Disney World Trip Tips

Now that you’ve read my Disney World trip post, here are my tips for your own amazing vacation at Walt Disney World. Just FYI, for the most part, the pics are just random ones of our trip. They don’t necessarily correspond to the tips ahead.

Like this one:

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I’m a huge fan of research before a trip. I’m also the family member who decides where we will go, what we will see and where we will stay, so I do kind of have to do some research. I pretend I don’t enjoy it but I’m kidding no one. For this trip, I went to Chapters and flipped through their travel section and bought Walt Disney World with Kids 2016. I highly recommend this book. I’ve already lent mine to a friend who is going later this year. It makes excellent recommendations about scheduling ride times, using your FastPass+, where to eat, and it even has it’s own app that you can buy to that helps you decipher wait times while you’re in the park. Both the book and the app were super handy and I definitely recommend them.img_0692

FastPass+ – the book goes into all sorts of detail about it so I’m just going to give you an overview. When you buy your DW ticket(s), each ticket holder gets three opportunities to schedule a time when they can “jump the line” in a particular ride. You can schedule these as soon as you buy your tickets, up to thirty days (sixty days if you are a hotel guest) in advance. Specific rides have a “FastPass+” entrance (you see them everywhere) with a clock over the entrance. When your time comes up, you walk up to the FastPass+ entrance, scan your ticket, or wristband, and voila, shorter lineup to get on the same ride. For example, we had a FastPass+ at 10:30 am for Splash Mountain, which is valid between 10:30 am and 11:30 am. At 10:40 am, we scanned our cards at the FastPass+ entrance and went into a lineup that was ALOT shorter than the regular lineup. We walked past the regular lineup people for close to 5 minutes. I’m so not even kidding. We walked and walked and walked and walked, passing people who were in the regular lineup (some of whom were glaring at us as they clearly had been waiting a long time). Within 10 minutes, we were on the ride that others were waiting over an hour to get on. This is definitely a feature that is well worth looking into. You can even download the Disney World app and change your FastPass+ reservations while just wandering around the park. They also have kiosks set up for those who don’t have the app or just don’t want to use their phones.

If you have a toddler or preschooler, I would bring your own stroller. You can rent strollers in the park but you park your car FAR from the entrance. At Epcot it was probably about a kilometre, but at Magic Kingdom parking was probably closer to a mile away from the entrance. There are trams all day but during busy times you have to wait for them and it was a toss up on whether it was faster to walk or ride.

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For those of you worried about losing your stroller or having it stolen, have no fear. Husband (who is a chatty guy) was talking to a security guard who was watching over one of the (many, many) stroller parking lots (so not kidding) about how much theft they see. The security guard told him that theft isn’t a problem there, but they had a huge problem with abandoned strollers! I have two theories about that: 1) exits to rides often aren’t near the entrances. If you’ve parked your stroller by the entrance, you often have to wander a little to find the entrance and your stroller. 2) Occasionally, stroller parking gets a little out of hand. People just leave them everywhere or they are grouped untidily. Security guards or other staff will come around and arrange the strollers so they look more tidy. If you think you’re stroller’s missing, just keep looking, it’s probably just nicely placed a little farther down the line or in the legitimate stroller parking area.

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Having a great time, even though it’s raining

We rented a car, even though our hotel (which wasn’t on Disney property) had a bus service to and from the park and I am so glad we did. It was about a 10 – 15 minute car ride from the hotel to the parking lot of either Epcot or Magic Kingdom but it took AN HOUR from the time you were leaving the hotel until the moment you entered the park. How can this be, you say. Well, there’s the car ride, then it takes you between 5 – 20 minutes to park, depending on the time of day and if other people are idiots that can’t figure out how to follow the dude in front of them. Then there’s the 1 km – 1 mile walk to the entrance where you wait for a ferry or a tram to take you across the lagoon to where Magic Kingdom actually was. It was a little shorter to get to Epcot but not much. By the time you get through security and actually into the park, you left the hotel an hour ago. I can’t imagine adding waiting for a bus that makes 6000 stops on the way to your hotel/the park onto this trip. Rent the car, you will totally appreciate it because….

The book suggests that you take a minimum four hour break in the middle of the afternoon, go back to your hotel, have lunch and naps or a swimming break. The first time I read that, I thought that was just the craziest thing I had ever heard. I mean, I travel all this way to Florida, and spend $100 per person, per day to come to this stupid park and you’re suggesting that I take a four hour break in the middle of the afternoon?!? Are you insane??? No, they are brilliant. We did it and next time we go, we will do it again. First of all, it cut down on spending since we were able to have lunches in our hotel (and since we had a kitchenette, lunches were way cheaper than a restaurant) and having that time to take a nap everyday was amazing. I napped every single day we visited DW. Daughter napped most days (you win some, you lose some). And when we would return to the park at 4pm, we were refreshed and raring to see more sights and ride more rides. By 5 pm, you could see the parents and the kids who had been there all day start to meltdown. And we would walk around them and get on our next ride. Trust me, take the break.

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So those are my five tips on visiting Walt Disney World as well as the plethora of great information you will find in the book.

Have you visited DW? Any tips that I missed that you would like to add? I’d love to hear them. Happy Shopping!

I’m Back and Where I’ve Been Pt 3: Walt Disney World Edition

Hey folks. I’ve been having a great time with these trips down memory lane. I think I’ve actually shared more than if I had blogged through the whole summer. One of the most fun things we got to do this summer is take a trip to Disney World! I have always wanted to go, ever since I was a little kid. This summer seemed like the perfect time.

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People tell you it’s a magical place and how fun it is. And they were right. Even Husband, who was game for the trip but not a huge Disney fan, had the best time ever and wants to go back soon.

So we, went in the middle of May and imo, that was the perfect time. It was warm enough to go swimming but not so hot that you were worried about heat stroke. It was just before American schools let out for the summer, so there weren’t too many people there. That doesn’t mean it was dead, it just wasn’t the huge amount of crushing crowds that I hear they can get during the summer.

We got a four-day pass and spent two days at Magic Kingdom and two days at Epcot. I wish we’d had more time and gotten to spend at least one day at Animal Kingdom but there’s always next time.

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Epcot was Husband’s favourite place at Disney World

Surprisingly, character visits ended up being some of my favourite experiences. We booked them for Daughter but added on a bunch more when we found them so fun. The actors and staff work so hard at making each families’ visit a special one. Kudos go out to all of them.

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And the rides! We went on dozens of rides but of course I don’t have as many pics from them. It rained both days we were at Magic Kingdom so we rode Prince Charming Regal Carrousel and Mad Tea Party several times, sometimes right in a row! My favourites were Peter Pan’s Flight and Under the Sea ~ Journey of The Little Mermaid. We rode Splash Mountain and decided that all three of us don’t really like roller coasters so we didn’t ride any others. And yes, there may have been screaming and/or crying by all family members when we rode this ride. X0

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Splash Mountain – wasn’t for us! lol
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Liberty Square Riverboat
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Dumbo the Flying Elephant ride

At Epcot, we loved Test Track and the representation of all the lands in the World Showcase. Daughter really loved all the fish in the aquarium and Seas with Nemo and Friends exhibit. It was also time for the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival and there were all these amazing flowers and topiaries there.

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It was so cool. Clearly a lot of work went into designing, growing and maintaining all the plants.

Lastly, but definitely not the least, was the cool stuff we bought there. We spent a few hours at Disney Springs, which is just a large outdoor mall with the most humongous Disney Store I have ever seen. I think I read somewhere it’s the largest one in North America. We bought some great souvenirs:

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T-shirt for Husband
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Princess purse for me!

Don’t worry, Daughter got a few things too but apparently I didn’t take pictures of any of them.

Anyways, thanks for sticking with me until the end. This is probably the longest post I’ve ever done and I barely scratched the surface on our Disney trip. Been to Disney? I’d love to hear about it. Happy Shopping!

Totally Random Friday – Oct 9

Hey folks. I love doing the Fashion Fridays lately but I thought I’d change it up this week with a Totally Random Friday post. I’ve been seeing some cool things for sale and with Christmas less than three months away, we should all start putting together our lists. Santa, start taking notes!

  1. Kate Spade bedding: The queen of bold colours in simple styles has added a new bedding collection. The colourful but classy pieces can be found on the website here.

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2. All the 80s girls will remember Jem and the Holograms. With the live-action movie set to debut on Oct 23, Sephora has announced a makeup collection including an eyeshadow palette, a lipgloss set, a lipstick and a compact. This limited edition collection has no official release date yet but I’ll be sure to let you know. I definitely need this lipgloss set and the lipstick. Check out the rest of the sneak peek at Temptalia.

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3. Black, black and black seem to be the top three choices of colours for winter jackets so I applaud Banana Republic for putting out this mint coloured one. While I don’t think it would be any match for Winnipeg winters, it would be nice to have a second coat for nice(r) winter days.

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4. I did this post a few weeks ago about which wraps I was loving from the fall Jamberry catalogue. Well since then, they’ve added two glow-in-the-dark wraps to their Halloween collection. The one posted below is Glowing Ghouls.(Psst, keep your eyes peeled for some special Jamberry news being posted soon!)

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5. Disney has released it’s Fairytale Designer Collection which is clearly aimed at adult Disney suckers like me. The elegant items include clothing, mugs, bags and four sets of limited edition dolls priced at $140CDN per set.

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Check out all the dolls and their release dates on the Disney Store blog here.

Are you starting to think about your Christmas lists? Any plans for Thanksgiving? Happy Shopping!

Totally Random Friday – March 13th

Happy Friday the 13th! I missed last week and I bought a bunch of stuff so I’m excited to talk about it.

First of all it was my niece’s birthday and we had a great time on Sunday afternoon at Great Big Adventure. For her birthday we bought her a matching raincoat, boots and umbrella from the Disney Store.

Grandma is a big fan of unbirthdays so the other three grandchildren got umbrellas too.

 

 

Aren’t they great?

I also picked up a new duvet cover at Quilts, Etc last week. It’s bright and summery and masculine enough that my husband doesn’t complain.

My new washing machine also came this week. Hubby and I have actually been fighting about who gets to do laundry. I’m sure everything in the house will be washed in the next couple of weeks while we try out all the features.

LG 4.6 cu.ft. Ultra Large Capacity Front Load Washer with 6Motion™ Technology

So, all in all, it’s been a pretty busy couple of weeks. What have you been up to? Happy Shopping!

Totally Random Friday – Sept 19th

This is the week I’m waiting for things. Patience is not my best virtue and it’s probably good that Canada Post has an app I can check a zillion times per day to see where my packages are instead of having to call and pester the Canada Post call centre people.

I did get my Julep order and talked about it on Instagram and on Wednesday in this post so I won’t bore you with details again.

I start Christmas shopping early (I’m sure you’re shocked, lol) and the Disney Store.com was having a sale on the plush dolls last weekend so I picked up some dolls for my nieces.

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Aren’t they cute? I love these dolls. My daughter has a couple (*coughfourlargeonestwosmallonescough*) and they are perfect for cuddling or sleeping with. In fact, I think there’s an Ariel doll in my bed right now. The Maleficent one is actually for my mom, which she will think is hilarious, trust me. I also picked out character-matching t-shirts for the girls and sippy cups. And according to UPS, this should be delivered on Monday. So, Christmas for the nieces (on that side of the family), done!

I bought Cally a jacket and ski pants from Beyond the Rack a few weeks ago. The jacket arrived last week and it’s  gorgeous and the ski pants are supposed to show up tomorrow.

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I like to be prepared for winter. I feel like the last two have really crept up on us and I hate being “that parent” standing in the store looking at the rack of snow boots that is empty. I bought her snow suit from BTR last year and was really happy with it. I bought her boots and mitts locally though and both stores have gone out of business since then so I have to figure out a new place to buy boots and mitts.

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Cutest kid ever, I know. It’s totally okay to say it. 😉

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I also mailed my Happy Mail Project package this week. I’ve had a great time getting to know Christine over at Simpy Stine when we were paired together. Basically, it’s a pen pal project. You sign up over at Pink on the Cheek and Lauren pairs you with another blogger within the same age range. You have two months to get to know each other and then you mail the other person a little present. It’s been fun and I’m definitely excited for my mail. Look for my blog post on or around Oct 2nd when I reveal what Christine sent me. And I’ll link hers so you can see what I sent her. Sorry, no previews as I know Christine reads the posts too. lol

Screen Shot 2014-09-18 at 9.20.55 PMI also broke down and bought the Julep Jewel Heist mystery box (no longer for sale) earlier this week as well. The potential to win all the birthstone colours was too much to resist, I got the June one over the summer and it is gorgeous! Also Evolution of a Foodie posted some spoilers and the boxes looked pretty good. Crossing my fingers but it’ll be awhile yet before I get it, the box hasn’t cleared customs yet.

So, busy shopping week. How was your week? What did you buy? Getting ready for Christmas? I’d love to hear about it. Happy Shopping!

Maleficent and Stella McCartney

I feel like I’m the last person on the planet to know this since most of it is sold out but you know how much I love collaborations so I couldn’t not tell you about it. Stella McCartney has made a few items for kids using characters from Disney’s Maleficent. The items are really nice, a little more grown up than you would expect from a line of kids’ clothing at Disney. But the prices really blew me away $75 and $90 for kids’ t-shirts and a whopping $140 for a Maleficent costume for girls. Wow! I think I’ll be sticking with Disney princesses at those prices!

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What do you think? Worth it? Leave me a comment. Happy Shopping!

Cross border shopping

So, this week I am SUPER ecstatic that I got an Anna doll. My kid is CRAZY about Frozen. She sings the songs, she asks to watch the movie, it’s ridiculous. I had no idea someone who wasn’t two yet could get so hooked on a movie. And just in case you think it’s the only movie we’ve shown her, she’s seen Finding Nemo and Monsters Inc. Nope, Frozen, every time.

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So, since this is her favourite movie I have been wanting Anna and Elsa dolls. Apparently, so does every other Mom and Dad in the world. My friend Deanna just got a new job with Teavana (uh, so jealous!) and has been travelling all over the US and Canada for her orientation and training. And she has been amazing at checking every Disney store she comes across for these dolls. Seriously she has been to 6 or 8! Nothing, nadda, zip, zilch!

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Anyways, she advised me to keep an eye on the website as the Disney Store periodically releases Frozen stuff during the day. So yesterday, I happened to be checking around 2 pm and BAM, some Anna dolls became available. I jumped on one and some stuff I had saved in my favourites in case I put in an order (they are also having a pretty great 50% off sale). But as I was putting in my credit card information, I realized they wanted to charge me $30 to ship to Canada! Um, the doll only costs $20. Why in the heck does it cost $30 to ship it to me? And I bet that does not include duty.

So, I quickly typed in ‘Pembina Parcel’ into Google to get their address. Pembina Parcel in Pembina, ND and Connie’s Depot in Walhalla, ND are two shipping depots that specialize in deliveries for Canadians just across the border. Have your order shipped there, run across the line, pick it up, and come home with your items. Pembina Parcels charges a flat rate of $5 per parcel where Connie’s Depot charges $2.50 for small packages and $5 for large ones (at least they did the last time I used them a couple of years ago, couldn’t find accurate quotes on any of the websites that Google turned up). Keep in mind that it’s up to border guards to decide what, if any, duty and taxes to charge. I have found that if you don’t go during peak periods (i.e.. Sunday) they tend to wave you through and not bother charging you. Always better to be prepared to pay and not have to though.

I have used Connie’s Depot two separate times and my dad uses Connie’s all the time, especially for motorcycle parts and they are always great. I’ll let you know how Pembina Parcels goes but all the reviews are pretty good so I’m expecting it to be fine. Btw, I already love it because when I typed in their address, the Disney Store decided to only charge me $7 to ship instead of $30. Plus, I’ll take the day and head over to Grand Forks with my SIL, do some other shopping, have lunch and head home.

And I’ll have an Anna doll. Happy Shopping!

Maleficent MAC Collection

Anyone else super pumped about the new Maleficent movie? The trailer looks amazing and she was one of my favourite villians anyways. (How do you not love someone who can pair purple eyeshadow and green fire?)

Happy to report that MAC is doing a Maleficent collection. No details yet but you can head over to the MAC page and sign up for emails to find out first. And obviously I will keep you updated here.

MAC Maleficent

Artizia and Disney collaboration

I love collaborations. And capsule collections. And anything limited edition. This could be why I have so much MAC makeup. Actually, it’s exactly why.

Today I’m excited to tell you about the Disney Collection at Artizia. It’s 16 tops with either Mickey or Minnie or both. I was hoping for some grown up Disney princesses, similar to the Disney Couture collection when they made bags and clothing. But no such luck. Still cute collection though.

Artizia is also hosting a contest to show off your street style wearing the collection. Three weekly winners will receive a $50 gift card, and one lucky Grand Prize winner will score a $1,000 gift card, to be used in stores or online at Aritzia.com. Check out the details, rules and regulations here. Contest closes March 26, 2014. Good luck!

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Any favs? How would you style them?

Happy Shopping!