Flower & Garden Un-Birthday : Part III

We’re here! Part Trois!
A quick recap : it’s our first full day at the park and we spent the morning at DHS but now we’re exhausted and we need some downtime.

We were staying in the Mighty Ducks section of All-Star Movies and we thankfully had a little pool in our area. It was the perfect size and was not overly crowded or loud. The day was hella hot so I couldn’t wait to get my bikini on and jump in the water. Brandon was about ready for a nap so we got two lounge chairs in the shade so he could comfortably nap for an hour or so.

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I like the smaller pool areas in the resorts because, as we can all assume, the main pools are always crowded and super loud. Although they are close to the food court and the bar, it’s just not worth it. This one also had super cute decor with Goofy, who doesn’t quite understand how to hold a hockey stick, defending our goal.
IMG_6066After we got pleasantly sun kissed, we headed back to the room to get ready for an evening in Magic Kingdom! After we were eligible to make our fourth FastPass of the day, I snagged one for Splash Mountain which turned out to be a blessing because it was SO hot and the Stand By queue was 115 minutes long (boy bye). The potentially disastrous part of this is that we were seated in the first row of our log flume. Goodbye perfect makeup and hair. Hello Laughing Place! The best part about getting soaked on Splash Mountain? Drying off on the hub grass!

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*drying off on the hub grass WITH A MICKEY SHAPED PRETZEL (partially eaten bc I needed it)
This was our first ‘hub grass’ experience and it did not disappoint. In fact, it perfectly represented the vibe of this trip. I wanted to relax. I wanted to take in the scenery. I wanted to take the time to reflect and appreciate. This is exactly what the hub grass was for us in that moment. It became a reoccurring character on this mini vacation and really set this visit apart from our previous visits. So while we munched on our pretzel, sipped on our soda, dried our clothes, we listened to the calming music, people-watched, and were able to center our minds. I think this is incredibly important when you are touring around Walt Disney World, which seems sometimes like a race against the clock, that it should be encouraged to take 30 minutes out of your morning, afternoon, and evening to just chill. Sit down, lay down, eat a snack, eat a meal, and clear out all of the stress and the anxiety. You will make your next FastPass, you will get a good meal in, you will make it back to your hotel tonight with your dignity and your sanity in tact if you just take a few moments during the day to bring your mind and your heart back into the focus of your trip.

There are so many beautiful things to see and to hear, if you just take a moment to quiet your mind and listen! Now moving on!

The FastPass availability had depleted a bit. We were interested on going on whatever rides we could, with as small waits as possible. We were not going to turn our noses up at any ride at this point. We just wanted to get our fill while we could. We hopped on line for It’s A Small World and got a little overwhelmed with the crowd behind the castle. It was definitely worthy of a Spring Break crowd but we were desperate to leave that area but thankfully we had a FastPass available at Under the Sea so we were able to run over there afterwards for the opening of our FP window. We were about ready to call our day and decided on one more ride so we went to the Peoplemover, another first for us! We never put an emphasis on adding Peoplemover to our plans but now it will be a staple. It’s another perfect opportunity to sit, relax, listen, and watch. It was the perfect ride to end that day. Enough walking, navigating through crowds, checking the MDE app for stand by queues. We got to reflect on our first of two Magic Kingdom visits with a smile and then finally, we heard our stomachs.

We jumped off Peoplemover, ran through Tomorrowland, across the hub, and towards Sleepy Hollow for a waffle with powdered sugar and strawberries. It was really difficult to try to not inhale it. As much as we wanted to stick around for Wishes, we knew it would screw us up if we were to get on the buses after the show. We were able to watch most of the fireworks from the bus as we were driving back, which wasn’t the same, but we had no regrets because we got back into bed and ordered a pizza delivery. We ended our evening gorging on questionable pizza, in our pajamas, and watched Seinfeld. This is easily my favorite thing to do and we got to do it in our favorite place!

Outfit details!
Ears : Shop House of Mouse
Shirt : JCrew
Sandals : Urban Outfitters

Flower & Garden Un-Birthday : Part IV

Yayay! Another Trip Report update! To re-cap, we spent a half day at DHS and an evening in MK. We were supposed to spend our second morning in Epcot but changed our plans last minute to rope drop Magic Kingdom instead. This one will be quick because the final update will be a doozy! So away….we….go!

Another early morning in Walt Disney World! We woke refreshed and ready for rope drop! We arrived at Magic Kingdom fairly early and waited in the hub for the opening ceremony to begin. Nothing gets you more hyped up than Mickey and friends welcoming you into Magic Kingdom!

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Any time of day is wonderful at Magic Kingdom. We got there a little later than we wanted to, but still well before opening. Main Street and the Hub were already plenty crowded but we tried to get some nice shots as we waited for the ropes to drop.

After the ropes dropped, we were lead up the ramp, through Cinderella’s castle and made a mad dash for (what else?) Mine Train. By the time we got over there, the line stretched out of the queue and around the corner. When all was said and done, we waited 40 minutes which is not terrible considering that queue can be over 100 minutes (and I’m sure it ballooned to that shortly after we entered the line). Of course when we got off, Brandon said “We waited 40 minutes for that?”
I think Mine Train is cute, fun, and mildly more thrilling than Big Thunder but not worth the wait if you don’t have a FastPass! There’s better ways to spend your time in Magic Kingdom and 40 minutes can eat up a lot of time better spent having fun elsewhere!

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Our first fast pass was scheduled for Pirates and we had just made the end of our window! That damn Mine Train! Afterwards, we headed to Tomorrowland for our second FastPass at Space Mountain. This is one of my favorite rides in WDW and most of you can probably admit the same. RnRC is definitely a superior indoor coaster but Space Mountain also gets my blood pumping, especially if you’re seated in the front seat!

After enjoying three rides, we needed a short break. We grabbed a drink at the Tomorrowland Joffrey’s kiosk, the new Mission to S’mores iced latte, and enjoyed it back at the hub for some people-watching. Since people-watching is so enjoyable to us, and we had some time before our next Fastpass, we went back to Tomorrowland for the Peoplemover! We now worship PM after this trip. We also walked onto Carousel of Progress because you kind of have to at least once on your trip. Plus, that AC is top notch on a hot Florida day.

Our final FastPass of the day was at the Haunted Mansion! I always seem to get stuck on this ride. This time we got stuck in the graveyard for a few minutes and then again in front of the hitch-hiking ghost mirrors which was a bummer because once the ride started again, our hitch-hiking ghosts had disappeared! Still one of my favorite rides, I can’t get enough.

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Afterwards we headed to the most beautiful bathrooms in the park, the Tangled bathrooms, and then called it an afternoon. We needed to relax and get prepped for a long afternoon and evening at Epcot and a farewell dinner at ‘Ohana!

 

Outfit Details!
WDW Park Map Ears :  We’ve Got Ears
Best Day Ever V-Neck : Happily Ever Tee’s

Flower & Garden Un-Birthday : Part II

April Fool’s Day began with a joke : getting up early on your ‘vacation‘. BUT it was our first full day in the parks and I did my best to convince Brandon that it would be worth it to get to Disney’s Hollywood Studios for rope drop…
…well, we got there as early as we could. I had to put on my face, first.

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Our energy had replenished. Our bellies were empty. Our hearts were overflowing. We couldn’t wait to get into the parks, get on our favorite rides, smile, hold hands, and EAT.

We arrived a quarter to opening and weren’t quite sure what to expect as we were approaching the turnstiles. I’m a little embarrassed to admit that this was our first experience with rope drop! I know! How humiliating. A self-proclaimed WDW aficionado was about to experience rope drop for the first time. Allow me to briefly explain: I tend to visit during less busy seasons. I was never entirely concerned about crowd volume and line queues. Looking back, I was always rushing and I never felt like I was truly satisfied with my touring plan. Until NOW! Rope drop changed my life.

DHS was a ghost town at 8:45 AM during prime Spring Break season. We walked through Hollywood Boulevard and waved at Donald and Daisy, who were already taking photos with guests. We made a hard right towards Tower of Terror and just marveled at how desolate the street and walkways were. We quickly opened up our backpacks, powered on our cameras, and started snapping away, knowing that we would not get an opportunity like this later on.

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Our plan was to get on the stand by queue at Rock N Roller Coaster with the anticipation that it would be a short wait. If memory serves, we waited about 15 minutes (later on this queue would be 100+ minutes). Afterwards, we were walking by Tower and Terror and saw an 11 minute wait. We had a FastPass reserved for later in the afternoon but decided that we needed to take advantage of this moment! I can’t think of a better way to wake you up in the morning than consecutive rides on Rock N Roller Coaster and Tower of Terror

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After all of the screams and the drops and the butterflies, we got a real pick-me-up from the Joffrey’s kiosk outside of the Tower of Terror exit. We got a donut and an iced tea and leisurely walked towards our first FastPass of the day, Toy Story Mania! I fondly remember my first visit to TSM in which I waited over an hour in the stand-by queue. As cute as the decor was, I would never wish to do this again so I was particularly excited to get an early FP.

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Afterwards, we had some time before our Star Tours FP and decided we needed to get on Great Movie Ride as this was probably our last opportunity to do so before it’s gone forever. I’ll cherish my memories of this ride, especially the time we got stuck in the Tarzan section for 15 minutes and had to hear Tarzan yelling over and over and over again 🙂

The queue for Great Movie Ride said 30 minutes but it was a little closer to 45. But while waiting in line, we decided to shake up our plans for the following day. Initially, we planned on rope dropping at Epcot but decided we really needed/wanted to rope drop at Magic Kingdom instead so we cancelled all of my Epcot Fast Passes and made early morning FP’s for Magic Kingdom with the plan that we would run to Mine Train first thing! So you see here folks?! You can make plans ahead of time, but you can change them less than 24 hours beforehand. Or even that same day!

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We had just made the end of our Fast Pass window for Star Tours and after that, we wanted to check out the Star Wars Launch Bay since I had access to the Disney Visa Cardmember Photo Pass with Kylo Ren. They have the Jawa’s out taking photos with people and down a hallway is Kylo Ren. He was TALL and we had fun refusing his requests to join the First Order. Unfortunately, we don’t have good photos because although the opportunity to meet Kylo is free, the copies of the photos are NOT.

Afterwards, we walked to Echo Lake, grabbed a Root Beer Float from the Oasis Canteen, took a breather and made the executive decision that we were far too pooped to stay for our last FP at Tower of Terror so we took some more photos, reveled in the delight of all the chaos around us of families freaking out over line queues, the warm weather, the insane crowds, and fighting over where to get lunch. We snapped a few final pictures and moved on towards the buses to enjoy the All Star Movies Pool before visiting Magic Kingdom that evening.

Next up will be our evening at Magic Kingdom!

What I wore at DHS :
Hat – Lost Bros Trading Co

T-shirt – Lost Bros Trading Co
Purse – Danielle Nicole Hand Bags
Sunglasses – RayBans

Splash Mountain Refurb Announcement

I’ll need everyone to calm down. Splash Mountain will be getting a refurb this year. Not big news, it goes down for a lengthy refurb every winter. Well, I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but it will be going down earlier than usual. The current refurb dates are scheduled between August 28th through November 16th.

 

Why would they be closing earlier during a busier season? Well, there’s only speculation at this point. The theory is that there will be another ride that is also slated for a lengthy refurb in the winter. Disney does not want to shut down too many top rides at the same time. It does not help with ticket sales, crowd distribution, or visitor satisfaction (not sure if they truly care about satisfaction but they definitely care about money). You would suspect it would be another Magic Kingdom attraction. The only other refurbs that are in the works for this year are Mission Space and the Great Movie Ride.

The rumor mill will continue to run and I’ll let you guys know if there are any future updates!

Flower & Garden Un-Birthday Weekend! Part I

Hello my beautiful and lovely fictitious friends!

Two short weeks ago, Brandon and I were preparing for a very long car ride to Walt Disney World where we spent a lovely, warm, short weekend as an early birthday celebration!
Some background details : We arrived Friday March 31st and departed Monday April 3rd and we stayed in the Mighty Ducks section of the All-Star Movies Resort. We had two remaining days on our No-Expiration Park Hopper passes (RIP to the No Expiration option). This is the 3rd trip we’ve been able to squeeze out of what was originally a 7-day pass. I purchased the two passes through AAA in 2014 for $650 each (!!!) so I believe I got my money’s worth.

I’ll spare the details of our uneventful 17-hour tour in the car down the East Coast and jump right to the start!

We arrived at 2PM and immediately put ourselves down for a well-deserved nap (Brando more so as he did all of the driving). We had no plans for a park visit that day but we did make reservations to try out the newly opened Paddlefish at Disney Springs. I was really excited to see the updated decor and menu as I had not been there since it was still Fulton Crab House, and even that was a few decades ago, or so it feels.

I stopped on the way to the bus stop to get a quick photo with a lil Dalmatian friend. (The Value resorts may not have all of the fabulous amenities as the Moderates or Deluxe Resorts, but they have very underrated decor! If you are like me, spend very little time in your room, take a second as you’re strolling to enjoy these little touches!)

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*I wore my Mermaid Harp Pixie ears for my evening in Disney Springs

If you haven’t been to Disney Springs in a minute, holy wow. It’s absolutely gorgeous. You totally forget that you’re anywhere near Walt Disney World, it’s so beautiful and luxurious with the updates. We walked through a few shops before checking into Paddlefish for our 8:15 dinner reservation. The front lobby was packed but apparently with people who either didn’t have reservations or were requesting a specific dining area. We only waited five minutes or so and were actually seated prior to our reservation time on the second floor dining room beside the window overlooking Disney Springs!

Our server, Jeremy, was outstanding. I’ve honestly never had a better dining experience as far as service is concerned and the food was pretty fantastic, too! We started off with drinks. Brandon ordered a Jay Alai from the draft list and I ordered the Southern Sangria which was loaded up with bourbon. It was yummy but STRONG. For appetizers, we ordered the Crab Fries, which came with big lumps of crab meat on string fries and a spicy dressing along with a big bowl of New England Clam Chowder. We could have just lived with one appetizer, the fries, as we didn’t expect the humongous serving sizes! Next time, we’ll order the lobster guacamole. It looked delicious at the other tables around us and they make it fresh beside your table.

For our entrees, Brandon ordered the fish special, Oscar Sea Bass with asparagus and bearnaise sauce. I ordered the brown butter scallops over pureed cauliflower and crispy bacon brussel sprouts. They were iiiincredble! I highly recommend my dish. Brandon said his was delicious as well but was really jealous of my scallops. They were cooked perfectly, and the flavor of the overall dish was amazing. Our bill came out to $120 so keep that in mind if this is not something that is in your budget. If you want a nice romantic fancy dinner, put Paddlefish on your short list. They also have a limited menu in their Lounge Area which might better suit your budget if you’re looking for a late night fancy snack with drinks. They do accept the Disney Dining Plan as well as Disney Gift Cards (I paid part of our bill with a Gift Card).

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At the end of the meal, Jeremy came over and asked very nonchalantly “Would you like a to-go cup for your water?”. I was puzzled for a split second as he said it so matter-of-factly that I really thought he meant my WATER. I looked at him with a confused look, we gave each other a nod and I said very plainly, with slight uncertainty “Yes”. Next thing I know, he comes back with this plastic cup with a lid, I quickly poured the remaining Southern Sangria into it and we bounced! I seriously felt like I was a kid again with the thrill of doing something so silly and bad. We walked through the rest of Disney Springs, enjoyed the beautiful evening and sipped carefully on our ‘water’.
*DISCLAIMER* We were responsible, we were not drunk, we just wanted to finish my expensive drink without having to throw it down my throat before exiting the restaurant.

After we took in all of the sights, sounds, and sangria (put that on my tombstone) we headed towards the buses back to All Star Movies to call it a night. The following morning we would be rope dropping Hollywood Studios and we knew we needed more recharging.

Day 2 coming up soon!!

New MagicBand Design Revealed!

Holy wow! This is big news. There’s been rumors floating around for a while that Disney was working on a new design for the MagicBands to make them more versatile and that the shape would be “disc-like”.

Magicbandcollectors.com revealed in a post, photos of the new MagicBands that are being coined MagicBand 2. The second generation of the MagicBands will feature a disc which will house all of the chip data, which can pop in and out of wristbands AND keychains. You can either wear your MagicBand on your wrist, attach it to your keys, your backpack, your purse, your lanyard. The possibilities are endless here. The discs have two little screws to make them secure and child-friendly, so don’t worry about losing your MagicBand while on Rock N’ Roller Coaster.

There will be new designs for the wristbands and cute little keychains that Disney has revealed. One of the keychains sorta looks like a Tamagotchi (hey 90’s kids). The point here is that the MagicBand will be more comfortable, more versatile, more convenient, and likely cheaper for Disney to manufacture. DON’T WORRY those of you who purchase very expensive Dooney & Burke 1st Get MagicBands, you will likely be able to use yours for years and years to come. No confirmed date for when Disney will make the official switch but you should expect that they will start sending Resort Guests these new MagicBands very soon.

I think what I’m most excited about is to see how the DIY Disney community adapts. There are countless shops who specialize in custom MagicBand designs. They may need to alter their designs to fit the needs of the new wristbands but they will also now be able to branch out into keychains! Here’s to hoping for some super cute metal bangles that double as MagicBand holders.

Get the full scoop on the MagicBands over at magicbandcollectors.com and let me know how you feel about the new design in the comments

We Need To Talk!

Very quickly :

There’s a false rumor floating around that Rivers of Light will not debut until May 1st. We need this rumor to burn and die very very quickly. Rivers of Light has been in testing and dress rehearsal mode for weeks now and there is talk of a preview for the D23 Event on November 20th. Even if Rivers of Light is not released to the public by that date, it certainly wouldn’t remain in testing mode until May 1st unless there was some massive set back (like the one that occurred earlier this year). They published an article advertising Dining Packages which should start May 1st. The article was removed a short while after it had been posted.

An announcement should be made soon. I imagine it will be running nightly before the Christmas rush if the big wigs in charge like what they see. I know I’m sorta contradicting myself here, but try not to believe everything you read on the internet. My sources who are  in-the-know are debunking this rumor. Stay tuned!

Quick Update!

I’ve been working like a dog lately! I spent a week on Long Island so I temporarily avoided all Disney related material so I could be as present as I possibly could, as I usually don’t have that much time to spend with my family besides a short weekend here or there.

I have a major Disney haul to go over with you all (sneak peek above!) so I’m getting my goodies in order for photos! ALSO, I’m 93 days from my trip to WDW so there’s a ton of preparation going on between planing my Disneybound outfits, which is very difficult when you only have four park days, and collecting the perfect pieces for those outfits, which also is difficult when you’re on a tight budget.

Additionally, Brandon and I are taking a weekend getaway to the Outer Banks of North Carolina after Labor Day so I need to make sure I have some non-Disney attire for my four days at the beach 🙂 This means I’ll be off the grid for another few days which is always a nice thing.

I’ve been keeping very close eyes on all of the open rumors and although there’s nothing major to report at the moment (EPCOT, Guardians, Star Wars Land, Toy Story Land, new evening MK parade, Wreck It Ralph replacing Stitch), I can say that it appears that if all goes well, Rivers of Light should be premiering in early to mid October! Keep your fingers crossed that testing continues to be productive and that their soft openings (which will be happening after park hours throughout September) run smoothly. All you late Autumn bounders will be in for a delightful treat!

Later, Main Street Electrical Parade

Goodnight, farewell, au revoir MSEP. Although, didn’t we go through this before with you? Approximately 20 years ago? Whatever.

After much speculation that MSEP would be departing Disney World’s Magic Kingdom after a long…long..long…long run, it was finally announced on the Disney Parks Blog that the parade will run for the last time in Magic Kingdom the evening of October 9th and will be moved back to Disneyland for a limited run.

Now…rumors have been circling about which parade will replace MSEP in Magic Kingdom. Will it be Pain the Night? Sorry, folks but probably not. Guest Relations memos have been sent to Cast Members which specifically deny the transfer of Paint the Night to Magic Kingdom. This leaves WDW fans to wonder if they will be without a parade.

Those park guests that had made MSEP Tony’s Dinner Packages during evenings after October 9th, obviously called the Reservations hotlines wondering if they needed to cancel their reservations. They were told by Cast Members that they were free to do so, of course, but they advised them to wait on it as there are plans in the works to compensate them with another experience of some sort.

Now, I had gone back and forth about whether I wanted to jump into the fold in regards to this conversation and only to give out circumstantial, rumors at best. No one knows for certain in these early stages what will happen in WDW after MSEP leaves for the West Coast but here are some ideas from some better sources :

  1. MSEP is moved to Disneyland, Paint the Night is moved to Tokyo, and Dreamlights is moved to Magic Kingdom (this is an exciting idea, although Tokyo is independently owned and may not be willing to give up Dreaminglights which is considered the best of all the evening parades in Disney Parks)
  2. Festival of Fantasy Parade is scheduled for later in the evening as most of the floats are set up with lights on them and can easily be used in the dark. This could be a temporary fix until a new parade is developed as evening hours will begin earlier, it won’t require much of an adjustment through the fall and winter (also considering that MNSSHP and MVMCP will each have their own evening parades). This seems like the most likely immediate adjustment to the loss of MSEP and will save WDW some time and money to develop new experiences for their 50th Anniversary.
  3. No one will entirely count out Paint the Night quite yet although it’s already been determined that it will return for a limited run during the holiday months in Disneyland. It’s limited run will likely end in early 2017. It could take up residence in WDW for a few years while Imagineers develop their new parade.

As always, if more concrete information is released, which I’m sure WDW will have to say something soon, I’ll update this space!

 

 

Stitch’s Great DEPARTURE

Another ride is on the chopping block according to more sources! Stitch’s Great Escape, a wildly unpopular ride, is on its way out. What may replace it is still being withheld but had users speculating that it could either be “Wreck It Ralph” or “The Incredibles”. I believe either would fit into the Tomorrowland theme rather nicely. The project, although not yet green lit but well on its way, will feature 3D in two theaters, similar to the current attraction with one of the sources comparing the new attraction to Despicable Me in Universal Studios Orlando.

I think most of us will celebrate this change. If the project is green lit, it should hopefully be opened sometime between 2018-2021. WDW seems to be pulling out all the stops in preparation of the 50th Anniversary Celebration.

I’ll be sure to update you once more information is made available!

 

*UPDATE* 8/15 – It’s looking more and more like a Wreck It Ralph ride featuring the Sugar Rush scene in the movie! Hoping to hear an announcement soon from Disney Parks