Updated Prices, Refurbs, etc. for WDW

Walt Disney World has been quietly slipping the cost of things up a bit, with no fanfare of any kind! Most notably is the price of a One-Day, Single Park Ticket. The price slid up $5. Magic Kingdom is not $99 for one day. EPCOT, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom are $94 for a single day’s visit. It is believed this is a strategy to trim the one day visitors in favor of multiple day guests. The cost for parking at a Disney Park has also made a quiet move up the ladder going from $15 to $17 per day.

Here is the list of current Refurbishments at Walt Disney World:

Magic Kingdom
Big Thunder Mountain April 7-9, 2014
Pirates of the Caribbean April 28 – May 1, 2014
Tomorrowland Transit Authority – Peoplemover – May 3 – Jun 30, 2014
Astro Orbiter May 3 – August 20, 2014

Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Festival of the Lion King is still under refurbishment with no official date announced for re-opening in a new theater in the Harambe area of the park. Expect sometime late May or June!

Of course, there is major construction around the Polynesian Resort in preparation of adding Disney Vacation Club. There are changes taking place to the Great Ceremonial House, as well! Keep this in mind when planning your vacation!

Thanks for reading, and please feel free to share if you find the information helpful! Have a Blessed and Magical Day, my friends!!

An Off-Sight WDW Vacation

It’s no secret that I, personally, prefer to be a much inside the magic as possible. However, I can understand, and even empathize, with some who say it’s just too expensive! Well, let’s look at what you need to remember when staying at an off-sight location for your Walt Disney World Adventure.

Not all off-sight resorts are actually “off-sight”. There are two that are actually built on Disney ground, but owned and operated by an independent company. Those are the Swan and Dolphin Resorts! They are a part of the Starwood Group, and if you have points to use, these can be very good choices for location purposes. However, you will need to keep in mind that they are considered off-property resorts in the way they are presented. For instance, you may think they are on-sight because Disney Transport DOES provide service to the parks from these locations. However, EMH privileges are not supported! You can get MagicBands, but you can not make FPP reservations until 30 days out!

You may choose to stay at a Downtown Disney Resort. The Hilton at Lake Buena Vista allows EMH access, but there is limited transportation available from this, or any LBV resort location. Call ahead to get a better idea of whether this service if for you, or not. You are, however, right at the DTD area and can easily walk to Downtown Disney (soon to be Disney Springs) for shopping or to access Disney Transportation.

And then there are ‘resorts’ in the Kissimmee and even beyond. There are several that may offer free breakfast options. But, be aware that many claim to have transportation available, but much of it is scarce and may be unreliable, not to mentioned poorly scheduled. If you are wanting to see late night fireworks, or even stay later in a park, you may NOT be able to accomplish this from an off-sight location. Again, do your homework before finalizing your plans to make sure this will work for your planning.

One other note to consider: if you are driving, or using a rental car to get to the parks, the parking fee is currently $15/day. The good thing is that you can drive between parks for the same fee, just make sure you have your permit visible! The convenience may be worth it in the long run!

I do not have any sponsorship on this site, so my suggestions are just that! But, if you are staying off-sight, consider a vacation home as an option. There are a number of companies available. I am most familiar with All-Star Vacation Homes and have spent a bit of time on their website. It’s very informative and can help immensely in your planning.

You can save a lot of money staying off-sight, but make sure you add things up to make sure you have a complete picture of the cost. Depending on your specific needs, this may be a strategy to consider!

Thanks for reading! Have a Blessed and Magical Weekend!!

Trip Report Tuesday, Rope Drop Magic Kingdom!

It’s been a crazy week, so far! As a result, We are a day late getting the next installment of our guest trip report from my friend, Diane Trowbridge out. Well, here is is!! Enjoy!!

Inside Be Our Guest
Inside
Be Our Guest

Day 3: Rope Drop at Magic Kingdom (MK) with a FPP for Enchanted Tales with Belle. Even though we were traveling childless, we enjoyed the interaction of Belle with the children and their parents. It’s a great show, which was even better with no wait, thanks to our FPP. Enjoyed our FPP on Space Mountain, and minimal waits for Small World, Mickey’s Philharmagic, Monsters Inc., Buzz Lightyear, Carousel of Progress, with a longer wait for Under the Sea with the Little Mermaid.

We had FPP for Be Our Guest lunch, having ordered our lunches 2 weeks before. It was wonderful to walk past that long line, confirm our lunch selections and find a table. In no time our lunch appeared (how do they do that?) and was delicious (grilled ham & cheese sandwich aka “croquet monsieur” with fries and Braised pork, with the “grey stuff” cupcake and lemon cupcake). It counts as a Quick service meal on the Dining Plan, but feels like a Table service to our bellies! Neither of us could finish our meals.

After lunch we hopped on the Train at Fantasyland station and rode to Frontierland for our FPP on the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. Surprised by the long queue at Pirates of the Caribbean, about 45 minutes, and a full house at Enchanted Tiki Room. A Cast Member (CM) informed us it was the first sunny day after 3 rainy ones, and hence the heavier-than-expected crowds by afternoon.

Since it was a Sunday, we were able to ride the Monorail to our dinner reservation at Grand Floridean Café. (The resort monorail service is suspended weekdays at midday for maintenance work at this time.) Since we were early, we strolled around the grounds and throughout the lobby at this spectacular Deluxe resort. Had an incredible meal at the Café (salmon, steak, with the dessert sampler, all on the dining plan). These meals have been spectacular! Rode the monorail back to MK and caught the POFQ bus after a full day!

Progress City and WDW

The Man who Started it ALL!
The Man who Started it ALL!

When Walt Disney first began developing the plans for The Florida Project, his idea was the center of activity would be EPCOT, the Experimental Prototype Community Of Tomorrow. EPCOT was to be a living, breathing community that would be a model of technology and forward thinking progress.

While EPCOT may not have turned out the way that Walt had envisioned, I think it’s safe to say that the dream of Progress City is still alive and well, and it’s current title is: The Walt Disney World Resort!

You read that right! I think that the entire resort is a larger representation of what Walt desired for the Florida property. It is, indeed, a Living and Breathing community. Instead of those working at the complex also living at the complex, much of the rest of the plan of Progress City can be found on the property. With the addition of the resort properties, those of us who visit ARE the cast members making use of the various modes of transportation. WE are the ones making use of the different technologies. And, WE are the ones giving Walt Disney World LIFE!

If you think about how the property is managed, WDW is it’s own community. It has a governing body, Reedy Creek Improvement District, a five member Board of Supervisors, that determines how things are organized, built, and operated. There is a fire department, power plant, wastewater facility, and more. And, while there is a Safety and Security team, the main policing of the area is maintained by Florida Highway Patrol, and the Sheriff Departments of Orange and Osceola Counties.

There are a few small communities within the Disney property lines, that are owned by Disney employees, not The Walt Disney Company. So, in a sense, there are workers living within the community where they work. Just as Walt wanted it to be? Maybe!

So, to sum up my thoughts, I believe that the entire Walt Disney World Resort IS, in fact, Walt’s Progress City!

Have a Blessed and Magical Sunday, my friends!!

Planning for Special Events at WDW

Disney fans all over the world have special times of the year they like to visit Walt Disney World. One of the questions I often see asked is, When do I plan to go to…? Today, we will try to give you answers for that question.

Walt Disney World has it’s annual celebrations all year long. And, planning for those times can be a bit confusing. Two of the events have pretty much the same time frame each year. In the Spring, around the beginning of March and going until about the middle of May is the EPCOT Flower and Garden Festival. This is a time when the grounds around EPCOT are at their most beautiful as the Disney plant growers and topiary designers get to show off the skills that have been a part of the ‘landscape’ since the opening of Walt Disney World in 1971. Planning for this event can pretty much be done anytime. Especially if you aim for the middle of the event.

The Fall equivalent, on a much grander scale, is the EPCOT Food and Wine Festival. This event, again, is usually about the same time each year. And, if you make plans for the middle of the range, you should be just fine in getting the accommodations you desire for attending this time of year! Food and Wine does seem to attract larger crowds, and a lot of the locals visit, also. You may want to plan you F&W visits for midweek.

Other Annual Events of Interest:

Star Wars Weekends at Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party at The Magic Kingdom
The Candlelight Processional at the America Gardens Theater in EPCOT
Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party

One other note to add: If you are planning to attend one of these events, go ahead and make your plans! Don’t wait until the last moment! If a special offer comes along, you can always make a change to your package without losing what you have booked. Better yet, use one of the MANY Disney Authorized Travel Planners to keep watch over your vacation and they will do the work for you! That usually means saving you money!

That’s it for now, my friends! May you have a Blessed and Magical weekend!

threestrandswdw.com

2014 Magic “Madness”! – Round 1

From my friend, Mr. All in WDW

It's "All in WDW"

Let the MADNESS begin!  Better yet, let All in WDW’s MAGIC madness begin!

At 12:15 PM today, the NCAA will launch into 2014’s edition of its Men’s College Basketball Championship Tournament.

Not to “one up” the NCAA, but here, and now, at 6:00 AM this morning, All in WDW presents its 2nd Annual Poll to “crown” an All in WDW Readers’ Favorite Magic Kingdom Attraction!  This is THE 2014 “tourney”, folks!

You know how it goes.  This is Day #1 of Round 1.  The “round of 78”!  Can you believe it?  78?!  The largest poll we’ve ever tackled!

There are eight (8) groups below.  Choose one (1) in each group.  The Top 2 from each group will move forward into Round 2 – the round of 32!

Where would you find this destructive little box? Where would you find this destructive little box?

Pass the word, folks!  Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, etc.!  Link this in Lines chat, my Liner friends!…

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Trip Report Tuesday: French Quarter to Parks

It is a great pleasure to share this trip report with you from my good friend, Diane Trowbridge. She was gracious enough to offer an accounting of the recent trip she took with her husband, David. Today is part one of her report, enjoy!!

February 2014

My husband and I (ages 72, 57) just returned from a wonderful week at Walt Disney World (WDW). We booked through Disney with a Magic Your Way package that included Airfare from Cleveland, Ohio; moderate onsite resort (Port Orleans French Quarter, POFQ) for 8 nights, 7 day Park tickets with Park Hopper, free Disney Dining Plan (DDP) and Magic Express transportation to/from the Orlando airport.

Here are the highlights:

Day 1: Flew into Orlando International Airport (MCO) and used our Magic Bands (MB) to get on the Magic Express bus. Do NOT PACK YOUR MBs in your checked luggage! If you have your MB you don’t need the paper tickets that come in your welcome packet with the luggage tags. DO USE THE DISNEY yellow luggage tags if you want Disney to deliver your luggage to your onsite resort room. Checked into POFQ, which was easy since I did online check-in 60 days prior. Used our MB to enter the room. Each member of the party needs to unlock the resort door with their MB to fully activate them. Our Royal room was lovely and such a short walk to the Food Court. Since it was 8 pm by then, we ate in the Food Court, which had a nice selection of sandwiches, ribs, chicken, pizza, and pasta meals.

Port Orleans French Quarter
Port Orleans French Quarter

This was our first experience with Disney’s “free” Dining Plan (1 Snack, 1 Quick service, 1 Table service per person per day), which also came with free refillable mugs (1 per person). We used our mugs for soda at dinner (place them on the beverage rack then press the button to get the soda of your choice. If you hold the mug above the rack it won’t flow.) Since we normally buy our refillable mugs, this already saved us $34. The meals come with a nonalcoholic beverage so we also selected OJ in bottles for our meals’ “beverage” and had the juice for breakfast the next day. (The room has a dorm-sized refrigerator.) Our meals were fine and we headed off to our room in Bldg 5. Our luggage arrived about 3 hours after we checked in. We were tired and ready for our PJ’s. Next time I’ll pack those in our carry-on.

A wet Italy at EPCOT is better than a dry day anyplace else!
A wet Italy at EPCOT is better than a dry day anyplace else!

Day 2: Made breakfast in the room with Carnation Instant Breakfast (brought from home) and milk (snack credits) as well as our OJ from the food court. Made Rope Drop (RD) to EPCOT, using MB and a fingerprint to enter, and an 8 minute wait for Test Track. David designed our racy red sports car then we hopped on our Test Track vehicle. His “design” earned speed records. Really enjoyed the pre and post areas on that ride. Had Fast Pass Plus (FPP) for Mission Space but missed the time; rode it anyway with no wait. Made our FPP at Spaceship Earth, then rode the boat across the EPCOT lake to Germany and walked to our ADR at Via Napoli. Arrived early and were about the only ones in Italy due to the hour and drizzly rain. Our pictures look amazing with empty walkways! Had a GREAT lunch with individual pizzas, wine, and dessert (Tiramisu, ice cream sundae). Walked to France for the movie, saw Aurora (no wait), shopped in the UK, and enjoyed the movie at Canada before our FPP at Soarin’. Walk on to Living with the Land, The Seas with Nemo, and a brief wait for Turtle Talk with Crush. Walked to the International Entrance to the EPCOT resorts and grabbed a boat ride to our dinner at Big River Grille and Brewery at Boardwalk. Had a wonderful steak dinner and the beer sampler. I would strongly recommend this restaurant! Had a window table and enjoyed the view of the lake and EPCOT resorts. Since it was still drizzling, we decided to skip the rest of EPCOT and boarded the boat to Hollywood Studios to catch the Disney bus back to POFQ. That saved a long walk from the Boardwalk to the front of EPCOT.