Experiencing Disney On Your Own!

Go to Disney…..ALONE?!? Certainly this is something you have never considered, right? We all love Disney, but when we think of a Disney vacation, doesn’t it always involve memories with your friends and family sharing in that special Disney magic?

I recently found myself at Disney World with an extra day to do as I please after the rest of my group caught their flights home. What to do? Mind you – I am not the sort of person who enjoys eating out alone or going to a movie solo. I enjoy company. Sure, I could sit around the pool at the resort and wait until my Magical Express pick-up. So what did I do? I went for one last day in a park, and I had one of the best Disney experiences ever! (100+ trips and counting!)

While there are fabulous attractions at Hollywood Studios, it is a park I always considered a half-day park. Perhaps I was missing something? Off I went!

I chose to do things I didn’t normally do when visiting with my family.

  • I took a walk! I walked down alleyways I usually passed by. There are a lot of hidden shops, scenes and little details that I had overlooked before.nancy_pic
    • I spoke with Cast Members! I was approached for a quick survey and turned right back around and asked my own questions. “What is your favorite activity in the park that you think is overlooked by most guests?” Some of them had a favorite snack spot. Others had a favorite character they loved to watch. One passionately discussed “One Man’s Dream” which is an attraction about Walt and his dream that I had never entered. I headed straight for it!  Cast Members are always helpful, and they are always happy to share their own favorites and personal experiences in the parks and resorts. Don’t be afraid to ask them!
    • I chose a couple attractions that were highlights for me – Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster (which I’d never been able to get my kids on) and Tower of Terror (because I couldn’t wait to see the photos and new video included with Memory Maker). You’d be surprised how many people you meet and chat with in line when you are riding alone!
    • I …*gasp*… ate ALONE! I had a fabulous lunch at the Brown Derby, and I’m sure I got more attention from the super-friendly and very chatty server because I was on my own.
    • I got to go to the Animator’s Academy for a drawing class TWICE simply because I wanted to!
    • I stopped at every Disney photographer and got a photo … of just me! Yes, one photographer looked around as if to ask where the rest of my group was. I just had fun with it! This day was about ME!

I was on no one else’s schedule. I could wander around the park as briskly or leisurely as I wanted, and saw and did whatever I felt like. I simply had a wonderful day (and fell in love with a park I had once overlooked), and it was all because I was flying solo!

I urge you – if the opportunity ever arises for you to visit Disney and none of your friends or family can join you, don’t let that stop you! Go! Explore! Don’t be shy, and see how many new experiences you discover!

Nancy Wideman

Travel Specialist

You may think a Disney vacation is out of the question if you have a child with autism, but it’s not. With a little extra planning to help accommodate your special child, it can be a rewarding and memorable experience for the whole family.

 One of the first steps and most important is to obtain a letter from your child’s physician. This letter should explain your child’s specific condition and any special needs due to this condition. Your doctor’s letter should be detailed enough that it fully conveys your child’s condition to the Disney Castmember reading the letter.

 Once you are ready to hit the parks, bring the physician letter to the Guest Services window at any park and ask for a Guest Assistance Card. The Guest Assistance Card is made for guests who are unable to tolerate extended waits at attractions due to their disability. This allows the guest to schedule a return time that is comparable to the current wait time of that attraction. You may only have one active return time and can be used in addition to Disney FASTPASS service and Disney FastPass+ service. One card is good for all four parks.autism-disney-world

Before your Disney visit, you can start to prepare your child at home. Knowing what to expect is important! Try having your child watch videos about Walt Disney World. Practice waiting in line at home or at stores since lines are to be expect at Disney. Talk to your child about what to do if they get separated from you.

When packing for your trip, think about making a name tag or bracelet for your child that includes name, disability, important medical information, your name and number. Also pack ear plugs or headphones. The theme parks can get noisy and the ear plugs or headphones may help reduce the noise level. You may want to bring an electronic device to keep your child occupied while waiting in line. If your child has a sensory toy, such as a stress ball, to help them relax be sure to pack that too. Most important, pack items to reinforce good behavior such as snacks or small toys since a day at Disney can be long!

As you can see, it will take a little extra planning and preparation on your part but will be well worth it when you see the Disney magic in your child’s eyes

 

Lori Steinnerd, Travel Specialist

Did you hope to get into Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, only to find all reservations were filled? Or the price was a little more than you were willing to pay? No fear, you can have similar results with some magic in your resort room.

Step One: Buy a princess dress before arriving. If you want to save some money, watch the sales with Disney Store online before your trip. Or, consider an alternate source like the Little Dress Shop.http://www.littledressupshop.com

Step Two: Do a princess hair up-do. This is a great time to tease the hair up and keep it in place with the Aquanet powered hairspray. Consider purchasing some colored clip-in hair pieces or spray glitter. Screen Shot 2015-02-12 at 9.46.26 PM

Step Three: Apply light makeup. Apply some eye makeup that matches the dress, add pink lipgloss on and finish off with light blush. Once again, purchase some body glitter and apply generously! Place the glitter on the sides of the face, shoulders and neck. 

Step Four: Finish the look with accessories. Consider earrings, necklaces, tiaras, shoes, purses or rings. You may want to buy a princess sash at a party store to place on your dolled up princess. If you really want to do the whole package, paint her nails or buy some Disney themed nail tattoos. 

Step 5: Take her out and show her off. There is no place like Disney to be a princess. The Cast Members will uhhh and ahhh over her and call her princess. Consider making the occasion special with a fun dining reservation like Cinderella’s Royal Table, Be Our Guest, Akershus or 1900 Park Fare.  

The photo included in this blog shows off my daughters after a resort room princess makeover. Not only did we have fun and bond, but I also got some great PHOTOS!!! Please keep in mind Disney restricts anyone over the age of nine from dressing up as a Disney character. There are a few occasions and events when they lift this ban, but overall please make sure your princess is under the age of ten. 

 

Something as simple as having a stroller while at Disney still needs your consideration to choose the best option for your needs.  There are 3 options:

  1. Bring your own stroller from home
  2. Rent a stroller from within the parks
  3. Rent from a reputable local stroller company

To find the best option for you, consider the following when making your decision:

1)      Convenience:  If flying, do you need the stroller to get to and from your terminal?  If driving, will your stroller fit in the vehicle once you pack all your luggage into it?

2)      Needs:  Who and where will you need to use the stroller?  If you need to use the stroller at the resort, keep in mind that Disney park strollers cannot be taken out of the park.  What if your child doesn’t use a stroller at home?  You may think your child will not need one because of this.  However, while in the park and walking hours to various attractions, the option for them to sit and rest is priceless.

3)      Price:  Is renting a stroller something you can budget?  The price of renting a stroller is by no means a bank breaker, but it is an expense that you need to consider.

Local stroller company rental:  Prices vary based on number of nights booked, type, and size (double vs single) of the stroller.  Some price examples are below (prices subject to change):

City Mini Single:                1-3 Nights $40                    4-7 Nights $60                    8-10 Nights $80

City Mini Double:             1-3 Nights $60                    4-7 Nights $80                    8-10 Nights $100

BOB Revolution Single:  1-3 Nights $45                    4-7 Nights $65                    8-10 Nights $85

Summit X3 Double:         1-3 Nights $65                    4-7 Nights $85                    8-10 Nights $105

Disney Park stroller rental: 

Single Stroller:   $15/Day (or $13/day for a length of stay rental)

Double Stroller:  $31/Day (or $27/day for a length of stay rental)

** To rent a stroller at Downtown Disney, it will require $100 credit card deposit.

Renting a stroller from a local stroller company:

It is more easy and convenient than you may think.

  1. Work with your agent to determine to best stroller for your needs (consider weight and height restrictions).
  2. Your agent contacts the company to provide payment and set up the drop off/pickup location and time.
  3. When you arrive to the pick-up location, go to bell services, provide them with your name and information and they will retrieve your stroller.  It’s as easy as that!!

NOTE:  If you need the stroller delivered to a different resort other than where it will be picked up, this can be requested.

  1. At the end of your trip, leave the stroller at bell services no later than the agreed time setup by your agent.

They offer free parent consoles, rain guards, and a cooler. They also offer optional insurance (for damage or theft) ranging from $15-$25 depending on stroller rented.

Epcot-Entrance-Stroller-Rental-620x330Megan Thompson

Travel Specialist