Posts tagged #disney vacation

Wilderness Explorers at Animal Kingdom

One of the things I love most about Disney is that they take every opportunity to plug in the educational factor in almost all that they do. Animal Kingdom is a park that has educational resources everywhere. Since we have been through this park a couple of times, this visit we wanted to try something different.

We came across the Wilderness Explorers upon entrance into the park, just passed the Tree of Life. Wilderness Explorers are dressed up like the scout from the movie UP. You get these cute little handbooks to earn badges/stickers as your travel throughout the park. I was so excited about this idea because it's an introduction for my daughter earning badges for her Daisy Scout year.

After going through the book, I realized that many of the big attractions at the park have an education reference behind them. For example, the Expedition Everest attraction details the aspects of camping in the mountains. As you walk through the line, unless you are fortunate to zip through to the front, you trek on a journey through the Himalayan mountains. One of the badges was specifically related to this as we had to find and check off items one would need to venture out into the wilderness. When we spotted all the items on the list we earned our badge.

Kali River Rapids is another attraction that provides more than just a thrill ride and some scenery. As you walk through this line, you get a little education on the horrors of logging. As you are waiting to board your raft, you are disturbed by the sound of a chainsaw. You think to yourself "why would Disney have such a distraction in their parks?" Once you are on the ride and nearing the end you get a little understanding of where this sound is coming from as your raft through a mock area that is destroyed by logging. It's a can't miss part of the attraction that begs for kids to ask what it's all about.. and they do.

One of my favorite things about this concept is that it opened our family up to areas of the park that we would have normally not have seen otherwise and I'm glad I didn't miss them! This was a great guided way to really dive into the learning experience that the Animal Kingdom has to offer and Bella and Ry loved it! They were also really excited to wear their new safari outfits!

Next time we go we'll be sure to bring along our Wilderness Explorers Handbooks and finish up the badges!!! Have you earned your badges yet with the Wilderness Explorers? 

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Green Kid Crafts Awards

Character Breakfast at the Hollywood and Vine

It seems like every time we visit Disney World we have to do a character breakfast of some sort. This past trip we did 2! We usually do the Cape May character breakfast and buffet at the Beach Club Resort. This year we decided to add a second character breakfast and try out the

Hollywood and Vine Restaurant.

Hollywood and Vine Character 

Breakfast Buffet

It's located in the Hollywood Studios theme park right across from Echo Lake.

The character buffet is also offered for lunch as well, although, breakfast is cheaper at 30 per adult.

We were so excited to dine with the Characters from Disney Jr at the Hollywood Vine Restaurant located in the Hollywood Studios theme park!

I have to say, if you have kids that watch Disney Jr. they will love this character breakfast more than the others!

We decided to do an early breakfast so we could play in the park the rest of the day.

The characters included:

Sofia the First

Doc McStuffins

Jake and the Neverland Pirates

Handy Manny

The Buffet:

It was very good and offered plenty of options for all tastes such as waffles, eggs, fresh fruit, yogurt bar, frittatas.... I could go on but you get the idea. There is also a ice cream sundae bar that the kids will love!

The Scene:

Its set up like a 50's diner with the plastic and sparkly couches. The dining experience also provides some musical entertainment and dancing on the part of the characters in costume. Kids can get up and dance along with their favorite characters.

Overall, I would say we enjoyed this character breakfast the most! The characters are much more familiar to the kids and the food was great!!

Have you tried the Hollywood and Vine before? Have you tried a different character breakfast at Disney World? I'm curious as to what everyone else has tried!

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Your coffee can change her life!

Date night Bucket List: France at the World Showcase in Epcot

I had the opportunity to check off one of my dating bucket list items on our recent family vacation to Disney World! I wasn't sure if we would get the opportunity to spend some time alone and it magical happened!!

I've have been dying to try the

Les Chefs de France

restaurant in the World Showcase at Epcot. You need to make the reservations ahead of time and it needs to be done via

online

, not over the phone. We learned this the hard way as we scrambled on the internet via our phones. We were lucky to be able to make the reservation that morning.

Everyone at the restaurant is from the country of France so you genuinely feel like you are there. There is a low light ambiance that makes this restaurant intimate. That is one of my favorite things about Disney World. You always feel like you have escaped reality and you are somewhere else in different place or time.

The Food

The food was amazing! I mean AMAZING! I haven't had a meal like that in a long time and it was well worth the price. They even brought out these cute little loaves of french bread for the table.

We both enjoyed the Filet de boeuf grille (beef tenderloin) with a green peppercorn sauce and the potato gratin and green beans. Here is a link to their 

menu

.

The meat was very tender and juicy almost like butter melting in your mouth. The potato gratin was very creamy and delicious as well. The green beans were cooked so perfectly and lightly buttered. All together the meal was heaven! I enjoyed dipping some of the potato in the peppercorn sauce. It was so subtle an not overwhelming at all.  Of course I paired my steak with a glass of Pinot Noir.

We were lucky to have a table at the very front of the restaurant near the windows and caught the evening show of illuminations.We would have grabbed some dessert but our plan was to hit up the 

Les Halles Boulangerie and Patisserie

 for some chocolate croissants and coffee. Unfortunately, it was closed by the time we finished our meal. Poor planning on our part but the evening was still amazing.

Overall Experience

I would definitely suggest this restaurant as I'm sitting here dreaming about the delightful cuisine. The atmosphere was very real and I would even recommend taking the kids as they have a wonderful kids menu.

What I enjoy as well was that this restaurant wasn't too stuffy. Since it's inside the park you get a variety of fellow dinners from the sun soaked park hoppers to the date nighters like the hubby and myself. You can dress this evening up or just enjoy a fabulous meal. It's up to you!

Have you every dined at Les Chefs de France? What did you think of the digs? What other restaurants have you enjoyed at the parks? Let's have a discussion in the comments!

Magical Monday: Our Magic Bands are here!!

*This post contains my affiliate link that helps support my family.

This seems to be the start of the 3 week build up to our Disney Vacation!

Our Magic Bands arrived this week...

All 18 of them...ooops

Looks like Disney didn't realize that we're resort hopping this trip.

Resort hopping is one of my favorite things to do. You get a feel for the many resorts and they're all so very different and unique.

Resorts this trip

  • Disney's Art of Animation Resort - Specifically the Nemo room
  • Disney's Old Key West - an oldie but a goodie - 1 bedroom villa
  • Disney's Animal Kingdom Villas

We have already stayed in two out of the three. We are new to the Art of Animation Resort and we really wanted to try out the pool!

Giant jellyfish and Crush from Disney•Pixar's Finding Nemo amid The Big Blue Pool

photo found here: 

Art of Animation Resort

I can't wait to write a review for ya'll!

Road Tripping

I'm getting a little anxious as this is the first time we will be road tripping it with our kids. We decided to drive this time due to plane ticket prices soaring in the past year and our littlest no longer flies for free. They can barely stand being in the car for 45 minutes so I'm a kind of terrified for this drive.

We've made some driving entertainment arrangements for them. We bought a

RCA DRC79982 9-Inch Mobile DVD Player with Additional 9-inch Screen

 for the back seats. They each get their own and we have a large collection of Disney DVDs to last through both there and back.

I've also started to put together their own goodie buckets with games and activities for them to do on the way there. I bought these

Romanoff Lap Tray, Hot Pink

 activity trays that just so happened to work nicely over there car and booster seats.

Welcome to Magical Monday Link up!!!

Magical Monday is a link up dedicated to any and all things Disney. Every Monday we will be here to share our favorite moments and posts. It can be a post about a review from the parks, a craft, recipe or just a heartfelt memory. Whatever it is (past or new) link up those Disney inspired posts!!

Rules

 This will be pretty simple.

 1. Just link up your post below.

2. Add the Magical Mondays button to your post or a simple link will do.

3. Visit other participants and start sharing!

3 Wittle Birds

<div align="center"> <a href="http://3wittlebirds.blogspot.com/" title="3 Wittle Birds"><img src="http://i768.photobucket.com/albums/xx326/kdelarosa05/95f5467c-715c-4960-88de-ed02e7a9bc61.jpg" alt="3 Wittle Birds" style="border:none;" /></a></div>

First Ever Magical Mondays Link up!!!!

Welcome to Magical Mondays Link up!!!

The world of Disney is something that is very close to my heart. I'm a former cast member and frequent vacationer of Walt Disney World. We are so excited to be going back  in 4 weeks and I can't wait for this adventure. To count down our trip and continue on with the spirit, Magical Mondays is a link up dedicated to any and all things Disney. Every Monday we will be here to share our favorite moments and posts. It can be a post about a review from the parks, a craft, recipe or just a heartfelt memory. Whatever it is (past or new) link up those Disney inspired posts!!

Rules

 This will be pretty simple.

 1. Just link up your post below.

2. Add the Magical Mondays button to your post or a simple link will do.

3. Visit other participants and start sharing!

3 Wittle Birds

<div align="center"> <a href="http://3wittlebirds.blogspot.com/" title="3 Wittle Birds"><img src="http://i768.photobucket.com/albums/xx326/kdelarosa05/95f5467c-715c-4960-88de-ed02e7a9bc61.jpg" alt="3 Wittle Birds" style="border:none;" /></a></div>

Posted on August 3, 2014 and filed under Disney.

Magical Mondays: My Disney Bucket List

Even though I have been here over a dozen times, there are still a few things I have not been able to experience personally or with my family.

For this week's Magical Mondays, I am highlighting my bucket list for our Disney Vacation in September.

Disney Vacation Bucket List

(Some of these I've already done but are worth the repeat!)

1. Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique with the girls

2. French Restaurant in Paris - Epcot, World Showcase

3. The New Snow White Ride.. Just opened up!

4. Belle's Castle and Be Our Guest restaurant

5. Dole Whip in Adventureland at the Magic Kingdom.

6. Electrical Parade at Magic Kingdom

7. Hollywood and Vine Character Breakfast - Hollywood Studios

8. Embroidered Mickey Ears w/ the names for the whole family

9. The Christmas shop in Downtown Disney

10. Downtown Disney shopping... I need a new coffee mug!

11. Character photo ops and signatures (the last trip Bella really got into this!)

12. Going on the Dumbo Ride with my youngest

13. The new Fantasyland Parade

14. Visit Tom Sawyers Island

15. Afternoon tea at the Grand Floridian... they have a tea party for the little ones!

16. Enjoy a Gourmet cupcake from the Magic Kingdom (Chesire Cafe and pretty much every other park)

17. Enjoy a brownie sundae at the Ghiradelli Soda Shop

18. Eat and enjoy the music at Raglan Road in Downtown Disney

19. Eat and Drink my way around the World Showcase

20. Climb through the Swiss Family Tree House

21. Sport matching family vacation tees- I know this one is corny

22. Disney Junior Live on Stage

at Hollywood Studios

23. Let the the wiggles at Honey I Shrunk The Kids play yard

24. Camp out at Fort Wilderness

25. The Hubby pulling the Sword out of the Stone in Magic Kingdom

There are endless things to do at Walt Disney World resort, so it's important to plan in advance and know what you want to see and do. Otherwise, you will miss out on some of the timed parades and shows. I'm all for just winging it but this really is not a place you go to without a plan... unless you go multiple times:).

Magical Mondays: Disney Resort Review

Magical Mondays

Being an avid Disney vacationer, a former Disney College Program Cast Member and graduate, and daughter to vacation club members.... We travel to Disney World.... A LOT!

I've been blessed to have experienced such amazing resorts in our travels to the vacation spot that is practically a city in itself.

For countdown to our next Disney Vacation this September 2014, I thought I start my very first series to celebrate one of my favorite places in the world.

Resorts that I have experienced in the Walt Disney World Resort

  • Coronado Springs
  • Old Key West
  • Saratoga Springs
  • Port Orleans
  • All Stars Resorts
  • The Beach Club
  • Board Walk
  • Animal Kingdom

I feel like I'm missing some, seeing as how the number of Resorts Disney offers seems endless! Keep in mind, the Villas at each resort is only available to DVC (Disney Vacation Club) Members.

My

favorite

stays would have to be..

..

  • Saratoga Springs Tree House Villas
  • Animal Kingdom Kadani Villas
  • The Beach Club Villas.

Today I would like share the experience of the...

Disney's Beach Club Resort

Location

Epcot's backyard!

The Beach Club Resort is located in a prime area around the Crescent Lake. Within this resort area there is a short walk around the lake to the Board Walk Resort, The Yacht Club, and The Swan and Dolphin. It's also a short walk to the back entrance to Epcot where you will enter right in the heart of the World Showcase. This would be ideal if you just wanted to bop on by one of the amazing restaurants for an evening meal. There is also a short boat trip that will take you to Hollywood Studios! This location is my absolute favorite and offers many entertaining options outside of the Resort.

  • Walk to Boardwalk & Jellyrolls
  • Walk to Epcot's backdoor
  • Boat ride to Hollywood Studios
  • Crescent Lake-water activities

The Pools

Sandy Beach Pool!

One of the best things about this resort is the pool!! Stormalong Bay is a playground of water activities for both child and adult. It is the only pool that offers a sandy beach where young children can hang out and build sandcastles. My girls enjoyed this pool so much and still talk about it to this day.

Picture found here

  • Sandy Beach
  • Life-size ship wreck water slide
  • Lazy River
  • 3 hot tub spas

Sandy beach @ Stormalong Bay pool

The Digs

Character Breakfast Buffet to die for!

Character breakfast anyone? Instead of having to travel to find one of these Disney vacation musts, you can have the option of walking to one in your own Resort!! Cape May Cafe is a fantastic restaurant that offers the Famous Character Breakfast buffet with options for any picky eater, including the Mickey Waffles! You will want to make advanced reservations for this one.

  • Cape May Cafe
  • Hurricane Hanna's Bar and Grill
  • Beaches and Cream Soda Shop
  • Martha's Vineyard
  • Endless supply of dining options through Epcot and the other resorts and restaurants located on Crescent Lake.

Cape May Character Breakfast Buffet!

The Room

We had the luxury of experiencing the one bedroom villa suite with a garden view. The Villa's are offered to the Vacation Club members and they are fantastic. The whirlpool tub and bathroom were huge and the villa resembled that of a beach home. The general area included a couch with a sitting area and TV, a dining area with a full kitchen. A full kitchen is great if you are staying a couple days and don't want to spend all of your money vacation money on food. You can have a service deliver groceries and stock up on late night snacks and easy meals.

What to do!

The Beach Club is packed with activities and areas for all ages. It really is a resort for anyone.

  • Sandcastle Club (ages 3-12)
  • Movies under the stars on the beach ( this was a family favorite!)
  • Campfire on the Beach - Sing along and yummy snacks
  • Boat and Bike rentals
  • Volleyball court
  • Spa and Health Club

Highlights...

  • Location
  • Stormalong Bay Pool
  • Cape May Cafe - Character Breakfast
  • The Villa's
  • The activities 

I hope you enjoyed this weeks Magical Monday's! This review expresses my personal experience at The Disney Beach Club Resort and Villa. I was not compensated for this post, I was just so impressed with the resort that I had to share.

Have a Magical Monday everyone!

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Our Disney Trip 2013: Part 1

These pictures are a little late but I wanted to share our amazing trip with you all!!!

We went at the end of January and the weather was wonderful but slightly cold for swimming(we did anyways!).

Disney Beach Club

The Pirate ship with the slide!

We stayed at the Disney's Beach Club Resort, part of the Vacation Club!! The Villas were very spacious! Our favorite part... The pool!!!

How do they do that... the

sandy beach

pool? Surprisingly super clean too. Bella could sit there and build sand castles all day! Another thing I loved about the resort was that it was right off the Boardwalk and short walk to Epcot! Yes, we could walk to the back entrance of Epcot, without any lines and start in the World Showcase right by France!! One of the evenings Grandma and Grandpa offered to watch the kiddos and the hubs and I had a date night through World Showcase! We had coffee and chocolate croissants in France!

Animal Kingdom

We started off our first full day at Animal Kingdom! I knew the girls were really going to enjoy this park. We got on the safari ride right as it opened! This is the best time for this ride. I have been on this attraction more times I can count and this was by far the best time!! We got to see all the animals!

I saw this cure garden scape as we left the Festival of the Lion King!

 Bella really got a kick out of the African musicians! She became pretty shy when the guy started smiling at her.

Hollywood Studios and Epcot

We didn't really spend much time at these two parks. By mid day the kiddies were cranky and hungry and all Bella wanted to do was swim. Here are some of the photo ops I remembered to get.

If any of you get a chance, I highly recommend stopping at the

Honey I Shrunk The Kids playground

!! I've always loved this attraction and it gives the kids a chance to run around and blow off some steam in a giant backyard playground just like the movie!!! Bella really enjoyed this.

Ride along with the giant ant or climb in a "spider web"

Epcot

Bella wasn't too excited about the Sea's with Nemo and Friends ride. I think she was more afraid of the sharks. We sort of had to

force

 convince her that it would be fun.

See her enthusiasm?

 Afterwards was fun... you can read all about it

here

.

It never stops amazing me at the little things she finds so much joy in. There was a fountain in Epcot, Bella thought it would be fun to just run through it. On a normal day I would have yelled and tried to stop her from soaking her clothes and shoes but today I was a little more carefree. I did manage to convince her to put her swimsuit on, but by that time it was a little too late...

Reminds me of something I have once done... although I wasn't so young:)

Stay tuned for Part 2 with Magic Kingdom and Character greetings!!! Oh there are so many pictures to share!

Disney Field Trip: The Seas with Nemo and Friends at Epcot

One of the many things I love about Disney is there ability to incorporate education into their attractions! Disney World has to be one of the greatest field trips ever!

I know Epcot is not on the top of the list of parks to see, but it does offer a great classroom for conservation of the Earth ! On our recent trip we were excited to try the new attraction The Seas with Nemo and Friends!! The ride itself was a cute clam shell adventure through the Finding Nemo story. 

Once you got off the moving walkway, you were led to an amazing exhibit of underwater life. You can walk through this two story pavilion at your own leisure. 

My favorite part was pointing out Nemo and Dore! It really brings the movie alive and into the real world. What kid doesn't like the aquarium?

As I sit her and edit this, Bella informs me that this is NOT Nemo. It's the daddy Marlin because he is bigger and Nemo is smaller!

The Bruce's Sub House is a fun adventure where you can learn about the sharks of the ocean and the dangers they encounter everyday.  A hands on experience for all kids to have a chance to feel what real shark skin feels like and take a photo op inside Bruce's Jaw! Bella was a little frightened by the jaws of life.... so my Dad played along!

I think Bella's favorite part was the friendly dolphins that played back and forth beyond the glass!! They were pretty shy to take a picture though!

We saw real manatee!!!

The aquarium was gorgeous and provided us with just enough cool indoor entertainment! When the kids get older we will spend more time here!

Tips on planning a Disney Vacation

With much excitement about our trip to Walt Disney World in January, I thought I would put together something to help anyone planning a trip to WDW!!! Our family are expert Walt Disney World Resort vacationers (and I a former college program cast member) and over the years I have found some things helpful with my travels.

  • It's all about the time of year!!!!!! Planning your trip in a low season is key, especially if this is a once in a life time for your family. I get that summer vacation is when your kids are out of school and you don't want to have to pull them out for a vacation but..... do you really want to spend all that money (because it is expensive) to wait in a hot and muggy line for over an hour, just for a two minute ride? You might get to go on maybe 3 rides before your family has a meltdown... especially with young children!!!! With that said, from my experience as a former cast member and a annual (well almost) guest, September through October is beautiful weather and the lines are minimal. January through the beginning of February is less crowded as well and you are looking at cooler weather.
  • Think about investing in the Vacation Club! If you love to travel and want to vacation every year, not necessarily Disney either, this is a great investment. If you don't already know about this research it! Now! What are you waiting for?
  • Stay on property! While some off property hotels can offer some amazing deals, you still have to rent a car, which can add up and not save you any money. Plus, if you stay at one of the many Disney fabulous resorts, they offer transportation to all of the parks and other exciting attractions with in the Walt Disney Resort. What is great is they have so many resorts that accommodate all types of budget!
  • Skip the meal plans. If you stay in one of the WDW resorts that offers a kitchen (which I would highly recommend upgrading to) you can have a food service delivered right to your hotel!!! Saves on the costly meals in the dinning room and you will have access to your own stash 24/7. Will share more about the food delivery service on tips for your trip!
  • Disney's Magical Express!! A wonderful shuttle to and from the airport!! With Baggage delivery... you don't even need to worry about picking up your checked in luggage... it's delivered right to your room!
  • Be realistic about your budget. You say to your self  "we are only going to spend this much"... but then you get there and the kids go wild in the Disney stores and your daughter wants to be a princess at the Bibbity Bobbity Boutique. In then end you will always spend more and the last thing you want is to either go home broke or go home feeling like you might have missed out! Research the different attractions with in the parks and downtown Disney. Know your battle grounds before you depart your house.

Oh my gosh... I am too excited just thinking about it!!! Check back on tips for traveling with small children and what not to miss at WDW!

Explore Orlando Theme Parks for One Low Price!

Posted on September 7, 2012 and filed under Disney, Travel.