Disney’s Hollywood Studios

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My favourite park…until our previous two trips 😕

Whenever on vacation at Disney, this used to be my go to park, I would go here whenever I got the chance. However, on my last two trips I just haven’t been feeling the love for DHS.

There have been many rumours about changes to DHS for a while now but they seem to be becoming a reality, have a look at this article.

So many attractions are closing and just this past week another one has been announced – The Magic of Disney Animation. I love this building as it houses several character meet and greets as well as the Animation Academy. I love going and learning how to draw the characters so I will be sad to see this attraction close. I also used to love the Backlot tour it was great being able to go backstage and see the props and ‘working’ studios.

The rumours this week further suggest a Star Wars Land and maybe Pixar Land. I look forward to these attractions coming to life however, I am intrigued to see how they manage this expansion as DHS is already a small overcrowded park.

What are your thoughts on the rumours and goings-on at Disney’s Hollywood Studios?

Emma x

Another Disney to do list!


Before we last visited Disney World I wrote a to-do list, well we’re off again this weekend (how lucky am I 😍) , there are some things I really want to do which I have not done for a long time or at all.

  1. Watch Wishes & the evening Parade at Magic Kingdom
  2. Character dining at Chef Mickey’s
  3. Watch illuminations at EPCOT
  4. Visit Hollywood Studios during Star Wars Weekends
  5. Visit all four parks in one day
  6. Watch Fantasmic

I would love to hear about your to-do/bucket lists for Disney World

Emma x

My Disney Experience & Fastpass+

When we visited Disney in January it was our first trip where the new My Disney Experience and Fastpass+ system was in place (it had been 2 years since out last trip!)

Before our trip I wasn’t sure if I was going to like FP+ as it requires planning…which to be fair I do lots of, but sometimes we just want to be spontaneous too.

As we were there for 2 weeks I purchased a 14 day ultimate ticket (We live in the UK), this is a great ticket as it gives 14 days (from first day of use) access to all four parks (including park hopping), 2 water parks, Disney Quest and a round of mini golf a day.

Firstly, I linked my ticket to my Disney account, I did have some issues with this as I was trying to link it from within the app on my phone…after a post on the Disboards I discovered that you needed to do this via the website…sure enough it worked straight away and was a pretty easy task. I also linked my DH’s ticket to my account so I was able to book Fastpasses for us both at the same time.

The website and app are both pretty easy to use, although I do like the way your plans show on the iPad app (it can sometimes be a little slow loading though).

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As we weren’t staying on site for the whole trip we could book our Fastpasses 30 days in advance (If you stay onsite you can book them 60 days in advance), so for 2 weeks each morning I logged onto the My Disney Experience App and booked our Fastpasses.

If you are staying on site and you book far enough in advance you receive Magic Bands in the mail and you can pick the color…otherwise you will just get boring grey ones. However, you can purchase all sorts of different designs in the parks…then have the cast member link up your ticket and you’re good to go. I have a Minnie Mouse one 🙂

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Any dining reservations booked online/through the app will show up in you plan and you can also add other non-Fastpass/entertainment to your plan, so you can add the parades and Character meets. It is a great place to put all your plans throughout the resort.

The app is great for using in the parks, however in January I did experience some connection issues to the Wifi (I seem to recall reading somewhere that this has been updated since our last trip so I will see how it copes this time).

I also had the Memory Maker which works great with your Magic Band, you also get some extras, such as ride videos.

Have you experienced Fastpasses+? What are your thoughts; do you love it or hate it?

Emma x

New stuff for Disney trip!

In preparation for our upcoming trip to Disney World, I have purchased 2 practical items to help.

The first is a mini portable charger for my phone, last time we were away my phone would constantly lose battery by the end of the day, this was due to me taking lots of photos/video and also checking and updating Fastpasses on the MDE app.

I ordered it from Amazon and at the time of purchase it was just £9.99, it came super quick (although we do have Prime so get next day delivery free) and it was nicely packaged.

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It is very compact and you get a little case to keep it in, I also liked the little booklet on how to contact them that came with it, a nice little touch 🙂

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The second item is a bum bag/waist pack/”absatch whichever terminology you prefer! Again, I got this off Amazon. It had free delivery but had quite a broad delivery window, after a few days I was a little concerned it might not arrive before we leave, however, it arrived after 1 week of being dispatched…it had in fact come from China so I was very impressed with this. When I go to the parks I also like to get a suntan, but don’t like obvious tan lines!! So I don’t really want to be carrying around a rucksack or something over my shoulders, I picked this one as it has lots of pockets which I am hoping will fit everything I need.

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Image Courtesy of Amazon.co.uk

 

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In each of the main pockets it also includes netted pockets too and a little hook which will be handy for smaller items and keys. It has 2 bottle holders, one on each side and it also has a detachable strap so it can be carried over the shoulder.

As I have not yet used these items I cannot say how good (or bad) they are, however, I will do a full review when I get home.

What useful items do you take to the park? How do you pack light?

Emma

Disney Challenge

I am off to Disney in a few weeks (21 days to be precise!!), although I really wish I was there now at the 24-Hour Summer Kick-Off Celebration, I have the Live Stream of Main Street, U.S.A on and it looks a glorious sunny day. To cheer myself up I thought I would do the Disney Challenge that I have seen on a few blogs I follow.

Here are my answers:

1- First time you went to Disney World? September 2003 for 2 weeks, we tried to do absolutely everything!!

2- Favorite park? Magic Kingdom

3- Favorite land in Magic Kingdom? Fantasyland

4- Favorite Disney resort hotel? Grand Floridian

5- Favorite snack? Waffle Sandwich from Sleepy Hollow

6- Favorite souvenir? Scrapbook & Scrapbooking Accessories

7- Favorite table service and counter service? Shula’s Steak House at WDW Dolphin, Plaza Ice Cream Parlour

8- Favorite ride? Toy Story Midway Mania

9- Favorite show? Muppet Vision 3D

10- Favorite parade or fireworks? Motor Cars & Stars Parade

11- Favorite pavilion in Epcot? France

12- What color is your magic band? Red with White Polka dots 🙂

13- Favorite character to meet? Eeyore

14- A character you haven’t met but really want to? Gaston

15- Your best Disney memory? Getting Married at the Walt Disney World Swan and later walking through Downtown Disney on our way to Fulton’s Crab House in my wedding dress..I didn’t want to take it off!!

16. People you want to tag. Leave a comment on their page letting them know that you tagged them. Natalie’s Mostly Disney Blog, Second Star to the Right, Unlocking the Magic, Wandering in Disney,  Disney for Five+,  Disney on my Mind

I would love to see your answers, let me know if you do the challenge.

Emma x

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My Walt Disney World Tips

As anyone that reads my blog knows I am a huge Disney fan, so I thought I would write a post  with some of my tips for planning and enjoying your upcoming trip.

Before your trip

  • Make a plan – I like to use Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets
  • Check opening times & refurb schedules
  • Download the My Disney experience app
  • Plan your Fastpasses (FP+), this can be done either on the app or the website, you can book FP+ 30 days in advance (unless you are staying on property, when it is 60 days) – I would advise that you book the popular rides (Seven Dwarfs Mine train, Anna & Elsa meet and greet, Soarin’, Toy Story, Everest) early to guarantee good return times
  • If you really want to see specific characters, see if they have FP+ available and build them into your plan
  • Make Advanced Dining Reservations (ADRs) before you go, however don’t plan ADRs for both lunch and dinner – you only need 1 big meal a day
  • Visit the Disboards, there is a wealth of information and knowledge and if you have any questions lots of people who can help.
  • Subscribe to Disunplugged Podcast, available on amongst others itunes, youtube, mixlr
  • Look into purchasing the Memory Maker – for a one off cost you can download all your photos which are taken by the Photographers in Disney, you can even add borders and stickers before downloading them.

Once you arrive

  • Be prepared for storms in summer and cold snaps in winter
  • Do take time out and don’t try to do everything in one go
  • Pick up a map and times guide as you enter the park
  • Play Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom  – Become an apprentice sorcerer at the Firehouse on Main Street, or behind the Christmas Shop in Liberty Square. Using Merlin’s mystical map you then complete missions throughout the park. Unlocking portals and challenging Hades and his henchmen using Spell Cards. Each day you visit MK you can get a new pack of cards and each time you defeat Hades Henchmen you can get another pack.
  • Do a shop at Walmart/Publix for breakfasts/snacks/water/sodas…if you have a refrigerator use it
  • Buy a cheap toaster from Walmart so you can have toast/bagels for breakfast, most accommodations have fridges so you can buy butter, jam, peanut butter, milk, OJ

After your trip

  • Make a scrapbook and include momentos from your trip, such as park tickets, room keys, park maps and time guides
  • Start planning your next trip 😀

my favourite useful Resources

Walt Disney World
wdwinfo.com
disunplugged.com
Disboards

Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World
Brits Guide to Orlando
Passporter

Where to Stay – On Property vs Off Property

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The biggest decision you need to make once you have decided you’re going to Disney World is where to stay…On or Off Property ???

Over the years we have stayed both on and off property…each has its own advantages and disadvantages. Don’t get me wrong I would stay on Disney each and every time…however this just doesn’t always work for the other half, so we have to compromise!

Benefits of staying on Disney Property

  • You are staying in the heart of the ‘Magic’ – in the ‘Disney Bubble’
  • Free Disney transportation for getting all around Disney – there is always a bus, boat or monorail to take you right to the parks – there is no need for a car unless you plan on leaving Disney
  • Extra Magic Hours
  • Great Theming in the Hotels
  • Dining Plans – there are sometimes deals for free dining which could save you lots of money
  • If you stay at one of the 5 EPCOT resort hotels you can even walk to 2 parks!
  • Disney’s Magical Express takes you from the airport to your hotel…and back
  • Any purchases made in the parks, hotels and Downtown Disney can be charged to your room (with the exception of Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin)
  • Purchases can be sent to your hotel so you don’t have to carry them around!

Drawbacks

  • Cost – can be extremely expensive
  • Availability – holidays especially can be booked up well in advance
  • Unless you have a car you are stuck with Disney food and shopping
  • If you want to leave Disney, unless you have a car you will have to pay for cabs
  • Location – some Disney hotels are very remote

Benefits of staying off property

  • Better value, larger rooms
  • More choice for self-catering
  • If you choose a Villa you have your own private pool
  • Easier access shopping, restaurants and Non Disney stuff
  • Nowadays there are hotels in great locations, close to Disney

Drawbacks

  • Need a car as you have to drive to the parks, can become expensive for parking
  • If park shuttles are provided these can be slow and inconveniently scheduled
  • Can be less ‘Magical’ than staying in a Disney Hotel
  • Some accommodations are a long way from Disney, do your homework

Look out for my review of Lake Buena Vista Resort Village & Spa, an Off Property apartment style suites, coming soon.

Where do you prefer to stay? Let me know in the comments below 🙂

Emma x