Thursday, March 26, 2015

Dining at Walt Disney World

During a full day of attractions and fun, you must take a break to eat! Like Universal, WDW has lots of delicious options. The attention to detail in the themes of each restaurant is fantastic.

As you walk around all four WDW parks, counter service/snack bar style restaurants are very common. There is most likely one in each land of each park. 
Example: Auntie Gravity's Galactic Goodies, in Tommorrowland, in Magic Kingdom.

My absolute favorite restaurant in WDW is Chef Mickey's at the Contemporary Resort. The immense buffet and character dining experience is excellent!

The best sit-down restaurants of Magic Kingdom:
Be Our Guest Restaurant
Cinderella's Royal Table
The Crystal Palace
Liberty Tree Tavern

Disney's Hollywood Studios:
50's Prime Time Cafe
The Hollywood Brown Derby
Hollywood & Vine 
Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant

Le Cellier Steakhouse
Rose & Crown Pub
Chefs de France
Tokyo Dining
Liberty Inn
Via Napoli Ristorante e Pizzeria
Nine Dragons Restaurant
La Hacienda de San Angel
Coral Reef Restaurant 

Animal Kingdom:
Rainforest Cafe
Tusker House Restaurant
Yak & Yeti Restaurant

Enjoy your meal(s)! :)

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Least Expensive Souvenirs

Theme park vacations can be very expensive, and not everyone can afford to spend a lot more money on souvenirs. Here are some fun and affordable souvenirs!

  • Postcards
For about $3 you can buy a colorful postcard to keep for yourself or mail to friends! I have a few postcards taped on my walls in my room.

  • Pressed pennies

For only 51 cents you can press a fun design into a penny. Machines are located all over Universal and Disney World so be on the look out for a pressed penny opportunity!


Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Theme Park Apps

Recently Universal and Disney have developed their own smart phone applications for use inside and outside their theme parks. Both apps are very useful and also free to download.

My Disney Experience - Walt Disney World
This Walt Disney World app is helpful when planning your trip and during your trip. The app shows wait times for every attraction whenever the parks are open, no matter if you are inside or not. You can also plan FastPass+ and dining reservations in advance.
You will have to login or create a Disney account but you may have already created one when planning your trip. The app is connected to you party's MagicBands.
There is also a full resort map. Everything you need to know about WDW is available in this great app.

The Official Universal Orlando Resort App

This Universal Orlando app has many of the same features as the Disney app. You can see wait times, maps, and plan your vacation.

Both apps are very helpful for a successful day at a theme park.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Why Stay at an On-Site Hotel?

For both Disney World and Universal, staying at their on-site hotels is more expensive then staying at one not much farther away. Theme park hotels have added benefits, and the question is: is is worth it? YES!!

For Universal Orlando only:
All of the hotels except for Cabana Bay include an Express Pass with your stay. An Express Pass is immensely helpful when visiting the theme park because you get to go in a shorter line for almost every ride. Because of the express pass, I have walked on Flight of the Hippogriff when the normal line had a 30 minute wait.
Universal has 4 hotels.

For Disney World only:
When you book a hotel room you get a MagicBand for everyone in your party. These are useful for park admission, FastPass+ and more. Check out my previous post Souvenirs you will actually use
Disney has more than 25 places to stay.
At Disney and Universal:
Each hotel room is great quality. Everything is very clean. The workers really care about taking care of you and your family.
Each hotel theme is represented with nice decorations and details throughout the whole place.

Staying at an on-site hotel is a great way to add to the magic of a theme park vacation!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Weather in Central Florida

An ideal day for visiting a theme park usually consists of family, friends, excitement, and sunshine. Unfortunately the weather sometimes does not cooperate. If you are planning on spending time in FL you have to know what to expect.

In the summer, it is very hot for most of the day. In the late afternoon thunderstorms often occur. One can expect anything from a light drizzle to a heavy shower kind of storm.

I have experienced this first hand at Islands of Adventure this past summer. While I ride Dragon Challenge the day was beautiful. I was walking through the Wizarding World when all of a sudden storm clouds filled the sky and it started raining like crazy.
During days like this, many people run into stores, and stores become crowded. Almost all the shops in Universal sell ponchos for about $8 each. Which is crazy considering you can get one at the dollar store outside of Universal.

Tips to remember in the rain:
  • Pack a poncho!
  • Outdoor rides (ex. Hulk Coaster) usually close.
  • Indoor rides (ex. Forbidden Journey) do not close.
  • Water rides (ex. JP River Adventure) are usually open.

If you haven't ridden any indoor rides yet, during the rain is a good time to stay at the park if you don't mind being wet. In the rain my cousin and I walked right onto Cat in the Hat in the middle of an afternoon in July, the busiest part of the year for theme parks. Also ride water rides because you will already be wet.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

In Depth About Marvel Super Hero Island

At Universal Orlando Resort, super heroes aren't just for kids. The whole family can enjoy this section of Islands of Adventure, called Marvel Super Hero Island. Heroes and villains frequently visit for opportunities for autographs and photos. Of course, Universal's attention to detail in creating this cool place is stunning. Also, the Island features 4 attractions, all of them are quite thrilling.
4. Storm Force Accelatron
Almost exactly the same as Disney's classic Mad Teacups. Get ready to spin! (constantly!) Based off of Storm from X-Men.

3. Doctor Doom's Fearfall
See my other article It is a classic drop ride with an accelerated lift.

2. The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man
You sit down in your Daily Bugle news vehicle. The ride is part simulator and part real. You are on a quest to help Spidey fight some villains and say the day. Lots of fun for the whole family.

1. The Incredible Hulk Coaster
See my other article This is a crazy coaster with loops and drops.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

3 Reasons to Visit Disney's Hollywood Studios

3. Entertaining Shows
One of my favorite shows in Orlando is Fantasmic. This exciting water/lights/effects spectacular is great. Also the Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular is perfect for all ages. Muppet Vision 3D makes everyone laugh.

2. Family-friendly Rides
Toy Story Midway Mania, a game style ride, has great effects. If you enjoy riding through the galaxy in a simulator, Stars Tours is the ride for you. Lastly in The Great Movie Ride, a live guide gives you a tour through some famous movies moments. This ride is appropriate for all audiences, but most children will not recognize probably half of the scenes.

1. Best Thrill Rides in WDW
Since Disney removed the Sorcerer Hat, The Twilight Zone: Tower of Terror has become the symbol of DHS. In this ride you free fall 13 stories. (about 130 feet)
Per usual Disney does a great job setting the story and adding plenty of pre ride details. Second Rock n Roller Coaster. It also has a pre ride video and like Hulk at IOA, it has an accelerated take off. This coaster is mostly in the dark and is a lot of fun.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Download Disney Ride Photos Easily (And for Free!)

Everyone loves to see that funny face you made on Splash Mountain, or the look of fright during Tower of Terror. But one print costs $15!
If you have a MagicBand or a Disney PhotoPass card, you're in luck! Once you exit the ride and see your photo, tap the Mickey ears button below it. (The button looks the same as when you enter the park.) This will save your photo to a website.
Visit and login or create an account and then you can see all your photos! To get them for free, take screenshots, and there you have it! Disney ride photos, with no watermark, for free!
I paid for neither of these photos. Also, resorts and restaurants like Chef Mickey's can take your photo too.
Disney also adds some of their photos to your account.

Enjoy! :)

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Best Theme Parks of Central Florida

I quote from "Orlando, the "Theme Park Capital of the World," has enough to keep your family entertained for weeks if not months on end." Although this is a very accurate statement, few family have enough time to see all Orlando has to offer. Most theme parks take almost a full day, if you want to see everything. It is vitally important to research each park before the trip to pick certain ones. But, here are the top 5 best parks of central Florida.

5) Epcot
Epcot is home to many different cultures and also the future. World Showcase and Future World have plenty of great attractions such as Soarin', Test Track, and Spaceship Earth.

4) Disney's Hollywood Studios
This park has so many things to offer, but not quite as many attractions as the parks I chose for 1, 2, and 3. DHS has shows and multiple fun rides.

3) Universal Studios Florida

One of my favorite parts of Universal Studios is Diagon Alley. The Harry Potter detailing is amazing. This park has more rides/attractions than Epcot or DHS. Roller coaster fans will enjoy Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit, and Revenge of the Mummy, and younger kids like Despicable Me.

2) Magic Kingdom
Magic Kingdom is huge and has an attraction for everyone. Its coasters are not crazy but are still a lot of fun. Their are so many famous classic rides here and a little Disney magic is always good for all ages!

1) Islands of Adventure

This park will always be my absolute favorite. I am a huge Harry Potter and roller coaster fan and both are satisfied here. The effects in Spider-man are great, and Jurassic Park River Adventure is dropping-ly enjoyable. Young kids will enjoy Seuss Landing, but most of the rides are more popular for teens and brave adults.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Dining at Universal Orlando Resort

At a typical theme park, the most common food you will find is American. Universal sells a lot of burgers, fries, and chicken tenders, and they have some other great choices too! You won't find as many themed restaurants anywhere else. Yummy!

This list is right off Universal's map from summer 2014.

At Islands of Adventure:

Blondie's -- Toon Lagoon
A make-your-own sandwich shop. Great for lunch.

Mythos Restaurant -- Lost Continent
Voted one of the best theme park restaurants in Orlando. Probably lunch or dinner.

Three Broomsticks -- Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Hogsmeade
This restaurant is a can't-miss experience for a Potter fan. The food is mostly traditional English but it is great quality and the decorations inside the restaurant are just like the movie/book. Lunch or dinner.

At Universal Studios Florida:

Lombard's Seafood Grille
Very good seafood, pasta, and more. Great for dinner.

Krusty Burger
Actually very good burgers and it makes them even better to be a Simpson's fan. Probably best for lunch.

Leaky Cauldron
Another Potter restaurant. I have only been for breakfast and it was great. Serves food for breakfast, lunch and dinner.