Plans for our Disney World Trip
We are preparing for a week long trip to Disney at the end of October and beginning of November, and in the spirit of pre-Disney World excitement, I thought I’d share our plans for our upcoming vacation.
Our Disney History
As your may or may not know, we are big Disney people. Ries has been going to Disney World every year since he was five, and though my first trip to Disney World was only two years ago in October 2014, if you saw the collection of VHSs and Barbies in my parent’s basement, it would be pretty obvious that I’ve been a Disney princess girl for a very long time.
Why visit Disney in the fall?
Autumn may seem an unusual time to go to Disney World, but it is by far my favorite time of year to visit for three reasons 1) Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival 2) Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party (and other Halloween decorations) 3) it is a low traffic time of year for the Disney Parks, which means less people, shorter lines, cheaper fares, etc.
Epcot Food and Wine Festival–If you haven’t heard of Food and Wine before, it is one of the two annual festivals Epcot hosts, the second being the Flower and Garden Festival in the spring. Though the World Showcase Lagoon has food and drinks from various countries all year round, Food and Wine Festival takes this to another level, and additional food booths are set up providing new options for the existing countries, as well as options from countries that do not have their own pavilions. The food and drinks purchased at these booths are a smaller, sample size, and most, if my memory serves me well, fall between $5-$10. I would highly suggest this event for food lovers, international drink lovers, amateur and experienced foodies. Find more information here.
Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party–Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party begins in September and runs through Halloween night. On the nights of the party, Magic Kingdom closes down for general admission and event guests get an exclusive experience which includes a Villain Spectacular Show, HalloWishes (a Halloween spin on the usual Wishes firework show), Boo-to-You Halloween Parade, lead by the Headless Horseman, and Trick-or-Treating around Magic Kingdom. Disney characters that are not usually available to meet in the parks come out for the Halloween Party, and it is the only time when adult guests can wear costumes on Disney property, and as most guests wear Disney costumes, it’s like Disney World on crack. Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party is a must for Halloween Lovers, so if you plan to visit in the fall, make sure to purchase your event tickets before they sell out! Find more information here.
Dining Reservations–We didn’t make as many dining reservations as we usually do, due to the availability of food at Food and Wine Festival, but we did make a few reservations at some of our favorite restaurants: Teppan Edo, a Hibachi Grill in the Japan Pavilion in Epcot; breakfast at the Grand Floridian Cafe; dinner at Cinderella’s Royal Table; lunch at Yak and Yeti in Animal Kingdom; and dinner at Raglan Road in Disney Springs.
Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa–I’ve been eyeing the spa at Saratoga Springs for the past two years, and we finally saved up so I could purchase a full spa package! I am so excited and will have to report back on my experience.
A Few of Our Favorite Things
Here are a few of the things we are most excited about.
Three Things We Can’t Wait to Do
1) See Main Street USA
2) Attend the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Show
3) Shop at Disney Springs
1) Meet Kylo Ren, Mickey, Gaston
2) See the new Star Wars Show
3) Watch the Fantasy Parade!
Food We Want to Eat
Ries–Lafou’s Brew from Gaston’s Pub, Epcot cappucino slushie, Mickey ice cream sandwich, Dole Whip, Picos Bill burrito.
Amanda–ice cream from L’Artisan des Glaces, caramel apple from the Confectionary, turkey leg from Frontierland, the salmon dish at Teppan Edo, breakfast at the Grand Floridian
Some of Our Disney Traditions
-We always go to Magic Kingdom on the first day we arrive, and if there isn’t an event, we stay to watch Wishes. (Though we’ve been unlucky the past two times and the park has been closed for the Christmas Party and will be closed for the Halloween Party this time.)
-If you notice, as you’re walking into Magic Kingdom there are little bricks that have messages from families on them. Ries’ mom bought him a brick back in the nineties, so every time we arrive in Disney, we go say hello to Ries’ brick.
-The first day we arrive we go to Philharmagic (a sing along) and ride on Haunted Mansion.
-Each time we visit, we buy a new Starbucks “You are Here” mug for the Disney Parks. We currently have Epcot and Hollywood Studios.
-Pin hunting. We are crazy pin hunters, and we love it.
-Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom. This is an interactive card game in Magic Kingdom that most people don’t know about. It is a ton of fun, free, and a nice thing to do when the park is packed and the ride lines are long. Think Pokemon cards, but Disney.
-Raglan Road and Teppan Edo. These are two underrated Disney restaurants. The food is amazing. Teppan Edo is a Hibachi grill that is so good, you’ll never want to eat at another Hibachi grill again. Raglan Road is an Irish restaurant with imported drinks, gluten free fish and chips, and live Irish music and step dancing. What more could you want?
-Our last night at Disney, we always watch Wishes (the firework show at Magic Kingdom) and it’s also tradition that I cry through the whole firework show!
Star Tours, Tower of Terror, Rock’n’Roller Coaster, Thunder Mountain, Space Mountain, Expedition Everest, Haunted Mansion
Tips to Prepare for Your Upcoming Trip to Walt Disney World
-Make lodging and dining reservations as far in advance as possible–dining reservations can be made six months in advance, and make them fast for high demand restaurants. Special event tickets also sell out quickly, especially closer to the holiday, so book special event tickets as soon as possible.
-If you make your reservations on the phone, always record your confirmation number for everything! (Last year there was an issue where our Christmas Party tickets were not linked to our account, and we almost didn’t get to go. It was terrible.) Most of the time when you make reservations on the phone, they will email your confirmation, but you don’t want to risk anything, so record it somewhere for safe keeping. If you make reservations online through My Disney Experience, losing the confirmation number is less likely, but I still like to save it on Evernote or write it down in my planner.
-Create a budget for food. If you choose to do the Disney Dining Plan, keep in mind that the amount you are paying does not include tip, alcohol, or appetizers.
-If you don’t already have a My Disney Experience account, set one up. This is Disney’s portal for all reservations and linking everything to your account, so setting this up is vital.
-Download the My Disney Experience app for your phone. With this app, you can make reservations, set up Fast Passes, as well as view the characters that are available and where to find them in each park.
-Use My Disney Experience (website) to customize your MagicBands if you are staying on Disney property.
-Ensure your dining reservations, park tickets, and resort information is linked to your My Disney Experience account.
-Make a rough schedule of where you want to spend each day, but keep in mind that you are on a vacation and sticking too close to the schedule may make your vacation feel more like a day at the office.
-Book any Fast Passes you may like. Personally, I enjoy using them for rides, but if you enjoy meeting characters such as Mickey Mouse, Tinkerbell, Cinderella, Rapunzel, or Anna and Elsa, this may be the best use of a Fast Pass.
-If you are flying into Orlando, staying on Disney property, and not renting a vehicle, set up your Magical Express–the shuttle that picks you and your luggage up from Orlando International Airport and takes you to your resort.
-Pack a Disney backpack to take to the parks each day.
We hope these tips were helpful! Keep an eye out for more of our Disney tips in the future.
All photos used in this article were taken by Amanda Murphy.