Most vacations you simply book your hotel, plane tickets, and rental car (as needed) and go. When you are off to the Mouse House, aka Walt Disney world, it isn't so simple. Unless, of course, you don't want to have the best vacation possible and don't mind spending a lot more money than you need to.

Walt Disney World vacations aren't simple. It IS, in fact, a world unto itself. One wrong decision and you could end up spending more time in lines than on attractions. Or more money than the person staying in the resort room next to you. There is even a vocabulary that goes with Walt Disney World vacations that isn't generally used by most Americans.

To have the best time and spend the least money, it is important to know all the nuisances of Walt Disney World. It is important to step back and learn the important things about Walt Disney World. If you do so, you will have the best Walt Disney Vacation ever!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


This blog will be undergoing some major changes.  Please check back later.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

What Using Travel Agent?

If planning a Walt Disney World vacation is beginning to seem complicated, it is to a certain extent.  You may begin to wonder why you shouldn’t just call your local travel agent.  Well, you can, but the question is, should you?
There isn’t anything a travel agent can do for you that you can’t do for yourself.  They will tell you about their services—book you the best deal, make your ADRS (advance dining reservations), and arrange for your magical express.   They’ll even help you with itinerary planning for your Walt Disney World vacation.
They do not get you better deals than you can get yourself with a little due diligence.  There are many websites (the best of which is that list all the discount codes available at Walt Disney World for you.
Most travel agencies, if not all, will not change a resort or the dates of your vacation to get you a better deal, which could save you hundreds of dollars.  You would have to tell your travel agent to do that, so you must be aware of what the best deals are at all times anyhow.  And then, you must wait for the travel agency to get your request and have the time to take care of it.  You could be at the front of the line, or 150 people back.  Your travel agent might not even be working; he/she could be out with the flu.  You can’t change your reservation yourself, because your travel agent owns it.
The same thing goes for ADRs.  You are perfectly capable of making them yourself at 180 days +10 out.  You can do that even if a travel agent does, in fact, book your reservation. 
Itinerary planning is the same thing.  As a matter of fact, I believe that is half the fun in planning a Walt Disney World vacation—doing the planning.  While a good travel agent can be an invaluable resource, most are only so-so at planning Walt Disney World vacations.  There are better resources out there, such as The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World. 
If you don’t enjoy planning though, or don’t have any time, a travel agent might be the best way to go.  In which case, make sure you pick your travel agent carefully.  You can NOT just use any travel agent when planning a Walt Disney World vacations.  You must use an authorized Disney Vacation Planner!  There are many good ones out there.  Authorized Disney Vacation Planners are travel agencies/agents that have been specifically trained by Walt Disney World to understand their product in a very special way.
Some, that are highly recommended, include The Mouse For Less, Small World Vacations, Magical Vacations, and Mouse Fan Travel.  These, are not by any means, the extend of authorized Disney Vacation Planners. 

For more information on how to pick the right travel agent, see HERE.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

So, Which Deluxe Villa Resort?

Deluxe Villa Resorts are part of Walt Disney World’s timeshare program.  You can purchase a share into these (it’s more like pre-payment for your vacations than a typical timeshare), book a DVC (Disney Vacation Club) Resort room, aka Deluxe Villa through Walt Disney World directly, or you can “rent” points from a DVC member.  DVC rooms range from a studio with a kitchenette to a three bedroom with separate living room and a full kitchen.  There are a stacked washer and dryer available in your room.
When staying at a Deluxe Villa as a DVC member/guest, you will receive limited cleaning services.  Your room will be ready at check-in and trash and towel service is provided on day 4, if your stay is 7 days or less.  If your stay is 8 days or more, you will receive a full cleaning service on day 4 and trash and towel service on day 8.  Trash and towel service includes all trash removed and items such as shampoo and coffee filters replaced.  If you are a cash guest, you will receive typical housekeeping services daily.
When you book a DVC room through Walt Disney World, you pay on a cash per night basis, just like any other room.  When you rent points, you are paying the DVC owner $x per point.  Each date of the calendar year requires a certain number of points for that night to book the room.  The number of points varies by season (different from regular room seasons and size of the room).  The DVC owner books your room, just as if they were staying there, except in your name instead of theirs.  Renting points is usually much cheaper than booking through Walt Disney World directly.
At Animal Kingdom Lodge, there are two different DVC resort rooms: Jambo House (the original Animal Kingdom Lodge where deluxe rooms are located) and Kidani Village.  Each building has its own lobby concierge, valet, check-in services, and pool.  As a DVC guest, you are able to enjoy either buildings amenities. 
Bay Lake Towers is located just to the north of Walt Disney World’s Contemporary Resort’s main building.  It is within walking distance to the Magic Kingdom and is Walt Disney World’s newest DVC resort.  To access Bay Lake Towers, you must be staying there and have a key card.  The theming is ultra-modern.  Bay Lake Towers has a private observation deck where you can watch the fireworks at Magic Kingdom, but you must be staying as a DVC member/guest.   Other amenities are shared with the Contemporary Resort.
The Villas at Wilderness Lodge are located adjacent to Walt Disney World’s Wilderness Lodge in the Magic Kingdom area.  The theme, like Wilderness Lodge, is the forest of National Parks.  Amenities are shared with Wilderness Lodge, but the Villas do have its own, private quiet pool. 
Walt Disney World’s Beach Club Villas are located adjacent to the Beach and Yacht Club Resorts in the Epcot area.  You are within walking distance of both Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios.  When staying at the Beach Club Villas, you are meant to feel as though you have an ocean front home.  The Beach Club Villas shares its amenities with the Beach and Yacht Club Resorts, but does also have its own, private quiet pool. 
Also located in the Epcot area, within walking distance to Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios is Walt Disney Worlds’ Boardwalk Villas.  The Boardwalk Villas, just like Boardwalk Inn, are themed to Atlantic City at the turn of the century.   The Boardwalk Villas are separate wing of rooms at the Boardwalk Inn.  Amenities are shared equally between the Boardwalk Inn and the Boardwalk Villas.  You may have long walks to the elevators (as there are very few of them), and hallways are quite narrow, which may present a problem for families with strollers.
Old Key West is a dedicated DVC Resort (Deluxe Villas), and the first DVC Resort ever built.  Old Key West is themed after the Florida Keys in the style of Hemingway Romance.  It is an Epcot Resort, but not within walking distance.  All transportation is by bus.  If you have a car, parking is in front of your villa.  Old Key West has four pools, volleyball, basketball, tennis, golf, boating, playgrounds and a fitness center.  There is no kids club there.  Old Key West has among the largest rooms of all the DVC Resorts.
Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa is the last of Walt Disney World’s Deluxe Villas/DVC Resorts.  Saratoga Springs is a dedicated DVC Resort and has two areas—the treehouses and the regular rooms which include: The Springs, The Paddock, Congress Park, The Carousel, and The Grandstand .  The theme is meant to feel like upstate New York in the 1800s at Saratoga Springs, centering around spas and horse racing.  Most visitors don’t notice any “theme” at all.  Amenities abound, including four pools, golf, a spa and two playgrounds.  Most transportation is by bus, but you may walk or catch a ferry to Downtown Disney.
The Treehouse Villas are three bedrooms and are the old Treehouses remodeled.  The Treehouse Villas are elevate 10 feet off the ground, have a deck just outside your door and have every modern feature, including granite countertops that you would expect to find at a Walt Disney World DVC Resort.  The Treehouse Villas have a dedicated pool.  There are four handicapped accessible Treehouses with a ramp instead of stairs.  There is an internal bus system that will take you to the Treehouse area to the main transportation areas.