Disney World is an amazing place full of all sorts of educational experiences. If you are wanting to turn a fun vacation into something that is also a learning experience, there are a plethora of ways to do so! Here’s what you need to keep in mind.
Travel = Learning If your vacation to the happiest place on earth involves the car, young and old kids can have fun spotting license plates from other states and seeing who can “win” by finding the most first (or of all!). A fun way way to keep track is to make everyone a copy of the US map and then every time a license plate from a particular state is seen, everytime color in that state. If you have older kids, make it so that only the first that sees it gets it — it makes it more hard. For younger ones, have them all get to fill it in so no one gets discouraged! This keeps the kids buys, engaged and also makes them know where the states are. You can add more learning by having them track the route you are driving, especially if you cross states to get to Disney. (For even more crazy added learning, have the person have to find out the capitals of the state the find too — research!!!)
Many of us watched stunned as we heard Lucy scream, “I don’t want to go to Disney World”, as she suffered through a torturous experience with TSA. If you are not familiar with this incident please see LUCY’S ORDEAL, but be warned it will tear at your heart strings. I know my anger would boil with this mistreatment but to hear my child say they didn’t want to go to Disney World, well, that would bring out my fighting side. In situations like this I am usually careful at pointing fault with the screeners, but the TSA did admit responsibility and heavily apologized. However, there is a line between doing your job and being mean. Yes, this story has a happy ending, Lucy did go to Disney World, and she did get photographed with Mickey. Disney magic comes through once again!
This is the second part of a blog series that will look at the different steps of planning for an upcoming Christmas trip to the World. Essentially, I found myself in August suddenly planning for a Christmas trip. In my last post, I went through the reasoning that led me to choose the Contemporary Resort as the best choice for the week. This post is all about Advanced Dining Reservations (ADRs).
ADRs can be made 180 days in advance of the first day of your trip, and for some restaurants which fill up quickly, you definitely need to call as soon as that window opens- especially during busier times of the year. So, maybe you can imagine that I was a bit panicked to begin planning meals in August for a Christmas trip- we were already more than a month inside that 180-day window for the most crowded week of the year. I knew there wasn’t time to lose in making ADRs. But, it’s not as simple as trying to make ADRs at any restaurant possible… I didn’t want to make an ADR at the Brown Derby on a day that we would end up spending in the Magic Kingdom. So I quickly had to plot out which day we’ll be in which park (because it would stink to be in Animal Kingdom with an ADR in Epcot!). This is a huge task, but an important one- and there is only one resource I trust to help with such plotting… the “Crowd Calendar” over at touringplans.com.
Millions of families from all across the globe travel to Disney World each year for fun and entertainment. Whether you plan to board theme park rides, watch shows, or visit some of the local attractions you’re sure to have a great time. But for parents visiting the park with babies and infants, keeping everyone happy can be a challenge. Your baby might not be ready to enjoy the main attractions but Disney World offers some great facilities that should make your trip a lot of fun, even with a baby in tow.
Also posted in Children, Disney Driven Life, Lifestyle, Parents, Travel Tips, Vacation Tagged Disney Baby Center, Disney with a Baby, Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park, Disney's Hollywood Studios, EPCOT, Magic Kingdom, Traveling with a Baby, Walt Disney World
This is the first part of a blog series that will look at the different steps of planning for an upcoming Christmas trip to the World. I’ll explore some reasoning for some of the decisions (for example, why I picked the resort I did), and how I’m hoping this plan will help us deal with the most crowded week of the year. And then, after the trip, I’ll share what went well, what could have gone better, and any major mistakes I made in planning. We’ll find out together if my approach to planning makes sense. Feel free to add comments on things you’d consider, or different approaches you’d take.
Let’s start by deciding what park you want to visit each day of your trip. You would want to consult touringplans.com ($12 subscription for a year but well worth it) again for each park’s crowd level for the given day; they even suggest a certain park for the day. Although one of the positives of staying at a Disney resort are the extra Magic Hours at a particular park each day, those parks tend to have larger numbers on their appointed day and may be best to avoid.
Now gather those dining reservations and the event schedule available at: EVENTS
Begin building an itinerary (samples to follow). RELAX!! You do not have to go by it step by step, but it will help you ensure you do all of the things you want (which you won’t but good try!).
Remember: Start off planning for two days at Magic Kingdom, and one day for each of the other parks. For each extra day you have add them in this order: Epcot, Animal Kingdom, Disney Studios. Example: Seven Night Stay – 2 at Magic Kingdom, 2 Epcot, 2 Disney Studios, 1 Animal Kingdom. Another option is to spend your last extra day park hopping to do your favorites once again.
Christopher Robin and his little sister sit at the table for the hundred acre wood feast eagerly awaiting for Pooh, Tigger, and Eeyore to join them. Once they arrive, with Pooh laughing, Tigger bouncing, and Eeyore pondering, the smiles are as large as the pot roast and the hugs as sweet as the banana pudding. Only, this isn’t Christopher Robin this giggling brood is your family playing along with Pooh and Pals at Crystal Palace in the Magic Kingdom. Only with the magic of Disney.
Welcome to part two of my series on planning your first trip to Disney World. Fellow neurotics, I need your help, please comment on your favorite place to stay and why!
Let’s start with the first options you have:
Some people stay off-property, others choose to stay in one of the Disney Resorts. Yes, the Disney resorts are a little higher priced but you gain the free bus or boat transportation to all the Disney Parks, resorts, and Downtown Disney. You also will receive room charge privileges (your room key becomes your charge card in the parks), Disney hospitality and service, and during certain parts of the year-free Disney Dining Plan (discussed later in this continuing series). Don’t forget bonus hours at the parks for visitors staying on Disney property; that is right– each day one park will stay open later or open early for Disney resort guests. By staying off property you will no doubt save money, although you will have to drive yourself to the parks and have to find and pay for parking, carry cash or credit cards, and take your chances with your service.
Are you as neurotic of a Disney World trip planner as you are a fan of Disney? Did you laminate a mini itinerary for everyone in your group as I did? Yes, it contained all our dining reservations for each day along with parade and show times, FastPass rides, and the back listed the best locations to use Disney Dining Plan snack options each day. Matching t-shirts are only an option and not required.
With a passion for Disney, what pursuits does Craig Duncan squeeze in between a full time job and family? How about working on ‘They Disney Brit’, the UKs largest and longest running Disney podcast, the ‘Destination Disney’ radio show and the ‘Eye on Orlando’ radio show both of which are aired live on Florida radio shows. Then there is ‘Mousemeets’ which is UKs Disney annual fan convention and ‘Mousemag’ a free bi-monthly magazine all about Disney written by the Disney Community for the Community. “We have also done something different with our associated web sites. We have made DisneyBrit.com one of the best sources for Disney related news anywhere in the world. EyeonOrlando.com is a pure Orlando holiday portal.”
Also posted in Children, Collections, Cruises, Disney Company, Events, Food, History, Hobbies, Kids' Viewpoint, Leisure, Movies, News, Organization and Plannning, Parents, Pins, Resorts, Restaurants, Rumors, Travel Reports, Travel Tips, Vacation, Vinylmation Tagged brit, Disney, eye, just, moon, on, one, Orlando
Try to imagine the ideal career, one that keeps you busy doing exactly that you enjoy doing. How does writing about Disney, travel and eating at fine restaurants sound? That’s exactly what Rona Gindin, author of The Little Black Book of Walt Disney World is doing. “I am living my ideal when it comes to my professional goals. I write about restaurants, travel and Disney World, from the comfort of my home. I have amazing clients who care about quality as much as I do. I get to snoop behind the scenes at all kinds of attractions and in all kinds of restaurants. And I get to share my discoveries with like-minded readers. It’s a good gig.”
Also posted in Dining Tips, Disney Company, Events, Food, Leisure, News, Organization and Plannning, Travel Tips, Vacation Tagged black, book, critic, gindin, little, restaurant, rona
Photo Credit: interactivewdw.com
Doug Ingersoll never visits the Magic Kingdom without spending some time in the Enchanted Tiki Room. There, he feels the presence of his long-departed Aunt Dorothy.
Originally from Indiana, Ingersoll spent much of his youth living and attending school around the world. His father’s work abroad forced Ingersoll to live away from his hometown, his friends and his extended family throughout most of the year. Returning to the Unites States to visit family each summer, he would stop first in Tampa to spend some time with Aunt Dorothy, his “spiritual grandmother.” During each annual visit, Aunt Dorothy would take Ingersoll to Disney World.
Also posted in Community, Literature, Media, NDP Community, Organization and Plannning, Technology, Vacation Tagged Atlantic Dance Hall, boardwalk, Complete Idiot's Guide to Walt Disney World, Enchanted Tiki Room, iphone, Magic Kingdom, NDD #50, Walt Disney World, Walt Disney World Complete Travel Guide, Walt Disney World Mom's Panel
Some engaged couples have a taste for the exotic. Luckily, Disney has more exotic locations for weddings than you think!
How about a ceremony in Morocco, with this amazing backdrop for your wedding? I have seen wedding ceremonies set up right in front of the arch way. I’ve seen it both heavily decorated and simply decorated, but either way, this location can not be beat. The architecture and the colors make it not only one of my favorite pavilions, but also one of my favorite Disney wedding locations.
Photo couresty : travelswithsandy.wordpress.com
Also posted in Honeymoons, Marriage, Relationships, Vacation, Weddings Tagged Ceremony, Exotic locations, Reception, Unusual venues., Wedding Pictures, Wedding Themes, weddings
photo Dennis Brown all rights reserved
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.
Photo Courtesy : Root Photography
Amanda is another amazing friend that I met during my Disney wedding planning process. Her wedding was nothing short of fabulous. The ceremony was touching and intimate, the reception location was unique and all of her guests were treated to an unforgettable Disney experience. Amanda loved planning her Disney wedding. Her love for planning led her to becoming a travel expert for Mousketrips.com where she specializes in booking Disney vacation packages for wedding parties and guests of Disney weddings. Here are Amanda’s confessions of a Disney bride.
Also posted in Honeymoons, Marriage, Relationships, Vacation, Weddings Tagged Ceremony locations, Disney World, Disney's Fairy Tale Wedding Department, Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Reception Locations, weddings
Photo Credit: Molly Beckley
This Neurotic Disney Family is currently 10 days away from their much awaited vacation to Walt Disney World. The kids and I are completely brimming with excitement and yesterday the husband even quipped, “We’re 11 days away. I’m actually pretty excited.” Swoon! What music to a Neurotic Disney Mom’s ears! I have reached the end of my months of planning the annual journey to my homeland, and I am currently in the final stage. Packing. This is the 4th time I as an adult have packed for a weeklong vacation to Walt Disney World. The first time it was just me and my husband on our honeymoon. The last two times it was for my family of 4. The new addition of our little princess came in January so this is the first time I will be packing for a family of five, including three children under the age of 5, two of whom are still in diapers, and one on a baby food diet. This can be quite an overwhelming task unless you attack it with complete organization and the realization that you might not sleep much the night before you leave. This doesn’t bother me much as I know I can catch a nap while sitting in The Hall of Presidents. So here are a couple tricks of the trade I have picked up over the years that help packing go a bit smoother!
Also posted in Advice, Children, Disney Driven Life, Home Photos, Lifestyle, Parents, Travel Tips, True Confessions of a Neurotic Disney Mom, Vacation Tagged amateur, attack, Avery mailing address labels, baby food, baby wash, band-aids, Bins, Children, clothing, collection, conditioner, diapers, Disney, Disney Lifestyle, ear hats, excitement, family, family size, garage, homeland, honeymoons, hotel room, husband, invest, Journey, L.L. Bean, labels, lotion, make-up, Mickey, Neurotic Disney Family, Neurotic Disney Mom, organization, overwhelming, Packing Disney Style, Personal Organizer, personalize, pin necklaces, pirate, Pirate and Pals Fireworks Cruise, Pirate's League, plane, planning, ponchos, princess, shirts, shop, sleep, swooning, The Hall of Presidents, tips, toiletries, Toys, tricks, Vacation, Walt Disney World, zip lock bags
Photo Courtesy of Disney Fairy Tale Weddings Website
Having a WDW wedding is a dream come true for many of us Disney fans! I wanted to get the inside scoop on a Disney wedding and decided to interview a very good friend of mine. Stacey and I met while planning our Disney weddings (which were about a month apart) and we’ve been best friends ever since. She had an amazing Disney Wishes wedding and most of her family flew all the way from England to share in her special day!
Also posted in Honeymoons, Marriage, Relationships, Vacation, Weddings Tagged Carriage, Ceremony, Disney World weddings, Locations, marriage, overseas travel, Reception, wedding planning
Photo Credit: Jean Caldora
One of the most important things to remember while planning a Walt Disney World vacation with little ones, is that you must stay organized! If organization is not a priority to you then it is very easy for chaos to ensue and for everything to fall to pieces. If you are a NDM then being organized should come as second nature to you. You plan out your trip down to when you will use the bathroom. You create detailed packing lists and find great joy in checking off each item as it gets stowed away in your Walt Disney World luggage. Then you arrive at your resort, and unpack everything while your NDH takes the NDKs down to the pool. You put everything in it’s exact spot. Then your Neurotic Disney Family bursts back into the room and in 3 seconds flat everything is laying all over the floor. But have no fear! This does not need to happen! Here is the first half of your Disney Dozen for keeping your hotel room as organized, neat, and tidy as the rest of your trip!
Also posted in Advice, Children, Disney Driven Life, Lifestyle, Organization and Plannning, Parents, Resorts, Travel Tips, Vacation Tagged advice, baggage, Bins, boxes, Children, clothing, collapsible, detail, Disney Dozen, Disney Driven Life, Disney Lifestyle, dollar store, folders, grooming supplies, hampers, hotel room, Ikea, laundry, liquid handsoap, lists, luggage, neat, Neurotic Disney Husband, Neurotic Disney Kids, Neurotic Disney Mom, organization, packing, paper work, parents, planning, plush, pool, potty seat, potty-training, Resorts, scrapbooking, souvenirs, step stool, suitcase, The Real Disney Mom, tidy, tips, toddler, Toys, travel, trip, unpack, Vacation, Walt Disney World, wipes