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disney world

Pandora: The World of Avatar at Disney's Animal Kingdom
Disney

Travel to Pandora: The World of Avatar at Animal Kingdom

Pandora: The World of Avatar at Disney's Animal Kingdom

Alpha Centauri Expeditions and Animal Kingdom have brought deep space travel to Disney World! Okay, not really, but they did create an amazing new world to explore called Pandora: The World of Avatar. The tagline is “a world beyond belief,” and they are not wrong about this. It really is an incredibly immersive area.

Full disclosure: We have never actually seen the movie Avatar. When Disney announced that they would be doing an Avatar-themed land, we were excited for something new but didn’t really care that it was about Avatar. It took Disney about 10 years to actually build Pandora, but it just opened this past May 2017 and we were lucky to be able to go on the official opening weekend. We were unprepared for how amazing it would actually be.

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Caring for Giants - Disney's Animal Kingdom
Disney

Review: Caring for Giants Elephant Experience at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Caring for Giants - Disney's Animal Kingdom

Disney’s Animal Kingdom is perhaps Disney’s most underrated theme park. It is amazing to walk around and see all the details that went into the different themed areas. The best part about Animal Kingdom, though, is the animals of course! Kilimanjaro Safaris is definitely a must do. There are also two wonderful walking trails where you can see some of the animals a little closer, Maharajah Jungle Trek and Pangani Forest Exploration. If you take the Wildlife Express, you will see Rafiki’s Planet Watch where there is a petting zoo. Throughout the park keep your eyes open because you never know what animals you might see! Animal Kingdom is actually accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, so the cast members who work with the animals are very knowledgeable and love to answer your questions. Disney’s Animal Kingdom also offers special experiences where you can get closer to the animals and learn more about them. We did Caring for Giants (because Ashley loves elephants) and thought it was a great experience where we learned a lot.

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EPCOT: 4 Parks in 1 Day - The Traveling Gals
Disney

Date Night at Disney World

Date Night at Disney World

While Disney World is mostly known as a family destination, there are actually some wonderful date night locations throughout. These are great ideas if you live in the area, or if you are on vacation and want to do have a nice night out together. You don’t have to spend a lot of money, or you can spend a ton of money. Disney World has a variety of restaurant and entertainment options that will make your date night at Disney magical. Even just taking a stroll and enjoying one of the fireworks shows can make for a wonderful night out. Check out some of these favorite date night ideas.

[Related Post: Disney World 4 Parks in 1 Day Challenge]

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Lava Lounge - Best Places To Grab A Drink At Disney World
Disney

Best Places to Grab a Drink at Disney World

Disney World is not just for the kids! While EPCOT is known for drinking around the world, there are plenty of other great spots to grab a drink at Disney World. With all the renovation at Disney Springs, they have really upped their game with offering really neat bars and restaurants for both vacationers and locals to enjoy. There area also some fun places to grab a drink inside the parks.

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Disney

Disney’s Animal Kingdom After Dark

The Traveling Gals at Opening Night of Disney’s Animal Kingdom After Dark

When we booked our Memorial Day weekend at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge last year, we had no idea how much extra magic we were in for!  All three of us gals arrived just in time for opening night of Disney’s Animal Kingdom AFTER DARK!  In the first phase of the massive expansion happening at Animal Kingdom, the park is now open until 11 p.m. with a spectacular nighttime transformation.  It is always so exciting to see everything you have read about come alive Disney style!

Kilimanjaro Safaris

Our first stop was the evening safari on Kilimanjaro Safaris.  We were able to get Fastpasses so our wait time was only about 5 minutes.  We had a very entertaining safari guide so the trek started out just right.  Being on the savannah in the dark is such a different experience than during the day.  It was not quite dark when we arrived, but just after sunset so there was a beautiful, dusky glow.  Disney added very unobtrusive lighting that allowed for great viewing.  The animals were so incredibly active after sunset.  It was like an entirely different safari than the daytime (which we also love!).  Some of the hippos were out of the water walking around, the baby rhino was actually running with its mother.  The cheetahs were awake and alert, the lion and lionesses were wide awake and actually walking around!  It was such a thrilling sight.  For us gals who go on the safari regularly, this was almost like going on a new safari encounter all together.

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Disney Springs Town Center
Disney

Review: Disney Springs Town Center

Updated February 6th, 2018

The new area of Disney Springs called the Town Center finally opened and it is beautiful. This is the second new area to open at Disney Springs (formerly Downtown Disney). First was The Landings which features: The Boathouse, Jock Lindsay’s Hanger Bar, STK and Morimoto Asia. Now we have the Town Center, which is the main shopping center that also has some unique dining locations.

Disney Springs Town Center

The Town Center features 23 stores and dining locations and new stores will be opening throughout the summer as well. The architecture and details in this area are amazing. It really is one of the nicest shopping centers. It is not all “Disney-ed” up, but it still has the high level of detail that Disney is known for. The buildings are styled after Spanish architecture and is bright and open. Disney also opened the second parking garage (so now there is Lime & Orange), and parking is still free! There is also valet parking (not free) if you so choose. If you are staying on property, your best bet is still to take the resort transportation because the construction makes for a lot of traffic in the area.

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EPCOT - Disney World 4 Parks in 1 Day
Disney

Disney World Challenge: 4 Parks in 1 Day

For those who love Disney World, a popular challenge is going to all 4 parks in 1 day. While this may sound like an impossible task, with a little planning it can be done. And it is so much fun! It is important to keep in the back of your mind that you won’t be able to do everything. If possible, try to plan some Fast Passes to coincide with when you will be in the park, just to save time. Also bring some snacks like granola bars to keep the energy levels up!

Now we routinely can do 3 parks in one day (Hollywood Studios, EPCOT, Magic Kingdom). The one that can cause problems is Animal Kingdom because it is not connected to any of the other parks. You can walk/boat/bus from Hollywood Studios to EPCOT and then take the monorail over to Magic Kingdom. Because of this we suggest starting your challenge at Animal Kingdom. We also highly suggest you use Disney transportation and not your own car if you are not staying on property. The toll booth lines can get backed up and you may end up parking really far away from the entrance. You can park for free at Disney Springs and head over to Saratoga Springs to catch your first bus. (You can also try parking at a resort. If it’s not crowded they will usually let you, but don’t tell anyone that was our idea!)

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Christmas at Disney World
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Christmas at Disney World [Updated For 2017]

Celebrating Christmas at Disney World

Our family has spent Christmas at Disney World for many years. It is our favorite place to spend the holidays. We love all the decorations, music, and holiday events throughout the World. Although we are sad that our beloved Osborne Light show is gone, there are still some wonderful things to do. Because our family is small, we enjoy being able to go out of town to celebrate Christmas at the most magical place on Earth. When we lived in Chicago, we would exchange gifts and have our big Christmas dinner a few days early before escaping the cold weather and heading down to Orlando. Now that we live only a couple hours from Orlando, it is easier than ever for us to hop in the car and celebrate Christmas at Disney World.

Christmas at Disney World - Magic Kingdom

  • Magic Kingdom

Of course there is nowhere more magical then the Magic Kingdom. (Or more crowded.) The decorations here are so beautiful and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is probably the most fun event. It is also a great way to enjoy the park with less of the crowds.

  • EPCOT

At EPCOT there is the Holidays Around the World (which has basically become Food & Wine Festival Part 2). This is a fun way to learn about holiday traditions in other countries around the World Showcase. You can also try different seasonal food and drink favorites. The Candlelight Processional is a beautiful retelling of the story of Christmas with celebrity narrators and a 50-piece orchestra. You also can’t miss Illuminations which has an added holiday presentation that is breathtaking.

  • Hollywood Studios

While we are very disappointed that the Osborne Lights are no longer at Hollywood Studios, they have sort of made up for it with the decorations, the new event this year called Sunset Seasons Greetings and Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! We still really miss the magical feeling of the Osborne Lights.

  • Animal Kingdom

Animal Kingdom doesn’t have any specific holiday celebrations, but we love the decorations! Also check out the decorations at Animal Kingdom Lodge!

  • Disney Springs

Now that everything is open at Disney Springs (and we love it! Check out our review of the Town Center) they have really brought the Christmas magic. You can also meet Santa, sing Christmas carols, and more. Oh, this is also where you can SHOP! And there is even stuff on sale! Our new favorite store is definitely Uniqlo.

 

What are your holiday traditions? Have you ever spent Christmas at Disney World? We would love to hear about it in the comments!

The Traveling Gals

 

 

 

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