Last Chance – A Tale Of Two Resorts January Giveaway

Friday, January 30 is the last day to enter to win a copy of my new book “A Tale of Two Resorts: Comparing Disneyland and Walt Disney World – A Traveler’s Reference”!

A Little About My Book

Are you trying to decide between a trip to Disneyland or Walt Disney World? Or maybe you have visited one resort and are curious about the other? My new book, “A Tale of Two Resorts: Comparing Disneyland and Walt Disney World – A Traveler’s Reference”, is now available!

This reference book is loaded with facts and information about all of the hotels, restaurants, attractions, experiences, entertainment choices and resort extras that are available at Disneyland and Walt Disney World. Each chapter begins with a handy side-by-side chart that compares each destination and concludes with a “For What It’s Worth” section that gives my personal thoughts and opinions. Topics include Lay of the Land, Atmosphere, Weather, Crowds, Events, Budgeting, Planning Timeline, Accommodations, Admission Tickets, Transportation, Theme Parks, Resort Extras, Dining and of course, there’s helpful advice about planning your trip and organizing your day.

As a mom with two boys of my own, I understand the many challenges of traveling with young kids. Throughout “A Tale of Two Resorts”, I’ve included several features for parents that will help you plan your Disney trip plus they’ll make your vacation easier once you arrive at the resort. Here are just a few of these invaluable features:

  • In Chapter 8 Accommodations – I’ve included detailed information about every resort including room types available and resort amenities. If you need to know if a particular hotel has a kiddie pool, offers on site childcare or even how many people the room will accommodate, you’ll find those important answers.
  • In Chapter 11 Theme Parks – I’ve included a Word of Warning for each and every attraction that needs one, giving you a heads up on what to expect and what you need to be aware of before taking your child on that particular ride.
  • In Chapter 13 Dining – I’ve included specifics for every dining location from table service to snack stand such as atmosphere, cuisine type, dress code and even menu selections including the kid’s meals that are offered. So if you are like me and have kids that are picky eaters, you’ll know exactly where to find those all important chicken nuggets or macaroni & cheese.

Whether you are going to Disneyland or Disney World and especially if the decision between the two destinations is still being made, “A Tale of Two Resorts” will give you all of the information you need to make the better choice and plenty of advice for planning that magical vacation!

The Giveaway

Until midnight Friday, January 30, 2015 Mountain Time, you can enter to win a copy of my new book “A Tale of Two Resorts: Comparing Disneyland and Walt Disney World – A Traveler’s Reference”. Just click the image below and follow the instructions to be entered into the giveaway. Be sure to take advantage of the bonus entries, and please feel free to share with your friends and family!  

A Tale of Two Resorts

Can’t wait and need to get the book right away? Please click this link, to purchase your copy today!

Like politics and religion, the topic of which destination is better – Disneyland or Walt Disney World – is sure to fire up the faithful. In “A Tale of Two Resorts”, Kristi Fredericks takes no side, but she does deliver the most comprehensive reference guide for both resorts available anywhere.

The Winner

Be sure to check back on Monday, February 2, 2015 for the announcement of the winner! If you entered to win, be sure to check your email (including your Junk Folder) for a message with the subject line “A Tale Of Two Resorts Winner!” Good luck, everyone!

Disney World Ticket Prices Expected To Increase In February

Disney World TicketHave you heard the rumor? Word around Main Street, U.S.A. is that sometime in February Disney World will be raising their ticket prices. So what exactly does that mean to you and your budget if you have a trip planned this year? Let’s take a look at what happened with the last price increase in February of 2014.

February 2014 Price Increase (historical information)

  • A one day Magic Kingdom adult base ticket increased from $95 to $99
  • A one day Magic Kingdom child base ticket increased from $89 to $93
  • A one day Epcot, Hollywood Studios or Animal Kingdom adult base ticket increased from $90 to $94
  • A one day Epcot, Hollywood Studios or Animal Kingdom child base ticket increased from $84 to $88
  • A one day adult ticket with park hopper increased from $129 to $134
  • A one day child ticket with park hopper increased from $123 to $128
  • A one day adult ticket with water park fun and more increased from $149 to $154
  • A one day child ticket with water park fun and more increased from $143 to $148
  • A one day adult ticket with park hopper & water park fun and more increased from $174 to $180
  • A one day child ticket with park hopper & water park fun and more increased from $168 to $174
  • A five day adult base ticket increased from $289 to $304
  • A five day child base ticket increased from $270 to $284
  • The park hopper add-on option increased from $59 to $60
  • The water park fun and more add-on option increased from $59 to $60
  • The park hopper plus water park fun and more add-on option increased from $84 to $86
  • An annual pass increased from $609 to $634

A base ticket allows admission to one theme park per day.

A park hopper add-on allows guests to hop between more than one theme park per day.

The water park fun and more add-on allows guests to visit (a specific number of times depending on the number of days of your ticket) DisneyQuest, Typhoon Lagoon, Blizzard Beach, Oak Trail golf course, ESPN Wide World of Sports, Disney’s Fantasia Gardens and Disney’s Winter Summerland miniature golf.

An annual pass allows guests to visit all four theme parks for 365 consecutive days.

What does all of this mean?

The rumors I’ve been hearing speculate that Disney will increase admission prices by about 5% which translates to around $5 per ticket per day on one day base tickets. They are also estimating a small increase for the add-ons as well as a 5% bump in the multi-day tickets and annual passes.

The biggest rumored changes that are supposed to take place alongside the rate increase are the doing away with the no expiration option for multi-day tickets and the addition of an add-on option that would allow guests to park hop not only to the four theme parks, but to the two water parks (Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach) as well.

What do I do now?

If you have a trip planned this year and you can afford to do so, purchase your tickets in the next few days before the rates go up. If you have purchased a package that includes tickets, no need to worry. As long as you don’t make any changes to your vacation package you will not be hit with the additional costs.

Ready to purchase your tickets?

Your admission tickets will likely be the one of the most expensive parts of your Disney vacation, so be sure you are purchasing valid Disney theme park tickets. Your safest bet is to purchase directly from Disney by clicking here or by purchasing from an authorized discount Disney ticket seller like my friends at Under Cover Tourist. Don’t be tempted by tickets sold on E-Bay or on the side of the road. These are typically partially used tickets with a few days left on them that may or may not be expired. Admission tickets are non-transferable and Disney uses a finger print system to match the ticket with its owner. You definitely don’t want to be turned away at the gate (or worse!) for having an invalid admission ticket.

Need more help planning your Disney World vacation?

Be sure to check out these posts to make the most of your time in Disney World:

Heading to Disney World soon?

If you are planning a vacation to Disney World, be sure to check out these valuable resources to help you save money:

Do you think Disney World is worth the increase in ticket prices?
Please leave a comment!

Helpful Information For Your June 2015 Disney World Vacation

Disney World Magic Kingdom Cinderella Castle

Planning Your June 2015 Disney World Vacation

So you are planning a vacation to Disney World in June 2015? June is an exciting time of year to visit Walt Disney World. The temperatures are rising, the Parks are open late and the crowds are picking up.

Weather

The weather in Disney World during June is hot and rainy. The average high is about 91 degrees, the average low is about 71 degrees and the average rainfall is about 8.32 inches. You can expect some rain every afternoon or evening, so be sure to bring your poncho!

Crowds

The crowds the first week of June are still moderate as families are just beginning summer break. You can anticipate crowds to begin to pick up the second week of June and to remain fairly consistent throughout the remainder of the month. Be sure to lookout for big crowds at Hollywood Studios the first couple of weekends in June as thousands of Star Wars fans descend upon that Park to enjoy all of the festivities.

June 1 – June 6 – Average Crowd Level 6.0 out of 10
June 7 – June 13 – Average Crowd Level 6.7 out of 10
June 11 – June 20 – Average Crowd Level 6.9 out of 10
June 21 – June 27 – Average Crowd Level 6.4 out of 10
June 28 – June 30 – Average Crowd Level 6.0 out of 10

Park Hours

Magic Kingdom ClockWith the busy summer season comes long hours at the Parks.

  • Magic Kingdom: Open most days from 9am – 10pm (plus Extra Magic Hours)
  • Epcot: Open from 9am – 9pm (plus Extra Magic Hours)
  • Hollywood Studios: Open most days from 9am – 8:30pm (plus Extra Magic Hours)
  • Animal Kingdom: Open most days from 9am – 7pm (plus Extra Magic Hours)

For specific hours on each day during June, please click this link. Remember that park hours are subject to change and are often adjusted two weeks prior.

Events

Star Wars WeekendsBeginning on May 15 and running weekends through June 14 at Disney’s Hollywood Studios are Star Wars Weekends. This event is huge with fans of the franchise and includes dining experiences, themed treats, special shows, parades, presentations, autograph sessions, and chances to meet the characters and celebrities. For more information and to watch a hilarious video featuring a Star Wars Darth Vader cupcake destroying a bakery, please check out this article.

Refurbishments

Periodically throughout the year, Disney closes attractions for refurbishments and enhancements. Here are the scheduled closures during June (subject to change without notice):

Magic Kingdom

  • Central Plaza Area (between end of Main Street and Cinderella Castle): Ongoing – To Be Completed In 2015

Epcot

  • Maelstrom and Spirit of Norway Film: Ongoing – Reopening in 2016 Reimagined as a New Frozen Attraction

Hollywood Studios

  • Sorcerer Mickey Hat: Being Permanently Removed Beginning January 7, 2015

Animal Kingdom

  • Creature Comforts: Reopening June 2015 as the New Starbucks Location

Water Parks

  • No refurbishments currently scheduled

Downtown Disney

  • Downtown Disney is undergoing a major transformation to become the reimagined Disney Springs. Construction will be finished in phases with the final completion date set for Fall 2016. Please check out this article for more details and photos!

Resort Hotels

  • Art of Animation: Finding Nemo Schoolyard Wet Play Area May 26 – June 29, 2015
  • Beach Club Resort: Ongoing Guest Room Refurbishments To Be Completed In August 2015
  • Coronado Springs Resort: La Vida Health Club and Beauty Salon May 18 – June 19, 2015
  • Walt Disney World Swan: Ongoing Guest Room Refurbishments To Be Completed In 2016

Planning Tips

Disney World Epcot World Showcase CanadaIf you are traveling to Disney World in June 2015, your planning is probably well under way at this point. Here’s a checklist to make sure you are on track:

  • Make sure you have created your My Disney Experience account. If you haven’t, click here to sign up now.
  • If you haven’t already made your dining reservations, be sure to make them now by clicking here.
  • If you are staying onsite, be sure to customize your Magicband on your My Disney Experience account by picking the color and adding your name.
  • Now is a great time to research what attractions you and your family would like to see at the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom. Because Walt Disney World is so large, it is very difficult to see everything during one trip, so be sure to get everyone’s top priorities. This is also a great time to begin looking at menus for counter service restaurants so that you have an idea of which locations serve foods that your entire family will enjoy. Need help with your research? Check out my book “A Tale of Two Resorts” which includes descriptions and tips for every attraction and helpful dining information for every restaurant from snack stand to table service including specifics about atmosphere, cuisine type, dress code and even menu selections including the kid’s meals that are offered. Click here for more information including an excerpt.
  • Whether you are staying onsite or off-property, be sure to purchase your admission tickets and link them to your My Disney Experience account.
  • Once your tickets are linked and at exactly 60 days out (midnight EST time) if you are staying onsite or 30 days out for all other guests, login to your My Disney Experience account and book your Fastpass+ reservations.
  • If you are staying onsite, be sure to check in online at 60 days out from your arrival date.
  • Double check your flight times and if you will be using Disney’s Magical Express for your airport transportation make your reservation at least 60 days in advance by clicking here.
  • It’s never too early to start creating a packing list so that you don’t forget anything.
  • Need more help planning? Please ask a question in the comments section or check out the Planning section here.

Special Offers

If you haven’t already made your June 2015 reservations, Disney has some great offers going on right now!

  • You can save up to 30% on rooms at select Walt Disney World Resort hotels when you book between now and February 16, 2015 for stays most nights March 2 – June 15, 2015.
  • Or save up to 25% on rooms at select Walt Disney World Resort hotels when booked between February 17 and March 28, 2015 for stays most nights March 2 – June 15, 2015.
  • As an added bonus you can receive one more ticket day FREE when you upgrade to a room and ticket package with a minimum 4-day Magic Your Way Ticket.

To take advantage of these incredible deals plus others and to guarantee the best price for your vacation, please click here to receive a FREE quote from Destinations in Florida!

Any planning questions or tips? Please leave a comment!

TouringPlans – Rainforest Café At Disney’s Animal Kingdom Review

Please check out my latest article on TouringPlans – A review of Rainforest Café at Disney’s Animal Kingdom!

Helpful Information For Your May 2015 Disney World Vacation

Epcot International Flower And Garden Festival

Planning Your May 2015 Disney World Vacation

So you are planning a vacation to Disney World in May 2015? May is a wonderful time of year to visit Walt Disney World. The temperatures are warm, the flowers are blooming and the crowds are light.

Weather

The weather in Disney World during May is beautiful. The average high is about 89 degrees, the average low is about 65 degrees and the average rainfall is only about 3.1 inches. By traveling in May, you are getting your vacation in just before the rainy season begins. But don’t forget to pack your poncho just in case!

Crowds

The crowds throughout the month of May are nice and moderate. You can anticipate crowds to begin to pick up Memorial Day weekend and beyond.

May 1 – May 2 – Average Crowd Level 5.5 out of 10
May 3 – May 9 – Average Crowd Level 4.9 out of 10
May 10 – May 16 – Average Crowd Level 4.6 out of 10
May 17 – May 23 – Average Crowd Level 5.0 out of 10
May 24 – May 31 – Average Crowd Level 6.0 out of 10

Park Hours

Magic Kingdom ClockWith bigger crowds comes longer hours at the Parks. As the month goes on and the crowds increase, all of the Parks will close later.

  • Magic Kingdom: Open most days from 9am – 11pm or 12am (plus Extra Magic Hours)
  • Epcot: Open from 9am – 9pm (plus Extra Magic Hours)
  • Hollywood Studios: Open most days from 9am – 8:30pm or 10:00pm (plus Extra Magic Hours)
  • Animal Kingdom: Open most days from 9am – 6pm or 7pm (plus Extra Magic Hours)

For specific hours on each day during May, please click this link. Remember that park hours are subject to change and are often adjusted two weeks prior.

Events

Expedition EverestOn May 1 and 2, Disney World is hosting the runDisney event – Expedition Everest Challenge for the final time. This 5K race is held at night at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and includes an obstacle course and scavenger hunt. Sorry to say if you haven’t already registered, this race is sold out. However, there are currently tickets still available for the after party – please check this link for the most up-to-date availability. Because this run and after party are held at night (from 10pm – 2:30am), they should not have a big impact on daytime touring.

Epcot International Flower And Garden FestivalA terrific part about visiting Disney World in May is the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival. This year the event will run from March 4 – May 17 and features over 100 topiaries, interesting gardening demonstrations, beautiful flowers, weekend music concerts and several outdoor kitchens serving delicious foods and beverages. For more information about the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival, please check out this article.

Star Wars WeekendsAlso beginning on May 15 and running weekends through June 14 at Disney’s Hollywood Studios are Star Wars Weekends. This event is huge with fans of the franchise and includes dining experiences, themed treats, special shows, parades, presentations, autograph sessions, and chances to meet the characters and celebrities. For more information and to watch a hilarious video featuring a Star Wars Darth Vader cupcake destroying a bakery, please check out this article.

Refurbishments

Periodically throughout the year, Disney closes attractions for refurbishments and enhancements. Here are the scheduled closures during May (subject to change without notice):

Magic Kingdom

  • Central Plaza Area (between end of Main Street and Cinderella Castle): Ongoing – To Be Completed In 2015
  • Dream Along With Mickey: April 13 – May 20, 2015
  • Jungle Cruise: April 13 – May 8, 2015

Epcot

  • Maelstrom and Spirit of Norway Film: Ongoing – Reopening in 2016 Reimagined as a New Frozen Attraction

Hollywood Studios

  • LA Prop & Cinema Storage Shop: Reopening Early 2015 as The Trolley Car Café (Starbucks location)
  • Sorcerer Mickey Hat: Being Permanently Removed Beginning January 7, 2015

Animal Kingdom

  • Creature Comforts: Reopening June 2015 as the New Starbucks Location

Water Parks

  • No refurbishments currently scheduled

Downtown Disney

  • Downtown Disney is undergoing a major transformation to become the reimagined Disney Springs. Construction will be finished in phases with the final completion date set for Fall 2016. Please check out this article for more details and photos!

Resort Hotels

  • Art of Animation: Finding Nemo Schoolyard Wet Play Area May 26 – June 29, 2015
  • Beach Club Resort: Ongoing Guest Room Refurbishments To Be Completed In August 2015
  • Caribbean Beach Resort: Ongoing Upgrade to Queen Beds To Be Completed Spring 2015
  • Coronado Springs Resort: La Vida Health Club and Beauty Salon May 18 – June 19, 2015
  • Polynesian Resort: Ongoing Nanea Volcano Pool Refurbishment To Be Completed In Spring 2015; Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto To Be Completed In 2015; DVC Polynesian Villas & Bungalows To Open In 2015
  • Walt Disney World Swan: Ongoing Guest Room Refurbishments To Be Completed In 2016

Planning Tips

Disney's Animal Kingdom Tree of LifeIf you are traveling to Disney World in May 2015, your planning is probably well under way at this point. Here’s a checklist to make sure you are on track:

  • Make sure you have created your My Disney Experience account. If you haven’t, click here to sign up now.
  • If you haven’t already made your dining reservations, be sure to make them now by clicking here.
  • If you are staying onsite, be sure to customize your Magicband on your My Disney Experience account by picking the color and adding your name.
  • Now is a great time to research what attractions you and your family would like to see at the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom. Because Walt Disney World is so large, it is very difficult to see everything during one trip, so be sure to get everyone’s top priorities. This is also a great time to begin looking at menus for counter service restaurants so that you have an idea of which locations serve foods that your entire family will enjoy. Need help with your research? Check out my book “A Tale of Two Resorts” which includes descriptions and tips for every attraction and helpful dining information for every restaurant from snack stand to table service including specifics about atmosphere, cuisine type, dress code and even menu selections including the kid’s meals that are offered. Click here for more information including an excerpt.
  • Whether you are staying onsite or off-property, now is the time to purchase your admission tickets and link them to your My Disney Experience account.
  • Once your tickets are linked and at exactly 60 days out (midnight EST time) if you are staying onsite or 30 days out for all other guests, login to your My Disney Experience account and book your Fastpass+ reservations.
  • If you are staying onsite, be sure to check in online at 60 days out from your arrival date.
  • Double check your flight times and if you will be using Disney’s Magical Express for your airport transportation make your reservation now by clicking here.
  • Now is also a great time to start creating a packing list so that you don’t forget anything.
  • Need more help planning? Please ask a question in the comments section or check out the Planning section here.

Special Offers

If you haven’t already made your May 2015 reservations, Disney has some great offers going on right now!

  • You can save up to 30% on rooms at select Walt Disney World Resort hotels when you book between now and February 16, 2015 for stays most nights March 2 – June 15, 2015.
  • Or save up to 25% on rooms at select Walt Disney World Resort hotels when booked between February 17 and March 28, 2015 for stays most nights March 2 – June 15, 2015.
  • As an added bonus you can receive one more ticket day FREE when you upgrade to a room and ticket package with a minimum 4-day Magic Your Way Ticket.

To take advantage of these incredible deals, please click the image below and fill out the form to receive a FREE quote from my friends at Destinations in Florida.

Any planning questions or tips? Please leave a comment!