Category Archives: Transportation
PlanItDisney.com, a revolutionary free Disney trip planning website, went live to the public today. PlanItDisney allows users to build an online travel itinerary and budget from over 3000 Points of Interest in and around Disneyland and Walt Disney World.
Planning a vacation with PlanItDisney is a four step process:
The Map – An interactive map containing photos, details, descriptions, and reviews for every single attraction, show, hotel, service, food, and transportation location at the Disney resorts is the starting point to building your perfect trip. Browse the map, find things to do and add them to your itinerary queue.
The Planner – Select any point of interest and drag-and-drop it anywhere in your itinerary. Shuffle events around until your trip is just right. Color coding of events gives you a quick overview of what kind of activity is up next. You can add custom itinerary items or attach a note (like ADR information) to any event.
The Budget – Once you’ve got your itinerary looking the way you’d like, with one click PlanItDisney will help create a budget based on your exact trip. Common (but commonly overlooked) budget items like internet charges, parking, and other costs are noted for you.
Book It – Once your plan and budget are in place, PlanItDisney makes it easier than ever to book your Disney vacation online. You can choose to share your itinerary and budget with one of a select group of Authorized Disney Travel Agents who can help finalize all the little details of your trip and make all the hotel, ticket, food, and theme park reservations at absolutely no cost to you. Or you are free to make your own travel arrangements.
PlanItDisney is the quickest and easiest way to learn about everything to do at Disney, remove the confusion and hassle of planning and budgeting a trip, and get on with enjoying the most magical vacation of your life!
- Ask Us a Disney Question – Can I pay for my vacation with gift cards? (chipandco.com)
- Disney Free Dining 2011 and 2012 (pixievacations.com)
Walt Disney World has a lot of different resort options to choose from, so the question is, where should you stay, what resort will best suit you and your family’s wants and needs? When I was young, my family always chose to camp at Fort Wilderness, and I have many fond memories of the resort from my childhood.
To help you figure out if Fort Wilderness is right for you, weigh the pros and cons:
- Peace and Quiet: it is a big, beautiful, peaceful resort, full of lush green meadows, and it seems like you’re a world away. It really is a quiet escape from the hustle and bustle of the parks
- Lodging Options: When staying at Fort Wilderness you have the option of camping with your own equipment (they offer sites with hookups for all kinds/sizes of RV’s and campers), or you can rent one of their Cabins, which sleep 6 and come complete with a bathroom and kitchen (truly a home away from home!)
- Cost: compared to other WDW resorts, camping at Fort Wilderness can be considered cheap if you already have a camper, since you’re only paying for a campsite. If you decide to rent a cabin, since they sleep 6, if a few people are pitching in on the cost, that’s another way to be able to save some money. Not to mention the fact that you can cook your own food in the cabins or in your camper and save on meal costs (the resort has 2 small stores where you can purchase grocery items)
- Built in Entertainment: Since the resort is so large, it is able to offer lots of ways to keep you and your family amused away from the parks. Swimming, biking, nature trails, horseback riding, canoe and powerboat rentals, nightly campfires featuring an appearance by Chip and Dale, golf cart rentals (that’s right, you can even rent a golf cart here!)…there’s so much to do that Fort Wilderness is practically a theme park itself!
- Shuttle Boat Service: You can take a boat from Fort Wilderness to the Magic Kingdom, and from there you can take a monorail or bus to pretty much anywhere in Walt Disney World. The boat is really a time saver (versus staying at a value resort and having to take a 30 minute bus ride to the Magic Kingdom)
- Restaurant options: Fort Wilderness is home to the famous Hoop Dee Doo Revue dinner show, a wild west themed show that is a must-see at WDW! If you’re looking for something a little more tame, try Trail’s End, where they serve breakfast and dinner buffet style and lunch is offered a la carte. Either way, you won’t go hungry with the delicious food offerings at Fort Wilderness!
- Confusingly Large: Fort Wilderness is so large that it has it’s own internal bus system which can be confusing, and you could spend 15 minutes or more walking back to your campsite from the bus stop after a long day at the parks (not fun on feet that have already spent 12 hours walking!)
- Bus Service: The Magic Kingdom shuttle boat makes things easy, but bus service to other parks can be slow, with long times between buses and the rides can be crowded and long
- Grocery Offerings Small: Should you plan to cook the majority of your meals at your campsite, and you will need to purchase food once you arrive at the Resort, you may end up paying too much….the Resort offers groceries, but the selection isn’t huge, and the prices tend to be way higher than a regular grocery store. Try using Garden Grocer to have food delivered to you!
- “Wild West” cuisine offerings not for everyone: Trails End has some great food, but the variety is not as large as you would find at a Value or Moderate resort’s food court. Health wise, the options aren’t as plentiful, and it’s really the only place to eat at the Resort, so it might get old fast
Overall, I can’t say enough good things about Fort Wilderness, as an adult I would definitely bring my family there, it’s a beautiful resort with a ton to offer, and something for everyone for sure.
Hopefully it ends up being the right WDW resort for you, and you can make some memories there too!
- Celebrating Thanksgiving at Walt Disney World (chipandco.com)
- Is Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Resort For You? (chipandco.com)
My family has enjoyed a couple of weeklong stays at Walt Disney World’s Port Orleans Riverside Resort. The question asked above, is it for you, depends on what you are looking for in a Resort, how much time you will actually spend at the Resort, and what types of amenities you prefer. My family stays at the Value and Moderate Resorts, because we do not spend a lot of time in our room or exploring the property. We get our fill of adventure at the Parks and Downtown Disney area and only hit the room to drop off souvenirs or catch a nap. Perhaps when the kids are older and we slow down a bit, we may justify the extra expense of the Deluxe Resorts and their magical appeal.
Let’s look at the Pros and Cons of Port Orleans Riverside (POR):
- The property is absolutely beautiful, quiet, peaceful, and serenely scenic.
- Bus service is excellent, with 4 convenient, covered stops. (POR shares buses with only neighboring Port Orleans French Quarter.)
- The rooms are in excellent condition and are in the process of getting new queen beds in all rooms. (This creates a new CON below.)
- The food court is spacious and picturesque with lovely views of the Riverside Mill water wheel and Ol’ Man Island, and the food is delicious.
- Boatright’s Dining Hall table-service restaurant serves dinner only, but it’s a great place for hearty Cajun cooking.
- Surrey bikes, rowboats, pedal boats, and canopy boats can be rented for leisure time. Also, fisherman, you can cast a rod-n-reel into the pond stocked with catfish, perch, bass, and bluegill (catch and release only).
- The main pool on Ol’ Man Island features a lovely swimming area with slides, kids’ wading area, and hot tub. There’s also a shaded playground nearby. POR features five “quiet” pools throughout the Resort.
- For the romantics out there, POR offers a private carriage ride for $35.
- Friendships pick up Guests at POR and ferry them along the Sassagoula River to Port Orleans French Quarter and to Downtown Disney Marketplace until 11:00 p.m., running every hour until 4:00 p.m. and every 15 minutes after that.
- Fulton’s gift shop is well stocked and the Cast Members are very nice.
- The resort is large, and some of the buildings are difficult to access. We had to walk from the lobby in pouring rain and blustering wind on a 40-degree night to our room on the backside of Building 18, to which there is not direct route.
- Disney is in the process of replacing all full sized beds with queens. While that’s great news for families of four or fewer, as soon as that work is complete, those of us with parties of five will no longer be accommodated. *
- POR is divided into two themed “parishes”: the backwoods-cottage styled buildings of Alligator Bayou and the stately Gone with the Wind styled mansions of Magnolia Bend. In Alligator Bayou, the multi-level buildings are elevator-less. Guests with handicaps should be sure to request ground floor rooms.
Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside Resort is a lovely resort with beautiful grounds and a well-maintained setting. My family has enjoyed staying at POR, because its relaxing atmosphere helps us unwind after busy days in the Parks.
Will we stay there again? We’d love to, but probably not, because as soon as all rooms are converted to queen beds, they will no longer accommodate our family of five. But that’s alright. There are many more Resorts left for us to explore!
*Author’s note: There seems to be some discrepancy in reports concerning the refurbishments. Parties of 5 WILL still be accommodated at POR when renovations are complete. However, that applies to the buildings of Alligator Bayou only, and there may be some time periods where trundles are not available while the work is in progress. Rumors state the trundles are being replaced with Murphy-style twin beds, but we’ve been unable to confirm that information at this time.
- Opening in early spring 2012, the Royal Guest Rooms at Disney’s Port Orleans Resort-Riverside (chipandco.com)
- Planning 101 – Scheduling Time for Free Disney Resort Fun (chipandco.com)
ON TRACK JANUARY 2012! Exotic Driving Experience from Petty Holdings LLC at Walt Disney World Resort
Since 1997 Walt Disney World Guests have had the opportunity to take the wheel of a real NASCAR at the Richard Petty Driving Experience located at Walt Disney World® Speedway. This mile-long, slightly banked tri-oval track has hosted both Indy Racing League and NASCAR Truck series events. It has been operated year-round, exclusively, by Petty Holdings since 2000.
Now your choices are expanding. An exotic auto experience designed by Petty Holdings recently announced its Exotic Driving Experience. Opening in January 2012, the course will complement the speed and agility of some of the world’s fastest luxury supercars, including Ferrari 458 Italia, Ferrari F430, Lamborghini Gallardo LP 570-4 Superleggera, Lamborghini Gallardo LP 560-4, Porsche 911 GT3 RS 997, and Audi R8.
Exotic Driving Experiences start at 6 laps around the 1-mile course. A professional driving instructor rides shot-gun and provides coaching and feedback. Additional lap packages can also be purchased. View the full lineup of exotic cars.
Are you ready to discover the adrenaline rush you can only get behind the wheel of a world-class supercar? Visit PojectExotic.com or ExoticDriving.com for more information or call 1-800-BE-PETTY (800-237-3889) to book your reservation today.
About 2:00 a.m. on Sunday, July 5, 2009, two monorails collided on a fixed guideway system referred to as the Epcot beam near the Concourse station within Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. The accident occurred when the Pink monorail backed through an improperly aligned switch-beam and struck the Purple monorail. An operator and six passengers were on board the Purple monorail at the time of the collision. The operator was fatally injured; the passengers were not injured. The only occupant of the Pink monorail, the operator, was taken to a nearby hospital and treated and released. At the time of the accident, weather conditions were clear with light winds and a temperature of 76° Fahrenheit. One operating cab from each of the monorails was destroyed. (See figure 1.) Total damages were estimated at $24 million.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the July 5, 2009, collision between two monorails at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, was the shop panel operator’s failure to properly position switch-beam 9 and the failure of the monorail manager acting as the central coordinator to verify the position of switch-beam 9 before authorizing the reverse movement of the Pink monorail. Contributing to the accident was Walt Disney World Resort’s lack of standard operating procedures leading to an unsafe practice when reversing trains on its monorail system.
Click here to keep reading the full report. (Details may be disturbing)
- Chip and Company Disney Week In Review For October 31 (chipandco.com)