Disney has a lot of rules, and yes you should follow them. Well, most of them! Most of the rules are put in place for safety, crowd control and guest experiences. Some have been put in place by rumor and are self-imposed, and if you were to ask Disney about them, they would admit they are only suggestions.
Leave the selfie sticks behind and don’t try to smuggle alcohol into the parks are two major no-no’s when it comes to visiting Walt Disney World. However, some rules about Walt Disney World we have imposed on ourselves. Wherever you look, you will get the same advice. You have to plan, plan, plan – and then keep on planning. It’s enough to make anybody nervous.
The good news is that you can actually chill. There are a bunch of Walt Disney World rules that you don’t have to follow, and there are many ways to do WDW without a plan.
Here are five rules that you can break:
Rule No. 1 – Make Dining Reservations 180 Days in Advance
It’s true that if you wait too long reservations for the most popular restaurants fill up. However, there are a lot of restaurants and many of them will take last minute reservations (I recently wrote about Five WDW Restaurants You Can Still Book Last Minute).
Many of the Disney Spring restaurants and many of the resort restaurants are very accessible. It’s only the restaurants that get the raviest (is that even a word?) on-line reviews that get onto everybody’s must do list. It’s not essential and you will not go hungry.
Plus, many of the best restaurants also have lounges that do not take reservations.
Rule No. 2 – Do All 4 Parks Plus Extra Days
Your trip can last as long as you need it to or as long as you want it to. You don’t have to go to all of the parks. On one of my recent trips we only went to two of the parks, but we opted to do them both for multiple days.
The parks are very spread out and park hopping is not always the best option. You should just do what you want and are comfortable with.
You also don’t need to pay for extra nights so that you can include more leisure time between the parks. It’s nice to do, but it’s not a hard and fast rule.
Rule No. 3 – You Have to Stay at a Disney Hotel
People go a little overboard in saying that you have to stay on property. Yes, there are perks, but it’s very expensive.
There are plenty of good neighbor hotels just minutes away from Walt Disney World that enjoy many of the on-site perks. They offer shuttle service and are in walking distance to Disney Springs. If you do choose to stay off property you can save a bundle.
It’s nice to stay at a themed Disney hotel, but it is far from the only way to experience Walt Disney World.
Fastpass selections become available 90 days prior if staying on site, or 60 days prior if you stay at a good neighbor Disney hotel. Fastpasses help you avoid the standby line by scheduling your arrival time for the attraction.
As with restaurants, the most popular ones fill up fast, but in no way is it a requirement to even use Fastpass at all. You can schedule Fastpasses any time you like and even refresh your My Disney Experience app regularly for up to the minute openings in availability.
Finding a Starbucks or other counter service location to sit and try this out is a winning strategy for getting highly prized Fastpasses on the day of.
Rule No. 5 – You Can’t go Without Kids
It’s a myth that Walt Disney World is only for kids. Just take a good look at the drinking around the world visitors, Victoria and Alberts, and Disney Springs. Adults love Walt Disney World, too.
You don’t have to bring the kids on a Disney trip and you don’t need kids with you to enjoy it.
There is a lot of fun for adults to have and even the kid attractions were in fact built to be enjoyed by adults as well.
There is world class food and plenty of entertainment whether you are a mom and dad on holiday, just a couple trying to getaway for a magical few days or a group of friends having a getaway trip!
What are your best “rule breaking” suggestions?
The Michael Kors Access Runway Smartwatch from Best Buy
Disclaimer: I was provided with the Michael Kors Access Runway Smartwatch for purposes of this review. All opinions are my own.
I wasn’t sure I was even interested in owning a smartwatch. I average about 600 to 700 emails a day so I know I didn’t want a watch telling me each time an email arrived. My social media is pretty busy as well so – I didn’t want any notifications there either. I know you can turn them off, but why bother having a smartwatch if you aren’t going to use it to it’s full potential – right?
When Best Buyasked if I wanted to experience this watch, I thought – what the heck! Let me give it a try!
The watch comes in gold-tone or rose gold-tone finish and lets you take selfies (I have not yet been able to figure out how), ring your phone, access music, keep track of personal goals, and access your social media accounts.
The watch is compatible with both android (4.4 or later) and iOS 9.3 or later operating systems.
From OS by Google
Make every minute matter with smart help and health coaching, from the convenience of your wrist.
Proactive Help From the Google Assistant: Keeps you ahead of your day with proactive, personalized help from Google Assistant, even before you ask.
Smarter Health Coaching from Google Fit: Motivates you towards a healthier life with coaching and activity tracking based on guidelines from the American Heart Association & World Health Organization.
Maximizes Your Time: Get more done and maximize your time with more glanceable, easy to manage notifications, with smart replies to respond quickly on the go.
Compatible with iPhone/iOS and Android.
From Michael Kors
Makes it easier to be healthy with the Google Fit app’s two new activity trackers—Heart Points and Move Minutes—which were designed in partnership with the American Heart Association and the World Health Organization. These evidence-based metrics measure activity intensity, and smarter health coaching makes your fitness goals more achievable by motivating you to stay active throughout your day, everyday. (Additional background.)
Provides proactive help from Google Assistant—from viewing upcoming flight info to dinner reservations.
Quick access to Google Pay—so you can pay with a wave at almost anyplace that accepts credit cards.
Fashion meets function with this designer brand: fresh, eye-catching design is perfect for transitioning from a workout to a night out with ease, and you can customize your dial (watch face).
Let’s jump right in with what I think about this product.
Setting up the Michael Kors Access smartwatch was simple. There is a “quick start” manual included but no full manual or guide. The easiest way to set up your watch is through the Michael Kors Access website which features step by step instruction videosfor each area of the watch.
The look of the watch is beautiful and you can easily change the dial/face with a few clicks to match your current outfit or mood.
Has an elegant design but is durable at the same time.
You can purchase changeable bands. All watches come with a separate changeable clasp to go with other bands.
The watch is water resistant.
Compatible with all of your Google accounts.
Michael Kors has done an excellent job with the design of their charger. It’s constructed so that it makes it more difficult for the watch to slide/fall off when charging. It almost feels like a magnet grabs on to the watch.
Easy to use Google Fit – You can control Pandora – Sync with Google Calendar – Continuous heart monitoring
Unfortunately for me, the cons sort of out-weigh the pros. The smartwatch is a bit heavy but it’s definitely manageable.
The 24 hour advertised battery life is not great. The battery life depends on your usage so in order to maintain your battery you have to turn off notifications to everything or by noon the battery is at 50%. The battery life drops quickly with usage.
You can put the watch on battery saving mode but this is basically putting the watch into airplane mode so it disables location services, wi-fi, mobile data, vibrations, etc.
Inconsistent performance. The necessary app to sync with your phone doesn’t always work well. I found that I often had to re-sync after charging.
The watch is not fully compatible with your i-phone. There are some limitations between Wear OS and iOS.
You can see notifications of text, emails and calls but cannot reply to text or emails. You can answer the call but will need to use your phone to talk as opposed to speaking into the watch.
The “Google Fit” feature is very easy to use when you’re doing basics but any other type of workouts, you have to scroll through ALL of the variety of “activities” you can choose from.
You can only control Pandora if it’s running on your phone.
There is a several second delay or longer for each function/button to kick in. .
Alarm feature is standalone and does not sync with iPhone’s alarm. When the alarm goes off, you have to go into the alarm and turn it off as opposed to having it pop up on the screen to snooze/turn off.
Although you can sync with your Google calendar, you cannot edit the calendar – only view.
Overall, I have to say that the Michael Kors Access Runway Smartwatch is elegant and beautiful, yet durable. It will definitely have your friends and family asking you about it. But try as I might, I’m having a hard time staying excited about some of the features.
I had so much trouble trying to use the smartwatch with my iPhone, that I most likely won’t use it regularly. Although it’s stylish, it won’t fit the needs of someone that NEEDS a “smartwatch” and uses an iphone.
Michael Kors might sell plenty of Access watches based on the strength of its brand alone.
These watches are truly gorgeous and, bugs aside, generally do what they promise. But there’s nothing here that sets it apart from being yet another smartwatch. It’s difficult to fault Michael Kors for the functionality of the Access line since it’s limited by what Google offers for this sort of accessory.
I can’t say I would deter anyone who is thinking of purchasing this watch. If you want style, this watch is for you. If you aren’t concerned with immediate functionality this watch is for you. If you use an android, this is the smartwatch for you.
It all works as it should but a bit slow and glitchy.
Solo Travelers: 4 Ways to Stay Safe and Sound
While traveling the world on your own is a great adventure nobody should have to miss out on, the risk factor tends to put a lot of people off. When you’re traveling alone, you’re also a bit more vulnerable in terms of both being mugged and targeted by unpleasant people – and who do you turn to when you decide to set off all by yourself?
There is nothing wrong with a healthy dose of fear but, as long as you follow your common sense and a few extra safety tips, there is no reason that you shouldn’t be able to enjoy yourself on a solo trip. A lot of people have done it before you, after all, and they have shared their expert tips on how to stay a bit safer while traveling.
Nothing is a guarantee against uncomfortable situations, of course, but it may make it a bit easier to find the confidence you need to enjoy your adventure. Here is a handful of great tips to keep in mind when you load your backpack onto your back so that you can set off without feeling unsafe.
#1 – Always let your friends and family know
Traveling alone means that you have a lot of friends and family back home who would love an update once in a while. Try not to just send them a message once a week, though, and promise yourself as well as them that you will let them know whenever you travel to a new backpacker’s hostel or to another city.
It’s a good idea to mention this to them before leaving as well, by the way, so that they can remind you in case you get a bit lazy and start to feel like home is so very far away when you’re having a good time.
You never know if something should happen at the next place you travel to and, if you only gave them an update once a week, they will only have the hostel you stayed at a week ago to go by. Tell yourself to be a good son or daughter instead and keep your parents, above all, updated or another family member.
They will be quite grateful for this as well, though, and it will make it a bit easier for them to relax while you’re off enjoying your solo adventure.
It’s a good idea to go over your accommodations together with your family, by the way, and a lot of applications require that you provide them with this as well as a flight reservation for a visa, in general. That way, both the visa center and your family will know exactly where you’re landing and where you’re staying so try to stick to your plan.
#2 – Always let the staff know if you’re uncomfortable
The people working at the restaurants, bars, and hostels you’re going to visit are there to help you – and they probably have experience in dealing with unpleasant people as well. While we tend to hear about uncomfortable or downright unpleasant situations, it’s difficult to speak up when we find ourselves in one – and, sometimes, it’s easier to just tell ourselves we’re overreacting.
Letting the people around you know about this is alpha omega to staying safe while traveling. Turn to the staff right away and make arrangements for changing the room you’re staying in, for example, if you find yourself sharing a dorm at a hostel with someone who seems kind of dodgy. They will be able to take care of this without making any fuss and you can sleep a bit easier at night.
Try to keep the same mentality if you’re out on the town with a bunch of new people and find that someone is bothering you. While you will meet both nice and unpleasant people wherever you go, the majority will be happy to help you out if you need to get away from someone so don’t try to handle the situation on your own.
You can have a look at this article if you need some more tips on the topic before you head off, by the way.
#3 – Be aware when you’re out and about
If you have never been on a solo adventure before, you will probably stay naturally alert when you’re out and about on your own. When nobody is there to pay attention for you, it’s particularly important to keep an extra hand on your bags and notice it if somebody should happen to stick their hand into your purse – but there are other ways to stay alert as well.
Not looking confused and out of place is also going to help you a lot when you have to navigate the streets on your own. Criminals tend to target those who seem a bit lost and, particularly by the ATM, it is important that you try to seem confident even if you’re not.
It is normal to get a bit lost sometimes, though, and not always feel as confident when you’re in a new place but you can always get help from somebody else who is not a random stranger in the streets. Head into the bank, for example, if you’re struggling with that ATM instead of accepting the help of a stranger – or pop into a shop quickly if you’re lost.
Asking for help, on the other hand, is a bit different from being approached as criminals are known for being on the lookout for confused tourists, trying to withdraw their money and fumbling around with their wallet and everything else. Look smart and confident, know who to ask for help, and you’re making your chances of being robbed a bit smaller.
#4 – Use the safe at the hotel
Wherever you are staying, there will be someplace to keep your most valuable things a bit safer. This is important to keep in mind before you head out to explore the town on your own as you can feel slightly more confident when you’re not carrying your passport and your expensive laptop at the same time. Just ask one of the people working there if they have access to a safe and they should be happy to help you.
It just makes it a lot easier to stay safe and comfortable while enjoying your time off – and you can return to your friends and family when you’re done, still having all of your belongings with you.
Tick Tock! The House with a Clock in its Walls Now Available on Digital
I’m a HUGE Jack Black fan so looked forward to seeing THE HOUSE WITH A CLOCK IN ITS WALLS.I was curious to see how they would bring the story to the screen and was really thrilled with the outcome.
The House with a Clock in Its Wallsis based on John Bellairs’ same-named 1970s children’s book. This can definitely be considered a first “starter horror movie” for families and tweens. But it’s definitely the kind of movie that requires you know your own kid.
The movie will be considered very creepy by some. There are scary toys and dolls, some creepy sounds, a little witchcraft, and the occult. But I think it’s balanced out by the “good” witch and warlocks who ultimately prevail against the forces of evil that threaten them and the world.
Parents who enjoy horror movies themselves should appreciate the introduction to creepy movies with this film for their kids, but families with sensitive kids should think twice.
The movie offers some great messages about teamwork, perseverance, friendship, and facing your fears.
JACK BLACK AND CATE BLANCHETT
CAST A SPELL IN AMBLIN’S MAGICAL
THE HOUSE WITH A CLOCK IN ITS WALLS
NOW AVAILABLE ON DIGITAL (as of NOV.27, 2018)
4K ULTRA HD, BLU-RAY™ AND DVD DEC.18, 2018
FROM UNIVERSAL PICTURES HOME ENTERTAINMENT
A house full of magic, mystery and madness comes to life in The House With a Clock in Its Walls, arrived on Digital November 27, 2018 4K Ultra HD, Blu-Ray and DVD will arrive December 18, 2018 from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment. Starring Jack Black, Cate Blanchett and Owen Vaccaro, this family-based thrill ride is one to remember!
Enjoy the delightfully thrilling tale of a mysterious house where things, including the inhabitants, are not what they seem to be.
The House With a Clock in It’s Wallsarrives on Digital and via the movie app MOVIES ANYWHERE on November 27, 2018, as well as on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, DVD and On Demand on December 18, 2018. Based on the classic children’s book and praised as “creaky, freaky haunted mansion fun” (LA Times), The House With a Clock in It’s Walls features over 60 minutes of bonus content including an alternate beginning and ending, stunning featurettes, deleted scenes, a hilarious gag reel, and feature commentary.
Enchanting from start to finish, it’s the perfect adventure for families during the holidays.
Full of wonder and adventure, The House With a Clock in its Walls mesmerizes audiences of all ages and keeps the magic alive when stars Jack Black (Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, Kung Fu Panda), Cate Blanchett (Ocean’s 8, Thor: Ragnarok) and Owen Vaccaro (Daddy’s Home, Mother’s Day) arrive as Uncle Jonathan, Mrs. Zimmerman and Lewis Barnavelt. In the most unexpected places, fantastical events, miraculous twists and suspense filled moments ensue in this “zany kids adventure” (The Hollywood Reporter) that soon captivates adults as well. In the tradition of Amblin classics, master frightener and director Eli Roth’s The House With a Clock in its Walls is a family-friendly fantasy film that “stands alongside the ‘just for kids’ classics of the 1980’s and 1990’s” (Forbes).
In The House With a Clock in its Walls directed by Eli Roth (The Green Inferno, Cabin Fever), Lewis Barnavelt (Vaccaro) goes to live with his Uncle Jonathan (Black) in a creaky and creepy mansion with an eerie tick-tocking heart. But when Lewis soon finds out he’s in the presence of magic practiced by his uncle and neighbor Mrs. Zimmerman (Blanchett), his new town’s dreary aura boosts to life in an exciting and dangerous way. Based on the beloved children’s classic book written by John Bellairs and illustrated by Edward Gorey, The House With a Clock in its Walls is written by Eric Kripke (creator of TV’s “Supernatural”) and co-stars Kyle MacLachlan (“Twin Peaks,”Inside Out), Colleen Camp (Clue), Renée Elise Goldsberry (“One Life to Live”), and Sunny Suljic (Mid-90s, The Killing of a Sacred Deer). It is produced by Mythology Entertainment’s Brad Fischer (Shutter Island) and James Vanderbilt (Zodiac), as well as Kripke.
BONUS FEATURES EXCLUSIVE TO BLU-RAY™, DVD & DIGITAL:
Warlocks and Witches –Go behind the scenes with the enchanting cast of The House with a Clock in Its Walls
Finding Lewis – A look at the casting of Owen Vaccaro
Jack’s Magical Journey – A look at the unique dynamism and magic that Jack Black brings to the character of Jonathan Barnavelt
The Great Cate – The cast discuss Cate Blanchett’s wonderful performance as Florence Zimmerman
The Terrifying Isaac Izard – Watch Kyle MacLachlan’s creepy evolution from living icon to undead-warlock
The Ultimate Haunted House – Join filmmakers for a guided tour through the incredible house at the center of the film
Automatons Attack – A behind-the-scenes look at the mechanical horrors involved in this chilling sequence
Pumpkin Puke – Behind the scenes with the cast and an army of spooky, snarling, vomiting pumpkins
Moving Pieces – Filmmakers and cast discuss the amazing clock room set
Baby Jack – A behind-the-scenes look at the creepy Baby Jack sequence
Tick Tock: Bringing the Book to Life – Filmmakers discuss how they adapted the book for the big screen
Eli Roth: Director’s Journals – Director Eli Roth takes viewers behind the scenes
New Zebedee Elementary
Owen Goes Behind the Scenes – Armed with his own camera, Owen guides viewers on his own journey behind-the-scenes of the movie
Around the Set
Behind the Camera
The Big Interview
Downtime on Set
Theme Song Challenge – Eli Roth and the cast are challenged to come up with a theme song for the film
Do You Know Jack Black? – The cast compete with each other to see who knows Jack Black the best
Abracadabra! – Eli Roth performs a magic trick for Owen Vaccaro
Jack Black’s Greatest Fear – Eli Roth and Owen Vaccaro play a prank on Jack Black
The Mighty Wurlitzer – Composer Nathan Barr discusses how he created the film’s unique and distinct score
BONUS FEATURES ON 4K ULTRA HD, BLU-RAYTMDVD & DIGITAL:
Alternate Opening and Ending with Commentary by Director Eli Roth and Actor Jack Black available
Deleted Scenes with Commentary by Director Eli Roth and Actor Jack Black available
More Books, Please
A Horrible Practical Joke
Tarby Ditches Lewis
Play for Him
Get Out of the Way
Time Is of the Essence
The Clock That Never Breaks
12 Minutes to Go
Feature Commentary with Director Eli Roth and Actor Jack Black
The film will be available on 4K Ultra HD in a combo pack which includes 4K Ultra HD Blu-rayTM, Blu-rayTM and Digital. The 4K Ultra HD disc will includethe same bonus features as the Blu-rayTM version, all in stunning 4K resolution.
4K Ultra HD is the ultimate movie watching experience. 4K Ultra HD features the combination of 4K resolution for four times sharper picture than HD, the color brilliance of High Dynamic Range (HDR) with immersive audio delivering a multidimensional sound experience.
Blu-rayTM unleashes the power of your HDTV and is the best way to watch movies at home, featuring 6X the picture resolution of DVD, exclusive extras and theater-quality surround sound.
Digital lets fans watch movies anywhere on their favorite devices. Users can instantly stream or download.
MOVIES ANYWHERE is the digital app thatsimplifies and enhances the digital movie collection and viewing experience by allowing consumers to access their favorite digital movies in one place when purchased or redeemed through participating digital retailers. Consumers can also redeem digital copy codes found in eligible Blu-rayTM and DVD disc packages from participating studios and stream or download them through Movies Anywhere. MOVIES ANYWHERE is only available in the United States.
Executive Producers: William Sherak, Tracey Nyberg, Laeta Kalogridis, Mark McNair
Produced By: Bradley J. Fischer p.g.a., James Vanderbilt p.g.a., Eric Kripke p.g.a.
Based on the Novel By: John Bellairs
Screenplay By: Eric Kripke
Directed By: Eli Roth
DOLBY ATMOS® SOUNDTRACK
The House With a Clock in its Walls Blu-ray™and 4K Ultra HD will feature a Dolby Atmos® soundtrack remixed specifically for the home theater environment to place and move audio anywhere in the room, including overhead. To experience Dolby Atmos at home, a Dolby Atmos enabled AV receiver and additional speakers are required, or a Dolby Atmos enabled sound bar.
About Universal Pictures Home Entertainment
Universal Pictures Home Entertainment (UPHE –www.uphe.com) is a unit of Universal Filmed Entertainment Group (UFEG). UFEG produces, acquires, markets and distributes filmed entertainment worldwide in various media formats for theatrical, home entertainment, television and other distribution platforms, as well as consumer products, interactive gaming and live entertainment. The global division includes Universal Pictures, Focus Features, Universal Pictures Home Entertainment, Universal Brand Development, Fandango, DreamWorks Animation Film and Television and Awesomeness. UFEG is part of NBCUniversal, one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies in the development, production and marketing of entertainment, news and information to a global audience. NBCUniversal owns and operates a valuable portfolio of news and entertainment networks, a premier motion picture company, significant television production operations, a leading television stations group, world-renowned theme parks and a suite of leading Internet-based businesses. NBCUniversal is a subsidiary of Comcast Corporation.
Holiday Inn Orlando at Disney Springs
Did you know that the Holiday Inn Orlando at Disney Springs is an official Walt Disney World Resort? Yes, it is!
So what exactly does being an official Walt Disney World Resort mean? It means that if you stay there, you can get almost the same benefits of staying at an on-site Disney resort. But guess what? Almost the same benefits but at a fraction of the cost!
Official Walt Disney World Hotel Benefits
Guests staying at Holiday Inn Orlando at Disney Springs receive exceptional benefits for staying at an Official Walt Disney World Hotel.
Shuttle Service – depart every 30 minutes to all four Walt Disney World Theme Parks, with scheduled service to two Disney Water Parks and the Disney Springs Area. Shuttles operate during normal park operating hours and select special events.
Minnie Van Service – personal ride service available to take to and from the hotel from any location within Walt Disney World.
On-Site Disney Store – located in the atrium lobby allowing guests to purchase memorable souvenirs
Souvenir Delivery – arrange to have park souvenirs delivered to your hotel instead of carrying them around with you all day. Simply tell the retail clerk during time of purchase and arrangements will be made quickly and easily.