Friday, July 30, 2010

Check it out: The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World

I did it; I finally finished all 850 pages!  This book is huge, but it is awesome.  It's as informative as a book could possibly be, and it doesn't sugar coat anything.  It tells you what you need to know.  I recommend this book to anyone planning a vacation to Walt Disney World.  If you're looking for an honest opinion, and a huge amount of information, that is... 

If you just want to look at some pretty pictures, try the Color Companion to the Unofficial Guide.  If you want short descriptions of rides and restaurants, all of which have been approved by the Walt Disney Company themselves, then pick up the Birnbaum's Guide.  But if you're looking for a travel guide on steroids, this is the book for you.

The 850 pages house nineteen chapters and tons of touring plans that you're encouraged to bring to the parks with you.  There is literally information on everything in this book, from ride descriptions to restaurant descriptions.  From traveling with kids to nightlife for adults.  From which hotels rate the best to which hotels are best on your wallet.  Basically, after reading this book, you'll feel like you have enough knowledge to write your own travel guides (but hey, leave it to the professionals!).   Plus the touring plans can save you up to four hours a day in line!

Another awesome perk of buying an Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World is that you get 50% off a subscription to TouringPlans.com, an awesome website that features more touring plans, a 365 day Walt Disney World crowd calendar, and access to Lines.  Lines is a wait time app made by the TouringPlans.com crew, but that's a review for another day.  And although it sounds like I'm being paid by these guys, I'm really not.  The book and website are just that awesome.  I cannot recommend them more!

Do you own an Unofficial Guide?  Do you love it as much as I do?  Are you a TouringPlans.com subscriber?  Let me know in a comment, a tweet (@discollegeblog), or on Facebook.  And remember, if I get 42 more Twitter followers in 18 more days, I'll give something away straight from Walt Disney World!
 

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Allocating Money on a Disney Trip

This post was suggested by an awesome tweep and fellow blogger, Kim.  Kim told me she'd like to see a post about budgeting money because as a college student, she needs help with it.  And really anyone can use tips about allocating money, so here goes nothing!

When you are planning a Disney vacation, you really have five main expenses: transportation, lodging, tickets, food, and other things you'd like to buy on your trip (henceforth known as souvenirs).  Which of these will cost the most is entirely dependent on your individual trip.  Flying in from another country?  Expensive airfare.  Staying at the Grand Floridian during Christmas?  Expensive lodging.  And so on and so forth.  The time of year will have a lot to do with your expenses, so keep that in mind.  A trip the last week in January will be much less expensive than a trip the last week in December.

The first step in allocating money for a trip is to figure out certain things ahead of time.  These include when you want to go, where you want to stay, and how many days.  Then you can price your transportation, lodging, and tickets.  These things can be planned and allocated for in advance, and they are easy to allocate for because you know exactly how much you'll be spending.

Your actual spending money in the parks is different.  To allocate for food, you'll have to do a little research.  If you have ADRs, you can figure out approximately how much you'll spend by looking at the prices of the different menu items on allears.net.  For quick service, you can probably guesstimate similar prices everywhere.  Also make sure you leave some money for the occasional snack or drink when the moment strikes you.  Even if you're on the Disney Dining Plan, you'll have to allocate some money for tips.  And you never know when you might want an extra meal that you don't have the credits for.  For souvenirs, it can be tough.  The best way to go about this is usually to set a certain amount of spending money, either per day or for the whole trip, and try not to go over this amount with souvenirs.  Yes, that means you can't buy every Disney Dooney in the store, unfortunately.  But there's always the next trip!

Finally, always allocate a little extra money for both the random little things you might have forgotten about or something that might come up unexpectedly.  For example, don't forget you'll need to bring extra money for tipping Mousekeeping and the people that bring your bags from Disney's Magical Express.  Also, you never know when there is a fantastic sale that you just have to have, or an emergency where you need to buy something you hadn't packed, like Bandaids or medicine.

Overall, it's better to be a little liberal with the amount of money you are allocating for each area, even if it means cutting down in other areas.  You never know when something unexpected happens and you need some money.  So Kim, did I properly answer your question?

How do you allocate your money on a Disney trip?  Do you leave a little extra to splurge on merchandise or snacks?  Do you spend the majority of your budget on one thing?  Let me know in a comment, a tweet (@discollegeblog), or on Facebook!  And remember, I only need 47 more Twitter followers to give away something straight from Walt Disney World!
  

Monday, July 26, 2010

My Trip Schedule!

Since I don't have much time to write a post today, I interrupt your regularly scheduled informational blog post to bring you my August trip schedule!  Let me know what you all think!

Tuesday, August 17: Flying in on Southwest and taking Disney's Magical Express (no rental car for us!) to All Star Music. We're not sure where exactly we're eating, but it will be counter service, probably at the resort or at Hollywood Studios, since we're planning on seeing the second Fantasmic show at 10:30 (if it exists, I've been seeing contradictory info).

Wednesday, August 18: Our Magic Kingdom day! Getting there at rope drop and touring until a little after lunch time, most likely. Have to get our afternoon break in, or my boyfriend, James, gets cranky (not kidding!). That night we have dinner at Tokyo Dining. We've been before, and James loves it, so we're returning. After dinner, we'll monorail it back to the Magic Kingdom for Spectromagic, Wishes, and possibly a ride or two if possible.

Thursday, August 19: Epcot day number one! I managed to score an ADR for Le Cellier for lunch, and after that, we'll probably take our afternoon break. We'll return to Epcot and probably have a counter service dinner somewhere around the World Showcase (possibly Tangerine Cafe?) before IllumiNations.

Friday, August 20: Animal Kingdom day (or at least morning)! We'll tour until we've seen everything we want to see, and then we'll take our break. For dinner, we have an ADR at Coral Reef, and then the evening is open for anything. We'll already be in Epcot if we want to stay, or we might head over to Magic Kingdom for evening EMH. Then again, I'm not sure we'll want to stay out until 2 am because we have an early ADR the next day...

Saturday, August 21: Epcot day number two! We have an 8:35 ADR for Akershus! This is probably one of the meals I'm most looking forward to! I mean, princesses! Plus an empty Epcot to walk through! So awesome! We'll spend the first half of the day at Epcot, and then after our break, we'll head to Downtown Disney. I'll shop while James complains about me shopping, and we'll have dinner at Earl of Sandwich. I'm excited about that too! Then I'm hoping to catch a boat over to Port Orleans Riverside to see Yehaa Bob for the first time!

Sunday, August 22: This is our Hollywood Studios day! We'll spend the first half of our day there, and after our afternoon break, we have an ADR for Boma! After dinner, we'll probably explore the Animal Kingdom Lodge, and then we'll have to choose between Epcot, seeing Fantasmic again, and Magic Kingdom not closing until midnight.

Monday, August 23: Such an exciting day! We have a 9 am reservation for the Around the World on a Segway tour! So awesome! After the tour, I left the day open to see whatever we missed/want to repeat/possibly touring the resorts. And the grand finale of our trip will be dinner at Jiko! This is the meal that I am the MOST excited about!

Tuesday, August 24: Departure day. Since our flight is at noon, Magical Express will pick us up at 9, leaving no time to do anything, really. But it will have been an awesome trip!

So that's that.  What do you think about my schedule?  My ADRs?  Want me to get back to my normal posts?  (I will on Wednesday, I promise!)  Let me know in a comment, a tweet (@discollegeblog), or on Facebook!  And remember, if I get 400 Twitter followers in the next 22 days (I need 61 more at the time of this writing), I'll give away merchandise straight from the World!
  

Friday, July 23, 2010

The Final Countdown


It's here, it's here!  My Disney's Magical Express documents!  They are proof that our trip is coming up, which means we enter the final countdown!  We are 25 days and counting from our trip to Walt Disney World, which sparked the idea for this post, partially inspired by a post from WDWStevieB a while ago. 

There are a lot of things you can do to countdown to your trip.  The physical, paper ways are usually some of the best for really seeing your progress toward your trip.  Some people cross off days on a paper calendar, while others rip off a page of a countdown calendar each day.  Some make paper chains, and they tear off a link each day.  I, however, have been using more electronic methods.

For starters, I have a countdown on my phone.  I have it as a widget on one of my homepages, so I can see all the time how close we're getting!  It's a great little reminder that we're going soon, and I see it all the time!  I also have countdowns in my signatures in forums.  This countdown is usually in weeks, which makes me the trip seem even sooner!  Three weeks and four days sounds better than 25 days, sometimes.

Finally, I've been counting down on Twitter.  For quite a few weeks, I've been doing weekly Tuesday countdowns, since we're leaving on a Tuesday.  Every week I would tweet how many days there were left, but once I hit 30 days, the real countdown began.  A month or two ago, I saw @Steph_in_MA's countdown to her trip, where each day, she would name one thing she was looking forward to.  I am told she got this idea from @kidanikatie, and it is my favorite countdown idea yet.  Now I am following in their footsteps, and each day, I tweet one thing that I'm looking forward to.  It doubles as a way to count down and a way to get super excited for your trip.  Plus, so many people comment on the things I'm looking forward to, which makes me even more excited!  So thanks, Katie and Steph for this awesome countdown idea!  I also have another countdown idea in the works, but you won't see that one for another 18 days or so.

So what do you do to countdown to your Disney vacation?  Or to any trip?  Do you use the ideas I've named?  Do you have more of your own?  Let me know in a comment, on Twitter (@discollegeblog), or on Facebook!  And remember, if I get 68 more Twitter followers in the next 25 days, I'll be doing a giveaway!
 

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Fitting In Fantasmic

Image from DisneyWorld.com

Here's a confession that you might not know about me:  I've never seen Fantasmic.  On our last trip, we scheduled a Hollywood Studios day specifically to see it, and it was rained out.  I was pleased when I found out there were three days showing Fantasmic on my upcoming August trip, and even more pleased when I saw a tweet from @studioscentral saying that there were second shows added for most August dates.  Second shows are always less crowded, so seeing one wouldn't cause us to need to carve a 90 minute chunk out of our day.  There are only two Fantasmic days in August where there is not a second show.  One of them is the date I originally planned for Fantasmic.  And thus, a conundrum.  Which date do I choose?

August 17.  August 17th was the day I had originally chosen to see Fantasmic, but the fact that there is not a second show is really putting a damper on it.  It would mean we'd have to arrive at the theater around 7:30 pm for a 9 o'clock show.  Since this is the day we'd be arriving, we would essentially land at MCO, take Disney's Magical Express to our resort, check in, eat dinner, and go straight to Fantasmic.  There wouldn't be time for anything else.  On a positive note, however, since there are no other plans for that day, getting there and getting a seat would be relatively stress free, albeit likely very boring.  Also, if it's rained out like last time, there are four other shows later in the week.

August 19.  On the 19th, we would be seeing the second show at 10:30.  Unfortunately, that is also the day I had intended on seeing IllumiNations.  Which means there are two options, one of which is seeing IllumiNations, leaving Epcot quickly through the International Gateway, booking it over to Hollywood Studios, and hoping that the theater isn't full.  That's cutting it too close, and no one needs that stress on a vacation.  The second option is moving our IllumiNations viewing to another day (possibly our Animal Kingdom day, since we'll have dinner at Epcot that night... thinking out loud here...) and doing the second Fantasmic show on the 19th.

August 22.  This was the day I had originally planned Fantasmic before I knew that we would have park tickets for our first half day.  It is our Hollywood Studios day, but we'll likely only tour until mid afternoon, which leaves the evening open for anything, after our dinner at Boma, that is.  Seeing the second (10 o'clock) show doesn't put a damper on any plans, but it makes me nervous.  What if it's rained out like last time?  Then I will still have never seen Fantasmic.  I'm not sure if I want to take that risk.

So what do you think?  Which date would you choose?  Would you wait 90 minutes because it's the least risky?  Would you change your plans around just to see Fantasmic?  Or would you chance the last show on your trip and cross your fingers that it's not rained out?  Let me know what you would do in a comment, a tweet (@discollegeblog), or on Facebook!

And remember, if I reach 400 Twitter followers by August 17, I will give away a prize straight from Walt Disney World!  And you can choose the prize!  Just click here to vote in the poll! 
   

Monday, July 19, 2010

A Disney College Blog Giveaway!

Yes, you heard me correctly, I'm doing a giveaway!  I will be going to Walt Disney World in just 29 days, and while there, I'm going to buy something to give away!  That's right, a souvenir straight from the World, plus a little handwritten note from me!  But there's a condition!  The giveaway will only occur if I reach at least 400 followers on Twitter.  If I don't reach that goal by the time I leave the World, there will be no giveaway.  Thus, a challenge to you all.  Once I reach 400 followers, I will release more details about how the giveaway will work.

So what would you like to see given away?  Vote in the poll below, and let me know in a comment, on Twitter (@discollegeblog), or on Facebook!


            
                                                                                                                                                             
What would you like to see as the giveaway?
        Vinylmation
        Pins
        Antennae Toppers
        Pook-A-Looz
        Other (Describe in comment or tweet)
       
= see results =
   
   

Friday, July 16, 2010

One, Two, Three, Four: Who Do You Bring?

When you're thinking about going on a Disney trip, one of the first things you usually have to know is how many people you'll have in your party.  And to know this, you'll have to know who you're going with.  From just yourself to your extended family, there's a huge range of the people you can bring, and there are pros and cons to each group.

Solo.  Firstly, you can go by yourself if you're comfortable doing so.  On the plus side, you can do, see, stay, and eat wherever you want.  You are the sole decision maker, so if you want to ride the TTA for an hour straight, go right ahead.  On the minus side, however, you may find some things lonely or awkward.  Taking a long solo trip may cause loneliness, but with your smartphone, you can find yourself staying connected with not only your family but with the whole Disney community.  Also, some may find it awkward to eat alone, especially at table service restaurants.  This can be remedied, however, by eating at bars of restaurants that have them.  You can often order off of the restaurant menu, and it's less awkward than getting a whole table.

As a couple.  Two's company, and if you want to keep your party small but not solo, going with a boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife/what have you is a great option.  It's less expensive to travel with just two people than a big group, and the Disney parks can be super romantic.  Having nice dinners and just spending time together will make any trip as a couple wonderful.  The only negative of going as a couple that I can think of is the jealousy that your family/friends will experience that you went without them!

With family.  Whether you're visiting with parents, kids, extended family, or some combination of all of them, the Disney parks are very magical as a family.  The family time can't be beat, and remember to take pictures to remember the time you spend together!  Some negatives, however, include a higher cost if you're the only one paying, and it can become hectic.  Especially if the different family members don't agree on touring strategies, you may find that the family time is less abundant than you had thought.  To remedy this, schedule at least one meal together each day.  You can discuss what you've done so far, and spend some time relaxing for an hour or two!

With friends.  If you have friends that enjoy Disney as well, more power to you!  Either bringing friends or meeting friends at the Disney parks can be a ton of fun.  You can hang out, and, especially if you're meeting them down there, there's no pressure to be together the entire time if you want to split up and do different things.  To meet a whole lot of friends at once, schedule a trip during a Disney meet-up, such as WDW Today's Reunion.  The only downside to going to Disney with friends is that, if you're bringing a friend from home, keep in mind that they might not be ready for commando touring.  Take it at their pace, especially if it's their first time down.

So those are your four options, and you can combine them all too!  I most often have visited with family, but we have also gone with friends a few times.  In August, my boyfriend and I are going as a couple, and though we've never met anyone from the Disney community down there yet, we'd love to!

Who do you bring/meet at the Disney parks?  How many are usually in your party?  Do you all stay together, or do you split up for a while?  Let me know in a comment, a tweet (@discollegeblog), or on Facebook!
 

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Magical Moments

While, as usual, I was at loss for what to blog about on Monday, I tweeted my frustration out to the world, fully expecting no one to answer my 1:30 am call.  Yet one tweep, Rich, came through in the clutch with an idea to blog about your best Disney day.  I used my creative license to take his idea one step further:  what are your best Disney moments?  Disney is an absolutely magical place, and magical moments happen every second.  Whare are some of your most magical moments?

One of mine was on the streets of Disney's Hollywood Studios.  I was wearing my Minnie Mouse ears because anyone can wear Minnie ears at Walt Disney World.  A cast member was setting up a merchandise or food stand of some kind and glanced over at my boyfriend and I as we walked by.  As we passed, he stood up and said just one sentence:  "I like your ears, princess!"  Only at Disney can all people of all ages be princesses.  And only at Disney will an employee, simply doing his job, go out of his way to make someone's day a little better.  This was truly one of my most magical moments.

So what are your most magical Disney moments?  Was the result of a cast member, another person, or something that simply happened?  I'm excited to hear what I hope will be amazing, magical stories!  Tell me yours in a comment, a tweet (@discollegeblog), or on Facebook!
  

Monday, July 12, 2010

Downtown Disney: What to Do

Image from DisneyWorld.com

You may not necessarily want to spend a whole day at Downtown Disney, but you definitely can, especially if you like to shop!  There are plenty of things to do there for all ages and interests.  I love spending at least half a day at Downtown Disney every time I go down to Walt Disney World.  You just have to!

For starters, there's the shopping.  There are tons of stores at Downtown Disney, and the mother of all of them is World of Disney.  World of Disney is a HUGE Disney store that carries essentially any piece of Disney merchandise you will ever desire.  In addition to World of Disney, there's Basin, which sells soaps and other toiletries; Goofy's Candy Company, which sells candy of course; and TrenD that has, well, "trendy" clothes.  And that's not even the beginning!  I've just read on the Disney website that there's a store called littlemissmatched that sells socks in pairs of three!  So clever/cute/probably something that only I would like, but still!  At Downtown Disney, there is a store for everyone.

For those that aren't shoppers, there are plenty of other ways to spend your money.  Cirque du Soleil has a show called La Nouba, which is supposedly fantastic.  I'd love to check it out some day, but it's definitely pricey.  For a less expensive show, there is a movie theater at Downtown Disney as well.  And, of course, there's DisneyQuest.  DisneyQuest is an "indoor interactive theme park" that is essentially a big building filled with video games.  From intense, virtual reality games to Ms. PacMan, the only thing DisneyQuest lacks is new technology.  Most of the games, even the "technologically advanced" ones, are dated.  It's definitely something to try if you've never been, but until they update some stuff, I'm not sure I'll be back.

There are plenty of dining options at Downtown Disney too!  Earl of Sandwich and Wolfgang Puck Express are the two counter service options that are the most highly praised.  I must say, I've never eaten at either (though I hope to rectify that in August!), but they both do sound fantastic.  As for table service, there are quite a few options as well.  From Irish food at Raglan Road to the House of Blues to the infamous T-Rex, there is, again, something for everyone at Downtown Disney.  Personally, I've eaten at Wolfgang Puck Cafe (the table service one), and it was alright.  It wasn't the most fantastic meal I've ever had at Disney, but it wasn't terrible either.  My parents enjoyed it, I believe.  Perhaps I just got an off dish.

And finally, there's Characters in Flight.  Characters in Flight sounds cool in theory, if you don't mind paying $18 per person for ten minutes to go up in a hot air balloon that may or may not be running at the time you arrive.  Then again, I don't really have the right to rag on it, since I've never ridden.  For all I know, it's fantastic!  Personally, though, I don't see the appeal.  It's not worth it to me, but perhaps others may enjoy it.  As I've said many times in this article, there's something for everyone in Downtown Disney.

So what is there for you in Downtown Disney?  What are your favorite things to see, your favorite places to shop, and your favorite dining experiences?  What have you tried that you, perhaps, didn't like?  Let me know what you think in a comment, a tweet (@discollegeblog), or on Facebook!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Check it Out: Twitter!

Yesterday, my sister asked me where the biggest community of Disney fans is on the Internet.  It didn't even take me five seconds to come up with my response:  Twitter.  If you're not on Twitter, then you are seriously missing out.  It is the absolute number one place to connect with the Disney community, and it is a ton of fun.

First of all, if you're following a good amount of people, there is a great chance that at least one of them is at a Disney park at any given time.  And people at the parks tend to tweet pictures.  It's almost like being there, and it's definitely great for a Disney fix.  Right now for example, Mike (@BeOurGuestMike on Twitter) from the Be Our Guest Podcast is in Walt Disney World and tweeting amazing pictures throughout his stay.  It's like a real-time trip report!

Even when people aren't at the parks, though, Twitter is still amazing.  It's awesome to be able to talk to people who all have the same interest as you, and with only 140 characters per tweet, you can follow tons of people without always having tons to read.  The best way to "join the conversation," as it is said, is to make an account on Twitter.com, follow someone that you know likes Disney, and then see who they follow, tweet at, and retweet.  It's the best way to start a network of Disney "tweeps."  Then just join in!  Tweet at people and just in general.  And don't be afraid of barging in on other's conversations... they want you to!  As Kim Knight (@kimberknight on Twitter) said on an episode of WDW Today, private conversations happen via direct messages (DMs).  If people are having a public conversation, don't think twice to join it!

Since I started talking to fellow Disney fans on Twitter, I have not looked back.  You might think you like Facebook, but it doesn't hold a candle to Twitter.  Twitter is so based on conversation, and it is so much fun.  I hope you join and follow me!  I'm @discollegeblog!

What do you think about Twitter?  Love it?  Hate it?  Never tried it?  (If you haven't, start now!)  Let me know in a comment, a tweet (how appropriate!), or on Facebook!
 

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Online ADR System: Very Efficient and Easy to Use

Today was my first time using the online advanced dining reservation (ADR) system.  Overall, as the title suggests, I found it very efficient and easy to use.  I was trying to make an ADR for 6:30 at the California Grill for exactly 180 days from now.  Now one important thing to know is that the online system opens at 6 am, even though the phone system doesn't start until 7.  I woke up at 5:55, and even in my groggy state, I was able to make the ADR successfully.

First you navigate to the "Make Dining Reservations" page that looks like the image above.  You can search by location, cuisine, dining experience, or specific restaurant.  This is a big improvement over the old system, where you would simply locate a restaurant and cross your fingers.  You can also show only restaurants participating in the Disney Dining Plan, which is interesting.  You then enter the date you want, the time, and the number of people, and click "Search for a Table" when the clock strikes 6.

The system searches a four hour window, and it will show you the times that tables are available.  For me, since a 6:30 reservation was not available, it showed 5:55 and 7:20.  You then click the time you want, and you are taken to the guest information page.  Some restaurants, such as the California Grill, require you to put your credit card information in the system.  If you don't show up for your ADR, your credit card is charged.  This is also where you can indicate if you have special diet needs or food allergies.

Once you submit the guest information, you are asked if you are celebrating anything.  This is what I was most excited about because this ADR was for my birthday!  I simply clicked birthday, put my name in, how old I'm turning, and my actual date of birth, and that was it!  It was super easy.  To make sure it all went through, even though I did get a confirmation email, I went to the "My Reservations" page.  The reservation was already there, which is a huge improvement over the old system.  Clicking "view reservation" pulled up everything, including my celebration.

Overall, I found this system much more efficient than calling.  For one, you can book ADRs at 6 instead of 7.  Also, you don't have to wait on hold, and you don't have to give all of your information until after you've secured the table.  Also, since you can press the search button as soon as it turns 6 am, it goes much faster than calling as soon at it turns 7, then waiting on hold, talking to an agent, and then the agent searching.  I'm really glad that Walt Disney World has this possibility now.  It makes securing ADRs much easier.  For hard-to-get ADRs, keep in mind that if your time isn't available, try searching for more people than you have in your party.  Then, when you arrive, simply say that you're missing two (or however many) people in your party.  The CMs at the restaurant won't bat an eye, and you'll get the ADR time you wanted.

What do you think?  Have you used the new online ADR system?  Do you like it better than the old one?  Do you prefer to call?  Don't make ADRs at all?  Let me know in a comment, a tweet (@discollegeblog), or on Facebook!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Values vs. Moderates and Which Moderate to Choose

Image from DisneyWorld.com

Which resort?  It's one of the many things to choose when you're planning a trip to Walt Disney World.  First, you need to figure out which category of resorts you'd like.  Normally I jump directly to values because of money.  They're the least expensive, and I love All Star Music.  On a potential trip in January, however, I'm thinking about the moderates.  This trip will (hopefully!) fall over my birthday and my boyfriend's birthday, and I thought it would be cool and romantic to stay at a moderate.  But is it worth the money?  What are we gaining?  This is where I run into a problem.

The price difference between a value and a moderate is roughly $70 more per night.  That's a lot of money over seven nights.  And what do you gain for this $70 extra?  Three main things: extra space in the room, a better theme, and a hot tub by the pool.  Location could also be considered an extra, but since we'd be taking Disney transportation anyway, location isn't a huge factor.  Now are these things worth it?  I'm not sure.  The extra space might be nice, especially because January means shorter park hours which may mean more time in the room.  This could also be a reason why a hot tub would be nice, though it may be too cold to use it in January, if last year is any indication.  And finally, the theme.  A cool theme would be nice for our birthdays.  But is it worth it?

 Image from DisneyWorld.com

After choosing a resort category, the next step is to choose the resort itself.  In the value category, I would likely stick to the All Star Music, as it's tried and true for us.  In the moderate category, however, I am not as sure.  I have narrowed my choices down to Port Orleans French Quarter and Port Orleans Riverside, and I simply cannot decide between them.  On one hand, French Quarter is much smaller, and I'm told that it's rather romantic.  I like the theme for the most part, except for those shiny green plastic alligators.  There's also the beignets, of course.  On the other hand, I really like the Magnolia Bends section of Riverside, and I like the pool theme better than French Quarter.  I don't like the theme of the Alligator Bayou section, however, and I'm not sure I'd want to stay there.  I know you can't be guaranteed a section, but I would request Magnolia Bends at this resort.  Riverside also has Yeeha Bob and a table service restaurant, though I'm not sure we would use it.  It's also much bigger, and from what I understand, it's possible to be around 15 minutes distance from your room to a bus stop or pool or food court.  I'm not sure which resort has better transportation, since we won't be having a car.  Also, both resorts have boat service to Downtown Disney, a huge plus when park hours are short.  And guests at either resort could use the facilities at the other.  Thus, I am stumped.

And that's why you're here, faithful readers!  Do you think it's worth it to upgrade from a value to a moderate?  And which moderate would you choose?  Riverside, French Quarter, or another moderate altogether?  Let me know what you think (and why!) in a comment, a tweet (@discollegeblog), or on Facebook! 

This post is part of the seventh DisMarks.com Disney Blog Carnival.  Click the link to see more great Disney articles!
 

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Give Kids the World

A quick extra blog post this week to tell you that the Disney College Blog supports Give Kids the World.  Give Kids the World is an amazing charity that help children with life-threatening illnesses visit central Florida in a resort made accessible for everything they need. Vote for the idea on Pepsi Refresh in the widget below, and they can get $250,000 in funding if they are in the top 2 charities when voting ends on July 31. You can also give directly to the cause at firstgiving.com/beourguestpodcast. Thank you for helping Give Kids the World!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Facing Opposition: You're Going to Disney Again?

I'm not even sure if I'll be able to go on a trip to Walt Disney World in January, but I'm already excited about certain things.  Hopefully being there for both my birthday and my boyfriend's, the awesome restaurants we hope to try, and the general fact that we will have been in Walt Disney World on two different trips within six months, a first for us.  That said, there's one thing I'm not excited about:  telling people.

I'm the type of person who doesn't like conflict.  I often try to call as little attention to myself as possible.  I don't like telling people things that they will think is weird.  And, unfortunately, some people think going to Walt Disney World twice in six months is weird.  Crazy, but true.

It's not strangers I'm worried about.  In fact, I would defend my decision blatantly to strangers who inquired.  It's people that I know.  For one, my boyfriend's parents.  My own parents and my boyfriend know the extent of my obsessive personality.  Heck, my boyfriend's even coming along for the ride, so obviously he doesn't protest.  But I'm dreading the day that we tell his parents that we've booked a return trip down to the World in such a short amount of time.  I mean they hardly understand why anyone would return at all, let alone past age 13.  They believe that no one needs to return to Disney until they have kids of their own.

Also, my friends.  Very few people that I know in person know I have a blog.  In fact, the number that do is certainly below five.  It will probably be easy to keep our January trip a secret, but I don't want to have to.  I want to think about it and talk about it and annoy my boyfriend about it until he never wants to hear the word "Disney" again.  But my friends will think it's weird, and I don't want to seem weird in front of my friends.  Then again, any friends who think you're weird and don't like you for it were never friends at all, were they?

How do you deal with the opposition.  How do you answer the question "you're going to Disney again?"  Let me know what you've had to deal with in a comment, a tweet (@discollegeblog), or on Facebook!