Posts Tagged ‘walt disney world’

Doing Disney World Solo: Having a Me Party

by on July 30, 2014

Disney Parks are advertised as the quintessential family vacation, but that doesn’t mean that you can only have fun with your family. Whether you’re in Orlando for a business conference, a local looking for a fun afternoon, or just planning a trip all for your “onesy” (as Jack Sparrow would say), the magic of Walt Disney World is easily captured by any intrepid traveler! If Amy Adams and Miss Piggy can have fun with their own “Me Party”, anyone can! Let’s dive in and find some ideas to help you create your own “Me Party” when you are traveling solo at Disney World.

Amy Adams, from The Muppets, shows us that anyone can have fun at a "me party"!

Amy Adams, from The Muppets, shows us that anyone can have fun at a “me party”!

Why Travel Walt Disney World Solo

Believe it or not, there are lots of little perks to being a solo traveler at Walt Disney World. After all, you can create your own agenda. It’s a very liberating feeling walking through the theme parks and only answering to yourself. A quick stop for a Dole Whip at Aloha Isle, a last minute dining reservation (ADR) at your favorite restaurant (if you can get it), or maybe you want to re-ride the tea cups at the Mad Tea Party six times in a row. It’s up to you!

Solo Travel Considerations

Safety: Before we jump right into the fun, it’s important to consider the safety of being a solo-traveler. I always stay at a Disney owned resort on property when I travel by myself. That’s not to say that other local hotels aren’t safe, but there is a familiarity with the Disney resorts and the caring nature of the cast members that make it extra comforting. When checking in, I usually tell the cast member that I’m by myself and would prefer a room close to the main building for security reasons. Though there is no guarantee that they can accommodate this request, I’ve never had a problem. I also make sure that I’m aware of my surrounding and stay in well-lit areas. Even though it’s Disney, safety is a top priority. This means, putting away your smart phone, especially when waiting for transportation or in transit between your resort and the park. Not that Disney has many “predators” lurking in the parking lots, when you’re on your own you want to make sure that you’re aware of your surroundings.

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Planning for Spontaneity: Disney World Counter Service Meals

by on July 30, 2014

By nature, our family tends to over-plan. On one vacation, we even set aside specific time to ‘be spontaneous – within our own limitations.’ But for some reason, our quick dining – while generally guided – wasn’t set in stone. On our first day in Epcot, we chose Sunshine Seasons, one of the jewels of counter service dining in the parks, according to all the checks we’d made. We began enjoying our Asian-infused lunch until our only adventurous eater started to look a little queasy. The sights and aromas had overcome our (somewhat) melodramatic child. Thankfully, she was only four. And we didn’t stick around for the clean-up.

A nice variety of food offered at Casey's Corner, but tough to locate an indoor seat.

A nice variety of food offered at Casey’s Corner, but tough to locate an indoor seat.

Since then, we have planned all of our meals. For many Walt Disney World vacationers, counter service fills up half – or more- of our theme park dining. Plenty of information exists for table service restaurants: menus, meal reviews, countdown to reservation times, and strategies for landing the elusive meal spot. Comparatively little exists for the compulsive planner when it comes to quick service. While outlining burgers and nachos may seem overly obsessive, building a plan – with a back-up, too – may save time, effort, and enable you to put more enjoyment into your vacation. If nothing else, you might slide a column into your managed spreadsheet for your ‘other’ meal.

Counter service restaurants participate uniquely with the Disney Dining plan. Almost all table service restaurants in Disney World parks are on the meal plan, but only some counter service restaurants are. Some will serve snacks only. The leg conundrum for me seems the strangest. Some places – like the pork shank legs at Min and Bill’s in Hollywood Studios-Covered. Gaston’s Tavern in Magic Kingdom-Not covered. You can use a snack credit there, just not on the shank.

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Walt Disney World Newsworthy Notes – 7/28/14

by on July 28, 2014

I’m back with all the great little Disney planning details that I think you need to know!  There’s quite a few little nuggets that have passed through my desk, so enough with this chit chat, yick yack, and flim flam; let’s get on with it!

  • As always, we’ll start with refurbishments. This time I only have one to let you all know about. The Magic Carpets of Aladdin at the Magic Kingdom will be closed for a brief refurb this Fall from November 10 – 21, reopening on November 22.
  • The WonderGround Gallery, which can be found at Disneyland Resort’s Downtown Disney, now has a presence at the Marketplace Co-Op in Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World.
  • The Epcot After Hours Wind Down event has been extended. The extra experience, which takes place after Illuminations:Reflections of Earth on select nights, will now last until November 9. The event was originally supposed to run until September 15. The After Hours Wind Down includes a menu featuring a selection of appetizers and one beverage flight. The price is $35 per person, per location. A cash bar option is also available.

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Walk Disney: A Review of the Boardwalk Ballyhoo Guided Tour

by on July 28, 2014

t_logo_fbThe Walk Disney series will provide a description and review of activities that can be done while walking the grounds at Walt Disney World resorts.

Do you know why the ESPN Club on Disney’s BoardWalk is shaped like an octagon? Do you know where the hidden Tinkerbell is near the elevators of Disney’s BoardWalk Villas? By taking the free BoardWalk Ballyhoo Guided Tour, you will learn these and many more interesting details about Disney’s BoardWalk Inn and Villas resort area.

Before describing the experience that my wife and I had on the tour, here are the tour basics:

What does the tour entail? The tour covers many of the design choices that the Imagineers made when constructing Disney’s BoardWalk Resort area. The walking, informational tour begins at the Bellevue Lounge, continues through the main floor of Disney’s BoardWalk Inn, and eventually ends up on the boardwalk outside of the Boardwalk Bakery.

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Top Ten Places to Find: Romance in Disney World

by on July 26, 2014

Already a popular destination for fairy tale weddings and fun honeymoons, the Walt Disney World Resort is no stranger to romance.  If you’re looking to find a little romance during your Disney vacation, here’s a list of top ten spots to check out for a bit of romance in Disney World.

A smooch in front of the castle is pretty romantic!

A smooch in front of the castle is pretty romantic!

Cinderella Castle – Magic Kingdom: One of the most popular locations in Walt Disney World to pop that life-changing question, Cinderella Castle definitely tops the charts as one of the most romantic locations at the resort. Take advantage of the plethora of PhotoPass Photographers in this location to get a picture of you and your sweetheart in front of the castle. Whether it’s a smooch, a slow dance, a firework show, or a marriage proposal, head to the castle for a bit of love pixie dust.

Boat Rides: The Love Boat doesn’t have anything on the fleet of boating options available at Walt Disney World.  And nothing says romance more than snuggling up with your loved one on one of the many cruising options Disney offers. From Pirates of the Caribbean in Magic Kingdom to Maelstrom in Epcot, enjoy a slow, entertaining cruise in the arms of the person you love. Kick up the romance another notch by booking a Fireworks Cruise and enjoy the leisurely romance of a luxury boat in addition to the sparkle and pizazz of the nightly fireworks shows at either the Magic Kingdom or Epcot. It costs a bit extra, but who can put a price on love? Book your own personal love boat cruise by calling 407-WDW-PLAY (939-7529)

Walk Along the Beach: Everyone enjoys a romantic stroll on the beach, and Walt Disney World Resorts offer several beach options. Enjoy the white sands and calming beach atmosphere at the Wilderness Lodge, the Grand Floridian, and the Polynesian Village. For a bit more upbeat vibe, stroll at the beach at the Yacht Club and Beach Club Resort or Caribbean Beach Resort. Holding hands and burying feet in soft white sands offers a great tropical romance. Visit the Polynesian Beach in the evening and get a unique view of the Wishes fireworks show, complete with music!

Victoria & Albert’s: Fine dining is always a great resource for some much needed romance. Again, Disney has a multitude of options for every adventurous (and every not-so-adventurous) palate out there, but Victoria & Albert’s is the cream of the crop. The only AAA Five Diamond restaurant in Central Florida, Victoria & Albert’s has amazing food and service beyond your wildest dreams without being at all stuffy. Quiet and decorum are enhanced by the most stringent dress code of any Walt Disney World restaurant and an age limit for diners (must be 10 years old or older). If you want to dress up and leave the kids in one of Disney’s kids clubs, this is the place to go. Its price list is not for the faint of heart, but it’s worth every penny! Go online or call 407-WDW-DVNA (939-3862) to make your reservation. 

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Magic Kingdom Attractions for Ride Chickens

by on July 25, 2014

it's a small world entrance

The scariest ride… ever?! No drops on this ride, but what if you get stuck? That song… forever?!

Many times, when people talk about planning a trip to Walt Disney World, and more specifically Magic Kingdom, the talk quickly turns to the attractions that are the most exciting. These attractions are generally the ones that have height restrictions, with required restraints to keep you in the vehicle.

As a self-professed ride chicken, there’s a lot of things that give me pause at Disney World: attractions that are so mind-bogglingly scary, I’m not sure how anyone is brave enough to attempt them.

With that being said, there are far more attractions that even ride chickens can handle. There’s obviously a variety of reasons people do not like certain attractions, and for a long time I just assumed my fear was roller coasters. While I still cannot ride huge coasters, I have since realized that I actually can’t handle changing altitudes quickly.

This leaves out most of the flume-style rides, as well as the larger coasters.

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Top Ten Places to Find Coffee at Walt Disney World

by on July 24, 2014

The Walt Disney World Resort is 47 square miles, which is about the same size of San Francisco. A resort this size is pretty certain to have whatever you might be looking for. For those as addicted to caffeine as I am, my first question in the morning is, “Where’s the coffee?” With this mind, here is my quick and dirty “top ten” guide on where to find coffee at Disney World. Now, this list isn’t all-inclusive, and it isn’t even ranked (who can really say one Starbucks is better than another), but I will give you a list of ten options for you to keep in mind when you’re on your “Where’s Waldo?” search for a tasty cup of Joe.

Starbucks at the West Side of Downtown Disney is easy to spot, next to the Characters in Flight attraction

Starbucks at the West Side of Downtown Disney is easy to spot, next to the Characters in Flight attraction

Starbucks – West Side Downtown Disney: Nestled next to the Characters in Flight balloon launch in Downtown Disney’s West Side, this coffee mecca is pretty easy to find. And the curse/blessing of any chain restaurant is that you know exactly what you’re getting when you order your favorite beverage here. Starbucks regulars can even use their Starbucks gift cards here. What makes this location unique from any other location is the impeccable coffee theming. True to Disney form, you are immersed in coffee culture, so take some time to peruse the walls and learn a bit about this addictive little bean we all love so much. Once you’ve grabbed your beverage, snag a window seat to watch shoppers stroll along or the Characters in Flight balloon lift-off. Or sip while you doodle on the interactive screen.

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Daisy Lauren’s Best Week Ever: July 24, 2014

by on July 24, 2014

Hi, Everyone! Welcome to the Best Week Ever here at Walt Disney World! This week we’ll be visiting the Magic Kingdom to check out progress on all the renovations there then heading over to Downtown Disney to see what’s new. We’ve got a lot to cover so let’s get started with a sunny Saturday morning at Cinderella’s Castle. It looks like it isn’t that crowded from the photo but when I arrived at the gates at 8:45am they’d already started letting people in the park. I knew there was no way I’d get to Seven Dwarfs Mine Train without a long wait so I took my time wandering into the park. 

1

It’s been a while since we’ve been shopping so I stopped into the Emporium. This early in the morning you can see how empty it is in there. You can also hear a bird that flew into the shop and was hanging out!

I also encountered a few of my favorite things on Main Street….

CLICK TO READ MORE

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When the Magic is Too Much – Preparing Kids for Disney

by on July 22, 2014

Planning a family Disney vacation is full of anticipation and excitement. You save money and plan meticulously for months to have that perfect, magical experience. However, it’s often underestimated how quickly things can go from exciting to scary for the youngest Disney guests. Navigating four theme parks with a little one can be a bit overwhelming, especially if you don’t anticipate what may trigger a reaction. Here we look at ways of preparing kids for Disney vacations.

I’ve seen kiddos get freaked out by 3 main things:

  1. Mickey and characters (they’re bigger than you think!),
  2. Fireworks (sure they’re pretty, but man are they loud!), and
  3. Attractions

There are a few things that you can do in advance to prepare your youngster for the magical world of excitement that awaits!

Buzz and Woody are big, even for adults!

Buzz and Woody are big, even for adults!

Meeting Disney Friends:

Kids see Mickey, Minnie, and all of their favorite characters in movies and on TV, but it really doesn’t prepare them for how large they are in real life. One way to help prepare young kids to these large friends is to expose them to some local “life size” characters like at Chuck E. Cheese or mascots at any local sporting event. This is a great test run to see how a youngster can handle these larger than life characters. It’s also a way to help them sort through any anxiety they might have, so when they meet Mickey it won’t be so overwhelming. If they already love Chuck E. Cheese, then you can cross this concern off your list!

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Disney Offers U.S. Military Special Tickets and Resort Rates

by on July 22, 2014

©Disney

©Disney

In honor of our troops, both the Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort will not only be offering U.S. Military special discounted room reservation rates, but they are also offering them promotional military ticket options.

The brave men and women who serve our country can purchase specially priced tickets from August 25, 2014, through September 30, 2015 for both Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resort. (Disneyland tickets can actually be purchased through October 1, 2015.) These special tickets may be purchased by active and retired U.S. military personnel (which includes active and retired members of the U.S. Coast Guard, National Guard and Reservists). Active and retired U.S. military personnel can purchase the Disney Military Promotional Tickets for not only themselves, but also up to five additional family members or friends. Keep in mind that there is an expiration date for these tickets; they must be used by October 3, 2015, and they are non-transferable. Valid military identification will be required for purchase and use.

At Walt Disney World, there are three different Military Promotional Ticket options, which include:

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