Going to the MTNA 2018 Conference? Here’s the scoop on Disney and let’s meet up!

Even if you are not attending the Music Teachers National Association 2018 Conference in Florida, you’ll appreciate Anna Fagan’s post featuring her top picks for Florida’s Disney World and the Coronado Springs Resort.

FYI: Plan to attend a special meet up with Tim Topham, Bradley Sowash, yours truly and Anna, too! Details coming shortly.

Stay connected to find out the exact time and location by following the blog, or signing up for the newsletter.

In addition, make sure to follow my 88 Piano Keys Facebook page and join the Pedagogy On and Off the Bench Facebook Group. Since I won’t be busy presenting, I plan to give daily reports of my days while attending the conference and will share my thoughts with you.

Like I said…Anna Fagan has THE BEST tips to make your MTNA stay in Disney “moustacular!” As a native Floridian and former Disney employee, this fellow piano teacher knows her stuff. BTW, a while back she wrote a terrific guest post here at 88PK on teaching group lessons with multiple levels. Read it here.

Please leave a comment and let us know if we will see you there!

-Leila


If you are planning to attend the 2018 MTNA Conference this March, you have most likely paid your registration fees, booked your hotel room, and planned your transportation. You may have even taken a peek online at the Daily Schedule, and pre-planned some of the sessions you want to attend!

This year, however …there’s also a MOUSE in the room that may be distracting you a bit. Mickey Mouse! If you’re planning to spend any time at all in one of the four Disney Theme Parks, the surrounding Resort properties, or at Disney Springs, then I have some tips to offer.

Transportation to the Resort

First things first – if you are flying in to Orlando International Airport (MCO) and have a room reservation at Coronado Springs (or one of the other Disney-owned resorts) do go ahead and reserve your FREE bus transportation on Disney’s Magical Express from the airport. It’s a major money-saving perk! (NOTE: these drivers are not Disney Cast members, and would appreciate a tip!)

Once you’re on Disney property, there are buses available between all the Disney-owned resorts, the Theme Parks, Blizzard Beach, and Disney Springs. (No charge, and no need to tip those drivers).
Some properties also have free boat transportation available, and it’s a nice change from the buses! Consider taking the boat ride between Yacht & Beach Club and Epcot or Disney’s Hollywood Studio.
A new feature with limited availability are the ‘Minnie Vans’. They are adorable, and are booked through Lyft. More information here.

Theme Park Tix

Tickets into the Theme Parks – yes, you will need them ☺ Multi-day tickets are always a better value, and allow you to “Park-Hop”. For detailed information on tickets, see this link.

Once you have your tickets, get Fast Pass+ online here.

Resort Guests can get these 60 days in advance! I also suggest getting the My Disney Experience’ App, available for Apple and Android devices here. It’s a great resource for all things related to your visit, and easy to use with the free WiFi available in all the Theme Parks!

Dining at Disney

Disney offers a wealth of fabulous dining opportunities. Be sure to make reservations well in advance wherever possible.
My favorites (great food, service & atmosphere):

Artist Point (Wilderness Lodge)
Flying Fish (Boardwalk)
Yachtsman Steakhouse (Yacht Club Resort)
Coral Reef (Epcot – Living Seas)
Character Dining (fun for kids and adults!):
Crystal Palace (Magic Kingdom)
Tusker House (Animal Kingdom)
Garden Grill (Epcot – Land Pavilion)
Hollywood & Vine (Hollywood Studios)
Chef Mickey’s (Contemporary Resort)
1900 Park Fare (Grand Floridian Resort)
‘Ohana (Polynesian Resort)

And, of course, if you have money to burn – Victoria & Alberts, at the Grand Floridian Resort ($125/person for a 6-course meal. Wine pairings available for an additional $60/person)

My daughter insists that I also mention Beaches and Cream at the Beach Club Resort – where you can get the Kitchen Sink for $32.00. Will feed 3-4 ravenous ice cream lovers, or 6-8 who are watching their waistline a bit ….

Beyond the Theme Parks

If you aren’t planning to venture into the Theme Parks, do plan at least one evening at Disney Springs. This dining/shopping/entertainment venue is an easy ride from the Coronado on one of the Disney buses. My top picks there:

Raglan Road, Paddlefish, The Edison (for a meal)
Daily Poutine (a walk-up food bar with several combinations)
Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar, the Coca-Cola rooftop bar (drinks & snacks)
Splitsville (bowling, drinks & snacks)
AMC Theatre (24 screens, with some that offer meal items and mixed drinks NOTE: food is not the greatest, in our experience)
Ghiradelli (get your free square of chocolate!)
The Ganachery (specialty chocolates … oh my!)
Basin or L’Occitane (great spot to wash the chocolate off your hands with some great smelling soap!)
Amphicar (we haven’t experienced this yet – but it’s on our list!)

Places to Hang

Lastly, if you’re just looking for a fun place for a drink and maybe some snacks, I suggest:

Trader Sam’s (Polynesian Resort, 1st floor) – very small, fabulous drinks, fun atmosphere
California Grill (Contemporary Resort, 15th floor) – you can actually order a full meal from the bar tables, which are first-come, first served. Fabulous views of the fireworks at the Magic Kingdom, if you are fortunate with your timing!
Jellyrolls (Boardwalk Resort) – dueling pianos, so don’t go here for quiet conversation! One of my absolute favorites though – if you enjoy singing along. NOTE: they have no food here except popcorn. $12/person cover charge
Epcot (World Showcase, many locations) – of course, you’ll need to pay park admission for this … but fun to “drink around the world”, and then just grab a Disney bus back to the Coronado!

And … what about the fireworks?

Nighttime shows at each park:

Magic Kingdom – Happily Ever After (fireworks/castle projection show) – 9 PM nightly
Epcot – IllumiNations – Reflections of Earth  – 9 PM nightly
Disney’s Hollywood Studios – Fantasmic! – 8:30 PM nightly, Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular (projection show on Chinese Theater)  – 9 PM nightly
Disney’s Animal Kingdom – Rivers of Light – 8:45 PM nightly

-Anna Fagan

With more than 35 years of experience in music lessons, I’m proud to provide professional, individualized instruction to students in a warm and welcoming atmosphere.

I hold a Bachelor’s Degree in Piano Performance from the University of Central Florida, and continue to participate in many workshops and professional conferences each year in order to enhance my skills both as a performer and a teacher. I’m pleased to also be a frequent speaker at local and state events

I have been the organist/pianist at the Church of the Lakes in Orlando for the last 26 years, and work collaboratively as an accompanist for Lake Minneola High School, as well as a number of solo vocal and instrumental performers.

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Leila Viss

Creative Pianist, Piano Teacher, Organist, Blogger and Author of The iPad Piano Studio

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