Travel, Uncategorized

Disney 2018: Part One

This post has been a long time in the making but it is finally here!! I decided to break it up into two posts to avoid being super drawn out so without further adieu My Disney Family Vacation 2018

Day One: Magic Kingdom

Our Disney vacations always start at Magic Kingdom, there’s no better way to be immediately immersed into Disney than where it all started. Our first stop was the Crystal Palace for lunch.

Then we went over to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad for our first FastPass of the trip. I was wearing my Magic Kingdom Hiking Club shirt from CF Designs. While we were waiting in line there was a lightning strike in the area and we had to wait for the storm to pass. We figured we should stay under the cover of the building and sat watching the empty cars run by.

One thing that seemed to be a theme for our trip this year was meeting really amazing cast members. One of the CMs we met was working the FastPass line when Big Thunder was shut down. She ended up explaining how they track lightning strikes and how that affects when rides are operating or shut down, it was so interesting to hear about how things operate. She was from Arizona (I personally LOVE that Disney puts hometowns on the name tags, it’s such a good conversation starter) so we were asking her about the weather there and she ended up telling us about the big storms over there- haboobs. She told us they’re crazy but she’s actually driven through one, if you want to learn more (I promise they’re pretty interesting!) here is some info!

We decided to go indoors for our next ride and went over to It’s a Small World. We ended up getting front row seats and our names popped up at the end! How crazy are MagicBands?! Sorry it’s little blurry the yogi in me was distracted by the namaste sign until I noticed this at the last minute.

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Our next FastPass had us back over in Frontierland for Splash Mountain. Here’s my mum in her Splash Mountain shirt from Modern Chic Threads. I personally feel that riding Splash Mountain in/after the rain is the best because you’re already past the fact “you may get wet”.

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Our last FastPass was over at Space Mountain, we had to hit all the mountains in our first day! The exit from Space Mountain was under construction during our stay so we got to see a magical sunset with the castle on our way out!

Can you go to bed in Disney without having dessert first? I don’t think so, so I got a Coco cupcake from the cafeteria in our hotel! I had just watched Coco a few weeks before coming to Disney and I am obsessed. I think it’s such a good story and I love the soundtrack. It’s definitely in my top Disney movies.

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Day Two: Epcot

The biggest decision of World Showcase always seems to be Canada or Mexico. This time we chose to start on the Mexico side and it was not a disappointment! They have redone some of the inside of the pyramid to highlight Disney’s new movie Coco and it was so cool!The best part about Epcot is that Disney creates all of these different pavilions that intrigue people no matter their age. All of the kids were so interested in all of the Coco stuff and that was tied into all of these exhibits about the Day of the Dead.

I’ve always loved the Mexico pavilion because it really feels like you are walking through Mexico (although I’ve never been so I have nothing to compare it to!). All of the stalls inside the pyramid are so cool and one of my favorite things to look at was the carved wooden animals. And of course, how could we pass up the Gran Fiesta Tour!

If you’d rather eat overlooking the lake check out La Hacienda de San Ángel.

One last Mexico fun fact before we head to Norway? IllumiNations is controlled from the top of the pyramid!

Once we got to Norway we had to stop and ride Frozen Ever After. I had very high expectations going into this ride because my whole family loved the Maelstrom ride and I have to say it did not love up to my expectations. It was the same exact ride but instead of looking like you’re in Norway, the replaced everything with Arendelle. Disney had done such a great job transforming the space to look like Norway that when they renovated it to look like Arendelle, it seemed like stuff was missing. While the technology was amazing, ice skating Olaf was too cute, I wouldn’t wait more than 20 minutes for it in the future.

The queue area was a huge upgrade though. The open room where you do most of the waiting is actually where you used to get off Maelstrom. It is decorated just like My favorite part of this ride: in the queue you get to see Oaken, yoo hoo big summer blowout anyone?

We then continued our journey through the pavilions but our next big stop wasn’t until Italy.

The three ovens at Via Napoli.

One of our dining reservations was at a new-to-us restaurant, Via Napoli. Being that two of my main food groups are pasta and pizza I’m very surprised we had never made it there before.

For lunch I got the Penne Arrabiata and it was so good! And for dessert: Zeppole di Caterina. These are deep fried ricotta cheese with whipped cream and chocolate sauce: what more could you need.

We kept walking until we hit Morocco, this is one of my favorite because the architecture is so unique and being from New England it’s truly like nothing I have ever seen before!

From the fountains to the market stalls, I think this is one of the pavilions that you truly feel like you hopped on a plane. While the theming in all of them is stunning, the stores in Morocco don’t feel like a huge place just trying to sell you things, like Mexico it feels like a ton of little shops you would see if you traveled there.

After stopping to get a macaron in France, we continued our journey all the way to Canada, and ended our day in Epcot with Martin Short singing O Canada.

This street is actually split half and half!

Paying tribute to Canada’s English and French history half of this street has English architecture and half has French! My family never really paid attention to the building until we went to Quebec City and saw the Chateau Fortenac. (It’s actually modeled after the Chateau Laurier in Ottawa!)

After stopping by to see my friend Figment and use our FastPasses for the new Soarin’ we headed back to out hotel.

Guess what was waiting for us at the hotel? Lilly ears from SouthernCoastStudio on Etsy! My mom and I ordered matching ears to go with dresses for our family photos! Stay tuned the photos are coming soon!

Day Three: Magic Kingdom

We were back in Magic Kingdom for day three of our vacation for something very exciting! We took the Keys to the Kingdom tour, which was the most amazing thing!

Unfortunately I don’t have any photos from the tour so that Disney can keep the magic but it exceeded all expectations! We had the sweetest tour guide, Kara, who loved Disney so much and her enthusiasm shone through on our tour. The Keys to the Kingdom tour took us down Main Street, on a special Jungle Cruise with Kara as our guide, through the Haunted Mansion, and even under Magic Kingdom. That’s right, I’ve been to the Utilidors. We even learned a secret about Fantasyland employees but I’ll leave that for you guys to learn, should you take the tour!

After our tour I got to meet some Disney instagrammers I’ve been following forever! I had been following Montana (@montanahatfield) since she was a skipper on the Jungle Cruise and then I saw her setting up for the parade! I didn’t really want to go up to her but then my mom made me (thanks Mum!) and I ended up talking to her and she was so sweet! And then she told me Cat (@mainstreet_mermaid) was over by Town Hall! So I went over and started talking to her and her friend Alex came out to say something to her. SO naturally now I’m following Alex too (@alex.on.mainstreet).

It was so fun meeting all of them and talking about different things we had just learned about on the Keys to the Kingdom tour. I love following Disney accounts (cast members/annual pass holders/just your average Disney lovers) because I love seeing the park at different times of year since I’ve only been there when the Halloween decorations are up. Although I used to see the Christmas lights being hung in Hollywood Studios for the Osborne Family Lights, this was still in September though!

How I felt when we decided to stay for the Festival of Fantasy! My dad isn’t a parade person!

During the parade I kept my eyes on the Swan Court because our tour guide Kara’s roommate was dancing!

I don’t think this is her roommate but I love this photo!

We ended our day riding some more attractions and stopping by the purple wall for photos! I love all of the fun walls at Disney but the Purple Wall and the You Are Most Beautiful Wall are my favorites!

The rest of my trip will be up on Monday! Can’t wait for you guys to read it! Let me know some of your favorite things about Disney in the comments!

Have a magical day!

xox,

Marissa

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Lifestyle, Travel, Uncategorized

Disney: Epcot

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Another day another guide to a Disney Park!

This week I’m focusing on Epcot, the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow. I’ve always loved Epcot because it’s such a cool concept, when you walk in you are in Future World and then you can travel the world through 11 different pavilions. Here is the link to some Epcot music if you really want to get in the spirit!

What to Ride

  • Test Track: I’m still unsure if the new Test Track is as good as the old one but this is still a ride you cannot miss. While the old preshow is gone you can enjoy  it here. The new Test Track is sponsored by Chevrolet and looks like something out of Tron. One of the coolest things about the new version is that you get to design your own car! My tip for Test Track is to take the single rider line, you have to miss some of the interactive elements but it can save you so much time! The cars fit 6 people so all the families of 4/5need single riders to fill seats. Of all the single rider lines at Disney I find this one the most efficient, my family of 3 has gone on the single rider line and 2 of us have even ended up in the same car. One last fun fact about Test Track, the outside turns are banked at 50 degrees while Daytona’s Speedway is only 31!
  • Soarin’: I actually can’t speak too much to this ride. While I adored the old Soarin’ it has since been updated to be Soarin’ Around the World. If the new ride is anything like the California version I can’t wait to see it! Here’s a fun fact about the old Soarin’: the year before it opened in Florida our Disney World vacation was changed to a Disneyland vacation due to a hurricane (after lots of hard work from my Dad) and so I got to ride it just before it opened in EPCOT and it has been one of my family’s favorites ever since.
  • Living with the Land: this is a nice boat ride through the Epcot greenhouses where you can see Mickey shaped pumpkins earning their ears! While this isn’t a thrill ride it’s a nice way to break up your day!
  • Journey Into Imagination: My Dad would probably kill me if he saw I put this on my list and didn’t include Mission: SPACE but the theme song is so catchy! And who doesn’t love Figment!
  • Gran Fiesta Tour: A boat ride  that follows the three Caballeros in a journey around Mexico. While it’s very similar to It’s A Small World you have to go see it and find out what happens to Donald. It’s located inside the Mexico Pavilion which is a breathtaking indoor Mexican market!
  • Frozen Ever After: I can’t even write a review on this since I have not been on it since it was Maelstrom! While I’m excited to see the new ride I don’t think it will ever compare to the original!

Where to Eat

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When my family goes to Epcot we actually don’t usually plan to sit down and eat lunch. We’ve gotten breakfast at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall, I definitely recommend eating there it’s a great place to get all you can eat food and meet princesses! We’ve also eaten lunch at both the Nine Dragons restaurant and the Lotus Blossom quick service restaurant.

One thing I’ve done in the past is my own personal under 21 take on a beer in every country, where I got a dessert in every country. I didn’t quite get through all 11 and about halfway through I transitioned to getting a piece of chocolate in every country instead. My favorite place to grab a dessert is definitely the French bakery! If you’re looking for somewhere to sit after getting your pastry head into L’esprit de la Provence, the gift shop is amazing and has tables off to the side!

Extras

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You can meet princesses throughout the World Showcase. Here are Ariel and Eric at the International Gateway!

  • Club Cool: While I’m not a soda drinker I recommend stopping in to try the Beverly!
  • Pin Central: If you are big into pin trading you have stop by! They have all the collectable pins you could ever need!
  • A lot of people end up entering Epcot through Future World and then find themselves short on time when it comes time to enjoy the countries. If you want a foolproof way of making sure you don’t get distracted by all that Future World has to offer come in through the International Gateway. If you find yourself at any of the Epcot area hotels (Yacht Club, Beach Club, Boardwalk Inn, or the Swan and Dolphin) you are a short walk/boat ride away from this hidden entrance!
  • Jumping Fountains in Future World: try putting your arms out and letting the water go in between… can you make it go through just your hands?

My Top 4 Pavilions:

 

 

This is such a hard one but I have narrowed it down to Norway, France, Canada, and Morocco! I’m not too sure how Norway will hold up now that they have replaced the viking display and Maelstrom ride to become Frozen tributes but I’ll keep you updated on those. France has to make the list as I took five years of French in junior high and high school and it is so fun to see all the things I had learned about. One year my parents wouldn’t buy me a cream puff unless I ordered it in French! Canada has beautiful flowers and the best video, in my humble opinion. It stars Martin Short and has to be one of the funniest things in Epcot. The attention to detail goes down to having some buildings look like they are in French Canada and some take on more on an English Canada style. Last but not least is Morocco! The attention to detail in this one is astounding as well! Rumor has it that the king of Morocco actually sent his own designers to help create this area. Another fun fact about Morocco is that it is the only country that does not light up during IllumiNations because the tower is a prayer tower and doing so would violate Muslim beliefs. For more fun facts head over to Disney Fanatic.

Mum’s Top 4: Japan, Canada, Norway, and Mexico.

Dad’s Top 4: Japan, Canada, China, and Norway. He gives an honorable mention to Mexico even though it is dark.

Honorable Mention

  • The English gardens: tucked away behind the stores and the Winnie the Pooh meet and greet is a nice place to relax and possibly catch the Beatles tribute band, the British Invasion.
  • The Japanese gift shop: a fun place to crack open an oyster for a pearl. It’s also a great place to grab crazy snacks to try. One of my favorite memories in that store is picking out crazy flavored snacks to bring home to my cousin Nick.
  • The Terracotta Army: inside one of the buildings in China is a replica of the Terracotta Army and it’s so cool to look at!
  • Street Performers: from the Chinese acrobats to the balancing act in France the street performers are always entertaining.

 

Have a magical day!

xox,

Marissa