Category Archives: Oldies but Goodies
Epcot is absolutely our favorite park. The shows and attractions, with a couple of exceptions, seem to be very senior friendly. As well, a lot of folks think children will have no interest in Epcot because of its educational/informative bent but I beg to disagree. Kids thirst for knowledge and Epcot presents that knowledge in a fun and informative way. This makes Epcot the most universal of parks in overall appeal to all generations. (personal opinion of course) Let’s take a look at Epcot’s top 5 for seniors and see if they match your choices.
- Spaceship Earth – What a way for seniors to start their visit to Epcot. It’s a relaxing, informative and fun way to be exposed to the history of communication, as well, it sets the tone for the rest of the visit. Along with the recent upgrade came a lot of new techie stuff which especially appeals to younger visitors. The upgrade improved every aspect of the attraction including the narrative (Dame Judi Dench fan here). Make sure you take the time to enjoy this attraction. Try it early in the day while everyone else is running for Soarin’.
- Soarin’ – Arguably the most popular attraction at Epcot, this is also a very senior friendly attraction. What you get here is a tour over the skies of California from a perspective that few folks will ever experience. The ride equipment itself looks a bit daunting to a lot of seniors but the boarding and departing of the ride is easily handled by seniors and the ride itself is gentle and the scenery rewarding. Give it a try my fellow seniors.
- The American Adventure Show - The biggest criticism I’ve heard about this show is that it is overly patriotic. Is that a criticism or a compliment – I know how I feel about it. The more patriotic the better, this is America after all!! The animatronics are quite good and the stage is HUGE! Please sit a ways back senior friends so you can take it in without any issues. Make sure you get there early so you can take in the Fife and Drum Corps demonstration and the Voices of Liberty (an amazing a capella ensemble in the lobby), it’s one of the most rewarding hours you will spend at Epcot.
- Impressions de France - If you enjoy beautiful travelogue type photography and delightful music then you will love this attraction. Unlike a lot of the other “country” films, this one is presented in a comfortable theater type setting so there is no standing (sometimes tough on our older legs and feet). This makes for a wonderful break from touring and allows you to recoup from touring; and did I mention, the film and the music are wonderful.
- O Canada! - We can’t forget our wonderful neighbors to the north. This film (sorry, it’s a stand up) had gotten very tired over the years but a fairly recent remake starring Martin Short and several other “surprisingly” Canadian celebrities has given the story of O Canada! a whole new life. If you viewed it a few years ago and were a bit disappointed, give it another chance you will not be sorry.
Epcot is a paradise for us older folks. Most of us love to walk around and look, look, look and Epcot is the place to do just that, Perhaps that’s why we spend 2 1/2 to 3 days there every visit – we are truly hooked!! As always, enjoy your visit to Walt Disney World!!
- Off the Beaten Path: Quiet Places at Epcot (chipandco.com)
- Disney World Fun Facts – Epcot (chipandco.com)
The Magic Kingdom is just for kids – WRONG!! The Magic Kingdom is for absolutely everyone but does have particular appeal to the kids and yes, us older folks!! There are so many wonderful attractions that run the gamut from roller coasters to shows that it’s hard to pick just 5. Let’s check out those that are both entertaining and kind to the bodies of my fellow seniors.
- The - This just could be my favorite attraction at Walt Disney World. It underwent a major upgrade a few years ago and everything (and I mean everything) was improved. I’m excited about this years visit because the queue just underwent a huge overhaul and is now interactive. From what I’ve heard it’s amazing. So – in just the last few years, Disney has taken their best attraction and improved it to an unbelievable level. What can they do with it next? I don’t have a clue but stat tuned, they will come up with something.
- Pirates of the Caribbean – Another Disney classic that just goes on and on. It’s a pleasant and fun sojourn with those evil pirates as they do what pirates do. It’s a comfortable boat ride with a couple of minor drops that will harm no one. The detail is amazing throughout, as you go under the bridge as you leave the town scene, check out the hairy legs of the pirate sitting on the bridge. Make sure you look for Captain Jack, he shows up at least 3 times.
- The Jungle Cruise – This is normally the first attraction we hit on every visit to the Magic Kingdom. Sure – the animatronics are not all that sophisticated and the “skipper’s” jokes are corny and tired (but oddly funny) but it’s a great way for seniors to kick off their Magic Kingdom visit. Take the time to ride it but try to do it early because lines can get long.
- “it’s a small world”-This one goes all the way back to the ’64 World’s Fair, when many of us seniors were still school kids. It’s bright and cheery and young kids (and a lot of seniors) really enjoy it. The music (OH!! that song) is likely to set up camp in your head and spend the rest of the day with you so be warned. It’s not really that bad and besides there are a lot worse things that could be rattling around in your head. Enjoy the very smooth and cheerful time you spend with the world’s kiddies and feel free to join them in song.
- Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress - Another classic oldie!! Do you see a trend here? It looks like the older attractions are favored by the older folks, at least this older folk. This one has changed a little over the years but still focuses on “progress”. The animatronics, again, are not that sophisticated but the story line is entertaining and it’s a very relaxing way to spend a little bit of time. I particularly enjoy the scene changes where you sit there and rotate rather than the scenes rotating. Enjoy this one!!
There are so many of the old classics in the Magic Kingdom that it’s easy for seniors to have a wonderful time without even approaching a roller coaster. Make sure you try some of the older things even if the younger members of your party want to ride Space Mountain – you will not be sorry. As always, enjoy your visit to Walt Disney World!!
- Disney World Planning Tips: Magic Kingdom Edition (couponingtodisney.com)
- Top 10 Things To Do at Night in the Magic Kingdom (chipandco.com)
What do you think my fellow Oldies? Should we take an aggressive stance and TACKLE every theme park we visit or should we take another approach? As I have gotten older (alas, an unavoidable consequence of being born) I have developed a different approach toward everything I do – age and experience will outdo youth and enthusiasm every time. So, for me, the TACKLING question is easily answered with a NO. That does not mean you shouldn’t do it so long as it fits your capabilities and doesn’t overstretch your limitations, if it works for you – Do It!!
I think you will find that very experienced Walt Disney World visitors move quite a bit more slowly and with a different type of purpose than a relatively less experienced visitor (I guess you could call them newbies in the kindest possible way). The pace at which folks travel through the parks is not necessarily a function of age but more one of ability and purpose. But, as I have gotten older I have found both my ability and purpose are varying with each passing year causing me to be a little less aggressive in my approach to theme park touring.
Do we miss anything we want to do because of our slower pace? We do not because one of the other benefits that comes with the age and experience mentioned above, a bit more disposable income. Our solution to taking a slower pace is to visit more often and for longer periods of time. Our normal visit interval was every 2 years but after October 2011, it is going to be every 18 months for 10-12 days – problem solved!! That type of visit allows us to squeeze in that extra Epcot day and that extra Hollywood Studios day without taking away from some of our other favorites.
On our March/April 2013 visit we are going to explore renting DVC points to see how that works for us. It will mean deluxe accommodations at a reduced price. There are some pitfalls to avoid but research and networking can take the edge off of those pitfalls. If you want to try something like that, do your reading and talk to your friends. Don’t just jump into it because someone (me) says it might be a good idea. Don’t commit until you are comfortable.
I asked a question about TACKLING theme parks aggressively on your visits, if it fits your abilities and approach to life by all means go for it. You can also try some of the things we do, travel more often for longer visits, so you can take your time and enjoy everything Walt Disney World has to offer. It’s all up to you my friends. As always, enjoy your visit to Walt Disney World!!
Oldies and all other folks put quite a lot of time making decisions about many things before embarking on a Walt Disney World visit. One of these items is dining, after all, everyone has to eat. I’m going to give you some numbers to give you an idea what the Disney Dining Plan (DDP) costs per adult per night so you can compare the benefits of the DDP to the Tables In Wonderland Program.
The DDP includes 1 table service credit, one counter service credit, and one snack credit for approximately $46 per person per night. The Deluxe Dining Plan (DxDP) takes this to 3 table service credits and two snack credits per night and brings the cost to $79 per night. You may add the Wine and Dine package giving you 1 wine entitlement per night per room for an additional $40 per night. So if you like table service dining and go the whole route, the cost is approximately $99 per person per night (and does not include cocktails). Depending on your dining and beverage preferences this can add up quickly. Please remember that Disney Signature Restaurants require 2 credits per meal.
Enter Tables In Wonderland (TIW) which costs you a total of $100 ($75 if you are an Annual Passholder). What does this get you? You get a full 20% discount on food and beverage (yes alcohol too) purchases in most Disney Table Service Restaurants and many of the lounges. It is also important to note that in resorts with no table service restaurants the TIW discount of 20% also applies at the food courts. You can find a (lounges too). The discounts apply for the TIW card holder and 9 additional people. Technically, there can only be one guest check but you MAY be able to sweet talk your server into two if that’s how it works for you. Another important point, if you use TIW they automatically add an 18% gratuity based on the non discounted price of the meal (not at the food courts) after all, the server and staff have to work just as hard to serve a discounted meal as a discounted meal so in my opinion they should be compensated that way. Dinner Shows are also included but only for the last scheduled show of the day.
If you don’t eat at Signature restaurants and are disciplined enough to stick to only using the allotted dining credits on your visit then the DDP can be very economical. I do not have that kind of self control because there are way too many amazing dining experiences to be had at Walt Disney World. We have used TIW before and will be using it again on our October visit. It offers some distinct advantages that the DDP’s do not have. If you enjoy a cocktail as well as wine with your meals – 20% discount. If you enjoy Signature restaurants there is no penalty (no credits involved) – 20% discount. You are not forced to have extra food that you might not want, you order exactly what you want, no more or no less – 20% discount. I guess the only complaint I hear from people is that you don’t really get a 20% discount but only a 2% discount because of the included tip. I tell those folks that they will likely tip in the 18% range even on the DDP’s because that is the industry standard for the type of excellent service you get at a Disney Restaurant. I hope you find this information helpful and as always, enjoy your visit to Walt Disney World!!
Let me be up front with you, as a Disney consumer who happens to be an Oldie I really enjoy the Walt Disney World transportation system. There are a few reasons why. We have stayed off site and driven to the parks each day (that will never happen again), we have also rented a car for an 8 day visit and the only time we used it was for a 1 day trip to Universal so if that comes up again we will do a 1 day rental, but it has become our norm to rely strictly on the Disney transportation system to get us from place to place. On our upcoming visit in October we will be going to see Harry Potter for 1 day but the friends we are vacationing with are driving down so that is covered.
When people hear Disney transportation their thoughts seem to drift towards the bus system and any bad experiences they have had with it. Sure, we have had a few less than perfect experiences but never anything I would call bad. Yes, they get crowded (especially at park closing) and some fellow passengers can occasionally be somewhat rude or annoying but when you consider how many people that bus system moves and the complexity of Walt Disney World it works pretty doggone well. I know I am regularly offered a seat if I am standing but there are lots of folks who need that seat worse than I do so I always politely decline.
So much for the bus system, and yes it is very effective for seniors and those folks who might have some mobility issues. What else is available and how well does it work? Of course there is the monorail which works just beautifully for moving everyone from toddlers to Oldies. The ride is smooth and always well air conditioned. We have heard a lot about accidents but overall the safety record is excellent. The only disadvantage is that it doesn’t go everywhere in Walt Disney World and that’s not likely to happen. But, if you are staying in one of the Magic Kingdom Resorts it can’t be beat for efficiency. The ride from the TTC to Epcot is also a treat. Again, the monorail system is a very effective mode of transportation for us Oldies.
My personal favorite method of transportation at Walt Disney World are the many types of boats that navigate the World’s waterways. I’ll just list a few of them for you:
- The ferry from the TTC to the Magic Kingdom
- The smaller boats that go between their respective resorts and the Magic Kingdom on the Seven Seas Lagoon
- The ones that sail in Bay Lake moving us to and from Fort Wilderness, the Wilderness Lodge, and the Contemporary
- Then there are the Friendships that ply the World Showcase Lagoon from one side to the other (but it’s normally faster to walk)
- There are also Friendships that go from Epcot to the Boardwalk and then to the Yacht Club and over to the Swan/Dolphin and on to Disney’s Hollywood Studios
- Saving my favorite for last, the Sassagoula Steamboat Company that runs from Port Orleans Riverside to the French Quarter and on to Downtown Disney. There is also another line that goes between Saratoga Springs and Downtown Disney.
Using the boats is a great way for Seniors (and everyone else) to relax after a hectic day and be ready for a good night’s sleep. So the answer to the question is Disney transportation is very effective for seniors and I didn’t even mention that it’s free!!! As Always, enjoy your visit to Walt Disney World!!
Photo By Disney