In today’s world of social media, we have all seen the videos of parents surprising their kids with Walt Disney World vacations. I admit, they always make me misty-eyed. I had my own moment several years ago, but instead of making it onto Facebook, it was captured on camcorder on a physical tape!
My sister and I were told we had a pre-park opening breakfast reservation at Crystal Palace. We were told this in advance so there would be minimal whining and complaining when that early morning alarm went off. I remember thinking that I did not want to get up that early; I don’t even enjoy breakfast food that much; I’m not usually very hungry in the morning; and I certainly didn’t care that much about Winnie the Pooh and friends.
We arrived at Magic Kingdom bright and early and headed into the park as others waited at the turnstiles. Dad had the camcorder out using the story that we would likely never be in an almost-empty...
It feels like every time you turn around, there is an update coming out about a change at Walt Disney World. Lately, we’ve been getting notifications about more dining, experiences, shows, and resorts reopening - woohoo! There are lots of subtle changes happening in the parks, though, and if you don’t go regularly, you might miss some of these.
I’ve been fortunate enough to have visited Walt Disney World 4 times in the past year since the reopening, and each time has been different. My last trip was in mid-July, and there were two main changes that caught my attention: rope drop and mobile ordering.
Rope Drop Changes
This was a hard one for this rope-dropping girl. For the last year, I have been that crazy lady who is at the bus stop 90 minutes before the scheduled park opening time. Before your eyes bug out of your head too much, let me say that for the past year, the parks were opening WELL before the scheduled opening time. Like, “ride 2-3...
I don’t think anyone would disagree that Covid really messed with a lot of what used to be “normal.” That also goes for changes that occurred when Walt Disney World reopened in July 2020. Character meals have always been a BIG deal and I know we were all anxious to know what these would look like, and probably most importantly to many people, if they would be “worth it.”
I made it a point to eat at two different character meals on my most recent trip so I could give the scoop on what the interaction, menus, and prices are like currently. I enjoyed breakfast at Topolino’s Terrace at Riviera Resort with Mickey, Minnie, Donald, and Daisy, and dinner at Hollywood & Vine at Hollywood Studios with Mickey, Minnie, Pluto, and Goofy.
Here is what you need to know about character dining at the moment:
In a word: great! I was unsure of what this would be like since I was so used to characters coming to the table for hugs and autographs....
“To all who come to this happy place – welcome.” After more than 30 trips to Walt Disney World, I finally made my first visit to Disneyland. I waited over 30 years for it, and it was well worth the wait. I knew I would go back again, but little did I know that Covid would delay things longer than I expected. I did a lot of research prior to the first Disneyland vacation, so I knew there were key differences as well as many similarities. A few of my observations about Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom vs Disneyland:
When I told people I would be going to Disneyland, every single person I talked to said the same thing: “You know the castle is a lot smaller, right?” Yes, Sleeping Beauty Castle is considerably smaller, but it is THE original castle. This castle stands at 77 feet, while Magic Kingdom’s Cinderella Castle is 189 feet. Even with the size difference, I stood in awe at the beginning of Main Street, U.S.A. This was Walt’s...
You’ve, no doubt by now, heard about this new cookie place in Disney Springs. Gideon’s Bakehouse came on the scene in January 2021 and people have been singing their praises ever since. I mean, a ½ pound cookie? Yes, please! Because of the popularity, there should be some strategy involved if you plan to visit. In fact, I have 3 pieces of info that I think everyone needs to know.
This is probably the #1 item for anyone interested in visiting Gideon’s Bakehouse. Because it is a must-do for so many, the line can become VERY long. There really isn’t physical space for such a long line, so Gideon’s uses a virtual queue most days.
My advice: head straight there when you arrive at Disney Springs. If it isn’t crowded enough for a virtual queue, you will be allowed to line up and enter the bakery. If there is a virtual queue, though, there will be an employee or two outside with tablets taking your contact info. They will take your name...
In Part 1 of ‘What Makes the Grand Floridian GRAND’, we talked about walking paths, Christmas decor, the spa, and rooms with a view. In Part 2, you are in for even MORE amazing reasons to visit or stay at this spectacular resort.
Lobby: The sights, the sounds, the smells. There is nothing grander than the lobby of the Grand Floridian. Once upon a time, you could enjoy an orchestra nightly and a piano player throughout the day. I’m still holding onto hope that these entertainers will eventually return. In the meantime, you can relax while waiting for your room or dining reservation in any of the super comfy chairs and couches. Be sure to take a look at the gems like the giant birdcage, elevator, and grand staircase. Also, be sure to take in the scents even through your masks. I’ve searched high and low for candles that represent the lobby smell. I’ve come close, but not yet found “the one.” Leave a comment if you found the perfect match for...
“I’m going to Walt Disney World!” Once you’ve made that decision, you are probably on cloud 9, right? But then come all the details that have to be planned. Number 1 on that list might be: where am I going to stay? For many, those red-shingled roofs and spires scream “Disney”! Before you even make it to the Magic Kingdom bus stop, you catch a glimpse of the beauty and grandeur of Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa.
Let’s chat about 5 of the TOP TEN of what exactly makes the Grand Floridian GRAND!
1. Magic Kingdom Walkway: This has become a game-changer recently. In the past few months, a walkway opened connecting Magic Kingdom to the Grand Floridian. If you want to get a head start in the morning and not wait on the monorail to start running, this could be perfect for you. You will exit near the monorail station, so just a hop-and-a-skip away from the Magic Kingdom tapstiles. The distance is about .7 miles or about a 10-15...
“But I may NEVER get to ride Splash Mountain again!” I cried through teary eyes at my kitchen table one evening in late July 2020. With that, I decided to book a trip back to my happy place. I should also mention that I had no one to go with me, and I booked the trip with 6 days notice -- ya know, right after Walt Disney World reopened after the Covid closure. And guess what? That last-minute, mask-wearing, solo trip turned out to be one of my best trips ever!
I guess I should backtrack just a bit. First, the Disney love runs DEEP in me. I was the 11-year-old crying on the back of the ferryboat after leaving Magic Kingdom on the last day of our first trip back in 1994 because I was so incredibly sad that I probably would never return again (it’s been 35 trips since then).
Next, I’m nothing if not sentimental and nostalgic (see above). So, when I heard that Splash Mountain and Spaceship Earth would undergo drastic changes, I was devastated that I might not...