Why Stay at a Walt Disney World Resort hotel? Grab a pen and some paper!

At Walt Disney World Resort it’s all magical, every single experience you’ll have is magical. From the people that work there, called, Cast Members, right down to the Guest Room you’ll sleep in, the magic is all around and begins the moment you book your Magic Your Way Vacation Package online, seamlessly!

The minute you’ve booked online, you’ll receive email prompts for next steps to make sure you optimize every aspect of your vacation. Best of all, you will have complete control over every detail of your vacation to make decisions based on the needs of your family. If you need help, head over to the Disney Parks Moms Panel to ask questions from everyday people who have first-hand Disney Destinations vacation experience. You can read answers to many questions, look through the popular Moms Views, watch fun and informative videos and much more! As well, you can Watch Free Disney Vacation Planning Videos which are perfectly for your planning.

Staying at a Walt Disney World Resort hotel will present you with unique benefits and many conveniences to help you maximize your vacation experiences and to help you create a magical, enjoyable stay.

Now, let’s talk about the benefits:

  • you’ll enjoy spectacular, unique and authentic theming at your Disney Resort hotel where you can seriously enjoy a complete vacation there alone, these hotels are unbelievable and true-to-theme!
  • you’ll have the advantage of Disney’s Extra Magic Hours to enjoy extended morning and/or evenings at select Theme Parks to enjoy select attractions (valid Theme Park admission is required)
  • if you are flying into Orlando International Airport and you select Disney’s Magical Express during your booking – then you’ll receive luggage tags well in advance of your departure from home to affix on your luggage so that when you arrive at the airport you can bypass Baggage Claim and head straight to your complimentary motor coach transportation for a magical ride to your Disney Resort hotel. Oh, and at the end of your vacation, Disney’s Magical Express will take you back to the airport!
  • you’ll enjoy complimentary Walt Disney World Resort transportation Resort-wide
  • you’ll receive complimentary MagicBands which add even more convenience to your stay by connecting you to all your Walt Disney World Resort vacation choices made with My Disney Experience – you’ll travel lighter because you can use your linked MagicBand to enter the Theme Parks, it’ll unlock your Disney Resort hotel Guest Room, you can charge food and souvenirs to your Disney Resort hotel Guest Room account, so no need to carry your wallet, how great is that! And, you’ll enjoy little magical surprises during your touring!
  • if you’re a shopper, then don’t worry about lugging your parcels around, you’ll be able to have the souvenirs sent directly to your Disney Resort hotel
  • now here’s where it gets even better – staying at a Disney Resort hotel enables you to book your FastPass+ experiences 60 days before your arrival check-in date, where Guests staying off Walt Disney World Resort property can only book their FastPass+ experiences 30 days before their scheduled Theme Park arrival (valid Theme Park admission must be linked to your Disney account)

This is why when we vacation at Walt Disney World Resort we book a Disney Resort hotel – so why not get started and book your vacation at the Place Where Dreams Come True at the most Magical Place on Earth!

Partners Statue Gold

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Andrew Soared Sailing with Disney Cruise Line

Who would have thought that we could take our son to Europe? We never, ever thought this would be possible, ever, and we consider ourselves hopeless optimists which has kept us going year after year after year through these chapters called, autism.

We were blown away during our recent sailing on the Disney Magic throughout the Mediterranean seeing our son acclimate so well and I’ll say this – it’s because of our past sailings with Disney Cruise Line. It’s because of the familiarity having sailed all four ships in the fleet (with more to come in the near future). You see, while each ship has its own distinctive features, there are many similarities with the others that create consistency and through that, foster an environment of security. Here’s how they do it:

  • the staterooms all have similar layouts, furniture design and fabrics
  • the basic colours both inside and out are similar
  • the basic layouts of the ships are basically similar
  • the rotational dining system in the three main dining rooms carries throughout the fleet
  • the youth clubs, while slightly varied, do evoke a sense of familiarity offering a welcoming and friendly vibe in all

Andrew can take you almost anywhere onboard. In fact, he quite often leads the way, usually ten paces ahead of us. Yes, it’s become that easy for us. He knows the routine well now. When we open our stateroom door, he knows exactly what to expect and where he will sleep and proceeds to ‘organize his space’ if I may, where he lays out all his comforts from home – his iPad, his tactile, sensory toys to name a few things. It’s all become systematic and seamless. You can see him doing this in the photo below – he’s organizing, as he calls it.

Then, let’s talk about the Port Adventures. We did all of them in Europe because of all the logistical planning and mostly the peace of mind. With Disney Cruise Line you get all of that and much more. On each and every Port Adventure, the guides did all they possibly could to ensure Andrew was comfortable, safe and happy, but most of all, they valued him for who he was and made him feel included. One example, is how Andrew was asked to lead the Port Adventures group straight to the Acropolis of Athens by carrying the group sign. I cannot tell you how his confidence soared right before our very eyes and what great hope that gave us, seeing him so proud and happy. He was all smiles for the entire cruise.

This is what keeps us coming back for more with the cruise line where “there’s something for everyone.”

 

Thalassotherapy on a Disney Cruise?

Thalassa means the sea and coupled with therapy, well, that’s thalassotherapy and yes, you’ll find this therapy sailing with Disney Cruise Line in one of many adult-exclusive areas, namely the Rainforest Room within Senses Salon & Spa.

As you step beyond the welcome area, the feeling of relaxation steadily sets in as you prepare in the luxurious changing rooms. Entering the Rainforest Room itself takes to an environment of one where you de-escalate, as you progress through the three different saunas and rain shower experiences that lead to a room with heated loungers that overlook the sea – the Thalassotherapy Room – Thalassa (sea). You can go in with books with the intention to read, but I guarantee that you’ll be falling asleep over the warm comfort of the heated lounger.

You can purchase your pass into the Rainforest Room by the day, but spots quickly fill up, so I highly recommend that you purchase a length-of-cruise pass on embarkation day from Senses Salon & Spa straight-away to avoid disappointment. While you’re up there, ask for more information on the various spa treatments that will help rejuvenate you.

Thalassotherapy Room 1

Stay tuned for my experience at the adult-exclusive Satellite Falls on the upper deck of the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy – a most tranquil, wading pool experience.

 

Adults Love Wading Pools Too!

Doing nothing on a Disney Cruise is the best thing around, it’s your vacation after all. If you’re adventurous, many onboard experiences and shore-side Port Adventures await your exploration, but if you’re a lounger, like me, then you’re seeking peace and solitude, away from the many challenging demands of adulting.

One such place onboard the third and fourth ships in the fleet, the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy is Satellite Falls. Disney describes this as a “tranquil orbit,” so grab a spot, sink in and bask and just be. This adult-exclusive wading pool is the perfect place to unwind under a gentle rain-curtain if you’re directly beneath the giant sphere, or you can sit near the perimeter and just breathe.

Step out to nap on the cushioned lounge chairs under the shade to enjoy the vistas from the top deck. This is steps away from the adults-only Quiet Cove Pool, Quiet Cove Bar and Cove Cafe – true escapes from whatever you wish – and that’s only the beginning of your adult-only adventures with Disney Cruise Line.

Let’s Talk About the Staterooms on a Disney Cruise!

Sailing with Disney Cruise Line magically reconnects families, offers adults a chance to relax, unwind and it offers stimulating areas and Youth Clubs where children can explore, discover and learn while having a whole lot of fun watching their beloved Disney Characters and stories come to life.

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Choose itineraries in the Mediterranean, Northern Europe, Bahamas, Alaska, the Caribbean, through the Panama Canal and the horizon looks so exciting with three new ships that will be added to the current fleet of four!

The Disney personalized service, outshines any other vessel I have sailed on. From the moment you step onboard, you are treated royally with the announcement of your name as you are applauded into the stunning Atrium Lobby to begin your ‘Magical’ adventures filled with ‘Wonder’ to see your ‘Dream’ come alive as your ‘Fantasy’ fairytale world opens right before your very eyes.

Read along as I describe the “Disney Difference” regarding staterooms.

The Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy, the third and fourth ships in the fleet, respectively, offer 1,250 staterooms, where 80% are outside rooms, and of those, 90% offer private verandahs. For larger families and groups sailing together, 500 staterooms have connecting doors adjoining the staterooms.  On the Disney Magic and Disney Wonder, the first and second ships in the fleet, 70% are outside staterooms.

On the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy, you can select a Standard or Deluxe Inside Stateroom which offers the delightful “Magical Porthole” window which displays real-time feed from the ship’s exterior and a few little surprises along the way – Magical Porthole windows are not available on the Disney Magic or Disney Wonder. You can select various levels of Deluxe Oceanview and Deluxe Family Oceanview Staterooms with or without a Verandah. If you wish, you can opt for Concierge Level Staterooms and Suites – all offering Verandahs. Whatever you decide, you’ll sleep on made-for-Disney-themed Frette bedding, bask in luxurious H20+ toiletries and twice-daily stateroom service. Guests in Concierge Level staterooms enjoy Concierge Service.

Magical Porthole
The Magical Porthole window on the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy. Photo: Disney Parks Blog

DCL Stateroom 3

Staterooms are 25% larger than the industry standard and offer the industry-first “Split Bath and a Half” configuration adding even more convenience for Guests. The “Split Bath and a Half” offers a room containing a private sink and toilet followed by a second room containing a full tub/shower and sink, filled with plush Frette towels and toiletries from the H20+ line of products.

 

DCL Stateroom

Staterooms were designed keeping families in mind offering a queen-size bed, privacy curtain, a convertible single sofa bed and pull-down bunk. Many staterooms, to accommodate 5 Guests also offer a pull-down wall bed which rests on the floor. The main bed is raised to offer out-of-the-way luggage storage beneath and I love that the mattress is not rounded at the foot end, as is the case with many other cruise lines. The stateroom offers many drawers, a trunk with lid for extra storage, a mini- fridge and ample closet space that includes a safe for valuables. The top bunk ceiling even casts a dreamy, starry night.

DCL Staterooms 2

DCL Stateroom 4

Staterooms are equipped with the Wave Phones which enable communication with fellow travellers, or Guests may opt to communicate privately using the ‘Onboard Chat’ feature via the Disney Cruise Line Navigator App which also offers daily schedules, shipboard information and much more!

Wave Phones

Staterooms for Guests requiring accessibility are on almost every deck (pending availability) and offer larger doorways, emergency call buttons, grab bars throughout the bathroom, fold-down shower seats, adjustable-height shower heads, ramped bathroom thresholds, and fold-down shower seats. Special Equipment is available in the form of stateroom communication kits containing a door knock, phone alerts, bed shaker notification and a strobe light smoke detector. A stateroom Text Typewriter (TTY) is available upon request from Guest Services. Sharps containers are offered in all staterooms for the disposal of syringes, lancets and needles. As well, Sharps containers are conveniently located in all public restrooms.

I always look forward to a sound and fitful nights sleep onboard and I rest so well, no afternoon nap is necessary during my sailing – unless of course your find me snoozing on those heated loungers in the Thalassotherapy Room in the Rainforest Room at Senses Spa & Salon, or on a cushy deck chair soaking in the ocean vistas and balmy breezes up at Satellite Falls

Disney Cruise Line 2019 Summer Sailings

The blue and white villages of the Cyclades are fascinating mazes of winding streets, passages, and stairs, with weather conditions and sediments that change the sea to an opaque light blue popularly coined, “Mediterranean Blue”. Ah…Rhodes forever in my heart you will be.

DCL Rhodes

In just a few days Disney Cruise Line will be announcing their 2019 summer itineraries, visit disneycruise.disney.go.com to book – it’s REALLY easy to book online and after you do so, you’ll receive email prompts for next steps placing you in full control over your Disney vacation! Be sure to book your Port Adventures through Disney Cruise Line who will afford you the most enriching and immersing experiences ever!

Visit disneyparksmomspanel.com for great Disney Destinations planning tips and advice!
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Erechtheion 2016

My son’s smile is testament to his contentment and pure joy surrounded by history at the Athens Acropolis. The Disney Cruise Line Port Adventures guide made sure he was comfortable and included at all times.

2018 Disney Social Media Moms Celebration

I couldn’t be more honoured in receiving the coveted invitation to attend the 2018 Disney Social Media Moms Celebration in February!

This is the ‘Most Magical Social Media Conference’ of the year and takes place at Walt Disney World Resort and with Disney Cruise Line, sailing on the Disney Dream, the third ship in the fleet and sister ship to the Disney Fantasy. Read all about Disney Cruise Line Awards & Honors such as Best for Families by the 2016 Cruise Critic Editors’ Picks Awards, Best Cruise Line by Conde Nast Traveller 2017, Best Private Island and Best Cruise Ships. 

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Photo: Disney Cruise Line

I am excited to learn all about all the unique experiences throughout all the Disney Destinations and am truly grateful to the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration Team for this coveted opportunity.

Please follow along for updates before my arrival in February and during my stay. I’ll be posting on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

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Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas – Kidani Village, Walt Disney World Resort

No vacation to Walt Disney World Resort is long enough, be it 5-days or 5-weeks, in my opinion, so when we decided to return for our adventures with close family, we booked Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas – Kidani Village for 2-weeks. The plan was to alternate Theme Park with Resort hotel days – the best of both worlds, and it worked like a charm. The benefits of staying on property are plenty, with the biggest convenience of being able to head back to your Resort hotel to relax and enjoy the unique theming, which for us was to watch an active savanna from our authentically themed main lobby or Guest Room balcony.  We truly were just as excited about hanging around Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge and Kidani Village, as we were to tour the Theme Parks and Disney Springs. The view of the savanna from our balcony was incredible. Disney Resort hotels can easily be vacation destinations all on their own.

Kidani Balcony

The best part? Andrew and his look of realization seeing the animals in their natural habitat right from our accommodations. Now that was something to see and hear about, with bursts of verbal animal identification that we didn’t know he knew.

Andrew Kidani

And, this look of wonderment at The Most Magical Place on Earth, where many think it’s all about amusement parks. Well, that may be, but Walt Disney World Resort Theme Parks are on another level – a level of uniqueness and immersion that magically transports you to a place where all your troubles are left behind – thanks to the creativity of talented, enthusiastic and dedicated Disney Imagineers.

For us? It’s about the entire vacation experience and all the surprises we see from Andrew. It’s about the bursts of language, the connections he makes to his beloved Disney animated movies when the Disney Characters come alive, or, when he walks into a storybook setting that he becomes a part of. This makes leaving our Disney vacation extremely difficult for fear of what we will miss upon our return home.

Andrew and Buzz

Such as this photo above with his buddy Buzz Lightyear, during our visit to Disney California Adventure Park, Disneyland Resort. The direct eye contact took mere seconds and Buzz had Andrew’s attention for a solid 20-minutes of fun and frolic. We can’t wait to take him to experience Radiator Springs Racers back at Disney California Adventure Park this summer, which I’m certain he’ll make the connection to his beloved Test Track attraction!

That’s the magic of Disney.

Disney Cruise Line’s “Star Wars Day at Sea”.

Jackie WL Star W

Disney Cruise Line motor coach transport is super convenient from your Walt Disney World Resort hotel, which in my case was Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Resort, to Port Canaveral. Doing a land stay before a Disney cruise is the ultimate vacation, combining the best of both worlds!

In this case we were on our way to our “Star Wars Day at Sea” aboard the fourth and newest ship, the Disney Fantasy.

Star W Port C

You’re made to feel super welcome by Minnie Mouse all decked out in her sailing attire just before you board the ship. Disney Cruise Line contracted photographers on hand for those professional photos, for which the collection can be purchased onboard at “Shutters Photography”, either in individual photos, or in packages. You can even customize your cell phone case.

Jackie Star W Gate

The best gate to a gangway at sea, Terminal 8-Disney Cruise Line at Port Canaveral. Loving those Disney Imagineering details!

Atrium Lobby StarW

Magical Guest introductions making Guests feel like royalty into the “Star Wars Day at Sea” adorned Atrium Lobby aboard the Disney Fantasy.

Stateroom 5022

We have always booked verandah staterooms, but on this sailing which I booked just short of a year out, I reserved a category 8A oceanview stateroom, #5022. The best selections of staterooms are at your feet, the earlier you book. This stateroom accommodates 3 people, offers a queen bed and a single convertible sofa bed. The restroom is not the traditional “split-bath” configuration, which is an industry first for Disney Cruise Line.

Star W Teacup Table

Booking far out enough (usually a year) in advance, affords you the opportunity to score these coveted dining tables, called, “Teacup Tables” in Enchanted Garden, one of the three dining rooms on Disney Cruise Line’s industry first, “Rotational Dining”. The unique convenience about this dining system is that your serving team follows you on your rotation through a total of three restaurants, Enchanted Garden, Royal Court and Animator’s Palate. We, on this cruise were greatly surprised, and I’ll tell you why.

I requested a “Teacup Table”, because we greatly enjoyed ours on our previous Disney Fantasy sailing. To our great surprise, we were seated at the very same table on this sailing, and I mean the exact table number, #59. The second biggest surprise, was the photobomber …our server from our Mediterranean cruise back in July 2014 aboard the Disney Magic, Eder G. Now what are the odds of that happening! It’s Disney *pixie-dust* at work, that’s what!

Eder and Jackie

Here’s what I love about dining rotation. State your needs to your serving team once and you’re taken care of for the rest of the cruise. I was on a special diet, not allowing any carbohydrates or sweets, and Eder worked with me to make my dining healthful, yet highly palatable. I didn’t feel like I missed out on anything.

Andrew Mini Golf

Here’s what keeps us coming back…the social interactions, and spontaneous developmental bursts from my son, who has Autism. You’d never know it looking at him here playing mini golf on “Goofy’s Sports Deck”. Andrew can take you throughout the entire ship, just tell him where you want to go and follow his lead. It’s incredible!

Captain Hook Goofy Sports Deck

Just when you’re involved with playing ping-pong and mini golf, a visitor strolls through for some greets!AquaDuck DF

The “AquaDuck” another Disney Cruise Line industry first. 763 feof water coastering, with a 20 foot extension over the side of the ship. This feature is found on both the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy. Accessible only by stairs, right into and out of the funnel, in a tandem raft.

AquaDuck lazy river

Guests finish off in a mini lazy river allowing ample time to exit, although some, like my son like to splash about.

Set sail on your Star Wars Day at Sea and plan your voyage to a galaxy far, far away!

 

Planning on Visiting Walt Disney World Resort?

Are you planning a vacation to Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando? Get ready for the most unique and unforgettable experience ever. For many visitors, these vacations become an annual tradition because they quickly realize they cannot see and do everything in one visit. People discover that each Disney vacation becomes a unique vacation because of the constantly evolving experiences, annual Special Events drawing in returning Guests, offering a stay at differently themed and priced Disney Resort hotels, which by the way, can be a vacation destination all on their own without even setting foot in a Walt Disney World Resort Theme Park. Factor in Disney Resort hotel Guest amenities and people are hooked for life, many of which have become Disney Vacation Club owners.

That’s not all. The Disney Vacation Planning tools far exceed anything that’s out there compared to other travel destinations. The level of control through Walt Disney World Resort’s website and My Disney Experience mobile application affords complete customization and control down to the last minute, including during one’s vacation through complimentary Resort-wide WiFi access for all Guests. If online planning is not desirable, official Disney Vacation Planners are available to help Guests plan over the telephone by calling (407) 939-5277.

Begin by visiting Disney Parks Vacation Planning Videos to watch free videos, helping you decide where to stay and how to tour. You have full control over every aspect of your vacation. If you have any questions, please head over to the official Disney Parks Moms Panel for free planning tips and advice from Disney experts who are frequent visitors and dedicated enthusiasts.

The conveniences and benefits of staying at a Walt Disney World Resort hotel begin the moment you book, with easy to use, step by step online prompts and fun email reminders along the way making sure you optimize all there is to benefit from, before, during and even after your vacation.

May I offer my suggestions in planning your Walt Disney World Resort vacation.

  1. Check for Special Offers and consider booking a Magic Your Way Vacation Package which will include important details such as your Disney Resort hotel, Disney Theme Park Tickets and if you wish, the added option of purchasing an incredible Disney Dining Plan package. Disney Resort hotel Guests have the added amenity of being able to book select attractions and experiences in advance, 60-days before check-in through Disney’s FastPass+ Service, over those visiting Guests who are not staying at a Disney Resort hotel, which is 30 days before their scheduled visit.
  2. Once booked, raise the level of your control of planning through MyMagic+ which will include guidance for Advanced Dining Reservations, securing FastPass+ experiences, and complete customization through My Disney Experience online and My Disney Experience mobile app. Customization and planning is fun, through the easy, step by step process, in the comfort of your own home, taking care of such details as your travel style, your budgetary considerations, and preferences.
  3. Make Advanced Dining Reservations up to 180 days before your arrival at popular Disney Character Restaurants, Table-Service Restaurtants, Signature Dining Restaurants and Special Event Dining Restaurants.
  4. Personalize your complimentary MagicBand through My Disney Experience which will store your Disney Resort hotel room entry, Disney Theme Park Ticket information, Disney Dining Reservations, Disney Dining Plan Meal and Snack Entitlements if purchased, FastPass+ selections, Disney PhotoPass Service information including Memory Maker if purchased, and your Walt Disney World Resort charging priviledges during your reservation package stay. All in one little RFID wristband so you can be free to enjoy your day without carrying a single item. Not only that, your MagicBand unlocks little surprises and personalized experiences!
  5. If staying at a Disney Resort hotel and flying into Orlando International Airport, consider reserving Disney’s Magical Express complimentary transportation to your Disney Resort hotel and back at the end of your vacation. A few weeks before your arrival, you’ll receive labelled luggage tags with your resort information. Tag your bags before you leave home and you’ll find your luggage in your Disney Resort hotel room a few hours after you check-in. All you have to do upon landing at Orlando International is head over to the Disney Magical Express Welcome Center, walk up to the Cast Member manned kiosk, place your MagicBand against the Mickey Touch Point for entry into the proper Disney Resort hotel motor coach queue. If you’re an International traveller, you’ll need to have your Disney’s Magical Express Transportation Voucher with the Bar-Code Scan containing your transportation information.
  6. Complete your Resort Online Check-In to make sure your room requests and credit card on file is accurate and complete, enabling you a speedier check-in at your Disney Resort hotel on arrival day where you’ll receive your Welcome Package.
  7. Upon your arrival, Cast Members are available at the entrance to assist with Check-In, as well, in the lobby of your Disney Resort hotel there’s a special “Online Check-In Counter” for those Guests who took care of their Resort Online Check-In before they left home. International Guests will receive their new, complimentary MagicBands during check-in at the Front Desk.
  8. Now it’s time to make Unforgettable Happens Here memories at the place where Magic Is Endless!