Disney blog postings

Disney Postings

Earliest: May 30, 2003Latest: March 27, 2017Total: 79

March 27, 2017

Penny Machine in DisneyWorld

The Penny Machine at Walt Disney World is a very popular place to get a custom souvenir. You can find them scattered all over the parks and hotels. In some gift shops, you can buy penny and quarter holders. However you can find some pretty creative ones on Etsy.

The key to having a good quality press is using the right penny. The best penny to get is one that's dated between 1962 and 1982. Those pennies have the most copper which will help produce an excellent design.

Penny Machine

Things we learned on a previous trip

  • You are not likely going to find old pennies at the parks. You best bet it to look through your change drawer at home. Surely you have a stack of pennies someplace in your home.
  • Its going to take a while to find the pennies, so the early you start the better.
  • We found using a magnifying glass help with some of the pennies since the dates can be hard to read.
  • Depending how serious a penny collector you are having 30-40 pennies would be ideal.
  • You can spend time cleaning the pennies, however, we have not discovered any difference in pressing quality.
  • The quality of the machine plate can make a difference in how clear an impression that is made. So if the penny doesn't look good, it's probably the machine.
  • You can use an M&M mini container to carry the pennies. You can prep up the Penny Machine amount ( 2 Quarters and a Penny) that way you know when you reach the daily quota. It will make visiting each machine a pleasurable experience. Instead of spending a few minutes fumbling for change, you can just get the next set out of the M&M container.

Frozen Ride

At the end of the Frozen Ride you walk through the souvenir store with lots of goodies. In the store is one of the parks newest a penny machines. This machine actually doesn't take pennies and you can use your credit card to get 5 pennies.

Just be careful of this machine and read the instructions. It took a couple of tries for us to get it to work and I am pretty sure that we got charged extra.

It's pretty cool that it's automatic but I think that it loses the appeal for kids since they like to crank their own souvenir. (At least the younger ones try.)

March 20, 2017

KidCot at Epcot

One of the ways that Disney makes Epcot World Showcase fun for kids is Kidcot.

Kitcot allows children to track each country that they go to by getting a stamp at each country in the World showcase. In some of the countries, the cast member may draw a picture on the back of the paper.

Kid Cot Sign
Sign at the Kidcot at the American Adventure

Tips and Tricks about Kidcot

  • You can start Kidcot in any country, simply look for the Kidcot sign and let them know that you wish to start the Kidcot program.
  • If your planning to get every country, your better off starting at Mexico or Canada - it will minimize the walking that you have to do,
  • Many of the countries have the Kidcot in a store in the country, typically in the back so that people can explore the country before getting a stamp.
  • If you are unsure of where the Kidcot is, simply ask a cast member or another family that is also doing the Kidcot program.

The best part of Kidcot is that you have a very personalized souvenir of your Epcot trip.

This is what the backside of the KidCot sheet looks like:

Kid Cot Paper White

Bonus Fun

When we were doing Kidcot, I had my daughter ask how to say 'Thank You' in that country language. It was a great way to educate her on the different languages each country had. In England and Canada, the cast member talked about local traditions that they would do.

March 13, 2017

Laundry at POP Century

It tough to do laundry on vacation. Nobody wants to do it. More often than not it's done out of need.

Tips on Doing Laundry at a Disney Resort

First buy and pack up a large laundry bag. It takes up almost no space and weight in your luggage. I personally liked this one that I purchased on Amazon a week before the trip:

Laundry Bag

Pack up laundry supplies - At least pack up Dryer Sheets. They take up zero space. You'll save $2. Pack up some detergent and not only will you save more money but you'll have better quality detergent than what's in the vending machine.

You'll be happy to have the better quality laundry supply when you need to get that BBQ stain off the shirt.

Also the vending machines are a mix bet. I ended up having to "buy" two boxes of dryer sheets because the machine didn't take my first transaction correctly. (There's no 'refund' request for the vending machine only for the washer and dryer)

Laundry Time

When you need to do laundry throw all the dirty clothes in your laundry bag.

Make sure to bring a credit card and your wristbands with you. The laundry room doesn't accept cash and most laundry places require a wristband to get in.

You will need a watch with you too if you don't plan on hanging around the laundry room while your clothes are getting washed. Plan on

When you get to the laundry room, simply dump the bag in with the clothes. That way you have something to carry the clothes when they are done.

March 6, 2017

Disney Spring Entertainment Tokens

If you have an off day on your Disney World vacation, there's nothing like spending some time at Disney Springs to do some shopping and enjoying the beautiful Florida day. (Around here we still call the place Downtown Disney)

Disney does offer some entertainment around the shopping area for the kids, such as face painting, Lego area and a place where you can enjoy music by the water.

There are a couple of popular attractions that kids seem to gravitate to when they walk by:

Marketplace Train Express

Miniature train ride for small children to enjoy. Little ones pay $2 to ride, parents are free.

Fun Facts

  • Number of Seats: 15
  • Number of cars: 6
  • Average Train Ride: 3 minutes

Marketplace Carousel Tickets

The Marketplace Carousel is much smaller carousel than the one in the Magic Kingdom. There is no special "Cinderella Horse" to find. You can usually find this attraction by the popular music that is played instead of the traditional organ music.

Fun Facts

  • Height Requirements: Children under 42" tall, must be accompanied by an adult
  • Number of Horses: 19
  • Average Length of ride: 3 minutes

Ride Tokens

To go on the Train or Carousel you need to get a ride token. You can buy them at each attraction, but they work at either ride. Each token cost $3.

When you arrive at the Carousel or Train, your much better off getting a couple of tokens instead of the one. You save money when you buy more than one coin.

Typical scenario:

You visit the Marketplace Train and your child wants to go on, so you buy a token for a single ride. After the train ride, your child sees the carousel and tells you that it's their favorite ride. Now you buy a second token.

In this situation you end up spending more for the single purchases.

What if you buy coins and don't use them?

You can keep them for a future trip. Optionally you can give them to a parent that you meet in Disney Springs or as a gift to someone you know that is heading to the DisneyWorld. (Remember you went to Disney Springs for Shopping?)

Would have been nice to know

I wished we knew that the tokens worked at both entertainment venues, as we would have saved some money and time. After all, once you have a token, you can bypass the token line and get right on.

I found this out by asking the person working the Carousel if they would accept Train tokens and they said 'Yes!'

February 27, 2017

Hoop Dee Doo Musical Revue

The Hoop Dee Doo Musical Revue is a great dinner and musical show at Disney?s Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort.

The show is an hour and a half long and feature the cast members interacting with the audience. The show is never the same twice, as the show typically revolves around the people in the audience and getting the crowd involve.

There?s lots of singing and audience interaction.

Getting to the Theater

If you're not staying at Disney?s Fort Wilderness Resort, the best way to get to the resort is via boat at the Magic Kingdom entrance. It?s a ten-minute boat trip from the Magic Kingdom to the Disney?s Fort Wilderness Resort dock and then a five-minute walk from the dock to the Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue check in.

On out last visit, we caught the 3:05 bus from Pop Century and was able to catch the 3:30 PM boat. We arrived at the Disney?s Fort Wilderness Resort at 3:40. We did investigate going to Disney Springs and catching the Disney?s Fort Wilderness bus, but we found out that if you go by bus, the drop off point is far away from the theater.

Food Menu

At your table you will get a buck of Crispy Fried Chicken, Smoked Barbecued Pork Ribs, Seasonal Vegetables, Mashed Potatoes and Cowboy Beans. For desert, there?s Strawberry Shortcake.

Eating Gluten Free

When making reservations to for the Hoop Dee Doo Musical Revue, make sure to mention that you need to eat Gluten Free.

When you sit down you get some corn bread, unfortunately, that not Gluten Free, but they will get you some fresh gluten free bread.

After you place your drink order, the chief will substitute the fried chicken with baked chicken and offer ice cream instead of the Strawberry Shortcake.

Everything else on the menu is Gluten free.

Enjoying the Show

There are no ?best seats? in the theater. The cast members work hard to make sure that everyone in the theater has a great time. Someone from the show will visit your table to interact with you, ?Where do you live?? ?How is your dinner?? etc? they will try to use your response as part of the show.

February 20, 2017

Disney Engraved Hats

The Magic Kingdom isn't the only place to get your Mickey Mouse ears, you can get them in Disney Springs.

Getting customize Mickey Mouse ears is a great way to start a fun family trip. Traditionally we would get our ears on Main Street on the first day at the Magic Kingdom. The problem was that it took time from enjoying the park.

Get your Mouse Ears at Disney Springs

Did you know that you can get the same customized hat engraving in Disney Springs?

In the Disney's Wonderful World of Memories store is the same hat selection that is available on Main Street. After purchasing your hat, you can them engrave your name to the hat.

Creative Memories
A large wall of Disney Hats to select from.

Looking for Activity on Arrival Day?

Traditional the day of our arrival we spend some time in Disney Springs and do some shopping. Now we can order our hats and pick it up after shopping.

Now we don't have to wait for our hats and can start our Magic Kingdom adventure on some rides.

February 13, 2017

Tracking Rides in the Park

Swarm

On a recent trip to Disney World, I found a really simple way to track what rides we go on. Using a combination of Slack and IFTTT, was able to create a Google Sheet of rides on our trip.

This information will come in handy when we want to scrapbook the vacation. We like to track what rides we went on, and which one was our favorite. (It's nice to see how children change their view as they get older.)

About IFTTT

IFTTT stands for If This then That. The application acts as service between different Apps. You can use it to do all sorts of fancy things with internet enabled services. For example, if you have a Philip Hue light system, you can have it flash every time your baseball team hits a Home Run.

About Swarm

Swarm is a check in service by Foursquare. You can use it to check into most popular places. Unlike Facebook and Twitter, you can keep your check-in private. This way you personally track where you visited without letting everyone know where you are.

Swarm does integrate nicely with all the social networks, so you can post photos and comments with your check in. You can post to Facebook and Twitter at the same time. They will appear as check-ins in the respectable social networks.

Foursquare users can post tips/tricks on the check-in, so when you check in you may learn something about the ride. For example, what to look for in the Small World ride.

Setting it up

If you never used Swarm and IFTTT then download it on your phone and get it set up:

Download Swarm and configure it. Test it out by checking into a place where you live. Get familiar with it, and put it on your home screen so you can access it.

Download 'IFTTT' from the App Store or Google Play. Look for a recipe for 'Add your Foursquare check-ins (w/maps) to a spreadsheet)' You will then need to approve the apps to IFTTT. (This is all done via the IFTTT app, very simple to do.)

In the Parks

Before you get on the ride, simply open up your phone and check in! You can leave a note for later - it will show up in the Google Sheet. You may reference how long the wait is or something else notable that you can reference later.

While waiting in line, I found the Swarm App to be 90% accurate on my location when I opened it. There were a couple of times where I had to switch to a different location. (Dumbo ride was one such place.)

This is better than writing it down since you can jot a note and you get a time stamp of the ride. Now you'll know how many rides you did in the morning and in the evening.

Final Results

This is what your Google Sheet will look like. You'll get times and locations:

Disney Ride Tracker

February 6, 2017

Transporting the Hans Lightsaber Home

lightsaber

Last week we visited at Disney Studios and we arrived early enough to sign up my daughter up for the Jedi training. She had a lot of fun learning to be a Jedi and interacting with Darth Vader

Immediately after her performance she saw a cart that had the same Lightsaber that she used against Darth Vader. We let her buy it since she did a good job on stage.

Slight Problem

We didn't think about it at the time, but a while later it dawned on us. How are we going to get the Lightsaber home? It's a big plastic piece that seemed vulnerable to breakage.

Unfortunately, there is no way to take it apart.

We weren't sure we could carry it on the plane. Where would we put it? What if security wouldn't allow it? There's some post I read about how TSA agents in Orlando were very strict.

Lightsaber Suitcase

Packing it Up

The life saver is pretty big and fortunately, it was able to fit diagonally in the suitcase.

I was worried that any slight pressure on the two corners and the Lightsaber would be crushed. We packed clothes all around the Lightsaber trying to minimize the stress on it.

Note: My suitcase is bigger than a typical suitcase.

Arrived Home

When we got home, I couldn't wait to see the condition of the Lightsaber. I was very surprised to find it together all in one piece. (I thought a simple suitcase drop would have been enough stress to break it.)

Lesson Learned

If your son/daughter is tempted to get the Hans Solo Lightsaber, don't get it! It's a cool device and my daughter loves it - but there's an even cooler Lightsaber available.

In the Star Tours store, at the end of the Star Tours ride, there is a station where you can build your own Life Saver. What's nice about this option is that it comes completely apart.

My daughter was disappointed that she couldn't make her own but is happy to get the one she used in training.

January 30, 2017

Mississippi River in the Magic Kingdom

As you walk from Liberty Square, into Frontierland, just before the Diamond Horseshoe, there is a metal plate that goes across the entire width of the walkway. Under that plate, water runs to the lake.

Mississippi River Map
Google Map view of the Mississippi Bridge.

This stream represents the Mississippi River. To the east is Liberty Square symbolizing the eastern part of the United States with its colonial architecture and early American theme.

To the west is the early American frontier of Frontierland. If you look at the pavement, it changes on either side of the "Mississippi" following the Magic Kingdom's design of changing the walkways as you move from one land to another.

January 23, 2017

Cinderella's Horse at the Prince Charming Regal Carrousel

There are two special horses on the Prince Charming Regal Carrousel ride at the Magic Kingdom. These two horses are:

  • Cinderella?s Horse
  • Prince Charming Horse

Finding Cinderella?s Horse

When you get on the Regal Carousel you want to look for the horse with a golden ribbon on the tail. That?s the easiest way to find the horse. You?ll find it just in front of one of the seating areas.

There are a couple of other distinctions about the horse. Such as the horse face and flowers, but the easiest way to find the horse is to look for the golden ribbon on the tail, as it?s the only horse that has one. Tip: It?s not any of the horses on the outside of the carousel. The horse is in the second row.

Since most people want to sit on the horses on the outside, you may have a shot at sitting on Cinderella?s horse.

I couldn?t find the special horse from any of the videos from the last time we went to Disney World. I was able to get a front view:

Cinderella Horse Disney
Notice how the flowers goes down the horse neck.

Prince Charming Horse

Once you find Cinderella?s, Prince Charming's horse is right next to it!