On The Road to WDW

Or, tools for travel to the Vacation Kingdom!

Some of us just don’t have the luxury of flying most of the time.  For me, a family of five gets a little expensive.  On our last visit to Walt Disney World, we spent less than $200 round trip for gasoline.  Including my Mother-In-Law on that trip, that would be about 1/6 of the cost at the best fare rate.  Since that trip on the road, I have found some cool apps to use for our next road trip to WDW, and I wanted to share a few of those with you, today.

GasBuddy Let’s start with one that most everyone is familiar with, GasBuddy.com.  Many of us might be used to using this app for our local area.  But, did you know that there is a tool on GasBuddy to help with planning travel along your route of choice?  There is a gas price map on the site that shows the ‘hot’ zones for gas prices.  All you need to do is look at the map, follow your route, and strategically plan your fuel stops along the way.  It may require an extra stop or two, but it could also save you a significant amount of money.  You can find the map at, http://www.gasbuddy.com/GasPriceMap.

One app I try to pay particular attention to is The Weather Channel. This app Weather Channelallows you to track the weather along the way.  You can plan for stops if the weather starts to look a bit dicey.  Or, maybe decide on a better time of day to travel based on temperatures or rain.  And, if you are headed to WDW, you might want to track what the weather is doing in the Orlando area.

iExitThe iExit app gives you information for exits you are going to be driving by during your trip.  As you approach an exit you can use the app to tell you what
gas stations, restaurants, stores, or hospitals within a few miles of your location.  This can help you plan where you want to stop as you travel go Orlando.  You can check iExit out at, http://iexitapp.com/features/.

Finally, I can’t let a discussion go about apps to Walt Disney World without mentioning one to use while AT Walt Disney World.  The Lines app from touring Planshttp://www.touringplans.com gives you up to the minute numbers on wait times, suggested Fastpass uses, even menus at WDW.  One of the coolest features is the timer!  You use the timer to help Lines get accurate numbers on the actual wait times vs. the times that Disney posts at each attraction.  There is a small annual fee, but if you give WDWToday a listen, you can get a discount code to save a few bucks!

Are there any apps you use during your drive to Walt Disney World?  Would you like to share with all of my readers?  Then, please respond in the blog comments section below!

Thank you for reading!  I pray you have a Blessed and Magical Weekend, my friends!

Adult Fun at WDW

This question was recently asked….What is there to do at Walt Disney World for adults with no kids?  Well…where do I begin?

The first thing to consider is which Disney Resort should these no kids adults staying at?  I have a couple of thoughts on that.  Port Orleans Resort – Riverside is a beautiful resort.  It feels like a sprawling southern plantation. With paths to walk, areas to discover, and entertainment on site, you can have a little vacation within your vacation.  You can take a carriage ride that includes a tour of Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter.  It’s a really nice way to see both resorts and can be very romantic.  And, don’t forget Yehaa Bob Jackson!  A little laughter can be a fantastic stress reliever.

At the River Roost Lounge in the Port Orleans - Riverside Resort
At the River Roost Lounge in the Port Orleans – Riverside Resort

You could also choose one of the resorts near EPCOT.  Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club resorts are within walking distance of World Showcase.  You can take a nice stroll from the resort into World Showcase and walk through all of the countries sampling little morsels of ‘local’ cuisine.  You enter between the UK and France pavilions, and can choose the direction of travel from that point.  You are also able to walk, or take a Friendship boat, to Disney’s Hollywood Studios for a ride on Tower of Terror or Rock n Roller Coaster.

Think of the rides you may have missed when you DID have the kids with you!  Time to experience them for yourselves!  Pick a park, pick the rides, go for it!  Have fun and take it all in at your own pace.  Remember to take time to look at some of the details.  Especially on Main Street U.S.A. or in World Showcase!

And, don’t forget the soon to be renamed Disney Springs!  New eating experiences, new shopping spots, and new walkways could add a little love to your vacation.  And, if you are a huge Disney fan, try not to get lost at the World of Disney store!  It’s big and has almost anything you could think of to bring home to the kids, grandkids, favorite Travel Agent.

There is so much more for adults.  Try the golf courses that are on Disney Property.  Plan an evening at a show like: La Nouba, Hoop-Dee-Do Musical Revue at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort, or the Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort.  Ask your favorite Disney Travel Agent for suggestions.

Thank you for reading!  May you have a Blessed and Magical Evening!

WDW: Free Dining vs. Room Only

Photo: Disney Parks Blog
Photo: Disney Parks Blog

In the current offers at Walt Disney World, there are two discounts being presented.  Free Dining and Room-Only discounts are battling it out in the Disney World.  Today, I am giving you a direct comparison using the same resort, same dates, and same inclusions (add-ons for RO).  And, for the sake of comparisons, I used my family as the model.  We are two adults and three kids ages 17, 15, and 13 based on a September reservation.  Here we go!

Looking at Port Orleans- Riverside Garden Room, for 6 nights, 7 days the Room-Only discount cost was $927.20.  To add-on the 7-Day Park Hooper tickets brought the cost up to $3174.82, and the addition of the Disney Plus Dining Plan brings the total to 4994.02.  And, at first glance that doesn’t look to shabby as Disney prices go.

However, in looking at the Free Disney Dining offer, we can see a “small” difference.  The cost of the same Garden Room at Port Orleans – Riverside, including a 7-day Park Hopper Ticket for each person in the party of five, and the Disney Plus Dining Package totaled $3435.62 a Savings of $1558.40 as compared to the Room-Only discount.

My conclusion is, that while the Room-Only offer is a great discount off of the room rates, the use of it may have some limitations.  Those who have Annual Passports, for instance, can take great advantage of this deal as they do not need tickets, and many of them use the Tables In Wonderland card for dining discounts (we’ll discuss that in a future post).  But, the guest who does not have Annual Passports may want to consider using a Free Dining Offer, if they are planning to spend a significant amount of time, or money, on meals!  And, the Dining Plan allows you to select restaurants, or meals, that you would likely skip of you were paying out of pocket.

Remember, this was a package for 2 adults, and three kids.  My family to be exact!  For you, you may need to take a little time to look at both to decide what works best for you!  And, don’t forget, your Disney World Travel Specialist can be a great help in making sure you get the most for your money!  And, two-thirds of us are Disney Addicts and proud of it!  Have a great weekend, my friends! May it be blessed and magical!

Is Free Dining Really Free at WDW?


So, there is a new Free Disney Dining promotion going on at Walt Disney World.  And, the question is it worth the expense.  Let’s take a look and see!

My advice about Free Dining is typically the same.  Check the menus of the Sit-Down Restaurants you think you want to try.  Look at the prices of the items you would like to eat.  Consider the size of your party.  And, do a little math to see if it adds up to being a value.

The offer that is out now requires you to purchase a Package that includes either the Park Hopper (PH) or Water Parks, Fun, and More(WPFM) options to qualify.  Your room rate is the going rack rate and the properties included are very limited on space.  So, keep this in mind when pricing your vacation for the late summer and early fall.

I will admit that I like the dining plan because it allows me to choose some restaurants and meals I might not consider if paying out of pocket.  And, for the seasoned WDW guest, adding a PH or WPFM isn’t out of the realm of possibilities.  In fact, for some, it may be a necessity!

While the Free Dining offer isn’t REALLY free, when you are forced to purchase the add-on, if you add the price of the dining on top of just your base package, you are still saving a bundle.  I typically advise those with four or more in the family over age 9 to consider Free Dining.  My kids like it because we use it for some of the more costly buffets and family style restaurants.  We also try to do at least ONE ‘nicer’ restaurant and choose more expensive meals to help make it more cost effective.MYW PH

One more thing…this current promotion may be an indication of what is to come as related to Free Disney Dining.  This is the first time that Disney has REQUIRED an add-on to the package.  That tells me that this could be the beginning of the end of a true Free Dining offer.  Next year will be the tell!

Thanks for reading, and feel free to add your thoughts and concerns to the conversation!  Have a Blessed and Magical evening, my Disney buddies!

Around the Disney World

Greetings friends!  I know it has been some time since my last post.  Truth be told, I have had a bit of a hard time finding the ability to blog, lately.  But, I am back and hoping to be back in full swing soon!

Let’s take a look at the news from around the Disney World, shall we?

I am sure that many of us are thrilled to hear that both Marvel shows on ABC have been renewed.  Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Agent Carter will return to the line up!  I am especially excited about Agent Carter.  It is a brilliant show and Hayley Atwell is very good in the role.  And, she’s kind of cute!  In addition, the release date for the next film in the Captain America, Civil War, series has been announced as May 6, 2016.  This film taunts to pick up where Avengers: Age of Ultron left off.  It should be an adventurous time at the theaters next year.

It appears that most, if not all, of the room refurbishments at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort have been completed.  From what I have seen through video, they look amazing.  These rooms are the same size as the Port Orleans resorts, so it’s no surprise that they look familiar!  If you want to check out the rooms go to https://youtu.be/DMYk3eMKSZY to check out the IThemePark video.

Pirates of the Caribbean Refurbishment has been delayed until June 8, 2015.  The ride will be down until about September 25, 2015.  While there is no real news on what is being done, the speculation is that the boats may be replaced, some safety barriers may be put in place, and a general cleaning and refreshing of the Audio-Animatronics will be done.  Summer may be a little different for those hoping to ride this park favorite.  The Pirates League and Jack Sparrow shows will not be affected by this schedule.  Keep up-to-date on Walt Disney World park refurbishments at https://wordpress.com/page/30334162/1120.

Rebel Hangar – A Star Wars Lounge Experience will be located in the Backlot Express area at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.  And will offer a menu inspired by the Star Wars movies and television shows during Star Wars Weekends, beginning on May 15, and running through June 14, 2015.  Star Wars Weekends are Fridays Saturdays and Sundays.  Reservations can be made online.  The menu looks pretty good.

And, finally, the Magic Eye Theater, which has been the home of Captain EO for what seems like forever, has been assigned the task of bringing previews of new Disney movies.  Currently, you can see a 4D preview of Tomorrowland Starring George Clooney.  And, later in May you can get a glimpse of the new Pixar movie Inside Out. Maybe it is time for Michael Jackson to stand down from his mission, but I have to admit that I’ll miss it!  No word, yet, on whether EO will return or maybe something new might slide in to this spot.  Personally, I wouldn’t mind a up-to-date reboot of Magic Journeys!

Well, that’s it for now.  As always, thank you for reading!  Have a Blessed and Magical Day, my friends!