Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party 2019 {Review & Tips}

Since moving to Florida over two and a half years ago one of our new favorite family traditions is going to the holiday parties at Walt Disney World. The decorations, the special edible treats and all the extra holiday cheer definitely get you into the holiday spirit.

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It wasn’t until having Lilly that I developed a full appreciation for Halloween. She loves everything about it! The spooky monsters, the scary music, villains, skeletons, zombies, princesses, pirates and as you can imagine, Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party (MNSSHP) at Disney World is nothing short of amazing! They pull out all of the stops.

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The party itself requires a separate ticket for all guests 3 and up and the pricing is quite steep for 5 hours of Halloween fun. Prices ranged from $80 + tax in late August to $130 + tax on Halloween night. The party doesn’t officially begin until 7:00 pm but guests are allowed to arrive as early as 4:00 pm.

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If you are looking forward to dressing up, make sure you take a look at the official Halloween Party Costume Guidelines. All of the costumes must be family friendly and may not contain weapons that might be mistaken as real. Disney reserves the right to deny admission if you decide not to follow the rules. Adults are allowed to wear costumes to this event so prepare yourself for a fun night of people watching. Some of these costumes are so amazing that we found ourselves wondering if party guests were actually cast members.

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If you are already in the park there are several spots to check in and grab your party wristband and if you are arriving just in time for the party, you can grab your band from a cast member when entering the park. You can bring your own trick-or-treat bag or you can grab one from a cast member inside the park. If candy is what you are after you have come to the right place. There are trick or treat spots throughout the park, indicated by a large blowup candy corn, where Disney cast members load your bags with fists full of candy! By the end of the night your arms will be loaded down with bags filled with candy and it can become a bit cumbersome. We have found that we are much less interested in the candy and way more interested in the short lines for our favorite rides and all the other party extras!

Depending on the date you choose for your MNSSHP the lines can be very short for your favorite rides. The first two years we came early in October and the lines were so short that the time we waited was actually just the time it takes to walk through the queue. This allowed us to ride The Seven Dwarfs Mine train 4 and 5 times in an evening. This year we went a little later and we found the wait times to be a little more intense. My suggestion would be to go to one of the parties earlier in the month to get the best bang for your buck. I would also suggest avoiding holiday weekends and for significantly smaller crowds try to attend a party on a weeknight.

Several of the rides have a few spooky enhancements. You can ride Space Mountain in total darkness or set sail with the Pirates of the Caribbean where you encounter a few live pirates along the way. The Mad Tea Party had additional decorations, Halloween inspired music and after the ride you can meet the Mad Hatter, Tweedle Dee, Tweedle Dumb and the Queen of Hearts. We also love the Haunted Mansion during the party as the cast members are in full costume and you get a fun surprise when you stop at the photo spot as you exit the ride.

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Speaking of characters, you get to see many of your favorite Disney Characters sporting their own special Halloween costumes as well as interact with many of the Disney Villains that freely roam the streets to mix and mingle with Party guests. There are also special Character Meet and Greets with Jack Skellington and Sally, the Seven Dwarfs, Gaston and Belle to name a few. We especially loved meeting Cruella de Ville as well as Anastasia and Drizella from Cinderella. The stepsisters pulled Lilly through Fantasy Land because she promised to help them find a boyfriend and Cruella surprised us with a perfectly placed photo bomb!

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Another fun addition to the party was the DescenDance Party at Cosmic Ray’s. Having just entered 1st grade and recently watched The Descendants, Lilly has a major obsession. She had such a wonderful time dancing with the cast members and it gave us an opportunity to grab a bite to eat that wasn’t out of our candy bags. She was especially excited about the video shout outs from Mal and the gang from Auradon!

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We have always loved the Disney Firework Shows and the new “Not So Spooky Spectacular” is no exception. It is over the top amazing! Make sure you set a reminder because there is only one firework show a night at 10:15 PM.

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The Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular is performed several times a night throughout the party. The Sanderson Sisters from Hocus Pocus conjure up a party potion but need help from a few other villains. This is always a fun show and if shows aren’t your thing take this time to hop on a few rides while the crowds are occupied.

The Boo-to-You Halloween Parade is performed twice a night and is definitely on the “Do Not Miss” List. The parade draws big crowds so I would suggest you find a spot in Frontier Land where the parade begins or we love watching from Main Street by the entrance which also allows us to scoot out the gate once the last parade is done. We have also found that parade time is a great time to hop on a few rides since most people are watching the parade. I will give you fair warning that you will catch yourself singing the catchy “Boo-To-You” song for the remainder of your trip and possibly throughout the entire month of October.

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As always we had a wonderful time at Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and we are already looking forward to next year but first things first. Let the countdown begin for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party 2019!

See ya real soon,

Michelle Phillips

For more practically perfect tips, please reach out to Michelle at Michelle.jollyholiday@gmail.com.

Why you should consider a trip to Walt Disney World for your next girls trip!

Did you know, Southern Living magazine regularly ranks the Walt Disney World Resort in its Top Ten list of destinations to travel with your girlfriends?! Why should you consider Walt Disney World for your next girls trip? As Cyndi Lauper sings, “Girls just wanna have fun!”

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First and foremost, Walt Disney World is an expansive RESORT (nearly 40 square miles) with one of the highest customer satisfaction ratings for their customer service. The property contains numerous on-site hotels with different theming, price points and amazing amenities. Disney’s resort hotels and park have numerous fine dining locations, and several hotels have spas (Grand Floridian and Saratoga Springs)! The newly revitalized Disney Springs has great shopping and food as well.

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Drinks at Disney Springs Staying at Grand Floridian

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Celebrating Mom’s retirement

Thrills & Fun- There are 4 theme parks and two water parks at Walt Disney World. The theme parks include Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios. The Disney water parks are Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach. Within each park, you will find numerous experiences guaranteed to make you smile, laugh and scream with your besties! There is nothing quite like the stress relief that comes from screaming with delight and laughing until you cry on a fun ride with your girlfriends! You should definitely consider the park hopper ticket to allow your group to visit more than one park per day!

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Incredible Cuisine– There are an abundance of options for excellent dining experiences at the Walt Disney World resorts, and we are not talking burgers, pizza and chicken nuggets! Consider fine dining with views of nightly fireworks shows, roof top tapas and cocktails, dinner shows, and for adventurous eaters, there are restaurants featuring authentic cuisine from around the globe!

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Shopping– Although there are fun Disney souvenirs available for purchase in the parks and resorts to commemorate your trip, there is a lot more to Disney shopping than mouse ears! Disney Springs has numerous non-Disney shops such as Coach, Sephora, Anthropologie, Kate Spade, LaCoste, Kiehl’s and more! In addition, throughout the World Showcase in Epcot, you can get authentic goods from each of the 11 countries represented. French perfume? Italian leather? Yes, please!

Celebrate an occasion- Walt Disney World is the place that proclaims “celebrations are our specialty!” Consider taking your next girls in honor of a friend’s birthday, graduation, promotion, bachelorette party, retirement, or simply celebrate friendship! When you wear complimentary celebration pins, Disney cast members are sure to help you celebrate!

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Celebrating my mom’s retirement at Animal Kingdom

Easier to splurge on accommodations when traveling with friends– Disney Value Resorts (our favorites are Pop Century and Art of Animation) are a great bang for your buck. However, when a group of adults split the cost of one hotel room, why not spring for one of Disney’s amazing Deluxe resorts? When the price of a deluxe room is split between 3, 4 or 5 adults, the cost is minimal! We love resorts within walking distance to a park. If you are interested in visiting the Magic Kingdom, consider the Grand Floridian, the Polynesian, or the Contemporary. If being close to Epcot is a priority (see why below!), consider Beach Club or Boardwalk Inn– both of these are within walking distance of Hollywood Studios as well! Additionally, if you are looking for something larger than a hotel room, many of the Deluxe resorts offer one and two bedroom villas with full kitchens.

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Epcot Festivals– Consider traveling during one of Epcot’s four festivals- the International Food and Wine Festival (fall), International Festival of the Holidays (Christmas), International Festival of the Arts, and International Flower and Garden Festival (spring). During these festivals, Epcot’s World Showcase has even more to experience! Meander through the different countries represented in the World Showcase and share delicious food and adult beverages from around the world! Many festivals include concerts, tours, food and beverage tastings, and décor in addition to the charm (restaurants, snack stands, rides, performances and shows) normally found in the World Showcase. Admission to Festivals is free with the purchase of an Epcot Park ticket.

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Consider a RunDisney event– With four options for races at Disney World though the year, Wine and Dine Half Marathon Weekend (fall), WDW Marathon Weekend (Jan), Princess Half Marathon Weekend (Feb), and Star Wars Rival Run Weekend, it is so much fun to train for a run throughout the year with your girlfriends, and then head to Disney for the race! There are 5Ks, 10Ks, half marathons and the marathon. Many runners dress up as favorite Disney characters and are entertained throughout the race by characters! Who better to celebrate your achievements than your girlfriends?!

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Enchanting Extras– Finally, consider adding a special extra something to your girls trip- renting a cabana at your resort pool for extra relaxation, boat excursion with fireworks viewing, dinner shows, behind the scenes tours, dessert parties and more!

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Contact us at Jolly Holiday Vacations today to help plan your next girls trip!

See ya real soon!

Marlee Marsh

For more practically perfect tips, you can reach Marlee at Marlee.JollyHoliday@gmail.com

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Single Parenting at WDW?!

Have you ever wanted to head down to Disney World with your kids but your spouse’s schedule didn’t work out with your plans? Single parents, are you hesitating to visit the Parks with your kiddos because you think it’s too much to handle? I have often wondered if Disney really is “too much” for a parent of multiple kids to tackle alone, so this past July I set out to find the answers. My kiddos, aged 4 and 6, and I headed down for a full week on our own while dad attended an out-of-town conference.

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The result – single parents, or parents traveling alone with their kids, should rejoice!! Our recent adventure has shown me it is indeed possible to go to Disney on your own and have an awesome time. The extra challenges for the lone parent are real, to be sure, but overall my kids and I had a blast. Here are just some of things I learned to help make your trip smooth and super fun:

  1. Set serious expectations in advance: nix all the rides where not everyone is big enough, and/or that you (parent) simply do not like; and make it clear that there will be activities special to each child that the others need to tolerate with a good attitude. Brothers really can handle being in line to meet multiple princesses, and sisters really can tolerate riding Buzz a fifth time. I found that as long as the expectations were set (most before we even left, with reminders each morning), there was very little in the way of complaining about missed rides or enduring certain activities.

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  1. Balance those activities that are unique to each child. If brother wants to play Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom for an hour, then he’s probably going to have to meet 3 or 4 princesses during the course of the day. Time doesn’t have to equal, but it helps if there is a perceived “fairness” in that they are each getting a turn to engage in something fun. Also, bring along something entertaining for the children not engaged in the current “special” thing. This can be as simple as allowing your other child/children to plot the walk to the next attraction, use the Disney Play app, a coloring book, or even some reading time.
  1. Adjust how you usually spend your day as you, the parent, will be much more tired than when you go with helping hands. It’s always hard when you’re on your own, but it’s even more work when you’re away from home and out of routine. When your kids say they are ready to be at the resort, GO. We sacrificed some rides/experiences to head back to the resort in the late afternoon, but my kiddos were better rested and calmer, which made for much more enjoyable days overall.

 

  1. Be strategic in choosing your dining. Especially if you are pushing a stroller (I was pushing a double), you will have more limited hands to carry food at quick service locations. This is a great trip to choose more sit-down dining (for the helping hands), and to utilize a dining plan, especially if a lot of those are character meals. I also recommend sit-down lunches and breakfasts over dinners, simply because the kids are more likely to have better self-control earlier in the day. A tantrum at the table after a long day (yes, this was us one night) is no fun for you, your other kiddos, or the guests around you.
  1. This is a great trip to try out MemoryMaker! We moms, in particular, struggle to be in the photo with our kids. Take advantage of Disney’s photographers to be sure you’re in these special shots. You’ll find these professionals scattered throughout the walkways of the Parks, at most Character meets, and on a number of rides.

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  1. There is WAY more to Disney than the rides! We had so much fun pressing pennies (get the penny books and try to fill them!), doing scavenger hunts, pin trading (we made a game of this and only allowed the kids to buy one pin, so they had to be strategic in their trades), playing Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom (don’t forget to get new card packs every time you come to MK), visiting ALL the Kidcot stops at Epcot, earning Wilderness Explorer badges at Animal Kingdom, and lots of other things that the kids didn’t have time to think about what we weren’t riding. These are all activities you can easily build up excitement for in advance of the trip. When you do so, the attitude is “we get to do all this extra stuff,” and severely cuts down on whining about rides.

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  1. Getting to the parks early, and lots of snacks (refillable popcorn bucket for the win!), water, and shade help make for awesome days. It really is ok to miss the nightly fireworks in favor of early mornings, I promise. We all know that full tummies also make for calmer kids, at least in our experience, so I encourage you to relax your typical eating rules a little while here.

 

  1. Maintain your boundaries. We have “vacation” rules at Disney related to food and some other things, but there is still no whining, respect/kindness towards others, etc…and mommy is most definitely in charge. Discipline is both needed and can be very effective in the parks, so don’t leave it at the gate just because you’re parenting alone; and

 

  1. GRACE – give your kids extra, and you get double extra. Your days will not be perfect, but they will be fun and you will have great memories!! We made some fantastic ones and will definitely consider additional “solo” trips in the future.

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Whether you’re traveling alone, with your spouse, or with adult helpers I would love to help you plan a practically perfect trip! Message me at carolyn.jollyholiday@gmail.com, for a free quote today! There are still tons of great discounts available for travel during 2019, and great deals on the way for 2020 ✨

See ya real soon,

Carolyn Tompkins

For more practically perfect tips…Contact Carolyn at Carolyn.JollyHoliday@gmail.com

 

Restaurant Marrakesh {Review}

The promise of Lamb Tagine, Beef Brewat Rolls, dried fruit, and sweet couscous might frighten off the more timid diner, or those with kids.  I encourage you not to make this mistake! I was unfamiliar with Moroccan cuisine myself, but after a delightful dinner, Restaurant Marrakesh in the Morocco Pavilion is now on my list of favorites. With rarely a wait, it’s also a great option if you didn’t make reservations (ADR) and you are looking for a last-minute table service option. 

My husband and I tried this restaurant on a Disney trip without kids, which gave us a great opportunity to take our time and explore. We enjoyed our experience so much that on a return visit to Disney, we took our kids to experience the excellent food. The restaurant is located at the back of the Pavilion, past the swarm of kids waiting to see Jasmine and Aladdin.  As you make your way there, enjoy the stunning pavilion itself, lined with mosaics created by Moroccan artisans, and complete with a towering minaret. I felt like I was transported to Marrakesh itself. This is the only pavilion in Epcot sponsored and designed by the pavilion nation’s government, with input from Morocco’s king, King Hassan II. Surrounded by North African plants and trees like citrus and olive trees, and date palms, \the courtyard hosts entertainment in the evenings including live music and even belly dancing!

Once you are outside the stately restaurant, if you are wary of what could be considered an exotic cuisine, there are photos of the food to look at, which you are likely to find enticing! I certainly did – I didn’t know what to expect, but I was sold. 

 The Restaurant is lush with tile work, mosaics, fountains, and architecture. It’s is by far, in my opinion, the most beautiful restaurant in the World Showcase and the attention to detail is unparalleled. I do not think the photos do the restaurant justice with how stunning it is. 

Restaurnt Marrakesh is 1 Table Credit on the Disney Dining Plan, 20% discount with Tables in Wonderland, 20% discount with DVC membership and 10% Annual Passholder discount for lunch only. 

With white tablecloths and ornate menus, the restaurant appears very formal, but upon meeting the servers, a warm friendly feeling abounds. Our waiter was quick with his service and detailed with suggestions and explanations of the menu items.  Mint tea, hot or cold, is a specialty, and my husband fell in love with it. When we got home, he researched how to make it himself and has bought tea infusers and special teas to replicate it.

The menu offers many choices for the adventurous diner, as well as the diner that may choose items that are more familiar. Chicken and steak kebabs and short ribs are great choices for the more cautious eater, with Lamb or Grouper Tagine and Brewat Rolls great rewards for the more adventurous. 

My husband chose the Chef Special, a taste of many items on the menu, while I decided to go a la carte, a combination of safe and adventurous items. 

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My husband’s appetizer was a Taste of Moroccan salads, a very fresh and tasty appetizer that I couldn’t help share!  My husband really liked the olive salad, and I preferred the dill and carrot salad. I ordered the Brewat Roll, with a delicious meat filling in a fried phyllo dough pastry with dusted with a contrast of powdered sugar and warm spices. The combination of sugar and beef was interesting, but I probably wouldn’t order it again. On a subsequent trip, with the kids, we ordered the Goat Cheese on Crispy Bread, and we all loved it; we will definitely order it again.  

Under an enormous, gleaming cloche, the reveal of the entrées is dramatic. My husband’s entrée was a sampling of Moroccan meats: house-made lamb sausage, grilled chicken, and steak with vegetables. I ordered the beef tenderloin shish-kebab with vegetables and yellow rice.  My husband liked his lunch – his favorite was the grilled chicken and the vegetables, and his least favorite was the lamb sausage. My Shish-kebab’s were fantastic! The steak was perfect medium rare with a nice savory marinade. I would order again any day. 

Often I see the question on Facebook: what’s the best steak you can get with for a one-credit meal on the dining plan?  I say: why not the shish-kebabs? They are never mentioned, because they are different from your standard T-bone, but for me, it was one of the best steaks I’ve had at Disney. It was better than the steaks I have had at Le Cellier’s in the French Pavilion. 

While seating is quick at Restaurant Marrakesh, the eating is not a quick affair: plan an hour and a half for your meal.  It’s meant to be enjoyed slowly, with time to take in the ambiance and the entertainment. To me this is a welcome change from some of the other table service restaurants that seem to rush diners through. 

If you are like me, you research the menus of restaurants before you go to them, and one review I read said dessert was not it’s strong point. I strongly disagree. My husband got the Baklava with his Chef Special, but I had a decision to make. I was undecided and I asked the waiter. Always ask the waiter! He suggested Warm Beignets with Sweet Cream. This was just divine! Imagine a warm donut dusted in sugar and warm spices, cinnamon and clove,  and a cream center. If that is not enough, it is served with both chocolate and warm caramel (my favorite!) dipping sauces. I cannot rave about it enough – I even crave it when I am far from Disney!

If you have children in your party, they offer standard kids’ menu fare such as fish nuggets, burgers, and chicken nuggets. For the more adventurous kid,  there is also beef kebabs (like the adult meal), but with French fries or Moroccan pasta. 

Every hour, Restaurant Marrakesh also offers entertainment for the diners. There is live Moroccan music and in the middle of the dining room, a Belly Dancer. It was fun, and lasted about ten minutes, but with the restaurant nearly empty, it was a tad awkward. 

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The belly dancer does bring a few little girls up to the dance floor to teach them some very simple G-rated dance moves, which is very cute. She doesn’t seem to include the boys, but that may have just been on our visits. I would have really gotten a laugh our sons trying out some of those moves! 

The gorgeous shops are worth a stop on your way out of Morocco. I bought a beautiful Aladdin Lamp unlike any I have seen at MouseGear, and my husband bought a box of Turkish Delight, which he remembers from The Chronicles of Narnia. And don’t forget your magic shot with the Genie Lamp!

Restaurant Marrakesh is now on our ever-growing list of favorite restaurants in the Epcot World Showcase, and my kids now enjoy it too. We will be back for sure, because an Epcot trip won’t be complete for us without mint tea and the Warm Beignets…with extra caramel sauce!

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For more practically perfect tips…

Contact Anne Marie at AnneMarie.JollyHoliday@gmail.com

Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground {Review}

Nestled in the Magic Kingdom area lays Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort, where the great outdoors meets the theme and convenience you can find only at a Disney property. Fort Wilderness Resort offers the amenities of home in one bedroom cabins, sites for campers, RV’s, and more. One may feel like they’ve stepped into Frontierland when entering this property, but they are only a boat or a bus ride away from all that Disney has to offer!

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Fort Wilderness was one of the original Walt Disney Resorts, and while it has certainly received upgrades over the years, the original charm and theme is on show through various details of the resort. Spread over 750 acres, one will notice the rustic lights and tree lined pathways that adorn the fishing hole and trading post. While large in size, there is a noteworthy lack of car traffic and noise. The smell of BBQ’s, hum of birds, and the occasional deer are your only company.

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Upon arrival at Disney Fort Wilderness Lodge you enter The Outpost for check in, as well as golf cart rentals (more on that later!). Built for both cars and RV’s, The Outpost offers the guest the opportunity to remain in their vehicle and check in without the hassle of parking, and then be directed to your designated spot. The resort is laid out so that the pool and trading post are in the middle, the cabins are located towards the front, and the campsites are towards the lake. Despite its size, Fort Wilderness is designed without parking at any location other than your selected campsite or cabin, so therefore golf cart rentals are available and bikes are encouraged. Throughout the property there are bike racks as well as golf cart parking. Should you not be able to rent a golf cart or bring bikes, there are bus loops that run through out the resort.

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Vacationers coming to Fort Wilderness are looking for the amenities of a home while also wanting a laid back atmosphere, and the cabins provide the perfect opportunity. Offering 504 square feet of living space as well as a full kitchen, outdoor patio, grill, and sleeping for 6 people. The kitchens in the cabins are stocked with utensils, pots/pans, dish soap, and all the other basic kitchen instruments one needs to prepare a meal. The grill provided outside is a charcoal grill, and if used, will be cleaned daily by MouseKeeping. The porch offers a full sized picnic table and hose.

 

Overall, Fort Wilderness provides guest the opportunity to get back to their nature roots and remove themselves from the hustle and bustle of Disney parks. While not a full service hotel with room service and concierge, Fort Wilderness is home to great entertainment, food and excellence in service.

 

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Pros:

–          Full kitchen

–          Private porch/grill

–          Sleeping for larger families

–          Quiet

–          Magic Kingdom area (boat)

–          Parking right at your front door

–          Great dining

–          Outdoor activities (horse rides, fishing, boats, archery, holiday sleigh rides, arcade, wilderness back trail,

–          Affordable

–          Boat transportation

Cons:

–          No room service, less luxury

–          1 bathroom in the cabins

–          Remote (both a pro and a con!)

–          Pool is smaller in comparison to others around property

See ya real soon,

Kerri Ness

Kerri.JollyHoliday@gmail.com 

To Party or Not To Party? {Hollywood Studios – Disney After Hours}

To Party or Not to Party? That is the Disney Dilemma! At $125/per ticket, this is not a lighthearted decision. Hopefully I’ll be able to provide you with enough information to decide if this is the right type of event for you and your family!

What is an After Hours Party? Disney currently hosts After Hours Parties at 3 of its parks: Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom and Magic Kingdom. These seem to be taking the place of some of the Evening Extra Magic Hours. When the park closes, usually around 9pm, guests who have purchased an After Hours Party get to stay in the park and experience select attractions without the daytime crowds. 

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When are the After Hours Parties? Typically, they are 1 night a week for the 3 parks mentioned above.  In looking ahead to the Winter/Spring schedule, the parties haven’t been announced yet. 

How long are the After Hours Parties? The parties last 3 hours but guests can enter the park before it closes without an additional ticket. The party that my husband and I attended started at 9:30pm and ended at 12:30am. However, we were able to enter Hollywood Studios without an additional park day ticket at 7pm. 

Which attractions are open? Rock n Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, Slinky Dog Dash, Toy Story Mania, Alien Swirling Saucers, Star Tours and Star Wars Launch Bay. (Our visit was before the Star Wars Land opening but it will now include Star Wars Land.)

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Which characters can I meet? Characters in Star Wars Launch Bay (Chewbacca, Kylo Ren, and BB-8), Toy Story Characters (Woody, Jessie, Buzz, Bo Peep). Mickey and Minnie in their Hollywood outfits, and Olaf. 

What is NOT open? None of the stage shows are open, and the Disney, Jr., characters are not available for meet and greets. 

What are the dinner options? Very few of the quick service restaurants are open after the park closes. I would suggest eating your dinner before you arrive OR between 7-9pm when the parks are still open and full of people. 

What if I get hungry or thirsty? Fear not! When you attend an After Hours Party you get unlimited Mickey Mouse Ice Cream Bars, Mickey Ice Cream Sandwiches, Frozen Fruit bars, Popcorn AND bottled waters and soft drinks. We took full advantage of the waters and snacks since calories don’t count at Disney. 

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How were the crowds? Honestly, I expected to be one of 100 people there which isn’t realistic. So, based on my expectation, I was a little disappointed in how many people were there. At the time, Tower of Terror was down to 1 elevator working so the line from before the park closed lasted until almost 11pm. Other than that, our wait time was never more than 25 minutes (Slinky Dog Dash) with most of the attractions being walk-on. 

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To After Hours Party or not to After Hours Party? 

You should Party if: 

  • You know your whole group can make it through the entire party.
  • You LOVE the rides at Hollywood Studios and are sorely disappointed that all of them are now Tier 1 FastPass+, making it near impossible to get to them all in a day without waiting for a combined 3+ hours in line.
  • You are taking a quick trip and want to experience all the parks and all the attractions during your visit.
  • You want to ride Slinky Dog 5 times. 
  • The $125 price tag doesn’t scare you away. 
  • You want to enjoy the park with fewer people. 
  • You want to beat the heat of the day. 
  • You love Mickey Ice Cream bars (and let’s face it, if you don’t then we probably can’t be friends)

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You should NOT Party if:

  • Little ones will be asleep by 10p OR they are too small to enjoy most of the rides at Hollywood Studios. 
  • You are on a budget. 
  • You LOVE crowds and heat.
  • You want to see ALL the shows (some can be seen after your 7p entrance time but not all). 
  • You aren’t a huge ride person

How do I buy After Hours Tickets? Contact your favorite Jolly Holiday Agent! 

Overall, we loved it! And we WILL do more After Hours Parties at Hollywood Studios and the other parks.

See ya real soon,

Jenny Brown

Jenny.JollyHoliday@gmail.com

Cooling Off At Disney – Blizzard Beach & Typhoon Lagoon {Review}

Many people ask me about traveling to Disney during the summer months… I know what you are all going to say… “It’s so hot, there are way too many people, why would we go during summer, that sounds so not fun.” I always respond the same way! “Yes, it is definitely warmer, but we love it!” Disney is amazing all twelve months of the year, but as we all know… school, activities, sports and work can get in the way of our need for a Disney fix. When you can’t visit the most MAGICAL place on earth during your school year and the summer months are your only available travel time, I promise you that it is doable.

One of the ways that our family loves to STAY COOL is to visit Disney’s two water parks! Disney’s Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon are chocked full of family fun for all ages. Each park has its own unique theme, so there are no repeat experiences if you choose to visit both. As you know, Disney is known for extraordinary back stories on all their resorts and attractions and the water parks are no different. 

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BLIZZARD BEACH

The story goes like this… once upon a time there was a freak snowstorm that hit the state of Florida. Some crazy developers decided to capitalize on the snow and create a ski resort, of course once the snow melted, they didn’t have much to show for their efforts. They decided to call it quits when they heard a loud “Yahoo!” from the top of the mountain. They looked up and saw an alligator, blue skin and all with a red scarf! He was an ice gator and became the official mascot of Blizzard Beach! They decided to keep the ski lodge open, only now it would be one of the most incredible water parks that anyone had ever seen! Blizzard Beach features many water slides, such as Summit Plummet, which Disney says is the tallest, fastest free fall body slide around, storm sliders, toboggan racers or try the family ride, Teamboat Springs! If slides aren’t your thing, you can chill out on the beach or float along the lazy river, Cross Country Creek. Little ones aren’t left behind, there is a wonderfully fun children’s area called “Tikes Peak,” with mini versions of the larger slides and several covered picnic areas for larger families. This park keeps even the warmest reptiles cool on a hot summer day!

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TYPHOON LAGOON

Like Blizzard Beach, the back story to this water park involves a legendary typhoon that destroyed the tropical setting, leaving many boats, fishing gear, and surfboards all over the place. The focal point of this fabulous water park is the “Miss Tilly,” a shrimping boat that landed atop Mount Mayday. This mountain spews a 50 ft geyser of water every half hour. Typhoon Lagoon is home to one of the largest wave pools with waves large enough surf on and, yes, if you would like to surf, private lessons can be arranged. This wave pool is gargantuan, it will have you yelling “Cowabunga” as you dive under, over, left and right to avoid the large waves or jump on top if you are brave enough to body surf over the crowd! This park also features several thrill rides such as the storm slides, Humonga Kowabunga, and if speed isn’t your thing, maybe try out the sandy white beach with a great lagoon style pool, either way this park makes it easy to stay cool.

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As you can see both water parks offer a variety of ways to stay cool and if you want to relax and enjoy the warmer summer sun, grab a lounge chair and enjoy many of the delicious snacks the parks have to offer! These parks give our family a chance to relax and cool off during the day, and keep our family fun alive! Disney transportation is available to and from your resort, so it’s extra easy to get there. 

So next time you aren’t sure what to do to STAY COOL while at Disney, ask your Jolly Holiday agent about adding on the park hopper plus, so you too can visit these amazing water parks anytime during your stay! 

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Remember you are at Disney so “Chill out and Stay Cool!”

See ya real soon,

Christie Causey

Christie.JollyHoliday@gmail.com