I’m a little late in getting this blog up, but better late than never, right?
In April we traveled to Walt Disney World so that my daughter could dance with her dance team in Disney Springs. It was a once in a lifetime experience for her and it was nothing short of amazing!
We stayed at Disney’s Port Orleans Resort Riverside. Upon arrival via Disney’s Magical Express we had some issues with check in, but that was nothing on Disney’s part but rather the travel company we had to go through since we were traveling with a performing group, but that’s another story!
I loved this resort!! I have always enjoyed Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort if we chose a moderate resort, but I can definitely say that I like Riverside just as much!
We were booked in a Standard room and since we were traveling with a large group of people, we were all within the same building. We had a room with the pull down bed as well. Size wise it was very similar to the rooms at the Caribbean Beach Resort. I really like the curtain for the bathroom and vanity area that moderate resorts offer. I could get ready in the morning while the kids and my husband slept.
We were in Alligator Bayou and it was quite a hike to the main building (around 10-12 minute walk). I would definitely recommend a preferred room if staying here, especially with children.
The food court was nice with several different options. We really enjoyed walking around the resort at night especially. The boardwalk area outside the main building looks cool at night!
It’s a short walk across the bridge to the Port Orleans Resort French Quarter if you’re wanting to explore and grab some beignets!
I really enjoyed having boat service to Disney Springs. It gave us a break from the buses. Riverside shares boat service with French Quarter to Disney Springs. The boat ride was around 12-15 minutes and we really enjoyed it. We passed by French Quarter, the Tree Houses at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort as well as Saratoga Springs Resort during the ride.
Bus service at Riverside wasn’t too bad. There are a few bus stops throughout the resort so your walk to a bus stop from your room shouldn’t be too far. We were around the corner from a bus stop so that was easy. Since we were so far from the main building and food court there were several times where we hopped on or off at the main building rather than the stop closest to our room.
The main pool is really cool! Ole’ Man Island has a splash area for kids and entertainment throughout the day with fun games. My kids chose to utilize the quiet pool most days since it was closer to our room and less busy. Since this is a Moderate resort, you had to bring your own towels to the quiet pool, but the main pool has towels readily available for guests.
Overall, I would and will stay here again, but will definitely spend a little extra and go for the preferred room.
Get a FREE* Dining Plan when you purchase a non-discounted 6-Night/7-Day Walt Disney Travel Company package that includes a room at select Walt Disney World® Resort hotels and ticket with Park Hopper® or Water Park Fun & More Option.
Offer valid for arrivals most nights Aug. 28 – Oct. 2, Oct. 25-31, Nov. 8-19, Dec. 15-21, 2015. Book April 27 – July 10, 2015.
When you stay at a select Disney Moderate Resort, Disney Deluxe Resort or Disney Deluxe Villa Resort, you get the Disney Dining Plan with a variety of delicious dining options! When you stay at a select Disney Value Resort, you get the Quick-Service Dining Plan that allows you to grab yummy treats on the go!
Ask about packages for other lengths of stay.
*The number of rooms allocated for this offer is limited. Savings based on the non-discounted price for the same package. Tickets and options must be used within 14 days of first use. Cannot be combined with any other discount or promotion. Advance reservations required. Offer excludes 3-bedroom villas, campsites and is not valid at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort – The Little Mermaid Standard Rooms. Dining plan excludes gratuities and alcoholic beverages. Children ages 3-9 must order from children’s menu, if available. Some Table-Service restaurants may have limited or no availability at time of package purchase.
My daughter and I like to do something girly together on trips to Walt Disney World. Shopping is of course at the top of our list, but now that my daughter is a little older, we like to do other things as well.
One of our favorite activities is to visit the Japan pavilion in Epcot and Pick-a-Pearl inside the Mitsukoshi store. For $18 you can choose an oyster from the tank. They make it really fun by doing a countdown 3-2-1 in Japanese (sun, knee, itchy) and open the oyster to reveal your pearl.
They open the oyster, clean it, measure it, and congratulate you several times! It really is a fun experience for everyone involved.
There are several different sizes and colors of pearls, and some oysters even have two pearls inside! During our most recent visit, our daughter was one of the lucky ones to have gotten an oyster with two pearls inside.
Once you have your pearl, you can choose from a variety of different settings such as rings, earrings, necklaces, and charms. My daughter and I chose matching rings as one of our options. The total cost for these was around $35 each and they were ready for pick up in under 2 hours!
It’s fun and can be inexpensive and it gives us something to keep as a souvenior from our vacations together. It’s something we don’t mind doing during each trip because you never know what size or color (or how many!) pearls you’ll get.
My family and I recently returned from our latest Walt Disney World Vacation and were able to use the Magic Bands and Fastpass+ for the first time. Let me start out by saying, we loved them!
We chose to customize our bands when we made our resort reservation and everyone was happy.
60 days prior to our check in date, we used the My Disney Experience app to reserve our fastpass+ and before we left home, they actually started allowing you to get additional fastpassses once you used the original three.
We checked into our resort – Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, club level concierge, and had our Magic Bands activated. We had a small issue at first because our sons Magic Band was the only one working to unlock our room. A quick stop by the conceirge desk before heading to the pool and 10 minutes later we were all working.
A quick and simple tap of the Magic Band on the Mickey head allowed us access to the 7th floor of our resort, our guest room, park entrances, fastpass lines, Memory maker photos, as well as purchases! I particularly liked the convenience of the Magic Bands and not having to keep track of the cards or paper fastpasses for everyone.
We were a little late to a couple of our fastpass+ times, but we entered with no problems. The latest we arrived was about 11 minutes past the scheduled time, but again, no issues. The Magic Bands were very easy for our 10 and 6 year old to use, and they actually enjoyed them!
My kids also enjoyed it when cast members would refer to us by name after we tapped our Magic Bands to enter an attraction – “Hello Sarah, thank you and welcome! Have a Magical day!”
Disney has accessories available to purchase if you wish to customize your band even more. They were around $8-$12 for most, although some packs were closer to $20.
In addition to the convenience of not having to carry around the card passes, we were also impressed with the ability to tap our bands to make any purchases, as well as keep them on while swimming in the pool because they’re water proof! We had also purchased the Memory Maker and it was really great having cast members take our pictures and then tapping our Magic Band. So much easier than keeping track of a card the entire trip!
Once we used our three original fastpasses, we were able to either use the My Disney Experience app or visit a kiosk within the park and add an additional fastpass. Once that was used, we could add another, and so on. The lines for the kiosks were a bit long at times, but that was when the app really came in handy!
I also highly recommend the My Disney Experience app to help keep track of wait times for the attractions. We found the listed wait times on the app to be correct the majority of the time and it really helped us decide if it was really worth it to get to the other side of a park with kids and tired feet!
To add additional fastpasses, or to make a change to existing fastpasses, it was really easy with the kiosk. Simply tap your Magic Band and choose the attraction you wish to visit. Cast Members were with every kiosk to help along the way, if any help was needed.
Overall, I am very happy and excited with the Magic Bands as well as the new Fastpass+. I will admit I was nervous in the beginning but I feel like Disney has done a fantastic job of working out the kinks and accommodating guests. I look forward to using it again during our next trip in the near future!
My family and I are gearing up for our next Disney vacation! Growing up, my parents took my brother and I to Walt Disney World quite often. My obsession with Disney started at a young age and I was fortunate enough to share the obsession with my husband and we have since passed it onto our children.
We’re getting ready to take our next trip to Disney World in a little over a week and we couldn’t be more excited! We were there last April and stayed at the Wilderness Lodge Club Level and boy are we hooked! We loved it so much that we booked it again for this trip! The Disney service is fantastic to begin with, but add in the Club Level Concierge and you will feel like royalty!
It was fantastic being able to stop by the lounge which is conveniently near the elevators, on our way to the parks each morning and grab a quick breakfast. The afternoon snacks and beverages were always plentiful and the evening cordials were even better! I loved coming back to our resort at night and having a Magic Bar and any alcohol we wanted!
When we came back to the resort in the afternoon we would walk off the elevator and were greeted immediately and asked if we cared for a cocktail. Amazing service!
This year we’ll be celebrating my husbands birthday during our stay so we’re excited to see what that brings, as well as having my in laws join us for two days.
We booked this trip 6 months in advance so we were able to book our dining reservations 180 days in advance. To name a few we’ll be dining at the Sci-Fi in Hollywood Studios, Ohana at the Polynesian, Be our Guest in the Magic Kingdom, and Tepan Edo in Epcot.
A lot of restaurants on Disney’s property are extremely popular and can be difficult to get. It’s always best if you can reserve them well in advance to get the most options and best chance of reserving exactly what you want.
We also reserved our Fastpass+ options at the 60 day mark. With Disney’s new fastpass system, you can now reserve your fastpasses in advance – 3 per day in one park. Eventually it will change to allow more fastpass selections and allow you to have them in more than one park per day, but as it stands right now, it’s one park with 3 per day. Once you use the first 3, then you may get a 4th and so on.
A few of the fastpasses we reserved are Toy Story Mania, Tower of Terror, Test Track, Soarin’, Splash Mountain, Meet and Greet with Anna and Elsa, and Kilimanjaro Safari. Our kids are a little older now (6 and 10) so we are able to do the bigger rides as a family and it’s been a blast! I loved having little ones, but it is definitely a completely different experience being able to take them on all rides!
In fact, this will be our first time without a stroller! I’m prepared to rent one if needed for one or two of the days, but we’re going to attempt to go without one. Disney can be exhausting even for an adult so I completely understand a childs need for a break.
We plan to hit the parks at rope drop and then go back to our resort for a swim and rest time. Also to take advantage of the fabulous offerings in the club level lounge! I know that everyone is different, but we actually enjoy spending a lot of time at our resort. We choose a resort based on many things, not just where we’re going to sleep. The Wilderness Lodge has so much to offer and it’s so much more to us than just a place to sleep. We tend to splurge on a resort because we like having that down time during vacation, too.
The kids have chosen to do a pirate makeover again at the Pirates League in the Magic Kingdom. We did this last year and it was so much fun! I love that it caters to both boys and girls. Last year our daughter wanted to be a mermaid and our son was a pirate. We have done the Bippity Boppity Boutique (costs considerably more) in the past and my daughter loved it at the time, but she actually prefers the Pirates League. It was a really fun experience for all of us and we’re excited to experience it again.
I will also be taking a day trip over to Port Canaveral to tour the Disney Magic cruise ship. I’ll spend 4 hours aboard the ship checking out all of the restaurants, pools, staterooms, and various activities the ship has to offer. I’m really excited to have this opportunity and learn as much as I can!
We can’t wait to drive up to the Wilderness Lodge and be taken directly to the 7th floor to begin our magical vacation!
I will definitely write another blog when we get back to give a trip report! If there is anything specific you would like to see or hear about, let me know!
Do I really need a travel agent to plan my Disney Vacation? I see this question asked every day online and my answer is simple: YES!
A travel agent that specializes in Disney vacations has the experience and knowledge needed to help you plan your perfect vacation. We have taken the “College of Disney Knowledge” tests and earned our ears! Disney has recognized us as an agency that is qualified to sell their vacations based on sales and experience.
It is important to go with an Authorized Disney Vacation Planning Agency so you can be assured you’re getting the most up to date information and personal experience. Best of all – it’s FREE! Our concierge services are absolutely no cost to you.
Planning a Walt Disney World Resort vacation can be down right tiring, confusing, and overwhelming! When you use a travel agent you’re letting them do all of the work for you! A travel agent can also help you plan your days – for example, should you take the bus, boat, or monorail to a park? What park should you visit on which day? What restaurants do I recommend? Where can you see the characters? The list goes on and on!
Did you know that Walt Disney World offers 4 categories of resorts? With a specialized travel agent, they can help you figure out what type or resort is best for your family. An agent can explain the differences and pros and cons of each resort to be sure you’re getting the most satisfaction for your money.
Did you know that you can book your dining reservations 180 days prior to your arrival date? And that many of the restaurants fill rather quickly? As a travel agent, it is my job to book those reservations for you. You don’t have to go through the hassle of logging in online or calling the dining reservations line in the early morning hours and waiting on hold.
Travel agents are working for YOU. We keep up to date on the current discount offers and apply them to your reservations when possible.
There are also a magnitude of ticket options to choose from. Do you want Base tickets (one park per day) or Park Hopper (allows you to hop from one park to the next all day long), do you want to visit a water park?
Using a Travel Agent gives you one on one attention in your travel planning process. You will always speak with and interact with your agent on every aspect of your vacation planning. I am here to answer all of your questions, book your resort, tickets, and anything else you may want, as well as giving you my personal experience, advice, and knowledge.
Once you use a Travel Planner specializing in Disney Vacations, you’ll never plan another vacation by yourself!
Travel Planners specializing in Disney Vacations can be an invaluable resource for planning your next Walt Disney World vacation. With Walt Disney World continually reinventing itself, these Disney specialists can save you time and money by guiding you through planning the perfect trip for you. Here are are the Top 5 Reasons to Use a Travel Planner specializing in Disney Vacations.
Let’s face it; there is no shortage of information online about Walt Disney World. Navigating through the wealth of information can be quite a task. With a Travel Planner specializing in Disney Vacations, the heavy lifting is done for you. An agent will recommend accommodations that fit your lifestyle, make your dining reservations, and book the entire trip for you. It’s simply easier and more convenient to use a travel planner.
Booking your vacation through a Travel Planner specializing in Disney Vacations doesn’t cost you anything … it’s free. That’s because Disney pays the travel planner commission out of their pockets, so there is no additional charge to you. You’ll get the personal service and knowledge from a planner that specializes in Walt Disney World … and it costs you nothing.
Experience & Knowledge
Maybe the best part about booking your Disney World trip through a travel planner is the expertise the planner brings. Most Travel Planners specializing in Disney Vacations are avid Disney World travelers and have a wealth of information that you can’t get from reading travel books or online forums. This knowledge allows the planner to craft the perfect trip for you and make personal recommendations to make your trip unforgettable.
Using a Travel Planner specializing in Disney Vacations is free, but did you know that your travel planner can actually save you money? Disney releases new offers and promotions regularly, and one of your planner’s responsibilities is to make sure that you’re always getting the best deal. Here’s how it works: if you book your vacation and a better deal is released before you travel, your travel planner will ensure that you get the lower price. Talk about convenient!
Though not available with every Travel Planner specializing in Disney Vacations, most Disney planners will also offer to make your dining reservations for you. This process, while it seems like a small task, can actually be quite time consuming, as many popular restaurants at Walt Disney World fill their reservations months in advance! Your planner will suggest restaurants and work to get the best reservations for you and your party.
If you add up all the benefits that booking through a Travel Planner specializing in Disney Vacations provides, it’s no wonder that so many vacationers choose to use a planner when booking their trips.
Palm-shaded courtyards and Spanish-style haciendas create the perfect climate for relaxation. Soak up the sun or splash in the pool, designed as an archeological dig site with a five-story Mayan pyramid. The Resort features colorful plazas and picturesque vistas reflecting the beauty of Mexico and the American Southwest. (more…)
Nestled in a serene forest, Disney’s Fort Wilderness Cabins offer a quaint, relaxing escape in surroundings that capture the timeless beauty of pioneer days. And for a real back-to-nature experience, new “Big-Rig Friendly” campsites are available for travel trailers, motorhomes and tents. (more…)