Category Archives: Disney World

5 Ways Disneyland Is Better Than Disney World

We just returned from our second trip to Disneyland. I love Disney World and will always consider that “home” but there are some ways in which Disneyland is “better” in my opinion. This list of 5 is not inclusive, but is the 5 most obvious to me. I would urge any Disney fan to visit Disneyland and Disney World and judge for yourselves.

1)The Events On Main Streetimage

Main Street at Disneyland is an attraction in itself. There are horse-drawn trolleys, double-decker buses, and other vehicles transporting people from the entrance to Sleeping Beauty’s castle. There is something charming and peaceful about riding on a horse-drawn carriage to the castle and watching the people and the stores pass by. The same is true for the other modes of transport, but not quite as much. We rode a trolley once and the Dapper Dans of Disneyland (an old-fashioned barbershop quartet) jumped on and serenaded us during the ride. You can’t beat that!

There are also many character meet and greets that you never see at Disney World and characters such as Cruella DeVille tend to walk through frequently. Overall there is a lot more emphasis on the characters; especially the more classic characters.imageimage

2)Fantasylandimage

While Fantasyland at Disneyland isn’t better as a whole, there are many unique rides that make it an exciting experience for a huge Disney fan. They don’t have “new fantasyland” like Walt Disney World which is a negative, but the presence of the extra and old classic rides makes it a thrill. Such rides as Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, Pinocchio’s Daring Journey, Alice In Wonderland, Snow White’s Scary Adventure, Casey Jr. Train, and The Canal Boats makes this a worthy visit for a Fantasyland fan.image

3)Close Proximity of Disneyland, California Adventure, Downtown Disney, and Resort Hotelsimage

There is something to be said for walking across from one park to the other in 2 minutes. Also Downtown Disney isn’t a bus ride away, but is literally connected to the Disney Parks. The 3 official Disney Resort Hotels are also within an easy walk, with The Grand California Hotel being actually connected to the California Adventure Park and Downtown Disney.

4)More intimate feel at Disneylandimage

The castle and the heights of the buildings are smaller and everything is closer together so it feels more cozy and intimate. At first I saw this as a negative, but after a couple of hours I felt the intimate setting was a positive.

5)Much more seating at Disneyland

For some this may not matter, but for someone like me who has back problems this is a huge asset. The first time we visited I couldn’t believe all of the benches everywhere. It is hard to find a seat at Magic Kingdom, but at Disneyland there are benches lining the area around the central courtyard when you first enter and also around Sleeping Beauty’s Castle, as well as other areas in both parks. This makes it more restful and gives you a nice place to sit and eat a snack. You can also hear the Disneyland Band or just watch the horse-drawn carriage go by as well as watch other things going on around the entrance and the castle.

In summary, I love Walt Disney World and do feel it is really a home away from home. There are many things better about Disney World, but I wanted to point out some of the things that I think might just make a visit worth it for you.

Disney Vacation Club (DVC)- Overview

I am going to start a multi-part article on the Disney Vacation Club (DVC). This is completely operated by the Walt Disney Company. I hope to help you figure out the whole, complicated system. Today I am just going over the most basic information.

1)The DVC is a Disney timeshare. You purchase points at a particular resort for a certain dollar figure per point. There are many variables which I will explain later, but these points are used to stay at one of the Disney DVC resorts. Not every resort on the Disney property is one of the DVC resorts; only the Deluxe Villas are part of the DVC.

2)When you purchase points at a particular resort, there are very specific rules governing when you may book a room at either your home resort or another DVC property. (I’ll explain more about this later).

3)You can buy a DVC timeshare directly from the Walt Disney Company or from one of several of the resale companies.

4)You can pay cash or finance your purchase.

5)There are advantages and disadvantages for buying DVC directly from Disney.

6)The purchase price for each DVC property varies widely and so do the points required for staying in the various properties.

7)There are 4 sizes of rooms in the DVC.

8)There are perks associated with owning at the DVC.

9)There are rules governing use and manipulation of the points in your DVC contract.

10)The points required to book a room at a particular resort varies with time of year which Disney states as high season, low season, and two moderate seasons.

11)You can rent your points out if you don’t use them, but Disney doesn’t sanction this. You must do this through a resale company.

This is just a basic outline of all the facets of buying and owning DVC. I have learned the hard way about a lot of the minutiae of owning a DVC property. I want to spare you from making the same mistakes we made and hopefully provide helpful tips if you are entertaining the idea of buying into the DVC. For us it has been a great experience and enabled us to go much more frequently than we otherwise could have. Tell me if you are more interested in one facet than another. I plan to do articles on each of the above points. Hope you enjoy!

Elaine (Perdita)mom

Bay Lake Tower and Contemporary Resort
Bay Lake Tower and Contemporary Resort

5 Overlooked Attractions at Walt Disney World –

1) The Magic of Disney Animation– This is an interactive drawing class led by a Disney artist. Guests learn step-by-step instructions on how to draw a Disney character. You never know which character you will draw, so it is fun to do the class each time you visit WDW. The class takes 30 minutes and you get to take home your art. This is located in Hollywood Studios.Unknown 2) Living With the Land– A relaxing 13-minute boat ride that takes you on an informative journey through a tropical rain forest, a desert complete with sandstorm, and the plains of a small farm. Guests learn about Hydroponics, Aeroponics and Aquaculture. You see many plants with unusual fruits and veggies, and fish farms are also on display. The educational part of this boat ride is geared towards adults, but younger guests will love it also and enjoy spotting the different fruits and vegetables. This is located in Future World at Epcot.Unknown-1 3) One Man’s Dream– This is a tribute to the “Man behind the Magic”. It is a self-guided walking tour that will take you through a series of exhibits including: scaled replicas, photographs, audio interviews and memorabilia that tell the story of Walt Disney. There are over 400 artifacts on display such as models of Main Street U.S.A. from Disneyland, scaled replicas of Sleeping Beauty’s Castle from Disneyland, scaled models of Animal Kingdom and others. There is a re-creation of Walt’s old office, his 2nd grade desk, and even an Academy Award from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs on display. This is located in Hollywood Studios.Unknown-3 4)Outdoor entertainment at Epcot- There are a wide variety of performers that are located mostly in World Showcase, with The Jammin’ Jammitors being the exception (they perform a percussion show that is not to be missed in Future World). Each country hosts different acts that perform on a schedule that can be picked up at the park entrance. Just a couple of examples are: Mariachi Cobre at the Mexico Pavilion, the Canadian Lumberjacks at the Canada Pavilion, andThe British Revolution at the United Kingdom Pavilion which are all three band performances.) There are also many other types of entertainment such as Serveur Amusant at the France Pavilion (a very skilled performer balances on chairs stacked seemingly into the clouds. Just kidding, but he does go pretty high!), Taiko Drummers at the Japan Pavilion, Sergio the juggler at the Italy Pavilion, and many more. 5)Flights of Wonder– Several times a day in the Asian area at Animal Kingdom, the Flights of Wonder are performed. The shows are about 25 minutes long and feature over 20 species of exotic birds, including Harris hawks, Barbary falcons, macaws, ibis and yellow-naped Amazon parrots. The show features free-flying birds performing stunts with the trainers auditory cues to guide them. There is also some comedy thrown in that makes the show even better.

Top 5 Money-Saving tips for Disney World-

Perdita (mom) here-

I am the money-manager in the house so I do the investigative work when it comes to saving money for Disney World. Some of the 5 tips for saving money are so long I will have to elaborate in a separate article, but some are not

1)Eat Cheaply-I have covered this in a previous article, but it bears repeating. This one tip alone can save hundreds easily. Some people don’t think about how much a meal can cost (easily $30-40/person). If you have a family of 4 that is about $160. If you factor in 3 meals/day that could easily add up to $500/ day plus any snacks and drinks you may buy at the park. Let’s just say you do spend this much and you are staying 7 days. You can easily see how the meals can add up to thousand alone. I know Disney isn’t cheap for even the “cheap” meals I have advocated, but it makes a real difference.

2) Buy Disney Vacation Club (to save even more, buy on the re-sale market)-
I am writing a couple of articles about this because there is so much about this topic. This one move has enabled us to go to the parks much more frequently than we otherwise would have been able to.

3)Use Miles Cards and sign-up bonuses for your travel
Again I will elaborate more later, but if you have a favorite airline or have one airline (for us it is Southwest Airlines) that is convenient for travel, get their credit card.

4)If you don’t have Disney Vacation Club consider Value and Moderate Resorts
When we called in to Disney in 2009 to make a reservation we didn’t even know there were value resorts. (There are value, moderate, deluxe, and deluxe villa resorts.) They booked us in a deluxe resort. When I thought back to the time I called several years before and they priced the vacation (the one we couldn’t afford) they also had booked us into a deluxe resort. Ask about all options and check the website.

5)Don’t fall for the “Dining-Plan-Package”
They will tell you that you are saving money when in fact they have that built into the package. If you price the vacation for room only I have found you save money. (a caveat is that is only if you don’t care about eating at the fine dining restaurants). I have found that on room-only reservations you can get about 30% off on the rooms most of the time anyway and they put the dining plan in the package and keep the room at full price. There are exceptions to this but I have found this to be the case when we have called.

More tips later!

Our Favorite Spots in Magic Kingdom

Perdita:  My favorite spot in Magic Kingdom, and maybe all of Disney World is “The Enchanted Forest ” in New Fantasyland beside Gaston’s Tavern.  This is one area that is usually peaceful and beautiful in the daytime and even prettier at night with the lights on.  It is particularly “enchanting” at Christmas when the decorations are up.  As a frequent visitor, I regularly seek out a peaceful spot to sit and rest, and this is one of the few places I have found.  A favorite routine of ours is to get a Lefou’s Brew in Gaston’s and take it outside to sit and drink.  The trees in the enchanted forest are different than any I have seen and the fountain in front of Gaston’s adds a peaceful sound that further enhances the experience.

Roly:   My favorite area in the Magic Kingdom is, like my mother, Perdita, the area outside Gaston’s tavern, but for different reasons. The area has the best looking medieval style houses.  The tavern has a treat even better than the famous Dole Whip. The Lefou’s brew is what I am talking about, since it has the tasty apple slush, topped with froth. It is good to sit and drink, while listening to the riders of the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train scream nearby. The fountain, with it’s funny plaque, is perfect for the spot, right in front of the tavern. The inside of the tavern is lined with animal heads, and hunting guns, and has two sitting rooms:  one with a huge circular table under a chandelier of antlers, a fireplace, and Gaston’s own chair, the other, smaller with a few chairs. There is a giftshop, mini-forest,  and great views of Eric’s and Beast’s castles, too. This makes for a nice, and surprisingly uncrowded place to sit.

Pongo:  My favorite location in the Magic Kingdom is the center of Tomorrowland near the Tomorrowland Transit Authority, especially at nighttime.  I love the lights, the metallic facade, and the peaceful “space-age” music.  It takes me back to childhood notions of space and the future:  Star Trek, The Jetsons, and Marvin Martian with his Illudium Q-36 explosive space modulator.  Nearby, Mickey’s voice repeats on a circuit from the Tomorrowland Transit Authority, saying “It’s out of this world!”  I wholeheartedly agree.

What is your favorite spot?

Money Saving Tip: Southwest Rewards

Today, my money saving tip for travel to Disney World concerns a strategy for one aspect of a Disney vacation; travel to the parks.  We live too far to drive without an overnight stop-over; so, we started flying.  We live in a city that offers a direct flight to Orlando aboard Southwest Airlines.  Recently, I opened a Southwest Rewards credit card that offered 50,000 miles if you spend $2,000 in the first three months.  Miles can be redeemed for future flights, and, for us, 50,000 miles translates into about 4-5 round-trip tickets.  You can also shop through the Southwest shopping portal and earn points which translate into miles.

This strategy, with Southwest, may not work depending on where you live, but, all airlines offer credit card reward offers.  There are other cards that offer points as well.  This is one area where I have done a lot of research, and I use it for our family.  In upcoming “Money Saving Tip” posts, I will give the scoop on another way to amp up savings even more with Southwest Airlines, as well as a few of the best offers I have found.

*disclaimer:  I have no affiliation with Southwest Airlines

Perdita