Tag Archives: Disney vacation

Character Pop Up Meet n Greet at Epcot

After the 5K Jan and I headed to Epcot, where much to our surprise as we headed into World Showcase we stumbled upon a pop up character meet n greet.  I’ve heard of these happening, but have never been lucky enough to stumble upon one myself!  Most often these meet n greets are used to train cast members, and they often take place prior to race weekends or when a college program starts up.

As soon as I saw the gate between Canada and the UK open I ran over to see who we could meet!  The characters in attendance at this meet n greet were:

  • Mickey
  • Donald
  • Pinnochio
  • Baloo

  

  • Stitch

  

  • Penguin from Mary Poppins

  

  • Launchpad

  

  • Rafiki

  
This was a super fun way to kick off our day in Epcot.  We arrived between 11-11:30 so World Showcase was pretty empty.  We had been headed to lunch at Tangeriene Cafe, and almost took the boat but it wasn’t running yet.  Thank God for that since we got to experience this fun character pop up!

After we met the characters we wanted to we headed to lunch at Tangeriene Cafe in Morocco as planned.  (A few of them we chose not to meet and the meet n greet was over fairly early so we didn’t get the chance to meet everyone.)  Tangeriene Cafe is seriously my favorite quick service restaurant!  I try to eat there every trip!  The lamb is phenomenal!  

After lunch we wandered World Showcase.  I got a grapefruit beer in Germany which is always so refreshing!  

Jan and I split an Anna’s birthday cupcake in Norway and found a fun photo opportunity (there was a PhotoPass photographer) with the Anna & Elsa topiaries.   If you’re going for the Flower and Garden festival this is a great photo spot, especially if you have a little princess in tow!

 

We then met up with my friend Erin, grabbed some Starbucks and relaxed for a bit and put our feet up.  Then we headed to the character spot at Epcot to see Mickey and friends.  We followed this up with a ride on Test Track and Spaceship Earth before heading to dinner at O’hana.

 
This was a fun day, but we may have overdone it on the walking!  Either way we were in bed early after taking a cab back to Riverside from the Polynesian.  (We opted for a cab after walking from the Ticket & Transportation center to O’hana due to a down monorail.  We just didn’t want to mess with the monorail or waiting for a bus back to Riverside at Magic Kingdom.)  Time to rest up for the 10K!

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Princess 5K Race Recap


After a busy day, and too much money spent, at the expo on Thursday we were excited for the first race of three for our Princess Half Marathon weekend, the Princess 5K!

We were up at 3:30am on Friday for the Princess 5K as we had to be on a bus by 4:45am!  Those early wake-up calls are never easy, and they were only going to get worse as the week went on.  We quickly got dressed in our race outfits.  These were our “backup plan” outfits, as we had originally hoped our custom Ariel Sparkle Skirts would be done in time, but no luck!  (As a matter of fact, we’re still waiting on them!)  Instead we wore our Jeff Galloway sparkle skirts and a shirt I made to match.

Before we even arrived for the Princess weekend we had decided that we would take the 5K easy.  Stop for lots of pictures.  Enjoy every minute.  We knew we had to save our legs a bit so we would mostly be walking the 5K.


The morning was cold and we were rocking the trash bags to stay warm as we waited for the race to start.  (I always pack a few in my suitcase for race weekends just in case!)  Thanks to our Sparkle Skirts when we arived at the starting area we went through the no bag check line quickly and made our way back towards the pre-race party.  We ended up getting in line for a photo with Sebastian.  (We missed that Ariel and Eric were a photo op too unfortunately, but Sebastian was fun!)  Some friends met up with us when they arrived and joined us in line.  We went straight to our corrals after our picture with Sebastian.


We were set to start in C and decided we would do a few intervals to get out of the way of people and the crowds of the corral and then we would take our time.  The first mile backstage went by pretty quicly.  We stopped for a shot or two of Epcot, pictures with Chip and Dale, Daisy and Donald and Genie in his vacation outfit all during mile 2/World Showcase.  We felt like we were moseying.  It was nice and relaxed!


The monorail was stopped on the tracks which made for a fun photo op for Jan and I and then we stopped for a photo with the Festival of Fantasy characters from the Mermaid section of the parade by Finding Nemo.


 Next thing you know we were heading to mile 3 and the finish!   We got our ADORABLE medals, and some handy mylar blankets to warm up, which would be very useful the next morning too!  (Tip: always save the blanket you get at the end of one race for the next days race.)   The Princess 5K was so fun!  It was nice to stop for tons of pictures with the characters and not be worried about our time.  I’d say I’m glad we took it easy, but with a day in the parks following the 5K I’m not sure it really helped!  The most important thing though is that the race was fun and we were ready for the next one!

 

Thrifty Thursday

I don’t know about you, but I’m always looking for a way to save a buck.  I figure what I save can be applied to my Disney fund and help pay for my Disney and runDisney obsession.

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I’ve recently jumped on the gift card bandwagon after learning that my local grocery store, Winn-Dixie, offers fuel perks for purchasing gift cards at their stores!  I am able to purchase either $25 gift cards, or a gift card where I can add the amount of my choice!   The best part is, not only am I getting FuelPerks for purchasing a gift card, but I get FuelPerks for each $50 I spend.  So if I buy $500 in gift cards I’ve earned $1.00 off per gallon on gas!

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17 Cents a Gallon for Gas???? Yes, please!

In paying off my upcoming trip I recently purchased $1,000 in gift cards ($500 over two separate transactions, but I had not redeemed my FuelPerks yet.)  This mean that I got some super cheap gas!

One large SUV filled up for $3.38!  What a bargain!

One large SUV filled up for $3.38! What a bargain!

The best part about it is, I can take the money from my gas budget and apply it to my Disney fund!  So whether it’s helping me pay off a trip, pay for that special souvenir or that extra dining reservation, earning Fuel Perks at your local grocery store is a great way to save money and add to your Disney fund!

Stay, Play and Dine Discount Announced for Early 2015 at Disney World!

first time he meets his fav character

You’ve been asking, and waiting, and it’s finally arrived!  The first Disney discount offer of 2015 is Stay, Play and Dine!

The Stay, Play and Dine offer is valid for travel December 14-20, 2014 and January 5-March 7, 2015.  A minimum stay of 3 nights and 2-day tickets is required to take advantage of this fabulous offer!

Booking Windows are as follows:

  • Visa Cardholders: October 6-December 29, 2014
  • General Public: October 9-December 29, 2014

This offer excludes Art of Animation Little Mermaid Rooms, Grand Floridian Villas, Bay Lake Tower, Poly Villas, Campsites and 3 bedroom Villas.

If you prefer to skip the bundle discount Disney is also offering a Room-Only discount as well.  Save up to 30% on rooms most nights during stays January 5-March 28,2015.   Discounts are limited and rates vary

  • All Star Sports, All Star Music, Pop Century and  Art Of Animation Family Suites 15% off on weekends, 20% off on weekdays
  • All Star Movies 10% off on weekends, 15% off on weekdays
  • Coronado Springs, Caribbean Beach, POR-Riverside, Wilderness Cabins 20% off on weekends, 25% off on weekdays
  • Port Orleans French Quarter 10% off on weekends, 15% off on weekdays
  • Coronado Springs Suites 10% off all nights
  • Yacht Club, Beach Club, Boardwalk, Polynesian, Contemporary, Grand Floridian, Wilderness Lodge, Animal Kingdom Lodge {standard and pool view only at AKL}  30% off all nights
  • Animal Kingdom Lodge Club Level and Savanna View 20% off all nights
  • Deluxe Suites at all Deluxe Resorts 10% off
Villa Resorts:
  • Saratoga Springs, Old Key West, Beach Club, Boardwalk Villas, Wilderness Lodge Villas 30% off all nights
  • Animal Kingdom Lodge Jambo and Kidani 20% off

This offer excludes Art of Animation Little Mermaid Rooms, Grand Floridian Villas, Bay Lake Tower, Poly Villas, Campsites and 3 bedroom Villas.

Are you ready to save while you Stay, Play and Dine at Walt Disney World?  Contact me at gretchen@destinationsinflorida.com or through my contact form for more information and a quick quote!

Free Dining at Disney World is Here!

The time you’ve been waiting for has arrived!  Free dining is now available to all guests at Walt Disney World!

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Free Dining is valid August 31-October 3, October 26-November 1, November 9-20 and December 12-23.   Book at value resort and receive FREE quick service dining.  Book at a moderate or Deluxe resort and receive FREE basic dining plan.  Offer excludes campsites, All-Star Movies, both Port Orleans resorts, Little Mermaid/standard rooms at Art of Animation, The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and all 3-bedroom villas.

Availability for this offer is limited and first come, first serve!  You can book through August 8th, but don’t wait!  Contact me at gretchen@destinationsinflorida.com or 818-519-0777 to secure your FREE DINING reservation before your first choice is all gobbled up!

chip&dalefreedining

Character Meals Coming to Disney’s Star Wars Weekends!

A galactic adventure awaits all Star Wars fans!  Beginning May 4th -June 15 Hollywood Studios will have two new Character Dining Meals for Star Wars Weekend.  These will be available to book starting 3/26/2014.

minnie-mickey-star-wars-weekends-2013

First up is Jedi Mickey’s Star Wars Dine at Hollywood and Vine.  This will be a dinner and will feature Jedi Mickey, Leia Minnie, Darth Goofy, Stormtrooper Donald, and Ewok Chip and Dale.   Seatings for dinner will begin at 4:15 and go until park close.  All meals will include a digital download of a photograph with Ewok Chip and Dale.  Prices:  $56.99 for Adults and $32.99 for kids.  This dining experience can also be added to the Fantasmic Dinner Package.  The Fantasmic dining package will then  be $59.99 for Adults and $36.99 for kids.

Second is the Star Wars Galactic Dine-In Breakfast at Sci-Fi Dine In Theater.  This will be a breakfast and will feature Stormtroopers, Jawa, Greedo, Boba Fett and Darth Vader.  Star Wars trailers and movie clips will also be played on the big screen.  All meals will include a digital photo of your party on a commemorative PhotoPass/Memory Maker card.  Prices will be $47.99 for Adults and $29.99 for kids.

These WILL be available with Dining Plan Credits.  It will be a One Table Service Credit Meal.

Want to have an out of this world dining experience this year at Star Wars Weekends?  Contact me at gretchen@destinationsinflorida.com for a quick quote to make your vacation dreams a reality!

Disney World Summer Discount Offer Now Available!

summersplashoffer

Dive into Big Savings with this Summer Offer!

Dreaming of a Disney World vacation this summer?  Take the plunge and book your trip with these fabulous summer savings!

Save on rooms at select Walt Disney World® Resort hotels for stays most nights June 15 – Aug. 28, 2014.

  • Save up to 30% when you stay up to 5 nights*
  • Save up to 35% when you stay 6 nights or longer*
  • Save even more when you stay 6 nights or longer and add minimum 6-day Magic Your Way® Tickets to your room!**

MUST BOOK BY JUNE 6, 2014!

*Rooms are limited! Length-of-stay requirements may apply. Savings based on the non-discounted price for the same room. Additional per-adult charges may apply if more than two adults per room at Disney Value, Moderate and Deluxe Resorts. No group rates or other discounts apply. Advance reservations required. Offer excludes campsites, 3-bedroom Villas and is not valid at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort – The Little Mermaid Standard Rooms, Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, Disney’s Port Orleans Resort French Quarter, Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort and Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort. 30% savings for select Disney Deluxe and Deluxe Villa Resorts; lower savings for other Resorts.

**Everyone in the same room must be on the same package. Savings based on the non-discounted price of the same ticket.

Are you ready to make your vacation dreams a reality?  Don’t hesitate, contact me for a quick, no-obligation quote today at gretchen@destinationsinflorida.com to secure your ideal resort and room type!