Christmas 2018 Travel Diary: A Practically Perfect Day

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Hello friends!

Today I’m talking about one of my favourite days of the trip, and that is the day that we saw Mary Poppins Returns!! I’ve been dying to see this film ever since I heard it was being made and it’s been absolute agony waiting so long to see it. But finally, the day came along (thank god).

We went down to Disney Springs to see Mary Poppins Returns at the AMC Dine-In Theatre. The Dine-In Theatre is my absolute fave way to see films, as you get super comfy reclining seats and you can order dinner, desserts and/or sweets, which you can put on the table in front of you. Sooo comfortable and relaxing. If you live in the Orlando area or you’ve got a couple extra days on your next Disney vacation, I’d highly recommend seeing a film there!! For the film, I ordered the chicken quesadillas which were the HARDEST thing to eat in the dark lmao did not think that one through. But it did come with tortilla chips which were nice to snack on!

As for Mary Poppins Returns, I loved it!!! It was so visually beautiful and really reminiscent of the old Disney films. I thought Emily Blunt was a fabulous Mary Poppins, although she was no Julie Andrews obviously but I didn’t go into it expecting her to be which helped!! And, of course, Lin-Manuel Miranda, my love, my light, was fantastic!!! The choreography and music was absolutely phenomenal, and the whole thing warmed my heart entirely!

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After the movie, the fun wasn’t over!! We headed right on over to the Marketplace on the opposite side of Disney Springs to walk the Christmas Tree Trail! This is one of our Christmas traditions that we absolutely had to fit in before leaving Orlando. Before we headed into the trail, I had to stop at Starbucks and grab a Peppermint Mocha Frappucino to really get into the festive spirit (duh).

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We’ve been walking the tree trail ever since it was created three years ago and it’s honestly grown so much since the very first year. There are dozens of beautiful trees themed to different Disney films. Of course, I won’t overfill my post with pictures of the trees but I have included some of my favourites, including the gorgeous Haunted Mansion tree they added this year!! In the trail, they had a stand where you could buy cotton candy that tastes like candy cane or gingerbread which is crazy, and they also had the beloved Disney snoap and Christmas tunes throughout!! Soooo much fun.

I’d absolutely recommend checking out the Christmas Tree Trail on your next Christmas vacation - it is so much fun!!

Felicia x

Christmas 2018 Travel Diary: Bright Lights in Hollywoodland

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Welcome back!! Today’s post is going to be pretty long and very photo heavy, so get cozy!

There’s something so aesthetically pleasing to me about Hollywood Studios. Although it may not be my favourite park, I can definitely appreciate the overall theming of the park, especially the front entrance. I could stand on Hollywood Boulevard for hours and just take a million pictures to be honest. So for me, half the fun of visiting Hollywood Studios during the holidays is capturing every inch of beautiful decor throughout the park!

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We happened to accidentally time our arrival at the park perfectly with the March of the First Order (this was partially due to the fact that my Magicband, as usual, refused to cooperate at park entry and we spent about 10 minutes sorting that out lol). It was pretty cool as we got to stand right at the start of Hollywood Boulevard and get a great view of Captain Phasma leading the Stormtroopers down the street towards the stage!!

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My dad had a Fastpass right off the bat for Tower of Terror which is something I absolutely do not ride haha so while he did that, the remainder of our group spent some time checking out the shops and, of course, taking more pictures of the park duh. I’m just in complete awe of how beautiful this park is you guys!!!

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I think that the holiday decor additions that they’ve made at Hollywood Studios in the past few years have been really great! Especially around Echo Lake. The tree in the middle of the lake, the floating ornaments, and Gertie’s adorable Santa hat really add a special something to the park!! We also got in our first viewing of the Sunset Seasons Greetings show on Sunset Boulevard, which premiered only last year. We wanted to see it last year but ended up missing it because the weather was absolutely rotten lol. Fortunately, this year was much, much warmer! Sunset Seasons Greetings is a projection show off of Tower of Terror. It’s pretty short but super cute and runs intermittently throughout the night.

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One of the things I was most excited for at Hollywood Studios was the holiday additions to the new Toy Story Land!! As you probably know already, Toy Story Land opened this past summer (which you can read about here). When I heard there was going to be a Christmas overlay to the area, I was soo excited to see what they were going to cook up. Although we only got to ride Toy Story Mania, which is the only ride without any special additions (lol), we did get to see all the extremely cute decorations - JUST LOOK AT REX’S ANTLERS AWEE!!! They also added a Christmas themed soundtrack to the Aliens Swirling Saucers ride and a cute little jingle noise to the Slinky Dog Dash as it rolls by which I thought was an extremely adorable effect.

Lastly, we stayed in the park to see Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM!, which is the nightly holiday fireworks show. It was a really cute show, but I couldn’t get any pictures as you have to be extremely close to the Chinese Theatre to see the full effect of the fireworks, which we were not. Regardless, it was a fun time! I was a bit annoyed though because I had my heart set on having a coffee during the show but Starbucks was closed!! Apparently Starbucks closed along with the park at 8pm and the show wasn’t until 8:30pm… No clue why they would close the park half an hour before the fireworks lol but it was pretty disappointing!!

All in all, it was a super fun day at Hollywood Studios! Check back in soon for my next post of the trip! :)

Felicia x

Christmas 2018 Travel Diary: Travelling the World Showcase

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By now, I’m sure you guys know how much I love Epcot. If not, here’s the gist: I love Epcot with my whole heart, I want to live there forever, there’s no greater sight than that beautiful ball lit up at night. Got it? Cool.

Last year, due to my anxiety, I wasn’t able to make it to Epcot (cue tears) but thankfully this year I’m feeling better than ever which meant is was Epcot time for me!!!

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We were extremely lucky as we managed to get fairly last minute reservations at Les Chefs de France, my fav restaurant in Epcot (maybe even in all of Walt Disney World??). So as soon as we walked through the park gates, we hightailed it on over to the restaurant and we were very quickly seated. Obviously, I ordered the Boeuf Bourguignon which is the tastiest meal. And I even got to see my fav waiter who served my boyfriend and I when we went in August!! If you’re ever dining at Les Chefs de France and you’re served by Kevin, you’re in for a treat - he’s the sweetest EVER.

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After dinner, we went on one of my fav rides, Frozen Ever After, and then took a stroll around the World Showcase to see all the beautiful holiday decorations. Epcot is so interesting during the Festival of the Holidays, their special holiday celebration where each country pavilion showcases their own cultural way of celebrating! Each pavilion is decorated so beautifully for the season, it’s such a sight to take in! I highly recommend strolling around and peeking into every pavilion - you won’t regret it.

After we walked the entire pavilion, we - of course - went to Mouse Gears, one of the best Disney shops. And then grabbed a Starbucks for the journey home. I actually managed to grab a Peppermint Mocha Frappucino, which I’d never had before but I’ve tried when my boyfriend has ordered. I LOVED it. So festive and delicious! I wish the holidays weren’t over so I could have another haha.

See you in a couple days for the next day of my travel diary!

Felicia x

Christmas 2018 Travel Diary: Celebrating in the Magic Kingdom

Welcome back, my darlings!

If you haven’t already read my first travel diary post, give that a read here first!

I truly believe that the most magical place to be at Christmas time is the Magic Kingdom. Everything is just so enchanting there during the holidays! Not a single piece of Main Street isn’t adorned with beautiful wreaths or garland, and there’s just a really homey feeling in Town Square. If I could live on Main Street throughout the month of December, I’d be the happiest gal out there!

So, it goes without saying that my favourite day of our Christmas trip is always the day that we go to check out the Magic Kingdom festivities!

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The very first thing we did when we arrived at the park was, of course, take in the beautiful sights. I got a million pictures of all the decorations, but I think my favourite is of the Fire Station! Everything is so beautiful at Christmas, I wish they could keep the decorations up year-round (except for at Halloween time, of course). We also took a little dip into the Main Street Emporium shop. They have sooo many new items in stock and I wanted to buy it all!! My dad ended up buying me the Mickey’s 90th Birthday ears which was extremely exciting because I didn’t expect them to still be available.

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Mickey’s Once Upon A Christmastime parade has always held a very special place in my heart and I’m so grateful that we got to see it this year!! There have been a couple years that we’ve had to miss it, so I made sure that we specifically planned to be at the park in time to see it go by this year. The parade is so fun and cute. My absolute favourite part is when the toy soldiers march by. I don’t know what it is, but I’ve just always loved seeing them go by in formation! It’s just so cool to me. And I especially love seeing Belle dressed up in her gorgeous Christmas dress! There’s not a year that goes by that I don’t wish I had that dress haha

“meet me under the mistletoe” shirt - shopdisney (old); christmas ears -  shopdisney

“meet me under the mistletoe” shirt - shopdisney (old); christmas ears - shopdisney

During Christmas time, the parks can get extremely busy. It’s one of the busiest times to visit, along with July 4th and Thanksgiving. For someone with anxiety, that can mean it gets pretty hectic, especially when waiting in queues upwards of 120 mins. So I prefer to just stroll around the Magic Kingdom, take my time in letting it all soak in, instead of rushing from ride to ride. We did get a couple of Fastpasses, including ones for Big Thunder Mountain and Haunted Mansion - two of my faves and pretty impressive scores considering their popularity! But aside from that, we just wandered and took in the sights. Personally, I found that much better than doing all the rides. As I have an annual pass, I can come at any time of the year and do rides. But during Christmas time, I’d prefer to see the decorations and relax.

If you haven’t ever been on Jungle Cruise during the holidays, then definitely add it to your bucket list because it is SO FUN! I already love Jungle Cruise enough on its own… But add a Christmas overlay to the ride and my love can only grow! The “Jingle Cruise” overlay adds a ton of festive decorations throughout the ride, as well as a bunch of Christmas-themed jokes told to you by the beloved Skippers. This classic ride is a must-do for me during the holiday season, so I always make sure to grab a Fastpass for this one as the queue can get quite long during the holidays (as do most ride queues during this time!).

Last, but certainly not least, we obviously had to see the Frozen Holiday Wish, where Elsa lights up Cinderella’s Castle with her magic ice powers!! The Dream Lights are the most beautiful thing in the park during the holidays. I’m always in awe whenever I see the castle lit up in shades of blue, pink, and white, no matter how many times I’ve seen it before. The show itself is also extremely cute, especially if you’re a Frozen fan like myself!

We decided to head out of the park shortly after the show (as my boyfriend was battling a cold) so it was the perfect way to end the perfect day!

Thanks so much for reading!

Felicia x

Christmas 2018 Travel Diary: Resort Hopping & Disney Springs

Hello friends! Merry belated Christmas.

If you haven’t been following along with my Instagram stories (shameless plug rn, follow me at @bookishbrunettegal) then you may not know that I’m currently away in Orlando on my annual Christmas family vacation! Our Christmas vacation is one of my favourite trips of the year. It’s full of festivities, and magic, and beautiful lights! So, I thought I’d bring you all along with me on my trip with some travel diaries! Starting off with our very first day on the trip, December 26.

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Our vacation was set in motion by one of my favourite new traditions, the Boxing Day brunch. For the past two years, we’ve had brunch on our first day at the Grand Floridian Cafe, which you probably know is my favourite brunch on Disney World property. This year, we got to sit out on the patio which probably because of how massively packed the restaurant was. Our reservation was at noon but still there were plenty of people waiting to be seated. Having our meal outside was sooo nice. The weather was absolutely lovely and we had such an amazing time. As usual, I ordered the traditional eggs benedict with a cup of coffee and it was delicious!!

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After brunch, we embarked on another one of our beloved Christmas traditions: the monorail resort hop. On Boxing Day, we love to go around to all the monorail resorts and check out their Christmas decorations, starting at the Grand Floridian. I already adore the Grand Floridian. But I love it even more at Christmas time. The decorations are so beautiful and delicate. They have a number of Christmas trees, including their massive showstopper on the main floor of the lobby, and of course, their famous Gingerbread House. This year, I actually remembered to buy a gingerbread shingle which you can actually buy at the counter inside the Gingerbread House. Unfortunately though, the line at the Grand Floridian was huge so I got my shingle at the Contemporary Resort later on in the hop - which is a good tip for anyone who doesn’t want to wait in a massive queue!

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Our next stop on the monorail journey was the Contemporary Resort. The Contemporary, unfortunately, isn’t a huge stop for decorations because of the monorail track through the middle of the resort. There is a huge tree outside of the resort by the road, but you basically have to stand in traffic to see it. So that’s not really an option. They do, however, have a really cute gingerbread set-up based on the Cinderella characters in the lobby. This is where you can buy a bunch of festive treats, like the gingerbread shingle!! Definitely a good alternative to the Grand Floridian shop in my opinion. You can also go through the number of gift shops at the Contemporary while you’re there which is always a fun time!

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Lastly on our resort hop was the Polynesian Resort! I loooove the Polynesian. It’s so pretty and tropical, and like the Grand Floridian, has a ton of trees of different sizes throughout the lobby. Idk I just think the Polynesian looks extremely cute dressed up in her Christmas decor!! My mum also loves visiting the Polynesian because it means rooting about the gift shops for Lilo merchandise. Why is it that there’s always Stitch merch but never Lilo?! So disrespectful. A neat fact about the Polynesian is that it is one of the places on WDW property that sells Dole Whip!! If you’ve ever waited in line for Dole Whip in Magic Kingdom, you know how long it can take as so many people are always queued up at Aloha Isle. But at the Polynesian, there’s usually a minimal line! Just pop on over to the Pineapple Lanai. Enjoy your treat!!

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After we finished our grand tour of the monorail resorts, we headed on over to Disney Springs for a little bit of shopping. As I hadn’t been to the parks since October, I missed the opening of the new reimagined World of Disney shop so I was extremely excited to check that out! What did you guys think of the new World of Disney? Personally, I miss the old character-heavy design, but I think that the renovation has made it a lot more roomy and open, which makes it a lot more manageable during the heavy season (like Christmas time!). Luckily, I found the Christmas spirit jersey there which I was sooo happy about because I hadn’t seen it anywhere on our resort hop. We popped into a few other shops, namely Zara and my absolute fav, Uniqlo where I bought the most beautiful, cozy sweater EVER!!

Afterwards, we went home and ordered some pizza. It had been a long day, especially after a pretty gruesome travel on Christmas Day. So, that’s all for our first day! I’ll pop back in soon to share our other adventures in another travel diary post!

What did you guys get up to on Boxing Day?

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.

Review: Epcot's International Food and Wine Festival | 2018

Hello darlings!

Today, I thought I’d do a review of the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival, and chat about the things I tried this year. I’ve done this in the past on two different occasions and I just love writing about the festival because it’s really a lot of fun and reminiscing about food is always a good time.

If you want to read my past Food and Wine reviews, you can! I wrote one up in 2015 (when I still a baby & v new to blogging) and in 2017.

The very first thing we did on our Food and Wine tour this year was ride Spaceship Earth. I don’t know if you guys heard, but it was announced on a bunch of blogs recently that Spaceship Earth will be undergoing a two and a half year refurb which will essentially change everything we know and love about this ride, in preparation for the brand new shiny Epcot 2.0 that Imagineers are cooking up. I immediately panicked when I read the article because basically every Disney ride or attraction I’ve ever held near and dear to my heart has been given the axe over the last 5 years and Spaceship Earth is my absolute fav ride. I’m cautiously optimistic about what this refurb will actually consist of - maybe it’s just a refresh?? But for now, I’m going to ride it as much as I possibly can before it closes down.

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As my family are AP’s, we usually stop at the Festival Welcome Centre right off the bat to collect our free Passholder gift and the Festival passport. The Welcome Centre is located in the old Wonders of Life pavilion, which is super cool because I never visited Disney when the pavilion was in operation so it’s a bit of a glimpse of what Epcot used to be. This year, the AP gift was a magnet with Mickey in a chef hat that is absolutely to die for. Like, c’mon how cute is that!!!! They’ve also been giving out cutting boards if you go multiple times.

Now, onto the food!

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Our very first stop for food was the Hawaii booth. As usual, I got the Kalua Pork Sliders. The weird part of my love for the pork sliders is the fact that it’s the exact sort of dish I’d actually hate in most cases. First off, I typically don’t like pork. Second, it’s got a sweet-and-sour Dole pineapple chutney and spicy mayo on it. I’m the pickiest eater ever so this seems really ‘out there’ for me but good god do I love it.

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The second stop for me was my home and native land! At Canada, I always get the Wild Mushroom Beef Filet Mignon. It’s kind of an iffy dish for me. Some years I love it, some years I could do without it. This year, it was pretty good actually. I feel like it was a lot smaller than last year?? But I could be misjudging the size. And although I like the taste of mushrooms on the steak, I’m not huge on mushrooms themselves and there were a ton on top of the beef this time so I was constantly pushing them to the side. But the meat was very tender and well-done, just how I like it.

I also tried the Canadian Cheddar Cheese Soup which is what my mum ordered. I loooove me some cheese soup, especially because it comes with a pretzel roll which you can dunk into the soup. YUM.

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I also had, for the second time ever, the Schinkennudeln from Germany. There will never be a year where my family doesn’t pronounce this completely wrong but the four of us love it all the same! It’s pasta gratin with ham, cheese, and onions that’s soooo delicious. It looks like it’d be a really heavy pasta from all the cheese, but I find it’s actually quite light which is good because I don’t love heavy pastas. Plus, the cheese is very mild - again a good thing because I’m not big on sharp cheese (I know, I’m so weird).

Ladies and gentlemen, may I draw your attention to the worst quality pic of the entire post! By this point, it was like 7:30 at night so lighting was not on my side. ANYWAY. This is one of my fav foods of the whole festival, the Loaded Mac n Cheese. Ugh this is so good, I’m in heaven just thinking about it. Again, it’s one of those kinda dishes that seems like something I’d hate. It’s got pepper bacon, cheddar cheese, green onions, and peppers all mixed in with macaroni pasta to make an absolutely incredible (and quite spicy) dish. This and the pork sliders might just be tied for #1 in my opinion.

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Honestly, Food and Wine is such a great time. It’s a great opportunity to just stroll around World Showcase, taste a few international dishes, and enjoy the atmosphere of *ahem* the greatest Disney park.

Also, let’s have a moment of silence for our fallen heroes (aka the food that didn’t show up on menus this year):

  • Kielbasa and Potato Pierogi (although, I should probably quit holding out hope on this one, it’s been a couple years since it last appeared lol)

  • Chicken Gyro

  • Boeuf Bourguignon (my absolute fav!!! how could Disney do this to me!!!)

Hope you guys enjoyed reading! If you’ve been to Food and Wine before, let me know what your fav dish was in the comments.

Felicia x

5 Tips For Staying at a Disney Resort

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Staying at a Disney resort is an incredible experience. Everything from the resort grounds to the restaurants to the hotel rooms, there is magic sprinkled everywhere. But with so much ground to cover, staying there for the first time can be a bit daunting. So today I thought I'd give a few tips I've learned from staying on-property over the years! 

Use Disney Transport

One of the best parts of staying on-property at Walt Disney World is that you have access to the Disney Transport. There are a ton of different ways you can get around the parks - buses, ferries, monorails, and even Minnie Vans. Using the buses to get from resort-to-park, or vice versa, is so so simple. We drove to the resort with our own car but decided against driving around and instead using the transport provided and it was so worth it. The buses are quite efficient as they know the quickest routes around property. An added bonus is that you get to bypass the Transportation and Ticket Centre which, if you've ever driven to Magic Kingdom, you'll know is a nightmare. 

Download the My Disney Experience App

You may already have the My Disney Experience app if you've been to the parks before, but if you haven't been in awhile (or ever), then here's the gist. The app lets you do basically anything you'd ever want - look at maps, check wait times, book FastPasses, make dinner reservations. It's extremely useful and the fact that you can pull it up whenever you want on your phone with the in-park WiFi is incredible. Sometimes I can't even remember the days of going to grab paper FastPasses from the ride queues - remember when only a few rides had FastPasses?! Crazy stuff.

Purchase a Refillable Mug

This might actually be crucial, especially if you're planning on spending a good amount of time on-property. The refillable mug costs $18.99 for the initial purchase and then you can use it however many times your little heart desires without extra cost. If you're on the Dining Plan, you can even get the mug included in your plan! It's perfect for grabbing a cup of coffee at breakfast, or a few drinks if you're going poolside. I filled mine up dozens of times during our six-day stay and it was well worth the cost. Definitely saves you from waiting in lines for drinks all day long!

Take Advantage of AP, Tables in Wonderland, or Disney Dining Plan

Staying in the parks, it's easy to rack up a pretty hefty bill from all the food and merchandise buying - especially if you're just charging everything to your room through your MagicBand. Using methods to get discounts makes a big difference! I bring my Annual Pass with me everywhere, just in case I want to buy something and get that 10-20% discount. If you have a Tables in Wonderland card or a Disney Dining Plan, those will also really help you with saving a buck or two throughout your trip, so you should look into those!

Bring Bug Spray

I cannot stress enough how important this is. Take it from someone who didn't bring bug spray - you need it!! Especially in heavily vegetated areas (which is 99% of Disney, let's be honest). In just one night of walking around Port Orleans, by the river, I got at least six mosquito bites. UGH. Make sure to pack some bug spray in your luggage and also, some After Bite juuuust in case. Better safe than sorry, am I right? 

What are your top Disney resort tips?

Felicia x

Travel Diary: Disney World August 2018

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Hello, everyone! Been awhile, huh? Sorry to have disappeared. If you've been following my Instagram stories, you probably saw that I mentioned I'd be taking a bit of a hiatus from the blog as I was on a week-long staycation at Walt Disney World. Crazy stuff, right!!

When I used to visit Walt Disney World as a kid, my family would always stay on-property. But when we bought our vacation home back in 2012, we didn't really have the need for staying in a resort anymore - that's what our vacation home was for, after all! But last year, all of that changed when my parents surprised me with a 2-night stay at Port Orleans French Quarter with my boyfriend as an early birthday gift. Needless to say, I caught the bug and we found ourselves back on-property this year! Today I thought I'd give you guys a bit of a run-down on what we got up to on our Disney trip this year...

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port orleans french quarter

port orleans french quarter

port orleans french quarter

THE RESORT

We stayed, once again, at the Port Orleans French Quarter resort. I've stayed at the French Quarter four times now and will keep coming back without a doubt. I absolutely love it. It's my favourite moderate-level resort by far. I love how small it is, how no matter where your room is located the lobby & restaurant are only a few steps away. The style of the resort is also amazing - the historic French Quarter style with cobblestone walkways, Mardi Gras decorations, and beautiful bursting colours is so pretty. And they even have horse-drawn carriages! How cute is that?! 

We stayed in two different rooms during our stay, because we extended our trip after we arrived and our first room wasn't available the entire length of our trip. But we were lucky enough to have both rooms in the 6th building, with a view of the man-made Sassagoula River. Although the rooms don't have balconies, the sights from the windows were GORGEOUS. I'd totally recommend trying to get a riverview room on your stay. It's not guaranteed you'll get one, but hey, it doesn't hurt to ask!

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eggs benedict at grand floridian cafe

eggs benedict at grand floridian cafe

THE FOOD

Because we were staying on-property, we took advantage of the restaurants that are available within Walt Disney World - safe to say we were by no means restricted! There are dozens (maybe hundreds?) of restaurants of all types around the World for you to try. We ate a few times at the Sassagoula Floatworks and Food Factory, which is the quick-service on French Quarter property. I actually really enjoyed it! They had quite a different menu than typical quick-services because some of it was Cajun inspired and it was delicious (try the beignets!! you won't regret it).

We also tried out for the first time the Mobile Ordering at D-Luxe Burger in Disney Springs. It was super efficient and so easy to use! All we had to do was place our order on the app beforehand, click a button to let them know we'd arrived, and grab a buzzer at the restaurant to place on our table. We took a seat on the back patio, listened to some live music while we waited, and within minutes, someone was bringing our food over! Sure beats waiting in the massive line to order and wait for food to be made. I'll definitely be using that feature again and I highly recommend trying it! 

And, of course, no trip to Disney would be complete without brunch at the Grand Floridian Cafe! If you know anything about me, you know how much I adore the Grand Floridian resort. I've decided I won't stay there until my wedding (dramatic af, I know) so I've got to get my fix somehow. And that's by having the delicious brunch at the Cafe. I always order the traditional eggs benedict and it's wonderful! 

disney springs

disney springs

MEMORIES

This trip was extremely special for me as we were there to celebrate my twentieth birthday! We spent the evening of my bday at the Magic Kingdom, where we did the Happily Ever After Fireworks Dessert Party. I did the Party last year for the first time with my bf and it was such an incredible experience that we decided to do it again for my bday. The Dessert Party is so much fun - there are a ton of sweets and goodies to try and best of all, you get prime viewing for the fireworks. We had a space of the hub grass to ourselves to just sit down, spread out, and relax while we waited for the fireworks - and even got to stay seated during the show. I'm spoiled forever and now standing during the show like a sardine in the crowds will never be the same!

Birthday outfit -- Top:  GREYLITTLEARROWS on ETSY ; SKIRT:  similiar - forever 21 ; EARS:  SHOPDISNEY

Birthday outfit -- Top: GREYLITTLEARROWS on ETSY; SKIRT: similiar - forever 21; EARS: SHOPDISNEY

Easily one of my favourite moments of the trip, however, was my date night with my boyfriend. The two of us went over to Epcot, as we had a dinner reservation at Les Chefs de France. If you've ever been to Epcot, you've probably walked right past this place. It's that beautiful brasserie at the edge of the France pavilion, with the expansive windows and glistening rooftop. We both ordered the boeuf bourguignon and it was TO DIE FOR!! I've tried this dish before at the International Food and Wine Festival but it was even better in the restaurant. We had a delicious meal with an incredible server (shoutout to Kevin!) and then ended our perfectly romantic evening off with a stroll around the park beneath the sunset! 

yummmm

yummmm

boeuf bourguignon at les chefs de france

boeuf bourguignon at les chefs de france

Sunset over world showcase

Sunset over world showcase

On our first trip to Port Orleans as a couple last year, my bf and I decided to do a little resort hopping to see what the other resorts had to offer. When else will you get the chance to do it? This time, we brought along my parents to join us! We checked out Port Orleans Riverside and my personal fav, Old Key West. Riverside was so so beautiful and I thought it was quite cool how they had two different areas (my bf loved the Alligator Bayou area) but honestly it was too big for me and I can't see myself choosing it over my one true love, French Quarter! Old Key West, on the other hand, is a dream stay of mine. I def want to stay there someday (next summer perhaps?) and think it's just the greatest. I've always had a soft spot for Key West, FL and I think this resort really nails it. 

port orleans riverside

port orleans riverside

Old Key West

Old Key West

And just like that, I'm back to regular life! I can't believe how quickly a week in the parks went by... What will I do without my Must-Do Disney with Stacey?! The post-Disney depression is settling in. But luckily, now I get to look forward to next year's trip! Is a year in advance too early for starting to plan a Disney trip?? Asking for a friend...

port orleans french quarter

port orleans french quarter

Talk to you all very soon! x

Felicia 

What's In My Disney Theme Park Bag?

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Packing a bag for a day at the Disney theme parks can be a pretty daunting task. But over the years, I've brought it down to a few simple things that I always have to have on me when I'm headed to parks! Today I thought I'd go through the staples of what I pack for a day at the parks, especially as I've got a WDW staycation coming up very very soon and I'm getting into the Disney spirit! 

Without further ado, here's what I pack in my Disney theme park bag...

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Wallet

First and foremost, I always make sure to have my wallet on me. You always want to make sure to have your Credit/Debit cards and some US currency. I also will have my Disney annual pass for parking and discounts, and my Starbucks Rewards card for if I want to get a coffee while I'm at Disney!

Lipstick + Balm

I always keep lip balm on me no matter what, as I have dry and chapped lips. But if you know anything about me, you probably know I always have a lipstick on me too. At Disney, I usually carry my Revlon Ultra HD Matte Lip Colour in Seduction as it's a very neutral pink.

Sun + Eyeglasses

Because I have prescription glasses, I make sure to bring them along with me as I never know when I'll need those - for driving or for rides. I also ALWAYS bring along sunglasses because it is the Sunshine State after all. Protect your eyes y'all!

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Sanitizer + Meds

As Disney is a theme park and many people pass through, I always have hand sanitizer on me and make sure to use it whenever I'm about to eat. I also bring an assortment of basic meds with me, like Aleve, Midol, and Pepcid for emergencies.

Keys

Of course, I always have to bring my keys with me to the parks. How else will I get home?! My keys fit in perfectly at the parks as they're very Disney-fied - I've got a Minnie keychain (my bf has the matching Mickey) and a rose gold Cinderella castle keychain!

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Gum

Be warned: Disney World does NOT sell gum! This is a long-standing tradition, to deter people from leaving gum all over the ground and messing with the parks. If you always like to have gum, like me, bring your own and be courteous please!

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Magicband

Although this isn't technically inside my park bag, I always bring a Magicband with me. It's become a total life saver for me these past few years. I always use it for park entrance and Fastpass returns.

Minnie Ears

Of course, I have to bring along my ears!! Where would I be without these bad boys? I have a whole collection of ears that I alternate between, but you can almost always guarantee that there's a pair in my bag or on my head!

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Minnie Backpack

If I'm in the parks for a long time, like a full day, I'll use this Minnie Mouse backpack from Disney instead of my purse - it just disperses weight better on my back and shoulders, and is easier to tote around for long periods of time.

What do you pack in your Disney park bag?

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 Tips for Disney Pin Collecting

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Over the years, I've garnered myself quite the Disney pin collection. Ever since I was a little girl visiting the parks for the first time, I've periodically found myself at the pin section of any Disney World shop, scouring the racks for new pins which ultimately led to a major collection. If you aren't a Disney parkgoer, this might seem like the definition of insanity to you - but if you've ever been to the parks, I'm sure you know firsthand the Disney pin craze. 

Today, I thought that I'd share a few tips for Disney pin collecting with you guys in case you're thinking of starting your very own collection! 

1. Pin trading

Pin trading has become a pretty common thing in the last few years. It's more popular among kids, but teens and adults can totally jump into the fun, too! Cast members typically walk around the parks wearing lanyards with a number of pins on them. They can trade any of their pins (aside from a couple they have, like their personalized tag) with guests and that gives you an opportunity to get ahold of some really cool, rare pins!

2. Visit the pin stores

As much as pin trading can be fun, there may be specific pins you're looking for that may not show up in the pin rotation that you're dying to get your hands on. Most stores will have a pin section in them, like the Main Street Emporium at Magic Kingdom - however, there are also stores in the parks where pins are the main focus. Once upon a time, there was a big giant Sorcerer's Hat in Hollywood Studios that held the best collection of pins!  Nowadays, some of my favourite pin stores are the Disney's Pin Traders at Disney Springs Marketplace and the Frontierland Trading Post at Magic Kingdom's Frontierland. 

3. Buy pins of your favourite rides/attractions

In the past few years, Walt Disney World has been making major adjustments, renovations, and improvements to the parks which has resulted in a number of rides and attractions being demolished or replaced. Although I'm lucky enough to have purchased pins of some of those rides before they were removed, I don't have all of them - especially Great Movie Ride, which was my favourite but I never found a pin for. So, now that I've learned from my mistakes, I've started looking out for pins of my fav rides to buy as keepsakes, should they ever remove them, and I'm here to advise you to do the same! You can never know for sure with a park like Disney, that's always improving, if your favourites will still be intact come time for your next trip. It's always safe to be prepared. Plus, now you'll have a sick collection of pins from your fav rides!!

4. Try out the mystery packs

Disney currently sells quite a few options when it comes to mystery pin packs. These little bad boys are baggies full of pins, and you won't know what's inside until you purchase and open the pack. This makes it a big, fun surprise when you finally do get to open up the bag and see what you've got out of it - you might just have a very rare or special pin on your hands! It's also great for pin trading, as you're likely to end up with a couple pins that you're not particularly fond of but that someone else might be looking for. The same goes for the 'starter packs' that are available which come themed as Princesses or Star Wars, where you get a number of pins from that genre or film which gives you a wider selection to choose from. 

5. Display your pins

This might just be the best part of the post. Obviously, once you've returned from your Disney vacation with all your marvellous new pins, you're gonna want to show them off! The best way to do this is by finding a way to display them in your home. If you only want to show off a few of your favourite pins, you can always use a Disney lanyard - which you can buy from the parks - to display them and hang your lanyard somewhere in your room. Or, you can go with a cork-board, which is what I chose to do. A few years back, for my high school graduation, my boyfriend's parents bought me a heart-shaped cork-board (pictured above). I ended up bringing it to Florida to hang up in my bedroom here and decorate it with all my favourite pins. A cork-board is perfect because it easily keeps pins in place - all you have to do is take the backing off your pin and shove it right in - and it also gives you lots of space for displaying pins! Although I can't fit all my pins on my board (to be fair, I have several dozen pins), it does give me ample room for the pins that I consider my favourites that I want others to see. 

My favourite pins: 'Find Your Happily Ever After' (Happily Ever After fireworks), Pascal (Rapunzel), Rapunzel and Eugene (Rapunzel), Lizzie McGuire (Lizzie McGuire), and Mickey and Minnie Spinning Around the Parks


It doesn't take long at all to get hooked on pin collecting, and I can say firsthand that it doesn't matter if you've been to the parks once or a hundred times, it's still fun to buy pins!! My collection is ever-growing and constantly changing, and I love having a bit of Disney with me right by my bed at all times. It gives me a little bit of home, away from home :) 

Do you collect pins? Which are your favourites?

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! 

~*~

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

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

#THROWBACK: My First Disney Trip

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Hello my loves! Today I just realized, out of the blue, that I have been visiting Disney World now for fourteen whole years. Where has the time gone!? I cannot believe that Disney has been a part of my life for so long now. Over the years, it has not only become one of my favourite places in the world, but my second home. So I thought I'd share with you all some of my favourite photos and memories from my very first trip!

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My first ever trip was in 2004. Not long before we'd left, I'd actually had surgery to clip a piece of my upper gum that was attached to the inside of my lip. And the day before I left was my sixth birthday. Soooo this trip was a v big deal to me.

On our first trip, we stayed at the Animal Kingdom Lodge, which is right next to - you guessed it - the Animal Kingdom park and has an amazing view of animals walking around just outside your hotel room! We also stayed there in 2006. We later stayed at Coronado Springs in 2008, and Port Orleans French Quarter in 2009, 2011, and more recently in 2017.

These pictures are some of my absolute faves from my trip. Unfortunately, as I was so young, I only remember certain things that happened on the trip. One of the things I remember so clearly though was when the picture of Belle and I was taken - they had cancelled a show at the castle so they brought the princesses out for photos. Belle has always been my favourite princess and I was SOOO flippin' excited to meet her. I seriously cannot wait to be able to watch my own kids meet their favourite characters and to see them be as excited as I once was!!

So many things have changed since 2004 - it's so weird to look back on all these pictures and see not only myself as a kid, but also a ton of attractions that are no longer at the parks! A lot of my beloved rides and shows have gone onto the great beyond and they'll be greatly missed by me and probs many others forever. #rip y'all

Have any of you guys been to Disney World? I'd love to hear about your first trip! 

Felicia x

Holiday Catch-Up

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Hello everyone! How are you all doing today? I'm currently writing to you from the comfort of my sofa in Florida, where it is drizzly and freezing outside - not the sort of weather I was hoping as my send off. I'm also feeling quite poorly, as I've got a sore throat and a wicked earache today. But since today is my last day of vacay, I thought it'd be a good opportunity to catch you all up on what I've been up to on my Christmas/New Year's break in a journal-style post.

My vacation started on Christmas Day. My family did our usual Christmas morning thing - waking up early, having egg sandwiches for breaky, then opening presents. Then we cleaned up quick and hustled on over Mississauga, where we spent an hour hanging out with some of Steven's family. It's always nice that we get to see them on Christmas, before we head off for the holidays.

Around noon-ish, we said our goodbyes and headed to Buffalo, New York to catch our flight. We normally fly out of Buffalo as it's a) cheaper and b) way easier than travelling from Pearson Airport. This year, we flew with Jet Blue which was a god sent cause they have those little tv screens on the back of the seats that play tv shows and films. I was thrilled to find out that they were playing The Santa Clause on Freeform as I hate flying (despite years of air travel experience) and it was a nice distraction for my anxiety.

When we got to Florida, we had our second part of our Christmas tradition - more prezzies and a screening of The Polar Express. A perfect ending to a wonderful Christmas.

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On Boxing Day, we headed over to Disney's Grand Floridian resort - aka my favourite Disney hotel - for brunch at the Grand Floridian Cafe. I absolutely love the Cafe. The eggs benedict is very yummmmm. I always love walking around the Grand Floridian and 'oohing' and 'awing' over the wedding pavilion! We spent the afternoon monorail resort hopping so we could see all of the Christmas decorations. I love to see all the trees and especially the Grand Floridian life-size gingerbread house.

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We also popped into Disney Springs to see the Christmas Tree Trail!

Of course, we made a trip to Magic Kingdom on our trip. It was the first chilly night of the trip, but still, it was bearable. Gave me an excuse to wear my favourite holiday Olaf sweatshirt, with my new Christmas Mickey ears. We got to ride Haunted Mansion and Jungle Cruise - which was Christmas decorated and they called it Jingle Cruise which was GREAT. And no Magic Kingdom trip is complete without watching the Happily Ever After fireworks on Main Street with a Starbucks coffee in hand!

Unfortunately, my anxiety popped in to visit on the night I was supposed to be going to Epcot - my favourite Disney park - and I had to have a stay-in night instead. Boo :(

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But the next day, I made it out to Hollywood Studios for the evening and we had a ton of fun despite freezing our asses off!!!! It was about 14 degrees Celsius which is super cold for Florida and I was wearing a t-shirt, a cardigan, and jeans - yet I was frozen. I ended up buying a super cute Stormtrooper sweater AND a Minnie & Mickey Mouse blanket which I wrapped around me. We pretty much just walked around, had some coffee, and then watched the Star Wars fireworks show - which was soooo cool. Every time I saw Leia, I pretty much cried.

New Year's Eve was spent the way it always is for my family. A big dinner at home, a round of Cards Against Humanity, and watching Dick Clark's Rockin' New Year's Eve when the ball dropped. Usually, we get to play Cards Against Humanity outside in our backyard but it was like 9 degrees out this year so we had to stay indoors which was kind of a bummer. But we made the best of it! On New Year's Day, my parents went out for dinner with their good friend who lives in Orlando, as they do every year. My boyfriend and I stayed in, ordered some pizza, and watched Riverdale in our pjs. The perfect night!

Now I'm at the end of my trip. Sad :( Today, I was lucky enough to get to pop out to go to Books A Million, where they were having a 'buy 2 get the third free' sale. I was in literal heaven. I was on a book buying break for all of December because of Christmas coming up. So now that I'm free of that, I'm ready to buy every book in sight! I purchased The Girls by Emma Cline, My Not So Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella, and Paris for One & Other Stories by Jojo Moyes. I'm already forty pages into The Girls!

I hope everyone had an incredible holiday break! I'll be back to my regular scheduling of posts by next week.

Felicia x

Review: Epcot's International Food and Wine Festival | 2017

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Epcot's International Food and Wine Festival is absolutely, without a doubt one of my must-do's at Walt Disney World. If you were to ask me, 'say Felicia, I'm thinking about going to Disney, when should I go?', I would say AUTUMN because FOOD AND WINE FESTIVAL. My family has been going to the Food and Wine Festival since 2011, and in 2015 my boyfriend joined in on our yearly tradition. Each year, we pick up a complimentary Food and Wine Passport to record what we've tried each year and our thoughts on each dish. So, I thought I would share with all of you what we tried and what we thought of everything.

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Starting off with my home and native land. Every year since we first started going to the Food and Wine Festival we've had the "Le Cellier" Wild Mushroom Beef Filet Mignon with Truffle-Butter Sauce. It used to be one of my favourite dishes of the event, but the past couple years it's been meh. My boyfriend and I shared one, and though I was happy it was cooked fairly well done, we both agreed it was not as great as previous years. I'm not sure if this had something to with the fact that we got there later in the day, and it might have been sitting out for some time, but I was sadly unimpressed.

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Okay, here we go. Favourite dish time. My boyfriend and I each had our own plate of the Boeuf Bourguignon with Purée de Pommes de Terre, which is Cabernet Sauvignon-braised Beef served with mashed potatoes. Guys, this is the most tender piece of meat I have ever had in my entire life. Honestly, you don't even need a knife, you can easily break it apart with a fork. Drizzled in gravy, atop mashed potatoes, it's meat heaven. Added bonus: they serve this year-round at Les Chefs de France, one of the two restaurants at Epcot's France pavilion. Bon Appetit.

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Although I didn't try anything at the Italy stand, my boyfriend did, so I thought it fit to mention it regardless. He tried the Absolut Penne, which is penne served with vodka sauce and shrimp. I'm not a fan of seafood at all, but my boyfriend loves it. He really enjoyed this dish and said he would definitely try it again. Although he did say it was a little spicy, so if you're not into spice, this probably isn't for you.

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We visit this stand every year, and it's always worth it. I always get the Kalua Pork Slider with Sweet and Sour DOLE Pineapple Chutney and Spicy Mayonnaise. I loveeeee this so so much. It's super odd in terms of the description. Like, pineapple chutney, spicy mayonnaise, pork. It sounds like a weird combo. But I promise you, it's heavenly. Definitely a must-have in terms of dishes at the Festival. The pork, mixed with the pineapple chutney is delicious. Yum. I'm in heaven thinking about it right now.

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The next stand we went to was Australia, where my boyfriend tried the Grilled Lamb T-Bone with Mint Pesto and Potato Crunchies. He found the lamb to very tender and quite good, but the mint sauce was too excessive and overpowering.

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I had never tried anything from the Mexico pavilion before this year, but my parents tried the Rib Eye Tacoso I thought I'd give it a try and I was pleasantly surprised! Although I wasn't totally in love with it, I did think it was pretty good. It's made up of marinated rib eye, roasted chipotle sauce, and grilled scallions on a corn tortilla. It was good, but I'm not sure I would have it again.

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Germany was another new stop for me, but it will definitely be one I go to again in the future. My boyfriend and I tried the Schinkennudeln. My boyfriend ordered it, offered me a bite, and after that, I was in love. The Schinkennudeln is pasta gratin made with ham and cheese. It was reallyreally good. I can't wait to have it again next year!

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ACTIVE EATS

This was a last stop, but certainly worthwhile. I had the Loaded Mac 'n' Cheese with Nueske's Pepper Bacon, Cheddar Cheese, Peppers, and Green Onions. I am a mac 'n' cheese fanatic. And this mac 'n' cheese checks off everything on my list when it comes to the perfect dish. It's so good, and even has a bit of a spice to it. I highly recommend this dish.

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NOTABLY ABSENT

There were definitely some dishes that didn't show up this year, that were very missed by us:

  • The Chicken Gyro from Greece

  • The Ravioli alla Caprese from Italy

  • The Kielbasa and Potato Pierogi

RIP to you all. :(

Until next time, Food and Wine!

Felicia x

Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party | 2017

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I love Halloween. The decorations, the candy, the movies. What's not to love? And of course, having it blended with Disney World only makes the holiday better. For today's post I wanted to talk to you guys about one of my favourite Disney holiday experiences and that is the Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party. Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party is an annual event held at Walt Disney's Magic Kingdom from the end of August through to the start of November. On the select nights of Not-So-Scary, the park closes to the general public at 7pm, which means smaller crowds for those who have tickets to the party, which means lower wait times for rides. Score. There's also exclusive entertainment, rare character meet and greets, and even trick-or-treating. Without further ado, here are some of my favourite things about Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party.

HIGHLIGHTS

Dressing Up

One of my favourite parts about Not-So-Scary is dressing up in costume. Being nineteen years old and considered an "adult (*shivers*), I don't ever get a chance to dress up like this, so it's really cool to get to do this. The first year we came to Not-So-Scary in 2015, my boyfriend and I dressed up as Mickey and Minnie Mouse and I loved it. This year, we opted to go for Belle and the Beast (after he transforms into a prince) from my favourite Disney film Beauty and the Beast. I had the time of my life, no exaggeration. Belle has been my favourite Princess since I was a little girl, so being called "Princess Belle" all night was a dream come true haha.

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Trick-or-Treating

Trick-or-treating is something I haven't done since, like, middle school I think. But at Disney, everyone gets to be a kid again. And they hand out a lot of candy. I mean, a lot of candy. We ended up with about 20lbs of candy. Yes, you read that right! My dad and my boyfriend literally went to most Treat stands at least twice, if not three times. We got mini bars of Milky Way, Snickers, Dove, and much more, plus Starbursts and other kinds of sweet candies. At least now we have something to hand out to kids on Halloween!

Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular

Okaaayyy so this one is a big one for me. If you love Halloween, chances are you love Hocus Pocus. I for one am a huge Hocus Pocus fan, as I mentioned in my Favourite Autumnal Films post a few weeks ago. At Not-So-Scary, they put on a show on the stage in front of Cinderella's Castle that features the Sanderson sisters (!!!!) and other Disney villains. It's seriously so fun to watch. I mean, where else are you gonna be able to see a live performance of I Put A Spell on You, with Hades and Oogie Boogie dancing along?

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Decorations

Though the decorations aren't really particular to the event, I always love how Magic Kingdom is decorated for Halloween. They make everything so cute and photogenic. I love walking down Main Street and taking a billion photos of everything to post on Instagram or set as my phone background.

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Happy HalloWishes

If you ever visited Disney World between 2003 and the beginning of 2017, and you saw the fireworks at Magic Kingdom, chances are you saw Wishes or some variation of it. Wishes was the nightly fireworks show at MK until very recently (R.I.P Wishes) and for holidays, they show a special version of it. For Halloween, it's Happy HalloWishes. I love these fireworks. It's all about Disney villains and it's spectacular. I would recommend going to Not-So-Scary just for the fireworks (and the parade - we'll get to that in a sec).

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Mickey's Boo To You Halloween Parade

Last, but certainly not least, is the wonderful, the famous, the fabulous Mickey's Boo To You parade. Okay guys. This is hands-down, my FAVOURITE part of the night. The parade goes twice a night, at 9:15 and 11:15, and family waits for the later showing because we choose to end the night right haha. I am sooooo in love with this parade I could gush about it forever but I'm going to keep this short and sweet, for the most part. One of the really cool things about the parade is that it shows characters that aren't usually in the parks. My favourite part is themed around the Haunted Mansion ride - it has a float of the Hitchhiking Ghosts, dancers that are supposed to be the ballroom ghosts, and best of all, the Gravediggers. Search up a video on YouTube of the gravediggers, it's SO worth it. They also have Villains, Wreck it Ralph characters, Mickey and his gang, and Captain Jack Sparrow with Captain Barbossa from Pirates of the Caribbean. Oh, and did I mention it starts off with the Headless Horseman riding down Main Street?!

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BONUS: PhotoPass Opportunities

If you've been to Disney World before, you've probably used PhotoPass services before or at least heard of them. But, if not, here's the gist: PhotoPass allows you to have photos taken by professional photographers around the parks, with special effects or characters, available for purchase on the My Disney Experience app. During Not-So-Scary, there are special opportunities for photos including a very popular Haunted Mansion one, plus they use Halloween-themed special effects on the cameras (i.e. they'll add characters or graphics to your photos using their *magic* technology). I was walking around the park when I stumbled across the coolest PhotoPass opportunity ever: TANGLED FLOATING LANTERNS!!! I love Tangled so much, so when I saw you could take a photo with a floating lantern, with the Tangled restrooms as a backdrop, I had to do it. So my boyfriend and I had our photo taken, and it's the greatest thing ever. Inserting now for your viewing pleasure (and also so I can cry about it again).

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Until next year, Not-So-Scary!

Felicia x