Everyone’s favorite mouse – Disney made EASY!
Vacations are wonderful ways to relax and regroup as a family. But busy parents often have a hard time getting those adventures planned. Travel with the kids and let someone else do all the planning!
Disney plans, in particular, can be overwhelming because of so many choices and options.
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Bringing the entire family? Extended family? Will you have different ages and stamina levels to consider? Don’t give yourself a headache trying to schedule it all and don’t let it just ‘happen’. When you let things just unfold without planning you always miss something and that is just so sad!!
The Educational Tourist discusses everyone’s favorite MOUSE
with Laura Baustian, planner of all things Mickey!
Disney Made Easy – What are your 5 favorite things about Disney?
Disney does fireworks like no one else- anywhere. My favorite is “Wishes” over Cinderella’s castle. 2nd favorite is ‘Fantasmic” at Hollywood Studios. And, lastly – “Illuminations” at EPCOT.
The Dole Whip is a must have for me while my husband has to have a Mickey Ice cream Bar. Our sons have their favorites, too! Harley requires a roasted turkey leg and Harrison eats a Mickey pretzel. That’s just the snacks! The “Grey Stuff” at Be Our Guest, really is delicious. We didn’t need to ask the dishes. My favorite grown up dining spots, although my boys enjoyed them as well, are The California Grill, and Jiko.
Parades and street shows
The street performers at Hollywood Studios had all 3 of my boys (the two I had, and the one I married) laughing out loud in the middle of the street. They really were funny. The parades have special effects that words can’t describe. The Electric Light Parade at night in the Magic Kingdom is breathtaking! The Festival of Fantasy Parade is beyond words due to the special effects of the floats. Malificient’s dragon is huge and BREATHES FIRE! How cool is that!?!
Not just because I love a good roller coaster, but because of the entire story that the guest is immersed in while waiting in the line. At other parks, you wait in line, you ride, you are done. At Walt Disney World, you are immersed in the story of the ride during the line. I love being greeted and invited to ride to the concert with Aerosmith on the Rockin’ RollerCoaster. The Haunted Mansion is another amazing story immersion. So many cool things to look at, touch, and participate in while you wait. Even the rides like The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh have interactive, story-immersing guest cues to add to the experience. The creepiest, and one of my personal favorites is Hollywood Tower of Terror. So many details are included you notice something different each time.
I LOVE Disney resorts. I’ve stayed at other hotels for other purposes, but I’ve never had a hotel compare to a Walt Disney World Resort. The smell alone is amazing. Each resort has a unique smell that make you take slow, deep breaths as you enter and each resort is themed. The Polynesian has the setting, story, and smell of Hawaii. The Grand Floridian reminds me of Mary Poppins and the adventure she takes with Bert in the country side. All of the extras a guest is awarded for staying on property adds to the experience. I love watching “Lilo and Stitch” on the beach of the Polynesian while roasting marshmallows. The atmosphere, food, and smells of the the French Quarter of Port Orleans reminded me of the Thanksgiving we spent in New Orleans.
Disney Made Easy – Which Disney Park is your favorite?
I can’t choose one favorite because I love each one for a different reason.
The Magic Kingdom
The Magic Kingdom is the classic favorite. Cinderella’s Castle, Splash Mountain, Thunder Mountain Railroad, The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, The Haunted Mansion, Space Mountain are all amazing! Younger children, and sentimental teens, enjoy the carousel, It’s a Small World, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, and Peter Pan’s Flight. I love the fireworks, “Wishes” in the Magic Kingdom.
Hollywood Studios has my youngest son’s favorite ride- Toy Story Mania. And, my husband, who groaned when we went to The Frozen Sing-a-long, ended up . . . singing along, and smiling at the little girl doing all the moves in the aisle, who reminded him of this niece.
Fantasmic is the fireworks, laser, light show at Hollywood Studios. And, this is where you ride with Aerosmith on Rockin’ Roller coaster. This is where you go back in time to Hollywood’s golden era for the Tower of Terror!
As my boys have gotten a little older, we’ve enjoyed EPCOT more. They enjoy Agent P’s adventure through the World Showcase. They also enjoy eating their way around the world. I enjoy eating and drinking my way around the world. Wine in Italy, France, and Germany ~ all in the same day! Love it! This is where you can ride Soarin’. You can really smell the orange grove as you fly over it. Test track – , design and test a race car – why yes, I think I will. The Sum of All Thrills is a favorite for both of my boys. They design a roller coaster, have it programmed on a card, and then you get to test it. There are huge simulators where you “ride” the coaster you designed, complete with loops and corkscrews. Involving so much science and math, they are learning, and not realizing it! Read more about educational travel!
Animal Kingdom is . . . well, I think it’s just Ok. My boys and husband like it more than I. Maybe the addition of the new Avatar experience, and a fireworks/light/laser show will add to the experience. I enjoy the Kilimanjaro Safari, and Rafiki’s tour. However, Jiko, one of my favorite restaurants is at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. And, where else can you see so many magnificent animals in one place?
Disney Made Easy – Is Disney still a good destination for teens?
No matter the age of your children, each trip is different. With little ones, it’s about the smile, the sheer joy on that baby’s face as they see their Disney favorite. It’s little boys on a pirate adventure with Jake. It’s little girls meeting Cinderella, Snow White, Jasmine and Tiana.
Teenagers are able to appreciate the rides more, the behind the scenes tours, the experience changes as their appreciation for all things Disney grows. My boys love the rides so much more now than when they went the first time. The water parks are another teen favorite.
Disney Made Easy – How has Disney since I was a kid?
Why go again? Disney is always improving and changing. We went two years ago, and again this last spring break and there were major changes! An addition of The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, the removal of the Scorcer’s Hat took place in two years. And, those are the big changes. The little changes had to do with the enjoyment level of different events by our children, and our expectations. I am excited to see what the new Star Wars and Toy Story Lands are like in Hollywood Studios; as well as the AVATAR section of Animal Kingdom.
Disney Made Easy – What makes you the perfect ‘go-to’ for Disney planning?
First of all I’m a real person! No digging through books or sorting through a gazillion pins on pinterest. My services are FREE to you. I can tell you what information is up to date, and true. So much of what I’ve read is outdated, or not quite accurate. I won’t sell you more than you want, need, or can afford.
You can trust me as a fellow mom and Disney lover! I want you to have magical, life-long-happy-memory creating experiences like the ones I plan for myself and my family. Getting home and thinking it wasn’t worth it because you spent WAY more than you can afford will ruin those memories. I am up front about events, parks, options to help you make a choice you will be happy with, that will add to the experience.
Disney Made Easy – Some travelers are afraid that Disney is out of their reach financially. Can you do Disney on a budget?
Absolutely! A family of 5 can go from anywhere from $2,500 for a nice room, and 4 day tickets, to $4,500 for a luxury club level room and 4 day tickets. Don’t forget cabins and camping as an option! Disney almost always has a special of some kind!
7) What about a trip just for adults?
So, what if you want to go with out the children? Go! EPCOT without children is even MORE fun! Did you know they have a tequila tasting? A wine tasting passport? The International Food and Wine Festival in the fall is not to be missed. Restaurants like Jiko, and The California Grill have grown up atmospheres, menus, and dress codes. The spas are heavenly. Some of the resorts have lounges for adults only that offer special events like craft beer tastings. Something on my bucket list is to sit at the Chef’s table at Victoria and Albert’s in the Grand Floridian. Disney without children is so much fun, just in a different way. Take time to enjoy both options.
Laura Baustian, Independent Disney Destination Travel Consultant, has years of educational experience as an elementary school teacher and assistant principal, but her claim to Disney planning fame is her own two wild things – boys Harrison and Harley. She has planned family vacations at Disney from traditional park visits to resort only tours. Her professional planning services will save you time, energy, and money while creating the most fantastic Disney vacation ever and they are FREE! Click here to contact Laura about YOUR Disney adventure.
Need more Disney info? Read the post Disney on a Budget.
Enjoy your family adventure!
Natalie, The Educational Tourist