Book Review: The Ultimate Guide to an Affordable Disney World Vacation

ultimate guide to an affordable walt disney world vacation

In Kevin Barry’s book, the Ultimate Guide to an Affordable Disney World Vacation, Barry explores the many different ways that you as a family can save money on your Disney World vacation. Captured within the 119 pages are tips on saving on flights, rental cars, park tickets, hotels, food expenses, and more.  The story is written around the quest of the Barry family in planning their next trip to Walt Disney World, and gives detailed information on how much they are saving in their planning.

For me, the book is a good read, and has a lot of great information; however, there are some tips that I prefer not to tackle, that you need to make sure you are careful about before implementing.  For me, the first is the tips that are provided for securing cheap/free air fare by getting credit cards.  I know that there are disciplined people out there that can implement this process and save a lot of money on their flights, but the key here is that you need to be very disciplined to make sure you don’t run up thousands of dollars in debt.  To his credit, Kevin talks about this in great detail.

When it comes to park tickets, the biggest question is really whether or not you and your family want to implement the park hopper add-on.  This is a significant cost, and if you plan your trip correctly, you absolutely can get away with not purchasing the park hopper because it will save you money.  In this regard, Barry does a good job against recommending it.  Additionally, he also does a good job in making sure that you know that you can’t get your park tickets at just any location.  The place to get tickets is at the Disney World website, where you will pay full price, or through select resale sites such as the Undercover Tourist website, where you can get a discount.

All in all, the Ultimate Guide does a really good job in providing tips on saving money on your next Walt Disney World vacation.  At the cost of around $12, it’s a good investment, and in this blogger’s perspective, is worth the cost to have some great detailed information that you can use to save money on your next trip.

Have you read the Ultimate Guide? What did you think of it?  Let us know in the comments, and thanks!

Top Five List: Why Wait in Long Disney Line Ups?

A: Because you’re crazy.

B: Because you have no choice.

C: Because it’s the only way to get into or onto an attraction.

D: Because after you’ve read this post, you’ll realize it’s not that bad.

E: All of the above.

OK, probably this is an occasion when the answer is ‘All of the Above’. But for the purpose of this post, we’re going to pretend that only statement D is true!

So why shouldn’t you mind waiting in a long line at Disney? It’s Top Five time:

Reason No. 5

Anticipation

One year we stayed at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground and had to wait in line for many a bus. Waiting for Disney transportation is probably the first long line you will experience on your trip and can be very frustrating!

But what are you really waiting for? Your day of magic is about to begin and perhaps a delayed bus ride is just the time you need to reflect on what you hope to reap from your day. It can be a time to plan and a time to get excited about what is to come!

OK, I realize this is a bit of a stretch, but that’s why it’s Reason number 5.

Reason No. 4

Beautiful Views

Although you almost always have to wait to get anywhere at a Disney Park, it doesn’t have to be drab. The Water Taxis around Walt Disney World ply the most scenic areas of the property. Views from most docks are breathtaking! Take a moment (or many moments if the boat isn’t on time) to relax and take it all in.

Reason No. 3

Atmosphere

    

Whether it be waiting for a table at a restaurant or entering the queue of a beloved attraction, Disney always tries to enhance the experience.

This time of waiting can prepare you for the event to come! Sitting in a waiting area that looks like grandma’s old kitchen will only make that traditional meal taste better. And passing through a cloud of foreboding fog will get your mind adjusted to the weird and wild attraction that has ‘terror’ in its name!

Reason No. 2

Unique Perspectives

    

Most lines for E-Ticket attractions are very long and heavily themed. So bring along your camera and take lots of pictures. Sometimes you can see things that aren’t always obvious from other places in the parks.

For example, you can see the loading areas from above, or watch ride vehicles pass underneath you as they leave or return to the loading area. Standing outside an attraction can give you a basic idea of what it’s about, but walking through its line (even if painfully long) can give you a more intimate feel for what the Imagineers were going for!

Reason No. 1

Interaction

Disney realizes that no one visits a park to stand in line. So they do try to make the waiting less aggravating by supplying something to do. In the Soarin’ queue at Epcot, guests can enjoy interactive screens and activities. In other attraction lines, there may be things to play with, audio stimulation, or tactile challenges.

These five reasons not enough to convince you to enjoy standing in line?

Then never forget that you are usually with your family or friends! And you are surrounded by other Disney Guests who may be just as bored as you are. I’ve enjoyed some very interesting conversations and shared tips and experiences with fellow ‘liners’ only to find it’s time to board the ride and I was left wondering where the time went!

Your time at Disney will only be as fun as you choose to make it, so find the joy wherever you can, even in that long line-up!

Magical Blogorail: Best Breakfast Spots at Disney

Welcome to this month’s Magical Blogorail Orange loop. Today we are sharing some of the best breakfast spots at Disney.

Trails End Restaurant at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground

Who likes a buffet? I figure if a person is going to get up within an hour of sunrise and then subject themselves to physical activity, like walking to a restaurant for breakfast, that person had better be served an insane amount of food! Yup, I say ‘Buffet Me’!

Karen and I stayed with her parents at Fort Wilderness in 2008. Now this may surprise you, but I was able to get up and be ready to go long before the woman and two older people traveling with me. I know, it seems unlikely, but I had an hour or two to kill before everyone else was ready to get their Park on!

So… I walked a bit, took a bus, and walked some more. Then I got my napkin on and enjoyed one of the best breakfast buffets in all of Walt Disney World. And here is what you can find on the menu:

Fresh Fruit / Scrambled Eggs / Sausage and Bacon / Breakfast Pizza / Breakfast Hash

Mickey Waffles / Eggs Benedict / Biscuits and Sausage Gravy

Specialty Country Pork Dish / French Toast-Custard Pudding / Cheese Grits

Oatmeal / Yogurt Parfait Station / Freshly-baked Pastries / Vegetable Frittata

And lots of it! But my favorite thing was the full thermal pitcher of coffee that was brought to my table to start things off. And if you can’t drink it all during your breakfast, you can get the rest to go in a take-out cup!
Don’t feel like you can eat enough to justify the buffet? Then you can check out the take-out offerings:

Bounty Breakfast:

Served with Eggs, Bacon, Sausage, Hash Browns, French Toast, and Biscuit – $8.79

Muffin

With choice of Blueberry, Chocolate Chip, or Corn – $2.79

Cinnamon Roll

Self-explanatory and oh-so yummy – $3.19

I’ll interrupt this menu for a little story: One of the ladies serving at the take-out location would give me a little extra service when I would come in just to order a coffee and a cinnamon roll. She would put it in the pizza oven for just a moment to heat it up and nicely melt the icing. Then I would take it out onto the porch and sit in a big rocking chair, enjoy the view, the aromas, and the good times! Not all Cast Members will do this for you, so I always felt special when I was treated to this perk by my favorite server!

Warm Sticky Buns (6 each) – $4.69

 Oatmeal – $2.79

 Biscuits and Gravy – $3.69

Fruit Plate – $3.39

 Yogurt – $1.99

 Freshly Brewed Joffrey’s Coffee® – $2.79

Better than the average coffee you’ll get around the property! Obviously they have other beverages, but you get the idea. Unfortunately, I don’t have any pictures of the food there, as I wasn’t taking selfies with my Mickey waffles back in 2008! But I do have a picture of me relaxing just outside the restaurant…
So who’s hungry?
The buffet today will likely cost you upwards of $15.00 each today, so you’ll want to be hungry going in, but I guarantee you’ll be full coming out!

Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail Orange | Best Breakfast Spots at Disney Loop:

Disney Dining Review: Mickey’s Backyard BBQ

Mickey’s Backyard BBQ is one of the Walt Disney World Dinner Shows that you can see while on vacation.  Located at Fort Wilderness Campgrounds, the pavilion where the BBQ is held is not far from the location for the Hoop Dee Doo Review.

We took Sophie and my niece Stephanie to the Backyard BBQ for Sophie’s 9th birthday when we were at Disney World celebrating.  We were on the Disney Dining Plan for this visit, and Mickey’s Backyard BBQ counts as 2 Dining credits and also required us to guarantee it with a credit card.  This requirment isn’t as big a deal now, as Disney has started requiring a credit card guarantee on many of their table service restaurants.

Mickey’s Backyard BBQ has many great things going for it.  Here is my list of the things that we enjoyed the most:

  • The setting is rustic, and while this isn’t for everyone, it was great for me.
  • Sophie had some really great quality time with Mickey and Minnie, as well as Chip, Dale, and Goofy.
  • The stage show with all of it’s country influence was great.  There was a lot of energy involved with everything here, and we enjoyed it quite a bit.

In fact, I enjoyed our experience quite a bit.  There were only two things that I think should be changed, but I will understand if they aren’t.  The first is the 2 TS credits required.  I love the show, and all of that, but I just didn’t feel like it was worth 2 TS credits.  The other thing that I wasn’t crazy about was the food.  The big buffet was BBQ food, which wasn’t a problem; it’s what you expect.  On tap were burgers, hot dogs, ribs, chicken, and all the fixings.  The problem I had with the food was the temperature.  I know that this is something that is hard to control in what is basically a covered outdoor pavilion, and is also something that can be totally different the next time we eat there.  I think if I were making the decision on how to conquer the temperature problem of the food, I would make smaller quantity, and replace it more often.  For example, instead of making 100 burgers and replacing them every 20 minutes, make 50 burgers and replace them every 10, or something along that nature.

However, all in all, I really enjoyed the BBQ, and would consider it again.  If you decide on eating at the Backyard BBQ, I highly recommend that you give yourself plenty of time to get to the pavilion.  We elected to drive to Fort Wilderness, then we parked, but then we had to wait on the bus to take us through the campground to where the pavilion was.  All in all, I think it took at least an hour to get from our hotel at Port Orleans French Quarter to dinner.

One last thing that I’ll mention was that all the people that were celebrating something, whether it be a birthday, anniversary, or other special occasion, you can write down the name of the person celebrating, and they will announce it as part of the show.  So if you are celebrating, this is one of the places you can go that you can get your celebration announced.  I hope you enjoyed the review, and that it helps you to decide whether or not to make a reservation at Mickey’s Backyard BBQ!  If it doesn’t, maybe these pictures will!

Sophie (with her self-created Minnie shirt) with Minnie and Mickey!

 

The Stage Show

 

Chip
Sophie loves corn on the cob!

 

Goofy leading a dance line

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Disney Dining Review: Mickey’s Backyard BBQ

Mickey’s Backyard BBQ is one of the Walt Disney World Dinner Shows that you can see while on vacation.  Located at Fort Wilderness Campgrounds, the pavilion where the BBQ is held is not far from the location for the Hoop Dee Doo Review.

We took Sophie and my niece Stephanie to the Backyard BBQ for Sophie’s 9th birthday when we were at Disney World celebrating.  We were on the Disney Dining Plan for this visit, and Mickey’s Backyard BBQ counts as 2 Dining credits and also required us to guarantee it with a credit card.  This requirment isn’t as big a deal now, as Disney has started requiring a credit card guarantee on many of their table service restaurants.

Mickey’s Backyard BBQ has many great things going for it.  Here is my list of the things that we enjoyed the most:

  • The setting is rustic, and while this isn’t for everyone, it was great for me.
  • Sophie had some really great quality time with Mickey and Minnie, as well as Chip, Dale, and Goofy.
  • The stage show with all of it’s country influence was great.  There was a lot of energy involved with everything here, and we enjoyed it quite a bit.

In fact, I enjoyed our experience quite a bit.  There were only two things that I think should be changed, but I will understand if they aren’t.  The first is the 2 TS credits required.  I love the show, and all of that, but I just didn’t feel like it was worth 2 TS credits.  The other thing that I wasn’t crazy about was the food.  The big buffet was BBQ food, which wasn’t a problem; it’s what you expect.  On tap were burgers, hot dogs, ribs, chicken, and all the fixings.  The problem I had with the food was the temperature.  I know that this is something that is hard to control in what is basically a covered outdoor pavilion, and is also something that can be totally different the next time we eat there.  I think if I were making the decision on how to conquer the temperature problem of the food, I would make smaller quantity, and replace it more often.  For example, instead of making 100 burgers and replacing them every 20 minutes, make 50 burgers and replace them every 10, or something along that nature.

However, all in all, I really enjoyed the BBQ, and would consider it again.  If you decide on eating at the Backyard BBQ, I highly recommend that you give yourself plenty of time to get to the pavilion.  We elected to drive to Fort Wilderness, then we parked, but then we had to wait on the bus to take us through the campground to where the pavilion was.  All in all, I think it took at least an hour to get from our hotel at Port Orleans French Quarter to dinner.

One last thing that I’ll mention was that all the people that were celebrating something, whether it be a birthday, anniversary, or other special occasion, you can write down the name of the person celebrating, and they will announce it as part of the show.  So if you are celebrating, this is one of the places you can go that you can get your celebration announced.  I hope you enjoyed the review, and that it helps you to decide whether or not to make a reservation at Mickey’s Backyard BBQ!  If it doesn’t, maybe these pictures will!

Sophie (with her self-created Minnie shirt) with Minnie and Mickey!

 

The Stage Show

 

Chip
Sophie loves corn on the cob!

 

Goofy leading a dance line

myfreecopyright.com registered & protected