Walt Disney World has new things!

Walt Disney World has new things!

Today I thought I would have a chill day in my flat and just do some blogging about my upcoming Disneyland Paris trip (62 days to go!) but then I decided to check social media and realised there was SO MUCH cool stuff happening over at Disney World that I just had to blog about that instead. So Disneyland Paris hype is on hold for a little while and instead here’s a bit more info on the new things happening at Walt Disney World over in Orlando, Florida.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 meet and greet

If you haven’t watched the new Guardians of the Galaxy movie yet I can assure you, you are missing out on an epic film. This movie is hilarious and gripping and emotional in a way I didn’t expect. And now you can meet two of my favourite characters from the film over at Disney’s Hollywood Studios! Located inside the One Mans Dream attraction is the meet and greet for Star-Lord and baby Groot which is currently running from park open through to park close every day. I would definitely recommend checking this out if you’re in the parks anytime soon, because there is no way of knowing just how long Disney are going to keep these characters around for! Plus baby Groot may just be the most adorable thing I’ve ever seen.

Pandora: World of Avatar

Whilst not technically open until later this month, there have been a few previews of the new land at Animal Kingdom recently which have really upped the hype around it. We have been waiting years (literally years, development began in 2011 for this land!) for Disney to open the gates to Pandora and I was sceptical at first that nobody would really be interested in the new area, now that Avatar is no longer seen as the cutting edge movie it originally was. But Disney have not disappointed, with beautiful scenery and the most advanced animatronic ever in their Na’vi River Journey attraction, Pandora looks set to have a spectacular opening. Inside Pandora will be two new attractions, a full service restaurant, stores and quick service stands to offer an immersive trip into the world of Avatar, and I can’t wait to see it finally open its gates!

Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival

You still have all month to enjoy the Epcot Flower and Garden Festival at Walt Disney World which will end on May 30th. So go check out the incredible topiaries, delicious food and drink and fabulous entertainment offered all around the park. If you’re venturing over there to check it all out I would definitely recommend making your way to the American Gardens Theater to see who is playing in the Garden Rocks Concert Series which includes bands like Berlin and Plain White Ts. Disney are also offering a few new tours around some areas of the parks, over in the UK pavilion you can check out the Royal Tea Garden Tour which will take you around the English Tea Gardens with one of Disney’s Cultural Representatives from the UK. Or if tea isn’t your thing, maybe head to one of the Outdoor Kitchen food stands located all around the World Showcase and check out some of the delicacies served there. A guest favourite is the violet lemonade served at Pineapple Promenade right next to the Canada pavilion as you enter World Showcase.

Wishes Nighttime Spectacular/ Happily Ever After

There are only six days left to check out Wishes Nighttime Spectacular over at Magic Kingdom! This has to be my all time favourite fireworks show, so if you are over in Florida right now, definitely go check this out before it gives its last kiss goodnight over Cinderella Castle. As Wishes leaves on May 11th, we will have the brand new fireworks show; Happily Ever After, starting on May 12th. With a whole new soundtrack, fireworks, lasers, projection mapping and more, it looks set to be the ‘awe-inspiring show’ Disney are suggesting. Previews have been happening over the last couple of days and it really is not long to wait now, so watch this space!

I hope some of you guys enjoy experiencing all of these cool things over in Florida, let me know if you do and what you thought of them! What are you guys most excited about at Walt Disney World right now? Tell me in the comments below!

Have a magical day guys!

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10 Things I must take on any Disney Holiday

10 Things I must take on any Disney Holiday

I figured it would be fun to do something that applies to all Disney Parks rather that just Paris and so here is a small list of things that I always take with me on a Disney holiday, regardless of where in the world I’m going!

1. My Camera!

Although my iPhone has a pretty great camera, I always take my digital camera with me to capture memories in the parks. Its great to have the extra storage and, lets be honest, better quality photos and the camera really doesn’t take up much space in my bag. Plus it means I can use my phone for other things like checking apps and contacting friends whilst still getting the best photos. If you have a DSLR camera then definitely take this with you! It is something I have wanted for a long time and there are so many fantastic places to take photos in the Disney parks, you will definitely not regret it!

2. Minnie Ears

To be honest I should qualify this by including all hair accessories, because I also tend to take a lot of hair bows and flower crows to the parks with me. But Minnie ears are a must. They are cute, easy to wear and fix any bad hair day. There are so many different styles now that it has become a bit of a collectable item, which gives me an opportunity to buy lots of new pairs on my trips!

3. Disney PJs

I love buying new Disney themed PJs for my holiday. Primark tend to have the best range, but I’ve also picked them up from places like George at Asda and Topshop in the past. There’s nothing quite as relaxing after a long day in the parks as jumping into a new pair of pjs and a comfy bed!

4. A Notebook

This should go in a list of things I carry everywhere with me, because you will never find me without some kind of notebook on my person. But I think this is especially important for on a Disney holiday. I like to plan out what I want to do on a Disney holiday before I go (see my last post all about planning!) and so I always take that plan with me so I can change it and tick things off depending on what I do each day. I also like to make a note of everything I do so I can look back at it and remember all the fun things we experienced on our holiday. Also if you’re meeting characters on your holiday, it’s always a good idea to carry some paper just in case you meet someone and want an autograph. I don’t tend to get character autographs as much any more, but every so often I will meet someone new in the parks and want to add to my collection. Having a notebook is a life saver in these situations.

5. Snacks

Disney have a lot of food locations around their parks, so I guess this isn’t a necessity, but I always like to have some snacks from home or a local supermarket with me, as the costs can really add up if you are buying meals and snacks from Disney every day of your holiday. I’ve also found it is useful to take snacks to eat whilst you are waiting to get on a ride or watch the parade, that way you don’t have to worry about losing your spot in order to get food. I take things like biscuits and cereal bars. It is also a really good idea to take snacks with you if you have any dietary requirements, that way you know that you always have food with you that you can eat, should you get hungry, Whilst Disney do try to accommodate any dietary requirements, there is no guarantee that you will find something you want to eat in a nearby location if you’re in a rush.

6. Park Tickets

This may sound like a silly one, particularly in places like Paris and California where you still use your paper tickets to enter the parks. But it is always a good idea to double check you have your tickets before you leave. If I am using electronic tickets which can be scanned from a smart phone, then I tend to print a copy off as well, just in case anything goes wrong with my phone on the day. But this point is more relevant for guests visiting Walt Disney World in Florida, where you can now use your magic band as your park ticket. Even though it is really convenient to have your park ticket, room key and everything else on your magic band, I would always recommend keeping your ticket in your purse as well. If anything goes wrong with your finger scan at the main entrance gates the Cast Member may ask to see your ticket to prove that you are the ticket owner. Plus if you lose your Magic Band or have any issues, you then have your ticket to hand and avoid a ton of stress!

7. Disney tees

Don’t get me wrong, I love wearing cute outfits around the Disney Parks. I tend to plan some outfits before I go and have tried Disney Bounding before, which I love as well. But some days, you just want to throw on a t-shirt and some shorts/jeans and hit the parks. This is when some classic Disney merch comes in very handy. Plus, if you can’t wear Disney tops in the parks, when can you wear them?! I tend to buy most of my tops from Primark now, but I have previously found Disney tops in H&M, Topshop, the Disney Store (of course!) and even Walmart!

8. Sunglasses

Even heading to Paris in winter, you will always find a pair of sunglasses in my bag. There is nothing worse than squinting in all your photos when the sun is out or not being able to see the parade because the sun is in your eyes. Plus they don’t take up much space at all so they are easy to pack.

9. Some kind of rain gear

This one is cheating a little bit, because it does actually vary depending on which park I’m at. But I will always take a poncho or raincoat or umbrella with me to the park so I can stay out and play if it rains. The parks tend to be a lot quieter after a heavy rainstorm, so if you want to skip the queues then it pays to be prepared for the weather! Also, I have taken my wellington boots to Paris with me before when I knew it was going to be very wet weather, and I was very thankful for this decision!

10. A Disney Plush

This is a totally unnecessary item to take with me but I always take a teddy with me on my holiday. I have to say there is no particular reason for this, but it has become kind of a tradition now. I normally take Pascal or a small Mickey plush rather than taking a full size plush, I never have room in my suitcase for that!

Turns out there are a lot of things I take on my holidays with me, and I’m pretty sure I could list at least another 10 things that always come along too, but here are the first 10 that spring to mind. Let me know if you guys take any of these things to the parks with you? Or if there is anything else you think I should take with me on my Disney holiday?

Let me know, and have a magical day!

A Few Thoughts on MagicBands

A Few Thoughts on MagicBands

MagicBands have been available in Walt Disney World for a few years now and they have recently announced the MagicBand 2 which will be available in the parks this year. So with all the new MagicBand hype, I thought it would be a great idea to review the MagicBand and some of the features that go along with it!

The Physical MagicBand

OK so I will be the first to hold my hands up and admit that I wasn’t a huge fan of the bands when they were first announced. I thought they looked bulky and would be uncomfortable to wear in the Florida heat and, to some extent, that is true. If you compare the old school MagicBands to some of the newer ones you can see that Disney have changed their design to make them thinner and more lightweight. Fortunately this makes them a lot easier to wear and now that you can purchase different designs as well I think they look pretty cool as part of my Disney outfit. My favourite is my Haunted Mansion band.

Key to The World and Park Pass

This one is actually one of my favourite things about the MagicBand and the MyDisneyExperience system. I have always taken a lanyard to Walt Disney World when I travel because I hate having to dig around in my bag to find my key card or ticket when moving around Walt Disney World. And then there are certain rides where I don’t feel comfortable wearing my lanyard, Rock N Roller Coaster for example, so I have to take it off and store it in my bag and then forget to put it back on. With the MagicBand it removes all that hassle and genuinely makes it easier to travel around Walt Disney World. Another bonus is that I tend to keep a spare MagicBand in my bag so that, if I leave my band at the resort, I still have my key and ticket because they are all linked to the same account.

Touch To Pay

This feature works in exactly the same way as it did with the Key to The World card before MagicBands were introduced so I won’t go into much detail but it’s a great way to navigate the park’s restaurants and stores without worrying about your wallet. As before it stops you having to dig around in your bag to find your purse. The only thing I don’t like about this feature is that it makes it way too easy to buy items that you may have otherwise put down if you knew you had to find your purse to pay for them!

Fastpass Plus

So this is where most of my issues with the MagicBand system arise. Don’t get me wrong, there are some features of Fastpass + that I love. I like the fact that you can pick up three Fastpasses at once, I like the fact that you can choose your times and I like the fact that you no longer have to run around the parks to collect your Fastpasses. I think on the whole it’s a good system, but there are some elements of the old Fastpass system that I miss.

The first one is very cheesy but I miss having physical Fastpasses! I used to love collecting Fastpass cards and keeping the ones I didn’t manage to use. It’s also a shame that you can no longer give your Fastpasses to someone else, we had so many magical experiences in the parks where a family had decided not to ride and so donated their Fastpasses to us.

Secondly I don’t like how you have to choose your three Fastpasses for one particular park. I like park hopping and it’s made it a little harder to do that with the new Fastpass system. You now have to decide which park you want Fastpasses for and either go without or just wait and see what is left available when you get to the other park. Now I know you wouldn’t be able to book Fastpasses in advance on the old system either so maybe I shouldn’t be so judgey about that.

Finally, and my main issue with Fastpass + is that you can book the Fastpasses so early. Now don’t get me wrong, I love planning my Disney vacation and I generally do create an itinerary of what I want to do each day. But with the previous Fastpass system I was always able to change my plans and switch which park I wanted to visit. Since Fastpasses are available so early, and so many of the popular ones are booked up so quickly, it’s difficult to have flexibility in your Disney planning. If you get a Fastpass for  a big ride you then feel obliged to visit that park on that particular day otherwise you risk missing the ride altogether. Either that or you don’t bother going to the parks and miss your Fastpasses which then go unused and someone else misses out on riding that attraction when they could have just taken your spot. I hate having to have so much structure to my vacation. I have noticed that this is only really an issue when the parks are busy and, having visited during quieter seasons, I’ve noticed that the Fastpass booking system hasn’t been too much of an issue as Fastpasses weren’t needed for a lot of rides.

Photopass and Memory Maker

The last thing I’m going to talk about here is linking your Photopass to your MagicBand and using the Memory Maker to download photos. I have to say I love this feature because once again there is no need to go rooting around for cards each time you want a photo. I remember how time consuming it was to collect all your Photopass cards at the end of your vacation and view all the photos on the website but with Memory Maker it is all made so much more simple, and often there are ticket options which include Memory Maker free of charge! Being able to link photos to multiple MagicBands is also really useful when you go out as a group so I’m definitely a big fan of this feature.

I think overall MagicBands are working in the parks, there are some slight issues with them, in particular with the Fastpass + system, but on the whole they are a fantastic gadget to have when visiting the Walt Disney World resort, particularly when teamed with the MyDisneyExperience app. If you are planning on visiting a Disney Resort you will be able to customise your MagicBand before you arrive, but even if you’re staying off property, having MagicBands can be really useful. They make getting into the parks and onto the rides hassle free and are a great souvenir for your trip. Although they aren’t cheap (retailing between $12.99 and $32.99) they are definitely a good investment if you’re planning on spending several days at the parks or planning on coming back in the future.

But what do you think of MagicBands? Let me know below what you like/dislike about them!

Dapper Day!

Dapper Day!

In 2016 I was lucky enough to visit Walt Disney World in Florida a couple of times. And on my final trip to the sates in November, I was able to attend my first ever Dapper Day in Epcot. I’m going to tell you now I had an absolute blast! But keep reading to find out a bit more about my experience and some tips and tricks for if you’re planning on attending Dapper Day.

So for anyone who doesn’t know, Dapper Day is an event hosted twice each year in Disney Parks around the world. I believe they currently have both spring and fall events in Florida, California and Paris. The events are not Disney organised but are a big part of Disney Culture and have been professionally run for a number of years now. Dapper Day is a day where people dress up in fancy outfits, just like the first ever guests who entered Disneyland park, and celebrate vintage clothing and style. You can participate in the event as much or as little as you like and there are generally expos, group photos and various other things to do throughout the dapper day weekend. There are no set outfit requirements so you can dress as fancy or as subtle as you like. I bought a 50s inspired dress and accessories along with my friend and we had a fantastic time. But equally there were other guests wearing more modern dresses and more casual attire so the choice is yours!

I have to say I absolutely loved my Dapper Day experience, it was so much fun dressing up to go to the parks! We took loads of pretty photos and met some lovely people with fantastic outfits. Everyone who participated in Dapper Day was so friendly and complimentary of other peoples outfits which made the whole atmosphere really nice. It was great to spot those who were Disney bounding and meet some of the people I knew from social media too. The actual day is set in one particular park at Walt Disney World, this year it was Epcot (next year I think its Epcot and Magic Kingdom) but we drifted over to Hollywood Studios later on and still managed to find other Dapper people over there so didn’t feel out of place. There were people of all ages getting involved including families and groups so there are really no limits on who can join in, just have fun with it!

The best piece of advice I can give for Dapper Day is to get there early. Generally the events are at the weekend so the parks are busier anyway, but with all the dapper people trying to get to the same location, expect queues and fairly long wait times at bag check and the main entrance to the park. If you can take Disney transport it saves having to find a parking space so that’s a good idea too! Another piece of advice would be to follow the official Dapper Day social media so that you can stay updated on what’s going on. Definitely look out for announcements about the group photo and go along to that because that was a lot of fun! And if you’re planning your vacation in advance, check Dapper Day before you book anything because they often get fab discounts on rooms at Disney resorts too!

Beyond that my advice would be to have fun and take lots of photos! We certainly spent a long time getting ready for this event and wanted lots of photos to remember it. We also got loads of photos with other people at the event, so if you are chatting to someone or meet someone with an awesome Dapperbound, ask for a photo with them to remember your experience! Also don’t feel like you have to stick with the Dapper Day group the whole day, we certainly didn’t and still had a ball. But be prepared for people asking why you’re so dressed up because that will definitely happen!

So there you have it. Go out and enjoy all you dapper people! I will leave links to the official Dapper Day website below so you can find out more info, but if you have any questions, feel free to ask me! And let me know how your Dapper Day experience was, and what you’re planning for your next one!

 

Website: http://dapperday.com/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/dapperday/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/DapperDay

My Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/down_to_disney/

New Years Resolutions – Disney Style

New Years Resolutions – Disney Style

We’re half way through January and as I sit here eating the remains of my Christmas chocolate, I wonder whether I ever really intended to stick to my New Years Resolutions this year. So instead of worrying about how and when my other resolutions will go down the drain, I’m going to make some resolutions that are a bit more fun and of course- Disney themed!

  1. Visit a Disney Park
    This one should be easy but as I have no current plans to return to a Disney park, I want to write it down to make sure I get myself together and book something before the year is through.
  2. Organise my pins
    As I said in my last post, I have collected a lot of Disney pins over the years and they are all currently sat in my room on old cork boards, some are still in bags even! This year I want to find a way to display them nicely in my room.
  3. Print off my Cruise Line photos
    This time last year I was finishing up the most amazing contract working for Disney Cruise Line. Sadly I was unable to return for my second contract but I had so much fun the first time round and want to make sure I keep those memories safe by filling up my photo album I bought whilst I was there.
  4. Blog about my Disney Parks holiday
    Since my first resolution is to get to a Disney park, I want to make sure capture as much as possible from my trip and really utilise this space and my Instagram to share all the fun I have!
  5. Watch Beauty and the Beast in cinemas
    I am so excited about this film coming out so it shouldn’t be too difficult for me to get to a cinema and see it. But I often find that I don’t prioritise films and by the time I’ve actually got round to trying to book tickets it’s already out on DVD, which is great but isn’t quite the same as a cinema experience.

So there are a few New Year’s Resolutions for me to stick to over the next twelve months. Hopefully this time next year I can look back and say I completed them all and set myself some new and exciting goals. Let me know what you think of my resolutions and if you had any Disney resolutions of your own!

A Few of My Favourite Things

A Few of My Favourite Things

I’ve bitten the bullet and decided to start my own Disney-themed blog! This is all very exciting for an avid blog reader such as myself and I’m looking forward to my adventures on the other side of the page. So to kick it all off I thought I would answer a collection of Disney themed questions to help you guys, my readers, get to know me a little better. I’m going to steal a lot of these questions from the ‘Disney Tag’ that I think pretty much every blogger, vlogger and Disney fan has already done so maybe consider this as an extended Disney Tag? Lets just see how it goes!

A scene in any Disney movie you wish you could experience?
There are so so many but I think flying to Neverland with Peter Pan has to be up there.

Your favourite moment at a Disney Park?
Watching Wishes for the final time on my Disney International Program. It was a very bittersweet moment but I think it sums up just how perfect my time as a Cast Member was.

Favourite Disney Princess?
Aurora! Although if I’m honest I love them all!

First Disney movie you watched?
Snow White on VHS

Favourite Disney movie?
I tend to reach for Sleeping Beauty or Wreck it Ralph. But Princess and the Frog is up there too!

Favourite Disney Villain?
Maleficent for sure

Favourite Disney Song?
This one is really tough! I’m currently in love with the whole Moana soundtrack, but I always come back to songs like ‘I won’t say I’m in love’ from Hercules and ‘on my way’ from Brother Bear, so maybe one of them?

Favourite Disney Park?
It has to go to Epcot at Walt Disney World. It’s the first Park I visit each time I go with family and it just feels like home ❤

Favourite Character to meet in the Parks?
If I don’t say Gaston I think my friend will disown me, he always has the funniest meet and greets!

What kind of merchandise do you collect the most?
Pins pins pins! I have way to many and keep buying more

Favourite attraction at any Park?
Haunted Mansion

What is your most treasured Disney item?
On the last day of my Disney program, one of my roommates gave my a little ‘Piece of Magic’ which says Believe in Magic around Mickey’s head. I’ve put it on a chain and wear it all the time as a reminder of my program and friends around the world.

Favourite Disney snack?
I’m going to say Mickey Ice Cream Bars, although Dole Whip is a very close second.

Favourite Disney Show?
Wishes! at Walt Disney World makes me cry every time so that has to win! But Dreams at Disneyland Paris is beautiful too.

Favourite pair of Mickey Ears?
I’m all about the Minnie Ear Headbands and the tartan ones from this Christmas are my favourite!

Favourite Walt Disney World Resort?
I have a strange obsession with the Contemporary Resort, I think it’s really cool how the monorail goes through it. I would love to stay there some time.

Favourite Disney Cruise Ship?
I’m totally biased since I was a Crew Member on the Dream but I don’t care. Disney Dream wins!

Who is your favourite Fab 5 Character?
Although I love them all, I think Mickey has to take this one.

Christmas or Halloween at the Parks?
I’ve been fortunate enough to experience them both at various parks and Halloween has to win. The character meet and greets are amazing and Hallowishes is an incredible show!

Favourite Walt Quote?
All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.

So that’s twenty questions which I think is plenty for now. But I do have a load more so if this goes down well I’ll maybe make a part two. Plus if you have any question suggestions let me know! Stick around for more Disney fun and I will be back soon with another post.