Posts Tagged ‘off-site’

Walt Disney World Off-site Accommodations: Things to Consider

by on September 1, 2015

Main gate

While much of the focus of lodging when talking about Disney is upon the experience staying at Walt Disney World hotels, there are still throngs of people every year that for one reason or another choose to stay in off-site accommodations. There are several considerations in play with off-site lodging, both in terms of whether it is a good fit for you, and then what you should look for in selecting off-site accommodations. Let’s jump right in!

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Staying in Tampa for Your Walt Disney World Vacation

by on September 3, 2014

©Scott Wurzel

©Scott Wurzel

A common topic of discussion for Walt Disney World vacation planning is whether to stay on or off-site. Assuming you choose the latter, most look to Orlando area hotels and resorts. This of course gives you good access to Disney World parks and other area attractions, but if you are interested in a more complete Florida vacation, staying in Tampa for your Walt Disney World vacation is a compelling alternative. Because Interstates 75, 275, and 4 form a triangle around the city, most attractions in Central Florida are an hour or less away, and the best beaches in the continental United States are even closer.

Orlando Parks

Walt Disney World (All Parks)
Via: I-4
Travel Time: 75 minutes.

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My Updated Experiences with Offsite Annual Passholder FastPass+

by on January 30, 2014

Disney World offsite Annual Passholder FastPass+ updated

One of the kiosks that offsite Annual Passholder FastPass+ users must use.

Last week’s post documenting my first experiences as an offsite Annual Passholder FastPass+ user sparked a sizable reaction, with almost 50 comments so far. Since then, FastPass+ has replaced paper “legacy” Fastpass at all four Walt Disney World parks, and Rikki Niblett revealed plans to test a MyMagic+ program for offsite Annual Passholders in the coming months.

In the meantime, there are still plenty of questions surrounding the FastPass+ program as it applies to those not staying in an onsite resort hotel. I’ve spent some more time testing the FastPass+ service and talking to cast members who work with it, and I’m here to report back my first-hand experience with some of the questions raised by our readers.

Note that the following is strictly from the perspective of a local Annual Passholder who has not stayed onsite since FastPass+ testing began, and has not been selected for any beta testing programs. If you previously stayed onsite and still have a MagicBand linked to your admission media, or are otherwise already eligible to use the My Disney Experience app and website to make advance FastPass+ reservations, your mileage will vary.


How busy are the FastPass+ kiosks?

It varies widely. The lines at some, like the Fantasyland kiosks at Mickey’s PhilharMagic, are epic. Others seem to be largely deserted.

I received assistance from this FastPass+ cast member inside Magic Kingdom’s Town Square Theater with almost no waiting.

Heritage House near The Hall of Presidents is my favorite FastPass+ service area: indoors, air conditioned, and utterly empty every time I’ve visited.

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101 Things to Do Near Disney World Without Going into a Theme Park

by on October 23, 2013

You’ve got time to kill on your arrival or departure day. You’re taking a chill day mid-vacation. You’ve got a park-phobic in your party. Whatever the reason, there may be times when you’re at Walt Disney World, but can’t, or don’t want to, venture into a theme park. Here’s a handy list of 101 ways to keep busy and have fun without heading into the parks.

Before I get going, let me say that one oft-mentioned reason for avoiding the theme parks is to save money. I mean, going into the park means a big outlay of funds for admission, right? Well, yes, if you’re going into the parks, you will need a ticket, but you should be aware that spending a day in the park may actually end up cheaper than looking for fun elsewhere. For example, the price difference between an 8-day park ticket and a 9-day park ticket is only about $10 per adult. Even simple activities like mini-golf ($14 per adult at Winter Summerland) or a trip to the movies ($11.75 per adult evening ticket at AMC Downtown Disney) will cost more than that. The math is less clear with a shorter stay, and you still may want or need to avoid the parks for sanity purposes, but you should sit down and do the math to make sure that a non-park day makes financial sense for you.

And now on to the list of Walt Disney World Activities Outside the Theme Parks:

  1. Dine with Characters. Several of the character meals are located outside the theme parks. Try Chef Mickey’s at the Contemporary (breakfast and dinner), ‘Ohana at the Polynesian (breakfast), Cape May Cafe at the Beach Club (breakfast), or 1900 Park Fare at the Grand Floridian (breakfast and dinner).

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