November 25, 2015

My Top 10 Rides at Walt Disney World: Part 1

This week I thought we could take a look at some of my favourite attractions in Walt Disney World. I’m going to talk about why they are my favourites, and hopefully it will give you a bit of insight to my taste of attractions! It was really hard to narrow down the top 10, so hard that I’m going to cheat and do another post that talks about my top 5 shows at Walt Disney World. It makes perfect sense technically- right? Alright let’s get started!

10. Expedition Everest

Expedition Everest is located at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and is a rollercoaster. When you go on this ride, take in the queue. It is so detailed you really feel like you are not in Florida. The ride itself is so much fun, but I may be guilty of having to close my eyes when we see the yeti. (Actually the first time I rode it I completely closed my eyes and said “the yeti looked different!” That’s because I didn’t actually see it. I managed to keep my eyes open the second time :). This ride also makes the list because of the work that went into making it. I’ve mentioned it before, but there is a great documentary that focuses on the making of this attraction, and I highly recommend it. I watched it before my 2013 trip, and it gave me a whole new appreciation for it.

Expedition Everest

9. It’s A Small World

Yes the song gets stuck in my head, but I love it! When I was a kid I had this Sing-A-Long-Songs VHS (who am I kidding, I still have it now) called Disneyland Fun and it was my favourite. It took me a while to realize that everything was a little different once I had travelled to WDW because it took place at Disneyland (which I’ve never been to). But anyways, the characters went on a lot of rides at Disneyland (quite a few make this list) and It’s A Small World was one of them. It’s a classic so it has a special place in my heart, but it’s also from this video. It just makes me happy! My favourite room is the jungle, and I love the elephant above your head as you leave the room holding two children on its’ tusks. I don’t know why, but that part has always stuck with me. It’s something that I always have to go on when I visit WDW. I wouldn’t wait in line for an hour, so I usually go on late at night when that section of the park isn’t as busy.

8. Spaceship Earth

Spaceship Earth fascinates me. I can’t help looking at it all the time when I am in Epcot. I also can’t stop taking pictures of it. It’s hard to explain, but I just love it! I also love the attraction inside of it. On a hot day it’s a nice place to get out of the sun and relax for a while. it sounds like a boring ride, but I really enjoy it. I love making a funny face when they take your picture at the beginning, and looking for it on the globe after the ride. I love how interactive the ride is! My favourite part is when you head back down and are watching “your future” while it’s dark except for the small lights that are multiplied as far as you can see. It really takes my breath away to think that you are inside such a massive structure, yet you can’t see any of the other parts of the ride! Click on the link below to view the video from my most recent trip. I apologize it’s a little out of focus at times!

Our Future!

7. Test Track

I’ve seen both versions Test Track, and definitely prefer the new version. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, a few years ago the completely changed the look of Test Track. It used to feel like you were actually in a GM factory as they tested vehicles, and now it feels like Tron Legacy. It’s all sleek and dark with fluorescent lights on the same track. I love how interactive the new version is (you get to design your own car, and they see how is stacks up against the other people in your ride vehicle through the different stages). It is such a brilliant way to use the time you are already spending in line, and make you a part of the ride! It’s fun to ride again and again, to see how hight you can get your score.

Just look at that beaut!

Just look at that beaut!

6. Jungle Cruise

A classic. I absolutely love bad jokes, and this attraction is full of them. The audio-animatronics are out of date, but this ride is still so much fun. When Ethan and I did the Keys to the Kingdom Tour in February, we went on this with our guide, and got to hear lots of interesting facts about this ride. I would really love to see this ride from a birds eye view, because you feel like you are in another world when you are on your cruise. I’d love to see how many twists and turns there are, and just how large of a space it takes up. During the holidays Jungle Cruise becomes “Jingle Cruise” so I hope to experience that someday!

Epcot Picture

I hope this has given you an idea of what I like to do during my trips to the parks, and why some these attractions are so special to me!

Stay tuned for Part 2! Any guesses as to what will be number 1? What are some of your favourite attractions at Walt Disney World? Let me know in the comments!

Thanks for reading!

Kelsey
November 18, 2015

Choosing the Right Park Pass

There are a lot of decisions that go into booking a Walt Disney World Vacation. You have to think about what is going to be the best suit for you and those you are travelling with. From dining plans to hotels to park passes, it adds up. Well, that’s where I step in! I’m going to break down the different park passes to help you figure out what suits your needs best, and hopefully save you some money in the process! But first, you may want to check out some of my previous posts:

All about the Disney Dining Plans

The Disney Waterparks

10 Tips for Walt Disney World

My Strategy In the Parks

All About the Disney Resorts

Now that you have read up on those, let’s get into the different park passes. There are four levels of park passes offered by Walt Disney World: Magic Your Way, Magic Your Way plus Park Hopper, Magic Your Way plus Water Parks & More, and Magic Your Way Plus Park Hopper and Water Park & More.

Our Beautiful Spaceship Earth

Magic Your Way

This is your base ticket. It allows you to enter one of the four theme parks (Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios or Animal Kingdom) for each day of your stay. The more days you add, the cheaper the price per day tickets are. You can leave and re-enter the same park in a day, which is a great benefit. You can leave the park for your hotel for a little while, and head back to the park in time for fireworks. Trust me when I say that one park is enough in a day!

Magic Your Way Plus Park Hopper

Park Hopper allows you to do exactly that, hop between parks. This can be nice for longer vacations, or if you would like to break up time at the different parks on your trip. Or, you could take the ultimate challenge: 4 parks in 1 day. I have yet to tackle that one, but hope to someday :). Park Hopper is a great add-on to your ticket, but only if you use it. On my trip in 2013 Ethan and I purchased tickets with Park Hopper and didn’t “hop” at all during our trip. Because of that we did not buy Park Hopper tickets in February. To be completely honest, it did not make that much of a difference, and we certainly didn’t feel inconvenienced because we could only visit one park per day. Again, one park per day is plenty!

With the current state of Disney’s Hollywood Studios (lots of construction and ride/attraction closures), I would definitely say this park is a half-day park. This would be a great park to hop to or hop from, so it might be something for you to consider. You could also use this day to head back to the hotel early, or visit Disney Springs.

Welcome to Animal Kingdom

Magic Your Way Plus Water Parks & More

This ticket package I would recommend for parties visiting Walt Disney World in the dead of summer, or those visiting for a longer period of time (6 or more days). The water parks are great, as you can read in my post all about them, but they are not something you NEED to see. If you are staying for a long time, you may want to spend a day at a water park instead of the theme parks. The “More” refers to the ESPN Wide World of Sports, the golf courses, and the miniature golf courses.

Magic Your Way Plus Park Hopper and Water Parks & More

This ticket package combines all of the above. I would only suggest purchasing these tickets if you feel you would park hop and visit the water parks. I have only purchased this ticket package once, and was in Walt Disney World for 10 days. It’s definitely not a must, and you should see yourself or your party taking advantage of both extra aspects before purchasing this ticket package.

Finding Nemo the Musical

Special Ticketed Events

Walt Disney World has certain events throughout the year that require a separate ticket. Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party are some examples. Only guests with these tickets can visit Magic Kingdom during party hours. These events have special parades, stage shows and character meet and greets. If you have enough park tickets (enough days) you can visit the park in the morning and stay for the whole day (the parties usually start at 4pm). Or, if you want to save some money you can not buy a park ticket for that day and either spend the morning at your hotel, do some shopping, or visit some of the Disney resorts. In November and December the resorts will be decorated for the holidays, and it can be great to see! The Grand Floridian even has life-size gingerbread houses!

One more note about park passes! Magic Kingdom ticket prices are the most expensive, and a one day pass is the most expensive. Even authorized ticket sellers (other than WDW) cannot beat Disney’s price of a one day ticket. It’s impossible to fit everything in during a week long vacation, never mind in one day! I would strongly suggest visiting Walt Disney World for more than one day, but sometimes that just isn’t possible. Keep an eye out for a one day plan soon ;)!

Wishes!

It can be hard to know what your family is going to want to do before you head to Walt Disney World, and you will definitely learn from experience. I have learned a lot from my previous trips, and know that while I don’t need the Park Hopper option, I do like having the option and am willing to pay a little more to get it. I hope this post can help you find the right ticket package for your family, and sheds some light on the differences between packages.

What ticket package do your typically purchase when you visit Walt Disney World? Have you learned from experience? Let me know in the comments!

Thanks for reading!

Kelsey
November 11, 2015

Restaurant Review: Raglan Road

During my trip in February, my boyfriend Ethan and I went to dinner at Raglan Road. Raglan Road is located at Disney Springs (formerly known at Downtown Disney), and it accepts the Disney Dining Plan for 1 credit. Looking for information about the dining plan? Check out this post. Having eaten here, it is definitely my “go-to” restaurant at Disney Springs now, and I can’t wait to go back.

(from Walt Disney World Website)

(from Walt Disney World Website)

Ethan and I had dinner here after spending the morning and early afternoon at Animal Kingdom, relaxing for a bit at our hotel (Caribbean Beach) and then spending the evening at Disney Springs. You can read what I love about Downtown Disney here. I was very happy we made a reservation, because it was busy. We gave our name and waited a little before we were seated. We were seated closer to the bar than the main stage, so we couldn’t really see the dancing going on, which was about the only negative. You can request a closer view but it cannot be guaranteed. After a couple of days in the parks it was nice to relax at a restaurant outside the parks, which allowed us to eat a little slower. We both had a drink, Ethan had a Harp and I had the Blueberry Mint Lemonade. Our server was great! He kept checking on us making us feel like we were his only table, and actually conversed with us. Definitely one of the better waiters we’ve had at Walt Disney World.

After enjoying our drinks for a while it was time to eat. I ordered the Citrus Salmon Salad, which was really good. It was nice to have something a little lighter after eating theme park food for a few days. Even though it was back in February when we dined, I remember eating it all (which is unusual for me). Ethan had the Fish & Chips, and he really enjoyed them. If there is Fish & Chips on a menu, I can almost guarantee that’s what he’s getting ;). The food was really good, but the atmosphere it what sets this restaurant apart. I have an Irish background, and I remember the whole time I was sitting there I couldn’t help but think of how much my family would enjoy it! I think we will be heading back there on our next trip. The music is fun and energetic, and although I couldn’t see the dancers on the stage, I saw them outside and they are very talented! I did catch a glimpse of some guests up on the stage with the dancers, so I guess you never know if you will end up on stage!

This is the inside of Raglan Road... seriously eat here! (picture from WDW website)

(picture from WDW website)

Even though I had eaten every last bite of my meal, I couldn’t turn down dessert. Ethan and I split the Strawberry and Apple Crumble. We finished every bite of that too! After sitting for a little longer we headed out, and walked around Disney Springs for a while.

If you are on the Disney Dining Plan I think this restaurant it a great use of a dining credit. If you aren’t on the dining plan, I think the prices are worth the quality of food, the service, and the entertainment. With the expansion of Disney Springs there are lots of new dining choices to choose from, but I think Raglan Road will stay at the top of the list for me. If you are looking for a fun night out at a pub, this is the place for you. If you are looking for an intimate place to dine, you might want to choose a different restaurant.

It’s hard to explain just how great the atmosphere is at Raglan Road, so you will just have to go for yourself and find out! It is a chain restaurant (I didn’t know that at the time) so if you have one close to you, what are you waiting for?

Feedback is always great, so let me know if you like these restaurant reviews! I will make sure to take better pictures on my next trip! I’m always open to hear what kind of posts you would like to see next! Have you ever dined at Raglan Road? What did you think? Do you have a restaurant at Disney Springs that is your “go-to”? Let me know in the comments!

Thank you so much for reading!

Kelsey