For every letter of the alphabet, there's a corresponding attraction, show, restaurant, or event at Disney World. Nicole Newport takes you on a unique tour of the most magical place on earth, from A to Z, in a family-friendly guide of facts and fun.
Aren't there enough dry-as-dust Disney World vacation guides on the market? There are. But this isn't one of them. You won't find height requirements or lunch times or dining plan minutiae in Disney Magic A to Z. It's not that kind of a book. Instead, Nicole distills the highlights and the horrors, the discoveries and the disappointments, of her many family trips to Disney World into a how-to (as well as a don't-do and a here's-why) that everyone can enjoy.
The Disney magic includes:
FROM ARTISTS IN TRAINING TO ZIPLINING TINKER BELL - AND BEYOND!
Disney Magic A to Z
Artists in Training
Belle’s Enchanting Tale
Conversations with Crush
Cultural Vibes in Animal Kingdom
Dance Parties Galore
Eating Around the World
Entertainment Around the World
Fireworks Like No Other
“Frozen” Invasion of Hollywood Studios
Guest Starring in an Adventurous Show
Guarana Kuat Cola Wins!
Hitchhiking with Mickey
Jedi Training Academy
Jungle Cruise Skipper
Kim Possible Becomes Phineas and Ferb
King of Pin Trading
Light Show on the Castle Walls
Lost Child (and a Lost Dad and Lost Shoes)
Magical Animated Photos
MemoryMaker and Related Products
Names Around the World
Neil, Waiter Extraordinaire
Other Fantasyland Favorites
Pin Trading Obsession
P.U.S.H. — The Walking, Talking Trashcan
Queens of the Future
Rollicking Piano Tunes
Star Wars Weekend
Trading Cards and Sorcery
Treats Around the Parks
Unforgettable Cast Members
Unique Autograph Books
Video Games of the Future
Woody’s Cowboy Camp
Xtras (Stuff That Doesn’t Fit Anywhere Else!)
Yanked by Boba
A Final List of General Planning Tips
Resort Choices: On Property vs. Off Property
Attraction Reviews and Ratings
Nicole Newport was bit by the Disney bug almost a decade ago. Though her husband told her to enjoy their first family trip because it was to be a “once in a lifetime experience”, she convinced him to go back 3 years later, then 2 years later, then 18 months later … you get the picture. Now, she can’t get enough. When she isn’t physically there, she’s dreaming or writing or reading about being there.
Nicole has earned a bachelor’s and a master’s degree, but she would most like to “earn her ears” from Disney University — given to her by the Mouse himself. She is currently an educator, but hopes to move to Florida and work at Walt Disney World after her mouseketeers graduate from college. She will take any job that allows her to pin trade with guests. Until then, she lives with her Disney supporting husband and children in Ohio, a mere 15-hour drive from the Most Magical Place on Earth.
You can read more about Nicole’s adventures, along with updated Disney information, on her blog at disneymagicatoz.blogspot.com.
If you tire of the characters, there's plenty more to "C" around the parks, like candy, cupcakes, and confections galore.
If you have a sweet tooth, Disney is the place for you. One time, our children had saved up a lot of souvenir money for themselves, so we said they could help out more with extra expenses, such as treats we hadn’t been able to afford in the past. It’s amazing how willing children will part with a little money just for the promise of sugar. Our best purchase by far was the candy- and caramel-coated apples we bought at Christmas. Other delicious chocolate treats include a giant Mickey-shaped chocolate chip cookie partially drizzled with liquid chocolate, Mickey-shaped Rice Krispy treats dipped in chocolate and coated with mini M & Ms, chocolate-covered fruit kabobs, and of course, Mickey Mouse ice cream bars and sandwiches. Other favorites, without chocolate, are Mickey-shaped hot pretzels and Mickey-shaped waffles.
Speaking of Mickey ice cream bars, 2.6 million of them are sold annually throughout Walt Disney World. Other items sold every year include: 75 million Cokes, 13 million water bottles, 10 million burgers, 6 million hot dogs, 9 million pounds of fries, and 300,000 pounds of popcorn!
Some of the best shops to find sweets are Big Top Souvenirs and the Main Street Bakery in the Magic Kingdom, Sweet Spells and the Trolley Car Cafe in Hollywood Studios, Fountain View in Epcot, Disney’s Candy Cauldron at Disney Springs, and the new Zuri’s Sweets Shop in Animal Kingdom. Zuri’s advertises the production of 80 exclusive items, many of which are almost too adorable to eat. Some of my favorites are the elephant and monkey caramel apples, the cotton-top tamarin caramel apples (complete with coconut shavings to look like white monkey fur), the chocolate-covered brownies shaped like a Mickey ear hat, and the colored chocolate marshmallows on a stick made to look like hippos. The cast members who create these are artists who have perfected their trade.
Hollywood Studios is known for its specialty cupcakes to go along with themed events. During Star Wars Weekend, we enjoyed the huge Darth Vader cupcakes, and during Summer Frozen Fun, we enjoyed the giant Olaf cupcake. The Olaf cupcake came with white “snow” sprinkles around the bottom, chocolate buttons and chocolate stick arms, and an adorable white chocolate Olaf head. The price was $5.19, but it was well worth it.
Tip: Make sure you photograph these cute treats before eating them — remember, this is an art form. I like to photograph just the treat first and then my children holding or eating it.
Continued in "Disney Magic A to Z"!
Strollers: love 'em, hate 'em, you can't get away from 'em.
My biggest suggestion regarding strollers is renting more than one if you have more than one child. We tried the double stroller on our first trip and the kids fought constantly. It was also difficult to navigate through crowds. The next day, we rented two single strollers for the same price and it was much more peaceful. If you have more than two children who need strollers and only two adults, you will still need one double stroller, but at least you can rotate having one child by him- or herself. This also comes in handy when one child is napping (yes, kids can nap despite the noise of a crowded theme park).
Also, strollers are not just for toddlers. Our daughters were 8 years old and still fairly small the first time we traveled with friends. Since friends do not argue like siblings, the 5 year old boys shared a double stroller and the girls shared a double stroller. I realize I just wrote that double strollers are harder to maneuver, but we thought four single strollers would be even more of a hassle.
Another thing to consider with strollers is identifying your stroller among the hundreds of others parked at each ride exit. There is a spot at the back of each stroller for a name tag, but it can take awhile to read the tags and to maneuver strollers around to even be able to see the tags. We brought colored bandanas from home and tied them around the handle and we never had a problem finding our strollers.
A helpful item for your stroller is a shammy cloth for summer rain showers. These cloths soak up the water and dry out quickly. Conversely, you could purchase an extra rain poncho from a discount store and drape it over your stroller. Both methods have worked for us.
This may sound obvious, but do not leave anything you do not wish to have stolen in your stroller when you are on rides or otherwise occupied. We would leave diaper bags or backpacks full of snacks and water bottles, but never a bag containing a camera, wallet, or phone. Those are best kept on your body in a pocket, backpack, or fanny pack. Unlike some amusement parks with monster-size roller coasters, Walt Disney World’s rides contain netted holders to contain guest bags or are tame enough to place bags at your feet.
Continued in "Disney Magic A to Z"!