In Louisiana, we call it Lagniappe- A little something extra!
Does Mickey love Minnie? Is Goofy, well Goofy? Was Walt Disney imaginative? I could go on, but the answer would stay the same; unequivocally YES, I feel Disney is worth the expense and here are some unexpected values.
You aren’t just paying to ride attractions; you’re paying for the immersive experience that I feel only Disney Parks can provide. Adulthood unfortunately spawns skepticism, if you catch a glimpse of your inner childhood at least once as a grownup, you’re very fortunate. At Disney its alive; body, mind, and spirit with 360 degrees of “all that and a bag of Mickey treats.” When I vacation at Disney Parks, sail on Disney Cruise Line, or hang loose at Disney’s Aulani Resort and Spa, I feel I’m in a perpetual state of fantasy. Peter Pan syndrome is in full effect and it’s not just accepted, it’s expected!
I’m hypnotized by the charm, cleanliness, and atmosphere of Disney properties. The feeling of being swept away to a magical place and time is spellbinding and as an adult, necessary. My definition of value is a fair price for quality services provided. Disney’s value far exceeds the price; their product is “off the fo’ shizzle!” or better said “off the Mickey hizzle!” You would have to search long and hard to find: chipped paint, litter, rude Cast Members (employees) or even landscaping out of place. They pride themselves on the tiniest of details so your trip is seamless and carefree. You won’t see Cast Members rolling garbage cans through Cinderella Castle or arguing with each other about having to work an extra shift because Snow White was a no-show. “Real world” to some extent has long gone and it’s been replaced with whimsical lands and characters of neveryear, lol.
Let’s get down to the nitty gritty. Society today is NOT well-mannered. Disney Cast Members possess a certain level of restraint and integrity whilst whistling while they work; if there was no “magical” composure, then guests like drunken Dave or rude Rachel would get a bear-hug and I don’t mean from Winnie the Pooh. Included with your Disney experience are pixie dust extras you might not have given much thought: dazzling fireworks, glittering parades, extensive stage shows and memorable character interactions. Authentic back drops and attraction storylines are just a walk in the park for this professional posse.
It might not be a monetary value but it’s a value none-the-less, FastPass+ is a virtual queuing system at no additional cost to park guests. FastPass+ allows guests to virtually hold a place in line at the most popular attractions therefore avoiding long waits and allowing guests to maximize their time with family.
The ability to access “My Disney Experience” is an unexpected value at Disney parks. You can make and/or alter your Disney hotel, dining, and FastPass+ reservations in advance or on-the-go.
Something that’s rarely talked about with Disney is their security, it’s second to none and they’re visible, invisible, and ever vigilant. It includes uniformed and plainclothes police officers, not including the multitude of security technology at their disposal. Bag checks, metal detectors, bomb trained canines and random secondary screenings are part of the everyday process at Disney Parks. I would think long and hard before I picked my boogers or underpants, because I’m pretty sure someone witnessed it and chuckled. Woot!
Have a fantastical time discovering Disney’s unexpected value and enjoy your little something extra!
3 of 3 Part Series
Awe, there is nothing like sipping a margarita from Dockside Margaritas while people-watching at Disney Springs. “Disney” people-watching takes on a life of its own; you’ve got your Princesses, Goofy dads, Pirates, and of course Queens, ahem! It is its own form of entertainment; you never know what you will encounter. Oh you’re probably interested in actual entertainment like: movies, music, bowling, and an interactive indoor theme park. On with the show!
AMC Movies– Includes Fork & Screen Dine-In. Woot!
DisneyQuest Indoor Interactive Theme Park– 5 floors of imagination wrapped into interactive, virtual and arcade games.
Exposition Park– Stage Shows
House of Blues– Live Entertainment/Concerts
La Nouba by Cirque du Soleil– Circus like performance featuring acrobats, gymnasts, and other uniquely skilled performers.
Paradiso 37 Entertainment– Live Entertainment/Concerts
Raglan Road Live Music/Patio Stage– Live Entertainment/Concerts
Splitsville Luxury Lanes– Live Entertainment
Springs Overlook– Stage Shows
Sunshine Highline– Stage Shows
Waterside Stage– Stage Shows/Live Entertainment
Waterview Park– Stage Shows
Characters in Flight– Have you ever felt above other peeps, metaphorically speaking or wanted a bird’s eye view of Disney Springs? Here’s your chance, take flight 400 feet in a tethered helium balloon.
Marketplace Carousel– ride around and around and around, you got this~ and around!
Goodbyes are never easy; I hate to see you go, but this is the conclusion of my 3 part series on “Disney Springs.” I hope you realized that this was hard core journalism at its finest. All kidding aside, I hope you were surprised at all of the renovations, enlightened with the choices, and that I gave you a chuckle or better yet a snort.
Now that you’ve discovered all of the Shopping, Dining, and Entertainment that Disney Springs offers there’s only one thing left to do~ Live Mas!
2 of 3 Part Series
Heigh-Ho, Heigh-Ho it’s off to Disney Springs “Shopping” we go. Ladies, do you love to shop, DOPEY question, huh? Come on hubbies, don’t be BASHFUL if you’re like my hubby then you probably do too! You’ll be HAPPY to know that everything on your wish list can be found in one magical place, so no need to be GRUMPY. Unique apparel at UNIQLO, bath salts at BASIN, Christmas ornaments at DISNEY’S DAYS OF CHRISTMAS, and last but surely not SNEEZY; Disney salt and pepper shakers at MICKEY’S PANTRY.
My family has specific souvenirs we strive for each time we visit Walt Disney World Resort.I enjoy collecting Christmas ornaments, Disney Dooney & Bourke’s, and Disney jewelry; especially if it dons my main mouse Mickey. I also love Disney kitchenware; the idea of seeing it each day in my kitchen makes me feel like I’m Cinderella……before she became a princess, lol. My hubby sees clearer through a new pair of Oakley sunglasses at APEX and my teenager’s tummies crave Goofy’s Candy Company. What are your “must haves” when visiting Disney? I’ll list Disney Springs shops by location, it’s quite a long list so please don’t get SLEEPY or I might have to call the DOC! Yes, I’m a dork and listed all seven dwarfs. Heigh-Ho, here we go! (you’re singing it, aren’t you?)
TUMI- Apparel & Accessories
UNIQLO- Apparel & Accessories
COCA-COLA- Art & Collectibles, Gifts & Housewares, Apparel & Accessories, Shoes
SUGARBOO- Art & Collectibles, Gifts & Housewares, Apparel & Accessories, Shoes
SUPERDRY- Shoes/ Apparel & Accessories
SHORE- Apparel & Accessories
ANTHROPOLOGIE- Apparel & Accessories
COLUMBIA SPORTSWEAR- Shoes/Apparel & Accessories
MAC COSMETICS- Health/Beauty
VOLCOM- Apparel & Accessories
FREE PEOPLE- Shoes/ Apparel & Accessories
LACOSTE- Shoes/ Apparel & Accessories
JOHNNY WAS- Apparel & Accessories
VINCE CAMUTO- Apparel & Accessories
ZARA- Apparel & Accessories
SAVANNAH BEE COMPANY- Food/Spirits
TROPHY ROOM- Apparel & Accessories
FLLTHY RICH- Apparel & Accessories
SPERRY- Shoes/Apparel & Accessories
EDWARD BEINER PURVEYOR OF FINE EYEWEAR- Apparel & Accessories
JOHNSON & MURPHY- Shoes/Apparel & Accessories
VERA BRADLEY- Apparel & Accessories
LILLY PULITZER- Apparel & Accessories
MELISSA SHOES- Apparel & Accessories
NA HOKU HAWAII’S FINEST JEWELERS- Apparel & Accessories
L’OCCITANE EN PROVENCE- Health & Beauty/Gifts & Housewares
UGG- Shoes/Apparel & Accessories
FRANCESCA’S- Apparel & Accessories
UNDER ARMOUR BRAND HOUSE- Apparel & Accessories
ALEX & ANI- Apparel & Accessories
AMERICAN THREADS- Apparel & Accessories
LUCKY BRAND- Shoes/Apparel & Accessories
KATE SPADE- Shoes/Apparel & Accessories
SEPHORA- Health & Beauty/Gifts & Housewares
KIPLING- Apparel & Accessories
UNODE50- Art & Collectibles/Apparel & Accessories
EVERYTHING BUT WATER- Apparel & Accessories
TOMMY BAHAMA- Gifts & Housewares/ Shoes/Apparel & Accessories
MARKETPLACE CO-OP-This large store is a grouping of different apparel & accessory stores in one, it includes: Disney Tag, Wonderground Gallery, Twenty Eight & Main, Disney Centerpiece, Cherry Tree Lane, D Tech on Demand. One of my overall faves at Disney Springs. Dooney & Bourke’s await!
BIBBIDI BOBBIDI BOUTIQUE- Apparel & Accessories
PANDORA JEWELRY- Apparel & Accessories
DISNEY PHOTO PASS STUDIO- Camera & Media
ERWIN PEARL- Apparel & Accessories
DISNEY PIN TRADERS- MagicBands/Pins & Vinylmation/Mickey Ears
LEATHER GOODS- Apparel & Accessories
DISNEY’S DAYS OF CHRISTMAS- Gifts & Housewares/Apparel & Accessories/Toys & Plush/Mickey Ears
EYCATCHERS- Art & Collectibles
INITIAL RINGS- Apparel & Accessories
THE ART OF DISNEY- Art & Collectibles
HALLELUJAH ART- Art & Collectibles/ Camera & Media
MAGIC INK ARTISANS- Gifts & Housewares
LEFTY’S~THE LEFT HAND STORE- Gifts & Housewares
WORLD OF DISNEY- Gifts & Housewares/Apparel & Accessories/Toys & Plush/Camera & Media~ If you are short on time then this is the store to hit, they have it all, Dooney & Bourke’s too!
THE SPICE & TEA EXCHANGE- Food/Spirits/Gifts & Housewares
TREN-D- Apparel & Accessories
HAPPY HOUND- Art & Collectibles/Toys & Plush/Mickey Ears
GOOFY’S CANDY COMPANY- Food/Spirits~ My teenagers choice!
DISNEY’S WONDERFUL WORLD OF MEMORIES- Gifts & Housewares/Camera & Media/Mickey Ears
DESIGN-A-TEE- Apparel & Accessories
DINO STORE- Apparel & Accessories
RAINFOREST CAFÉ AND RETAIL VILLAGE- Apparel & Accessories
PEARL FACTORY- Apparel & Accessories
BUILD A DINO-BY BUILD A BEAR WORKSHOP- Toys & Plush
ONCE UPON A TOY- Toys & Plush
MICKEY’S PANTRY- Food/Spirits/Gifts & Housewares
MARKETPLACE FUN FINDS- Apparel & Accessories/Toys & Plush
LITTLEMISSMATCHED- Apparel & Accessories
BASIN- Gifts & Housewares
THE LEGO STORE- Toys & Plush~ Logan’s front-runner when younger, lots of memories in this store; especially when he spilled the mini Lego’s all over the floor.
THE ART OF SHAVING- Apparel & Accessories
ARRIBAS BROTHERS- Art & Collectibles~ Peyton’s favorite “Tiara” shop.
THE GANACHERY- Food/Spirits
SHIP’S STORE AT THE BOATHOUSE- Apparel & Accessories
STAR WARS GALACTIC OUTPOST- Art & Collectibles/Apparel & Accessories/Toys & Plush/Star Wars
SUBLIME GIFTS AND FINDS- Art & Collectibles/Gifts & Housewares
SOUND LION- Camera & Media
SHOP FOR IRELAND- Gifts & Housewares
SET THE BAR- Food & Spirits/Gifts & Housewares
SANUK- Shoes/Apparel & Accessories
CHAPEL HATS- Apparel & Accessories
APEX BY SUNGLASS HUT- Apparel & Accessories
HAVAIANAS- Shoes/Apparel & Accessories
SUNGLASS ICON- Apparel & Accessories
UNITED WORLD SOCCER- Apparel & Accessories
FIT2RUN- Shoes/Apparel & Accessories
DISNEY’S CANDY CAULDRON- Food & Spirits
DISNEYQUEST EMPORIUM- Food & Spirits/Toys & Plush/Camera & Media/Pins & Vinylmation
CURL BY SAMMY DUVALL- Apparel & Accessories
SOSA FAMILY CIGARS
SOMETHING SILVER- Apparel & Accessories
CIRQUE DU SOLEIL BOUTIQUE- Apparel & Accessories
POP GALLERY- Art & Collectibles
ORLANDO HARLEY DAVIDSON- Apparel & Accessories
BONGO’S CUBAN CAFÉ SOUVENIR AND GIFT SHOP- Apparel & Accessories
MEMORY LANES- Art & Collectables/Gifts & Housewares/Apparel & Accessories
HOUSE OF BLUES COMPANY STORE- Apparel & Accessories
Whether you’re shopping with friends, family, or all by your lonesome you cannot go wrong with Disney Springs. All the fun wrapped into one ideal location for dining, shopping, and entertainment. Whistle while you shop!
1 of 3 Part Series
Downtown Disney has transformed itself into an idyllic, wondrous town, right out of a storybook. The change has definitely been for the better, as it offers more dining, shopping, and entertainment venues and fantastical theming to go along with it. The shoe finally fits; Disney Springs harmonizes perfectly with Walt Disney World Resort’s whimsical theme.
This post is the first of a three part series on Disney Springs. I will dissect them into Dining, Shopping, and Entertainment locales. This makes it easier to digest and a gentle read. I will begin with Dining at Disney Springs and divide it into categories by restaurant style- Casual dining, Fast food, and Counter service. That way, it’s not overwhelming and you can skim over the style of restaurant you’re interested in visiting. Are you hungry yet? I am, munch on this…..
*The Dining Room at Wolfgang Puck® Grand Café (American/Steakhouse/Sushi)
~*Wolfgang Puck® Grand Café (American, Steakhouse, Sushi)
~*Morimoto Asia (Seafood, Sushi, Asian, Japanese cuisine)
*STK Orlando (American/Steakhouse)
~*The Boathouse (American/Seafood/Steakhouse)
Bongos Cuban Café (Cuban)
Chef Art Smith’s Homecoming (American)
Frontera Cocina (American/Mexican)
House of Blues Restaurant & Bar (American)
Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar
~Paradiso 37, Taste of the Americas (American/Steakhouse/Latin)
Portobello Country Italian Trattoria (Seafood/Italian)
Raglan Road™ Irish Pub and Restaurant (Irish)
Rainforest Cafe – Lava Lounge (American)
Splitsville™ Dining Room (American)
Blaze Fast Fire’d Pizza (American)
Amorette’s Patisserie (Bakery)
D-Luxe Burger (American)
The Daily Poutine (American/Canadian)
~Earl Of Sandwich® (American) One of my all-time favorite’s and very inexpensive.
~The Express at Wolfgang Puck® Grand Café (American/Sushi)
~Morimoto Asia Street Food (Asian)
~House of Blues – The Smokehouse (American)
Ghirardelli® Ice Cream & Chocolate Shop (American)
Tea Traders Café by Joffrey’s (American)
Vivoli il Gelato (Italian)
B.B. Wolf’s Sausage Co.
Bongos Cuban Café™ Express (Cuban)
Cookes of Dublin (American, Irish)
Erin McKenna’s Bakery NYC (Bakery)
Food Truck – Fantasy Fare (American)
Food Truck – Namaste Café (Asian)
Food Truck – Superstar Catering (American)
Food Truck – World Showcase of Flavors (American)
House of Blues – The Front Porch (Cocktails/Bar)
Florida Snow Company
Joffrey’s Handcrafted Smoothies
STARBUCKS® at Disney Springs™ Marketplace (American, Bakery)
~Sprinkles (Bakery) My family loves Sprinkles Cupcakes!
* Fine/Signature Dining
They have a variety of cuisine for the pickiest of foodies, if you don’t agree; you might be a Diva. Food allergies, no problem they have you covered, check for current menu items here- https://www.disneysprings.com/dining/. No matter what you’re craving, your tummy will growl a great big THANK you, I promise or my name isn’t Dawn the Great! Happy pigging out my friends….
A common misconception with cruises is that once you pay for the cruise, it’s paid in full, all-inclusive if you will, wrongo! This is NOT the case, everything depends on the cruise line and/or add-ons you may have pre-purchased.
When pricing a cruise make sure you compare apples to apples or in this case, cruise amenities to cruise amenities. There’s always a catch and I CAN guarantee you will spend extra moola, dinero, and coins on every single cruise line someway, somehow… Here are extra costs you may or may not know about and some of them are optional:
Gratuites- unless you prepaid gratuities when booking your cruise, you will pay at cruise end for your shipboard staff. Cruise lines have different amounts they bill, so check with your specific cruise line. Remember you can alter the amount up or down depending on their service. FYI, it is frowned upon when altering less than minimum tip, as the Servers, Wait Staff, and Room Steward rely on these tips. Also, prepaid gratuities don’t cover ALL your tips, you still have; room service tip, porter, and anything extra you would like to give.
Alcohol- if you drink alcohol onboard your cruise- cheers to you! Your Sail & Sign Card (Cruise Card) will be charged and it will include an 18% gratuity automatically, so don’t double tip unless you have money to make it rain. Exclusions- if you pre-purchased a special liquor package but still there are hidden costs, read the fine print peeps.
Soda Package- Depending on which cruise line you choose and how much you love your soda pop. Check with your specific cruise line for available pricing, specific rules with this too.
Coffee/Bakery- specialty coffees, desserts, fancy insulated “Cruise” cups aren’t free. So ask yourself, “Do you really need that salted-caramel-white- chocolate-mocha-frappe-latte-cappuccino? Regular coffee is free, if you want something special; add some whip cream off one of your free desserts to it, shoot just add the entire dessert, yum…
Specialty Restaurants- You will pay extra for unique, ethnic, high-end gourmet restaurants backed by Michelin-starred chefs or casual eateries like Johnny Rockets. The extra cost $25+ per person for upscale dining and casual dining like Johnny Rockets somewhere around $6+ per person and usually all-you-can-eat.
Port Excursions- do you plan on just wandering around the port? If so, you still need money; especially if you want to purchase souvenirs, entertainment, or a meal. Your smile as lovely as it may be won’t get you a hamburger, but it might get you slapped….Port Excursions can be booked by you or the cruise line in advance of the cruise, onboard the cruise or if you’re brave when you arrive at the port.
Internet usage- want to stay connected to your love ones or brag to your friends on social media while cruising, then that costs a pretty penny. Internet plans vary depending on cruise line.
Gambling- you know by now what I’m going to tell you, don’t hate the messenger. It costs money to gamble, surprise! Positive and negative to gambling, you could win BIG or lose BIGGER…. Think like a WINNER!
Spa/Salon Services- I love to be touched…my back, feet, head, hands and face……by masseuses, unfortunately they cost, cost, cost. So try to wait towards the end of the cruise and get a half off deal for Spa and Salon. Woot!
Arcade- usually priced more than the normal arcade, some ship arcades will take cash, sail & sign (cruise card) and/or reloadable arcade cards. It is a fun, competitive family thing to enjoy while cruising. Air hockey is our family fave.
Gift Shop and Onboard Purchases- Souvenir, Jewelry, Liquor Store and Candy Shop all cost additional, but I think that’s obvious….or at least I hope that is obvious to you, lol….
Bingo- a fun way to spend money on a cruise with the opportunity to win more! Good Luck…
Art Auction- if you are a collector of art and would like a good deal, here’s your chance. I hate to sound like a broken record, but you’ll have to cough up some dough and I don’t mean double stuffed Oreo’s!
Laundry/Dry Cleaning Services- this is actually one service that is exceedingly reasonable in value. TIP- be mindful of the date you need them. Prices vary per cruise line.
Photograph Services- you want that glamour shot with your family to look back on or to show your friends you really took a cruise on the Pacific Princess March 5th, 2016. Buy a photo or snag 50 and hand them out at Christmas or NOT. Fees vary by cruise line, size of photo and package purchased. Lots of folks love taking them, my family not so much.
T.V. Movies- Some cruise lines offer newly released movies for an extra charge in your stateroom.
Ship to Shore Phone Calls- It’s very expensive to use your cell phone when cruising, roaming costs alone are astronomical, now factor in another country’s roaming- ridiculousness. There are times when you need to check on loved ones at home and ship-to-shore is actually cheaper. Again, cruise lines prices vary.
Remember not all of these are required fees, like I mentioned earlier, some are optional. Find what works for your family and happy cruising!
Let the sea set you free, Bon Voyage!
*Ride the Walt Disney World Monorail- It’s a uniquely magical experience. How many monorails have you ridden?
*Visit all four theme parks- They’re creative marvels!
*Get your photo taken with the Disney Characters- Alright, maybe not all of them, but at least you or your child’s favorite.
*Get the Disney Characters autographs- If you have young children or you want them for yourself, no judgement here, go get em’.
*Use the Walt Disney World “Water Taxi” Transportation- It’s an attraction of its own and free. Enjoy
*My hubby said to play golf at Disney’s Magnolia Golf Course. He especially loves the Mickey shaped sand trap.
*Walt Disney World Resort Hop- Get a feel for a different themed and priced resort. Maybe next time you will stay at one of them.
*Try Walt Disney World Popcorn- It’s better than movie theater popcorn, I promise. Just call me a popcorn connoisseur.
*Enjoy at Disney Resorts “Movies under the Stars” (Free)
* Enjoy your Disney Resort themed swimming pool.
*Try a Pineapple Dole Whip- Not my favorite treat in the world of treats, but lots of folks love them and you might too! You can find them at a variety of places throughout Walt Disney World Resort.
*Get a MagicBand and enjoy all its perks.
*My hubby said to drink a beer in every country of World Showcase at EPCOT!
*Mickey Bar- Now we’re talkin’, yummy in every sense of the word!
*Visit Disney Springs- An outdoor Shopping, Dining and Entertainment district, full of amazing Disney extras, you have to see to experience. ***Preferably not on a weekend, I would recommend morning or evening.
*Visit Fort Wilderness Campground- Great place to spend the afternoon with family; riding Ponies, Bike Rentals, Archery, Carriage Rides, Golf Cart, etc.
*Eat at a Character Meal- My fave is Chef Mickey’s for breakfast, located at the Disney’s Contemporary Resort.
*Try a Turkey Leg at the parks- If you want to look like a caveman/cavewoman, join the crowd, lots of others do. I personally don’t like boned meat. I wrote a rap about my distain for the Turkey Legs~ http://wp.me/p1Uk8b-4kO.
*Drink LaFou’s Brew at Gaston’s Tavern at New Fantasyland in Magic Kingdom, before you get too excited; it’s non-alcoholic.
*Visit Character Spot at World Showcase in EPCOT.
*Explore Tom Sawyer Island at Magic Kingdom- Search through the caves (if you are not claustrophobic, I am-shh) and forts. Your children and most the dads will find their inner childhood bursting to come out.
*My hubby said to visit Pocahontas; she’s hot (LOL)
*Rent a personal Sea Raycer Watercraft at most of the Deluxe Resorts at Walt Disney World.
“Must Do” Rides at each Park
Magic Kingdom Park
Thunder Mountain Railroad
Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
Pirates of the Caribbean
Tomorrowland Transit Authority
Disney Hollywood Studios
Tower of Terror
Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster
The Great Movie Ride
Toy Story Mania
Star Tours- Makes me sick personally but lots of folks love it
(New Theme) Soarin’
NEW Frozen Ever After
Disney’s Animal Kingdom
Kali River Rapids
“Must Do” Shows/Entertainment:
Magic Kingdom Park
Wishes Nightime Spectacular
The Dapper Dans on Main Street, U.S.A.
Meet Mickey Mouse at Town Square Theater
Meet Cinderella and a Visiting Princess at Princess Fairytale Hall
Move It! Shake It! Dance & Play It! Street Party
IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth
Rose & Crown Pub Musician
JAMMitors at Future World East
Meet Disney Pals at the Epcot Character Spot
Disney H0llywood Studios
Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage- One of my daughters all time faves
Voyage of the Little Mermaid
Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular
From our family to yours, have a magical Disney vacation!