Green Monorail Destinations

Green Monorail Destinations

Tips, tricks, and news updates for Disney destinations. Featured Disney products and merchandise as well!

Park Tips & Tricks

The Biggest Mistakes You’ll Make on Your Disney Vacation and How to Avoid Them

“YOU RUINED MY VACATION!” Ask any Cast Member, past or present, and they’ll most likely say they’ve heard this phrase before. Either said directly to them or in their vicinity….

“YOU RUINED MY VACATION!” Ask any Cast Member, past or present, and they’ll most likely say they’ve heard this phrase before. Either said directly to them or in their vicinity. And look, I get it, it’s sweltering, crowded, expensive, and you’re staying in a cramped hotel room with your whole family and no way to escape. I understand why people break down when their vacation isn’t perfect. But, here’s something else to consider: Disneyland isn’t a perfect, beautiful place.

Blasphemy, you say! No, it’s true. The only reason people believe it’s perfect and beautiful is due to the memories they’ve connected to it. Nostalgia takes us over and like being in love for the first time, we see no flaws. Much like a romantic comedy, when visiting this magical land, you must manage your expectations of reality. Colin Firth won’t always be waiting in the snow with a chunky sweater ready to sweep you off your feet. It may be some version of that, but it will never be exactly what you had in mind, which can feel frustrating.

So, how do you stop yourself from feeling like your vacation has been ruined and take it out on the nearest, innocent Cast Member? Some of these tips feel like no-brainers, but don’t take them for granted. I guarantee you’ll start feeling better if you apply most of these to your vacation.

Huge Bouquet of Disneyland Balloons in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle at Dusk

Drink Electrolytes: Most of my “tips for Disney” include drinking water because this is vital for enjoying your vacation. If you find yourself fading and exhausted, more than often than not, you’re dehydrated and lacking electrolytes. Buy a pack of the to-go Propel electrolyte packets and pop them into your water bottle once in a while. I guarantee you’ll feel better.

Avoid Disney FOMO: Disney FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) is the most toxic thing that can happen to your vacation. If you miss a parade or can’t get a FastPass to a certain ride, don’t fret. There are 100 other things to do that will be just as lovely. You won’t be able to see and do everything in the park so enjoy whatever you can. Shake it off and buy another Dole Whip, friend!

Matterhorn Mountain Toboggan Ride Seats

Non-Park Day: If you can, plan for a day in the middle of your vacation to not enter the parks. Or, try to go in halfway through the day. Sleep in, spend time at the pool, eat at Disney Springs or book a massage at one of the Resort spas! Your body will thank you for the extra rest and you’ll enjoy the rest of your week much more.

Fewer Pictures, More Memories: I’m a blogger so I have to take a lot of pictures, but it sometimes detracts from the experience if you’re too busy seeing your vacation through a lens. Try to capture moments of the people you’re with, rather than just shows and rides. There are thousands of videos and pictures of Disney online that you can peruse later if you’re feeling the Disney blues.

Mad Tea Party - 8 Ways to Alleviate Stress on Your Disney Vacation and Start Making More Magic

Take Lots of Breaks Within the Day: On average, you will walk about 8-10 miles a day at Disney. This is a huge influx of activity for a lot of us. Find a place to nest for a bit in-between rides and meals. Here are a few of my favorite places to rest:

  • Hub Grass in front of Cinderella Castle (Magic Kingdom): Grab some Corn Dog Nuggets and take in the castle view.
  • Rafiki’s Planet Watch (Animal Kingdom): Take a relaxing train ride to the remote Conservation Station and enjoy the a/c and chill atmosphere.
  • Mexic0 Pavilion (Epcot): Dark, indoor pavilion with a gentle Three Caballero boat ride that usually doesn’t have a wait time.
  • Walt Disney Presents (Formerly One Man’s Dream – Hollywood Studios): A historical self-guided exhibit tour of old Disney artifacts and whatnot. At the end of the tour, there’s a 20 minute documentary about Walt Disney’s life you can cool off at.
  • Tom Sawyer Island (Magic Kingdom and Disneyland, CA): Lots of shade and places to sit. Pack a picnic and take a raft over!
  • Animation Courtyard (California Adventure -Disneyland, CA): Indoor air conditioning, dark lighting, and Disney music.
  • Your Resort Pool: Pop back to your hotel for a pool cocktail and a cool dip!

Pirate Lair on Tom Sawyer Island Surrounded by Rivers of America in Disneyland

Plan Ahead: If there are shows and attractions you really want to experience you have to plan ahead to have a better chance of seeing them. That means, booking your FastPasses in advance (60 days for onsite guests and 30 days for offsite guests), making dinner reservations, and drawing out a general timeline for each park day. If you need help with resources, check out my planning guide here.

Stay Flexible: Even if you’re the most organized person in the world, not everything is going to go according to plan. If you miss your FastPass, or a roller coaster is down due to rain, don’t sweat it! There are a ton of other things you can and will do on your vacation. Enjoy yourself and take things as they come.

Be Kind to Cast Members:  Circling back to my first point…Cast Members are just people. Do not blame them if you have to pay $20 for corn dog nuggets. You don’t want to expel your happy Disney energy taking it out on someone else. Also, if you’re kind to a Cast Member they may end up making some magic for you too!

Jambalaya Jazz Band playing in New Orleans Square at Disneyland

Use a Travel Agent: I know it sounds like I’m advertising since I’m a Travel Agent myself, but I’m actually quite honest about this one. There are a lot of factors that go into planning a Disney vacation and they can be overwhelming. Having an Agent might put you at ease. You can feel free to contact me if you’re interested, or, find another trusted source that can help you.

Breathe and Smile: You’re at Disney. Take a breath and hug your kid, or partner, or friend, or nearest Cast Member (just kidding, don’t do that), and enjoy the memories you’re making in this beautiful environment.

Last month I visited Disneyland on my first solo Disney trip and had an absolutely miserable time. I consider myself a Disney expert and know all the tricks and tips to make a Disney vacation go perfectly, but somehow I was unhappy in the happiest place on Earth. And why? Because I wanted it to be perfect and I wanted to do it all at once. Truth is, there’s so much happening at the parks, you really can’t do it all. You shouldn’t try to do it all, so take a deep breath and use these tips to start making some magical memories!

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The Biggest Mistakes You'll Make on Your Disneyland Vacation and How to Avoid Them

 

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Top 9 Disney Guidebooks and E-Books To Help Plan Your Vacation

Go to any Disney Facebook group and ask the question “What’s the best hotel on Disney property?” You’ll most likely get about 30 different answers and become completely overwhelmed by…

Go to any Disney Facebook group and ask the question “What’s the best hotel on Disney property?” You’ll most likely get about 30 different answers and become completely overwhelmed by competing opinions. If you’d rather not use a Travel Agent and consider yourself a vacation DIYer, you might look to guides for help. There a quite a few blogs that offer their insight (like myself), but the most comprehensive and unbiased information you can find is from a guidebook. So, here’s a list of awesome Disney Guidebooks (and a couple eBooks) that helped me plan in the past and will hopefully help you too! Don’t worry about choosing the “right” one. Each suggested resource is just as beneficial as the next. You can click on my links below to find the books on Amazon!

P.S. I’ve only listed links for Disney World books, but most of these publishers write books for Disneyland and Disney Cruise Line as well. 

Guide Books

Stack of Disney Travel Guide Books with a To Do List and Magic Band

1) The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World

This guidebook is referred to as the “Disney Bible” and is written by the same people who own and operate the reputable touringplans.com. Every year, they come out with an updated version of their unofficial guides and every year they get better and more detailed. I started buying these books in 2012 and have purchased every new version since. The size of the book can be intimidating, but I treat it as an encyclopedia, rather than something I need to study cover-to-cover. 

Book Features:

  • 5-Star Ratings: Every attraction, show, restaurant, and resort is graded by a 5-star system. Restaurants are also divided by Quick-Service and Table Service, then described in detail and ranked by quality. Resorts, both on and off property, are treated the same and contact information is provided for all of them.
  • Packing tips and “bare necessities” like suggested credit cards to souvenir shopping, to where to find a gas station, it’s all there.
  • Advice for a spectrum of travel groups like Disney for seniors, Disney for toddlers, and how to entertain your teenager. 

The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World 2019

Bonus: If you’re a true Disnerd, also read Unofficial Guide’s: The Disneyland Story. The story of Walt’s first conception of the park and how it evolved to the current form. I prefer listening to it on audible, but I also have the physical book for novelty reasons. 

2) Birnbaum’s 2018 Walt Disney World: The Official Guide

This is the only guidebook with Disney’s official stamp of approval. It’s also the most compact guide of all the books I suggest so, if you plan on packing it in your suitcase it won’t be quite as heavy.  This may sound juvenile, but I love this book because it has high-quality, colored photographs. It’s a fun guide to look through if you have kids, or if you’re a kid-at-heart, like me. And a great book to get you excited about your vacation! 

Birnbaum's Guide to Walt Disney World 2019

3) Frommer’s EasyGuide to Disney World 

Frommer’s is a trusted destination publisher that covers more than just Disney books. Their overviews are not quite as detailed as the Unofficial Guide and not quite as colorful as Birnbaum’s, but still very as useful. At this point, I would say buy it if you are partial to the Frommer’s brand.

Frommer's Guide to Disney World 2018

4) 102 Ways to Save Money For and At Walt Disney World

Lou Mongello is among the elite Disney experts out there. He creates Disney guidebooks, podcasts, and videos dealing with tips and history to enhance your vacation. Always well-researched and entertaining, his tips for budgeting for your vacation will help you immensely. It’s mostly targeted at first-time visitors, but I found a few tips to be helpful as well. 102 Things To Do at Walt Disney World At Least Once is also a joy to read.

102 Ways to Save Money For and at Disney World by Lou Mongello

5) Walt Disney World Dining Guide 2018

Making a dining reservation at Disney World has become one of the most difficult things to do when planning your vacation. Also, the restaurants on property are constantly being updated, replaced, or closed down completely. This can be both exciting and aggravating. The Dining Guide can be a really helpful resource when deciding where you’d like to eat and how to get those reservations. It’s also updated every year to keep up with Disney’s ever-changing restaurant venues.

Walt Disney World Dining Guide by Andrea Keech

6) Passporter’s Guide Walt Disney World 

Passporter’s has more general tips and guidance for the planning process, so if you’re looking for a categorical overview, it would be a good choice. Also, the structure of their planning binder actually makes planning fun! With the Trip Diary and pockets placed inside the book, you can keep all of your printables and resources in one place. 

7) The Hidden Mickey’s of Walt Disney World

If you’re not familiar with a Hidden Mickey, it’s the image of Mickey’s head hidden subtly by Imagineers around Disney property (and movies).  A sort of inside joke from Imagineers throughout the years. The book helps you seek out the Mickey’s hidden around the parks. This will help you pass the time while you’re waiting in line or taking a break!

Hidden Mickey's of Walt Disney World Book

E-Books

I know I said to be wary of blogs, but there are two websites that I trust wholeheartedly. That’s Disney Food Blog and Disney Tourist Blog. Both of these offer eBooks that can be helpful as well.

8) Disney Food Blog Guides (eBook) 

Pretty much any restaurant and food item on property is reviewed on Disney Food Blog. Their eBook is beautifully done with photographs, four planning worksheets, updates on closures and refurbs and fun tips like the “trendiest bar” or “best hot dogs.” The other advantage of an eBook is that they have the ability to embed hyperlinks into the text. Not sure what a Mickey’s Premium Bar is? Click on the links inside the ebook and it will send you to a description. Pretty nifty. And if you’re already an expert, it’s fun to peruse for the sake of Disney daydreaming.  

9) Disney Tourist Blog (Website and eBooks) 

Money Saving Tips for Walt Disney World and Disney Tourist Blog Christmas 

Disney Tourist Blog is the first the Disney blog that I followed and they are constantly inspiring me to create a more beneficial blog for my readers. If you can’t find everything you’re looking for in a guidebook and prefer to book your own vacations, then you’ll find this website and their eBooks very helpful.

Bonus: Ink & Paint: The Women of Walt Disney’s Animation

I couldn’t resist promoting this book! It won’t help you plan your vacation, but if you’re a Disney buff, it’s a fascinating read. It will give you a profound respect for the Female Animators who reigned during Walt’s time. It is very large and heavy though, so I don’t think it will be a good book to read on your flight! 

Ink and Paint the Women of Walt Disney's Animation

These are the books and resources that shaped me into the Disney expert I am today. Since I’ve discovered them, I can plan a mean Disney itinerary like nobody’s business. Also, let me reiterate: you don’t have to read them all, so don’t be overwhelmed. Just find your favorite, make yourself a cup of tea, and start planning!

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A Guide to Disney World E-Books and Guide Books

 

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9 Ways to Spend Less Time Waiting in Line at Disney

About ten years ago, simply visiting the parks during non-peak season (September through the first two weeks of December) would be enough to avoid crowds and long lines. Every year…

About ten years ago, simply visiting the parks during non-peak season (September through the first two weeks of December) would be enough to avoid crowds and long lines. Every year Disney adds another festival at Epcot or another room promotion to keep resorts full and the money flowing. On top of it all, in 2019, both Disneyland and Disney World will open Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. This will pull in a whole different crowd of park guests. I’m not trying to scare you! The parks are still very accessible during certain times of the year and there are a few tips I can give to make the most out of your Disney experience.

FastPass: If you’re staying onsite at one of the Disney hotels, you can schedule your FastPasses 60 days in advance. If you’re staying offsite, you can book 30 days in advance. I highly recommend using this to your advantage. Especially if you want to try the new Pandora rides at Animal Kingdom. Plan which rides you’d like to schedule for each of your days and get up early on your 60-day mark. If the reservations are all snatched up, try again later. A lot of people luck out the week before their vacations due to people changing their reservations. Disneyland has a similar system available on the app called the MaxPass, which costs $10 per person, per day. The free version will require you to physically go to the FastPass kiosk and print out a ticket.

Single Riders Line: If you don’t mind splitting up your party, you can head to the single rider queue and cut most of the line. The Single Rider Line is meant to fill in the empty seats in a ride vehicle due to an odd number of riders. You may get lucky and be seated with one of your party members, but you will most likely be with other guests. You can find most Single Rider Lines located right next to the regular standby line.

Extra Magic Hours and Rope Drops: Another perk of staying onsite is the fact that you have access to the Extra Magic Hours or Magic Mornings. This is when you can enter a park one hour or early or stay an hour late. If the park is not offering an early morning, getting there right when the park opens also helps. Bolt for the rides that usually have the longest lines like Flight of Passage at Animal Kingdom and Seven Dwarfs Mine at Magic Kingdom.

Mickey's Toon Town Fire Truck in DisneylandDining Reservations: Try your best to make reservations for table service restaurants at Disney World. It can be challenging making same-day reservations at popular restaurants. For onsite guests, reservations become available 190 days before your first vacation day. For offsite, 180 days in advance. If you can’t get your desired restaurants at the 180-day mark when reservations are open, try at 60 days when people start to schedule their FastPasses. If you can’t get your reservation, check 1-2 weeks before your vacation begins. Since there is a cancellation fee of $10 per person, guests have more of an incentive to remove their dining reservations if they don’t plan on attending. It’s a much different scene at Disneyland, I was able to make a same-day reservation at Napa Rose, the nicest restaurant the park has to offer. That said, I still suggest making an Advance Dining Reservation if there is a restaurant you don’t want to miss. ADR’s are available 60 days in advance for onsite guests only.

Mobile Meal Orders: The My Disney Experience app contains all of your dining, FastPass, and resort reservations, and now allows you to pre-order from many locations around Disney World. Pre-ordering your meal will lessen your wait time considerably. Order during the lunch rush and grab a table.  See all of the restaurants offering mobile ordering at Disney World here and Disneyland here.BBQ Crunch Hot Dog with crispy onions from Award Wieners in Disneyland's California Adventure Character Breakfasts: Meet n’ Greet lines for characters can be up to an hour long, especially at Disney World. If you’re interested in meeting some characters, booking a character dining experience is the best way to go. For some restaurants, it can also create a more intimate experience. As a former friend of some of the characters, I’ve experienced some extremely slow mornings at Hollywood & Vine at Hollywood Studios where the characters spent a lot of time with each family. Crystal Palace, however, is fast-paced and you’ll likely only a get quick shot and autograph. The characters only have about an hour to see each table, so please be patient with them. They’re doing their best!

Rides After the Last Firework Show: Once the first shows are over, a good chunk of the crowd will leave the parks. Families tend to rush out of the park after the last firework show, creating massive lines at the bus stations and trams. If you’re a night owl, plan on getting their late in the day so you have the energy to stay late, ride more rides, and have an easier time getting home.Disneyland Fireworks behind Sleeping Beauty CastleRide Attractions Right at Closing Time: If you’re in line before the park closes, they will not kick you out of line. Meaning, if a ride like Seven Dwarfs Mine Train has a 20-minute wait and the park closes at midnight, you can get in the queue at that time and stay in line past close.

Avoid the Summer: During the summer, the lines are much longer and the heat is oppressive. My favorite time to go is September through the beginning of October and the first two weeks of November. Most kids are in school and the weather is still nice.Mad Tea Party Attraction and Storybook Canal at Disneyland Bonus: Use a Minnie Van or Ride Share: The new Minnie Van taxi service powered by Lyft picks you up at your resort and takes you anywhere on property for $20. Seeing as parking costs $20, I’d say this is an ok deal. It drops you off at the front of the Magic Kingdom, so you don’t have to wait for the monorail or ferry. It also provides two car seats for families. If you’re not staying on property, you can order a regular Lyft. Here’s a link to the app for $5 off your first ride!

The big tip here is to try and plan ahead of time. This will help you feel organized. On the other hand, don’t get stressed if everything doesn’t go precisely to plan. Take the day as it comes. There might be a time when you can’t make it to your next FastPass due to Disney transportation or ride breakdowns, but don’t stress about it. Remember to breathe through these mishaps and remind yourself that you’re on an awesome Disney vacation with your loved ones. You can read my other post about how to Alleviate Stress at Disney for more tips on how to improve the quality of your vacation.

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9 Ways to Spend Less Time in Line at Disney Parks

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Disney World After Dark: Dining & Entertainment for Night Owls

“Raging nightlife” isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Disney. But just because it’s Disney, doesn’t mean it’s only for early risers. When the sun…

“Raging nightlife” isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Disney. But just because it’s Disney, doesn’t mean it’s only for early risers. When the sun goes down and most of the other guests are heading out, you can keep the party going with a variety of activities. I’m not saying this is Las Vegas, but you do have some options if you’re hopped up on Dole Whips at 9:00 pm.

I used to be a magic morning kinda girl, but lately, I’ve found that going into the parks later in the afternoon and staying all the way until close is something I can get used to. The other option is to go early for park opening, leave for most of the afternoon then return for more fun. Whatever your preference, there’s a lot to do at night in the parks and resorts.

The hours and times I’ve listed may vary, so always double-check park and dining hours on DisneyWorld.com before making plans. Also, dining closing hours means they will seat you until those closing hours, but won’t kick you out until you’ve finished your meal. Just, try not to take too much advantage of coming in right at closing. Servers gotta sleep too!  Later reservations are much easier to get, as opposed to dining around the typical dinner hour of 5:00-7:00 pm as well.

Disney Springs

Disney Springs Panorama at Night | CC by Chris Murray

CC by Chris Murray

Let’s start with the obvious place to stay up late. They’ve been trying their darndest to appeal to young 20 something’s in this area for years and I think they’re finally getting around to it. Most restaurants and shops and are open until 11:00 PM (and later) and the Starbucks is open until midnight to keep yourself from falling asleep.  There’s always excitement happening at Springs like live “street” performers and other artists scattered about. It’s my favorite place to go on our first night in town since you don’t have to pay to get in.

The Edison: Open until 1:00 am. This swanky bar/lounge/cabaret/nightclub/restaurant just opened this year and people are loving its nighttime entertainment. The live band, dancers, and singers begin their big band era show around 10:00 pm. On Thursdays through Sundays they charge a cover of $10 after 10:00 as well.  After 10:00 pm the restaurant becomes 21 and over and a “venue-appropriate” dress code is requested. You can read about Disney Dress Codes on my post here.

Enzo’s Hideaway Tunnel Bar: Open until midnight. The Tunnel Bar is Maria and Enzo’s counterpart lounge. It has a prohibition-era speakeasy theme where you enter through an unmarked door into a dark “tunnel” restaurant. They serve cocktails, small plates, and full meals in an “underground” bar. Very cool little spot to grab a drink before heading over to The Edison for some dancing.

Star Wars–Secrets of the Empire Hyper-Reality Experience: Open until 10:45 pm. This experience opened recently in Disney World and just opened at Disneyland’s Downtown Disney as well. Your chosen team is sent undercover to achieve a mission for the rebellion where you’ll interact with sets and experience sensory and immersive technology.  I’ve heard nothing but good things about it, but have been warned that if you are claustrophobic or experience vertigo, you should avoid it. This is for ages 10+ and is 29.95 per person.

Splitsville: If you’re taking a break from the parks, Splitsville is a great place to hang out. There’s a bowling alley food, frozen drinks, and creative martinis served until 12:30. You should really reserve a lane ahead of time if you plan on bowling, just to be safe. Odd Tip: They say the sushi is really good here. Who knew I could trust sushi from a bowling alley? Lane reservations go as late as 11:45 and the alley is open until 1:00 AM.

AMC Dine-In Theatre: This movie theatre has undergone quite the transformation since I was a Cast Member. A full menu is available with options like cheeseburgers, desserts, even cocktails. When you’re low on popcorn, press a button and *poof* your server appears without you getting up in the middle of the movie. Great idea for an evening flick!

House of Blues: Ah yes, the old standby. House of Blues is still rockin’ after all these years and all the transformations. Check the schedule here to see when the live concerts will be taking place at this venue.

Bongos Cuban Cafe: Open until 2:00 am. The rumors have started that Bongo’s will soon be another casualty in the renovations.  There’s still time to visit this happening venue! On Friday and Saturdays, they have a live band play with dancing. It’s like a nonstop party over there.

Raglan Road-Irish Pub and Restaurant: Fish n’ Chips, live music, and traditional Irish dancing until 1:00 AM. The lively venue pays homage to Disney Spring’s wilder years and is madly popular among the younger Cast Members. A great place to have a pint and let loose.

Here are a few honorable mentions for getting a late meal. You can find the full list of restaurants at DisneySprings.com

The BoardWalk

Disney World BoardWalk Panorama at sunset

CC by Chad Sparkes

Now that Pleasure Island has transformed into an upscale shopping district (Disney Springs), I think it’s time for The Boardwalk to get a facelift as well. They haven’t had any major developments like the other parks or resorts and they’re definitely due. That being said, there are two adult-only venues and a couple dining options open late.

Jellyrolls: Open until 2:00 am. Jellyrolls is a dueling piano bar that’s been around for a while and still a favorite for some. Doors open at 7:00 pm so if you plan on getting a table, I advise going when they open. They do charge a cover charge of $12.

Atlantic Dance Hall: Open until 2:00 am. This top 40’s dance hall has a balcony with a beautiful view of the lake where you can cool off after shaking your tail feathers. There’s no cover charge, but it is closed on Sundays and Mondays.

Pizza Window: Open until midnight. Between dance breaks stop by the infamous Pizza Window. It has some outside seating and serves beer and Sangria as well. Nothing like pizza under the stars on a warm Florida night!

BoardWalk Joe’s Marvelous Margaritas: Open until midnight. This is a little outdoor shack that serves margaritas outside. Pizza and margs, anyone?

Late-Night Eats That Close after 10:00 pm for The BoardWalk

The Resorts

Grand Floridian Resort Chandelier at Disney World

Grand Floridian Resort

24 Hour Dining: Speaking of midnight snacks, there are three restaurants open 24 hours on property.

  • Gasparilla Island Grill at Grand Floridian is a quick service spot serving pizza all night long.
  • Picabu at the Dolphin Hotel serves a take-and-go assortment of desserts and snacks.
  • Captain Cook’s at the Polynesian serves bakery items and some small snacks late at night.

Starlight Safari at Animal Kingdom Lodge: Disney’s only nighttime tour and probably the coolest. You’ll be guided through the “Savannah” at Animal Kingdom Lodge to view their wildlife after dark. Everyone is provided night vision goggles to get the full experience of seeing a giraffe or zebra after dark. Once exclusive to resort guests, now open to all. The tours start around 8:30 and 10:00 at night. If you go on any VIP tours, try this one!

Stroll Along a Scenic Trail: There are many jogging trails scattered throughout resort properties, but my favorite is the trail connecting the Polynesian and Grand Floridian. An ideal evening would be to take in the live jazz band at Mizner’s Lounge then head outside for a leisurely evening walk. It trails near the Seven Seas Lagoon and passes by the wedding pavilion at Grand Floridian. Once at the Polynesian you’ll get the perfect view of Cinderella’s castle in the distance. Can you smell the warm, evening air?

Grab a Drink: Disney resort lounges are usually stocked with full-service food menus from the restaurants attached to them. All are first-come, first-serve so you don’t have to worry about making a reservation. My favorite is probably Mizner’s Lounge at Grand Floridian.

P.S. Most resort food courts are open until 11:00 PM and there’s always Disney’s pizza delivery if you want to keep the party hopping. Although, I might suggest ordering Pizza Hut. Disney pizza isn’t great.

The Parks

Sunset in Epcot's World Showcase panorama at Disney World

World Showcase at Sunset

Disney has been good about offering some late night activities in the parks for those of us who are not rope drop people. Every year they’re adding something new to stretch out the magic all day and into the wee hours of the night.

Extra Evening Hours: Extra Magic Hours doesn’t always mean up-at-the-crack-of-dawn hours. On certain nights, the parks will stay open for a few hours after close, meant for guests staying at an onsite Disney resort. Check the calendar to see which park is honoring it the week you are there.  Fair warning, the park may still be busy during the late hours, but it’s a good option.

Disney After Hours: This one is definitely less advertised than the holiday parties and definitely less crowded. Between January and March of 2018, they are leaving the park open for an extra 3 hours in the Magic Kingdom. 25 attractions are left open and because there is a limited amount of tickets, lines are super short. The price is about the same as one day’s admission-$119. If you want to do this exclusive event you can find tickets for sale here.

Magic Kingdom:

The good thing about the Magic Kingdom is that it’s usually open until midnight unless it’s non-peak season and by that time you’re probably pooped from all the magic. But if you stick around long enough you get to experience the “Kiss Goodnight.” Which is the exit message and music from Mickey and friends when the park is nearing close. It’s a perfect time to take in the Disney atmosphere and get the perfect castle picture with fewer crowds.

  • Shop on Main Street: Main Street shops are open a little past park closing hours. I like to use this time to pick up souvenirs because the crowds are thinner and I don’t have to spend the rest of the day carrying them around. Also, you really can’t beat an empty Main Street U.S.A at midnight.
  • Dessert Parties: Magic Kingdom has a lot of dessert parties and most of them take place during the fireworks. One takes place in Tomorrowland, another takes place in the plaza, and others take place on your very own cruise. This is probably the coolest way to view the fireworks. This experience is right up there with a viewing at the Top of the World Lounge at the Contemporary Resort.
  • Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party: If you are visiting during the holiday season, these are must-do events. Both offer special parades, shows, merchandise, and rare character experiences. And they keep the parks open until midnight in the fall. They were created to help drag in some profit during the off-season and they are quickly becoming the busiest times to go. I suggest going mid-September or the last week of November to attempt to avoid the crowds.

Epcot:

Most, if not all, restaurants and food kiosks are open until 9:00 pm at Epcot. If you’re willing to skip Illuminations or go for a quick service option in lieu of a table service, you can actually get quite a bit done later in the day here.

  • Festivals at Epcot: I suggest visiting during one of their festivals like Food & Wine, Flower & Garden, or Festival of the Arts. They always have unique food and entertainment and the food kiosks are also typically open until 9:00 pm.
  • Proximity to The BoardWalk: World Showcase is located 5 minutes from The BoardWalk! Head over to the parks for dinner and Illuminations and then keep the party going with some dancing at The BoardWalk. Sounds like the perfect evening to me!

Hollywood Studios:

Studios is undergoing major refurbishments as they prepare for Galaxy’s Edge (Star Wars Land) and Toy Story Land coming in the next couple years. Unfortunately, that means there is far less to do in the evening hours. BUT, I do have a few suggestions for nighttime entertainment at the park while it gets a makeover.

  • Fantasmic! Dining Package: This is my favorite evening show! Like I said, the dining and dessert packages are the way to go. The Brown Derby is my suggestion for this dining package. They’ve got some great cocktails! If you don’t want to do a table service and there are two shows, I always suggest seeing the second show. The crowds will have died down and you’ll have more time for dinner and attractions.
  • Ride Tower of Terror at Night: I know, I’m really reaching here. However, if you’ve never ridden Tower of Terror at night, it’s really pretty cool. The evening ambiance adds to the eerie queue which guides you to the spooky lobby.
  • Take the boat!: After you’ve gotten your fill of Hollywood Studios, take the boat over to the BoardWalk area. The Dolphin and Swan Resort are also in the vicinity which offers places like Kimonos for nightly karaoke!

Animal Kingdom:

Even if it’s not open terribly late, Pandora-World of Avatar was meant to be seen at night. The bioluminescent lighting and Avatar “landscapes” look incredible in the evening. Last summer, Animal Kingdom was open until 10:00 pm most nights and sometimes 11:00 pm, without extra evening hours. And don’t forget to catch Rivers of Light, the new water and light show, playing most nights at the amphitheater. Unfortunately, Animal Kingdom doesn’t have too many dining spots open past 8:00 pm due to it closing earlier than others. For evening eats I suggest Tiffins, Yak & Yeti, Nomad Lounge, and Satu’li Canteen (quick service). Rainforest Cafe is open a little later than the others, but the food isn’t quite worth it.

I did my best to keep the list concise, but there really is a lot to do at night in and around the parks! What’s your favorite thing to do late at night on property? Mine would have to be watching the fireworks from the beach at the Polynesian Resort. So relaxing! Goodnight, night owls!

Pin it for later!Disney After Dark: Everything you can do at Disney World after the sun goes down!
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The Benefits of Using a Disney Travel Planner

Booking a Disney vacation may seem easy with the endless amount of information on the internet. But this much information can be overwhelming. With my insider knowledge, I’m here to help discover what is best for you. And as far as planning logistics,…

Booking a Disney vacation may seem easy with the endless amount of information on the internet. But this much information can be overwhelming. With my insider knowledge, I’m here to help discover what is best for you. And as far as planning logistics, I’m here for that too. Got any burning questions like: “What’s a FastPass?” or “I want a reservation at Be Our Guest, but everything is full! Can I still get in? As a former Cast Member and a graduate of the Disney College of Knowledge,  I have the resources to do all of the nitty-gritty work for you. This way, you can focus on the important things, like enjoying your vacation!

If you’re more a DIYer you can help keep things organized with my 6 day Disney World Travel Itinerary example and blank itinerary. It’s a  snapshot of a 6 day Disney World trip I recently took and how I managed to see most things on my list. Download the planning guide here!

Radiator Springs Racers in Car's Land at Disneyland's California Adventure

Benefits of Using a Travel Agent:
  • You’re Dealing with an Expert: I’m endlessly qualified and highly knowledgeable when it comes to Disney vacations. As I mentioned before, I worked at Disney World in the Entertainment Department and took business classes through Disney University on the property.  You can probably guess what I did in that department, but it’s all very hush hush. During my time as a Cast Member, I was in the parks every day either for work or play. I stayed in many different resorts across the property and ate at most of the popular restaurants. I can give you honest reviews about each of these places to help you with your reservations. IOn top of that, I recently graduated from the Disney College of Knowledge, which is a Travel Agent training program designed to prepare Agents for booking Disney vacations for their clients. Easy to say, I know my stuff!
  • It’s Free to You: Suppliers like Disney and most, if not all, hotels and tours pay Travel Agents a commission when we book on behalf of them because we’re doing their job for them. They are willing to take a cut and pay us for doing the marketing and planning for them. This costs nothing extra to you. That being said, please be aware that the only way Travel Agents are paid is if we book on your behalf. If you work with us then decide later to book through a travel website, we won’t be compensated. We really appreciate it if we can work with you through the whole process, if you’re willing to have us.
  • Your Wish is My Command: Think of me as your personal assistant. I do all the work, planning, and follow-up for you. If you want to spend hours researching a destination, international border control stipulations, and Travel Insurance plans, that’s totally cool. If you’d rather have someone do it for you, let me do it!
  • Resources: As an Agent, I have an endless amount of resources and a huge network of Travel Professionals to refer to. This is something a travel website won’t offer to you. Agents tend to be the first to be notified when a supplier announces new upcoming promos as well.
  • No Upselling: As a small business owner and artist, supporting my dream of planning Disney vacations for people, I promise to be honest and upfront. This is my business so I’m not pressured to make certain amounts on commission. What does it hurt? It’s a completely free service and I actually like doing it. I offer honest opinions on hotels, parks, and dining and there will be no upselling on my part. I’ll always be on the lookout for what is best for you.

How much you want me involved in your planning is completely up to you. If you’d like me to schedule every FastPass, Dining Reservation, hotel and flights, I can do that. If you just want me to purchase tickets, I’m down for that too! See below for all the services I offer when booking your dream vacation.

Space Mountain Attraction at Disneyland

Complete Service Offers:
  • Packages: Some packages offer discounts if you book during certain seasons. Other discounts seem great, but are not worth it once you read the fine print. I can do the budget hunting and pricing out for you. If you find a discount before I do, I can add it to your package no problem.
  • Dining Reservations: You can make dining reservations online 180 days before your vacation if you’re staying offsite and 190 days if you’re onsite. This year, to make it even harder for us, they’re adding Disney Good Neighborhood Hotels to the 190-day exception. It’s become increasingly difficult in booking the popular restaurants like Be our Guest since this system launched. People tend to get up at 3:00 AM on their 180/190-day mark just to ensure they get a seat. I am happy to be up in the wee hours to work on your reservations. If they happen to be full, I have the ability to set up systems that will alert me if a reservation becomes available.
  • FastPasses: With dining reservations and travel time, FastPasses can quickly become a logistical nightmare. I can help schedule your FastPasses and make sure they work will your other reservations.
  • Dining Plan: The most often Disney question asked: Is the Dining Plan a good deal? I can help draw out comparisons and figure out if the Dining Plan is right for you.
  • Resort Research: If you want to make sure the hotel is more kid oriented or have a more of an “adult feel,” I have plenty of recommendations. I can help you make requests for arranging to have a crib for your room or asking for ADA accommodations as well.

So drop me a line from my quote form here. It’ll be a blast!

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