Magical Blogorail

Magical Blogorail: Avoiding the “I’ve got to do everything” trap!

Welcome to this month’s Blogorail Blue Loop. Today we sharing tips for your first Disney vacation.


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Hello everyone, and welcome to this month’s Magical Blogorail look at tips for your first Disney Vacation!  You’ve been saving your money, you’ve been paying regularly on your trip, hopefully you have been working with a travel agent to help you plan your trip and save you money, and now, it is finally here!  Your Walt Disney World vacation is about to begin!

When you arrive, though, sometimes your thoughts get the better of you.  You think to yourself, I spent so much for this trip, I’ve got to see absolutely everything in order to get my money’s worth.  That line of thinking, though, is incorrect, and hopefully in this Magical Blogorail post, I’m going to share with you some things that will help you prevent the feeling of not seeing anything and keep you from falling into that trap.

Tip 1: It’s not all about the attractions, it’s also about the memories…

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Our daughter Sophie shares a secret with Princess Jasmine!

As great as the attractions are at Walt Disney World, what will really make or break your trip is the memories that you and your family create while there.  The picture above was taken way back in 2008, and to this day, it remains one of my all time favorite Disney photos.  Let me set the scene.  We were in Morocco just wandering through the marketplace, looking at things, just browsing.  When we got to the back of the pavilion, there was a meet and greet location, with Princess Jasmine and the Genie just waiting for someone to come visit with them.  Sophie had been talking about Princess Jasmine all this time, about how she was going to get a costume just like her costume, and she was able to talk with her for what felt like an eternity!  In this picture, she was telling her that she was going to get that costume, and sure enough, she did a couple of days later.

Tip 2: Take time to relax and slow down

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Far too often, first time guests — and yes, even those that visit more regularly — are way too focused on getting from point a to point b, from getting from their last attraction to their next attraction, and they don’t really slow down to breath.  Part of the reason you are taking your Disney vacation is to take a break from everyday life, from getting away from the rat race that is the world today.  Let your vacation be just that, a break from the hustle and bustle of life, and instead, take time to enjoy everything about your trip.  The picture above was taken back in 2010, when we were leaving Test Track and heading somewhere — I don’t even remember where.  Anyway, we weren’t in a very big hurry, and if we had been, we might have missed the perfect setting of the flowers, pond, TRON Monorail, and the Imagination Pavilion in the background.  I love this photo, and hope you do as well!

Tip 3: Enjoy the little attractions as much as the big ones.

As much fun as I have riding Space Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, and the other big attractions, I get as much fun out of the smaller attractions, the ones you can almost walk right on.  Carousel of Progress, Mickey’s PhilharMagic, it’s a small world, Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros, and so forth.  Don’t overlook the little attractions just so you can enjoy the big ones.  You will be doing yourself and your vacation a disservice, and you will miss out on a lot of great opportunities to let the child within out to play.

I hope that this post has been helpful to you as you plan your first Disney Vacation!  Let me know what you think in the comments below, and thanks for stopping by today!  Check out the rest of the posts from the Magical Blogorail writers, and then go out and make it a Disney day!

 

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5 Reasons to visit Walt Disney World in the Fall

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Visiting Walt Disney World in the fall is, in my opinion, one of the best times of the year to visit.  Here’s 5 reasons why we enjoy visiting Walt Disney World in the fall!

1) Epcot International Food & Wine Festival

Depending on the time of the season you visit, you may be able to experience the Food & Wine Festival.  This yearly event is held each year in Epcot, and features incredible kiosks of different types of food and wine not normally found at Epcot.  In addition, it also features special presentations from all sorts of celebrity guests.  For 2016, the event runs from September 14 – November 14, almost a full 2 weeks longer than it has ever been, so if you can make it to Walt Disney World to visit, that’s a great time to go.

2) Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party

Over at the Magic Kingdom, this year Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party will be held on 29 nights, running from September 2, 2016, through October 31, 2016.  If you are interested in going and dressing up in costume, check out this post from the Disney Parks Blog, it goes into detail some of the changes this year for costumes. Prices vary depending on how close it is to Halloween, so plan accordingly; also, some dates may already be sold out due to the popularity of this event, but I’m certain that there are dates on the schedule that will not be sellouts, but look into it today to help in your planning.

3) Lower Crowds

School is back in session for most kids in September and October, so if you can go during this time, you’re going to find that the crowds are much less than during the summer months or other peak season times. Even October 1, 2016, also known as the 45th Anniversary of Walt Disney World (and Magic Kingdom) is only at a crowd level of 6 out of 10 for the whole resort, and 7 out of 10 for the Magic Kingdom, according to Touring Plans.

4) Great Weather (usually)

Although September and October is still in the heart of the Hurricane Season, generally speaking, the weather at Walt Disney World during these days is absolutely incredible.  This year, the first half of September is looking at temperatures in the high 80s, and mid 70s for the lows; of course, it isn’t Florida without the forecast being Scattered Thunderstorms, but that’s the same during the other months of the year as well, so just be prepared.

5) Fall Decor

The Mickey Pumpkin Lamp post!

The Mickey Pumpkin Lamp post!

I’ve heard of changes to some of the fall decor, but to me, regardless of what the decorations are, I think that they are going to be great!

So, in conclusion, I’d say that if you can make it to Walt Disney World during the fall season, I’d say do it!  You will enjoy it very much, and you might just find a new favorite time of the year to go to Disney!  What other reasons do you have that I don’t have for visiting Walt Disney World in the fall? Please let us know in the comments, and thanks!

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!

Which is better — Walt Disney World or Disneyland?

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Welcome to this month’s Magical Blogorail Orange loop. Today we compare Walt Disney World and the Disneyland Resort.


When it comes to Disney, the age old question is almost always “Which is better? Walt Disney World or Disneyland?”  In this post for the Magical Blogorail Orange Loop, I’m going to look at the parks as a whole and try to help determine which is better.  Let’s see where this journey takes us, and see if we can get a consensus result!

Five Key Areas

For this post, we’re going to look at five key areas at both resorts and grade them as to which resort takes the cake on each of them.  Those five areas are Pirates of the Caribbean, Space Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, and Splash Mountain attractions, as well as a look at the intangibles that are unique at each park.

Pirates of the Caribbean

The Pirates of the Caribbean is our favorite ride!

The Pirates of the Caribbean is our favorite ride!

In my opinion, when it comes to Pirates of the Caribbean, hands down, the best place to ride it is at Disneyland.  For starters, it is longer by a full 7 minutes — almost doubling the length of the ride at Walt Disney World.  Additionally, it has two drops instead of just one.  It also starts out with a meandering path right past diners at the Blue Bayou, and it is as if you are in the bayou of Louisiana, almost as if you are immersed directly in the movie the Princess and the Frog. However, there are some things about the Walt Disney World version that I like better.  For starters, the queue for the one at Walt Disney World is much better in my opinion.  Additionally, Pirates at Walt Disney World opened up on December 15, 1973, seven years to the day that Walt Disney passed away.  For me, that is a tribute in Walt’s honor.  However, all of those things doesn’t sway my choice, and for this attraction, Disneyland has the better attraction.

Space Mountain

Space Mountain

Space Mountain at Walt Disney World

Space Mountain at Disneyland has rockets that are two seats wide, whereas the one at Walt Disney World is single file seating.  Sophie has finally gotten to where she likes Space Mountain — it took her a while to get to that point — and I think it was partly because of the side by side seating at Disneyland.  For that reason alone, I think the Disneyland version is better, but it’s really a toss-up for me more than anything.

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad -- A Trip to the Old West!

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at Walt Disney World

When we last visited Disneyland, two years ago, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad was closed for refurbishment, so by default, right now, at least, the version at Walt Disney World wins the vote for me.  I do reserve the right to change that as I experience the ride at Disneyland, but right now, Walt Disney World wins this challenge.

Splash Mountain

Splash Mountain

Splash Mountain at Walt Disney World

At Disneyland, Splash Mountain incorporates single file seating, and at Walt Disney World, it features side by side seating.  That’s completely opposite of Space Mountain.  Sophie’s first experience at Splash Mountain was at Walt Disney World, and as a result, I think that wins my vote for which is better.

Intangibles

The intangibles at each park are striking.  At Disneyland, you’ve got the whole history factor to consider.  It was Walt’s park, he built it, he walked those paths, he slept there.  At Walt Disney World, that isn’t the case, but Walt Disney World has the economy of space that gives it a distinct advantage.  They have so much space that you truly feel like you have entered an entirely different world when you get there, and that isn’t the case at Disneyland.  Additionally, at Walt Disney World you have four parks and two water parks, whereas at Disneyland Resort you have two parks.  Those two parks do a great job of putting in the best things from Walt Disney World, but they don’t have the space to put them all in, so you end up missing some things, like Carousel of Progress, the TTA, and others.  I could go on and on, but at the end, the simple fact is that you can’t choose one over the other because of the intangibles simply because each experience offers unique things that the other doesn’t.

Because of all of this, the answer to the question “Which is better, Disneyland or Walt Disney World?” comes up with a resounding “It depends” answer.  Most likely, if you have the time and opportunity, you are going to go to Walt Disney World because that is a destination vacation.  If you are going to Disneyland, chances are that you are going to Disneyland as part of a further Southern California vacation, and not just to go to Disneyland itself unless it’s for a short trip.  Because of all of that, I think you can’t really put one in front of the other, but what do you think?  Please let me know in the comments, and thanks for stopping by!

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#Disneyland60 – Paint the Night Electric Parade!

Image ©Disney Parks

Image ©Disney Parks

Today, we continue our look at the #Disneyland60 Diamond Anniversary, as we take a look at the next thing on our list that we are looking forward to seeing.  That my friends, is the Paint the Night Electric Parade.

Paint the Night Electric Parade!

The Paint the Night Electric Parade is new for Disneyland, but I understand that it came over from Hong Kong Disneyland.  However, it’s not just a remake parade getting new billing at Disneyland during the Diamond Anniversary.  No, this parade has been enhanced with some floats and scenes that you don’t see in Hong Kong, and it’s those additions and changes that make it truly one of a kind.  What I think I will enjoy most of all about this is the lighting — being able to see that lighting, with the LED lights, similar to the Main Street Electrical Parade, will really be great to me.  I’ve heard that it can be hard to see this parade, that the crowds for viewing are absolutely crazy, so we’ll have to see what we’ll do to ensure that we can see it.  On Friday, July 17, the parade will be shown twice — once at 8:50PM and again at 11:59PM.  I totally plan on watching the parade once during those two nights, or if not, then on Saturday, July 18, when it is presented at 8:50PM again, and also at 10:45PM.

We’ll see how it works out, but I totally am looking forward to seeing the parade! What about you?

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