Walt Disney World Day 4

Friday kicked off with the first RunDisney event of our trip: the Walt Disney World 10K. For me this technically counted as a warmup for the marathon, but it was Chelsea and Sammy’s first RunDisney event and it was really great. We stopped to meet Ralph and Vanellope, Chip and Dale as the Rescue Rangers and Jiminy Cricket, and I’m so proud of how they did and happy with how they paced me.

After we’d showered, changed etc, we went back to Epcot in time for our lunch reservation at Teppan Edo. It was my fourth time eating there and it never fails to disappoint! After eating, we went round to Norway to meet Anna and Elsa and then used our fastpass for Frozen Ever After. When we came out from there, we saw that Soarin had a 25 minute wait time so we bombed over there, but actually I don’t think we waited more than 15 minutes to ride. We then hit some Epcot walls, then went to Starbucks and Club Cool for drinks, then went to meet Baymax and Joy and Sadness, and then went back to Mexico to meet Donald.

With our little legs all feeling the long day, we finished up the day in Epcot at Mouse Gear before catching the monorail back to the resort for an early night and the best nights sleep of the trip so far!

Walt Disney World Day 2

This morning we got up bright and early so that we could get to Animal Kingdom. Due to not booking our fastpasses at the 60 day mark, we didn’t have a Flights of Passage fastpass, so we were attempting to rope drop it, and it was actually a success! Although the queue looked scary as we walked all the way down to Harambe Theater, we hardly stopped moving and actually did the ride in under an hour – plus as I’ve only ever done fastpass for it before, it meant I got to see the cool inside queue for the first time.

Once that was done, we could relax a little and got breakfast at Creature Comforts, then we took some photos at the Tree of Life before going to meet Russell and Dug. It was possibly the cutest meet I’ve ever had, and as it was my first time meeting Dug I was really excited, especially as they loved our Wilderness Explorer outfits. After that, we went over to Expedition Everest and rode it twice, once as single riders and the second time using our fastpasses, then we wandered around for a bit before settling on having lunch at Yak and Yeti (QS).

We ended up sitting at Yak and Yeti for quite a while, just enjoying some shade and time off our feet, and then from there we went over to Africa for Festival of the Lion King, then went back to Dinoland and practically walked onto Primeval Whirl, then met Donald in his Dinobash outfit, before going to meet Micky and Minnie, which we had fastpasses for.

After that, we happened across Pocahontas meeting near the Tree of Life while we were heading back to Africa, so we stopped to meet her, and then went on to our final fastpass of the day at Kilimanjaro Safaris – although our ride was somewhat delayed due to the animals blocking vehicles on the roads – but we did get to see the lions really clearly and hear them roar!

Once we were off the ride, we had a mad dash back to the hotel to meet Chelsea who had arrived while we were being held up by rhinos or whatever was delaying the safari! We headed into Magic Kingdom for some dinner, a quick spin on the Peoplemover and a look through some shops, and then got the monorail back to the resort ready for some rest and recovery!

Tomorrow we’ll be hitting the RunDisney Health and Fitness Expo as well as the parks, so stay tuned!

Walt Disney World Day 1

Well gang, it’s been a hot minute since I’ve blogged a Disney trip, but would you believe in the last few months I’ve done two trips that I haven’t blogged? So unlike me, right?

Well, I’m now back in Walt Disney World for some magic and some running, and I’ll be back blogging the whole thing, starting with today..

So we’re staying at Disney’s Polynesian Resort, our DVC home, which meant that this morning was far more chilled out as we only had to hop on the monorail to get to Magic Kingdom, and did security at the resort so didn’t have to queue at the park. There had been an early morning magic event on so the park was already a little busy, but we went down to the castle for the welcome show, and then Sammy wanted some breakfast so she grabbed a Mickey waffle at Sleepy Hollow, took a trip to the Tangled toilets and then went for our first ride of the day: Pirates of the Caribbean.

On our way from there to Fantasyland, we met Mary Poppins and the ugly stepsisters, and then met Rapunzel and Tiana in Princess Fairytale Hall, and then headed for Haunted Mansion for our first fastpass of the day. By that time it was pretty much lunch time – Sarah and I hadn’t eaten breakfast either – and we ended up going to Pinocchio Village Haus so that we knew there would be vegetarian options for Sammy.

After lunch, we had to spend a little bit of time at guest services sorting out our annual pass magic bands, and then headed back to the castle to watch Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire and from there grabbed a parade spot. Once the parade was over, we grabbed a quick Starbucks, and then did our second fastpass of the day, Buzz, and also did a lap of the TTA Peoplemover.

The My Disney Experience app was telling us that Big Thunder Mountain had a 35 minute wait time, so we headed over there, but unfortunately so did everyone else in the park.. The cast member said the queue was at least 70 minutes when we got there, so that was a no, and instead Matthew and I got in the queue for Splash Mountain, but after a while we realised that the queue was going to be too long and we would miss our Seven Dwarfs Mine Train fastpass, so instead we grabbed a Mickey waffle and headed over to Fantasyland.

I’ve never done Mine Train in the dark before and it was so good!! Because most people were camping out for Happily Ever After by this point, the queue for Big Thunder had dropped to only 20 minutes, so we practically ran back to Frontierland, and had the best time riding the back of the wildest ride in the wilderness. With a little bit of time before HEA, we got some food at Cosmic Ray’s, and then got our spot to watch the show – despite showing up just as it was starting, we got a decent view!

On our way out of the park we hit the shops and Main Street Confectionary, and then we decided to forgo the monorail in favour of the ferry back to Poly, and the Electrical Water Pageant was going so we got to see a lot of that while we were waiting which was really cool because I never stop to watch it when I’m leaving Magic Kingdom.

We’ve got day 1 feet right now, so we got back into quickly and are just spending the evening chilling in the room ready for Animal Kingdom tomorrow!

How Disney Vacation Club Actually Works

So back in November I shared the massively exciting news that on our recent trip to Walt Disney World, Matthew and I joined the Disney Vacation Club, and since then there’s been a lot of interest in me writing this post, so here goes!

Simply put, DVC is a timeshare, but its so much more than your typical 2 weeks in Spain every summer kinda thing. Yes, its a proper deed so officially you own the land and there’s a lot of official documents to sign, but essentially what you pay for is points.

Points

Getting points

So the price you pay for your membership depends the number of points you get. We own Disney’s Polynesian Resort, so this becomes our ‘home resort’, and our contract is for 130 points, which means every year we get 130 points to use within its allotted timeframe.

Using points

Every room at every DVC resort has a certain number of points, which varies based on the resort, the room size and the season – typically the bigger the room, the more expensive the resort if paid cash, and the higher peak seasons = more points. We chose 130 points per year as that’s the number of points it takes to have Deluxe Studio in Poly for 1 week during the season that we would typically travel, which is Oct-Nov time, but for the same amount of time in a Savannah View Deluxe Studio in Animal Kingdom Lodge, its only 88 points, so there’s a lot of variation which means we can be really flexible too.

Points do not have to be used every year, but if you aren’t going to use them, you have to ‘bank’ them by a certain time within your use year, and that means that if you want to do a longer or more expensive trip in 2 years time, you could bank this year’s points, and then use them on top of next year’s. You can also borrow points from the following year, for example, for our Aulani trip this April, we’ve borrowed 10 points from next year’s allocation, and then if you do need any extra points on top of banking and borrowing, members have the option of purchasing up to 24 extra points for a cash value.

Selling off

Your contract length varies depending on when you buy it, but if you’re purchasing direct from Disney, you’re looking at about 50 years. However, if its not working out for you, you can sell your contract back to Disney or sell it privately, as well as being able to transfer it into other people’s names, for example if you wanted to pass the contract onto your children.

Resorts

DVC covers every Deluxe resort or villas in Walt Disney World, plus Grand Californian in Disneyland, and also Disney’s Vero Beach, Hilton Head Island and Aulani resorts, so you can use your points at any of these places, plus they also have the RCI Network of thousands of hotels all over the world that you can use your points to pay for.

Booking resorts

Earlier I mentioned Polynesian being our ‘home resort’, and not only does this mean that this is the resort we actually own, but it also gives us the opportunity to book this up to 11 months in advance, while every other resort becomes available to us at the 7 month mark, and vice versa, those members who own other resorts cannot book Polynesian until the 7 month mark, so we sorta get a head start. Booking can be done directly through the DVC website, similar to the WDW website, or over the phone with DVC cast members.

DVC members can also book stays for anyone, so if for example we weren’t going to go one year, but my parents wanted to go, we book the stay for them using our points and our name doesn’t have to be on the booking at all, so gifting points is really easy. A lot of members also use this perk as a way of renting points out for monetary value, and there are a lot of Facebook groups and pages dedicated to point rental.

Staying in resorts

There’s no real difference between staying in a resort as a member or a regular guest, however while the rubbish is collected daily, the rooms are only serviced every 4 days, although you can request extra visits for a surcharge. However, DVC members do have the added perk of being able to use the pools in any DVC resort, even those that are normally off limits to guests not staying at that resort.

Paying for DVC

Membership cost

The cost of membership can be paid in full or Disney also offer financing, although there’s absolutely nothing stopping you from finding finance elsewhere. For US residents, finance is offered depending on credit searches, but if you’re from the UK, you’re automatically approved for finance through Disney at a rate of 12.5%. One of the great things about this, however, is that while it is a loan, because they cannot set up a direct debit with a UK bank account, the payments have to be made from a credit or debit card, and this means that it will not show up on any credit searches done in the UK, so this loan will not affect your credit score or affect your ability to get other loans of mortgages.

Dues

On top of membership fees, every year members pay resort dues, which is a one off payment in January that goes towards the upkeep of your home resort. Again, the amount of these dues varies depending on your resort, and typically the newer resorts have higher dues, but the dues also vary from year to year based on the work that’s predicted to need doing.

Member benefits

There are a tonne of perks that come along with being a DVC member. From the moment you sign your contract, you have access to a digital membership card to keep you going until your real one arrives, and that means that you can start to take advantage of the 20% discount off all WDW merchandise, 10% off dining and access to the exclusive DVC lounges such as Bay Lake Tower’s Top of the World Lounge straight away.

There’s also a whole bunch of other discounts available at other shopping and dining locations in Disney Springs, discounted park tickets, DVC exclusive events such as Moonlight Magic, and exclusive merchandise, plus early registration to RunDisney events.

Don’t worry folks, you’ve come to the end of my ramblings now! I hope this has been informative to anyone curious about DVC, but I’ll leave you with one little nugget of wisdom before you go. If you’re considering Disney Vacation Club, I thoroughly recommend that you go to a DVC open house and hear all this again from the experts – I’ve been to two open houses and I can honestly say that there is no one more knowledgeable or passionate about what they sell than the DVC reps, plus they do not pressure you in any way. If you have any more questions for me, feel free to drop me a comment and I’ll be happy to help!

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Lottie and Matthew Do Disney: Day 11

Waking up this morning was particularly difficult for some reason, but when we did drag ourselves out of bed, we were off to Magic Kingdom!

Cutting it close to the end time of our first fastpass, once we were in the park we hightailed it over to Big Thunder Mountain, and once that was done and dusted, breakfast was had in the form of a Mickey pretzel, and then we also decided to try a park snack I’ve been wanting to try for years now, the orange equivalent of Dole Whip: a Citrus Swirl. Matthew has just a plan swirl cup, and I had the float, he hated his, I thought it was ok but nothing to particularly write home about.

After that I dragged him on a customary It’s a Small World ride, and then I went to buy something very exciting (haul post when I’m back!) in Fantasyland before we made our way back to Adventureland for lunch at MK’s newest table service, Skipper Canteen, where despite us both being a little underwhelmed at the menu on first glance, we both had excellent meals and I absolutely would recommend!

Lunch took us nicely up to pre-parade time, so we snagged a spot on Main Street for Matthew’s first ever Festival of Fantasy – I was Disneybounding as Rapunzel as she spotted me out of the crowd, in dead. The park was much busier today than it was on our last day in MK, so queues were a bit of a nightmare, so we decided to do Mickey’s Philharmagic, and even that was packed! Being a Christmas party night, the park was really filling up so we decided to do some resort hopping, and caught the monorail to Contemporary first, meaning we got to see the Christmas gingerbread castle and do a little bit of exploring, and then we went round to the Grand Floridian to do the same, with the addition of hitting Basin White!

From GF we got the monorail across to Epcot for a quick look in a few shops (making final shopping decisions as we’re coming to the end of the trip!) and then got the bus back to our resort, where we decided to actually try out the food options here for dinner!

I’ve got some really nasty mosquito bites that have been giving me grief over the last few days and today has been particular horrible, plus I think I’m starting to come down with a post-Disney cold a few days early, waa!

Lottie and Matthew Do Disney: Day 1

Well here we are folks, another Disney trip has begun!

Courtesy of the time difference, we were awake well before our alarm, and on the bus to the Magic Kingdom just before 7am. We got to MK at about 7:25, and waited in the area reserved for those with breakfast reservations, getting let in at about 7:50. Our breakfast was at Be Our Guest, and wasn’t actually until 8:50, so we took our time getting castle photos, and even had a ride on the carousel before going to the restaurant. Despite being about 30 mins early, they let us straight in, and we were actually finished with our food before our actual reservation time.

After breakfast – which was so good by the way – we had planned on Pirates of the Caribbean, but it was closed, so instead we headed to Big Thunder Mountain and got on the first train out, plus I asked the cast member if we could be in the last row and she let us! From there we did Jungle Cruise, then Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin, and our first fastpass of the day, Space Mountain.

The park has been so nice and quiet this morning, and after Space Mountain we managed to do Dumbo, The Barnstormer and The Little Mermaid ride in quick succession, and then made our way round to do Haunted Mansion. Next on the agenda was sorting out a few bits and pieces; Matthew needed to reset his MagicBand pin and my memory maker wasn’t working properly, so we went to Guest Services, via shopping on Main Street USA. We went to City Hall but as there was a queue, the cast member directed us to Liberty Square Ticket Office, a lesser known guest services spot, and thanks to the wonderful Javier, we got everything fixed and he even gave us 3 free Fastpasses by way of apology for the issues I had with my memory maker.

To use them up, we did Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, then Tomorrowland Speedway and Space Mountain, and then we did a lap of TTA Peoplemover and had a sit down in Carousel of Progress, which took us nicely up to our early dinner reservation at The Plaza Restaurant. The food was nice, but I wouldn’t rush to eat there again, and had we not been on the dining plan I don’t think I would have liked to actually pay what we should have done.

After dinner the lack of sleep from the night before was really kicking in, so we finished up with our last fastpass of the day, Pirates of the Caribbean, and headed out from Magic Kingdom for the night – we would have been kicked out later due to the Halloween party anyway! 
Back to the resort, and we picked up our refillable resort mugs, and as we started to walk back to the room I noticed a furry friend was just outside the reception area, and in the cutest outfit too so I just had to have a cuddle! So we just spent the evening at the resort and ended up falling asleep nice and early, which was definitely needed!

Tomorrow is going to be a long day!

February Disney Trip Day 2

Still can’t really believe we’re actually here, and still can’t get over yesterday, but today is an Epcot day!


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We got into the park just as it opened, and after a quick chat with guest relations regarding my failing Memory Maker, we headed to meet Baymax – and waited probably all of about 30 seconds – and then jumped into the shortish queue for Sadness and Joy! Three characters under our belt, we made our way to The Land so Sarah could do Living with the Land, which she’s never done before, and then grabbed some breakfast in Sunshine Seasons. Then a wild Milly appeared!

It was so lovely to see Milly after so long, and we sat in Sunshine Seasons for ages having a catch up before she left to go to work, but we’ll see her later in the trip! After buying ponchos, courtesy of the now pouring rain, we headed out and to the World Showcase – first stop Donald, I mean Mexico..


If you didn’t know my love of Donald, I planned my whole outfit for today around him, and he was so sweet! I’m so happy I got to take photos with him inside the temple because it was too wet for him to go outside! After that, we did the Gran Fiesta Tour, then headed round to Norway and met Anna and Elsa in the Royal Sommerhaus with only a 15 minute wait! Then it was time for our fastpasses for Frozen Ever After, which was cute, but I definitely wouldn’t queue as long as some people were in standby!

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With the rain dying off a little, we headed round the World Showcase towards Japan, where after a wander around the big Japanese shop, we stopped for our lunch at Teppan Edo. Despite having already eaten here before, I was still blown away by the meal. Our chef was super funny and really talented and the food was, of course, incredible!


Tummies full of food, we headed back towards Future World via the rest of the World Showcase, and had our fastpasses for Character Spot, meeting Mickey, Minnie and Goofy, then courtesy of the awful rain, Snow White was also meeting by the exit to Character Spot, rather than her usual place in Germany, so we saw her, then dashed to China to meet Mulan inside the Great Temple.

After meeting Mulan, we practically waded back to Spaceship Earth. NB: drainage in Epcot sucks after bad rain! We had Spaceship Earth fastpasses, then headed over to The Seas with Nemo and Friends, then did Turtle Talk with Crush, which was hilarious as usual cos some kids say the stupidest things..


I always have to say hi to the manatees of The Seas when I visit Epcot, so we did that, then wandered across to Journey into the Imagination with Figment, which we walked straight onto, then dashed quickly into the Disney & Pixar Short Film Festival to avoid the rain which had started yet again, and that got us both feeling pretty sleepy, so we decided to call it a day and head back to the hotel for the rest of the evening!

Today:

– Total characters: 12

– Total steps: 12,574

– Total distance: 5.25 miles

Tomorrow we’re gonna hit the RunDisney expo first thing so I can collect all my race gear, then we’ve got another busy day so stay tuned!

The My Disney Experience Mobile App*

It’s magic at your fingertips! Plan, capture, and share your Walt Disney World vacation using this official app from Disney!

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If you like visiting Disney as much as I do, this will definitely come in handy. Let’s take a closer look at My Disney Experience’s features:

Explore the resort with ease

The My Disney Experience Mobile App allows users to explore the Walt Disney World Resort using the interactive, GPS-enabled map. The map isn’t just a plain one that points users from point A to B; it’s fun to use as it’s filled with cute designs that shows guests where they can find certain attractions and restaurants.

In addition to its awesome directional features, the interactive map allows users to find Disney characters’ greeting locations and times. It also shows the time for fireworks and parades. How awesome is that?

Plan your vacation

The app allows users to buy theme park tickets with ease. Bought tickets are stored in the My Plans section where information can be shared with friends and family. An alert will go off when your trip to Disney is getting close.

Make your trip memorable

This is where the app truly shines. Users of My Disney Experience can preview, purchase, and share Disney PhotoPass photos and videos. To the uninitiated, PhotoPass is a tool that allows guests to view and purchase photos taken by Disney photographers online and at theme parks. Whenever visitors have their photos taken, they’re issued a PhotoPass, which has the web address and a 16-digit ID number printed on it.

Apart from PhotoPass, users will be able to shop for authentic Disney merchandise with quick links to the all-new Shop Disney Parks app.

Thanks to technology, Disney is able to reach out to more people. With this app, first-time guests of Walt Disney World will have a convenient and magical stay.  

Apart from making apps, Disney seems to be quite active in the creation of new games as well.  Aside from its Disney Channel that has integrated games, Disney also partnered up with Yepi and the Club Penguin page — sites where the latest Disney games are now hosted. In the past, Marvel, which is now owned by Disney, used to have games hosted on the Pocketfruity site but that came to a halt when Disney decided to adhere to its family-friendly policies and pull all games from gaming sites. All of Disney’s games are now suitable for players of all-ages both online and offline.

Give the app a go by downloading it either on iTunes or the Google Play Store!

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*This post contains guest content.

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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Disney’s Port Orleans French Quarter Resort

It’s been 3 months since Dad and I began our journey home from our incredible RunDisney trip, and I think its about time I told you what I thought of our stay at the resort!

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Location:

POFQ is right across the road from Epcot, which puts it pretty central to the whole WDW area. Because all of the RunDisney races start at Epcot, this turned out to be ideal for us, meaning we could afford another half an hour or so in bed!

As well as being able to get to Epcot and Hollywood Studios fairly quickly, the bus trip to Magic Kingdom was fairly short too, and you’ve got the added bonus of being able to catch the water taxi straight from the resort to Disney Springs! Its also only a short walk to Port Orleans Riverside on the river path if you fancy a bit of an explore!

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Layout:

I really loved how seemingly compact this resort is. The reception, concierge, shops and restaurants are all located in one central building, with the bus stops just outside, which is probably no more than a 5 minute walk from any given point in the resort, and the pool and laundry services are right in the middle too!

Set out like the streets of New Orleans, the room buildings are laid out around squares of pristine grass and cobblestone roads, each of which has a cute name like Rue de Baga!

Having stayed at Caribbean Beach back in 2014, where everything seemed like quite a walk away, this was such a nice, close-knit place to be.

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Rooms:

I’ve generally found that rooms in moderate resorts tend to be set up fairly similarly, but its the little touches that magic each resort unique! The mardi gras theme of POFQ is continued in the rooms with purple and gold accents, and classic little Disney details.

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Dining:

The main food court, Sassagoula Floatworks has a range of counters serving different quick service offerings, as well as takeaway pizza, ice cream and famous beignets!

There’s also Scat Cat’s Club by the reception area, a bar with live music, and Mardi Grogs by the pool.

Activities:

The pool at POFQ is quite something; its got this huge alligator slide and all sorts of poolside water activities for the little ones, as well as a hot tub for the grown ups. There’s also evening movies on the grass squares between the room buildings, and an arcade near the pool.

You can also use the river path to Port Orleans Riverside resort as a running track.

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Overall Pros:

  • Nicely compact, so you don’t need to worry about having to drag tired little ones back to your room late at night
  • Great proximity to pretty much everywhere
  • All amenities are central and easy to get to
  • Walking distance from Port Orleans Riverside
  • The whole theme is so much fun, and the cast members love going the extra mile to keep the mardi gras spirit alive!
  • Great pool for kids
  • Water taxi to Disney Springs
  • An ideal location for RunDisney race participants

Overall Cons:

  • During quieter times, park buses share a route with Riverside, so you may have a slightly longer ride than expected – this is generally only during the day, after park close there are normally separate buses

I think that pro/con list reflects pretty well on how I feel about this resort – we really liked it! I definitely think its my favourite moderate resort (so far!) and would happily stay here again!

Have you stayed at French Quarter?

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WDW Transportation Links

Walt Disney World spans a crazy 40 square miles, did you know that?

With that in mind, your holiday can double as a logistical operation as you maneuver getting from park to park and back again, especially if, like us, you don’t have a car to get about. Fortunately though, Disney have thought all of this through, creating a bunch of different ways to get about, and on our January trip, Dad and I did a lot of exploring via some of the lesser known transportation options, and today I’m going to share all these wonderful links with you!

Magic King

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Bus

If you’re staying at a Disney resort, you can get to and from the Magic Kingdom by buses that run direct from your resort to the park entrance

Monorail

The monorail services the Contemporary, Grand Floridian and Polynesian resorts, and also runs from the Transportation and Ticket Center if you do drive to the park.

Boat

Boats to and from the Magic Kingdom run from the Ticket and Transportation Center and Disney’s Contemporary, Grand Floridian, Polynesian resorts, as well as Wilderness Lodge and Fort Wilderness Campground.

Epcot

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Bus

Buses run regularly from all Disney resorts

Monorail

If you’re at the Magic Kingdom or monorail loop resorts, you can get the monorail to the Transportation and Ticket Center and transfer to a monorail that travels direct to Epcot’s park entrance

Boat

If you’re at Disney’s Boardwalk Inn, Yacht and Beach Club resorts or Swan and Dolphin hotels, you can travel by boat to Epcot’s International Gateway, where you can enter the park via the World Showcase

On foot

You can also walk to the International Gateway from any of the above resorts, and also from Hollywood Studios – a path runs between the two via The Boardwalk

Hollywood Studios

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Bus

Resort buses regularly travel to Hollywood Studios and back again.

Boat

You can travel to the park by boats from The Boardwalk Inn, Yacht and Beach Club resorts and Swan and Dolphin hotels. You can use these boats as a way of transferring to Epcot too!

On foot

You can walk to Hollywood Studios from Epcot via The Boardwalk – during peak seasons, this walk is quicker than any other transportation!

Animal King

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Bus

Because its so far out from the other parks, the only way to get to the Animal Kingdom via Disney transportation is resort bus, and sometimes these routes travel to Blizzard Beach too.

Disney Springs

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Bus

All Disney resorts have buses that run to and from Disney Springs. If you want to travel from the parks, I recommend getting a resort bus to Saratoga Springs which is right next door, then you can either walk from there or catch a bus

Boat

A fun way to get to Disney Springs if you’re staying at Port Orleans Riverside or French Quarter, Old Key West or Saratoga Springs (including the Treehouse Villas) is by boats that run every 20 minutes or so to and from the Marketplace jetty. You can also get boats from The Landing to West Side.

Love these Disney inspired underground logos? They were made by the lovely Lizi and you can buy prints here!

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My Disney Confessions

Jumping on the Disney blogger bandwagon of confessing some of my more shameful secrets for my fellow fangirls in the hopes they don’t disown me and make me give back my Mickey ears..

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I’ll start with just 10, and see if I’m still standing once this is all over, ha!

1. I don’t like Dole Whip – in fact, I’m not sure I’ve ever had one!

2. I really don’t see the point or appeal of collecting pins. Trading is kinda cool, but they’re so much money and they really serve no purpose..

3. Although I’ve done it before, I would never choose to stay offsite unless I was really broke. I just like being fully surrounded by the magic.

4. I’d rather be alone in the parks than drag around people who don’t want to be there. Embrace the magic y’all!

5. I’d rather watch parades than fireworks.

6. I hate it when Disney release merchandise WAY before a film comes out, and purposefully will not buy any until I’ve seen the film. I’m looking at you, Tsum Tsums..

7. I wish I could do Summit Plummet at Blizzard Beach, but I know I’ll never have the nerve to do it!

8. I like Haunted Mansion, but I don’t get why so many people are obsessed with it. I guess I just don’t like spooky things..

9. I don’t see the appeal of Gaston – I mean I’d like to meet him one day, but I won’t queue for ages or fangirl over him.

10. Although they’re great in Florida heat, I don’t think I could ever spend an entire day at Blizzard Beach or Typhoon Lagoon. It just feels like a waste of a day..

Ok well that’s me.. What are your confessions?

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Baking Magic – Marshmallow Pop Treats

Don’t you just hate it when you’ve spent so much time in the parks eating your favourite treats, only to come home and live without them? Yep, me too 😦

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BUT this series is about bringing some of your park favourites to life in your everyday kitchen, and today is a combination of two of my favourite things: marshmallows and caramel! Marshmallow pops are available in so many designs and flavours in a bunch of locations in the parks, and today I’m gonna share how easy they are to create!

Ingredients wise, you’ll need: regular sized marshmallows, classic toffee sweets, condensed milk, chocolate/candy melts and whatever kind of sprinkles and sweetie decorations you like.

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1. First up, you need to melt down your toffees. I seriously recommend you do this in a metal bowl over boiling water – it’ll take a while, but will save you a burnt disaster! It’ll basically become one huge toffee lump, which while delicious, would be a nightmare to work with, so I add condensed milk to smooth it down; about 3tbsp for every 20 toffee sweets.

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2. While your toffee is melting into a caramel goop, get sticking your marshmallows onto whatever you fancy: lollipop sticks, straws, etc.. Squeeze them nice and close together into a column of squishy goodness.

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3. Once you’re happy with the consistency of your caramel, using a rubber spatula, scoop and smooth it all over the marshmallows. You can try and dip them, but may find they get stuck.. Give each stick a twirl to cool it off a little – it’ll dry quite quickly – then place onto greaseproof paper or tin foil, and get them into the fridge for half an hour or so.

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4. While the pops cool down, you can start to prepare your decorations. If you want colourful pops, I recommend Wilton Candy Melts as they’re really easy to work with – just melt down and mix with a little bit of vegetable oil to give it a shine – and you can also get different flavours (peanut butter!!!). Now you can let your imagination go wild; recreating your favourite designs from the parks or imagineering your own spectacular creations – just be sure to have fun with it!

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5. Once you’re done decorating, get the pops back into the fridge to fully cool and set, and voila!

What’s your favourite Disney park treat?

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Beaches and Cream

A gorgeous 50s style diner in Walt Disney World? Look no further than Beaches and Cream!

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Possibly the cutest little table service restaurant, Beaches and Cream is tucked away from the crowds at Disney’s Beach Club Resort, just a short walk from Epcot via the International Gateway, and across from the beautiful Boardwalk area.

Now when I say little, Beaches is probably the smallest table service place in WDW, so its definitely worth making those reservations as early as 180 days in advance, although if you’re just looking for one of their famous ice-cream sundaes, you can get one of them over the counter. The decor is the prettiest of pastels and 50s flair, complete with a neon jukebox, and the cast member uniform is the cutest too!

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As for the food offerings, its classic diner dishes: burgers, hotdogs, shakes and sundaes. Expecting American sized portions, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that my burger wasn’t ginormous and came with a manageable amount of chips, and I could finish the plate without feeling stuffed beyond belief – very kid friendly!

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But its not burgers that Beaches is famous for, its those unbelievable ice-cream creations! There was no chance we were going to be able to manage the famous Kitchen Sink between the two of us, but we ordered a sundae each, and in hindsight, we could have shared one of those..

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This is a Fudge Mud Slide – ice-cream, brownies, hot fudge sauce with a heavy portion of whipped cream and a cherry on top! I probably only managed a third to half of it, but it was AMAZING, and given that this was our post-half marathon treat, I savoured every bite. (Oh great, now I’ve got a huge craving for this)

I definitely would eat here again, it was everything I had hoped it would be when I booked it! I’d also love to stay at the Beach Club Resort as well, its just all so beautiful!

Where’s your favourite place for a good ice-cream in Disney World?

What is there for Star Wars fans in the Disney parks?

We’ve all heard the news: Disney is going to be taking us to a galaxy far, far away with the announcement of two Star Wars lands, one in WDW and one in Disneyland. Now all we’ve got to do is wait another who knows how long for them to be completed. Ugh.

The problem is, with the recent release of Episode VII, Disney has just created a whole new generation of Star Wars fans eagerly awaiting the next installment, and of course these spectacular new areas of the parks, and, clever little people that they are, they have made sure that these fans are not disappointed! So what have they got going?

Star Tours

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Star Tours is a travel company offering destination holidays to everyone in the galaxy, but unfortunately due to some issues on Flight 1401, your trip turns into a bit of a mission, uh-oh! Its a 3D simulator, and the rides have been in the parks for a few years now, but those wonderful Imagineers have given them a little tweak!

Now including scenes from Jakku, and a message from Finn and BB-8, the ride actually has 50 different variations; there are slight differences in the opening scene, ending scene, and a few differences in the middle, and there’s no telling which one you’re going to get! In January, we had about 4 different experiences, I wonder how many times you’d have to ride before you saw them all!

You can ride Star Tours in Hollywood Studios in WDW or Tomorrowland in Disneyland.

Star Wars Launch Bay

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The Launch Bay is one of the newest Star Wars additions to the Disney parks. Inside you can see memorabilia from the movies, such as Rey’s speeder, collections of lightsabers and models of your favourite spacecraft, as well as being able to meet some of your favourite characters.. Was that a wookiee I heard?!

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As well as Chewbacca and Darth Vader, you might also run into a bounty hunter or have an encounter with a trading Jawa, and you never know, Kylo Ren might make an appearance!

The Launch Bays can be found in both Hollywood Studios and Tomorrowland in Disneyland

Jedi Training Academy

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If your little ones dream of joining the lightside, you can sign them up to take part in the Jedi Training Academy shows which happen throughout the day at both Hollywood Studios and Disneyland’s Tomorrowland. Its adorable; first each little Jedi gets given a robe and a lightsaber and are walked out to the stage area in a big procession. Once on stage, they’re taught a fight routine which they’ll suddenly have to use against Darth Vader or The Seventh Sister, and the moral of the story is to stand up to your fears.

Each show has limited spaces, so sign up early in the day to avoid disappointment. Your child must be present when you sign them up, and its open to all between the ages of 4-12.

Path of the Jedi

Path of the Jedi is a short film essentially telling an abridged version of the initial six Star Wars films, and a series of non-spoiler clips from Episode VII, summing up the history of the Jedi, and what the future may hold!

Hyperspace Mountain – Disneyland

Disneyland’s Space Mountain has been influenced by the force with a little revamp, and a lot more adventure! Its the same ride as before, but the addition of lights and projections within the ride have transformed this in-the-dark rollercoaster into a rebel mission against the galactic empire, and watch out for those tie-fighters!

Don’t forget to grab a Fastpass early in the day to shorten your wait time!

Force-filled Food

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Disneyland is ahead of the game with their Star Wars inspired food, dedicating a whole restaurant, Galactic Grill, to it. The menu includes First Order burgers and Darth by Chocolate dessert, and you can even have your meal served in a Han Solo in Carbonite bucket!

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Hollywood Studios has a good range of Star Wars cupcakes, but that’s about it for the moment!

Merchandise

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As expected, Star Wars merchandise is everywhere throughout all the parks, everything from clothing and accessories to comic books and annuals, you can even buy a 4ft tall Stormtrooper! As well as being in most shops, there are dedicated stores such as Watto’s Grotto and Tatooine Traders in Hollywood Studios and Mickey’s Star Traders in Disneyland.

Are excited for the new Star Wars lands?

Teppan Edo

If you’re looking for Disney dining with a difference, look no further than Epcot’s World Showcase for a huge selection of international cuisine, and after my trip to Japan last summer, I couldn’t wait to eat here.

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Teppan Edo shares its location in the Japan pavilion with Tokyo Dining, which is a regular sit-down dining experience, but offers guests a much more unique experience as your meal is cooked right before your eyes on the table in front of you!

Each table sits eight people, so as a party of two, we were sat with another family – small groups be prepared for this – but we were so immersed in the experience that it was totally fine, even though the other family was a little dramatic at times..

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We ordered our drinks and starters first, which were brought out to the table really quickly while we waited for our chef to arrive. I had ordered assorted tempura which I shared with Dad, who had ordered sushi which was prepared by the chef when she arrived.

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For the main course, all of the dishes had the same udon noodle and vegetable base, and then you chose the meat – steak, shrimp, chicken, swordfish or a combination – or the vegetarian option, and then they also come with a bowl of rice and a selection of dipping sauces. Our chef prepared the noodles and vegetables on the hot plate in front of us, while simultaneously cooking each of the different meats to perfection AND performing tricks like making an onion volcano; it was completely amazing to watch, and it was delicious!

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Now a few things I will mention if you’re thinking about eating here:

  • Firstly, this is an experience that takes time – it was maybe half an hour to 45 minutes before our main course was served, not that you noticed the time, but if you’re starving hungry I can imagine the wait would be a little torturous!
  • They don’t offer any substitutions – one of the dramas of the family we were sat with was that one of the girls was super fussy and wanted regular steamed rice instead of the rice on the menu, and unfortunately that couldn’t be accommodated, so double check the menu before booking with fussy eaters.
  • As well as being sat with other people if you’re a small group, if you’re a group larger than 8, you will probably be split between two tables.

Now all that said, it was one of our favourite meals of the whole trip – 100% unique! If you’re on the Disney Dining Plan, it counts as a table service meal, and if not you’re looking at about $40pp excluding tax and gratuity. Oh, and don’t forget to make those reservations 180 days in advance to avoid disappointment!

What’s your favourite World Showcase pavilion?

Dressing for Walt Disney World in January

Die hard Disney-goers like myself rarely visit the parks without carefully coordinated outfits, complete down to the matching Mickey ears; its probably one of my favourite parts of trip planning. I like to believe that if I have one skill in life, its putting together a good Disney outfit, and lord knows I’ve got the wardrobe for it!

Now if you’re visiting WDW any time from March-November, you can rest assured that it will be warm, if not stonking hot, and while there may be rain, its Florida rain – big, heavy and warm raindrops that will dry within minutes of the sun reappearing – so you can still wear what we here in the UK consider to be summer clothes without having to worry too much, and therefore booking a trip for early January posed a slight conundrum for me.

Being Florida, it was always gonna be warmer than it was here in Bournemouth, I could count on that for sure, and after looking up average temperatures in Orlando, I quickly discovered that it would be about the same as a cooler summer day here in England, around 18-20°C, and that became my starting point.

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Long story short, you know those summer evenings when you might warm up an outfit by throwing on a cardigan or a pair of tights? Yep, that’s essentially it right there. I spent pretty much every day in tights and dresses or skirts and shirts, chucked a cardigan on top of whatever I was wearing, and maybe a jacket on cooler days.

We looked a little silly compared to some people; so many people were wrapped up in hats and scarves, but some (including the locals) its pretty cold compared to what they’re used to!

When is your favourite time to visit Walt Disney World? °o°

My Disney Trip Haul!

I’m home, I’m jet-lagged, and something I always hate about coming home from holidays is the dreaded unpacking of the suitcase, am I right?

What made it a little more bearable for me today though was knowing that my case was full of Disney goodies, and who doesn’t love a good haul post?!

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Now a fair amount of this is RunDisney stuff, so that’s where I’ll begin!

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To start off, our medals and race shirts were all included in the entry fee; for the 5k it was just a regular cotton t-shirt, and the 10k, 2 halfs and Rebel Challenge shirts were all long sleeved performance tops. The medals are all 100% awesome, and pretty chunky – weighing just under a kilo for all six!

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As well as our free shirts, we picked up a few extra goodies at the RunDisney expos. To surprise Dad, I had pre-ordered the limited edition WDW race weekend jackets for both of us, and we both ended up wearing them for the majority of the rest of our trip because they were so nice and warm! We also got a Coast to Coast shirt each, because you only get a medal for completing it, and also the Rebel Challenge ‘I did it!’ t-shirts, which also had a map of the courses we ran on the back, then I got a couple of headbands – two WDW half marathon ones and a Rebel Challenge.

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If you follow me on Twitter, you’ll know that I was pretty desperate for a pair of the limited release New Balance trainers, so of course I was super psyched to get my hands on a pair of the Red Carpet Minnie Mouse ones, which also came with a pair of gold shoelaces and clip on bows.

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I was pretty restrained in only buying two mugs, (I had my eye on quite a few!) but Chip was top on my list, and I fell in love with the pastel Disneyland beauty. Obviously I bought the first Cogsworth I found because I had to bring him home with me, although I discovered mine is missing his pendulum yesterday when I unwrapped him, so fingers crossed the lovely Disney team with magic up a new one for me!

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I’m a huge collector of Vinylmations, and somehow came home with 9, oops! I did get two of them at Disney’s Character Warehouse, the outlet store, for only $3 each so that was a bonus.

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Isn’t my new BB-8 dress amazing?! Its by Her Universe, but was sold all over the parks and Disney Springs, and I’m obsessed. I actually wore it to Hollywood Studios one day, and bumped into some Stormtroopers, totally panicked and said ‘this isn’t the droid you’re looking for’..

And lastly, I was really lucky to finally meet the lovely Maggie from Elephant and Mouse, who was staying in the same resort as us and was kind enough to meet me with an order of ears so I didn’t have to pay international shipping! I got two different fluffy Donald Duck pairs, and a pretty purple galaxy pair. She makes incredible ears, so go and visit her Etsy shop here!

Oh, and not forgetting this cutie!

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We came home with a family set!

Are you heading to Disney anytime soon?

°o°

WDW Day 9 – and onto Disneyland!

Today we said goodbye to the Magic Kingdom *sobs*

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After a quick run, and fighting with our suitcases before checking out of French Quarter, we headed into the Magic Kingdom; overnight all the Christmas decorations had disappeared, so Main Street USA was looking a little bare. First up was Pirates of the Caribbean, followed by breakfast at Liberty Square Market, then Peter Pan’s Flight, Space Mountain and the TTA People Mover before our Haunted Mansion Fastpass time.

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With some time before our next Fastpass, we wandered back into Fantasyland and caught the railroad, doing a full loop of the kingdom, before getting on an entirely different train: Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. High speed rides out of the way, we stopped off at Pinocchio Village Haus for lunch.

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A final ride on the carousel, and it was back to French Quarter to catch the Magical Express to the airport, and a 5 hour plane journey and a drive to Anaheim, and we’ve just checked into our hotel! We’re now 3 hours behind Florida time, so 8 hours behind UK, and off to bed for us!

WDW Day 8!

Today was our last full day in the parks, can someone tell me where that time has gone?!

The plan was to have a little bit of a lie-in, then get to the Magic Kingdom for the rope drop. Well, we missed the rope drop, but we did get to do Jungle Cruise, Pirates of the Caribbean, Big Thunder and Space Mountain all within the first hour of park time, so that was pretty impressive in any case! Fast rides out of the way, we stopped at Sleepy Hollow for breakfast: fresh fruit waffle sandwiches in the sunshine, right next to the castle as the first Dream Along with Mickey show was on – kinda perfect, am I right?

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After our late breakfast, we caught the monorail to Polynesian Village; the lobby was under construction on our last visit, so we were curious to see the changes for ourselves, and it made the perfect stop to hop across to Hollywood Studios for the afternoon. First on the agenda was Star Wars Launch Bay to hang out with Chewie and Darth, and we even got to see a rogue Jawa hanging around! After another Great Movie Ride (gangster this time, in case you were wondering), we finally caved and bought ourselves a BB-8 sipper cup each as well as some popcorn to see Beauty and the Beast live on stage.

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After the show, we headed across to Star Tours, but as we were a little early for our Fastpass slot, we decided to watch the Jedi Training Academy show, which was pretty adorable. You might have caught my tweet about how it’s been updated to include some TFA stuff, but we asked a CM today and it turns out there are 50 different variations of the simulation, crazy!

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Next up some Muppet Vision 3D, followed by late lunch at Studio Catering Co, then One Mans Dream (all the feels!) before out Tower of Terror Fastpass. You may have heard me talk about my love/hate relationship with this ride before, and it’s pretty simple: I hate waiting for the first drop, after that I’m totally cool, and it works fine because I know that it doesn’t drop until you reach the top and look out over the park. Nope, not this time! The first drop was done totally in the dark; I felt betrayed, but at least it was over. After that we made our way to Fantasmic nice and early because of our Fastpasses, and to avoid the mad rush that happens so often. It was magical as per, when Mickey comes out on the boat as Steamboat Willie..

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After the show, we made our way to our favourite spot to watch Symphony of the Stars for our last time this trip. It was no less magical the second time; you can physically feel the bangs pass through you!

Tomorrow is our last day here (waa!), but I’m getting so excited to return to Disneyland!

WDW Day 7!

Well that’s Four Park Challenge off my bucket list!

We started this morning with Extra Magic Hours in Animal Kingdom, and first stop was obviously Expedition Everest – did you catch it on Periscope? Rollercoaster out of the way, we stopped off at Creature Comforts (the AK Starbucks) for hot drinks – yes it was that cold – and breakfast pastries, then onward to Kilimanjaro Safaris where we got to see two baby white rhinos playing, eek! We decided that for our challenge, we would get photos with Mickey at each of the parks, so we stopped off at Adventurers Outpost to see him and Minnie before catching a bus to Animal Kingdom Lodge to park-hop.

From AKL we transferred onto a bus to Hollywood Studios, where we first stopped off to see Mickey, this time in his classic Sorcerers Apprentice costume. On a character meet roll, we also got a selfie with a green army man, and went to see Mike and Sully, but as we’re headed back to Studios tomorrow, we decided not to queue for any rides.

Now midday, we caught another bus onto Wilderness Lodge, for a quick look around but also so we could transfer to the Magic Kingdom by the boat that runs direct from the resort, handy right? Again, first things first, we went to see Mickey in Town Hall Theater, then grabbed lunch at Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe. Would you believe we’ve never done Astro Orbiter before? Well we have now! With that experience under our belts, we got a spot near the castle for Festival of Fantasy, which was just as magical as it always is, and finished up out MK time with an obligatory Its a Small World.

 To throw another form of transportation into the works, we obviously had to take the monorail across to our final park, Epcot, and actually it wasn’t Mickey we went to first, it was Baymax. Yes again, no we don’t care. Mickey was next, at the Epcot Character Spot, then we went across to Journey into the Imagination. We had a Fastpass, but there wasn’t much of a line to bypass! Not quite hungry yet, we stopped off to watch Circle of Life in The Land, before dinner at Sunshine Seasons, probably my favourite quick service in the whole of Walt Disney World. From there we went to Spaceship Earth for our Fastpass, but again there was no line so we didn’t even bother scanning them. With time before the fireworks, we figured a 40 minute wait at Test Track (which we discovered a love for the other day) would keep us warm and indoors, but we actually waited less than 10 before we got to the design stage, then another 10 before the ride itself. In fact, we ended up doing it twice! That took us right up to our last Fastpass for the day, for Illuminations: Reflections of Earth, which was beautiful as always. It was pretty chilly, so as soon as the display was over, we joined the brisk hoard of people leaving the parks and jumped on our last bus: back to the resort!

How’s that for a busy day?

WDW Day 6!

I slept a solid almost 11 hours last night, and it was so good!

This morning our first port of call was a Disney Vacation Club viewing; we had been talked into going by a representative in Epcot a few days ago, and were mainly in it for the free food, Fastpasses and $50 Disney gift card! Don’t get me wrong though, it was interesting to look at!

From there, we headed outlet shopping at Orlando Premier Outlets, about a 10 minute taxi ride away, and snagged some mega bargains, including new Asics trainers and some Vinylmation from Disney’s Character Warehouse. After dropping our haul back at the resort, we caught the boat to Disney Springs for lunch and the Cool Down Party.

The Cool Down Party is basically a bunch of the stores and restaurants in Disney Springs doing discounts and special offers for anyone who ran this weekend, so long as you wear your medal! This meant we got 10% off lunch at T-REX, and I also got 15% off some goodies from Basin, yay!

Still with plenty of the afternoon ahead, we decided to catch a bus to the Walt Disney World Swan hotel, then the boat from there to Hollywood Studios, as we’ve never done that before, and we had no idea how quick a ride it was! Straight away we headed to Rock’n’Roller Coaster, and passed the hour wait using our DVC Fastpasses, then we managed to catch the last showing of Indiana Jones Stunt Show Spectacular, getting to see some of the scenes we had missed the other day.

After that we did another Star Tours, and as luck would have it, the wait time for Toy Story Midway Mania was only 25 minutes, so obviously we were all over that, and in fact, we only waited maybe 5. With a little bit of time until the fireworks, we went back to the Star Wars Launch Bay to watch the film showing we had skipped before, then headed out to get a good view of the Symphony in the Stars fireworks.

Wow. I might go as far as saying it was the best firework display Disney has ever imagineered. Just phenomenal, the way they synced the fireworks to the music and how each rocket represented something.. I could go on but I won’t!

Instead I’m going to bed, goodnight!

PS. No photos from today, too busy seeing through my own two eyes!

WDW Day 5 and RunDisney Half Marathon!

Has anyone ever run a half marathon with a chest infection? No? Just me..?

Yep, today was the big day, and the cold I’ve been battling since arriving in Florida was rearing its big ugly head, manifesting in my chest making every single breath hurt. Throw in the stress of all this setting off the weird little heart palpitations I get from time to time after about 9 miles, and I was not exactly fighting fit..

But we did it. It was not a record time, and I couldn’t even muster a sprint finish, but it was still epic. Looking back on it, now 12+ hours later, it was even more epic, mainly because I can breath properly now but still! There was a tonne of great entertainment, the cheering crowds were incredible and some of the sights were phenomenal.

We started once again in the Epcot parking lot, and from there ran up to the Magic Kingdom, down Main Street USA and right into Tomorrowland, then into Fantasyland and through the gloriously lit castle, before heading through Frontierland and out backstage. We then took a fairly straight route back down towards Epcot, finishing up with a loop down to the World Showcase and back, and finally that magical finish line was in sight!

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To celebrate, lunch was at Beaches and Cream, and included an sundae the size of my face – not that I could finish it! From there we walked into Epcot via the International Gateway so we could catch a monorail to the Magic Kingdom ticket centre, then decided to get the ferry boat to the park from there.

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Despite exhaustion, we still packed a fair amount into our afternoon: Philharmagic, character meets, a ride on the train, Splash Mountain, Space Mountain etc, but the rain began to pour down so we didn’t fancy sticking around to get soggy on a Jungle Cruise, and having been up since 3am, we settled on an early return to the resort so we could get some washing done.

Hello bed..

WDW Day 4!

Today was a successful day!

After an early start yesterday, we had crashed out by about 8-8.30pm, putting us in good stead for my 5.50am alarm. No, this wasn’t another race alarm, this was so I could join the virtual queue for limited edition RunDisney New Balance shoes. Back to sleep for another hour or so, and we headed over to the expo for my allocated pick up time slot. Yes, I got the shoes, and Dad got a pair too!

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Our park for the day was Hollywood Studios, and when we arrived it was raining Florida-style – warm-ish but fairly heavy. We arrived in time for our Star Tours Fastpass, and were super excited to discover it’s been updated to include some TFA scenes now! Keeping on theme, we went to see Path of the Jedi, a new attraction essentially showing an abridged storyline of the Star Wars prequels, then a few non-spoiler clips from TFA, before running through the rain to catch a showing of the Indiana Jones Stunt Show Spectacular. The rain meant it was a little cut down for safety reasons, but it was still great!

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After our second Fastpass, for Muppet Vision 3D, we grabbed lunch at Pizza Planet, one of my favourite QS restaurants, themed after the Toy Story classic. Beauty and the Beast and The Great Movie Ride next, then onto our final Fastpass, the ever popular Toy Story Midway Mania, which had a 95 minute wait! Even with a Fastpass we waited maybe 15-20 minutes, and unfortunately Dad did beat me by a few points but never mind.. From there we caught the last performance of Lights, Motors, Action, followed by Voyage of the Little Mermaid, and from there the force pulled us towards the Star Wars Launch Bay..

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It was awesome! We met Chewbacca and Darth Vader, and despite queue times saying about 50 and 40 minutes, we did the two in less than an hour and they were perfect! The launch bay has taken over the old Animation Academy, which I was sad to see go, but it has most definitely been put to good use! Now dark, we had a little walk around in the hopes that the Osborne Lights might still be lit (not wishful thinking, the lights were all still up, just not lit), and made our way back to the resort to prep for tomorrow!

WDW Day 3 and RunDisney 5K!

3.55 was the dreaded alarm for this morning. First race day was here!

Why so early? Well for starters, the races are all super early, today’s being 6am, and to ensure we had enough time to get to where we needed to be, we had to be on a bus to Epcot by 4.30, yikes!

It wasn’t so bad really; we were in bed about 9pm last night so we got a solid amount of sleep, and we were just so focused on the event that tiredness didn’t factor at all. The bus took us from the resort to the Epcot parking lot where all the race start and finish lines are. It was a huge area – had to be for 20,000 participants – and just like the expo, it was seamless; we could see exactly where we had to go, there were no queues for anything!

We were in Corral C, which meant we were set off about 10-15 minutes after the first group, but we were right at the front which was awesome! The count went down, the fireworks were set off and off we went! The course took us around the side of Epcot from the parking lot, underneath the Test Track course and into the park through Mexico, before running around the World Showcase, down the stretch to Future World, a quick detour by The Land and back out of the park by Spaceship Earth and to the finish line!

After the race, we went through the classic routine of collecting medals, water, Powerade and a cute little snack box of crisps, Oreos, a banana etc, then to the only queue: the wait for the bus back to the resort!

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Quick shower, change and snacks and we were back at Epcot just after park opening. We started off with Spaceship Earth, then went to meet Baymax(!!!) before doing the new Pixar short films show, and Living with the Land before starting on the World Showcase, this time in daylight! For lunch we had a reservation at Teppan Edo, which was awesome, and we to let that settle before going on Test Track, we stopped at China to watch the acrobat display. After TT, we did our last two Fastpasses for the day: Character Spot and The Seas with Nemo and Friends, and totally exhausted from our early start, we headed back to the resort to recover!

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Did you catch us on Periscope?

WDW Day 2!

Good morning!

I say good morning because while it’s still the evening here, the time difference means it’s about 2am back home!

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Today was our Animal Kingdom day; we got up about 7ish, had a leisurely breakfast and got a fairly quiet bus to the park. Despite being earlier than opening time, we were let in to head down to the tree of life and wait for the remaining areas to open at 9am, before we joined the crowd making a beeline for Expedition Everest. Quite honestly, today was a really lucky day for wait times, and we hit all the big ticket attractions – Kilimanjaro Safaris, Festival of the Lion King, It’s Tough to be a Bug – with minimal waits, and pretty much walked into Flights of Wonder and Finding Nemo the Musical! In fact, despite having three Fastpasses booked, we only used one of them, for Dinosaur. We also went to hang out with Rafiki at Planet Watch for a little while.

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After feeling we were done for the day, and with the prospect of the races looming, we grabbed a cab to the ESPN complex for the RunDisney expo. Having no idea what to expect, I expected the worst: huge crowds, long waits, lots of pushing and shoving.. Nope. I honestly don’t think it could have been any easier. After picking up our bibs, then our race shirts and the commemorative jackets I had pre-ordered, all of which took maybe 15 minutes tops, we hit the main expo area. There were tonnes of great exhibitors with cool products, including the official RunDisney merchandise area, and the oh-so- popular New Balance, and we even got to meet Jeff Galloway, former Olympian and official ‘coach’ for RunDisney; it was cool, there was a selfie. Apart from a few little RunDisney bits, we didn’t really buy anything, although I’ve got my eye on a pair of the limited release New Balance shoes..

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From the expo we went back to French Quarter to drop our race stuff and hang out for a bit before we caught the boat to Disney Springs for a bit of light shopping and dinner at Wolfgang Puck Express, before calling it a day and boating back to the resort to get ourselves together and properly rested for the race.

So tomorrow is the 5k, which is really a no-pressure run, and it kicks off at 6am – 11am for my UK supporters. I’ll try and Periscope a bit of it, all depends on our wifi signal, but in any case, wish us luck!

WDW Day 1!

Ok Mouseketeers, we’re just coming to the end of our first day in the most magical place on earth, and you all wanna know what we got up to, right?

Thanks to jet lag, we were up well before the alarm was due, which meant we could sneak a little lie in before grabbing a snacky breakfast and jumping on a bus to the Magic Kingdom. We had the great perk of being allowed into the park before other guests, not because of a breakfast reservation, but because we were going on the Keys to the Kingdom tour, which began at 8.30am. Now the park didn’t open til 9am today, so Main Street was looking pristine and beautiful, before we watched the hoards of other guests descend.

The tour was incredible – a solid 5 hours long including lunch, and we got to see and learn so much, but we weren’t allowed to take any photos, waa! I’m also not going to go into any details due to spoilers (although I may write something on it another time).

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It was about 1.30pm when we finished up, so we headed into Adventureland to do Pirates of the Caribbean, which is one of my favourite rides. I think it was actually the longest I’ve ever waited to go on PotC in any park before, around 30 minutes. That was followed by the glorious feeling of skipping past a 2 hour long queue for Big Thunder Mountain because we had a Fastpass, then we waited for the Festival of Fantasy parade in Liberty Square. Its my all time favourite parade, and before now I’ve only ever watched it from Main Street, and honestly, Liberty Square didn’t do it the justice it deserves!

After fighting through post-parade masses we moved through into Fantasyland, where I picked up Cogsworth and Chip from Village Gifts (yay!) before going on Dumbo the Flying Elephant. From there we did a Carousel of Progress before going back to Fantasyland for our Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Fastpass, which you might have watched on Periscope!

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Starting to flag, and also feeling a little chilly, we walked through the now beautifully lit castle, and headed down through the shops of Main Street, before catching the early viewing of Main Street Electrical Parade from a great spot, thanks to a lovely cast member! A quick, and dare I say disappointing ride on Buzz Lightyear Spaceship Spin and we caught a monorail to Contemporary a Resort for our dinner reservation at California Grill.

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While initially booking so we could look out over the Magic Kingdom, we were actually seated at the opposite end of the restaurant, so we ended up seeing the Epcot fireworks, and also a bit of Fantasmic pyrotechnics, and the food was amazing!

Exhausted, full of food and content, we bussed it back to the resort. Catch you tomorrow!

RunDisney 2016: The Final Checks

We leave tomorrow. WE LEAVE TOMORROW.

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In 4 days time we’ll have finished our first race, 6 until our second. This time next week we’ll be celebrating the end of the first week at the Cool Down Party. ISN’T IT CRAZY?!

I wrote my first RunDisney post on January 28th 2015, and since then I’ve written 38 training updates, and it all comes down to the next two weeks. This is insane. Can you tell I’m excited?

This week was for tapering, the word that most runners simultaneously love and hate; the cutting down of training run distances to prepare your body for an upcoming race. As per usual, we ran three times this week: a 5k, a 7k, and another 5k, which we did today. The next time we run will be in Florida!

So we’re all packed, or at least I am at this stage in the day. Four running costumes, plus spares, and one pair of running shoes, because I only trust one pair of my shoes at the moment! I’ve got a roll of Dynamic Tape and spray for my knee, Dad’s stocked us up with painkiller gels galore, and of course I’ve packed probably too many pairs of Mickey ears, which means I must be ready!

Tomorrow is going to be crazy long, starting at 5am UK time with a 4 hour coach journey, a 9 hour flight and finishing in EST, so we will be categorically pooped by the end of it all, but I’ll be in Disney World and it will be 100% worth it.

If you didn’t catch it yesterday, you can read our itinerary here to see what we’ll be getting up to, and I’ll be live blogging every day! You can also keep up via Twitter, Instagram and I’ll be streaming some of our trip on Periscope, so be sure to follow me @lottiedoesdisney!

Are you ready for the fun to start? I AM

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My Disney Trip Shopping List

No big deal or anything, but this time next week I’LL BE IN DISNEY WORLD!!!!!

I am 100% too excited to think about anything other than Disney at this stage, and we all know how much I love planning right(?) so I’ve been thinking a lot about how I’m gonna blow my spending money, and today I’m going to share some of the pieces I’m hoping to pick up on my trip!

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When we were in Disney World back in 2014, I was desperate for one of the newly released Chip mugs, but they were sold out everywhere waa! Now they’re not as new and Disney have picked up production, hopefully I won’t have any problems picking one up! The problem might be with Cogsworth, who was only released a few months ago, but I’m determined to bring him home with me to go with Lumiere, who I bought in Disneyland Paris.

I have a few Alex and Ani bracelets already, all bought on eBay; I have a Rapunzel one, as well as 3 of the 4 WDW park ones, so I need Epcot to complete my collection, and I might see if I can pick up the Disneyland ones in California too!

Disney parks are the only places where I actually like Starbucks, and I’ve been kinda lusting over the park ‘you are here’ mugs, but at $15 a pop, I may rethink that once I get there!

Back in 2014 I bought the Thomas Kinkade Tangled box canvas; it was beautiful and although a little pricey, but it meant something for me to be able to buy it. I’d love to get another one, but I don’t know how I could choose!

I’m also going to be keeping some money aside for the RunDisney Fitness Expos. They partner with New Balance to release limited edition trainers for the events, as well as having a bunch of exhibitors selling cool stuff, so its an excuse for me to do some more shopping!

And honestly, I think that’s it for me! Well, in terms of planned purchases anyway, no one with a credit card can resist Disney merch really!

Do you plan what you want to buy on your Disney trips?

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What I’m wearing – Heroes

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I don’t know what’s going on with my face here, I look super bored!

Well all loved the San Fransokyo locals when they appeared on our screens at the start of the year, and this Redbubble fan-art makes such a great skirt!

I’ll be wearing this to Epcot, when we’ll be dining at Teppan Edo – the same day we’ll be running the WDW 5K dressed as Honey and Baymax!

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What I’m wearing – Tale As Old As Time

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I love this dress – its from the original Black Milk Disney collection – but as its sleeveless, I was a little concerned about how to style it for colder seasons, until I stumbled upon the item of wearing it over a scoop neck crop-tee – also great for if you like to keep your shoulders/arms covered!

I’ll be wearing this to Hollywood Studios, home of Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage!

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RunDisney 2016: 6 Weeks to go!

Six weeks. SIX WEEKS. That actually sounds like a short length of time right?!

We’ve dropped well below the 40 day mark now (TOMORROW ITS 5 WEEKS TIL WE LEAVE), and everything is becoming more and more real, not that it wasn’t before! We are 100% sorted on everything now, to do lists are ticked, and the only small thing I have to worry about is sorting my running outfits for the Star Wars races!

Our races are now top on the RunDisney site!

Our races are now top on the RunDisney site!

As for running this week, its been fairly non-existent I’m afraid.. I’ve been having some problems with my knees and getting so close to the main event I really don’t want to cause any problems. Dad’s also been working away a lot this week, so there really just hasn’t been a lot of time.

The original plan this weekend was to do another mini rebel, starting with a Parkrun yesterday. Instead of our usual course, we decided to try out our other local course at Poole as they were having a pacer event and we thought it would be fun. The Poole course is a lot flatter than Bournemouth, so the potential for a new PB was definitely there, but getting caught up in the pacer event, I started the course way too fast, and ran the first half on the heels of the 27 minute guy, and considering I have a PB of 28:14, it was a major stretch. By the 3k mark, I was having some real issues with my heart rate (which is becoming more of a recurring problem, and I know when it happens I should stop running..) but I pushed myself onwards, having to stop every few minutes to walk and calm myself down; I even had to stop mid-sprint-finish which is ridiculously unlike me. BUT my time came out at 28:39, so only 25 seconds off my PB, and I think had I not pushed myself too much at the start, a PB would have been possible.

As for today, after spending my shift at work hearing about severe weather warnings on the radio (50mph wind, what), Dad and I made the decision to give it a miss, and save ourselves for next week when we’re going the full distance and hitting 13.1!

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PS. We signed up for our first ever virtual run yesterday, but more on that closer to the time!

What I’m wearing – Pooh and Friends

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Can you tell the weather wasn’t exactly on my side for this shoot, ha! Sun in my eyes, wind in my hair..

Another of my favourite pieces from the new Black Milk Disney 2.0 collection are these adorable shorties, which were the inspiration for this outfit. I also adore my Pooh ear hair clips, which I bought in Tokyo Disneyland in July!

I’ll hopefully be wearing this outfit on the day we attempt the Four Park Challenge – so I can meet Pooh and friends in both the Magic Kingdom and Epcot, and maybe even the Animal Kingdom; they’re very busy!

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RunDisney 2016: 7 Weeks to go!

I know I probably say this every week, but I can’t believe how fast the time is going, and the excitement is really getting to me – there’s a lot of squeaking going on!

We’ve had another good week; we only ran twice, but that was a tactical decision following last weekend’s mini rebel training and knowing we had a long distance this weekend. I also think given the amount of time we train, missing a run here and there really doesn’t put us behind like it used to, and the recovery time is good for us occasionally. Our first run was a classic training run – we went out for about an hour and did about 5 miles thereabouts, which is fairly normal for us on these sorts of runs.

Saturday’s target distance was 10 miles; a distance we haven’t covered in 9 weeks, but we took the same approach yesterday as we did back then: slow and steady. By holding back on our pace, we’ve found we’re able to go much longer continuous distances and avoid tiring, and today we ran well over 5 miles before pausing for a quick walking break. We were really lucky to have clear and dry conditions, but the winds were very strong at times, and the temperature had dropped considerably overnight, so it was pretty nippy! At the 10k mark, we’d been running for 1 hr 10 minutes, which actually isn’t too far off our race pace for that distance, and despite aiming to complete the full 10 miles in around 2 hours, we actually hit it at 1 hr 52 minutes, which was great!

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Better still, because we’d finished the distance quite a way from home, after a quick breather we kept on running, and not only did we carry on to 19k (11.8 miles), which is the longest distance we’ve ever run, we did it in a pretty impressive 2 hr 20 minutes – 4 minutes faster than our 18k record. Unfortunately by the 19k mark my ankle was feeling a little dodgy, otherwise we would have pushed the final 2k to the full 13.1 mile half marathon distance, which would have taken us around 12-15 minutes, so we can assume our half marathon time to be approximately 2 hrs 30!

Feeling much more confident about our efforts this week, I’m pretty happy to be going into our last 6 weeks of training, yay! We’ve sorted our American Visas this weekend too, so now all that’s left on our to-do list is sort our car hire for California! Eeeek!

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What I’m wearing – Steamboat Willie

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This outfit is essentially a compilation of a few of my favourite things: my favourite item from the new Black Milk Disney collection – the zoetrope skater skirt – and my favourite Mickey ears, which I bought in Disney World last August. The skirt depicts scenes from Steamboat Willie, which is particularly special because it was officially released on November 18th, marking Mickey Mouse’s birthday, but also my Dad’s!

This outfit is what I’ll be wearing to Hollywood Studios, especially to see Fantasmic!

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What I’m wearing – Dapper Dans

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Jumper from French Connection (bought in an outlet, unavailable now)

Dapper Dans skirt from Redbubble

Boots from Missguided

I love the Dans, don’t you? A barber shop quartet, harmonising beautifully down Main Street USA, dressed in stripes and bowties – perfect! So when I discovered this skirt on Redbubble I fell in love; you might have seen it when I wrote about my favourite Redbubble buys.

I’ll, of course, be wearing this to the Magic Kingdom to hang out with the boys themselves!

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RunDisney 2016: 9 Weeks to go!

Today I’m coming to you all from a much better place than I have in the last few weeks, yay! My back is feeling a lot better – still not 100% but it’ll take time – and I’ve been able to start training at the gym again, which for me has such a positive impact on my mood, and I needed to feel better this week.

I went to the chiropractor on Monday about my back, and even after a treatment session still wasn’t seeing much improvement, so making the assumption that the problem was more muscular, I spent Tuesday religiously applying Deep Heat and Deep Freeze every few hours, which seemed to work wonders, and after surviving a gym session on Wednesday without too much bother, we were back running Thursday.

We did one of our usual routes, down through the town centre to the beach, along the seafront, up the zig-zag to the clifftop and home, which is about 7km, and while we took it at a fairly easy pace, it felt good and it was great to be back at it after all the worry last week.

Saturday was a ParkRun, and what a soggy one it was! Light showers turned to heavy downpours, and crisp autumn breeze became super blustery, and in my oversized waterproof coat I basically turned into a kite; resistance training to the max! It was a quiet race – not even 200 people turned up – and the course was turning to sludge, which slowed the pace a fair amount for everyone, not to mention dodging the people who had fallen in the mud (and stopping to help the up of course!), but I felt back on form, running ahead of my dad for the first time since returning to training after Europe. Timewise, it wasn’t a PB, but it also wasn’t my slowest: 31:37, which about 3 minutes off my PB, but I was never gonna do that in those conditions, and in fact only 5 of the 190 runners set new PBs!

AND MORE GOOD NEWS:

Today we signed up for the inaugural Disneyland Paris half marathon weekend in September 2016, to do both the 5k and half. I wish they were doing a 10k as well, but hey ho!

So yep, I’m back on the brightside, and races are looming on the horizon!

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What I’m wearing – Hakuna Matata

New mini series, yayay!

Every week until I leave, I’m going to be sharing one of the many Disney inspired outfits that I’ve planned for my trip in January! The outfits may be styled a little differently, given that I had the opportunity to shoot on a lovely sunny and quite warm day, and January in Florida and California will be a little different, weather-wise.

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Hakuna Matata crop top from Look Human (now unavailable)

Bandeau from Republic (now unavailable)

Skirt from Black Milk Clothing

Necklace from Accessorize

Grey cardigan from H&M (old and probably unavailable now)

Boots from Missguided (old and probably unavailble now)

Its fairly well known that The Lion King is a very special film to me; it came out the same year I was born, lions are one of my favourite animals, and well quite frankly, its just a great film!

I’ll be wearing this outfit to the Animal Kingdom, although probably with some more sensible shoes! (I live in chelsea boots in the winter, but most likely I’ll be in Converses the entirety of my trip)

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RunDisney 2016: 17 Weeks to go!

Yep, we’ve flown through another week already! One more week closer to my birthday, one more week closer to Christmas, and one week closer to our races, eeek!

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In fact, we’re not far off the 100 day mark, and by the time I get back from Europe it’ll be closer to 80, and all the fun starts! November is really the month where everything happens – fastpass+ choices, paying off Disney World and Disneyland, and booking any dining in California, and once all that’s done then we’re practically there! (I also finished the first of my running costumes!)

We’ve taken it fairly easy this week, with three short-ish runs, but that doesn’t mean they weren’t good ones. I’ve had a pretty nasty cold this week but actually running seems to have helped me sweat it out a bit! With this in mind, we kept our first two runs this week fairly short, around 30-40 minutes, but fairly continuous, and we kept a pretty good pace. Saturday though..

Originally, we were planning on doing ParkRun, but due to timing issues we decided to do our own 5k earlier in the morning, but to run it at race pace, with Dad really hoping he could hit a new PB below 30 minutes. We set off fast, taking a familiar route through the town centre to the pier and along the beach, and were easily keeping a pace below 6 min/km, and, after managing a sprint finish, not only did we finish <30, we actually did it in 28:43 – Dad’s fastest time and only 30 seconds away from mine. Not only that, after a short walk to get our breath back, we actually ran the rest of the way home, bringing our total distance to about 8k!

Now Dad’s proven to himself that he can do it, he’s definitely got the bug, and we might actually go for another run this evening!

Next week we’re back onto big distances with a 10-miler, so we can start working on pace and stamina again. Until then, see ya real soon!

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Friday Favourite Five – Instagrammers of Disney World

I spend WAY too much time on Instagram, and at least 90% of the time I’m looking at Disney stuff, with some of my all time favourite accounts being those of Disney World goers, whether they’re Cast Members, Annual Passholders or just regular visitors, these are my top five Instagrammers of WDW:

1. @ferdalump

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I got tagged by a few people to share 20 facts about myself, so here you go: I'm 3 years old ✨I have an annual pass to Disney and we go about once or twice a week (sometimes just for an hour or two because we live close)✨I was born in Florida ✨The first time I went to Disney was my 1st birthday. ✨Mommy made my first costume (Harley Quinn) before I was born.✨I had my second costume when I was 10 days old ✨The first Disney movie I watched and really had a reaction to was Tangled. ✨If asked, I say Aurora is my favorite Princess and she was the very first Princess I ever met ✨I LOVE books and always have to take one to bed with me ✨I love horses ✨I'm scared of spiders ✨My best friend is 'finger' who I talk to all of the time. Finger also has a brother named 'Brother' ✨I love playing with my doctor kit and love to play 'check-up' ✨I have a lot of boyfriends, but Anakin Skywalker is my favorite.✨I love mini M & M's but I will not eat red ones. ✨I'm named after Lois Lane (but Mommy and Daddy also loved the characters named Lane on both Gilmore Girls and Mad Men.) ✨I love music and watching music videos ✨I love painting (on paper, my nails, anything!) ✨I have a fish named Beast and a dog named Tater✨ I'm very detail oriented and if a costume is missing a detail (a hat, gloves, etc) I let Mommy know about it. (And I'm not sure if those who tagged us wanted my facts or Mommy's so she may post her's on her IG later today.) 😊PC: @disneymint 💕

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Princess Lane has very quickly become a Disney World superstar; the whole internet follows and loves her, and I’m definitely no exception! In fact, meeting her is on my Disney Bucket List.

2. @disneyworlddelights

Probably the most talented photographer ever, I fell in love with this account after stumbling across her Festival of Fantasy shots, and I’m continually amazed by every new photo!

3. @disney_frump

The Disney World adventures of a beautiful DCP cast member; so sweet and pretty, a real Disney princess!

4. @reallifedisney

Another WDW cast member, Taylor is the perfect combination of positivity, sass and Goofy loving!

5. @thedisneychicks

The Disney Chicks is a combination of two amazing accounts, @thedisneyworldgirl and @lifeatdisneyworld, both of which I love.. Oh, and they’re a mother-daughter pairing! I also love keeping up with these girls on Periscope!

Are you an Instagram nut? Follow me on @lottiedoesdisney!

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Friday Favourite Five – WDW Table Service Restaurants

It always amazes me how unique every dining experience at Disney World is. Sure, you sometimes might find yourself eating similar meals in a few, but every table in every restaurant gives you a totally different memory!

On our last trip, we tried to fit in as many table service meals as our dining plan would allow, and we had some incredible meals, but for now, here’s my favourite five:

1. T-REX

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If you’ve never been, imagine Rainforest Cafe, but instead of wildlife, its dinosaurs that run the show! Yep, dinner, dinos and delicious food; we had an awesome time here.

2. Tusker House

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Probably one of the best meals from our last trip! We made this booking following a recommendation from friends, but had no idea what to expect, so when we walked into a restaurant with incredible decor, a vast range of amazing food and character visits, we were blown away.

3. Crystal Palace

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You cannot go wrong with Crystal Palace. Magic Kingdom, check! Pooh and friends, check! Buffet including Mickey waffles, check!

4. Sci-fi Dine In Theater

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It probably doesn’t get more unique than eating dinner in a classic car and watching old movies on the big screen!

5. Chef Mickey’s

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A Disney World classic, and a great excuse to ride the monorail across from the Magic Kingdom. Fill your plate with grub, and get your napkins ready..

What are your favourite table service restaurants?

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RunDisney 2016: 19 Weeks to go!

So we’ve already completed the first 4 weeks of our new training programme; time is flying by and we’re creeping ever closer to the 100 day mark!

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Remember last week was a bit of a bust? Well this week was always going to be more of a success, and it was for the most part. We did three decent runs: a 45 minute one, and two 5ks, and I think what we’ve noticed most this week is how much we’ve managed to cut down on walking intervals during our runs.

I’m also really happy to be at the end of August now and heading into autumn – I’ve spent the last week getting erratically angry with the sun. Goodbye summer heat and hello brisk winds and running in the rain! My body sucks at regulating its own temperature and I’ve been finding summer running pretty horrendous, even doing it at 7am when its a little cooler.

Next week I’ll be running our first ‘mini rebel’ – 5k on Saturday and 7 miles on Sunday. Its essentially half the distances of the real Rebel Challenge races, designed to get us used to running big distances with no rest day. Unfortunately Dad’s away on Saturday so won’t be doing the 5k with me, but he’s not getting away without 7 miles on Sunday!

That’s all for now, folks!

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Friday Favourite Five – WDW Quick Service Restaurants

I’m getting super excited about my upcoming Disney World trip, and when I’m excited my planning goes into overdrive! Because we’re on the Quick Service Dining Plan, I’m pretty excited to try out a lot more of the QS restaurants on this trip, but for now, here are my favourite five from the last trip:

1. Pizza Planet Arcade

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My absolutely favourite restaurant in Hollywood Studios, Pizza Planet is like walking into Andy’s favourite place to eat: pizza, arcade games, and plenty of Little Green Men!

2. Be Our Guest (lunch)

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Be Our Guest is quick service for lunchtime only, and even then getting in can be pretty competitive, but we managed it! If the perfect setting isn’t enough, the food was amazing!

3. Sunshine Seasons

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Sunshine Seasons is inside The Land at Epcot, and boasts a pretty amazing range of international cuisine. My Mongolian Beef, fried rice and whoopie pie might have been the best QS meal I had last year!

4. Pinocchio Village Haus

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We loved Pinocchio’s so much we ate there twice! As well as great food, there’s loads of seating both indoors and out, and if you sit by the big window you can watch the boats on It’s a Small World!

5. Boardwalk Bakery

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The Boardwalk is possibly the most beautiful and underrated place in Disney World, and the Bakery is full of yummy goodies, from incredible cupcakes to handmade deli sandwiches, and if you ever need to order a celebration cake, this is the place to go!

Where are your favourite places to eat in WDW?

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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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RunDisney 2016: 22 weeks to go!

So after the blip of the last month, we’re finally back into our rhythm, completing the first week of our new schedule without a hitch, yay!

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The first major difference of the programme is the increase in length of our midweek runs, from 30 to 45 minutes, which really wasn’t too much of a problem, and taking it in our stride (pardon the pun) was quite reassuring as it meant we weren’t as far setback as I’d worried I might be after the time away.

I also threw us back in at the deep end this week with a 6 mile weekender, primarily because I knew we could do the distance, and also because in our 45 minute runs we can go 4-5 miles, so all of our weekend distances are 6+. Ok, so we weren’t up to our usual pace for that distance, but our PB is 1 hour 3 minutes, and we did it in 1 hour 15; a month off, and only 12 minutes difference really doesn’t seem to bad if you ask me!

Another change you might have noticed if you’ve kept up with my training posts, is that I’m starting to count down the weeks, rather than up as I did before, mainly for my own sanity, but also because it seems far more positive watching the numbers tick down!

Today we also FINALLY managed to book our places on the Keys to the Kingdom Tour for the first day of our trip! We’ve been trying to book it since the 180 day mark, but Disney have been undergoing some ‘Magical Enhancements’ to their tour booking system, and when we tried again today, they were ready for us! 8th try lucky..

This time in 22 weeks time we’ll have completed both of our Disney World runs, crazy right?!

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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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RunDisney 2016: A Training Update

It has been a long time since I’ve written about our RunDisney training, for a few reasons:

1. I was finding it a little repetitive each week; ‘woo, we ran three times, woo, we were a little faster this week’

2. Due to injury/our recent Tokyo trip/various other excuses like the weather, we’ve really not been as into training as we were when we were at our peak

3. We haven’t run since pre-Japan

Everyone takes breaks, and knowing that that is ok is important; a work, work, work mentality doesn’t do anyone any good. Sure, we’ve enjoyed a little break, but we know we have to get back into our proper training schedule this week as tomorrow marks 23 WEEKS UNTIL WE LEAVE FOR DISNEY WORLD. No biggie or anything.

So we are now totally 100% officially confirmed for all our races – Disney World 5K, Disney World half, and Star Wars Rebel Challenge (10k and half). While we’ve been confirmed for all our races since June, because we’re booking the California leg of our trip through a RunDisney sponsored travel agent, we only officially entered Rebel last week. We’ve also entered all of our Proof of Times, due to our estimated finish time for the halfs being under 3hrs 15; we’re aiming for around 2.5 hours.

All of our accommodation is sorted! In Disney World we’ll be staying at Port Orleans – French Quarter, which includes a quick service dining plan, but we’ve also made a few Advanced Dining Reservations which I’m really excited about. Its still too early to book Fastpasses, and we’re having some problems with booking the Keys to the Kingdom tour, but we’ll cross all those bridges when we get to them! In Disneyland California we’ll be staying at the Paradise Pier hotel, booked through the travel agent, which means we won’t get our confirmation details til November, but we know that’s where we’ll be and that’s good enough for us!

So now its just a case of buckling back down into a training routine. Next week will just be a case of easing ourselves back into it, and then after that we’ll begin ramping it up to hit the bigger distances, and also do a little challenge training to get ourselves used to the idea of running long distances without a rest day in between.

23 weeks, lets do this!

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180 days to go!

Can you believe it? We’re already at the 180 day mark! So..

Did I get my reservations you ask?

YEP.

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I was a bit back and forth between whether I should make them by phone or online; reservations open at 7am Eastern Time, which was midday here in the UK, but I thought I’d be a little cheeky and try and see if they opened earlier online, to no luck.. at first!

Yeah ok, I knew I was never gonna get away with it hours early, but as I was waiting for the clock to hit 12pm to dial the reservation line, I hit refresh on my browser at about 11.40 and BOOM, I was in!

Top priority was California Grill – its a fairly fancy place, very popular with regulars, and Dad really wanted to eat here, so any time would have been fine, but for me it was key to get a time that puts us there in time to watch Wishes from the viewing platform, and I’ve only gone and done it!

Our other booking scores were Teppan Edo and Beaches and Cream, both for lunch on the days we’ll be running in the morning – key refuelling!

Tomorrow, with any luck I’ll be booking us onto the Keys to The Kingdom Tour, and then we’ll be all set until Fastpasses become available in November!

EEEK

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ADR Planning

Now that we’ve bypassed the 200 day mark, the next big milestone in trip planning is 180 days to go, because that means we can start making our Advanced Dining Reservations – I wrote a proper guide to this last year.

Due to our trip being (supposedly) primarily about fitness, Dad and I made the decision not to upgrade to the Disney Dining Plan, which includes table service, and instead just stick with the Quick Service Plan that came free with our booking, so we’re not actually going to do so many table service meals, but there are a couple that we’ll be hoping to snag when our reservations open up in July:

1. California Grill

Dining room of California Grill

Picture from the Disney World website

California Grill is inside Disney’s Contemporary Resort, with views of the Magic Kingdom and Seven Seas Lagoon, and Dad really wants to eat here so I’m hoping to snag reservations for the first proper day of our trip. Ideally, I’d love to get a time that means we’ll be able to watch Wishes while we eat, but I’m not fussy!

2. Teppan Edo

Rosewood tables, rice-paper light fixtures and an image of Mt. Fuji embellish this restaurant’s interior

Picture from the Disney World website

Located in Japan around the World Showcase, Teppan Edo is a unique dining experience as chefs prepare your meals before your eyes! With any luck, after our upcoming trip to Japan, we’ll be pros at the cuisine!

3. Beaches and Cream

Colorful dining area of Beaches & Cream Soda Shop at Disney's Beach Club Resort

Picture from the Disney World website

I’m really excited about the chance of eating here, I really wanted to on our last trip and we never got the chance. Its part of Disney’s Beach Club Resort, and famous for The Kitchen Sink dessert, but I don’t think Dad and I will be able to tackle it between the two of us!

On top of these, there are loads of Quick Service restaurants that I’m excited to try out, and that’s before even thinking about the restaurants at Disneyland, so I think its a good job we’re gonna be running so much!

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