Although the holiday decorations are still up, the Christmas and winter holiday sparkle is starting to fade at Magic Kingdom. Yesterday our team was welcomed to the Magic Kingdom with the return of the regular character cavalcades at Magic Kingdom.
These character cavalcades are individual sections of two different parades. The regular parade that would normally march through Magic Kingdom at 3:00 p.m. every day is now broken up into individual sections that run along the parade route of Magic Kingdom at unscheduled time. These are also cavalcades that are portions of the Move It! Shake It! MousekeDance It! Street Party.
It looks a little strange to see the Christmas decorations still up with the regular cavalcades moving through the streets, but we expect the holiday decorations to be packed away very, very soon. If you want to make sure you don’t miss out on seeing your favorite character, check out our tips on viewing the character cavalcades at Magic Kingdom.
Have you visited Magic Kingdom and seen any of the cavalcades? Which is your favorite?
There’s usually a lot of debate as to whether or not you should take your child to Walt Disney World when they’re too young to remember it. My son has now crossed the three year old threshold and I have to say, taking my toddler to Walt Disney World during his teeny tiny years has been great. After three years of Disney visits with my son from infanthood to toddlerhood I would like to share the top three reasons to visit Walt Disney World with a toddler.
Children under 3 years of age are free
Priceless interactions and pictures
An excuse to do all the rides that are best for little ones
Saving a few hundred dollars by not having to pay for your little one that’s under three years of age is so awesome. I am going to miss it so much! Lots of folks say there is no point to bringing a young child to Walt Disney World since they won’t remember it. I can see their point, but I have seen how my son’s interaction with Walt Disney World has evolved from infanthood to toddlerhood. He may not have vivid memories of these visits as he gets older, but there is no doubt impressions were made. And besides, I didn’t have to pay a ticket for him anyway. Of course, our situation is a little unique since we are local and had annual passes since before he was born.
After visiting multiple times over the past few years, I would say that of the range from infant to toddler, just after he turned two seems like the sweet spot. When he was an infant there were some great moments, and it was so nice being able to keep him in his holder and not have to worry about him wanting to break free of his stroller. But, infants need regular naps and regular feedings, and as much consistency as possible. Just about the time he turned two years old we could have more flexibility and he could interact with the experiences around him. The threenager rebellion and defiance hadn’t kicked in just making for less chance of a Disney meltdown.
The photos we have of him from this past year of visits are priceless to us. Granted as the situation changed over this year, we did not visit near as much as we had hoped at the start of the year. But seeing the awe and wonder as our little toddler explored Walt Disney World puts a big smile on my face.
Before you know it, your little toddler will be a preeteen or a teenager and rides that are “for babies” will be off limits – too much embarrassment involved. So get those cute rides in now. Go on Dumbo, visit Pooh Bear, sail aboard it’s a small world, say hi to Nemo and friends – do all the rides that are best for little ones. After all, our littles ones are only little once.
I would like to be clear that I am not necessarily saying now is the time to visit. In the age of the pandemic and necessary COVID-19 precautions, each family needs to decide for themselves if everyone in their party can accept and follow the precautions and feel comfortable, or not. These reasons for visiting Walt Disney World with a toddler apply any time it is right for you and your family.
Have you ever visited Walt Disney World with a toddler? Would you recommend it?
Researching the Walt Disney World theme parks every day makes our team hungry. One of the staples of theme park food is the hamburger. We’ve had quite a few this year and thought it would be fun to recap some of our favorites.
Note, these are all quick service burgers. Generally the burgers served at any table service restaurant will be better quality, but there are still some gems to be found at counter service locations.
Angus Bacon Cheeseburger at The Sand Bar
Backlot Burger at Backlot Express
Plant-Based Burger at Beaches and Cream
Honorable Mention: Turkey Holiday Burger at D-Luxe Burger
It’s hard to wholeheartedly recommend The Sand Bar at Disney’s Contemporary Resort considering there are more interesting options on the monorail loop, like Caption Cook’s at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort and Gasparilla Island Grill at Disney’s Grand Floridian. However, with the Contemporary being right next door to Magic Kingdom, it is a convenient place to have a nice break.
The Angus Bacon Cheeseburger, is served with a generous amount of French fries. This burger is better quality than the standard cheeseburgers served inside Magic Kingdom. Priced at $12.99, which is pretty standard for a Disney quick service cheeseburger, this Angus Bacon Cheeseburger is a better value than the standard burgers inside the parks because of the quality.
At Disney’s Hollywood Studios you can take a step back in time at Backlot Express, which has not changed too much since the park’s opening year. The Backlot Burger is a specialty burger that offers so much more than the standard Disney quick service burger. This something extra is indicated in the price of $13.99, but the serving is pretty large and the 1/3 lb. Angus beef burger is loaded with barbecued pulled pork, pepper jack cheese, lettuce, tomato, and pickle. The brioche bun holds this big pile of tasty food together, and you can have apple slices or fries as the side.
This next burger is delicious, even if you’re not that into plant-based options. The Plant-Based Burger at Beaches and Cream, at Disney’s Beach Club Resort, is one of the most flavorful burgers we tried this year. The plant-based mayo and the balsamic-onion jam elevate this plant-based burger. The sweetness of the onion jam is addicting. The plant-based mayo is a little tangy and adds a little bit of creaminess. The multigrain bun is flavorful and fluffy, and solidifies this burger as one of the best plant-based burgers at Walt Disney World.
This last burger is only available during the holiday season, but it is included as an Honorable Mention in this list because it showcases the great seasonal items that are available at D-Luxe Burger. If you enjoy checking out seasonal or new flavors at Disney Springs, D-Luxe Burger should be on your list. The Holiday Turkey Burger is a Turkey Burger patty topped with Bacon-Cranberry Jam, Butternut Squash Risotto Cake, Lettuce, and Tomato. Both the Bacon-Cranberry Jam and the Butternut Squash Risotto Cake elevate this burger to gourmet status, the flavor and quality is high. Our team was tempted to harass the cooks for the recipe of the Butternut Squash Risotto Cake. Here’s hoping this holly jolly burger is back on the menu next holiday season.
Did you visit Walt Disney World this year? What’s the best burger you had?
A few months ago Chef Mickey’s reopened, but with one very important ingredient missing: there were no characters. Our team visited during that time. The food satisfied, and the lack of characters was welcomed for those looking for a hearty breakfast without the kinetic craziness of typical character dining. Now that the characters are back we have to say, Chef Mickey’s may be our current favorite for Disney character dining.
Chef Mickey’s Atmosphere
The atmosphere at Chef Mickey’s can be one of its greatest features for some guests, and the worst part for others. It is located on the concourse level of Disney’s Contemporary Resort, in a multistory atrium. The iconic monorail whooshes by every few minutes and thanks to its atrium setting the voices of all the guests and the music bounce all around. This is not the place to be if you are not a morning person. If, however, you are looking for a high-energy experience that is undeniably Disney, this is your place. You can’t help but feel excited. There is no denying that you’re at Walt Disney World when you’re at Chef Mickey’s.
There is no more buffet. Everything is served on platters, family style, and your server will gladly bring you second helpings, or thirds or more, of any of the food, which is included in one flat price. The characters, which are Mickey and his pals, come out and greet guests by section rather than coming to each individual table. All character dining is currently done this way, with social distance, but Chef Mickey’s has been the most energetic that our team has experienced since the parks reopened. As each character came to the section that our team was dining in, they danced a little and were very cheerful.
Chef Mickey’s Food and Beverage
If you love breakfast food, you’re going to be in heaven at Chef Mickey’s for breakfast. Here you won’t find anything too fancy, just elevated versions of American breakfast classics. The meal starts off with a select of breakfast breads with honey butter, as well as fresh fruit and yogurt. Then the feasting continues with a bountiful breakfast platter of bacon, chicken sausage, beef brisket, scrambled eggs, and Mickey waffles. This platter is bursting with classic breakfast items.
A few specialty dishes are served which include “Loaded” Potato-Cheese Casserole; a “Celebration” Mickey Pancake; and Banana Bread French Toast with Espresso-Mascarpone Cream, Toasted Bananas, and Chocolate Crumbles. Of the three our research team enjoyed the Potato-Cheese Casserole the most. But all three dishes really elevate the whole meal. It is a lot of food, so if you’re going to do this for breakfast, consider having a very light lunch.
Our team felt the meal was worth the $42 per adult and $27 per child, plus tax and gratuity. Considering the quality of the food, the fact that you can have as much as you like, and the distinct atmosphere, it is worth it. Our team, and many of our readers, are reporting that they enjoy the family-style service much more than the buffet. Having the food brought to your table makes it more of an enjoyable meal, and you don’t have to run the risk of missing the characters while waiting in line at the buffet.
Chef Mickey’s Character Appearances
Thankfully the food at Chef Mickey’s is good and the entire experience doesn’t hinge on the characters alone. But the great news is the character interaction here is high energy and tons of fun. Each character dons a special chef’s outfit that matches their personality. You won’t need that second cup of coffee once you see Donald shake his tailfeather and Goofy’s flap his ears as he skips around. Although the chance to have one-on-one interaction and photos at your table is temporarily gone, it is still a fun experience. Just practice the art of composing a selfie beforehand.
Each guest receives a souvenir postcard. This Chef Mickey’s postcard has each of the characters autographs on it, and features great artwork on the front with the characters in the monorail as it pulls through the Contemporary.
We have listings and ranks for every Walt Disney World restaurant. Our readers give Chef Mickey’s an 85% thumbs up rating. It is ranked number 50 out of 106 table service restaurants. Reservations for character dining can be difficult to secure. Our Reservation Finder tool is free to use – give it a try!
Have you dined at Chef’s Mickeys before? What do you think of the new setup?
The first trip to Walt Disney World can be such a magical experience. Seeing the castle for the first time. First time seeing Mickey Mouse. And, of course, going on your first Disney ride. Although any ride can be a good option, picking a “first ride” that will be something you can remember for years to come can take a bit of thought. If this is your child’s first time at any sort of amusement park, although Space Mountain is a classic, it may not be a good first choice for building happy memories. A young child might not be quite as excited to ride Haunted Mansion as you are to show it to them. Here’s our top four “First Ride” choices for a Magic Kingdom visit, in no particular order.
Dumbo, the Flying Elephant
From strictly a ride perspective, Dumbo is your everyday roadside carnival spinner ride. Yet this spinner ride has such an iconic presence in Disney Parks and has been a staple in many promotional advertisements for years that for some, it just feels like the ride that says “Welcome to Disney”. It is a ride for all ages. If your child is a little nervous, just “fly” low to the ground. Want a bit more excitement? Fly higher, with amazing views of Fantasyland.
It’s a Small World
Odds are good that a child may have some passing familiarity with It’s a Small World before they ever arrive at Walt Disney World. But even if they’ve never heard that cheerful song before, a combination of a slow-moving ride with bright colors and adorable characters is sure to please most kids. It is a classic for a reason.
Peter Pan’s Flight
Peter Pan’s Flight may be the quintessential Disney dark ride in Fantasyland. Even though it is an incredibly short ride, the amount of effective storytelling shoehorned into that small space and short time is amazing. People of all ages love that feeling of flying up and away over London and all the way to Neverland. It is sure to make an impression on a child seeing it for the first time.
Pirates of the Caribbean
Combining epic storytelling, stunning effects, and even a mild drop for some first-timer thrills, Pirates of the Caribbean is an excellent choice for a child’s first ride. Even if your child isn’t familiar with the Pirates of the Caribbean movies that have permeated the attraction, they’ll quickly be drawn into the storyline and will probably be sporting a hearty arrr for hours after they have left the ride.