November 28, 2011

Disney Christmas Castles Around the World

I'm leaving for WDW tomorrow, and am so excited to see Cinderella Castle all lit up for the holidays. Absolutely love it. Got me to wondering what the other castles around the world look like for Christmas? 

Cinderella Castle: Walt Disney World, Orlando FL

Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant (Sleeping Beauty's Castle):
Disneyland Paris
Sleeping Beauty Castle: Disneyland, Anaheim CA
Cinderella Castle: Tokyo Disneyland
Tinkerbell Castle**: Hong Kong Disneyland
** Tinkerbell Castle - for their 5th anniversary year (2011) Hong Kong Disneyland has temporarily transformed their Sleeping Beauty Castle (carbon copy of the one in Disneyland) to Tinkerbell Castle. Stunning right!?

Here's another gorgeous shot of some of Hong Kong Disneyland's
Christmas decorations!

November 21, 2011

Mickey (and I) find a kitten: "Lend a Paw" [1941]

My boyfriend and I were home last night in our NYC apartment when we heard a kitty screaming sound out the window. We look across the way and to our surprise see a baby black kitten trapped on the ledge,  outside the 6th floor apartment directly across from us. The girl in the apartment hollered out the window that she was too afraid to catch it (the kitty found prob the only 20-something girl in NYC that is literally afraid of kittens), so my boyfriend went over and he got it from outside her window.

Things were going great, it was very affectionate and cuddly, until one of our current cats (Felix - who we thought liked the kitten, kitten looooved him!) got annoyed that it was following him around and swatted at his head (no claws).

Baby kitty's been hiding in a corner since then, crying and whenever we go near it hissing and scratching. So sad. Hopefully it's calmed down by the time we get home this evening.  We feel awful that Felix hurt its feelings so badly. Not sure what we're going to do if it doesn't calm down.

Anyway, here is how Mickey handles it when he finds a stray kitten. Similar situation with lovey-dovey kitten and Pluto/Felix rejecting it.

November 18, 2011

Top 10 Don’t Miss and Top 10 to Skip: Animal Kingdom

Note: This Post has 4 Parts

These Top 10 lists are aimed at adults visiting WDW – especially if you only have a very short amount of time (2 days or so) to see all 4 parks.  Except for when I was visiting as a young'un myself and went with my younger brothers and family, I have never been to WDW with children, so I cannot advise for those with young families.

Here are my Top 10 List of Must-Do’s and Top 10 for things you could Skip in Animal Kingdom (if you have limited time in WDW), plus my Quick Serve food faves for those of us without a minute to spare.
Whatever you do, don't miss
Expedition Everest!

Top 10 Must-Do:

  1. Expedition Everest – get your Fast Pass for this one. Sometimes the line moves pretty well, though.
  2. Finding Nemo the Musical – This one is better than the Lion King show IMHO. The music is original for this show, and it’s absolutely fantastic. The music reminds me of Rent and gives me goosebumps it’s so good. Also it's so visually stunning. Don’t miss it.
  3. Festival of the Lion King – This one’s more interactive and theater-in-the-round. All music from the score, some great acrobatics and huge animatronics, very awesome.
  4. Dinosaur – Very fun, roughs you up a little bit and always scares the crap out of me at that one part. You’ll see what I mean.
  5. Kilimanjaro Safari – Lovely ride, you’ll see tons of animals. Get your cameras ready.
  6. Kali River Rapids – You will get wet – possibly drenched.  Even with a poncho there’s no way around it. Awesome for those mega-hot Florida summer days.
  7. Pangani Forest Exploration Trail – There was a baby gorilla the last time I was there - cute overload!!
  8. Maharajah Jungle Trek – Love the Tigers. Especially since they’re usually asleep it’s easy to get good pics of them. Ha!
  9. Flights of Wonder – I love birds so I always try to go to this show. Amazes me how intelligent they are. Tip: Sit in the middle of the floor bench section for a close encounter with a very large birdie.
  10. Tough to Be a Bug – It’s cute, I’m not really a huge fan, but the line isn’t usually too long, and it is inside the Tree of Life, so that’s neat.

DinoLand. See what I mean?
Top 10 to Skip:

  1. 90% of DinoLand (except Primeval Whirl) – and Primeval Whirl is down for repairs seemingly all the time, so here’s my go-ahead to skip DinoLand entirely. You’ll see what I mean when you get there. It’s kind of like “WTF were they thinking??” It's an eyesore, really.
  2. TriceraTops Spin (in DinoLand) – It’s Dumbo and Magic Carpets of Aladdin in MK, but in a fat green Triceratops. Are they really that strapped for ride ideas?
  3. Boneyard (in DinoLand) – Kiddie playground area.
  4. Cretaceous Trail – Walk around the forest and look at statues of dinosaurs. Eghh…pass.
  5. Rafiki Planet Watch – made the mistake of going out there once many years ago. Don’t know if it’s better now, but it was such a waste of time back then that I haven’t wanted to venture a try.
  6. Habitat Habitat (in RPW) – see #5
  7. Conservation Station (in RPW) – see #5
  8. Affection Section (in RPW) – see #5
  9. Wildlife Express Train – takes you to Rafiki Planet Watch: see #5
  10. Jammin’ Jungle Parade – There it is again, my general dislike for parades. This one is pretty good, and you’ll have no choice but to see some of it, trying to get around. Find out when the parade is running and what routes are going to be blocked off so you don’t get yourself on the wrong side of the path, unable to get by!

There are a decent amount of good food options at Animal Kingdom, especially Tusker House and Yak & Yeti. For its lack of rides/ attractions, this is one of its redeeming qualities.  It’s a huge park so you will need to refuel and re-caffienate a couple times at least.

Food Favorites (Quick-bites only):

  1. Yak & Yeti (Asia) – if you don’t have time for a sit down meal (which I do recommend here) you can do their Quick-Serve “Local Foods Café” for some Pan-Asian noms.
  2. Trilo-Bite (DinoLand) – Get yer Turkey Legs if you haven’t yet!
  3. Safari Coffee (Discovery Island) – Many people, myself included, do this park first thing in the morning, so since this coffee stop is so close to the entrance you can get your caffeine fix ASAP.
  4. Kusafiri Coffee Shop & Bakery (Africa) – The WDW site describes this as “the perfect way to start your day”…but it’s in the furthest reaches of the back corner by Kilimanjaro Safaris – so far away! It is good for a coffee recharge mid-day though. 

November 17, 2011

Top 10 Don’t Miss and Top 10 to Skip: Hollywood Studios

Note: This Post has 4 Parts

These Top 10 lists are aimed at adults visiting WDW – especially if you only have a very short amount of time (2 days or so) to see all 4 parks.  Except for when I was visiting as a young'un myself and went with my younger brothers and family, I have never been to WDW with children, so I cannot advise for those with young families.

Here are my Top 10 List of Must-Do’s and Top 10 for things you could Skip in Hollywood Studios (if you have limited time in WDW), plus my Quick Serve food faves for those of us without a minute to spare.


Do not miss Toy Story Mania!!
Top 10 Must-Do:

  1. Toy Story Midway Mania – Get your Fast Pass for this as early as possible. The line is often 100 mins or so long.  Absolutely love this ride/game though!!
  2. Tower of Terror – You could go on ToT more than 5 times in one day and have a different ride experience every time. The hotel lobby is so gorgeously decorated with amazing attention to detail. I notice something new every time.
  3. Aerosmith Rock ‘N Rollercoaster – True roller coaster with inversions, even. Except indoors, dark, with black lights, and Aerosmith music blasting. Doesn't get much more rockin' than that.
  4. Star Tours – Newly re-done and opened within this past year, it’s awesome.
  5. Lights, Motors, Action Extreme Stunt Show – Very amazing car, motorcycle, and water stunt show. Love it.
  6. Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular – Another great stunt show, been around for ages, but always great. If you want to sit in the front and possibly get an “extra” spot on stage, then get there early. If not, any seat or even standing room is a fine view.
  7. Studio Backlot Tour – Get to see some very neat stuff from big films, backstage areas at WDW, costumes, props, etc. And there totally isn’t an earthquake and oil tanker explosion resulting in a huge waterfall and flood. I didn’t tell you that.
  8. Great Movie Ride – This is what Hollywood Studios is all about – the movies. I never miss it and it’s usually my last ride of the night at HS.
  9. Muppets 3D – Silly 3D show, a little dated, but I just love the Muppets.
  10. Beauty and the Beast: Live on Stage – excellent stage show musical.  Even if you pop in for just a few minutes of it, it’s worth checking out.

Skip Fantasmic! if you're strapped for time.
...sorry Mickey!
Top 10 to Skip:
  1. Fantasmic! – Yes, I said it. Skip this. I went once, ever. We got there early (1.5 hrs in advance) as advised…And was underwhelmed. It's neat, but you really need to have a good seat if you want to see. If you only have 2 nights in WDW, spend them at Wishes and Illuminations. 
  2. American Idol Experience – Never been to this, and I don’t feel like I’ve ever missed anything. I may check this out as an audience member this trip upcoming, we’ll see.
  3. Voyage of the Little Mermaid – Went to this once. Regretted it instantly.
  4. Sounds Dangerous with Drew Carey – Should be called Sounds like Not Much, it’s closed so often for repairs! I’ve only been to it once, many years ago. Skipperoo.
  5. Magic of Disney Animation – Take it or leave it. I’m ambivalent, so if you’re pressed for time then it’s safe to skip. If you have some time, check it out.
  6. Walt Disney: One Man’s Dream – This one is nice, you can walk through at your own pace. Very easy to get sucked into reading all the fascinating facts about Walt Disney’s life though and before you know it 20+ minutes is gone. Not good for those of us on such a tight time-budget.
  7. Disney Jr. Live – No idea what this is but I always see way too many strollers outside it to ever set foot in the door.
  8. Honey I Shrunk the Kids Movie Set Adventure – It’s a neat playground for little kids. I remember my little brothers spent a long time climbing around the leaves and stuff when they were small (aww).
  9. Pixar Parade – Again, I’m not a fan of parades. You’ll see some of it because you won’t have a choice. It will probably block your path to get to where you’re trying to go. Always does for me, especially HS – so frustrating.
  10. Disney Channel Rocks – Well since I’m not 12 and therefore not a fan of Hannah Montana or whoever is doing stuff for Disney these days, this is an obvious “skip” from me.

The quick-serve food options at HS don’t thrill me, so I don’t eat here very often except for snacks. I would much rather eat at just about any of the other Parks, so my fave food list is pretty short.

Food Favorites (Quick-serve since you don’t have time to sit for long!):
  1. Toluca Legs Turkey Co. (Sunset Blvd) – if you didn’t get your turkey leg yet, now’s your chance.
  2. The Writer's Stop (Streets of America) - had a fantastic iced coffee and cookie break here one day this past July. It was tucked away, quiet, and cozy. Much needed caffeine break that hot afternoon!
  3. Backlot Express – Nothing fancy, sandwiches etc. I usually get a snack before or after the Indiana Jones show.
  4. Studio Catering Co. – same as Backlot Express more or less. I just get a quick sandwich on my way to or from Lights, Motors, Action or the Studio Backlot Tour. I don’t need anything fancy at this point in my day, just need fuel to keep moving!!

Top 10 Don’t Miss and Top 10 to Skip: Epcot

Note: This Post has 4 Parts 
Magic Kingdom 

These Top 10 lists are aimed at adults visiting WDW.  Except for when I was visiting as a young'un myself and went with my younger brothers and family, I have never been to WDW with children, so I cannot advise for those with young families.

Here are my Top 10 List of Must-Do’s and Top 10 for things you could Skip in Epcot (if you have limited time in WDW), plus my Quick Serve food (and booze) faves for those without a minute to spare.


Soarin'. If you miss this...well, just don't.
Top 10 Must-Do:
  1. Soarin’ – get your Fast Pass for this as soon as you get into the park. No, seriously. Hustle to get to The Land and get on Soarin' (or at least get a fast pass) ASAP.
  2. Spaceship Earth – Well, I guess before you zoom over to Soarin’ you can stop off for a quick ride on Spaceship Earth. I usually make this my first ride at Epcot since you have to walk right by it on your way in.
  3. Mission: Space –Some people get queasy on this, I’ve never had a problem. Only you know what’s right for you and your tummy, if you should do Green Team or Orange Team.
  4. Illuminations – This show and Wishes are the best way to end your evenings at WDW. Do not miss it. Tip: It doesn’t matter where you sit/stand for this, all have a great view, but I like to be across the lake opposite the countries, because they light up, and it’s closer to the main exit.
  5. Test Track – I’m not a super huge fan of this ride, except for the fast part. Tip: Only ever go in the single rider line. It moves 100% more quickly (my numbers are not based in fact, only my observation & opinion).
  6. Turtle Talk with Crush – This one is a little bit hit or miss, depending on who is “playing” Crush, but I’ve had a couple shows where I’ve been crying with laughter, so I’ll say this is a Must-See.
  7. Mouse Gear – this is the only time I will suggest you go to a Disney merchandise store (Epcot country stores are a different story). It’s the biggest one and has almost everything Disney you could want.
  8. Maelstrom – Water ride in Norway. I remember back in the day when this was the ONLY ride at Epcot!
  9. World Showcase Players – If you can catch a street show, take advantage. They’re fantastic, take a few minutes to check them out.
  10. Epcot Character Spot – I am not one for getting loads of photos done with characters, but this is the place to do it if you are on limited time. You get all the “Fab Five” characters in one swoop which is great, and the Cast members will take photos for your Photo Pass or your personal camera.
Captain EO.
I haven't visited this in probably over a decade.
Top 10 to Skip:
  1. Living with the Land – There is usually no line for this, which is fine. Check it out if you have a spare minute; otherwise don’t lose sleep over missing it. The alternative forms of agriculture are interesting, but not my cup of tea.
  2. Circle of Life – Very dated. Good environmental message, but I don't have much to say about it. *Yawn*
  3. Captain EO – Dated, but I might check it out on my next trip in homage to MJ.
  4. The Seas – The Clam-Mobile ride is pretty dull. I somewhat do like the aquarium exhibit bit, though.
  5. American Adventure – Like Hall of Presidents in MK, this is very good if you need a nap in AC.
  6. Reflections of China – Take it or leave it. I really like the shop in the China pavilion, found some really nice stuff in there. Japan too.
  7. Innoventions – I don’t think I’ve ever even been in this. Skip.
  8. Journey into Imagination with Figment – ditto for #7
  9. O Canada – Very dated. Remember when Martin Short was popular? Yea me neither.
  10. Ellen’s Energy Adventure – I have no idea what’s in this attraction. Not my cup of tea to even take time to check out though. Sorry, Ellen!

There are so many fantastic restaurants in Epcot that I should really dedicate another whole post to just the food there; or a whole blog, really. But since this is about how to do WDW in 2 days with quick and dirty instructions for how to jam it all into 48 hrs, I’m going to tell you my favorite snack and Quick-serve places only. 

Also, importantly, I’ve included some highlights for where to ‘Drink Around the World’ (which topic will very soon get a whole post dedicated to it).

Grey Goose Citron Lemonade Slush. Yesss.
Food (and Booze) Favorites:
  1. Sunshine Season Food Fair (The Land) – the food here is a few steps above your average quick serve meal. It’s still very quick and cafeteria style, but lots of nice options. Many healthy and hearty choices that don’t come with a side of fries, if you know what I mean.
  2. La Cava del Tequila (Mexico) – It’s got umm…tequila.  Thumbs up.
  3. Margarita Cart (Mexico) – For margaritas on the run.
  4. Rose and Crown Pub (UK) – Beer. Also quick-serve fish and chips are Super Yum Yum Noms.
  5. Sommerfest (Germany) – German Beer, duh. Optional souvenir glass available for extra breakable fun.
  6. France Pavilion kiosk – Grey Goose Citron Lemonade Slush or Grand Mariner Orange Slush are 'Must-Have’s!! Or wine is available, of course. It’s France.

Top 10 Don’t Miss and Top 10 to Skip: Magic Kingdom

Space Mtn is a Must Do in the MK.
Note: This Post has 4 Parts
These Top 10 lists are aimed at adults or teens/big kids visiting WDW.  Except for when I was visiting as a young'un myself and went with my younger brothers and family, I have never been to WDW with children, so I cannot advise for those with young families.

Here are my Top 10 List of Must-Do’s and Top 10 for things you could Skip (if you have limited time in WDW), plus my Quick Serve food faves for those without a minute to spare.


Top 10 Must-Do:
  1. Space Mountain – the Mountains are all a Must-Do. Period. No ride in the Top 5 require any explanation. Just do them!
  2. Splash Mountain
  3. Big Thunder Mountain
  4. Haunted Mansion
  5. Pirates of the Caribbean
  6. Wishes Fireworks – Walt wanted his guests to go home with a "goodnight kiss" every night, so he made fireworks a regular event at Disneyland.  If you're only in WDW for 2 days however, Wishes and Illuminations are the only night shows worth making time for. 
  7. Philharmagic – 3D flying carpet chase into the clouds. Enough said.
  8. Jungle Cruise – Disneyland Classic. Did you know Walt originally wanted REAL hippos for this ride! LOL. Love that you can get a different Skipper nearly every go-round, which makes for a very different ride each time!
  9. Buzz Lightyear – Friendly competition is fun.
  10. Tomorrowland Transit Authority People Mover – I love this ride. I just do.

I can pass on the Main St. Electrical Parade.
Top 10 to Skip:
  1. Main St. Electrical Parade – Compared to SpectroMagic, which recently left WDW, this parade is lame. I guess if you've never seen SpectroMagic to know the difference, then check it out. (You will see that I am not a fan of parades in general.)
  2. Small World – If you can walk right on to the ride, then go ahead and do it so you can make fun of it...I mean, say you did it. Otherwise, it’s OK to skip.
  3. Dumbo / Aladdin – 2 rides, same thing. They go around in circles and up and down for a minute and a half.  Yes Dumbo is on all the TV commercials but anybody that’s been to a local town carnival has probably been on a similar type thing.
  4. Astro Orbiters – Line’s not worth it, unless you really get off on heights.
  5. Mad Tea Party –Again, since, like Dumbo, it's in all the TV commercials it has the fame, but it’s just a spinny ride, just like any other at any carnival.
  6. Stitch’s Great Escape – I keep wanting this attraction to be better than it is. But it’s not.
  7. Tomorrowland Speedway – For anybody with a real driver’s license, this is understandably not so exciting.
  8. Swiss Family Treehouse – Lots of little kids climbing around.  Not fun. Time-waster.
  9. Hall of Presidents – Good only if you need a 20 minute nap in AC.
  10. Prince Charming Regal Carrousel – Horsies go around and around, up and down. Just like a carrousel should. It’s very pretty though - great photo opportunities.

Look for this sign for Dole Whip goodness.
Food Favorites (Quick-Serve, since you won’t have time to sit for too long!):
  1. Main St. Bakery (Main St.) – Their cinnamon rolls in the morning are just perfect.
  2. Aloha Isle (Adventureland) – Dole Whip. Just do it.
  3. Casey’s Corner (Main St.) – The best hot dogs in WDW
  4. Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Café (Tomorrowland) – Huge toppings bar for everything you could want to pile onto your burger. Tip: The terrace is a pretty good spot to watch Wishes while you chow down.
  5. Turkey Leg cart (Adventureland) – the Turkey Legs are hilarious, great photo opportunities.  Please read my post about how unhealthy they are though! 

    November 16, 2011

    WDW Trip Part Four: Transportation

    Note: this post ("WDW Trip") has Four Parts:
    POR boat to DTD
    WDW Transportation:
    Port Orleans Riverside is owned by WDW so we will have free transportation throughout our stay.  Buses will take us where we need to go each day, but there is a boat option to get to Downtown Disney, which we will definitely take advantage of!

    The Swan & Dolphin are located in a primo spot for getting around WDW. We can walk or take a short boat ride to EPCOT and Hollywood Studios. To get to MK we like to stroll through EPCOT and hop on the Monorail, but there are buses too.  For AK there are no options except the bus, but that park is always a half-day for us so it’s no biggie.

    Magic Express - Free is good!
    Airport Transportation: 
    Magic Express: Love this free airport service. Since we’re staying at POR for the first half of our trip we can use ME Service to get from Orlando Airport to the resort.  Totally stress-free is the way to be!

    Mears Shuttle: Since we’re staying at the Swan (on Disney property but not Disney owned) through our departure date, we will use the Mears shuttle service to get back to the airport, which looks like it will be $21 per person for the one way trip.

    Cost: Mears Shuttle to Airport $21 x 2 = $42 (plus tip)

    WDW Trip Part Three: Park Passes

    Note: this post ("WDW Trip") has Four Parts:
    WDW Park Passes:

    My Park Pass Story: On my last trip in July with my boyfriend (he was a WDW newbie, I was/am a WDW lover), we ran into a major snafu. Before our last day in the parks, I lost my Park Pass!! Such a dufus!! We called the hotel and they sent their security manager right up to our room to check for it for us, and to make sure housekeeping didn't accidentally throw it out (we thought maybe we'd dropped it in the trash along with various receipts etc).

    LUCKILY – I planned ahead for this type of would-be disaster. We took photos of the back sides of both of our Park Passes with my boyfriend’s iPhone as soon as those passes were in our grubby paws the very first day. The high-res photo and the ability to zoom in made it super easy for the very nice people at the Dolphin’s WDW courtesy desk to get me a new pass in just minutes.  Crisis averted!

    A few years ago my Mom and I bought ourselves each 10 Day No Expiration Park Hopper Since my Mom and I go to WDW once every 2 years for about 2-3 total in-the-park days, this has given us 4 trips so far of not having to worry about buying new passes. We only use this pass for our trips, just the two of us. I’ve gone a few other times with other people (as above) but did not use the pass. This will be our last trip on this pass (sad face). It’s been very worth the initial expense of $500+!

    Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party:  We will be attending the MVMCP on Wednesday, November 30 and the ticket is $56 per person. It’s been about 6 years since we’ve been to the Christmas Party, so we have to go see it snow on Main Street USA again!

    MVMCP Cost:  $56 x 2 = $112

    Universal Orlando Park Passes:

    We are visiting Universal Orlando (2 parks - Islands of Adventure & Universal Studios) on Thursday, December 1 and I found a great combo deal here for 1-Day 2-Park passes plus transportation to/from any Disney Resort, for $132 per person. 

    Also since we are planning on seeing both parks (I’ve never been) in just one day, we’ll get the Express Passes too. Those are $25 per person, and send you right to the front of the line on almost all the rides.

    Universal Orlando Cost:
    Park passes + Transportation: $132 x 2 = $264
    Express Passes: $24 x 2 = $28
    Total: $264 + $28 = $528

    WDW Trip Part Two: Resorts / Hotels

    Note: this post ("WDW Trip") has Four Parts:
    We are a thrifty family, so my Mom has only ever stayed at the WDW Value Resorts. We originally booked the whole trip for Pop Century.  On my last trip (this past July ’11 with my boyfriend) we stayed at PC for the first half, Dolphin for the second, and I LOVED it.  We checked out the Port Orleans Resorts for the first time on that trip and were enchanted. 

    Here’s what my Mom and I have for our accommodations for our upcoming trip, and the costs:

    POR. Nov 29 - Dec 2
    November 29 to December 2 we are now staying at Port Orleans Riverside.  As far as Disney World resorts go, I too have never stayed in anything except a Value, so I am very excited. 

    For these 3 nights we found an amazing deal on that will give us 30% off the usual rate, so we got Riverside for $114 per night!  Only about $30 more per night than PC, and we’re staying somewhere we’ve never stayed before.

    Port Orleans Riverside: $114/nt x 3 nights = $342

    Swan. Dec 2-4
    I really wanted to show my Mom the Swan and Dolphin, so since I’ve just stayed at the Dolphin before, I wanted to give the Swan a try. I booked the Swan for December 2 to 4. PC has its charms, but for 2 adults traveling sans children, the Swan & Dolphin make for a much more grownup visit.

    Biggest selling point for me was the ability to walk to Beach/ Boardwalk/ Yacht and EPCOT!!  Also it allows for a much quieter breakfast experience in the morning – no cafeteria full of mobs of people.  At the Swan/Dolphin you can get a nice cappuccino and croissant and sit on the Boardwalk watching the birds in peace for a few minutes instead of the chaos that is the cavernous PC cafeteria at breakfast.

    Todd English's bluezoo at the Swan.
    My type of place!
    Swan and Dolphin have much more comfortable and quieter accommodations - no excited kids running around outside your door hollering at the crack of dawn, for starters!   I’m also really psyched to be able to come ‘home’ to get a nice grownup martini or quiet glass of wine at any of their (many) bars, or sleep on the Swan’s Westin Heavenly Beds I’ve heard so much about. In our last room at the Dolphin we had a great view of HS, and the Fantasmic pyrotechnics every night.

    I just the other day read a fantastic article singing the Swan and Dolphin’s praises. Please check out what The World of Deej has to say - I agree with all of it entirely! More on the Swan & Dolphin's awesome location and transportation options in my next post: “Transportation and Parks”.

    Swan for 2 nights: I splurged. $179/night x 2 nights + $46 taxes/fees = $403.82 total

    Hotel cost total: $342 (3 nights) + $404 (2 nights) = $746 (5 total nights)

    WDW Trip Part One: Flights

    I am in the final stages of planning a trip for 2 adults (my Mom and myself) to Orlando for the week after Thanksgiving: Tuesday, November 29 to Sunday, December 4.  

    I couldn't possibly remember everything, but here is the breakdown of our costs, planning and tips we’ve picked up over our years of traveling to Orlando.

    This post has Four Parts:
    Part One: FLIGHTS

    We started looking at flights early (June/July of this year).  We set up price alerts for every website possible for our dates, and kept a vigilant eye out for deals.

    Booking: We booked each leg separately, since we wanted either Southwest (for her) or Jetblue (for me). Her city of origin is Boston, I will be coming from NYC.  We lucked into a fantastic deal on JetBlue - $89 o/w for her, $87 o/w for me. We booked 1st leg of the flight for each of us on August 2, 2011 (4 months before trip).

    Tip: It's much cheaper to travel mid-week!

    Cost Flight to Orlando, for both of us: $87 + $89 = $176 (not including taxes/fees)

    Even though we will depart from separate cities, we will be arriving together, on the same plane!! Her flight leaves Boston, stops in Newark (where they’ll pick me up), and on to Orlando nonstop from there. Since we used JetBlue we picked our seats so we are next to each other, too! We’ll arrive around 9pm on Tuesday, November 29.

    Tip: We never check any bags. Absolutely not necessary for us, we are very conservative packers and don’t want to waste any time waiting for luggage, anywhere, ever! And so many airlines charge extra fees, totally not worth it.

    Booking: We wanted to make the most of our last day in Orlando without getting back home too late, but try as we might we couldn’t find a flight that worked out as well (dropping me off, her continuing to Boston) for our return, so we each booked separately and got great deals.

    She is returning on Southwest ($105), I on JetBlue ($95).  I treated myself to an Even More Space seat for an extra $35, since my ticket was so cheap (so $140 total – incl taxes/fees). I’ll let you know if the Even More Space seat was worth the extra expense!

    Return Trip Cost, for both of us: $140 + $105 = $245

    Total Flight Cost. 2 adults to Orlando: 1 Boston r/t, 1 Newark r/t:  $245 + $176 = $421