Sunday, August 28, 2016

3 Reasons to Visit the Chase Lounge at Epcot International Food & WineFestival

If you're planning to visit Epcot International Food & Wine Festival and have a Chase credit card, I'm here to let you in on one of the best kept secrets during the festival.  Touring the festival can be exhausting, but the Chase Lounge is the perfect place to relax while in Epcot.  The Chase Lounge is located inside the American Adventure.  To gain entry, you need to show your Chase Visa at the door and then you can proceed up the stairs to enjoy some great perks!  If you have a Disney Rewards Visa Card, you already have the connection you need with Chase to access the lounge.  Here are my top 3 reasons to check out the Chase Lounge.

Free Non-Alcholoic Beverages - That's right, something free!  Cardmembers can grab a free soda or drink of water while relaxing inside.  Wine and beer are also available for sale with reduced lines inside of the lounge.

An Air Conditioned Break - When spending a day enjoying all that Epcot has to offer, you are probably going to want to take a break at some point to escape the balmy temperatures that can still creep into Florida during the fall season.  The Chase Lounge offers comfy chairs, plenty of seating, and even some charging stations for all of your mobile devices!

Premium Seating for Epcot Favorites - This was one of the most surprising and best finds inside the Chase Lounge.  I happened to notice a cast member sitting off to the side with a box.  When I went over to check out what was inside, she had special wrist bands for reserved seats to that night's Illuminations: Reflections of Earth show and the Eat to the Beat Concerts that day.  The bands were only available for same day shows and were very limited quantities so if you want to try and score one, be sure to swing by early in the day!

The Chase Lounge is the perfect place to rest and relax during a busy day at Epcot International Food and Wine Festival.  Be sure to check it out this fall!

Monday, August 22, 2016

FAQ - Is my baby too young to visit Walt Disney World?

The short answer to this FAQ is - NO!  Traveling to Walt Disney World with a baby is not only easy, but there is so much to enjoy as well.  Babies make some of the best traveling companions because they are so portable.  I made good use of my Boba 4G carrier and walked a large part of each day with our 5 month old son sleeping next to mommy.  Caleb didn't miss a beat on the whole vacation - he was a part of all of our meals, parades, fireworks, and rides.


Walt Disney World makes it easy to travel with little ones through a lot of little details, such as the Baby Care Centers.  Each theme park has a Baby Care Center that is home to a quiet spot for nursing, changing tables, highchairs, a television and playroom, and baby items for sale such as diapers, wipes, food, and medicine.  For more details on the Baby Care Centers, read my full review here.  Another great aspect of traveling in any Disney Parks location is that most rides are infant friendly.  Caleb loved taking in all of the sights and sounds on rides like The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Under the Sea - Journey of the Little Mermaid, and soared high above the park on Dumbo the Flying Elephant.
Characters love interacting with babies and babies are equally in love with some of their favorites.  My son was enamored with many of the princesses and loved meeting Mickey Mouse.  These were wonderful photo opportunities and great memories for our family.

Don't let the fact that you have an infant deter you from planning that Walt Disney World trip!  Babies can have just as much fun as the rest of the family ensuring that everyone has a magical trip!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

FAQ - Should you use FastPass+ on parade and fireworks viewing?

I hear this question asked often among friends and in several of the Disney groups that I'm in on Facebook.  We have chosen on some trips to use FastPass+ for viewing parades and fireworks and skipped it other times, so I can speak about the pros and cons here pretty honestly.  And like most answers related to planning a Walt Disney World vacation, the answer truly depends on your family and vacation priorities.

Thank you FastPass+ for the amazing viewing spot of
the Main Street Electrical Parade!
For our family, using FastPass+ to catch great viewing spots for fireworks and parades has been a good choice - especially if we're spending more than one day in that particular park.  As a family with two young children, we find it difficult to get to a prime spot to watch nighttime entertainment up to an hour before it starts.  When we visit the parks, we travel with a double BOB stroller - basically a minivan for kids - so even having one adult go to hold a spot while the rest of the family continues to run around the park can be a challenge.  For this reason, knowing that we can grab a perfect spot to see fireworks and parades while arriving just 10-15 minutes before they start is a great luxury.  We're also fortunate that the cost/benefit is easy for our family to figure out.  Most of the rides and attractions we're interested in with a baby and preschooler don't really *need* FastPass+ because the wait times are rarely longer than 15 minutes or so.

So what are the big questions to ask yourself when determining whether or not to book FastPass+ viewing areas for parades and fireworks?

  • How many days are your going to spend in that park?  If you're spending more than one day you may have some FastPass+ allotments that you don't need to do your favorite attractions.
  • How old are your kids?  If you're traveling with older children or adults, it might be easier to arrive early and hold a spot as opposed to keeping young kids entertained while waiting for the show to start.
  • Are there any other options to get preferred seating for the show?  For example, we always book a Fantastic Dining Package in Hollywood Studios.  We figure that we have to eat anyways, why not book at one of these locations and get the perk of prime seating for Fantasmic so we can save our Tier 1 FastPass+ reservation for Toy Story Mania?  Recently, Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom have also offered dining packages paired with nighttime parades and shows as well.  
If you do choose to use your FastPass+ options for fireworks and parade viewing, you won't be disappointed in the location.  All of them offer a great spot that's not as crowded as some other areas may be without the stress or worry about saving your spot.  

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Don't believe everything on the Internet. . .

I've seen a growing number of my friends on Facebook sharing posts claiming to offer free Disney Cruise Line vacations or trips to Walt Disney World.  My friends - I hate to burst bubbles - but these are all fakes.

"But it looks real!"

Yeah, they do a good job disguising their pages, but here a few easy ways to identify fake Disney giveaways from legitimate contests.

Check the name of the page. . .carefully.  The easiest way to check is the blue "verified" check next to the title.  Facebook takes the question away by marking legitimate sites from ones that are often copied.  You can also check a few things on the page.  Many of these fake offers features a mild variation on what looks like a legitimate name.  For example, Disney Cruise Lines or adding a period at the end of Walt Disney World.  You can also check the number of fans for each page.  Real Disney Facebook pages have over a million likes while some of these others only have several thousand.

So why do these fan pages want you liking, sharing, and commenting on a contest that's a fake?  The creators of these sites want you to engage with their page and then once they rack up a few thousand connections, they can change the content to something malicious or sell the information to cybercriminals.  Pretty scary stuff.

Does Disney ever offer giveaways?  Of course!  Just be careful before engaging with the content.  Real offers from any Disney vacation destination will come from a verified page and have lots of legal jargon about the contest.  Any contest that I've entered through Disney has also taken me to a separate page to enter; not just had me like, share, or comment.

Moral of the story friends - be careful what you engage with on Facebook and anywhere else on the Internet.  If it seems too good to be true. . .it probably is!

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Magic Kingdom Fireworks - Without a Park Ticket!

One of my favorite attractions on any Walt Disney World trip is taking in the fireworks at Magic Kingdom.  Whether it's Wishes or one of the seasonal shows, there is nothing quite like watching this nighttime spectacular over Cinderella Castle.  The music and fireworks quite literally brings tears to my eyes each visit.  Of course, the best place to watch the fireworks is right in front of the castle inside the park, but many don't realize that there are other great options to experience fireworks that don't require you to have a park ticket.

Restaurants - Who doesn't love dinner and a show?  California Grill (Disney's Contemporary Resort),  'Ohana (Disney's Polynesian Resort), and Narcoossees's (Disney's Grand Floridian Resort and Spa) all have views of the Magic Kingdom fireworks and dim the lights while piping in music to provide guests with a great experience.  Reservations around fireworks times are difficult to get so make sure that you are ready to book 180 days in advance.  Time your reservation about 90 minutes before fireworks are planned to start and you should be ready to enjoy your dessert while the fireworks display takes place.

Beaches - The beaches at Disney's Polynesian Resort and Disney's Grand Floridian Resort and Spa both have beautiful views of the fireworks.  Recently, a new FREE (yes, you read that right, FREE) viewing party has been opened at the Grand Floridian.  The party features decorations and food and beverages for sale while you watch.  The best part - this isn't open to just guests of this resort!

Boats - There are two cruises on the Seven Seas Lagoon that also offer fireworks viewing.  The Ferrytale Wishes Dessert Party features sweets and beverages included in the price tag while you watch the fireworks and enjoy the music just like you were in the park.  For a more daring adventure on the high seas, there is also a Pirates and Pals Fireworks Cruise where you enjoy snacks and drinks at the Contemporary with Captain Hook and Mr. Smee before setting sail with some pirate friends around the lagoon to see the fireworks.  When you return back to land, Peter Pan is there to greet your party.  Each of these options do have a price tag attached, but feature more than just the viewing when you factor in the food and experience.

These non-park options are great if you don't have a park hopper option on your tickets and want to take in the fireworks on a night you were not in Magic Kingdom.  Or, those of you who are lucky enough to be locals might like to check out the fireworks without braving the Magic Kingdom evening crowds.  I'm excited to use some of these options on my upcoming trip for Princess Half Marathon weekend when my friend and I have opted to save some money and skip park tickets.  Whatever your reason, all of these viewing locations provide a wonderful alternative to watching the fireworks from inside the park.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

The Magic of Pete's Dragon Coming Soon

Image from Walt Disney Studios

The magical world of Pete's Dragon will be coming to life in theaters nationwide on August 12.  The story is a favorite of my husbands and I can't wait to see how Disney Studios brings this to life in this recent adaptation.  While you wait for the newest release from Disney, here is a sneak peek at the most recent trailer and some fun activities to entertain your children!  Enjoy!



Coloring Sheets

Memory Game

Maze

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