Trip Planning

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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Ideas for Entertaining Kids On The Plane

by on May 20, 2015

Photo - DisneyFor some, the thought of flying on a plane with kids is simple and carefree.

For me, not so much.

Don’t get me wrong – I have an amazingly easy child who travels very well. Still, I would be lying if I didn’t admit prior to flying with her, I become a Nervous Nelly.

For those of you who can relate to my anxieties, here is a list of ideas and items for entertaining your child on a flight to Walt Disney World, Disneyland or anywhere else. Although who are we kidding, why go anywhere else when you could go to some of the happiest places on earth? 😉

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How Often Do Disney World Park Hours Change?

by on May 19, 2015

TouringPlans logoPark hours are one of the many things that factor into our Walt Disney World Crowd Calendar calculations. We have found over the years that park hours are decent indicators of crowd size (although they are far from the only indicators). The reasoning is simple: Disney has longer operating days when they think they’ll be busy and shorter when they don’t.

I have personally been collecting Walt Disney World park hours for 4 years now, since July 1, 2011 and I have compiled some overall statistics that I find interesting, and therefore think you may find interesting as well. Be warned, there are a lot of numbers in this post so geek out everyone!

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FAQ: What to Wear on A Disney Cruise

by on May 15, 2015

You’ve booked a Disney Cruise Line voyage, yay! One of the first things many guests ask (after “How am I going to pay for this?”) is “What should I wear?” This simple question is a hotly contested topic in some circles. I’m here to talk you through what you need to know.

What should I wear to dinner?

Disney Cruise Line ships each have three main dining rooms (MDRs). You will be assigned to eat at one of the three MDRs every night of your cruise.

One version of semi-formal.

One version of semi-formal.

The default dress code at the MDRs is “Cruise Casual.”

The MDRs may also have any of several possible other dress suggestions depending on the specifics of your sailing. These might include formal attire, semi-formal attire, pirate attire, tropical attire, Pixar attire, Frozen attire, or Star Wars attire. In the main dining rooms, everything other than cruise casual is simply a suggestion and is completely optional. I repeat EVERYTHING OTHER THAN CRUISE CASUAL IS OPTIONAL.

What does cruise casual mean?

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Daisy Lauren’s Best Week Ever: May 14, 2015

by on May 14, 2015

1Hi, Everyone! Welcome to the Best Week Ever here at Walt Disney World.  It feels so good to be home, so we’re starting with a little Orlando Pride this week! I know we normally just feature theme parks, but I couldn’t visit the Orlando Eye and not take you with me! Stay tuned, because we’re also stopping by the Magic Kingdom, Disney Springs, and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. So what are we waiting for? Let’s go ya’ll! 😀

When construction started on the Orlando Eye there wasn’t much interest in our house. I mean, it’s just a big ferris wheel, right? Now that I’ve been lucky enough to ride I can tell you that is far from the truth. This thing is massive! Taking a complete trip around takes a full 20 minutes. Here’s the view from the base:

2

 

Want to see more? Click to read on….

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Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom Game: Practical Tips to Maximize Your Fun

by on May 13, 2015

SOTMK posterSorcerers of the Magic Kingdom, a free interactive game at Disney World’s Magic Kingdom, is another example of the technology that has lately become pervasive in the parks. This time, though, the focus is squarely on having fun rather than the more pragmatic tasks of entering the park or making FastPass+ reservations. Still, my family has experienced a few bumps in the road related to both ticket media and game card collection, and this article offers some tips gleaned from our most recent experience.

Rather than tips on gameplay strategies, the focus here is on non-gameplay tips to ensure you maximize your time at play—but first some background on the game and how to get started playing.

Back Story

Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom, or SOTMK, challenges players to help Merlin the wizard defeat Disney villains by casting spells at “portals” found on Main Street, U.S.A. and in Adventureland, Frontierland, Liberty Square, and Fantasyland. Players use a special card (their “key”) to open these portals, 5 of which are located in each of the aforementioned lands within innocuous looking windows or walls.© Sarah Graffam

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Stroller Rental Showdown: Walt Disney World Edition

by on May 13, 2015

Photo - Angela Dahlgren

BOB Revolution Flex Stroller

On my latest trip, I reviewed Walt Disney World stroller rental companies:

Orlando Stroller Rentals – full review here

Magic Strollers – full review here

Kingdom Strollers – full review here

Walt Disney World Stroller Rental – full review here

We last reviewed most of these companies in 2012. If you’re curious to see how they compare then vs. now, read Scarlett’s review here!

Each stroller was reviewed for at least half a day, and none of the companies knew it was for a review.

These companies are all Disney Featured Stroller Providers, which allows them to use the Disney resorts to store their strollers (except the Disney in-park rentals). The two big benefits to you are:

  • Your stroller will be picked up and delivered to the Bell Services desk at your Disney hotel
  • You don’t need to be present for the initial drop-off or pick-up

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Feel the Force Premium Package Preview

by on May 8, 2015

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Face your fears. Plan ahead. Enjoy the Premium Package.

2015 Feel the Force Details

When the Feel the Force Premium Package Star Wars parade and dessert party was announced last year, I went through a range of emotions on the first day. I started at “That is way too expensive for all of that…” moved quickly to “Maybe I can move a few things around…” Eventually, I ended up at “I must book that thing NOW…” While most reviews were tentative compliments through downright trashing, prepared visitors can make the most out of the experience to turn it into a worthwhile expense. Just be prepared to move to certain areas – and enjoy all that can be offered for the weekend. Read on for a review of last year’s experience.

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Should I Take My Young Child on a Disney Cruise?

by on May 1, 2015

Cruises, and Disney cruises in particular, offer many wonderful activities for children and families. Parents of elementary-age children, tweens, and teens typically leave the ship raving about their children’s engagement in the onboard kids’ clubs, their independence on the ship, and their enjoyment of various port excursions. They had a fabulous time! Many families with smaller children, preschool age and younger, also have a grand time on board; however, a significant subset have a more neutral, or even negative experience while cruising. Typically, the negative reaction comes when there is a disconnect between expectations and reality.

Some families with younger children find the ship pool areas overwhelming.

Some families with younger children find the ship pool areas overwhelming.

When considering what to expect from a Disney Cruise, first remember that travel with small children is almost always more challenging than travel with older kids or grown-ups. Adults who are used to traveling as, well, adults may be surprised at the difficulties posed when traveling with young children. If the Disney Cruise is one of your first travel experiences as a young family, remember that many of the issues you will encounter are not specific to Disney or to cruising, it’s just par for the course with travel at that stage.

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Trip Report: Coronado Springs Resort

by on May 1, 2015

Freshly back from my favorite place to vacation, I can’t stop thinking about the clean white sand, the lazy hammocks, the gorgeous Spanish architecture, and the relaxing atmosphere I experienced. This is one of our favorite resorts to visit; and no, it isn’t next to the ocean. It is a Disney resort: Coronado Springs to be exact.

Coronado Springs hidden mickey lobby - Amy FarkasI have several friends that vacation at the beach. When I ask them why, they describe the sand, the waves, and the relaxation. And to them I say: Coronado. Coronado Springs has all of these things plus a gorgeous pool, a 24 hour fitness center, a spa, some wonderful dining venues, and (a plus for me) is on Disney property. After the hustle and crowds of visiting Magic Kingdom, just hop the bus and head back to your serenity zone at the resort.

Our recent stay here was over the Easter holiday. We flew in late Saturday night, arriving at the resort about 10pm, and even at that hour we found the staff to be warm and friendly. One gentleman even pointed out the “hidden Mickey” in the lobby lighting, as he passed by my photographer husband. Check in itself was a breeze and we were soon on our way to our room.

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