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.

Tale of Two Parades in Disney’s Magic Kingdom

The Mature MouseTM had the pleasure of experiencing both Magic Kingdom parades during my recent Walt Disney World trip. Comparing them is the same as likening apples to oranges, both are fruit, but that is where the similarities end. The Festival of Fantasy Parade and the Main Street Electrical Parade are each unique in design and presentation.

In full disclosure, I should mention that I watched both parades on the same day. I should also note that I was able to see the Main Street Electrical Parade twice on that day due to extra magic hours. This might lead you to believe that I favor the Main Street Electrical Parade. So let’s begin our discussion of these two parades with that experience.

IMG_7619The MSEP runs approximately 20 minutes and is offered at different times depending on sunset and park closing. The parade begins in Town Square and travels up Main Street, around the Hub and into Liberty Square, and out of the park through Frontierland.

IMG_7612
Tinker Bell
The floats are covered in colored lights, which are the major draw for this nighttime parade, and feature live and/or animatronic characters. The live characters are difficult to see because of the way the lights are used on the float. So as not to distract from the images the lights create, the characters are not lit well. The animatronic characters are covered in lights, which extend the story being told.

Regardless of the float, the underlining music is the same for the entire parade. It is a repetitive tune that tends to drone on after the first view floats, and became even more annoying during the second viewing of the parade. It is obvious that some of the animatronics have been recently updated; they use the same 3D effects for facial animation found on the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.

IMG_7474
Tangled
The Festival of Fantasy Parade is the newest of the Magic Kingdom parades. It runs about 15 minutes and begins in Frontierland, around 3 o’clock each afternoon, and continues through the Hub and down Main Street to Town Square.

IMG_7486
Brave
The floats are huge and many are in constant motion, featuring classic and new Disney characters, including the fire-breathing dragon from Sleeping Beauty. The music and sound effects are different for each float. The bottom line, The Mature MouseTM prefers the Festival of Fantasy Parade.

Here is a short video of the dragon. Unfortunately, I did not capture it breathing fire.

Each of the following videos features the same Disney character as presented in each parade. Which do you prefer, the Main Street Electrical Parade, or The Festival of Fantasy Parade? I would enjoy reading your comments about these two parades.

For more information on these parades, visit the World of Walt blog for their list of six things you need to know about Disney parades.

A travel agent who specializes in booking Disney Vacations is a valuable free resource when planning your next trip. I started planning my recent Disney World Vacation 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 bookingIMG_1869

Please 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?

The Mature Mouse™ interviewed on WDW Through Jesse’s Eyes podcast

The Mature Mouse™ had the great pleasure of talking Disney with Jesse Barrett and Heath Jarvis, podcasters from WDW Through Jesse’s Eyes.  I appreciate your feedback, so please leave a comment below.

Follow WDW Through Jesse’s Eyes through their website, their Facebook page, and iTunes. And, please vote for WDW Through Jesse’s Eyes as the fan favorite by following this link: Disney Podcast Survivor.

IMG_1951

A travel agent who specializes in booking Disney Vacations is a valuable free resource when planning your next trip. I started planning my recent Disney World Vacation 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. IMG_1869Tell Jennie that The Mature Mouse™ sent you and receive a special gift with your next booking.

Please 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?

My Plans for Touring Disney

Screen Shot 2015-07-07 at 12.30.47 PM

Considering that crowd levels are consistently higher at Walt Disney World, The Mature Mouse™ believes in researching and planning park touring before every trip. As I stated in my previous post, Planning My Solo Trip to Disney World, I rely on TouringPlans.com for the best way for dealing with crowd levels. I purchased a subscription, which currently cost 12.95 a year, and renew it each year. I do not work for, nor do I profit from, TouringPlans.com. I believe in the value of this site and just wanted to share my thoughts with you.

UntitledDuring the planning process for my recent solo trip, TouringPlans.com made a reevaluation of the crowd levels and sent me an email informing me of these changes. This allowed me the opportunity to make changes to my daily plans before my trip, including making any alterations of in my FastPass+ reservations. Expectations for crowd levels increased, but I did not make any changes. I believed that my personal plans created by TouringPlans.com would still work given the different expectations.plan

My touring plans are generally very orderly and structured. However, for The Mature Mouse™, a well-planned touring of the parks allows for flexibility once in the parks. The image to the right is a visual I created to outline my touring plans for my recent trip. I took images from my files created in TouringPlans.com. The X in the upper section indicates the FastPass+ reservations, based on the TP suggestions, for morning at Magic Kingdom.

The graphic below indicates how close their expectations were to the actual crowd levels in the parks during the week of my vacation, along with an analysis of the results. The outcome is very impressive, which is the reason why I rely on this site in planning my Disney World trip.

Screen Shot 2015-07-07 at 12.24.50 PM

One of the common complaints I hear from non-Disney fans is that the parks are crowded, and they do not wish to deal with all those people while on vacation. The Mature Mouse™ is not a fan of crowds, either, but I am a fan of the Disney Parks. As I have expressed in many of my posts, I revel in the storytelling, the theming, and detailing Imagineers have created. Erin Foster, an original member of the Walt Disney World Moms Panel, is a guest writer on various Disney oriented blogs. Her article, An Introvert’s Guide to Disney World, offers an interesting look at dealing with the crowds in the Disney parks.

A travel agent who specializes in booking Disney Vacations is a valuable free resource when planning your next trip. I started planning my recent Disney World Vacation 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. IMG_1869Tell Jennie that The Mature Mouse™ sent you and receive a special gift with your next booking.

Please 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?

Chapter 10: Mining Walt Disney World Magic

It has been a long time since I posted a June 2014 trip report. Life happens and our plans often go awry. I have shared various articles relevant to me, and hopefully to you, my reader, between original posts . Here is the next original chapter from my June 2014 trip. Thank you for your patience and your continued support.

We arrive at the Magic Kingdom around 9:30. We walk down Main Street, enjoying the sights, sounds, and scents that are so unique to this part of the park. We take the Fantasyland spoke off the hub, and head toward the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. We have a FastPass for the first hour after park opening.

Magic Kingdom is already getting crowded, even at this early hour. It is extremely hot and humid, which is expected in June. I had not realized before today that the path inclines from the hub into Fantasyland. Most of the Magic Kingdom is built on the second floor, above the utilidors, which are at ground level. Is Fantasyland constructed on a third level of the park, or is this section of the park higher to afford flexibility in design of the attractions?

IMG_1738

After reading so much about the newest addition to Fantasyland, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, I am excited to finally be experiencing this attraction. The FastPass line moves very quickly and soon we are stepping into a mine car. The ride is smooth, for a roller coaster. There is none of the usual coaster click-clack. This is one of the milder coaster experiences in the various parks. Details included by the Imagineers make this a very scenic ride. The hills and waterfalls seem so realistic. The dark portion of the ride, into the mine, brings to life all of the dwarfs using a new 3-dimensional technology. Those familiar faces seem to have stepped right out of the cartoon. Imagineers also included various components from Snow White’s Scary Adventure to pay homage to that original attraction. We do not sense the swaying of the mine car as much as we had thought we would.

IMG_6154

After visiting with the Dwarfs, we walk over to the Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid attraction. We fondly remember taking our daughter to view this movie when it first came out. It has always been one of her favorites. Through various effects, the journey takes you under the sea in a clamshell as you relive Ariel’s story. It is cute, but definitely themed for families with younger children. I would have preferred an attraction extending the story, not just a ride through the actual story.

We are hungry by the time we finish our journey with Ariel. IMG_6145We take a leisurely walk through Fantasyland, making a short rest stop at Rapunzel’s tower. Then we cross into the ‘new world’ of Liberty Square. I really enjoy the theming of this area of the Magic Kingdom. The Imagineers captured every detail from Revolutionary America, right down to the sagging shutters held up by leather, because metal was scarce during the time period of the Revolutionary War. Imagineers even included a pitch toward the center of the walkway, which is painted brown to represent the sewage found in the streets of that time period.

We eat our lunch at the Columbia Harbour House, sitting at a window on the second floor. The service and food are excellent for a Quick Service location, and the atmosphere harkcolumbia-harbour-house-gallery03ens back to the taverns of the period. We had a great view of my favorite attraction, the Haunted Mansion.

After lunch, we meander through Liberty Square, over into Frontierland, and on to Adventureland. We have a FastPass reservation at Pirates of the Caribbean. I would say that this is probably my second favorite ride in all of Walt Disney World. It is a classic, and I fondly remember experiencing it as a child2014-06-25 12.00.32 in both Disneyland and Disney World. The ride has changed some, with nods to the various live-action movies. We get wet, a little, during one of the larger drops of the boat.

At the time of this post, Pirates of the Caribbean is due to go down for refurbishment for some time. I will not be able to ride it during my next trip in June of 2015. However, I am looking forward to additional scenes and improved technologies this refurbishment might bring.

Our morning at Magic Kingdom has been full of new experiences found memories. As we make our way toward the train station to exit the park, we once again take in the sights and sounds of Main Street. This includes a walk through the Emporium for a little souvenir shopping. I would have enjoyed spending more time in the Magic Kingdom today, but circumstances would not have allowed. However, I intend to spend more time, and more days, enjoying Walt Disney’s original realm during my next visit.

A travel agent who specializes in booking Disney Vacations is a valuable free resource when planning your next 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 merchandise. Many of the items would make outstanding additions to your vacation gear and attire. Below are images of just a few of the featured items available through the store. If you are a mature fan of Disney, consider getting an item to let others know. I am a Mature Mouse™, are you?

IMG_1770

Top 10 Backstage Experiences at Walt Disney World

Disney Dining has posted their top 10 ways to get a look behind the scenes, or backstage, at Disney World. The Mature Mouse™ will be taking the Marceline to Magic Kingdom Tour during my solo trip in June. I am not sure what I am more excited about, getting a closeup look at the Magic Kingdom, or being in the Magic Kingdom an hour earlier than anyone else. Have you taken this tour? If so, please let me know what you thought of your experience. What other things on this list have you done to get a behind-the-scenes look at Disney World or Disneyland? Is there something you have done that is not on this list?

A travel agent who specializes in booking Disney Vacations is a valuable free resource when planning your next 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.