The Magic Kingdom Rope Drop

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Good morning, good morning, to you!

Good morning, good morning, to you!

Every morning prior to opening the Magic Kingdom, a rope drop ceremony occurs to welcome guests.  Ten to fifteen minutes before the scheduled park opening, the Magic Kingdom presents a fun music-filled celebration.  The “Good Morning” song made famous by the film, “Singing in the Rain,” is played as cast members acknowledge your arrival at the park.

The star of the show is the Magic Kingdom steam-train that pulls into the Main Street U.S.A. station with some of your favorite Disney characters. Guests are asked to count down from 10 to open the park. This is truly a must-see experience for any family and allows you to get into the park right at opening. It is a great opportunity to run to your favorite ride or grab some FastPasses!

Tip:

Make sure to get to the park entrance at least 30 minutes in advance. Plan your timing according to which method of transportation you use; both boats and monorails are available from the Ticket and Transportation Center. If you are staying onsite, you will want to leave at least an hour ahead of your expected arrival since the rope drop is a popular show.

For a glimpse of what to expect click on this link to go to a Youtube clip submitted by DVCRental.

Will you plan to attend the rope drop the next time you go to Walt Disney World?

Saving Those Pennies For Disney

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Our Disney Jar

Our Disney Jar

Since we have already paid the hotel bill in advance for our upcoming Disney Vacation, the focus has shifted to saving for meals and tickets for the parks. In our household, we have introduced the Disney jar. It is proving to be a great way to save money; in fact, it is so successful, that we may need a bigger boat…er, I mean jar.

Your Disney jar can be anything from a simple mason jar, to one of those large empty water cooler jugs. Make decorating your jar into a family event and use paint, stickers or even make a likeness of your favorite Disney character. Let your inner Bob Ross out for the occasion!

Here are some tips for filling that Disney jar:

1. Whenever a family member leaves change or paper bills in the laundry, the money goes directly into the jar.

2. Money saved through couponing or by using a store discount card is usually printed at the bottom of your receipt. As soon as you come home from your shopping trip, visit the jar and deposit an equivalent of the funds you saved.

3. Birthdays and holidays can mean monetary gifts from family. Try to save that money for your trip. (Another tip:  If family members ask for gift suggestions, Disney Gift Cards are an excellent option since they can be used throughout the parks and resorts.)

4. Anytime you see a penny and pick it up, put it in the Disney jar for good luck!

5. Yard sales are a terrific way to earn a little extra cash. Round up some items that you no longer use and have a family yard sale day. All the proceeds can go towards your trip.

6. Make saving into a game. Allow each family member their own jar and give a small prize to the person who saves the most money every week.

7. Make counting your Disney funds into a weekly family celebration. Create a tracking chart so you can see the progress of your efforts. Each week, choose a different family member to be the designated “Disney Jar Captain” who counts the money and writes down the total. Having a visual of the money saved will help to inspire additional contributions to the jar.

The most important part of the saving process…just have fun! Knowing that the end goal is to use that money for a magical vacation should be what drives the saving.

How do you save for your trip?  Do you have any tips that you would like to share?

Renting Disney Vacation Club Points

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Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge Photo Credit: Julie K.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
Photo Credit: Julie K.

The Disney Vacation Club is a timeshare that allows owners to stay in Deluxe category accommodations at Disney resorts.  Owners purchase points to vacation in various sized suites within Vacation Club resort locations. Sometimes Vacation Club owners do not use their allotted yearly points and rent them out to other guests. Renting Disney Vacation Club points from an owner can save you a significant amount of money on your Walt Disney World vacation depending on the time of year and the type of room that you select for your trip. You have a greater chance of renting the villa of your choice, the sooner you book your stay.

We decided to rent points for our upcoming trip, so I wanted to share some tips and information with you about the process.

(Please note: This  is simply a review for informational purposes.  I am in no way affiliated with or compensated by the organization mentioned in this review.)

Where to go to rent points:

The safest and most convenient way to purchase points is through a broker that specifically handles these types of transactions. They have knowledge of the process and most communicate through email so your transaction is documented. There are several organizations that broker Disney Vacation Club points and act as a mediator between owners and renters.  For our transaction we used David’s Vacation Club Rentals. Other Better Business Bureau accredited rental organizations also offer point purchases and can be located with a Google search for a comparison.

My advice would be to stay away from Craigslist. There are horror stories of guests booking with someone they thought was a Disney Vacation Club owner, only to be scammed out of their vacation budget. Stick with legitimate businesses that have excellent online reviews, rather than attempting a risky transaction with someone you don’t know.

How the process works with David’s Vacation Club Rentals:

You rent points on a scale depending on the length of stay, villa size, resort requested and date. Traveling on holidays and during peak periods means a higher point purchase.

The villas available through the Disney Vacation Club consist of studios, 1 and 2 bedroom suites, Grand Villas and the TreeHouse Villas at Disney’s Saratoga Springs. Some resorts also have preferred rooms at a higher cost offering scenic views of the water, Magic Kingdom or even the savannah at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge.

Using a point calculator on a broker’s website is the best way to determine how many points you will need for your stay. David’s Vacation Club Rentals’ calculator can be found here and allows you to put in your requested dates and compare points needed per resort and villa size.

For an example, if you want to stay at the Animal Kingdom Lodge from March 10th- March 15th. Select your dates and then decide if you wish to stay in a studio, 1 bedroom or 2 bedroom suite. Then determine if you want a value room (no view), standard view, savannah view, or club level (concierge floor).   Get the points required and multiply them by $14 for the total cost of your trip.

Next steps:

Once you have your quote and the amount of points needed for your stay, complete the reservation form with the dates and your preferred Disney Vacation Club resort. The form lets you  choose up to 4 resorts in case your preferred resort is unavailable. Once your form is complete, a partial payment of $98 is required to secure your reservation.

If David’s Vacation Club Rentals is unable to secure your requested rental, the $98 is returned to you; however if a rental is found, the deposit is applied to your rental total and the balance in full is due immediately.

Important: David’s Vacation Club Rentals is based out of Canada. Check with your credit card company to determine if they charge a fee for transactions that occur outside of the US prior to entering your deposit. If there is a fee, you will want to add this figure into your vacation budget.

Rental agreement:

You will receive a standard rental agreement contract that specifies your dates, guest information, the resort details and your confirmation number. This number will allow you to log in to Disney’s online check-in system to view the details of your trip. 60 days prior to your vacation, you can pre-check in, add any special requests (like hypoallergenic pillows) and disclose if you are celebrating a special event during your stay.

Disney Dining Plan and tickets:

Your Disney Dining Plan and park tickets can also be purchased through David’s Vacation Club Rentals..

Benefits of renting:

We saved a significant amount of money on our upcoming vacation by renting points. If we had booked the trip through Disney, we would have paid over $1,000 more for the same studio villa.  Renting a villa also allows guests to use Disney Transportation (including the Magical Express shuttle to and from Orlando International Airport) and renters enjoy the same amenities that all Disney resort guests enjoy; with the exception of daily housekeeping.

Possible downsides:

When renting you must book in advance and plan ahead. It is recommended for example, that you rent the Animal Kingdom Lodge 11 months prior to your trip in order to ensure enough time to secure points. The recommended rental timeframes from David’s Vacation Club Rentals can be found here. Renting in advance means that you also pay for your trip long before your vacation begins.

Disney Vacation Club does not offer daily housekeeping. If you are staying longer than 4 days, a towel/trash service occurs on the 4th day. For stays of 8 days or more, a full cleaning happens on the 4th day and a towel/trash service is offered on day 8. You can request daily or additional housekeeping services for a fee.

To sum this up:

Renting Disney Vacation Club points is a great alternative to staying in a standard hotel room. Our experience thus far has been a very pleasant and easy one…I will be sure to update you with a review of Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas once we stay there in the Spring.

If you have any questions for me, please ask them in the comments. I would be happy to help!

Date Night at Disney’s BoardWalk Inn Resort

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Disney is thought of as a family destination, but it can also be the most romantic place on Earth! Throughout the parks and properties are restaurants, experiences and locations that are couple-friendly and ideal for an evening for two.

Disney’s BoardWalk Inn Resort is one of the best date night locations throughout the Walt Disney World Resort. Styled after the Atlantic City boardwalk of yesteryear, the resort boasts fantastic dining options, scenic views and adult-only entertainment options.

My suggestions for a memorable date night experience at Disney’s BoardWalk Inn Resort…

Dinner:

The Flying Fish Café is a contemporary and modern restaurant with incredible cocktail options and an extensive menu. The menu includes steak, pork, pasta and several seafood dishes. For dessert, the PB&J Crème Brule is a favorite as well as the Trio of Boardwalk Concession Treats that makes for a great selection to share!

Jellyrolls is a piano bar for guests over the age of 21 that offers great music and cocktails. The musicians take requests (my favorite is the “Ducktales” theme song) and sing-a-longs are encouraged. There is a cover charge associated with admission and further details including group reservations can be obtained by calling Jellyrolls at 407-560-8770.

Wanna’ Dance? Then the Atlantic Dance Hall is the place for you and your special someone. DJs play songs from the 80’s to current hits while you spend your evening on the dance floor. Check Disney’s website for announcements and theme nights prior to your visit.

The BoardWalk features some carnival style games that encourage friendly competition. Play a few and win some fun prizes to take home that remind you of your date night.

The Finale:

Grab a funnel cake on the BoardWalk and head over to the bridge between the BoardWalk and Walt Disney World’s Swan and Dolphin resorts. Here, you will get a view of the Illuminations fireworks at Epcot starting at 9PM. You probably will not be able to hear the music from the show; however what could be more romantic than a terrific view and sharing some sweets with your sweetheart?

Whatever you choose to do during your time at the BoardWalk, you are sure to have a magical evening!

Do you have any BoardWalk fun tips? Is there a special game or activity that you look forward to during each visit to the BoardWalk?