Planning an August 2017 Disney World vacation

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This guide is specifically for guests traveling to Disney World in August 2017 (The rest of the year will come soon if you’re looking to travel later in the year!)

For complete months: January 2017, February 2017, March 2017, April 2017, May 2017, June 2017, July 2017

August wraps up the summer season. While July saw some lower crowds, it lead to a bit to higher than average August crowds before back to school season starts. The middle of the month sees a dip in crowds. As you get closer to Labor Day weekend, the crowd levels bottom out to some of the lowest that you’ll see any time of the year. In terms of pricing, with the dip in crowds, you’ll see a dip in pricing around the middle of the month. The entire month will be HOT. Doesn’t matter when. it’s the hottest month of the year.

August weather in Disney World

According to Weather.com the average high in the month of August is 92 and the low is 73. Be sure to check your favorite weather app prior to your departure to confirm actual temperatures before you pack. It will be warm and humid. Also expect rain as the humidity rises but it’s often a welcomed rain and not often an all day soaking rain. Plan plenty of pool time and maybe a day at the water parks!

Choosing Your Travel Dates/Events to be aware ofIMG_8755

  • Sounds like summer concert series in Epcot – not a huge crowd draw, but a way to add some free magic to your park time!
  • Epcot Food & Wine Festival starts earlier than ever: August 31st. Expect this to draw more crowds to Epcot than in the past!

Special Offers/Promotions

  • No promotional offers will be available at the time of publication. Look to offers becoming available in Spring of 2017 (likely March) for summer travel dates(based on historical releases). In previous years, a room discount has been offered. Disney sweetened the deal last year and offered a unique MagicBand for all packages!

When to book dining

Dining reservations are available 180 days in advance of your arrival date which means you can book dining for August as early as February. If you have an active package, you’ll have the ability to book dining for your entire length of stay. If you’re inside that mark, you may not see every dining reservation available – especially popular things like character dinners (especially Cinderella’s Table, and Chef Mickey’s) and popular locations like Ohana and Be Our Guest. Don’t let lack of availability worry you, since all Disney dining reservations require a credit card guarantee, cancellations do happen so persistence and patience are key! As we start the month in Spring Break, planning for the incredibly popular locations are often best for later in your trip to secure prime dinner times!

Cost

Disney's Pop Century brings adults back to their childhood!

Disney’s Pop Century brings adults back to their childhood!

So how much will it cost a family of 4 to travel to Disney World in August of 2017? Let’s do the math. Remember these are NON-DISCOUNTED rates so your total could be less than the ones listed below.

The Smith family wants a fun an inexpensive vacation and are planning 7 days and 6 nights at a value resort. I suggested Pop Century in a preferred room since it’s most centrally located among the value resorts. They are taking mom, dad, Susie – 13 and Jenny – 9 on their first vacation! They have decided on 5 days of base tickets to really focus on one park each day and to save a little bit of money and will pay for meals out of pocket and bring some snacks with as well, so no dining plan. $2534.09

The Jones family wants a moderately priced vacation and are also planning 7 days and 6 nights, but they want to stay at a moderate resort. Their two daughters love Disney princesses so they are considering an upgrade to a royal guest room. They are also going to do 5 days of base tickets but are considering the upgrade to park hoppers to see more with their time. If the Jones family chooses the least expensive package options, their moderate vacation would cost them $2984.45 If they added park hoppers to their tickets, their vacation would cost them $3272.41. And if they wanted to upgrade to a royal room their vacation would cost them $3670.64

The Howell family wants to go all out for their two children’s first Disney World vacation and stay in a deluxe resort for 7 days and 6 nights. They definitely want park hoppers to see everything and they are considering the dining plan. Their preferred resort is Wilderness Lodge but with the construction scheduled, they are going to try out the recently renovated Polynesian resort to have access to Magic Kingdom. and Epcot. With 5 days of park hoppers, their vacation would cost them $5088.16 If they did elect to add the dining plan, their vacation would cost them $6445.40

The bottom line

August is a great time to travel to Disney World for those that don’t have the ability to take time out of school whether it’s your children’s school schedule or maybe a teacher in the family! It can be fun filled and a great way to explore water parks and more during your adventures!!

Start planning your August 2017 vacation

A free gift for your Disney vacation! The amazing and exciting Minnie Box! (subject to minimum vacation package)

A free gift for your Disney vacation! The amazing and exciting Minnie Box! (subject to minimum vacation package)

Ready to get started planning your 2017 Disney World vacation? Please contact me at any time for a free quote. The benefits to using an authorized Disney vacation planner include saving time before and during your vacation with itinerary planning which can help save you hours of standing in line each day. Plus you won’t have to watch for available discounts, research resorts, wake up early for dining reservations, or stay up late for FastPasses. The best part about using a travel planner instead of planning yourself? It’s totally FREE! Plus I’ll take away some of the stress and confusion of planning a Disney vacation (especially if it’s your first one!)It’s also a worry free vacation opportunity. I’ll walk through through all of the steps to the process with a few little insider tips along the way! If you already have your vacation planned and are interested in transferring your vacation, ask me how!

Planning a July 2017 Disney World vacation

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This guide is specifically for guests traveling to Disney World in July 2017 (The rest of the year will come soon if you’re looking to travel later in the year!)

For complete months: January 2017, February 2017, March 2017, April 2017, May 2017, June 2017

July means summer season is officially in full swing with schools out around the country. Last year saw a dip in crowds in some weeks in July in comparison to previous years. This may be a change in overall crowd trends but it’s too early to tell. Plan on 4th of July weekend to be fairly busy with parents utilizing an extra day off of work and some unique holiday experiences.  In terms of pricing, you’ll see a similar dollar value no matter what the week. The entire month will be HOT. Doesn’t matter when. it’s the hottest month of the year.

July weather in Disney World

According to Weather.com the average high in the month of July is 92 and the low is 73. Be sure to check your favorite weather app prior to your departure to confirm actual temperatures before you pack. It will be warm and humid. Also expect rain as the humidity rises but it’s often a welcomed rain and not often an all day soaking rain. Plan plenty of pool time and maybe a day at the water parks!

Choosing Your Travel Dates/Events to be aware ofIMG_8755

  • Sounds like summer concert series in Epcot – not a huge crowd draw, but a way to add some free magic to your park time!

Special Offers/Promotions

  • No promotional offers will be available at the time of publication. Look to offers becoming available in Spring of 2017 (likely March) for summer travel dates(based on historical releases). In previous years, a room discount has been offered. Disney sweetened the deal last year and offered a unique MagicBand for all packages!

When to book dining

Dining reservations are available 180 days in advance of your arrival date which means you can book dining for July as early as January. If you have an active package, you’ll have the ability to book dining for your entire length of stay. If you’re inside that mark, you may not see every dining reservation available – especially popular things like character dinners (especially Cinderella’s Table, and Chef Mickey’s) and popular locations like Ohana and Be Our Guest. Don’t let lack of availability worry you, since all Disney dining reservations require a credit card guarantee, cancellations do happen so persistence and patience are key! As we start the month in Spring Break, planning for the incredibly popular locations are often best for later in your trip to secure prime dinner times!

Cost

Disney's Pop Century brings adults back to their childhood!

Disney’s Pop Century brings adults back to their childhood!

So how much will it cost a family of 4 to travel to Disney World in July of 2017? Let’s do the math. Remember these are NON-DISCOUNTED rates so your total could be less than the ones listed below.

The Smith family wants a fun an inexpensive vacation and are planning 7 days and 6 nights at a value resort. I suggested Pop Century in a preferred room since it’s most centrally located among the value resorts. They are taking mom, dad, Susie – 13 and Jenny – 9 on their first vacation! They have decided on 5 days of base tickets to really focus on one park each day and to save a little bit of money and will pay for meals out of pocket and bring some snacks with as well, so no dining plan. $2534.09

The Jones family wants a moderately priced vacation and are also planning 7 days and 6 nights, but they want to stay at a moderate resort. Their two daughters love Disney princesses so they are considering an upgrade to a royal guest room. They are also going to do 5 days of base tickets but are considering the upgrade to park hoppers to see more with their time. If the Jones family chooses the least expensive package options, their moderate vacation would cost them $2984.45 If they added park hoppers to their tickets, their vacation would cost them $3272.41. And if they wanted to upgrade to a royal room their vacation would cost them $3670.64

The Howell family wants to go all out for their two children’s first Disney World vacation and stay in a deluxe resort for 7 days and 6 nights. They definitely want park hoppers to see everything and they are considering the dining plan. Their preferred resort is Wilderness Lodge but with the construction scheduled, they are going to try out the recently renovated Polynesian resort to have access to Magic Kingdom. and Epcot. With 5 days of park hoppers, their vacation would cost them $5088.16 If they did elect to add the dining plan, their vacation would cost them $6445.40

The bottom line

July is a great time to travel to Disney World for those that don’t have the ability to take time out of school whether it’s your children’s school schedule or maybe a teacher in the family! It can be fun filled and a great way to explore water parks and more during your adventures!!

Start planning your July 2017 vacation

A free gift for your Disney vacation! The amazing and exciting Minnie Box! (subject to minimum vacation package)

A free gift for your Disney vacation! The amazing and exciting Minnie Box! (subject to minimum vacation package)

Ready to get started planning your 2017 Disney World vacation? Please contact me at any time for a free quote. The benefits to using an authorized Disney vacation planner include saving time before and during your vacation with itinerary planning which can help save you hours of standing in line each day. Plus you won’t have to watch for available discounts, research resorts, wake up early for dining reservations, or stay up late for FastPasses. The best part about using a travel planner instead of planning yourself? It’s totally FREE! Plus I’ll take away some of the stress and confusion of planning a Disney vacation (especially if it’s your first one!)It’s also a worry free vacation opportunity. I’ll walk through through all of the steps to the process with a few little insider tips along the way! If you already have your vacation planned and are interested in transferring your vacation, ask me how!

Planning your May 2017 Disney World vacation

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This guide is specifically for guests traveling to Disney World in May 2017 (The rest of the year will come soon if you’re looking to travel later in the year!)

For complete months: January 2017, February 2017, March 2017, April 2017

The early party of May is typically pleasant in terms of crowds. It’s a little window between Easter and Summer! You may see a spike the first weekend in May at value and resorts (and perhaps 1-2 or moderate resorts with a large cheer competition on site). As you get closer to Memorial Day weekend, you’ll see an increase in cost as you get into “summer season”. Memorial Day weekend is the official kick off to summer and you’ll start to see the unofficial increase in crowds.

May weather in Disney World

According to Weather.com the average high in the month of April is 89 and the low is 65. Be sure to check your favorite weather app prior to your departure to confirm actual temperatures before you pack. This can be picture perfect weather for Disney World early in the month but getting HOT toward the end of the month! WI can tell you from personal experience, we’ve had really spot on temperatures in 2016, but completely odd temperatures in 2009 that were well below average.

Choosing Your Travel Dates/Events to be aware ofimg_6989

  • March 1 – May 29 – Epcot’s Flower & Garden Festival. This doesn’t increase the overall day to day crowds in Epcot or in the resorts, however you may see an increase in crowds over the first few days of the Festival with bloggers and excited guests!
  • May 29  – Memorial Day. The kick off to summer – increased crowds and costs.

Special Offers/Promotions

  • No promotional offers will be available at the time of publication. Look toward the end of 2016 or around the first of the year for promotional offers for Spring 2017 (based on historical releases). In previous years, a room discount was offered with an additional day of park tickets at no additional cost!

When to book dining

Dining reservations are available 180 days in advance of your arrival date which means you can bee dining for April can be made as early as November If you have an active package, you’ll have the ability to book dining for your entire length of stay. If you’re inside that mark, you may not see every dining reservation available – especially popular things like character dinners (especially Cinderella’s Table, and Chef Mickey’s) and popular locations like Ohana and Be Our Guest. Don’t let lack of availability worry you, since all Disney dining reservations require a credit card guarantee, cancellations do happen so persistence and patience are key! As we start the month in Spring Break, planning for the incredibly popular locations are often best for later in your trip to secure prime dinner times!

Cost

Disney's Pop Century brings adults back to their childhood!

Disney’s Pop Century brings adults back to their childhood!

So how much will it cost a family of 4 to travel to Disney World in May of 2017? Let’s do the math. Remember these are NON-DISCOUNTED rates so your total could be less than the ones listed below. These travel dates fall BEFORE the official summer rates go into effect (before the week of Memorial Day)

The Smith family wants a fun an inexpensive vacation and are planning 7 days and 6 nights at a value resort. I suggested Pop Century in a preferred room since it’s most centrally located among the value resorts. They are taking mom, dad, Susie – 13 and Jenny – 9 on their first vacation! They have decided on 5 days of base tickets to really focus on one park each day and to save a little bit of money and will pay for meals out of pocket and bring some snacks with as well, so no dining plan. $2447.75

The Jones family wants a moderately priced vacation and are also planning 7 days and 6 nights, but they want to stay at a moderate resort. Their two daughters love Disney princesses so they are considering an upgrade to a royal guest room. They are also going to do 5 days of base tickets but are considering the upgrade to park hoppers to see more with their time. If the Jones family chooses the least expensive package options, their moderate vacation would cost them $2977.34. If they added park hoppers to their tickets, their vacation would cost them $3271.30. And if they wanted to upgrade to a royal room their vacation would cost them $3652.64

The Howell family wants to go all out for their two children’s first Disney World vacation and stay in a deluxe resort for 7 days and 6 nights. They definitely want park hoppers to see everything and they are considering the dining plan. Their preferred resort is Wilderness Lodge but with the construction scheduled, they are going to try out the recently renovated Polynesian resort to have access to Magic Kingdom. and Epcot. With 5 days of park hoppers, their vacation would cost them $5382.89. If they did elect to add the dining plan, their vacation would cost them $6740.15

The bottom line

May is a great time to travel to Disney World if you have flexible travel dates. Early May is one of my favorite times to travel (but lets be honest, I’ll travel ANYTIME when I can) Late in May can be a reasonable time to travel as well – less heat that peak of summer! There is potential for some promotional offers (typical room discounts), so your family can still save a few dollars as well!

Start planning your May 2017 vacation

A free gift for your Disney vacation! The amazing and exciting Minnie Box! (subject to minimum vacation package)

A free gift for your Disney vacation! The amazing and exciting Minnie Box! (subject to minimum vacation package)

Ready to get started planning your 2017 Disney World vacation? Please contact me at any time for a free quote. The benefits to using an authorized Disney vacation planner include saving time before and during your vacation with itinerary planning which can help save you hours of standing in line each day. Plus you won’t have to watch for available discounts, research resorts, wake up early for dining reservations, or stay up late for FastPasses. The best part about using a travel planner instead of planning yourself? It’s totally FREE! Plus I’ll take away some of the stress and confusion of planning a Disney vacation (especially if it’s your first one!)It’s also a worry free vacation opportunity. I’ll walk through through all of the steps to the process with a few little insider tips along the way! If you already have your vacation planned and are interested in transferring your vacation, ask me how!

Friday Five: Water Park Adventures!

Just because summer is ending (sniff sniff) and schools are starting back in the next few weeks doesn’t mean that you can’t start thinking about having water fun during next spring or summer break.  In fact, planning this early will be advantageous for you in saving money and choosing your favorite resort!  The sparkling fun awaits you at the Disney World with their two water parks:  Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon!   Once you have visited them you will see how no Disney World vacation is ever complete without visiting the “splash-tastic” water parks. From serene to extreme, you will find an experience for everyone from rest and relaxation to extreme water fun for all ages!  Here are your Friday Five top points:

  1. There are plenty of chill rides to beat the heat!  From Crush n Gusher to Keelheel Falls and Ketchakidde Creek.  You will find slides and a lazy river that is an incredible time for all ages to float your cares away.My only suggestion for the lazy river is to take note of where you get in (they are well marked at all entrances for the river).  That way you will know when you have circled the loop and where to get back on land. (You can get out when you want, just in case…)
  2. Then there are awesome thrill rides for all ages can be found from Summit Plummit, , Teamboat Springs (a family fav of ours), and Tobaggan Races!
  3. Wave pools are everyone’s favorite in Typhoon Lagoon’s Surf Pool and Blizzard Beach’s Meltaway Bay!  I love hearing the “thunderous sonic boom” and the shrieks from the crowd as the waves (swells as large as 6 feet in the back) heads towards you.  The feeling in the air is electric!
  4. Snorkeling in the Shark Reef was my favorite but I love sharks and all “that stuff”!  This is a man made coral reef in 362,000 gallons of salt water and it is COLD but awesome and worth the try at no extra cost if you have never snorkeled.
  5. Relax on the sandy white beaches in a lounge chair or float in a tube in the gentle waves.  There are even fantastic cabanas for rent which made it so easy when we had a large family of 20 with us at Blizzard Beach.  We were able to use it as a “home base” for everyone…older kids were running around doing the big kid, thrill slides while moms ran after the toddlers in the Tike’s Peak area, while the Grandparents could chill in the shade of the trees.  It was a great addition to our family memories!

This video below can help you to get a drift of the fun that awaits you…..

 

MinnieBox

A free gift for your Disney vacation! The amazing and exciting Minnie Box! (subject to minimum vacation package)

So if you are ready to dive into your next Disney adventure, feel free to contact us for a free quote today!!  The benefits to using an authorized Disney vacation planner include saving time before and during your vacation with itinerary planning which can help save you hours of standing in line each day. Plus you won’t have to watch for available discounts, research resorts, wake up early for dining reservations, or stay up late for FastPasses. The best part about using a travel planner instead of planning yourself? It’s totally FREE! Plus I’ll take away some of the stress and confusion of planning a Disney vacation (especially if it’s your first one!) If you already have your vacation planned and are interested in transferring your vacation, please ask for more details!

 

 

What’s New Wednesday: May 4th edition – Walt Disney World

It’s been awhile since I’ve had an edition of What’s New Wednesday, but some exciting things are happening again around Walt Disney World! If you’re traveling soon, you’ve got more new things to look forward to. As mentioned a few weeks ago, a lot of new things are coming this summer with Disney’s Awaken Summer campaign. A 3rd track to Toy Story Mania to alleviate some of the standby line, a 3rd track and a new place to soar (around the World) with Soarin’, Frozen Ever After, Anna & Elsa’s big move to Epcot, and a whole new experiences (at night) in Animal Kingdom!

So what’s new? Princess Fairy Tale Hall in Magic Kingdom FastPasses opened up through June 11th which very likely means that all things Frozen will open up after that date since Anna & Elsa can’t be in 2 places at once!

Olaf is HERE! He’s ready to BRING BACK SUMMER in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Currently they are listed as “soft openings”. Wait times were not bad today, however it was a long day of almost constant rain. You can find him near the Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular.

Sorcerer Mickey is finding a new home as of May 8th! Currently he’s in a less than ideal location in an empty building next to Toy Story Mania. He’s getting a new set with a gorgeous looking backdrop and a great new location. Minnie is also joining him with a glam look ready for the red carpet – it is some very unique attire!

The Frozen Games are coming to Blizzard Beach this summer. Beginning, May 27th, join Olaf and Kristoff and participate in a variety of “frozen” themed activities. Only water park admission is required (remember, this is different than your theme park admission).

During Fulton’s Crab House’s current refurbishment, the restaurant will undergo a name change: Paddlefish. With this change a menu change is coming as well! Check back for additional details as Disney continues to update!

An update to Disney World FastPass service – April 10, 2016

It’s been rumored that Disney was changing FastPass service on April 10th allowing guests to choose their FastPass times at the time of booking as well as the ability to add FastPasses via the mobile app. Some major and helpful updates:

  • The ability to choose the time of your FastPass from the start (you want Seven Dwarfs Mine Train but don’t see a time earlier in the day like you were hoping. You don’t have to go through the entire process to see available times which makes this component a bit faster)
  • The ability to choose as little as one or as many as 3 FastPasses. For people that don’t like some of the attractions available in the 2 theme parks (Epcot and Hollywood Studios) that have tiered FastPasses, you can skip making selections you don’t want.
  • Scheduling FastPasses when park hopping – while this functionality is still not available prior to your arrival. Once all of your pre-scheduled FastPasses are used or time has passed, you can use the app to schedule FastPass in ANY of the 4 theme parks. That means you can be on the monorail from Epcot to Magic Kingdom and scheduling a FastPass before you even walk into the park. SUPER helpful!

What I don’t love about the changes:

  • It makes scheduling FastPass a little bit slower as you can only choose one at a time (Something that normally takes me 10-12 minutes took me 17 today). Some of that was because I was trying to take some screen captured of the experience and trying to navigate the new system. It’s not a huge deal in time, but it’s one thing I miss about the old system.
  • The system is not “smart” enough to not provide you times that don’t overlap an existing FastPass so you have to remember the time you previously grabbed or it will take more time.
  • It will take more morning times away from the savvy people with strategy to pull FastPasses in the AM to add more later. It also provides morning times as a first option so they will now be going a little bit faster making the higher value options like Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and Toy Story Mania a little less available in the morning.

Overall it’s a nice improvement of the system. Hopefully some of the bugs will get worked out over the next few updates of the workflow to get a better overall user experience. The experience on the My Disney Experience app now looks nearly identical to the web site which makes for a familiar user experience from start to finish (and a lot less clicks to make changes on the app which is a welcomed change). If you’d like to see the changes to the app, you will need to update your current version of My Disney Experience.

So what does the new system look like? A few photos:

Screen Shot 2016-04-09 at 11.03.17 PM

One of your first screens in the new FastPass selection system. – choosing the date you want to select your FastPasses for!

 

Once you select your day, hours for each of the 4 theme parks will pop up to show you park hours, extra magic hours, or any special events for the day in question.

Once you select your day, hours for each of the 4 theme parks will pop up to show you park hours, extra magic hours, or any special events for the day in question.

 

Once your park is selected, available times for each attraction pops up. It looks very similar to the dining options. There are some buttons at the top to allow you to select morning, afternoon, evening, or drop down to find a specific time.

Once your park is selected, available times for each attraction pops up. It looks very similar to the dining options. There are some buttons at the top to allow you to select morning, afternoon, evening, or drop down to find a specific time.

 

Once you choose a time for your first experience, you will get a confirmation screen. You then have the option to choose another experience (if you've only chosen 1 or 2) or to make a selection for a different day.

Once you choose a time for your first experience, you will get a confirmation screen. You then have the option to choose another experience (if you’ve only chosen 1 or 2) or to make a selection for a different day.

 

As a reminder, you can still choose up to 3 experiences each day but you are now not required to choose 3. This makes the experience a little easier for me (a chronic FastPass “waster” in parks like Hollywood Studios because I’m not a thrill rider). I can just choose Toy Story Mania and MAYBE one of the shows for my 3 year old and then we can hop over to Epcot or back to Magic Kingdom to ride it’s a small world over and over!

I’d expect to see less availability inside the parks for FastPasses as the day goes on or you may find yourself waiting a longer time to grab an additional FastPass. As a reminder, with anything new, please be patient! It looks like the initial roll out is working well from my experience today, but there’s always hiccups in the system. This system is also new to cast members, so please be patient with them as well as they learn the new experience!

A free gift for your Disney vacation! The amazing and exciting Minnie Box! (subject to minimum vacation package)

A free gift for your Disney vacation! The amazing and exciting Minnie Box! (subject to minimum vacation package)

If you would like help planning your next Disney World vacation, I’d love to be a part of the process. Please feel free to contact me anytime for a free quote. The benefits to using an authorized Disney vacation planner include saving time before and during your vacation with itinerary planning which can help save you hours of standing in line each day. Plus you won’t have to watch for available discounts, research resorts, wake up early for dining reservations, or stay up late for FastPasses. The best part about using a travel planner instead of planning yourself? It’s totally FREE! Plus I’ll take away some of the stress and confusion of planning a Disney vacation (especially if it’s your first one!)It’s also a worry free vacation opportunity. I’ll walk through through all of the steps to the process with a few little insider tips along the way! If you already have your vacation planned and are interested in transferring your vacation, ask me how!

Let’s talk about Disney World weather!

 

It’s coming up to the summer season again, which means weather is a hot topic both literally and figuratively. Around this time of year I start fielding questions about what to do if it rains during the trip, or why there is rain in the forecast every day. Rain is very seasonal in Florida, and Disney World is no exception. Most importantly, don’t let the rain dampen (pun intended) your trip!

During the summer months into fall, expect rain almost on a daily basis. Most of the time this rain isn’t in all day, soaking rain. Afternoon showers are often welcomed as the heat and humidity of the day come to a head. Often times this is welcomed, as cooler temperatures often and prevail. This is a great time of day to take an afternoon break (especially if you’re in Magic Kingdom). If you’re staying in a park during this time, find an indoor attraction or continue on with your plans. It’s always good to have a poncho packed and ready to go when there’s a threat of rain. Don’t forget about something to cover the little one strollers. We found a great stroller cover from Amazon that’s completely see-through but Shields our daughter from rain. Very kind stranger also gave her a poncho on a previous trip which she thought was awesome the first time around and a torture device the next trip!

Poncho2009

Don’t let the rain and wearing a poncho get you down!

So what happens if it does rain during your trip? Make the most of it! Many people had for the buses and their cars, so
lines often get shorter. Many of the attractions have covered queues while you wait or if you really don’t want to get wet,  find an indoor attraction to wait out the rain. Rain is also a good time to go shopping, or have a meal. While you won’t be the only one with these ideas, it’s better to stay as dry as possible.

If rain is in the forecast, we always bring a pair of sandals with us. While tennis shoes are a must for our family while touring the theme parks, nobody likes wet socks or blistered feet the following day. If you want to keep your tennis shoes on, make sure you have an extra pair of socks available. Something I didn’t think about last time was a bag to put wet socks and clothes into. A small plastic bag (or the bag that comes in your ice bucket in your resort room) will do just fine. When you return to your resort, air everything out. We always pack a second pair of tennis shoes as a back up because let me tell you, shoes do not dry in one day. If you only have one pair of shoes, a hair dryer often works, but be prepared for some stinky shoes (and feet) the rest of the trip.

I also ALWAYS bring a hat when there is a strong threat of rain. It gets the rain out of my eyes as I walk and for whatever reason the darn hoods on the ponchos don’t stay on my head without me holding them. Well I can’t push a stroller AND hold my poncho, so a hat solves all of those problems for me! It doesn’t make for great family photos but it’s a great way to save that horrible feeling of rain drops right in the face!

NemoPonchoIf it looks like an all day kind of rain, stick with your plans! We got absolutely poured on during our last trip. Rain started around 2:30 and soaked us through almost 8 pm. Almost everything was “walk on” and none of the attractions were closed because it was just rain and not lightning in the area. We had a little swim into Ariel’s Grotto and were the ONLY people in line around 6 pm and grabbed a very last minute FastPass for Cinderella & Rapunzel (Anna & Elsa was also available as I’m guessing someone got tired of being wet). We’ve done Disney in the rain, but this was the most soaking rain I’ve ever encountered. To stay dry we watched Carousel of Progress, rode PeopleMover, checked out a few shops, had dinner, met some characters, and ended the day with fireworks RIGHT as the rain was stopping. Ahhh the magic of Disney!

On the other end of the spectrum, summer brings HEAT. This is nothing to be messed with. Please listen to your body, keep yourselves and your kids appropriately hydrated with water, Gatorade/Powerade, and other liquids that replenish your fluids. Stay away from caffeine when possible (you won’t get me up early to hit a Disney park without coffee) and stay away from carbonated beverages. Find a place to cool off during the heat of the day and plan your indoor experiences for the afternoons. The best part about those “indoor” activities is they don’t typically have long waits or they are continuously running shows so it’s a nice air-conditioned place to rest your feet, cool you and your family, and enjoy some more Disney fun!

Do you have any Disney secrets for beating the the weather?

A free gift for your Disney vacation! The amazing and exciting Minnie Box! (subject to minimum vacation package)

A free gift for your Disney vacation! The amazing and exciting Minnie Box! (subject to minimum vacation package)

If you would like help planning your next Disney World vacation, I’d love to be a part of the process. Please feel free to contact me anytime for a free quote. The benefits to using an authorized Disney vacation planner include saving time before and during your vacation with itinerary planning which can help save you hours of standing in line each day. Plus you won’t have to watch for available discounts, research resorts, wake up early for dining reservations, or stay up late for FastPasses. The best part about using a travel planner instead of planning yourself? It’s totally FREE! Plus I’ll take away some of the stress and confusion of planning a Disney vacation (especially if it’s your first one!)It’s also a worry free vacation opportunity. I’ll walk through through all of the steps to the process with a few little insider tips along the way! If you already have your vacation planned and are interested in transferring your vacation, ask me how!

Disney’s Memory Maker: How does it work and is it worth my money?

How Does Disney's Memory Maker Work and is it worth the money?

If you’re planning a Disney World vacation, sooner or later you’ll see information about Memory Maker – Disney’s photography package. Disney touts it as “the most incredible way to capture and relive your vacation memories”.I was a bit skeptical of the entire situation as first. I didn’t think it would be worth my $149. I was absolutely wrong! The first time I tried it was November last year during a conference with a group of 7 adults. We enjoyed the experience going around the parks, meeting characters, and taking advantage of the opportunity to have us all in every photo without someone being stuck behind the camera. My 2nd experience was with my immediate family and thats where the magic truly happened! It was my daughter’s first Disney World visit and capturing the smile on her face as she got to meet her favorite characters was PRICELESS! I wasn’t required to be behind the camera to preserve those moments – Disney did it for me. We ended up with at least 70 photos I was truly happy with and saved from our collection of about 300. Our most recent trip in April afforded us another opportunity to use Memory Maker. Over 7 days of park time, we ended up with nearly 800 photos at our disposal and I had hundreds of favorites to choose from (two of which are on my wall above my desk!)

Our more recent experience with the product was in January. We didn’t see as many characters this time around as my daughter took a liking to more of the attractions so about 300 photos that time around but still a great overall experience!

How does it work?

Once you purchase Memory Maker whether it’s through a package or as an individual purchase, the allotment is linked in your My Disney Experience account and all MagicBands linked to your account. If you have additional family and friends traveling with you, linking their accounts to yours will also allow them to use Memory Maker. Once on site, locate any PhotoPass photographer in one of Disney’s theme parks and ask to have your photo taken (if it’s a character experience, they will do it automatically). Scan one MagicBand from the group and voila! Your photos are uploaded to your My Disney Experience account. NEW Disney has added a preview of photos on the My Disney Experience app so you can view photos in the park in real time (allow a few minutes for upload, but it’s typically very quick) – something fun to do while you wait in line for another attraction.

How do a find a PhotoPass photographer?Fox family

Photographers are roaming around the parks and ready for your close up. You’ll see them at all of the major milestone locations and any location with a unique backdrop. Some photographers are only out at night while other locations are better during the day time. The My Disney Experience app now has a list of available locations for photographers. I think Disney heard the questions and feedback of all of you 2014 and 2015 travelers wishing to have more info on photo opportunities. You’ll find additional opportunities during special events and during the holiday season where photographers can also be found in the Disney deluxe resorts near the giant Christmas tree displays.

What are Magic Shots?

Magic Shots are fantastic little photos that Disney superimposes a character or little something special to Ellie MagicShotyour photo. The Disney photographer will pose you to make the shot work, set up their cameras and give you a few instructions for a face to make to truly make the moment memorable. You may ask for a Magic Shot from any photographer. Te general rule of thumb is that if a photographer has a camera on a tripod, they don’t have Magic Shots. If it’s a hand held camera, they may have something to help.

How long are my photos available?

You have 45 days from when the photo was taken to download them to keep them forever. You may purchase an extension if you need more time, but it’s best to just download them – throw them on your desktop and do the hard work of looking through the photos later.

I have a large group/multiple rooms. Do I need to purchase more than one allotment of Memory Maker?

Absolutely not! Guests will need to be appropriately linked through My Disney Experience under friends and family. As long as all guests are linked to the guest who purchased Memory Maker, the lead person will be able to download all of the photos. It’s best to have each party member linked to every other party member so everyone can see every photo taken online – it will have no affect on being able to download them.

I’m trying to view photos I’ve taken online but I only see a location to purchase or add it, what gives?

This is a common complaint from guests. You can view them from one of 2 places. The easiest way is by

One of my favorite photos from our April trip!

One of my favorite photos from our April trip!

visiting MyDisneyPhotoPass.com and logging in with the same credentials as My Disney Experience.You can also visit the My Disney Experience web site and go to the reservations and tickets page. The link to view photos from Memory Maker is all the way at the bottom of that page.

What do I do with my photos when I get home?

The lead guest (the person who has Memory Maker assigned to them) will have a DOWNLOAD button available (use either option in the question above to view them). Memory Maker is a digital entitlement so once your photos are downloaded, you may do whatever you’d like to with them whether its post them on Facebook or Instagram for family and friends, make a photo book through Shutterfly, or just keep them for yourself. You may take those photos to any local retailer to have them printed as well. Disney provides you with a letter of “ownership” to take with you if the retailer has any questions.

Is it worth the money?

This little girl of mine tried to beep every character's nose she encountered!

This little girl of mine tried to beep every character’s nose she encountered!

In a completely unbiased capacity, Y-E-S! I love it. Any trip traveling with a child or children, I will most definitely add it on to my package. For anyone interested in meeting characters, it’s worth it! For anyone who wants to to capture memories from their trip – YES! For anyone who is always stuck being the photographer – absolutely yes!

I heard Disney photographers will take a photo with my camera as well, is that true?

Yes, if you stop by any PhotoPass photographer and ask them to take a photo with your camera after they are done with the official photos, they will. In my previous experiences, those photos are not as good of quality as the official shots and since most of them only snap one photo, you’ll lower your chances that the entire family is both looking at the camera and smiling!

A free gift for your Disney vacation! The amazing and exciting Minnie Box! (subject to minimum vacation package)

A free gift for your Disney vacation! The amazing and exciting Minnie Box! (subject to minimum vacation package)

If you would like help planning your next Disney World vacation, I’d love to be a part of the process. Please feel free to contact me anytime for a free quote. The benefits to using an authorized Disney vacation planner include saving time before and during your vacation with itinerary planning which can help save you hours of standing in line each day. Plus you won’t have to watch for available discounts, research resorts, wake up early for dining reservations, or stay up late for FastPasses. The best part about using a travel planner instead of planning yourself? It’s totally FREE! Plus I’ll take away some of the stress and confusion of planning a Disney vacation (especially if it’s your first one!)It’s also a worry free vacation opportunity. I’ll walk through through all of the steps to the process with a few little insider tips along the way! If you already have your vacation planned and are interested in transferring your vacation, ask me how!

Navigating Disney parks during holidays and peak season!

Epcot ball

Happy Easter Disney fans! It’s another peak travel date in Walt Disney World and Disneyland. So for the families that don’t have the luxury of traveling during off peak travel dates outside of holidays whether you’re a teacher, your child’s school doesn’t allow you to take them out, or it’s just too difficult to take kids out of school because it would be too difficult to catch up. This means you’ll be traveling during summer, school breaks, or holidays. And that’s OK! I’m sure in 5-6 years we’ll be facing that struggle with a child in school full time and learning things every day that it would be much more difficult to miss!

So how do you navigate Disney parks during peak travel? Here are a few great tips to help save yourself time and frustration whether traveling with kids or just adults!

  • Plan ahead when possible. Book early to get the best rooms available which often gets you the best rates. If you FullSizeRender 2want to stay at Polynesian over Christmas, you should be thinking about that NOW! Disney raises rates during peak travel, so if you want to save some money, choosing one of those lower cost rooms – a standard view or a lagoon view, those will go more quickly than the more expensive club level rooms!
  • Prep everyone in your travel party for the crowd levels. Know that there will not be as much “room to roam” and less opportunity to “walk on rides”. Think about some games to play while you are in line (Heads Up!) is a popular app and easy for anyone who can read to play! Also bring some snacks and something to drink with you.
  • Think park hoppers to maximize your time. During peak travel times, park hoppers are incredibly helpful! They allow you to start your day in a park with early magic hours and then “hop” elsewhere when the crowds increase beyond a level you find manageable. Outside of peak travel time, I’m not a huge fan of extra magic hours because it increases crowds more quickly than other days so it’s not always a great use of your park time during off peak travel days.
  • Plan for mid-afternoon breaks (with an asterisk). Disney ALWAYS has the late arriving crowds and that’s what really makes the crowds increase. As those always late arriving people arrive, that’s your key to take a mid-afternoon break as noon until about 4 pm is the peak of crowds during the day! If you’d like to see Magic Kingdom’s afternoon parade, pick a day to stay but know you’ll have to find your “front row seat” early! The big asterisk here is if you want to be in Magic Kingdom on the most popular days of the year that often see closures due to park capacity – Christmas Eve, Christmas day, New Years Eve, and New Years Day. Those are the days that you need to arrive early and plan on being there ALL DAY! To break up your day, schedule dining reservations inside the park when possible!
  • IMG_6600Speaking of parades, avoiding Main Street will help lower crowds a little bit and you won’t have to arrive as early. There’s also very little shade along the parade routes, so plan “shifts” to hold spots so one person isn’t stuck in the sun the whole time! The rumor is that Disney is doing away with FastPasses for parades but I just pulled one for June 1st so they’re not a think of the past quite yet! If parades are important (especially during peak time), consider a FastPass!
  • Know the places to “rest your feet” or relax your eyes for a bit (sorry Disney)! I love most of these attractions so don’t get your pitchforks out! Magic Kingdom has plenty of options – things like Carousel of Progress, TTA PeopleMover, PhilharMagic, Hall of Presidents, Country Bear Jamboree, or find a tree at Tom Sawyer’s Island! Epcot World Showcase is full of shows but not all of them have seats so be careful as you choose your options! American Adventure and Impressions de France are both good options! Hollywood Studios & Animal Kingdom both have some great shows available throughout the day so check your times guide!
  • LIVE IN THE MAGIC! Whether this is your first time and you’re soaking it all in or your first time during peak travel time, enjoy it! This is my advice to every single guest no matter when your travel. Disney destinations are about magic. You just have to decide if you want to be a part of it with a positive attitude or worry about crowds and shut the magic out. ENJOY!
A free gift for your Disney vacation! The amazing and exciting Minnie Box! (subject to minimum vacation package)

A free gift for your Disney vacation! The amazing and exciting Minnie Box! (subject to minimum vacation package)

Ready to get started planning your 2016 Disney World vacation? Please contact me at any time for a free quote. The benefits to using an authorized Disney vacation planner include saving time before and during your vacation with itinerary planning which can help save you hours of standing in line each day. Plus you won’t have to watch for available discounts, research resorts, wake up early for dining reservations, or stay up late for FastPasses. The best part about using a travel planner instead of planning yourself? It’s totally FREE! Plus I’ll take away some of the stress and confusion of planning a Disney vacation (especially if it’s your first one!)It’s also a worry free cruise opportunity. I’ll walk through through all of the steps to the process with a few little insider tips along the way! If you already have your vacation planned and are interested in transferring your vacation, ask me how!

The Disney World Deluxe resort difference

 

It’s no secret that Disney World deluxe resorts are the top of the line in terms of available accommodations around their property. While they come with a larger price tag, I do feel like they are absolutely the ONLY option for me! After getting recharged with 2 amazing deluxe resorts over the past few days and it gave me a huge recharge of how much I absolutely love them! Don’t get me wrong, I love (almost) all Disney World resorts, but deluxe resorts are just a cut above the rest! So what makes them so amazing? Let me count the ways…

Service. All Disney cast members are trained to help traveling guests but deluxe service takes it to another level! I was greeted at Disney’s Grand Floridian at 10 am to check into my resort by a wonderful gentleman who had a conversation with me and truly engaged in the process. I was greeted by another wonderful cast member who walked me through the check in process. Now, I’m a frequent Disney goer, so the check in process is nothing new to me but this experience brought a new light to the experience and how wonderful it can be! I had an issue with my MagicBand (which my husband laughed at because it’s a pretty typical scenario for me) and I had another two cast members come to my rescue. In 10 minutes, I had touch points with FOUR different cast members who magically remedied this situation!

Dining. All Disney resorts have a quick service/grab and go dining option, but deluxe resorts have a minimum of THREE dining experiences (table service, quick service, and signature dining). That’s at minimum. You’ll likely see more than just 3 dining locations. And these are some of the best dining experiences you’ll find either inside or outside of the park INCLUDING character dining! How nice would it be to go from your room to enjoy a world class dining experience and then head back to your room to change back into park clothes to head back to the park.

Location, location, location. Almost every single Disney World deluxe resort has more than one mode of transportation to get you to and from the theme parks (exception – Animal Kingdom Lodge). This means you’ll be spending less time getting to and from the theme parks and more time enjoying them. This is great for many reasons – families that want their toddlers or young children to have a nap in the middle of the day, families that want to enjoy their resort’s amenities and not spend the entire trip inside the parks, interest in a great pool experience, or additional recreational activities. There is more to Disney than just theme parks and the deluxe resort offer some amazing opportunities to explore the surroundings and even watch fireworks right from your resort (or even your room).

Club Level Service. I’ve talked about club level service at Disney World resorts in several previous posts. I was lucky enough to stay at Beach Club and enjoy their club level service. I always enjoy the club level offerings and it really gives you a more upscale feel. This is definitely luxury travel! You have a continental breakfast each morning, light snacks and

Club level snacks offered at Beach Club resort (similar offerings at most other resorts)

Club level snacks offered at Beach Club resort (similar offerings at most other resorts)

refreshments mid-day (and this is a very quiet place to relax and work for those of us traveling on business), hot and cold appetizers in the evening and an array of lovely desserts in the evening. These meals are not meant to take over your daily meals (I still needed a dinner each evening, but it was nice to have access to drinks and some snacks while I was arriving). This is a fantastic resort opportunity for guests who want more out of their Disney World experience beyond just theme parks. Cast members are available daily to answer questions (and I put them to the test) as well as help guide you with transportation and making recommendations for dining and park plans. While there is a concierge at every Disney World resort, these special cast members are available to help on a more intricate level. For more on club level service…Club Level Service Overview and The Best Walt Disney World Club Level service.

Additional activities. If you’re looking for more to your Disney experience than just theme parks, look no further than deluxe resorts (and Disney deluxe villas). This amazing locations have water sports, special evening activities – roasting marshmallows on the beach, a view of fireworks right from your resort, upgraded pool experiences. These are really uniquely themed pool complexes with elaborate kids splash play areas and spacious pools so that every family has a great experience. In resorts like Grand Floridian, you can also book High Tea! We’ve made vacations at deluxe resorts with really limited time inside the theme parks because there is just so much to do and explore!

Space! In addition to the best locations on property, you’ll also get the most square footage in your room and even options for 1 and 2 bedroom spaces on club level floors as well as expanding your horizons to the villas. The rooms at Grand Floridian allow plenty of space for a family of 5 with 2 queen beds plus a day bed and still plenty of space for 5 suitcases (or a crib/pack n play if you are traveling with little ones) without feeling like you are tripping over each other. It’s a huge difference in the experience, especially coming from the tiny rooms at the All Star resorts!

I can’t wait for my next deluxe resort stay! I know it’s an additional cost out of pocket, but the benefits are perfect for our family! We are a fairly frugal family and I’m fairly plain as it relates to the clothing/name brand I purchase, but these “name brand” Disney experiences are absolutely worth the upgrade! If you’re looking to upgrade from your usual value or moderate resort stays, you can “try out” the lower cost rooms at either Wilderness Lodge or Animal Kingdom Lodge before you go on the very high end of the puzzle like a club level or theme park view room!

A free gift for your Disney vacation! The amazing and exciting Minnie Box! (subject to minimum vacation package)

A free gift for your Disney vacation! The amazing and exciting Minnie Box! (subject to minimum vacation package)

Ready to get started planning your 2016 Disney World vacation? Please contact me at any time for a free quote. The benefits to using an authorized Disney vacation planner include saving time before and during your vacation with itinerary planning which can help save you hours of standing in line each day. Plus you won’t have to watch for available discounts, research resorts, wake up early for dining reservations, or stay up late for FastPasses. The best part about using a travel planner instead of planning yourself? It’s totally FREE! Plus I’ll take away some of the stress and confusion of planning a Disney vacation (especially if it’s your first one!)It’s also a worry free vacation opportunity. I’ll walk through through all of the steps to the process with a few little insider tips along the way! If you already have your vacation planned and are interested in transferring your vacation, ask me how!