Favourite Photo’s from.. Festival of Fantasy Parade

This is really just a glowing tribute to my absolute favourite and, in my opinion, the best parade Disney World have ever created. I could honestly sit and watch it all day, every day, burning heat or pouring rain. I’m actually writing this while listening to the soundtrack on Youtube, just to keep the magic going.

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If you only spend one day in the Magic Kingdom, do not let yourself miss out on this truly beautiful display of Disney magic!

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‘Ohana

Ohana means family. Family means nobody gets left behind or forgotten. Or is left hungry..

Ohana is one of the many restaurants in Disney’s Polynesian Resort, and as the name suggests, family is top of the agenda. We booked for Mickey’s Best Friends breakfast on the last morning of our trip (booked the day before, not well in advance), mainly because the girls love Lilo and Stitch, who visit the table during the meal along with Mickey and Pluto, and we hadn’t had the chance to meet them for photos and autographs.

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The breakfast menu is classic: bacon, scrambled eggs, toasted muffins, and Mickey waffles, all brought to your table in a massive bowl for you to help yourself from. Your servers will also serve tea and coffee, and ‘Stitch juice’, which is delicious!

It was a nice meal, and a good way to finish our trip, but it wasn’t a mind-blowing meal like some of the other meals we had, so if you’re short for time or low on table service credits, I wouldn’t rush here again. All that considered though, if you’re nearby and looking for a good, hearty breakfast, here’s a good stop.

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Chef Mickey’s

Whether you’re staying in Contemporary Resort or not, Chef Mickey’s is definitely a place to go if you get a chance!

The food is an all you can eat buffet, with a salad bar, soup of the day, carvery meats, pasta bakes, and a load of veggies and side dishes, as well as kiddie options such as Mickey shaped mac and cheese, chicken nuggets and pizza.

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Oh, and did I mention its a character meal? Well it wouldn’t be Chef Mickey’s if the chief himself didn’t visit! Mickey, Minnie and the gang all come round to make sure everything’s ok with your food, and make sure you don’t get too messy, cos you’ll be needing your napkin for the famous napkin dance – yes, that is exactly what the name suggests; join the characters as you dance around the restaurant waving your napkin over your head!

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A real hit with the family, and a great excuse to ride the monorail from the Magic Kingdom!

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Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show

Get your hawaiian shirt on and practice your luau skills, you’re gonna need them at this exciting dining experience at Disney’s Polynesian Resort!

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First things first, you MUST book in advance, these seats get snapped up fast, and the poorer seats have a rubbish view of the performance. You will have to guarantee your table with a credit card, and if you’re on a dining plan, it’s two table service credits each. That being said though, its an all-inclusive meal; all you can eat food, served family style, with additional kids options, and all drinks are included, hello margaritas!

Big saving tip: while you wait to be shown into the restaurant, there’s a bar where you can buy drinks, but if you can hold off til you get inside, all drinks are available included in your meal, so don’t be tempted!

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So you get set up with some appetizers while the place is filling up, and once you’ve chowed down on those, the show begins! In an attempt to be more kid friendly, the show has a slight story to it of a luau dance school, which was kinda unnecessary I thought; you’re there to see some dancing!

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During a short interval, your mains are served up: pulled pork, ribs, roast chicken.. Fill your plates, they’ll bring more if you’re still hungry!

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The show covers traditional dances from several Polynesian islands: Tahiti, Tonga, New Zealand and of course hawaii, as well as a Samoan fire dancer! A nice, kid friendly touch was that the cast sang hawaiian Rollercoaster Ride for one of the dances, which Disney kids will know as the theme song from Lilo and Stitch; I thought that was pretty cool. There are also many opportunities for the audience to get up on stage and dance in the ‘birthday dance’ and ‘anniversary dance’; of course we sent up our happy couple..

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Overall, the show is a great way to sit back, relax, get some good food and enjoy some different entertainment, as well as having an opportunity to explore the Polynesian Resort in all its fabulous glory!

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Being the first people in The Magic Kingdom

So I always knew that I wanted our trip last year to be as magical as possible, given that it was a) my first time back in 15 years, b) the girls first ever visit to Disney World, and c) probably the only time both families would be able to do this holiday together, and with that said, I wanted to make it as magical as possible for everyone.

My first priority was making sure that the first time everyone stepped into the Magic Kingdom, it was totally perfect, and in my opinion, the only way to do that was to be the first people into the park, and to see it all without the hassle of weaving through hundreds of other guests.

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Now you could do this by waking up super early, rushing down to the park to be the first in line at the entrance, and waiting for AGES for the ropes to drop and make a dash before the surge of people behind you also converge onto Main Street.

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Or, you could do it the easy way!

Yes, ok, you do still have to get up early, and there’s a tiny bit of queuing, but its worth it, and its as simple as breakfast, quite literally.

Be Our Guest, Crystal Palace and Cinderella’s Royal Table all offer breakfast reservations from 8am, when the park doesn’t usually open until 9am, and if you have a reservation for any time before the park opens, the gate for you opens just before 8am!

With this in mind, we managed to get reservations for Crystal Palace at 8.15, giving us the opportunity to stroll down Main Street, get some uninterrupted photos and absorb all the early morning magic before we made our way to our fabulous breakfast booking, which you can read more about here!

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Disney World in Large Groups

Disney World is the perfect location for a big family trip, but its not always easy being a large group!

1. Save a fortune on your phone bill by utilising the free wifi

There’s free wifi throughout the parks, so set everyone up on a group message on Facebook or Whatsapp to communicate without the cost.

2. Be prepared to split up

Splitting up the group at times can mean you can cover more ground, get better seats or just give you a much needed break from the madness!

3. Use Memory Maker

The last thing you want after a big family trip is going through photo after photo with someone missing in every one. Memory Maker is great value for money, but in a large group its even more so; just get everyone linked to it and you’ll have hundreds of photos of the whole family.

4. Link everyone

As a large group, we were split into 3 rooms and therefore 3 separate bookings, so our My Magic+ wasn’t linked, but one trip to guest services, and we were all connected for all our Fastpasses and meal bookings.

5. Utilise free transport

In a large group, taxis or car hire is gonna get really pricey, so be sure to use Disney World’s expansive bus system to move around.

6. If you don’t book in advance, eat at unusual times

With Advanced Dining Reservations, you’ve got no problems, but if you haven’t made bookings, try and eat at off-peak times; we were a group of 9 and managed to walk in to the usually super busy T-Rex at about 4.30pm and were seated almost straight away!

7. Allow a little extra time

Being a bigger group is always going to slow you down a little, so be sure to leave a little earlier if you need to be somewhere for a specific time.

8. Try and be a little early too

Especially when it comes to shows and parades, being early gives you the added advantage of not having to split up to fit into remaining seats

9. Be considerate to others

The parks can be packed, so try to think about your impact on those around you eg. if you walk in a long chain, you might be blocking other guests who want to get around you etc

10. Just have fun!

You’re lucky enough to be in the most magical place on Earth, with a whole load of your favourite people, so just appreciate it and have a magical time!

Preventing Disasters

As much as everyone hopes for their trip to run smoothly, you can prepare yourself for any problems you may have!

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Keep receipts for any souvenirs you buy in the parks – if anything gets broken during your stay, they’ll replace it.

As soon as you get your park tickets/magic bands, take photos of them making sure to get all the important information in the shot. This way if anything gets lost, cast members can help you more easily.

If you’re carrying a phone in the parks, set your lock screen with an image of your name, resort/room number and another contact number in case you lose it.

Take pictures of your kids every morning. Its great for documenting your trip, and you’ll be able to find them better in crowds if you can remember what they’re wearing!

Prepare your children for getting lost – make sure they know what to do if they ever get separated from you. Label them with a contact number, have a designated ‘lost spot’ to wait, and tell them to find cast members.

Stock your bag with plasters for blisters and minor scrapes, and don’t forget each park has a first aid center with cast members happy to assist with anything.

Bring spare camera batteries and memory cards, and store them in a waterproof compartment.

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