Sunday, June 15, 2014

Whirlwind Weekend Getaways

Just recently my friend Holly and I decided to go to Disney World for a short weekend trip. Neither one of us have much paid time off left for the year at our day jobs so we could only afford one day off. Here's what our late August weekend trip will look like:

We take off at 10:30 AM and land at MCO (Orlando International Airport) at 12:30 PM
We've booked Disney's Magical Express to take us from MCO to All Star Sports resort

1 Full day at a Disney Park

We take off at MCO at 3:15 PM

The important thing to note about a weekend trip is that if you keep it contained to the weekend (and not let it bleed over into Monday) then you really only have one full day. For one day at the parks you can buy a one day ticket to Magic Kingdom or a one day ticket to Disney's Hollywood Studios, EPCOT, and Disney's Animal Kingdom. You're better off picking one park and sticking with it than trying to cover multiple parks in a single day.

In our case, we picked the Magic Kingdom. Hollywood Studios is having a special event the night we'll be there so we'd have to pay a separate price for that event to spend a whole day there. There's not enough to do at Animal Kingdom to spend a whole day there. Which left Magic Kingdom and EPCOT. I left it up to Holly to decide which one. I'll be going back for a full week in September with my parents and Holly won't. She picked the Magic Kingdom in order to see New Fantasyland. The last time the two of us went in 2012 it hadn't opened yet. (They started the soft open two weeks after we got back from our trip. We did, however, get to see all of Storybook Circus.)

We decided to stay at All Star Sports to take advantage of the lowest rate in the Fall Room Only offer. For a quick weekend all the two of us need is a bed, a shower, and a mini-fridge so the Value level is perfect for us.

At this point our trip (without airfare) is costing us about $210.00 a person. Not bad for 2 nights, 3 days at Walt Disney World Resort and a full day park ticket each. The Fall Room Only offer really saved Holly and I a lot of money this time around.

Once all of that was booked and I received our confirmation codes I went to My Disney Experience at Disney World's website and customized our Magic Bands as well as linked all of reservations and my Memory Maker purchase to our bands. (Memory Maker is a one time purchase for your Photo Pass digital photo license. Once you purchase it and link it to your Magic Band you get all of the photos taken by Photo Pass and select ride photos as well!)

Now all that's left to do for our trip is decide what we'll do during our available time on Friday and Sunday. I know we'll be having a late lunch at Earl of Sandwich at Downtown Disney on Friday, but beyond that I have no clue what we'll be doing.

We have a ton of options. If you're looking for similar ideas for your check in and check out day then this post we'll help you out. There are a lot of places to go on Disney Property that aren't theme parks or water parks. Here's a list of possible ideas:

-Downtown Disney for dining, shopping, movies, and bowling. (There's also DisneyQuest Indoor theme park and Cirque de Soleil's La Nouba for additional ticket purchases.)
-Disney's BoardWalk for dining and shopping as well as a Dueling Piano Bar and a Dance Club.
-Disney's Winter Summerland and Fantasia Gardens miniature golf courses
-Magic Kingdom firework viewing at Disney's Contemporary Resort or the Ticket and Transportation Center
-Dinner and shopping at various other Disney Resorts. (The Grand Floridian or any other Deluxe resort is particular fun to explore as they are incredibly detail oriented with their theme and story. One of my favorite places to relax is the lobby for Disney's Wilderness Lodge Vacation Club Villas.)

Once we arrive and check in, Holly and I will decide what we'll feel like doing but any of these options are doable for our time and budget. There's so much to see and do at the Walt Disney World Resort that sometimes I forget not all of it has to be done inside of a theme park. Be sure to keep the above options in mind next time you have free time to plan during your Disney Vacation!

Just 68 days until my next Disney vacation!

Have a magical day and please let me know if you'd like a FREE Disney quote or have any questions! I'll be happy to help in any way I can!

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Benefits of Staying on Property

So, recently I've talked to a lot of people who stay off property when they visit Orlando and while I can understand the lure of cheaper room rates and free continental breakfasts there a lot of things that are tacked on to your hotel stay when you stay off property. There are hotel and theme park parking fees, resort fees, the cost of gas to travel back and forth, if you fly there's the cost of transportation from the airport to your hotel or the cost of a rental car to get around to the parks, and then of course there's the risk of an unknown hotel brand with sub par service.

If you rely on sites like Priceline or Travelocity then you never really know what you're getting. You're relying on the reviews of others and guest ratings.

However, if you book a Disney resort you know you'll get excellent service from extremely helpful cast members. You'll also get free transportation from the airport to your resort, extended park hours, free parking at any Disney World park, and there are NO additional resort or parking fees tacked on to your resort stay. You also get free transportation to and from the parks that comes so often that you'll never wait too long for a shuttle, monorail, or boat as opposed to off property resort shuttles that come once every forty-five minutes if you're very lucky.

The value in a Disney Resort lies in these added perks that other places simply can't offer. They attempt to make up for it by offering you free continental breakfast or free wi-fi (which Disney also offers by the way) or sometimes even special prices on park tickets for time share open house weekends or conventions. But the other fees and the time you lose traveling back and forth often negate these attempts to compensate for things off property hotels can't offer.

A Disney resort is too expensive, you say? I understand why you would think so. Deluxe and Moderate resorts are certainly on the pricier side but the added luxury is what you're paying for. If you're staying off property you're typically not doing it for the luxury. You're doing it because you're a family on the go and a hotel is basically just a place to sleep, maybe swim, and come back to for a break when the park is just too much.

Well, there's a category of Disney Resorts that's made for your family. The Value Resorts. Personally, they're my favorite category. They're well organized, kid-friendly, and extremely convenient. And, I did the math for my upcoming trip, the price of staying at the Residence Inn at Sea World versus Disney's All Star Music resort in September is a mere $25.

For that $25 you get transportation to and from the parks whenever you need it or free parking if you prefer to drive yourself, superior service, extended hours at select Disney Parks, advance access to dining and Fastpass+ reservations, free transportation and baggage service from Orlando International airport to your Disney Resort, and NO resort fees. The added conveniences are well worth $25.

For example, let's say you have a family of four with two adults and two children and you decided to stay off property. You have a three year old and ten year old. Your family takes your van to the park that morning and you pay $17 for parking. In the afternoon you decide your three year old needs a nap. If you were staying off property you'd have to get in your van (with your entire family of four) and drive the five or more miles back to your hotel only to drive that same five miles back later and park further away (you shouldn't have to pay for parking again since you're given a day pass when you paid that morning.) Or you could go back to your van and let your little one nap in the back seat which may be uncomfortable or overwhelmingly hot in the Florida heat, but would allow the other adult and your ten your old to continue to have fun in the park.

Now let's see what this same scenario would like if you stayed at a Disney Resort. Even though you have access to free bus transportation you decide to drive your van to the parks that morning. Your parking is free due to your resort parking pass that is sitting on your dash and you're sent straight through (without paying $17). In the afternoon you decide your three year old needs a nap, but your older child wants to stay in the park. You leave the other adult in the park with the ten year old and take the three year old out of the park. Instead of heading back to your van you head to the nearest Disney bus stop for your Disney Resort. Ten to fifteen minutes later a bus for your resort pulls up and you're on your way back to your room. The little one gets a nap and then you hop back on a bus to meet up with the other adult and older child for more Disney park fun.

Need a swim in the middle of the day instead of a nap? No problem. Just take that same Disney bus back to your resort for a mid-day break at your excellently themed pool. No need to use any gas or get stuck in traffic on I-drive. Convenience is a key bonus to staying on Disney property.

Once again, I totally understand the appeal of what off property hotels are offering, but there's more value to a Disney Resort stay than most people realize. It's unbelievably convenient for families especially. And don't forget for those families of a five or more Disney has family suites at two Disney Value Resorts (All Star Music and Art of Animation). They have accommodations for every size family!

Don't miss out on Disney's current special offers of free dining with full price room and resort stay OR up to 30% of your resort stay for late summer and fall 2014 check in dates! Contact me for a FREE quote today!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Free Dining Plan Promotion Rumors!

So the buzz around Disney Vacation circles online is that Disney Travel Co will release the Disney Dining Plan Promotion to Visa Reward Cardholders on May 1st and then the general public 3-4 days later. The promotion is rumored to include late August and all of September arrival dates. Again, this is just a rumor that's going around online on various blogs and message boards. We'll see how true that is this week.

In the past the offer has included free dining plans to all guests staying at select Disney Resorts. If you stay at a Value Resort you get free Quick Service dining. However, you can upgrade to the full Dining Plan and simply pay the difference between the two plans. Guests at Moderate and Deluxe Resorts automatically receive the full Dining Plan. The only catch with this offer is that you must pay full price for your tickets and hotel room.

However, most of the time the value of the dining plan makes up for paying full price. I think the only exceptions would be if you were staying at a Deluxe Villa or one of the cabins at Fort Wilderness since you'd have your own kitchen where you could prepare your meals and store groceries.

The minute I hear anything Official I will let you all know! Free Dining is very popular! So if you'd like to book for this promotion you'd better jump on it fast! There's only a select number of rooms available for this promotion!

Have a magical day!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

About Me

Hello friends and Disney fanatics!

My name is Logan and I am an authorized Disney Vacation Planner. Since I planned my first Disney World trip after my high school graduation I have loved offering advice and tips to anyone who would listen. So you can imagine how this opportunity would be a perfect fit for me!

I have a passion for the Walt Disney Company and the man himself, Mr. Walter Elias Disney. I am, what's come to be known as, a Disney nerd. It's a label that I wear proudly!

I thought I would start by telling you all a bit about my experiences with the Walt Disney World Resort and the reasons I keep going back year after year.

I first visited Walt Disney World in High School. I was 15 and visiting Orlando with my immediate and extended family. We rented a house not far from Universal Studios and spent most of the trip at Universal's parks. However, 2 days of the trip were set aside for two Disney parks. My mom, dad, aunt, uncle, and myself broke away from the rest of the group and went to Disney's Hollywood Studios (known as MGM back then) and Epcot (still Epcot Center at the time). I had more fun in those two days than I did on the rest of the trip. I had dreamed of going to a Disney Park all of my young life and to finally be there felt like coming home.

So, when my high school graduation came up and my parents told me I could go where ever I wanted I immediately suggested Walt Disney World. Only this time I wanted the full experience. I wanted to stay on property and visit all four parks. We got a great deal on a 1 bedroom villa at Old Key West and off we went. In the middle of July. It was hot but totally worth it. Two years later we went back and then one year after that...

I was accepted into the Disney College Program.

For those of you who don't know, the Disney College Program is an internship program where college students can take a semester out of school to work at a Disney Theme Park or Resort. There's a program at Disneyland in California and a program at Walt Disney World in Orlando. I chose Orlando. I worked in Epcot for five glorious months with the most amazing people (most of whom I still talk to today) and loved every minute of it.

I loved being in the parks as a guest and talking to other guests in line. As someone who worked there I could offer tips on where to find certain characters or what time would be best to visit certain attractions. I advised guests when I was on and off stage (the Disney term for on and off the clock, basically). I couldn't seem to stop myself. But I discovered something about myself while I worked there. I discovered that I wanted nothing more than to help other people feel the magic and inspiration that I feel every time I visit a Disney park or resort.

I feel like a little kid and for a few days anything is possible.

I want to help other people feel that. It's that undeniable Disney magic that brings me back year after year and that draws families in like nothing else can.

If you'll let me I would love to help you make your Disney Vacation your most magical experience ever. And Disney has made that easier than ever with the wide variety of choices available to you! There's Disney Cruises, Disneyland in California, Disney's Aulani in Hawaii, international and domestic itineraries with Adventures by Disney, and the Walt Disney World resort in Orlando! I can help you no matter what Disney destination you choose!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

A New Purpose for an Old Friend

So, I have started my new blog:
Nora, Jane, & Walt.

(Which I have slacked off on by the way)

And I plan to continue that blog. HOWEVER, friends, I have found a new purpose for my College Program Blog. It will now become my Authorized Disney Vacation Planner blog!

That's right, friends, you heard it here first! I am now an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner with Frazzled Fairy Travels! I have just completed the Disney College of Knowledge course and I am ready to get to work!

My knowledge and passion for Disney had to come in handy sometime didn't it?

I am so excited! I have always loved helping people plan and enjoy their Disney experience and now I get to help out professionally with all the best resources that Frazzled Fairy Travels and Disney Travel can provide! There are so many amazing things out there for families and young people to experience through Disney! There's Adventures By Disney, Aulani, Disney Cruise Line, Disneyland Resort, and Walt Disney World Resort!

This means I will be changing the blog url! If you want to continue to find this blog you will need to change it in your favorites to:! I will be changing it promptly at midnight tomorrow night! 

I look forward to assisting anyone and everyone with making their Disney planning as stress free as possible! If you have Disney questions you'd like to have answered you can e-mail me at:!

Have a magical day!