Six Christies

Make It Simple Mommy

Tag: #DisneysAnimalKingdom (page 1 of 6)

As was rumored, the “Free Dining” promotion for travels in August – December 2017 has been released. This promotion is very limited and restricted to a handful of dates. If you are lucky enough to get one of these promotions, awesome! If you don’t, well perhaps it wasn’t meant to be – keep your eyes open for other promotions that may be released in the coming months; perhaps one of the others will be a better fit for your travel plans**. Regardless, if you are headed to Walt Disney World and plan to eat while you are at the resort, you will need a plan. The coveted castle dining reservation is like spotting an endangered species in just the right light of the day. Those who are well prepared snap an incredible photograph, and those who aren’t, scare the poor animal away while fumbling for the camera.

Golden brown and simply sweet. Mickey waffles do not disappoint.

The promotion released this morning offers the Quick Service Dining Plan for stays at Value and Moderate Resort Hotels and the “regular” Disney Dining Plan for stays at Deluxe Resort Hotels.  It is also worth mentioning that the dining plan has changed, and no longer includes desert with every meal, the offer is now 2 meals (either Quick Service or Full Service depending on your plan) and 2 snack credits per day.

There are a multitude of way to “do” Disney, but on the two extremes you have: 1. those who plan every moment of the day from attractions (order and timing), to dining, to resort downtime and 2. those who show up to “Disney World” (i.e. The Magic Kingdom), walk right up to Cinderella Castle, and expect to immediately be seated and dine with the princesses…with no advance planning…in July…over the 4th (if you are unfamiliar with the crowd calendars, this is one of the busiest times of the year).

The latter crowd tends to end up journeying right back down Main Street U.S.A., and into City Hall – (otherwise known as Guest Relations) demanding to know why they were blissfully unaware that the “castle” reservation is one of the most difficult to get, and absolutely must be made well in advance of your trip (read: 180 days ahead). This crowd generally has to step back, take a very deep breath, and change their entire vacation strategy – or get a strategy in the first place.

We fall somewhere in the middle of these two types.

180 days prior to the start of a Walt Disney World Resort vacation, guests can begin booking advance dining reservations (also known as ADR’s). We have just passed our 180 day window for our September trip, and I have painstakingly planned, and re-planned our days to fit the restaurants where we would like to dine. I will continue to tweak our plan right up until our trip, as our plans tend to change around based on what the kiddos would like to do. Please remember, all changes or cancellations need to be completed 24 hours before the reservation to avoid a “no-show” fee.

Planning Disney Dining is like a delicate dance, perfectly balanced between the right choices (character, casual, or fine dining to name a few), and right times (trust me, that 9 p.m. ADR might seem ok months away from your trip; in reality, you don’t want your toddler eating dinner at 9 pm cranky and tired) for your family, with whatever ADR’s are available. Obviously, the earlier you book, the better the availability of both times, and restaurants.

Our strategy is  pretty simple: lots of food options (buffet) and entertainment (because I like to eat rather than entertain/argue with my children at meal times). We largely book character buffet meals, and though you have to time your trips to the buffet just right, (in order to not miss the circulating characters) this kills two birds with one stone: the kiddos get autographs and pictures and your whole traveling party gets a full

Chef Mickey’s Breakfast

tummy and some down time. I’m not usually a huge buffet fan, but Disney makes it so easy, entertaining, and convenient.

So, how does your family “do” Disney dining? I’d love to hear about your favorite Walt Disney World Resort ADR’s.

*Let me caveat all of this by saying: yes, it is possible (but highly unlikely) to get lucky and totally rack up on last minute ADR’s.

** While Disney does tend to release many promotions throughout the year, planning on getting a discount or special deal is never a good idea – they are not guaranteed and often very limited. Booking your stay with the intention of adding a promotion later tends to lead to aggravation and disappointment.

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A Little Disney in Your Home – 5 Subtle Ways To Add The Mouse to Your House

A bit of the Jungle with a Figment photo bomb

Simple, small, subtle are not the typical thoughts that come to mind when many people think of Disney or the Disney Culture. It tends to be more character driven, cartooney, busy, and colorful. Have you ever thought about incorporating touches of Disney into your home?  Do you love this idea but want it to be more sophisticated and less “in your face”? Here are 5 subtle ways to add the Mouse to your house…

1. Pick a favorite attraction and use the theming: I love this for bedrooms. I used an attraction near and dear to my heart for Baby Bug’s room: Jungle Cruise. This room is a work in progress as he transitions from baby to full on toddler, at the moment my favorite element is his wall with his dresser. Using an old chest of drawers, some huge stuffed animals, and a few decorative touches I created a focus for the room.

Have fun with paint and embellishments

2. Use color schemes: This is a great way to give a vibe without going overboard. Use colors from your favorite Disney movie or Character. Lil Bit loves Elsa, so we gave her furniture (which was in major need of a redo) a makeover Elsa style with some ice blue chalky paint and some silver sparkles we added to the paint.

Mickey and coffee: A great way to start the day!!

3. Craft your park souvenirs: Pinterest is an amazing resource for ideas and details for crafting park souvenirs. Items such as: Disney Parks guide maps, pressed pennies, resort hotel information, and countless other things you may pick up throughout your trip can make great and unique décor for your home.

4. Pillows, Throws, and Coffee Cups oh my!: These small touches can bring a small to your face without being IN your face. Did you know there is an app for purchasing Disney Parks merchandise? Even after arriving home you can shop like you are “Walking right down the middle of Main Street, U.S.A.” If you find yourself thinking: this would look perfect in my living room, but nothing else will fit in my suitcase the on property merchandise locations will ship to your house, and while I am not one who likes to pay shipping charges I find them to be quite reasonable.

5. Decorate for “Disney Season”: Around here we call “Disney Season” the time 30-45 days before we leave for our Walt Disney World Resort vacation. We put up our countdown calendar and some fun Mickey Mouse inspired decorations while we begin the packing process for our trip.

These 5 tips are just a start. What are your ideas for incorporating subtle touches of Disney into your home?

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