Friday, August 31, 2012

Disney in the Fall

Ahhhh, fall is around the corner and to some it means cooler temps, falling leaves, and layering of the clothing!    But, to me it means fall in Disney!   It is my favorite time to spend in central Florida.   It is still hot enough to swim and wear your skimpiest summer wear.   But the oppressive humidity that can melt even the sturdiest Disney die hard in Florida's summer is diminished in fall.  In fact those fall evenings are heavenly and feels like silk on your skin at the perfect temperature.    (at least to me!)

Fall in Disney World also means two of the most favored events.   Epcot's Food and Wine Festival and Magic Kingdom's  Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party.

The International Food and Wine Festival this year is from Sept 28th to Nov 12th.   Located in The World Showcase you can travel "around the world" sampling all sorts of fabulous food,wine and beer.   The portions are small and priced accordingly so you can try as many different offerings that you can hold!  It is a fabulous way to try different dishes that you would not normally have the opportunity to all while staying stateside!  The atmosphere has the feel of exactly what it is, an outdoor festival.  There are entertainers from various countries as well as wonderful concerts with well known artists.  And if you are staying "on property"  it is comforting to know the Disney transportation system will be your designated driver!

Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party is a blast that everyone should go to at least once.  The separate admission party runs for 18 days  (non consecutively as to not be every evening so other Disney guests can enjoy MK at night as well)   Most families treat it as Halloween night with kids and yes, most adults wearing costumes.  Fun to watch as some families are extremely humorous and creative with theirs!   As you walk through the turnstiles Cast Members hand out bags to collect candy at designated locations throughout the park.   Spooky haunted mansion type music and announcements are played through out the evening and there are at least two dance parties in different locations.  (Fun!!)
Most of the rides are open and there is usually little or no wait on these nights.  The highlight of the party is the parade.  It runs twice a night at this event.  The theme is Boo To You and it has all your favorite Disney villains!   Get a good spot to view because you don't want to miss the beginning where the headless horse man races through the park signifying the start of the parade.  All in all it is a wonderful time for Halloween lovers.    The ending is a Halloween fireworks display behind Cinderellas castle (which is lit up in creepy colors on those nights)  

Just talking about this event has me excited for some spooky fun!  Four more weeks and counting!  

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Early Mornings at Disney World

To all my fellow eary risers, an early morning jaunt to the Parks or even a stroll through your resort can be magical!  (can be is the operative word here)  I love early mornings at Disney World!  The air is cool and and everyone you meet has a determined stride!   The atmosphere in the food court is "hurry!  We are the early birds! the lucky ones! the smart ones!  We will get to our destination ahead of everyone else!  Of course, there are the same amount of people at 20 other resorts thinking the same thing.  But, don't let that detour you.   Us early birds get to experience Disney transportation with others who are bright-eyed, fresh (mind and body!) and giddy with excitement.  

Disney World offers early hour admission to different parks during the week and are a nice perk for guests staying at one of the Disney Resorts. Yet, another way to make Disney Resort guests feel special. :) An hour before the crowds?    Yes Please!

For those of you who opt to use your early time at MK there is nothing more exciting than standing at the gate and listening to the "Mayor" of MK.  The train pulls in, The Main Street singers/entertainers start singing "Good Morning"
My goose-bump magical button is pushed without having entered the park!!

By getting to one of the parks early you will find yourself on thrill rides and watching shows with little or no wait.   By lunch time you will have the smug satisfaction of watching throngs of people just starting to unfold their park maps.   With the high demand attractions under your belt you are now at your leisure to explore the rest of the park with no stress!   Yay!!   And that my friends is the key to a wonderful Disney World Vacation~~~~~low stress!

So, for all you non-early risers.  Take one morning and experience what early birds do.  You won't be disappointed.   And you get your smug moment when you are watching the late fireworks and my family is dead asleep at 9:30!!!!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Couponing to Disney

I just have to say love the couponing to Disney site.   Whether your a coupon person or not you just have to love Kristina's  enthusiasm and drive!!!!  If you get a chance check it out!!     Seems a lot of folks are getting antsy about the tropical storm heading to Florida.  While it could make for a soggy trip my thought is immediately Whoopee!!!  Less crowds!!
I know I know,  safety first.   But c'mon!!!   It's Florida.   Just wait it out or go to a different part of the state :)    

Has anyone ridden one of the double Dumbo rides yet?   Can you tell which is the original?   My husband and now 14 year old son have ridden it together since our son and he waited 2 hours when he was 3 (My husband?? Waiting???For Dumbo?? 2 hours??)  Still a mushy Dad memory after all these years!!! 

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Best places to view DW fireworks outside the parks

For those of you who like a good fireworks show (seriously? who doesn't)  Disney World puts on one of the best displays I have ever seen.   You don't even have to be inside the Magic Kingdom to view them.  Some of our best memories are watching the fireworks!   The Polynesian Resort is our absolute fav place to view.  If you are a guest at any Disney World Resort don't forget you have access to other resorts and recreation.  We mosey over toThe Polynesian beach area an hour or so before the show starts.  Grab a drink, sink your toes in the sand, and find the perfect hammock or lounger.   Usually there is a pretty good crowd, but it's actually very quiet as if everyone knows their getting ready for something special.  I love watching families of several generations who obviously have done this before!!  Last year there was a movie playing for youngsters right on the beach. Very nice!   Before the fireworks  there is a wonderful light pagent of floats that go around the bay in front of The Polynesian, Grand Floridian and The Contemporary Resort.  If you get a chance this a wonderful relaxing way to end the evening.

The monorail surprisingly is another great place to view the fireworks.  (we found this out by accident)   Just sit back in your futuristic mode of transportation and watch the fireworks as you go around Bay Lake.

One more accidental fireworks viewing spot was one year we stayed at Pop Century.   We were in one of the 60's  buildings facing Hourglass lake.  Our room was on the back corner and I stepped out for some fresh air  ( our youngest has never been able to stay awake past 9pm! so we were already in our room) and realized I could see the fireworks from the MK.   Granted it was quite a distance but I could see them distinctly.  It was so peaceful overlooking the lake and watching the fireworks. We have actually tried to do it again on previous trips and it was just as memorable!!   

The youngest son I referred to is now 13 and just last year has made it  til after the fireworks show!!!  Crazy!

Oh!  and one last one.  This one is in the park on the people mover.  Just enjoy while everyone is trying to get out of the park at the same time!!  Rather amusing :)

Friday, August 17, 2012

Use blogs, websites to save money for your Disney World vacation!

I know I have mentioned that  I am cheap.  I mean really cheap!!    So, when I'm planning my DW trips I always hit the blogs and websites first to see what deals are going on at DW.   Discounted rooms and dining are your best money savers.  usually has up to date discount reports and depending on the time of the year savings can be found as well.  Now don't fall for all the "free tickets" yadda yadda yadda.  Disney is very tight about their discounts and you can only get them through them.  Sometimes you can get discounted tickets through some sites but the savings is minimal and sometimes are tied in with a time share sales pitch.   I have found in the last few years that even sites like Expedia, and others are no more discounted than Disney's site.  So, choose your time of year wisely and go to the Disney site.  Lots of last minute summer specials.  I made reservations for October and got lucky with free dining.  That's right!  FREE.  I have 2 teenage boys.  Put FREE and TEENAGERS and FOOD together and that makes Momma a happy gal :)

Another great savings are staying at the Value Resorts on property.  (when you hear the term "on property" that just means on DW property.    We have stayed at all of them.  The rooms are small but many times I have gotten room rates for under $100 and we don't stay in room very much anyway.  The pools there are great and usually there are movies by the pool at night and fun games that the lifeguards and cast members play with guests.   Our fav value resort is POP

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Last year in the fall when we went to DW,  instead of just hanging by the pool the evening of arrival we actually went to MK (Magic Kingdom)  which we have never done.   Main Street USA  is a wonderful way to start your Disney Vacation.  Singers on trolleys,  The Mayor of Disney World wandering around, barbershop quartets singing on corners.  All within first 5 minutes!!   My boys have always laughed about the barber shop on Main St.  It is real and since they didn't have haircuts before vacation (who am I kidding???  We are more like the bi-year haircut family!)  My hubs and boys got their haircuts the old fashioned way in a cool place.  While that was going on I was standing outside and was pulled into an impromtu dance party with cast memebers.  Right up my alley!!  Dancing unabashedly with people I don't know!!  Whoooo Hoooo!!   After that we wandered around in the lovely summer Florida air.  (Always feels like silk to my skin!)   We actually caught several big rides with no wait.  Guess it was due to it being about 8 in the evening.  Didn't wear ourselves out and moseyed back to hotel for a swim and adult refreshments.   One of the absolute best starts to a DW vacation in my opinion!!!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Just a few pics ou of my DW collection

Only 51 days til our Fall Pilgramage to Disney World!!   My darling hubs wanted to get me an annual pass for our anniversay.  (Minus him one, of course lol)  But,  as much as I like to go, it is a 7-8 hr trip and I can't decide if I would just be trying to fit in as many trips possible and end up not enjoying myself (the horror!!)  Hmmmmm,  I'll have to think on this one for a bit.   Ironically, my Mother-In-Law is scheduled to come visit that week....Coincidence?  I think not!!  An extra day or two for us in Magicville (DW) will not hurt my feelings!! I was lucky (and tricky)  to get the Free Dining Plan by booking the last day it was offered which was the day before our arrival.  It will be worth it to take the boys out of school or even go half day to save on dining!!  See what I will do to get to the Mouse and save a buck??!  It's incorrigible!!   The hubs stays at The Swan for work in the fall  which he says is very nice.   We are actually going to one of the water parks on property.  Can't believe we have never been to one!!  Not sure which one is more fun. I'll have to research and get some reviews.  Back to the Dining Plan,  we have done both and it comes out to roughly the same price as paying for meals but it is sooooooo nice not to "see" the bill and worry about how much lunch was.  And free is even better!!   Heard that Disney wasn't doing free dining this year but was pleasantly surprised it came up this fall.    

First blog

Hmmmmm, where to start?    I am a southern Mom of 3 and I have a Disney problem.   Lol    I love Disney World!   I have been 21 times and never get tired of it.   Now, I'm not really into the whole Mickey and Minnie cutesy thing but, I am into the magical, whimsy side as well as all the thrills it has to offer.  My boys are teenagers now and we have experienced Disney with toddlers, strollers, diaper bags, etc.  Disney seems to evolve with you.   We are discovering the thrills that Disney has to offer with the older kids.   Our favorite time of year to go is October.   It is still warm enough to swim and shorts are a must. This year we are staying at Port Orleans Riverside.  It is a moderate resort with a good size food court. (a must for my clan) Lots of foliage and the river gives such great atmosphere.   I chose this resort because you have the option of bus transportation to parks or you can ride a boat.  There is also a small marina where you can rent mini speed boats as well as fish.  We have stayed at many of the resorts and from experience you can find the perfect one to fit your family.   The new Art of Animation has opened and it has family suites with kitchenettes.  Perfect for families with small ones.   (My boys thought it looked to "babyish" for them) 

Ok, now I'm starting to sound like a dry brochure.  Not my style!!   Just thought I would open with info. 

In reality, I am one to give my honest and sometimes painful opinion!!   So forewarned!

I think the Art of Animation is cute but extremely pricey for the suites.  I would rather pay the same for an upgraded resort.   If you have never done the Halloween Boo to You celebration and you love semi spooky you need to do it!  It's our fav.    As far as eating at restaurants go we love Hoop De Doo Musical Review at Fort Wilderness, Chef Mickey's breakfast at Contemporary Resort, Sci-Fi DIner at Hollywood Studios and of course The Prime Time Cafe at Hollywood Studios (the servers are salty and in your face so beware you will probably be riprimanded for something)  

For now just a few tips:   Relax.   You can take a lifetime to truly take in all Disney has to offer.  You WILL NOT get it done in a week.   Get to the parks early.  Magic Kingdom is gridlocked by lunch.  Disney is pricey.  I am the cheapest person ever.  You can cut corners but it will still be somewhat pricey!!!   Get over it!   Nothing worse than overhearing some parent bitch about the price of something while I am trying to have a reality-free magical time!!!