touring owl

Walt Disney World Resort reviews and tips

Yay! FINALLY booked!

My family have booked Disney Yacht Club for next year and I am so excited! Will be able to take more pictures for this blog and write about things I’ve discovered!

Yacht Club is by far my favourite place in the world and I cannot wait.

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Mickey Cookies

I’m missing Disney so decided to make some Mickey cookies and cupcakes to cheer myself up.image (4)image (8)image (10)

One unfortunately ended up a bit squashed though
One unfortunately ended up a bit squashed though.

My Top 4 places for desserts at WDW

1. Beaches & Cream Soda Shop – Yacht & Beach Club, table service restaurant. The Kitchen Sink should definitely be shared.

My family's desserts at Beaches & Cream. Mine is the brownie with cream and vanilla ice cream.

My family’s desserts at Beaches & Cream. Mine is the brownie with cream and vanilla ice cream.

2. Ghirardelli – Downtown Disney/Disney Springs, Counter Service. If you love chocolate (as I do), this is the place for you!

The Ghirardelli menu

Part of the Ghirardelli menu

3. Plaza Ice Cream Parlor – Magic Kingdom, Counter Service. Although it can get busy at times, the ice cream more than makes up for it!

4. Rainforest Cafe – Animal Kingdom/Downtown Disney/Disney Springs. The volcano desserts look so awesome!

Souvenirs from the Rainforest Cafe meal. I wore the hat all around Downtown Disney!
Souvenirs from the Rainforest Cafe meal. I wore the hat all around Downtown Disney!

Check in the night before

Whenever we fly to Florida, we stay at the airport the night before and check in then. It saves time and sanity – it tests everyone’s patience, queuing for an hour under stress. We always use Virgin Atlantic’s Twilight Check In, there’s usually no wait. It’s so helpful and convenient.

Port Orleans

If you’re looking into staying at Port Orleans (a moderate resort), the French Quarter is, in my opinion, better. Unless you have a phobia of large clownish faces staring at you during breakfast…

Riverside is at least twice as big and harder to navigate. It has multiple bus stops and longer walks to all the amenities, although it has a better pool and a full-service restaurant. French Quarter only has counter service and a fairly boring pool, although it’s only a short walk along the waterway to Riverside. I mostly prefer French Quarter for its size, it was only a three-minute walk to the counter service for a free drink using the refillable mugs. It has one bus depot so you can get to the parks directly rather than going round the whole resort stopping 3 other times. So it depends on a family’s needs, but I personally prefer French Quarter. And a family of five with at least one child aged 3-9 can only stay at Magnolia Bend, Riverside – Ā French Quarter rooms have a max of 4 (plus one child under 3 in a cot for both resorts).

Refillable Mugs Situation

Our family's refillable mugs from 2014
Our family’s refillable mugs from 2014. Mine is the blue one šŸ™‚

11 months after our stay at Port Orleans French Quarter and STILL enjoying the Disney refillable resort mugs. A word of warning, though – they cannot be used in the parks. Just aĀ littleĀ bit embarrassing when my parents asked for a free drink at the Cheshire Cafe in Magic Kingdom.

Typhoon Lagoon – Kids

So at Blizzard Beach there is the Ski Patrol Training Camp for kids too big for Tike’s Peak but too young for the big slides. My younger brother and I loved it when we went in 2011. But at Typhoon Lagoon, there isn’t anywhere like that. So where can the kids/ less adventurous preteensĀ go?

Well, obviously they’d enjoy the wave pool and the lazy river. They’re the only things my mum and brother did as they’re not really slide fans. But if your kid wants to try some of the TL rides, I’d recommend starting with Gangplank Falls or Keelhaul Falls (to the left at the back of the park, past Ketchakiddee Creek). Gangplank is slightly more intense, but you get to ride together in a four-person raft so the adults can comfort and be next to the first-timers. Keelhaul Falls is a gentle, single person white water ride where you ride on inflatable rings (or, as Americans call them, ‘tubes’). Keelhaul Falls was my first proper water slide, and I even said I found it a little boring. It depends on the child’s personality – I loved all three, but my brother didn’t want to try them. So it’s a good place to start, the three Falls slides, but I’d definitely ride Mayday last. If you’re still not sure your kids can handle them, check YouTube for ride videos.

Sanford Airport

If you’re flying and staying in/near WDW, I would definitely recommend Orlando International as opposed to Sanford as you don’t want to take a jet-lagged family on an hour-long car drive. Plus, if you’re staying in a WDW resort, you can take the Magical Express from Orlando International. Although you’ll probably get through security quicker at Sanford, by going to Orlando International you will normally get to your hotel earlier.

Yacht Club, Ale & Compass Lounge

If you’re staying at the Yacht Club and want a quick, easy snack for breakfast, don’t worry – you don’t have to go trekking over to the Beach Club Marketplace. The Ale & Compass Lounge is just off of the main lobby of the Yacht and, when I went in 2011, I discovered that they had awesome croissants. My dad and I often popped down there and brought some pastries back to our room for breakfast in bed. It hasn’t got the largest selection in the world, but, considering that there’s no counter service in the Yacht club, it’s not that bad. The problem was that we couldn’t get my mum out of bed and didn’t get to the parks until around 11 on one day.

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