Over the past two weeks I’ve shared pictures and reviews of Disney’s parks: Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios and EPCOT and Animal Kingdom. Today’s post is an odd assortment of stuff: blurbs about the water parks, Old Key West, pictures of an amazing solar corona (or a 22 degree halo??), and my Top 5 Tips for those of you that might be headed there this summer. This is my “honorable mentions” post. 😀

Old Key West

We stayed at the Old Key West Resort, which was kind of ironic because Craig and I were just in Key West this past January. I loved the resort, although we didn’t spend much time there. Most of the time we were at the parks. But we did spend one half-day lounging around the pool. (Cats: give them anything and their favorite toy is the box it came in; kids: take them anywhere and their favorite place is the hotel pool 😉 ). There was a sandcastle water slide, an awesomely comfortable hammock, and a bar. Heck, it was *almost* my favorite place too!

Old Key West Hammock

DISNEY: THE PERFECT PLACE FOR MERMAID TAILS
DISNEY:
THE PERFECT PLACE FOR MERMAID TAILS
If you're going to stay at Old Key West, the buildings in the back off Old Turtle Pond Road are quiet with beautiful views
If you’re going to stay at Old Key West, the buildings in the back off Old Turtle Pond Road are quiet with beautiful views

Other Thoughts

Water Parks: My kids loved them. I thought they were okay, but that’s probably just because I’m not a huge fan of water parks. Disney has two: Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon. BB has a one-acre wave pool. Basically, it’s a ginormous water mixer. TL has a wave pool with six-foot swells. Needless to say, that made TL the favorite. Hmm… what else? Lines for the slides are long. The line for the bar was shorter. Empty chairs are practically non-existent. Get there early!

Downtown Disney: I’d never been before this trip and was glad we were able to fit in a visit, however short. This is a waterfront area that has lots of restaurants and shopping. We had dinner at Raglan Road our first night there. What’s not to love about an Irish band and a flight of beer?

 

Where's Wally/Waldo/Archer? Here's me, strolling along Downtown Disney's boardwalk
Where’s Wally/Waldo/Archer?
Here’s me, strolling along Downtown Disney’s boardwalk

22 Degree Halo

This thing was one of the most amazing astronomical events I’ve ever seen. Or maybe it was just an “optical phenomenon.” I honestly have no idea. Who can help me out and tell me what this thing is? To us, it looked like a giant eye in the sky. Very Melancholia-ish. (If the world were ending, would Disney be the place you’d want to be? Debate.)

eye in the sky w palm tree and contrail
Does the contrail make it more or less surreal?
Does this look like a giant eye or what?
Does this look like a giant eye or what?

Top Five Tips

If you’re going, here are my top five tips:

Magic Bands1. Get the Magic Bands! Magic Bands are Disney’s newest way of making things more convenient for visitors. And are they! They are waterproof wristbands that work as a hotel key, credit card (linking purchases to your room), park admissions ticket, Fast Pass ticket, and PhotoPass. In other words, you can leave your room with just one thing: your Magic Band. (Well almost… for Magic Band 2.0, Disney needs to find a way to connect it to your cell phone… I heard they are working with Apple…. KIDDING! 😀 )

Two Musts: a hat and a magic band
Two Musts: a hat and a magic band

2. Use Fast Pass and make restaurant reservations! The ride lines for the popular rides are incredibly long. The only way we were able to ride so many of them is because we used Fast Pass. And if you want to actually sit down and eat a meal (versus just getting chicken fingers from a walk up window), you gotta make reservations. (Most on site restaurants won’t even take walk-ins). That said, we didn’t make many restaurant reservations. We didn’t want to be tied to both a Fast Pass schedule AND a restaurant schedule. Instead, we ate breakfast in our room and packed snacks in a backpack. Speaking of backpacks, what else was in there?

Florida rain storms3. Bring sunscreen and a rain jacket. You’ll need both! Two of the days it rained (torrential downpour type stuff) for about an hour in the afternoon. But then it was over. That’s Florida. (Floridians, do you agree? Very stormy in spring and summer but weather moves in and out quickly).

Sneakers4. Wear good walking shoes! Oh, the walking. Everywhere. All day. Good exercise but leave the flip-flops back at the hotel.

5. HAVE FUN! Obvious, right? But Disney can be stressful sometimes too. The crowds, the lines, an over-packed schedule, the blatant commercialism. It can all be a bit much. But Disney’s commitment to its visitors is impossible to miss. When your Fast Pass time for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad ends just five minutes before your Fast Pass time at Space Mountain begins (two attractions on opposite ends of a 100+ acre park filled with tens of thousands of people) and you find yourself corralled with the rest of the crowd watching a third Festival of Fantasy parade while your Fast Pass times dwindles down to nothing… well, it helps to remember that they really do want you to have a magical day. 😉 😀

And you will!

So how about you? Have you seen a 22 degree halo before? Have you been to Disney? Have any other thoughts or tips to share? Do you plan on going this summer? What are you most looking forward to? Lemme know in the comments! Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there! Have a great weekend, everyone!