Why We Choose a Disney Vacation

I’ve been coming across various articles and blogs lately from people who choose NOT to visit Walt Disney World or Disneyland. Usually these posts contain trite statements claiming not to judge other families who do choose to visit Disney, but then the whole post is full of judgement anyway. In our personal life, when some people find out we are planning a trip back to Walt Disney World, I hear, “Again?” Yes, again.

My love affair with Walt Disney World, and Disney in general, started as a child. A few trips to Walt Disney World, and a slightly unhealthy obsession with The Little Mermaid and The Lion King, grew my love tenfold. It grew even more when we traveled for the first time to Walt Disney World with our oldest son, Tigger, for his 6th birthday back in 2012. My husband had never been to Walt Disney World. Since that trip, our family has been hooked on “the Mouse.” We’ve had several trips to Walt Disney World (with and without children), and have our next trip planned for May 2017 to coincide with our second Disney cruise.

Why We Choose a Disney Vacation

I love Disney so much that I jumped at the opportunity to help create The Mouse & the Monorail. I even became a Disney travel planner two years ago. Our family has absolutely fallen in love with the Disney experience, and here are a few reasons why.

The Magic

From the moment that we begin planning to the moment we are packing our bags to come home, Disney makes everything magic. I like to say, “If you are celebrating at Disney, then Disney is celebrating with you!” Disneyland and Walt Disney World give out celebration buttons for free, and they love to celebrate with you. Whether you are there for a birthday, anniversary, graduation or even something small like your child losing their first tooth, Disney loves to make you feel special. We’ve been given stickers, cupcakes and even extra fast passes from cast members that go above and beyond to make the experience magical.

Speaking of magic, does it get any more magical than watching your child meet Mickey Mouse for the first time? Or watching fireworks after a long day in the parks? For us, the answer is no. Disney allows guests to get away from it all and remain blissfully happy as long as possible.

The Experience

Our family has been fortunate to visit the parks several times and cruise with Disney once. During those trips, my boys have met to countless cast members from all over the world. They have taken an art class with a Disney animator, learned about different cultures and countries in Epcot, and tested the boundaries of science and mathematics while designing a car to race in Test Track. We’ve tried foods that were way out of our comfort zones and loved them! We’ve been on a safari in Animal Kingdom and learned about colonial America in Liberty Square. Disney’s Imagineers leave no stone unturned in making each attraction as accurate as possible.

The parks and resorts are full of educational opportunities, and many of them are even free! For example, anyone can visit Animal Kingdom Lodge and participate in their activities that promote African culture and wildlife. After the activity is over, participants are given a bead to signify what the class was about. Those beads can be added to a bracelet for a fun keepsake.  There are many in-park games that encourage you to explore the parks to the fullest, and don’t cost anything! You can even participate in Kidcot Fun Stop activities at Epcot that allow kids do crafts or activities from each country. Does your child want to be a pirate? Look no further than The Pirates League at Magic Kingdom. Have a princess in your house? She might love to visit Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique! The opportunities truly are endless!

The Fun

Simply put, Disney is fun for the whole family. It’s nice being able to disconnect from the real world of work, bills and stress to spend a few days with Mickey and friends. There is nothing more fun than seeing the smile on my kids face as they goof off with Goofy or enjoy one of the many rides and attractions around the parks. Disney celebrates exploring the ends of your imagination and having fun while doing so. Have you ever seen an elephant fly? It doesn’t stop us from having a blast on Dumbo!

Whether we are riding Space Mountain, laughing at Mickey’s PhilharMagic or enjoying fireworks while dressed up like pirates on a Disney cruise, Disney puts a smile on our face and a skip in our step. My boys are having a blast, and we are making amazing memories as a family. They won’t always be little, but I want them to have as much fun as they can while they are!

So Why Do We Do Disney?

We do Disney because it makes us happy. If you don’t get that, maybe you need a little more happy in your life!

DIY Fish Extender Magnets

DIY Fish Extender Magnets

DIY Fish Extender Magnets

Our next Disney cruise is 99 days away, and I’ve been super busy working on Fish Extender gifts. What’s a fish extender gift you ask? It’s an organized gift exchange on Disney cruises. You can read all about them here.

One of the cabin gifts I’ve been making for this cruise is Disney themed magnets. After working on these and finding out how super easy it was, I had to share it. This is such a versatile craft, and the options are truly limitless for what you can create. I worked with old Disney park maps, Disney cruise brochures (those turned out to be my favorite) and Disney scrapbook paper. You could also use pictures you’ve taken during Disney vacations, and make a truly unique keepsake.  Start to finish, these took me less than 30 minutes (not counting time for the glue to dry) and I made 20 magnets.

DIY Fish Extender Magnets are easy to make! This DIY project is simple and fun. It makes a great fish extender gift or gift for that Disney loving friend in your life. Check out how on our tutorial!

Supply List

  • 1 inch circle punch
  • Scrapbook paper, Disney park maps, brochures or stickers
  • Clear glass beads – you can find these in the floral section of most craft stores
  • Circle magnets
  • Modge podge
  • Craft glue
  • Foam brush

DIY Fish Extender Magnets

Instructions

Flip through your materials and pick out the images you want to turn into a magnet. Go through your papers, maps and brochures holding the glass stone over the images to see how they will look through the stone. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box and step outside your comfort zone. If you mess up,  you can always try again! I found that some of my favorite finished magnets were images that placed by themselves are just part of an image, but when placed next to another magnet becomes part of a complete set.

DIY Fish Extender Magnets

Next, use your circle punch to cut out the image you want.

After punching out your image, put a coat of mod podge on the flat side of the glass stone.

Then, place your image face down on the mod podge. Wait 15 minutes or so for the glue to start to dry.

After the first layer of mod podge is almost dry, coat the back side of your image with another layer of mod podge. Allow it to dry completely. This will seal the back of the image and protect from water damage.

Upon ensuring the mod podge is 100% dry, then use the craft glue to add the magnet to the back of the stone. It should only take a few drops.

DIY Fish Extender Magnets

Let your project dry completely and enjoy your magnets!

DIY Fish Extender Magnets

I plan on packaging these up in sets of 4-5 magnets per cabin. These are easy enough that kids could help, or even manage to try some on their own.

DIY Fish Extender Magnets

I think they make a super cute, affordable and fun gift that will be a great reminder of our time at sea. Here are a few of our other Disney cruise inspired crafts if you want to check them out:

Disney Inspired Coasters

DIY Clothespin Magnets

Disney Cruise Line Fan Graphic 

Happy crafting and cruising! ~Amy ºoº

Star Wars Jewelry Now at Kay Jewelers

Star Wars Jewelry

We all know that “every kiss begins with Kay” but now the force will be with you and your jewelry collection when you check out the new Star Wars Collection by Kay Jewelers. The prices range from $12 all the way up to $3,399, and there is literally something for every Star Wars fan in  your life! The pieces are available in everything from Murano glass to sterling silver and from yellow gold to rose gold. This men’s and women’s collection includes charms, earrings, necklaces, bangles and bracelets.

What’s Available

I browsed the collection and found several pieces that I thought looked so cool, and the price tags were very affordable. I’m not the biggest Star Wars fan in the world, but even I found a few pieces that need to find a home in my jewelry box, and especially for my next trip to Disney. I’d love to see the Stormtroopers at Hollywood Studios while wearing Stormtrooper earrings! Check out a few of my favorites!

 

Darth Vader Black Diamond Sterling Silver Earrings

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I feel like no Star Wars movie premier is going to be complete without these earrings from the Dark Side. So much fun!

Rebel Alliance

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I’m all about necklaces with cute sayings, and this Sterling Silver Rebel Alliance necklace is a stylish and fun way of showing your fanhood.

To Have and to Hold

rings

Check out these Diamond Sterling Silver women’s and men’s rings. While they aren’t gold, these would still be awesome for wedding bands or promise rings for a Star Wars loving couple! r2d2

The R2-D2 and C-3PO charms would be perfect for a best friend charm for friends. Each friend could take one and when they are put together, they make a heart. So cute!

Check out the full Star Wars collection offered by Kay and let me know which designs are your favorites! Any pieces you can’t live without? Have a magical day – and may the force be with you! ~Amy ºoº

Why We Chose Animal Kingdom Lodge

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

After much debate within our family about our plans for our upcoming land and sea Disney vacation, I bit the bullet and made my decision. I booked a savanna view room for 3 nights at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. We will spend 1 day at Magic Kingdom, 1 day enjoying the resort and Disney Springs, and then wake up on our last morning and head to Port Canaveral for our Disney Dream cruise.

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Why We Chose Animal Kingdom Lodge

After researching Animal Kingdom Lodge, here are a few things that we are so excited to experience:

  • Uzima Springs Pool – this 11,000 square foot zero entry pool is one of the largest pools at WDW, and feature a 67 foot water slide.

Samawati Springs Pool at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge featuring zero-depth entry and a long slide

  • Participating in bead activities that allow the kids to learn about African culture and animals. After the activity is over, everyone is given a bead to add to their string of memories. The bead serves as a reminder of what they have learned.
    String of Memories
  • Night vision animal viewing from the lobby! My kids are going to flip over this one, and quite honestly, I will too! I’m mildly obsessed with giraffes, and I can’t wait to be able to see them up close and personal!
    Image result for night vision animal kingdom lodge
  • Participating in a culinary tour of Sanaa or Boma. I heard about this one from a friend, and you even get samples of the food. Squee!!! I’ve never been to either of these restaurants, so I can’t wait to see them for myself. We have breakfast reservations at Boma for our down day.

Image result for sanaa or boma

  • This view from our room is going to be incredible! I can’t wait to see the animals while enjoying some peace and quiet on the balcony. I can feel myself relaxing just thinking of it!
    Image result for animal kingdom lodge savannah view worth it

Where Would You Choose?

We are about 5 months away from our trip. The more I learn about the resort the more excited I get. We only have 1 full day to enjoy the resort, and that day is going to be jam packed! My husband would like to be able to sleep in after the 15 hour day I have planned at Magic Kingdom, but there isn’t time for sleeping at Disney World! Have you stayed at Animal Kingdom Lodge? Any advice for me? Am I missing anything? I need all the help I can get on this one because after staying at Pop Century on our prior trips, this resort is going to blow my mind! Have a magical day! ~Amy ºoº

Make Your Vote Count

We are roughly 200 days away from our next Disney trip, and I’m coming to you today because I need advice! I can’t make up my mind about what we should do on our next trip. Who else should I turn to but our trusted Mouse & Monorail readers for their input and opinions. So here goes…

We are taking our family on another Disney cruise in late May 2017 for our son Roo’s 6th birthday. It will be my husband, our 2 sons (ages 10 and 6) and myself. I know that there is simply no way I can cruise from Port Canaveral and NOT visit Walt Disney World. The question then turns to, “what do I want out of our next Disney trip?” We are wanting to be there for a couple of nights before our cruise, and we don’t want to break the bank. Here are a few options I’m tossing around:

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Option 1: Stay in a value or moderate resort, perhaps Pop Century or Caribbean Beach. We would purchase a 1 day water parks and more tickets and visit Magic Kingdom and Typhoon Lagoon. We haven’t visited the WDW water parks yet, so this would be fun and new for us. The boys love water parks, and I think with their ages there would be plenty to do to keep us all happy.

typhoon-lagoon-surf-pool-gallery03

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Option 2: Once again stay in a value or moderate resort, and purchase 2 day tickets. We would visit Magic Kingdom and either Epcot or Animal Kingdom. I would like to see the new Animal Kingdom light show when it comes out, but a date hasn’t been set for that. The kids would probably enjoy Animal Kingdom (especially Expedition Everest) more than Epcot, but Jeremy and I fell in love with Epcot on our last trip. I’d love to really explore Epcot more, and allow them to see all the fun things around the World Showcase. And hello, Soarin’ and Test Track!

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Option 3: Skip the parks all together and splurge on a savanna room at Animal Kingdom Lodge. This resort is on my bucket list, and I would absolutely be in heaven waking up and seeing the giraffes outside my room. If we picked this option, we would probably explore the resort, eat at restaurants we’ve never tried, play in the pools and visit Disney Springs. We might even get tickets to La Nouba by Cirque de Soleil. It would truly be 2 days of relaxation enjoying the resort amenities to the fullest. I’d also like to do the starlight safari at Animal Kingdom.

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So those are a few of my ideas. What do you think? Which option would YOU pick if it were your trip? Feel free to throw out other ideas in the comments. I’m truly open to all suggestions, and can’t wait to hear which choice you would pick. Have a magical day! ~Amy ºoº

Saving Money at Disney World

Saving Money at Disney World

When it comes to traveling to Disney World, I’m always looking to save as much money as possible, especially considering that it is a pretty hefty investment to get a family of 4 to the most magical place on Earth. I’ve researched a lot before our all of our trips and found plenty of great information. These tips are some of the best I’ve found for keeping things low cost while enjoying your stay.

Saving money on a Disney vacation is a lot easier than you would think. Try our tips on your next trip and see how much you can save!

 

Celebration Buttons

If you are celebrating at Disney, Disney is going to celebrate with you! They offer free buttons for birthdays, honeymoons, first visits, anniversaries, family reunions, and general “I’m Celebrating” buttons. Wear your button, every day of your trip! They write in permanent marker on the bottom of the button what you are celebrating so you could put anything from “I’m Pregnant!” or “School is Over!” to “I’m Retired.” You also never know what kind of cool freebies or attention you might get just for wearing your button. Celebration buttons are free and are saving money at Disney World.

Autographed Photos

When checking into our Disney resort, I made sure to mention that it was Tigger’s birthday trip, and they asked me what his favorite character was. On our last day, we had a signed photo of Buzz and Woody waiting for us in our room. Tigger was thrilled, and I love the free keepsake we got!

 

Memory Maker

While not an actual freebie, make sure to take advantage of the Memory Maker photographers. It is free for them to take the pictures, and you can always decide when you get home if you want to purchase any pictures. If you don’t purchase the MemoryMaker, the photographers are still happy to use your camera or phone to take pictures. All you have to do is ask!

Memory Maker is not free, but it is another way to be saving money at Disney World

Park Maps

Maps are available at all the parks. Make sure to grab a handful to bring home. They make good souvenirs of your trip to remind you of all the attractions you did on your trip. Try our tutorial for making a craft with the maps you bring home. They can also be helpful for planning future trips.

 

Stickers

Cast members are loaded with stickers free for the taking. Just smile and ask and see what characters you come up with. Definitely makes a fun souvenir for school friends, and it doesn’t cost you a dime!

Stickers are saving money Disney World.

Ice water

I know this doesn’t sound very exciting, but you can score free cups of ice water at any Disney quick service restaurant. Pack a few containers of flavored drink mix into your backpack, and you can save TONS by not buying drinks. With the heat in Orlando, the water is so much better for you than soft drinks. By using flavor drops, kids won’t even realize that they aren’t drinking soft drinks.

Saving money Disney World includes getting free water!

Bring Your Own Food

Disney will let you take food and drink into the park. I packed a small soft sided lunch box filled with gummies, crackers, cookies and cereal bars to tide us over without having to spend tons on snacks. It definitely comes in handy when you are waiting in a long line and the kids are “starving” and can’t wait until the ride is over to eat!

I hope you’ve enjoyed my freebies and money savers, and please comment with any other ways to save money at Disney. Remember, every dollar saved gets you one dollar closer to your next trip!

How to Plan a Disney Vacation in 2017

Plan a Disney Vacation in 2017

Plan Disney vacation with our easy tips.

In case you haven’t heard the news, on June 21st package rates will be released for 2017 travel to Walt Disney World. Packages include rooms and tickets to the parks. If you think that you want to visit WDW in 2017, but don’t know where to begin, here are some of our helpful resources that can help you get ready to plan the trip of your dreams.

Travel Agents

Walt Disney World can be very overwhelming for newbies. Travel agents can take care of the details for you so you don’t have to worry. If you book through an authorized Disney Vacation Planner, you know you are getting an expert, and the best part…you don’t have to pay anything for the service! Disney pays them for you! If you have questions on using a TA, listen to our podcast all about the services travel agents can provide for you. You can find each of our travel pages here: Jolly Holidays by Sarah, Main Street Memories by Meredith, and Tomorrowland Travels with Amy.

Where to Stay

Plan Disney vacation and learn where to stay.

You can check out our posts on which Disney World Resort is right for you. My part 1 post includes value and moderate resorts, and part 2 includes deluxe resorts and villas.  Our family loves Pop Century, a value resort, but other families may favor more deluxe accommodations. Sarah has covered why her family loves Port Orleans French Quarter and Disney’s Contemporary Resort.

Dining Plan

After covering where to stay, you’ll need to decide if the dining plan is right for your family. Listen to our podcast where we dished on Dining. Read what I shared in December about how I got out of my Disney dining comfort zone on the plan and loved every second of it.

Other Considerations

Would your family like the Memory Maker PhotoPass? How can you take the best pictures possible to remember this trip forever?

Plan Disney vacation and get your FastPasses early!

Wondering what in the world FastPass+ is? What about how to beat the heat in Orlando? We’ve got you covered on those topics too!

Lastly, check out my Top 5 Know Before You Go Tips. These tips will help you plan a Disney vacation with a lot less stress. Use the search button at the top of this page to check for anything else you might be wondering about or email us your questions at mouseandmonorail (at) gmail (dot) com.

Need to plan your Disney vacation and don't know where to start? Check out our best tips for easy planning and stress free Disney fun!

We would love to answer any questions you have! Will 2017 be the year for you and your family?

Free Dining at Disney – Is It Right For Me?

In case you haven’t heard, Disney has released free dining dates for this fall. Guests are eligible for free dining plans when they purchase a non-discounted 5-night/6-day Magic Your Way package that includes a room at a select Disney Resort hotel and tickets with Park Hopper or Water Park Fun & More Option.

  • August 23 – October 1, 2016
  • November 15 – November 21, 2016
  • November 26 – November 28, 2016
  • December 10 – December 21, 2016

The dining plan offer depends on which resort level you are staying at.

The following resorts are excluded from the free dining offer: Campsites, 3-bedroom villas, Disney’s Art of Animation Resort—The Little Mermaid Standard Rooms, the Bungalows at Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows, The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort and Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter. Disney’s Port Orleans – Riverside is excluded during the following dates: November 15 to 21, November 26 to 28 and December 10 to 21, 2016.

So what’s the catch you ask? Why wouldn’t someone want free dining? As someone who has traveled to Disney twice with free dining offers, I personally know the value this offers to a family traveling on a budget. We have eaten like kings at Disney with the free dining, and I know that I would have been pinching pennies if we were paying out of pocket.

BUT…

Many people have come to expect free dining offers in the fall at Disney and with that comes larger crowds. Larger crowds mean more time waiting in lines and it’s harder to obtain reservations at your first choice restaurants. Disney has also blocked out most of the month of October this year, which had historically been open for free dining. It seems as though Disney has caught on to the high number of school systems that have fall breaks now, and they have no reason to discount that season anymore. Many people spent hours and hours on hold with Disney on Monday only to find out that due to limited availability at each resort, they couldn’t have the discount applied.

It’s a tough call on whether or not the value of the free dining is worth it anymore. For many it is….for others, it would mean changing travel dates, choosing a different resort with availability or adding park hoppers which could make the overall cost of the trip more expensive.

For reference on the value of free dining, here is a breakdown of the prices for the 2016 dining packages at Disney.

Untitled pictureWe had an anniversary trip planned for December 2015 to Disney. I had already booked our reservations prior to the release date for free dining, and added the regular dining plan to our reservation. I figured that if free dining was released for our dates, then that would be wonderful. If not, at least I knew that our meals were already budgeted for, and it was one less thing I had to worry about paying out of pocket for. Our reservation totaled a little over $1600 for our vacation, including the dining plan. Our dining plan was $480.32 of our total. We were not doing park hopper passes on this trip. Here is my personal experience:

When the free dining dates were released for last year, I found out that our reservation was outside the booking window. Out of sheer curiosity, I played around with our reservation dates and checked out the prices. That year was the first time that Disney has had the caveat that in order to qualify for free dining, guests must purchase either a Park Hopper pass or a Water Park Fun and more option. They did the same thing for 2016 free dining qualifications. We are staying at a value resort, and I would have had to upgrade to the regular dining plan (personal preference here) and pay the difference, as well as upgrade our tickets to a Park Hopper pass. Because of this, I was actually going to end up paying more out of pocket, just for the “perk” of free dining. It took our $1600 vacation to just under $1800, so I would have ended up paying almost $200 more for free food.

It was an easy decision for me for that trip – no free dining. However, when free dining isn’t an option, you can always look for a room discount to come out to save a little money.  All things considered, I just added the free dining to a package for a client of mine and saved her family close to $1300!

So, when considering the value of free dining at Disney, ask yourself if the discount is worth it to your family. In our case for our last trip it wasn’t, but it might be perfect for your family! What are your thoughts on free dining at Disney? Let’s chat in the comments. ~A ºoº

The Mouse & Monorail Kids Talk Disney Cruise Line

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Not only do the moms behind The Mouse and the Monorail love Disney, but our kids are crazy about Disney too! Today we check out what the kids of the Mouse and Monorail think about cruising with Disney. Here’s a hint…they love it, especially the food and the kids clubs!

My boys, Tigger and Roo, and Meredith’s girls, Boo, Belle and Bubbles, have sailed on the Disney Dream. Sarah’s girls, Tinkerbell and Periwinkle, sailed on the Disney Magic. I think all of our kids can’t wait for their next Disney cruise. Enjoy the video! ~Amy ºoº

Epcot: A Free Printable Guide

Epcot Guide

Epcot is a gorgeous park to visit.

Epcot is the park at Walt Disney World that you may be tempted to skip – but please don’t! There is so much to see, do and EAT at Epcot! Epcot covers 300 acres, and is broken down into 2 sections: Future World and The World Showcase. Future World also includes Imagination! Pavilion, Innoventions East, The Land Pavilion, and The Seas with Nemo & Friends. The World Showcase includes pavilions from 11 countries around the world.

Dining in Epcot

There are almost 75 dining options at Epcot, and that doesn’t include special events such as the Food & Wine Festival or the Flower & Garden Festival when food carts are added! Epcot is definitely THE park to visit if you are foodie! I’ll be honest that, in the past, I didn’t have much love for Epcot, but that all changed on our recent anniversary trip to Walt Disney World, sans kids. It gave us the chance to actually take our time and really take in all that Epcot has to offer.

I’m going to take a moment of silence for the Del Mar seafood grill at La Hacienda de San Angel. Hands down, the best Mexican food I’ve ever eaten. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.

Learning While on Vacation

Beyond the food, Epcot is amazing at allowing you to explore new technology in Future World, and visit countries around the World Showcase. Attractions such as Test Track and Sum of All Thrills combine the latest technology with science and turn it into rides. You (and your kids!) are doing science while you are having fun. Total win/win!

Epcot has great learning rides like Spaceship Earth.

I fell in love with Epcot on a trip without kids, but do not fear if you are visiting Epcot with kids! Epcot offers Agent P’s World Showcase Adventure in the countries of the World Showcase, and it is so much fun! You receive a phone type device, and are given clues as though you are a secret agent from Phineas and Ferb. It is so much fun and really makes you slow down and explore the countries to try to solve your clues. We loved it! Kids also can get a Passport to get stamped in the countries, as well as do free crafts and activities with the cast members in each country. I think this was a genius idea from Disney to help parents to entertain their kids around the World Showcase.

Unique Activities in Epcot

In addition to touring the amazing pavilions, each country features food, drinks, souvenirs, experiences and shows. For example, you may hear a mariachi band in Mexico, and see Chinese acrobats in China. You might want to check out the Pick-A-Pearl in Japan, or shop for authentic Moroccan jewelry. Perhaps you would like a drink? Get a beer in Germany, a shot of tequila in Mexico, or a glass of wine in Italy. Not a drinker? How about trying some authentic snacks! Try school bread in Norway, a pastry in France and sushi in Japan.

Epcot Snacks in France.

Click on these links to get your free guides to all the Future World Attractions  and World Showcase Attractions for Epcot. Please note that especially for the countries in Epcot, even if an attraction isn’t listed, the pavilion itself is an attraction! Take your time to explore the nooks and crannies of each country. Don’t forget that Illuminations – Reflections on Earth can be seen from all pavilions. The Mouse and the Monorail Guide to Epcot

If you are planning a trip to Epcot, take the time to explore the menus and attractions before your trip. Print out our guide so you don’t miss anything fun or yummy! Don’t forget to print out our Magic Kingdom guide to go with this one!

Magic Kingdom: A Printable Guide

Magic Kingdom Guide

When someone says they are going to Walt Disney World, 9 times out of 10, they have the Magic Kingdom in their mind. For anyone who has never visited Magic Kingdom, or maybe you haven’t visited in many years, there is a ton of stuff to see and do! But, it can be overwhelming if you don’t know what to expect. Magic Kingdom is broken down into lands that are like spokes on a wheel, with the center of the wheel being the main attraction, Cinderella Castle. The other lands include the following: Main Street, U.S.A., Adventureland, Frontierland, Liberty Square, Fantasyland and Tomorrowland.Entrance Walt Disney World Resort

Free Printable Guide

Each section of Magic Kingdom has unique theming, architecture, attractions, food and music. If you pay attention as you are going to one land from another, you can see a slow transition of design, even with things as simple as flowers and plants, to which kind of music you hear playing in the background. Disney does fantastic at transitioning their guests into new experiences. They do such a good job, for example, that you won’t even get a glimpse of the castle from the heart of Adventureland. You know why? Because you can’t find castles in the jungle!

The Mouse and the Monorail Free Printable Guide to the Magic Kingdom

Magic Kingdom Attractions and Dining

To make it easier to plan a trip to Magic Kingdom, I’ve broken down the attractions and dining options by section throughout Magic Kingdom. Attractions with height requirements are indicated with the measurements necessary to ride. I’ve also listed whether the dining option is quick service, table service, or snack service. You can view the guide below and print it here:  Magic Kingdom AttractionsMagic Kingdom Attractions_Page_1

Magic Kingdom Attractions_Page_2

Magic Kingdom covers 142 acres, and it’s the smallest of the Walt Disney World parks! Preparation is key to having an enjoyable Disney vacation. Study YouTube and My Disney Experience for rides, attractions and menus to see what you know your family would love – or what you can mark off your list!

Helpful Tips

elsaandanna

Print this guide and put it in your park bag with your notes before you begin your day. Take your highlighter or pen to the pages! Don’t by shy when it comes to marking it up and checking off the things you want to do. I hope you find this guide to Magic Kingdom helpful. Check out our Epcot guide too!

Disney Dining : How I Got Out of My Comfort Zone

I’m a creature of habit. Always have been, and probably always will be. I tend to make safe choices, and when that comes to Disney, that means choosing restaurants that we’ve enjoyed in the past. When we started planning our December anniversary trip to Disney, I told my husband that we were only going to eat at restaurants that we have never eaten at before. This was going to be a trip of firsts, and trying new dining options was at the top of the list.

I started off by mapping out my park days and a loosely set touring plan. We didn’t have park hoppers, so my choices for dining were either going to be resort restaurants, or park restaurants. After I set my basic plans and knew what days I wanted to be in each park, I started checking menus to see prices and entree choices.

We were on the dining plan, and I knew that I was going to be “that” person that chose the most expensive option just to get my moneys worth out of the dining plan. We had 4 sit down meals to choose, and after checking out the menus of what we thought we would like, we settled on:

Dinner at Be Our Guest. This was our first meal of the trip, and it set the bar high. My husband loves Beauty and the Beast, so dining in the Beast’s castle was a huge hit for him. The decor was amazing, and the entire experience was fantastic. We both ate the grilled strip steak with garlic-herb butter, vegetables and pommes frites. The steak was cooked to perfection and the french fries dipped in the sauce (basically mayo with garlic) were so yummy. We left full and totally satisfied.

Our second restaurant choice was dinner at Minnie’s Holiday Dine at Hollywood & Vine. This is a buffet restaurant at Hollywood Studios.The food was really good and fresh, but the lobster mac and cheese is what won me over. That and the dessert selections.

Can we just have a moment of silence for whoever invented the chocolate fountain, because wow. So yummy! 

Hollywood and Vine was a good restaurant with lots of food choices on the buffet. I wouldn’t hesitate to go back.

I kinda broke my own rules with our 3rd choice when I picked The Garden Grill at Epcot because we have eaten there before, but I went with it because we’ve never eaten breakfast there. And I scored pre-park opening breakfast which made it even better. This was such a fun meal. It’s the same characters as dinner (Chip, Dale, Mickey and Pluto), and the interaction is just as great. It’s a family style meal, and there was so much food! We ate until we were stuffed, and there was so much leftover. I highly recommend this dining choice, and if you can get pre-park reservations, you are right there by Soarin’, so you can just scoot over as soon as you get done eating.

Our last reservation choice was dinner at La Hacienda de San Angel in the Mexico pavilion in Epcot. Y’all. This meal was incredible. We ordered the Del Mar mixed grill for 2 and it comes with shrimp, fish, scallops and vegetables, served with beans and fresh salsas. The food was hands down the best food we ate at WDW, and the best Mexican food I’ve ever eaten. My husband nearly lost a few fingers when he tried to steal some of my scallops off my plate. My mouth still starts watering when I think about the cheesy sauce they put on the corn. We picked chocolate mouse and an empanada for dessert and they were both delicious. I would LOVE to go there again! 

When picking dining options at Walt Disney World, it is important to keep in mind what you know your family (especially picky eaters) will enjoy, but don’t be afraid to branch out and try something new. Browse the menus and see what all is out there. I’m so glad we tried some new restaurants, and I can’t wait to pick a few more new ones to try out on our next trip. What are your favorite restaurants at WDW? Any place you are dying to try? Let’s chat in the comments! Have a great day! ~Amy ºoº

Security Changes at Walt Disney World

So it’s finally official – metal detectors have made their appearance at Walt Disney World. I personally think it is long overdue, but especially after the scare a few weeks ago with a man trying to get a loaded pistol into Magic Kingdom. Disney has done a good job of performing bag checks for ages, but guests that didn’t have a bag or backpack weren’t screened. These leaves an obvious gaping hole in the Disney security plan. This process of using the metal detectors is brand new – starting today – and for the time being is going to be a random screening process. I’m not sure exactly how the random screening will work without some guests feeling as though they are being discriminated against. I would rather them have multiple metal detectors at all the entrances, and all guests have to walk through them before entering the park. 

During our trip last week we did see a much more visible security presence, especially around the entrances to the parks. There were lots of WDW security, in addition to Orange County deputies and K9 units around. There was never a single time in the parks or the Disney Springs area where I felt like I was at risk of anything. Disney does a really good job at making you feel safe inside the parks, and this is just one more step in keeping with the times. Also keep in mind, that security often times wear plain clothes, and you don’t even realize that they are around you.

Other security changes include a rather controversial policy in the social media world that no one over the age of 14 will be allowed to wear costumes – even to the Halloween parties.  I’m personally not a fan of this new policy and hope they revisit it before Halloween next year.  Part of the magic of Disney includes the fantasy side of the fun, and I feel as though this crosses the line. If they are worried about adults in costumes, then make all the Halloween party guests enter through metal detectors. Problem solved. Toy guns are also now prohibited, and Disney has removed toy guns from its retail locations at the resort.

So that’s the changes so far for security around Walt Disney World. Similar changes are in the works for other Disney parks. What are your thoughts on the new security changes at Walt Disney World? Let’s chat in the comments. ~Amy ºoº