bonus, WDW Planning

Planning a WDW holiday | part 5

Another post, another park. This time, EPCOT. A little bit of trivia for you, EPCOT stands for Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow and was a longtime dream of Walt Disney. He wanted it to be an actual community for people to live in, it eventually evolved into a theme park and was opened in 1982.

The park itself is big, more than twice the size of Magic Kingdom, so to experience it properly you should give yourself two days here. Continue reading “Planning a WDW holiday | part 5”

bonus, WDW Planning

Planning a WDW holiday | part 4

This post is going up a little later than I had wanted. Trying to collate all the information for the most popular of the parks took a little longer than I had anticipated. Our trip countdown is now in double digits and it’s getting very real now. Time to change up a gear with the planning. Continue reading “Planning a WDW holiday | part 4”

bonus, WDW Planning

Planning a WDW holiday | part 3

Welcome back to part three of my Planning a Walt Disney World holiday series. If you missed the first two parts you can read them here and here.

So far, we’ve covered creating a basic framework upon which to create a personalised itinerary. So now, with a set day on which to go to each park, and dining and FastPass+ reservations made, it’s time to dive into my personal recommendations on how to spend a day at each park. And I’ll start with the first park we always head to… Animal Kingdom. Continue reading “Planning a WDW holiday | part 3”

bonus

Planning a WDW holiday | part 2

Hi again,

Welcome back to my blog and this series of posts I’m writing about planning a trip to Walt Disney World. If you missed the first part you can catch up here.

Once you have decided which attractions you want to visit and which you don’t, you can start to plan how you will work all these into your day. Depending on the time of year you will visit, the opening hours will differ. If like me, you are visiting in the height of summer, the parks are open from early in the morning until late at night. The only exception to this being the water parks which tend to close earlier. (although they are still open until 8 pm when I’m going).

If you’re yet to decide on a time of year to visit you can take a look at a crowd calendar, which gives you an idea of when the park will be at it’s busiest. If you have the option to go at a quieter, cooler time of year I’d highly recommend it. But, if you’re restricted to school holidays or the summer you’ll have to be prepared for the heat, humidity and crowds. Here’s a crowd calendar I found online that gives a quick and easy at-a-glance look at projected crowds throughout the year.

Disclaimer: The following information is not first hand, as FastPass+ was only just being rolled out the last time I visited WDW. It’s an amalgamation of information I have found on planning websites, WDW’s own website and experience of people I know who have been more recently.

The ability to plan your day, almost to the minute, weeks if not months before you go is a real possibility now. You are able to make dining reservations up to 180 days from the day you visit. If you’re travelling at a busy time of year, the more popular time slots will fill up quickly, so this is why I recommend planning which parks you will visit on certain days so you won’t be disappointed when trying to land a lunchtime reservation at one of the more popular venues.

be-our-guest-restaurant-00
Picture from the WDW website

For instance, since we booked this trip last January we knew we wanted to eat at Be Our Guest, in the Magic Kingdom. The decor is stunning, resembling the ballroom from the 1991 animated classic, Beauty & the Beast. They even have the ‘grey stuff’ on the menu! This restaurant is very popular, so as soon as that magic 180-day mark rolled around we booked a table.

To save yourself an international phone call to Guest Services in Florida every time you want to make a reservation though, you should consider downloading the My Disney Experience app (which is available for iOS and Android) Using the app you can make dining and FastPass reservations, as well as see maps, wait times and show times.

FastPass+

For the uninitiated, Disney has had a system in place for some time to help reduce wait times for the more popular ride, this was called FastPass. The new FastPass+ system is an updated version of that. Before, you could take your park entry ticket to a Fastpass kiosk and print off a ticket to return to the ride during a one-hour timeslot later in the day. You would then join a special queue along with others that had been given the same time slot. This could reduce waits from two hours or more down to 15 minutes or less.

The updated system works in a similar way, with a few tweaks. You can now pre-book your FastPass time slots up to 60 days before your visit (if you’re staying at a Disney resort, 30 days if you’re off site).

fastpassIf you’re staying on site, you will get a Magic Band that will act as your ticket. If you’re off-site, like we will be, you get a card. Both act in the same way, in that you scan them at the entrance to the park, and they contain all the planning information, such as dining reservations and FastPass+, that you save via the app or your Disney account. If you’re off-site, you can purchase a Magic Band starting at $12.99 plus tax from the retail outlets in the Parks or from the US DisneyStore website. While the US DisneyStore does ship internationally, you’re going to have to pay shipping and perhaps even customs charges, so I’m going to hold off and look at getting one in the Parks.

You can pre-book up to three FastPass+ rides. They cannot overlap and they cannot be for the same rides, meaning if you want to go on a ride twice in a row, you’ll have to choose the ‘standby’ line for the second one. Once your first 3 reservations have been used, or the time slot passes, whichever comes first, you can make a fourth. If you anticipate a ride being busy and book an FP+ for it but when you get there the line is short enough to wait in, you can change the reservation via the app.

Each Park has its headliner attractions, and I’ll go into more detail for those in different posts, but at the time of writing EPCOT and Hollywood Studios are implementing a tier system with their attractions. When you are booking your three initial FP+ rides, you can only choose one from Tier 1 and two from Tier 2. You are not able to choose three Tier 2 rides as an alternative.

As this part contained an awful lot of information, I’ll leave it there for now. The FastPass+ system does sound confusing, but I’m sure it makes more sense in practice.

Next time, I’ll do an in-depth look at the attractions in each park, along with my own recommendations.

Until then…

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bonus

Planning a WDW holiday | part 1

This week marked an exciting milestone in the countdown to our family holiday to Florida. I’ve been counting down the months since last July, but now we’re getting closer I’ve changed to counting down the weeks. We’ll also enter the double digit days soon, so I thought it was time to start planning a flexible itinerary. Continue reading “Planning a WDW holiday | part 1”

about me, bonus, routines

A little bit extra

August has five Mondays this month, and it’s a little early to do my Planning For… post yet, so welcome to this Bonus Blog Post!

I’ve been watching a few YouTube videos posted by the lovely Sareena at Studyign. She’s a high school student, but has some amazing tips on motivation, organisation and productivity. One video in particular got my thinking, this shows the importance of a morning routine in becoming more productive.

I have been playing around with getting up earlier and tweaking my morning routine to get the most out of my day, but it’s been the school holidays and I haven’t had chance to really “road test” it yet.

So, here’s a little time plan for my typical day

*disclaimer – this isn’t my DREAM day, there would be a lot more Disney and  a lot less housework*

6:30am

Wake up. Grab a glass of water. Head downstairs to do exercise DVD

7:00am

Suitably sweaty, jump in the shower. Skin care routine

7:20am

Get dressed. Sort hair out (this would normally be where I put on make up if I was doing anything more glamorous than the school run)

7:30am

Wake the kids up. Get K dressed while J dresses himself ready for school

7:40am

Prepare kids breakfasts. Make a coffee and breakfast for me. Kids watch cartoons while they eat theirs, I get 5 minutes peace.

8:00am

Now, this is the limbo time. The kids are fed and dressed and waiting to go brush their teeth, but my husband will have just got up and taken over the bathroom for at least 15 minutes. I use this time to check my bullet journal for the days tasks, add any I’d forgotten.

8:15am

Finally get the kids and myself back in the bathroom. Teeth brushed, faces washed ready to face the day.

8:30am

Last minute check that all homework and school books are in bags ready to go. Leave the house.

The walk to and from school is about a 25 minute round trip. I could do it quicker, but I go the long way to get my steps in. #slavetomyFitBit

9:00am-12:00pm

Set K up with some colouring or her princess dolls. Get some housework tasks done. I try to get most of my housework done in the morning, when I’m most productive. I try to steer clear of social media….and fail

LUNCH TIME

1:00pm-2:40pm

Finish any housework tasks I didn’t complete this morning. Do some cross stitch if I have time.

2:45pm

Leave to pick up J from school. Again, we take to longer route to get some “fresh air and exercise” in. It’s also a good opportunity to play some Pokemon Go with my son.

3:15pm-4:15pm

Depending on the day, this is homework and/or reading time. I like to get J’s homework done as soon as he’s out of school while he’s still in “learning mode”, as I know it’ll be 10x harder to peel him away from his toys/games later on.

4:15pm-6:15pm

Playtime. Kids need time to be kids, right. Once the work is done J & K have a good two hours to fill before dinner time. They play together really well, considering the age difference. I’m happy to say I spend minimum time being referee (not zero time though). J will be allowed time on the PlayStation as well. I use the latter part of this time to prepare dinner.

6:20pm

Daddy’s home! My husband works until 6pm, so I like to have dinner ready for him as he gets home an we eat together as a family. We don’t however eat at the dining table, but that’s another story.

7:00pm

K’s bedtime routine starts now. We tidy up her toys, get her face washed and teeth brushed (I bath both my kids together, but not every night). Nappy changed and PJs on. Bedtime story then cuddles and tucked up in bed by 7:30-45. Meanwhile, J and Daddy are having some “boy time”, could be anything from playing a video game together, to watching TV shows, to building stuff in the garage. J’s bedtime is closer to 8:30.

8:00pm

Stack the dirty dishes by the sink, maybe wash them depending on how I feel, probably leave them until the next day. The evenings are relaxing time for us grown ups now. No more housework, I’m off the clock. I’ll probably sit and watch TV whilst simultaneously cross stitching *I’ll do a post about my stitching in a couple of weeks*. Sometime’s my husband and I will watch something together, other times he’ll be painting or crafting at the dining table.

10:00pm

Head upstairs. Skin care routine. PJs on.Come back down, set up tomorrow’s bullet journal page and add first few to-dos. Continue stitching.

11:00pm

Pack up and head up to bed. Brush teeth. Have a glass of water. Read book until no later than 11:45

Sleep time

Not every day is exactly like this. Some mornings I won’t workout because I’ll go for a run after putting K to bed. Some days the kids have activities planned, such as play group or swimming.

I am, at heart, a creature of habit and even though routine can become boring for some, it acts as a safety net for me and aids with my anxiety.

Thanks for reading and learning a little bit more about me. Next week will be my Planning For September post, so until next time Mermaids xx