The Heat is On – WDW Fanzone

The Heat is On!

It’s almost that time of year again – Summer. Summer in Florida is another whole story. It’s wicked hot. Like surface of the sun hot. This time of year in WDW, the Reedy Creek people get a work out reviving dehydrated park visitors.

So please, drink all day, every day and I’m not talking about adult beverages or even soda. Drink water. I know it’s expensive to buy, so get the free stuff. It’s plentiful at every quick service restaurant. There are even stations set up in some of the parks (Crystal Palace and AK Starbucks) and at all of the resorts.

Bring a water bottle and fill up at water fountains. But just drink. I’ve heard that if you are thirsty then it’s already too late and that you may already be dehydrated. No need to fuss with energy drinks or even Gatorade, good ole H2O is enough.

Gina

Positively Disney

Pandora: World of Avatar

It’s finally here! After what feels like decades, Pandora: World of Avatar has finally been opened to the public! The new land based off of the highest grossing movie of all time, Avatar had high expectations and in my opinion, far exceeded them.

To take it all in was exciting. It was like stepping into the movie. Details upon details made the experience borderline overwhelming. I loved every bit of it. I loved how the imagineers were able to make it seem like you were walking through an almost foggy, dense, overgrown area without feeling trapped. 


The area is pretty crowded right now given the anticipation and excitement over the expansion so be prepared to wait in longer lines for the two rides featured in Pandora. The two rides are Na’vi River Journey and Avatar Flight of Passage. Na’vi River Journey is a boat ride through the land of Pandora. I have not been on this ride yet so I don’t have many details. I have been on Avatar Flight of Passage. The ride was very built up as a “Soarin x10” type of experience so I went in there with high expectations. 


They matched my expectations plus some. It is a ride similar to Soarin but takes it beyond with the feeling that you are alone riding this banshee through Pandora. If you don’t look around while riding you will completely forget that you are sharing this ride with 48 people(I think). I would consider this ride a ‘must fastpass’ type of ride. The wait has been starting at around 3 hours but if this is the type of ride you really enjoy I don’t believe you would be upset or underwhelmed if you waited in line. 


I found this entire experience to be very immersive and captures everything that made the movie the hit that it is. I have already spent 2 full days in a row in Animal Kingdom since the expansion opened which is something I can honestly say I have never done. This was exactly was Animal Kingdom needed to bring it from the “half-day maybe” park to the “first stop or more” destination it is now.  


Enjoy!

Courtney(@pdcourt)

Universal Studios & Island of Adventure 

As a child, taking vacations to Florida really just meant Disney World. Only once in my 30 previous vacations to Florida did I go to Universal Studios or Island of Adventure. Fast forward to moving to Florida, the day I moved here was the day I got my Disney Annual Pass but it took me 2 years 9 months to finally go to Universal.  Being a #DisneySnob, I was not overly excited but really wanted to see what it was like.


I was not disappointed at all. The parks were beautiful. Walking around Unversal Studios made me miss my Streets of America in Hollywood Studios even more. It was really like walking down busy streets in a bustling city. Something new for me was the rides and shows are literally right next to each other, you can go from ride to show to another ride to another show without really adding many steps to your trackers. This made everything flow pretty nicely. 


Though everything is really close together there are still plenty of places to relax and get refreshed. Pictured below is a stage area where you can sit on the turf. They will sometimes play trailers to their upcoming movies but overall it’s pretty quiet(except for the roller coaster) . It was just a nice spot to relax at. There is also a street in the park that is a quiet street, you can’t be rowdy on it. It is meant as a quiet walk through to settle down some restless kids and cool off. 


Though I mostly only have pictures of Universal Studios(forgot my phone day one), my favorite of the two parks was Island of Adventure. The Jurassic Park area was really cool and immersive. The River Adventure ride is so fun and I REALLY wish I had a child with me so I could have gone on the gliders. And, even though I am older, I rode every ride in Seuss Landing. I just couldn’t stop myself. Plus, I got to see my beloved Marvel Superheroes! Now, I would love to talk about the crown jewel of Universal, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter!

 

This area was really like entering a different world. I really felt like I was in Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley. The attention to detail that was put into everything just blew my mind and don’t even get me started on the Butterbeer! 


Taking the train was really something. I thought it was going to be a basic train ride just connecting the two lands but not at all. I actually saw my train leaving the station and transitioning into arriving at Hogsmeade. It was absolutely incredible. 


Going back to the detail, it felt as though I could stay just in the WWHP for days. It was truly incredible. To submerge myself more into the area, I purchased an interactive wand. The wand allowed me to cast spells at marked windows and feel like an actual wizard(!!).


The rides in this area are awesome. They also have a ride for Harry Potter fans of all ages, or rides for different intensity levels. 

To wrap up my two days at Universal I would like to say that even though through my time there I definitely did a lot of comparing to Disney World, they are really not the same at all. Most of the rides featured in both parks are definitely geared towards an older crowd. So if you have young children I really don’t recommend anything more than a day at the parks. Also, if you are prone to motion sickness or have back and neck problems a lot of the rides, and even some shows, may be a little difficult for you. 

When you purchase a pass, if you would like the whole Harry Potter experience, get the 2-parks 1-day option on your ticket(essentially their park hopper option) or else you cannot ride the train in between the two lands. I also did not think their express pass was needed. The longest we waited in line was 35-40 minutes and this was considered a “moderate” day in the parks. Universal also has an app like Disney. It helps with wait times and getting virtual passes(essentially a fast pass but you actually NEED one to ride the Jimmy Fallon ride). I will say, the wait times are highly inaccurate on the app but it gave me an idea of where everything was(it had rides shut down that were up and 1 hour long waits for rides that had a 20 minute wait) I do think Universal is a must for families who have thrill seekers or Harry Potter fans. Even if you don’t have either of those, it still may be worth a day trip to experience something different than Disney. 

Courtney (@pdcourt)

Hangar at Disney Springs

My only complaint about Jock Lindsey’s Hanger Bar is that it should be Marion’s. Jock was a very minor character in one Indiana Jones movie. Marion played a much bigger role and even owned a bar. 

However, I enjoyed it. The bar food was good and the drinks were extra yummy. I highly suggest the Bacon Fries and Sangria. The view from the deck is stunning especially at sunset.

This isn’t a big place. It’s got a comfortable small bar feel, complete with bar food and specialty drinks. This is the perfect spot to start your night out. Fill your belly with sliders or loaded fries and a cold beer.

My “Expert” Advice 

Before moving to Central Florida two and a half years ago, I had visited WDW. A lot! I believe over 30 trips. I mainly stayed onsight and mostly in good sized groups. Since moving down, I’m in the parks at least once a week. I guess that makes me an expert?

1. Stay onsight. I know it’s more expensive but being emersed in the complete Disney universe is worth it. Enjoy your resort, each one is wonderful. Choose one that suits you. Don’t love it? Go to a different resort next trip or even split your stay. No matter where you stay, take time to visit the resorts, they are so beautifully themed and each one feels like it’s own world.

2. Buy the food plan. Even if it doesn’t save you money (but I think it would), the convenience is worth it. Again, there are different levels so choose wisely. This also depends in part on how structured you want to vacation. Try new places, new foods and get out of your comfort zone. I feel like it will take years for me to eat at every restaurant and I’m up to that challenge.

3. Free stuff. Watch a movie on the lawn of your resort and get popcorn. Play hidden Mickey scavenger hunts. My favorite is at Animal Kingdom Lodge. Visit the resorts, all of them! Stay hydrated with free ice water at any quick service restaurant and spread throughout the parks (Crystal Palace for example). Stickers!!! Who doesn’t love stickers!

Most of all, relax and enjoy! Make every vacation the best one ever!

Gina – Positively Disneyt. 

I Hate That I Love You – Part 2

This is part 2 to an article from last May (see here).  I just want to note that I am still not feeling the love for fanny packs. Not gonna happen! However my list keeps growing so I figured I’d update.

 

  1. I hate that I love tropical prints. My pants match my couch. I’m not proud of this. We have a dog and a cat who shed and a cream colored couch so we use runners on the furniture. We’re in Florida so we have some tropical touches. Apparently I like the peach and olive combination. (This is a runner from a Disney Resort that I got at the Cast Store. Does anyone know which resort?) pants
  2. I hate that I would love to wear a Snuggie to the parks. I am now one of those people who freezes when the temperature is below 70 degrees out. I used to shovel snow in shorts, boots and with an ice coffee! Now I wrap up in a blanket to watch Fantasmic. I haven’t quite gone to the dark side yet – like I don’t have socks or anything weird like that but I like a nice Mickey hoodie. Boathouse
  3. I hate that I love to compare any other hotel to Disney Resorts. This one has a great pool but is it as good as Ol’ Man Island at Port Orleans Riverside? I like the buffet at this hotel but it’s not as good as The Wave at the Contemporary. Nice room, cute balcony but at Animal Kingdom Lodge they have zebras. Real zebras and giraffes. My goal is to stay at each Disney resort – I’m getting there. zebra

Bonus: I think the Castle dressed up like a pink confection was adorable! I visited 3 times during that anniversary celebration. castle

Gina PD

Disney’s Vero Beach Resort


With great ocean views and endless activities available, Disney’s Vero Beach Resort is the perfect destination for a family or couple to have a nice beach vacation. The rooms are updated and spacious with balconies overlooking either the ocean or a garden. If you have a larger family, there are two level cottages that fit 10-12 people. You get to enjoy the crystal clear ocean on the resort’s private beach. For the adventurous types, there are hiking and kayaking trips you can sign up for at the resort and for the people looking to relax, there is a spa right in the main building. Your kids will have plenty to do with a big pool and slide and mini golf. Here are some pictures that capture some of the beauty of this ocean front resort. 

Disney Unplugged – When Your Batteries Die

The unthinkable sometimes happens. The battery in your cell phone has died. How to survive in Disney now.


1. Take a deep breath and relax. The twitterverse and Snapchat will be there when you get back to them.

2. Look around, you are in Disney World! This is the happiest place on earth. Between rides and shows and people watching, you will be entertained.

3. Take advantage of PhotoPass and Memory Maker. You will find Disney photographers all over and the pictures come out amazing! Don’t worry, you won’t miss any good shots.

4. If you really need to be connected, each Park has the ability to charge your phone for you. Go to guest services and they can help you out. You could also purchase a Fuelrod battery charger.


My cell phone died today. I hate to admit it but I am always on my phone. Always in Twitter and Facebook and Snapchat. It was actually pretty freeing. I may try to disconnect even if I don’t have to. Maybe I’ll see things that I didn’t even know were there.

Gins

Feeling Charged Up About the Fuelrod System Currently Being Offered at Disney Parks

I am currently sitting in Hollywood Studios, barely any charge in my phone and my day is just starting but I’m not worried. In the past year, Disney has installed a system that eases the stress of a dead phone on vacation.

Each park has a station(or two) that provides portable chargers AND the cord attachments for the most popular smartphones(Samsung, and Apple gen 1-4 and Apple gen 5-7). But this is not the best part! When your charger dies, you just go back to the station and they give you a new charger. You just insert the rod, but keep the cords, and a fully charged fuel rod comes your way!

 

The initial cost of a fuelrod is $30 but if you order it on the Disney parks app before your trip, the price is $25 and the first time you pay is the ONLY time you pay! In my opinion, this option is the best for me. I have bought many portable chargers, for less money of course, but guess what, I forget all of them, or they’re dead or it doesn’t last long. I love the fact that when it dies, I don’t have to worry about charging it, I just give it back to the machine and it gives me another! I think this is a great thing for Florida residents who visit Disney a lot. Or the Disney/Theme Park bloggers who are always looking charge.