Orlando Journals

Disney World Fun, Bargains and Helpful Tips

A May 2003 trip to Orlando by Travels4Fun

Walt Disney World Photo, Orlando, Florida More Photos
Quote: We planned this trip a year in advance to see how much money we could save if we planned it well.

Disney World Fun, Bargains and Helpful Tips

Overview

Steam Boat Willie Photo, Orlando, Florida
Quote:
Do not miss the Garden Grill Ice Cream Social located in Epcot. The cost is .99 (prices subject to change) and characters come right to your table. An inexpensive alternative to the pricey Character Breakfast. Also a welcome break at about 3pm in the afternoon!

Quick Tips:

Whenever you go to the Magic Kingdom, arrive at park opening time. Head to Fantasy Land first, as this area becomes very congested very quickly - especially the Dumbo Ride. When in the MK, always ride Dumbo first!

Best Way To Get Around:

After you have seen everything in the Fantasy Land and Toon Town, give your feet a break and ride the train to your next destination! (Train Station located in Toon Town)

Disneys All-Star Movies Resort

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Hotel | "All-Star Movies Resort"

Disneys All-Star Movies Resort Photo, Orlando, Florida
Quote:
All Star Movies Resort The All Star Resorts are billed as the "budget" Disney experience. We figured since we were staying at the Horizon’s Marriott timeshare the rest of the time, we would give the kids the Disney resort experience for one night. While the dining area and gift shop were nice, the rooms except for the lampshade that turned into a box of popcorn were rather average and resembled a slightly spiffed up Super 8 Motel. The kids are 7 and 12, but when we checked into the timeshare, even they noticed an immediate difference. There were resort activities – but since one of our bags was lost in transit the first night and there was a long line at the rental car coun...Read More

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on May 30, 2003

Disneys All-Star Movies Resort
1901 West Buena Vista Drive
Lake Buena Vista, Florida 32830
(407) 939-7000

Horizons by Marriott Vacation Club at Orlando

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Hotel | "Horizon's by Marriott"

Quote:
Best Things Nearby:Publix Market, Sea World, and Discovery Cove.Best Things About the Resort:Lots of space in units - brand new property.Resort Experience:We exchanged into this resort with a Bonus Certificate from II, splitting the cost with friends. We paid less than $50 a night, but rooms run about $198 -$224 per night. Our Unit #1020 (a two bedroom unit sleeping eight, our party included six) looked exactly like the pictures featured on the resort website. The unit was immaculate and had fresh appearance. The condition of the unit over all was nice. The bedrooms were a very comfortable size. The bedding was nice and crisp, pillows and mattresses gre...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on May 30, 2003

Horizons by Marriott Vacation Club at Orlando
7102 GRAND HORIZONS BOULEVARD
Orlando, Florida 32821
407-465-6100

Whispering Canyon Cafe Disney's Wilderness Lodge

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Restaurant | "Whispering Canyon Cafe"

Quote:
The Whispering Canyone Cafe offers a very fun interactive dinner, located at the Wilderness Lodge. When your food is brought to the table, you hear a sound like horses walking - it's the cutest thing and completely delights the children! Whispering Canyon also features a horse race with ponies on a stick for the kids and every child that participates receives a certificate, which Mom and Dad should hang onto for the scrapbook. It is delightful to see every child in the restaurant participate in this adventure! ** TIP: If you ask for ketchup, don't be surprised if every bottle in the restaurant is deposited on your table. Our menu items included everything from c...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 2, 2003

Whispering Canyon Cafe Disney's Wilderness Lodge
901 Timberline Dr
Orlando, Florida 32830
(407) 824-3200

Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater

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Restaurant | "Sci-Fi Dine-in Theatre"

Quote:
The Sci-Fi Dine in Theatre was by far our favorite restaurant on our Disney trip. We scheduled dinner for the end of a busy park day and were pleasantly surprised. Our waitress greeted us by "parking our last name". She was attired in 1950’s clothing. Do not be fooled by the lobby area as it is nothing to look at compared with the real pleasure just around the corner. Our waitress told us where the restrooms were and then we walked into a replica of a 1950s drive-in theatre in the evening. There is a huge screen at the end of the room playing cheesy science fiction trailers from the 1950s. everywhere you looked there are "parked" cars. On the walls at the side, you can see paintings ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on May 30, 2003

Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater
Hollywood Studios
Walt Disney World, Florida 32830
(407) 939-3463

Walt Disney World

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Attraction | "Disney World Pin Trading"

Walt Disney World Photo, Orlando, Florida
Quote:
Disney Pin Trading Anyone who has been to a Disney property recently has probably noticed certain Disney cast members wearing lapel pins on a type of strap around their neck. The object the pins hang from is called a lanyard. Disney World cast lanyards come in two colors: green means that only children are allowed to trade from that lanyards, and black means that both kids and adults can trade from it. If you like pins, this is another fun activity for the entire family as you make your way from attraction to attraction. Warning: this is an addictive habit and difficult trades can take time. A good rule of thumb is to trade while traveling from one place to another around the park, ke...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on May 28, 2003

Walt Disney World
Interstate 4 At U.S. Highway 192
Orlando, Florida 32830
(407) 934 7639

Disney's Hollywood Studios

Attraction | "Disney's MGM Studios, Day 2"

Disney's Hollywood Studios Photo, Orlando, Florida
Quote:
MGM was lots of fun. There are less rides at this Park and more attractions.

Kids shows not to be missed: Beauty and the Beast and Indiana Jones (although Indiana can be scarey for smaller children, as there are explosions and hot fire in parts of the show).

Adult Favorites: The Magic of Disney Animation, Walt Disney: One Man's Dream and Disney MGM Back-Lot Tour. And of course: Twilight Zone Tower of Terror!

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on May 29, 2003

Disney's Hollywood Studios
Walt Disney World
Orlando, Florida 32830
(407) 824-4321

Walt Disney World Resort Epcot Theme Park

Attraction | "Epcot, Day 3"

Walt Disney World Resort Epcot Theme Park Photo, Orlando, Florida
Quote:
We had a great time making our way around the World Showcase. The food in Morocco was excellent.

Miyuki the Candy Artist is amazing and not to be missed in the Japan section of the World Showcase. She makes gorgeous sculptures in front of you eyes out of sugar - has to be seen to be believed! (Get a schedule on the way in to the park and be there when she starts.)

My husband and I got re-hitched at the Garden Grill Restaurant. It is a fun Disney-fied ceremony and the kids got a big kick out of it!

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on May 29, 2003

Walt Disney World Resort Epcot Theme Park

Orlando, Florida

Cirque du Soleil La Nouba

Attraction | "Cirque Du Soleil, La Nouba, Day 6"

Cirque du Soleil La Nouba Photo, Orlando, Florida
Quote:
Out of all the things we did at Walt Disney World -- this was the best money well spent, and the most fun. **Warning this show runs 90 minutes with no intermission - so take the kids to the bathroom BEFORE the show starts! We got our tickets through Disney as the seats offered were better than the discount places. If you are going to go get seats above the first level in seats of 200 or above as some of the action will take place below you and you won't have to keep turning your head. We took this advice and were delighted. All the acts, tumbling, balancing, highwire, dancing, etc. were truly amazing. The only drawback is no photos are allowed as it puts the performers at ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on May 29, 2003

Cirque du Soleil La Nouba
Downtown Disney
Orlando, Florida 32830
(407) 939-7600

Downtown Disney

Attraction | "Downtown Disney, Day 6"

Quote:
We decided to take a break and spend the day exploring the shops at downtown Disney. One large plus for anyone who is a Disney Club Member -- you are eligible for a 10% discount on all merchandise, even pins purchased at the World of Disney. (this program ends December 31 2003). There is a great scrapbooking shop and a Christmas store. We also loved the Lego store, which carries certain robot toys that can only be purchased there. The large Lego sculptures in the lagoon are also really neat and something to see. There are many places to eat and many places to shop - truly something for everyone. Warning: for those who spot the McDonald's near the Lego Shop and th...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on May 29, 2003

Downtown Disney
Walt Disney World Resort
Lake Buena Vista, Florida 32821
+1 407 828 3056

Disney's Animal Kingdom

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Attraction | "Animal Kingdom, Day 1"

Walt Disney World Photo, Orlando, Florida
Quote:
Day 1, Animal Kingdom We decided to spend out first Disney Day at the Animal Kingdom, since the kids and the adults were both really excited about the Kilimanjaro Safari Ride. This park was the least crowded of all the parks we visited. We went through the gates just after the 9am opening and were greeted by cast members dressed in Safari costumes who were displaying various animals and insects in cages for the children to examine up close. Since most people head over to Africa first, we decided to start in DinoLand where it was less crowded, sending two of our party over to Kilimanjaro to use the Fastpass Option. For anyone unfamiliar with the Fastpass, it enables you to put your Dis...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on May 28, 2003

Disney's Animal Kingdom
Walt Disney World Resort
Orlando, Florida 32830
(407) 824-4321

A Good Massage and Wilderness Lodge

Attraction | "A Good Massage and Wilderness Lodge, Day 5"

A Good Massage and Wilderness Lodge Photo, Orlando, Florida
Quote:
The ladies decided to go get a massage since the men had gone to the movies a few nights before. This was probably the most relaxing experience of the trip. The Saratoga Springs Spa - formerly Disney Institute -- was very peaceful. (It was the only place on the Disney Property I did not see children during our entire stay.) The staff was very professional and helpful. with all the construction going on, the resort was hard to find, but was well worth the trip. The guys took the kids to Lego Land where they had a great time playing with all the toys. They also got to eat at McDonald's so they were very happy. A good time was had by all. We all met up later to go to the Wh...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on May 29, 2003

A Good Massage and Wilderness Lodge
Saratoga Springs Resort/ Wilderness Lodge
Orlando, Florida

Walt Disney World Resort Magic Kingdom

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Attraction | "Disney World - Magic Kingdom, Day 4"

Walt Disney World Photo, Orlando, Florida
Quote:
I strongly suggest being at the gates for the opening of the Magic Kingdom the day or days you visit here, as you will avoid the lines which build up very quickly, especially in Fantasyland.

The kids loved Buzz Lightyear -- it's like being inside a large video game and every time you hit a target you register points -- very fun.

We ate at the Columbia Harbor House, which is located across from the Haunted Mansion Entrance. This seems to be a hidden restaurant, as we ate there both days we went to the Magic Kingdom, since it was quiet, we could always get a table and the lines moved super fast. Prices are reasonable as well.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on May 29, 2003

Walt Disney World Resort Magic Kingdom
Interstate 4 At U.S. Highway 192
Orlando, Florida
(407) 824-4321

Disney's Animal Kingdom

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Attraction | "Animal Kingdom, 2nd Time + Fantasmic"

Quote:
This time we repeated our favorites, but took the train ride to Rafiki's Planet Watch. This is a great area giving lots of information on the Animals as well as a petting zoo. This trek off the typical Animal Kingdom itinerary is a must for animal lovers. Animal Kingdom was probably our favorite park. We loved all the attention to details in Africa and Asia. The boys went back to see It's Tough to Be a Bug, while the girls pin traded. We left early and headed back to the pool for a swim and a nap - then it was over to MGM for the Fantasmic Dinner Package and Dinner. You have to call WDW Reservations to get this package - I probably called 15 times - but i...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on May 30, 2003

Disney's Animal Kingdom
Walt Disney World Resort
Orlando, Florida 32830
(407) 824-4321

Quote:
A great book for this trip if you would like to learn more about Walt Disney the Man is: Walt Disney - an American Original by Bob Thomas. The book begins with Walt's childhood and takes you through his many business ventures nad the ups and downs of Walt teaching himself to run a Hollywood Studio. Websites that helped us prepare for this trip are: Tourguide Mike. Tourguide Mike is a website that focuses on Disney World and what to do when you get there. For a fee of $24.95, you can plan your entire trip and the Tourguide Mike Automated Vacation planner, that is provided to users of the site, is a must when planning a trip to D...Read More