Countdown to Disney: 36 weeks



I skipped a few weeks due to the craziness of starting a new job. However, new job means we can definitely afford to go to Disney in January! Woohoo! In celebration, Duffy got a new hoodie. He’s now ready for a day in the Animal Kingdom and riding Dinosaur!


I did manage to make a countdown for Week #38, I just didn’t have time to write a post.

Plan for Dining

This week, I’ve been thinking a lot about dining…the next step in creating our general schedule. I’ll need to be ready to make my ADRs (advanced dining reservations) sometime in July, I believe. You can start making dining reservations 180 days before your trip.

I was torn between doing a quick service (Disney language for fast food) option for every meal, or if we wanted to do one table service meal per day. I’ve decided on a compromise: one table service meal per park! This will translate to roughly a table service meal every other day.

We are also going to allow one repeated restaurant (QS or TS) per park.

My primary focus is on table service since those are the ones that require the ADRs. One per park means I have four table service restaurants I need to decide on. We’ve already made some decisions:

  • Epcot- The Coral Reef: This will fill both a table service spot AND the repeat spot. We had a great experience at the Coral Reef last time. Despite my dislike of seafood, this ranked very high on both of our lists. The food was good, but the view, service and atmosphere were amazing. All of our quick service choices will be in the World Showcase.
  • Magic Kingdom- Skipper’s Canteen: Obviously! I’ve knew we were going to eat here since before this restaurant opened. It’s the new restaurant themed around the Jungle Cruise. Definitely a must-do for us. Our repeat at Magic Kingdom will be Be Our Guest.
  • Animal Kingdom- Still deciding!
  • Hollywood Studios- Our table service choice will be the 50’s Prime Time Cafe. Our repeat will be Starring Rolls- the sandwich we got was delicious and the perfect size to share.

New Guidebooks!

I used part of an Amazon gift card to order two Disney guides: The Imagineering Field Guide to Animal Kingdom and The Imagineering Field Guide Hollywood Studios. The guides are old, but they contain a lot of information about the thematic decisions behind a lot of the scenery/decorative choices, and trivia about the fun details.

Binder Updates

Upcoming Master To Do List

  • Try a new recipe
  • Find my unofficial guidebook
  • Start adding to the binder
  • Watch another movie
  • Work on the general schedule

Movie Updates

2 of 6!!


We finally got to watch another movie! We went to the library and they had Big Hero 6 available. We loved it. It didn’t make me cry as much as other Pixar films, but it made me laugh out loud quite a few times. Baymax is adorable.

Resource of the Week

The Disney Food Blog!

WDW Virtual Visit

None- No time! I’ve watched a couple of live Facebook streams by Character Queen.

Question for the Readers

If you had to choose one restaurant per park, what would you pick?


Countdown to Disney: 39 Weeks


It’s been a crazy couple of weeks! We’ve been very busy, and overall it’s been pretty positive. More good things are starting to happen and we may be getting back on track. Unfortunately, my hectic schedule made the blog quiet for a couple weeks. Lucky for me, the countdown for last week would have ALSO been 40 thanks to the adjustment in our dates. So, I took advantage of that, and didn’t bother making a new countdown post. 😀

Activities for Week 39

General Schedule

I didn’t have much time to work on things this week, but I began coming up with the general scheduled of the trip:

disney schedule 1

I have the dates listed, the main activity (park) for each day, and the lands that will be the focus of that day. I have places to fill in lunch & dinner plans, snack ideas and any goals we want to accomplish on that day.

Binder Updates

Upcoming Master To Do List

  • Watch a movie (so close!)
  • Purchase another guidebook with an Amazon gift card I’ve saved since Christmas (I’ve decided which one, but just haven’t ordered it yet)
  • Try a new recipe
  • Find my unofficial guide
  • Start adding to the binder

Movie Updates

Still at 1 of 26…..SOON. I thought this week was going to be the week, but some important vehicle tasks are taking too long. Hoping we can finally have a day of relaxation soon.

Resource of the Week

I’ve mainly been listening to the WDW Radio podcast and the Dis Unplugged.

WDW Virtual Visit


Question for the Readers

What a Disney movie that you haven’t seen, but really want to?

Countdown to Disney: 40 Weeks?


Activities for Week 40

Date Selection

In Week 47, I discuss in depth how I go about this process. So, if the below image doesn’t make sense, take a look at that first (also feel free to leave questions below).

Seven Options

WDW Prep School has released their crowd calendars for the early part of 2016. Now, they list low crowds for January 17th to February 2nd. However, earlier in the month they have it varying from low to heavy, with a lot of it being in the moderate zone.

This is actually super helpful. My first three scenarios based upon the Touring Plans crowd calendar are all during this time of fluctuating and potential heavy crowds, according to the WDW Prep calendar. The calendars, of course, are only educated guesses based on history, school calendars, events, etc… I don’t expect either of them to be perfectly accurate, so who knows who is correct for this period of time.

However, they both AGREE with my Options 4 through 7 as being the lowest crowds around that time of year. Therefore, we can safely kick out Options 1, 2 and 3.

Four Options

I made up a little table to represent my view of the remaining four:

final options

I scored the park arrangement on a scale of 1 to 3….1 point for okay, 2 for good, 3 for great. We had two average crowd scores…4.125 and 4.25. The 4.125 got 2 points, the others 1 point. I looked at the highest predicted experienced crowd level (so they highest we’d personally encounter) and assigned 1 or 2 points based on the answer (6 vs. 8). In the end, the results were pretty clear…Option #6 is my favorite option. My days at the Magic Kingdom are spread out, but it is my last day. All the other parks are nicely spread out (so if we get a string of bad weather, an illness, etc…). It has the lowest predicted average crowd levels for our likely schedule. And the maximum crowd level experienced is 6.

This means next week will also be week 40! My countdown was just an estimate, and now it’ll need to be updated.


Binder Updates

More section headings, this time for the Magic Kingdom! I found the fonts here:

Upcoming Master To Do List

  • Watch a movie (someday, someday)
  • Purchase another guidebook with an Amazon gift card I’ve saved since Christmas (I’ve decided which one, but just haven’t ordered it yet)
  • Try a new recipe
  • Pick a dates option
  • See if there are any section headers I’m missing

Movie Updates

Still at 1 of 26…..

Resource of the Week

The WDW Radio podcast is pretty fun to listen to. Lou is very upbeat and obsessed with food.

WDW Virtual Visit

I didn’t get a chance to watch any this week. My week has been a bit hectic because of travel plans.

Question for the Readers

What are you strategies for avoiding crowds in Disney?

Countdown to Disney: 41 Weeks


Activities for Week 41

I looked at Option #7 for the dates. In Week 47, I discuss in depth how I go about this process. So, if the below image doesn’t make sense, take a look at that first (also feel free to leave questions below).


I really don’t like the “8” in the Magic Kingdom…that scares me. I’m also not a fan of how early all the MK days fall. I’m not feeling this plan as much as the last one.


I’ve managed to accumulate four M&M tubes for pressed penny money. I have to decide how I want to decorate them.

Binder Updates

I had way too much fun playing with these fonts!!! You can find the fonts I used here (all free!)

Upcoming Master To Do List

  • Watch a movie (someday, someday)
  • Purchase another guidebook with an Amazon gift card I’ve saved since Christmas (I’ve decided which one, but just haven’t ordered it yet)
  • Finish making section headers for binder (MK)
  • Try a new recipe
  • Pick a dates option

Movie Updates

Still at 1 of 26. Things took an unexpected turn this past weekend and we will need to put off movie watching for a few more weeks.

Resource of the Week

I got my snazzy Epcot fonts from a WDW Prep pin on Pinterest!

WDW Virtual Visit

As I mentioned, this week has been really rough, so I left the World Showcase and went over to Fantasyland to try to lift my spirits. I took a ride on Peter Pan.

Question for the Readers

What’s your favorite attraction in Fantasyland?

WDW News Roundup

Jambo Everyone posted some cool videos from Winged Encounters in the Animal Kingdom. This little unadvertised diversion is something I missed last time. I’m looking forward to seeing it in January.

Good news! Fan favorite, the Writer’s Stop, will be staying open at Hollywood Studios according to Touring Plans.

New maps of Hollywood Studios have been released, they’ve removed the section known as Streets of America, and they’ve added in Muppet Courtyard. While, I’m sad to see the Streets of America leave, does this mean that the Muppets are safe? Perhaps they will even get a bit more presence in the park? I hope so.

The staffing cuts for the Citizens of Hollywood has begun. 😦 I didn’t know about this amazing diversion in the parks when I went last time. I am SO sad I will never get to see them live. Thank goodness for the WDW Park Hopper podcast…he’s got some great episodes with some of the Citizens performing.

My Phoenicians (Spaceship Earth) did not make it to the final four! The two representing WDW were the Bellhops (Tower of Terror) and Blasters (Space Mountain). I’m rooting for Disneyland in the finals…their top two were Pirates and Haunted Mansion!

More information about Tiffins, Animal Kingdoms new signature dining restaurant, has been released. Sounds lovely!

Want more photos? Support this site on Patreon!

Countdown to Disney: 42 Weeks

This week’s countdown post is themed around the castle. Duffy had a wardrobe change. He’s now in his treasure map shirt.


Activities for Week 42

I looked at Option #6 for the dates. In Week 47, I discuss in depth how I go about this process. So, if the below image doesn’t make sense, take a look at that first (also feel free to leave questions below).


I really like this set of dates. I love how MK is the first day, the last day, and then one in the middle. I love how there are three low-crowd days in a row at the end of the trip. The average crowd level we experience is also among the lowest estimated so far. This set of dates will definitely be a contender!

Binder Updates

You can find the fonts I used here.

Upcoming Master To Do List

  • Watch a movie
  • Purchase another guidebook with an Amazon gift card I’ve saved since Christmas (I’ve decided which one, but just haven’t ordered it yet)
  • Finish making section headers for binder (MK and Epcot)
  • Try a new recipe
  • Dates Option 7

Movie Updates

Still at 1 of 26. Someday we will be able to watch movies again. Next weekend maybe? I’m thinking this could happen soon! Our schedule is looking up next week.

Resource of the Week

Ellie’s Ramblings– Ellie is a vlogger that I adore. She posts videos about a lot of things, but many related to Disney. She visits Disneyland Paris the most often since she’s in England, but she is doing a wonderful series dedicated to her trip to WDW back in October. She’s almost done with it, but you should check it out from the beginning. I first found her from this video on how to meet characters in the parks. Ellie is amazing with the characters, she really gets them interacting.

WDW Virtual Visit

I toured France on WDW Virtual Visit. We didn’t spend much time in France when we went, so it was interesting. We also missed the France movie. It looks nice (but not as fun as Canada).

Question for the Readers

Do you have any Disney vloggers to recommend? Mention them below (for myself and other readers!)

Duffy’s Wishlist

Duffy was sick and tired of holding the countdown sign all day, so he decided to give me a hand!


Are you lucky enough to live with a Duffy? Or know someone who does? Well, this post is for you. Duffy & I made a wishlist of some items you can currently find that your Duffy friend would love to have.

Don’t know who Duffy the Disney Bear is? *gasp* Duffy was a bear that Minnie sewed for Mickey before a long overseas voyage. She packed him in a duffle bag for Mickey. Duffy was made with love and to keep Mickey from getting lonely. Duffy LOVES to travel. He loves going to Disney, and other places, and taking selfies. You can learn more about him here:

  1. ShellieMay– Well, the first thing on Duffy’s wishlist is his girlfriend, ShellieMay, of course. Available at the Disney Store online.


2. Toy Story Alien Pajama Set- This is only available on the Shop Disney Parks app (OS/Android) and in the parks. Pajamas for Duffy with the little aliens from Toy Story. Adorable!


3. BAB Dino Hoodie– While official Disney Duffy gear is very adorable and fun, it’s also expensive. The above PJ set is $33. However, Build-a-Bear clothes fit the 17″ (standard/medium) Duffy just fine. My Duffy’s clothes all come from BAB. For example, this cute dinosaur hoodie is only $8.50!


4. BAB Han Solo Costume- Suitable for both Halloween & a trip to Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Duffy’s fourth pick is a Han Solo costume.


5. BAB Blue & Green Button-up– Sometimes, Duffy wants to dress up a little. This BAB shirt would pair very well with his khaki shorts.


6. BAB “On the Go” Onesie Sleeper– If Duffy can’t have the cool Toy Story pajamas, he’ll take this comfy-looking sleeper.


7. BAB Bedding– Duffy wants his very own place to sleep, and can have it with this adorable bedding from BAB.


8. Reindeer Pajamas– Duffy loves Christmas as much as I do (and it’s close to the Disney trip!), so why not get prepared early? These reindeer pajamas are so cute, and who knows if they will still be available this December?


9. Mickey Mouse Poncho– When it rains at Disney, everyone is wearing a poncho! Duffy wants an official Mickey poncho, so he can stay out of the rain. Unfortunately, this isn’t sold at the Disney Store, or on the Shop Disney Parks app, so you need to find it from a third party Disney merchandise dealer, like: YourWDWStore.

10. Duffy Tsum Tsum– There is a Duffy Tsum Tsum!