Magical Blogorail

Magical Blogorail – Favorite Character Dining!

MBRed Logo 2013

Welcome to those of you joining me from Growing Up Disney and those of you just hopping aboard. I am the 4th stop on our Magical Blogorail.

Normally when we travel to Disney parks, we travel to Walt Disney World — so I was all set to write about my favorite character dining restaurants there.  But then, when I started thinking about it, I decided that I would write about the two character dining restaurants that we did at Disneyland.  Those were Ariel’s Grotto and Storyteller’s Cafe.

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Magical Blogorail – Disney Online Planning Resources!

MBRed Logo 2013

Welcome to those of you joining me from Growing Up Disney and those of you just hopping aboard. I am the 3rd stop on our Magical Blogorail.

Today’s topic is about our online planning resources.  Other than our own sites or those of the Magical Blogorail Red line, what are some of our favorite social media or other online planning resources for planning our Disney vacations?

You know, it’s kind of funny to me, when I really sat down and started thinking about my online planning resources, it was kind of hard to come up with a concrete list.  I have a TON of Disney sites I read — including my teammates here on the Red line — but generally speaking, I’m reading their sites more for their trip reports, incredible pictures, and unique stories that they tell us than I am for planning tips.  In fact, and I’m sure that I’m being short-sighted in my trip planning — but I can probably narrow my online planning resources down to three sites — or less!

Online Planning Resources

Walt Disney World’s main website

I’ve been using the Walt Disney World website for several years now, really ever since we first started staying on Disney property way back in 2007.  This site, while it does have it’s technology hiccups — and being a TA and and IT guy, I know all about them — also has a wealth of information about so many things related to the Walt Disney World resort. Here are just a few of the things you can find there:

  1. Detailed information on the resorts, the parks, and the dining options.
  2. Incredible customized maps that you can have printed on special paper and mailed to your house — and they are free!
  3. The park schedules for knowing when they are open and when they close, and what time some of the shows are going on.
  4. The new My Disney Experience section — which, while it is still quite buggy and full of hiccups, will get better in time.

Touring Plans

I recently started using the Touring Plans website to create customized touring plans for my clients.  This is one of the free services that I provide for my clients.  It is a useful tool in helping you see as many attractions as possible while spending as little time as possible in lines.  As a site goes, it feels a little wonky to navigate, but it is stocked with many touring plans that you can customize for you and your family, and there are plans for all situations, all times of the year, and more, so I highly recommend you check them out if you are interested!

The MouseChat.net Podcast

There really aren’t a whole lot of podcasts that I listen too — but one that I really do listen to, in many cases just for the sheer entertainment I get out of it — is the MouseChat.net Podcast.  I listened to it before I started my endeavors as a travel agent, and I listen to it now as well.  The gang of Chris, Steve, Lisa, Lauren, and Bob never fail to make me smile and crack me up when I listen to them!

That about wraps it up for me — not that many things to research, right?  But somehow, we seem to be doing okay none-the-less!

Thank you for joining me today. Your next stop on the Magical Blogorail Loop is Disney Donna Kay.

Red Map Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail should you happen to have to make a stop along the way and want to reboard:

1st Stop ~ A World View
2nd Stop ~ Growing Up Disney
3rd Stop ~ My Dreams of Disney
4th Stop ~ Disney Donna Kay
Final Stop ~ Colorado Mountain Mom

Magical Blogorail Teal – Lesser Known Disney Tips!

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Welcome to those of you joining me from Capturing Magical Memories and those of you just hopping aboard. I am the 4th stop on our Magical Blogorail.

Special thanks to all of my Magical Blogorail Teal mates today as I fill in on this month’s loop!  I hope I can do justice to all of your work!

When I think of my Walt Disney World tips, I really don’t have any that stick out in the back of my mind.  I think that most of my tips are things people already know about, so when I told the Blogorail group I could fill in, I really didn’t have any idea what I was going to write about.  In fact, I still don’t know, as insane as that sounds!

There is an old adage that goes like this: “Fail to plan, and you plan to fail.”  When it comes to Walt Disney World vacations, this simple little statement is perfectly true!  As a result, I thought I would share with you some of the tips that I employ in the planning stage of my vacations.

The first thing I look to is to determine whether or not I need some assistance from a professional.  The good thing about this is that the right Disney Travel Agent can take a lot of the worry off of your shoulders!  They will be the person holding on the phone to make your reservations; they will be the person that will tell you that this ride is really good, or that ride is closed for right now, and on and on.  As it happens, I am an Authorized Disney Travel Agent and my services are free, so let me know if I can help!

However, if you decide to plan this on your own, you can still have a wonderful vacation!  The key points to look at in the planning stage are this:

  1. What time of year do you want to visit?
  2. How long do you want to stay?
  3. Do you want to stay on property or off property?
  4. What sort of dining options do you want?
  5. What is your budget?

All of these questions will work to help you figure out the logistics of your trip.

You know your family better then anyone, so it’s important to get an idea of what your family likes about Walt Disney World.  If you have younger children, more then likely they are going to gravitate more towards the Magic Kingdom then the other parks; or, if you have teenagers, Disney’s Hollywood Studios or the water parks may be their thing.  Use your knowledge of your family as a strength as you do your planning to maximize your Disney experience!

Don’t forget that it is everyone’s vacation, so make sure that you get input from all of the interested parties along the way so that everyone feels like they have a say in how much fun the vacation will be!

If this is a surprise for someone, one thing I like to do is order Disney’s Customized Maps to help break the news to your family that they are going to Walt Disney World!  We did that one year with my daughter, and we put a big gold star at the location where we were staying, and she was so excited!  Some other things you can use in your surprise package include a travel guide of the resort, maybe a calendar — and put dates on the calendar of when your trip is — or maybe a special autograph book!  The only limit is to your imagination!

I don’t think that these tips are really all that unique — but I am certain that my other panel members on the Teal team have some great ones for you!

Thank you for joining me today. Your next stop on the Magical Blogorail Loop is The CanaDisney Blog.

Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail Loop should you happen to have to make a stop along the way and want to reboard:

1st Stop ~  YourFirstVisit.net
2nd Stop ~  The Many Adventures of a Disney Lovin’ Spectrum Mom
3rd Stop ~ Capturing Magical Memories
4th Stop ~ My Dreams of Disney
Final Stop ~ The CanaDisney Blog

Magical Blogorail Red – A Few of our favorite Disney Things!

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Welcome to those of you joining me from Growing Up Disney and those of you just hopping aboard. I am the 3rd stop on our Magical Blogorail.

Hello everyone, and thank you for joining us today on the Magical Blogorail!  Today we are talking about some of our favorite Disney things — read along and decide if our favorites match up with your favorites!  The list is long, so let’s get right on into it!

When it comes to the magic and beauty of the Walt Disney World resort, it is extremely easy to come up of a list of hundreds of things that are your favorite Disney things!  So, to keep you all from getting bored by my list, I’ve decided to come up with a list of my top five all time favorite Disney things.  Here we go!

  1. When it comes to Disney Planning, one of my favorite things to do is to order Customized Maps from the Disney World website.  These incredible keepsakes are printed out on very special paper that is durable and long lasting, and can make a great treasure for you for a long time.  You can order them every six months, even if you aren’t planning a trip, so why not enjoy them and get a little Disney Fix?!  In fact, I’ll be right back — I’m going to order some right now!  OK, I’m back now!  FYI, the customized maps section has been changed around with the new Disney World website redesign.
  2. Another of my favorite Disney things is the anticipation of the trip!  It is so exciting counting down the days towards your next trip!  I especially like to incorporate a countdown clock here on the website.  One site that I like for that is Mickeypath.com! Go check them out if you need a countdown clock!
  3. Of course, one of the best things about a trip to Disney World is experiencing all of that incredible Disney Magic!  I have so many incredible memories from Walt Disney World, that is one of the biggest reasons why we like to come back to the parks year after year!  Some of my favorite memories can be found in this special blog post I wrote almost two years ago titled “My favorite Disney Memories.
  4. Another of my favorite Disney things is the Disney Food!  Yum, Disney sure does their restaurants right (most of them, that is!)  Some of my great memories happened at places where we were eating, such as the time last summer when we were eating at Cinderella’s Royal Table and Wishes started up outside — that was incredible!
  5. I think, though, that one of the things that I like about Disney the most is the incredible way that the different areas of the resort are themed.  You’ve got the French Quarter at Port Orleans, the theming of the Pirates of the Caribbean; all of the incredible theming to be found in each of the lands of the Magic Kingdom; and even the great theming of places like the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa.  What truly makes Walt Disney World the best place to visit of any vacation destination is the theming, and the Imagineers have learned over the years the best ways to bring us, the Guest, into the attraction as if we’ve stepped into the place itself.

Thank you for joining me today. Your next stop on the Magical Blogorail Loop is Disney Donna Kay!

Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail should you happen to have to make a stop along the way and want to re-board:

1st Stop ~ A World View
2nd Stop ~ Growing Up Disney
3rd Stop ~ My Dreams Of Disney
4th Stop ~ Disney Donna Kay
Final Stop ~ Colorado Mountain Mom