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 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
November 4, 2015

FastPass+: Everything You Need to Know

Have you been to Walt Disney World in the last few years? Chances are if you have, you have noticed their Fastpass system. You visit a ride, put your park pass into a machine and get a slip telling you a time to come back, where you will enter a line with minimal wait time, for free. It is a nice addition, with no additional cost. While the process has changed in the last few years, it is still definitely something to take advantage of. So how does it work? I will spell it all out for you.

Seven Dwarf Mine Train

What is Fastpass+?

Unlike Fastpass (the old system) where you or someone in your party had to be in the park and able to go to an attraction to get a physical pass with a time to come back. Now, it’s all virtual and can be done up to 60 days in advance. There are kiosks in all of the parks, and Fastpass+ is integrated with My Disney Expreience the app, and the website. You can read all about My Disney Experience in this post. A Fastpass+ is a time to ride with minimal wait. You enter a separate line of a queue, and experience the attraction with less of a wait. For shows, you get prime seating and reserved spaces.

How do you get a Fastpass?

You can select a Fastpass up to 60 days in advance when you book a Disney Resort Package (you can read about staying on site here) and up to 30 days in advance with the purchase of a park ticket. You can use My Disney Experience to book Fastpass+ in advance, or at the kiosks in the park. If you want to book a Fastpass or change your selection you can visit the kiosk (you can find the locations on park maps). Cast Members are on hand with the kiosks to help you make your selections. Availability for each attraction is limited, so there is a definite advantage to book in advance! I usually know which park I will be at on which day according to park hours and dining reservations, so it makes it easier to book in advance. If you don’t want to plan your rides out that far in advance, you can use the kiosks the day of, just be aware that not everything may still be available. When using the kiosks to change a selection or make a new one, you can only make selections for the theme park you are in. This is important if you are Park Hopping, and want to change your selections for the secon (or third, or fourth!) park of the day.

It is important to note that Disney has made a smart decision, and “tiered” the attractions at some parks. At Epcot, you can pick 1 from a tier with Test Track and Soarin’, and 2 from the next tier. The same goes at Hollywood Studios, choosing between Rock n’ Rollercoaster and Tower of Terror. It helps to visit the park at opening, and experience the attraction you do not have a Fastpass+ for, with minimal lines!

How many do you get per day?

You are allocated 3 Fastpass+ per day.

Expedition Everest Looms

Can I change my mind?

Absolutely! It helps to download the My Disney Experience App because you can make changes from your phone. The app is laid out and guides you through the process, so it is really easy to use! You can also visit a Fastpass+ kiosk in the park to make changes to your Fastpass+ selections.

Can you get more than 3?

You can get more than three per day, but only once you have used up your original three selections. At this time, you must visit a kiosk to select additional Fastpass+, but hopefully it will be available on the app soon! Once you have used all three of your Fastpass+ *, you can select one additional Fastpass+ using the in park kiosk. When you use that one up, you can get one additional Fatpass+ and so on.

*You must use the Fastpass+, or let it time out. One my trip in February Ethan didn’t want to ride Tower of Terror, and rather than waiting for it to time out before grabbing our Fantasmic! Fastpass+, he had to go through the Fastpass+ line at Tower of Terror, and “use” his Fastpass+ without going on the ride., before selecting his next one.

MISTER SMEE!

MISTER SMEE!

Is it worth it?

Absolutely! It seems crazy to “book” when you ride an attraction 60 days in advance, but with some of the lines during busier times of the year this is a must! On my trip in February the crowds weren’t huge, but I got to experience Seven Dwarf Mine Train with less than a 10 minute wait, rather than a 90+ minute wait. That in itself made such a difference during our trip that I would recommend Fastpass+ to anyone! If you want to take a more laid back approach, you can select your Fastpass+ the day of your visit, just be aware that all attractions may not be available for selection.

Bonus tips!

The park are busiest in the middle of the day, meaning lines are going to be longest during this time. Want to experience more attractions? Book your Fastpass+ during this time!

Want to see a night show? Wishes and Illuminations can be seen from a variety of spots, so a Fastpass+ isn’t a necessity. For Fantasmic!, I would strongly suggest Fastpass+. But here’s a trick: Select three Fastpass+ none of which are Fantasmic, and as soon as they have been used, head to the kiosks by Tower of Terror. Select Fantasmic! as your next Fastpass+, and you are guaranteed a pretty good view. The amphitheatre fills up quickly so I would still suggest arriving 60-90 minutes before showtime to be able to select a great seat!

To follow up with the point above, do not select a Fastpass+ for a fireworks show or parade unless you really want to see the show from the specified location. Using a Fastpass+ for a night show will not allow you to use up all 3 Fastpasses before you can get another. You will have to get your 4th Fastpass+ after the night show, but the parks generally close after the fireworks. To get the most out of a free service, I would suggest avoiding firework Fastpasses.

Distant Tower of Terror

Have you used Fastpass+ before? What are your thoughts on the new system? Let me know in the comments!

As always, thanks for reading!

Kelsey