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Great Disney Picture Locations – Our Top 3 Lesser Known Spots

Great Disney Picture Locations – Our Top 3 Lesser Known Spots

Say cheese! We all know the iconic Disney picture locations like in front of the castle. Did you even go to Disney if you didn’t get a castle picture? Debatable, definitely debatable (#sarcasm). We don’t need to tell you about the well known spots for a Disney picture as you’ll see the Disney photopass photographer waiting to capture your movie star smile. We’re talking about the lesser known spots around Walt Disney World. The spots that make you go, is that really Disney World (in a good way, of course)? We’ve got our favorite camera (our iPhone, shhh!), let’s go get that Disney picture!

Disney Picture at Grand Avenure
Grand Avenue

First Stop  

Let’s head to Hollywood! Hollywood Studios that is. The first stop on our Disney picture tour is Grand Avenue. Tucked away near Muppets 3D and Star Tours is the relatively new area created as the “waiting area” to enter Star Wars Galaxy Edge, called Grand Avenue. Designed to replicate the classic streets of Los Angeles, CA, Grand Avenue is fun place to take candid cityscape style pictures. From the store fronts filled with the “local” purveyor’s goods, to the open windows with the curtains flapping in the breeze, no detail is too small for Grand Avenue.    Depending on the angle your Disney picture may look more like a sunny afternoon in California, than a warm Florida day.

Passholder Insights: Next to Grand Avenue is Baseline Taphouse. A beautiful patio with shade to boot, it’s a great place to recharge while in the parks.

Disney Picture in the Morocco Pavilion
Morocco Pavilion

Second Stop

Onward! Right down the road from Hollywood Studios is Epcot. Some may say Epcot’s World Showcase is a photographers dream. You can be snapping pictures of a quaint British town one second, then moments later framing the perfect picture of a Mayan Temple. You really can’t go wrong photographing any of the countries.

In the DVC Duo house though, we do have a favorite Morocco. The level of detail within the pavilion is unmatched. Walking deeper and deeper into the pavilion you find yourself transported from Epcot to the narrow pathways of a Moroccan bizarre. We’ve taken tons of photos around the pavilion and every time we are left asking ourselves, is that a Disney picture?

What makes the Moroccan pavilion stand apart from the rest is the authenticity. When building the pavilion the Moroccan government had architects and builders from their country head to Disney World to design the buildings. Every little detail was thought out, even down to the title work where if you look closely you’ll see maybe one or two that are a little “off”. In the Moroccan culture it is believe that the title work cannot be perfect and that a small part should be imperfect. This detail was brought to the Epcot pavilion as well.

Passholder Pavilion: While exploring the pavilions keep an ear out for the different musical acts. Through out the afternoon and evening you’ll see different performers. It’s a great way to take in the culture.

Disney Picture in Harambee at the Animal Kingdom
Harambee in Animal Kingdom

Last Stop

We did it! We’ve made it to the end. If you know us, we always save the best for last and it’s no different when talking about Disney picture locations. For our last stop we’re heading to the newest park at Walt Disney World, the Animal Kingdom. Arguably the best park for taking unique pictures, the Animal Kingdom is filled with hidden gems, and picking just one is a challenge.

When holding our feet to the fire, ouch that’s warm, we’d have to say Africa is the best place to snap great photo ops. Throughout the land there’s loads of nuances that most people accidentally overlook as our focus is usually more about chasing down a yeti. Taking 5 minutes to look around you’ll see the amount of work Disney Imagineering put into the land to make as authentic as possible. From the old bicycle shop and the boats docked along the riverbed, we’ve found a lot of cool picture spots.

Passholder Insights:The Kilimanjaro Safari is a great place to capture pictures of the animals. We’d recommend selecting sport mode on your phone or camera. Those animals can move quick!

Overall  

Everywhere you turn around the parks you can find Disney picture locations that capture the authenticity of the location they’re trying to represent. We love taking a few moments to take in everything, and it always helps us destress our Disney vacations. It’s time to snap away. Don’t forget the castle pick!

Rainy Day at Hollywood Studios – What Would the DVC Duo Do?

Rainy Day at Hollywood Studios – What Would the DVC Duo Do?

Rain, rain, go away…you know the rest. At Walt Disney World it’s not a matter of if it’s going to rain, more a matter of when – it’s Florida after all. For us, it doesn’t mean we can’t head to the parks and have a blast, it just means we may need to be a little more adaptive with our activities. Today we’re going share what would the DVC Duo do on a rainy day at Hollywood Studios. Grab your favorite umbrella and raincoat, we’re going splashing through the puddles on this rainy day at Hollywood Studios!

Rockin' Roller Coaster is something to do on a Rainy Day at Hollywood Studios
Rockin’ Roller Coaster

Disney World Is Prepared  

If you live in Florida you know you don’t leave the house without a umbrella. Trust us, the rainstorms pop up more often than ghosts at the Haunted Mansion. Disney World knows this as well, and the majority of their attractions are indoors, especially at Hollywood Studios. For this article we’re going over options that you can do without a Fastpass.

Passholder Insights: The only attractions affected by rain at Hollywood Studios would be Slinky Dog Dash and the Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular

Star Wars Launch Bay is filled with items from the movies.
Rey’s Costume at Star Wars Launch Bay

For The Star Wars Fans

Soon to be the go to place for all things Star Wars, a rainy day at Hollywood Studios is a great opportunity to explore Star Wars Launch Bay. You’ll find it to the right of the Chinese Theater, in the animation courtyard. Kick-off your galactic adventure with either the 10 minute movie or head right into the Launch Bay.

Star Wars Launch Bay is filled with both character meet and greets and Star Wars memorabilia from the movies. The attraction is filled with on set costumes, movie props, and concept art from all the new pictures. Even if you’re just a causal fan of the movies, the Launch Bay is a great place to spend a few hours while you wait out the storm on your rainy day at Hollywood Studios.

Passholder Insights: Keep an eye out for the stormtroopers on patrol. Throughout the day they make their way out of Star Wars Launch Bay to “patrol” Hollywood Studios. They’re a hoot!

Walt Disney Present is a great activity for a rainy day at Hollywood Studios
Animation Desk at Walt Disney Presents

The Disney Nerd

We’re looking at you, Nate! If it’s a rainy day at Hollywood Studios, you’ll probably find Nate in Walt Disney Presents. Just outside of Toy Story Land is Walt Disney Presents which has a variety of things to checkout. You take a step back in time to learn how Walt Disney became Walt Disney. The exhibit is filled with artifacts from Walt’s past, from his childhood desk to his first animation station, and even the concept model for the original Adventureland.

In addition to Walt Disney history, you’ll find the meet and greet with Mike and Sully from Monsters, Inc. Just remember – don’t leave any socks behind or there’ll be a code 2319! You can find the meet and greet at the end of the exhibit. All and all, you could easily spend an hour or so going through the different exhibits. If you’re looking for models and concept art for Star Wars Galaxy Edge, this your place. For Nate, it’s a great way to spend a rainy day at Hollywood Studios.

Passholder Insights: Walt Disney Presents is also the location where Disney gives sneak peaks to upcoming movies. Not trailers, but actually sneak peaks, usually about 5 to 7 minutes of the movie.

Muppet Vision 3-D is a fun activity for a rainy day at Hollywood Studios
Entrance to Muppet Vision 3-D

Muppets, Did You Say Muppets?  

If you’re not aware of the #savethemuppets movement, then you are now. Florida rainy days come in two forms, full fledge hurricanes where it means you better get out those boats, and flash storms. The flash storms can last anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour or so. If we stumble upon a flash storm there’s no better way to wait it out than with Kermit.

As one of the last remaining classic attractions at Hollywood Studios, Muppet Vision 3-D is a great nod to the past. Filled with classic Muppet humor it gets us laughing every time. It’s a continuously running show with showings beginning every 10 minutes. If you get there early, no worries, there’s a great pre-show to keep you entertained. Make sure to walk around the room and look at the props, there’s some great hidden chuckles.

Passholder Insights: Muppet Vision 3-D does close earlier than the rest of the park. The last showing is at 5:50 pm with the attraction closing at 6pm.

Our Thoughts

A rainy day at Hollywood Studios can be tons of fun. For us, it’s a great opportunity to explore some of the attractions we may not see every time we go to Walt Disney World. Additionally, there’s one big advantage to going to the parks when it rains, the crowds are usually lighter. Our biggest recommendation is remember to pack either a raincoat, poncho or umbrella (or any combination thereof), as ponchos at Walt Disney World cost $12 per. They’re great ponchos, but we’d rather spend our money on a grilled cheese at Woody’s Lunch box. We’ve got to make our mad dash through the rain as BB-8 is waiting for us!

Grocery Delivery at Disney World – We’ve Got Options!

Grocery Delivery at Disney World – We’ve Got Options!

There’s more than one way to set up grocery delivery at Disney World. When it comes to your next Disney vacation, you’ve booked your FastPasses, found the perfect Disney Resort, you’re not renting a car, and the last question is – how do I get groceries? There are tons of options to choose from depending on what works best for you and your group. Got your shopping list? Alright let’s put in our order!

Goodings is the closest grocery store to Disney World
Located at the Crossroads

Old School Meets New School

Back in the day grocery delivery at Disney World was not an option, you had to make an actual trip to the grocery store. While staying at a Disney resort you can still go old school to the grocery store, even without a car. We would suggest using a rideshare service such as Lyft or Uber. Depending on which Disney resort you’re staying at, the trip could be up to 20 minutes each way to the Goodings Grocery Store (the closest option to Walt Disney World).

This is a great option for those who enjoy picking out their own food, especially items like fruit.

Passholder Insights: We’ve gone to Goodings for groceries on many trips. It’s a great balance of quality (perishables) and price. Recently, a Publix opened 5 minutes down the road and their prices are even better.

The original grocery delivery at Disney World is Garden Grocer
Garden Grocer Ordering Screen

The Veteran

For years the go to service for grocery delivery at Disney World has been the Garden Grocer. The website is extremely user friendly and putting together your order only takes a few minutes. When using the Garden Grocer there are a couple of things to keep in mind. The first is the discount for submitting your order 60 days (or more) in advance. You’ll receive a 10% discount on your order, as well as ensuring your desired delivery time (a 2 hour window). The discount does a good job of evening out the markup for using the service.

A couple of things to be aware of are the minimum order requirements. The bare minimum is an order of $40. All orders have a delivery fee associated to them, for orders $40 to $199, it’s $14, for order $200+ it’s a $2 delivery fee.

On your delivery date you’ll receive updates via text or email, your choice. You’ll know exactly when your groceries are delivered to your resort.

Passholder Insights: Groceries from Garden Grocer are delivered to bell services. If you pick them up at bell services you can avoid paying the $6 delivery charge. If you choose to have your groceries brought to your it will cost $6 per package.

One option for Grocery Delivery at Disney World is Amazon Pantry
Amazon Pantry

The New Kids On The Block

Yeah, we went there! With technology comes great responsibility. Wait, that’s not it. With technology comes more ways for grocery delivery at Disney World. That’s it. There are a variety of different mobiles apps and services out there to choose from, if you have a favorite definitely check if they deliver in the Lake Buena Vista area. Below are a couple of our favorites.

Prime Now is available at Disney World for groceries
Prime Now Delivers to Disney World

Amazon

How did we shop before Amazon? We have no idea! Amazon does deliver to the Disney Resorts and is great if you’re ordering any non perishable items. Our go to are protein bars, and no trip is complete without Cheez Its, right Serena?

If you go the Amazon route you’ll have a couple of options. You can either go with Amazon Pantry or Amazon Prime Now. Amazon pantry does have a more options to choose from, but requires a little more planning to ensure your package arrives on time. If you’re an Amazon Prime member, Walt Disney World does have Prime Now (2-hour delivery). Please note that the options with Prime Now are more limited than with Pantry.

Passholder Insights: Both Amazon options are subject to the $6 handling fee, as packages are delivered to the front desk at Disney World. Good news is the $6 fee is usually less than the markup for a personal shopper.

Instacart does Grocery Delivery at Disney World
InstaCart Mobile App

InstaCart  

Variety it’s the spice of life. Finally, we got one of these sayings right! InstaCart is the newest of the new kids on the block for grocery delivery at Disney World. The mobile app has taken the personal shopper experience to the highest levels. You can do same day delivery, and even delivery in as little as an hour. In the Orlando area you’re able to pick which grocery store (Publix, Aldi, or Whole Foods) you wish to have your groceries purchased from.

What makes InstaCart so great is the personal shopper will text you while shopping if there is anything on your list that’s not available. You can live chat with them to make those on the fly adjustments. No surprises when you get your groceries. Trust us there’s nothing worse than expecting Fruit Loops and ending up with Shredded Wheat.

Best part about InstaCart is on your first order the delivery charge is waived! The minimum order is $10 and the delivery fee would be $9.99, for orders $35+ the delivery is $3.99.

Passholder Insights: With InstaCart you’re able to order from a variety of stores beyond just the grocery store, like CVS or PetCo (in case you brought your furry friend).

What About The Important Stuff?

Ahh! We know what you’re talking about, your thinking about something for your adult time out. Great news, both the Garden Grocer and InstaCart will deliver alcohol as well. The important thing to note is you will need to present your ID to pick it up.

Overall, grocery delivery at Disney World works really well. There’s a service for whatever works best for your group. The only thing left to do is to place our order. Don’t forget our Fruit Loops!

Taking A Break At Walt Disney World – Our Favorite In Park Spots

Taking A Break At Walt Disney World – Our Favorite In Park Spots

1..2..3, break! Nothing is more important than taking at break at Walt Disney World, well, maybe FastPasses. Disney has tons of amazing things to see, attractions to experience, and of course food to try. Have you heard about the spring rolls in the Magic Kingdom? Well now you have, you’re welcome. Take it from us, it’s very easy to go from sunrise to moon rise, as Disney has nighttime spectaculars as well. At some point each day you’ll need a few minutes to recharge, and making a trip back to your resort may not always be possible. Let’s kick up our feet up and discuss our favorite in-park spots for taking a break at Walt Disney World!

Break at Walt Disney World - Drinkwallah
Drinkwallah at Animal Kingdom

Animal Kingdom

It’s a jungle out there! Hidden behind the trees is a great place to pull up a chair and enjoy your favorite beverage at Drinkwalla at the Animal Kingdom. At the crossroads of the paths to Discovery Island and the Asia sections of the park, are stairs that take you down to a patio. The Drinkwalla patio is a great place in the Animal Kingdom to recharge, as the patio is well shaded and has picturesque views of the Tree of Life.

Passholder Insights: Coming in a close second is the patio area of Flame Tree Barbecue. With the views of the Everest in the background, it can’t be beat!

Taking a Break at Walt Disney World in France
Pier at World Showcase

Epcot  

Everywhere you look in Epcot you’ll find great places for taking a break at Walt Disney World. From the alcoves in Italy, to the market pathways in Morocco, you really can’t go wrong. A true hidden gem is the peninsula that sticks out by the bridge between France and the United Kingdom. You’ll want to head down the stairs, grab a seat on a bench or the wall, and gaze aimlessly onto the World Showcase Lagoon.

With the Mexico Pavilion in the distance and Spaceship Earth peering over your right shoulder, it’s the perfect place to recharge. The engineering marvel about this patio is how the majority of the crowd noise dissipates, and you’re left with a really peaceful location.

Passholder Insights: Be aware that this location is next to the smoking section. However starting on May 1,  2019 Walt Disney World will be 100% non-smoking within the parks.

Muppet Courtyard a great place for a break at Walt Disney World
Muppet Courtyard

Hollywood Studios

Soon the crowds will descend upon Hollywood Studios and finding a quiet place to take a break from Walt Disney World will be a challenge. No place will be safe when Star Wars Galaxy Edge opens, however for now our favorite location is still all systems go. Towards the back of the park near Muppet Vision 3-D, across from Pizza Rizzo is a set of tables and umbrellas. With the Miss Piggy statue in the distance it’s a great place to relax, enjoy an adult timeout with a frothy beverage from Baseline tap house, while you map out the rest of your day.

While there we would definitely recommend dropping in to see the most famous frog around, Kermit! If you enjoy classic Muppet humor, this is a must see show.

Passholder Insights: If you keep walking past Pizza Rizzo you’ll find our favorite Christmas store in Hollywood Studios. It’s open year round and a great spot to find a unique ornament.

Tortuga Tavern Seating Area
Tortuga Tavern Seating Area

Magic Kingdom

We saved the hardest park for last, but you know us, we’ve always got you covered. Directly across from the A Pirate’s Adventure is an awesome little area that’s amazing for people watching while you regroup. In between Pecos Bill’s exit the and back of the outdoor seating area for Tortuga Tavern is a group of about 3 to 4 tables with umbrellas.

The pathway connects Frontierland to Adventureland and tends to be on the quieter side and well shaded. Most people don’t tend to stop here, as the tables are the furthest from where you order your meal at both Tortuga Tavern and Pecos Bill’s.

Passholder Insights: A close second would be the grassy areas in front of the castle, surprisingly very few people plop down here for a break. Best part is – no grass stains, as it’s fake grass. #winning

When planning out your Disney World trip, we would recommend scheduling a few minutes to take a break at Walt Disney World to recharge. No one wants Disney World burnout after the first day or two. We don’t know about you, but we’re recharged. Let’s go find that Dino!

Lightning McQueen Racing Academy – Off  To The Races!

Lightning McQueen Racing Academy – Off To The Races!

Ka-Chow! Lightning McQueen Racing Academy is open for a pit stop, should you turn in? On the last weekend of March the McQueen Racing Academy opened its doors to give guests an under the hood look at how he prepares for the track. On our last trip to Walt Disney World we met up with the famed race car to see what it’s all about, spoiler free of course! We’ve got the tires, you’re on fuel duty, let’s make this a clean pit stop!

Entrance to McQueen Racing Academy
Entrance

What Is It?

You can’t hit the track without a little practice. It would be like going to Disney World without booking Fastpasses. You can do it, but it’s not recommended. At the McQueen Racing Academy you’ll get a behind the wheel view of how the 95 car works on his racing techniques. From the art of drafting to making all those left hand turns, nothing is held back. You’ll even be joined by his pit crew.

For two of the holiday seasons, Halloween and Christmas we could see variations of the show. According to Jim Hill of Jim Hill Media, Walt Disney World Imagineering is working on ways to incorporate holiday tie ins for the Lightning McQueen Racing Academy. The holiday shows could be very similar to what occurs in Cars Land out in Disneyland, where the cars wear their best holiday gear.

Location of the Speed McQueen Racing Academy
Update Park Map

Where’s It Located?

Tucked away between two of our favorite attractions at Hollywood Studios, you’ll find the McQueen Racing Academy. At the end of Sunset Boulevard, just before the Tower of Terror, turn left into the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster courtyard. In the back right corner you’ll see the entrance to the Lightning McQueen Racing Academy.

Before entering the attraction you can part take in meet and greets with Cruz Ramirez. DJ Dino will be spinning hot tracks for the Cars dance party so make sure to wear your best treads!

Passholder Insights: More than likely you’ll not need a Fastpass for this attraction. The show runs every 15 minutes and holds about 400 people.

Speed McQueen Animatronic
Lightning McQueen

Our Thoughts

The Lightning McQueen Racing Academy is a wonderful addition to Hollywood Studios. We both enjoyed our experience and were thoroughly amazed at the technology used in the Lightning McQueen animatronic. The animatronic definitely gives you a glimpse into what to expect in the new attractions coming to Star Wars Galaxy Edge. As we discussed in our previous article the attraction was created in preparation for the opening of Star Wars Galaxy Edge on August 29, 2019. to help handle some of the projected crowd volume.

With the attraction showing continually you’re able to fit it in when it works best. On our trip we enjoyed the show in between our Tower of Terror Fastpass and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Fastpass, it was a great way to pass the time. We went mid-day and the wait time was minimal.

Is the McQueen Racing Academy a must see? In our opinion, it’s definitely worth checking out if you enjoy the Cars characters, or are looking for a fun way to beat the heat. The kids in our showing were definitely having a great time! Alright the 4th tire has been mounted, time to get back into race!