trip planning

The Advantages of Park Hopping

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I’ll admit it right now: I’m a park hopper. Sometimes I’ll spend less than two hours in a park before I’m off to greener pastures (usually Epcot, because I want to eat) and then I visit a third park before the night is out.  A hopper lets me join friends in another park if I want or do extra magic hours in the Magic Kingdom then head over to Animal Kingdom before it gets to crowded.  Without question, it’s the most convenient ticket option, but I can understand why some people wouldn’t want to add it:  hopping takes up valuable park time and it’s expensive, at about $60 per ticket.  So is the extra cost worth it to you?

One of the biggest reasons to add the hopper option to your ticket is flexibility.  I know that this is blasphemy to say among Disney people, but I don’t want a ten page spreadsheet where I’ve planned out every detail of my trip months in advance. I want to be free to make changes as I go, based on everything from how I feel to what the weather is like that day.  I can do that with a hopper, but without one, I’m absolutely committed to staying in that one park, especially if I have dining reservations.Read More »The Advantages of Park Hopping

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.

Getting the Most Bang for Your Character Dining Buck

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Character meals are a fun way to meet your favorite characters and have a good meal, but they can also be overwhelming and expensive, leaving you feeling, well, less than magical. Just like everything else in Disney World, you need a game plan. Nothing complicated, just a few tips to get make sure you get the most bang for your buck. Here’s five ways to do just that:

5. Go early. Not only will you save money because breakfast is the least expensive meal of the day, but younger kids are usually at their best in the morning before the afternoon crankies have set in. They’ll also look a lot neater in pictures if they haven’t been running around the parks for hours beforehand.

4. Make your reservations as far in advance as possible to get your top choices. That means calling at 180-days out. It seems crazy to first-timers, but the most popular restaurants will fill up the first week they’re available for booking. If you’re unable to get a desired location, don’t fret. Instead, start checking a few days prior to your trip. Disney’s new cancellation policy means that even the most popular locations may open up 24 to 48 hours prior. Just be flexible about times.Read More »Getting the Most Bang for Your Character Dining Buck

Using Group Deals to Save on Your Next Vacation

You may be using group discount coupon websites in your local town for some big savings, but have you considered taking advantage of those same great savings when you’re on vacation? Most popular destinations like Anaheim and Orlando have tons of great deals that are perfect for savings.

Half-Off Depot frequently has deals with 50% off savings on Kissimmee and Orlando area attractions and hotels.

Groupon Orlando has more restaurant deals, but they also have been known to include an attractions or water park deal every now and then. Los Angeles and Orange County are definitely worth checking out if you’re planning a trip to Disneyland.

LivingSocial also has Orlando and Orange County deals. I’ve found some really great vacation bargains via LivingSocial.

Even if you don’t see any deals you’re interested, make sure you sign up for email alerts to any city you plan to visit in the next 6 months or so to see if great deals appear. However, keep in mind these points:

  1. Some deals don’t activate immediately. So read the deal carefully before buying.
  2. Read all the requirements and the expiration date before buying. A deal that saves $10 off a $20 purchase but requires a $50 purchase from the whole table, may not be a good deal. Likewise, a deal that expires in September, but your vacation is in October, won’t work.
  3. Don’t over plan. Part of being on vacation is having flexibility, if you have a group coupon for every day of your vacation, you’ll miss out on some of the serendipity.

Read More »Using Group Deals to Save on Your Next Vacation

Disney’s Animal Kingdom in a day

Over on this Ask.Mefi thread I was giving advice on how to do Disney’s Animal Kingdom in a day if you’re a first time visitor. Which got me thinking, I certainly have my habits, likes, and dislikes. Perhaps I’m in a bit of a rut… Read More »Disney’s Animal Kingdom in a day

New WDW Videos from Disney Moms Panel

If you’re planning a vacation to Walt Disney World, you should be availing yourself of the free and informative advice from the Walt Disney World Moms Panel. A few minutes online could save you hours in the parks or help you find that perfect dinner… Read More »New WDW Videos from Disney Moms Panel