Thursday, October 31, 2013

Giveaway! $1000 in Disney Gift Cards Starts November 1st!

And you thought the giveaway from September/October was big?  Just in time for the holiday season, I’ve teamed up with an amazing group of other Disney bloggers and sites to co-sponsor this spectacular giveaway for $1000 worth of Disney gift cards!  One grand prize winner will receive a $500 Disney gift card, and two runners-up will receive a $250 Disney gift card each.  Just think of all the wonderful Disney things you could get with those...or how much of your next Disney trip would be taken care of if you’re one of the lucky winners!

Here’s the details: The giveaway starts Friday, November 1, 2013 at midnight and runs through Monday, November 11, 2013 at 11:59pm.  It is open to people in the United States only who are 18 years old or older. Each regular entry (liking a Facebook page, following on Twitter, etc) will be worth two entries into the giveaway; sharing or tweeting about the contest will be worth five entries each.  If you complete all the entries, including all the tweets/shares, you could earn 354 chances to win!  Winners will be notified by email once the giveaway ends and will have 24 hours to reply to claim their prize.  

Ready to enter?  Just check out the Rafflecopter form below starting at midnight, November 1st...don’t forget to share the giveaway with friends and family so everyone gets a chance to win...and good luck!  Be sure to comment below on what you'd use the gift card for if you win :-)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

October Disney Prize Pack Giveaway!

So I wanted to do a quick October Prize Pack giveaway for some fun Disney items.  I'm a one-person show over here so I don't get as much time to write up the longer blog posts as often, but I at least like to do one of my own little giveaways each month so I can share the Disney fun with others, even if it's only on the small scale ;-)

This month there's a couple of Halloween-themed items in the pack in addition to some of the regular fun lucky winner will receive:
October's Disney Prize Pack
A 3" Classic Rock Donald Duck Vinylmation figure from the Tunes series

A Duffy the Disney Bear Halloween pin
A pack of Villains Disney Bands elastic bracelets and a pack of the Fab 5 Disney Bands elastic rings
A Walt Disney World coloring book
And of course a Disney Parks Growth Chart :-)
The giveaway starts at 12:01am Thursday, October 24, 2013 and runs thru midnight, Tuesday, October 29, 2013 and as always entries are done using the Rafflecopter entry form you see below.  The winner will be notified via email, so please make sure you are using a current, valid email that you check regularly (and be sure to check your spam folder!).  The giveaway is open to those with a shipping address in the United States who are at least 18 years old...please see the "Terms and Conditions" on the Rafflecopter for more detailed info.

So, ready to enter?  Don't forget to share the contest with friends, family, anyone you know who loves Disney!  I've once again added a special entry option for those who request a Disney or cruise vacation (Disney or other) quote from me as well since some of those requesting quotes hadn't heard about my giveaway.  But please, only use the quote request entry for serious inquiries (must have dates, # of guests, room/ticket/dining/etc needs and so on)...see the Rafflecopter entry form for details and links.   

Good luck everyone!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Tuesday Tip-Take Your Time-Refresh, Recharge and Don't Rush

Walt Disney World is an exciting, fun vacation destination with tons of things to do and see.  Many guests are in such a rush trying to do everything and see everything that by the time it's time to head home, they are totally exhausted and wondering why the heck they decided to make the trip.

Some things you need to know about heading to Walt Disney World--yes, the resort is HUGE and yes, there's more things to do there than you could ever imagine.  It's not just four theme parks...which, honestly, if you've never been to WDW before, then no-you're not going to be able to see everything in every park if you only spend one day in each.  You also have 2 water parks, 2 mini-golf courses, Downtown Disney-where you can shop, eat, enjoy live entertainment, go bowling, see a movie, explore an indoor interactive, virtual reality theme park at DisneyQuest, catch the amazing La Nouba Cirque du Soleil show...not to mention the golf courses, water sports, fishing, hay rides, carriage rides, dinner shows...and a whole lot more.

If you really want to experience everything the Walt Disney World Resort has to offer, first realize that you are not going to be able to do everything in one trip-even if you do the commando-park thing from open to close each day.  And honestly, if you want to enjoy your vacation, you're not going to want to approach it like that to begin with.  Yes, I know there are those of you out there who are totally gung-ho and love doing the park commando routine; but for your average guests-especially those with families and small children, a more relaxed approach is the key to a low-stress, enjoyable vacation.

So, on to the Tuesday tips...

First, make sure you allow yourselves enough days for your trip.  You may have to save your pennies for longer, but in the end you'll appreciate not having to rush through the parks trying to get everything in before you go.  If you've never been to WDW before, I'd recommend at least a full week for your first trip.  The Magic Kingdom and Epcot are both at least two days if you want to see and do everything in those parks.  Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom you can probably handle in one day for each one.
Epcot itself can fill two whole days of your trip-maybe even more!
Next, while you may want to get to each park at "Rope Drop" (just before the park opens) and stay until the park closes down, you're looking at anywhere from 7 to 15 hours of constant go-go-go if you go that route.  That's a lot of time on your feet and waiting in lines.  So your second tip is to take a break.  Head to the park early in the morning while the crowds are low and the temperatures are too.  Then take a break around lunch time until late afternoon.  Use the time to head back to your resort for some relaxation at the pool or a nap in your room before heading back out to either the same or-if you have Park Hopper tickets-a different park in the evening after the heat and crowds have started to dissipate.  If you're staying on Disney property, this tip is even easier to execute since the time to go back and forth from the parks to your resort is drastically shorter.  You may think you can go without the break-but it will sure make your days go smoother and help you feel less stressed if you take some time out to relax and recharge each day.
Pool or nap time can help you recharge
Finally, don't rush.  Take your time and really look around you at the parks, hotels and the rest of the property.  Little details are everywhere-Disney has made sure of that so you are totally immersed in not just each park, but each area of each park, hotel, shopping areas and so on.  You're not going to see everything in one trip--really.  It's just not possible-and some of the attractions you want to experience may not even be available during your trip if they're being refurbished.  Plan out your days so you can see all of your must-do's, just realize you'll need to come back if you really do want to see and experience everything the Walt Disney World Resort has to offer.  Don't blow through each day of your vacation trying to see everything-you'll wind up exhausted and disappointed that you couldn't get to your entire list.

Your Walt Disney World vacation should be fun and enjoyable.  Allow yourself enough time for your visit, take time to rest and relax along the way, and don't rush yourselves.  You'll have a better time with great memories if you're not dragging every day trying to accomplish the impossible.
Mickey wants you to have a great time :-)
Are you a park commando, or do you take your time and take breaks during your days at WDW?

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Where in Walt Disney World Am I Wednesday

These views can both be found in the same area at Walt Disney you know where they are?

Once you figure out where these are, leave a comment telling what your favorite attraction is in the park where these pictures were taken.  Ready?  Go!

Don't forget to enter the Disney Gift Card Giveaway while you're here-you could win either a $200 or $400 Disney Gift Card!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Tuesday Tip-Be Prepared-Walt Disney World Weather

Ah, Florida...the Sunshine State!  Well, usually.  The Walt Disney World area is known for its sunshine, and also for its crazy, here-one-moment-gone-the-next thunderstorms.  So how do you prepare for the wide range of weather you might encounter while on your WDW vacation?  Plan ahead...and be prepared!

While I know a lot of people worry about whether they'll get rained on during their stay, quite often when it does rain it doesn't last a long time and you can usually expect to see storms in the late afternoon, mostly during the summer months.  Rain is pretty easy to handle-a few ponchos that you buy beforehand at your local dollar store will let you keep on roaming the parks.  Be sure to check out my earlier post on what to do at WDW when it's raining for ideas to keep you dry.
Just throw on a poncho and keep on going!
The sun and heat...that's what a lot of people first think of when it comes to Florida weather.  The heat is worst from June thru September-the same time frame when you'll see the majority of the rainy weather as well.  Summer days can see temperatures soar into the nineties with humidity levels to match.  While staying hydrated is always important, it's even more so during the scorching summer months.  You may not think you need that drink of water, but believe me-you do.  If you're already thirsty, you may already be dehydrated...and if you've been sweating and the sweat stops-though the heat hasn't-that's a big red flag that you need to grab something to drink.  Don't keep pushing yourself without properly hydrating your body along the way or you may find your magical vacation losing all of its pixie dust very quickly.
Sunscreen (including lip balm with sunscreen in it), hat, sunglasses-necessities in the Florida sun!
To go along with staying hydrated, I can't stress enough the importance of using sunscreen.  Have you ever gone on vacation and seen people wandering around looking like they just stepped out of a pink paint factory because they've gotten a really bad sunburn?  Trust me, you don't want to end up like that-and in addition to the pain that a horrible sunburn can cause, you're upping your chances of skin cancer every time that happens.  Central Florida sees sunshine almost every day-even if there's cloud cover, the powerful Florida sun's rays are still getting through...and you won't realize it until that night when you take a look at yourself in the mirror.  And don't let those cooler late fall, winter and early spring days fool you-the sun is still strong and will still burn you if you don't take precautions.  So pack your sunscreen (I'd use one with a minimum 30 SPF), wear a hat, put that 30 SPF lip balm on...and while you're at it, don't forget those sunglasses as that same Florida sun that will burn your skin will also be blinding to your eyes.

Now, back to those cooler months.  Things start to cool off a bit around mid to late October and stay that way until around the end of March.  December thru February is usually extraordinarily pleasant with very little rain, comfortable temperatures usually with highs in the mid-70s and plenty of sun.  But don't let that fool you--every now and then it can get a bit chilly, especially during the winter nights when you might see temperatures dip into the 50s or even 40s (and yes, 30s are not unheard of!).  Okay, Florida's idea of chilly might be your idea of shorts and a tank top back home, but relatively get my drift, right?  And for a real anomaly, look no further than Disney's Marathon Weekend from 2010.  That Saturday we had snow flurries, sleet and freezing rain and on Sunday after the wet weather moved out, lows dipped into the teens in the early hours of the pre-dawn morning.  Yes, really.

So your Tuesday tip is to be prepared--check and re-check the weather before you go.  WDW's zip code is 32830, so you can use that on whichever is your favorite weather site to check your 10-day, 5-day, and next day forecast so you can plan appropriately-not just for those bikinis and shorts, but also for those sweatshirt and jacket kind of days.  And remember, regardless of the temperature, rain or clouds...always, always, always bring your sunscreen.

How do you prepare for the crazy Florida weather for your WDW trips?  What's the wildest, oddest or most unexpected weather you've experienced while at WDW?

Friday, October 4, 2013

New Winter/Early Spring Room-Only Discount Release for Walt Disney World-1/5-4/12/2014

A new room-only discount was released for January 5 thru April 12, 2014 for the Walt Disney World Resort!  Booking is available for Disney VISA Cardholders from October 3-7, then the discount will be released to the general public on October 8th.  Those of you headed to WDW for Marathon Weekend or Princess Half Marathon Weekend, this discount covers those dates...and since the Epcot Flower & Garden Festival normally starts in March, at least a portion of the Festival dates will be covered as well.  Here's the details:

Save 15%-Art of Animation Resort-Family Suites
Save 20%-All-Star Sports, All-Star Music and Pop Century Resorts
Save 25%-Coronado Springs, Caribbean Beach, Port Orleans-Riverside, Fort Wilderness Cabins, Animal Kingdom Lodge-Savannah View/Club Level/Jambo House/Kidani Village, Wilderness Lodge-Courtyard View/Club Level and The Villas at Wilderness Lodge
Save 35%-Yacht & Beach Club, Boardwalk Inn, Polynesian, Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, Animal Kingdom Lodge-Standard or Pool View, Contemporary Resort, Wilderness Lodge-Standard or Woods View, Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa, Old Key West, Boardwalk Villas and Beach Club Villas
The fine print: The number of rooms allocated for this offer is limited; savings is based on the non-discounted price of the same room.  Length-of-stay requirements may apply.  Excludes 3-bedroom villas, campsites and villas at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort and Spa, and is not valid at Disney's Art of Animation Resort-Little Mermaid standard rooms.  Deposit must be made at the time of booking with your Disney Visa Card or Disney Rewards Redemption Card.
From March 6-March 13, a slightly reduced discount will be available due to that week being the main Spring Break week in Florida.
Need a quote or to book?  Just send me a message or use the quote form here to contact me for more info.
Don't forget, the giveaway for $600 worth of Disney Gift Cards is still going on, be sure to get your entries in for your chance to win!