Get Your FREE Disney Planning Video 2018!

Thinking of planning a trip to Disney World or Disneyland in 2018? Or just missing Disney, and dreaming of when you can return?  Then this free Disney planning video is for you!  I love watching this video between trips, as it helps build the excitement. The video series is broken into short 3-5 minute video “chapters”.  Kids love it!  Ok, this grownup does too.  It gives you a great overview of not only each park, but also things like the 20 Disney resorts to choose from (a tough choice!), dining options, using MyMagic+, and when to plan your trip.  You might also find my roundup of best Disney planning advice helpful, in my post Easy Disney Planning 101. Get Your FREE Disney Planning Video 2018 If you’re looking for ideas on what to include during your next Disney vacation, this is a fantastic overview and great place to start.   They offer your choice of either Walt Disney World or Disneyland planning videos. To order your free Disney Planning Video, simply click the image … [Read more...]

A Disney World Fireworks Cruise Will *Blow* You Away!

We were blown away by the Disney World fireworks cruise my family took, to view Epcot IllumiNations! Here are the details of what to expect, what it includes, how much time to allow, and how much a Disney World fireworks cruise costs.  Plus a preview video of our on-the-lake view of IllumiNations! Did you know that your family can take a Disney World fireworks cruise aboard a pontoon boat? My family tried this fabulous experience out during our most recent Walt Disney World vacation.  The fireworks cruise we took was near Epcot, where we had an up close and personal viewing of Illuminations.  It was absolutely breathtaking! A Disney World fireworks cruise is such a unique and over-the-top experience, that I absolutely recommend your family trying this at least once.  Put it on your Disney Bucket List! Disney World Fireworks Cruise ~ Schedule & Location Our Epcot IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth cruise departed from Disney’s Yacht Club marina.  We had to meet at the … [Read more...]

Disney’s Magic Kingdom Maximized 1-Day Itinerary

You’ve got one day to spend at Walt Disney World.  Which park should you pick?  I get asked this question all the time, and here’s my panicked response, every single time:  “Wait, one day isn’t enough!!”  But I get it, sometimes that’s all your plan allows.  In that case, if your kids are in the range of ages 5- 12… I recommend Magic Kingdom. My children are ages 7 (1st grade boy) and 12 (7th grade girl).  We recently had a whirlwind, long weekend at Walt Disney World to attend an awesome Take Me Fishing event. We had one park day.  ONE. PARK. DAY.  Being the crazy mom uber-Disney-planner that I am, I found this an exciting challenge! First, I need to give credit where credit is due.  I’m a huge fan of using TouringPlans.com, for everything from their Disney Parks estimated crowd calendar to their optimized park touring plans.  They’ve put a lot of research into park traffic flows, and such.  So I based our strategy loosely on that.  It worked out great, and we packed in … [Read more...]

Family Stay at Disney’s Art of Animation Little Mermaid Room

Is Art of Animation Resort the best choice for your Disney World Resort money?  Here's all the fun details of a stay at in the Little Mermaid Rooms. From the Awesome Cars and Finding Nemo pools, to the drawings and character design you'll find throughout this resort, it's a family Disney Vacation delight. Room Photos, the Food Court, and Disney Transportation... plus how far is it to Magic Kingdom from the Art of Animation Value Resort?  I'm a pretty strong advocate for always staying at a Disney World Resort.  Between that and being a Value Resort fan, I was very excited when the newest addition Art of Animation opened in 2012.   This whimsical, incredibly family-friendly resort has four Disney movie themed areas.  Three of them consist of family suites:  Cars, Finding Nemo, and The Lion King.  Although these rooms look spacious and awesome, alas - for my family of four, a suite is unnecessary.  And with a nightly suite rate that is comparable to staying at a Disney … [Read more...]

7 Magical Reasons to Stay at Wyndham Lake Buena Vista (near Disney World)

Let's talk about the elephant in the room first.  I almost always advocate for staying at a Disney World resort.  However, after two visits now to the Wyndham Lake Buena Vista property, I’ve now decided this is my one exception. They’ve got a  LOT to offer, and have gone to great efforts to make sure that families staying with them for a Disney World vacation still feel surrounded by that special Disney magic. There are even a few hidden Mickeys on site! Take a look at these solid reasons to consider staying at Wyndham Lake Buena Vista during your next vacation to Walt Disney World. #1 On Disney World Property Location The Wyndham Lake Buena Vista is literally ON THE WALT DISNEY WORLD RESORT PROPERTY, across the street from Disney Springs!  If you want to save money but still stay as close to Disney World as possible, it’s an absolutely perfect location. Staying at this resort really adds no more travel-to-park time than staying at one of the other periphery … [Read more...]

Easy Disney Resorts Planning 101

My family and I are big fans of taking our vacations at Disney World.  This love extends blatantly into our daily life at home, including my work office bedecked in Mickey Mouse and Cinderella Castle mementos. In other words... it's no secret.   And while not everyone knows about my planning spreadsheets I create for each Disney trip, they do know I love Disney Resorts Planning!  So I'm often asked for Disney planning advice.  I say "Disney Resorts" because it's the #1 tip I always give people:  Stay on the Disney World property.   This brings with it so many benefits, additional pixie dusted ambiance, and even cost savings. But this post is about easy Disney Resorts planning!  It can be intimidating to plan a Disney World vacation, worrying that you'll miss something.  In recent years, exciting changes like FastPass+ and the use of My Disney Experience to make reservations and keep track of your itinerary makes it even more critical to do some planning up front. So here … [Read more...]

Walt Disney World Discount for Early 2015

At last!  Hot off the presses, it's a new Walt Disney World Discount for Early 2015.  This is the one my family has personally been waiting for... as we are headed to Disney World during our absolute favorite time of the year:  January/February 2015! Disney has just released their special offer discount deals for Disney World, for early 2015 dates.   Looks like your choice of two offers - room discount, or Stay and Play package discount.  You can get a free vacation quote here. This combination of deals is perfect for my family, as we will be trying out our first "split stay"!  We'll be using the Stay and Play for a package for the first few nights, then heading to the ocean for two nights, then back to Disney to use the room only discount and stay at a Deluxe Resort.  Exciting! Here are the details: Walt Disney World Discount for Early 2015 For those of you thinking about a January-March Walt Disney World Vacation you won’t need anymore convincing! The popular Stay Play and … [Read more...]

Plan Your Trip With The Unofficial Guide to Disney [Giveaway, Ended 6/5]

A trip to Disney is kind of a big deal.  Planning it with the assistance of a great guide book, a smart idea.   Disney vacations are investments.  To maximize your fun and enjoyment, doing some research up front will more than pay off. Unofficial Guides to Disney can offer extremely valuable advice to help plan your trip.  They feature topics such as: Selecting your trip dates Learning about Disney economics, and Disney trip packages Receiving guidance on where to stay Deciding on character or theme dining you'd like to experience  (this is a big one at Disney World where you definitely need ADRs, "Advance Dining Reservations") Getting a feel for how best to spend your days, so you minimize time spent waiting in line Discovering which attractions appeal to you and your family most, and what you absolutely don't want to miss ... and much, much more.  Plus, how about just plain building anticipation for that trip?   :) The Unofficial Guide to Disney ~ … [Read more...]

Disney World Free Dining Offer ~ 2014 Dates & Tips

Arguably the best deal Disney World runs is back, for special offer pricing on their vacation packages ~ free dining!  This is a fantastic deal, and one that my family has been able to take advantage of in the past, at times saving us over $1000. Now for the second year in a row, the Disney World Free Dining Offer has been extended for a nice range of dates starting in late summer 2014 on through even December. Disney World Free Dining Offer ~ Tips Some quick tips: The price of your trip will vary (even within these promotion dates) based on the dates of your stay.  I like to check HERE for a chart of Disney Resort rack room rates, which gives me an idea of how the prices fluctuate. Crowds will also vary significantly.  Touring Plans Crowd Calendar is my favorite site to check out the estimated crowd levels before I select my Disney vacation dates. When looking at the Disney World Free Dining Offer 2014 dates below, keep in mind that the offer has to be valid on your … [Read more...]

Disney Pressed Penny Money Holders

Sprinkled throughout the Disney Parks are pressed penny machines, adored by children of all ages.  Each typically features 3 designs to choose from, often themed to the attraction or land they are near. And kids are drawn to them like moths to a flame. Disney Pressed Penny Machines ~ The 51 Cent Souvenir At first, we resisted.  There’s so much to see, and do, (and spend money on) at Disney… surely this tiny thing can’t be that big of deal?  After awhile it occurred to me, that the resulting pressed penny is actually a pretty neat souvenir. They’re also cheap.  And small.  Both good things on vacation. Most machines currently take 51 cents:  2 quarters and 1 *shiny!* penny.  (There are a few pressed quarter machines, which cost a little more, but they are more rare.) But let's face it, having your child pester you for change every time they spot a Disney pressed penny machine can be annoying... even on a vacation when anything goes!  So when I heard about this … [Read more...]