Category Archives: Tips and Tricks
Long before I knew what it was called, I suggested a familymoon to my then-fiancé when we were planning our honeymoon. According to The Wedding Channel, a familymoon is a postnuptial getaway that includes the kids.
My husband’s son was a few months shy of his eleventh birthday when we married and he was as integral a part of our wedding as he is a part of our life. I was not just marrying his father; we were creating a family. A honeymoon is a time to celebrate the start of your new life as a couple but it seemed lacking for our new family. We also wanted to celebrate our new family and make sure our son knew I wasn’t just gaining a husband; I was blessed to have a son. We immediately knew a familymoon was the answer for us but where? The answer came quickly and was obvious. Walt Disney World. And so, the plans were set into motion. My husband and I chose a honeymoon location in Florida for logistical reasons. After a few wonderful days alone, we drove across the state and met our son at the Orlando International Airport for the start of our family vacation.
The next week was just about perfect. There were a few glitches. I will never live down lunch at Aunt Polly’s which was a complete fail for my husband and son. There were many successes. My son and husband’s love of the Fettuccine Alfredo at L’Originale Alfredo di Roma’s was born (they still mourn the closing of its doors). There was over planning (on my part). There are countless memories. My favorite is my poor son being so tired (in a good way), he almost fell asleep in his dinner on more than one night.
Why Disney is Perfect for a Familymoon
There is something for everyone. Blending families can be a delicate task and often not everyone has the same interests. Parents have to avoid the impression of favoring one family member’s preferences over another. By familymooning at Walt Disney World, everyone wins. Young or old, thrill seeker or ride wimp, active or not so much, every member of the family will find a lot to do.
Keep Busy. Sometimes families experience growing pains. You know how arguments can be started on a long road trip when people are stuck in a car together without much to do but talk? To me, new families risk that same danger with a more sedentary familymoon like a beach vacation. All the rides and activities at Disney World can help keep any tensions at bay; you can bond over attractions without a lot of talking if you so desire. If tensions flare up, the resort is so large it’s easy to split up for an hour or so and have a cooling off period while still having fun.
Make it Special. Most people remember their honeymoon even if they don’t remember a lot about other vacations. A familymoon should be no different. You don’t have to leave Disney property or spend a lot of money to create special experiences for your new family. Bond over the famous Kitchen Sink dessert at Beaches & Cream, be awed by IllumiNations in Epcot, or rent a surrey bicycle for the whole family at a resort. If your budget allows, spend an evening at the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue at Fort Wilderness or take the Pirates and Pals Fireworks Voyage to watch Wishes.
One-on-One time. On our familymoon, my husband spent one-on-one time with his son every day to help reassure him that their relationship was just as strong even though we were married. Oftentimes it was as simple as a trip to the arcade but it was important time for the two of them. The variety of options at the Walt Disney World Resort makes it a breeze to carve out some parent-child time with activities such as miniature golf, a makeover at Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique or The Pirates League, fishing at Port Orleans Riverside, or even an afternoon at DisneyQuest.
People wonder why I love Walt Disney World so much. There are many reasons, many which I have written about before, but there is no denying that one of them is because it is the place where treasured memories were made, bonds were permanently forged, and where my new life really began.
This article is dedicated to my son, a very special young man who will be twenty-one in a few short weeks and has made my life better in ways he’ll never know.
Lisa M. Battista is the author of Beyond the Attractions: A Guide to Walt Disney World with Preschoolers When she’s not chasing after her little ones, you can most likely find her at the beach or in the kitchen trying her hand at a new recipe. You can follow her on Twitter @DisneyExplorer or become a fan of Beyond the Attractions on Facebook.
- Take your kids to Disneyworld for Free! (chipandco.com)
Here is the next edition of Top 10 According to Jess:
I am a big thrill seeker. I could ride Splash Mountain all day long, take the trek to the top of Everest every hour on the hour, and spend enough time on Rockin Roller Coaster to make Aerosmith question my sanity. Let’s face it though, there is a lot more to Disney than big thrills and there are some days when a slower pace is just what the Dr. ordered. Here are my top ten attractions that won’t make you lose your lunch!
- Soarin’: This virtual hang glider ride over California is located in the land pavilion at Epcot. The combination of sight, smell, and sensation will leave you breathless!
- Pirates of the Caribbean; This classic ride located in Adventureland in the Magic Kingdom will take you through a swash buckling tale that will make everyone in your group smile! You will also be guaranteed to be singing “Yo Ho Yo Ho, a pirate’s life for me” for the rest of the day!
- The Haunted Mansion: Head over to the Magic Kingdoms Liberty Square for this gem. The 999 happy haunts that live in this mansion are always happy to entertain!
- Muppet Vision 3D: This show, located in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, is one of my favorites. The Muppets never disappoint when it comes to laughter and old school entertainment!
- Kilimanjaro Safari: This scenic ride through the Animal Kingdoms menagerie is so incredibly awesome. Each time you ride it is a little different. You will see elephants, hippos, rhinos, lions, gazelle, giraffes, zebras, and so much more!
- Turtle Talk with Crush: Dude, you need to check this out! Crush from Finding Nemo fame wows audiences in Epcot every day! This interactive show is a must do and a great way to get out of the sun for a bit!
- The Jungle Cruise: This ride is worth going on for the cast members alone. The scripts are hilarious. It is a great way to see some fun animatronics animals while you are entertained with a little stand up comedy!
- Toy Story Mania: Head over to Pixar Place in Hollywood Studios for this adventure through Andy’s room. Play interactive midway style games with your pals from the Toy Story movies.
- Buzz Lightyears Space Ranger Spin: Help Buzz battle the evil emperor Zurg on this ride. Located in Tomorrowland in the Magic Kingdom, This ride is simply a must do!
- Captain EO: This Epcot original is only here with us for a brief engagement! I say, catch it while you can! This 3D feature stars the late great Michael Jackson. It is definitely worth a view!
- Top 10 Disneyworld Snacks – According to Jess (chipandco.com)
One of our focuses on the website the past few months has been Quick Tips. We like to prepare you for the parks and offer up tips and tricks to making your vacation more enjoyable.
If case you missed our last Resort Hopping 101 ‘s check them out Monorail Express, and the Epcot Area Ferry Hop. Today I want to talk to you about something outside the DisneyWorld Theme Parks and that is the Disney World Resorts, specifically the Animal Kingdom Area Resorts.
For those people who drove to Walt Disney World or have a rental car this is an easy Resort Hop. If you are like most people who fly there this Resort Hop is going to require you to ride the buses.
Transportation issues aside this resort hop has the most variety and is great for pictures. So lets get started..
- Animal Kingdom Lodge
- Cornado Springs Resort
- All Star Movies
- All Star Music
- All Star Sports
I was trying to think of a theme for today’s Resort Hop so since we are in the Animal Kingdom area we are calling this a Safari Hop. So grab your safari hat and boots as we swing right in.
The best way to use today’s Resort Hop is to use Animal Kingdom as your base of operation. The buses to Animal Kingdom generally are light and all the buses are compacted in a nice area. With today’s resort hop we like to spread it out over a couple of days so what we normally do is go to the Animal Kingdom for the day. We find the 9am-5pm park hours works very well for this.
Usually we like to leave after the Mickey Jammin Jungle Parade. That gives us a little time before we eat dinner to cruise around the resort and work up an even bigger appetite (as if walking around AK wasn’t enough)
About 99% of the time we have our ADR for Boma as its easily one of my favorite places to eat at WDW. So we head off to the Cornado Springs first. The CSR is beautiful, just walking around the lake is so serene. Be prepared to do some walking if you want to check out the whole resort. If you don’t feel like walking just stay around the main area, but if you don’t mind the walk be sure to walk over to the Dig Site. Check out a map of the resort.
So after some window shopping its time to jump back in the car or bus and make your way to the Animal Kingdom Lodge. If your going by bus you will have to go to DAK first then to AKL. This is where leaving the park early comes into play. If you taking the bus be sure to watch your time if its to late your going to have to bus hop from Epcot to the AKL.
When you arrive at the Animal Kingdom Lodge be prepared to be amazed. I remember walking into the resort for the first time and was just in awe of how beautiful the inside of the resort is. Take your time and walk around. Sit in the comfy lobby chairs.
If I could move into a resort and live there is would be it. It is breath taking just to walk the grounds. You can easily spend hours walking around this resort. We were fortunate on our last trip to do that as our little one passed out in the stroller..To bad she missed out on the animals in the savanna.
If your not eating anywhere at this resort be sure to still check out the restaurants. Usually if you ask the hostess you want to take some pictures or look at the food they don’t mind.
The best article I have read with the most info on the Animal Kingdom Lodge comes from Allears. Check out the link here to learn more about the resort.
The attention to detail is phenomenal so TAKE YOUR TIME! Explore and just take in all the sights, sounds, and smells.
The best thing about the All Star Resorts is they are all together. The worst thing is they all share the same buses. So depending on your situation and what resort you want to check out will determine how long of a bus ride you have so have patience. Most times we just go in order Sports, Music, and then Movies.
Walking around the resorts have fun taking pictures, exploring, and playing with all the fun things on site. You can get real creative with the pictures if you have a good imagination.
The three resorts are no where near the size of a moderate resort so you can easily do all three in a few hours depending on transportation.
Normally we use this day to kill time till our dinner ADR, or its something fun to do after dinner if you didn’t want to go back to another park.
So that concludes this weeks Resort Hopping 101. I hope you enjoy Safari Hopping as much as my family and I do. Stay tuned next time as I discuss the Lights Camera Action Hop.
If you have anything little tips or suggestions on things to do and see at these resorts be sure to let us know in the comment section below.
affordable Disney vacations, not long ago, I wrote a different kind of article for Chip and Co., about being a Ride Wimp at Disney World: kind of like a Disney Confessional that, yes, I actually hate the idea of Tower of Terror….and a few other rides as well. Turns out, I have a lot of company.While I usually write about
So, I thought it might be fun to share some ways that Ride Wimps *can* get some thrills at Disney World too. Because, we’re not all slow, boring, “wow-its-a-small-world-rocks” kind of people… We like our excitement too!
And it is actually possible to be a Ride-Wimp and have some thrills.
With that in mind, this week, let me share my all-time favorite ride at Disney World: Soarin’. I sure do love this ride. And many, many other folks do as well, both Ride-Wimps and thrill-seekers alike.
Soarin’ was actually born in Disney’s California Adventure park where it is known as Soarin’ Over California. The premise here is pretty simple: you feel as if you are in a glider, flying over the state of California. The ride proved to be so popular there that Disney decided to create a second version for Epcot, where it currently exists in the Land pavilion.
So what on earth is so great about this ride? I mean, you know what the lines are usually like for Soarin’, right? What makes all those people stand in line for so darned long?
Well it is just very cool, and you really, truly feel like you are…..soaring! Through a mechanism that raises all seats in the auditorium into the air, you then watch an IMAX type movie….up in the air…..feeling as if you are gliding like a bird. Between the breeze that you feel, and the scents of pine trees as you fly over the woods, and oranges as you soar over orange trees, it is the closest that many of us will ever come to actually knowing what it is like to literally fly through the air.
No plane required.
My words truly do not do it justice at all. You’ll just have to trust me on this one. It’s awesome, it’s amazing, and I really cannot ride this enough. In fact, it’s usually the first ride we do at Epcot every trip as well as the last…and if we can get a FastPass or two, we’re likely to do it a few times more as well. It does not EVER get old for us.
Now having said the part about being raised into the air, if you are a Ride-Wimp with a fear of heights, you may be wondering if you will like this. Well I am not fond of heights at all, and I love it!! Do yourself a favor and give it a try, you will be so glad you did!
Nancy, her husband and college-age daughter live in the Baltimore MD area, but consider Walt Disney World their second “home”. She started her site, The Affordable Mouse, as a way to share ideas about how to plan affordable Disney vacations. Her favorite things at Disney World (in no particular order) are Soarin’, most of the food in World Showcase, Illuminations…and that “Disney magic” found in the most unexpected places.
There are as many ways to book a Walt Disney World vacation as there are people booking them (not really but there are lots of ways to do it). You can book your entire package right away, you can book room and tickets with no dining plan, you can book a Platinum plan with everything, etc. Here is how I do it and since I start planning far in advance, why I do it that way.
- You can make a “room only” reservation 499 days in advance of your planned check out date. It requires a 1 night’s room cost deposit to hold the reservation. One thing to be aware of, since you will be crossing years, the deposit as well as the initial estimate of your total room charge will be determined by charging the rack rate for the most expensive season of the year. You can convert it to your planned visit date rate once the rates for the year of your travel are released by making a call to Disney.
- This assures your room availability and is particularly important if you travel during a busy time of the year so the room will be there for you.
- You can add things such as tickets or the dining plan to your reservation at any point just about up until check in date with no additional charge (officially, Disney says there may be a charge for adding but there rarely is) .To be on the safe side make sure you make your plan changes prior to the 45 days before check in date. If you stay with room only you can cancel or modify up to 7 days prior to check in with no penalty (another reason for room only). As the travel date gets a bit closer I look at the available discounts (free dining, Passholder discounts, Buy 4 get 3 free, etc.) that Disney may or may not offer and make my decisions. When I’m confident I will get the most for my money and the available discounts fit our travel style I call and add the appropriate item.
- People wonder what happens if you commit to your reservation and Disney suddenly offers a better discount? All you have to do is call them and they will change your reservation to the new discount and if a refund is appropriate they will reverse the charge to your card. They are very happy to do this so don’t hesitate but make sure that the new discount actually is better. You can request these discount changes at any time.
- If you purchase a package initially, the rules are different as well as the time frames. Things can get very complicated. For this reason I recommend you use a Disney Specialist Travel Agent no matter how you book. I use one and it takes a lot of worry out of missing the best deal. There are a lot of good ones out there but my TA is one of the very best. There is normally no charge for their services but be sure to ask. Remember – Always Use A Disney Specialist!!!
Enjoy your visit to Walt Disney World!!