TouringPlans – Rainforest Café At Disney’s Animal Kingdom Review

Please check out my latest article on TouringPlans – A review of Rainforest Café at Disney’s Animal Kingdom!

Helpful Information For Your May 2015 Disney World Vacation

Epcot International Flower And Garden Festival

Planning Your May 2015 Disney World Vacation

So you are planning a vacation to Disney World in May 2015? May is a wonderful time of year to visit Walt Disney World. The temperatures are warm, the flowers are blooming and the crowds are light.

Weather

The weather in Disney World during May is beautiful. The average high is about 89 degrees, the average low is about 65 degrees and the average rainfall is only about 3.1 inches. By traveling in May, you are getting your vacation in just before the rainy season begins. But don’t forget to pack your poncho just in case!

Crowds

The crowds throughout the month of May are nice and moderate. You can anticipate crowds to begin to pick up Memorial Day weekend and beyond.

May 1 – May 2 – Average Crowd Level 5.5 out of 10
May 3 – May 9 – Average Crowd Level 4.9 out of 10
May 10 – May 16 – Average Crowd Level 4.6 out of 10
May 17 – May 23 – Average Crowd Level 5.0 out of 10
May 24 – May 31 – Average Crowd Level 6.0 out of 10

Park Hours

Magic Kingdom ClockWith bigger crowds comes longer hours at the Parks. As the month goes on and the crowds increase, all of the Parks will close later.

  • Magic Kingdom: Open most days from 9am – 11pm or 12am (plus Extra Magic Hours)
  • Epcot: Open from 9am – 9pm (plus Extra Magic Hours)
  • Hollywood Studios: Open most days from 9am – 8:30pm or 10:00pm (plus Extra Magic Hours)
  • Animal Kingdom: Open most days from 9am – 6pm or 7pm (plus Extra Magic Hours)

For specific hours on each day during May, please click this link. Remember that park hours are subject to change and are often adjusted two weeks prior.

Events

Expedition EverestOn May 1 and 2, Disney World is hosting the runDisney event – Expedition Everest Challenge for the final time. This 5K race is held at night at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and includes an obstacle course and scavenger hunt. Sorry to say if you haven’t already registered, this race is sold out. However, there are currently tickets still available for the after party – please check this link for the most up-to-date availability. Because this run and after party are held at night (from 10pm – 2:30am), they should not have a big impact on daytime touring.

Epcot International Flower And Garden FestivalA terrific part about visiting Disney World in May is the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival. This year the event will run from March 4 – May 17 and features over 100 topiaries, interesting gardening demonstrations, beautiful flowers, weekend music concerts and several outdoor kitchens serving delicious foods and beverages. For more information about the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival, please check out this article.

Star Wars WeekendsAlso beginning on May 15 and running weekends through June 14 at Disney’s Hollywood Studios are Star Wars Weekends. This event is huge with fans of the franchise and includes dining experiences, themed treats, special shows, parades, presentations, autograph sessions, and chances to meet the characters and celebrities. For more information and to watch a hilarious video featuring a Star Wars Darth Vader cupcake destroying a bakery, please check out this article.

Refurbishments

Periodically throughout the year, Disney closes attractions for refurbishments and enhancements. Here are the scheduled closures during May (subject to change without notice):

Magic Kingdom

  • Central Plaza Area (between end of Main Street and Cinderella Castle): Ongoing – To Be Completed In 2015
  • Dream Along With Mickey: April 13 – May 20, 2015
  • Jungle Cruise: April 13 – May 8, 2015

Epcot

  • Maelstrom and Spirit of Norway Film: Ongoing – Reopening in 2016 Reimagined as a New Frozen Attraction

Hollywood Studios

  • LA Prop & Cinema Storage Shop: Reopening Early 2015 as The Trolley Car Café (Starbucks location)
  • Sorcerer Mickey Hat: Being Permanently Removed Beginning January 7, 2015

Animal Kingdom

  • Creature Comforts: Reopening June 2015 as the New Starbucks Location

Water Parks

  • No refurbishments currently scheduled

Downtown Disney

  • Downtown Disney is undergoing a major transformation to become the reimagined Disney Springs. Construction will be finished in phases with the final completion date set for Fall 2016. Please check out this article for more details and photos!

Resort Hotels

  • Art of Animation: Finding Nemo Schoolyard Wet Play Area May 26 – June 29, 2015
  • Beach Club Resort: Ongoing Guest Room Refurbishments To Be Completed In August 2015
  • Caribbean Beach Resort: Ongoing Upgrade to Queen Beds To Be Completed Spring 2015
  • Coronado Springs Resort: La Vida Health Club and Beauty Salon May 18 – June 19, 2015
  • Polynesian Resort: Ongoing Nanea Volcano Pool Refurbishment To Be Completed In Spring 2015; Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto To Be Completed In 2015; DVC Polynesian Villas & Bungalows To Open In 2015
  • Walt Disney World Swan: Ongoing Guest Room Refurbishments To Be Completed In 2016

Planning Tips

Disney's Animal Kingdom Tree of LifeIf you are traveling to Disney World in May 2015, your planning is probably well under way at this point. Here’s a checklist to make sure you are on track:

  • Make sure you have created your My Disney Experience account. If you haven’t, click here to sign up now.
  • If you haven’t already made your dining reservations, be sure to make them now by clicking here.
  • If you are staying onsite, be sure to customize your Magicband on your My Disney Experience account by picking the color and adding your name.
  • Now is a great time to research what attractions you and your family would like to see at the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom. Because Walt Disney World is so large, it is very difficult to see everything during one trip, so be sure to get everyone’s top priorities. This is also a great time to begin looking at menus for counter service restaurants so that you have an idea of which locations serve foods that your entire family will enjoy. Need help with your research? Check out my book “A Tale of Two Resorts” which includes descriptions and tips for every attraction and helpful dining information for every restaurant from snack stand to table service including specifics about atmosphere, cuisine type, dress code and even menu selections including the kid’s meals that are offered. Click here for more information including an excerpt.
  • Whether you are staying onsite or off-property, now is the time to purchase your admission tickets and link them to your My Disney Experience account.
  • Once your tickets are linked and at exactly 60 days out (midnight EST time) if you are staying onsite or 30 days out for all other guests, login to your My Disney Experience account and book your Fastpass+ reservations.
  • If you are staying onsite, be sure to check in online at 60 days out from your arrival date.
  • Double check your flight times and if you will be using Disney’s Magical Express for your airport transportation make your reservation now by clicking here.
  • Now is also a great time to start creating a packing list so that you don’t forget anything.
  • Need more help planning? Please ask a question in the comments section or check out the Planning section here.

Special Offers

If you haven’t already made your May 2015 reservations, Disney has some great offers going on right now!

  • You can save up to 30% on rooms at select Walt Disney World Resort hotels when you book between now and February 16, 2015 for stays most nights March 2 – June 15, 2015.
  • Or save up to 25% on rooms at select Walt Disney World Resort hotels when booked between February 17 and March 28, 2015 for stays most nights March 2 – June 15, 2015.
  • As an added bonus you can receive one more ticket day FREE when you upgrade to a room and ticket package with a minimum 4-day Magic Your Way Ticket.

To take advantage of these incredible deals, please click the image below and fill out the form to receive a FREE quote from my friends at Destinations in Florida.

Any planning questions or tips? Please leave a comment!

Remember A Tale Of Two Resorts January Giveaway

Remember I am giving away a copy of my new book “A Tale of Two Resorts: Comparing Disneyland and Walt Disney World – A Traveler’s Reference”!

A Little About My Book

Are you trying to decide between a trip to Disneyland or Walt Disney World? Or maybe you have visited one resort and are curious about the other? My new book, “A Tale of Two Resorts: Comparing Disneyland and Walt Disney World – A Traveler’s Reference”, is now available!

This reference book is loaded with facts and information about all of the hotels, restaurants, attractions, experiences, entertainment choices and resort extras that are available at Disneyland and Walt Disney World. Each chapter begins with a handy side-by-side chart that compares each destination and concludes with a “For What It’s Worth” section that gives my personal thoughts and opinions. Topics include Lay of the Land, Atmosphere, Weather, Crowds, Events, Budgeting, Planning Timeline, Accommodations, Admission Tickets, Transportation, Theme Parks, Resort Extras, Dining and of course, there’s helpful advice about planning your trip and organizing your day.

As a mom with two boys of my own, I understand the many challenges of traveling with young kids. Throughout “A Tale of Two Resorts”, I’ve included several features for parents that will help you plan your Disney trip plus they’ll make your vacation easier once you arrive at the resort. Here are just a few of these invaluable features:

  • In Chapter 8 Accommodations – I’ve included detailed information about every resort including room types available and resort amenities. If you need to know if a particular hotel has a kiddie pool, offers on site childcare or even how many people the room will accommodate, you’ll find those important answers.
  • In Chapter 11 Theme Parks – I’ve included a Word of Warning for each and every attraction that needs one, giving you a heads up on what to expect and what you need to be aware of before taking your child on that particular ride.
  • In Chapter 13 Dining – I’ve included specifics for every dining location from table service to snack stand such as atmosphere, cuisine type, dress code and even menu selections including the kid’s meals that are offered. So if you are like me and have kids that are picky eaters, you’ll know exactly where to find those all important chicken nuggets or macaroni & cheese.

Whether you are going to Disneyland or Disney World and especially if the decision between the two destinations is still being made, “A Tale of Two Resorts” will give you all of the information you need to make the better choice and plenty of advice for planning that magical vacation!

The Giveaway

From now through Friday, January 30, 2015, please enter daily to win a copy of my new book “A Tale of Two Resorts: Comparing Disneyland and Walt Disney World – A Traveler’s Reference”. Just click the image below and follow the instructions to be entered into the giveaway. Be sure to take advantage of the bonus entries, and please feel free to share with your friends and family!  

A Tale of Two Resorts

Can’t wait and need to get the book right away?
Please click this link, to purchase your copy today!

Like politics and religion, the topic of which destination is better – Disneyland or Walt Disney World – is sure to fire up the faithful. In “A Tale of Two Resorts”, Kristi Fredericks takes no side, but she does deliver the most comprehensive reference guide for both resorts available anywhere.

Africa Marketplace Opening Spring 2015 In Animal Kingdom

Africa Marketplace

If you’ve been to Animal Kingdom lately, you have probably noticed the abundance of construction walls up throughout the park. Lots of exciting changes are happening! One of which is the addition of Africa Marketplace opening this spring. Here are some of the latest details from Disney:

Imagine the colors, scents and boundless activity of a village marketplace in Africa. That sensory scene is coming to Disney’s Animal Kingdom with a spring 2015 opening planned for Africa Marketplace – a new shopping and dining option for park-goers in Harambe, the village anchoring the Africa section of the park. One highlight of the new space will be Harambe Marketplace, a new quick-service food and beverage location offering street-inspired dishes from walk-up windows. Guests will find plenty of shady places to relax and eat. For their convenience, the new space also will open up a new pathway from Africa to Bradley Falls and the Asia section of the park. Together with the new Harambe Theatre housing “The Festival of the Lion King,” the addition of Africa Marketplace will double the size of the original Harambe Village.

Be sure to check back often. I will share more details as soon as they are released.

Need help planning your day at Animal Kingdom?

Be sure to check out these posts to make the most of your time at Animal Kingdom:

Heading to Disney World?

If you are planning a vacation to Disney World, be sure to check out these resources to help you save money:

Anyone else excited to check out the new Africa Marketplace?
Please leave a comment below!

Where To Find Flame Tree Barbecue Foods During Refurbishment

Flame Tree Barbecue

One of everyone’s favorite Disney World dining locations is Flame Tree Barbecue at Animal Kingdom! If you’ve checked out the latest list of refurbishments you’ll notice that this tasty counter service stop is actually closed through March 31, 2015. So what’s a hungry traveler to do when they are in need of their barbecue fix? Have no fear, you can still find some of your Flame Tree favorites at different locations around Animal Kingdom. Here’s the scoop:

  • Half Chicken: Beastly Kiosk, Gardens Kiosk
  • Jumbo Turkey Leg: Trilo-Bites
  • Half Slab St. Louis Ribs: Beastly Kiosk, Gardens Kiosk
  • Rib & Chicken Combo: Beastly Kiosk, Gardens Kiosk
  • Pork Sandwich: Trilo-Bites

Flame Tree Favorites

So now you’re all set! While Flame Tree Barbecue is getting some additional seating areas, you can still get your fill of delicious barbecue!

Need help planning your day at Animal Kingdom?

Be sure to check out these posts to make the most of your time at Animal Kingdom:

Heading to Disney World?

If you are planning a vacation to Disney World, be sure to check out the following resources to help you save money:

Do you love Flame Tree Barbecue? What is your favorite dish?
Please leave a comment!