All the Information to Choose Disney: Winter vs Summer
I am always asked: when is the best time to go to Disney? The right answer is actually whenever you can! Whether or not you have fun is actually entirely up to you, not the weather or the crowds or any of that. But…when it comes to these two seasons, when is the best time to head to Disney: Winter vs Summer?
Travel in Winter – The Pros
First up, if there were such a thing as “perfect” weather in Central Florida, it’s the winter time. While it can get cold (by their standards, under 70 is considered cold), the weather is fairly moderate during winter months. It’s best to check the weather daily while packing.
Rumor has it that crowds are lower during the winter months, however, I am going to 100% disagree. More and more people are going during the winter months now than ever before. But there are some times where the parks are more of a ghost town in winter. And if you’re a Festival fan, the Epcot Festival of the Arts takes place during winter months!
Travel in Winter – The Cons
YAY! The weather is nicer! Whoops…there’s more refurbishments. And they’re generally longer, too. The weather and lower crowds give the best combinations for construction crews to get a bunch of the big stuff done with minimal interruption.
Usually, both water parks are open in the summer, though that is not currently the case in post-Covid times. But in the winter months, there is always only one water park open. And it is not uncommon to see them close because of the temperature. If you love water parks, this is probably not the time for you to visit!
And finally, while people think crowds SHOULD be lower, they’re actually not. Holiday weekends, including MLK and President’s Day, plus Mardi Gras, bring MASSIVE crowds to Disney World. Then there’s Marathon Weekend. And, with the way school calendars are managed these days, some spring breaks run into late-February-mid-March! So while it would SEEM that crowds should be lower, in many ways, that is simply not the case!
Travel in Summer – The Pros
First of all, I am 100% Team Summer. I have a teenager, and going in summer means there is no school to miss. The other long breaks during the school year fall on holidays, which are generally the busiest times of the year!
Again, while not currently the case, in general, BOTH water parks are open during the summer months. This, of course, provides another great way to Beat the Heat! The heat also gives you a great reason to spend an entire day at your hotel’s pool!
The parks are open earlier and stay open later. My best travel tip in summer is to head out early, take a long break when it’s stupid hot, and go back late at night. It was MUCH better when the parks stayed open even later waaaaaaaay back when, but it can still be done! This gives you more hours in the day to get things done, despite the crowds. Also, PRO TIP: when it rains and everyone leaves? You should stay and take advantage of the low crowds!
Travel in Summer – The Cons
Yes, it is hot. And the heat is only amplified by all of the concrete and asphalt you’re walking on to get around the parks. It is humid. You can swim through the air. And it WILL rain. Sometimes all day. Sometimes for five minutes, but it will happen.
Again, it is allegedly the most crowded time of the year. June and July are crowded, yes, but August is PRIME Disney World Time. We are lucky to have a later school start time, and we have taken advantage of this for years. So while everyone is going back to school, we are enjoying the low crowds of Disney World!
How to Beat the Heat and Enjoy your Walt Disney World Vacation in the Florida Summer!
People think we’re crazy, because we go to Walt Disney World in July and/or August every year. Yes, it feels like the surface of the sun, and I have sweat through my shirt within 37 seconds after walking outside, but it’s actually less crowded than almost any other time of year. It’s still crowded, yes, but not nearly as crowded as, say, October or May. So how do we beat the heat? Here are some of our tried and true “Disney in Summer” methods to help your family beat the heat!
1. Stay Hydrated
First and foremost, you MUST stay hydrated. It is incredibly hot and the sun and heat and pavement will wipe you out quickly. Remember that you will be walking on concrete and asphalt, so when the temperature is 96 degrees at 9am, the ground is MUCH hotter. But don’t waste your money on water in the parks. You could buy a whole case of water for the price of one bottle of water in the parks. And not only that, the “cheap” bottles of water are Dasani, and Dasani adds salt to their water, which then just dehydrates you. Yes, salt is necessary for the human body, but there was one vacation where I drank Dasani and came out of it incredibly thirsty and very swollen.
The solution? Pack your own water bottles. You can fill up at the quick service refill stations in your hotel, order bottled water for your room, and get water at all quick service locations for free. If the Florida water isn’t something you like, get a water bottle with a filter (like Brita) or pack some drink flavoring. There are also water bottle filling stations at each park. PRO TIP: Pack something to flavor your water with, like koolaid mix sticks. The water can be…funky.
2. Use Cooling Towels
Cooling towels are your friend! These little beauties will lower your body temp significantly, especially if you use them on your head. We have towels that you can wrap around your head like a scarf or a headband, which are not only comfortable, but fashionable. And let me tell you, when you’re dripping with sweat, being fashionable is completely important. There are several versions of these available to purchase, but I suggest a version that folds up easily. I like things to be light, compact, and easy to carry, so that your back isn’t broken by all the stuff you lug around. Also, you don’t want to be “that guy” in the bag check line.
3. Spend More Time in the Air Conditioning
The good news is that most of the rides at Walt Disney World are inside, so maybe standing in a long line every once in a while isn’t so bad! Make sure you’re going into air conditioned spaces as much as you can during the hottest parts of the day. Spend time shopping or grabbing a snack and a seat inside. Get in that Peter Pan line that is 90 minutes and play in the most awesomest line queue there is! ESPECIALLY if there’s a storm! This is a great dry and cool place to wait out a storm!
4. Get Up Early/Stay Out Late
Are you not a morning person? Believe me, I understand, but one of the absolute best ways to beat the heat is to get up really early and head to the parks. We like to get up early, get a ton done in the parks before it gets too hot, head to brunch, then head back to the hotel to rest and/or swim, before heading back out in the evening when it starts to cool down again.
PRO TIP: plan a longer trip in summer months so that you can take advantage or more down time and more time at your resort.
5. Add Park Hopper Plus or Water Parks and Sports
Adding Water Parks and Sports to your ticket gets you into the parks, ESPN Wide World of Sports, Golf and/or Mini-Golf, and the Walt Disney World Water Parks. If you want to park hop, you can purchase the Park Hopper Plus and gain access to the sports and Water Parks, in addition to park hopping privileges. This is a great value and an awesome way to beat the heat!
6. Eat a LOT of Frozen Treats!
There is nothing better on a scorching hot day than some ICE CREAM! And Disney has PLENTY to offer! Read about my top Ice Cream Spots!
7. Sunscreen/Moleskin/Body Glide/Extra Deodorant
DO NOT skip sunscreen. The last thing you want to do is spend thousands of dollars on a vacation to get scorched on day 1 and be miserable the rest of your trip. Use it often! Pack some moleskin. You will walk A LOT at WDW. People are surprised by how much walking there is. On our last trip, I think the lowest step count was about 20K in one day. Couple that with sweat and rain and wet socks, you might come away with blisters. Moleskin will help with that and protect your feet from infection AND pain. At the very least, make sure you have bandaids!
For those of us not blessed with a thigh gap, body glide is a life saver. BONUS PRO TIP: Gold Bond powder keeps lady bits and undercarriages of all types fresh and dry. Helps with the chafing and burning. Just trust me, you’re gonna want these things! I also pack a travel deodorant in my bag. I have smelled some stuff while in the parks in summer and let me tell you, it WILL NOT be me! BONUS BONUS PRO TIP: baby wipes or deodorant wipes to wipe the sweat off of you, makes you feel refreshed and clean.
Yes, they sell ponchos in the parks. Yes, they have Mickey Mouse on them. Yes, you could easily reuse them. OR you can spend the same amount of money on a box of 20 or more ponchos you can easily throw away when the rain stops as you would on one Mickey Mouse poncho.
It’s summer in Central Florida. It’s going to rain. Most times, it will pass quickly, though there are those vacations when it just rains the entire week you’re there. Instead of carrying around a wet piece of plastic, throw it away and go about your business. Much easier, much nicer. You could also purchase a small, foldable umbrella or a raincoat to use instead of a poncho (I hate ponchos so much, so I get it).
As I said, it will rain. It may be good to invest in a waterproof backpack. If you are like me, though, and you already have 20 backpacks dedicated to Disney trips (I’m probably embellishing a bit), just stick different size ziploc bags in your suitcase and stick them in your bag. This also comes in handy for electronics when you go on water rides. Some people also pack flip flops or sandals to wear in the rain, so their shoes don’t get trashed when the parks start filling up with water. PRO TIP: pack extra socks in your bag. As Lt Dan said, you want to keep your feet dry! Whether it be rain or sweat, sometimes just changing your socks midday can vastly improve your mood and the way your feet feel!
Here are 10 Non-Park Day Activities you should work into your next Walt Disney World Vacation!
Walt Disney World is 27,000 acres or 40 square miles. This is the same size as San Francisco, or TWO Manhattan Islands, for perspective. In other words: Walt Disney World is BIG. There are TONS of things to see and do other than theme parks (of which there are four). How do you know what to do? You get a travel agent (aka ME) and talk about Non-Park Day Activities! Here are ten Non-Park Day Activities to think about for your next Walt Disney World Vacation!
Enjoy Your Resort
It’s easy to fall into the line of thinking that “I paid too much money to just sit in a hotel,” but when you go to Walt Disney World, half of your trip OR MORE is just paying for that hotel! ENJOY IT! Every single resort has at least one place to eat, and all resorts outside of the Value Category offer at least one Quick Service Restaurant and at least one Table Service Restaurant. It is not inconceivable to plan an entire day of activities JUST at your hotel.
Explore the pools! Yes, plural. There are multiple pools at each resort, and some of them are pretty awesome, with waterslides and even water playgrounds. You will also find an arcade in every resort, too. Need more? You can watch “Movies Under the Stars” on the lawns and, if you pick the right resort, catch the nightly fireworks at one of the parks WHILE you’re watching the movie! Check the lobby every day to get the list of daily activities offered at your hotel, and pricing, if necessary. And when in doubt, grab a nap! Remember, you’ll be walking 8-12 miles PER DAY. Your body, and your kids, will thank you!
Tour the Skyliner Resorts/Do the Skyliner Bar Crawl
Yep: Bar Crawl. There are 4 hotels with Skyliner stops, so it has become “a thing” to Skyliner Resort-Hop. There are several ways to do this, even combining EPCOT and Hollywood Studios stops, with Art of Animation, Pop Century, Caribbean Beach, and the Riviera. You could simply look around the resorts, do the Bar Crawl, or, even more intriguing, do a DESSERT crawl!
Tour the Monorail Resorts/Do the Monorail Bar Crawl
The Monorail Resorts are absolutely iconic. Even if you’ve never been to Disney World, you’ve probably at least heard the names. The Contemporary, the Polynesian, and the Grand Floridian are the massive, and pricy, resorts that surround the Magic Kingdom and Seven Seas Lagoon. Even if you can’t afford to stay there, they’re worth a visit, especially at Christmas time! You could plan a bar crawl, stopping at such amazing Lounges as Steakhouse 71, Trader Sam’s, and Enchanted Rose. Maybe you like to eat? Well, from California Grille, to Kona Cafe, to Narcoossee’s, you will not be disappointed with food options at any of these resorts!
Looking for an out-of-the-box arrival day activity? Did you know that you can watch the Magic Kingdom fireworks from ALL of the Magic Kingdom area resorts? Whether you choose the observation deck at the Contemporary, or the beach at the Poly, or luck into an amazing dinner seat at Narcoosee’s, enjoy the fireworks without the massive crowds. You can also take in the Electric Water Pageant, too! And there’s plenty of shopping at these massive hotels. Plenty of Non-Park Day Activities for all!
I will not apologize for my unabashed devotion to the Wilderness Lodge. It is my absolute favorite and I’ve yet to find a place that I love as much as this. So NATURALLY I am going to advise you to take a visit to the Lodge! Themed after the Pacific Northwest, this place has all the charm of the US National Parks, including a Geyser that does shoot water into the air on the regular! The food options here are PLENTIFUL. Starting outside with Geyser Point, this “lounge” offers amazing food and drink options in a bar setting, though technically a quick service restaurant. It’s worth the trip just to eat the Bison Burger. If you’re looking for another great lounge, head inside for the Territory Lounge!
Head inside for two amazing table service options! First, if you’re into all-you-care-to-enjoy food and a fun atmosphere, Whispering Canyon Cafe is the place for you! Looking for an upscale, unique character dining experience? Try Storybook Dining at Artist Point, where you will dine with Snow White, Grumpy, Dopey, and the Evil Queen!
Take the time to enjoy the GORGEOUS lobby. And see if you can find some of the secret, private lounging areas. And no, I won’t just tell you because I enjoy my privacy! Now, I’m going to tell you ONE semi-secret location. If you head out to the Boulder Ridge DVC Villas, and walk into the main building, you will find the Carolwood Pacific Room. Not only is this an amazing place to chill out and relax, it also has some of Walt Disney’s Trains. You simply MUST see this room! To read more about the Wilderness Lodge, click here!
Visit Fort Wilderness
No, Wilderness Lodge and Fort Wilderness are NOT the same place. Fort Wilderness is a campground with tent and RV sites, plus cabins. Wilderness Lodge is a fancy hotel themed to the Wilderness. Having said that, Fort Wilderness is a vacation in and of itself! This resort by far has the most to offer its guests!
Let’s start with dining. If you’re after a dining event, look no further than the Hoop Dee Doo Revue! Returning in June 2022, this is one of the oldest dinner shows in the country! It’s menu includes all-you-care-to-enjoy chicken and ribs and more delicious “cookout” foods, INCLUDING STRAW! BERRY! SHORT! CAKE! It’s fun for kids and kids at heart! You may, instead, want something slightly less high maintenance, so head next door to dine at Trail’s End! There is also a quick service location and a “take out” restaurant, as well as a general goods store that sells kitchen necessities for the kitchens located in the cabins, or for those that are camping. You can even grab a moonshine cocktail at Crockett’s Lounge!
For a more in-depth look at the activities at the Fort, I will do a more thorough review later, but for now, some activities available include: archery, horseback riding, pony rides, fishing, bike rentals, jogging trails, canoe and kayak rentals, basketball and volleyball courts, segway tours, and more! And you can even see the Magic Kingdom fireworks and the Electric Water Pageant!
Visit the Boardwalk Area
Let’s next head over to the Boardwalk area! This is another resort-area that has a lot to offer guests that are NOT necessarily staying at these resorts. Between the Boardwalk Bakery and the pretzel cart, the pizza window to the Margarita stand, there are plenty of awesome food and beverage options! Rent a Surrey Bike (also at a discount with your Magical Extras on your vacation package – talk to me, your travel agent, for more details!) and take the scenic view of the Boardwalk! Or maybe you want to see the Harmonious fireworks while having an ice cream treat from Beaches and Cream on the Beach at Beach and Yacht Club.
Yet ANOTHER amazing resort to visit on a non-park day: Animal Kingdom Lodge. In this instance, you can just sit in a rocking chair and watch giraffes walk by. Evidently, this is a rare thing? But that’s not all! Animal Kingdom lodge also offers some unique dining opportunities. When you visit the Lodge, plan to eat at either Jiko, Boma, or Sanaa. Here, you can enjoy African-inspired cuisine in a beautiful setting. Then, head out to watch the animals roam the savannah! You can also use night vision goggles to watch the animals at night!
Head to Disney Springs! Shopping, Eating, and MORE!
Disney Springs has a TON to offer, I just wish it wasn’t so far away. Here, you can eat an amazing meal at places like The Edison, the BOATHOUSE, Raglan Road, and more! The food options are vast and plentiful! My favorite? The BOATHOUSE! For those that don’t want an expensive sit-down meal, you could go to Chicken Guy, Polite Pig, D-Luxe Burger, and more!
If you’re looking for unique ways to see Disney Springs, consider a ride in an Amphicar or the Aerophile! In both instances, you can receive discounts, too! Also available, catch “Drawn to Life,” an all new Cirque du Soleil show.
Additionally, you can get all (or most) of your shopping done in one convenient place! Visit the LEGO Store, World of Disney, Marketplace Co-Op, Uniqlo, Vera Bradley, and so much more, and feed your inner shop-a-holic!
If you’re looking to satisfy your sweet tooth, Disney Springs, again, has you covered! Grab a cupcake from the cupcake ATM at Sprinkles! Likewise, visitors with food allergies can visit Erin McKenna’s Bakery NYC for all their gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free, vegan, kosher baked goods. You could also head to Everglazed for some delectable donuts, or Gideon’s Bakehouse for half-pound cookies! Need something cold? Head to Marketplace Snacks for Dole Whip Nachos! And back from hiatus, you can ALSO Create Your OWN Treat at Goofy’s Candy Company!
Disney Springs also has bowling! Head to Splittsville, where you can bowl and dine as a family. Also, this is one of the discounts available in your Magical Extras! To see more about Disney Springs, visit here!
Sometimes, you don’t want to give up your time for a character meal while in the parks, so what better way to get a taste of the parks by visiting a character meal at one of the Disney Resorts? All the fun, none of the heat! We recently did this very activity on our non-park day at DisneyLAND, and it was wonderful. We never felt rushed and DEFINITELY ate our money’s worth! Or maybe you want to have one night where you get all dressed up and go out for a fancy dinner. This activity is also perfect for non-park days!
My Personal Experience with Using Disability Access Service, DAS, Pre-Registration at Walt Disney World and Disneyland
The Disability Access Service at Disney Parks, or the DAS Pass, is available for those guests that cannot wait in traditional line queues for extended periods of time. This does not include people with mobility issues, requiring a wheelchair or ECV. Many line queues are actually ADA Compliant. This is for the Guest with cognitive disabilities, like autism or ADHD. Or diseases like Crohn’s Disease, where a Guest has to have immediate access to a restroom.
How to Qualify for DAS
In order to qualify, you will be required to explain why you, or your child, cannot PHYSICALLY tolerate long lines. For example, a child with sensory issues may become triggered by crowds and the loud noises they come with. Or a child with ADHD may not be able to physically stand still, and could become aggressive when forced to do so. Whatever the reason, be prepared to explain it in as much detail as you feel comfortable with. Disney cannot and will not accept a Physician’s Note, so don’t waste time with that. Just kindly and clearly explain your needs. Approval and denial is entirely at cast member discretion.
What is the Difference Between DAS and Genie+? Do I Need Both?
DAS is a free service only available to those guests with disabilities. Genie+ is a paid service that anyone can use to skip waiting in line. That’s the first difference! The second difference is how/when you obtain the return times.
Genie+ – Walt Disney World
In order to obtain a return time, or Lightning Lane, for Genie+, you need to first BUY it. Then, you need to get onto the My Disney Experience App at 7:00 am every day and start booking your Lightning Lane return times. (This is for guests that are staying on-site at a Walt Disney World Resort). Next, this is only for those attractions that have the Lightning Lane included in Genie+. If it is an Individual, i.e. paid, Lightning Lane, that is a different process. If the attraction doesn’t have Lightning Lane but there is a line, you just wait.
Genie+ – Disneyland Resort
Now, on the West Coast, you can only buy Individual Lightning Lanes or book Lightning Lane return times once you tap in to the park. PERSONAL OPINION: Genie+ is MUCH better on the West Coast. Don’t shoot the messenger!
do i need both?
The answer to this one is complicated. So, if the person that the DAS is registered to is NOT riding, and you want to ride, you will need Genie+. If the person that the DAS is registered to is fully intending to ride every single ride, you can double up with Genie+. But if the wait times and crowds are low? You might not need it. It will all depend on how much you want to do and how quickly you want to ride. We use the waits, sometimes, to sit down and rest, use the bathroom, or gets snacks and drinks. It will all be a matter of preference!
DAS Pass – Pre-Register
Before you use it, you must register for DAS and get approved. You can do this in two ways. First, you can pre-register by taking part in a video chat here for Disneyland and here for Walt Disney World. With pre-registering, you can get your pass between 2-30 days before your first PARK PASS RESERVATION (not the first day of your stay, unless that is also your first Park Pass). Once approved, you may also reserve up to two one-hour return times per day with the Cast Member on the video chat. The Attractions eligible for pre-registration are LAND and WORLD.
das pass – on-site register
You may also choose to wait until you arrive, and obtain your DAS Pass on-site. To do so, you will need to visit Guest Relations (Disneyland – City Hall, Chamber of Commerce, or any Guest Information Location. Walt Disney World – City Hall at Magic Kingdom or Guest Relations at any park). Once there, the person that needs the DAS will need to be present, you will explain why you need the pass. If approved, the Cast Member will take your (or your child’s) photo and link your party to that DAS Pass. Make sure everyone who will be in your group is all linked together. Then you can obtain your initial return time. You cannot pre-register for more than 1 attraction at that time unless you do so in advance via video chat.
I have had the opportunity to visit both parks since DAS became available for pre-registry, so let’s talk about it. I have sat on hold for the video chat for over 6 hours 3 times and have yet to get an actual person. In both instances, though, we were able to obtain the DAS pass in the parks in under 5 minutes, and that includes the technical difficulties we temporarily experienced at Disneyland, and our first return time. I don’t know that we will ever go through with the pre-registry, simply because it is so simple to just do it in the parks, and we have become big fans of waiting until we’re there to start choosing our attractions. I’ve heard tales that if you do want to pre-register, early Sunday morning has been the most successful.
They have added the option to obtain Return Times for Disability Access Service on the My Disney Experience App, rather than running all over the park at each attraction. This was a GAME CHANGER. As soon as you tap into your return time, you can obtain the next one. It is exactly like Genie+ except that you cannot stack return times. Like I said previously, if the wait times are low, you will not likely need both. We were able to do everything at Disneyland and California Adventure, including Radiator Springs (twice), Rise of the Resistance, Web Slingers (twice), Guardians (three times), and more!
The Disability Access Service process is incredibly simple and it’s great that Disney Parks offer this option to people who cannot physically wait in line. I can’t wait to get back to Walt Disney World and use the updated service, just to see how the two locations compare! Are you ready to book your Disney Parks vacation? Contact me today!
Looking for some Extra Magic on your next trip? Consider adding Enchanting Extras!
One of the most popular questions that I get asked every time I say we’re going to Disney World (yes, AGAIN) is “don’t you get bored doing the same thing every time?” Actually, we aim to do at least one new thing every single trip, be it a restaurant we’ve never dined at before, or a show, or a resort hotel, or one of the many Enchanting Extras offered by Disney! These options add an extra dose of magic to your trip! Which Extra intrigues you the most?!
Disney Private VIP Tours – Create your Disney dream day! This is the ULTIMATE way to explore the parks with your own private VIP Tour Guide. You will be getting a fully customizable experience. And it will be filled with attractive benefits, including access to the Lightning Lane for attractions offering it. Plus, you can request reserved viewing for parades, shows and fireworks. For more details, visit this story!
Prices start at $425/hour with a 7-hour minimum for up to 10 people. Ask me for more information.
Disney’s Keys to the Kingdom Tour – 16+ – Ready to take the Magic Kingdom to the MAX? Unlock the fascinating history of Magic Kingdom Park and gain backstage access to legendary hidden areas. This 5-hour walking tour explores the creation and remarkable growth of one of the most beloved parks at Walt Disney World Resort! With this tour, you get a sneak peek at secret locations you’ve always wondered about and get the inside scoop on some of your favorite attractions, AND lunch. And walk through the Utilidors! I am so excited that we can FINALLY do this tour! I have been dying to do this for ages!
For this tour, guests must be 16 years of age or older and prices start at $114 per person and can be booked on your My Disney Experience 60 days prior to travel.
There are many ways to see fireworks without crowding into the massive crowds hours before the shows start. These Enchanting Extras are some of our favorites! We did the EPCOT Fireworks cruise in 2001 and it was fun, even in the downpour! Dessert parties are always a great time!
OUTSIDE OF THE THEME PARKS
Fireworks Cruises – Drop anchor for world-class fireworks during an ever-enchanting nighttime cruise! By taking one of these nighttime cruises, you’ll have the perfect opportunity to watch Disney Enchantment or Harmonious right from the water. These brilliant fireworks spectaculars add an amazing wow factor to your cruise!
From the comfort of a chartered boat, your party will set sail for International Gateway near World Showcase Lagoon to watch the skies light up over Epcot. Or embark on the waters of Seven Seas Lagoon and Bay Lake cruises to Magic Kingdom Park—with synchronized audio onboard to fully immerse you in the moment. It’s an incredible finale to the festivities! -Prices vary on type of cruise and location. Fireworks Cruises can be booked by calling 407-WDW-PLAY up to 60 days out from your check in.
THEME PARK ADMISSION AND RESERVATION REQUIRED
Dessert Parties –Put a cherry on top of your magical day with a sensational dessert party to toast the 50th anniversary of Walt Disney World Resort.
Magic Kingdom 50th Fireworks Dessert Parties:
Disney Enchantment Pre-Party – $99 per 10 and up $59 per child 3-9. Enjoy dessert first and reserved viewing in the garden (standing) after eating.
Magic Kingdom 50th Fireworks Dessert Parties: Disney Enchantment Treats & Seats – $114 per 10 and up $69 per child 3-9. Enjoy dessert and the fireworks from a reserved table so you can remain seated comfortably during the show.
Magic Kingdom 50th Fireworks Dessert Parties: Disney Enchantment After-Party – $99 per 10 and up $99 per child 3-9. Enjoy reserved viewing in the garden (standing) first, followed by dessert buffet nearby after fireworks.
EPCOT Fireworks Dining Packages- Enjoy the amazing Harmonious Fireworks spectacular while dining on a delicious patio dinner.
Rose and Crown UK
Spice Road Table Morocco
These can be booked on the My Disney Experience website 60 days prior to travel on the My Disney Experience website
These Enchanting Extras can get you up close and personal with animals, or provide a unique experience that you will never forget! Please heed the age warnings!
Caring for Giants – 4+ – Get a closer look at the majestic African elephants at Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park—and learn what it takes to care for them. During this 60-minute experience, you’ll meet with a knowledgeable Guide who will provide insight into the inner workings of our African elephant herd.
$35 per person pretax ages 4+ and can be booked on the My Disney Experience website at 60 days prior to travel.
Up close with Rhinos – 4+ – Meet these mighty—but gentle—giants in a special viewing area for a wildlife experience like no other! Get ready for your close-up with the white rhinoceros—Earth’s second-largest land animal. In this 60-minute guided adventure, the rhinos’ keepers will take you backstage to meet these massive creatures as few people ever do.
$45 per person pretax ages 4+. Can be booked on the My Disney Experience website 60 days prior to travel.
hike the “jungle!”
Wild Africa Trek – 8 + and at least 48 inches (122 cm) tall. Participants must be between 45 and 300 lbs. with the harness gear on. Embark on a privately guided, VIP expedition full of close encounters with exotic African wildlife! An Exhilarating Safari Adventure Be awestruck viewing wild animals in their natural habitat on the 3-hour Wild Africa Trek. On this privately guided tour, discover animals of nearly every variety living in the Safi River Valley—an untamed environment that resembles their home turf in Africa.
This excursion is $199 per person, and participants must be 8 years of age or older and at least 48 inches tall. In addition, because of safety, participants must be between 45 and 300 lbs. with the harness gear on. The safety harnesses used for this experience may prohibit Guests of certain body shapes or sizes from participating. This experience can be booked on the My Disney Experience website 60 days prior to travel.
animals and food – two of my favorite things!
Savor the Savanah –8+ -See the Savanna in a new light. Immerse your senses during a privately guided journey and explore the sights and sounds—and tastes—of Africa. Enjoy Savor the Savanna, the premium tour where you can discover the wonders of the continent’s most amazing creatures… and so much more!
$174 per person pretax for ages 8+ and this extra can be booked on the My Disney Experience website at 60 days prior to travel.
Golf – Play 9 or 18 holes on any of Disney’s four different golf Courses.
Fishing – Reel in the fun with guided excursions and dockside fishing on select waterways of Walt Disney World Resort. Guided catch-and-release outings let you experience bass fishing at its finest—all year round! Whether you’re a seasoned sportsman or an amateur angler, a guided fishing excursion is fun for Guests of all ages. Choose from Guided Bass Fishing Excursions, which includes a 21-foot Sun Tracker pontoon boat that can accommodate up to 5 Guests, and a tournament-style NITRO® bass fishing boat for up to 3 Guests. All by yourself? You’re in luck, because solo anglers may book an afternoon excursion at a reduced rate.
Prices vary Call (407) 939-FISH or (407) 939-3474 to make a reservation and get more information on pricing.
explore fort wilderness!
Horseback Riding – Go horseback riding on the scenic, wooded trails at The Cabins and Campsites of Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort. Guests 9 years of age and up can ride through an idyllic woodland teeming with deer, ducks, armadillos, and rabbits. Perfect for beginner and intermediate riders, trail rides are a relaxing way to explore the natural beauty surrounding The Cabins and Campsites of Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort.
$55 per person pretax and can be booked by calling 407-WDW-PLAY 60 days prior to check in date.
Archery – Archery Guides teach Guests 7 years of age and up how to use a compound bow; then it’s time for target practice! Most of this 75-minute experience is dedicated to firing at range targets. Since class sizes are limited to 10 guests, each marksman receives personalized advice from the Archery Guides to best help you hone your archery skills.
$45 per person pretax and can be booked by calling 407-WDW-PLAY 60 days prior to check in date.
Tri-Circle-D Ranch – FREE! There are activities that have a cost, but anyone can explore the Ranch for FREE!!
Spa Experiences – Renew your mind, body and spirit at a full-service spa, salon and health club reminiscent of a serene Florida garden. Step through the Victorian-style entryway and escape to a timeless haven of relaxation. Here, you can break away from the everyday and truly unwind amid soothing music, calm lighting, and pampering experiences. The Grand Floridian Spa offers an array of revitalizing therapies and services—body treatments, massages, manicures and other indulgences—designed to elevate the mind and help you look and feel your best.
You can book this right on the My Disney Experience website 60 days prior to check in
Pool Cabanas – Relax in luxury and style, enjoying the day your way. You can lounge in the sun or retreat to your furnished, shaded oasis—complete with personal electronics and refreshments. As a result, Disney’s signature attention-to-detail sets the standard for the ultimate in poolside pampering. So, treat yourself, friends and family to this unforgettable vacation experience.
Cabanas are available for full day rentals.
Cabanas at Disney’s Contemporary Resort and Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa—as well as those shared by Disney’s Beach Club Resort and Disney’s Yacht Club Resort—are available to Guests of those Resorts only.
Pricing varies, and these cabanas can be booked at 60 days prior to check in by calling 407-WDW-PLAY
Other Popular Enchanting Extras
Star wars activities
Star Wars Savi’s Workshop – Handbuilt Lightsabers- Travel to Black Spire Outpost, where a group known as the “Gatherers” ushers you into a covert workshop packed with unusual parts, whimsical pieces and miscellaneous memorabilia collected from the far reaches of the galaxy. Under their guidance, you can construct your very own lightsaber and bring it to life through the power of kyber crystals. Reservation is for builder and ONE guest.
Star Wars – Droid Depot – -Build your own droid at Black Spire Outpost’s industrial depot. Visit a workshop stocked with parts, chips, manuals and other tech items useful for constructing your very own droid, one of the galaxy’s most indispensable sidekicks. First, register your choice of the BB-series unit or R-series unit with the clerk, who’ll provide a basket and blueprint for parts. Next, proceed to the following stations and begin your droid-building experience. Reservation is for builder and ONE guest.
To experience both the Droids and Lightsabers, make advanced reservations 60 days ahead. May the Force Be With You!
private photo shoots now available in all 4 theme parks
Capture your moment – Commemorate your celebration with a photo session in any of the 4 parks setting. You can reserve a personalized 20-minute photo session that captures the fun and excitement of your special day—and your own unique style!
These sessions start at $79 for 20 minutes. This is a great way to get those Senior Pictures, Engagement Announcements, and MORE!
nighttime entertainment in disney springs
Drawn to Life presented by Cirque du Soleil & Disney – A Creative Tour-de-Force set your imagination in motion with Drawn to Life—a love letter to the art of Disney animation. In this first-ever collaboration between Cirque du Soleil, Walt Disney Animation Studios and Walt Disney Imagineering, journey into a world where an animator’s desk becomes the stage and drawings come alive. The show is a celebration of life, accentuated by the delightful, mesmerizing movements of Cirque du Soleil’s acrobatic mastery.
Tickets are on sale now for 2022.
This is just a sampling of the Enchanting Extras that you can do at Walt Disney World. Other activities have yet to return, like the Pirates Cruise and the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique. And there are plenty of Enchanting Extras that don’t cost a thing! It really is the Most Magical Place on Earth! Contact me today to book your trip!
Yes, a Disney vacation is expensive. And getting more and more expensive by the day. A lot of people think that taking a family vacation to Walt Disney World is only for the 1%, but that is simply not true! There are plenty of ways families are saving money at Disney. It is very possible to make Disney vacations happen for ALL incomes!! Here are some of my tried and true money-saving tips!
1. Travel in the off-season to save time and money
In 2018, Disney changed the way they priced their tickets. They eliminated the tickets that never expire, and began forcing you to choose the days you will visit the parks. They then began pricing tickets based on historical crowd data. This means that it is more expensive for you to attend the parks on, say, December 31 vs. January 1. Post-Covid has brought the advent of the Park Reservation system, too. The reason they did this was to attempt to more evenly distribute crowds throughout the year. Now, you may be thinking, “if they evenly distribute crowds, there IS no off-season.” And you would almost be right. The Disney parks are much busier every day now than they have ever been before. But there are, in fact, times that crowds are a bit more manageable than other times of the year.
Yes, it’s hot, but consider summer
To the surprise of many, the SUMMER is actually the most wide-open time to get to Walt Disney World. The crowds are actually much lighter than almost every other time of year, especially July (after the fourth) and August, which has become the lightest month of the year. This is a combination of the temperature being the surface of the sun, and kids in certain parts of the country actually starting school the first week of August. If you are able, August and September are the best crowd times to visit. CROWD, not weather. It is incredibly hot and you do take the chance that a hurricane or tropical storm will roll through. If you can handle the hot weather, you’re already on your way to saving money at Disney!
What about when the weather is not 300 kelvin?
January will give you the dream combo of cooler weather AND lower crowds, but try to avoid the holiday and marathon weekend. Mid-February-April is actually one of the busiest times to visit, because of both spring breaks and competitions, like Dance and Cheer. May is fairly open, plus you will have Flower and Garden available, but it will get busier near the end of the month, when school ends around the country, which leads into June, probably the busiest “summer” month.
Shouldn’t the fall be lighter, with kids being in school?
Now for fall. October is my FAVORITE time to visit, but I’m not alone. October is quite busy, especially on weekends. This is due to a combination of Food and Wine, Fall Breaks, and Halloween. Pack patience and sweatshirts! Early November is also an amazing time to visit. Crowds are low, weather is cooling, and Christmas decorations are up. Then Thanksgiving hits and things get nuts. If you want to spend Thanksgiving in Walt Disney World, plan as early as you can. Early December is a lot like early November, but the holidays are bonkers, the busiest time of the year. This is also one of the more expensive times of the year, so if you’re into saving money at Disney, maybe you want to avoid October-January 1!
In order to get the most bang for your buck, visit at a time when crowds are low. You will not wait in as many long lines and the weather will be great.
2. Book as far out as possible – Layaway for Vacations!
This is honestly the best way to be able to pay for your vacation. I can book your hotel room 500 days out. When you book a package, which currently includes room and tickets and is only available through October, 2023, right now, the deposit is $200, with the balance being due 30 days before your trip. Or you can book your room-only by paying the equivalent of one night as a down-payment, with your final balance due at check-in. Then you are free to pay any amount any time up until your due date. It’s like layaway for vacations.
3. Use Disney Gift Cards for all things from your hotel room to the kids’ souvenirs!
Gift cards for the kids
You know your kids are going to see mountains of stuffed animals and giant walls full of toys and things that glow in the dark and bubble toys and all kinds of crap. So what do you do? One thing I have always done is to tell friends and family to get my daughter Disney gift cards for all holidays and birthdays. That way, she will have her own money to spend. Kids can learn how to get the most bang for their buck and when their money is gone, it’s gone. Period. Look at that, it’s also a learning moment!
You can also use gift cards to pay for your trip
You can also use gift cards to pay for your trip, so if you are a discount junkie, you already know there are ways to get Disney gift cards at a discount, like Sam’s Club or Target RedCard and more. Get those gas points and that vacation money will save you money at the pump! Currently, there is no Disney Dining Plan for sale, so a good thing to do would be to take that money you would have spent on the dining plan and buy gift cards, that you then turn around and use on your food in the parks. Not having the dining plan is a bit inconvenient, yes, but if you know you would have spent that money anyway, just use it for gift cards!
Sticking with the food theme, if you are someone that likes to do character meals (which you should if you like to see characters, as it will free up extra park time you won’t have to spend in character lines), consider planning breakfasts as opposed to lunches and dinners. Many times, these meals are as much as half the price of the lunches and dinners, and you get the exact same character interactions. For example, breakfast at Chef Mickey’s will currently run you $42 (adult)/$27 (kids), but dinner is $55/$36. It’s not a massive discount, no, but it can add up over 4-5 days.
5. Grocery delivery
Again, speaking of food, a great way to save money is to order groceries for your hotel room and eat less in the parks. It is entirely possible to survive in the parks on, say, $40 for food per person, per day, especially if you have food in your room. Depending on what kind of hotel room you have (villas have full kitchens, family suites have kitchenettes, etc), you can go from whole, prepared meals, to quick breakfasts of pop tarts and pastries and fruit and cereal, to lunchmeat for sandwiches for lunch, freeing you up to plan maybe one big sit down meal per day, or only one quick service meal per day, and one or two snacks. The point is you don’t HAVE to eat every single meal at a restaurant in Walt Disney World. Read more about grocery delivery here.
6. Share meals
It is entirely possible for two people to eat one “meal” at Disney World. By meal, I am specifically talking about an appetizer, entree, dessert at a table service restaurant.
So I’m going to use one of MY family’s favorite restaurants as an example: Mama Melrose in Hollywood Studios. It is an Italian restaurant, and it is superb, BUT, the portions are enormous. For two people, you could split the delicious Caesar salad for your appetizer ($11), Margherita flatbread ($15), and cannoli ($7). Add $20 for drinks, give or take, and you’re looking at a bill for two people for dinner $53, as opposed to almost $100. And that’s just two people, that isn’t even your kids!
6. Get the refillable popcorn bucket
Hear me out, because I know it seems insane to spend $20 on a popcorn bucket. BUT let’s say there are 5 of you and you’re there for 6 days. Day 1 you get the $20 Steamboat Willie popcorn bucket that you snack on for the rest of the day. That’s $4 per person for a snack. Day 2, you take Willie and you and your family head to EPCOT.
The kids start whining about being hungry, so you take your bucket to the popcorn stand in Canada and fill it up. Refills are $2, no matter WHAT bucket you buy. So now, on day 2, your snack budget is $.40 per person. Day 3, another refill. So, essentially, over 6 days, you have spent $30 TOTAL on snacks. For 6 people. Comparatively, ONE Dole Whip starts at $5, which, for your family of 5, is $25 for just one day. Do that every day, that is $150. I’d say that’s one heckuva deal!
7. Bring your own stroller
A stroller rental can START at $30 per day. You likely already have a stroller at your house, so bring it. But be aware, strollers must fit the rules (31″ wide by 52″ long). But again, it may still be cheaper for you to buy and bring your own stroller than to rent, even if you just bring an umbrella stroller to throw away or regift upon leaving.
8. Bring your own reuseable water bottles
The biggest waste of money in Disney Parks is to buy bottled water. For starters, they start around $3.50-$4 per bottle. You could get a whole case of bottled water for that price. Secondly, you can get cups of water for free at all quick service restaurants. So why on earth would you waste money on a bottle of water?
You could get filtered bottles (HIGHLY recommend, the Florida water does a number on my tummy) and/or bring flavoring (we like the koolaid liquid drops). Read more about water bottles and other ways to beat the Florida summer heat here.
9. Spend 1-2 days per trip outside of the parks
There is SO MUCH to do at Walt Disney World outside of going to the parks. Book a couple extra days on your trip that you don’t buy park tickets and spend the time relaxing at the pool, or exploring your resort, or resort hopping. There are even discounted and free activities included in the Magical Extras when you buy a vacation package, including FREE miniature golf! How’s that for saving money at Disney?!
10. Bring souvenirs with you instead of buying them
Sound crazy? Maybe, but your kids might whine less about you buying them stuff if you magically pull out a Mickey plush you spent $5 on at Walmart in the morning, instead of dropping $30 for one at the Emporium. Or you bring glow sticks and bubble wands that you got at Family Dollar and break them out of your backpack when all the nighttime vendor carts start making their appearance on Main St USA. And DEFINITELY bring your own ponchos, because a $15 piece of plastic with Mickey Mouse on it is really not worth it.
Do you have any other tips that lead to saving money at Disney? Let’s hear them in the comments!
Let’s Look at August at Walt Disney World and Why it is the Best Time to Visit
The number one question I get as a travel agent is “when is the best time to visit?” It’s a loaded question, to be sure. People do have in their minds what they WANT to be the answer, and it very rarely syncs up with what the actual answer is. Technically, there really is no “down” season anymore. Especially post-COVID, it seems it’s busier than ever now! But I’m going to tell you why August at Walt Disney World is the BEST time to visit!
1. Lower Crowd Levels
In general, the summer months are ACTUALLY the “slow season.” It seems unbelievable, because kids and school and whatnot, but no, May-September are the slowest months at Walt Disney World. BUT….August is THE slowest month of the year! This is usually when we visit every year for our “long” trips, and it’s honestly amazing. Florida usually goes back to school the first week of August. It’s hotter than the surface of the sun (we’ll get to that), so I’m sure that is also a contributing factor. If you’re lucky enough to have younger kids, or kids who start school later (our schools start at the end of August WOOHOO!), you’ll want to consider August at Walt Disney World.
2. Special events
Walt Disney World has a ton of special events, from EPCOT Festivals, to Holiday celebrations, to After Hours Parties. The last 3-4 years, August at Walt Disney World has seen the Food & Wine Festival AND Halloween parties (Boo Bash or Mickey’s Not-So-Scary, depending on the year) have taken place in August. These options make your Disney vacation that much more magical, and provides more opportunities to have something special to remember.
Fall at Walt Disney World is an amazing time to visit, and since the “fall” starts in the theme parks in August, why not experience all that there is to experience?! No one does holidays and Festivals like Disney!
3. Prices are Lower (READ: It’s Cheaper)
The prices are so much lower. The photo above should show you EXACTLY what I mean! 5 Nights at The Contemporary in a Theme Park View Room in August is almost $2,000 cheaper than the same room for 5-Nights in December. So like I said, August is cheaper!
4. Lower Crowds = Longer Trips with More Relaxation
When you have school-aged children, your vacation options become school vacations (crowded), long holiday weekends (crowded), or take your kids out of school. If you’re lucky enough to have a chance to go in August, you could plan a longer trip, which means you can plan more downtime and have lower crowds to get more done. Last year, on a Saturday morning in August, we had ridden Pirates, Big Thunder, Splash, and Seven Dwarfs at Magic Kingdom before 11:00am! ON A SATURDAY MORNING!!! This cannot be more of a no-brainer!
5. The Weather
“But you said it was hotter than the surface of the sun!” Yes, August is hot. BRUTALLY hot. You will sweat a ton. It is going to rain every single day. Personally, I’ve never been to Disney World when it wasn’t disgustingly hot. I know it happens, but it never happens when I’m there. And all of summer is going to be hot. And rainy. But, I’ve vacationed several times in June and July where it rained through my entire vacation. It is MUCH rainier in June and July. In August, you will likely get the daily afternoon thunderstorm. The lower crowds give you the chance to either go back to the resort and nap, or brave the rain and take advantage of the even SHORTER lines when everyone else leaves!
So when is the best time to visit Walt Disney World? I am Team August all the way! Are you ready to book your next vacation?! Contact me today!!
How Will I Know? Choosing the Right Walt Disney World Hotel for You!
There are 25+ hotels at Walt Disney World, so how do you know which resort is right for you and your family? There are a lot of things to consider when choosing Disney Hotels. Starting with the basics, the hotels generally fall into 3 categories: Value, Moderate, and Deluxe. There are also Deluxe Villas, which are generally DVC properties, and the Campgrounds. As you might imagine, the more amenities a resort has, the more it’s going to cost you. Is there a bad resort? Not really. They’re all really good hotels. But they do each fulfill a different level of needs and that is what sets them apart. So what should you consider when choosing Disney Hotels for your trip?
Choosing Disney Hotels: The Basics
Walt Disney World’s Value Resorts include the All-Stars (Movies, Music, and Sports), Pop Century, and Art of Animation. All five of these hotels are your basic hotels, some may even argue motel, due to their outdoor entry. Each room has beds, bathrooms, a closet, and a television. Nowadays, they all have a mini-fridge, too. The hotels themselves are collections of buildings set up in a cluster and, at Walt Disney World, these resorts are the most “Disnified,” usually featuring giant statues of Disney figures like Woody, and Cars, and Goofy, and Donald Duck, etc. They all have at least one large pool, a playground, and a food court, as well as laundry facilities, a gift shop, and an arcade. And they all have free transportation to the parks, mostly just buses but Pop and Art of Animation do have a Skyliner station.
If you have a larger family and a smaller budget, the Value Resorts do have options that include Family Suites. At Disney’s Art of Animation (one of my family’s favorite resorts) and Disney’s All-Star Music Resorts both have Family Suites available. They sleep up to 6, have two bathrooms, a kitchenette, and living areas that transform into sleeping areas. So for families of 5-6 (or sometimes even 4 but bigger people that want to spread out), these are some things to keep in mind when choosing Disney hotels for your trip!
Walt Disney World’s Moderate resorts include Port Orleans (Riverside and French Quarter), Cabins at Fort Wilderness, Caribbean Beach Resort, and Coronado Springs. These resorts are some of the biggest on the property, representing that middle-of-the-road pricing that is supposed to replicate the “middle class.” These resorts all have multiple pools, multiple restaurants, gift shops, often internal busing as well as transportation to the parks, one big pool with a waterslide, an arcade, play areas, walking trails, and alternative transportation, including boats and the Skyliner. These are all heavily themed (from New Orleans to the Caribbean to the Spanish Southwest US) and have a vacation-on-vacation feel, but not necessarily Disney-themed. Usually, the Disney details are “hidden” within the decor as a cute little touch.
If you have a Deluxe Budget, but you want to parlay that into a longer stay, you might want to consider the Moderates when choosing Disney hotels. Sometimes moving from a Deluxe to a Moderate will give you 2-3 extra days, and you could use that for either extra days in the parks OR extra days to explore the beautiful resort you’re paying for! We have found, personally, that longer trips allow for much more downtime, and provide a much more relaxing Disney vacation.
Another bonus for many moderate resorts, too, is the option of fifth sleeper rooms. Gone are the days of the 2 kids and white picket fence dreams, and many families have a minimum of 3 kids. So the moderates offer rooms with fold-down daybeds, providing the space for fifth sleepers! Obviously this bodes well for families of 5 that maybe can’t swing the Family Suites in the Values, and the fifth sleeper may be the way to go!
Disney’s Deluxe Resorts are just that: Deluxe. Deluxe Resorts are Animal Kingdom Lodge, Beach Club, Boardwalk, Contemporary, Grand Floridian, Polynesian, Wilderness Lodge, Riviera, and Yacht Club. All of these resorts offer regular rooms, Club-level rooms, suites, and Villas. They have fine dining, casual sit-down dining, and quick service restaurants, as well as lounges and bars. There are larger pools with huge waterslides and, in the case of the Beach and Yacht Clubs, a MASSIVE pool that is more like a miniature water park. The Deluxe Resorts have convenient locations, in many cases offering walks to the parks, as well as monorail, busing, boats, and Skyliner. They offer guests amenities like full kitchens and washer/dryer units in some instances (mainly in the attached DVC Deluxe Villas) and a more peaceful, relaxed feeling to your vacation, with quieter environments than you’ll have at the larger Value Resorts, with their outdoor access.
Choosing Disney hotels are very personal, but don’t let the term “Deluxe” make you look elsewhere! It never hurts to consider a Deluxe, even if you opt for a split stay, and only spend part of your vacation in the Deluxe Resort!
If camping is your thing, they offer tent sites all the way to deluxe RV connector sites. This is by far the largest area on the property and is across the lake from the Magic Kingdom.
So how do you choose?
It all boils down to 2 things: budget and amenities. We would all LOVE to have 2-weeks Club-Level access in the Grand Floridian, but we can’t always get what we want. First, sit down and consider what you MUST HAVE for vacation, and then sit down and consider what you can afford.
1. Will I spend much time at my resort other than sleeping?
Some families like to buy 4-day tickets but stay 6 nights/7days and have a couple of resort days. If this is for you, you may want to see if a Moderate or even a Deluxe resort is for you. If you know you only have 3-4 days and you’re going to be spending them entirely in the parks, go for a Value. You only need a bed, so may as well go cheap on lodging and spend more on activities, dining, and souvenirs, right?
2. Are food options and varieties important to me?
Value Resorts only have one food location, and they are all food court, cafeteria-style. That is not to say that they don’t have many options, because they absolutely do, they just do not offer any sit-down options. If you stay at a Value and want to dine at a sit-down location, you will need to go somewhere else to do so. Therefore, you will need to account for travel time.
The Moderate Resorts have the best of both worlds, usually offering a cafeteria-style quick service location and at least one sit-down restaurant.
All Deluxe Resorts all offer one small quick service location, and at least (usually multiple) different styles of sit-down restaurants, from casual to fancy, complete with dress code.
3. What amenities are important to me?
All resorts offer beautiful and well-themed pools. Deluxe pools are a little fancier and have slides, while Value pools are more basic, but still quite fun. Some resorts offer things like surrey bikes, a marina, a health club, a spa, or kids programs. In-room child care is available at all resorts.
Remember, though, that many activities are available for guests staying at other Disney accommodations. So, for example, a guest staying at Pop Century can enjoy a boat rental at the Polynesian Resort. Going to another resort to use the pool is a definite exception. You cannot pool hop, though, except for two exceptions: All-Star guests may use pools at any of the three All-Star resorts and Port Orleans guests may use pools at either Riverside or French Quarter.
4. What is more important: amenities or just getting my family to Walt Disney World?
Like to workout but can’t afford a resort with a health club? Could you sub in body weight workouts while on vacation in order to just get your family to see Mickey? Decide what you can and cannot live without and make the best choice for you!
You’ve Narrowed Down Your Must-Haves, Now What?
So you know that you need a pool (that’s everything) but just having water is enough for you, you don’t need those fancy slides. Or you know you want a slide and at least one sit-down restaurant, but not necessarily Club-Level service. Whatever your needs, your next step should be to reach out to your favorite travel agent (which, of course, is me), and tell them EXACTLY what you’re after.
Disney is for everybody. People seem to think it’s just for women and children. And this isn’t true, because Disney is for everybody. Can Guys go to Disney and have a great time without women or children? OF COURSE THEY CAN! Hopefully, there is at least one thing on this list that you did not know you can do at Walt Disney World, and you plan it into your next Guys’ Trip! Let me know if there’s anything I missed!
Whether you tent-camp, rent an RV, bring a pop-up camper, or reserve a cabin, Fort Wilderness Campgrounds provides tons of camping greatness. You could spend the entire week at the Campgrounds and never once even go to the parks. While at the Campgrounds, take a Segway tour, go horseback riding, rent a boat and go fishing, take archery lessons, and more!
Walt Disney World has 3 golf courses (18-hole par 72), 2 miniature golf courses, and 1 FootGolf course. What more could a group of guys ask for? The 3 golf courses are managed by Arnold Palmer Management Group, and the Magnolia Course is where Tiger Woods actually played for a Masters Championship. Oak Trail is a 9-hole walking course and also has a FootGolf course, which is basically soccer. The Palm Course is a championship course and is frequently used for such. All the courses have driving ranges and putting greens, so if you just want to have short golf excursions, that could be your game plan! Fantasia Gardens and Winter Summerland are the two mini-golf courses for less adventurous golfers.
In addition to Bar Crawls, there is always the good ‘ol Drink Around the World. Start in Mexico with a Margarita or Mexican craft beer, or start in Canada with a Canadian Lager. The choice is yours! No matter what, stop at Rose and Crown and the Biergarten! For tips on which drinks to try, check out The Best EPCOT Drinks!
5. Star Wars Day
Spend the day in Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge. Rise of the Resistance, Millennium Falcon Smuggler’s Run, Oga’s Cantina, Ronto Wrap, Milk Stand, there are ENDLESS details to look at in Galaxy’s Edge. If that’s not enough for you, you’re in luck, because Andy’s Backyard is right next door. You can also hop up to ride Rock n Roller Coaster and Tower of Terror. Finish your night at Baseline Tap House for beers and pub-grub!
The Best Options for When You Want to Drink Around the World!
Best Epcot Drinks – Strategy
So you want to drink around the world…. This popular theme park past time has become almost cultish. You will find t-shirts, passports, apps, and more about the topic. But where do you start? How do you do it? What are the best Epcot drinks? What should I avoid? How many body parts will I need to sell to be able to afford it? I’ve got your back! Let’s get started.
Drink Around the World – Where to Start?
There are a TON of opinions out there about WHERE you should start in World Showcase. First off, that entirely depends on where you’re coming from. If you’re entering the International Gateway, it is completely ridiculous to start in Mexico. If you’re coming from Test Track, there’s no way you’re going to want to start in, say, France. For me, when drinking around the World, in order to survive, you’ll want to start in Canada. Especially if you’re going to have an alcoholic drink in all 11 countries. Mexico is the best pavilion, I will never say otherwise. Mexico probably has the best drinks, too, but if you start there, you’re gonna be smashed by America, and the rest of the night will be a waste. So just trust me, and start in Canada!
Best Epcot Drinks – Canada: The Ottawa Apple
Canada means hockey, beer, maple syrup, and apples. So you need to head to the Popcorn Cart in Canada and order the Ottawa Apple. This drink has Crown Royal whiskey, maple, apple infusion, and cranberry juice. It is sweet AND tart and the whiskey is nice and warm as it goes down your gullet! This is one of my favorite drinks and, in my opinion, one of the best themed drinks in Epcot. Maple and Apple is completely Canadian! Do you know what I’m talkin’ aboot?
United Kingdom: The Welsh Dragon
If you’re a beer person, you’re going to want a Guinness, but, if you’re like me, you’re going for the liquor. My go-to Epcot drink is the Welsh Dragon. Peach schnapps, melon liqueur, creme de menthe, orange juice, and pineapple juice. You can also opt to get it in a souvenir mug. Our go-to is to stop into the Rose and Crown Pub, grab a drink, and enjoy them while strolling around the UK Gardens!
Best Epcot Drinks – France: Orange Slush
You’re hot and you deserve something to help you cool off. So stroll over to France for the quintessential Epcot cocktail, the Grand Marnier Orange Slush! Grand Marnier, rum, Grey Goose orange, and orange juice. Simply delicious!
Morocco: The Mediterranean Journey
Stop into Spice Road Table, have some food to soak up that first round of alcohol, and order the Mediterranean Journey to accompany your meal. But don’t forget the water, either! This concoction is cointreau, peach vodka, orange juice, and a splash of grenadine.
Japan – Violet Sake
The most underrated pavilion probably has the most underrated drink. Japan is absolutely gorgeous, the food is good, and the shopping is unique. But don’t go there. Just stay away. Keep the crowds low. I kid, I kid. Head to Kabuki Cafe and order the Violet Sake, a combination of sake, purple pear, and lime juice.
Best Epcot Drinks: American Adventure – Frozen Stag Lemonade
The American Adventure is not the place to go for food and drinks that are out of the ordinary, but if you consider not getting a drink here a failure, you don’t want to miss the Frozen Stag Lemonade, frozen lemonade and Red Stag Black Cherry Bourbon. Then head out to somewhere more adventurous….
China: Tipsy Ducks in Love
Bourbon, coffee, tea, and chocolate. What could POSSIBLY go wrong? If you’re starting to have trouble walking, you want want to opt for the N/A version here!
Norway: Viking Coffee (And School Bread)
Alright, kids, 10 countries in, get some school bread and load up. There’s only one country left, and it’s a doozy! The Viking Coffee is available hot or cold, but you’re probably going to shoot for the cold version. This coffee is made with Baileys Irish Cream and Kamora Coffee Liqueur with Coffee-Chocolate Sauce and is garnished with Coffee-Chocolate Crunch. Maybe grab some more water. Try and sober up a bit. Then….VIVA LA MEXICO!!!!
MEXICO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You’ve Made It!
If you’ve made it this far, congratulations! I’m so proud of you! I hope you’re not seeing double! Now take yourself inside the pyramid to La Cava del Tequila and grab a Blood Orange Margarita! Tequila, orange liqueur, sweet-tart blood orange juice, topped with a wildberry foam, served on the rocks with a tajin chili powder rim.