ASK A TRAVEL AGENT – WALT DISNEY WORLD

Here at UNIGLOBE Carefree Travel our team is passionate about sharing their experiences with you.    Karen Katelnikoff’s favourite place to visit is Walt Disney World in Florida and she would love to share all that she loves about her “home away from home” with you.

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  1. When is the best time to visit Walt Disney World?

Anytime is the best time to visit Disney! If you would like a slower time to go, September is my favorite.

  1. How far in advance should travellers start planning their vacation when considering Walt Disney World?

A Disney vacation is like putting together a 1,000 piece jigsaw puzzle. It takes a lot of time. The best time to start planning would be about 8-10 months out. This will insure you do not miss out on an important reservation.

  1. How many days would you recommend someone spend at Walt Disney World?

I would recommend 7 -10 days so you do not feel too rushed

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  1. Are there benefits to staying at one of the Disney hotels in Florida?

There are a lot of benefits to staying on property. You have extra hours to access the parks; you can book FastPasses as early as 60 days before your trip and have all of the transportation you need to get around the parks. The best part about staying on property though is you feel like you are in the middle of all the magic.

  1. What Disney hotels would you recommend on property? 

Pop Century is the value resort with the best transportation service and of course the tie dyed cheese cake.

Port Orleans Riverside has one of my favorite themed rooms in it called the Royal Guest Room with a special headboard that creates a firework display.

Grand Floridian is my favorite Christmas time hotel. It has a life size gingerbread house that is made of over 600 lbs of gingerbread so the lobby smells amazing.

  1. What other hotel would you recommend in the Walt Disney World area?

Sheraton Vistana Villages.  This is a resort in itself. It has daily activities for the kids if you just want a down day. They have multiple bedroom villas with laundry and a full kitchen. It’s still close to the action but if staying on Disney property is not really your thing, this is a great option.

  1. What are your top 3 tips for travellers going to Walt Disney World?

Plan ahead, especially if this is your first time. This is not a last minute holiday.

Work with a specialized travel agent so you are not disappointed on things you could miss out on because you didn’t know.

Plan ahead about when and where you are going to eat for the day. If you or your family are hungry, no one is having fun.

  1. What is your favourite ride or attraction in each of the four Disney parks in Florida?

Magic Kingdom – Splash Mountain

Epcot – Soarin’ Around the World

Hollywood Studios – Rock N Roll Coaster

Animal Kingdom – Expedition Everest

  1. Is Walt Disney World just for families?

Disney is not just a family holiday. I have been able to do both types of trips. While it is an amazing family trip with so many memories made, there is something to be said about going as adults only. I was able to attend the food and wine festival at Epcot without worrying about my children under foot. I also found that when I took my children we could either go early in the morning or stay late, never both. I was never ready to leave!

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  1. Are there other nearby attractions that should be included in a vacation in Florida?

I also love Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. If you have older kids or you are on an adult trip these parks are for the more adventurous. This should not be missed if you are a Harry Potter fan.

  1. What are you looking forward to the most for your next trip to Walt Disney World?

I am trying to wait until Magic Kingdom’s 50th anniversary to go back. By then all of the amazing new expansions should be done and it will be like visiting a new park.

  1. Why should someone book their Walt Disney World vacation with UNIGLOBE Carefree Travel?

There are so many steps to planning a Disney trip and it can become very overwhelming. I help my clients to organize one thing at a time so they can be well educated and have the best time when they are there. Disney is not just an ordinary family vacation. It is THE family vacation and can be the most magical experience. Even if you book all of your other travel yourself, come to an expert who is always learning about everything new that is going on so that you will not be disappointed.

Ready to start planning your own vacation to the most magical place on Earth?  Karen would love to help!  Reach out to her by calling 306-934-3400 or emailing karen@uniglobevacation.com.

Jamie’s Magical Disney World! Part 2

After having spent four days at Disney, I have come up with a bit of a ‘must do’ list plus some observations on staying onsite and using the Disney dining plan.

Must do:
Cinderellas Royal Table. The bill would have been $153.00 for three of us, or you can use two dining credits per person, which we did. Well worth it. There were five princesses who came to each table and spoke to each child. They signed autographs and took pictures. They made each kid feel special and Sydney was squealing in delight the whole time.

A Pirate’s League – by Pirates of the Caribbean – for about $35.00, your child can dress up as a pirate or mermaid and take place in a pirate parade. The cast members were great and the kids loved it.

A Pirate Adventure – leaves from the Port Orleans Riverside dock Thursday mornings, kids only… Read between the lines; This means mommy time! :-). Cast members take your kids on a two hour riverboat ride looking for treasure and even feed them lunch. A great deal for $35.00.

For adults, the Hollywood studios tower of terror is still my favorite ride.

For families, the Animal Kingdom safari is a must and fun for everyone. We saw tons of animals up close.

Fastpass, this is new since I was last here. I’m showing my age, but I love it. It has saved us hours of standing in line!

Tips:
Go early as soon as the parks open as it’s a lot quieter and wait times are next to nothing. By lunch it’s a zoo and a great time to start cashing in some fastpasses.

It’s quite expensive to eat out all the time at Disney. For the cost of a dining plan, you get great value. If you get the timing right, they often have free dining in the off season. We were lucky enough to have this and I bet it’s saved us $1000.00 easily this week on food.

If you have the deluxe dining plan, you should make reservations ahead of time if you want to get into the sit down restaurants.

Character dining experiences are great. Most only count as one dining credit and you don’t have to wait in line to meet the characters.

Stay for the fireworks shows. Magic Kingdom, Epcot and Hollywood Studios are all different and all fantastic!

The wait times on rides during and just after the fireworks is next to nothing. A great time to go on rides if you have already seen the show.

If you plan on only doing Disney, stay onsite at a Disney hotel. The transportation system is awesome and it’s so easy to go back if you need something (including a nap!) The staff is awesome and everything is “Disney” and well done. No car rentals and parking fees etc.

Jamie’s Magical Disney World! Part 1

If you want to know why Disney is the most magical place on earth, you just have to look at a four year old’s face the first time she sees Cinderella’s castle. What a day!

I have been to Disney before but it’s the first time I have stayed at a Disney hotel and it’s the first time I have used the meal plan. There are twelve of us all together staying at the Port Orleans Riverside. Staff is great and check in is smooth. We are in building 18 near the restaurants and lobby. They put us in four rooms side by side, which is great and makes planning easier.

The first night when we arrived the food court at the hotel was very busy and figuring out the meal plan was a little chaotic, but we managed. We received the meal plan free as part of a Disney promo. A great deal since food is fairly pricey here. We each get two meals and a snack free daily and each meal has an entree side dessert and drink included. Portions are good and they have healthy options and sides for kids. The kids meals come with apples and grapes unless you specifically ask for fries.

The transportation to and from the parks is quick and seamless. We spent the day at the Magic Kingdom and were lucky it wasn’t too busy. We walked right on to our favourite rides all morning and by afternoon the wait times were only 10-20 minutes.

The kids were pre-booked into the Pirate League this afternoon. For $39 they got their faces painted, pirate sashes and swords, a bandana, earring and a gold coin or mermaid makeup, nail polish, necklace, hairdo and clip and sash plus take home makeup and nailpolish. The Disney Playmakers were fantastic and the kids loved it. It’s located right beside Pirates of the Caribbean.

After 6 hours at the park the kids were tired so we came back for a swim in the pool. It’s a nice pool and hot tub at the Riverside. We also checked out the arcade beside the lobby but it’s geared more for older kids.

Now off to bed. Tomorrow we attempt Animal Kingdom, plus a mini makeover and dinner at Cinderella’s Royal table. I have one excited princess on my hands!