Posts Tagged ‘disney world’

Things to Do at Disney World outside the Parks

by on November 21, 2014

It can be easy sometimes to forget just how much there is to do outside of Disney World’s four theme parks and two water parks. With so much contained within the parks, it might not even cross some guests’ minds that you could actually spend a whole Disney World vacation without ever going to the parks. Although I personally wouldn’t suggest skipping the parks entirely, you could do it and still have a great vacation. Maybe it’s the last day of your vacation or maybe you just want to explore the property a little to see what else Disney has to offer. With that in mind, here are just a few of the many things to see and do without ever having to pay for a park admission ticket.

Disney World Fantasia Gardens Mini Golf

Golf

Disney World wouldn’t be much of a resort destination without golf. With three courses (four if you include the onsite Four Seasons course) and one nine-hole walking course, there’s a wide variety of play options for fans of the sport. Even if you think you’re terrible at golf or you’ve never tried before, this is a good place to start. Resort courses are notoriously less punishing than most courses (people don’t need a stroke on vacation) and even if you do play horribly, at least you’re still in Disney so you can’t be that upset. If the full-fledged sport still seems like too much of an undertaking, Disney also offers two thematically different mini golf courses. Fantasia Gardens (located near the Boardwalk) is themed after its namesake film and even features a more traditional putting green course for those who want to just work on their short game. Winter Summerland Miniature Golf is located at Blizzard Beach and has two courses themed after winter and summer. For those concerned about having to purchase a water park ticket to play here, no need to worry. The mini golf course may be located at Blizzard Beach but it’s actually outside of the Blizzard Beach entrance.

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New Color Companion to Walt Disney World Available!

by on November 20, 2014

2015ColorCompanionOur new edition of The Unofficial Guide Color Companion to Walt Disney World is out. This guidebook has more than 500 full-color photos of Disney’s rides, restaurants, and resorts. This edition’s updates feature all of the new Fantasyland attractions, such as the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Enchanted Tales with Belle, and new restaurants like Be Our Guest.

Some of my favorite new parts of the Color Companion are the theme park infographics. These two-page color spreads are like cheat sheets for visiting the parks. Tip #1 includes the park’s typical Extra Magic Hours schedule, plus the pros and cons of Morning and Evening Extra Magic Hours. Tip #2 shows which attractions benefit most from FastPass+ in each park. Tip #3 explains why it’s important to arrive early.

Tip #4 shows which attractions get crowded fastest, and which attractions to visit during the busy, middle part of the day. And Tip #5 shows you which attractions are likely to still have FastPass+ reservations on the day you’re visiting the park. This is the first time we’ve presented this information in print, and it’s super useful when trying to figure out where to use your 3 advance FastPass+ reservations. Big thanks to graphic artist Cassandra Poertner for coming up with these (that’s Cassandra and her daughter in the flying boat).

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Traveling with a Disney Curmudgeon

by on November 16, 2014

Photo - Pixar.wikia.comThey live among us. They look just like you and me. They are….the Disney Curmudgeon.

Disney Curmudgeon (Dis·ney cur·mudg·eon): noun. 1. A person who possesses a strong dislike or disinterest of all things Disney.

I know my fair share of Disney Curmudgeons. In fact, I live with one. My husband, Michael, doesn’t share my obsession and love of everything Disney. He is a great sport (He dressed up as Smee and Mickey Mouse for me, so he must be!) and there are some aspects of Walt Disney World he really does enjoy. However, whenever I bring up a future Disney trip, his eyes say, “Really? again!?,” but his mouth smiles and says, “We can see about that honey.”

Although it may be in my nature to throw the book (and by book, I mean the Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World) at him and spend hours explaining why Disney World is the best place ever, it would result in a negative outcome on both sides. Instead, working with him and catering a little more to his needs can reduce the stress and make our vacation much more enjoyable.

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What’s On TV? Your Disney World TV Channel Line Up

by on November 13, 2014

Disney World TVI just returned from another incredible Walt Disney World vacation a couple of weeks ago, and I am still suffering from the post-Disney blues! One of my family’s favorite things about a Disney vacation is being able to stay in the “Disney Bubble” from the moment we arrive until the moment we leave. An integral part of that “Disney Bubble” is only watching Disney World TV and turning on the Must Do Disney channel as soon as we arrive to listen to Stacey talk about all of the fun things we will be doing during our visit. During this vacation, my boys and I spent a little time each morning while we were getting ready and a little time each night while we were winding down watching some of the Disney World TV channels that were offered at our resort hotel, the Art of Animation. Have you ever wondered about what is on TV at Disney World or have you ever wanted to know more about our favorite Must Do Disney gal – Stacey? Please read on for the full Disney World TV channel line up as well as my interview with Must Do Disney‘s Stacey Aswad!

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Honoring America’s Veterans: Flag Retreat Ceremony

by on November 11, 2014

Visiting the Disney parks, Walt Disney World and Disneyland, is a quintessentially American experience. Even though the parks have expanded beyond the United States and attract guests from around the world, they are still, to quote a popular attraction, “a tribute to all nations, but mostly America.”

When Walt Disney first dreamed of Disneyland, he knew the spirit of America had to be represented. “Disneyland is dedicated to the ideals, the dreams, and the hard facts that have created America… with hope that it will be a source of joy and inspiration to the world.” Even after 59 years, this quote is still true.

Walt at Disneyland's opening day Flag Retreat.  photo courtesy of Susan Emslie via Facebook

Walt at Disneyland’s opening day Flag Retreat. photo courtesy of Susan Emslie via Facebook

In this spirit, Disneyland and Walt Disney World have a daily Flag Retreat Ceremony. It generally takes place at dusk (5pm in WDW) at the flag in the center of Town Square. Honorary veterans are chosen to participate from each day’s visiting guests. It is a very moving ceremony that has quite a large group of followers. The Disneyland Flag retreat even has its own Facebook page, which honors the ceremony, the veterans, and the resident guard in charge of lowering the flag.

My Flag Retreat Experience

This year I traveled to Walt Disney World fell over the Memorial Day holiday. My husband and I decorated our resort room’s window that morning with red, white, and blue and then headed over to Magic Kingdom dressed in our patriotic T-shirts. Our goal for the day was to thank as many veterans as we could identify.

As it was nearing 4pm, we made our way towards the train station to have a bird’s eye view of the Flag Retreat below in Town Square. Just before we reached the end of Main Street, a group was gathered watching the Dapper Dans. We stopped to listen a few minutes and noticed a veteran in a scooter near where we were standing. As the crowd started to break, we walked over and thanked him for his service and all that he had done for our country, and then proceeded to the train station for those coveted seats.

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My Favorite Disney World Treats That Don’t Have Ears

by on November 10, 2014

Walt Disney World is not only magical, it’s also delicious. Disney World offers dozens upon dozens of restaurants and snack stands throughout the parks and resorts to tempt your taste buds and to keep you full; but my favorite dish is anything sweet! Most guests visiting the Most Calorie Laden Place on Earth who have a sweet tooth like me, tend to gravitate towards the traditional Disney treats, like the Mickey Premium Ice Cream Bars and Mickey-shaped Candied Apples and those giant Mickey lollipops. I know anything Mickey-shaped is hard to resist, but there’s a whole other world of delicious treats to be discovered at Disney World that don’t resemble everyone’s favorite mouse. So take a look at a few of my favorite Disney World treats that don’t have ears!

Zebra Domes

Zebra Domes

Zebra Domes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This treat is a creamy, savory sweet treat topped with chocolate stripes, just like a Zebra! Naturally, this dessert can be found at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge’s Boma Restaurant as part of the dinner buffet. Boma is a popular dining destination for many guests and is priced around $35.99 per adult and $16.99 per child. If this doesn’t fit your budget, there is still a way you can enjoy delicious Zebra Domes. Animal Kingdom Lodge’s food court, The Mara, offers packaged Zebra Domes in the refrigerated section for $3.99!

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Planning a High School Field Trip to Walt Disney World

by on November 7, 2014

Photo Credit - Disney

Mickey’s excited to meet his new high school friends!

In high school, I went on two school trips to Walt Disney World. I had an amazing time with my friends, and the memories have stayed with me to this day. Looking back on the entire experience as an adult, I have endless praise for my teachers, who planned the entire trip from start to finish. They chose to spend their entire Spring Break with 60 high school students. They deserve a medal.

I have spent this past week researching and speaking with different educators on how to organize a school trip to Walt Disney World. Although it’s impossible to fit in every detail, here are some highlights to consider when planning your own Walt Disney World field trip.

First Steps

Planning a school trip to Walt Disney World should begin at least a year in advance. While it would be much easier to hire a touring company to plan and execute the vacation, it might be very expensive. Planning your own trip is not only more cost effective, but gives you complete control over the vacation as a whole. Look into the events you want to attend and the places you want to go. Estimate expenses to determine the total cost for each student. From there, secure a total group number by requesting a small deposit from each student. In addition, have each student fill out field trip and medical request forms. Dot those i’s and cross those t’s!

Planes, Trains and Automobiles

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Pros and Cons of Going to Disney World during the Holidays

by on October 31, 2014

Holiday Lights

Happy Halloween, everyone! Did you know that the first Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is a week from today. And that it’s sold out? Enjoy your 6 days of downtime between the 2 month holiday of the Food & Hallowine Festival and the next 2 month holiday of Christmas and New Year’s.

Christmas will be here before you know it, and you might be asking yourself, “Hey, self, should I make my holiday season even more magical by going to Disney World?” I’m glad you asked. Disney World during the holidays is one of my favorite times of year to visit. It’s a time when there are several unique elements from decorations to food present that transform the parks into something special. That’s not to say that it’s the perfect time of year to go. Like any season, there are positives and negatives. While I believe that every Disney enthusiast should aim to visit at least once during the holidays, here are some of my personal pros and cons that should help you decide if it’s worth it.


ak tree

PRO: The Decorations

Walking down a fully decorated Main Street, U.S.A., is almost worth the trip alone for me. I already enjoy spending time just wandering around the Magic Kingdom staple but when the decorations are up, the ambiance gets even better. The decorations don’t stop there. Obviously the rest of the areas in the parks have decorations, but the hotels do, as well. I enjoy hotel hopping just to see how each one is decorated. The level of detail will vary, but some of the hotels go all out: for example, there’s a huge gingerbread house at the BoardWalk!

CON: The Crowds

Like any popular time of year at Disney, you’re going to feel cramped at some points. If all you want out of a Disney trip is short wait times and you don’t care about Christmas, maybe plan a trip for some other time. I could be perfectly happy just walking around the parks and taking everything in, but I understand how some people might not enjoy this and need plenty of attractions. If this is you, whatever you do, do not go during the week between Christmas and New Year’s. It’s the busiest time of year by far. Check out our crowd calendar for more information, but generally it’s less crowded the earlier you go in the season (besides the week of Thanksgiving, of course).

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My New Favorite Disney World Souvenir Finds

by on October 29, 2014

Little Mermaid Mouse Ears

Little Mermaid Mouse Ears

I don’t know about you, but souvenir shopping is a huge part of my Disney World Vacations. I always enjoy browsing through the stores at the parks and resorts for new merchandise; and during my past few trips to Disney World this year, I have discovered some magical, new items. So take a look at just a few of my new favorite Disney World souvenir finds!

Little Mermaid Mouse Ears – $19.00

As a huge Little Mermaid fan, I was thrilled when I came across these Little Mermaid Mouse Ears! I had seen the Belle and Cinderella themed Mouse Ears before, but this design is by far my favorite. I especially like the pearl accents! Surprisingly, I only found this twist on Disney’s classic headgear at Epcot’s Mouse Gear and Downtown Disney’s World of Disney Store during my most recent trip to Disney World, but hopefully that has changed. After all, who wouldn’t want to sport these ears around the parks, right?

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20 Things To Do When Your Hotel Room Isn’t Ready

by on October 28, 2014

Photo - Angela Dahlgren

A few more hours my beloved Boardwalk…a few more hours.

We were up at 4:30 a.m. for an early flight to Orlando. Taking no pride in my appearance, I hardly minded when my daughter spilled pureed peas all over my shirt during the flight. After all, I would have time to shower, change and decompress once we entered our hotel room right?

Wrong.

When we approached the front desk, we were informed the room wasn’t ready due to our extra early arrival. This wasn’t in the Touring Plan! We were now left with several unscheduled hours of time. What now?

While time did pass quickly and we managed to stay busy, it got me thinking. What else could we do should this happen again? Here are some ideas!

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