Natalie grew up in Nashville, TN. Married with one son, she lives on a farm. As if this weren't enough to keep her on her toes, Natalie also works around the clock due to being self-employed .
Natalie often travels to both Walt Disney World and Disneyland, giving her a vast knowledge of the Disney Resorts which she shares in her posts on The Disney Driven Life. She loves the research on the resorts and appreciates input for these articles as well.
In recent trips, Natalie has begun making a habit of meeting people while in the parks. This habit inspired her personal website, Meet the Magic, http://meetthemagic.com. This site helps her connect to others as well as hold space for Disney fans to post information about their Disney related sites. Her goal with this venture is to help people to "Meet the Magic" of their choice.
When booking our latest Disney vacation, my family first looked to Disney World’s available resorts for our accommodations. However, the cost of staying during the Holidays at the Disney World resorts proved both expensive and difficult as many of the rooms were unavailable. We found that we could get a room at the DoubleTree Suites for a very reasonable price for a suite. After reviewing the hotel’s website as well as a few other sites (such as TripAdvisor), we felt comfortable with a stay at the resort.
When you book your magical vacation aboard the Disney Dream, you may want to also consider purchasing access to the ship’s wireless Internet. This is a great way to stay connected to your friends and family during your vacation!
To get connected, here are the steps:
1. Purchase a wireless plan that meets your needs:
One of my favorite Disney Resorts is the Pop Century where you can find plenty of fun and whimsy! During a recent vacation’s stay at the Pop, my family decided to try the Peace of Pizza delivery service offered to resort guests. We were, as always, tired and hungry after a long day of walking through the parks. Usually, we would go to Everything Pop for a late evening snack but decided to instead try the room service.
Aulani Aunty’s Beach House Photo Courtesy of Disney
Many DVC member and Disney fans are extremely excited about the opening of the Aulani Resort and Spa in O’ahu, Hawaii. This resort is situated miles away from the hustle and bustle of the Waikiki Beach, while remaining close to the island’s airport. Guests are now able to book their stay by visiting Aulani.com or by calling 866-44-Disney.
Many of us enjoy our time in Walt Disney World’s parks. However, even the most die hard Disney fans often get tired after several days of walking the world-class theme parks! If you are interested in finding a way to enjoy a bit of Disney while also enjoying some relaxation, consider a few nights at Disney’s Vero Beach Resort.
This resort is located in Vero Beach, FL, which is a little over 100 miles or 2 hours away from Orlando, FL. The resort is located right on the Atlantic coast, thus offering beautiful, oceanfront first class accommodations.
Disney offers an array of beautiful resorts. One of my very favorite resorts is Disney’s Polynesian Resort. This resort is located on the monorail loop and opened their doors on October 1, 1971 as one of the two original resorts on the Walt Disney World property. The Polynesian’s South Seas theme is inviting and soothing and immediately envelopes guests as they walk in the door and are offered a lei. In addition to the new jewelry, guests hear the sounds of the rushing waters and see the lush vegetation offered by the center piece of the Great Ceremonial House’s atrium.
When the time comes and I finally get to Walt Disney World, I am very excited to get to check in at my resort. When checking in, I typically have to wait in line for at least 5 minutes. My son only appreciates an extremely short wait because he too is also very excited to get on with the fun!
Disney understands that many parents will also find that their child is not great at standing in line waiting to check in to the resorts. As such, televisions playing Disney cartoons and other Disney shows are located within a short span from the check in lines. In addition, some resorts offer tables with coloring supplies, including crayons and coloring pages, which are also very close to the check in desk. I have seen these coloring tables at the All Star Resorts and the Caribbean Beach Resort. If you are interested in such fun for your little one, inquire.
In these hot summer months, a dip in the pool can be a very enjoyed piece of your Disney day! With this in mind, it may be important to consider the pools that are available at the resort you plan to choose for your vacation.
There are a huge variety of pool types on the Disney World Resort property. For instance, if you would like a pool that offers a bit of whimsy, you may find that a pool such as the one offered at Disney’s Beach Club to your liking. However, if you prefer a quieter pool where you can quietly sit by with little distrubances, you may want to instead look for a non-Value resort that offers quiet pools throughout the resort property. These pools typically are located away from the main pool and offer no lifeguard facilities, but rather a more tranquil experience.
I have long since had a “Disney Problem,” some might say. Once I was out of college and realized that I could afford to visit Disney World whenever I had enough available money to do so, I was a flight risk! My mom and I were always planning our next vacation to Disney. Sometimes we traveled just the two of us and sometimes we traveled with my sisters. We were able to split the room and (most) food costs so it typically did not cost us a fortune.
After the birth of my son, I began to wonder about the fact that when traveling with my sister, we already hit our Value Resort’s room capacity and began to fret as to whether I would need to purchase my own room separate from theirs. I knew that my son would want to spend his time with them and not just with me. Though I knew there were adjoining rooms options, I still preferred to be in a room with them so all of us could also save some extra money.
As you may recall, last week, I wrote about renting DVC points from individuals. This is a great way to help you save money, help out the DVC owner who cannot use the points and get to see these great accommodations at a fraction of the price. However, many of you have expressed your concern about the fact that you have no direct control over the DVC rentals and that there are many people who have paid for the points rentals only to get to Disney and discover that the accommodations were never booked! They also are not able to locate the “DVC owner”.
Many of us that go to Disney World would love to stay at a DVC property but just cannot foot the bill for these deluxe accommodations! As you may recall, my family recently stayed at Saratoga Springs in a DVC studio. My family rented these points from a DVC owner. We had priced out the cost of booking these accommodations through Disney and were told the price would be nearly $1900. Not to be discouraged, I began my search for points to rent from a DVC owner. I was able to find a DVC owner and rent the points we needed for only $700, a savings of $1200 for the exact same accommodations.
Walt Disney World has released it’s rates for 2012. As you may recall, the Art of Animation Resort will open in 2012. Be sure to check out all the details here. Feel free to go ahead and book your stay at this up and coming Resort! New rooms types have been added such as the Pop Century now offers pool view rooms, while the Port Orleans Riverside and French Quarter now offer Garden View rooms.
In March 2011, my family boarded the Disney Dream. It was a wonderful experience, and the ship had a great deal to offer its passengers. One thing that I did not experience while I was aboard, that I really wish I had, was their room service! The services are free before considering the costs of the tips. However, you can choose from a wide range of items to be brought right to your door! Here are a few of the offerings they included for their breakfast room services:
When staying on Walt Disney Property, Disney Transportation is included in the price of your resort stay. In addition, Disney provides transportation to your Disney Resort from the Orlando International Airport for free. While this service has been available for some time, I do remember the days when you were responsible for getting from the airport to the resort on your own dollar. As such, I appreciate this service greatly!
Is anyone else out there excited to see the Disney’s Art of Animation Resort open in May 2012? We only have a year left until we will get a new Value Resort! What makes me most happy about this addition is that Disney has stepped up their game with the existing Value Resorts, renovating, painting and the like. I am only guessing, but would think that they are hoping people will continue to want to visit the older Value Resorts if they feel nice and new, just like the newly built Art of Animation!
Many of you are very interested in ways to save money when traveling to Disney World. When traveling to Disney, there are three main costs that drive the vacation:
2. Transportation to/from Disney
3. Resort Costs
However, when thinking about ways to save money some people do not think about ways to save money once they have arrived in Walt Disney World. One great way that your family could save money off of the cost of the vacation is by spending a day in and around the various Walt Disney World resorts. The resorts offer a great deal of fun and entertainment at a fraction of the cost of a day in the parks. In a previous post, I discussed some of the amenities offered per Resort Level. Be sure to consider that in addition to your resort’s amenities, you can also visit other resorts for meals and entertainment.
I know many of you are excited to experience the new Disney Vacation Club Resort. There has been a great deal accomplished in the building of the resort. Here is a short video to bring you up to speed, so to speak:
I had always wanted to visit the Wilderness Lodge, but I really had not had the opportunity for such a visit until this last vacation to Walt Disney World. When I arrived, I was amazed by how beautiful the Lodge was! The signs and landscaping found as you enter the area are just beautiful! As I entered the resort, I quickly noticed that this resort has many details that could easily require hours to take in! From carvings on the many wood posts, to extra large fireplaces, you’ll find many great details to look at!
I am typically a pretty organized person. However, sometimes when I am scrambling to get my plans made over at Walt Disney World, I do not have my flight arrangements already made or do not have the information with when I’m booking. On one of my recent vacations, I did not realize that I had accidentally not booked my Magical Express transportation until a few days before my day of travel! If you should find that you are also in this same situation, here are the steps you should take to get you your reservation for the Magical Express: