Disney After Hours

Want to maximize your time at Magic Kingdom? Then Disney after hours is for you!

During this special ticketed event you can get in as early as 7 p.m. to experience the fireworks before hitting more than 25 attractions and experiences with little to no wait! Ice Cream and beverages are included too!

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Here are the new dates and times:

  • 12/3: 10 p.m. – 1 a.m.
  • 12/10: 10 p.m. – 1 a.m.
  • 1/7: 8 p.m. – 11 p.m.
  • 1/17: 8 p.m. – 11 p.m.
  • 1/24: 8 p.m. – 11 p.m.
  • 1/28: 8 p.m. – 11 p.m.
  • 2/7: 8 p.m. – 11 p.m.
  • 2/28: 8 p.m. – 11 p.m.
  • 2/14: 9 p.m. – 12 a.m.
  • 3/7: 9 p.m. – 12 a.m.

Tickets are now available for purchase! Advanced purchase price for these new dates is $125 plus tax. The day-of price is $129 plus tax.  

 

If you would like to take advantage of Disney After Hours, contact your Upon A Star Travel Consultant today!

Don't have a travel consultant? Check HERE today!

 

Tips for traveling to Disney with a 2 year old!


My daughter's name is Isabella. She calls herself Belle, which is just perfect since that's my favorite princess and Disney movie. At 2 1/2 years old, we brought "Baby Belle" to meet the real Belle at the Magic Kingdom! She was enamored by the castle from our first day, and I don't know who was more excited to meet Belle, me or the baby! 


Our visit to the most Magical Place on Earth was super fun, exciting, busy & magical...but not without its stressful moments! Here's a few tips that helped our family navigate through a jam packed week of rides, churros, naps & fireworks! 
 

1) I've now made this mistake twice, and I will not do it again! If your child needs to nap, they will not nap on travel days. Scheduling, flights, transporting to/from airport always get in the way of a regular afternoon nap (for us anyway!). Plus, just by being in the MOST MAGICAL PLACE ON EARTH, there is way too much excitement and exploring to do for our little one (or us?!). So there's no nap the first day. Then, for whatever reason I do it, I've booked a full day at the Magic Kingdom the day after we arrive. Well, baby Belle is not a peach the day after she doesn't nap so I will be planning a "low key" day exploring hotels or a day at Disney Springs the day after we arrive next time. It saves us a bunch of attitude & frustration; we can go at our own pace, it's relaxing to just walk around and explore, and we can go back to hotel to nap, no issues. 


2) Speaking of naps, we did not want to deal with bringing a stroller through the airport, on the plane, blah blah blah, BUT Belle still naps so what to do?! We rented through Kingdom Strollers and for us, it was absolutely worth the money. The stroller was at our hotel - with plenty of storage space and a cooler! - before we even arrived! We had picked out the model online and it was perfect. Much more comfortable than our awful stroller we left at home! It was easy to maneuver & fold up. And - you just leave it at the hotel when you check out! SO.EASY. Belle napped every afternoon in the stroller in the parks so we never even had to leave the magic! We grabbed a snack, found a quiet spot in whatever park we were visiting that day, and relaxed! 

3) To prepare the little one for our big adventure, we let her watch videos of the rides on YouTube before we left for vacation. This is a great way to help your child get familiarized with certain characters, rides, shows & experiences! It's fun to watch the videos after vacation as well when you're going through severe Disney withdrawal and can reminisce about Peter Pan's flight together!

4) Unless you are hands down, 100% super certain that your kid will just absolutely fall in love with life size Mickey & friends, I'd suggest not doing a character meal as your first meal, day one. Belle was horrified at the Winnie the Pooh characters at the Crystal Palace and as much as she LOVES the old Pooh classics AND ride, she just can not do the real life stuff. So that meal was a bit of a bust. After this incident, we gave her the option to "hug or wave to" the characters and this was met with much more enthusiasm when she realized she did not have to go anywhere near them . (Princesses are a different story!!) If you can, give your kids some time in the park to see and/or meet characters and gauge reactions before doing a character meal. I realize character meals book up quickly but it will save you money if you find out your little one is not in love with life size Daisy! Booking a character meal for later in the trip, after they've had a chance to see and meet characters, may work out better for you time and money-wise! 

5) BRING HEADPHONES if your kid is not used to fireworks. They are very loud (we've done Magic Kingdom & Epcot), and as cool and awesome as you think the show is, it will not be awesome if your kid is screaming the fireworks are too loud. Headphones work at home for local summer firework displays, so I'm definitely packing them for next year's trip! If you're thinking being in the park during the show will be a bit overwhelming, try watching the show from one of the nearby beaches surrounding Seven Seas Lagoon. Grab a drink, bring a snack, pack some glow in the dark wands and bracelets (hello Dollar Store!) and enjoy without the crowds! We've enjoyed the fireworks from Fort Wilderness & the Polynesian - order a Polynesian Pearl at Trader Sam's and take it all in! 

And remember - HAVE FUN!!!! 

I'd love to help you book your next Magical vacation!

Contact me today!

kyla@uponastartravel.com

www.facebook.com/kylauponastartravel

New Summer Dining at the Diamond Horseshoe

If you've ever walked through Frontierland in the Magic Kingdom, chances are you've noticed the building housing the Diamond Horseshoe.  Additionally, chances are that the doors were closed, and you bypassed it without much thought. 

The Diamond Horseshoe is the East Coast version of Disneyland's Golden Horseshoe Review.  As the Golden Horseshoe was one of Walt Disney's favorite places to be in the park, it stands to reason that it was also included in plans for the Florida park.  The Golden Horseshoe is still going strong - and it provides daily entertainment in the form of Old-West Saloon style singing and comedy alongside down-home quick service cooking.  

While the Golden Horseshoe still provides daily shows and meals, the Diamond Horseshoe's run hasn't always been so smooth. For a time just after the park opened, it was a packed-house for the Saloon-style entertainment and refreshments.  People arrived early to get tickets on Main Street to ensure a view of the entertainment. Standby was very difficult to get in terms of viewing this show (something we experience now with Anna & Elsa, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, and Be Our Guest). It changed names a few times over the years - Diamond Horseshoe Jamboree, Diamond Horseshoe Saloon Revue - but in the long run, for various named reasons, the company decided to close the doors on this unique experience.  

The Diamond Horseshoe has operated only seasonally since 2003 as a Quick Service location, and it has occasionally housed meet-and-greets for Woody, Jessie, and Bullseye.  Even when it was open seasonally, it really was only during peak lunch hours.  One trip, we happened upon the doors being open, and we were excited for the opportunity to sit and dine in this really neat space! 

The food was tasty, and you could see by walking around that it would have been a fun and intimate atmosphere for a stage show.  Of course, one could never count on being able to dine there.  Until 2016... 

This year, we were excited to learn that the Diamond Horseshoe would host a 1 Table Service credit meal throughout some of the summer months! Knowing the history of this place, and of course being curious, we quickly snagged a reservation for our May trip.   We weren't disappointed. 

The service was good, and the food reminded us a lot of the Whispering Canyon Cafe at the Wilderness Lodge (one of our favorites).  Food comes served family-style with favorites like baked beans, corn bread, ribs, pulled pork, beef brisket, turkey, mac and cheese, and corn on the cob.  Dessert was a campfire s'mores brownie - YUM!

All-you-care-to-enjoy, including dessert! I really enjoyed my dining experience as well as the food.  The place was by no means crowded, so it was a nice escape from the heat and crowds.  Currently, this is only a temporary dining experience scheduled to end this summer.  I truly hope they decide to keep this option around, though! 

Quick Service Dining in Disney: Magic Kingdom Edition

I think it's well established that I love to eat.  Breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks... I'm no respecter of times.  And when I am on vacation, good food is very important! That being said, I have decided to do a series involving my favorite eateries around the "World". Because there are so many, and in order to keep these posts manageable to read, I'll focus on a specific type of dining in a park/resort.  For me, the Magic Kingdom really epitomizes the Disney experience.  As such, our journey begins here.

When it comes to a Quick Service meals in the Magic Kingdom, the first that comes to mind is the ever-elusive Be Our Guest.  This restaurant is an anomaly in that it changes over from a Quick Service by day to a Table Service by night.  I love this! First of all, the ambience is second to none.  As a little girl who grew up loving Belle and her movie, dining in Beast's Castle truly never ceases to amaze me.  

Trust me, these pictures do NOT do this place justice! But really, the focus of this article is the food.  And Oh. Em. Gee.  It is fantastic! I typically get the carved turkey sandwich with pommes frites (AKA french fries), which is so so good! Dessert varies, but I love anything with the gray stuff on it -- and hubby almost always opts for the Strawberry Shortcake cupcake.  Of course, there are tons of options here, and I'm pleased to say that they are a lot different from traditional fast food.

Aside from the menu, this location is unique as far as how it serves your food.  When you check in/order, you are given a small "rose".  This is actually a handy little device that uses RDFI technology to allow the servers to know where you chose to sit - and they deliver your order right to you! You also get real silverware (as opposed to plastic).  As far as seating choices go, I love dining in the West Wing -- it's so spooky and amazing. 

The trick with this restaurant is that you usually can't just walk in.  Reservations are a must if you really want to dine here.  So, when you need a "walk in" location, one of our favorites is Columbia Harbour House in Liberty Square.

There are so many things I love about this place.  But first, I have to give a shout out to my favorite greeter.  He sings to the passers-by, rings a bell, and welcomes everyone in with a smile.  He is basically a fixture from what I can tell - I think I see him every trip!

The menu is definitely heavy on seafood, which happens to be my favorite.  I love the fried fish and chicken basket when I feel like throwing my diet to the wind, but on my most recent trip, I discovered how amazing the salmon platter was!

The decor inside is nautical, and there are some nods to the Haunted Mansion ... one of my favorite attractions! If you dine here, try to sit on the second floor - there is a great view!

My 3rd go to in the Magic Kingdom is definitely Pecos Bill's Tall Tale Inn.  This has been an annual favorite of mine, partially because of the fixin's bar!  Now a disclaimer: there was just an announcement that this restaurant is slated to receive a new menu.  And I am SUPER excited about it!  Originally I was in love with their taco salad, which was discontinued a couple of years ago.  Now, it is going to be a lot of burritos, rice bowls, and fajitas.  Second to seafood, these are my favorite food groups!

Now for some stunning news -- I apparently have absolutely no food pics from this establishment.  This is likely because I'm starving and gobble down my food before taking a picture when I go here... I promise to rectify this situation on my trip in January!  Hopefully the new menu will be in place by then so I can offer our loyal readers a review.

So, those are my 3 faves in the Magic Kingdom.  Honorable mention goes to the Diamond Horseshoe, which is only open seasonally.

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So, what are your go-to Quick Service eateries in the Magic Kingdom? Comment below!