Disneyland Planning for Walt Disney World Veterans – Part 1

by on December 4, 2017

For veterans of Walt Disney World, Disneyland planning can be a bit of a challenge in that there are several unknowns. Yes, Disneyland and Walt Disney World are similar in a lot of respects, but there are enough differences that your familiarity with the east coast parks will only get you so far. The good news, however, is that Disneyland planning is actually far easier than planning an Orlando trip — the park is set up to be equally accessible to day guests and locals as people who’ve planned for months — so with just a little bit of planning, you’ll quickly find the same comfort level out west in no time. Read on for all the info you need to take your Disneyland planning from newbie to expert!

The Basics

First and foremost, some basic info to help you get oriented: there are two theme parks at Disneyland Resort, three Disney hotels (for now) and the Downtown Disney area. The theme parks are Disneyland Park, which is similar in layout and content to Magic Kingdom, and Disney’s California Adventure, which I think of as sort of a smorgasbord of attractions you’ll find spread across Disney World’s parks (like Soarin’, Toy Story Midway Mania, and Turtle Talk with Crush), plus several original attractions that only exist there. Unlike Disney World’s parks, these two parks are very close to each other, and park-hopping takes about 90 seconds, exclusive of lines at the turnstiles. Yes, really!

The three Disney hotels are:

  • Grand Californian: the nicest, closest, and most expensive Disneyland Resort. It is attached to Disney’s California Adventure and has its own dedicated entrance to the park.
  • Disneyland Hotel: the original, throwback Disneyland lodging experience, and home to Disneyland icons like Trader Sam’s. It is typically the middle tier from a pricing standpoint.
  • Paradise Pier: the most spartan, and least expensive Disney hotel at Disneyland. Least expensive does not mean inexpensive, however, as will be discussed in more detail below.

Guests of Disney hotels can enter one park an hour early each day, sort of like Extra Magic Hours at Disney World. Disneyland does not do extra hours in the evening at all. In addition to the Disney hotels, there are several non-Disney “good neighbor” hotels that are within walking distance of the parks. While these guests do not get early entry every day, they can purchase multiday tickets that allow them to enter only Disneyland Park one hour early on certain days once over the course of their trip (called “Magic Mornings,” more on that below).

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We Took A Minnie Van And It Was Awesome

by on September 5, 2017

When Disney announced Minnie Van service at D23 this summer, I was skeptical to say the least. Ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft are already my transportation of choice both at home and at Disney and cost less. So what are you paying for, the cute paint job?

But after using the service, I can say there are some scenarios where it definitely makes sense.

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Walt Disney World’s Express Transportation to End

by on August 15, 2017

©Rikki Niblett

It was fun while it lasted. The Walt Disney World Express Transportation option will be ending. Express Transportation was an add-on service that Guests could choose to take part in that allowed Guests a faster and convenient way to travel between the four Walt Disney World theme parks by taking a specially dedicated bus, for a price. This option took Guests from inside one them park and transported them straight into another by allowing Guests to travel between backstage locations.

The big perks for Express Transportation were that Guests could park hop quicker and more efficiently, plus because Guests were being transported to a backstage location, they only had to go through the security checkpoint one time–into the first park that they visited for the day.  (Side note, this is different than the Disney’s Magical Express, which takes Guests from Orlando International Airport to the Walt Disney World Resort. Just so no one panics, Disney’s Magical Express will still be offered.)

The last day for Guests to purchase Express Transportation is Wednesday, August 16. Guests who purchased a multi-day Express Transportation ticket will be able to use this service until August 23.

Walt Disney World Resort Guests may continue to use all other on-site transportation options to get around the resort, including buses, monorails, and boats, as well as the new Minnie Van transportation system (where available).

Walt Disney World Preview – Week of July 22nd

by on July 20, 2017


It’s almost Friday! Let’s get into that weekend mindset a day early with your weekly Walt Disney World preview!

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Disney Introduces New Ride-sharing System – Minnie Van Service

by on July 16, 2017

Minnie Van Service


One of my favorite ways to get around the Walt Disney World Resort as of late has been using ride-sharing systems, such as Uber and Lyft. It’s a lot easier to use sometimes around the resort, especially when going from hotel to hotel.

Well, of course, Disney was listening to us when we said that we were using these services, so they have decided to introduce the all-new Minnie Van service! This new transportation option will provide  point-to-point transportation service in a way that only Disney can do, giving guests an even more seamless resort vacation from start to finish.

The name comes from the theme of the vehicles, as they are themed around the themed to the one-and-only Minnie Mouse. The Minnie vehicles will take you everywhere you want to go at the Walt Disney World Resort, and you’ll ride in Minnie’s classic style.

Stay tuned for more information about this new service that should be rolling down the roads of Walt Disney World soon.

Should You Rent a Car at Disney? Comparing the Costs of Getting Around Walt Disney World

by on July 7, 2017

TouringPlans logoOne question we at TouringPlans frequently get has to do with getting to and around Walt Disney World, and how to do it as inexpensively as possible — should you rent a car, use ridesharing services, use cabs, something else?  If you’re staying off site, you must budget the not-insignificant cost of transportation into your trip. Moreover, even though you can take advantage of Disney’s Magical Express and Disney Transportation if you’re staying at a Disney hotel, such that there isn’t a need to have a car at all, many on-site guests find that Disney buses can be unpredictable and slow at times and/or some guests simply prefer the freedom associated with having a car or making their own transportation arrangements. Accordingly, it makes sense to take a deeper dive into other transportation options that give you more control and that can be faster to see if it’s worth that extra premium.

With that in mind, here’s a breakdown of what it costs to rent a car, versus using ridesharing services like Uber or Lyft. Want to know which comes out on top? Read on after the jump!

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Renting a Car for Disney World or Universal Orlando Vacations

by on June 20, 2017

Let’s face it. Planning and budgeting for transportation is one of the least exciting agenda items to check off on your vacation planning to-do list. Compared to the thrill and excitement of securing dining reservations, a resort stay, or park tickets, who really wants to spend their night analyzing rental car options? To make matters worse, booking a rental car can be a colossal pain in the neck. With so many different options, finding the right balance of convenience and savings can be hard. So here are some factors that I tell people to consider when renting a car for their Walt Disney World or Universal Orlando Resort vacation.

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Flying Frontier Airlines to Walt Disney World

by on February 23, 2017

Flying Frontier to Walt Disney World

As I live a considerable distance from Walt Disney World, flying is my preferred method of travel in order to maximize my vacation time. But as many of you fellow travelers may know, flying can be almost as expensive as your actual vacation!

A few years ago, I looked into economy airlines in order to work more flexibility into my Disney World Vacation budget; and after my first roundtrip flight to Orlando International Airport with Frontier Airlines, I’ve flown with them pretty much ever since. Here’s what to expect when flying with Frontier Airlines and why I fly with them to Walt Disney World!


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10 Options for Getting to the Port for Your Disney Cruise

by on October 28, 2016

So you’re booked on a Disney cruise and ready to go!  Almost ready?  You need to figure out a way to get to the port!  Well I have some things for you to consider. 10 of them of course!

disney-magic-1091. Disney Transfers From the Airport – Disney offers transfers from at least one airport in every port city to the terminal. If you are planning on using Disney transfers, check which airport you are flying into!  For Port Canaveral, for instance, Disney transfers run to and from the Orlando International Airport.  The do not run from Sanford.  Sometimes the money you save by flying into the smaller airport isn’t worth it when you look at the new transportation costs you’ve incurred!  Several other cities have similar situations.  The transfers vary in price depending on how far the airport is to the port.  In Orlando they are $35 one way.  In Miami they are only $20 one way.  The port in Dover, England, is a very long way from Heathrow Airport, so the transfers are $75 one way there.

2. Disney Transfers From a Hotel – You can also get transfers from certain hotels to the port. In Orlando, you can get transfer from any Disney resort to the port for the same price as airport transfers, $35 one way. You can also stay at the Hyatt in the Orlando International Airport and take the airport transfers.  That’s one of my favorite places to stay because Disney will pick up your luggage from your room and deliver it right to your ship’s stateroom.  In other ports, transfers from a hotel are always available if you book a pre- or post-night stay through Disney Cruise Line.  You could also book a hotel near the airport, and just get back to the airport and take a transfer from there.

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Disney Maladies (and How To Treat Them)

by on October 18, 2016

TouringPlans logoWalt Disney World has a deserved reputation as one of the most fun places you can visit, but what is lesser known is the litany of ailments such a trip can cause. Did you know, for example, that more children come down with a case of Gigantusmusophobia at Walt Disney World than any other location? Disney maladies are an under-recognized threat to your vacation experience.  

You need not, however, waste your entire vacation in the infirmary. Read on to learn how to quickly identify and treat common Disney ailments!  

Overplanning Paralysis


This level of detail might be overkill...

This level of detail might be overkill…

I often tell people that there are few places on planet Earth that reward a little bit of advance planning like Walt Disney World. It can, however, most definitely be overdone. What’s worse, you can find yourself so wracked with indecision that you can’t do anything and you’ve sucked all of the fun out of the trip before it’s even begun.

The prescription for this ailment, simply stated, is to relax. I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: the overwhelming majority of people that go to Walt Disney World do so with little or no planning and they still have a great time, so the fact that you’re aware of the benefit of planning ahead puts you in a better position that all of those people. Embrace this truism now: there is no single planning decision that you make that will make having fun impossible, nor can a single decision guarantee you The Best Trip Ever. Armed with that knowledge, there is no need to needlessly fret over whether you’ve reserved the right restaurant for lunch, or whether you’ve picked the right attraction for your FastPass+ reservations. You’ve probably done just fine.  

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