Nov 032010
 

By Jane Jones

"Why Disney?"

Why 01This is a question I am asked often by family and friends alike. Well, those who really know my family have stopped asking. We’re now just the people they send their friends to for the answer to the question "Why Disney?"

"Why Disney?" Simply stated, it is the best overall value in service, experience, and just plain fun for the entire family. While there are still many things we have yet to do that Disney offers, we have done quite a lot. Our family has visited Disneyland and Walt Disney World more times than we can count and have stayed at most of the Disney resorts in the USA. We’ve done 3-, 4-, and 7-night cruises in the Caribbean.

While there are still many things we have yet to do that Disney offers, we have done quite a lot. Our family has visited Disneyland and Walt Disney World more times than we can count and have stayed at most of the Disney resorts in the USA. We’ve done 3-, 4-, and 7-night cruises in the Caribbean. We’ve cruised the Mediterranean and the Baltic Seas with Disney. We’re Disney Vacation Club members. Hmm…you’re probably wondering if we’ve even tried any other vacation options, and yes we have. They don’t compare. Our family is invested heart and soul into Disney vacationing….but WHY?

Let me give you some concrete examples.

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Jan 252010
 

By Jane Jones

While a stay at Walt Disney World wouldn’t be the same without a walk down the middle of Main Street or a stroll around World Showcase, taking in some of the other resort attractions can be a nice change of pace, especially if you are an adult. Let’s get out of the hustle and bustle of a day in the parks for some “adults only” fun!

OK, you’re thinking in amazement…but what will we do? Can we have fun without a park ticket? Without kids?

YES! I am an old pro at this! Let me share with you my top 10 ways to have some adult fun at Walt Disney World without stepping foot inside a theme park. Get ready to spend your park ticket savings, though…many of these are not for the “Disney on a Dime” folks, but there is always a way to save a little. Always ask if there is some sort of discount available, because you never know what you might get.

10. SHOPS!

Some of the best shopping at the Walt Disney World Resort is outside the theme parks. Downtown Disney is a great place to start your shopping day. While you can buy just about any typical Disney souvenir you want at World of Disney and similar smaller shops, there are now some specialty shops worth investigating.

Trend D is the new upscale boutique found between Sport Mickey and Once Upon a Toy. This unique shop sells designer-name specialty items for the adult, such as Dooney & Bourke Disney–themed purses, hard-side Disney-themed luggage, and Harvey’s seatbelt handbags with a Disney theme. Of course you can find many of your favorite characters on clothing items, but they are quite stylish and not intended for children. I love this store and always find something exceptional to drool over…and you will, too!

Check out some of the other quaint shops, especially those on the West Side. You’ll be surprised at what you’ll find — a cigar shop, magic store, fine art, and movie memorabilia. Lastly, don’t forget some of the lovely shops within the resorts, especially the deluxe resorts. There you may find that perfect collectable remembrance of your magical vacation!
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Oct 192009
 

By Jane Jones

Tink2

A new fairy will join Tink, Iridessa, Silvermist, Fawn, and Rosetta in Pixie Hollow on October 27. Who will it be? One of Tink’s best friends (and here is a hint: it is not Peter Pan…).

Last year I had the good fortune of getting to see the first installment of the Tinker Bell movie series at the Magic Kingdom a month before general release. What a treat! This year, I was again able to attend the Passholder Premiere of the newest Tinker Bell movie, which will be released to DVD on October 27.

As with last year, I found out about the Passholder Premiere in my Mickey Monitor (you can also check the Passholder section of the Disney website) and learned when the event would be held and when I could request free tickets. I marked my calendar and awaited the request day in August to arrive. I got online and gave my Passholder number to confirm the date/time that I selected to see the movie. (Note: You will have to do this for each AP. You can only request one ticket per Passholder, and dates, times, and seating are limited).

Finally, the day arrived! It was a Sunday afternoon and we were going to the last viewing at 3:00 p.m. I was joined by my daughter Ellory, her godmother Leilani (visiting for the weekend from New Jersey and also a Passholder), and my mother. We enjoyed lunch at the park, then made our way to Exposition Hall to get seated. Just like last year, we had to not only present our Annual Passes, but also needed the e-mail confirmation. There is a wait list, which you can sign up for at the door the day of the event, but it didn’t look hopeful for those waiting…those registered were all showing up!

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Sep 072009
 

By Jane Jones

Window

A princess and a prince. Castles and romance. Secrets and intrigue.

Sounds like a tale only Disney could spin…

Life, as we all know, is often stranger than fiction. You can find the makings of the Disney-esque royal and the woman of the people within the new DIANA — The People’s Princess exhibit at Downtown Disney. It’s now housed in the space formerly occupied by the Virgin Megastore.

Open since early summer and presented by The People’s Princess Charitable Foundation, this experience offers a wonderful way to spend a non-park day, all for a minimal cost. Spend some time immersing yourself into the life of the British Royal Family, particularly England’s Rose, Princess Diana.

Well, we did just that! I had been looking for something that would be a nice “lady’s day” adventure for me, my mom, and my cousin’s wife Cathy. We found the perfect fit in the DIANA — The People’s Princess exhibit. The plan was for us to meet up at Downtown Disney late in the morning, tour the exhibit, then have a leisurely lunch at one of the West Side eateries. We were there for the 11:00 a.m. opening and were some of the first in!

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Aug 102009
 

By Jane Jones

Tiramisu

Editior’s Note: Since this printing, the Fireworks Dessert Party has been extended through November 1, 2009. There has also been a slight price increase. Adult tickets are $23.42 and tickets for children ages 3 to 9 are $12.77. Prices include tax.

Just when you think you’ve done it all at Walt Disney World, Mickey and his gang manage to come up with new experiences for even the most seasoned guest like me. This summer it was in the form of the new Magic Kingdom “Wishes” Fireworks and Dessert buffet at the Tomorrowland Terrace (just off the Noodle Station). While promoted as a test event just for the summer, I would expect that we’ll see this offered again, if not consistently after its inaugural run completes in August.

Even as an Orlando local, I hadn’t heard anything about this event and just happened upon the information on the Magic For Less message board. (Thanks to all of you who share rumors and info on the MFL board…I wouldn’t have gotten reservations without you!) Not wanting to miss out, I immediately called 407-WDW-DINE and got all the information I would need to plan. Here’s what I found out:

  • Reservations were being accepted through August 28. (They began in late June.)
  • Reservations must be prepaid ($17.99 for guests age 10 and over; $9.99 for age 3 – 9).
  • Cancellation is 24 hours in advance.
  • Dining plan is not accepted.
  • Tables are reserved and seating is limited.
  • The viewing area opens to guests about an hour before the fireworks. You will be given a time to arrive (guests are staggered).
  • Special dietary needs can be addressed and provided for.

With guests arriving from all parts of the world (Australia! Saudi Arabia! Indiana!) to visit us for the Independence Day holiday, I decided to take a chance and see if I could get a reservation for nine for July 4…and I did! We were going to have ages 3 years to 60+ years old. This was to be an extra special day because one of our guests had never been to America before and was going to experience this perfect slice of Americana — July 4th fireworks at the Magic Kingdom! We were all set with our reservations and were now awaiting the day, and especially the evening!

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Jul 132009
 

By Jane Jones

One thing everyone plans for on a Disney vacation is shopping! Whether it is to buy an autograph book and pen, the perfect T-shirt, or a special collectable, everyone loves to shop while at Walt Disney World. But are there any souvenir bargains to be had?

As the official MouseForLess Walt Disney World Shopper, I’ve been to just about every store, so another visit to the World of Disney at Downtown Disney wasn’t all that exciting…except this time I would be attending a Passholder Sale. What’s that all about? Would I find bargains? Well, read on…

In the summer 2009 issue of the Mickey Monitor (the official WDW Passholder publication) I ran across an article announcing “the World of Disney Passholder Sale Returns.” RETURNS? Does this mean there has been one in the past and I missed it? I immediately contacted my friend who works at WoD and asked her for the scoop. While she didn’t have much information, she did tell me that that it occurred last fall, and that information is pretty “hush hush,” but that the upcoming sale would offer some good deals. Not one to shy away from a sale or crowds, I planned to be there.

The “invitation” stated that the sale would be held on Saturday, June 6, starting at 6:30 a.m. OK, maybe I wouldn’t plan to be there THAT early, but I did make it in the doors by 7:30 a.m. I should have been there earlier — the first 1,000 people received a free Disney Cruise Line beach towel. I would have LOVED that. signOh, well!

Wow, the joint was jumping! There was only one allowable entrance to the store (via the Princess room entrance) and you were asked to present your Annual Pass. I discovered that while the announcement in the Mickey Monitor stated it was a Passholder-exclusive event, the signs allowed for Disney Vacation Club members to also participate. I don’t recall any mailings on this, but I could have missed that info (I am DVC, too). This increased the size of participation (i.e. the CROWD). I was OK with it — I was there to observe.

I found out that last fall’s sale had “doorbusters” or special sale items that were announced throughout the morning, but this year the doorbusters were all displayed when guests arrived. They were marked by yellow balloons. There were also a number of 50% off racks, shelves, and carts. These were marked with blue balloons. Also, there were “super secret” surprises at the registers when you checked out.

This was a real event! There was a meet-and-greet with Goofy set up in the back of the Jewelry and Pins room where you could get your photo taken (yes, PhotoPass available). While the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique was not open, there were “fairy godmothers in training” to take your reservation and show off the salon. Plus, some of the many shops at Downtown Disney were open early with their own special savings for Passholders and DVC members. This was all listed on a handy little map given to you at the WoD entrance. (Click here for a list of discounts, too!)

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