Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Tuesday Tip-Staying at a Walt Disney World Resort

Want to totally immerse yourselves in the Disney experience?  Staying on Disney property is one of the best ways to keep yourselves in that "Disney bubble".  While staying off property might be cheaper, a Disney resort will make you feel like you're still in the magic.

Disney offers resorts in the Value, Moderate and Deluxe categories so there is a price range for everyone.  While you won't find a free continental breakfast in the lobby (though if you stay club level at a Deluxe resort, there are munchies available to you), all Disney resorts now have at least a mini-fridge, plus Moderate and Deluxe resorts have coffee makers...so if you want to buy your own snacks and drinks to have in the room, you'll have a place to put them.  All rooms now also have free Wi-Fi Internet access.

Staying at a Disney resort means you also have multiple free transportation options to get from your hotel to the parks and/or Downtown Disney.  Every resort will have at least bus transportation, and some also have boats (I highly recommend taking boats during your trip-a very relaxing option).  If you decide to splurge on the Contemporary, Polynesian or Grand Floridian resorts, you'll also have the monorail available to take you right from your hotel directly to the Magic Kingdom or Epcot.  Plus, if you did drive to WDW and stay at an on-property resort, you'll get a parking pass which lets you park at all four theme parks at no cost.
Stay on the monorail line for easy access to the Magic Kingdom and Epcot
Need to take a break in the middle of your day?  Staying on property means it's a quick trip back to your room for a nap or a nice, cool swimming pool break.  And speaking of those pools, Moderate and Deluxe resorts even have a water slide with their pools.  Many of the on-property hotels also show Disney movies at the main pools at night, as well as games by the pools during the day.

Staying for several days or more?  Refillable mugs are for sale at the resorts (about $15)...purchase one and you can use it at your hotel for the length of your stay.  *Note, if you are using the Dining Plan, one of these mugs will come with your plan*

You can also have any items you purchase in the parks or at Downtown Disney delivered to your hotel for free.  So, no lugging heavy packages around all day!

The best thing about the Disney hotels is their theming.  The Value resorts are a favorite for the kids, with enormous figures like 3-story footballs, Rubik's cubes, musical instruments and characters from Disney movies.  The Moderate and Deluxe resorts have themes like the Victorian era, American Southwest, the beach or Frontier America.  The smallest of details are not forgotten, making you feel like you've stepped into a different time period or geographic location just by returning to your hotel room.

While you may save on your hotel room by staying off property, splurge just a bit for just one WDW trip to see what you're missing.  The convenience, atmosphere and legendary Disney guest service really makes staying on property a great value.

Have you stayed at an on-property Disney resort?  Which is your favorite?  Do you think it increases the overall value of your vacation?

Don't forget-today's the last day to enter the giveaway for the Buzz and Woody Vinylmation figures!  The winner will receive both Buzz and Woody Color Block Vinylmations...whether you're a Toy Story fanatic, Vinylmation collector, or just love all things Disney, be sure to enter the giveaway and share it with others...the more the merrier-after all, the more you share, the more giveaways I can do.  And stay tuned for the August giveaway-lots of fun stuff for TDWF readers!        

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Where in Walt Disney World Am I Wednesday-Peek-a-Boo

This one may be a hard one, so I'll give you a hint...it's in Epcot., though you may or may not still be able to find it.  Here's a side view:

Don't forget while you're here to check out my giveaway for a Toy Story Buzz & Woody pair of Vinylmation figures!  Odds are really good right now...make sure you get yourself entered and share the giveaway with friends and family too!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Tuesday Tip-The Monorail to Epcot

The monorail...a ride itself!
Most of you are probably aware that there is a monorail at Walt Disney World that takes you from the Magic Kingdom Transportation & Ticket Center to the Magic Kingdom itself.  You may also be aware of the Epcot monorail which will take you from the Magic Kingdom's Transportation & Ticket Center to Epcot and back.  This makes it really easy to hop from the Magic Kingdom to Epcot or vice versa during the day without having to board the buses or take your car if you drove.

But don't look at the monorail solely as just a way to get from point A to point B...WDW veterans know the monorail is a ride too!  Hopping on the monorail, especially the Epcot monorail-which takes about 8-10 minutes one-way, 16-20 minutes round-trip-can be a relaxing ride in itself.  It's an air-conditioned, smooth ride, plus you get to see some nice scenery along the way.  It's a great way to take a break from your day, especially if you're about to end your vacation and want to do just one more thing to prolong it ;-)  I like to take one or even two trips around to help cool off and relax a bit before my drive home once vacation time is over.

So your Tuesday tip...take a round-trip monorail ride on the Epcot line, just for the heck of it.  Hey, you (or your spouse...or kids) may even catch a short nap to keep you going for the rest of the day.

Do you ever take the monorail just because?

Don't forget to check out my giveaway for a Toy Story Buzz & Woody pair of Vinylmation figures!  Odds are really good right now...make sure you get yourself entered and share the giveaway with friends and family too!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Tuesday Tip-Catching the Fireworks at the Magic Kingdom

I love the fireworks shows that Walt Disney World puts on.  They do a fantastic job, syncing to the music and setting off some really cool shapes.  Other than the holiday fireworks shows which go many steps beyond amazing (New Years Eve, 4th of July, Happy Hallowishes and Holiday Wishes), my favorite is the Wishes fireworks display at the Magic Kingdom, with Illuminations my second choice (sorry Fantasmic, though you're pretty cool too).

I used to be one of those people who would park myself smack in front of the castle in that little circle by the statue of Walt and Mickey...until one night I just didn't make it there in time and was stuck in an area to the right as you are looking at the castle.  And I haven't sat in that circle since.  Why?  Because sitting right in front of the castle means a bunch of those cool fireworks will wind up being blocked by the castle itself!  So here's your tip:

When choosing a viewing spot for Wishes while inside of the park (or any other fireworks display at the Magic Kingdom), try a spot off to the side if you want to be close to the castle.  Better yet, if you'd really like that full castle-facing view, back up to right near Casey's Corner or the Plaza Ice Cream Parlor...then you'll be able to see those lower-hanging fireworks and get a full view of the castle as well.  A great option is to get snacks or a meal from one of those places, grab one of the tables that are right there and enjoy your food while watching.  Some people will go as far back as the 2nd floor of the train station for an even wider view of the show.

Wherever you decide to watch, enjoy the show--WDW puts on some of the best fireworks displays you'll ever see...sprinkled with some extra pixie dust of course!

Don't forget...the latest giveaway for a Toy Story Buzz and Woody pair of Vinylmation figures is now open!  Be sure to check out the giveaway blog post and enter using the Rafflecopter form at the end of the post...and of course, please share with friends and family!  Good luck all!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Toy Story's Buzz and Woody Vinylmation Pair Giveaway!

Hello again TDWF readers!  As I said before, I've got Vinylmation goodies being given away each month for the next few months...and for July, it's a two-fer!  One of the best ways to enjoy Walt Disney World is with your best friend, so for July I'm giving away a Toy Story pair-Buzz and Woody from the Vinylmation Color Block series.  Whether you're looking to start your own collection, add to an existing collection, or just love anything Toy Story, here's your chance to win not just one, but two figures.

The giveaway starts at midnight tonight and goes until July 31st.  There are several ways to enter through the Rafflecopter form below, the more options you complete the more chances you have to win.  And don't forget to share the contest with friends, family and anyone you know who loves Disney, the more the merrier!  Oh, and PS, my favorite entry is the "suggest a blog topic" one...after all, when I put up blog posts, I'd like to put up the ones you want to see most in addition to the ones that strike my fancy :-)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

2014 Disney packages now available to book!

Today's the day...2014 packages for Walt Disney World, Disneyland and Aulani are available to book starting today!  Packages are room & tickets or room, tickets & dining plan.  The packages that are now available to book are for arrivals January through December of 2014.  Packages can be booked up to 499 days before arrival and travel must be concluded by December 31, 2014.

So, anyone out there who has been waiting for the 2014 packages to be released (runners, think Marathon Weekend, Princess Half Weekend, Tinkerbell Half Weekend, etc), you can now get package pricing and make those 2014 bookings.  If you've got a room-only reservation and want to convert it to a package, you can do that now as well.

Also, if you've been waiting to book the Candlelight Processional dinner packages at Epcot for this holiday season, those opened up yesterday!  This year you can even book online.  Performances occur every day, three times a day from November 29-December 30, 2013.

If you'd like a quote, whether for 2014 or this year, just drop me a line (check out the Contact Me or Magical Moments Vacations tabs up top) or you can go directly to my Disney quote page on my website to request a free quote.  My services are totally free and do not add any cost to your vacation, plus once booked I'll continually monitor your reservation...then if any future promotions/discounts come out that you qualify for, I'll automatically get them applied to your reservation for you.  Plus, any booking over $2500 will receive a $25 gift card; over $5000 will receive a $50 card.  Feel free to contact me with any questions.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Tuesday Tip-Meeting Characters Without Wasting a Lot of Time

I love getting pictures taken with the characters when I'm at Walt Disney World.  What I don't love is waiting in a long line...outside...in the blazing sun and sweltering heat...just to meet them to get those coveted pictures.  Not only does that result in me getting hot and sweaty, but it wastes a lot of valuable time standing in line-usually to see just one character per line.  So here's today's Tuesday Tip...

Try a character meal.  Character meals typically feature several characters that you are guaranteed to see  at least once while you're there.  While a character meal might be a bit more expensive than a regular meal (you are paying for premium time with the characters after all), but some things to remember are:

-No waiting in a line outside in that blazing sun just to see a single character (whew!)
-You'll see multiple characters throughout your meal-for example, at the Crystal Palace in the Magic Kingdom, you'll usually see Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Piglet and Eeyore.
-The characters make the rounds through the dining room so they actually come to your table...that's right, they come to YOU!
-Many character meals are buffets, so even if you have to pay more for the meal, you can eat as much as you want.  A great way to use this to the fullest is by having your meal a lot earlier or a lot later than the traditional mealtime (example-a 10:30am breakfast) and eating a big meal so it will last you quite a while.  With the 10:30am breakfast example, you could have one or two small, filling snacks (instead of lunch) later that afternoon, then have an earlier dinner...even though you pay more for than breakfast, you have one less meal to pay for overall.

So next time you're at WDW, try a character meal (and yes, most character meals are still just one table service credit on the Dining Plan if you're using it!)...you'll find that you can save time and energy while getting to see many characters at once in a relaxed, indoor, air-conditioned setting.  

Have you done a character meal before?  Which one is your favorite?

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Where in Walt Disney World am I Wednesday

Where am I and what exactly are we looking at?  Once you have the answer, comment below with your favorite attraction and/or restaurant in this park.

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Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Tuesday Tip-The Disney Dining Plan and ADRs (Advanced Dining Reservations)

Have you heard these before?  “I don’t need reservations for dining, I have the dining plan” or “You don’t need reservations for table service restaurants, you can always just walk up and get seated”?  Yup, I hear these quite a lot actually.  The reality?  The total opposite is quite often true.
Do you have the Dining Plan?  Make sure you get to use your credits!
First-what’s the difference between Quick Service and Table Service restaurants?  Think of it like this...Quick Service is like a fast food restaurant-you place your order, pick it up at a counter, then seat yourself and clean up after yourself.  Table service is like a casual dining restaurant-a host seats you, you have a server that takes your order, brings your food and clears your table.  Quick Service is just that-meant to be fast to get you in and get you back out again as speedily as possible.  Table service allows you time to sit back and relax, allowing you to dine at a more leisurely pace.

The very nature of Table Service (taking longer to have your meal than Quick Service) means there are less available seatings for these types of restaurants.  And with thousands of guests on the dining plan...and thousands more who aren’t but still want to eat at WDW’s yummy and very popular Tables Service locations, making Advanced Dining Reservations (ADRs) has gone from a “just in case” idea to a necessity.  Especially when those Free Dining promotions are running!
Character meals get booked up pretty quickly-make your ADR early!
Here’s your tip...you can make your ADRs up to 180 days in advance of your visit.  The most popular restaurants and prime meal times will fill up quickly like Be Our Guest, Le Cellier and any character meals, so if eating at a particular restaurant or during a particular time of day is important to you, be ready to go online (6am disneyworld.com/dining) or call in (7am 407-WDW-DINE) to make your reservations.  There are a handful of restaurants that don’t take ADRs such as the ESPN Club, Big River Grille & Brewing Works, Kouzzina by Cat Cora and Beaches & Cream Soda Shop...but for the most part, if it’s a Table Service restaurant at WDW, you should be able to make an ADR.
Some Table Service locations don't take ADRs-be sure to plan ahead
After all, you don’t want to let those Table Service credits go to waste, right? While you could use a Table Service credit for a Quick Service meal if there was absolutely no Table Service restaurant available, you’d be wasting the value of that Table Service meal.  So, do a little pre-vacation planning to choose where and when you’d like to spend those Table Service credits and be sure to make those ADRs as soon as the 180 day point hits.

Did you know...if you book your trip through me, I’d be glad to help you with those ADRs too!