Which theme parks ticket(s) to buy ?!

So, you have decided to go to Disneyworld, Florida…now which park ticket do you buy? Are you just doing Disney, or do you plan on going to Universal (I would!!), Seaworld, Busch Gardens, Legoland??? The choices are endless 😊.

Living in the UK, I think this is slightly easier than if you are in the US, for Disney, at least.

Here in the UK, we have a fantastic Disney ticket option, known as an ‘Ultimate’, it is available for 7, 14 and 21 days. If you live in the states, you may think, wow! The thing is, when we come to America for our vacation (holidays) we tend to visit for at least 7 days, if not 14. We are lucky enough to have approx. 4 weeks of vacation time off work every year.

The Ultimate ticket gives you unlimited access to all four theme parks (this includes park hopper), so you can go to as many parks in one day as you like 😀, I like to aim to visit all four parks in one day, at least, on each vacation! You also have access to: Blizzard Beach, Typhoon Lagoon, ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, Disney’s Oak Trail Golf Course, Disney’s Quest, Fantasia Gardens Miniature Golf and Winter Summerland Miniature Golf. These tickets are valid for 7, 14 or 21 days from their first use.

Of course, you also benefit from Fastpass+, so you can log into your MyDisney Experience account and make your Fastpass and dining reservations before you even leave for you vacation, currently if you buy one of these tickets you also receive Memory maker FREE!! Have a look at my post for a bit more information.

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Source: virginholidays.co.uk

If you want to visit the other theme parks in Orlando, you can buy the Orlando FlexTicket, this offers you unlimited access to 5 or 6 theme parks!

virgin-flexticket
Source: virginholidays.co.uk

Something to consider, if you are planning in going to Discovery Cove, you also receive access to SeaWorld and Aquatica as part of you ticket:

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Source: virginholidays.co.uk

Another offering for us here in the UK, Virgin Holidays offers some ticket bundles of their own, you do have to book you whole holiday package with them to be able to take advantage of these.

Magic Me

This includes:
Disney’s 7-Day Ultimate Ticket
Universal Orlando® 2-Park Bonus Ticket
2-Park SeaWorld & Aquatica Ticket

Splash Me

This includes:
Disney’s 14-Day Ultimate Ticket
Universal 3-Park Bonus Ticket
Discovery Cove Ultimate Ticket

Amaze Me

This includes:
Disney’s 14-Day Ultimate Ticket
Orlando FlexTicket Plus
FREE Admission to Virgin Holidays v-room

V-room is an exclusive airport lounge, available at Manchester and Gatwick airports, for customers who have booked a package through virginholidays.co.uk, check out my review.

A relatively new area is I-Drive 360, located on International Drive, there are currently 3main atttractions: Madame Tussauds Orlando, Orlando Eye and SEALIFE Orlando Aquarium

Hope this helps and good luck!

Emma x

A1villa – Lakeside…My review

On our last trip to Florida we stayed in a villa, this is a first for us as we have only ever stayed in hotels & condos. My previous experience when looking for villas were that they always tended to be quite a distance from Disney and that is my main reason for going, so I did not want to be having to travel 30+ mins to get to the parks.

Last year I was googling villas and I happened across a1villa.com. There are 2 villas that are privately owned by a family in the UK and the pictures looked fab…even better they were located very close to Disney. Their official location is a community known as Indian Wells in Kissimmee, however I would say that they are pretty much in Lake Buena Vista only 4 miles from the Disney World entrance on the Epcot Center Drive (SR536).

We found Indian Wells to be very quiet and pleasant community, this is definitely an area I would like to live in. They do have community amenities, however we did not use these so I am unable to comment on these.

So the villa…IMG_3021-1

A one storey building with 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, living/dining area, kitchen, large utility room, double garage and pool deck, it also has a large grassed area leading down to a lake.

Image Source: A1villa.com

As you enter, the kitchen is on your left, to your right is the corridor which leads to the utility room and garage. Straight ahead leads to the dining room and living room, which has patio doors out to the pool deck. Off to the right is the corridor which leads to the bedrooms and bathrooms.

The kitchen is well stocked with everything you need to cook any meals which you decide to have in the villa. There is plenty cutlery and crockery including plastic ones for use around the pool. There are lots of tupperware tubs for storing opened food. The fridge has an ice maker which can be cubed or crushed. If you like tea there is even a tea pot…luckily I had taken some PG Tips 🙂 If you fancy take out there are menus on the fridge/notice board, we had Pizza from Papa Johns a couple of times…ordered online it was a breeze.

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There are 3 good sized bedrooms, all with walk-in closets, ceiling fan and TV’s. The master bedroom has an en-suite with a large shower. The main bathroom has a bath and over the bath shower.

Master bedroom
Master Bedroom
Second Double Bedroom
Second Double Bedroom
Third Twin bedroom
Third Twin bedroom

The Living area has a comfy 3- and 2- seater sofas, large flat screen TV, Cable Box, DVD Player and CD Player. There are DVDs, Books and board games available.

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There are plenty of plug sockets around the villa, there is a cupboard fully stocked with towels, including beach towels. A large utility room has top loading washing machine and dryer, iron and ironing board and airer – I loved that I could just pop in some washing after a hot day walking around the parks, it also meant that I didn’t need so many clothes!!

There is an awesome pool and deck, the pool is 40ft and 17ft spa sits alongside it and the deck has the sun right through to early evening. There are inflatable pool toys in the garage along with plenty of BBQ equipment if you desire.

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The Surrounding Area

The traffic can be busy on SR535, however there are a couple of ways you can go depending on which park you are going to, so be sure to do some research before you go. There is a Walmart approx. 2 mins drive away, or you could head down to the intersection of SR535/US192 where there is a Publix , plus the US192 has an abundance of shops and restaurants. Lake Buena Vista Factory Stores are a few minutes drive on SR535 and just a bit further you will find the Orlando Premium Outlets. If you fancy venturing onto I-Drive the start of this is a short drive away

All in all this is a fabulous villa in a great location, an ideal base for any Disney vacation. It really is a home away from home.

I would highly recommend the villa and will definitely consider staying here on future vacations.

Emma x

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).

mde_ipad

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.

box

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

 

bag

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