Category: DISNEY RESORTS

PIRATE’S CREW CRUISE THE BEACH CLUB

Ahoy! I have good news and bad news.  

If you look in dark crevices of the beach club you’ll find its now home to a new crew of pirates. Pirates that will take your kids (age 4 and up) off your hands for three hours, and they promise to keep them from walking the plank. 

I mentioned the new activity briefly, but have more feedback to give. 

Your kids will yell “shiver me chicken tenders!” as the pirates feed them a full meal.

They’ll go on a REAL HUNT in dark waters. So be prepared to sign a liability waiver. 

But I guarantee they will have an amazing time. If not, the pirates will find you wherever you are and ask you to pick up your kids early. Worried they will be taken by Captain Hook, who definitely makes an appearance? Totally normal. 

 

  

The bad news is, well, that this swashbuckling experience has replaced the kids activity room. It’s gone and sorely missed. There is no longer a room to stop in at the Beach/Yacht to down activity if it’s raining or if everyone hash had a longish day. 

The only activities take place in the pool area and occasionally around the campfire. If you mention something about this to cast members, many of them will also express their disappointment with the lack of a kids club room.

 

 

PIN THE TAIL ON “ME”. WHAT IS DISNEY PIN TRADING ANYWAY

Wondering what people are doing when they walk up to cast members with their hands outstretched?

Wonder what is going on? It’s Disney Pin Trading: the buying, trading and collecting of collectible Disney pins featuring disney characters, events, attractions, icons and other elements. 

People can buy pins as souvenirs at Disney. They can also trade them. Apparently, in 1999 pin trading was introduced and it has become almost a competitive sport ever since.

Pin Trading Etiquette, as per Disney: 

 

Pins must be official Disney pins bearing the “©Disney” mark.
• Guests can make up to 2 pin trades per cast member per day.
• Pins must be exchanged for pins only and nothing else.
• For safety, trade one pin at a time, from flat open hand to flat open hand with pin backs attached.
• Refrain from touching anyone’s pins or lanyards. Always ask for a closer look if needed.
• Pins should be in good condition and undamaged.
• Have fun!

Cast members will always trade pins.  

 

PIN LINGO
OE – Open Edition. This refers to pins that have several copies available.
LR – Limited Release. These pins are slightly harder to find.
LE – Limited Edition Size. These pins are very hard to find, with only a limited number made.
Grail – This is the pin that you’d love to get, but can’t seem to find. The “Unicorn” of pins. 

Does another guest want to trade with you? Feel free to say “NO.”

 

A Peek at Captain Hook’s Pirate Crew

Who needs a babysitter when you can leave your kids (ages 4 to 12) with a pirate with a hook for a hand? 

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He comes with excellent references and will watch your kids from 5:00 to 8:30pm at just $55 per child (price includes dinner). Parents are welcome to drop their kids off as early as 4:30pm at the Seaside Retreat at Disney’s Beach Club.  Dinner is served between 715 and 745. 

Upon entering Pirate Hideaway, seasoned members of Captain Hook’s crew will assist you in the first, most crucial step towards becoming a pirate—receiving your pirate name. Next, they’ll teach you the many skills crucial to life on the high seas such as talking like a pirate, swabbing the deck and singing sea chanties!

Captain Hook himself will be checking in to examine progress and get kids started on their first treasure hunt. Kids will solve puzzles and gather clues on land before setting sail along Crescent Lake. Yes. They do set sail. Apparently there are enough Disney Cast Members to ensure kid safety. All kids are required to wear life vests. Captain Hook isn’t the only one who should be scared of the crocodiles.

While subject to change, the menu features several entrees, including Cannon Meatballs with Marinara and Macaroni and Gold Sauce—as well as the Treasure Chest Treat or fruit for dessert.

If you’re worried about leaving your kids with a pirate, teach them what to do in case they are forced to walk the plank and they will be fine. My plan, I’ll be teaching my kids what to do in the events things turn for the worse for them while I make a reservation for a nice restaurant to go to while they are on their pirate adventure. 

 

Disney World has gone to the dogs

Planning on bringing your dog to Walt Disney World? Be sure to book a stay at one of the parks’ pet-friendly resorts. While there’s an additional fee for pets — between $50-$75 per night — the pet accommodations may make yours and your dog’s life much easier! (There’s a maximum of two dogs per guest room). 

Here are Disney’s dog-friendly resorts:

  • Disney’s Art of Animation Resort
  • Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside Resort
  • Disney’s Yacht Club Resort
  • Cabins at Disney’s Ft. Wilderness Resort

No word yet on whether Disney’s magical express will accommodate canines. 

Disney has pet walkways and green spaces at all of their pet-friendly hotels. In the event that your dog “really has to go”, don’t worry. All pet-friendly rooms are located near the walkways and green spaces.

Service dogs are allowed at any park or resort as long as there is a leash and a harness. They can wait in line with owners and can even go on some rides – they don’t even need a ticket!

For those that do not wish to bring your dog to the Disney hotel, or for those who don’t want to leave your pet alone for too long, there is a Best Friend’s Pet Care just outside Disney – Go to their website directly to learn more. Rates range from $44/night for basic indoor stay with two walks to $109/night for the VIP treatment. 

We have used the Best Friend’s chain in Westchester. It is the only place I have ever felt comfortable leaving my dog for an extended stay. There were opportunities to view him online through a webcam, daily pictures sent to me, and lots of treats and even tv for our pet. I’ve heard Disney’s Best Friend’s location is just as great. Are you an annual pass holder? If so, take advantage of the discount that Best Friend’s pet hotel offers pass holders. 

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these Dalmatians would need at least 5 rooms, since there is a limit of two dogs per room.

The reason we haven’t brought our furry friend is because we do not want to put him through the stress of plane travel, and then staying in an unfamiliar place, when we have a great pet sitter at home. It is just not worth the stress and extra costs.

Most domestic pets are allowed on a plane if they are 20 pounds or less. Be sure to check with your plane carrier for their specific rules. 

Still wish to bring your furry friend? Be sure to either mail his usual food to the resort ahead of time (via Amazon, the resort will hold packages), or bring his food with you to avoid extra sickness and accidents. Bring bags for waste and plenty of treats!

 

 

Disney World Annual Pass and Star Wars Land: Figuring out the “Perks”

For months Disney has been advertising exclusive “perks” for those fans interested in seeing Star Wars Land IMMEDIATELY!

They have been pushing Annual Passes as the only way to view those perks. 

Platinum, Platinum Plus and Premier Passholders were told they would have the opportunity for an out-of-this-world adventure at the all-new Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disney’s Hollywood Studios! This was to happen during an Annual Passholder preview—select times from August 17 to August 21, 2019. Notice that Silver and Gold Passholders are NOT mentioned here. Forget about the fact that theses passes are only about 100 dollars less and still cost a pretty penny. 

Passes raised in prices – they jumped more than $200 and now ring in at over $1,000 per year. The Disney Platinum Plus Pass now costs $1,219.00+ tax and the Disney Platinum Pass now costs $1,119.00+ tax. Although Florida residents and Disney Vacation Club members have options to other less expensive annual pass options, most of those increased in price as well.  Again, is it worth it? 

I would love to see the data on how many people signed up for Annual Passes after this announcement. Not every Annual Passholder gets this opportunity, it is limited and was only no a first come, first served basis. The booking window is now booked solid. 

What does that mean for the rest of us? Passholders and Non-Passholders alike? Supposedly, No special reservations will be needed to enter Walt Disney World’s Star Wars land on August 29. You can imagine what the lines will be like… I can even see people sleeping outside the gates of Hollywood Studios, can’t you? 

Disney World is offering Special Extra Magic Hours and opening Disney Hollywood Studios at 6am each morning through November 2 for its on-site hotel guests, giving them a three-hour head start each day on visiting the Black Spire Outpost before the park opens to all ticket-holders at 9am. But Disney World will open the early access to the land to all guests at 6am for its first three days of operation: August 29-31, 2019.

So, it seems as if that from August 29-August 31 there will be no easy way to see Star Wars Land. You just need to be at the opening gate to Hollywood Studios, ready to go, at 6am. 

Still haven’t seen Star Wars? Check out this 7 minute video to recap the series: 

 

THE ROSE AND THE CROWN: NOT OUR “CUP OF TEA”

Looking for a place to have a drink? Stop by the Rose and Crown Pub in London’s Epcot. Looking for a place to have authentic British food like fish and chips? Feel free to try but be prepared to wait.

One more piece of advice? I would not suggest this to be a family friendly atmosphere.

Service is slow and the food is pricey. While I was excited to dine here given the wonderful reviews, my frustration began when there was no real place to park a stroller with convenience.

The walk to the tables is extremely hard to navigate. Maybe that’s how it is in London?

The one bathroom is in the pub, right next to the bar area – which is often filled to capacity with adults doing what adults do at a bar. It’s not the easiest place to bring a toddler who wants to go to the bathroom. What did we have to do multiple times? Go to the bathroom. I chose instead to leave the pub and walk across the road to the public restrooms.

I was not totally thrilled with the menu, found here.

Long and short of things was that our server took so long that we did not even stay to wait for the dessert that came with our dining plan offering. This restaurant was a total disappointment.

As far as Epcot’s England, however, definitely walk around the tea garden and shops. The country itself is not to be missed.

 

FIVE REASONS NOT TO AVOID THE CHILDREN’S ACTIVITY HOSTS AT DISNEY – YOU CAN HUG THEM INSTEAD

  • Do the cheerful smiles of Disney Activity Hosts creep you out? Don’t let them- they are genuine, and you may want to hug them at the end of your visit. While the Activity Hosts are not babysitters (you must supervise your kids unless you are at the activity center with babysitting for a small fee), they will surely keep your child entertained and give you some breathing room
  • Toasted Marshmallows: Who doesn’t love a campfire? Almost every Disney Resort Hotel holds a family campfire with marshmallows to toast (no smores). And get this: As long as you wear shoes and follow the rules, you are entitled to unlimited marshmallows!
  • Community Hall: Guests of the resort are welcome to do arts and crafts (small fee), play games (ping pong/board games/ video games) and watch movies. We have made and painted pottery, made slime, created a craft bag, and done all sorts of fun things! And the activity reps walk your kids through every step of the way. You can participate or sit back and read a magazine!
  • Poolside activities: Starting at 1pm, the activity reps usually play games with the kids at the pool. It can be a godsend. Often the games have fun prizes. They aren’t lifeguards, though so be sure to keep your eyes on them.
mermaid bank made at community hall
  • Rainy day activities: When it rains, it sometimes pours! And the pool is closed. For those days, the activity reps will usually move the poolside activities into community hall or the Resort lobby.
  • MOVIES: Every evening of the week the Resort usually plays a family friendly Disney movie. The movies are shown on a large blow-up screen in a large area and range from Disney animated classics to Disney Channel Original Movies. They will even show Disney’s newest releases as soon as they’re available to the public. Some of the resorts will also provide an indoor option if it is raining or the movie can’t be shown outdoors for some reason. This activity is a great way to enjoy an old favorite or catch a new movie you’ve been dying to see. Bring snacks!

 

FIVE THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT THE NEW DISNEY JUNIOR DANCE PARTY – AND A FEW THINGS NOT TO DO!

There’s a new dance party in town and I am so glad there is. The old show definitely needed some changing up. Here are a few things to know about the experience.

This is your MC. Her outfit, complete with tablet in hand says it all. Be prepared to be thrust into the world of Generation Z.
Thinking that, in an auditorium it won’t matter when you show up? You’re partly wrong. If you can, try to be the first family in the fast pass line. You will then be either welcomed by all the Disney Junior friends or be assured a front row seat (with much audience participation that really makes the day).
Think about learning the dances before hand: For instance, the Spinechiller:

One thing you can’t do: get on stage. Don’t try it.

Parents, keep in mind that everyone sits on the floor. Kids get up and dance. If you or a member of your party do not want to sit on the floor there is limited seating on benches in the back. See all the crowds? Try and keep you and your family to their dancing zone.

Doc will be faced with someone who needs emergency treatment. Who else will you meet? Vampirina, Timon & Mickey
This is one of the few places you will see Mickey. He is not in the Disney Junior Courtyard anymore.

The dance party is approximately 25 minutes once it starts. Definitely a must see, we went a few times because those dance moves are catchy!

 

Monsieur Paul – A signature dining experience

Dinner is the evening. So we headed to Epcot because good food is the foundation of genuine happiness – or so say the French. The menu speaks for itself, as do our pictures:

When you enter, you are met with a beautiful spiral staircase and reserved hostesses. We chose the tasting menu to experience everything that France had to offer at that particular moment. We started off with this:

Our kids started off with this:

mozarella sticks and cherry tomato salad

What is not pictured is the constant bread service – best bread is from France!

Is the experience worth it? Absolutely. You could tell that every morsel that hit your mouth was well made. We also did not leave feeling disgustingly full.

Keep in mind that this restaurant is 2 points on the dining plan as a signature restaurant. They also have many add on options – but if you are here you may as well enjoy yourselves. The greatest part is that if you want to skip dessert, there is a wonderful ice cream spot with artisanal French flavors (16) and macaroon sandwiches.

 

THE WORST PLACES TO GO DRESSED AS A DISNEY PRINCESS WHILE ON DISNEY PROPERTY

This is Disney, so you can be a princess anywhere, right? – well yes. But there are certain things that you may NOT want to do while dressed as a Disney Princess. Here are a few rules: 

  1. Do not jump in the adult or kiddie pool area while dressed as a Disney Princess.  Not only do most of the Resort Pools have rules as far as what you can wear while in the pool, but a pool will certainly damage your princess dress.  Disney Resort pools, especially in the kid areas, tend to have a lot of chlorine in the pool. Chlorine ruins clothing. Especially princess clothing. As a general rule: wear a bathing suit, goggles, and plenty of sunscreen.  Definitely DON’t skip a frolic in the pool just because you want to keep your princess dress on. 

    Goggles not heels

     

    Bathing suits do best in the water

    Make sure you have a towel
  2. Do Not go on Safari while dressed as a Disney Princess. Most of the safaris on Disney Property are sandy, dusty, and sometime muddy.  You do not need your princess gown getting damaged in any way, shape or form.  Unfortunately, Disney Cast Members will not hold up your princess train or long skirt for you, so plan accordingly.  What should you bring on safari? Long socks, comfy shoes, sunscreen, plenty of water, and a camera. 

    It gets hot and dusty on safari
  3. Do not go on Splash Mountain, Kali River Rapids, or any other water ride while dressed as a Disney Princess (see #1 for advice on chlorinated water and princess attire).   While you are always not Guaranteed to get covered in water on some of these rides, you must assume that you will be and prepare accordingly. Which also means that you must secure your phone, wallet, and anything else that you may not want getting wet. (Most of these rides have lockers to lock your personal items away. But, if you take off your princess dress and put it in a locker, please be sure that you have on a bathing suit underneath). 

    You run the risk of getting wet at many Disney rides and play areas.
  4. Are you an adult? If so, then you MUST NOT wear any princess dress on Disney Park Property. Disney has official rules on this. They do not want people confusing you with actual cast members. You may do something called Disney Bounding. That will be explained another day.

    Do not pick up the phone and cancel your trip yet!
  5. Are you frustrated yet? Are you wondering why you should go to Disney at all if there are so many reasons NOT to wear your princess dress in certain places? Do not call your friends to cancel your trip! Here are some great ways to have fun in your princess attire while on Disney Property: 
  6. Cinderella came to Akershus

  •  Go to Akershus Castle, Cinderella’s Castle, and Be Our Guest Restaurant and dine with other royalty. At Be Our Guest Restaurant, you may not meet other princesses but you will surely have the chance to tame a wild beast.
  • All of the character meet and greets welcome guests dressed as princesses. You will surely be treated the way a princess deserves to be treated.  But be careful: If you choose to dress as a Disney Princess and meet another Disney Prince or Princess, they will surely ask questions about your character. 
  • Want to go to a regular restaurant dressed as a princess? Feel free! Also feel free go shopping. Everyone knows that princesses love to shop. 
  • No-one will stop you from sleeping in your princess dress instead of your pajamas but lay down carefully so as not to wrinkle anything. 
  • Do you want to go to the arcade dressed as a Disney Princess? Feel free. But bring a purse for $$ for the game room.  Most of the arcades have a machine that requires Disney guests to put $$ on a game card.