A Complete Guide To Disney World’s Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge

It’s one of the most popular and noteworthy lands in all of Disney World. Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. A part of Disney’s Hollywood Studios theme park this Star Wars themed land is a reason some people make the trip to Disney World in the first place. 

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge puts you right into the middle of the Star Wars universe. When in the land you are in Black Spire Outpost a trading town on the planet of Batuu. Set in the time of the Star Wars sequels. Specifically between The Last Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker. For the best experience I do suggest having watched at least The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi. The theming here is very detailed and runs deep and the cast members will even greet you in their own lingo, more on that later. 

While you are planning your visit you might want to dress the part at Galaxy’s Edge and that is absolutely encouraged. BUT there are some rules, like no Jedi robes, or costume masks. 

Check out the rules here:

https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/faq/parks/dress/

Let’s get into everything there is to do in this out of this world land. 

Location 

You’ll find Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. 

The land is located between Toy Story Land and Grand Avenue

(You can also find and almost identical Galaxy’s Edge at Disneyland in California) 

** Note that the original Star Wars ride, Star Tours: The Adventure Continues, and the store Tatooine Traders, in this park are not in Galaxy’s Edge but located in Echo Lake. If you are missing Luke and the gang head here. Also at this store you will find more “Star Wars” branded items and merchandise. In Galaxy’s Edge merchandise is created to look like it would be sold within the world of Star Wars. Also at Tatooine Traders you can build your own plastic toy lightsaber, at a much lower price point than the lightsaber experience within Galaxy’s Edge. Elsewhere in the park in Animation Courtyard you can find Star Wars Galactic Outpost which is a little museum with screen used props, models, and more Star Wars film making content. ** 

Attractions 

Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance: 

  • Height Requirement 40”
  • Individual Lighting Lane purchase available 
  • Accessibility: Must transfer from wheelchair. Handheld Captioning & Audio Description. 

Considered the best ride at Disney World by many, including me, calling this a ride almost isn’t even fair. It’s more like a 20 minute Star Wars immersive theatre and ride experience where you transition through multiple ride vehicles. You board a Star Destroyer and help the Resistance defeat Kylo Ren and the first order. There are some moments that could be scary or startling for little ones. It’s an absolute must do for Star Wars fans and even if you aren’t a fan it’s still very enjoyable.

Lines for this can get LONG. I highly recommend one of the following plans. 

  • Purchase a Lighting Lane
  • Disney Resort Guests: Arrive 30 minutes or more prior to early park entry and rope drop. 
  • Enter the queue at the end of the night. The line may still be long but if you are in line prior to park closing the entire line will get get to ride. So you are spending time when the parks are closed in the long line instead of wasting park time. Play it safe a show up a half hour before closing. 

Be aware that this ride closes for technical difficulties often, which makes purchasing a Lightning Lane even more appealing. If it is down during your scheduled time you can come back later in the day, or get a refund. If it goes down for an extended time while you are in the standard line you are out of luck and wasted that wait time. 

Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run:

  • Height Requirement 38”
  • Genie+ Available 
  • Accessibility: Must transfer from wheelchair. Handheld Captioning & Audio Description. 
  • Single Rider Line 

If you ever wanted to pilot the Millennium Falcon this is your chance. This is basically a giant arcade game and simulator that lets groups of 6 take the Falcon on a mission to retrieve some coaxium for you boss Hondo Ohnaka.

There are three jobs you get be assigned on the ride, pilot, gunner, and engineer, and there are two of each. These are assigned while in line by a cast member and will determine your seat on the ride. These jobs will determine what you need to do on the ride to help with the mission. The pilot is the most coveted position. If you are not an exact group of 6 you will be combined with another group. 

The line here is half the fun, you’ll see a life size Millennium Falcon, are then totally immersed into a docking bay and then board the Falcon herself. 

This ride is a lot of fun especially for video game fans. Beware if does get very shaky. 

Food

Quick Service

Docking Bay 7 Food and Cargo  

  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
  • Food Style: American with a Star Wars flare
  • Mobile Order Available
  • Indoor Seating & Outdoor Seating 

You’ll find deep theming here of a cargo bay in the Star Wars universe this is the only real restaurant in Galaxies Edge. The menu is exciting with options that are different from what you will find around the rest of the park. The food is great for the price point and quick service style. My go to here is the plant based Felucian Kefta and Hummus Garden Spread. 

Stands

Milk Stand – Mobile Order Available – Find your Star Wars iconic blue milk and green milk here. Both milks are plant based and have different fruity flavors. The consistency is somewhere between milk and a smoothy, almost a slushy feel. You also have the option to add alcohol to either. 

Ronto Roasters – Mobile Order Available –  Home of the Ronto Wrap, a special sausage wrap with breakfast and lunch versions. There are even plant based alternatives. It’s the fan favorite food of the land. Ronto Roasters closes early and after that you can get a Ronto Wrap at Docking Bay 7 till closing. 

Kat Saka’s Kettle – Out of this world popcorn with two flavor options. Note your popcorn bucket discount won’t work here. 

Bar & Lounges

Oga’s Cantina:

* Reservations Required

The theming here is amazing and a must visit for Star Wars fans. Be ready to stand though as most of the tables are bar tops. The menu is speciality Star Wars themed cocktails with commemorative mugs optional. Be aware all the pricing is with the mugs but you can opt to get it without and they will still serve it to you in the mug you just won’t get to keep it.  Many non-alcoholic options available was well. There are a few snacks available here but don’t plan a meal here the few food options are underwhelming. The atmosphere is tons of fun with a droid DJ, DJ Rex, and so much to look at. There are some fantastic cast members here as well that are very into the theming. 

Characters

You’ll find character’s throughout the land. These are not your classic meet and greats. The characters are within the world and going about their business, like fixing their ships. But they will stop and chat with you and take a photo. 

Characters will even roam about the land and they might even in-list your help on a mission. 

You’ll see Chewbacca and Rey, often together by the land speeders or Millennium Falcon.

The Stormtroopers and Kylo Ren are frequently found with their ship by the Milk Stand. 

You might even see Vi a resistance fighter created especially for Galaxy’s Edge. 

Shopping

There is a TON of shopping in Galaxy’s Edge and even if you aren’t looking to take anything home I suggests checking out the shops as the theming and details in many of them is beautiful. Especially in Dok-Ondar’s and the Market Merchants. 

Now the items that you will find in the land are designed to be things that you could buy within the Star Wars world. So you will find things like lightsaber handles, or plush porgs, but you won’t find a tee-shirt with “Star Wars” across the chest. Check out Tatooine Traders in Echo Lake or the shops on Hollywood Boulevard for that. 

Resistance Supply: For all your Light Side needs.

First Order Cargo: For all your Dark Side needs.

Dok-Ondar’s Den of Antiquities – Here you’ll find collectables including Lightsaber hilts. 

The Market Merchants: This is a series of open-air stalls with each focusing on a different type of item. 

  • Creature Stall – Plushes of Star Wars creatures to adopt
  • Toydarian Toymaker – Toys 
  • Black Spire Outfitters – Clothing and costume items
  • Jewels of Bith – Souvenir items

Experiences 

Build a Lightsaber at Savi’s Workshop:

*Reservations Required – Each reservation is to build one lightsaber but two people my attend. One builder and one guest. At least one of the two guests must be over 14. 

*Recommend for aged 5+

This is a true experience not only do you get to design and hand build your very own high quality collectable lightsaber, but you will participate in a 20 minute group experience while building it. If you are a Star Wars fan you will probably get emotional. This is a pricey experience with costs starting around $200. If you build a saber make sure to come back to the land at night and take some photos with it! 

Build a Droid at Droid Depot:

*Reservations Required – Each reservation is to build one droid but two people my attend. One builder and one guest. At least one of the two guests must be over 14. 

*Recommend for aged 3+

At Droid Depot you will be assigned a building stall where a cast member will help you put together your very own droid. You’ll choose pieces off of a conveyer belt, decide what personality you want your droid to have, put them together and then active them. The experience is very build a bear with a droid. If you build a droid make sure to take them over to the testing area outside the store of a spin and to interact with other droid. 

Restrooms

  • Restrooms & Companion Restrooms – The Market Merchants
  • Restrooms & Companion Restrooms – Near the Milk Stand 

Bonus Fun

Photopass – Like the rest of Disney World there are Photopass photographers around the land to capture your memories. There are lots of fun Magic Shots they can take for you in Galaxy’s Edge. Keep an eye out for them in front of pretty much any spaceship you see. At the Millennium Falcon you might just find several photographers in that area each with a different angle so keep your eye’s peeled. Some even have a lightsaber for you to use as a prop. 

Star Wars Datapad – Within the Play Disney Parks App you’ll find the Star Wars Datapad. You can use the app to further interact with the land. It will ask you to scan certain items around the land, to complete puzzles, and participate in missions for the Resistance or First Order. 

Lingo – Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge has it’s own lingo and you’ll hear cast members greet you with terms you might be familiar with. Learn the lingo and how to respond property when greeted.

  • Bright Suns = Good Day 
    • Response = Bright Suns
  • Rising Moons = Good Evening 
    • Response = Rising Moons
    • Response If Leaving = Til the Spire
  • Ignite the Spark = Greeting for the Resistance
    • Response = Light The Fire
  • Good Journey = Informal Goodbye
  • Til the Spire – Farewell
  • May the Spires Keep You = A Formal Goodbye
  • On Planet = In The Land
  • Refresher = Bathroom
  • Hydrator = Water Fountain
  • Only The Ancients Know = I don’t know

As you can see Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge has a ton to do and lots to explore! I hope you found this helpful in planning you visit to Hollywood Studios. 

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

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Visiting Disney World While Pregnant

Hi! This is Katie, travel agent and host of this blog site. This post is a little bit different as it is written by one of my best friends, Kate, who just visited Disney World on her Babymoon! She’s going to share all her thoughts on visiting Disney World while pregnant.

Kate and her husband are Disney veterans and over the past decade have visited Disney Parks about once a year. They have been to Disney World and Disneyland, they have RunDisney, and stayed at various resorts, visited with groups and as a couple. All this to say they are Disney pros!

But this visit was going to be a bit different. As they celebrate the upcoming arrival of their first child this trip was a Babymooon! Which of course meant that Kate would be pregnant during their visit.

I had a blast helping them plan this trip as their travel agent and Kate came home with so many good thoughts we wanted to share them with all of you! So without further ado here’s Kate.

Hi Everyone I’m Kate! I’m here to give you all my tips for visiting Disney World while pregnant but first let’s start with some context for our trip.

We flew into Orlando on a Thursday morning and departed on a Monday morning. This was over Martin Luther King weekend 2022 and crowds were high. We stayed at Coronado Springs Resort in the Destino Tower. We spent 4 days in the parks, Thursday at Hollywood Studios, Friday and Saturday at Magic Kingdom, and Monday at EPCOT.

I was 24 weeks pregnant with my first child during our trip.

General Tips

1. Pack some snacks.  Snacks at Disney, from bananas to Kind Bars to a sixer of Miller Lite, are wildly expensive. And spoiler alert you’ll be hungry. You’re always hungry.

We brought Kind bars and RX bars in our suitcases and finished them all.

2. Wear amazing sneakers. Now isn’t the time to rock a color coordinated,  high fashion Disney Bound (although mad respect if you opt into that). You’re in the parks for the long haul and comfort is key. Your feet (and hips, and back, and…) will thank you. 

3. Don’t be afraid to take a break. Your vacay wont be ruined, in fact it might be saved! Pause in the middle of your day, go back to the hotel, put your feet up. Take a cat nap. Eat a snack. Refresh and recharge yourself,  there’s no shame!

That being said, also don’t be afraid to get a late start! Sleep in, get some breakfast, and be fresh as a daisy when you board the buses to the parks! This became our park-day norm. Mama needed some Zzzs.

4. Get memory maker. I’ll say that again for the people in the back. 

Buy. Memory. Maker. 

Your foggy pregnancy brain will thank you for having those memories captured. Get the t-shirts that say Bibbity Bobbity Bump. Bring your ultrasound photos. The photographers always work with you to make your magical photo dreams come true and (usually) don’t care what props you bring into the photos. It’s one hundred percent worth the price!

5. Prioritize your trip. What’s the goal? To eat your way through the parks? To take all the epic pics? To ride as many rides as you can? Figure out your priorities to avoid hormonal disappointment. No one likes crying at Disney, that’s the opposite of magical. 

6. Time your trip with your trimester.

Twenty four weeks pregnant was a sweet spot. You’re solidly in the second trimester, you don’t quite have a duck waddle going, but your bump is bumpy enough for cute photos. Why bring this up? Because once you hit the third trimester it’s lights out, zero energy, you feel like you’re back to the first trimester except this time you have a small MMA fighter pummeling your insides. You’ll be walking miles and miles in the parks (we averaged 8-12 miles a day) so go at an ideal time. That ideal time? Second trimester. Most doctors prefer you don’t travel after the 28-30 week mark anyways.

Magic Kingdom Tips

Ah, Magic Kingdom. The heart of Disney! Here’s some tips and tricks for MK:

1. If you didn’t bring your own snacks or meals into the park, order food using the app before you get hangry. This will save your life. And your partner’s life. Because you will try to destroy them in your fit of hanger rage.

You can order a full blown meal using the app, or just a Dole Whip. It was super reliable and you get to laugh at the people who didn’t use it and are bemoaning their fate in line.

2. The Liberty Belle Riverboat will be your best friend. I’m not lying to you. Trust me. It’s a guaranteed no-line, twenty minute respite while you cruise along the “river” in Liberty Square. Get out of the sun, hang out in the guest quarters, sprawl greedily across the upholstered benches and dare anyone to try and move a tired, pregnant person. No one will. It was bliss. We did it twice.

3. The Peoplemover will also be your best friend. It’s job is to move people. Let it move you.

4. On the whole, most rides at Magic Kingdom are accessible for pregnant folks. Obviously you can’t rock Space Mountain or Big Thunder Mountain…or apparently any type of mountain, but you have literally dozens of other attractions and it was why we spent two days there. So if your priority is rides, Magic Kingdom is the place to be. 

Epcot

While you can’t drink around the world – don’t worry – you can eat your way around the world. If you can, I recommend going during a festival. All the more food to keep you happy and sated, my dears.

1. Remember that hanger rage? Even if you go during a festival, make dining reservations ahead of time for lunch or dinner. We made the critical error of thinking we’d have enough food at the small booths and pavilions but with Disney’s never ending crowds these days causing longer-than-usual lines we were horribly wrong. I almost threw a fit in the China pavilion that would have rivaled any toddler in the park. It was ugly.

2. Let your partner buy you a sweet treat so you can happily chow down while they ride Mission: Space and Test Track. Is the sweet treat a bribe? Yes. Will you accept it? Absolutely. Plus your feet will appreciate a sit down.

3. Take time to appreciate attractions like The Seas with Nemo, or Living with the Land. They’re indoor, covered, and usually less crowded than the world showcase. Disney does a lot of conservation work and you can see that in The Seas. Also go enjoy Turtle Talk With Crush and watch an animated sea turtle sass young children while their parents laugh and laugh. It’s a delight.

Hollywood Studios

Okay, honestly friends, Hollywood Studios will not be a pregnant person’s fave. You can’t drink. You can’t ride Slinky Dog Dash, or Rise of the Resistance, or Smuggler’s Run, or Rock n’ Rollercoaster, OR Tower of Terror. Can you still have fun? Absolutely. But temper the ol’ expectations because Hollywood Studios is the thrill park, and your body wont be up for much thrilling.

1. While it’s technically suitable for pregnant folks, I don’t recommend Mickey’s Runaway Railway. It was overstimulating; the volume was loud enough to wake the dead and it rumbled right up your booty hole, there were vibrations in the cart that gave me legitimate concern, and the movements weren’t as fluid as, say, Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure in Epcot. I’d even argue Dwarf Mine Train in Magic Kingdom is more suitable. Just sayin’

2. The nice thing about Hollywood Studios is they sprinkle shows among all those thrill rides you can’t ride. You just have to time it right. So check the showtimes (particularly for Indiana Jones) ahead of time, and map out your day around them. 

3. Let your partner take advantage of the single rider lanes. Hollywood Studios has them for Smuggler’s Run and Rock n’ Roller Coaster. You have the thrill of literally growing a life, let them have their own thrills.

Plus you can always guilt them later for a sweet treat because you were so kind and generous. I recommend a Mickey Ice Cream Bar.

Moral of the Story

1. Plan your day around food.

2. Wear excellent footwear, but take breaks as needed. No one is monitoring your step count.

3. Temper your expectations, but prioritize so you can still have your ideal vacay.

4. Food. 

5. Book your vacation with Katie as your travel agent! Check out her contact details below.

Contact Katie for a free quote at katiev@themagicsyours.com

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

A Guide To Margaritaville Orlando Resort and Cottages

Margaritaville Orlando Resort is a large Jimmy Buffet and tropical themed resort complex located in Orlando, Florida. Margaritaville Orlando consists of a traditional hotel, rental cottages, and privately owned cottages.

Margaritaville is a chain of hotels and resorts around North America. 

The overall theming is tropical with touches of Jimmy Buffet fandom. Most of the names of things are Jimmy Buffet references. You will find some artwork in the cottages that are Buffet references, the accent pillows have song lyrics on them, and there are lots of parrots everywhere. You’ll find a ton of general margarita theming as well throughout the resort. I know very little about Jimmy Buffet and his music and I found I knew enough to get most of the references and appreciated the theming. You absolutely don’t have to be a Jimmy Buffet fan to enjoy this resort even if you get none of the references the tropical theming is great on it’s own. 

This is not a Disney owned hotel but you can book a Disney World package with a stay at Margaritaville.

For a deep look at the resort check out my video review. 

Layout

Margaritaville Orlando is located 15-25 minutes from the Disney World parks and 30 minutes from Universal Orlando and Sea World.

The resort is right next to a shopping center with a grocery store, Target, and several chain restaurants, the H2O water park, and the Sunset Walk shopping center that features lots of dining opportunities, including some really fun themed locations, plus a movie theatre and some retail locations. 

The resort itself is rather large. The central area is where the hotel towers and lobby are. Here you will find all of the hotel rooms, lobby, pools, resort store, fitness center, spa, and dining. There is a large parking lot in this area. Nearby is also the resorts dog park. 

The rest of the grounds consist of neighborhoods of cottages. These neighborhoods are split up between privately owned cottages and rental cottages that you can book as you would a hotel room. 

Each neighborhood has ample parking in front of all the houses. Lots of paved sidewalks throughout the area as well. 

Rooms

The hotel rooms have a lovely elevated tropical feel. Several styles of hotel rooms are available including king bed, two queen beds, and larger suites that can accommodate more people. All the rooms are pool view and have balconies. Accessible rooms available. Rooms have in-room coffee and mini-fridge. 

Cottages

The cottages are detached self contained homes. The homes are all done in a tropical style on the exterior and are adorable. The homes range from one bedroom to eight bedrooms. There are additional sub-options within each category of bedroom number. All of the homes have exterior patio space and once you reach four bedroom size you have the option of a private pools and hot tub. Many of the homes have balconies. All of the homes have full kitchens complete with all the things you will need to utilize the kitchen. Each cottage’s kitchen also has a margarita maker.

Staying in the cottages you have full access to all of the resort amenities and areas such as the pool and fitness center etc. 

The cottages have daily refresh housekeeping services, including bathroom amenities. You can also empty your trash throughout the house and place it in collection bins outside and it will be removed for you. 

Margaritaville even offers extra paid services like grocery delivery and equipment rental such a wheelchairs, strollers, and baby monitors. 

Transportation

If you are coming to Orlando to visit the theme parks and are choosing to stay at Margaritaville I would recommend renting a car to give yourself the most flexibility. 

Margaritaville does offer complimentary bus transportation to all the theme parks. You have to sign up in advance and the departure and return times have limited options. 

Airport transfers are not offered. 

Pools

The resort has two pools. Firstly the quiet pool, tucked away to the side with beach chairs and a sizable pool to enjoy some quiet time. 

The larger second pool is the Fin’s Up Beach Club. This huge pool features zero entry options and is surrounded by sandy areas with beach chairs and available for rent cabanas of several styles. Here you will also find the pool bar which has a sizable food and drink menu and umbrella covered tables to sit at. You can also bring your food to your beach chair or delivered to your cabana. 

You can purchase pool items like floats, sunscreen, and goggles at a merchandise booth. You can also bring your own floats but not your own food. This is also where you can rent bikes, and surrey bikes to ride around the resort. 

You’ll find games around the pool like a giant checker board, corn hole, ping pong table, and giant connect four. There is also a kids club that will lead activities throughout the day for kids. 

There is almost constant entertainment going on including live music, trivia games, corn hole tournament, water balloon toss, tie-dye (this had an extra cost involved) and more. For events like trivia the winning team even got a prize. My family won a Thanksgiving themed trivia game and were given the choice of a voucher for drinks, surrey bike rental, or tie-dye each to accommodate every member of our party. We choose drinks and received a voucher for 6 drinks. Pretty good deal!

Fun

In addition to all the fun happening at the pool there are even more events going on throughout the resort. Several nights a week live comedy takes place at the resort. The fitness center hosts events like yoga classes or fun runs. There is a Lost Shaker of Salt scavenger hunt you can participate in at your leisure. We visited during the holidays and in the lobby there was an opportunity to meet Santa or see Christmas carolers. Be sure to check out what is going on at the resort during your stay. There is also an arcade in the lobby and a playground my the fitness center. Some of these things come at an extra cost but many are included. 

Shopping

The lobby gift shop has a classic gift shop mix. Themed t-shirts, toys, branded mugs and glassware, home goods and nicer clothing options. As well as bath and body products and Christmas ornaments. 

Food

In addition to the pool bar, the Salty Rim Bar and Grill, there are two other dining options.  

Provisions  – Located in the lobby it offers pre-packed grab and go food items as well as bottled drinks including alcohol. Also here you will find a coffee and smoothie bar and a quick service grill that serves pizza, burger and sandwiches as well as all day breakfast options. There is a good variety of food offerings here. There is also a seating area if you want to dine there. 

Euphoria – This upscale sit down dining location with full bar offers a menu heavy in seafood but has other options as well. With breakfast, lunch, happy hour, and dinner options. Some nights live music is offered here as well. The restaurant is located in the lobby and does offer reservations. 

Additionally the On Vacation room offers dinging for special events like holiday brunches or weekly comedy shows.

Recommendations / Review 

I recently stayed at Margaritaville Orlando in a 3-bedroom plus cottage and I was a huge fan of the experience. The cottage itself was great with a lot of space for the cost and a full kitchen which is a huge plus. I was staying with 5 adults and 2 toddlers and it was plenty of room for us. We really enjoyed having the communal family space to eat, watch TV and hang out. At the same time every couple had their own bedroom and bathroom. The ability to stay in a full home and also have the perks of a resort really took this up a level for us from a rental home or Airbnb. The biggest resort perk that we used was the pool we absolutely loved it. 

I think that the cottages are a good option for anyone looking to get a whole kitchen and extra space at a lower price point then you would find on Disney World property. I think the cottages are also great for larger groups that want to stay together under one roof. 

My only complaints were that check-in took about a half hour, there was no tea kettle in the kitchen, the trash pick-up system was not made clear to us, and the utility closet did not have a lock on it so the kids could easily open the door. None of these were major issues. 

I think the resort as a whole is good for anyone planning to visit Orlando and split their time between Disney, Universal, and more. Or travelers who want to have several rest days during their trip. 

I would caution those looking to visit Orlando without a car. Margaritaville is not going to be the most convenient location for those without a car to get to the theme parks. 

I would not recommend Margaritaville for smaller groups who want to really focus on either Disney World or Universal Studios. In those cases I think keeping to the on-property resorts is a better bet. 

I chose the cottages for this recent stay because we had a large group that wanted to stay together and needed a full kitchen, and the price point here for a 3 bedroom unit is significantly less than staying in a Disney 3 bedroom villa. We had a car with us. We visited three Disney theme parks and had two rest days at the resort and the cottage worked out perfectly for us. 

I would absolutely stay there again.

If you are interested in staying at Margaritaville Resort or any other Orlando resort contact me today for a free quote at katiev@themagicsyours.com.

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A Guide To Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort 

Choosing which Disney World hotel to stay at can be a challenge there are so many fabulous options. I’m here with everything you need to know about Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort to help with your decision. 

Layout & Theme 

Coronado Springs Resort is a moderate level resort located in the area between Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom parks.

The overall theming of Coronado Springs is a unique blend of Spanish, Mexican, and Southwest American decor and culture. Reminiscent of the Mexican and Texan Rivieras. 

The resort is one of Disney’s convention resorts and has a complete convention center. As such the resort has amenities that you won’t find at other moderate level Disney World hotels, like a gym, spa, and a fine dining restaurant. You will also find lots and lots of work spaces. throughout the hotel designed for convention goers to be able to hop on their laptops and meet in small groups.

The hotel is quite large and has sprawling grounds with parking located throughout. The centerpiece of the grounds is a lovely lake, surrounded by all of the hotel buildings. 

The majority of the resort consists of garden style hotel rooms. Two and three story buildings with open-air hallways. The buildings are clustered together creating many courtyards with beautiful landscaping, seating, fountains, and even some lawn games. 

The garden style rooms are separated into three sections each with a different style. The Cabanas section has an ocean-side style complete with small sand beaches and hammocks. The Rancheros section has a desert theming of the American Southwest. The Casitas section is the largest of the three and is themed with a garden filled Mexican Riviera look. 

The other room style here is found in the Grand Destino Tower. This hotel tower has a Spanish influence with theming elements from the Destino animated short which was created as a partnership between Walt Disney and Salvador Dali. The tower is the most upscale area at this resort with elegant decor and a large open lobby. The tower houses the remaining hotel rooms at this resort. 

Between the Casitas and Grand Destino Tower you will find El Centro which includes the convention center, most of the dining locations, and the gift shop. The Destino Tower and El Centro are connected by an interior walkway. 

Transportation

The only transportation offered here is buses. There are four bus stops throughout the resort. One between the entrance of the tower and El Centro, and one in each garden section. This means you don’t have to walk too far to get to your bus as the overall resort is large. If you are staying in the tower the walk  from the lobby elevator to the bus stop is very short and convenient. If you are staying in the Garden section some rooms are closer than others you could have a five minute walk from your hotel room to the bus stop. 

Buses run from the hotel to all of the Disney World theme parks, water parks, and Disney Springs. Bus service from Disney Resort hotels begins 45 minutes prior to park opening and ends 1 hour prior to park closing. Return service to Disney Resort hotels ends 2 hours after park closing. Note that buses do not run between Disney hotels. 

The buses run about every 15 – 30 minutes or so and you can track their estimated arrival time through both the My Disney Experience App and the arrival boards at each bus stop. 

Check out my post all about Disney Transportation for more details on getting around Disney World. 

https://4ears4eyesforthemagic.travel.blog/2020/03/04/getting-around-disney-world/

Rooms

The garden style rooms have the same interior styling no matter which of the three sections they are located in. These rooms have touches of the Three Caballeros and a southwestern look. 

The standard rooms all have either two queen beds or one king bed. They include a smart TV, K-cup coffee maker, and mini fridge. These rooms all the vinyl flooring, lots of storage and plugs, including USB, and Disney’s signature split bathroom with a tub shower. The rooms are pretty basic but they are updated, functional, and stylish. 

You can opt for a preferred location room which are those closest to El Centro. You can also choose different views. There are suites available as well. 

Here is a look at all the garden room types:

  • 2 Queen
    • Standard View
    • Water View
    • Preferred Location
  • 1 King 
    • Standard View 
    • Water View 
    • Preferred Location
  • Suites
    • Casitas – Executive Suite
    • 1 Bedroom Suite – King
    • Casitas – 1 Bedroom Suite

The tower rooms have a Spanish influence and touches from the Destino short. The rooms have very similar amenities to the those in the garden section. With lots of storage, a k-cup coffee maker, smart TV, and mini fridge. The bathrooms here are larger and have a shower only, no tub. These bathrooms are beautiful. The big difference here are the views. The tower rooms offer large windows overlooking Disney property. From some of the standard view rooms you can even see Spaceship Earth or other parts of EPCOT and Hollywood Studios. These rooms have an upscale feel to them. Suites, and club level options are also available. 

Here is a look at all the tower room types:

  • 2 Queen
    • Standard View
    • Water View
  • 1 King 
    • Standard View 
    • Water View 
  • Suites
    • 1 Bedroom Suite
    • Tower – Presidential Suite
  • Club Level 
    • Standard View Club Access 

For a closer look at the resort and room check out my video review of the resort.

Pools

The main pool at this resort is located at The Dig Site between the Cabanas and Rancho sections. The Lost City of Cibola pool is large and has an awesome pyramid feature, themed to Mayan ruins. The pool also has a water slide. The Dig Site also includes a kiddie pool and a hot tub. 

The resort also has three quiet pools, one in each garden section. These pools don’t have any extra frills but allow for a quiet pool visit of for you to not have to walk the Dig Site if your room is located further away. 

Fun!

There is plenty to do at Coronado Springs. In addition the pools there is also a large Mayan ruin themed playground, volleyball court, arcade, and lawn games at The Dig Site. 

There are jogging trails throughout the resort, as well as two gyms one in the tower and one in the the Casitas section. 

There is even a spa and salon at the Casitas Fitness Center. They offer massages, facials, haircuts, nail services, and even some Disney character inspired makeovers. 

The resort also has activities like movie nights under the stars in the lawn behind Destino Tower, and campfire s’mores, crafting activities, a weekly fun run, and fitness classes. Some of these come with an extra cost and all are available on select days. Check the events schedule when you arrive at your hotel. 

You can also rent fishing equipment and bikes to enjoy at the resort.

For your more practical needs there is a business center, laundry rooms and laundry services, ATMs, and other standard hotel services.  

Shopping

Located in El Centro the Panchito’s gift shop sells Coronado Springs themed merchandise as well as general Disney World souvenirs. They have a variety of items from t-shits and pins to charm bracelets and purses. 

There is also a nice supply of snacks and treats, plus basic staples like bread, peanut butter, jelly, bagged breakfast pastries, milk, yogurt, and baby food. There are also bottled drinks including alcohol, and frozen treats including Mickey Bars. Don’t expect a grocery store but there are some options here.

They also sell toiletry staples and some over the country pharmacy items. 

Food

There are a ton of dining option at Coronado Springs. This is one of the highlights of this resort. 

El Centro:

Cafe Rix – This is a small coffee shop open in the mornings that has all your standard coffee and beverage offerings as well as pastries and some pre-made breakfast items. 

Rix Sport Bar & Grill – This sit down location takes reservations but can have walk up availability. A classic sports bar in atmosphere and menu this is the place to go if you want to catch a game while on vacation. 

El Mercado de Coronado – This location is a food court and offers a variety of pre packaged options like salads and basic sandwiches as well as hot made to order items. Such as burgers, nachos, flatbreads, meatball, and a kids menu. There are also breakfast options here in the mornings. Dessert is also here with ice cream, and bakery options. This is going to be the option open the earliest and latest. There is a large seating area here. 

Maya Grill – This table service location takes reservations and they are highly recommended in advance. With a fun theme of ancient Mexico with a menu of Nuevo Latino cuisine. With options like quesadillas, adobo chicken, fajitas, and enchiladas. 

During my stay at Coronado Springs I had dinner at Maya Grill. I enjoyed this restaurant greatly. I was actually surprised by how much I enjoyed my meal. Starting with chips and guacamole, the guacamole with strawberry pieces in it was really good. For an entree I had the plant-based chicken enchilada and it was delicious and so cheesy which is hard to do with plant-based cheese. My husband had the chicken fajitas and really enjoyed them as well. If you are staying at this resort I would highly suggest having a meal here. 

Laguna Bar – This is a small outdoor bar right outside of El Centro on the water. 

Destino Tower:

Barcelona Lounge – This lounge and coffee bar serves gourmet coffee for breakfast and in the evenings it serves a small menu of appetizers and a large selections of coffees and alcoholic beverages. The lounge is located on the bottom level of the beautiful lobby and is a lovely place to stop for a drink. 

Toledo – Toledo is a signature dining restaurant. Which is Disney speak for fine dining. Located at the top of the Destino Tower the restaurant itself is lovely with a very open floor plan it even has an open kitchen element. The glasswork on the ceiling is beautiful. The huge windows everywhere allow stunning views of Disney Property. Depending on your seat you can see Spaceship Earth, Galaxies Edge, Tower of Terror, Blizzard Beach, Magic Kingdom fireworks, and other Orlando attractions. The menu here is Spanish inspired and the specialties are tapas, steak, and seafood. This is fine dining so keep that in mind here with with offerings and the pricing. 

I enjoyed my dinner here the atmosphere was upscale and the views were fantastic, we even got to see Magic Kingdom fireworks in the distance. We got the rioja-braised chorizo which was good. The real star of the show was my entree the rioja-braised chicken. This was absolutely delicious and the portion size was large. My husband got the grouper and added shrimp. He enjoyed his meal as well but the portion size was smaller, though that is to be expected at this style of restaurant. Overall the food was very good and it was a nice experience. 

This is the one location I would suggest you actually travel to Coronado Springs to try even if you are not staying there. That is if you are looking for a fine dinging experience. 

Dahlia Lounge  – Also located at the top of the Destino Tower right across from Toldeo this lounge offers a patio with fantastic views of Disney World. The elegant interior also offers a great relaxing option. The menu offers tapas and tons of drink options. 

Resort Grounds:

Siestas Cantina  – This dining location is the bar and grill at the Dig Site and main pool. With appetizers and classic pool food like burgers, salads, and chicken tenders. There are also tacos, nachos, and some other snacks. Plus cocktails including frozen cocktails.

The Bridges Bar & Grill at Villa Del Lago  – This open air restaurant located right in the middle of the lake has great views of the water and the resort. It is a very chill and comfortable atmosphere. With a bar and lounge style couch seating as well as standard table seating. The menu is Spanish – American and includes a full bar. They have a menu of appetizers, salads, entrees, and desserts. This is a great location for dinner or a late snack after a full day in the parks. No reservations here but you can join the virtual waitlist from your app. 

During our stay at Coronado Springs we had dinner at Three Bridges one night after a long park day. We had the appetizers of guacamole, and roasted corn dip. The guacamole was good and the roasted corn dip was great. We got the the grilled chicken salad, and shrimp salad as an entree. The salads were good and a really nice healthier option after a day of park food. The vibe here was really nice here at the end of the day with lovely views of the grounds of the resort. 

Recommendation / Review 

Overall I love this hotel and had a fabulous experience during my time there. We stayed in the Destino Tower in a standard view king room. The room had plenty of space and the bathroom was huge and had a ton of storage. The view from the front of the tower was great we could see Spaceship Earth and some of the Harmonious fireworks both of which were awesome at night. The tower is absolutely the way to go here in my opinion. It has an elegant feel at a moderate price point. There are a ton or dining options here which is great. The presence of a gym was a big plus for my husband. 

I would recommend this hotel most highly to couples. I think adult groups would find this a great option as well. Those looking for higher end amenities on a budget will find themselves at home here. 

I would not recommend this hotel for families with small children. There is not a ton of theming for kids here and they likely would not appreciate many of the dinging options. Also if being near a theme park with faster transportation than a bus is a top priority this is not your best option. 

As you can see Coronado Springs Resort has a lot to offer. 

If you are interested in staying at Coronado Springs Resort or any other Disney resort contact me today for a free quote at katiev@themagicsyours.com.

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Be Our Guest Restaurant Review 

There are tons of dining options at Disney World and it can be hard to choose which ones you want to experience, or which ones will be a good fit for your travel party.

In this post I am discussing Be Our Guest Restaurant at Magic Kingdom. If you are interested in other restaurant options in Magic Kingdom check out my blog post all about dining in the Magic Kingdom.

Everything You Need To Know Before Dining at Magic Kingdom

Atmosphere

Be Our Guest Restaurant is a Beauty and the Beast themed restaurant located in Fantasyland in the Magic Kingdom. 

Be Our Guest serves lunch and dinner both with a pre-fix menu and set overall price of $62 for adults and $37 for children aged 3-9. More on the food below. 

Reservations are required to dine here and they go quickly. This is one of the most popular dining locations in all of Disney World. Dining reservations can be made starting 60 days in advance at 6:00am EST via the Disney World website or app. You must have valid park tickets and park reservations to make a dining reservation. If you are staying at a Disney World hotel you can make your reservations for your entire trip 60 days prior to your arrival date. 

Located in the back of Fantasyland amid the Beauty and the Beast section between Enchanted Tales with Belle, and Gaston’s Tavern the exterior the restaurant is truly grand. After checking in at the bridge entrance with the spires of Beast castle in the distance you walk down a stone bridge that leads you to the restaurant’s entrance. This set-up really puts you into the world of Beauty and the Beast. When you enter the restaurant you have entered Beast castle. Don’t miss the stained glass window photo opportunity right by the entrance. The details in the lobby are beautiful, with plenty to see as you wait for your name to be called. 

The interior of the restaurant has three sections. You will be assigned a seat and are unable to choose which of the three you want to dine in. However, you are welcome to explore all three areas during your visit. 

The largest section is the Grand Ballroom a perfect recreation of the ballroom Belle and Beast dance through in the movie. Complete with windows at the back where you can see it “snowing” outside. The vaulted ceilings complete with the mural from the film really bring a grand feeling to the room. This is my favorite room and certainly the most stunning. Everyone will enter from the lobby into this room to get to your table no matter where you are seated. 

To one side of the Grand Ballroom is the West Wing, if you recall from the movie this is the forbidden section of the castle and the Beast’s hiding place. Here you will find a very dark atmosphere. (Seriously you might need the flashlight on your phone to see the menu) The moody room is a lot of fun and of course this is where you will find the Enchanted Rose which you can watch lose petals as you dine. You’ll even see a thunderstorm out the windows complete with lightning. 

To the other side of the Grand Ballroom is the Castle Gallery where the walls are lined with paintings of all the castle inhabitants. In the middle of the room is a large spinning statue of Belle and Beast dancing, it reminds me of a music box. The paintings here are a lot of fun so make sure to really look around at them. To be honest this room is a bit less exiting then the other two and I am not sure why they didn’t make this room the Library. We were seated here for our most recent visit, that this review is based on, and I was a bit disappointed at first but the room grew on me and I got to get up and explore the others as well. 

An extra surprise for everyone visiting Be Our Guest Restaurant is a chance to meet the Beast. This is the only location where you can meet the Beast at Disney World. In normal times you would meet and greet the beast when you arrive and get a photo with him with a PhotoPass photographer. Currently with COVID protocols Beast walks around the restaurant every half hour or so and waves to the tables to welcome you to his home, everyone must stay seated. It is luck of the draw here to be able to get close to him. He does not walk past every table but every table will at least be able to see him. So you can grab a photo and maybe a selfie depending on your placement. 

The atmosphere in the restaurant is very loud and excited. The location itself is exciting to be in and you can feel the hustle and bustle of the excitement. The high ceilings here create a very loud atmosphere. Coupled with the fact that this restaurant attracts many young families who love Beauty and the Beast. This is seen as an alternative to dining at Cinderella’s Royal Table for some so you certainly have the little Princess crowd here. 

Menu


The menu has French and American offerings. The menu and pricing is the same for lunch and dinner. The menu here is pre-fix with a set pricing of $62 for adults and $37 for children aged 3-9. This does not include tax, tip, or any additional beverages. 

There is alcohol served here which is not the case in most of Magic Kingdom. There is a large menu of beer, cider, wine, and champagne. There are also specialty non-alcoholic drinks. 

For adults you choose one appetizer, one entree, and get a dessert trio. There are five appetizer and entree options. The dessert trio includes a dark chocolate truffle, a macaron, and a while chocolate Chip cup filled with the Grey Stuff. 

For children they choose an appetizer, entree with two sides that you can pick, and between the dessert trio or a fruit cup. 

There is a plant based option included in each category. There is also an allergy menu which will tell you which options are safe for which allergies. As always at Disney if you have an allergy or special dietary need just let your server know and they will work with you and the chef to make sure you have a safe and enjoyable experience.

Our Dining Experience

Onto the food review from my most recent visit with my husband. 

I have a dairy allergy and when making a Disney dining reservation you can note your allergies or dietary needs. They will typically confirm them with you as you are seated and again with your server.  Right off the bat our server brought us rolls and butter, one typical set for my husband and an allergy safe set for me. It’s great when we start off with the server already working with the allergies.  We both thought our rolls were good, they were very standard white rolls. 

For appetizers we both got the mixed field green salad. It was a fine salad nothing too exciting. It was nice to have a light option made of vegetables and fruit with a several part meal in front of you. It was a smaller portion size. 

For the entree I had the plant-based Vadouvan Spiced Vegetables. This was something different that I have never had anywhere before and I wasn’t too sure what you expect. I was very happily surprised with the delicious dish. There were a ton of veggies and the corn cake was nice and crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. The sauce was good, not too strong, which personally I enjoyed. I would get this again and the portion size was good.

My husband got the Poulet Rouge Chicken as his entree. This comes with savory bread pudding and vegetables. His portion size was a bit smaller than mine. He really enjoyed the chicken and the vegetables were good. The bread pudding he though was fine but the server had mentioned it was a crowd favorite and he didn’t feel it warranted that. He enjoyed the meal but would probably do something different if he returned. 

For dessert my husband got the dessert trio. He enjoyed them all and thought the Grey Stuff, basically a Oreo and cream whip, was great.  He thought the stand out was the chocolate truffle and he is not really a chocolate person so that really says something. 

While the menu indicated there was a plant based lemon cake I could have eaten they didn’t have it that night which was a little disappointing. But I was offered raspberry sorbet. The sorbet was good. 

Overall we enjoyed our meal. But did feel that at this price point you are paying for the experience of where you are dining and not the food. Which isn’t a problem but you need to be aware of it when making a reservation here. The one issue we had was it was very loud and hectic. It really has the feel of a hectic character meal without actually being one.

I am happy to have experienced dinner here even having been inside the restaurant before. We previously had lunch here in 2013 but the menu and pricing situation was much different at that time. This will not be on our regular park dining rotation but I would dine here again if traveling with someone who had not dined here before. 

Before the 2020 closures Be Our Guest also offered a breakfast option that was a significantly lower cost. If that returns I think that is a great option if what you really want to do is just experience dinging here. That’s what I would do if given the option in the future. 

Who Do I Recommend This For

I would recommend this restaurant for families with children, especially Princess loving children. If your child loves Beauty and the Beast more than Cinderella I would consider this over Cinderella’s Royal Table. I would also consider this over Cinderella’s if your children would have issues with actually meeting characters, as Cinderella’s is a character meal and this is not. 

Adult Beauty and the Beast fans I think you need to do this at least once. For adults I think it is best enjoyed with an adult group vs. a couple and going in knowing what to expect atmosphere wise in advance. It is loud and it is hectic. 

Couples if you love Beauty and the Beast and just have to dine here to see it, go for it you will have a good meal and love the location itself. But if you are looking for a nice date night meal or special occasion I wouldn’t plan for Be Our Guest to be that meal.

I would not recommend this location for anyone who has sensitivity to a lot of noise or it being loud. 

I also wouldn’t recommend this to someone looking for fine dining, which the pricing could lead you to believe this is. If you are at Magic Kingdom and want fine dining check out the dinging at the Grand Floridian and Contemporary Resorts. Both of which you can walk to or take the Monorail. Consider pairing these with cocktails at the Enchanted Rose Lounge at the Grand Floridian which takes its theming from the live action Beauty and the Beast if you still want that Beauty and the Beast touch. If you don’t want to leave the park try Jungle Skipper Canteen which has a lot of unique options 

Overall Be Our Guest Restaurant is truly a unique dining experience, and a nice meal, and if you love Beauty and the Beast I would recommend this to you if you can fit it into your budget. Just go in with the right expectations. The food is good but it is not amazing, it will be loud and hectic. But you will be dining in a beautiful and deeply themed location.

I hope that helps you decide if Be Our Guest is the right addition to you Magic Kingdom day. 

If you are looking to travel to Disney World (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

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EPCOT Festival Scavenger Hunt Guide

Walt Disney World’s EPCOT theme park has a seasonal rotation of four festivals. These festivals feature special food and drink kiosks, musical entertainment, themed activities, decorations, shopping, and more. 

The festivals are:

Winter – EPCOT Festival of the Arts

Spring – EPCOT International Flower and Garden Festival

Summer / Fall –  EPCOT’s International Food and Wine Festival

Holidays – EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays 

One activity that each festival always offers is a scavenger hunt. Each festival each year offers a different scavenger hunt so you can play a new one each time you visit. 

I recently visited Disney World in October 2021 during the Food and Wine Festival and participated in the current scavenger hunt offering, Remy’s Ratatouille Hide & Squeak. My guide and review will be based on this particular scavenger hunt but the basics are the same for all of the scavenger hunts. 

Getting Your Board

You have to purchase your scavenger hunt board. The board is a thick paper and a set of stickers. This one cost me $9.99 + tax. You can purchase the board at a few different locations. Now the specific locations are subject to change but your best bet is Disney Traders located right as you enter World Showcase if coming from the parks main entrance, near the showcase lagoon boat dock. I purchased mine at Pin Traders – Camera Center just after you enter underneath Spaceship Earth (the ball) on the right hand side. Ask at the check out counter for the scavenger hunt maps, they will likely have them on display, 

Once you have your board you are ready to play! 

How To Play

You have your board and you are ready to go. The goal of this scavenger hunt is to find the hidden Remys who are all gathering ingredients for his ratatouille recipe. The characters and styles will change with each scavenger hunt as will the hiding locations. With this hunt we were looking for statues of Remy with food. Another example, from a previous year’s Festival of the Arts, you had to locat paintings with Figment in them. 

The board will be your map. There are clear spaces where the stickers go. These spaces indicate where you need to look for a hidden Remy. The locations are mostly around World Showcase. 

While hunting we noticed that the Remys were frequently near a food booth, and they were always outside. But that could change based on what scavenger hunt you are doing. Make sure to look both up high and down low. Some of the Remys were easy to find some were hard there was definitely enough of a range that adults and kids can play. 

Once you find a Remy you place the matching sticker onto the space on the board. So when we found the Remy with a carrot we used that sticker for the corresponding space. 

Continue around EPCOT until you find all of the Remys. There is no time limit if you will be visiting ECPOT several times during your vacation you can bring the map with you each time and work on it throughout your visit. 

If you are looking to cut down your steps I don’t think I would recommend the scavenger hunt we certainly did some extra walking trying to track all the Remys down. 

If you get stuck try asking a cast member based in that area if they have seen Remy.  Or the internet is full of the locations of the characters for each scavenger hunt, so unless the festival just started you are likely to be able to google an answer if you just can’t find one. 

We purchased the map around 11:20am and redeemed our prize around 4:15pm we worked on the map as we toured World Showcase stopping for attractions and food. Whenever we were talking we would be looking for Remys so if really was hours of entertainment value. 

Once you find all the Remys and complete your map it is time to redeem your prize!

Collecting Your Reward 

The map will indicate where you can go to redeem your prize, at a selection of stores. 

Ask at the front counter about redeeming your scavenger hunt prize. They will stamp your map to indicate that you have received your prize and they will return the map to you to keep. 

Incase you were wondering no one is going to check that you actually went around and completed the scavenger hunt or if you just put the stickers on it. It’s an honors system and also the point here is really the fun of looking for the hidden characters so why cheat yourself. But if you just didn’t have time to find those last few it’s ok you can still get your prize. 

So what is the prize?

It changes for each scavenger hunt but is typically a choice between three or four styles of a cup, plate, bowl or something similar. 

For Remy’s Ratatouille Hide & Squeak the prize was a small bowl. There were four pattens to choose from, a Remy one (which there were out of), and Beauty and the Beast one, a Figment one, and a Minnie Mouse one. Each of the four options matched one of the lines of merchandise for the festival. 

I choose the Beauty and the Beast one and I really like the design it was very cute and perfect for a princess fan. It also saved me from buying something else in that merchandise line to get something with that design on it. 

Once you have your prize you are all done and you get to take home your prize and your map as keepsakes. 

Who Should Play?

I think this can be fun for pretty much anyone. 

It’s something for groups with kids to do when the kids might not be that interested in the countries and food of World Showcase. It gives them something to keep their minds on. 

Great for couples or an adult group. 

If this is your first visit to EPCOT this might add a layer of too much going on for you there is so much to see and take in already plus whichever festival is going on. This could feel like one added thing to think about that you don’t need. 

Anyone who likes games I think this will be a big hit. 

If you are going to be doing multiple days at EPCOT and focusing on the festival offerings I think this is a fun addition to add to your festival experience. 

As an adult just traveling with my husband I thought it was a lot of fun. I will do another festival scavenger hunt but probably not every time I visit. 

I don’t think this is a must do but I do think it is a great add on option. I got a lot of fun and time spent out of $10, plus I got a souvenir to take home with me.

If you are looking to travel to Disney World (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

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Magic Kingdom’s Firework Dessert Parties – Enchantment Pre-Party Review 

I recently attended a Magic Kingdom fireworks dessert party in October 2021 and I am here to breakdown all the details to help you decide if this is right for you during your visit to Disney World. 

A Disney World dessert party is a special reservation only extra cost event where you get dessert, some other food as well, and a view of the fireworks. 

With the start of Disney World’s 50th Anniversary Celebration which runs from October 2021 – March 2023 a new Magic Kingdom Fireworks show has debuted. Named Disney Enchantment this night-time spectacular celebrates the magic of Disney animated movies. The show runs 15 minutes and and plays most nights at 8:00pm. Be sure to check both the fireworks and party schedules while planning your bookings. The show includes spectacular fireworks in the sky, projections on the castle and down Main Street, and even the classic flight of Tinkerbelle over the crowd. The show is narrated by Angela Basset and features Disney music and an original song. 

Types of Dessert Parties

At this time there are five 50th Anniversary fireworks dessert party types. 

*Magic Kingdom 50th Fireworks Dessert Parties: Disney Enchantment Pre -Party: Admission is $99 per adult (ages 10 and up); $59 per child (ages 3 to 9), tax included. Dine at the Tomorrowland Terrance and then watch the Enchantment fireworks show from a reserved viewing area in front of the castle, in the Plaza Garden.

Magic Kingdom 50th Fireworks Dessert Parties: Disney Enchantment Post-Party: Admission is $99 per adult (ages 10 and up); $59 per child (ages 3 to 9), tax included. Watch the Enchantment fireworks show from a reserved viewing area in front of the castle, in the Plaza Garden then dine at the Tomorrowland Terrance. 

Magic Kingdom 50th Fireworks Dessert Parties: Disney Enchantment Treats & Seats: Admission is $114 per adult (ages 10 and up); $69 per child (ages 3 to 9), tax included. Dine at the Tomorrowland Terrance and watch the Enchantment fireworks show with views from the restaurant. The bottom 25-50% of the castle projections are blocked from view by trees. 

Celebration at the Top: 50th Flavors & Fireworks at Disney’s Contemporary Resort: Admission is $129 per person, plus tax and gratuity. Dine at California Grill at the Contemporary Resort with appetizers and desserts. Enjoy a private viewing of the Enchantment Fireworks from the top deck. You will be unable to see the castle projections in any detail from this location. 

Ferrytale Fireworks: A Sparkling Dessert Cruise: Admission is $99 for adults and $69 for children ages 3 to 9 tax and gratuity included. Board a ferryboat in the lagoon in front the Magic Kingdom dine on the boat and then view fireworks from the lagoon. You will be unable to see the castle projections in any detail from this location.

Our Viewing Spot

Getting a Reservation

Reservations for the parties open 60 days in advance of your visit just like the other dining reservations.

The reservations can be made on the Disney World website or the My Disney Experience App the new days reservations open at 6:00am EST. 

When booking a dessert party you have to pay the entire price up front unlike most other dining reservations.

Choosing A Party

I chose and attended the Disney Enchantment Pre-Party. I chose the pre-party for two main reasons. The first being that the pre and post parties offer the best views of the show between the five dessert party offerings. This was the first time I was seeing this show as it was so new so I wanted to be able to take in everything with a good view. The second being that I would rather eat before the fireworks and be able to leave right after and get back to the hotel earlier as we had an early morning the next day. So that was just personal preference. 

The rest of the review will be about the Enchantment Pre-Party

Checking In

The dining part of the party takes place at the Tomorrowland Terrance which is an open air quick service restaurant during the day. It is completely under cover but it outdoors. 

At 6:30 you can officially start checking into the party at the front of Tomorrowland Terrance. While the official time is 6:30 it seems like they actually start checking people in a bit before that. You are given a wrist band to allow you access to the party and viewing area, and a second wrist band if you are over 21 and plan to drink alcohol during the party. 

Once you check in you will be walked to and assigned a table. The tables in the pre-party / post -party area are all close together and it got pretty loud in there. So this is certainly not a date atmosphere but more of a big family party atmosphere. It was a fun vibe to get pumped up for the fireworks show. The night we were there the party was sold out but the food lines were never super long and it never felt too crowded so I think the crowd size they are allowing is good for an event like this. 

Once you are seated at your table you are free to get food and drinks at your leisure. Whenever you were done eating you can let a cast member at the check in stand know and someone will walk you over to the viewing area which is very close to the restaurant. 

Food Review

I have food allergies so I didn’t eat any of the standard food so the review of the food is from my husband’s tasting. More below on the allergy treats I ate.

The food is served buffet style with two buffets both serving the same things to cut down on lines. There were a few not sugary foods, cheese and crackers, and a selection of fruits which were mostly melon. My husband enjoyed these options. 

For sweet dessert options there were a bunch of cute little single serve desserts. Many of the options were smaller portions of things found at restaurants around Magic Kingdom which was a cute nod to the 50th.

My husband liked all of them but a few were stand outs for him I have marked those with stars below. The one disappointment was that there were no frozen treats. 

Tres Leches Cupcakes are coconut cakes soaked with a four milk mixture from Pinocchio Village Haus. 

***The Firehouse Doughnuts are ricotta doughnuts rolled in cinnamon sugar with strawberry topping found at Tony’s Town Square.

Butterscotch Pudding with Caramel Popcorn on top.

Devil’s Chocolate Pudding is chocolate pudding with crumble brownie and chocolate dipped cream found at Friar’s Nook.

Chocolate Silk Pie is a chocolate tart shell, chocolate filling, whipped cream and chocolate shavings and can be found a Casey’s Corner.

*** Oreo Cheesecake Mousse was topped with a crumble and can be found at Cinderella Royal Table

The Chilling Camber Pop was vanilla cake crumbs with caramel buttercream and graham cracker crumbs and can be found at Sleep Hollow. 

*** Chocolate Covered Strawberries with 50th Anniversary detailing. 

In addition to the desserts there are two drink stations. The non-alcoholic drink station has water, coffee including de-caff, tea, juices included the Disney favorite POG juice, and some very tasty apple cider. The alcohol station had a selection of several wines, and beer. You can have as many beverages as you’d like. The alcohol can not leave the restaurant. 

Allergies & Special Diets

Those with allergies or special dietary needs as always Disney has you covered. I don’t eat dairy which is in a vast majority of desserts and was in fact in everything on the buffet except the fruit. 

When I made the reservation I noted that someone in the party had an allergy to milk. You can do this for any dining reservation at Disney. When checking in they noted that was on the reservation and confirmed with me that someone had an allergy. If they don’t ask you just make sure to tell them. When walked to our assigned table and our little “reserved” table sign was teal instead of grey like the others. The person seating us let me know that an allergy cast member would be out to see me in a minute. My husband could start using the buffet immediately. 

I grabbed a drink quickly and within 5 minutes the allergy cast member was at our table, confirmed my allergy and told me to hold tight while she brought an allergy plate from the back. She quickly returned with a large plate of multiple desserts that looked great. She let me know she would be back later if I needed more of anything or a to go box. I also continued to see her around the area so I could have flagged her down if I needed her. 

The vast majority of the treats where from Erin McKenna’s bakery which has a location as Disney Springs and sells pre-package items in a lot of the hotel food courts and a few other locations around property. Erin McKenna’s is free of all the top allergens, is vegan and kosher. So if you have special dietary needs you are likely to get the same plate as I did. 

Everything included was enjoyable and very familiar to someone who is used to eating allergy friendly treats. The one surprise was I did get a frozen dessert. Here is a list of the items and I have started my favorites. 

Gummy Bears 

***Chocolate Covered 50th Anniversary Strawberries

***Chocolate Chip Cookie

Vanilla Tofu Ice Cream 

***Brownie Bit Cupcakes with Vanilla and Chocolate icing. 

Lemon Bread 

Cinnamon Raisin Bread

About a half hour later the allergy server returned and asked if I wanted a box for the rest, which I did. She also offered to bring me some extras to take with me from the back she specifically offered cookies and gummy bears but I could have asked of other items. I took her up on the cookies and she returned with a box and 4 more large packaged chocolate chip cookies. These leftovers were great to have in the room for the next few days. 

Viewing Spot 

When we were done and had our leftovers all boxed up we filled up our water bottles and walked to the front podium, a little group had formed waiting to be walked to the fireworks spot. We only waited about a minute until the group departed. The fireworks spot was very close by so if you knew where it was you could also walk yourself. A cast member check our wristbands to allow us to enter the area.

Inside the area there was a front section that was all pavement and was being reserved for those with strollers, ECVs, or wheel chairs though right before the show started they let anyone else who wanted to enter this section move up to fill the available room. The back section has grass and pavement. The front and back sections were divided by some fencing and bushes so there was some separation and those up front were not blocking the views for those in the back.

We grabbed a spot right up against the railing in the very front of the back section. I was very happy with our view which you can see in the photos. I liked being up against a railing which allowed some extra personal space and no one to come right in front of us. We had a couple right beside us on each side but no one was close to us behind us. The dessert party area had plenty of people in it by the time the show started but it did not feel crowded at all. Now I went on a night that they only offered the Pre-Party. There was no Post-Party offered due to it being a Halloween event night at Magic Kingdom. So on a night where there was a Pre and Post Party twice as many people would have been in this space. There still would have been plenty of room and it would not have felt as crowded and the people 10 feet to the left of us in the regular hub area but I think it would have felt full. 

The timing here is important if you want to get a better viewing spot. I would say everyone at the party had a good view but some spots have lighting equipment obstructing your view more than other spots did. So if getting a prime spot is part of the reason you booked the party here is the time table we followed. 

6:30 Check Into Party 

7:20 Head Out of Party

7:25 Arrived at Viewing Area 

7:45: Beacon of Magic

8:00: Fireworks

8:30 At Bus Stop To Go Back To Hotel

You want to make sure you don’t miss the 7:45 Beacon of Magic which is the lighting of the castle and is part of the 50th celebration nightly. 

If you have kids arriving at the viewing area at the time we did they would have had time and space to run around the grassy area a bit and we saw some doing that. 

If you want a prime spot I would leave the party no later than 7:25.

Of course the point of the party for many is that you don’t have to wait for you spot so if you want to roll up to the viewing right at 7:45 you will still have a good view. Consider also that people with similar views to ours outside the party area had likely been waiting in their spots for an hour and a half or more and were in much more crowded conditions. 

Note there is a restroom right outside of the restaurant and very close the the viewing area. 

The first set of photos show our reserved viewing at 7:30 are and the second show the normal viewing areas at 7:30 and the third set is the reserved viewing area at 7:55.

Fireworks Show & Beacon of Magic 

Let’s talk about the show itself. First the Beacon of Magic, this is a cute little appetizer to Enchantment. It is also the only part of the show that is going to specifically mention the 50th Anniversary. It is worth seeing but it’s not hugely impressive it is more a little emotional moment. 

The big event of course is Disney Enchantment. Angela Basset is a great choice for the narration and does an awesome job. The original song that opens and closes the show is lovely and starts with a nice little soft moment of emotion as we build to the big louder moments later in the show. The projections on the castle are beautiful as they always are. They are really an integral part of the show especially for a first viewing. The fireworks are so vivid and some are huge. I love how they work them into the music. The show worked in a lot of characters from all the eras of Disney but the focus here is on newer movies from from the last 10 to 15 years. It feels like there was a clear effort to include and focus on diverse characters for this show, it is so great that more and more children can see a character that looks like them projected on the castle having their big moment. My absolute favorite part of the show was the the Into the Unknown number, complete with lasers, it was fantastic. Of course it is always a highlight when tinker belle flies and don’t worry she flies from the castle in Enchantment just like she did with previous shows.

How was the show overall? I have never meet a castle fireworks show I didn’t love so of course I loved this one. It was emotional watching it and I left impressed and happy.

This is a must see for any visit to Magic Kingdom in my opinion. That is if your group can make it to stay up this late, I’d recommend a mid-day break or nap time if possible to make it to the evening. 

After the show we were ushered form the viewing area. While the vast majority of the crowds were heading right down Main Street we were in perfect position to take the side exit which was open. This pathway runs behind the shops of main street and ends at Town Square right by the exit to the park. So we avoided some of the exiting crowd that way. 

Is The Dessert Party Worth It?

Here is the quick answer we paid about $200 for the two of us to attend the dessert party.

For me it was worth it for a few reasons. 

  1. That money was in our budget and we didn’t have to sacrifice something else to do it. 
  1. This was a first viewing of this show for us and seeing it with a good view was a trip priority for me. This guaranteed me a good view without waiting for a long time in uncomfortable conditions. 
  1. This was a special occasion for us, our anniversary, so this was a fun thing to make our day a little extra special. 
  1. I love dessert and I knew this was a way for me to get a lot of allergy safe treats easily. 

But that does not mean a dessert party will be worth it for you. I only had a party for two people if I was paying for a party of 4 that math gets a little harder. If I had to sacrifice another park day to do this then that is an absolute no. If I was traveling with a 4 year old who may or may not make it to fireworks I wouldn’t chance having the party reservation that is non-refundable. If fireworks are not a priority and you don’t care what your view is as long as you can hear the music and see them from somewhere in the park. Particularly if you don’t care about seeing the projections then this is not for you. 

Who would I suggest this party for?

  • Anyone with fireworks as a top priority for your day. 
  • Adult only groups / couples
  • Celebrating a birthday or another special occasion.
  • Those who want to do a dessert party and have kids in their group. This is the best of the bunch for kids. 
  • Those using an ECV and Wheelchair. Having a reserved area is going to give you a lot more personal space and if unable to stand for the show access to a more unobstructed view. 

Here is a quick Pro and Con List:

Pros:

  • Prime Firework Viewing Without The Wait
  • Alcohol In the Magic Kingdom (which is only in a few select restaurants) 
  • Place To Sit and Enjoy Your Dessert
  • Unlimited Dessert
  • Easy Dessert Access For Allergies / Special Diets

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • There are plenty of desserts that are just as good and less expensive on Main Street and the Ice Cream Parlor, or Confectionary that you could grab and then camp out in a fireworks spot on your own. 
  • You Won’t See The Projections Down Main Street.

I hope that helps you decide if you want to make a reservation for the Enchantment Pre-Party or another dessert party.

If you are looking to travel to Disney World (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.

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A Tourist Guide To Seattle

I recently visited Seattle, Washington as part of a larger Pacific Northwest vacation. It was the perfect place to end the week long trek from Portland, around the Olympic Peninsula, and to Seattle. As a large city it had a lot to offer for vacationers and we had a wonderful time exploring the Emerald City. 

If you are interested in Portland and the Oregon Coast check out this blog post.

Travel Guide To Portland & The Northern Oregon Coast

 

Getting There

Getting to Seattle is very easy, they have a major international airport. It is also easily accessible by road making it a great place to build a larger trip from. If you are approaching from the west you even have the option of taking a ferry. We approached Seattle from the Olympic Peninsula and Olympic National Park. We drove from Forks through Port Angeles and took the ferry from Bainbridge Island. They ferry was a wonderful experience! You drive right on and then you can park your car and get out for a fabulous view. There were also seats for walk on passengers, plus a rest room, and snack stand. It was such a great way to approach a new city and to watch is get closer and closer and larger and larger as we approached. Pointing out landmarks during the 20 – 30 minute journey. If you were staying just in Seattle this would even be a fun day trip out to Bainbridge Island via ferry. I highly recommend it. 

Where We Stayed

We stayed at the Hilton Homewood Suites: Convention Center Pike Street. As the name tells you it was on Pike Street a straight shot and about a 10 minute walk to Pike Place Market. It was right next to the convention center as well. We were able to walk everywhere that we went from this hotel. It was about a 25 minute walk to the Seattle Center, and about the same in the other direction to the Aquarium and Pier area. The area directly around the hotel had lots of dinning options, and a convince store was right next door. Of course if you prefer an Uber or taxi those were readily available as well. The hotel offered a self parking garage at an additional charge. 

The hotel lobby had a seating area and housed the included breakfast location, a single desk and computer as the business center, and an ATM. They also had a small selection of prepackaged food, and sundry items for sale by the front desk. The included buffet breakfast has a large seating area. The food was what I expect from a Homewood suites with lots of options and quality right down the middle for a buffet breakfast. Since you have a kitchen in your room you can always grab some extra items for lunch or snacks as well. They offered coffee and juice and sometimes fruit throughout the day in this same area. There was also a gym available on another floor, which had the basics. 

Our room was a standard 1 Queen Bed Studio Suite. The great thing about all Homewood Suites is that every room is a suite. So you get a kitchen area and a seating area on top of the bedroom. Since this was a city location the kitchen/seating area was a bit smaller than you might find at other locations. The largest take away was that the fridge was really a mini-fridge with a connected “freezer” section that barely could stand up to the test of keeping ice cream frozen. But the room as a whole was large especially for being in the heart of a city. There was a lot of natural light and the bathroom was huge. There was a lot of storage space including a closet with a safe. I throughly enjoyed our stay in this room and at this hotel. I highly recommend it. 

To see a room tour check out my Seattle video link here. 

What We Saw

We used the Seattle City Pass to purchase joint admission to all of the attractions. I love these passes and have used them in other cities before. If you are going to visit several of the included attractions I highly recommend getting a City Pass. It’s also a great way to see what the most popular attractions are in a city. It also lets you add something that is included that you might not have wanted to spend the money on otherwise for whatever reason. 

In some cities you even get preferred entry to attractions but we didn’t have that in Seattle. 

Two things included on the pass that we did not do was a harbor cruise and the zoo. I would have been interested in both but didn’t have time to fit them in and we felt the ferry ride gave us a lot of what the harbor cruise would have. 

SEATTLE CENTER

The Seattle Center is a campus home to many tourist attractions and performance and sports spaces. Between them all is green space, souvenir shops, street entertainment, and a few food stands. 

Space Needle – This is of course the crown jewel of the Seattle Center and the most iconic and popular attractions in Seattle. Before you arrive check the current ticket requirements we had to sign up for a timed entry. When you enter you will still need to wait in line before you can head up to the top. We waited about forty five minutes, half of it outdoors but under cover. There is stringent security and large backpacks have to be placed in lockers before you enter so make sure before you leave your hotel you don’t have any prohibited items. While in line on the left hand side there are panels describing the construction and history of the Space Needle. You get your photo taken on a green screen right before you head to the elevators. This photo download is free as are all the photos taken at the Space Needle so keep an eye out for photographers at the top and download the Space Needle App to get your photos. You will be assigned an elevator and take it up to the top with a tour guide. You’ll be delivered to the top floor. Inside here you will find a bar and lounge area. Outside is the observation deck which has very tall glass walls all around and benches. The views are amazing and on a clear day you can see all the way to Mt. Rainer. Be sure to walk around the entire deck to see all of the views. There are selfie stations where you can take your photo as well as wondering photographers. When you are done here you go inside and down one flight of stairs. This is where you will catch the returning elevator to the ground. But fist make sure to check out to the rotating glass floor here. This level is all inclosed. You take the elevator back to the bottom and exit through the gift shop. We had a lot of fun here and the views were great. I think anyone visiting Seattle should make a journey to the Space Needle, unless you are scared of heights. 

Chihuly Garden and Glass – This museum features the glass artwork of Chihuly. With expansive rooms featuring huge pieces of art to smaller pieces with lots of detail. I am not normally one for art museums but this was certainly not your typical art experience with the size and style of the pieces. It was an experience to walk though. At the end there is a large greenhouse portion with stunning overhead glasswork hanging and where you can enjoy a cafe, or observe a glass blowing demonstration. Then you can walk through the garden with views of the Space Needle and glasswork pieces throughout the flowers. 

MO POP = Museum of Pop Culture – This museum was so much fun and I highly recommend it for fans of pop culture! I am a big movie, TV and pop culture fan so this was a perfect place for me. They had some really exciting pieces like original props and costumes from movies, and guitars from famous artists. There were broad exhibits themed to things like fantasy, science fiction, video games, and horror movies. Then there were more Seattle specific exhibits like a huge Pearl Jam one and a Nirvana one. They also had a few traveling exhibits that rotated while we where there they had a history of the LGBTQ+ rights movement by the Newseum, and a Disney Achieves costume exhibit. The Disney one was an additional entrance fee so be sure to check what is going to be there during your visit. 

**** The Seattle Center is also home to several theaters and performance spaces, the new Climate Pledge Area and Memorial Stadium. It is also where you will find the Pacific Science Center. **** 

Other Attractions

Pike Place Market – This is the iconic seafood market that is prominently featured in any movie that takes place in Seattle. On the water it has three levels, reaches across the street, and spans several blocks. I absolutely recommend walking around the area and grabbing a meal here. It is almost always very crowded but you are able to walk though early in the morning before most of the stores are open if you want to take it in without the crowds. Of course there are stalls and stores that sell fresh seafood, produce, crafts and home goods, souvenirs, and stores of all kinds, there are even sit down restaurants. A few highlights here are the first Starbucks which seemingly always had a very long line unless you arrived very early in the morning. They have special merchandise and a special Pike Place only blend. In an alleyway on one of the lower levels you have the Gum Wall which is a wall of discarded chewing gum and it makes a really fun photo opportunity. You won’t want to miss the Pike Place Fish Market stall where the workers famously throw the fish orders through the air. Then pose for a photo with the bronze pig statues, Rachel is right in front of the Pike Place Fish Market, and Billie is out back on the top level on the porch. If you take a peak into The Athenian Inn restaurant on the main level you’ll see two stools at the corner of the counter right up front with plaques on them. A scene in Sleepless in Settle was filmed here and Tom Hanks and Rob Reiner sat on these stools. The market is a must visit while in Seattle.

 Seattle Aquarium – The Seattle Aquarium is right on the water appropriately enough. Located among the piers this Aquarium is moderately sized as aquariums go. With a large touching pool where you could reach you hand in to touch starfish and anemones. The building itself and the layout was different and some of it structurally entertaining. They had several large tanks with Pacific Northwest fish. About half of the aquarium was outside and this was where you would find seals, otters, and sea birds. This part of the aquarium seemed older and the enclosures didn’t provide the best views. But nothing seemed too small or run down or anything like that. The sea otter and puffins were my favorite here. I had a nice time here but I wouldn’t put it on my list for a return trip. It’s a good filler attraction if you need something else to add to your visit or if you are traveling with kids this is a good option, it’s also something to have in your back pocket for a rainy day. If you have the Seattle City Pass this is included and I would certainly take advantage of that if it fits in your schedule. 

Miners Landing Pier 57 – Located right next to the aquarium and on the water was Pier 57 Miners Landing. This is your basic tourist trap amusement. It was free to walk around the indoor portion so we checked it out. The Gold Rush theming was fun and they had an arcade, shops, and a casual sit down restaurant. There is also a 4-D virtual reality simulator Wings Over Washington. Outside was a small carnival amusement section with a ferris wheel and a few other things. If traveling with kids this could be a fun option as long as you know what you are getting into, but the cost will add up quickly. 

Kerry Park – Outside the heart of the city this little park had a small playground but was worth the stop to get photos with the Seattle skyline behind you. We made a quick stop between the ferry and our hotel. Free street parking was available. (photo above)

Freemont Troll – Close to Kerry Park is at the famous Freemont Troll the bridge troll statute is a really fun photo op. Free street parking was available.

If you are looking to travel to Seattle (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@katiethemagicsyours

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

Travel Guide To Portland & The Northern Oregon Coast

Oregon is a huge state with lots of travel opportunities. For this blog I will be sticking to the Portland area, and thee two beach towns of Cannon Beach and Seaside. I visited this area in July 2021 as part of a larger Pacific Northwest trip. This guide is based on that time spent in Oregon. 

Portland

Portland is the city most people think of when they think of Oregon and it is the largest city in the state. Portland is known for it’s “weird” culture and as a haven for hippies and hipsters. It certainly lived up to it’s reputation with an atmosphere you would imagine with those two influences. The city was eclectic and grungy with touches of historic buildings, and a lot of artwork around. We also observed the presence of many many homeless in downtown Portland. Overall I was not impre