Disney’s Boardwalk Resort 1 Bedroom Villa Review

Disney Boardwalk Resort porte cochere

There are so many great reasons to stay at Disney’s Boardwalk Resort in Walt Disney World.  The fact that the Boardwalk is walking distance to Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios is a key feature.  I love that I can choose to walk or boat to either park (although truth be told I never walk to Hollywood Studios – it’s a bit too far for me!).  The restaurants and bars, shopping and nightlife all add to the perks of staying in this area.

Friendship Boat at the Boardwalk

There are many room categories at the Boardwalk depending if you’re staying at Disney’s Boardwalk Inn or Disney’s Boardwalk Villas – they are different.  While they are all technically in the same spot and all attached, one is a Disney Vacation Club Resort (the villas) and the other is the regular hotel.   I have personally stayed in many different room categories here from the deluxe studios to the guest rooms in the inn, but there is something so fantastic about having a separate living room and full kitchen in the one-bedroom villa.

Disney Boardwalk 1 bedroom Living Room

There are different views available for the 1 bedrooms, the Garden/Pool view, Boardwalk View and Standard View.  For our stay we were in the Pool View room on the ground floor.

For context of my trip there were 4 adults in the room (the 1 bedrooms sleep up to 4 adults), my sister, my 2 adult nephews and me.  We wanted the extra space of having the separate additional bedroom, we didn’t want to feel like we were on top of each other.  If you need something bigger, the Boardwalk does offer two-bedroom villas as well.

When you walk in to the room there is a large closet and small ‘foyer’.  It was a great place to store my sister’s scooter in that little hallway.  It was perfect for charging there.  Throughout the room there are plenty of outlets with the USB ports for charging all of your devices.

Disney Boardwalk 1 bedroom Kitchen Table

We are a family that does spend some time in our room, so having the kitchen and living room is a huge plus.  While we didn’t cook anything (it’s a fully equipped kitchen), we absolutely enjoy having our tea and coffee in the morning and chilling a little before heading to the parks.  Some days we got our breakfast at the Boardwalk Bakery or a snack at Leaping Horse Libations (the pool bar) and ate it in our room.  Since they were both a short walk it was really convenient.

Disney Boardwalk Sleeper Sofa

The living room has a huge TV, plenty of seating and the pull down queen-size bed.   Many of the resorts now how the ‘pull down’ queen-size sleeper sofa instead of the old ‘pull out’ couches.  There is additional bedding in the closet for the pull down.

Boardwalk Resort Pull Down Queen Sofa

Queen sofa bed pulled down

The bathroom is quite large in this room and offers the shower stall in the same room.  Next to the bathroom is a closet with a stacked washer and dryer – making it super easy to get some laundry done while relaxing.

Disney boardwalk 1 bedroom bathroom

There is a separate room with an additional vanity and a HUGE bathtub.  There are no jets in this tub and I have to admit, I like that idea better than the jets.  I feel like you never really get those jets clean and I would prefer to use this huge soaker tub.  Also in this room is a walk-in closet with the standard safe available in all hotel rooms on Disney property.

Disney Boardwalk 1 bedroom bathtub

In the bedroom there is a king-size bed with the two end tables and full dresser.  So many spots to put away your clothes AND souvenirs!

Disney Boardwalk 1 bedroom King bed

I like to stay in the “Epcot Resort Area” when I can.  It’s easy to get around with the boats on Crescent Lake taking you to Epcot, Hollywood Studios, Boardwalk, Yacht Club and Beach Club Resorts as well as the Swan and Dolphin resorts.  There is bus service to the Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom as well as Disney Springs.

There are some terrific dining options for table service meals on the boardwalk like the Flying Fish and Trattoria al Forno.  If I’m honest you can usually find me grabbing a slice of pizza at the window or in the AbracadaBar having a drink.  I wish I liked Margaritas because there’s BoardWalk Joe’s Marvelous Margaritas, but all I have bought from there is a pretzel!

Have you stayed at Disney’s Boardwalk Resort?

Podcast 222 – Genie+ and our January 2024 Disney trip reports

Pixie Dust Fan Podcast Episode 222

Genie+ and our January 2024 Disney trip reports

The ladies finally get down to the details and share their thoughts on Genie+ as they used on their trips.  After Fran spent $200 at Hollywood Studios – they have to debate if it was worth it!

Hear how their travel companions enjoyed their returns to Walt Disney World and what they thought of all the updates.

Find Francine and Carrie online:

Website: https://PixieDustFan.com

Instagram: @PixieDustFan

Carrie on Instagram: @MuppetCrazy

Facebook: Pixie Dust Fan

Pixie Dust Fan Facebook group: PixieDustFanGroup

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Become a Disney focused Travel Agent in Ontario

How do I become a Disney focused Travel Agent in Ontario?

Disney Travel Agency Canada

It is a question I get asked a lot because there isn’t a ton of information available online for people who are new to the travel industry.   There is quite a bit of misinformation and conflicting details, hopefully I can clear some of that up.

(Full disclosure – I have been a travel agent for over 15 years myself and I do own a travel agency.)

First things first – TICO.

If you live in Ontario or work for an Ontario travel agency you MUST be certified by the Travel Industry Council of Ontario (TICO).   TICO is an organization mandated by the Ontario government to govern travel retailers and travel wholesalers registered in Ontario. TICO does not sell any travel services.  Registered TICO agencies and websites provide additional consumer protection that may not be available when booking with agencies based in other countries or provinces. A few of these protections include the compensation fund, travel complaint resolution, education standards, and set financial requirements for travel agencies.

You can find the education standards and requirements for TICO here.

Once you have your TICO certificate you need to decide what travel agency or program you would like to join.  Most times you are set up as an independent contractor  or home-based agent that is commission based.  There are some agencies that pay an hourly wage with little or no commissions that may have a physical location.

Some questions to ask when meeting with a potential host agency:

  • Is this commission based or salary?
  • Is there an expectation of minimum sales?
  • What are the start up and monthly costs?
  • What is the commission split?
  • Do you offer training?
  • What tools do I need?
  • Do your agents charge fees?
  • What perks or benefits are available and when?
  • Can I book things other than Disney and Universal?

These are just some of the things that you should consider when meeting with or starting the application process with a potential agency.  It’s important to understand if you will be a good fit in the team overall.  Who are the agency owners and how involved are they in the day to day operations?  Who will be there to support you as you navigate your first bookings?  Read the contract in detail before you sign as every agency has different terms included.

I cannot stress this enough – please beware of agencies that ‘free’ or ‘discounted’ vacations or who ask you to recruit others.  If your compensation requires you to ‘sign someone up’ – RUN.  These are not travel agencies, they are multi level marketing schemes that recruit new agents to pay the fees to the others.

Disney Travel Agent Areas of Focus

Is it fun to be a Disney vacation planner?  Absolutely!  Planning Disney vacations and having a first time guest come back and tell you how much they loved it is the best feeling ever!  The home-based travel advisors generally set their own hours, build their own marketing plans and nurture their own client base.  They spend as much time (or as little) as they feel necessary to grow and sustain their business.  They may be Disney fans, but the best agent knows this is a job and it is hard work as well as being fun.

Things that you should consider before signing up with an agency:

  • How will you attract potential clients?
  • Do you have personal experience at the Disney parks and Disney resorts to offer professional advice?
  • How will you manage your time in order to give the personal attention and customer service to your clients?
  • Do you have anything that would prohibit you from being available to your clients?
  • Are you willing to invest $$ in your business to get started?

Once you have signed on to join an agency you’ll have access to the College of Disney Knowledge.  This is the online course that all Disney travel planners have access to.  Each supplier has their own versions of online training including Universal Orlando Resort, Marriott hotels and others.

Vacation planners have such an important role in helping determine the best vacation package that meets the client’s needs.  You are expected to offer expert advice, find the best price and monitor new offers that may become available after booking.  There is a lot of work involved for Walt Disney World Resort packages when you consider travel tips for dining, attractions, ticket options and Genie+.  Having accurate information and knowledge of Disney destinations is key to planning the most magical trips for your guests.

Becoming a travel agent was one of the best decisions I ever made.  It really does make me happy to have clients return from a vacation I planned and tell me how many wonderful memories they made.  To know that I was a part of making that happen for them is priceless.

If you would like more information about joining Playcation Travel click here for details.

If you would like to work with an agent to plan your vacation – reach out to one of our agents on the team page and review the myths of using a travel agent here

Zootopia Quotes – Top 12 Inspirational Messages

Zootopia Quotes – Top 12 Inspirational Messages

Zootopia Judy and Nick

One of my absolute favourite movies is Zootopia.  I’m a sucker for a Disney movie that is inspirational and packed with lessons and humour, and this one is one of the best.

Zootopia tells the tale of Judy Hopps (voiced by Ginnifer Goodwin), a very tenacious bunny who has dreams of becoming a police officer.  In this town of animals, she is the very first bunny cop to join the force which brings it’s own challenges.  Throughout the movie we see Judy exude confidence, determination and kindness as she works her case with her new friend Nick Wilde (voiced by Jason Bateman) – who happens to be a fox.  We follow the cute little bunny on her journey from growing up in Bunnyburrow to becoming Officer Judy Hopps.  She deals with negativity from many around her, and it’s how she succeeds in spite of it.

Zootopia Judy Hopps Running

My top 12 memorable quotes from Zootopia

1. “Tomorrow’s another day”  – Judy Hopps

Judy says this while trying to remain positive after a bad day.  Her neighbour replies through the wall “ya but it might be worse!”

This one makes me laugh because I think we can all relate to this.  Judy is trying to be positive but the negativity from external forces is loud and clear!

2.  “Sometimes we come last, but we did our best” – Gazelle

This is a fantastic line in the song “Try Everything” performed by Shakira (Gazelle).  This song should be on your ‘motivational playlist’ if it isn’t already.  It talks about how we all make mistakes but how you should TRY.  I could have written out all of the lyrics – they are that motivational!  “I won’t give up, I won’t give in” – seriously, download and listen.

Zootopia Stu and Bonnie

3.  “It’s great to have dreams” – Bonnie Hopps  “just as long as you don’t believe in them too much.” – Stu Hopps

When her parents are trying to temper a young Judy’s dreams that they don’t believe are achievable.  Judy happily ignores this negativity as they try to tell her there has never been a bunny cop before.  Her reply?  “I guess I’ll have to be the first”.  This one really gets to me as it shows (so clearly) how sometimes very well meaning people in our lives try to discourage us from trying things for fear of failure.

4.  “Hey Judy, I’d just like to say I’m sorry for the way I behaved in my youth. I had a lot of self-doubt, and it manifested itself in the form of unchecked rage and aggression. I was a major jerk.” – Gideon Grey

Gideon is the example of how people change and they shouldn’t be judged based on acts from their youth.  Gideon goes from a bully to being a partner to a bunny carrot farmer.

Zootopia Young Judy Hopps

5.  “Well, he was right about one thing. I don’t know when to quit!” – Judy Hopps

After an altercation with the bully Gideon, young Judy Hopps jumps up more determined than ever to make the world a better place.

Zooptopia Chief Bogo

6.   “Life isn’t some cartoon musical where you sing a little song and all your insipid dreams magically come true. So let it go.” – Chief Bogo (voiced by Idris Elba – his voice lends an extra element of humour when he says this line)

This quote has to make you laugh where he is obviously poking fun at the movies, but it’s also another case where Officer Hopps is being discouraged by those around her.  The Chief says this to Judy after she tells him “I don’t want to be a meter maid, I want to be a real cop”.  Kind of makes you think about how many people in your real life do this to you doesn’t it?  Put a damper on your dreams?

Zootopia Nick Wilde

7.  “Never let them see that they get to you.” – Nick Wilde

While Nick was originally the one to call Judy a dumb bunny, their friendship has matured by this point of the movie where you can see how they care for each other.  He sticks up for her with her boss and proclaims that they will continue their search for the poor missing otter they are searching for.  It’s a moment when you realize that their friendship has grown from the most unlikely pairing.

Zootopia Judy Traffic Cop

8.  “Sir, I’m not just some token bunny” – Judy  “Well then, writing one hundred tickets a day should be easy.” – Chief Bogo.  “A hundred tickets, I’m not gonna write a hundred tickets. I’m gonna write two-hundred tickets! Before noon!” – Judy

This is a great example of how Judy is determined to be good – at whatever she’s doing.  She doesn’t want to be writing tickets, but if she is going to do it – she will be the BEST at it.  She isn’t afraid of hard work and will prove and earn her place.

Zootopia Judy and Mr Big

9. “I will take your kindness and pay it forward” – Mr Big

The big crime boss in the movie is Mr Big – who is an arctic shrew, a very small animal who is surrounded by polar bears for protection.  Nick is begging Judy to stop talking to Mr Big as he tries to hide the fact that she is on the police force.  Mr Big commands the bears to “ice ’em” until his daughter walks in and identifies Judy as the cop that saved her from a flying donut.  Paying kindness forward is always a good lesson and sometimes you get help from the most unlikely places.

Zootopia YAK

10. “Told you Nangi has a mind like a steel trap. Ah, I wish I had a memory like an elephant.” – Yax

This is such a fun segment of the movie where Judy goes to a “naturalist club” for the animals and they are greeted by a Yak named Yax who is voiced by Tommy Chong (best known as half of Cheech & Chong).  Yax is at the reception desk and is trying to help Judy with information about the missing Mr Otterton she’s looking for.  He walks her out to the elephant that was his yoga instructor – certainly the elephant will remember all of the details!  The funny thing is that the elephant named Nangi continues to insist she can’t remember anything, but Yax continues to ask questions with incredible detail in them.  “Yeah, and we both walked him out, and he got into this big old white car with a silver trim. Needed a tune-up, the third cylinder wasn’t firing. Remember that, Nangi?”.  This entire scene illustrates how we assume others have capabilities and skills while completely overlooking them in ourselves!

Zootopia DMV Flash

11.  “What, are you saying that because he’s a sloth he can’t be fast? I thought in Zootopia anyone could be anything.” – Nick Wilde

In this hilarious scene the sloth is in fact painfully slow.  As he repeats the three-humped camel joke that Nick told him, Judy tries to explain she’s in a really big hurry – but he just can’t move any faster.  The irony is, he is judged as a sloth for being slow, but in the end – turns out to be the fastest guy in a car!

12.  Gideon Grey was a jerk who happened to be a fox. I know plenty of bunnies who are jerks. – Judy Hopps

Such a powerful message about not judging based on ‘biology’.  Just because he was a fox – that wasn’t what made him a jerk. Jerks exist in every kind of animal.

Zootopia Graduation

Judy’s speech at the end of the movie welcoming the new recruits to the academy sums it all up perfectly!

“When I was a kid, I thought Zootopia was this perfect place, where everyone got along and anyone could be anything. Turns out, real life is a little bit more complicated than a slogan on a bumper sticker. Real life is messy. We all have limitations, we all make mistakes, which means – hey, glass half full! – we all have a lot in common. And the more we try to understand one another, the more exceptional each of us will be. But we have to try. So no matter what type of animal you are; from the biggest elephant, to our first fox, I implore you – try. Try to make the world a better place. Look inside yourself and recognize that change starts with you. It starts with me. It starts with all of us.”

C’mon – some great lessons right?  Be kind to one another, do the right thing and believe in yourself.

Have you seen Zootopia?  What is your favourite part?

Podcast 221 – Carrie’s Travel Fiasco and Disney’s Quick Service Dining Plan

Pixie Dust Fan Podcast Episode 221

Carrie’s Travel Fiasco and Disney’s Quick Service Dining Plan

​Not only did Francine go to Walt Disney World – so did Carrie!  She kept that secret and is now sharing her adventures.  It was quite a fiasco getting there – but the “jinxies” didn’t win!

Also on this episode the ladies share their thoughts about Disney’s quick service dining plan and using it at Contempo Cafe.

Then it’s on to Pixie Dust – and of course there are puzzles and plane pants!  You don’t want to miss these stories.

Find Francine and Carrie online:

Website: https://PixieDustFan.com

Instagram: @PixieDustFan

Carrie on Instagram: @MuppetCrazy

Facebook: Pixie Dust Fan

Pixie Dust Fan Facebook group: PixieDustFanGroup

Support Pixie Dust Fan by shopping our affiliates

Find Pixie Dust Fan on YouTube: PixieDustFanSite

 

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Podcast 220 – When a Disney fan goes to Vegas

Pixie Dust Fan Podcast Episode 220

When a Disney fan goes to Vegas

What happens when a Disney fan goes to Vegas?  How different is the planning and is there any magic?  Podcast friend Dustin is sharing his tips for a Vegas vacation plus the things he would do differently next time.

Find Dustin at Steps To Magic and on other podcast episodes like episode 167 where he shares his trip report along with his dinner at Victoria and Alberts!

The site Dustin shared about the attrations was Vegas.com

Find info about Area 15 including the Omega Mart here

Our podcast talking to Chris about the Disney Immersive experience was episode 179

Find Francine and Carrie online:

Website: https://PixieDustFan.com

Instagram: @PixieDustFan

Carrie on Instagram: @MuppetCrazy

Facebook: Pixie Dust Fan 

Pixie Dust Fan Facebook group: PixieDustFanGroup

Support Pixie Dust Fan by shopping our affiliates

Find Pixie Dust Fan on YouTube: PixieDustFanSite

Podcast editing by Anna Cooper

 

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How late is the Magic Kingdom park open in Walt Disney World?

MK Clock and castle

There are so many things that go into planning a Walt Disney World Resort vacation, including what days to visit what park!  With 4 full theme parks to choose from, Disney Springs and Water Parks – your time at each is very valuable.

So what time does the Magic Kingdom close every day?

The best place to find out the park hours is in the My Disney Experience app or on the official website, but keep reading for the additional hours that you’ll want to know about!

Once you look at the calendar you’ll see that there are caveats to the Magic Kingdom park hours (and the other parks as well).  From early entry, after hours events and extra hours for Disney resort guests – you’ll want to understand what they all mean to figure out the best ways to maximize your vacation time.

Things to consider about park hours:

Early Entry:

Guests staying at Disney Resort hotels and select other hotels can take advantage of a 30-minute early entry into Walt Disney World theme parks every day.  This can be a huge advantage if you wanted to get in to the park early and go straight to the most popular attractions like Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Jungle Cruise or Space Mountain.  You can get a head start on those lines before the offsite guests are able to enter the park.  For a full list of participating resorts for the early park entry click here.

Magic Kingdom Walking Down Main Street

Rope Drop:

I need to explain what this is because you’ll see this term used in the Disney community.  This is where you basically arrive at the park before opening to be one of the first inside.  The name comes from the times when they would “drop the rope” to let guests in.  With the early theme park entry, you basically get an earlier rope drop than offsite guests and can be walking up Main Street USA while everyone else is still outside of the gates.  This is one of the ways guests get pictures of themselves in front of Cinderella Castle with limited people in the background.

Space Mountain at Dusk

Extended Evening Theme Park Hours:

Guests staying at a Disney Deluxe Resort, Deluxe Villa Resort or other select hotels are able to enjoy extended evening hours on select nights in select theme parks (for years they were called extra magic hours).  For example, one night the Magic Kingdom may close to regular guests at 10pm – but because you’re staying at one of the participating resorts you can stay until midnight!  That’s 2 extra hours of fun and a great way to maximize your time in the park.  Another added bonus is that you can get an extra shot at a virtual queue on the nights with the extended hours.  For all of the details including the list of resorts click here.

MK will close at 6pm sign

Special Events:

Depending on the time of the year that you’re visiting, there are many separately ticketed events that can impact the park hours.  Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party and Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party both require the Magic Kingdom to close early.  The party may start at 7pm for ticket holders – but they ask the daytime guests to leave by 6pm.  This is a significant reduction in the park hours for the Magic Kingdom.  However, it can be one of the BEST days to get in and ride attractions!  Given the reduced hours many people avoid the Magic Kingdom on an event day and the lines are significantly shorter for attractions.  If you have park hopping on your tickets you can go to another one of the Disney parks for the evening, just remember that you won’t see fireworks this day at Magic Kingdom.

The Disney After Hours events don’t generally close the park early, in fact the events start at the parks closing time.  These are also a great way to maximize your attraction wait times in the parks as they sell a limited number of tickets to these events.

When I have the chance to experience the shorter wait times I do some of my favourites like the Haunted Mansion and Peter Pan’s Flight.

What would you do with extra time in the Magic Kingdom?

Podcast 219 – Happy New Year 2024

Pixie Dust Fan Podcast Episode 219

Happy New Year 2024

It’s the start of the new year and there is so much to look forward to.  Carrie and Fran share their plans (or lack of plans!) for the year and their hopes for the Disney parks.  From Zootopia to RunDisney – you don’t want to miss this episode.

Find Francine and Carrie online:

Website: https://PixieDustFan.com

Instagram: @PixieDustFan

Carrie on Instagram: @MuppetCrazy

Facebook: Pixie Dust Fan 

Pixie Dust Fan Facebook group: PixieDustFanGroup

Support Pixie Dust Fan by shopping our affiliates

Find Pixie Dust Fan on YouTube: PixieDustFanSite

Podcast editing by Anna Cooper

 

Don’t forget to sign up to stay in touch with Pixie Dust Fan news!

Where does the monorail go in Walt Disney World?

Where Does the Monorail Go at Walt Disney World

When Walt Disney World Resort opened on October 1st 1971 the Monorail was an important part of the destination and Magic Kingdom arrival.  Guests would park their cars at the transportation center and then they had the choice of two different routes to the park; ferry boat or monorail. The transportation and ticket center with the 2 options is still in place today if you are arriving by car to the Magic Kingdom.

Now there are so many different transportation options to get you around the property, but the highway in the sky is still a fan favourite!  This iconic mode of transportation does not go everywhere though, there are only certain places you can get to on the monorail.

Where does the monorail go in Walt Disney World?

There are technically 3 separate lines for the monorail

  • Resort monorail
  • Express monorail
  • Epcot monorail

The Resort line is a continuous loop and has the following stops:

Inside the Contemporary Resort with the monorail

The monorail inside Disney’s Contemporary Resort

Each of the above deluxe resorts are classified as “monorail resorts”. The security checkpoints for the monorail are inside each of the resorts and you will go through them before boarding.  While Fort Wilderness and Wilderness Lodge are both considered Magic Kingdom Resort Area hotels, they are not on the monorail lines and have different transportation options for resort guests to get to around.

One important thing (and probably one of my favourite things about the resort monorail route) is that it goes THROUGH the Contemporary Resort.  It was an amazing thing in the 70s and still is now – the monorail goes right through the middle of the hotel.  One of my favourite things to do is sit in the Contempo Cafe and watch the monorails go by.  If you’re eating at Chef Mickey, having a drink at the Outer Rim or just shopping in the grand concourse you can see them passing overhead.

Chef Mickey and the monorail

The express monorail loop runs parallel to the resort loop, but in the opposite direction and has only 2 stops – Magic Kingdom and the Transportation and Ticket Center.  It’s considered express because there are only 2 stops, but it still passes through the Contemporary Resort.  This is one of the ways that Disney is able to manage so many guests at the end of the night leaving the Magic Kingdom, they can pack those monorail trains and send them to the parking lot using the express line quite quickly.

Magic Kingdom Monorail Station

Magic Kingdom monorail station

The third is the Epcot line and it is a continual loop (or they call it express because it has no stops) from the Transportation and Ticket Center to Epcot and back again.  Upon arrival at Epcot the monorail takes a quick trip around Spaceship Earth and just inside of the park before arriving at the monorail station.  It’s a great little view inside of the park before you actually arrive.

Monorail in Epcot

When does the monorail run?

Hours of Operation

  • The Resort Monorail line and Express Monorail line begin operating 30 minutes prior to when Magic Kingdom park opens and stop one hour after Magic Kingdom park closes.
  • The EPCOT Monorail line begins operating 30 minutes prior to when EPCOT opens and stops 2 hours after EPCOT closes.

As things are always changing, it’s best to check the most updated information on the official Disney website before your trip.  For more information on WHO can ride the monorail, see my post here.

For a little history of the monorail, you might want to check out podcast episode 59 where we chatted with Disney Imagineer Bob Gurr.  Bob is known for his work on all things “motorized” including the Autopia cars, the Haunted Mansion Doom Buggies, the Matterhorn Bobsleds and of course the monorails.

Bus or Monorail at Walt Disney World

It’s important to note that while the monorail is a great way to get around, it does not visit Disney Springs, Hollywood Studios or Animal Kingdom parks.  When you visit Walt Disney World for the first time it can be overwhelming trying to figure out how to get around, but rest assured there is always a cast member nearby to direct you.  There are buses, boats and even the Disney Skyliner to get you where you need to be.

Have you been on the monorail?

How Do You Budget And Afford To Go To Disney So Often?

How can you afford Disney

It always amazes me that I get asked the question “How can you afford to go to Disney so often?”.  It’s an uncomfortable question because I never know how to answer it.  Are people expecting me to tell them how much money I earn?

I do have what I like to call an “unmagical job” in the corporate world that pays my bills, but it doesn’t afford a big disposable income.  I have to prioritize my next Disney trip over most other things in order to visit as often as I do.  While I still think it’s an awkward question – I’m going to answer it in hopes that you can learn some different ways to save to visit Walt Disney World Resort.

Here are 10 things I do to budget and afford my Disney vacations

1. I don’t buy expensive clothes, groceries or entertainment at home

Ask anyone I work with in my corporate job, I don’t have an extensive wardrobe.  I keep my work clothes until they don’t fit anymore or fall apart, whichever comes first.  When I hit the grocery stores I’m always looking for the best deals and I will buy no name paper towel, garbage and recycling bags.  I don’t really spend money on entertainment at home either because I’m too old to go clubbing anymore!  When I’m in Disney I will splurge on dinners out and entertainment, but at home it just isn’t something I spend my money on.

Recycle Bags

2.  I do my own repairs at home

It’s amazing the repairs you can do with a toolbox and YouTube video!  I have fixed many things around my house by myself (the toilet running, the shower leaking and resetting the pilot light on my water heater to name a few).  All of these have saved me a bunch of money on professional service calls.  When I can’t fix it myself, I weigh the price of the call out vs the inconvenience.  For example – when my washing machine was erroring out during the spin cycle I discovered I could bypass it by restarting the machine.  It was a royal pain, running up and down the stairs twice for every load of laundry – but the price of repair was the same as 4 nights at one of the value resorts.  I held on to that washing machine as long as I could!

Repairs

I don’t look quite so glamorous when I’m doing my repairs!

3.  I measure all spending in relation to Disney vacations

Before I buy anything, I think about what I could do in Disney for the same money and then determine if it’s worth it.  For example, if I wanted to spend an evening out for a nice dinner and a concert, I could easily spend $150.  For that money I could pay for a Halloween or Christmas party ticket, or 2 really great table service meals, or a night at a Disney resort – I know what I would rather have!  On a smaller scale, 3 steeped teas at Tim Horton’s would be the same as a Dole Whip in the Magic Kingdom.  When you put it in to those terms, it makes it much easier to save money!

Dole Whips

I’ll trade the lovely Tim Horton’s tea for these any day!

4.  Each pay has something for Disney

I have friends at work who say they ‘pay themselves’ on every pay day – they put X amount in a retirement plan or RRSP.  I do something similar, but it’s the Disney fund!  I have a separate savings account that automatically transfers money on pay day for vacations.  It’s a great way to put the money aside before I even think about it.  If I have some extra money that I haven’t ‘automatically’ moved to my Disney fun, I buy Disney gift cards to stack away for my trip.  I use them to pay for my park tickets, my Disney hotels or even just food and treats.  It’s the best way I know to have some extra money available.  I also have a ‘side gig‘ or 2 – basically other jobs that contribute to my vacation fund.  These other jobs are basically Disney money so that I’m not bought by such a tight budget when I travel.

5.  I use the tools that my bank offers me

I have a USD bank account where I deposit the money from point number 4 – that’s where I save.  I also have credit card rewards for flights, checked bags and other travel perks.  These help me get to the Orlando area usually at a discounted rate or reasonable prices.  Find out what options your credit cards offer you and if they don’t have travel perks, get a different one!

6.  I quit smoking

After 30 years I finally quit smoking!   What I spent on cigarettes was insane, but I never gave it a second thought because I NEEDED it.  Now I choose to use the cigarette money for my Walt Disney World Vacation!  While it has been years since I quit, I like to remind myself that for a very long time I would have literally set that money on fire.  It’s how I rationalize it – and it works for me!

7.  I use Google Flights

Gogle Flights helps me find the best priced flights and the day of the week with the cheapest option.  Sometimes the better option is to be on a 6am flight to save $200!  But you also must offset that with the resort costs as well.  Sometimes the cheapest way to fly down means extra cost on the other side for the hotel stay.   Figure out the right time of year that you want to visit and try to avoid peak times.  Then calculate the total cost before committing to anything.

8. I buy an annual pass

​With the calculation of the ticket prices for multiple trips, I know what the ‘break even’ point is for me and how many trips I need to take to make it worth it.  If you’re planning to visit once or twice per year, then an annual pass wouldn’t make sense.  You then need to figure out what Disney parks you’re going to visit and if you will get a park hopper ticket or not.  These are all important decisions for your vacation plans.

Passholder Entrance

I don’t know what I would do without my annual pass!

9. I stay onsite at one of the Walt Disney World Resorts

Having the transportation included while you’re on Disney property is just a convenience I’m not willing to give up.  I’ve saved and budgeted for the trip – I don’t want to waste hours every day going back and forth to some resort that’s 30 minutes away to save some money.  While it sounds like a great idea to save on the hotel cost, you spend it in your time.

I am a Disney Vacation Club member – but that doesn’t always cover my hotel room.  Availability is not the greatest because the best time to book is 11 months in advance (and I’m not planning that far ahead!).  Often times I am paying cash for my resort and it just depends on how much money I have tucked away.  Sometimes I’m staying in deluxe resorts, and sometimes it’s a value resort, it really just depends.

Now don’t get me wrong about my Disney Vacation Club, it was the right investment for me when I bought it.  I bought in before Bay Lake Tower opened because I didn’t have to finance it for long and the Canadian dollar was good at that time.  If you have to finance it and then add the maintenance fees – you won’t be ‘saving’ money for years.  To find out more about Disney Vacation Club – see my blog here.

I need to get back to Disney

It really is my happy place, so I make it a priority in my life.

10.  I use a travel agent

Full disclosure – I own a travel agency so I guess it’s me 🙂 but that doesn’t take away from the fact that using a travel agent that specializes in Disney vacations will save you money.  There are so many myths about using a Disney Travel Agent but they offer so much value!  They know all of the special offers and will monitor them should they change.  They can provide information for you on the theme parks, dining plans and they will find you the best VALUE for your dollar.  Just remember that the cheapest isn’t always the best value.

There you have it, my list of things that I do at home to make sure I have money for my Disney vacations!    It’s clear that I prioritize my Disney vacations, because they are important to me.  These trips are what make me happy – so how could I not make them a priority in my life?

Do you do any of these things?

How do YOU save for your Disney vacations?

Podcast 218 – MSC Recap and a look ahead

Pixie Dust Fan Podcast Episode 218

MSC Recap and a look ahead

Carrie and Fran are sharing the recap of their final days on board the MSC Meraviglia.  They ponder the comparisons to other cruises (like Disney) and how that kept them busy!  From Love It or List It to spas, Griswolds and puzzles, they share the details and the laughs.

Find Francine and Carrie online:

Website: https://PixieDustFan.com

Instagram: @PixieDustFan

Carrie on Instagram: @MuppetCrazy

Facebook: Pixie Dust Fan 

Pixie Dust Fan Facebook group: PixieDustFanGroup

Support Pixie Dust Fan by shopping our affiliates

Find Pixie Dust Fan on YouTube: PixieDustFanSite

Podcast editing by Anna Cooper

 

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Podcast 217 – Our MSC Cruise Part 1

Pixie Dust Fan Podcast Episode 217

Our MSC Cruise – Part 1

It’s time to CRUISE!  Carrie and Fran have decided they need a vacation to “do nothing” and they’ve decided to cruise on the MSC Meraviglia.  The ladies are sharing their first few days on board.  From spa visits to the lack of butter – they’re covering it all!

Find Francine and Carrie online:

Website: https://PixieDustFan.com

Instagram: @PixieDustFan

Carrie on Instagram: @MuppetCrazy

Facebook: Pixie Dust Fan 

Pixie Dust Fan Facebook group: PixieDustFanGroup

Support Pixie Dust Fan by shopping our affiliates

Find Pixie Dust Fan on YouTube: PixieDustFanSite

Podcast editing by Anna Cooper

 

Don’t forget to sign up to stay in touch with Pixie Dust Fan news!

Podcast 216 – Our Next Vacation – MSC Cruising

Pixie Dust Fan Podcast Episode 216

Our Next Vacation – MSC Cruising

Carrie and Fran both needed a change of scenery, but the regular Orlando getaway was not working.  Resorts, flights, dates – they just couldn’t get it together.  Then Carrie had a brilliant idea – let’s try a cruise we’ve never done before!  From booking to sailing 3 weeks later, the ladies are sharing their thought process and what surprised them the most about this trip.

Find Francine and Carrie online:

Website: https://PixieDustFan.com

Instagram: @PixieDustFan

Carrie on Instagram: @MuppetCrazy

Facebook: Pixie Dust Fan 

Pixie Dust Fan Facebook group: PixieDustFanGroup

Support Pixie Dust Fan by shopping our affiliates

Find Pixie Dust Fan on YouTube: PixieDustFanSite

 

 

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Can anyone ride the monorail at Walt Disney World?

Can anyone ride the monorail at Walt Disney World?

The short answer is yes, anyone can ride the monorail at Walt Disney World Resort.

Before you start planning your monorail adventures, here are some things you should know about this iconic Disney transportation.

Monorail at Epcot

What is the Disney monorail?

The monorail is an integral part of the transportation system at Walt Disney World and an important part of the original plan for the Magic Kingdom.  Walt Disney’s vision for the resort in Florida was that guests would leave the real world behind when they entered.  The Seven Seas Lagoon separated the guest parking lot from the entrance to Magic Kingdom Park.  When the park opened in 1971, guests parked their cars at the transportation center and had the choice of two different routes to the park; ferry boat or monorail.   This is still in place today if you are arriving by car.

Disney Imagineer Bob Gurr based the design of the Walt Disney World monorail system on the original ones he designed at Disneyland Resort while giving it an updated look.  Bob Gurr is known for his work on all things “motorized” including the Autopia cars, the Haunted Mansion Doom Buggies and the Matterhorn Bobsleds. For more information on the fascinating Bob Gurr – listen to podcast episode 59 where we got to chat with him about his work with Walt Disney.

Monorail with the Contemporary

Where does the monorail go?

The options for guests to ride the monorail are on one of three lines:

  • Magic Kingdom Express Line
  • Resort Line
  • Epcot Line

The Magic Kingdom Express Line brings guests from the Transportation and Ticket Center (TTC) to the Magic Kingdom.  It’s a complete loop that only makes those two stops as is essential for transporting guests at the end of a busy night quickly.

The Resort Line is a full loop that stops at the resorts as well as the TTC and Magic Kingdom.  It runs on a separate parallel track to the Magic Kingdom Express line.  The Resort Line stops at Magic Kingdom park, Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort and the Transportation and Ticket Center (TTC).

Disney Resort Monorail

The Epcot Line goes from the TTC to Epcot and back again on a continuous loop.

While these lines operate primarily as transportation between the stops, they also offer unique views on the journey!

Who Can Ride the monorail at Walt Disney World?

Now, let’s get to the main question: Can anyone ride the monorail? The answer is “absolutely” at Walt Disney World.  The monorail is open to all guests, regardless of whether you’re staying at a Disney Resort, have a park ticket, or are just visiting for the day. Since the stops are outside of the theme parks, you do not require a ticket to ride.  The monorail is one of the few Disney attractions that you can enjoy without needing theme park tickets.

It is important to note that this is NOT the case in Disneyland California where the monorail stop is INSIDE of the park. You must have valid park admission in Disneyland to ride.

Figment and Monorail

Are the Disney monorails accessible?

The Walt Disney World monorails are incredibly convenient for people with mobility devices such as wheelchairs and scooters.  When the train pulls in to the station and the doors open, a Cast Member will provide a ramp for you to drive right in!  For those with electric mobility devices it can be difficult maneuvering your scooter in to the narrow spot on the bus, but the monorail doesn’t have that challenge.  The Disney Skyliner also offers a ‘drive on’ experience as well.  For information on renting an electric scooter (ECV) see my blog post here.

Monorail Orange

Where do you get on the monorail?

  • If you are resort guests staying at one of the 3 deluxe resorts on the monorail line there will be a monorail station right inside of your hotel!
  • If you are arriving by car to the Magic Kingdom, you will park at the TTC and board the monorail there.
  • If you’ve got the park hopper option on your tickets it is the best way to hop between Epcot and Magic Kingdom – you transfer at the TTC between lines.

Basically anyone can get on at any stop and go for a ride!  Sometimes it’s fun to do the resort loop and get off to look in the gift shops at the resorts or grab a bite to eat.

Hours of operation:

  • The resort and express monorail begin operating 30 minutes prior to when Magic Kingdom park opens and stop one hour after Magic Kingdom park closes.
  • The EPCOT line begins operating 30 minutes prior to when EPCOT opens and stops 2 hours after EPCOT closes.

Monorail inside the contemporary

Tips for your monorail adventures:

  • The monorail is incredibly busy at park opening and closing and you will experience long lines.  If you’re riding for fun, try off peak times for the best experience.
  • Do NOT lean on the doors.  Keep children away from the doors and if possible, get a seat and enjoy the views from the windows.
  • When entering the parks and/or monorails, be prepared for security checks.  Each guest will walk through detectors and be subject to bag searches.  If you have an umbrella in. your bag or glasses case – hold them out in front of you when you walk through the detectors for smoother screening.
  • The Monorail lines are continuous loops, which means you can stay on board and enjoy multiple loops around the resort if you like.  If you miss your stop – it will come back again!
  • The monorail is fun, but it doesn’t go everywhere! For example, there is no monorail access for Disney Springs, the water parks, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom or many of the Disney resorts on property.  Know where you’re going and map out the most efficient transportation options to get there.  

The monorail is such an iconic piece of Walt Disney World history and is an impressive sight for Disney guests.  I don’t care how old you are, the first time you see the monorail go through the Contemporary Resort, it’s beyond cool!  I could sit at the Contempo Cafe and watch it all day.

Have you been on the monorail?  What did you love about it?

Podcast 215 – Our thoughts on Once Upon A Studio

Pixie Dust Fan Podcast Episode 215

Our Thoughts – Once Upon A Studio

After getting a preview of Once Upon a Studio at Destination D23 the ladies were anxious to see it again.  As soon as it was available on Disney Plus they both watched it multiple times and agreed, it was everything a Disney fan wanted as a tribute to 100 years.  On this episode of the podcast they are sharing their thoughts about the characters, the interactions and some fun details that you might not know!

Show Notes:

D23 Podcast was episode 212 for the full review of the event.

Find Francine and Carrie online:

Website: https://PixieDustFan.com

Instagram: @PixieDustFan

Carrie on Instagram: @MuppetCrazy

Facebook: Pixie Dust Fan 

Pixie Dust Fan Facebook group: PixieDustFanGroup

Support Pixie Dust Fan by shopping our affiliates

Find Pixie Dust Fan on YouTube: PixieDustFanSite

Podcast editing by Anna Cooper

 

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Are backpacks allowed in Walt Disney World parks?

When you’re planning your trip to Walt Disney World, you inevitably begin to think about what kind of bags you will need to bring.  You automatically start thinking about your suitcases, your passport holder, your carry on – all of the things that you’ll need to get there.  But what about once you arrive?

Are you allowed to bring your backpack to the Disney parks?

The short answer is yes, backpacks are allowed in Walt Disney World.

There are specific requirements for what is allowed and you should always check here for the official rules of the Disney bag policy.  The official rules include dimensions so that they can limit the size to be more personal use vs full suitcase.  In the list you will also find all of the things you should NOT put in your bag such as glass containers, extendable selfie sticks, drones or folding chairs as you will be denied entry to the parks with any of these items.

Now that we know backpacks are allowed in the parks, is it a good idea to bring one?  It all depends on how you’re going to experience the parks, what attractions you’re going to go on and how much you want to carry.

Let me tell you about my Disney park bag.  I actually carry 2 bags when I go to the Disney theme parks.

I always have with me a crossbody type of bag (it used to be a fanny pack back in the day and I hear they’re back in style!).  This smaller bag carries my wallet, lip balm, cell phone, portable charger and hand sanitizer.  I love the easy access of the bag for my items that I use the most, including my favourite credit card (ok maybe it’s not great that I have quick access to pull that out!).  You can see my bag in most of my Photopass pictures since I rarely take it off.  When I’m heading to Disney Springs or just out to the resorts in the evening, I always have this bag with me.

In addition to my crossbody bag I have a sling one that I carry on my back with the bigger things that I don’t need to access as often.  In here I carry the larger items like my own water bottles (my Swell and an extra bottle usually), a hair brush, medication, poncho or umbrella.  In the summer months I might also have my cooling towel in there until it’s time to use it.  You are permitted to bring your own food and snacks in to the park as well, so if I have any I keep them in here.  I would put some of the best backpacks up against my sling bag because it’s lighter and I’m not tempted to fill it with “extra” stuff I won’t use.  It’s just big enough for what I need to carry around the parks.

Pixie Dust Fan Disney Park Bag

Both of my bags are not water proof – but are water resistant.  It helps a little on the water rides or when there’s a light rainfall, but generally I rely on the umbrella and poncho to keep things dry.  Remember you need to take your umbrella OUT of your bag when going through the security checks and hold it out straight in front of you.  It isn’t a huge deal if you don’t, but the scanners won’t know what it is and you will have to go for secondary screening.   That is another benefit of the sling bag instead of the larger bags it that it makes it easier for security personnel to inspect vs a bag with 12 zipper pockets.

The other benefit to the sling bag plus the smaller one is that they are a lot more “maneuverable” on rides when you need to fit them in to different spots.  While my roller coaster days are generally done, I know that my bags fit easily at my feet on rides like Expedition Everest at Disney’s Animal Kingdom or Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster at Hollywood Studios.  I just like to wrap the slings around my legs to keep them in place.  Tron over at the Magic Kingdom has free lockers provided since there really isn’t anywhere to store ANY size bag on that ride vehicle.

Expedition Everest at Animal Kingdom

I can get away with just 2 bags because I don’t have any young children with me anymore.  When you’re traveling with a diaper bag and young kids, the strollers come in handy so that you’re less concerned with the weight of the bag.  Just a reminder not to leave any personal items in your stroller or bag when you park it to visit an attraction.  While it is the happiest place, things can easily go missing if left unattended.

Lockers at Disney Animal Kingdom

The goal in my mind is to bring as little from your hotel room to the parks as possible.  If there are things that you must bring but don’t want to carry around all day, there are lockers available at each park entrance where you can store your items in case you need them.  Just remember at the end of the day to go back for them!

What sort of bag to you take when you visit the parks?  Let me know what kind and what you carry inside!

Podcast 214 – It’s PUZZLE time!

Pixie Dust Fan Podcast Episode 214

It’s PUZZLE time!

Carrie has been talking about this puzzle competition for MONTHS!  It has been her pixie dust on every episode since she signed up, she was so excited.  Now Carrie and Glenda are sharing their experience at their very first puzzle competition.  How did they do?  Did they FINISH the puzzles they were given?  How many competitors are there at one of these?  Find out on this episode!

Show Notes:

Puzzles Canada:  https://www.puzzlescanada.ca

Canadian Jigsaw Puzzle Association Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/672995323505989/

Karen Puzzles YouTube channel:  https://www.youtube.com/c/KarenPuzzles

Find Francine and Carrie online:

Website: https://PixieDustFan.com

Instagram: @PixieDustFan

Carrie on Instagram: @MuppetCrazy

Facebook: Pixie Dust Fan 

Pixie Dust Fan Facebook group: PixieDustFanGroup

Support Pixie Dust Fan by shopping our affiliates

Find Pixie Dust Fan on YouTube: PixieDustFanSite

Podcast editing by Anna Cooper

 

Don’t forget to sign up to stay in touch with Pixie Dust Fan news!

FuelRod at Walt Disney World – Your Portable Charger

The Fuel Rod is one of my ‘must have’ items when I visit Walt Disney World.  It is in my bag at all times when I am visiting the Disney parks.

One of my biggest challenges at Walt Disney World has always been my phone battery life. Taking videos and photos, posting on social media, and using the My Disney Experience app for Disney Genie, checking wait times and mobile ordering drains my phone’s battery.  Some days my phone would barely make through the afternoon without going in to “low battery” mode from the full charge I started the day with!

You can charge your phone here too!

​There are places in the parks that you can charge your mobile device if needed.  One spot that has some great access to charging stations is over near the Tangled washrooms in the Magic Kingdom.  There you will find  are some very cute little tree stumps with ports to charge your phone and/or plug in your Electric Scooter (ECV).  You can find access to power if you need to plug in, but for me that just isn’t convenient for my phone.  I want to be able to charge on the go and not have to sit in one spot.  That’s the big benefit of portable chargers.

I had purchased a portable phone charger from Amazon, and that served me well for a bit – but I had to remember to recharge it up every night when I got back to the hotel room.  While these other chargers are helpful on other vacations, there is a better option for my Disney trips.

The FuelRod kit is $30 USD + tax and available at many locations throughout Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort.

Inside of the Fuel Rod package you will find:

  • One fully charged portable phone charger
  • One 3.5” USB to micro-USB cable (for most Android devices)
  • One USB C Adapter (needed for some Android devices)
  • One 3.5” Apple Lightning to USB cable (for iPhone generations 5+)

Having that first fully charged FuelRod enables you to charge your phone immediately after purchase.  The convenience of it vs the portable battery you can buy on Amazon is the free unlimited swaps at no additional cost.

Contemporary Resort FuelRod Station

Contemporary Resort FuelRod Station

I always carry my own charging cable to plug in to the FuelRod USB port so that it’s long enough to keep the FuelRod in my bag while my phone is out.  The cables that come in the kit are great, but they aren’t long enough for me to use my phone and charge at the same time.

You probably never noticed the FuelRod Kiosks on Disney property before, but now you’ll be looking for them.  The machines are actually themed depending on their location, check out the pictures to see the different looks.  While they’re all the same shape and operate the same way – they do look a little different at each location.

Animal Kingdom FuelRod Station

If you are heading the theme parks want to make sure that your cell phones are always charged, this is the answer for you.  You could buy 1 to share with your family because the unlimited free swaps means that you always have access to a fresh battery.  Just make sure you stop by to swap it out when you see one of the FuelRod stations – while there are a lot of them, they aren’t always close when you NEED it.  I got caught last trip I should have stopped in the store at Epcot on my way out via International Gateway and of course the ONLY one was at the Boardwalk.  That wasn’t where I was going!  I waited until I got to Disney Springs to swap it out instead.

Coronado Springs FuelRod Station

You can check on the Disney site for a list of FuelRod locations here for Walt Disney World and here for Disneyland.
View my YouTube short here on how easy it is to swap them!

There was some talk about a fee for swaps some time ago and a class action lawsuit, but that went away as quickly as it appeared.

How do you keep your phones charged?

The Best Breakfast Options in Walt Disney World

They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day, why should it be any different on vacation?  The question is – what are the BEST breakfast options in Walt Disney World?

As you would guess, there isn’t just one – and the answer isn’t simple.  It depends on the food you like and your plans for the day.  Do you want a heavy or light breakfast? Are you in a rush?  Do you only want healthy or are you happy to have all sugary goodness?

There are so many different options for breakfast on your Walt Disney World vacation that we need to break it down in to categories.

  1. Order groceries / snacks from a local service to have ‘on the go’ stuff for the morning
  2. Eat at a quick service location or grab a snack in the park
  3. Have a full sit-down meal at a table service place (bonus for characters in attendance!)

Pretty broad categories aren’t they?  There are also many options within each category, so to make it easy I’ll give you my personal top picks for each.

Order Groceries

Having something in your room to grab and go is a great idea for people that want to be at the park before it opens and don’t want to be up extra early for a breakfast reservation.  They either bring snacks from home or order some to be delivered to the resort (read our blog here for the service we use).  Maybe some granola bars that they might even eat on the bus on the way to the Disney parks.  While each resort room has at least a ‘beverage cooler’ – they aren’t really big.  I would suggest the majority of your snacks shouldn’t need to be refrigerated if you plan on keeping some drinks in the cooler too.  If you’re staying at a 1+ bedroom villa with a full kitchen, this of course isn’t an issue since you have a full size fridge.

Quick Service Restaurants

Disney uses the term “quick service” to describe a location where you essentially seat yourself.  It’s like a ‘fast food’ location where you order on the app or at a counter and then take your food to your table on your own.

There are SO many quick service locations throughout Walt Disney World and EVERY resort has one.  Some are better than others, but when it comes to breakfast – there are a few menu items that deserve a call out.

The Bounty Platter

1.  The Bounty Platter

This breakfast has a few different variations around property depending on where you get it, but it’s fundamentally the same.  Scrambled eggs, meat (either sausage or bacon) and potatoes (usually tots or hash).  Sometimes it comes with a waffle, biscuit or fruit.  This is my go-to breakfast and bonus points when I get it at Disney’s Contemporary Resort where I can watch the monorails go by.  It’s the perfect way to start my day and I have never had a bounty platter I didn’t like!

2.  Fresh Fruit Waffle Sandwich

This is a great breakfast treat at Sleepy Hollow in the Magic Kingdom – full of fun fruit and chocolate.. who wouldn’t want this??  It’s a great spot to hit mid-morning in the Magic Kingdom after you’ve done a few attractions.  There is only outdoor seating here (and not much of it) so you will most likely need to eat on the go.

3.  The Cinnamon Roll

Yes you can get cinnamon rolls around property, but the gigantic ones found at Gaston’s Tavern in the Magic Kingdom are legendary.  You could easily split it with someone else if you felt like sharing, but no shame if you want it all to yourself!  You can ask for extra icing too – just to make sure it’s all coated.  It’s the perfect amount of sugar to kick start your day.

4.  Breakfast bowls

This is a yummy treat that I’ve found at a few different locations including Woody’s Lunch Box in Hollywood Studios.  Tater tots (or potato barrels they sometimes call them), gravy, eggs and green onions – so good.  It totally hits the spot, but I wouldn’t do Slinky right after eating it!

Breakfast Bowl at Woodys Lunchbox

Breakfast Bowl at Woodys Lunchbox

5.  Starbucks anything

Yep – any of the pastries from the Starbucks or the breakfast sandwiches are good to grab and go.  I find this is the preferred choice of the adults in the party that really need their Starbucks fix to get going.

6.  Mickey Waffles

I couldn’t do this list without including a breakfast of Mickey-shaped waffles!  You can find waffle breakfasts at many of the quick service locations and it usually comes with a protein like bacon or sausage.  Sometimes they aren’t even all Mickey!

Minnie Waffles at Walt Disney World

If you look closely you will see they aren’t all Mickey!

Table Service Restaurants

A table service restaurant is where you are seated by a cast member and the food is ordered via a server and brought to you by them as well.  Moderate and deluxe resorts have table service restaurants where the value resorts do not.  You can also find many inside the theme parks and at Disney Springs.

Some of my favourite table service breakfast spots:

1.  Topolino’s Terrace

This is a fantastic breakfast spot where you get to dine with the characters as well!  Located at Disney’s Riviera Resort, it’s an easy trip on the Skyliner after breakfast to go to Epcot or Hollywood Studios.  What I like about this one is that it’s not a buffet (as so many character meals are) and the food is made to order.  The show is terrific and the food is yummy. I once did this character breakfast solo and enjoyed it just as much as I did with my friends.

2.  Steakhouse 71

Located in the Contemporary Resort this is a little hidden gem.  The menu is varied and offers choices for everyone,  While this post is about breakfast, I’m happy to report that all 3 meals are terrific at Steakhouse 71.

 3.  Kona Cafe

I feel like the Disney community would be incredibly angry if I didn’t include this one.  Kona at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort is famous for the Tonga Toast dish which is Banana-stuffed Sourdough French Toast rolled in Cinnamon-Sugar.  Sounds amazing, but if I’m honest, I don’t love it.

I enjoy breakfast at Kona and normally get the eggs and protein – but not the Tonga Toast.  I have friends though that think it’s amazing, and this is why the “best” is so subjective!

Tonga Toast

Tonga Toast

4.  Chef Mickey’s, Crystal Palace and Tusker House

Alright – this is where the Disney community has hyped up these locations (and rightfully so) but the food isn’t the draw here, it’s the characters.  The breakfast buffet experience may differ slightly across locations, but that really isn’t what you’re there for.

Chef Mickey’s is of course hosted by the main mouse himself and is located inside of Disney’s Contemporary Resort.  This makes a great choice for the Magic Kingdom days where it’s a short walk to the park after breakfast.  

The Crystal Palace is inside of the Magic Kingdom and is hosted by Winnie The Pooh and friends

Tusker House is located in Disney’s Animal Kingdom and makes for a great option to start your day at that park where Donald Duck and his friends entertain.

Fresh Fruit Plate

As you can imagine there are so many breakfast options that everyone will have a different opinion what the best one is.  As you can tell, I’m more of a ‘quick service’ gal vs a sit-down meal at breakfast although I do enjoy them occasionally.

Whether you choose to start your day with a character dining experience, a granola bar on the go or a bounty platter, they are all a ‘good breakfast’ to you.  I often see people online being upset before they even GO on vacation because they didn’t get a reservation at Cinderella’s Royal Table.  While it’s a unique experience, it isn’t everything and will not make or break the trip.  Enjoy the delicious food, the experiences and the magic wherever you go.

Did I miss any of your favourites??  Let me know in the comments below!

Top 11 Reasons To Take A Solo Trip To Walt Disney World

Top 11 reasons to take a solo trip to Walt Disney World

Magic Kingdom Walking Down Main Street

When most people think of a Walt Disney World vacation they think of a “family trip”.  The most magical destination has traditionally been marketed to kids and families, but does that mean others aren’t welcome?  Will they not have a good time?

There are a lot of different posts on social media making fun of “Disney Adults” and those who visit without kids, but honestly – I don’t understand the issue!  It’s the most magical place, why should it be JUST for kids?  Aren’t we ALL entitled to a little escape?  Some happiness and Pixie Dust?  Well I think YES!  Not only should you do it – I’m here to give you 11 reasons why it’s even MORE fun when you go solo!

First I have to make the caveat – I LOVE vacationing with my family and friends, it’s a ton of fun to have people with you that can share the experiences with.  It’s also AMAZING to see Disney through the eyes of a child, there is nothing quite like it.  While I really do enjoy my time on vacation with family and friends – it is a whole other vacation when I’m there solo.

Here are my top 11 reasons to do a solo Disney trip!

1.  Go when you want

Picking vacation days at the right time of the year and flight times that work for everyone can be a challenge.  Sometimes it’s hard to coordinate work, school, social commitments etc.  Going solo means you go when it’s best for YOU!  You can book the trip as early or late as you’d like.  Want to book flights a week before or a year before?  No problem!  Seat selection may not be important to you if you’re solo and want to just wing it.  Want to go for 3 days or 10?  The choice is totally YOURS.

The other benefit along the lines of going when you want is going to the PARKS when you want.  You can choose to sleep in or get up and arrive for rope drop.  Are you a night owl that wants to stay till the very end?  Or would you like to be in bed before the fireworks?  You get to arrive and leave whenever you would like, the choice is yours.

Arrival time is up to you!

2.  Stay where you want

With all of the resorts at Walt Disney World it is difficult to make the decision of where to stay.  Being solo you don’t have anyone to split the cost (see point 8 below) but you do get to pick a Disney resort that makes sense for YOU!  The room, the drawers, the bed and bathroom are all YOURS, no sharing here!  If you want to have the TV on all night or set the temperature to frozen, there is no one to complain.  You would be surprised how much more enjoyable a room is when you get to set the temperature to your preference.

3.  You get to really wander the parks

When you visit the parks solo for the first time, you’ll realize what a different experience it is to ‘wander’.  You don’t realize when you’re with other people how often you are trying to find the consensus of where you’re going and what you’re doing.  When you’re alone in the parks you realize you get to be free to just go where the mood takes you!

Remy in the bench at EPCOT

I have had a great time wandering the parks and just stopping to look at things I never noticed before.  I didn’t have to say to anyone “hang on a sec” while I admired something in a window or if I wanted to spontaneously get off of the train at the stop we pulled in to because I wanted a closer look at something – I could.  For a Disney fan this is a big plus to just stop and look at things that no one else cares about.

4.  Ride (or don’t ride) whatever attractions you want

It’s all about you!  Ride the Carousel of Progress 3 times in a row?  No problem!  Don’t ride a single thing?  You can do that!  I love the freedom of wandering through the park and seeing the Tiki Room or Country Bears going in for a showing and just zipping in at the last minute.

Enjoying some A/C in the Tiki Room!

I get to go at my own pace and just enjoy everything that I want to see – and nothing that I don’t!  When you’re visiting with a larger group you are constantly trying to make sure you are taking everyone’s wants in to consideration.  You can enjoy your favorite rides as many times as you like without any eye rolls!

5.  Don’t wait in long lines for some popular attractions!

Have you heard of a single-rider line?  Some of the longest waits like Test Track, Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run,  Expedition Everest and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster have single rider lines.  Even for some attractions that do not have a designated “single rider” line – they will call out for any parties of 1 when they’re trying to fill a vehicle.  In these cases you get moved up the line quickly just for being alone.

6.  Eat where you want

Walt Disney World is usually pretty good about having something for everyone at a restaurant, but it is much easier to find your favourite menus when you don’t have to consider another palate.  If you are a seafood lover or a mean and potatoes – you get to pick where you want to eat.  Making an advanced dining reservation is still advisable for a party of 1, but sometimes it’s easier to get last minute too.  What is it like dining at sit-down restaurants alone?  It’s not as scary as you think.  I have even done a character meal by myself and loved every minute of it.  You can take your time eating and really savour the delicious food you’re having especially at the table service restaurants, it can be very relaxing.

For the quick service restaurants it’s so much easier to find a SEAT when you’re there by yourself.  Have you ever tried to find seats for a large group at meal time in a quick service?  Ummm,… It’s stressful!  I once left the Magic Kingdom to take the monorail to the Grand Floridian for lunch because I wanted to try a new sandwich on the menu there.  It was delicious and totally spur of the moment.

7.  Snack when and where you want

Ok – I know I talk about food in number 6, but snacking is a whole other thing!  Fancy some ice cream at 11am instead of lunch?  You can choose that.  Want to buy 3 cupcakes from the Main Street bakery to eat for breakfast the next morning?  No judgement from anyone.  Being able to stop when I’m hungry and keep going when I’m not is a huge benefit to a solo vacation.

8.  Save on costs

You’re only paying for 1 person – so it is cheaper in every aspect except the hotel if you would normally split it with another person.  The value resorts are perfect for saving a little as a solo adult (my favourite is Pop Century).  You only need one park ticket, one drink/snack/meal, one lightning lane or Genie plus – that’s it.  Somehow a $6 cupcake doesn’t sound so bad when you only have to buy one of them.

Dole Whip Cupcake

9.  Change your mind whenever you want

This is a big one for me and a complete revelation on my first solo trip – I could EASILY change my mind about things during the day and no one cared.  I could go to one of the Epcot festivals and decide it was too busy, so I take my park hopper ticket and go to Animal Kingdom for a stroll through the trails.  Whatever good idea I have, I can do it.  At the end of the day it’s all about what made me happy and how much time I spend in each park is totally up to me.

10.  Get as many photos as you want

I LOVE getting Memory Maker and I stop and pose for pics with all the photopass photographers I see!  They typically make me do stupid poses when I’m alone and they are always fun pics to share.  I’m not always good at selfies – so this really helps.  My travel companions aren’t always ‘game’ for getting all the pics.

It takes patience to wait for everyone to get out of the picture

I also get to stop and TAKE the pictures I want.  Sometimes I stand and wait for the Monorail to go by or the crowds to move so I can get the picture I hoped for.  I am not concerned about spending time just standing around because that’s one of my favorite things to do, stand around and people watch.

11.  It’s a safe place for a solo trip

I always feel safe at Walt Disney World – but that’s not to say that you abandon common sense.  Obviously you should follow all of the standard safety tips you do anywhere in the world, but comparatively speaking – it’s a pretty safe place to be.  There are always people around, guests and cast members – you would REALLY have to go out of your way to be alone in an unsafe spot here.  No matter what – always be vigilant, but you can have FUN!

I know that so many people have asked me about solo adventures and the best way to do a Walt Disney World trip alone and I can tell you from experience just do it!  It seems so scary when you’re thinking about it, but I promise you that it is so much fun.

The first time I was at Walt Disney World alone I was there for just 2 days after a trip with some friends.  I’m very comfortable with ‘alone time’ at home, but I wasn’t sure what it would be like in my favourite place with no one to talk to.  What I noticed was that there were so many more ‘solo’ people I had never noticed before.

Are you ever REALLY alone in Walt Disney World? I’m always making friends!

I was standing waiting to go in to Be Our Guest for my first meal alone when I started chatting with someone else who happened to be there alone too.  It really is quite common because you could be there with other people and just decided to go your separate ways for a few hours.

No one knows what your situation is and quite honestly, no one cares!  Others are there enjoying their family vacations or solo trips and aren’t bothered by what anyone else is doing.

If you’ve been considering a solo trip to Walt Disney World – do it!  You might be surprised how different the parks and resorts feel when you’re there by yourself.  I once spent a month there (primarily alone) and it was one of the BEST trips of my life.  Again (for friends and family that might be reading this) – I do enjoy visiting with others, it’s just a different experience.

Have you done a trip solo?  Or are you thinking of one?

Let me know in the comments what you loved about it.

If you want more information listen to podcast 197 where we chat about it with our friend Katie.

Podcast 213 – Top tips for a new Disney Pin Trader

Pixie Dust Fan Podcast Episode 213

Top tips for a new Disney pin trader

Carrie and Fran are joined by their friend Jay who is sharing some great tips for brand new Disney pin traders.  While the ladies have covered some things with pin trading before, Jay is brining a whole new view that is really designed to help someone who just wants to get started.  His tips are exactly what you need to get started in this fantastic Disney parks activity! 

Find Jay also on episode 181 where he joined us with his wife Chantele and told us all about their Disney wedding! 

Find Francine and Carrie online:

Website: https://PixieDustFan.com

Instagram: @PixieDustFan

Carrie on Instagram: @MuppetCrazy

Facebook: Pixie Dust Fan

Pixie Dust Fan Facebook group: PixieDustFanGroup

Support Pixie Dust Fan by shopping our affiliates

Find Pixie Dust Fan on YouTube: PixieDustFanSite

Podcast editing by Anna Cooper

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Renting an electric scooter (ECV) at Walt Disney World

If you (or a member of your party) want to visit Walt Disney World but are worried about mobility issues, the answer might be easier than you think.

Many people have mobility challenges in their everyday lives that they can manage well at home.  They might choose to only go short distances that don’t require much walking, or they may use a walker or a wheelchair to get around at home.  They may use a mobility scooter, but aren’t able to take it with them when they travel.  How could someone with these challenges enjoy a Walt Disney World Resort vacation?  By renting a device that will allow them to experience the Disney parks without worrying about the long distances of walking the entire day!

Rent from an outside vendor or at the parks?

If you plan to only rent just for a day or two to get around a specific park then renting at one of the Walt Disney World theme parks might be the route to take.  There are some challenges with renting the Disney ECVs though:

  • ECVs are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • Reservations are not accepted, and quantities are limited.
  • ECVs may not be removed from the destination where they were rented.

If leaving one theme park and visiting another, you can present your rental receipt with your deposit to secure another ECV on the same day at a second park if one is available.  At $50 USD per day to rent (+ a refundable deposit) – the price can quickly add up for Walt Disney World scooter rentals.  If you think you will need it for more than 1 day, it is so much easier to rent from a third-party vendor.  Most offer free delivery and you don’t need to have a backup plan if there are no scooters available at the parks.

ECV Wait List MK

The featured provider for Walt Disney World is ScooterBug, they have an agreement with Disney that they can drop off and pick up your equipment at your Disney Resort hotels bell services without you being there. Other companies such as Buena Vista Scooters offer some great products and different options, but you do have to arrange to meet them for pick up.  Given the ease of use, my personal experience of late has been with ScooterBug.

Due to medical issues in my family, my sister needed to have an electric scooter to visit Walt Disney World.  While at home she manages short distances (or with a walker), there was no way for her to experience the parks with her limited mobility.   Given this is not a device she uses at home, there is a bit of a learning curve for driving one!

When you get the scooter the first thing I advise is to practice driving it around at the resort on the slowest speed.  Get a good handle on how to maneuver it before venturing in to spaces with lots of people or tight spaces.

Bus or Monorail

Disney Transportation:

Getting around on the Monorail, Skyliner and Friendship Boats is fairly straight forward.  Driving in/out of the vehicles is not difficult and the cast members are always offering advice and encouragement.  Getting on the Disney buses is a whole other story!  When the buses pull up they load the ECVs first.  The spot on the bus is narrow and can be difficult to get in/out of if you’re not an expert driver.  Thankfully every bus driver we encountered was able to help ‘drive’ it in to position.  They lock it up with you on it and you have your own seat for the ride.  Each bus can handle a limited number of scooters so if you’re going for rope drop you may need to wait a little bit, so just be prepared.

Disney Bus Scooter spot

Disney Parks / Disney Springs:

It is very accessible everywhere you go inside of the parks.  Keep on the lookout for ramps to get in/out of the shops and up/down off of the pavement and sidewalks.  For the attractions it is important to note which ones require you to transfer from the ECV vs where you can stay in it.  Most attraction queues are wide enough that you can drive the scooter all the way through them.  On others such as the Jungle Cruise, they will direct you to a different loading area.

Using the scooter:

This is the scooter that my sister rented from ScooterBug, it’s the same one we have rented a few times.

The battery life was great and lasted quite a while, and the scooter comes with 2 batteries.

Two batteries scooter

We charged the battery every night in our hotel room so that we always had 2 fully charged batteries for the day.  You can bring the power chord with you as well, there’s always a spot to plug in at the parks if you need a boost.  See this one near the Tangled bathrooms at the Magic Kingdom.

Magic Kingdom Scooter Charging

Just make sure when you get in your scooter you set the speed to ‘turtle’ and not ‘rabbit’ to start out.

Do you have mobility issues?  How do you plan to cope at Walt Disney World?

Podcast 212 – Destination D23 in Walt Disney World

Pixie Dust Fan Podcast Episode 212

Destination D23 Event in Walt Disney World – 2023

After all the challenge and excitement of getting their tickets, the Destination D23 event was finally here!  Carrie and Fran travelled to Walt Disney World for all of the fun, announcements, gifts and “Disney Celebrity” sightings!  On this episode they are sharing their thoughts and insights in to the weekend and some of their personal highlights. 

Find Francine and Carrie online:

Website: https://PixieDustFan.com

Instagram: @PixieDustFan

Carrie on Instagram: @MuppetCrazy

Facebook: Pixie Dust Fan

Pixie Dust Fan Facebook group: PixieDustFanGroup

Support Pixie Dust Fan by shopping our affiliates

Find Pixie Dust Fan on YouTube: PixieDustFanSite

 

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Is there a Starbucks Inside Disney’s Hollywood Studios?

So many people are loyal to their Starbucks coffee and that early morning caffeine might be a requirement for getting through a full day in the Disney parks.  If you have little ones, you know that you may need to go back later in the day for a second cup.

Is there a Starbucks Inside Disney’s Hollywood Studios?

Yes there is, but it isn’t called Starbucks.  The place to get your favourite Starbucks drinks is called the Trolley Car Cafe.

There is actually a place to get your fix in each of the 4 Disney theme parks, and none are called Starbucks.

They all have different names:

1.  The Trolley Car Cafe is in Hollywood Studios

2.  The Main Street Bakery is in the Magic Kingdom

3.  Connections Cafe in Epcot

4.  Creature Comforts in Disney’s Animal Kingdom

5.  Bonus – there are 2 Disney Springs locations

The one in Hollywood Studios is themed after a classic trolley car station and is located on the right side of Hollywood Boulevard as you reach Sunset Boulevard.  If you hit the Brown Derby you’ve gone too far.

What you need to know about the Trolley Car Cafe

1.  First things first – the Carrot Cake cookie

This thing has been through some changes over the years, but it’s absolutely worth trying in whatever current form it takes on.  It’s basically two pieces of carrot cake with cream cheese frosting.  Sometimes it’s called a whoopie pie and sometimes a cookie, but either way it’s delicious.

2.  Use the Starbucks app

If you search for ‘Starbucks’ in the My Disney Experience App you’ll find the two at Disney Springs that are actually called Starbucks.  If you want to find the ones in the Walt Disney World parks, you need to use the Starbucks app for the in-park Starbucks locations.

3.  It’s a great place to grab a breakfast bite

They offer some great breakfast sandwiches, pastry items and wraps to go with your favorite Starbucks drinks, but beware of the long lines!  When the park first opens (especially if you’re doing rope drop) the lines can be LONG.  While we are used to lines on our Disney vacation, they do move relatively quickly.  If you’re a creature of habit and need your fix – it’s worth the wait.

4.  Use your app in store

The Starbucks app works in the stores for your Starbucks gift cards, but mobile ordering is not available at any of the park locations.  You can mobile order at the 2 locations in Disney Springs – West Side and Marketplace Area.

5.  Disney gift cards work too

I have yet to find anywhere on Disney property that won’t accept my gift card and the Starbucks is no exception.  Obviously your credit card is good anywhere – they make it really easy to spend your money.

6.  Don’t forget to buy your mug to say you’ve been there

While Disney mugs make for such a great souvenir, the Starbucks “been there” mugs are next level.  Take a look in the shop to see if they have any for purchase.

7. Check the special treats during the holidays

They always have something tasty and new during the holidays, and it’s always good.

Notice I didn’t talk at all about the coffee?  That’s because I drink tea.  While I wish I liked coffee and could get a cold brew caffeine hit on a hot day, it just isn’t for me.  The Starbucks and Joffrey’s kiosks are really the only place for me to get a decent cup of tea other than the one I make myself with my kettle in my room (but I digress, that’s a whole other story).

​Will you be lining up for your favorite Starbucks beverages on your next Disney vacation?

Podcast 211 – We’re not gonna make it!

Pixie Dust Fan Podcast Episode 211

We’re not gonna make it!

Carrie and Fran aren’t gonna make it!

Find out where they’re at and what’s to come on this quick episode!

 

Find Francine and Carrie online:

Website: https://PixieDustFan.com

Instagram: @PixieDustFan

Carrie on Instagram: @MuppetCrazy

Facebook: Pixie Dust Fan

Pixie Dust Fan Facebook group: PixieDustFanGroup

Support Pixie Dust Fan by shopping our affiliates

Find Pixie Dust Fan on YouTube: PixieDustFanSite

Podcast editing by Anna Cooper

 

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Best purchase I made at Disney – A Cooling Towel

Have you visited Walt Disney World during the summer months?  While the ‘sunshine state’ is known for sunshine, those summer months can be quite excruciating in the heat.  A hot day isn’t just hot, it feels like you’re walking on the surface of the sun!

With the temperatures in the 30’s and ‘feels like’ even higher, it is incredibly easy to overheat at a Disney park, no matter how much water you drink. I drink a LOT of water to prevent dehydration but it doesn’t combat the increase in my body temperature being outside in the heat.  I try to avoid planning a Disney vacation during the summer months for this very reason, but sometimes it just can’t be helped and I need a trip to Walt Disney World in the summer.

One of my strategies for dealing with the heat on my Disney vacation used to be walking from building to building looking for some air conditioner relief.  It could be an attraction, a store, a restaurant – anywhere indoors where they would have the AC on.  Thankfully they do crank the AC up in the summer months so you can get a chance to bring your body temperature down even for a short while.

Even with all of my strategies, there was one night at Disney’s Animal Kingdom when I felt like I was melting.  I was in one of the shops and I stumbled across the ‘cooling towels’ that I had read about online.  Since the weather said it ‘felt like’ 40 degrees, I knew I had to try ANYTHING to cool down a little.  My friends and I decided to buy the towels and give them a shot.  We knew if we didn’t do something, we were going to have to leave the park or sit in some air conditioning for an hour, we couldn’t take much more heat.

The directions seemed pretty straightforward:

  1. Wet it
  2. Wring it
  3. Snap it

Off to the restrooms we went to wet our towels.  I was concerned because the water from those sinks in the Disney bathrooms isn’t all that cold.  I was sure I was going to end up with a lukewarm towel wrapped around me and then I would just be a damp, hot, cranky parkgoer.

I shouldn’t have worried, this towel was the BEST purchase I made that entire trip. The cooling effect lasted between 90 and 120 minutes for us when we used cool water, a little less if the water was warmer.

The towels aren’t heavy like I expected them to be.  This was my first cooling towel and I was surprised how light it was, even when it was wet.  The only downside (is it even an issue?) is that the towel still has a bit of water in it after you wring it out so your shirt may get a little damp around the collar.

That night and many days after, we didn’t hit a Disney theme park without our towels.  Every time we stopped at a restroom we wet them again – and presto, instant cooling.

Why I have never bought a portable fan?  I am always concerned that it’s just blowing hot air at me and I have a crazy fear of my hair getting stuck in one.  I suppose I could try to add one to my current strategies, but for now, this is the best way for me to stay cool.  I make sure I have my hat (or Mickey ears if you choose) and my cooling towel when I hit the parks.  You can see in this picture below that the Photopass photographer took in Epcot – I’m burnt and have both the hat AND the towel on!

The towels are 15 x 36 inches and come in 2 different colors – blue and pink.  They have some great Mickey Mouse silhouettes on them but you could take it to the Universal parks too.  They are machine washable and available throughout the parks and resorts typically at any time of year.

Have you bought one of the cooling towels?  What did you think?

If you want some of the magic shots from the pictures I posted, check out the reasons you should get Memory Maker for your next trip.

Podcast 210 – Packing for the Disney Wish

Pixie Dust Fan Podcast Episode 210

Packing for the Disney Wish

Carrie and Francine are both going to experience an 3 night sailing on the Disney Wish – but not together!  Find out how they are approaching the packing process and what things they make sure to bring on a short weekend Disney cruise.

Find Francine and Carrie online:

Website: https://PixieDustFan.com

Instagram: @PixieDustFan

Carrie on Instagram: @MuppetCrazy

Facebook: Pixie Dust Fan

Pixie Dust Fan Facebook group: PixieDustFanGroup

Support Pixie Dust Fan by shopping our affiliates

Find Pixie Dust Fan on YouTube: PixieDustFanSite

Podcast editing by Anna Cooper

 

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Podcast 209 – Francine’s Solo Walt Disney World July 2023 Trip Report Part 2

Pixie Dust Fan Podcast Episode 209

Francine’s Walt Disney World July 2023 Trip Report Part 2

In part two of this solo Walt Disney World trip report, Francine shares her experience with Genie Plus, Steakhouse 71 takeout and a dining experience that she was very nervous about.

Find Francine and Carrie online:

Website: https://PixieDustFan.com

Instagram: @PixieDustFan

Carrie on Instagram: @MuppetCrazy

Facebook: Pixie Dust Fan

Pixie Dust Fan Facebook group: PixieDustFanGroup

Support Pixie Dust Fan by shopping our affiliates

Find Pixie Dust Fan on YouTube: PixieDustFanSite

Podcast editing by Anna Cooper

 

Don’t forget to sign up to stay in touch with Pixie Dust Fan news!

Podcast 208 – Francine’s Solo Walt Disney World July 2023 Trip Report Part 1

Pixie Dust Fan Podcast Episode 208

Francine’s Walt Disney World July 2023 Trip Report Part 1

It’s time to buckle down and start talking about this trip!  Francine is sharing the details of her solo trip to Walt Disney World in July 2023.  From an Air Canada flight being oversold to her search for a fuel rod location, there are some great travel tips inside this episode.

Find Francine and Carrie online:

Website: https://PixieDustFan.com

Instagram: @PixieDustFan

Carrie on Instagram: @MuppetCrazy

Facebook: Pixie Dust Fan

Pixie Dust Fan Facebook group: PixieDustFanGroup

Support Pixie Dust Fan by shopping our affiliates

Find Pixie Dust Fan on YouTube: PixieDustFanSite

Podcast editing by Anna Cooper

 

Don’t forget to sign up to stay in touch with Pixie Dust Fan news!

Mears Connect – Airport Transportation at Walt Disney World

How to get to your Disney resort from the Orlando airport using Mears Connect

Mears bus to Disney Resorts at MCO

Mears has been a trusted transportation option for years in Orlando.  They offer taxis, shuttles, limousines and they used to facilitate the Magical Express before Disney discontinued the complimentary program.  It’s no surprise that they would step in to fill the void the Magical Express left behind.

What you need to know about Mears Connect

When I arrive at Orlando International Airport (MCO) – I feel like I have officially started vacation!  I take a customary pic of the distinctive carpet and then roll my carry-on down to baggage claim to collect my checked bag (because let’s face it, I always have a checked bag!).

Orlando Airport Carpet

After collecting my checked bag – it’s time to get to the bus.  In the airport Mears is located in Terminals B & C on Level 1 labelled Ground Transportation.

You can see from where I’m coming off the elevator – it’s allllll the way at the end of the terminal.

Mears connect transportation

As you walk up to the counter you’ll see that reservations are actually NOT required – but they are advisable.  You can make your reservations in advance online (or through your travel agent).  You will need your airline and flight number to make the reservation so that Mears will know when to expect you.  If you haven’t made the reservations in advance, you can do so when you arrive at the podium.

If your reservation was made in advance you will use your QR code in your confirmation email to check in.

Once you check in you will be instructed to a line that is specific for your resort.  They bundle the resorts that are close to each other so your bus will most likely stop at multiple resorts.

Mears connect - MK resorts

Buses depart for each resort area every 20-30 minutes.  Including stops at the resorts you should estimate your travel time to be between 30 and 60 minutes once you’re on the bus.

When your bus arrives they will send you out to meet it.  There is plenty of storage under the bus for luggage and the driver will store your bags.

The stairs to the bus are a bit steep – might be a small problem for some on the way back out.

Once you’re on the bus – it is really a comfy ride with plenty of room.

Mears connect bus - inside

The TVs will keep you entertained with some fun cartoons on the journey and before you know it – you’ll be in Walt Disney World!

For the ride home, you will be given the pick up time for your resort and you meet the bus at the stop where they dropped you off.  There will be signs for the airport shuttle like the one pictured below.

Disney Bus Stop Airport

Resort departure times are scheduled approximately 3 hours prior to the flight departure time for domestic flights and 4 hours prior for international flights.  For me as a Canadian – it’s quite a bit earlier than I would normally arrive, but understandable that they would schedule so much extra time.  I mean you don’t want Mears to be responsible for you missing your flight!

Mears Connect does not generally adjust resort departure times for delays and they will pick you up based on the original flight departure time.  If there are excessive delays or major travel disruptions you should contact Mears customer service.

What if it isn’t a full size Mears bus?

Sometimes – it isn’t a bus you get with Mears, sometimes it is a shuttle.  I assume this happens when they don’t have enough travellers coming in at the same time and they don’t want to make you wait, which is a good thing.  But these shuttles are small and a different experience from the bus.

Mears Shuttle

I have been in the shuttle a couple of times myself and both times there was only 1 other family in the shuttle with me.  It’s important to not that not only are car seats not required on the bus, they are also not required in the smaller fleet.  Mears does have limited access to additional car seats if needed (pictured below).

Mears connect car seat

What else should I know about Mears Connect?

  1. Drivers do not expect tips – but they are appreciated.  Make sure you have some cash with you to give them.
  2. If you cancel more than 24 hours in advance there is no charge.  Within 24 hours of your pick up time and you will be charged the full amount.
  3. If you need to remain in your wheelchair for travel or need to remain in your wheelchair to board the vehicle, make sure you indicate that on your reservation.

Would you recommend Mears Connect to get to your Walt Disney World resort?

Yes, I would.

There are a few things that I consider before booking Mears for myself.  If I have enough people to split the cost or I am in a rush to get to my resort, I will book a private transfer or take a Lyft/Uber.  If I’m by myself, I can’t justify the price of a private transfer vs the individual cost for 1 person on Mears.

Sometimes having this kind of transportation is just easier.  The whole family can go together, you don’t need to worry that your Uber won’t have room for your luggage.  If you are travelling with little ones, I feel like its a little safer on a big bus if a car seat isn’t required on any of the smaller transportation options.

Have you ever taken Mears Connect?

What was your experience like?

 

5 Reasons to use Vacation Grocery Delivery for your next Disney vacation

In the last 15 years or so I haven’t gone to Walt Disney World without ordering groceries in advance.  Each order is a little different depending on what type of room I’m getting (kitchen or not), how much park time I’m planning and who I will be with.

The staples for me are always cases of water, milk and sugar for my tea and sometimes some Airborne tablets since we can’t get them in Canada.  If we have a full kitchen or are planning a lot of ‘resort’ time – I’ll often include snacks, bagels, eggs, fruits and beer/alcohol.  It’s vacation after all!

I have used many different delivery services over the years, but my go-to service is Vacation Grocery Delivery – FL.

Here are my top 5 reasons to use Vacation Grocery Delivery on your trip.

1.  Price

I love the fact that they have a flat rate for delivery and do not mark up the items.  Many other services have a slightly lower delivery fee – but they increase the price for the individual items.  I don’t mind paying a delivery fee if I’m paying the same price for the items as if I was in the store myself.

2.  The website is easy to use

They have many items on their website that you can quickly “add to list” but they also have a custom item selection where you can type in something you want but don’t see.

You can click on a generic item to notate specific brands and flavors where available – it really is a custom experience.

3.  The communication is fantastic

From the time I place my order to the moment it’s delivered – the communication is exactly what I need.

I recieved my confirmation email with a summary of what I ordered, where I could contact them for changes/questions and updates.  Orders that contained alcohol come with specific instructions about how to order and what is required.

When my shopper starts the order I get a text message to open the lines of communication if there are any changes.

I assume they text if there’s something that isn’t available, but I’ve never had them need to contact me for anything.

There is another text that says the order is done and that they got everything.  The final text message is delivery including details about where my order is:

Now I have all the details in the event there is a mix up at the resort. I also know how many ‘pieces’ the delivery is when I call down to Bell Services to have them bring it up.  The one in the fridge is my milk for my tea, and I’m always so excited to have a cup when I arrive.  (I have a kettle in my Owners Locker but that’s another story!)

The wonderful Megan even sent me pictures of my items!

Before my arrival this is the peace of mind I need that it’s all there and waiting for me.  If this isn’t great service and communication – I don’t know what is!

Please note:  Given I am always staying at a Walt Disney World resort they can drop my things at Bell Services (as long as there is no alcohol).  Non-Disney resorts may require you to be there in person when they are delivering.  Check the website for full details.

4.  They generally shop at Publix

Yes there are a lot of places around to get your orders, but Publix has everything you could want and more.  The items are fresh and well stocked and the prices are reasonable.  I have always been happy with the QUALITY of the items I got.

5.  They are good people

The founders Jessica and Landon are a lovely couple who are former cast members.  I had the pleasure of being one of their first guests when they started this adventure after the pandemic and I ordered some groceries to arrive at Saratoga Springs for me.  As they have grown they continue to add team members who are also current & former cast members.  Listen to episode 191 of the podcast where they share their story with us.  They talk about their work as cast members, how they met, how the business started and even some cat rescue work in there!  They really are an incredible duo.

Next trip – reach out to the team at Vacation Grocery Delivery, you will be happy you did!

Still trying to decide on grocery delivery?  Read my 3 things to consider before you place your order.

Character dining alone in Walt Disney World

Can you do a character meal solo at Walt Disney World?

Absolutely you can and why not?  Walt Disney World is my favorite place to dine and experience solo!  In fact, sometimes it’s more fun when you’re alone (shhh – don’t tell my friends I said that!).

I travel to Walt Disney World by myself all the time.  The very first time I tried it I was a bit nervous, but I soon got over that.  I realized that no one cared that I was on an attraction by myself or wandering the park alone, they were all too wrapped up in their own stuff.  Soon I was more than comfortable doing a week (or even a month) by myself.

But character dining?  That’s a whole other thing.  I couldn’t figure out why this was such a big deal to me, I mean I had eaten at table service restaraunts alone before, but this just felt ‘different’.  I was nervous and I couldn’t tell you why.

I decided that for my first character meal solo I would do a table service instead of a buffet.  I just couldn’t figure out how it would work to be going to the buffet between characters and did I leave my stuff at the table?  Would they think I had run out on the bill when I was at the buffet?  These are the things my mind ponders.

Thankfully – I got a reservation at Topolinos!  It was perfect – no buffet and I had only been there once before when it first opened so I was anxious to get back and try it again.

Topolinos Dining Reservation Party of 1

Topolino’s Terrace is at Disney’s Riviera Resort.  Located on the top floor, the views are incredible!  While a character breakfast is offered here, in the evenings it’s signature dining featuring elevated French and Italian inspired cuisine.  It really is a beautiful spot.

I arrived at the desk to check in feeling a bit apprehensive.  As I was checking in there was a bit of a crowd hanging around the podium waiting to be seated.  I whispered “reservation for 1 please”.

When they called my name I asked them if I was seated off to the side (oh please don’t let me be in the middle of the floor!) and she said that I was by the window.  Perfect!  I will have something to look out at.  What a view it was, I was looking out over the hotel and the pool.

Once I was seated I started looking at the menu. There was a nice family at the table next to me that were just finishing up their meal.

I ordered my tea and breakfast (I did the two eggs any style) and soon she brought out the pastries.  Oh my gosh… I am by myself, but here is this big bucket of goodness!  Inside there are Croissants, chocolate chip muffins, and apple cake accompanied by strawberry, butter, and chocolate hazelnut spread.

I tried them all – but the croissant with the chocolate was my favorite (of course!).

By the time I was eating my pastries I had forgotten I was alone.  I was watching the characters interact at the other end of the restaraunt, I was focused on my food and the gorgeous view out of the window.  It was then that I realized that this was no different than anywhere else.  No one cared that I was alone, in fact I don’t think anyone even noticed.  They were all so busy doing their own thing and enjoying themselves that I wasn’t even a blip on their radar.  Funny how nervous we get about these things and realize pretty quickly they they really are no big deal!

As the characters came to my table they were so fun and gave me the full experience.  Daisy was first and she did a little pose before we got a selfie together.  I had a good giggle trying to get us both in the picture.

Next came Minnie and I was getting the hang of the character selfies!  While I cut her ear out of the pic – it worked!

Selfie with Minnie at Topolinos

As Minnie and I were taking our selfie together – one of the cast members came and offered to take our picture together.  How nice – now I have a full picture of Minnie and I!

After my photo op with Daisy and Minnie my breakfast arrived.  It was a good meal and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

There’s something about bacon on vacation isn’t there?  While I was eating the characters stopped visiting tables and did their ‘dance’ around the restaraunt.  It’s so unbelievably cute and they really put on a show.  Donald and Daisy had a whole ‘act’ that they did after where Daisy was acting jealous of Donald taking pictures with the guests.  It was so cute and so funny that I found myself laughing out loud.  I was completely immersed in the experience – again, not caring I was alone.

Next up Donald came to see me and I had him pose for a pic before our selfie – I just love the outfits that they wear here.

Last but not least, Mickey arrived at my table.  By this time there was a new family seated next to me and the father was so kind, he jumped up to offer to take the picture for me which I appreciated. 

I would have been ok (and fully expected) to do selfies with the characters, but I did appreciate the people who helped me get the full pictures.  

I have to say – I enjoyed every minute of that breakfast ALONE.  I think I’m brave enough to even do a buffet now, I mean why not?  I had fun, I laughed and felt that Disney magic just the same as I would had I been with a group of people.  That’s the beauty of Disney, you can enjoy it as a group or solo – it’s whatever YOU make of your vacation!

My friend Katie does Disney solo all the time too – we talked about it on Podcast episode 197 where she shared some of her tips to being in Disney solo.

Would you do a character meal alone?  Which one would you like to try??

Podcast 207 – Welcome home Fran and Carrie has some stories to tell

Pixie Dust Fan Podcast Episode 207

Welcome home Fran and Carrie has some stories to tell

Francine is back from another visit to Walt Disney World in July.  The ladies have some catching up to do before the trip report and Carrie has some stories to tell. From the Cobra Kai celebration turned disappointment to the puzzle story you won’t believe – it’s a wild ride of fun on this episode!

Find Francine and Carrie online:

Website: https://PixieDustFan.com

Instagram: @PixieDustFan

Carrie on Instagram: @MuppetCrazy

Facebook: Pixie Dust Fan

Pixie Dust Fan Facebook group: PixieDustFanGroup

Support Pixie Dust Fan by shopping our affiliates

Find Pixie Dust Fan on YouTube: PixieDustFanSite

Podcast editing by Anna Cooper

 

Don’t forget to sign up to stay in touch with Pixie Dust Fan news!

3 Reasons To Get An Owner’s Locker At Walt Disney World

Travelling to Walt Disney World as often I do, it always bothered me that I kept lugging the same stuff back and forth.  Every trip I would pack the same things to take with me, things that were just used in Disney.  Eventually I just stopped taking them OUT of my suitcase when I got home so I didn’t have to put them back in for the next trip.  Then my sister found the incredible Purple Box.  If you’re a frequent traveller to the Orlando area, you might want to check this out.

So what is this mysterious Purple Box?  It’s a storage container (20” x 22” x 13”) that keeps all of the things we don’t want to bring home, but will need on our next vacation.  Our Owner’s Locker is stored in a secure, climate controlled facility until one of us returns to Walt Disney World.  When we are ready to visit again, we go online and give them the details for our arrival and our locker is waiting for us at bell services when we get there.  It’s that simple.

Our Owner’s Locker provides a convenience that I never anticipated.  I was originally against this idea of paying to store shampoo, but my sister insisted and got one.  Over the years, our storage needs have evolved, but there are 3 major reasons why I now love our Owner’s Locker.

1.  Tea is important to me.

It sounds silly, but I can’t function without a really good cup of tea in the morning.  I don’t like having to go to the food court when I wake up and I need at least one cup of tea before I do anything.  The coffee makers in the rooms might be good for coffee, but they don’t boil water for tea.  In our locker we have a big box of Red Rose tea bags, an electric kettle and sugar.  We order a fresh carton of milk each trip from Vacation Grocery Delivery and voila – I can enjoy a perfect cup of tea in my jammies each morning.  While I’m happy to have my kettle, I know others who store crock-pots, Brita water jugs, and French press coffee pots!

2.  Saying I’m overweight at the airport isn’t fun.

Sunscreen, deodorant, toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, laundry detergent, sandals, running shoes, walking shoes, the list goes on!  All of these things can be pretty heavy and take up valuable room in your suitcase.  The ‘travel size’ toiletries seem to be more expensive so we buy the bigger ones and leave them there for next time.  We leave extra shoes, rain ponchos and hats that we know we won’t need at home.  No need to worry about our suitcases having enough room or being overweight!  Somehow we always have more stuff coming home than we did going there, hmmm – too many souvenirs?  Nah…there is no such thing!

3.  When we don’t finish stuff…

Sometimes we like to sit on the balcony or in the room and have a nightcap, we currently have half a bottle of vodka in our locker that we picked up at the duty free on the way down.  We buy the mix (or get it at the food court) and can enjoy a mixed drink (or two) in our room.  At the end of the week sometimes there is beer, wine or bottles of water left over that we can save for next time.  Okay… truth time – there was only 1 time that we didn’t drink all of the bottles of Rosa Regale we bought ….

Over the years I have come to realize that my sister was right (don’t tell her I said that) and the Owner’s Locker has become a necessity for us.  The convenience is something I didn’t expect and it has saved us money in baggage fees through the airlines.

Do you have an Owner’s Locker?  What would you keep in yours?

 

Podcast 206 – It’s been 4 years of the podcast!

Pixie Dust Fan Podcast Episode 206

It’s been 4 years of the podcast!

Happy Anniversary!  It has been 4 years of the Pixie Dust Fan Podcast and the ladies are celebrating!  They talk about how they are still learning every day – and how amazed they are that they are still enjoying it.  It’s fun and lighthearted and of course, it ends with pixie dust!

Find Francine and Carrie online:

Website: https://PixieDustFan.com

Instagram: @PixieDustFan

Carrie on Instagram: @MuppetCrazy

Facebook: Pixie Dust Fan

Pixie Dust Fan Facebook group: PixieDustFanGroup

Support Pixie Dust Fan by shopping our affiliates

Find Pixie Dust Fan on YouTube: PixieDustFanSite

Podcast editing by Anna Cooper

 

Don’t forget to sign up to stay in touch with Pixie Dust Fan news!

Podcast 205 – Are these Walt Disney World attractions overrated?

Pixie Dust Fan Podcast Episode 205

Are these Walt Disney World attractions overrated?

Carrie and Fran are discussing their thoughts on overrated Walt Disney World attractions.  Using lists published on 2 popular Disney fan sites, the ladies share their opinions and struggle to agree with almost all of them.  There’s some great advice for first time visitors!

Find Francine and Carrie online:

Website: https://PixieDustFan.com

Instagram: @PixieDustFan

Carrie on Instagram: @MuppetCrazy

Facebook: Pixie Dust Fan

Pixie Dust Fan Facebook group: PixieDustFanGroup

Support Pixie Dust Fan by shopping our affiliates

Find Pixie Dust Fan on YouTube: PixieDustFanSite

Podcast editing by Anna Cooper

 

Don’t forget to sign up to stay in touch with Pixie Dust Fan news!

Podcast 204 – Can you book a last minute Walt Disney World vacation?

Pixie Dust Fan Podcast Episode 204

Can you book a last minute Walt Disney World vacation?

Fran has done it again, she needed a little pixie dust so she booked a trip.  Can you really book a Walt Disney World vacation and take off a couple of weeks later?  Carrie and Fran are sharing their thoughts about how easy (and hard) some things are when you don’t have time to plan.

Find Francine and Carrie online:

Website: https://PixieDustFan.com

Instagram: @PixieDustFan

Carrie on Instagram: @MuppetCrazy

Facebook: Pixie Dust Fan 

Pixie Dust Fan Facebook group: PixieDustFanGroup

Support Pixie Dust Fan by shopping our affiliates

Find Pixie Dust Fan on YouTube: PixieDustFanSite

Podcast editing by Anna Cooper

 

Don’t forget to sign up to stay in touch with Pixie Dust Fan news!

Podcast 203 – Indy arrives and holiday parties at Disney

Pixie Dust Fan Podcast Episode 203

Indy arrives and holiday parties at Disney

Fran hasn’t seen Indiana Jones – but she is well aware of the treats being offered!  The ladies discuss the holiday parties, how the Oogie Boogie broke the internet and the new Hollywood Studios party.

Find Francine and Carrie online:

Website: https://PixieDustFan.com

Instagram: @PixieDustFan

Carrie on Instagram: @MuppetCrazy

Facebook: Pixie Dust Fan 

Pixie Dust Fan Facebook group: PixieDustFanGroup

Support Pixie Dust Fan by shopping our affiliates

Find Pixie Dust Fan on YouTube: PixieDustFanSite

Podcast editing by Anna Cooper

Don’t forget to sign up to stay in touch with Pixie Dust Fan news!

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Podcast 202 – Carrie’s Sicily Adventure Part 3

Pixie Dust Fan Podcast Episode 202

Carrie’s Sicily Adventure Part 3

In the final installment of Carrie’s adventures she shares some of the history she learned, the day at the beach, a puppet show and her visit to a volcano!

Find Francine and Carrie online:

Website: https://PixieDustFan.com

Instagram: @PixieDustFan

Carrie on Instagram: @MuppetCrazy

Facebook: Pixie Dust Fan 

Pixie Dust Fan Facebook group: PixieDustFanGroup

Support Pixie Dust Fan by shopping our affiliates

Find Pixie Dust Fan on YouTube: PixieDustFanSite

Podcast editing by Anna Cooper

Don’t forget to sign up to stay in touch with Pixie Dust Fan news!

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Podcast 201 – Carrie’s Sicily Adventure Part 2

Pixie Dust Fan Podcast Episode 201

Carrie’s Sicily Adventure Part 2

Picture it – Sicily 2023!

Carrie and her Mum are off on an epic adventure in Sicily and she’s sharing the details.  From the hotels to the food, the sights and the cats – the first few days are incredible.

Find Francine and Carrie online:

Website: https://PixieDustFan.com

Instagram: @PixieDustFan

Carrie on Instagram: @MuppetCrazy

Facebook: Pixie Dust Fan 

Pixie Dust Fan Facebook group: PixieDustFanGroup

Support Pixie Dust Fan by shopping our affiliates

Find Pixie Dust Fan on YouTube: PixieDustFanSite

Podcast editing by Anna Cooper

Don’t forget to sign up to stay in touch with Pixie Dust Fan news!

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Is Tron Lightcycle Run at Walt Disney World Scary?

Is Tron Lightcycle Run scary?

If you have been following me for a while you know that as my age increases, my tolerance for the ‘thrill rides’ decreases.

While I once loved a good thrill ride (NEVER Tower of Terror, that’s just crazy!), I have found that I’m not able to cope as well as I once did.  I suffer from motion sickness (I never had that before) and I get dizzy easily.  As each new attraction opens I tell myself “just do it once so you can say you’ve done it!” and I power through.  With each new attempt it gets harder and I worry that the ‘next’ attraction will be the one that convinces me not to try any new ones.  Thankfully, that day hasn’t come yet!

After my crazy experience on Guardians of the Galaxy Cosmic Rewind I was very apprehensive about trying Tron.  If you didn’t read about that one, it was probably the first attraction in a long time that made me second-guess trying any new ones.  When Tron opened I listened to the reviews and heard it was fast and went high up.  There were some comparisons done to the seats at Avatar Flight of Passage at Animal Kingdom when describing a bike you had to straddle.  All of these reviews had me more confused and a little concerned if I would be able to enjoy this one.

My friend Curtis was with me on Guardian’s last year and wanted to be there with me for my first time on Tron.  He assured me that I would be able to cope with this ride experience.  Curtis was up bright and early to get us a boarding group using the My Disney Experience app and texted me as soon as he secured it. He got us an early boarding group (7) which meant I had to get to Magic Kingdom Park before I had time to chicken out!

I had popped a Gravol before I left the room (the Canadian version of Dramamine to quell any motion sickness) and hoped it would kick in.  As we walked up and I saw the ride flying by – my heart started to flutter.  I only hoped we wouldn’t be waiting too long inside the line.  That’s when the panic sets in if I’m standing around for too long.

Much to my surprise the line moved fairly quickly.  We barely had time to stop and take photos as we moved our way through the queue.

We finally hit the complimentary lockers and it was time to drop off our stuff.  You can’t take your bags or anything with you on the ride we saw someone get turned back because she had a fanny pack on.  She had to take it off and put it in the locker.

When you walk up to the lockers there is a HUGE wall of them.  They are big enough to put your park stuff in and you lock it with your magic band or ticket – they are free to use.  Remember your locker number!  When you exit the ride you’ll be on the back side of that wall of lockers to remove your belongings from the other side.  There wasn’t a crowd and we had no trouble putting our things in or getting our things out of the locker.

You can take your cell phone with you – on the ride vehicles there is a small compartment where you can store your smaller items like cell phone and glasses.  If you want to keep your glasses and other loose items, don’t wear them.  If you look up at the nets above you as you walk to the ride you’ll see some items that have been ‘caught’ falling off.

A little bit farther in line and I now get to see the vehicles loading.  The “loading procedure” is a bit different where one person has to walk behind the first bike to get to the second that is side by side.  They have a handy little diagram to illustrate how it’s done.

The line of bikes pulled up and it’s time to get on.  First thing I can tell you?  You can’t swing your leg on it around the back – you have to lift one leg UP over the seat.  This was a slight problem, my shoe got stuck on the seat and I struggled a little, but in the end I managed to get my leg over.

Once you straddle the seat you place your knees and feet on the designated rest spots for them.  Grab the handlebars and pull them toward you.  The seat folds around you so that there is a back restraint holding you in place.  Instead of typical leg restraints there is a pin that comes out behind your knee. It does feel a bit uncomfortable at first, but once you experience the initial launch, you forget all about that!

The good news is that they do have TEST seats out front and if you have any apprehension you should try them before you get in line.  It is possible that some body shapes will not fit on the bike and it’s better to know before you get in (ask a Cast Member for assistance if you are unsure).  You also want to make sure to measure the little ones before getting in line to avoid disappointment.  The minimum height requirement is 48in (122cm) or taller (rider switch is available).  

There are accessible seats available on some trains if you prefer (see the pic below – they’re like a regular upright seat on a coaster).  They are in the last row of the train and have a lap bar to secure you.  My sister did that seat and said it was great.

Due to my surprise on Guardians of the Galaxy, I wasn’t going to be caught off guard again on the Tron ride.  I watched the spoilers on YouTube in anticipation of my first ride so that I had an idea of what it would be like.  Despite all of my research, I honestly didn’t understand how FAST it goes! Look at my hair, it’s like a proper roller coaster!

The time outside was fun, it was amazing to be up that high and see the people below.  Once we were back inside the building there were plenty of lights, visual effects and high speed – but I think I was screaming so much that I don’t remember a ton of it!

Many people have been complaining because it is a “short” ride – it’s only 2 minutes long, but in all honesty – that was perfect for me!  I didn’t have time to get queasy, I got to enjoy the ride and before things made my stomach turn it was done.  If you want to see some spoilers there are plenty of ride-throughs on YouTube.

In the pic above that was RIGHT after we finished the ride before the exit.  Curtis is pretty quick with his phone so we could capture the moment!

Getting off of the vehicle I had the same issue as when I got on, my foot getting stuck because I couldn’t raise my leg high enough.  But a little maneuvering and I managed.

We left the ride area, grabbed our stuff from the lockers and I felt pretty good.  We stopped for some pictures out front and then headed down to the Space Mountain gift shop to look at the Tron merchandise. 

Now that I’ve done it would I ride it again?  Yes.  Is it something I must do every trip?  No.

25-year-old Francine would have rated Tron as a “must do” and I know so many of you will!  It’s an epic attraction for sure.

I highly recommend seeing it in the day and at night, the lights are so gorgeous and it’s a fantastic spot for pictures.

Have you ridden Tron Lightcycle Run?  Would you consider it a must-do next time?

​If you aren’t sure about the other thrill rides, make sure you read my review of Guardians of the Galaxy and take a look at the attraction seats for Avatar Flight of Passage.

Podcast 200 – Dayton Disneyana 2023

Pixie Dust Fan Podcast Episode 200

Dayton Disneyana 2023

It was time for the weekend road trip to Dayton Disneyana.  While this was only Fran’s second time at the event, we can see how this is becoming an annual tradition.  From traffic jams and “too many” stops to Big Lots and ice cream, it’s a wonder they slept!

For the recap of 2022 Dayton Disneyana see podcast episode 151

To find out more about “What is Dayton Disneyana” listen to episode 145 where the ladies interview event coordinator Anita Schaengold.

Our friend Gary wrote a FULL review of the 2019 event on our website that has a lot of details and photos!

Find Francine and Carrie online:

Website: https://PixieDustFan.com

Instagram: @PixieDustFan

Carrie on Instagram: @MuppetCrazy

Facebook: Pixie Dust Fan 

Pixie Dust Fan Facebook group: PixieDustFanGroup

Support Pixie Dust Fan by shopping our affiliates

Find Pixie Dust Fan on YouTube: PixieDustFanSite

Podcast editing by Anna Cooper

Don’t forget to sign up to stay in touch with Pixie Dust Fan news!

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7 Reasons It’s Difficult Being A Canadian Disney Addict

7 reasons it’s really hard being a Canadian Disney Addict

Thanks to the ever-growing social media networks I’m privileged to have so many “Disney Friends” online from all over the world.  I follow their adventures online and I’m always so jealous of the local ones and their ability to visit the parks easily.  It got me thinking – what’s the problem with being a Disney addict who happens to live in Canada?

1  I can’t just decide to go for the weekend when they announce something ‘new’ at the parks that I’m dying to see.

Sure I could catch a flight and be there in 3 hours – but my budget won’t allow for how often I want to do that.  Disney is always releasing new information, treats, popcorn buckets and previews and I miss most of them.  There isn’t usually enough advanced notice to plan a whole trip around it and sometimes the merchandise I want is sold out long before I can get there.

2  Flights are not cheap.

I have a couple of options for flights:

  • I can fly from Toronto (which involves either paying for parking at the airport or a taxi both ways)
  • I can drive to Buffalo and get cheaper flights – but then I have over an hour drive home at the end of my trip.  Who wants THAT kind of drive at the end of their trip?  On the way there it isn’t bad because I’m excited to be going, but on the way home I just want to be HOME and not spend all that time in a car.  If the land border crossing is backed up it can increase that travel time exponentially!

So how much are flights?  They are ALL over the map depending on the time of year, day of the week or even time of day.  I feel like I’ve won the lottery if I find flights for $350 from Toronto – tack on baggage fees and parking at the airport and I’m laughing that it’s under $600.   The most economical flights are always the least desireable times – 7am departure with a 4am arrival at the airport (at least there’s no traffic!).

3  Shopping at the Disney Store online costs me a fortune.

First it’s in US Dollars, then you add shipping and duty and the prices are off the charts!  Even when the Disney Store has a sale going on it is still so expensive.  In case you didn’t know – Canadians don’t qualify for the ‘free shipping’ promos they have either.

Sadly the personal shoppers who offer to pick it up for you at the parks are also marked up to crazy levels.  When you factor the mark-up and shipping with possibly duty – you may as well buy direct from Disney.

4  I can’t get a Disney Visa!

I ask almost EVERY time I’m there when they’re going to launch this credit card for Canadians.  There are some great Disney perks and discounts that the card offers, but if I’m telling the truth, I just want a Visa card with the Castle, Tink or Darth Vader on it!

If you are looking for a card with good travel rewards for Canadians, check out the review of the American Express Platinum card and all of the travel benefits it has.  It may not be a Disney Visa but it has airport lounge and Nexus rebates – it’s worth considering.

Disney Visa

5  We don’t get the Target Discount Cards

I have seen so many people in the US buying Disney gift cards when they go on sale with a 5% discount.  This means they are essentially saving 5% when they pay off their vacation using the cards they bought on sale.  They don’t sell these in Canada; I would have to drive across the border to buy them.  No discounted gift cards for us!

6  Cool Disney related stuff isn’t available to ship to Canada or costs us an arm and a leg to ship it.

Sometimes there are random things that are ‘Disney adjacent’ that I need that just won’t ship to Canada.  Things like all the fun lines at Target and JC Penny that are Disney authorized merchandise.  I see these cute outfits online and want to order them, but no can do!

I can’t get my Magic Band shipped to me before a trip, I have to pick it up at the resort when I check in.  This isn’t a huge deal, but it would be nice to have it BEFORE I travel.

Annual Pass magnets, certain gift boxes AND the Alexa that we were all gifted at the D23 event?  Yep – won’t ship to Canada.

There is a way around “do not ship to Canada” (though it adds to the price), but Shipllama works in a pinch.

7  The dollar is killing us.

When exchange rates fluctuate between $1.25 to $1.30 for one US Dollar – it costs Canadians up to 30% more to shop, eat, stay and buy tickets for our favorite place.  I have a US Dollar bank account so I can try and buy some funds when the exchange rate is better, but it still stings.

So for those of you who live close to the magic – I am jealous!  There are many wonderful things about being a Canadian, but being a Canadian Disney addict has its challenges.   Are these challenges enough to deter me from visiting so often?  Not a chance, I will always find a way to make it work!

Where are YOU from and what challenges do you face as a Disney addict?

Podcast 199 – Carrie’s Secret Adventures

Pixie Dust Fan Podcast Episode 199

Carrie’s Secret Adventures

Disney Chat with Pixie Dust Fan on Apple Podcasts

Disney Podcast Pixie Dust Fan On Google

Carrie is good at keeping secrets and this time it was an EPIC sized one!  This isn’t a little run away to Disneyland, she has been planning it for a year and she’s sharing ALL the details.  This adventure is like nothing you would experience at the parks, but it has all the ‘service’ and pixie dust you would expect.

Find Francine and Carrie online:

Website: https://PixieDustFan.com

Instagram: @PixieDustFan

Carrie on Instagram: @MuppetCrazy

Facebook: Pixie Dust Fan 

Pixie Dust Fan Facebook group: PixieDustFanGroup

Support Pixie Dust Fan by shopping our affiliates

Find Pixie Dust Fan on YouTube: PixieDustFanSite

Podcast editing by Anna Cooper

 

Don’t forget to sign up to stay in touch with Pixie Dust Fan news!

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Podcast 198 – 5 Unnecessary Disney Vacation Stresses

Pixie Dust Fan Podcast Episode 198

5 Unnecessary Disney Vacation Stresses

Disney Chat with Pixie Dust Fan on Apple Podcasts

Disney Podcast Pixie Dust Fan On Google

Travelling is full of stress– scheduling your vacation, the process of flying, and booking everything can really take a toll! In this week’s episode, Carrie and Fran try to alleviate some of that tension with a list of 5 unnecessary stresses when booking your Walt Disney World trip!
Remember– no matter what, what’s most important is that you have fun.

Find Francine and Carrie online:

Website: https://PixieDustFan.com

Instagram: @PixieDustFan

Carrie on Instagram: @MuppetCrazy

Facebook: Pixie Dust Fan 

Pixie Dust Fan Facebook group: PixieDustFanGroup

Support Pixie Dust Fan by shopping our affiliates

Find Pixie Dust Fan on YouTube: PixieDustFanSite

Podcast editing by Anna Cooper

Don’t forget to sign up to stay in touch with Pixie Dust Fan news!

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Podcast 197 – Solo Disney Travel with Katie

Pixie Dust Fan Podcast Episode 197

Solo Disney Travel With Katie

Disney Chat with Pixie Dust Fan on Apple Podcasts

Disney Podcast Pixie Dust Fan On Google

Carrie and Fran catch up with their friend Katie to talk about the ins and outs of solo travel to Walt Disney World.  They cover eating alone, people watching and thoughts around safety.  If you’re thinking you’d like to try vacationing to Walt Disney World solo – this is the episode for you.

Show Notes:

Find Katie at: www.destinationsolo.com

Or follow her on Instagram at @DestinationSoloTravel

Find Francine and Carrie online:

Website: https://PixieDustFan.com

Instagram: @PixieDustFan

Carrie on Instagram: @MuppetCrazy

Facebook: Pixie Dust Fan 

Pixie Dust Fan Facebook group: PixieDustFanGroup

Support Pixie Dust Fan by shopping our affiliates

Find Pixie Dust Fan on YouTube: PixieDustFanSite

 

Don’t forget to sign up to stay in touch with Pixie Dust Fan news!

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Podcast 196 – Disneyland Paris & Star Wars Celebration with Stan

Pixie Dust Fan Podcast Episode 196

Disneyland Paris & Star Wars Celebration with Stan

Disney Chat with Pixie Dust Fan on Apple Podcasts

Disney Podcast Pixie Dust Fan On Google

It’s all about Disneyland Paris and the Star Wars celebration in London on this episode!  Carrie and Fran are joined by their friend Stan (from the Solo Show and the Grand Circle Tour Podcast) and he’s recapping his epic vacation experience!

Show Notes:

Find Stan at the Solo Show on Facebook Facebook.com/TheSoloShow01

His epidsole on Disneyland Paris can be found here

Follow his show at The Solo Show Podcast wherever you listen to audio.

Find Francine and Carrie online:

Website: https://PixieDustFan.com

Instagram: @PixieDustFan

Carrie on Instagram: @MuppetCrazy

Facebook: Pixie Dust Fan 

Pixie Dust Fan Facebook group: PixieDustFanGroup

Support Pixie Dust Fan by shopping our affiliates

Find Pixie Dust Fan on YouTube: PixieDustFanSite

Podcast editing by Anna Cooper

Don’t forget to sign up to stay in touch with Pixie Dust Fan news!

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Podcast 195 – The Muppets Mayhem and Disney 2024 News

Pixie Dust Fan Podcast Episode 195

The Muppets Mayhem and Disney 2024 News

Disney Chat with Pixie Dust Fan on Apple Podcasts

Disney Podcast Pixie Dust Fan On Google

The Muppets Mayhem was released on Disney Plus and of course the ladies had to review it!  With the resident Muppet fan leading the way, Fran had to ask Carrie some questions about this band and their history.

The ladies also cover the recent news from Disney Parks about the dining plan return and how they feel about it all.

Show Notes:

Episode 119 of the podcast was Carrie and Fran’s review of the Muppets Haunted Mansion

Executive Producer Kelley Younger shared his insights with the ladies on episode 120

Find Francine and Carrie online:

Website: https://PixieDustFan.com

Instagram: @PixieDustFan

Carrie on Instagram: @MuppetCrazy

Facebook: Pixie Dust Fan 

Pixie Dust Fan Facebook group: PixieDustFanGroup

Support Pixie Dust Fan by shopping our affiliates

Find Pixie Dust Fan on YouTube: PixieDustFanSite

Podcast editing by Anna Cooper

Don’t forget to sign up to stay in touch with Pixie Dust Fan news!

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Do I need a Disney travel agent to book my vacation?

Do I need a Disney travel agent to book a Walt Disney World vacation?

Welcome to Magic Kingdom - 1

I see this question ALL THE TIME online, in every Disney Facebook group this question is asked at least once per week.  It’s a great opportunity for every travel agent in the group to pipe in with “I can help” (I’m convinced some of the anonymous posters are in fact agents looking to advertise!).  This is also the time where some of the group “experts” weigh in to tell you why you don’t need an agent.  With so many conflicting opinions on social media it is incredibly confusing to know what to do, so I’m going to give it to you straight.  I’m going to tell you exactly why you should have a professional travel advisor when you’re booking your Walt Disney World vacation.

Before we go ANY further – I have been a travel advisor myself for over 15 years and I own my own travel agency.  Did I write this post to advertise my agency?  Nope.  I am a true lifelong Disney fan. I want people to go and love it as much as I do.  If you have bad advice during the planning process, your experience can suffer.  This post is about providing the facts about planning a Disney trip.  The advice I’m giving could apply for any GOOD PROFESSIONAL travel advisor that specializes in Disney vacations.    

(Please note the caveat is a GOOD PROFESSIONAL ADVISOR.  Not one from a Multi Level Marketing agency or an order taker at a big box store – a real travel advisor.  For tips on picking one click here).

Here are 5 reasons you should have a travel agent when booking your Walt Disney World vacation

1  The advice you get online is not the same as a professional agent

Sure I’ve heard people say “but I like to do the research myself”  and I totally get that.  You want to read the reviews, get the opinions and understand what is available, after all – it’s your vacation! The problem with this is that these ‘experts’ online giving you their opinions vacation the way it makes sense for their family.  They are not in the parks looking for details, services or tips that would help YOUR family, they are enjoying their own trip with their family.

The best Disney travel planners never really get a ‘vacation’ in Walt Disney World (or anywhere else for that matter).  They are trained to look for things that help their clients by looking for things that impact people that have DIFFERENT needs than their own.  Some kids like to sleep in at Disney and maybe yours are early risers – do you want to take tips from the family that don’t get to the park until 2 hours after it opened?  Some have kids that won’t sit in a restaurant so they’ve never had a table service meal, do you want to take dining advice from them?

What works for the people on social media may not be what works for you.  Remember that you are getting advice based on what they experienced only.

A good Disney agent has years of personal experience, they are graduates of the College of Disney Knowledge and are supported by a professional team of Disney experts.  Don’t get caught up on the “authorized Disney vacation planner” title you see on some posts.  Disney’s Earmarked program status ONLY applies to the agency based on criteria that includes time in business.  The agent you’re working with at an Earmarked agency can be brand new, or the agent at a new agency can have 10 years experience.  It’s an important distinction.

Disneys Port Orleans French Quarter

Disneys Port Orleans French Quarter Resort

2  Disney math is hard

Disney is one of the few suppliers that regularly have promotions announced that can be applied to existing bookings.  Is the new deal always the better deal?  Nope!  Is it easy to tell that it’s not?  Not always!

With dining card promos, date restrictions and different discounts for different resorts – finding out what makes sense is not always easy.  Add to that the extensive wait times on the phone to call in and ask – and why would you WANT to do that yourself?

I have personally experienced clients who were convinced by ‘experts’ online that one discount was better than another and were quite angry that I hadn’t switched their reservation.  After a phone call and spreadsheet to explain the math – they understood that switching would have INCREASED their price by over $400 USD for the SAME reservation.  Every good travel professional has experienced this at least once sadly.

An advisor will let you know the best deals for you.  They will tell you if you could change your dates or resorts slightly to make it work or if you already have the best package available.  If they need to change your package to get the special offers then they sit on hold with the call center to get it done.  Sometimes they can switch it online (and are so thrilled when that happens!) but sometimes they have to deal with systems that don’t always “work”.  These travel advisors figure it out and navigate all of the complexities for your vacation package so that you don’t have to.  Why wouldn’t you want someone doing this for you?

Contemporary Resort Full Room

3  Picking a resort and tickets isn’t always easy

With all of the Disney resorts on property they have organized them in to categories.  Value, Moderate, Deluxe and Villas – and those are just the Disney ones!  This can be an overwhelming list of resorts, especially if it’s your first time.

How do you choose where to stay?  “We’re only in the room to sleep” is the advice I see all the time from the die hard Disney fans online.  For some people the most important thing is to have a bed to sleep in, but this isn’t the case for everyone.  Transportation needs, pools, restaurant and food options are a few of the factors that should be considered.

Do you want a pool with a slide?  How much time do you want to spend GETTING to the Magic Kingdom in the morning?  Do you want a bus that has 4 stops before leaving the resort?  Is someone afraid of heights and wouldn’t be able to get on the Skyliner?  How far do you want to walk to get coffee in the morning?  These are just some of the things that can take an ‘ok vacation’ to a wonderful experience if you’ve considered them before booking.  If someone goes all the time and stays at All Star Music – how would they know about the amenities at the other resort hotels?

Tickets are another fun thing to explore.  Date based pricing, park hopping, water parks and more – how do you decide what makes sense for your family?  Sure you can get advice from the group – but I promise that the various opinions will make your head spin!  Disney vacation planners will guide you through the options that make sense so you have the best vacation possible

4  There are new things ALL THE TIME

Walt Disney once said “Disneyland will never be completed. It will continue to grow as long as there is imagination left in the world” and that holds true today for all of the Disney parks and resorts.  Even Disney specialists find it is hard work to keep up with all of the changes.

With Disney Genie+ and Individual Lightening Lanes, virtual queues, Memory Maker and Magic Bands, it is so easy to get outdated or misinformation from well meaning people online.

While new attractions, resorts, room categories and activities add opportunities for fun, they also offer opportunities for disappointment.  Imagine telling your kids that you can see the fireworks from your bed only to discover you booked the wrong room category and you are staring at the parking lot?  How about telling them they’d have their own ‘pull down’ bed only to arrive and find out you didn’t book the 5th sleeper?  Will you get sick on the newest attraction?  Are your kids tall enough? What about telling them they’re going to see all sorts of Star Wars stuff only to arrive and realize you didn’t have plans for Hollywood Studios?  If you think it can’t happen to you – it can.  It is so easy to misinterpret or just miss some critical information.  I hear this story all the time and it is so sad because it’s completely avoidable.

5  You always have control

The best Disney Travel Agents are there to guide you, but you make the decisions and are always in control.  Agents offer advice and information that you may not have known or considered, and it’s tailored to your family.  You don’t have to weed through 47 conflicting opinions online to try and decipher what is really important and what is actually true.

As an agent, podcaster and blogger focused on Disney I have heard it all.  Stories of booking the wrong hotel, the wrong parks even the wrong STATE!  (Grand Californian and Grand Floridian do sound similar, but that didn’t help the man at the check in desk!).  I have people that reach out to me all the time with their horror stories and they are looking for advice for their next vacation.

While I may have shared with you some of the more extreme cases of issues, there are many more that are just annoyances that will make your trip less than a magical experience.  My question is – why take a chance?  Why wouldn’t you use a professional travel advisor with the extensive training that can help you every step of the way?

For my best advice on how to find a good agent – visit my blog on 6 Questions to ask your Disney Travel Agent or speak with one of my agents at Playcation Travel.  Remember that not all Disney travel agencies are created equal – and not all agents will be suitable to work with you.  Find the one that is not only qualified – but one that you CLICK with!

(Ok yes that last part is a plug for my agency – but honestly, I want people to go and have the most magical Disney vacation possible!)

 

6 Questions To Ask Your Disney Travel Agent

We have all read the horror stories online about a Disney vacation that went wrong.  Guests standing at the gates of the Magic Kingdom with their “Universal” ticket wondering why they couldn’t get in, or they are at the park asking for Harry Potter.  Maybe it was the family that was very athletic that thought they could walk from Epcot to Animal Kingdom not realizing those were highways on the maps and not walking trails. These might be extreme examples of misinformation – but you get the idea.

I’ve said it before and will say it again, when booking your Disney vacation you should always enlist the help of a Disney travel agent.  There are many benefits to booking with them, but now the question is – how do you find a GOOD one?  How do you make sure that the agent you’re booking with is a well-versed Disney professional travel advisor?  What questions could you ask to make sure they know what they’re doing before you book with them?  It would be hard to come up with those questions if you’ve never been, so I’ve done it for you.

6 questions you should ask your Disney travel agent before booking with them

1  When was the last time you visited Walt Disney World yourself?

Walt Disney World is probably the most complicated of the Disney destinations.  You might need to arrange Genie+, park reservations, virtual queues and dining.  There are 4 theme parks to consider plus water parks, parades, shows, fireworks and transportation options – so many things that can impact your stress level on vacation.  If your agent hasn’t been to Walt Disney World in 5 years, how will they know what options are best for your family?  Reading online doesn’t put things in to context and sometimes they are completely misinformed opinions. You have to experience the crowds at the Magic Kingdom fireworks in order to tell you a good spot to watch them from!  Having an agent who has been to the parks recently they have validated the information first hand – and they’ve focused on things that will matter to their clients.

2  Do most of your clients get the dining plan, memory maker, or hopper pass when they go?

This is a great way to start the conversations that help you understand the experience that your agent brings.  They will have not only their own personal stories, but feedback from clients on how these options worked for them.  They know where the value is and how to maximize it.

In case you’re wondering – I love the Memory Maker option!

Animal Kingdom Photopass Tree of Life

You might feel silly posing, but the pictures are so fun when you see them later!

3  How big is your team and how many of them sell Disney?

Having someone that has other Disney experts on the team will ensure that you have back up in the event your agent is sick or is on vacation when you have a question. It also means they have knowledge to tap in to if they don’t have personal experience on the subject you need. For example – one agent on the team may have a child with allergies that can share that first hand knowledge about the process of eating at a buffet with allergies. If they are a good team, they’re sharing all of that stuff with each other regularly.   No one agent will have experience in EVERYTHING Disney has to offer – but a good team will.

4  How much is your service and what is included?

This is a tricky question and an important conversation to have.  Some advisors charge fees and some don’t, it depends on the agency and their business model.

What is included in the service?  Do they load your reservations in to your Disney account?  Provide a consultation with tips and advice?  These are examples of things they may or may not include.

Beware of agents that make “guarantees” of certain dining reservations or that they can apply a future promotion to your reservation.  False promises are definately a red flag.

5  Tell me a little about your agency

Finding out if the agency has any regulations to follow (in Ontario travel agencies are heavily regulated to the benefit of the clients) is a great place to start.  Also ask about the owners, how they provide support to their agents and what other destinations do they sell.  A good agent is like a good hairdresser – when you find one you like, you stay with them!

Sometimes you will see agencies advertising they are ‘earmarked’ by Disney.  While this status is given to agencies – it has NO BEARING on the qualifications or experience of the agent.  The designation applies only to the agency and is based on a combination of sales volume and time.  While agencies are proud of the status – it has no benefit to the client.

The other thing to be leary of are the big box stores (Costco) or ‘order takers’ who don’t build a relationship with their clients.  These places traditionally have higher turnover and less access to up to date information.  Generally they are not prepared to assist once the booking is made or you could be dealing with a different agent than who you booked with.

Also a big warning sign is if your ‘agent’ is trying to recruit you to BECOME an agent.  Promises of discounted or free travel if you “sign up” and book your own trips – this is an indication of a multi level marketing team and…well….run.

6  The last (and most important) thing you should ask your agent before booking with them is “why do you do it?”

This is such an important question, and you should listen carefully to the answer.  A really good agent is professional, dedicated and a Disney fan too!  They want you to go and love it as much as they do.  That’s the thing about us ‘Disney people’, we get so excited when someone comes back from vacation and says they understand the Disney magic we were talking about.  When you find an agent that is a real Disney fan, you can be sure they’re invested in you having the most fantastic and magical experience ever!

If you’re looking to plan your vacation – contact my team at Playcation Travel Ltd

Do you have a great question you think I missed that you should ask your Disney Travel Agent?

Podcast 194 – Fran’s Virgin Voyages Cruise Trip Report

Pixie Dust Fan Podcast Episode 194

Fran’s Virgin Voyages Cruise Trip Report

Disney Chat with Pixie Dust Fan on Apple Podcasts

Disney Podcast Pixie Dust Fan On Google

Well, the cruise was nothing like Disney Cruise Line!  Hear how Fran enjoyed this adults only cruise including the food, the party, the passengers AND the adventures getting to the Port of Miami!

If you want more information or to get a quote visit Fran’s team at Playcation Travel Ltd

Find Francine and Carrie online:

Website: https://PixieDustFan.com

Instagram: @PixieDustFan

Carrie on Instagram: @MuppetCrazy

Facebook: Pixie Dust Fan 

Pixie Dust Fan Facebook group: PixieDustFanGroup

Support Pixie Dust Fan by shopping our affiliates

Find Pixie Dust Fan on YouTube: PixieDustFanSite

Podcast editing by Anna Cooper

Don’t forget to sign up to stay in touch with Pixie Dust Fan news!

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Podcast 193 – Fran’s Walt Disney World Trip Report Part 2

Pixie Dust Fan Podcast Episode 193

Fran’s Walt Disney World April Trip Report Part 2

Disney Chat with Pixie Dust Fan on Apple Podcasts

Disney Podcast Pixie Dust Fan On Google

The family arrives to join Francine in Walt Disney World for part 2 of this adventure.   It’s Becky’s official return to Disney and she’s super excited.  There were dining reservations crashed and late night runs to the Magic Kingdom!

For the story of Becky’s journey from Leukemia to bone marrow transplant, read it on my blog “Why I haven’t been to Disney”

Find Francine and Carrie online:

Website: https://PixieDustFan.com

Instagram: @PixieDustFan

Carrie on Instagram: @MuppetCrazy

Facebook: Pixie Dust Fan 

Pixie Dust Fan Facebook group: PixieDustFanGroup

Support Pixie Dust Fan by shopping our affiliates

Find Pixie Dust Fan on YouTube: PixieDustFanSite

Podcast editing by Anna Cooper

Don’t forget to sign up to stay in touch with Pixie Dust Fan news!

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Podcast 192 – Fran’s Walt Disney World April Trip Report Part 1

Pixie Dust Fan Podcast Episode 192

Fran’s Walt Disney World April Trip Report Part 1

Disney Chat with Pixie Dust Fan on Apple Podcasts

Disney Podcast Pixie Dust Fan On Google

Francine is back in Walt Disney World and experienced TRON in the Magic Kingdom for the first time!  Find out if it was a “one and done” or if she might go back on it again!

Find Francine and Carrie online:

Website: https://PixieDustFan.com

Instagram: @PixieDustFan

Carrie on Instagram: @MuppetCrazy

Facebook: Pixie Dust Fan 

Pixie Dust Fan Facebook group: PixieDustFanGroup

Support Pixie Dust Fan by shopping our affiliates

Find Pixie Dust Fan on YouTube: PixieDustFanSite

Podcast editing by Anna Cooper

Don’t forget to sign up to stay in touch with Pixie Dust Fan news!

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Podcast 191 – From Disney Cruise Line to Vacation Grocery Delivery

Pixie Dust Fan Podcast Episode 191

From Disney Cruise Line To Vacation Grocery Delivery

Disney Chat with Pixie Dust Fan on Apple Podcasts

Disney Podcast Pixie Dust Fan On Google

Carrie and Francine are joined by Jessica and Landon who founded Vacation Grocery Delivery after working as Disney Cast Members.  This duo are charming, entertaining, genuine and fun!

Show Notes:

Order your groceries from Vacation Grocery Delivery  here: https://www.vacationgrocerydeliveryfl.com/ When asked where you hear about them use the code “pixiedustfan” for $5 off your first order! 

Our episode with Soul Duo was episode 58

Find Francine and Carrie online:

Website: https://PixieDustFan.com

Instagram: @PixieDustFan

Carrie on Instagram: @MuppetCrazy

Facebook: Pixie Dust Fan 

Pixie Dust Fan Facebook group: PixieDustFanGroup

Support Pixie Dust Fan by shopping our affiliates

Find Pixie Dust Fan on YouTube: PixieDustFanSite

Podcast editing by Anna Cooper

Don’t forget to sign up to stay in touch with Pixie Dust Fan news!

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Podcast 190 – 7 Things you should do before your Disney vacation

Pixie Dust Fan Podcast Episode 190

 7 Things to do before your Disney vacation

Disney Chat with Pixie Dust Fan on Apple Podcasts

Disney Podcast Pixie Dust Fan On Google

On this episode Carrie and Fran give a rundown of the 7 essentials of Disney preparations. Many things can be overlooked or forgotten amid the excitement of Disney, but these tips will have you traversing the parks like a pro in no time!

Show Notes:

The podcast that Carrie’s friend hosts is the Geek 4 Podcast

The YouTube with the Genie Plus that Carrie mentioned is from Ear Scouts

Find Francine and Carrie online:

Website: https://PixieDustFan.com

Instagram: @PixieDustFan

Carrie on Instagram: @MuppetCrazy

Facebook: Pixie Dust Fan 

Pixie Dust Fan Facebook group: PixieDustFanGroup

Support Pixie Dust Fan by shopping our affiliates

Find Pixie Dust Fan on YouTube: PixieDustFanSite

Podcast editing by Anna Cooper

Don’t forget to sign up to stay in touch with Pixie Dust Fan news!

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Podcast 189 – Carrie and Fran – let’s chat

Pixie Dust Fan Podcast Episode 189

Carrie & Fran – Let’s Chat

Disney Chat with Pixie Dust Fan on Apple Podcasts

Disney Podcast Pixie Dust Fan On Google

On this episode of the Pixie Dust Fan Podcast the ladies have … well, nothing! But trust that Fran and Carrie have enough on their minds to make this an exciting episode.

Show Notes:

Listen to our trip re-cap from Dayton Disneyana on episode 151

For more information about Dayton Disneyana visit the website at https://daytondisneyana.org/

Find Francine and Carrie online:

Website: https://PixieDustFan.com

Instagram: @PixieDustFan

Carrie on Instagram: @MuppetCrazy

Facebook: Pixie Dust Fan 

Pixie Dust Fan Facebook group: PixieDustFanGroup

Support Pixie Dust Fan by shopping our affiliates

Find Pixie Dust Fan on YouTube: PixieDustFanSite

Podcast editing by Anna Cooper

Don’t forget to sign up to stay in touch with Pixie Dust Fan news!

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Princess Dining at Epcot – Akershus Royal Banquet Hall – Walt Disney World

With so many dining options at Walt Disney World it is not surprising that I haven’t tried them all, but this one – it was surprising.

As one of the more popular character dining spots, Akershus Royal Banquet Hall has never been on my ‘must do’ list until I happened to get a last minute reservation for dinner.

Located in Norway in Epcot, this meal is served in a medieval castle with soaring archways and cathedral ceilings, the theming is terrific.

The draw of this restaraunt is the Princesses – and it does not disappoint.

Ariel at Akershus

The Princesses are in full regal attire and come to each table to say hello and pose for pictures.

While breakfast, lunch are also available – my reservation was for dinner.  My friend Angela and I were seated quickly and began to look over the menu.

I have recently discovered a real sensitivity to garlic (I love it – but it really doesn’t love me!) so I asked the server how much garlic was in the food.  Right away he went and had the chef come out to speak to me about what options would be available.  Unfortunately many of the dishes had garlic, and Angela said they were delicious!

Dining at Akershus in Epcot

The salad was yummy and the Lefse with cinnamon butter was fun – I don’t know what Lefse is, but it was good!

Playcation Travel Request A Quote

At the end of our meal they served dessert.

Dessert at Akershus

Honestly – we were a bit full and didn’t eat much of it.

Our dinner was good – we were full, but I don’t think many people go here because the menu is calling them, it’s the character dining that draws you in.

Would I eat here again?  Absolutely!  The interaction and photo opportunities saved me hours in the parks waiting to meet them – and I got it all while having dinner!

Have you been to Akershus Royal Banquet Hall?  Did you love it?

Podcast 188 – Disney fake news – how funny is it?

Pixie Dust Fan Podcast Episode 188

Disney fake news – how funny is it?

Disney Chat with Pixie Dust Fan on Apple Podcasts

Disney Podcast Pixie Dust Fan On Google

With April fools day on the horizon, Carrie and Francine decide to investigate the Mouse Trap News website to prepare for potential prank stories in the Disney universe.  This episode covers articles ranging from hilarious to crazy– is Disney really banning Mickey ears in its parks?!  Find out in this episode!

Find Francine and Carrie online:

Website: https://PixieDustFan.com

Instagram: @PixieDustFan

Carrie on Instagram: @MuppetCrazy

Facebook: Pixie Dust Fan 

Pixie Dust Fan Facebook group: PixieDustFanGroup

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Podcast editing by Anna Cooper

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Podcast 187 – Our Destination D23 Ticket Adventures

Pixie Dust Fan Podcast Episode 187

Our Destination D23 Ticket Adventures

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The time for booking Destination D23 tickets was here! It was the most anxiety inducing 15 minutes of the year for the Disney super fans.  Are Carrie and Fran going?  Did they get tickets?!  All is revealed in this week’s episode!

Find Francine and Carrie online:

Website: https://PixieDustFan.com

Instagram: @PixieDustFan

Carrie on Instagram: @MuppetCrazy

Facebook: Pixie Dust Fan 

Pixie Dust Fan Facebook group: PixieDustFanGroup

Support Pixie Dust Fan by shopping our affiliates

Find Pixie Dust Fan on YouTube: PixieDustFanSite

Podcast editing by Anna Cooper

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Podcast 186 – Carrie’s Disneyland Trip Report – Celebrating 100 Years

Pixie Dust Fan Podcast Episode 186

Carrie’s Disneyland Trip Report – Celebrating 100 Years

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In this episode Carrie shares a trip report of her most recent trip to Disneyland – without Francine.  From air travel to park rides to salsa, all things Disney are unpacked in this episode of the Pixie Dust Fan Podcast!

Find Francine and Carrie online:

Website: https://PixieDustFan.com

Instagram: @PixieDustFan

Carrie on Instagram: @MuppetCrazy

Facebook: Pixie Dust Fan 

Pixie Dust Fan Facebook group: PixieDustFanGroup

Support Pixie Dust Fan by shopping our affiliates

Find Pixie Dust Fan on YouTube: PixieDustFanSite

Podcast editing by Anna Cooper

Don’t forget to sign up to stay in touch with Pixie Dust Fan news!

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Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort Moana Themed Rooms

Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort was one of the opening day resorts in 1971 and has been a fan favourite ever since.

Being on the Magic Kingdom Monorail loop is one of the benefits of this resort.  Even if you don’t want to be IN the park,  you can see the Magic Kingdom fireworks each night from the beach.  There are so many reasons to love this resort, but that is another post.

There is a wide array of accommodations and all room types share the same resort amenities, including pools, dining and recreation.

Room types offered at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort:

We are focused on the Resort Rooms that sleep up to 5 adults.  The views offered:

  • Theme Park View (Magic Kingdom Park and Seven Seas Lagoon)
  • Pool or Marina View (Pool or Marina)
  • Standard View (Garden, Monorail or Parking Area)
  • Lagoon View (Seven Seas Lagoon)

These rooms generally have 2 queen beds and 1 day bed, but some have a king instead of the queens.

Playcation Travel Request A Quote

Polynesian Resort Room Beds - Disney

The two queen beds in the room are comfortable and have plenty of space between them. 

Polynesian Resort Wall Art Moana Disney

It’s always hard to take pictures of art work on the walls – but this Moana art is stunning in person.  The camera does not do justice to the colors.

Polynesian Resort Room Couch / Day Bed - Disney

The day bed in the room is a decent size, I think I could sleep comfortably on it, but I wouldn’t suggest that it’s suitable for someone who is 6 foot tall.

You can see the Moana touches on the wall – almost subtle, yet obvious.

Polynesian Resort Room Tour Disney

There is quite a bit of space between the ends of the beds and the furniture on the other wall – leaving plenty of walking space.

The bathroom is very large with double sinks and a shelf large enough for all your toiletries

Polynesian Resort Bathroom Disney

There is a separate water closet with a pocket door.

Polynesian Resort Water Closet - Disney

The shower and tub are nice and bright.  There’s nothing worse than being in the dark when your’e in the shower right?Polynesian Resort Shower - Disney

The colors in this room are all so bright and inviting.  And what Moana themed room would be complete without Hei Hei??

Polynesian Resort Coffee Maker

With Hei Hei guarding the coffee maker, the theming is complete!

Overall the room is spacious, bright, plenty of storage (including under the beds for your suitcases).  Absolutely worth exploring for your next visit.

Have you ever stayed at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort?  Did you love it?? 

Podcast 185 – Getting to know Carrie and Fran a little more

Pixie Dust Fan Podcast Episode 185

Getting to know us some more

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Carrie is in the drivers seat on this episode where the ladies answer some ‘getting to know you’ questions.  From their favourite toys to TV shows, career aspirations and first vehicles – there are a few giggles along the way!

Show Notes:

The first ‘getting to know you’ was episode 152

Find Francine and Carrie online:

Website: https://PixieDustFan.com

Instagram: @PixieDustFan

Carrie on Instagram: @MuppetCrazy

Facebook: Pixie Dust Fan 

Pixie Dust Fan Facebook group: PixieDustFanGroup

Support Pixie Dust Fan by shopping our affiliates

Find Pixie Dust Fan on YouTube: PixieDustFanSite

Don’t forget to sign up to stay in touch with Pixie Dust Fan news!

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Podcast 184 – Talking Muppets with Stan Solo

Pixie Dust Fan Podcast Episode 184

Talking Muppets with Stan Solo

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Carrie and Fran welcome Stan Solo to the podcast to talk about all things Muppets.  They share their favourite co-stars, merch and what they would do if they could update the Muppet Courtyard at Hollywood Studios.  It’s a lot of fun and laughs for everyone, not just Muppet fans!

Show Notes:

Find Stan on The Solo Show and The Grand Circle Tour Podcast.

Check out episodes 165 and 166 of the podcast to hear about the D23 event from 2022.

The Scottish bakers Fran went to is the Butt N Ben

Find Francine and Carrie online:

Website: https://PixieDustFan.com

Instagram: @PixieDustFan

Carrie on Instagram: @MuppetCrazy

Facebook: Pixie Dust Fan 

Pixie Dust Fan Facebook group: PixieDustFanGroup

Support Pixie Dust Fan by shopping our affiliates

Find Pixie Dust Fan on YouTube: PixieDustFanSite

Don’t forget to sign up to stay in touch with Pixie Dust Fan news!

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Podcast 183 – Disney news and Tron schooling

Pixie Dust Fan Podcast Episode 183

Disney News and Tron Schooling

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Carrie is schooling Fran on Tron while they discuss all of the recent theme park news.  The ladies compare their excitement about the 100th merch to the 50th and what they want to buy on sale.  All this plus Trails End closing and the Disney 100 exhibit and a possible road trip.

Find Francine and Carrie online:

Website: https://PixieDustFan.com

Instagram: @PixieDustFan

Carrie on Instagram: @MuppetCrazy

Facebook: Pixie Dust Fan 

Pixie Dust Fan Facebook group: PixieDustFanGroup

Support Pixie Dust Fan by shopping our affiliates

Find Pixie Dust Fan on YouTube: PixieDustFanSite

Don’t forget to sign up to stay in touch with Pixie Dust Fan news!

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Podcast 182 – Walt Disney World Trip Report – Carrie’s family vacation

Pixie Dust Fan Podcast Episode 182

Walt Disney World Trip Report – Carrie’s Family Vacation

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Carrie has done it again – gone to Walt Disney World without Francine!  This time she took her aunts and Mum to stay at Disney’s Animal Kingdom in a 2 bedroom villa!  She’s sharing how they navigated getting to the parks from Minnie Vans to Lyfts and of course the puzzles!!

Find Francine and Carrie online:

Website: https://PixieDustFan.com

Instagram: @PixieDustFan

Carrie on Instagram: @MuppetCrazy

Facebook: Pixie Dust Fan 

Pixie Dust Fan Facebook group: PixieDustFanGroup

Support Pixie Dust Fan by shopping our affiliates

Find Pixie Dust Fan on YouTube: PixieDustFanSite

Don’t forget to sign up to stay in touch with Pixie Dust Fan news!

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Podcast 181 – Chantel and Jason’s Disney Wedding

Pixie Dust Fan Podcast Episode 181

Chantel and Jason’s Disney Wedding

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Carrie and Fran are joined by their friends Chantel and Jason who are sharing the entire adventure of planning their Disney wedding.  From an engagement in Disneyland to the wedding at Disney’s Boardwalk Resort – their story not to be missed!  

Show Notes:

For more information on planning a Disney Fairytale Wedding visit DisneyWeddings.com

The pilates channel on YouTube Fran was talking about is The Girl With The Pilates Mat

Find Francine and Carrie online:

Website: https://PixieDustFan.com

Instagram: @PixieDustFan

Carrie on Instagram: @MuppetCrazy

Facebook: Pixie Dust Fan 

Pixie Dust Fan Facebook group: PixieDustFanGroup

Support Pixie Dust Fan by shopping our affiliates

Find Pixie Dust Fan on YouTube: PixieDustFanSite

Don’t forget to sign up to stay in touch with Pixie Dust Fan news!

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Podcast 180 – Are Disney jokes even funny?

Pixie Dust Fan Podcast Episode 180

Are Disney jokes even funny?

Disney Chat with Pixie Dust Fan on Apple Podcasts

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The ladies are calling it an ‘interlude’ episode, but it’s some lighthearted fun!  They’re telling each other some wholesome Disney jokes to see if they are funny or not.  Fran thinks it’s hysterical – Carrie isn’t convinced!

Find Francine and Carrie online:

Website: https://PixieDustFan.com

Instagram: @PixieDustFan

Carrie on Instagram: @MuppetCrazy

Facebook: Pixie Dust Fan 

Pixie Dust Fan Facebook group: PixieDustFanGroup

Support Pixie Dust Fan by shopping our affiliates

Find Pixie Dust Fan on YouTube: PixieDustFanSite

Don’t forget to sign up to stay in touch with Pixie Dust Fan news!

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Podcast 179 – A Disney Immersive Experience at Home

Pixie Dust Fan Podcast Episode 179

A Disney Immersive Experience at Home

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Carrie and Fran are joined by their friend Chris Bond to talk about the Disney Animation Immersive Experience.  Chris was the creative consultant on the project and has some great stories to share about how the content was curated, seeing Walt’s office and so much more!

Show Notes:

The Disney Animation Immersive Experience can be found at: lighthouseimmersive.com/disney

Find Chris on his podcast:  We Like Theme Parks

Carrie’s pixie dust was the Fly on the Wall podcast

Find Francine and Carrie online:

Website: https://PixieDustFan.com

Instagram: @PixieDustFan

Carrie on Instagram: @MuppetCrazy

Facebook: Pixie Dust Fan 

Pixie Dust Fan Facebook group: PixieDustFanGroup

Support Pixie Dust Fan by shopping our affiliates

Find Pixie Dust Fan on YouTube: PixieDustFanSite

Don’t forget to sign up to stay in touch with Pixie Dust Fan news!

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Podcast 178 – Our Walt Disney World trip report part 2

Pixie Dust Fan Podcast Episode 178

Our Walt Disney World trip report – part 2

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Carrie and Fran are sharing the second half of their week together including a trip to the outlet mall, a birthday celebration and more surprise dining!

Find Francine and Carrie online:

Website: https://PixieDustFan.com

Instagram: @PixieDustFan

Carrie on Instagram: @MuppetCrazy

Facebook: Pixie Dust Fan 

Pixie Dust Fan Facebook group: PixieDustFanGroup

Support Pixie Dust Fan by shopping our affiliates

Find Pixie Dust Fan on YouTube: PixieDustFanSite

Don’t forget to sign up to stay in touch with Pixie Dust Fan news!

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