Posts Tagged With: walt disney world

Walt Disney World – The Basics-When to Go

So, you have decided that it is finally time for you to take your little Pirate or Princess to the “Most Magical Place on Earth”.  But now it’s time for the decisions to be made.

When is a good time to go?  Where to stay?  How many days do I need to be there?  What is there to see?  Wow!  The possibilities are endless!!

Never fear!  I’ve come to help.

Over the course of my next several posts, I will start a series:  Walt Disney World-The Basics

So, let’s start this off with one of the main questions that I’m asked….

“What time of year is the best time to go?”

Well, the answer to that is a resounding….”It depends”.  What?!  It depends?!  That’s right.  It depends.

Let’s take a look at some of the factors involved in timing the perfect trip for you and your family.

  • Crowd levels, “When are the theme parks most crowded?”
  • Temperatures, “How HOT does it really get in the summer?”  
  • Rainfall, “If I don’t get the timing right, is my time and money going to be washed away by all the rain?” 
  • Special Events, “Are there any special events that I don’t want to miss at Walt Disney World?”
  • Holiday Seasons, “What are the Parks like during the Holidays?  Does Disney do anything special?” – OK that one is a little crazy….If there is one thing that Disney does well, it’s “Special”.  Especially at the Holidays!

Crowds

So, let’s start with Crowds.  The general rule is, if kids are out of school, expect larger crowds in the Parks.  Most parents try to avoid taking their children out of school to go on vacation.  OK, so that’s summer, right?  Well, not necessarily.  Families tend to travel any time their kids are out of school.  That also means all major holidays will show larger attendance numbers.

Below is a chart showing historic crowd levels over the course of the year:

Just as you would imagine, the summer months are among the busiest.  But if you look, even busier than the summer are the holidays.  From President’s Day in February to Spring Break/Easter in the spring, to Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year, the holiday periods are among the busiest days of the whole year.

So, if you are looking specifically to avoid the crowds, and have the luxury of traveling while kids are in school, it looks like September, or early December would be right up your alley.

Temperatures

While crowds are a factor, how about temperatures?  If you are someone who doesn’t mind crowds, but can’t stand the heat, when are the best times for you?

Well, I have you covered there as well:

If you are someone looking to avoid the heat, you will want to stick to the October – April time frame.  During this period, highs are generally in the mid 70’s to mid 80’s.  On the other hand, if you will be spending your evenings in the Theme Parks, or enjoy the pools or Water Parks, perhaps lows in the 40’s and 50’s might be a little chilly for you.  Keep in mind that these are averages, and as a wise man once said, “Averages are only the mid-point of the extremes.”  What does that mean, who knows.  It sounds good though.  🙂  Actually, what it means is although these are averages, weather is unpredictable and you may be faced with an “extreme” condition.  A few years back, my family traveled to Walt Disney World the first week in December.  Coming from Ohio, we are used to cold winters.  While attending Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, they were pumping in fake “snow” on Main Street.  While we knew it was fake, we had to stop and think about it because we were freezing and thought for a second that it could actually be real.

Rainfall

OK.  How rainy is it in Florida?  Will all of the “magic” be washed away?  As you would expect, the summer months generally see the most rainfall.

The good news is, even in the summer, the rain doesn’t last forever.  In most cases, the rain passes fairly quickly and you can move on with your day.  If you are looking to avoid that possibility, however, Spring, Fall, or Winter may be the time for you.

Special Events

While we all know that Disney doesn’t do anything unless they can do it “special”, there are many special events that are run all year long.

Some of the special events include:

  • Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival – March-May
  • Star Wars Weekends – June
  • Sounds Like Summer Concert Series – Summer
  • Night of Joy – September
  • Epcot International Food & Wine Festival – October-November

Holiday Events

The holiday season is among the most magical time to be in Walt Disney World.  There are many families that plan their annual trips around the holiday season solely to experience all that Disney has to offer during this amazing time.

Disney’s annual holiday events include:

  • Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party  – September-October
  • Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party – November-December
  • The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights – November-December
  • Holidays Around the World / Candlelight Processional – November-December

runDisney

Are you a runner?  If so, Disney has something for you.  Several times a year, Walt Disney World plays host to thousands of runners as they compete in several endurance challenges.

Some of the challenges you may choose to take part in include:

  • Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend – January
  • Disney Princess Half Marathon – February
  • Expedition Everest Challenge – May
  • Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Miler Weekend – September
  • Disney Wine & Dine Marathon – November

So, all this to say, “What time of year is the best time to go?  It depends.”  One thing is for certain, no matter what time of year you choose for your family, there is so much to see and do.  You will have a wonderful time!

Interested in hearing more about any of these events, or planning out the perfect time for you and your little Pirate or Princess to be part of the magic?  Contact me today for your no obligation quote.

And, make sure you stay tuned for the rest in the series, Walt Disney World – The Basics.  See you soon!

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Don’t Forget! Late Summer Offer

Save Up To 30% on Rooms at Select Walt Disney World Resort Hotels

Don’t Forget! You can save up to 30% at select Walt Disney World® Resort hotels during the late summer period. Book through Aug. 14, 2012, for stays most nights Aug. 15 – Sept. 29, 2012.

For example, you can stay in a standard room at Disney’s All-Star Sport Resort starting at just $70 per night, plus tax, for most Sunday through Thursday nights Aug. 15 – Sept. 27, 2012. That’s a savings of 20%!

Just add Theme Park tickets and you can take advantage of all the late summer fun.

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Happy Birthday America!

On this day, 236 years ago, Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence.  In all 56 individuals, two of them future Presidents (John Adams and Thomas Jefferson), signed that document.  Some of the signatures didn’t come until years later.  And because of the courage of those “Founding Fathers”, the greatest country in the world was born.

The love of this great country is something that we can share with Walt Disney:

“Actually, if you could see close in my eyes, the American flag is waving in both of them and up my spine is glowing this red, white, and blue stripe.” – Walt Disney

Walt’s love for the United States of America, is evident even inside The Magic Kingdom.

(photo credit: Walt Disney World Gallery)

Starting as you pass into Liberty Square from Cinderella Castle in the central hub, you cross a bridge that was inspired by the Old North Bridge.  The Old North Bridge is the site of one of first battles for American Independence, the Battle of Concord.

As you continue through Liberty Square, you will pass by a large oak tree.  The Liberty Tree, was transplanted and moved to Walt Disney World.  The 130 year old tree weighed 38 tons at the time, and had a root ball about 18 ft x 16 ft x 4 ft deep.  The tree symbolizes the original liberty tree in Boston, Mass that was the gathering spot for a group of individuals called the “Sons of Liberty”.  Hanging in the branches of the Liberty Tree, you will notice 13 lanterns, one for each of the original colonies.

Next to the Liberty Tree is a replica of the Liberty Bell.  In fact, it is the only replica to be cast from the mold from the original Liberty Bell.

Across the walkway from the Liberty Tree, you will find the Hall of Presidents.  The Hall of Presidents, a 22-minute show inside the hall features audio-animatronics versions of each of the 44 Presidents of the United Sates.  Well actually, only 43 of them since Grover Cleveland served two separate terms as President (22 & 24).  Throughout the show, you will see each of the Presidents gesture, sway, sit, stand, and in some cases speak.  The show is well worth your time.

If you look closely in the windows of the Hall of President, you will see two glowing lanterns.  These lanterns are meant to represent the beacons that Paul Revere watched for as he made his famous ride announcing the coming of the British army.

“In America, we are guaranteed these freedoms. It is the constitutional privilege of every American to become cultured or to grow up like Donald Duck.” – Walt Disney

As you spend some time in Liberty Square, some of the other things you may take note of:

  • The shutters on the buildings hang crooked – During the Revolutionary War, Britain was still sending supplies to the colony, but obviously would not send them ammunition.  What they did provide, however, was shutters…with metal hinges.  Resourceful Independence fighters stripped the hinges from the shutters and melted them down to make musket balls.  They replaced the metal hinges with leather straps.  As time went on the leather stretched out, causing the shutters to hang crooked.
  • To keep up with the themes, since during Colonial times there was no indoor plumbing, you will find no bathrooms in Liberty Square.  This is sort of a technicality, however.  There are two restaurants in Liberty Square, Columbia Harbour House, and Liberty Tree Tavern.  Although each of these restaurants have bathrooms, they are technically across the line into the next “land” in the Magic Kingdom, so don’t physically sit within the borders of Liberty Square.

There are a couple of other hidden gems in Liberty Square, that I won’t tell you about, you will have to discover them for yourself.  (If you really want to know, I’ll tell you if you ask nicely  🙂  ).

I’ll end with one more quote from Walt:

“Tomorrow will be better as long as America keeps alive the ideals of freedom and a better life.” – Walt Disney

If you would like to hear more about Liberty Square, the Magic Kingdom, or Disney in general, drop me a line.  I’d love to hear from you.

(If you are interested, I’ve also included several links for you to check out).

Happy Independence Day!!

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Storybook Circus Now Open!

The largest expansion in Magic Kingdom® Park history is underway, a project that will nearly double the size of Fantasyland at the Walt Disney World® Resort. And now the Storybook Circus area of New Fantasyland is open!

Some of the new elements of Storybook Circus include:

  • Not one but two circling carousels of airborne pachyderms on Dumbo the Flying Elephant. And, before taking to the skies on this Fantasyland favorite, you can experience an array of fun-filled family games and interactive wonders for kids of all ages inside the Big Top.
  • The classic Barnstormer got a bright new look as well, featuring Goofy as The Great Goofini. It’s a twisting, turning roller coaster “flight” high above the circus fun.
  • Fantasyland Station: You can delight in the newest addition to Walt Disney World Railroad.
  • Casey Jr. Splash ‘n’ Soak Station is a circus-themed water play area. Water squirts from playful monkeys, elephants, camels and from Casey Jr. when he lets off billows of cooling “steam.”
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A Night on the Savanna

The countdown has begun! 

In 27 days (but who is counting) we will be returning to one of my favorite places in all of Walt Disney World! Animal Kingdom Lodge!

Animal Kingdom Lodge Sign   (Photo credit: rustyalaska)

As you pull up in front of the resort, you can tell that something is different about this place.  Not only is it the size of the place, it just has a different feel to it.  You can’t quite put your finger on it though.  When you step out of the car (or usually in our case, the Disney Magical Express bus), you feel so completely enveloped by the sights and sounds.  (If you listen carefully, you can hear African-themed music playing in the background.)  You don’t know quite what to expect.  You walk up to the front doors, and as they open, you start to get a real appreciation for the size and scale of this resort.

030113-FL-WDW-animal_kingdom_lodge-lobby

Animal Kingdom Lodge Lobby (Photo credit: obfusciatrist)

The Amazing Lobby

As you step through the front doors, you will most likely hear a collective, “Wow!” coming from those who walk through the door with you.

Animal Kingdom Lodge, an African-themed deluxe resort at Walt Disney World, opened in 2001 and hosts more than 1,300 rooms.  The resort boasts thatched ceilings, large beams and showcases many real African artifacts.  The lodge is situated in a way to allow for an expansive view of the 43-acre African Wildlife Preserve.

The Animals

If you pass through the lobby, you will step into an area called Arusha Rock.  It is a rock platform that gets you up close and personal with the wildlife roaming the savanna.  Animal Kingdom Lodge wouldn’t be called that without the animals!

More than 30 different species of wildlife roam 4 different savannas.  Among the animals that call this place home are, Reticulated Giraffe, Zebra, Antelope, Okapi, Thompson’s Gazelle, Ostrich, and White-Bearded Wildebeest.

Giraffe at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge

Giraffe at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One of the greatest things about the savanna, however, is the fact that many of the rooms come with views of the savanna.  It’s a wonderful thing to be sitting on your balcony and see a Giraffe wander by.  Sometimes they feel close enough to touch!  The last time we stayed there, we had the pleasure of two giraffe coming over just under our balcony and bedding down for the night.  It was a breathtaking sight.

And, if you are really ready for an up-close view of the animals, you may choose to reserve a spot for a tour of the Wanyama Safari.  This is an adventurous guided drive through one of the safaris that offers the opportunity to spend some time with the members of the Animal Kingdom Lodge animal program team.  You will enjoy wonderful photo opportunities of the animals and architecture of Animal Kingdom Lodge.  After the safari, you will return to Jiko (one of a few restaurants at the resort) for an amazing dinner.

Restaurants

Speaking of restaurants, Animal Kingdom Lodge offers two award-winning restaurants, Jiko-The Cooking Place and Boma-Flavors of Africa, as well as a The Mara, a counter service restaurant.

Other Activities / Amenities

If the adventure with the animals is too much for you, or you are just looking to kick back, you could also choose to relax at the resort’s 11,000 square foot zero-depth entry pool.  Uzima pool also offers a 67 foot long slide.

With all of this and more to offer, Animal Kingdom Lodge is an amazing place to stay, and would be a wonderful choice for a family stay at Walt Disney World.

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It All Started With A …..

As I sat down to start my first attempt at a real blog, I wasn’t sure where it would lead me.  I had hopes to cover all things Disney with a distinct lean towards Walt Disney World.  I knew that the “World” is a large place, so I definitely had an endless amount of topics to cover.

Having been there many times in the past, there is so much to cover.

Perhaps I could start with a particular theme park.  But which one?  The Magic Kingdom, the original home of the magic?  Or maybe Epcot, with the distinctive Spaceship Earth, and World Showcase with pavilions representing 11 different countries?  Maybe Hollywood Studios, or Animal Kingdom.  Yikes!

Well, maybe I’ll just talk about a “land” within one of the Parks.  Let’s see Adventure Land, Tomorrowland, Fantasyland in the Magic Kingdom.   All right, um, maybe Epcot…Future World, or World Showcase?

Or perhaps I should just stick to covering a single attraction?  Which one?  Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean, Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, Spaceship Earth, Test Track, Soarin’, Everest, Star Tours, Tower of Terror….well…

Maybe I should talk about other activities while at Walt Disney World.  I could discuss the golf courses, or water parks, or of course the Downtown Disney shopping district.

I know, maybe I should discuss the restaurants, or maybe just the signature dining experiences, or the character dining experiences.

Or, perhaps the resorts themselves, there are so many.  That may be more than I can handle in one post.  There are all the Value Resorts, Moderate Resorts, and of course the amazing Deluxe Resorts.  Where to start?

OK.  I’m starting to get sidetracked.  Let me get focused again.

I got it, special events.  That’s it.  There are so many from the Epcot Flower & Garden show to the International Food & Wine events, to Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.  Man!

How can I ever cover all of it?!

Well, it’s evident that there is far too much to cover in my first post.  I guess you will have to come back and read about each of these as I get to them.

Looks like I’m going to be pretty busy!   🙂

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