Tammie’s Take Thursday: Why I Keep Going “Home”

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When I was planning my family’s first vacation to Walt Disney World, I planned like it was a “Once in a Lifetime Trip,” never expecting to return.  Now with my 7th trip about to take place I am met with “that look”…

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You know the one that often includes eye rolls and a moment of sure disgust or maybe confusion and is often followed by a heavy sigh and some opinion or comment that I fail to acknowledge, because after all I am going “Home” to that happy/magical place. 

Sometimes, however, I do feel the need to reply…

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Disney is the happiest/most magical place on Earth because when on vacation everyday life and troubles often melt away and disappear for the time being.  I love being in the “Disney Bubble,” that mysterious invisible barrier that surrounds Disney and prevents the not so fun parts of real life to pass through (cooking, paying bills, running from here to there, you know just being an adult/parent in general).  Inside of that “bubble” Disney magic takes ahold of me and I escape.

Being able to spend time with family at Disney was Walt Disney’s inspiration for Disneyland.  A Disney vacation is time for us to make happy memories from all the smiles and laughter that is taking place.  While we might not all agree that a Dole Whip is the best treat ever, we can agree to just have fun and enjoy ourselves.  Girl’s trips to Disney are amazing, especially with a few of closest friends who just happen to love Disney as much as I do come along.  We get to be girl’s instead of mom’s…being silly, pampering ourselves, doing what we want so that when we return home we are recharged and ready to tackle being a mom again.  It’s also a place that I look forward to taking a couples only trip to with my non-Disney loving Mr. Grumpy, a chance for us to reconnect via Disney magic.  

There is absolutely no one way to experience Disney.  It’s not all about the character and rides, don’t get me wrong I love them, but for me it is about the TOTAL experience that Disney has to offer in a vacation.  For me I love the runDisney events, Mickey’s parties, the ever changing dining that allows me bring out my foodie side, and the immersive atmosphere that draws me into the story that is being told.  For others it’s the shopping or great live stage shows.  With the sheer size of Disney along with seasonal events, continuous updating of beloved attractions and new additions I never feel like I’ve done or see everything.  There is always something more I want do experience that justifies another trip.   

So when people make the comment, “Oh, you’re going to Disney…again?” I say “Yep, I sure am and I can’t wait.”

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#(almost)wordlesswednesday: Epcot’s Food & Wine Festival

It’s #(almost)wordlesswednesday, that means linking up with Focused on the Magic to share my #DisneySide through pictures and a few words, since nothing for me is ever wordless with me…  

This week’s theme is “ Epcot’s Food & Wine Festival,” which happens to be a favorite topic of mine and one I often daydream about.

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In fact, I have been pouring over the marketplace menu’s for this years festival making my list of what I am going to eat and drink.  For the 2017 festival there will be a record number of marketplace booths, 35 to be exact as well as a record number of days!  That is a whole lot of eating, drinking and fun!  

Epcot International Food & Wine Festival 2017

Let’s take a look back at my selections in 2013


I am still working on last year’s pictures…hopefully I will get them up this weekend.

This year I am not letting anything stand in my way of visiting ALL 35 booths and having at least one sip and sample.  For a complete listing  of all the Marketplace Booths with menus & pictures visit…

Epcot Food and Wine Marketplaces

The 2017 Epcot Food and Wine Festival will be here soon! Mark your calendars for August 31-November 13, 2017, as the event runs for an unprecedented 75 days this year!

It is never too late to start your planning to visit this foodie lovers event, contact me today for a free, no obligation quote and let’s start your list of things you want to sip and sample!

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.

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!

 

#(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!

#(almost) Wordless Wednesday: Adventure

It is Wednesday, so it is time to let the pictures doing the talking on the blog hop sponsored by Focused on the Magic…but those that know me, I do nothing wordless.  This week’s theme is “Adventure”…

Who says Disney is just for princesses?  One of my favorite character interactions was with my oldest son, Boo and Captain Jack Sparrow.  Boo was selected to play the leading roll in Captain Jack’s Pirate Tutorial and went sword to sword with the feisty captain himself…

Apparently the captain was not too found of the “Gig Em” hat Boo was wearing, as he was more of the “Hook Em” type of pirates…

I think Gig Em won this sword fight as Boo took the dual about as serious as Captain Jack takes his rum.

Want to know more about Captain Jack’s Pirate Tutorial?  Follow this LINK

 

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Friday Fives: 5 Ways to Get Around Walt Disney World

From the moment you step off the plane at Orlando International Airport,  Walt Disney World has your transportation covered. There is no need to rent a car to cover the 45 miles of property. Here are 5 ways to get you where you want to be and most are accessible to guests with disabilities or need who need special assistance…

1 MON1. Monorail-One of the most recognized icons at Walt Disney World is the Monorail, make sure you take a ride…but “Please stand clear of the doors. Por Favor Manténgase Alejado de las Puertas.”  The WDW monorail system has 2 loops…Epcot and Magic Kingdom both can be accessed at the Transportation & Ticket Center (TTC).  The Magic Kingdom monorail loop connects the Magic Kingdom to the “monorail” resorts… the Polynesian, Contemporary and Grand Floridian. There is also an Express monorail that runs directly to the Magic Kingdom.  At the TTC you can transfer to the Epcot loop which will take you directly to Epcot.  The monorail starts running around 7 am until an hour after the parks close.

Tip:  If traveling to the Magic Kingdom from the TTC, walk over to the Polynesian Resort and hop on the monorail this will save you time and avoid the crowds waiting to take the ferry across to the Magic Kingdom or waiting for the Express monorail to Magic Kingdom. 

2. Bus-You can reach all theme parks, water parks and resort hotels by bus. Buses start running 45 minutes prior to park opening and 2 hours after park closing.  While this being the most accessible form of transportation it is also the most crowded, avoid the  bus immediately after posted park closing times and evening shows.  Disney has recently installed wait time boards at each bus top and are fairly accurate to give an idea when the next bus will arrive.  No matter the resort you stay at, there will be bus issues from time to time depending on traffic conditions, so be patient and kind to your bus driver.

Tip:  Give yourself ample time to get where you are going, I always allot at least 60 minutes to get to my destination. Avoid crowded buses by waiting until the next bus arrives, it should not be too long or be prepared to stand.

3. Boat/Ferry-Not my favorite or most efficient choice for travel but it will get you where you are going.  From the TTC to Magic Kingdom you can take the ferry across the Seven Seas Lagoon.  From each of the monorail resorts (the Polynesian, Contemporary and Grand Floridian plus the Wilderness Lodge) you can take a water taxi across the Seven Seas Lagoon to the Magic Kingdom and back again.  There is also a boat from the World Showcase Plaza to Germany and Morocco. Epcot, Epcot Resorts (Boardwalk, Beach/Yacht Club, Swan Dolphin) and Disney Hollywood Studios are connected via the Friendship Launch located directly outside the International Gateway of Epcot.  Port Orleans Riverside & French Quarter as well as Saratoga Springs Resort and Old Key West are connected to Disney Springs via boat.

Tip:  While not the fastest transportation option, it can be the most relaxing and peaceful.  Take the either the ferry or one of the water taxis during the Happily Ever After show in the Magic Kingdom for a breathtaking view of the fireworks.

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4. Feet-A few resorts are accessible via the old-fashioned method of walking.  Guests at the Contemporary Resort can easily walk to the Magic Kingdom.  If you are staying at one of the Epcot Resorts (Boardwalk, Beach/Yacht Club, or Swan/Dolphin) both Epcot and Disney Hollywood Studios are within walking distance and you will find your feet are faster than other modes of transportation.  Port Orleans Riverside and Port Orleans French Quarter are just a minute walk apart along the River.

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Even after a long day at Disney Hollywood Studios, my boys were able to muster enough strength to have a light saber battle while walking back to the Boardwalk.

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5. Uber/Taxis/Mears Shuttle-If you want to cut your time in half and don’t mind spending a little money Guest Services at your resort can call for a taxi or shuttle.  Save even more time (and a few dollars) by booking yourself an Uber ride.

All modes of Disney transportation are efficient to get you where you need to be, but take time.  Best of all, except for #5 free to guests staying at a Walt Disney World Resort.  So, sit back and let Disney do the “driving.”

Getting around is easy, if you are familiar with transportation from your resort.  As part of my complimentary planning services when you book your Walt Disney World Vacation I will provide you with all the information you need to get to your destination the most efficient and fast way possible.