Paris Travel Theme
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?
This week, I’m taking a look at some Walt Disney World throwbacks. These are things I miss at Walt Disney World. Each week, I’ll add three more items to my list. Some, like Wishes, were removed recently.
My first three Walt Disney World World Throwbacks are…
Chef Remy at Les Chefs de France
An adorable dinner guest, Chef Remy was at his best while visiting tables at Les Chefs de France in Epcot. This was one of my favorite dining experiences, however it ended in October of 2013.
The adorable Chef Remy
Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade
The Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade in Disney’s Hollywood Studios debuted in October 2001. My son’s first visit to WDW was January 2002, thus he grew up watching these floats go by.
Toy Story Float in Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade.
From our seats on the steps of the now-defunct Sounds Dangerous, he had fun waving to the characters. In fact, the variety of characters and fun motor vehicles made this afternoon entertainment a highlight of our Disney World visits.
Hi Mickey and Minnie!
R2-D2 rolled along the parade route! Unfortunately, this parade’s last run was in March 2008.
R2-D2 in the parade.
Mickey’s and Minnie’s Country Houses in Toontown Fair
While this was a small land in the Magic Kingdom, Toontown Fair offered kids and kids-at-heart the chance to tour the homes of Mickey and Minnie. These structures were removed to make way for an updated Fantasyland.
My son toured these houses with wide eyes throughout his younger years. He was fascinated with their homes and was always excited to see where the beloved mice lived. I miss the simplicity of these attractions. While simple, they were extraordinarily magical for children and their parents.
Touring Minnie’s Country House.
What’s in her fridge?
Kids flocked to Minnie’s oven to watch the cake that was baking inside.
Watching the cake bake!
Red Minnie Baby Costume – Mickey Mouse Costumes
While it’s fun to embrace the new happenings at Walt Disney World, every now and then it’s nice to pay homage to the extinct attractions that were special to families.
Contact Us, Follow Us on Twitter, or comment below to share your favorite Walt Disney World throwbacks below.
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Tips for Relaxing at Walt Disney World
Even if you are a frequent visitor to Walt Disney World, you may find it difficult to unwind when you have nearly 50 square miles with very tempting shopping, dining, rides, food, and recreation to explore. Can you really find relaxation during a theme park vacation?
Just today, I was planning my FastPass+ selections and itinerary for a quick trip that we are taking at the end of August. And guess what? I found myself quickly filling up my Disney days from morning to night. Sigh; I know better.
Some of the most priceless moments that I’ve savored at Disney World are those that were during break times. And so, just as soon as I fill you in on these tips, I’m going to revisit my August plans and make sure I’ve allowed time for relaxation at Walt Disney World.
Leave the Real World Behind
Most of us find it fairly easy to purchase and don Mickey Ears. We’re all pretty good at embracing Mickey-shaped food. And I think WDW newbies and veterans alike have no issue with shrugging off stress while riding our favorite attractions.
Mickey Waffle are always fun and delicious to eat!
But, what about technology? Some of us need it for work (even at Disney!). Some of us love sharing our family moments (and favorite Disney snacks!!) on social media. And now, My Disney Experience and other apps make it actually easier to tour Disney World with the use of our smart gadgets.
Meet Anna and Elsa using the convenience of FastPass+
Still, try to allow some time during your Disney days to unplug. Silence your phone while at the pool with your family. Keep your electronic tools quiet during meals. Try taking an entire morning or evening unplugged. After the initial withdrawal, you’ll find these moments liberating.
Nanea Volcano Pool at Disney’s Polynesian Village.
The Road Less Traveled
While you watch the herd of guests run to their first attraction, linger on your way into the theme park. With your FastPasses pre-selected, go ahead and browse the nooks and crannies on Main Street U.S.A. in the Magic Kingdom. Grab a morning pastry and actually sit at a quiet table while the magic wakes up all around you.
Enjoy a pastry with a magical view early in the morning.
Some of my favorite pathways for calm moments at WDW include:
- Along the boardwalk at the Rivers of America in the Magic Kingdom
- In the back of Fantasyland (near the train track) to Tomorrowland in the Magic Kingdom
- The trails at Epcot’s Canada pavilion
- The Hyde Park area and maze at Epcot’s United Kingdom pavilion
- The quiet nooks and crannies within Epcot’s Morocco pavilion
- The off-the-beaten trail between Animal Kingdom’s Africa and Asia
- The walkway between Disney’s Polynesian Village and Grand Floridian resorts
- The walkway between Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside and French Quarter resorts
- The walkway between Disney’s Wilderness Lodge and Fort Wilderness
- The walkway from Disney’s Hollywood Studios to the BoardWalk area
A quiet morning in the Magic Kingdom enjoying one of our favorite walkways.
There are always secluded areas at the resorts to settle back and talk about your day.
Chill out at our resort; I love the Beach Club nooks and crannies for quiet respites.
I can’t stress enough how important it is to dine early or late. If you are touring in the busy season, you really want to grab your quick-service lunch meals right at 11AM. This dining strategy not only saves your family from the chaos of long lines but also gives everyone a chance at unwinding in quieter restaurants. Refreshed and refueled, you’ll be back to touring the park while the crowds are at lunch.
We also like the early strategy for table service lunch as well. We were one of the first patrons at Epcot’s Via Napoli in the picture below and while the restaurant filled up quickly, most of our meal was extremely quiet.
Dine early for quiet dining rooms.
At dinner time, dine early or late. Your hotel’s food court will be chaotic after the parks close, especially when closing hours are early in the winter time. Dine before the crowds return to the resort.
Resort dining will be more relaxing before the crowds return after the WDW parks close.
Try late night dining for empty dining rooms — whether you stop by for a full meal, snack, or beverage, quick service dining rooms are usually quiet later at night.
We like to take a breather at Backlot Express in Disney’s Hollywood Studios before this restaurant closes. Watch the park’s Times Guide for official hours as this venue often shuts down before park closing time.
Late night dining in crowd-free restaurants is a great chance to relax while touring.
Be strong. Fill out your itinerary and then check it over for downtime opportunities. If you are repeat guests, would the family benefit more from riding a couple of your not-so-favorite attractions or swimming in the resort’s pool?
Afternoons are awesome at the Dig Site Pool at Coronado Springs Resort.
And doesn’t that apply to newbies too?! If your heart is not set on seeing the afternoon parade, maybe some time playing miniature golf or enjoying another recreational activity would be more memorable for everyone.
Play Twister at Pop Century!
Take Advantage of FastPass+
Picture this: It’s early morning and my family is waiting at the gates prior to the opening of Disney’s Hollywood Studios. When the park opens, my husband “runs” to Toy Story Midway Mania for FastPasses while the rest of our traveling party grabs food at Starring Rolls Cafe (now closed) or meets in front of Tower of Terror. Yep, that’s how we used to tour.
FastPass+ and My Disney Experience (MDE) allow us to pre-plan many of our must do attractions so that we can slow down and enjoy more leisurely family time at WDW. Now, we are more likely to reserve a nice meal at the park, followed by a leisurely stroll over to our FastPass+ attraction.
Early lunch seating at Yak and Yeti in Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
This strategy really works well on a day that follows a late night in an Extra Magic Hour park. We can then sleep in a bit, enjoy time at the pool, then head to a park later in the day for a meal and our FastPass+ selections. With a teen, late nights and lazy mornings work very well.
On days that we are at a park for rope drop, we are prepared with FastPass+ for morning attractions before heading back to our hotel or Disney Springs later in the day. By mixing up your itinerary, you’ll definitely discover that relaxation at Wald Disney World is indeed possible.
Plan some time at Disney Springs.
With the Epcot festivals becoming longer each year, more runDisney events being added, and Free Dining offers filling in the gaps, Walt Disney World seems to have three seasons: busy, busier, and busiest.
December 19th crowds at the Magic Kingdom. Watch for holiday season to be super busy.
Okay, there are still a few times per year when crowds are really light. We are still fans of late January, for example.
If you can, avoid holiday school breaks as these usually cause a huge influx of guests. Don’t want crowds? Stay away from actual holidays such as New Year’s Eve.
New Year’s Eve crowds in the Magic Kingdom.
The Rest of the World
“There’s more to see than can ever be seen. More to do than can ever be done. There’s far too much to take in here. More to find than can ever be found.” — The Circle of Life lyrics say it all.
Yes, there is more to do at Walt Disney World than touring the four major parks (Magic Kingdom, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Epcot, and Animal Kingdom).
The resort hotels all offer dining and recreational fun for all ages. Take in a campfire night at your hotel or stop by a different resort for a new experience like a Pirate Cruise. The resorts are usually a refuge during the afternoon hours.
Escaping the parks in the middle of the day equals no bus lines and a relaxing, crowd-free resort.
Disney Springs has some of the best shops and dining choices on property. And don’t forget about the water parks and golf courses. Plus, there are out-of-the-park places to watch the high-flying fireworks if you don’t want to return to a park in the evening.
Taking in the Details
Sometimes all you need is a moment of calm in a busy day. Slow down and take in the details all around you; the creativity of the Imagineers is awe-inspiring. Don’t forget to look up, down, and all around.
When you sit and relax, you’ll notice all kinds of beautiful scenery.
Find a place to sit down and just gaze.
The regal architecture of New Fantasyland.
A walk around your resort in the late morning, afternoon, or late evening is a great time to get pictures and unwind.
An evening stroll around Art of Animation.
Vacationing at Walt Disney World can include relaxing recreation.
Play tennis at Disney’s Yacht Club.
From running to horseback riding, you’ll find a plethora of activities to engage in throughout the resort.
Keep up with your fitness routine on a Disney running trail.
Let’s not underestimate the calming effect of a delicious adult beverage.
Adult Beverages at Thirsty River Bar & Trek Snacks in the Animal Kingdom.
Find an out-of-the way location later in the day — we like to sit in the back of Yak & Yeti Local Foods Cafe with a refreshing beverage.
Yak & Yeti Local Foods Cafe is a quiet place in the late afternoon to sip on a beverage at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
Also, resort lounges are a terrific place to hideaway while sipping on an alcoholic or non-alcoholic refreshment and/or relishing some good bites to eat.
Stop by the Martha’s Vineyard Lounge at Disney’s Beach Club resort.
Of course, if you are on a once in a lifetime trip and your priority is to see and do everything that you possibly can, we completely appreciate that mindset. Even so, try to find small breaks to add some relaxation to your Walt Disney World vacation.
It’s your turn. How do you find relaxation at Walt Disney World? Contact Us, Friend us on Facebook, or comment below to share your Walt Disney World tips.
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!
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.
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.
Savor your favorite flavor of gelato.
Chocolate and vanilla gelato.
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.
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.
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.
Cookie at Goofy’s Candy Company.
Minnie bakes awesome cookies!
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?!
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.
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!
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 – 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!).
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!
Ten Epcot Attractions for Younger Kids at Walt Disney World
Epcot is often viewed as a park for older kids and adults. However, there are many Epcot attractions for younger children!
In fact, if you don’t pay a visit to Epcot while the kids are younger, you’ll miss out on some spectacular attractions that may no longer appeal to your brood once they are older.
With that said, I don’t want you to rush into Epcot without a plan. Utilize FastPass+, escape the park during the busiest (and often hottest) afternoon hours, and/or take breaks when needed. Epcot requires a lot of walking. A lot.
Tired feet will appreciate taking a Friendship Boat across World Showcase Lagoon.
Even with a teen, we tend to tour Epcot on two separate days. We might tackle Future World one morning, and then World Showcase on another evening. Of course, park hoppers help to break up a tiring Epcot day. There are many options for breaking up Epcot days, including touring until the International Gateway in World Showcase and then taking a boat to Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
Hop on a Friendship Boat.
If you are a one park per day family, then plan for rest stops. If you aren’t returning to your hotel for a mid-day break, then be sure to sit for small respites — Epcot has some wonderful hidden areas (the park in United Kingdom is a favorite!) where you can relax.
Hyde Park is a lovely place to relax with the family.
Future World Attractions
Touring these Future World attractions first thing in the morning or later in the day (early evening is optimal!) is a good strategy for less crowded conditions. However, since these attractions are not headliners, you may be able to visit throughout the day with little to no wait, depending on the time of year that you visit. Of course, school holidays always yield longer lines.
The Seas with Nemo & Friends pavilion
This pavilion showcases a slow-moving ride in a “clamobile”. Join Pixar friends Marlin and Dory as you search for Nemo through vibrant ocean scenes. After, explore the 5.7 million gallon salt-water tank filled with sharks, dolphins, turtles, and more species. Don’t miss my favorite area — the manatee rehabilitation room. Love those “sea cows”!
Plan to see the first show of Turtle talk with Crush. It’s not-to-be-missed for younger kids and their parents. Children will be invited to sit on the floor in the front of the theater, so that they can peer into the undersea window and vie for a better position in which to chat with Crush. Innocent questions posed by the offspring can result in memorable laughs. This show is totally cool for your dudes and dudettes!
Coca-Cola fans (and visitors looking for a free thirst-quencher ;)) can sample products from around the globe. Kids of all ages have fun sipping these tasty and some not-so-tasty (yep, I’m referring to Italy’s Beverly) beverages. What’s your favorite?!
Take a sip!
Disney Phineas and Ferb: Agent P’s World Showcase Adventure
Phineas and Ferb’s pet, Perry the Platypus takes on an alter ego, Agent P, in this hands-on World Showcase adventure. Kids of all ages delight in becoming secret agents to help foil arch-nemesis, Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirtz. Clues are sent to a borrowed FONE (Field Operative Notification Equipment) or a family-owned smartphone that direct newly commissioned agents to one of seven World Showcase pavilions. Each location highlights a new 30-45 minute adventure. Try one, several, or all of them!
Help Agent P save the world!
Treats, Toys, and/or Snacks in World Showcase
Look for unique treats, toys, and/or snacks in the World Showcase pavilions. On one Epcot trip, we had our son choose a different candy from each each country — a definite highlight of his vacation. Visit the shops, bakeries, ice cream shops, food stands, and restaurants for a smorgasbord of tasty edibles.
Candy in Epcot’s Japan.
Journey into Imagination
Another slow-moving ride that is perfect for guests of all ages! Dr. Nigel Channing’s sensory labs will delight your senses as you travel through this imaginative journey. Set your imagination free with the mischievous purple dragon named Figment. And, hold your nose in the Smell Lab! There’s a small interactive exhibit, ImageWorks – The “What If” Labs, that follows the ride.
Jump on squares to create different sounds at ImageWorks
Kidcot Fun Stops
Mickey Mouse travels the world with his teddy bear, Duffy. During your adventure around the globe, take a breather while watching the kids join in artistic fun at any of the eleven Kidcot Fun Stops.
Kidcot stations are fun stops in Epcot.
A Cast Member will provide a free cardboard Duffy the Disney Bear for your child to decorate and adorn with a commemorative stamp at each station. Ask the Cast Member about their home country. It’s especially fun to have them write your child’s name in their native language. By the time your World Showcase tour is over, Duffy will be completely decorated for a take home souvenir!
Take a break at Kidcot Fun Stops.
One of the most popular performances to watch with kids is in France. Gravity defying acrobats –Serveur Amusant™ — delight young minds with their balancing acts.
French acrobats amuse young audiences.
Disney characters can be found throughout Epcot. A quick look at the Times Guide (an informational sheet that you can pick up when entering the park) or on your My Disney Experience app will give you the daily schedule for character greetings. Stop by Epcot Character Spot in Future World or seek out Disney friends throughout World Showcase.
Visit characters throughout World Showcase. Don’t forget your autograph book!
World Showcase Diversions
Don’t miss the little things. These unexpected diversions can really add to your youngster’s visit to Epcot.
Watch the train in Epcot’s Germany
Check out the Koi Pond.
World Showcase Attractions
Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros
Young kids love the mystery of Mexico’s pyramid and the twilit Festival Marketplace inside adds to the adventure. Kids like posing for a picture wearing a sombrero, trying out the maracas, and spotting the volcano on the way to Gran Fiesta Tour.
Try a sombrero in Epcot’s Mexico pavilion.
The calm and silly boat ride is inspired by The Three Caballeros, a Disney film that debuted in 1944. What kids enjoy is helping to find Donald Duck. He’s disappeared! So, José Carioca (a Brazilian parrot) and Panchito (a Mexian charro rooster) need your help to find him.
Head inside the pyramid in Epcot’s Mexico.
Frozen Ever After
Travel through Arendelle with Queen Elsa, Anna, Olaf, Kristoff, and other Frozen friends! A “summer snow day” is the perfect time to visit the frozen willow forest, Troll Valley, and North Mountain aboard a gently gliding boat. Along the way, you’ll hear favorite Frozen songs in this attraction at the Norway pavilion in Epcot.
Don’t leave Norway without stopping by Royal Sommerhus to meet Anna and Elsa.
IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth
A memorable fireworks show brings guests together around World Showcase Lagoon at the end of an Epcot evening. Earth’s birth, the history of humanity, and joyful hope for the future are all celebrated in this fiery display. If your little one is unsure of loud noises, visit a nearby shop where the sound will be diminished.
If your child is afraid of loud noises, try watching IllumiNations from inside a shop.
Extra Epcot Tips
Plan a vacation during the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival as the topiary arrangements add an extra layer of free fun to your family’s itinerary.
Check out the floral exhibits at the Epcot Flower and Garden Festival
Never underestimate the allure of the Disney monorail. Take the kids for a ride on the monorail before leaving Walt Disney World!
Consider the Disney Monorail a must-do attraction!
Epcot should definitely be on your touring agenda. These attractions and others like Spaceship Earth will entertain the whole family.
What do your kids enjoy in Epcot?