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Saturday, July 31, 2010

Tickets

As promised, we are going to discuss how to choose the right ticket.Due to the number of ticket options Disney offers, we will just be focusing on the most popular. Disney likes to reward their guests by offering a savings on tickets for longer stays. In other words, the longer you play in the parks the less you pay per day. Let's break this down by Florida residents and Non-Florida residents.

Florida Residents
We should begin by saying that Disney treats Florida residents VERY well. Hands down, we feel that the best bargain for "locals" (anyone who resides in the state of Florida) is the annual or premmium annual pass. Due to the fact that travel to the parks is fairly easy, most residents are able to make the trip several times a year. Therefore, annual passes are the most economical. We feel these are the best bargain for several reasons:
>Passholders can hop from park to park
>Passholders park for free (savings of $14 per day)
>Passholders reveive discounts on food and shopping
> There are no blackout dates with either of these passes
>These passes offer other discounts such as movies, miniature golf, etc.
>When parks are filled to capacity passholders usually are allowed to in
>The premium pass also inclueds entrance to waterparks and Disney Quest

Disney also offer special Magic Your Way pricing, as well as an EPCOT after 4, Seasonal, and Weekday passes. Special payment options are now available for Florida residents.

Non-Florida Residents
Before choosing your ticket you must decide how long you plan to stay and whether or not you will be coming back in the future.

>Magic Your Way - If you will only be staying for ten days or less, you will not be going to the water parks or Disney Quest and you will not be visiting again in the foreseeable future.
**Be sure to add the park hopper option if you wish to visit more than one park in the same day.
>Premium Annual or Annual Pass - If you will be staying at least two weeks and would like to visit the water parks or Disney Quest (water parks and Quest are included on Premium only). Keep in mind that these passes offer you benefits such as free parking, discounts, etc.

There are many ticket options available. However, we feel that these offer the most flexibility and are the most budget friendly.

Tip of the Day

If you want to ride Soarin' at EPCOT, be sure to get to the park early in the day to get fastpasses. Soarin' is a very popular ride with lengthy wait times and fastpasses run out before lunch most days.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Disney IS an affordable vacation (Part III)

Over the last couple of days we have looked at the pros and cons of staying both on and off Disney property. Now let's see how these two accommodation choices could affect a budget.

When budgeting for accommodations, whether on or off property, keep the considerable room taxes in mind. These taxes can vary and generally run around 12%.

On Disney property

Disney Resorts start at $82 per night plus taxes. The rates go up depending on the level resort you choose and the season. Disney has 4 accommodation levels:
- Value $82 and up
- Moderate $145 and up
-Deluxe $215
- Deluxe villa $249

Off property

Off property hotels and resorts vary greatly. There are hotels that start as low as $29 per night in the Disney area. Just remember you get what you pay for. However, you can cut your accommodation prices almost in half by using an internet hotel booking site such as Travelocity, Priceline, etc.

The main thing to remember when planning your accommodations is that you will not be spending a lot of time in your room.

Tomorrow we will take a look at ticket options.

Tip of the Day

A great idea when packing for little ones is to put sets of clothes in gallon size storage bags. This makes it easy for the kiddos to dress themselves!

**********News Brief**********

Yet another small announcement from Disney today. Storytime with Belle will be ending its run on Sept. 12. A new interactive character "play and greet" will be taking its place. Rapunzel and Flynn Ryder will be making their home at the Fairytale Garden. This change is taking place due to the upcoming Disney movie "Tangled".

**********NEWS BRIEF***********

Wow! Disney is just full of surprises. It has been officially announced that the High School Musical 3 stage show at Hollywood Studios will make its last appearance on October 2. Beginning October 22 a new show will take its place. The replacement is said to be a concert type performance featuring Disney Channel music.

***********NEWS BRIEF************

Disney has announced that the limited run of the Mainstreet Electrical Parade at Magic Kingsom has been extended. At this time no ending date has been given for the appearance of this well-loved classic.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Disney IS an affordable vacation (Part II)

Yesterday we discussed staying at Disney. Today we will delve into the benefits and pitfalls of staying off Disney property.

With all of the conveniences that staying on property offers, some people find that distancing themselves from the magic each night allows them to "recharge" as well as save some money. There are a lot of beautiful resorts and hotels within a short driving distance of Disney. There are a number of hotels located in the Downtown Disney area, which is adjacent to Disney, but the hotels are not Disney themed. Some of the surrounding resorts even offer complimentary shuttles (we will discuss these at a later time). Finding a good deal on a hotel room in the Disney area is quite easy. Occasionally we have used online hotel booking services such as Priceline, Travelocity, or one of the other reputable sites. We have had great luck with these.

There are pitfalls to staying off property that must be addressed before making your final decision. First, you must examine your travel budget and decide which would be most affordable for you. Once this decision is made, you must decide if dealing with parking fees (currently $14 per day) and procedures will be an annoyance to you. Once you park your car you must then take a tram to the front entrance of Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, or EPCOT. The procedures for Magic Kingdom are a little different. After you park, you take the tram to the Ticket and Transportation Center. From there you take the Monorail or the Ferry to the entrance of Magic Kingdom ( a mile and a half away). Don't forget to consider whether the drive back and forth to your hotel will be bearable or if it will be a hindrance to you.

Now that we have weighed the options of staying on or off property, take some time to consider which you would prefer. If you have any questions feel free to ask. Just use the comment area. We will discuss the financial issues with each in the next installment. Have a magical evening!

To be continued....

Tip Of The Day

Pressed pennies are inexpensive and fun souvenirs. You can't beat 51 cents per coin. They even make books to keep them in!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Disney IS an affordable vacation (Part I)

There is a common misconception that a Disney vacation is VERY expensive. Well, it could be -if you stay at the luxury resorts, eat only table service meals, and buy a souvenir at every gift shop you pass. On the other hand, we find our Disney vacations to be VERY reasonable. There are many ways to save money and still have a magical vacation.

Planning a Disney vacation can seem a little overwhelming, especially for beginners so we will break this down into several sections. The first order of business is to decide when you will be traveling. Disney often offers special discounts on resort stays. These discounts can add up to substantial savings! Check the official Walt Disney World website for current prices. If you are lucky enough to be a Florida Resident, make sure to check the website for the current Florida Resident discounts that are available.

Over the last several years Disney has offered Free Dining in the fall. You usually have to book by some time in August, but the travel dates extend for a couple of months. There are blackout dates with this offer, so be sure to check the schedule. This can be an amazing deal! Make sure that you check to see if the room discount saves more than the free dining. If you do not plan to eat at the park every meal, the free food may not be a bargain.

To be continued......


Tip of the day

When considering a resort, remember that you will not be spending a lot of time in your hotel room. Therefore, spending a lot of money on the accommodations is not very budget-friendly.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Disney In The Rain

Thunderstorms are a likely occurrence on any summer afternoon in Central Florida. Don't let this discourage you from playing in the parks. Instead, use this to your advantage. When the rain starts to pour so do the crowds - out the exit gates. This often leads to significantly shorter wait times for attractions.
Attractions only shut down if they are located outdoors and it is lightning. Therefore, there is still a lot of fun to be had. So don those disposable ponchos we suggested and weather the storm Disney style!

Tip Of The Day

One sure way to beat the heat is to visit all of the indoor attractions during the hottest part of they day. Save the outdoor experiences for the cooler evenings.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Have you ever been through Disney withdrawals? Looking for Hidden Mickeys at every turn, scrolling through photos over and over again, and driving friends and family insane with nonstop chatter of your recent trip. Disney withdrawals are running rampant through our family right now. How do you deal with missing WDW? Let us know. We would love to hear from you.

Tip Of The Day

Don't forget that there are Disney stores in two of the major outlet centers in the Orlando area - Premium and Prime Outlets. These stores not only have great deals, they also have cast members to pin trade with!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Back to Reality

We apologize for not posting yesterday. Unfortunately, reality reared its ugly head and let us know that it was time to head home. It seems that leaving gets harder each trip. We spent six weeks at "the world" and that was still not enough. We met a lot of wonderful people and had the time of our lives. Can't wait to head back for Christmas!

Tip of the Day (2 to make up for yesterday)

While standing in line keep the kids occupied by looking for Hidden Mickeys. These Mickey outlines are often hidden in the artwork of attractions.

Bring "on the go" packets of drink mixes (i.e. Crystal Light or Country Time) to mix with bottled water or the free ice water that is available throughout Disney parks.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Had a fabulous time at EPCOT on Thursday! Spent most of the afternoon and evening pin trading. Met some wonderful cast members and guests. Thanks to the kindness of strangers leaving the parks, we were given fastpasses for Test Track and Soarin'.
We have big plans for today. This evening we will be attending the monthly pin trading event from 6 - 9 p.m. at Disney's Contemporary Resort. We are very excited!
Following the pin trading event we will make the most of our last night at Disney for the summer. The rest of our time will be spent at Magic Kingdom. Going late allows us to fit in a lot of attractions. A lot of guests are excited to watch the parades and fireworks. In turn, this drastically reduces wait times for the attractions. In fact, one night earlier this week (a night that did not have Extra Magic Hours at Magic Kingdom) my husband and daughter managed to ride:
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad - 5 times (once with fast passes)
Splash Mountain - 2 times (with fastpasses that were handed to them)
Pirates - 2 times
Aladdin - 9 times
Jungle Cruise - 1 time (our daughter got to drive the boat and received her Skipper's license!)
Although we do recommend hitting the attractions during low wait times, we don't want you to miss any of the Disney magic. Be sure to set aside one night of your stay to relax and enjoy the parade and fireworks. They are truly unbelievable.

Tip Of The Day
Buy ponchos at Dollar Tree ( 2 in a pack for $1), Target or Wal-Mart (both less than $1). These are significantly less expensive than those found in the parks. They are compact and disposable, which comes in handy for quick Florida rain showers.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Can't Seem To Get Enough Disney

This is our sixth week at Walt Disney World. Yes, you did read correctly. We have been here for six weeks. We can't seem to get enough of the place. Today we must make a tough decision - EPCOT for pin trading, Figment and some fantastic music or Hollywood Studios for Rockin Roller Coaster, Animation, and also fantastic music. We might just have to do both. Gotta love park hopping!

Tip Of The Day:

If you visit the parks in the afternoon you can avoid a lot of the crowds.