Tag Archives: Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
Currently I am planning a Disney trip for September 2012. Since planning is half the fun I decided to bring everyone along on my planning journey. Follow this series of articles for some fantastic planning tips and ideas and feel free to share your ideas with me to help me on my way!
Today is March 6, 2012. I leave for Orlando September 27, 2012. This leaves me a little over six months to plan my trip. The first thing I had to do was choose a resort and a time to travel. I was recently at the Wilderness Lodge to celebrate “One More Disney Day.”
While staying at the lodge I took advantage of the in room bounce back offer. This is an offer left in your room usually printed on a big cardboard stop watch. This particular offer was for 35% off my next room only reservation at a deluxe resort or villa. The savings are truly fantastic, but there are several black out dates. You also must book this offer while you are still a Disney Resort Guest. Once you check out the offer is no longer valid.
There will usually be some sort of promotion for the time period you are looking to book if you can be flexible. If you are dead set on going over Christmas break or another peak time, you may end up paying the rack rate or the non discounted rate for your stay. We originally wanted to travel during Columbus Day weekend as it would allow us to use fewer vacation days. Columbus Day is a black out period as it is a popular travel weekend. We settled on moving our dates up to accommodate the major discount. By doing this I saved close to $800.00!
Quick Tip – An Authorized Disney Travel Agent knows the best times to go, any specials available, and most offer you an incentive to book with them. Did I mention they are all 100% Free?
Now I knew my dates so I had to determine which resort hotel would best suite my needs. I knew our travel dates coincided with the start of The Epcot Food and Wine Festival. This was no accident. It was one of the reasons we wanted to come back in the fall as opposed to early winter. I called to discuss my options with a reservation specialist. I was given many options including great prices for a Garden View Room at the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa and a theme park view at Bay Lake Towers. I, however, settled on a standard room at Boardwalk Inn & Villas. Boardwalk is only a short 5 minute walk to the back gates of Epcot and I really want to get the most out of food and wine. This was my best option. I booked!
My next step is making advanced dining reservations. In just a few weeks I will be within the 180 day window and will be able to begin making reservations. This is perhaps the most exciting part of planning a trip! Before I can begin making reservations I make a rough list of restaurants I would like to try to arrange reservations for. After doing this I research park hours and try to see where each restaurant will fit into my plan. For example, we have a tradition of visiting the California Grill at the Contemporary Resort on each trip. I try to plan to be at that restaurant on a night when I am planning to visit the Magic Kingdom as I can hop aboard the monorail after dinner and be on Splash Mountain within minutes of dessert. My dining plans have to flow and in my next installment of this series I plan to show you how I get this done.
I have started my rough list of possible restaurants which include; The California Grill, ‘Ohana, Cape May Cafe, Beaches and Cream, Boma, Le Cellier, Via Napoli, and Citricos.
So here are my questions for you. How do you choose when and where to stay? Also, can you help me bulk up my list of restaurant possibilities? Which restaurant is your must do when visiting Disney?
Stay tuned for my next installment on planning my days and dining.
- Top 10 Table Service Meals at the WDW Resorts (chipandco.com)
- What is a Signature Restaurant? (chipandco.com)
A lot of Disney visitors carry their favorite guide book (like a Passporter) or a print out of their intended Touring Plan into the Parks, but I just can’t be bothered with carrying all that stuff. I like to move quickly through the crowds and don’t want anything to slow me down. But even though I prefer to travel light, I still have to be organized!
Fueled by my need for an orderly plan in a small package, I’ve figured out how to get all of the important information from my planning spreadsheet onto several easy-to-scan, convenient-to-carry 3×5 inch index cards. This fool-proof system has served me well over the course of four Disney trips (and hopefully will continue to serve me for many more).
Anatomy of an Index Card
To start with, I make an index card for each day, writing the day and date in the top left of the card. On the top right of each card, I write out the opening and closing times for every Park, as well as the times for any evening entertainment being offered.
Why include information for all of the Parks instead of just the one I plan to visit? Because things change! If the Park I’d planned to visit is overcrowded, I can easily hop to another and be fully prepared with the hours and entertainment schedule already in the palm of my hand!
In the main body of the card, I write out the plan for the day. I’m not a huge structured planner, so usually I just write the rides and attractions I hope to hit that day separated by land, but there’s no reason why you couldn’t put a whole touring plan onto the card. Along with the rides and attractions, sometimes I also list a snack I really want to try—a new cupcake in Hollywood Studios or savory waffle sandwich in the Magic Kingdom.
If I have any Advanced Dining Reservations (ADRs) or Meetups planned, I’ll note the times and locations under the to-do list in the main section of the card. If I’m hoping to see any of the daytime parades or shows, I also include the times for that.
I often also include instructions for getting from place to place. For example, if I’m planning to go to Trail’s End for lunch, I’ll say, “blue flag launch to Fort Wilderness.” Or if I’m going from lunch at the Grand Floridian to a Meetup at Wilderness Lodge, I’ll write, “Monorail to MK > Boat to WL.”
If I plan to visit multiple Parks on the same day, sometimes I’ll make one card for each Park, especially if one of them is Epcot. There’s so much to do and see in Epcot, it can be hard to fit everything onto just one card!
I also make a couple of “bonus” index cards. On one card, I list all of my flight information, including airline, flight numbers, confirmation numbers and times. I’ll often paperclip our Disney Magical Express vouchers to this card, and if there’s a layover involved in our flight plan, I’ll include a list of highly-rated restaurants and food carts in our expected terminal.
On another card, I list all of my ADRs for the trip, along with the full confirmation number. When you walk up to a check-in counter and are faced with a hostess who “doesn’t have” your reservation, this card comes in big-time handy.
If we’re planning a seriously commando trip, sometimes I’ll even make a card that lists what time we need a wakeup call each morning. As soon as we check into the room, I put that card next to the phone, so as we fall into bed each night, we can set the alarms on our phones AND set up our Mickey Mouse wakeup call. (Yes, three alarms. It is totally necessary when you get to bed at midnight and want to get up at 6 a.m.)
And I always pack a few extra blank cards, so I can add anything that comes up or make a new plan on the fly if the weather changes or we make an unexpected change in plans.
Each day, I take only that days card (or cards), the ADR card and a blank card—that’s four, tops. Four index cards fit perfectly alongside my ID and Key to the World in the Park bag, but they also fit perfectly into a pocket or my husband’s wallet if I decide to go bagless.
Is it nerdy to whip out a series of cards in the middle of the park? Maybe. But it’s such a great feeling to know that I have all of the information I need right at my fingertips, no flipping, no mussing, no heavy guide book.
And, certification training in project management (PMP) was not necessary in order to be this organized!
Do you swear by your own Park planning system? Tell us about it in the comments section below.
- Disneyspeak: Do You Speak Disney’s Language? (chipandco.com)
Time is running out to take advantage of the fabulous savings through Pixie Vacations. This offer must be booked by January 9, 2012 and is for travel February 3, 2012 through February 10, 2012 (ask about extending your stay).
- Accommodations at select Disney Resorts (see below)
- Magic Your Way Base Tickets
- Disney’s Plus Dining Plan
- A FREE DisneyQuest or Disney Water Park Ticket
This offer is available ONLY through Pixie Vacations, ask for promotion code “SPRING”.
Available resorts include:
- All Star Movies (Value)
- Coronado Springs (Moderate)
- Wilderness Lodge (Deluxe)
- Polynesian (Deluxe)
The fine print:
- All resorts in this offer will have a 12.5% tax added
- There is a fee of $15 per person, per night for 3rd and 4th adults (18 years and older) in each room of the moderate category resorts
- There is a fee of $25 per person, per night for 3rd and 4th adults (18 years and older) in each room of the deluxe category resorts
- The number of packages available at this rate is limited.
- Tickets valid for one theme park per day must be used within 14 days of first use.
- No group rates or other discounts apply
- Advance reservations required
If you’re looking for a magical last minute getaway this could save a family of four up to $1,338.06.
Contact Michele@PixieVacations for your free quote!
Dashing through the…woods…in a one-horse open sleigh! Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground offers a wintry experience to put any Guest in a festive spirit.
Now through the end of December, fire-engine red sleighs adorned with garland and holiday lights will take Guests through scenic trails in the Resort’s 700-acre backwoods. Since snow falls only on Main Street, U.S.A., at Walt Disney World, the sleighs are equipped with tires instead of runners for a smooth ride that is sure to be remembered.
Four adults or two adults and up to three children should fit comfortably in each sleigh. The 25-minute rides depart from the Blacksmith’s Shop inside Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground. Routes may vary but often carry riders over the river and through the woods…OK, not over the river, but certainly past many wonderfully decorated campsites and through beautiful scenery for a relaxing time with loved ones. Some campers return annually and have made it a sort of competition to see who can create the most magical display. If your driver offers you a choice, this is a fun option to request.
Holiday Sleigh Rides cost $60 per group to ride. Children ages 17 and under must be accompanied by an adult. Rides depart every half hour nightly between 5:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m., and between 3:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Christmas Eve. Reservations can be made up to 90 days in advance and require credit card guarantee. If you need to cancel, do so 24 hours in advance to avoid paying the entire fee. Book the experience by calling 407-WDW-PLAY.
- Is Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground right for you? (chipandco.com)
Where can you find it?
Disneyland – Napa Rose, Disney’s Grand Californian Resort
What is it?
Tender Filet drizzled with Blackberry Zinfandel Sauce
Why you want it-
Just looking at that picture makes you want to lick the screen.
If you have a Disney Food Confession email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Let me know the What, Where, and Why you love it so much. We would love to feature your picture and link to your website or blog if you have one.
- Disney Food Confession – Big Thunder Ranch BBQ (chipandco.com)
- Disney Food Confession – Out on the Boardwalk Dessert Trio (chipandco.com)