Mickey and Minnie Aren’t the Only Lovers at Disney!

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lovers at disney
Walt Disney World is well known as “the most magical place on Earth.” If it were up to me however, I would rename it the “Land of Love” because lovebirds are all over that place, ha! Couples vacation to Disney to celebrate weddings, honeymoons, anniversaries, or simply their adoration for one another. Disney even offers several pins celebrating a wide range of lovey-dovey occasions, and cast members are encouraged to congratulate them on their love.

And guests aren’t the only ones basking in the glow of love. Cast members get caught up in the act too! Several of my coworkers found their significant other while working for “The World.”

This is especially true for college program interns. While I was there, so many of my friends found a lover (or two). I often joked that Disney was surrounded in a love bubble, which sped up time and instantly made people fall in love.

These relationships range from fun flings (like mine) to full-on romance to even marriage! To illustrate, two of my roommates found their current boyfriends during the internship. One of them just moved in with her man, and the other talks openly about marriage with her boo. Being someone who just LOVES love, I am just so happy for them and feel like they make the cutest love stories.

Plus, what better place to date someone than Walt Disney World?! I mean, HELLO, you have an awesome free date location at your continual disposable! While I was there, my Disney boyfriend (that’s what I liked to call him) went to the parks together several times a week. Not bashing dinner-and-a-movie (because that is super fun too), but spending all day riding attractions, watching parades and fireworks, and eating Disney goodies is about as good as dating can get!

As you can see from the pictures, my very own parents have had a few romantic Disney moments themselves! My Dad spent weeks planning a 10th anniversary surprise for my Mom and even enlisted the help of the staff at Artist Point. They served her a ring for dessert!

Here are a few more ideas for all you Disney lovebirds out there:

Written by my daughter, Brittany! Be sure you’re following her Disney blog too! She is doing a professional internship there for the rest of the year and posts all kinds of fun, informative things…and lots of pictures!

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romance at disney

romance at disney

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Be sure you’re following my daughter’s Disney blog. She is doing a professional internship there for the rest of the year and posts all kinds of fun, informative things…and lots of pictures!

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Harambe Marketplace Expansion at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Harambe Marketplace at Disney’s Animal KingdomPhoto Credit – WDWNews.com

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Big things are coming to Disney’s Animal Kingdom: expansions galore, a nighttime show (Rivers of Light) and safari, a Starbucks (the most beautiful one if I do say so myself), and of course the grand finale, Avatar! Although many of these improvements are still in the works, Guests will be able to experience one of them this spring: a new Harambe marketplace!

Harambe looks and feels like a city because it was inspired by real places in Africa. Joe Rohde, Disney’s Animal Kingdom’s lead Imagineer, explained Harambe’s creation during a “town hall” meeting I attended. The goal of this meeting was to teach DAK’s cast members about its exciting expansion. The feel of Harambe mimics the countries found in eastern Africa, like Kenya. Rohde and his team took thousands of pictures, more than UNESCO Rohde bragged, to get Harambe just right. Everything from the carvings to the doors to the plants are indicative to these real life cities.

Africa has been undergoing some reworking for the past two years. In May 2014, the Festival of the Lion King was reopened in a beautiful new area of Harambe, to the right after you cross the Africa bridge. Rohde described this expansion as the “art district” of the city. Here, it is a little nicer, cleaner, arts-driven; where you would find the music, shows, dancers, performers. The main path that Guests have been visiting and loving for years is Harambe’s “main street” if you will – this is where the merchants are found.

Now for the exciting part: the new addition to Harambe! If you’ve visited DAK recently, you may have noticed many construction walls by the Wildlife Express Train entrance. This area is going to open up Harambe big time! There, Guests can enjoy: 1) more room to walk around and explore, 2) added seating for dining and leisure, 3) quick service options to munch on, and 4) new shopping kiosks.

As for the theming, this is Harambe’s “rough and tough area”, as Rohde describes it. He said that the Imagineers are really “pushing the limits” on design, making it feel as authentic as possible. The idea is as if you stepped off the train, the travelers and merchants just threw all their goods down, and started selling in a fast-paced, somewhat gritty, but vibrant market place.

I am so excited for the Harambe Marketplace to open! Rodhe explains that when it does, in combination with the Festival of the Lion King’s expansion, Harambe will have grown more than double its original size. That is incredible and something I think all Guests will love. The tentative opening date is late spring/early summer. I know I will be there – and I hope you will too!

If you love Animal Kingdom as much as I do, here are a few articles you might enjoy:

Written by: Brittany Madden – Follow Brittany’s blog Britty Loves Disney

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Hidden Mickey Hot Spot | Rafiki’s Planet Watch At Animal Kingdom

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We’ve already discussed how much fun looking for Hidden Mickey’s can be, but did you know that the very best place to find them is at Rafiki’s Planet Watch inside Animal Kingdom? From the time you enter, and all the way back to Conservation Station, there are over 100 hiding along the walkways, in the gardens, and inside the building. The entryway of Conservation Station is adorned with huge murals of animals, and there are tons of Hidden Mickey’s hidden there. This is the perfect place to let your kids look awhile…while mom and Dad take a break 😉

Rafiki’s Planet Watch is just a quick ride on the Wildlife Express Train, which departs from the Harambe railway station in Africa. The trip takes about seven minutes, and I always find it thoroughly relaxing. You’ll see some of the backstage areas and holding houses for the animals along the way.

Go here to read more about Hidden Mickey’s and who’s responsible for starting the tradition. And if want to start the Hidden Mickey tradition with your family, I highly suggest grabbing the the official book (it’s less than $10).

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looking for hidden mickeys at animal kingdom

Be sure you’re following my daughter’s Disney blog. She is doing a professional internship there for the rest of the year and posts all kinds of fun, informative things…and lots of pictures!

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How To Have A Custom Cake Made At Disney World

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A few years ago it worked out that we would be at Disney during my daughter’s birthday. I had heard about having a custom cake made but had no idea where to start. After hours online, I finally found the The Cake Thread on DisBoards, which turned out to be a wealth of information! I could spend hours looking at all the pictures of cakes and reading everyone’s tips. In the end, I decided to go through the Grand Floridian’s bakery and dealt directly with the pastry chef Pat, who was amazing! She actually called me at home to go over all the details…sooo nice!!

DisBoard’s Official Cake Chatter Thread – All you’ll need to know!

I wanted an Alice In Wonderland cake for her (of course), and Pat went out of her way to create a cake that was PERFECT. To have the cake delivered to your table, you do have to dine at Grand Floridian Cafe, which can be as simple as ordering an appetizer and coffee. As far as I know, you can also pick it up from the bakery. That may have changed, so be sure to check the DisBoards forum. It’s the most up-to-date- resource I know of.

Our cake ending up costing just $78…shockingly affordable for what she created and the beautiful way they set it up at our table! My daughter is like me and very hard to surprise, so I had to enlist the help of my sister to pull it off. We told her that “Aunt Lisa” wanted to have tea at Grand Floridian, and we were going to meet her before having dinner. The bakery team went overboard and had set the table up with balloons, flowers, and the cake – it was beautiful! She actually loved the cake so much she didn’t want to eat it haha!

Disney loves to help you celebrate special occasions, so be sure to get a birthday or celebration pin from the front desk of your resort or the main gate of the park. And don’t be shy about reminding them either. I think everyone in the park knew it was my daughter’s “birthday WEEK” :-) We’ve received free desserts, cards, buttons and more.

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Be sure you’re following my daughter’s Disney blog. She is doing a professional internship there for the rest of the year and posts all kinds of fun, informative things…and lots of pictures!

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Disney Freebies | FREE Custom Maps For Your Trip

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Did you know that you can order FREE Customized Walt Disney World Maps before (and even after) your vacation? Create up to four (one for each park), and customize them to your family’s itinerary and favorite rides, shows, characters, etc…

Choose from a vintage looking “Classic” style or bright colored “Characters” style, and then follow the easy steps to personalize them. Once you create a set you’re happy with, they’ll be shipped to your door totally free!

They make an awesome souvenir to frame or use in a vacation scrapbook! You can order a set of these every six months, so you can also get a set after your trip highlighting what your favorites were.

It’s so much fun for the kids and they make perfect keepsakes!

Also, you don’t have to order these for a vacation. If you have any fond Disney memories, create a set as way to celebrate them. I’ve seen these framed, and they are beautiful (especially the vintage looking style).

One of my favorite ways to use them is as a treasure hunt game for the kids. They come with stickers, so you can let the kids place the stickers as they find characters, landmarks, and attractions throughout the parks! Actually, they are printed on heavy duty paper and sort of look like a treasure map!

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Be sure you’re following my daughter’s Disney blog. She is doing a professional internship there for the rest of the year and posts all kinds of fun, informative things…and lots of pictures!

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Be sure to join our Facebook Group where you can see all the deals, share yours, and connect with other frugal Disney addicts!!

New Food Trucks At Downtown Disney

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In case you haven’t heard, the food truck craze has made it way all the down to Walt Disney World, specifically Downtown Disney! There, you can find four trucks, each sporting its own style and cuisine. Time and location changes by the day, but just ask a cast member for the most current information.

“World Showcase of Flavors” represents the eats you can find during Epcot’s Food and Wine festival, with pierogies, beef sliders, and lobster rolls. Although they are quite pricey, I really want to try the lobster roll. Maybe I can take a friend and share them for a light (and cheap!) snack! =)

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“Superstar Catering” has a Hollywood Studios feel to it. This food truck offers Greek/Mediterranean fare. Think lamb, feta, tzatziki, spinach…those kinds of flavors. I am interested in the turkey and raisin meatballs, yum!

To represent Animal Kingdom, the “Namaste Café” supplies African and Asian meal options. The menu includes butter chicken, tandoori shrimp, and slow-cooked short ribs. I just tried (and LOVED) Sanaa’s butter chicken, so now I want to compare the two. Fingers crossed they are just as good so I can have TWO places to grab this delicious meal. =)

Last, but not least, is the “Fantasy Fare.” Here, you can get Magic Kingdom AND Disneyland inspired food! I was most excited about this truck because I saw it featured the Croque Monsieur, just like at Be Our Guest! I am not typically wowed by sandwiches, but I definitely was by this one. The Fantasy Fare also serves hand-dipped corndogs, which apparently are the thing to get over in Disneyland. (Think of it like the iconic status of MK’s Dole Whip.) Since I have never been there, now I can finally try them!

Although I have yet to try out any of these food trucks, they are most certainly on my “to-do” list. And don’t worry – as soon as I do, I will be sure to report back with my review! =)

Here’s a few pics of just some of the offerings (click to enlarge)Food Trucks Menus At Downtown Disney

Written by: Brittany Madden – Follow Brittany’s blog Britty Loves Disney

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FREE Customized Walt Disney World Maps

custom disney maps

Did you know that you can pre-order FREE Customized Walt Disney World Maps? It’s true and we’ve been doing it for years!

You can create a map highlighting your family’s favorite activities and attractions for each park. Even better, they will be shipped right to your door for you to take on your vacation! You can then save them as a souvenir to frame or use in a vacation scrapbook.

You can order one set every six months, but be sure to order them as early as possible because they can take 4-6 weeks to arrive.

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