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!

The Return Of…at WDW

It began with the Meet and Greet of Anna and Elsa! It found it’s way to Soarin’ at EPCOT! Now, it has made it’s debut at Be Our Guest! What is it, you ask? It may bring about memories of an era gone by! What am I talking about? Read on…

Be-Our-Guest-Bridge-Entrance

A few weeks ago, Walt Disney World decided to limit the stand-by line at Anna and Elsa by giving guests a piece of paper with a return window time printed on it. You are given something that resembles the classic Fastpass that has a 30 minute window to return to the stand-by entrance and meet the Frozen royalty!

A week or so later, the same type of system was introduced for stand-by guests at Soarin’. It, too, has a 30 minute window for re-entry to the stand-by queue in time to get your flight!

This week, WDW has introduced this line reducing strategy at the Be Our Guest restaurant for lunch! You report to the entrance of the Stand-by queue, a Cast Member gives you ticket timed for a specific return. Once all of these Fastpass type tickets have been distributed, a sign stating that there is no more stand-by seating for the day will be put in place! So, there are now two primary ways to eat at Be Our Guest for lunch!! Either, you are one of the blessed on-site guests who get the email invitation for Fastpassing Be Our Guest, or you head Stand-by line and hope to get a lucky ticket!

In my mind there is an advantage to these attractions being managed in this manner. Instead of standing in a queue for as much as three hours, you can use that time to see some other attractions and shows! It may require moving a few things around, but if these are things on your Must-Do lists, it may be worth the adjustments!

Enjoy your weekends!! And, 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!!

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!