Put on your Louisiana Road Trip Vacation Pants

From a recent road trip around the Sabine Wildlife Refuge in Louisiana – 2016

In honor of my little sister moving to Louisiana, I am writing this post about taking an amazing Louisiana road trip for, as always, DIRT CHEAP.  We found some unbelievably reasonable airfare from California on Google Flights, and just had to plan a little road trip loop around mostly Louisiana and Mississippi.  We went in March, but we came back in August and checked out Northern Louisiana as well.   Get ready for some amazing Louisiana (with some Mississippi on the side) style adventures.  Here we go.

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Put on Your Year in Review Vacation Pants

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Showing off my Redwood Tree Vacation Pants in the lovely Humboldt Redwood Forest in Northern California.

Well, it’s been a whole year since I started the ole travel blog and I decided to reflect on the last year of travel.  I am going to talk about the best place(s) we ate (sometimes it is too hard to choose one), the best place(s) we visited, the best place(s) we hoteled, and the best thing(s) we did.  Of course, I will give you an overall snapshot of our travels at the end of the post, so you can get some travel inspiration.  Sit back, relax, and make 2017 the year you get out there and travel in those vacation pants!!!  Hope you start planning that next vacay, stat!  Continue reading

Put on your Discount Airline Vacation Pants

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Airplane Life. Taking Jet Blue to somewhere fabulous. -2014

I know it can be scary to go for that cheap deal and take a discount airline instead of a name you know and love.  The price often seems to good to be true.  Many times, if you don’t know what to pay for, and what not to pay for, the prices are too good to be true.  As someone who has taken my fair share of discount airlines over the years, I will share with you my tips and tricks if you decide to go on one of these airlines.  I also rank them in order of preference, so you know if it is worth the discount.

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Put on Your Hot Springs, Arkansas Vacation Pants

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At the official Hot Springs National Park entrance in Hot Springs, Arkansas. August -2016

In August we flew to Northern Texas because my baby brother got married.  My husband reminded me that I had never been to Arkansas, so we had to plan a little road trip out of Texas while we were out there.  We wound up in Hot Springs, Arkansas for a four night trip, and let’s just say, this place was made to be blogged about.  Hot Springs, Arkansas is the home of Hot Springs National Park and it is exactly what it sounds like.  People at the turn of the century flocked to Hot Springs to take advantage of all the bath houses that sprouted up in the town due to the natural hot springs in the area.  Well, eight of the original buildings remain standing today, and two of them are still working bath houses.  Read on to find out how you can plan an amazing adventure to this fantastic place.
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Put on your Tripadvisor Vacation Pants

 

I remember when I discovered tripadvisor.com.  It was early 2011 and I was planning a trip down route 66.  I was visiting family in Colorado and after that we decided to drive out to Chicago, Illinois, the place where the famous route 66 begins.  I was so excited to plan our hotel stays along the way and I came across this fantastic travel website.  I looked up all the cities we were planning on staying in along the route.  The site gave me the top hotels, restaurants, and things to do in every place.  I was so excited that most of the # 1 rated hotels were dirt cheap compared to California hotels, and we got to stay in highly rated hotels along our entire trip.  Tripadvisor did not disappoint.  This post will give you some tips on using this amazing website and app.  You won’t want to plan another trip without consulting Tripadvisor first.  Then, after your trip, you’ll want to come back and do some reviews of your own, so you can advise future travelers.

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Put on your Walt Disney World Vacation Pants, part 6 of 6

Off Season at Typhoon Lagoon means NO LINES!
Part 6 is here!!!  I will discuss one of the water parks at Disney World called Typhoon Lagoon and I will also talk about Disney Springs.  Both places add a little extra pizzazz to an already amazing trip.  Read on to find out how you can have an amazing trip to these places as well.  
 
This particular trip to Disney World we did some things differently.  First of all, this is by the far the longest trip we have ever taken to the park, and we loved it.  We stayed for 8 nights, and played for 9 days, so we really got to experience many things we have never experienced before.  One of which was a water park at the resort called Typhoon Lagoon.  We also went to a restaurant at Disney Springs called T-Rex.  Although we had been to Disney Springs before, this was a new restaurant, and it was not something we usually have time to do, but with such an extended trip, we really got to see and do everything.  Read on to find out how you can make the most of your trips to both these areas.   Again, I would only do these things if you have a truly extended trip.  These places will really add to the experience.  
 
Typhoon Lagoon    
 

As I mentioned in a previous post, we bought our tickets through a university to attend a graduation at the resort.  We were given a special link to order the tickets.  One of the perks was a pretty nice discount on park tickets AND it included an extra ticket to one of the Disney water parks.  We were spending 9 days at the resort, so we took a day off from the big parks and spent an awesome day at Typhoon Lagoon.  They do have a waterpark option when you buy the tickets.  If you do plan on doing the water park, make sure you add it in when you purchase the tickets to the park, because you get a discount as opposed to paying full price at the gate.  

Tips and Tricks
  • Bring your own towel and sunscreen – You can rent towels for a small fee at the park or just bring your own.  Sunscreen is pretty expensive at the resort, so make sure you buy and bring before you have to pay the upcharge.                                                                      
  • Underwater Camera – We brought a disposable underwater camera to get some pics of the park.  We now have a fancy one, but the disposable worked great too.  You can see the quality of the disposable camera pics for yourself throughout this post.  Make sure you also buy the disposable waterproof camera before you come to the park as well.  They sell them for a reasonable price at your local pharmacy.                                      


                                   

  • Money – Attach a credit card to your Magic Band and you will not have to bring money to the park with you, which means you won’t have to buy a locker, which means you will save money.  The Magic Bands work as your park ticket, room key, and payment, and best of all, they are waterproof, so all you really need is a towel, sunscreen, waterproof camera, and your Magic Band.                                                                                                       
  • Life Jackets – You don’t need to bring your own life jackets for your children, in fact, floaties, pool toys, and personal life jackets are not allowed in the park, so make sure you don’t bring that stuff.  They have several locations around the park that have big stands of life jackets with various sizes, you don’t even have to check them out, just grab and go.                                    

                                                                        Lazy River fun!


  • Park Opening/Closing – When we went the park was only open from 10:00 – 5:00, so we pretty much went when the park opened and left after it closed.  It worked great.  In the morning there was no one there, some larger school groups came midday, and left before the park closed.  We did have to wait awhile for a shuttle to take us back to the hotel at the end of the day, but it wasn’t too bad.  
MVP (My Vacation Pants) Tip:  The water parks are open year round and it is always pretty warmish in Florida.  Escape the crowds by going to the water parks in the winter months.  They tend to be very busy in the Spring and Summer, so even if it seems weird to visit a water park in January you may want to hit it up anyway.

  • Educational Guide – I know it may be weird to think that there are educational things at water parks, but nevertheless, we found some amazing things to show our kids at the parks.  First off, they have a snorkel lagoon filled with sharks, fish, and other amazing sea life.  Take the time to show your children and talk to the cast members about what you’re seeing.  My kids didn’t go in the lagoon, but they watched from the viewing tanks.  Now they love snorkeling.  It is a great way to get your kids started on this fantastic activity.       
  • Vintage Cool Attractions – The theme of the whole park is that you are castaways on a deserted island.  Everything is vintage themed.  You feel like you are entering a real life Swiss Family Robinson movie.                                                                                                                                        

                                    The premise:  We are stranded on a tropical island paradise.  

  • Pacing – Remember they have shorter hours, so make sure you plan to stay the length of the day from opening to closing if you want to experience everything.  We barely stood in any lines at all in early February and we got to see everything.  I can imagine on a crowded day you might want to stick to my recommendations below. 
  • My Vacation Pants Recommendations:  The wave pool is a pretty epic one.  You can stay in calmer sections for the littles as well.  Over to the side of the lagoon they have kid water slides that my kiddos went on about 50 times, so that’s a great way to enjoy the wave pool and the kiddie section.  Our other favorite attraction was the family inner tube ride.  We really enjoyed piling in the tube together and riding down the slide.  It’s a good workout bringing that inner tube up the hill too.  







                                           

 
 
Disney Springs
Disney Springs is basically an outdoor marketplace with restaurants and shops.  They have everything you ever wanted to buy Disney.  You can’t help but get caught up in the cuteness.  On this trip, we got done with Typhoon Lagoon at 5:00 and had definitely worked up an appetite playing in the sun and water all day.  We took the shuttle from the hotel to Disney Springs for dinner.  I believe they have put in a parking structure since we have been.  Parking is complimentary.  
 

Tips and Tricks

  • It is busy in the evening.  They have a movie theater, popular restaurants, shopping, and shows, so get there early if you need to make a reservation or show.  The website recommends getting there at least 60 minutes before your reservation.  It’s a very huge place, so you may park and get dropped off far from where you need to be, so plan ahead.
  • Make reservations for dining well ahead of time.  You can make your dining reservations the same way you make reservations for the parks.  Make them online through the Walt Disney World website.
  • We did not go to the Cirque Su Soleil La Nouba Show on this last visit, but we have gone before and it is quite an amazing show.  I highly recommend going if you have not seen it before.  Make sure you make reservations ahead of time though. My friend booked his tickets last minute and got a great deal, but we sat in three different seats around the theater, but it didn’t matter.  It’s not like you are talking during the show anyway. 
  • My Vacation Pants Recommendations – 
    • Rain Forest Cafe – So they have two locations at Disney World, but I had to give you this little tip.  Go to the Rain Forest at Disney Springs instead of the one at Animal Kingdom.  They are both cool.  They have animantronics, waterfalls, and aquariums, but the one at Disney Springs is inside of a volcano that fake erupts every once in awhile.  I think the architecture is so cool there.  Make sure you make your reservations for at least one of these, especially if you have never been to a Rain Forest Cafe.  
    • T-Rex Restaurant – So this place was really fun.  We highly enjoyed being whisked back to the prehistoric times and eating in an ice cave.  This place is owned and operated by the same place that owns Rain Forest Cafe, so it is a similar experience, but I really liked the experience, and so did my kiddos.  


    • Our Favorite Stores:  Check out Goofy’s Candy Company.  You will indulge in some yummy Disney themed desserts.  Also, it will be hard to miss the Lego Imagination Center.  They have huge Lego displays outside the store, in the fountains and lakes, and inside the store as well.  It is quite amazing.  World of Disney is spectacular.  If you can’t find a souvenir to commemorate your Disney World trip in this place, you ain’t finding it anywhere else.  The Ghirardelli Chocolate Shop and Soda Fountain is amazing as well.  The My Vacation Pants Family likes Vanilla Malts with extra malt.  Yum, yum!

I know you’ll have enough to do on this fantastic trip, but if you have time, these two stops will pizazz up your visit even more during your stay.  I have truly enjoyed taking you on this wild Walt Disney World journey.  Hope you found these posts helpful in planning your future trips.  Please use the links below to let me know how your trip was.  Would love to hear from some vacation pantsers!!!  Have a great trip and Walt Disney World on. 
 
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Inquiries: myvactionpants@gmail.com

Trip Links
Walt Disney World Webpage – https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/
Theme Park Tourist – http://www.themeparktourist.com/
Part 1 of this Post – http://myvacationpants.blogspot.com/2016/04/put-on-your-disney-world-vacation-pants.html
Part 2 of this Post: http://myvacationpants.blogspot.com/2016/04/put-on-your-walt-disney-world-vacation.html
Part 3 of this Post: http://myvacationpants.blogspot.com/2016/04/put-on-you-walt-disney-world-vacation.html
Part 4 of this Post: http://myvacationpants.blogspot.com/2016/04/put-on-your-walt-disney-world-vacation_26.html
Part 5 of this Post – http://myvacationpants.blogspot.com/2016/05/put-on-your-walt-disney-world-vacation.html
Also click on headings in the post above.  I linked the important information you need. 

 

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Put on your Walt Disney World Vacation Pants, Part 5 of 6

Animal Kingdom…not your average zoo. -2015

We are near the end of this very detailed Walt Disney World series.  Part 5 of 6 will focus on the newest park in the pack, Animal Kingdom.  Take a look at how you can plan a jam packed day full of fun at this park, that is definitely not just a zoo.  If you haven’t seen my other posts on WDW, check them out below.  


Animal Kingdom is a fantastic place.  Walt always wanted to put real animals in his parks, and in 1998 that dream became a reality.  I actually just read a fascinating blog post about the history of the park and how it almost never was.  Read it here.  I am so happy that did became a reality though because we always have a blast here.  It is also home to my favorite attraction on Earth.  More on that later.  Read on to find out how to get the most out of a trip to this park.  

Animal Kingdom -Tips and Tricks
  • Fast Pass + – Make sure you have reserved your fastpasses for the day on your Walt Disney World account.  See my tips on Fast Pass + in part 1 of this series.  Attractions worth getting fast passes for, if possible:  
    • Expedition Everest
    • Kilimanjaro Safari
    • Kali River Rapids
    • Dinosaur
    • Primeval Whirl            

                    Expedition Everest – The thrill of a lifetime!    

    • Remember: If you get three attractions reserved early in the day, you can go back and order more fastpasses on the My Disney Experience App once you have used them all.  That is the only way to get more than three fastpasses in a day. Also, don’t forget to take advantage of the Extra Magic Hours at this park.  
    MVP (My Vacation Pants) Tip:  This park is worth getting to when it opens.  In fact, make sure you go to early hours if possible, because many of the animals are most active in the morning, and they are snoozing by noon.  Ride and experience the non animal exhibits after the animals start escaping the heat.  
    • Educational Guide – Obviously this park is smothered in education.  Bring life science to life by reading the exhibits and asking the animal caretakers questions.  In fact, even in the bathroom stall I learned all about animal poop.  It was great.  Make sure you see all the animal exhibits.  They are all tucked into hidden crevices.  Not all of them are listed on the map, so keep an eye out.  Follow any sign that says “trail” because you will see a lot of really cool animals.  Also, make sure you check out the bird aviary.  They are beautifully ornate, with breathtaking vegetation, and beautiful birdies.  

                Bird watching fun.  They even have cards to spot the birds.

    • Vintage Cool Attractions – Okay, so this park is pretty new in terms of Disney years, so vintage is kind of a stretch, but I guess if you are in your teens, this park will bring back some nostalgia.  For one, you have to check out the Bug’s Life movie located in the tree of life.  It’s so funny and has interactive fun.  The Dinosaur area also reminds me of a late 50s, early 60s vibe.  They have a fun little carnival style land, and the Dinosaur ride is very cheese in a fun way.  Like an old TV show.

    • Pacing – This park used to be half day park like an actual zoo, but they have added a lot of fun attractions since it opened and you can definitely spend a full day there now.  It’s also open much later than it used to be in the early years.  Like I mentioned before, spend the morning watching the animals while they’re active and spend the afternoon and evening riding the attractions.  Make the first attraction of the day the Kilimanjaro Safari because the animals will be jumping around.  

    • My Vacation Pants Recommendations:  Okay my favorite ride in the entire galaxy is at this park.  Make sure you hit Expedition Everest multiple times during your visit.  I don’t want to give too much away, but it’s like no other coaster you will ever ride.  It’s thrilling, amazingly themed, great technology.  You’ll love it.  We also love the Kali River Rapids.  If you can hit it on a rainy day, you are golden because for some reason no one wants to get wet when you are already getting wet.  We just put our ponchos on and they let us go round and round a couple times.  Another must do attraction is Dinosuar.  The premise is you go back in time in a jeep.  You see some crazy dinos along the way.  It can be quite scary for young children, so make sure your kiddos can handle it because you do only have to be 40 inches to ride.  

                                                    My favorite ride in the world…Expedition Everest.



      What To Eat
      Yak and Yeti (sit down and counter service) – We love eating lunch at the counter service Yak and Yeti.  They have a fantastic honey chicken and tangy teriyaki chicken bowl.  The egg rolls are amazing too.  They used to serve pot stickers there as well, but now you have to do the sit down restaurant to get those gems.  We loved the open air ambiance of the restaurant.  The food was tasty, but I miss those pot stickers being at the counter service restaurant.  It was a perfect little lunch/snack spot.  The sit down restaurant is also very beautifully decorated.  You almost feel like you’re on top of the Himalayas.

                                             The Asian Chicken Salad was HUGE and YUMMY!

      Pot stickers are the BEST.
      The kiddos posing out front.


      Rain Forest Cafe – So they have two locations at Disney World, but I had to give you this little tip.  Go to the Rain Forest at Disney Springs instead of this one.  They are both cool.  They have animantronics, waterfalls, and aquariums, but the one at Disney Springs is inside of a volcano that fake erupts every once in awhile.  I think the architecture is so cool there.  Make sure you make your reservations for at least one of these, especially if you have never been to a Rain Forest Cafe.  

      Have a great day at Animal Kingdom.  I think you will agree this is not your average zoo experience.  Feel free to write in or comment if you have any additional questions about the park.  


      Follow My Vacation Pants on Social Media:

      Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/myvacationpants/
      Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/myvacationpants/
      Twitter: https://twitter.com/myvacationpants
      YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/myvacationpants
      Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/vecchio100/my-vacation-pants/
      Inquiries: myvactionpants@gmail.com

      Trip Links
      Walt Disney World Webpage – https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/
      Theme Park Tourist – http://www.themeparktourist.com/
      Part 1 of this Post – http://myvacationpants.blogspot.com/2016/04/put-on-your-disney-world-vacation-pants.html
      Part 2 of this Post: http://myvacationpants.blogspot.com/2016/04/put-on-your-walt-disney-world-vacation.html
      Part 3 of this Post: http://myvacationpants.blogspot.com/2016/04/put-on-you-walt-disney-world-vacation.html
      Part 4 of this Post: http://myvacationpants.blogspot.com/2016/04/put-on-your-walt-disney-world-vacation_26.html

      Also click on headings in the post above.  I linked the important information you need. 

      Put on your Walt Disney World Vacation Pants, Family Edition, Part 4 of 6

      It all started with this guy!  Checking out the One Man’s Dream Exhibit at Disney Studios – 2015

      Part 4 of 6 will discuss a visit to Disney Studios.  This park is undergoing many renovations and additions right now, but it is still worth stopping at for a day.  Read on to find out what you need to do to get the most out of your visit to Disney Studios.  Click other posts in this series about Walt Disney World below.




      Disney Studios was put in to Walt Disney World in 1989, a year before Universal Studios-Orlando.  It was originally called DIsney’s MGM Studios and it was very much like a working studio.  They shot the rebooted Mickey Mouse Club there, had a studio tour, and studio shows.  Since then, the park has dropped the studio tour and the MGM name and added some of the best thrill rides you will ever experience.  It will also be home to the new Star Wars Land and Toy Story Land, which is quite exciting.  While these major renovations are taking place, there will still be plenty to see and do, so make sure you make a stop to play and eat at this park while you are visiting.  


      Disney Studios -Tips and Tricks
      • Fast Pass + – Make sure you have reserved your fastpasses for the day on your Walt Disney World account.  See my tips on Fast Pass + in part 1 of this series.  Attractions worth getting fast passes for, if possible:  
        • Twilight Zone’s Tower of Terror
        • Aerosmith’s Rockin’ Roller Coaster
        • Toy Story
        • Star Tours
        • Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular               
          Used our first fastpass on Toy Story on night 1

          My little Star Wars fans out in front of Star Tours

          The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, pretty much the greatest thrill ever.

          Don’t let the cheese factor full you, this is a thrilling roller coaster with multiple loops.

                                                                   

        • Remember: If you get three attractions reserved early in the day, you can go back and order more fastpasses on the My Disney Experience App once you have used them all.  That is the only way to get more than three fastpasses in a day. Also, don’t forget to take advantage of the Extra Magic Hours at this park.  
        MVP (My Vacation Pants) Tip:  Fantasmic is a combination water show, pyrotechnic, and theatrical show that if you have not seen, you will want to see during your visit.  The show is located in a large stadium by Tower of Terror.  I don’t get fastpasses to large shows like this because there is usually plenty of seating for it.  Especially at the later showing.  Don’t waste your fastpass on this high capacity show.  Also, if you have seen the one in Callifornia, this show is very similar, but not as intimate, and it uses less impressive set design, so if you have seen the California one, you can skip it for something else.
        • Educational Guide – This park gives you a backstage pass to old Hollywood and although it may seem hard to find things that our educational at a park dedicated to Hollywood, there is still plenty to learn about.  Make sure you check out the One Man’s Dream film and exhibit.  There is so much history about Walt Disney and the making of his empire.  My young children loved learning the history of Disneyland and they made us sit in the front row for the movie.  They have cool pieces displayed in the exhibit hall as well.  You can talk about how things were different in the 1930s, and how animation was drawn by hand.  The Great Movie Ride is a tribute to many great movie classics your children may have never heard of.  One small note, there is one super scary scene from the movie Alien, keep your kids close and cover their eyes for that part if they get scared about things like that.  A lot of children have never seen an old black and white movie and they have a great montage at the end.  Talk about the history of movie making with them.  Lastly, the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular is a really fun way to show your kids how movies are made.  Plus, adults get a chance to be a part of the show.  I was picked to be in half the show, so my kids paid attention.  
          Me as an extra in the Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular.

        • Vintage Cool Attractions – The whole park is themed like vintage Hollywood.  All the glamour and sophistication of the 1930s.  It is a great piece of cinematic history, and is fun to see in a Disney way.  Make sure you take in the architecture and the music that this park has to offer.  We enjoyed checking out the front of the Great Movie Ride which has celebrity hand prints and autographs just like is does in the real Hollywood.  Inside the queue for the Great Movie Ride, there are some Hollywood collectibles from favorite movies.  Always fun to see. Do not miss the Muppet 3D Show.  It is an original that was in the park when it opened, and it is the last thing that Jim Henson worked on before he passed away.  It is hilarious and cute.  This attraction is extinct at other Disney parks, so this may be your last chance to see this beloved show.   Plus, see below for some places you have to eat at to fully experience the vintageness of this park.  
          Classic Hollywood in Florida
          Like I said…vintage cool.

        • Pacing – This park is small right now.  It will grow much bigger with the editions, but you can probably spend part of the day here and hit another park if you want.  My family can never manage to do that, but we are the type of family that has to try every little thing.  If you just want to try the highlights and move on, you can spend more time in the larger parks.  
        My son loved The Great Movie Ride so much, he made Daddy take him twice.


          What To Eat
          50’s Prime Time Cafe – This place is such a blast.  The premise is you are stepping into an old 1950s television show.  Everything in the restaurant is themed like a suburban 1950s household.  It’s so cute.  Your waiter/waitress plays your Mom or Dad.  They are hilarious, loving, and a little bit grumpy, but it’s all part of the show.  Make sure you keep your elbows off the table, and don’t talk with your mouth full.  Above all, eat your veggies.  The fried chicken is a fantastic choice at this place.  They have some homestyle favorites.  Make sure you check it out while you are there.  

          Had to get the vintage black and white shot at the 50s Prime Time Cafe.

          This is the waiting area. So cute.

          When you see the sign, enter.


          Sci Fi Dine In Theater – Okay, this has to be our favorite experience place to eat because it is so unique.  You walk in to a building that looks normal on the outside.  The host whisks you around the corner and you enter an old fashioned drive in theater.  The cars have tables facing a huge drive in movie screen.  You get to watch kitchy cool old sci fi movies and old 1950s commercials.  It is pretty much a dream come true.  The food is pretty much your typical diner fare, but it is worth the experience to see it.  Again, don’t miss it while you are there. 

          Our amazing car tables at the Sci Fi Dine In Theater

          The Sci Fi Dine In Theater. Yeah!


          The Hollywood Brown Derby – The Original Brown Derby in California is famous for inventing the Cobb Salad and well, you can’t really find someone who loves Cobb Salad like this lady right here.  I am a blue cheese fanatic.  So I guess I was the one who was most excited to come here because even though I live near Hollywood I have never been to the original Brown Derby. Everyone else in my party enjoyed the experience, but weren’t huge fans of the intense flavors in the Cobb, so this is definitely something you have to crave.  If your mouth watered when I talked about Cobb Salad, you have to go.  The ambiance is fun too and I imagine it is similar to how the original Brown Derby looks and feels.  It is very art deco and visually stunning. 

          Feeling smirky to be at the Hollywood Brown Derby.

          Cobb Salad. Yum.

          Grandma sneaking my daughter soda. 🙂

          My husband got this egg burger thing.  Yum again. 


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          Trip Links
          Walt Disney World Webpage – https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/
          Theme Park Tourist – http://www.themeparktourist.com/
          Part 1 of this Post – http://myvacationpants.blogspot.com/2016/04/put-on-your-disney-world-vacation-pants.html
          Part 2 of this Post: http://myvacationpants.blogspot.com/2016/04/put-on-your-walt-disney-world-vacation.html
          Part 3 of this Post: http://myvacationpants.blogspot.com/2016/04/put-on-you-walt-disney-world-vacation.html

          Also click on headings in the post above.  I linked the important information you need. 


          Put on your Walt Disney World Vacation Pants, Family Edition, Part 3 of 6

          In Part 3 of my Walt Disney World – Family Edition post, I will talk about the Experimental Prototype City of Tomorrow, or what everyone knows as EPCOT.  This park is so educational and fun and full of Disney amazingness.  Read on to find out more about this fantastic park.  If you missed part 1 or 2 of my post, click below. 







          EPCOT, or the Experimental Prototype City of Tomorrow, was originally designed by Walt Disney to be a functioning city with people living and working there.  Although that dream never came to fruition, it does resemble a futuristic community.  There is so much to see and do there.  Our family enjoys how educational it is as well.  The park is split into two very distinct and different areas.  Future World, at the front of the park, is definitely the future city that Walt envisioned.  It focuses on technology, farming, communication, biology, oceanography, engineering, space travel, and even imagination and innovation.  The World Showcase is at the back of the park and showcases some countries from around the world (mostly Europe and North America) in a Disney way, of course.  It is very fun to take a quick tour around the world, and it makes you want to plan that future vacation.  Keep reading to find out my tips to explore this wonderful park.  You won’t want to miss it.  

           EPCOT -Tips and Tricks
          • Fast Pass + – Make sure you have reserved your fastpasses for the day on your Walt Disney World account.  See my tips on Fast Pass + in part 1 of this series.  Attractions worth getting fast passes for, if possible:  
            • Fast Track
            • Soarin’
            • Mission Space
            • Finding Nemo
            • Frozen Ride (schedule to open in May 2016)                                                                            
          • Remember: If you get three attractions reserved early in the day, you can go back and order more fastpasses on the My Disney Experience App once you have used them all.  That is the only way to get more than three fastpasses in a day. Also, don’t forget to take advantage of the Extra Magic Hours at this park.  
          MVP (My Vacation Pants) Tip:  EPCOT has two entrances.  The main entrance is quite busy in the morning.  The security check point creates a lot of traffic and the monorail, parking lot, and hotel guests all arrive and walk into the same crazy line.  If you plan on going in the morning, try taking the back entrance.  It’s called the International Gateway and it is an often overlooked entry point that brings you right in to the World Showcase.  It leaves from some of the hotels, but it also leaves from Disney Studios, so don’t forget to use it.  You’ll get into the park way fast. 
          • Educational Guide – As I have said before, I’m a teacher, so the educator part of me wishes she could whisk her students off to this most educational park.  The problem is I live and teach 3,000 miles away, so I have to make the most of educating my own children while we visit.  First of all, Future World has so much to learn about.  Make sure you check out the Innoventions areas in the park.  Think of a science type museum rolled up in your theme park visit.  Also, check out the different pavilions of Future World, each one has a lot to learn about subjects such as oceanography, agriculture, etc.  We especially love the Universe of Energy.  First, marvel at the amazing structure that it sits in.  It has these amazing solar panels that are used to run the massive attraction.  Then go inside and have fun taking this combo film and ride in one.  Plus, it stars Ellen and Bill Nye the Science Guy.  Hilarious!   The Test Track goes into the science of car design.  You have to calculate correctly for your car design to win the competition.  
            Designing our winning car before we boarded the attraction. 

            Of course there is also a very realistic space themed adventure as well.  Mission Space is modeled after space simulators that real astronauts use to train for space.  The ride is pretty intense for littles, but there is a less intense version you can do with your kids.  I always have to do the intense version at least once while I am there because I am that HUGE of a Disney nerd.  I always feel a little nauseated afterward, but it eventually passes.  You can talk about the physics of that attraction because they show you how it works in the line.  As for the World Showcase, be sure to visit each country and talk about the geography, culture, language, etc.  Plus, all the cast members there are from the the countries they work in.  Oh, and a bonus educational treat:  each pavilion features food from its respective country, so you can learn as you eat some yummy authentic cuisine!

          • Vintage Cool Attractions – I guess it depends on what you consider vintage.  I grew up in the 1980s and this park is like stepping back into that era.  Probably because it opened in 1982.  From the architecture to the exhibits to the background music, it feels 80s, and I love that.  Make sure you check out the Journey through Imagination with Figment.  There is a super cool backstory to this attraction that you can read from Theme Park Tourist here.  I guess the attraction has undergone some major changes through the years.  I have only seen it in today’s form, but it still feels very vintage to me.  It also stars Eric Idle of Monty Python fame, and who doesn’t love that?  The World Showcase area has two Circle Vision shows you have to see.  Circle Vision is a 360 degree theater experience where you stand in the center of the theater and can spin around and see a different angle of the scene the entire movie.  These types of shows used to be quite prevalent at Disneyland and Walt Disney World, but these two are the last of their kind, so make sure you check it out.  There is a show in the China Pavilion and the Canada Pavilion.  There are other film type shows in the World Showcase, but these are the only two Circle Visions. Enjoy your 1980s visit to EPCOT! It will be totally awesome.
          • Pacing – This park is HUGE.  It is a 1.2 mile walk just around the World Showcase, so make sure you give yourself enough time to explore this park.  You won’t spend a lot of time waiting in lines at EPCOT because the park has many high capacity rides and shows.  Make sure you get fastpasses for the attractions listed above, and you should be able to get on everything.  The only thing that will slow you down is your ability to cover the entire park.  Everything is spread very far apart and it would be best to spend one day in Future World and the other in the World Showcase.  If you only have one day, then make sure you ride the attractions above and walk the World Showcase at some point during the day.  We like to eat there.  Such good food!  More on that later.  One more pacing note: Some rides, attractions, and pavilions are not open for the entire day, so make sure to check for operating times as you plan your visit.
          A Photo Tour of the World Showcase
          (Traveling Clockwise)
          Mexico Pavilion


          Norway Pavilion

          China Pavilion

          African Outpost
          Germany Pavilion


          Italy Pavilion


          America Pavilion

          Japan Pavilion
          Morocco Pavilion


          France Pavilion
          United Kingdom Pavilion

          Canada Pavilion

          My Vacation Pants Recommendations- There are a lot of fun things to do as an entire family at this park.  You have to go to the Sodas From Around the World exhibit in Future World.  It is called Club Cool, and they have FREE samples of soda.  You stand at the fountain and try all the different flavors.  Some are just plain gross, some are quite refreshing.  

          Get your beverage on for FREE at Club Cool

          You know that big golf ball looking thing at the center of the park?  Well, it’s actually a ride.  It is a slow moving dark ride vehicle that walks you through Communication through the ages.  My recommendation is to skip it at the beginning of the day when everyone is coming in, and go on it after the morning rush.  Then you’ll be able to walk right onto the ride.  

          Inside the EPCOT ball

          If you have never been on Soarin’,  check that out.  It simulates the feeling of hang gliding over, well, California.  It’s called Soarin’ Over California at California Adventure, and it’s the exact same as the one in Florida, but spectacular just the same.  Don’t miss the Chinese acrobats in the China Pavilion.  This has been the same acrobat troop we have been watching over the years.  They started as child performers and now they are adults.  They are such a talented group.  


          Don’t miss the Chinese Acrobats. Amazing show.

          My kids (and husband) loved Agent P’s Phineas and Ferb Scavenger Hunt.  They will check you out a cellular device in several different spots around the World Showcase, and you follow a series of interactive clues to make fun things happen while you walk around the World Showcase.  You even go and talk to cast members who give you secret items and clues.  Check it out while you are there.  Also, make sure you check out my food recommendations below.  This is the park you want to come hungry to. 

          Getting their Agent P Scavenger Hunt on



            What To Eat

            Teppan Edo– This restaurant is located in the Japan pavilion at the World Showcase and it is hands down our favorite restaurant that we have tried in all of WDW.  It is a Teppanyaki style restaurant, meaning they sizzle your food right at the table.  It’s part show, part delicious dinner.  The food is amazing.  I love the dipping sauces.  I love the show.  I love everything.  I have been to a couple different places that make food this way, but this one is top notch.  


            Onion Volcano Time at Teppan Edo



            San Angel Inn – This Mexican restaurant is located inside the pyramid in the Mexico pavilion.  Once you walk inside, you see a night sky and hear festive music, even if it’s daytime.  There is  a boat ride that you can take while you wait for your table to be ready that glides right by the restaurant.  If you have ever been to the Blue Bayou at Disneyland, it is a similar experience, except Mexican themed.  The food was fantastic and seemed authentic.  Apparently all the restaurants in each country are supposed to be very authentic, and staffed from people who are originally from those countries.  Check it out while you are there. 

            Blurry, but artsy shot of the San Angel Inn



            Flavored Popcorn – We had just come out of The Land Pavilion in Future World and smelled some amazing popcorn.  As we approached the cart, we saw they had interesting flavors like buffalo ranch, and sour cream and onion, so we had to try some.  With a wave of my Magic Band we started to enjoy this magnificent treat.  I am telling you that snack hit the spot.  My favorite was the Sour Cream and Onion one while my hubby preferred the Buffalo Ranch.  It was much spicier, if you are into that sort of thing.  Enjoy some while you are there.

            Vanilla Ice Cream Funnel Cakes – Okay, this is a treat that has us coming back multiple times per trip.  Head on back to the America Pavilion in the World Showcase.  Right out front they have this tiny little funnel cake shack.  Order the funnel cake with vanilla ice cream.  They take a rectangular slab of vanilla ice cream and put it on a piping hot funnel cake and voila… you have a decadent treat that will leave you dreaming about coming back and having more.  So amazing!

            Salted Caramels and German Pretzels- Make sure you go to the Germany Pavilion and go to the Werther’s Original candy shop.  I am in love with salted caramels and I get them everywhere I go.  Well, the ones I got here were like the BEST salted caramels I have ever had.  They have all sorts of other amazing chocolates to try too, but this is my number one pick.  Once you have had your fill of caramels, walk across to the beer stand and get one of those HUGE German pretzels with mustard.  They are warm, soft, salty and perfect.  They are big enough to share with the whole family, but I’m pretty sure I ate it all by myself.  Teehee!

            There you have it, my EPCOT whirlwind tour.  Have fun and enjoy your trip to this unique place.  Don’t forget to check out the other parts of my series about Walt Disney World, and please write in with any questions you have about this park.  I can definitely help you plan a great trip.


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            Trip Links
            Walt Disney World Webpage – https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/
            Theme Park Tourist – http://www.themeparktourist.com/
            Part 1 of this Post – http://myvacationpants.blogspot.com/2016/04/put-on-your-disney-world-vacation-pants.html
            Part 2 of this Post: http://myvacationpants.blogspot.com/2016/04/put-on-your-walt-disney-world-vacation.html

            Also click on headings in the post above.  I linked the important information you need. 

            Put on your Walt Disney World Vacation Pants – Family Edition, Part 2 of 6

            Family selfie at Cinderella’s Castle, the focal point of the Magic Kingdom. – 2015
            In Part 2 of my Walt Disney World – Family Edition post, I will talk about the magical Magic Kingdom. Read on to find out how to take a budget friendly trip to this fantastic theme park. If you haven’t seen part ,1 click below.



            Let’s start with the most popular of the BIG 4 parks, Magic Kingdom.  Magic Kingdom is full of fantasy, wonder, and excitement.  If you grew up going to Disneyland in the 1980s, like I did, you will LOVE this park even more.  It will bring back so much nostalgia.  It really is a fantastic place for everyone.  Check out the tips below to get the most out of your day here. 

             Magic Kingdom -Tips and Tricks
            • Fast Pass + – Make sure you have reserved your fastpasses for the day on your Walt Disney World account.  See my tips on Fast Pass + in part 1 of this series.  Attractions worth getting fast passes for, if possible:  
              • Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
              • Peter Pan’s Flight
              • Space Mountain
              • Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
              • Splash Mountain                                                                               
            • Remember: If you get three attractions reserved early in the day, you can go back and order more fastpasses on the My Disney Experience App once you have used them all.  That is the only way to get more than three fastpasses in a day. Also, don’t forget to take advantage of the Extra Magic Hours at this park.  If you go to the park during the nighttime extended hours for WDW Resort guests, the park is open until 2:00 AM , and you will pretty much have the park to yourself.  Hard for young kiddos, but we just toted the stroller around while they slept, and the hubbs and I took turns walking on rides.  It was fantastic.  
              My daughter and I got to walk on all the Fantasyland rides during the nighttime Extra Magic Hours at the Magic Kingdom. 

              Here is our gang at the Extra Magic Hours at night.  Taken at 1:50 A.M.

            • Vintage Cool Attractions – As I mentioned above, the Magic Kingdom has tons of vintage cool attractions that will take you back in time.
              Don’t miss these attractions that used to be at Disneyland in California, but are no longer there:  Country Bear Jamboree, Carousel of Progress, Swiss Family Tree House, Tom Sawyer’s Island (with the fort and Injun Joe’s Cave open still), Tomorrowland Transit Authority (Walt Disney World’s version of the Peoplemover), and the Rockets on top of the Tomorrowland Transit Authority (like it should be).
              Also, they still have The Main Street Electrical Parade.  This used to be at Disneyland, but has been gone for several years.  It was so fun seeing it again. 
              This way to the People Mover.  Nice!

            • Pacing – Magic Kingdom is a larger park, not as large as EPCOT, but it has a lot to do.  If possible, make sure you spend a couple days here.  If you are only spending one day here, be sure you make use of those fastpasses, so you get the most bang for your buck.        
            MVP Tip:  A lot of people who have been to Walt Disney’s original Disneyland Park in California decide to skip this park.  They think it is just a replica placed in Florida.  Nope, not the case.  Even the attractions they have at both are way different.  For example, on Splash Mountain you are seated side by side in the log rather than in a row.  It also goes through different scenes from Song of the South as well.  The whole park is like that, but it also has completely different attractions too, like the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.  Bottom line: don’t skip it while your there. 

            • Educational Guide – I’m a teacher, so I try to find teachable moments everywhere we go, and believe it or not Disney World is no exception.  Make sure you check out the Hall of Presidents.  Talk to your kids about presidency and how important our founding fathers were.  Liberty Tree Square is a great way to show your kids what Colonial Times were like.  They even have stocks to take your picture in.  Talk about that kind of history with them.  It’s important for kids to know how the world has changed.  The Carousel of Progress at the Magic Kingdom is great show that demonstrates how technology has changed through the years.  You also get to ride around in a circle theater, so that’s fantastic as well.  Tom Sawyer’s Island has a lot of history about the Southern United States and how things were back then.  Also, my husband taught my kids how to play checkers while we were there.  Make history come alive and teach your kids something while you are having all sorts of fun.  Never miss an opportunity to help their brains grow. 
              Checker time on Tom Sawyer’s Island.

            • My Vacation Pants Recommendations- We loved the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.  It has very cool technology and is a thrilling ride, but still tame enough for younger children.  If you have never been to a Disney Park, you have to go on the classics like Pirates of the Carribean, Haunted Mansion, Jungle Cruise, Enchanted Tiki Room, Small World, etc.  We also loved The Hall of Presidents, maybe because of the The Bill and Ted reference, but it’s educational none the less.   One more thing that is exclusive to the Magic Kingdom, you have to check out the Monster’s Inc. Laugh Floor at the Magic Kingdom.  It was an interactive show and it was so hilarious we went back twice.  
              It was spooktacular at the Haunted Mansion.

              Jungle Cruise is classic. 
              Space Mountain mimics the Matterhorn track from Disneyland in California.  No side by side seating here. 
              Big Thunder Mountain Railroad as seen from TomSawyer’s Island.


            What To Eat

            Cinderella’s Royal Table – Yep, it’s just like it sounds, you get to eat inside Cinderella’s Castle.  How cool is that?  On this particular trip Cinderella was doing some remodeling, so we weren’t able to eat here, but we have eaten there on past visits.  Make sure you make your reservations early because they do fill up fast.  It’s a small intimate venue and you will feel like you’re royalty eating there.  This is also one of those splurge places.  Maybe bring some sandwiches for the rest of the day because this place is quite spendy.  Our favorite thing is the pretzel bread.  Not sure if they still serve it, but if they do, you’re in for a treat.  

            • Liberty Tree Tavern – Take a step back in colonial times and enjoy a meal.  This restaurant is located in the Liberty Square section of the park.  We had some good ole comfort food while we were there.  I liked that when you checked in to the restaurant they asked where you were from, and then when they called your family name to seat you they would yell where you hailed from.  It went something like this, “The Vecchio Family from the California Territory, your table is ready.”  It was cute, real cute, and fun to explain to the kids about colonies verses territories and stuff.  
              Out front of the yummy Liberty Tree Tavern.

              It looks like a cute little colonial tavern inside.

            • Dole Whips at the Sunshine Plaza – If you have never had a Dole Whip, you must try this tasty treat during your visit.  It’s basically pineapple ice cream, and it’s so magical.  They have a whole plaza dedicated to this treat at the Magic Kingdom.  You can get it at a couple different places (by the Enchanted Tiki Room and across from the Swiss Family Tree House).  They had an orange pineapple one that we tried that was okay, but for the real deal get the pineapple flavored one, or splurge for the pineapple float.  Yum.  
              Yes, it tastes as good as it looks.  

            So there you have it.  My Vacation Pants guide to the Magic Kingdom.  Please comment or e-mail me with any questions you have about this place.  I do know my way around a Disney Park.  Thanks for reading.  Don’t forget to check the links below to help you plan, and follow me on social media for updates about posts and to get even more travel tips. 

            Follow My Vacation Pants on Social Media:

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            Inquiries: myvactionpants@gmail.com

            Trip Links
            Walt Disney World Webpage – https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/
            Theme Park Tourist – http://www.themeparktourist.com/
            Part 1 of this Post – http://myvacationpants.blogspot.com/2016/04/put-on-your-disney-world-vacation-pants.html

            Also click on headings in the post above.  I linked the important information you need.