Thursday, May 30, 2013

Top 7 Ways My Family Stays Cool at Walt Disney World

With the passing of Memorial Day, I guess it's safe to say that summer is officially here! But with the warm temperatures in Orlando nearly year-round, you could say it's summer everyday at Walt Disney World.

This is just my personal list of ways to cool off at Walt Disney World. But I'd love to know what your best tips are...

How do you and your family beat the heat of hot summer days at the Disney theme parks?

Reply in the comments below.

Here are the Top 7 Ways my family stays cool at the Disney theme parks!

  1. Splish Splash! Get a FastPass for Splash Mountain early in the morning. Some people like to ride this attraction first. But if you wait until it's really steamy, that last drop will be so refreshing!
  2. I Scream, You Scream...Who can resist ice cream at the Plaza Ice Cream Shop on Main Street? Honestly, it doesn't matter what the temperature is outside. I always get an ice cream at the Plaza Ice Cream shop. Chocolate chip. In a dish. With sprinkles. Just in case you were wondering.
  3. Play in the fountains! At Epcot, there are fountains just bubbling with refreshing cold water right off the main walkway. They're mostly for the kids, but I say take off your shoes and socks and run through them! Everyone's a kid at Disney World, right?
  4. Ride the monorail. Might seem silly, but a gentle, air-conditioned ride around Seven Seas Lagoon or to Epcot and back just might be the trick to staying cool.
  5. Learn Your History. The Hall of Presidents is one of my favorite attractions. I enjoy history and I love watching my daughters learn about our country's presidents. Also, air conditioning!
  6. 3..2..1..Blast Off! Space Mountain is one of the most popular Disney attractions. My family and I don't mind waiting in line because we know the majority of the line is inside the building...which means there's plenty of air conditioning. (same thing is true for Pirates of the Caribbean, too!)
  7. Ride the Rapids. The Kali River Rapids at Disney's Animal Kingdom is perhaps the best way to beat the heat. You'll definitely get wet on this ride, but that's the part my daughter loves the best. She stays cool for a few hours walking around the park as her clothes dry.

So there you have it. My family's top 7 ways we stay cool at Walt Disney World.

How do you stay cool? Shout out your best tip!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Are You Ready For An Adventure Like No Other?

Maybe you've heard of Adventures by Disney and wondered what it was all about.

Well I can tell you it's perhaps the best way to see the wonders of the world in countries across six continents. Imagine traveling to places you've only dreamed of. Places like the Great Wall of China, the Galapagos Islands, the sacred valleys and Incan cities of Peru, and the great pyramids of Egypt.
One of the multigenerational trips to Ireland!
This is just a small list of trips you can choose for just the two of you, for your whole family, or even with family generations including grandparents and siblings.

So, what IS an "Adventure by Disney"?

The best way I can explain it is if you take the exceptional customer service for which Disney is known, and add in all the extras that you'd want - things like personal tour guides, behind the scenes experiences for you and your children, and visits to places that are off the beaten path and not so "touristy." When you add it all up, you get a truly magical experience where you're a traveler and an adventurer, not a tourist. 

Unique Experiences on Your Adventure

So what are some of the unique things you can do on an Adventure by Disney? Well, you could...
It's really up to you! The toughest part is trying to decide which Adventure you want to do first.

One more thing. Adventures by Disney was really designed with families in mind. There are so many activities geared just for kids to help bring their imaginations to life. There are also multigenerational tours designed for extended families. 

So, where will your next adventure be?

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Nemo's Been Found! Now Where's Mom?

Think about your family photos.

Now be honest, moms. How many of these pictures are YOU in?

I've had some phone trouble lately. So while I wait for my replacement phone to be ready, I decided to download all 1,648 photos to my computer. I couldn't believe how many pictures were on my phone!

What's even more amazing is that I'm only in a handful of these pictures. Same for the memory card on my digital camera. How could this happen? I'm pretty much the family historian. I'm the dutiful one at school plays, spring concerts and swim lessons with my camera set in my hand, ready to point and shoot. I'm the one with shoeboxes full of photos (yet to be sorted). And yet, I'm not in these pictures. Isn't that the way when we're on vacation, too? Usually the one parent wielding the camera is the one missing from most of the family photos. Am I talking about you?

Disney's PhotoPass Makes Sure Everyone Gets in the Shot

When you're on vacation, there are so many things to do, including charging your phone or camera battery. Wouldn't it be nice if you could have all your family memories captured by someone else? Wouldn't it also be nice to have the whole family in one shot - including mom!

Disney's PhotoPass+ might be a good option to consider. For a one-time fee paid in advance of your trip, all your memories can be captured and available on a CD. Now you can actually enjoy watching your child meet Mickey for the first time without fumbling for your phone, your camera or, worse, a replacement battery.

It's pretty seamless. You give the pass to the Disney photographers (and they're everywhere!), they'll snap some shots and hand the pass back to you. You can do this with character greetings, while dining, at the resorts, and even on some attractions.

In fact, if you've ever had your photo taken on rides like Splash Mountain, rather than purchase the picture right there - which can be kind of costly, you can just add it to your PhotoPass and it will appear on your CD.

This video gives a great overview of Disney's PhotoPass+

If it's something you want to consider for your next trip, just let us know. We'll work out the details so your family photographs will show something really special. Finally, they'll show the happy, smiling faces of everyone in your family.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013


Just about the only thing my family has to worry about when we go to a Disney park is packing enough diapers for our two year old and getting all the fast passes we possibly can. We're very fortunate. But for many families, a bit of extra planning and care is necessary to make sure their Disney parks visit is worry-free and full of magic.  


Disney is known for their customer service and for really wow-ing their guests with great shows, a clean and safe environment and friendly cast members. But what you may not know is that Disney offers a wide variety of services for guests needing special assistance. Things like electronic convenience vehicles, sign language interpretation for some shows, park guidemaps in Braille and "Audio Description."


This last service, Audio Description, is pretty neat. It's a handheld device that provides additional audio for guests with visual impairments.

Here's a sample of what visually impaired guests hear with Audio Description when they ride the Haunted Mansion:


Audio Description is available for many attractions at the parks in Florida and California. There is a $100 deposit that is completely refundable when you return the device on the same day.

The bottom line is if you or your family have any special needs like the ones mentioned here as well as special dietary concerns, let your travel agent know in advance and they can help you plan a worry-free vacation. Or, when you arrive, you can always stop by the hotel front desk or Guest Relations at the theme parks for more information.

The Disney Cruise Line also has handicapped-accessible staterooms and other on-board amenities to accommodate a variety of needs. With a little advanced planning, your Disney vacation can be relaxing and enjoyable - as it should be.

How has Disney helped your family with any special needs or accommodations?