Friday, February 6, 2015

Be Our Guest ~ for lunch!

This just in!  Beginning February 25, 2015, the hardest to get reservation in all of Disney World will be at Be Our Guest, yet again!  And this time, for a quick service lunch selection.  Guests will also have the option to pre-order their meal 30 days prior up to 5 minutes before their reservation. 

Lunch is served from 10:30am - 2:30pm & will feature plated items that are ordered at the kiosks located in the Beast's Library of the restaurant.  You will be able to sit at your table of choice (based on availability) and your meal will be brought to you by one of the wait staff.  Drinks will be refillable but you will have to refill them yourself.

I personally love the Be Our Guest lunch option.  The food was delicious when I went (I had the ham and cheese and fries, or the "Croque Monsieur and Pommes Frites" if using the Be Our Guest lingo). If you ever get the chance to dine here, I highly recommend the quick service lunch over the dinner option.  The dinner (for us) took a lot of time out of our night and overall, we didn't enjoy the food as much as other table service locations on Disney property.  

There isn't much information on whether this quick service reservation will be available 180 days out, or if reservations are available at the 30 days prior to date of reservation.  I can't wait to eat here again on February 14th for lunch :) 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Cars Land at Disneyland's California Adventure

Any fan of the Cars movies MUST go visit Cars Land at California Adventure.  Our first visit to Cars Land was just before Christmas, and they were all decked out for the holiday.  My kids loved the car snowman! 

 Cars Land has three main attractions - Mater's Junkyard Jamboree, Luigi's Flying Tires and the Radiator Springs Racers.  We loved Mater's Junkyard Jamboree, especially since my son could ride - the minimum height requirement was 32 inches. 

The other ride that you must make sure you do not miss is the Radiator Springs Racers.  This ride typically 'sells out' of the FastPasses early in the day - so make sure you head to the FastPass distribution line first thing as soon as you arrive to California Adventure.  If you are staying off site at a Good Neighbor hotel, try to go on a day that does not have extra Magic Hours for California Adventure - and arrive at least 30 minutes prior to park opening so you can get into the park as soon as they open the gates - then you'll have a good chance at getting a Fast Pass.  You can try to Standby line, but I have seen that line creep up to 2+ hour waits during the non-peak times, so just be prepared.  It really is a fantastic ride - you get the fun adventure through Radiator Springs, along with the thrill of the race!  There are two different tracks, so your second ride may be different from your first one! 

Disney really went all out with Cars Land - you truly feel like you've stepped into the movie when you first walk down the main drag.  It's a magical experience!

You and your kids can meet some of their favorite Cars characters over at the Cozy Cone Motel, as well as grab some fun snacks, all in a cone!

 Don't miss the dance party with DJ!  
For me, the magic really happens at night when all the Neon is turned on.  There's something very nostalgic about it!

Cars Land offers more than just another 'land' in Disney - it's a chance to step into the movie and really explore!  You can eat at Flo's V8 Café, walk through Luigi's Tire shop and watch the cars race by.  Kids and adults enjoy this fun area of California Adventure!
Have you been to Cars Land?  What did you think of it?

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Premium Character Dining Meal at California Adventure - Ariel's Grotto


 One of the Premium Character dining options available at the Disneyland Resort is Ariel's Grotto, inside California Adventure.  This is a must stop for our family, since we have a HUGE Ariel fan in the family.  (You may noticed she's dressed as Ariel in these photos)

 Advanced reservations (up to 60 days in advance) are definitely recommended - when you check in at the podium, you may want to request to sit inside - it can get a bit chilly outside next to the water.   Before they seat you at your table, you stop to see Ariel first - she will sign autograph books, and pose for pictures, along with the official souvenir photo, available for purchase during your meal.

After you sit, at least 4 princesses will come and visit you at your table - each one is officially announced upon their entrance, and the anticipation of them arriving at your table is often hard for the little ones to contain.  On this particular afternoon, we were visited by Jasmine, Aurora, Snow White and Tiana.
 The princesses are present for Breakfast, lunch and dinner - but they are not present for the World of Color dining package option.

The food is delicious - their menu offerings have changed over the past few years, but we haven't been disappointed.  The kids menu offers kid-friendly meals, and if you have little ones younger than 3 traveling with you, they have special menu selections available for them, at no additional charge when you pre-pay for the Premium Character Dining.

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Thursday, September 11, 2014

Fun at Disneyland's Mickey's Halloween Party

October is one of my favorite times to visit Disneyland.  It helps that my family has lots of birthdays in October (mine and my daughter's included) so it makes it a little extra special when visiting the Happiest Place on Earth!

If you love to dress up, this is a great party for you!  It's the one time of year that adults get to arrive in costume as well as the kids!  Just make sure you follow the costume guidelines - it needs to be child friendly and can't obstruct/ offend other guests.  Disney has a complete set of guidelines to follow, but if you keep it kid-friendly (you are at Disneyland after all) it shouldn't be hard to stick to the guidelines. 

If you are dressed up as a Disney Character, expect all the cast members to call you by your character name - My husband (dressed up as Captain Hook) was even scolded for trying to get into Pixie Hollow to see Tinkerbell! (they were kidding, of course)  My daughter thought it was hilarious that they thought he was the REAL Captain Hook - my daughter still talks about this, even a year later.

Mickey's Halloween Party is a separately ticketed event.  This mean that Disneyland closes early to the general public that purchased the daytime tickets.  Depending on what time the party starts, Mickey's Halloween Party ticketholders get to enter the park 3 hours early.  So if your party starts at 6pm, be sure to show up a bit before 3pm to start lining up to enter!  You'll get plenty of time to enjoy the park before the party officially gets started.

Why attend the event?  Mickey's Halloween party is a fun time to see the special Halloween Parade and Fireworks show, as well as take advantage of some serious Trick or Treating!  The last couple of years my family has been we've walked away with way too much candy - my kids LOVED it!  My husband loves that the lines are usually pretty quick during the party -so while I go trick or treating with the kids, he can zoom from ride to ride and then catch up with us later.

What is different about the park during Halloween time?  Disneyland is transformed with hundreds (maybe thousands?) of Pumpkins and Jack-o-lanterns throughout the park.  They really do a fantastic job getting the place ready!  Jack Skeleton, of Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas hosts the Halloween party and takes over the Haunted Mansion.  This is a great time to visit the Haunted Mansion if your kids are a little afraid of the original version of the Haunted Mansion.  One ride that also transforms for Halloween time is Space Mountain - this transforms into Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy - which in my opinion is a scarier version - it has ghosts flying by and loud screams. 

  You are sure to find some extra special treats at the parks that you won't find other times during the year!
Even if you don't go to Mickey's Halloween Party, Halloween Time in the parks is a lot of fun!  You get to see more Villains out in the parks, and the fall décor is amazing!

 It isn't too late to book your Halloween trip for 2014, or it's a great time to start planning your 2015 Halloween trip!  Fill out a quote request at and I will get back with you shortly to start planning your dream vacation!

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Monday, April 28, 2014

Save a Dime (or Two) at Disney
by  MMM Tara Jones
Going to Disney? Then you already know you will be spending a pretty penny for your memorable vacation, and it’s well worth every cent. But besides resort and park tickets,  Disney doesn’t have to cost a lot. If you are interested in saving a few bucks, read on for some smart money-saving tips at the Happiest  Place on Earth!

Autograph Books
These little babies can cost anywhere from $10 to $30. Multiply that by the # of kids you have and it can be a small fortune. Making your own books is an economical way to bring home a unique souvenir that doesn’t look mass-produced. Involve your kids in the process (ie, depending on their ages, their help can range from  choosing stickers, themes,  and designs to making the entire book themselves).  Supplies are easy to find at local craft stores or craft departments at big box discount stores. . All you need is a spiral-bound journal or photo album, (I recommend spiral so the pages don’t fall out) scrapbook paper in the desired color/design, stickers, and a permanent pen (or letter stickers), and Voila! An autograph book as unique as your child!
Handy hint: Bring along a clickable sharpie for those autographs. They write smoothly and are easier to grip for characters with big paws or gloves!
Frozen autograph book.JPGMickey autograph book.JPG

Orlando has several grocery delivery companies, and, while they’re a bit more than going to the store yourself (if you have a car), the slight mark up is insignificant compared to the time and energy saved. I mean, they’re delivered to your resort room, waiting for you to enjoy!  And you can order everything from eggs to organic chicken to cereal and milk. Deli meats, cheeses, and bakery-fresh breads are a great bag lunch option for a day in the parks, or even for the flight home!  Unless you’re using Disney’s Deluxe Dining plan or higher, you will probably need that 3rd meal or snack at least sometimes, and you will save big by bringing your own snacks and drinks into the parks or eating breakfast in your room. (, are just a couple of options).
On many rides in Disney parks, you exit into or near a gift shop (think Pirates of the Caribbean). Disney’s marketing geniuses know this is a great way to get you to spend more of your hard-earned money. But once again, you can outsmart them by planning ahead and purchasing Disney merchandise off-site at bargain prices. Shop before you leave home for tchotchkes at discount stores or check out sales at your local Disney store. Also, once in Orlando, there are a few Disney-themed outlets that offer authentic Disney merchandise at a discount. Here’s a cute idea: have another person (or you) take the kids out of the room and arrange their “gifts” on their bed. Tell them throughout the day that if they are extra-good, the fairies, princesses, pirates (or whatever Disney character they are into) will leave them a special gift. What a motivator to stay on the straight-and-narrow, and not beg for souvenirs! When they return and find their surprise, their eyes will light up and you will feel like Olaf in summer!

Weather Gear
Central Florida is famous for unpredictable weather. You can  almost count on it being warm most of the time, but it’s not unheard of for a cold front to make its way to visit Mickey and the Gang. If going in the winter months, bring a jacket and pants, even if the weather report says it will be warm. And no matter what season it is, a rain storm may be just a wind gust away. If you get caught in a famous Florida storm while in the parks, you can either  follow the rest of the crowd lining up to purchase a pricey Mickey Mouse poncho,or you can just pull your inexpensive dime-store poncho out of your bag, chuckle at the lines you just avoided, and move on to the next ride. If you have a stroller in tow, be sure to bring along a waterproof stroller cover or a couple of extra dime-store parkas to cover it, as stroller parking is mostly out in the elements.

See Ya Real Soon!
Are you the type who visits Disney yearly? If so, take advantage of Disney’s Bounceback offer, which offers a deep discount if you rebook a Disney trip before checking out of your resort. Not sure how it works or what time of year to visit again? No problem! Call or email your travel agent and they can perform their magic for you while you use your last Space Mountain fast pass for the day.

Planning ahead for your Disney vacation is a must these days, and with a few extra steps, you can save a bundle and have the time of your life doing so. Think of the money you save as a head start on next year’s vacation fund. Happy Disney Travels!