Walt Disney World (FL)

Ask It Results: How Often Do You Vacation to Walt Disney World?

by on June 14, 2017

Like many questions on Ask It, there really is no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to questions about Disney. When it comes to deciding how often to vacation at Walt Disney World, there are so many factors that come into play, and each person has a different reason for why they vacation as frequently or infrequently as they do. Last week we asked you:

How often do you vacation to Walt Disney World?

With 2,900 votes, here’s your results.

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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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Julia’s Best Week Ever, June 8, 2017: Birthday Girl Weekend Requests

by on June 8, 2017

Our little girl is growing up so fast. Unfortunately, the week before her seventh birthday, she ended up breaking her glasses and catching a cold, so we pushed her actual birthday celebrating back a couple weeks. She had a couple unusual requests: another round of mini-golf at Winter Summerland (but this time on the Summer course), and a meal at Rainforest Café (a restaurant where we’ve never dined). Ah, the wants of a seven-year-old, eh?

Winter Summerland, the mini golf course next to Blizzard Beach, had a decent crowd when we arrived shortly after opening. Still, it was less than a 20 minute wait before our “tee time” came up.

 

Many of the holes have themes that are similar to its winter counterpart, but looking at the fun themes, poems, and décor for each hole still makes for an amusing time out.

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Memory Maker Price Increase

by on June 7, 2017

©Disney

Memory Maker is one of the great options that the Walt Disney World Resort offers its Guests that allows them to take great family photos with everyone included in the pictures. With Memory Maker, Guests can get digital copies of every photo taken, instead of having to purchase each image individually.

Well beginning today, Guests looking to purchase Memory Maker are now going to have to pay a little more. The price for purchasing Memory Maker in advance has increased from $149 to $169. (Guests who purchase the photo package in advance must do so at least three days prior to their trip because the Advance Purchase option doesn’t include photos taken within three days of purchase.) For those who purchase Memory Maker on property (which is active immediately after purchase), it will now cost $199, an increase from $169.

Guests who purchase Memory Maker receive access to download, print, and share all of their Walt Disney World vacation memories that were taken by Disney PhotoPass photographers.  Guests who purchase this package also receive access to photos taken on select attractions, as well as at select dining locations and it also gives Guests access to magical extras like special on-ride videos from select attractions and Animated Magic Shots!

For those who want to be able to have access to some great vacation memories, this option is really a great way to do it.

Ask It: How Often Do You Vacation to Walt Disney World?

by on June 7, 2017

©Rikki Niblett

As the old saying goes, the best cure for the post-Disney vacation blues is setting a date for the next Disney vacation. Many factors can contribute to how soon that next vacation will come, however. Cost, vacation time, life circumstances, desire to see other places, and more mean that your next trip may or may not be right around the corner. This week, we’re asking:

How often do you vacation to Walt Disney World?

  • Every 2-4 years (41%, 569 Votes)
  • Once a year (31%, 434 Votes)
  • More than once a year (20%, 278 Votes)
  • Every 5+ years (8%, 109 Votes)

Total Voters: 1,390

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Posting is live here and on Twitter, and feel free to share what helps you determine how often you make a Walt Disney World vacation happen in the comments.

Night of Joy Tickets Now On Sale

by on June 6, 2017

Night of Joy

©Disney

For those of you wanting to attend this year’s Night of Joy event at Walt Disney World, I can now tell you that tickets are officially on sale!

This year’s Christian music event will be taking place on Friday, September 8 and Saturday, September 9 and will be two nights of fun and fellowship. With the recent move the ESPN Wide World of Sports, the event has been expanded with Guests having more options than ever. Night of Joy now has ample seating at indoor and outdoor venues; amazing performances on multiple stages, including Champion Stadium; activities and more.

This year, ticket options will include the ability for event guests to be able to buy a concert only OR a concert plus theme park combination ticket for either evening or a two-night concert ticket.

  • Single-night concert only tickets will be $45 plus tax in advance
  • Two-night concert only tickets will be $69 plus tax in advance
  • Add-on a one day Walt Disney World theme park ticket for only $62 plus tax  (Add-on Theme Park Ticket Option is good for use any one day September 8-30, 2017 at any one of the four Walt Disney World Theme Parks)

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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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SATURDAY SIX: 6 Reasons We LOVE Pandora – The World of Avatar

by on May 27, 2017

This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at Six Reasons We LOVE Pandora: The World of Avatar!  It seemed like just yesterday that Disney announced it was going to make a land based around James Cameron’s Avatar (it was actually 2,078 days ago, but who’s counting.) The new area would be replacing Camp Minnie-Mickey, a cute stop during a day at Animal Kingdom, but certainly not a land anyone is going to chain themselves to in protest of its leaving. Now, on the day of it’s official grand opening,  we ask, was it worth the wait? In a word: YES.

A look into Pandora: The World of Avatar. (photo by Michael Carelli)

For many Animal Kingdom fans, talk of the unbuilt Beastly Kingdom brings the same gritted teeth reactions that you’ll see when someone brings up the broken Yeti. However, with Pandora – The World of Avatar, we have our Beastly Kingdom.  Today we’re going to take a look at some of the greatest parts of this new land, and let’s kickoff the countdown with…

# 6 – Connect With a Banshee

Before the details of Pandora were released many people – including Your Humble Author  – wondered what the area would do in terms of merchandise. While the film it is based on is the biggest grossing movie in the history of cinema, ancillary sales were almost non-existent. There were plenty of Avatar t-shirts, books, and even a full action figure line to buy, but most went unsold. Would Disney, quite possibly the worldwide leader in merchandise sales, be able to develop Avatar-related items that would get guests to open up their wallet like Universal did with Harry Potter?

Time will tell on the bigger picture, but one thing we already know for sure is that Disney created a huge hit with the Connect With a Banshee toy available in Pandora’s only gift shop, Windtraders. Sharing many similarities with the Wizarding World’s the wand chooses you gimmick, the cute Banshee toys are scoring high with both kids and adults. Guests can make their Banshee move their mouth, head, and wings, not to mention roar, while perched on their shoulder. It is a great souvenir that ties into the film, delivers a personal experience, and even allows “the opportunity” to buy a stand for your Banshee to sit on when not on your shoulder. In the marketing world we call that a home run.

A Banshee at The Rookery. (photo by Michael Carelli) – If you get a Banshee, be sure to follow @DisneyBanshees on Twitter and post pictures of your own Banshee.

Banshees await to bond with their human at The Rookery. (photo by Hunter Underwood)

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Julia’s Best Week Ever, May 18, 2017: A Mother of a Weekend

by on May 18, 2017

You know that whole “need a vacation to recover from a vacation”? I think I’m there after this week. It isn’t often that a new section of a theme park opens, so we decided to make the most of it. As locals, we don’t spend as many DVC points, so when we heard that there was a DVC preview in Pandora for Mother’s Day weekend, we booked a room at the Beach Club and signed up. (And consider this the spoiler alert–there will be some mild spoiler pictures later on in the article.) Our time slot was for 9 AM on Saturday morning, so in theory we needed to get an early night’s sleep. But Friday night was also the first night of Happily Ever After. My husband and I had seen some of it when it was in testing at 1 AM, but our daughter slept through it. We let her stay up to watch, and she had fun making “water effects” for it in the pool.

Thankfully, even with all that excitement, she was able to get some sleep. The next morning we got up and arrived at Animal Kingdom around 8:30. We walked over to the Annual Passholder line and there was a crowd just hanging out. The Cast Member there asked if we were Passholders, and we said yes. She asked if we were staying on property, and we said yes, but were a little confused how she knew. She scanned our Magic Bands and it occurred to us–everyone else was standing around because they couldn’t go in yet. It was a morning Extra Magic Hour for resort guests. Yay! In we went. Getting in early meant we could say hi to the animals on our way to Pandora. Specifically, an anteater came to say good morning. He certainly looks like he would belong on Pandora, doesn’t he?

It was about quarter of nine, but they let us walk right in. We got a FastPass return slip for Flight of Passage and admired the landscape as we walked over to the Na’vi River Journey.

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Ask It: Are Preferred Rooms Worth It?

by on May 17, 2017

Is a preferred room at Disney World worth the cost

There’s no question that staying on property at Walt Disney World is an added luxury to your vacation. But even with the extra cost of staying at a Walt Disney World resort hotel, there are options for “preferred rooms” and room upgrades. These rooms may have a more desirable location (near bus transportation, near the pool, near the food court/lobby), better views (of ponds/lakes, pools, or animals on the savannah), special theming (Pirate or “Royal” rooms) or ground floor locations.  Of course, there’s an added cost for anything above a “standard” room. So this week’s question is:

What features are worth paying extra for a preferred room at Walt Disney World?

  • Location (49%, 427 Votes)
  • Never Worth It (21%, 185 Votes)
  • View (20%, 172 Votes)
  • Special Features (9%, 79 Votes)

Total Voters: 863

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Voting is open here and on Twitter and we’ll have your results next week. Feel free to share your reasons for your choice in the comments.