Tuesday’s Tips- Take an Uber!

Disney makes getting from Orlando International Airport (MCO) to your resort a piece of cake with Disney’s Magical Express.  With this free service you’ll be taken from the airport straight to your resort on a Disney themed motor coach.  You won’t even have to worry about going to baggage claim!  Disney takes care of that for you as well!  Put the special tags on your bags, and they will be magically delivered to your resort after your arrival.

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While these awesome perks are magical indeed, they’re designed to keep you on property.  A magic bus that eliminates the need for a rental car?  Yes perk, but also convenient for Disney to keep you (and more importantly your $$$) in their parks, stores and restaurants.  (I’m certainly not complaining either… “All magic comes at a price.”)

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There have been plenty of Disney trips that we have taken where we’ve been very content to stay right on Disney property and keep our adventure there, however there are sometimes where it is also nice to get off property to visit other theme parks, and restaurants.  While I’m a dedicated “mouskaholic”  I also very much enjoy the magic of Harry Potter.

Because of my devotion to this other magic, I have visited The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios. (Shhhh… don’t tell the Disney Gods lol!)  We had a few options for getting from Disney to Universal for us, taking an “Uber” was the most economical, and quickest option.  If you purchase your Universal tickets through at travel agent, they have the option of selling you tickets that include round trip transportation from the Disney Resort to the Universal resort via Mears Motorcoaches.  This isn’t a bad option, but it is time consuming because the bus makes stops at multiple resorts, AND costs $26 per person for the roundtrip transfer.  For a family of four you’re looking at $104.00 extra just to get from Disney to Universal.  Another option is renting a car… If you’re on a week long trip you’re looking at at around $150.00 – $200.00 (depending on car type and size) for a week long car rental.  If you’re only plan is to head to universal or off property once or twice this is definitely not the most economical plan.  You could head to the “Disney Car Care Center” and rent a car just for the day, but getting there means taking time out of your valuable vacation time to do so.

So what is the most economical solution that I’ve found?  Ride-sharing Apps!  I personally have only used Uber, but I know that Lyft is also available in the Orlando Area.  Ride-sharing apps base their fares on a combination of mileage and time spent in travel, rather than basing in on per person.  So with an UberX you can transport up to 4 people for one low price.

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Here is the price (without a surge) going from Disney’s All Star Music Resort to Universal Studios

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So for $17.24  you can transport 1-4 individuals to Universal (one way).  So even at the round trip price of about $35.00, that’s still considerably less than round trip for two on the Mears motor coaches ($52.00 round trip for 2), and about the same price as a one day car rental, just without the hassle of heading to the Disney Car Care Center.

Here are some other approximations of cost to other popular orlando destinations (Estimates are done from the All Star Music Resort to the destination)

One of my favorite places to eat off of Disney Property is Giordano’s Pizza!  It’s deep dish Chicago style STUFFED pizza, and it’s AMAZING (FYI, they also deliver).  An uber to Giordano’s is approximately $11 bucks

 

An Uber to the Orlando Eye= $14.00

An Uber to Orlando Premium Outlets= $12

An Uber to Seaworld= $13.50

To use Uber you just need to download the app to your smart phone, and sign up with a valid credit card.  If you’re interested in getting up to $15 off your first ride enter this code when you sign up- ashleyf1931ue 

Happy Riding!

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Do you want more travel tips, and help planning your magical vacation to Disney World, Universal, or SeaWorld?  Contact Ashley@charmingtravelsllc.com for all of your central Florida travel needs!  She specializes in Disney and central Florida locations, and her planning services are free of charge!

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ashley@charmingtravelsllc.com

 

Tuesday’s Tip-Grocery delivery

Did you know that there are grocery services that you can order in advance from and have the groceries delivered to your resort?  This service is great, especially for long trips.  We’ve taken advantage of this 2 or 3 times and have had zero complaints!  The service is affordable and very convenient.

We’ve had great success using “Garden Grocer“.  The have an easy to navigate page where you can order essentials for your trip.  We typically order a few cases of bottled water, yogurt, bagels, granola bars, energy drinks, and maybe a little beer and wine.  These are all things that you can get at your resort food court, however the money that you can save is INCREDIBLE by using the grocery service.  Additionally when you place your order 60, 30, or 15 days in advance Garden Grocer offers a discount*!

So how does it work?

  • You begin by filling your cart.
  • Go to check out
  • Fill out your resort information (there is a drop down menu of Disney Resorts)
  • Let them know what day and time you’re checking in
  • Your groceries will be delivered to your resort on that day!
  • Don’t worry about your refrigerated items, the resort will keep them in their fridge!
  • When you get to your room call bell services and have them bring them to your room.

So what’s the catch?  There is a slight delivery fee, and an optional tip for the delivery.

Here is my sample cart-

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And the additional fees at check out

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So yes, this may seem pricey for what you’re getting BUT… compared to prices on Disney property this is a steal.  For example, 1 can of of Monster Energy drink is $2.89.  At the Disney resorts is about $4.50.  A bottle of water at Disney is $2.50 where you can get a case of 40 of them from garden grocers for $9.99 ($.25 per bottle!) By my best estimate for everything in my cart, it would cost approximately $230.00 to buy everything on Disney Property, so even if you tipped the delivery person $10.00 bringing the total to $81.29, you’re looking at a savings of $148.71!!!!

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*As I mentioned above you can save money by placing your order in advance- here are the details- “Take advantage of our special savings by ordering in advance, (15 Days= 5%, 30 Days= 7%, 60 Days= 10%) off your subtotal. **Note: Discounts do not apply to add-ons of any kind.”Screen Shot 2016-12-31 at 1.19.10 PM.png

One last note about Garden Grocer, if you’re ordering alcohol.  You will have to provide ID by scanning and faxing or emailing them your driver’s license.

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I hope you found this helpful! Don’t forget to tip the person from bell services who deliver your groceries to your room!  It’s a nice service, and a convenience for you!

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If you’re ready to book your next vacation be sure to email Ashley@charmingtravelsllc.com for your free quote.  Her booking and planning services are always free of charge.

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Tuesday’s Tip- Pack a Power Strip!

We live in a digital world where keeping devices charged can be essential.  Lets say you’re a  family of 4… Mom, Dad, a 14 year old, and a 12 year old.  Because we live in this technology driven age, all four of you have cell phones that need charged daily, not to mention the other devices like tablets and camera batteries that will need charged.  The average hotel room has 6-8 outlets, but some are already taken by the alarm clock, lamp, television, and hair dryer, not to mention some of those are hard to access because of the furniture being in the way.

One way to keep my devices charged and avoid having to tear the room apart to find an outlet is to pack a power strip.  To me this is an easy way to make the outlets very accessible and increase the amount of outlets available.

You can pick one up at your local hardware store, or even on amazon!

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Interested in getting more tips and help planning your vacation?  Be sure to contact Ashley with Charming Travels to plan your vacation!  Disney, Universal, Cruises, and All-Inclusives, Ashley can help with all your planning needs!

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ashley@charmingtravelsllc.com

Tuesday’s Tip- Disney at Home

Do you have the “Disney Blues?”  Did you just get back from Disney, and are now facing the “Real World?”  Has it been a LONG TIME since your last Disney Trip and you can’t wait to get back?  Here is an article that I found on Buzzfeed to help you re-create 26 iconic foods from Disney Movies.  I find that infusing my life with Disney inspiration while I’m at home can help with the “Disney Blues”

Click on this link – 26 Iconic Foods from Disney Movies

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Want to see more awesome blog posts like this?  Be sure to follow Confessions of a Mouskaholic on facebook- http://www.facebook.com/mouskaholic

Interested in planning your own Disney vacation to kick the “Disney Blues?”  Contact Ashley@Charmingtravelsllc.com for your free quote!  Her planning services are free of charge!

ashley@charmingtravelsllc.com

ashley@charmingtravelsllc.com

Tuesday’s Tip- Snack Credit Usage

If you’re on the Disney Dining Plan, part of the purpose of the plan is that you’re meals are pre-paid and that it’s one less thing to worry about.  Another perk is that you can save money with the plan.  One way to get a lot of bang for your buck is to use your snack credits wisely.

Two snacks that I used my credits for on our most recent trip that were both GREAT snack credit values were the Mickey Shaped Pretzel with cheese) and a Venti Frappuccino from Starbucks.

The Mickey shaped pretzel with cheese totaled $5.79.  That is definitely on the higher end of snack prices that are eligible for the plan.

Mickey Shaped Pretzel

Mickey Shaped Pretzel

Starbucks is another GREAT location to use your snack credits.  You can get any drink any size (as well as pasteries) with the use of a snack credit.  I’ve always thought go big, or go home, so I got a Venti Coconut Mocha Frapuccino and Craig got a Venti Carmel Macchiato with an extra shot of espresso.  Each drink cost about $5 so I consider that another excellent use of a snack credit!

Venti Drinks from the "Fountain View" Starbucks at Epcot

Venti Drinks from the “Fountain View” Starbucks at Epcot

If you’re ready to start planning your next trip to be sure to contact Ashley@charmingtravelsllc.com for your free quote!  Her planning services are free of charge!

ashley@charmingtravelsllc.com

ashley@charmingtravelsllc.com

Tuesday’s Tip- Staying Charged at Disney

Let’s face it, we live in a digital world.  Even on vacation when we’re away from our every day life we are on our devices, and with the development of apps (cough cough, My Disney Experience) our cell phone and tablet batteries probably won’t last for an entire day of usage.

There are several ways that Disney has made it easier for you to keep your devices charged up, as well a product that I recommend!

1) If you’re at the magic kingdom check out the small sitting area across from the Rapunzel bathrooms in Fantasyland.  There are about 4 or 5 stumps that contain electrical outlets and USB ports.  This is a great spot to relax for a little while and charge your device.  If you’re traveling with a group plug in your devices and take turns with who is going to the bathroom and who is watching the devices.  If you’re going to be sitting for a while it’s a great spot to people watch as well!

These charging stations are cleverly disguised as stumps near the Rapunzel bathrooms in Fantasyland

These charging stations are cleverly disguised as stumps near the Rapunzel bathrooms in Fantasyland

2) In Tomorrowland at the Magic Kingdom there are two locations with “Brightbox” charging lockers (Cosmic Rays and the Tomorrowland Light and Power Company).  To open these lockers you simply swipe with a credit card to open, plug in your device, and come back when it’s done charging.  To open the locker you’ll have to reswipe the credit card.  This is still in a testing phase, and currently there is no charge to use these lockers, however there is a $2.00 fee for the brightbox lockers at Disneyland.

Brightbox locker

3) Main Street USA City Hall-Here there aren’t actually plugs for you to plug into (well there are some outlets outside of the building) but here you drop off your device and you’ll receive a claim tag to pick it up.  The cast members will plug in your phone and charge it while you visit the many attractions.  Bring back your claim tag and pick up your phone later!

4)  Is on the go charging more your speed?  I went through several portable battery chargers before I found one that I liked.  For me the ones that are the size of a tube of lipstick never lasted more than a few charges before rendering themselves useless.  My recommended brand is the “Neptor” portable charger.  It comes in a variety colors, has 2 USB ports, and will give two full charges when the pack is fully charged.  I know I originally saw it at Staples and ended up ordering mine on Amazon.  They’re usually around $50.00, but the last time I saw them on Amazon there was a special on them and they were only $25.  This may seem expensive, but I know I use mine all the time, and it isn’t a useless paperweight like the less expensive ones have now become.

Neptor portable charger

Neptor portable charger

Looking for more insider info on planning your next Disney vacation?  Be sure to get in contact with Ashley at Charming Travels LLC.  She can get you started with a free quote and then plan your magical trip from beginning to end!  Ashley@charmingtravelsllc.com

ashley@charmingtravelsllc.com

ashley@charmingtravelsllc.com

Tuesday’s Tip- Making the Most of the Disney Dining Plan, Part 2

Tuesday’s Tip- Don’t use your dining credits on quick service breakfasts. *** (see exception at the very bottom)***

I’ve traveled to Disney MANY times, and I’ve had trips where I’ve used the Dining plan, and trips where I haven’t used the dining plan.  One of the things that I’ve learned along the way is to not use my dining plan quick service credits on breakfast.  All quick service meals include an entree, dessert, and drink.  When you use the credit for breakfast, you’re losing out on a dessert, as there are no desserts with breakfast, the savings are even less if you’re a coffee drinker.  You get a mug that you can refill at your resort, so you don’t even need to use your drink option on coffee.  And most breakfast entrees are significantly less expensive than lunch entrees.  If you’re trying to get the most bang for your buck, this isn’t the way.

For example, here is a sample of a Disney resort breakfast menu vs. a Disney resort lunch menu.  You’ll notice that the breakfast prices are considerably less expensive (and did I mention you get a dessert with lunch!?!)

Pop Century Breakfast Entrees

Pop Century Breakfast Entrees

Pop Century Lunch Entrees

Pop Century Lunch Entrees

quick service breakfast

Okay, so with that being said, you still have to eat breakfast!  Here are some tips-

1) Bring non-perishable breakfast items in your luggage and plan to eat those!  All resorts have a toaster in the food court area where you can toast your own bagels or breads.  Granola bars are a great option as well as cereal!  You can get a small carton of milk to use for cereal from the food court.

2) Consider using your snack credits at breakfast time.  With all dining plans you get 1 snack per person, per day.  Grab a pastry or a muffin from the self serve area in your resort’s dining area and fill your resort mug with your beverage, and bam, you’ve got yourself a quick breakfast that can maximize your dining plan.

3) If you love breakfast foods, consider using a table service credit at one of the character breakfasts!  Chef Mickey’s at the Contemporary Resort is great or the Ohana Breakfast at the Polynesian, as well as the Crystal Palace at the Magic Kingdom!

Meet Lilo and Stitch at the Ohana breakfast

Meet Lilo and Stitch at the Ohana breakfast

Crystal Palace Breakfast Buffet

Crystal Palace Breakfast Buffet

4) Even with the dining plan you may end up spending some out of pocket money for meals… save those dining credits for lunches and dinners and if you have to pay additional money for a meal do it at breakfast!

**** Here is a great exception to the “Don’t use your quick service meals on breakfast”  Be Our Guest Restaurant at the Magic Kingdom JUST started serving breakfast.  The cost is $19.99 for adults, and $11.99 for children.  It includes a breakfast entree, pastries, and a beverage.  This still counts as a quick service restaurant at breakfast, so by ALL means, try to visit and get a lot of bang for your buck at this location!

Be Our Guest Adult entrees

Be Our Guest Adult entrees

Want even more tips on planning your disney vacation, and maximizing your dining credits?  Book your vacation with Ashley from Charming Travels LLC.  Contact her today for your free quote- ashley@charmingtravelsllc.com

ashley@charmingtravelsllc.com

ashley@charmingtravelsllc.com