Friday, 27 April 2018

10 new things I'm looking forward to at WDW

There are just six days to go until my sixth holiday to Walt Disney World!

When people ask why we keep going back there, my first instinct is to say 'I don't question your life choices, why do you feel the need to question mine?' However, I'm far too polite so I painstakingly explain that there are always new things popping up there and we also love re-doing all the things we've already done.

It's a huge place and it's absolutely impossible to fit everything in to two weeks. By the time we get to the last three or four days of the holiday, we have to keep a list of things we've got left to do to make sure we don't miss anything out. And, inevitably, we never manage to do it all which always gives us an excuse to go back.

I thought I'd blog about the ten new things I'm excited about experiencing this year, just to prove that every holiday to Walt Disney World is different and that there are always new things to appreciate.



1. Pandora - The World of Avatar

A brand new land in Animal Kingdom with new attractions, views and food offerings! 



2. Happily Ever After 

We only just missed out on seeing the very first Happily Ever After nightshow last year, so I can't wait to experience it for the first time this year.






3. 'Up! A Great Bird Adventure' show

Another new attraction at Animal Kingdom. I think we'll be spending lots more time there this year to fit in all these new things! 



4. Outdoor kitchens at Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival 

Although we've tried a few drinks from the stalls at the Flower and Garden Festival, we've never tried any of the food on offer. I'm determined to try a couple of items this year, and we can use our snack tokens to do so. 






5. New restaurants

I blogged about the new restaurants we'll be trying this year a few weeks ago, and I'm getting more excited about them by the hour. 






6. Animal Kingdom Lodge 

I've never been to Animal Kingdom Lodge and I'm really looking forward to exploring the resort after we've eaten lunch at Sanaa. 



7. Meet Goofy

I've walked past Goofy tens of times in his various meetings spots but I've never stopped to have my photo taken with him. That's going to change this year! 






8. Prince Charming Regal Carousel 

I can't believe I've never been on this ride... this is the closest I've got to even photographing it! I absolutely have to try to fit it in this year. 






9. Blaze Pizza

I've heard lots of people raving about this quick-service restaurant in Disney Springs, so it's been put on our 'must try' list. 



10. Boardwalk Bakery 

Again, I can't believe I've never bought anything from the Boardwalk Bakery after walking past so many times. This is going to be the year I finally buy something from there! 





Have you got any last minute tips on any other new things I could try this year? Let me know! 

Friday, 20 April 2018

My holiday shopping wishlist

There are just 13 days to go until we're back in Walt Disney World... where has this year gone?!

As a general rule, I don't particularly enjoy shopping. However, shopping while on a Disney holiday is a completely different ball game and adds an extra element of pre-holiday excitement. I've got quite a few things on my shopping wish list for Florida next month.

I wrote a blog post about my holiday shopping wishlist last year, and it actually helped me to (mostly) stick to my must-have items rather than buying anything and everything. Consequently, I've decided to go the same thing this year!

Firstly, I've been coveting lots of things from the amazing stores situated in Disney Springs and at the parks...




Thanks to Instagram, I really want to bring home
some kind of pink/rose gold spirit jersey.


I'm hoping to treat myself to a small Dooney & Bourke bag
to use in the parks.


We'll be buying a few Disney-themed dog toys for Jessie on our travels. 



THEY'RE NOW SELLING DUFFY AND SHELLIE MAY PANDORA CHARMS. 
Capitals were completely necessary there. 




How cute is this beautiful Minnie Mouse plush from
the Flower and Garden Festival?



I'm on a mission to collect all the Disney dogs.
I might add Nana to my collection this year!


We want to get a cute Ratatouille-themed print for our
kitchen (just not one that costs as much as this one).





I always add to my fridge magnet collection whenever we go on holiday. 




I need to wear a lanyard every day in my new job...
perfect opportunity to buy a Disney pin!



Although lots of the items I bring home from Florida tend to be from Walt Disney World itself, we also enjoy visiting the many shopping outlets nearby. '60% off' signs are very common in these outlets and I love a good bargain. With this in mind, I've got a few non-Disney items on my list.




I'm on the hunt for a little black bag, so I'll be scouring the Kate Spade outlets. 






I'm in desperate need of new gym/running clothes, and Under Armour
is much cheaper in the US than in the UK.




I shouldn't really buy any new Ugg boots, but... 



I might blog about my holiday purchases when I get back... do you think I'll stick to this wishlist? 


Friday, 13 April 2018

Our Advance Dining Reservations for 2018

The holiday countdown is well and truly on... there are just 20 days to go until we're back in Walt Disney World.

As I've said many times before, one of the best things about Disney holidays is that they can be planned to absolute perfection. You can book all your restaurants in advance, as well as up to three rides, attractions and experiences per day.

The Disney Dining Plan has been included with our booking again this year which means we need to be fairly strategic about where we're eating and when. This adds an extra planning element which is entirely focused on food, so obviously this means I'm in my element! If you're interested in finding out more about the Disney Dining Plan, I've blogged about all its different elements on the links below: 


It's worth noting that an alcoholic drink is now included with your table service credits which has never been the case on our previous visits. This is a pretty exciting upgrade as alcoholic drinks are expensive, particularly at the signature restaurants. I'm sure I'll sample a few different cocktails over the course of the holiday just to make the most of it!

Although we haven't quite booked all our restaurants yet as we like to leave a few days free for spontaneity's sake, we have done loads of planning which has included setting up a dedicated Trello board (please don't laugh at me).

I thought I'd blog about the new restaurants we've booked for this year's holiday as it's getting closer and closer, as well as a little look at some old favourites which I'm very excited about re-visiting.



California Grill 

We've wanted to try California Grill for a few years but we've never managed to get a booking at a suitable time. We made sure we made it our very first reservation this year to get the best possible slot, and I can't wait to be seated at the top of the Contemporary in a few weeks' time! 





Frontera Cocina 

This restaurant is situated in Disney Springs, and it's one which I don't know very much about. However, the menu and the photos on TripAdvisor look fantastic so I'm very happy to give it a try.



Planet Hollywood Observatory 

I've been to the Disneyland Paris version of Planet Hollywood, but I've never been to the one in Walt Disney World. This restaurant has recently had a big makeover and I've heard amazing things about its massive burgers and desserts. 





Sanaa

Sanaa is one of the restaurants at Animal Kingdom Lodge. I've never been to this particular resort so I'm excited about exploring the surroundings as well as having lunch at Sanaa. Again, we've heard good things about this African-themed restaurant and it's nice to fit in a different cuisine amongst all the burgers and steaks. 



Be our Guest

We went to Be our Guest for dinner a few years ago but we've never been there for breakfast, so I'm taking the liberty of including it on my 'new restaurants' list. Breakfast is actually a quick service option rather than table service, and it's excellent value if you're on the Disney Dining Plan. We've booked this breakfast on a Magic Kingdom Extra Magic Hours morning. We're planning to blitz all our favourite rides then relax at the restaurant for an hour! 






Although we always love trying new restaurants whenever we visit Walt Disney World, there are a few places we absolutely have to book every time.

These three are my absolute favourites... 



The Plaza Restaurant

We didn't eat at The Plaza last year and I really missed it, so this year we've booked it for lunch on our first full day. We always spend our first day at the Magic Kingdom and I love winding down for an hour over lunch at The Plaza. 





Via Napoli 

I've said it before and I'll say it again... Via Napoli serves the best pizza I've ever eaten outside of Italy. 





The Yachtsman Steakhouse

I first ate at the Yachtsman a couple of years ago and I don't think I'll ever want to give it a miss. I love the location and the atmosphere, and the food is pretty spectacular too. 





What do you think of our restaurant choices? Do you have any last-minute recommendations for us? 

Friday, 6 April 2018

Jessie's first birthday

This week marked a very important family milestone... Jessie's 1st birthday! I can't believe my little bundle of fur is a year old already, particularly as the first blog post I wrote about her back in July still seems so recent.

She was spoilt rotten on her special day, and rightly so!




We bought a little doggy cake/biscuit from Pets at Home for Jessie to mark the occasion. She also had a few bags of treats and snacks which are being rationed accordingly, although she'd eat them all at once if she had any say in the matter. Perfecting this photo with her cake and 'it's my 1st birthday' card from KesseyCrafts proved to be very challenging... I had to bribe her with quite a few doggy chocolate drops while attempting to get her to sit still.

We bought three new toys for Jessie for her birthday, and she also had a toy from both sets of grandparents. She's destroyed lots of her existing toys in the last few weeks so her birthday was very well-timed. After she'd eaten some cake, she spent a happy couple of hours sniffing and chewing her way from one to the next. Her favourite toy seems to be the purple pig which sounds like a whoopee cushion... an interesting soundtrack to our evenings this week! 




My parents also bought a birthday card for her, but she isn't allowed anywhere near that or it'll end up being unceremoniously shredded within ten seconds. 

Jessie has brought us so much joy over the last eight months and I really can't imagine life without her. She's a little whirlwind at times who often occasionally tries my patience, particularly when she eats things she's definitely not supposed to, but one look at her beautiful face makes everything OK again. Our lovely puppy is a huge part of our family with her own unique personality and Jessie-isms, and she's got us both wound very tightly around her little paw. 




Has anyone else blogged about their puppy's first birthday, or am I alone in this? Send me your links!