Category Archives: Tips and Tricks
Vacationing at Walt Disney World is an expensive proposition and most of us (particularly us, frugal Oldies) generally look for whatever ways we can to minimize costs without impacting the fun. One way you can impact these costs, even in today’s expensive air travel market, is to look for the flights or other travel options that fit your needs best. There are many options, some of which are cheaper but may not meet your needs. Cheapest is not necessarily the best especially if you look at just the basic cost and convenience of the tickets or means of travel themselves. Here are some ways to get the best travel situation for you.
- DRIVE – This is good if you have the time, like to drive, live fairly close to Orlando, and consider the expense of hotel accommodations in your travel costs. It works well if you really like the person you are traveling with because you will be spending a lot of time together in close quarters.
- TRAIN TRAVEL – This is a wonderful way to go if you have the time, which many of us Oldies do. It’s also a great way to really get a good look at our beautiful country. It’s not really inexpensive but may well be worth it.
- LOW COST NO FRILLS AIRLINES – These airlines (Jet Blue, Southwest, etc.) have become a huge part of the travel scene to Walt Disney World because what they do is get you from point A to point B and that’s it. It does need to be mentioned though, these airlines are among the safest in existence, an important point to us Oldies. One precaution, if you are planning on using Disney’s Magical Express, make sure the airline you choose participates in the program (both Jet Blue and Southwest do participate).
- FREQUENT FLIER MILES - A lot of folks, including us Oldies, charge most of their day to day living expenses to an airline frequent flier miles card and pay it off monthly. This eliminates interest charges on the card and rapidly accumulates miles to be used for airline travel. A lot of cards also pay double miles for purchases such as groceries and gasoline so you can maximize your purchase dollars.
- COMPANION TICKETS - This is what I do. I use a Delta Platinum Sky Miles card as do several people I know. Each year when I pay the renewal fee I receive a certificate good for a free coach companion ticket. The renewal fee is $95 and when I pay for the tickets using this card the first bag for both me and my wife do not have the customary fee of $25 each way for each bag. This puts us ahead $5 and the ticket for my wife is free. The only costs involved on the companion ticket are the standard taxes and fees that are on every ticket, currently $42.80 for a one stop round trip ticket. That’s a pretty good deal.
- DISNEY’S MAGICAL EXPRESS – Always, always, always use Disney’s Magical Express. It’s free and it works beautifully, enough said!!
These are just a few ways to minimize your travel costs. I’m sure there are many others and even when you find one that suits your needs, keep looking because a better opportunity just might come along. Start looking at ticket prices early and when one comes along that meets your needs, grab it because prices can vary wildly even from hour to hour. It’s like the stock market and almost impossible to time for the best price. Good luck and as always enjoy your visit to Walt Disney World!!
PHOTO BY DISNEY
I learned a lesson in 2009, unless you normally carry a backpack in your day to day life don’t make Walt Disney World your first shot at carrying one all day. It actually gets painful later in the day when you carry that extra weight on your shoulders.
In a family group traveling to Walt Disney World there always seems to be one person selected to be the “pack mule”. If this person is normally a back pack person that’s fine but that isn’t the case in most instances. Here are a few of the things we do to spare the “pack mule”.
- Be a minimalist and carry only what you might actually need during the day.
- Try to find lighter weight versions of what you would normally carry. Example – if you you use a monopod to steady your camera try a plastic “shooting stick” that gun fanciers use to steady rifles when target shooting. They are available at Wal~Mart for around $10 and the gun rest comes off revealing a camera screw mount. They actually work better because they are strong, lightweight, and taller than a standard monopod.
- Don’t carry a bunch of bottles of water. There are plenty of water fountains available and if you don’t like the taste of Florida water take some Crystal Light On The Go packets. Have one water bottle for each person that they can refill (and also they can carry).
- Be generous, share the load. Allow other family members the opportunity to carry a portion of the supplies. Remember, most younger family members carry a back pack to school every day. It’s like a body part for them.
- If you still have issues with soreness revert to a fanny pack. They aren’t super stylish but they put the load on your hips rather than your shoulders.
There are probably dozens of other things you can do but I just wanted to get you thinking about it so you wouldn’t have to put up with the sore shoulders that I suffered in 2009. As always, enjoy your visit to Walt Disney World!!
Ever want to ride Splash Mountain six times in a row? Here’s your chance!
Mickey’s Not so Scary Halloween Party is a special event that takes place on select evenings in September and October. This party is held at the Magic Kingdom, and the park will be closed to anyone who is not attending the event.
- Hallowishes Fireworks (replaces the Wishes” fireworks show)
- Boo-To-You parade
- Trick or Treating (for kids and adults)
- Characters in costumes
- Villainous meets and greets
- Rare character appearances
- Character dance parties (in three locations)
- Super short wait times for your favorite attractions
- Rare Photopass and photo opportunities
When to go:
Mickey’s Not so Scary Halloween Party is presented only 24 nights a year. Double check the party dates before booking your vacation if you want to be sure you can attend.
How to attend:
Each member of your group will need to have a ticket to attend the party. Tickets can be purchased in advance and are sometimes available the night of the event.
Tip: Buy tickets in advance to be sure you get the date you want, and to get a slight discount. If you want to attend on Halloween, then buying tickets in advance is a must.
As of 2010, Mickey’s Not so Scary Halloween Party tickets cost $53.95 and up for adults and $47.95 for kids aged 3-9. Children under 3 are free. The price increases slightly for dates closer to Halloween, peaking at $64.95 for adults and $58.95 for kids.
How it works:
Arrive at the Magic Kingdom on your chosen party date. Pick up your Halloween bracelet, party map and Trick or Treat bag as you enter the park any time after 4:00 p.m. If you are already in the park, you can also pick up your party gear at Stitch’s Great Escape in Tomorrowland.
Important! Wear your bracelet at all times. Anyone without a bracelet will be directed to the park exit at 7:00 p.m. Halloween party guests will have access to all open areas of the park for the duration of the party.
The party starts at 7:00 p.m.; the trick or treat stations, meet and greet locations, photopass locations and other events will begin at this time. The park will be open until midnight, and scheduled offerings include the “Villains Mix & Mingle” show, the Boo-To-You parade and the special “Hallowishes” fireworks show.
Need tips on getting the most from your party experience? Check this handy list of secrets for some great things to see and do at the party.
Other MNSSHP links:
- Click here for a Review of “Boo to You” parade.
Please welcome one of my favorite about.com writers Samantha to Chip and Company. When Samantha isn’t out riding Splash Mountain 6 times in a row she can be found writing about all things Disney World for About.com or on her blog.
Easily one of the best rides at the Magic Kingdom! Pirates of the Caribbean has entertained millions of Walt Disney World guests on a thrilling adventure through dark, mysterious caverns where “dead men tell no tales” since it opened at Magic Kingdom on Dec. 15, 1973.
Starring a comical cast of rascals, scoundrels, villains and knaves, the eight-and-a-half minute Adventureland attraction sends guests of all ages on a rollicking boat ride to a Caribbean seaport under siege by a swashbuckling band of pirates.
- Pirates of the Caribbean first opened at Disneyland in 1967 and continues to delight guests today. According to Disney archivist Dave Smith, many guests still consider it their favorite theme park attraction.
- The Disneyland attraction originally was conceived by Walt Disney as a walk-through exhibit until the 1964 World’s Fair presentations created by WED Enterprises (now Walt Disney Imagineering) paved the way for a more sophisticated kind of three-dimensional storytelling known as Audio-Animatronics.
- Veteran Disney animator and Imagineer Marc Davis created hundreds of humorous pirate drawings during the attraction’s development in the early 1960s, sketches that Disney sculptor Blaine Gibson helped bring to life as Audio-Animatronics figures.
- The jaunty theme song by lyricist X. Atencio and composer George Bruns, “Yo Ho, Yo Ho; a Pirate’s Life for Me,” sets the attraction’s light tone with its tongue-in-cheek depiction of high-seas lawlessness.
- Pirates of the Caribbean wasn’t included in the original plans for Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort — the Disney Imagineers thought that since Florida sits in the middle of the real Caribbean there would be little interest in a pirates-themed adventure.
- Soon after opening in the fall of 1971, Walt Disney World Resort was inundated with guest comments expressing disappointment that the renowned Disneyland attraction was nowhere to be found in Magic Kingdom. By fall of 1972 Pirates of the Caribbean was under construction in Florida.
- Pirates of the Caribbean opened in Florida’s Magic Kingdom on Dec. 15, 1973. It was one of the first major additions to the park following its grand opening in 1971.
- Due to the hit motion picture “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl” and the follow-up “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest,” the attraction was updated in summer 2006 with the addition of Captain Jack Sparrow and his nemesis Barbossa, from the feature films.
- Audio enhancements, new special effects and the addition of the ghostly Davy Jones, from “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest,” also anchor the reopened attraction.
- The Walt Disney World attraction features 125 Audio-Animatronics figures — 65 pirates and villagers and 60 animals and birds.
- Caribbean Plaza in Adventureland, where the attraction is located, features the Spanish and English architectural styles of the 18th century West Indies.
- Paul Frees and Thurl Ravenscroft provided the voices for many of the attraction’s colorful characters. The prolific voice artists also can be heard throughout The Haunted Mansion at Magic Kingdom.
- Lyricist X. Atencio supplied the voice for the talking skull and crossbones that delivers an ominous warning to passing guests: “Dead men tell no tales.”
- Flat-bottomed boats that seat 15-18 passengers take guests on a gentle journey through a flume containing approximately 155,000 gallons of water, but beware — there’s a single plunge down a 14-foot chute in darkness, followed by a mild splash.
- Sharp-eyed guests at the attraction will notice two chess-playing skeletons, their eerie match deadlocked in a tie.
- Birnbaum’s Walt Disney World – The Official Guide depicts Pirates of the Caribbean as “One of the very best of the Magic Kingdom’s classic adventures” and honors the attraction with a “Birnbaum’s Best” endorsement.
- The Magic Behind The Scenes – Background Music (chipandco.com)
How do you find this type of non crowd shot at the Magic Kingdom? You start early! A lot of people love the evening Extra Magic Hours (EMH) and see them as an opportunity to really maximize their touring. I’ve tried both morning and evening hours and have found the morning hour to be more productive than the evening. It’s the same if you just go at “rope drop” even if there are no early Extra Magic Hours. All attractions are virtual “walk ons” and lines simply do not exist.
There is a bit of caution here, as the day progresses, you will notice the crowds increasing. This is of particular importance if you go early to a park that will have Extra Magic Hours that evening. We have found that going early to a park (with evening EMH) is wonderful because the night owls arrive late keeping the crowds down a bit later into the day. Generally about noon we head out of the EMH park and head for one without the extra hours. Those parks are generally less crowded. One hint: if you can, try to go to a park that had EMH the night before and the crowds will be at a minimum. This is not a 100% guarantee but you have stacked all of the odds in your favor.
I think that if you are not a night owl and want to maximize your touring while getting plenty of rest each night, try some of these hints. This type of plan will help you enjoy your vacation without crashing from sheer exhaustion. I’m sure you will find this helpful. As always, enjoy your visit to Walt Disney World!!
- Disney World Vacation Planning – Arrival Day (onlywdworld.com)
- Poll: What’s your favorite Disney World Park? (chipandco.com)