Go! Go! Go! Or No Go! Go! Go!

Now, you may look at the title and be saying to yourself…HUH! This entry is not about whether to go to Walt Disney World or not! I believe I would have to relinquish my status within the fabulous Disney community if that was the debate.

Partner's Statue, Magic Kingdom Park

No, this is about how you decide to tour the resort. Do you hit the ground running like a platoon of commandos? Or, do you like a more leisurely pace what is the order of the day? There are more than two trains of thought on how to handle the parks. And, don’t forget that there ARE things of interest outside of the parks to occupy your time.

Commando Style of touring means hitting rope drop no matter what! Breakfast may be an optional meal for those who are aiming to make certain rides and attractions at certain times. These folks carry spreadsheets and touring plans. Everything is laid out and there is very little, if any, room for augmentation! You know going in that your first stop is a FastPass machine (may be a thing of the past, soon). Then you hit a few of the main attractions, before going back to cash in that FastPass. Your constantly moving all around the park to get everything done in a day! If you’re lucky, you get a 30 stop for food, and a 3 minute bathroom break along the way. I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m tired just typing all of this up!

The Leisurely plan allows for a few change-ups along the way. Sure, you may still make rope drop, but you will either eat a little something in your room, or grab something at a Counter Service and sit to take in the surroundings. As you stroll from one attraction to another, you may take a moment or two looking at some of the details that are put into the facades and queue lines. After all, Disney is in the Details! You may not finish an entire park in one day, but you will have relaxed and really enjoyed your day.

Some may blend both of these styles and make them work according to what day they visit a certain park. And, depending on how much time your vacation allows will be critical in determining how you tour the parks at The Walt Disney World Resort. It seems the shorter time that we have, to more we feel the necessity to hit it and keep running!

There are some really good resources available to help in the planning, regardless of the style you may choose. One place is at http://www.touringplans.com. Touring Plans is the brainchild of Len Testa, one of the co-authors of The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World. They have crowd calendars, suggestions, touring plans for all types, and an optimizer that you can use while in the park that uses current wait times to help you navigate your way around the park.

Another fabulous site is http://www.easywdw.com. Here, you are given an everyday guy’s view of what goes on at WDW. This site also has some calendar information, and some planning tools. I love to read his postings on a regular basis as it feeds my own Disney habit, and the pictures really help to understand what he is doing. If he visits a restaurant, you get a picture of the current menu with prices.

Whatever your style of touring the parks of WDW, if you can look back and say you’re satisfied, you’ve had a great Walt Disney World vacation.

Thanks for reading! Have a blessed and magical week!

Weekend Wind-up for October 27, 2013

In this week’s wind-up we have news on the Jungle Cruise, Mickey Mouse, and more news on MagicBands.

courtesy Disney Parks Blog

Up first, the Jungle Cruise will be transformed into the Jingle Cruise for the Christmas season at Magic Kingdom Park and Disneyland. The skippers will have some to dialog, the boats and surroundings will receive overlays of Christmas decorations. The changes will take effect in early November. I am excited to see what this will look like, especially at night!

Mickey Mouse meet and greet in the Town Square Theater has a new feature. He talks! He blinks! My question is, how will this interaction be guided by the use of the MagicBand? One possible use could be to greet visitors by name, especially if there is a special occasion or celebration. Imagine your little ones face when they are wished a Happy Birthday by Mickey! What a magical touch that could be!

And, finally, the MagicBand roll-out continues, what is rumored, to be completed by November 1, 2013. Just about all of my friends and acquaintances have been using them and the feedback is quite promising. Sure, there are still a few bugs in the system. But, it appears that Disney is working hard to complete the debugging as quickly as they possibly can. I’ll have more personal input on this in the coming months.

Well, that’s it for this week! Have a blessed and magical week, my friends!

Fastpass+ Flexibility

As some may recall, a week back I had not been able to choose MagicBands (MBs), nor had I been able to access Fastpass+ (FP+) attractions. Well, an hour after I published that entry, I saw someone was wondering if you could pick FP+ without the MBs. Well, I was pretty sure that the answer was ‘no’, but I wanted to experiment to see for myself.

I got on http://www.mydisneyexperience.com (MDE) and clicked on the “Make FP+ Selections”. I was then surprised to find that it was allowing me to choose attractions for our upcoming visit to Walt Disney World! So, in the interest of gaining more knowledge, I decided to see if I was indeed able to select MBs. When the selection screen opened up, I had to wake my wife and kids to get our color choices made!

MB Turnstiles

Since that moment, I have been making FP+ selections, moving things around, changing time and then it hit me! One of the benefits of being able to use this new system is the ability to make things fit in a time order that makes sense.

If you are in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and you want to see Beauty and the Beast and Lights, Motors, Action! you can make sure that you don’t overlap the times. Do you have a meal time that conflicts with what FP+? Just take click on the attraction you have on your MDE mobile app, choose Change Time, and choose a time that fits better. This appears to be easier than trying to change those precious dining plans, especially if you have an ADR.

In the last week, I have changed a few times, and few attractions, to just see how it all works. So far, so good!

Overall, this is an impressive system. Sure, there may still be a few bugs to work out, but if it works as well during our next stay, I think it will be a lot of fun and a new level of magic!

Have a blessed and magical day, my friends!!

Saving Money at Walt Disney World

We all know that it ain’t cheap to go to Walt Disney World. But, we also know there are ways to minimize the pain once we arrive there. Here are just a few ideas to pass along to you. These are not in any specific order.

1. Whether you are on the Disney Dining Plan or are paying out of pocket, consider sharing some of your meals. Most eating establishments serve meals large enough to easily share with one or two others, especially kids.

Good menu, Big portions
Good menu, Big portions

2. Take snacks or packed lunches into the park. It is allowed and a great way to save a few more bucks! And, don’t forget to bring some water. If you have the ability, freeze some bottled water and put them into a backpack to keep you cooler as you walk. As the day goes, you will have plenty of water to drink. If you take a cup with you, ask for ice and water at any counter service food stop.

3. When considering hoppers, think about how you want to tour the parks. Depending on your length of stay, it may make better sense to add a few extra days on your tickets and maximize your time in-park. In my opinion, Hoppers are best for shorter visits.

These are just a few ideas. I’d love to hear what you might suggest. Please post your thoughts on this blog to share with other readers.

Thanks, and have a blessed and magical day!!

Pandora and Entertainment at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Avatar_4

One of the questions I find myself asking is…Will ALL of this take four years to come to fruition? Sure, the creation of Avatar’s Pandora may take some time, but what about the evening entertainment? What about the evening ride on Kilimanjaro Safari?

It would make sense, and maybe this is the issue, to get the things that can be put together quicker to begin operating in preparation of the hopeful premiere of Pandora in 2017.

Well, maybe some of you have ideas on how this could all work…it’s your turn!

Be blessed and may the Magic of Disney make your day brighter!

Weekly Wind-Up for October 20, 2013

This week saw the introduction of Glow With the Show Ears at Fantasmic! at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and just this Saturday at the Magic Kingdom for Celebrate the Magic and Wishes! The videos I watched really show the crowd enjoying the way that the Ears augmented these spectacular finales to the park-goers day.

While the cost may be prohibitive for some guests, it seems that there are enough willing to pay for them to really make a difference. Keep in mind that it looks better if people with the ears on are close enough to each other to be visible.

In other news, the MagicBand rollout continues and appears to be in full use by December 1. It appears that the Fort Wilderness Campground, Saratoga Springs, and The Grand Floridian will be the last of the resorts to begin the “testing” phase by the end of October. In addition, there are fewer big issues being reported through various Disney boards and chatrooms. Maybe, this will all work out well, after all.

Construction at the Disney Springs project appears to be moving forward. There are walls up near DisneyQuest and House of Blues, earthmovers are moving earth and cranes are helping to position supplies and equipment. Only time will tell how he development will be impacted. Personally, I am anxious to see it once completed!

Thanks for reading! Please consider sending your trip reports to share. Email them to threestrandswdw@outlook.com. Have a very blessed and Disney magic filled Sunday!

Waiting To Go To WDW!

My family is eagerly awaiting our next trip to WDW! Don’t worry, it’s not THAT far off! Problem is it gets harder to wait as the time moves closer to departure. We don’t know if we will be able to order MagicBands, FastPass+, etc. And, that’s got us a little nervous! But, according to a Cast Member I spoke to last week, we should be good at about 28 days from arrival.

Magicband-Box

In the meantime, I keep checking My Disney Experience, double checking that all my information is in place. We keep talking about what attractions we want to use, if we get to choose. I see reports from friends all the time about their experience with MBs, and really want to see it for myself! I’m not very patient, sometimes.

We are going to watch a different Disney movie over the next several Friday evenings to put us in a Disney frame of mine and we are hoping to score “Fantasia” for the ride to Florida. I have all the music and am downloading some podcasts to keep me company during my overnight shift of our, planned, 17 hour trip. And, of course, I talk about Disney World with anyone who will listen.

So…the countdown continues, the packing will begin soon, and we are waiting for our Mickey Mail to arrive with whatever documents may come our way.

How do you wait for your vacation to Walt Disney World? Leave your comment on my blog and share some ideas with me and other WDW fans!

Have a blessed and magical day!

Epilogue: As I got on My Disney Experience this morning, I got on the Fastpass+ portion and found the ability to choose attractions. As a result, I decided to click on the Customize Magicbands, and voila! MBs ordered!!!