What to Know Before You Visit Disney World's Galaxy's Edge

Ignite the Spark!

So, you’re planning on heading to Galaxy’s Edge. And it probably seems pretty daunting what with it being one of the biggest additions to Walt Disney World in the past few years. Trust me, I totally get it. When I went in for the very first time, I was completely overwhelmed. So much to see, so little time. It’s a different planet over there - literally! Today, I thought I’d do a little rundown on all things Galaxy’s Edge to get you ready for your own trip to Batuu.

You’re “On-Stage” In Batuu

You may not think much of the idea of Galaxy’s Edge being themed like a planet billions of lightyears away, especially if you aren’t much of a Star Wars fan. But it’s probably something you ought to keep in mind. When you’re in Galaxy’s Edge, you’re always “on-stage.” The Cast Members are in character as the residents of Batuu all the time. It’s really as if you’ve walked out of Disney World and into a completely different world. For starters, anything outside of Galaxy’s Edge does not exist when you’re in it. Want to locate a meet and greet with your favourite mouse? The residents of Batuu won’t know what you’re talking about. The residents really want you to feel like you’re somewhere far from home.

There’s A Special Lingo

Speaking of a whole new world, let’s talk lingo. Batuu is full of phrases that you’ve probably never heard before but that you’ll know by heart once you leave at the end of the day. When you enter the land or come across residents in the morning, you might be greeted with a “Bright Suns!” or in the evening, you might hear “Rising Moons!” When someone is wishing you a good day, they’ll say: “Til the spire!” In a place like Batuu, which is crawling with Stormtroopers, it’s definitely important for everyone to know who’s who. You gotta watch out for danger! So to let someone know that you’re with the First Order, you’d say: “For the Order,” or if you’re with the Resistance, you’d say: “Ignite the spark!” And you might wonder why a resident wishes you, “Safe travels” - well that’s because if you’re in Batuu, then you’re from a different planet and you’re travelling there! So, they’re wishing you safe travels home or wherever your journey make take you. It’s a lot to remember but the lingo really helps give the land a more immersive feel.

Advanced Reservations

Something about Galaxy’s Edge that’s super important to take note of is the option to make advanced reservations. Since the park opened to the public on August 29, guests have been able to make Advanced Reservations for Oga’s Catina, Savi’s Workshop, and Droid Depot. This is pretty huge because typically, advanced reservations are only available for dining venues. To have the option to make a reservation for popular experiences like lightsaber and droid building is huge as it’ll help you ensure that you get to experience all that Galaxy’s Edge has to offer! You can make reservations 180 days in advance so make sure to make your reservations as soon as possible! At this time, there is no option of Advanced Reservations or Fastpass+ for Smuggler’s Run, the Millennium Falcon ride. So, the bonus of making reservations for the other experiences is more time to queue up for Smuggler’s Run!

Alcoholic Beverages

One thing that is significantly different between Walt Disney World’s Galaxy’s Edge and Disneyland’s Galaxy’s Edge is the availability of alcoholic beverages. In Disneyland, the land is kept relatively dry except for the few cocktails you can purchase from Oga’s Cantina. But at Hollywood Studios, you’ll have no trouble finding booze - and that’s the same for Galaxy’s Edge! You can find alcoholic drinks at Ronto Roasters and Oga’s Cantina, as well as alcoholic blue and green milk. My parents actually tried the green milk (I was sadly one day from being legal, sad) and they really enjoyed it. The green milk is paired with tequila, while the blue milk is with rum. PRO TIP: If you’re not from the US and you plan to purchase a drink in Galaxy’s Edge, you’ll have to bring a passport (or photo of your passport) to present alongside your driver’s license as I.D.!!

You Can Make Use of Discounts

If you’re travelling to Batuu with a Walt Disney World Annual Pass, you’re in luck! Your pass can be used for discounts on merchandise inside the land. And you’re going to need that discount because there is a lot of fantastic merch available in Galaxy’s Edge that you are going to want to get your hands on and we ain’t made of money. Using your AP or “yellow card” (the official Batuu lingo for your pass) will save you a few bucks here and there while you're shopping and that’s really going to add up in the end! However, at this time, Annual Pass discounts are not available on the Savi’s Workshop or Droid Depot experiences* (*as of Sept 17, 2019). Just make sure you have your “credentials” (I.D.) on you at all times to confirm your pass!

I hope this guide helps you guys plan your trip to Galaxy’s Edge!

Felicia x


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Review: Droid Depot at Galaxy’s Edge

Hello everybody!

A little while back, I wrote up a lengthy post about my experience at the Annual Passholder Preview of Walt Disney World’s Galaxy’s Edge - that can be found here if you fancy giving it a read. Ever since I visited Galaxy’s Edge in August, my mind, body, and soul have been dying to go back. So I guess I’ll just have to live vicariously through my own experiences by writing up a ton of blog posts! Today, I thought I’d write up a post specifically about my experience at the Droid Depot.

First, let’s get the details out of the way. The Droid Depot is a store/experience located on the planet of Batuu, aka Galaxy’s Edge at Hollywood Studios. This is where you can build your very own droid pal to take home with you! The whole process costs $99.99 USD - this includes both the experience of building the droid, the actual droid itself, and a cardboard take-home box. You can also purchase a backpack to carry your droid in around the land, as it will interact with different features inside Galaxy’s Edge (more on that in a sec), but unfortunately, I didn’t notice them in the store so I’m not sure on the pricing of those. Lastly, you can pick up personality chips for $12.99 a piece. These will alter the sounds and behaviours of your droid, and are purchased after building the droid.

At the time that I built my droid, since it was during the AP Preview, they weren’t taking reservations at Droid Depot. Since then, guests of Batuu have been able to make reservations for this experience at My Disney Experience 180 days in advance. I would suggest trying to get a reservation as there is very limited space inside the depot, and it’s just safer that way!

The very first thing we did upon our arrival to Galaxy’s Edge, aside from getting Batuu Coke, was get in line for the Droid Depot. We waited about 30-35 minutes to get into the depot and the wait was all outside with only a couple scattered umbrellas for shade - take this another case for booking an advanced reservation for this experience! It was a very hot wait. Once we got inside, we were filed into another, much shorter line to pay. The very first thing you do is pay and then you get to build your droid. I think it just makes it easier for them to make sure everyone leaving with a droid has paid for that droid. Keep in mind, only 2 people are able to build 1 droid. So, my family of 4 had to split into 2 groups to make 2 separate droids. This is due to the tight building stations.

We got up to the counter, paid our $99.99, and then had to make a decision of which droid we wanted to build. You have two options: R2-series (which is similar to the real O.G. R2D2) or BB-series (the newer, BB-8 style). Steven and I already discussed this beforehand, which I recommend you and your building partner also do, so we were prepared for this question - and we chose BB-series! Of course, this doesn’t narrow you down to one uniform style of droid. In other words, the series doesn’t determine the colour or style of your droid, it only determines which parts you’ll need to pick up to start building. The depot workers handed us a tray with a guide to the parts we needed on the bottom and we headed over to the conveyor belt.

At the conveyor belt, you get to choose all the parts that will make up the final product of your droid. Several parts (Both R2-series and BB-series) roll by, and it’s up to you to find the parts you’re looking for in the styling and colour that you want. While the picture above is of the parts for an R2-series unit, which my parents built, you can get an idea of what the conveyor process looks like. They have an area you can set your tray down so that you can reach out for all the parts. There’s also Cast Members everywhere that are able to help you. Steven and I found our parts quite quickly because, again, we knew ahead of time what we wanted for our droid. I suggest doing the same. Look through blog posts, pictures, YouTube videos, and get an idea of what they offer in terms of droids parts, so you can decide ahead of time what you’re looking for. It’ll help make the process quicker and easier for you.

For a BB-series droid, we had 4 parts to locate - a dome, a dome connection plate, a body sphere, and a motivator. We also had the choice of 3 types of bodies - Resistance, BB8, or Imperial. We knew that we wanted ours to look just like BB-8, but with purple colouring, so we looked for those specific parts. It honestly took less than 2 minutes to find all the parts we needed. A Cast Member found us as we were picking the last part up and sent us over to an empty station where we got to work on making our new friend.

I can’t even describe how easy it was to put together this droid. I think that the Imagineers made this a simple process so that kids would be able to do all the constructing if they wanted to. There is an instruction placemat on the building station which you can easily reference while you put the pieces together. While there were some tricky spots, like connecting the dome and dome connection plate with a drill (harder than it sounds!), it was pretty straightforward and again, there are Cast Members everywhere to help. Once we got all our parts put together, we pressed a button on the station that called over a CM - and that’s where the magic happens! The CM puts your droid inside a little cubby with a remote control and has you press a button on the station that activates your droid. There’s a whole sequence where buttons light-up and it makes noises, I think kids will love that. And then your droid powers up and starts moving/making noises!

Lastly, the CM gave us the droid and remote to test out the functions. Be warned - the BB-series units are super touchy with the remote. The slightest touch of a button will send your droid hurtling across the room. Many a times has the head popped right off ours (don’t worry, it’s an easy fix, you just pop it right back on lol). We stuck mostly to testing out the head movement and noise functions. Then, the CM puts your droid and remote into a cardboard box with a little cut-out in the side, sort of like what you’d get when you made a Build A Bear. And that’s it! You get to take your little bud out of the depot and home with you.

Or, why not take your droid exploring around Batuu? As I mentioned earlier, the droids interact with different features and areas around the land. For example, since ours was a BB-8 droid, when we brought it into the First Order area, it started making uncertain nosies and physically shaking. Like, the whole box was quivering - because he was scared of getting caught by the First Order, of course! At one point, Chewie or Rey (can’t remember which) walked by, and our droid started getting excited. At this time, you aren’t able to take your droids out to roll around on the ground in Batuu. You can take them out to hold and get a picture of, as long as you put them right back into the box. This is because of the safety concerns of having a droid rolling around the feet of many, many visitors walking around the land. It’s also a case for buying the backpack, which you can open up so your droid can “see” the land. Or just put it in your own backpack and leave it unzipped to be honest.

All in all, I think the Droid Depot experience is definitely worth the price. Although the Savi’s Workshop lightsaber building experience is way cool, it is a lot more expensive. So if you’re worried about spending $200 on a toy your kid might break in a week (it happens!), or you don’t want to spend that kind of money on yourself, but you really want a cool experience and keepsake from Batuu, I would absolutely recommend getting a droid. I went in thinking it would be cute to get a droid, but never expected I’d be so impressed. The droids are really good quality and the function on them is excellent. And the interactivity with the land is worth the price alone!!

Would you build a droid, if you had the opportunity?

Felicia x


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Galaxy's Edge Annual Passholder Preview | August 19, 2019

Bright suns, my loves!

Last month, I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to travel to Galaxy’s Edge at Walt Disney World before the land officially opened to the public. With no hint of exaggeration, I’m here to tell you that it was one of the most incredible, immersive experiences that I have ever had at Disney World. My first thought after leaving the land was, Oh my gosh, I need to blog about that… So here I am, ready to share my thoughts and opinions with y’all, even though nobody asked for ‘em! Grab yourself a cup of coffee, hot cocoa, or Blue Milk, as this one’s going to be a long one today!

If you haven’t been keeping up with the Star Wars-related news, the new themed land, Galaxy’s Edge, opened to the public at Disney’s Hollywood Studios on August 29. The land took up the space that was once occupied by Streets of America and the Studio Backlot Tour. This land has been a long-time coming, and any and every Star Wars fan has been dying for their chance to step into this new, highly imaginative land. The area is devoted entirely to the world of Star Wars, and while it is based on the film franchise, the land actually represents Batuu, a planet on the Outer Rim Territories - which is not featured in the films. That means that the land isn’t just a carbon copy of anything you’ve ever seen before. It’s entirely original and has it’s own (new!) story to share, while integrating stories and characters that fans know and love.

Awhile back, my family heard the news that Disney would be giving Walt Disney World Platinum Annual Passholders the opportunity to preview Galaxy’s Edge sometime in August. Luckily, we were spending the whole month in Orlando. So we spent the summer frantically checking our emails until we finally heard on Facebook that the emails had been sent out - but we hadn’t received ours. However, we got super lucky as someone posted the registration link and I managed to get the four of us an appointment to preview on August 19 at 1pm. Yay!! Our preview appointment was from 1pm to 5pm, so we were permitted to be in the land for 4 glorious hours.

On August 19, we arrived at Hollywood Studios around 12pm so that we were there well in advance. There was no way we were missing our appointment! One of the first things we did was head through the shops down Hollywood Boulevard and then Sunset Boulevard. There were a few Galaxy’s Edge items for sale in the shops on Hollywood Blvd, but there were a ton down at Once Upon a Time, which is the last shop on the right before Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage and Fantasmic. They had Magicbands, t-shirts, pins and more. Some of the items for purchase were passholder exclusives, which made sense as it was the passholder preview day… But a few items were available to the general public. We ended buying a bunch of pins and each of us bought a t-shirt with the date on it.

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Around 12:30pm, we made our way over to Grand Avenue which is where the largest entrance to Galaxy’s Edge is located. Despite being 30 minutes early for our appointment, they actually allowed us in anyway which was amazing. The more time in the land, the better! The check-in process for the preview was so efficient. I couldn’t believe how quickly and smoothly it went. It was so fast that I could barely process it was happening. At the first Cast Member checkpoint, we presented our confirmation email and our passports for identification. Then, at the next checkpoint, the CM scanned our MagicBands. There were so many CMs at the checkpoints, about a dozen at each, so there was no line whatsoever. And that was it! We could go inside! We went through this large archway which looked like a subway entrance. As you passed through, the tiles on the wall started to look deteriorated and eventually, by the end, it looked like a tunnel that was falling apart which perfectly suited the general aesthetic of the land.

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Upon entering the land, I was completely and utterly awestruck. Everyone I know who had already been to Galaxy’s Edge, either in Disneyland or Disney World, had gone on about how large everything is. But until you actually stand among the rocks and the buildings, you don’t realize just how massive everything is. If you’re wondering about sightlines and the likelihood of seeing other park attractions from inside Galaxy’s Edge, you can’t. I was worried that you might be able to see things from other areas of Hollywood Studios, which might ruin the feel of the land, but I didn’t see anything while I was in there. You are wholly immersed in Batuu from the moment you enter the land to the moment you leave.

One of the very first things we did upon our arrival into Batuu was hop into a line at a beverage kiosk to grab ourselves some special galactic Coke products. In Batuu, there is no such thing as Coke - although, you can still get these fizzy products. Coke, Diet Coke, Sprite, and Dasani are all available inside the land in these ‘scrap metal’ containers that resemble detonators. The only difference with these products to regular Coke products is the label. Gone is the logo we know and love, replaced with an Aurebesh logo… Aurebesh being the written language used in Batuu, of course. Honestly, this is just overpriced Coke in cute plastic bottles. But while there is no such thing as Coke here in Batuu, there is such thing as heat. It is hot in this land y’all, especially in the dead of summer. These are the only drink products they sell in the land (at least when I was there), so if you’re not up to paying an exorbitant fee for pop, then definitely bring your own drinks. The good news is, there are water bottle filling stations inside the park - and they’re themed, too!

Regardless, these bottles were a fun one-time experience and we kept them as souvenirs.

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Inside of Galaxy’s Edge, there are two major experiences that you can partake in that are not rides. The first and perhaps most popular is Savi’s Workshop where you can build your own “piece of scrap metal”… or at least, that’s what the residents of Batuu call it! What you’re really doing is building your own lightsaber in an intimate encounter with a fantastic storyline. While my family chose not to build lightsabers, we did choose to make our own customizable droids at the Droid Depot. Both experiences are quite pricey, but comparatively, Savi’s is much more expensive. A lightsaber will set you back about $200 USD, whereas a droid only costs around $100. Before heading to the land, Steven and I already knew we wanted to build a droid, so we budgeted for that. When we got there, my parents also decided they wanted their own because hello, these things are so cute! I’ll put together a detailed review of the Droid Depot experience and link that here so you can read about that full process, if you’re interested.

As for the final product…

Ta-da! I present you BB-13, our little baby. Isn’t she cute?

One of the things I had heard the most buzz about before our trip to Batuu was the Milk Stand. If you’ve ever seen A New Hope, then you may remember Luke Skywalker pouring himself a seemingly disgusting glass of blue-coloured milk. Um, gross, right? Well, you can get some of that Blue Milk - or even some Green Milk - at Galaxy’s Edge! There’s a huge debate going on right now about which is better. I insisted on trying these two milks because when in Rome, right? Or, rather, when in Batuu. Anyway, after trying both, I’m ready to weigh in on the debate… I’m going to have to side with Team Blue Milk! After sipping both, I couldn’t accurately describe the taste of either. Others say that the green is more of a plant-y, tropical taste, whereas the blue is more fruity. I agree with that.

Unlike Luke’s disgusting milk though, these aren’t actual milk products. They’re instead frosty drinks made of coconut and rice milks. The Blue Milk is a subtle combination of dragon fruit, pineapple, lime, and watermelon flavours. The Green Milk is instead made up of mandarin orange, passion fruit, grapefruit, and orange blossom. Neither were very strong in taste, but were both very refreshing. I wasn’t so sure about the consistency when I first heard about it, but I actually really enjoyed it. Both reminded me of smoothies.

Also, at Walt Disney World’s Galaxy’s Edge, you can get both of these milks as alcoholic options! The Blue Milk comes with rum, while Green Milk comes with tequila. I’d love to try the Blue Alcoholic Milk the next time I go.

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And then, the moment we’ve all been waiting for… We came across the most incredible and majestic of all… The fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy! THE MILLENNIUM FREAKING FALCON. I gotta tell you, there is nothing that could have prepared me for seeing the Millennium Falcon in person. It is MASSIVE. I don’t even know if I can put into words how magical it was to stand in front of it. I couldn’t believe - and still cannot believe - how authentic it looked. I think that even non-fans will be impressed by the sheer size and detail of the Millennium Falcon replica in Galaxy’s Edge. The imagineering that went into this land is simply inspiring and I applaud absolutely everyone who took part in the creation of this marvellous place!

As some, if not most, of you may know, the Millennium Falcon structure is home to Smuggler’s Run, the land’s only attraction currently open. It will be accompanied by a second ride, Rise of the Resistance, later this year in December. Smuggler’s Run is a simulation-based thrill ride in which you take on a role to function the very spaceship that stands before you. That’s right, you get to operate and ride the Millennium Falcon! Unfortunately, I didn’t go on this ride as I don’t do well with simulation rides. But Steven and my dad went on and loved it!! I’m so excited to see what the new ride has in store for us! Hopefully, I’ll be able to ride that one.

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Something I really liked about the set-up of Galaxy’s Edge is the area surrounding the Millennium Falcon. First, they have a raised platform with PhotoPass photographers available to take your photo with the Falcon in the background. Then, down a few steps, you’re right in front of the ship. This is where the entrance to the ride is located. The area is fully blocked off, as you can see by the fencing behind me in the picture, so the front of the Falcon is really just a photo op area. Whether because of the AP Preview being so quiet or because of this set-up, we managed to get really good photos in front of the Falcon with no one in the background. If you go to Disney World often, you’ll know how much of a treat this is! I was so happy with the photos we got and I’ll be framing them all, I’m sure.

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Although I’m steadfastly with the Resistance (Ignite the Spark!), I was very much looking forward to making my way over to the First Order area of the land. Sorry, guys. Ya girl loves her Kylo Ren. Sadly though, I never came across Kylo!! We saw a ton of other characters roaming the land… Chewie, Rey, Vi Moradi, and about a dozen Stormtroopers. But we never did see our luscious-locked baddie. I’m not really sure why that was. We were inside the land for 4 hours and walked around the entire thing a few times, but just never saw him! Hopefully, the next time we travel intergalactically, we stumble upon our favourite First Order leader.

And there ya go, that was our day in Galaxy’s Edge! Overall, our experience was perfection. Everything from the details of the architecture to the extent to which Cast Members stayed in character was so impressive. When we finally, and begrudgingly, left the land at the end of our preview, we felt so strange walking back into Hollywood Studios. Being inside Galaxy’s Edge truly felt like being in a different world - or at least in a different park! Of course, we shopped until we dropped inside the land, and hopefully soon I’ll be able to post a Galaxy’s Edge haul for you guys.

I hope you enjoyed my extra long post about my time in Galaxy’s Edge! Talk soon, my lovelies.

Felicia x

Disney Parks Halloween Merchandise Wishlist | 2019

~*~ It’s spooky season! ~*~

I gotta tell ya, I love Halloween. I can’t even explain why. I’m not really a ‘horror’ person - I couldn’t watch a scary movie to save my life, jump-scares give me panic attacks, and I cringe at the sight of blood. But I just love the cozy autumnal feeling of Halloween, especially of the not-so-scary persuasion. Disney checks off every box on my list for giving off the perfect Halloween vibes. Every August, when Disney’s Magic Kingdom park is transformed into a Halloween town (no, not that Halloweentown sadly), I’m enamoured. I want nothing less than to live in that little fictional town, on Main Street U.S.A., among the scarecrows and jack-o’-lanterns.

One of the best parts of Disney’s Halloween is also one of the best parts of Disney in general: merch. As you can imagine, Disney goes full-out with their Halloween goods. It usually goes out for sale around the same time as the first Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party of the season which just so happened to be a lot earlier than usual this year, haunting Magic Kingdom on August 16 this year. So, of course, I ran to see what sorts of goodies they had in store for this season. And I compiled a bit of a list (okay, so it’s a rather sizeable list) of all the bits and pieces I love this season - and today, I want to share it with you guys!

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Mickey & Minnie Mouse Cauldron Mug ($19.99)

Available on ShopDisney [x]

This cauldron mug is simply adorable! I’m absolutely loving Mickey and Minnie in their vampire and witchy costumes. I think that the fact that this mug is shaped as a cauldron is positively delightful. If I didn’t already have way more mugs than any human would ever need, I would have already added this to my collection! What’s so cute is that there’s a little spider decal on the bottom of the inside of the mug with a teeny Mickey head in it, and the back of the mug says “Brewing Up A Terror-ific Time!” I feel that size-wise, this mug is really great, and the details just make it so much better.

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Minnie Mouse Witch Sequined Ear Headband ($27.99)

Available on ShopDisney [x]

These Minnie ears are so FUN!! Like c’mon, who can deny that these are adorable? While I’m usually not into over-the-top ears, these are too cute to pass up on. Last Halloween, whilst handing out candy to kids at home, I wore a headband with a mini witch’s hat on top - and now this year, I think I’ll just have to wear these ears instead!! Considering these ears are going for the same price as most other Minnie ears, I think these are arguably more worth the $27.99. They’ve got the addition of the witch’s hat plus a large, sequined bow. Also, on the actual headband piece, there’s stitching that reads “Let’s get wicked!” - so sweet. Personally, I think these are a better set of ears than the new Candy Corn ears, which I’m not huge on. I think it definitely helps that I love the colour purple though!

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Minnie Mouse Sequin Mini Backpack by Loungefly - Candy Corn ($90.00)

Available on ShopDisney [x]

Ahhh this Loungefly is so pricey but so darn cute!!! Honestly, the quality on Loungefly backpacks looks so good, I wish I had the money to spend on one :( But someday maybe! (NOTE: while I was working on this post, my parents gave me an early birthday gift and it was the Star Wars Baby Character mini backpack! What are the odds?!) I love the candy corn details on this bag. Not only did they include the candy corn bow on this bag, which is similar to the one on the ears, but they also put the design on the zippers and the slider on the front! I love these sparkly bags and think they’re super fun and festive. This would be a great bag to take with you to MNSSHP.

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Walt Disney World Candy Corn Spirit Jersey ($64.99)

Available on ShopDisney [x]

Oh my gosh, this spirit jersey was SO hard to find. I ended up actually purchasing this bad boy as my dad hunted it down in Disney Springs for me a couple days after it was released. But it was hard to find! I went to Magic Kingdom the day after the Halloween merch was released and it was sold out at Big Top Souvenirs… Went to Epcot the next day and it was sold out at MouseGears… I was really losing out hope until my dad texted me that he located it at World of Disney - and it was the second last size small available! I LOVE this spirit jersey. I mean, I love most of the spirit jerseys, but this one was super special to me. Check out those sparkles! That’s right friends. All those white specks on the jersey are SPARKLES. How heavenly is that? It’s just really pretty and the pumpkin decals are so cute.

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Poisoned Apple Votive Candle Holder ($19.99)

Available on ShopDisney [x]

I LOVE THIS. Y’all, I love candles. Just so much. There’s nothing that gives me that cozy, spooky feel more than candles. A candle holder shaped like a poisoned apple is basically the best thing that could possibly happen. This would be so lovely to put on my mantlepiece, with a little tealight glowing through whilst I watch Hocus Pocus on repeat for the month of October lol. Also, have you guys heard that Freeform will be playing Hocus Pocus like, 30 times throughout the month of October as part of their 31 Nights of Halloween series? And they’ll be playing it on repeat on the 31st! Anyway, I just love this little candle holder, it’s small and adorable, and I think it’d be a fair-priced addition to my Halloween decor!

Have you guys seen the Disney Halloween merch? What’re you guys wishing for?

Felicia x

Blogmas 2018 Day Five: My Favourite Disney World Holiday Traditions

I really do believe that no one does the holidays better than Disney does. Christmas is sososo beautiful in the parks. They drown everything in sparkly lights and there’s just a really cozy feeling in every inch of the parks and resorts. As my family visits Walt Disney World every year for Christmas, we’ve been lucky enough to do a bunch of different holiday-themed experiences. So today I thought I’d share my absolute faves with you guys! So without further ado, let’s get right on to it!

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THE MONORAIL RESORT LOOP DECORATIONS

One of my all-time favourite holiday traditions in the parks is taking a trip around the monorail resort loop and seeing all the beautiful Christmas decorations!! I think this is probably one of the best free holiday activities in Disney World that I consider an absolute must-do every year. If you park at Magic Kingdom, you can hop on the resort monorail and visit all 3 resorts around the Seven Seas Lagoon. Every resort has it’s own unique decorations, complete with a giant Christmas tree themed to the resort. They’re all so beautiful and photogenic! In the past few years, my family has chosen to do brunch at the Grand Floridian Cafe and then we head around the loop which is a really chill and fun way to do it.

GRAND FLORIDIAN GINGERBREAD HOUSE

Although this is technically a part of the monorail resort loop, I think it’s worth mentioning separately. The Gingerbread House is phenomenal!! Boasting 5,089 gingerbread shingles, this is an absolute monstrosity made out of gingerbread and other sweets. Honestly, when else in your life are you going to be able to see a giant house made out of gingerbread? Probably never, right? Not only can you take adorable pics of this beauty, but you can also buy the edible shingles to take home and try for yourself which is really cool.

MAGIC KINGDOM PARADE

I completely and utterly love the Magic Kingdom Christmas parade so much!! I haven’t been able to see it every single year unfortunately but this year, I’ve specifically set aside time to go out and see it which I’m very excited about. It features all our favourite Disney characters in their festive winter garb along with a few Christmas favourites, like toy soldiers (my faves), reindeers and Santa Claus himself!!

HOLLYWOOD STUDIOS DECORATIONS

Guys, there’s not much I love more in this world than Gertie in her Santa hat!!! Like how freaking cute? They’ve really put a lot of work into amping up the decorations in Hollywood Studios over the past few years and I’ve been absolutely loving it. Last year, we tried to take it all in but unfortunately it was absolutely FREEZING (I had to buy a sweater and a blanket to wear around the park lol). But this year, we’re going to go out and see them properly. They’ve also added some decorations to the new Toy Story Land so I’m excited to get my first look at those!

THE EPCOT INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL OF THE HOLIDAYS

Y’all probably know by now how much I love my Epcot festivals. There are so many incredible experiences at Epcot during the holiday season. You can try a bunch of holiday food delights from different countries, hear how cultures celebrate during the holidays, and see the Candlelight Processional which is a really incredible experience that’s hosted by celebrities through the end of November and the month of December. I think that the cultural aspect of Epcot is one of my favourite aspects of the park, and Christmas time really reflects that.

What’s your favourite Walt Disney World holiday experience?

Felicia x

To view a list of all my Blogmas posts, click here.

Walt Disney World Haul 2018

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As you probably know if you've been following my Instagram or read my latest blog post, I recently spent time in Walt Disney World, celebrating my 20th birthday (which you can read about here). While I was there, I got completely pulled into the merchandise trap which is pretty much the least surprising thing ever haha. So I thought I'd share with you guys some of the things I picked up! 

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Pumpkin Antenna Topper - When I first arrived in Disney, they had just put out all the Halloween decorations and merchandise around the parks. On our first day there, we went to Disney Springs and I found myself in Halloween HEAVEN. The first thing I picked up was this adorable pumpkin Mickey antenna topper. Currently, I have a regular Minnie Mouse topper but I thought this would be a cute change for the fall season. On the back of this topper, it says 'Hey, Pumpkin' which is just the cutest thing ever!! I literally can't wait to pop this on my car. 

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Mickey Ghost Mug - The other Halloween thing I bought while I was at the parks was this incredible Mickey mug. How cute is this?! It's a ghost Mickey and on the back it says 'Boo To You'. I already have wayyyyy too many mugs but honestly, this was a necessary addition to my collection. I love all things Halloween themed and they had an amazing variety this year. It's getting me so excited for the Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party in October! 

Journal - I hemmed and hawed a lot before deciding to buy this journal, but it was one of the best purchases I made. This beautiful hardcover journal is covered in retro-looking Walt Disney World logos and designs and has Mickey silhouettes on the pages. I picked this up after deciding that I wanted to keep a journal of all my Disney stays as a memory book. This was the perfect pick, in my opinion, and I can't wait to get writing!

Starbucks 'You Are Here' Hollywood Studios Mug - I'm sure you guys have seen the You Are Here mugs at Starbucks before, they're pretty popular and usually have a city/state/province on them with a cute lil design. Starbucks has a Disney World collection, as well as a Disneyland collection. I already have the Epcot and Magic Kingdom mugs, so I picked up the Hollywood Studios one this trip - and now I've only got the Animal Kingdom one left, and then I've got the entire set! 

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Rose Gold Phone Case - I fell in love with this the moment I saw it. Rose gold is my favourite and this is no exception. This bad boy has a little clasp on it and opens up to be a wallet with a few card slots as well as a window one, which makes it perfect for holding my Disney Annual Pass and my i.d. for getting discounts in the park. And, of course, it holds my phone. Hooray for multi-purposeful pretty merch!! 

New Fantasyland Mystery Pin Pack - On my birthday, I decided to treat myself to this adorable mystery pack. It comes with two Beauty and the Beast themed mystery pins, which are themed to the Beauty and the Beast area of the New Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom. I got the pin of Belle walking away from her house while reading (which I unfortunately already own) and the three Bimbettes sitting in Gaston's Tavern. They're super cute!! Can't wait to add them to my collection. 

2018 and Epcot pins - Following the pin trend, I bought two more! Shocker, lol. I bought a Walt Disney World 2018 pin with Minnie Mouse on it, as I used to collect yearly pins when I visited as a child but I stopped for a few years which I massively regret. So I'm back to collecting annual Disney pins! I also picked up this super cute Epcot pin, which features icons of the major rides (Spaceship Earth, Mission Space, Test Track, etc.) and has a super cute Mickey on it! I saw it once about a week ago and then it was sold out nearly everywhere I looked until I finally found this one - and it was the last one there! Phew haha

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Disney H20 Sea Salt Body Lotion - Because Disney H20 products are the cutest ever and remind me of the resorts, I took a few of the complimentary hand lotions home *shrugs*. I'm gonna have to pop one of these into my school bag so I can apply this in class and miss Disney and cry all semester lol

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Haunted Mansion & Halloween MagicBands - Last, but certainly not least, I picked up these two lovely MagicBands! The Haunted Mansion one has a Ghost Host uniform on one side and Ghost Hostess uniform on the other! The Halloween one is decorated in a few of the characters dressed for Halloween, some ghosts and candy, and an orange castle! 

I've only been back for a little while and I'm already ready to go back! Post-Disney depression is real :( 

Felicia x

Five Facts About Epcot's World Showcase

Welcome to Epcot, World Travellers! This park has had a very special place in my heart for many many years although it wasn't always that way. When I was a little girl, my parents and I only popped into Epcot for short visits to go to the Akershus Royal Banquet Hall for the princess breakfast and then leave. Can you believe it? Little did we know we were missing out on a whole 'world' of fun (pun intended haha). 

One of the best parts of Epcot, hands down, is the World Showcase. The World Showcase takes up about half the park's estate and is made up of eleven countries. It's educational but not boring in the least. There is so much to do! But did you know that the World Showcase has it's fair share of secrets? Here are five fun facts about the World Showcase!

ORDER UP!

The annual Epcot International Food and Wine Festival is a huge event for foodies. With over 70 days and 35 marketplaces, there is definitely no shortage of opportunities for delicious food tasting. But the most shocking part of it all is the sheer size of the event. It's so huge, in fact, that during festival season, the park sells over 30,000 bottles of wine and over a million plates of food! That's a whole lotta food. You won't be leaving the park hungry, that's for sure.

MORE THAN MEETS THE EYE

Imagineers have been known to use forced perspective throughout the theme parks to make certain structures appear bigger to parkgoers, most notably Cinderella's Castle in the Magic Kingdom. But did you know that they also use it to make things look smaller? Imagineers wanted the American Adventure pavilion to be seen across the World Showcase lagoon, so they made the building a whopping 5 stories. However, to be historically accurate, they had to make it look 3 stories to coincide with the buildings in that era. So, everything is doubled in size - the windows are longer and the doors are taller!

RELIGIOUS BELIEFS

During the nighttime fireworks spectacular, IllumiNations, the pavilions light up the night as part of the spectacle. However, a keen eye may notice that Morocco doesn't light up. The reasoning behind their exception is that the main tower of the pavilion is made to replicate a prayer tower and lighting up the prayer tower would go against the Muslim beliefs of many Moroccan people. Disney didn't want to disrespect their culture and religion, so they chose to keep the pavilion dark during the show. 

LA TOUR EIFFEL

There are actually a couple interesting things to note about Epcot's Eiffel Tower replica. The Eiffel Tower in the France pavilion is one tenth of the real deal. It's also a different colour than the Eiffel Tower we know today. The Tower in Epcot is a pinkish shade and the reason is that's the shade it would have been when it was first created. The pavilion is meant to represent the late 1800s, an era known as 'La Belle Epoque', which is when the Eiffel Tower was first erected. 

TIME TRAVELLIN'

Take a closer look at the buildings in the United Kingdom pavilion next time you're at Epcot. You'll notice that as you pass by the shops, going further into the pavilion, you're actually 'walking through time', starting with the Tea Caddy which is meant to replicate the home of William Shakespeare's wife, Anne Hathaway. From there, you pass onto two shops built in 18th and 19th century styles, respectively. It's just another one of those special details that Disney makes sure to include in the park's architecture!

Which of Epcot's little secrets is your favourite?

Felicia x

 

Disney Must-Do's: Hollywood Studios

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I'm ready for my close-up! It's time for my Hollywood Studios must-do's. Although Hollywood Studios is in a bit of a transition period right now, there are still a bunch of fun things that you should see and do at this park. From walking the bustling streets of Hollywood to stepping into the exciting worlds of your favourite movies, there's adventure at every corner!

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Take a million pictures. This may seem very basic, but trust me when I say that Hollywood Studios is one of the most aesthetically pleasing parks in Walt Disney World. With the Chinese Theatre facade, the Tower of Terror, and basically just Hollywood Boulevard in general, there is no limit to the photo ops in this park. Some of my personal favourite photos to take are of Tower of Terror and Echo Lake, especially if there's an incredible sunset above!

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Go on a shopping spree. Hollywood Studios has arguably the best shopping of all the Disney World parks. On your next trip, I'd definitely recommend taking a stroll through the shops lining Hollywood Blvd and Sunset Blvd. They've got such a wide selection of Disney merch, including some Hollywood Studios specific merch and a ton of cute apparel. If you're looking for Pixar merchandise or an addition to your Dooney and Burke collection (a girl can dream, can't she?), then this is the place to be! It's also worth mentioning that the outsides of the shops are extremelyyy cute!

Step into Andy's backyard at Toy Story Land. Of course, I have to mention the newest addition to the Walt Disney World parks - Toy Story Land!! Coming off of the excitement of the Pandora opening last year, this land boasts two new rides, as well as a revamped Toy Story Mania. If you grew up in the 90s, you won't want to miss this. I recently gave a little review of my first impressions of the new land when I visited awhile back, which you can read here. The number one must-do here has to be the Slinky Dog Dash family coaster which looks incredibly fun and I cannot wait to give it a go when the lines aren't ridiculously long.

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Have a meal at 50s Prime Time Cafe. Keep your elbows off the table! The 50s Prime Time Cafe is the perfect burst of nostalgia and a great diner for some family fun. The whole place is set up like a stereotypical family's home kitchen in the 1950s, decorated right down to the most specific details, and they are very strict on making sure you mind your manners! All in all, it's an interactive restaurant fun for the whole family. 

Watch Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular Fireworks. Callin' all my Star Wars fans, this one is for you! The Star Wars fireworks at Hollywood Studios are sooo amazing. The way they incorporate fireworks, lasers, projections, and pyrotechnics is pretty phenomenal - plus they do a really good job of uniting the characters from the original trilogy, the prequels, and the recent films together seamlessly. And if you think Ewan McGregor is as perfect as I think he is (*swoon*) then you'll be thrilled to hear that he has quite a lot of face time in the show!! 

What are your Hollywood Studios must-do's?

Felicia x

5 Favourite Retired Disney Attractions

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Walt Disney himself once said, "Disneyland will never be completed. It will continue to grow as long as there is imagination left in the world." He knew that in order to keep visitors enjoying the parks for generations to come, they'd have to constantly update what was inside them. And although he wasn't present for much of it's lifetime, the very same idea has been carried over to Walt Disney World also. But there isn't an unlimited amount of space in the world and unfortunately that means that by updating the parks, some attractions have to be retired or removed to make way for new ones. 

Of course, Disney is constantly coming up with exciting new rides - but there will still always be a bit of me that misses some of the older attractions that have been removed. So today, let's take a trip down memory lane and chat about some of the attractions that are now gone that I once loved!

1. Snow White's Scary Adventures

I always loved this ride so so much when I was a little girl, even though it slightly terrified me a bit. Snow White's Scary Adventures was a dark ride in Fantasyland at Disney World's Magic Kingdom. It travelled through the story of Snow White, with her meeting the seven dwarfs and the Evil Queen. This was one of the remaining opening day rides at the Magic Kingdom, meaning that it was a ride that had been in open since the first day of park operation in 1971 - although, in 1994, the ride was modified to be less frightening for children as the original ride was pretty terrifying (allegedly!).

I used to go on this ride all the time, every time I visited the park. One of my favourite park memories was boarding this ride with my mum while the fireworks were going on, as there was virtually zero line at all and we got on right away. It was so much fun and we could see the fireworks from where we boarded the ride. Sadly, the ride closed down in 2012 to prepare for the New Fantasyland. It was soon after replaced by the Princess Fairytale Hall.

2. The Great Movie Ride

Oh, my beloved Great Movie Ride. I've loved this ride for many, many years. I loved how this ride really tied in with that old Hollywood feel of the park, especially with it being in the Chinese Theatre replica. I'm a huge film nerd so being able to ride through the movies, even if they were a little bit tacky-looking, was so cool to me. Every time I saw that Casablanca scene with Ingrid Bergman and Humphrey Bogart, I was in heaven. And at the very end of the ride, seeing that incredible movie clip montage sealed the deal for me because I have a weird obsession with movie quotes?? It's strange, but I know thousands of famous movie quotes so that sorta thing is so up my alley. 

Riding it for the last time last August was actually the most devastating thing ever. I'm interested to see the ride they replace this with but, let's be honest - I'm going to be bitter over this for awhile. 

3. The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights

Sigh. The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights (phew what a mouthful) was a wonderful experience and one of my family's favourite Christmas traditions. I could go on and on about why they shouldn't have gotten rid of this, but instead I'll hark back to the good ol' days without the resentment. The Spectacle started back in Little Rock, Arkansas with the Osborne family themselves - the father, Jennings, owned a large estate and created a huge Christmas light display which eventually spread to the two properties on either side of their original home.

Eventually, Disney approached the Osborne family, asking to set up their display on Residential Street in the then Disney-MGM Studios. By 1995, it was a part of what's now Hollywood Studios and the rest is history. The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights was honestly so much fun, and I could spend hours and hours walking around there. 

4. Main Street Electrical Parade

This parade music would be stuck in your head for days but God, was it worth it!! 

There's nothing that upsets me more than the fact that Disney took away the MSEP but never replaced it. I miss having that nighttime parade experience so so so much. Here's hoping that someday very soon they're going to put in a new parade! (*fingers crossed*). This parade had magic to it, that's for sure. I always loved seeing The Jolly Roger come down Main Street, with Peter Pan and Captain Hook fighting it out on board. It was such a fun time and I'm so sad that it's gone away. 

5. Wishes: A Magical Gathering of Disney Dreams

Of course, I had to end this list off with quite possibly the most painful departure of any Disney attraction: Wishes. Wishes was the very first Disney fireworks show that I ever saw when I was 6 years old. And it was my favourite until it went away in spring 2017. On every trip to Disney, I saw Wishes at least once. I saw it from all over the park too: from Tomorrowland, from on Big Thunder Mountain, from the queue of Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. It was such a magical, meaningful show and watching it brought back so much nostalgia from my childhood for me.

In 2017, Wishes sadly went away. It was a big moment for my family honestly!! Unfortunately, because they hadn't given a lot of forewarning that it was being replaced, we weren't able to go to the parks to see the last showing of Wishes, but we did watch the Facebook livestream. It had been a part of the Magic Kingdom for a whopping thirteen and a half years. And all of a sudden, it was gone! Fortunately, the replacement, Happily Ever After, is incredible and so, so good. But a part of my heart is always going to miss Wishes and all it stood for. 

What is your favourite 'lost' Disney attraction?

Felicia x

You've Got A Friend In Me | Toy Story Land

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The wait is over! Toy Story Land has officially opened at Disney's Hollywood Studios. After what seemed like ages of waiting, I finally got my first peek inside this magical new area recently and today, I thought I'd share my thoughts and my experience with you guys! 

As a late 90s kid, the Toy Story films were huge when I was a kid. Growing up, they were a constant part of my movie line-up and the same goes for my boyfriend, who loves the movies even more than I do. So the fact that we can now walk into this world of toys is so incredibly cool!

My family, my boyfriend, and I decided to make our first trip out to Toy Story Land in the late afternoon, so that we would get to see the land in the daytime as well as the nighttime, to get the whole experience. We had a FastPass for Toy Story Mania at 9:15pm, which was literally the only ride that we were able to get FastPass for. Being able to see the park in the daytime was incredible because the details that the Imagineers included in this area are so well thought out and not to be missed. 

The whole concept of the land is that you're supposed to be shrunk down to toy-size, running around Andy's backyard with his other toys. And the Imagineers did an incredible job with keeping to the theme. Every small feature works together to add to the experience. Jumbo-sized toys and other nostalgic 90s memorabilia are scattered around the park, even sometimes used as benches or other structures which is so cool. Everywhere you turn, there's something new to look at - and it's all amazing. 

The area has two new rides - Slinky Dog Dash and Alien Swirling Saucers - in addition to the already popular Toy Story Mania. Personally, the Slinky Dog Dash looks a little bit more up my alley, as it's a proper family roller coaster with not-too-big drops but high-speed turns and other thrills - whereas the Alien Swirling Saucers is more of a Mad Tea Party spinning ride which I'm not a huge fan of.

Unfortunately though, neither of the new rides had any FastPasses available and the standby queues were quite lengthy, so we didn't get to try them out this time, but I'll definitely report back when I do! We did however get to ride Toy Story Mania which, although not completely new, has been altered to work better with the new land. The entrance has been moved from Pixar Place to Toy Story Land and the ride now has a new outdoor-indoor queue that fits perfectly with it's surroundings. 

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What might just be the best part of Toy Story Land though is the photo opportunities around the area. I've gotta say, it's one of the most photogenic areas in Hollywood Studios - which is saying a lot, because Hollywood Studios is a great park for taking photos! As I said before, there is no area brushed over in this park. Everything is meticulously crafted and created to match the movies and theming of the area. Even better, actual Toy Story characters like Buzz Lightyear, Woody and Jessie all walk around the park so you can take photos with them! 

The area is so spacious and well laid out in that the rides are kind of situated further back in the area so the queues don't make the main portion of the land congested. Also, I've heard that the queues are full of fun surprises and nods to the movies. There's also a ton of viewing areas of the rides so that you can still see them in motion as you cry over not getting a FastPass, haha!

All in all, Toy Story Land is so much fun and it's a great new addition to Hollywood Studios! And if this is any indication of what Galaxy's Edge will be, then we have a lot to look forward to! 

Have you guys been to Toy Story Land yet? Do you plan on going?

Felicia x

Disney Must-Do's: Epcot

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When I was younger, I was never really big on Epcot. It didn't really have a lot to offer for a six-year-old, so my family kind of just looked past it on the first few visits. But, as I got older, I started to realize the charm - and beauty - of Epcot and now it's become my favourite park in all of Walt Disney World. No visit to the parks is complete without a trip to Epcot. In fact, most trips, I visit Epcot more than once! I love all this park stands for and there is so much that it offers for guests. Here are my Epcot must-do's for a Disney vacation! 

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Ride Spaceship Earth. This is unequivocally the number one must-do at Epcot for me. Spaceship Earth is easily my fav Disney World attraction (ever since they retired my beloved Great Movie Ride #rip). There's nothing I love more than plopping down in my backwards-and-forwards moving Time Machine and going for a spin through history with my bff Dame Judi Dench. This gem is quite literally located inside that beautiful geodesic sphere at centre stage in the park - it's what you probably know as the giant golf ball. My dad fondly refers to this as a 'good nap ride' but don't let that fool you! It's great. Trust me.

Have a bite to eat at Les Halles Boulangerie Patisserie in France pavilion. The France pavilion has many incredible places to eat. But my personal favourite quick-service meal in Epcot actually resides in the back of the France pavilion, at Les Halles Boulangerie Patisserie. This little bistro-style quick service is constantly packed with hungry parkgoers but never fear, the line is quick moving and WORTH. IT. I actually dream about the Croissant Jambon Fromage, which is ham, cheese, and bechamel inside a croissant. Yummmm!! 

Pop into Mouse GearsOh, look, a Disney shop. Are you surprised? Probably not. This is one of the bigger shops in the parks and it's got a ton of stuff to browse through. Along with the typical sections - adult apparel, children's apparel, toys, stationary, books, movies, candy, homeware, etc. - it also has a great Epcot-themed area where they've been selling Epcot 35th Anniversary merch for the past year. 90% of my Disney merch collection has been purchased at Mouse Gears. It's not a trip to Epcot unless I've spent 15 minutes standing in the homeware section of this shop, trying to convince my boyfriend that we need another Disney mug. 

Visit my home countryOf course, I have to visit the Canada pavilion whenever I take a trip out to Epcot. It's my duty as a Canadian! But no, in all seriousness, I always try to make a quick stop at the Canadian pavilion, as it's lovely to see what sort of merch they've got in there and it's always nice to have a chat with the cast members (all the cast members in each pavilion are native to that country). Once, we went in and spoke a CM who was from our old neighbourhood! They also have a book where you can sign your name and what province you come from. We've been doing it for years and it's always fun to see where the other visitors are traveling from!

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Take a trip around the worldI think I'd be remiss if I didn't list taking a stroll around World Showcase as one of my must-do's. It's so cool to see all the different countries represented and to be able to experience some of what each of the countries has to offer. I love poking around in each of the pavilions just to see what's been recently added and also to admire the beautiful areas. There are some serious photo ops for any photography lovers, or just anyone looking for a good selfie spot! Some of my favourite places to take photos are Canada (that's where the picture above is from!), France, Morocco, and United Kingdom. I always like to look for the less-travelled path and see where it takes me - and what photos ops it offers! 

What are your Epcot must-do's?

Felicia x

How to Plan a Walt Disney World Vacation

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Hello everybody!

So as you probably already know by following my blog and Insta, I'm majorly into Disney. Shocker, right? I've been visiting the park for awhile now and I feel like I've gotten pretty comfortable with the whole planning process. In fact, a lot of people I know message me to ask for tips on booking their own trips to the parks. So, I thought it might be fun and helpful to post a how-to on the planning process. Fair warning: there's a lot to cover, so this post is going to be pretty meaty and lengthy. 

So, first things first...

Get familiar with the parks

The first thing you'll want to do before taking any steps in the planning process is become acquainted with all the Walt Disney World has to offer. I'll try my best to keep this short and sweet!

Walt Disney World is comprised of 4 major theme parks: Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom. With a base ticket (more on that later), you can enter any one of these four parks. This is where all the rides, characters, and general excitement is, so you'll definitely want to take time to explore each park!

They also have two on-site water parks, Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon. These are not accessible with a base ticket, so be wary of that. Both are equipped with water slides (tame and thrilling), pools, and lazy rivers. 

Another key feature of WDW is their massive dining and entertainment complex, Disney Springs. Originally Downtown Disney, in the past few years, it's undergone a huge reimagining and has become one of my favourite places in the Walt Disney World resort. It's jam-packed with amazing restaurants, bars, stores, live entertainment, bowling, movie theatres, and so much more. You could never get bored there!

Disney also has a number of other entertainment features, such as mini-golf, golf, boating, horseback riding, water sports, and the ESPN Wide World of Sports. 

When to go

As you can probably imagine, Disney World can get hella busy. You've essentially got two options, as there are two "seasons": busy season and off-season. 

Busy Season

Busy season has the heavier crowds and primarily consists of the days or weeks that sit around major holidays. Columbus Day, U.S. Thanksgiving, Spring Break, Easter, Christmas, New Years' and July 4th are all extremely busy times to visit the parks. At these times, you can expect wait times from 50 to 100+ minutes, depending on the popularity of a ride. Also, the parks are generally more crowded. 

Off-season

Don't fret! There is also an off-season. Basically, in the off-season, you can expect less of a wait on rides (usually 20 to 50 minutes, sometimes higher) and it's far less crowded around the parks. The best times to go if you're looking for lighter crowds are the end of August to mid-September (as the kids will have gone back to school in Florida and most of the U.S.) and May.

You can easily find crowd charts for the parks in a quick Google search, but I'll link one down below as well!

It's also worth factoring in the weather when making a decision. Summer is the craziest time for weather; it is extremely hot (I'm talking 90-110 degrees F) and also the end of the summer is hurricane season, which makes for lots of rainy days. 

Special events

A bonus of attending the parks during busy season is that you have the chance to experience some really awesome special events that Disney hosts. There are two types of these events: free festivals and ticketed events. 

Free Festivals

The three major free festivals for parkgoers are held at Epcot annually. The first is the International Festival of the Arts (January - February), which is a newer festival that showcases the work of Disney artists around the park and also celebrates many famous paintings from different countries. The second is the International Flower and Garden Festival (February - May) which boasts a number of topiaries featuring classic Disney characters and it is utterly beautiful. They also feature many outdoor kitchens which offer delicious food and beverages! And last but not least is the International Food and Wine Festival (August - November) which is a celebration of different cultural dishes from around the world. The food is phenomenal and not to be missed. 

Ticketed Events

There are two major ticketed events held in Walt Disney World. Ticketed events require visitors to purchase an additional ticket outside of the park entrance ticket. These extra tickets allow you into the parks for these events which take place after regular park hours - they close the park early on select nights for the people partaking in the event. 

These two major ticketed events are Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party and Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party. Both are held at the Magic Kingdom on select nights throughout the holiday seasons. They're both really awesome, as they have their own special fireworks, parades, and nighttime shows. And the Not So Scary Halloween Party even has trick-or-treating! How cool is that??

Where to stay

This is a pretty big decision for anyone visiting the parks. I'll just run through some basic things to note when you're deciding on whether to stay on- or off-property. 

On-property

Staying on-property means staying in any one of the Walt Disney World resort hotels. These hotels are organized into three tiers: value, moderate, and deluxe (with value being the cheapest, and deluxe being the priciest). Staying on-property is inarguably the most convenient option, as the hotels are literally minutes away from the theme parks and they offer free transportation to all the on-property venues. Also, they offer free transportation to and from the Orlando International Airport, which is a huge bonus. You also get some extra magic by staying on-property, like having the option to add a Disney Dining Plan, attend park Extra Magic Hours, and book FastPasses 60 days in advance. Of course, all of that will cost you - it gets pretty pricey, especially adding on top of that the cost of flights and park tickets. 

Off-property

With off-property, you obviously lose the accessibility, but with that you shave off some of the cost as well. There are literally hundreds of hotel options in Central Florida with many different ranges in pricing, especially in the touristy International Drive area. If you're planning on doing a few days at Disney but also spending some time at the other attractions in Orlando, then staying on International Drive would be beneficial as it's right in the middle of it all. You can also stay in a vacation home rental which is great for big families and groups that want to stay together without paying the cost of a Disney suite or villa. However, you do still have to factor in travel time (it's a bit of a jaunt from Disney), car rental prices, and parking fees (at Disney alone, you'll be paying $22 to park per day). 

Purchasing tickets

The lowest level of park ticket you can purchase is the Magic Your Way Base ticket. It is literally a basic entrance ticket, meaning that you can enter one of the four theme parks at a time for the set number of days on the ticket. For example, if you visit Magic Kingdom on the first day of your trip, you can come and go as you please, but you cannot travel to another theme park on that same day. Just Magic Kingdom. This is the most inexpensive option, for that reason.

In order to visit another park on the same day, you'll need to purchase a Magic Your Way Park Hopper option. This is an add-on to the base ticket which allows you to go from one park to another in the same day. For instance, if you start your day off at Magic Kingdom and then decide midday to go to Epcot, you can do that. You can even visit all four parks in one day, if you're up for the challenge! But of course, it will cost you more. 

Additionally, you can add on the Water Parks Fun and More option, which also allows you to visit Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach. This also use to include Disney Quest, but that no longer exists!

Lastly, you can purchase a Walt Disney World annual pass. There are two options, Disney Platinum Plus Pass and Disney Platinum Pass. The main difference is that the Plus allows you entrance to the golf course, the water parks, and the ESPN Wide World of Sports in addition to the four theme parks, whereas the regular pass only allows you to go to the theme parks. Both give you discounts on select dining and merch. 

How long to visit

If this is your first visit to WDW and you plan on only visit the Disney parks, I'd suggest staying for anywhere between five to seven days. It sounds like a very long time, but there is so much to see and do at Disney that you'll be grateful for it. Plus, it allows you to see everything at your own speed and eliminate that rushed feeling. It's also good for if you want to see things outside of the WDW resort, like Universal Studios Orlando or Cocoa Beach (which is about an hour out from Disney). 

Planning FastPasses

What is a FastPass, you might ask? Well, lemme tell you. (That was so cheesy haha). FastPasses are free tickets that you can get that essentially allow you to virtually reserve a place in line for rides. You just pick a ride and a time (they work in hour-long increments), then schedule it. When your time comes, you just pop over to the ride and jump into the FastPass line. For example, if you've booked a 5 o'clock FastPass for Jungle Cruise, you can get in the FastPass line for Jungle Cruise at any point between 5 and 6 o'clock. The FastPass lines are generally shorter and quicker than the standby lines. You're given three FastPass selections for the day BUT once you've used them up, or your last FastPass for the day has expired, you can book one at a time in that same day. Pretty cool, right? It makes getting on more popular rides like Flight of Passage so much easier. You can book these online or on the My Disney Experience app 30 or 60 days in advance (depending on whether you're staying on-property) or at the in-park kiosks. But FastPasses go quick, so make sure to do this asap!

My Disney Experience app + MagicBands

These are two fairly new additions to the parks in the last few years and they've become pretty much integral to the WDW experience, so I'll quickly explain them both.

MagicBands

MagicBands have become the new way of entering and getting around the Disney parks. Your pass is linked to this rubber wristband, which means you can enter the park by tapping your band to a reader and placing your finger on a fingerprint scanner. It's so much easier than fumbling with your wallet to get a card out. They also can be used to present your FastPass by tapping a reader at the rides, as it's linked to your My Disney Experience app. For on-property guests, you can also link your credit card to the MagicBand to make paying for dining and merch a breeze. 

My Disney Experience app

This is an app that you can download onto your phone and use in the parks with the free Disney World wifi connection. It has everything you could ever imagine on it - park maps, ride wait times, FastPasses, dining reservations, room check-ins, park passes, and more. It's like a tool kit for your stay in the parks. Personally, I'd highly recommend getting it before you travel to the parks as it'll make your life so much simpler. 

Helpful websites

Well, that's all for now! If you're still a bit lost or looking for more info, you can follow these useful links for more explanations. 

"So, you're overwhelmed, huh? See if this helps." (WDW Prep School) 

"The ideal Disney World planning timeline (and what to do if you're short on time)" (WDW Prep School)

"Orlando Crowd Calendar" (Undercover Tourist)

The Disney Parks Mom Panel

Walt Disney World Official Site

My Disney Experience

I hope you guys found this post helpful. Thanks for reading!

Felicia x

Items in Photo:
Millennial Pink MagicBand [x]
LIFE Inside the Disney Parks: The Happiest Places on Earth [x]
Millennial Pink Mouse Ears [available in-store only]

 

Why I Love Disney So Much

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Whenever I tell anyone that I'm going to Disney World again, I get the same reply:

"Don't you want to try something new for a change?"

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A lot of people just can't understand why my family wants to spend so much of our time in a place that was made for kids. We spend about four months in Orlando, per year, and we visit the parks at least 4 times a week. That's a whole lotta Disney.

From the first time that I visited Disney, I was hooked. The minute I saw Cinderella's castle, that was pretty much it for me. For a little girl who dreamed of being a Disney princess, I was in my own personal heaven. On the last day of every trip, the ever-so-dramatic child I was, I used to stand on Main Street and cry because I literally could not imagine spending even a day away from Disney World.

But what's so special about an amusement park? I hear you asking.

Well, lemme tell ya.

At Disney, there are no boundaries between grown-ups and kids. I love that. Can you, as an adult, buy a Mickey-shaped balloon and then skip around the Magic Kingdom with an ice cream in your hand?? Hell yea, you can!! You can do whatever you want! The parks were actually made for everyone - not just for kids. The parks are constantly being improved and added to, to keep every trip interesting and it's like a different park every time. And all in all, it's like experiencing all the films from my childhood in real life. It couldn't get any cooler than that!!

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Back when my bf first came to Disney with my family in 2014 (peep those two throwback pics!!), he was what you'd call a "casual Disney fan" - he'd been to the parks before but he didn't know too much about it and wouldn't consider himself a megafan or anything. But it didn't take long at all for him to get hooked. Four years later, he's an annual passholder and a friggin' Disney expert, I must say.

Visiting Disney has become such an important part of our lives together. And bonding over our love for the parks has honestly brought us so much closer in our relationship. I love that we can go to the parks and just be able to have fun together. So many of our greatest memories have happened in Disney. And whether it's running around the Magic Kingdom in Halloween costumes, or singing along with the fireworks music, or riding our fav rides - it's just so much more fun because we get to do it together!

So why do I love Disney so much?

It just never gets old, honestly. Like, no matter how many times I see the Happily Ever After fireworks, the part with the floating lanterns always makes me emotional. And the sight of Spaceship Earth at night is still photo-worthy after hundreds of visits and photos. I even still get that excited feeling in my stomach whenever I pull up to the Magic Kingdom station on the monorail. It doesn't matter how many times I go - the magic is always there for me. And it's so amazing to me that I get to see kids and adults see the magic for themselves for the first time.

At the end of the day, in Disney World you can be whoever you want to be. You can be a kid, or a princess, or a superhero, or a pirate, or a galactic warrior. Disney is the place for dreaming and for releasing your imagination. As Jiminy Cricket says, "If your heart is in your dream, no request is too extreme."

So, yeah I could go somewhere else... But I think I'll stick to Disney World for now. :)

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If you wanna keep up-to-date with my many Disney World shenanigans, you can follow my Disney Instagram here.

Felicia x