In this week’s episode we explore some popular dining and attraction options at Walt Disney World and give you our opinions on whether or not we think they are worth experiencing.
In this week’s episode we explore some popular dining and attraction options at Walt Disney World and give you our opinions on whether or not we think they are worth experiencing.
What is a split stay? A split stay is when, during a single vacation, you stay at more than one Walt Disney World Resort hotel.
Why would you do a split stay? There are multiple reasons why you might consider a split stay. One big reason is experiencing more than one resort. Maybe you have always wanted to try out Port Orleans French Quarter but the Polynesian is really calling your name. Cost is another big factor, the deluxe resorts can be expensive and to still get the experience of staying there without committing to the entire vacation you can spread out the costs by staying for a few nights. Pro tip: always go from less expensive to most expensive in order of stay. So if you are staying at Pop Century and Contemporary make sure the Contemporary portion is the last part of your stay. It will be really hard to go from the Polynesian to All Star Sports.
How does a split stay work with tickets? The easiest way is to make your first room reservation include the tickets for the length of your entire visit. This will save you money and save you the headache of linking multiple tickets. Any additional resort reservations will be room only.
How does a split stay work with FastPass? This does not affect FastPass because it is linked to number of days on a park ticket.
How does a split stay work with MagicBands? You will get a MagicBand for each room reservation you make. You can choose to customize each reservation and get a MagicBand for each member of your party. Or you can also choose to decline a set of MagicBands, meaning you will only get one MagicBand for your entire stay.
How does a split stay work with the dining plan? The dining plan expires at midnight the day you check out so you will need to use any credits at the end of each stay. If you do a split stay you will have the book the dining plan for each room reservation or package.
How do I get from one resort to the next? You will want to call Bell Services and ask to have your bags picked up and moved to your next resort. If you only have Disney transportation you will go one of the theme parks and from there you can either enjoy your day at the park, or if you want to go right to your new resort hop on the Disney transportation to the new resort to check in. Your bags will be unavailable for at least 4 hours, so be sure that anything you need right away or within the next 6 hours that you have with you. Alternatively, you can check any bags yourself such as carry on luggage or backpacks at luggage services at the new resort.
We’ve talked about Castaway Cay excursions for the adventurous, but what about those of us who’d rather take it easy on Disney’s private island? Well we’ve got you covered there too!
In this week’s episode, we tackle the most common questions we get about Disney vacation planning. We answer all your questions about when is the best time to visit, tickets, resorts, the Disney Dining Plan, and more!
So, I am really excited to write my very first real trip report! I have wanted to do this so many times before but really it is a big undertaking that you plan a bit in advance and make sure you take lots of notes and pictures as you go! Otherwise not a great report, eh?
Who: My husband – Scott, one of our best friends and frequent podcast guest – Chris, two teenage boys that belong to Chris – named Tom and Ben (they have also been podcast guests if the names sound familiar!) Oh and me – one of your Dolewhippie ladies!
We all went together on the Disney Dream about two years ago on the 4 night and loved it. Ever since then we wanted to go again and do another cruise but a longer one! We decided to go on the 7 night Disney Fantasy and depending on schedules and availability we really wanted the Eastern Caribbean. One thing that we did this time, that was different from last time, was we decided we did not have to have connecting rooms and so therefore I could take advantage of a special Travel Agent rate. The reason I share this is because it also means we could not book or plan until the rates became available which is about 6-8 weeks or so prior to sailing. We
had limited time, based on so many different schedules, and so we had narrowed it down to one week we could go. So if a TA rate did not come out for July 30th sailing then we could not go. BOO! So we waited and watched and half planned (just in case!) and luckily I called on the right day and we got a balcony room and then went to book the second (regular rate) stateroom and got lucky by finding a GTY rate for a Verandah room so hooray savings all around! We hoped to be close but with a TA rate and a GTY rate your stateroom is assigned and you can not request anything at all, not even to be near. So, all we knew was both staterooms were on the Fantasy on July 30th and would have a balcony. We were thrilled!
We left and flew down to Orlando on July 29th (definitely arrive at least a day prior to sailing) and had a fun pre-cruise night at Disney Springs and ate at a new and now favorite restaurant (keep reading the trip report to find out more!)
We sailed on the Fantasy July 30th through August 6th and when we disembarked on the
6th we headed to Walt Disney World for two park days and one night at Disney. We stayed at a new to us resort which I have a review of coming (I will give this one away as it was Bay Lake Tower – so keep reading if you want to here what I thought and you may be surprised).
We left Orlando on Sunday night and went home to a lot of dirty laundry, happy fur babies and were so exhausted we could barely make it to the bed. It was an amazing trip and so many new and special things it definitely was an extravaganza! I hope you keep reading because there are so many things we did that were awesome and will definitely help you when planning your next Disney trip.
This is Part 7 of a 10 part series on the Disney Magic Mediterranean/Greek Isles cruise. For links to the rest of the trip report please visit here!
Today was our last Greek port day! Sad, but Mykonos really let us end this portion of our trip with a bang. What an amazing place! Unfortunately because of the long distance the ship had to travel back to Venice we had a short all aboard time of 2:45pm, but we still made the best of our time in Mykonos.
A quick Cabanas breakfast, as had become tradition, before we headed off the ship:
Can I just say? Those Mickey waffles with whipped cream and strawberries are completely addictive. Months later and I’m still dreaming of them!
After debarking the ship we were greeted by free buses (provided by Disney Cruise Line) into town. It was possible to walk that distance, but there isn’t a great sidewalk (or any sidewalk at some point) and we knew we’d be spending most of our time in Mykonos exploring so we absolutely availed ourselves of this service!
Once in town we decided to make our way towards the famous Mykonos windmills, the one thing I desperately wanted to see there. There were plenty of other things to see on the way!
Church of Panagia Paraportiani
First view of the windmills!
I was blown away!
After hanging out by the windmills for a while we decided to walk through the streets of Mykonos and do some shopping. Even the streets here are just photo book picture perfect. See?!
And then grab some authentic Greek lunch food:
The view from our lunch spot:
VERY yummy! When we were finished it was very sadly time to head back to the ship for all aboard 😦
The same buses that took us in to town brought us back to the ship
We had a great view of the ship from the bus!
Luckily for us, we had a great way to distract ourselves from the sadness of leaving Mykonos and that was a tequila tasting! This tasting was held in Keys, and it was so much fun!
We were able to taste 3 different types of tequila and two different margaritas. We also learned about how the different amounts of sugar in each drink change the way the alcohol is metabolized and the best way to avoid a hangover 😉 This class was a TON of fun and I highly recommend trying to attend one if you can!
After class we were a little tipsy and a lot hungry so we thought room service might be a good idea. It wasn’t. Sadly the room service food wasn’t very good, and when I sail again I’ll probably only utilize it for Mickey bars 😉
It ended up being a good thing we didn’t enjoy our room service because dinner came up faster than we thought! Tonight was Pirate night and we were headed to Carioca’s! Brent borrowed a parrot from one of our awesome tablemates for his Pirate Night decor.
Pirate Golden “Pot Stickers” Oriental Pork “Dimplings” deep fried and served with a Tamarind-Ginger Soy Sauce and Pickled Vegetables:
Jerk Chicken Salad
Jack Sparrow’s BBQ Marinated Beef Short Ribs: rubbed Beef Short Ribs with Tamarind-Barbeque Sauce served with Onion Red Bliss Mashed Potatoes and Plantain Chip
The Dutchmen’s Dijon Crusted Sirloin of Beef: thick cut of Beef with Oven-Roasted Sweet Potatoes and a Black Spot Tomato , with a deep Red Wine Glaze
Sweet Temptations: A trio of Bounty Fruit Cobbler, Chocolate Cake and Coconut Cream Treasure:
Rum Soaked Chocolate Cake with Raspberry Glaze and Whipped Cream
It was fun to see our dining team doing the pirate show!
They did try to get us involved with the limbo but I was so not into it. Party pooper, I know, but I was full from such a good dinner!
We were greeted in our room tonight by a monkey! Then it was off to bed looking forward to a relaxing Day at Sea tomorrow!
This is Part 6 of a 10 part series on the Disney Magic Mediterranean/Greek Isles cruise. For links to the rest of the trip report please visit here!
Today was another one of my favorite days! I feel like I say that every day of this trip report because, really, it just kept getting better and better. Today is mostly going to be a photo overview. Old Town Rhodes is breathtakingly gorgeous so Brent and I really just wandered around taking photos in awe.
We did not have any excursions planned this day, so we slept in a little! It was probably close to 11:00 by the time we got off the boat, after having our typical breakfast at Cabanas. If I could go back in time I’d have had a sit down breakfast this morning! Not sure why we didn’t think of it before, and I regret that I missed doing so on our trip.
The view from our room, you can see the ship was “parked” right next to an old tower!
The port security building. I always got a kick out of seeing signs in Greek. Guess I’m easy to please 😉
Rhodes is a walled and gated city, so we walked along the road until we found a gate to enter:
The Mediterranean Sea!
Inside the city, we spotted some Mickey ears!
The view was breathtaking:
The inside of Rhodes Old Town was a mix of modern and ancient. All modern shops, surrounded by the ancient architecture!
We decided to climb one of the towers, to get a better view of the sea:
These are the stairs we used to get up to and down from the tower. I was terrified! No hand rails.
We found a small cafe to sit at and enjoy a drink. I got a soda but my husband, well… he got a giant boot of beer. I think it was 2 liters, so a soda bottle’s worth of beer. I don’t know how he did it!
Following the giant glass of beer I had to gently steer my husband back to the ship. At least the view was still pretty!
The drink stations were set up inside the ship again:
More reading and watching sail away from our balcony on the ship, before dinner:
Soon it was time to get dressed for dinner! Tonight we ate at Lumiere’s, and the menu was the Mediterranean menu.
Spanish Melon Cup: soaked in a Moscatel Wine and fresh Mint:
Tapas, Taste of the Mediterranean: Proscuitto, Sun-dried Tomatoes, Marinated Olives, and Parmesan Cheese with Grissini Stick:
Battered Soft Shell Crab: with wilted Spinach and spicy Tomato Basil Vinaigrette:
“St. Sebastian” Pan-seared Chicken Breast: topped with sliced Tomatoes and Emmentaler Cheese Gratinee on creamy Orichette Pasta
Sweet Temptations: A trio of Flourless Chocolate Cake, Kahlua Cheesecake, and Black Currant Napoleon:
Flourless Chocolate Cake with Contreau and Orange Compote:
Another day over! Back to our stateroom and to bed in preparation for our last port day tomorrow, Mykonos Greece!
This is Part 5 of a 10 part series on the Disney Magic Mediterranean/Greek Isles cruise. For links to the rest of the trip report please visit here!
Our one Turkish port was the one I knew least about before heading on this Mediterranean adventure, but it ended up being one of my very favorite days of the entire trip!
We pulled into the gorgeous port town of Kusadasi early in the morning.
We were greeted by traditional Turkish dancers and music, what an awesome touch! And check out the view of the Disney Magic in the windows of the port building 🙂
Like the previous two days we again boarded a bus to our destination, this time to the ancient Greek city of Ephesus, Turkey. Our tour guide this day was extremely knowledgable and loved sharing the history of her homeland with us!
Ancient terra cotta water pipes:
There were lots of feral cats in Ephesus.
This is the gate into Ephesus, with my husband so helpfully modeling the distance between posts 😉 The gate was made wide enough for people and animals to walk through, but not chariots. Security!
Isn’t it gorgeous?
The Library of Celus, built in 135AD:
Our tour guide showing us where criminals would be handcuffed, right in the center of town for maximum embarrassment. Apparently it worked really well to deter people from committing crimes!
The theatre at Ephesus, able to seat 25,000 people, this theater is still functional and has been used even recently for concerts. The acoustics are such that a person can stand at the bottom and speak in normal tones, yet the people even in the last row would be able to hear just fine.
A collection of ancient road signs:
After our visit to Ephesus we were scheduled to go to a Turkish water park! I know, I know, we could easily do a water park at home. But this was so much fun! And a great way to wind down and cool off after hours out in the sun that morning.
We particularly enjoyed the lazy river:
We spent a few hours at the water park, and grabbed a quick lunch (just burgers… yes in Turkey!) before it was time to get back on the bus. Our tour guide told us the next part of the excursion was an optional trip to a carpet making shop. Brent and I were pretty concerned that this was going to be a hard sell type of place, and we didn’t really want to go. Our tour guide assured us that she just wanted to be able to share more of her culture with us, and she’d really like for us to give it a shot. I am SO glad we went.
We were lead into a room upstairs in the shop and offered something to eat and drink. I had cold apple tea (it was delicious!) and Brent had Turkish coffee. We were able to see the process of making carpets, and man, as expensive as they are they’re worth every penny! Such hard work, but such a beautiful product.
After stomping around (encouraged!) on some carpets Brent and I decided it was time to head back to the boat, since we wanted to stop at the Duty Free stop in port before sail away. Our hosts at the carpet shop said goodbye, and we told them we were so glad we were able to come and witness more of the Turkish culture. I’m so happy we didn’t skip out on it.
I finally got a picture of something I’d been meaning to share with you since our very first port day! Today these stations were set up outside, but the other days they were just inside, past security. We were offered cold glasses of water or lemonade, and cold wet towels for our neck and head. Such a nice touch, I think! Both the drink and the towel were welcome after all that time out in the hot sun.
On our way back to our stateroom to watch sail away from our balcony we stopped at Cove cafe for iced coffees to enjoy on our verandah.
We were sad to see Kusadasi go! What a lovely place. My husband has now decided a return trip to Turkey is in order. I say only if it’s on another Disney Cruise 😉 Sailing to our next destination we followed the coastline very closely! It was amazing to see the scenery as we sailed past.
We soon decided on pre-dinner drinks at O’Gills pub. I was saving my appetite for dinner but Brent enjoyed the snack buffet. There was cheese and crackers, veggies, nachos, meat pies and more.
Yes, I did order a margarita at an Irish bar 😉
And here I am diligently working on my notes for the day, so that I’d be able to remember and blog for you, Dole Whippies!
Dinner tonight was again in Animator’s Palate, with the Prince and Princess Menu. Not only that, but it was animation night! Everyone received a template to draw their character, like this:
I chose to draw a cat! I don’t know why, I’m not an artist. My husband made Iron Man and his was much better… so I’m not posting it here 😉
Special napkins for Prince and Princess night!
I honestly have no idea what either of these appetizers were. But I’m sure they were delicious!
For dinner I had the Roasted Portobello Mushroom Triangoli Pasta:
And Brent had the Peppercorn Crusted NY Strip:
After dinner but before dessert we were treated to an animation show, with all of our characters! It was really cute. They danced and twirled and it was just really cool seeing our creations come to life. Disney magic on the Disney Magic!
They even put our names up on screen:
Then dinner was served. Brent and I both got the Princess Jasmine Banana Bread Pudding:
And then we got our drawings back, with an official guest animator sticker!
Today was a long and exhausting but amazing day. So back to bed we went, where we were greeted by a scorpion towel animal… and the realization that our vacation was already half over!
This is Part 4 of a 10 part series on the Disney Magic Mediterranean/Greek Isles cruise. For links to the rest of the trip report please visit here!
Today the Disney Magic docked in Athens, Greece! This was the port I’d most been looking forward to before we even set sail. While it ended up being one of my least favorites it was still amazing. And I have the photos to prove it!
This morning started early with our port excursion leaving at 8:15am. After meeting in Promenade Lounge with our group we quickly headed off the ship and on to our bus. This morning we were going to take a bus tour of the city of Athens (with a quick drive through the port city of Piraeus) before a guided tour of the Acropolis of Athens, home of the Parthenon.
Unfortunately I was not able to take many pictures through the city of Athens on the bus, so you’ll have to trust me that the buildings and monuments of ancient Athens mixed in with the modern ones was really a site to see! We saw: the Temple of Olympian Zeus and Hadrian’s Arch (which separates the old and the new Roman towns), the National Gardens, the Parliament building (formerly the Royal Palace), the Academy, the first University and the National Library of Athens. We also stopped and got out at the Panathenaic Stadium, home of the first modern Olympic games in 1896!
We finally made it to the Acropolis to start our guided tour. It was CROWDED. Really, really, crowded. This is not a surprise as the Acropolis is one of the most incredible sights in all of Greece, and it is tourist season!
The Parthenon, which is a temple dedicated to the goddess Athena, was completed in 432 BC. There is currently a selective restoration project going on, which is why you’ll see some scaffolding and construction equipment in the photos!
The Theater of Dionysus:
View from the Acropolis:
It was REALLY hard to drag me from the Acropolis, but it was time to grab our bus back to the boat.
Once we got back on the boat we realized we were really hungry! So we decided to check out Pete’s Boiler Bites, one of the quick service restaurants on the boat. Brent got the day’s special, a Philly Cheese steak and I got a fish sandwich.
In short, we were not impressed and wouldn’t return to a quick service location for the rest of our trip, though we heard some amazing things about the wraps, salads and fresh fruit at Daisy’s De-Lites!
Continuing our tradition of reading on our balcony and naps, we went back to our stateroom for a few hours, and were able to catch this amazing sunset over the Greek coastline. It was a moment that took our breath away.
Tonight’s dinner was the most anticipated, at the adult’s only restaurant Palo! I had been to Palo on my previous cruise and couldn’t wait to bring my husband there. I was right, he loved it!
Every dinner starts with the antipasto and garlic pizza/breadsticks:
And what a way to start the meal! Delicious. Up next, appetizers. I got the calamari (a dish I’d been dreaming of since January!) and Brent ordered the Tuscan White Bean Soup with Prosciutto and Parmesan Cheese. They were both amazing.
Between the appetizers and the main course we were given a palate cleanser of sorbet! Classy touch.
For the main course I ordered the wild mushroom risotto and Brent chose the steak. I really don’t think we can overstate how wonderful this meal was. Every last bite was cleared from our plates and left us wanting more, even though we were totally stuffed!
For dessert there was no other option for us than the famous Palo chocolate souffle (there ARE other options, just not for us 😉 ), which was the perfect way to end our perfect meal.
Yes we did each get our own, but I only photographed one of them. I might have been too busy eating the other!
Following dinner we headed back to our room to find the most adorable towel animals of our trip, the swans!
It was the perfect night for the swans after our romantic dinner at Palo.
Up next, our surprisingly awesome day in Kusadasi, Turkey!
This is Part 3 of a 10 part series on the Disney Magic Mediterranean/Greek Isles cruise. For links to the rest of the trip report please visit here!
We woke up this morning very excited, our first port day! We opened the curtains to our verandah to see that we were already docked in the small port town of Katakolon, Greece.
After a very quick bite to eat at Cabanas (Mickey waffles for me!) we headed straight to D Lounge, which was the meeting place for our excursion set up that day through Disney. We checked in with our excursion tickets and photo ID and followed our group (number 15 that day!) to the bus, located just outside the ship.
Katakolon is located about 30 minutes from Olympia, Greece, our destination for the day. During the ride our tour guide gave us lots of history about the areas we were traveling through in preparation for our visit to the archaeological ruins.
We arrived at the Archaeological Site of Olympia, which is still being actively explored by archaeologists, as you can see in the picture below:
Some photos of the Archaelogical site at Olympia:
Inside the Temple of Hera:
The Olympic arch:
From 776-726BC there was just one single Olympic event, the “Stade”, a foot race. This is a photo of the starting line of the race, where a person on either end would hold a rope, then drop it when the race began. For all you Disney World fans, this is THE original “rope drop”! It prevented any cheating at the start of the race, as the person attempting to start too soon would be tripped by the rope!
However, there still were cheaters. Here the name of the person who cheated (or bribed someone), plus the names of his parents and his home town would be displayed for all who entered the stadium to see. This was a great shame for the men and their families!
Following the archaeological site we visited the museum, on a tour led by our guide who did a great job explaining what we saw there:
This is a lot of information to take in, but if you’re interested in learning more about Olympia please visit the UNESCO website here. Olympia was fascinating, and I’m so glad I had the chance to visit!
There is a small cafe and shop at the exit of the site where we relaxed for a few minutes. Brent enjoyed a Greek beer (Alfa), I just watched since I’d had a fresh squeezed orange juice (which was so yummy!) on our walk from the site to the museum.
Our group boarded the bus and we drove into modern Olympia for some shopping.
We boarded the boat and took showers (it was HOT at Olympia!) then decided to go have a refreshing drink at Cove Cafe, the adults only coffee/drink shop on the Magic
There is outdoor seating just outside Cove Cafe, and that’s where we chose to watch the Magic sail away from Katakolon!
After Cove Cafe was dinner at Carioca’s, one of my favorites!
Our towel animal tonight was a dog! Our stateroom host Jojo used my sunglasses again, I love that 🙂
Off to bed, ready for another early port day tomorrow, Athens, Greece!