Trip Planning

Universal Orlando Resort Preview – Week of July 15th

by on July 13, 2017

The Universal Orlando Preview is brought to you by Storybook Destinations. Storybook Destinations specializes in Disney and Universal travel, is consistently highly rated by our readers, and is owned by our own blogger extraordinaire, Tammy Whiting. Storybook also offers free subscriptions to TouringPlans to clients with qualified bookings.

So you want to go to Universal Orlando, you say?

This week, you say?

Well you’re in the right place!! Each week, I’ll have the most important things you need to know, all in one place, to help you make the most of your time and have the most epic day ever!

Weekly Crowd Level

Overall, crowds will be pretty consistently summer-dense throughout the week. Do I hear a Sunday Funday calling??

Weekly Weather Report

It’s summertime in central Florida! You know the routine….scattered thunderstorms, they come and they go! *Disclaimer: though my name rhymes with weather, I am not in fact a meteorologist. So arm your smartphone with your favorite weather app (Dark Sky is my personal favorite) and check the forecast before you go!

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Walt Disney World Resort Preview – Week of July 15th

by on July 13, 2017

I’m starting a new column ya’ll!

Every week, I’ll be giving you the 411 on all the happenings going on at Walt Disney World!

Park hours? Check. Crowd Levels? Check. Special events? Check!

All you need to do is meet me here every Thursday for your weekly preview. Now let’s get started!

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Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside: Overview and Rooms

by on July 11, 2017

Hello wonderful readers!

It’s been a couple of weeks (computer issues…ba humbug), but I’m back with a new video.

Join me down the bayou as I take you through Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside, a moderate resort in Walt Disney World.

Disclaimer: I filmed this at night after a very long day…there was a lot of singing. I apologize.

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Should You Rent a Car at Disney? Comparing the Costs of Getting Around Walt Disney World

by on July 7, 2017

TouringPlans logoOne question we at TouringPlans frequently get has to do with getting to and around Walt Disney World, and how to do it as inexpensively as possible — should you rent a car, use ridesharing services, use cabs, something else?  If you’re staying off site, you must budget the not-insignificant cost of transportation into your trip. Moreover, even though you can take advantage of Disney’s Magical Express and Disney Transportation if you’re staying at a Disney hotel, such that there isn’t a need to have a car at all, many on-site guests find that Disney buses can be unpredictable and slow at times and/or some guests simply prefer the freedom associated with having a car or making their own transportation arrangements. Accordingly, it makes sense to take a deeper dive into other transportation options that give you more control and that can be faster to see if it’s worth that extra premium.

With that in mind, here’s a breakdown of what it costs to rent a car, versus using ridesharing services like Uber or Lyft. Want to know which comes out on top? Read on after the jump!

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Renting a Car for Disney World or Universal Orlando Vacations

by on June 20, 2017

Let’s face it. Planning and budgeting for transportation is one of the least exciting agenda items to check off on your vacation planning to-do list. Compared to the thrill and excitement of securing dining reservations, a resort stay, or park tickets, who really wants to spend their night analyzing rental car options? To make matters worse, booking a rental car can be a colossal pain in the neck. With so many different options, finding the right balance of convenience and savings can be hard. So here are some factors that I tell people to consider when renting a car for their Walt Disney World or Universal Orlando Resort vacation.

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Packing For Summer At Walt Disney World

by on June 12, 2017

Being prepared means packing the essentials for your summer trip to Walt Disney World (Robert Blaszkiewicz)

Ed. – this article contains affiliate links to Amazon.

If you travel to Walt Disney World in summer, central Florida’s heat is an unavoidable factor. High temperatures in the 90s, humid conditions punctuated by afternoon storms and crowds that never abate are unavoidable realities this time of year.

I’ve learned that the heat of a Florida summer is just a minor obstacle to scaling the peaks of Expedition Everest or Splash Mountain. You can read the tips I’ve offered about surviving your summer trip to Walt Disney World here. The key to making the most of a summer trip is preparation. Touring plans and park calendars are a big part of it, but knowing how to pack for summer is also essential. To that end, I’ve compiled this list of items that are particularly essential for the summer traveler.

Essential apparel

Moisture-wicking fabric: The problem with cotton is it will soak up sweat, but won’t release it effectively. Wearing workout wear or other clothes with moisture-wicking fabric will go a long way to keeping you cooler. As a bonus, they dry off a lot quicker when you get off a water ride. And don’t forget about socks. As we’ll note below, keeping your feet dry and comfortable is key, considering the amount of walking at Disney. Unless you have access to a washer-dryer in your room (like DVC one- and tw0-bedroom villas) or plan on using the laundry facilities at your resort, you’ll want to bring extras. We often will go through two changes of clothes in a day.

Ponchos: I guarantee that if you’re traveling in the summer, it’s going to rain – hard. Rather than be chased off by the rain, you can enjoy the open walkways and lower wait times if you’re prepared with panchos. You can buy a Disney pancho at the park for about $9 or you can find a bargain at home and just keep them in the bag you bring to the parks. You want something thicker and more durable than a trash bag, but not so heavy that you’ll be sweating in it the moment you put it on.

Better to bring two pairs than one of each.

Shoes and sandals: When you’re walking 10 miles or more in a day, it’s best to be able to change up your footwear regularly. I go with a pair of sneakers and a pair of walking sandals. The variation will help avoid blisters and aches. Also, if one pair is soaked from rain or water ride, you have a dry pair to change into. Sneakers should be broken in before your trip. Sandals should be made for walking with good arch support (no cheap flip-flops). It’s also beneficial if they’re waterproof for instances when your feet might get wet. If I plan on riding Kali River Rapids, that’s going to be a sandals day.

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Travel Agent Q & A – Part 2 + Video

by on June 6, 2017

Photo - Angela DahlgrenWelcome to Part 2 of my Travel Agent Q & A. If you’ve ever thought about using a TA for an upcoming Disney trip, perhaps today’s episode can help you decide!

Oh! And don’t forget to check out Part 1!

Enjoy

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Disney Hotels: Picking A Disney Hotel That Matches Your Travel Style

by on June 5, 2017

Contemporary ResortYou may recall I recently did an article on how the time of year you visit Disney can make a mammoth difference in your experience. After this one, one of the bigger variables that can impact the way you plan for your trip has to do with lodging. Disney hotels run the gamut from the barest of bare-bones accommodations — campsites — up to luxury hotels. Add to that the numerous off-site lodging options that are available to you, and the uninitiated can get into the weeds fast. The decision is further complicated by the reality that not everyone that travels to Disney intends to use their hotel the same way. Read on to learn how to pick accommodations that align with the trip you’re wanting to plan!

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Part One: Should I Use a Travel Agent? + Video

by on June 1, 2017

photo - Angela DahlgrenI posted a question about this topic on our Facebook page. The response was incredible. So much so that I filmed TWO videos about it!

Click below to watch Part One!

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Back to the Basics: Making a Room Request at a Walt Disney World Resort Hotel + Video

by on May 16, 2017

Photo - Angela DahlgrenDesire a room close to the lobby? Looking for a quiet place to rest your head? Prefer a King over a Queen size bed?

Make a room request!

In this video, I’ll show you all the ways you can make a room request at a Walt Disney World resort hotel.

Enjoy!