Disney World: Top 3 Deluxe Resorts for Kids

Disney World: Top 3 Deluxe Resorts for Kids

Disney World: Top 3 Deluxe Resorts for Kids

 

The Deluxe resorts at Disney World are fabulous, but which are the best?  Let’s take a look at 3 of the best choices for Delxue resorts when traveling with children.

 

Polynesian Resort

Photo Credit: Express Monorail via Compfight cc

1.     1.   Disney’s Polynesian Resort 

      This resort sits along the monorail route, making it incredibly convenient for getting to the Magic Kingdom and Epcot.  It’s also walking distance to the Ticket and Transportation Center, allowing for a ride on the Express Monorail as well as via the ferry to the Magic Kingdom.  Situated directly across the lake from the Magic Kingdom, you can clearly see Cinderella’s Castle and the fireworks display above it at night.  Coupled with the lush, tropical feel and a zero depth entry pool with a volcano and waterslide, and this is one resort that’s hard to beat.

2. Disney’s Beach Club

One of the Boardwalk area resorts, this option’s number one draw is the amazing pool.  Named Stormalong Bay, this pool is a giant water complex comprised of a real sand bottom and sand play areas, a lazy river, and a large waterslide.  If you’ve got kids who love to swim, this resort absolutely cannot be beat.  Like the Polynesian, it has portions of the pool with a zero depth entry.  With its location on the Boardwalk, you also have access to several great dining options, both table service and quick service.  And, from this resort, you can walk to Epcot as well as take a boat to both Epcot and Hollywood Studios.

 

 

 

Animal Kingdom Lodge

Photo Credit: Brett Kiger via Compfight cc

 3. Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

Got an animal lover in the family?  Then this resort is calling your name!  Situated next to Animal Kingdom, this resort has views that span a savannah full of interesting animals.  Imagine sitting on your deck, enjoying the view of giraffes below.  Enjoy your morning cup of coffee while zebras and wildebeest roam in front of you.  The interior is exotically decorated and the restaurants on property a far from the usual fare.  And the pool here is also lovely, again with a zero depth entry for the younger children.

 

Of course, every family is unique, and there are many other fabulous Disney resorts to stay in as well.  Narrowing it down can seem intimidating, but these three resorts are a great place to start.  If you’d like help finding the perfect resort for YOUR family, I’m  just a phone call or email away.

 

 

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How does Fast Pass work at Disney World and Disneyland?

How does Fast Pass work at Disney World and Disneyland?

How does Fast Pass work at Disney World and Disneyland?

fast pass

The Fast Pass Process

A fast pass is essentially holding your place in line.  It’s a ticket you receive at a ride that tells you what time to return to the ride and enter through the Fast Pass queue.  The process works like this:

  1. At a Fast Pass enabled attraction, look for the Fast Pass machines near the ride.
  2. Insert your ticket into the machine, and the machine will print a Fast Pass for you.
  3. You must insert a ticket for each member of your party who wants a Fast Pass.
  4. The Fast Pass will show a window of time in which to return.  This is an hour long window.
  5. You must return to the ride during that time – late arrivals are not accepted.
  6. When you return, you will enter the ride via the Fast Pass line, where a Cast Member will collect your tickets and make sure you are within your window.
  7. This Fast Pass line is usually extremely short.

Using a Fast Pass saves you substantial time over waiting in the Stand By line.  When you arrive at a ride with a 90 minute wait, it’s a much better idea to grab a Fast Pass that allows you to return in a few hours and bypass the Stand By line.

Fast Passes Are Not Never-Ending

They do, in fact, run out, and the more popular the ride is, the faster this will happen.  In addition, the longer you wait in the day to get them, the farther out the return time window may be.  So while getting a Fast Pass for Toy Story Midway Mania in Disney World at 9am may give you a return time of 9:40am-10:40am, just 40 minutes away,  waiting to get a Fast Pass until 11am may mean a return time of 7pm – 8pm.

How Often Can You Use A Fast Pass

Once you obtain a Fast Pass for a ride, you cannot get another one until either the return window time or until 2 hours have passed, whichever comes first.   So, if you have a Fast Pass for Splash Mountain, you can’t immediately run over to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad to get another one.

Strategic use of Fast Passes is wise!  Take a look at your overall goals for your park day and see where you can plan use of Fast Passes to make your day easier.

Creating custom park touring guides for my clients is what I do, and I include strategic use of Fast Passes in my plans.  If you’d like to know more about how you can use my services to make all of the planning a piece of cake, please email me at [email protected]

 

 

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Luxury Disney: A Princess Tea Party Dream Come True

Luxury Disney: A Princess Tea Party Dream Come True

Luxury Disney: A Princess Tea Party Dream Come True

Tea Set

photo by Jeri Gloege via Flickr

When it’s nothing but the best for your little girl while on your Disney World vacation, then the Perfectly Princess Tea Party at the Grand Floridian Resort is a must.  Held in the Garden View Tea Room, this posh event invites girls ages 4 – 12 to dress up as their favorite princess and enjoy tea time treats like mini sandwiches, fruit and princess cake.  The tea party is hosted by Rose Petal, a helper of the famous Princess Aurora.  Princess Aurora may make a special appearance here as well!

Special Gifts

Her royal tea party awaits at 10:30am, and each princess will receive special gifts including:

  • A special 18-inch My Disney Girl doll dressed in a Princess Aurora gown plus accessories
  • A ribbon tiara
  • Silver Princess link bracelet
  • Fresh rose
  • Special princess scrapbook page
  • “Best Friend” certificate for their new My Disney Girl doll

Adult Disney Princess Tea Menu

Your adult tea menu includes grapes, egg salad sandwich, chicken-almond salad sandwich, salmon salad sandwich, shrimp tart, blue cheese barquette, smoked cheddar cheese, sage derby cheese and lavosh.  Children are served peanut butter and jelly hearts and grapes.  Both of you will also be served Princess Cake and tea for two.

An adult must attend with the child.  Reservations must be made and can be made up to 180 days in advance.  The event price for one adult and child is $250.

Imagine the delight your daughter will have dressing as a princess, enjoying the most magical tea party she has ever had, surrounded by the Victorian beauty of the Grand Floridian and with all sorts of Disney princess magical touches!  It’s an experience she won’t soon forget, and I’m willing to bet that watching her joyfully sipping tea from her fancy little cup will be something you’ll cherish forever as well.

I’d be delighted to arrange this on your behalf as part of your custom Disney itinerary and as part of my concierge services.  For more information, please email [email protected]

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Disney Character Autograph Ideas

Disney Character Autograph Ideas

Disney Character Signature and Autograph Ideas

Looking for character autograph ideas for your next Disney vacation?  If you’re looking for something beyond the typical autograph book that you can purchase from Disney stores or in the parks, this blog post is for you.

Collecting autographs as you go through the Disney parks can be a lot of fun.  Having something to sign that can be turned into an inexpensive souvenir makes it even better!  One way to do this is to create your own autograph book, with custom pages and a cover tailored to your children.  There are many autograph page designs out there if you search Google.  For example, a large collection can be found here: https://disneyautographpages.shutterfly.com/pictures.

Getting Started

To use these, open a program like Publisher, choose a 4×6 page size, and insert the images you have saved.  You can create a cover page with clipart or other pages you find around the web, or if you are talented with graphics, you could design your own.  Add the child’s name and the date of the trip as a reminder of the trip for the future.  Next, print out your pages on card stock.  Then, head to a printing place, like Fed Ex or Staples, and cut the pages to size with their paper cutter.  Ask to have the pages spiral bound, and for the first and last pages to be laminated.  Tada!  Your very own custom autograph book for your Disney trip!  Here’s an example of one that I made for my kids a few years ago:

 Disney Autograph Book

Disney Autograph book

Disney character autograph book

DIY Option

If that sounds like too much work for you, I’ve got another, easier, DIY option.  Head to your local craft store and pick up a photo mat.  You’ll want one that has a fairly wide border, and you’ll want to consider the size of it since you’ll be carrying it around the parks.  If you want something that you can easily slide inside a backpack, an 8×10 photo mat, with a place for a 4×6 photo insert, works great.  It’s big enough to fit a decent amount of character signatures while still fitting easily into a backpack or shoulder bag.  However, if you want a LOT of character autographs, say in Disney World where it’s so much easier to find a wide variety compared to Disneyland, you may want to consider taking something bigger.  Now, while shopping, be sure to grab a good assortment of colors of sharpie pens.   You’ll have the characters sign the photo mat as you go, and when you return home, you can select your favorite picture to insert the middle.  This makes an adorable keepsake for your child’s room!  I brought one for each child to Disneyland on our last trip, allowing for them to each pick their favorite photo when they got home. 

 Disney character autograph frame

I’m always happy to help my clients map out their favorite characters in the parks, as well.  So if character meet and greets are important to you, plan to have a fun way to collect their autographs and I’ll help you put a good plan together!

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Disneyland Side Trips: Huntington Beach

Disneyland Side Trips: Huntington Beach

Disneyland Sidetrips – Disneyland to Huntington Beach

Huntington Beach

One of the great things about a Disneyland trip is that there is often time for a few side trips.  Huntington Beach is a great day trip, or even a good place to stay a few extra days after Disneyland.

How Far is Huntington from Disneyland

Getting there takes roughly 30 minutes depending on traffic.  If you’re staying at Disneyland without a car (not a bad idea in general since it’s so easy to stay close to the parks), you can easily pick up a rental car in Downtown Disney for the day.

Arriving at Huntington Beach from Disneyland

When you arrive at Huntington Beach, you’ll see an impressively wide stretch of sand bordering a true Cali surf town.  Here, you can try your hand at surfing or just watch the surfers do their thing.  Kids are sure to love playing in the vast amount of sand here.  You can easily pick up sand toys at the nearby Walgreens if you don’t feel like packing any with you.

Huntington Beach

Then, head over to Ruby’s on the dock for some classic burgers and milkshakes with an amazing view.  The restaurant is at the very end of a long dock, with expansive views of the Pacific Ocean.  Their milkshake menu is pretty amazing, and reason enough to stop here.

Ruby's on the dock, Huntington Beach

Ruby's on the dock, Huntington Beach

What To Do After Lunch

After lunch, you can explore a cute downtown area, full of small surf shops, restaurants and the like.  Or, head back to the beach for more fun in the sun.  You can rent beach equipment, ranging from surf boards to beach umbrellas to bikes, at Zack’s Surf shop.

Then, when you’ve had your fill of beach fun and sun, you can head back to your Disneyland hotel and enjoy a dinner in Downtown Disney.

Or, for a longer stay, you might consider the Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach.  If you’d rather end your Disneyland trip with a few days relaxing in a beach down, this lovely resort is perfect for families.  Just across the street from the beach, with a pedestrian bridge over the highway for easy access, and with gorgeous landscaping and tropical pool area, this resort will give you a luxurious, pampered end to your Disneyland vacation.

Hyatt Huntington Beach duck by John-Morgan

photo by John-Morgan via Flickr

Hyatt Huntington Beach room by Sylvain Leprovost

phot by Sylvain Leprovost via Flickr

Hyatt Huntington Beach Pool by Angry Julie

photo by Angry Julie via Flickr

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Disneyland: Commando Weekend or Vacation Experience?

Disneyland: Commando Weekend or Vacation Experience?

Disneyland: Commando Weekend or Vacation Experience?

Disneyland Hotel

 

Let’s clear up a common misconception: Disneyland is not only about theme park til you drop for 2 days and then heading home.  Sure, that’s how a lot of people do it.  And if you’ve only got a weekend and want to make a run at it, that’s fine.  But if you’re thinking Disneyland for your next vacation, and actually want it to be, you know, a VACATION, then it absolutely can be!

First off, let’s start with the idea that you actually want to enjoy the entire experience.  You’ve got kids in tow, you want this to be special for them, and you want to enjoy your time, maybe even (gasp!) relax a bit.  If we’re starting there, let’s maybe throw the Motel 6 idea out the window.  I know, I know, it’s so common for people to say that the hotel is “just somewhere to crash at the end of the night.”  Except, what if it isn’t?  What if you could actually enjoy your hotel?  What if it was part of the overall experience?

Well, in that case, let’s consider an actual resort.  There are several to choose from in the area, but I’m talking nice rooms, nice services, and a super awesome pool.  Because honestly, most kids are all about pools and a super awesome pool just makes the vacation so much better.  For example, at the Disneyland Hotel, we’re talking about gorgeous hotel rooms, with Disney touches throughout, on property restaurants (including character breakfasts), characters visiting in the lobby, excellent customer service, and when you walk out your hotel lobby, you walk into Downtown Disney.  How’s that for staying in the Disneyland experience?  Plus, the pool area is amazing.  Two pools and a an entire monorail themed waterslide splash area, with three sizes of water slides.  Now add in cocktails by the pool for the parents – perfect.

By now some are thinking, “When would I use any of that?  I’ll never be at the hotel, I have to get through the parks.”  Back up – we’re trying to avoid that commando approach, remember?  Instead, we’ll head to the parks at opening to beat the crowds, have lunch and then head back to our (super close) hotel for an afternoon break.  Now we’ll have plenty of time for swimming and relaxing.  After we’ve cooled off and had some resort fun, we can head back into the theme parks for the evening.

Is two park days enough if we’re doing it this way?  Nope.  But we’re aiming for a full vacation experience here, so that’s ok.  In this case, you’ll want at least 3 park days to allow for a good pace, afternoon fun and plenty of time to get all of the rides in.

What else?  How about a day just for pool fun, exploring Downtown Disney and trying out some of the fun and delicious dining choices there?  Next up, we can take a day trip to nearby Huntington Beach for some ocean fun and relaxing views.  Universal Studios can be a fun day trip, and older kids may enjoy visiting Hollywood as well.  Have a few more days?   You can pack up and head down to San Diego to a lovely resort near the beach, for a visit to Sea World, Legoland and to explore the city of San Diego.

There are so many ways to make your Disneyland trip into an enjoyable, fun paced vacation.  If that’s what you are looking for, don’t be fooled into thinking Disneyland is a one weekend only destination.  That version is fast, furious, and tiring.  I’d love to help you turn it into a fabulous week of family vacation fun instead!

 

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Disney Vacation Planning with The Enchanted Traveler

Disney Vacation Planning with The Enchanted Traveler

Help with Planning Your Disney Vacation – Meet Your Travel Consultant

This week I thought I’d post a video introducing myself to you.  Planning an amazing Disney vacation for your family is a lot of work, but I’m here to help you with that.  Watch this video to see me give a short explanation of what I do, and why you might want to work with me.

 

 

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Club Level at the Disneyland Hotel

Club Level at the Disneyland Hotel

Club Level at the Disneyland Hotel

When you want something a cut above, a simple luxury to make your vacation that much more special, the Club Level rooms at the Disneyland Hotel are waiting for you.  Want to find out more?  This week’s blog is a video post, so click on the video below to learn about the benefits of club level!

 

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