How to Find Character Meets at Disney

How to Find Characters at Disney

Chances are if you’ve ever visited a Disney destination, then meeting your favorite Disney characters is a must. Today I’m going to discuss how to find character meets at Disney. Since Disney is always switching things up, this post won’t simply be a list of who and where to find them. This is a how to find character meets at Disney. That’s right, I’m going to share with you how to find the current meets for Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, Aulani and more! Let’s get going then!

How to Find Characters at Disney

Walt Disney World

Let’s start with the biggest Disney destination, Walt Disney World. With four major theme parks, two water parks, resorts, and a giant shopping center, Walt Disney World is huge! That means there’s no shortage of character meets there.

Walt Disney World Website

When looking to find Disney character meets at Walt Disney World, the first thing you need to do is check out their website before you travel. Did you know you can even schedule fastpasses for some character meet and greets?That means if you plan to stay as an on-site guest, you’ll want to check out these options before your 60 day FastPass booking date. If you are staying off-site, make sure to book your FastPasses 30 days prior to travel.

How to Find Characters at Disney

To find character experiences available, you can simply head over to Walt Disney World’s website. To start, hover over the Things To Do tab and click on Character Experiences. This will take you to a large list of all the character-based experiences available for that day.

How to Find Characters at Disney

You’ll then need to filter the experiences to only show character experiences for which you can meet and interact with them. You’ll need to update the calendar date so that you’re looking at character experiences available for your travel dates. Once you’ve done that, you can scroll through and explore which characters are available to meet.

If you click on a specific meet experience, you can also view what times they’re available and if they are eligible to be booked as a fastpass experience. You can even click on Show In My Plans located below the available times so that you can add them directly to your itinerary! I do this for all of my clients and it’s a great way to ensure character meets won’t be forgotten once at the theme parks. But what about if you’re already at the park you ask?

My Disney Experience App

If you’re already in a park and want to see what’s available, you can use the My Disney Experience app to find them! Simply open your app and click on the map at the top. You’ll then want to click on the top filter (usually loads with wait times first). Select Characters. This will load character experiences available, but you’re not quite done. Next, you’ll want to click the filter and select the specific park you’re in so that it will load everything near you.

How to Find Characters at Disney

As you can see in my screenshot, my app is currently showing Characters experiences and has 1 filter for the Magic Kingdom. There are so many characters to meet at Magic Kingdom! But what about character dining?

Let’s talk about character dining next!

Character Dining

If you’re looking to dine with characters, then this is how it’s done! Under the Things to Do tab, select All Restaurants under Dining. This will load a list of Walt Disney World restaurants for you. Once this list is loaded, you’ll need to once again use the filter option to select Character Dining and be sure to update the calendar for your travel date. That’s it! So easy and there’s so many options to choose from! The Garden Grill, 1900 Park Fare, Ohana, and Cinderella’s Royal Table are some of our very favorite character dining locations. What’s your favorite character dining location?

How to Find Characters at Disney

But what about Disneyland for our west coast fans? Next, let’s head to Disneyland so I can tell you how to find characters at Disney land too!

Disneyland

Exciting news, as finding character experiences at Disneyland is exactly the same as Walt Disney World! Simply head over to the website, click on Things To Do, and filter by Character Experiences and your travel date. It really is that easy! What’s more, the app works the same too!! But what about international Disney parks you ask?

How to Find Characters at Disneyland

International Parks

This same search and filter method works for all the Disney parks destinations! Simply direct your browser to the Disney park website of your choice and follow the steps I’ve provided above for Walt Disney World to find characters within all the Disney parks around the world! You can find the website for all of the Disney parks here. This search method even works for guests visiting Disney’s Aulani, a resort and spa in Hawaii! Just load the Aulani page and hover over Activities to click on Character Experiences.

How to Find Characters at Disney Parks

But Meredith, you’re forgetting the Disney Cruise Line, you say. Let’s set sail next and discover how to find character meets at Disney aboard the Disney cruise ships!

Disney Cruise Line

Although this same search gameplan works mostly the same for Disney Cruise Line, there are some differences. The first and major difference is once you’re on the Disney Cruise Line website and loaded the Character Experiences page under the Our Ships tab, you’ll want to go ahead and filter the list by the specific ship you’ll be sailing on since some characters are available only on certain ships.

Disney Cruise Line Characters

The second difference is that DCL features several character meets that require tickets to be requested ahead of time. This includes meeting the Princesses, the Frozen sisters, the Star Wars and Marvel characters (for those sailing on these select themed sailings), and the Disney Junior characters. You can secure tickets for these meets once your booking window opens. It’s good to know that you must be paid in full to be able to login and book onboard activities. It’s also good to know that these experiences book fully super fast and you’ll want to be ready to book them as soon as your window opens. If you’re unable to secure tickets for a meet you’d like to experience, don’t worry! You can always head over to guest services once onboard and request tickets and in most cases, they have more available for guests at that time.

How to Find Characters at Disney

Character Dining Onboard

Disney Cruise Line features a very special meet and greet onboard called the Royal Court, Royal Tea. This exclusive tea party is an additional charge and functions more like character dining does at Disney parks. We’ve been fortunate enough to experience this (thanks Mom & Dad!) and enjoyed it very much! Not only do the princesses come out and sing, dance, and interact with guests, but they bring each child a special gift!

Disney Cruise Line also offers a Disney Junior Character Breakfast for sailing of 6 or more nights. Tickets can be obtained for free by clicking on book onboard activities once you’re logged into your account, paid in full, and your booking window is open. This is a special character breakfast that has special breakfast foods located at Animator’s Palette and features favorite Disney Junior Characters. They’ve just recently added Vampirina and Fancy Nancy to the lineup!

Moana

Additionally, you can meet exclusive characters during special events like Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. Each event has its own exclusive characters and you can find information about these character meets once you’re at the event via the printed times guide available when you enter. In some cases Disney will list exclusive characters on their website, but that’s not always the case. Checking your times guide is the best way to ensure you find all these exclusive characters. We were able to meet Moana this year at Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween party because she isn’t available during regular operating hours at Walt Disney World.

Now that you know how to find characters at Disney, be sure to check out these other great posts to help you prepare for your trip! You won’t want to miss our Ultimate Disney Packing List! Be sure browse our posts about Walt Disney World and Disneyland too!

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

5 Things to Know About Hurricanes and Disney Travel

hurricane
Pandora: The World of Avatar

Traveling during the Atlantic hurricane season, typically June 1 to Nov 30, can be tricky. The odds of traveling during a major hurricane at Walt Disney World are extremely low. However, it’s always a good idea to know what you’re getting yourself into when planning a vacation during this time. Even more so, if you’re traveling during the season peak month of September! We have you covered though!

Closures Due to Hurricanes are Rare

hurricane

Orlando’s central location within the state of Florida makes it a much safer place to ride out a larger storm. Did you know the structures throughout Walt Disney World were designed to withstand gale force winds? It’s no wonder that since its opening in 1971, Walt Disney World has only ever closed for hurricane weather a total of 4 times!! The most recent was almost two years ago for Hurricane Irma. While a closure can be frustrating, it’s better to know that things are closed and everyone is safe.

You Can Change Your Travel Dates Without Penalty if a Hurricane Warning is Issued

According to Walt Disney World’s official hurricane policy,

“If a hurricane warning is issued by the National Hurricane Center for the Orlando area—or for your place of residence—within 7 days of your scheduled arrival date, you may call in advance to reschedule or cancel your Walt Disney Travel Company Magic Your Way vacation package and most room only reservations (booked directly with Disney) without any cancellation or change fees imposed by Disney.

If you have products and services provided by third-party suppliers included in your vacation—such as airlines, hotels, car rental agencies or vacation insurance companies—you will continue to be responsible for any non-refundable payments, as well as cancellation or change fees assessed by those suppliers. The policy does not apply to certain special events or dining experiences.

hurricane

This policy also applies to Disney’s Vero Beach Resort or Disney’s Hilton Head Island Resort in the event a hurricane warning is issued for those destinations.”

Travel Insurance is Key

Whether you’re planning to travel during the hurricane season or not, travel insurance is always a good idea. One of the many things it can cover is the ever-unpredictable weather situations that can and do affect travel. It’s good to remember that each travel insurance plan is different. Your travel agent can explain more about what’s covered. Unfortunately, most insurance plans can’t be added onto a paid in full vacation package.

hurricane

Be thinking of the potential for hurricanes and whether you should select travel insurance when you first book your trip. Furthermore, most insurance plans will help cover costs associated with travel such as airfare to and from your destination. Remember: Even though Disney may reschedule your vacation without penalty, other third-party vendors that you have bookings with may not allow a reschedule. For more information on Walt Disney World’s travel insurance, click here. For more information on Disney Cruise Line’s insurance policy, click here.

Disney Has Safety Protocols In Place for Guests On-Site

Hurricane

While it’s no secret that Florida gets its fair share of hurricanes, it may be surprising to some that Walt Disney World is designed to withstand gale force winds. In the event that Orlando sees a direct, or even near-direct, hit from a hurricane, guests staying on property will be protected and even entertained! Many guests who’ve ridden out recent storms like Hurricane Matthew and Hurricane Irma have reported that they’ve participated in games, movie marathons, and even unannounced character meet and greets within their resorts’ lobbies and food courts! Additionally, most resorts will allow guests to ride out the storm in their rooms. However, should the storm become more intense, each resort has an interior space to relocate everyone.

Disney Cruises Are Subject to Change

While Disney Cruise Line makes every effort to maintain its fleet’s schedule, safety is always paramount. Unfortunately that means that sometimes Disney has to make tough decisions. If the safety of any of Disney’s ships is in jeopardy, Disney Cruise Line assesses that risk and plans accordingly. This can often be as little as diverting around a storm or mixing up the port days during each sailing. Sometimes though, the risk is too great and Disney will make the call to cancel sailings. As of August 28th, Disney Cruise Line has posted a tropical weather update that states, “We are closely monitoring the path and progress of Hurricane Dorian to ensure our Guests enjoy safe and comfortable cruises, and to make certain our ships steer clear of the storm. The safety of our Guests and crew is always our foremost concern.

At this time, based on the current predicted storm timing and path, we do not anticipate any changes to the Disney Fantasy sailing on Saturday, Aug. 31. We are closely monitoring potential implications for the Disney Dream sailings on Friday, Aug. 30 and Monday, Sept. 2. We encourage Guests to monitor our website for updates.”

hurricane

If you are considering a trip to Walt Disney World or a Disney Cruise during hurricane season, just remember to stay prepared and flexible. Safety is the most important thing! Stay weather prepared and keep an eye on Disney’s official sites for the latest information. Additionally, for more information on rainy days at Disney, be sure to check out our other blog post here.

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!

Image may contain: drink and outdoor

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!

Image may contain: drink, outdoor, food and water

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

How To Make Money At Disney

Make Money at Disney

How to Make Money at Disney

Make money at Disney? YES, PLEASE!!

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

Make Money at Disney

How It Worked For Us

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

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

Make Money at Disney

Something to Consider

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

Tips for Declining Mousekeeping

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

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

~Amy

S2E19: Incredible Summer at Walt Disney World

podcast

podcast


Season 2: Episode 19

Incredible Summer at Walt Disney World

Sarah, Meredith, and Amy are back to discuss Disney’s Incredible Summer going on over at Walt Disney World. From an actual incredible family to a Xandarian Music concert, we’re ready to talk details!! Not to mention a little land opening called TOY STORY LAND! What are you most excited about?

As always, please share with us if you’ve got something to add to our discussion! Did we miss something? Please share your story with us! Post to our facebook page or tag us on instagram!


If you’ve enjoyed this episode, please let us know. For more Disney tips, tricks, tutorials, packing lists, dos and don’ts… Okay, you get the picture. We’ve got a blog! www.mouseandmonorail.com You can also find us on the following socials: FacebookTwitterPinterestInstagram, & YouTube.

Walt Disney World Free Dining 2018

How to Visit Disney World Solo

Free Dining Offer at Walt Disney World is Now Available!

After many rumors have spread like wildfire the past few weeks, it became official today, April 24, 2018! The free dining offer for late summer and fall travel to Walt Disney World was released. Guests are eligible for free dining plans with select non-discounted 4 night Magic Your Way package. Packages must include a room at a select Disney Resort hotel and at least 4 day  tickets with Park Hopper or Park Hopper Plus.

Free Disney Dining Dates

  • August 20 – September 29, 2018
  • November 24 – November 27, 2018
  • December 7 – December 23, 2018

The dining plan offer depends on which resort level you are staying at: Value and Moderate Resorts have complimentary Quick Service Dining Plans. Deluxe Resorts or Deluxe Villa Resorts will receive the regular Disney Dining Plan for free. You can make upgrades to whichever plan you qualify for, and pay the difference.

There are LOTS of room excluded from the Free Dining promo this year, including all of the following: All Star Movies, Bay Lake Tower, both Port Orleans Resorts, Wilderness Lodge, Polynesian Village Resort (villas & standard rooms), Contemporary Resort, Fort Wilderness campsites, Art of Animation Little Mermaid Rooms, Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian, and all 3-bedroom Villas. Why so many exclusions? Simple enough reason…Disney doesn’t have to offer a discount to fill those rooms to capacity.

What’s the Catch?

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

Crowds and Blocked Dates

Many people have come to expect free dining offers in the fall at Disney and with that comes larger crowds. Larger crowds mean more time waiting in lines and it’s harder to obtain reservations at your first choice restaurants. Disney has also blocked out the entire month of October  and most of November this year, which had historically been open for free dining.

It seems as though Disney has caught on to the high number of school systems that have fall breaks now, and they have no reason to discount that season anymore. Many people have spent hours and hours on hold with Disney only to find out that due to limited availability at each resort, they couldn’t have the discount applied.

Is it worth it?

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

For reference on the value of free dining, here is a breakdown of the prices for the 2018 dining packages at Disney.

2018 Disney Dining Plan Pricing

My Personal Experience

When the free dining dates the last year I booked I tried for free dining for us, I found out that our reservation was outside the booking window. Out of sheer curiosity, I played around with our reservation dates and checked out the prices. That year was the first time that Disney has had the caveat that in order to qualify for free dining, guests must purchase either a Park Hopper pass or a Water Park Fun and more option. They did the same thing for 2016, and for 2017 and 2018 added in the Park Hopper requirement.

We were staying at a value resort, and I would have had to upgrade to the regular dining plan (personal preference here) and pay the difference, as well as upgrade our tickets to a Park Hopper pass. Because of this, I was actually going to end up paying more out of pocket, just for the “perk” of free dining. It took our $1600 vacation to just under $1800, so I would have ended up paying almost $200 more for free food.

Is a Room Discount better?

It was an easy decision for me for that trip and every trip since then– no free dining. However, when free dining isn’t an option look for a room discount to come out to save a little money.  All things considered, with the right availability and some flexibility with your arrival dates, you can save money with a free dining vacation.  And don’t forget that utilizing a Disney vacation planner like Jolly Holidays by SarahMain Street Memories by Meredith or Tomorrowland Travels with Amy can make the hassle of booking free dining something your TA worries about for you.

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

All About Toy Story Land

Slinky Dog Dash

What’s the “Buzz” on Toy Story Land?

Image result for toystoryland

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

Set the Scene

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

New Attractions

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

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

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

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

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

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

Woody’s Lunch Box

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

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FastPass+

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

What to Expect

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

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

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

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

S2E13- Sarah’s Experience with Disney’s Social Media Moms Event

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Season 2: Episode 13

Tuesday : Sarah’s Experience with Disney Social Media Moms

Today’s topic is all about Sarah’s recent trip and her experience with the Disney Social Media Moms! From Walt Disney World to the Disney Cruise line, she was able to experience all sorts of amazing things! So if you’ve ever wondered what it takes to be invited to Disney’s special event, don’t miss this episode!

As always, please share with us if you’ve got something to add to our discussion! Did we miss something? Please share your story with us! Post to our facebook page or tag us on instagram!


If you’ve enjoyed this episode, please let us know. For more Disney tips, tricks, tutorials, packing lists, dos and dont’s… Okay, you get the picture. We’ve got a blog! www.mouseandmonorail.com You can also find us on the following socials: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, & YouTube.

S2E7: Disney Travel Apps

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podcast


Season 2: Episode 7

Tuesday : Disney Travel Apps

Today’s topic is all about the apps that correspond to different Disney Destinations. From the Disneyland and Walt Disney World to the ever-popular Disney Cruise Line, we’ve got you covered. This episode is perfect for everyone, so whether you’re always at Disney or going for your first time, don’t miss this episode!

Episode Links

My Disney Experience: Desktop iOS Playstore

Disneyland: Desktop iOS Playstore

Disney Cruise Line: Desktop iOS Playstore

 

As always, please share with us if you’ve got something to add to our discussion! Did we miss something? Please share your story with us! Post to our facebook page or tag us on instagram!


If you’ve enjoyed this episode, please let us know. For more Disney tips, tricks, tutorials, packing lists, dos and dont’s… Okay, you get the picture. We’ve got a blog! www.mouseandmonorail.com You can also find us on the following socials: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, & YouTube.

S2E1: 2018 Disney Travel Info

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podcast


Season 2: Episode 1

Travel Tuesday 2018 Disney Travel Info

We’re back and so excited to begin the new year with a new format!! We’re happy to share that we’ll now be sharing two episodes per week! Be sure to listen to this episode to find out the details of our new format. Today’s topic is all about what’s coming in 2018 in terms of Disney travel! From Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line and Adventures by Disney, we’re going to be talking about it all! Which Disney travel destination do you want to travel to this year?

As always, please share with us if you’ve got something to add to our discussion! Please share your story with us! Post to our facebook page or tag us on instagram!


If you’ve enjoyed this episode, please let us know. For more Disney tips, tricks, tutorials, packing lists, dos and don’ts… Okay, you get the picture. We’ve got a blog! www.mouseandmonorail.com You can also find us on the following socials: FacebookTwitterPinterestInstagram, & YouTube.

What’s Coming to Walt Disney World in 2018

Walt Disney World has so much fun an exciting stuff in the pipeline for 2018, and we wanted to capture it for you! If you have a visit planned for 2018 and beyond, it will definitely be worth the growing pains! Keep reading to find out what’s coming to Walt Disney World in 2018

Star Wars Fans – THE FORCE IS WITH YOU!

New Star Wars: The Last Jedi additions have been added to the display area at Star Wars Launch Bay in Hollywood Studios. These are a must see for fans of the movie. If you are a Star Wars junkie, a walk through the Launch Bay has to be on your agenda!

If you are hitting up Disney Springs, don’t miss the ILMxLAB and The Void. Teams of four will be able to go undercover as stormtroopers to spy and grab Imperial intelligence to try and save the Rebel Alliance!

Star Tours at Hollywood Studios has added 2 new destinations. Visitors to this attraction will now be able to visit Crait and Batuu! We can’t wait for 2019 when the Star Wars resort will be unveiled.

Epcot’s International Festival of the Arts

Under an amazing sunburst, the China Pavilion majestically sits by a pond packed with lily padsWe give a big welcome back to the second year of Epcot’s International Festival of the Arts. This festival will be held January 12th though February 19th and will feature seminars, workshop classes on animation, photography and the art of making topiaries. You can also check out the delicious food offerings and Broadway style performances.

Disney After Hours

Disney After Hours event nights will hit Magic Kingdom on select nights between January through March. This hard ticket event will give you access to 25 attractions and character encounters – and even includes some food!

All the Food at Disney Springs

We’re Celebrating National Wine Day With First Look at Interior of Wine Bar George at Disney SpringsDisney Springs is opening up 8 new dining locations!!! You will now be able to dine at The Edison, 3 new Italian options and Wine Bar George! Foodies won’t want to miss all the amazing options Disney Springs has to offer! If you visit Disney Springs, we can just about guarantee you won’t leave hungry!

Epcot’s International Flower and Garden Festival

The 25th Anniversary of this beautiful festival will run February 28th through May 28th. This event features amazing flower and character topiaries, garden tours, the Garden Rocks music series and so much more. If flowers and gardens are your thing, this festival NEEDS to be on your bucket list!

Animal Kingdom Turns 20

Disney’s Animal Kingdom will celebrate it’s 20th Anniversary on Earth Day! We know there will be tons of fun in store to celebrate this event. As soon as we get more info, we will share it with you!

Toy Story Land!!!

Probably one of the most anticipated events of 2018 for Walt Disney World is the opening of Toy Story Land in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. This land will feature 2 new attractions: Alien Swirling Saucers and the Slinky Dog Dash. There will also be a quick service dining option in this land.

Hotel Refurbs

Several Walt Disney World resort hotels are experiencing some growing pains with current and anticipated remodels. We know that some of these are just expected to spruce up the resorts, but others are making drastic changes, including Caribbean Beach. Look for more announcements to be in the pipeline as WDW anticipates their upcoming 50th anniversary of Magic Kingdom in 2021.

Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival

Back again, Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival will feature amazing food, wine, culinary demonstrations, beverage seminars and the very fun Eat to the Beat Concert Series!

All the Parties

Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party

Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party will both be back for 2018. These parties will feature special fireworks, parades, character meet and greets and so much more. Stay tuned for more info as soon as party dates are released!

This is just a small recap of things headed to Walt Disney World in 2018. It’s going to be an exciting year of growth for the Florida parks. What are you most excited about?

Episode 100: Groups at Walt Disney World

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podcast


Groups at Walt Disney World

We’re back and so excited to share our 100th episode!! We recently traveled with a group of our writers and are here to share our experience. We’ll include tips for group planning as well as what it’s like when you’re actually at the parks. We may even mention why the Frozen Holiday Sing-Along at Hollywood Studios is better than the Olaf’s Frozen Adventure short! Have you ever traveled with a group before? If so, what are you best tips for group travel?

As always, please share with us if you’ve got something to add to our discussion! Please share your story with us! Post to our facebook page or tag us on instagram!


If you’ve enjoyed this episode, please let us know. For more Disney tips, tricks, tutorials, packing lists, dos and don’ts… Okay, you get the picture. We’ve got a blog! www.mouseandmonorail.com You can also find us on the following socials: FacebookTwitterPinterestInstagram, & YouTube.