Disney Rides/Attractions

My Top 5 WDW Money Saving Tips

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As much as I love Walt Disney World, I am the first to admit – it is NOT a cheap place to visit – Resort room, park tickets, food, souvenirs, transportation, incidentals…it all adds up QUICK. Luckily, there are some things you can do to help lessen the financial burden that comes with planning a WDW vacation. Check out my top WDW money saving tips:

Sharing Is Caring: WDW has some seriously amazing food – they serve up every style of cuisine you can imagine, and it’s all delicious. Much of it is also very LARGE – their portions tend to be big, and this can be a big plus for you budget-conscious travelers. Many meals are so large that they can be easily shared by two children or even two adults. Check out some sharable meal/snack options here

Stay at a Value Resort: Walt Disney World has a TON of hotels on property, and all offer amazing service and helpful staff, but some are definitely fancier (ie – more expensive!) than others. There are Deluxe, Moderate, and Value level Resorts – with corresponding price levels as well. If you’re on a budget, the Value Resorts are the way to go for you and your family. They are all great places to stay (I should know, as I have stayed at all 5!), and while the rooms are pretty standard (nothing fancy, no frills), they are quite a bit cheaper than the other WDW Resorts, so if cost is your bottom line, the Value Resorts are worth checking out
*Bonusstaying on property will also help save on transportation costs – as Resort guests get complimentary shuttles to/from the Orlando airport via Disney’s Magical Express, and they are also able to utilize all on-site transportation options (boats/monorails/buses) free of cost as well

Plan Ahead: Anything you can do in advance will help you in the long run – researching restaurants (including costs, menus, etc), making lists of things to bring, checking out which rides/shows/foods your family might like, and just overall knowing the lay of the land will help avoid impulse purchases and unnecessary spending (buying a $4 bottle of water when there’s a bathroom/water fountain right around the corner, for example…)

Set A Budget: Use that research and those “planning ahead” skills to come up with rough estimates for costs of: airfare/gas, rental car, food, drinks, hotel, park tickets, and incidentals. Set a souvenir budget for your kids, and one for yourself too – and then make sure you stick to it – no matter HOW much they beg for “just ONE MORE PIN!”, or that giant balloon/stuffed animal/hoodie – trust me, your wallet will thank you – as souvenirs are pretty expensive at WDW, and the cost of just “one more thing” per person adds up QUICKLY

Pack Smart: In addition to making a list FAR in advance of items to pack, I suggest you start packing way in advance too. A few weeks before my trip I will print out my packing list (yes, I type it – don’t judge), and set my suitcase out with items I know I won’t need again before my trip. I also have some “must pack” items – ponchos, sunscreen, park-friendly snacks (trail mix, granola bars, etc – another big money saver!), a water bottle, and comfortable sneakers
Packing Tip – I wear all my “bulkiest” items when flying to save precious suitcase space: sneakers, jeans, and a hoodie are all a part of my standard travel attire, which leaves me more room for other necessities in my bags

Hopefully you can use some (or all!) of the above advice to help you save money on what can otherwise turn into a VERY costly Walt Disney World Trip – and even though I try and save money whenever possible and am all about budgeting, I know that a Disney vacation is worth every penny in the end – the fun you’ll have and the memories you’ll make are items you can’t put a price tag on

Categories: Adult Walt Disney World, Disney Food, Disney Restaurants, Disney Rides/Attractions, Disney Vacation Planning, Walt Disney World | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

My Top 5 Tips For Saving Time At WDW

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Walt Disney World is a busy place – there are hardly ever any non-busy times at the Parks anymore, which means you can expect to wait for everything from bathrooms to rides and everything in between, too. No one wants to stand around in lines all day, so I suggest you use my top WDW time saving tips to help avoid some of that waiting:

Use The Fastpass+ option: Disney allows you to essentially “Reserve” your spot on 3 rides each day – you pick a time online (you can do this up to 60 days before your trip!), and the information is stored on your Magic Band. You then go to the ride at the designated time, scan your magic band, and go through the (MUCH SHORTER) fastpass line and are on your favorite ride in no time! No 3 hour wait times for you (yes, wait times for rides can get that long – and trust me, it’s not pretty) – this can be a MAJOR time saver for sure!

Make An Itinerary: I know some people hate planning out their days and want to just go with the flow while on vacation – and that will work sometimes at Disney, but I find that it’s good to have even just a basic “what Parks you want to go to which days” type of plan – that way you can plan fastpasses and meals around what park you will be at, and you can avoid having to spend time traveling to another park to try and get there in time for your dining reservation….been there, done that – and that’s why I make an itinerary now!

Hook Up Your Credit Card To Your Magic Band: Magic Bands are amazing – the tiny chip in this bracelet holds the key to your room, your dining reservations, your park tickets, your fastpasses, and your payment information if you want – and trust me, you DO want! Pay for drinks, snacks, souvenirs, meals with just a wave of your wrist! Plus that way you don’t even really need to carry around your credit cards with you when you head to the Parks – win, win!

Make ADR’s: ADR stands for Advance Dining Reservation – which means you can book what table service meals you want to eat at before your trip (180 days before, to be exact!), and when you arrive at the restaurant at the reservation time, you’re put on the list for the next available table for your party. Disney is so crowded these days that walking up to a sit down restaurant and expecting to get a table is near impossible – so I HIGHLY recommend you make some ADR’s before your trip, or else you might end up waiting a LONG time to eat, or waste time trying to find another less busy place to eat

Eat at “Off” Times: Avoid the noon hour and the 5-6pm hours for lunch and dinner – as pretty much ALL Disney dining spots are SUPER crowded at this time, and you’ll end up waiting in long lines for food, and might have to fight someone for an available table too – not worth it, in my opinion. Have a late breakfast, so that you can wait to eat lunch until after 1pm, you’ll save time this way for sure!

Basically – I recommend you plan ahead – and use the ALL the technology Disney has to offer – Magic bands, fastpasses, ADR’s, their mobile app, pre-trip booking via computer – use them, and you will for sure save time and frustration on your next Disney Trip

Categories: Adult Walt Disney World, Disney Food, Disney Restaurants, Disney Rides/Attractions, Disney Vacation Planning, Walt Disney World | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

My Top 5 MUST PACK Items For WDW

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I have been lucky enough to get to travel to Walt Disney World many times as a kid, and a handful of times as an adult as well, and after all those years of packing (with blunders along the way – overpacking, underpacking, forgetting things) – I have come up with this list of items that I will absolutely not travel to WDW without:

Sunscreen: That Florida sun can be brutal – and even if the sky seems partly cloudy, you could end up with a bad sunburn – which is why I make sure I bring plenty of sunscreen along with me in my suitcase and in my bag I pack for the Parks, too. You can put it on as you’re waiting in line for the bus/monorail/boat to the Parks in the morning, and you’ll want to make sure you reapply every few hours too (every few hours as in every 2 – not every 4-6 – yes, the sun is that strong there). You can purchase sunscreen at the Parks/Resorts of course, but it’s very expensive, and the selection is limited, so I recommend you plan ahead and purchase a few bottles of your preferred brand/SPF to bring along with you

Sneakers: And not just any sneakers, I specifically make sure I bring new-ish sneakers that have been well broken in but that aren’t totally worn out/worn down. Yes, this is oddly specific – and for a good reason – you will do a TON of walking on your Disney vacation – like multiple miles a day. So while those flip flops may seem like a great idea because the temperature is already over 80 before breakfast time, trust me – that is one decision you will regret, as most flip flops/sandals offer little to no support for your feet – which will be poor and aching feet by the end of a day spent in sandals at Disney, for sure. So bring sneakers, ones that are broken in (so that they are comfortable), but ones that are new enough to still offer decent support for all that walking you’ll be doing

Ziploc Baggies: This may seem like a strange one to have on the list, but they come in so handy and have SO many uses. I bring assorted sizes, and use them for storing partially eaten snacks, park maps, autograph books, wet ponchos, batteries, chargers; and I also use them to store my electronics (cell phone, camera, etc) when I go on rides where I might get wet – like Splash Mountain

Water Bottle: With all that walking and the hot sun and temperatures, it can be easy to get dehydrated while at Walt Disney World – so I like to make sure I am drinking a LOT of water. I bring along a big 32 oz water bottle and I fill it with ice and water every morning before I leave for the Parks, and I make sure I refill it frequently throughout the day as well. Not only is staying hydrated super important, but saving money is too –and if you plan to just buy bottled water whenever you need it, you will spend a LOT of money unnecessarily, so bring your own bottle along and you’ll ensure you aren’t passing out from heatstroke, while saving money at the same time!

Ponchos: Of course Disney sells them, but not only are they costly, but I can never seem to find them when I need them – like when it starts pouring. So bring your own along instead – you can buy them at Target/Walmart – they sell nicer ones that run about $9 each, or you can buy smaller disposable ones at the dollar store. Either way – you will be well prepared for the (sometimes very sudden!) rainfall that tends to happen almost daily at Disney World

Hopefully you will include some (or all!) of these items in your suitcase next time you head to WDW – and that you find them as useful/helpful as I do!

Categories: Adult Walt Disney World, Disney Resorts, Disney Rides/Attractions, Disney Vacation Planning, Walt Disney World | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

T.G.I.F. Pic Of The Week – 2016 Disney Vacation Must-Do’s

HAPPY NEW YEAR! Hope you all had a great time ringing in the new year, and that you are looking forward to starting fresh today and having the best year yet!

If you’re planning on heading to Walt Disney World in 2016, then you will definitely want to add these to your list of “Disney Vacation Resolutions” – as they are ALL Must do’s:

Norway   Epcot’s Norway is being expanded to include the new Frozen meet and greet attraction – where your little princesses will get the chance to hobnob with royalty – none other than Anna and Elsa!

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Soarin’ is getting overhauled – a third theater and new ride experience that takes you “around the world” make this one a must-see

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Toy Story Midway Mania will be getting a third track in 2016 – which will help cut down on the (sometimes REALLY LONG) waits, so if you haven’t checked this one out yet, 2016 will be a good time to give it a try

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Any steak fans in your family? You’ll definitely want to check out the new STK steakhouse in Downtown Disney that’s opening in Spring of 2016

As part of the largest expansion in its history, Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park will be adding all-new entertainment experiences including a new after-dark spectacular centered around and above Discovery River, new nighttime entertainment including live performers on Discovery Island (pictured) and a new night version of Kilimanjaro Safaris. (Concept art, Walt Disney Imagineering)

Animal Kingdom will be adding a “Rivers of Light” nighttime show, which will be just one of the many changes aimed at turning the park into an “after dark” destination

There are so many amazing changes coming to the Happiest Place On Earth in 2016 – and I don’ know about you, but I can’t wait to experience them all! Here’s hoping I can stick to my Resolutions this year….

TGIF – and HAPPY 2016!!!

Categories: Adult Walt Disney World, Animal Kingdom, Disney Food, Disney in Pictures, Disney News, Disney Restaurants, Disney Rides/Attractions, Disney Special Events, Downtown Disney, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Halloween = Spooky = Haunted Mansion Fun!

Last weekend was Halloween, and my mind is still stuck on all things spooky/creepy. One of my most favorite spooky things is definitely Disney’s Haunted Mansion ride. It has always been one of my favorite rides at Walt Disney World, and I love to ride it multiple times per trip (as many as I can fit in!). I love it all – the creepy intro, the “doom buggies”, the hitchhiking ghosts, the “room for one more” – it’s all so kitschy and amazing, and over the past few years, the ride has become even more popular, gaining somewhat of a cult-like following, which Disney has OF COURSE capitalized on:

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There’s now a Haunted Mansion themed store right by the ride’s entrance

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The shop offers tons of great merchandise – but if you’re not going to WDW anytime soon, you can also purchase some of the merchandise online

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Hmm…this is already inspiring ideas for next year’s Halloween costume…I could be a corpse bride, or maybe a hitchhiking ghost?

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“We have 999 happy haunts here, but there’s room for 1000. Any volunteers, hmmm? If you should decide to join us, final arrangements may be made at the end of the tour…”

Check out some fun behind the scenes secrets about the Haunted Mansion here

Categories: Disney in Pictures, Disney Rides/Attractions, Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

T.G.I.F. Pic Of The Week – Dreaming Of Disney (LAND That Is!)

I mostly write about how much I love Walt Disney World and how great of a place it is for adults (not just kids!), but today I find myself thinking of the place that started it all – Disneyland Park

I have been lucky enough to get to travel to Disneyland once – and I am hoping to go back someday and get to spend more time getting to know the Park that Walt built, the place where he saw his visions come to life!

Here’s a few reasons why I cannot WAIT to get back to Disneyland:

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Mickey’s Toontown may have been dismantled at Disney World to make room for the New Fantasyland, but fear not – as Toontown fans can still get their fix at Disneyland! Visit Mickey’s house, take a ride on Gadget’s Go Coaster, and top if off with a hot dog at Pluto’s Dog House (yum!)

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Disneyland Park has many of the same rides as the Magic Kingdom, but they are not exactly the same – there are subtle differences in décor, styling, and the rides themselves – can you spot all the differences? When I rode Pirates of the Caribbean, I noticed the waiting area and entrance were different – and I loved getting to experience the unique qualities of the ride!

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I had one of these when I was little – the brim was so heavy that when I fell asleep on the monorail my parents said my head dropped forward under the weight. I have never seen one for sale at Disney World since then, but I did spot this one at Disneyland!

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Once awesome ride difference? The Mad Tea Party is OUTSIDE at Disneyland – isn’t that beautiful?

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Oh, and so is part of “It’s A Small World” – love the topiaries and the outside of the building!

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Looking at all these pics makes me want to go back SO BADLY. Oh – and one more thing to mention – Disneyland just happens to be in beautiful sunny California – a BIG WIN for someone like me (from Upstate NY where it snows 6-ish months a year!). Hoping to plan a trip to Disneyland soon – but until then, I shall keep on dreamin’…

TGIF!

Categories: Adult Walt Disney World, Disney Food, Disney in Pictures, Disney Rides/Attractions, Disney Vacation Planning, Disneyland, Walt Disney World | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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