Monday, August 30, 2010

WDW Entertainment Website

I recently rediscovered an awesome and very detailed website with all of the entertainment in Walt Disney World to be found. 

Steve Soares' website breaks it down park by park, land by land.  Giving specific locations and times for even the most obscure performances.  He also gives times of character meet and greets as well.  Definitely something that might be good to know ahead of time for parents of young children or those young at heart who like a little face time with Goofy.  :)

What I appreciate most about Steve's website is his interest in street performers.  Often times I miss out on seeing the Dapper Dans in Magic Kingdom, the ethnic performers in World Showcase, or Divini in Animal Kingdom simple because I'm unaware of when the performances will be.  I've now bookmarked Steve's website so I can access it on my phone when I'm in the parks.

Here it is fellow Disney nerds!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

44 Days To Go!

With under a month and a half to go, I sat down with my mother-in-law, Diane, on Monday to talk Disney World. 

Diane and I talked about Garden Grocer and she seemed really into the idea.  Up until then I was thinking of just getting bottled water from Costco ($6.99 with free shipping to the hotel).  When Diane and I talked about what all of us ate in the morning and the types of snacks we might want, it seemed like we could easily find $40 worth of food. 

I asked her what her impression of WDW was and she said that she thinks about when Matt and I came back from WDW for the first time together and I told the story of Matt's first ride.  He went on Spaceship Earth first and within 5 minutes of being on the attraction he looked at me with his eyes lit up and said, "This is so cool!"  I'll never forget it!  Ever.  Matt just lets go and becomes immersed into the Disney "magic." 

At one point in the conversation Diane asked me, "So do you guys walk everywhere?"  And I replied, "What do you mean?  Like, from park to park?"  She said, "Yeah!" 

I laughed out loud and said, "Disney World is 47 square miles.  Do you wanna walk that?!" 

Diane's eyes got huge. 

After that question came out of Diane's mouth I realized that she needed a crash course in Walt Disney World.  I made a PowerPoint on Tuesday and showed it to her that night.  I broke it down, park by park, gave her a little history of each park, and showed the park maps.  I also made sure to include the map of the entire Walt Disney World Resort so she could understand just how much space it takes up.  I didn't get into attractions or restaurants.  That's stuff that the Disney planning DVD will cover whenever I get the new one. 

Another thing I wanted Diane to understand is how convenient WDW makes it to vacation there.  I showed her all of the forms of transportation and the proximity of our hotel to the Magic Kingdom.  Included in my PowerPoint were also photos of our resort and how easy it will be for us to get to food, busses, and the beach.  I'm pretty sure up until then she was under the impression that we'd have to rent a car.

So, here we are.  44 days away from departure and it's finally starting to set in.  Since Saturday I've watched all 4 of the Disney planning DVDs that I own (some of them I've watched twice).  Yesterday I began work on my travel binder that I carry with me until we check into the resort.  I printed up my day itinerary as well as the assumed park hours.  I also made a few more dining reservations for us that we may or may not keep.  This is what we're looking at right now.

Saturday, October 9 - MK
Sunday, October 10 - DHS  'Ohana  8:50 p.m. 
Monday, October 11 - EP    Biergarten  12:30 p.m.
Tuesday, October 12 - AK  Spa @ 3:30 p.m.  La Nouba @ 9:00 p.m.
Wednesday, October 13 - DHS  - American Idol Experience Day
Thursday, October 14 - Water Park (not sure which one yet)
Friday, October 15 - MK  Cape May Cafe  5:25 p.m.
Saturday, October 16 -  Kona Cafe  8:45 a.m.   Depart from Orlando Airport around 3:00 p.m.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Going With A First Timer

I have to say that one thing that I'm terribly excited about is taking my mother-in-law, Diane, for her first trip to Walt Disney World this October.

Diane hasn't been to any Disney park before and I'm not so sure that she knows what to expect.  I think that she may be thinking in a world of extremes.  That the attractions and environment are either going to be a bit intimidating and thrilling or tame and aimed at children.  While certain parts of WDW can be either of these things the overall idea of the park is geared to be family friendly. 

Mom, Matt, and myself are trying to help Diane understand what to expect from certain attractions that may appear to be intimidating but really aren't so bad.  My mom is pulling hard for Diane to go on Splash Mountain.  Mom claims that she is the biggest chicken of them all and that if she can do it and likes it then anyone can.  She does say that Big Thunder Mountain Railroad was horribly scary and made her feel "a little " sick after.  I remember taking her on it back in 2005 and all she said was that it was jerky and loud.  We did sit in the back so I can see her thinking that.  Still, scariest thing ever?  I think not.

I've explained to both my mom and Diane that they can walk through the queue and pre-show of any attraction and then when it comes time to board simply say that you'd like to exit.  Mom really wants to see Tower of Terror's pre-show and what the hotel looks like on the inside.  I think she thinks that I'm going to trick her into somehow going on it.  I would never do that.  She'd hate me!  Haha!

Mom and I both discussed our hopes that Diane "gets it."  Or at the very least... appreciates it.  You can't force someone to get it and you can't teach someone to get it.  They just have to.  It's kind of like the glass slipper fitting properly.  You can try cutting off part of your foot to make it work but at the end of the day you have to walk out of the park with a natural smile on your face.

I think Diane will really enjoy the appearance of things.  I think World Showcase at Epcot will end up being one of her favorite places.  She's a person of few words so she'll probably just stand there taking things in for the most part.  The Polynesian Resort is going to blow her away I have no doubt.  Diane loves being on the beach.  She would do that the whole time if we let her I'm sure.

I have to keep in mind that I'm going with a first timer.  That Diane will want to stop and do things and see things that I may usually blow past.  It's going to be difficult to get her to trust me when I say that certain things just aren't worth your very precious park time (i.e. Stitch's Great Escape).  I'll be moving at a slower pace in general which I think will help me really appreciate even more. 

The key to it all is getting Diane to relax and enjoy her vacation.  She gets stressed easily.  The other day my mom said that Diane told her that she's nervous about being away from home for so long.  She also isn't very keen on flying but she'll pop a few anxiety pills and get over it.  We've gotta get the woman to let loose!  It's Disney World for crying out loud!  Everyone is a kid. : )

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Garden Grocer

There is a company in Central Florida that allows you to purchase groceries and other vacation supplies online and will deliver your goodies to your hotel.  I've heard a lot of great things about Garden Grocer.  Being that we're going to be staying at a deluxe resort and will have a refridgerator it's something worth looking into.  We're also not on the DDP so we won't be having leftovers that we can warm up if we get hungry back at the hotel. 

My main purpose for buying from Garden Grocer is for the sake of having bottled water at our disposal at any time.  Water in Walt Disney World isn't cheap.  A standard bottle of water is $2.50.  We drink an awful lot of water since Matt and I don't drink pop.  That is going to add up quick if we keep having to buy bottle after bottle.  It just makes sense to purchase a pack of water and keep it in the hotel room. 

The thing that is tricky for me right now is trying to figure out what to buy since there is a $40 minimum purchase.  I will have to get with my mother and mother-in-law and see if there is anything specific that they want ordered but for right now this is what I have compiled.

Dasani 24 PK - $7.99
Bolthouse Farms - Green Goodness 32 oz - $4.79  (I drink this often in the morning instead of a full b-fast)
Special K Bars - 6 CT - $3.59  (My mom and I both like these)
Newman's Chunky Mild Salsa - $2.99
Tortilla Chips - $4.19

My total is only $23.55 not including tax.  There is also a $12.00 delivery fee on top of everything. 

I think I can come up with a few more breakfast options like oatmeal for Matt and maybe my mom will want Pop-Tarts.  Garden Grocer also does fresh produce so I'm guessing Matt will want bananas. 

I'll probably place the order a week before we arrive.  Garden Grocer delivers your stuff to your room if you will be there within the 2 hour window that they arrive.  If not, they'll leave it for you up at bell services.  We'll probably go that route since I'm guessing we'll be at the parks right away.