Trip Planning

Changes to 2016 Walt Disney World Magic Your Way Packages

by on June 22, 2015

magicyourwayDisney has shared details with travel agents for 2016 Magic Your Way packages. Magic Your Way is any package that includes a room at a Disney-owned and operated resort, the Swan or Dolphin, a Good Neighbor hotel, or a Disney Springs area hotel; and park admission. Packages can be booked through your travel agent or the Walt Disney Travel Company. This also includes all dining plans, which have their own extras. Thank you to Sue Pisaturo at Small World Vacations for the heads up.

Let’s start with the good news: The vouchers for mini-golf have been increased from 2 per room to 4 per room, and are good for play before 4PM at Fantasia Gardens and Winter-Summerland. If you’re an Annual Passholder, remember you get a discount on admission already and it’s good all day and night. Also, under the category of things that make you scratch your head, MYW packages now include 4 vouchers for one day admission at ESPN Wide World of Sports. There’s really not much to do there if you’re not participating in a sporting event. If you have made the trip out, let me know in the comments. Every time I go out there to see what’s up, there’s nothing going on. If your tickets include the Water Park Fun and More option, you already have the option for ESPN WWoS admission, so there’s no real benefit for you unless you’re using all your entitlements for water parks, Oak Trail golf, or DisneyQuest (while it lasts, see below) already and somehow still have time to visit Wide World of Sports too.

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Typhoon Lagoon Cabanas: Mixing Luxury and Fun

by on June 9, 2015

© Sarah GraffamNow that Disney World has kicked off the Coolest Summer Ever, what better way to join in the fun than by cooling off at a Disney water park? And if you are looking to take a day of fun to the next level, what better way to experience the ultimate in cool than by renting a water park cabana? My family recently spent a day in a cabana, or “Beachcomber Shack,” at Typhoon Lagoon. If you are considering taking the same plunge, here’s what you need to know.

What You Get

A Typhoon Lagoon Beachcomber Shack provides your party with a comfortable place to call your own for the day, plus plenty of amenities. Upon check in, everyone receives a wrist band that allows access into the private area for cabanas. A Disney Cast Member then walks you to your shack, explains the amenities, and answers any questions about attractions and activities in the park.© Sarah Graffam

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Family Fun Aboard The Disney Wonder

by on June 6, 2015

Disney Wonder in AlaskaHave you already booked a cruise on the Disney Wonder with your kids or are you just thinking about one? For a parent, one of the biggest concerns about cruising with children is whether there will be enough family fun and entertainment to occupy the kids during the voyage. Rest assured, Disney Cruise Line has got you covered!

In part one of this two part series, I shared details about the youth clubs that are available on the ship and in today’s part two, I’ll cover the family fun you can enjoy together. Let’s face it — your kids may not wish to visit the youth clubs; some kids just prefer to hang out with the family. I’m so glad my boys are still at an age that they willingly spend time with me, and I soak up every minute I can get! In the blink of an eye they’ll be all grown up, so I want to enjoy as much family fun as possible.

During my family’s Alaska cruise on the Disney Wonder, my kids went to the youth clubs the first evening and when my husband and I had brunch at Palo. The rest of the cruise we filled our days and nights with tons of family fun. So let’s take a photo tour of the fantastic options offered aboard the Disney Wonder — and remember you can click on any image to get a better look.

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FAQ: Disney World to Disney Cruise Line Transfers

by on June 4, 2015

You’re going a Disney Cruise AND you’re going to Walt Disney World – lucky you!

Land/sea combination Disney vacations are quite common; They’re a nice way to balance the frenetic excitement of a theme park visit and the mellow relaxation of a cruise. Here are some things to think about as you plan how to get from Part A to Part B of your vacation.

Should I take my cruise first or visit Walt Disney World first?

In the Unofficial Guide to Disney Cruise Line, we recommend that guests experience the land (WDW) portion of their land/sea trip first. A visit to the parks is typically more tiring than a cruise (thus, the common refrain “I need a vacation after that vacation”). Most guest enjoy having the rest and recovery time that a cruise provides.

IMG_1278
OK, I’ll go to Walt Disney World first. How do I get from the airport to my hotel?

If you’re going from Orlando International to a Walt Disney World resort hotel, use Disney’s free Magical Express service.

From Disney’s perspective, there’s no difference in transportation procedure between a Disney World vacation and a land/sea vacation starting at Disney World. At this point, use Magical Express and pretend that the Disney Cruise Line (DCL) portion of your trip does not exist. This is particularly important to heed when you’re getting your luggage ready for transportation. If you’d like to have your bags transported by Disney from the airport to the hotel, then use the yellow Magical Express luggage tags. DO NOT put the DCL tags on your bag now.

Is there a charge to get from the airport to my Disney World hotel?

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3 Things to Like (and Hate) with Disney’s Tiered Ticket Price Proposal

by on June 3, 2015

WDWPricingSurvey

Click to enlarge

A recent Disney Parks survey outlined a new idea that Disney World was considering for its theme park ticket prices. The new system assigned a color – bronze, silver, or gold – and a price to each day of the year, based on how crowded the park was likely to be that day. Here are sample prices for the Magic Kingdom for one adult, for one day, without park hopping:

  • Bronze for below-average crowd days, at $105 per day
  • Silver for average crowd days, at $115 per day
  • Gold for above-average crowd days, at $125 per day

Like the current pricing structure, the proposal indicated that Disney would charge more for one-day admission to the Magic Kingdom than for Epcot, Animal Kingdom, or Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

In addition, the proposal specified discounts of 5% per extra day for multi-day tickets: a 2-day ticket costs 5% less than two separate 1-day tickets; a 3-day ticket costs 10% less than 3 separate 1-day tickets, and so on, up to a 45% discount for a 10-day ticket versus 10 separate 1-day tickets. Ticket prices for children ages 3-9 are 10% less than for adults, and park-hopping was also available.

After presenting the price calendar and table, Disney asked whether you would have:

  • Visited on the same dates with the same ticket
  • Changed the dates you visited or the number of days you bought
  • Bought an annual pass

There are a few things to hate about the proposal; I’ll get to those shortly. But having thought about the proposal for a while, here are 3 things I like about it:

1. It’s more fair on days when a park closes for capacity constraints The Magic Kingdom reaches its peak capacity on a handful of days each year. When this happens, arriving guests are prohibited from entering the park until enough people leave the park, usually a few hours later.

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Youth Clubs Aboard The Disney Wonder

by on June 3, 2015

Disney Wonder In AlaskaHave you booked a cruise on the Disney Wonder with your kids or are you just thinking about one? For a parent, one of the biggest concerns about cruising with children is whether there will be enough fun and entertaining things for the kiddos to do during the voyage. Rest assured, the Disney Cruise Line has got you covered! In part one of this two part series, I’ll share with you the information you’ll need to have a magical cruise with your kids aboard the Disney Wonder. In this article, we’ll take a look at the youth clubs available on the ship and in a second article posting soon, I’ll give you details on fun activities for the entire family to enjoy together. So let’s get started!

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Keeping Children Involved While Visiting a Theme Park

by on May 31, 2015

Picture from my disposable camera from my Disneyland trip-1989

Picture from my disposable camera from my 1989 Disneyland trip (I am on the right).

 

Let me start by saying that I do not have children of my own, nor do I travel anywhere with children. So, you’re probably wondering what makes me qualified to speak on the subject? Well, I do have one major qualification: I use to be one of those theme park children.

Even though I did not go to Disneyland a lot as a child (it was too expensive for my family), I did visit other Southern California theme parks quite often — specifically Knott’s Berry Farm and Universal Studios Hollywood. My parents managed to teach me a lot about planning, having fun, and cherishing each experience, so below are the four strategies that I would like to pass along to you to help set up everyone in your family for a happy theme park experience.

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10 Ways the TouringPlans Blog Can Help You Plan Your Disney Cruise

by on May 21, 2015

Are you thinking of trying your first Disney Cruise?  Are you a skilled Disney Cruise Line Veteran who doesn’t need no stinkin’ help from anyone?  Well we can help!  Even if you don’t think you need it!  TouringPlans blog posts have a little something for everyone.  I’ll prove it!  Keep reading!

1. Should You Go On a Disney Cruise? – That’s the first question to ask right?  Should you go?  Will you like it?  Are the kids too young? etc. etc.  Well if you’re a Disney fan, I gave you 10 Reasons right here!  Savannah loves Disney and she agreed in this article.  Chances are that if you’re reading this blog post, you are a Disney fan, but if you’re not, look at this blog post for 10 reasons to try one.  Derek joined in with 6 reasons of his own to try a Disney Cruise.  Kristi wrote a blog post specifically geared towards people that hate cruises!  Laurel and I both added thoughts on why Disney cruises are fun for adults and couples with no kids.  Erin wrote two blog posts for parents thinking about a Disney cruise, one about whether your children are old enough and one that compares a Disney cruise to summer camp!  If you haven’t figured it out by now, the answer to #1 is an unqualified “yes.”

2. Choosing a Ship – Now that you’re convinced, you need to choose a ship!  I compared the four ships in this blog post.  Dani gave us a photo tour of the re-imagined Disney Magic, and I wrote about the changes shortly after they were complete.  Laurel recently broke down the awesome changes coming in the fall to the Disney Dream.  There’s no bad choice here, but maybe one that’s more right for you.

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How Do Crowd Levels Relate to Total Wait Times?

by on May 21, 2015

TouringPlans logoSo maybe you noticed that TouringPlans released some Crowd Calendar updates this week. And maybe you have a trip planned and are worried that your dates included some crowd level changes. Wouldn’t you like to know how the crowd levels relate to overall Disney wait times? Of course you would. And we’re here to help.

METHODOLOGY

We took two of our most popular touring plans (the One Day Plan for Adults, and the One Day Plan for Parents with Small Children) at the most popular theme park in the world (Magic Kingdom), and optimized them for days at each crowd level – 1 to 10.

With the exception of the “10” day, the Magic Kingdom opens at 9AM. The 10 day, it opens at 8AM.

We start the plan with arrival at park open.

No days have Extra Magic Hours.

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Updated Port Orleans Riverside Room View Photos

by on May 20, 2015

Disney landscapers have trimmed back many of the trees in front of the Magnolia Terrace building (#85) at Port Orleans Riverside, allowing for better river views from upper-floor rooms. Our photographers swung by for quick stay last week, and get updated photos for our hotel room view database.

Here’s the view from room 8916 before the trimming:

Room 8916

And here’s the view after:

8916_2

It’s a much better view, and they’ve kept the lovely Magnolia trees around the sides.

The photographers are making their way around Walt Disney World this summer, updating room photos for the Polynesian, BoardWalk Inn Villas, and more.

Thanks to our friend Andre Wiley of PortOrleans.org for the tip about the maintenance!

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