As mentioned in yesterday’s post this part 2 in a 3-part series on the Disney Cruise. Read on for very extensive details about the cruise. Part 1 was an overview. Part 3 is special Hidden Mickey photos. Here I break the cruise into categories. If you’ve taken a Disney Cruise, please post about your experiences!
When we returned from our Disney Cruise, our friends had a lot of questions, the main one being, “should we book one too?” The answer to that question is of course, individual. In this 3-part series on the Disney Cruise, I’ll give an overview (here), then go into specifics about the cruise (activities, food, kids’ club, entertainment, etc.). Part 3 is special Hidden Mickey photos.
We had a fabulous time on our Disney cruise, and went with an extended family group on the Disney Wonder. Our 7 night cruise was the Mexican Riviera itinerary, going into and out of Los Angeles, with port calls in Cabo San Lucas and Puerto Vallarta (the Mazatlan stop was cancelled ahead of time due to violence there). Disney will add New York City as a starting/ending port, in 2012, which is the talk of everyone at school. They have will Canada and New England coast trips, as well as visiting the Bahamas and going to Disney World in Florida. This was our second cruise (the first was an Alaskan cruise when my daughter was a toddler, and Disney didn’t do Alaska then). Continue reading “Review: Disney Wonder Cruise to Mexican Riviera – part 1”
We really loved Animal Kingdom and wished we spent more than a few hours there (we split the day with Hollywood Studios). We got there before park opening, in enough time that we were actually first on a ride. That has NEVER happened for us at an amusement park! And to show how geeky we are, as we finished the ride, we asked the ride operators if we could stay on for a second spin, and they let us. I’m sure they could have gotten fired for that, but given that we were still the only people there…
This is part of a series about Disney World with kids.
Since we initially weren’t going to buy park hopper passes, and only had three days, we were trying to decide between Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom. Some said they spent two days in Hollywood Studios on each trip, and others said Animal Kingdom was their all-time favorite. We were stumped. In the end, we got the park hopper passes (long story) and didn’t have to decide. We split the day between the two parks.
The result? While we liked many individual things about Hollywood Studios, we did not love the park. We can sum it up with this: not enough rides, too many shows. After a few hours, the kids actually said “can we stop seeing shows? We want to go on rides.” But there weren’t more rides for them to go on. Next time: we’ll plan the whole day for Animal Kingdom and skip Hollywood Studios.
This is part of a series about taking the family to Disney World.
Following advice to get the Soarin’ Fastpass early (then hightail it to other rides), we waited with the crowd by the rope drop, to follow the cast members to the ride. This made us feel like cows being led to slaughter. Or as my husband put it, “this is what Black Friday must be like.” I left the family behind while I martyred myself in the name of a Fastpass.
However, while almost everyone got in line for Soarin’, I got in the much smaller line for Fastpasses (as recommended by the Unofficial Guide to Disney World) and we then went to Test Track. Which had NO line. And then to Mission Space. Which also had NO line. We snagged Fastpasses at Test Track for later. We went back to Soarin’ around 11:30 a.m. to get an additional Fastpass, but they were gone. By 11:30 a.m. on a non-peak day (it was Jersey Week, but…). For a primer on how to maximize your Fastpass use, click here.
I promised an update after we went to Disney World, so here it is. I will put highlights from each park in a separate post so they don’t get too long. And I put general tips in here. (For my tips on planning for DisneyWorld, click here).
We stayed at All Star Music – one of the three All Star Hotels (this is in the “value” category). Disney allows you to check in online before you arrive, which we did. Theoretically that means a very short wait at the registration desk, and they basically hand you a folder with keys and maps. Of course we got behind someone who had 20 minutes worth of questions, and it took awhile for another employee (er, cast member) to come to the desk to help us. Once she was there, she handed us our folder and we were done in a minute. Fortunately there was a television playing Disney movies in the lobby, with comfy seating. The kids didn’t care how long we waited in line. Continue reading “Disney World Tips with Kids – the Post Mortem”
1. Disneyworld’s Speedway is much more exciting if you let go of the wheel and don’t steer. But you may need an Advil after.
2. The Disney Magical Express bus from the airport is neither magical, nor express. But it is free.
3. There’s a reason there’s no line for Splash Mountain when it’s 10 a.m. and 60 degrees.
4. If you tell your husband to pack the ponchos for Splash Mountain, make sure he actually does it.
While I consider myself a Disneyland expert, I’ve never been to Disneyworld. Preparing for our upcoming trip has been an education to say the least. I’ve read book upon book, talked up frequent visitors, queried travel agents, and read, read, read. Given the amount of time I’ve spent researching, I thought I’d share some tips on how to plan the trip. I’ll fill you all in on the results when we get back – telling you what worked, and what didn’t.
WHAT TO READ – WHERE TO START
Allears.net – This site features detailed hotel info (including reader reviews), Disney restaurant menus, tips, guidelines, info on all things Disney (including Broadway shows). They offer a free email newsletter with tips and discounts.
Mousesavers.com – This site also features tips, discounts, insider info for all things Disney. Read through the all applicable parts of the website before booking anything. They also have a free monthly emails with articles and discounts – don’t miss this because some of the discounts are really helpful.
Disboards – To me it sounds more like they’re “dissing” Disneyworld, but that’s not what’s meant by their url. The site came highly recommended to me by a friend writing a book on Disneyworld. Lots of info and reader forums. Plus restaurant menus.
Sign up early for Disney emails on their official site and look for pin codes and discounts in the emails. Consider signing up with several email addresses to extend your chances of getting those discounts/codes. After we booked and paid for our trip, I got an email from Disney offering 25% savings off the standard rates (we had already paid in full). While the promotion was listed on the official website, I wouldn’t have known to look for it. That new rate saved us $75 on the hotel we initially booked, and $125 off at a sister hotel in the same value category (we switched to the cheaper hotel). There was a $50 change fee. Continue reading “Preparing for Disneyworld – with Kids”