Archive for April, 2009
Look what came in the mail today–my new business cards! I guess that means I’m official now. Can’t wait to start handing them out. Aren’t they cute?
The First Mate ($49.95 plus tax). Includes bandanna, choice of facial effects (scars, tattoos, fake teeth, earring, eye patch), sword and sheath, coin necklace, one 5×7 photo, and a personalized pirate oath.
The Empress ($49.95 plus tax). This one is for the girl pirates (much like the Prince package at Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo Boutique). Includes bandanna, shimmering makeup (face gem, tattoos, nail polish, earring, eye patch), sword and sheath, coin necklace, one 5×7 photo, and a personalized pirate oath.
The Captain ($124.95 plus tax). Includes choice of costume, choice of facial effects, sword and sheath, coin necklace, three 5×7 photos, and a personalized pirate oath.
The Pirates League will begin taking advanced reservations on May 11. Call 407-WDW-CREW to make yours!
Six months out: Sign up for email updates on money-saving web sites. (Call or email me for a list of my favorites!) Check to see if Disney has any special events during your travel dates. (While some events add value to your stay, others might cause the parks to be more crowded or even to close earlier than normal.) Decide on a resort and make your reservation. (Deposits at WDW resorts are refundable until within 5 days of your trip, and you can call any time to change or cancel a reservation if you find a better deal). Start looking into flights and book if your travel dates are set and you find a good deal. (Note any fees to change/cancel reservations, and be certain of your plans before you book.)
Four to five months out: Decide what type of park tickets you’ll need and purchase them from Disney or an official ticket outlet. Decide if you’ll purchase the Disney Dining Plan (only available to those booking a Magic Your Way package–which is any package that includes tickets and resort stay). There are several different dining plans at Disney. Click here to see them.
Three months out: Check refurbishment schedules to see which, if any, attractions will be closed during your stay. (There’s nothing you can do about this, but it helps to manage expectations if you know that, for example, that Space Mountain is closed until winter.) Make Advanced Dining Reservations (ADRs). This is especially important for character meals, as the most popular ones fill up within hours if not minutes. If you’re on the DDP, you’ll want to make all your table service meal ADRs to be certain you can take full advantage of your plan. (You can always make changes, and those that require a credit card to hold the reservation are refundable until 48-hours before you dine.)
One to two months out: Check the park hours for your travel dates, and begin creating a touring plan. Decide which park(s) you’ll be visiting on which days, and prioritize your attractions list. (If you attend a Disney 101 Boot Camp, you’ll learn the best touring methods based on what attractions you want to see, as well as what days are best to visit each park.) Order your free customized maps, based on the attractions you want to see, here. This is also a good time to make arrangements for any pets you’ll be leaving at home.
Ten days out: Complete on-line resort check-in. Re-check refurbishment schedule and park hours, as these are always changing. Confirm ADRs. Confirm ground transportation. If you’ll be driving, program important addresses into your GPS. Start packing!
One week out: Check the Orlando-area weather forecast. Do final laundry and finish packing (don’t forget necessary travel documents). Stop mail and newspaper service. Refill prescriptions. Let neighbors know you’ll be traveling.
One day out: Double-check your packing list. Confirm pet arrangements. Set light timers. Get a good night’s sleep!
The best Disney vacations are well-planned vacations. Happy planning!
- January 7-10: Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend. This one kicks off the year with half and full marathons, as well as a Family Fun Run 5K. If that’s not enough for you, you can compete in Goofy’s Race & a Half Challenge. The name says it all: it’s a full 26.2-mile marathon with an extra 13.1 miles tacked on for fun. You’d have to be Goofy to take that challenge! (Rumor has it that the half marathon is already 95% full, and Goofy’s Challenge is 75% full.)
- March 5-7: Disney Princess 1/2 Marathon Weekend. Ladies, you can don your tiaras and glass slippers for this trek across the Walt Disney World Resort. The Royal Family 5K is available to everyone, not just princesses. (If I ever get to the point that I can actually run 13.1 miles, this is the one I’m going to do!)
- September 26: Expedition Everest Challenge 5K. This obstacle course race, set in Animal Kingdom, is for two-member teams. The race starts just after sunset.
- October 11: Race For the Taste. In conjunction with the International Food & Wine Festival at Epcot, this race offers a 10K or a 3K option. The post-race picnic promises to be an epicurean delight.
- October 24: Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 13K and 5K. Disney’s Hollywood Studios is the setting for this night race. At the post-race party, you can take in attractions including, of course, Tower of Terror.
Besides bragging rights, runners will receive medals, shirts, and goody bags at most races. Many of the courses have entertainment or character greetings along the way–which is a nice break for less competitive runners (like me!). Kids races are held on many of the race days. Special ticket prices are also available for some event weekends.
Where can you dive into one a 5.7 million-gallon aquarium and swim with more than 65 species of marine life? Where can you don a grass skirt and dance the hula? How about taking a spin on a Segway? Or getting a trim in an old-fashioned barber shop? And where on earth can you design your own roller coaster and then go for a test ride?
Walt Disney World Resort, of course! Disney offers dozens of behind-the-scenes tours, as well as scientific, recreational, and luxury experiences. Here are just a few:
- DiveQuest, in The Seas with Nemo & Friends pavilion at Epcot, lets certified divers become part of the show while they commune with tropical fish, turtles, sting rays, and even sharks! (Cost: $140/diver; must be at least 10 years old and have proof of SCUBA certification.)
- Disney’s Polynesian Resort offers hula dancing lessons, and hosts a traditional Spirit of Aloha Polynesian Luau twice weekly. (Prices range from $25.99-$59.99 for the dinner luau.)
- Several Segway tours are now offered throughout WDW. Epcot hosts an Around the World tour in the World Showcase area. For a more rugged experience, you can tour the Ft. Wilderness resort property. (Tours vary in price. For more information, call 407-WDW-TOUR.)
- Harmony Barber Shop (Main Street in the Magic Kingdom) is a working, full-service barber shop! You can come in for a trim, get baby his/her first cut (complete with first set of Mickey ears), or simply get the color treatment–colored hair gel with Mickey confetti! (Walk-ins only, so be prepared to wait a bit. Cuts are $14 for kids and $17 for adults.)
- DisneyQuest’s Cyber Space Mountain (located at Downtown Disney) is not for the faint of heart! This attraction allows guests to design their own thrill ride, saving the design to a digital card that then goes into a simulator which then re-creates the experience for the guest, visually and physically. If you build it, you can ride it! (Admission to DisneyQuest is $42.60 for adults and $36.21 for kids 3-9.)
For more information on extraordinary guest experiences at Walt Disney World, call 407-WDW-TOUR. Or, drop me an email: email@example.com.
Oh, and here’s one more thing you can do at Walt Disney World: become the star of the show!
My husband and I were recruited to be in the show during the Backlot Tour at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. That’s me on the far right.
Playing the part. Notice the rain gear: “You will get wet in this show!”