Christina Wood

For more travel planning articles by Chris, check out her Disney travel blog, Everything Walt Disney World. Chris is also a member of the Mouse Chat podcast team and an authorized Disney travel planner with Pixie Vacations, and visits the parks about 55 days each year. To get free planning and assistance with your next Disney vacation, please call her at 919-889-5281 or email at [email protected] You may also fill out a quick Disney Vacation Quote form here.

Signature Restaurants and Small Children? Yes or No?

I’ve noticed that a lot of parents hesitate to take small children to Disney signature restaurants, choosing instead buffet and character meal options. While those are fine, even really great in some cases, I think that parents and grandparents miss out if they don’t have a… Read More »Signature Restaurants and Small Children? Yes or No?

How Disneyland Made a Believer Out of Me.

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I never wanted to go to  Disneyland. Sure, I’d heard all about how it was “Walt’s park” and how you could walk in Walt’s footsteps, but to be honest, I’m not very sentimental about those things. I love Disney World, all four parks, the dining options, and the resorts. It didn’t seem necessary to go all the way out to the West Coast (where I was raised, incidentally) when I had everything I needed just a few hundred miles from my front door. But circumstances change and an opportunity arose. I went to Disneyland.

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Here’s what I found, in a nutshell: Disneyland is both the same and different.  Disneyland feels like a “family” park, with a million pass holders for whom it’s like a second home; Disney World is everyone’s park, a destination for people from all over the world. Their castle is “cute,” not grand like “ours,” their quick-service food is better and the table-service food is spotty in places.Their Haunted Mansion has nothing on ours, except during the fall and Christmas, when they do a Nightmare Before Christmas overlay that is not to be missed.

Read More »How Disneyland Made a Believer Out of Me.

Free Dining is Here for Fall 2013!

The fall free dining promotion is here and the booking frenzy is about to begin. Disney’s “back to rack” campaign, which is essentially a move to end discounts, is reflected in this promotion, with Art of Animation, Port Orleans French Quarter, All Star Movies and… Read More »Free Dining is Here for Fall 2013!

A True Central Florida Experience: Gatorland.

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I did something last week that I haven’t done in fifteen years: I went to Gatorland. Now, I know it’s not Disney World and I’ll be honest, you usually have to drag me kicking and screaming from Disney property, but I was part of a group that was invited for a private tour so how could I turn that down? It didn’t hurt that my boss took me there in this sweet ride.

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Yes, it’s that car. But in fairness, I was coaxed off of property with the promise of barbeque as well, so it’s not like I could say no.  I take barbeque very seriously.Read More »A True Central Florida Experience: Gatorland.

Your Top Ten Secret Disney Indulgences.

Do you ever find yourself doing something in a Disney park you wouldn’t do anywhere else? Like how you rationalize eating an entire cupcake as big as your head? Or putting pink glitter in your hair? Well don’t feel alone. There are thousands of other guests who share your secret shame. Now, I’m not saying I do all of these, but let’s just say I’m, ahem, familiar with the following:

10.  Hunting down the biggest snack that will count as your snack credit.

And why wouldn’t you? If you want to beat The Mouse at the dining plan, you’re practically obligated to do so.

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9.  Feeding the kids a Kitchen Sink for dinner.

Six months later when the kids are complaining about having to do their homework and eat vegetables and how you’re the worst parent ever, whip out those pictures and silence them (almost) immediately.Read More »Your Top Ten Secret Disney Indulgences.

Using Disney’s Kids’ Clubs.

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I’ve written before about planning a special night out for mom and dad when visiting Disney World. There are so many great restaurants and things to do–or if you’re like me, you grab your husband and head to the parks and ride all the rides your kids are too young to enjoy. Today I want to review the Kids’ Clubs on property, which are a great way to get a little bit of free time.

Disney’s Kids Clubs, known as Activity Centers, are located in the Wilderness Lodge, Animal Kingdom Lodge, the Polynesian, Beach Club, and at the Disney World Dolphin. You don’t need to be a guest staying on Disney property but children need to be between the ages of 3 and 12 (4 and 12 for the Dolphin) and potty trained.  The cost is $11.50 per hour; there is no discount for multiple kids.Read More »Using Disney’s Kids’ Clubs.

Planning a Disney Trip for a Large Group.

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Planning a vacation for a large group can be full of challenges: Different budgets, egos and agendas can and will clash.  The payoff is spending time in the happiest place on earth with some of your favorite people. When you book a vacation for a group, Disney will give you a “group travel” number that ensures your rooms will be next to (or at least near) each other if you’re at the same resort. That’s the first step in organizing your group. Here’s some other tips that will help:

1. Designate one main planner who will communicate with everyone else. This should be the most Disney crazy person in your group.  I’m guessing this might be you.

2.  Consider creating a basic webpage where everyone can keep up with planning.Read More »Planning a Disney Trip for a Large Group.

The Number One Thing You Need to Know about Trip Insurance.

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When you’ve booked your trip through Disney, you were probably asked if you wanted to purchase trip insurance. Chances are, you bought it, at about $151 for two adults. But did you make the right decision? Well, there are some good reasons to buy trip insurance and I’m not going to cover those now. The real question is, did you buy it at the right time?

When you buy trip insurance, it’s non-refundable.  This means that if you book your trip six-months out on the 20th of the month and cancel on the 30th of that same month, you lost $151.  But what would you have lost if you hadn’t bought the insurance? Nothing. Not your deposit, not the money you put toward your trip. Nothing.

Read More »The Number One Thing You Need to Know about Trip Insurance.