Posts Tagged ‘walt disney world’

The Best of the Best Week Ever 2016

by on December 22, 2016

It seems 2016 is an unforgettable year. Events and memories that happened this year are unlike previous years. Yet each week, we the Best Week Ever team found ways to make the most of it. Each week we aim to share with you the moments that make being in the theme parks so enjoyable and wonderful. Perhaps this year, more than ever, it became increasingly important to make our visits the best week ever. We are grateful for the time we spent in the parks this year and we want to share with you our favorite moments of Best Week Ever 2016. You’ll hear from all three of us as we each select three of our favorite Best Week Ever posts from this year.

Dani’s favorite Best Week Ever posts

This year I focused on growth and dealing with fear. Theme parks offer us entertainment and escapism, but they can also offer teaching moments. My desire to deal with and overcome fear started as a spark at the end of 2015, but grew into a warm, bright flame in 2016. By pushing myself to go on rides and try experiences I’d otherwise avoid, I’ve learned that fear never actually goes away. Instead we can accept it, acknowledge it, and ultimately realize most things are never as bad as we imagine them to be. And by opening myself up to new experiences I gained a new level of appreciation for my hometown, Orlando, and all that the theme parks offer.

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Walt Disney World Annual Passholders Get Special Entrances This Holiday Season

by on December 20, 2016

©Rikki Niblett

To celebrate their Annual Passholders this holiday season, Walt Disney World Annual Passholders will be able to enjoy easy access to the parks with special Passholder lines found at the main entrance of all four Walt Disney World theme parks –  Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

This entrance will be found at the main entrance of each of the four theme parks, just after the security stations. Guests looking to utilize this perk will see signs up that will indicate which lanes should be used by Passholders. This should hopefully allow for an expedited experience at the tap-styles and entering the park.

According to WESH, this perk will begin on December 21 and will currently last through the month of January.

 

 

 

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TouringPlansTV – Part 2 Review: Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotels + Video

by on December 20, 2016

Time for my Part 2 Review!

To check out the dining options, recreation and amenities at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin hotels, click below.

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January in Walt Disney World: A Primer

by on December 20, 2016

TouringPlans logoAre you planning or considering a trip to Walt Disney World in January?  It’s not on a lot of traveler’s radar because people are often wrapping up other holiday vacations and kids are just getting back to school.  If you can swing it, however, the reality is that January can be one of the best times to visit Walt Disney World! Gone is the oppressive heat of the summer, depending upon when you go, you can encounter some of the lightest crowds of the year, and the experience delivers the magic you can expect any other time of the year.  So, should you go?  Read on to find out about the pros and cons of a January trip! 

Mild (if unpredictable) Weather

 

One of the most frequent questions I get about January travel to Walt Disney World is about the weather — what to expect, what to pack, etc. The good news is that the weather tends to be pretty mild this time of year, and it’s honestly one of the best reasons to plan a trip in January. Historically, the average highs during this time of year are around 70° F, with lows around 50° F. Also of note: the 3 o’clock rain showers that are common during the summer months are not really part of the January experience — it can rain, but January is one of the drier months, and it’s not like you expect it to rain, like you do during other times of the year. 

 

Accuweather's January Forecast 2017

Accuweather’s current guesses for part of January 2017 in Orlando

 

The bad news, however, is that there can be wild variation in the weather during the month of January.  You might experience weather that is uncomfortably hot, or uncomfortably cold, and you might even experience both on back to back days.  I can remember on one of my first January trips heading to what was then Downtown Disney wearing shorts, but by midday, it was cold enough that people were running around in hats and gloves.  Part of that, of course, is the comically panicked reaction that Floridians have to temperatures that start with a “5,” but it was still a significant temperature swing in just a couple of hours, and it left me pretty uncomfortable. Lesson learned.   

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Using My Disney Experience: Do’s and Do Not’s

by on December 16, 2016

My Disney Experience: it’s the Walt Disney World vacation necessity! Your My Disney Experience account links together your ticket media, resort reservations, dining reservations, FastPass+ selections, and PhotoPass pictures. That’s a lot! With all this data to handle, My Disney Experience mistakes can and do occur for many guests.

Making FastPass+ Selections in My Disney Experience. Using character avatars helps you make sure you're using your Family and Friends' actual accounts.

Making FastPass+ Selections in My Disney Experience. Using character avatars helps you make sure you’re using your Family and Friends’ actual accounts.

Your vacation depends on its smooth operation, so getting your My Disney Experience account details right is an important part of your planning. This means everything from log-in and email notifications, to setting up your Family and Friends. If you’re getting started at home, you have time to play with the website and app, getting used to the interface. If you rush through the set-up, you might make a mistake which costs you time later.

Still, even the most careful planner can get caught by a quirk within My Disney Experience (known as MDX by Cast Members).  Here are some My Disney Experience do’s and don’ts, to help you plan a smooth, fun and maybe even relaxing Walt Disney World vacation.

Don’t: Make a new account because you forgot your password.

When you are prompted to set up your My Disney Experience account, you enter an email. If you’ve ever used that email for any Disney-owned account, from ESPN to Pixie Hollow, MDX is looking for the same password you used for that account. So if you enter in your primary email address on the first day you decide to use My Disney Experience, and are immediately prompted for a password you don’t remember, stop! Take the time to reset the password, even if it means calling in for assistance. Why is this so important?

Well, it’s mostly for your own convenience. If you use a secondary email address, at a certain point you’ll probably forget you were using it. Then, you’ll get important communications from Disney about your reservation, which you’ll miss because you didn’t get them in your primary email account. Disney uses your email for notifications about your reservations. For example: you might get a notification your FastPass+ reservation for The Jungle Cruise has been canceled due to weather, and you now have an additional FastPass+ to use on a specific set of rides in its place. 

There’s also the matter of duplicate accounts. If you create a second MDX account because your forgot a password, then inadvertently use your other email on reservations or to purchase tickets, you might create a duplicate version of yourself… and you really don’t want to do that! We’ll talk more on duplicates in a minute.

When you set up your resort reservation, be sure to enter everyone's names and ages correctly. This will matter when buying tickets and making FastPass+.

When you set up your resort reservation, be sure to enter everyone’s names and ages correctly. This will matter when buying tickets and making FastPass+. If you mark your children as adults to save time, you’ll make it up later when you’re trying to buy children’s tickets for them!

So take time to get your account set-up correctly the first time… right down to your children’s ages, if you have kids. That information will feed into your attempts to purchase many other vacation pieces, including resort reservations and theme park tickets.

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TouringPlansTV: Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotels + Video

by on December 13, 2016

The Dolphin at Walt Disney World

Welcome back to TouringPlansTV!

Ever heard of the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotels? Well, you’re about to!

To find out more about the theme, rooms, transportation and pools, click below.

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TouringPlansTV: BoardWalk Inn – Dining and Amenities + Video

by on December 6, 2016

I’m finally here with part 2 of my BoardWalk Inn review!

Here, I delve into the dining options, pools, recreation and amenities.

You’ve all been so patient, so I won’t keep you waiting any longer.

Check it out below!

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Highway In The Sky Dine-Around: A Memorable Monorail Meal

by on December 6, 2016

Private fireworks viewing overlooking Magic Kingdom ends the Highway In The Sky dinner.

Private fireworks viewing overlooking Magic Kingdom ends the Highway In The Sky dinner.

Last week, Disney announced a new upscale special dining event modeled after the popular “monorail crawl” many Disney fans love, called the Highway In The Sky Dine-Around progressive dinner. Offered Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays (with a short break for the holiday season), this event highlights dining offerings at Disney’s Contemporary, Polynesian Village, and Grand Floridian Resorts in a four hour experience priced at $150 plus tax per person (gratuity included, no discounts of any kind offered).

I was lucky enough to book a spot for the first night of this event last Friday on a whim. As it turns out, there really was a bit of luck involved here, as the event is already nearly sold out through the initial booking period currently running through March 2017 (sporadic parties of 1 and 2 are available on select dates as of the date of this article)! Here, I’ll walk you through the logistics and food/beverage I enjoyed during the event, which I’m sure will change over time as this event settles into permanent status, but it will give you a good idea of how it all works and whether it would fit your dining preferences.

Booking and Arrival

First, a few notes about booking: Many guests attending Friday’s dinner noted that some Cast Members assisting in booking by phone had no clue what the event was (which can sometimes happen with new events). I was able to book online directly through the Disney site without hassle (by searching for the Highway in the Sky event page). On Thursday, I received a call from a Cast Member confirming my attendance and checking if I had any food allergies or accessibility concerns, as the event includes a set menu and several sets of stairs and standing throughout. I was also reminded that valet parking was included at the Contemporary Resort. All of these items were touches I’d expect of any upscale dining experience, so I was happy to see they hadn’t been lost in the shuffle of it being a new event.

I was told to check in to the podium at The Wave… restaurant around 6:30 PM (event start times will vary based on the time of Magic Kingdom’s fireworks on any given night). Several Cast Members were around to welcome me, and once all the business was settled, I was led into the lounge area in The Wave’s lobby, where one of the blue alien-spaceshippy trippy rooms had been reserved for our group. If you’re acquainted with these lounge areas, you’ll know they aren’t particularly huge, so I was curious to see how big our dining party would actually be. As everyone filtered in, the group grew to about 25 guests – a reasonable size that seemed intimate but not so small that you couldn’t socialize with lots of different people.

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Review: Thanksgiving Weekend at Walt Disney World

by on December 5, 2016

thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving!

If you’re familiar with the TouringPlans Crowd Calendar, you know that major holidays at Walt Disney World can be intense when it comes to lines and crowds. But this year, I abandoned all logic and spent Thanksgiving with my family at Walt Disney World. I survived, but would I do it again? Read on for my Review: Thanksgiving Weekend at Walt Disney World.

November 23rd

My concern over the holiday crowds and never ending lines wasn’t limited to the confines of Walt Disney World. Actually, I was more concerned over what awaited me at my local airport since my family and I were flying into Orlando the day before Thanksgiving. One of the busiest travel days of the year!

Fortunately, our Frontier Airlines flight was scheduled to depart at 7:00 A.M.; and while the queues for security had already been extended, we made it through with plenty of time to spare and with no delays.

I was shocked when we found that there were no lines for Disney’s Magical Express at Orlando International Airport. Maybe because it was still early in the day? Or maybe Disney was more than prepared for the holiday rush? Regardless, we walked right on our bus bound for Disney’s Port Orleans French Quarter Resort. We had never stayed at the French Quarter as Port Orleans Riverside is the Moderate Resort we gravitate to; but, thankfully we loved the French Quarter! It was smaller and more intimate, yet never once felt crowded or chaotic.

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Express Transportation Being Added to the Walt Disney World Resort

by on December 2, 2016

Express Transportation at Walt Disney World

©Rikki Niblett

Beginning December 7, the Walt Disney World Resort is introducing Express Transportation, a brand new transportation option that provides Guests a faster and convenient way to travel between the four Walt Disney World theme parks, for a price.

This Express Transportation is a special add on that can purchased by Guests who have purchased park hopper tickets. For single-day service, Express Transportation can be added for $15 per person. For multi-day service, it is $24 per person which is valid for seven consecutive days from the day of sale. (Annual Passholders can also chose to add on the single-day option.)

This option will take Guests from inside one them park and transport them straight into another by allowing Guests to travel between backstage locations.

Pick up locations in each park will be found near the exit of Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin in Tomorrowland at the Magic Kingdom, east of Spaceship Earth at Epcot, near Rock n’ Roller Coaster at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and near Kilimanjaro Safaris entrance at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

Express Transportation is available from 10:00 a.m. until park close. Pick up will occur every 30 minutes.

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