Evermore Park Aurora Review

Evermore Aurora 
OK this has been a long time coming but I’m finally writing up my thoughts on the new Evermore park in Pleasant Grove (aka.. my back yard) We went for the Fall experience of “Lore” and came away happy but somewhat let down by the mass of crowds we encountered the Monday before Halloween as well as how complicated the process seemed to be. Let’s just say it wasn’t a place for introverts. We mostly just walked around admiring the building/garden details, character costumes, and we did dabble in some ax throwing. (There was archery as well but the line was too long).

  Our Winter “Aurora” experience however shared none of our problems and was absolutely incredible! We went on the first Monday available (trying to avoid the holiday rush this time) and felt like we had the park and characters to ourselves at times. 
You’re greeted by a small handful of Victorian characters and a sweet pony before starting off on your adventure. Many of the characters were friendly and reached out to us right away to initiate a conversation and make sure we knew what we were doing. They handed us a scavenger hunt paper to easily get us started with ideas on what there was to do. (ie. which characters to talk to first)
 Beautiful details of the buildings near the entrance 
 A lot of the pathways that were open at Lore have been closed for construction on new areas of the park and without the Ax Throwing and Archery… it seemed a little barren and empty in the daylight. There also were fewer characters out and about right at 4:30 but that quickly rectified itself. We did a small loop around the park noting what had changed. 
 A stop in the tavern to see the Christmas decor! Beautiful details! 
 The barkeeper was MIA. 
 The watermill is one of my favorite building exteriors in the park.. hopefully someday you’ll be able to go in it as well! 
  There are warm fire pits everywhere and we particularly liked hanging out by them in the “ruins” which was closed off during the time of “Lore”
 Another incredible building exterior 
Stained glass 
 The lights were beginning to come on! 
Once we’d seen a few of the details we’d missed at Lore in the daylight, we headed over to Ice skate.
Ice Skating
The ice skates were including in the “ice skating ticket” and were hockey like (no toe pick) and decent skates from what I’ve experienced. You put them on right next to the little rink and then head out onto the ice. We started right around 5:30 and at the time there was 1, maybe 2 other families skating/ falling around. That being said, the ice was pretty chopped up so if you’re an ice snob.. be warned.
 It’s a nice little rink though in the center of the park and by far the most magical part is just being surrounded by medieval buildings, with sparkling blue spotlights shining on the ice around you, and Evermore’s signature soundtrack to make you feel like you really are skating in a fairy tale. So although the rink maybe small, it beat out the Olympic ovals in my book. 
The Ice rink in the middle of the park 

After a short time they indicated they were going to clean the ice so everyone got off and they whipped out.. a hand-push Zamboni! What! It took them about 10 minutes to clear the ice but I waited while everyone else (husband included) headed off to find adventures elsewhere in the park. 
Favorite moment: Seriously had a smooth rink, the lights, and music to myself for 10 minutes. I skated circles and was eventually joined by a character wearing full Victorian skirts. Braden located his friends and brought them over to cheer me on before I finally resigned and got off the ice to check out the rest of the park
Looking over at the tavern with the moon overhead and Christmas lights galore 
Christmas Carolers.. haha We recognized the 2 guys on the left from the “Lore” show with the scary guy in the middle being the executioner. I absolutely love that they kept him in practically the same costume *the hat is new, and had him walking around with the festive carolers. 
First stop post ice skating:
The Food Stand
Evermore is somewhat limited in their food offerings thus far but they seem to be expanding each season. (so maybe the next show will have a full scale café) You can choose from savory meat pies (Chicken pot pie, pizza, bacon and egg) that are little handpie/ calzone things priced at $6 and soup bowls (the soups our day were Tomato Basil and Potato Bacon.) priced at $10. Then there’s the sweet caramel apples, lollies, cookies, and of course: hot beverages ranging from $2.50 to $5
While the hot cocoa is fine, if you’re a cider fan, I really enjoy the Mulled Cider. We tried both the savory options and they were both good so choose mostly just on how much food you want as both are good. 
*Or just save money and eat dinner at home. 😉 
Aurora Visiting Information: 
Weekday Hours (M,T,Th): 4:30 PM to 9:00 PM 
Weekend Hours (F,S): 4:30-9:30 PM
Adult (age 13+) weekday: $15, weekend: $20 +$6 skating ticket*
Child (age 6-12) weekday: $10, weekend: $14 +$6 skating ticket*
*Skating is $6 if purchased ahead of time, and is $10 if you wait to purchase the skating ticket in the park. 
*You can bring your own skates but it does not decrease the cost of the skate ticket
*These costs may be part of an early bird pricing if you purchase your tickets before December 15th. Will update if that’s the case but buy your ticket here ASAP to ensure you get this pricing. 
Aurora tickets include everything the park has to offer!
Wonderland Walk Events:
*This event includes ice skating and the bird/reptile show BUT DOES NOT HAVE QUESTS CHARACTER INTERACTION
Hours: Saturday 11:00 AM- 3:00 PM
Adults: $15
Children: $10
 The water mill at night 
The Bird show
After eating our wares by a warm fire we headed for the Bird show in the glass house. You’ll want to get there a few minutes before the “next show” as it’s a small room and fills quickly. The show was great with fun information on 6 types of birds with cool demonstrations and close encounters as the cast walk down the aisles so you can view the birds more closely. The narrator was particularly funny livening up what could end up being a fact dump and the show lasted in total about 30 minutes. We got to see a parrot/ Macaw crack open a tiny sunflower seed with its giant beak which was my favorite part as most other bird shows are so large you miss tiny details like that.
the bird I can’t remember the name of… 
All in all we got to check out a Blue and Yellow Macaw with his girlfriend a Great green Macaw named Kaleehsi, a cool Omnivore black bird with an amazing beak (I alas cannot remember what kind of bird it was), a Harris Hawk, cockatoo, Barn Owl, and lastly a great Horned Owl. 
All birds showed their amazing wings and tails, got lots of snacks, and were brought around for closer inspection. All in all, a great show!
We unfortunately didn’t get to check out the reptile show! But I imagine it was just as good.
Continuing out adventure around the park, we checked out the incredible pièce de résistance of Evermore: the central fountain. 
 Then from the central statue, we followed the little path under this really cool archway. 

to my favorite spot in Evermore: the Hobbit hole. (It’s not actually called that but that’s what it reminds me of)  and there we found my 2 favorite Evermore residents: The Dwarf brothers
Entrance to the hobbit hole
Inside details!
 They seem to be a recent edition to the cast (I don’t remember them from Lore) and were beyond talented and believable. We walked into hear them singing “We wish you a Merry Christmas” and one of the liveliest rooms of the park. We stuck around to hear clever stories of their Aunt or Uncle, make comments about their living space, and play another song on a drum and recorder. (The little drummer boy) Their accents/ improv/ and overall effect were my favorite of the park this time around.  
For videos of their songs and some of their funny stories, checkout my youtube channel clicking here
How to Quest
*Follow the instructions on your scavenger hunt paper
*Ask any character what you can do to help them
*Do what they say which will lead you to other characters and on!
Outside the Hobbit hole/ dwarf house we got some popcorn and earned some gold coins for telling the concession maids a joke. Then picked up some of the Mulled Cider to top everything off as we said goodbye to our friends. I hadn’t had my fill yet so we continued to explore the park and interact with characters, eventually gathering the parts and building an ornament with the “light” fairies to present to the dwarfs. I also earned silver pieces from a king by doing a small jig (though I ran out of time to go on further quests to use it) and we ended up spending our remaining 30 minutes with one of the dwarf brothers in the cozy little cottage. We tried to explain our “modern world” jobs to him which was hilarious and got one more song as we headed out. 
Overall an amazing evening and with the price at only $21 for weeknight skating- adults a fantastic way to get out and celebrate the Christmas season. 
Just word to the wise.. DRESS WARM. A lot of the characters and fun is outside so make sure you’re prepared to spend at least an hour or 2 in the cold winter air. (think base layers, thick sweaters/ coats, hats and gloves!.. the works) 

Guide to Shanghai Disneyland

Bring it on Disney! This was our 4th Disney Park together (having already visited Disneyland Anaheim, Disneyland Paris, and Disneyworld in Orlando) and we were ready to see what the latest Disney park had to offer.

Disney spirit at the metro stop


  1. Download the Shanghai Disney app before hand. This app is handy for seeing wait times/ ride closures, a map, places to eat, OH and it’s the only way to select FAST PASSES.
  2. Bring some cash. All of the restaurants accepted credit card but the little snack stands only accept cash. (and everyone knows you can’t go to Disney without getting some ice cream or popcorn)
  3. DONT BOTHER STAYING ON PROPERTY. Seriously. You get to elect 1 FP about 30 days before hand and that’s it. There’s so many nicer affordable options around and the metro drops you off at Disney’s door. Save some money here.
  4. Purchase park tickets online: This way you can find the best deal/ discount codes and won’t have to wait in ticket queues once you get there.
  5. This goes along with getting the App, but make sure you have a data plan for your Disney Day. The wifi was pretty awful in the park and not reliable at all. You NEED internet to get your FP and use the app.
  6. Download a QR reader app as well. Most of the lines had QR scannable games to help the wait go by faster.
  7. If staying until closing, buy your return metro tickets when you arrive so you won’t have to stand in the queues at the end of a long day just to get back to your hotel.
  8. Get a locker…. a lot of the rides don’t really have a great bag storage option.
  9. If you like to pin trade, bring along some pins! While I didn’t see an amazing different selection from what we have in the states, it’s still fun to do some trading.
  10. Lastly, don’t listen to the reviews that say this park is DIRTY, people are RUDE, and that it is TOO CROWDED. While we were there on a weekday in the school year, people were very nice, the park was IMMACULATE, and even when it’s crowded you can still get fast passes to help with waits.
We loved it! (Though nothing quite compares to Disney World Orlando in my mind)
Our day started at 8:30 with an included breakfast from our B&B. They were so sweet about getting us lots of options and while breakfast again was pretty different, it did the job. (sugar helps with the rice porridge! Ha) Since we’d checked our bags the day before we didn’t have to worry about luggage (though our hosts would’ve stored bags for us) and our hosts were lovely enough to drive us to the park for free!
It was raining a decent amount as we headed in but luckily we’d brought our rain jackets with us.
The entrance was very Disney with lots of music playing and lights. The first World of Disney store we came across I was in pin trading  and we were at the actual entrance just after opening at 9AM. Despite school starting and the rain the lines were a little long to get in. All we needed to go through the gate was our passport and electronic verification of our purchase. They printed the tickets at the gate and we were in.
As soon as we had tickets in hand, I signed in to the Shanghai Disney app to make our fast pass selection which we selected the Tron coaster for in a little over 2 hours. Then we promptly found a locker to leave the small backpack we had brought with us and we were off, making a direct line for Pirates of the Caribbean. (the ride I was most excited for which also didn’t have Fast passes… so promptness to avoid a line was key)
Exploring the lands of Pirates on a hot day: this misty play area would be pretty enticing… We were already wet enough as it was haha!
Pirate Queen!
Alas as soon as we got to the ride we discovered it was closed for technical difficulties (though expected to open later…) so we meandered instead to Fantasy land.
We stopped at a few spots for photo ops and decided to hit up the Peter Pan ride first. It was a fairly quick line (about 10 minutes) and just like the original.
Alice in Wonderland Maze
Next door was a boat ride through multiple kingdoms (like other parks that have a “story book” ride) which had a line of about 15 minutes, so that was next. It was a fun little ride with boats like the Jungle Cruise, and fun water show fountains and music along the path. The line moved really slow but it was an enjoyable ride so if you have a short wait… I’d say go for it.
We hit up the Tron Coaster with our fast passes next. Their fast pass system was like Disney world. We pulled up the fast passes which showed a QR code which we scanned ourselves at the entrance to the FP line.
The walk through line was VERY cool and once we joined up with the rest of the line it was only 5-10 minutes wait. The ride was one of our favorites too, as the seats are motorbike style and you get launched out at the beginning. Unlike Space mountain and other mini coasters, the design of the track was very smooth and avoided all “figure 8’s” for those of you who get sick with that style. (I’m looking at you dad) The screens on the inside track display your opponent light cyclist that you are racing and the sound effects are all perfect.
Overall the only disappointing thing about this ride is that it isn’t long enough. Lol Even still, we rode it at LEAST 5 times to make up for that.
It finally stopped raining! kind of….
The Shanghai Disney currently has the LARGEST castle of all the Disney parks at 197 feet (60 m) tall and unlike the other Disney parks, was designed to represent all of the Disney princesses. It is known as the Enchanted Storybook castle and has an interactive walk through of Snow White’s story (which we wasted like 20 minutes waiting in line for.. save your time) While the technology was cool and it’s always fun going into the castle, everything was in Chinese so even though it had interactive story exhibits.. it was just SO busy and not worth waiting for in my opinion.
Next we rode the water ride in Adventure Isle (since we were wet from the rain anyways) which was reminiscent of California Adventure’s water raft adventure. You climb on board a giant circular raft and start praying you won’t be the one to get TOTALLY drenched because this ride… is all about that. Waterfalls, fun white water drops, and amazing animatronic monsters were the name of the game in this ride. Very cool technology again for the inside portion, and cool landscaping/ effects for the outside.
Finally after this, pirates was open so we B-lined it over there. This ride tied Tron for favorite. It’s a lengthy ride with a cool line queue. Even with new high tech effects, it retained some nostalgic elements such as the “jail scene”, pirate ships firing out at you, and talking cross bones. There’s a good little “drop” in the dark as well. The new effects are giant 3-D like screens and the boat ROTATES around like in Haunted Mansion style so you are viewing everything you’re supposed to see. There’s real fire as well. Overall REALLY cool ride. We rode it probably 3-4 times and luckily only had to wait 20 minutes at its longest.
*There’s no FP line for this ride.
Following the blue brick road through Treasure Cove
Lots of fun little shops and colorful photo ops in the Treasure Cove area next to Pirates. We had a lot of fun walking around and enjoying the “movie scene” feel.
Entrance to the Pirate of the Caribbean restaurant called
Barbossa’s Bounty.

Where to eat at Shanghai Disneyland

Since we now successfully rode the rides we HAD to ride, we could take it a little easier… starting with a lunch break. Like Disneyland Anaheim, this POTC ride has a restaurant INSIDE the beginning of the ride so you can dine while watching the riders float by on the start of their journey. UNLIKE Anaheim, this is a quick bite location and much more affordable.
That being said, it also probably had the best food options in the park. For only $12 I got a really good grilled squid with garlic rice that included a slushie drink. Braden tried the BBQ which was also good (though different style BBQ for sure) Ordering was easy and fast and you got to choose where you sat, which we lucked out and got a spot under the twinkling lights by the ride. (although all the seating areas looked cool) Captain Jack was also walking around for photo ops so if you want to catch him, this is a good place to do it.
Dining tables in the largest room (by the ride)
BBQ Chicken with rice and really good grilled squid with garlic rice
The canoeing “ride” that gave us a good laugh. They hand you a paddle but the boat is definitely on a track. It was entertaining to see people wait 30+ minutes for this experience.
Cool themeing outside the POTC ride.
Treasure Cove looking over at Adventure Isle’s water ride
After lunch we hit Tron again and realized we had to hit up Soarin around the world at some point. The queue is way different from either of the US Soarin rides, departing from the typical “aviation” that the other Soarins hone in on. It has a mystical line with a milky way sky winding around ruins. Plus the safety instructions video is a fun mystical lady who (I think) talks about soarin like an eagle as she transforms. 
Other attractions we did were the Winnie the Pooh ride
(just like the other parks but in Chinese), and Rex’s Racer in Toy Story land which was a cool boomerang like coaster. (we waited longest for this ride, about 40 minutes.. but we’d ridden all the other rides of interest so thought, why not!)
We didn’t catch any of the shows (there seemed to be just a few like a Star Wars one and maybe one other) and unfortunately had to miss the night time spectacular. I did bring about 15 pins and the staff had pins just about everywhere but most were the same old ones you find in the US. (I only found 1 Shanghai specific pin)
We headed out around 7 as we again had a train to catch (at 9:30 PM this time) and even though we’d gotten to hit everything we wanted to see, the magic of Disney at night is a whole story of its own and we were sad to leave. We grabbed dinner on our way out at the closest OPEN eatery. We wanted the Toy Story one but it closed earlier and the next option we wanted to try: Tangled, was to far out of the way. SO Pinnochio it was. They had a couple pizza options so Braden got an interesting BBQ Chicken one with doritos and peanuts on it? Lol and I had a safer margarita with balsamic glaze. They were both tasty, if a little weird.
Walking out, it finally wasn’t raining, the twinkling lights were shining, Disney music playing, and overall just magical. Definitely made it hard to leave.
Entrance to Toy Story Land
Always have to get some Disney Treat action! We tried this interesting style Corn Dog, their caramel popcorn (which the smell of throughout the park is practically intoxicating…) and of course Micky Ear icecream! They had both original and White Chocolate Strawberry which I couldn’t resist. SO GOOD.
The castle at night
Nigh time at Disney is always the most magical!
One final glimpse behind us down Micky Avenue as we left the park.
It’s a short walk to the train station from the park and then navigating back to the same Shanghai train station was much easier this time. Still busy, but we didn’t have to squeeze on quite so dramatically.
*Note if you plan on staying until closing at Disney, purchase your return metro tickets BEFORE going into the park. The queues to buy your ticket later won’t be any fun  to stand in after a full day at Disney.
Back at the Shanghai station, we went back to the luggage check to pick up our backpacks and then found our entrance/ waiting room. Once through security and in the station, we picked up a few more snacks and waters for the train ride (just in case).
Our sleeper train this time was an express sleeper train, designed to get from Shanghai to Beijing in 12 hours (traveling at 156 mph) and thus much newer than our Huangshan-Shanghai train. While the beds were about the same (maybe cleaner but hard to say), this train actually provided toilet paper, and there was a lot more table space, nicer window shades in the compartment, and quieter sliding doors. The beds and bedding were about the same though this train made fewer stops and was a little smoother so sleeping was made easier.. kind of. We were bunked with a Chinese mother/daughter duo who didn’t really speak to us at all and the mom/ older lady? Spent a whole lot of time watching me which was a little uncomfortable. Lol but we made do and the next day we were back in Beijing!
A look in our little compartment. We’d already folded up the comforters which are really nice, but you can see the table with a kettle and little bin. Both trains had the kettle so pro tip.. bring a thermos or bottle you can pour piping hot liquid into since the train itself only provides boiling hot water.

Day 7 Costs:
Breakfast included in hotel stay
Luggage Storage(at Shanghai Train station) day 2- $8.74
Disney Tickets $116 for 2 adults
Fancy Corn Dog $5.83
Pirates lunch $24.78
Icecream/popcorn snack $10.93
Pizza dinner at Pinnochio cafe $24.78
Metro to train station $1.75
Snacks for train $7.72

Hotel: Sleeper train $287/ 2 people

Day 7 Total: $487.53 

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Tips and tricks for visiting Universal Orlando

Alright saddle up now for the Universal Orlando Post! Probs won’t be as long as the DisneyWorld post in light of there only being 2 parks… but still plenty to come. And NOTE: This was my FIRST time ever to a universal park! So there’s probably other ways to go about it but I wanted my virgin experience to be perfect, and I can honestly say… it was pretty dang close.
So to start: We paid the mucho money to stay ON property. With attempting to do 2 complete parks in a day, we wanted the extra “magic?” hour that universal does for Harry Potter world starting at 8 AM. 
We stayed at the fabulous Royal Pacific which was a 5-10 min walk to the entrance of Islands of Adventure. Destination: Hogwarts. 

The place was pretty deserted that early in the morning I’ve gotta say. Staying at the Royal Pacific got us free unlimited fast passes but for that first hour, we honestly didn’t need them. We rode the Forbidden Journey in Hogwarts castle twice, the cute kiddie Hippogriff coaster once, and the Dragon challenge coaster 3 times and the park was just barely opening. 
The entrance to Hogsmeade and then onto Hogwarts! 
 And yes I did purchase a Hogwarts shirts and Braden got a Deathly Hollows hat just for this blessed day! 
Inside Hogwarts! Inside the line queues it is hella DARK! So we didn’t take too many photos but the animation is SO COOL. Here the whole time I’d been lead to believe that disney did line queues better. Well my friends that is FALSE. All of the rides had great waiting queues but the Harry Potter rides were best of all. Here I was watching all the paintings talk to each other! 
I took a photo because I laughed so loud when I saw the public conveniences toilet signs! They were perfect but I never actually used those restrooms haha 

At the entrance to the Forbidden Journey Line Queue! I was pretty obsessed with the outside details of the castles as well. 
We loved having Harry Potter world to ourselves for the first hour. Now as far as the rides go, Forbidden Journey is probably one of the coolest and well thought out rides I’ve been on. THOUGH NOTE THAT IF YOU HAVE ANY SORT OF MOTION SICKNESS YOU WILL WANT TO TAKE SOMETHING BEFORE RIDING THE MAJORITY OF THE RIDES IN THESE PARKS. I’m not especially prone to motion sickness but the forbidden journey can be fairly disorienting as it yanks you out of a simulator in a big screen to animatronics on a track. That being said, it’s a complete experience and we LOVED IT. Just a heads up to wear a patch or take non-drowsy Dramamine so you don’t start the day sick… the Hippogriff coaster (unless you have little ones) is a complete waste of time. It’s short, it’s kind of jerky, and well apart from the fun decor in the line queue and around, there’s not much point to it. Do yourself a favor and make sure you ride BOTH the dragons. We preferred the blue, whether this view is colored because that’s the first one we rode, I know not, but they were both AMAZING. The blue had you upside down more and I felt it went a tad faster. The red had some pretty spectacular moments of its own including one point where you soar right over the blue track you feel like your feet might hit it! 
As the park opened and the crowds started filling in at Harry Potter we moved onto more… deserted destinations…. We rode Jurassic Park right after and got a little wet from the big drop at the end but it felt great as the day started to heat up. 
We also hit the one place our fast passes essentially did no good as we must’ve just missed the first show, we waited for what seemed like 30 min with everyone else to see the Poseidon’s Fury. It is sort of a walk-through show that has different parts of the show happening in different rooms. It’s CHEESY to say the least, but we enjoyed it and the final bit of show with fire and water works at the end was such fun. 
We also rode The Dudley Do Right Rip-saw falls ride once (NOTE IT WILL SOAK YOU. This ride is designed above all others to completely drench you… I kid you not this is not like Splash Mountain. You don’t stand a chance) 
King Kong (AWESOME), Spider Man (cool), Dr. Doom’s Fear Fall (Fun), and the Hulk Coaster (AMAZING) We rode that one twice in a row it was so great, next to the dragon racers, this could be up there as one of my fav. coasters ever. Then we grabbed a quick bite at the Fantastic Four pizza joint (as it was roughly around 11:00 at this point and we had yet to eat anything) Headed over to Dr. Seuss land where we walked onto the Merry Go Round… just to say we touched all of the theme park, lol 
and then…. I Tasted my first Butter Beer. It was a magical moment that was followed up by another magical experience on the Hogwarts Express headed over to Universal Studios.
For our next piece of Harry Potter magic: Diagon Alley and the Escape From Gringotts ride. 
but first let’s talk about the journey

 The only way to ride the Hogwarts Express is to buy a park to park pass. (park hopper) which seeing as we only had 1 day, worked fine for us. It’s a quick train ride but everything is so authentic! I loved how not only did they have a little show in the window of “passing scenery” but the opaque doors of our train cabins also showed people walking by and talking outside your door. It was pretty cool.

You can’t even get into the train station without a park hopper pass. King’s Cross was pretty legit though I did wish they had a platform 93/4s trolley for me to pose with. Alas. I’ll just have to visit the real place. 
 A pano of the train. The line queue people are super efficient with the train and it leaves constantly. Fast pass or not, you will hardly wait for this ride at all. 
We rode Escape from Gringotts and grabbed snack numero dose in the Leaky Cauldron. I knew we wanted to eat at least 1 meal in a Harry Potter restaurant. Again even with the line, this place was built for efficiency and they even find a table for you and bring your food out quickly. We shared a Guinness meat stew in a bread bowl with Pumpkin Juice to drink. DELICIOUS 
As for the Gringotts ride, again VERY COOL. This ride made lot’s of use of simulator sensations with 3D screens but then combined it with a coaster so some parts were roller coaster esque and some parts were more simulation. My favorite part was probably the line queue again. So neat. After you walk through the bank, you enter an office where you discuss touring the bank as a potential client, then you hop on a very authentic elevator that takes you “down” to the vault carts where you board the coaster. It was so cool.  
My favorite part about the Harry Potter World in Universal is that it is somewhat “hidden”. You exit King’s Cross into the main part of the park, NOT Diagon Alley. So you see the purple Night bus which I highly recommend snapping a photo with them. THEY WERE HILARIOUS. The talking head engages you a lot. I.e I got complimented for my shirt design and he even said if he had a body he would wear my shirt. 😛 They seemed to be out there all the time and there wasn’t much of a line so I def. recommend stopping. 
So to find Diagon Alley, it’s like in the movie. There’s this huge “normal” building with a tunnel you walk through and then the bricks “open up” to reveal Diagon Alley like in the first movie. Braden just about walked right by the entrance and didn’t notice it as there’s no signs in the main park to direct you in. Really clever and well done I thought! 
More photos from King’s Cross Station
Inside the bank
The head Goblin guy at the bank. 
After exploring Diagon Alley, we headed over to the other Universal Rides: Transformers (which was a LOT like Spider Man. I thought it was cool just not that into Transformers so I liked Spider Man’s better) The Rip Ride Rockit Coaster which had JUST opened for the day after technical difficulties so it ended up being the longest line we came across all day. It was fun… but out of the big coasters we liked Hulk and Dragon challenge more. So then to finish up we rode the MUMMY ride. Which I honestly had no idea what type of ride this was. It ended up being a top 5 for me. LOVED it. It’s an indoor coaster with all the great scary chessyness you’d expect from the original Brandon Fraser movie. We rode it twice in row. 

And now by this time… we needed a break. So we headed out of Universal to go back to our hotel to swim, relax by the pool and have a few drinks. here’s the fun part, we’d actually had to check out of the hotel (there was no way we could afford it 2 nights in a row) lol so we’d stashed our swimsuits in getaway backs in the car so we stopped at the car, changed in the hotel lobby restroom, and got ride in to wash off the day’s sweat. Not 5 minutes after plunging in, there was “lightening within the area” ya it was a long ways off… but they kicked everyone not just out of the pool… but out of the pool area! haha so we quickly changed back out of our sopping wet suits into our clothes in the pool restroom, and since we still needed a break we headed to Margaritaville in City Walk where we got some refreshing beverages along with nachos to share…. As you can see we gave it our best effort but those nachos won out. They were insane and we were stuffed. haha so then back into Universal Studios we went. 
We started back with the extra-terristrial E.T ride (a lot like Magic Kingdom’s Peter Pan ride except wierder) where you sit on a bike and soar up to E.T’s home planet. It was cute but probably passable if you’re short on time. Then we hit up MIB which is like a tricked out version of Buzz Lightyear with 2 tracks going. I did a lot better with this one since you can pick up the gun to fire. Then we hit up the Simpsons Ride which… not all that regrettably I wasn’t into the Simpsons growing up so I thought it was all a bit weird and another simulator ride so if you aren’t into the Simpsons, again probably skiappable. Then we rode the Mummy 2 more times (def. not skippable) Gringotts again and hopped back on the train to Islands of Adventure. 
 The journey is actually different depending on the direction you go so I recommend riding it both directions. 
We were back in Hogsmeade with apox. 1.5 hours left in the parks hours. We hopped on the Forbidden Journey again, the Dragon Challenge another couple of times, and then hit up Jurrassic Park and Kong Island again. (with Kong, I recommend riding it twice and trying to being on opposite sides of the truck as different things capture you attention depending on the side. Also verified with a park employee, the best place to be is in the BACK of the truck) 
Then we back tracked to catch Hogwarts lit up at night.

 … And to grab another Butterbeer but this time FROZEN and let me tell you, I wish I’d had time to buy like 3 more of these babies because it was twice as good Frozen. Oh man it was crazy delicious.

And finishing the day where we started… JK We still had like 20 min left. So we booked it over to the Marvel area to ride the Hulk coaster 2 more times and with the last 4 minutes left booked it over to SpiderMan for our final ride of the day.
Cost Breakdown, try not to cringe:
  • Hotel: $400
  • Parking: $23 for both days/ night 
  • Park Admission for 1 day park hopper: $350 for both of us
  • We skipped breakfast
  • Butterbeer: $14 or $7 each (doesn’t matter frozen or not) It’s worth it friends 
  • Giant slice of pizza with salad and breadstick at Fantastic 4: $12
  • Guiness Stew and Pumpkin Juice: about $20 the stew was just under 14 and the drink made up the rest
  • Margarittaville Nachos: $14 and could seriously feed like 3 or 4 people plus drinks and tip $40
  • 2nd night in the hotel at the cheap Quality Inn not 10 minutes from the park: $50
Total Park Experience: around $900 for 1 day and 2 nights. OUCH But boy was it an experience
Ride totals for us with our fast passes:
  • The Forbidden Journey: 4 times
  • Dragon Challenge: 6 times (4 on the blue, 2 on the red)
  • Hulk coaster: 4 times
  • Spider Man: twice
  • King Kong: twice
  • Jurassic Park: twice
  • Hogwarts Express: twice
  • Escape from Gringotts: twice
  • The Mummy: 4 times 
  • Dr. Doom fear fall, Ripsaw Falls, Dr. Seuss Merry Go Round, Hipogriff coaster, Poseidon’s Fury, RiprideRockit coaster, Transformers, MIB, ET, Simpsons all once 
Total number of rides ridden in one day: 38 rides
Is the Fast Pass worth it? well do you like to ride rides… Then I’d actually say yes it is. It was absolutely magical never having to wait longer than 5-10 minutes for a ride and the fast pass can be cheaper in the less busier seasons. We  wanted the extra hour so we planned to stay on property. The lowest tier Universal hotel was $200 / night. The middle tier was $400 but included Fast Pass unlimited which would’ve cost us $150 pp in addition to park admission to buy it outright or $300. So staying in the middle tier saved us $100 off the fast pass and was closer to park entrances/ a nicer hotel. 
COULD you do it without the FAST PASS. YES I def think you could hit all the big stuff of both parks in 1 day without it. The longest lines we saw on a VERY busy weekend after the 4th of July was the ripride rock it at 120 minutes… but pretty sure that trimmed down a bit. Most bigger rides were like 40 minutes and if you are there the first hour of opening and last hour before closing, REGARDLESS of fast pass or not YOU WILL WALK RIGHT ON. We seriously wondered where everyone was when we did the Dragon Challenge another 3 times that night. And the things we only did once, like I said in the descriptions above, probs skippable if you’re in a hurry. 
TIP: Buy your park admission before, WAY BEFORE. As the price only went up as our dates approached. I figured buying them at check in from our resort would be the way to go. NOT! DON’T DO IT. Prices jumped like another $25 more pp from what I’d been seeing a month before. 
Harry Potter Wands: Were they cool? YA they looked really cool. Honestly I was jealous a lot of the people doing cool stuff with their wands in the shop windows. But cost?! The basic “magic” wand was $50 starting and went up depending on how cool of one you wanted. For a non-magic within the park magic wand they started at $40. Olivanders shop was a madhouse…. Needless to say it wasn’t a hard pass for me after all. 
Top treats: Butterbeer Butterbeer Butterbeer. But there’s something to be said that if it is hot, that pumpkin juice was pretty delicious too! And it was in a cute bottle with a pumpkin lid. (90% of the reason I got one. They’re killing it with marketing)
Final thoughts, I’ll always be a Disney Girl, but I’ve gotta say…. Universal, Fast pass or not, definitely stole a piece of my heart. I WILL be back. 

My everything DISNEYWORLD post

OK HERE comes my MEGA everything Disney! If you don’t want to tediously read all my disney stories and favorite ride stuff just skip to the end for my budget and top tips.
Starting off how we started off with Downtown Disney  Disney Springs. We got in and met up with my family at Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside where we parked our car and took the resort bus down to Disney Springs for dinner. Heads up: There’s no McDonalds so we were in for something pricey but settled on The COOKS OF DUBLIN for tasty fish and chips at lower cost for money but paid the price with wet seats as their limited seating was filled inside so we were left to sit OUTSIDE in the light sprinkle. HOWEVER have to say their service was awesome and one of the manager’s so kindly gave us 2 (huge) cookies from their dessert menu as a “sorry” for not having enough seating. NOT necessary but totally awesome!

Luckily the Rain did not hold out long and while our backsides may have gotten a tad wet at dinner, we weren’t drenched and those fish and chips really were GOOD! Next up we wandered by the Lego Store over to The Giradelli place for dessert: a free chocolate sample and into World Of Disney for the madness that is PIN TRADING. 
Then we wandered over to the new Star Wars and Marvel stores for more pin trading and to say our goodbyes to Disney Quest which closed its doors for the last time that weekend. Sadly we didn’t have time to visit the park one more time but for those of you who were not aware this place even existed.. it was AWESOME! A fun MEGA ARCADE with killer games, bumper cars, a simulator ride where you design your own roller coaster and then RIDE IT, and also a cool Pirate game that simulates being a crew with your family on a ship. We’d always spend an evening or 2 wandering from game to game and I was pretty devastated to learn of its closing.
BUT BASKETBALL FANS BE JOYOUS for the NBA Experience is what’s replacing it. 🙁 
Then we took the boat back to our amazing hotel at Riverside. Wish we’d gotten some photos a bit earlier in the day but here’s just a few from outside the resort. 

My first time on Disney property. It was definitely magical! 

The main lobby for the resort which was MASSIVE. 1000s of rooms spread out over multiple buildings. I only wish we had more time to enjoy it but sadly we had one night and one night only thus to get the following benefits:
A. Extra Magic hours which we NEEDED for Pandora in Animal Kingdom
B. Magic Bands that store your park passes as well as fast passes and are just SUPER Convenient and fun
C. You can select fast pass + 60 days in advance also for the days you stay on resort. (Sadly we botched this and got our day wrong so we didn’t use this to it’s upmost benefit)
D. Free parking anywhere on Disney property.

Which brings me to tips: The Boat ride was super fun and magical from Disney Springs to the resort however the bus ride to Disney Springs was a disaster. It Filled up at the FIRST STOP however we made the rounds and were standing room for 40 minutes to go like 3 miles… Take my advice here and just DRIVE it will save you so much time. Also Disney offers great military discounts on resort stays as well. If you have family members in the service, TAKE THEM WITH YOU! haha

So PARK 1: Animal Kingdom
Highlights: PANDORA, Dionsaur and Dinoland, Everest, Safari, and the rapids ride if you don’t mind getting soaked. 
We were up and to the park at 7 AM for extra magic hours to ride on the newest ride: Flight of Passage. By the time we funneled there like everyone else with Extra Magic Hours the line was an HOUR! So ya we waited in it and took copious amounts of photos while we did. Enjoy. haha
The Floating Mountains over the line Queue for Flight of Passage is UNREAL. That one on the left actually has a waterfall on it! 

But behind the floating mountains is even more fun! Waterfalls and pools, weird plants galore! We were obsessed. 

Yay waterfalls! And big grins after getting off the ride: First Impressions, let’s just say Flight of Passage is my new FAVORITE RIDE of ALL TIME. It’s a 4D simulator done in the BEST POSSIBLE WAY. You Soarin lovers and Star Tours will really get a kick out of this. But it’s even better. They don’t let you video or photograph once you’re actually on the ride… but I loved the Pre-ride queue information and you CAN see what that’s like here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eM8f47Igtu8

Once you’re on the ride, you straddle something like a bike that then locks you in with back and leg pieces. Then A LOT like soarin a giant screen opens up before you and you soar, smell, explore so much in a very generously long ride. I had the biggest Grin on my face the whole time. But the best part: Is how real they make it, the piece you sit on has pads that move and make it feel like you’re actually ON A Ikran or Bansheeas they call it. It blew my mind and I would happily ride this ride over and over.

Closer up of the waterfalls and pools. 
Then we went right to the new Pandora river ride and waited about 30 minutes to be DISAPPOINTED. Sure the inside had magical Pandora atmosphere but the only cool animatronic (pictured above) was at the tail end. 🙁 It was like Pirates but with no drops and no nostalgia. So basically Lamer. than lame. Luckily Dinosaur is terrifying thrilling as ever but UNluckily, it broke down and had us stuck on the ride for 45 minutes. 
By this time the park was filling up and we were ready for breakfast.. and also ready to meet up with the fools we left sleeping in at the Hotel. So instead of going back to Animal Kingdom, we went to EPCOT. 

Epcot Points of Interest: Soarin, Spaceship Earth, The World Tour of countries, (and maybe you could add Test Track, Mission to Mars, and the little kid rides to that) but really… this park is NOT about rides. It’s about CULTURE, Eating, Drinking, and being merry. We used our fastpasses to hop right on the Living with the Land boat ride and then Soarin, and lastly Spaceship Earth. Some of you who have been to Epcot may balk at Spaceship Earth being a highlight, but you must not have ridden it before it was narrated by Judi Dench and had cool Futuristic planning stuff to entertain you at the beginning and end. You’ve also LIKELY not ridden it with a significant other. Think about that…
Another highlight we hit is called Energy (which rumors have said will not be around much longer) It’s a hilarious 45 minute ride/show conducted by Ellen DeGeneres (failing at Jeopardy) and assisted by Bill Nye the Science guy you learn about… well ENERGY

After that the (not so early birds) left us again so it was just Braden, my mom, and I left to wander the countries. We started with Mexico and it’s adorable boat ride in the pyramid that NEVER has a line and is the equivalent of let’s say.. It’s a small World. Then we headed over to Norway to try some delicious pastries before heading onto China. (where this lovely photo was taken) Unfortunately, due to the rain the acrobats weren’t performing so we missed out on their show. 

Then we wandered onto The American Pavilion to hear the Liberty Singers (an A Capella group that sings patriotic songs) watch the American Adventure (highly recommend as the music is great and it’s a fun recap of American history) and the the Music Machine (another A Capella group that sings music from today.. they were ok) And then on we went to Great Britain to listen to (my favorite of the day) British Revolution. Even though we huddled under a roof overhang as it poured down rain, there’s nothing like British music goodies and I loved it! Last but no least we hit up Canada for some covers of Canadian musicians. They were also very good.
So for those of you haven’t been to Epcot, things to note: Both Mexico and Norway have rides though Norway’s ride used to be WAY cooler before Frozen took over. Each country also has some sort of short movie they play on like the 15 minute mark that goes over the beautiful sites in the country and culture aspects of it. Lastly as you may have guessed, a lot (if not all) the countries have some sort of mini show/ concert they do repeatedly through the day whether it be music, acrobats, drummers, etc… There are restaurants and bars everywhere so just enjoy some time away from the craziness that is MAGIC Kingdom and explore the world.

(I love France, side note we’re going to the REAL place next month!!! AHH) 
And because our day had NOT been long enough to this point we grabbed some dinner and headed BACK To Animal Kingdom for our extra EXTRA magic hours from 11 – 1 (yes… 1 AM)  we just HAD to check out Pandora at night and it was AMAZING. I couldn’t get any good shots on my phone so here’s one of my parents haha. If you can picture Pandora as it was in the movie at night, this was exactly it. Well plus 344328487 people wandering around but that crowd thinned out after midnight. haha! 
We went and walked on Everest which if you go during the new show that’s right there, Rivers of Light, you can walk on most of the rides multiple times. (We caught snippets of the show. If you’ve seen the World of Color show and California Adventure, don’t waste your time here… it looked pretty lame)  and we also headed back over to Dinoland to ride their mini coaster which was a lot of fun. 
Looking a bit frazzled from the day here but it wasn’t over yet. We got right back in line for Flight of Passage at 11 and it took 2 hours but we rode it again. I loved it just as much the 2nd time but even still 2 hours is pushing it. Don’t wait for any ride longer than 2 hours guys. It’s not worth it with so many other rides to do.
So thus concludes my longest day of Disney in the history of my many trips there. While I have been in a Disney park well past midnight MULTIPLE times, I’ve never opened the park on the same day. Grand total was 18 hours with only 2 hour breaks from the parks to eat. CRAZY. It was fun but we were definitely ready to take it easy the next day with Hollywood Studios. 
Hollywood Studios highlights: The Great Movie Ride, Star Tours, The Rockin Rollercoaster, and Tower of Terror plus many fantastic shows like the Indiana Jones Stunt show, The Little Mermaid, Beauty and The Beast, oh and my fav Fantasmic.
Fun fact about Hollywood studios is that it used to have what’s called the Backlot which included a touring ride through awesome Movie memorabilia and 2 cool stunt shows where they showed you the ins and outs of filming high intensity action movies. Thankfully there’s still the Indiana Jones show which is DEF worth seeing but I missed the backlot. They just need to hurry up with Star Wars land so this park has more going on for it! 
The Rockin Rollercoaster is definitely up there in my top 5 Disney rides. I love the overall theming and as far as coasters go, it’s FANTASTIC. You walk into a “recording studio” where you meet Aerosmith but soon they have to get to a show and since they have to leave hanging out with you they offer you backstage passes and a SUPEERRR stretch limo to get to the concert on time! Then you go into the final line portion a back alley and get into your limo. The ride shoots you off immediately into a loop and the coaster has 2 loops plus a barrel roll all rolled up in a dark coaster with Aerosmith rocking out in your ears and at the end you pull up to the concert. Just a super fun ride! 
The entrance to the Rockin Roller coaster area. If you collect pins, they have a drum pin board in their gift shop. 

The Fam on the Rockin Rollercoaster. It takes your picture just as it’s shooting you off at the BEGINNING.

Luckily the Tower of Terror is located just next door so you get your thrills all in one place. NOTE: If you have ridden the Disneyland version of this ride, please know that the Florida version is BETTER and a more complete ride. You actually leave the elevator shaft and go through this short track of “twilight zone” area and then into the drop zone. I LOVE IT. Although I remember one time as a small child (terrified of the dark) I rode this ride COMPLETELY ALONE and the picture that came out was pretty hilarious. 
Next up: Magic Kingdom. Basically your classic Disneyland done better. It has about the same layout of the 5 lands Adventure, Frontier, Fantasy, and Tomorrow with the exception of  NEW Fantasy Land replacing Toontown and it’s Liberty Square instead of New Orleans Square. But essentially the same. We visited this park roughly 3 times so only missing it on the first day and we hit it one night with my older sister Tiff (thanks to her having a season pass), once with my parents and the little sisters, and again by ourselves. 

Highlights: EVERYTHING. But my favorites (about in order) Splash Mountain, the new coaster The seven dwarfs mine train, The Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Carribbean, The Jungle Cruise, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Space Mountain, The Little Mermaid, and then everything else. We rode just about everything except It’s a small world (WHAT!?!) at least once.

Food enjoyed: Amazingly enough we didn’t eat much in the parks but we definitely got our Dole Whip and also ate dinner at the Columbia Harbor House in Liberty Square (on the 4th of July, fitting right?!) 
Braden, Tiff, and I enjoying the new Seven Dwarf’s mine train. It’s basically a lot smooth and comfortable of a ride than Big Thunder with cool technology and fun story pieces thrown into the ride making it more complete. 
Unfortunately my dad lost a really nice hat on Splash mountain as he was trying to make a peace sign (for Lauri to have a “cool” picture) so we Braden and I did a tribute photo to Dad’s lost hat when we went the next day. 
The last ride we rode and Braden slaughtered me at the Buzz Lightyear ride. There’s a reason I hate these rides… can’t even enjoy them. 
Tip: Having a fabulous family member with a season pass that includes the Memory maker is THE BEST EVER! She was gracious enough to lend us her pass each day to get free parking and also downloaded all the photos we took with the professional photographers there so we came away with some fun shots! Thanks Tiff! 
One of those great photo ops. 
And another one! haha Note: I love Cinderella’s Castle. ONE DAY I will eat a meal there but it was not this day. I just think it is spectacular and better than Disneyland. sorry Californians. Also note: Disneyworld has added a little Beauty and the Beast castle (which you can dine in also, or well under) and the Littler Mermaid’s castle which is the cutest! and where the Little Mermaid ride resides. Love the New Fantasyland addition! 
Lauri got Braden and I these shirts for our birthdays. They were super cute but insanely hot. They didn’t last the full day as the second we broke for lunch we took a swim at the house and changed out of them haha. 
The little Beauty and the Beast castle haha. I’ve heard good things about Be out Guest. One day I’ll try it and the grey stuff. We somehow always end up at Gaston’s Tavern for Lefou’s brew ( a delicious frozen apple beverage topped with this java marshmellow topping stuff) and GIANT cinnamon rolls. 
Cheersing with our brew! Gaston is usually outside as well and it’s hilarious to watch him “charm” the ladies for a few minutes. Seriously you don’t have to wait in line for a photo, just hang out and enjoy. haha 
oh ya and my favorite part of New Fantasyland? The Tangled restroom area. LOVE this photo we got again with the Magic Maker. Tangled is probably my favorite disney movie to date so we waited about 20 minutes for this picture. Totally worth it… though I do wish I’d brought my Rapunzel dress cause there was a little girl that posed with the lantern ahead of us and it was PRECIOUS! 

Oh ya did we mention we were at Magic Kingdom for the madness that was the 4th of July. They had areas roped off for people to crowd and stand in over AN HOUR before the fireworks. I was like WHERES THE PARADE. cause seriously.. who stands in one spot over an hour to wait for fireworks. NOT I amigos. We got dinner lol.

The insane crowd that welcomed us when we got to Magic Kingdom around 6 PM. We had fastpasses for the Jungle Cruise and still waited at least 30 minutes. The standby line FOR EVERY RIDE was over an hour with 2 hour waits on everything I listed above as my favorites… IT SUCKED. So after the Jungle Cruise we went up the Swiss Family Robinson Tree (not Tarzan like in Disneyland) and watched the Tikki Room show (no wait for that?! hmmmm) then got fastpasses for Winnie The Pooh (nostalgia guys… I wasn’t a very gutsy little kid ok) which we then had dinner, sort of watched the fireworks while wading threw mobs of people. I’VE NEVER SEEN IT SO CROWDED. It took 15 minutes to walk from the Haunted Mansion to Splash Mountain which is ordinarily.. under 5 minutes. Luckily we got to Splash Mountain just as the fireworks ended so we got right in line and only waited about 20 minutes. Then used fastpasses for Aladdin’s magic carpet and fastpasses for Buzz Lightyear finishing around 11 PM and it was still a zoo so we said peace out! 
The view from the ferry going from the parking lot to Magic Kingdom. 
So all the the crowd complaining aside, the FIREWORKS WERE OUT OF THIS WORLD AMAZING. NOW I love the normal every night fireworks Disney World does. (THEY DO IT BETTER THAN ANYONE) but while the music wasn’t as fun they did fireworks 360 degrees around the park. It didn’t matter which direction you faced, walked, etc there were fireworks completely around you anywhere in the park. Don’t believe me? Here’s a video of it from one of the resorts: 
Also disney highlight: our incredible souvenir from the new(er) Haunted Mansion shop Memento Mori which is a photo of us that turns us into ghouls as you walk by. Probably the coolest picture of me I’ve ever had. 
Alright so budget:
  • 4 day park hopper pass (military discount, thanks parents!) $200 pp so $400 for us
  • Rental car: We paid about $15 per day so if you apply it to the 4 disney days: $40
  • 1st night at Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside Resort (medium tier of resort levels) normally $250 per night but we only paid around $150 thanks to my parents getting us in on the Military Discount deal. 
  • 1 week at a vacation rental house that we paid for 1 room of only $300 (so $128) if you apply it to our 3 disney nights 
  • Parking/ photos: Free, thanks again Tiffany! (ya’ll need to make friends/ get family with season passes) 
  • Food between dole whip and the Columbia house where we split an entree: $23
  • Other food OUTSIDE the park: Well we mostly ate a ton of fast food but we only ate about 2 meals a day so it was around $100 for the disney days total 
  • Souvenirs: Our amazing photos cost $20 each to make so $40 which luckily we had a gift card from Tiff for our birthdays which we used to purchase those
Total: Around $900 for 4 days of Disney goodness including food, passes, lodging, and souvenirs for 2 adults.  

  1. If you stay on Disney Property, DON’T TAKE THE BUSES. They are overcrowded and take forever to go a mile. The only time this may be worth it is going to Magic Kingdom because that parking lot is a bear. The other 3 parks… just drive and park. So much faster and easier
  2. If you know anyone in the military or with season passes, GO WITH THEM and check for discounts… Could save you A LOT. 
  3. The lower tier resorts cost 100-150 per night and I think are worth doing at least once in order to get your magic bands included, FAST PASS+ for the day of and day after your reservation to get a selection of 60 days out! This is THE ONLY way you will get fast passes for Frozen in Epcot, Seven Dwarfs mine train in Magic Kingdom, and most importantly: Flight of Passage in Animal Kingdom, and of course Magic Hours. 
  4. Make sure if you DON’T Stay at a resort that you still select your Fast Pass + options 30 days in advance. This way you can get all your rides done in the morning and select more fast passes for the afternoon and evening. 
  5. When deciding a night to stay in a resort, check the calendar for which parks will have magic hours when and maximize your benefit by staying a night you get the most magic hours at the park YOU WANT TO GO TO. 
  6. Some of the night time spectacular shows are worth skipping and riding rides because you can seriously walk on multiple rides multiple times during these shows. Ones I suggest watching? FANTASMIC at Hollywood Studios which doesn’t actually start until the park closes anyways. Also I admit watch Magic Kingdom’s Fireworks at least once. Anywhere is a good spot but I prefer New Fantasyland since it’s way less crowded than main street and really a good view. 
  7. If you’re into collecting things, my family is HUGE into trading pins. Check Ebay for bulk buys of Disney pins that you can trade with park employees for upgrades. Finding the really unique pins or new collections is so fun! 
  8. YOU NEED AT LEAST 4 DAYS! 1 for each park if you’re going first time. I always recommend park hoppers since some parks are open a lot later than others and you can maximize your time in the park this way. 
  9. Disney also have 2 waterparks: Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach. Blizzard Beach is the better one. 
  10. When leaving Magic Kingdom, the ferry is actually your quickest route back to the parking lot (verified by park employee) The capacity of the ferry to monorail is like 5-1 and it is actually a shorter ride so even though the line may look longer, it is the faster route. 
  11. Also when leaving any park at closing, if there’s a long line for the tram JUST WALK. Guarantee the walk will be faster than waiting for a tram since Disney follows a million safety protocols (which is great!) just slow. 
  12. Give yourself breaks so you don’t burn out. Recommend opening and closing the park as this is when it’s going to be emptiest, but take a mid day break to swim at your hotel pool, take a nap, eat lunch, enjoy some AC… The parks are super crowded and it’s the hottest part of the day. You aren’t missing anything. 
  13. Snacks we like to get at least once: Mickey Ear Ice cream, Dole Whip, Turkey Legs, LeFou’s brew, and churros. 
  14. Photographers at photography spots will use your phone or camera to take a picture for you if you ask them. Some, especially night time photos, probably won’t turn out as nice but if you’re pinching pennies but still want some photos, this is the way. 
  15. And LAST BUT NOT LEAST: Download the MYDISNEYEXPERIENCE App. Seriously it has a map of the park with guided GPS to get you where you need to go, showtimes, wait times, and most importantly once you use your first 3 fast passes for the day you can keep selecting more on the app instead of having to find a kiosk location in the park. Much faster and easier! 
Shoot me a message if you have any questions OR if you have tips you think I should add to this post!