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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Disney FASTPASS Holder

In a post I did last week, I described how the Disney Fastpass works.

The Disney Fastpass is NOT something you want to lose- it's your only way to get on all or some of the major attractions at Disney theme parks!

I can attest to this-on our last trip to Disney World, my husband left our Fastpasses at our hotel room. He didn't realize it until he was on the bus from Bay Lake Tower... so he was able to make a fun round trip back! While he wasted some time on the bus, it was still better than waiting in line for Toy Story Mania (which is what our Fastpasses were for).



I have one easy solution so you'll always know where your Disney Fastpass is!


Monday, July 30, 2012

"Chef" Mickey- Kid Friendly Mickey Mouse Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls!

I was looking for an evening snack last night. It's also blazing hot outside, and I wanted to make something my daughter could help me with, so she had something to do.

The result? Mickey Mouse Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls!

My daughter had a blast making these! These were a breeze to make- and tasted great!

 Check out the link for all the info!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

The Boot: Why does Disney kick out people who look like characters?

Thomas Tolbert, a gentlemen who moonlights as Santa Claus, is in the spotlight because of an issue that seems to pop up frequently at Disney Parks.

If you missed it, it was just over a month ago a girl was kicked out for dressing like Tinker Bell.

So what's the problem? 

Jennifer left some great comments on one of my posts here, and really inspired me to write this post. She brings up some great points, and I'd encourage you to check them out.

Read on to get my take on things.

Disney Olympics

In honor of the Olympic games currently underway in London, here's a classic Disney spin on the event!


Thursday, July 26, 2012

Disney Artist Collection For Target

I am IN LOVE with the new Disney Artist Collection for Target. Get ready for picture overload! I went to my local Target a couple days ago and was surprised to see this new line, not only for little girls and boys but for babies/toddlers and adults. The Disney Artist Collection for Target is so cute! You have to check it out!

Christmas at Disney...without Santa!

I ran across a news story yesterday about a gentlemen getting kicked out of Disney World. It was featured on Yahoo and some other popular news outlets, so you may have seen it as well.

Apparently, he portrays Santa, but was just on a trip with his family in Disney World. He didn't dress up like Santa, but he sure does look like jolly old St. Nick. He was approached by children, and would sign autographs.

Disney, in what appears to be an ongoing battle, had to ask him to stop acting like the North Pole resident, and to tell the kids "he's not who they think he is and to leave him alone."

Today, what lies in my email? A Christmas promotion from the Disney Store!



Either this was an odd coincidence, or Disney really is rubbing salt (or...snow?) in the wound for Mr. Kringle!




Personally, I just think Disney should have given him one of the Goofy hats, and tucked in his hair!



Disney Food Facts: The Canyon Skillet

It's time to time spotlight one of the many great meal options at Disney!

This one is featured at a restaurant in of my favorite hotels, Disney's Wilderness Lodge.

Check it out-

  IMGP6651
(Image source: Penglynns/Flickr)

This food option is just like your drink- you can get it refilled for free!

Read on to find out how you can experience this delectable dish- you might be surprised at the price!

Also, a fun surprise you'll only find at Whispering Canyon.


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Disney's Fastpass- What is it and how does the Fast Pass work? Does the Fastpass cost?



Some of the most common questions I get are about Disney's Fastpass.

The Fastpass is great... even better if you know how to use them.

A Fastpass allows you to skip the line at a ride that makes the one open checkout line at Wal Mart at 5 pm on a Friday ( very specific on this because it's one of my pet peeves- seriously, why can't I ever just walk up to an open checkout at a Wal Mart?) look like a breeze.

 Sometimes, at a Disney World ride like Toy Story Mania, you might celebrate another birthday while waiting in line..people flock to certain rides like june bugs to a light. That's why knowing what rides need a Fastpass and when to get them are a must ( and of course, something I can help with!).

They are free, and you use your Key to the World or Park Ticket to pick them up- there are kiosks located near the entrance or exits of participating rides to distribute the Fastpass. You simply walk up, pop in your Key to the World, and out spits your Fastpass, which allows you to skip the long wait and enter a separate line, where you fly through the queue line. People without a Fastpass in the other line will sometimes look at you with giant sad eyes, like a basset hound.


Read on for more valuable info!


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Disney Dining Plan: Is the Disney Dining Plan Worth it? Final Analysis

If this is your first visit to my site, or you missed last week's posts, make sure you scroll down the page and check out my initial posts about the Disney Dining Plan.

In this post, I'll analyze the  Disney Deluxe Dining Plan- is it really worth it? One quick note- with Disney's Free Dining offer for the fall 2012, all you have to do is pay the difference between the standard Disney Dining Plan and the Deluxe- about $30. The food you can get for just $30 a day... unbelievable. Some of the finest steaks, seafood... just some of the best food you're going to find, and you are stealing it at that price.

I also have a great resource you can use to analyze the Disney Dining Plans option for yourself, and how Disney Dining can work for you.



Thursday, July 19, 2012

How to tell your kids you're going to Disney!



Surprise! Surprises are the great unknown- many people don't like them, because they like to plan. Others are scared... I used to scare my great grandfather when I was little by hiding around a corner. Not a good surprise (although I am sure he figured me out pretty quick, and just liked to see me laugh), but I think he could have won an Oscar with the different ways he'd react. One time I surprised my father-I made him a turkey sandwich, except I had some surprise toppings...such as chocolate syrup. Needless to say, he was not too happy.

We kept the birth of our two children a surprise- we didn't know their gender until they came out. It was painful at times, but it was so worth it. It was awesome both times- there was second guessing, then we'd have our firm beliefs, and we were always surprised. We overheard (by accident) someone at the hospital say our second child was a girl. We were dejected-not that we were having another girl, but that we found out. Long story short, we were shocked when our son was born a month later! Obviously, I'll never forget the moment when our children came out. However, the element of surprise just added to that wonderful time of our lives.

One of the most fun things you can do is surprise your kids with a trip to Disney. Once you get involved, and take the extra steps, you'll be so involved in your trip- it will create a memory that will last a lifetime.... for you and your children.

One of the best questions I have been asked is how to surprise your kids with a trip to Disney World (or Disneyland). Yes, we adults like to go....but really, if you are going as a family, it's all about the kids. You have a golden opportunity to make this already special trip even more magical, so why not?


I've put together a great list ideas that I have complied over time- click the link to find out some of the best to surprise your kids you're going to Disney!

Also- if you have any stories, pictures, videos (now or in the future) of surprising your kids- please share them with me at disneytripexpert@gmail.com!



Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Disney Food Facts: Tonga Toast

I've been toying around with some new ideas. This is not specifically a food blog- it's a Disney & travel advice blog.

However, as I have mentioned before, a big part of my family's trips to Disney is the food. Yes, we love the rides, characters, theming, hotels.... but the food is also one of the reasons we love going there.

I'm going to pen a weekly post, titled "Disney Food Facts," where I will feature a food found in Disney World or Disneyland.

Is it your favorite? Something you have never tried? I know when I check out these pictures it makes me want to go back. So click the link, and see the first food item featured in "Disney Food Facts."


This is also one my favorite recipes from Disney to make at home- I've also posted the recipe!

Tonga_Toast_4
(image source: Jon_Grant/flickr)

Monday, July 16, 2012

Part TWO- Disney Dining Plan Prices-Is the Disney Dining Plan Worth It?

My last post analyzed the Quick Service Dining Plan from the Disney Dining Plan.



This post is dedicated to Disney Plus Dining-I call it the Base Disney Dining Plan, just because it's sandwiched in-between the other two options. (Yes, I intentionally used the word sandwiched... this post is all about food!)

This Disney Dining Plan provides you 1 table service, 1 counter service, and 1 snack per day.

Clink the link to find out if this is the Disney Dining Plan for you!


Thursday, July 12, 2012

Disney Dining Plan Prices-Is the Disney Dining Plan worth it? Part 1

Disney recently revealed their 2013 vacation packages. I love it- it's when I can finally quote my clients for next year, and book Disney vacations!



It's also when Disney reveals their Disney Dining Plan's cost per day. This is one of those hot button issues-the President has health care, Disney has the Dining Plan.

The most asked question- Is the Disney Dining Plan worth it?



There are many pros and cons when it comes to the Dining Plan- before I dig too deep, let me give you the easy answer.



Disney recently came out with free dining for select fall dates. If you can go at all during these periods, it's absolutely worth it.

You can also pay a small difference to upgrade from the basic dining plan to the deluxe, if you'd like.

Free dining is typically offered only once a year-however, it's also impossible to plan for. Either you have great luck and free dining falls on your already planned vacation, or you wait until Disney offers the Free Dining promotion.

The problem with that second strategy-waiting for Disney to release Free Dining dates- is
a) it may not happen,
b) it may not occur at a time you can take a trip-they usually release it during times they are less likely to fill the park, meaning it's harder for the average person to take off, or
c) either you can't get reservations to popular restaurants or you are only left with impossible times because everyone loves the free dining promotion. (Note: I can help plan your trip for the free dining this fall-and get you in your favorite restaurants...but don't delay in requesting a quote!)

So, now back to the rest of us- what if you don't get free dining?

I did some analysis to determine if the Disney Dining Plan is worth it for you.  This is part 1 of 3, where I will analyze all of the Disney Dining Plans available.


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Running at Disney World: Disney Princess Half Marathon.. and the coolest medal you'll see!

Registration for the Disney Princess Half Marathon opened today (Tuesday)!  The Princess Half Marathon is one way to see Disney World in a way you never have before. Where else can you run by Cinderella's Castle- ok, maybe if you are trying to get a fast pass to Space Mountain!



What a perfect combination at Disney- run 13.1 miles, and then you don't have to feel guilty indulging at the bakery! Of course, I think I walk 900 miles at the parks, pushing two kids in a stroller, so I burn plenty of calories at Disney World on my own.



Click the link to find out more information about the event, how to register, and one of the world's coolest medals!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Disney Dining: Free Dining Plan for Fall Months 2012

Free Dining has officially been released for Disney Visa cardholders for select nights September 30-December 13.

The offer is scheduled to open to the general public on Thursday, July 12th.  I will give you more details when the general public discount is released but it will most likely be the exact same as the following.


Sunday, July 8, 2012

Dining in Disney: Limited time to eat at one of Disney's finest restaurants

One of Disney's best- and my absolute favorite-restaurants is closing for renovations soon-for nearly half a year! If you're thinking about going to Disney World, this is one place I always recommend. Read through to find out out which restaurant will be temporarily closing it's doors!



Thursday, July 5, 2012

Homemade Countdown to Disney-An Update!

I wanted to share with you an update to my homemade countdown to Disney, I shared with you that the Disney Paint was discontinued at Home Depot so there aren't any more paint samples to use for the countdown! :(

But have no fear! You can still make the cute, and VERY simple countdown that I showed you!

Thanks to Andi Carrel, a fabulous client of mine, I have a picture to show you of how easy it is to recreate the homemade Disney countdown without the paint samples.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Packing for Disney: The One Thing you MUST take to Disney


Packing for Disney World or Disney Land can be challenging. You want to have enough clothes, toiletries, but also empty space for souvenirs. And maybe this is the trip that you take your best friend Judy seriously and pack her in your luggage to go to Disney World.

Regardless, space is limited. That being said, this post isn't so much about "packing" for Disney. It's about the one thing you must bring with you.

It's not money. That's way too obvious. Although if you brought a money tree, that would be helpful. Hey-the "Money Tree of Life." A perfect theme for Disney. Yes, things are expensive in Disney, but thats because there is an ever-revolving door of people at the theme parks. You'll pay the extra $6 for that T-Shirt because it says "Walt Disney World" on the bottom. Just prepare yourself for it...People talk about making emotional decisions at grocery stores and only buying what you came to get. If only it was that easy at Disney theme parks!


It's not luggage. If you forget your luggage, I'm concerned. You may want to check and make sure you are clothed.

It's not transportation- Disney has that covered.

It's not food- believe me, if you have read some of my previous blog posts (here and here) then you know how much I love the food here. If you aren't dining while in Disney, then you are missing out on some seriously good food.

It's not your friends and family members... although there may be times you may wish that you forgot a few of them.

It's not sunscreen- you can buy that if you forget it at a gift shop.

It's not deodorant- hey, you may finally get  empty plane seats around you.

Click the link to find out what you CAN'T leave home without!