How To Spend One Day In Boston

Sometimes because it is part of a larger trip, or because you are just spending the weekend somewhere, you only have limited time in a city full of things to do. Without planning ahead it can be daunting and lead to you seeing practically nothing.

As part of a large New England trip in 2017 my husband and I spent just one day in Boston. Based on that experience I am sharing my thoughts on how to spend one day in Boston as a tourist. 

Getting To And Around Boston

We were staying at a hotel in Portsmouth, New Hampshire and looking to get into and out of the city with relative ease. We took the Amtrak Downeaster from Exeter Station into Boston. In Boston the station was at the TD Garden. This was simple and inexpensive and prevented us from having to drive and park in the city. We were able to walk from the TD Garden to Boston Commons (about 3/4 of a mile) where we planned to start our day. 

Of course driving into Boston is an option but remember that just like most cities you are going to have traffic, and parking can be expensive and limited in key areas. 

If you are flying into Boston than Logan International Airport is going to be your main option. Located in Boston the airport is connected to the T (Boston’s subway) so you can get from the airport to other major parts of the city. 

We found the city to be extremely walkable. For distances that were too far to walk we used the T with has an extensive network of stops all over the city. Of course there are always taxis and ride-share as well. Or you can drive yourself around town.

Historical Sites

Once we arrived in Boston it was about 9am and we had a full itinerary for the day. The first item on our list was the historical walking path that runs through the city and connects all of the major colonial historical attractions, The Freedom Trail. The trail is literally a bricked pathway that runs through the city. Embedded in a sidewalk or other pavement. I highly recommend taking advantage of this trail and all it has to offer. Many of the experiences along the way are free and you will see some truly landmark locations. Plus you can’t get lost! 

Find a map of the trail before you visit or grab one at one of the visitor centers along the way so you know what is coming next. 

You can even sign up for paid guided tours of the trail. 

Some of the buildings along the trail you can enter some you can not. Throughout the day there are also tour guides, lectures, and performances that go on at many of the sites. 

https://www.thefreedomtrail.org

We started at the Boston Commons which was a great starting location as it is one end of the trail, there is even a visitors information booth there. This is also one of the ends of the Black History Trail that runs through the Beacon Hill neighborhood. After a peak at the Massachusetts State House and the park that is the Commons itself we were off following the Freedom Trail.

Stoping at Granary Burial Ground we paid our respects at the graves of John Hancock, Samual Adams, Paul Revere, the victims of the Boston Massacre and even “Mother Goose. 

We continued past the first public school and a few other sites until we reached the Old State House behind which is the site of the Boston Massacre and a memorial in the ground to it. 

At this point in our day we branched out to other activities after which we returned to the Freedom Trail picking it up at Old North Church the site of Paul Revere’s historic ride. Here we happen upon a free lecture being given by a costumed tour guided. Seated in the church pews he discussed the building and the history of Paul Revere. This was a very nice addition to our visit. 

We continued on and made it to our last stop on the Freedom Trail, the Bunker Hill Monument. There is also a Battle of Bunker Hill Museum here but we did not visit it. 

All of the sites on the trail were interesting and walking the trail gave us a peak at a lot of Boston. I highly recommend adding the Freedom Trail to your day. If you plan to walk a good portion of the trial it will take up about half of your day. 

Museums

I would recommend devoting the second half of your day to visiting a museum or two. Boston has a bunch of museums to choose from. These are some of the most popular options and ones I would recommend seeing if you only have a short amount of time. 

  • John F. Kennedy Presidential Library – This museum and it’s library are the living legacy of President Kennedy. Visit the museum to learn all about the history of the Kennedy presidency and to see exhibits like a replica oval office and some of Mrs. Kennedy’s dresses. The museum also offers guided tours. 
  • Museum of Fine Arts Boston – For Art lovers this is where you will want to spend your time. The museum has wide ranging collections from all over the world. 
  • Boston Tea Party Museum & Ship – Enjoy and participate in reenacting the Boston Tea Party with costumed tour guides, a replica ship, and a museum. There are also a lot of kid friendly elements here.  
  • Museum of Science – This is the museum that we visited specifically to see the Science of Pixar exhibit which shows the process of computer animation and the science behind it. As Pixar fans the exhibit was a lot of fun and I would recommend it to fans or those traveling with children. The rest of the museum is your typical city science museum mostly aimed at families with children. 

Sports

Boston is a city that LOVES it’s sports. After a day spent exploring history and museums a great addition to your day in Boston is to take in a game. We choose to add a Red Sox game into our afternoon. After walking the first half of the Freedom Trail and then visiting the Museum of Science. We took the T over to Fenway Park and took in about half of the game before heading off to complete the Freedom Trail. An evening game would have been ideal to fit everything in so keep that in mind while scheduling. 

Fenway Park & The Red Sox – The iconic old school baseball stadium was a fantastic addition to our time in Boston. Even though neither my nor my husband are big baseball fans as a general sports fan he wanted to see Fenway. The Red Sox are something so distinctly Boston that it was a really great addition to our day. The stadium was very easy to get to and if you don’t want to take in a game they offer stadium tours while games are not ongoing. There were also tons of bars and dining options right next to the stadium. It very much felt like it was a part of the neighborhood. 

TD Garden, The Celtics & The Bruins – For basketball and hockey fans this is another great option to take in a game. It is also a much more climate controlled option. Plus the train station is a part of the TD Garden so if you took the train into the city it makes for a perfect end to your day. 

Food

There is plenty of great food to eat in Boston. Our lunch was just some hot dogs and snacks at the baseball game. But for dinner while walking back across the river from Bunker Hill we stumbled upon an Italian restaurant that we loved. Fillipo was a great find for us we loved the food and the atmosphere of a classic Italian restaurant was a lot of fun. There were photos on the wall of the atrium of all the notable people who had dined here including a few Presidents which leads me to believe this place is very popular. It was a fun addition to our evening and I recommend a meal here. http://www.filippori.st

Boston is a great city to spend the day in and it is certainly on my list for a return visit! 

If you are looking to travel to Boston (or anywhere else) I would love to be your travel agent. 

Get expert advice in planning your vacation and a personalized experience at no additional cost to you. 

Contact me at katiev@themagicsyours.com

Follow Me!   https://linktr.ee/katiethemagicsyours

Newport Rhode Island Trip Report

Newport, Rhode Island is a small New England city on the coast of Rhode Island. It was a major 18th century port and still has many Colonial era buildings. Newport is home to many fabulous mansions from the Gilded Age of the late 1800’s. Today sailing and yachting is very popular and prevalent in Newport. It is a popular tourist location with many upscale hotels and dining, many shopping areas, and the ever popular mansion tours, plus water activities. 

The weather here is lovely in the late spring and summer with temperatures from May to September hovering from the low 60’s to mid 70’s. This is peak tourist season. During the winter months it gets quite cold with average highs in the 30’s.

We wanted to visit Rhode Island and choose Newport for its coastal atmosphere and the uniqueness of the mansions. It was a perfect location to spend a few days. 

Getting To Newport

Newport is very accessible by car and relatively close to several major cities. The closest major airport is T. F. Green International Airport (PVD) right outside of Providence, RI. We flew into T. F. Green, picked up a rental car and drove off. The drive from the airport to Newport is around 30 minutes. Newport is on an island but you will not have to worry about ferries as there are bridges that connect the area to the mainland. Overall getting to Newport is very easy. 

Accommodations

We stayed at the Homewood Suites by Hilton Newport Middletown, RI. Which was right outside of the city of Newport. It was a 10 -15 minute drive to most parts of Newport including the Thames St. shopping area and all of the main wharfs. This hotel was a significant savings from staying at one of the hotels that was walking distance to this same area. 

The Homewood Suites brands is one of my favorite hotel brands because you get so much room at a reasonable price point. I would qualify the brand as a little above average with a lot of included amenities though nothing that would be considered luxury. All rooms include a full kitchen and I find them spacious. This location offers studio rooms and one or three bedroom options. We were in a studio. While the interior at this location seemed a little more dated than some other Homewood Suites we have visited I did not find it to be an issue and nothing felt run down or dirty about it. I love that the room had a couch which allows you somewhere comfortable to sit besides the bed itself. The bathroom area here was also spacious with a separation of the sink outside of the closed off shower and toilet area. This makes it easy for multiple people to get ready at once.

The amenities here include a gym and a small indoor pool. There is also complimentary breakfast which we really enjoyed. On weeknights they even have complimentary evening snacks and beverages. A nice coffee and tea set up with fresh fruit was in the lobby throughout the day. 

We chose this hotel to get the full kitchen as we enjoy being able to make some of our own meals. The free breakfast is a huge plus, as is the price point vs. some others in the area. The drive into town was not a big negative for us as it was so short and we only stayed for a few days. I always enjoy a stay at a Homewood Suites and this one was no exception. 

Day One 

We arrived in the mid afternoon to our hotel and after checking in and getting settled we took the quick drive over to the Discover Newport Visitors Center. (aka the Newport County Convention and Visitors Bureau) We found this the most convenient place to park. While the inside of the building itself was not impressive they have restroom and lots of maps and brochures. This is also a hub for many tour companies. From here we walked to Thames Street which is lined with shopping and dining. Some were chain stores but most were small local shops, mostly clothing shops and souvenir stores. We walked over to Queen Anne’s Square for a stroll and then over to St. Mary’s Church to see the church where JFK and Jackie Kennedy were married. 

Next we walked over to the wharfs full of restaurants, bars, and more shops. Here we could take in the sights of the water and many boats. The architecture here was very interesting as well. After exploring several wharfs it was time for dinner. We had made reservations at The Mooring Seafood Kitchen & Bar for dinner. We sat on the patio on the dock with a view of the water and the setting was lovely. The interior of the restaurant was lovely as well. The atmosphere and service here were great. We enjoyed our meal as well sticking to seafood items. I would recommend dining here. 

After dinner we walked back to the car and were back to the hotel. Though parking at the Visitors Center was the easiest way to go it did add a half mile of walking to the end of our day. There were other paid parking options throughout the area but some of the fees are steep and the small lots seemed to fill quickly. 

Day Two

We got up bright and early to drive over to the historic Cliff Walk for a morning walk. The Cliff Walk is a 3.5 mile paved trail along the cliff that boarders the ocean. The walk is in the historic mansion district so on one side you have the ocean and on the other side you have many historic mansions. Access to the Cliff Walk is free of charge and it is open to the public. We arrived around 8:15am on a Sunday to the very small street parking area at Narragansett Ave and 40 Steps. We were able to get a spot to park easily but this area can fill up rather quickly. There were also some porte-potties here the only rest rooms available. One feature of the Cliff Walk is the 40 Steps this is a stone staircase that leads down towards the ocean where you can get a lovely view. We started at the steps as that is where we parked we then started our walk. Even on a very foggy morning the views of both the ocean and the mansions were fantastic. The photo opportunities were great and the mansion views were better than those you would get driving down the street as many of the homes had large walls and gates obstruction the view. Along the Cliff Walk that was not the case and the backs of these magnificent homes were in clear view. The walk itself was rather easy going as most of the pathway is paved or very flat and well worn.  I would absolutely recommend not only taking this walk to anyone visiting but to make it a priority. 

After our walk we hopped back in the car and drove over to Ocean Drive and the popular scenic route Ten Mile Drive. We saw some more mansions and got a closer look at the rocky shores. There were several beaches and parks along the way. We parked in a few of the parking lots along the route and took a little time to explore the shore. 

After the drive we headed back to the hotel to change and have some lunch in our room. Then it was back to the Discover Newport Visitors Center where our afternoon tour was departing from. We took the Viking Tours of Newport’s Grand Mansion Trolley Tour with The Breakers (Tour 2B). The tour vehicle itself was an adorable trolley bus, though it does have wooden benches as seats so it is not the most comfortable ride.  The first portion of the tour was about an hour during which we were driven around the Ocean Drive area and the tour guide provided narration with history of the area, the mansions, and some notable current residents. It was great to get some back story on the homes we had seen in the morning and to see even more. 

For the second portion of the tour we were dropped at The Breakers with house tour tickets and told what time to return to the trolley by. We were dropped right at the front gate so there was not much of a walk at all to get to the entrance. The Breakers is the most famous and grandest mansion in Newport. The summer home of the fabulously wealthy Vanderbilt family and built in the 1890’s. The home is the hight of Golden Age luxury and opulence it was built to showcase the wealth of the Vanderbilts. Today it is owned by the Newport Preservation Society and is a historical landmark. There are several ways to visit The Breakers, you can simply buy a ticket, visit as part of a larger tour as we did, or there are even more in-depth tours offered. We had the normal house tour ticket and it came with an audio tour. The audio tour presented on headphones and a digital device gave a lot of background about what each room was used for, the lifestyle of the family, and the details of what we were looking at. The home itself is nothing short of breathtaking and astounding. The intense level of detail and amount of artwork and craftsmanship is amazing. On the main level each room had something different that would impress you. Upstairs the bedrooms were less elaborate but provided a more intimate look at the daily lives of the former inhabitants. A look into the kitchen on your way out was very interesting as well. Of course there was also a gift shop on site. The restrooms were outside in a separate area so I recommend seeking them out before you start your tour. Honestly you can’t go to Newport without seeing a mansion and The Breakers is the most noteworthy. I really enjoyed the visit here and recommend adding it to your itinerary. However, if you are traveling with young children I would skip visiting this, or possibly any of the mansions. It’s a relatively quiet affair as everyone is listening to their audio tours and basically everything around you is breakable.

We were back on the trolley at our appointed time and taken back to the Visitors Center.  Using the trolley tour made visiting The Breakers stress free and easy. I really enjoyed hearing the history of the mansions and being able to ask questions from the tour guide during our drive. This was a great tour experience. 

After the tour we walked back toward the wharfs. On the way we stoped at the Museum of Newport History. While the upstairs museum exhibit was closed for the day the museum store downstairs was open. This shop had some nice resources about the area for sale. The museum would have been a nice addition to our visit and if I return it will be on my list. 

After a little more window shopping along the way we arrived at our dinner plans, a restaurant on Bowen’s Wharf, The Wharf Pub. We found this location online and it was well reviewed but that was not our experience. The atmosphere was very much of a wharf pub which was what we expected. The burgers and tots that were our main meal were very basic. Though perhaps we should have ordered something more exciting from the menu. What really soured us on the experience was the service. Everyone we encountered had a bit of an attitude where it felt as though they were annoyed we were there. A side salad that my husband ordered came with anchovies and he ordered the salad without them. When the salad arrived there were anchovies. This is an understandable error but when we pointed it out the server simply took the salad in back and picked off the anchovies. This was clear because the salad still tasted like anchovies which is a very distinct taste. I would not recommend dining here. 

After dinner we walked back to our car at the visitors center and went back to the hotel to pack back up as we flew out early the next morning. 

Other Activities 

Of course there are a bunch of other activities in Newport that we didn’t get to partake in. Here are a few highlights. 

More Mansions – There are several other mansions that offer tours and you can even get tickets that cover multiple ones. 

International Tennis Hall of Fame – Tennis fans will want to check out this museum. 

Boat Tour & Water Sports – There are many harbor tours, seasonal whale watching tours, yachting experiences, sailing and more available in Newport. If you want to get out on the water you have a lot of options. 

White Horse Tavern – This is  the “oldest operating restaurant in the U.S.” and is acknowledged as the 10th oldest in the world. This is an upscale dining option serving guests since 1673.

Festivals – There are several annual festivals in Newport that add additional opportunities for enjoyment. These include annual events like the seafood festival, boat show, flower show, and the oyster & chowder festival. Check out the annual calendar here. 

https://www.discovernewport.org/events/annual-events/

Conclusion

Overall as a destination I loved my time in Newport. It is the perfect little town for a weekend getaway or as part of a larger trip through the area. We paired it with time in both Mystic, CT and New Haven, CT and the travel between the three was very simple by car. 

I would recommend Newport for couples, families with teen or adult children, friend groups, and solo travelers. I think you get a great taste and feel for coastal New England here with the added attraction of the mansions which are unique to Newport. 

Newport is definitely on my list to visit again! 

If you are looking to travel to Newport or anywhere else I would love to be your travel agent. Get expert advice in planning your vacation and a personalized experience at no additional cost to you.

Contact me at katiev@themagicsyours.com

Follow Me!   https://linktr.ee/katiethemagicsyours

A Complete Guide To Discovery Island & The Oasis in Animal Kingdom

Disney World and Animal Kingdom are filled with so much detail and so many things to see or do around every corner. For that reason I am breaking down the fun land by land. Here I take a look at The Oasis and Discovery Island inside Disney’s Animal Kingdom. 

The Oasis and Discovery Island are the entrance and the main hub of Animal Kingdom. They immerse you into a world of nature and the wild. The areas are full of animal viewing, food and lots of shopping. Make sure you don’t just skip past this areas when you enter the park. 

Location 

The Oasis is the entrance area to Animal Kingdom as you walk through the Oasis you enter Discovery Island.

Discovery Island is a hub in the middle of the park that connects all of the other lands. This is where you will find the park’s icon the Tree of Life. You can access Discovery Island from any other land in the park and vice versa. 

Animal Kingdom is a large park and it may take longer to get from one land to the next then you think. If you are trying to be on time for a reservation, or FastPass make sure you allow ample time to get where you need to be. 

Attractions

Oasis:

The Oasis Exhibits – Animal Viewing:

Throughout the Oasis you will find lots of animal viewing spots. Take the time at some point during your day to wonder around these pathways and spot some interesting creatures. Some animals found here include giant anteater, boar, barking deer, wallabies and spoonbills.

Discovery Island:

Wilderness Explorers Headquarters:

  • Any Height / Age

Start your wilderness adventure here! Inspired by Up and designed for preschool and elementary children the Wilderness Explorer Outposts can be found throughout the park. But you want to start here at the headquarters. You will embark on a series of nature-themed challenges throughout your day to become an official Wilderness Explorer. You will collect over 25 badges if you complete all the tasks. A great way to add an extra layer of fun and learning to your day. 

It’s Tough to be a Bug:

  • Any Height
  • FASTPASS+ Available 
  • Accessibility: May Remain in Wheelchair/ECV, Audio Description, Reflective Captioning, Assistive Listening, Language Translation Devices

This 4D theatre show takes place inside the Tree of Life and just entering the theatre is fun. The show itself is a story about bugs told with characters from a Bug’s Life. With both animatronics and a large movie screen. It’s a fun experience and the 4D aspects really draw you into the show. But one word of caution for easily startled little ones during one segment the back of your chair produces the sensation of being stung and while it does not hurt it is very startling. The animatronic of the villain Hopper also enters the show suddenly and can be a little scary. I have seen crying small children as a result from both.

Winged Encounters:

This bird show takes place several times a day in front of the tree of life. The show happens in the open so there is no real seating but the show is brief. Watch as trainers interact with macaws. A great experience for bird lovers and a thrill for anyone as the birds will fly right over the crowd. 

Discovery Island Trails – Animal Viewing: 

At your own pace explore the trails surrounding the Tree of Life. Throughout you will find several animal viewing opportunities with vultures, flamingos, otters, tamarins and others. This trails are really beautiful and are easily missed so make sure to add them to your plans. 

Tree of Life Awakenings: 

Throughout the evening the Tree of Life Awakenings show is projected onto the Tree of Life. Animal species you may have seen throughout your day at Animal Kingdom and more are projected on to the tree in a beautiful light show. You might even spot some Lion King favorites. Different portions of the show will happen throughout the night. This is a great option for those who enjoy projection shows but may have children who can’t handle the sound of fireworks. 

Food

For more details about dining at Animal Kingdom check out my blog post all about it. 

https://4ears4eyesforthemagic.travel.blog/2020/07/07/everything-you-need-to-know-before-dining-at-animal-kingdom/

Sit Down Restaurants

Rainforest Cafe:

  • Located at the park entrance at The Oasis
  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
  • Food Style: American
  • Part of a national chain, and one of two locations at Disney World, Rainforest Cafe is an immersive dining environment themed to what else but the rainforest. A great place to eat for families with food options that will please all. Kids will love seeing all the animatronic animals up close and the frequent “thunderstorms” that pass through the restaurant. For anyone with sound or light sensitivities I suggest skipping dining here as it can get quite loud and the “thunderstorms” include lightning. 

Tiffins Restaurant:

  • Located in Discovery Island 
  • Lunch & Dinner
  • Food Style: African, Asian, Latin Cuisine
  • Signature Fine Dining Restaurant = 2 table service credits on the dining plan
  • Tiffins is the only signature restaurant in Animal Kingdom. The theming to world travels and exotic locations is beautiful and fits in perfectly with Animal Kingdom. The food features flavors from around the world. As this is a Signature restaurant which comes with a higher price-tag I would recommend this for adult only parties who consider themselves foodies or are looking for a special meal. If you love Animal Kingdom the decor here shares a lot about the making of the theme park. 

Quick Service Restaurants

Flame Tree Barbecue:

  • Located in Discovery Island
  • Lunch & Dinner
  • Food Style: American
  • Mobile Order Available 
  • Outdoor Seating 
  • You will have lots of BBQ options here, a great place to to get a meal that you can split as you will get a good amount of food from one meal. With all of the snack options around this can be a good way to go for lunch. Split a meal and then grab some fun snacks throughout the day. 

Pizzafari:

  • Located in Discovery Island
  • Lunch & Dinner
  • Food Style: American 
  • Mobile Order Available
  • Indoor Seating 
  • Your go to for pizza in the park, they also offer salads. For dinner family style options are also available which is a good deal for those on the dining plan as you will get a variety of food options for your counter service credit. But it is not the most exciting dinner you could get at the park. 

Stands – Discovery Island

Creature Comforts (Starbucks) -Each park has a Starbucks location and this is Animal Kingdoms. 

Eight Spoon Cafe -Baked mac & cheese

Isle of Java – Coffee and pastries

Smiling Crocodile – Street tacos & tamales

Terra Treats – Pizza 

Bars & Lounges

Nomad Lounge:

  • Located in Discovery Island 
  • A wide range of small plates are offered. 
  • Specially brewed beer – Kungaloosh Spiced Excursion Ale
  • Many cocktail, wine and beer options.
  • A great way to see the vibe and decor of Tiffins without the price as they are located in the same building. 
  • Indoor and outdoor seating.

Characters

Dug & Russell – Meet & greet these characters from Up. 

Mickey & Minnie @ Adventurer’s Outpost – Often the only spot on property to meet and get a photo with Mickey & Minnie together. While they are both present at several character meals it is not normal for them to take photos together at dining locations. Here they are in their safari outfits and ready for an adventure. 

Pocahontas – Located in theDiscovery Island Trail meet the American Indian Princess here. 

Timon & Rafiki – Located in the Discovery Island Trail meet these Lion King favorites.

 

Shopping

The Outpost Shop & The Outpost Cart – The first a last chance to shop at Animal Kingdom these are actually outside of the ticket gate. Pick up some ears for your day at the park of that last minute souvenir. 

Rainforest Cafe Shop – Located inside the Rainforest Cafe this store has a lot of Rainforest Cafe branded merchandise and general rainforest themed items. 

Garden Gate Gifts – Photo services and items, magic bands and more. 

Island Mercantile – This is one of the larger gift shops full of all sorts of general Animal Kingdom merchandise. 

Riverside Depo & Discovery Trading Company – These two connected stores are full of tons of Animal Kingdom merchandise. 

Tree of Life Cart – Apparel and Accessories 

Tiffins Cart – Apparel, pins and more

Pressed Pennies Locations

  • Riverside Depo
  • Island Mercantile 

Pin Trading

Park Entrance  – A large pin board is located by stroller rental and across the street on the other side of the entrance there is a trash can covered with pins for trading. 

Discovery Trading Post –  Ask one of the cast members where the pin trading board is 

Other Conveniences

Smoking Area – Located outside the gate entrance

Guest Relations – Located at entrance gate. If you are celebrating a special occasion make sure to stop by to get a “I’m Celebrating” button. You will also find lost and found  here and be able to get help with any special assistance you may need like translation services or disability access services. 

Storage Lockers – Past the main entrance on your left

Wheelchair, Stroller & ECV Rentals – Located to the right of the main entrance as you enter. 

Disney Vacation Club Kiosk – Learn about Disney time share program. 

First Aid & Baby Care Center – General first aid is available here for all. In addition this is the home of the Animal Kingdom Baby Care Center. The baby care center offers a lot of amenities for families with infants

  • Changing room with tables and a women’s restroom
  • Private nursing room with rocking chairs 
  • Feeding area with highchairs 
  • Kitchen with microwave and sink
  • Main room with television, table and seating
  • On-site shop offering formula, baby food, juice, diapers, wipes, sunscreen, over-the-counter medications and clothing for purchase

* Something to note in the event of a lost child, the child will be taken to the baby care center where they will be cared for while the parents are located. * 

Restrooms

  • Restrooms – Main Entrance 
  • Restrooms – Oasis 
  • Restrooms – Pizzafari 
  • Restrooms & Companion Restrooms – Flame Tree BBQ
  • Service Animal Relief Area – Discovery Island near first aid center

VIP Tours

A Path Less Traveled Tour – This ticketed 2 hour guided walking tour takes you through Animal Kingdom as you discover what it takes to bring the magic of animals, culture and conservation to life. You will meet with members of the animal care team and learn about how the park’s animals are cared for. This tour does not go back stage. 

Ultimate Nights of Adventure VIP Tour – This 4 hour guided group tour will give you front of the line access to all of the major attractions at Animal Kingdom for a night full of fun. Enjoy some signature snacks and beverages as well. 

Animal Kingdom’s Asia is such a beautiful land packed full of things to do and I highly recommend a visit during your next trip. 

If you are looking to travel to Disney World I would love to be your travel agent. Get expert advice in planning your vacation and a personalized experience at no additional cost to you. 

Contact me at katiev@themagicsyours.com

Follow Me!   https://linktr.ee/katiethemagicsyours

A Complete Guide To Asia in Animal Kingdom

Disney World and Animal Kingdom are filled with so much detail and so many things to see or do around every corner. For that reason I am breaking down the fun land by land. Here I take a look at the land of Asia inside Disney’s Animal Kingdom. 

The land of Asia represents the animals, people and places of the continent of Asia. Animal Kingdom as the newest park is one of the most detailed at Walt Disney World.  The land of Asia is exceptionally detailed and even feels lived in by an actual community. There is a lot to enjoy in this land for park goers of all ages. 

Location

Pandora is located in Animal Kingdom. As you enter the park walk toward the Tree of Life and take the large path to the right side to enter Asia. 

If you are approaching from other lands in the park both Dinoland U.S.A. and Africa boarder Asia. 

Animal Kingdom is a large park and it may take longer to get from one land to the next then you think. If you are trying to be on time for a reservation, or FastPass make sure you allow ample time to get where you need to be. 

Attractions

Expedition Everest:

  • 44” or Taller 
  • FASTPASS+ Available 
  • Accessibility: Must transfer from wheelchair.

Take this roller coaster ride into the Himalayans and watch out for the mysterious Yeti. This one of the most popular rides in Animal Kingdom. It has classic roller coaster thrills plus amazing Disney detail and story. The queue itself is so detailed and provides a lot to look at while you wait. 

Kali River Rapids:

  • 38” or Taller 
  • FASTPASS+ Available 
  • Accessibility: Must transfer from wheelchair to ride vehicle.

This raft ride will take you careening down the river as you bump and spin your way through the rapids. You may get very very wet, or not very wet at all based on your luck. Larger bags or anything valuable needs to be stored in the nearby free lockers. I recommend a poncho or at lest changing to flip flops for the ride. If you don’t feel like getting wet on the bridges over looking the ride are water guns that you can use to soak riders. Along the way the storyline of the ride warns of deforestation and the dangers habitat destruction. 

Up! A Great Bird Adventure:

  • Show 
  • 25 Minutes
  • Accessibility: May Remain in Wheelchair/ECV, Sign Language, Assistive Listening 

This show features animal trainers interacting with real birds as well as characters from UP. Perfect for bird lovers or those looking to get a lot of time with UP characters. 

Maharajah Jungle Trek: 

  • 44” or Taller 
  • FASTPASS+ Available 
  • Accessibility: May Remain in Wheelchair/ECV. Audio Description. 

This walk through attraction is a zoo exhibit with exquisite theming. See many Asian animals including tigers, gibbons, water buffalo, elds deer, blackbuck, Komodo dragon, Malayan flying fox, and LOTS of birds. 

Food

For more details about dining at Animal Kingdom check out my blog post all about it. 

https://4ears4eyesforthemagic.travel.blog/2020/07/07/everything-you-need-to-know-before-dining-at-animal-kingdom/

Sit Down Restaurants

Yak & Yeti Restaurant:

  • Located in Asia 
  • Lunch & Dinner
  • Food Style: Asian and American 
  • A great place for a tasty meal, the menu here is reminiscent of many Asian chain restaurants you may have at home. That style is done here at a high quality and with excellent theming at the base of Everest. Perfect for those who want to try some Asian flavors without straying too far from your normal fare. I have always enjoyed my meals here. 
  • If you want to enjoy Yak & Yeti without a reservation, more quickly, and at a lower price point check out their quick service window, Yak & Yeti Local Foods Cafe. 

Quick Service Restaurants

Yak & Yeti Local Foods Cafe:

  • Located in Asia 
  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
  • Food Style: Asian and American
  • Outdoor Seating 
  • This is the counter service window from Yak & Yeti Restaurant. Find an appreciated menu from inside. With limited breakfast options available from counter service locations this is a good choice for breakfast. Also a great way to get Yak & Yeti food without reservations and at a lower price point. 

Stands

Anandapur Ice Cream Truck – Soft serve ice cream. 

Caravan Road – Pork based Asian find dishes.

Drinkwallah – Tasted nuts and beverages. 

Bars & Lounges

Thirsty River Bar & Trek Snacks

  • Located in Asia
  • Specialty cocktails, beer and wine. 
  • Open air seating.
  • Lots of classic theme park desserts and snacks offered

Yak & Yeti Quality Beverages

  • Located in Asia
  • Specialty cocktails, and beer. 
  • Open air seating.
  • Foods including egg rolls, wraps and turkey legs. 

Warung Outpost

  • Located in Asia 
  • Open air seating
  • Cocktails, with a few beers and wine. 
  • Mickey pretzels served. 

Shopping

Serka Zong Bazaar – At the exit of Expedition Everest. Pick up lots of ride and yeti themed merchandise. 

Serka Cart – Pins and plushes

Kali Cart – General Asian themed items. Long Armed monkey plushes are a favorite. 

Mandala Gifts – Asian themed items mostly not themed to Disney or the parks

Yak & Yeti Bhaktapur Market – The restaurants gift shop with Asian themed merchandise. 

Pressed Pennies Locations

  • Expedition Everest
  • Yak & Yeti Restaurant

Other

Disney Vacation Club Information Center at Asia – Learn about Disney’s timeshare. 

Restrooms

  • Restrooms – Caravan Stage 
  • Restrooms & Companion Restrooms – Maharajah Jungle Trek 
  • Restrooms & Companion Restrooms – Expedition Everest
  • Service Animal Relief Area – Maharajah Jungle Trek 

Animal Kingdom’s Asia is such a beautiful land packed full of things to do and I highly recommend a visit during your next trip. 

If you are looking to travel to Disney World I would love to be your travel agent. Get expert advice in planning your vacation and a personalized experience at no additional cost to you. 

Contact me at katiev@themagicsyours.com

Follow Me!   https://linktr.ee/katiethemagicsyours

A Complete Guide To Dinoland U.S.A.

Disney World and Animal Kingdom are filled with so much detail and so many things to see or do around every corner. For that reason I am breaking down the fun land by land. Here I take a look at Dinoland U.S.A. inside Disney’s Animal Kingdom. 

The story of Dinoland U.S.A. is that dinosaur bones were discovered near an old gas station owned by a couple, Chester and Hester. To research the bones paleontologists and students flooded the area. Chester and Hester saw a business opportunity so they built “Chester & Hester’s Dino-Rama” a dinosaur themed carnival that along with the actual fossils would draw tourists to the site and make them rich. All of that lead to the eclectic land you can visit today that is Dinoland U.S.A.

Location 

Dinoland U.S.A. is located in Animal Kingdom. As you enter the park you want to veer right twice as you approach the Tree of Life you will see a large dinosaur fossil and sign welcoming you to Dinoland. 

If you are approaching from the other side throughout the day you would come through Asia as you pass Expedition Everest. 

Animal Kingdom is a large park and it may take longer to get from one land to the next then you think. If you are trying to be on time for a reservation, or FastPass make sure you allow ample time to get where you need to be. 

Attractions

DINOSAUR:

  • Height 40” or taller
  • Accessibility: Must transfer from wheel chair/ECV, video captioning, assistive listening, translation devices. 
  • On Ride Photo 

Go back in time in your Time Rover to bring an iguanadon back to the present. But be careful it seems you may have jumped back to the wrong day and a meteor shower is approaching, not to mention other dinosaurs. This ride is a lot of fun and is thrilling without any roller coaster style action. It is very bumpy though so keep that in mind for any medical concerns. It is also dark and things pop out at you so this can easily be frightening on children and jumpy adults.

TriceraTop Spin:

  • Any Height
  • Accessibility: Must transfer to Wheelchair

Perfect for little ones this ride is just like the classic Dumbo attraction but with a Triceratops. 

Fossil Fun Games:

  • Any Height 
  • Accessibility: May Remain in Wheelchair/ECV
  • Extra Cost

Dinoland U.S.A. offers several carnival style games that you can play, at an additional cost. To play you buy a voucher at the souvenir stand nearby. You then give the voucher to the game attendant. Just like at the carnival if you win you get a prize. The prizes are the absolutely adorable stuffed dinosaur characters from Dinoland USA and Mickey and Minnie in Dinoland gear. You have to win these prizes you can’t buy them. The games usually close earlier than the park so keep an eye on their closing times if you want to play later in the day. This is a unique attraction at Disney World and the only area where you will see games like this. 

The Boneyard:

  • Any Height – Suggested 10 and Under
  • Accessibility: May Remain in Wheelchair/ECV (But this is not a very accessible activity)

Children can dig and play in the Boneyard designed to imitate an active dinosaur fossil dig. This is a fun activity for younger children to get some of their energy out. Plus it is something to do without a line. 

Cretaceous Trail:

  • Any Height – Suggested 10 and Under
  • Accessibility: May Remain in Wheelchair/ECV

This path near the Dinosaur attraction has statutes of and facts about dinosaurs. There is even a replica of the famous Sue the most intact T-Rex fossil ever found at the time of her discovery. 

Finding Nemo The Musical:

  • Any Height
  • FastPass+ 
  • Accessibility – May remain in wheelchair / ECV , Audio Description, Sign Language, Assistive Listening. 

This 40 minute musical stage show tells the story of Finding Nemo with actors in elaborate customs or working large amazing puppets. The production is top notch and you get to sit down with air conditioning while you watch. It does take a large chunk out of your day however so make sure you are prioritizing your top interests. Make sure you arrive early to get seats and check the show times for the day in the morning. 

Food

For more details about dining at Animal Kingdom check out my blog post all about it. 

https://4ears4eyesforthemagic.travel.blog/2020/07/07/everything-you-need-to-know-before-dining-at-animal-kingdom/

Restaurantosaurus:

  • Lunch & Dinner
  • Food Style: American 
  • Mobile Order Available
  • Indoor Seating 
  • This large casual dining restaurant offers your classic counter service fare, burgers and nuggets, also chicken sandwiches and salads. This is a good stop for families to get a break from the heat with indoor seating and food that will easily please the whole family. This is also a must visit for kids who love dinosaurs. The theming is a home base for Paleontologists out on dig. For those looking for something more exciting and out of your ordinary I would skip this one. 
  • Burgers and Sundaes – For diner check out the special burger and sundae menu. Choose one of the hand-crafted burger options with fries or onion rings. Then top it off with a build your own sundae for dessert all for one price. 

Stands

Dino-Bite Snack: Ice cream treats

Dino Diner – Hot dogs and classic theme park fare, check out the corn chip pie. 

Trilo-Bites – Ice cream treats, drinks, and buffalo chicken chips. 

Characters

Donald’s Dino-bash – As a bird Donald’s ancestors are dinosaurs so he loves Dinoland U.S.A. Celebrate Dinoland with Donald and his pals, a rotation of Chip, Dale, Daisy, Goofy, Pluto, and Launchpad McQuack. 

Shopping

DinoLand Cart:

  • Clothing & Toys
  • General Animal Kingdom and Dinoland

Boneyard Cart:

  • Clothing & Toys
  • General Animal Kingdom and Dinoland

Dino-Rama Cart:

  • Clothing & Toys
  • Vouchers for Games 

Theatre in the Wild Cart:

  • Finding Nemo items

The Dino Institute Shop:

  • At the exit of DINOSAUR
  • Everything Dinoland U.S.A and and Dinosaur themed you could want. 

Chester & Hester’s Dinosaur Treasures 

  • Even more Dinosaur themed items. 

Pressed Pennies Locations

  • Restaurantosaurus
  • Chester & Hester’s Dinosaur Treasures

Restrooms

Restrooms – Restaurantosaurus

Restroom & Companion Restrooms – Chester & Hester’s Dinosaur Treasures

Restroom & Companion Restrooms – Theatre in the Wild (Finding Nemo ) 

Other Conveniences

Disney Vacation Club Cart – Near The Boneyard

Service Animal Relief Area – Near Restaurantosaurus 

ATM – Near Chester & Hester’s Dinosaur Treasures

Dinoland U.S.A. is full of fun things to do and see especially for fans of dinosaurs. I highly recommend a visit during you next trip to Disney World. 

If you are looking to travel to Disney World I would love to be your travel agent. Get expert advice in planning your vacation and a personalized experience at no additional cost to you. 

Contact me at katiev@themagicsyours.com

Follow Me!   https://linktr.ee/katiethemagicsyours

A Complete Guide To Pandora: The World of Avatar

Disney World and Animal Kingdom are filled with so much detail and so many things to see or do around every corner. For that reason I am breaking down the fun land by land. Here I take a look at Pandora: The World of Avatar inside Disney’s Animal Kingdom. 

Pandora: The World of Avatar is a land themed to the hit movie Avatar. Here you find Pandora decades after the events of the film. The land consists of the Valley of Mo’ara where you will find unfamiliar plants and hear unfamiliar creatures. You will even find remnants of the military mining company from the movie who have left Pandora long ago. The storyline goes that the new Alpha Centauri Expeditions of ACE for short has started eco-tourism to Pandora with the help fo the native Na’vi people. ACE brings humans just like you to visit the beauty of Pandora. 

While Avatar the film was a big success it is not exactly a top favorite film for most visitors. While I enjoyed the film just fine and the technology it used was amazing I don’t have a big attachment to the story or characters. I worried that would mean I would not love Pandora the land in Animal Kingdom. Well I was wrong you do not need to care about or honestly to have seen the film Avatar to be taken aback by the beauty and thumbing of Pandora: The World of Avatar, or to enjoy the attractions within. 

Though I do recommend watching the movie before you visit no matter your relationship with the film Avatar make sure you stop by Pandora during your Animal Kingdom visit. 

Location

Pandora is located in Animal Kingdom. As you enter the park you want to veer left as you approach the Tree of Life and follow the signs to Pandora. 

If you are approaching from the other side you will be coming from Africa and need to turn right past Tiffins and into Pandora. 

You will cross a bridge over a river as you enter Pandora and truly enter another world. 

There is also a secondary entrance and exit that will take you from near Satu’li Canteen to the Festival of the Lion King building in Africa. For your first entrance into Pandora I recomend using the main entrance to get the full effect of the theming. 

Animal Kingdom is a large park and it may take longer to get from one land to the next then you think. If you are trying to be on time for a reservation, or FastPass make sure you allow ample time to get where you need to be. 

Attractions

Avatar: Flight of Passage

  • 44” or Taller 
  • FASTPASS+ Available 
  • Accessibility: Must transfer from wheelchair to ride vehicle. Audio description, video captioning, assistive listening. 

Bond with a banshee (a large winged animal) and then fly over Pandora on this virtual 3D experience. The ride veichle is best described as a sort of bike that you are strapped into. Though the ride is focused on the large screen in front of you taking you high above Pandora you will have some motion and even feel the banshee breathing under you as you ride it.  One of the most popular attractions in Animal Kingdom and all of Disney World the lines can get rather long. A FastPass if you get manage one is a big help here. 

Na’vi River Journey

  • Any Height
  • FASTPASS+ Available 
  • Accessibility: Must transfer from wheelchair. Audio Description. Handheld Captioning. 

This is a classic dark ride where you float along in a slow moving boat through a night in Pandora. Full of bioluminescent plants and the show stopped the Na’vi Shaman of Songs. The sights on this ride are beautiful and the technology of the shaman is amazing but this is not an attraction that anyone if likely to add to their favorites list. This ride is a great option for those who are too short, or don’t want to ride Flight of Passage to still get the taste of Pandora. The line here can get long and I wouldn’t recommend devoting too much time to waiting in line without a FASTPASS. 

Everything!

This land is so immersive and their are interactive elements throughout the land and lots of great little details to see. So many amazing photo spots as well. Make sure to take some time just to walk around the land and see all the plants. 

Pandora At Night

This is one land that must be seen in day light and at night. As the sun sets all of the plants start to glow with bioluminescence. It is beautiful and so unique it is a must do. 

Food

For more details about dining at Animal Kingdom check out my blog post all about it. 

https://4ears4eyesforthemagic.travel.blog/2020/07/07/everything-you-need-to-know-before-dining-at-animal-kingdom/

Satu’li Canteen

  • Quick Service
  • Located in Pandora: The World of Avatar 
  • Lunch & Dinner
  • Food Style: American 
  • Mobile Order Available 
  • Indoor Seating 
  • Satu’li lets you build your own bowl from a set of options, similar to how Chipotle works. You choose your protien, base, and sauce.  The food is perhaps the most unique in Animal Kingdom. There are fun options for the kids too, like cheeseburger boa buns. You can also get two drinks specially brewed for Disney World the Hawkes’ Grog Ale and the Mo’ara High Country Ale.

Stands

Pongu Pongu – Check out the Pongu Lumpia sweet spring rolls and specialty brewed beers the Hawkes’ Grog Ale & Mo’ara High Country Ale. The official drink of Pandora the Night Blossom is found here. Both alcoholic and non-alcoholic available

Characters

Swotu Waya – Drummers put on a Pandoran concert throughout the day. When they are not there you can explore the instruments. 

Pandora Ranger – Keep an eye our near Pongu Pongu for thee Pandora Rangers in their large mechanical suits. 

** If you want to see some Na’ vi you will have to go on one of the attractions.** 

Shopping

Windtraders – This is a large store with everything Avatar you could ever want to buy. The signature item here is the plush shoulder banshee that you can adopt complete with an adoption ceremony. 

Colors of Mo’ ara – Get your face painted to look like a Na’ vi. 

Pressed Pennies Locations

  • Windtrader

Restrooms

  • Restrooms – Satu’li Canteen
  • Restrooms – Navi’ River Journey
  • Restrooms & Companion Restrooms – Entrance, Near Colors of Mo’ ara
  • Service Animal Relief Area – Near Satu’li Canteen along the back entrance to Pandora. 

Pandora is such a unique and beautiful land with one of the most popular attractions in Disney World. I highly recommend a visit during your next trip. 

If you are looking to travel to Disney World I would love to be your travel agent. Get expert advice in planning your vacation and a personalized experience at no additional cost to you. 

Contact me at katiev@themagicsyours.com

Follow Me!   https://linktr.ee/katiethemagicsyours

A Complete Guide To Animal Kingdom’s Africa

Disney World and the Animal Kingdom are filled with so much detail and so many things to see or do around every corner. For that reason I am breaking down the fun land by land. Here I take a look at the land of Africa inside Disney’s Animal Kingdom. 

The land of Africa represents the animals, people and places of the continent of Africa. Animal Kingdom as the newest park is one of the most detailed at Walt Disney World.  The land of Africa is exceptionally detailed and even feels lived in by an actual community. There is a lot to enjoy in this land for park goers of all ages. 

Location

Africa is located in Animal Kingdom. As you enter the park you want to veer left as you approach the Tree of Life then journey beyond the entrance to Pandora. Here you will enter Africa. 

If you are approaching from the other side throughout the day you would come through Asia as you pass UP! A Great Bird Adventure. 

Animal Kingdom is a large park and it may take longer to get from one land to the next then you think. If you are trying to be on time for a reservation, or FastPass make sure you allow ample time to get where you need to be. 

Attractions

Kilimanjaro Safaris:

  • Any Height (Though this can be a rather of a bumpy ride as the roads are not paved) 
  • FastPass + Available 
  • Accessibility: Must transfer from wheelchair. Video Captioning. Assistive Listening. 

Take a safari through the savannah of Africa. Board a Jeep driven by safari guides who will narrate your visit to the Harambe Wildlife Reserve. The 110 acre space is home to 34 species of African animals including, lions, giraffes, elephants, crocodiles, zebra and more. This 18 – 20 minute on average adventure will bring you into the animals spaces and you might even up with a very up close view of some of the animals who come across your path. The best time to ride if you want to see the animals moving is early in the morning or later in the afternoon as the sun sets. This is a fantastic attraction for photography fans. For a whole different view you can ride at night and see the animals in a whole new light. This is when animals like the wild dogs and hyenas really shine. Strategic lighting to evoke the sunset and moonrise will allow you to see the animals even after dark. 

Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail:

  • Walk through zoo exhibit
  • Any Height
  • Accessibility: May remain in wheelchair. Audio Description. 

This walk through zoo trail can be easy to bypass but make sure you don’t miss it. It’s one attraction where you will not have to wait in line. You will find different animals here than on the Kilimanjaro Safaris including hippos, gorillas, and birds. Plus along the way meet Keepers who are happy to answer any questions you may have about the animals. 

Festival of the Lion King:

  • Show
  • FastPass + Available 
  • Accessibility: Guests may remain in wheelchair, sign language, handheld captioning, assistive listening. 

This 30 minute live stage show is a spectacular musical tribute to the Lion King. Featuring characters from the movie but also dancers, acrobats, and singers performing in a production full of bright colors and wonder. This is a fun show for the whole family and anyone who enjoys live theatre will get a kick out of it. A warning though don’t confuse this show with the theatrical version of The Lion King from Disney on Broadway they are very different. The show is performed several times daily so make sure to check the app or times schedule for the day you will be there. A great option for the hottest times of the day to avoid the sun and take a break off your feet. 

Rafiki’s Planet Watch 

This section of the park is connected by train to Africa and is part of the parks greater veterinarian facilities. This is an easily missed area of the park but holds some very different kings of opportunities. 

Wildlife Express Train 

  • All Heights
  • Accessibility: Guests may remain in wheelchair, handheld captioning, assistive listening. 

Take this rustic train on a seven minute journey to Rafiki’s Planet Watch area of the park. On the way see some of the back stage animal care area. 

Habitat Habit!

  • All Heights
  • Accessibility: Guests may remain in wheelchair

A small kiosk with some animal encounter opputunites on the pathway between the train and Conservation Station. 

Conservation Station 

  • All Heights
  • Accessibility: Guests may remain in wheelchair

Get a peak into the world of the veterinarian team at Animal Kingdom and even watch some live procedures. With exhibits all about animals and their habitats around the world. Additionally there is an exhibit of reptiles, amphibians and invertebrates. 

The Animation Experience at Conservation Station 

  • All Heights
  • Accessibility: Guests may remain in wheelchair

Participate in a live animation class where you are lead through creating a drawing of a beloved Disney character by a live artist. This is really fun for art lovers and is a great free souvenir. 

Affection Section 

  • All Heights
  • Accessibility: Guests may remain in wheelchair.

This petting zoo area is where you can have a hands on experiences with goats and sheep.  

Food

For more details about dining at Animal Kingdom check out my blog post all about it.

https://4ears4eyesforthemagic.travel.blog/2020/07/07/everything-you-need-to-know-before-dining-at-animal-kingdom/

Tusker House Restaurant ** Personal Favorite ** 

  • Located in Africa 
  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
  • Food Style: African and American served buffet style
  • Character Meal – Safari Donald, Safari Daisy, Safari Goofy, Safari Mickey. 
    • At least 3 of these characters will be present. The characters mingle with the crowd and each will come to your table separately to say hello and grab a photo while you eat. 
  • This is the only character meal in Animal Kingdom and also the only buffet. Tusker House gets my vote for one and the best buffets in all of Disney World. The variety of menu items is vast and includes a lot of items you won’t find elsewhere and is delicious. The decor and safari characters will get you right into the Animal Kingdom spirit. 
  • BEST breakfast spot in Animal Kingdom. 

Harambe Market 

  • Located in Africa
  • Lunch & Dinner
  • Food Style: African 
  • Mobile Order Available
  • Outdoor Seating
  • Here you will find savory African inspired fare and a range of options. This is a great way to try some new food and flavors. The environment at Harambe is very immersive you will feel like you are really in an African market. Try the Bibo or Sparberry soft drinks, you can also try their alcoholic counterparts.

Stands

  • Harambe Fruit Market – Lots of fruits and Mickey pretzels
  • Kusafiri Coffee Shop & Bakery – Coffee and a lot of grab and go breakfast options. After breakfast lots of savory and sweet snack options are available. 
  • Mahindi – Popcorn and roasted nuts. Check out some souvenir popcorn bucket options. 
  • Tamu Tamu – Find Dole Whip & Simba Sunset here.
  • Zuri’s Sweets – Candy Store, check out the specialty candy apples. Connected internally to Mombasa Marketplace  and Ziwani Traders. 

Bar & Lounges

Dawa Bar:

– Located in Africa

  • Specialty cocktails, beer and wine. 
  • Open air seating. 

Special Ticketed Dinning Events

Circle of Flavors: Harambe At Night

This is a special extra ticketed event hosted on select evening at Animal Kingdom. This must be booked in advance. It is a progressive dining experience through Harambe Village and Rafiki’s Planet Watch. You pay one set price for the entire experience including you food and beverages, alcoholic available. 

Your evening includes:

  • Harambe Train Station:
    • Guidebook
    • Appetizers
    • Speciality Drinks
    • Train Ride to Rafiki’s Planet Watch Train Station
  • Rafiki’s Planet Watch Train Station 
    • Light Snacks
    • Specialty Drinks 
    • Meet Timon and Rafiki
    • Virtual Reality Safari Experience 
    • Kids Acvitiivy 
    • Train Back To Harambe
  • Harambe Market
    • Live Music
    • Bread Activity 
    • Dinner
    • Drinks
    • Dessert 

Perfect for a date night or a girls night out. A nice option for families with adult children or teens who are“foodies”.

Characters

Drummers – Throughout the day check out the musical stylings of these African styled drummers. 

Shopping

Mariya’s Souvenirs:

– A kiosk located near Festival of the Lion King.  

– Lots of Lion King merchandise. 

Africa Hub Cart:

– Across from Tamu Tamu 

– General Animal Kingdom merchandise focusing on Africa

Ziwani Traders:
Connected to Mombasa Marketplace this is a large gift shop that offers all sorts of Animal Kingdom and Africa merchandise. Lots of Lion King items. Even some authentic African merchandise. 

Mombasa Marketplace:

Connected to Ziwani Traders this is a large gift shop the offers all sorts of Animal Kingdom and Africa merchandise. Lots of Lion King items. Even some authentic African merchandise.

Kilimonjaro Safaris Cart: 

Bottled beverages and Africa merchandise.

– Located near Kilimonjaro Safaris exit.  

Behind the Scenes Tours:

These are tours that need to be reserved before your visit and that come with an extra cost. These are VIP experiences that give you access and opportunities that typical guests do not get. 

Caring for Giants – Get a closer look a the African elephants, about 100 feet away. This 60 minute experience lets you meet animal specialists who care for the elephant herd. Get a look at their day to day responsibilities and what it is like to care for these animals. Speak with a cultural representative from Africa who will share stories of Disney’s construction efforts in the wild. (Ages 4 and Up)

Up Close with Rhinos – This 60 minute experience lets you get up close with the parks white rhinoceros herd. Your guide will offer insights to the species and their challenges in the wild. (Ages 4 and Up) 

Wild Africa Trek – Offered once in the morning and once in the afternoon this 3 hours experience is part behind the scenes part adventure. See animals up close as you walk along a grassland path, cross a rope bridge and ride in a safari vehicle in the open savanna. Your guide will share knowledge and insights about the animals you see. Your experience also comes with complimentary photos from your adventure. After your trek enjoy some included African inspired snacks (Ages 8 and Up)

Savor the Savanna – Enjoy an evening with a private safari as you journey into the heart of the Harambe Wildlife Reserve into secluded viewing areas. Your guide will tell you tales of the animal residents. While you enjoy the savanna scenery indulge in some African-inspired cuisine included beer and wine options. (Ages 8 and Up)

Pressed Pennies Locations

– Dawa Bar

– Mombasa Marketplace / Ziwani Traders

– Duka La Filimu (Near Harambe Fruit Market) 

– Wilderness Express Train Station

– Conservation Station

Pin Trading

  • Africa Hub Cart

Restrooms

Restrooms – Tusker House 

Restrooms & Companion Restrooms – Mumbasa Marketplace

Africa is full of fun things to do and see and lots of animals. I highly recommend a visit during you next trip to Disney World. 

If you are looking to travel to Disney World I would love to be your travel agent. Get expert advice in planning your vacation and a personalized experience at no additional cost to you. 

Contact me at katiev@themagicsyours.com

Follow Me!   https://linktr.ee/katiethemagicsyours

Alaska With Disney Cruise Line – Part 2: Ports

In July 2017 I cruised with Disney Cruise Line to Alaska. This will be part two of a two part series about this trip. In this blog I will cover everything we did in the ports we visited. Check out part one to find out everything we did onboard. 

https://4ears4eyesforthemagic.travel.blog/2020/12/17/alaska-with-disney-cruise-line-part-1-onboard/

Itinerary:

We flew from Maryland to Vancouver where we stayed for three nights before boarding the Disney Wonder to embark on our 7-night cruise to Alaska. This was my first time visiting both Vancouver and Alaska. 

The cruise itinerary was:

Day 1 – Embark From Vancouver

Day 2 – At Sea

Day 3 – At Sea – Endicott Arm 

Day 4 – Skagway 

Day 5 – Juneau

Day 6 – Ketchikan 

Day 7 – At Sea

Day 8 – Disembark In Vancouver

Ports & Excursions / Port Adventures

On any cruise the ports along your itinerary are a major part of decided to take the cruise. For Alaska this is even more the case. I am going to describe each port one by one but first some over all cruise port info. 

The ship will have a scheduled time for when you can start disembarking the ship to head off to the port and a scheduled form time all aboard when you need to be back on the ship by. The amount of time in each port varies. 

Getting back to the ship on time is crucial. They are not likely to wait for you if you are running late on your own. Make sure to pay attention to the all aboard time before you disembark and allow yourself plenty to time to get back onboard from whatever you are doing. You do NOT want to be left behind and have to catch up with your ship which can be easier said than done.

Of course you can explore the destinations on your own, make your way to a museum or attraction you want to visit, or simply walk around the city and explore. 

Excursions / Port Adventures – You can also book an excursion for your time in port. These are typically guided tours, or experiences at your destination. This can be done through the cruise line or on your own.Many of the same experiences are available to book either way, sometimes with the same exact touring company. If you book on your own you typically will get a better deal as the cruise line is not getting a cut. However, if you book through the cruise line and something goes wrong that makes your tour late to get back onboard the ship the cruise ship will wait for you or make sure you are taken care of. If that happens on a tour you booked yourself you are out of luck. You also have the extra comfort of knowing that the cruise line has vetted this company and tour and deemed it legitimate and safe for its passengers. 

Excursion options typically include all of the highlights of that given port. You will find ones geared to families, adults, those who want to take it slow, or those who want to do something really physical, animal experiences or historical experiences, and so much more. 

Disney Exclusive Excursions – On some itineraries there are even excursions exclusive to DCL passengers and these sometimes include Disney characters joining you during your excursion. For example you can pan for gold in with Donald Duck.

There are so many excursions and possible things to do at each of these port so I am just going to cover what I did during my time there. 

Vancouver

The cruise started and ended in Vancouver. There were options to book port adventures on embarkation and debarkation day. We didn’t do that instead we arrived a few days early and had some time to explore Vancouver on our own. Here are some of the highlights.

Capilano Suspension Bridge Park – This is a very popular attraction and here you will find a large suspension bridge and a whole course of tree top walkways and bridges. The suspension bridge was a little nerve wracking but thrilling to walk across. The tree tops course was a lot of fun. The tress are so big and it feels a little magical to be up high in them walking around. I would recommend this for anyone who is not afraid of heights. They offered a shuttle from around downtown Vancouver so we were able to use that to get to the park which was about 30 minutes away. 

Gastown – A historic district of the city where you will find lots of shopping and dining with Victorian atmosphere. This is home to the famous Steam Clock a grandfather clock that stands on a street corner and is powered by steam. 

Granville Island – We hopped a water taxi over to Granville Island. This shopping and dining district had a more commercial feel than Gastown but was quite endearing. The large Public Market has lots of food offerings, and there were tons of stores to explore. Plus there were lots of restaurants to choose from with mean featuring sea food. 

Stanley Park – A fantastic place for a drive and even better for a bike ride which is what we did. The park is on a peninsula and you can bike the perimeter and get great views of the bay. Along the way you can stop and head into the forest full of huge trees or stop and see some totem polls. We did just that and it was a lot of fun. There were several options for bike rental in the area and our hotel actual offered the free use of bikes to it’s guests so we were able to bike right on over to the park as it was not too far away. The park also offers tours, horse drawn carriage rides, beaches, a small train, dining, and an aquarium. 

Vancouver Harbor –  Located right next to the Cruise Terminal, Canada Place the harbor is a great place for a nice walk with waterfront views. Don’t miss the Olympic Cauldron left from the 2010 Winter Games. The views here are great of both the city and the harbor. 

Skagway

Our first stop was in the tiny town of Skagway where the ship pulled right up to the dock and we could walk from the ship into the main part of the town in about 5 minutes which was great. Before our planned excursion we explore the main street of the town filled with shops with facades and the look of the old mining town it once was. This area was obviously designed for the cruise ship tourists and had coffee shops, some other food locations, jewelry stores, and lots of stores selling t-shirts, collectables, and souvenirs. We saw everything that interested us in about an hour and a half. 

Next up was our excursion, we received a paper with instructions in our room the night before telling us where to meet for our excursion which we booked through Disney.  We went back onboard and we met in the designated location on the ship for our excursion group. We were then walked off the ship to a very cute street car which was part one of our tour.

We did the White Pass Railroad & Skagway Street Car City Highlights (SW50) the street car drove us around the town and told us the history of Skagway as a gold rush town and what it is like to live there today as a community based around summer tourism. This took about a half hour after which we were deposited at the train station. At the train station we boarded a vintage rail car and set off on a 95-minute trip up the White Pass & Yukon Route an engineering wonder first built in the 1890’s this trip offers amazing views of the mountains and surrounding landscape. You can get a great view from your seat inside the cabin but we spent most of the visit on the exterior platform between cars. It does get colder the higher up you go so be sure to wear layers and bring some gloves and a warm hat. This train ride was a big highlight of the whole trip and I must have taken a thousand photos. It was a real view into the Alaskan wilderness. 

When the train arrived in Fraser, British Columbia, Canada we hopped off and got onto a minibus which drove us back to the station in town. On the way we got some more info about the area and made a few stops for photos. One of the stops was at the “Welcome to Alaska” sign which was a great photo-op. Back at the station we visited the gift shop and then walked back to the ship which took about 5 minutes. 

I would recommend this excursion highly, really any of the excursions that include the train ride as there were a few different ways you could ride the train. But if you have issues with heights this might not be for you. The train is basically on the side of the mountain. If you are doing a one way train ride make sure to ask when you board which side of the trail will have the views if you plan to sit for the majority of the ride. 

Juneau

In Juneau we were able to walk off the ship onto the doc but then had to grab a shuttle bus for a 10 minute drive into a transportation hub for the city. Juneau was by far the largest of the three and most resembled a small city to me. We did not have a port adventure booked for Juneau but had planned to visit the Mendenhall Glacier on our own. The shuttle had deposited us at a transportation hub and visitor center area where we are able to get a ticket for a shuttle bus to the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center.

Once we arrived after about a 20 minute ride we were right in the parking lot of the visitors center. From there we walked over to the short path that would take us to the glacier. The pathways here were paved and easy to navigate. You were able to get right up to the water to view the glacier. It was very cool to see a glacier so close. You could feel the cold radiating from it. There were park rangers around who could answer your questions. There was also a waterfall near the glacier. When we were done we turned around and went to the visitors center and explored some of the modest exhibits they had and a small gift shop. 

We then hopped back on the bus and went back into the center of Juneau we walked around and saw some shops and grabbed a very basic lunch and a tourist restaurant themed to the Alaskan wilderness, the Red Dog Saloon. Then we made our way back to the ship. 

I enjoyed seeing the glacier a lot and getting there on our own saved some money and was not difficult. If an excursion is not in the budget I would recommend visiting the glacier on your own. If I were to do it again I would look into one of the glacier excursions that got closer or more in depth with the glacier. 

Ketchikan

This was another port were we could just walk right off the ship and into the center of town. In size and scope Ketchikan was between Skagway and Juneau. Instead of mostly being an entire tourist town like Skagway, Ketchikan had a section that was themed to its historic roots, Creek Street, and featured a lot of shopping aimed at the cruise ship passengers. This area was fun to explore and provided us about an hours worth of fun after our excursion.

For our excursion in Ketchikan we did the Rainforest Sanctuary and Totem Park (KE11). We took a tour bus about a half hour to the Hoth Rainforest where our guide met us. We then took a slow and not very long walk through the rainforest with frequent stops for the guide to tell us about what we were seeing. The end of the walk is on a raised walkway in a large open space where you can see lots of bald eagles in their natural habitat. 

Then you enter the Rapture Center where you can see bald eagles and other birds of prey who are being rehabilitated. You were able to get pretty close to them here and that was really great. We also were able to walk through an old saw mill that is now used for totem carving where we saw two artists creating a totem poll. 

I enjoyed seeing all of the components of this tour but the walk through the rainforest I had hoped was going to be more of a hike not a stroll on a path with lots of stops. If you want a slowed paced peek at the rainforest then I think this would be a good pick for you. But I would not pick this tour again for me. I would go with one of the port adventures that went further into the rainforest or an alternative adventure. 

I enjoyed seeing all of the components of this tour but the walk through the rainforest I had hoped was going to be more of a hike not a stroll on a path with lots of stops. If you want a slowed paced peek at the rainforest then I think this would be a good pick for you. But I would not pick this tour again for me. I would go with one of the port adventures that went further into the rainforest or an alternative adventure. 

Weather & Packing For It

Weather in the summer in southern Alaska is really hit or miss. We had a relatively dry week with only one day where it rained a for much of the day. But you could just as easily get a week with a lot of rain. The temperatures were in the low 70’s during the sunniest days into the low 40s at night. But the only time I was outside at night was on the top deck and that means extra wind chill. Layers were key when packing and dressing. Bringing gloves and a warm hat around with you was a must. As was waterproof shoes and a rain jacket with a hood. If possible a higher end waterproof jacket is a great investment for this trip and life. I ended up with one from North Face. For shoes I recommend waterproof hiking boots and waterproof socks even if you don’t plan on really hiking.

Overall

My favorite of the three Alaskan ports was Skagway, the train experience was fantastic and the whole look of the town is what I imagined a small Alaskan town to be. 

Vancouver was a great port to have started at with a lot of options for things to do, you could take a trip to just Vancouver alone and have a great time. 

I liked booking Port Adventures through the cruise line because it did give me peace of mind that we would not miss the ship and that we were in good hands. However I did not find it challenging to be on our own in Jueanu. If I cruised Alaska again I would be comfortable going either way. 

Overall as a destination I really enjoyed Alaska. As a location it was something different the scenery is one of a kind and so different from other U.S. travel destinations. Cruising to Alaska was certainly the easiest way to see different parts of it. It also makes traveling with kids or a larger group much simpler.

The one downside was that we didn’t get a ton of time to explore further into Alaska. If I were to visit again as a second trip I would think about doing a land stay, likely with a tour company and possibly coupled with a one way cruise. Several cruise lines offer that type of itinerary as a land and sea package. 

My top suggestion is to really dive deep into what you want to do at each port and have a plan before your cruise. Make the most of the time you have in port and when booking an excursion make sure it is the one that will best fit what you want to do. 

Now that you know all about a cruise on the Disney Wonder to Alaska  it’s time to start planning your very own. Or any other adventure.

I am a travel agent and I would love to help you plan your cruise! 

All of my travel services are complimentary. 

If you would like to discuss your next adventure contact me at: katiev@themagicsyours.com 

Alaska With Disney Cruise Line – Part 1: Onboard

In July 2017 I cruised with Disney Cruise Line to Alaska. This will be part one of a two part series about this trip. In this blog I will cover everything on board the ship and this the second I will cover everything about the ports we visited on the cruise. 

Itinerary

We flew from Maryland to Vancouver where we stayed for three nights before boarding the Disney Wonder to embark on our 7-night cruise to Alaska. This was the first time visiting both Vancouver and Alaska for all of us. 

The cruise itinerary was:

Day 1 – Embark From Vancouver

Day 2 – At Sea

Day 3 – At Sea – Endicott Arm 

Day 4 – Skagway 

Day 5 – Juneau

Day 6 – Ketchikan 

Day 7 – At Sea

Day 8 – Disembark In Vancouver

Boarding / Embarkation

The embarkation process was simple. During online check-in we selected a window of time during which we would arrive at the port. We arrived during that window, went through a check-in process with a Disney Cruise cast member then we went through security and customs.  Customs because we were sailing from Canada but would be stopping in American ports. Our luggage was then taken from us by Disney porters, it was reunited with us in our room later in the day. 

As we got closer to entering the ship we found the first of the photographer opportunities. We got our photos taken with a back drop of the ship with the words “Disney Wonder – Alaska 2017” 

As we, and each family, entered the ship from the gangway and into the main atrium we were announced by the cast members. As you walk into the beautiful atrium you hear “Disney Wonder please welcome the ____ family!” This was a very nice little magic moment. 

The Ship – The Disney Wonder

Our ship was the Disney Wonder, one of two Classic Disney ships in the fleet. Having first set sail in 1999 the Wonder has 875 staterooms and a capacity of 2,400 passengers. While by no means a small ship it is smaller than the larger size Disney ships and other fleets mega ships. Most of the ships the cruise Alaska are on the smaller end of things as they have to navigate smaller areas along the coastline. 

The ship is beautiful with aesthetics that mix classic ship travel with Art Nouveau and a bit of Disney mixed in. The Atrium features a gorgeous chandelier and a grand staircase. Many areas of the ship are also themed. From the British style pub, to the tropical pool deck, and the New Orleans Tiana’s Place restaurant. 

Being onboard any ship can take a little getting used to and can possible cause sea sickness. Plan ahead what type of motion sickness approach you plan to take. Research your options and buy them ahead of time and apply them before you board on the first day. Make sure you have enough for the entire trip as well. I choose to go with seasickness patches. I put them on before boarding the ship, applied them as directed and never had any issues. After the first two days I was very used to being on the ship and rarely noticed the movement after that time. Our first and last sea day were the most rocky, this is typical for this itinerary as the ship is in more open waters during this time. The rest of the cruise you are close to land as the ship traverses the southern Alaskan waters. 

Room Review

Upon boarding the first thing we did was head to our room. Rooms are not always available right when you board but ours happened to be. We had an inside stateroom, meaning we had no windows or balcony or any kind. These rooms are the least expensive and least exciting. The room was what we needed and nothing more. It worked well for us, though small as many cruise ship rooms were we did not spend much time in the room itself so that did not bother us. 

As you enter there is a sliding door closet to one side of you and the bathroom to the other. The closet has a safe and ample hanging room. Also area to store your luggage. The bathroom is small but nothing crazy, though the shower did feel cramped. The room has a small seating area with a sofa that flipped into a bed for a child if needed. A small desk, mini fridge and shelving where opposite the couch with a small coffee table in between. A wall mounted TV could be swirled to be viewed from the couch area or the bed. Walking past the couch there was a comfy queen bed with a light and smaller dresser on either side. 


We choose a room that was located centrally in the ship as this is supposed to be the location on board with the least motion or movement. I found that I only really felt movement when on the ends of the ship or on the top deck personally. A centrally located room worked out well for us. Book early to get the most room options. 

Your porter freshens your room a few times a day and each night we had a towel animal and chocolates left on our bed. 

If you want to add some extra fun to your trip and make your life a bit easier on board pack some magnets to put on your cabin door. Not only will it be fun to decorate but it will make your room much easier to find in the long corridors. I found templates on Pinterest to print and make my own magnets but you could easily grab some dollar store Disney magnets as well. 

If you want to add some extra fun to your trip and make your life a bit easier on board pack some magnets to put on your cabin door. Not only will it be fun to decorate but it will make your room much easier to find in the long corridors. I found templates on Pinterest to print and make my own magnets but you could easily grab some dollar store Disney magnets as well. 

Ship Activities

There is a ton to do onboard a Disney ship. If you want to see the full list check out my Disney Cruise 101 blog. 

https://4ears4eyesforthemagic.travel.blog/2020/12/10/disney-cruise-line-101-introduction-to-cruising-with-the-mouse/

Here is my review of the activities I took part in on the ship. 

Sail Away Deck – This was a lot of fun and really a great way to get pumped at the start of the cruise. Characters and cruise cast members onstage welcomed the passengers to the ship and there were musical numbers.There was also a count down to when the ship would start to leave port and lots of dancing. Plus you are on deck so you get to watch as the ship leaves port. In Vancouver this was very scenic and we could see spots in the city we had spent time which was cool. This was a really great way to start the cruise experience. 

Character Meet & Greets – Scheduled throughout the cruise were lots of character meet and greets. I spotted classic characters, Pixar characters, Princesses, Frozen, a few Marvel characters, and classic characters in special Alaskan outfits. The Alaskan ones were my favorite. Some characters were available a few times but some were not. Be sure to pay attention to who is on the schedule each day if you enjoy character meets and photos. Characters were each accompanied by the ships photographers as well. The characters only meet for a limited amount of time and the line will be cut off if it is too long so be sure to arrive at the start time or a bit before.

There were two instances on our cruise where you needed to book the character experience in advance. These were bookable online prior to sailing and booked up quickly especially for reservations on sea days. Using this system we were able to meet a group of Princesses, and Anna, Elsa and Olaf from Frozen. The Frozen meet was especially nice and took place in Animators Pallet. The whole room was Frozen themed for the meet. 

Fitness – The fitness center was very nice I enjoyed using the treadmills being able to stare into the ocean while running. I took one of the included fitness classes as well and the instructor was helpful and I had a good experience. The exterior running track around the ship was really helpful to get steps, or miles in. While at the back and front of the ship you are sometimes running through what feels like a tunnel but the rest of the time you can see the ocean and sometimes the Alaskan landscape. 

Live Theatre Performances – Our cruise offered several theatrical shows and on the other nights musical acts, and a magician. I did go to the magician performance and left after about 15 minutes as I was bored. The theatrical shows were very enjoyable. Two were compilations of Disney songs put together with a loose storyline. These were enjoyable and very much in line with stage shows you would see at the Disney theme parks though they were longer. The star of the show here was the Frozen production. This was much more along the lines of a Broadway show. The actors were top notch and the staging was fantastic. The show was shorter than a standard Broadway production but I feel it was very comparable and it is a must see if you are on the Wonder. 

Photography – I love having vacation photos so I took full advantage of the on ship photographers. I purchased the photo package ahead of time and made sure to get my photo taken at practically every opportunity. This was perfect for character meets. Every night there were several photographers set up in the main areas of the ship with different backgrounds, some specific to the port where were in that day. This is also a nice way to get a group family photo. Assuming you will make the effort to get the photos taken I highly suggest getting the photo package. 

Shopping – As a fan of Disney merchandise I spent plenty of time at the two stores on board that had mostly Disney or cursing items. The merchandise was varied and they had a lot of great stuff, especially the Alaska specific items. A third small store had items all from Alaskan merchants and that was really nice to see as well. Remember to visit on sea days because they won’t be open while you are in port. 

Trivia – One of the scheduled actives that was offered frequently was trivia. Different themes were offered as well as ones for kids or families. The turn out for these was good and the questions were great. The winners even got little plastic medals. As a trivia fan this was a lot of fun. 

Dance Parties – Another activity that was offered several times was a dance party. Held in the atrium with characters attending and lead by cast members this was a lot of fun to just be silly and see all the characters and kids dancing around to pop music. This is also a great way to get some character interaction. 

Frozen Night – One evening the theme was Frozen, each restaurant served a Frozen themed menu and there were lots of little Annas and Elsas running around. There was a Norwegian maypole in the atrium as well as Frozen themed decor. Everyone was even given a light up snowflake necklace to wear. There was a deck party that night where Anna, Elsa, Olaf, and Kristof performed and told a story to the crowd. This was something distinctly Disney and done really well. 

Dining

There is a lot to eat onboard a Disney ship. If you want to see the full list check out my Disney Cruise 101 blog.

 https://4ears4eyesforthemagic.travel.blog/2020/12/10/disney-cruise-line-101-introduction-to-cruising-with-the-mouse/

Cabanas – The buffet on board was extensive with lots of food. Some were classics available every day and some rotated daily. As someone with allergies a food and beverage manager walked me around and let me know what was safe for me to eat. They offered to grab something from the back if needed as well to avoid cross contamination. The buffet food was good but nothing super special. I was happy with my meals there. 

Snacks – For most lunches I grabbed something from the pool deck area. Most of this food is “fast food” or sandwiches and salads. I liked the option of grabbing a veggie burger from one station and a made to order salad from the other and combining them. 

Dinner with Allergies – Our server was very accommodating and each night would make sure to bring my allergy bread and butter when she brought out the regular ones for the table. She also showed me the menus and had me pick my dinner a night ahead so that the kitchen could make sure make the item I wanted could be modified for my needs in advance. This worked out great. They also always came up with a good option for dessert as well. 

Animators Palette – Dining here, both nights was a complete experience. Entering the room with everything black and white and having the restaurants change throughout the meal was great fun, and Mickey even made an appearance. Then on the second night getting a chance to take part in the animation around it was a really unique experience. 

Triton’s – The theming here is like an elegant evening under the sea. It was the least exciting of the three but a nice location. 

Tiana’s Place – This was my favorite of the three restaurants. Themed as Tiana’s restaurant from Princess and the Frog there was live jazz music being performed and Tiana even sang for us. There was dancing throughout and Louis came out to lead a dance line. Tiana even came to every table to say hello and take photos. One night was themed to Mardi Gras and everyone got beads to wear and dessert included beignets. It was a blast. 

Character Breakfast – We signed up for an included character breakfast, which was bookable online prior to sailing. The food was table service ordered off a menu and ours took place in Animators Pallet though I believe this rotates. The character interaction was amazing. Compared to character meals in the parks we got so much time with each character. The servers were even in on the fun as they all used the colorful napkins to create hats and scarves and centerpieces. Everyone was covered in napkins it was a lot of fun and a great experience that was not an add on. 

Glacier Day!

By far the best day on board is the sea day where the ship traverses a fjord and visits an iceberg. During my trip we visited Endicott Arm a narrow passage where you can see a beautiful landscape of mountains on both sides of the ship. In the water there are lots of little iceburgs where you might even spot some seals, we sure did. Sometimes on land you are able to see mountain goats and possible other wildlife as well. You travel down the fjord to the ice burg as the end of it which is amazing and the craziest shade of blue. Then the ship turns around and travels out. The whole thing takes up much of the day. You can watch from your room if you have a balcony. We spent the whole journey down the fjord on the top deck. On the large movie screen by the pool and on all the TV’s thorough out the ship, even in your room there is video footage of what the ship is passing. During the journey a naturalist is narrating and explaining what you are seeing. The naturalist also gave several nature talks during the week on board. This was my favorite time spent on board the ship and one of the best things of the whole trip. This was also the coldest I was the whole time as you are both outside and on the top deck you get a lot of wind. Blankets and hot coffee and hot chocolate were being passed out but make sure to plan accordingly. Little ones might find spending the whole day on this activity a little challenging this could be a great time for them to explore the kids club with a quick break for some glacier viewing once the ship arrives.