Sunshine Villa Florida

Plan Your Disney Trip With Our FREE Planning Itinerary

disney planner itinerary

With 4 parks filled with so many attractions, shows, and dining, it could get overwhelming trying to plan your Disney vacation.  We have created a simple Disney Planning itinerary that you can download here FREE!

disney planner itinerary

Before planning, it may be helpful to check crowd calendars.  We recommend checking here.  This site provides crowd times for each month.

A lot of time and effort goes into planning your perfect Disney vacation.  Here are some great articles that you should check out before you go:

Travelling with pets? Read here

Want some insta worthy snaps?  Don’t forget to look for the elusive #disneywalls here

Beat the Orlando heat!

You’re all set to have a magical holiday!

Disney Plant Based Food Guide

vegan and gluten free dining in orlando

Not too long ago, we shared some gluten free and vegan friendly dining options in the Orlando area.  Well Disney’s Magic Kingdom has now launched a visitor’s guide especially for those in search of vegan & vegetarian food options.

MK vegan list

The new Disney Plant Based Cuisine Guide lists all of the vegan and veggie options across the park in a convenient pamphlet.

The guide is categorized by area and then lists each vegan and veggie-friendly restaurant in the region of that park including the offered dishes.  Head over to Casey’s corner for a vegan hot dog, The Plaza for a veggie burger or Tomorrowland for a plant based sloppy joe.

Disneyland in California was recently crowned the most vegan friendly theme park in the USA by animal rights activist group PETA.  Hopefully this means that Disneyworld will soon have just as many vegan friendly options.

The guide is available at the following locations in the Magic Kingdom:

  • All Table-Service and Quick-Service Restaurants
  • All Guest Experience Team podiums
  • Guest Relations (City Hall and Liberty Square Ticket Office locations)

For any questions or concerns about allergy-free dining and dietary preferences, see Walt Disney World’s page on special dietary requests. Alternatively, you can contact them at Special.Diets@DisneyWorld.com with any questions you might have.

*Images courtesy of WDWNT

Legoland Florida Ticket Discount Benefits Autism Speaks

legoland

Legoland Florida is offering discount pricing during the month of April in support of World Autism month.  You can purchase print at home theme park tickets at a discount rate of $42.50 plus tax or combo tickets offering same day admission to the theme park and water park for $65.50 + tax.  $10 of each ticket sold will be donated to the North and Central Florida markets of Autism Speaks.

Over the past couple years, Legoland Florida Resort has made ongoing efforts to make their resort a more welcoming place for guests with autism spectrum disorders.  Here are some of the ways Legoland Florida is accommodating guests on the autism spectrum:

  • To assist guests who have difficulty waiting in line, they have created a pass specifically for guests on the autism spectrum. The no cost “Blue hero pass” allows the guest and their family to bypass the standby line at popular attractions.legoland blue hero pass
  • Multiple “quiet rooms” located throughout the resort offer a private space where guests on the autism spectrum can relax with noise cancelling headphones, weighed blankets and soothing toys.quiet room legoland florida
  • “Social stories” where guests can see an illustrated step by step walk through of every ride and show, so guests won’t be surprised by periods of darkness, loud noises, bright lights or other elements that may be frightening or overwhelming. legoland social stories
  • The resorts newly hired Model Citizens now receive specialized training to prepare them with skills and sensitivities needed to more effectively interact with guests on the autism spectrum

The parent company Merlin Entertainments operate under a set of values that includes “we care”, and by working in partnership with organizations like Autism Speaks, they are committed to ensure that the place built for kids is truly built for all kids.

You can purchase tickets here. The offer is available now through April 30. Tickets must be redeemed by May 31, 2019.

*Photos courtesy of Legoland

Epcot’s Easter Egg-stravaganza

Every year during Epcot Flower & Garden Festival, Epcot hosts an annual scavenger hunt for Easter eggs.  This year the hunt runs until Sunday, April 21.

To join the scavenger hunt, you will need to first purchase a scavenger hunt map. The map costs $6.99 and you can find them at Disney Traders, Pin Central, or World Traveler.

*

The eggs on your sticker card are the eggs you are looking for around the park.  Keep your eyes peeled as some are tricky to find.

Place the matching sticker on your map after you have spotted the egg.  Once you have found them all, head over to Disney Traders to submit your map and receive your prize, the choice of one themed egg!  New this year is that the eggs themselves have a surprise inside!

Eggstravaganza is on through April 21st during Epcot’s Flower & Garden Festival.  If your looking for an Easter service, Disney’s Contemporary Resort offers church services on Easter Sunday.

Hint:  Some eggs are located inside

*Image courtesy of All Ears

10 Fun Disney Facts You Probably Don’t Know!

10 fun disney facts

10 fun Disney Facts you probably don’t know

Did you know that Disney employs over 66,000 cast members spending 1.2 billion on payroll each year? The largest single-site employer in the United States, Walt Disney World has more than 3,700 job classifications.  Here are some other Disney fun facts that you may have not known:

  1. All Disney World employees are called cast members. Even Walt Disney was a cast member.
  2. Cast members will always point with two fingers or an open palm. Pointing with one finger is considered “rude” and isn’t allowed on Disney property.
  3. Cast members who play characters are taught how to sign autographs so that it matches the original.
  4. Cast members are not allowed to leave their “land” or area. The reason is to not affect the scene. A Frontierland costume would be out of place in Tomorrowland.
  5. Cast members love to talk to guests! Ask for their advice or just ask them about where they’re from. It’s usually on their nametag.
  6. A Cast Member is never supposed to say “I don’t know,” if he or she doesn’t know the answer, they are supposed to get on the phone and find out. They are also never supposed to react to silly questions.
  7. The background music continues, even after the last guest has departed.
  8. Cast members are encouraged to pin-trade with guests. Feel free to approach any cast member wearing a lanyard.
  9. Backstage photos are not allowed, both for cast members and guests on backstage tours.
  10. Seniority is a big deal with Disney. The longer you’ve worked for the company, the better your chance of advancement. Many high-level cast members, such as executives, once worked in the parks.

Did you know all of these? Do you know of any other fun Disney facts that we have missed? Please share!

 

Disney Walls. The Newest Trend And Where To Find Them

disneywall

“Disney Walls” have become an unofficial fan favourite photo location for many guests visiting the parks.  These “Disney walls” have become the latest trend with those who seek an insta worthy pic against these vibrant backdrops. Some walls even have their own guest created hashtags.  We are going to outline where you can find these photo op’s but fair warning-  some more adventurous guests like to try and find them all on their own as sort of a photo scavenger hunt.  If you’re one of these, then you might find this blog post useful.

Magic Kingdom #Purplewall: The #Disneywall trend started with a purple wall located to the right of Tomorrowland entrance at Disney’s Magic Kingdom. Walk down the ramp from Tomorrowland Terrace toward the entrance to Tomorrowland. Right when you hit the turn in the land, you will see the #purplewall on the right.

#purplewall

Epcot’s #Bubblegumwall: You can find this wall by simply turning right or left just outside the exit of Spaceship Earth. Reminiscent of a bright wad of bubblegum, the #Bubblegumwall glows with shades of pink, blue & fuchsia offering a great spot to snap a pic.

bubblegumwall

Epcot’s #Blueberrywall: When you leave the #Bubblegumwall, take two more steps to find the bright #Blueberrywall. This wall offers vibrant blue hues in a sweeping motion.

blueberrywall

Epcot’s #Toothpastewall: Head to the The Seas with Nemo and Friends Pavillion. You’ll find the wall while exiting the pavilion.

toothpastewall

Disney’s Animal Kingdom’s #Mosswall: Head into Pandora – The World of Avatar and walk towards Satu’li Canteen.  Just opposite the restaurants front door is the newest Disney wall.

mosswall

Disney’s Animal Kingdom’s “You are most beautiful” wall: While this wall doesn’t have a hastag yet, its still a popular spot for guests visiting Harambe’s Marketplace. Look for it on the park side of a cast members only doorway.

youaremostbeautifulwall

There is another wall located by Harambe Marketplace that offers quotes, and a great painting of Mickey Mouse.

harambewall

Any of these walls make great Instagram worthy shots. Look for them on your next visit to Walt Disney World.

*Lovely photos courtesy of Disney, the talented Disney Photo Snapper & Steven Diaz:   http://www.stevendiazphoto.com/

Universal Orlando Mardi Gras 2019

universal orlando mardi gras 2019

Florida’s biggest party – Universal Orlando Mardi Gras – kicks off February 9thOnce again Universal Orlando brings New Orleans to Central Florida until April 4, 2019.

Enjoy nightly parades with outrageous performers, colorful costumes and countless beads flying through the air. Catch some of the biggest names in music live in concert on select nights.

The star-studded concert line-up includes:

  • Saturday Feb 9 –       BUSH
  • February 16-              GAVIN DEGRAW
  • Feburary 17-              DAN + SHAY
  • Feburary 23-              MACKELMORE
  • March 9-                    BECKY G
  • March 10-                  SEAN PAUL
  • March 16-                  STEVE MILLER BAND
  • March 17-                  ZIGGY MARLEY
  • March 23 –                NF
  • March 24-                  PITBULL

If you plan on viewing any of these performances, keep in mind that there are no seats.  You will be standing therefore you should plan to arrive at least 2-6 hours before the concert starts- the more popular the act, the earlier you should arrive.  Checking out crowd calendars beforehand may help with your planning.

The nightly parade will entail 12 floats and the theme will be “Party Animals.”  The floats and performers will be dressed as their favorite spirit animals from all over the world like the Artic, jungle, ocean and more. It’s an elaborate affair giving guests the opportunity to dance along with street performers and collect beads by handfuls as you watch the fun, colorful floats pass by.

Parade times:

5:15PM:

February 21 & March 4th:

6:15PM

Feb. 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 18, 19, 20, 22, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28
Mar. 1, 5, 6, 7, 8

7:15PM:

March 3

7:30PM:

Mar. 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29
Apr. 1, 2, 3, 4

7:45PM:

Feb. 9, 16, 17, 23
Mar. 2, 9, 10, 16, 17, 23, 24, 30, 31

Enjoy authentic mouth-watering Cajun food available for purchase. Enjoy a variety of New Orleans dishes at the French Quarter Courtyard like beignets, frog legs, crab etoufee and crawfish.

universal orlando mardi gras kingcake

Additionally, you can enjoy authentic New Orleans bands each nigh.  Enjoy the beats of the Big Easy! Catch these authentic New Orleans bands performing daily in the French Quarter.

  • February 9-17:                 Dirty Bourban River Show
  • February 18-27:               Naughty Professor Brass Band
  • February 28-March 18:    Free Agents Brass Band featuring Honey Bannister
  • March 19-April 4:             New Breed Brass Band

You can enjoy all set of activities FREE with as long as you have an admission ticket on the Mardi Gras event date.

Want a chance a riding on one of the floats and tossing beads into the crowd? Here’s how!

Annual Passholders:

There is a sign-up form that annual passholders can access, which formally requests a spot on one of the floats. There are a few things that you should be aware of first:

  • Space is limited, and signing up does not guarantee a spot
  • Must be 18 years of age (or accompanied by an adult)
  • Must be at least 48 inches tall
  • No bags or strollers
  • Floats can accommodate guests in push wheelchairs with advance notice

On-site Hotel Guests:

Universal has allowed a limited number of Universal Orlando on-site hotel guests to also participate in the Mardi Gras parade. The same restrictions as above apply here.

The link to register is advertised as UniversalOrlando.com/MardiGrasFloat; however, this link does not seem to work. Some guests have had success visiting the ticket counter at their on-site hotel or stopping by Guest Services at Universal Studios Florida, so that’s what we recommend you do.

 Standby

Each night, two hours prior to the parade time, there is a standby line that forms outside of A Day in the Park with Barney in Woody Woodpeckers Kid Zone. Should there be spots on the floats due to the previously-outlined guests not showing up, a limited number of those in the line may be allowed to ride a float. We hear this is most likely to happen on a weekday.

Got kids? The Little Jester’s Parade Viewing Area located in front of the Brown Derby Hat Shop offers an unobstructed view for petite partygoers.  Access is available beginning one hour before the parade starts.

2019 Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party Dates Released

halloween

Start thinking about your Halloween costume because Disney has already released the schedule for the annual Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party at Magic Kingdom.  Like last year, the Halloween party will start in August.

Get your favourite costume ready and make your plans to live it up—collecting candies, sweets and delightful treats—all while Magic Kingdom park thrills and chills you with special fireworks, eerie entertainment and Disney Characters that go bump in the night.  Children of all ages can enjoy the fun.

The park is adorned with spooktacular Halloween décor, special entertainment and fireworks.  Get in the spirit with spellbinding performances, phenomenal fireworks, wickedly wild processions and more. Each night, when darkness falls, the park comes to life with weird and wondrous one-of-a-kind experiences as frightful as they are delightful.

Is it fun for adults? Yes!  We wrote this article on why the party isn’t just for kids.

Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party 2019 Dates:

August – 16, 20, 23, 27 and 30

September – 2, 6, 8, 10, 13, 15, 17, 20, 22, 24, 27 and 29

October – 1, 3, 4, 6, 8, 10, 11, 14, 15, 17, 18, 20, 21, 24, 25, 27, 29 and 31

November 1

Got an allergy? No problem.  Disney had made sure guests with a nut allergy can still enjoy some safe candy options.

The party is a special ticket event and offers entry into the park at 4:00pm, but the festivities commence at 7:00.  Guests who purchase a regular park ticket will also need to purchase the party ticket in order to stay in the park past 6:00. Otherwise, guests with no ticket will be escorted out.

Ticket prices vary by day and if purchased in advance, range anywhere from $79 to $135 each.  You can purchase tickets through the Disney website or the My Disney Experience App.

Disney has not released the entertainment schedule yet but we will keep you updated.

Photo courtesy of Disney Photo Snapper

How staying in a vacation home on your next Disney vacation will save you money (and your sanity)

saving money in a vacation home

Walt Disney World can be described as many things: Magical, whimsical, delightful, fun, exciting, exhilarating to name just a few.   But cheap is not one of them. Especially when it comes to travelling with families.  We’re here to tell you how you can save money (and your sanity) by staying in a vacation rental like Sunshine Villa Florida.

Booking direct

Booking direct is the sure fire way to yield our lowest rates. Big travel sites charge the guest and owners booking fees.  Why give this money to those sites when the booking fees you will save by booking directly can go towards other things like parking, souvenirs or snacks. Always #bookdirect

Space

More space = less money? You may be surprised to learn that this is accurate.  You can find vacation homes for less than the cost of a value resort. Why is a home better? To me, spending my downtime after a long day at the parks in a cramped hotel room with kids is not my idea of relaxation or fun. With a vacation home, children and parents will have their own rooms and bathrooms. Some homes are even large enough to fit 2 families (like ours) allowing families to share in the rental costs.

Downtime

Day after day, hour after hour in the Walt Disney World parks can take its toll on the little ones- not to mention the adults! We’re exhausted, it’s hot, everything is sore and kids will have meltdowns. The easiest way to combat the meltdown is to take time away from the theme parks. In the past, we have left the park mid-afternoon to come back home to recharge either by taking a nap, or cooling down in the pool before heading back for the fireworks.  Taking an entire day away from the parks is also a good idea.  With all the onsite amenities that we have to offer, like the slide and lazy river the kids won’t complain they aren’t at the parks.

Meals

Remember, unless you score free dining food comes at a premium price when staying onsite. Don’t waste your precious time waiting in line ups to get you & your family food. Prepare and eat breakfast in our fully equipped kitchen before you head out to the parks.

Buying food in the parks is costly.  With a fully equipped kitchen you can prepare & pack snacks/sandwiches and drinks to take with you to the parks. Yes they allow it! We even provide you with a cooler & ice packs if you choose to use one.  Groceries can be purchased online and delivered to the home or purchased at the local grocery store within walking distance.

Tip: Freeze water/juice bottles in the freezer the night before so it can thaw gradually throughout the day and remain cold.

Transportation

I don’t like being tied to a schedule. Especially when kids are involved. When travelling with children, it’s nice to leave when you need to leave. While Disney transportation is free, we have waited hours for buses and ferry’s, especially during peak times and when the parks are closing- everyone just wants to get home.  We always search the internet for the best price on car rentals and rent a vehicle. You can find discounts through Costco, and sites such as Hotwire. Sign up for reward programs like Alamo Insiders to get the lowest rate.

Child Equipment:

When travelling with children there are loads of things we need to bring. You shouldn’t have to worry about where your children will be sleeping and how to get them around.  Many vacation home owners provide free use of items such as cribs, play pens, bed rails, strollers and safety gates (we do!).  Some resorts have these items available at a daily cost when staying on property.

Tickets:

Of course you can purchase your tickets directly through Disney, but normally base 1 day tickets are not discounted. You can find some deals online through websites like Undercover Tourist, Mousesavers and even purchasing them through our Expedia counter situated at front reception when you check in.  Other discounts may be available through CAA/AAA, Military discounts, and multi-day tickets.

Don’t forget to read our guide of dollar store must have items to take to the parks with you. Being prepared in advance will save you money in the end.

We hope we have provided you with some insight as to why we feel staying in a vacation home is in many ways a better option for families.  Whichever you choose, we wish you a magical vacation!

After sharing all our money saving tips, what would you spend your savings on?

Quick Guide To Walt Disney World

quick guide to WDW

For some a Disney visit is a once in a lifetime trip. Others try to visit as many times as they can.  For us it’s definitely the latter, but we have come to learn that many of our guests are visiting Disney for the first time. For those of us who are Disney veterans, its quite simple to make plans to visit Disney but for the first time visitors, it can get overwhelming.

What is a Fastpass? How many parks are there? What is the difference? Which park(s) would my children enjoy more?

We try to provide you with as many Disney tips as possible like what to bring to Disney and free games at Walt Disney World. So we thought we would help simplify things for those visiting for the first time by creating a Quick Guide to Walt Disney World.  We’ve included some of our favourite must see attractions and food. You can save this for your future trips and even print off a copy and take it with you. Don’t forget to pick up your free “First Visit” button that you can sport around the parks proudly.

We certainly hope this makes things a little easier for those newcomers to Disney and get them returning year after year for some Disney magic. After all, it is the happiest place on earth.

.quick guide to wdw