March 23, 2017

Reasons to visit Walt Disney World

“I partnered with Disney to attend the #FamiliaDisney media trip and produce this post. As always all opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting the brands and collaborations that make NY Trendy Moms possible!"

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I'm finally sharing all the details from my visit to Walt Disney World. As many of you know, this was my families very first time visiting this magical place. We did so many amazing things, I don't even know where to begin. 

How about from the very beginning? 
I planned the entire trip without my kiddos having any clue we were going. I secretly packed our bags and told them I had to unexpectedly go on a business trip and they had to drop me off at the airport, at 5am! Initially I was supposed to record the whole thing and post it on this article but everything went downhill when we arrived at the airport. They were cranky because they had only slept a few hours and didn't want to even get out of the car. I also brought along my nephew as it was my birthday gift to him. 

The plan was simple; I handed each one an envelope. They would open it one at a time. One said 'YOU', the other one said 'ARE' and the other one said 'GOING TO DISNEY WORLD'. As simple as it may have seemed (in my head) it didn't go well. I did record the entire thing but wont be sharing it since they didn't react like I expected them to. I mean, they were 100% happy yet confused at the same time. I would say more confused then anything else. Nonetheless, I will be saving these memories for years to come. 

 All the magic began the minute we got off the plane in Orlando Airport and hopped on the Magical Express which took us straight to our resort. Our resort was the Art of Animation. If you're wondering; the Art of Animation resort's theme is Finding Nemo, Cars, The Lion King and The little Mermaid. 


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To be honest, the kids were still in shock when they arrived at the resort. You could see the confusion in their faces with a bit of; "I can't believe we're here". Once we got up to our rooms, freshened up and headed back down to explore the resort.. their energy and excitement went from 0-100, real quick.


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Since this was a media trip we were joined by a few other influencers and their families. The point of the trip was to simply enjoy ourselves, learn all the new things at Disney and experience everything Disney has to offer. Just a heads up if you missed any of my posts, you're able to see our entire adventure by searching #DisneyFamilia and #NYTMontheGO on social media. 

The plan was to wake up everyday at 6am in order to enjoy breakfast and beat the lines at the parks. This is how we were able to do so much in so little time. Of course, having a FastPass helped a lot. FastPass allow guests to avoid long lines at the attractions. 

& don't forget to bring comfortable shoes.


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At Hollywood Studios we watched The Beauty & The Beast- Live on Stage. This was one of my favorite shows since growing up Belle was my favorite princess. After all we're both Bell's.. get it? (in case you didn't know, my name is Johnnybell ) haha.


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Another show we watched was For The First Time In Forver: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration which was about 25-30 minutes. I mean, you can sing your favorite Frozen songs and no one will judge you. My daughters were screaming at the top of their lungs (& so was I). This is definitely a show to watch if your kids are fans of Elsa and Anna. Not only did the characters sing, the historians walked us through the story of Frozen for those who weren't familiar or didn't remember it. They also made a few jokes which parents enjoyed very much. I wont give away too much.. just know theres a very pleasant and unexpected surprise at the end of the show. This is a must for Frozen fans!

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I was feeling lucky and made the family jump into Toy Story Mania for a round of games. This was unexpectedly fun for the entire family.

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I also wanted to mention that theres so much more to see at Hollywood studios. This was just what my family did. There's a lot to do and see if you are a Star Wars fan, just saying


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Visiting the Magic Kingdom was everything we imagined and much more. My daughters dream came true at last (can you hear the magic in my voice?). They finally met Elena of Avalor. You can see both of their eyes twinkling every time they looked up at her (watch the video on my youtube.com/NYTrendyMoms). This was one of the best moments of our entire trip for obvious reasons. 


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I can't forget about all the fun we had on the rides. So thrilling for the entire family. We enjoyed Tomorrowland Speedway, Space Mountain, Seven Dwafs Mine train, The Magic Carpets of Aladdin, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and so much more.

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While at the Magic Kingdom we also enjoyed watching the Festival of Fantasy Parade. This is a great opportunity to see all the Disney characters march together around the park. 

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Out of all the places, the Magic Kingdom's firework show was my favorite. There's just something about watching the castle in the background while the fireworks surround the dark sky. Last but not least.. the spirit in the Magic Kingdom was hands down thee best. Everyones face was filled with magic and wonder. Adults and children had the same facial expression. Everyone was so happy to be there & the incredible staff made it impossible for us not to have a great time.

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We also visited Disney Springs which is where you'll find places to shop and great restaurants serving delicious food. You all know how much of a foodie I am and I'm always searching for the best of the best. Therefore, while at Disney Springs, Moe shopped (surprisingly) and I did most of the eating. Which is the opposite of our actual lives.


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Did you know the World Of Disney store (pictured below) is the largest Disney store in the world? Now thats a one reason alone to visit Disney's Springs.

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We first tried Frontera Cocina which is a Mexican restaurant owned by my all-time favorite six-time winner of the James Beard Foundation Award, Rick Bayless. & get this; not only are they serving pallet-blowing dishes but they're even serving a margarita called La Cava Avocado. This drink is made with of course- avocado. Unique isn't itI highly recommend starting with the Sikil Pak (creamy Yucatecan pumpkin seed-habanero dip, crispy cucumber and jicama and warm tortilla chips). I loved this dish so much that I made it at home after I got back. Find recipe here. Also the Chipotle Chicken Tostada was excellent (crispy tostadas, chipotle chicken, crema, creamy black beans, queso fresco and avocado). This was by far my favorite restaurant because I absolutely love Mexican food that is prepared with fresh ingredients and done right. 

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While at Disney Springs we also stopped by D-Luxe Burger, a ranch-style eatery overlooking the Springs serving up some serious American classics with a unique gourmet twist. Any burger aficionado would enjoy the burgers (naturally), freshly cut fries and the house-made dipping sauces.

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We ended the night at Chef Art Smith's Homecomin' Florida Kitchen, which is also at Disney Springs. We were welcomed with a ridiculous Hummingbird Cake. I'm not entirely sure why they named it Hummingbird cake but from my experience, it basically makes you want to hum and fly after you eat this exquisite, melt in your mouth dessert. 
& if you want to make this cake, recipe is below :)

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The recipe goes as follows...

  Yield: 12 servings  
Butter and flour, for prepping pans 
Cake batter: 3 cups self-rising flour, preferably White Lily brand 
2 cups granulated sugar 
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
1/2 teaspoon salt 
2 cups chopped ripe bananas 
1 cup crushed pineapple 
1 cup vegetable oil 
2 large eggs, beaten 
1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract 

Icing: 
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature 
8 ounces butter, at room temperature 
1 pound confectioners' sugar (about 4½ cups sifted) 
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract  

For the cake: 
1. Position racks in the center and bottom third of the oven and preheat to 350F. Lightly butter two 9-inch round cake pans, sprinkle evenly with flour and tap out the excess. (If you wish, butter the pans, line the bottoms with rounds of parchment paper, then flour the pans and tap out the excess.) 
2. In a large bowl, sift the flour, sugar, cinnamon and salt into a bowl. 
3. In second large bowl, stir or whisk the bananas, pineapple, oil, eggs and vanilla until combined. Do not use an electric mixer. Pour into the dry mixture and fold together with a large spatula just until smooth. Do not beat. Spread evenly into the pans. 
4. Bake until the cake springs back when pressed in the center, 30-35 minutes. Transfer the cakes to wire racks and cool for 10 minutes. Invert the cakes onto the racks (remove the parchment paper now if using). Turn right side up and cool completely. 

For the icing: 
Using an electric mixer on high speed, beat the cream cheese and butter in a large bowl until combined. On low speed, gradually beat in the confectioners' sugar, then the vanilla, to make a smooth icing. 

To assemble: 
Place 1 cake layer, upside down on a serving platter. Spread with about 2/3 cup of the icing. Top with the second layer, right side up. Spread the reaming icing over the top and sides of the cake. The cake can be prepared up to 1 day ahead and stored, uncovered in the refrigerator. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour before serving.


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On to The Animal Kingdom. Yes, the safari and animals were nice. You're able to go for a ride around what looks like a 'jungle'. You spot zebras, lions, cheetahs, elephants and so many more cool animals. Yet, the highlight of our Animal Kingdom experience was the Festival of the Lion King. WOW! Best musical show I've ever seen. The show was full of amazing talent, music and bright colors. This show lasted about 30 minutes and featured Elton John and Tim Rice's award-winning music from the movie.

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I'm sure by now you've heard about the new Pandora- The World of Avatar that's coming to the Animal Kingdom later this year. Expect it to open May 27th, 2017. Just thought you'd want to know.

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After the show we walked to Tiffins; an African, Asian and Latin Cuisine Restaurant. 


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Tiffin's created a special menu for each of us according to our dietary needs. They even printed our names on each menu which I thought was a really nice touch. You might remember this from my snaps.

For appetizers I had a combination of three; Salad of Roasted Baby Beets (hazelnut-pear butter, golden beat puree, spiced hazelnuts, white balsamic) + Black-Eyed Pea Fritters (Zhough, yogurt, peppadew puree) and Lobster-Popcorn Thai Curry Soup ( Lime-basil emulsion, popped sorghum). It was the perfect way to start an unforgettable dinner.

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As I mentioned before in this post, I like to call myself a foodie and when it comes to food I can get very technical. I like my meat cooked to perfection and this next dish blew me off my chair. The entree I picked was the Wagyu Strip Loin and Braised Short Rib (Rainbow Carrot, Roasted Peruvian Potatoes, Chimichurri). Excellence served on a plate. I could literally taste all the layers of flavors in each bite I took. & at the end, it left me 1,000% satisfied. 

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You can't have dinner without dessert, right? At least I can't. I wanted to indulge so I went with the South American Chocolate Ganache (Caramelized Banana, Cocoa Nib Tulie). 

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There's clearly no way you can visit Walt Disney World without visiting Epcot. While there we experienced Soarin' which was basically a hang-gliding ride that takes you to a few famous places across the globe. You are able to feel and smell everything as if you were right there. They use a special technology to provide these awesome effects. I wasn't able to get a photo of it since you're basically gliding in the air. Nonetheless, here's a link to get more information on this attraction. 

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At Epcot we also visited Trattoria al Forno, the Italian restaurant of my dreams. Unfortunately, this was the only picture I took before going into a food coma. This was the Involtini di Melanzana alla Parmigiana (eggplant, ricotta, mushroom and tomato sauce). Finger licking good.

Down below you'll see a glimpse of the dessert party Disney arranged for us. We enjoyed the sweets while watching IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth. This was a fireworks an
d laser show.

Be sure to come prepared with umbrellas and panchos just in case it rains because you wont want to miss this show. 

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This shot was taken at our character breakfast one morning in Cape May Cafe located in Disney's Beach Club Resort. Mickey and his friends came out to greet everyone while we were enjoying breakfast. They danced, took photos with us and signed our autograph book.

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To answer all the questions regarding transportation; you don't need to rent a car while at Walt Disney World (as long as you're staying at one of the resorts). The best and easiest way to get around is by using the monorail. For more information click here.

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If you're not aware, Disney has over 26 resorts varying from themes and needs. I was able to visit a few that completely blew my mind. Like the Disney's Poynesian Villas & Bungalows which are the newest addition to the Disney Vacation Club. Offering 360 Deluxe Studio accommodations and 20 over-the-water Bungalows. Dreamy isn't it? Nestled along the shore of the Seven Seas Lagoon, the resort is a quick monorail ride from the enchanting Magic Kingdom Park and steps away from the world-class amenities of Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, one of the original Walt Disney World Resort hotels. 

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The Deluxe Studios at Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows are the largest at Walt Disney World Resort, sleeping five guests each. Each features tropical décor complete with striking prints, bamboo-style fixtures, a whimsical hidden pull-down bed and a split bathroom perfect for families. The Deluxe Studios also offer the flexibility of connecting to an adjacent room. 


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The resort’s Bora Bora Bungalows are the first such accommodations ever created by Disney. The two-bedroom, two-bathroom Bungalows transport guests to a tropical haven filled with Disney touches. Each Bungalow sleeps eight guests and offers a view of the Magic Kingdom Resort area. Inside the Bungalows, modern luxuries with an island touch add life to the already exquisite design. Amenities include a full kitchen, two bedrooms complete with flat panel televisions, split bathrooms, washer and dryer, two hidden pull-down beds featuring playful artwork, a private plunge pool on the back deck, and many other special touches. 

Disney Vacation Club
Disney Vacation Club is a flexible vacation-ownership program that helps families enjoy both the magic of Disney and savings on Disney vacations for decades to come. By purchasing a real estate interest in a Disney Vacation Club resort, families can choose from among a variety of vacation destinations, including a stay at any of the 13 Disney Vacation Club resorts or at thousands of other popular Member Getaway vacation destinations around the globe. When purchasing directly from Disney, members can also take trips on one of the Disney Cruise Line ships or guided vacations with Adventures by Disney. Vacations at a Disney Vacation Club resort can last anywhere from one night to several weeks. 

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Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows offers childcare not only for the guests but for anyone. Their incredible space has a game room, arts and crafts section, a seating area for movie night and so much more. See more details here.

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These are a few of the wonderful mom influencers I met during my trip.

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& you thought I was done talking about food? haha. I couldn't pass the opportunity to try the legendary Dole Whip at Pineapple Lanai. It's basically a soft serve swirls and floats of frozen deliciousness (pineapple + vanilla). First time tasting it and I'm hooked.

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The next place I visited was Disney's Wilderness Lodge. I found this resort pretty spectacular! It reminded me a lot of Indiana Jones. What do you think? 

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Overall we had un unbelievable time. A few tips for Walt Disney World visitors are:

1. Come prepared to walk.
2. Pack an umbrella and a poncho for everyone. You might experience unexpected rain.
3. Bring snacks and fruits. Kids love to snack and this will make it easier for everyone to enjoy their time.
4. Plan ahead and make restaurant reservations to ensure a table.
5. Download the Disney World app (it's free). This is the best way to get directions to places, view all your families photos taken by the staff around the park. & overall staying organized.

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I hope that you've made it to this point of the article. I know it's a lot of information but I wanted to cover all bases. First I want to thank Disney and the Disney team for allowing my family to experience a trip of a lifetime. Second, I want to thank YOU for making all this posible. Without my wonderful readers I wouldn't be able to do what I love. Thank you!

Now you know... Disney is all about doing it big or not doing it at all. So next time you're planning a vacation, think about Walt Disney World. I promise you wont be disappointed. 

Till Next Time.. Stay Trendy!

2 comments:

  1. Hey! Loved your blog, however.. fastpass is free and not available for purchase so you may want to correct that! When you book a Disney vacation you are given 3 fast passes a day at the park you will be at at no cost. They are never for sale. :) glad you enjoyed your trip!

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    Replies
    1. Hey Jessica! Thanks so much for correcting me on that. You're the best!

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