The Florida sunshine is simply gorgeous (and warm!) during springtime at Walt Disney World. Flowers, smiles, and magical experiences are blooming in every park and resort.
And as spring arrives, pastel colors explode! It’s a whimsical time to visit the Happiest Place on Earth.
Stop by Contempo Café for delicious treats!
Also, springtime in Walt Disney World brings the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival, Spring Break, Easter, and the Star Wars Half Marathon. Plus, Mother’s Day and more!
Epcot’s International Flower and Garden Festival
Even before the official start of the season, Epcot’s International Flower and Garden Festival gets underway. I can’t wait to see what’s blooming next year!.
Find out what’s blooming at the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival.
Here, you’ll want to dig into the tasty bites at the Outdoor Kitchens. Or listen to a concert. My favorite part of the festival? The stunning topiaries! This event is fun for all ages.
You won’t want to miss the topiaries at the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival.
Spring Break Brings Crowds
Spring Break is a popular and thus crowded time to visit WDW; this makes the month of March very crowded. You’ll find springtime touring less chaotic from around the second week of April to mid-May. Of course, the timing of Easter is also a factor.
Still, Spring Break is a great time to visit Walt Disney World. If you’re traveling from a colder climate, you’ll really appreciate the warm, Florida sunshine. You can explore the theme parks day and night or opt to relax by your hotel pool. With so many things to see and do, this is a Spring Break location that promises fun for all ages.
Easter at Walt Disney World
Look for treats, eats, and customized baskets. Buy a pre-made basket or build your own! You’ll find Mr. and Mrs. Easter Bunny greeting guests in the Magic Kingdom. Look for other Easter activities at the resorts.
Don’t miss a smorgasbord of shopping, dining, and entertainment at Disney Springs.
Vera Bradley bags are great for Easter and Mother’s Day gifts.
Look for colorful merchandise.
Star Wars runDisney Event
Runners will want to start prepping for this event usually held in April. Get your race on!
Spring Activities at Walt Disney World
Find a place to picnic. We love these outdoor tables at All-Star Music Resort.
Swimming at your resort pool.
Visit a water park.
Have an outdoor picnic.
Watch an outdoor movie.
Sit by a campfire.
Watch your resort’s activity schedule for Easter festivities.
Rent a boat — cruise on a lagoon, go fishing, or take a fireworks cruise.
Outdoor Activities at Polynesian Village Resort
Spring in Walt Disney World is rejuvenating! Are you ready to say goodbye to winter hibernation, boots, and heavy coats?! If so, plan a weekend or week-long stay at the Walt Disney World resort in Central Florida.
What’s your favorite time of the year to visit Walt Disney World? Do you have a favorite spring activity that you must do on every WDW trip?
Bienvenue à Paris – welcome to our Paris Travel Theme.
An iconic landmark.
You’ll never forget your first trip to Paris. Steeped in romance and indulgence, the streets lined with bakeries and boutiques are sure to delight your senses. Around every corner, history and art merge in memorable architecture. And if you love the Eiffel Tower (and puzzles) as much as I do, try the Eiffel Tower 3D Puzzle!
Arc de Triomphe.
Paris will likely stop you in your tracks — countless times as you explore this very special city. From the labyrinth hallways at The Louvre to the awe-inspiring, sky-scraping Eiffel Tower, there are sights to take in all around you. Step inside the treasured buildings for jaw-dropping scenery.
Inside Notre Dame.
Paris captures hearts and makes you fall in love with architecture, history, art, food, and wine.
Paris Las Vegas Hotel and Casino
While the splendors of Paris are difficult to duplicate elsewhere, travelers can find a small taste of Paris while vacationing in Las Vegas. At Paris Las Vegas you’ll find the excitement of the City of Lights. There’s even a crepe stand inside. YUM!
A small dose of Paris in Las Vegas.
Full hotel review — coming soon!
France Pavilion in Epcot
Walking through Epcot’s France pavilion, Walt Disney World guests can sample Parisian food and wares.
View of France Pavilion in Epcot.
From the bakery to the ice cream parlor to the crepes on the street, Epcot’s France pavilion serves up plenty of sweet treats. Table service dining is a huge draw here too. Ever since Chef Bocuse first opened Les Chefs de France at Epcot in 1982 (it was the first and only Bocuse-affiliated restaurant in the U.S.A.), guests have been savoring the sips and bites at this family-friendly location.
We always start our meal with the French Onion Soup.
Baked to perfection!
Bonus Paris Travel Theme: LEGOLAND
Even built with LEGOs, Paris themes are recognizable.
LEGOLAND California features The Paris Las Vegas Hotel among the other hotels on the Las Vegas strip. Want to impress the kids? Take them to a LEGOLAND park!
Paris Hotel built from LEGOs.
Paris Las Vegas Hotel at LEGOLAND Florida.
Paris is love at first sight. Travel to Paris via France, Epcot at Walt Disney World, or Las Vegas!
What’s your favorite place to tour in Paris? Do you have a Paris themed travel idea to share?
Disney’s Animal Kingdom: Ten Expedition Tips for Pandora
Pandora – The World of Avatar opened on May 27, 2017 in Disney’s Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World. While fans of “Avatar” and the Animal Kingdom wondered how this mythical land would come alive, the unveiling of Pandora quieted the skeptics with out-of-this-world scenery. Nearly ten years after “Avatar” touched viewer’s hearts at cinemas, Pandora is now experiencing intense fandom.
With peak crowds rushing to Pandora and waits for Flight of Passage over two hours, I wanted to share these tips before you journey to this exotic land. Don’t miss a thing; Pandora is worth the effort!
It’s time to step inside the Valley of Mo’ara; here are your expedition tips:
Welcome to the Valley of Mo’ara.
FastPass Plus for Pandora Attractions
My Disney Experience and FastPass+ (FP+) are going to be your must-use tools for a visit to Pandora.
I recommend narrowing down your FastPass+ choices before your booking window opens. Book your Animal Kingdom day first, and grab any availability for Flight of Passage. If it’s not available on your first-choice touring day, go to your second choice, and so on. You can go back and edit your FastPasses and touring plans once you secure a FastPass for this incredible attraction.
Flight of Passage Queue.
What if you don’t secure a FastPass+ before your Walt Disney World Arrival day? Don’t panic. In fact, the same thing happened to us recently. I kept looking for availability and one popped up while we were at Walt Disney World. It was about midnight when I secured the FP+ for a late Animal Kingdom morning that was three days away. Score!
What if you are unable to reserve a FastPass for Flight of Passage? You have two options: one, plan to be at the Disney’s Animal Kingdom one hour before opening and put yourself in the swarm of early-risers headed for Flight of Passage. Two, enter the standy-by line about 60-90 minutes before park closing.
To appreciate Pandora’s beauty and excitement, it’s not necessary to see the film. However, your personal journey to Pandora will be somewhat richer after seeing the movie. Consider “Avatar” to be a familiarization travel video. Then, let yourself wander Pandora and experience the interactive power of nature.
The power of nature.
Visit Pandora Day and Night
Repeat visitors to Walt Disney World already know that many attractions should be seen in the daylight and after nightfall. However, this is absolutely a must for the bioluminescent world of Pandora.
You’ll see and hear details by day and by night that are of otherworldly beauty. Visually inventive, Pandora’s emotional resonance is memorable for the whole family.
Sample the Unique Food and Beverages at Pandora
Fortify your troops at Pandora’s Quick Service Restaurant — Satu’li Canteen.
The friendly expats working at Pongu Pongu have concocted some unique frozen cocktails. Get one with a glowing Unadelta Seed!
Pongu Pongu in Pandora.
Bonus Tips: Satu’li Canteen is a welcoming refuge from the elements. However, this place gets jam-packed by lunch time. A word of caution: signs note that tables are for the canteen’s patrons only. Really need a respite? Get a beverage and small snack!
Dining Room at Satu’li Canteen.
To save time, use Mobile Order to pre-order your meal at Satu’li Canteen.
Save time with Mobile Order.
Plus, you’ll want to see the morning “entertainment” here:
Yes, we did jump the “rocks”!
Avatar Flight of Passage – a Pandora Thrill Ride
Relive one of the film’s powerful scenes by taking your own flight atop a banshee. Imagineering marvels outdid themselves when they created this 3-D simulator. It’s a multi-sensory thrill ride like none other at Walt Disney World.
RDA – Mining the Universe, together
So, there are no disappointments, note before your visit that the minimum height for riders is 44 inches.
Na’vi River Journey through Pandora
Gently floating down this mysterious river, your reed boat will journey through exotic caves filled with wondrous plants and creatures. Through music, the Na’vi Shaman of Songs fills the rainforest with positive energy.
Watch the Weather on Pandora
Disney’s Animal Kingdom has always been the park that our family avoids on rainy days. It’s also a really tough park to tour in the Florida heat and humidity. While the park is lush with greenery, it’s difficult to find air-conditioned spots to recharge and dry areas to get out of storms. This is even more of a concern in Pandora.
On a recent visit, we had to wait for our FastPass+ time at Na’vi River Journey underneath a sparse tree that did little to keep us from getting soaked in the pouring rain. After the attraction, we found a hidden cave to escape the downpour and lightning. Yet, a lot of Pandora visitors were heading to Discovery Island to seek shelter. Expect long walks to find a place to take cover and be prepared with rain jackets or ponchos.
Shop at Windtraders
Even on Pandora, the main attraction, Flight of Passage, dumps you right into a gift shop. Or you can enter at your leisure.
Windtraders has an assortment of mystical treasures to take back to Earth. Look for items that glow in the dark, an Avatar Maker, Adopt a Banshee opportunities, and all kinds of souvenirs.
Take a souvenir back to Earth!
Be an Explorer
Informative Alpha Centauri Expeditions (ACE) guides can teach you Na’vi phrases, point out special plants and creatures, and answer your questions about this exotic land.
In this interactive world, find the creatures and plants that react when touched by a human. Will it light up, mist, or spit? You’ll only find out if you take time to explore!
Flaska Reclinata, near the entrance to Pandora, sprays a mist of spores when humans transfer their energy by touching it.
The landscaping is stunning!
Lush landscaping and floating mountains.
Bonus Tip: Look for two Wilderness Explorer stations in Pandora. Kids can begin Wilderness Explorers at any station throughout Disney’s Animal Kingdom. These are fun and free activities for young trekkers.
Earn Wilderness Explorer Badges.
Visit During Extra Magic Hours for WDW Resort Guests
While you’ll be arriving Pandora with many other excited trekkers, Walt Disney World hotel guests can still get ahead of the masses by touring on a day that Disney’s Animal Kingdom has a scheduled morning Extra Magic Hour.
Explore nature in Pandora.
Bonus tip: Get a FastPass+ for later in the morning so that you can ride Flight of Passage twice!
With some advance planning, your adventure to Pandora can be stress-free.
Contact Us, Friend Us on Facebook, or comment below to share your tips for exploring Pandora. Let us know when you’ll be traveling to Pandora!
Situated on a well-traveled corner of Main Street U.S.A. in Disney’s Magic Kingdom, the Main Street Confectionery is adored by first time visitors and repeat guests of Walt Disney World. Fashioned after a candy store from a bygone era, the sights and smells lure passersby during their morning, afternoon, and evening strolls.
Main Street Confectionery in the Magic Kingdom.
Did you know that this beautiful venue is sponsored by Smucker’s®?
J.M. Smucker’s is the sponsor of this venue.
Nostalgic sweets such as cotton candy, candy apples, and fudge are always available to curb your snack cravings. And this beloved candy shop is also known to debut all-new treats and new flavors of already popular snacks.
After making your purchases, take your treats outside and admire the creative window displays.
Main Street Confectionery Window Display.
Main Street Confectionery Window Display.
While waiting in line (yes, this place gets busy!), take a close look at the decor. For example, the art of chocolate making is showcased on several signs throughout the shop.
The art of chocolate making.
Or watch the Cast members as they create some of the amazing confections that are oh-so appealing.
Watch cast members make creative sweets.
Look for seasonal decor to add whimsical ambiance during holiday seasons.
Halloween at the Main Street Confectionery.
Best of all, step inside to admire (and taste test) the featured treats.
Rice Krispy Pumpkin Treats
Holiday Rice Krispy Treats in the Bakery Case.
Bakery and Candy Case
Mickey Macarons, sometimes in holiday colors, are delectable sweets to eat on-the-go.
Popular with many guests, candy apples are decorated before making their way to the candy cases. These creations are stunning. Candy apples are decorated with various candies and/or in festive themes.
Beautiful Candy Apples.
Watch your favorite treats being made.
Created with caramel, milk chocolate, Macadamia nuts and a dark chocolate Mickey piece, the Micky Macadamia Nut Cluster is sometimes featured in the confectionery cases.
Mickey Macadamia Nut Cluster.
Another option: Curb your sweet tooth with a marshmallow pop — Mickey-shaped, of course.
Mickey Marshmallow Pops.
During your visit, watch eye-catching cotton candy being spun by Cast Members, then purchase a fresh bag.
Cotton Candy Window.
Fresh cotton candy.
Kids and kids-at-heart love cotton candy.
Jolly Berry Strawberry Flossugar by Gold Medal is pre-mixed and boasts vibrant colors.
Flossugar for cotton candy making.
Another favorite theme park snack — popcorn! Scan the shelves for your favorite flavor or a new-to-you variety.
Now that you’ve chosen a delightful goodie, it’s time to find a nearby table. I love finding hidden nooks within the Magic Kingdom and highly recommend the side streets along Main Street U.S.A. for quaint seating during morning or late evening hours.
Find tables down this side street off of Main Street U.S.A.
Main Street Confectionery Tips
Ask to have your candy apple cut into bite size portions. Don’t forget to take pictures first!
Avoid the park closing rush and get your goodies earlier in the evening.
Utilize your snack credits if you are on the Disney Dining Plan.
Contact Us, Follow Us on Twitter, or comment below to share your must-have treat from the Main Street Confectionery.
Now that our family has made the exciting trek to Disney’s Animal Kingdom to explore the all-new Pandora – The World of Avator, it’s time to take a look at some of our latest Walt Disney World trip highlights. We discovered the treasures within this new land by day and by night, including a visit to Satu’li Canteen.
Pandora’s night time illumination is awe-inspiring.
During a quick walkabout to get more photographs, Michael and I surveyed the provisions available at Pandora’s Quick Service Restaurant — Satu’li Canteen.
As expected, the bounty grown in Pandora boasts fresh ingredients of wholesome grains, crunchy vegetables, and hearty proteins. Satu’li Canteen, therefore, features many health-conscious menu items that can be customized at breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Upon arrival, you’ll first notice the outdoor seating area tucked inside the Quonset-hut.
Tables for Satu’li Guests only.
Indoor seating is also available. High chairs are stocked for smaller Pandora tourists.
Weary travelers will discover that the venue is now owned and operated by Alpha Centauri Expeditions (ACE). ACE is the sole provider of eco tours to Pandora from Earth. And you’ll be so glad that you took the tour!
Photos and letters are framed near the ordering queue.
Look for documents that explain the backstory of Satu’li Canteen, including a document signed by Marshall Lamm, ACE’s founder. Pictures show his successful efforts to partner with the Na’vi.
Backstory items are on display in the queue.
Upon closer inspection, Na’vi artifacts such as tapestries and cookware decorate the canteen.
Satu’li Canteen Decor.
Na’vi art and culture is celebrated throughout this former RDA (Resources Development Administration) mess hall. Look for Earth references as well.
Some equipment has been offworld tested.
Former mess hall for the Resources Development Administration (RDA).
Na’vi cultural influences.
Our first visit to Satu’li Canteen was for an early afternoon snack accompanied by thirst-quenching beverages. We needed a quick recharge and hydration as the summer heat was zapping our strength as we hiked through the Valley of Mo’ara.
Valley of Mo’ara.
My husband and I shared a Chocolate Cake, Pandoran Sunrise, and Diet Coke from the fast-casual menu. One of the nice perks of dining here — your food selections will be served on beautiful dishes with nice cutlery. After dining, return your Earthly materials to these bins.
Return dishes here.
The chocolate cake was quite airy. And while I wasn’t sure how the crunchy cookie layer would play out, it was an absolute winner. You’ll want to get some of that scrumptious banana cream topping and crunchy bottom in every bite.
Since our son was born, we have traveled to many locations where we took his grandparents with us or met up with them at our destination. With some advance planning, multi-generational travel can be fun for the whole family.
If your parents and/or in-laws enjoy traveling, then consider a Disney trip with grandparents. Yes, it’s a little extra work to make sure everyone’s idea of vacation is implemented, however the memories made will be priceless.
Once everyone is on board to make a multi-generational trip a reality, the first step is coordinating calendars. First, gather dates that are available for each member of your traveling party, see what dates are mutually convenient, and then price out your vacation.
Nic and Nana with Mickey. Plan the best time of year to visit WDW for your family!
You may want to travel when prices are lower or your first priority might be to share a holiday or enjoy a certain type of weather. Once you get this first stage of planning coordinated, everything else will begin to fall into place.
Visit WDW during the Flower and Garden Festival in Epcot.
Discuss the type of accommodations that are suitable for each traveling party as well as the price point that everyone is comfortable spending.
For a Disney cruise, you’ll want to decide on the type of stateroom desired and whether or not you want adjoining or connecting cabins.
Decide which staterooms are best for everyone in your traveling party.
At Disney’s Hilton Head Island, we recommend reserving a two bedroom villa for a mixture of privacy and family togetherness.
Disney’s Hilton Head Island Resort
Headed to Walt Disney World? You will have a large assortment of hotels to choose from. Will you camp? Stay in a cabin? Reserve rooms at a value, moderate, or deluxe resort? Or perhaps, you’d like to rent a condo off-site. There are also villas available from studios to multi-bedroom options at the Walt Disney World resorts.
Port Orleans French Quarter is a charming hotel – a great choice when visiting WDW with grandparents.
Now you need a plan to get the family to your Disney destination. Each travel party should choose the type of travel (car, train, plane) that best suits their budget and travel preference.
Nic and Nana waiting to board airplane.
If you live in different cities, will you meet up and then continue on to your destination or meet up at your Disney locale? Either way, specify clear departure and arrival times and keep everyone posted if travel delays are encountered.
Before you leave home, you’ll want to have some idea of the preferred vacation desires of each traveler. Does Grandma want to shop when the ship docks in the first port of call? Is Grandpa wanting to fish or play golf? Perhaps the kids want to ride Dumbo with their grandparents followed by lunch at Be Our Guest. While compromises will have to be made, it’s important to try to accommodate varying vacation styles, likes, and dislikes.
Take a Fishing Excursion at Walt Disney World.
And no one is immune to getting cranky when they are exhausted. You’ll enjoy more quality moments together if everyone is well rested. So, do allow down time for relaxing pursuits such as afternoon naps, hanging out at your resort, and poolside fun. It’s a vacation, not a marathon!
Relaxing at the Wilderness Lodge.
Be flexible. If Grandpa and/or the parents need a rest, let them sit down in the shade while Nana takes the kids on a Disney ride. Parents want to do some shopping? Grandparents can watch the kids at the playground. The best part of a multi-generational trip is being able to spend time together and sometimes that means the kids alone with grandparents or the moms hanging out by the pool while the dads play horseshoes. There are countless special bonding opportunities!
Grandpa, Dad, and Nic playing horseshoes at Disney’s Hilton Head Island Resort.
Also, allow for everyone to have some alone time. This can be during an early morning, afternoon down time, or evening. Allow those travelers needing extra rest to sleep in and then meet up for lunch.
Parents escape to shop while Nic is being entertained by grandparents during rest time at the Polynesian Resort.
Just like at home, dining encourages families to slow down and talk. It’s a time to bond with each other.
Nic escorts Grandma to dinner on the Disney Dream.
On a cruise ship, dinner can provide the opportunity for the family to meet and discuss the different activities that each family member enjoyed that day. Or maybe Grandma wants to hear about your latest school projects.
Animator’s Palate on the Disney Dream.
When traveling with differing ages, you’ll also want to keep in mind a few things when planning reservations. Do you have picky eaters? Does anyone need to eat at a certain time? Any allergies or other dining considerations to be aware of? Ask — before you make reservations.
French Onion Soup at Les Chefs de France.
By taking into consideration these dining preferences, you’ll set up meals that can be enjoyed by everyone.
Capture the memories. Now is the time to let the grandparents pose and smile with their grandkids or get group pictures. However, grandparents can also help take pictures of your family — since the photographer is usually missing from a lot of photos, let a grandparent take photographs of you, your spouse, and the children.
Pose for fun photographs!
Do not forget to get pictures of you with your parents!
There will come a time when you think you are all together, and then… you’re not. Perhaps Grandpa and Dad stopped to look at old-fashioned fudge in the Main Street Confectionery and lost sight of the group. Or Mom stopped to take another picture and she’s been left behind. Whatever the reason, you’ve lost your group and having a plan will get you back on track.
Main Street Confectionery in the Magic Kingdom.
Your plan should go beyond “text if we get separated” because sometimes a phone is left in a room or a battery dies. If you are in the Magic Kingdom, for example, you may want your contingency plan to be a meeting point such as in front of Crystal Palace Restaurant.
Crystal Palace Restaurant in the Magic Kingdom.
A separation plan is for the whole family – kids, parents, and grandparents!
Try Something New
Experiencing a new restaurant, attraction, or activity together creates an instant bond and provides fun conversation for later in the vacation.
Karaoke on the Disney Dream
Age is Relative
The kids are never too young or too old to enjoy time with grandparents. It’s a win-win for everyone.
While the parents take a break, Grandpa plays with Nic at WDW. Hope his back didn’t hurt too much later that day!
Parents get a little break from parenting around the clock, grandparents get to spoil and create lasting bonds, and kids get to soak up the unconditional love from everyone. Plus, your offspring learn to respect their older counterparts and that age is relative; grandparents are fun too.
Challenge Grandma to a spin on Buzz Lightyear.
Then those little ones become young adults before you know it. Sure, teens may go off on their own and meet up only for meals and a few designated activities, yet the conversations when everyone is together are sure to be interesting. And even the teens will remember the laughs they’ve had with their grandparents.
Whispering Canyon Cafe is fun for all ages.
Don’t forget that traveling with your own parents is a great way to reconnect, especially if you live in different cities/states.
Kim and her Mom at Fort Wilderness.
If you are absolutely against your child staying in the parks without an afternoon nap break, set a limit. However, allow plenty of opportunities for the grandparents to spoil your kid(s) or to help out.
Nana spoils Nic with a Mickey Ice Cream Bar. Priceless moment!
On one day in the Magic Kingdom, our son was exhausted. Grandma gave him some sips of a soda and he perked right up. Now, did that lead any of us to start putting soft drinks in his sippy cup? Of course not. But it did solve an immediate issue without any dire consequences. And we still laugh about that memory that took place 15 years ago!
Time to refuel!
Would you ordinarily allow your kid to race down a hotel hallway? Probably not. But watching Grandpa push a stroller crazy fast down the empty (middle of the afternoon) hallway at the Polynesian Village was harmless fun that filled Grandpa and child with in-the-moment laughter. And still gives us giggles when we remember the fun that they had.
Nana or Grandma wants to buy your kid a stuffed animal or a cookie? Well, as long as your little loved one isn’t begging and taking advantage of the generous grandparent (and doesn’t have an allergy or dietary restriction), then let the grandparent have at it. A bag of spun sugar, a sweet confection, or another furry friend (that doesn’t poop) is not going to cause lasting harm.
Mickey Gingerbread Cookies are delicious!
Discuss non-negotiables and then let vacation happen! It’s the spontaneous moments that are usually the most prized.
While traveling with extended family, celebrate milestones. A graduation, birthday, retirement, and other special occasions become even more memorable when acknowledging them during a vacation.
Wishes Fireworks Birthday Cruise
Don’t forget to pack items that will make your travels easier. Good walking shoes, some moleskin, rain ponchos, and a bag for the stuff you want to haul to the parks are essential. Grandparents will appreciate your preparedness.
Planning your next Disney getaway? Don’t forget to invite the grandparents!
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