Category Archives: Tips and Tricks
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 – The Monorail Express check it out at the link here. Today I want to talk to you about something outside the DisneyWorld Theme Parks and that is the Disney World Resorts, specifically the Epcot Area Resorts.
This is one of my favorite Resort Hopping experiences as you get to use the Friendship Ferry Boats. There is no way you can fit this resort hop into one day unless you took the whole day to do it. We like to split them up into 2 days but for this article I will publish them together. Also I find that this resort hop is better around dinner time or in the evening as the sunset on the BoardWalk is breath taking.
There are 5 Resorts that make up the Epcot Area Resorts, and 2 Vacation Club Villas.
Here are they:
- Disney’s Yacht Club Resort
- Disney’s Beach Club Resort
- Disney’s BoardWalk Inn
- Walt Disney World Dolphin
- Walt Disney World Swan
Vacation Club Villas
- Disney’s BoardWalk Villas
- Disney’s Beach Club Villas
Since our Resort Hop today has more of a nautical theme to it, just imagine your Friendship Boat is a Pirate ship and your sailing the high seas in search of treasure. Trust me you will find it at these Disney Deluxe Resorts!
This resort hop works best if you are in either Epcot or Hollywood Studios. Driving by car is very tedious and I would not recommend it. But if you must park your car at Disney Board Walk and just go from there as parking will be free.
However you chose to get there lets start today’s Resort Ferry Hop from Epcot. If you take the Friendship Ferry from Epcot your first stop will be at Disney’s Board Walk. Here you can walk the BoardWalk, take in the sights and sounds, stop off for a bite to eat, or even check out the street performers. A visit to the BoardWalk is a must for us on every visit.
While here you can also check out the BoardWalk Inn and the BoardWalk Villas. Both resorts capture the charm, whimsy and elegance of 1940s Atlantic City. Sitting along a boardwalk packed with amusements, the Resorts offers dynamic views of the BoardWalk and of the glittering waters of Crescent Lake.
Be sure to walk around and explore. There are literally hundreds of points of interest to check out. Be sure to bring your camera for pictures, and a stroller for little ones. The walk around the BoardWalk is perfect for couples and for families too as it is no where near as packed as Downtown Disney or some of the other resorts.
Take your time and just soak up the whole experience. You will spend hours absorbing the culture and elegance Disney put into making you feel like you have traveled back in time. Try sitting on a park bench and watching the couples and families walk hand in hand down the walk.
After a nice stroll down the boardwalk and around the resorts the day before jump back on the Ferry to Hollywood Studios to our next stop across Cresent Lake to the Disney’s Beach Club Resort, Beach Club Villas, and Yacht Club Resort. All of these resorts have a New England feel to them. I would say probably for me some of the best looking on Disney property. I love the crisp colors with white contrast on all the buildings.
I suggest when you are walking through Disney Beach Club Resort stop off at Beaches & Cream Soda Shop. My favorite place to get Ice Cream at Walt Disney World. We have no set way to walk around these Resorts we usually just start at the Yacht Club and work our way down to the Beach Club taking in the beautiful surroundings.
After you have taken in the sights and sounds of New England its time to jump on the Ferry again for a stop off at the Disney Swan and Dolphin Resorts. While not owned by Disney I consider them as much Disney’s as anyplace else on site. Be sure to take plenty of pictures! I have never eaten at any of the restaurants at the Swan and Dolphin but I hear they are very good.
If you want to check out a map of the Resorts and Ferry Route check it out here.
So that’s it for the Epcot Area Ferry Hop. You can jump back on the Ferry and head back to Epcot or Hollywood Studios for Extra Magic Hour or to take a bus to your resort. If you are lucky enough to stay at one of these Disney Deluxe Accommodations then your already home
So that concludes this weeks Resort Hopping 101. I hope you enjoy it as much as my family and I do. Stay tuned next time as I discuss the Animal Kingdom Safari 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.
On our last trip to Disney World we decided to try a few new things. One of the things we tried was the surrey’s at the Boardwalk. Our whole family was able to ride on one of these surrey’s.
We rented one for a half hour and off we went peddling our way around the big circle, past the Yacht and Beach club resorts, the Swan and Dolphin and back to the Boardwalk. We had the best time peddling or trying to peddle.
It turned out that out of 5 of us only 2 of us could peddle. Our whole family couldn’t stop laughing because we couldn’t make it up the little hills with 2 peddlers so my husband and oldest son had to get out and push the rest of us up the hills and climb back on to coast down the hills.
We were past by several other families who were making better time then we were. Oh, it was so much fun, we just laughed and laughed. It is one of the highlights of our trip. We managed to get around the circle twice and I always say that was the best $20 we spent at Disney World, and yes I would do it all over again.
Karen is a Disney Blogger on Exploring the Mouse. She fell in love with Disney World on our her first trip and have been back several times and can’t wait to go back!
Karen is now a member of thean elite group of Disney Guest Bloggers featured on the Chip and Company site. If you love Disney and enjoy writing you should apply to the ..Along with being immortalized on Chip and Company Website you will be entered in a drawing for a free $25 Disney Store Giveaway!
There are a number of things to keep track of when it comes to spending on your Disney vacation: accommodations, travel, food and park tickets are the 4 biggies and the ones that have the most written about them. But souvenirs often become the biggest budget buster, as many of us don’t really “plan” what we are going to buy until we get there….and then emotions take over, which is a sure sign of spending more than you want to! We’ve all been there, and it’s pretty frustrating, after having budgeted oh-so-carefully before your trip, to return home with a pair of Mickey crocs that you spent too much on and, really are you going to ever wear again?
However, when we discovered pin collecting, we discovered a great way of keeping that souvenir budget under control. Because pins are now our souvenir of choice, we are better able to plan our souvenir purchases and stick to a planned budget. We don’t get sidetracked, and don’t suffer “buyer’s remorse” when we get home either.
Is pin collecting for you? Well, if you are like my family, and find all those little pins just crazy addictive…then yes, this post is for you. So with that in mind, here are 5 tips on how to make Pin Collecting an affordable Disney souvenir strategy for your family:
- Decide on your Pin Strategy: collect for fun, collect to trade, or collect seriously. If you have kids who are going to trade everything away, you don’t want to spend a lot on them, or especially worry about what they look like. If you are going to primarily “pin trade” then buy cheap ones that you don’t like as much, and trade them for more “valuable” ones. (Of course everyone defines “value” here differently. For some, it is ones that are literally worth more. For others, it is merely ones that they like better.) Point is: don’t buy pins you want to keep. Seems obvious, but it took us a bit to actually figure this out. Now on the other hand, if you want to make this a serious collection, you can purchase only Limited Editions, for example, to increase the value of your collection. If this appeals to you, there are some great books that can give you more information and help you make informed decisions.
- Buy low, trade high: If trading pins is your main focus, then arrive at Disney with a dozen or so cheap pins for your kids to trade with. You can find some on eBay, on sale at DisneyStore.com, and even Amazon. The idea here is to trade these for others your kids will like more.
- Set a limit …and then stick to it. At this point, with hundreds of pins, we limit ourselves to 2-3 pins per trip. Because yes, this CAN be an expensive hobby if you are not careful! While the cost of pins can start as low as maybe $6-8 each, they can go up to $20+ for some very elaborate limited editions. It is easy once you start looking at them, to get carried away, so keep to that budget!
- Pick a theme, any theme: It is easier for many folks to keep to a pin budget, by collecting with a theme in mind. Maybe the resorts, or characters, or villains, or princesses. You name it Disney’s got a pin for it. Seriously. For us, we now pretty much buy our pins around dated events, as they are a great reminder of when we went and when we got the pin: for example New Years Eve 2005.
- Preserve your collection: Think about how you are going to keep them when you get home. Don’t go to all this trouble to buy all these pins and just keep them in a shoebox! Some people frame the lanyards and pins. Some put their pins in a shadow box. Some keep them in a display portfolio or binder. Whatever you choose to do, keep them in a way that will preserve your investment, and allow you to enjoy them.
Good luck with your pin collecting! If you are like us, you will find that it is an affordable and fun hobby, as well as a great way to relive your wonderful Disney vacation memories!
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 special “Disney magic” found in the most unexpected places.
The alarm goes off at 2 a.m. and I am up and excited right away. A smile on my face, a cup of coffee in my hand, I am grabbing last minute things to load into the van and we are on our way! It has become almost a ritual now. It feels like the beginning of Christmas and, for us, that is kind of what it is.
This is the first day of our annual family trip to Disney World. Every Thanksgiving our family gets together at the most magical place on Earth and we live together – all as a family again – for ten days. My husband, myself, and our three children ages 25, 19 and 17. This is my heaven on earth.
We started going to Disney World together in 2000 and we spend every Thanksgiving there now. We have made super budget trips where the smell of peanut butter lingered in our room for days on end. We have also gone with the free dinging plan where we ate until it hurt. Whether we are eating breakfast in the room and packing our lunches to take in backpacks, or eating at the fanciest restaurants in “the world” makes no difference to us. We are just ecstatic to be able to enjoy this time each year.
There is much to be said about pre-planning. I spend hours in this process before each trip with my notes, my latest guides and ideas of what we definitely don’t want to miss and what we would like to see new this time. Planning the trip is sometimes just as much fun as being there, with the adrenalin and high hopes invading every space of my body. Driving away in the pitch black of night, I realize that it will all be worth the effort in about 17 hours.
The Disney World area is breathtaking. Once we arrive it is like all our senses wake up and start taking notice. The sun seems brighter, the food tastes better, everyone is nicer, the grass is greener, the bushes are shaped like Disney characters for crying out loud. It is euphoric!
What a welcome time for all of us. Away from the stresses of life and into a comfy Disney-themed hotel room, we are home. For some, cramming five rather large people into one room for nine nights, with all the smelling of feet and sharing of one bathroom, might not sound heavenly. But for a mom who no longer gets to kiss her children every night and greet them with a hug every morning, it is a welcomed joy to behold.
To make our trips fresh and new each year, I always incorporate a new adventure into the trip. Be it an exciting new addition to the parks, a previously untried restaurant, a tour of a hotel we have not yet visited, it adds a little something extra to our wonderful holiday season.
On our first day we are always at Magic Kingdom and on our first night we can always be found celebrating our arrival with Christmas pageantry, warm sugar cookies and very short ride lines at Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. This really puts a smile on our faces and the love and joy of the holidays in our hearts.
The Osborne Spectacle of Dancing Lights is a magical family favorite. Millions of Christmas lights dance to music while we walk around in the snow sipping on our sweet, rich hot chocolate. I sniff the scent from my cup to add to my enjoyment of savoring the flavor and taking this memory in.
Growing my family Disney is what I always had in mind when I visited in my teenage years. Sharing hugs, smiles, fun and memories with my family is a blessing that I am so very thankful for. I treasure every second of it. Whether we are budgeting every penny or going all out with the dining plan we are enjoying life together and not taking one moment of it for granted. I relish these days with the grateful spirit that I have taken from these vacations exactly what Walt wanted people to take from them – to come to Disney World and be happy, then to take that happiness home and spread it to others.
Thank you, Walter Elias Disney. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!
Author : Brenda K
Brenda is now a member of the, an elite group of Disney Guest Bloggers featured on the Chip and Company site. If you love Disney and enjoy writing you should apply to the . Along with being immortalized on Chip and Company Website you will be entered in a drawing for a free $25 Disney Store Giveaway!