Trip Planning

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!

Back to the Basics: Booking a Walt Disney World Resort Hotel + Video

by on May 9, 2017

It’s my favorite day of the week: TUESDAY!

To be honest, I’ve always felt really bad for Tuesday. No one cares about it. People dread Monday, Wednesday is the half way mark, but Tuesday? No recognition at all.

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How Time of Year Affects Your Disney World Trip

by on April 24, 2017

Time of year will have a huge impact on your Disney vacation. Here we talk about how to use the calendar to determine your best time to go to Disney World.

Any time someone asks me for trip planning assistance, there are several questions I have before offering any advice to sort of make sure I’m steering them to a trip that they will actually enjoy. One of the first and most important is “do you have any flexibility in when you go?” This is a big one, and travelers — especially inexperienced travelers — often fail to appreciate that there is a best time to go to Disney World or understand the significance that the time that you choose to go can have on your trip.

For a lot of families in particular, the thinking may be, “OK, Spring Break is this week, so we’ll go this week,” and if that’s truly the only time you can go, que sera sera. If you DO have the ability to be more selective about when you go, however, you absolutely weigh the pros and cons of visiting at different times of year. The date you go can have a huge impact upon crowds, what you get to experience, weather, and even price, so it is worth devoting some effort into it. Read on to find out why it’s important, and how you can pick the best time to go to Disney and plan a trip that you’re going to love!

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Back to the Basics: Disney Dining Plan + Video

by on March 24, 2017

Photo - Angela DahlgrenToday’s Back to the Basics episode covers a controversial topic:

The Disney Dining Plan.

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Washington DC – The Wildly Popular Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors

by on February 28, 2017

One of the additional displays with a long line in the background

In case you missed the announcement, TouringPlans.com now covers Washington, D.C. as a destination. The city’s various attractions and touring style really lends itself to proper planning and that was no more evident than on my visit this past weekend to the Hirshhorn Museum to see the new exhibit Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors.

Yayoi Kusama is an 87 year old Japanese artist who has been displaying her work in the United States (and globally) for 60 years. She tends to like polka dots and soft sculptures in her sometimes eccentric art, but Infinity Mirrors is an exhibit that even the artistically-challenged (which I sometimes can be) can love.

Let’s ask some important questions:

So What Is It?

Okay, here we go.

The basic premise of the exhibit is simple: There are 5 small rooms within the gallery that are completely lined with mirrors. Within the room are various objects that help give you the impression that you are in a vast landscape–what that landscape’s effect is varies with the room.

In addition to the rooms themselves, there were side displays, smaller infinity boxes, and room-filling atmospheric installations. It’s easier to show than to tell:

Infinity Room #1 — Phalli’s Field

This room contained thousands of the phallic soft sculptures that Kusama loves to use. It is probably the least photogenic, but one of my favorites to stand in. The effect of the sea of soft sculptures was actually very pleasant and I’m not going to go into a psychological examination about standing in a phallus field.

Infinity Room #2 — The Souls of Millions of Light Years Away

My favorite concept, although I didn’t love the execution as much. The hanging lights were a beautiful effect (although I did hit my face off of them more than once), but they flashed an pulsed almost continuously. I would have preferred a more gradual change than a strobe effect, but I am also not exactly artistic so what do I know?

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