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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

How Early is Too Early?

When it comes to planning your next Disney vacation that is.   How early do you start planning?

Of course, you can't make reservation 2 years or more in advance for any Disney location because the rates are not available that early.  However, you can really start thinking about it!  What we are planning on is for 2015.  We want to wait for the Seven Dwarfs Mine Coaster attraction to be totally completed before we plan another trip to Walt Disney World.  Seeing it being built on my last trip in May, makes me even more anxious to experience it.  We really feel that with what we have seen, read and heard about this attraction, it will more than likely be our favorite roller coaster on property, or anyplace else for that matter!  (Like we really go on any roller coasters anyplace else!  HA!)

Photo Credit: John Foster-The Disney Blog

Mine car prototype
Photo Credit: Pop Culture Geek

 Concept art photo credit: Themeparkgc

So, 2015.  Not really THAT far off, right?  Feeling that early September that year will be our best bet.  Good weather, lower crowd levels, (school is back in session for most parts of the country, and the time before the EPCOT Food & Wine Festival brings in the big crowds.) Don't get me wrong, we totally loved F&W last year when we were there, and would love to go again at some point, but we really want to go during a time when crowd levels are low, and there are not so many kids.  Tips from local friends indicate this would be the best time for the two of us.  As two (not too mature) adults who will be in in our late 50's and early 60's at the time of the trip, (GOOD LORD!) in 2015 (and not saying that I don't like, please don't get me wrong) we just want more "calm" on this next visit.

Saving $$ to go.

This next trip we would love to stay at my two favorite resorts, Wilderness Lodge and Port Orleans French Quarter.  I want to do a split stay, because we just can't afford to stay at Wilderness Lodge for 6 nights, (unless I win the lottery or something!), so I figured staying 4 nights at Port Orleans FQ and then 2 nights at WL.  This way we can get the best of both beautiful locations, and have it still fit in what we can afford.

 Photo Credit: WDW website

 Photo Credit:

Again, traveling as two mature adults, we have to think of these budget constraints as spending retirement money is not an option.  I know there are many out there who don't have that concern, but we do, and so do many of our friends.
So, the plan is starting about a year and a half before final payment would be due, I am going to put aside $40.00 a week into a savings account.  This way we will have more than enough for the trip, and even have enough to cover the air travel.  This would not be enough to cover the cost of an entire stay at Wilderness Lodge, but it will be if we split the stay.

Photo Credit: WDW website

Looking at current prices, and adding 10% to 15% increase I should be right in the ball park, or pretty close to it.  Now, as I never count on getting in on the free dining I am not even thinking about that, but it sure would be nice if at least once it would work out for us to take advantage of that.  That would save quite a bit.

So, see?  It's never too early to start planning your next Disney vacation, when you are totally motivated, and you have a goal in mind.  Heck, half the fun for us is planning the trip.   We love choosing places to stay, what to do, where to dine, plan meet-ups with other Disney pals who will be there at the same time, or the "locals" that I have gotten to know and just love to see.  We also love the "countdown" part!  Our trip last October, we started our official countdown at day 100.  We wrote down 100 different things we wanted to do on that trip, and we totally ran out of days!  We still had about 15 things on our list, and we never even go to the cruise portion of the trip.  That is proof positive that there is so much to do at Walt Disney World--even for two fun-loving, middle-aged travelers with no kids. We will have to start thinking of what kind of countdown to do for 2015!

Hope this gave you some ideas of starting to plan your next Disney adventure!

Friday, July 19, 2013

My Characters in Flight Experience

Let me start out by saying that there are two things you need to know about me before I being this story. 
#1- I have a fear of falling that has progressively increased the older I get, and #2-I usually NEVER pay full price for anything!  This is not to say that I am cheap, but I am a bargain hunter.

When I was planning my last trip to Walt Disney World this past May, I was constantly in search of a great deal on my resort, which of course I picked to stay at the new Art of Animation Resort, and it was not offering free dining, so I got no specials there.  This meant I had to find my deals in the other parts of my travels.  I checked the Southwest Airlines website 2-3 times a day for great airfare, which I finally found about the end of January. 

Then, one of my Facebook Disney pals posted something about a Groupon for Characters in Flight...Operated by Aerophile which runs at Downtown Disney.  I had wanted to do this on our last trip in October of 2012, but we just simply ran out of time.  The cost for this per adult is normally $18.00 per person.  However the Groupon I got was for $11.00, saving me $7.00.  Hey, you gotta save where you can, right?

Let me digress for a moment.  Back on that trip in October of 2012, my husband and I took a very special trip to Walt Disney World, and on our first  cruise aboard a Disney cruise ship, and we sailed on the Dream.  We also did the Wild Africa Trek at Disney's Animal Kingdom.  This was a real challenge for me.  With my fear of falling, I was not sure how I was going to do on the rope bridges.  Fear of falling is quite different from having a fear of heights.  I am great in an airplane.  I could go into outer-space, and not have an issue.  Get me on a ladder, or looking off the edge of a building, and my knees turn into butter, and my heart races.  So, on the Trek, I challenged myself to not be afraid, and I actually did really well.  I was the first in the group across the bridges, and I didn't flinch even a little.  I was very proud of myself.  

Now, getting back to Characters in Flight. So, the last day of my trip comes around and I had planned on shopping at Downtown Disney to kill some time.  My flight home was not leaving until 5:30pm, so I had many hours before my dreaded Magical Express trip back to the airport.  I got my bags picked up around 9am and my porter and I headed over to the express check-in for the airlines.  This is such a nice feature that is offered.  You don't have to worry about hauling your bags through the airport with you.  They are already there waiting to go on the plane.  I then jumped on a resort bus and headed to Downtown Disney.  As I shopped through the different stores I wanted to hit, I was also psyching myself up to get on that balloon.  First off, I was thinking of the money.  Ok, so I paid $11.00, but I never want to waste $11.00 for anything from not using it.  Also, the challenge was there once again to conquer the balloon, and conquer it I did!!

This is a picture I took looking up at the balloon from inside the basket.

I am so glad I did this!  What a wonderful experience.  The balloon was "up" when I arrived, so I had to wait for the next "flight."  It was only about a 10 minute wait, and there were only a few people there.  I think I remember there being about 12 people with me.  

It was a very breezy day, so they only took us up 300 feet, and the balloon has the ability to go the full 400 feet up if conditions are right.  Even at 300 feet, it gave a breath-taking view of the surrounding area, and it was a beautiful clear day.  I hope you enjoy the pictures I took from below the balloon before I got on, and my pictures from my "flight."  

In closing, I highly recommend this experience to anyone.  It was well worth the cost, even if you don't have a coupon!

From the Walt Disney World Website:
About the Balloon
Custom-built for Disney by Paris-headquartered company Aérophile S.A., the Aéro30 illuminates to showcase the silhouettes of its beloved Disney characters and is filled with 210,000 cubic feet of helium. The balloon’s 19-foot-diameter basket holds up to 29 people plus one Aérophile-certified pilot per “flight.” Guests on board will be treated to stunning vistas up to 10 miles away!

Friday, July 12, 2013


Reunite with Long-Lost Friends Week
July 15 to July 21, 2013

Attention Disney lovers and Character enthusiasts alike! Once again, Limited Time Magic is bringing back a few old pals for an unforgettable return to Magic Kingdom park! During Long-Lost Friends Week, some familiar faces will step back into the spotlight at Town Square on Main Street, U.S.A. Don't miss this opportunity to get up close and personal with rare Disney Characters you may have helped select in an online poll! From Robin Hood and Br'er Rabbit to Louis and Dr. Facilier from Disney's The Princess and the Frog, drop by to see who got the most votes and enjoy a few memory-making photo opportunities too.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Refrigerator Removal from WDW Resorts, Disneyland Resorts, and Aulani Guest Rooms!



Due to a possible defect in the refrigerators in some of the Guest rooms at the Walt Disney World® and Disneyland® Resorts, as well as Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa, Resort hotels at these locations have removed or temporarily disconnected Guest room refrigerators until the issue can be resolved.

Guests staying at these Resort hotels will be notified of the refrigerator removal via a letter in their room. Currently the schedule for replacing the refrigerators at these Resorts is expected to last several months.

The Villas and Family Suites at Disney's Art of Animation and Disney's All Star Music will not be affected.

Monday, July 8, 2013

MORE Limited Time Magic!

MORE Limited Time Magic!

Experience Mickey's America Streetbeat
July 8 to July 14, 2013

Soak up the sounds of a little Limited Time Magic as America Gardens Theatre comes alive at Epcot, thanks to the musical performances of "Mickey's America Streetbeat." For a limited time, join Mickey, Minnie, Goofy and Donald as they come together with an energetic troupe of young performers—watch the fun unfold as they take part in an over-the-top display of hip hop, percussion and acrobatics. From the rhythm and tunes to the tap-dancing of their shoes, it's set to be one incredible jam you won't want to miss!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Please go "Like" our Facebook page, WDW MANIACS!

Are you a Facebook member?  If so, you can enter the contest on our Facebook page called WDW Maniacs.  The link is here for you to follow!  We have a contest going on there for chances to win a $25.00 Disney Gift Card!

The contest runs through July 30, 2013!  Get your entries in early!!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Updated Closure Information at WDW

Pirates of the Caribbean: 07/27/13 - 07/30/13
Enchanted Tiki Room: 07/31/13 - 08/28/13
Prince Charming Regal Carrousel: 08/01/13 - 08/21/13
Liberty Belle Riverboat: 08/05/13 - 08/09/13
Jungle Cruise: 08/19/13 - 09/30/13
Peter Pan: 09/30/13 - 11/13/13

Fountainview Ice Cream Shop: 04/08/13 - Fall
Spaceship Earth: 08/18/13 - 08/24/13

Disney's Hollywood Studios®
Muppet Vision 3D: 08/06/13 - 09/02/13
Honey I Shrunk the Kids Playground: 09/03/13 - 11/19/13

Disney's All Star Sports Resort
End Zone Food Court - transportation from the porte cochere will be provided to Disney's All-Star Music Resort and Disney's All-Star Movies Resort where Guests can dine at the Intermission Food Court or World Premier Food Court: 08/04/13 - 12/20/13

Arcade - closed during this time frame as it will be used as a temporary Food Court with "Grab & Go" items: 07/29/13 - 12/20/13

Disney's Contemporary Resort
California Grill: 02/02/13 - 08/24/13

Disney's Polynesian Resort
Volcano Feature Pool: 09/09/13 - 09/20/13

Disney's Port Orleans Resort - French Quarter
Atrium and Lobby Rehab Design & Implementation - Guests may see or hear some of the enhancement work during their stay: 05/01/13 - 07/12/13

Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort
The Spa at Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort - Guests may be referred to Senses - A Disney Spa at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort for spa services: 01/16/13 - Summer 2013

Grandstand Pool: 08/25/13 - 09/14/13