Friday, July 25, 2014

Our Disney Trip: What We Carried in the Parks

While we were in Disney, I thought of the idea for this blog post. We only carried one backpack with us in the parks each day, and I'm so thankful Matt was happy to carry it every long day (don't worry, I did always offer). It seemed like we always had exactly what we needed, even though I'd still be paranoid that we were forgetting something, so I thought it would be a good idea to just list out what we carried with us. Hopefully this will be helpful to someone planning a trip in the future!

  • Rain coats: we never actually used these for the little bit of rain there was during our trip, but, had we not brought them each day, you know it would have poured! haha. Plus, we used them to wrap around my camera when I wasn't using it.
  • Disney books: we had several Disney books that we carried around with us each day to keep us busy during lines, while we were sitting down taking a break, or just for whenever really! We borrowed this Hidden Mickey book from my mom, but there's a much more recent edition now! Then, a few days before our trip, we went to Barnes and Noble and got this Birnbaum Guide book and this Hidden Magic of Disney World book. For the Birnbaum Guide-there's a kids version and an adult version. This may sound stupid, but we got bought the kids version because the adult version had far less pictures. We were thinking, we already have these other two books with a lot of writing in them, let's just have one book we can flip through quickly and have the pictures to look at...I loved it (as much as I did when I was a kid and we had them for our trips!).
  • Our camera: well obviously, this was a given. We have this camera, if you're interested.
  • Water bottles: this was probably the smartest thing we did on the whole trip. We brought three water bottles with us to fill up while we were in the park. The first day, we learned the water from the water fountains was hot and gross, so we came up with a better idea. Each morning before we left the resort, we filled up all three water bottles with ice from the machine right near our room. In the Camelbak water bottle, since it was on the outside pocket, it melted kind of quickly, but at least we had cold water in the the early hours. The two water bottles inside the bookbag--one was a metal, insulated bottle and the other was basically a thermos--so we had ice and a little bit of water all day. With as hot as it got, we were so thankful we didn't have to constantly buy water while we were there.
  • Snacks: you're also allowed to take snacks into the park, so about 1/3 of our suitcase flying down was food! haha. But, by doing that, we also knew we'd have room to bring home souvenirs.  We took several types of crackers, several boxes of fruit snacks, and a box of ziploc bags. Then, each day, we'd just pack up a few bags and throw them in our bag!
  • Smaller items: hand sanitizer, napkins, bobby pins (my hair often has a mind of its own...especially in the heat), pennies and quarters--for the pressed penny and quarter machines!, phone charger (just in case), and I'm sure there were some other things, but I just can't seem to think of what they were!

Happy Friday!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Our Disney Trip: My Disney Experience App

Most days, I hate technology because it doesn't work in my favor and I get too frustrated. However, I do like how so many things have improved, such as a trip to Disney, because of advances in technology.

There is now a My Disney Experience App that you can download to your phone, ipad, whatever, and look up all kinds of information in regards to your trip!

Once we had booked our trip, all we had to do with the app is log in to our account and access everything! If you're wondering, yes, you can be logged in to the same account on multiple devices, because we were.

Before our trip, we explored the app by first going to each park and going through the list of attractions and rides. What I love about this part is that it shows you the wait times for that moment you're looking at it! Then, if you haven't already, you can go ahead and book your Fast Passes for up to 3 rides! This was great because we could make a list of what rides we wanted to ride and see which ones we would definitely need to get a Fast Pass for!

Also for each park, you can go through a list of all of the characters that you can meet and see while you're there.  The app gives you there location, and then you can see it on a map in relation to where you're standing then.

Dining reservations can be managed through the app, as well, but we didn't have to use that feature too much.  We did, however, use it to browse through restaurants in whichever park we were at, read through their menus (and view approximate prices!) and choose where we wanted to was so convenient!

I think the way that the My Disney Experience worked in our favor the most was on the last day.  We didn't really know ahead of time which parks we would go to or what we'd want to do, so we didn't make any reservations or get any Fast Passes.  We went to Hollywood Studios first, and then took the bus over to Magic Kingdom.  On the ride over to Magic Kingdom, I pulled up the app and got us Fast Passes for some of the rides we really loved. We ended up only using one of them (The Haunted Mansion!!), but still, having the app was SO worth it, because we were able to get that Fast Pass quickly and easily at the last minute.

So, if you're planning a trip to Disney (or at least thinking about it!) or if you just randomly want to see what some wait times are or see where you can find Mary Poppins in Epcot, check out the app! :)

(For the record, this has taken me two days to complete for some's not like it was super long or anything! be glad you're finally reading it! haha)

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Our Disney Trip: Magic Bands

I know this post may not be very interesting to some, but I wanted to do a personal review on the Disney Magic Bands for those who may not know what they are or who may not have used them yet.  Magic Bands are still kind of new and are pretty much one of the smartest things Disney ever came up with to make your trip so much easier!!

Each family member going on your trip gets a Magic Band, and you get to choose the color you want.  You may remember I shared this picture when we first announced we were going to Disney:

They come in the mail about a few weeks after you have booked your trip, and we didn't realize they'd come so soon! They don't come in kids' sizes, but they do have a part of the strap that you can take off for smaller wrists, which Matt was pretty sure I was going to have to do, but I didn't :) haha.  The Mickey heads on the bands are the part that you always scan, which we'll get more into detail with that coming up.

I figured the best way to go through everything the Magic Bands are good for is just a good ol' bullet point list, so here we go!
  • Your room key: I can't even begin to say how nice it was to not have to keep up with room keys!! The first couple days, as we would get ready to leave the room for the day and I'd go through the list in my head to make sure we had everything, I would start to say our room key. It still amazes me that these "bracelets" let us in! All you have to do is hold the Magic Band up so the Mickey head is on the scanner, it reads it, and unlocks the door! Easy as pie!
  • Form of payment: When you check in to your resort, they ask for a credit or debit card to link to your Magic Bands. For some, this could be dangerous, but we're such cheapskates (even in Disney!) that we knew it wouldn't be a huge problem for us! It was set up so that both of our Magic Bands were linked to the same card, so we didn't have to worry about multiple accounts on anything, anyway. I may have my numbers wrong on this next part, but even if I do, at least it gives you an idea. It's set up so that there's like an initial $500 limit on the Magic Bands (and that can be increased), but nothing will actually be charged to your account until you have spent 80% of that. You could use this paying for food, at gift shops, anywhere!
  • Fast passes: When you choose your Fast Passes for the day, you don't need to get the little tickets like you used to have to do. (Another contributing factor to going green, I guess! haha). Instead, it's just automatically linked to your Magic Bands! For the rides, as well as the shows, there are two initial lines: one for general admission and one for those with Fast Passes. Eventually, those two lines feed into each other, but those who have a Fast Passes obviously get further along than those who don't. (More on Fast Passes to come ;)
  • Ride Customization: For rides such as Test Track in Epcot, you actually get to design your own vehicle and, you guessed it, test it out! Before designing your car, you scan your Magic Band so the computer can access your account.  Then, you go on designing your car.  When you get further up in line and are about to board the ride, you scan your Magic Band again and it recognizes the car you designed! (Or, in my case, it doesn't, because the scanner I used right before the ride was broken :(  ).
I think that's about everything we used them for, but I'm sure there's something I'm forgetting! I always do! The best part is, you can keep them and reactivate them and use them for future trips....hint hint ;)  Also, I started seeing walls of Magic Band accessories in some of the gift shops we went in, and I couldn't figure out what all of the accessories were at first. But, you know how with the Crocs shoes you can by those little "charms" to put through the holes in Crocs with shapes and characters to personalize your own pair? Well, you can buy similar items to put through the holes along the wrist band of your Magic Band! Pretty cool for kids, but not worth it to me to spend that extra money there!

Happy Saturday!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Our Disney Trip: The Last Day

We spent our last day in Disney reliving some of our favorite Disney moments, as well as some other secrets that will be in a separate post to themselves later this week ;) I'll give you a hint-you've already seen a few in my other posts without knowing it!

We went back and forth about what we'd do on our last day, but I'm so happy with what we decided. We spent the first few hours at Hollywood Studios, and spent the last few hours at Magic Kingdom. I feel there's no better way to end your Disney trip than at the Magic Kingdom, am I right??

Of course I waited until the last day to take pictures of our room! 
I must say, we are really missing that king sized bed! But, we wouldn't trade being kicked all through the night by our sweet Maple :)

Funny story about that bottle of Coke: that is our last of THREE bottles. 
We didn't have any drinks with us in the room, so one night early in the week, we just ordered some wings and three 2 liters of Coke so we could be sure to have drinks for the rest of the week.  I tell you what though, although the Coke was refreshing at times, I'm pretty sure both of our bodies went into sugar overload that week because we so rarely drink soda! haha
Here's the one picture from our last time walking through Hollywood Studios---my turn for a picture!

We did, however, make sure to ride Tower of Terror again! That ride definitely does not disappoint, y'all!! :)

On to the Magic Kingdom!
When we I stopped for a bathroom break (let's be real, it was always me), I'm so glad Matt took this picture outside, because I didn't even realize it, but these are the lanterns from Tangled!

I finally got my Mickey shaped ice cream :)

Woody and Jessie!

And we finally rode the train on the last day, which was pretty fun.

A cool thing about going BACK to the park again is that there really is so much you miss the first time around!
These buildings right here...we completely missed them the first time. The shooting range that we went to on our first day is off to the left of the bottom picture, but I guess after stopping there, we turned around and went back the way we came, but we never went through the rest of Frontierland right here.

We went back to the same restaurant we had dinner at previously, and seriously, can you ask for a better view? What a great last meal in Disney!

I'm so glad we splurged about fifty cents for this Mickey straw for me to sit at the table looking ridiculous taking these next pictures! haha

Oh, Main Street....I love it!

We had to be back at our resort so that we could catch the Disney Magical Express bus back to the airport, so we planned a little bit of time so we could walk through all of the movies around our resort before we left.

Here is the main pool with a Fantasia theme.

First stop, Toy Story.

In to Andy's room:

There is one Hidden Mickey at the All-Star Movies Resort and the only clue we had was that it is in Andy's room. Matt found it right away!

Next, is Fantasia:

Then, Herbie Fully Loaded!

101 Dalmatians!

We had to walk through the 101 Dalmatians part every morning on our way to breakfast and the buses, and every morning I'd start singing "Kanine Krunchies" from the commercial in the movie. I know you can barely see it, but it's written on these bones:

Finally, here's where we stayed: Mighty Ducks!
So, naturally, every time we walked through, Matt would chant, "duckduckduckduck..." haha.

You have to walk through these hockey masks to get to the stairs/elevators.

Well, that's most of our pictures that have been shared!
Still a few more posts to come, though!! :)