How We Eat on Disney Days

How We Eat on Disney Days
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One of the most expensive things about Walt Disney World is the food. Let’s just be honest, if we ate breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, AND adult beverages on property every weekend we would be BROKE. For this reason we have our own version of the Disney Dining Plan.

We typically eat breakfast at home/in the car on the way to the park, pack lunch, and buy dinner. Sometimes we add in a little snack, and frequently an adult beverage or twoūüôā

Breakfast

Frozen waffles

Bananas

Apples

The largest to-go cup of coffee I can muster

coffee

I know that breakfast is supposed to be the most important meal of the day, but by the weekend I have typically exhausted my quick breakfasts because of school mornings. So our breakfasts usually consist of grab and go type items on park days when we are trying to get out the door. If we have already admitted to ourselves that Rope Drop isn’t in the cards I have been known to make eggs, pancakes or Olaf waffles in our Olaf Waffle Maker! This¬†is once in a blue moon though.

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Snacks

With all of the walking around the parks we are usually ready for a snack around mid-morning. If it was just me, I would stop for a GIANT cinnamon roll from Gaston’s¬†Tavern¬†every time, but since we are trying to limit our family’s sugar intake for various reasons we grab a little something from our bag of tricks. My personal favorite bag of tricks is this Thirty-One Thermal. It’s cute and holds a lot more than it looks like it should.

thermal tote

Since our snacks are usually eaten while we are waiting in line for a ride and these are some of our favorites.

Rice Cakes – yes, my kids love these…weird, I know

Cracker Sandwiches

Mini boxes of raisins

GoGo Squeeze pouches

This is usually enough to push us through until around 1 when we stop for lunch and doesn’t cost a lot. Each of these items cost less than $3 for all 5 of us compared to a $5 Mickey pretzel that my kids would fight over.

Lunch

For lunch time we grab some FREE water from a quick service stand and park it on a nice bench. Most of the time I pack peanut butter (and NO JELLY…can you imagine jelly hands at the park?) sandwiches, cheese sticks, veggies (usually baby carrots), Craisins, hummus, and lunch box sized bags of chips. Basically, it is almost the same lunch they get Monday through Friday at school, but everything tastes better surrounded by Disney magic. Also, there are lots of small components and they only get one thing at a time to keep down the mess.

snacks

The kids don’t usually start looking for another snack until around 4-4:30 so we give them a leftover from lunch (if there are any) and we start thinking about where we are going for dinner.

Dinner

Since most of our trips are NOT hardcore planned (one of the major perks of being Annual Passholders and not trying to squeeze everything into a few days) we also do not usually make a dinner reservation (ADR) because we never know what park we will be in. Occasionally we try (like for a child’s birthday trip) but usually we just pick what sounds good. A lot of the time we head to Epcot to eat because they have the largest amount of restaurants and variety in food, but we usually spend 15 minutes talking Kid #1 out of Electric Umbrella. He is obsessed, but this is mostly classic “amusement park food” and if we are going to eat at Epcot we are hitting the World Showcase and trying something new!

shepherds pie

We don’t always do a sit down restaurant, but more often than not we do. By dinner time we are all in need of a rest and a bigger meal. With a family of 5 this can get expensive, but there are ways to save money.

  1. The kids can drink water! Unless their meal includes (an explicitly states that it includes a drink) they get water. Actually, this isn’t just a dining at Disney rule, this is an any restaurant rule because it saves us like $6.
  2. Consider getting 2 appetizers as your meal. Sometimes you just can’t pick what you want and this is a great way to try different things. It usually ends up cheaper than an entree at dinner time.
  3. Okay, don’t throw things at me, but skip the character meals. These meals you are almost 100% paying for the characters and you don’t always get a lot of facetime. I believe that you can meet almost every character that has a dining experience at a different location and it will not cost an arm and a leg. Please correct me if I’m wrong.
  4. Skip dessert unless your heart is set on something you can only get at this restaurant.

Chefs de France edit

How do you eat when you are in the parks? Are you a Disney Dining Plan person, or do you pack as much as you can into your backpack? Do you have a favorite restaurant that you always go to? Tell me how your family eats while at Walt Disney World.

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Disney Passholder Project Podcast #03 – FastPass +’s and -‘s

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This week we discuss the FastPass+ system. Do lines move faster without it? How can you maximize your FP+ utilization? Scan your Magic Band for a lively debate. We also discuss the changes to Pizza Planet and spend an evening at a very rainy Hollywood Studios in the Memory Shaker.


Show Notes

Kylo Ren now meeting at Hollywood Studios

Changes at Pizza Planet

AP Days at Disneyland

 

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Ride All of the Magic Kingdom Rides Challenge

Ride All of the Magic Kingdom Rides Challenge - Disney Passholder Project

Earlier in the week we had the great idea to go to Magic Kingdom and see if we could hit EVERY ride in the park. We would get there at the elusive rope drop and run through the park with the sun shining and the children being happy and agreeable the whole way!

And then reality hit.

We had also realized that Kid #2 was tall enough for Space Mountain and told her that we had a surprise for her on our trip because surprises are fun. I should know better that to tell this child that there is a surprise coming because she is just like me and cannot sleep when she knows something is coming. Proof РShe woke my husband up at midnight and 1am for a drink of water. Then woke me up at 3am for a drink and 4:15 because she had woken up Kid #3 and they were yapping away. What the heck! My alarm was already set for 5:45 (8am park openings are rough).

Through blurry eyes and loud children yielding frozen waffles and bananas we made it out the door on time to stop for gas and coffee. For once we were going to make it to rope drop…but then the gas pump wasn’t working, they didn’t have breakfast sandwiches, and the attendant was less than pleasant so we had to go to a second gas station before hitting the highway.

We didn’t make it.ūüė¶

We were on Disney property when the Opening Show was going on, but we just couldn’t get there in time…however, we walked through the gate at roughly 8:05am and bolted straight to Seven Dwarfs.

Seven Dwarfs 1

The posted wait time was 30 minutes, but I am pretty sure that they list that at park open. It took us no more than 15 minutes from the time we stepped in line to getting off the ride. What a great way to start the day.

Seven Dwarfs 2

Then we headed to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, but were distracted by a 15 minute wait for Peter Pan. We hopped in line. This was our first time ever going through the line because we usually grab a FP+. The line is ADORABLE and is the perfect set up to the ride. In fact, I think I appreciate the ride more after waiting in the line. I wish I would have been able to get some pictures, but we were really only in line 5 minutes.

Peter Pan

After our ride to Neverland and back we made it to Big Thunder and were able to ride it twice because the wait was only 5 minutes! We were going to jump on Splash Mountain since we were there, but it wasn’t open. I’m not sure if it was because it was early, or something was going on, but the big drop didn’t have water on it and there were some alarms going off. We decided to come back later.

Space Mountain (and Kid #2’s surprise) was next up on our list. Hubs took the big kids while Kid #3 treated me to my first ever trip on the Astro Orbiter. I am NOT a fan. I don’t to heights well and I kept feeling like I was going to slip out of my rocket…not cool. The view, however, was pretty cool.

Astro Orbiter

We decided to do a switch since the Space Mountain wait was still only 10 minutes and I took the big kids and Hubs took the little guy on the Tomorrowland Speedway.

Space Mountain

I know it is cliche, but I love Space Mountain! I am well aware that it isn’t actually an impressive ride with the lights on, but when you don’t know what’s coming it’s awesome.

Now, friends, this is about where we started to loose traction for our “Ride Every Ride” Challenge. We decided that we needed to pick a spot and just circle the park to be more efficient so we started with the Circus.

Barnstormer

Our family loves the quick and easy Barnstormer. I don’t know why, but we do. The ride is no longer than 30 seconds, but sometimes that’s all you need. We got in the 20 minute wait line knowing it would only be about 10, but then the line stopped moving…and the ride stopped running. Soon they made the announcement that the ride was down and they did not know how long it would be until it came back up. We gave the kids a snack, but after a few minutes decided to get out of line and head over to Dumbo.

Insert meltdown here.

I won’t get into the gory details of the meltdowns that occurred (ain’t nobody got time for that) but just know that this was about where we gave up on hitting every ride in the park. We decided to hit the rides we had FP+ reservations for (Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Jungle Cruise) plus a few more, have a little snack, and play a round of Sorcerer’s of the Magic Kingdom and then after dinner we would decide whether to go home, or try to stick it out for a few more rides.

forgot ADR

Ahhh dinner. Earlier in the week when we decided to go to the park I was supposed to make a ADR (advanced dining reservation) for dinner. I was having trouble with my phone when the decision was made so I planned to do it later. I forgot. We got to dinner time and had no dinner reservation. BOOOO. You can’t walk in anywhere at Magic Kingdom. There are just too many people vying for those reservations…so we monorailed over to Epcot. I love dinner at Epcot.

The longer you read this blog, the more you will notice a pattern…we almost always go to Epcot for dinner. The food is just fricking amazing that we just can’t help ourselves. Oh, and you can almost always walk in and get a table. We have only been turned down once, and that was on date night at Le Cellier during Food and Wine so we were silly to think we would get in. I digress.

We bolted straight to dinner at Nine Dragons and were not disappointed.

dinner

dinner 2

After dinner¬†I completed a Agent P mission with the big kids while hubs took Kid #3 on the Grand Fiesta Tour (a MUST in the Mexico Pavillion). We then we went to Spaceship Earth were I sat through the entire ride in a language I did not understand compliments of my daughter’s pinkie brushing the screen.

Once we returned to the present day I insisted on a park departure treat of ice cream. It had been years since I had a Mickey ice cream bar…it was time. This also helped quiet everyone since we were leaving relatively early and still had to monorail over to the Transportation and Ticket Center (TTC).

So there you have it. We attempted to do all of Magic Kingdom, only to be thwarted by our own planning. Whoops! Have you ever ridden every ride at Magic Kingdom, or any other amusement park, all in one day? How do you deal with meltdowns (from kids or adults) while at the park? Tell us below, and make sure to check out our NEW weekly podcast!

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Disney Passholder Project Podcast #02 – Best in Show

Best in Show - Disney Passholder Project Podcast

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This week we discuss the live shows throughout Disney World. Which park has the best? Which ones need an update? The curtain rises on our showy debate. We also discuss the upcoming Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival and attempt to go on every ride in Magic Kingdom in the Memory Shaker.


Show Notes

Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival

Garden Rocks Lineup

The Boneyard closed for refurbishment

Wonderful World of Disney: Disneyland 60

Yesterland

 

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Disney Passholder Project Podcast #01 – Trials of Tomorrowland

Tomorrowland-Poster

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This week we talk about Tomorrowland in the Magic Kingdom. What are they getting right? What needs to change? We’ll hash it out for a great big beautiful tomorrow. We also discuss closing at Hollywood Studios and give our trip report in the Memory Shaker.


Show Notes

Ordeal Kingdom

Hollywood Studios Closings

Nine Dragons menu update

runDisney Annual Passholder early registration dates

Alien Encounter

Chefs de France

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Yet Another Birthday Celebration

Yet Another Birthday Celebration

With a family of 5 it feels like we are always celebrating something…and that something is frequently a birthday!¬†Last week was Kid #2’s 6th birthday, and she had been counting down to it since before Christmas. I guess turning 6 is a big deal.

Kid #2

Her celebrations included:

  • Going out to dinner at her favorite Japanese buffet the Friday before her “real” birthday
  • Mommy buying her a special outfit to wear to school on her birthday
  • Mommy bringing cupcakes to her class at snack time
  • Being picked up from the bus with a balloon (a tradition of mine)
  • Getting a few gifts on her birthday
  • Having a small party dripping with Disney Princess pink and sugar the Saturday after her birthday
  • Going to the park of her choice the Sunday after her birthday…gotta get that birthday button!

Whoa…spoiled much? I’d say that this isn’t what we typically do, but why can’t you celebrate your birthday for a month?

Cupcakes

But this isn’t a birthday blog…it’s a Disney blog so let’s get to the park part of the celebration!

We had been planning on going Sunday of MLK weekend for a while since there was no school/work the next day, but on Saturday it looked like there was a 100% chance of rain throughout the day so we cancelled our FP+ and decided to¬†see if Monday’s forecast was better.

But then the pixie dust took over! When I woke up on Saturday the forecast was clear the whole day because the storm hit us overnight. We scurried around and were out the door with a bag full of snacks (we were only planning on purchasing one quick serve meal that day) and were able to make it inside the gates within 2 hours of opening.

Now, since Kid #2 had already had gifts and a party this was a bit of a low-key celebration. No ADR’s (advanced dining reservations) had been made, no appointments with¬†Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, and FP+’s were not made for meeting princesses…it was basically a “normal” day at the park for us, but with a birthday button.

Cake O'clock

Here are some of the highlights!

Big Thunder Mountain

Big Thunder Mountain!! This is a family favorite and it is very rare that we get to ride it during the day. For some reason we always get evening/night FP+ for it. Kid #3 has just recently realized (admitted to himself) that he likes roller coasters. I cannot express how much more enjoyable trips are when you aren’t fighting a 4 year old in line for half an hour. And he’s a biter.

Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom Cards

Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom Game

We finally got signed up with our starter sets of Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom cards. Kid #1 has been begging for months to do this, but we wanted to wait until the holiday crowds went home to get started. We took turns at each portal to fight against the likes of Scar, Hades, and Maleficent. Even Mommy and Daddy got into the game. This isn’t something I would recommend for a family that is on a “once in a lifetime” trip to Walt Disney World, but I think it is awesome for Annual Passholders and guests who come regularly.

Birthday Slushie

The birthday slushie! Kid #2 kept talking about getting a birthday cupcake from SOMEWHERE!! She went with daddy to grab dinner from Pinnochio Village Haus (like we did on her 3rd birthday trip) and she came back with a crazy sugary lemonade slushie. The boys have now declared that they wanted to go back there for their birthdays because THEY wanted slushies.

Belle Bow

Kisses

Kisses from Belle! Kid #2 gets very excited to always participate in Enchanted Tales with Belle, but Kid #3 is ALWAYS attached to my leg. He hides. This day he decided that he was going to play too! I was over the moon excited. He did everything the castmember asked when she was handing out parts and Kids #2 and 3 got picked to be Mrs. Potts and Chip! They are excellent hoppers! After the performance when it was his turn to meet Belle the castmember helping him showed him how to box to Belle and it was amazing. She spent more time with him than any other kid and then (after I put my phone away) she game him a big kiss on the check! THIS  is one of those times when I cannot wait to upgrade our passes so that Memory Maker is included!

Seven Dwarfs

We typically do not get in line for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train unless A) we have a FP+ or B) the wait is half an hour or less. On this trip we decided to get in line with it showing 50 minutes because every ride had been about half the posted wait time all day. This was the same! 50 minute wait posted and only 30 minutes until we were off the ride. Awesome as always.

Coffee

Pixie Dust was on our side again!! I was grabbing a couple of coffees to warm us up while we completed the Adventureland mission for Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom and the castmember made 2 hot cocoas. When I corrected her she offered them to me for free since she would have to dump them anyway. Talk about happy kids! This little boost helped us push through Kid #2 taking FOREVER to spend her birthday money (a Belle purse and gloves, thank you very much!).

This trip was almost picture perfect. We rode 85-90% of the rides we wanted and only had one small child meltdown when we were leaving. January is one of my favorite months to go to Disney because the crowds are gone and the heat isn’t forcing you to stop for water constantly.

Happy Birthday

 

This weekend we are looking to do Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios on Sunday. Fingers crossed that it is another good trip!

Have you ever gone to Disney to celebrate your birthday? Maybe an anniversary or engagement? I have seen a lot of people there celebrating high school and college graduations. Walt Disney World is AMAZING for celebrations!

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Star Wars at Hollywood Studios

Star Wars at Hollywood Studios

In the beginning of December 2015 Disney opened Star Wars Launch Bay in the Animation Court at Hollywood Studios….and we have avoided it like the plague. haha

My husband and I have never been fans of Star Wars. We saw it when we were younger, but it just didn’t leave a lasting impression on¬†us the way it did many people. However that wasn’t the only reason. With the holiday season in full swing and this being the last year for the Osborne Dancing Lights, Hollywood Studios’s parking lot frequently hit capacity which can only mean that the park was more than a bit crazy.

Launch Bay exterior

 

Our kids, on the other hand, are kind of obsessed with everything Star Wars. We almost always ride Star Tours at least once, we have gotten to the park early so the kids could participate in Jedi Training, and they have been eagerly looking forward to Launch Bay opening. Now that the holiday crowds have cleared out we decided to take the kids to explore.Animation Courtyard

I feel like the Launch Bay is a bit out of place in the Animation Court between the Disney Jr.and The Little Mermaid shows, but there you have it.

When you walk into Launch Bay you have the choice to go left or right. Left will take you to a video and the right will take you straight into the museum-esque part. We went to the left and watched the 10 minute video. It was cute enough, but not something I feel I need to do again unless they make major changes to it.

Launch Bay Video

After the movie we explored all through the different exhibits. There were costumes and set pieces to look at, as well as heavily themed areas that are excellent for pictures.

Space Chess

Rey Speedster

Once we got through that we came up to the character meet. With the choice of Chewbacca and Darth Vader my kids decided to go towards the Dark Side. It turns our that this was an excellent choice because Darth Vader will be leaving to make room for Kylo Ren in the near future.

Dark Side Lightsabers

Vader 1

Darth Vader welcomed the kids for making the choice to join the Dark Side and then Kid #1 showed him his Magic Band wrap that has Darth Vader’s picture and a lightsaber on it. (From MyFantasyBands¬†– not sponsored, but tell her I sent you!).Vader Band

Up until this point Launch Bay seemed pretty neat, for Star Wars fans, but then we went into the Disney Infinity room. Yes, you read that right. You too can spend your time at Disney’s Hollywood Studios PLAYING A VIDEO GAME. We let the kids play for a few minutes but then dragged them out…thus concluding our visit to Launch Bay.

When we left we headed towards Star Tours at the demand of Kid #3, but the wait was 50 minutes which is just too long for us. However, the Jedi Training show was about to start and we had not seen it since the update so we stayed and watched it. The show was okay, but we liked the old show better. The highlight for me was 2 little girls dressed like classic Leia.

Jedi Training

The only thing I am a little sad about missing is the Symphony in the¬†Stars: A Galactic Spectacular which are the Star Wars themed fireworks. I love fireworks of all sorts. There is also a dessert party (that includes adult beverages!) for fireworks viewing (just like at Magic Kingdom). I’ve heard not¬†so awesome things about different dessert parties and that they aren’t worth the cost ($69 for 10+ and $39 for 3-9)…I still want to do one just to try it myself.

Are you and your little ones excited about all of the Star Wars attractions at Disney’s Hollywood Studios? Are you planning on coming to Florida soon, or are you waiting until Star Wars land officially launches?

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Princess-palooza!

Feature image

If you follow me on social media than you know that not too long ago I scored the Holy Grail of FP+ for almost any little girl – Anna and Elsa thanks to The Dibb! It has taken me a little while to get this post up because of switching computers, corrupt files, and the holidays, but here we go with our Princess-palooza!


 

Kids #2 and #3 and myself had FP+ to go meet Elsa and Anna around 10:20pm on a Saturday before their passes started blackout started. This was perfect!

We got out of Philharmagic right around 10 as the fireworks started which put us in my new favorite place to watch Wishes. Seriously, once you have seen Wishes from the usual view you need to stand somewhere around the carousel because you will be surrounded by fireworks. It is really neat to see how they layer them for the show.

When it was time for our FP+ we headed over to the Princess Hall and walked right in. The wait for Elsa and Anna was around 45 minutes (I believe) but with our passes we waited less then 5 before being ushered into the meet and greet room. Both of my kids were SUPER excited and could not wait to meet their idols.

Elsa

Elsa - Disney Passholder Project

My kids were so excited they could barely do anything except smile and giggle. I had told them in advance to ask her questions or tell her how much they liked her, but they completely froze up. Maybe next time.

AnnaAnna - Disney Passholder Project

After  being so star struck with her sister I was a little worried about how they would be with Anna, but it was like night and day! She pulled them out of their shells and had them do stretches with her before heading to the North Mountain. THEY LOVED THIS! Kid #3 thought this was the greatest thing ever! He actually had a bigger reaction with her than when he met Woody and Jessie on his birthday!Anna 2 - Disney Passholder Project Kid #3 - Disney Passholder Project

THAT FACE!! I don’t think he could have been more excited if Olaf was there.

As with everything at Disney once you leave the attraction you are in a gift store. This gift store happened to have Minnie Mouse dressed up like Elsa so we had to get our picture with it!

Minnie Mouse - Disney Passholder Project

Since we had gotten in and out so quickly (we did get a fair amount of time with the princesses…no rushing!) and we weren’t set to meet up with the Space Mountain crew for a bit we decided to jump in Rapunzel and Cinderella’s¬†10 minute line. I don’t think we ended up waiting even that long!

Rapunzel

Rapunzel - Disney Passholder Project

I figured since they had warmed up with Anna that they two would be fine with Princesses Round 2, but they clammed back up! LOL Rapunzel did get down on their level to interact with them which they loved. She even complimented my daughter’s skirt saying it looked like paint and that absolutely made her day. She still talks about it.

Rapunzel 2 - Disney Passholder Project

Cinderella

Cinderella - Disney Passholder Project

Cinderella was so stinking cute! I loved her. For some reason Kid #2 kept showing her her shoes (that have Anna and Elsa on them and are falling apart) so they all had a shoe fashion show. It was awesome.

Cinderella 2 - Disney Passholder Project


 

Here is my #1 tip for meeting characters…don’t just stand there and smile, INTERACT WITH THEM. The more questions and things that you have for them the better your interaction with them will be (and the better pictures you will get!). One person who always has AMAZING interactions with characters is The Character Queen. Check out his pictures and videos…always good for a giggle!

Interact With Them - Disney Passholder Project

What are the best character experiences you have had? Why were they so amazing?

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