Charging up at Disney World…

A while back Disney tested charging locker/stations and random “hidden” outlets.  As this was a minor hit…it was clear that guests wanted to charge while being on the move.  I mean, how many people can sit for an hour with crazy, excited kids – not me.  OR want to go back to that said locker and claim a “charged” phone/device…again NOT me.  WE like to keep it moving at Disney, plus most people need phones for emergencies, taking pictures and well…facebook posts.

So…in response to that need…Disney got in bed with a company called “Fuel Rod”.  And lets just say…I am in LOVE.  What is Fuel Rod exactly?  Let me tell you ALL about it.

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A Fuel Rod is a portable (external) battery, about the size of a lipstick.  It’s basically the same kind you can buy at any store…it charges your phone or device.  So why is this “fuel rod” so great?  Well…Disney has set up “vending machine” stations throughout the parks.  You purchase this battery ONCE for $30, then as you need a charge you “turn-in” your USED one and get a NEW charged one in its place. Cool right?!?!?

But that’s not all – you can do this, Over and Over and Over again (UNLIMITED).  The whole family can use it.  Once the charge is gone, get a new one.  Pass it around the group and top everyone off.  ALL for only $30.  And you can use your credit card to purchase, I got an email instantly with the receipt.

The first time you purchase one, it does come with a few adaptable charging connection pieces, to fit most phones/devices.  OR if worried bring your own cord, it does have a USB port for connecting to your device.  And it comes in a simple clear case to keep everything together.

So why do you need this or should consider it???  I was just at Disney with 6 adults…between us all, phones were dying fast, battery power was flying out of the park and we all needed some juice.  Most of us packed our own back-up batteries but those too ran out quick…so again…unless I wanted to sit for 1 hour and charge up…the Fuel Rod was the perfect solution.  And thanks to Disney’s crazy Wi-Fi (on, off, on, off)…we needed a charge several times in ONE day.  Many times my phone was at 30% and the Fuel Rod charged it to about 80-90% – of course this was while I was also using it; posting, filming, taking pictures – all while I was “charging”.  Since I was the only one who purchased a Fuel Rod, it was getting passed around like crazy.  It became a game to see who had it next.

So for those with older kids, those with multiple devices, those who are posters (you know who you are)…this might be the solution for you too.  Again, even though I packed my own back-up…the ability to use, exchange, use, exchange, use, exchange…several times through-out the day/trip…that was a life-saver.  It’s yours to keep, so bring it back next time at Disney, use it at home and charge yourself.

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TIP:  If this sounds like something you will want/need…you can purchase it for $20 directly from Fuel-Rod (online) and then bring to the parks.  Also…since I got back (5 days ago) I heard rumors that even some resorts are getting a Fuel Rod machine…which would rock.  I remember telling people, if only they had these at the resorts…well apparently…that is coming as we speak – YAY!!!  I did screen-shot the current locations of the machines (see above) and used that to help guide me to the next…we exchanged every chance we could and we were NOT alone, this is growing in popularity.

MermaidNina:  I am a Disney Vacation Planner (aka Travel Agent) and I book and plan Disney/Universal vacations as a living…yep it’s my FULL TIME job.  And when not quoting, planning, booking dining, helping with fastpasses, getting travel documents together…I am at Disney…doing something Disney.  My services are 100% FREE as Disney pays me to do this…so contact me if looking to explore Disney.  Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise, etc.  As I am not the best blogger (I know), I AM amazing at my job which of course prevents me from being an awesome blogger, lol.  I am a mom, a wife, a kid at heart and well…I am a Mermaid (with legs of course).

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Eating with Pooh…and Piglet too!

One thing my family does EVERY Walt Disney World vacation is Crystal Palace…home of Winnie the Pooh and friends.  Dining with Pooh is my daughter’s (5 years old) FAVORITE attraction, lol.  Every time we go to WDW her only concern is if we got reservations to eat with Pooh.  So what’s the hype you ask?

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Well besides the above mentioned eating with pooh…you get to eat with Tigger, Eeyore and Piglet too.  And if you’re lucky…and everyone is…you’ll get to be part of a Pooh parade and follow the characters around the room.  Kids march around the room with the characters while music is playing – can someone say photo op?  And the thought of marching around with Pooh is enough to excite kids with ear to ear grins.  No tears in this place.  And with characters aside…Crystal Palace has a few other perks;

  • Unlimited Friendly Buffet – one of my husband’s favorites, and he’s picky
  • Location – It’s located inside Magic Kingdom, no need to leave the park.
  • Availability – When many character experiences book up at the 180 day mark…Crystal Palace almost always has an opening…which is perfect for last minute vacationers
  • Hours – It’s open for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner and if you’re an early bird…you can get a reservation before the park even opens and see Magic Kingdom privately and get a beautiful picture in front of the castle without all the other vacationers in your perfect shot.

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Of course for my family…there is one other perk…Chef Mike.  That’s right…the Disney Chefs are celebrities to us…they keep my family safe, fed and happy.  They go out of their way to make sure my kids and I have what we need to continue with our magical vacation.  Due to our various food allergies…we pretty much always get special service.  And usually that means specially prepared food just for us.  Some people with allergies can eat the food that the restaurant regularly prepares; they just get a non-contaminated plate of goods from the back.  But my family needs, well…specially made goods.

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Chef Mike

After getting a call from the chef 1-2 weeks before our trip…Chef Mike and I were able to come up with a game plan to make sure my kids could get similar foods as the other guests.  This meant special Gluten Free, Diary and Egg free pancakes.  Frozen waffles were offered, but I wanted something we don’t usually eat at home.  We were able to have the home potatoes from the back, fresh strawberries (which was special) and real Maple Syrup.  Other foods were available…but these were the favs.

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And since the Chef had called for the kids, I couldn’t help but to ask about me – I am vegan with a dairy allergy.  So…as most vegans I was curious about some protein.  Crystal Palace doesn’t usually carry vegan meats, but Chef Mike being awesome…ordered some fake chicken for me, cooked it up special and I devoured.  I was even able to cut some up for later.  Not bad; food for now, some for later 🙂

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For dessert…we were given several packages of Enjoy Life cookies.  As I have mentioned in previous posts…that is the standard dessert for most peeps with food allergies so it gets tiring after a while…but the kids didn’t care and it gave me something to treat them with later as well.

And for those that wondered…my husband ate from the buffet…took about 3-4 trips.  We practically had to roll him out the door.  He had plates and plates of food, and then one whole plate filled with baked goodies like muffins, brownies, cookies and such.   He left a happy dad and was able to use his fuel to continue on with our day and wasn’t hungry again until dinner.

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Dining tip:  We usually like to eat our table service meal at about 10:45-11:00am – as you still get some breakfast goodies like waffles and then also eat the typical lunch proteins to help you fuel for the long day ahead.  But this last trip…it was a little too much breakfast and I think the kids did get tired of Mickey waffle after Mickey waffle 😦  So next time…I think we will do half brunch time and half dinner times – Just “Food for Thought”

As usual – I am a FREE Disney Travel Agent that specializes in Food Allergies and Special Diets at Disney.  I do book WDW, Disneyland and Disney Cruises.  Disney pays me, so you don’t have to.  Contact me anytime and I can get you organized and prepared for the most Magical Vacation.  Nina@goTMCtravel.com

7DMT – Friend or Foe?

One of the biggest things to happen to Walt Disney World in 2014 was the Grand Opening of the “Seven Dwarf Mine Train”.  News, Updates and Rumors had been circulating for months leading up to the final day when everyday peeps could test the ride for themselves.  The best part to me was the “recycling” of some of the original props from the scary Snow White ride that once resided in Fantasyland; I couldn’t wait to discover their new homes.

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This new coaster was labeled a “Family Coaster” so I figured I could handle it and if not it’s only like 45 seconds long…so for 45 seconds I thought I could deal with whatever was headed my way.  For the record I have a HUGE issue with Motion Sickness…something I have been battling with since a child and something that seems to have gotten worse since having babies…but I thought…what the heck…I’m gonna try this thing…and even better…I’m gonna bribe my 5 year old to join me, lol.  It also should be noted that I refuse to go on anything too crazy…no upside down things for me.

So in preparation for this ride…as you should all do if you’re slightly hesitant or have coaster “first timers”, aka kids – I purposely fastpassed on our LAST Magic Kingdom Day and I purposely selected a time hours after our meal.  And like I said…I bribed my kid to join me…we walked past this ride several times before going and she felt that she could totally do this thing…plus the idea of getting a prized souvenir helped.

For those doing the stand-by line…there is an awesome interactive queue to enjoy and experience, but I needed quick and painless…the thought of getting further anxious while in a long line wasn’t happening.  For fastpassers…you walk right in and practically on.  I had done a little research before this day and concluded that riding in the front had less “rocking” motion as each individual car rocks back and forth like a real mine car.  So front row we got.  To see a Video…go to my FB page and click videos – http://www.facebook.com/wordofmouse

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As you can see…we were terrified…turned green and were lucky to not lose our breakfast.  I couldn’t walk for hours after and kept needing to “sit” down and rest.  My equilibrium was totally off and sitting was the only way for the floor to stop moving.  DD was ok and wasn’t as affected as me, but to this day talks about the “worst” ride ever.  I slowly recovered and was able to continue on with our magical day…but I will never go on that ride again, lol.  So should you give it a try?  Sure, why not, lol.  If you look at the people behind us…they were all having a blast and screaming happy screams.  I will say that my favorite part, other than getting out, was the fun animatronics you see mid-ride and the finale – At the very end of the ride…you witness Snow White singing and dancing with the 7 Dwarfs.  Just watch out for the front door 😉

So for those that are going to give this a go…good for you.  I found the ride to have fun theming and loved the decor and surrounding atmosphere.  I just wish I could keep my head up long enough to really see the magical efforts of Disney Imagineers, sorry guys.  In the end I am glad I did it, because now I can say I did…but I do wish I could get those few sick hours back…Disney you owe me, lol.  A Mickey Pretzel and a bottle of water calmed my nerves and after enjoying Country Bear Jamboree for a spell…I was back on my feet and ready for more Magic.  And for those that are wondering…it is a lot like “Thunder Mountain”…just shorter and slight calmer (I think)…and Yes I have ridden Thunder Mountain (at both WDW and DL) many, many times…sometimes with success and a few times…not good.

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The Seven Dwarf’s Cottage

For those that would love the help of someone with motion sickness – I’m your gal.  I know all the tricks and what rides to avoid and which ones to cling too and ride over & over again.  Heck sometimes the mini hill on Pirates gives me that not so good feeling, but I just close my eyes, hold my stomach and wait for the mini splash, lol.  I have also heard of people taking Dramamine in preparation for such situations, but I have never done that outside of rides in the car.

Enjoy and Make sure to “Whistle While you Work”…I know I do or would if I could whistle.

A Mermaid Experience…

Guess who just came back from “the Happiest place in the World”…Me, Me, Me!!  So I have LOTS to blog about, but I thought I’d start off with a post about the inspiration for this blog…My Favorite Princess.  Are YOU thinking about one of the Frozen Sisters?…nope guess again, lol

Ah…you got it…Ariel.

Thanks to the creation of NEW Fantasyland…Ariel has a proper place in Magic Kingdom.  Amongst Eric’s Castle you will find a clam shell ride (Under the Sea – The Journey of the Little Mermaid) featuring many of Ariel’s friends and one majestic Ursula.  Ursula totally steals the show; in my opinion…she was amazing.  I found the rest of the attraction to be a little quick and had wished Ariel had as much animation as Ursula did…but still the ride is a must and I wish I could have experienced it again and again.

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As you exit “Under the Sea…” you are just a few steps away from meeting Ariel herself.  Now this is Ariel the Little Mermaid, not Ariel with “human legs”…but Mermaid Ariel has always been my favorite so I was just as excited or perhaps more than my 5 year old.  We entered “Ariel’s Grotto” hoping for as much theming and amazement as the rest of the area (which is very cool)…but sadly I found inside her grotto to be a little lax in decor.  I had wished for more fish, seashells, seaweed, treasures a trove, something…but I digress.

We waited an amazing 20 minutes to meet the wonderful mermaid.  My DD, of course, beamed from ear to ear with excitement but still thinking my smile was bigger.  Ariel and I had the most in-depth discussion regarding our favorite accessory.  We both agreed that no mermaid should be without her “dinglehopper” and suggested that I always keep one with me at all times…for which I showed her mine, lol.  She also gave me strict directions to an under the sea store where I can purchase her favorite Jellyfish gel, apparently this product is the reason her hair is so fluffy and doesn’t deflate in the Florida sun.  So…as soon as I get my mermaid fins…I’m there.

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Meeting Ariel was beyond Magical for me and my 5 year old.  Out of all the characters I (we) met this trip, she was the most talkative.  Anna was a close second (stay tuned).  I could have spent more time chatting but this land mermaid had fastpasses to get too.  But as Arial said…”Us redheads need to stick together”, so my new bestie and I will hang again soon.

And for those that want to know…we had fastpasses for “Under the Sea” at around 10am…directly after the ride we entered the grotto and as I said only waited 20 minutes.  I am not sure how long the wait usually is, but we had to walk through a few lines of chains before hitting the end of the line.  I found New Fantasyland to be rather crowded as the day progressed…so I would suggest hitting it first.  As a mom…I had planned out this experience (knowing to go early), but kept it underwraps as I didn’t want to disappoint the kids if Ariel was overly-popular that moment…so to my DD this was a total surprise, she had no idea what we were even doing until we saw the amazing mermaid…so my advice…go with the flow (but with a plan) and if the moment is right…strike and enjoy the memories.  Nothing is worse than a mini-mermaid melt down, lol.

Walt Disney World is an amazing place and truly magical…but the smarter you go, the better time you will have – saves time and money too.  Check out my “about Nina” section to contact me.