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Saturday, January 31, 2015

Be Our Guest restaurant in Magic Kingdom getting rid of lunch fast passes and possibly offering breakfast. Leaked breakfast menu picture.

Lots of changes coming to Be Our Guest

Fast pass+ for advance reservations for lunch will cease as of February 25th, 2015. It has been suggested that it will go to a more traditional reservation system for lunch. No word on whether this will change lunch from a quick service option to a sit down credit on the dining plan. I will update as news is released.

Many of you may remember I reported that there were rumors of Be Our Guest offering breakfast in the near future. Well looks like we have more confirmation that this rumor may be fact. Kenny the Pirate has a leaked photo of a breakfast menu!!!!! The French Croissant Doughnut with bananas, caramel and whipped cream sounds delicious. You can view the leaked breakfast menu HERE.

Adding another sit down breakfast choice to Magic Kingdom is very much needed. The only sit down breakfast options are The Crystal Palace and Cinderella's Royal Table (currently closed for refurbishment). Hopefully adding a third breakfast location in Magic Kingdom will make scoring reservations easier. It will also give guest more opportunities to dine at the VERY popular Be Our Guest. Three years after opening, it is still one of the hardest and most sought after dining reservation to obtain.

My family has been fortunate to dine at Be Our Guest several times for both lunch and dinner. Every meal has been simply delightful. It is one of our top rated restaurants in all of Disney World. It certainly lives up to the hype. I am looking forward to breakfast, esp if it means early entry into the park.

I will update as soon as a formal confirmation is released by Disney, so that you can make those reservations.

Are you excited about these new changes coming to Magic Kingdom and Be Our Guest?


Rose in the West Wing
Beautiful stained glass inside Be Our Guest
The Ball Room
Assorted Cured Meats and Sausages Appetizer

Potato Leek Soup (Served lunch and dinner)
Sauteed Shrimp and Scallops
Grilled Strip Steak

Thyme Scented Rack Pork Chop

Kid's Grilled Fish 

Kids Macaroni and Cheese

Ordering a birthday cake is easy. 
Wishes fireworks display over Be Our Guest 


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Thursday, January 29, 2015

Free Celebration Pins at Walt Disney World Add Extra Magic to Your Visit. Many Various Occasions to Choose From.

Celebrating something special during your trip? Be sure to ask for your free pins. If staying in a Disney resort, you may request them at your resort's front desk. If not staying on property (or if you forget to get them at your front desk like I do), you may also request them in Town Hall just inside Magic Kingdom. They have Happy Birthday, Just Married, Anniversary, Family Reunion, 1st Visit and ones that say "I'm Celebrating" for everything else. You will get extra attention from cast members, and it's a free souvenir.
Birthday pins have room for a name to allow cast members to say "Happy Birthday (insert name here)". As you can see the sharpie wears off after a few days. On our last trip the CM applied scotch tape and it stayed perfectly readable the whole time! 


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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Magic Kingdom closing early for private event Sunday, May 31st, 2015

If you are traveling to Disney World the last weekend of May you'll want to plan on visiting Magic Kingdom on a day other than Sunday. Magic Kingdom will be hosting a private event for IPW Orlando on Sunday May 31st, 2015. The park is expected to close at 7pm. 

You can learn more here on the visit Orlando website. http://www.visitorlando.com/ipw2015/eveningevents.html




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Saturday, January 24, 2015

How to save an additional 5% OFF your entire Walt Disney World trip using Target and other store cards.


A while back I heard someone speaking about using store credit cards and discounts to save money on buying gift cards. Intrigued I wanted to learn more. I discovered that certain stores, such as Target, give you a discount by using their store credit/debit card on purchases including gift cards bought in the store. For the sake of this post I will be explaining how to use a Target credit/debit card because that is what I used, however, I have heard that other stores such as BJ's and Costco offer the same thing. Please confirm with your store before attempting what I explain below. 

So here's how it works:
When you have a Target credit or debit card you receive 5% OFF all of your purchases in store and online. You also get free shipping from target.com (This tidbit comes in handy. I explain below).

More about the Target Red Card (credit and debit cards):
If you are worried about using credit cards, Target offers a debit card that has the same exact perks of their credit card, however the money can be preloaded or drafted from a checking account, so that you don't have to worry about using credit. You can apply for both cards in your local Target. If you do not have a Target nearby, you can also apply online by CLICKING HERE. 

How much will you save:
Target sells $50.00 Disney gift cards. (You may see them in other denominations, but I only saw $50.00 cards in my local Target and on Target.com.) When you use your Target Red Card a single $50.00 Disney gift card will only cost $47.50. Bump that number up to $1000.00 and it will only cost $950.00. 

Saving up to pay for your trip/gift cards:
Here is what I suggest and what I did. I saved my money up in a savings account until I knew we had enough to travel. I also did this to keep my money as cash for as long as possible. If an emergency arose, you could cancel your trip and still have your cash, but once you buy gift cards, they stay gift cards. You can't exactly pay for a totaled car or hospital bill with Disney gift cards. (Trust me I've tried! lol) You can use any savings account you may have, but I personally recommend and use Smartypig.com. Now don't let the name discourage you. Smartypig is one of the top rated savings accounts and is FDIC insured. It allows you to create a virtual piggy bank for saving money the old fashioned way, but gives you a very competitive rate (at the time of writing this article it was 1% APR.) You can deposit money manually or schedule auto drafts. It also has the added feature of allowing others to contribute to your account. Let's say Aunt Sally or Granny likes to send you money on your birthday. Well now they can deposit money directly and securely into your savings account. Just share your personal link via email or Facebook and they can add money and neither of you will see each others personal or banking info. (A little note: this is also a great way to save for kids' college funds that allows for others to occasionally contribute rather than a card with some cash.)

Purchasing the gift cards:
Ok, so now you have your money saved up, or you just put it on credit. When you go to Target simply get the number of Disney gift cards you want and check out paying with your Target Red Card. That's it! The savings will automatically be deducted. If purchasing online there is a limit of 3 $50 gift cards per transaction. All you have to do is check out with 3 gift cards and then buy 3 more. Repeat until you have the desired amount. 

How to pay for your trip with the gift cards:
You have a few options to pay for your trip with gift cards. I will explain 3 different ways to pay. I personally used the Disney Vacation Account option as it has the added benefit of earning you a $20.00 Disney gift card for each $1000.00 spent on your vacation, essentially saving you MORE money. One note: to earn your gift card bonuses you must have your account open and active for at least 120 days, so make sure you open it in enough time. You could easily open it now with $10.00 and then add money as you have it later to ensure you would receive the bonus $20/$1000 spent. 
Consolidate gift cards at a Disney Store:
You can take all your smaller denomination gift cards to your local Disney Store and they will gladly issue you a single larger denomination gift card. I personally was too afraid to take all my gift cards to my local mall to do this. If you lose your gift cards along the way, they are gone forever and you will not get your money back. Walking around with thousands of dollars in gift cards just worried me. Too many variables that could equal lost or stolen cards. If you are comfortable doing this, go for it. 
Disney Vacation Account:
This is an actual savings account issued through Disney themselves. You can fund it through your bank account, Disney Chase Visa, and Disney gift cards. You will need $10.00 to open the account. This can be done with any checking account or your Disney Chase Visa (interest rates apply as usual). Once the account is set up, you deposit your gift cards by entering the numbers found on the card. (Look for the "apply gift cards" button.) Please note: any money deposited into your account that isn't used for a trip may only be refunded in the form of a Disney gift card.  Before you pay for your trip you will need to obtain your account number. To keep your account secure, some of the digits in the account number will not appear online. You may request your full account number by following the links on their website. Once you have all the digits, you can call Disney and tell the cast member you are paying with your Disney Vacation account number and they will easily walk you through it. (407)939-5277. 
Pay by phone:This is the simplest way to pay with gift cards. You can call Disney as often as you want to apply a payment to your vacation package. If you buy your gift cards over the course of time you can call and apply them as you obtain them. You could also call and do it all at once. I once asked a cast member if there was a limit on the number of gift cards that can be used to pay for a trip, and she told me no and that the cast members take bets to see who can get the highest number of gift cards at once! So go ahead and call them, but keep in mind a $4000.00 trip in $50 gift cards is 80 gift cards. That's a lot of numbers and pins to read one by one over the phone. You may call Disney and speak to a cast member by calling (407)939-5277.

Extra cards for in-park spending:
You can use gift cards to pay for just about everything in Disney World; dining, retail purchases, food and wine booth purchases, etc.  If you buy them ahead of time you can save your 5% on everything you do in Disney. Gift cards are also a great way to keep kids on a souvenir budget. We give each of our kids their own gift card to use. You can use gift cards at the time of purchase just as you would a credit/debit. 
If staying at a Disney resort you can also set it up to have room charges applied to your MagicBand. This is what I choose to do to keep my pockets light and lessen the chance of losing the gift cards. If you set up room charges you will still need to link an active credit or debit card. I personally would suggest a credit card just in case charges are accidentally made! When you check-in simply tell your front desk cast member that you will be paying everything off with gift cards. They will make a note on your account to not put the charges through. Keep in mind there is a limit, but there is a way around it. I was told the limit was $500.00 and to try to come in and give them gift cards to pay it off before it hit that limit. In the event that charges are made to your credit card, they will gladly reverse them so that you can pay with your gift cards. I made two trips to my resort's front desk to give them gift cards to pay my balance off with no issues whatsoever. One benefit of using room charges is that they can give you an itemized receipt when you check out. This allows you to see what you spent money on and helps when budgeting your next trip. 

Hopefully these tips will help you stretch those dollars and make your Disney vacation a little more affordable. 

If you have any questions please feel free to comment below or even better, send me a message on my Facebook page Happily Ever Disney.


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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Festival of Fantasy Parade in Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World tips and pictures.


One of the highlights of our recent trip was getting to see the new Festival of Fantasy Parade in Magic Kingdom. It was an absolute must do, and I recommend everyone take the time to see it at least once. Typically the parade is at 3:00pm everyday, however you will want to confirm on your travel dates as they can and do change the parade schedule depending on crowd level, park hours, holidays and other variables. They also have more than one particular parade in a single day, so make sure you go to the right one. The parade times for the day will be posted in the time schedule available at the front of the park and most retail stores in Magic Kingdom. You can also ask a cast member and they will gladly tell you. 

A few tips:
  • Get your Fast pass. Fast pass+ is strongly recommended. Not only will you not have to fight the crowd for some space, but you will have a fantastic viewing spot. 

  • Know where to go. Preferred viewing for fast pass+ is temporarily being moved from in front of the castle to down by the flag pole during the Hub refurbishment construction. Be sure to ask where it is during your visit. 

  • Arrive early. People will start to grab spots for the parade up to two hours early (and more). Even if you use fast pass+ you will want to arrive to the designated preferred viewing area at least 30 minutes ahead of time to get a good spot within the area. 

  • Pay attention to the details. There was so much to see on all the floats and costumes. It really is a magical parade.

  • Interact with the characters. Not only will they wave and talk to you from the float, but those dancing and walking along the street just may come up and interact with you. We had the pleasure of Dopey and the other dwarfs coming up and tickling my daughter and poking fun at my sons. 

  • Take pictures. We got a lot of memorable pictures. Most of the time if a character saw we were snapping a pic they would pose or do something funny. We got a lot of awesome pictures to help us capture our trip during the parade. 

  • Grab a snack and drink. Kids (and adults) are much happier when they are fed and not too thirsty from the Florida sun and heat. Not only will it keep you from getting cranky, but it will help pass the time while you wait for the parade to start.

  • Go Potty. Yes I said it. Nothing spoils a parade like having to leave and fight the crowd to take a 3 year old to find a potty. It is also just as miserable to have to sit there while you yourself are about to burst. If you have little ones, there is a baby care center next to The Crystal Palace for them and you to go potty in. If you don't have little ones, there are plenty of restrooms nearby. 

  • Wear sunscreen. I have to admit I am not a big sunscreen wearer. That being said, the daytime parades are the one time I apply it to myself and family at Disney. The sun will be directly above you and you will be standing still with very little shade. Some of the worst (and only) sunburns we have gotten at Disney were because of the parades. Even my family that lives there and have annual passes have made the mistake of not applying sunscreen and getting completely burnt. Not only will you be miserable and sore the rest of your trip, but you may even develop sun poisoning that leaves you feeling like you have the flu. Apply liberally and don't forget your ears and back of shoulders and neck. 
Now to try to describe the parade. 

We all know the saying "a picture is worth a thousand words", well after trying to think of how to describe The Festival of Fantasy I came to the conclusion that I just couldn't do it proper justice. The parade is absolutely fantastic, vibrant and full of life. Below are pictures that I took of the parade in September. I am usually the type of person that will only watch a parade once, but I will be taking the time to see this parade from now on because it had sooooooo much to see. 

This was the view from the fast pass viewing area.

Just before the parade, a marching band makes it's way down the parade route.

Eating snacks while we wait. As you can see the area is roped off and there is plenty of leg room! 

The costumes in the parade are amazing. 


Belle and Beast usher in the parade.


Cinderella and Prince Charming just behind Beast and Belle.

Tiana and Naveen wave to guests.

Anna, Elsa and Olaf make an appearance on an Icy float.

Anna caught me taking her pic. 


This guy from Tangled is sure to put a smile on your face. 

This is by far my favorite float! It has so many moving parts and guys swinging and is really animated.

I don't know how Eugene aka Flynn Rider stays on this thing for the whole parade.

Rupunzel is enjoying getting out of her tower.




Here are some more of the elaborate costumes worn by the dancers.

Ariel arrives atop a tall under the sea float complete with dancing fish.



The Lost Boys get into mischief as Peter Pan and Captain Hook follow.

The Jolly Roger flys off to Never Never Land while Captain Hook plans something dastardly.


Captain Hook is up to no good once again.

Of course you can't have Peter Pan with out Tinkerbell.


Tinkerbell adds a lot of comic relief and whimsy to the parade. 


Tick-Tock, Tick-Tock. Watch out Hook 

Merida arrives complete with bagpipes



Here come Flora, Fauna and Merryweather, but who's behind them?


Oh no! Evil bird-men on stilts.

These were by far my favorite costumes in the parade.


The creepy bird-men on stilts summon Maleficent in dragon form.
The steampunk Maleficent dragon appears. 


This thing moves and undulates in a very realistic manner. 


I LOVE this dragon!!!!

Here you can see how this maneuvers down the street.

And yes, it does breathe REAL FIRE. 



The Seven Dwarfs create a little mischief. 


Somebody's a little Grumpy.

High fives from Alice are always awesome. 

Pinocchio anchors the most colorful and animated float in the parade.

Donald and Daisy get to be part of the Fantasia themed float

Not only do all the elements of this float move, but they have live people swinging from them.

It even has bubbles blowing out of it thanks to Dumbo. 
Notice the swinger dangling from the elephant.
Pluto is on the "tail" end of the float ;)


The Dancing Hippos are joined by baby pegasus 

Goofy, Chip and Dale make way for the parade's guest of honor.
If these costumes aren't fanciful, I don't know what is.

And here comes Mickey and Minnie on a hot air balloon reminiscent of turn of the century voyages. 




And then the end of the parade arrived.


I cannot wait to get back to see this parade again. Will this be on your must-do list for your trip?



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