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.

Disney’s Pop Century Resort

The Mature Mouse™ hopes to convince more middle-aged travelers to see the enjoyment and value of a Walt Disney World vacation. One of the key ingredients in any type of vacation is your home base, the resort you decide to call home during your trip. I recommend staying on Disney property at one of their numerous resorts, priced to fit any budget, and themed to fit your style and comfort. A resort should be more than just a place to sleep, and your time at Walt Disney World should not be spent roaming the parks from open to close. I must confess that The Mature Mouse™ did not follow his own advice during my last trip. I choose a resort based on budget and simply as a place to crash after each exhausting day. However, I did make sure that I chose a resort that offered certain perks and amenities that I would enjoy.

IMG_7795It has been a little over a month since The Mature Mouse™ returned from my trip to Walt Disney World. I have briefly mentioned Disney’s Pop Century Resort in past posts. I have included links to those pages below. However, I realized that I have not dedicated an entire post to a review of this value resort.

Previous references to Disney’s Pop Century Resort:

IMG_7793As I stated earlier, I chose the Pop Century for this trip for two specific reasons. As a value resort, this Disney motel fit into my budget for this trip. And, the theme of this resort reflects the first 50 years of my life.

Did you notice that I referred to this Disney Resort as a motel? Although extremely large in area and capacity, Pop Century is built like motel; you enter your room from the outside of the building, not from interior corridors. Except for Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, all the other value resorts are constructed this way.
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The balconies are decorated with images representing the pop culture of a specific decade. These images are of the two buildings in the section representing the 1960s. At the center of these two buildings is the Hippy Dippy Pool.

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My travel agent booked me a preferred room, meaning it was closer to registration, central pool, food court, and park busses. This convenience cost a few more dollars a night. IMG_7312My room could use some updating. The beds were comfortable, but not exceptional, tiles and grout are worn, as are the rugs.IMG_7775
However, rugs and wallpaper feature hidden Mickeys.
IMG_7790Disney’s Pop Century features an exceptional food court, one of the best on property. There are hot and cold dishes, most made to order, as well as assorted snack choices. There is plenty of room to dine in the food court area, and you can always bring your meals outside to the pool areas, or back to the room. There is also a gift shop on site, offering many of the items one would find in the parks.IMG_1838 This would also be the place to pick up items bought in the parks and shipped back to your room.

IMG_7794Disney transportation busses are dedicated to Pop Century, meaning that they will not stop at multiple resorts traveling to and from the parks. However, Pop Century busses traveling to and from Animal Kingdom will also stop at Disney’s Blizzard Beach. As with all the other Disney resorts, there are well-marked waiting areas for the busses. However, the lines are not covered, which can be brutal on those hot and humid Florida days, or during one of the daily downpours.

IMG_7160Guests staying at Pop Century can cross Hourglass Lake, via Generation Gap Bridge, to visit Disney’s Art of Animation Resort. Although it is in the value category, the cost per night at this resort is higher than the other value resorts. You are allowed to eat at the AoA food court, which is also exceptional, as well as use the pools. Knowing that Pop and Art are sister resorts affords you some flexibility in transportation. One could take a park bus to the Art of Animation and walk across the bridge to POP very easily. Although, if you are like me, you will usually return from the parks exhausted and not want a longer walk to your room.

IMG_7158 IMG_7159Overall, The Mature Mouse™ recommends Disney’s Pop Century in the value resort category. Although adults can appreciate the theming of the resort, it is geared more toward families with kids. I can only speak from my experience; the rooms could use some updating. However, the resort worked for me as a place to crash after a long day in the parks. I am in the process of planning a student trip to Walt Disney World for next April and this is the resort I have chosen for our stay.

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Follow this link to the unofficial fan site of Disney’s Pop Century Resort.

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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 have to do a thing. Tell Jennie that The Mature Mouse™ sent you and receive a special gift with your next booking

IMG_7405Please visit The Mature Mouse™ 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. I am a Mature Mouse™, are you?

Planning My Solo Trip to Disney World

IMG_7405Now that I have returned from my solo trip to Walt Disney World, we should review the planning for this trip. This will allow us to discuss in my future posts whether these plans worked and if any rescheduling was needed during my time in the parks. The planning steps i mention here will work for any type of Disney World vacation.

As with any trip to Disney World, planning for The Mature Mouse™ always begins with a call Jennie Nowers. I had a fixed budget and a short span of time for traveling, so Jennie helped me figure out my choices of resort, park tickets, dining plan, and plane flights.

IMG_1838Pop Century is the resort I chose for this trip. This is a value resort with rates ranging from $95 to $186 per night, varying according to the season in which you stay. The resort is themed after the pop culture of the 1950s, ‘60s, ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s. These last two decades are reflected in the same unit within the resort. As a middle-aged vacationer, The Mature Mouse™ can certainly relate to the theme of this resort. Pop Century is just one of the few resorts to feature dedicated buses that travel directly to and from the various parks, without any additional stops at other resorts. Here is a link to a previous post about Disney’s Pop Century Resort.

The next step in my planning process involves researching expected crowd levels in the 4 theme parks during my stay. I rely on TouringPlans.com Screen Shot 2015-07-06 at 11.54.10 AMfor this information. The site is simple to use, and it offers subscribers the ability to create personal touring plans for each day of their trip. You pick a park and attractions you wish to experience, then add the start and end times for your time in the park, along with lunch and rest breaks, and the site creates an optimized plan to avoid long lines. As you can see from this example, the plan even includes a map of the park. They have an excellent track record.

Supported by suggestions from Touring Plans, I made the choice to include the Park Hopper onto my ticket purchase. By adding the Park Hopper option I would have the possibility to visit any or all of the four major Walt Disney World theme parks (Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom) during each day of my trip. Here is more information on the value of the Park Hopper option. The various prices listed on this site may have changed since it was last update; please see Disney’s website on ticket pricing.

My final decision in planning was to determine whether to include a dining plan. I enjoy having an all-inclusive trip so as not to worry about added expenses. Of dining plans offered at Disney World, the Quick Service plan appeared to make the most sense. This would allow me two Quick Service meals and one snack. There are numerous QS restaurants throughout the parks, offering me numerous choices. Breakfast on the QS plan includes 1 entrée or a combo meal and a beverage. A QS lunch includes 1 entrée, 1 desert, and 1 non-alcoholic beverage. This dining plan would allow me to focus on touring the parks, not spending time sitting at a Table Service restaurant. Please do not misunderstand, Walt Disney World offers incredible fine-dining experiences. Please see my various posts about adult dining at WDW.

Chapter 7: Disney Magic and Romance at the California Grill

Top 10 Places to Dine Without Kids at Walt Disney World

My final step in planning was to book my FastPass+ choices 60 days prior to my trip, which was made based on the plans I created through the Touring Plans website. Making these reservations early insured I would have FP+ selections during my vacation, knowing that I would have the flexibility to alter these choices before and during my trip.

There was a period of time when a visit to Walt Disney World could be done on a whim, with little or no planning. However, times have changed. Planning is important and allows for flexibility. The process of planning your trip serves another purpose, educating you about the ins and outs of the resort. Think of it this way: Would you plan to travel to a city you have never been to before? The entire Walt Disney World Resort covers 40 Square miles, which is the equivalent in size of San Francisco. Would you research and plan your first trip to San Francisco?

IMG_1869Please visit The Mature Mouse™ 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. I am a Mature Mouse™, are you?

Is It Time to Retire Free Dining

freedineDo you agree with dadfordisney? Should Disney World discontinue the offer of Free Dining? Have you booked a trip simply because of this offer? The Mature Mouse™ would like to know what you think. I booked my next trip for June, hoping for summer savings, but not budgeting for this offer. Has an offer, like Free Dining, tempted you to book a trip?

I started planning my next Disney World Vacation by calling Jennie Nowers. When the Cool Summer Savings were 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 her that The Mature Mouse™ sent you and receive a special gift from Jennie with your next booking.

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

dadfordisney

For the last several years, Disney has offered a free dining promotion during what are “slower traffic months” for Walt Disney World.  Free Dining started in the early 2000’s when people were travelling a lot.  Free Dining was designed as way to get people to the parks.  My family took Disney up on the Free Dining offer in 2009 and we’ve made eight more trips since that first trip.  As years have gone on and more and more people have come to expect free dining in the fall, Disney has made the dates more restrictive, resort availability more restrictive, and increased the number of days or type of ticket that you need to qualify for free dining.

I have spent many years as avid Disney follower, one year as independent Disney blogger, nine months as an independent travel agent specializing in Disney vacations, and will be soon coming out with…

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Is a Disney World Vacation too expensive?

  

As well as the usual comment that Disney is just for kids, friends of The Mature Mouse™ will often state that a vacation at Disney World is just too expensive. While I agree it certainly is not cheap, is it more expensive than other types of vacations? In the recent article, “Is a Disney World Vacation too expensive,” Jason Post compares the price of a typical Disney vacation to the cost of vacations at the beach and in the mountains. Jason focuses on the three major expenses of any vacation, the accommodations, the food, and the entertainment. I believe you will be surprised at his conclusions. Ultimately, the value of your vacation is directly related to your level of enjoyment. For The Mature Mouse™, a Disney World Vacation offers the greatest amount enjoyment.

It is possible to book a Disney vacation to fit just about any budget. The best spot to start your planning is with a travel agent who specializes in Disney vacations, like Jennie Nowers. Tell her that The Mature Mouse™ sent you and receive a special gift from Jennie with your next booking.

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