Ultimate Disney Packing Guide

Ultimate Disney Packing Guide

Ultimate Disney Packing Guide

Packing for a trip to Disney can be overwhelming. It’s so easy to forget things that you need and over pack with things you won’t end up using. We have compiled a list of the basics to get you started packing for your next Disney vacation. This list is going to cover the broad categories, and we will assume that you are going to pack basic things like underwear, socks and deodorant. Please don’t forget the deodorant!

First of all, if you are anything like me you will WAY over pack. Live and learn that if you forget it, it’s okay! Chances are your Disney resort gift shop will have it. The gift shops are stocked with essentials. If the resort gift shop doesn’t have what you need, you can always drive to one of the convenient Walmart stores in the area, or even have items delivered. If you are missing some baby essentials, hit the parks. The baby care stations in the Disney theme parks have diapers, wipes, baby food and even children’s medication for sale.

If you are flying to Disney, you will need to make sure you keep your MagicBands in your carry on luggage. You will need them if utilizing Disney’s Magical Express.

Ultimate Disney Packing Guide

Let’s get started packing! Here is our Disney packing list:

Packing List

Clothing
Seasonally appropriate clothing
Raincoat/Poncho
Light Jacket
At least 2 pairs of shoes
Flip flops/sandals for pool
Swimsuit
Socks

Ultimate Disney Packing Guide

Park Bag
Snacks
Gum
Water bottles
Water flavoring drops
Sunscreen
Sunglasses and/or hat
Small first aid kit
Moleskin/blister blockers
Medication (as needed)
Wet wipes/baby wipes
Hand sanitizer
Feminine products
Personal fan mister
Glow sticks

ultimate disney packing guide

Other Items for the Park
Stroller and rain cover
Camera bag
Backpack/Purse
Ziploc or dry bags for electronics, in case of rain or wet rides

Electronics
Camera and/or video camera
Smartphone with My Disney Experience app downloaded
Portable chargers and cords
Batteries and SD card for camera

ultimate disney packing guide

Personal Items
Travel documents (hotel confirmation, rental car confirmation, etc).
Driver’s License/ID Card
Membership card (DVC, Visa, etc.)
MagicBands/Park Tickets
Wallet/Purse
Spending Money

We have our packing list available as a free download for you!

ultimate disney packing guide

As you pack, please remember our ultimate Disney packing guide is not all inclusive. If you are taking several electronic devices, check out Meredith’s tips on keeping your devices charged on the go. As always, please review the park rules for Walt Disney World to make sure you aren’t packing a restricted item! Have we left off anything from our list that you think is essential? Let’s chat in the comments! ~Amy ºoº

Hidden Secret: Relaxation in the Rainforest on Disney Cruise Line

Ssshhhh…..I’m about to let you in on one of the best kept secrets for Disney Cruise Line: the Rainforest Room in the Senses Spa & Salon.

The Rainforest Room is a hidden gem in the Senses Spa on board all of the Disney cruise ships. Each Rainforest room is slightly different, but each of them feature the same idea – rest and relaxation at an affordable price! This limited access area is available to guests as a single day pass, or a pass for your entire voyage. Because there are a limited number of passes sold, the Rainforest room will never be too crowded. I purchased the single day pass on our last Disney cruise, and it did not disappoint! Let me show you around!

The Changing Room

Rainforest Room

When you enter the Senses Spa, you are given a bracelet that allows you to access the Rainforest room, and taken to the appropriate changing room. Trust me on this…these changing rooms aren’t your typical locker rooms. These are amazing! Marble counter tops, immaculately clean, and amenities to boot! There were vast supplies of complimentary spa quality lotions, soaps, and razors and you can even borrow hair dryers. The shower stalls were very spacious and super clean. There are stacks of plush towels and you are given a robe and flip flops to wear around the spa.

Rainforest Room
Rainforest Room

Bonus Tip!

The changing room showers at Senses Spa are available to you throughout your cruise – with or without a visit to the Rainforest Room. I ended up showering in the changing room showers at the spa a few times. The showers are very large, super clean and the complimentary spa products are amazing! It was nice having a larger area to get ready in when we were all cleaning up for dinner.

Rainforest Room

Each locker is very spacious and you use a custom numerical combination for the lock. You just need to remember which locker you choose, and the combination. Don’t worry – if you have a problem the spa staff are there to help!

Rainforest Time!

When you’ve gotten your stuff into your locker, now it’s time to get ready for the Rainforest room. First thing to know….everyone wears a swimsuit! The Rainforest room is co-ed, and no nudity is allowed!

Rainforest Room

Once you enter these doors, get ready for rest and relaxation!

Rainforest Room

The first thing you will notice is how beautiful it is. There is stone work everywhere, and the whole environment oozes calm and serenity. When you enter the Rainforest room, enjoy a cool glass of fruit-infused water or a cup of hot tea before you head into the shower room.

Rainforest Room

This is where the fun begins! The Rainforest shower room has five aromatherapy showers, each of which have different water temperatures, scents and strengths. Some are truly relaxing with warm or hot water, and others are more invigorating with cool or cold water. Check out the options and then hang your spa robe up on the hook outside the shower and try it out. Since everyone is wearing swimsuits, you don’t have to worry about it being co-ed. I loved the shower experience. I wasn’t a big fan of the super cold showers, but the warm showers were amazing!

Rainforest Room

When you are done showering, it’s the perfect time to check out the heated ceramic loungers. These are usually in high demand, so you may have to wait for just a bit for one to free up. Trust me, it’s worth the wait. The angle of the loungers were perfect for relaxing, and they are just warm enough to make you want to fall asleep and take a nap. Feel free to take a book with you, or doze off. However you choose to relax is up to you. I absolutely loved the loungers. My only problem is that I don’t have one at home!

Rainforest Room

The heated loungers overlook the ocean for a truly relaxing experience at the spa. I visited the Rainforest room on our Nassau day, so my view was another cruise ship which was cool in other ways. I enjoyed chilling out while watching the activities on board the Royal Caribbean ship next to us!

On the Disney Dream there are two hydrotherapy Jacuzzi tubs right off the the heated lounger room. These have the same view as the lounges do. One Jacuzzi tub was a regular hot tub with – you guessed it – hot water. The other tub was cooler water and it was Heaven! I loved soaking in the cooler tub enjoying the view.

Rainforest Room

After I was sufficiently water logged I checked out the steam rooms: the
Laconium, the Caldarium, and the Steam Hamam. I only visited these in passing because being hot just isn’t my thing. I live in Alabama. I have enough heat and humidity in my every day life.

Rainforest Room

I spent several hours at the Rainforest enjoying the amenities. For the price point and relaxation, it is definitely something I would do again on our next Disney cruise.

Know Before You Go

  • Day passes are available for purchase before you board by calling 1-800-601-8455, or you can purchase multi-day and couples multi-day passes when you board.
  • If pre-purchased, Day passes are $16 plus 18% gratuity.
    The Day passes are $27 if purchased on board.
  • The passes allows you entry for as long as you want for an entire day, or you can come and go as you like. It’s up to you!
  • Guests must be 18 years of age to enjoy the Rainforest Room.

Have you visited the Rainforest Room on a Disney Cruise Ship? If so, what did you think? If you haven’t tried it out, is this something you would like? Let’s chat in the comments! ~Amy ºoº

7 Ways to Beat the Heat at Walt Disney World

Extra magic hours are a great reason to stay on property at Disney World.

If you are planning at trip to Walt Disney World you need to know that Orlando can be H-O-T! The average temperature in the summer months is in the mid 90’s, and the humidity can be brutal. I’ve lived in Alabama my whole life, and the summer still kicks my tail. If you are from a cooler climate, I can promise you that you will experience heat like never before if you visit Walt Disney World in the middle of August. It isn’t just the heat that is oppressive, it’s the humidity which will suck the life out of you. If you are traveling to Walt Disney World during the hotter months of the year, you need to be prepared. Here are 7 ways to beat the heat and stay cool at Walt Disney World Let’s get started!

7. Prepare before you leave home!

Guide to Buying Shoes for a Disney trip

Break out your walking shoes and hit the road to get used to physical exercise in the heat before you get to the parks. The average guest walks 8-10 miles a day at Walt Disney World. If you aren’t used to the heat or exercise, you are going to feel like death warmed over. If you are a professional couch surfer with the air conditioner blasting at 68 degrees, you will be in for a rude awakening at the parks. Spend some time outside just acclimating to moving around in the great (and hot) outdoors before you attempt to pull a 12 hour day at the parks. Bonus tip – make sure you are wearing comfy shoes that breathe!

6. Pack accordingly!

Visit your Walmart or sporting goods store before your visit and stock up on items that will help you stay cool. Check out frogg toggs, cooling rags that are amazing when they are wet. Whenever they start to get warm again, just run them back under some cool water, or throw some ice cubes in them, wrap them back around your neck and you will be good to go again.

Grab a few small spray bottles with cooling fans before your trip. They are usually available for purchase in the parks, but you will save tons by bringing them with you. Add some ice and water, and you will be ready to rock and roll. These are great for kids and adults, and are good at moving the hot, sticky air away from your face when the breeze has disappeared. You can even clip one on your stroller to keep your little ones comfortable. Don’t forget to throw in a hat or visor and shades in your bag to keep the sun at bay.

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When packing for your trip be sure to think carefully about the clothes you are putting in your suitcase. Avoid dark colors, and look for fabrics that breathe and dry quickly. I throw in a change of clothes in our bag for our kids because sweaty, wet clothes are miserable, and who wants a miserable and whiny kid at WDW? Not me!

Another bonus tip: throw in some diaper rash ointment and Gold Bond No Mess Powder Spray in your bag. The diaper rash ointment is great for irritated and damp skin (even for adults). The Gold Bond spray is a total game changer for anyone dealing with “chub rub”.

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5. Utilize Extra Magic Hours!

Walt Disney World Resort guests have the perk of being able to use Extra Magic Hours either in the morning or evening at the parks. The schedule is posted for the parks months in advance, and resort guests can either get into the parks before non-resort guests, or can stay later, depending on the schedule for that day. Use these hours wisely! If you get to the parks at 8:00 in the morning, you can spend several well planned hours hitting all the major attractions, eat lunch, and then take a few hours to relax during the hottest part of the day. After a break, head back to the parks for more fun. If Extra Magic Hours are offered during the evening, you can hit the parks until midnight, or even later, with the temperatures being much more manageable. 

4. Party After Hours!

Purchase Disney After Hours or Disney H20 Glow Nights tickets! Let’s start with Disney After Hours….These 3-hour nighttime events allow guests to enter the parks at 7:00 pm and enjoy attractions and experiences with little-to-no-wait time. You can find Disney After Hours at Magic Kingdom park, Disney’s Hollywood Studios or Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park! You will be able to have smaller crowds which will let you really enjoy popular attractions and Character Greetings. Ice cream, popcorn and select beverages are all included with the cost of admission! Tickets start at $125.

Cinderella Castle at dusk

At Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon, guests can enjoy the H20 Glow Nights where the water park atmosphere transforms into an electric celebration overflowing with splash-tastic surprises. Along with shorter wait times for popular waterslides, you can look forward to a:

  • DJ-hosted dance party on the sandy beaches of the Surf Pool
  • Playful mix of Toy Story-themed experiences including Character Greeting with Buzz Lightyear, Woody and Jessie
  • Tempting array of limited-time food and beverage offerings
  • Special area—The Wharf—just for adult partygoers, featuring entertainment and a bar with refreshing libations available for purchase.
A water tower sign reads Disney H2O Glow Nights and glowing water splashes Toy Story characters

Tickets for H20 Glow Nights start at $59, and are available on select nights from May to August.

3. Take a break!

Leave the parks during the hottest part of the day and spend a few hours either relaxing in your resort pool or taking a nap. You will need it because the heat just zaps energy, and the break will be well appreciated! After a few hours, you can head back to the parks and start the fun again.

Or, you can spend a day at one of Walt Disney World’s water parks, Typhoon Lagoon or Blizzard Beach, to beat the heat and have fun playing at the same time. Win/win!

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2. Get inside!

There are so many attractions around Walt Disney World that are inside! These are perfect for hot park days, or even for the inevitable pop-up showers that Orlando is so famous for. Plan accordingly to visit some of the most popular including Space Mountain, Mickey’s PhilharMagic, the indoor playground at Dumbo, all at Magic Kingdom. You can take time to watch stage shows like Festival of the Lion King and Finding Nemo at Animal Kingdom and the Frozen Sing-A-Long or Voyage of the Little Mermaid at Hollywood Studios. Plan to spend time exploring the the Living Seas Aquarium at Epcot. There are so many indoor attractions around Walt Disney World that are the perfect escape from the heat!

Taking a few minutes to pop into a quick service restaurant to have a cool drink, a scoop of ice cream or a snack is also a great way to beat the heat. Seek out the air conditioning and it will definitely improve your day!

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1. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! 

And by “hydrate” I mean to drink water! August in Orlando is not the time to attempt to drink your way around the World Showcase at Epcot. Tequila and 95 degree temps don’t mix well. Pack a water bottle or camelbak and drink, drink, drink! And don’t forget that all counter service restaurants will give you cups of ice water for free, so you can even save some money without purchasing bottled water. I made it a habit to get some ice water just about every time we saw a counter service restaurant, because by the time you feel thirsty, dehydration has already started. Stay ahead of it!

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So there you have it! My top 7 tips for beating the heat at Walt Disney World. Do you have any tips? Let’s chat in the comments! ~Amy ºoº

How To Make Money At Disney

Make Money at Disney

How to Make Money at Disney

Make money at Disney? YES, PLEASE!!

We recently returned from a family trip to Coronado Springs Resort at Walt Disney World. At check-in we were given the option of declining daily “mousekeeping” service in exchange for a $40 Disney gift card. For awhile now I’ve heard about these gift card offers, and I was glad that I got the chance to try it out for myself. The $40 Disney gift card was a nice bonus. I was curious to find out if our family of 4 (2 adults and 2 kids) could manage 5 nights in a hotel room without having any cleaning services.

Make Money at Disney

How It Worked For Us

In a nutshell, our family had absolutely no issues with skipping mousekeeping. We were able to request fresh towels from guest services as needed, and we also grabbed a pile of the pool towels to use for our boys when they needed a fresh towel. We had groceries delivered to the resort which left us with a big pile of trash from boxes. Our boys took the trash down the hall to one of the outside trash cans, and repeated the process as the trash cans in the room got full. It really worked out just fine for us. I made sure that we cleaned up along the way, and the whole process was definitely painless for our family.

Honestly, our family was neater during our trip to Disney than we are at home. We made sure to make the beds before we left for the parks in the morning, and that made a huge difference. We would straighten up the counters, remove trash and pile up the wet towels if it was time to swap them out. I kept most of our clothes in the suitcases, and would “straighten” them up before we left. It felt more vacation like when we arrived back “home” to a clean room.

Make Money at Disney

Something to Consider

Know your limitations and what you expect during your resort stay. If you look forward to someone else cleaning after you and your family on vacation, or making your beds up every day, this may not be the best choice for your stay.

Tips for Declining Mousekeeping

  1. Tidy up as you go. It made it much easier to come back into the room after a long day in the parks if you know the room isn’t a disaster zone.
  2. Be kind to guest services. They will bring you fresh towels and toiletries whenever you need it. Tipping is always a nice courtesy to them!

Opting out of mousekeeping services isn’t always a option given to every guest. You can request it to see if it is available when you check in. The Disney Gift Card offer worked just fine for our family stay. Would it work for your family? Would you consider giving up mousekeeping for some extra souvenir money? Let’s chat in the comments!

~Amy

All About Toy Story Land

Slinky Dog Dash

What’s the “Buzz” on Toy Story Land?

Image result for toystoryland

Everyone is anxiously awaiting the opening of Toy Story Land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Slated to open on June 30th, this land will allow guests to “shrink” down to toy size. We will have the chance to explore Andy’s backyard with Woody, Buzz, Jessie and the rest of the Toy Story gang! We promise that this land will be fun for kids – and kids at heart!

Set the Scene

Toy Story Land will be full of larger than life designs inspired by a playground in Andy’s imagination. You will see giant building blocks and board game pieces, and spot some of our favorite Toy Story characters around the land.

New Attractions

Toy Story land will feature the classic Toy Story Mania, with an upgrade! There will now be 3 tracks to allow higher capacity for riders. This is definitely one of the most popular attractions at Hollywood Studios, and we are very optimistic that the third track will shorten the wait time.

Attraction cars at the start of Toy Story Mania! at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Slinky Dog Dash is a family friendly coaster that will have guests zipping, dodging and dashing around turns and drops that Andy has created to make Slinky and his coils stretch to his limits. This attraction will be for guests 38″ and taller. Families will have rider swap offered as an option.

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Alien Swirling Saucers is inside a play set that Andy won at Pizza Planet.

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The concept art looks almost like bumper cars meets flying saucers. Rider swap will be offered, and guests must be 32″ tall to ride. We have to wonder one thing about this attraction…will you be chosen by the claw?!?

Concept art of Toy Story Land with a giant figure of Buzz Lightyear and the Alien Swirling Saucers spinner ride under 2 retro flying saucer shaped structures

Woody’s Lunch Box

You know that we can’t discuss this new and exciting land without discussing food! We are all about food at The Mouse and the Monorail, and we are so excited about the newest quick service dining option at Hollywood Studios, Woody’s Lunch Box. Guests can choose to eat breakfast, lunch and/or dinner at this super fun and unique restaurant. The menu features classic American food with a twist, old fashioned soda floats and Toy Story themed specialties. The Monte Cristo sandwich sounds out of this world (see what we did there!) and there seems to be many options to please even the pickiest eaters in your bunch.

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FastPass+

No trip to Walt Disney World can be complete without discussing FastPass+. We now know that Slinky Dog Dash, Alien Swirling Saucers and Toy Story Mania will be “Group A” options for Hollywood Studios. You can pre-select only 1 of those when you are making your FastPass+ reservations. You will also be able to pre-choose 2 other experiences at Hollywood Studios outside of Toy Story Land.

What to Expect

If you will be visiting Toy Story Land anytime in the immediate future be prepared! You should expect the following:

  • Lots of fun attractions and awesome food!
  • Crowds – you and everyone else will want to see Toy Story Land. Either roll with the crowds or wait it out!
  • High wait times – be patient! Leave those angry eyes at home!

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Disney Imagineers have gone above and beyond preparing this new land. They take even the smallest details into account, and we can’t wait to see everything this new land has to offer. Are you super excited about Toy Story Land? Let’s chat in the comments!

All concept photos, attraction photos and Toy Story Land photos are from Disney Parks Blog and disneyworld.disney.go.com

15 Tips for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party

Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party

15 Tips for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party has kicked off at Magic Kingdom, and a few of us were lucky enough to be at the first party of the year. If you are heading to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, we’ve put together some tips to help you get the most out of the party!

Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party

Maximize Your Park Time

This should be a no-brainer, but don’t leave early! Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is a hard ticket event. This means that you’re paying specifically for the party. That said, you’ll want to make the most of your money spent by enjoying the entirety of the party. There’s so much to see and do, you’ll need every single second! Christmas party ticket holders can get into the Magic Kingdom is early as 4 PM, and if you stay until midnight, you can get in a full day in the park for much less than a regular day ticket. Furthermore, don’t leave too soon! Make the most of your merriment.

Bonus tip – take the morning off from visiting other parks, relax and enjoy a pool day or wander through Disney Springs. Get an early nap, and then head to the park by 3:30, so you can enter exactly at 4pm. You will be charged and ready to party all night long! You can even schedule a few fastpasses before 6pm!

 

Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party

Catch The Second Parade

Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade is not to be missed. The parade runs two times during the party, at 8:30 and 11:00 pm. The first parade is definitely more crowded, so bypass that parade and knock out some rides or meet characters. When it is time for the 11pm parade, many of the crowd with young kids have cleared out. Bonus tip – some of the parade floats are scented, so remind your children to be using their noses to sniff the air during the parade!

 

Mickey's Very Merry Christmas PartyMickey's Very Merry Christmas Party

Ride Rides

Because a limited number of tickets are sold, you are guaranteed lesser wait times for some of the most popular rides at Magic Kingdom, including Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Space Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. We waited less than 20 min to ride Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, and 5 minutes for Space Mountain! Bonus tip – the park crowd really dies down by the end, and as long as you are in line for an attraction at midnight, you are guaranteed you will be able to ride, even if the party is over at midnight.

 

Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party

See Exclusive Characters

Party times are when Disney pulls out the high demand characters! At various places around the park you can expect to see all Seven Dwarfs, Moana, Jack Skellington as Sandy Claus, Scrooge McDuck, Santa Claus, Nick Wilde and Judy Hopps and more! Check out what characters are where when you arrive at the party, but don’t be upset if they change characters before your turn. Bonus tip – the lines for characters can be very long. If this is high on your priority list, try to schedule character times around the parade or other holiday shows.

Bust a Move

Nothing gets the party started like dancing with characters at the dance party locations! Bonus tip – practice your best silly dance moves and get into a dance off with a costumed character!

Mickey's Very Merry Christmas PartyMickey's Very Merry Christmas Party

Watch Holiday Wishes!

No one does fireworks like Disney, and Holiday Wishes will definitely not disappoint. It is a beautiful fireworks show set to very festive holiday music. We even got a little teary eyed! Bonus tip – if you can scope out a good spot directly in front of the castle for Holiday Wishes, stay there and catch the 10:30 stage show, and the 11:00 parade.

Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party

 

Catch the Last Stage Show

Enjoy the last stage show of Mickey’s Most Merriest Celebration. The crowd will be thinned out and you can score some great pictures up close! Bonus Tip – Pick a spot right behind the partners statue of Walt and Mickey and you will be front and center for the show!

Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party

Enjoy Sweet Treats

Stop at all the sweet treats stops and enjoy the yummy snacks that are complimentary! This year they have cookies, snow cones and even soft pretzels, hot chocolate, apple cider and eggnog! Bonus tip – be sure to bring a zip top bag to get extras and save them!

Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party

Use Your PhotoPass!

Make sure to stop and get party exclusive photo ops using your Photopass! Bonus tip –  don’t forget to get lots of pictures of you and your family or friends with the frozen castle backdrop and the Main Street Christmas tree! You may even have Tinkerbell added into some magic shots in her holiday finest!

http://mousemonorailandmore.com/diy-disney-ornament-ideas/

Catch the Snow!

Enjoy the “Florida snow” on Main Street during the party. It’s so beautiful and so much fun. Bonus tip – tell your kids not to try and catch the snow on their tongue…it’s really soap bubbles!

Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party

Shop ’til you Drop

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is the only place you can purchase exclusive party merchandise. Don’t miss it! Bonus Tip – Shop as soon as you get to the party. Party exclusive merchandise has been known to sell out quickly!

Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party

Frozen Holiday Wish

Don’t miss out on Frozen Holiday Wish because it only plays once during the actual party. This is THE show where Elsa uses her magical powers to freeze Cinderella Castle. Bonus tip – watch out for Queen Elsa’s other friends to make appearances during the show!

Choose Dinner Time Wisely

Plan dinner around when the first stage show or parade begins. The quick service restaurants will empty out as people move to enjoy the shows and parades. Bonus tip – Fill up on party goodies and choose a kids portion of nachos at Pecos Bill’s for dinner. You can thank us later!

Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party

Record Videos and Take Photos

Record videos and take lots of photos then combine them for a fun video you can watch with your family on Christmas Day! Bonus tip –  Take pictures WHILE you record a video on your iPhone by using that magic little button on the left hand side of your iPhone screen!

#VeryMerry

The official hashtag of the party is #VeryMerry. Make sure you are utilizing it on social media!  Bonus tip –  Have fun and upload a picture of yourself in front of the castle after it’s been frozen. You need to show your friends how much fun you are having!

Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party

One more Bonus Tip!

Whether you are attending the Christmas party this year, or have it on your bucket list for a future trip to Walt Disney World, one thing is for sure….Christmas shirts, Mickey ears and even Christmas pajamas are all the rage! You can coordinate outfits and plan for a super cute Christmas card to send out when you get back home!

Have you attended the Christmas party? Have any tips you would like to share with us? Be sure to check out more fun Disney Christmas fun here on blog! For more Christmas party info, be sure to see this post and this post for more general Disney Christmas fun. If you’d like to get crafty then check out this post, and this post, and this post too!

Merry Christmas from The Mouse and the Monorail!

Halloween Time at Disney’s California Adventure

Halloween Time at the Disneyland Resort this year was truly memorable! For the first time, BOTH parks were included in the festivities! Although Disneyland had some great Halloween decorations and fun, this post will focus on all the new things featured at Disney’s California Adventure!

Halloween Time at Disney’s California Adventure

Halloween isn’t particularly my favorite holiday, but Disney has a way of making this spooky time of year extremely fun! Let’s talk about all the magical things that came to DCA this Halloween season!Halloween Time in Disney's California Adventure

Decorations

From the moment you approach the turnstiles you’re faced with a giant Oogie Boogie atop the DCA entrance overlooking incoming guests! Walking down Buena Vista Street light posts are decorated with purple banners. Carthay Circle’s bell tower is coiled with spooky black bats, and there’s a statue of the Headless Horseman that’s particularly creepy at night!Halloween Time in Disney's California AdventureKeep your eyes peeled because you might spot some of your favorite characters dressed in their Halloween best!Halloween Time in Disney's California Adventure

Guardians of the Galaxy: Monsters after Dark

So you rescued the Guardians of the Galaxy from the grip of The Collector, but there’s one small problem. You left Groot behind! The Collector’s Fortress is also in a state of emergency as all the monsters have been let loose! Help Rocket go back to rescue Groot! This experience is completely different from what the ride is like during the day. I personally liked this theme over the regular attraction! If you have the chance, check it out before it’s gone for the year!Halloween Time in Disney's California Adventure

Cars Land

The most significant changes of the season are at Cars Land! Radiator Springs has completely transformed! Take a picture with your favorite costumed Car! Visit the Cozy Cone Motel for a variety of Halloween inspired treats including my favorite, the Spoke-y Cone Macaron! Make sure to ride Luigi’s Honkin’ Haul-O-Ween and Mater’s Graveyard JamBOOree!  As unbelievable as all the decorations are in the daytime you have to go back at night to see everything lit up and looking especially spooky!Halloween Time in Disney's California Adventure

More Information

Disney California Adventure is experiencing Halloween for the first time ever! Want to know what to expect? Read our best tips to know before you go! Halloween at Disney's California Adventure is going to be a spook-tacular time! #halloween #travel #dca #disneyFinally, If you’d like to read about my favorite Halloween time treats check out my last blog! If you’d like to hear about all the Halloween time fun at both Disneyland and DCA listen to Podcast Episode 95! I’ve really enjoyed Halloween time at the Disneyland Resort this year! I can’t wait to see what Christmas will bring! Stay tuned to find out!

Must Have Halloween Treats at Disneyland

Now that Halloween time is in full swing, I can share with you the best Halloween treats at Disneyland! In just the few weeks these special foods have been available, I’ve created a list of my top favorites.

Must Have Halloween Treats at Disneyland

Nearly every dining location has some special Halloween treat, so there’s a lot to choose from.Halloween Time at Disneyland is so much fun! One of the best parts is the food! Check out our list of the best Halloween treats at Disneyland so you'll know before you go!

Pumpkin Spice Brittle

If you’re a fan of peanut brittle and pumpkin seeds, then this is the treat to you! Each 6 oz. bag is available in Disneyland and DCA, and annual pass discounts are available! This is a great treat on the go or to take home as a souvenir to enjoy later!

Pumpkin Spice Caramel Milkshake

I found out about this treat through a post on Instagram and instantly knew I had to try it! Because my friend likes caramel, I had extra added to the shake. Regardless, this is a sweet treat for all pumpkin spice and caramel lovers alike! You can find this shake at Ghirardelli and annual pass discounts are accepted!

Pumpkin Spice Churro

Pumpkin spice churros are a great Halloween treat at DisneylandIn case you haven’t caught on, I love pumpkin spice and apparently so does Disney! There are definitely a large number of pumpkin or pumpkin spice flavored treats! Disney churros are already the best, so you can imagine how delicious these pumpkin spice ones taste! These can be found at the Cozy Cone Motel along with many other amazing goodies! Unfortunately, annual pass discounts are not accepted at the Cozy Cone Motel.

Campfire S’mores Funnel Cake

Smore's Funnel Cake is a delicious Halloween treat at Disneyland.You didn’t think everything would be centered about pumpkin did you? This delicious funnel cake combines the best aspects of S’mores and a traditional funnel cake! It’s great for sharing with your family and friends! You can find this funnel cake at the Stage Door Café! Annual pass discounts are accepted at this location!

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Halloween treats at Disneyland include pumpkin cheesecake.This is my last pumpkin item, I promise! I thought this would be my number 1 item as this has been my favorite treat in prior years! My favorite dessert is cheesecake so naturally pumpkin cheesecake is my go-to! I found this cheesecake at the Jolly Holiday Bakery, but it is available around both parks! Also, annual pass discounts are accepted!

Spider Silk Ice Cream Sandwich

Spider Ice Cream is a cool Halloween treat at Disneyland.This was very tough decision between the top 2 treats! This ice cream sandwich is composed of a black macaron with charcoal-tart cherry spun ice cream topped with popping candy and raspberry sauce! It was almost too pretty to eat! This delicious treat can be found at Clarabelle’s Hand Scooped Ice Cream; which is where you can also find the Kitchen Sink sundaes referenced in my Ice Cream blog! Annual pass discounts are not accepted here!

Spoke-y Cone Macaron

Drumroll please, my favorite treat of the season can be found at the Cozy Cone Motel! The Spoke-y Cone Macaron is filled with marshmallow buttercream and candy corn. I was afraid it was going to be too sweet, but after my second one, I was sold! This was definitely number one! I highly recommend you try this macaron! As mentioned, Cozy Cone Motel does not have annual pass discounts.

Although, this is a very small taste of the food offerings at the Disneyland Resort. I hope this helps guide you if you are unsure of what to try! I have not been able to try any of the savory treats, but some of the items on my radar were the “Ghost”-ly Pepper Nachos, Bison Blue Cheeseburger, and Dragon’s Breath Tacos! Click here for a full list of the Halloween foods offered at the Disneyland Resort! I hope you’ve enjoyed this list and have the chance to try some of these items on your next visit!

Disneyland Pin Trading Tips and Ideas

Did you know Disney parks are not all rides and shows and meeting Mickey? As you’ve gone throughout the parks, ever notice cast members wearing lanyards and sporting a variety of pins on them? Pins have always been a part of the Disney parks, but pin trading didn’t become popular until 1999. Pin trading is one of my favorite things to do when I visit Disneyland, but I love that I can also trade when I visit Walt Disney World! Here’s some things you need to know if you’ve considered pin trading on your Disney trip!Pin trading can be so much fun! We've got tips on what it is, how to do it, and what you need to get started. Make this part of your next Disney vacation fun!

Disneyland Pin Trading Tips and Ideas

First, for those of you who may have never heard of pin trading, or have been curious about it, there are some etiquette guidelines you should know! Guests can trade up to two Disney pins per cast member; this includes pin boards as well! Pins should be in good condition and able to be traded. You can’t trade a pin that is already on the cast member’s lanyard or board! For a full list of pin trading etiquette click here.Disneyland Pin Trading Tips

How to Get Started

Next, you may be wondering where do you begin? Many of Disney’s stores offer pin starter packs, some with lanyards and some without! If you’d like to choose your lanyard, I would suggest a pin starter pack that doesn’t include a lanyard. There are stores solely dedicated to pin trading where you can purchase just about any pin you want! Disney, Pixar, Star Wars, Marvel, Attractions, Villains, Tsum Tsum, you name it, Disney has it!

The Pins

Also, not all pins have to be traded! In addition to trading, I like collecting pins such as Limited Edition (LE) or mystery pins that I can purchase in the stores. Each month new pins are released that are a part of specific sets. Pins are also released for different events or seasons, such as Mickey’s Halloween Party or the return of Fantasmic! However, if you’re not looking for super fancy pins, the walls are lined with other less expensive options!Disneyland Pin Trading Tips

Ready to Trade

Finally, you have your pins, you have your lanyard, and you’re ready to go! Now the fun can begin! As you go throughout your day in the parks, keep an eye out for cast members with lanyards! Or if you’re doing your souvenir shopping some registers might have a pin board behind the counter, simply ask the cast members to show you the pins so you can trade. In addition to the parks, the hotels and Downtown Disney offer locations to trade as well.Disneyland Pin Trading Tips

Quick Tips

  • Cast Members may have some pins put on backward; these are “mystery trades.”
  • Some cast members may ask you Disney trivia before you trade just for added fun!
  • Certain stores may have pins displayed in boxes which you may not readily see, so when in doubt just ask a cast member if they have any pins for trading!

Disneyland Pin Trading TipsYou can trade with other guests in the parks, though they don’t have to trade with you! But it’s great to see what pins everyone else has in their collections! As your collection grows, you can purchase pin books to store and display all your pins! Most importantly, HAVE FUN!

Thanks to Disneyland contributor, Amanda, for this post and accompanying photos!

Mickey’s Halloween Party in Disneyland

With fall just around the corner, there are some things you can always count on. Leaves are changing color, pumpkin spice flavored EVERYTHING is hitting the stores, Halloween costumes are starting to appear, and, of course, Mickey’s Halloween Party at Disneyland! Believe it or not, kids are not the only ones who can enjoy this event! I’ve attended the Halloween Party for the past few years with just my friends, no kids, and had a great time! Let me tell you about the party and why adult-only trips are definitely an option!

Mickey’s Halloween Party in Disneyland

Each year I’ve attended Mickey’s Halloween Party something new is added to make the experience even better! Dressing up, trick-or-treating, themed food, fireworks, parades, character meet and greets, what more do I need to say?? Mickey’s Halloween Party at Disneyland is available for select nights starting September 20 to October 31. Click here for a full list of dates and prices! While there are many great perks about the Halloween Party, these are my best tips to help you maximize you experience.Mickey's Halloween Party in Disneyland

Costumes & Candy

What better way to feel like a kid again than trick-or-treating!? Not only are you already in a costume but you can have bountiful amounts of candy too! Even if you aren’t a big candy person, each treat trail includes a healthy alternative such as apple slices, carrots, goldfish, yogurt covered fruit, etc. It’s fun to coordinate costumes with friends or do something solo. Whether you buy a costume or Disney bound and make your own, just remember to have fun with it! Make sure you follow the costume guidelines so you don’t waste precious park time having to change!Mickey's Halloween Party in DisneylandPro Tip: Bring your own bag for candy! Disneyland provides you a small bag for free, but you WILL fill it up! I suggest buying a larger bag to hold all your candy!

Character Greetings

Remember as a kid when you’d wait in line to get Mickey’s autograph?? Who am I kidding I still do that! Mickey’s Halloween Party gives you the opportunity to meet so many characters in their Halloween inspired costumes! What’s even better is the chance to meet a variety of villains! Admission to this event gives you access to meet and greet some of the best villains including ones you may not see in the park throughout the day! If you’re dressed as your favorite character, what a great memory to have a picture with them!Mickey's Halloween Party in DisneylandPro Tip: If you arrive at the party when it begins, I would suggest meeting the villains that are in front of the Railroad station first before lines get too long later in the evening!

Fireworks/Parade

What I love most about the fireworks and parade is that they are exclusive to Mickey’s Halloween Party! I think it’s an added bonus to everything else that comes with your admission. This will be the second year that the Frightfully Fun Parade will premiere at the Halloween Party. I was able to see it last year and thought it was one of the best parades I’ve seen at Disneyland! It was so unique to see a parade dedicated to villains!Mickey's Halloween Party in DisneylandPro Tip: If you want to have a good seat for the fireworks and/or parade, you may want to plan that ahead of time so you can save a seat for a good view!

What’s new?

For the first time ever your ticket to Mickey’s Halloween Party grants you admission into Disney’s California Adventure 3 hours before the start of the party! This will also be the first year DCA is decorating for Halloween so if you arrive a little early to the parks, go check out the new decorations!Halloween at Disneyland is a frightfully good time! Read our best tips for attending Mickey's Halloween Party in Disneyland before you go! We'll tell you what to expect and whether or not it's worth it to attend.

I hope reading this has made you just as excited for Mickey’s Halloween Party as I am!

Thanks to Disneyland contributor, Amanda, for this post and photos!

Fantasmic Dining Package at Disneyland

I recently saw the newly re-imagined Fantasmic! as a part of my River Belle Terrace dining package. As promised in my last post, I want to give my thoughts on my experience. Read on for what to expect from a Fantasmic dining package at Disneyland.

Fantasmic Disney Package at Disneyland

First, it’s important to note that Disneyland is currently offering two Dinner packages. One package exists for River Belle Terrace and Blue Bayou, and one is an On-The-Go package at Hungry Bear Restaurant. Packages vary from $29.99 to $65.00 for adults and $19.99 to $25.00 for children. Each package includes a special menu and admission to a reserved viewing area for Fantasmic! Because I have never eaten at River Belle Terrace, I decided to choose their dining package. Reservations are encouraged and can be made 60 days in advance!Fantasmic at Disneyland Dining Package

Dining Experience

Dining is an experience unto itself. Each guest receives a 3-course dinner which includes a starter, entrée and dessert. Seating is available inside and outside. For an additional $15, guests can upgrade to premium 8:00 p.m. seating and watch the first performance of Fantasmic! from your seat on the outside patio! For guests who may not want to stand or sit on the ground during the show, this option may be good for you! Pro tip: Make upgrades to a dining reservations by calling ahead or by upgrading at the restaurant. Fantasmic at Disneyland Dining Package

The Food

Next, the River Belle Terrace offers a variety of BBQ inspired entrees. Starters include either a soup or salad. Entrees varied from Fried Chicken Sandwich, BBQ Pork Spareribs, Pulled Pork Sandwich, Beef Brisket Sandwich, and more! I went with the Pork Spareribs which comes with their signature baked beans and a choice of side. Sides include Tangy Coleslaw, Seasoned Tater Bites, Potato Salad, or Seasonal Vegetables!Fantasmic at Disneyland Dining PackageFor dessert, I chose the Maleficent Dragon. It was a Crunchy Milk Chocolate Base and a Spiced Dark Chocolate-Blackberry Ganache Center with Caramel Mousse and Orange-Vanilla Sauce! The other dessert option was fresh Strawberry Shortcake. When the guests are finished, cast members hand out tickets for reserved seating for the show. Overall, I am glad I tried this dining experience. It may not be my favorite restaurant in the park, but the food is definitely worth trying!

Fantasmic! 2.0

Furthermore, if you don’t do a dining package you still have the opportunity to watch Fantasmic! FastPass distributions are located at the FastPass machines along the Rivers of America adjacent to Frontier Landing. FastPass tickets reflect show time, return time, and where to return for show seating. Show times are at 9:00 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. The entire show lasts 27 minutes! Fantasmic! is back at Disneyland, and it's better than ever! Find out why we think you should book at Fantasmic! dining package on your next trip.

What’s New

Fantasmic! is my favorite show at the Disneyland Resort, and I was very eager to see it return with some new enhancements! First of all, the most notable change to the show included new costumes for the dancing monkeys and a Lion King overlay! Rapunzel and Flynn Rider now appear in the Princess sequence. Another important change is to the Columbia. Peter Pan is now Captain Jack Sparrow and a Pirates themed sequence! The new enhancements also included more water projections, more pyrotechnics, and a new soundtrack!Fantasmic at Disneyland Dining PackageI was pleasantly surprised with the new changes. Visitors to the Disneyland resort will definitely want to add this show to their must-see list!

Thanks to Disneyland contributor, Amanda, for this great post and accompanying photos!

Why You Should Visit Disney World Solo

Why You Should Visit Disney World Solo

Have you ever been on a vacation with a lot of people? Does it seem like you never get to do what you want? Have you wanted to just slow down and really soak in your surroundings? I recently discovered just how awesome planning to visit Disney World solo can be.How to Visit Disney World Solo

Why You Should Visit Disney World Solo

It’s not as crazy as it sounds. In fact, it can be a great experience. Read on for what I consider the top 3 reasons to visit Disney World solo.If you're planning a trip to Disney, consider a day alone. Why? A visit to Disney by yourself might be a refreshing new way to see an old favorite. Read our best reasons why you should visit Disney World solo, and start planning your trip today!

Your Pace, Your Way

When going on vacation with a large group, the individual can become lost. The hustle and bustle of trying to get everything possible done can become hectic. One can miss the small details that add to the magic of Disney. I recently went on a trip with nine others. I rarely had a chance to stop and smell the roses until I had my solo day. As I wandered around Epcot, I was able to really take in every country in the World Showcase. I was able to take my time through the gardens of each country and have the most delicious lunch in the France pavilion. I was able to do all of this with no one pushing me to move along or hurry up. There was no schedule to keep up with, and no one else’s desires to appease.How to Visit Disney World Solo

Timing is Everything

Doing a solo day can give one the freedom to be spontaneous. Not worrying about a schedule can create incredible freedom. We’re always on the run. Work, school, children, families. We don’t often have the luxury of seeing something we want to do and then to be able to do it. Having a solo day at Disney can give one this luxury. Take your time. Watch that drum show in Japan. Meander through each country’s gift shops. Being brave enough to do anything alone can be rewarding to one’s soul. Also, one doesn’t have to worry about the dreaded, “What do you want to eat?” question. If you see something you’d like to try, go for it! Have lunch in France. Try some sweets in Norway or alcoholic chocolates in Germany. You’ll have no one questioning your decisions.How to Visit Disney World Solo

Finding Happiness in Solitude

Most people allow their happiness to depend on others. Either they have children and put their happiness and wants before their own, or they simply don’t know how to be happy alone. Getting out of one’s comfort zone can be scary, but so very rewarding. Getting out to explore on our own can teach us so much about ourselves. It can be lonely at times, so remember to take pictures so that you can share your experience with your friends and family.How to Visit Disney World Solo

Disney Magic

Being single and childless doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the magic of Disney. Do you want to experience the awesomeness of Disney, but don’t have anyone to go with you? No worries! The cast members and most people at Disney are wonderful and they will help make your trip memorable. Never be afraid to do something alone. Don’t wait on somebody else to make your dreams come true. Go for it! You’ll be surprised what you may learn about yourself!

Thanks to our contributor, Noelle, for this post!

Road Trip Survival Kit: A DIY Tutorial and Free Download

Road Trip Survival Kit

If you’ve read our blog in the past, you’ll know that I love to design, craft, and generally make stuff. It’s so much fun to create items for family vacations. However, traveling with kids can be difficult. Therefore, I knew I needed something entertaining for our long road trip to Walt Disney World. I came up with this fun and edutaining Road Trip Survival Kit that was a big hit!

Road Trip Survival Kit: A DIY Tutorial and Free DownloadRoad Trip Survival Kit

I’m so excited to finally share my DIY Silhouette studio design and file with you all! Before we get started however, I’d like to say that this post is not a sponsored post. We’re not being paid to promote the Silhouette Cameo and Crayola products I used. I just happened to stumble upon these awesome travel art cases and couldn’t resist personalizing them for our big road trip.Also, I LOVE my silhouette cameo. If you have a silhouette cameo, then you know what I mean. If you know what I mean, then let’s get started by listing what you’ll need!Road Trip Survival Kit

Supply List

  • Silhouette Studio software and compatible vinyl-cutting machine
  • Permanent Vinyl in your favorite colors (I used oracal 651 white and silver)
  • Crayola Stow and Go (I used the Dry Erase and Color Wonder Mess Free versions)
  • Free Road Trip Survival Kit download file (for personal use only)
  • Rubbing Alcohol and Cotton Balls -OR- Clorox/Lysol wipes
  • *Optional: printable worksheets and laminating machine

Road Trip Survival Kit

Do It Yourself

First of all, download the free file here. The fonts featured in this design are indicated within the file so that you can download and customize the name with your own. Furthermore, fonts featured can be found at dafont.com and are free for personal use only. Please DO NOT use this file to create your own items for sale. This file is intended for personal use only.Road Trip Survival Kit

Extras

Whether you’ve got a laminating machine or not, you’ll want to include some fun roadtrip extras. After a short pinterest search, I found several fun and free printables to include in my own kids’ roadtrip survival kits. Here’s a few we used and enjoyed. Additionally, if you’re using the dry erase version of Crayola’s Stow and Go, you can laminate the worksheets to use again and again!Road Trip Survival KitThanks for reading! If you’ve enjoyed this freebie, please let us know! Be sure to check out Beth’s Driving Tips here on our blog too! Road Trip Survival KitFor more Disney tips, tricks, tutorials, packing lists, dos and don’ts… Okay, you get the picture. We’ve got a podcast too! The Mouse and Monorail Podcast. You can also find us on the following socials: FacebookTwitterPinterestInstagram, & YouTube. ~Meredith ºoº