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On our last visit to Walt Disney World, my son was mesmerized…by the characters, the shows and also by the remote control cars. Did you know that you can build your own cars in Downtown Disney? In the back of Team Mickey is a car lover’s dream! Here you can create a model or remote control car.

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Kids (and adults) can customize their own car piece by piece. Be prepared to spend some time here, parents. There are LOTS of options… In fact, there are more than 650,000,000 different ways to create your car! Once you have the pieces you want to use, a cast member will use their tools to put the cars together.

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This is a great place to check out if you are traveling with that teenager who doesn’t seem interested in the “kid stuff”, but don’t be surprised when your little one wants in on the action as well. Once you create your masterpiece there is an area for you to test out your speed and check out everyone else’s ride. We watched cars drive around for what seemed like an hour. It was a great way for the kids to chat with each other and show off their cars. The final product is a little on the expensive side (few are less than $50 when put together) but the look of pride on those little faces is well worth it.

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Tip: You will need to put your cars away before leaving the store. They don’t allow you to drive them around Downtown Disney.

For more information on shopping, dining, parks and more – Contact me today!

Erin Santamaria 1-877-377-0505 or erins@travelwiththemagic.com

Magical Memories; How to Build a Lightsaber

The next time you wander the streets of Downtown Disney, take a moment to visit the “Once Upon a Toy” shop. You will not be disappointed. Located in the center of the action figures and blasters, lies a neat activity – Build your own lightsaber! What child wants to pass up the opportunity to create their very own lightsaber. They have the advantage of being able to choose each and every piece. It is a lot of fun!

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My son has a blast doing this. He can choose whether he wants to build a single or double saber. He also gets to choose the color, handles, and more. There is always a cast member supervising the station, offering assistance. They are there to make sure that all of the pieces get locked into the right place.

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There are 2 locations for your child to have the chance to create their own piece of magic from your trip – Once Upon a Toy in Downtown Disney and at the shop in Hollywood Studios called Tatooine Traders. Tatooine Traders is shop designated strictly for the Star Wars fan on your trip. The shop is located right next to the Star Tours attraction. There is not much difference in price between a single or double saber – $21.95 for a single and $24.95 for a double. After they build weapon of destruction for battling the dark forces, they can climb on this speeder located just outside of the Tatoonine Traders.

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If you have any questions and would like to use a planner for free – contact me at Robyn@travelwiththemagic.com or call me directly at 1-800-670-4312 ext 125. I have an unexplained passion for Disney and making sure that everyone is getting the most that they can out of every visit!

Goofy’s Candy Co.

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I love candy…candy, candy, candy. I am the female Willy Wonka. For this reason, Goofy’s Candy Co. is a must visit when we are exploring Downtown Disney. But this isn’t your typical candy store. Sure, they have row after row of every candy imaginable…but here they do things a little differently. Here you can make your OWN treats!

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Your customized snack begins with an order slip. This is so fun! You can choose from a Caramel Apple, Rice Krispie Treat, Marshmallows, Pretzel Rods and Cookies. Sound delicious? You’re just getting started!

The next step is to choose which type of chocolate to dip it in. I go for the white chocolate – my fave! Next are the toppings. If you can think of it, it’s likely a choice. Sprinkles, M&M’s, chocolate chips, cinnamon and sugar, crushed Butterfinger…you name it! Once you’ve made this hard decision (believe me, it’s hard) it’s time for the drizzle…

Once you’ve finished your order slip and hand if off at the counter, it will be about 10-15 minutes before you have your very own, customized snack. Be prepared… you will want to make another after the first bite!

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As if this candy playhouse wasn’t enough, there are also slushies here! Goofy’s Glaciers come in 8 yummy flavors AND – in keeping with the “build your own” theme- hat and feet pieces are available to customize your Glacier cup! Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Stitch or Princess…or you can mix and match. Goofy Princess, anyone?

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Possibilities in this candy Heaven are endless. Looking for the perfect place to pick up some souvenirs? Look no further. There are tons of pre-packaged candies and snacks for sale here. This is also the perfect place to use those Disney Dining snack credits…You’ll find something for everyone!

For more information on shops, dining, parks and more – Contact me today!

Erin Santamaria 1-877-377-0505 or erins@travelwiththemagic.com

T-REX… A Prehistoric Family Adventure

When I ask my son to tell me the coolest restaurant he’s ever been to, his answer is T-REX.  Located in the Pleasure Island area of Downtown Disney, this is not your average restaurant.  From the minute you step through the entrance you’ll feel instantly transported back in time complete with a 15 foot tall T-Rex and other life-sized creatures.

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Let’s start with the food (I like to eat)…

T-REX serves lunch and dinner (American cuisine) with a bit of prehistoric attitude. Here you can find chicken, steak, seafood, pasta and many different specialty drinks. Whether you’re in the mood for a “Neanderthal New York Strip Steak”, “Layers of the Earth Lasagna” or a “Prehistoric Smoothie”- you’re sure to find something for everyone. Reservations are suggested at this location as it is a popular place for a sit down meal. One table service credit is required on your Disney Dining Plan.

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Now, let’s move on to the atmosphere.  There are so many cool details here that I don’t know where to begin.  You will be seated in one of a few different rooms- each having their own theme.  In the undersea room, be sure to notice the 13 ft. wide octopus that seems to envelope the bar area;  its tentacles stretch up to the ceiling. Jellyfish hang from the ceiling and aquariums surround this area.

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Animatronic insects move and buzz in the prehistoric insect room.  The blue and pink ice age cave is home to animatronic wooly mammoths that seem to watch as you eat.

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The dinosaur area is also home to a gift shop. Here you will find the perfect souvenir for your little paleontologist. They can Build-a-Dino (T-REX partners with Build-a-Bear Workshop – the dinos are super cute!) and check out lots of cool prehistoric merchandise.  Paleo Zone is an area where kids can dig for dinosaur fossils and play on interactive screens. Panning for precious gems and stones and splitting geodes is also fun in Discovery Creek.

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As if the atmosphere alone weren’t cool enough here, every 20 minutes a 2 minute meteor shower takes place in the “sky”. When this happens, asteroids fly through the sky and every animal in the restaurant roars, screams and basically goes bananas! The ice age room glows from blue or pink to an orange color.  This is meant to signify the ice melting. A word of warning: We did witness a few very young children who did not like the meteor shower and found it a bit scary…but most children love it!

For more information on restaurants, dining, parks and more – Contact me today!

Erin Santamaria 1-877-377-0505 or erins@travelwiththemagic.com

You can also find me on Facebook or Pinterest.

Port Orleans Resort – Sassagoula River Boats

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Disney’s Port Orleans Resorts sits on the Sassagoula River. The Sassagoula River is a 2 ½ mile river that connects Disney’s Port Orleans Resorts, Old Key West Resort and Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa to Downtown Disney. Each resort has their own boat system to take passengers to and from Downtown Disney. On our vacation in April, we stayed in a preferred room at Port Orleans Riverside. It was a quick walk to the boat dock. We waited a few minutes to board a boat and were on our way to Downtown Disney to do some shopping. It was about a 20 minute boat ride from Port Orleans Riverside to Downtown Disney. The boat from Port Orleans Riverside stops at Port Orleans French Quarter first before arriving at Downtown Disney.

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When we arrived at Downtown Disney, the boat docked right near the Rainforest Café Restaurant and Cap’n Jack’s Restaurant. The boats run from 10am – 11:30pm. If you miss the last boat, the bus systems run till 2am. It there is bad weather, they will stop running the boats.

While at Downtown Disney, you will see other boats. You can tell the difference by the flags that are flown on the front of the boats. The yellow flag is for the boats that go to and from Disney’s Port Orleans Resorts. The other color flags are: red, blue and green. The red flags are for the boats that take you from the marketplace to the west side (near Cirque de Soleil). I would suggest taking the boat one night so you can see the lights at Downtown Disney. The blue flag boats depart the Pleasure Island dock to Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa. The green flag boats also depart the Pleasure Island dock and take you to Disney’s Old Key West Resort.

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If you would like to sit back, relax and enjoy a cruise down the Sassagoula River, contact me at: Karen@travelwiththemagic.com or my facebook page.

Magical Memories – Building Mr. Potato Head

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When you visit Downtown Disney on your next trip, don’t forget to stop by “Once Upon a Toy”. It is a huge of store that every child dreams of – Disney themed toys and gadgets everywhere. There are several things that offer “hands-on” play stations.

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One of the stations has Mr. Potato Head. Here your child can create their own Mr. or Mrs. Potato Head with a wide array of accessories to choose from. These are accessories that you will not find anywhere else, other than at Walt Disney World. The themes include, but are not limited to Star Wars, Buzz Lightyear, Perry the Platypus, Goofy, Princesses, and so much more. There are balloons, eyes, blasters, helmets, funny shoes, ears, glasses, smiles, duckbills, etc. to go along with their new creation. There are so many bins and trays overflowing with parts. Everything is laid out for the children to easily access – very open, clean and easy to see all of the options. You all will have so much fun playing and creating.

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Your child can have fun creating his/her own special Potato Head that they will always remember as being a special keepsake from their trip. The store offers 2 types of containers to bring home your potato and its accessories. Now you don’t have to buy the potato – if you choose not to buy the potato that will give you extra room in the box for more goodies! The box may be filled to the top, but must be able to be closed. This box is only $19.95. There is also a large plastic Mr. Potato Head case that you can purchase for $46.95.

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If you have any questions and would like to use a planner for free – contact me at Robyn@travelwiththemagic.com or call me directly at 1-800-670-4312 ext 125. I have an unexplained passion for Disney and making sure that everyone is getting the most that they can out of every visit!

Bowling at DisneyWorld

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 Who would have thought of this, right?  Well, if you run in to a situation where you are looking for something to do, and still enjoy the Disney Magic, then make sure you check out Splitsville at Downtown Disney’s West Side.

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If you are familiar with the West Side, you might recall a really large building on a corner that was home to Virgin Music.  Well, this building has been turned in to a two-story retro-classic bowling show place.  There are all kinds of other bars, restaurants and entertainment options on the West Side, but this is the first sports bar to arrive.  In addition to the bowling, there are billiards, over 60 flat screen TVs, and even a dance floor.

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There are 30 lanes in all, scattered all over the two stories with four here, six there, you name it.  Your lanes are all set up beautifully with tables and chairs right at your lane so you can take in a snack or meal while you bowl as well.  Food options include pizza to steak and even sushi!  There is even a “lane concierge” that delivers your bowling shoes right to you.

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Splitsville is the place to go and have a great time with your family, group or just the two of you.   Splitsville is also Handicap accessible as there are elevators to the second floor.   Splitsville is open from 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. every day.  Be sure and check it out.  You’ll definitely enjoy all the fun is has to offer.

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If you’d like more information on great things to do at Disney, or a free quote for an upcoming trip, feel free to contact me at cindy@travelwiththemagic.com.  Also, follow me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/TravelwiththeMagicCindyPresley .

One of my favorite resorts – Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa

 

Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa is an equestrian-themed, Victorian-style Disney Deluxe Villa Resort on Lake Buena Vista, inspired by 18th century Saratoga Springs, New York.  Personally, I love the location of this resort.  I am a Downtown Disney addict and while staying here I can take a quick boat ride or a nice stroll down a paved walkway to get there.  And, you can see fireworks from just about every park while sitting outside at night enjoying the evening summer air.

 

Saratoga Springs offers a variety of room types for all travelers, studio, one bedroom, two bedroom, three bedroom villa and even Treehouse villas.  Besides the beauty of this resort, inside you find all the comforts of home – full kitchens and a washer and dryer.  My family personally enjoys the one bedroom comforts.  This allows the parents to sneak in a nap mid-day in their own bedroom, while the kids can sit in the living room and prepare a snack, watch TV, or sit on the balcony and enjoy the sites.   When staying in a villa at Walt Disney World, you can even pre-order your groceries and they will be delivered and in your room waiting.  How awesome is that?

 

There are so many great things to do for fun, right there in your own backyard.  Head on over to the basketball courts, do a little shuffleboard or a game of tennis.  How about a bike ride on a traditional bike or the four-seat surrey style?  There are a variety of pathways throughout this resort offering up lots of nature and beauty.  And the other great thing, there is a Community Hall with even tons more for your family to do.  Ping pong, foosball, arts and crafts, board games, TV games and more.  There’s a schedule posted to keep you on track each and every day of your visit.

Looking for a little work out or pampering on your stay – their Health Club is outfit for a king, while their Spa is of course, fit for a queen.  They offer massage therapy, facials, body treatments, hydro-massage, hand and foot treatments, couples relaxation package and spa treatments even for children 4-12 years of age.

Disney of course offers a huge variety of beautiful resorts to choose from, and Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa should definitely be on your list of those to try.  Please contact me for your free quote today – Cindy Presley, cindy@travelwiththemagic.com.  269-207-3555.

The best place to conquer your cravings while visiting Disney World.

It never fails, that when we visit Disney, we have to visit Downtown Disney as well.  Not only is the shopping there terrific, the snacks you can find are pretty awesome as well.  My family’s favorite place is none other than Goofy’s Candy Co.  This great find is located on the east end of Downtown Disney, near the Rainforest Café.

 If you want something sour, sugary, salty, gooey, this store has the ingredients to calm any craving you may have.  It’s usually the sugary pick-me up that my family is looking for about half way through our trip.  Having gone non-stop enjoying all the parks, we always find the time to take a trip to Goofy’s Candy Co. and get our snack on!

 

To make things even more exciting, they offer self serve for several different items in the store.  Mix up a bag of those special jelly bean flavors, or combine all the gooey goodness of their other candies to mix as well.  And, for those who enjoy the pixie stick sugar thrill, you can even custom fill your own pixie stick right there for yourself.

Our favorite, is designing our own sweet attack.  Mmm, delicious.  All you need to do is pick up an order form, fill out your delicious requests and a Goofy’s Candy Co. cast member is there to design it right before your eyes.

All the dipping of chocolate, dunking in crushed oreos, mini M&Ms, Reese’s chips, sprinkles, and then drizzling some more chocolate over top.  Oh yeah.  And then, it goes in to the deep freeze for a few minutes to make sure all that gooeyness stays in tack while you attempt to eat it in one sitting.

These delicious goodies make for a great snack on plane rides home too.  It definitely gets the looks from the stewardesses as they pass on by with peanuts and cookies!

So next time you are visiting Disney World, make sure to take a side trip to Downtown Disney on the east end to Goofy’s Candy Co. and create your own mouthwatering sensation to enjoy.

For help in booking your next trip to DisneyWorld, please contact me for a FREE quote today.

Cindy Presley  cindy@travelwiththemagic.com   https://www.facebook.com/TravelwiththeMagicCindyPresley