Our Love of Walt Disney World

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

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.

Details of Disney Magic

The Mature MouseTM visits Walt Disney World because it is more than a theme park. A tour of a Disney Park is an intensive experience. Plans for Disney Hollywood Studios, announced at the recent D23, reflect the Imagineers plans for intensifying that experience.

During my recent trip to Disney World, I took some time to capture some of those details in the various parks. The magic of a Disney Park is imbedded in those features; it is the quality that makes a Disney Park more than just another theme park. Imagineers went to great lengths to design an atmosphere that enhances the storytelling. This attention to detail surrounds you at Disney’s resorts, four theme parks, and 2 water parks.

Below are images from my recent visit to Walt Disney World. You should also visit The Theme Park Tourist to read their list of  10 Absurdly Intricate Details at Walt Disney World That Most People Never Notice.

IMG_2018Please visit The Mature MouseTM store for merchandise. Many of the items would make outstanding additions to your vacation gear and attire. This baseball hat is just one of the featured items available through the store. 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.

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Liberty Square Street in Magic Kingdom
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Tangled Restroom in Magic Kingdom
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Tangled rest area in Magic Kingdom
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Harambe Village in Anima Kingdom
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Harambe Village in Anima Kingdom
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Morocco in World Showcase
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Morocco in World Showcase
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Mexico in World Showcase 
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Germany in World Showcase
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Streets of America in Hollywood Studios
Yacht & Beach Club
Yacht & Beach Club