Finding the Right Fit for You!

From the practically perfect personality of Real Disney Mom Jewelz P! 

It’s been 11 or 12 years since I last was at Walt Disney World. A very long time for me considering that I was going every year for ten years. Marriage, moving, new job promotions and a baby put a lot on hold. My husband and I were not able to go on a honeymoon or even a mini vacation. Finally a breath of fresh air! I was six months pregnant and I told my boss,  “I am going on vacation in 13 months”.  (Maybe it was Disney withdrawals, the hormones raging, or that I just really needed a vacation!) Without missing a beat I went to Walt Disney World’s Vacation Website and ordered the Vacation Planning DVD. I needed to see what had been built and improved over the years. This would also give me  the opportunity to show my husband what he would be in store for!!! Not having met my little one yet, I knew Disney could take care of her no matter what! I had for the most part always stayed on the WDW property. Why? If Disneyworld was my only destination (why anyone would go anywhere else?), there is no reason to stay off property. The conveniences and the ease of the transportation are priceless. 

Knowing your budget is where you need to start. Walt Disney has many resorts for different budgets which is great!!

 To save money; Value Resorts-All-Star Music, All-Star Sports, All Star Movies and POP Century

I only recommend these if you have a large group , such as sports teams, or if you only need a place to shower and sleep. They do not have any sit down dining restaurants, (Something to think about.) and are located farthest from the 4 Parks.  I stayed at All-Star Sports in 1998 and it is too small for my family for today. The rooms do not have as much closet or drawer space, and there is only one sink and mirror. Two adults and two children will be able to stay here in comfort, but more than 2 adults may be too much. There were no elevators to speak of that I remembered. So if stairs are a challenge, it is best to request a floor level room. The rooms are brightly colored and a sports theme is carried through out the resort, the room I was in had crayon marking on the walls and I could hear all the surrounding happenings. The pools were always too crowded for me. If you are new to staying on property and your budget conscious you may want to start here. There is a playground, arcade, laundry facilities and a food court with an average price 15.00 a person. Another little tid-bit ; The All Star Resorts are in a different county so they have a higher tax rate.

 For those who need a little more room to breath; Moderate Resorts-Caribbean Beach, Coronado Springs, Port Orleans Riverside, Port Orleans French Quarter and Ft. Wilderness Cabins.

 I have stayed at both Port Orleans French Quarter (1999) and most recently Caribbean Beach Resort (2010) The Moderate resorts will have at least one sit down dining restaurant  and are not as far away from the 4 Parks as the Value Resorts. Carribean Beach or CBR has Shutters for sit down dining and a tasty food court to experience. These rooms not only have more space but a dual sink vanity. YEAH! The beds are better and the décor is just up my alley. While the All-Star Resorts and POP have three or four levels, I loved the Caribbean Beach Resort because it only had two stories and each village surrounds the bay. The pathways are wide and not cramped for walking. There are many villages named after Caribbean islands with their own bus stop. You can catch the theme park buses as well as an internal bus system to get you from village to village. This was helpful because we were in Trinidad South and the grandparents were in Aruba. I could have walked along Barefoot Bay but it was so hot and muggy that I wanted the bus with air conditioning. We opted for the Pirates of the Caribbean Themed rooms (Trinidad South only) and I loved it! The beds are not as comfortable as the normal Finding Nemo themed rooms. Why? The Pirate Ship beds are so high that the mattresses they have are about 5 inches thick and no box spring for support. The village pools were quiet and not many kids, that is because of the cool main pool at Port Royale. This is a fun pool! It is a themed old Spanish fortress, complete with towers, antique cannons (that spout water) and a water slide. So if you are looking for a more relaxing resort that has hammocks, child playgrounds and for those who walk, the stroll around Barefoot Bay is for you. Other amenities are beaches, an arcade, volleyball courts, bike rentals,  marina/watercraft rentals, and laundry facilities at each village pool.

 For those who have who want to experience a Deluxe Resort-Animal Kingdom Lodge, Board Walk Inn, Contemporary, Grand Floridian, Polynesian, Wilderness Lodge, Yacht Club and Beach Club, and the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin.

 These may not be the Disney Vacation Club Villas but they are sure spectacular! The Deluxe resorts are normally located just a hop skip and a jump to the Parks. I stayed at the Grand Floridian in 1997 and it was fantastic. I love the old feel of the 1900’s Victorian. The grand atrium is overwhelmingly immaculate and if you are lucky to see the cockatiels in the lobby they are beautiful. If you can, try to stay at a Deluxe resort once. The monorail and the water taxis make it very easy to get to the Magic Kingdom and the Transportation Center. The rooms are lavish and have a balcony or porch to extend your room space. Deluxe Resorts also have more combinations of rooms to accommodate your party. A choice of sit down dining options, baby and childcare services, pool of course, spa and health club, watercraft rentals, beaches and the possibility of having the best seat in the house to see the fireworks; from your room!!

For more information and updated refurbishments at WDW and new attractions please go to www.waltdisneyworld.com                                         

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Lets Get Started!

It seems that the first day of every year that the temperature is say, oh… above maybe 50 degrees, it hits. We get the itch. My husband says to me “Are we sure we’re not going this year?” And I say “… we discussed that it just wasn’t feasible this year” Then maybe a week will go by and we’ll be watching TV and one of those heart wrenching commercials will come on where the father opens up the pizza box, and there is a Mickey shaped pizza and a message that says “WE’RE GOING TO DISNEY!”. And I say to JB “Change the channel, I can’t even watch that, I’ll cry”. And so maybe another week goes by and the little voice inside my head says “You know you’ve been saving since you got home last August… you know… just in case… just make the call…” And so I pick up the phone and call… just to get a quote. And so it goes. We always somehow end up in Walt Disney World every August! What did it for us this year was when I called and was surprised to find out that we had a free dining pin! Thank you very much Disney, we’ll take it!

We love Walt Disney World in the summer time. Yes, it is sweltering hot. 97 degrees on a good day. But somehow to me, that’s Disney World. It’s Florida, it’s tropical, it’s just how it’s supposed to be. We’re going to go, we’re going to get tan, we’re going to sweat, and we’re going to love every dripping minute of it. This being said, I know that not every one feels this way, and so first things first, when are you going to go? Maybe you have no choice but to go whenever your have vacation time from your job, or your kids from school, or maybe you have the freedom to go whenever you darn well please. In this case, there are a number of things to consider. Disney World is the least busiest directly after Thanksgiving to just before Christmas, the second week in November, September after Labor Day, all of October, January after New Year’s, and May. If crowds are an issue for you, than go during one of these times! These are all off season times, and crowds will be very light. Just be aware that the parks will open late and close early during these times of year. So even though the parks won’t be as crowded, you will have less time to see everything. Also, temperatures can vary greatly in the off season. Temps in the 40’s are not unlikely in Florida in the late fall, winter, and early spring time. There are also special things that go on in Walt Disney World during certain times of the year, and maybe you want to go when they are going on. The Walt Disney World Marathon is the second weekend in January, Black History Month is celebrated in February, Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival is held between March and June, The Princess Half-Marathon is at the end of February, Gay Days are in early June, The Tom Joyner Family Reunion is on Labor Day weekend, the Night of Joy is the second weekend in September, the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival is held late September through early November, the Wine and Dine Half-Marathon is in early October, Mickey\’s Not So Scary Halloween Party is held for about the 24 days before Halloween, Halloween itself, and the night after, and finally, Mickey\’s Very Merry Christmas Party. Woo! There’s a lot to choose from!

Once you know when you are going it is time to do a little homework. The absolute first thing you must do is go out right now and purchase the the Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World. You can thank me later! This is my bible when planning my Walt Disney World Vacations. You must have it! You then must visit touringplans.com, which is the Unofficial Guide’s web site. You will think that I work for these people by how often I will reference them, but no, I will not benefit at all by telling you about them, but you will!! Next go to the Disney World website, and make sure you request the free vacation planning dvd! My other favorite Walt Disney World Vacation planning sites and blogs are, The Disney Driven LifeThe Moms Panelallears.netthemouseforless.comMouseSaversinner mousedisboards.commouseworldradio.comwdwinfo.comwdwtoday.com, and The Disney Blog. Phew!

Once you have done all your homework, you should decide how long you want to stay, where you want to stay, what kind of tickets or package you want to purchase, and how you want to get there! We always choose a 9 day vacation. Day one is arrival day. Days 2-7 are park days, day 8 is hotel pool/relaxing/packing/Downtown Disney day, and day 9 is the day I bawl my eyes out all day, aka departure day. To me, this is the ideal vacation. I know that everyone can not or may choose not to stay this long, or may choose to stay longer! This is really completely up to you and how much time and money you can allow yourself.

Since it is time to allow myself to close my eyes and put my head  on my pillow, I will leave you now with some time to click on all of the great sites I listed above, and in my next entry, we will discuss hotel and package options! Now go get yourself wrapped up in some pixie dust!

Mickey's Backyard Barbeque 2009

Walt Disney World 2009