, and now I have started another countdown: 66 days til Nashville!
The purpose for our trip to Orlando was because as the only Medical Assisting students in our class, Danielle, Pam, and I automatically qualified for the State HOSA Spring Conference. Danielle finished first, yours truly second, and Pam finished in third. If we…Read More
The purpose for our trip to Orlando was because as the only Medical Assisting students in our class, Danielle, Pam, and I automatically qualified for the State HOSA Spring Conference. Danielle finished first, yours truly second, and Pam finished in third. If we did well in the State competition, we could move on to the National HOSA Conference in Nashville, Tennessee from June 25-30 at the Gaylord Opryland Resort.
HOSA is short for Health Occupations Student Association and its a great way for one to improve medical skills and do some traveling. Danielle,. Pam, and I qualified for the State Medical Assistant and Medical Issues Exam Competitions. We also had to go to all of the opening ceremony stuff along with two Awards Ceremonies on Friday and Saturday nights. We had to wear black suits with white blouses. Being in these outfits for most of our time in Orlando, I started to call our suits "monkey suits." "Hey! You will have to wear one of those monkey suits when you start doing job interviews!", joked Pam.
Our trip to Orlando was one of fun but one of the business of winning some hardware for Pensacola State College and qualifying for Nationals. Thursday night, Pam, Danielle, and I took our Medical Assisting written tests to qualify. There were only three other competitors with us, and the test was a real pain in the touche for us. Danielle and I were swearing by the time we got out of there and were wanting a beer bad, but we couldn't drink being representatives of HOSA. So I could only cry on the door of the beer fridge at the Rix Market when we went for a drink later on. We were supposed to find out if we qualified later that night after the opening ceremony, but our results weren't posted and we weren' t about to fight the crowds of HOSA members wanting their results either, so we went to bed and got our results the next morning. Let's just say we qualified for the final competition on Saturday morning.
The opening ceremony was one big hoo ha with all schools (secondary, middle, and college) in the Coronado Ballroom. We had fiber optic rods that lit up and made our presence known and sat through two hours of speeches and an interesting performance by mime and comedian Cary Trivanovich. He also gave a motivational speech about being bullied in school but not letting that chase his dreams and he encouraged us to do the same. Pam was really inspired by him, and we got to talk to him the next day when he was getting ready to leave. He was a nice guy and a liked my joke about needing Tommy John surgery for some of the moves he did if I tried them.
Friday morning, we were back in our monkey suits for our Medical Issues Exam. 50 multiple choice questions about the latest news in medicine and medical breakthroughs. At regionals, I finished a surprising 5th while Danielle and Pam qualified in the top 20. Danielle felt I had a chance to place again in States, but I wasn't sure. I finished my test quickly and felt I had guessed through the whole thing. I turned in my test and prayed for the best at the awards ceremony that night and went back to my room and jumped into my bathing suit and hit the hot tub at the Dig Site to soak my worries away.
Friday afternoon, I was back at the ballrooms volunteering for the Courtesy Corps and competing too to see who could get the most hours to go to Nationals as part of the Courtesy Corps. Courtesy Corps volunteers make sure all competitors are where they are supposed to be competing and within earshot of being called to go in and compete. I was working with the Middle Schoolers who were competing in Prepared Public Speaking. I stayed in the all and made sure the kids were nearby and not standing by the doors of the competing rooms. I spoke to a couple of mothers who were with their kids and made the kids comfy and wished them luck as they went inside to do their speeches. That lasted two hours. Now I had to stay in the same area and judge the Middle School Medical terminology exam for two hours with Linda and Julia, two LPN students from PSC. That was an easy job in which we sat there and watched the kids take their test and answered any questions they might have with the exam. We had so many high school courtesy corps volunteers that we could place one of them at each table to make sure none of the little dears were cheating.
Danielle was a judge next door in another competition and because she had to read over the results of the competitor's work with her fellow judges, she was in her room for another two hours after I was finished. I went downstairs after a while and wondered if she got lost or killed a kid, but she told me on the way to dinner what was going on with her group.
After changing into the monkey suit again, it was time for the Awards Ceremony for Courtesy Corps and the Medical Issues exam at 9:30 p.m., past my bedtime most nights! Once again, we were in the Coronado Ballroom and go to sit through the usual spiel before seeing who won the Medical Issues Exam and going to Nationals as part of the Courtesy Corps. The moment of truth came after the speeches by the State HOSA folks, and well, surprise, surprise, surprise, it was a PSC top three sweep with yours truly finishing 2nd. "OH MY GOD!" was my exclamation when I headed to the stage for my award, and I was happy that Diana, an LPN student, and Laura, my future Nationals roomie and fellow Red Sox fan, finished third and first, respectively. Danielle and Pam were thrilled for me and so was everyone else.
More of this is continued in another entry!
Written by Lyora on 10 Apr, 2013
When you think of Disney World in the summer what do you picture? You probably picture a magical place where the sun shines bright and the fun never stops. Well, the last part is true: Disney is an adventure to remember for a lifetime. But…Read More
When you think of Disney World in the summer what do you picture? You probably picture a magical place where the sun shines bright and the fun never stops. Well, the last part is true: Disney is an adventure to remember for a lifetime. But the sun is not always shining. June-September is actually the rainy season in Orlando. But don't fret! Most of the rain showers happen in the evening time and are rather light and quick.So, how does one pack for these partially cloudy, hot days? Here are some useful packing tips to make the Disney Summer trips more enjoyable.Tip one: bring waterproof or water-resistant sunscreen and reapply often.Even though it may be cloudy, your skin is exposed to a high amount of UV rays which can easily burn exposed skin. Don't forget to reapply throughout the day as sunscreen (even the waterproof kind) can rub off or diminish - especially after a light rain or water ride. It is a good idea to buy a large bottle of sunscreen as well as a refillable travel size (one for the hotel and one for the Disney experience)Tip two: Don't forget lip balm! Sun blocking lip balm is the most ideal for a Disney day. Dehydration and heat can both cause your lips to crack and no one wants to give their favorite Disney sweetheart a kiss with dry lips.Which brings us to tip three: Drink plenty of water, bring in empty containers.Due to safety concerns, opened containers are not aloud in many public venues (Your bags are subject to search, so make sure to leave valuables or any dangerous objects at your hotel- or better yet: at home). Gatorade/ electrolyte powder mixes are a good idea as well to prevent loss of nutrients from sweat. Tip four- Don't forget to care for your feet!Although is may be easier to slip on a pair of flip flops and head to the park, it may be smarter to take a moment to consider your footwear. Throughout the day your feet are likely to come in contact with water/moisture, dirt, strollers, spilled food, flat tires*, and other people. Not to mention, you will probably be walking and standing... A lot. Some people tend to purchase water-shoes or crocks for day use inside the park. Don't forget to break in your shoes before leaving home. be aware of any "hotspots" that appear on your feet as these are a good indicator that a blister is on its way.*flat tire = Someone steps on the back of one of your flip flops (hopefully by accident) causing your foot to slide uncomfortable forward. The flat tire recipient may trip or even fall out of said flip flop. And in some cases, the footwear could be rendered useless!Tip five - staying dry.It is a good idea to pack an inexpensive poncho. Of course more expensive ones also work just fine. Of course if you wanted to splurge for a pink Minnie Mouse rubberized poncho with ears and a bow no one would judge you.Tip six- staying cooool, be your own biggest fan..Have you ever seen those squirt bottles with a fan attachment? Those are tiny water-misting blessings. Some of the rides have lines that leave you standing in blissful sections of air conditioning buildings (such as the last half of the tower of terror or part of space mountain) but it is more likely that you will be waiting in partial shade or even directly in the sunshine.Tip seven- staying cool, nothing wrong with silly hats or umbrellas.A nice, breathable silly hats are welcome. Normal hats are welcome as well. It is a good idea to get a hat that will actually shade your face. This will cut back on sun exposure as well as provide shade to reduce overheating. It may be a good idea to get a collapsible hat or one with ties as many-a-hat have decided to take the quick way off of the roller coaster rides.. It may also be a good idea to bring a portable umbrella to provide shade for yourself as well as your family. Tip eight- what to wear?Light colored, thin material is ideal on an Orlando Disney trip. Materials that are breathable and easily drying (think: polyester and synthetics) will leave you cool, dry and comfortable. Tip nine- what to wear under what you wear..Well, that's still really up to you. You may want to pack polyester/nylon undergarments. Personally, I wear a swim suit underneath but be careful about wearing it for too long...Tip ten - what do you carry your stuff in?In another post in this Journal I joked about wearing fanny packs. Although these tourist friendly marsupial pouches are acceptable, they are not always ride-friendly size. If you can't fit your lap bar down on your lap with a fanny pack on, you most likely will not be aloud to take the bag on the ride with you. There is a similar problem with backpacks and large purses or beach bags. If it doesn't fit in a ride cubby there may not be a safe place to keep your personals other than an expensive rent-a-locker. I would recommend a zip-able bag that is small enough to fit on your lap or back and able to be attached or secured to your person. You could also attach your water containers, umbrella or other loose objects to your belt with a carabiner. Close
Written by Wildcat Dianne on 18 Dec, 2012
After a nice dinner at the Oar House, Mom, Erika, Todd, and I were on the way to Maritime Park in Downtown Pensacola for the Pensacola Blue Wahoos game. When we arrived we noticed that the cheap parking lot across from the park was…Read More
After a nice dinner at the Oar House, Mom, Erika, Todd, and I were on the way to Maritime Park in Downtown Pensacola for the Pensacola Blue Wahoos game. When we arrived we noticed that the cheap parking lot across from the park was filling up quickly due to the game being sold out, but Mom and I would have not minded walking a distance, but not in the dark like we did the last time. Erika and Todd were not about to walk in the dark into a parking lot that also doubles as people's backyards, so Todd felt it was worth the $10 to park in the main parking lot of Maritime Park.
After waiting a few minutes for the gates to Maritime Park to open, we were allowed inside. It was Military Appreciation Night along with Blue Wahoos Fan Appreciation Night, and we were given souvenir stress balls and frisbees on the way in. I was in a mischevious mood since Todd had been busting my chops all through dinner and thought I could get back at him and my sister for their anniversary by having their names posted on the score board during the game to wish them a happy anniversary. I found an usher once I got into the stadium and asked where I could pull my little prank, and she told me to go to the office near the concession stand where I could write their name on a form for the folks of Maritime Park could wish Erika and Todd a Happy Anniversary. I went to the office and did that and left the counter with a little smile on my face and told Mom, "Mission Accomplished" and we made our way to our seats.
This time around, our seats were on the first base side, and we still had a great view of the game and got to see the home team warming up. Some of the players were also signing autographs before the game, and I grabbed one of the stress balls and made my way down the steps towards the Blue Wahoos bullpen area to score some autographs. Of course, Todd had to keep wisecracking and joked, "They are a little young for you, Dianne!" Erika rolled her eyes at the thought of big sister going autograph hunting at my age, but Mom stuck up for me and said it was good for kids of any age.
I managed to get a few Blue Wahoo player autographs and chatted with one of the lefties in the group before heading back to my seat triumphant. The game began with a military color guard and a little ceremony for Military Appreciation Night, and we all were proud of Navy guy Todd in our midst. The game started, and we enjoyed a nice night of baseball with the Blue Wahoos winning 4-2. Erika and Todd's announcement came on around the 7th inning, and before they could plot to have me tossed into the nearby Gulf of Mexico, several other fans surrounding us wished Erika and Todd a Happy 11th Anniversary, and I lived to write this awesome journal about the whole thing!
Written by dkm1981 on 30 Oct, 2012
There is a train that goes around the park, The Walt Disney Railroad, and stops in each of the lands. It is free to use and is a quick way to get around if you aren’t up to walking. The first stop is at the…Read More
There is a train that goes around the park, The Walt Disney Railroad, and stops in each of the lands. It is free to use and is a quick way to get around if you aren’t up to walking. The first stop is at the entrance of the park. It is quite a good way to get a nice view of the whole place actually.There are lots of places throughout the park where guests aged three to twelve years can be transformed into pirates and princesses. You need to book an appointment and it isn’t included in the price of your park ticket, but they do a very good job and make little ones feel very special. Transform into a pirate at Adventureland or a princess at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique in Fantasyland. Details for booking can be found on the park maps.Make sure you mention when buying your ticket if you are celebrating something special like a birthday or you honeymoon or even if it is just your first visit. You’ll get a special badge and throughout the park staff will make a point of wishing you a happy birthday or checking that you are having a good day.If you can time your visit around a holiday season, it is extra special. We were there at Halloween and they go all out with the decorations. Nothing to scary obviously, but there were pumpkins and scarecrows all over the place and it looked fantastic. Christmas is something else though – the place really does become magically and it is hard not to get swept up in it. The park operates a Fast Pass system, which is a free system where you can go to the most popular rides and pick up a ticket with a time slot on for when you should return to the ride and go to the front of the queue. It is a good idea especially in summer when the park gets very busy, but bear in mind that time slot you get can even be a few hours later so it may mess up your planning!If you have only bought a ticket for a single day and a single park, you’ll need to get your hand stamped for re-entry. The most flexible way of getting a ticket is to get a multi-park one, they are more expensive but you do get more for your money. We paid about £100 each for a one day ticket although the more days you buy, the cheaper it gets per day. For two week stays it can be as little as £15 per day for an adult and the cheapest prices can be found if you pre-book on line before you go.Parking is $14 per day and allows you unlimited access to all car parks within the Walt Disney World resort, when you are travelling between them; just show your ticket for entry. The car park for the Magic Kingdom is a fair way from the park itself, but there is a monorail that runs between the two very regularly so it is pretty convenient – and it is free.If you need any more information, you can go to www.disneyworld.disney.go.com Close
Written by dkm1981 on 25 Oct, 2012
Lots of the rides in this park are wheelchair accessible and many of the show type rides have assistive listening or sign language interpreted shows, so that everyone can enjoy them. Just pick up one of the maps as you enter the park because they…Read More
Lots of the rides in this park are wheelchair accessible and many of the show type rides have assistive listening or sign language interpreted shows, so that everyone can enjoy them. Just pick up one of the maps as you enter the park because they have details on them of which rides offer extra assistance and you just speak to the ride operator at the entrance. It is also always worth mentioning if you are a single rider at the queue entrance because you tend to be able to jump to the front of the queue if you are.It is worth picking up one of the maps anyway because it is much the best way of planning your day so that you get the most out of it. They are really handy to have and give all the information you need about the rides themselves (height restrictions, locker availability, opening times) and the other things in the park (food/drink, toilets, cash machines etc).The park is predominantly non-smoking, however there are designated smoking areas throughout the park. There are seven of these areas in total and they all have plenty of ash trays and seating and are well sign posted. It’s a great idea and I strongly recommend you stick to them because you will be told off otherwise.The parks are exceptionally clean. I was amazed at how so to be honest, because you’d think with that many people, there’d be some rubbish somewhere, but no. There are always bins everywhere and you often see part of what must be an army of cleaners picking up bits of rubbish here and there. It makes it such a lovely place to wander around.There are plenty of places to get something to eat and it caters for all kinds of things from snacks and quick bites to full blown meals. I didn’t think the prices were that bad to be honest – certainly much less than I thought they were going to be. You are free to bring in your own food though if your budget doesn’t extend to theme park prices, although expect to have your bag checked when you enter the park and to have to wait in line to do so.In terms of ticket prices for getting in to the parks, it is an absolute minefield depending on what you want. You can get tickets for just Universal Studios, which are about £50 for one day, although the daily price does go down the more days that you book. The best value if you are staying for a week or more is to get a pass that allows you unlimited entries into a number of parks. This is particularly good because I don’t think you need more than one day to see everything in Universal Studios to be honest, so you’d be better combining your ticket with something else. We paid about £150 each for a fortnight long ticket that got us into Islands of Adventure, Universal Studios and Wet n’ Wild water park. There are also untold numbers of places you can get tickets from but I would add that it tends to be cheaper if you buy them in advance. For any more information, the Universal website is excellent; www.universalorlando.co.uk Close
Written by megnews on 03 Oct, 2012
When you buy a Disney vacation package or rent Disney Vacation Club points, you have the option to add a Disney Dining Plan to your vacation. There are a variety of options for every budget and type of eater. Often Disney will offer…Read More
When you buy a Disney vacation package or rent Disney Vacation Club points, you have the option to add a Disney Dining Plan to your vacation. There are a variety of options for every budget and type of eater. Often Disney will offer the lowest form of the plan, Quick Service, "free" as a promotion during certain times of the year. I say "free" because it is there is generally a trade off meaning it is not offered when there are discounted rooms, etc. The quick service plan offers 2 quick service (fast food type) meals and 1 snack per night stayed. For a 2-3 day trip, I may be able to eat that kind of food for that duration, especially since if you look into the restaurants before leaving there are some good choices. Downtown Disney especially has good choices for quick service, such as Wolfgang Puck Express. For a trip of our duration, 8 nights, we could not have eaten only fast food for that long. The choice are limited and repeat themselves from place to place, especially for kids.The highest option is Deluxe Dining which includes3 meals of any kind plus 2 snacks per night. It also includes a refillable mug to use at your resort's quick service. This is a lot of food and a lot of time out of the parks to eat. If you are a foodie, you may enjoy this, but you would need to do some research before you leave to pick the best restaurants because you have to remember, you are at a theme park and a lot of the restaurants are typical theme park food. There are some really good ones at resorts, however. If you are planning a lot of dinner shows or character meals, both of which may require 2 credits per meal, the Deluxe plan may be right for you. I would consider carefully before planning a lot of these on a first visit though because a lot of long meals will take you out of the parks a lot. Another thing to consider with the Deluxe Dining plan is whether you will actually spend what you have paid for the plan, as it is quite costly.For our first trip, we purchased the basic Disney Dining Plan which includes 1 table service, 1 quick service, and 1 snack per night and 1 refillable mug to use at your resort. You may use the meals any way you like, combining 2 table service credits for a show or character meal or utilizing 2 table services 1 day while using 2 quick services another. All your meal allotments go on your room card and are taken off when you order. What I liked about using the Disney Dining plan is that our food was prepaid. We didn't have to carry money or a card around to worry about food or keep track of what we were spending on it. The only thing we spent extra on for food was about 1 snack a day because everybody usually needed a water or something to drink during in addition to the ice cream or fruit or whatever they'd had as their snack credit. Many times we used the snack credit to get a muffin, croissant, or fruit in the morning with coffee or hot chocolate in our refillable mug and that was our breakfast so you can stretch the plan to 3 meals if you eat a light breakfast.One more note on dining, most Disney books recommend planning meals for off-prime times to avoid long lines and have more time in the parks. For example, lunch at 11:00 or 1:30 rather than noon, dinner at 4:00 or 7:00 rather than 5:00-6:00. If you pay for the Disney Dining plan, you will definity want to utilize the Advance Dining Reservation system at 180 days before your trip. Many popular character meals, such as Chef Mickey's, fill up early. In this way, you can be sure you will have a seat at places you want to eat and use those credits rather than eating wherever you can find a spot when you get there.The Disney Dining plan worked great for us and we would definitely utilize it again if we make it back to Walt Disney World. Close
Written by megnews on 01 Oct, 2012
For our last day, I had originally planned Magic Kingdom for the nighttime entertainment, the Main Street Electrical Parade, the Magic, the Memories, & You, and Wishes. But now I was having trouble deciding whether to return there, since we’d already done most of…Read More
For our last day, I had originally planned Magic Kingdom for the nighttime entertainment, the Main Street Electrical Parade, the Magic, the Memories, & You, and Wishes. But now I was having trouble deciding whether to return there, since we’d already done most of the rides or go back to Hollywood Studios, where all the wilder rides the kids loved were. I finally decided on Magic Kingdom. I really wanted them to see Main Street Electrical Parade. There are a few things I remember from my trip when I was little: waiting in a very long, hot line for Haunted Mansion, the treehouse, not liking the Tiki Room, Country Bear Jamboree, Hall of Presidents, Small World, Peter Pan, Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, the PeopleMover, Carousel of Progress, and sitting in a cinema on Main St watching old Mickey cartoons to cool off. I also remember Spaceship Earth, Figment, Imageworks being way cooler, Captain EO, Living with the Land, a show about eating good food, Universe of Energy (pre-Ellen), and the countries. Ok, so I remember a lot more than I thought, but I came home with tons of very dark, very blurry pictures from my kid Kodak camera of the Main St Electrical parade. I wanted my kids to see it as much I wanted to see it again. So, we were off to Magic Kingdom rope drop again. We headed into Tomorrowland to grab fastpasses for Space Mountain. The line was short so my husband & daughter went ahead & hopped on. Mom, my son, & I went on PeopleMover. My son was not happy about this arrangement, but he actually didn’t mind the ride once he did it. While we were on it, I saw Chip and Dale meeting "somewhere." At the start of the trip, I had purchased a 10 pack of postcards, pre-addressed & stamped them, and was having favorite characters of my kids’ friends and mine autograph them to send home. Chip was the last one we were waiting on for my daughter’s best friend and there was no line for him at the moment! When we got off, I went running around as best I could on my bad ankle (did I mention I broke my ankle in December & it’s never completely healed right so it was very swollen?). I finally found them and thankfully, there was still no line. Next we rode AstroOrbiter, then went over to the Speedway, which I didn’t really want to do again but we were still waiting on my husband & daughter. About the time we got in line he texted me to say they were going again. Ok. They finished as we were getting in a car so I told him to take her on AstroOrbiter if it wasn’t a long line. He did then they met us at the Speedway for the fastpasses which they used to ride 2 more times. Mom, my son, & I went to do Buzz again. My son decided to go on his own and quickly realized he could use both blasters. Mom & I still look totally confused in our picture. I never could figure out that ride. I even hit a 100,000 point target at 1 point and couldn’t tell you what it was if my life depended on it!Afterward, he spent a little time in the arcade at Space Mountain while we waited on my husband & daughter. A photopass photographer was actually hanging around in there, which surprised me but we got some cute photos of him.Next, we did the Teacups, then got in line for Winnie the Pooh about 10:00 and said 20 minute wait. My husband went to go grab fastpasses for Peter Pan. Not a good time to get in line, of course because fastpass folks are showing up, so 20 minutes turned into 40. At least the kids had fun in the interactive line. Next, we headed to Peter Pan. Afterward, I went to the back of the castle to see if the Fairy Godmother was out. Instead, I saw the Move It, Shake It, Celebrate It parade was coming around the hub and I could see Woody! My daughter didn’t feel like running down there so she stayed with Mom to do a little shopping but my husband, my son, & I ran through the rose path and across the bridge, found Woody’s float and danced our hearts out. I wish I had a picture of my son dancing but I was too busy dancing myself. When they shot the Mickey head confetti out, my son picked up at least 25 of them and asked me to keep them so that "when we forget about our trip to Disney World, we will have these to remember it by." Afterward, we ate at Pinochio Village Haus. The boys were tired. My husband actually did laundry in the DVC laundry room for me the night before so I wouldn’t have to do it on Mother’s Day when we got home. So they went back to the resort for a nap and we headed to Pirates of the Caribbean and got in line to see Princess Tiana, the one person my daughter really wanted to see. We got the BEST pictures of them.Afterward my daughter reminded me we were supposed to dance together on Main St so we did on our way to the monorail to head to 1900 Park Fare for dinner. After dinner, we took the monorail back to MK. I knew we could take the boat but my kids loved the monorail and we didn’t have many occasions to take it so we did any time we could. We did some shopping on Main St, pressed a million pennies, as we had throughout our trip. They more than halfway filled their pressed penny books. We saw the castle show again. Then my daughter wanted to do Splash Mountain but it was too long of a wait so Mom & I sat at Sleepy Hollow sharing a funnel cake while my husband took the kids to Tomorrowland. Gregory talked them into TTA which only this morning he thought was boring. Then they made the mistake of trying Stitch’s Great Escape. They said no one there liked it. Meanwhile, I saved a spot right by the bridge and Sleepy Hollow refreshments for them to sit and watch the parade. I got them some popcorn and my husband & the kids watched the parade from there while mom & I sat at a table nearby. Afterward, they came to sit at the table with us and watch The Magic, the Memories, and You. I have to say that was my favorite show of the trip. It was just beautiful. Not the pictures so much but all the cool things they do to the castle. Then we walked across the bridge to Main St and there were places to squeeze in and watch the fireworks. What a great last night for our trip.The next morning we get ready to leave. Sigh… Close
Written by megnews on 30 Sep, 2012
After breakfast at Mara quick service and some photopass pictures in the lobby, we hopped on a bus for our shortest bus ride of the trip, a quick 5 minutes, if that, to Animal Kingdom since it’s so close to Animal Kingdom Lodge. We…Read More
After breakfast at Mara quick service and some photopass pictures in the lobby, we hopped on a bus for our shortest bus ride of the trip, a quick 5 minutes, if that, to Animal Kingdom since it’s so close to Animal Kingdom Lodge. We headed straight to Primeval Whirl. My husband took the kids on while I ran to get fastpasses for Expedition Everest. They rode it and got in "line" again. There was no line, even though we didn’t get there until 9:45 or so. After the second ride, the CM asked if they wanted to go again so they did. The CM asked if they wanted to go AGAIN so they did a fourth time! By then I was back with the fastpasses and we headed to Dinosaur. Then my husband & daughter rode Expedition Everest twice with the fastpasses.Next we saw Nemo which everyone enjoyed. Then we took a little walk back to Africa to get fastpasses for Kilimanjaro Safaris. I started to go one way and something told me to go another. I was hoping to see DiVine. So glad I chose the other way. I told my daughter who I was looking for, I’d shown her a picture beforehand, and we both kept our eyes peeled. We were soon rewarded with DiVine just untangling herself from a tree. How cool!!! But the kids were a little scared of her for some reason.I ran to get the fastpasses and came back to find my daughter dancing with the band in Africa. Both our kids love to dance. On our way back to Dinoland to get some lunch, we ran into another photopass guy and got some more good pictures. They were all over today. Next we got a bite of lunch at Restaurantasaurus, then caught the It’s Tough to be a Bug show inside the Tree of Life, which everyone LOVED before using our fastpasses for Kilimanjaro Safaris. We saw a pregnant giraffe. That was pretty neat. Afterward, we watched Festival of the Lion King, then got some more photopass pictures taken before the parade started. We watched that then headed to dinner at Rainforest Café a little early.My big goof? What's missing from this day? Kali River Rapids, an intertube water ride the kids were really looking forward to! And my daughter noticed too! She was upset with me, but we used it as an excuse to turn our once in a lifetime trip into a first ever trip. The kids had already been asking and my husband & I had been talking about it. Mom had even said she'd like to come back with me for a girls trip and stay at the Grand Floridian and maybe just do Epcot and do Deluxe Dining the whole time. What a nice trip that would be! But now I had a big decision to make. The next day was our last day at a park. And I couldn't decide whether to head to Magic Kingdom to see Main Street Electrical Parade & Wishes like I had planned & really wanted or go to Hollywood Studios for more Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster & Tower of Terror for the kids plus the other stuff we'd missed. Decisions, decisions. Of course my husband & mom said they'd go along with whatever I wanted. What would I do?? Close