Thursday, December 15, 2016

Express Transportation

   Disney just released a new transportation option that could shave time off of park entry! Express Transportation is now in the testing stages at all four main parks.  For a few ($15 for one day or $25 for up to seven) you can be loaded on to transportation buses back stage within the park! When you are transported backstage at your destination, you are able to bypass security and front entry.
    At Disney's Hollywood Studios you are picked up next to the entrance for Rockin' Roller Coaster. The backstage waiting area is different than the other sites. There were 2 benches available but no shade or cover. Hopefully if this process takes off, a change will be made there.

    The drop off/pick up at Animal Kingdom is backstage near Kilimanjaro Safari. The actual waiting area to catch the bus is inside the park here. Once a bus is ready, you are escorted by my castmember backstage to the bus.
   Magic Kingdom is a little different. You are let off deep in the park behind behind Bizz Lightyear. I think this shaves off about 20 minutes, at the least.  Once again, waiting for the next bus is inside the park but you're escorted via cast member to a bus.
    Epcot's Express Transportation area is located near Spaceship Earth. This one doesn't save you as much time but you still get to bypass security.
   All in all, I was happy with this service. If you are on property during peak times it would be really beneficial. I think the pricing is worth the time you save. As of right now, this service is only available at the four main theme parks and may only be purchased at guest services within these parks. Another point made clear by castmenbers is that here is NO photography allowed in the backstage areas. I didn't see anything at any of the backstage locations that I'd want to take a picture of anyway.
   What are you thoughts?

Monday, December 5, 2016

We Wish YOU Were Here for Christmas!

We really do wish YOU Were Here for Christmas! But hopefully this comes close. How about a yummy candle and wax tarts to make your home smell amazing for the Holidays from our pals at Fandoms and Fairtales?! How about an adorable Adventure ornament from our friends at Sydney's Thotful Spot? (What a great gift to give or get!) We've got them for you! Giveaway begins at Midnight (Central) tonight and runs through 12:00 AM Central December 13th. Check out how to win by clicking the link below and GOOD LUCK!

Candle and tarts from Fandoms and Fairytales

Adventure Ornament from Sydney's Thotful Spot

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, November 21, 2016

Disney Cruise Castmembers


    If there is one thing about Disney that you can be sure of, it is that their cast members are top notch!      You will have several cast members that cater to your every need on a Disney cruise. Everyone from your stateroom attendant  to the captain of the ship is there for you and eager to make you happy while on the cruise.
   On my family's most recent western Caribbean cruise, we couldn't have been happier with the way things went and the help, assistance and care we received.  We were actually cruising during hurricane Matthew!
    Captain Fabian was so great about letting us know what was going on every day. He came over the loud speaker with news, he even had them satellite in a weather channel so passengers could stay more informed.
Captain Fabian
    Darren was the ships cruise director. We saw him every night at the show and he was always so energetic and fun! The night of the officer pin trading event, he pulled my son aside after seeing his Star Wars lanyard covered in Star Wars pins and said he wanted to give him a special pin from his own collection!  My son was so excited and the following night it was delivered to our cabin.
   Our cabin attendant was very attentive and always wanted to know what he could do to make it better.  He brought extra blankets, made cool animals and left our stuffed Disney characters sitting up arranged with the blanket creatures.

  Our waitstaff could not be beat!  Seriously, no one could have been better than David and Saul. Every night we laughed and talked. I taught both of them, as well as the maitre'd, how to use Snapchat!  I told Saul on the first night that I wanted mac and cheese every night as an appetizer and it was always hot and on the table as soon as we arrived. David was so cute flirting with my mom and joking about it with my dad. We even teared up a little on the last morning at breakfast when we had to say goodbye. I can only hope that we will get them or someone just as good on our next Disney cruise! 
When David was learning Snapchat
Me and David

Saul the Snapchat Bunny


 What about you?  What magic did you experience on your Disney cruise by cast members? We'd love to hear about it! 

Monday, October 17, 2016

Disney Fantasy: 7 Night Western Caribbean: Boarding

Sailing Away
   Day one, also known as Sail Away Day.  The port is filled with excited, as well as confused, kids and adults. What line do I get in? Where do I go first? How do I know it is my turn to board?  CALM DOWN!  There are cast members all around to help guide you on your journey.
  First, no matter how you arrive at port, there are people waiting to assist you with luggage.  These folks will take all of your checked bags to the ship and all you have to worry about is what you are carrying on. MAKE SURE that you have your passports or travel documents with you and not in the checked luggage. This would make getting through security much quicker and easier. Speaking of security, that's where you head next.  Usually there are several lines open to make this quick and painless. It is somewhat like airport security but you get to keep your shoes on ;).
   Now, up the escalators! Wow, the room is packed! Head over to the desk and find a cast member to get you checked in.  All members of your party will need to be with you to get photos and key to the world cards.  This is also where you will be assigned your boarding group number.  After you are checked in, you can sign the younger kiddos up for the youth activities. There are TVs playing various Disney shows or movies, Disney music is playing on the loud speaker, characters to meet and bathrooms are available if needed too. When I looked around, I saw lots of excited people playing on their phones to get in their last moment of wi-fi.
   Listen closely for your boarding number to be called and that's when you line up.  As you enter the ship, there are usually a couple of lines.  There is one with a photo op and one to go straight in. This decision is totally up to you, but there will be many more photo opportunities throughout the week.  Once you are at the entrance, a cast member will ask your family name and you will be royally welcomed onto the ship into the gorgeous Fantasy lobby! Choosing what to do next is up to you. If you are boarding before 1:30PM, chances are your room won't be ready. You can do a ship tour, set up activities at customer service, don your bathing suit and hit the Aquaduck or grab some lunch at Cabanas buffet and wait for the Sail Away Party with your closest friends.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

2016 Epcot's Food and Wine Review and Tips

This past week I got to enjoy one of the best things that go on in Epcot each year. The Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. This is one of my favorite times to go to Epcot. I am a foodie. I love food and I love trying new and exciting things.

 If you're not sure what the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival is, it is where you get to eat small portioned items from each country and then many from around the world. Small items cost 3-9 dollars each and most alcoholic drinks cost 4-12 dollars. The Epcot International Food & Wine Festival is included in your ticket to Epcot. As you walk around the world showcase and into Future World, you will see small buildings serving small plates and drinks.

 This year's festival did not disappoint. We chose to go on opening day, which we have never done but had the chance to do this year. The crowds were really low, even around 3 pm. We didn't have more than a 5 minute wait for anything. 

 The weather was brutal. it got to 100 degrees that day and it was hot. However, we braved through it and still had the best time.

 When you enter be on the lookout for the Food & Wine Festival Passport. That will show you what each booth is serving. A cool new feature this year is instead of the usual stamps your used to get, (you used to have to take the book up to each booth and get a stamp if you wanted) this yearbthey included some cool stickers so you can add them yourself. Saves on time and makes the lines a bit shorter. I think that was a great idea.

 This year we wanted to try some new things that we had not tried yet, so we just chose to focus on those items; but some of the past years' items were too yummy to pass up. Each year the menu changes a bit, but usually they tend to keep people's favorite dishes.

 First on our list was Craft Beers. This is a must do for some really unique beers and some cool food. We had the Piggy Wings; you got 2 small "wings", these were amazing! We also had to get a drink to wash it down, so we tried the Shipyard Midnight Snack Milk Stout. This is something we had never even heard of, let alone tried, so we got that. I never had a beer that tasted like you were eating, well, drinking an Oreo cookie! That was an strange yet amazing beer. Even better was knowing the place that makes it is local to me, so I can have it whenever I want now!

 Next item we had was from Australia. Now this is something we have had, but it's just too good not to re-try: the Grilled Lamb Chop with mint pesto and potato crunchies. This is one of the best meat items they have. This is my husband's favorite.

 Then we were off to New Zealand, to try the Seared Venison with Wild mushroom marsala sauce and Kumara dumpling. My husband loves his deer and said it was awesome!

 On to my favorite booth of the day: the Farm Fresh booth. They have comfort food! My favorite! We got the Loaded mac n' cheese with Nueske's pepper bacon, cheddar cheese, peppers and green onions and the Chicken and dumplings stewed chicken with mushrooms and spinach. I believe these were the two best items I had all day. I could have eaten a few more, but I had more food items to go so I didn't want to stuff myself. This booth served a nice helping of food.The items were amazing.

 We had a Fastpass for Soarin' so we had to go back up the other way and decided to run over to the Chocolate studio to get the Liquid nitro chocolate almond truffle with warm whiskey. This is a nice cool touch to a warm day. It's amazing to watch them make this item with the CO2, and then they break it open for you. It's amazingly good. It's kind of like a melted candy bar, but its still holds it shape.

 After that we headed over to China to try a new drink this year. It was called the Happy Peach with Dekuyper peach liqueur and Meyers dark rum. This drink was perfect for a hot day. It is kind of sweet, and can sneak up on you. It was like you were drinking a fresh peach.

We then made a quick stop in Poland to get this thing everyone was talking about called a Frozen apple pie. I had heard so many people saying you have got to try this drink. The name of it is Szarlotka and it is Apple pie filling and Bison grass Vodka.This was pretty strong, but to have a drink that requires a spoon too is just special to me. The bottom of this drink had a layer of real apple pie filling, the drink was super cold and on top were these crumbs like you would find on an apple pie. It was one of the most amazing drinks I have ever had, and I was definitely feeling the buzz after that one.

 We ended the day off with a stop in Ireland and picked up a warm chocolate pudding with Irish cream liquor custard. This was the perfect ending to a perfect, yet hot day.

 So,what are some tips?

 Come hungry! You don't want to come to the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival after having a big meal somewhere. There is plenty of food to make this your meal.

 The heavier crowds are always on the weekends. For shorter lines try and avoid going on the weekend if possible.

 Make sure you see the other events going on, like the eat to the beat concerts that take place in the evenings. Go to the seminars at the Festival Center and be sure the check out the other things going on. Some are free, some you have to pay for, but make sure to check them all out. They have classes, seminars, demonstrations, everything! There are also events at some of the resorts this year.

Set a budget. The small meals and drinks tend to add up at the end of the day, so my tip is to put that set amount of money on a food and wine gift card. They are these neat little cards that you can wear on your wrist,= and they are a nice little token/souvenir to bring him when you're finished. They can be activated with as little as $15.00 to start.

 My next tip would be to get to the showcase earlier in the day. The food booths open at 11am, by 4-5 pm they tend to get a little busier.

 Last tip would be if you're a Chase card holder take advantage of the Chase lounge. It's located in the upstairs of the American paviilion. They have free drinks from the Coke Freesyle machines and places to sit and cool off and has places to charge your electronics. 

Here are some of the Menus: