August 5, 2015

What I Love About Epcot

There are so many things that I love about Walt Disney World, I had to divide posts between parks! There are different things that I love about each park, and I wanted to share the things that make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

I think that a lot of people can find Epcot intimidating, because it isn’t as “kid friendly” as Magic Kingdom. It’s the largest park walking-wise, so that can certainly be a factor when pushing a stroller around. But I have pushed my sister Alexandra in a wheelchair all around Walt Disney World, so if I can do it, so can you! Epcot is educational, especially in World Showcase and is very detailed and beautiful.

It is strongly recommended that you play this video while reading, to complete the Epcot experience. I do not own the video, but thought it would be appropriate for the post.

Spaceship Earth

I’m always amazed walking through the gates of Epcot seeing Spaceship Earth for the first time. I just love that feeling. The feeling of walking into Epcot. You can see it from just about anywhere. I also love the attraction inside of it.  As you approach it, it really hits you how massive it really is. Then, you notice the details, and they confuse you a little! Here’s what I mean…

Spaceship Earth Close-up

Soarin’

I try not to place attractions on these lists, but Soarin’ is special. As mentioned above, my sister Alex is in a wheelchair. Soarin’ is an example of something she may never get a chance to experience in life, and seeing the look on her face during the ride is almost better than the ride itself. It’s so realistic, it feels like you are flying!. I have the music on a cd and listening to it always brings a smile to my face.

World Showcase

This can definitely fall under “the details”. Next time you visit Epcot, spend some time in World Showcase. Try to wander off the path a little. There are so many nooks and crannies to explore. The shops are fun and the shows are entertaining.

China Pavillion

Club Cool

I hadn’t experienced Club Cool until my last visit, but really enjoyed it. In Club Cool you step into an air conditioned building (score!) and get to sample soda’s from around the world. My advice: try them all. Especially the Beverly. It’s a right of passage! Club Cool is located to the right of the Fountain of Nations just before the path to World Showcase, near Innoventions West.

Park Closing Walk-through

I only experienced this for the first time in February, and can’t wait to experience it in the other parks. After Illuminations the park is technically closed, so if you want to take your time exiting the park, try to view the fireworks from the far side of  World Showcase Lagoon. When we viewed Illuminations we were outside of Japan, so we took our time walking back through the countries, stopping to take some pictures. None of the Cast Members rushed us, so it was pretty relaxing. One of the security guards even asked if we got a nice picture! Because we were relying on the buses to get back to our hotel, we didn’t lose anything by walking around a little longer. If anything we probably spent the extra amount of time in the park rather than waiting in line for the bus. If you are taking Disney Transportation at night, I would definitely recommend doing this! Buses run up to one hour after park closing, but if you are there a little longer they won’t leave you stranded!

Spaceship Earth at night

FOOD

Epcot has some of the best and most diverse food options in Walt Disney World. While World Showcase is not home to many attractions, every country has dining options. It’s always nice to try something new, and I try to eat at a new restaurant each time I visit. In World Showcase I have really enjoyed eating at the Italy, Mexico, England, Japan and Morocco pavilions. There are also some really nice options in Future World. Coral Reef Restaurant, The Garden Grill, Sunshine Seasons are all great choices.

Flower and Garden Festival

This is my favourite time of year to visit Walt Disney World. The character topiaries located around World Showcase are beautiful and mind-blowing. The weather is perfect, it’s still a nice change from Canada, and crowds are fairly low. In recent years they have made the Flower and Garden festival a little like the Food and Wine Festival, with booths around World Showcase where you can purchase sample sized meals. This way you can sample a lot of food without the crowds of the Food and Wine Festival.

The original WDW park

EPCOT was not the first park to open in Walt Disney World, but was the first park that was original to Walt Disney World. EPCOT was a passion of Walt Disney’s. He wanted it to be something amazing. He wanted it to be a community that people could live in, and it would be constantly evolving and have the newest technologies. When Epcot was first designed, it’s name was an acronym. Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow. Although Epcot is not what Walt Disney originally envisioned, I think the park is really special. It still has the opportunity to evolve, and I think it will be great to see it change.

Red Monorail

There’s even more to love! Check out what I Love about Magic Kingdom, and all of Walt Disney World!

 

What do you love about Epcot? Let me know in the comments!

Thank you for reading!

Kelsey
July 22, 2015

What I Love About Magic Kingdom

There are things that I love about every park in Walt Disney World. Stay tuned for what I love about each of the other parks!

Everyone knows the Magic Kingdom because of Cinderella Castle and the classic rides, but there is certainly more to love. In February we celebrated Ethan’s Birthday while on our trip. and for his present we did the “Keys to the Kingdom Tour” at the Magic Kingdom. I’ll try not to give anything away but I was really happy we did it, and it gave me a new appreciation for the details in Magic Kingdom. Especially because we got to go backstage and see the Ultilidors (tunnels underneath the Magic Kingdom which allow Cast Member to get around the park without being seen.)

IMG_1332

So here are a few things I love about Magic Kingdom!

Cinderella Castle

I mean come on! It still takes my breath away. Something about being able to spot it almost anywhere within the park and just go “wow”. It’s so beautiful. If you noticed that it isn’t actually called Cinderella’s Castle, it’s because the castle was only inspired by Cinderella, it’s not actually hers! A lot of people confuse it as being hers, but now you know why! You can actually walk through Cinderella Castle where there are beautiful mosaics that tell the story of Cinderella. You can also eat in the castle at the restaurant Cinderella’s Royal Table. I’ve eaten there once in 2007 so I don’t remember a lot but hope to eat there again soon! Unfortunately there was a crane beside the castle in February making it  hard to get pictures during the day, so enjoy the picture below of Cinderella Fountain!

This fountain is located behind the castle. When you curtsy to her, the crown appears on the head!

This fountain is located behind the castle. When you curtsy to her, the crown appears on the head!

The Details

There are different kinds of details in all of the parks, and it is definitely something I love in each of the parks, but for different reasons. Like I mentioned above Ethan and I did the Keys to the Kingdom Tour and we were showed a lot of details in Adventureland, Liberty Square and Frontierland. In a five-hour tour we only covered that much, that’s how many details there are!

You wouldn’t think that there would be a lot of historical details in the parks, but there are in Magic Kingdom! Walt Disney loved America so he wanted to represent the country’s history in the parks. In Liberty Square you can notice the pavement looks a little brown, it’s to represent sewage that would have been in the streets during that time! So many things you just pass not really knowing why they are there, and they are details Imagineers spent so much time bringing to life.

The Lands

I love that there are so many different areas in the Magic Kingdom, and they seamlessly transition into one another from The Hub. I love that the music transitions, the costumes are all different, and it really feels like you are some place new. next time you are in the Magic Kingdom, notice that the pavement is different in each of the lands, and it really suits the land you are in!

The second newest land in Magic Kingdom is home to Dumbo!

The second newest land in Magic Kingdom is home to Dumbo!

Taking it Slow

This can definitely apply to every park but I find there are a lot of ways you can take it slow in the Magic Kingdom. During my trip in February we visited the Magic Kingdom three times, and since we had already finished the attractions we wanted to do we could really look around. We took multiple rides on The Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover, took a ride on the Walt Disney World Railroad, and stepped onto the Liberty Belle for a ride around Frontierland and Liberty Square. It was really nice to take a minute and just look around and take it all in. I also got to see a lot of the attractions from a different perspective.

Liberty Belle

Wishes!

I had to include Wishes! It’s not a day at the Magic Kingdom without watching Wishes! I’ve seen the show from several spots, and it still makes me tear up no matter how many times I’ve seen it. A great day at the Magic Kingdom always ends with Wishes! The music, the story, the synchronization between music and fireworks, it all just makes for a great show. I love Wishes! I think I love it even more because it focuses on some movies that aren’t really seen in the parks, and one of my favourites, Hercules. That “scene” makes me really happy.

Wishes!

There are so many things that I love about Magic Kingdom, especially because some of my favourite rides are there, but this post would be way too long if I included all of them! Magic Kingdom is a park I can go to over and over, and never get sick of! It always makes me happy to be there!

What do you love about Magic Kingdom? Let me know in the comments!

Thanks for reading!

Kelsey
July 15, 2015

What’s In My Bag?

Being prepared at Walt Disney World is very important. Knowing what to have on hand in the parks can save you money and stress. During my trip in February I carried one backpack with the essentials while my boyfriend Ethan carried a backpack holding both of our Canon DSLR cameras and extra lenses, among other accessories. We found this really worked well, and I think we would do the same thing on our next trip.

Ethan

Ethan carrying the camera backpack

Here’s what I keep in my bag at Walt Disney World:

Water

When in Florida it can get HOT! It’s important to stay hydrated, especially because you are walking so much while in the parks. I hate the taste of Dasani water, and unfortunately that is all they sell in WDW. I use a filtered water bottle so in a pinch I could fill up my water bottle using the sinks in the hotel room or even washroom sinks at the parks. There are many drinking fountains in the parks, but it’s a bonus to have the filter if needed.

 

Sunscreen

Again, in Florida it’s hot and sunny! Make sure to bring sunscreen with you, and apply it often! I would apply sunscreen while getting ready in the morning, and every couple of hours throughout the day. I’ve learned the hard way that some sunscreen is not waterproof (thank you Splash Mountain!), so make sure you are wearing a waterproof sunscreen! Sunscreen takes 20-30 minutes to start working, so applying it when you are in shade would be a good idea. That’s also a reason putting it on while getting ready in the morning works!

 

Sweater/ Change of Clothes

During our trip in February it really cooled down at night, so I always made sure to carry sweaters for both Ethan and I. Even when we usually travel in May I bring a sweater, because the buses have the Air Conditioning blasting to keep the windows from fogging up with the humidity. I get cold pretty easily so I’m comfortable in a hooded sweater at night.

Also think about bringing a change of clothes if you are heading to a park that has water rides you are wanting to experience. Or bring a poncho! At Magic Kingdom there is Splash Mountain and Pirates of the Caribbean (which you rarely get soaked). Animal Kingdom has Kali River Rapids (you WILL get wet!). If you are planning to head back to your hotel to change after, don’t worry about bringing a change of clothes. If I’m only planning on spending half a day at Animal Kingdom, I will experience Kali River Rapids last before heading back to the hotel so I’m not walking around soaked all day. I’ve learned from experience with this one! In 2007 my mom experienced Kali River Rapids in denim shorts. Needless to say she spent 20 minutes in the washroom attempting to dry her shorts under the hand dryers!

The Great Movie Ride

Sunglasses

You’ve protected your skin, make sure to protect your eyes as well! Make sure the sunglasses you are wearing have UV A and B protection, and polarized is a plus! Your eyes will thank you! I wear glasses so I make sure to change to prescription sunglasses when I can and carry both cases for rides I don’t want to lose my glasses on! (I’m looking at you Tower of Terror and Rock n’ Rollercoaster!)

 

Medications

Being at the parks all day can be tiring. Overcast skies can give me headaches, so I always keep Advil on me. I’ve also learned that I have a sensitive stomach when I booked dinner reservations at different times every night to eat at the restaurants I wanted. I went from feeling really hungry to sick fast. Pepto Bismol capsules have saved me. I keep them with me all the time as well, and they sure come in handy. And other medication would be good to have on you, because you never know what you might need in the park. It’s always better to have something and not need it than need it and not have it.

 

Band-Aids!

The parks all have First-Aid stations, but if you feel a blister forming you may not want to walk all the way across the park to get there! I find that having them on me usually means I don’t need them, but it’s always good to be prepared! First Aid might have some Advil as well, but you could also buy it in one of the many gift shops.

 

Cameras!

These were technically in our other bag, but it’s really important to capture the memories you are making! Disney Photopass service is available at all of the parks, but if you bring your camera with you the photographer will usually take a picture with your camera as well. I feel bad asking, but if it saves me money on buying prints, I’ll do it.

 

The Bag(s)

Lastly, the bag I keep everything in! On my trip in 2013 I brought a huge Mickey bag that my Mom purchased on another trip. After a few hours in the Magic Kingdom, my shoulder was killing me. Ethan didn’t want to be seen carrying a shoulder bag (I don’t blame him) so we headed into the shops on Main Street. We purchased this backpack, and it worked well for us.

The backpack we purchased in 2013

The backpack we purchased in 2013

We travelled in May in 2013, so the needs changed when we went in February this year. I brought the 2013 backpack hoping it would work, but after packing it full, we realized it was too full. We headed to Main Street again and bought this backpack.

The backpack we bought in February

The backpack we bought in February

It’s larger but not too large, and was made of a thicker material. It even had a pocket on the side for my water bottle which I loved. I also purchased the matching wallet later that day. 🙂 I think that having a backpack is important, to even out the weight of all of the things you need. It’s also helpful if other members in your party are willing to wear it!

Both backpacks side by side.

Both backpacks side by side.

There is not a huge size difference between backpacks, but it did make a difference!

Now on to the camera bag!

 

Ethan's Backpack

The backpack with pockets open.

The backpack with pockets open.

This is the camera bag we used. It’s a Vanguard Adaptor 45. As you can see it has pockets on either side and one on the top. One side we used for Ethan’s Canon Rebel T5i, the other we used for accessories and extra lenses, and the top fit my Canon Rebel SL1 perfectly. We have found that it works perfectly for us! It’s not too big, and even has a strap for a tripod if you don’t want to carry one!

An Epcot Afternoon :)

An Epcot Afternoon 🙂

And as a reward for looking at pictures of backpacks, here’s a nice photo of Spaceship Earth !

What do you bring with you to the parks? What can you not live without? Let me know in the comments!

Thank you so much for reading!

Kelsey