Tips for surviving the summer heat at the Walt Disney World resort.

The summer temperatures in Orlando regularly get into the mid 90s.  For someone who is not used to being outside in these temperatures this can be unpleasant and even dangerous to your health.  Below are some tips and touring plans that will help you survive the summer heat of Orlando.  Disclaimer: I am not a health professional.  These are tips to help protect yourself from heat and sun exposure.  If you experience any symptoms of heat illness you should seek medical attention immediately.  Disney has first aid stations near the entrances of their parks, and if you can not make it to one of those get the attention of a cast member, they will help.  If you are unfamiliar with the symptoms of heat related illnesses you can read about them at Web M.D.

First lets start with things that will help to prevent heat and sun related illnesses and injuries.

  1. Wear Sunscreen – This is important for everyone, but it is especially important if you are not used to being out in the sun.  Sun burns can be really painful, and in extreme cases you can end up in the emergency room.  You don’t want your vacation ruined because you failed to apply sunscreen to protect yourself.  So follow the recommendations of your doctor on the sunscreen that you should use.  Also remember that you will be sweating so you will need to reapply the sunscreen every few hours, or after you have gone swimming.
  2. Wear a hat – Hats provide instant shade and keeping the sun of your face and neck will help you feel cooler.  While not a perfect protection against sunburn (you should also follow my first tip), a hat can help prevent sunburn.  As a bonus tip, if you have a hat that you don’t mind getting wet, you can run it under water to help you feel cool.
  3. Stay in the shade as much as possible.  The sun is strongest from about 10 am, till around 4 pm.  During this time of day you should try to stay in the shade as much as possible. If I am in the park during this time of day I like to view shows like the Hall of Presidents, which not only gets you out of the sun, but gets you into air conditioning helping you cool off.
  4. Drink lots of Water – During the summer months at Disney World you want to drink lots of water, and avoid soft drinks and alcohol.  I like to bring a bottle of water to the park with me and refill it throughout the day.  At all Disney restaurants you can get a cup of ice water for free.
  5. Take a break – One of the best ways of getting out of the sun is to go back to your hotel in the afternoon to take a break.  Don’t worry during the summer months the Disney parks are open late.  You can usually return to the parks around 4 after your break and still have 5 to 8 hours before the park closes.

So now I have two Disney touring plans that you can use to beat the heat.  The first plan only requires the base Walt Disney World ticket, though a park hopper would expand your options.  The second plan requires a park hopper plus ticket.

  1. This first plan is rather simple and I alluded to it in my tips for surviving the heat.  You start by trying to get to the park at least a half hour before it opens.  You do as many things as you can until about 11 am.  Then you head back to your resort, eat lunch, take a swim and take a nap.  Then around 4 pm you head back to the park (if you have a park hopper pass it does not have to be the same park).  Unlike the guest that have remained at the parks during the heat of the day you will be rested and ready to enjoy the attractions in the cooler evening hours.  For this plan I would recommend getting fast passes for the evening return rather than in the morning, as most of the attraction will not have long lines until around 10 am.
  2. This touring plan is a little different as you will start your day at one of the Disney Water parks.  You will want to be there when it opens so you can ride as many of the attractions as possible.  Then in the afternoon (just like with the first plan) you will head back to the resort to each lunch and nap.  Also just like the first plan, you will head to the park around 4 pm.  With this plan your only choices for fast passes will be in the evening when you head to the park.

I hope this article helps those of you who are not used to the Florida heat to have a better vacation.  Please share and comment if you liked the post.

 

Top Disney World Attractions that are better at night.

The thing that I have discovered about Walt Disney World, is that it just seems more magical at night. The lighting makes the parks prettier than they are during the day, and there is just an energy with the guest that are still there at night. Below are some of my favorite attractions that are just better at night.

  • Big Thunder Mountain Railroad – Let’s face it Big Thunder Mountain is not the most thrilling coaster. Like many of the attractions in the Magic Kingdom it was designed as a “thrill ride” that the family could enjoy together. At night though it is more thrilling, maybe the low light tricks your mind into thinking it is traveling faster than it is. At any rate I have always enjoyed this ride a lot more at night than during the day.
  • The Jungle Boat Cruise – While you still get the same corny jokes that you get during the day, the Jungle boat cruise feels like a different attraction at night.  The lighting for the attraction at night comes from the boat, which makes it feel more dramatic as you can not see the scenes until you are almost next to them.  Another advantage of a night-time cruise is usually the lines are shorter at night.
  • Kilimanjaro Safaris –  Recently I rode Kilimanjaro Safaris in the evening for the first time.  I was shocked, and pleasantly surprised at how active the animals were.  I have been riding Kilimanjaro Safaris since my first trip to Animal Kingdom in 2000.  In the 14 trips prior to my most recent trip, I had never seen the lions or cheetahs do anything other than sleep, but on my most recent trip I saw both species walking around in clear view of the ride vehicle.  The big cats were not the only animals that were more active, it seemed like they all were.
  • The Liberty Belle –  The Liberty Belle is usually a relaxing ride around Tom Sawyer’s island that provides guest with fantastic views of Frontierland and Liberty Square.  While the Liberty Belle normally closes at Dusk if you go on the last ride of the evening, you will be rewarded with beautiful views of Frontierland and Liberty Square with all of the lights on.
  • Tomorrowland Transit Authority Peoplemover – Like the Liberty Belle, Tomorrowland Transit Authority Peoplemover provides a relaxing ride through the park.  In the case of Tomorrowland Transit Authority Peoplemover that ride is through Tomorrowland, with some great views of Main Street and Cinderella Castle.  At night these views are spectacular with Main Street and Cinderella Castle all lit up.  This is especially true in the holiday season, when Cinderella Castle is decorated with it’s holiday lights.
  • Pandora the Land of Avatar – The two attractions in Pandora are inside ride buildings, so no matter the time of day you get the same ride.  The land however is much different at night.  All the floating mountains, plants and even the walkways glow.  The land also offers some unique Photopass opportunities at night.

So these are some of my favorites.  What are some of yours?  Please share if you like my work.

Things for Disney Fans to look forward to in 2018.

With only a few days left in 2017 I thought it would be fun to look things that Disney fans can look forward to in 2018.

In Movies from Marvel:

  • “The Black Panther” staring Chadwick Boseman in February
  • “The Avengers: Infinity War” in May.  Looks like this one has all of our favorite characters from the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
  • “Ant-Man and Wasp” in July.  This has Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lilly reprising the roles from “Ant-Man”.

From Pixar:

  • The “Incredibles 2″in June.  This has most of the voice talent returning from the first movie.

From Lucasfilm:

  • “Solo: A Star Wars Story” staring Alden Ehrenreich in May.  I have heard rumors that this movie is in trouble, but I heard the same type of rumors about “Rouge One” which I feel is one of the better Star Wars films.

From Walt Disney Studios:

  • “A Wrinkle in Time” staring Reese Witherspoon in March.
  • “Disneynature: Dolphins” in April.
  • “Ralph Breaks the Internet:  Wreck-It Ralph 2” in November.  I find the cast of this very interesting as Disney has the voice talent of several of their more recent films in this movie.  For example Kristen Bell and Idina Menzel are playing Anna and Elsa in the “Ralph Breaks the Internet”.
  • “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms” staring Mackenzie Foy, Keira Knightley, and Morgan Freeman in November.
  • “Mary Poppins Returns” staring Emily Blunt in December.

Both Disney’s California adventure and Disney’s Hollywood Studios will have new lands opening in the Summer of 2018. California adventure will be getting Pixar Pier, while Hollywood Studios will be getting Toy Story land. Pixar Pier will be the replacement or rebranding of most of the Paradise Pier attractions.  For example California Screamin will be replaced by the Incredicoaster.  The areas of the Paradise Pier that are not part of the transformation will become a new land named Paradise Park.  Toy Story Land is mostly replacing backstage areas, it will incorporate the current Toy Story Mainia attraction as well as get the Slinky Dog Dash roller coaster, the Alien Swirling Saucers and a new quick service dining location named Woody’ Lunch box.  This addition will help Hollywood Studios a lot, it has suffered from a lack of entertainment options since construction of Toy Story Land, and Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge began.

In February Disney on Broadway will be bringing “Frozen” to the stage. Caissie Levy will be staring as Elsa and Pattie Murin will star as Anna.  You can visit the show’s web page at frozenthemusical.com.

So what do you think? Does this get you excited about 2018? Please comment and share, and have a Happy New Year!

Disney News – Week of December 25th

So the first news item this week comes from the Orlando Sentinel.  Disney is removing the do not disturb signs from rooms in some of it resorts.  Disney housekeeping will now be entering the rooms everyday, it appears this has to do with tightening security.  I have no issue with this, I almost never use the do not disturb sign at a hotel anyway.  Also the Disney hotels all have safes in the room, so if you are concerned about money or valuables being stolen just make sure to lock it in a safe.

If you are planning on visiting Disney World for New Year’s Eve, AllEars.Net has the list of all the parties, dinners and fireworks.

USA Today is speculating that with Disney’s acquisition of Fox, that Fox content will be removed from Netflix as early as 2019.  Disney currently owns 30% of Hulu and with the Fox deal will own 60% of Hulu.  If USA today is correct, I might have to drop my Netflix subscription in favor of picking up a Hulu subscription. Though if Netflix keeps making shows like Stranger Things I just night drop cable and replace it with Hulu.

Variety is reporting that Disney is the top earning movie studio for the second year in a row.  With the Lucas Art, Marvel, and Pixar all owned by Disney it is not difficult to see how Disney is the top earning studio again.   Fox was the fourth highest earning studio for the year.  Related to this story Business Insider is reporting that the three “Star Wars” movies that Disney has produced have made more than $4 Billion.  Disney bought Lucasfilm in $4.06 billion in 2012 so that has been quite the return on investment in five years.

For any college students out there, that are interested in the Disney College Program Study Breaks has an article about what to expect while you work there, and during the application process.

Have a great week, and have a Happy New Year.  If you like this content please comment and share.

 

Where I Stay when I go to Walt Disney World

In my previous post I listed the advantages and disadvantages of staying offsite versus staying on site at Walt Disney World.  I did this without mentioning where I like to stay and why.  Prior to 2012 I always stayed at one of the value resorts (Pop Century, All Star Music, All Start Sports, and All Start Movies).  The primary reason I stayed at thee locations was the price.  I did not care about the size of the room or the lack of amenities.  I spent most of my waking hours in the parks.  I did always have a few problems with the value resorts though.

  1. The rooms were small.  It seemed like we were always getting in each others way, and getting ready to go in the morning took longer as we all waited for our turn in the bathroom.
  2. The long walk to the food court and bus stops.  Depending on where our room was, it would take five to ten minutes of walking to get to either.  That made it a little inconvenient for getting a drink in our refillable mugs in the morning, or when we got back from the park in the evening.
  3. The buses were always packed, and it often took as much as an hour to get from my room to the front gate of the parks.

In 2012 this all changed for me, as we were traveling to Disney World with a friend who suggested renting a condo.  The place we finally choose was in a neighborhood called Windsor Hills.  The condo had 3 bed rooms and two bathrooms and it had a kitchen.  While we still eat most of our meals in the theme parks the kitchen made it easy to make a good breakfast.   An other advantage I quickly discovered was the additional room that we had, it no longer seemed like we were tripping over each other while we were getting ready in the morning.  I was also pleasantly surprised to discover that the trip to the park was much quicker.  We almost always drive our own car to Disney World, and with the condo only being two and a half miles from World Drive we would get to the parking lots very quickly.  In fact, with the exception of the Magic Kingdom we were actually in the parks more quickly than when we stayed at Disney’s Value resorts.  Every vacation since 2012 we have stayed in Windsor Hills in either a Condo or a Townhouse.  The townhouses have three bedrooms and three bathrooms which we have found to be even more convenient.  We no longer have to wait on the bathroom when we are getting ready for bed, or to go to the parks.

If you are considering staying offsite be sure to look around, there are plenty of options that just may be more to your liking than a hotel room somewhere.  It also may be quite a bit cheaper, we stay at the townhouse for about $300 less per week than getting two rooms at a value resort (we usually have a group of six which necessitates the two rooms).

Choosing a place to stay on your Walt Disney World vacation

Choosing a place to stay for your Walt Disney World vacation can be a daunting task. By itself Disney owns and runs 28 hotels on it’s property. When you include all the hotels, rental homes, and time shares in the area surrounding Walt Disney, you have a lot of options to choose from. So how do you choose? Let’s start by comparing the advantages and disadvantages of staying in a Disney hotel versus a hotel or property not run by Disney.

Let’s start with the non-Disney properties usually referred to staying “offsite” by Disney fans.

Advantages of Offsite accommodations :

  • Most offsite accommodations cost less (sometimes significantly less) than the Disney resorts,
  • Most offsite locations offer more room than the Disney resorts
  • If you go the rental home route you will have a full kitchen, which will allow you to save money on dining.
  • You can escape the Disney Theming.

Disadvantages of Offsite accommodations :

  • Depending on where you are staying you may need a car, or need to plan on the additional expense of Uber.
  • Travel time to the parks may be increased. (When choosing offsite locations be sure to check how far away from Disney it is on a map).
  • If you hotel does offer bus transportation to the Theme Parks it may not be as reliable as Disney’s bus services.
  • If you are driving to the parks, you will have to pay $20 for parking each day.
  • You will not be able to reserve your fast passes till 30 days before you arrive at the theme park.
  • You will not be able to take part in Extra Magic Hours.

Now let’s look at the advantages and disadvantages of staying at a Disney resort. This is what you will usually see Disney fans referring to as staying “Onsite”.

Advantages of Onsite accommodations:

  • Free transportation from your resort to the Theme Parks, Water Parks and Disney Springs.
  • Disney’s Magical express, a free bus service to and from Orlando international airport.
  • Extra Magic Hours, which is time in the parks for only Disney Resort guest.
  • The ability to reserve your FastPasses 60 days prior to your check in date.
  • Free parking at the parks if you decide to drive your own vehicle or rental car.

Disadvantages of Onsite accommodations:

  • Rooms are normally more expensive than rooms at hotels offsite.
  • The standard rooms in the resort are normally far away from the bus stops and dining options.
  • Rooms are usually smaller that at offsite hotels.
  • You will often find yourself waiting in line for the Disney Buses, especially when trying to leave one of the parks after the nightly fireworks.

You also have to keep in mind that both the price and size of accommodations both Onsite and offsite vary widely. When making your accommodation you need to keep in mind that saving money and having more space in offsite accommodations may result in you sacrificing convenience, or exclusive benefits. You also need to consider the amenities at the place you are planning on staying. Will you actually be spending a lot of time there to enjoy the amenities, or will you be spending most of your waking hours in the parks.

Top 5 Reasons to go to Disney World during the Holidays

Disney is always a magical place to visit, though during the Holidays it seems even more magical. Below I have my top 5 reasons to visit Walt Disney During the Holidays.

  1. Christmas music and decorations – Throughout the parks and resorts Disney goes all out with Christmas decorations and music that are themed to the area where they are located.  For example Disney’s Hollywood Studios has decorations that look like the decorations of the 1930’s – 1950’s, with Christmas music playing from artist like Bing Crosby, the Andrew Sisters and Frank Sinatra.
  2. Special holiday entertainment – During the Holidays Disney has many special show for guest to Enjoy.  In Epcot there is “Holidays around the World” where each country in the World showcase has a story teller that tells guest about the Holiday traditions of that country.  Also around the World Showcase there are additional music acts (in addition to the groups that normally perform there) performing music appropriate for the season.  In Disney’s Hollywood Studios there is the firework and projection show “Jingle Bing, Jingle Bam” staring the elves from “Prep and Landing”.  Starting in 2017 there is also Holiday projections on the outside of the Tower of Terror.  In Magic Kingdom there is the “Once Upon a Christmas Parade” and “A Frozen Holiday Wish Castle Lighting” featuring the characters from Frozen.
  3. Holiday food and drinks – This is especially true of Epcot’s World Showcase where Holiday Kitchens are selling traditional holiday foods and drinks from the country they represent. However, in the rest of Disney World you will also find some Holiday treats. Also if you are in Disney on Christmas or Thanksgiving several of the restaurants offer traditional Holiday dinners, as a warning be sure to check the menu before you arrive though as several of these special meals come with a special price.
  4. Holiday Versions of popular rides and shows – Do you like Illuminations? Then between Thanksgiving and New Years is the time to see it, as it is about 5 minutes longer with a special “Let there be Peace on Earth” finally. Other attractions get holiday decorations too, for example the Jungle Boat Cruise becomes the Jingle Boat Cruise complete with a different set of corny jokes.
  5. The Candle Light Processional – I know some readers are saying wait a second shouldn’t that be included with the special Holiday shows? And it probably should, but I think this one is so special it deserves it’s own listing. The Candle Light Processional tells the story of Jesus’s birth through the use of a full orchestra, mass choir and celebrity narrator. Normally there are three shows scheduled throughout the evening, but you will need to get in line early.  Your other option for seeing the show is to purchase a Candle Light Processional dining package.  The Dining package is available at several restaurants throughout Epcot, and includes guaranteed seating for one of the shows. You will need to reserve the Dining package as soon as they are announced (Usually the first week of July) as they are very popular and sell out quickly.

Did I miss any of your favorites?  Please let me know in the comments.