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What You Need to Know About Visiting Disney Water Parks with Kids

Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon are the two water parks located at the Walt Disney World Resort. Detail is Disney’s middle name and they don’t disappoint at either of these amazing water parks! The theming at both water parks is creative and unique while the water slides and attractions are thrilling. I was delighted with the water temperature; it was always “just right”. Keep reading to find out more about visiting Disney water parks with kids!

I received complimentary tickets to visit the Disney water parks as a part of the TravelingMom.com annual retreat. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Please note that I include affiliate links in my posts. Clicking through and making a purchase helps me in a small financial way, thank you!

Blizzard Beach or Typhoon Lagoon are the Disney World water parks. Find out all the tips on visiting these water parks in Orlando with information on what to do, what to skip and how to have the best time with everyone in the family (including tips for toddlers)

(Photo Credit: Disney PhotoPass)

Disney Water Parks Admission

If you have a Disney World Park Hopper with Water Park Fun and More option on your ticket, this allows entrance to Disney water parks. Think of the “More” option as a punch card. For as many days you have of park tickets, you have an equal number of punches allowed for either water parks or miniature golf. This means you could golf at Winter Summerland and visit Blizzard Beach on the same day and two “punches” would be allotted. Have a four-day Park Hopper and More ticket? This allows you four days of “park hopping” and four additional of the “more” options (visiting Blizzard Beach, Typhoon Lagoon, Winter Summerland Mini Golf or Fantasia Gardens Golf for a total of four times).

What if you only want to spend a day at the water parks? Disney water park tickets are also available separately. Purchase your Disney vacation packages through my affiliate at Get Away Today.

Blizzard Beach or Typhoon Lagoon are the Disney World water parks. Find out all the tips on visiting these water parks in Orlando with information on what to do, what to skip and how to have the best time with everyone in the family (including tips for toddlers)

Are Disney World Water Parks Always Open?

Orlando weather is almost always warm enough for swimming! So you might assume that both water parks in Florida are always open. However each of the water parks are not open year-round. Each park closes several months at a time for refurbishment. The good news is that they don’t both close at the same time! So there’s always going to be at least one of the water parks open during your visit.

If there is a thunder and/or a lightning storm or if the weather is very cold, expect the water parks to close for the day. Disney water park hours vary so check the times online. Summertime events, like Disney H20 Glow Nights at Typhoon Lagoon may affect times, as well.

Transportation to the Disney Waterparks

Getting to the Disney waterparks can be a bit of a lengthy process. Guests staying at Disney property can use the bus system however it does require a transfer. If you’re visiting Blizzard Beach you’ll take the bus to Animal Kingdom park then transfer to that water park’s bus. Going to Typhoon Lagoon? Take the bus to Disney Springs, then transfer.

If your time is limited or you just don’t want to mess with the longer bus system, consider an Uber, Lyft or “Minnie” van if you’re traveling with kids who require a car seat (the Minnie vans have two car seats on board).

My family required vehicle transportation after our morning visit to Typhoon Lagoon. We had reservations for an early dinner for the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue located at Fort Wilderness. While we could have taken the bus back to Disney Springs and then boarded at bus to Fort Wilderness we didn’t want to chance it with the time restriction. It was quicker and less hassle to call for a van.

Blizzard Beach or Typhoon Lagoon are the Disney World water parks. Find out all the tips on visiting these water parks in Orlando with information on what to do, what to skip and how to have the best time with everyone in the family (including tips for toddlers)

(Photo Credit: Disney PhotoPass)

What to Bring with You to Disney Water Parks

  • Guests may bring their own towels from home. If you are staying at a Disney resort, bring towels from the hotel. You can also “rent” a towel for $2 at the water parks. We actually did just fine without any towels at all.
  • A Waterproof Tote Bag is handy. I had two; one to hold water shoes and the other to hold clothing (holding our dry change of clothing on the way in and to hold our wet suits on the way out!)
  • Sunscreen is a MUST. We lathered up on the bus ride. I’d recommend reapplying several times throughout the day. A sunscreen that can be applied to damp skin is ideal, like Neutrogena Wet Skin Kids Sunscreen Spray.
  • I highly recommend having Water Shoes for every family member. While the Disney water parks do a good job of keeping the concrete wet in most areas, there are some sections that are directly in the sun. The ground gets extremely hot. Water shoes are a safe way to keep your feet protected. You can also wear the water shoes on most of the slides and in the pools. My younger two wore their favorite pedipeds!
  • Drinking water is another must-have, to stay hydrated under the hot sun. You can bring in your own full bottles (or request ice water at the restaurants).
  • Protective gear for cells phones like the Submariner Waterproof Phone Pouch.
Blizzard Beach or Typhoon Lagoon are the Disney World water parks. Find out all the tips on visiting these water parks in Orlando with information on what to do, what to skip and how to have the best time with everyone in the family (including tips for toddlers)

Crush ‘n’ Gusher (Photo Credit: Disney PhotoPass)

What NOT to Bring with You

  • Swim clothing that has metal zippers or rivets. No alcohol or glass.
  • If you’re going to be purchasing souvenirs or snacks/meals at the water parks, rely on using a credit card that’s linked to your Magic Band. This will eliminate the need for you to bring your credit cards or cash into the water parks.
  • I brought sun hats with us but didn’t end up using them. If you plan on staying with toddlers in the splash pad area, a hat does come in handy because shade is minimal. But if you’re only doing the slides and wave pool, skip the hats.
  • Take off your valuable jewelry and leave them in the hotel safe.
  • Remove your kid’s Magic Bands once you enter the Parks and put them in a locker. My eldest son lost his Magic Band in the wave pool. Fortunately it was on the final day of our trip and he didn’t need it again, but it would have been a process to have to get him a new one.
Blizzard Beach or Typhoon Lagoon are the Disney World water parks. Find out all the tips on visiting these water parks in Orlando with information on what to do, what to skip and how to have the best time with everyone in the family (including tips for toddlers)

(Photo Credit: Disney PhotoPass)

Babies and Toddlers at Disney Water Parks

You might wonder what there is to do at the Disney water parks with babies or toddlers. Both Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach have splash pad areas with short slides, bubbling water and small sprays for young children. These areas have a height limit of 48″. Of the two parks, my 2-year old daughter preferred Tikes Peak at Blizzard Beach. There was a shallow wading pool, small waterfall, “Ice Gator” statues and short slides. Typhoon Lagoon has a water play area as well (Ketchakiddee Creek) but my toddler was too nervous around the very loud waterfall feature to go down the slides.

Blizzard Beach or Typhoon Lagoon are the Disney World water parks. Find out all the tips on visiting these water parks in Orlando with information on what to do, what to skip and how to have the best time with everyone in the family (including tips for toddlers)

There are life jackets located all around the waterparks, for complimentary use while visiting. You can also bring in your own “floaties” if you prefer (though it’s nice not to have one more thing to carry). Swim diapers are a must-have. Bring plenty and change your child only inside the restrooms (and not on a beach chair!). If you forget the diapers, they are available for purchase at the parks.

Some of the rides are “family style” but not for lap-held infants. Depending upon your toddler or youngster, you might want to skip. Even the family rides can be intense with overhead waterfalls and strong splashes of water. My toddler was not pleased with the downpours but she toughed it out!

Blizzard Beach or Typhoon Lagoon are the Disney World water parks. Find out all the tips on visiting these water parks in Orlando with information on what to do, what to skip and how to have the best time with everyone in the family (including tips for toddlers)

(Photo Credit: Disney PhotoPass)

The lazy rivers at both parks are perfect for little ones too. Float along next to your baby on Cross Country Creek at Blizzard Beach and Castway Creek at Typhoon Lagoon. The tubes vary, including some that offer a seat rather than a hole in the middle (perfect for the youngest kids). Be aware that there are overhead waterfalls that can be avoided (my toddler hated when her older brother pushed her float under the falls!) Bring a hat for baby as shade is limited.

Blizzard Beach or Typhoon Lagoon are the Disney World water parks. Find out all the tips on visiting these water parks in Orlando with information on what to do, what to skip and how to have the best time with everyone in the family (including tips for toddlers)

Can’t Miss at Typhoon Lagoon Water Park

Typhoon Lagoon resembles a tropical paradise, albeit one that has just been through a typhoon! There’s lots of tropical landscaping, sandy beaches and several ship wrecks. We only spent a few afternoon hours here so we didn’t get to experience everything but these are our highlights.

Blizzard Beach or Typhoon Lagoon are the Disney World water parks. Find out all the tips on visiting these water parks in Orlando with information on what to do, what to skip and how to have the best time with everyone in the family (including tips for toddlers)

My older kids were absolutely blown away by the wave pool at Typhoon Lagoon. Even my teenagers, who are strong swimmers, had a challenge with the rough waves. If you have kids with you who may have issues with the waves, consider wearing a life jacket.

Miss Adventure Falls was a great family-style ride. Some rides (like Crush ‘n’ Gusher) require you to carry your tube to the top, while others have conveyor belts that bring the tubes back up. There are some attractions with VERY long flights of stairs. If you have a youngster that has trouble with handling both the stairs and their tube, be aware you may be carrying both your tube and theirs!

Blizzard Beach or Typhoon Lagoon are the Disney World water parks. Find out all the tips on visiting these water parks in Orlando with information on what to do, what to skip and how to have the best time with everyone in the family (including tips for toddlers)

Making a splash on Miss Adventure Falls (Photo Credit: Disney PhotoPass)

Can’t Miss at Blizzard Beach Waterpark

My family spent over 6 hours exploring Blizzard Beach and were able to see and do almost attraction. Blizzard Beach is styled to look like a snow storm with the water features reflective of the melted snow on a hot day in Florida! It seemed that there were more available lounge chairs in this water park and we had no issues finding seating together.

Blizzard Beach or Typhoon Lagoon are the Disney World water parks. Find out all the tips on visiting these water parks in Orlando with information on what to do, what to skip and how to have the best time with everyone in the family (including tips for toddlers)

(Photo Credit: Disney PhotoPass)

Summit Plummet is the dramatic highlight of Blizzard Beach. It’s designed to look like a ski jump but instead the riders glide down a 120-foot water plume! My big kids tried this one several times while their 6-year old brother stuck to the shorter Slush Gusher with a 90-foot drop. You’ll ride a ski-like chair lift to access these rides, as well as a few others.

Blizzard Beach or Typhoon Lagoon are the Disney World water parks. Find out all the tips on visiting these water parks in Orlando with information on what to do, what to skip and how to have the best time with everyone in the family (including tips for toddlers)

Teamboat Springs is touted as one of the longest waterpark coasters. It also had one of the longest waits for us as well, at just over an hour. We found out later that one of the conveyer belts that brings the tubes back to the top of the ride had broken down so they were running at 50%. It’s a great family raft ride though, that holds up to 6.

We also had a blast on the Tobaggan Racers and Snow Stormers. Melt-Away Bay, the wave pool at Blizzard Beach is less rough than at Typhoon Lagoon. However life jackets are still recommended for less than strong swimmers.

Skip It: My son and waited a loooong time to ride the Downhill Double Dipper. While fun, the ride lasted less than 7 seconds (I know, because there’s a timer keeping track of who “wins” the dual race!) Not worth the nearly hour long queue.

What to Eat at Disney Water Parks

Disney water parks only offer quick service dining and snack carts (no full service restaurants). Fare includes the usual burgers and hot dogs along with other items like bbq brisket sandwiches, a loaded baked potato and wrap sandwiches. We chose not to eat any meals at the water parks, but did enjoy dessert!

We ordered the Sand Pail, a combination of soft serve ice cream, whipped cream, sauces and sprinkles. It was cheaper than purchasing individual cones for each person and we had a souvenir bucket afterwards for the toddler to play with in the splash area.

Other dining highlights include mini donuts at Blizzard Beach that are served with raspberry, chocolate or white chocolate sauce for dipping. Like the Disney World parks, alcoholic drinks are also available.

Taking Pictures at the Disney Water Parks

Since most guests will keep their phones and cameras safely out of the water, you may lament not capturing the memories. Fortunately there are many locations that offer PhotoPass services inside the Disney water parks.

Blizzard Beach or Typhoon Lagoon are the Disney World water parks. Find out all the tips on visiting these water parks in Orlando with information on what to do, what to skip and how to have the best time with everyone in the family (including tips for toddlers)

(Photo Credit: Disney PhotoPass)

Goofy was greeting guests at Blizzard Beach and we saw Lilo at Typhoon Lagoon. There were also PhotoPass photographers stationed around the parks to snap photos. I found a photographer at the Ski Patrol Training Camp and requested that she take a shot of my son on the Fahrenheit Drop. She obliged and then scanned my Magic Band, just like inside the parks.

Blizzard Beach or Typhoon Lagoon are the Disney World water parks. Find out all the tips on visiting these water parks in Orlando with information on what to do, what to skip and how to have the best time with everyone in the family (including tips for toddlers)

Fahrenheit Drop at Blizzard Beach (Photo Credit: Disney PhotoPass)

Some of the Disney park water slides even have on-ride cameras. You’ll be given a small card with a rubber band attached. Wear the band around your wrist until you can scan the card into the My Disney Experience app to access the images. If you have purchased Memory Maker all photo downloads are included with the cost, even water park photos. I’ve noted in the caption of each photo in this post on whether it was taken by a PhotoPass photographer.

Blizzard Beach or Typhoon Lagoon are the Disney World water parks. Find out all the tips on visiting these water parks in Orlando with information on what to do, what to skip and how to have the best time with everyone in the family (including tips for toddlers)

At the bottom of Summit Plummet (Photo Credit: Disney PhotoPass)

Changing Rooms vs. Restrooms

To save time, I recommend that families wear their bathing suits and a swim cover-up directly to the water parks. There are lockers where you can store bags with dry clothing until you need them.

Once you’re ready to change at the end of the day, note that there are some restrooms that only have bathroom facilities and others that have changing room spaces. Having the bench inside the changing room with additional hooks on the walls is easier than changing inside of the toilet stall. There are also blow dryers inside the changing rooms if you want to dry hair.

Blizzard Beach or Typhoon Lagoon are the Disney World water parks. Find out all the tips on visiting these water parks in Orlando with information on what to do, what to skip and how to have the best time with everyone in the family (including tips for toddlers)

It felt like there were more available beach chairs at Blizzard Beach than at Typhoon Lagoon.

Other Things to Know About Disney Water Parks

  • Arrive early in the day or alternately, later in the evening if you want to secure a lounge chair. These water parks definitely get crowded, especially in the warmer months.
  • Didn’t bring a swimsuit, towel or sunscreen? You can purchase everything you need for the day at the water parks. Shops are located at the front entrance of each water park.
  • If you’re planning on spending all day at the Disney water parks, consider renting a cabana. This is an additional cost that may be worth it to your family if you want guaranteed seating for the day. It’s also particularly helpful if you have a baby or toddler who needs to nap in the shade. You can rent the cabana for a full or half day and includes a service attendant to help bring purchased food.
  • If the cabana price tag is too steep you can also purchase a designated lounge area under the shade. This rental spot includes an umbrella, chairs, loungers, table and towels.
  • Want more water fun? Consider splurging at Disney on surf lessons or a private surf session at Typhoon Lagoon.

Blizzard Beach or Typhoon Lagoon are the Disney World water parks. Find out all the tips on visiting these water parks in Orlando with information on what to do, what to skip and how to have the best time with everyone in the family (including tips for toddlers) #Disney #DisneyWorld #WDW #WaterParks #BlizzardBeach #TyphoonLagoon #FamilyTravel #Florida #TravelwithKids

Ultimate Guide to Toy Story Land with Kids

Enter the world of Toy Story Land in Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World, a whimsical new area based on the popular Pixar movie series. Guests become another one of Andy’s playthings in this new Land, which was built next to the existing Toy Story Mania attraction. Find out here how to take on Toy Story Land with kids!

Several years in the making, Toy Story Land recently opened to guests and I had the chance to attend a media preview with TravelingMom and Disney. After having the chance to ride the new attractions, dine in the area and take in all the playful details, I’m sharing what you need to know about Disney World’s newest Land.

The Ultimate Guide to Toy Story Land with kids includes tips on getting on the best rides, what to eat and where the most popular photo ops are at this new Disney World land inside Hollywood Studios.

Please note that I received an invite to the Toy Story Land media preview along with other perks to facilitate this post with the TravelingMoms and Disney. My post also includes affiliate links. If you click through and/or make a purchase I may receive a commission at no additional cost to you.

What Are the Attractions in Toy Story Land?

There are two new rides in Toy Story Land. The highlight (and can’t miss attraction) is the Slinky Dog Dash coaster. The height restriction on this ride is 38″. The Slinky Dog Dash covers about half of the entire Toy Story Land area, offering guests an overview of the Toy Story Land landscaping.

The Ultimate Guide to Toy Story Land with kids includes tips on getting on the best rides, what to eat and where the most popular photo ops. #ToyStoryLand #TMOM #TMOMDisney #ToyStory #HollywoodStudios #Florida #Orlando #TravelwithKids #FamilyTravel

Slinky Dog Dash inside Toy Story Land

I had the chance to ride the Slinky Dog Dash in both the day and evening and it’s a completely different experience with the addition of flashing lights once night falls. This coaster is a bit faster than it looks with some fun twists, bumps and mild thrills. It’s faster and longer than Barnstormer and smoother than Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. I’d recommend this coaster for thrill-seeking kids who meet the height requirement and are around 6 years old.

The Ultimate Guide to Toy Story Land with kids includes tips on getting on the best rides, what to eat and where the most popular photo ops are at this new Disney World land inside Hollywood Studios.

The Ultimate Guide to Toy Story Land with kids includes tips on getting on the best rides, what to eat and where the most popular photo ops are at this new Disney World land inside Hollywood Studios.

Covered queue and loading area for Slinky Dog Dash

The Ultimate Guide to Toy Story Land with kids includes tips on getting on the best rides, what to eat and where the most popular photo ops are at this new Disney World land inside Hollywood Studios.

Alien Swirling Saucers

The second new attraction in Toy Story Land is the Alien Swirling Saucers. If you’ve ever been on Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree at Disney California Adventure park, this is the same concept. Your ride vehicle sways back and forth behind the alien spaceship. Buzz Lightyear stands guard at the entrance. Check out the ride’s building design including Buzz’s empty toy box atop the building.

The Ultimate Guide to Toy Story Land with kids includes tips on getting on the best rides, what to eat and where the most popular photo ops are at this new Disney World land inside Hollywood Studios. #ToyStoryLand #TMOM #TMOMDisney #ToyStory #HollywoodStudios #Florida #Orlando #TravelwithKids #FamilyTravel

The Ultimate Guide to Toy Story Land with kids includes tips on getting on the best rides, what to eat and where the most popular photo ops. #ToyStoryLand #TMOM #TMOMDisney #ToyStory #HollywoodStudios #Florida #Orlando #TravelwithKids #FamilyTravel

Alien Swirling Saucers by day.

Don’t let the 32″ height restriction let you think this is a tame “baby ride”. This attraction is speedier and more jolting than it looks! The vehicle swings quite sharply at times. My toddler (who just meets the height requirement) enjoyed it just fine, but she was a little nervous. Fortunately I could sit close to her and wrap my arm around her so she didn’t slide back and forth on the seat too much. There is a simple seat belt strap for restraint.

The Ultimate Guide to Toy Story Land with kids includes tips on getting on the best rides, what to eat and where the most popular photo ops. #ToyStoryLand #TMOM #TMOMDisney #ToyStory #HollywoodStudios #Florida #Orlando #TravelwithKids #FamilyTravel

Alien Swirling Saucers by night!

Keep in mind that the Slinky Dog Dash doesn’t run in heavy rain or when it’s thundering/lightning. However the Alien Swirling Saucers attraction is under cover and we were able to ride during inclement weather. My friend Kim at Stuffed Suitcase has lots of Toy Story Land Ride Secrets on her site.

The Ultimate Guide to Toy Story Land with kids includes tips on getting on the best rides, what to eat and where the most popular photo ops are at this new Disney World land inside Hollywood Studios.

What’s There to Eat in Toy Story Land?

Woody’s Lunch Box is quick service dining, open for all three meals and serving up a creative variety of snacks and light meals. Try the S’more French Toast Sandwich or Banana Split Yogurt Parfait for a sweet-tooth satisfying breakfast. Grab “Totchos” for lunch and dinner. The BBQ Brisket Melt with a side of tomato-basil soup is delicious (dip the sandwich in the soup – so yummy!!) There are a lot more options on the Toy Story Land menu including “grown up drinks”, like a vodka spiked lemonade. Kids will enjoy the Powerade-infused Mystic Portal Punch.

The Ultimate Guide to Toy Story Land with kids includes tips on getting on the best rides, what to eat and where the most popular photo ops are at this new Disney World land inside Hollywood Studios.

The Lunch Box Tart is available at all three meals in either Raspberry or Chocolate-Hazelnut. This is a must-order, a rich and delicious twist on the classic breakfast treat (and a great value at $3.29).

The Ultimate Guide to Toy Story Land with kids includes tips on getting on the best rides, what to eat and where the most popular photo ops. #ToyStoryLand #TMOM #TMOMDisney #ToyStory #HollywoodStudios #Florida #Orlando #TravelwithKids #FamilyTravel

Note that there is no indoor dining inside Toy Story Land. I recommend grabbing a seat in the shade or returning to eat at night. My friend Sherry has the tips on how to use the time saving method of mobile ordering at Woody’s Lunch Box in her post Woody’s 7 Tips to Make the Most of Disney’s Toy Story Land.

The Ultimate Guide to Toy Story Land with kids includes tips on getting on the best rides, what to eat and where the most popular photo ops. #ToyStoryLand #TMOM #TMOMDisney #ToyStory #HollywoodStudios #Florida #Orlando #TravelwithKids #FamilyTravel

Photo Locations in Toy Story Land

Instagram-worthy photo walls at Disney World are all the rage. So where are the photo ops in Toy Story Land? Set your camera on selfie mode at the Popsicle Wall. Gather the group for a photo near Andy’s Wall. Pose near the Block Wall for colorful fun. You can also get a shot of the gang around a gigantic Pixar Ball!

The Ultimate Guide to Toy Story Land with kids includes tips on getting on the best rides, what to eat and where the most popular photo ops are at this new Disney World land inside Hollywood Studios. #ToyStoryLand #TMOM #TMOMDisney #ToyStory #HollywoodStudios #Florida #Orlando #TravelwithKids #FamilyTravel

For just straight-up great shots, take a picture of Woody at the entrance, Buzz in front of the Alien ride and Rex and Jessie standing atop the blocks at the Slinky Dog Dash.

There are several character meet n’ greet photo locations happening in the Toy Story Land area as well. Buzz Lightyear and Woody continue to meet guests at their original spot across from Toy Story Mania for the time being. Cast Members did confirm that Buzz and Woody will eventually move inside Toy Story Land though exact locations haven’t been determined yet. Joining them in Toy Story Land will be Jessie and the Green Army Men.

The Ultimate Guide to Toy Story Land with kids includes tips on getting on the best rides, what to eat and where the most popular photo ops are at this new Disney World land inside Hollywood Studios. #ToyStoryLand #TMOM #TMOMDisney #ToyStory #HollywoodStudios #Florida #Orlando #TravelwithKids #FamilyTravel

My friend Patty at No Guilt Life always take adorable photos in the parks and Toy Story Land is no exception! Check out her post with Super Cute Details in Toy Story Land, including where to find the fantastic photo walls.

Are There Bathrooms in Toy Story Land?

Any mom of young kids will want to know the answer to the most burning questions – like is there a bathroom at Toy Story Land? Thank goodness, yes, there is a spacious restroom area and the colorful details extend inside this space as well. This area to the left of the drinking fountain is the “Block Wall” photo spot.

The Ultimate Guide to Toy Story Land with kids includes tips on getting on the best rides, what to eat and where the most popular photo ops are at this new Disney World land inside Hollywood Studios.

The Ultimate Guide to Toy Story Land with kids includes tips on getting on the best rides, what to eat and where the most popular photo ops are at this new Disney World land inside Hollywood Studios.

The Ultimate Guide to Toy Story Land with kids includes tips on getting on the best rides, what to eat and where the most popular photo ops are at this new Disney World land inside Hollywood Studios.

What Are the Must-Have Toy Story Land Souvenirs?

Judging by the number of people who stopped me when I was wearing my Slinky Dog headband, that’s going to be one of the hottest Toy Story Land souvenirs! Other fun goodies include the light-up alien necklace or headband, the Slinky Dog dash pull-back toy, and the Buzz Lightyear bubble machine.

The Ultimate Guide to Toy Story Land with kids includes tips on getting on the best rides, what to eat and where the most popular photo ops. #ToyStoryLand #TMOM #TMOMDisney #ToyStory #HollywoodStudios #Florida #Orlando #TravelwithKids #FamilyTravel

The Ultimate Guide to Toy Story Land with kids includes tips on getting on the best rides, what to eat and where the most popular photo ops. #ToyStoryLand #TMOM #TMOMDisney #ToyStory #HollywoodStudios #Florida #Orlando #TravelwithKids #FamilyTravel

Of course there are always lots of different tees and hats to choose from as well, even Buzz and Woody-inspired Ears hats! All merchandise is being sold from outdoor carts. Be sure to look at the adorable kiosks that are inspired by some favorite childhood toys.

The Ultimate Guide to Toy Story Land with kids includes tips on getting on the best rides, what to eat and where the most popular photo ops. #ToyStoryLand #TMOM #TMOMDisney #ToyStory #HollywoodStudios #Florida #Orlando #TravelwithKids #FamilyTravel

The Ultimate Guide to Toy Story Land with kids includes tips on getting on the best rides, what to eat and where the most popular photo ops are at this new Disney World land inside Hollywood Studios.

The Ultimate Guide to Toy Story Land with kids includes tips on getting on the best rides, what to eat and where the most popular photo ops are at this new Disney World land inside Hollywood Studios. #ToyStoryLand #TMOM #TMOMDisney #ToyStory #HollywoodStudios #Florida #Orlando #TravelwithKids #FamilyTravel

Don’t Miss Details in Toy Story Land!

The Imagineering team was in creative overdrive when they designed Toy Story Land. Every detail has been thoughtfully planned and creatively “played out”. Here are a few things to look for in Toy Story Land:

  • Andy’s footprints can be found on the ground in Toy Story Land. Might be a while until this popular Land is empty enough of people for you to be able to see them completely though!

The Ultimate Guide to Toy Story Land with kids includes tips on getting on the best rides, what to eat and where the most popular photo ops are at this new Disney World land inside Hollywood Studios.

  • Hidden Mickeys have made their way into Toy Story Land. That’s always a fun game to do while waiting in queue.
  • I loved the “backyard-inspired” landscaping that makes you feel as tiny as a toy yourself. Everything from the fencing around Slinky Dog Dash to the weed-like shrubbery contributes to the effect.
  • Game boxes and pieces do double-duty as buildings, decor and even height restriction markers. How many can you find through Toy Story Land?

The Ultimate Guide to Toy Story Land with kids includes tips on getting on the best rides, what to eat and where the most popular photo ops are at this new Disney World land inside Hollywood Studios.

The Ultimate Guide to Toy Story Land with kids includes tips on getting on the best rides, what to eat and where the most popular photo ops are at this new Disney World land inside Hollywood Studios.

  • Popsicle sticks, dominos and curved wooden train tracks serve as suitable seating.

The Ultimate Guide to Toy Story Land with kids includes tips on getting on the best rides, what to eat and where the most popular photo ops are at this new Disney World land inside Hollywood Studios.

The Ultimate Guide to Toy Story Land with kids includes tips on getting on the best rides, what to eat and where the most popular photo ops are at this new Disney World land inside Hollywood Studios.

  • The quick service dining area, Woody’s Lunch Box, truly looks like a metal lunch box tipped on its side and filled with lunch treats.
  • Between Woody’s Lunch Box and the restrooms is a “garden” filled with Cooties!
  • Another don’t miss seating area is the Babybel cheese-inspired chair and table set in front of Woody’s Lunch Box.

The Ultimate Guide to Toy Story Land with kids includes tips on getting on the best rides, what to eat and where the most popular photo ops are at this new Disney World land inside Hollywood Studios.

The Ultimate Guide to Toy Story Land with kids includes tips on getting on the best rides, what to eat and where the most popular photo ops are at this new Disney World land inside Hollywood Studios.

  • Strings of Christmas bulb lights overhead that offer a colorful glow after night fall.

The Ultimate Guide to Toy Story Land with kids includes tips on getting on the best rides, what to eat and where the most popular photo ops are at this new Disney World land inside Hollywood Studios. #ToyStoryLand #TMOM #TMOMDisney #ToyStory #HollywoodStudios #Florida #Orlando #TravelwithKids #FamilyTravel

Need To Know About Toy Story Land

Naturally crowds are going to be at the max and line waits for this newest area are going to be long. Aim to schedule your FastPass+ for Slinky Dog Dash as soon as you can. The line for Alien Swirling Saucers should move a bit faster, so plan on stand-by for this one. But expect wait times to be lengthy for these newest attractions.

The Ultimate Guide to Toy Story Land with kids includes tips on getting on the best rides, what to eat and where the most popular photo ops. #ToyStoryLand #TMOM #TMOMDisney #ToyStory #HollywoodStudios #Florida #Orlando #TravelwithKids #FamilyTravel

And while Toy Story Mania isn’t a new attraction, it’s also very popular. It has no height restriction so everyone can ride! And fortunately the attraction has been expanded to accommodate more guests. One thing to note is that the original entrance to Toy Story Mania will soon be closing and the new entrance will be from inside Toy Story Land. My friend Britni at Play Party Plan has more insider tips for visiting Toy Story Land.

Tips for Toy Story Land with Kids

I suggest visiting Toy Story Land first thing in the day or during Extra Magic Hours for lighter (ha!) crowds. Well, lighter than they will be in the afternoon, I guess. Just know that this new Land is going to be popular and you’ll be dealing with plenty of crowds.

The Ultimate Guide to Toy Story Land with kids includes tips on getting on the best rides, what to eat and where the most popular photo ops are at this new Disney World land inside Hollywood Studios.

Toy Story Land is also very warm and shade is at a minimum under the hot Florida sunshine. Slather on plenty of sunscreen and hydrate. You can request complimentary ice water at Woody’s Lunch Box. Another great option is to wait until dark when the sun is down. Unfortunately there’s also not much in the way of cover from the rain. We experienced a heavy storm on our visit. Rain ponchos helped but you’ll likely need to search for cover outside of Toy Story Land if rain is strong.

The Ultimate Guide to Toy Story Land with kids includes tips on getting on the best rides, what to eat and where the most popular photo ops are at this new Disney World land inside Hollywood Studios.

Drinking fountain in the Alien Swirling Saucers queue.

Take time with young ones to point out all the fun and playful details. Do those photo ops, find the Hidden Mickeys and point out all the colorful board game pieces and toys. Tania at Lola Lambchops has more family-friendly tips on her Guide to Toy Story Land.

The Ultimate Guide to Toy Story Land with kids includes tips on getting on the best rides, what to eat and where the most popular photo ops are at this new Disney World land inside Hollywood Studios.

I also have more posts on Walt Disney World with kids

What are YOU most looking forward to doing at Toy Story Land with kids?.

The Ultimate Guide to Toy Story Land with kids includes tips on getting on the best rides, what to eat and where the most popular photo ops are at this new Disney World land inside Hollywood Studios. #ToyStoryLand #TMOM #TMOMDisney #ToyStory #HollywoodStudios #Florida #Orlando #TravelwithKids #FamilyTravel

 


FREE 2018 Disney Vacation Planning Video

Planning a Disneyland, Walt Disney World or Disney Cruise vacation can be overwhelming. But if you know what to expect from the beginning, Disney vacation planning can be so much fun and that much smoother. I think that planning a Disney vacation can really add to my overall experience and watching videos before my trip really helps!

Please note that I use affiliate links in my posts. Clicking through and making a purchase helps me in a small financial way, thank you!


Disney Vacation Planning

We ordered our Disney planning video several years ago and it’s honestly one of my kid’s favorite things to watch! We’ve watched it over and over, even when we’re not planning a Disney trip because it’s just a great video.

There are two separate Disney vacation videos you can order. Even if you’re just casually considering a Disney vacation or Disney Cruise, go ahead and order the video – they are totally free and there are no strings attached! In fact, you may even receive special vacation discount codes just by ordering the video.

Click the images to get started and keep reading for more vacation planning tips for Disney! If you have a friend planning a trip, be sure to share this post with them so they can order the video for themselves. I also have the images for Pinterest, so you can share there as well!

CLICK THIS IMAGE TO RECEIVE YOUR FREE DISNEYLAND & DISNEY WORLD VACATION PLANNING VIDEO

CLICK THIS IMAGE TO RECEIVE YOUR FREE DISNEY CRUISE VACATION PLANNING VIDEO

Watching these videos before your trip can help prep your kids before your Disney vacation. This is especially helpful if you have anxious kiddos or kids who just like to know what to expect.

Planning a Disneyland vacation? See how you can get your own FREE Disney vacation travel planning video to find out all you need to know about your next California Disney vacation.

Disneyland and Disney World Vacation Planning

If you’ve never been to Disneyland or Disney World, ordering this free vacation planning video is the perfect start. You’ll get an overview of the Parks, the resort hotels, attractions and dining. And even if you’ve been on a Disney vacation before, watching this video will help everyone get even more excited about the vacation planning process!

If you’re a Walt Disney World vet going to Disneyland or a Disneyland fan going to Disney World for the first time, watching these videos is A MUST.

I think that if you’re planning a Disney vacation surprise or gifting Disney to your family for a special occasion, having the video ready for viewing is perfect. Turn the video on and present it with the surprise news, “You’re going to DISNEY!”

CLICK THIS IMAGE TO RECEIVE YOUR FREE DISNEYLAND & WALT DISNEY WORLD VACATION PLANNING VIDEO

Planning a Walt Disney World vacation? See how you can get your own FREE Disney World vacation travel planning video to find out all you need to know about your next Disney vacation.

Planning a Disney Cruise Vacation

A Disney cruise is definitely on my short-list of things I’d LOVE to do on vacation!

This free video shows an overview of Disney Cruise Line destinations and ports-of-call. You’ll find out what’s included on a Disney cruise and get to know a bit about the ships. Plus you’ll find everything you need to know about cruise dining, entertainment and activities.

Did you know that Disney has their own private island, Castaway Cay? YES! And many of the Disney Cruise ships plan stops there for guests to enjoy.

CLICK THIS IMAGE TO RECEIVE YOUR FREE DISNEY CRUISE VACATION PLANNING VIDEO

Planning a Disney cruise vacation? See how you can get your own FREE Disney cruise vacation travel planning video to find out all you need to know about your next Disney vacation.

First Timers Guide to Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party at Disney World

A Walt Disney World vacation is already challenging to plan and it can be really overwhelming for first timers. Throw in the special “hard ticket” events like Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party and you have an entirely new set of rules to learn. I experienced my first Halloween Party at Disney World – these are the top 20 tested tips I’m sharing with you!

Please note that I use affiliate links in my posts. Clicking through and purchasing through the link helps me in a small financial way, thank you!

First Halloween Party at Disney World?

Last year I had the chance to attend Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party at Disney World. I was visiting for a conference and had my (then) 5-month old daughter in tow. I didn’t do much research to prepare but these are a few things I gleaned from the visit. If it’s your first Halloween Party at Disney World, these are the must-read tips!

1. You Need a Special Event Ticket, Not a Park Ticket

Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party is a “special ticket” event. You do NOT need a regular Park ticket to attend. You need to purchase the event ticket only. Prices for the event vary, depending upon the date you attend.

Planning to attend Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party? Here's the first timers guide with 20 can't-miss tips!

2. The Party’s at Magic Kingdom

If you’re going to use a Park ticket to visit the Magic Kingdom in the morning, understand that this Park ticket doesn’t include the Halloween Party. This means you won’t be able to stay and Cast Members will be strategically clearing out the Park (Halloween Party-goers receive a special wristband designating them to stay for the party). If you have a Park ticket and not a Party ticket, you’ll be asked to leave at 7 pm.

3. Sleep In & Rest During the Day

With party hours extending to midnight, my suggestion is to take it easy during the day. The party ends at midnight and then you still have to walk to transportation and get back to your room. It was nearly 1:30 am by the time I rolled into bed! Try and sleep in. Spend time relaxing at the Resort. Take a nap if possible. Save your ticket and skip going to the Parks that day. You’ll want to save your energy for the Party!

Planning to attend Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party? Here's the first timers guide with 20 can't-miss tips!

4. Tricky Weather

“Darn, It’s Hot!” “Hey, Now It’s Raining!”

Keep an eye on the weather report. It’s likely going to be VERY hot and humid during the Party. On my visit it was already hot and then it sprinkled and the humidity shot up. I was wearing leggings and a tank with a shirt over the top. That shirt came off pretty quickly! Bring a poncho if rain is in the forecast.

Planning to attend Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party? Here's the first timers guide with 20 can't-miss tips!

5. Plan Your Costumes

Speaking of heat and humidity, you don’t want to be overdressed in an elaborate costume. I mean, Sully from Monsters Inc. is a great costume but TOTALLY not appropriate for the Party because you’ll be way too hot. I suggest lightweight and layers. This way you can take things off as needed.

Adults are allowed to dress in costume for the Party event only. Be sure to check out the costume guidelines first. Lots of families go with a costume theme, like all the characters from Peter Pan, Inside Out or Alice in Wonderland. Search Pinterest for lots of dressing up Disney ideas.

READ MORE: Halloween on a Budget – Make Your Own Adorable Costumes (and Save a Ton!!)

Nobody says you have to wear a costume, but it is a fun way to get into the Party spirit. Consider Disneybounding! Or just wear a simple Halloween or Fall-themed tee or face paint.

Planning to attend Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party? Here's the first timers guide with 20 can't-miss tips!

6. My Disney Experience

Pre-party be sure to do your research and plan out a bit of your evening. Those 5 hours of Party time go very quickly and if there are certain things you want to see and do, try and schedule them out. The My Disney Experience app is free to download on your phone. You’ll be able to schedule showtimes into the app along with keeping track of dining reservations.


7. You Can Get In Early

Though the Halloween Party at Disney World kick starts at 7 pm, guests with the special event ticket are actually allowed to enter much earlier! You’ll be allowed to enter at 4 pm with your Party ticket. Plan to arrive earlier to pass through the crowds at security. Then at 4 pm on the dot you’ll be permitted into the Park!

Planning to attend Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party? Here's the first timers guide with 20 can't-miss tips!

8. Get a Guide Map

As you enter the Park, Cast Members will be handing out small treat bags for collecting candy along with a guide map. This guide map is your key to the evening’s activities. It includes times of the shows, which attractions are open, character greeting locations, what restaurants are serving food and where guests can trick-or-treat.


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Purchase discount Disneyland and Walt Disney World tickets and vacation packages from my affiliate Get Away Today.


9. No FastPass During the Party (But Here’s a Trick)

True, there won’t be any FastPass distribution during the actual Party (7 pm to midnight) but here’s a little trick. With your special event ticket, you will be able to book FastPass from 4 pm to 7 pm! I was able to pre-schedule two FastPass on the day of the event before the Party began.

Planning to attend Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party? Here's the first timers guide with 20 can't-miss tips!

3 extra hours before the Party so we went on rides!

10. Eat Before the Party Starts

Advance Dining Reservations will be available during the Halloween Party so book those early to dine at your favorite Magic Kingdom full-service restaurant. However I would suggest that you try to eat before 7 pm so as not to “waste” your precious Party time.

Also many of the dining locations will close during the Party so your choices will be more limited and lines for quick service will be longer. Check your guide map to verify which locations will be available. I ended up eating a boring burger & fries at Cosmic Ray’s because my first choices were either booked full or were closed.


11. Plan Your Evening

  • Cadaver Dans Barbershop Quartet will sing in Frontierland.
  • Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular happens 3 times each Party night. Singing, dancing and slightly spooky fun. This is a LOUD show and several villains appear, so if your kids are particularly nervous, you could choose to skip this. The last show of the evening is the least crowded.
  • Happy HalloWishes Firework show happens only once per Party night. I recommend finding a place to view it in front of Cinderella Castle at least 30 minutes early.
  • Boo-to-You Halloween Parade happens twice. Keep reading for why I suggest watching BOTH shows!

Planning to attend Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party? Here's the first timers guide with 20 can't-miss tips!

12. Party First, Candy Later

Everyone, even the grown ups, are encouraged to trick-or-treat. But don’t jump into a treat line right away. Lines will be extraordinarily long at the beginning of the Party. If your little ones can hold out, consider taking advantage of the shorter ride lines and Halloween Party shows first. Then trick-or-treat after 10 pm when the lines are considerable shorter.

13. Special Bags for Those With Allergies

Concerned about food allergies? Request a special bag from Cast Members who are handing out treat bags & guide maps. This teal colored bag will signify a food allergy. Cast Members at the various treat stations will hand out teal tokens. These tokens can be redeemed at special locations for allergy-friendly treats like cookies, gummy worms or even non-food Halloween crafts.

14. Watch the Parade Twice

Yes, the Boo-to-You Halloween Parade is that good! The Parade happens twice each night and I waited to watch the second showing. I was kicking myself for not watching it the first time too, because I LOVED it! The Headless Horseman, the elaborate floats, Gravediggers, favorite characters and the catchy theme music is not-to-miss. My favorite was the Haunted Mansion float (trust me, you’re going to want to watch it twice!)

Planning to attend Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party at Disney World? Here's the first timers guide with 20 can't-miss tips!

15. Want to See Characters? Expect a LOOONG Wait

Looking forward to meeting with Jack Skellington and Sally? How about Snow White and ALL 7 dwarves? I’ve heard of wait times hovering around 2 hours! With the Party only lasting a total of 5 hours, I’d think twice before spending so much time waiting in a line for one photo op.

16. What’s Open & What’s Not

Some attractions do not stay open during the Halloween Party. For instance, Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room and Jungle Cruise are open only as treat locations to distribute candy. However Pirates of the Caribbean is open as both an attraction and as a treat location. Check your guide map before promising any rides to your kids and verify the attraction will be available!


17. MemoryMaker Photo Ops & Magic Shots

PhotoPass photographers will be located around the Park taking special photos during the Halloween Party at Disney. Photographers will be available at character meetings to take pictures with their camera or even your own. Magic Shots and Animated Magic Shots will be taken at several locations – Magic Kingdom Main Entrance, Haunted Mansion, Town Square, Main Street, U.S.A. and Liberty Square. You’ll pose, the photo will be taken and you won’t know what surprise characters will show up in your photograph!

Planning to attend Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party at Disney World? Here's the first timers guide with 20 can't-miss tips!

18. Happy HalloWishes is a Must-See

I love a Disney fireworks show and this one is AWESOME! My daughter and I sat on one of the grassy areas in the hub (about 30 minutes before the show began). We had no problem finding a place to sit and the view of the show was perfect. I wore my Made with Magic Mickey Ear Hat and the ears lit up and flashed alone with the music for the show, it was so much fun!

19. Tips for Little Ones

When I visited Magic Kingdom with my preschooler he was able to stay up past midnight. However that’s because I’d kept him on West coast time so it was really only 9 pm for him!

If your kiddos are used to going to bed earlier than when the clock strikes midnight, consider that you may be leaving the Party early to get them to bed. Depending upon your child’s temperament (and how much candy was consumed) there might be an epic meltdown. Or take advantage of the earlier timed events and then let the kids fall asleep in their stroller.

Planning on taking a baby to the Halloween Party at Disney World? Check out my Disney Baby post.

Planning to attend Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party at Disney World? Here's the first timers guide with 20 can't-miss tips!

20. Things to Bring with You

  • If you have kids under 5 (or a child who will fall asleep early) definitely bring a stroller.
  • Glow sticks allow you to find family in the dark
  • If you want to collect LOTS of candy, bring an extra trick-or-treat bag
  • Pack in healthy snacks and bottled water to off-set the treats

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First Halloween Party at Disney? These 20 practical tips give first timers to Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party at Disney World all the insider advice they need for a spooktacular time! . #DisneyWorld #MNSSHP #Halloween #MickeyMouse #Florida #WaltDisneyWorld #HalloweenParty #MickeyHalloweenParty

 


Disney World Dining – Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue

Have you heard of the Hoop-Dee-Doo? This two-hour long dinner show is long standing (over 40 years running!) and takes place nightly at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground. I recently had the opportunity to attend the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue. Keep reading for more details and my honest thoughts about the production and food. Namely is the Hoop Dee Doo Revue worth the cost? Keep reading for my Hoop Dee Doo review.

Read my honest review of the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue dinner show at Walt Disney World in Orlando. Is this longstanding show worth the cost?

Please note that I use affiliate links in this post. Clicking through will help me in a small financial way, thank you!

Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue

High quality song and dance routines you’ve come to expect from Disney? Check. Buckets of hearty and delicious food? You’ve got it. Silly jokes that are family appropriate. Yep!

That’s the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue in a nutshell. My family and I have now attended the Hoop Dee Doo twice on separate Disney World vacations. It’s such a fun experience I can see how families return on every visit.

It’s a 2-hour dinner show so be prepared for a slower dining experience than you might be used to at Disney World. You’ll also need to allow plenty of travel time to and from Fort Wilderness. If planning to see Hoop-Dee-Doo schedule it for a non-park day when you don’t have tickets.

Read my honest review of the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue dinner show at Walt Disney World in Orlando. Is this longstanding show worth the cost and is this Disney World restaurant appropriate for everyone in the family?

(Photo Credit: Disney PhotoPass)

Advance Dining Reservations Required

Despite over 40 years running, the Hoop-Dee-Doo is still a hot ticket. You’ll need an ADR (Advance Dining Reservation) to dine here. I visited Walt Disney World during a slower season (in mid-April) and our show was still fully booked.

There are three shows nightly, seven days a week. Show times are 4 pm, 6:15 pm and 8:30 pm.

Read my honest review of the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue dinner show at Walt Disney World in Orlando. Is this longstanding show worth the cost?

The Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue dinner show is a longstanding tradition (over 40 years!)

Since this meal and a show have a set price, you’ll be charged up front once you make the reservation. The price you pay includes tax and gratuity. On my first visit I was attending with my preschooler and just-turned-one year old baby. Any child 2 and under do not require a ticket but I did put her on the reservation so they could make room at the table for the highchair. The second time we went to the Hoop-Dee-Doo, it was with all four of my kids and my mother-in-law.

There are three category levels. I wanted to be close to the stage, so I chose Category 1 on the main floor for both visits. Once we were in the center of the room and the next time we were closer to the stage but off to the side. Honestly, both locations were great and we could see all the action. I have read online that some of the chairs and tables upstairs face the wall. Guests need to turn around each time they want to see the stage.

Read my honest review of the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue dinner show at Walt Disney World in Orlando. Is this longstanding show worth the cost?

The set menu for the Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue at Disney World (leave room for dessert!)

Getting to the Hoop Dee Doo

Wondering how to get to the Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue? Since there is no direct bus route from your Resort Hotel to Fort Wilderness, you’ll need to transfer at one of the Parks. Be sure to allow plenty of time because the bus rides can be lengthy.

Our first visit I chose to take the ferry from Magic Kingdom to get to Fort Wilderness. We arrived plenty early (about 3 hours before the show started) and there was no wait for the ferry. The Disney World website recommends you allow up to 90 minutes for this process.

The second visit we had spent the first part of the day at Typhoon Lagoon water park. Rather than take a bus to Disney Springs and then transfer to another bus that would go to Fort Wilderness, we chose to take a Lyft. We still had to ride an internal resort bus to reach the dining hall, but it was a quick ride.

Read my honest review of the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue dinner show at Walt Disney World in Orlando. Is this longstanding show worth the cost?

Ready to explore Fort Wilderness

Arrive Early to Play and Explore Fort Wilderness

It’s recommended that you arrive at least 30 minutes before the Hoop-Dee-Doo show begins but I think you should arrive even earlier.

We choose to take the ferry from Magic Kingdom Park, leaving just after 3 pm for the 6:15 pm show. It was our first visit to Fort Wilderness and we were in awe of the tall, shady trees and country vibe. Taking the ferry was a delightful and relaxing way to get there.

Read my honest review of the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue dinner show at Walt Disney World in Orlando. Is this longstanding show worth the cost?

Horsedrawn carriages at Fort Wilderness

Once we arrived, we wandered the grounds for a bit, getting a feel of the woodsy location. The Hoop-Dee-Doo takes place inside Pioneer Hall. Inside this same large building is the Trails End Restaurant, Davy Crockett’s Wilderness Arcade and Crockett’s Tavern. The restrooms are just to the left of the Pioneer Hall front entrance.

Read my honest review of the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue dinner show at Walt Disney World in Orlando. Is this longstanding show worth the cost?

Settlement Trading Post at Walt Disney World Fort Wilderness

A short walk away is the Settlement Trading Post, perfect if you’re looking for a souvenir. There is also a gated playground for kids to run around in and play. My preschooler spent a good amount of time on the playground while the baby slept in her stroller.

Wander down the path past Pioneer Hall to see the Tri-Circle-D Ranch. By the time we walked back there, the Ranch was already closed. Guests can visit with the horses and even take a pony ride (for a fee). Horse-drawn carriage rides are available for groups. Mickey’s Backyard BBQ takes place at Fort Wilderness as well.

When leaving for the night, you can choose to take the ferry back to the Magic Kingdom or there are buses available to the Park. Keep walking past the Ranch to catch a bus. Note that you’ll have to go back to Magic Kingdom and from there, get the bus back to your resort (FYI: it’s a LONG trip!)

PhotoPass Photographers

There were several PhotoPass photographers on the Fort Wilderness grounds available for special photo ops. We had our picture taken in front of the Settlement Trading Post.

Read my honest review of the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue dinner show at Walt Disney World in Orlando. Is this longstanding show worth the cost and is this Disney World restaurant appropriate for everyone in the family?

(Photo Credit: Disney PhotoPass)

Before admittance to the Hoop-Dee-Doo show, photographers were stationed on the grass in front of the Ranch. Thank goodness for the shade because it was mighty hot in the sunshine! They had some cute props for us to use. There are several other fun photo spots around the front of Pioneer Hall so be sure to take your camera!

Read my honest review of the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue dinner show at Walt Disney World in Orlando. Is this longstanding show worth the cost?

Take advantage of PhotoPass photographers before entering Pioneer Hall

All-You-Care-to-Eat at the Hoop Dee Doo

When we walked into the Hall, our tables were already set with salad and corn bread. We dug in right away but I held off on eating too much salad because I wanted to save room for the main course.

Read my honest review of the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue dinner show at Walt Disney World in Orlando. Is this longstanding show worth the cost?

Starting with salad & cornbread at Disney World’s Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue (don’t get too filled up!)

Soon enough our waiter arrived with heavy metal buckets stuffed with fried chicken, smoked BBQ pork ribs, mashed potatoes, corn and baked beans. It was a lot of food!

Read my honest review of the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue dinner show at Walt Disney World in Orlando. Is this longstanding show worth the cost and is this Disney World restaurant appropriate for everyone in the family?

Read my honest review of the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue dinner show at Walt Disney World in Orlando. Is this longstanding show worth the cost and is this Disney World restaurant appropriate for everyone in the family?

I’d love to say that we ate everything and ordered more but we hardly made a dent in the plentiful food! Everything was delicious and I wished I had a bottomless stomach to eat it all. During my first visit, I’d wished that my teens had been with me. But as the only adult traveling with a preschooler and a baby, we just couldn’t eat a lot!

On our second visit, my teenagers were ALL IN on the delicious food and we polished off an entire bucket of chicken and ribs. The waiter did bring more chicken, it was really good.

Read my honest review of the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue dinner show at Walt Disney World in Orlando. Is this longstanding show worth the cost?

Chicken, ribs and all the fixin’s for dinner at the Hoop-Dee-Doo (Photo Credit: Disney)

Also, I knew that I wanted to at least make an attempt at dessert! The strawberry shortcake dessert is presented in a grand way and it doesn’t disappoint. Sadly we couldn’t finish it either, though we tried!

If you’re on a vegetarian or on a special diet, be sure to mention this when making your reservation. There are certain accommodations that can be made to the menu.

Read my honest review of the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue dinner show at Walt Disney World in Orlando. Is this longstanding show worth the cost and is this Disney World restaurant appropriate for everyone in the family?

All-You-Care-to-Drink?

Included in the meal are unlimited drinks. This includes soft drinks as well as draft beer, wine and sangria for those 21 and up.

On my first visit to the Hoop-Dee-Doo I questioned the true “unlimited” nature of the alcoholic drinks however. My waiter had made only 3 stops at the table so I’m not sure how often one could reorder drinks. I’d ordered a white sangria when he first came and asked for drink requests. I’d reordered when he returned with the food and asked if I wanted another drink. By the time he came back with dessert, alcoholic drink orders were closed.

Truthfully the white sangria was absolutely delicious and very refreshing. It was also very strong for me (perhaps I’m a lightweight!) It didn’t bother me that I couldn’t reorder. I know that having “unlimited” draft beer would be a draw for my husband to attend this dinner and it’s a definite perk.

On my second visit to the restaurant, the waiter kept our drinks filled without us even having to ask. In fact, my mother-in-law still had a nearly full sangria and he brought her a second one!

Read my honest review of the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue dinner show at Walt Disney World in Orlando. Is this longstanding show worth the cost?

Chowing down (the foods a’plenty) at the Hoop-Dee-Doo

The Hoop-Dee-Doo Show

I went into the Hoop-Dee-Doo not knowing anything about the show so I’m not here to give any spoilers! Here’s a brief baseline: 6 countrified friends entertain guests with singing, dancing, crowd participation and silly fun.

Read my honest review of the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue dinner show at Walt Disney World in Orlando. Is this longstanding show worth the cost and is this Disney World restaurant appropriate for everyone in the family?

Costumes are colorful and bright. We were able to see everything very well. The singers moved around the room during some parts of the show and it was easy enough to follow the action by turning in my seat. There are breaks in the show to allow you to enjoy your dinner or to make a stop at the bathroom.

Read my honest review of the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue dinner show at Walt Disney World in Orlando. Is this longstanding show worth the cost?

Upstairs seating inside Fort Wilderness’ Pioneer Hall

I enjoy musical theater but admit that some shows really drag on with too much boring singing. But not the Hoop-Dee-Doo! The songs are lively and fun and the audience participation is a highlight.  Everyone in the crowd was really getting involved with clapping and singing along.

The entertainers were top-notch, just as you’d expect from a high-quality Disney show. Singing was excellent. Dancing and choreography was fun and energetic. There is live music, which adds a fun element.

Read my honest review of the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue dinner show at Walt Disney World in Orlando. Is this longstanding show worth the cost?

It’s truly a show for all ages. One look around at the audience and that was plain to see. On our first visit my 13 month old baby daughter enjoyed it as well as anyone there (even though I didn’t let her eat any of the messy BBQ ribs!)

Some might say that teenagers may not enjoy the show but I think it depends upon your kid. My teens truly loved watching this show and I’m so glad I was able to bring them. And unlimited ribs and chicken is a huge draw for hungry teens!

Read my honest review of the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue dinner show at Walt Disney World in Orlando. Is this longstanding show worth the cost?

So full we could barely eat any of the strawberry shortcake!

Bottom Line: Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue Review

The big question is, is Hoop Dee Doo Revue worth the cost? True, it’s not cheap (the cost of an adult ticket hovers around $60). When given the cost of other Disney World meals, I do think that this cost is in line.

If I were to go to any other buffet at Disney World with unlimited food, the cost for dinner would be about $50 for Chef Mickey’s. Chef Mickey’s is a character meal and no alcohol is included. Keep in mind that these type of buffet dinners are usually rushed and you might be done within 45-60 minutes.

Given that the Hoop-Dee-Doo has unlimited alcohol as well as a 2-hour dinner show, I’d say that the value is well worth the cost. I highly recommend booking a dinner at Hoop Dee Doo Revue on one of your non-park days.

Read my honest review of the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue dinner show at Walt Disney World in Orlando. Is this longstanding show worth the cost?

Ready for fun at the Hoop-Dee-Doo in Walt Disney World.


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For more on this really awesome topic,
check out the other great posts from the Blogorail!


Read my honest review of the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue dinner show at Walt Disney World in Orlando. Is this longstanding show worth the cost and is this Disney World restaurant appropriate for everyone in the family?


What to Do on a Non-Park Day at Disney World with a Preschooler

No ticket? No problem! There are tons of things to do on a non-park day at Disney World. I had the chance to spend time at Walt Disney World with my five-year old son and baby daughter. We padded our trip with several non-park days to explore. I’m sharing my tips of things to do with your preschooler at Disney that don’t require a park ticket (including the free stuff at Disney World!) Keep reading for the ideas on what to do with a preschooler at Disney World from resort hopping, dining and free fun.

Welcome to this month’s Blogorail Green Loop. Today we are sharing fun things to do at Disney on non-park days.

Please note that I include affiliate links in my posts. Clicking through and making a purchase helps me in a small financial way, thank you!


11 Things to Do at Disney World with a Preschooler

Preschoolers can be notoriously fickle and many will have a better attitude when allowed free time and play without structure. These ideas for a non-park day at Disney World with a preschooler show you exactly what you can do with little ones without having to purchase a Park ticket.

As a longtime Disneyland guest if we go to Disney, we always go into the Parks. Outside of the resort hotels and a few shops at Downtown Disney, there isn’t much that’s “Disney” to do if you’re not inside the Parks at Disneyland.

However at Walt Disney World there are so many amazing things to do at Disney without parks (and lots of these ideas are totally free!) I’ve always wanted to pad my visit with several non-park days and I was able to do that. My one-year old toddler and my 5-year old preschooler and I were recently at Walt Disney World and we had three non-park days on our visit. This allow us plenty of free time to explore some of the entertainment options outside of the Parks. Keep reading for my ideas of things to do at Disney World without going into the parks.

There are dozens of things to do at Disney World with a preschooler. Here's what to do on a non-park day that doesn't require a ticket (and many are free!)


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1. Transportation at Disney World is a Ride for Preschoolers

My preschooler couldn’t wait to get on his first Disney World ride and was disappointed when I told him we weren’t going to Magic Kingdom the first two days. He was appeased however when I told him we’d be taking the Monorail, the bus, and several boats that day instead. For preschoolers hopping aboard transportation is a Disney ride. And you won’t need a Park ticket or even need to be a resort guest to ride them.

There are dozens of things to do at Disney World with a preschooler. Here's what to do on a non-park day that doesn't require a ticket (and many are free!)

The boats from Epcot to the Boardwalk, Beach Club, Yacht Club and Hollywood Studios are totally free to ride!

2. Disney World Resort Hopping

During our visit we were able to visit a total of six different resorts. We chose to stay overnight at three different places (Port Orleans Riverside, Disney’s Caribbean Beach and Beach Club Resort). Then we jumped aboard the Monorail and made stops at the trio of resorts on the loop (Contemporary, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort and Grand Floridian). Walking through the lobby, wandering the grounds, grabbing a snack inside a quick service restaurant and perusing the gift shops were fun activities for my preschooler.

There are dozens of things to do at Disney World with a preschooler. Here's what to do on a non-park day that doesn't require a ticket (and many are free!)

Be sure to check online as to different activities that take place inside the resorts that anyone can enjoy. After reading an article on the Disney Blog site, I found out that the annual Easter eggs would still be on display in the lobby of the Grand Floridian during our visit.

3. Preschool Fun in Disney Springs

The first night of our stay we hopped on a boat that took us from the Port Orleans Riverside. In just under 15 minutes we were deposited into Disney Springs, a lively outdoor shopping spot with plenty for preschoolers to see and do.

My preschool was enthralled by the splash pad. It was quite late at night but being Florida, but still pretty warm. I happily let him run through the water and it totally made his entire vacation!

Other preschool activities could be taking in a G-rated movie at AMC Theater, The night of our visit there was family-friendly singing and dancing at the Waterview Park amphitheater. Brave preschoolers could take a high ride in the basket of the Characters in Flight helium balloon. If preschoolers just can’t wait for their first ride, the Marketplace area has a train and carousel.

4. Dining at Disney Springs That’s Perfect for Preschoolers

We ate dinner at Blaze Pizza, the perfect VERY quick meal for hungry preschoolers who don’t want to wait. The pizzas cook in just 180 seconds! Blaze had some deliciously unique pizza combinations available but we settled for simple pepperoni for my guy. It was a decent size for the two of us to share along with a green salad.

There are dozens of things to do at Disney World with a preschooler. Here's what to do on a non-park day that doesn't require a ticket (and many are free!)

Other dining locations that preschoolers would love are T-Rex, Earl of Sandwich and Rainforest Cafe. The volcano outside the Rainforest Cafe ignited with shooting flames, something we had to stop and watch. Splitsville would be a great place for a few hours of dining and entertainment so you can eat and bowl a few games.

Ghiradelli ice cream and soda shop was our dessert location that night, with overflowing cones of mint chip. We’d intended to grab cupcakes from Sprinkles but the shop was closed and they were in the process of loading the cupcake ATM. There is also very preschool-friendly shaved ice from Florida Snow Company and treats from Erin McKenna’s Bakery.

5. Disney Souvenir Collecting Outside the Parks

If you plan on resort hopping, one fun activity that my son enjoyed was collecting pressed pennies. Resorts have themed pennies that you can only collect in that location.

Disney Springs has many great souvenir locations for preschoolers. Souvenir shops that are preschool-perfect here are Build-a-Dino inside T-Rex, The LEGO Store, Once Upon a Toy and the enormous World of Disney (only go in there if you have LOTS of time!)

6. Walt Disney World Resort Playgrounds

What do preschoolers love more than playing! Many of the resorts we visited had playgrounds that let little ones burn off steam. My preschooler loved the waterside play area called Caribbean Cay at Caribbean Beach as well as the rustic playground in the woods at Fort Wilderness.

There are dozens of things to do at Disney World with a preschooler. Here's what to do on a non-park day that doesn't require a ticket (and many are free!)

7. Get in Character

Even if you’re not going to walk through the Castle that day your little princess can still get dolled up. A visit to Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique inside Disney Springs allows her to get a magical makeover with make-up and hair styling. With any luck (and no swimming!) her hair will still look stylish the following day.

Another fun option is face painting or hair braiding. Many resorts as well as Disney Springs have this option.

8. Making a Splash at the Resort Pool

Take advantage of the amenities right there at your resort hotel. A day at the pool is one of the best ways for preschoolers to enjoy a non-park day. While parents can grab a drink from the poolside bar, preschoolers can swim and splash to their heart’s delight. There are life jackets available for new swimmers. Some resorts have very cool interactive pools like the water slide at Port Orleans Riverside or the fenced in pirate play area specifically for preschoolers.

There are dozens of things to do at Disney World with a preschooler. Here's what to do on a non-park day that doesn't require a ticket (and many are free!)

This play area at Caribbean Beach is made for preschoolers.

And nothing beats Stormalong Bay at Beach Club Resort. It’s the ultimate pool experience! My preschooler loved the sand-bottomed zero entry pool and the beach buckets and shovels to build sandcastles. And for brave preschoolers the dramatic water slide that shoots you through a pirate ship will be the talk of the trip!

9. Grab a Bite at a Resort Hotel

One of our favorite things on our non-park days was enjoying some of the dining at the resort hotels. While resort hopping, we enjoyed lunch as Gasparilla Grill inside the Grand Floridian. This quick service location offers freshly prepared dishes along with grab & go items (like this adorable and delicious Minnie Mouse cupcake!)

There are dozens of things to do at Disney World with a preschooler. Here's what to do on a non-park day that doesn't require a ticket (and many are free!)

Minnie Mouse cupcake at Gasparilla Grill, Grand Floridian Walt Disney World

The following day we enjoyed lunch at Beaches & Cream Soda Shop at the Beach Club Resort. This charming location has such a fun vibe from the kid-friendly food and of course, the sweet treats. My son loved that his hot dog lunch came with the happy ending of a Mickey Mouse ice cream sundae.

There are dozens of things to do at Disney World with a preschooler. Here's what to do on a non-park day that doesn't require a ticket (and many are free!)

The Mickey Mouse ice cream sundae comes with a kid’s meal at Beaches & Cream Soda Shop.

Dinner at the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue was definitely one of our favorite things of the entire trip. We took the boat from Magic Kingdom to Fort Wilderness and wandered the grounds before dinner. I’m so glad we indulged in this dinner show. Everything from the plentiful and delicious food to the top-notch entertainment was perfectly tailored for everyone in the family. My preschooler loved the loud atmosphere, the strawberry shortcake & being handed a washboard to make loud music!

Read my thorough review of the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue.

There are dozens of things to do at Disney World with a preschooler. Here's what to do on a non-park day that doesn't require a ticket (and many are free!)

Strawberry shortcake at Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue

10. Indoor Fun for Preschoolers

Inside many of the resort hotel lobbies are artists waiting to draw your child’s portrait. My son had never had a caricature drawn before and it looked like a great souvenir to bring home so I had him sit for one.

There are dozens of things to do at Disney World with a preschooler. Here's what to do on a non-park day that doesn't require a ticket (and many are free!)

We don’t usually watch television when we’re on vacation but I did let my preschooler watch a bit before bed each night. Disney World has an entire channel devoted to safety. This very fun and informative cartoon series features Timon & Pumba from The Lion King. It was the only thing that my preschooler wanted to watch!

While waiting for our dining reservation we wandered the lobby inside the Beach Club on a hunt for Hidden Mickeys. Preschoolers absolutely love spotting Hidden Mickeys everywhere from the flower arrangements to the carpet design. Be sure to check the resort guide for other activities they offer to guests. Many have organized things to do indoors including scavenger hunts.

There are dozens of things to do at Disney World with a preschooler. Here's what to do on a non-park day that doesn't require a ticket (and many are free!)

Hidden Mickey finding is perfect fun for preschoolers! Here’s one in the Beach Club lobby.

11. Outdoor Adventures

If your preschooler loves the great outdoors, take ’em to the fishing hole and see if they can catch the big one! There are small places to fish (like this area at Port Orleans Riverside) or larger fishing excursions (like on the Seven Seas Lagoon).

https://youtu.be/TXvOjyZfnRI

Some of the resorts have horse drawn carriages that will take you for a tour of the property. Or rent a bike surrey and everyone can pedal while enjoying the resort.

We’d intended to visit the Campfire at Fort Wilderness however our dinner at Hoop-Dee-Doo let out later than expected and we missed it. Many of the resorts offer this evening activity with the option to purchase and prepare your own s’mores over the flames. At Fort Wilderness, Chip & Dale greet guests and there is a cowboy singer (no charge at all to attend this event!)

There are dozens of things to do at Disney World with a preschooler. Here's what to do on a non-park day that doesn't require a ticket (and many are free!)

Ready to explore Fort Wilderness

While at Fort Wilderness we had the chance to see the horses. My preschooler didn’t want to ride but that option is available if you have a horse lover.

Did you know that Disney World has two mini-golf courses (Fantasia Gardens and Winter Summerland – read Adventureland Pam’s review on that with the link below). My son really wanted to go miniature golfing during our trip but we just didn’t have enough time. Guess we’ll just have to plan more non-park days on our next Disney World vacation!

There are dozens of things to do at Disney World with a preschooler. Here's what to do on a non-park day that doesn't require a ticket (and many are free!)

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For more ways to spend non-park days at Disney,
check out the other great posts from the Blogorail!


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There are dozens of things to do at Disney World with your kids that don't even need a park ticket!. Here's what to do on a non-park day that doesn't require a ticket (and many are free!) #DisneyWorld


Kids Guide to Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival

If you’ve ever been to Epcot at Walt Disney World, you might write it off as a place that only grown ups would enjoy. While kids might like some of the rides scattered around the Park, will they really enjoy the global aspect of World Showcase? I’ve taken my young kids and they’ve loved their visits to Epcot, especially during the springtime special, Epcot Flower and Garden Festival. This event in particular has a number of activities geared towards children. Keep reading for the kids guide to Epcot Flower and Garden.

During our previous visits to the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival we were visually treated to incredibly detailed topiaries, had our taste buds tickled with international treats and were able to delight in the nighttime show, Illuminations. And all the usual Epcot attractions are still available during this time as well.

Wondering what kids can do at the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival? This kid-friendly guide to the Disney World special event explains what there is for kids to do, eat and see!

In 2018, the Epcot Flower & Garden Festival run from February 28 through May 28, 2018.

Portions of my visit including my Park tickets and a Disney gift card to purchase food were covered during my visit. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Please note that I include affiliate links in my posts. Clicking through and making a purchase helps me in a small financial way, thank you!

Tips for Taking Kids to the Epcot Flower and Garden Festival

What I Saw, Ate & Drank at the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival

  • Park guests receive a pocket guide to the Epcot Flower & Garden Festival, including where to find topiaries, gardens, demonstrations, dining and shows. Kids can check mark off each item as you visit, eat and watch. The guide makes a wonderful souvenir too, as they can recall & reminisce about your trip.
  • While the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival is a special event, you do not need a special ticket to attend. You can see all of the gardens and topiaries during this event for the cost of your regular Park ticket. A select few experiences require a separate purchase or a separate admission fee (like some of the cooking demonstrations).
  • I recommend purchasing Walt Disney World discount tickets from my partner at Get Away Today.
  • I also highly recommend this FREE Disney vacation planning video (click the Disney image). It’s fun to watch pre-trip with your kids to get them familiar with all that Disney World and Epcot has for them to enjoy!


Wondering what kids can do at the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival? This kid-friendly guide to the Disney World special event explains what there is for kids to do, eat and see!

Festival Highlight – Disney Character Topiaries

Every kid is going to love seeing these amazingly detailed topiaries in the shape of their favorite Disney characters! The topiary displays are definitely a highlight of this special event. Topiaries vary each year so the images you see in my post might vary on your visit. The detail and expression of them are simply jaw-dropping. In the World Showcase area, the characters are themed to the country (Belle & Beast in France, for instance).

There are Disney PhotoPass photographers set up near many of these topiaries so you can capture your entire family with these amazing creations.

Wondering what kids can do at the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival? This kid-friendly guide to the Disney World special event explains what there is for kids to do, eat and see!

What I Saw, Ate & Drank at the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festivalepcotcollage9

 

Wondering what kids can do at the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival? This kid-friendly guide to the Disney World special event explains what there is for kids to do, eat and see!

Try New Foods During the Festival

During the Festival, guests can purchase food at outdoor kitchen locations throughout the World Showcase area of Epcot. These are taster (appetizer) sized portions so you can try a variety of different dishes. These small portions are a great way to introduce new flavors to kids. Just a bite to see if they like it (my son discovered he liked baklava!)

Kid-Friendly Tastes to Try:

  • Germany: Toasted Pretzel Bread topped with Black Forest Ham and Melted Gruyère Cheese
  • France: Macaron au Chocolat en Sucette: Large Chocolate Macaron Lollipop
  • Honey Bee-stro: Honey-Peach Cobbler Freeze (Non-alcoholic version)
  • Berry Basket: Lamb chop with Quinoa Salad and Blackberry Gastrique
  • Japan: Frushi – Fresh Pineapple, Strawberry and Melon rolled with Coconut Rice, sprinkled with Toasted Coconut and Whipped Cream with Raspberry Sauce on the side
  • Canada: Maple Popcorn Shake (non-alcoholic version)
  • Mexico: Chilaquiles served with Chorizo, Mexican Cream and Cotija Cheese
  • Morocco: Walnut Honey Baklava
  • Smokehouse: Pulled Pig Slider with Coleslaw
  • Caribbean: Caribbean Conch Salad with Mango, Papaya and Pickled Red Onions
  • China: Oolong Peach Bubble Tea

Wondering what kids can do at the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival? This kid-friendly guide to the Disney World special event explains what there is for kids to do, eat and see!

Spike’s Pollen Nation Exploration

From February 28 through May 28, 2018, kids and adults alike can participate in a springtime scavenger hunt starring Spike the honey bee. Purchase a special scavenger hunt map for $5.99 plus tax then return it completed for a prize!

Outdoor Concerts to Get Up and Dance

If you have a kid who loves to move and groove, make plans to watch one of the Garden Rocks concerts. These concerts take place three times each evening from March 2 through May 28, 2018 at the outdoor America Gardens Theater. The cost of the concert is included in the price of admission. Older kids may roll their eyes at the more “classic rock” artists but you can be sure they’ll recognize some of the songs (like Y.M.C.A by the Village People and All Star by Smash Mouth).

Give Kids the Camera

Hand over your camera and you might be surprised with what amazingly detailed photos your kids snap. My son likes experimenting with the macro to get the detail on the tiniest flowers.What I Saw, Ate & Drank at the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival

Get in the Garden and Play!

Several interactive play gardens encourage kids in active play. The Imagination Play Garden engages all five senses in a musical maze. In the How-To Garden, kids can learn tips for starting their own garden at home as well as building their own butterfly house or making botanical crafts.

My youngster loved the Road to the Florida 500, where Cars favorites are on display!

Wondering what kids can do at the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival? This kid-friendly guide to the Disney World special event explains what there is for kids to do, eat and see!

What is There for Babies to Do?

Babies will enjoy the usual things at Epcot like a few rides and character meet n’ greets. During the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival, there are additional delights. Little ones will like the bright colored flower gardens. Make sure to point out the topiaries throughout the Park that are designed as familiar characters (like this adorable Winnie the Pooh).

Let Baby out of the stroller for a walk in the Florida Fresh Garden. They are invited to explore and play in a garden that was planted just for them! For more ideas, see my DisneyBaby post on what to do at Epcot with babies.

Wondering what kids can do at the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival? This kid-friendly guide to the Disney World special event explains what there is for kids to do, eat and see!

Exploratory Gardens for Curious Kids

Curious kids love to learn at these detailed gardens at the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival. There are many gardens but these three really strike a chord with youngsters.

  • Learn about butterflies at the The Goodness Garden Butterfly House. You may even see them emerging from their cocoons.
  • Find out what herbs and produce are grown in the Garden Italiano that come together to make many kid’s favorite food – pizza!
  • Kids can find out more about which plants can be turned into spices inside the fragrant Urban Spice Garden. 

Wondering what kids can do at the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival? This kid-friendly guide to the Disney World special event explains what there is for kids to do, eat and see!

Celebrating Easter at Epcot

From March 16 through April 1, 2018 kids can participate in Egg-stravaganza. This popular scavenger hunt in World Showcase will keep everyone in search of Disney Character-themed eggs. While you don’t have to purchase the map to search for the eggs, it is a fun (and reasonably inexpensive) activity for the kids. A map cost $5.99 plus tax. Return the completed map after spotting all the eggs for a special surprise!

After Dark at Epcot

Stay late during the Epcot Flower and Garden Festival and enjoy nighttime entertainment. Illuminations: Reflections of Earth is the evening show that takes place on the waters of the World Showcase Lagoon.

What I Saw, Ate & Drank at the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival

Photo credit: Eric Dill

What would you most like to explore with your kids at the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival?

Wondering what kids can do at the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival? This kid-friendly guide to the Disney World special event explains what there is for kids to do, eat and see!


11 Wonderful, Magical and Patience-Testing Experiences on my First Walt Disney World Trip

11 Wonderful, Magical and Patience-Testing Experiences on my First Walt Disney World Trip

I just returned last night from my first Walt Disney World trip! It was a whirlwind vacation, that’s for sure. I was visiting during a writer’s conference with Traveling Mom. I was able to invite three guests and brought along my mom, brother and three-year old son (my husband and older kids all were in school). My family and I padded the visit with extra days on the front and back end of the retreat. I would have rather stretched the trip out twice as long so as to have had time to relax and truly be in the moment. 4 days just wasn’t enough, but it was amazing all the same!

11 Wonderful, Magical and Patience-Testing Experiences on my First Walt Disney World Trip


These are the 11 things that were most wonderful, magical (and patience-testing) on my first Walt Disney World trip-

1. The Walt Disney World resorts are beautiful. From the brilliant green lawns, to the thick tree lined roads everything is well-maintained. Just as we’ve become accustomed to the cleanliness of the Disneyland resort, so is WDW. I never saw errant trash or anything out of place. There is a resort employee or cast member there whenever you need one.

11 Wonderful, Magical and Patience-Testing Experiences on my First Walt Disney World Trip

Lush, green and humid! The Walt Disney World Resorts are so pretty.

2. Magic Bands…wow! I don’t know if anything like this could happen at Disneyland (since so many of the Guests there are annual passholders or day trippers) but Magic Bands really are amazing. This little rubber bracelet holds all the information for your trip including your room key, credit card, park tickets and FastPass+ reservations. When we dined at Be Our Guest Restaurant, we’d already placed our order online several days earlier so we seated ourselves in the dining area when we arrived. Within a few minutes our food was magically delivered to our table (aka: GPS signals found where we were seated).

3. And with technology, sometimes you hit a snag. Once we arrived at the Coronado Springs Resort (our hotel for the first three days) the check-in process was slowed by the fact that we’d not received Magic Bands in the mail. Tickets, credit cards and room were assigned to the bands but it was a laborious process that took over 45 minutes.

11 Wonderful, Magical and Patience-Testing Experiences on my First Walt Disney World Trip

Coronado Springs Resort

4. Huge resorts = Lots of walking. I’m used to Disneyland, where Disney California Adventure Park is literally feet away. And Downtown Disney and the Resort hotels are all reasonably close. At Walt Disney World, everything is so BIG and spread out so it definitely takes some getting used to. Fortunately there is a wonderful shuttle transport system that is free to resort guests so getting around to the parks and back to our hotel was never a problem.

5. We were at Walt Disney World and running on adrenaline so it was easy to brush off the fact that some things just weren’t going smoothly. It wasn’t Disney’s fault, we’ll blame this one on the airline. By the time we arrived at the hotel, ate dinner and got into our room, it had been over 3 1/2 hours since we’d gotten off the plane. Yet our luggage was not in the room (we’d been told it would take about 2 hours). I called to the bell desk but was told that unfortunately our luggage was not in Resort possession yet.

It was late and we were exhausted. We fell asleep in our clothes, without pajamas, toothbrushes or hairbrushes. I wasn’t until the next day that we found out our checked bags had not made the plane transfer in Dallas. It would be a full 24 hours until we had the bags in our possession again. I received a call in the afternoon from bell services letting me know when my bags had been found, which I truly appreciated.

11 Wonderful, Magical and Patience-Testing Experiences on my First Walt Disney World Trip

Beaming with excitement!

6. Definitely pack your good attitude and patience in your carry on bag! I’d brought a change of clothes for both me and my little one on the plane but my mom & brother had only checked their bags and had nothing with them. But Disney couldn’t wait and we just did what we had to do. We finger combed our hair and hopped on the transport bus to the Magic Kingdom!

11 Wonderful, Magical and Patience-Testing Experiences on my First Walt Disney World Trip

A Mickey Bar fixes all problems, right?

7. It’s similar. It’s familiar. But it’s definitely not the same. I’m referring to the Magic Kingdom, which I’d heard is just the “same as Disneyland”. It’s not. Yes, some rides have the same name (like Space Mountain and Pirates of the Caribbean) but they are not identical. And we loved visiting old classics like Country Bear Jamboree and the Carousel of Progress that closed at Disneyland years ago. Cinderella Castle is enormous. And we enjoyed the song and dance number that opens the Park and wish they did that at rope drop for Disneyland!

11 Wonderful, Magical and Patience-Testing Experiences on my First Walt Disney World Trip

Opening Ceremonies at Magic Kingdom

8. Epcot is as beautiful as the pictures. This was such an amazing park, with added beauty from the incredible topiaries and gardens spread around for the Flower & Garden Festival. I really liked the sharp contrasts of Future World and the World Showcase, made harmonious by the lovely flowers. We sampled at the outdoor kitchens and ended the night with a viewing of Illuminations. There was a lightning storm that entertained us through the dark clouds before the show began.

11 Wonderful, Magical and Patience-Testing Experiences on my First Walt Disney World Trip

Epcot Flower & Garden Festival

9. I was brave. I rode roller coasters that I might have normally balked at (Expedition: Everest!) I tattled on my brother at the 50’s Prime Time Cafe and told our waitress that my brother didn’t finish his vegetables! I broke out of my comfort zone and chatted with the Traveling Moms during the conference despite that I’m usually reserved around new people. It was a chance for new opportunities.

10. We kept ourselves open to surprise throughout the trip. My three-year old was delighted by the speed of Test Track but refused to ride on Peter Pan’s Flight and burst into tears! Our room for the final night of our stay was at the Port Orleans: Riverside. What a lovely surprise to see our room theme in an intricate princess design that included a special light-up feature in the headboard!

11 Wonderful, Magical and Patience-Testing Experiences on my First Walt Disney World Trip

Disney’s Magical Express takes you to and from the airport

11. The final surprise came when we were preparing to leave for the airport and we were refused passage on the Magical Express bus. Imagine my facial expression when I found out that we were supposed to have received paperwork on our door informing us about the time for our bus transfer to the airport…we didn’t and I was unaware of how the process worked. I thought you just showed up and they took you to the airport, I didn’t realize it required a reservation! Unfortunately we were too late to ride the Magical Express bus back to the airport and had to spring for a taxi. And now we know! It was a lesson learned and I should have done more research on the topic instead of assuming how the process worked.


Despite the challenges, we had an amazing trip. Traveling with a three-year had it’s own set of rules but we just went with the flow and didn’t over think things too much. Next time we’ll stay longer to allow for more relaxation and poolside lounging!

11 Wonderful, Magical and Patience-Testing Experiences on my First Walt Disney World Trip

All smiles at the end of our adventure!


Portions of this trip were compensated. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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4 Quick Tips on Planning Your Disney Trip

4 Quick Tips on Planning Your Disney Trip

Only 4 more days until my son and I leave for Walt Disney World for the first time. I will admit, this week has been a bit of a frenzy. I’m a planner, in a big way. I make lists. And then I revise my lists. And then I print my lists and check mark things off as I go.

Seriously, planning a dream vacation to Walt Disney World in ten days was enough to send me into a tizzy! (Read about how this vacation is a big check off my Disney bucket list). Going on this trip with Traveling Mom is a life-changer for me, so I’m doing what needs to be done to make this a smooth vacation.

Here’s how I’ve been staying organized and (somewhat) calm while planning my Disney trip:


Use My Disney Experience

I’ve never flown to a Disney resort before. We live just 90 minutes from Disneyland so most of my “trips” are done in one day. My longest Disney trip is two consecutive days. I am thrilled that I’ll be spending 5 days and 4 nights at Walt Disney World! Our first 3 nights, we’ll be staying at the Coronado Springs Resort. The last night we’ll be moving over to the Port Orleans Riverside. I would have changed hotels every night if I’d had the chance because I want to experience everything!

4 Quick Tips on Planning Your Disney Trip

Coronado Springs Resort – Image from Disney World.com

Keeping track of the reservations is easy with My Disney Experience. One of the nights I booked directly through the Disney website but another night I booked through Orbitz. I was able to plug in my Orbitz reservation number and it immediately linked all my room reservations into My Disney Experience.

Because of the quick vacation plans, Disney is going to have our Magic Bands waiting for us at the hotel on the first night but generally they are delivered to your home in advance.  My Disney Experience sent me an email notification letting me know!


Book Dining Reservations

You’ll be able to link park tickets as well as make dining reservations in My Disney Experience. Dining reservations isn’t really something we “do” very often at Disneyland (except for maybe very popular Character Dining meals during a busy season). But apparently it’s a must at WDW.

I’m finding out that trying to book meals 10 days out for any decent dining times can be tricky. Not impossible though. I have Liberty Tree Tavern booked for the rest of my family while I’m in conferences and 50’s Prime Time Cafe with my family when I’m done with the Traveling Moms for the day. I’m still stalking the dining reservations for a few more meals as some guests will cancel and leave open spots for me to hopefully nab!

4 Quick Tips on Planning Your Disney Trip

50’s Prime Time Cafe – Image from Disney World.com

I also appreciate that the Disney website lists the menus for each restaurant. It truly makes it that much easier for the planner in me to decide what I’d like to eat ahead of time and also to budget my meals. I definitely suggest figuring out ahead of time what you want to order to make things more streamlined when you’re at the restaurant. I printed the menus out and will share them with my brother & mom on the plane so they can make their meal decisions ahead of time.


Research

I had been reading the book The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World purely for fun before this trip was planned. Now of course with a trip in the near future, I’m reading it more for research. I’m also scouring the internet for helpful tips about traveling with my preschooler and keeping him occupied on the nearly 7 hour plane trip.

I have found great help on Pinterest and the website Trips with Tykes. Of course Traveling Mom also has a large section of reviews and advice about Disney on their site. And don’t forget about the Disney Parks Moms Panel! There have been so many questions answered on the site, you’re sure to find just what you need to know before your trip…and if you can’t find what you’re looking for, ask the Panel and you’ll receive a personalized answer!

(images from left to right: Amazon affiliate link, Tourist Blog, Trips with Tykes)

4 Quick Tips on Planning Your Disney Trip                          4 Quick Tips on Planning Your Disney Trip


Daydream

Oh yes, daydreaming for sure! Since my only knowledge of the place is via the internet, books and photos there is still so much unknown that it leaves it open to my imagination. How do the topiaries look in person at Epcot’s Flower & Garden Festival? Is Finding Nemo – The Musical as beautiful as it looks in photos? And will my son still hold a fascination for the Seven Dwarves Mine Train even after he rides it for the first time?

4 Quick Tips on Planning Your Disney Trip

Mickey & Minnie topiary – Image from Disney World.com

I can’t wait to make my daydreams a reality…4 more days!


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