October 7, 2015

Festival of Fantasy Parade

This is the newest parade at Walt Disney World, and I love it! It was really fun for me following along with Disney Parks Blog, to see the parade from when it was first announced in April 2013, and finally seeing it in person this past February. You can check the announcement post out here. I’ve never experienced something from concept sketches to seeing it in real life , so it was something very special for me. I ended up watching the parade sort of by fluke, saying “I don’t really need to see it” for almost two days in Magic Kingdom. Ethan and I were in Tomorrowland and started to see crowds lining up by the curbs of the hub and Main Street U.S.A.  It was one of those conflicting moments; do we go on rides while the crowds are lower? Or do we watch the newest parade in Walt Disney World. PARADE!! I’m so glad I saw it, and I took A LOT of pictures. I took so many pictures that I could basically replay the parade in pictures, but I don’t want to ruin it so I will only put some pictures in. Enjoy!

Beauty and the Beast

Anna and Elsa

Tangled Dress

It is such a bright, colourful parade, and I loved the music. It showcases a lot of the newer movies but doesn’t forget the classics, The costumes are so detailed I just couldn’t stop taking pictures!

Under the Sea

I think my favourite part was Maleficent in dragon form. It was amazing to see up close!


Breathing Fire

The parade is available as a Fastpass+ (reserved seating in a great spot) so if you are a parade lover I would suggest using a Fastpass+ for it. If not, you can stake out a spot 1 hour to 45 minutes before the parade. Ethan and I walked up about 10 minutes before it started, and were standing behind people who were sitting on the curb of Main Street.

Balloon Dress

Smiling and Dancing

Mickey and Minnie

I hope you enjoyed the pictures as much as I enjoyed taking them, and I hope you will want to see the Festival of Fantasy Parade next time you are in Walt Disney World!

Have you see Festival of Fantasy? What were your thoughts? Let me know in the comments!

Thanks for reading!

September 30, 2015

My Walt Disney World Strategy

To expand a little more from last week’s post, I thought I would give a little insight into how I approach the parks during my vacations. Not everyone will be able to take this approach, but hopefully you can try some of the things I do to be successful in the parks! I have adapted this strategy during my last two trips (May 2013 and February 2015) and they have worked really well for Ethan and I.

Be There for Rope Drop

What’s rope drop you ask? It’s when the park first opens. And you should be there. Getting to the parks early is a key part of my strategy in the parks. The first few hours of the day is the time when the parks are the least busy, so you can do the most popular attractions with the lowest crowds. I’m serious. And if you arrive early at Magic Kingdom, there is even an opening show, complete with a countdown and some fireworks! It is AWESOME! In most cases, Cast Members actually have a rope holding back the line, and they will walk you to the different areas of the park. More on that below.

Welcome Show

When Ethan and I went to Walt Disney World in 2013, I had heard about rope drop from The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World, and really wanted to try it. We made it to most of the parks pretty early, but only to official rope drop on Animal Kingdom day. We were there 20-30 minutes before park opening, and were near the front of the line. We were roped off, and the crowd finally started moving. Everyone was heading to Discovery Island (where the Tree of Life is located) and I’m not really sure how, but Ethan and I managed to get away from the crowd. We went the Dino-rama route, and it was quite funny. It was us versus the crowd. We could see the crowd across the way, inching closer to Mount Everest. Would we beat them? Should we run for it?! We kept looking back and sped up! We walked quite fast, and were the 4th and 5th guests in line for Expedition Everest. It was really neat to be on the first train of the morning, although there was some dew on the seats. Just to paint a picture of how fast the lines move, we rode Expedition Everest 4 times in less than 20 minutes. It is the most popular ride at Animal Kingdom. 20 minutes people! Waking up early does have it advantages! If you can make it to the park for rope drop, it is definitely worth it!


Fastpass +

Fastpass + is free! And it gets you onto your favourite rides faster! February was my first trip using this new system, and I have to say I liked it! You know which fast passes you have well in advance (up to 60 days before your trip), and you don’t have to have someone run to all of the different rides to get fast passes for your party. I will be doing a post that goes into depth about the new system, so make sure to keep an eye out for it! Now you can also get Fastpass+ for nighttime shows and parades, securing your spot without having to worry. Definitely something to take advantage of on your next trip!

Take a break

Especially if you make it to the parks for rope drop, you’re going to need a break! I like to take a rest during the busiest time of the day (early afternoon). It’s when kids are at their crankiest, and when it’s the hottest. It just screams break time to me. I head back to my hotel, take a nap, or just lounge around for a little. I haven’t been one to swim during this time, but if you are travelling with kids who won’t want to nap it would be a perfect time to do so. I’m not sure how I made it through some of my previous trips without taking breaks! During my last trip there were only two days where we didn’t take a break, but they were days that were a little slower paced. Basically, if you go crazy every day and are there from park open to close, you aren’t going to make it through your vacation! You are going to be tired when you get home from Walt Disney World no matter what, but this way you won’t be quite as tired!

The Tree of Life

Get the Dining Plan

I’ve discussed the dining plans before here, and gave my opinion on whether or not it’s worth it. By the title of this section, I’m sure you can guess where I stand. Having a sit down meal a day gives my days a little bit of structure, without taking a lot of time from your day. Not having the dining plan on our last trip meant looking at food a little more closely, and seeing how much we were spending every day. Having the dining plan is much more relaxing, and that’s what you want to do while you are on your vacation! Depending on the level of dining plan you purchase, it doesn’t mean you will be eating burgers and pizza the whole time, Disney does food really well.

Eat a small breakfast

This is a recommendation for those purchasing the Disney Dining plan, more specifically the ones with only two meals. I found that eating a small breakfast or sometimes even just coffee was great. It helped us get to the parks faster in the morning, and when the meals rolled around that we used our dining credits for we could take advantage of the large servings. When you are getting the dining plan you have paid for it in advance, but it is only covering 2 meals per day so it’s nice to stretch that a little. This helped to keep food costs down, and we could get more out of the dining plan.

Reflections of Earth

I hope this has given you some insight into what my trips look like, and I hope you can try some of these during your next trip!

What strategy do you take when heading to Walt Disney World? Let me know in the comments!

Thanks for reading!

September 23, 2015

10 Tips for Walt Disney World

It can be very overwhelming when you are planning a Walt Disney World vacation. I thought I would make it a little easier on you to put together some things that are important to know when heading to the Happiest Place on Earth!


  1. Wear running shoes.
    Trust me on this one. I have done Disney World in flip flops, and my back was KILLING me after one day. Wear comfortable running shoes (or sandals) that have support and are broken in. You don’t want to waste time during your vacation stopping to apply bandaids and with your feet hurting the whole time!
  2. Bring a water bottle.
    It gets hot in Florida, and you are going to be walking a ton, and need to stay hydrated! I always like to bring a water bottle with me because I don’t like the taste of Dasani water, and to save time. There are water fountains all around the parks, which makes it really easy. As I have said before here, I like to carry a backpack around the parks with a water bottle and other extras.
  3. Take a break.
    Going to the parks all day every day is exhausting. Make sure to take it easy at some point. I like to take a break during the busiest part of the day, or sleep in one morning. If you are travelling with kids, they are definitely going to need to take a break. While they are napping, you could take a nap yourself, or even just relax for a few hours. When you head back to the parks you will feel refreshed and ready to go!
  4. Take Advantage of Fastpass +
    No one likes to wait in line! Take advantage of the Fastpass+ service and skip the long lines! I will be doing a post very soon that goes into detail about this service, so make sure to keep an eye out for it!

    Rock n' Rollercoaster

    You’ll want a Fastpass+ for this one!

  5. Plan ahead.
    One does not simply walk into the Magic Kingdom without a plan. If you are planning a trip to Walt Disney World, you need to be organized. I like to take advantage of Extra Magic Hours (hours where the park opens early or stays open late for guests staying at Disney Resort Hotels) and plan my trip around these hours. I will generally go to the park that has Extra Magic Hours. Some people don’t like to do this because they think the parks are busier during these times and on these days, but I haven’t found that to be true.
  6. Know what you want to do, and what you could skip.
    It’s important to set expectations when travelling somewhere where there are so many things to do. I exaggerated that on my last trip by making a list, but as long as you know the things that you really want to do and make sure you do them, you should be happy. Especially if you are travelling with a larger party, if everyone picks a couple things that they would like to do, no one will be disappointed.
  7. Download the App.
    Yes, there’s an app for that! The My Disney Experience App is pretty awesome, so I did a whole post about it! You can check that out here. I found it to be a really helpful tool in the parks, and would highly recommend it!Harper's Mill
  8. Get to the parks early!
    I absolutely cannot stress this point enough! The first few hours of the park are the least busy and the most valuable! You can get more done in the first few hours than in the rest of the day. If you can do it, you really should. If you make it to the park early, make sure to take a break! (See point #3).
  9. Make dining reservations in advance.
    Nothing is more annoying than waiting to be seated at a restaurant while other parties are seated before you. If you are having a meal at a sit down restaurant, make your reservations in advance. You will be seated faster and it really won’t take that much time out of your day! I like to have one sit down meal a day just to slow down a little, and I love looking forward to eating at certain restaurants that I know I have a reservation for.
  10. Remember that it’s a vacation, and have fun!
    At the end of the day, this trip is a vacation, so don’t let the number of things to see stress you out! Don’t forget to take your breaks and relax a little. Walt Disney World isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, so you can always go back! (Trust me, after you go once, you’ll NEED to go back).Animal Kingdom Waterfall

I hope these 10 tips have been helpful and can make your Disney trip better!

Have you been to Disney World before? Do you have any tips for someone heading to Walt Disney World for the first time? Let me know in the comments! (Bonus points to anyone who knows where the last two pictures are from! Hint: there is one picture from every park in this post!)

Thanks for reading!