Disney World · walt disney world

My Favourite Disney Resort at Walt Disney World

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I’ve decided to write about my favourite Disney resort – Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. I know everyone has their own preferences and beloved bases, and this is mine.

I have stayed here twice before. Years and years ago (aah the good old fountain lobby – which I still miss), I stayed with my family for two weeks! (I think this is before sky high rates!), and the second time was five of us in one room. Both times we had ground floor rooms. The first one we even had a view of the monorail.

I haven’t stayed since, as I’m on a quest to stay at ALL the Disney resorts! It’s top of my Disney Bucket List.

So many reasons I love this place.

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This resort is perfect to me because it’s chilled, and it never feels crowed – it’s got that  relaxed vibe going on.  All the cast members say Aloha to you, and wear great shirts.

The restaurants available are all great choices for all meals options – Kona cafe, Ohana, Captain Cooks. Kona Café used to be my favourite breakfast – but they took the Big Kahuna off the menu, I was not impressed. I do love the Kona coffee there.

The great bars/lounges – Tambu Lounge has unique drinks, and of course my favourite Trader Sam’s!

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There is a beach, which has chairs and hammocks, you can rest and observe the view – Cinderella’s Castle, and if you pop back to that same place at evening, you can watch the fireworks.

The new addition is the Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows – which I think topped everyone’s bucket list as soon as they was announced! I doubt I will ever afford to stay in one – but a girl can dream.

I also love wondering the biggest shop – BouTiki. This year I even bought a kids Polynesian resort shirt!

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In the evening, all the tiki torches are lit, and as soon as you’re back from the parks and the crowds, you instantly relax, and get a second wind, and go and grab a coffee (or cocktail).

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Even when we don’t stay there, I make a point of booking a restaurant there, or just going to visit the resort. My holiday doesn’t feel complete without it!

So if you haven’t considered this resort before, or if costs are too much, maybe try for it a few nights, and maybe like me, your fall in love with the place?

What’s your favourite Disney resort?

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Disney World · walt disney world

Backstage Tales Tour, Animal Kingdom – Walt Disney World

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On my last trip to the world, as I mentioned I did a few backstage tours. One of them was the Backstage Tales tour located at Animal Kingdom.

The tour costs $90 plus tax. It starts at 7.30am, but you need to arrive fifteen minutes before. The tour lasts four hours. We chose to drive and park. You meet just inside the front of the park, you are given your name badge and head set.

The tour starts as you walk through The Oasis, where they talk about the history of the park, and Joe Rohde (I got a few questions right too!). At this point as we was still in the park, we was allowed to take photos.

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As the park was so empty, and it was so pretty in the morning sun, I was already snapping away! When else would you get a selfie in front of an empty Tree of Life?! So all of the photos on this blog post, are all from the very start as no pictures was allowed during the backstage portions (which was the rest of the tour!), but they was such pretty photos I’ve included them!

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We walked through to Africa to the Pangani Forest Exploration and then through to the bird aviary. I t was so nice, as it was so quiet just our tour group in there! We had our own cast member talk through all the birds, and their charactristics and a few stories. We was also given the option to feed them live meal worms.

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After this we then went backstage straight away. We was led to a mini bus, which would then remain ours for the whole tour. As you know Animal Kingdom is huge, so the bus was used to get to one part to the other.

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I don’t want to spoil the tour for people, as I love surprises but you do visit the kitchens where all the food is prepared, quite a few backstage areas of the animals housing parts, which was amazing. You get really close to the animals! I was desperate to stroke a rhino!!

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At each animal part, you spoke to a specialist who works with these animals day in and out, and also answers any questions you have. Every Cast Member we met was really friendly, knowledgeable and clearly loved the animals!

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There was also a break, where you could have a hot drink or water, with a snack. This was then followed by a little talk about the conservation fund. The animals they spoke about on my particular tour was tortoises. Here we was told that a portion of our ticket for the tour went to the conservation fund!

At the end of the tour, you can keep your name tag and you are given a water bottle.

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Overall, I did really enjoy the tour, and it was nice to see some more of Animal Kingdom. It did feel a little over priced, but we had two cast members for the whole tour, and the use of the bus.

 

Disney World · walt disney world

World Showcase: DestiNations Discovered – Walt Disney World Tour

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On my last trip to the world, as I mentioned I did a few backstage tours. One of the ones I had been looking forward to was this Epcot one. This was the World Showcase one! I had done the Future World tour a few years previously so wanted to see the other side of the park.

The tour costs $109 plus tax. It starts at 8.15am, but you need to arrive fifteen minutes before. We chose to drive and park. You meet at Fountain View in Future World, you are given your name badge and head set, also strangely had to choose your lunch! (This tour includes a lunch at Rose and Crown).

The beginning of the tour, was the much known history of the Epcot Centre park and an introduction to the tour. Our tour guide was Christopher and very knowledgeable, He had worked there over 10 years.

There was so many facts and trivia you learnt along the way. One at the beginning, (which I think most people know) was that he pointed out the back of Tower of Terror, from some points you can view it, and it seems like its in the Morocco pavilion, So they changed the back of the Tower and chose a colour that blended it in to the landscape!

You start clockwise in Mexico, and work your way around. You stop at each pavilion, and the guide will share details / history of the country and the pavilion itself. You go backstage a few times, so they can show you example’s and describe facts.

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Also did you know most of the pavilions have a museum/ gallery dedicated to the country? For example in Norway – go inside the Stave Church!!

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One of the best parts was that the park was absolutely empty! (Well except for Norway – that was crazy!!) He encouraged us to take as many photos as we liked whilst there (not backstage!). We made it all the way to Morocco before World Showcase opened! Then I just got lucky with my photos, as it still wasn’t busy.

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I really don’t want to spoil the tour for anyone, as its so much fun to learn whilst you are there! And obviously ask and answer questions. At one point he asked a question, and I answered it – correctly! He was so shocked, he said in all the years he had done this tour no one had answered right! I was SOO proud of myself! (It was about illuminations and the torches – again, not spoiling for anyone).

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The only part to me, which was a not a let down, but seemed a waste of time was the lunch! As it was in the UK pavilion, you are almost at the end of the countries anyway. We was there an hour, and then only had Canada to see! We also got a sneaky ride on Soarin’ .

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I really did like the tour, but it was a long and tiring one. It’s 5 hours long, its an early start, its a lot of walking and the day we had it, it was absolutely roasting so it made it hard going!

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But overall, I suggest if you are a huge Disney World geek like me and love learning about the construction, process and other trivia about the parks – book it! I also hope you like the empty park photos, and get some good shots for yourself!

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Disney World · walt disney world

Disney’s The Magic Behind Our Steam Trains Tour, Walt Disney World

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This was one of the tours I went on, on last visit to Disney.

I have done a lot of the backstage Disney tours offered, and am always keen to do more. I knew of Walt’s love for trains (who doesn’t?!) and decided to book this one too.

It was a very early start, you had to be at Magic Kingdom for 7.15am! No transport was available, so we drove our hire car to the Contemporary Resort, and then walked over.

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We met outside the entrance, and then walked into a very empty park – bliss! The tour guide let us stop for a while and take some photos.

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I can’t remember the name of our guide, but she was so enthusiastic and passionate about the steam trains! She clearly loved her job.

It starts off with a ride on the train, one was already set up and in use. So we went round the park, until we got to the roundhouse exit. (This is located at the Fantasyland Station). You then go backwards, so you are now backstage and arrive at The Roundhouse. The train we was in and looking at was the Roger E. Broggie.

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This is where the steam trains are kept overnight, maintained and serviced. We was encouraged to take photos, but not to touch or lean on the train as it was so hot!

We was broken up into groups of 3 or 4, and took turns going up into the cab, where our tour guide explained how the train starts, works and the jobs of the two cast members. It sounds like a very hard working role, and when she said how hot the cab can get in those summer Florida month’s – wow! That’s dedication.

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When you are there, you get to see a cast member light the engines – you actually see the flames, and you also get to witness “a pop-off”. I will let you experience that for yourself!

After this portion of the tour, we got back on the train and headed to Main Street.

Under the Main Street station is a section, with posters and information on the four people the trains are named after. Walter E. Disney, Lilly Belle, Roy O. Disney and Roger E. Broggie. Our tour guide went quickly through the stories and how they got chosen. I personally hadn’t noticed this before, and think it’s a very nice touch to honour the people. If you haven’t noticed this either – maybe go check it out on your next visit!

We then went upstairs to the station, and took a seat on a few benches. There was then a flipboard with old photos and more information about steam trains. For example Walt’s own train in his garden and the story behind that.

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The tour finished here, and we was each given a pin. The tour itself lasts approximately three hours, and you need a valid ticket to get into the park.

I did enjoy the tour, and I always love hearing stories about Walt Disney. The bonus of an empty park in the morning, and going backstage are always highlights for me.

 

 

 

Disney World

Disney Blues…

 

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I have recently returned from a two week holiday at Walt Disney World!

I managed to cram a lot in – two hotel stays, my first ever Dapper Day, four backstage tours, three Disney wall photos, nineteen character selfies, seven new restaurants for the first time, and watched the last ever Wishes!!

I also worked out via the health app on the iphone, that during the two weeks, I walked 69 miles!!

It was a great time, and I miss it like mad! I think the longer you are there  the worse the Disney blues get!

But once I’m settled, I will review the tours and lots more.

How do you cope with the Disney Blues?

I listen to Sorcerer Radio, or a WDW Radio podcast. I flick through all my photos and videos. I look at my new merchandise, and lots of social media visits! I will also be appearing on The Disney Dream Girls Podcast to talk over different aspects of the trip.

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Disney World

Monorail Lounge/Bar Crawl – Walt Disney World

 

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Another tick off my Disney bucket list! The Monorail bar / lounge crawl! had wanted to do it for ages.

Last year, my fiancé and I had a spare evening – so we got the bus to Magic Kingdom from our resort, walked over and jumped on the Monorail.

First stop – Contemporary Resort, there was a few choices for lounges here, but as we rounded the corner, there was plenty of seating at the Outer Rim Lounge, so it was decided! We got a few seats right next to the window.

 

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I had the magical star cocktail and my fiancé had the fireball cocktail. Mine was very nice, and went down very easily!

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Next stop was The Polynesian, as we had already visited Trader Sam’s earlier in the trip, we wished to visit the resort bars – The Tambu lounge. And as luck would have again, we got the last two seats, again right next to the window!

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Another first for me, I got to try the famous lapu lapu – the cocktail served in a pineapple! My fiancé chose the backscratcher – which we still have at home. Both were delicious, and I could have chilled out here all evening.

But we had one more stop. The Grand Floridian, we headed to Mizners lounge, which was busy! We did actually have to wait for a few minutes until someone kindly let us have their table as they was leaving.

The sun was slowly setting, we could hear the grand piano from outside, we had our infamous complimentary bowl of nibble mix! We was definitely relaxed now.

I had the Salted caramel manhattan, and the fiancé had the Mizner Cooler. My one was too sweet for my liking so we ended up swapping!

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After we had finished our drinks, we decided on an impromptu trip to the Magic Kingdom! We had such a great evening!

If you ever have a spare few hours, or are at a loss what to do one evening, this is such a great alternative! You get to view three resorts (I myself have visited most of the resorts A LOT!, but I know others would be keen to), you get to try unique food and drinks to each location and its just a nice way to spend some time. Go have some fun – do the Monorail lounge crawl!

Disney World

Hiring a Sea Raycer, Walt Disney World

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There is more to the World that meets the eye. Look beyond the theme parks, and you will discover a wide range of activities available. One of my favourites is the Sea Racyers – the small 2 person boats you see zipping across Seven Seas Lagoon.

These are available at several resorts. I’ve hired these quite a few times with my family on past holidays. On a previous trip my partner and I went to the Contemporary Resort and hired one from there.

The price is not too expensive, ( I have just double checked, and the current price is $32 per half hour) and you show a valid driving license. You also have to be over 5ft tall, which seems a crazy rule as there are no pedals and the screen is low to see over! You are given a life jacket, and some quick instructions.

We chose a 30 minute slot. And then the fun begins, they do have a limit of a top speed, but once you out are on the open water, it does feel much faster!

As we hired the boat from Contemporary (you have to return the boat to where you hired it from), we decided to go across to Seven Seas Lagoon first, so off we went, the weather was lovely, waving at children passing on the main transportation boats and me taking lots of photos!

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You get some great shots of the hotels from a different view point, you also do see lots of wildlife.

After we had completed a circle in the Seven seas Lagoon, we headed back to Bay Lake, driving around to Fort Wilderness Resort and beyond. You also circle around the now extinct Discovery Island.

It’s a really exhilarating activity as well as pleasurably calming! I would recommend to everyone who is old enough (and tall enough!) to hire one! And don’t forget sun protection for your thighs.

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