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The Elite Traveler: Disney Vacations

The Elite Traveler: Disney Vacations
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Every time I get on the MLB wives email account I see questions about Walt Disney World.  It brings back memories of when my parents took me there as a child and how exciting and overwhelming it was all at the same time.  Meeting Minnie Mouse for the first time was the highlight of my trip!  She was so cute, and much bigger in person than on TV!

It’s funny how little things like the memory above can light up a kid’s heart.  They enjoy things so much more than we typically do as adults because they have no expectations of how things should be, or what they should look like.  For this reason, I recommend every parent take their kids to Disney World!  For a child, it is the experience of a lifetime.  For the parent, it requires a lot of pre-planning (like any of you actually have time to have to plan anything else)!  It’s also dealing with the missed naps while at the parks, temper tantrums in crowds of thousands, keeping track of your crazy kids while they find interest in everything they see, fighting the lines, making sure your kids get the most out of their experience while you stress about what you might be forgetting to show them…but you know what, it’s worth every second of that hectic time for you because seeing the huge smiles on their faces erases all of the craziness that a trip like this includes.
I wrote this article to make it easier for you!  I outline below the things you need to plan for, or think about, before going.  Disney has so many options it would be impossible to go over all of them so I am narrowing it down to some of the things that I personally would do, or would recommend doing.

As far as the resorts go, there are a few I would recommend.  Depending on the number of people you have in your party, I would either recommend a resort room or a villa.  I have broken down the recommended options below.

Vacation Packages and Included Dining Options
I list the link to the Magic Your Way Packages below for you to see what Disney offers in their package deals.  I highly recommend doing a package.  Whether or not to include dining in your package is totally based on personal preference.  You will find the package options on the left hand side of the page.  The packages with dining will be found below that.  Disney also offers a Park Hopper option on your tickets which allows you to go to more than one park a day. I highly advise adding this option depending on your children’s ages.
Villas

The Grand Floridian is located in the Magic Kingdom area. The villas are the newest addition to the property.  This particular property offers transportation to and from the parks by bus (all parks), monorail (Magic Kingdom and Epcot), and water taxi (Magic Kingdom).

Bay Lake Tower is located beside Disney’s Contemporary Resort and is the newest addition to that property.  It is also found in the Magic Kingdom area.  Transportation options at this property include the bus (all parks), monorail (Magic Kingdom and Epcot), and the water taxi (Disney’s Wilderness Lodge and the Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground).

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas – Kidani Village
https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/resorts/animal-kingdom-villas-kidani/rates-rooms/

Located near the Animal Kingdom, these particular villas offer a neat experience for animal lovers.   Some of the rooms here offer views of the savanna where over 30 species of African wildlife freely roam.  The only transportation option offered at this resort is the bus which transports to and from to all Disney parks.

Things I Highly Recommend

Tour Guides

You may wonder why you would need a tour guide at Disney, but they can make things a LOT easier on you.  While Disney offers tour guides of their own at a steep price, you can also find outside companies who offer similar services for half the cost.  For now, I am listing the information that Disney’s website provides for their in-staff tour guide services and what having a tour guide entails.  Contact me (contact information below) for information regarding hiring Disney tour guides that are not associated with Disney themselves.

VIP TOUR SERVICES

(The information below is taken directly from Disney’s website)https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/events-tours/vip-tour-services/

“With the help of your own VIP Tour Guide, enjoy maximum fun with minimal fuss—and the Disney vacation of a lifetime.

The team at Disney’s VIP Tour Services will plan the most efficient, enjoyable way for your group of up to 10 people to see and do what’s on your list.  Just tell us what you want, and we’ll create your ideal itinerary!

With special perks like door-to-door transportation, preferred event seating and expedited entry to select attractions, you’ll spend less time waiting and more time soaking up the magic of Walt Disney World Resort.

Premium VIP Tour  Your day begins when your Disney VIP Tour Guide meets you at your door in a private vehicle and whisks you effortlessly to the park of your choice.  As part of your personalized service, you’ll enjoy:

  • A flexible start time of your choosing
  • Visits to multiple theme parks in a day, if desired
  • The ability to experience some of your favorite attractions efficiently, even repeatedly
  • VIP seating for parades, select stage shows and nighttime spectaculars
  • Shared insight from your highly knowledgeable VIP Tour Guide throughout your tour
  • A completely customized experience based on your preferences

VIP Tour Pricing Guests of select Walt Disney World Resort hotels can enjoy the star treatment at a special rate.

Guest TypeHourly Rate per Guide (regular)Hourly Rate per Guide (holiday)
Resort Hotel$315$355
Non-Resort Hotel$340$380

Transportation between local airports and Walt Disney World Resort hotels can be arranged at an additional cost.”

Character Dining
I am listing the website below that shows the options for character dining.  The 2 dining experiences that I recommend are Chef Mickey’s (for boys and girls) and Cinderella’s Royal Table (for girls).  Cinderella’s Royal Table has upgrade options which I highly recommend looking into if you have a real “girly girl” on your hands! 🙂  Ohana is another good option, but the ones above have more of the common characters.  Please be advised that reservations to these restaurants fill up extremely fast so getting these booked early is very important in your pre-planning. https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/dining/#/character-dining/

Fast Pass Options
Lets be honest – we are all looking to skip lines!  Unfortunately, there is nothing you can buy that will allow you to skip all the lines to the attractions, but Disney does have an option called Fast Pass.  Not all of the rides have the Fast Pass options, but for the ones that do, I am listing the directions below on how to take advantage.  The information below is taken from Disney’s website.

“With FASTPASS, you can cut your time spent standing in line and do more with your day.

To Use FASTPASS Service:

1. Look for the “FASTPASS Distribution” sign near the entrance of an attraction.
2. Check the return time displayed on the sign.

  • This time indicates when you should return to enjoy the attraction using your FASTPASS ticket.
  • For attractions, the return time is a 1-hour window (e.g., 1:10 PM to 2:10 PM), and you can show up anytime between then. For shows, your return time will be for a specific performance.

4. If the return time works for you, insert your valid admission ticket into the FASTPASS Service machine. (You may use your Walt Disney World Resort admission ticket, re-entry ticket, Key to the World card or Annual Pass.)
5. The machine will generate a FASTPASS ticket printed with your return time.
6. Go back to the FASTPASS ticketholder entrance when your return time rolls around, show your ticket to the Cast Member and enjoy the attraction with a minimal wait.

Please keep in mind:

  • FASTPASS tickets are valid only on the day of issue.
  • Everyone in your party using the FASTPASS ticketholder entrance must have a FASTPASS ticket.
  • The time at which you can get your next one will be printed on your ticket. FASTPASS Service machines will not issue another ticket until the time stated on your current one.”
Other Useful Information and Sites
Character Experiences, Entertainment, Attractions, and Events and Tours
DisneyWorld

I know this blog is long, but there is SO much information to take in when visiting Disney!  I hope that the information provided is helpful.  I would love to help in any way I can and make your child’s wish come true!  Please email today and let me plan your perfect Disney vacation!

 

Lindsay McLouth, wife of Baltimore Orioles outfielder Nate McLouth, is a travel expert based in Tennessee & Maryland. Lindsay worked for one of the leading resort chains in the world before becoming an independent travel agent. Her specialty is the Caribbean, Hawaii, and Mexico, but she books all over the world. Lindsay is excited to share her passion for travel with Sis and is available to help you with your unique vacation needs! Contact her at theelitetraveler@gmail.com.

 

Lindsay Mcclouth

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Lindsay McLouth Lindsay McLouth is the wife of Nate McLouth, MLB outfielder.