Magical Memories at Olivia’s

Old Key West Resort is our favorite place to relax!

Go-to Disney Guide

For my family, a trip to Walt Disney World isn’t complete without visiting Old Key West resort. Fun fact: Old Key West was the first resort to become a Disney Vacation Club property back in 1991. Modeled after the Florida Keys, this tranquil community is adorned with shimmering waterways, palm trees, and manicured fairways.

First let’s talk about the transportation. Old Key West is off the beaten path, so to speak. You can enjoy a quick, leisurely boat ride to Disney Springs, or hop on Disney’s complimentary buses to one of Disney’s four theme parks or two water parks. On one of our recent trips, my family and I spent the day at Disney Springs then we headed to Old Key West for our dinner reservation at Olivia’s. Working up an appetite, our best means of transportation was the Conch Flats Nature Walking Trail. Follow this trail from Disney Springs…

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Disney Travel Planning

Almost three years ago I had taken my little family for their first trip to Walt Disney World. And when I say their first trip, I do not just mean my children’s first trip, I mean my husband, who was 29 at the time. He had never been to a Disney Park either.

When I began planning for our trip, I asked a friend to help with the booking, but I took care of the dining reservations and the fastpasses+. I did extensive, and probably much unnecessary research. Disney has since then become my passion. There is something about watching your children delight in the Disney magic for the very first time. It brings pure joy to your heart. For me, it brings tears to my eyes. For the past few years I have been researching something that can fill the void until our next trip. I started this blog back in 2016, and I am happy to report that since then I have been accepted into a wonderful agency located in my homestate Louisiana. We are The Mouse Detectives, specializing in Disney Destinations!

If you are in need of any help planning your magical vacation, I would love to answer any of your questions. My concierge level of expertise and Disney knowledge are at no extra cost to you!

meredith@themousedetectives.com

Have a magical day!

Until next time,

-M

Is it Fall Yet?

Happy September!

Once September 1st rolls around I start asking my husband to take the Fall and Halloween decorations out of the attic. My girls and I ALWAYS watch Hocus Pocus and the Nightmare Before Christmas the first week of September and I drink my coffee out of my Jack Skellington coffee mug religiously. Have I mentioned Halloween is my favorite holiday? 🙂

Unfortunately, I have never been to the Not So Scary Halloween Party. Last time we were at WDW I felt like my girls were a little too young to enjoy the experience. They were only 14 months and 4 years old at the time. Recently, I have been looking at so many pictures on Instagram and I am jealous of everyone who is attending this year. The costumes are fantastic, and those poisoned apples look divine. 🙂 On a different note, we have thoroughly enjoy the Food and Wine Festival at Epcot in the past. Let me start off with the food. You can get meal sized portions for snack credits (if you are on the dining plan). Every country in the World Showcase has something special prepared for the festival, and let me tell you, it is all delicious. I could have eaten my way around the world several times if my stomach would have allowed it! I am getting hungry just thinking about it.

As for our upcoming trip, that will be in December. We are going during Christmas time, for my big 30th birthday (ah!). Even though we will be at WDW during the time of the Very Merry Christmas Party, we will not be attending that party this year. Since it is our first time going during Christmas, we are not sure what to expect crowd-wise, so we are trying to keep the vacation as low-key as possible. I am hoping it will not be too bad. Fingers crossed. Will keep you updated on that in December!

Our plan for next year, is to either go in September and celebrate both of my little girls’ birthdays, or to go in October/November. Either way, we would definitely go to the Halloween Party.  One awesome thing about being at Disney World on Halloween is that when you arrive it will be decorated for Halloween, but once you wake up November 1st everything is decorated for Christmas! It is so very cool. The seasons change while you are asleep. Disney magic, that is for sure.

What is your favorite season to travel to WDW? Are there any special events that you HAVE to plan your trip around?

Until Next Time,

-M

 

Best and Worst Times to Visit WDW

Hi there!

If you are someone who is planning your next trip to WDW and can’t decide when to go, this post is for you. There are a few factors that you need to consider when planning your stay:

  • Weather/Season
  • Crowds
  • Price
  • Holiday
  • Resort

I have done PLENTY of research surrounding trips to Walt Disney World, because, well let’s face it, is there ever a BAD time to go to Disney World? So, let me start off by saying that last time we went in mid October, all of the crowd calendars I looked at (and I looked at a LOT) said that the days were all moderate to light crowds, so I thought we were good. As long as we didn’t have any heavy days in there we were fine. Boy, was I wrong. We had a double stroller and we could barely push it through the crowds one day. It was tough. If you want the parks to be very lightly crowded, you have to go during off season.

Ok, so let’s start off with the off season. The absolute best times to go would be January, May, and September.  These three months have the least crowds. January and September are considered off season, so the rooms are a good bit cheaper per night.

Here are the exceptions:

  • First Week in January
  • Martin Luther King week
  • Run Disney Weekend
  • 2nd half of May
  • Labor Day Weekend

One thing about the off season is, Disney likes to do their renovations when there are fewer people at the parks, so keep that in mind if traveling during off season. Disney is usually pretty good at keeping you informed if a ride or show is currently closed on their website, but you do not want to be disappointed when you show up.

If you are someone who is not used to the Florida weather, January can be warm, or it can be freezing and rainy. May will be warm, but it shouldn’t be unbearable. September will be horribly hot and humid, and it is still hurricane season. You may also want to keep that in mind when considering a date.

Now, any time the children are out of school, the crowds are going to be crazy and the prices are going to skyrocket. I would try my best to avoid going at Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter holidays, Spring Break, and during the summer. I have found that even going just one week or a few days before the holidays gives you just those extra few days before the crazy crowds.

Only you know what is best for you and your family to have a magical vacation. 🙂

Until Next Time,

-M

New Character Dining At Wilderness Lodge

Mirror, Mirror, On the Wall, Who is the Fairest of Them All?

Coming winter 2018 you will be able to dine with Snow White, Grumpy, Dopey, and the Evil Queen. This character dining experience is located at the Artist Point at Wilderness Lodge. We do not have a set menu for this character dining as of now, but we know that it is going to be a prix fixe menu.

I am extremely excited about this dining experience. Snow White is a classic character, and getting to dine with not only her, but the evil queen and the dwarfs as well will be spellbinding. 🙂

Until Next Time,

-M

Disney Vacation Club (DVC)

After researching and procrastinating for two years we finally bit the bullet and are officially DVC members! 🙂 It was such a happy process.

So, for those of you asking, what is a DVC?

  • It is essentially a timeshare with Disney. You buy however many points you want. 100, 125, 150, 200, etc. (I purchased 100 points.)
  • Disney then gives you a contract with whichever Deluxe resort they are marketing at the present time (we have Copper Creek at Wilderness Lodge) and that is your “home” resort.
  • You can then book at your home resort 11 months from your vacation date, or if you want to stay at any other Deluxe DVC resort you can book 7 months from your vacation date.
  • How the points work: Each resort has a different number of points per night. The resorts on the monorail such as Contemporary, Polynesian, and Grand Floridian are high in points per night where as Animal Kingdom Lodge, Saratoga, and Old Key West are low on the points per night. The points vary during the different seasons, also. The points will increase per night during the busy times like December and June and decrease during the slow times like January and September. So, since I have 100 points I can stay 5 nights at Copper Creek for 75 points and carry 25 points over to the next year, leaving me with 125.
  • The standard DVC rooms come with a coffee pot, a microwave, toaster, mini fridge, and mini bar. The larger rooms, such as the Bungalows at the Polynesian, have full kitchens. There are a few grocery delivery services who will send your groceries to your room if you order ahead of time and plan on cooking meals in your room.
  • One great thing about being a DVC member is you do not just have to use your points at WDW. You can go to Aulaini, HI or Vero Beach, FL, or Hilton Head, SC, or take a Disney Cruise. You can also do Adventures by Disney and travel all over the world, and let’s not forget about Disneyland! The possibilities are endless.
  • One great perk about being a DVC member is the great member benefits. Members receive a percentage off their purchase at most Disney restaurants and shops. Members also receive a discount on tickets to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party as well as Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party and discounted Annual Passholder tickets.

So, my little family is EXTREMELY excited about our latest Disney adventure, and all of our future adventures to come. Our first DVC stay will be at the Polynesian the week before Christmas. My husband and I both have December birthdays, so we will be celebrating birthdays and Christmas! I, I mean WE, cannot WAIT!

Until next time,

-M

Toy Story Land – WDW

Howdy, Howdy, Howdy!

I’m back from a much too long pause. So, let’s talk about Toy Story Land! I am SUPER excited about this. So, everything in Toy Story Land is much bigger than normal, to where you feel like you are the size of a toy. Cool? I think so. There is a roller coaster, Slinky Dog Dash, which looks very awesome, but is a little faster than most have expected. So, basically when reserving your FastPass+, make sure you keep that in mind if there are any tiny ones with you. There is also a spinning ride, Alien Spinning Saucers, similar to the Tea Cups at Magic Kingdom. They kept Toy Story Mania, which is fun for all ages. Let’s not forget Woody’s Lunchbox, the quick service restaurant!

Now, the wait times in Toy Story Land have been known to be pretty long, but are going down considerably since the land has first opened.

Until Next Time,

-M

2017 D23 Expo

The 2017 D23 Expo occurred this past weekend. A lot of new, maybe surprising information was given about Disneyland Paris, Disney Cruise Line, Disney World and Disney Land.

  • Let’s start with Disney Cruise Line. By 2023 Disney Cruise Line will have added THREE new Cruise Ships!
  • Epcot (World Showcase) – Walt Disney World. Epcot will be adding another country. It is rumored to be either Brazil or Spain, but has not been confirmed which country will take the open spot. What we do know is there will be a Ratatouille ride in the France Pavilion that will be almost identical to the ride in Disneyland Paris.
  • Epcot (Future World) – Walt Disney World. There will be a new restaurant right next to Mission: Space. This restaurant will allow the guests to gaze at the stars while eating. Disney World is also going to include a Guardians of the Galaxy ride, but it will not be taking the place of Tower of Terror in Hollywood Studios. Instead, this ride will be at Future World, taking the place of Ellen’s Laugh Floor.
  • The Tron ride is scheduled to open in the Magic Kingdom next to Space Mountain in Walt Disney World in 2021, just in time for the park’s 50th anniversary.
  • Hollywood Studios – Walt Disney World. This August you can say good-bye once and for all to the ever so loved Great Movie Ride. This is causing many people great pain. However, Disney is replacing it with a ride called Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway. You will be the star of a Mickey cartoon where anything can happen! The kids will love it. We will see if this ride will be able to fill the void of the greatly loved, but very outdated, Great Movie Ride.
  • Toy Story Land will be opening in Hollywood Studios in the summer of 2018. The concept is you will be the size of a toy as you run around Andy’s backyard. Two new attractions will be inside Toy Story Land: Slinky Dog Dash, which is a family roller coaster, and Alien Swirling Saucers.
  • Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge – Disneyland and Disney World. These lands will not open until 2019.
  • A new DVC property will be coming to the Epcot resort area, which will hopefully take some of the crowds out of the other resorts, but since Disney has become so busy lately, who knows? A Star Wars themed immersive luxury resort is in the makings. From the moment you step into the Star Wars resort, you are no longer on Earth, and are surrounded by characters from the movies. Also, Disney Riviera Resort, a 15th DVC property, is under construction, and will be located near Epcot with a rooftop restaurant.
  • New transportation! Disney will now have “Minnie Vans”. Walt Disney World will have an Uber service with 2017 Chevy Traverses that are painted to look like Minnie Mouse. The gondolas are “supposedly” returning to Walt Disney World. Right now they have the permits for the Skyliner, but have not started breaking ground on them. It would help out on transportation so much, and both means of transportation sound pretty cool if you ask me!

Until Next Time,

-M

Hollywood Studios

Hi, I’m back!

I know it’s been a long time, but I am here to talk about Hollywood Studios. So, here we are. There has been a lot of rumors that the Tower of Terror at Hollywood Studios in Walt Disney World will be taken away soon, or is already changed into something else. This is not true. Yes, it will probably be changed into a different ride sometime in the near future, but it has not been changed into the Guardians of the Galaxy ride yet, (July 2017) That ride is at Disney Land.

There will also be a lot of changes coming to Hollywood Studios in the near future with the new Toy Story Land and the Star Wars Land. Some people are not too happy with these changes, because this will mean taking away the nostalgia of Hollywood Studios, while others are happy with the new changes. I just hope they don’t get rid of Fantasmic any time soon, but I don’t think that will happen.

Jedi Training:  Next to the Star Tours ride there is something called Jedi Training. Children ages 4 to 12 are trained to battle Darth Vader and other Star Wars villains. If you have a child who loves Star Wars, I highly recommend this. Also, if you want to participate you will have to get to Hollywood Studios before park opens, and sign up by the Indiana Jones stunt show. All of the children wanting to participate in the show must stay together and sign up together. This is a must. If you have more than one child who wants to participate and one child wanders off while the other stays in line, the one who wandered off just lost his shot at being in the Jedi Training. Also, you will definitely want to get photo pass for this event. Remember, this is a very popular event, so your child will have to sign in as soon as park opens, or he will most likely not get a chance to be in the show.

Until Next Time,

-M

First Aid/Baby Care Center at WDW

So, how many people are aware that Walt Disney World has a First Aid/ Baby Care center in every park? The only reason I know this is because I had stumbled upon this information in a blog a few months before my last trip, and I am glad I did. Here is a little story about what happened during our trip. My husband and our eldest daughter were waiting in what seemed like the longest line ever for The Mine Train and I was walking and walking with the baby, trying to get her to go to sleep. We had lost the pacifier, and she just was not giving in. So, I remembered that there was a baby care center that supposedly had pacifiers and I could change her diaper in the process. By the time I had gotten back to the front of the park, she had fallen asleep (thankfully), but they were out of pacifiers. 😦 So, I talked to the nurse for a few minutes, trying to cool off before heading back out into that Florida heat.

Anyway, here is a list of where the centers are located in every park:

  • Magic Kingdom – between Crystal Palace and Casey’s Corner
  • Animal Kingdom – Discovery Island next to Creature Comforts
  • Epcot – in the Odyssey Center
  • Hollywood Studios – in the Guest Relations Building on Hollywood Boulevard

What you can expect when you walk in:

  • You will be greeted by a nurse when you walk in. She will have you sign a paper, asking you what you are here for.
  • There are medicines for every ailment.
    • You are allowed medicine for free twice a day, then you need to buy your own bottle of Tylenol, Advil, etc.
  • There are Epi Pens just in case anyone had any type of allergic reaction.
  • Rocking chairs
  • TVs
  • High Chairs
  • Changing Tables
  • Air condition or heat, depending on the season. So if you and your little ones need to get out of the Florida weather, you know where to go.
  • Microwaves, just in case baby or little ones needs something specially prepared.
  • Beds to lie down on, in case someone isn’t feeling well
  • Bandages and ointment
    • Note: They do not have blister guards, I do recommend packing something to protect your feet. You will be doing a lot of walking.

Things for PURCHASE:

  • Feminine items
  • Bottles
  • Pacifiers
  • Deodorant (men & women)
  • Sunscreen (adult & child)
  • Children’s Claritin
  • Advil (children & infant)
  • Pediacare Allergy
  • Pediacare (children & infant)
  • Robitussin
  • Gerber Good Start
  • Pedia Lyte
  • Pepto Bismol Liquid
  • Advil Liquid Gels (Adult)
  • Tylenol (Adult)
  • Baby food
  • Wipes
  • Diapers

There is an Urgent Care that the nurse will direct you to if she feels you need further care. It is open 8 A.M.- 12 A.M. weekdays and 8 A.M. – 8 P.M. weekends. There is also an ambulatory service that will come pick you up if you need to be rushed to the hospital.

Until Next Time,

-M