TouringPlans Everywhere

TouringPlans #Everywhere: I’m Going to Hilton Head

by on July 29, 2014

©Disney

©Disney

Welcome back to the latest news about our big October eventTouringPlans #Everywhere. As a recap, during Columbus Day weekend, TouringPlans is sending our staff far and wide (some far-er and wider than others) to Disney destinations throughout the world to collect content, meet our subscribers, maybe have some fun while we’re at it.

Speaking of people who aren’t traveling very far, I will be visiting the Disney’s Hilton Head Island Resort, a Disney Vacation Club property. This is roughly 5 hours from my home in North Carolina, and I drive past Hilton Head, SC, every time I’m on my way down I-95 heading to Florida. I’ve always felt a little guilty about never stopping by because I’m a DVC member and believe I should experience all the resorts. (After October, Vero Beach and Aulani will be the only ones left.)

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest

TouringPlans Everywhere – I’m Going to Tokyo Disneyland!

by on July 24, 2014

Photo courtesy of Tom Bricker

Photo courtesy of Tom Bricker.

Back in April we announced that TouringPlans will be spending a weekend in every Disney-operated destination on the planet. The powers that be (Ed. – your naiveté is adorable, please let Len keep thinking he’s in charge around here) have assigned me to a destination I have always dreamed about visiting. I can finally say “I’m going to Tokyo Disneyland!”

Tokyo Disneyland has always been a bit of a mythological and mysterious place to me. In the late 80s and early 90s (before I had the internet in my home) I would always see glimpses of it in the old Disney News Magazines. The pictures I saw of the park made it look similar, but different enough that it always held my curiosity. Tokyo Disneyland continued to stay on my mind in 2001 when Tokyo Disney Resort’s second gate opened, DisneySea. Every picture I’ve seen of DisneySea make the park look absolutely spectacular. Anyway, back to the Tokyo resort being mysterious to me. I think one of the most daunting tasks most people have when they think about visiting Tokyo Disneyland is that they don’t even know where to start with their planning. I know I was the same way. Hopefully this and future blog posts I write on this subject will help you plan a trip to Japan. That’s my goal.

I’m a native to Los Angeles, California, and have been visiting the original Disneyland since 1986. This will not only be my first time visiting Tokyo Disneyland, but also my first time traveling out of the country. My wife will be making the trip with me, and because it also her first time in Japan, we will take advantage of doing some non-Disney sightseeing in Tokyo and Osaka.

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest

TouringPlans #Everywhere: What I Expect From Disneyland

by on July 10, 2014

All photos courtesy of Guy Selga, Jr

All photos courtesy of Guy Selga, Jr

In my past few posts about the fabulous TouringPlans #Everywhere adventure, I discussed my excitement about going to Disneyland and how I went about budgeting for my trip. This article is going to be very different because I’m going to get into my expectations, hopes, and fears about Walt’s first park.

Even though the October trip will be my first to Disneyland, no Disney parks fan can be completely ignorant of what goes on out west. Over the years I have built up quite a mental database of things that I think I think about the Disneyland Resort, in the process pushing old stuff out of my brain such as the state capital of Minnesota. Some of the things below I know for sure and some are speculation, but all are rhetorical. That’s right–I’m not looking for any confirmation or contradiction whatsoever to the ideas below. I will find out in a few short months and follow up with my findings then, please allow me to continue my limited ignorance (about Disneyland. My general ignorance is boundless).

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest

TouringPlans #Everywhere: I’m cruising the Southern Caribbean on the Disney Magic from Puerto Rico

by on June 7, 2014

#Everywhere Disney Magic Southern Caribbean Puerto Rico

I’m taking a TouringPlans #Everywhere trip on the Disney Magic!

¡Hola mis amigos! As you may have already heard, the TouringPlans team will be spreading out all over the Mickey-loving world for next October’s #Everywhere project, and I was lucky enough to be selected to sail the Southern Caribbean on the Disney Magic out of Puerto Rico. I’m excited because this trip represents a few firsts for me. I’ve cruised previously with other companies, but am a Disney Cruise Line virgin, so I can’t wait to see if their legendary reputation for service actually exceeds my less-than-perfect prior experiences with their competitors. Also, this will be my first time cruising from a departure point other than Port Canaveral (which is an easy drive from my home), necessitating air travel and a hotel stay. This post is my first entry in a brief series explaining how I’m approaching these issues, in hopes of helping any readers out there who may be contemplating a similar itinerary someday!

Disney Magic Southern Caribbean Itinerary

The Disney Magic, which was extensively refurbished last year, spent the summer of 2014 sailing around the Mediterranean, and will cruise the eastern and western Caribbean out of Port Canaveral from Halloween through next spring. But the 7-night cruise I’m on is somewhat unique, and calls for a different kind of introduction…It is one of only 4 scheduled Southern Caribbean itineraries departing from San Juan, Puerto Rico. (This port is also visited by the Disney Fantasy during some of its 7-Night Eastern Caribbean cruises.)

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest

TouringPlans #Everywhere: Budgeting for A Disneyland Trip

by on June 4, 2014

Photo courtesy Guy Selga, Jr

Hello! You may remember from my last post about traveling to Disneyland for TouringPlans #Everywhere that I am totally “California Dreamin” (on such a…uh, spring’s day?). Well, now I am back to give you a little more insight into everyone’s favorite subject: budgeting!

What?! You don’t love to budget? I guess that’s probably normal, which explains why I do enjoy it (e.g. I’m not normal). The sad fact for those of you who do not like to discuss vacation budgeting is that it is an essential part of the trip. My plan here today is to go through my experience budgeting for a Disneyland trip, tell you my thought process, and give you some tips.

Basic Info

As you may recall (but probably don’t), I will be travelling with my wife and two children, ages 5 and 3 at the time of the trip. We live in beautiful, scenic Pennsylvania, which, if you have a knack for geography, you will notice is quite far from California. And yes, my wife has to go although “if I didn’t tell her I could leave today.” We will be traveling in early October, specifically, around the weekend of October 11-13.

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest

TouringPlans #Everywhere – I’m Going to Disney World!

by on May 19, 2014

Last month it was announced that October 12 is going to be an epic day where the TouringPlans staff is going to cover the globe and be at every Disney property. Our children will be 10 and 12 in October, and doing a trip to the other side of the world was not going to work for us. Our family was assigned Walt Disney World. This will not be out first trip to Disney World; it is not even the first trip for 2014. To make this trip special we are going to be staying and doing activities that we have never experienced before. We have reservations for the Keys to the Kingdom tour, and are staying at multiple 5-star resorts in the Disney area. The family is very excited to be staying deluxe. Typically we (and by this I mean the kids and I; my wife, not so much) are commando travelers: spend most of our time in the parks, and the hotel room is secondary to the vacation. I expect this trip will be different, where we spend a good bit of the time at the resorts and, therefore, I’ll get to see my wife more often.

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest

TouringPlans #Everywhere – Who’s Going Where

by on May 14, 2014

t_logo_fbHi guys. It’s been awhile since we announced TouringPlans #Everywhere, our October 12 & 13 events to kick off all the new content we’re bringing online. Here is the line up:

Domestic parks:

Domestic resorts:

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest

Disney Cruise Line Fare Tracker in Action: Timing Your Cruise Booking

by on May 8, 2014

Before delving into some travel planning decisions for my upcoming Disney Cruise Line adventure, I thought it’d be useful to explain how our Disney Cruise Line Fare Tracker tool accelerated my booking this cruise.

I am sailing on the 4-Night Bahamian Cruise on Disney Dream – Itinerary A on October 12, 2014. I get to enjoy the cheapest cabin (11C), which my group of 2 adults and 1 child will call home for the journey.

Comparison with Similar Cruise from Last Year

If our Fare Tracker finds an identical itinerary departing on a comparable day (for example, the third Sunday in October) in 2013, it displays that on the same chart when looking at a 2014 cruise. For example, our Fare Tracker for my itinerary but sailing on October 19, 2014, is shown below. Note that data for both that cruise and last year’s October 20, 2013, cruise are displayed:

4-Night Bahamian Cruise on Disney Dream - Itinerary A departing October 19, 2014

As you can see, Disney’s fare adjustments for the 2014 cruise have been similar to what is shown for the 2013 cruise. However, for this particular 2014 sailing, some trends leap out:

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest

TouringPlans Everywhere – I’m Going to Disneyland!

by on May 2, 2014

Photo by Seth Kubersky. Modifications by me.

Photo by Seth Kubersky. Modifications by me.

A little while ago we announced that Touring Plans would be spending a weekend this October at every Disney-operated destination. Well, I managed to draw the California-shaped straw, which my family and I could not possibly be more excited about. To hopefully help any of you who are, or would like to be, planning a Disneyland Resort trip, I will be writing a few posts over the next few months explaining our planning strategy.

Since I’m sure many of you are wondering how we at Touring Plans decided who would be going where, I’m going to let you in on a secret: I don’t know. I honestly have no idea how it was determined, and frankly, I don’t care because I’m going to Disneyland! (Ed. – it was based on sending people places they’d never been before plus trying to keep transportation and lodging prices down. That’s why all the FL based people are cruising or going to Vero Beach.)

I have been visiting Walt Disney World in Florida since 1984, but have never once been to Walt’s first park on the west coast. In fact, despite much travel, I have only been to California one time and that was a long weekend for a wedding. My wife and children (girl who will be almost 6 and boy who will be 3) have also never been to Disneyland, making this a very special experience for us.

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest

Planning for My First Disney Cruise

by on April 24, 2014

Disney Dream Lobby

Disney Dream Lobby
Photo courtesy of Scott Sanders

I have never been on a cruise. I’m not into casinos, bingo, cheesy musicals, hypnotists, art auctions, or shopping in third-world tourist traps. Thus most cruise ships and itineraries don’t catch my fancy. Disney Cruise Line seemed different, and doing the programming to enliven our Disney Cruise Line product heightened my interest in sailing with Mickey.

My wife and I discussed taking a DCL cruise once our child was old enough to enjoy the kids’ activities, and that time has come. Conveniently enough, we’ll be sailing for TouringPlans.com on a 4-Night Bahamanian Cruise on the Disney Dream in October 2014, when my son will be about 3½ years old. Our family of three will fit fine in the smallest on-board room (Category 11C, baby!), and I’m confident we’ll find plenty to do to fill four days.

My main challenge – and most of what I’ll blog about – is getting to and from Port Canaveral in a way that works well with our schedules while minimizing costs and hassles. One recurring wrinkle in my planning is that I need to have my son in a car seat in any non-bus vehicle in which he might ride; that makes renting a car, hiring a town car, riding in a cab, etc. more burdensome. Ironically, so far I’ve found the logistics of our family trip to Tokyo in 2012 to be simpler than those for this DCL trip!

I hope you’ll join with me as I analyze my transportation options and make rational decisions based on my group’s preferences and the cost impacts of our decisions. I start with a brief overview of some travel decisions I need to make. In subsequent blog posts I’ll look at TouringPlans.com tools and consult you, Dear Readers, for assistance.

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest