Monday, March 22, 2010

But Peter, how do we get to Disney World?

Wendy: But Peter, how do we get to neverland?
Peter: Fly, of course!
Wendy: Fly?
Peter: It's easy! You think of a wonderful thought!
The children: Any happy little thought?
...
Peter: All it takes is faith and trust... Oh, and something I forgot! Dust!

Another step in planning, after you have decided when you want to go is to decide how you will get there. I wish all it took was faith, trust and dust to get to Disney World!! There are two things to consider before deciding how to get to WDW: are you close enough to drive and how much do you want to spend or save?

We have done both. We've driven majority of the times and have flown a few times too. I'm a frugal person, so I will always opt to drive just to save that money. I'd rather use the extra money to stay a few more days in Walt Disney World than fly.

This may be an easy decision, depending on how far you live from the World. Being in North Alabama, it's not too far for my family to drive to Orlando to visit the mouse. It takes us 9 hours. We can break it down into 3 parts: home to Atlanta, GA= 3 hours; Atlanta to the Florida state line= 3 hours; the Florida state line to Walt Disney World= 3 hours. It was great with my oldest son the last time we drove. He knew we would break every 3 hours for gas, food or a stretch. He could plug up the DVD player and watch another movie in between stops. We also packed snacks, drinks, toys, games, coloring books, etc to keep him occupied. The drive was very easy for us and could easily be done in one day- even with enough time to visit the Boardwalk or Downtown Disney once we arrived!

For us it's easier to travel interstate the whole way. There isn't as much to look at on the way, but it's a straight shot without the stop and go traffic. Another plus... we miss I-10. I hate that stretch across the Florida Panhandle! We have been south on I-65 to Montgomery, AL, then south on Hwy 231 to I-10, and I-10 to I-75 south in Florida. But again, I hate the roads with stop and go traffic (231) and I-10 E. So we opt for the Atlanta route.

If you are too far or have more money than I do, flying is a lot easier and gets you there faster. We have flown into the Orlando International Airport twice and have enjoyed the Magical Express Transportation service provided by Disney. If you fly, you MUST take advantage of this service. It's amazing! I guess the reasons you wouldn't use this free service is: 1. you aren't staying on property, 2. you want to do things in Orlando other than Disney, or 3. you want to have a car to go to the grocery store or something like that.

Here are the details straight from the Disney World Web site:
1. Reserve Disney's Magical Express Transportation when you book online or by calling (407) WDW-MAGIC or (407) 939-6244. Guests under 18 years of age must have a parent or guardian's permission to call.

2. Upon landing at Orlando International Airport, skip baggage claim and proceed to the Disney's Magical Express Welcome Center in the Main Terminal Building, B side, Level 1. Disney's Magical Express service will collect your luggage and deliver it directly to your Walt Disney World hotel room within 3 hours after you check in at the resort. Luggage delivery service provided by Disney's Magical Express is available for flights arriving between 5:00 am and 10:00 pm daily. For airport arrivals after 10:00 pm, Guests may collect their luggage at Baggage Claim and transport it with them on the motor coach.

3. International Guests flying into Orlando International Airport from another country must follow the U.S. Customs and Border Protection process and claim luggage after disembarking the plane. After completing the process, proceed to the Disney's Magical Express Welcome Center in the Main Terminal Building, B side, Level 1. Disney's Magical Express service will recollect your luggage and deliver it directly to your Walt Disney World hotel room within 4 hours after you check in at the resort. Luggage delivery service provided by Disney's Magical Express is available for flights arriving between 5:00 am and 10:00 pm daily. For airport arrivals after 10:00 pm, Guests may collect their luggage at Baggage Claim and transport it with them on the motor coach.

4. Sit back and relax as Disney transports you to your Disney Resort hotel in an air-conditioned motor coach.

5. As your vacation draws to a close, you'll receive a Transportation Notice advising you of the pick-up time and place for your motor coach ride back to Orlando International Airport. Please note that it is your responsibility to bring your luggage to the pick-up point.

The best parts of the Magical Express are that your luggage is taken care of and you get to watch a video on the bus ride to the resort showing you all you have to look forward to! My son LOVED watching this video and it made all of us even more excited about the week we were about to experience!

In May, we will definitely be flying from Alabama to California when we visit Disneyland... however, in December we will be driving to Disney World with the boys (in my new car might I add!). We'll see how driving 9 hours with a 23 month old will go...

Sunday, March 21, 2010

You're going to Disney World!

Congratulations! You are going to the most wonderful place in the world! At least, that's what I think! There are so many things to consider before going on a vacation to Disney World. The first thing to do is decide when to go. A few of the things you may want to think about are:
1. Crowds
2. Price
3. Weather
4. Special events


1. CROWDS... There are different times of the year that will bring different size crowds to WDW. Traditionally, when school is in session, the crowds are lighter. If your kids are out of school, chances are so are other people's kids! Holidays are always crowded along with summer break and spring break. Here is a break down of historic attendance at WDW:

The Lowest Attendance:
January (except New Year's Day) until just prior to Presidents' Week in February
The week following Labor Day until the week prior to Thanksgiving
The week following Thanksgiving until mid-December

More Moderate Attendance:
After Presidents' week in February through early March
Late April through early June (except Memorial Day weekend)
Columbus Day Weekend (October)
The first part of Thanksgiving week

Highest Attendance:
Presidents' week in February
Mid March through Late April ("Spring Break")
Memorial Day weekend
Mid June through Labor Day
Thanksgiving Day and weekend
Christmas week through New Year's Day

2. PRICE... For some families, price plays a very important part in making the decision of when to travel to Disney World. Ticket prices stay the same each day of the year, but lodging on property will vary depending on the season. The Disney World seasons are based on crowd levels. The "seasons" of room rates are as follows:
Value Season- Jan 3- President's Day; mid August- September; Thanksgiving- mid December
Regular Season- Easter- June 1; October- Thanksgiving
Summer Season- June- Mid August
Peak Season- President's Day- Easter
Holiday Season- new year's Jan 1-2; President's Day; Easter; 4th of July; Thanksgiving; Christmas (mid December-New Year's)

For example, if you stay at one of the All Star Resorts (Movies, Music or Sports) the rates would vary based on the season:
Value Season- $82 weekdays/ $92 weekends
Regular Season- $105 weekdays/ $115 weekends
Summer Season- $119 weekdays/ $134 weekends
Peak Season- $125 weekdays/ $140 weekends
Holiday Season- $125-$145 weekdays/ $154 weekends

3. WEATHER... Traditional WDW Weather may also play a part into when to take your trip. Here are some month to month average statistics on Orlando weather:
January- high 71, low 49, 2.3 inches rain
February- high 73, low 50, 3.0 inches rain
March- high 78, low 55, 3.2 inches rain
April- high 83, low 59, 1.8 inches rain
May- high 88, low 66, 3.6 inches rain
June- high 91, low 72, 7.3 inches rain
July- high 92, low 73, 7.2 inches rain
August- high 92, low 73, 6.8 inches rain
September- high 90, low 72, 6.0 inches rain
October- high 85, low 65, 2.4 inches rain
November- high 79, low 58, 2.3 inches rain
December- high 73, low 51, 2.2 inches rain

Of course these are just averages. I have been to WDW in December and had to wear a heavy coat, gloves and hat the whole time. I've also been that same month and worn shorts. Weather can vary day to day in Central Florida.

4. SPECIAL EVENTS... There are special events in Disney World that you may want to plan your vacation around. I'll list some of the events and provide a link to the Disney web site for you to get more information.
January- Marathon Weekend
February
March- Epcot's Flower and Garden Festival, Princess Half Marathon, Atlanta Braves Major League Baseball Spring Training at the ESPN Wide World of Sports, Easter
April- Epcot's Flower and Garden Festival, Disney's Grad Nights
May- Epcot's Flower and Garden Festival, Star Wars Weekends, Disney's Grad Nights
June- Star Wars Weekends, Sounds Like Summer Concert Series, Expedition Everest Challenge
July- Sounds Like Summer Concert Series, 4th of July Celebration
August-
September- Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party, Epcot's International Food and Wine Festival, Night of Joy
October- Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon Weekend, Disney's Race for the Taste, Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party
November- Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party, Epcot's International Food and Wine Festival, Festival of the Masters, Epcot's Holiday's around the World, Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights
December- Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party, Epcot's Holiday's around the World, Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights, New Year's Eve Celebration

You can always visit The Official Disney World Web Site for information. There are other web sites, books and resources I use to plan my trips, but this is where I start. Hopefully this will be a good place for you to start as well!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Welcome!

Welcome to my small world. I love everything Disney. Period. My husband refers to me lovingly as a "Disney Nerd." I'm always reading books, magazines, blogs, web sites, tweets, etc about the Wonderful World of Disney. Right now I'm planning 2 Disney trips for this year. We will be at Disneyland this spring and Walt Disney World this coming winter. This will be my first trip to California and the original Disney park. In December, I will make my 15th trip to the World but it will be my first trip with my youngest son who will be 23 months at that time!

With this blog, I hope to provide useful information for family and friends who may be planning a trip to WDW. I also hope to consolidate all of my favorites into one place to make it easier for me!

Have a magical day!