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Best Rides for Toddlers at Hollywood Studios

Hollywood Studios is a park that many dismiss as a “half day” park, especially recently with all the construction going on as Star Wars land is being created behind the green walls.  While I don’t dispute that, I also wouldn’t recommend skipping it, even with little ones. There is still PLENTY to do to keep your toddlers and preschoolers entertained, so let’s take a look.

 Toy Story Mania

While your little one may not be able to fully participate in this attraction, they will love the theming in the queue, and the actual ride is loads of fun.  You do need to wear 3D glasses to get the full affect, and some kids may not tolerate that, so keep it in mind.  Directly across from Toy Story Mania is a Buzz/Woody meet and greet.  That queue is also lots of fun, and we love meeting these two together!

Muppetvision 3D

Another 3D attraction, this show starring the Muppets can be a great respite from the Florida heat.  Warning though, it does get dark and that might scare some younger ones.

Voyage of the Little Mermaid

If your kiddo is a fan of Ariel, this is a great show for them.  It lasts 15 minutes and has a live action Ariel re-telling.  Again, just a brief warning, Ursula is HUGE.  She’s as tall as the theater almost, and really scared my 2 year old the first time.

Disney Jr. Live on Stage

Right across from Little Mermaid, this is my favorite show in Hollywood Studios.  It lasts about 20 minutes and tells a story of celebrating Minnie’s birthday by way of visiting Doc McStuffins, Sofia the First and Jake and the Neverland Pirates.  This show is very interactive and is just so much fun.  You do have to sit on the floor, which is great for kids, but my knees didn’t love it!

Disney Jr. Characters Meet and Greet

Outside of the Disney Jr. show are the opportunities to meet with Princess Sofia and Doc McStuffins.  Lines are never very long, especially while a show is going on.

Star Wars Meet and Greet

Also very close to The Little Mermaid and Disney Jr. shows is the Star Wars Launch Bay.  Inside is a quick movie about the creation of The Force Awakens, the opportunity to meet Chewbacca, Kylo Ren and a couple of Jawas.  There’s also a video game are that could be a nice break for older kids.  This isn’t for all little ones, obviously, but the lines are typically pretty short and full of neat Star Wars memorabilia.

Beauty and the Beast

Another show near Tower of Terror and Rock n Roller Coaster, it lasts about 25 minutes.  If you have a Belle fan, it’s a must-see!

Frozen Sing a Long

The last show, I promise!  If your toddler is still in full Arendelle mode (are there any that are over it?  It’s been going strong for two years in my house) this show is a can’t miss.  Inside, you can get out of the heat and there’s a new Olaf Meet and Greet right outside!  I haven’t had the opportunity to meet Olaf yet, but I can’t wait!

One less than honorable mention, Fantasmic scared my toddler out of her mind when we went to see it.  I think I’ve mentioned it before, but this show/fireworks display goes into Mickey’s Nightmare and showcases several villains.  My daughter was scared Mickey had “died” at one point.  Just a word of caution, as I would definitely not recommend it for very little ones.

Okay, so one ride and lots of shows, more than enough to keep your toddler happy for quite a while!  And adults can sneak off for the FABULOUS Hollywood Tower of Terror and Rock n Roller coaster (hello, single rider line!).

Be sure to check out my post on Best Rides for Toddlers at Epcot, and stay tuned for Animal Kingdom!




Top 5 Posts on this blog (and what you can learn from them)

I like to analyze things, I don’t think that’s a surprise for anyone.  I like to know as much about things, especially in Disney World, so that I can figure out how information works together and how I can improve my personal experiences and therefore improve my readers personal experiences in Walt Disney World.  Because of this, I’m in the process of analyzing this blog to see what works and what doesn’t work (any insight, please let me know!).

I noticed a trend in my top posts, and thought I would pass this information along to you.

#5 How to save money on and for your Walt Disney World Trip

The number one trend on this blog is how to save money.  I’m kind of obsessed with it, actually.  In this blog, I talked all about the different ways you can save up money to go on a Disney trip, and the ways to save money while on vacation, including visiting with a toddler (!!!).

#4 How to Get the Most out of your Fastpass+ Reservations

I’m really pleased to see this one in the top 5.  I worked really hard on it, for one, and also I think it’s really great information.  Choosing Fastpass+ reservations can be overwhelming to say the least as there are just so many options.  This post will give you great strategies for choosing the best ones for your trip!

#3 Best Quick Service Breakfasts in each Disney World Park

Besides saving money, the other big trend I noticed in my top posts were about efficiency.  Time is money, especially in Disney, I suppose!  You could say that #4 and #3 are both about using your time more wisely, and in this post, it’s all about a good, quick breakfast before hitting up some attractions.  If you know anything about me, food is my second favorite part of Disney World, so this was definitely a fun post to write!

#2 Disney on the Cheap: How much does it REALLY cost to visit Walt Disney World?

I love this post so much!  Trying to convince people that Disney really can be affordable is one of my passions in life.  Yes, Disney can be pricey, but as you can see in this post, with lower-cost options like staying off-property, it’s not just for big spenders!

#1 2017 Walt Disney World Crowd Calendar

This post is the most popular by a landslide.  I compiled information from everything you could imagine.  Disney events, past crowd information, school calendars, you name it, I tried to consider it while creating my calendar.  If you’re looking on the best time to book your trip for 2017, look no further!

So what do YOU come to this blog to learn?  Leave a comment and let me know!



Dis Explorers!

Did you know that in addition to this website, I’m also co-host of a really awesome Disney podcast?  Me, along with 5 other equal Disnerds discuss Disney life and culture each week.  You should subscribe!!

This week, we took a mini break for July 4th, but brought you a mini episode all about Fireworks in the Disney parks (Disneyland and Disney World), as well as tips and tricks for the best viewing spots, fireworks with toddlers, and the special Fireworks parties.  Want to check it out?  You can find it here!

I’m so excited to be a part of this podcast!  Thanks, as always, for your continued support!

Top 5 Things I’m Most Looking Forward To On My Next Disney World Trip

We’re leaving for our first Disney World trip of this year in less than two weeks, and the anticipation around our house is growing and growing.  This morning, my husband and I were talking about what we were most looking forward to on this trip, and I wanted to share with you all.

1 – Breakfast at Tusker House in Animal Kingdom

I am a sucker for character breakfasts, and I can’t wait to meet Safari Donald and friends!  This will be a new experience for us, so I’m really looking forward to it!

2 – Everest

Sticking to Animal Kingdom, I am so excited about this ride.  My husband has SWORN he will ride it this time, so seeing his reaction to one of my favorite roller coasters is going to be priceless.

3 – Epcot

All of it.  I just love Epcot.  When we were there in September, we made the mistake of going on the first night of the Food and Wine Festival.  We couldn’t move for all of the people.  One of my very favorite things to do in Disney World is wander around the World Showcase, so I’m looking forward to being able to sight-see without all the crowds.

4 – Be Our Guest

YES!  We finally were able to get reservations for this restaurant after many failed attempts.  The croque monsieur is calling my name…

5 – Art of Animation

I’ve said before, in the past we rarely stayed in Disney resorts in an attempt to save money, but lately, I’ve really wanted to check out some of the on-site offerings.  Our last trip was Coronado Springs, which was nice, but not amazing.  This time, we went for a Cars Family Suite at the Art of Animation.  My son is obsessed with Lightning and Mater, so I can’t wait for his reaction.  Plus, Landscape of Flavors?  Yes, please!

What things at Disney World do you most look forward to?



In Depth: Step 1 Choose Your Dates

When you choose to plan your trip to Walt Disney World can have a large impact on the overall success of your trip.  In the perfect world, you would be able to plan your trip at the optimal time with low crowds and perfect whether.  Unfortunately, for most of us, there are too many factors for that to happen a good portion of the time.  A crowd calendar, such as the one below can be a good place to start when choosing your ideal vacation time.

Each month also has its pros and cons, so let’s take a look at the year in a month-by-month basis.

Knowing exactly when special events are occurring, if free dining is offered, and if the temperatures and crowds are high can be very helpful in selecting a time to visit Disney.

For most families, planning a vacation around school breaks is usually quite important.  If your family decided to pull children from school, optimal times are typically late April, May, September and October.  These are typically the lowest crowds, more moderate temperatures and offer special events that can provide a little extra magic to your trip.

If pulling students out of school is not an option, I would suggest either the first week of summer break or the last week of summer break.  Even if the crowds are still significant, you will hopefully miss the highest crowds found in late June through early August.

The upcoming steps in the planning process will hopefully shed more light on how even a vacation in the busiest of times can be managed (and made magical) with proper planning.

How do I start planning my Disney World Trip?

Most Disney first-timers don’t realize the amount of planning that goes into taking a trip to Walt Disney World.  There are the dizzying number of resort options, dining options, Fastpass+ reservations, four parks, water parks, and shopping.  It can all be very overwhelming, even for the experienced WDW traveler.  I use the same process each time I plan a trip.

Step 1  Choose your dates

Many factors go in to when you choose to plan your vacation.  Going when the kids are out of school makes the most sense to many, but it can be very high crowds.  Spring Break, Summer months, Fall Break and the Thanksgiving/Christmas holidays are typically the busiest times of the year.  When school is in, you can expect lower crowds, but logistically that can be hard.

Step 2  Choose your priorities

Deciding my priorities can decide the entirety of my trip, so it is very important to figure out what is important to you.  Don’t kid yourself, Walt Disney World is huge, and you will never see it all in one trip.  Choosing specific restaurants, rides, shows and experiences will shape how and where you spend your time.

Please keep in mind that Disney World is much larger than you might realize.  You will accomplish more of your goals if you simplify things as much as possible.  Rather than attempting three parks or locations in one day; staying in one park, or near that park will make things run much more smoothly.  This is especially important when choosing your priorities, as you simply may not be able to do it all due to the sheer size of Walt Disney World.

Step 3  Choose which park you will visit on which days

There are many, many posts on Disney blogs that let you know which parks will have high/low crowds on particular days of the week.  Parks with Extra Magic Hours, particularly evening Extra Magic Hours tend to be busier on those days, so you may choose to choose another park to avoid the crowds or you may want to take advantage of the extra time in the parks.  I tend to value fewer people and choose to avoid them, myself.

Personally, choosing which parks for which days has a lot of factors.  If I’m celebrating a special event (like a child’s birthday), we may prioritize Magic Kingdom for that day in particular.  Beginning and ending the trip with a character meal is also important to me, so I may choose Animal Kingdom for my first day to eat at Tusker House, and then end at Magic Kingdom for dinner at Be Our Guest.

Step 4  Choose Your Dining

Whether you choose to do the Disney Dining Plan or not, you will most likely be eating at least a few meals in the parks.  For many, like me, trying new restaurants is a highlight of the trip.  In this step of your planning process, look back at your priorities and decide which dining experiences fit in with your family and budget.

Step 5  Choose Fastpass+ reservations

There’s a reason this is the last part of the planning process.  For one, it is the last thing you can do according to the Disney planning timeline (60 days before your trip for on-site guests, 30 for off-site guests).  Secondly, you will need to have decided where you will be before choosing your attractions.  It will do you little good to have decided on Magic Kingdom for a specific day, with an Advanced Dining Reservation in Cinderella’s Royal Table, and then have a Fastpass+ reservation for Tower of Terror in Disney’s Hollywood Studios on the same day.

Step 6  Relax

Anyone who knows me will tell you that I am a Type A Planner kind of girl.  As much as I love the planning process, the organizing, and the Excel spreadsheets, Disney has taught me that not everything can be planned.  On our last trip, I had planned to leave the hotel early to attend Rope Drop at 9am at Magic Kingdom so we could go straight to the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, since I was unable to get a Fastpass+ reservation for that trip.  Unfortunately, the monorail broke down and we spent 30 minutes waiting for it to be repaired and take us to the park.  We still were able to ride the attraction, but the wait was a bit longer than I had planned and we had to be a bit more flexible with our plan for that day.

Magic happens in the unplanned moments.  You can’t plan or manufacture memories with your friends and family.  So, please, do all the planning in the world, but don’t be disappointed when things don’t go exactly as you thought they would.

As a bonus, I have linked my Excel spreadsheet for my general plan.  I begin one of these as soon as we decide our dates for the next trip.  It gives me a general idea of where I will be and what I want to accomplish on each day, and later I can add in my dining reservations and fastpass+ reservations.  Feel free to use and customize as fits you and your needs!  Note:  It does use the “waltograph” font, so if the margins look strange, that is probably why!

Weekly Plan