TAG | disney
November 15, 2011
Emily did a second review of the Planet Explorers Walt Disney World guide book after we returned home.
Hi I’m Emily, (almost 10), and we (my family and I) just returned from a trip to Walt Disney World. These are the things I wish Laura Schaefer had mentioned in her wonderful E-book (Planet Explorers Walt Disney World, a guidebook for kids):
- The E-book was helpful but I wish she told you when the four most popular parks (Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Disney’s Hollywood studios, and Epcot) opened and closed.
- I also wish the author told about the special hours (on certain magical nights) for guests staying on Walt Disney World property.
- I think most people would appreciate knowing there are cards (which are very helpful) you can pick up (found with the park maps) which have the magic hours (regular park hours), times and what kind of shows and parades, where you can meet characters and at what time. An important thing to remember is there is a separate card for all the parks.
- I think she should have mentioned the Disney Meal Plan, or the Disney snack plan. It can save you money and is worth considering.
Now you know my opinion on what I think the author should of changed. Overall, she did a wonderful job, and I still recommend that you read this book!
I also found the book a fun way to let kids help with the overall trip planning. She included just the right amount of information to be useful but not overwhelming.
The book costs $3 and you can find the ebook here: http://www.planet-explorers.net/.
Legal note: We purchased a copy of the guide for review and received no compensation monetary or otherwise for our reviews.
May 3, 2010
Every travel site has at least one post about Disney or theme park vacations, which is the exact reason why I have long resisted writing one. However, something struck me as I was reading through a recent Disney tips article – we don’t follow much of the “standard” advice especially the “get up early and be first in the park” tip that is number one on almost every list. Admitedly, the first time we slept in and missed the park opening, I was worried we were doing Disney wrong and the trip would be destroyed. In reality, the trip was fantastic – primarily because we were conscious of our family needs and didn’t blindly follow every travel rule. Here are some tips from my family to yours.
1. Exclusively visiting Disney? Stay on property. They have properties to fit every budget and the convenience is unbeatable. The regular transportation to every Disney park, concierge dining assistance, babysitting, ticket purchasing and extended park hours are unmatched by any off-site lodging. Key for our family is that Disney offers select late nights in addition to the early mornings to all resort guests – more on that later. If you have the budget, the concierge floors are an added luxury. Our kids eat at least one meal per day in the concierge lounge and the big screen TV is always set to Disney movies – the perfect place to relax after a long day (as an added bonus they have beer, wine and cocktails for adults in the evening).
2. Spending time at other sites in the Orlando area? Pick your lodging wisely. The Disney complex is vast and not necessarily close to everything else – and, let’s face it, may not be the best deal in town (especially if you want a condo). Spread out a map and figure out your ideal itinerary. Pick lodging that is convenient for the entire vacation. I am never big on moving hotels during a vacation but if switching hotels could save 3 -4 hours of drive time a day, I would certainly consider it.
3. Work with your family clock especially if you have time zone issues. Disney tickets are expensive and everyone wants to maximize their dollar so the advice to take advantage of the extra hour at select parks offered to resort guests seems like a deal that should not be missed. But traveling from the mountain time zone means that, according to our body clocks, we need to get up at 4 A.M. INSANITY! We sleep in, have a casual breakfast, swim and hit the park around lunch everyday. It works like a charm. Why? The early risers now have tired, fussy kids and are heading back to their hotels. While we miss the early hour, we are able to take advantage of the extra hours at night. It turns out that the night hours are MUCH better. Most kids can’t make it that late so there are almost no lines and the night parades and fireworks are fantastic.
4. Eat at off peak times. Since we eat breakfast late, our clocks are off and we eat every meal “late” by Disney standards. This means no lines and a better selection of available restaurants. We make reservations for one or two nice meals during our trip but the rest of the time we are able to eat almost anywhere because it is off peak.
5. Buy your tickets in advance. Many off-property hotels will offer ticket vouchers to guests. The voucher must be exchanged at the park ticket window for actual tickets. This means waiting in line. Use a service like Undercover Tourist and get actual tickets to most Orlando destinations – including Disney – delivered to your door before the trip.
6. Spend a middle day of the trip relaxing – sleep in, play in the pool, have fun that doesn’t require a schedule or time-table.