Tammie’s Take Thursday: Why I Love Fall at Walt Disney World

I know Fall doesn’t officially start until September 21st,  but with the kids headed back to school and football starting up my mind just goes there.  Fall at Walt Disney World is one of my favorite times of the year  to be “Home”  as the crowd levels and temperatures begin to “FALL” from the peak summer months making a visit much more enjoyable. Here are some of the other reasons I love Fall at Walt Disney World…

As I write this blog entry, Fall decorations are going up. There is something inviting in the Fall tones of browns and oranges.  The parks are brought to life with fall leaves (yes in Florida), pumpkins, scarecrows and the spook-tacular decour needed for one of my favorite celebrations…

Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party (MNSSHP).  If you have never been to the party, you need to.  It is a special event ticket held on select nights at the Magic Kingdom Park.  It offers family friendly trick or treating, character meet and greets, Mickey’s Boo-to-You Holiday parade and a special Happy HalloWishes fireworks display, plus it’s a great way to bring out your inner child as everyone is encouraged to wear costumes and participate in the fun.  Wanting a more “adult” adventure then check out…

Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival held during the fall months.  During this entertainment packed event guests can taste fine cuisine and wines from more than 30 locations from around the World in addition to separately ticketed events like food & wine pairings, specialty dinners, culinary demonstrations from award winning chefs and food seminars.  Also, you can rock to some of your favorite 70s-80s-90s musical talents with the Eat to the Beat Concert Series…

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For those interested in running Disney, the Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend happens in the fall…why absolute favorite race weekend of the runDisney series.  There is a distance for everyone, including the popular kids races!

And no Fall season should ever go without a few seasonal inspired treats…

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How about a pumpkin spice waffle sundae? I should really dedicate a complete article to the delicious and amazing treats available only during the fall season from candy corn ice cream, skull apples and pumpkin cupcakes to Jack Skellington caramel apples and Ghost Marshmallows.

I know you will “Fall” in love with Walt Disney World in the Fall like I have.  It’s never too late to plan a trip for this Fall…I know just the right Disney Vacation Planner who can help you experience the Fall Magic.  Contact Me Today and lets get planning…

For More Exciting Fall Information Check out the Disney Parks Blog.

#(almost)wordlesswednesday: Celebration

It’s Wednesday, so that means I am linking up with  Focused on the Magic  to share my #DisneySide through pictures with #(almost)wordlesswednesday, since nothing for me is ever wordless with me. This week’s theme is “Celebration”…

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It started as simply justification for a girl’s trip to Walt Disney World, but turned into one of my greatest personal challenges and CELEBRATIONS because in 9 months I went from the couch to completing runDisney’s Tower of Terror 10-Miler and discovered that I like this running thing!

 

There is no better way to challenge yourself and then celebrate your success than to do both during a runDisney race weekend at either Walt Disney World or Disneyland. What are you waiting for there is a celebration at the end of the race that leads directly to your favorite attraction. If I can do it (and go on to 2 more and soon to be 3 more runDisney race weekends), so can you!

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Friday Fives: 5 Favorite Breakfast Dishes at Walt Disney World

Normally I am not a breakfast person, but all that changes when I am vacationing at Walt Disney World and many days it’s my favorite meal of the day.

I love getting to the parks prior to rope drop, for those Disney newbies that means EARLY (prior to park opening) and I love taking advantage of Extra Magic Hours (EMH) in the morning (which means even earlier than rope drop).  It is amazing how much fun you can have before 10 am and how hungry you can get because of it.  Once the crowd builds later in the morning, I like to take a break and splurge a little (okay a lot) on a delicious breakfast.

A Mickey Waffle is certainly a must for at least 1 Disney vacation breakfast because who can resist smiling back at that smile?

waffle

But there are so many other tempting yummies that also must be showcased (devoured).  So, let’s start the day off right at Walt Disney World with my 5 of my “Best Thing I Ever Ate at Walt Disney World” Breakfasts…

If I am headed to the Magic Kingdom for the morning my pick is a pre-rope drop meal inside the Magic Kingdom with Pooh and friends at the Crystal Palace, where every day you get to celebrate Friendship Day.  My favorite dish at the Crystal Palace is the Breakfast Lasagna

 

 

Layers of Waffles, Pancakes, Pound Cake, Strawberries, and Banana Topped with Pastry Cream and Caramelized Sugar.  How is such yumminess even possible?  Trust me it is worth every calorie!

My next two favorite dishes are just a couple monorail stops away from the Magic Kingdom and make great choices for when you are park hopping or just need a break from the park altogether.  First, catch the monorail and go two stops to the Polynesian Resort and when you exit the monorail you will find the Kona Café to your left, home of the Tonga Toast

 

2 slices of thick sourdough bread that is stuffed with bananas and then deep fried and coated with cinnamon sugar, served with a strawberry compote (and a side of bacon, you need a little protein). This sweet breakfast treat is certainly worth the extra steps you must take to exit the Magic Kingdom. Take the monorail one more stop to the Grand Floridian and the Grand Floridian Café for something a little savory, Lobster Eggs Benedict

 

two poached eggs, lobster hash, asparagus and hollandaise sauce. This is as elegant as the surroundings it is served in.

But what if you decided to get up with the animals and you spent your morning at the Animal Kingdom?  My first choice would be to dine with “Safari” Mickey and the gang for my favorite character meal at the Tusker House.  Here you will find a buffet full of both American breakfast favorites and African inspired dishes.  Want a pro-tip?  Book your ADR (Advanced Dining Reservation) at around 10: 30 am you will get both breakfast and lunch selections. Back to my favorite dish here, Mealie Pap

A South African porridge made from ground maize (or other grains).  Shocked you didn’t I with this choice because basically I am proclaiming my love for Grits.  I honestly don’t know what it is about this dish but I love it…of course I do doctor it up with brown sugar, lots of butter and raisins.  For a bonus at Tusker House make sure you have a glass (or several) of Jambo Juice.  Just a short 5-minute bus ride from Animal Kingdom you will find Animal Kingdom Lodge-Jambo House and Boma for even more flavors of Africa (and American for my less adventurous friends).  I love the warm rich colors of Boma, decorated to resemble a lively African marketplace.  On the buffet is my ultimate go to comfort food, bread pudding but this is not your ordinary bread pudding instead you get

 

 

French Toast Bread Pudding with Pecan Praline Sauce.  Who says you can’t have dessert for breakfast? After all, it’s vacation, right?

I am looking forward to my next trip to Walt Disney World in the fall as I have 2 new breakfast locations picked out, who knows maybe one these places will be home to my next “Best Thing I Ever Ate at Walt Disney World”, breakfast.

There is a huge variety of breakfast options you can enjoy all over Disney World. No matter where you choose to start your day, here’s hoping it’s a magical one!

Want more great dining ideas?  Book your Disney vacation with me and I will help you navigate your way through the word one dish at a time.  Remember all my services are complimentary.

 

 

Tammie’s Take Thursday: Epcot is for All Ages

best family shotI was helping a friend the other day come up with a plan for which park they were going to visit each day when she informed me that Epcot was really just for adults and they were going to skip Epcot.  I was kind of stunned by her statement, because in my mind nothing could be further from the truth and skipping an entire park made me sad. If you asked my oldest son when he was 9 what his favorite park was, he would have told you “Epcot,” in fact now at 17 he still would tell you Epcot. After I picked my chin up off the floor, I began to dispel that widely accepted Epcot myth that “kids will be bored by Epcot” and that “parents of small children should skip this theme park altogether.” Epcot is a great place for the entire family…

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There are only 3 thrill rides that will exclude younger members of your party in Epcot’s Future World, but there are other things for them to do while others are enjoying the thrill rides…

coral-reef-restaurantGo Under the Sea in the Living Seas Pavilion-You will find a world class aquarium here and until 2005 it was the world’s largest saltwater tank, home to more than 6,000 sea creatures.

Be part of the Fab 5 at the Epcot Character Spot-Here you will find the classic Disney Characters including Mickey Mouse. The characters are in front of fun backgrounds, making it a great spot to get photos. You can utilize Disney’s PhotoPass service or use your own camera.EPCOT_CHRCON1_20161106_7853074709

Explore your Senses in Imageworks-This interactive area is found at the exit of Journey into Imagination. There are several stations that let you explore sights and sounds. You can also email a fun, free e-postcard to yourself or to someone else from this area.

Laugh a little and take a rest with Pixar Shorts-The Disney & Pixar Short Film Festival is an 18-minute 4D cinema attraction at Epcot, featuring 3 dazzling short animated films.4c84319bd32c58405733494b646217c4

Take a Boat Ride through a Green House-The sight of a Mickey Mouse shaped pumpkin or the experience of boating through a greenhouse might be better than expected in holding your child’s interest.

Explore Space-Even if your little one isn’t going to ride Mission Space, they can take their own space adventure in the Advanced Training Lab. There is a play structure there for little kids to explore, buttons to push, and seats in the air conditioning for their grown-ups. It’s a fun stop, especially if your child is obsessed with space!Epcot-Water-Play-Area

Play in the Fountains-There are three sets of fun fountains that encourage the littlest EPCOT visitors to cool off on a hot day. Two interactive fountains along the Futureworld walkways (one in Futureworld East and one in Futureworld West) allow kids (and adults) to walk right in and get soaked by the spray! The fountains outside of the Imagination! Pavilion aren’t ground level, but you can stand under the jumping water or try to catch the bouncing water balls. A very fun way to cool off on a hot day!

World Showcase

When you’re ready to explore the world, take your kids along to because there is plenty to keep them busy while you enjoy the World Showcase including…1 kidcot in france

Explore the People of the World at the Kidcot Stations-Kids decorate a card stock Duffy Bear at which ever station they stop at first. Then they can add a decoration at each additional station throughout Epcot. The World Showcase Kidcot stations can be especially fun because there will often be a Cast Member from the country represented by the pavilion – giving kids theIMG_1768 chance to meet someone from another country. Cast members will embellish the back with the child’s name in their language or a fun symbol of their country

Go on a mission to Save the World while learning about the World-Kids will love the interactive Agent P’s World Showcase Adventure, particularly if they are Phineas and Ferb fans. There are several locations where families can sign up for this free activity and get a free app to guide them through the mission searching for clues in the various countries of the World Showcase. Each mission only takes 30-45 minutes but will ensure the kids are keen to explore the country pavilions.

Explore the Artistry-Throughout Epcot’s World Showcase, you can find a variety of live entertainment representing each country’s culture that ranks among the best at Walt Disney World. These performances happen throughout the day, so there’s a good chance you’ll happen upon a performance as you go around the World Showcase. The acts are always entertaining and give a great flavor of the country’s culture.124 (2)

Find even more characters– Epcot’s World Showcase is the best place at Disney World to meet characters. The lines are often shorter than at other Disney World parks and you can met characters that you haven’t seen anywhere else. The World Showcase is a prime location for character greetings since many Disney movies are based on traditional stories from these countries… Mary Poppins, Mulan, Alice in Wonderland and Marie from The Aristocats in their homelands.

I think you can see that Epcot is not just for adults and offers experiences that should not be skipped.

I love Epcot and would find great delight in helping your family enjoy this wonderful park. Remember all my trip planning services are complimentary when you book your Disney Vacation with me!

 

Bringing the Magic Home Monday’s: Beauty & the Beast

Everyone loves a Disney Movie, even ones that are from “A Tale as Old as Time…”

One of the things we did as a family to excited for our first family trip to Walt Disney World was hold a Family Movie Night each week before our trip, after all unlike Mr. Grumpy and myself our children did not grow up with Sunday nights and the Wonderful World of Disney.  With over 450 titles Disney movie titles available, we had a lot of catching up to do…thankfully we a whole closet full of Disney movies (mostly VCR, lol) thanks to Grandma.

The premise of Disney Family Movie Night was simple, create a themed meal together around the movie, maybe throw in a little craft or activity and watch the movie of the week together.

One of our first movie nights was Beauty and the Beast…which holds a special place in my heart since Mr. Grumpy took me to the movie when we were dating MANY MANY MOONS ago.

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Oh, my look how little they were…

“We started out the day with a trip to the library to return some books and select a few more to bring home.  This was a weekly outing for us, like Bell our family loves books.  Ab goes through a book a day!  We made it for story time with our favorite librarian, Mr. Pat, but I forgot my camera.  It is always a pleasure to listen to him read.  We returned home and painted mugs, referring to Chip in the movie. 

For dinner, we had Chicken Cordon Belle, Enchanted Forest Trees with Herbed Rice, French Bread and for dessert Enchanted Rose Strawberry Shortcake.”

Since that night Walt Disney World has gone onto building the Beast’s Castle in Fantasyland, complete with one of my favorite dining locations, Be Our Guest.

And on menu is a DISNEY MUST TRY dessert, the Grey Stuff! It is one of my most favorite things to eat at Walt Disney World.

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Disney has also turned the animated feature into a live action movie starring our favorite wizard (the perfect birthday gift from my daughter), plus has brought the Grey Stuff to Disneyland (for a limited time) with the retheming of one of Fantasyland’s quick service dining locations into Red Rose Taverne.

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It was love at first bite for my boys this past March when we dined at the Red Rose Tavern, so much so that last night we brought back a new edition of Family Movie Night and made our own Grey Stuff.

Link to RECIPE Compliments of the Disney Diner

And you don’t have to ask the dishes, cause #monsterchild will tell you that it is delicious!

Thinking about a Disney Vacation?  I can help you with that, plus ow about starting your own Disney Family movie nights?  I have a list of movies associated with many of the attractions and rides you will encounter, plus lots of ideas to “Bring the Magic Home” while counting down your trip!  Let’s start planning today, contact me for your Free, No Obligation Disney Vacation Quote and remember my concierge level planning services are COMPLIMENTARY when you book your Disney Vacation with me!

Tammie’s Take Thursday:  When is the Best Time to take a Disney Vacation?

When is the best time to go to Walt Disney World?  ANYTIMEPhoto1077FourBySix

Of course, this is just my opinion because a lot of blogs and websites will direct you to crowd calendars and will tell you that your number one factor should be crowd levels.  For me, I don’t worry so much about crowd levels because I am a firm believer that all crowds at WDW can be tamed by arriving at the parks prior to “rope drop,” going in with a plan of attack and knowing your limits.  Instead, I base my vacations on three factors…my personal schedule, what experiences are available throughout the year at Walt Disney World and what I want to get out of this trip.

I first look at my own personal schedule to see what works for me personally.  Being in education, I am not an advocate of taking children older than 3rd grade out of school for extended periods of time but I also know that every situation is unique and different.  Someday I will tackle the “Should I Take my Child out of School to go to Disney” debate on this blog.

Next, I look at what experiences are available throughout the year and what I want to get from the trip. Let’s look at special events throughout the year that make each trip special and unique…

  • January-New Year’s Celebrations, Christmas decorations still up throughout the first week of January, Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend, Epcot International Festival of the Arts
  • February-Princess Half Marathon Weekend
  • March-Epcot’s International Flower & Garden Festival
  • April- Epcot’s International Flower & Garden Festival, Easter Celebrations. Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend
  • July-4th of July Celebrations
  • September-Fall Decorations, Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, Epcot’s Food & Wine Festival, Night of Joy Concert Series
  • October- Fall Decorations, Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, Epcot’s Food & Wine Festival
  • November-Fall & Christmas Decorations, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, Epcot’s Food & Wine Festival, Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend
  • December- Christmas Decorations, Candlelight Processional in Epcot, Christmas Around the World in Epcot and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party

2013-10-03 23.46.25 (3)So, when is my favorite time to go to Walt Disney World? I absolutely love traveling the end of October/beginning of November for several reasons. First, the weather is a pleasant mid 80s cool enough to enjoy the parks and the resort pool. It is absolutely beautiful during this time of the year.  You get to experience the best of both the Fall and Christmas Seasons.  If you time it just right you can attend the last of the Mickey’s No So Scary Halloween parties and the Fall decorations, then watch the magical transformation to the Christmas season and see the snow fall on Main Street during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.  In addition, that means runDIsney’s Wine & Dine Photo1026FourBySixHalf Marathon Weekend will be taking place along with Epcot’s Food & Wine Festival.  So many fun things to see and do! Also, crowd levels are generally moderate in size this time of the year, which makes dining and FastPass+ reservations easier to make, plus easier to handle during the day in the parks.

In the end, you must decide what works best for you and your travel party, because there is no wrong time to take a trip to the most “Magical Place on Earth.”

What are you waiting for? I can help you pick the perfect time for your travel party and then assist you in your planning needs.

#(almost)WordlessWednesday: Nostalgia

It’s Wednesday, so that means time together with Focused on the Magic to blog hop, link up and share our #DisneySide through pictures with #(almost)WordlessWednesday, since nothing for me is ever wordless with me.

This week’s theme is “Nostalgia”, a sentimental longing or wistful affection for the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations.  Being a child of the 70s my biggest Walt Disney World or Disneyland association that reflects nostalgia stems from watching the opening of The Wonderful World of Disney.  I remember vividly the scenes of in that opening segment…

YouTube:  Wonderful World of Disney Opening

The one scene I remember the most is that of the Jungle Cruise and on my first visit to Walt Disney World it was one of the attractions I knew I had to visit.

 

Since then, my own children have discovered the Jungle Cruise and it is one of their favorite rides, for the jokes and they spend hours afterwards reciting jokes they heard and laughing hysterically with each other.  I was totally blown away by their recall after 1 ride.

Link:  Jungle Cruise Jokes

The Jungle Cruise is always on the top of our lists to visit each time! What Disney attraction brings up nostalgia for you?  Please share in the comments and tell your own story!