Park Day 4- Hollywood Studios

Alright today is Hollywood Studios day!  So much to see and do!

 

The Earful Tower at Hollywood Studios

The Earful Tower at Hollywood Studios

6:30 – Wake Up Call

7:00- Split a Quick Service Breakfast and a Snack at resort

8:00- Extra Magic Hours at Hollywood Studios

10:00- Fast Pass for Tower of Terror

11:55- Fast Pass for Toy Story Midway Mania

12:30- Split a Quick Service Lunch

1:30- Fast Pass for Star Tours

2:30- Return to resort for napping and pool time

5:00- Return to Hollywood Studios

5:50- Dinner at Sci-Fi Dine In

9:00- Get in line for Fantasmic

10:30- Fantasmic

11:15- Return to Resort

 

What we plan to do during Extra Magic Hours– We will definitely be checking out Aerosmith’s Rockin Roller Coaster during this time.  The big three wait times that you’ll see at Hollywood Studios are Toy Story  Mania, Rockin Roller Coaster, and Tower of Terror.  These are the most thrilling rides in the park, and generally have the highest wait times.  The way they have it set you can either choose Toy Story or Rockin Roller Coaster for a fast pass, but not both.  Because of that we will be checking out that ride first thing!  Depending on how quick we get in and out of that ride we may go check out Toy Story again prior to our fastpass!

What we plan on doing that we’ve never done before- We will be eating dinner at the Sci-Fi Dine in restaurant which will be a new experience for us.  The only attraction/show that we’ve never really seen at Hollywood studios that isn’t geared for toddlers is the “Lights, Motor, Action!- Extreme Stunt Show” so we are definitely going to try to check it out 🙂

There are two Fantasmic shows, one at 9pm and one at 10:30pm, why did we choose the later showing– We are SLEEPING IN TOMORROW!

 

Park Day #3- EPCOT

Yay, Yay, Yay!!!!!!!! Today we are going to Epcot, my favorite park 🙂

2010 Trip to Epcot

2010 Trip to Epcot

6:30- Wake up and run 3 miles

8:00- Split Quick Service Breakfast and Snack at resort

8:45- Depart for Epcot

10:05- Fast Pass for Spaceship Earth

11:05- Fast pass for Test Track

12:00- Lunch (Split a Quick service meal, probably in the world showcase… our favorite place to eat!)

1:25- Fast pass for Maelstrom

2:00- Return to the resort for a nap and swimming

5:00- Return to Epcot

6:05- Dinner at the Biergarten restaurant

9:00-11:00- Extra Magic Hours

11:30- Return to Resort and SLEEP!

 

What we plan to do during Extra Magic Hours– We will not be watching Illuminations on this day.  We will be back to Epcot in only 2 days, and have decided to watch illuminations on that day.  We will try to catch some of the attractions like Soarin, or Test Track that have really long lines during peak hours.  We figured that Illuminations starts at 9pm and many people will be around the World Showcase Lagoon watching it, reducing the wait times.

What we are going to do that we’ve never done before- We have been to Epcot more than any other Disney park, basically because we LOVE the world showcase.  First off, we’ve never eaten at the Biergarten restaurant, so that will be a fun new treat for us!  We will also be checking out the “Ellen’s Energy Adventure” at the Universe of Energy pavilion, and the “Journey Into the Imagination with Figment” in the Imagination Pavilion.

 

Park Day #2- The Magic Kingdom

Happy Thursday!!!  We are going to the  Magic Kingdom today 😀  While Epcot is definitely my favorite park, the Magic Kingdom is certainly the most magical!  I am looking forward to the magical moments 🙂

2011 Vacation

2011 Vacation

Today’s Plan

5:30- Wake up and run 3 miles (Even though I’m on vacation, I’m still training for a race… you’ll never guess where that race will be… cough cough Disney)

7:00- Split Quick Service Breakfast and Snack at resort food court

7:25- Depart for Magic Kingdom

8:00-9:00- Extra Magic Hour at MK

11:00- Fast Pass at Big Thunder Railroad

12:00- Fast Pass at Splash Mountain

1:00- Table Service Lunch at Liberty Tree Tavern

2:00- Fast Pass at 7 Dwarfs Mine Train

3:00- Either return to the resort for a nap, or find an air conditioned show to take a nap in.

6:00- Quick Service Dinner at Cosmic Rays Starlight Cafe

9:00- Main Street Electrical Parade

10:00- Wishes

11:00- Return to the Resort and BED

What we plan to do during our Extra Magic Hour- During our extra magic hour we will be heading to Space Mountain.  And then probably heading toward new fantasyland.  Depending on how long the line is, we may do the standby line for the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, even though we have a fast pass for it.  I’ve heard that the que is SUPER interactive and wonderful, and I would like to experience the que without the fastpass.  If the line is under 60 minutes we will probably go for it 🙂

What we’ll be doing that we’ve never done before- The seven dwarfs mine train will be a new experience because it’s brand new!  We also plan to ride the jungle cruise, dumbo the flying elephant (I know it’s shocking, but I haven’t rode this since I was very small!), Tom Sawyers island, and the Tomorrowland people mover (I rode this one in 2012, but hubby wasn’t with me on that trip!)

Whew!  Busy day!!! Tomorrow we’re heading to Epcot, MY FAVORITE PARK!!!!

First Day in the Parks- Animal Kingdom Day

Today is our first day park day and we are going to the Animal Kingdom!

The Tree of Life at Animal Kingdom Park

The Tree of Life at Animal Kingdom Park

 

ANIMAL KINGDOM DAY!

6:00am- Wake up call

6:30- Split quick service (QS) breakfast and snack at resort food court

7:15- Depart for the Animal Kingdom

8:00-9:00- Extra Magic Hour at AK

9:40- Fastpass for Kilamanjaro Safari

11:00- Finding Nemo the Musical

11:55-Fast Pass for Everest

12:30- Split a QS Lunch at Flame Tree BBQ

12:55-Fast Pass for Kali River Rapids

1:30- Return to Resort for pool time or a nap

4:00- Head back to Animal Kingdom

5:00- Festival of the Lion King

6:00- Head to Animal Kingdom Lodge

6:25- Dinner at Boma (Table Service)

7:30- Go to Downtown Disney and ride Characters in Flight

10:00- Return to Resort and Bedtime!

During our Extra Magic Hour we plan to head straight for “Expedition Everest”.  This is our favorite ride, so we plan to make use of this time and get a chance to ride it without a fast pass before the lines get long 🙂  After that ride we plan on walking through the Maharajah Jungle trek.

Things that we’ll be doing for the first time- We’ve never walked through the Maharahjah Jungle Trek, we have never seen Finding Nemo the Musical, and we have never rode Kali River Rapids.  On Kali River Rapids you will get wet, not just a little wet, a lot wet.  When planning my fast passes, I made sure that I planned to do this ride during a hot part of the day, and I made sure I planned to do this ride right before we return to the hotel.  This way I won’t be walking around the rest of the afternoon soaking wet.  We’ve also never eaten at the Flame Tree BBQ or Boma (actually have never been to the Animal Kingdom Lodge before either).  We’re looking forward to an exciting day of firsts 🙂

Tomorrow we are heading to the Magic Kingdom!

**When we booked we also booked the Disney Dining Plan.  For each night of our stay we each get 1 Quick Service meal per person, 1 Table Service Meal, and 1 Snack.  Each meal, whether it’s QS or TS includes an entree, dessert, and beverage.

 

 

Departure Day!!!

Today is the day we've planned for!!!

Today is the day we’ve planned for!!!

Today we are departing for Walt Disney World!  Each day of our vacation I will keep you updated as to what we are doing, which park we’re going to, where we are eating, and what we are riding!  Make sure you check out my facebook page  ( https://www.facebook.com/mouskaholic ) for the most current photos and posts!

So today’s itinerary-

12:45 Flight from hometown via Airtran Airways

3:05- Arrive at Orlando International Airport and head towards the “Disney Magical Express” (See not below if you are unsure of what Disney Magical Express is!)

4:00- **** (Time subject to bus availability and lines!) Board Disney Magical Express for Port Orleans Resort.

5:00- Check in to the Port Orleans French Quarter Resort

5:30- Quick boatride to Downtown Disney (This is a MAYBE!  We may also just relax by the pool!!!)

7:25- Dinner at Boatwrights Dining Hall (Located at Port Orleans Riverside Resort)

9:00- Bedtime!!!

Tomorrow we will be doing our first day in the park, and will be at Animal Kingdom!

 

What is the Disney Magical Express?  If you’re staying on Disney Property and flying into MCO, you can take advantage of this FREE bus service.  Some of the perks of this service- 1) Did I mention that it’s free? 2) You get to skip baggage claim!  When you book your vacation and your Magical Express they will send you special luggage tags.  These tags identify your luggage as a WDW guest.  It will be picked up by a cast member and deliver STRAIGHT TO YOUR ROOM!!!! 3) It makes your day more magical! No worries about renting a car, it takes you straight to front lobby of your hotel!

I greatly enjoy Disney’s Magical Express!  If you have more questions about this service, please let me know!

 

How to Plan your Disney Vacation

Disclaimer about this post, I am a mouskaholic and love all things Disney.  This is how I plan my Disney Vacation.  Just because this is the way that I plan my vacation, doesn’t mean it is how you have to plan your vacation.  Everyone has their own way of doing things, and it doesn’t make it right or wrong, just different.  If you’ve never planned a Disney vacation before this is a good starting point though!

 

Step 1)– Look at a calendar and see when is the best time for your family to go.  Time is important when you’re planning a Disney vacation, and if you want to maximize your vacation, this is a step that can be planned carefully.  Also research the best time of year to go to Disney and see if that works for your family.  Often in the fall, Disney will run specials with free dining plans, and discounted room rates, BUT, if you have kids in school, you’ll have to decide if you can take the kids out of school for the trip or not.  It may seem small, but picking the time to go is a big step.  (Side note, I learned the hard way this year that planning to leave the day after school was out was a BAD choice!  We ended up having what seemed like a BAZILLION snow days this year, and ended up having make up days!  I swear calling Disney to cancel my vacation was one of the worst days of my life… no exaggeration.)

calendar

Step 2)– Visit the Disney World website and create an account if you don’t already have one.

https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/

Setting up the account is very simple,  there is a link at the top of the page that says create and account.  It will direct you to a page with some preliminary information, enter it, make a username and password and BAM, let the planning begin 🙂

Step 3)- Research the resorts.  From that main Disney website page click on “Places to Stay”.  Look at several resorts and figure out what is within your budget.  There are three levels, Value, Moderate, and Deluxe.  There are differences both in price and amenities between these resorts.  I recommend picking three different resorts… you’ll see why in the next step 😉

Step 4)– Begin pricing your vacation!  You’ll do this from the main Disney World page.  Right at the top, you’ll enter your dates, how many people are going on the trip, and the resort.  Price out the vacation with your top choice in resorts. I would then check out the pricing with one or two other resort options.

This step is a little involved.  After you leave the main page you will have other options to select  a)Which room type you’d like b) how many days worth of park tickets you’d like c)Whether or not you’d like to add the park hopper or water park options d) Whether or not you’d like to add the dining plan (If going with this option, you’ll then need to select which dining option you’d like to go with).

Disney Website Homepage.  Price your vacation

Disney Website Homepage. Price your vacation

At this point I write down the price and details and then price it another way, different resort, different number of park tickets, etc. to see what is going to work best for us.

Step 5) Choose which option is best for your family and your budget.

Step 6) Book your flights.  I always book my flights before my vacation.  The reason being is that I like to be able to enter my flight information when I book my Disney vacation, so that I don’t have to call later and schedule my Disney Magical Express.

Step 7)- Book your vacation!  To book you’ll have to have a $200.00 deposit.  This can be paid by credit card or with Disney Gift Cards!

Disney Gift Cards

Disney Gift Cards

 

(If you’re in the Northeast Ohio area, I HIGHLY recommend going to Giant Eagle and purchasing Disney Gift cards!  That way you get the fuel perks!  Christmas time, and over the summer will sometimes run 20 cent fuel perks for gift cards!  Seriously, I saved close to $400 in gas this year by buying my Disney gift cards!)

Step 8) Start to plan your itinerary.  Using the Disney World website, find out which days over your vacation offer Extra Magic Hours at each park.  Extra Magic Hours are special times that are available for guests staying on Disney Property.  They will generally open the park 1 hour early, or stay open up to two hours after park closing for guests staying on property.  With that being said, I choose which park we will attend on a given day based on the available extra magic hours.  You can find out which parks have extra magic hours by following these steps

a) From the main page click scroll over “Theme Parks and Tickets” and Select a park.

Screen Shot 2014-08-11 at 8.40.06 AM

b) Select a park, and click on the calendar for that park, check the dates and see if there are Extra Magic Hours available.  This step takes a while because I check for every day that I will be there, and for each of the four parks.

Extra Magic Hours available

Extra Magic Hours available

 

c) I build my itinerary based on which parks have extra magic hours for the day.   On some trips we’ve had the park hopper option, and have gone to a park in the morning that had early Extra Magic Hours, and then ended the day with a park that has evening extra magic hours!

Step 9) Dining Reservations.  Now you know what day you’ll be in which park, so you can make your dining reservations.  If you’re wanting restaurants like Be Our Guest Restaurant, Cinderella’s Royal Table, or Le Cellier Steakhouse, try to make your dining reservations as soon as possible.

Not sure which restaurants you want?  You can again use the Disney website to research the restaurants.  Click on a specific park, then the dining link

Screen Shot 2014-08-11 at 8.49.48 AM

This link will show you all the restaurants within a park.  You can narrow your search to include only the table service restaurants, and then check out their menus.

Screen Shot 2014-08-11 at 8.51.43 AM             Screen Shot 2014-08-11 at 8.52.54 AM

Step 10) Alright, you’ve covered most of the main steps.  When you reach the point where you are 60 days away from your vacation, you can then book your fast passes for the rides you want!

Fast pass selection window

Fast pass selection window

 

Step 11)  Okay, now here’s the hardest part… WAIT for your magical vacation to arrive!  I also recommend researching at this point.  This is the time to read up on the Disney parks, check out cool Disney blogs (cough cough… Confessions of a Mouskaholic) ask questions from friends and family who have been there before, and look for ways to enjoy your vacation more!

 

Alright, I know that I just threw a TON of information your way, so if you have a question PLEASE don’t hesitate to ask in the comments, or send me a message on the facebook page!  www.facebook.com/mouskaholic

 

Fun Fact Friday- World Showcase

The world showcase might possibly be my favorite spot on all of Disney property.  Within Epcot there are two distinct realms; Future World and the World Showcase.  Future world is wonderful and holds one of my all time favorite rides at Disney- Soarin, but there is something so special about the countries within the World Showcase.  For an afternoon you can become a world traveler and visit 11 international locations.

Listed below are the countries that you can visit at the world showcase-

Mexico

Norway

China

Germany

Italy

The United States of America

Japan

Morocco

France

United Kingdom

Canada

BUT… did you know- 

As crowded as it may seem, there is actually room in the world showcase for an additional 8 countries.

yesterland.com

yesterland.com

 

If there was an expansion, what countries would you like to see added??  My top two picks would be Greece, and Spain

The Power of a Disney Song

Today’s post is a personal reflection.  I had no idea what I was going to write about this morning when I got up.  I was completely drawing a blank.  I have tons of future blog ideas, and I have blog ideas for when we are on our trip, and for when get back from our trip, and I even have tomorrow’s “Fridays’ Fun Fact” ready to post, yet nothing for today.

I am currently training for some races.  I am running my hometown’s half marathon in September, and then my long term goal in training is for the Goofy Challenge in January, which is a marathon and a half over two days.  And you’ll never guess where that race takes place (cough cough… wink wink… Disney World!).

When I set up my training playlists about 2 months ago I set it so that it would have a Disney song every third or fourth song so that it would remind me of what I was training for.  My mileage has been steadily increasing and today’s training calendar called for a 5 mile run.  I am not sure why but today as I set out on my run I was sore and sluggish.  In fact, at the halfway point, I stopped and stretched (which isn’t a bad thing, just not really a norm for me).  At 2.5 miles the thought crossed my mind- “Hey just run to 4 miles and then just walk the rest of the way to finish your 5.”  So after my stretch break, I took off running again fully intending to just run another 1.5 and then walk back home.  My mind changed when I hit 3.5 and it was because of a Disney song.  “Dig a Little Deeper” from the Princess and the Frog came up on my shuffled playlist.  Immediately as I thought about the lyrics of the song and the message of the movie I decided that there was no way that I would be walking that last mile.  I was going to dig a little deeper and finish what I had set out to do.

Hope you all have a wonderful day and accomplish your goals that you’ve set for yourself!

Be Our Guest Restaurant- Explained by Imagineers

Happy Wednesday fellow Mouskateers!

Craig and I are just 6 days away from our Disney vacation!  I am excited about the inspiration for new blog topics that will come, fulfilling blog topic ideas, and taking pictures for the blog that will happen next week!  Today though I am happy to share with you a video that I ran across about one of Disney’s newest restaurants- Be Our Guest Restaurant.  BOG is located in “New Fantasyland” in the Magic Kingdom. New Fantasyland is a MASSIVE expansion that started in the Magic Kingdom in 2011, and began opening in stages in 2013.  The final piece of the New Fantasyland puzzle opened in June 2014- The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, officially completing the expansion.

Be Our Guest is one of two restaurants in New Fantasy Land, both with a Beauty and the Beast theme.  The first, Gaston’s Tavern is as it suggests a small tavern where you can grab a snack or a quick service meal.  Be Our Guest is the much grander of the two.  The unique part about Be Our Guest is that it is both a quick service restaurant and a table service restaurant.  At lunch time (10:30-2:30) it serves as a quick service location, where you can grab a “Croque Monsieur on Millet Bread” (Grilled Sandwich of Carved Ham, Gruyere Cheese and Bechamel on Millet Bread with Pommes Frites) or Braised Pork – (Eight Hour Slow-cooked Pork with Mushrooms, Onions, Carrots and Bacon served with Mashed Potatoes and Green Beans Jardiniere).  At Dinner (4:00-9:30) it becomes a table service restaurant serving up Herb-crusted Lamb Rack, Pan-seared Salmon on Leek Fondue, and Grilled Strip Steak.  If you want to get reservations for dinner, plan on selecting the 180 days out with the Advanced Dining Reservations.  Like I said, this is one of the hottest new restaurants on property.

Craig and I will be having a quick service lunch at BOG on the final day of our trip.  We lucked out and scored some fastpasses for lunch, where we were able to preorder our meal and come at a reserved time for lunch.  I am excited to experience it and to take photos of the ornate detailing that went into this restaurant.

Check out this video and get a view of the restaurant from the perspective of the imagineers who created it!

 

Tuesday’s Tip- Stay Hydrated

It is common knowledge that it is nearly ALWAYS hot in Florida, especially during the summer months.  Even during the winter months it stays relatively warm.  Staying hydrated is a critical not only for your health, but for the enjoyment of your vacation.  Dehydration can cause fatigue, headaches, and irritability- who would want any of those when you’re at the happiest place on earth!

Here are my top 5 ways to stay hydrated at Disney (#1 is the most cost effective)

#5- Bring a water bottle with you into the park.  Outside food and beverages are permitted in the park, so you can bringing your own water isn’t an issue.

#4- If you’re on the Disney Dining Plan, you can use your snack credits on bottled beverages.  Normally bottled water at the park is $2.50 (Dasani Brand), so in a pinch this can be an effective use of a snack credit.

#3- Water Fountains-  There are water fountains located at the entrances of nearly every bathroom.  Be sure to get a drink from the fountain every time you stop by the bathroom, and if you have a water bottle be sure to fill it up!

#2- Drink water with meals-  If you stop for a meal at a quick service or table service meal and you order a soda, order a water too.  You can enjoy your soda with your meal and then take the water with you when you leave! (If you’re on the Disney Dining Plan, your meal comes with a beverage.  I know I get sick of soda with every meal, but every restaurant carries bottled water, and you can order bottled water with your meal!)

#1- Free water cups!-  Did you know that even if you’re not ordering food, you can go to any quick service restaurant and order a free water cup.  This is one that I always take advantage of!  I am not a germaphobe, but the thought of putting my mouth near a water fountain creeps me out a little bit!  I tend to go for this option because there is nothing like an ice cold cup of water.  Did I mention that it’s free?

Free water cup available at quick service locations

Free water cup available at quick service locations