Florida Resident Rates Announced Through April 2019

Now, more than ever is a great time to stay in the middle of the magic at Walt Disney World® Resort with great Florida resident rates valid for travel Jan. 1 – April 27, 2019.

For example, as a Florida Resident you can take advantage of rates as low as $79* per night, plus tax in a standard room at a select Disney’s All-Star Resort for stays most Monday through Wednesday nights Jan. 7 – Feb. 13, 2019.  Book through April 27, 2019.

 *The number of rooms allocated for this offer is limited. Length-of-stay requirements may apply. Additional per adult charges may apply if more than two adults per room at Disney Value, Moderate and Deluxe Resorts and Studios at Disney Deluxe Villa Resorts. Cannot be combined with any other discount or promotion. Advance reservations required. Offer excludes the following room types: campsites, 3-bedroom Grand Villas, Cabins at Copper Creek Villas & Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, and Bungalows at Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows. Proof of Florida residency required at check-in.

Disney Cruise Line Changes

photo credit – Disney

This just in…. Beginning September 11, 2018,  Disney Cruise Line will make a change to their final payment and cancellation timelines. Here is a quick summary of what you need to know:

Cruises that are 1-5 nights: Final payment for all non-suite/non-concierge staterooms on  will be due 90 days prior to arrival and cancellation fees will begin at 89 days versus 74 days.

Cruises that are 6 nights or longer: Final payment for all non-suite/non-concierge staterooms will be due 120 days prior to arrival and cancellation fees will begin at 119 days versus 89 days.

Specific final payment and cancellation policies have been eliminated for holiday sailings and sailings where the Embark and Debark is a non-U.S. port

For reservations made prior to Sept. 11, 2018, the final payment and cancellation fees assessed will be based on the information listed on the original confirmation unless the sailing date or vacation package is modified. In other words, if you have booked a Disney Cruise prior to Sept. 11, 2018, and you do not modify it, you will not see a change to your final payment date (check your reservation to confirm your cruise final payment due date).

A Stay at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort

On a recent trip to Walt Disney World, we decided to finalize our “stay at every resort” challenge and booked a stay at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort. After countless trips, and visits to the resort, how have we never stayed here? Well, I have a guess, and it may be because we are from New England and felt like the theming would be the same as where we live, so why not stay somewhere where the décor is different. But that was just silly. This picturesque seaside resort has just risen to the top of my favorites list!

Yacht Club is one of Disney’s Deluxe Resorts. It is located behind Epcot on the Boardwalk. It connects to Disney’s Beach Club Resort in more ways than one. You can walk from one resort to the other, as they are literally connected. They share a pool (more on that later), Ship Shape fitness center, restaurants, and a fabulous location.

The décor of the resort upon entering is more formal than its sister Beach Club, which I liked!  You can see this in the dark wood furniture, chandeliers, and brass accents. It was a nice change to find a lobby that was quiet with not

much of the “hussle-bussle” we have seen in other resorts. The exterior of the resort has a gray and white clapboard appearance with a meticulously cared for lawn.

The rooms at the Yacht Club are currently undergoing a beautiful modern refurbishment! Upon entering the room I was surprised to see the changes already!  The location of our room was at the end of one hallway. The walk from the lobby was lengthy, and one elevator was turned off due to construction. But there was a door to a staircase which put us on the Boardwalk quickly! It may be worthwhile to request a room closer to the lobby, but we enjoy the extra steps so it was no bother to us.

Restaurants at the resort are great too. When I was there in July, there was a bit of construction going on behind cleverly placed walls. What’s happening behind them is the creation of a new lobby lounge and the new Ale & Compass Restaurant, which will replace the former Captain’s Grille. This new gastro-pub style restaurant will present a New England-inspired menu for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The plans for the cozy lighthouse-inspired décor look really cool.

Other restaurants and lounges include the Marketplace at Ale & Compass for a quick bite to eat, Yachtsman Steakhouse, Crew’s Cup Lounge, Beaches ‘n Cream Soda Shop (you gotta order the No Way Jose, you’ll thank me), andCape May Café (which has a great character breakfast). There are even more but we didn’t visit them this trip.

One afternoon we abandoned Epcot and had fun in the pool .  Storm-a-Long Bay is often considered the “best” pool at a Disney resort, for many reasons. Most prominently is its sand bottom! Yes! when you get in the pool, you are walking on sand! Weird at first, but then it seems really neat. There is also a lazy river and amazing pirate-ship slide! Now, I don’t do water slides, but I did this one and loved it! Because of its popularity, cast members do check magic bands to ensure you are staying at Yacht Club or Beach Club and give you a bracelet granting access for the day.

Another great feature of this resort is its location. You can quickly walk to Epcot, a little bit longer walk to Hollywood Studios, or you can take a short boat ride!

My family and I just loved this resort. The beautiful décor, quiet ambience, super cool pool, variety of restaurants, and location to the parks makes it the perfect choice.  We will be staying here again on our next trip!

-Bekka C

As an aside, this resort would be PERFECT for a honeymoon or couples getaway!

Fabulous Breakfast!

Breakfast. Is it the most important meal of the day? Is it your favorite meal of the day? Breakfast in Walt Disney World can be the FUNNEST meal of the day!

I love getting up and out the door in the morning at WDW. There are endless breakfast options to get your day started. Here are some ideas and some “don’t miss” suggestions!

For little ones (and not little ones!) character breakfasts are a lot of fun. My son’s favorite is Chef Mickey’s at Disney’s Contemporary Resort. Napkins swinging and hands clapping are the highlights. The buffet is standard offering much the same fare as you will find all around the resort – mickey waffles, eggs, fruits, brownies :)! But a great time with Mickey, Minnie and friends.

One of my favorite character breakfasts is “Play n’ Dine” at Hollywood Studies at Hollywood & Vine. Dine with popular Disney Junior friends Handy Manny, Doc McStuffins, Jake, and a few others. The buffet is always a winner with additions like bread pudding, cheesy potato hash, and custom egg station.

 

Another interesting and off-beat character breakfast is at Garden Grill in Epcot’s “The Land” pavilion. You will meet Mickey and friends who are wearing adorable farmer outfits! Breakfast is somewhat unique! Many come here to dine on Chip’s Sticky Bun Bake. Mickey waffles, chocolate sauce, and a variety of salsas made from plants grown at The Land round out the experience! My son was very excited that the restaurant rotates and you get to see different sights as you dine.

My last comment on character breakfasts is at the Crystal Palace in  Magic Kingdom. Our Hundred Acre Woods friends make the rounds while you dine. The buffet is similar to others, but one unique breakfast item is the Puffed French Toast found on the children’s buffet station. This reminds me of my childhood and is a must!

The best breakfast on property in my opinion can be found at the Polynesian Resort’s Kona Cafe! I appreciate their menu items being different from the typical breakfast. Many come here for Tonga Toast (very big French Toast stuffed with a lot of yumminess). French Press Kona Coffee and Macadamia Nut Pancakes for the win!  A runner up is The Wave at Disney’s Contemporary Resort. The offer organic coffee, chicken sausage, sweet potato pancakes, key lime eggs benedict, and more. They feature full menu and buffet options!

Throughout Walt Disney World and resort food courts, you will find various cinnamon rolls (don’t miss Gaston’s Tavern!), mickey waffles, and standard breakfast offerings.

 

In recent visits we have gotten to really like Les Halles Boulangerie-Patisserie. When you walk in you are greeted by a beautiful display of french bakery items. I go for the Florentine quiche and a mimosa. I don’t recommend ordering a cappuccino as it is from a pre-made machine, not made fresh.

It can be a little bit of a scavenger hunt if you are looking to stay healthy at breakfast. Here are a few tips! Buffets will usually have hard boiled eggs, fruit, oatmeal, and  yogurt. You will find whole-grain croissants as well- don’t be fooled, they are butter city!! Some buffets have an egg station and they always whip up egg whites for me. Starbucks has a spinach and egg white wrap that I often grab in the parks as well. Food courts have cereal, sometimes protein drinks in their cooler, yogurt, and fruit. Table service restaurants are great at customizing for you. I have seen many with gluten free options as well!

Next time you are in Walt Disney World, let breakfast be the funnest meal of your day!!

-Bekka

 

Morimoto Asia

wp-1468260241656.jpgLast week, I had the opportunity to dine at the newly opened Morimoto Asia located in Walt Disney World. This restaurant is more specifically located in Disney Springs and is a collaboration between Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto and Patina Restaurant Group. Having been a fan of the show Iron Chef and a foodie by self-proclamation, I was excited to visit! The cuisine promised to borrow from various regions of Asia (more on that in a minute), yum!

My family and I arrived at Disney Springs a little early andMorimoto Asia meandered to find the restaurant. We had a 4:30pm Advanced Dining Reservation. As we dodged a few raindrops, we quickly came upon a beautiful shining gray and glass building. There was a vertical sign on the side which read “Morimoto Asia” (found it!) and on top of the building, large letters spelling out “Springs Bottling Co.” This sign keeps the building within the theming of this newly remodeled area.

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Upon entering, and just in time as the skies opened up, we were greeted by beautiful Morimoto Asiainterior decor. It consisted of glass, silver, and red tones. We were seated quickly, but I couldn’t stop looking up and around at all of the breathtaking decorations. Just stunning. and a little odd in some places. One wall sports very unique black and white photographs of many interesting individuals.

Morimoto Asia

Now for the good stuff. The menu had a little of every kind of
dish from various regions of Asia. Noodles, rice, egg rolls, sushi, sashimi, stir-fry, pad-thai, soups, salads, duck, the list goes on wp-1468260245094.jpgand on. We ordered a few things to share. First up was the Hamachi Tacos. These “tacos” were in what I think are a fried wonton wrapper, with yellow tail tuna, kalamata olives, lime, cilantro, and avocado. Wow! Then we dined on a spicy tuna roll. After this we shared pad thai and the Wok Fry Shrimp. wp-1468259260696.jpg

It was all very tasty. If I had to offer a criticism it would be they small size of the shrimp dish. Three medium shrimp with about a cup of stir fry vegetables didn’t strike me as a good value, though again, it was very delicious and pretty.

After dinner we couldn’t wait for dessert. The majority of their wp-1468260251763.jpgdesserts are “for two”. Oh my goodness, I’m so glad we did not forgo dessert. We ordered the MM Parfait. Two chocolate cream puffs, vanilla gelato, nutella, hazelnut chocolate crunch, and sesame mochi (I could have done without the mochi). One of the best desserts I ever had and will get me to return! My son had a Churro Fondue – three mini churros with nutella sauce. Good as well.

Morimoto Asia

 

Of course I had to check out the restrooms. They stayed within the style of the restaurant and were very modern. The photography on the walls of the restroom was very interesting and may leave you puzzled. I’m still puzzled (I don’t want to spoil anything, but if you can’t contain your curiosity, send me a message on Twitter).

Overall, I found this restaurant to be a welcome addition the renewed Downtown Area, Disney Springs. It is visually beautiful, all of it. The decor and the food. I would definitely return on our next visit, even if it was just for the dessert (oh, the dessert).

by Rebecca

@fitmousepodcast

thefitmouse.com

Don’t Forget the Princes

20150717_180143 So, I think you might agree, the Princesses get all the attention. And they are worthy! These ladies probably spend a lot of time getting their hair coiffed, their makeup perfected, and have to tote those gowns all day (except maybe Jasmine and Ariel) – not to mention the hours of practice on their waves, smiles, and witty remarks. They are great. But we don’t see enough, or hear enough, about the men behind the women!

Let’s see who we have. Snow White’s prince, whose full name is either just The Prince, or some speculate it is Ferdinand (but isn’t that a bull?).  Cinderella is coupled with Prince Charming, Ariel with Eric, Jasmine and good old Al, Aurora and Prince Philip, and Rapunzel with Flynn Rider.  There are others like Belle and Beast, Tiana and Prince Naveen, and Pocahontas and John Smith. We once saw the addition of Giselle and Edward (of Enchanted) for a brief time.

This summer, I’m going to go set my sights on meeting the princes. Top on my list is Prince Charming, then next, Flynn Rider. Where can I have these magical encounters? I did some research!

Prince Philip is tough. He rarely comes out for a meet, but has been seen during True Love week in the past in Magic Kingdom. Prince Eric, I’ve found is also rarely available for meets in the U.S. parks. Snow White’s prince too can be seen mainly during special events.20150717_180400

I have had the pleasure of meeting Beast! He will accept guests at Be Our Guest Restaurant in Magic Kingdom during dinner time. Prince Charming hosts the Cinderella’s Happily Ever After Dinner at 1900 Park Fare in the Grand Floridian (I see a dining reservation in my future). Prince Naveen occasionally accompanies Tiana in her meeting spot in Magic Kingdom. I’ve seen Aladdin over in Epcot upon occasion!

The Festival of Fantasy Parade at 3pm in Magic Kingdom has many characters and among them is Flynn Rider! Even if he doesn’t host a meet n’ greet, I’ll settle for this beautiful float. You’ll also catch a glimpse of some other Princes during this and other parades in the parks!

Hopefully in the future, we’ll see  an interest in the princes, and they’ll get their turn in the spotlight.  In the meantime, I’ll have some fun playing in the parks! You never know what is around each corner or what surprises are in store. Isn’t that part of the excitement?

by: Rebecca

My First Spa Treatment

Until our last vacation aboard the Disney Magic, I had never been to a spa.  I have had one massage in my life.  A local masseuse has been a long-time friend of mine, and I was able to man up one time to support her local business.  Most readers of this post have no idea who I am or what my personality is like.  To keep it short, I thought spa treatments were not my thing.  Keep reading to learn about our Senses Spa & Salon experience aboard the Disney Magic to find out how my feelings toward spa treatments may have changed.

My wife and I recently went on our third Disney cruise (our first without children).  SheSenses Spa & Salon had the opportunity to visit Senses Spa & Salon on the Disney Dream on each of our two previous cruises.  I had neither the desire nor interest to visit.  We had discussed the possibility of visiting Senses prior to our cruise.  We visited the spa after lunch and a brief tour of the ship.  It was approximately 1:30 when we were given a tour of Senses Spa & Salon.  The facility is truly amazing!  I encourage you to explore Disney Cruise Line’s description here: https://disneycruise.disney.go.com/onboard-activities/senses-spa-salon/#! My descriptions of the various areas, amenities, and services would not do justice to what they have to offer.

Castaway Cay palm treeWe did not have spa reservations, and we did not make a reservation after our tour.  We could not make a decision on what treatment we wanted.  However, we agreed to come back during the open house.  My wife has attended the open house before and mentioned the awesome giveaways, so this made it easy for us to hold off on making any plans.  At the open house, representatives from multiple services gave a quick introduction/sales pitch to the services each group offers.  There was a “manager’s special” offered for Senses Spa & Salon that my wife thought we would enjoy.  The lady who gave us our tour remembered we were interested in some of the couples’ treatments.  She graciously turned the “manager’s special” into a couples’ treatment.  We made reservations on our way out of the spa for that evening.  Honestly, I had no idea what we were getting into.

If I remember correctly, the reservation was for 7:15.  If I were in this situation again, I would make the reservation for a later time because we had main dining.  We were a little late because we wanted to stay to watch the show at Animator’s Palate.  The spa employees were very understanding and really acted like it happens often.  The two ladies who were going to provide our treatments walked us to the locker rooms.  The locker rooms were located near the fitness center.  The men’s and women’s locker rooms were on opposite sides of a hallway.  Disney Cruise Line locker rooms deserve their own post, but I’ll try to be brief.

The locker room is divided into three areas.  When you walk in the door, showers, a sauna, and chairs are to the left.  Restrooms and sinks are in the center.  Lockers are to the right.  The lockers are in a U shape, with cushioned benches in the center.  Almost everything one needs to freshen up is provided in the locker room.  Here are some of the things available that come to mind: robes, sandals, multiple sizes of towels, soaps, shampoo and conditioner, body wash, and lotions.  This was the first time I have ever seen a locker room aboard a Disney cruise.  I was impressed, and I even returned later in the trip just to use the shower because of its size!  (And, maybe because my wife takes a long time to get ready, but only now and then.)  I digress.

The two ladies asked us to remove our clothes and put on a robe.  To put readers at ease, you may keep undergarments on.  We then made our way to a couple’s spa room.  The room was designed to be very relaxing.  It had soft lighting, wood cabinets, and a wood floor.  There was also a sink and mirror.  I do not recall the music playing, but the entire setting was extremely relaxing.  The treatment felt wonderful for the most part.  Every now and then it felt as if I was receiving some sort of torture tactic.  But, the masseuse DSCN4658said I was about 10 years overdue for a massage.  Actually, at the conclusion of my treatment she said, “I wish I could come home with you and massage you every 2 or 3 days.”  An uncomfortable mumble came out of my mouth as my wife chuckled at my uneasiness.

After a brief sales pitch for some lotions, we were on our way to the locker rooms to change.  They encouraged us to consume a lot of water to detox our bodies.  My wife really enjoyed the beverages provided at the spa and fitness center.  She really appreciated the freshness of the fruit-infused water and warm tea options.

Overall, my first spa treatment at Senses Spa & Salon was relaxing and felt very nice.  I may even do it again.  If you will be sailing with Disney Cruise Line, please check out the website above.  There is an in-depth description of the facility and treatments available on the DCL website.  If you are a spa regular, I think you should give Senses a try.  I have a strong feeling you will enjoy the experience.

Justin Eggenberger, Co-owner of Adventure is Out There Travel, LLC

You Don’t Want to Miss This: Magic Kingdom

DSCN5461   I am often asked “What should I make sure I don’t miss on my first trip to Magic Kingdom?” With so many rides, attractions, shows, and architectural eye-candy, it is easy to end up wandering aimlessly. There are many other things you have GOT to see!  Here is my short list of “Don’t Miss” for Magic Kingdom first-timers.

5. Nooks and Crannies
Magic Kingdom is full of quiet corners and unique off-beat spaces. One of my favorites is on the right hand side of Main Street U.S.A. As you walk toward Cinderella Castle, you’ll see an alleyway on the right. If you walk to the end, there are chairs and flower boxes amid other carefully appointed exterior decorations. Take a minute to sit on a bench or in a chair, and just listen! You’ll hear dance and singing lessons taking place upstairs!
Another great spot is the long walk to Tomorrowland from New Fantasyland. This long walkway meanders by the Tomorrowland Speedway and the train. Another don’t miss is the wishing well to the right of Cinderella Castle. It is often overlooked as passersby hurry to get to Tomorrowland.
4. Cinderella’s Fountain
Take a moment to stroll by this fountain in Fantasyland. From a child’s height 101perspective, the crown which is painted on the wall above and behind this beautiful statue appears to be sitting on Cinderella’s head! It’s a great picture if taken at the right angle.
3. Main Street Trolley Show and Dapper Dans
Each day, Main Street U.S.A. becomes the stage for great entertainment. Beginning at about 9 AM daily, you can be amazed at the acapella sound of the Dapper Dans! At about 9:15 AM daily, the “citizens” (or Main Street Performers as I call them) begin to invigorate the street with beautiful singing and dancing as they trolley up and down main street. My family knows all the songs and sings along. We never miss it.
2. Meet The Big Guy
What trip to Magic Kingdom would be complete without a visit with Mickey Mouse? Mickey can be found at the Town Square Theater each day. He will be in his rehearsal room waiting for you! As you wait in line, there are so many things to look at. DSCN3130Including different magic show objects. Here, there will be a PhotoPass photographer. If you purchased Memory Maker, her or she will take pictures and use your magic band to add them to your account. You are welcome to take pictures with your own camera as well. Fast Pass + is available for meeting Mickey. Scheduling your meet with the Big Guy can save you a lot of time!
1. Magic Kingdom Welcome Show
As my family and I approach the day of our next visit to Magic Kingdom, we always get 20140419_075202really excited at the idea of watching the opening show. Each morning, a few moments before park opening,  the citizens of Main Street, along with many fun friends entertain guests with a really exciting show. They sing, they dance, they guide everyone in counting down to open the park! This one is too good – I don’t want to share too much and spoil the excitement!  I WILL say, this is my number one “Don’t Miss” in Magic Kingdom!
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What experiences, rides, or attractions are your must do’s each trip?