Adults

Traveling with Seniors: In the Parks

by on October 22, 2014

TouringPlans logoIn the first part of this two-part series installment, we discussed how to plan and be proactive when traveling with senior citizens. In this second installment, we’ll tackle navigating the parks!

There are some obvious concerns that tend to come to the forefront of park touring with anyone with limited mobility, or anyone who fatigues easily (basically, everyone who’s not a marathon-runner). Standing in long lines, walking miles and miles each day, heat and humidity, are all things to keep in mind when you start planning your park days. Navigating the parks with a senior makes having a good Touring Plan that much more important. You can select preferences in your Touring Plan to minimize walking, minimize waiting in line, or a compromise between the two. The best thing about having a Touring Plan is being able to see more and do more while saving time and energy.

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print

A Guide to Walt Disney World Attraction Vehicles and Seating: Disney’s Animal Kingdom

by on October 21, 2014

t_logo_fbWe recently brought you photo guides to the ride and attraction seating situation at the Magic Kingdom, Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Completing the series is our guide to the attraction seating at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

And away we go …

The Boneyard

  • Seating capacity per row: NA
  • Seating capacity per vehicle: NA. Playground experience. More than 100 guests permitted entrance simultaneously.
  • Seating surface: There is very little seating here. There are few picnic tables where adults may sit, but these do not have sightlines on the entire play area.
  • Safety restraints: None
  • Boarding procedure: Walk into playground
  • Height requirement: None
  • Note: 1: Wheelchair and ECV users may ride into the attraction. Much of the attraction is inaccessible to guests with mobility issues. The attraction includes stairs, slides, and rope climbing activities.
  • Note 2: It is extremely easy to temporarily lose sight of your child here. There are cavelike areas and child-size tunnels. However, there is only one exit to the attraction. If you have an elementary age child, you may feel comfortable “guarding” the exit and letting him roam. Parents of preschoolers will likely want to closely supervise their kids to avoid minor injury or separation anxiety.
  • Note 3: The dig area is separate from, and typically calmer than, the slide area. If you need some unstructured chill time, head to the dig site.
  • Note 4: During warm weather, a water feature will be activated. Children may get wet.

IMG_6267

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print

Traveling with Seniors: Before You Go

by on October 17, 2014

Disney Parks (c) Disney

Disney Parks (c) Disney

Disney Parks are for the young and the young at heart. Any vacation planning can feel harrowing, whether you’re traveling with a young family of infants or toddlers, to traveling with the grandparents. There are tons of things to consider ensuring that everyone is safe and having fun, some travel tips are universal, but let’s explore some of the challenges and considerations when traveling with seniors.

This is Part One of a two-part series, focusing on planning and preparation before your trip. Part Two will go into detail on how to navigate the parks with your favorite Baby Boomers.

It’s important to have an open conversation with your older traveling party. Not every senior has the same energy level, dietary needs, or healthy concerns, so it’s important to assess the individual needs for your loved one. And depending on the age and mobility of Grandma or Grandpa, not all of these topics may concern you, but at least it’s a good place to start.

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print

A Guide to Walt Disney World Attraction Vehicles and Seating: Epcot

by on October 14, 2014

t_logo_fbWe recently brought you guides to the ride and attraction seating situation at the Magic Kingdom and at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Next up is our guide to the attraction seating at Epcot.

Keep those hands and feet inside the vehicle at all times …

FUTURE WORLD

Captain EO, Imagination Pavilion

  • Seating capacity per row: Several dozen.
  • Seating capacity per vehicle: NA. Show-style attraction. More than 100 guests per show.
  • Seating surface: Lightly padded chair with armrest.
  • Safety restraints: None
  • Boarding procedure: Walk into theater
  • Height requirement: None
  • Notes: Wheelchair and ECV users may ride directly into the theater. Some of the special effects can only be experienced when seated in the attraction chairs. Guests wanting the full attraction experience may want to transfer to the standard seating if possible.

IMG_8329

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print

Disney World Planning Challenges: Managing Your Disney Morning

by on October 14, 2014

t_logo_fbTime is precious on any vacation, and a Disney World vacation in particular can create the feeling that time is passing at a far quicker pace than in everyday life. With so much Disney fun waiting each day (and the feeling that time flies at the World unlikely to abate), who wants to spend a lot of time getting ready in the morning. Whether your goal is to be at the parks at opening or to eke out a bit more sleep before you start your day, getting up and out of your room efficiently will help maximize your vacation time. And the rewards for your efforts can be significant.

Whether you need to get your entire family up and out the door or just yourself, there are several steps you can take to smooth the morning routine. These steps will not only save time but make the morning (and the people getting ready) more relaxed so that you can leave the room happy, stress-free, and ready for fun. This article highlights specific tips for your morning as well as TouringPlans tools and information that can extend the benefits of a calm morning to the rest of your day.

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print

SATURDAY SIX: Six Reasons Halloween Horror Nights is Better than Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party

by on October 11, 2014

This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at Six Reasons Halloween Horror Nights is Better than Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. Now, before we start, this is not an article that’s trying to sell you on the idea that MNSSHP is not good, as we wrote several weeks ago that we love it, and it’s definitely the best Halloween event in town that you can bring the whole family to. That said, Halloween Horror Nights brings some elements to the table, which Disney could learn from in terms of over delivering to its guests. While HHN may not be for everyone, if you are a regular reader of the Saturday Six it’s probably for you and today we’ll look at the reasons why. Please remember that clicking on any picture will open it up in full size, and let’s count ‘em down…

# 6 –  A night at HHN is completely different than any other experience you’ve had at Universal Studios Florida

HHN_DieIn_Glover

Mel’s Drive-In becomes Mel’s DIE-In for HHN. (photo by Brandon Glover)

 

For anyone who has gone to MNSSHP you know that the one of the bigger differences between a party night and any other night is how well Main Street, U.S.A. is decorated. Unfortunately, outside of The Haunted Mansion, that’s where the level of theming stops. All the lands of the park are the same (albeit with wonderful candy stations) and all of the attractions are the same, just with less people going on them. That’s where I find the value in a MNSSHP ticket. You can do all the E-Ticket rides like Space Mountain and Big Thunder without having to worry about FP+ or standby lines as almost everything is a walk-on. Halloween Horror Nights on the other hand completely changes the dynamic of Universal Studios Florida. There are scare zones and seemingly hundreds of scare actors thoughout the entire park along with 8 haunted houses, none of which are available to non-party going guests.

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print

TouringPlans #Everywhere: I’m Going on my First Disney Cruise Aboard the Disney Wonder!

by on October 7, 2014

Over the past few weeks and months you’ve probably read several articles on the upcoming big October event - TouringPlans #Everywhere. If not, here’s the skinny: during Columbus Day weekend, TouringPlans is sending its staff across the world to Disney destinations in order to collect content, meet our subscribers, and if we can squeeze it in, have some fun, too. Brian McNichols, my cohost of the Pardon the Pixie Dust podcast, is going to Disneyland. Gerelyn Reaves is going to the Aulani resort in Hawaii. Guy Selga is going to Tokyo Disneyland. And I’ll be going to the Disney Outlet Stores in Orlando. Just kidding, I’ll actually be taking my first ever trip on the Disney Cruise Line aboard the Disney Wonder.

DisneyCruiseLine_Dream

Spoiler Alert: This is NOT the Disney Wonder, this is the Disney Dream.

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print

A Guide to Walt Disney World Attraction Vehicles and Seating: Disney’s Hollywood Studios

by on October 6, 2014

t_logo_fbWe recently brought you a guide to the ride and attraction seating situation at the Magic Kingdom. Next up is our guide to the attraction seating at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Buckle up …

Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage

  • Seating capacity per row: Several dozen
  • Seating capacity per vehicle: NA. Show-style attraction. More than 100 guests per show.
  • Seating surface: Metal bench with back
  • Safety restraints: None
  • Boarding procedure: Walk into theater
  • Height requirement: None
  • Note 1: Wheelchair and ECV users may ride directly into the theater.
  • Note 2: This theater is outdoors. It is shaded, but it may be hot during summer months and is occasionally impacted by severe weather.

IMG_7989

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print

SATURDAY SIX: The Disney Hipsters Examine Six of Their Assumptions After Visiting the Universal Orlando Resort

by on October 4, 2014

This week’s SATURDAY SIX is a very special one. A little over a year ago I was introduced to the Disney Hipsters podcast via the TouringPlans Podcast Network and I became an immediate fan. They are refreshingly different from the seemingly hundreds of Disney podcasts out there that just recite Disney press releases and while they have a true passion for Walt Disney World they never shy away from pointing out the bad along with the good. When they announced their first ever trip to the Universal Orlando Resort earlier this year, I couldn’t wait to get their unique perspective on the theme parks and staying onsite after years of being “Disney Only” fans. Today Disney Hipster Adam Ferretti is here to examine six of the assumptions they had about Universal before going on the trip and whether or not they held up after the vacation. As always, clicking on any picture will open up its full size version, so with that out of the way I will see you, Dear Reader, at the end of the article and hand the reigns over to Adam…

DisneyHipsters_Krusty

The Disney Hipsters, Andrew and Adam, with Krusty the Clown.

As Disney nerds going into Universal, we had tons of preconceived notions on what to expect. We thought we would discuss six of those assumptions.

ASSUMPTION # 6 – Universal Team Members Would be Inferior to Disney Cast Members

This assumption was very wrong. As a rule, the team members were super friendly, helpful and amazing. We expected the customer service aspect and general employee/guest interactions at Universal to be less than great. We ended up being really surprised by the enthusiasm of the team members at both the parks and our resort (Royal Pacific.) This was especially true of performers inside both Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios Florida.

Universal pays their team members a bit better (we have heard) and gives them more freedom when doing their jobs. This results in guest interactions that come off as way more genuine along with performances that were truly engaging (check out the hosts of Disaster or the Horror Make Up show for great examples.) Disney is more controlling on Cast Member behavior, including what they can and cannot say. Sometimes this makes Cast Members seem like they’re faking it, resulting in their performances being generally stale and boring (see The Great Movie Ride).

HipstersHorrorMakeUp2_Trygve

Universal’s Horror Make-Up Show. (photo by Trygve Nelson)

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print

Time out for Adults: Magic Kingdom

by on October 2, 2014

Magic Kingdom crowds got you down? Tired of the heat, the sweat running down your back, and the ever present “other people?” Don’t throw a two-year-old’s temper tantrum. Take a time out.

All of the Disney parks are designed to hold massive amounts of people, with the Magic Kingdom alone reportedly able to hold about 100,000 guests at a time. The iconic Cinderella Castle draws people within the gates by the bus load, and with this kind of popularity, it is easy to get consumed by the crowd, which at times can be less than magical.

My number one piece of advice to any Disney traveler is to do your research. Utilizing a Magic Kingdom Touring Plan will alleviate most of your run-ins with the crowds. Couple the pre-trip planning with the Lines app in park, and you have set yourself up for a most Magical time. However, even with the pixie dust floating about, the hot humid Florida weather and crowds of people can wear even the most even tempered adult down. When this happens, instead of leaving the park, try one of my favorite spots in Magic Kingdom to gather my wits: Main Street, U.S.A.

Singing lessons at Disney?  Courtesy of UnknownMagicWithinDisneyWorld

Singing lessons at Disney? Courtesy of UnknownMagicWithinDisneyWorld

You are probably asking yourself about now if I am crazy or if I find it soothing to run into another family every five feet because they have stopped to take the iconic “castle picture.” Neither, my friends. My spot on Main Street is never full, is shady, and is soothing to the ears. As you head down Main Street towards the castle, you will find a little “side street” shooting off to the right. At the end of this barren street are a few tables and chairs. While the crowds rush by on Main Street, it is a nice place to relax with a cool beverage and regain your composure. All while you listen to piano, singing, and dance lessons that are filtering down from above.

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print