Showing posts with label characters. Show all posts
Showing posts with label characters. Show all posts

How to Meet Characters on Your Disney Cruise Vacation

Let's face it - kids (and some of us adults!) love meeting characters when we travel to Disney destinations.  A Disney Cruise Line vacation is no different and gives you a number of ways to meet & interact with characters while on board.  Check out these tips to make the most of your opportunities to meet characters while cruising with your family!

You can reserve some character experiences ahead of time


Just like FastPass+ and Advanced Dining Reservations can be booked prior to a Walt Disney World Resort vacation, guests sailing on Disney Cruise Line can book some experiences ahead of their cruise.  Some of these include character meet & greets! While I'm sure the reservation options may vary - particularly on special sailings - you will definitely want to check them out on the "My Cruise Activities" section of your reservation.  For our cruise, there were a few Frozen meet and greets plus several Princess meet and greets.  The ONLY way to participate in these is with a reservation - and they do book up quickly!  Also, depending on your sailing, there may be character dining experiences too.  Be sure to log into your "My Cruise Activities" as soon as your window opens to have the best chance of getting what you want to book.

Bon Voyage Breakfast at Trattoria al Forno

Character meals are a must-do for most families when visiting the Walt Disney World Resort.  So when I new experience becomes available, Disney regulars like ourselves can't wait to try it out.  When we visited in December, we were lucky enough to grab a morning reservation for Trattoria al Forno to try the new Bon Voyage breakfast.  The dining experience promotes adventure and it surely doesn't disappoint.

The Characters - Not going to lie.  I'm pretty sure I was more excited about the characters here than anyone else in our party.  While the standard Disney line is that characters are always subject to change, the regulars here are Rapunzel, Flynn Ryder, Prince Eric, and Ariel.  Yeah - you read that right. . .two Disney GUYS!!!  Grown women will swoon once being hit by "the smolder" - trust me, I know.  As in most of the other dining experiences, a parade happens during breakfast to get little ones up and moving around.  The characters were great with everyone and the restaurant is relatively small so characters make their way around quickly without feeling rushed.

The Food - Again, this restaurant hits it out of the park.  Each table begins with a pastry assortment inspired by Tangled and The Little Mermaid which is served in a frying pan - of course!  Diners then get to choose from a menu which entree they would like and food is freshly prepared and delivered to the table.  I really enjoy this option compared to the up and down craziness of buffets.  The food was also different then what you find in most Disney restaurants.  I had the Swimmer's Delight - an egg white omelet with smoked salmon, goat cheese, spinach, mushroom and tomato with a side of roasted potatoes.  It was imaginative, themed perfectly with the entire meal experience, and delicious!

The Location - Trattoria al Forno is located on Disney's Boardwalk adjacent to Epcot.  We took a car service from our hotel to Disney's Boardwalk Resort to access the boardwalk area and then had a quick walk to the restaurant.  The location is perfect for spending a day in Epcot which is exactly what we did!  When you finish breakfast, you are very close to the International Gateway entrance to Epcot.  Bonus - you get to skip the crowds entering the park as this is a far less popular entrance.  You could also do this for breakfast when visiting Disney's Hollywood Studios as it's only a 20-30 minute walk or a brief ferry boat ride away.

I was absolutely thrilled with this character meal!  I wish my hubby would have been feeling better that morning to enjoy all that the meal had to offer.  The kids enjoyed the kids menu and had fun meeting some favorite characters and mom got to eat egg whites with goat cheese while swooning over Disney princes - does life get much better?!?

Have you checked out breakfast at Trattoria al Forno yet?

Collecting Character Autographs in Walt Disney World

Meeting characters is a highlight of any Walt Disney World vacation - for both the young and the young at heart!  Photos are a great way to capture those memories and many people enjoy collecting autographs from their favorite characters to also bring home a piece of the magic.  Below are a few different options for recording those signatures.

Disney Autograph Books - On site and online, Disney sells autograph books for visitors to use.  The books range from a simple book of blank pages for characters to sign to larger books that hold pictures from your trip alongside the autographs you collect.  On a plus side, these books are readily available and easy to carry being small on size.  Brody keeps his old autograph books in his closet and occasionally will go back to look at them.  Books start at just $7.95 so if you are in a pinch in the parks, it's not an overly expensive option.

Disney Junior Encyclopedia of Animated Characters (or another character book) - This is my new favorite option!  We bought this book from Amazon for less than $10 prior to our trip.  It's a nice hardcover book that features some of Disney's most beloved animated characters.  Each page has a picture and a brief description of each character.  The idea is that when you meet each one, they sign their page.  This is a nice book to keep on a shelf and revisit time and time again when you return from your trip.  I also enjoy that we can bring it back on each vacation and try to collect more and more signatures.  On the downside, it is larger than the Disney Autograph books in the parks and not every character is in the book.  We were easily able though to work around both of these minor concerns.  With our little ones, we still carry a backpack in the park so carrying the book wasn't a problem and we just had characters without a page sign on the front or back cover.

Wall Displays / Pillowcases / Etc. - I have seen people post about bringing various household items for characters to sign too.  While I have never done this personally, it may be something that we do in the future.  One example may be a photo mat that would hold one of your family photos from the parks or maybe a wooden letter.  I've also seen people hand characters pillowcases or t-shirts to sign too.  Perhaps the most creative I've found were the people who brought a frying pan to have Rapunzel sign!  While these appear to be great, creative ways to display character signatures when you return, I have always worried about carrying some of these items as they can be a bit awkward in the park.

At the end of the day, what you carry in the park is all about what makes you and your family happy! There are so many creative ways to collect character signatures and a quick Pinterest search will show you endless possibilities.  What are some of your favorite ways to gather signatures while on vacation in Walt Disney World?

Happy Birthday Brody and Caleb!

It's a big week in our house as both Brody and Caleb celebrate birthdays - Brody is turning 5 and Caleb is turning 2.  Each year when I plan their birthday party, I try to work in a little Disney magic.  This time around, I broke out some creative energy to throw a Figment themed birthday party at Port Discovery Children's Museum in Baltimore.  Port Discovery has three floors of interactive fun for kids of all ages.  It really is a place for imaginations to run wild, which is why I thought Figment would be perfectly suited.  It turned out to be an amazing day with a lot of fun, some creativity, and a little touch of Disney magic.

The Invitations - I designed custom invitations for the birthday party using the HP Card and Invitation Kit that I received as a sample as part of the HP Millennial Influencer Panel.  The HP website made it easy to pull up a template and create the invitations.  I used an image of Figment in the background and a Disney font that I downloaded to my computer to inspire the look.  To draw in an extra piece of nostalgia from Epcot's Journey Into Your Imagination ride, I made Dr. Nigel Channing of The Institute, our special guest host.  This also played well with the mad scientist theming that Port Discovery offers for parties.

The Decorations, Food, and Cake - We were fortunate that Port Discovery is an amazing venue and they were providing balloons and table cloths.  I purchased purple, orange, and yellow paper goods to mimic the colors of our imaginative dragon.  The colors that Port Discovery used just happened to correspond perfectly with our inspiration.  I wasn't sure how much table space we would have in their party room, so outside of a framed invitation, I really didn't bring other Figment decorations.  I did however Disneybound with a Figment look for the day!  We decided to keep food simple - ordered some pizzas, served bags of chips, grapes, GoGo Squeeze applesauce pouches, juice boxes, and bottles of water.  The cake was truly out of this world.  Brody came with me to Starry Night Bakery in our hometown to help pick out what he wanted.  I originally was going to do white icing with a picture of Figment, but Brody wanted purple icing with orange writing and borders.  I think his idea turned out better than what mine!  The cake didn't just look good, but it was delicious too.  Brody is a chocolate lover so the cake was chocolate with Oreo mousse filling.  It was a big hit!




The Venue - If you haven't been to Port Discovery and live around the Baltimore area, you should definitely check it out.  They have a coloring room, water room, pretend Royal Farms store, indoor soccer field, and a whole half of a floor devoted to soft play areas for babies and toddlers just to name a few.  The favorite spot though for my oldest is the three story indoor playground - complete with rope ladders to climb, bridges to cross, and big slides!  They also have some areas of the museum that feature visiting activities.  The current visiting attraction is a Thomas the Tank Engine play area - perfect for my little boys.  Kids can dress up as engineers, load the train, play interactive computer games, and even enjoy a expansive toy train layout.  We bought a family membership to Port Discovery last year after our first visit because we knew we would enjoy coming back time and time again.  As members, we received a discount off of our party package and our membership for the upcoming year was renewed.  The party package featured a make your own slime activity that gave everyone their own bag to take home.  Port Discovery also gave BOGO admission tickets out to party guests as favors.

Overall it was a wonderful day!  We again had the chance to show our Disney side with a Figment inspired party while enjoying all the fun that Port Discovery Children's Museum has to offer.  Can't wait until next year when we can plan another memorable birthday party for the boys.  Happy Birthday Brody and Caleb!