Thursday, December 30, 2021

Classic Walt Disney World Snacks


When you’re walking around the Disney parks all day, one of the most important things to monitor is when you need to take a break to eat.  The parks are chock full of food, from the smallest snack to the largest sit down meals.  Many meals, especially of the larger variety, often need to be planned well in advance.  But snacks?  Those are impulse buys, and you should take advantage of them whenever you can.  After all, a little snack can go a long way in keeping your day on track.


Walt Disney World is known for its food game, even among snacks.  There are plenty of places throughout the resort where you can get unique snacks, and certain times of year bring certain specialties as well.  But what about the ubiquitous snacks, the ones you can find EVERYWHERE?  What is the quintessential “Disney snack”?


Wednesday, December 22, 2021

New Airport Shuttle Service to Walt Disney World


Photo courtesy of

The Sunshine Flyer just announced that they are going to be providing bus service from Orlando International Airport (MCO) to Walt Disney World Resort hotels starting on February 1, 2022.  This is a second replacement for Disney’s Magical Express service, which ends as of 12/31/21.  Since there are now a couple of new options, this post will take a look at these services and talk about the pros and cons of each, and other available transportation options.


As a quick reminder, Disney’s Magical Express was a “free” shuttle service from MCO to your on property resort hotel.  This was one of many perks that have been chipped away by Disney in recent years.  We talked more about this here but we’ll just say that the Magical Express was a fun benefit to staying on property, as it had themed buses and Disney cartoons playing on the way to your destination.  Some of the “magic” was lost when Disney decided to end the Magical Express.


Monday, December 20, 2021

Temporary Operating Changes for the Holidays


Walt Disney World recently made a couple of temporary changes to both early theme park entry and Genie+/Individual Lightning Lanes (ILL).  We’re going to talk briefly about what the changes are, why they are being made and what it might mean (if anything) for the future.


We’ll start with early theme park entry.  This relatively new perk entitles guests staying at on property Walt Disney World resorts to enter a theme park thirty minutes early, for every day they have a park ticket (which park would depend on whichever park you had a reservation for).  This was a change from the old perk of early entry at a particular park on a certain day of the week.

Saturday, December 18, 2021

Park Touring: By Area, or Crisscrossing?


I was recently watching this fascinating video about the history of FastPass+ at Walt Disney World.  It’s long and extra nerdy, so only watch it if that’s you (obviously it’s me).  Something came up during the course of the video, and it prompted me to think about an idea for this post.


I’m paraphrasing, but the theory was that if a guest could pre-book FP+ rides, they would be more likely to plan their day around those rides.  If someone had a FP+ for Space Mountain from 11:00-12:00, it would stand to reason that this person would gravitate towards Tomorrowland and hit some of the lower priority rides while waiting their turn for their FP window to open.  With FP+ a thing of the past and Genie+ the way of the future, this kind of situation might not happen as often.  If you are booking your rides one at a time on G+, you’ll probably take whatever higher priority ride comes up, especially if you can do that one soon, giving you a chance to book another attraction as soon as you tap in to that first one.  That would imply that a better strategy would be to crisscross the park, hitting your G+ rides as they come and not necessarily doing an entire land or area at one time.


Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Guide to Epcot's International Flower & Garden Festival


Epcot’s annual International Flower & Garden Festival is returning in 2022.  This post will talk about the Epcot festivals in general and what to expect from a visit during Flower & Garden. 


As basic background information, Epcot is known for its festivals. They currently run four during the course of the year.  Starting in the new year, there is the International Festival of the Arts (in 2022, this runs from 1/14-2/21/22), then the International Flower & Garden Festival (which we’re talking about here, running from 3/2-7/4/22).  Following that, there’s Epcot’s most famous festival, the International Food & Wine Festival (dates aren’t announced for 2022 yet, but in 2021 it ran from 7/15-11/20/21).  And finally there’s the International Festival of the Holidays, which is currently running in Epcot (11/26-12/30/21).


Wednesday, December 8, 2021

How Far Your Money Will Go At Walt Disney World


Today we’re going to talk about a topic that’s near and dear to my heart – money.  Specifically, we’re going to discuss how much money a vacation to Walt Disney World might cost under a few hypothetical conditions. This is kind of a broad overview to help you see what you’re getting in for, before you get into it (and before you tell your kids, only to realize that you need to save a bit more).


There are going to be a few – okay a LOT – of assumptions in this post.  I considered whether to write it at all, considering how many variables there are for a trip like this.  As I’ve said before, everyone does Disney differently.  If you have already been, and you know what works for you, this might not be so helpful.  But if you’re looking for a general idea of how much things cost in 2022, take a look and hopefully this will be useful in your planning.


Monday, December 6, 2021

Height Requirements at Walt Disney World


I was recently asked about height requirements at Walt Disney World, so I thought it was worth putting together a quick post of the attractions at each park that have requirements and maybe some brief commentary to go along with that. 


Walt Disney World is known as a family friendly theme park, and the height requirements on the rides bear this out.  There aren’t any attractions at any of the four main parks that have height requirements of more than 48 inches, and most are less than that.  As a frame of reference, when we first took our kids, our younger one was five years old at the time.  She is probably average to slightly above average in height, and she was able to just make it on to rides at the 44 inch mark.  Obviously your mileage will vary depending on the height of your kids.


Friday, December 3, 2021

COVID-19 Operating Changes at Walt Disney World


I don’t think I have to tell you that a lot has changed in the world at large in the last couple of years due to COVID-19.  In some way, every person on this planet has been affected.  This is true of any individual all the way up to a large corporation like Disney.  In this post, we’re going to take a look at how things operated before the pandemic, and what, if any, changes have taken place in the aftermath. 


Magical Express:

Previously – Disney’s Magical Express was a “free” service for on property guests, taking them from Orlando International Airport (MCO) to their resort and even taking their bags separately so they could bypass the baggage claim.


Currently: Ending permanently

I wrote at this more in length in a previous post but this service is ending as of 12/31/21.  When Walt Disney World shut down in March 2020, obviously this service wasn’t being used. Upon reopening in July 2020, Magical Express reopened as well, but without the baggage delivery service. This could certainly have been related to Covid, as it involved different hands touching bags.  The ending of the service in totality is harder to explain.  My understanding is that this service was coming to an end anyway as Disney’s contract with Mears expired.  The pandemic was a decent excuse to quietly shut this down but it was clearly just a money saving tactic by the company that might hurt them from a guest experience perspective in the long run.

The Magical Express has since been "replaced" by a couple of third party shuttle services.  See this post for more information.


Wednesday, December 1, 2021

How To Survive The Holidays At Walt Disney World


As we hit the heart of the holiday season, inevitably that means the rise of crowds at Walt Disney World.  With last year’s capacity restrictions, it was hard to get a sense of what the real holiday season demand was at the parks.  But with things more or less back to normal in many ways, we’re back to the busiest time of year at the most magical place on Earth.


The week leading up to and including Thanksgiving was, to date, the busiest week of the year at the parks (a quick look at will allow you to visualize this).  And while crowds have come down a bit this week, there’s still the lead up to what is sure to be the busiest week of the year, which is the time between Christmas and New Year’s.  Park reservations have already been filling up for dates towards the end of December and even though Disney has added more recently, that really just means that there will be even more people in the parks during those days.