The Festival of Fantasy Parade premiered with much fanfare a few years ago. And for good reason. The costuming and floats are incredible. Check it out below.
Disney Hack: Best Place to See Fireworks Outside the Parks
Did you know you can see the various Disney end of day fireworks displays without paying park admission? It’s true!
There are many places to view Wishes, the fireworks display at Magic Kingdom outside the parks, but the best in my humble opinion is at the newly refurbished Polynesian Resort. There are a few restaurants there and a beach, where they even pipe in the music from the Magic Kingdom. This is on my list to do this trip. We plan on grabbing a bite to eat at Captain Cook’s quick service restaurant, and then the famous Dole Whip from Pineapple Lanai (that’s all they sell there). A bonus of this is that you can view the free boat light show which laps around the lake. Continue reading
Touring Idea: Eat Around the World at EPCOT
It’s no secret that EPCOT is my favorite Disney park. One of the (in)famous things to do is to drink your way around the World Showcase pavilions. (Note to self: Don’t start with tequila.) But one does not live on booze alone. One of my fav Disney Vloggers Max shows us how to eat and drink around the world, in the video that helped me discover him.
Strategy for Savings: Riding the Disney Discount Wave
Many when planning a Walt Disney World vacation only decide to book a few months in advance. This is a flawed strategy for a few reasons.
First, did you know you can book a complete Disney vacation package including hotel, tickets, and dining with only a $200 deposit? Your entire package payment is not actually due until 30 days before your departure. In addition, that deposit, and any other payment you make is fully refundable up until that time.
You can also make any changes up until that time on your Disney vacation package. What this means is you can book early and get the room you want, and continually adjust to take advantage of any promotions that arise. Continue reading
What’s Dapper Day?
One of the best “unofficial” events at Disney parks is Dapper Day. Dapper Day is when Disney guests dress up in their favorite vintage inspired duds, often with a Disney twist and socialize around the park. The result is a beautiful spectacle of fashion. Check out this video for more.
Dapper Day 2016 is April 16 in Magic Kingdom Park and May 1 in Disneyland.
Ways to Save on On Disney Property Hotels
Despite their premium prices, there are several ways to pay less for a Walt Disney World on property hotel. Here are a few.
1. Take advantage of promotions offered directly by Disney. Disney offers room only, and package deals quite frequently. The best deals are in slower seasons, but if you watch closely can be found almost any time of the year. Usual hotel savings are anywhere between 10-30% depending on season and hotel level. NOTE: This is the only option available to pay with Disney gift cards. (Why would you want to pay with gift cards? Learn more here.)
Here’s a great roundup post of when deals are usually offered compiled by WDW Prep School.
And here’s a link to current promotions Disney is running.
Take the mystery out of the rate seasons with this handy guide from MouseSavers.
2. Pay with Starwood Points. Both the Dolphin and Swan hotels are members of the Starwood Points system, even though they are on property hotels.
3. A relatively new option for major savings on property is buying or renting Disney Vacation Club points. This gives you access to the many villas throughout the Disney resorts at a savings of roughly 50%. This makes Deluxe level resorts accessible at more of a moderate price. DVC Rental store is a reputable company to go through.
4. Purchase through a third party. Orbitz.com offers the same low rates that Disney does, but usually has another promotion running for an additional 15% off. Check for a promo code now. And if you do purchase on Orbitz don’t forget to use Ebates for an additional 8% cashback.
Visit MouseSavers for a solid roundup of all possible deals including Military rates.
Pros and Cons of Staying On and Off Disney Property
Updated October 2021
True Disneyphiles will tell you never to stay off property. You never “leave the magic” they say, and they offer nice perks. True, staying on property offers some bonuses like easy transportation, Disney package deals. There are positives and negatives to each.
Ease of arrival
Disney offers free transportation from Orlando International Airport only, an approximate $200 roundtrip value. They will also pick up and deliver your checked luggage to your resort.Disney World is cancelling the Magical Express Service in 2022, with no replacement announced. (Sad trombone.)
- CON: No transportation provided from the Sanford Airport. Baggage takes on average three hours to arrive at your hotel. You will be requested to leave on a bus for your return flight 2-3 hours before flight takeoff, despite only being thirty minutes from the airport.
- PRO: Come and go as you please on your schedule without waiting for a shuttle.
- CON: Airport transfer is on your own dime – approximately $200. Continue reading
Character Palooza: The Magical Unicorn of Character Experiences
Character Palooza is something I would think only exists in rumor, had I not seen photos of it myself. It’s so secret that Cast Members (Disney Employees) may say it doesn’t exit.
What is it? It’s a seemingly random mass appearance of usually rare characters in Hollywood Studios. It is, in fact a scheduled thing that if you subscribe to via Kenny the Pirate, character expert extraordinaire, you can work into your Walt Disney World touring plans.
Memory Maker photographers are NOT on hand, and it only lasts 15-20 minutes adding to it’s reclusive nature. It typically takes place at the Main Entrance of Hollywood Studios or in the Animation Courtyard near Disney Jr.
My best guess is that these characters are the same characters that appear in Fantasmic!. Since they are there already, why not parade them around for a short while and make some Disney magic?
For more information check out this post.
Walt Disney World Resort Closures
Nothing is worse than showing up on a Walt Disney World vacation and finding out your favorite ride or restaurant is closed. Get one step ahead by reviewing this thorough list of park closures first.
Dining at Disney: Is the dining plan right for me?
Update: Disney Dining plans are on hiatus due to the pandemic. I expect them to make their triumphant return in 2022.
For anyone staying on property at Disney World, it’s the million dollar question, “Is the dining plan right for me?” Although much debate has gone on about it, and it is personal preference, I would in general say “No.”
The idea of a prepaid plan is appealing. It provides an all-inclusive feel to your vacation, and who doesn’t love that? I would argue, the convenience of the plan ends there. Continue reading