Kristy's Top 5 List - Disneyland Edition

 Every fall, The Haunted Mansion transforms into Haunted Mansion Holiday. It’s one of my family’s favorite Disneyland attractions!

Every fall, The Haunted Mansion transforms into Haunted Mansion Holiday. It’s one of my family’s favorite Disneyland attractions!

From time to time, I’ll be sharing Top 5 lists about my favorite things - destinations, resorts, beaches, food… I hope you enjoy! ~ Kristy

Top 5 Things To Love about Disneyland Resort

5. I absolutely love that Disneyland Resort is an entirely “walkable” destination. There are no buses, Ubers, or boats required to get from point to point. This means you can get where you are going fast. If you’re staying at a Disney hotel, you could leave your hotel room and be on a ride in less than 15 minutes!

4. Speaking of hotels, Disney owns three hotels at the Disneyland Resort. The Disneyland Hotel, Paradise Pier, and, my personal favorite, Disney’s Grand Californian Resort & Spa. Each of these hotels have a very unique feel but I’m particularly drawn to the Grand Californian - probably because it was designed by the same architect that designed Disney’s Wilderness Lodge!

3. As a Walt Disney World veteran, mostly due to living on the east coast, there is something incredibly familiar but, at the same time, very different about visiting the Disneyland Resort. There are many attractions that are similar to those with the same name in Florida but offer very different experiences. As an example, It’s a Small World in Florida is an entirely indoor experience - at Disneyland it’s both indoor and outdoor. Space Mountain in Florida is a rough ride with a “rickety” feel and in California it’s a much smoother ride with slightly different views. Pirates of the Caribbean is quite different too!2. Haunted Mansion Holiday… The original Haunted Mansion attraction opened in the New Orleans Square area of Disneyland park in 1969. It’s a classic for sure but for several months out of the year the mansion is transformed and Jack Skellington takes over. With characters and music from The Nightmare Before Christmas joining the 999 original happy haunts, it’s a unique experience available from September to January each year.

 The Cadillac Mountain Range at night. Carsland at Disney California Adventure park.

The Cadillac Mountain Range at night. Carsland at Disney California Adventure park.

2. Carsland. I can’t find the words to accurately describe how incredible this area of Disney California Adventure Park is. You have to see it to understand just how breathtaking it truly is.

1. Walt Disney himself designed and built Disneyland. The feeling of nostalgia as you walk in his footsteps (there is actually a guided '“Walk in Walt’s Footsteps” tour) is overwhelming. The park was carefully crafted to be a place where parents and children could have fun together and even today, after more than 60 years, it’s an amazing place to visit and spend some time.

Where to Stay, Where to Stay?

Where to stay, Where to stay........ I was recently asked by a close friend, how do we make up our mind on where we are going to stay when we vacation at Walt Disney World? This question gave me pause, because we have stayed at almost every resort... including Ft. Wilderness, so we no longer have a quest to fulfill. After thinking about it for some time, I had to turn the question back  to her and ask " well how do you decide? We are no different."

That's what I want to chat about this week. How do you pick a resort when you are staying on property at Walt Disney World? There are over 34 resorts on property, and 28 are actually owned and operated by Walt Disney Parks. They range from value to deluxe. As you can image, the deluxe category resorts come with a higher price tag; but, also have more features and amenities. The greatest of which is the convenience  of their location.

When choosing a resort, I think it is important to, of course, first consider your budget.  You never want to over extend yourself so much that you don't have enough money to enjoy extras in the parks. However, I disagree with individuals that say stay in the cheaper rooms because you spend so little time there. Your family may be the type that stay in the park from park opening to park closing; but, when you do make the trek back to your resort... wouldn't your prefer a 10 min walk to Disney's Contemporary Resort after a long day at the Magic Kingdom? You are already in bed and asleep, while most of the guests are still waiting on a bus to the value resorts.

Now don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with the value resorts. The theming is fantastic and Disney has made these resorts a lot of fun for kids, with out ever going to a theme park. There are tons of free activities at the pools, movies on the lawn every night and some even offer art classes. You always want to check the activities schedule at the resort to see what special  happenings are going-on.

Another thing we think about when considering resorts, is what is the focus of our trip? Meaning... are we going during Epcot's International Food and Wine Festival; if so, then we will probably stay close to Epcot. If you are going to be traveling during the holidays, I would recommend staying at one of the resorts known for their holiday decorations like Disney's Wilderness Lodge or Disney's Grand Floridian, they are both stunning. If you are visiting during the summer months, and it is going to be HOT, then consider a resort that has a great pool. The best pool on property is Disney's Beach Club, hands down! It has a pirate themed water slide, a lazy river, sand bottom pool, and even a beach. All the pools at the moderate resorts and higher have a water slide at the main pool so it adds an extra layer of fun to the standard pool.

There are a lot of resorts to choose from, but one thing is for sure, you can't go wrong when you stay inside the bubble of Walt Disney World. I hope this helps you narrow down your search for the best resort.

See you soon!

Gina

 Disney's Grand Floridian has the most magnificent Christmas tree.

Disney's Grand Floridian has the most magnificent Christmas tree.

 Here is just a portion on Disney's Beach Club epic pool! You can't even seen the pirate ship off to the right behind the trees.

Here is just a portion on Disney's Beach Club epic pool! You can't even seen the pirate ship off to the right behind the trees.

My favorite snack...in the Magic Kingdom

Ok so I must admit the title is very misleading there is absolutely no way I can pick a favorite snack in the Magic Kingdom, that's like asking me which one of my daughters is my favorite! So what I am going to do is hit the highlights the things you don't want to miss, not your normal stuff like mickey bars and popcorn (although those are really good too).

Cheeseburger Eggrolls- located in Adventureland at Eggroll Cart before Pirates of Caribbean- Don't doubt me on this one, Kyle did and he regrets all the times he missed out on this yummy goodness.

Peter Pan Float- located at Storybook Treats in Fantasy Land- It is Key Lime Ice Cream with Sprite and a chocolate feather. It is so cute and reminds me of southern punch that you have at a lot of baby showers and wedding showers. Yummy!

Fresh Fruits with Nutella Mickey Waffles - Sleepy Hallow Liberty Square- They have several waffles to choose from and this is a snack credit that is easily a breakfast! They are yummy but you will have to wait in line so just bring your patience, it's worth the wait. 

Baked Potato- Liberty Square Market- I know, what is so special about a baked potato? I don't know but it is a great baked potato and it is another snack credit that is a great value. They have all the fixings there for you. It is something on a hot day, when you don't want a heavy meal that  is filling. 

Citrus Swirl- Sunshine Terrace in Adventure Land- This is the cousin to the famous Dole Whip ( which is not on my list) it is made with oranges instead of pineapple and my family thinks it is much better.

Chocolate Covered Pineapple Slice- located in Storybook Circus- this is a juicy slice of pineapple covered in a think layer of dark chocolate with a slight drizzle of white chocolate for color. It is so light and refreshing on a hot summers day. Make sure you have a napkin handy because towards the end the chocolate does tend to fall off and you don't want to loose any.

So those are my families top favorites in the Magic Kingdom, I hope you enjoy them as well. I am going to sign off now because  I am very hungry!! Thanks LOL

See you soon 

Gina

 

 Not on the list but a mickey rice crispy treat and a blue raspberry slushy and always must do's

Not on the list but a mickey rice crispy treat and a blue raspberry slushy and always must do's

 

 

 

 

 

 

Epcot's World Showcase, it's not just for adults

I often hear people say  "We are going to skip Epcot because the kids will think its boring" or " We are just doing the front part of Epcot because the kids will get bored in all the countries". There are over 10 countries represented in the World Showcase, 11 to be exact and then there is the African Outpost which is not counted as a true showcase pavilion. Within each one of these pavilions there are multiple food options and yes, adult beverages to be enjoyed. It seems most people know that piece of information but they don't know  there is a lot more to offer in each one of these pavilions. Well, I am writing this blog to dispel all those myths and let you know that Epcot's World Showcase is for children of all ages.

Did you know that the World Showcase has the most number of character meet and greets than any other location in Walt Disney World?  Your children can not only meet rare princesses like Mulon and Snow White but you can also meet Mary Poppins and Alice! You can find these character spots and times located in the My Disney Experience App. We have had some of the best character interactions at these meet and greets.  Don't be embarrassed about getting in the pictures with your children. I must admit I was aw struck the first time I met Mary Poppins!

Another unique experience within the countries is the Kidcot Fun Spot Stations. These are tucked away benches and tables with a cultural exchange cast member that interacts with children and helps them create a craft and some will even write your Child's name in the cast members language. Each station has a stamp of the country's flag and if you get every country's stamp you can get a completion stamp. One of the best things about this activity,  it is absolutely FREE! Yes that is right something at Walt Disney World is Free. So while you are taking a break and enjoying an adult beverage or a quiet spot in the shade, your kids are entertained.

If your children are more into their phones and playing games then give Agent P's World Showcase Adventure a try. This is another FREE activity that is so much fun for kids to take part in and they get a great tour of the World Showcase. You start the adventure by checking in at one of the kiosk located near the International Gateway (Epcot's back entrance) or  the Odyssey Bridge. Check in with the Cast Member and they will explain how everything works and get you started on your secret mission around the World Showcase.

While you are traveling around the World don't forget to stop in to the different shops in each country, you can find some of the most unique souvenirs. For example the Mitsukoshi department store in Japan has all the latest in Japanese pop culture and some of the most unique food snacks on property. I recommend the shrimp chips!  In the China Pavilion shop you can purchase a traditional fan and the cast members will write your name in Chinese on the fan. It's a great unique gift. Then there is the pastries and ice cream in France! OH MY Word it is so good. Do you have soccer fans in your family or BBC TV fans? Then the stores in Great Britain are a must stop. Every country offers something diverse and interesting to stop and look at. Ok maybe not every country, in my opinion the shop in Italy is just kinda meh, it doesn't excite me. 

As you can see there is much more to Epcot's World Showcase than just adult beverages and museum exhibits. There is something for everyone and all ages. So the next time you are planning your Epcot day consider the World Showcase for more than just a stop for Frozen Ever After, I promise there are so many more interesting things to explore.

See you again Soon!

Gina 

 Here is the most recent version of what is available at the Kidcot locations. 

Here is the most recent version of what is available at the Kidcot locations. 

 Collect these great cards from each country and on the back there is a cute picture you can color and personalize.

Collect these great cards from each country and on the back there is a cute picture you can color and personalize.

The best age to take a child to Walt Disney World.

As a Travel Planner I am often asked the question " What is the best age to take my child to Walt Disney World?" My answer is always Now!

You see, you may perceive your child/children to be to young to remember Walt Disney World but you are not to young to remember the trip. There is no doubt that tons of pictures will be made and stories will come out of this trip. These pictures and stories will be retold to your children and fondly recounted for decades.

There are also practical reasons for taking your children to Walt Disney World when they are young. Money, when a child is under the age of 3 they do not need a ticket to enter the theme parks of Walt Disney World, that's a huge savings. You also don't have to purchase a meal for a child under 3, so you can get great pictures with classic characters like Mickey and Minnie and not have to pay for the kids plate. Traveling with a small child also makes you slow down and enjoy the small things that you may normally not notice or take for granted. This reminds me  of the first trip we took to Walt Disney World with our daughters and Amelia (our youngest was under 3). We were walking around Disney's Polynesian Village Resort headed to dinner at Kona Cafe, both girls were totally enamored by the bunny rabbits hopping around in the grass and just wanted to squat down and watch them for what seemed like forever. As adults we had walked by the rabbits multiple times, maybe commenting on their cuteness but more likely not even giving them a second glance. To our daughters the bunnies were absolutely the most magical things in the world, at the time & they still talk about them! Small children make you slow down, not go go go and I believe this is the absolutely best way to experience Walt Disney World. All the major rides have a child swap options so you can still ride your thrill rides even if the kids aren't tall enough. 

So if you have the time and budget to travel to Walt Disney World, I say do it now, make those memories! 

Have a magical day and we will chat again soon!

Gina

Guess what! We started a blog

Hello everyone this is Gina from the podcast Fab4 Travel Talk. If you have listened to an episode of the podcast then you know my family is in love with all things Disney! I wanted to take time in this very first blog post to give you a little insight on why we love Disney and specifically Walt Disney World. 

My very first visit to Walt Disney World was in November 1971 and for all you other Walt Disney World lovers out there you know this was a month after it had opened for the very first time. I was only a little over a year old but the stories from this trip live on through my parents. One of my favorite stories is when I met Mickey Mouse for the first time and he kissed me on the left cheek. Mom said I would tell anyone who would listen that "Mic Mouse kissed me right here", they were not allowed for a very long time to kiss me in the same spot as "Mic Mouse". As you can see my love for Mickey Mouse started very young and has really never wained. We continued to travel to Walt Disney World at least once a year or more until I graduated from college. There was a short dry spell while I adjusted to the "real world" but before long the trips continued just on a smaller budget. Once Kyle and I were married, he decided that it was time for his first visit to Walt Disney World and we had a wonderful time. Kyle quickly learned why I loved Walt Disney World and became a huge fan himself! Once we had our girls taking them to Walt Disney World became a priority for us and we have instilled that same love and healthy obsession in our two daughters. There is nothing like experienceing  Walt Disney World through the eyes of a young child. You get a new fresh perspective on everything. 

We now struggle as a family to not always go to Walt Disney World on vacation or long weekends, to say it is our second home is an understatement. This is why when an opportunity fell into my lap one day to become a Travel Planner that specializes in Disney Destinations, I was over the moon excited. Who knew I could make money helping families and individuals discover the wonders of Walt Disney World and all the other fabulous destinations Disney offers! Fast forward a few years, Kristy and I decide it's time to give the males in our lives a little voice on our podcast and voile Fab4 Travel Talk is born. 

Each week I hope to explore certain details and aspects of Walt Disney World that we don't get to touch on in the podcast. Some post may be about the resorts or just a story that I thought our listeners might find amusing. If you are new to the Fab4 Travel Talk family, welcome and I invite you to go back and listen to all of our previous episodes. 

I hope you have a magical day and we will chat again soon!

 The original rental strollers in Walt Disney World. Not from 1971 but definitely the 70's on Main St. USA with my mom. 

The original rental strollers in Walt Disney World. Not from 1971 but definitely the 70's on Main St. USA with my mom.