Travel Planning

Five Extras You Should Consider Skipping

For most of us, vacations are a luxury. You save, plan and make priorities. Unfortunately, when it comes to Disney, it’s sometimes hard to say no to all the little extras. If your budget allows, by all means add a fancy meal or upgrade your ticket, but if you’re on a budget, here are some suggestions for things you can skip—and never miss:

1. You can’t do it all in one trip—or even ten trips. Your basic ticket is expensive and the price can initially be intimidating, but the entertainment value you get for that ticket will fill your time from sunrise to sunset. Don’t fall into the parental guilt trap and add extras like Bibbity Bobbity Boutique or fancy tea parties unless your budget allows. Your kids will be too busy to notice, I promise.Read More »Five Extras You Should Consider Skipping

Top 10 Tips To Get the Most from the Disney Dining Plan

I’ve already written about whether or not the Disney dining plan is a good deal, but I haven’t discussed how you use it. Chances are if you’re a first-timer using the plan, you’re a little overwhelmed: You’ve got credits and refillable mugs and desserts that you might not even want coming out of your ears! Fortunately, using the plan doesn’t have to be confusing and it can be easy to maximize your credits so that you get the most out of the plan. Here’s how.

1. The dining plan starts as soon as you check into your resort and get your Key to the World Card. Contrary to popular belief, “check-in” at a Disney resort doesn’t start when you get your room, which may be as late as 3:00 in the afternoon, but when you check into the resort, which can be any time of the day. You’ll get all your dining credits and then you can start using them immediately. On a related note, your credits are good until midnight the day you check out.

2. Quick-service and table-service meals each come with one entrée, dessert, and a non-alcoholic drink. At buffets, this means access to the buffet and drinks.Read More »Top 10 Tips To Get the Most from the Disney Dining Plan

Dealing With Early Morning Dining Reservations at The World

It’s one of those classic Disney conundrums: What do you do when you have an early morning breakfast reservation at another resort but you don’t have a car? Without question, one of the trickiest aspects of getting around Disney World is the fact that there’s no resort to resort transportation, forcing you to treat the parks as transportation “hubs” from which you transfer to other resorts. This usually poses no problem at all, but what do you do when the parks aren’t open yet? Well, you get a little crafty.

Probably the easiest solution is to take a cab, but it’s also the most expensive option, at around $25 for a ride anywhere on property. The good news is that it’s a direct route, so you’ll get there a lot faster. This is ideal if your family is like mine and likes to lollygag in the morning. Even better, because Disney is always looking out for guests, you can be assured that cab drivers who are allowed to operate on Disney property are fair. Nonetheless, make sure you establish a price before you get into the cab. Tips are welcome but not required.

The more complicated solution is to take Disney transportation. As noted above, since there’s no resort to resort transportation, you’ll have to take a bus (or boat or monorail) to the park nearest to your destination and then go from there. Officially, Disney transportation starts running 60 minutes prior to park opening, which isn’t at all reassuring when your reservation starts at 8:00 and the park opens at 9:00. Worse still, you have to allow time to get not only from your resort to the park and then to the other resort! The good news is that Disney “unofficially” runs buses sporadically about 90 minutes prior to opening. The bad news is that part where I mentioned the word “sporadically. I’ve been late more than once to a reservation because I missed the one bus that was running that early.Read More »Dealing With Early Morning Dining Reservations at The World

Disney World Mom’s Panel Renamed in Sixth Year

If you want to look for one of Disney’s biggest social media successes, then go no further than the Walt Disney World Moms Panel. It’s taken a strength of the company, an affinity for Disney travel among families, and turned it into a valuable resource for any Disney vacation planner, rookie or seasoned veteran. The Moms Panel idea has been so successful they added many more experts beyond the gates of Walt Disney World, so it’s only makes sense that it will now have a new name The Disney Parks Moms Panel.

Along with the change in title the company announced the group’s 19 newest members. Also new for 2013, two Team Sports Moms will join the roster to assist guests with youth sports-related travel to the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. This is the sixth year of the panel and it looks to be one of the best yet in terms of composition of the panel.

“Since launching in 2008, the Disney Parks Moms Panel has answered countless questions from travelers considering a Disney Parks vacation,” said Meg Crofton, president of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Operations, U.S. and France. “Known for their sound and practical advice, the panelists continue to be a great resource, helping even more guests make unforgettable Disney memories.”

The Disney Parks Moms Panel is an online forum that serves as a resource for planning Disney Parks vacations. Whether you are looking to kick it on the fields of the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, find the best character dining experience for their family, jog around Disney theme parks with runDisney or discover the cultures of the world with Adventures by Disney, there is a panelist who can share authentic opinions and tips on almost anything and everything Disney Parks. Spanish-speaking visitors can also read and submit questions to a group of dedicated multilingual panelists.Read More »Disney World Mom’s Panel Renamed in Sixth Year

Planning: Walt Disney World Ticket Basics

If you’re reading here, you probably know exactly what kind of park ticket you want when you book a trip, but for Disney “newbies” the options can be overwhelming. Do you get a base ticket or a hopper? The water park option? And what does… Read More »Planning: Walt Disney World Ticket Basics

Disney Dining Plan, Is it Worth It?

Editor: Please welcome Chris Wood who will be sharing some of her valuable travel planning experience with us as a new guest author.

If you’re staying on property, one of the first decisions you’ll need to make is whether or not you should purchase the dining plan. While it’s certainly convenient to pre-pay for your meals, the dining plan, touted as a money-saving option, doesn’t work for everyone. Here are some things to consider before you add the plan to your vacation package.

The most popular plan is the base dining plan, which includes one table-service credit, one quick-service credit, one snack, and one refillable mug per person for each night of your stay. This means that a family of three staying four nights will have twelve quick and table-service credits and twelve snacks. There’s no order in which you have to use your credits; you just have to finish using them by midnight the day of check-out or you lose them. Credits aren’t even assigned directly to individuals on the reservation, just by age. This year, guests 10 years of age and up will pay $55.59 per night for the plan; those in the 3 – 9 age group will pay $17.16.

Read More »Disney Dining Plan, Is it Worth It?

A Visit to Splitsville for Dinner

Editor: Please welcome new guest author Paula Garcia!

My husband, 5 year old daughter and I recently visited Orlando. We arrived on New Year’s day settled in to our hotel. It was a nice night out and we were starving so we decided to take a walk to Downtown Disney and find a restaurant there. There were so many people it was difficult to walk around much less find a table at any of the restaurants.

We didn’t give up and kept walking all the way down to about the end of Downtown. Just when we were about to walk back to our hotel my husband walked into Splitsville Lanes and to our surprise they had open tables with no wait.

Although there were many people inside, I didn’t get an over crowded, claustrophobic feeling. We were greeted by a young lady and taken up the escalator to our table. We sat down and were handed our menus. My daughter received her own kid’s menu and some crayons. As a mom I really appreciate this. It took a little while before our order was taken. Many people were being seated in our area at the same time. Our server was right on top of it he was very attentive, fast, kind and apologetic about the delay.Read More »A Visit to Splitsville for Dinner

Fort Wilderness Campground Holiday Displays

If you’re reading this blog, you probably know about the Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, but did you know there is another display of Christmas lights at Walt Disney World that is, in its own way, nearly as impressive. This display… Read More »Fort Wilderness Campground Holiday Displays