Christmas Scenes at Walt Disney World

Christmas Scenes at Walt Disney World

The majesty and wonder that is Walt Disney World knows no end when it comes to the Christmas season at the Orlando resort. Everywhere you turn around, you are snapping a photo of this scene or that scene, and the settings that you know from other times of the year are wonderfully transformed into a spirited holiday setting for your enjoyment and amazement. My family has been fortunate enough to visit two years in a row for Thanksgiving at Walt Disney World, and I hope we are able to make it back there again in the future.

In addition to the “usual” Walt Disney World pursuits — FastPass selections for Expedition Everest, 7 Dwarfs Mine Train, and others — to dining reservations at Olivia’s at the Old Key West resort and Tokyo Dining in the Japan Pavilion at Epcot — we also experienced a lot of the sites, sounds, and wonders that Disney offers up during this magical time of year.

For this post, I wanted to share with you some of the photos I took of the beautiful Christmas Scenes that we saw during our trip over November 21st – 25th. Unfortunately, I didn’t get near enough photos, but the ones I’ve gotten, I do like. I guess it just means I need to plan a trip next year and just plan on taking a million photos!

If I can help you plan that Christmas trip, please let me know. You can email me at mike@pixievacations.com, you can call me at 919-606-6725, or you can submit a free, no-obligation quote request right here.

Christmas Scenes

The tree inside the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa.


Christmas Scenes

Voices of Liberty singing wonderful Christmas songs for our enjoyment!


Christmas Scenes

The Gingerbread House Store at the Grand Floridian!


Christmas Scenes

Snowmen from the Living with the Land boat ride at Epcot!


Christmas Scenes

The Christmas tree located in the lobby of the Animal Kingdom Lodge.


Christmas Scenes

A unique snowman located over at the Animal Kingdom in Dinoland, U.S.A.

Christmas Scenes
A wreath made from cotton, seen from the Living with the Land boat ride.
Christmas Scenes
One of the decorations along Main Street, U.S.A. in the Magic Kingdom.

As you can see from my meager pictures, I haven’t even begun to scratch the surface of all of the wonder that Walt Disney World has for us during the holiday season. Tell me, what is your favorite part of Disney during this time, and do you have a season you like to visit more than this one? Let us know in the comments in our Facebook comment system, or in a regular comment here on the site. Thanks for stopping by, and Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

8 Years of Dreams

Dreams
The sign that welcomes us all to our home away from home, welcomes you here today.

Eight Years of Dreams

September 8, 2010. Still reliving the memories that we had from the time that Cindy and I took Sophie and our niece Stephanie to Walt Disney World for Sophie’s 9th birthday, I made a decision. I decided that I would start a blog, a blog that would be my way of documenting the memories of past trips to Walt Disney World that I have taken with my family over the years. That blog would transform from a simple scrapbook and become My Dreams of Disney. Today is the 8th anniversary of the day I started the blog with my very first post. At first, that is exactly what the site was — an online repository of memories from trips to Disney when I was a kid, and then later as an adult with Cindy. I really enjoyed reliving the journey from eyes colored by the years of time. For example, I remember fondly the trip Cindy and I took where we ate our way through Disney. As a new Disney blogger, one of the things I began noticing was just how many Disney blogs there were. The one that stood out to me, though, was the website Chip & Co., so I reached out to the owner of the blog, also known as Chip. We talked, and I became a writer on his team of bloggers, and it was then that my Disney writing really took off. Over the years, I’ve seen a lot of changes at Walt Disney World, both good and bad. However, the biggest thing that I think Walt Disney World has going for it is the words from Walt himself, which he said regarding Disneyland:
Disneyland will never be completed. It will continue to grow as long as there is imagination left in the world. It is something that will never be finished. Something that I can keep developing and adding to.
The changes, they come and they go. I never thought I would like the removal of Mickey’s Toontown Fair, but lo and behold, the Disney Imagineers created something even better in the Fantasyland Expansion. I thought the idea of putting Avatar into the Animal Kingdom was about the dumbest thing I’d ever heard, until I saw it in person last year. That, my friends, is why I’m not an Imagineer, just a lowly blogger! Still, eight years at anything is something to take pride in, and I do take pride in how My Dreams of Disney has grown through the years. These days, you don’t find me writing as much as I would like, but still, MDOD is a site that I load every day, without fail. It’s a reminder of all of the great memories I have of the trips I’ve taken to Walt Disney World (and beyond, even) with my family and friends, and it helps me look forward to the next trips I’m going to make to celebrate milestones. To all of my readers, thank you for stopping by over the years, for allowing me into your lives, whether it has been for planning a trip, or praying for your family, or even just to get your Disney fix for the day, thank you. Knowing that I’ve been able to help in some way makes the last eight years totally worth it. Here’s to the next eight years!

Memories from Disney at Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving

Akershus with Belle

Last Thanksgiving, our friends Sheila, Randy, and Jagan invited us to celebrate their daughter’s 15th birthday at Walt Disney World. We were so excited, we had never been to Disney over the Christmas Holiday season, and it was something that we were looking forward to very much. This post is much overdue, but regardless, today seemed like a great day to remember that long weekend with some photos that were taken.

On a personal level, this trip was quite difficult for me because I was suffering from some sciatica issues, and as you know if you have been to Disney, walking is probably job number one while you are there — so it became quite difficult to maneuver through the parks.

I didn’t know that I was going to have this issue, or I would have reserved an ECV beforehand. As a result, I had to request one at each of the parks each day, and hope that they had them. Fortunately, I was able to get one at the Magic Kingdom and Epcot, but not at Disney’s Animal Kingdom — for that, I had to use a wheelchair. But enough about that, let’s talk about the trip itself!

On Thanksgiving Day, we made a reservation for Akershus, and everyone except me had the traditional Thanksgiving Dinner. I had what I always have at Akershus — the Tradisjonell Kjøttkake. This incredible dish is comprised of Norwegian Meatballs served with Mashed Potatoes, Seasonal Vegetables, and Lingonberry Sauce, and it is something that I love to get when we eat there!

In addition to eating at Akershus, we also ate at The Boathouse for Jagan’s birthday dinner, and at Kona Cafe for breakfast, and Whispering Canyon Cafe for dinner. Some very yummy food was had that weekend!

Throughout it all, though, what stands out most is the memories, the friendships that continue, the friends that are like family, and the laughter we had. It was far too short, but despite my health challenges, it was still a trip that I will never forget.

Take a look, and thanks for stopping by today!

Disney Getaway

Looking for a Disney Getaway?

Disney Getaway

Are you looking for a Disney Getaway?

The months of January and February are typically slower to visit Walt Disney World than other months throughout the year. Of course, there are exceptions for major holidays and so forth, but as a general rule, traveling to Walt Disney World in those months tends to be a little less stressful with regards to crowds and dining reservations. Because of this, if you act now, you may be able to plan out a quick Disney getaway on fairly short notice!

When the calendar rolls over to March and April, though, the crowds start to pick back up.  March and April are traditionally some of the busiest times to visit Walt Disney World because there are so many school systems out at some point during those months for Spring Break. Factor in, as well, the Easter holiday, and it amounts to a large contingent of park goers.

Despite the potential concerns over the crowds that you might expect to encounter in March and April, I still believe that a great trip can be planned out for you and your family during those months.  Here are a few things I recommend you consider in your planning process.

Consider doing the quick-service dining plan instead of the full Disney dining plan, if you wish to have a dining plan.

By forgoing the need for so many dining reservations, you will allow yourself to be able to navigate more easily because you aren’t tied to a particular park because of a dining reservation.

If you are a Disney veteran, consider purchasing the park hopper add-on.

Normally, I don’t push the park hopper add-on for any of the Disney tickets because predominantly, people don’t hop from park to park as much as they think they will. However, if you are going at a busy time, being able to park hop may be just the ticket between a good time at Disney and a not-so-good time at Disney.

If you do want a dining reservation, consider eating at a resort restaurant.

While the parks have a ton of great restaurants available to eat at, there are just as many — if not more — great restaurants at the Disney resorts or at Disney Springs. If you do have a desire for a sit down meal, consider eating at a resort restaurant. However, use caution. If you are at a very busy park, such as the Magic Kingdom on Christmas Day, if you leave the park, you may not get back in because of capacity issues. Generally speaking, though, more often than not the other parks are not at capacity even if the Magic Kingdom is.

Take your time, exercise patience, and breath.

If you are taking in the parks in March or April, expect crowds, and be prepared for them. If you do that, you may find that you will be pleasantly surprised at just how much you can get done in a day. I was at Disneyland for the 60th Anniversary on July 17, 2015, and I was totally amazed by the amount of rides we were able to enjoy despite the crowd levels. Same thing for the Magic Kingdom on the 40th Anniversary.

Lastly, use your travel consultant — they can be a big help!

Don’t feel like you need to take care of all of the planning yourself. Reach out to a great travel consultant, like those of us with Pixie Vacations. It is our job to help our clients make the memories while we take the stress away from their planning. If you want me to look at some pricing for a potential trip for you and your family, reach out to me. You can do so using my quote request page, or you can call me at 919-606-6725, email me at mike@pixievacations.com, or send me a message from my Facebook Page. For any new bookings of $2,000 or more I always reward my clients with at least a $25 Disney Gift Card. Let me know if I can help you check off something from your to-do list for next year!

DoubleTree

Hotel Review: DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Orlando

DoubleTree

The entrance to the DoubleTree Suites at Disney Springs

Over Thanksgiving, my family was invited to stay with our friends Sheila, Randy, and Jagan at the DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Orlando — Disney Springs Area hotel.  We had an incredible time, and I wanted to let you all know about the hotel and what my thoughts were for staying there.

From a location standpoint, the DoubleTree is considered “off-property” — but it appears that some on-property perks will be extended to off-property hotels, such as allowing FastPass+ selections at 60 days instead of 30 days. However, despite it’s off-property location, it is literally minutes from Disney Springs — and on a good day when I wasn’t dealing with a pinched nerve in my leg, we would have walked there for our dinner reservation.

Our room was on the 7th floor, room number 703, and featured two queen beds, a queen bed pullout sofabed, a kitchenette, and a single bathroom off of the main bedroom.  For the six of us, we had plenty of space, although I think having a split bathroom would be a better way to herd the six of us through the process of getting ready for the parks each day. Here’s a few pictures of the room.

DoubleTree

The sofabed opened up for the kids to sleep in.

DoubleTree

This picture is of the sink in the bathroom.

DoubleTree

The kitchenette features a sink, microwave, and mini-refrigerator.

DoubleTree

Two queen beds occupy the bedroom.

Not pictured is a space with a table for applying makeup or working on your computer. The beds were incredibly comfortable, and we all slept very well each night.  I’ve been told that this room actually could accommodate up to eight people and that two rollaway beds would be used in a case like that. Personally, I think eight in the room would be a bit much, but that’s just me.

For amenities, Hilton Honors customers can connect to the wireless for free, and for those visiting the parks, they have shuttles that run every 30 minutes to the different parks. We drove to the parks each day because our friends had parking privileges with their annual passes, but keep that in mind if you wish to drive to the parks because it will cost you $20 a day to park otherwise.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed our stay at the DoubleTree Suites by Hilton, and will not be averse to staying there again in the future. My first preference is to stay on property, but if something prevents you from doing so, give this hotel a try. You will not be disappointed!