Walt Disney world can be a very romantic place. Here is a sample of a day filled with romance (although they don’t NEED to be done in one day). When love is in the air & it mixes with the magic of Disney what can go wrong? Here is a fantastic romantic day at Disney World!
Wake up in one of the most romantic resorts on Disney’s property: The Grand Floridian, The Polynesian, or to save a little cash Port Orleans French Quarter. Waking up right can put you in the romantic mood all day!
Grab a quick bite to eat, and then head over to one of the FABULOUS Disney spas for some serious couples R & R. Now that you are relaxed you will surely be on cloud 9.
Zip over to Epcot & stroll around the world sampling foods & drinks from exotic locales, or if you are hungry for lunch head over to San Angel Inn where you can pretend you are having a romantic evening in Mexico.
Take a mid-afternoon nap back at the resort so that you can be rested & refreshed for the evening. Also a good chance to catch up on some cuddle time out of the heat!
Head down to downtown Disney for a romantic stroll & some shopping. This is the perfect time to buy a special gift for that person you love & share some ice cream from Ghirardelli’s.
Now that you have sufficiently worked up an appetite it is time for a romantic dinner. How about a splurge at Victoria & Albert’s in The Grand Floridian! There are many romantic locales in Disney World but where else are you going to get a 7 course meal?
Finally, head over to The Magic Kingdom & simple enjoy the atmosphere of Main Street USA and wait for the most romantic thing you can do at Disney World – watch the fireworks together! Make sure you steal a kiss under the magical glow!
The rest…is up to you! Have a great Valentine’s Day!
Christmas time is the most popular event at Walt Disney World. Crowds will be over capacity, Christmas cheer will be at an epic high, and the magic will be better than ever (See 7 Ways to Enhance the Magic by Giving Back). Many people will be flocking to Florida in December for the first time.
It can be challenging to decide what to pack if you have never been there in December. Most people assume that Florida is always hot, but that is not the case. On the other hand, you might have some very warm even hot days when you are there. You have to be prepared for any occasion.
That may seem overwhelming but with these few tips, you can be the master of most situations.
Pack clothes that you can layer. Wear short things like short sleeve shirts with a sweater or sweatshirt. The mornings and evenings will probably be cool & maybe even cold, while it might get warm in the daytime.
Bring cold gear. Do bring hats, gloves, a scarf, and a coat. You may not need them, but better to have them on hand than to be scrambling for them in Florida. There is nothing worse than being too cold at a theme park. Outdoor rides make it even colder with the wind hitting your face.
Bring hot gear. You might not need it, but it doesn’t hurt to pack a pair of capris or light pants in case it does get hot.
Check the weather everyday. This way you can plan what you will need to bring. If it is an exceptionally warm day you can ditch the gloves & coat, but if you see that it will get cold later in the night keep a coat on hand unless you will be going back to your room.
Do bring a swimsuit. It might only get warm enough to swim once or twice, or it might never get warm enough. The pools are heated, and you never know if you might want to take a dip.
Know yourself. If you tend to be cold bring warmer clothes, and if you are always hot, dress lighter. It is still smart to prepare for the worst though.
Christmas is right around the corner, and the biggest shopping day of the year, Black Friday, is coming up this week! Maybe you have a Disney fan in your life that you need to buy for. Here are some hot ideas to buy for a Disney fan this year!
Wreck-It Ralph Smash hands are available at the Disney Store for about $24. They also talk & Wreck-It Ralph is the HOT Disney movie of the year so it will be a fun pick!
Pixar Short Films Collection Volume 1 & 2 has all of the short films made by Pixar which is perfect for the huge Disney/Pixar film fan & not likely to be one that they have!
Just released ‘Brave’ is a great family movie from Disney/Pixar. Funny & cute movie that everyone will want to add to their collection.
At a whopping $90 this is the coolest play set around. What better way to bring home the magic than this Park authentic set. They also have Sleeping Beauty’s Castle.
The Cinderella Diamond Edition has emerged from the vault just in time for Christmas and only for a limited time. Grab a copy quick before it goes back into the dreaded vault.
Disney’s Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two releases just in time for Christmas. Perfect for that Disney fan who is also a gamer!
For the ultimate Disney fan a membership or renewal to D23. It’s about $75 but is worth it for a big Disney fan with many exclusive events.
For the younger set this is the ultimate toy this season. Averaging about $45 at Walmart is the Jake & the Neverland Pirate Ship! There are many cool accessories to buy on the side, as well.
A mega Disney fan would LOVE to have the Walt Disney World Resort Railroad chugging around their tree! Available at the Disney Store.
If you have money to burn who wouldn’t love a Disney Vacation in their stocking. Nothing says awesome gift like getting tickets to the Happiest Place on Earth!
If you do head to the Happiest Place on Earth make sure to get our free guide to the Disney Parks. Hopefully Santa will put a few of these in our stockings, but if not I hope that this gives you some good ideas to get for that Disney lover in your life.
Pictures were taken from the Disney Store. All/most items are available there, and many are also available at other locations worldwide. I hope that you enjoy your Christmas and have a Happy New Year.
You have decided to take your toddler to Disneyland or Walt Disney World & you are concerned that there might be nothing that they can do. Think again, Disney is designed with families in mind. Most rides do not have a height requirement, & it might be worth giving anything a try, but here are 10 rides that I think that most toddlers will love! You can find all of these rides in the Magic Kingdom & also in Disneyland.
It’s a Small World – To be sure this might be somewhat of a sensory overload, but it’s definitely a fun (& long) ride that is in no way scary for your toddler. In Disneyland, toddlers will be able to spot their favorite Disney movie characters along the way!
Dumbo the Flying Elephant – I was a little bit afraid that my son might be scared of the height, but he loved Dumbo, and all of the young kids I saw going on Dumbo seemed to love it! Definitely a classic that you should try!
The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh – A very cute ride for the little ones. They will love seeing their favorite characters come to life, making this a toddler favorite!
Mad Tea Party – Who wouldn’t want to sit in a giant teacup? If the spinning is too intense for the young ones (or for yourself) you don’t have to make the teacup itself spin you can just sit & enjoy the ride!
Jungle Cruise – Toddlers think seeing all the animals on the jungle cruise are real & it is a cool experience for them to get so close to Elephants & other big animals.
Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin / Astroblasters – A Toddler can sit right in between 2 grown ups in this ride (give them the control to the spinning at your own risk). Kids love Toy Story & this is a treat. My son used his Astro Blaster bought in the gift shop & had a blast.
Tom Sawyer Island
Peter Pan’s Flight – Young ones will love flying in a pirate ship over England & flying off to Neverland. This is probably the least scary of all of the dark rides, so I think it’s probably safe for all toddlers.
Prince Charming Regal Carrousel/King Arthur Carrousel – Little ones love carousels & if it is a little too intense you can always sit on the bench. The line is usually short so it’s a good one to go on more than once. You can sit with your toddler or stand beside them!
Tomorrowland Speedway / Autopia – The only ride on this list with a height requirement which is 32 inches & most toddlers will reach. They will have to ride with an adult, but will love riding passenger in this fun car ride!
Tom Sawyer Island – While not technically a ride, you do take a raft ride over to the island, but what your toddler will really like is running around the island. There are so many things for a little one to explore!
So do not fear, there are 10 rides that I think your toddler will love. This is just a start of the rides you will find your toddlers will love to ride again & again. Don’t forget the parades & character meet & greets. Believe me, you won’t be able to fit it all in!
Honorable mentions: Astro Orbiter, Enchanted Tiki Room, The Railroads At WDW only: Mickey’s Philharmagic, Country Bear Jamboree, Magic Carpets of Aladdin, Monsters Inc Laugh Floor, At Disneyland only: Casey Jr. Circus Train, Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage, Storybookland Canal Boats
Tim Burton’s newest film, Frankenweenie debuted this weekend, & I had a chance to view it on the opening night. I caught the Frankenweenie preview at Disneyland when we were on vacation & it sparked my interest to watch the film.
Before I viewed the preview I had little interest in seeing the movie, because I think the television ads over-emphasized the creep factor without highlighting the wonderful & surprisingly heart-warming theme that actually drives the film.
The film was very sweet, cute & even sad at times. The movie was filled with funny moments, many visual. You might even say that it was ‘punny’ at times. There were nods throughout the film at many pop-culture horror movies.
Where Frankenweenie really shines is that it is full of heart. The premise is that poor Victor unexpectedly loses his best friend, and furry pal, Sparky. He is overcome with sadness, but gets the idea to try to bring him back to life, also his last name just happens to be Frankenstein. Sparky, the dog, is very cute & the ‘life’ of the movie, & manages to become even more adorable when he comes back to life.
While the premise seems a bit macabre, & the film is shown in black & white, the heart of the film is really the love of a boy for his dog. Anyone who has had a beloved pet will be able relate to this film. Above all, I think you should see Frankenweenie because it is entertaining, & isn’t that why we go to the theater?
The visuals are very good. With only grey scales Tim Burton created a very rich landscape of textures. At times you forget you are watching stop-motion animation which in itself is a craft that few people attempt, today. Burton, of course, is a master at it.
Now, I do think this will be too scary for most young children. It has a rating of ‘PG’ not ‘G’ and I think for most children the suitable age would be at least 5. During the preview my 2 year old (almost 3) told me that it scared him so we did not take my son to the full movie. (See Don’t Be Afraid to take your Toddler to Disneyland) It is not terrifying, just a little creepy, but I would hate to see you waste your hard earned money on tickets only to have to turn around & leave the theater.
If you are looking for a good film with lots of heart, go see Frankenweenie. It’s funny & surprisingly sweet. What seems like a creepy premise is handled with taste & lots of love. I don’t want to give away anymore, so go see it for yourself!
I just got back from Disneyland with my toddler (He is 2). It was something that I wanted to do but I had heard from multiple people that it was not a good idea & that they would not dare take someone under the age of 5 to Disneyland. I, however, love Disney & so I braved it!
I found it to be somewhat economical as my son could always share food with me & since he is under 3 his ticket was free.
I am sure that all of the advice is well meaning – the child won’t remember the vacation, the child will have meltdowns, & just in general be a pain. I am not sure if my son will remember the trip, but I will remember it. He did have a couple of meltdowns, but the good times outweighed the bad. There were different obstacles we had to overcome than just being a single couple, like navigating a stroller & figuring out which rides & attractions would be too scary.
But it was SO worth it!
First of all, a toddler thinks it’s real! A toddler thinks that he is in Mickey’s house & the characters are the real characters with no doubt. This can be good & bad. Just keep in mind that some rides & attractions that are not very scary may be scary to them. I thought my son would love Pirates of the Caribbean because he loved Pirates but it did scare him. Keep in mind that even if the ride is not really ‘scary’ that to a child the loud noises & the dark situations can be overwhelming.
There were so many things that he did love, however! I was afraid that the height of Dumbo might scare him, but he loved it! He thought The Teacups were great & he loved, and I mean absolutely loved, meeting the characters. All children are different & different things will appeal to each of them, but I assure you that there will be more than enough things to occupy your toddler’s time while you are there. It will be trial and error. Some things you think will be great they will not like, and some things you think might scare them will fascinate them!
You do have to make sure you can take a quiet time to do a nap & relax. (See Keep Calm & Disney On) In this case I brought his stroller & let him nap in the stroller but it might be good for some people to take a break at the hottest parts of the day back at the hotel for some peaceful time away from the crowds, especially at Disney World, but I was at Disneyland & we only had a couple of days there.
You can do Child Swap at the parks so you can still ride the big rides, but I found that Fast Pass was a lifesaver. (see FASTPass Strategy) I would get Fast Passes for the adults in the group & we would ride in 2 groups while the other group watched my son, or took him on another ride.
The best thing to do is to pace yourself, bring snacks, & make sure you take breaks as needed. My best advice is to ease your children into the rides & experiences because they are very overwhelming. We started with Small World because it was not scary & he knew the song, but it still was sensory overload for him. He sat there quietly amazed. Try to look at rides & attractions through the eyes of a 2 year old.
Don’t push your toddler to do something that is going to make him or her upset, because it will just make everyone upset. After my son did not like Pirates I skipped The Haunted Mansion, but I know others whose young children love Haunted Mansion.
If you meet the characters make sure you are prepared that the child may be afraid of them, too. My son adored all of the characters, except the face characters, which he was very shy around & would not even look at.
Now we are home, & he is asking me to go back. I’m not sure if he will remember this experience into adulthood but it definitely did effect him & brought him (and me) tons of delight! I would recommend anyone to bring their toddler to Disneyland or Disney World. It’s an amazing age & and amazing experience!
A Disney Visa is a great way to earn bucks to use at Disney World or Disneyland. If you don’t already have one, now might be a good time to pick one up while saving for your next trip.
First of all, let me say that I am not advocating you going into major debt for Disney, just the opposite, I’m trying to free up some extra money for your trip, & give you some perks, too!
If you sign up for the Disney Rewards Visa it has no annual fee, and you will get a $50 gift card to Disney just for signing up! On top of that, 1% of all of your purchases can come back to you toward your Disney Vacation. Instead of running up debt a pro tip is to pay your monthly bills on your card, maxing your rewards & paying off the balance immediately.
In addition to saving up some bonus spending money, the Disney Visa has some awesome perks.
First of all, you should book your trip & pay for it on your Disney Visa. Why? Because you get a special character meet and greet and a free picture for doing so. Of course, make sure you have the money to pay it off, so you don’t have a stressful vacation, but they do have special financing offers, such as 0% for up to 6 months if you desire.
Also, you get discounts for using your Disney Visa at certain locations around Disney World and Disneyland including restaurants and stores.
If you are credit card savvy you can save a lot of money on your vacation & even earn a little, too!
Let’s face it, Austin & Ally is not the best Disney Channel offering, but it does have some catchy tunes. It is the kind of pop songs that are so happy & sugary that you can’t help but bop your head along.
It’s no exception with the song ‘Heard it on the Radio’ a peppy, summer jingle that has infiltrated every commercial break on the Disney Channel as of late.
Disney has done an innovative Choose-Your-Own-Adventure video for the song. You watch the video & choose what happens during the song. It seemed like it might be intrusive, but it fits seamlessly with the song, and there are no pauses in the music.
Of course, by the time you’ve seen all the various choices, you will know the song by heart (not too hard, the lyrics aren’t that difficult), and it will probably be stuck in your head forever.
If you want to view the video, you can see it here.
Update: Sadly Disney has discontinued the interactive music video. I hope that everyone who wanted to try this out had a chance to.
There has been some civil unrest in Anaheim, California – the city that houses Disneyland. People have been protesting 2 fatal shootings by Anaheim Police Officers that happened over the weekend. The protests, that turned into riots happened about 2 miles from Disneyland.
Tourism Officials & police are telling the public that the situation is under control as of Wednesday morning. Of course, tourists that are planning to travel to Disneyland still have some concerns that more upheaval will occur & make their vacations unsafe.
Rioters broke windows of some of the local business & looted into the night, supposedly in protest.
The riots do not seem to have affected tourism to Disneyland yet, but if anger flares again vacationers might be having second thoughts about visiting the area. Even though there is not a lot of ways that the riots could reach inside Disneyland, itself, it could touch the areas surrounding the area, which is unsettling to many visitors.
Hopefully the situation is under control & Anaheim will not lose any tourism.
Who doesn’t love enjoying extra time at the parks? Unfortunately, Disney is cutting down the Extra Magic Hours at night.
Extra Magic Hours are a perk for staying at one of the Walt Disney World resort hotels. Each day, one of the 4 parks is open an hour early & one park was open 3 hours later. Unfortunately Disney has cut the night hours down from 3 to only 2 hours starting in 2013. Since Extra Magic Hours debuted the time frame has always been 3 hours.
It may be somewhat of a disappointment to some Disney guests but I don’t think that after a long day at Disney Parks it is that big of a change. It will probably not factor into people’s decision to stay at the resorts. Most likely people that are already set on staying at a Disney Resort will not be swayed, & surely that is what Disney is banking on. With prices going up & ticket prices increasing Disney fans will not be pleased.
For those of you who frequent Disneyland there is a new service. Disney has created ‘Ask Otto’ which is an automated service which you call that gives you general information about the park. This info includes: attraction wait times, park operating hours, show times, & food choices. This is a GREAT option for those of us who do not have a smart phone & the ability to get one of those coveted apps that give you all of the ride wait times & dining wait times.
I called Otto to check it out for myself. I found it to be pretty good & relatively fast! I asked about World of Color, & not only did it tell me the show times, but it also gave the suggestion to get to Paradise Pier 1/2 hour before the show began to ensure a seat. I asked about food & you can sort by which land you are in or what type of food you want.
It’s all voice activated & pretty cute. When Otto is searching for the information he hums Disney songs! If Otto doesn’t know something he will connect you to a representative. I thought it was a very convenient service & will be a huge help to families trying to avoid lines
. Hopefully Disney World will add the same thing in the future!
Disney is magical, wonderful & full of joy…so why are you getting so stressed out? – Because a Disney trip can be a stressful trip if you let it be! You are not alone! Many people get bothered by trip planning or are too worried about getting all the details perfect to relax. Don’t be so worried that you won’t have a fun trip that you actually ruin your trip! Here are some ways to deal with the stress of Disney.
Accept that it won’t be perfect! I know you’ve got coordinated outfits, planned your itinerary (down to the second), made ADR’s, booked your flights, & created your iPod playlist consisting of Disney traveling songs. Everything is figured out! Now, take a moment and repeat after me: “It won’t go perfectly, & that’s OK”. Your child may cry when he or she sees Mickey Mouse. It will ruin your pictures, but hey, you will definitely have a memory that you can look back at and someday will laugh.
Some things are just out of your control. One trip, while we were at Epcot, my sister’s glasses broke. There was no amount of planning that would have prepared us for that. We had to leave Walt Disney World to go to a glasses store and get some new ones made. Cost a bunch of money we weren’t expecting to pay, too. Looking back, there was no point in getting upset. Some unplanned & bad things will happen on a vacation & there is not much you can do except try to have a good attitude & roll with the punches. Learn to turn seemingly bad situations into good ones (see 5 Ways to Keep your Disney Vacation Magical When it Rains)
Leave some time to relax. Give yourself downtime. Going from sunup to sundown every day will lead to meltdowns & will not leave any time for mishaps. Plus, you never can know what magical memory will pop up in the quiet times. If your little Space Ranger wants to challenge you to another go on Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin…well, do it! Take time by the pool, or give yourself time cushions for resting. Remember, everything takes longer than you expect! Giving yourself a little relaxation can really go far to ease stress!
Ask for help! If trip planning is stressing you out there are tons of people you can ask to help you out. Any Disney fan will be more than happy to give you mountains of advice (guaranteed). Disney has a very competent & friendly staff that can answer most of your questions & lead you in the right direction! If you are struggling with choosing a flight, call the airline & see if they can help you. For every step of the way there is lots of research online. Break it down and work on one thing at a time. Make trip planning fun instead of a chore! Same idea goes for in the park. If you are stressing, ask for help from one of the Cast Members. They can point you in the right direction!
Don’t go in debt. One thing that can seriously stress you out while on vacation is realizing that you will be coming home to a big bill. Having a good budget (see 5 Steps to a Quick & Easy Budget) can help you! If you set a budget try to stick to it. Having most of the trip paid for in advance can create peace of mind. Make sure you keep your money secure so that you don’t lose your money! You can actually charge things to your room if you are staying at a Disney Resort with your room key so you don’t have to worry about losing cash or credit cards.
Treat Yourself. Treat yourself to some relaxing times. Go to the spa & get a massage, or take in a round of golf. Take a day to relax by the pool, or float down the lazy river at the one of the water parks. Give yourself a little bit of relaxation everyday so that you don’t get burnt out! Keep the kids well hydrated, fed & rested so that they don’t have meltdowns. Oh, yeah, the same goes for yourself…adults have meltdowns, too!
These are a few ways to help keep your trip as stress-free as possible. When trouble or worry tries to creep into your mind try to take a deep breath, keep a good attitude, & don’t let it bother you too much. Remember to repeat after me: “It won’t go perfectly, & that’s OK”. Because sometimes bad things do happen, but hopefully you can turn them into good memories. Don’t forget to ask for help if you need it, and treat yourself to a little rest & relaxation, because you deserve it for staying on budget!
Disney has a great service called FastPass! It is a complimentary service that Disney offers so that you can skip the line! Pretty awesome, right? Right! But as with anything there are some stipulations & strategy involved in using FastPass.
Located near the entrance to the attraction will be a FastPass dispensing machine. On the sign above the machine it will indicate the time that you will be returning to ride, so that you can make the decision as to whether the time frame works for you and your family. You have a 1 hour window to return to a ride, but shows start at specific times.
To receive a FastPass, you stick your park ticket into the machine and it will spit out a FastPass. Don’t forget to retrieve your park tickets! To save time, especially if it is crowed, you can send one person ahead with everyone’s tickets to get all of the FastPasses.
You will be unable to get another FastPass until the time indicated on your FastPass ticket. This means that you can usually only have a FastPass to one attraction at a time.
When your time comes up, simply go to the attraction and get in the FastPass line. You will show the Cast Member at the front of the line your FastPass tickets so that you can get into the line. You may have a short wait, but it will usually be much preferable to waiting in the line!
There is some strategy as to how you use FastPass. Because you can only get one at a time, you should make sure that you get the attractions that you are most interested in (or are most popular) first. On the other hand, if the FastPasses are already showing very late times getting one will ensure that you will not be able to get another FastPass for another attraction that day. Sometimes it might be worth it for really popular attractions, but sometimes it is just better to get your FastPass for something else & wait in the line. It all depends on what you really want to do because FastPasses can and do run out. Also, do not get a FastPass for an attraction that has a very short standby time (which will also be posted at the gate).
Now that you understand how to use FastPass you will be a pro. Going in with a plan will help you get your FastPass quickly and for the attractions you are not wanting to miss! After that you will have to play it by ear depending on how busy the day is. For the tech savvy Disney has made the Verizon App Mobile Magic which displays all FastPass times, giving you the edge!
Keep in mind that you can only use FastPasses on the day that you receieve them, and that every person in your party has to get a ticket to be readmitted by a cast member. Below I will list the attractions that use FastPass
Fast Forward – If you find yourself with fast passes that you can’t use, give them away to someone who can! See this & 6 more tips for enhancing your Disney Vacation through giving back HERE!
The best plan for your Disney Vacation is to have the entire trip paid for in advance. Doing so will give you peace of mind & a relaxing vacation where you aren’t worrying about how much you are spending the whole time. At Disney World it is impossible to avoid dropping some cash! There is no way to get around it, so here are 5 Steps to create a budget for a Disney Trip.
Step 1: Figure it Out: You should try to think of everything you will spend & overestimate everything you will need to buy. These expenses can include Travel Expenses (Plane Tickets or Gas & Hotels), Resort or Hotel Expenses, Park Tickets, Food, Packing Supplies, Travel Insurance, & Miscellaneous Expenses. It is also a good idea to build a cushion into your budget.
Step 2: Flush it Out: Now that you have added up your figures makes sure you have accounted for everything. Remember that when traveling at different times of year the costs fluctuate greatly so make sure you account for the right season. Take into account dining, remembering things like tips, also be mindful of tips for maid service. If you have to rent a stroller take that into consideration as well. If you are renting a car remember to factor in gas. Most things will have sales tax & hotels have a higher tax, usually. It is all personal, depending on your family’s wants and needs. Having good knowledge of your prices and factoring in the little things will help you stay in your budget later. The more work you do in this step, the less likely you will to break the bank later.
Step 3: Add it Up: Now it’s time to look at your final figures and see how much it will cost. Count how many paychecks you have starting with your next paycheck and going up until the week before your trip. Divide the total trip price by the amount of paychecks you will have. That is the amount you will need to put aside each paycheck to make your budget work. Factor in bonuses, income tax returns, and any other extra income you may get, but be realistic & conservative in your estimations. If it is not feasible for you to put aside that much money consider moving back your trip a few months, or choosing cheaper options. Changing the time of year, resort choice, or even subtracting a day off of the vacation can make a huge impact on the cost of the trip.
Step 4: Pay it Down: It is a good idea to book as soon as you have enough money for the down payment. You can pay it down as you go. If you are booking with Disney you can cancel up to 7 days in advance and get a full refund so there is no need to worry. Disney requires that you fully pay off the vacation at least 45 days in advance. You will need to book any flights ahead of time as well, and unfortunately you will have to pay those off when you book. After you pay off the required reservations start saving for and paying down other elements of the trip, spending money & your extra cushion.
Step 5: Work it Around: Help yourself out by saving money in creative ways or by making extra money to help fund the vacation. Doing things like picking up an extra shift at work, selling unused items on Craigslist or eBay, couponing, or simply spending money more wisely can make your trip money grow! Most people save extra change, so think about putting that toward your spending cash. You may be able to add in more fun, upgrade your hotel, or simply buying some extra outfits for the trip!
Remember, whatever your budget is – be wise and have fun with it. Budgeting does not have to tedious especially when you are saving to go to a fabulous Disney Park! Have fun with it & be creative. You can reach your Disney dream without breaking the bank!
Disney World has two main types of dining: Table Service & Quick Service. Table Service includes any sit down restaurants as well as character dining and some dinner shows. Quick Service (also called counter service) includes all walk up options. Think of it as the fast food of Disney World.
It would be difficult to avoid Quick Service during your stay at Disney World, & rest assured you do not need any kind of reservation to partake in their services. For the purposes of this article whenever dining is mentioned it is referring to Table Service Dining for which you often need a reservation.
Advanced Dining Reservations (ADRs) are reservations you make for Disney World’s Table Service Restaurants to ensure a seat. These are very helpful if you are wanting to dine on Disney Property as seating can be very limited, & for some places impossible to get without a reservation. So without further delay, here are 10 tips to help you navigate the world of ADRs.
Tip 1: Get them!
You are not required to have ADRs to dine at Walt Disney World, however, if there is a place that you really want to eat at it is HIGHLY recommended that you get an ADR as space is limited. Obviously, the more busy the season you travel the more booked up everything will be, but do not be fooled it is good to get them all year round. If you have the Disney Dining Plan getting ADRs is a MUST.
Tip 1A: GET THEM!
This is the point where you might decide you don’t want your trip micromanaged 6 months in advance. You might think that it would be exaggerating to say that all restaurants will be booked and you will not be able to get a seat. I assure you that it is no exaggeration & that it is really hard to get a seat at the last minute – especially to somewhere good.
Tip 2: Do Research
Research the restaurants that are available in each park. Find out which ones your family would be interested in visiting based on your itinerary. If you are unsure of a specific venue try reading some reviews or looking at menus to get an idea what the flavor of the place is. Write a wish list of places you want to try. Find out which ones are popular & which ones need a deposit when you book. If you have the Disney Dining Plan make sure you know the ones which take more than one credit.
Tip 3: Prioritize
Now that you have the list of places that you would like to dine, it is time to prioritize. The highest priorities should the ones that are the most popular & therefore hardest to book (Character Dining, Dinner Shows, Popular Restaurants) as well as the restaurants you really have your heart set on attending. Write out a schedule with the days you would like to have a reservation (that would be probably every day if you are on the Disney Dining Plan) & on your schedule jot in the place you’d like to go, as well as the time you would like to dine.
Tip 4: Have a Backup Plan
For every restaurant on your schedule remember to put a back-up choice in case you cannot get a reservation to your first choice. As crazy as it may sound the place you have your heart set on may already be booked so it does not hurt to have a backup. Also, try to be somewhat flexible with your reservation time. Remember the time YOU desire to eat your breakfast, lunch, or dinner is the time EVERYONE wants to do the same…being flexible will make your reservations go more smoothly.
Tip 5: Book Early!
ADR’s can be booked up to 180 days in advance. The earlier the better! Many people call at 7am at the 180 day mark, especially if they are trying to book something popular like Cinderella’s Royal Table or dinner at Le Cellier. Book as soon as you have the opportunity to do so to try to get the optimal amount of options.
Tip 6: Book It!
Now that you have your list all sorted out & written down you can make your reservations! You can book online or by phone. If it is your first time it may be easier to book by phone (407) WDW-DINE) so that the Disney Representative can help you & answer any lingering questions. Make sure you have your credit card ready for reservations that require a downpayment.
Tip 7: Make Accurate Reservations
Be sure to give an accurate headcount which means remember to include any infants or toddlers. Because Disney still has capacity limits and must adhere to them it is necessary to include everyone in your party! Also, you cannot book at multiple locations for one time. Disney will not allow you to book 2 meals within 2 hours of each other, and it’s not fair to other guests to monopolize the system.
Tip 8: You May Cancel
If you change your mind you CAN cancel. Disney asks that you call and cancel at least 1 day ahead of time out of politeness. For dining experiences that require a deposit you should make sure you know the refund policy before you cancel. Be assured that you are not locked into a commitment with most restaurants in Disney World.
Tip 9: Stick to It!
I would suggest that you try to stick with the places that you picked for simplicity’s sake. Once you cancel a reservation it can be very hard to pick up another one the closer you get to your trip (or during your trip!) so cancel at your own risk!
Tip 10: Work (and Play) Around Your ADR
This is not as hard as it sounds. If you have an ADR for 5 o clock in the Magic Kingdom make sure that you are at your destination 15 minutes ahead of your ADR to make sure you get seated. Disney only asks for 5 minutes, but it’s probably better to plan to be a little early because traveling times may take longer than expected. Disney will try to seat you if you are late, but you might have to wait, & hey, it’s rude!
Whatever you decide, dining in Disney is a pleasure. Make your vacation easy and have all of your Table Service Meals planned before you go. If you love to live on the fly there is always the possibility that there will be a last minute cancellation, & obviously there is always Quick Service. Bon Appetit!