Valentine’s Day at Walt Disney World: Romance and Family Fun

Valentine’s Day at Walt Disney World: Romance and Family Fun

Valentine’s Day at Walt Disney World: Romance and Family Fun

Yes, that sometimes chaotic theme park in central Florida can be a romantic and fun option for the upcoming holiday. Let’s take a look at how you can enjoy Valentine’s Day at Walt Disney World!

In your planning process, make sure to take the photographic tour of our favorite hotels for couples at WDW.

Valentine's Day at Walt Disney World

Opt for family fun, romance, or a combination of both vacation styles for your Valentine’s Day at Walt Disney World. As you plan your special day, you’ll find temptations all around the resorts and parks. From red and white festive baked goods to holding hands in the Haunted Mansion, your theme park day is sure to be a memorable celebration.

Of course, you can splurge on special events, magical add-on experiences, or candlelit meals. Or you can keep it simple with a cupcake, balloon, and moonlit walk.

A pink Mickey balloon shimmers in front of Cinderella Castle.

Get your sweetheart a balloon.

Whether you tour with your loved one or the whole family, be sure to get PhotoPass pictures taken to commemorate your Valentine’s Day at Walt Disney World on February 14th!

2018 Valentine’s Day at Walt Disney World Details

Special Treats

As with all holidays and celebrations at WDW, the bakeries will showcase specialty treats. Mickey Mouse shaped cookies, Mickey Mouse Rice Krispy Treats, and an assortment of cupcakes will boast colorful sprinkles and frosting. And that’s just for starters. Take a look at these special treats found on a past Valentine’s Day at Walt Disney World:

An example of the Valentine's Day Treats that you may find in Walt Disney World.

An example of the Valentine’s Day Treats that you may find in Walt Disney World.

If you plan to visit the Magic Kingdom, a visit to the Main Street Confectionery is a must for you and your sweetie(s).

You’ll find shopping, dining, and entertainment at Disney Springs. At Sprinkles, you’ll find new seasonal cupcakes — Raspberry Chocolate Chip or Red Hot Velvet. Or indulge in a scoops of  Cherry Vanilla ice cream now through February 28!

Romantic Restaurants at Walt Disney World

If you’re looking to impress, make an Advance Dining Reservation at the five-diamond Victoria & Albert’s restaurant at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa.

Other fine dinner choices include the award-winning California Grill at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Narcoossee’s with its waterfront real estate at Disney’s Grand Floridan, the unique ambiance of Jiko at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, or the Pacific Northwest décor at Artist Point at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge.

For in-park dining, consider Monsieur Paul and Chefs de France in Epcot, Tiffins in Animal Kingdom, Be Our Guest at Magic Kingdom, and Hollywood Brown Derby at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

We loved our meal at The Boathouse at Disney Springs on a previous Valentine’s Day at Walt Disney World!

The Boathouse Disney Springs Walt Disney World Valentine's Day Dinner

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Most restaurants will require booking 180 days in advance, especially for holiday dining. However, last minute cancellations do occur, so keep checking!

WDW Add-On Experiences

Valentine’s Day Spa Package

Created exclusively for Valentine’s Day in Walt Disney World, Senses – A Disney Spa has announced the “Part of Your World” package.

From February 10 – 18, 2018, the package includes a couple’s massage with apricot-infused body oil, a chocolate hand-hydration treatment, sparkling wine served in a chocolate champagne glass and a take-home, custom-blended bath salt.

$340 (plus tax) for 50 minutes and $450 (plus tax) for 80 minutes. A 20 percent gratuity is added automatically. Disney Vacation Club Members (DVC) will receive a 15 percent discount by calling Member Services.

To schedule, call (407) WDW-SPAS or (407) 939-7727.

Candy Apples dressed up for Valentine's Day at Walt Disney World.

Dressed up for Valentine’s Day.

Walt Disney World Date Ideas

  • Dine at Narcoossee’s, watch fireworks, then stop by Disney’s Grand Floridan Lobby to listen to the Grand Floridian Society Orchestra.
  • Stroll around the Boardwalk at Disney’s BoardWalk Inn, sip on a cocktail at Belle Vue Lounge, and share an ice cream flight at Ample Hills Creamery.
  • Keep your eye out for seasonal flavors at the specialty shops at Disney Springs.
Valentine's Day Seasonal Flavors at Vivoli il Gelato in Disney Springs

Valentine’s Day Seasonal Flavors at Vivoli il Gelato in Disney Springs.

    • Take a moonlit walk outside and look for giraffes. Sit by a wood-burning fire and share roasted marshmallows. Wherever you roam at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, you’ll find family fun and romance due to the exotic ambiance.
Iced Sugar Cookie Valentine's Day at Walt Disney World

Beautiful Valentine’s Day cookie treat!

  • From Port Orleans Riverside, take a horse-drawn carriage excursion. Reserve your extra-fee ride in advance by calling (407) WDW-PLAY. Afterwards, take the Sassagoula River boat to Disney Springs for more shopping, dining, and entertainment options. Don’t forget to get a treat at Goofy’s Candy Company!
  • Dine at a Disney Springs restaurant, then shop for sweets to share back at your resort.
  • Play mini-golf before heading to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Take the plunge together on Tower of Terror.
  • Go horseback riding at Disney’s Fort Wilderness, followed by a dinner and show at the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue.
  • Look for Hidden Mickeys — every time you find one share a kiss.

Family Fun on Valentine’s Day

Most of the date ideas above can be customized for family fun. In addition, you may want to try these family-friendly options:

  • Guests ages 7 and up can learn archery at Fort Wilderness. Pick up supplies at the Meadow or Settlement Trading Post and have a picnic.
  • Visit a water park, then return to your hotel and sip hot chocolate.
  • Have each family member choose part of the day’s itinerary. One person can choose where to breakfast, another can pick the afternoon activity, and so on. Finish the day with an outdoor movie at your resort.
  • Speaking of movies, why not head to the AMC Disney Springs 24 Dine-In Theatres?!
  • Take the monorail or boat from the Magic Kingdom to the Grand Floridian, Polynesian Village, and Contemporary resorts. At each stop, choose a favorite or new-to-you snack. You’ll find Dole Whip at the Polynesian Village. Yum!
Valentine's Day Trivia at Fantasia Market in Disney's Contemporary Resort WDW

Valentine’s Day Trivia at Fantasia Market in Disney’s Contemporary Resort.

The options are endless. These are some ideas to inspire you to find your own special magic during Valentine’s Day at Walt Disney World.

Walt Disney World Date Ideas
Date Ideas for Valentine's Day at Walt Disney World

What’s your ideal date at Walt Disney World?

WDW Table Service Review: Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’

WDW Table Service Review: Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’

WDW Table Service Review: Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’

You must add Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’ restaurant to your next Walt Disney World itinerary. Bless your heart; this is southern comfort food served with innovative style.

Dining Review for Chef Art Smith's Homecomin' Restaurant.

Michael and I booked a meal at this cozy Table Service Restaurant — Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’ — located in Disney Springs.

Chef Art Smith Homecomin Dining Reservation

Lunch at Homecomin’!

Repeat visitors may have noticed the subtle name change here. The restaurant debuted as Homecoming and then took on a more southern sound, Homecomin’. Indeed, Chef Art has brought his culinary skills back to his Floridian roots. In Jasper to the north of Disney World, Chef Art’s mom, Addie Mae, used local ingredients like sugar cane and citrus in her homemade recipes. You’ll find cake on the menu if you have room for dessert; Chef Art baked cakes for Central Foods in the 1981 Magic Kingdom college program. Welcome to Homecomin’!

Homecomin’ Decor

An outdoor patio (and screened porch) welcomes guests to sit a spell while drinking beverages from Shine Bar.

Large dining table at Chef Art Smith's Homecomin'.

Large Dining Table.

Porch at Homecomin'.

Porch.

Beautiful view of Disney Springs from screened porch at Homecomin'.

Beautiful view of Disney Springs from screened porch.

Shine Bar at Disney Springs.

Shine Bar.

Inside, some of the rustic chandeliers boast the wonders of russet potatoes. I’m a starch, lovin’ spud fan so I was already digging the farmhouse ambiance.

Chandeliers at Chef Art Smith's Homecomin'.

Russet Potatoes. Yes, please!

With a late lunch reservation, we were seated quickly inside the quiet restaurant. As the dinner hour neared, the restaurant filled up and the noise level increased. Still, it was a relaxing meal with attentive service.

Local farmers are featured in the dining room at Chef Art Smith's Homecomin'.

The dining room showcases local farmers.

You’ll notice that some tables offer pretty views of Disney Springs.

Tables at Chef Art Smith's Homecomin'.

Tables in Dining Room.

Inside and outside, guests will find mentions of Florida Sunshine and local ingredients throughout the decor.

Open Kitchen Window at Chef Art's Homecomin'

The open kitchen window.

While waiting for your table or prior to exiting the restaurant, look for personal artifacts adorned on the restaurant walls.

Letter from WDW to Chef Art Smith on wall at Homecomin'.

Letter from WDW to Chef Art Smith.

While the ambiance is comforting, the food also sets the mood for an experience to relish.

Homecomin’ Food and Beverages

Local farmers are key to the fresh ingredients showcased on the menu. As you’ll see, this restaurant’s menu is Florida-inspired.

Chef Art Smith's Homecomin' Menu.

Menu.

Beverages include shine on tap, crafty moonshine, resort cocktails, wine, moonshine flights, and beer (drafts, cans, and bottles).

Chef Art Smith's Homecomin' Beverage Menu at Disney Springs.

Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’ Beverage Menu.

Shine Bar at Chef Art Smith's Homecomin'

Shine Bar.

My husband and I both ordered the Thigh High Chicken Biscuits as our entree.

Thigh High Chicken Biscuits

Drizzled with hot honey, three biscuits are filled with Chef Art’s famous fried chicken thighs plus bread and butter pickles. These were absolutely divine.

Thigh High Chicken Biscuits at Chef Art Smith's Homecomin'.

Thigh High Chicken Biscuits.

Thigh High Chicken Biscuits at Chef Art Smith's Homecomin'.

Drizzled in honey!

Typically, southern dinners showcase an assortment of sides that are usually no less delicious than the main course. The choices we made at Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’ did not disappoint. We opted to share the Creamy Mashed Potatoes and Momma’s Mac and Cheese. Both were easily shareable due to the hefty portions and rich flavors.

Creamy Mashed Potatoes

These were a game-changer for both of us. We wondered throughout the meal how a simple dish like mashed potatoes could be elevated to such divine quality. Yes, they are as creamy as they are unforgettable.

Creamy Mashed Potatoes at Art Smith's Homecomin'

Creamy Mashed Potatoes.

Creamy Mashed Potatoes at Art Smith's Homecomin'

Look at that gravy!

Momma’s Mac and Cheese

Please, just order the mac and cheese. First of all, this dish is visually stunning; the family seated near us had to ask what it was so they could order it too.

And every forkful is filled with tender macaroni brimming with cheese.

Momma's Mac and Cheese Chef Art Smith's Homecomin'

Momma’s Mac and Cheese.

It’s impossible to describe the mouth-watering adventure that our taste buds were treated to during this meal. We both agreed that all three of our choices were some of the best food that we’ve ever tasted. We truly left wondering how these simple, southern specialties could be so different from anything we’ve previously tasted. Every bite was savored and yes, we’re going back for more very soon!

Souvenir cups at Chef Art Smith's Homecomin'.

Fun souvenirs.

Recommendation and Tips

Portions are hearty. Share some or all elements of your meal.
Dine early to beat the crowds.
Order an appetizer as your entree; as a picky eater, I’m always a fan of restaurants with apps that are entree-worthy.
Ask your server about the restaurant, Chef Art Smith, and local ingredients. We found out that Chef Art Smith is as generous and kind in person as he is portrayed in the media.
Chef Art stops by about twice per month.
The restaurant features local farmers.

Homecomin Chef Art Smith Merchandise

Check out the merchandise.

Souvenir cups Chef Art Smith's Homecomin'.

Souvenir Cups.

Disney Restaurant Facts

  • Disney Springs/The Landing
  • American Cuisine/Vegetarian Items Limited
  • Kids Menu
  • Casual Table Service/Grab and Go Items Available
  • Some Dining Plans Accepted
  • Menu

Have you dined at Homecomin’ yet? What should we try on our next visit? Contact Us, Follow Us on Twitter, or comment below.

WDW Quick Service Snack Review: Satu’li Canteen

WDW Quick Service Snack Review: Satu’li Canteen

WDW Quick Service Snack Review: Satu’li Canteen

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.

Bioluminescence in Pandora World of Avatar at Disney's Animal Kingdom

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.

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.

Menu Options at Satu'li Canteen at Pandora The World of Avatar.

Menu Options.

Upon arrival, you’ll first notice the outdoor seating area tucked inside the Quonset-hut.

Outdoor seating at Satu'li Canteen.

Outdoor seating.

Tables for Satu'li Guests in Pandora.

Tables for Satu’li Guests only.

Indoor seating is also available. High chairs are stocked for smaller Pandora tourists.

High Chairs at Satu'li Canteen.

High Chairs.

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!

Cast Members at Satu'li Canteen.

Cast Members.

Learn the backstory to Satu'li Canteen.

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.

Satu'li Canteen's backstory is on display in the restaurant's queue.

Backstory items are on display in the queue.

Photographs at Satu'li Canteen.

Photo Wall.

Upon closer inspection, Na’vi artifacts such as tapestries and cookware decorate the canteen.

Na'vi artifacts decorate Satu'li Canteen.

Na’vi artifacts.

Na'vi artifacts decorate Satu'li Canteen at Pandora - The World of Avatar.

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.

Satu'li Canteen

Some equipment has been offworld tested.

Satu'li Canteen is the former mess hall for the Resources Development Administration (RDA).

Former mess hall for the Resources Development Administration (RDA).

Celebrate the Na'vi culture at Satu'li Canteen.

Na’vi cultural influences.

Satu'li Canteen

Satu’li Canteen

Satu'li Canteen.

Satu’li Canteen.

Satu'li Canteen.

Satu’li Canteen.

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 Photograph

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.

Satu'li Canteen

Return dishes here.

Chocolate Cake

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.

Chocolate Cake at Satu'li Canteen in Pandora

Chocolate Cake at Satu’li Canteen.

Now, one of my must eat snacks at Walt Disney World!

Satu'li Canteen serves up a delicious chocolate cake. Visit Pandora!

Order the Chocolate Cake!

Topped with healthy Goji Berries, the current cost is $5.29.

Satu'li Canteen Dessert at Disney's Animal Kingdom

Stop by Satu’li Canteen for dessert.

Pandoran Sunrise

The Pandoran Sunrise is a refreshing balance of Tropical Juices blended with Powerade® Melon for a current price of $4.49. Since it’s non-alcholic, it’s fun for all ages.

Pandoran Sunrise at Satu'li Canteen.

Pandoran Sunrise.

Go ahead and take a sip when it’s time to hydrate. This drink is delicious! And not too sweet. Pineapple fans will appreciate the garnish.

Pandoran Sunrise at Satu'li Canteen at Pandora The World of Avatar.

Pandoran Sunrise – take a sip!

Assorted Fountain Beverages include:
Coca-Cola®, Diet Coke®, Coca-Cola Zero®, Sprite®, Sprite Zero®, Fanta® Orange, Barq’s®, Minute Maid® Light Lemonade, Powerade® Mountain Blast, Vitamin Water [Acai-Blueberry-Pomegranate], Coca-Cola® Cherry, Gold Peak Sweet Iced Tea, and Gold Peak Unsweetened Iced Tea.

The price is a hefty $3.29 as of July 2017, however you’ll enjoy free refills while you dine. For animal safety, Disney’s Animal Kingdom restaurants serve beverages with paper straws.

Diet Coke fountain beverage at Satu'li Canteen.

Diet Coke.

Draft Beer is also offered. You might want to taste test the Pandora Amber Ale or the green-tinted Pandora Grog Ale.

Draft Beer at Satu'li Canteen.

Beer on tap.

Recommendation and Tips

If you’re in a hurry to get back to Earth (or to delve deeper into Pandora’s gorgeous paths), consider Mobile Food and Beverage Ordering via the My Disney Experience app.

Note that picky eaters may have difficulty here although the kids menu will be a safe bet for most guests. Yes, adults can order kid food too!

Nestled within Pandora, Satu’li Canteen provides quick service meals for hungry travelers. We recommend stopping by during your tour.

Disney Restaurant Facts

  • Animal Kingdom Theme Park/Pandora
  • Health Conscious and Vegetarian Options
  • Kids Menu
  • Fast Casual/Quick Service
  • Mobile Food and Beverage Ordering
  • Some Dining Plans Accepted
  • Menu

What item do you most want to try on your tour to Satu’li Canteen? Contact Us, Follow Us on Twitter, or comment below to share your firsthand Satu’li experience.

Disney Trips with Grandparents: Planning Tips for Memorable, Hassle-free Travels

Disney Trips with Grandparents: Planning Tips for Memorable, Hassle-free Travels

Disney Trips with Grandparents

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.

Disney Trips with Grandparents: Planning Tips

The Calendar

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.

Plan a Disney trip with grandparents.

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.

Springtime at WDW. Enjoy family touring at Epcot's Flower and Garden Festival.

Visit WDW during the Flower and Garden Festival in Epcot.

Accommodations

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.

Disney Dream at Castaway Cay

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.

Fun at Disney's Hilton Head Island Resort

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 at WDW.

Port Orleans French Quarter is a charming hotel – a great choice when visiting WDW with grandparents.

Getting There

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.

Air Travel with Grandparents

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.

Itinerary

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.

Fishing Excursions are a fun activity with grandparents at Walt Disney World.

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!

Enjoy relaxation at Disney's Wilderness Lodge

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!

Disney's Hilton Head Island is perfect for a getaway with extended family.

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.

Rest time with grandparents at the Polynesian Resort in WDW.

Parents escape to shop while Nic is being entertained by grandparents during rest time at the Polynesian Resort.

Dining

Just like at home, dining encourages families to slow down and talk. It’s a time to bond with each other.

Bonding time with grandparents on a Disney cruise.

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.

Enjoying a family dinner on a Disney cruise ship

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 in Epcot at WDW

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.

Photographs

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.

Capture your memories with the grandparents.

Pose for fun photographs!

Do not forget to get pictures of you with your parents!

Separation Plan

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.

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.

Don't forget to set up a meeting spot with grandparents when touring a Disney Park.

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.

Try a new activity like karaoke on a Disney Cruise

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.

Grandparent entertains child at WDW.

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.

Buzz Lightyear is a fun ride to share with a grandparent.

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.

Take the grandparents -- Whispering Canyon Cafe is fun for all ages.

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.

Spend time with your extended family in WDW.

Kim and her Mom at Fort Wilderness.

Set Limits

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.

Mickey Ice Cream Bar

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!

Child Tired at Walt Disney World

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.

Let the granparent spoil your child with a Mickey Cookie.

Mickey Gingerbread Cookies are delicious!

Discuss non-negotiables and then let vacation happen! It’s the spontaneous moments that are usually the most prized.

Celebrate Milestones

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

Wishes Fireworks Birthday Cruise

Packing

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!

What are your tips for traveling with grandparents? Contact Us, Follow Us on Twitter, or comment below to share your travel tips.

Stay and Play at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge in Walt Disney World

Stay and Play at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge in Walt Disney World

Ten Reasons to Stay and Play at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

Stay and play at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge (AKL) for an exotic escape from the stresses of the real world. With a unique setting, the resort is perfect for a weekend or week-long visit.

Stay and Play at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge

The immersive experience begins the moment you turn into the driveway of the safari themed lodge.

Landscaping at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

One of the ways that Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge transporting guests to the Great Continent is through the exotic and lush landscaping painstakingly taken care of by Disney horticulturists. From pampas grass to yellow flame trees, the vegetation is reminiscent of Africa for an immersive experience.

Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge Landscaping

Gorgeous foliage!

Pool

I adore the tropical pool areas at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. Both Jambo House and Kidani Village have plenty of outdoor seating, including shade from the canopy of green trees! Uzima Springs at Jambo House is an over 200,000 gallon, zero-entry pool with a gentle water slide hidden within the Floridian palms.

Uzima Springs Pool at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge

Uzima Springs Pool.

Uzima Springs pool at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge has shaded seating.

Shady spots are easy to find!

If your room isn’t ready upon arrival, begin your stay with some poolside fun!

Banana Cabana Adult Beverage at WDW

Banana Cabana. Cheers!

Cultural Representatives

Cultural Representatives feature talks on their homeland — an informative session that takes guests on a journey through Africa. Look at the Recreation Calendar at your resort for times. These chats are held at Kidani Village’s Palace Library and Jambo House’s Sunset Lounge.

Cultural Safari Talk at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge.

Go on a Cultural Safari at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge.

Fun activities are offered throughout the resort.

Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge has fun activities for kids.

Watch for fun activities.

Campfires

Campfires are always relaxing and cozy. Sit around the outdoor firepit at Disney’s Animal Kingdom to unwind in tropical surroundings. Watch for scheduled campfire activities once the current burn ban is lifted. African folktales are still being told at the Arusha Savanna Overlook.

Firepit at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge.

Firepit with cozy rocking chairs.

Restaurants

You’ll find both quick service and table service restaurants within the Animal Kingdom Lodge resort. For fine dining, reserve a table at Jiko!

The Mara boasts a menu with some unique counter service offerings. I’m always hungry for a peanut butter brownie when staying at the Lodge.

Peanut butter brownie at The Mara

More peanut butter!

AKL is also home to my favorite breakfast at Walt Disney World. With beautiful decor resembling an African marketplace and a scrumptious buffet, Boma with its wood-burning grill has remained consistently memorable throughout the years.

Boma Breakfast. Animal Kingdom Lodge. WDW.

Breakfast at Boma is a must!

Don’t forget to try the Frunch. It’s included in your all-you-care-to-eat buffet.

Jungle Juice at Disney's Boma

Jungle Juice at Boma

Cozy Rooms

While you can save money with a standard or pool view, the magic here is in the views of the savanna. However, if you won’t be spending a lot of time at the resort, go easier on your budget but allow time to view the animals from the public overlooks.

One of the best ways to stretch your budget is to play around with your vacation dates. If you can be flexible, you may find some great cost-savings. Try using Undercover Tourist to check room availability and pricing today: Save up to $660 on stays at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge!

Featuring handcrafted furniture, standard rooms are 344 square feet evoking a cozy safari lodge atmosphere.

Animal Kingdom Lodge Room at Walt Disney World

Exotic decor in room.

Savanna Views at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge

Splurge on a Savanna View!

Animals

If you love animals, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge affords tremendous opportunities to view over 30 species day and night from public overlooks and private room balconies. We love to watch the animals (giraffe!!) roam on this 33-acre savanna!

Giraffe grazing at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge

Giraffe Grazing.

Wanyama Safari

Yes, Wanyama Safari is now open to all guests of Walt Disney World. However, it’s a definite advantage in convenience and time to stay at a resort with so many unique amenities. While the Wanyama Safari costs extra, it’s an amazing adventure that includes an afternoon safari followed by dinner at Jiko – The Cooking Place.

Wanyama Safari at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge.

Wanyama Safari

Architecture and Artwork

Don’t rush by the African artwork at this resort. You’ll find displays of beautiful, handcarved items throughout the hotel. Pair the decor with the impressive architecture and you have a place that makes jaws drop. It’s a truly unique destination right here in the United States.

Animal Kingdom Lodge Lobby at WDW

Animal Kingdom Lodge Lobby

The bridge inside Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge Lobby

Look up at the bridge!

Fun for Kids

Look for games, activities, the Hakuna Matata playground, a kiddie pool, and more at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. For a fun evening at the resort, take in a Movie Under the Stars.

Hakuna Matata Playground at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge

Kids 2-12 years of age are welcome to play!

I hope you’ll find at least one reason to stop by or stay at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. Since opening in 2001, we’ve been repeat guests and will continue to return to this thatched-roof oasis!

Share your favorite reasons to visit Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge! Contact Us, Follow Us on Twitter or comment below to let us know what you think!

Ten Walt Disney World Snacks that You’ll Want More than Once

Ten Walt Disney World Snacks that You’ll Want More than Once

Ten Memorable Walt Disney World Snacks

Here’s a quick list of ten of my favorite Walt Disney World snacks. To be fair, there are plenty more that could be added to this scrumptious inventory. For today, I’m sharing ten really memorable snacks that I’ve enjoyed on multiple trips and sometimes more than once during a single WDW vacation. 😉 Kids and kids at heart will want to find their own best-loved eats and sips!

Walt Disney World Snacks

Raspberry Eclair

My new favorite calorie splurge is the elegant Raspberry Eclair at Amorette’s Patisserie in Disney Springs. Tart and fruity with a white chocolate decoration, I’m not kidding when I say that I’m absolutely craving every gorgeous bite of this treat.

Walt Disney World Snacks - Raspberry Eclair at Amorette's Patisserie.

Raspberry Eclair

Gelato

Choose your favorite flavor of gelato at Vivoli il Gelato in Disney Springs. My pick is always the Piccola Copetta – a choice of two flavors in a cup. My choice scoops? Peanut butter (when available) and chocolate.

Chocolate and Peanut Butter gelato at Vivoli il Gelato

Savor your favorite flavor of gelato.

Gelato from Vivoli il Gelato at Disney Springs

Chocolate and vanilla gelato.

Citrus Swirl

For a Magic Kingdom treat, I head to Sunshine Tree Terrace and dig into a Citrus Swirl. The orange slushie blended with vanilla soft serve is SO refreshing.

Citrus Swirl at Magic Kingdom's Sunshine Tree Terrace

Citrus Swirl

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcake

Originally sold at Starring Rolls Cafe, the Chocolate Peanut Butter cupcake has gone through many variations. However you dress it up (Darth Vader!), it’s still chocolate and smooth peanut butter buttercream — and this mixture makes my heart swoon. You can find it now at other locations in Disney’s Hollywood Studios such as Backlot Express.

Darth Vader Cupcake

Join the dark side!

Peanut Butter Cookie

Found packaged as Minnie’s Bake Shop cookies or in Disney World bakery cases, the peanut butter cookie is thick and chewy with satisfying peanut butter chunks. Choose from Peanut Butter or Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie at Goofy's Candy Company in Disney Springs

Cookie at Goofy’s Candy Company.

Minnie's Bake Shop Cookies

Minnie bakes awesome cookies!

Chocolate Croissant

I adore the Chocolate Croissant at Gaston’s Tavern. It’s also found at several other locations, including some resort food courts. As a breakfast item, I find this snack decadent — hey, it’s vacation, right?!

Chocolate Croissant at Walt Disney World

Chocolate Croissant.

Frozen Lemonade

For a thirst quencher in the Florida heat, nothing’s better than a frozen lemonade. Also, the Magic Kingdom’s Cheshire Cafe has an amazing frozen slushy – raspberry lemonade.

Frozen Lemonade at Walt Disney World

Super refreshing!

Raspberry Lemonade Frozen Slushy Cheshire Cafe

Raspberry-Lemonade Slushy

Beignets

Port Orleans French Quarter fans are already in the know about the beignets. Get them for a snack, dessert, or breakfast! Of course, they are messy but these deep-fried pastries are worth it. Wear that powdered sugar proudly!

Beignets at Sassagoula Floatworks at the Port Orleans French Quarter resort.

Messy but good!

Ice Cream Cookie Sandwich

You’ll find this comforting goodness at several quick-service locations in Walt Disney World. I like it with chocolate chip cookies and vanilla ice cream for old-fashioned, simple flavors. Yum!

Ice Cream Cookie Sandwich in Walt Disney World

Ice Cream Cookie Sandwich – big enough to share!

Peanut Butter Brownie

Nestled in the exotic Animal Kingdom Lodge, The Mara boasts a counter-service menu with some unique items. I’m partial to the Peanut Butter Brownie (yes, I love peanut butter!).

Peanut butter brownie at The Mara

More peanut butter!

I hope you’ll find at least one snack from this list to try on your next visit to Walt Disney World.

Share your memorable Walt Disney World snacks! Contact Us, Follow Us on Twitter or comment below to let us know what to try next!