Over The Top Mommy

Walt Disney World

After Fireworks Dessert Party at Magic Kingdom

This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are my own.

If you’re a fan of Happily Ever After Fireworks at Magic Kindgom, you can make the experience extra magical by adding on the After Fireworks Dessert Party to your night. It’s a specially ticketed event that will enhance your evening with a special standing viewing of the enchanting fireworks show, followed by a feast of sweet and savory treats in Tomorrowland Terrace.happily-ever-after-dessert-party-cinderella-castle-at-duskOur family recently experienced the Happily Ever After Fireworks Dessert Party which takes place before the fireworks. (Read about our evening here.)happily-ever-after-dessert-party-photopass-family-photo Now, this additional, new offering allows park guests to save their dessert for last. First, guests can arrive at the Tomorrowland Terrace Restaurant starting 90 minutes prior to Happily Ever After—the most spectacular fireworks showcase in Magic Kingdom history. As showtime nears, Cast Members escort guests to a prime location in the Plaza Garden for priority fireworks viewing. Watch in amazement as the skies ignite and Cinderella Castle glows with enchanting illuminations.happily-ever-after-dessert-party-cinderella-castle-1After the fireworks, guests are escorted back to Tomorrowland Terrace Restaurant, where they can feast on freshly prepared treats, seasonal fruits and flavorful cheeses. This bountiful buffet may also include such favorites as:

  • Ooey gooey toffee cake
  • A s’mores station
  • House-made mini taco eggrolls
  • Spinach dip with crackers
  • A cookie table with assorted cookies
  • Chocolate cupcakes

happily-ever-after-dessert-party-sparkling-apple-ciderRaise a glass of your favorite beverage to toast your day of theme park adventures—and the enchantment to come. Drink selections at the dessert party include:

  • Sparkling cider
  • Hot chocolate
  • Signature lemonades
  • Coffee
  • Tea

happily-ever-after-dessert-party-drinksAdmission for this special offering is $69 per adult and $41 per child (ages 3 to 9) including tax. (Gratuity is not included or required.) A separate Magic Kingdom park admission is also required. For more information about the After-Fireworks Dessert Party at Magic Kingdom or to make a reservation, please go here.happily-ever-after-fireworks-dessert-party-elated

*Please note that the fireworks experience may be changed or canceled without prior notice.

Our Magical Night at the Happily Ever After Fireworks Dessert Party in Magic Kingdom

I was invited as a guest of Walt Disney World to attend this event. All opinions are my own. 

If you’re a Disney lover (and who isn’t?), you are most likely familiar with the sea of emotions that come over you anytime you do something Disney related. Whether you’re watching a Disney film, reading a classic Disney book with a child, or even walking into one of the Disney theme parks, the emotions that come with the territory can sometimes overwhelm you. (in a good way, of course.)happily-ever-after-dessert-party-cinderella-castle-at-dusk“Happily Ever After” is an 18-minute show that features more lasers, lights and projections than any other fireworks spectacular in the history of Magic Kingdom park! Park guests witness the many transformations of Cinderella Castle as it becomes a part of popular Disney stories—and is brought to life by awe-inspiring fireworks and rooftop pyro, state-of-the-art projections, brilliant lasers and immersive lighting and beautiful,contemporary versions of popular Disney songs.happily-ever-after-dessert-party-signOn our most recent family vacation to Walt Disney World Resort, our family was invited to attend the “Happily Ever After” Fireworks Dessert Party in Magic Kingdom. Upon arrival at Tomorrowland Terrace, my emotions were already at an all-time high! I was completely elated!
happily-ever-after-fireworks-dessert-party-elatedThe Happily Ever After Dessert Party is specially ticketed event held nightly at Tomorrowland Terrace Restaurant. From the moment you check in, you feel very “VIP”! You’re greeted by cast members who give you a special wristband to wear as event identification. (My daughter didn’t take hers off for 2 weeks!) Next, a cast member shows you around the party and shows you all of the delectable drinks and house-made desserts available to you as part of the experience. It’s all set up buffet style so it’s all you care to enjoy. A cast member shows you to your very own table, which is overlooking the water, with a great view of the Happily Ever After fireworks over Cinderella Castle.Here’s a brief video giving a glimpse into our experience:
There are a variety of beverage offerings at the party including:

  • juices
  • lemonades
  • teas
  • coffee
  • milk

and my very favorite: sparkling cider! It’s the perfect occasion to make a special toast to!happily-ever-after-dessert-party-sparkling-apple-ciderhappily-ever-after-dessert-party-drinksWhen you’re ready for a snack, you’ll be giddy to see the magical spread of light bites and sweets to enjoy including:

  • cheeses
  • seasonal fresh fruit
  • chocolate-dipped strawberries
  • an ice cream sundae bar (it’s not just for kids)
  • create-your-own-cookie
  • delectable cakes, tarts, mini cupcakes, and macarons
  • Disney character-themed desserts (those were my favorite!)

happily-ever-after-fireworks-dessert-party-dessertshappily-ever-after-dessert-party-plateThere was a PhotoPass photographer at the event who snapped some family photos of us. You can access the photos on the app and if you’ve already added Memory Maker to your vacation package, you will already be able to download, save and share your photos from the party.happily-ever-after-dessert-party-photopass-family-photoHere are some tips and facts that you should know before you head to the dessert party.

  • A separate park ticket is required for entry to Magic Kingdom Park.
  • Reservations for the dessert party can be made up to 180 prior to your visit. To book your reservation, you can call (407) WDW-DINE or (407) 939-3463 or go here.
  • I suggest arriving early to maximize your time enjoying the drinks and desserts, as well as take photos. Check-in time is 60 minutes prior to fireworks.
  • Remember to bring a photo ID along, which is required to check in.
  • Bring a light jacket with you.
  • Fireworks are not guaranteed as part of the experience and may be changed and/or canceled due to inclement weather. Check the fireworks schedule when you arrive at Magic Kingdom Park.

happily-ever-after-dessert-party-cinderella-castle-1For more information about the Happily Ever After Dessert party and to make your own reservation, please visit here. You can also find information about the latest happenings at Walt Disney World Resort by visiting https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/.

A very special “Thank You!” to Walt Disney World for hosting our family at the Happily Ever After Dessert Party. 

Splitsville Luxury Lanes™Orlando in Disney Springs

Our family was invited to spend an afternoon at Splitsville Orlando in exchange for this review. All opinions are my own. 

Splitsville Luxury Lanes™ in Orlando, Florida is a such a fun place to go for some bowling, gourmet food & hand-crafted cockails! It’s located in Disney Springs and features 50,000 square feet split between 2 stories with 30 lanes for bowling, inside and outside dining options, billiards, multiple bars and even live entertainment!splitsville-luxury-lanes-orlando-outsideDuring our most recent trip to Walt Disney World Resort, we headed over to Splitsville Orlando for some family time. It was a welcomed change of pace from the hustle and bustle of the parks and is a great opportunity for your family members to bring out their competitive sides. splitsville-luxury-lanes-orlando-entryYou’re going to love the retro decor of the place! It features brightly colored accents, hand-painted murals and other fun touches.splitsville-luxury-lanes-orlando-decor-2 splitsville-luxury-lanes-orlando-decor-1They even have Minnie and Mickey details on the bowling balls! You can bet I grabbed the hot pink Minnie Mouse ball right away! It just doesn’t get any better than that!splitsville-luxury-lanes-orlando-minnie-bowling-ball


Let’s talk about bowling at Splitsville. This isn’t ordinary bowling, it’s completely amazing bowling!.Take the yummiest food, the best drinks and add those both to your own little lane. When they say “luxury bowling” they literally mean that! splitsville-luxury-lanes-orlando-bowling-shoesOnce you’re checked in and your bowling shoes are ready, you are shown to your lane, where you have unlimited bowling for the duration of your reservation. splitsville-luxury-lanes-orlando-lane-1splitsville-luxury-lanes-orlando-blue-minnie-mouse-ballYou can sit comfortably at your lane-side dining table while you wait for your next turn to bowl and your friendly Splitsville server will keep any food and drinks coming that you order from their amazing menu. (Keep reading for more about the food.)splitsville-luxury-lanes-orlando-hurricane-bowl-drinksplitsville-dineDining at Splitsville is like nothing you’ve experienced at a bowling alley before! You have the option of dining inside or outside at Splitsville and don’t even have to be there for bowling to dine there. However, eating and bowling is like the ultimate way to make yourself feel like a kingpin!splitsville-luxury-lanes-orlando-chicken-chopped-saladSplitsville has taken “typical” bowling alley food and turned it up about 10 notches, to offer things such as:

  • Pizzas – You can choose from a variety of different pizzas such as cheese, pepperoni, BBQ Chicken, Veggie, Margherita, Firehouse, Hawaiian, and Meat Lovers.
  • Entrees – Choose from items such as Fish n’ Chips, Grilled Salmon with Mango Chutney, Sweet n’ Spicy Chicken Bowl and more.
  • Salads – Freshly made salads include Chicken Chopped, Ahi Tuna, BBQ Chicken, and Blackened Caesar.
  • Handhelds – You’ll love handhelds such as a Cheeseburger Deluxe, a Bacon Cheeseburger, a BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich and a Turkey Club Supreme.
  • Sushi – Splitsville also offers an extensive sushi menu which is prepared fresh on site and made-to-order! I can’t wait to try some of that on my next visit.

splitsville-luxury-lanes-orlando-pizzaOther dining offerings at Splitsville  include appetizers, desserts, and a Kids Menu.splitsville-luxury-lanes-orlando-kids-hamburger-mealThe drink menu at Splitsville Luxury Lanes is as extensive as the food menu and includes Frozen Drinks, Bowl Drinks, and Specialty Cocktails, as well as draft beer, bottle beer, and wine. There are also non-alcoholic options including 130+ varieties of sodas and teas. Any drink, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic, can be ordered and served in a 28 oz. Splitsville Pin Sipper Souvenir for an extra charge, Sounds like the perfect souvenir to me, which is why we brought home 2 of them! splitsville-luxury-lanes-orlando-souvenir-pin-sipper-purpleHere’s a short video showing some of our fun day out at Splitsville.

splitsville-make-a-reservationWalk-ins are always welcome but you can also make a reservation at Splitsville for either a lane or a party. Some fun party ideas for Splitsville include: birthday parties, office team building, and even corporate events. To make your reservation, please go here and fill out the form and wait for a social director to get back to you via email or phone to finalize your reservation.splitsville-luxury-lanes-orlando-family-photoI had no idea I was going to love Splitsville so much. I don’t think I can go back to “regular” bowling again! It’s definitely true what they say…“Fine dining is better in rented shoes”splitsville-luxury-lanes-orlando-sundaeSo…, are you ready to “Roll in and Rock Out” at Splitsville Orlando?  We can’t wait to go back! To find a location closest to you, go hereconnect-with-splitsvillesplitsville-luxury-lanes-orlando-shirtConnect with Splitsville on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. You can join in on the conversation and share about your own experience using #SplitsvilleOrlando + #DisneySprings on social.


2018 Epcot® International Flower & Garden Festival Kicks off Feb. 28

This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are my own.

The 25th Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival will kick off spring at Walt Disney World Resort February 28 and continue through May 28, 2018, with seasonal fun for all. epcot-flower-and-garden-monorailA brand-new Epcot front-entrance topiary garden will set the milestone anniversary scene with a kaleidoscope of blooming color where topiary icons Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse and Goofy will greet festival guests. What began in 1994 as a 38-day celebration of Disney-style gardens and topiaries has grown over the years to a 90-day spring extravaganza with something for every generation. We can’t wait to experience it in person! beauty-and-the-beast-topiariesThe 2018 festival will take place during the 35th anniversary of Epcot and will showcase millions of brilliant blossoms.The 90-day festival will open with an irresistible array of sights, sounds, tastes, aromas and tactile discoveries and here are some of the offerings guests can explore:
Flavor-rich cuisine from 15 Outdoor Kitchens
New and creative dishes will debut at 15 Outdoor Kitchens encircling the World Showcase Promenade. Guests can sip and savor their way around Epcot, enjoying chef-inspired noshes and refreshing libations.epcot-flower-and-garden-foodEach Outdoor Kitchen will feature its own raised-bed or in-ground garden of herbs and produce that can inspire the growing numbers of guests who want to learn to grow what they eat.

“The culture of growing your own food continues to trend, and our guests each year have quite a few questions related to edible gardens. They get a big kick comparing items in our gardens with the herbs and produce our chefs incorporate into the festival’s Outdoor Kitchen recipes.” – Eric Darden, festival horticulture manager

epcot-flower-and-garden-food-2Disney Topiary Stars
A bonanza of Disney character topiaries, including classic-character favorites Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and many others, will play a starring festival role. Returning this year, Belle will be featured in France along with Beast, Snow White in Germany with the Seven Dwarfs, and Anna and Elsa in Norway. snow-white-topiaryAmong the nearly 100 festival topiaries will be returning favorites like the pandas and Bromeliad dragon at the China pavilion, The Three Caballeros at the Mexico pavilion, Disney-Pixar’s Woody at the American Adventure pavilion and Buzz Lightyear in Future World. The back-by-demand Figment topiary garden between Future World and World Showcase will offer the perfect selfie backdrop and family photo opportunity. Dozens of Disney-crafted “flower towers” and beds of multi-colored blooms will transform the park’s landscape. At least 70,000 bedding plants will surround the Future World east and west lakes alone; on the water, 220 mini-gardens will be set afloat.epcot-flower-and-garden-lady-and-the-tramp-topiaryGarden Rocks Concert Series
The popular Garden Rocks Concert Series will feature live chart-topping musical acts  of the 1960s, ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s on the America Gardens Theatre stage. From March 2 through May 28, 3 evening concerts each Friday through Monday will be offered and present musicians that span multiple genres. Garden Rocks Dining Packages will be available on select days at a number of Epcot restaurants. For more information about these packages, please go here.epcot-flower-and-garden-concertInteractive Play Gardens
A brand-new Future World interactive play garden and a revved-up Road to Florida 500 garden featuring new games and play challenges will set the pace for family festival fun. The new interactive area in Future World will feature a play maze, a sensory garden, an activity zone and a covered seating area. The redesigned “Cars”-themed garden based on the Disney•Pixar sequel, “Cars 3,” will add more fun activities like highway bingo for families.

epcot-flower-and-garden-festival-butterfly-topiaryThe Royal Tea Garden Tour will return for a second year each festival morning at the United Kingdom pavilion. For a small fee, guests can follow a knowledgeable guide through the tranquil tea garden setting to learn the history and artistry behind growing and blending tea. A post-tour treat of tea and scones is included. The shorter, complimentary English Tea Garden Tour also will be offered on select days. For more information or to book your Royal Tea Garden Tour, visit hereflower-and-garden-festival-tourFor more information about the 25th Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival, please visit EpcotInSpring.com or call 407/W-DISNEY (934-7639). The festival, including all gardens and exhibits, is included in regular Epcot admission.

Images are property of Walt Disney World and used with permission. 

Toy Story Land to Open at Walt Disney World June 30

This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are my own.

The all-new Toy Story Land at Walt Disney World Resort, inspired by Disney•Pixar’s Toy Story films, is officially set to open at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, June 30, 2018! toy-story-land-rendering-1Guests in Toy Story Land will feel like they have shrunk to the size of a toy as Woody, Jessie, Buzz, Slinky Dog, the Aliens, Green Army Men and other fun-loving Toy Story characters come to life in the larger-than-life outdoor setting of Andy’s backyard. And what a backyard! In a rich and colorful landscape straight from his vivid imagination, Andy has set up his toys for the best playtime ever. Guests will be surrounded by giant building blocks, game board pieces and more.toy-story-land-rendering-2Across eleven fun-filled acres, Toy Story Land will include two all-new attractions and one expanded favorite. Guests will whoosh along on a family-friendly roller coaster behind Slinky Dog, take a spin with flying saucers in toy spaceships and score high on the midway. Toy Story Land will also celebrate what once defined entertainment for a generation. Crayons, Rubik’s Cubes, Cooties, Green Army Men and other toys and games will pour on the nostalgia for park-goers. Even the lampposts will be shaped like Tinkertoys.slinky-dog-1

“With set pieces, staging, attractions and experiences Toy Story Land represents the best of Walt Disney Imagineering’s collaboration with our storytelling partners at Pixar Animation Studios. This new land will place guests inside the wondrous world of Woody, Buzz and their pals,  and invite everyone to experience the joy of being a toy”.- Bob Chapek, chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts.

toy-story-land-rendering-aliensLet’s take a closer look at the two brand-new attractions: 

Slinky Dog Dash – Andy has assembled his roller coaster kit for maximum family fun. Tracks and supports in bright colors of red, orange, yellow and blue are put together according to Andy’s hand-drawn plans, with Rex and Jessie lending a hand. And to complete his creation, Andy picked up everyone’s favorite floppy-eared dachshund with a strrrrretch-ing slinky coil belly and dropped it on to the coaster track. Get ready to ride inside Slinky Dog’s coils! Slinky Dog Dash is inspired bythe delightful pooch spinoff of Slinky, the 1950s American toy classic. Riders of all ages will delight as Slinky Dog bends and twists his coils around curves, hills, bridges and drops in the Slinky-est coaster ever. Riders will zip around and above Toy Story Land, serving up panoramic views of all that the new land has to offer. Andy’s colorful creation will stretch Slinky Dog and his coils to the max – from his head to his upturned tail – and be fun for the entire family.toy-story-land-slinky-dog-dashAlien Swirling Saucers – Brace yourself for out-of-this-world thrills because the aliens have powered up their flying saucers! Alien Swirling Saucers will immerse guests in the playful world of Andy’s toys. This galactic space toy is designed as a play set that Andy won at the Pizza Planet restaurant. Adorable little Toy Story green Aliens swirl about in their flying saucers with guests in tow in their rocket-ship toys, while “The Claw” hangs overhead. This space adventure is bathed in music reimagined for intergalactic fun, dappled with multi-color lighting and sound effects from throughout galaxies.toy-story-land-alien-swirling-saucers-renderingToy Story Mania! will be expanded.  While Andy’s away, the toys will play. One of the most beloved attractions at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Toy Story Mania!, gets an all-new colorful toy carnival game box entrance when the new land opens. In fact, this is the box that the Toy Story Mania! game came in. Recently updated with a third track, the popular attraction will put even more guests in the carnival playset action taking aim at 3D objects, using everything from baseballs to cream pies, in a variety of whimsical, fast-paced games. To the high-scorer go bragging rights.

New Eats in Toy Story Land
When it’s time for on-the-go refreshments, Woody’s Lunch Box will serve up tasty meals and old-fashioned soda floats from a walk-up window in a setting surrounded by Andy’s favorite toys and a giant vintage thermos. toy-story-land-woodys-lunch-boxGet a Sneak Peek at Toy Story Land
Guests at Disney’s Hollywood Studios can get a preview of Toy Story Land in a detailed model of the new land is on display at the theme park’s Walt Disney Presents attraction. It’s a joy-filled, toy-filled world as only Disney can create and we can’t wait to experience it all! Do you have plans to visit Toy Story Land when it opens? For updates about Toy Story Land, as well as Walt Disney World Resort vacation information, please go here.

Images and renderigs are property of Disney and may not be used without permission.

Let’s Take a Look at Disney’s Pop Century Resort

This is not a sponsored post. 

lets-talk-about-disney-againHave you been to Walt Disney World before? Well, it’s one of my most favorite places to travel with my family and on our last visit there, our family stayed at Disney’s Pop Century Resort. disneys-magical-expressStaying at a Disney Resort Hotel is a “must” for us on our trips because there are so many benefits to staying in an official Disney World Resort Hotel. We’d never stayed at “The Pop” before and were pleased with everything about our stay. disneys-pop-century-resort-exteriorDisney’s Pop Century Resort is one of five “Value” resorts at Walt Disney World and is unique because it features themed sections from the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, and the 90’s.disneys-pop-century-roger-rabbit If you have any connection with these decades you’ll definitely appreciate the exterior of the property, as well as the decor throughout the lobby area with its timeless fashions, catch phrases, toys and dances that captivated the world through these decades. If you’re too young to remember any of those decades, don’t worry, you’ll still smile as you take a tour of “the olden days”. (as my daughter referred to them.) disneys-pop-century-resort-80s-sectionDuring our stay, the Pop Century was in the middle of renovating many of the guest rooms. We were fortunate enough to stay in the “80s” section of the hotel (a nod to my own childhood and genius inventions such as Rubik’s Cube®) and our particular room had already been renovated. Our room was adorable! disneys-pop-centry-welcomeWe opted for a Standard Room and it was the perfect size for our family of 3. When you enter the room, there’s one double bed and a small table with 2 chairs that is easy to slide over so you can pull down a (second) Murphy bed from the wall. We just stuck the table and chairs over by the window. disneys-pop-resort-beds The room features light wood floors and bright Mickey Mouse decor. It’s super cute! The furniture is modern and there’s plenty of room for 4 guests to stay in one room. The bathroom is super modern in-room-amenities

In-room amenities at Disney’s Pop Century include:

  • a dresser with drawers
  • a big screen TV with remote
  • extra blankets and pillows
  • a (small) table and chairs for dining
  • A/C
  • an ironing board and iron
  • shower/tub combo
  • a small fridge with freezer
  • a coffee maker with coffee and necessitiesdisneys-pop-century-closet
  • a shower/tub combo
  • Disney H2O+ toiletries
  • ample closet space with hangers
  • laundry services are available (for a fee)
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi



Other resort amenities, unique to the Pop Century include:

  • 3 swimming pools with complimentary towel service
  • a playground
  • a jogging trail
  • an arcade
  • movies under the stars




I appreciated the food situation at the Pop Century. There’s a pretty big food court area with plenty of options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, as well as many “grab & go” items. Some of my favorites included Mickey waffles and bacon, fresh pastries, pot roast, pasta, and pizza. mickey-waffleYou also have the option to order Disney pizza delivery to your room. There are also beverages available at the Petals Pool Bar, located adjacent to the Petals Pool. If you’re on the Disney Dining Plan, this is a perfect place to eat at. (To learn more about Disney Dining Plans, go here.) disneys-pop-century-pizza-deliveryresort-transportation

Disney’s Pop Century Resort is located in the Wide World of Sports Area and offers complimentary bus transportation to and from the Parks, as well as Disney Springs. You can find a schedule out in front of the bus stops, which are in front of the hotel.disneys-pop-resort-bus-transportation Bus service begins about an hour before the first Extra Magic Hours of each day and continues until about an hour after the last park closes. Buses seem to run about every 20 minutes to each of the parks. You can also ask Concierge for more information about the transportation at the Pop Century Resort.mickeys-ice-cream-barOverall, we loved staying at Disney’s Pop Century Resort so much. It truly is a great hotel to book a stay at and I don’t think there was anything about it we didn’t like. memory-maker-epcot

Our family can’t wait to return to Walt Disney World again! We make so many great memories together on each trip. Do you currently have a Disney trip planned anytime soon? If so, I’d love to hear about it! Share with me in the comments!



Character Dining With Pooh and Friends at The Crystal Palace in Magic Kingdom Park

This is not a sponsored post. 

Let’s talk about character dining at Walt Disney World Resort. Do you have a favorite place to dine at? For our family, character dining is a must-do on every one of our trips there! It’s a chance to enjoy a delicious meal together and grab some great photos of our family along with some of our favorite Disney characters. We LOVE Winnie the Pooh!the-crystal-palace-photo-with-poohOne of character dining experiences to go to is The Crystal Palace inside Magic Kingdom Park. It’s where you’ll find Winnie the Pooh, Piglet, Tigger, and Eeyore. the-crystal-palace-picture-with-pigletthe-crystal-palace-exteriorLocated on Main Street, U.S.A., The Crystal Palace is the perfect place to start your day off, as well as a great place to grab some dinner after a day of exploring. the-crystal-palace-tigger-and-piglet-decor As you walk through the front door of The Crystal Palace, you’ll notice how light and bright everything is, as the decor was inspired by the Victorian greenhouses of the late 1800’s. With topiaries and tropical palms galore, It’s the perfect setting to have a “Friendship Day Celebrashun”, which is what Winnie the Pooh and his friends do there every single day! the-crystal-palace-friendship-day-celebrashunGuests have the option to dine at The Crystal Palace for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, depending on what time of day they visit. The food is served as an All-You-Care-to-Enjoy buffet. Since Mickey waffles seem to be one of our family’s favorites, we usually opt to dine there for breakfast, following Extra Magic Hours in Magic Kingdom Park.the-crystal-palace-food-1the-crystal-palace-pancakes-and-baconGuests will be delighted to choose from a bountiful selection of breakfast items including:

  • made-to-order omelettes
  • assorted hot and cold cereals
  • freshly-baked pastries
  • breakfast meats
  • breakfast potatoes
  • pancakes, french toast, and Mickey waffles
  • fresh fruit
  • yogurt

There’s even a special Pooh’s Corner, Children’s Buffet, which is where you’l be able to grab those Mickey waffles. We’re all “children” at Walt Disney World though, right?mickey-waffleCoffee, tea, milk, juice, and other non-alcoholic options are also included with your meal.the-crystal-palace-winnie-the-pooh-wavingWhile you’re enjoying your meal, Winnie the Pooh and his friends walk around and visit each table to sign autograph books and take photos, allowing you to capture those special moments to look back on and smile about for years to come! Helpful tip: Have your camera  and/or phone ready to go before they get to your table.  the-crystal-palace-pooh-topiaryOur family hasn’t had the chance to try the lunch or dinner option yet at The Crystal Palace but I will tell you that the breakfast is fabulous! the-crystal-palace-breakfast-lunch-and-dinnerTo view the menu, pricing, and to check table availability, go here. As always, you can also make a dining reservation by calling (407) WDW-DINE or (407) 939-3463. Have you dined at The Crystal Palace before? Leave me a comment below telling me who your favorite character to visit there is?

the-crystal-palace-photo-with-tiggerTo view the entire list of character dining experiences at Walt Disney World, go here.

*Please note: A valid park admission is required to access The Crystal Palace.

10 Benefits of Staying at a Walt Disney World Resort Hotel

This is not a sponsored post.

It’s no secret that our family loves all things Disney. We can often be found hanging out at the Disneyland Resort since we are lucky enough to live pretty close by.disneyland-photo-pass-snowglobeLet’s talk about about my “other favorite subject” though: Walt Disney World Resort!  Up until a few years ago, I’d never traveled to Orlando nor visited Walt Disney World. Fast forward to present day, we’ve been there 4 times now!when-can-we-go-back Walt Disney World is literally my new favorite place to travel and every time we return from one trip, I start looking at our calendar to see when we can sneak away to Florida again. Can you relate?disney-world-pop-centuryWith over 25 different resorts to choose from at Walt Disney World Resort, you’re going to find at least one that fits within your family’s budget. Whether you choose a Value, Moderate, or Deluxe Resort to stay at, you’ll be enamored by all of the magical touches and thematic decor around your resort and inside your room. You’ll can scroll through an entire list of Walt Disney World Resort Hotels here.disney-world-yacht-club-roomAs a busy mom, I truly appreciate how easy it is to make your hotel reservations, once you’re narrowed your choices down. You can either make reservations on the official Walt Disney World site or call Disney Resort Hotel Reservations directly at (407) 939-1936 and a Cast Member will assist you in doing so. Bonus: If you call to make a reservation or ask a question, you get to listen to Disney music from the Parks and the parades! epcot-coffee-cupOn each of our 4 trips to Orlando, our family has stayed at a different Disney World Resort and I’ve found that there are tons of benefits for guests who stay at one, they just won’t get when you stay “off property” (a.k.a. a non-Disney World hotel). To be honest, I’d probably still stay at a Disney World hotel even if there weren’t benefits because I’m that Disney Mom who never wants to miss out on anything!  Today I want to share 10 great benefits of staying at a Walt Disney World Resort Hotel with you, in hopes of helping you plan your next trip to Walt Disney World. Check them out! 10-benefits-of-staying-at-a-walt-disney-world-resort-hotelComplimentary MagicBands
MagicBands are literally your “key to the magic” and when you stay at a Disney World hotel,  you can customize your Magic Bands on the site first, with name and color, and they’ll be mailed to you for free, prior to your visit. During your vacation, Magic Bands are not only your room key, but they also access your FastPass+ selections, and even allow you to pay for anything you need during your trip because they’re linked to your credit card on file. Guests not staying on Disney property have the option to purchase MagicBands for a fee. walt-disney-world-magicbandsEarly FastPass+ Scheduling
Speaking of FastPass+ selections, here comes another cool part…when you have reservations at a Walt Disney World Resort hotel, you can go online (either on the site or on the app) and schedule your FastPass+ selections, which include attractions, entertainment, or Character Greetings, 60 days out from your trip., as long as you already have your Park admission tickets or an Annual Pass. schedule-a-fastpass-on-the-appThat’s 30 days earlier than guests who don’t have a reservation “on property”. This allows you to secure highly sough after attractions early on so you can have those in place and rest assured. We felt so lucky to grab FastPass+ selections this past trip for Pandora  – World of Avatar, which is absolutely breathtaking, by the way! To learn more about FastPass+, go here.
Advanced Dining Reservations
Anyone wishing to dine at one of the restaurants at Walt Disney World Resort can make a reservation 180 days in advance. If you have a reservation at one of the Disney World hotels, you are actually able to make one 180 days in advance PLUS 10 days of your arrival date. That means you can make a dining reservation 190 days in advance of your arrival date and this can actually make a huge difference when you’re trying to land a reservation at one of the more popular restaurants such as Be Our Guest in Magic Kingdom, Victoria and Albert’s at the Grand Floridian, or  character dining such as Royal Sommerhus at Epcot or The Crystal Palace in Magic Kingdom, which is one of our favorites. You can make a dining reservation either online or by calling (407) WDW-DINE or (407) 939-3463.crystal-palace-with-pigletDisney’s Magical Express
One of the best perks of staying on Disney property is not having to worry about transportation to and from the Orlando International Airport. Disney’s Magical Express is complimentary motorcoach transportation from the airport to select Walt Disney Resort Hotels, including checked luggage delivery straight to your room. This means that you don’t have to go to baggage claim and you can just head straight out to the Parks if you desire. Disney’s Magical Express operates between 5:00 A.M. and 10:00 P.M. To read more information about Disney’s Magical Express, go here.disneys-magical-expressExtra Magic Hours
This is one of my favorite benefits! Extra Magic Hours are only available to those guests staying at a Walt Disney Resort. Each day, one of the 4 parks has Extra Magic Hours, some are in the morning and some are in the evening, after park closing. I think the name “magic” is appropriate because it truly is magic, just how many attractions you can get on that would normally have you waiting for a much longer time period. When we took advantage of Extra Magic Hours at Magic Kingdom, we also found a lot of character photo opportunities as we walked down Main Street, U.S.A. Most of the time Extra Magic Hours are early morning so we just make it a point to get up early and get there on time. In the case of a popular attraction, especially during peak months to visit, Extra Magic Hour might be the only realistic way you can ride the attraction without waiting for a huge amount of time. seven-dwarfs-mine-trainTransportation to Disney Theme Parks, Disney Water Parks & Disney Springs
When you stay at a Walt Disney World Resort, you don’t have to worry about a rental car or transportation to and from the 4 theme parks, 2 Disney Water parks, and Disney Springs. Transportation for resort guests is complimentary and depending on which resort you’re staying at, you may have access to an air-conditioned bus, a relaxing boat ride, or even their world-famous Monorail. For more specifics on the complimentary resort transportation, please go heredisney-world-transportationDisney Dining Plan
The Disney Disney Plan is only available to Disney World Resort guests. It’s a great addition to add to your vacation, saves you a significant amount of money because it’s prepaid and includes a predetermined number of meals and snacks, per guest, per day, depending on which plan you have. To learn more about the different Disney Dining Plan categories or to add one to your vacation package, please go here.mickey-waffleShip Your Purchases Directly from the Parks to your Hotel
Another great benefit to staying “on property” is that you can have any (or all) of your purchases from the parks shipped directly to your resort hotel. I absolutely loved this option because there have been so many instances that we bought souvenirs which were either too large to carry around with us or too heavy to lug in my purse. This is such a great convenience to be able to take advantage of.walt-disney-world-where-dreams-come-trueAirline Check-In at your resort
This is just another great benefit guests will appreciate. If you are departing from Orlando International Airport, you’ll have the ability to check-in for your flight and receive your boarding passes and check your luggage, all from your resort. This benefit is available to guests flying on Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines (U.S. Domestic Flights Only), JetBlue Airways, Southwest Airlines, and United Airlines. More information can be found about this service here.art-of-animation-little-mermaidResort Activities 
Not all of the Disney magic is reserved for the parks. When you stay at one of the Disney World Resorts, you’ll also find special activities geared towards both children and families. Each resort offers different activities such as crafts, pool games, movies under the stars, dance parties, and more. Some of our favorite activities during our stays included Mickey tie dye shirt making and S’mores night!disney-smoresIn addition to all of these key benefits, there are also other perks you’ll get once you’ve booked your stay at a Disney World Resort, such as special mailers and email reminders about different options to add onto your vacation. The whole experience is a magical one and for our family, there’s just no reason to ever stay anywhere besides a Walt Disney World Resort Hotel when we visit Walt Disney World!

memory-maker-epcot Have you been before? Share your favorite trip memory with me in the comments! If not, are you planning a trip soon? I hope so!For more information about Walt Disney World Resort, please visit their official site here.



Tips to Know Before You Go: Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party!

I was provided with tickets to attend Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Party in order to write this post. All opinions are 100% my own. 

There’s a first time for everything and this year was our family’s first time attending Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party in Magic Kingdom Park! This specially ticketed event only comes around once a year, to celebrate the Halloween season and just like everything else associated with Disney Parks, it’s quite a magical experience!mickeys-not-so-scary-halloween-party-sign-1To be honest, I think I spent half the party looking around at everything in awe,  As the park is transformed for the occasion, frightfully fun décor, grinning ghosts, costumed characters, and extra entertainment pop up all around. There’s just so much to see and do at Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Party and it can be overwhelming, in a good way, of course.mickeys-not-so-scary-halloween-party-pumpkins-1I put together a guide of tips to “know before you go” as a way to help future Mickey party-goers get the most out of their experience. Here’s my best advice for what you should see and do when you attend.tips-to-know-before-you-goPurchase your party tickets right away – Dates for Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party are announced during the summertime on Walt Disney World Resort’s site and the Disney Parks Blog and usually go on sale soon afterwards. I highly recommend getting your tickets as early as possible because this event is so popular that certain dates tend to sell out right away. There’s nothing worse than being “too late”.monsters-inc-DIY-costumeDO Wear a Costume – There isn’t even a question. DO wear a costume. It doesn’t matter if you’re a kid or an adult. A majority of guests at the party are dressed up and if you don’t wear a costume, you’ll most likely feel a bit left out. I saw so many fun costumes. My favorites were groups of people with coordinating group Disney costumes. We put together simple DIY costumes from Monsters, Inc. because we were traveling and needed to pack our suitcases wisely, but I already know that next year, I’m going to get a little more nuts with our costumes. Actually, I can guarantee it!

Look up the party schedule online beforehand – It’s a good idea to look up the schedule for the party night you’re attending beforehand on the Walt Disney World site to get an idea of the schedule of special entertainment such as the parade and fireworks. mickeys-not-so-scary-halloween-party-guideYou’ll receive a party guide for the evening as you enter at the Main Gate which is helpful to guide you to the treat stations and has other useful information. I just recommend planning a little bit beforehand so you don’t run out of time because there’s a lot to see.

mickeys-not-so-scary-halloween-party-decorations-2Get there during daylight – Guests are able to enter Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party up to 3 hours prior to the event’s official start time of 7p.m. I highly recommend getting there while there’s still daylight, mainly for the photo opportunities. Luckily, the Disney PhotoPass photographers are very experienced and take great pictures even when it’s dark outside. Grab as many photos as you can though, while it’s still light outside. Also, getting to the party early will allow you to maximize your time on the attractions and explore all of the other things.

Speaking of photo opportunities, during Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Party, there are party-exclusive Magic Shots throughout the park that you should definitely seek out. I loved this one with the Headless Horseman! .mickeys-not-so-scary-halloween-party-headless-horseman-photopassGet your trick or treat on – Guests can pick up a trick-or-treat bag at any of of the treat stations throughout the park. Locate the treat stops by looking for the super tall, lighted up stations. Expect to leave the party with a ton of candy. Tip: Bring an bag or backpack to the party so you can dump out the trick-or-treat bags as they fill up. mickeys-not-so-scary-halloween-party-candyEat ALL the Halloween treats – It’s always fun to find the exclusive treats and food offerings during the party, only offered this time of year. If you keep an eye on The Disney Parks Blog before your party date, they usually share about these treats so you’ll know what to look for. Check out this fun post on the Disney Parks Blog featuring Top Halloween Treats at Magic Kingdom Park. (Tip: Seek out the collectible popcorn bucket and get one!)mickeys-not-so-scary-halloween-party-popcorn-bucketSeek out the characters and take photos – During Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, there are a plethora of photo opportunities with more Disney characters and Disney Villains than you can imagine! Even more fun is that you’ll find these characters dressed up in their own Halloween costumes. mickeys-not-so-scary-halloween-party-pooh-and-friendsThe party is your chance to grab photos with the characters without waiting in lines that are very long. PhotoPass photos are available to download and share almost instantly through the My Disney Experience mobile app when you add Memory Maker to your vacation package and/or party ticket. (Read more info about Memory Maker here.) 
Take in a show – One of the exclusive offerings during Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party is the Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular show. You’ll be dazzled by this stage performance as the 3 sisters from Disney’s “Hocus Pocus”use their magic to throw the best, evil Halloween party this side of the graveyard.mickeys-not-so-scary-halloween-party-castleDon’t miss the Mickey’s “Boo-to-You” Halloween Parade (& Beware of the Headless Horseman) – There are 2 performances of this special Halloween-themed parade, each night of a party. See Disney characters as well as the stars of the Haunted Mansion. Each parade starts with a spooktacular ride by The Headless Horseman so beware!Happy HalloWishes Fireworks are a must! – There are so many great spots in Magic Kingdom Park where guests can go to watch the Happy HalloWishes fireworks.mickeys-not-so-scary-halloween-party-ground-projectionsCheck out the special souvenirs and merchandise – Special souvenirs and exclusive merchandise are also available during the party and you’ll want to save some time to check out the shops along Main Street, U.S.A.mickeys-not-so-scary-halloween-party-selfie

We had so much fun at Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party this year. It was such an enchanting experience. I wish we could go back for a second night this year. There’s always next year, right?mickeys-not-so-scary-halloween-party-us-with-pooh-and-friends

Have you been before? Share your favorite memory with me in the comments. If you’ve never been, perhaps you should look into making a special trip next Halloween season!