Valentine’s Day Ideas for Romance at Walt Disney World!

Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching and while many consider Disney a place for families and children, romance can be found at Walt Disney World as well.  Here are a few ideas for  experiencing Disney’s romantic side.

Characters in Flight Take in a Resort-You do not have to be staying at a resort to enjoy the ambience and theming that Disney so carefully crafts at their resorts.  Wouldn’t it be romantic to find a quiet nook at the Animal Kingdom Lodge to sit and talk?  How about looking out over the savannah with your love?  It was suggested by a fellow writer that a visit to the butterfly garden and a carriage ride at Port Orleans Dixie Landing would be a romantic resort excursion.  The Grand Floridian is so grand and beautiful, it drips of romance.  When my husband and I visited we enjoyed a young bride taking pictures with her groom on the grand staircase….so sweet.

Visit the Boardwalk-  Disney’s Boardwalk is one of my favorite places to visit.  First, one of my favorite (and romantic) restaurants is there, The Flying Fish.  After enjoying dinner, take a romantic walk along the boardwalk.  Get a balloon, visit the candy store, and enjoy a shop or two.  Just after dusk, entertainers, jugglers, magicians and street performers come out to offer entertainment right along the beautifully lit water.  Grab a funnel cake and a bench and cuddle with your darling while taking in the Coney Island feel!  When Illuminations begins at nearby EPCOT you’ll be able to see part of the show.  And, The Walt Disney World Florist is located at the Boardwalk….hint, hint.

Wishes_110_310 Stroll along the Beach- At Disney’s Polynesian and Grand Floridian Resorts you can take a walk along the beaches of The Seven Seas Lagoon.  Around 9pm, The Floating Electrical Pageant begins on the water.  Just after, you can watch the Wishes fireworks show from the beach where the show’s music is piped in.  Fireworks, beaches and music….romance at its finest!

Visit the Eiffel Tower-  What says romance better than Paris and the Eiffel Tower?  At the France Pavilion in EPCOT you can enjoy a sidewalk cafe, eat a French pastry and take a cheesy picture of yourself holding the Eiffel Tower in your hand with your Valentine. Don’t forget to ask a cast member how to say “I love you” in French!

See a show-  There are so many sights to see at Disney, but if you want to take in a world class show, there is no equal to Cirque du Soleil La Nouba.  It is truly a treasure to see.  And (in my opinion) worth every penny.  La Nouba is entertainment at its finest and a must see for couples!  After the show, enjoy shopping and free street entertainment at Downtown Disney or a ride on the newly reopened Characters in Flight balloon.

Take a cue from a Prince & Princess-  Walk hand in hand down Main Street.  Share a Mickey Shaped ice cream.  Take a fun picture in front of the castle at night.  Enjoy an evening boat ride.  Scream on a roller coaster.  Go horse back riding.  Bow and curtesy.  Ride a train.  Wear silly hats.  Laugh and enjoy one another.  After all you are at Disney World!

Here’s to your Happily Ever After,
Tanya

Resort Wednesday – Disney’s BoardWalk Inn

Keister Coaster at BoardWalk Inn

I know that last week I discussed Pop Century which is at the other end of the scale from the BoardWalk Inn but the BoardWalk Inn is a beautiful hotel that I truly enjoyed staying in and I would love to stay there again.

When I stayed at the BoardWalk, the trip was actually booked to stay off property but after the hotel I had checked into was disappointing (to say the least), my mom and I decided that we would stay in a Disney hotel. We narrowed it down to the Grand Floridian or the BoardWalk. I decided I didn’t want to walk through the opulent lobby of the Grand Floridian in my bathing suit so the BoardWalk was our new accommodations.

The BoardWalk Inn is themed as a 1940’s Atlantic City and they carry the theme throughout the hotel without being overly kitschy. The hotel is on the water between Epcot and Hollywood Studios (you can take a boat between the hotel and the two theme parks). There is a boardwalk area with restaurants, shopping and seaside entertainment. Interestingly, you can see Tower of Terror from the BoardWalk’s parking lot and when I listened closely, I swear I could hear screams from the riders of Tower of Terror.

The Miss America crown, cape and scepter.

The Miss America pageant originated in Atlantic City which clearly matches the theme of the hotel.

Our room had two queen-sized beds along with a small balcony which held a table and 2 chairs. The best part to me was that from our balcony, I could see the Moroccan prayer tower at Epcot which also afforded views of Illuminations nightly. As Illuminations has some of the best fireworks I have ever seen, this was an extra bonus.

The hotel’s main swimming pool includes a great water slide which is made to look like a roller coaster. In addition, there are 2 “quiet” pools which lived up to their name. I didn’t see any children at the quiet pools and found it very relaxing.

As I said before, I would stay here again in a heartbeat. Have you stayed at the BoardWalk Inn? If you did, what did you think of it?  Tell us in the comments below!

 

The Merriest Place on Earth – Disney at Christmastime

This tree was in the lobby of the Grand Floridian

 

I don’t know about you but I love Christmas! In fact the only thing that makes me happier than Christmas is a Disney Christmas! But beware; you need to carefully consider your plans when planning a yuletide visit to Walt Disney World or what begins as magic will turn into a nightmare!

 

Disney begins getting ready for the holiday beginning in early November. Personally I find that a little too early to enjoy Christmas decorations. However, I have found that hitting up the “World” the week after Thanksgiving is a perfect time. The weather is comfortable and the crowds are much smaller than Christmas week (my biggest advice is that if you actually head to Walt Disney World the week of Christmas/New Year’s Eve expect VERY crowded parks with long lines and waits). In fact, going the week after Thanksgiving, the longest wait I had for a ride was at Splash Mountain and I waited 15 minutes!

One of my favorite activities during this time is to visit the Disney hotels. Each hotel’s decorations are themed to the hotel. Don’t miss the gingerbread house selling gingerbread houses in the Grand Floridian lobby (the entire lobby smells like gingerbread!); there are also unique displays at the Boardwalk and the Yacht and Beach Club. Don’t forget to look for the hidden Mickey’s (what, you don’t know about hidden Mickey’s? I promise to fill you in real soon!)

This is the gingerbread house in the lobby of the Grand Floridian. There are people and a counter there where you can actually purchase gingerbread houses!

 

This gazebo was in the Board Walk Hotel’s lobby in 2011.

Downtown Disney gets in on the act. In previous visits I have seen a skating rink (yes, people were ice skating in shorts) and a Disney trip is never complete without a visit to the “12 Days of Christmas”. It’s exactly what it sounds like, a Christmas shop that’s certainly Disney inspired!

This snow family was found at Downtown Disney

Last year, my daughter and I visited the Magic Kingdom the second Friday after Thanksgiving (so not “black” Friday but the Friday immediately after that) and were pleasantly surprised to find that they were recording the musical performances for the Christmas parade that aired Christmas morning on ABC. We saw Scotty McCreery and Jennifer Hudson record their songs.

Jennifer Hudson looked like she was ready to attend a “princess” ball in her dress for the Christmas parade special that aired on ABC Christmas morning.

Of course each park gets in on the Christmas magic and each park has its own special touches. The Magic Kingdom has Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, Epcot offers the Candlelight Processional and Disney’s Hollywood Studios has the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights! I haven’t experienced any of them yet but all of these are on my to-do list. You can find plenty of information on the Walt Disney World site if you would like further details.

Merry Christmas! I hope I have given you something to think about or to look forward to if you are planning a Disney World trip for the Christmas holidays!

Focused on the Magic

My first Disney trip

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This picture is from 2006, the next time that my Mom would visit the Magic Kingdom!

I was about 10 or 11 years old when I first went to Walt Disney World.  My Grandma and Grandpa had retired the previous year, and moved to Florida, so the following summer my Mom and sister and I went down to visit them.  In the course of that trip, Grandma and Grandpa took us on a trip to Walt Disney World.

I don’t have any pictures of the trip, but I do have memories.  I remember that at that time Disney World consisted of the Magic Kingdom, the Contemporary Resort, the Polynesian Resort, and the Grand Floridian resort.  We didn’t stay on property, and we had to decide which rides we wanted to enjoy because the park had tickets for the individual rides.  The more popular rides took more tickets than the less popular ones.

I remember that I wouldn’t ride Space Mountain.  Robin (my sister) tried really hard to get me to go, but I was chicken.

Remember when the Theater on Main Street showed silent Mickey Mouse cartoons?

So many things have changed at Walt Disney World, but regardless of that, so much of the Magic Kingdom has remained the same.

Despite the changes, the predominate things that make Walt Disney World special remain.  The Magic began for me with the moment we would get into the car to make the trip to Disney.  The closer we got to the park, the more the excitement would build, and when we saw the “Walt Disney World Sign”, I was about ready to bust with excitement.

The excitement continued to build as we passed the parking attendants, got out of the car, and memorized where we parked (we were usually in Grumpy or Happy).

Then, as you ride the tram to the the Transportation and Ticketing Center, reality continues to fade into the background as you are magically transported to the world of Walt Disney.

For us, as we rode on the Monorail to the park entrance, seeing the famous Magic Kingdom landmarks approach always started a discussion on what ride we would ride first.  The answers always varied, but for me, and that first visit, I didn’t care which ride I rode first.

For me, the experience of it all is what was really special to me.  I didn’t care which rides I rode, that first trip I was all about where it all begins — Main Street, U.S.A.  Seeing the train station, experiencing the buildings around the circle, and then taking in all of the shops, that is, in many ways, what it is all about.

Even now, after years of visiting Walt Disney World, to me, nothing is as special as the feeling I get when I enter Main Street, U.S.A. and take it all in.