August 16, 2017

10 Tips for Epcot’s International Food and Wine Festival

Hello friends! I can’t believe it’s almost that time in Walt Disney World once again, and even earlier than ever! We are just about two weeks away from the start of the International Food and Wine Festival at Epcot! It’s one of my favourite times to visit Walt Disney World, so I thought I would share ten tips and things I’ve learned after attending the festival a few times! If you’re heading to Walt Disney World in November, check out my 10 Tips for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party as well! Okay, let’s get started!

The Food & Wine Festival runs from August 31st- November 13th, 2017.

Food & Wine Festival

1. get a passport

These handy little things list all of the dishes that are available at the festival, and list them by country (or booth). The idea behind it is you sample everything then stamp (a sticker that comes in the book) the country once you have completed it. it’s really nice to see everything in one place and get organized. The passports are free and are available at most if not all, booths. The passport will also list if a dish is vegetarian which I found really helpful!

2. know what you want to try

Lines can get long, and it can definitely get busy, so it’s nice to have an idea of what you want to try! Whether you put a star next to the item, or just make a mental note, it’s nice to know what is a priority!

3. if from Canada (or another country) take picture of actual passport

We learned this the hard way at our hotel when we went to go to Trader Sam’s, and even though Ethan, his brother and I are all over 21 by at least a few years, we needed to show our passport or a picture of it (not drivers licence) to get in. I don’t want to have to carry my passport around the parks, so I took a picture and used that when buying my margarita at F&W (yum!). Just make sure to delete the picture after your trip!Food & Wine Festival

4. avoid on weekends

If I lived in Florida, I would visit the Food & Wine Festival all the time! So you can imagine, weekends are busy at Epcot! I made sure that we hit Epcot before the weekend at first, and then only spend a few hours there on the Friday morning before we hopped to Hollywood Studios. You could definitely tell the difference in crowds between the Tuesday and Friday!

5. gift card or certain amount of cash

With so many things to try, the Food & Wine Festival samples can add up fast. In World Showcase you can purchase Disney gift cards that come with a wristband to 1) limit spending and 2) be easily accessible on your hand! I would purchase a gift card for a certain amount, and when that runs out I’d be done! But you would be surprised how quickly it can add up!

6. spend an afternoon or two, hopefully Monday-Thursday

I think one of the best ways to do Food & Wine is in small portions (just like the samples!;) ) Spending an afternoon during the week wandering World Showcase is a perfect way to spend a day at Disney in my opinion! I love spending time wander World Showcase any time of year, but something about Food & Wine holds a special place in my heart.

7. Booth open at 11am!

Booths get busy, so don’t forget that World Showcase opens at 11sm! Beat the lunch rush by heading to some booths early, and you won’t regret it!Food & wine

8. Other offerings

Eat to the Beat concert series, and seminars, and tastings! There is actually much more to the Food & Wine festival. From the Eat to the Beat concert series (where I’ve seen Boyz II Men), to seminars and tastings, there is tons to do! Seminars and tastings you can book in advance here, and there are dining packages available that provide reserved seating for the evening show. Also there’s the Remy’s Hide and Squeak Challenge that is back this year! For $8.99+tax you get a map and have to find the Remy statues around World Showcase! Once completed you get a special edition pin.

9. be smart in using snack credits!

If you are on the Disney Dining Plan, the Food & Wine Festival can be a great use of snack credits! Just look for the dining plan symbol beside items on the menu. Try to use your credits for the most expensive items (like the lobster roll) to get the most out of it!

10. Booths everywhere!

The number of booths increases every year, and they are getting closer and closer to being through the entire park, not just World Showcase! Don’t forget the booths that are near the entrance to world Showcase, and actually in Future World!

Food & Wine

The items I sampled last year!

Since I’m not going to the Food & Wine Festival this year, I thought it would be nice to reminisce on what I tried last year and what I thought of it! You can see a list of the items available this year here.

The Chew Collective Booth

Ricotta and Zucchini Ravioli with Rustic Tomato Sauce*

Peanut Butter and White Chocolate Mouse with Caramel Drizzle

Refreshment Port

Cronut* (available here year round)

Mexico

Taco de Camaron: Battered Shrimp Taco with purple cabbage and chipotle mayo

Hops & Barley

New England Lobster Roll*

Carrot Cake*

Morocco

Spicy Hummus Fries*- the highlight for me last year! Definitely give it a try!

*also available this year.

 

If you want to hear about the 10 tips instead of reading, check out the co-ordiating video below!

What are you looking forward to at the Food & Wine Festival this year? Let me know in the comments below!

Thank you so much for joining me today!

 

Kelsey
June 28, 2017

How to Stay Cool at Walt Disney World in Summer

Hello friends, and Happy Wednesday! It feels like it’s been a while since I’ve had a blog post that is Disney related, so today I’m sharing some Disney tips! While it still isn’t officially summer yet, it’s definitely hot in Walt Disney World! Today I’m sharing TEN tips that will help keep you cool if you are headed to the parks this summer! I’ve never been to Walt Disney World during the summer months, but I have been when it’s hot, so these tips have come in handy! Okay, let’s get started!

Walt Disney World

(affiliate links used)

head to the parks early

Heading to the parks early if possible is great for many reasons. The parks will be less crowded so you can get more done, and have some of the more popular things done before it gets too hot. Combine this with the third tip, and you have yourself my ideal Disney day!

See a show type attraction

Head inside! I love hitting Carousel of Progress during the heat of the day, and shows like Universe of Energy (although it’s 45 minutes long), Voyage of the Little Mermaid, It’s Tough to Be A Bug, Finding Nemo The Musical, Country Bear Jamboree, The American Adventure, Impressions de France, and O Canada! are all good options to get you out of the heat! Nothing like a little break in the afternoon 🙂

 

take a break

Being at the parks from opening until closing can be fun, but exhausting! If you are heading to the parks early in the morning, it’s nice to head back to your hotel in the hot hours of the day to relax a bit, or take a nap. Ethan and I have done that on some of the trips we’ve taken by ourselves, and it definitely helps to break up the day so you don’t feel like you are running on empty by the end of your trip!

hit the pool or water parks

If you are taking a break, you can use that time to cool off in the pool, or head to the water parks for the day/a few hours! The water parks are nice if you have the time, but I wouldn’t suggest taking a day away from the major parks to visit Typhoon Lagoon or Blizzard Beach. The nice thing about Disney Resorts is they all have pools, which usually have games for the kids. It’s nice to cool of in the pool during the summer for sure!

drink lots of water

Disney restaurants give free ice water, so take advantage of it! I always carry a water bottle with me (mostly because I hate the taste of Dasani), but we fill it up in the room before we head out, and use the water fountains at the parks! Don’t worry, we use a water bottle with a filter. I’ve linked the one we use (just click on the picture below).

have some ice cream!

If you are on vacation, you might as well eat some ice cream! I love having ice cream in the afternoon when it’s hot. And Mickey shaped ice cream? Even better!

buy a cooling towel

They sell these everywhere, but I’ve linked one from Amazon below (just click on the picture). Basically you wet in and it keeps you cool, which can be really helpful in the summer! And when it stops being colder than the outside air, just wet it again and you are good to go!

make dining reservations for the hottest hours of the day

This tip and the next one involve a little bit of pre-planning, which you are most likely going to do if you are visiting Walt Disney World anyways. Table service restaurants are inside in the air conditioning, so you might want to considering making a lunch reservation to keep you out of the heat during the early afternoon and hottest hours of the day. You can also head to a quick service restaurant, but might end up waiting for a bit depending on crowds. Another suggestion is snagging a lunch Be Our Guest reservations, where you can see the restaurant (especially if you can’t get a dinner reservation), and you get out of the heat and have a less expensive meal. This is what we did on our last trip, (it was pretty hot for November) and it worked really well!

make fastpass+ reservations for the hottest parts of the day

This is also a way to make the most of FastPass+, because regular lines are generally the longest in the afternoon, which is also the hottest time of the day. Especially if you get to the park early, you can make FastPass+ reservations for the middle of the day, so you know you will get on some rides for sure, and be out of the heat!

 

Hit the Attractions with indoor play areas

If you are travelling with kids, this tip will help keep your kids cool, and give you a little break as well! Rides like Dumbo, Spaceship Earth, Mission: Space, and The Seas with Nemo and Friends all have something in common. Either before (Dumbo) or after (everything else) you ride, your kids can play games inside!

The nice thing about Walt Disney World is most of the queues for attractions are inside, where there is air conditioning or fans blasting. At Disneyland in Califonia, most of the queues are outside. They don’t deal with humidity and the storms they get in Florida, but it’s something to be thankful for in Walt Disney World!

Have you ever been to Walt Disney World in the heat of summer? What are your tips to stay cool? Let me know in the comments!

That wraps up my tips for how to stay cool Walt Disney World in summer! If you are headed there this summer, hopefully you can use some of my tips for and enjoy a cooler day! Thank you so much for reading!

 

 

Kelsey
May 31, 2017

10 Things to do at Walt Disney World Outside of the Parks

Hello everyone! This post is coming to you while I’m on vacation, my first non-Disney vacation in a while! I’m in Calgary, Alberta visiting with family and exploring with Ethan!

Today I thought I would share a list of things to do at Walt Disney World, outside of the parks! Walt Disney World is HUGE, and is way more than just theme parks. On our last trip we spent some time out of the parks (which was a little hard for me because I always want to go, go, go!), but it got me thinking of how many things there are to do! So below I’ve listed 10 things to do outside of the parks, in no particular order. Okay, let’s jump in!

Walt Disney World

1. The Boardwalk

This whole area is a great way to escape the parks while still having a lot to see. We spent a few hours here on our last trip, and I really enjoyed it! With a ton of restaurants to choose from, you won’t go hungry, and there’s always entertainment on the boardwalk at night! It very relaxing for being steps away from Epcot and Hollywood Studios. I’d love to stay in this resort area sometime.

Walt Disney World

2. Mini-Golf or real golf

Walt Disney World has champion courses, plus some fun mini golf courses. I’ve received coupons for the mini golf before but have never used them! There are two different ones to choose from, Fantasia Gardens and Winter Summerland. I’ve heard great things of them, and I’m sure they are some of the best themed mini golf courses you’ve seen!

3. Watch a movie at a resort

Did you know that most Walt Disney World resorts show Disney movies every night? Schedules are available at each hotel, but it would be a nice way to end a day, or even just spend the evening at a resort! The movies are generally set-up close to the main lobby where the food is, so you can grab a bite to eat and watch a Disney movie!

4. Disney Springs

Disney Springs has SO MANY shops and restaurants, you could easily spend a day there! If you have kids they would love the Lego Store and Once Upon a Toy, plus the World of Disney store. And since it got a makeover, it’s beautiful! You can see just a few of the dining options in the picture below.

Walt Disney World

5. go to the movies

While you’re at Disney Springs, you could go to a movies at the AMC! They even have the restaurant theatres, if you want something special. You’ll have lots of options too, with 24 screens!

6. Hit the pool

If you are staying on-site, have a pool day! They usually have lots of activities for kids at the main pool, plus it’s close to restaurants and food courts. If you want something a little quieter, many resorts have “quiet pools”.

7. Explore a resort

I absolutely love checking out all of the Disney Resorts! No matter what level resort you are staying at, you can always check out something new! We wandered to the Grand Floridian on our last trip for a little while, and it was a lot of fun! You can always make dining reservations at a resort and spend some time there! The picture below is from the Grand Floridian looking back at the Polynesian, our DVC home resort! On our last trip we also spent a lot of time at the resort we were staying at (the Polynesian), and it was really nice to know where I was going all the time!

Walt Disney World

8. Watch the fireworks

You can see many of the fireworks from many different resorts! Head to the Contemporary Resort and if you dine at California Grill you can watch the fireworks from the observation decks! Below is a picture from said observation deck :). Head to the Boardwalk or Beach Club to see Epcot/ Hollywood Studios fireworks! At Caribbean Beach you can see the Epcot fireworks from the main pool! We watched Holiday Wishes from the beach at the Polynesian, and it was so much fun. Plus, you don’t have to deal with the craziness in the parks as soon as the fireworks are over :).

9. cirque du soleil

Another fun way to spend the evening at Disney Springs is to see the Cirque du Soleil show! The current show La Nouba ends December 31st, 2017, but I’m sure the replacement will be just as amazing! Ethan and I saw La Nouba on our trip in 2013 for his birthday, and it was amazing! I would definitely recommend it!

10. Have a spa day!

You could head to either The Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, or Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa for a relaxing spa treatment! I’ve never done this, but I’ve heard great things about their spas! I can only imagine how nice that would be on a Disney vacation.

I hope you enjoyed taking a look at some of the many things there are to do on Walt Disney Property! Maybe you try something on a day when you aren’t going to the parks, or just a slower paced afternoon! It can definitely be hard to not be in the parks, but with some many other things you can do it can be nice to take a bit of a break! You know, like a vacation from your vacation ;).

What’s your favourite thing to do at Walt Disney World outside of the parks? Let me know in the comments below!

Thank you so much for reading! And don’t forget to enter my giveaway that ends Sunday! You can find it here 🙂

 

Kelsey