The Ultimate Guide to Pixar Fest at Disney California Adventure

 

Pixar Fest has officially started at the Disneyland Resort! The theme of this event is “Celebrating Friendship and Beyond!”

Ultimate Guide to Pixar Fest at Disney California Adventure

Both parks each have their own wonderful offerings to keep you entertained all day! This post will specifically talk about all the great things for Pixar Fest at Disney California Adventure. There is A LOT that’s being offered at this great event, so let’s get started!

Pixar Fest Food

No celebration is complete without themed food! There is a ton of food offered throughout the park! Each location that has a specialty item will have a sign and price of what’s specifically sold there!

Whatever you’re craving I guarantee there’s something to satisfy your appetite! Sweet, savory, spicy, salty, sugary, you name it, it’s there! The spicy corn dog and churro I had were among the highlights of the day! If you’re looking for something a bit more substantial, Carthay Circle and Wine Country Trattoria both offer Paint the Night Dining Packages!

Paint the Night Parade

As I just mentioned, both Carthay Circle and Wine Country Trattoria both offer a variety of dining packages. Both packages provide your meal along with a ticket to get you into your reserved seating area.Here’s the breakdown of the packages:

  • Carthay Circle- 4-course meal and one voucher for guaranteed seating in the viewing area next to the restaurant. $99 per adult/$45 per child
  • Wine Country Trattoria- 3-course lunch or dinner meal and one voucher for reserved parade viewing area.
    • Lunch package: $38 per adult/$21 per child
    • Dinner package: $49 per adult/$25 per child

Luckily, you don’t need to do a dining package to see the parade! There’s plenty of seating along the parade route! When Paint the Night first came to the Disneyland Resort it premiered in Disneyland. 

There were some changes made to the parade for it to work in DCA. Unfortunately, the Frozen float, which was my favorite, was removed. There will be a new float featuring The Incredibles which will premiere in June! Overall, the parade is great and is a must-see during Pixar Fest! Check the show guide when you arrive to see what time the parade will begin!

Character Meet & Greets

If you want to meet some of your favorite Pixar characters, make sure you head to Paradise Gardens! Pixar Pals is where you’ll have the chance to meet Mike and Sulley, Dug and Russell, Flik and Atta and more! Head on over to Cars Land as well for some very cute Toy Story themed cars you can take pictures with!

Annual Passholder Corner & Merchandise

Annual Passholders unite! There is a special corner for AP’s on the far side of Boardwalk Pizza & Pasta near the Silly Symphony Swings. The AP corner has an exclusive photo opportunity, two decals so you can keep one and give one to your friend, a charging station for your phone, and more!Additionally, there is merchandise exclusive to AP’s such as a t-shirt, tumbler, and button-up camp shirt. Don’t forget you can also get AP embroidery on your hats! You can find AP merchandise at Kingswell Camera Shop and the newly opened Knick Knacks located across from the Cove Bar! Lastly, Little Green Men refillable souvenir popcorn buckets will be coming at the end of April!

Merchandise

That’s right a NEW shop has opened up on the soon to be Pixar Pier! Knick Knacks is located across from the Cove Bar (soon to be Lamplight Lounge). All your Pixar merchandise needs can be found here! Since it is a new store, be aware that it does get pretty crowded in there!

Other shops and carts throughout the park carry the basic event merchandise such as shirts, ears, mugs, friendship bracelet/charms, etc. There’s also a limited release Pixar Fest pin, so make sure you get yours right away! There’s also plenty of really cute souvenir items such as mugs, sippers, popcorn buckets, and straws! The Sulley popcorn buckets are probably my favorite! It’s fun walking around the parks and seeing people with Sulley hanging around their neck and having a Mike sipper to go along with it!

Pixar Shorts Film Festival

I saved the best for last! Aside from food of course! The Sunset Showcase Theater is showing 3D versions of some of Pixar’s short films! I thought this was such a cool idea and a great place to go when you want to get out of the heat! The Pixar shorts that are showing until May 7 are For the Birds, Lava, and Piper. I speculate they will change them after May 7, but that’s not confirmed. I highly recommend heading over there and checking this experience out!As you can see, there is PLENTY to do during Pixar Fest! Grab a map and a show guide on your way in or download the Disneyland app to schedule your day!Pixar Fest has begun! Both Disneyland and California Adventure have incredible offerings during this special event. From characters to parades to merchandise and more, we've got you covered! Check out our Ultimate Guide to Pixar Fest at Disney California Adventure! #pixarfest #pixar #californiaadventure #disneyland #disneylandpixarfest #disneycaliforniaadventure #disneypixar

If you get the chance to go to Pixar Fest let us know what you think! For an overview of what is being offered at Disneyland for Pixar Fest click here!

Many thanks to Amanda W. for this fun and super informative post! We’d like to invite you to follow along with our contributors, Amanda and Ashlee, in their new blogging venture, The Adventureland Girls! You can also find them on Facebook and Instagram!

Best Tips for Epcot Food and Wine Festival

If you are a Disney fan and a lover of all things FOOD, then the Food and Wine Festival in Epcot is a can’t miss experience. One of my favorite things in Disney World is the World Showcase in Epcot. With the Food and Wine Festival taking place in the World Showcase, I knew it was something that I absolutely couldn’t miss.

Best Tips for Epcot Food and Wine Festival

Traveling and eating are some of my most favorite past times, so being able to “eat my way around the world” in one day filled me with such excitement. I knew that I had two trips to Disney World already planned for this year, so I purchased an Annual Pass. In trying to make the most of my Annual Pass, I planned a quick trip to take my brother for his very first time. I figured that a trip to the Food and Wine Festival would be perfect for his first time in Disney World. Keep reading to for my best tips for Epcot Food and Wine Festival.Epcot's Food & Wine Festival is an incredible experience! It can also be very overwhelming. Follow these best tips to plan your trip and enjoy all the festival has to offer.

Research, Research, Research

There is a plethora of information on the internet about the Food and Wine Festival. From the menus and reviews of the food and beverages, to maps of the kiosk locations around the World Showcase, planning your Food and Wine experience is easy.Best tips for Food and Wine Festival

Make Lists

The menus posted online made making my “must haves” list very easy. Reading the reviews online also helped me remove items from the list that I wanted to try, but that overall had poor reviews. In one instance, I ignored the reviews and ended up disappointed. (Thanks Belgium!) I plan to return in just a few weeks and will not make that mistake again.

Use the Festival Map

If you’ve never been to the World Showcase, it’s a big circle. When you come up to it, you can begin your tour of the world by going left or right. In planning your Food and Wine experience, it will be very helpful to plan your attack in order of the kiosks. This way, you’ll eliminate wasted time skipping around to different kiosks.

Hang on to Your List

If you plan to have a drink or two at the festival, having a detailed list will really come in handy. I speak from experience. If I didn’t have my list of “must haves” with me after having two drinks, I would have become lost in what I wanted to do. This is important in making the most of your festival trip.

Have a Budget

Most food items are between $3.50 – $8.00. It can be upwards of $10.00 for drinks. My brother and I had the Disney Dining Plan, and we used 1 quick service credit and 4 snack credits. 1 Quick Service credit can be turned into 3 snack credits, but you can do this only at one kiosk. This is a good option when you want multiple items at one kiosk. Snack credits are best used for the most expensive items, but cannot be used on alcohol. My brother and I budgeted $200 for the festival. This does not count the dining credits we used. We visited only 9 kiosks out of the 35 featured. We shared everything we purchased ,and we were full almost to the point of busting when we left. With that said, we spent all of the $200 we had budgeted.

Best Food Kiosks

Favorite: Hawaii

Everything we tried at Hawai’i was amazing. My favorite was the Kalua Pork Slider. The most talked about Teriyaki-glazed SPAM Hash lived up to the hype. I can also speak very highly of the Grilled Tuna Tataki. The drink we tried from here was the Mai Tai featuring Sammy’s Beach Bar Rum, which was very delicious. Even though there is still so much more I want to try, I plan to visit Hawaii again when I return in a few weeks.

Least Favorite: Belgium

Gouda is my favorite cheese, so when I saw that Belgium was featuring a Beer-braised Beef served with Smoked Gouda Mashed Potatoes it instantly went on my “must haves” list. Even though I read several poor reviews of this dish online before going, I was hoping that they just weren’t true. To my dismay, they were. The dish was bland and the potatoes weren’t the right consistency for mashed potatoes. I cannot speak for the other dishes at the Belgium kiosk, but this one is a dish you can totally miss.

Designated driver

Finally, my last tip for making the most of your Food and Wine Festival experience is, if you are planning to drink, please have a method of transportation planned ahead. From the monorail and resort buses to the Minnie Van Service and Uber, there is no excuse for drinking and driving while on Disney property. Plan for alternate method(s) of transportation in your budget, and your conscience will thank you later.

I hope that I have helped you prepare to make the most of your Food and Wine Festival experience. I can’t wait to return myself, so I can share my new favorites with you!

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!

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!

Easy DIY Painted Disney Shirts

DIY Painted Disney Shirts

Easy DIY Painted Disney Shirts

We recently got back from a whirlwind Walt Disney World and Disney Cruise vacation. I tried my hand at making my own Disney shirts for our trip, and was super pleased with the results, and knew I had to share this easy craft with you. We made so many cute and unique shirts for our trip with only a few hours of work. Once you figure out the method for these easy DIY painted Disney shirts, the options are endless!

What You Need

  • Freezer paper
  • Exacto Knife
  • Cutting Board
  • Permanent Marker
  • Fabric Paint
  • Sponge Paint brush
  • Printed design
  • Tshirts (pre-washed with no fabric softener)
  • Iron

Make your own shirts for your next Disney vacation! Our tutorial is so easy, you'll be making your own shirts in no time. Follow these simple steps for an easy DIY painted Disney shirt.

Let’s Get Started

First things first, you will need to print out or sketch your design. I choose the sun from Tangled for one of my designs. There are tons of free images you can search for on the web. I found an image I liked on google, and printed out a few different sizes. If you are good at free-handing designs, you can sketch directly onto the freezer paper. If you are like me and not gifted in the art department, you can take the easy route and print the design.

Next, trace the image on your freezer paper with permanent marker, making sure you trace on the dull side of the paper, and not the shiny side. After you are happy with your traced image, use your Exacto knife to start cutting the design out. It can be tedious, but make sure to take your time, because this will become the stencil that you use to paint. 

 

The Fun Begins

On medium heat, iron your stencil on the shirt with the shiny side down. Make sure you pay close attention to the edges of the design and get a firm seal. This will make sure that no paint gets under your stencil, into an area you don’t want it. You can test how well your image is ironed down by lightly rubbing your finger nail over the edge of the design to make sure you spot any areas that aren’t well sealed. If an area is loose, just iron it down more. Once your image is ironed on securely, take an extra piece of freezer paper or cardboard and stick it inside your shirt. This will protect the back of your shirt from paint that will soak through.

Let’s Start Painting!

With your sponge paint brush, start by generously applying your fabric paint onto your stencil. I recommend Tulip Soft Matte paint; it comes in a ton of colors, and a little bit goes a long way. I found mine at Michael’s, and there are tons of colors available, including glow in the dark paint! I did all my designs as single color shirts, just for simplicity. You can easily make multi-colored shirts, just make sure the paint is dry and you apply carefully. Also, I found out the hard way that if the paint drips where you don’t want it, it’s too bad, so watch for drips!

Coat your design well, being super careful when you are applying the paint near the edges. You don’t want the paint to seep under under stencil.

Make sure that you have really good coverage, and let your paint dry for 20-30 minutes.  You can use a hair dryer on cool to speed the process along. When your paint is completely dry, slowly start to peel the freezer paper off your shirt. A pair pair of tweezers can be used to get an edge up on the freezer paper.

After you remove your freezer paper, let the shirt lay flat for at least 24 hours. Some fabric paints recommend that you wash the shirt inside out after 24 hours. I chose not to do this, and our shirts have held up just fine.

Using the method above of cutting out the stencil and painting the empty spaces, I made the Tangled shirt, a Mickey head silhouette, the Disney Cruise logo shirts pictured below, and some super cute Mickey anchor shirts. We got tons of compliments on our shirts, and the best part was knowing that I made them!

Another Option to Try

If you like, feel free to try and do the reverse! Iron down a solid image, and paint around the design. Leaving the Mickey head stencil in the middle, we painted around the edges with the eraser end of a pencil. Lastly, remove your stencil paper once the paint is dry. This will leave the Mickey design as a blank space, with the painted edges as a border. Super cute! This method would be very fun and easy for a child to do, and fun for a park bag! 

Easy DIY Painted Disney Shirts

Don’t worry if your design doesn’t turn out perfectly. It’s the fun, creative process that counts! Whether you need a Disney vacation shirt or just want a little magic around the house, this DIY project is fun for the whole family.

Best Tips for Visiting Cars Land at Disney’s California Adventure

Best Tips for Visiting Cars Land at Disney’s California Adventure

Have you ever found yourself watching “Cars” and wanting to visit Radiator Springs? Wouldn’t it be great if there was such a place as the Cozy Cone Motel or Flo’s V8 Café? Would you want to race other cars like Lightning McQueen or, better yet, meet Lightning McQueen? You’re in luck! In Disney’s California Adventure you can do all this and more in Cars Land! With amazingly themed food, rides, character meets, and a realistic atmosphere you’re going to feel like you’re in the movie itself!Planning a trip to Disney's California Adventure? Read our best tips for visiting Cars Land to help your prepare. We've got great tips to make the most of your stay.

Making a Pit Stop

In Cars Land, there are a ton of places to feed your appetite! If you’re looking for a sit down 50’s style restaurant, I’d suggest trying Flo’s V8 Café located directly across from The Cozy Cone Motel. Flo’s V8 Café offers Rotisserie Specialties such as Roast Beef or Turkey sandwiches, a Citrus Turkey Salad, chicken, ribs, and more. Best Tips for Visiting Cars Land at Disney's California AdventureNot in the mood for a full meal? Is that sweet tooth getting to you? Grab a milkshake! Flo’s has those too! If you’re looking for something lighter than a full meal, The Cozy Cone Motel will be your place to go! Each cone at one of the Cozy Cones has a different snack that you can munch on! They have everything from Ice Cream to Churro bites and Popcorn Chili in a Bread Cone!Best Tips for Visiting Cars Land at Disney's California Adventure

Ready, Set, Race!

If you’re looking to enjoy your time in Cars Land with some rides, I’d suggest starting with riding Radiator Springs Racers! To put into perspective for you Walt Disney World folks, Racers is much like Test Track in Epcot. Radiator Springs Racers puts you in the driver’s seat and submerges you into the movie itself! Take on the adventures alongside Mater and McQueen while racing to the finish line at the end!Best Tips for Visiting Cars Land at Disney's California Adventure I’d HIGHLY suggest getting a FastPass right away, the wait always exceeds an hour at any time of the day! Across the way from Flo’s V8 Café is where Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters lives. When riding, you take part in the dancing of the cars while riding in Luigi’s dancing cousins, mini fiats. When you’re either leaving Cars Land or just coming in, you’ll come across Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree! This high-speed attraction whips you around like no tomorrow while riding in one of Mater’s good old friends, a tractor!Best Tips for Visiting Cars Land at Disney's California Adventure

Now Leaving Radiator Springs

Whenever you visit Cars Land, it’s an unforgettable experience every time! The realistic atmosphere transports you right to the center of Radiator Springs. Cars Land offers unique opportunities to meet your favorite characters like Lightning McQueen or Mater! Every night when the sun goes down, just like the movie, Cars Land comes alive with the sounds of 50’s music and spectacular lighting effects!Best Tips for Visiting Cars Land at Disney's California AdventureBefore you know it, Cars Land looks completely different than it did in the day time! There’s so much to do, so, next time you plan your visit to Disney’s California Adventure, make sure you take a trip down Route 66!

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! 

Driving to Disney World: Best Tips

Driving to Disney World: Best Tips

Driving to Disney World does not have to be a stressful trip full of “Are we there yet?” You are about to embark on an exciting adventure in the most magical place. The trip there can be just as exciting. Here are some tips to get you through those long hours towards Disney.

Travel Kits

Load a portfolio or something similar with coloring books, crayons, colored pencils, stickers, markers, activity/puzzle books, etc. Markers can be messy, and stickers might end up on car windows, so be careful with those two. Make one for each child to lessen the chance of fighting over who needs the red crayon right now.

You can get a good assortment of coloring, activity, and puzzle books at the Dollar Store, as well as some novels and chapter books, to suit a range of ages. They also have crayons, stickers, and other easily portable supplies.Driving to Disney World

Music

Depending on the length of your trip, finding enough music can be difficult. Constantly hunting for stations while driving through different broadcasting areas can be frustrating. Satellite radio is an alternative that will let you pick one station from coast to coast.

Smartphone apps like Spotify that stream music are also a great idea. Many have free options, but subscribing will give you more control. Spotify also offers curated playlists (subscribers can create their own) so you can choose enough Disney songs to last your whole trip. Just put “It’s a Small World” on repeat if you want to feel like you’re already at the park!

If data usage is a concern, Spotify will let you download songs, albums and playlists directly to your phone. You can then play these without using any data, as long as you have an active subscription.Driving to Disney World

Devices

Save devices until you’ve exhausted all other options. If the kids are already bored of their electronic devices, coloring books aren’t going to hold any appeal.

If you’re in the market for a new car, consider one with a DC outlet built in. While it won’t be strong enough to charge anything quickly, it can make a charge last much longer.

Make sure you’ve charged everything beforehand, or your children will never forgive you.

Also consider a portable device charger; these are handy for the trip out and a lifesaver once you’re in the park.Driving to Disney World

Snacks

Buy some quart size ziplock bags and make each child an individual snack bag. You can just give them the whole baggie instead of digging through a bigger container to find whatever your kids want right then.Are you driving to Disney World? Wondering how to survive the trek? Read our best tips for enjoying your travels to the place where dreams come true!

Do you have any tips to share? What do you do to keep the kids entertained?

Thanks to Beth from Paper Angels Photography for sharing her tips and photos!

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?

Episode 32: The Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival

podcast

Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival

Today’s podcast episode is all about The Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival! If you haven’t read our take on the festival, check out Sarah’s article here, and then give the podcast a listen! Hopefully all of your questions will be answered, but if not, please feel free to comment here, on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. We love connecting with our fellow readers and listeners.

Why You Should Visit Epcot's International Flower & Garden Festival

The International Flower & Garden Festival runs through the end of May.