Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Discontinued Disney

Last week the Disney Parks Blog announced the upcoming end to ‘the magic, the memories and you’ night time spectacular that lights up Cinderellas castle with fancy lighting, visual effects and images of park guests from the day’s photo pass picture takings. I have to say, I’m a little disappointed – I never got to see the show the whole way through!

November 2011 was my chance (and I’m pretty sure it had a Christmas theme going on at the time) and I stupidly decided to go and get ice cream from the Plaza – the queue wasn’t overly long and I was convinced I’d have time to grab out tasty treats and be back in our spot before show time. The odds were clearly not in my favor that night! I was able to order quickly, but must have waited over 20 minutes for my order! Unusual; especially considering this was a quieter time to visit Walt Disney World! By the time I got my ice cream and made it back to our viewing spot (which we’d been camping out for ages, ‘the magic, the memories and you’ was gearing up to it’s big finale and I’d missed the whole thing! *insert a very grumpy face here*

They changed the show seasonally and seeing the Christmas one would have definatly been the on I’d have picked to see. Damn my sweet tooth! 

The final ‘the magic, the memories and you’ show will be on September 6th, after which, Disney’s new, ‘celebrate the magic’ (continuing with the overall ‘celebrate’ theme that’s been around the parks for a while now) will debut. So far, it promises to be similar to it’s predecessor, a fancy light and visual display using the Castle as a canvas, but incorporating more of the Disney characters and musical choreography (I’m thinking Osbourne lights style?).

“The show will be full of emotion and storytelling, proving that, with imagination and magic in our hearts, anything is possible.” Disney Parks Blog 2012

That could mean an end to the photo pass images being displayed on the Castle which I’m not too bothered about, from what little of the show I saw and the videos I watched on You Tube, the photos weren’t that clear unless you staked out a ‘you-have-to-sit-and-wait-3-hours’ spot right behind the Partners statue! Maybe that is just me!

I’m glad their incorporating more storytelling, going right to the heart of what Disney is all about, and it will be interesting what tales they weave. Though I’m sad I missed out on ‘the magic, the memories and you’, I’m looking forward to ‘celebrate the magic’.

This got me thinking; what other shows do I miss from the parks? My all time, number 1, undefeated champion of the discontinued Walt Disney World shows is…*drum roll*


Tarzan Rocks!
You’ll be in my heart, no matter what they…replace you with! I absolutely adored this show; it was the perfect combination of Phil Collins hits, gorillas on roller skates and some fender bending guitar solos. I was devastated when it was discontinued and replaced with Nemo. I’m a big Nemo fan but that show only stands to remind me of all we lost with Tarzan Rocks. It’s a colorful air-con break that’s failed to win me over 100%.






What discontinued shows or parades do you miss?

Until next time,
Sarah

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Diz-Connect?


With the introduction of free WiFi in Disneys Magic Kingdom this month, I’m wondering if this will change how we tour?


© Saloca in Wonderland
Touring Plans app
One of the things I love most about my Walt Disney World trips is the distance from home, the escape of the everyday dramas and worries, no newspapers, no commute, no work, my only worries revolving around making my ADRs and choosing between a dole whip and a funnel cake! I get to switch off for two whole weeks!

Having free WiFi in the hotel comes in handy, it makes it easier and cheaper to connect with family back home, thanks to apps like Skype, I can call home, meaning no more forking out for payphone cards or coming home to a massive mobile phone bill.

So how will the WiFi in Magic Kingdom tinker with our touring? Being from the UK, I have zero access to WiFi and 3G when I am in the parks (the phone bill would cost more than the holiday!). This means that all those wonderful planning apps I’ve been downloading are rendered useless once I leave the WiFi comfort zone of the hotel. I do love those apps that give you the estimated wait time for rides in the park, after all you’re not always near the main times board and it would be good to know before heading to a ride all the way on the opposite side of the park. Finding Magic Kingdom busy that day? You can quickly connect online and see what park is predicted to have the lowest crowd that day and head on over. Struggling to make the most of your day? You can click onto the likes of Touring Plans and load up a guide to maximize your park time and magic exposure. Even just being able to get a weather update would come in handy from time to time!
© Saloca in Wonderland
Touring Plans app

Having access to the planning apps is a win for WiFi.

My predicted downside? Teens!

For teens, it is important to stay connected, through the likes of iMessage and BBM, they are constantly in touch with each other back home. Having the Atlantic Ocean between them doesn’t even stop them! One of the bonuses for UK families especially was that during the day out at the parks, those smart phones could not connect to anything! Teens had no choice but to switch off and connect with their families instead. These holidays are all about family time, making the most of it and enjoying each other’s company in a way that is too difficult back at home. With the free WiFi services on offer in Magic Kingdom and presumably rolling out across the other parks, there will be a lot of Blackberrys and iPhones showing up clutched in the hands of teens on family photo pass pictures. Maybe I’m tarring them all with the same stereotypical brush, but next time you’re in the parks, have a look how many are staring down at their screens instead of up and around where they are!

Free WiFi in the parks – good or bad?

Until next time,
Sarah


Monday, 20 August 2012

Come fly with me!

© Saloca in Wonderland
Nov 2011

Does it really matter who we fly with?


Traveling from the UK, the flight to Orlando is rough 9+ hours, and that is after we’ve spent 3 hours in the airport to board the plane, and not forgetting the 1 – 3 hours it can take once we’re state side to clear customs and arrive at our hotel. In all, it is a long day!





© Saloca in Wonderland
June 2012
I have always said I would paddle across the ocean in a dingy if it got me to Walt Disney World but after our trip in June, I have started to re think those plans! We flew, for the first time with Monarch. I had heard mixed reviews but we got such a great deal, I didn’t think I could justify £300+ extra per person just to fly Virgin…and really, could it be that bad?

Apparently so!

Friends had flown with Monarch two years previous and had an awful time, including delays, kamikaze birds and a hotel in the middle of nowhere – I should have heeded their warnings! Of course, no planes are immune to technical difficulties, but apparently, those Monarch planes have a little Atlantic-crossing allergy! We go delayed for over 10 hours in June on the outbound trip! It was an awful start to the holiday, but as I said, these things happen. You know how you get talking to other delayed passengers. You grumble about how annoying it is, talk about past trips with other airlines etc…I was so surprised at how many of them said this had happened almost every time they have flew with Monarch on a long haul flight. The delay was not always as long, but a delay nonetheless. The consensus was if you chose them to fly to Europe you had no problems, it was crossing the Atlantic that caused the issues. Our plane had engine difficulties, so of course I was not happy to board until it was fixed, but I watched so many Virgin flights go out that day I could have cried knowing I would have been on one of them if I had paid that extra!

This is not a Monarch-bashing post and I know any flight with any other airline can be in the same position…so let us come away from that rant and look at something else!

Entertainment

© Saloca in Wonderland
Virgin IFE
Having flown Virgin several times, including on one of their newest planes in November, I have developed a soft spot for flying with them. That new in flight entertainment system is the real selling point to me, with so many films, tv shows and music to choose from, the flight could double in length and I wouldn’t have noticed! I do not sleep on flights so need to keep myself entertained for the duration. I always take my books, notepad, music etc but a film is just a nice way to sit back and relax. I suppose if I had an iPad or took my laptop, I could bring along my own films too. You do not get that seat back entertainment with Monarch; they are the no-frills airline of Trans Atlantic flights! Not having a seat back tv, I thought I’d really struggle to keep myself amused. They had odd ones dotted above in the aisle but watching would have given me a very sore neck! I was dreading the flight, thinking it would be so much longer with no IFE but surprisingly I was wrong! I got lost in a book for a while, perused some magazines, played some games, listened to music, had a chat with my boyfriend, I even managed to take a tiny nap! Of course, on the outbound flight you are excited and filled with anticipation so that really helps! Coming home however, tired, cranky and sat next to the demon child who could rival Damien – that was a much longer flight!

Comfort

Flying in economy with both airlines, Monarchs seat pitch felt a little bigger but their chairs were not as comfortable. I like how the ‘wings’ fold in on the Virgin chairs to cradle your head. Both reclined around the same distance but the trays on the Monarch flight became useless if the chair in front reclined! You could play a good game of racing rolling pens down them though!

Food

© Saloca in Wonderland
Side dish to main meal with Monarch (outbound)
I have to say, Monarch came up trumps on this one. I much preferred their food on the outbound flight compared with Virgins but the quality was not consistent on the inbound flight! I really dislike how they try to feed you less on an evening flight, not all of us fall asleep you know and traveling makes me hungry! Virgin is at least more consistent both ways (and you really cannot beat their ‘sausage and mash’ meal!).

We are always looking to save money somewhere to enjoy spending it elsewhere and cheaper flights mean you could splash out on an accommodation upgrade, additional trips, special souvenirs etc or just put the savings in the pot to go towards the next trip. I do the same thing, I understand all of that, but for me, getting there is all part of the holiday and I’d rather pay a little extra and have a more relaxed, enjoyable flight. For all I know my next flight with Virgin will be delayed over 24 hours and I will be made to eat my words (pass the ketchup!), but for now I am happy to pay that little bit extra.

Flight booking tips!

  1. Read reviews, lots of them. Get talking to people who have flown to the same destination with the airlines you are looking at and what was their experience. Consider looking through traveler forums too, like the ones over at Trip Advisor.
  2. Grab a bargain in the sale! The reason we can sometimes justify our flights is that we got such a good deal on them during a sale. Book mark the airlines home page and check often. Consider signing up for their mailing lists too and be the first to know about impending flash sales.
  3. Consider a DIY holiday. Look at the package price, then look at it component separately with different travel providers. Your accommodation could be much cheaper with one site and your flights cheaper with another.

It is not all about how you get there, it’s what you do when you get there that really makes each trip special – but a slightly nicer, more relaxed flight helps!

Is it important who you fly with?

Until next time,
Sarah 

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Preview of the Fantasyland expansion!

The Fantasyland expansion has been one of the biggest 'updates' to a Disney theme park since they built Animal Kingdom from the ground up! Considering this is only an 'expansion', it feels almost like they are building and entirely seperate park! With so many new attractions, stores, dining and experiences on offer - your days in the Magic Kingdom just got a whole lot longer (not that I'm complaining!).

I come across this video a few days ago and it gives amazing insight on what's going behind those 'excuse our dust' boards!



There's a lot of footage there I haven't seen anywhere else online, especially the likes of the Wardrobe and animated Lumiere from beauty and the Beast! The grand ballroom is already breathtaking and that's before the furniture has even gone in!

What am I most excited about?

  • Be our Guest restaurant - The fact that it is a counter service during the day and a table service during the night really does open it up to everyone's budget and dining plan. I can see this idea being implemented elsewhere in the future! 
  • Gaston's Tavern - They have the recreated and installed the painting directly from the film! 
  • Journey of the little Mermaid - It's like the show from Hollywood Studios meets the clam shells of Finding Nemo, what's not to like?
Beauty and the Beast and The Little Mermaid where two of my favourite films growing up and seeing them brought to life on the grandest of scales just fill's the heart of the little girl inside of me! 

What are you most looking forward to?

Until next time,
Sarah

Monday, 13 August 2012

Three things first timers should know before they go!

The first time we booked a Walt Disney World holiday we had no idea how much was involved before you even get there! A friend of the family had been several years earlier and put us onto a little forum he'd come across all about Walt Disney World. As soon as we started scrolling through pages upon pages of questions, suggestions, trip reports and more, we all looked at each other thinking, 'what have we done?'. If we had never found these forums I can't even begin to imagine how that trip would have turned out...disaster comes to mind!

We did so much research and forward planning, creating itineraries and a game plan before we boarded   the plane that I do feel as though we made the most of every second we spent there and squeezed out every last drop of magic. It surprises me when people tell me they're off to Walt Disney World for the first time and when I ask them how their planning is going or what ADR's they have made they look at me blankly. I ask them how they plan on getting to Chef Mickeys from Port Orleans Riverside, or if they know the park is open an extra couple of hours because they're a resort guest?

There are so many important things a first timer should know before they go, so here's three to get all your first timers out there thinking!
.

1. Do it yourself bookings over booking a complete package

That day we walked into the travel agents we where purely curios...what's this WDW our friends and family are talking about? How much would a trip like that cost? It was all curiosity, we just wanted a price, a guide, an idea, we didn't plan on walking out with an invoice in our hands! We got comfortable with the 'package' holiday for the next couple of trips, it was so much easier to just have it all done for us. It's only recently we started to look at the separate aspects of the holiday - from flights to accommodation and tickets, we found there where savings to be made if we booked some things separately ourselves. For example; booking our hotel and tickets as one deal, then booking our flights during a mid season sale saved us a few shiny pennies! This isn't always going to be the case but it's always worth getting a package price and then trying a little DIY too! 

2. Booking your holiday during a free Disney dining plan period.
The Disney Dining Plan didn't exist when we first went to Walt Disney World, nothing like it was in place so all your food money came out of your budget too - and when staying on property your options (price wise) are limited. You may get a great $5 buffet on International Drive but the same buffet on a Disney resort could be close to $30+ per person! The Disney Dining Plan, or DDP, is worth well over £1300 if we where to purchase the standard DDP for our family of four adults. When booking to stay at a Disney resort during a select free dining period they are literally giving the food away! Offering the chance to eat at the likes of Cinderella's Royal Table, 1900 Park Fare, O'Hanas, Hoop de doo review and so many more it's an opportunity you shouldn't pass up! We have had so many amazing dining experience thanks to the free DDP, eating at places we could never have afforded or justified paying for out of pocket. The times of year when free DDP is offered makes a huge difference to when we look at booking our next trip.

3. It's not all about the parks!
Call me crazy but I for one don't go to Walt Disney World purely because I love the theme parks! There is so much going on beyond the parks, so much happening in the Disney Resorts alone that you could probably, and easily spend several days just exploring the resorts and never set foot in a single Disney theme park and still have an amazing time! If you are lucky enough to be staying at a Walt Disney World resort pick up the hotel newsletter or ask at concierge about anything happening, from scavenger hunts to pirate ship sales, African tales around the camp fire and a pool side movie, there is always something happening. Sometimes the very thing you are paying a premium for you don't utilise as much as you could, and should have. The Disney hotels really do strive to provide exceptional guest service and offer some amazing and unique experiences to make the hours beyond park opening just as magical! 

BONUS TIP

I know I said three but I couldn't help but add this final little gem...

Treat every trip as if it was your last!!

During these uncertain financial times and not having the power of prediction we never know which trip might be our last, it could be the last trip you take with your now young adults, the last trip you take as a couple before kids come along, the last trip you take for some time because it takes so long to save for. We just never know, and when we approach each and every trip like that we find ourselves stopping to appreciate everything, from the shows, to the rides, the streetmosphere, the smells, sights and sounds, the barbershop quartet, the Cast Members waving their oversized Mickey hands, the leaping fountains, Captain EO, a steam train ride around the Magic Kingdom and that final kiss good night. 

Whatever you do, above and beyond everything else, make the most of every last second as if it's your last. 

Monday, 6 August 2012

Food Views – Cinderella’s Royal Table (Breakfast)



source: opus2008

As soon as you step foot onto Main Street USA, Magic Kingdom, your eyes are instantly drawn down the middle of the street to feast upon the most wonderful sight…Cinderella’s Castle! You make your way towards the Castle, snapping pictures, seeing the delight on your little Princess’ face as it dawns on her that this mythical place really is a reality. So why not take it one step further? Why stand outside when you’ve got the chance to step up the spiral staircase and discover the magic within?

Cinderella’s Royal Table offers three sittings, breakfast, lunch and dinner. I haven’t had the chance to try out all the menus, but I have been lucky enough to get a breakfast reservation. Breakfast is served between 8am – 11.15am and park admission is required.

A note on reservations for Cinderella’s Royal Table – you need to book this in advance! When you hit the 180 day window of your desired reservation be sure to be on that phone as early as possible, especially if you’re travelling during the busier seasons! They have a very limited capacity for each seating and being what it is, you can understand why it’s so popular 365 days a year! You can also dine here using your Disney Dining Plan; it’s a signature dining spot so that means it will use two table service credits per guest dining.

The entrance is located under the Castle towards the back and there is stroller parking near the reservations desk. Once inside the Castle you will get a private audience with Cinderella herself, pose for a picture and then be shown the way to the dining room. Be sure to look up into the rafters and see if you can spot any of Cinderella’s ‘little’ friends! The photos you have taken will be presented to you at your table as a gift, yay for freebies! You can also have these photos added onto your photo pass account. The photos themselves come in a golden Cinderella themed photo-holder which doubles up as a great display frame.

Your little Princes and Princesses will also get a special treat upon entering the dining room, a magical wand for the girls and princes’ sword for the boys. They will both receive a special Wishing Star – hold onto these, you’ll need them during your stay!

The dining room itself is at the back of the Castle, overlooking Fantasyland. If you get a table near the windows you will have an amazing view! The room itself is not overly large and the tables feel a little on top of each other but it’s not too bad, there is space enough for the characters to move around the tables and for you to stand and pose for pictures with them.

Not only will you meet Cinderella over breakfast, you will also get to meet Belle, Snow White, Aurora, Jasmine and Fair Godmother. Characters vary and you may not always get these same ones or you may even get a surprise character!

The breakfast is a plated all you care to eat set menu with two options; traditional and healthy as well as a set children’s menu. All guests receive a pastry basket and fruit medley on the side. Soft drinks, fresh juice, tea, coffee and hot chocolate are all included too. There is an additional charge for cappuccinos, espressos and bottled water (still and sparkling).

So how does it all taste?

I had the traditional breakfast option which consisted of scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, breakfast potatoes, cheese danish and french toast. I’ve got to admit I’m not a huge fan of American breakfast fare and nothing here changed my mind about that, it was all the same as what you’d get in the resort grab-and-go with a much higher price tag! The fruit and pastries where nice enough, nothing fancy but tasty. Most of the reviews I’ve read before and after my experience have all said the same thing with regards to the food, it’s nothing special and when you’re travelling as an older family, you do expect something a little fancier for your location/what you’ve paid.

source: ~* Kylie *~'
This breakfast is an all you can eat plated affair, so if you want more sausage or potatoes just let your waiter/waitress know and they will bring it over to you. The staff where really friendly and helpful, our drinks where filled often and we were asked several times if we fancied more of anything in particular. The staff did seem rushed though and moved quickly, I’m not sure what the guest turn around time is here but they where kept right on their toes.



source: marada
The atmosphere is grand! Everyone is sharing the same ‘buzz’ from being inside the Castle. As I’ve said before, we’re an older family and there where many adult couples and groups without young children there that morning and nobody felt awkward or out of place. The characters where just as interactive with the childless groups as they were with those who had children.

Would I dine here again? I doubt it. Getting it on the dining plan was the only reason we ate here, paying out of pocket we could never have justified the cost. I would say it’s one of those things that everyone should attempt at least once just for the novelty of saying you have dined in the Castle, but don’t expect much from the food – you’re paying for the location, experience and characters not the breakfast fare in my opinion.

As an alternative to those who want to dine with Cinderella but avoid the Royal Tables price tag, check out the evening buffet at 1900 Park Fare over at the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa. It too is available on the dining plan but only costs 1 table credit per guest. You’ll get to dine with Cinderella, Prince Charming and the Ugly Sisters who are a riot!

Have you ever dined at Cinderella’s Royal Table?

Until next time,
Sarah  

Friday, 3 August 2012

What's the best resort for...


Are you unsure of where to stay on your next Disney vacation? Here’s a quick fire round on Disney resorts!

What’s the best…

Value resort?
source: zannaland
I’ve yet to stay at a Walt Disney World value resort but when the chance comes up I’d be picking the Art of Animation resort! As the newest resort on property everything is super shiny and new! I love the themed rooms (especially the Lion King rooms!), Nemo pool (with under water sound effects!) and that lobby? Wowza! All that art work and the check in ‘pods’? It’s ticking all my boxes!


Moderate resort? 


My moderate heart belongs to Port Orleans Riverside! It was the first Walt Disney World resort that I ever stayed at over 10 years ago on that first magical trip and I would stay there again in a heartbeat! The mansions along the Sassogula River are so exquisite, surrounded by lush greenery ad some of the most beautiful agriculture! This resort screams ‘relaxation’ and after a long day at the parks you couldn’t want anything more! I really enjoyed the quiet pools amongst the mansions and the boat ride to Downtown Disney! The food court is massive with a wide variety on offer including a great pizza window and some really yummy deserts! The gift shop is massive too, with a great selection of park merchandise and snacks. It also carries quite a lot of apparel.

Deluxe resort?
If you’ve read enough of my blog post then you’ll know my answer to this one! Animal Kingdom Lodge really is my home away from home! No other resort does as good a job when it comes to really transporting you to another place entirely. From the minute you step onto the grounds you’re no longer in Orlando, in fact you’d be forgiven for even forgetting you’re at Disney all together! The atmosphere, the d├ęcor, the sheer grandeur of Jambo house and the expanse of the savannahs, it is simply, breathtaking!

To avoid sounding like a broken record I will offer an alternative answer…Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa. The buildings overlooking the golf course have spectacular views and the food court offers some nice alternatives to chicken strips and cheeseburgers. It also offers a boat ride to Downtown Disney which is so relaxing and you get a really great view of the West Side marketplace from the water front.

Best with children?
source: Loren Javier
It’s a safe bet that any of the All Stars resorts will be a huge hit with the kids! Their favorite characters on a giant scale adorn the resorts. They have some fantastic pools and the kids get a real buzz off the whole atmosphere that surrounds the resorts. There’s a resort to suit every child, from the sports enthusiast t the music lover.

Family of four or fewer?
As a family of four ourselves we loved the extra floor space in Port Orleans Riverside but do not feel uncomfortable in the slightly smaller standard rooms at Animal Kingdom Lodge. We prefer the Lodge as it offers rooms with bunk beds, the only other resort that offers bunk beds is Wilderness Lodge. Many offer trundles and couch beds but I don’t find them anywhere near as comfortable!


Family of six? 
Go for a villa! I’d love to try the ones over at Wilderness Lodge. I love hotels that are all one self contained unit and the views from the rooms pool side are spectacular! The ones higher up offer a great view of the Electro Water Pageant on the Seven Seas Lagoon!

If you want some real space though then Fort Wilderness Camp Ground is going to be for you! Great if you have an RV or your own transport and prefer a more self-sufficient accommodation! The grounds are massive, home to the Tri Circle D horse ranch; offering nightly carriage rides through the resort as well as marshmallow toasting, story telling and open-air films over a traditional fire.

Best for a couple?
The Polynesian is very romantic, with a lovely beach, Magic Kingdom views and that tropical get away vibe. It’s a monorail resort too so you’ll have the option of taking the monorail to both Epcot and Magic Kingdom. It offers great views of the Seven Seas Lagoon, hammocks amidst palm trees and a variety of water activities and sports.


source: Samantha Decker
Two friends/family members traveling together?
The Boardwalk is a great choice for friends traveling together, offering some great restaurants and nightlife a well as my favorite boat ride to and from Downtown Disney! This is definatly the place to be if you’re looking for a little more life in your night!



What are your quick fire suggestions?

Until next time,
Sarah

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Packing for the trip home!

"I'm great at packing up to leave on vacation. However my suitcase coming home is usually a giant MESS!
Is it just me who shoves everything back in their bags at the last minute and then can't find anything when they get home? How do you pack for the return home? Do you have any tips or tricks that you use on vacation to make the experience easier once you're back home?" (source)

The last thing we want to be thinking about is the end of our vacation but no matter how much we try and put it off it always comes about and we have to start the journey home. 
Packing is a pain, I'll admit it, especially when you're trying to squeeze in those souvenirs, over-sized teddies, that must have obscurely shaped and over sized mug - how do we fit it all in whilst trying to squeeze out every last second of magic? We don't want to risk forgetting to pack our super-comfy-had-them-for-five-years flip flops, but do we really need to repack our toothbrush and half used toothpaste? I know quite a few people who end up leaving so much behind because they can't fit all their new goodies in the suitcase  - only to regret it once they get home.
Here's a few of my top tips for re-packing your suitcase on the return journey so you're faced with less loss and hassle once you get home!

  1. Pack light on the outbound journey. The less you take to begin with the more space you already have for bringing things home!
  2. Use the laundry facilities at your resort. Don't look at me like that, I don't enjoy doing washing whilst I'm on holiday either but if I'm packing less to begin with them chances are I'm going to need to do at least one if not two loads of washing just to make sure I've got something clean to wear! Also, the more I wash over there means I have less to wash when I get home. Throw the washing on and grab that book you brought along, or take a quick dip in the pool - you don't have to watch those socks go around. I've never spent more than 90mins washing/drying clothes. Do the washing whilst everyone else is getting ready then leave the clothes on the backs of chairs in your room to dry whilst you go out for the day!
  3. Mail home anything that is oversized, heavy or just too awkward to pack (things like artwork that's pre-framed, snow-globes etc). If you use a post office off Disney property it will be a lot cheaper.
  4. Roll your clothes! This saves so much space and is also a great way to protect the more 'breakable' items in your case. Your clothes won't crease and you'll create a lot of space!
  5. Utilize your hang-luggage for small souvenirs, breakables and bulky clothes like jeans and jackets. Just make sure you don't put any snow-globes in there or liquids over 50ml!
  6. Space savers or packing cubes are a great idea for compartmentalising your things. They come in all kinds of sizes and some suitcases are even specifically designed to be used with packing cubes. I prefer cubes to space savers as you will need a vacuum with a hose to suck the space out. 
  7. Leave behind the essential non-essentials like toothpaste and toothbrushes, mouth wash, shampoo and conditioner etc. I always take a travel sized toothbrush and smaller/cheaper toiletries knowing what doesn't get used will get left behind! 
  8. What didn't get used last time? We all have those items that don't even leave the suitcase for the duration of the holiday! There's always something we pack with intention in mind but it never quite sees the light of day once we reach the other end. We've saved so much space over the years by making a note of things we didn't use on a previous trip.  
Keep in mind that you might want to start packing around 2 days before you're due to go home. You're not rushing the inevitable but it will make for a more relaxed last day if your not frantically trying to pack everything and anything in your suitcase!

Are you a stuffer or a meticulous packer? 

Until next time,
Sarah
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