Tuesday’s Tip- Take Advantage of Disney’s Magical Express

Did you know that Disney has a fleet of comfortable motor coaches that transport guests from Orlando International back and forth from the Disney resort daily?  The best part is that this service is included as part of your Disney Vacation Package!

Using Disney’s Magical Express is simple and saves you from the expense and hassle of a rental car.  When you book your trip be sure to add “ground transportation.”  You can add this option even if you haven’t booked your flights yet, just adding the flight information at a later date.

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Mouskaholic’s official perks of using Disney’s Magical Express

  1. It’s FREE!!!
  2. No need for a rental car, you can take it to and from the airport, and use additional Disney transportation while on property.
  3. No need to stop at baggage claim, they provide magic tags that let them know that your luggage should be delivered right to your resort!!
  4. Motor coach drivers will assist you with loading your carryon items and unload them for you at the resorts.
  5. No worrying about navigating Disney’s massive property, the motor coach takes you right to your resort and drops you off at the guest check in location!
  6. They are modern and very comfortable motor coaches.
  7. The ride can last anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour (depending on traffic) BUT they have videos playing for entertainment!  It’s a fun mix of information about the parks, resorts, and Disney cartoons 🙂

One more amazing perk that can make your vacation even more hassle-free is booking with a Disney Travel Professional!  Ashley at Charming Travels LLC can help you plan your trip, assist with booking fast passes, dining reservations AND get you set up with Disney’s Magical Express.  Her services are also FREE of charge!  Contact her today for your free no-obligation quote- ashley@charmingtravelsllc.com

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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

 

Last Day of Vacation- Magic Kingdom and Coming Home

Today is our last day at Walt Disney World.  It is always the saddest day on a Disney vacation.  We aren’t flying home until this evening though (yes I definitely planned it that way lol), so we are going to make the most of our day!

6:30- Wake Up Call

7:00- Snacks for breakfast at resort food court

7:30- Check out and check in for our flights (they will take our luggage for us), and store our carry on items with hotel

8:15- Head to Magic Kingdom

8:45- Pre-show at Magic Kingdom (there is a special preshow every day before the park opens.  It is magical and all around wonderful, and I recommend that everyone sees it!)

9:15- Fast Pass for Splash Mountain

10:35- Fast Pass for Space Mountain

12:15- Lunch at Be Our Guest Restaurant

12:50- Fast Pass for The Flight of Peter Pan

1:30- Return to Resort to catch Disney Magic Express back to the Airport

3:00- Board DME to go to the airport (For your return to the airport you will catch the DME bus back 3 hours before your flight for domestic flights, 4 hours for international)

6:05- Fly back to Atlanta

7:33- Sit in Atlanta Airport, and gather thoughts for upcoming blog posts!

9:15- Depart Atlanta for Hometown airport

11:05- Land at hometown airport

11:30 Begin crying because I miss Disney already lol!

Today’s new experience- The Be Our Guest restaurant is our new experience and I am very excited for it!  There is a lot of hype over this restaurant, and I don’t know of one person who has been there who didn’t like it!  Also visiting a park on departure day is a new experience.  We’ve usually taken an early afternoon or morning flight back home, so visiting a park on departure day wasn’t an option.  I am looking forward getting in some last minute magic 🙂

How to Plan your Disney Vacation

Disclaimer about this post, I am a mouskaholic and love all things Disney.  This is how I plan my Disney Vacation.  Just because this is the way that I plan my vacation, doesn’t mean it is how you have to plan your vacation.  Everyone has their own way of doing things, and it doesn’t make it right or wrong, just different.  If you’ve never planned a Disney vacation before this is a good starting point though!

 

Step 1)– Look at a calendar and see when is the best time for your family to go.  Time is important when you’re planning a Disney vacation, and if you want to maximize your vacation, this is a step that can be planned carefully.  Also research the best time of year to go to Disney and see if that works for your family.  Often in the fall, Disney will run specials with free dining plans, and discounted room rates, BUT, if you have kids in school, you’ll have to decide if you can take the kids out of school for the trip or not.  It may seem small, but picking the time to go is a big step.  (Side note, I learned the hard way this year that planning to leave the day after school was out was a BAD choice!  We ended up having what seemed like a BAZILLION snow days this year, and ended up having make up days!  I swear calling Disney to cancel my vacation was one of the worst days of my life… no exaggeration.)

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Step 2)– Visit the Disney World website and create an account if you don’t already have one.

https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/

Setting up the account is very simple,  there is a link at the top of the page that says create and account.  It will direct you to a page with some preliminary information, enter it, make a username and password and BAM, let the planning begin 🙂

Step 3)- Research the resorts.  From that main Disney website page click on “Places to Stay”.  Look at several resorts and figure out what is within your budget.  There are three levels, Value, Moderate, and Deluxe.  There are differences both in price and amenities between these resorts.  I recommend picking three different resorts… you’ll see why in the next step 😉

Step 4)– Begin pricing your vacation!  You’ll do this from the main Disney World page.  Right at the top, you’ll enter your dates, how many people are going on the trip, and the resort.  Price out the vacation with your top choice in resorts. I would then check out the pricing with one or two other resort options.

This step is a little involved.  After you leave the main page you will have other options to select  a)Which room type you’d like b) how many days worth of park tickets you’d like c)Whether or not you’d like to add the park hopper or water park options d) Whether or not you’d like to add the dining plan (If going with this option, you’ll then need to select which dining option you’d like to go with).

Disney Website Homepage.  Price your vacation

Disney Website Homepage. Price your vacation

At this point I write down the price and details and then price it another way, different resort, different number of park tickets, etc. to see what is going to work best for us.

Step 5) Choose which option is best for your family and your budget.

Step 6) Book your flights.  I always book my flights before my vacation.  The reason being is that I like to be able to enter my flight information when I book my Disney vacation, so that I don’t have to call later and schedule my Disney Magical Express.

Step 7)- Book your vacation!  To book you’ll have to have a $200.00 deposit.  This can be paid by credit card or with Disney Gift Cards!

Disney Gift Cards

Disney Gift Cards

 

(If you’re in the Northeast Ohio area, I HIGHLY recommend going to Giant Eagle and purchasing Disney Gift cards!  That way you get the fuel perks!  Christmas time, and over the summer will sometimes run 20 cent fuel perks for gift cards!  Seriously, I saved close to $400 in gas this year by buying my Disney gift cards!)

Step 8) Start to plan your itinerary.  Using the Disney World website, find out which days over your vacation offer Extra Magic Hours at each park.  Extra Magic Hours are special times that are available for guests staying on Disney Property.  They will generally open the park 1 hour early, or stay open up to two hours after park closing for guests staying on property.  With that being said, I choose which park we will attend on a given day based on the available extra magic hours.  You can find out which parks have extra magic hours by following these steps

a) From the main page click scroll over “Theme Parks and Tickets” and Select a park.

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b) Select a park, and click on the calendar for that park, check the dates and see if there are Extra Magic Hours available.  This step takes a while because I check for every day that I will be there, and for each of the four parks.

Extra Magic Hours available

Extra Magic Hours available

 

c) I build my itinerary based on which parks have extra magic hours for the day.   On some trips we’ve had the park hopper option, and have gone to a park in the morning that had early Extra Magic Hours, and then ended the day with a park that has evening extra magic hours!

Step 9) Dining Reservations.  Now you know what day you’ll be in which park, so you can make your dining reservations.  If you’re wanting restaurants like Be Our Guest Restaurant, Cinderella’s Royal Table, or Le Cellier Steakhouse, try to make your dining reservations as soon as possible.

Not sure which restaurants you want?  You can again use the Disney website to research the restaurants.  Click on a specific park, then the dining link

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This link will show you all the restaurants within a park.  You can narrow your search to include only the table service restaurants, and then check out their menus.

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Step 10) Alright, you’ve covered most of the main steps.  When you reach the point where you are 60 days away from your vacation, you can then book your fast passes for the rides you want!

Fast pass selection window

Fast pass selection window

 

Step 11)  Okay, now here’s the hardest part… WAIT for your magical vacation to arrive!  I also recommend researching at this point.  This is the time to read up on the Disney parks, check out cool Disney blogs (cough cough… Confessions of a Mouskaholic) ask questions from friends and family who have been there before, and look for ways to enjoy your vacation more!

 

Alright, I know that I just threw a TON of information your way, so if you have a question PLEASE don’t hesitate to ask in the comments, or send me a message on the facebook page!  www.facebook.com/mouskaholic