Thursday, February 20, 2014

Special Diets at Walt Disney World

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For many people with special dietary needs, planning a vacation can be a stressful event requiring extra suitcases just for special foods. Disney World has extended their magic to make dining for all people regardless of diet, as easy and enjoyable as possible. With just a little extra planning, Disney guests can expect a wide variety of delicious and safely prepared food and caring, knowledgeable cast members. Disney cast members are well trained in allergies, celiac disease, diabetes, kosher, and vegan food prep. All dining locations has separate food prep areas to avoid cross contamination. 

Planning ahead is essential to any Disney vacation. Table service meals should be reserved in advance and all special dietary needs should be noted on the reservation. It is Disney policy to have a chef check in with you before you place your order. You can expect the chef to meet you at your table and advise you what is available to meet your needs and take you on a tour of the buffet if necessary. Often the chef arrives very quickly but do expect a small wait especially during the busy season. Your food will be delivered to your table separately from the rest of the order and will be on a special plate or noted by a flag . Again, they are very good about getting all food out at once but special food is cooked in a different area of the kitchen and prepared as ordered so expect a bit of a delay.

Quick service dining does not require reservations but does take a little extra planning. It is helpful to look at menus ahead of time to get an idea of what is offered at each location. Your travel agent can provide you with an updated list of foods to meet your allergy need. When you arrive you will get in line with everyone else and let the person taking orders know that you have an allergy. It is helpful to place the allergy order separately from others if possible. The cast member will call the manager in charge of allergies to help with the menu and place your order for you. Your order will be placed on its own tray when delivered.

Disney is of course the world of “all things possible” so do not be afraid to make a special request. Chefs love to make guests, especially the tiny ones, happy and will do everything they can to prepare whatever you are hoping for. We have eaten triple decker gluten and dairy free grilled cheese, gluten free fried chicken, and dairy fee milkshakes all because we asked. 

Disney's World Showcase for Kids in Epcot

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The World Showcase at Epcot is well know for its attraction to adults but did you know that it can be great fun and educational for kids as well?  As you enter World Showcase you can pick up a passport for your child.  It looks like a real passport and includes country stickers and a world traveler button.  The passports are around $10 and an awesome keepsake.

You can also make your own passport, and we have one HERE that you can use!

Each of the countries has a Kidcot fun spot where children can take their passports to be stamped and signed in the native language of the country.  There are often special crafts and cast members available to share details of their country.

If you have plenty of time to spend and your child is looking for an adventure then they can participate on Agent P’s secret mission.  Children report for duty just outside the entrance of World Showcase and pick up their interactive devise called a F.O.N.E. or Field Operative Notification Equipment.  You will choose a country to start in and the F.O.N.E. will give clues to help stop Dr. Doofenshmirtz from carrying out his evil plans.  Agent P’s spy adventure is tons of fun for kids 5 and up but does take around 30 min in each country so be prepared.  You can choose to do one country or more and can return the device to any  Agent P stand in the World Showcase when finished.


Another fun World Showcase activity is “candy around the world”.  Visit each country and choose a unique candy from that country.  Note where you bought it and ask questions.  Cast members often have stories about candies and special occasions when children may get certain treats.  Sample each as you go.


The World Showcase is full of live performances that are not to be missed.  The UK pavilion has the Beatles inspired group British Invasion that is always a fun show.  Don’t forget to try out the phone booths as you pass.  Japan has an incredible drum group and China has beautiful acrobats. Between Germany and Italy there is a train garden that attracts young and old.   Stop in each country and take time to walk through and immerse yourself in the culture.

United Kingdom

The last and possibly the best part of World Showcase for those with little ones is it can be the best place to find characters especially princesses.  Aladdin and Jasmine can be seen in Morocco, Alice and Mary Poppins and Pooh and Friends in the UK, Belle and the Beast in France, Chip and Dale and Mickey and Minnie in America, Snow White in Norway.  

Don’t discount World Showcase because it appears to be built for adults and has very few rides.  There is adventure around every corner and so much to be learned.  Give it a chance and it may become your child's favorite park.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Disney's Wilderness Lodge and concierge Old Faithful Club

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Recently my family and I stayed at Disney's Wilderness Lodge and had a Standard View Club Level room.  Wow!!!  I am sure this one is on a lot of guest's bucket lists.

This resort is inspired by National Parks and has a wonderful homey

From the moment we stepped off the elevator on the 7th floor we
were greeted by wonderful cast members welcoming us to our home away from home and to the Old Faithful Club. This by the way is only
accessible by using your magic band. 

Our room had a nice cabin feel with bunk beds that my daughter loved.

When you stay club level you get nightly turn down service with chocolates on your pillow, and super comfy bathrobes. You also have access to the concierge desk from 7am-10pm if you need reservations or have questions.

Another service you get is almost 24/7 access to specially prepared food including continental breakfast, afternoon tea, desserts, candies, snacks, wines and cheese hours, beverages and more. 

Our favorite breakfast item was the oatmeal. Some of our evening favorites included peanut butter and jelly shots, venison burgers, capris salad, and paietta with scallops, sausage and shrimp. We thought by staying here was a great splurge. We loved the fact that we could fuel our family because we were not on the dining plan. We took afternoon breaks to grab a drink , snack, and relax before heading back out to the parks.

View of lobby from club level floor

The overall experience of this resort was amazing. I would recommend it to everyone.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Dumbo, the Flying Elephant

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Since Walt Disney World opened in 1971, millions of people have ridden Dumbo the flying elephant but it still remains as one of those staple rides, that one ride you still go back to year after year even as an adult. In 2012 when Disney World expanded their Fantasyland area, Dumbo was actually moved to the Storybook Circus area of Fantasyland and it got a well needed facelift!

Earlier Dumbo Version

The renovated Dumbo ride included a more intricate and detailed center for the ride, and a brand new interactive queue area.

If you look closely you’ll notice that the story of Dumbo is pictured on the center of the ride itself. Around the bottom of the ride are water fountains that spill out over colored LED lights, you really should stop by this ride after sunset!

The other new feature of Dumbo is the amazing new interactive queue area! I wish every queue line could be this much fun! Disney gives you your very our pager (like that you would get in a restaurant) and you can let your kids run, climb, and slide to their hearts content in the (air conditioned) big top! They even have an area for parents to sit and a space specifically for very little ones.

Toddler Area

By Travel Time Agent Heather

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Fantasyland at Disneyland!

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Are you going to be visiting Fantasyland for the first time?  Here are some basics!

At Disneyland you'll find many magical places, but Fantasyland is as Walt would say "dedicated to the young and young at heart," Step into a world of dreams come true.

In Fantasyland, you'll find attractions such as it's a small world, Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, and King Arthur Carousel. Recently they added Frozen character meet and greet with Anna and Elsa. You can find them between Pinocchio's Daring Journey and Village Haus Resturant. To avoid a wait time, pay close attention to meet and greet times and arrive early. These two are in high demand! Other meet and greets in the area include Merida in Fairytale Garden and Tinker Bell in Pixie Hollow.

If you are looking for a bite to eat, you'll find Troubadour Tavern, Village Haus Restaurant, and Edelweiss Snacks. All of which are quick service.

Other attractions you'll find are Sleeping Beauty Castle, Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, Fairy Tale Treasures, and The Mad Hatter shop.

It has been said that Fantasyland was Walt's favorite land. When I visit for the first time in a month, I'm sure it will be mine as well!

Have a magical day!