Disney World Planning Guide: On-Site & Off-Site Hotels

Disney World Planning Guide: On-Site & Off-Site Hotels

Disney World planning is the most overwhelming, in my opinion. Although having a lot of options is great, it also makes it harder to narrow it down to what you need. However, the one thing I like about Disney World when it comes to hotels is that they have different levels in resorts so you can cancel out the ones that don’t meet your needs.

Value: All-Star Movies

When I planned my trip to Disney World, I kind of just clicked on the first thing I saw. I did want to save so I decided to pick a value resort. I stayed at All-Star Movies and I actually had a great time there. It (as well as the other All-Star’s) are broken up into buildings with themes. The main source of transportation is buses, which sometimes are shared between all three All-Star resorts. The rooms are great, a bit average but do the job. Check it out here.

Moderate: Port Orleans Resorts

If you’re looking for something that looks great but doesn’t break the bank, Port Orleans Resorts are your must. There is French Quarter and Riverside to choose from and they each have great views. French Quarter offers horse drawn carriages and both resorts offer water transportation to the parks, in case buses are not your thing. These resorts are the best of both worlds because the views are stunning and the price is decent. Check out Riverside here. Check out French Quarter here.

Deluxe: Contemporary

If you want the whole complete experience and don’t mind splurging? The Contemporary is for you. This is probably the ultimate resort to stay at. Contemporary has a monorail that can take you directly to Magic Kingdom and Epcot. Plus, it’s not that far away from MK, so you can walk there if you’re up for it. You also get a good view of the Electrical Water Pageant. Plus, this resort has spas and meeting spaces. Overall, it’s a top notch place to stay. Check it out here.

Pros of On-Site

  • Easy Check In: You can check in online before your trip and they will text/email you your room number when you arrive.
  • Free MagicBands: Pretty self explanatory, you get a free one for every person in your room.
  • Mickey’s Magical Express: Get free transportation from the airport to your hotel using this.

Cons of On-Site

  • Price: As always, staying on Disney properties comes with a price.
  • Crowds: Majority of the people stay in Disney hotels, meaning getting around the parks can take long from all the people there.
  • Disney Property: Maybe this is just a con for me, but staying on Disney property means you’re in the Disney bubble always. Yes, you can leave and go to other parks and locations, but I felt stuck.

Off-Site: Wyndham Grand

Sometimes no matter how much you want to, staying on-site just can’t work out. Wyndham Grand is a good alternative. It is one of the few places that offers shuttle to the parks for easy convenience. It’s also a pretty nice looking hotel, with the standard offerings. Check it out here.

Pros of Off-Site

  • Price: Off-site will always be a little bit cheaper than staying on-site.
  • Flexibility: You can venture out to other areas of Orlando and explore other things.
  • Availability: Rooms go fast for Disney hotels so there’s always places booking off-site.

Cons of Off-Site

  • Distance: Disney property is big so when you’re off-site, you will have to travel some way to get into the parks. Getting back and forth is a bit more tiring.
  • No MagicBands: You will have to purchase MagicBands for everyone in your group since you won’t get them for free.
  • No Full Disney Experience: Staying off-site means you encounter people who aren’t there just for Disney. Hotels won’t have the complete magical feel and won’t immerse you in it.

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What are your favorite resorts to stay at, at Disney World? Make sure to keep up every week with both Disneyland and Disney World planning guides!

Best Places for Pictures at Disney World

Best Places for Pictures at Disney World

I’m going to be starting a planning series for both Disneyland and Disney World so what better way to start than with the best places for pictures at Disney World. Courtney from La Belle Sirene and Annie from The Free & Wild Blog both suggested a Disney World version since I did one for Disneyland. Disney World is obviously a lot larger so there’s so many places to chose from, so I’m going to be sharing some of my personal favorites. Let’s go!

[Tweet “Did you know there’s more places to take pictures at Disney World than just the castle?”]

The Original Wall

The wall that started it all. The purple wall over at Tomorrowland has become the must do at Magic Kingdom. There’s a whole Instagram account dedicated to it. There’s also a lot of other cool walls to visit around the park. One of my favorites is the bubble gum wall over at Epcot.

Morocco at Epcot (Bonus: The Rest of World Showcase)

Morocco is filled with so many details! I will say that the rest of World Showcase is amazing because you can take a picture in different countries and the buildings are so cool. But Morocco is by far my favorite. It’s so colorful and it’s beautiful. You can also meet Aladdin and Jasmine there! Also, there’s a bit of shade there which is so necessary in Florida.

Animal Kingdom

When I say Animal Kingdom, I mean all of it. It’s probably one of the most immersive parks. Each land has such cool feels and views. There’s always something pretty to look at. From cool paintings on walls to things hanging across, there’s so much detail. Asia is my favorite section. Stop and take pictures of everything!

 

A photo posted by Adriana Renee (@adriianarenee) on

The Train Station

I completely fell in love with the train station in Magic Kingdom. I went up there right as the sun was setting and it was the most beautiful view. You get the most calm view of the castle. If you want to take more overview shots of the park and parades, this is the perfect spot.

Tangled Bathrooms

Who ever thought that bathrooms could be so pretty? Tucked into a little corner of Fantasyland you will find this gem. It of course looks more whimsical at night with all the lanterns on. It’s the best and one of the cuter places to take pictures.

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What is your favorite spot to take pictures at Disney World?

 

Disneyland vs. Disney World

Disneyland vs. Disney World

So one of the biggest conversations in Disney parks is the comparison of Disneyland to Disney World. So many people have opinions and now that I’ve visited Disney World I can finally see the difference between the two parks. I will say I LOVE both parks for different reasons. So I won’t be saying one is better than the other, but pointing out the pros and cons in both. Also, Disnyland is my home park so I do spend a lot more time there. But other than that, I feel like I got the gist of WDW. So let’s begin!

[Tweet “Disneyland vs. Disney World. Which one wins?”]

Size

Does bigger really mean better? I don’t think so. One of Disney World’s selling points can also be one of the least promising. Let’s be honest, Disney World is too big for its own good. It’s impossible to get everything done in one trip. I feel like everyone looks down at Disneyland for being so small, but I think that has its perks. It has a more homey feel and you can get the whole park done in a day. I do like that Disney World has a bit more offerings (Disney Springs is the best), but the size isn’t everything.

Cast members

I briefly mentioned this in my trip recap, but throughout my trip I saw a big difference between cast members from Disney World to Disneyland. I don’t think CMs at WDW were rude, they just seemed really indifferent. Like, you’re at Disney, enjoy the magic! I saw CMs at Animal Kingdom texting in front of guests and many in stores just sitting looking bored. We also encountered a certain performer who broke character integrity AT THE PARK. I give Disneyland CMs the point here because I feel like they add a personal magical touch and always seem to be upbeat. I know there’s always bad apples, but I thought it was a crazy contrast.

Quality

I’ve heard people say that Disneyland has better food but I actually think they’re the same. Although Disneyland has more food options, in my opinion. I had food at the Mexico pavilion at Epcot and actually thought it was way better than Rancho De Zocalo. But overall, from merch to rides, I really didn’t think there was a difference in quality in between the two.

Options

For being bigger, I actually didn’t think WDW had that many options. Also, I’m an entertainment girl so I wish Magic Kingdom had something like Magical Map. But at the same time, Disneyland is pretty limited. I feel like they both have what the other needs, if that makes sense. I think Magic Kingdom is wide and has space but it really didn’t have more or less than Disneyland.

Rides

Hands down, Disneyland’s Space Mountain and Pirates of the Caribbean are way better. Disney World’s Splash Mountain is definitely crazier and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train was the funnest. Also, Expedition Everest is probably my favorite ride ever. Other than that, I didn’t ride other rides that are in both parks. Big Thunder Mountain was down for refurb at WDW and I didn’t ride Jungle Cruise. So I can’t compare those to Disneyland. But I say both have good rides in their own way so it’s enough. We have California Screamin’, WDW still has the PeopleMover. 

People

There’s definitely a lot more tourists at Disney World than at Disneyland. Disneyland has way more locals and passholders. But what’s interesting is that guests at Disney World are much more respectful and courteous. At Disneyland everything feels like a race. I’ve seen so many run and push just to be in front for World of Color or be next in line for a ride. I went to Extra Magic Hour at Magic Kingdom and people actually walked to Mine Train. No one at WDW pushed and got angry when they tried to get a last-minute spot for the parade. It was such a difference!

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Keep in mind my a lot were my impressions of WDW over the 4 days I was there. I am going back so maybe things change! But overall, I don’t think one park is better than the other. I feel like they’re both great in their own way and are fun to experience. What do you think? Do you agree on some points or disagree?

Disney World | Trip Diary

Disney World | Trip Diary

I’m still on a vacation high and I can’t believe I’m back home. I’m already planning my next trip! So while I’m day dreaming about Disney World, I’m going to share some things that happened on my trip. Disney World is a whole different ballgame compared to Disneyland (I’ll compare them in a different post) but I enjoyed it so much! Seriously, how can you miss a place so much!? I’m going to be sharing my hits and misses and overall travel diary of this trip!

Here’s some misses: (I wanted to start here because I don’t want this end in a downer)

Cast Members

There was a HUGE difference from the way CMs acted here compared to Disneyland. I saw a lot of them texting on stage or just looking really bored and weren’t helpful. They weren’t necessarily rude (shout out to the CMs working the Wishes party, they were the best) but they just didn’t seem to embody the magic that was around them.

Transportation

I’ve going to say this once, just because it’s bigger, doesn’t mean it’s better. Although overall transportation wasn’t horrible, but we experienced delays. It took us an hour to get from Magic Kingdom to our hotel one of the days. We tried going to Disney Springs one night and the bus kept getting delayed. But I will say that I LOVE that they have an automatic announcement on buses, Disneyland doesn’t have that and you can barely understand the driver.

Here’s some hits:

Entertainment

The queue for their royal hall is so beautiful and meeting Cinderella was so wonderful! Peter Pan was very Peter Pan-ish and fun. They also had Elena of Avalor out, which was my favorite thing. Festival of Fantasy is such a beautiful parade. I already miss Wishes. I watched the Welcome Show which is such a great way to start the day. Entertainment was great all around.

Food

I always heard people say food at Disneyland is better than at WDW. Although, Disneyland does have more variety, WDW did not disappoint. The Mexican food at Epcot was so delicious and we ate the Grey Stuff at Be Our Guest was so good! I didn’t eat as much treats as I would’ve liked, but it was all good.

Magic

I love the castle. I love the details in Animal Kingdom. I love everything! It embodies everything magical that is Disney. Every turn there was something that made me so happy to be there. Theming on point y’all.

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I seriously fell in love with Animal Kingdom and Magic Kingdom was seriously a gem. Right now I’m trying to decide if I do a longer trip back or to go to Tokyo Disneyland. Give me some tips! Catch some more pictures on my personal Instagram or over at my Disney Instagram!

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The Disney Bucket List II

The Disney Bucket List II

P.S. Check out my first bucket list here!

It’s time! I never expected a year to fly so fast that I’d need to make a new one! Yeah, I ticked tons of things off my first bucket list, but Disneyland has so much more to offer. What’s different about this year is that I’m also including Disney World! I’m making my first trip out there this year so it’s pretty exciting. This time my list is going to be a bit more specific and I’m going to branch out a bit from my usual routine. So here are some things I hope to accomplish!
Disney Bucket List

Disneyland/DCA

Ride the Lily Belle (Or at least get on it) – Yes, the train is still not in commission but they have the train out so you can go check it out, which includes the Lily Belle. They let people on it sometimes so I hope I get lucky one day.

Give out guest compliments – There’s a lot of cast members that go above and beyond to make magic happen. I gave a customer compliment and it was so awesome how excited they were in City Hall. I will give out more this year.

Spend a day people watching – Ever since one of the writers over at the OC Register did this, it has been my goal. There’s a porch on Main Street so I just want to sit and see people walk by.

Stay to park close – You know those cool pictures people take at night on Main Street and it’s empty? It’s because they literally close the park. Like they stay past closing hour until most people have cleared out. I get tired easily so fingers crossed on this one.

Fireworks at castle – So our castle at Disneyland is tiny but it’s mine so I love it anyway. One of the coolest places to watch fireworks is right in front of the castle. People wait HOURS before to do this so I need a day where I have time.

Watch the fireworks from a ride – I heard that Big Thunder Mountain and Astro Orbiters are good ones to do this.

Take a VIP tour – Tours give you tons of facts about the parks and really cool perks. I mean come on, walking around with a Plaid is cool. There’s some that are pretty inexpensive so everyone can do it!

Eat all the “Disney” foods – So you’ve read how I haven’t eaten a lot of popular foods like a dole whip, so I’m going to do it this time!

Basic wall pictures – So here at Disneyland I feel like the popular wall is near Small World, although we did just get a blue wall at DCA. So cue the basic pictures.

Attend the Candlelight Processional – Last year I was in the parks that day but left early, so this year I definitely want to catch it!

Have breakfast at any of the hotels – From Goofy’s Kitchen at Disneyland Hotel to Storytellers Cafe, I just want breakfast with my favorite characters and get the button.

Carthay Circle – Probably the fancy spot over at DCA, this is quickly becoming a favorite among guests.

Disney World

Purple Wall – That darn purple wall at Tomorrowland, I am going to find you and be basic!

Character Palooza – I hope this is still a thing but over at Hollywood Studios the characters of Fantasmic come out in different locations and at unexpected times so I want to catch them. 

Mermaid Ariel – At Disneyland we have Ariel in her pretty blue dress, but I want to see her in her mermaid self. 

Carousel of Progress and Peoplemover – I never got to experience these at Disneyland so I have to try these classics at WDW!

Expedition Everest – I’m a fan of thrills and this ride looks so fun! I need to ride it soon.

Welcome Show – Something that Disneyland doesn’t have is an opening show. Magic Kingdom has the show before park opens and all the characters come out and it’s just a fun way to start the day.

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If there’s anything that I need to add, let me know below! Cheers to another year of Disney magic!