Episode 3 is now available on YouTube

Mr. Mouskaholic and I had a blast recording Episode 3 for our YouTube Channel this past week!!!  The episode is now available to watch on YouTube!

Topics include-

  1. Disney News – Pandora opening, “Happily Ever After” at Magic Kingdom, and Miss Adventure Falls at Typhoon Lagoon
  2. Mr. Mouskaholic’s Favorite Ride at Magic Kingdom- Pirates of the Caribbean
  3. Viewer Questions- We respond to a viewer’s question about Guardians of the Galaxy taking over Tower of Terror at Disney’s California Adventure!
  4. Travel Tips- Taking an Uber! (you can also check out my past “Tuesday’s Tip on this subject here)

Don’t forget to check out out on all social media, and subscribe to our YouTube channel to stay up date!

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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

 

California Here I Come- Day 1in review

Alright, after a long day at work for both my husband and myself we boarded a plan in Ohio and headed to Los Angeles for RunDisney’s Avenger’s Half Marathon Weekend!!!

The first thing that I learned on this trip is that flying after work is exhausting, especially when it is a 7 + hours in the air kind of trip. When I originally planned the trip in my mind it was going to be WAY better to fly out on a Thursday after work so that we could hit the race expo AND enjoy more park time on Friday.  I still think this was the right choice, but eeesh with the 3 hour time difference and waking up at my normal Ohio time, I’m pooped and the day hasn’t even begun.

All flights went smoothly AND we got a fun bonus… as we were eating our dinner waiting for our first flight, a man asked if anyone was flying southwest (which we were) and handed me 4 drink vouchers to use on the plane!!!  SCORE!  What a nice way to start the trip and take the edge off on a long trip!

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We got into LAX at 11:20pm California time, so 2:20am Ohio time… LONG day!!!  After getting our bags we were ready to hit the road by 11:45 or so.  When I booked our trip I had purchased round trip transport on the Disneyland Express.  Much to my dismay when our travel documents arrived I realized that our flight was coming in far to late to use this bus service and that it was non-refundable.  Lesson learned.  There are other shuttle services that run 24 hours, but after having so much fun and success with Uber on or Disney World trip we decided well in advance that we would just take Uber to our hotel in Anaheim.

I won’t call using Uber for our hotel ride a mistake per say, BUT at midnight there were absolutely no Uber X drivers at LAX (I don’t know if that was the time of day or if that is standard practice for Uber out here), so we had to take “Uber Select” which is considerably more expensive.  The reason that I won’t call it a mistake, is that after 7+ hours on a plan with VERY little leg room, riding in the back seat of a BMV 7 series with leather interior and dual climate control was a DREAM!!!  But for a nearly 40 minute car ride from LAX to anaheim it was WAY more expensive than I care to admit that I paid for a car ride.

We got checked into the beautiful Best Western Stovall’s Inn around 12:30 pm and hit the hay!  I am excited for Day 2 of our adventure because that’s where the fun is!!!  Day 2 will be in the parks, race expo at the Disneyland Hotel, (hopefully a nap), hanging out with friends that live out here, and a drink at Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar!!!  Have a great Friday mouskaholics

Day 6 in review

Today was an interesting day full of firsts, as well as a first for the blog… hold the phone, because this mouskaholic is getting ready to talk about (shhhhh) Universal!  Today Craig and I headed to Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure.  Universal Studios has never held much appeal to me, nor have I had the desire to visit, that is until they added the Wizarding World of Harry Potter!!!!

Our first “first” came by venturing off Disney Property by the use of Uber.  If you’ve never heard of Uber, it’s a Taxi Service where drivers use their own cars and you call them for pick up via a smartphone app.

We headed to the front entrance of our resort and scheduled a pick up.  The app was very easy to use, and our driver was there to pick us up in about 5 minutes.  I was able to see how close the driver was on the app as well as their name and the type of car they were driving.

When we left in the morning it must have been a very busy time because it said there was going to be a double fare surge charge.  Our fare from Port Orleans French Quarter to Universal ended up being $26.74 because of the surcharge.  It was still much quicker and more personal than riding a bus that stops at many resorts, and it was much cheaper than traditional taxi fares.

Disney and Universal are two completely different places, so it’s not fair to compare them, however being a self proclaimed Mouskaholic, it’s really hard not to compare!  The first thing that took me by surprise is that we arrived right around 8am as the park was opening, and there was hardly anyone there!  We headed straight for Diagon Alley and I was completely overwhelmed!  It was a HUGE sensory overload!  So much to look at and so much excitement!  We were quite excited because the Escape from Gringotts ride was only a 20 minute wait, we ended up waiting almost an hour because the ride had broken down.  We decided at 9:15 to resign ourselves and to just come back later.  We got to the entrance and I said something to one of the cast members about being disappointed and he pulled me aside and gave me an express pass to come back with no wait!  I was very impressed with that!  It made my day a little more special!

Escape from Gringotts

Escape from Gringotts

Express pass to return to ride

Express pass to return to ride

After that we headed to the Leaky Cauldron for a butter beer.  There are three different versions of butter beer that you can get, frozen, cold, or hot.  We both went with the frozen and it was so wonderful!  It reminded me of cream soda slushy.

After purchasing our wands, casting a few spells, and visiting some of the shops, we boarded the Hogwarts Express and it was SOOOOO cool how they made it so you could walk through a brick wall to get to Platform 9 3/4!  Super impressive.  The ride on the Hogwarts Express was equally impressive.  When we arrived at Hogsmeade station there was only a 10 minute wait for the Dragon Challenge.  One thing that TOTALLY caught me off guard was that you had to go through a metal detector for this ride!  I thought that was a little crazy.  Craig ended up having to go back to the locker and put his cell phone in because it set the detector off.  I get that they don’t want you to use electronics on the ride, but I see no reason that it couldn’t be in your pocket.

Hogwarts- Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey

Hogwarts- Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey

After the Dragon challenge we headed to lunch at the Three Broomsticks.  I had the sheppard’s pie, and Craig had the chicken.  We got pumpkin juice and pumpkin fizz to drink.  All I have to say is pumpkin juice > butterbeer.  It was SOOOO good, I just wanted to stay and drink pumpkin juice all day!

We then headed to Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey.  This was another great ride.  Truly the technology used in all of the rides, and stores and attractions was outstanding.

We headed back to the Hogwarts Express and Universal Studios around 1:30 and spent a bit more time with the other attractions.  We checked out the Transformers 3-D ride, Twister, and MIB Alien Blasters.

I did enjoy the attractions, and especially loved the theming in the Harry Potter area, but there were a few things that really annoyed me (this is where I start comparing to Disney).  There were not enough trash cans, which resulted in a dirtier park (and even over flowing trash cans!)  Craig in fact stepped in gum (part of the reason that Disney doesn’t even sell gum in its parks).  Not to say someone couldn’t bring their own gum in, it was just an observation among others about the cleanliness of the park.  The biggest frustration in our day too was that it seemed for every major ride you had to store your items in a locker.  I was thankful that the lockers were free while you were riding, but it was a pain!  We got out of line the first time for Gringotts, and then had to store our items again, then we had to store luggage for the Dragon challenge, again for Forbidden journey and AGAIN for MIB.  Disney is very good at knowing that people will have carry on items and having a way to store them.  (Um hello… you want people to spend money in your parks and to have items to carry around!)  Craig was so frustrated by having to get a locker again at MIB that we almost didn’t ride it at all!  The lockers were also in very closer quarters, and very hard to access with many people trying to get in and out.  That portion was not the greatest experience.

Okay enough complaining… we decided to headed out around 4:45pm.  At that point we had spent a good deal of time at Universal and were ready for dinner!  We summoned a driver via Uber and went to Giordano’s (stuffed Chicago style pizza!!!).  Our Uber fare was at a 1.5 surcharge rate (again guessing because it was rush hour) and ended up being $6.15.

Giordano's Stuffed Pizza

Giordano’s Stuffed Pizza

We enjoyed dinner and then headed back to Port Orleans.  Our Uber fare on the ride home was $11.65 and definitely our most friendly driver 🙂

It was a good day.  I enjoyed the Harry Potter experience, but definitely felt good to be back “Home” at Port Orleans French Quarter!

Today’s step count-

 If you’re interested in planning your own trip to Disney or Universal be sure to contact Ashley@charmingtravels.com

ashley@charmingtravelsllc.com

ashley@charmingtravelsllc.com