Splurging at Disney is one of the most fun things you can do but it can be expensive. We’ve given you some good ideas of little extra things you can buy or do that cost less than $100 per person!
Here at Dole Whipped, we love sharing our Disney experiences with our listeners. This week we have a trip report for you from Shannon, who experienced Disney during the holiday season! We talk about all the holiday magic and festivities you can find at Walt Disney World this time of year!
Recently, Jamie went to Walt Disney World with a group of friends and she’s back to tell us all about it. To help her, she invited her friend, Stacy, one of the other guests on the trip. They tell us all about the things they did, the characters they met, and why in the world they went to TWO Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Parties on the same vacation!
Have you ever dreamed of spending a holiday at Disney? We give you our tips for making the most of your Disney vacation during the Thanksgiving holiday. As a bonus, we all give thanks for the Disney things in our lives, including our listeners! Thanks for being with us and we hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving filled with love and laughter with your family and friends!
You’ve decided to take a Walt Disney World vacation. OH YEAH!! If you are like me, it can seem a little overwhelming to start planning your vacation. Not to fear though, you don’t have to have a Mousester or Ducktorate degree in all things Disney to plan a great trip!
The best option is to use a Disney expert travel agent to help guide your decision making to create a customized vacation just for you. As a former cast member, even I love having the help and ease of using one. (Huge shout-out to Tara McClure one of the DoleWhipped ladies and Disney travel planner; our last vacation was just perfect!)
Want to start planning yourself? Great! As a huge Disney fan (or fanatic per dear Husband), with numerous trips to the mouse house under our belt, I’d love to share the 8 steps we use for you to start planning you dream vacation at Walt Disney World.
1. Call to request your free Walt Disney World planning DVD. These are a great resource for planning your trip and bonus, they are fun for kiddos to watch in the car if you are making a road trip of it!
2. Decide when you would like to go! A few considerations to picking the best dates:
3. Determine how long you want to stay! There is so much to do at Walt Disney World. Walt Disney World has 4 theme parks, 2 water parks, the ESPN sports complex, 5 golf courses, 2 mini golf courses, multiple spas, boating recreation, and a dining and shopping area at Downtown Disney with enough activities to fill multiple days.
4. Decide where you would like to stay! There are a lot of choices and the great news is that it becomes easy to narrow down what works best for your needs by thinking about a few questions.
5. Would you like Disney Dining? If you are staying on property (in one of the Disney World resorts) you are eligible for a prepaid dining plan. Several web sites break down the different plans and offer helpful tips if you aren’t sure. We’ve made trips with and without the plan and were equally happy with both. We enjoyed getting to try so many different types of snacks and meals on the Dining plan, especially character meals and dining at Epcot (gelatos, sushi, and crepes, oh my!). Also great was being able to order the most expensive meal on the menu in restaurants for table dining that was covered by the plan! On the other hand, we also enjoyed the flexibly of bringing in our own lunches to eat wherever and whenever was convenient.
6. Make your resort reservations and purchase your tickets! If staying onsite, make sure to use a Disney travel expert. Their services are free to you (score!); they are paid directly by Disney and all prices are identical to what you would get booking directly with WDW. There is really only an upside to this as they provide expert advice, ideas, and guidance to make your vacation the best it can be. If you would like to use the dining plan, make sure to book it with your room reservations.
7. Book your dining reservations as soon as possible! There are so many fun, unusual, and yummy options. If you don’t already have a few favorites in mind, try checking out on-line reviews and on-line menus to find great places to eat. Also, consider if you would like a character meal while on vacation. There is a large variety available with different characters and menu options (everything from standard breakfast fare to African to Norwegian!) Don’t worry if you can’t get all of your top reservations at first. For each trip, I was able to get every restaurant, even the hard to get ones like Ohana and Crystal Palace that we wanted by checking availability a few times a day for several weeks and being flexible with meal times.
Now sit back and get your Disney vacation count down calendar ready – You’ve got a great vacation to look forward to!
FINALLLYYYY…what you have all been waiting for and wondering why Disney is making you wait. Well, the day is finally here! If you are planning a trip to Disney this Fall or Early Winter you should absolutely make plans to attend on these extra special events.
All tickets go on sale tomorrow, 5/5/16:
MICKEY’S NOT-SO-SCARY HALLOWEEN PARTY 2016
September 2, 8, 11, 13, 16, 18, 20, 25 – $72.00 plus tax age 10+, $67.00 plus tax age 3-9 in advance, $79.00/$74 same-day
September 29, 30 – $79.00 plus tax age 10+, $74.00 plus tax age 3-9 in advance, $88/$83.00 same-day
October 2, 6 – $86.00 plus tax age 10+, $81.00 plus tax age 3-9 in advance, $95.00/$90 same-day
October 4, 10, 11, 13, 16, 18, 20, 23, 25, 27 – $91.00 plus tax age 10+, $86.00 plus tax age 3-9 in advance, $95.00/$90 same-day
September 23 – $85.00 plus tax age 10+, $80.00 plus tax age 3-9
October 7, 14, 21, 28, 30 – $95.00 plus tax age 10+, $90.00 plus tax age 3-9
October 31– $105.00 plus tax age 10+, $100.00 plus tax age 3-9
Passholder Rates available 9/2, 8, 11, 13, 16, 18, 23, 25, 29, 30; 10/2, 6 : Rates are $67-80 (depends on night) plus tax. DVC members have discounts on additional nights (in addition to all APs dates) 10/4, 10, 11, 13, 16, 18, & 20 can be purchased at a discount ranging between $62-83.
MICKEY’S VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS PARTY 2016
November 10, 13 – $86.00 plus tax age 10+, $81.00 plus tax age 3-9 in advance, $91.00/$86 same-day
November 18, 27, 29, December 2, 4, 6, 8, 11, 13 – $92.00 plus tax age 10+, $87.00 plus tax age 3-9 in advance, $96/$91.00 same-day
November 7, 8, 11, 15, December 1 – $91.00 plus tax age 10+, $86.00 plus tax age 3-9
December 9, 15 – $96.00 plus tax age 10+, $91.00 plus tax age 3-9
December 16, 18, 22 – $99.00 plus tax age 10+, $94.00 plus tax age 3-9
Passholder Rates available 11/7, 8, 11, 15; 12/1, 10, & 13 : Rates are $74-$84 plus tax depending on night. DVC members also discounts on additional nights (in addition to all APs dates) 11/10, 13, 18, 27, 29, & 12/6 can be purchased at a discount ranging between $74-89 plus tax.
All pricing should be confirmed when purchasing tickets. DoleWhipped is not responsible for typos or errors related to dates and pricing.
If you’ve listened to our podcast, you’ll know that I’ve talked extensively about how much we loved Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, but I can’t quit talking about it so here we are.
If you’re not familiar, Magic Kingdom in Florida hosts this hard ticket event on certain nights during November and December. There are special fireworks, parades, and even lots of goodies included in the price of admission.
First things first, this is huge. Are there still a lot of people there? Yes, but the party is a hard ticket event and only so many tickets are sold so you’re guaranteed to have fewer people in the park and that really helps. The park felt so much more open and spacious without the mass of bodies you typically encounter on a normal park day.
Once Upon A Christmas Parade
This parade was amazing! The floats are really well done and the characters are all in their holiday best. They include some of the lesser known characters like Wreck It Ralph which we loved. My youngest daughter is 4 and she just loved the parade. Watching her during it was definitely worth the price of admission.
They run the parade twice during the party so if you miss the early show, be sure to get a spot for the later one.
Cocoa and Cookies
Another fun part of the party is the cocoa and cookies they provide as party of admission. There are several locations set up throughout the park and you can walk up and get some treats. We happened to get ours at Tomorrowland Terrace and there was no line. The cocoa and cookies were both delicious. They also had cold apple juice because this is Florida and it’s not always cold enough for cocoa!
No FastPasses Needed
One of the best parts about the Christmas party (and this goes hand in hand with the low crowds) is that no FastPasses are offered during the party because you don’t need them! We walked on almost every single ride we wanted because there really weren’t any lines. The only attraction we wanted to do and decided not to wait for was Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and that wait was only 30 minutes, which is practically nothing.
Special Family Memories
At the end of the day, my favorite part of the Christmas party was the special time I got to spend with my family. I don’t know if there was extra magic in the air or what but we just had the best time. No one fought, no one complained, everyone was cheerful, the weather was great. I would absolutely recommend this party to anyone looking for a special experience at Disney. Disney at Christmas is already amazing so this is just the shining star on top.
Join us as we talk about our recent Disney vacations! We talk about the new things we tried, new shows and attractions, and special events like Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party!
We cover Jillian’s and Shannon’s vacations in this part 1 episode, so check back next week for Jamie’s and Tara’s reports in part 2!
Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party: separate ticketed event that runs from 7pm to midnight. There is a special parade, fireworks, hot cocoa and cookies, stage shows, and “snow” falls on Main Street!
Nightly castle lighting. Either the fairy Godmother or Elsa (on Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party nights) bring the castle from it’s normal appearance to completely decked in lights! It really is a sight to see.
The Jungle Cruise turns into the Jingle Cruise! The boats are renamed in holiday themes and there are some added jokes.
The Barbershop Quartet the Dapper Dans sing Christmas carols instead of their normal tunes.
Storytellers: Late in November cast members tell stories about their country’s traditions and legends. In addition there are some special holiday treats for sale!
Candlelight Processional: November 27-December 30th, 3 shows per night each with a celebrity narrating the biblical Christmas story featuring a choir and orchestra. These shows are VERY popular, lining up at least an hour in advance, if not much more, is a good idea if you want to see this show. One way to guarantee seating is the Candlelight Dinner Package at one of many Epcot restaurants for 2 Table Service credits.
Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights: Disney has announced this will be the last year due to construction and expansion of Hollywood Studios. Streets of America are covered(buildings, trees, lampshades, everything) in lights that “dance” choreographed to music . You can purchase “Made with Magic” items Mickey Ear Hat, Minnie Mouse Headband, Mickey Mouse Glove and the Sorcerer Mickey Wand to add to the effect, they are programmed to light up at key points of the show (can also be used at Holiday Wishes and other shows year round).
Merry & Bright Dessert Party at Hollywood Studios is a new event this year. From November 6 through December 30, 2015, you can purchase a separate ticket at a cost of $69 per adult or $39 for children. This includes entry (you can come and go as you please) to dessert party, reserved viewing site and a keepsake stadium blanket.
Will you be able to see any of these special Holiday happenings? Which are you most excited for?