Our Love of Walt Disney World

Advertisement

The Best Of Walt Disney World For Adults ​

Welcome back to Part 5 of my blog series on TouringPlans – The Best of Walt Disney World! In case you missed it, over the next several weeks, I’ll be sharing with you the top picks in attractions for various groups of travelers visiting the Walt Disney World theme parks. So far we’ve discussed favorites for babies, preschoolers, grade school kids, […]

via TouringPlans – The Best Of Walt Disney World For Adults — Disney World Enthusiast

Walt Disney World Planning

The Mature Mouse™ is now 54 days away from his return to Walt Disney World. All plans, including my dining and FastPass+ reservations, have been made. As I stated in my post, The Mature Mouse™ returns to Walt Disney World, the first thing I do in planning my trip is review various crowd calendars to determine which park to visit on each of the days of my stay.

Here are three calendars, each from a different source, for the week of my visit. You will notice that there does not seem to be an agreement between each of these sources.

Touring Cal
Touring Plans

The first image comes from Touring Plans. I subscribe to the site, which is minimal cost compared to the amount of assistance you receive in planning your trip. I use the site to develop touring plans for each park I visit. I do not necessarily stick to the plan, but it allows me a guide, as well as the flexibility to make the most of my stay. Touring Plans, created by the authors of The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World, uses both quantitative and qualitative data to build their calendars and touring plans.

Screen Shot 2016-02-24 at 1.21.04 PM
WDW Prep School

The second plan comes from WDW Prep School.

And, the final image is from Easy WDW. Both of these sites utilize primarily qualitative information from the site creators.

Screen Shot 2016-02-22 at 11.48.23 AM
Easy WDW

Ultimately, my decisions are based on the purpose of my visit. This trip is geared toward experiencing Epcot® International Flower & Garden Festival. So, I planned my week around time in Epcot, while still finding time to hang out in the other three parks. I had originally thought I would be unable to spend time at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, but I reconsidered and will be spending a morning in that park. My plan is to experience attractions I have not seen during my previous visits and to view some of the construction happening around DAK. Another goal of this trip is to meet some of the characters in the various parks.IMG_1854

The Mature Mouse™ does not understand why people do not plan for their Walt Disney World vacations. Maybe it is because they think a Disney Park is like any other amusement park. “Let’s drop by Disney for a day of rides, carnival games, and junk food.” It could be that many visitors to Walt Disney World do not realize the size and scope of this resort.

Would you make a plan to visit a city, like San Francisco? Even if you had visited there before, wouldn’t you plan your next visit? Where to stay? Where to eat? What attractions you would want to experience during your stay? Although I have never been to San Francisco, I assume that it is not possible to see and do everything in this unique destination during a single trip.

Walt Disney World covers more than 40 square miles, which is approximately the size of San Francisco, or twice the size of Manhattan. As of 2013, Walt Disney World employed over 62,000 people, making it the largest single-site employer in the country (Today.com). If you visit the resort website, you will see that there are hundreds of dining options throughout Walt Disney World, which includes both the parks and resorts. And, according to TouringPlans.com, there are over 30.4 thousand rooms, in different types of resorts. Given the scope of Walt Disney World, why wouldn’t you plan your vacation? It is impossible to see and do everything while at Walt Disney World. Planning gives you a guide to make the most of your time at WDW.

Make sure you consult Jennie Nowers about your next Disney vacation. She will assist you in all your vacation planning. Tell her that The Mature Mouse™ sent you and receive a special gift from Jennie with your next booking.IMG_2098-0

Please use this link to visit The Mature Mouse™ store for logo merchandise. Many of the items would make great gifts for the Disney fan in your life.

 

 

 

 

 

The Mature Mouse™ returns to Walt Disney World

IMG_7770Magical News: The Mature Mouse™ returns to Walt Disney World this April. This will be another solo trip that will feature my first experience at the Epcot® International Flower & Garden Festival. I have heard that this springtime event has incredible Disney themed flower and garden displays, along with live concerts and unique food offerings. Although the displays contain Disney characters, it appears to be geared toward the older Disney guests.

As much as I would enjoy sharing my trips to WDW with family and friends, that cannot happen as often as I wish to visit. A solo trip offers an inexpensive way for me to return to WDW more often. There are numerous articles about the pros and cons of taking a solo trip to Walt Disney World on the net, like this one by Zach Basler on the WDW Prep School website. I do not want to focus my blog on the reasons why you might want to consider a solo trip.

I will share my steps in planning for this solo trip over the next few months. Hopefully, my steps in preparing for my visit will help you prepare for your next trip, regardless of what type of Disney vacation you will be taking. Of course, I will be posting reports while at WDW, and I will be gathering information, photos, and videos to share after my visit. Although I cannot promise, I might try Periscope while in the parks.

Normally, one would begin their planning by deciding when to visit Walt Disney World. However, as a high school teacher, my choices are confined to school vacations. I have now traveled to WDW twice in June. As I have researched WDW for this blog, I have considered a visit in April to enjoy the cooler weather, the Epcot® International Flower & Garden Festival, and, hopefully, “lower” crowd levels. April vacation can be a very hectic week at WDW, especially if it falls in the calendar around Easter. This year, Easter is early, so the crowd levels during the third week of April are lower, normal (if there is such a thing at WDW). An additional incentive for traveling to WDW this April is that Disney is offering a spring discount.

Epcot-International-Flower-and-Garden-Festival_Full_23484

Not having to decide when to visit, my first step in planning for this trip to WDW began with setting a budget. This decision would guide the decisions for my length of stay, type of a resort, possible meal plan, and flight options. My goal was to put a package together that would fit my budget of $1500. Yes, it is possible to make a trip to WDW for so little. A low vacation cost is a major perk to a solo trip. Of course, to assist me in this endeavor, I made a call to my travel agent, Jennie Nowers. Given her knowledge and experience with Walt Disney World, Jennie knows the best way to create a vacation package to meet each guest’s unique requirements.

My original goal was a 5-night/6-day trip, but this was not possible with my budget. To keep costs low, I realized that I would need to stay at a value resort, but which one was the question. So, after some research and many email discussions with Jennie, I settled on a 4-night/5-day trip, and booked my stay at Disney’s All Star Music Resort. I considered returning to Pop Century, but it cost almost $10 more a night than the All Star resorts. When dealing with a tight budget, it all adds up. I was in a position to include the quick-service meal plan, which worked well for me during my last solo trip. I also included park-hopper tickets to afford me flexibility in developing touring plans. So the final package, before adding the cost of round trip flights, was just under $1000.

all-star-music-resort-gallery00

Fortunately, after a lot of online research, I was able to purchase round trip airfare for just under $600. Here is a tip: Google Flights. All things considered, even though I broke my budget of $1500, it is still a very inexpensive trip. Searching for, and booking flights first can be helpful. Being able to adjust your trip dates affords you the opportunity to find the best price on flights. However, as in my case, I have a fixed window of travel days.

In my next post, I will discuss my next steps in the planning process. This involves consulting Touring Plans, and other crowd calendars, to determine which park to visit on each day of my stay at WDW. There will be a lot of time planned for Epcot and World Showcase to experience the Flower and Garden Festival. And, of course, I will plan as much time as possible in Magic Kingdom, just because. I will find time to visit Disney’s Hollywood Studios, before the park, as we know it, completely disappears. However, I am considering not taking the time to visit Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

IMG_2098-0Please use this link to visit The Mature Mouse™ store for logo merchandise. Many of the items would make great gifts for the Disney fan in your life.

And, make sure you consult Jennie Nowers about your next Disney vacation. Tell her that The Mature Mouse™ sent you and receive a special gift from Jennie with your next booking.

 

Muppet*Vision 3D In Disney’s Hollywood Studios

IMG_7188The Mature MouseTM has been a fan of The Muppets since their original television show, which aired from 1976 to 1981. The show’s humor appealed to kids and adults, alike. I never missed an episode and was such a dedicated fan that I often thought of them as real “people.” There was one evening I caught myself trying to read the “lips” of the characters because I had the sound turned off to take a phone call.

Jim Henson, Frank Oz, and the other puppeteers breathed life into each of the unique creatures in the Muppet realm. Kermit the Frog and Fozzie Bear are some of my favorite Muppets. Whacka, Whacka! And, of course, there is the Swedish Chef. Being Swedish, I knew this character was a satirical stereotype, but was not the least bit offended. I saw the Swedish Chef as homage to all things Scandinavian.

Muppet*Vision 3D was created by Jim Henson and added to Disney’s Hollywood Studios in 1991. This was among the last projects Henson worked on before his death. The Disney Corporation officially welcomed The Muppets in 2004. There were plans to add attractions, restaurants, and shops themed around these creatures. However, nothing ever came of those plans.IMG_7191

under mat

Muppet*Vision 3D features the same characters as the original television show and the feature movies, as well as the same chaos and disaster. The Mature MouseTM makes it a point to enjoy this attraction during my visits to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. I strongly recommend taking a moment to explore the cue. The Imagineers put a lot of time and effort into the theming of this area. Always look under the mat for the key.

IMG_7189

IMG_7193

Whether or not Muppet*Vision 3D, or even the Muppet characters, will have a place at Disney’s Hollywood Studios after the extensive refurbishment is unknown at the time of the writing of this post. I am sure the popularity, or lack thereof, of The Muppets, a new show on ABC, which is owned by Disney, will have an impact on the future of the Muppets at Walt Disney World.

Please use the link to visit The Mature Mouse™ store for logo merchandise. Many of the items would make great additions to your vacation gear and attire.IMG_1655

And, make sure you consult Jennie Nowers about your next Disney vacation. Tell her that The Mature Mouse™ sent you and receive a special gift from Jennie with your next booking.

Backlot Express at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Screen Shot 2015-10-26 at 2.07.17 PMDisney’s Hollywood Studios is in the early stages of a major refurbishment, which will result in additional lands in a larger park. Many of the attractions are closed, or have been slated to shut down, and we are still not sure what will remain of the current DHS. Rumor and speculation point to Star Wars Land taking over most of the left side of the park, replacing much, if not all, of the Echo Lake area.

During my last visit to Walt Disney World, The Mature MouseTM had the opportunity to grab a bite at the Backlot Express. This quick-service restaurant may not be around much longer at DHS, so The Mature MouseTM wanted to write a review of his unique experience at this quick and casual restaurant.IMG_7175

The menu at the Backlot Express is the usual American cuisine found in most Disney quick-service resturants: hamburger and cheeseburger, turkey club, hot dog, etc. I had the 8-piece chicken breast nuggets, with French fries. The chicken was moist, and the fries were crisp. The star attraction of the meal was an incredible Olaf cupcake. It was a huge, moist carrot cake, with cream cheese frosting, topped with a white chocolate Olaf.

IMG_7172The restaurant is themed as a functioning studio workshop. There is an organized chaos in the storage of props and equipment, with background music featuring theme songs from old TV shows. The restaurant is very clean, but the Imagineers have included faux dirt, dust, and wear on exposed piping. This restaurant experience is well themed for the current, and previous, iteration of Disney’s Hollywood Studio. Whether it will last the next restructuring of this park is yet to be seen.IMG_7177IMG_7178

IMG_7183 IMG_7184IMG_7174 IMG_7185

Please use the link to visit The Mature Mouse™ store for logo merchandise. Many of the items would make great additions to your vacation gear and attire.IMG_2098

And, make sure you consult Jennie Nowers about your next Disney vacation. Tell her that The Mature Mouse™ sent you and receive a special gift from Jennie with your next booking.

Parking Fees Increase at Disney World

The Mature Mouse™ is often asked if he prefers staying at a Disney Resort, or offsite in the nearby Orlando area. Although an offsite hotel or motel may offer a less expensive, per-night cost, there are other expenses to consider. By staying off property you may be required to pay for numerous extras, such as car rentals and daily parking fees.

 

Walt Disney World just raised their parking fees for all their theme parks. According to WDWinfo.com, you can expect to pay the following:

$20.00 – Car/Taxi/Shuttle/Limousine/Motorcycle

$18.00 – Camper/Trailer

$21.00 – Bus/Tractor Trailer

 

There is also the value you place on convenience to consider when making your resort decision. Disney transportation will take you directly to and from the pScreen Shot 2015-10-06 at 3.09.57 PMarks. Yes, you do need to wait with others for the bus, boat, or monorail to pick you up. However, for me, that is a minor inconvenience to parking in one of the numerous parking lots outside the theme parks, not to mention fighting the traffic. It is much easier to return to your resort for an afternoon break if you are staying onsite and using Disney transportation. Although there are shuttles from some of the offsite hotels and motels, most of them do not make regular trips to the Disney Parks.


The Mature Mouse™ enjoys being in the Disney bubble during his Walt Disney Vacations. What about you? Do you prefer to stay onsite or off? Please leave your comments below.IMG_2098

Please visit The Mature Mouse™ store for merchandise. Many of the items would make outstanding additions to your vacation gear and attire. If you are a mature fan of Disney, consider getting an item. Are you a Mature Mouse™?

A travel agent who specializes in booking Disney Vacations is a valuable free resource when planning your next trip, and will assist you in choosing the right resort for your stay at Walt Disney World. I started planning my recent trip by calling Jennie Nowers. When Cool Summer Savings was released, Jennie was up early applying these savings to my trip, which saved me 15% on the price of my resort stay. I did not need to do a thing. Tell Jennie that The Mature Mouse™ sent you and receive a special gift with your next booking.