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

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

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!

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!

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!

Best Tips for Guardians of the Galaxy Mission: Breakout

Disney’s summer celebrations kicked off Memorial Day weekend, and Disney’s California Adventure got quite the treat with the grand opening of a brand new ride! On January 2, 2017, Tower of Terror had its final checkout in order to make way for Disney’s newest attraction, Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT! Many fans had mixed emotions about the loss of TOT. I had the pleasure of experiencing this new attraction on opening weekend and will tell you all about it!Ready to ride the newest rides at Disney's California Adventure? Read our best tips for Guardians of the Galaxy Mission: Breakout before you go!

Out With the Old, In With the New

After 5 long months, the highly anticipated ride was ready for the public! During the long wait, the hotel began to take the shape of the Collector’s fortress from Guardians of the Galaxy. It’s definitely an eye catching design! While you wait for this thrilling attraction, the ride queue comes to life with all sorts of different, unique plants and designs that’ll surely leave you in high expectations for the ride! As you approach the entry way to what used to be a hotel lobby, you are blown away by the transformation that has taken place! From the moment you walk in, you’re surrounded by glass cases with various items The Collector has collected. As you walk through the line, you enter the Collector’s private office where a very realistic animatronic Rocket explains what to expect on the ride.Best Tips for Guardians of the Galaxy Mission: Breakout

Mission: BREAKOUT!

Without giving too much away, the premise of the ride is to help Rocket as he tries to free the Guardians who were captured by Taneleer Tivan a.k.a. The Collector. Riders enter a gantry lift that takes them up and drops them down Tivan’s fortress. If you think you know what’s going to happen next, you’re wrong! The ride includes 6 different variations so each time you ride could be different from the last! If you’re anything like me, you’ll be determined to ride all 6 variations! Let me give you some tips if you’re planning to visit this ride in the coming months!Best Tips for Guardians of the Galaxy Mission: Breakout

Best Tips for Guardians of the Galaxy Mission: Breakout

Due to the popularity of Guardians of the Galaxy, the opening of this ride definitely meant LARGE crowds. I would highly suggest arriving at least an hour before the park even opens. Once my friend and I entered the park, we divided and conquered. I stayed in the standby line while my friend went to the FastPass line. Because the park hadn’t opened yet, the standby line was queued in the Hyperion Theater courtyard while the FastPass line was queued backstage. Once the park opened at 9:00 a.m., lines started moving and boy did the wait time increase! By the time my friend and I made it to the actual ride to stand in the outside queue, the wait time hit 300 minutes. After about an hour we finally made it on the ride.Best Tips for Guardians of the Galaxy Mission: Breakout

My Reaction

We had no idea what to expect, aside from lots of drops. From start to finish the ride keeps you on the edge of your seat! You truly don’t know what you’ll see or when you’ll drop next! So, which did I like better? TOT or Guardians? Well, Guardians did a great job with both the interior and exterior décor, as well as creating a completely different experience for this ride. But, I am a die hard Tower of Terror fan and that ride will always hold a special place in my heart.Best Tips for Guardians of the Galaxy Mission: Breakout

Summer of Heroes

Now if you’re reading this and thinking to yourself, “this ride isn’t for me.” That’s okay! The opening of this ride coincides with California Adventure’s “Summer of Heroes” where you can meet some of your favorite Marvel characters such as Black Widow or Captain American or even have a dance party with Star-Lord and Gamora from Guardians of the Galaxy! Best Tips for Guardians of the Galaxy Mission: BreakoutDon’t forget to check out all the new food and merchandise options available in the Hollywood Backlot in DCA! Where will you go first this summer?

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

Disneyland Gumball Rally

Have you ever wondered how many attractions you could get on in a single day? Think you can do them all? Well, thanks to Micechat’s Annual Gumball Rally, I was able to find out! What is the Disneyland Gumball Rally you might ask? It’s a competition for teams of 2, 3, or 4 to see how many attractions they can ride in Disneyland and DCA within the allotted event time. Hear all about Amanda's experience with Micechat Podcast's Disneyland Gumball Rally! It's a one day extravaganza of rides and fun. Read her first hand experience before you decide to participate in the Gumball Rally for yourself.This year marked the 11th Annual Gumball Rally, and in honor of Pirates of the Caribbean’s 50th Anniversary, the theme was Pirates! This was my first year competing in the Rally, and I would like to share my experience with you!Disneyland Gumball Rally

Disneyland Gumball Rally

On the day of the rally, my friend and I made our way to The Anaheim Hotel where the opening ceremonies would begin. Teams have the option of basic registration or VIP registration. Because it was our first year, we opted for VIP registration! This royal treatment included priority seating for the opening ceremony and awards ceremony, full breakfast and dinner, a rally t-shirt, commemorative rally pin, and access to compete in the rally!Disneyland Gumball Rally

Choosing Teams

Each team also comes up with a team name and logo. Our team name was the Bitter Bellhops in honor of our favorite ride, Tower of Terror! After breakfast and a quick run-down of the rules, everyone made their way to the parks to begin the rally! At this point, you might be asking, “How do you prove you went on the ride?” Great question! Every team is given a question booklet pertaining to the attractions they must visit. This year there were three booklets, two for Disneyland (Disneyland East/Disneyland West) and one for DCA, totaling 39 attractions.Disneyland Gumball Rally

Starting Line

Once all the teams received their booklets, we were dismissed, and the rally officially began! We chose to start our race with Disneyland East. Within the first two hours, we had already completed five attractions including Space Mountain, Star Tours, and Peter Pan. We kept this momentum going, completing 11 of the 14 rides in Book One. There comes the point where lines are just too long, and you and your team have to decide that it’s okay to not go on a ride.Disneyland Gumball Rally

Working Our Way Through the Parks

We decided to move on to Book Two, Disneyland West. Did I happen to mention the weather? Oh yes, it was in the 60s with off and on rain. You bet we embraced those water rides! By 3:30, we decided to call it quits with Book Two and make our way to DCA since we only had until 7:00 p.m. to complete the rally. At this point, we had completed 17 attractions.

Fight to the Finish Line

Toward the end, the crowds had settled in, and the lines were outrageous. We received Book Three and quickly scanned the rides we needed to go on. Radiator Springs Racers, California Screamin’, Soarin’ over the World, Midway Mania were just a few we needed to ride. Lines exceeded an hour for each of them. Time was slowly running out, exhaustion was setting in, and to say I was hangry was an understatement! Of the 11 attractions in this book, we made it through 5 bringing our grand total of attractions to 22 in 11 hours. Although we did not make the Top 10, we did make so many memories, added new friends, and made strategies to carry into the rally next year!

Thanks to Disneyland contributor Amanda for this post and photos!

Kid Friendly Fun in Epcot

Kid Friendly Fun in Epcot

Far too often, Epcot is the least popular park for parents that are planning with kids in mind. It is often overlooked due to the opinion that it is not a kid friendly park. Guests miss out on so much when they skip this park. There are many fun opportunities and learning experiences at Epcot. Here are some tips about Epcot that could change your mind about this amazing park.Kid friendly fun in Epcot can happen! Find out why everyone's least favorite Disney World park might just be your child's favorite. From character meets to activities to learning experiences, there is something at Epcot for everyone.

Kid Friendly Rides

Rides are, often, important to most kids and Epcot does not disappoint. The park offers many unique ride experiences. I could talk about the rides all day, but here are just a few that are on the top of our list.

The Seas with Nemo & Friends is a bright, colorful ride followed by an aquarium populated with lots of sea life. Even very little ones will get caught up in all there is to see. Older ones can learn about the animals on display, as well.Soarin’ makes a lot of “top 10 Disney rides” lists. We didn’t get to ride it yet, but it’s definitely on the list for our next trip!

Test Track is a favorite for older children. Design your test car and get feedback on how it performs while you ride. Don’t miss the chance to create a free downloadable commercial featuring your own custom vehicle.

Do you have a Frozen fan? Then Frozen Ever After is definitely a must. I have a little Frozen fan that can not stop talking about this ride.

Kid Friendly Activities

I love that Epcot offers so many hands on opportunities for the kids. They are learning but they are having way too much fun to realize it.

Colortopia, located in Innoventions East, is a multifaceted exhibit that is all about color! There is a short movie, various color-themed activities, and a room sized coloring page!

Agent P’s World Showcase Adventure is an interactive activity for kids old enough to read or that have a little help from someone older. The adventure takes your little agent throughout the World Showcase where they will help solve cases (and learn a little about the world, too).

Turtle Talk with Crush is an amazing interactive audience participation show, akin to the laugh floor at Magic Kingdom. He even takes you through the many uses of the word “dude.”

Make sure to pick up a cardboard Duffy the Disney Bear. The kids had a blast decorating their Duffy and visiting each Kidcot Fun Stop for stamps, signatures, and information about each country.

Unique Character Meet and Greets

Remember that scene in Big Hero 6 where everybody hugs Baymax? Here’s your chance. The huggable, non-armored Baymax is ready and waiting for a fist bump.Belle is in her classic blue dress in the World Showcase. She is located next to the water in France. The water provides such a pretty backdrop for photos.

Joy and Sadness are ready to bring a little cheer (or tears) into your life. Unfortunately, Fear was too scared to show, Anger was too mad to meet with anybody, and Disgust heard that there might be broccoli pizza.

There are plenty of opportunities to meet Donald Duck throughout the parks but the only place you can see him in his caballero costume is in the World Showcase.
We enjoy Epcot so much that we are doing two park days there for our next trip. What is your favorite kid friendly fun at Epcot?

Thanks to our contributor Beth for this post and photos!

Spotlight: Main Street Electrical Parade and AP Days

Meredith

Main Street Electrical Parade at Disneyland

Do you remember where you were the first time you saw the Main Street Electrical Parade? Chances are you were a small child fascinated by the sights and sounds of the illuminated parade floats passing in front of your eyes. Since its inception in 1972, Disney’s Main Street Electrical Parade has been warming the hearts of children and adults alike. I can’t remember the first time I saw the parade, but I have many fond memories from my childhood. I can recall my great-grandma saving our seats along the wall across the Matterhorn while eagerly awaiting the parade to begin. Lights are dimmed, music is playing, the parade is introduced, and around the corner comes the first float. I am mesmerized.Meredith

Main Street Electrical Parade Returns Home

Fast forward to 2017, Disneyland announces the Main Street Electrical Parade is coming home! You can imagine the excitement that came over us die-hard Disneyland fanatics. Not only was the parade coming, but other exciting perks like limited time treats, dining packages, merchandise, and AP Days.

 AP DaysMeredith

What are AP Days you may ask? Great question! For a whole month, Annual Passholders receive a variety of perks within the park. A different button designed with a unique float or character is released just for Passholders each week. In addition to limited edition buttons, Passholders have a place within the park to call their own. Whether you want to cool off from the heat or hide away from a torrential downpour, the exclusive lounge just for Passholders is a perfect place to do that!Amanda- Main Street Electrical Parade Within the lounge, Passholders can purchase a variety of Electrical Parade or AP Days merchandise. Additionally, special photo-ops and crafts /activities for kids are available and all themed for the parade. Also for a limited time, Passholders are able to purchase special themed popcorn buckets and could get $1 refills until a specific date! What perfect snack to have as you watch the parade!

Amanda

Other Perks

Passholders are not the only ones who can benefit from the return of the Electrical Parade! Throughout the park, special “parade-inspired” treats and merchandise can be found. Anyone can take part in the two parade dining packages available! If you have the time to spare and would like a more relaxed sit-down meal, I suggest the dining option with the Blue Bayou. Reservations are HIGHLY recommended 60 days in advance. If you want something more on-the-go, I would recommend going the route of Aladdin’s Oasis. Both dining options provide you a voucher to enjoy the parade from a reserved viewing area.

Meredith

The Return of the Parade

It had been nearly 20 years since I had last seen the parade, so you can imagine my excitement as I stood along the parade route waiting for everything to begin! I anxiously checked the time and each announcement counting down the minutes brought me closer to the moment I had been waiting for. As lights dimmed, synthesized music began playing, and then I hear it, “Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, Disneyland proudly presents “The Main Street Electrical Parade!” Suddenly, I’m a kid again, and all the memories and emotions came flooding back. In my opinion, no parade can every replace it. It’s a one-of-a-kind show that has crossed multiple generations. MeredithThe Main Street Electrical Parade will extend its run through August 20, 2017. Don’t miss out on this experience!


Thanks to Disneyland contributor Amanda for all the great info about Disneyland’s MainStreet Electrical Parade and AP Days! 

Disneyland Planning: Best Tips from an Annual Passholder

Disneyland Planning 101 should include pin trading activities.

Disneyland Planning 101

What comes to mind when you think of Southern California? Hollywood? Beaches? Hipsters? Trendy foods? Does Disneyland make the top of your list? Growing up a Disney fanatic, Disneyland is at the top of my list. I would consider Disneyland my second home, and, since I have been an Annual Passholder for the bulk of my life, I would say I know the park fairly well. I’m happy to share my opinions about Disneyland Planning in hope that they will help you have the perfect Disneyland day.Disneyland Planning is a lot different than Disney World planning! Come read our tips before your next west coast mouse visit. Disnyeland planning can be easy and fun!

Rides

Having a plan of attack is the best way to start your Disney adventure. No matter what time of day you arrive, getting a FastPass is key! Not sure which ride you should get a FastPass for? Check out the Disneyland app for up to-date wait times and FastPass distribution times! On my perfect day, I head to Space Mountain (currently Hyperspace Mountain) to grab a FastPass and then head over to Indiana Jones. My day is not complete unless I have ridden my favorite ride, Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Forbidden Eye. If a high-speed, roller coaster ride in the dark is not your thing, no problem! Disneyland has rides for all ages.Disneyland Planning 101

Food

No Disney trip is complete without food. This is an understatement for me. As a foodie, I probably know more about where to eat and what to eat than anything else. Popcorn, ice cream, churros, and the beloved Dole Whip are just a few of the many Disney must-haves! I could spend an entire post just on the numerous dining options. What I can say is I enjoy switching up where to eat every trip I go. Disneyland provides a wide variety of cuisines from American to Cajun to Italian to Mexican and everything in between.Disneyland Planning 101 includes knowing where and what to eat.

Pin Trading

I am a huge pin trading fan, and I would highly suggest everyone try it out! I find that pin trading adds a little extra variety to your day. Whenever I don’t feel like going on rides all day, I will bring my pins and trade all over the various locations in the park. You can also admire and even trade with fellow collectors in the park. If you’re not sure where to find them, they’re usually hanging out around one of the many pin stores.Disneyland Planning 101 should include pin trading activities.

Plan Another Visit

There is so much one can do in a single Disneyland trip. No two trips are the same! Between character meet and greets, parades, fireworks, rides, and shows, there are plenty of fun-filled activities to fill your day. A perfect Disneyland day is not complete without a classic castle picture to commemorate your day at the Happiest Place on Earth. Couldn’t fit it all in in your one day? That just means it’s time to plan another trip!Disneyland Planning 101 iconic castle photo.What would your perfect day at Disneyland look like?

 

Thanks to Amanda (@pandaavw) for sharing your Disneyland tips with us!

If you’ve enjoyed this post, please let us know! Don’t forget you can also find us on the following socials: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, & YouTube.

 

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?

DisneyBounding: Park Style

Do your little ones love to play dress up? Are they fans of looking like their favorite characters? Did you know that dressing up “Disney style” is not just for kids? DisneyBounding is wearing an outfit or ensemble inspired by a favorite Disney character, without actually dressing like them. It’s a subtle nod to your favorite. I’ll start by saying I have yet to DisneyBound, but I’m determined to come up with something for our next trip. The closest I’ve done is Pocahontas braids last weekend, because my thick hair is not a fan of Florida humidity.

I love the idea of DisneyBounding over Cosplay (dressing in full costume as a character) because, let’s face it, most of the year Disney is hot and involves a lot of walking. I cannot imagine enjoying myself in mid-90 degree weather, wearing a costume. But this? Choose an outfit, complete with accessories, where either color, print, or style is inspired by a Disney Character. I could do this!

Are you a Minnie Mouse fan, through and through? Find a cute red cotton skirt, and pair it with a black tank, yellow flats, and some Mouse ears. Perfect!

Any Buzz Lightyear fans? Pair a lime green shirt with white pants and a purple backpack or bag. Turn it up a notch by adding a big lime green or purple watch. Reach for the stars!

Speaking of my Pocahontas braids earlier, what about some khaki shorts, turquoise jewelry, and a fringed purse?? How cute would that be?

And here are a few of my favorites:

Check out Pinterest or disneybound.tumblr.com for some inspiration, and then start digging in your closet!

Do you DisneyBound? Who would you like to Bound as? Do you think it’s realistic to be both stylish and comfortable, even for a hot day at Disney World?

-Trish

The Scoop On Extra Magic Hours

Today I’m answering a question from our Mouse and Monorail Mailbag:

Bethany asked: “I’ve read that its best to avoid the park offering Extra Magic Hours because it’ll be more crowded on that day. Does this apply during low to moderate crowd times as well? Is there ever a reason to avoid going to a certain park?

Great question, Bethany! Extra Magic Hours are special entry hours offered only to WDW resort guests, and they are either offered before the park opens or they allow resort guests to stay in the park after the official park closing time. It can be a catch-22 in that while it allows you extra time to enjoy the park, it also makes that park more popular and therefore busier than other parks on any given day. Resort guests see “Morning Extra Magic Hour” and automatically think that that is the best park to visit that day – and it might be! It depends on a lot of factors such as time of the year, how many park days you have, and what you want to accomplish on your trip. There are over 30,000 hotel rooms in Walt Disney World! That is a lot of people that have access to Extra Magic Hours, and definitely something to keep in mind when considering whether or not you want to utilize Extra Magic Hours.

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I personally use and recommend a membership to touringplans.com to pick which park I will be visiting that day, and I can then see which parks are estimated to be the busiest on my travel days and plan accordingly. In the past, I have opted not to visit the park that is offering the Extra Magic Hours just to avoid the crowds, but that isn’t going to be possible on our upcoming day trip to MK. We will be traveling during low to moderate crowd time. For this particular day, we will be visiting the most crowded park, BUT it is only ranking a 4/10 for crowd levels, so it will still be very manageable. And yes, we will be using the Morning Extra Magic Hour. With our party of 11, we need as much time as we can get!

If Extra Magic Hours are offered in the morning, it can be a great perk. Arrive to the park early and you can get tons done before the regular crowds arrive. If you have park hopper passes, you can utilize the Extra Magic Hours and when the park gets too crowded, you can always hop to one of the other parks for the day. If you are a night owl, then nighttime Extra Magic Hours might be right up your alley. You will have the chance to enjoy the parks at night with far fewer guests.

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For us, I would rather enjoy a less crowded park overall, so I tend to not participate in Extra Magic Hours and pick another park to visit for that day. That being said, we travel to WDW during the off season, so crowds are not as much of a concern for us than if we were traveling during peak season. If we were traveling during a busier time of the year, I would probably have to reevaluate my touring plans to maximize my park time.IMG_1660

Here are a few things to keep in mind about Extra Magic Hours:

1. Only visit the park with Extra Magic Hours during Extra Magic Hours if you are staying in a WDW resort. Showing up early isn’t going to get you in the gates any faster if you aren’t a resort guest. If you are trying to stay late during Extra Magic Hours at night, you won’t get to ride any rides if you aren’t staying at a Disney resort (they can determine this by scanning your Magic Band, so don’t think you’ll be able to “fake” them out).

2. Only visit the Extra Magic Hours park if you intend to utilize the Extra Magic Hours. Otherwise the park will be more crowded, and you will have gained nothing from visiting that day.

3. Pay attention to crowd calendars – If you are visiting the parks during the busy seasons (summer, school breaks, Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc.), you only have a Magic Your Way ticket (and no park hopper), and are expecting high crowd levels, avoid using the Extra Magic Hours. The park will be super crowded, and you won’t get to do as much because you can’t hop to another park when the park gets too busy.IMG_1619

That’s my two cents on Extra Magic Hours. Have you used them? What are your thoughts? Let’s discuss in the comments. ~A ºoº