You Have Arrived…Walt Disney World!

You’ve spent endless hours planning your vacation at Walt Disney World in Orlando!  You’ve checked, double-checked, and triple-checked your lists!  There are as many different ways to start your time at WDW, as there are people who visit!  Here are a couple of my favorite ways!  LET’S GO!!

2013-12-04 13.11.13

Whether flying or driving, when you plan to arrive is key to determining what your first day might look like.  One if my favorite ways to begin my time at WDW, is to first make sure I arrive as early as possible.  Once I have checked into my resort, and hopefully my room, I tend to grab a quick bite at the resort food court and head for a bus stop!  My first stop…MAGIC KINGDOM! 2013-12-05 13.04.55

If this all works out, I will be in the Magic Kingdom around noon or shortly after.  I have successfully done this on at least 4 occasions!  This gives me plenty of time to get to a few of my traditional attractions and take in a bit of the surroundings.  My first ride?  Typically, It’s A Small World!  I usually stop here on my way to The Haunted Mansion, and I never regret the choice.  Small World is full of classic Disney Imagineering designs.  Sure, the music can be a bit repetitive, but it’s part of the charm.

Second stop is, as mentioned above, The Haunted Mansion!  I still can’t tell what part of the stretch room is “actually stretching”…hahahaha.  But, again, it is a classic WDW attraction and it helps get me into a magical frame of mind!

Another way to begin my stay, done twice, is to just enjoy the resort!  It is difficult for me to spend the kind of money required for a WDW resort and NOT get to see some of it!  So, if my arrival is later than 10am, I tend to make use of the resort pool, grounds, food court, and even just stay in the room!  After all, the rooms are nice!

On our last visit, we arrived at the resort, Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, about 10am, checked into our room, and my girls and I grabbed a bus to Downtown Disney, and the Earl of Sandwich!  I had a coupon to use for my birthday, and had always heard how good the food was here.  So, off we went!  The bus ride wasn’t bad and gave us a chance to see a little of Saratoga Springs along the way!  My oldest daughter loved that!

We then went back to the resort, walked around, used the pool a bit, and then we drove over to Disney’s Beach Club Resort for a taste of Beaches and Cream!

This was dinner!
This was dinner!

May I say, the No Way Jose’ was YUMMY!  We walked around the Boardwalk for a short time, before heading back to AOA for a good night’s sleep in preparation for an all out assault on The Magic Kingdom.

I can recommend taking the first day to relax and take in a few things outside of the parks.  There is a lot to see, and we don’t always take the time to enjoy these areas.  But, don’t give up on the idea of hitting a park, if you can be there by early afternoon, either.

Thanks for reading and have a Blessed and Magical Day!!

DDP – Quick-Service Dining

DDP

We hear about it all the time! Is it free? Do I pay extra? What does it include? In this short series, we will look at each dining plan that is offered at Walt Disney World. We will attempt to get into the details about what is included and how it affects your costs, if you pay to include it on your Magic Your Way package.

Today, we look at Quick-Service Dining!

Quick-Service (or Counter) Service locations are generally places you can eat at on the run, without an Advanced Dining Reservation (ADR), and there may or may not be seating areas provided. The Disney Dining Plan offers a package that includes two quick-service meals and one snack per night of your stay. It also includes a resort-refillable mug usable at your resort food court and can be refilled as often as you like! One thing to remember about the mug is that it is RFID equipped, just sit it under the spout of the drink you desire and press the button, the display will tell you everything you need to know after that.

Your quick-service breakfast is one entree or complete combo meal and a single-serving, non-alcoholic beverage. For lunch and dinner just add a dessert! You also get one snack credit that can be used for Mickey Bars, Ice Cream, bottles of soda or water, or anything that has the official DDP logo next to it (see above).

When you check into your Walt Disney World Resort, you will receive a total number of entitlements according to the length of stay and type of meal package in which you are participating. Keep an eye on those entitlements, your receipts will show your balance, because many people end up with extras at the end of a trip, and it can be a bit overwhelming to use them all in a few short hours before your vacation ends!

A few examples of quick-service (counter-service) restaurants in the parks are: Flame Tree BBQ in Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Sunshine Seasons or Tangerine Cafe in EPCOT, Starring Rolls at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Pecos Bills at The Magic Kingdom. Downtown Disney, soon to be Disney Springs, has some good offerings in this area, as well. You can try Wolfgang Puck’s Express, or (my fav) Earl Of Sandwich!

The added cost to your package, if you purchase the Quick-Service Dining Plan is $41.99 per adult per night and $16.03 per child per night ages 3 – 9. Look at the eating habits of your family, and check the menus out online at http://www.disneyworld.com to see if this would be a benefit to your trip.

The Quick-Service Dining package is often giving at Value level resorts, if a free dining or special package rate is announced by Disney. These meals are really good for those who don’t want to be strapped to a dining schedule and just want to grab on the run. And, many of these locations do offer significant seating areas in shade or air conditioning, if you need time to just chill and recover before moving on to the next attraction.

One more thing, your entitlements are connected to your MagicBands, so make sure all is well before you leave the check-in desk at your resort.

I hope this is helpful for you all, and I’ll be back soon with a look at the Plus Dining Package! For now, have a Blessed and Magical evening, my friend!

2014 Vacation Video

I have gotten the Vacation Planning Video every year for several years, and when I ordered this year’s version, I wasn’t expecting much. Was I every surprised!

2014 Disney Vacation Planner Video
2014 Disney Vacation Planner Video

The 2014 Vacation Planning Video has been completely reimagined, to use Disney terminology. A lot of good visuals showcasing everything from Theme Park overviews to more specific looks at rides, dining options, and entertainment all around the resort.

This video is an excellent tool to use, in conjunction with your Authorized Disney Travel Planner, to help put together the most magical experience you could ever design, and even introduce you to some different ideas to make that possible. And, it even gives you a very brief look at each resort available on the WDW property. I only wish there had been a bit more said about each resort to give us a better idea of what they have to offer.

You can view both Walt Disney World in Florida AND Disneyland in California on this presentation. So, you can plan your vacation to either destination, or get a quick Disney fix if you are something of a Disney Parks Addict, like me!

So, order your copy today by going to https://www.disneyvacations.com/dv/en_US/VacationPlanningDVD/index to request your copy! Then, contact your favorite Authorized Disney Vacation Planner to begin dreaming! If you don’t know anyone, message me at threestrandswdw@outlook.com, and I’ll be happy to connect you with one of my friends!!

I hope this puts a little touch of magic into your lives! Blessings…Mr ThreestrandsWDW

Get Ready For Some Walking

When headed to Walt Disney World, there is one thing can’t be avoided by most guests! You will be doing a lot of WALKING!

Walking WDW

Each day at one of the theme parks, resorts, or Downtown Disney can bring many hours and several miles of walking to your everyday routine. It is vitally important to plan accordingly! The first thing I would recommend is to get out and start walking while you are still at home. This may seem like a little thing, but it can be a bigger issue than we prepare for properly. Failure can lead to blisters and other foot issues that can make your vacation a bit more challenging.

Make sure you have a good pair of shoes to wear in park, too! I would not suggest a brand new pair, however, because this isn’t the best method of breaking them in. I think that if you buy a new pair, you should do it at least a month ahead of your trip!

Also, as a backup, have some moleskin on hand should blisters become a part of your journey. You can buy it in sheets to save money, and cut them into the sizes you need. They do provide a considerable amount of cushioning and can save your time-sensitive touring of the parks.

Don’t let the amount of walking scare you off! Plan accordingly and get moving!

I wish you a Blessed and Magical Saturday!!

Xtras

Sure, you got to Walt Disney World to visit the theme parks! But, what can you do to make this time even more? Today, in the ABCs of Walt Disney World, we take a look at the XTRAS!

One of the big Xtras around the resort is the Bibbidi-Bobbidi Boutique, or BBB to keep it short. These can be found in both The Magic Kingdom and Downtown Disney. Your little girl can become a princess with a makeover designed to create some special magic. Hair, make-up, even clothing are options! However, if you want to save a little money and know what your girl will wear, you can bring your own dress! Either way, it will create a special memory that will last forever! There is a cost to this and reservations are recommended!

The Pirate League is found at The Magic Kingdom and is able to be enjoyed by everyone in the family! You can get a makeover that turns you into your favorite pirate, or create one of your own! Don’t forget to get your picture taken! There is a cost to this, and reservation are strongly suggested as this is a very popular experience.

Agent P’s World Showcase Adventure takes you on a secret mission around the World Showcase at EPCOT. Using a specially designed communicator, you will receive messages to direct you to your next clue as you search for Dr. Doofenschmirtz and foil is evil plot. You can play for a little or as much as you wish! And, this is a free activity!

Disney’s Animal Kingdom offers the Wilderness Explorers. Up’s Russell and Dug lead you on an adventure through the Animal Kingdom on a fact-finding mission that can bring you the reward of up to 30 badges to collect. Just pick up your field guide and start making your way around the park. You’ll discover details you never knew existed and appreciate the work of the imagineers. This is also a free activity!

One last freebie to share is at Disney’s Hollywood Studios! As part of the Magic of Disney Animation attraction, guest can participate at the Animation Station. Learn how to draw some of your favorite Disney characters with the help of an actual Disney Animator! And, the best thing about this activity is that you end up with a free souvenir!

There are many more Xtras around WDW, so take some time to seek them out to make your vacation even more special!

Have a Blessed and Magical Day, my friends!

Maps

Well, half way through the ABCs of Disney! This topic is courtesy of one of my daughters, so thank you daughter!

We use them everywhere we go! Although, today we use our smartphones to look at them, and GPS has it’s good points. But, when at Walt Disney World, it the old-fashioned type. You have to unfold it, and find the legend to know what is where! For the adults, this brings back memories. For you kids, this may be something completely alien to them and Stitch isn’t even around! When entering one of the Theme Parks, grab a MAP!

Boardwalk Area Map
Boardwalk Area Map

Every park, resort, walkway, and even Downtown Disney has a guide map to help you find your way around. In the theme parks, you can find the attractions you want to see most, plan the best route to get there, and pick out a place to grab a snack along the way. At Downtown Disney, you can look at the map to find your way to the little nooks of The Marketplace or the grand entertainment venues of The West Side!

I stayed at one resort this last trip, and visited the one next to it! Apparently they LOVE maps at Disney World. There was a map at every building area and a few other places along the way to help keep you from getting lost. Or, was it so you could find a place to get lost for a bit in the story? Both Art of Animation and Pop Century have maps all around the resorts. And, as I recall, so did Port Orleans – Riverside when we were there a few years back!

The Guide Maps are really nice souvenirs to collect and they are FREE! So, the next time you’re in a park, at a resort, or at Downtown Disney grab one for your scrapbook, or whatever you have to keep it in, and allow it to feed your memories. After all, isn’t that what a trip to Walt Disney World is all about?

Until next time, my friends, have a Blessed and Magical Day!!

Lighting

I’m sure we have all heard the expression, “As different as night and day”! Well, at Walt Disney World it really is more than an expression, that’s the truth. And, the reason it is true? LIGHTING!

The structures all around Walt Disney World have unique characteristics. The attention to detail, as discussed in our January 21 post, Details (http://wp.me/s23hiG-details), just pops as you look around at the color, architecture, and perspective. But, there’s just a bit more to this detail and that is the different personality the parks, resorts, even Downtown Disney take on at night. The reason for that personality change? Lighting!

Think of Cinderella’s Castle during the day. The beautiful colors, the shape of the spires, the contract against the Florida sky and you stand there looking at it in awe of it’s beauty. Now, see it at night! The castle is just one of the examples of how lighting affects the appearance! Especially at Christmas time!

Or, Spaceship Earth at EPCOT as it changes from a giant silver, shiny ball to a multi-colored accent that is the icon of this, my favorite, park!

Spaceship Earth  EPCOT
Spaceship Earth
EPCOT

EPCOT at night!

Even in the resorts, lighting plays a part in the atmosphere of your surroundings. At Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, the iconic figures that adorn the property have a beautiful and impressive look to them. At night, the take on a whole different look that makes you stop and just soak it in! These pictures give you just a taste of what I mean.

Simba by Day! Art of Animation Resort
Simba by Day!
Art of Animation Resort

Simba by Night
Simba by Night

Even the building in the background looks a little different!

As you can see, lighting is as much a part of the show as the cast members. Next time you are in a park, resort, or at Downtown Disney, take a look around at how special the feel is where you are! I think you’ll know it when you feel it!

Until next time, I wish you a Blessed and Magical Day, my friends!