Monday, December 30, 2013

Tiggerific Tuesday Trivia

Welcome back for more fantastic Disney Trivia!  Thanks again to Jodi from +Magical Mouse Schoolhouse, Heidi from +Heidi's Head, and +Mike Ellis for co-hosting!

This Day in Disney History

(hopefully I'm not stealing this from +Mike Ellis

In 1957, Disneyland hosted it's first New Year's Eve Party.  

There were 7,500 people in attendance.

Can you imagine?  ONLY 7,500 people?  Sounds like a dream day in the parks!

Happy New Year from my family to yours!

Enchanted Tales with Belle

Enchanted Tales with Belle

We missed this attraction during our February trip and knew we needed to make it a must-do for our short November trip.

I had heard a few things about it, but didn't know much, other than the long wait times.

*Schedule a FastPass+ for this attraction or arrive first thing to avoid lines!*

We had our multi-family FastPass+ reservations for 2 p.m., so after a full day of attractions, lunch, and enjoyable Magic Kingdom time, we hit this as the crowds were reaching their height in the parks.
There were a LOT of people in Fantasyland!
Luckily, with our FastPass+, we headed straight there and waited under 5 minutes until we entered Maurice's Cottage!

Inside the cottage is quaint and charming - everyone is squeezed in facing a beautiful mirror!

After the introduction, we were magically transported into Beast's Castle where we met the wardrobe - and for our casting call!!  During Enchanted Tales with Belle, just about everyone interested gets a 'role' to perform - to tell a story!  My little man was actually chosen to be the Beast!  And, Melissa became the Wardrobe!  Big and small, there are enough parts for everyone!

All of the characters and the story audience than enter the Ballroom of the Castle - and quickly, Belle entered to greet us!

Belle and Lumiere welcomed us before they started telling us our Enchanted Tale! Unfortunately, when it came time to meet the Beast, he became a little camera shy and gave up his robe!

*Disney Cast Members are used to children's fears and phobias - don't worry about offending a Princess or character - they've seen it before, probably several times that day!*

Belle tried to coax him into being lovable, but the loudest boy in the room put on his shy face for the pretty Princess!

As the grand finale, Belle and her handlers invited all of the cast (and other children in the room) up for a quick meet and greet!  My 4 year old vetoed meeting all face characters this trip (loved the 5' mice), but my 18 month old, while not overly warm, didn't seem to mind me dragging him along!

Have you tried Enchanted Tales with Belle yet?  What did you think?

Monday, December 23, 2013

Tiggerific Tuesday Trivia

Welcome back for more fantastic Disney Trivia!  Thanks again to Jodi from +Magical Mouse Schoolhouse, Heidi from +Heidi's Head, and +Mike Ellis for co-hosting!

Hidden Mickeys

They're everywhere, right?  In the parks, in the movies, in the resorts, often times even in our food.  But, how long has this tradition been happening?

Just last week, while watching Mary Poppins (well, the first few scenes I can get my boys to watch), I noticed something curious on Bert's drum in the first scene.

Do you see it?

Maybe I'm crazy

well, that's a whole other topic!

But, look at the similarities:

Let's take a better look:

Can you see it yet?

How about now?

Again - to avoid the crazy thoughts, I quickly turned to google to find out that I am NOT alone in seeing this Mickey!  An older website, has it listed and confirmed by several others!

Hope you've enjoyed this trivia!  Now, if you don't already have it, go buy the new edition of Mary Poppins finally out on DVD AND Blu Ray and look for Steamboat Willie as Bert is dancing around the square!

Touring With Friends

When two groups of people vacation together, there is probably always an adjustment period.  I'm not sure it matters whether or not you've traveled together before or not, I'm sure there are always some adjustments to be made.

We have been with our parents a few times in the past few years - every time, we (I) try to make them happy.

In turn, I end up stressed, nervous, and spend more of time worrying about their vacations than enjoying my own!
Do they want to start in the morning?  Do they want to take breaks?  Do they like this kind of food?  Will they like this/that?  

It can be very stressful!

How can you avoid the stress?

  1. Share a basic itinerary in advance
    • With my in-laws, I sent them a basic itinerary with where we would be and why
    • They made their own plans based on our ADR's (who doesn't?) and a few other things 
    • With our friends on this most recent trip, we had our Magic Bands - so park days AND FastPass+ were already well under consideration!  We knew where to be and when!
  2. Be okay doing your own thing
    • With parents, I found it a bit harder to accept that we wanted to do something that they weren't thrilled with, HOWEVER - I think that their emotions would never grasp the same excitement that we do and have to accept that!
    • With our friends, we tour completely differently - we love to stroll and peruse and they like to go, go, go - THAT'S OKAY!!!
      • If you have different touring styles, pick a time and place to meet up again or, as we did afternoon, simply say "see you tomorrow" and enjoy what you enjoy!
      • Enjoy the attractions together that you enjoy and skip the ones that you don't like!
  3. Set meet up times and places
    • Especially if you are splitting up, but even starting at different times - say "We'll meet you at Peter Pan at 10:30" or wherever your FastPass+ may be!
    • Schedule meets around fastpass+ OR ADRs 
  4. Don't skip what you like for others!
    • We love EPCOT and the World Showcase.  With my in-laws, we spent an entire afternoon meandering around the Pavilions before heading to the Boardwalk for dinner.  Unfortunately, our friend this time don't like it - they prefer the "go-go-go" (and to me, miss a lot of the magic!).  However, I feel that way at Hollywood Studios whereas they love the shows.  We agree to disagree and completely do our own things AND IT'S OKAY!
    • Our friends don't mind backtracking as much as we do, so our first day, while waiting in between Splash and Big Thunder Mountain Rides, they suggested their favorite Columbia Harbor House (corner of Fantasyland and Liberty Square) while we recommended Pecos Bill (located in Frontierland with those attractions) so the first day, we dined at Pecos Bill and the second day, we split up and they headed to Columbia Harbor House while we did our own thing!
  5. Enjoy and have a great time - You're at Walt Disney World after all!!

Good luck - I hope these tips and experiences can help others while planning and worrying about making everything right!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

5 Reasons to Use a WDW Guru Travel Agent

Do you ever wonder why anyone would use a travel agent when you can do it all yourself online?

I'm sure many people out there have - but, even a seasoned Disney Veteran like myself, used one for all of my big trips before I became an agent myself.

Top 5 Reasons to use a FREE WDW Guru travel planner 

1. First of all - we're FREE.  

You heard that.  Disney pays us - not you.  Your price won't change at all!

2. We Do All the Work

Whether it is getting quotes, comparing discount, finding the best rates, or tracking your vacation just in case a better deal comes around, we make it happen.  Want to book early *in hopes* of Free Dining or another reat offer?  You can reserve your room at $200 and be assured that I (or any other agent in my team - I can't speak for everyone else out there) will call Disney the morning that the discount comes up to apply it to your package!

3. Free Travel Planning Advice

Can't remember when to book your dining?  Not sure where to eat?  At Guru Travel, we offer free itinerary planning - you can talk with our itinerary specialist for an hour or more before your trip to learn the best way to get from Point A to Point B, how to avoid as many lines as possible, and the best way to be efficient!  We even make spreadsheets of which parks to go where with all of your specific reservations on them - so you can truly be prepared for your vacation!!

4. Fun Mouse Tips

With Guru Travel, we send out tips to help you prepare and keep you excited for your upcoming vacation!  With Disney-specialized agents, like myself, we love to share our knowledge and excitement with you for your vacation!  If you aren't quite ready to book a vacation but would love a daily dose of magic tips, follow our facebook page for our daily Guru Tip!

5. Fun Perks

In the past, we've offered every member of the travel party and 'extra day free' for booking a package and NOW, we're offering a great Swag Bag - a Guru Book Bag, lanyards, trading pins, and even Mickey plushes for every child!  Still need a reason to use an agent?
Book a Disney Cruise Line vacation for early 2014 and you'll be eligible for up to $200 on board credit just for booking with us! 

Email me at for your no-obligation quote!

Win an HP Envy AND Chromebook!

HP Chromebook ENVY 5530 Printer

Welcome to the #HPFamilyTime Giveaway hosted by Viva Veltoro and Blogging Mamas and generously sponsored by HP!

I  have an HP ENVY at home and LOVE it - there are free games, coloring sheets, activities, and even travel guides!  The printer is TOO amazing for me to pass up the opportunity to offer it to one of you!!  

Good luck!

Recently, Ruth fromViva Viva Veltoro had the fantastic opportunity to receive an HP Holiday Bundle to help bring creativity and joy to the hectic holiday season. Ruth received an HP ENVY17 Special Edition Notebook, an HP ENVY 5530 e-All-in-One Printer, ink, and a Snapfish Gift Card and soon started creating cheerful holiday greetings and fun crafts with her new HP products. That's just the beginning of this crafty adventure though! With the launch of the new Blogging Mamas website, be on the look out for even more DIYs, tutorials, and crafts, sure to delight the whole family all year round!

HP wants to spread holiday cheer to our readers too! They're giving away another HP Holiday Bundle, including an HP Chromebook 14 AND an HP ENVY 5530 e-All-in-One to one lucky person! Here is a little more information about these great products from HP:
The HP Chromebook 14 is an ultra-responsive value notebook optimized for web browsing and Google Chrome apps. It's powered by the newest Intel® Core™ i processors. The HP Chromebook features a 14-inch diagonal HD display for sharper images, a thin and light design, built-in 3G, and up to 100GB of Google Cloud Storage. It's available in vibrant colors such as: Ocean Turquoise, Coral Peach, and Snow White (color for giveaway based on availability). The HP Chromebook 14 also includes exclusive HP Innovations such as:
  • HP True Vision HD Webcam
  • HP Imagepad: Precise multifinger and gesture navigation
  • HP Care Pack with Accidental Damage Protection: Enjoy 24/7 assistance from an HP technician
  • HP SmartFriend Complete: Live two-way conversation with our specially trained HP technicians, available 24/7.
The HP ENVY 5530 e-All-in-One is a home-use printer built for creative hobbies such as scrapbooking and arts and crafts projects. The unit is also great for families with its ability to print lab-quality photos. With the HP ENVY 5530 e-All-in-One you can scan photos and documents directly to a mobile device for sharing or storing, as well as view photos and print quickly from the 2.65-inch color touchscreen on the front of the unit and memory card slots. You can also print wirelessly from virtually anywhere you roam directly from your smartphone, tablet, and internet-connected PC. This printer is also full of value - you can print more for less with optional high-capacity cartridges, or enroll in HP Instant Ink (their new ink replacement service that can save you up to 50%).

Isn't this a fantastic prize package?!

How would you use your HP Bundle to connect with your family during the holidays?
To enter to win an HP Holiday Bundle, including an HP Chromebook 14 and HP ENVY 5530 e-All-in-One Printer, use the Giveaway Tools form below. This giveaway is open to US residents, ages 18 and up. Ends on 1/5/14 at 11:59 PM EST.

Disclosure: I did not receive any compensation for hosting this giveaway and am not responsible for prize fulfillment. Ruth from Viva Veltoro received an HP laptop, printer, ink, and a Snapfish gift card for participating in the #HPFamilyTime program. Please email vivaveltoro{at} with any questions.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Memory Maker

Remember that old thing called Photo Pass?  Well, along with everything else that seems to be changing, Disney is upgrading the name of Photo Pass+ to "Memory Maker."

Just like before, Memory Maker has Photo Pass Photographers (they're still called Photo Pass for some reason, but I expect that to change) located conveniently all around the park.  From the entrance of the Magic Kingdom and Main Street, U.S.A. to the Tree of Life at Disney's Animal Kingdom.

No more digging in your pocket for your Photo Pass Card!

Like before, you will be given a Memory Maker card, but even easier - you can tap your Magic Band to the photographers rfid tool (just like in the past they would do with the card) and your pics are there!   Now - when you log into My Disney Experience, you'll see PhotoPass/Memory Maker near the bottom of the list instead of having to find a separate site altogether!

Purchase at least 3 days ahead of time to save!

Memory making is NOT inexpensive - the preorder cost is $149 and if you buy it once you arrive, it's $199.  But, included in that price is all ride photos - you simply find your photo/number and take it to the counter where you can buy them, or add the "ride" option for around $50.  

Don't want to pay?  Let the Photo Pass Photos borrow your camera!

I buy photopass every other trip or so - BUT, this past trip, I didn't.  I think I forgot.  Or, just couldn't decide on it, so I passed.  Luckily, my travel partners bought it ;-)  We share our pictures just as we do our fastpass+ because we're linked, so it's great.  Next time, we'll get it!  Luckily, the photo pass photographers probably have more experience with my DSLR than I do, so they took some great pictures for us!

Add Disney Magic to your Pictures

One of my favorite benefits of using Disney's Photo Service is having Disney Magic added to the pictures!  Find a photographer not using a tripod, and your odds are higher for some extra fun and magic added to your pictures!
You're never sure what you're looking at until you see the final product!
Plus, once you get home, you can edit away - add borders, signatures, stamps - lots of options! I love having the "First visit" stamp on our pictures!

Overall - we consider it a souvenir and more often than not buy the pass.  We love having ride pictures - way better than the stolen shots from our smart phones!  It is pricy, but it makes us stop and take more pictures than we would without it!  And, now with the ease of simply scanning our Magic Band, it's easier to link, organize, and get all pictures from everyone in the travel party!

Do you use Memory Maker?  I would love to hear your opinions! 

Monday, December 16, 2013

Tiggerific Tuesday Trivia

Welcome back for more fantastic Disney Trivia!  Thanks again to Jodi from +Magical Mouse Schoolhouse, Heidi from +Heidi's Head, and +Mike Ellis for co-hosting!

Windows of Main Street, U.S.A.

The Original Dick Nunis Gym
Turkish Baths
Supervisor - Dick Nunis
Night Manager - Ron Miller
24 Hour Service

Dick Nunis - Disney Legend and 44 year Disney employee began working at Disneyland in 1955 and retired after 44 years in 1999.  He worked through various jobs and levels and became director of park operations for Project X - which became Walt Disney World.  He retired as Chairman of Walt Disney Attractions.

He found out about Disneyland from his college classmate....

Ron Miller was married to the late Diane Disney Miller - making him Walt's son-in-law.  He initially began working at Walt Disney Productions as a liaison between WED and Disneyland in 1954.  He worked his way up to become President and CEO of Walt Disney Productions in 1978 and 1983 respectively.  He is best known for creating Touchstone - the branch that made Splash, Roger Rabbit, and other adult movies.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Foodie Friday - Boma

One of my favorite parts of my Walt Disney World vacations is trying new restaurants - and this time was no different.  We ate at 2 new counter service locations in our 4 days in Orlando!  And, I'm starting with the one that quickly moved to the top of my favorite dining locations.


Located at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge, this was the third and final sit down restaurant in the Animal Kingdom Lodge/Kidani Village Trifecta (Both Sanaa and Jiko are incredible restaurants).

We arrived at the Animal Kingdom Lodge about an hour before our reservation.  After two days of driving, I knew it was a perfect place to get into the Disney spirit and blow off some steam!  I remember seeing the playground near the pool area when we dined at Jiko, so we headed out there after a quick peek at the animals.

We all played for a little while until dinner time (or a little before our dinner time - I was famished!).  We checked in and waited only a few minutes, as we had a very early dinner ADR (4:45).

We were seated and our waitress pointed out the different stations, as Boma is a buffet.  It's a very open (loud) restaurant, but it didn't bother me - I really liked the open feeling!  There are several stations:
  • Meats
  • Salads
  • Soups
  • Kids
  • Dessert
I was obsessed with the Carrot/Ginger soup.  Sounds healthy and it was delicious.  Of course, I  looked up the recipe and it's filled with cream.  But anyways, it is delicious.  As were many of the salads - there were more vegan/vegetarian options than I had ever seen and I tried so many, I can't even list them all!   My husband devoured the meats and my boys went to town on the mac 'n cheese.

Shame on me - but I couldn't stop eating the food to take pictures... and then the little men didn't last long enough for me to walk around and get pictures of the delicious food and desserts.

The dessert that is most well known is the Zebra Dome and while I'll say it really was delicious, my personal favorite was the Kenyan Coffee Tart.  Holy cow - I had 2. Maybe 3.

For someone who actually knows how to take food picture and give specific details, I will give you AJ of the Disney Food Blog.  I mean, of course she knows what she's doing - she runs/owns/is the Disney Food Blog.

I absolutely recommend Boma and, while my husband prefers Sanaa, I think I would rather go back here!  Looks like we'll have to stay there and eat at both!  Have you tried any of the Animal Kingdom Resort area restaurants?  Which is your favorite?

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Fast Pass + Review

Walt Disney World has invested a lot of time, energy, and resources in creating My Magic+ and upgrading the not-broken-why-fix Fast Pass system.

But, maybe the Fast Pass system did need to be improved.

I'm not going to lie - I was incredibly hesitant going into this vacation.  Seriously?  I have to decide where I want to be ALL day??  It's hard enough for dinner - but, I can only get fast passes in 1 park, I can only get 3, and I have to decide 60 days out?

Plus, only my husband had a ticket ahead of time - I was waiting to get to the Shades of Green to purchase FL resident military seasonal passes for my 4 year old and myself.  We couldn't get our own fast passes ahead of time - would we be doomed to spend all our vacations in line?

All of these thoughts went through my head.

But, then I realized that all of our fastpasses were linked with our traveling companions - they booked ahead of time, and as long as we arrived at the attraction with them, we were fine!  When I tried to scan MY Magic Band before a member of that family, it didn't clear.  Luckily, we were never stopped!

**Only Apple and Android products can download the My Disney Experience app and their mobile site is pitiful!  If you happen to be different like me (Windows 8 phone), make sure to email yourself a screenshot or record your appointments somehow!!**
We emailed screen shots to each other daily

So here's the thing - you pick your times/attractions MONTH in advance.  And, often, you'll think "oh, I need to take Space Mountain at 9:45 a.m. because that's when it's available."  But, in reality, you are offered that time first when, even the SAME day, we were able to change our fast pass+ until later in the afternoon!

A different day, we had a 2 p.m. appointment to meet Mickey Mouse - TALKING Mickey Mouse - in the Town Square Theatre.  After rope drop, I suggested we head directly in there - and we were the first people to meet Mickey Mouse that day!  Perfect - no wait, plus we could change our fast pass for something later in the day!
I was a bit excited to talk with Mickey Mouse - can you tell?

**Hold off on making fast passes for the first hour or two the park opens - that's when the crowds and lines are the lowest**

While we didn't park hop on this trip, it is important to know that you should only be able to get fast pass+ for one park per day.  I have read articles of people working around this, but eventually, it will probably be more settled on one park per day.  We were, however, still able to use our plastic rfid tickets as well as our key to the world cards for extra paper fastpasses.  Unfortunately, Disney has figured this out sooner rather than later and is no longer issuing Keys to the World Cards that are eligible for paper fast passes!

**If park hopping, book fast pass+ for the 2nd park for later in the day and wait in lines first thing in the morning when crowds are low**

I was always shocked - the week of Thanksgiving - that at 11 am, we could get on the app (though the app was touch and go with loading) and change our fast passes and still pick up good reservations for later in the day!  I was pleasantly surprised and a complete convert, minus - the limited number available (3) and the lac of mobile compatibility!  

Have you experienced Fast Pass+ yet?  What did you think?  Please share your comments below or over on facebook!

 Remember, if you would like help planning your reservation and making the most of your magical vacation, I would love to help!!  Book now and get a great swag bag from Guru Travel on top of the free services!!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Tiggerific Tuesday Trivia

Welcome back for more fantastic Disney Trivia!  Thanks again to Jodi from +Magical Mouse Schoolhouse, Heidi from +Heidi's Head, and +Mike Ellis for co-hosting!

Disney Cruise Line is a fantastic cruise line - well, so I've been told, heard, and read about - I have yet to cruise.  They were one of the first cruise companies to create their OWN private island, known as Castaway Cay (pronounced Key)

Did you know:

Before Disney owned the island, they filmed part of their movie, Splash - starring Tom Hanks and Darryl Hannah there in 1984!  The island didn't open for cruiseline business until 1998!! 

To read more about Castaway Cay and it's Colorful Story, read this or listen to the Unofficial Guide's Disney Dish with Jim Hill discus it on the Castaway Cay/DCL episode!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Tour of the Kingdom Flash Giveaway!

I love giveaways - don't you?

Starting at 6 p.m. est (Disney time) tonight, 12/8 thru tomorrow, 12/9 at 6 p.m., you have the opportunity to win 12 amazing prizes from 12 different Disney bloggers/pages!

Entering will be super easy - something like "like a facebook page and leave a comment" and each page will lead you to another great giveaway!!

At Disney Babies Blog on facebook, I'll be giveaway a BRAND NEW copy of the 2014 Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World - or Disneyland!  The winner can choose which park and if they would prefer paperback or kindle!!  Thanks to Amazon for making gifting books SO easy!

I LOVE the Unofficial Guide and think it's a must-have when planning a trip (almost as important as using a fee free travel agent that specialize in Disney Travel  *ahem me*)!!

Other giveaways:

Make sure to visit and 'like' Disney Babies Blog on facebook and stop by at 6 pm for the giveaway!!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Disney Birthdays

Today is my son's 4th birthday - had I been induced in the morning instead of 11 p.m., he might have shared a birthday with Walter Elias Disney.  But, instead, he has the date all to himself aside from all this great stuff - and Walt's younger sister, Ruth (and, we luckily missed the attack on Pearl Harbor by 1 hour!).

December 2009

Celebrating Birthdays at Walt Disney World

Thanks to our trip scheduled just 2 short weeks before Noah's 4th, we decided we would celebrate while there.  I added it to our reservation and made sure it was even noted in our dining reservations!

Upon arrival and check in, our agent at the desk of the Art of Animation brought Noah his first Happy Birthday button (we ended up with a few more during the trip).  And, thanks to a great agent, Zachary received a "I'm Celebrating" pin, as to not have sibling rivalry.  BUT, we didn't bother putting it on him - he wasn't interested!

Noah, on the other hand, wore his happily every day - from our first night with dinner at the Animal Kingdom Lodge (Boma - review to come!)

In case you've never celebrated at Walt Disney World - there are buttons for everything - first visit, wedding, engagement, birthday, anniversary, graduation - everything!  FREE!!  Or, included in the already high price of a WDW vacation..

Wearing his pin, he was constantly being told "Happy Birthday, Noah" which confused him - he often responded with "Happy Birthday" though he eventually said "Thank you."

Beyond the pin and constant birthday greetings, we came back to our room on the 2nd night to find a signed Celebration Card from Mickey Mouse himself (and when I find it, I'll post a pic of it on facebook)!

Oun our final night, we dined at Be Our Guest restaurant with the best waiter ever (if you get Craig, you're in for some good service) and when we mentioned it was Noah's birthday, he made sure we were taken care of:

His own grey stuff and a birthday card signed by Belle and the Beast!

What a great card:

And now that we're home, he asked for an Agent P birthday cake -

So, let it be that I channeled a little bit of my friend +Beth Doda  from Pursuing the Magic and Pursuing the Travel, where we are partners in crime helping plan magical vacations:

Not terrible for my first cake decorating attempt - I painted on a cookie cake!  YUM!

If you're interested in celebrating at Walt Disney World, I hope you'll consider letting me help you plan your magical vacation!  Email me at or learn more about my agency and me at our company website!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Magic Bands Success

Going into this vacation, I was incredibly hesitant of the Magic Band and resistant to Fast Pass+.  

Magic Bands are replacing the Keys to the World Card - using RFID, these bands contain your room key, park ticket, credit card info, dining plan, fast pass+, etc...  They are for everything!

We had them ready in the car when driving up to the gate at the Art of Animation, which was important because the guard at the gate asked us for them, scanned them to let the desk know we were coming, and gave us a quick briefing on them.

Whether flying or driving, have your Magic Bands ready - you need them to board Magical Express and to check in at the resort!

We put our Magic Bands on and kept them on - upon check in, we received Keys to the World, but put them in our wallet 'just in case' and never looked back.  Our Magic Band successfully opened up our room,, use the new Magic Band entrance into the parks, paid for all meals (I did have to pull out my Annual Pass on occasion for the 10% discount which has yet to be worked into the Magic Band).
Wearing my Magic Band Happily on Winnie the Pooh

The trick for me was to wear my magic band on my right wrist - NOT my watch hand - because I was always carrying Z with my left arm!  Whichever arm you're not carrying people/things with is probably the better wrist!

The baby didn't need one, they he was issued one for souvenir sake.  Noah had one and wore it occasionally, but we did have to take it off and hold on to it when he tired of wearing it!

The Magic Bands have 2 size options - there is a removable grey liner that can take off extra for the little ones to wear! I honestly could have worn it on the shorter length, but left it on, which I'm glad I did!  When I added the Magic Band trinkets *shown above* it made it tighter!

I have heard of people having major problems with their bands - not linking to their tickets, rooms, etc.... but we were lucky that ours worked perfectly and I was converted into believing in Fast Pass+

Keep checking back for more Fast Pass+ tips/tricks/reviews!

If you would FREE help planning your Magical Vacation, please email me @ for more info!!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Art of Animation - Cars Suite

Our whirlwind Florida vacation has come and gone and now I finally share it with you!

Driving up to the Art of Animation is instantly impressive.  The signs are beautiful and the landscaping is incredibly inviting.  It's hard to remember that this is another 'value' resort, despite the large theming.  Instead of larger than life object, it's larger than life themes and paintings!

**Make sure to have Magic Bands ready - they are needed to board Disney's Magical Express at the airport, and if you are driving, they pre-check you in at the gate so they know you're coming in the lobby!  After your initial entrance, they are your entrance pass into the resort parking lot.**

The reception area is breathtaking - not in the Grand Floridian -so fancy - sort of way, but in the "WOW look at this" with sketches of animation and great lighting to set the mood.... but somehow I missed taking pictures of the inside!  Shame on me!

We had our Magic Bands ready, they scanned them quickly, and had us checked in fairly quickly!  Even with lines, they have agents walking around helping people get checked in with efficiency that only Disney can maintain.  Our room was ready upon arrival, and they showed us a map of the resort, directing us to "Follow the EAC, turn right onto Route 66, and continue on to the Wheel Well Motel."

The boys ran from car to car, visiting all of the Radiator Springs friends on their way - both of them (and us) enthralled with everything about this resort.  

I had been warned that the rooms were not very large, but honestly, they were plenty large enough for the 4 of us!  And, like the rest of the resort, so beautifully themed!  I absolutely loved the decor in our resort - everything in the Wheel Well was colored and themed to fit in - even the elevator carpet.  They didn't miss a single detail!

From the doorway, we saw the table/murphy bed and into the bedroom:

In the living area, there is the awesome 50's couch style pull out bed, and the cone lamp lights:

Z went straight for the tv - he wanted to watch Mickey!
And the car-style kitchenette - microwave, kitchen, plates, bowls, silverware, coffee maker, sink - perfect.

Mousekeeping even left us great towel art:

Noah LOVED his bed - it had lights on it, but also paintings and it was so creative.  And comfortable!  Our bed was surprisingly comfortable as well.  Even though we are acclimated to a king, the comfort level of the bed made up for the size!

Our first day we took advantage of the pools - both the Finding Nemo AND the Cozy Cone pools.  The Finding Nemo pool was slightly overwhelming for Z, but Noah had a blast.  Z and I stopped by the Coze Cone pool on our way back to our room and he much preferred the smaller, less crowded and noisy pool.   Noah actually enjoyed a dip in the smaller pool as well!  

**The pools offer life vests for children of all sizes - excellent to help them practice swimming with a little less worry!**

The Finding Nemo pool has jellyfish fountains (as pictured), a smaller splash area, and a gigantic pool with games and entertainment throughout the day.

The cones at this pool are personal cabanas!  Such a clever use of the cozy cone motel!

We absolutely loved this resort.  The food at the Landscape of Flavors was great (for breakfast - we didn't have a chance to eat other meals here on this trip) with a lot of options (including fresh fruit, yogurt, flax seed - parfait! You choose!) for everyone.  

Unfortunately, due to the popularity, discounts are often null and void at this resort (military are valid for the suites, but not the Little Mermaid rooms).  However, I have to say this it is worth the cost if it's close and an affordable option!!  Our boys ran from car to car every day for the 4 days we were there - it didn't get old - and we all loved it!

If you would like a quote for Disney's Art of Animation, or any Disney resort/cruise, please email me at for details!!  Every booking includes extras such as itinerary planning, dining recommendations, and so much more!  And, we are currently giving away a great Guru bag filled with goodies for everyone in your travel party with every reservation!