Planning 101 for WDW

When it come to planning a trip to Walt Disney World, there are some basics that I think everyone needs to consider as you prepare to make your reservations.  Even the simplest of plans can be a benefit to getting the most out of your WDW Vacation!  So, today, we will look at some of the basic things needed when getting ready to visit The Happiest Place On Earth!

 

 

Disney Time

When it comes to planning, there are several categories of the types of planners.  Today, I’m going to attempt to boil it ALL down to a few basic ideas, that you can choose to build upon, or not, and still have a wonderful time on your vacation!

First, make sure you know what time of year you want to visit!  This makes a difference because of crowd levels!  For instance, if you are wanting to head to WDW during the week of Christmas to New Year’s, crowds will be very, VERY heavy.  New Year’s Eve is typically one of, if not THE, busiest times of the year throughout Walt Disney World!  And, particularly at The Magic Kingdom!  If you go in with no plans, you may end up with no vacation.

Spring and Summer breaks can also be heavier times to visit.  And, having a good crowd calendar for planning purposes can be invaluable.  There are two that I recommend.  One as at http://www.easywdw.com/category/calendar/ for a very well organized and up-to-date planning tool!  And, it’s free!  The other does cost a little bit of money, but it’s reasonable, and if you listen to WDWToday podcast, there is a discount code to help defray a bit of that cost.  It is found at http://www.touringplans.com!  I have used this one myself on the past few trips and find the numbers to be highly accurate and helpful.  There is also a chat feature on the site to ask planning questions, if you need extra assistance in putting things together.

The next thing I think is important for any WDW trip is what do take in your luggage.  There are a lot of packing list ideas available online.  One of the best, that I have found, is at http://wdwprepschool.com/the-ultimate-disney-world-packing-list/.  This is a very complete list, and you can tailor the list to fit your specific needs.  But, it has some good suggestions of things you might not think about without the guidance!  There is also a short weekly podcast, that I found recently, where there is discussion about some of these planning ideas.  Give it a listen, it’s worth the time!

Finally, let’s talk about food!  If you want to eat at WDW, especially at a more relaxed, sit-down type restaurant, you will truly want to know what your travel dates are before you get to the six-month mark!  The reason is that at 180 days from the start of your visit to Walt Disney World, the reservations system opens up for you to make your dining plans.  And, IF you are staying at a Walt Disney World Resort, you can use the 180 days plus 10 rule!  That allows you to make your Advanced Dining Reservations (ADRs) up to 10 days into your vacation.  And, that becomes very important if you want some of the harder to get reservations like Character Meals, or popular spots like ‘Ohana, or Be Our Guest!Be-Our-Guest-Bridge-Entrance

These are the three basics I suggest to everyone going to Walt Disney World, anytime of the year!  And, even though there are lower crowd times through the year, there are really no truly Low Seasons at WDW!

One more thing, if you don’t want to face the mountains of planning, may I suggest using an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner to help with the arrangements?  Your specialized planner will take care of all of the details for you!  You can be as involved as you wish, or just have them tell you when to leave and where to go once you get there!  I can point you in that direction, if you need help.  I have several friends who do a wonderful job assisting their clients!

Well, that’s it for now!  Have a Blessed and Magical weekend, my friends!  See you next time!

Outside the Parks at WDW

Sammy Duvall Walt Disney World Bay Lake
Sammy Duvall
Walt Disney World
Bay Lake

Sure, most of us go the Walt Disney World intent on hitting all of the parks as many times as possible during our stay! But, did you know that there are plenty of things to do outside of the parks? Let’s take a look at just a few of those things today, shall we?

One of the benefits of staying at a Disney Resort, even if you aren’t visiting any of the four theme parks, is that there is a lot to do in other parts of the property. After all, there are about 47 square miles to play with in this area of Florida! One thing I like to do, is just check out other resorts! It can be a bit time consuming with transportation, but if you aren’t on a schedule, the Disney World buses are a great way to enjoy the scenery! You might have to take a bus from your resort to one of the parks and transfer to another bus to visit the resort you are wanting to see. But, there’s no cost to riding the buses, or visiting the resorts. And, if you ask at the front desk, you may be able to get a glimpse of a room. Then walk around the outside areas of that resort. Check out the pool areas, landscaping, theming, or whatever might be of interest to you. And, all it costs is a little time!

There are golf courses and miniature golf options around the Walt Disney World Resort. Tee times can be arranged in advance for the PGA level golf courses. And, the mini-golf spots are open most of the day, so you can practice your putting all day long, if you wish! No reservations are needed for the miniature golf!

And then, there is Downtown Disney (DTD)! Getting to DTD is tricky with the transformation into Disney Springs, but again, the buses are a great way to get there! There are plenty of places to eat that will fit nearly any palate. There is entertainment all around, especially in the evenings. Disney Quest is at DTD and is a large arcade complex! It does have a cost, but can be fun, in a retro kind of way!

So, if you want the Disney feel without all of the rushing around, think about a more relaxing vacation outside of the parks! You still get the Disney touches, and a little bit of magic, too, but you can avoid the crowds and hustle of the parks. Even if you don’t want to leave the parks out completely, think about a day or two of your trip relaxing! After all, it is vacation!

What are some of the things you might do, if you aren’t going to the parks?  I want to hear about it!  Thanks for reading, and have a Blessed and Magical Day, my friends!!

Disney Dining Plan…Snack Time at WDW!

DDP

We all keep our eyes open for it! We hope and pray it happens! Sometimes it comes in time! And, sometime it doesn’t! Some pay for it! Some catch a break and get it when it is offered free! What is it, you ask? The Disney Dining Plan offered with your Walt Disney World Vacation Package!

One of the most popular plans is the Plus Dining option! With this plan you get one quick service meal, one sit-down meal, and one snack per night, for the entire length of your stay. We’ll talk about quick service and sit-down meals another time. For this article, let’s look at the Snack portion of the deal!

Did you know that there are many snacks that can be a meal? And, some are even large enough to share between two our three people. Let’s look a a few ideas, shall we?

Toluca Legs Turkey Company Sunset Blvd. Disney's Hollywood Studio
Toluca Legs Turkey Company
Sunset Blvd.
Disney’s Hollywood Studio

Turkey Legs are popular at The Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios! They are considered a snack when on DDP, and easily shared by more than one person. They can be messy, but also filling.

Another idea are Chili Cheese Fries at Pecos Bills in The Magic Kingdom! And, talk about YUMMY!! Well worth it, if you are in the area!

Many of the items on the Yak and Yeti Counter in Disney’s Animal Kingdom are considered snacks. Try the Egg Roll or Chicken Fried Rice to keep you going!

If you are attending the EPCOT Food and Wine Festival, many of the samplings at the World Showcase kiosks are able to be purchased as a snack. So, you can give your mouth an international experience all in one day!

And, finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t mentioning a very wise use of snack credits might be to get a taste of the world famous Walt Disney World Popcorn!! It’s filling, satisfying, and the smell fills up the parks! Easily shared, and delicious, too!

Magic Kingdom Popcorn Cart
Magic Kingdom
Popcorn Cart

These are just a few ideas, I’m sure there are many other! Please add your thoughts below in the Comments section! And, as always, have a Blessed and Magical weekend, my friends!

Odds and Ends…2

The Tomorrowland Transit Authority Peoplemover reopened this week with a new color scheme! It isn’t complete, yet, as the Astro Orbiter is still under refurbishment which effects part of the TTA’s theming and appearance. But, at least one of My favorite attractions is back in business!

Frozen Summer Fun is getting an extended stay at Disney’s Hollywood Studios! The fun will continue through September 28, 2014. Premium Packages are available Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays only! The cost is $59 for adults, and $34 for kids! The cost includes tax!

Magic Kingdom first aid is moving on Sunday, August 10! The temporary location is at a lounge near Space Mountain. No word on why or how long this relocation will be needed.

Move It! Shake It! Celebrate it! will be touring Main Street U.S.A. in the evenings only at 5:40p and 7:00p while some concrete work is being completed during the day. The dates for this work are August 12, 13, 19, 20, and 29.

At Disney’s Animal Kingdom, the It’s Tough To Be A Bug refurbishment is going to take a bit more time than expected. Originally scheduled for July 7 – August 11, it is now scheduled to reopen on September 28.

And, finally, Bob Iger said in an interview this week, that there WILL BE a stronger Star Wars presence in the parks in the U.S.! But, of course, there was no discussion of a timeline for this presence to be revealed! I don’t mind that Disney takes it’s time to get attractions up and running. I think they have more of a do it right attitude! But, it’s already been years! How about a bigger bone of information?

I hope you enjoyed reading, please come back soon! Or, better yet, follow this blog!

Have a Blessed and Magical Day, my friends!!

2015! Is It Calling You to WDW?

WDW2015

The Walt Disney World packages for 2015 were released earlier this week, and from what I hear from some of the travel agent friends, people are READY to find out how much it’s going to cost for their next trip! I thought I might go over some of the details in this post. So, here we go!

You can now book your 2015 Walt Disney World vacation package with your favorite Authorized Disney Vacation Planner, or online at waltdisneyworld.com. However, keep in mind that you can only book 499 prior to your arrival. So, if you are looking for Christmas 2015, you may have to wait until a little into August to make your reservation! As of this post, availability for booking was good through December 29, 2015! There appear to be no major changes to the Dining Plan at this time.

I have begun to plan for my next trip in September of 2015, maybe for Food and Wine? But, we shall see! In the meantime, I have this blog to keep me seeking the magic of WDW and helping you have the best possible Disney World experience! Should you need assistance, I have a few Authorized Disney Vacation Planners I can refer you to, and I can also answer some basic questions for you! Email me at threestrandswdw@outlook.com with your questions and comments, and I will respond to you quickly!

Have a Blessed and Magical day, my friends!! Keep the magic shining!

Dinner Package for Candlelight Processional

2013-12-07 17.30.23

 

The Candlelight Processional at EPCOT is one of the highlights of the year at Walt Disney World.  And, this year’s will be no exception!  We don’t know all of the guest narrators who will attend this year, but we some have been confirmed!  So far, we have:

  • Jodi Benson November 28 and 29, 2014
  • Whoopi Goldberg December 5 and 6, 2014
  • Sharon Stone (NEW!) December 15 to December 17, 2014
  • Ana Gasteyer (NEW!) December 18 to December 20, 2014
  • Marlee Matlin December 21 to December 23, 2014
  • Steven Curtis Chapman December 28 to December 30, 2014

The question that many ask?  “Is it worth paying for the Dinner Package to get a seat for this event?”  My short answer is: “Yes”!

By purchasing the Dinner Package for the Candlelight Processional, you are being assured of a seat for one of the three performances.  There are two lines for the show.  One for Dinner Package guests, and one for stand-by guests.  The stand-by line may only get a handful of people into the seated area.  There is some standing room at the rear of the America Gardens Theater.  

You can choose to have lunch or dinner at The Biergarten, Chefs De France, Coral Reef, Garden Grill, La Hacienda de San Angel, Nine Dragons, Restaurant Marrakesh, Rose and Crown, San Angel Inn, Teppan Edo, Tokyo Dining, Tutto Italia, or Via Napoli restaurants.  The time you choose to eat, will determine what your show time will be for the Processional.

The line will start at the America Gardens Theater and move toward Morocco and France for Dinner Package guests.  The stand-by line runs the opposite direction toward Norway and Mexico.  In my opinion, the Dinner Package is well worth the investment for this fabulous event!  So, eat up, get in line, and enjoy the Christmas Story from the Scriptures!

Have a Blessed and Magical Day, my friends!!

Eats at The Magic Kingdom

One of the best things to do on a Walt Disney World vacation is EAT!! If you are at all a foodie, you plan very carefully, and precisely, where you are going to eat. In fact, for some, this may be more important than the order of attractions you are planning to get to during your day.

As far a sit down restaurants go, there aren’t many to choose from. But, it seems the most coveted ADR at MK is The Be Our Guest Restaurant. By day, a counter service meal. But, at night it transforms into a beautiful sit-down restaurant featuring the decor of the Beast’s Castle. And, a visit from the Beast himself has been known to occur at some point during your evening!

One of my favorite Counter meals is at Columbia Harbour House in Liberty Square! The food is very good and the menu has a nice variety of seafood items to choose from including: Shrimp and Salmon, and also a nice Chicken Nuggets and Fish combination meal. It is also reasonably priced for a Disney eatery! The decor is very much that of colonial days and the second story is a nice getaway from the hustle and bustle of the day!

Finally, don’t forget about two of the best drinks available on property. The ever-popular Dole Whip is a hit with many park guests. But, the close cousin to this fabulous drink is the Citrus Swirl! A refreshing orange flavored frozen mouthful of delight, that can be found in Adventureland near Aladdin’s Flying Carpets! Give it a try!

Thanks for reading and have a Blessed and Magical Weekend, my friends!!