Category Archives: Disney Infographics

Disney Quick Service Dining – Day by Day

We’ve used the Disney Dining plan several times on our past vacations, but we’ve always had the regular plan which includes a Table Service meal, a Quick Service meal and a snack each day.  On our recent trip, the timing worked out so we got the free dining promotion, where the meal plan was included with our vacation package.  Since we weren’t staying at a moderate resort, the free option available for guests at the value resorts was the Quick Service plan which include 2 Quick Service meals and a snack per day.

I am always pleasantly surprised by the portion size of quick serve meals – I never leave hungry! And since the dining plan includes a dessert with every meal, there’s no way to feel deprived regardless of which Disney Dining plan you choose.

In addition to the free meals, refillable drink mugs were included with the plan.  I was a little nervous about the new “Rapid Refill” system after reading some reviews, but I didn’t notice any difference from when we’ve used the mugs in the past (other than I couldn’t bring my mug from home.)  Here’s where our quick serve dining took us over the course of our trip:

DAY 1

Magic Kingdom (Lunch): Golden Oak Outpost

We were heading to Pecos Bill’s but the line was out the door so we kept walking and found the Golden Oak Outpost, which was a food kiosk around the back of Pecos Bill’s.  Hint: there are two lines on the right and left – everyone was lined up on one side because people didn’t realize there were two lines. The spicy chicken sandwich was delicious!

Golden Oak Outpost - Magic Kingdom

Golden Oak Outpost (View from seating area) – Magic Kingdom

Epcot (Dinner): Yorkshire Country Fish Shop (U.K.)

MMM… fish and chips!

DAY 2

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Disney World vs. Disneyland

After vacationing at Disney World many times over the past five years, I was excited to get the opportunity last year to go to Disneyland for New Year’s Eve.  I was anxious to compare the park that started it all to the parks I had grown to love.  Before we left for California, I did research online and saw a lot of familiar sights – many rides looked exactly the same as Disney World, which was very comforting to me.  However, after spending 4 days at Disneyland, I’d have to say there is no contest on which I like better – and that’s Disney World!

Here’s a quick comparison of the two: Continue reading

What I’m thankful for at Disney World

Often times when we are planning a trip to Disney, we keep it on the DL. Not because we’re not super excited, but because we know that not everyone is able to go to Disney World as often as we do – and maybe not ever. I never take for granted how blessed our family is to be able to go on a few vacations a year to get away and spend time together, especially when it’s in the Disney bubble.
Today on Thanksgiving, I’m thankful for the countless things God has given us. Going to Disney World has provided so many amazing memories that we’ll share as a family forever.

Here are some of the things I’m most thankful for – be sure to vote below on what YOU are most thankful for!

  • Being an annual passholder
  • Getting to go to Disney World and Disneyland in the same year
  • Air conditioning in August
  • San Angel Inn margaritas
  • Dining at Cinderella’s Royal Table with my daughter dressed as Cinderella
  • Beauty and the Beast show at Hollywood Studios
  • The Magical Express
  • Perfume in Norway Pavilion
  • Tomorrowland Transit Authority
  • Everything about Epcot
Thankful at Disney World

Thankful at Disney World

Hopefully we’ll be at Disney again soon, but until then I’ll just stay thankful for all the memories.
Happy Thanksgiving!

A Typical Day at Epcot

One of the most re-pinned pins on my Pinterest board has been the infographic I created on A Typical Day at Animal Kingdom – see the pin on Pinterest here.

Creating infographics is fun, but they can be pretty time consuming and I just haven’t set aside the time to create more until now!  I decided my next ‘typical day’ infographic would be about Epcot.  Since it’s my favorite park, it was really hard to fit everything I love to do into tiny geometric shapes, but I think I figured it out.  I may not eat quite as much as I have outlined, but it isn’t for lack of trying!  Is there anything in your typical day at Epcot that’s not on my list??  Re-pin a Typical Day at Epcot here.

A Typical Day at Epcot (INFOGRAPHIC)

A Typical Day at Epcot (INFOGRAPHIC)

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Pros & cons of staying on Disney property (a.k.a. in the bubble)

A big part of vacation planning is deciding where to stay.  It’s also a big part of the cost in any vacation so it takes careful consideration to weigh the options when deciding whether to stay at a Disney resort or at a hotel in the surrounding area.

I’ll admit – I’m cheap.  I hate spending a lot of money on anything that has a cheaper option.  But I also believe that you get what you pay for – and it’s also the case with Disney.  Of course the biggest con to staying on the Disney property can be the price.  There are several levels of accommodations ranging from affordable at the Value Resorts to a mid-range option at the Moderate Resorts and a major splurge for most peoples’ budgets at the Deluxe Resorts. There are also options at the campground if you’re the outdoorsy type and deluxe villas for larger parties.  I’ll talk about my thoughts on the different resorts in another post, but if you can’t wait there’s plenty of info about the resort options on Disney’s website.

We recently stayed off the property for the first time ever. We went to Disney for a long weekend and we were trying to make the trip as cheaply as possible.  We have annual passes so we didn’t need to buy tickets, found a cheap flight and a hotel for $50/night in Orlando!  So even though we didn’t love the idea of staying outside of the bubble we thought we’d give it a shot.

We packed all of our stuff in carry-on bags so we didn’t have to pay baggage fees.  But this was the first inkling that something was different from our usual Disney vacations. Normally we just bring a backpack on the plane since you don’t have to worry about your bags when you’re staying on the property – you check them at the airport when you leave home and the next time you see them is in your Disney resort room later that day!

First stop after arriving at the airport was the car rental counter.  My husband does most of the driving on trips so he had to put up with the bulk of the driving, parking and traffic aggravation (which he is very prone to) – already a sign that some of the relaxation would be plucked away from our normally care-free vacation.

Next we were off to the hotel.  As we got close to our hotel, we passed the typical tourist-area stores with 99 cent t-shirts and gaudy signs luring people in to buy junk.  To be fair, the hotel was fine.  It was clean, quiet, and for the price it was exactly what we were looking for.  But it wasn’t Disney!

In the morning when we got up, instead of jumping the bus to Magic Kingdom, our travel went as follows:

  1. Got in the car
  2. Drove 15 minutes to Magic Kingdom parking lot
  3. Parked in ginormous lot
  4. Walked to the tram
  5. Waited for tram to fill up with passengers
  6. Rode tram to transportation center
  7. Got off tram and walked to boarding area for ferry or monorail
  8. Waited for ferry/monorail to arrive (we took the ferry)
  9. Sailed across the lake to Magic Kingdom

A little inconvenient, huh?

Once in the park we all breathed a sigh of relief – whew!  The sight of Cinderella’s Castle can make everything better, right!?  For the day we forgot that we had to venture back outside the bubble in the evening.  But when it came time to leave, we repeated the morning procedure…a little more slowly after walking all day in the park.  And instead of closing our eyes in the darkness and listening the bus engine roaring to get us back to our resort, we had to navigate the signs to point us onto the right highway back to our hotel.  Not fun.  Why did we decide to stay off property again?

From that trip, I really realized how much I love staying on the Disney property.  At the value resorts, we’ve always been able to find an affordable place to stay and while it may not be a luxury room, it’s in the bubble and that’s what matters to us.

STAYING IN THE BUBBLE: PROS AND CONS

Pros:

  • You don’t have to leave the property! All Disney, all the time! Completely engrossed in the atmosphere – forget about the outside world!
  • No driving – buses can take you to the parks & Downtown Disney, dropoff at the front gates, dedicated buses by resort
  • Magical Express – no lugging suitcases (especially nice for those with strollers, car seats, etc.) and your vacation starts the minute you arrive at the airport
  • Send packages from the park shops to your hotel – no carrying around bags or waiting until the end of the day to buy souvenirs
  • Charge to the room – key, ticket, credit card all in one
  • My Magic+ – booking fast passes, shows (I don’t know all the details on the MagicBand yet but I’m sure it’s going to be awesome!)
  • Extra magic hours – early entry or late access to the parks
  • Activities at resorts like fire side stories, flamingo feedings at the Animal Kingdom Lodge, story time in just about every lobby, movies at the pool, etc.
  • Character wake up calls & birthday calls

Cons:

  • Value Resorts are crowded and Deluxe Resorts are unaffordable
  • You can’t run out for supplies if you want to (unless you rent a car)
  • If you have to leave you must take a pricy taxi – we took a taxi to church on Sunday ($50!)
  • Have to dine on the property all the time which can get costly

From my analysis, the pros definitely outweigh the cons for staying on the Disney property.  A big part of what I love most about Disneyworld is getting away from the outside world and living in a fantasy world for a few days where ‘a dream is a wish your heart makes.’  I’m dreaming of going back to the bubble soon!

Pros and Cons of Staying on Disney Property

Pros and Cons of Staying on Disney Property

A Typical Day at Animal Kingdom

Anyone who has been on Pinterest lately has undoubtedly seen the infographics that are pinned on every subject imaginable.  In case you don’t know, an infographic is a way to give information in a more visually appealing way than traditional charts and graphs.  They are so fun to look at that I just had to create one myself.

I found a site that has free templates which are really easy to use called Piktochart. This was just as fun to create as it is to read – I think I’ve just discovered another way to spend hours thinking about the Disney bubble!  Let me know what you think!  Re-pin it here from my Pinterest board.

A Typical Day at Animal Kingdom

A Typical Day at Animal Kingdom

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Lines you WANT to wait in at Disney

They say patience is a virtue and I agree.  I just don’t happen to have that virtue.  I do things to try to practice patience – I meditate when I’m in the doctor’s waiting room, I play loud music and avoid looking at the clock when I’m in traffic and running late.   One place where most people (either patient or impatient) can get a little frazzled is in a long line – couple that with a few cranky kids, cranky husband, hunger, heat stroke, and fatigue – and you have a perfect storm for a meltdown.   This perfect storm is almost guaranteed at some point when you’re at Disneyworld.

However, there are some attractions where the lines are part of the fun – I’m disappointed if we happen to get right through with no wait!  Here are the best along with the worst lines – but luckily all of the worst have Fast Pass availability, so I’d highly recommend taking advantage unless you have a surplus of patience that day!

Here are the best and worst lines to wait in at Disneyworld:

Magic Kingdom

Best Line – Under the Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid (New Fantasyland)

The path to this ride leads through a coral-like rock formation that looks like it was just pulled from the seas.  There is an animatronic show that sings every few minutes, keeping people entertained.  But the most captivating part is the interactive hologram in the fish tank windows.  Guests’ actions in front of the windows cause sea creatures to appear and react – it was pretty entertaining and made the line go by fast.

Worst Line – Big Thunder Mountain 

This line is pretty barren – just up and back, up and back until you zig zag your way to the front.  The worst part is the lack of fresh air, especially in the summer. There’s just a lot of humid air and unpleasant odors at times on a hot day.  Wrangle yourself up a Fast Past, partner!

Animal Kingdom

Best Line – Expedition Everest

This line is pretty cool from the get go.  The theme is a mountain expedition with detailed displays of the supplies, artifacts and anything else that the Sherpas have left behind from their journeys.  In the middle of the line there is a wishing well structure, except instead of water there is a monkey sculpture in the middle, representing the sacred status of monkeys in the area.  Once inside the last room before you get to the ride there are books, documents, masks, and even a giant Yeti footprint cast that makes you question if it’s really real…

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Yeti - Real or Make Believe? Yeti – Real or Make Believe?

Worst Line – Kilimanjaro Safaris

The part I hate most about this line is that it’s very wide and there are several sections where the cast members direct you to ‘fill in all available space’ even if that means you’re coming up beside (what seems like cutting) the people in front of you.  I just don’t like doing that, and there’s not much interesting to look at in this line. Say ‘Jambo’ to a Fast Pass!

Hollywood Studios

Best Line – Toy Story Midway Mania

This line puts you right into the Toy Story movies.  There are giant crayons leaning against the walls, a game board on the ceiling, barrel o’monkeys strung from side to side.  But the best is the interactive Mr. Potato Head at the front of the line who talks to the guests.  This line has so much to look at and is so recognizable from the movies that it can keep you entertained for a while.  I guess with 240 minute wait times they had to come up with something to keep people occupied!

disney vacation 2012 127

Worst Line – Tower of Terror

Until you get up to the entrance of the Hollywood Tower Hotel there’s not much other than a cement path with walls that kids can’t help but want to climb all over, to parents’ dismay.  I’d suggest you take the Fast Pass!

Epcot

Best Line – Test Track

This line was pretty interesting under the old design but with the newly re-imagineered design it’s a look into the future.  The first section has prototype futuristic cars that lend themselves to conversations about what the future will be like, how these cars would work (the car below would run on tracks in big cities – no driving required!)   There’s a little lull in the line when you’re getting into the design room, but then you’re back in action designing your car.  The surprising part about this ride is that after the ride is over, we probably stayed for another 30 minutes in the exit rooms – driving the car we designed around a virtual racetrack, picking a soundtrack for our car, and getting our picture with some of the model Chevrolet cars (all of our car info was on a swipecard that we kept throughout the ride.)

Future car - no driver necessary!

Drive your virtual car after the ride

Drive your virtual car after the ride

Worst Line – Soarin’

This line reminds me of a long hallway corridor in a hospital.  It’s drab, there’s nothing on the walls and it seems to go on forever.  Disney attempted to make this interactive by having giant screens on the wall that you’re supposed to be able to wave at and make plants grow, fly birds around… but the only person who can reach high enough to activate it is my 6 foot 3 husband, not 5 foot 2 me and certainly not a kid!  Upgrade to first class and get a Fast Pass!

I guess we can all take comfort in knowing that in the bubble, even at the end of a bad line is a magical fun time!

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