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Thursday, August 16, 2018

Disney's Boardwalk Resort - An Excellent Resort Theme and Location

Guide4WDW.com

by: guide4wdw - Collin

Disney's Boardwalk Resort - An Excellent Resort for Theming and Location 

Walt Disney World's Boardwalk Resort is what I would consider one of the more unexpected stand out offerings in the world of Disney Deluxe Resorts. The Boardwalk is a unique blend of luxury, location, and amenities that is fairly hard to beat in regard to Disney's Deluxe tier properties. Unfortunately, as always, the Boardwalk and other Deluxe tier resorts tend to accompany a fairly high nightly price tag, but at the same time the cost put in tends to play a role in the overall vacation experience. Some guests may find that a necessary expense for their vacation style while others may prefer more budget friendly accommodations on property (or off - before considering off-property there's a few things you'll want to consider - Off-Property At Disney World: What to Consider and Why). 

Just last week (March 2018), we had the opportunity to stay at the Boardwalk Resort with some friends and family. Honestly, it was a wonderful vacation, and the resort certainly played a big role in that experience. We were not payed by Disney to make this review (even though I wish we could make that happen lol), but in all reality it was a very expensive out of pocket stay. Thankfully, we used a technique we have in the past to minimize the cost of deluxe resort accommodations by booking a 2 bedroom villa. I know that sounds like the opposite of saving money but we also traveled with a fairly large group so the cost was split among two families, making the overall cost per group far more manageable. It's not the ideal tactic to save money and book deluxe for every situation, but it's worked out wonderfully for us and we get to travel with some great friends along the way. 

But, with all that being said, this resort isn't perfect and we'll gladly share that information as well in today's article. In the big picture, this is an outstanding place to stay, but it's different in a few ways than what you may expect from the typical deluxe tier resorts at Walt Disney World. However, it is pretty high on our list of resorts, but it's hard to beat our top pick of Club Level at Wilderness Lodge. Long story short, we admittedly have high expectations.


The Backstory  

At Walt Disney World, as many of you know quite well, everything has a story and while many stories are more elaborate than others you may be surprised at the level of detail built into the Boardwalk experience. 

As you walk into the lobby, you're surrounded by a bit of real life history. From the scale model Illions Carousel (which comes to life each hour), or the Lucy the Elephant Scale Model, to the Luna Park Pool area, to the picturesque views over charming, yet active Crescent Lake, the Boardwalk harkens back to the days of old school Boardwalks readily overlooked in today's fast paced world. 

Based on an elaboration of turn-of-the-century Atlantic City blended with the subtle yet memorable touches of iconic Coney Island, the Boardwalk welcomes a good time while remaining family friendly nearly all hours of the day. As the days turn into nights, the Boardwalk comes alive a few feet above the glistening water of Crescent Lake. Live acts share their talents and tricks, and carnival games allow guests to test their skills and enjoy a piece of the classic boardwalk experience in the heart of central Florida. It's a surprisingly simple concept, but one that is accomplished so tastefully and in such a unique way that it creates a truly memorable experience. Some day we'll have to share a closer look at some of the hidden details in the history of the experience, but we'll save that for another day. Nevertheless, be on the look out for a few hidden details hiding in plain site that really develop the theming to an entirely shocking level.                    

Disney's Boardwalk Resort


The Check In Experience at the Boardwalk 

When we arrived at the resort, we were greeted quite pleasantly by the staff and bell service, and while we decided to deal with our own bags before heading to the parks, they made every effort to help. Once inside the main entrance of the resort, the lobby is a few short steps away in the heart of the grand atrium featuring fleeting and subtle views of the picturesque boardwalk one floor below the lobby. We intentionally avoided online check in to explore the in person check in experience. Upon arriving at the desk, we were pleasantly informed that we had been given an upgraded view. It was a great touch and a great start to a Walt Disney World vacation. It wasn't something we asked for, but certainly a wonderful surprise. We did arrive fairly early on in the day (around 12:45), and as a result our room was not quite ready. Given the time of day and typical 4pm check in time for the resort, it was a situation we entirely expected. Instead of waiting around for the room, we made the decision to head to the Magic Kingdom. In order to do so, the staff of the resort stored our luggage (a great option for early arrivals) and we headed to the parks. Everyone was quite helpful and a few short minutes later we were on the bus to Magic Kingdom.



          

A Closer Look at the Villas 

Late that night we returned to the resort and picked up our luggage (a very easy process) on the way to the room, instead of having it brought to us, and were pleasantly surprised by our room placement. We managed to get a room location on the main floor, less than a two minute walk from the lobby, a short distance down the hall. 

The room itself was a bit oddly set up, but a great set of accommodations for our situation. At the entrance to the room there were two doors. A typical room or studio room would not feature this same set up but with the two bedroom villa it was designed as what Disney called a "lock off." Essentially the first room was a one bedroom villa with a king bed and a rollout sofa bed with a kitchen and living area. The other room (the second door also opening to the hallway) featured a queen bed and a queen size sleeper sofa in addition to a twin size trundle bed cleverly tucked away under the television.

Disney's Boardwalk Resort

In theory, Disney splits up these two bedroom villas in the case that it would need to be booked as a studio room and a 1 bedroom villa independently. So, when you book a two bedroom villa of the type you essentially get two adjoining rooms and two doors to the hallway as well. It's a clever concept and likely makes it easier for Disney to fill resort rooms and accommodate a variety of party sizes. 

As for the theming itself, it's fairly simple. The paint scheme of the room is accented heavily in white but also draws from a fairly bright color pattern and features artwork picturing carnival rides and special Boardwalk-esque experiences. During our stay, the room remained impeccably clean and housekeeping did a wonderful job promptly cleaning the room and replenishing towels and other needed items. 

Our upgraded view (as mentioned above) landed us three balconies overlooking the "DVC" pool area and resort recreation section. We mostly faced the smaller of the pools on the property, a select few guests playing ping pong or playing billiards poolside, and a picturesque view of the waterway to Hollywood Studios and the Swan and Dolphin a short piece away. It wasn't the best view but it was far form the worst! We really enjoyed the few minutes we got to sit back and take it in from the balcony.              


A Quick Comparison to Other Disney World Deluxe Resorts

I've been fortunate enough over the years to have had the opportunity to stay at quite a few resorts on property. I haven't stayed a them all but I have visited nearly every resort on property at least once and have stayed at many of them at least once. By comparison to the others, I would put the Boardwalk firmly in the above average to excellent category. It's not going to beat the iconic Bay Lake and Seven Seas Lagoon Resorts overlooking Magic Kingdom in my opinion, but at the same time this is a wonderful resort and located in one of the best locations on property. You're a 10 minute walk to Epcot, and 15 minute walk to Hollywood Studios and boat transportation is also provided to each of those locations. On top of that you have typical Disney busses to Disney Springs, Magic Kingdom, and Animal Kingdom. During this trip we only had one issue with bus transportation and that was for an early entry day to Magic Kingdom.

All things consider the trapsorstiaotn is excellent here and provides a great alternative to busses for those who may get carsick (like me) or simply prefer alternate transportation. 

From a theming perspective this resort is only rivaled by a select few properties. To me, Wilderness Lodge, Animal Kingdom Lodge, and the Polynesian are the ultimate standard in well themed accommodations. Of course, your opinion will very, but the level of detail at the Boardwalk is something very difficult to overlook and true impressive to see and experience first hand. As you can see in the images in this post, the area is spectacular at night and nearly as beautiful during the day. What you may not be be able to tell in pictures is that this place is covered in little details that make a huge difference in the broader resort look and feel. It's impressive to say the least and something you should definitely check out even if you don't plan on staying there during your vacation.           

Disney's Boardwalk Villas

The Ideal Epcot Resort 

As a result of the proximity to the park and the transportation options, I see Disney's Boardwalk as the ideal Epcot resort. Not only is it close to the park and allows access into Epcot's back International Gateway entrance, but allows you to avoid the crowds to a certain extent during the opening of the park in the mornings. Additionally, with the opening of Toy Story Land and Star Wars on the horizon over at Hollywood Studios, the ease of transportation to that park could be a life saver as those projects draw to completion in the coming year(s) and the heaviest of crowds file into the park. 

Given the proximity to these parks, it's easy to leave the park in the heat of the day, run back to the resort and hit the pool to cool off or freshen up a bit in the room without wasting too much time in the realm of transportation and moving from location to location. Convenient is the ideal way to describe the location and that short amount of saved time each day can add up to a noticeable time savings at the end of your Disney vacation. 

The other Epcot resort area accommodations are excellent as well and while the Swan and Dolphin leaves a bit to be desired in the realm of theming, their teacher discounts are a great way to save some money if it applies to your situation. With that being said, the Boardwalk is our top pick of the Epcot area resorts. It's centrally located, convenient, and in my opinion offers the best bang for your buck out of all the Crescent Lake area properties.      

The Boardwalk's Pool and Recreation 

The Boardwalk Resort's pool is one of the most iconic WDW pools you'll find on Disney property. As you round the corner to the main pool you're greeted by a massive waterslide reminiscent of the classic wooden rollercoaster of legendary picturesque boardwalks. Beyond the slide, the pool itself is quite impressive and even features a bar within the pool area itself. The atmosphere is quite pleasant and excellently themed to the resort in what Disney calls Luna Park. 


In the realm of recreation, guests and visitors alike can jump on a Surrey bike and tour the entire Crescent Lake area. Tennis courts are available just steps from the main lobby, and a marked running trail borders Crescent Lake for those looking to get a bit of extra exercise in during their stay. Last, but certainly not least, about a 15-20 minute walk away you have the Fantasia Gardens Miniature Golf course! It's an impressive course and even made it onto our list of  The "Little Things" We Do At Disney That Can Make All the Difference

Unfortunately, some of these experiences are not entirely free of charge, but are excellent things to enjoy while visiting the resort nonetheless. Also worth mentioning is that these offerings only scratch the surface of all that is available for you to enjoy at the Boardwalk resort and surrounding area.

Incredible Views From the Boardwalk Itself

Without a doubt, I truly believe the Boardwalk is one of the most picturesque resorts, if not the most picturesque resort, I've ever been to. From the morning sunrises walking to the parks or waiting for boat transportation, to the incredible reflections off of the water after the sun sets and the lights of the boardwalk light the night, the experience is near impossible to do full justice to in words. In this case, seeing is believing and while I hope our photos from our stay do it justice, there's nothing quite like being there! It will, without a doubt, exceed your expectations.     

Epcot International Gateway - Back Entrance

WDW Boardwalk Restaurants 

For those looking to visit or even stay at the Boardwalk, the dining offerings are quite impressive and expansive to say the least. Unfortunately, if you're looking for quick service meals, you're wont find to many options on the Boardwalk itself. While the Boardwalk Bakery and a few of the smaller stands on the boardwalk do offer some unique snack offerings, and a select few meal items, there's only a select few options in the realm of quick service meals. Thankfully, you're only a few steps away from Epcot and Hollywood Studios which both offer a large variety of quick service meals of all types. Additionally, while not on the dinning plan, the Dolphin resort is home to Picabu which is a great quick dining offering with a changing menu and daily offerings which make each visit unique. Personally, I highly recommend their breakfast omelettes!  

If you're looking for table service dining you have a ton of options. The property is home to each of the following: 

-ESPN Club

-Flying Fish 

-Big River Grill and Brewing Works 

-Trattoria Al Forno


ESPN Club is a great place to catch a sporting event with a vast array of TVs and a fairly impressive menu that features some more unique items while still offering classic cheeseburgers and other items kids and adults alike will enjoy. 

Flying Fish is the high end dining establishment of the group and welcomes guests to a menu of a variety of fish and steak offerings in addition to other high end dining staples. For the full menu click here. However, you'll want to be aware before making your reservation that the dining offerings are seasonal and are subject to change over time.

Trattoria Al Forno is unique in that it offers guests the opportunity to enjoy a character breakfast with Ariel, Prince Eric, Rapunzel, and Flynn Rider or a variation of the group. The meal is quite simple, viewable here, and late in the day the breakfast location transforms the menu and offers up a truly "Italian" dinner in an elegant but not to overly stuffy environment.  

With all of those offerings for consideration, it's a bit tough to pick the select few you'll get to enjoy during your stay. If you need help narrowing it down or booking any aspect of your vacation, contact our friends at Destinations to Travel (clickable quote request form) for free planning help. Booking with them through our form helps us out here on the site and we appreciate your support.           

Our Boardwalk Resort Overview - Our Thoughts

Without a doubt, this is one of the top resorts we've experienced first hand on Disney property. The theming is unbelievable and the level of service matches or exceeds the top tier theming. While all of that is true, the best way to describe this experience isn't through my own experience but rather through the story of a guest I stumbled into on social media a few days ago. 

During their stay, the particular guests young child lost a toy they had bought in the parks. The simple purchase was a slinky dog figure, but was somehow lost along the way. Upon returning home, the guests discovered the toy was missing and contacted the resort. The staff of the Boardwalk went above and beyond and not only found a slinky dog, but informed the guests that slinky would be sent to them in the coming weeks. While that's great on it's own the cast went beyond expectations and created a photo memoir of Slinky Dogs journey before returning home to the guests. There were pictures of his activities and shared experiences that unveiled a backstory that Slinky wasn't quite ready to come home. It was a small gesture but one that set the Disney experience apart and made that lasting impression on the guests that will stick with them for years to come. It had to be a magical moment and that story is the only true way to do justice to this resort and it's incredible staff. (If that guest happens to be reading this, shoot me a message on Facebook or email and I'd be happy to give you credit for the story and would love to add in a few photos if you're interested!)   
        
Before we completely wrap up for the day, if you or anyone you know would be interested in partnering with us to sponsor a post, feel free to email me at guide4wdw@gmail.com. Right now, we have a Travel Agency affiliate that were happy with, but all other offers we'd be happy to look into. Companies of all sizes will gladly be considered. 

Your Thoughts
As always, if you have thoughts, concerns, questions, or even some tips of your own to share, don't hesitate to reach out to us on Facebook or your favorite social media platform. Give us a follow while you're there, and we'll keep the conversation going in the future. We're not the largest Disney community, but we're one that's there and one that listens. Thanks for reading and have a wonderful day wherever you are!
Disney's Boardwalk Inn

Ready to Plan?

Need help planning your vacation? Let our friends over at Destinations to Travel (FREE - no obligation quote request form below) help you out at no additional cost to you! Their services are free and a great way for you to help out the site at no extra cost to you! Here's a closer look at why I recommend an Authorized Disney Travel Planner!
Last but certainly not least, if you're starting the planning process, a great place to start are with some of our top planning articles! Looking for dining? Check out Disney World Dining Tips For 2018. Want to start with some more tips? 44 Excellent Disney World Tips for 2018 or Disney World Planning Guide and Tips For 2018 are a great place to begin! Looking to save money on tickets? Check out our friends over at The Official Ticket Center for great deals that even made it into our 2018 Discount Disney World Ticket selections and another great way to help us create more content through your contributions at no additional cost to you! You'll probably even save money along the way.






Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Disney Resort Reviews - Everything We've Learned About Resorts On and Off Property!

Guide4WDW.com


by: guide4wdw - Collin

Disney World Resort Tips - Everything We've Learned About Resorts On and Off Property!  

Walt Disney World Resorts are unique in so many different ways, and I'd be lying if I ever said anything truly compares directly to a Disney owned and operated resort. There are hundreds of hotels across the country but very little compares directly to the theming and all around experience of staying on Disney property. At the same time, there are a select few benefits of staying both on and off property and often times meeting your needs and budget can and will occasionally sway you in one direction or the other. 

Personally, we've stayed at many different resorts both on and off property for various reasons and while this is a growing and ever changing list, our goal is to provide you with our thoughts and tips for each and every resort we've stayed in over the years. Why? Our goal here from the beginning has been to help you enjoy a better Disney vacation and to provide a resource for making that dream vacation a reality. For those of you who have been to the parks time and time again, we hope that our thoughts and recommendations help you find something new to enjoy on property. Disney is always changing and part of the joy of the overall Disney experience is finding something new each and every trip down.



On Property Walt Disney World Resorts  

As I touched on above, on-property resorts are always going to be the better option (in my opinion) if it fits your budget. Obviously it's not going to be the same prices you'll find at a Days In or something of the sort, but when compared to other resort style accommodations Disney resorts don't tend to be all that more expensive than a Hilton, Hyatt, or other equivalent resort. Additionally, on-property resorts feature excellent transportation at no additional charge that is superior to every other off site transportation option (even including Uber and Lyft - which are our top pick when staying "off-property").  

Here's a Closer Look At Our Tips For Resorts:

Many resorts on property we've stayed in but others we've only visited with friends or family. As with anything, staying there really is the true test but we'll share a few thoughts on resorts we've visited along the way as well as reviewing a select few in greater depth!  Unfortunately, I am a creature of habit but it's always been and likely always will be a goal to continue branching out and trying new things on consecutive trips to the parks and resorts. A few of the resorts we've stayed in recently can be found below and while we've stayed in many more on property resorts, we wont review those until we revisit them and capture a better and more detailed perspective of their current state.  
  



While resort reviews are great, Disney has done a pretty great job describing everything you can expect to find at the resorts on their site. So, rather than reviewing every resort in great detail I want to share a few thoughts and tips on how to make the best decision for your given needs and wants of your vacation experience. Plus, we'll take a look at a how to secure those tough to get reservations and a few things to consider along the way.  



These tips really only scratch the surface of all that we've covered here on the site, so be sure to check out our other pages up at the top of the page and don't forget about our search bar to find something you may be looking for specifically! 




Off Property Disney World Area Resorts  

Truthfully, in the past we've always tried to avoid off property resorts if we can avoid them mostly because they tend to complicate the Disney experience and pull a little something away from the feel of the overall WDW vacation experience. It's not that there's anything wrong with off property resorts (and we've stayed in a few along the way), but to me it feels like you miss a bit of the encompassing experience you get staying at on-property resorts. If I did have to pick one "off-property" recommendation it would be the Double Tree Near Disney Springs because I've stayed there quite a few times and it always meets or exceeds expectations. Additionally, the hotel isn't really "off-property." It's so close to Disney Springs that you can walk to it fairly easily, and on top of that it actually sits within the welcoming Disney gates near South Apopka Vineland Road on Hotel Plaza Boulevard.

Off property hotels and resorts are, in my simplest explanation, different. You're no longer in that Disney bubble, and you're not surrounded by those Disney cast members that often make all the difference in making you feel completely at home no matter where you're from. That seemingly simple difference combined with the grand theming and beautiful nature of the Disney resorts tends to set the experience apart from all other vacation destinations. 

I mention all of this for one main reason and that is to share with prospective guests that while staying off property can be more budget friendly (not always for various reasons), the slight bit extra you tend to pay tends to be worth it in the grand scheme of things. By all means, if the only way you can make ends meet to make your way to Walt Disney World is staying off property, by all means stay off property! It's not the end of the world, but being aware of what you give up and how you can avoid it if your budget allows is a huge part of the planning process. 


As we continue writing here on the site, we'll likely share a few more off-property resort reviews and tips, and this is where we'll add them in, but for now I'm goin to leave you with that one recommendation. If you want to learn more about it, head on over to our full post about the Double Tree below: 


Wrapping Up

I'm a firm believer that resorts are a huge part of your Disney vacation. I know many feel like a resort is simply a place to rest before your next day in the parks, and for many that works! However, to me it's so much more than that. We've had the pleasure over the years of staying in many different Disney resorts (far more than are listed above simply because it was long before we started the site) and I'd be lying if I said it didn't make a difference.


A great resort can wrap you in theming and truly transport you to a different place and a different time in a way that is very difficult to explain. As an example, I've always been a huge fan of Wilderness Lodge. It's a resort that changes your expectations for hotels and has such a "wow factor" that it sets the standard for all other resorts. Obviously, I'm a little bias towards Disney but I firmly believe that Disney resorts are different than all the rest. The theming is in every little detail and at the same time they find a way to put you in the story in a way that no other company has quite accomplished on such a grand scale. When you step into a resort like Wilderness Lodge or even the Boardwalk, you dont step into a theme, but rather you feel like you're there and living the story the resort portrays as if it's been there for generations and you're in that place the resort depicts. You're not going to find that off property. 

Want to work with us here on the site or in the photography realm? Shoot me a message on social media anytime or email me directly at guide4wdw@gmail.com. We're always looking for sponsors and new opportunities. If you ever have questions during your vacation planning or anything else feel free to message me there as well and I'll get back to you as soon as possible! 

Your Thoughts


As always, if you have thoughts, concerns, questions, or even some tips of your own to share, don't hesitate to reach out to us on Facebook or your favorite social media platform. Give us a follow while you're there, and we'll keep the conversation going in the future. We're not the largest Disney community, but we're one that's there and one that listens. Thanks for reading and have a wonderful day wherever you are!


Need a Travel Planner?


If you want or simply need a little bit of planning help to make your Disney vacation dream a reality, check out the quote request form below this article for our friends over at Destinations to Travel. They'll let you do as much or as little of the planning as you'd like and may even save you some money along the way! As always, thanks for supporting those who support us.


Ready to Plan?


Last but certainly not least, if you're starting the planning process, a great place to start are with some of our top planning articles! Looking for dining? Check out Disney World Dining Tips For 2018. Want to start with some more tips? 44 Excellent Disney World Tips for 2018 or Disney World Planning Guide and Tips For 2018 are a great place to begin! Looking to save money on tickets? Check out our friends over at The Official Ticket Center for great deals that even made it into our 2018 Discount Disney World Ticket selections and another great way to help us create more content through your contributions at no additional cost to you! You'll probably even save money along the way.



Monday, August 13, 2018

Our Top Disney World Planning Tips - Things To Read Before Your WDW Vacation

Guide4WDW.com

by: guide4wdw - Collin

Our Top Disney World Planning Tips - Things To Read Before Your WDW Vacation  

Over the last few years writing articles here on the site we've shared all kinds of tips and tricks for trips to Walt Disney World in hopes that we can, even in a small way, improve your Disney World vacation experience. This Disney Parks tips have been and always will be work in progress so hopefully we can share something here that will, at the very least, give you something new to think about or even possibly experience on your next trip to Walt Disney World. Of course, this isn't the "end all be all" list and that is largely a result of the ever changing nature of what Disney World. There's always something new to enjoy and the parks are always changing on a seemingly daily basis. It's a blessing and a curse for the prospective guest, but at the same time it creates this ever changing "world" of things to enjoy time and time again. If nothing else, changes keep us coming back. Some changes we may love, and others we may disagree with, but at it's core Walt Disney World is this seemingly simple place that creates joy in a  way that very few other destinations can match. 

Our Top Disney World Planning Tips - Things To Read Before Your WDW Vacation

Rather than just throwing around our posts and making you search endlessly in the search bar, we've designed this page to help you find what you're looking for from 350+ articles we've posted on the site over the last few years! It's a lot to take in at firs tif you're a first time guest, and the volume of posts can be overwhelming for even the most experienced parks-goers, but hopefully this helps you find that one tip that changes and perhaps improves your vacation experience. As always, if you find any of these articles helpful, I would really appreciate it if you shared this page with friends! We have grown and only continue to grow thanks to your support and we can't thank you enough for that. Before eI get to off topic, lets dive right into the first category of posts you'll find here!     
       

Tips For Before Your Disney Vacation Begins


Getting ready for your trip is inevitably just as important as the trip itself and for many of us it's one of the many joys of going to Walt Disney World. I love the planning process (I bet you couldn't have guessed that one lol), but it's not for everyone and finding a good place to start if you are a first time guest is something that is incredibly difficult to do without the right assistance and tips along the way. Unfortunately, Disney planning strategies are never a "one-size fits all" scenario, so rather than telling you directly what to do, I try to make all of our tips here guiding basic principles that are adaptable and hopefully helpful to all types and styles of travel preferences. What I like to do may not be what you like to do, but the great thing about Disney is that there really is something for everyone and these tips only begin to scratch the surface of all that is out there and available across the internet. 

While Disney tips abound from all different people, I would be carful who you trust and take advice from. Your neighbor may say one thing, your coworker who's been to the parks one time may say another, and chances are most people have only been to the parks a few times. When you're planning, look for those friends that have been to Disney 20+ times, not the ones that have been once or twice. It sounds like common sense but when you do this every day you start to hear some "interesting..." stories. 

Long story made short, don't take these tips and try to replicate our travel plans to exacting details. Every trip is different and rolling with the new situations that unfold and making the most of every minute is the overlying concept I hope to share more than anything else. Enjoy every minute and find ways to do what works for you. Use these tips as a cushion and as a basis of knowledge to build your trip around and you'll be a lot better off and well prepared for your dream Disney trip.    
  


Last but certainly not least in this category, if you want a real person (other than me) to walk you through the planning process check out why we recommend a Disney Travel Agent in our post - Disney Travel Agents - Who Do I Recommend? All of this may seem incredibly overwhelming (unless you've done it many times), but it really doesn't have to be. If you know what to expect and get a little help along the way from both Disney themselves and others you may know, it really isn't a difficult process. After you do it once, it gets far easier for consecutive vacations. If you know the booking timeframes, fastpass+ booking windows, and park hours you're well ahead of the crowd of first time guests!      


Tips For During Your Disney Vacation

I think I'm in the minority, but I truly believe tips for during your vacation are just as important, if not more important, than planning tips. Don't get me wrong, planning is a huge part of the process, but what very few realize is that there's a lot that can save you time, allow you to experience new things, and let you make the most out of your trip while you're actually in the parks. If I had to give one tip out of all these articles below it would be one of the simplest tips you'll ever here... Don't over-plan! If you have every minute of every hour laid out on a calendar, you're going to get frustrated during your Disney trip. One unfortunate situation will get you off schedule and typically you'll get overwhelmed almost instantly. It's not worth stressing through your entire vacation to try and get every single attraction ridden or every single show watched. You cannot see and do it all and truthfully none of us have. There is an incredible amount of things to do and you just can't do it all. 

Our Top Disney World Planning Tips - Things To Read Before Your WDW Vacation

If you want to plan out your days, feel free to do so, but don't time stamp your vacation minute by minute. It may work for a select few but in my opinion its not the best way to travel and certainly not the most "go with the flow" situation. If you have a few key "must-do" items in mind, schedule those out if you want to, but don't overwhelm yourself. Let things happen spontaneously and you wont regret it. Often times our nights in the parks that are entirely unplanned are some of the nights we remember the most years later.              

Tips to Save Money For and At Walt Disney World 

Disney is expensive and honestly it's not getting cheaper anytime soon. As a result, this category of posts is growing and growing quickly for so many different reasons. We don't have an endless supply of money and we aren't staying at Walt Disney World for free, so we're always looking for new ways to cut costs and save a little money along the way. As we find new money saving avenues, we'll be sure to share them with you. 

Costs at WDW come in a variety of different forms, but dining, souvenirs, tickets, and accommodations are really the big four! Hopefully these tips cover all of those bases and help you out in some way or another. As always, if you have questions, feel free to send us a message anytime!    


My Disney Experience Tips

As perhaps the greatest change to the Disney planning process in the last 10 years, my Disney Experience kind of changed everything. At times it's a great system but at other times I tend to miss the free and unplanned way you could previously head to the parks without worry of having to plan your day out in advance. On the other hand, the system has improved greatly over the last two years and I believe we're just beginning to see the capabilities of this system and what it could hold for the future. You can already use your smart phone as a room key (at select resorts), order food and have it delivered to your table without ever going the counter, and at times attractions even use your name to personalize the experience. I'd be shocked if we don't see a greater use of this technology in the parks sooner rather than later and I would not be surprised if full Smartphone and AppleWatch integration is approaching in the not so distant future. The system is always improving and it is starting to grow on me over time, but knowing what to expect and how to really use the My Disney Experience platform in depth can make all the difference.   

Our Top Disney World Planning Tips - Things To Read Before Your WDW Vacation

Late Night Disney Tips 

Night time at Walt Disney World is second only to sunset in my opinion. Sunsets in Orlando tend to be spectacular (especially in the summer months) and the picturesque setting of the parks sets the stage for a truly incredible experience. As day slowly transitions to night, Disney tends to take on an entirely different look and feel. Imagineering has spent hours on end perfecting the lighting, sounds, and sights of the nighttime atmosphere. As an added bonus the crowds tend to fade as the days draw to a close and set up some of the most memorable nighttime shows and moments Disney has become known for!         


Tips For Experiencing Hidden Aspects of the WDW Parks 

Oftentimes the largest mistake guests make when touring the parks is that they never take the time to "dig a little deeper" (to quote Mama Odie) and discover the less obvious elements of the parks. The hidden backstories and things so many simply walk right past time and time again are what tend to set Disney apart from all the rest. The little details you uncover in the most unexpected places tend to be the things that make you take a step back and say "wow, I never noticed that!" Those moments get lost in the hustle and bustle of the trip far too often and can really add a level to your time in the parks and help uncover a greater story that puts things in perspective in a whole new way.    

Our Top Disney World Planning Tips - Things To Read Before Your WDW Vacation

Learning From The Past 

I'm a firm believer that we can learn from the past and that the past can give us a greater appreciation for the future. The Disney parks are no different. If you take the time to do a few minutes of research and look back at what once was a part of the parks, you can add a new perspective to your theme park experience. If you know "what was" you tend to have a greater appreciation for what's taken it's place in today's parks. Imagineering has even hidden a few tributes to extinct attractions in plain site!     


Want to work with us here on the site or in the photography realm? Shoot me a message on social media anytime or email me directly at guide4wdw@gmail.com. We're always looking for sponsors and new opportunities. If you ever have questions during your vacation planning or anything else feel free to message me there as well and I'll get back to you as soon as possible! 

Your Thoughts


As always, if you have thoughts, concerns, questions, or even some tips of your own to share, don't hesitate to reach out to us on Facebook or your favorite social media platform. Give us a follow while you're there, and we'll keep the conversation going in the future. We're not the largest Disney community, but we're one that's there and one that listens. Thanks for reading and have a wonderful day wherever you are!


Need a Travel Planner?


If you want or simply need a little bit of planning help to make your Disney vacation dream a reality, check out the quote request form below this article for our friends over at Destinations to Travel. They'll let you do as much or as little of the planning as you'd like and may even save you some money along the way! As always, thanks for supporting those who support us.


Ready to Plan?


Last but certainly not least, if you're starting the planning process, a great place to start are with some of our top planning articles! Looking for dining? Check out Disney World Dining Tips For 2018. Want to start with some more tips? 44 Excellent Disney World Tips for 2018 or Disney World Planning Guide and Tips For 2018 are a great place to begin! Looking to save money on tickets? Check out our friends over at The Official Ticket Center for great deals that even made it into our 2018 Discount Disney World Ticket selections and another great way to help us create more content through your contributions at no additional cost to you! You'll probably even save money along the way.




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