By the co-author of The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit 2017, from the best-reviewed Disney World guidebook series ever. Paperback available on Amazon here. Kindle version available on Amazon here. PDF version available on Gumroad here.



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Category — w. Most Recent Stuff

Disney World Room Rate Deals for August to Early October 2017 Released

DISNEY WORLD DEAL FOR LATE SUMMER AND EARLY FALL 2017

This morning, Disney World announced a new room rate deal that covers stays most nights from August 1st through October 7 2017. It needs to be booked by August 31.

Savings range from 15-30% off at the hotels included, and some hotels have two different discount levels depending on when you go.

If you book your vacation through partner and friend of this site Kelly B as your travel agent, she will get the best deal for you!! Contact her at 980-429-4499 or at  Kelly@DestinationsInFlorida.com!

DISNEY VALUE RESORT DEALS

Value resort deals exclude–as usual–Little Mermaid rooms at Art of Animation. Disney’s website has an error, leaving off the dates of the second part of the offer, which I have on good authority is 9/1-10/7.

DISNEY MODERATE RESORT DEALS

Port Orleans French Quarter is excluded from the August part of the deal among the moderates, and deals at Riverside are slender.

 

DISNEY DELUXE RESORT DEALS

All of the Disney deluxes are in the deal, and savings range from 15% to 30%.

DISNEY DVC RESORT DEALS

Bay Lake Tower and the Villas at the Grand Floridian are excluded from the DVC resorts on offer, as is the new (opening in July) Copper Creek Villas at the Wilderness Lodge. At the Polynesian Villas and Bungalows, only Studios are in the deal.

At the rest, saving vary from 15% to 30%.

 

For detailed reviews of every resort hotel  option, see this or get a copy of my book.

For more on the deal that came out today, see this. For the free dining deal that also came out today, see this. Or, if you sign with Kelly B as your travel agent, she will figure out the best deal for you!! Contact her at 980-429-4499 or at Kelly@DestinationsInFlorida.com!

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April 24, 2017   No Comments

2017 Disney World Free Dining Deal is Out

2017 DISNEY WORLD FREE DINING DEAL RELEASED

As expected, this morning Disney World’s fall 2017 free dining deal came out.

To book the deal, contact Kelly at 980-429-4499 or kellyb@destinationsinflorida.com.

It covers arrival dates of

  • 8/21* to 9/30/2017
  • 11/14 to 11/20/17
  • 11/25 to 11/27/17
  • 12/8 to 12/23/17

It requires a three night minimum stay, and a minimum of two ticket days including one of the extra cost Park Hopper or Park Hopper Plus add-on options.

Eligible value and moderate resorts offer the Quick-Service plan for free, and deluxe resorts and DVC spaces offer the Regular Dining Plan for free.

Excluded resorts include Little Mermaid rooms at Art of Animation, All Star Movies, Port Orleans French Quarter, Copper Creek at the Wilderness Lodge, Bay Lake Tower, Polynesian Villas and Bungalows, Grand Floridian Villas, and after 9/30, Port Orleans Riverside.

For more on Free Dining, see this, and to book the deal contact Kelly at 980-429-4499 or kellyb@destinationsinflorida.com.

*Disney Visa cardholders can book for dates beginning 8/14

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April 24, 2017   2 Comments

Free Dining Deal Expected to Open Tomorrow; Quick Service for Moderates

Update: the 2017 deal is out, see this for details.

The Disney World deal Free Dining is back this year–with one major change. Guests booking a moderate resort stay will now only be receiving for free the Quick Service Dining Plan, rather than the “regular” Disney Dining Plan which includes table service meals that they have received in past versions of this deal.

Values and deluxes will get the same deal as in recent years–quick service at the values, and the regular plan at the deluxes.

In order to get the deal, guests must book a minimum 3-night-stay with 2 days of Park Hopper or Park Hopper+ tickets.

Booking for the package will open tomorrow, Monday, April 24th, 2017. Available arrival dates will be between August 21st* and September 30th, 2017, as well as select dates between November 14th through December 23rd.

Rumor has it that the November and December eligible arrival dates will be 11/14-11/20, 11/25-11/27, and 12/8-12/23.

To get a travel agent to make over your reservation, contact Kelly at 980-429-4499 or kellyb@destinationsinflorida.com.

*Beginning August 13th for Disney Visa Cardholders, and Canadian guests.

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April 23, 2017   2 Comments

A Friday Visit with Jim Korkis: The Missing Mountains of Walt Disney World

Welcome back to Fridays with Jim Korkis! Jim, the dean of Disney historians and author of Jim’s Gems in The easy Guide, writes about Walt Disney World history every Friday on yourfirstvisit.net.

THE NEVER-BUILT MOUNTAINS OF DISNEY WORLD

By Jim Korkis

Walt Disney World is famous for its many mountains: at Magic Kingdom, Splash Mountain, Space Mountain, and Big Thunder Mountain and at Disney’s Animal Kingdom the Forbidden Mountain.

However, over the decades, other mountains were planned for the WDW parks as well, including having a Matterhorn bobsled ride similar to the one at Disneyland for a proposed Switzerland pavilion at World Showcase near the Italy pavilion. The real Matterhorn is located between Italy and Switzerland.

Another mountain that was proposed was Mount Fuji for the back of the Japan pavilion where a roller coaster would have raced around the outside and inside of the iconic mountain. Fuji film was ready to sponsor the attraction but Disney already had an existing sponsorship agreement with rival film company Kodak.

Fire Mountain was planned for Adventureland in the area between the Pirates of the Caribbean and Splash Mountain attractions. Fire Mountain was to be a gigantic, forbidding volcano with guests soaring around and through this erupting menace.

It was originally considered to be built in Fantasyland but was felt that it would blend in more appropriately with the theme of Adventureland and the volcanoes of the Pacific Rim. In fact, there was even discussion to expand the entire area into a subdivision called Volcania.

The twist on being just another roller coaster was to have a unique switch in the middle of the ride. Guests would board the vehicles with the track railing underneath them as in a traditional coaster but as the ride progressed, the track would shift to being above them. This switch would give the guests a more up close experience as they dangled over the bubbling lava that was threatening to erupt. The track would switch back before the end of the attraction.

Disney even floated a balloon high in the air to mark the top of the peak of the mountain to see if it could be seen on Main Street USA. While it was not visible to guests in that location, it was clearly visible to guests at the Polynesian Resort.

Eventually, it was decided that such a massive investment might not translate into the extra attendance needed to compensate for the expenditure.

Bald Mountain (from the Disney animated feature film Fantasia (1940) that was the home of the demon Chernabog) would have been in Fantasyland on the location of the closed 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea attraction. Plans were even discussed to make this part of the park a section themed to the Disney villains who were not just popular as characters but were generating a new lucrative merchandise franchise for the company.

In ride vehicles modeled after Hades’ River Styx boats from the Disney animated feature film Hercules (1997), guests would take a harrowing water journey where they inadvertently interrupted a meeting. The notorious Disney villain characters were deciding who was the most evil of the group to lead them in taking over the Magic Kingdom.

Once discovered, it was a wild race to escape the villains trying to prevent the guests from revealing their sinister plans and ending with a massive water flume plunge down the side of the mountain.

One of the reasons this particular attraction was never built was that the idea of constructing a fifth WDW theme park based on villains was being considered and so the idea was withdrawn in order to be included in the park proposal that never materialized into actuality.

*  *  *  *  *

Thanks, Jim! And come back next Friday for more from Jim Korkis!

In the meantime, check out his books, including his latest, Gremlin Trouble! The Cursed Roald Dahl Film Disney Never MadeSecret Stories of Walt Disney World: Things You Never You Never Knew, which reprints much material first written for this site, and his contributions to The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit, all published by Theme Park Press.
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April 21, 2017   1 Comment

Next Week (April 22 through April 30, 2017) at Walt Disney World

DISNEY WORLD NEXT WEEK: APRIL 22 TO APRIL 30, 2017

The material below details next week’s Disney World operating hours, Extra Magic Hours, parades, and fireworks.

For more on April 2017 at Disney World, see this.

OPERATING HOURS AT WALT DISNEY WORLD 4/22/-4/30/17

The Magic Kingdom will be open from 9a-11p 4/22, 9a-10p 4/23, 9a-11p 4/24, 9a-10p 4/25 through 4/27, 9a-11p 4/28 and 4/29, and 9a-10p 4/30

Epcot will be open from 9a-9p every day

Disney’s Hollywood Studios will be open 9a-9p 4/22 through 4/29 and 9a-9.30p 4/30

Disney’s Animal Kingdom will be open 9a-9.30p every day

EXTRA MAGIC HOURS AT WALT DISNEY WORLD 4/22-4/30/17

Saturday 4/22 Morning:  Animal Kingdom Evening: none

Sunday 4/23  Morning:  none  Evening: Epcot

Monday 4/24 Morning: Animal Kingdom  Evening: none

Tuesday 4/25 Morning: Hollywood Studios Evening:  none

Wednesday 4/26 Morning: none  Evening:  Magic Kingdom

Thursday 4/27 Morning: Epcot Evening: none

Friday 4/28 Morning:  Magic Kingdom Evening: none

Saturday 4/29 Morning: Animal Kingdom Evening: none

Sunday 4/30  Morning: Hollywood Studios Evening: none

Mickey and Minnie Festival of Fantasy Afternoon Parade from yourfirstvisit.netPARADES AT WALT DISNEY WORLD 4/22-4/30/2017

The Magic Kingdom: Afternoon Festival of Fantasy Parade: 3p every day

FIREWORKS AND EVENING SHOWS AT WALT DISNEY WORLD 4/22-4/30/17

Wishes at the Magic Kingdom: 9p every day

IllumiNations at Epcot: 9p every night

Fantasmic at Disney’s Hollywood Studios: 8.30p 4/22 through 4/29; 9p 4/30

Star Wars Show and Fireworks at Disney’s Hollywood Studios: 9p 4/22 through 4/29; 9.30p 4/30

Rivers of Light at Disney’s Animal Kingdom 8.30 and 9.45p 4/22; 8.45p and 10p  4/23; 8.45p 4/24 through 4/29; 9.15p 4/30

SHOW SCHEDULES FOR WALT DISNEY WORLD 4/22-4/30/17

See Steve Soares’ site here. Click the park names at its top for show schedules.

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April 20, 2017   No Comments

Review: Disney’s Yacht Club Resort

OVERVIEW: DISNEY’S YACHT CLUB RESORT

Our most recent stay (our third, in March 2017) confirms that Disney’s Yacht Club Resort, one of the Epcot resorts, is the seventh best deluxe resort at Walt Disney World for first time family visitors.

You can have a wonderful visit at any Walt Disney World resort hotel.

However, this site recommends that first time visitors to Walt Disney World who can afford it should stay at Disney’s Polynesian Resort, a deluxe resort, and that those who can’t should stay at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, a value resort.

(It also suggests that first time visitors should avoid the moderate resorts, while noting that these resorts are wonderful for visits after the first. See this for why.)

Compared to other Walt Disney World owned and operated resorts, the deluxe resorts are distinguished by having (on average) the most amenities, nicest views, best dining options, best transport options, largest rooms, best service, and highest prices.

Among the deluxe resorts, Disney’s Yacht Club Resort has a lot of positives.

It stands out for sharing with the Beach Club Resort the best pool among the Disney-owned resorts, sharing with the Beach Club and the BoardWalk Inn convenient access to Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and also sharing with these resorts a short walk to dozens of table service dining options located in these resorts, at the Swan and Dolphin, on the BoardWalk, and in Epcot.

(See this for much more on resort distinctions by price class–value, moderate, deluxe, etc.)

One of the principal negatives of the Yacht Club–tired, beat-up rooms–is being fixed by a refurb that is expected to be completed in 2017.

The other principal negatives–inconvenience to the Magic Kingdom, bland theming, and weak counter-service offerings–remain, although when the Yacht Club’s gift shop opens from a refurb this spring, better counter service may be on offer.

This review has 6 pages

ACCOMMODATIONS AT DISNEY’S YACHT CLUB RESORT


Standard rooms at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort are sized in the middle of the deluxe resorts.

They are larger than those at the Wilderness Lodge and Animal Kingdom Lodge, but smaller than those at Disney’s Polynesian Resort and the other monorail resorts.


Most of these rooms sleep five–two each in two queens, and another in convertible sofa. Some rooms have just the two queens, and rooms with one king bed are also available.

You can add to this capacity of five a child younger than three who sleeps in a crib.

After their refurb, I expect these rooms to have the same floor plans and furnishings, but different colors and details, as those in the recently refurbed rooms at sister resort the Beach Club.

For a photo tour of an un-refurbed Yacht Club room, see this, and for more on accommodations at the Yacht Club, see this. Come back in later 2017 for a refurbed room!

DINING AT DISNEY’S YACHT CLUB RESORT

The Yacht has two table service restaurants. Yachtsman Steakhouse is a terrific–but expensive–option. The less expensive and simpler Captain’s Grille (below) is dull but with excellent value (for Disney…).

More dining is within walking distance at the Beach Club. There, Beaches and Cream is a wonderful burger and ice cream shop, but far too small for the demand for it. The Cape May Cafe has Minnie and other characters, but not Mickey, at breakfast, and an OK seafood buffet at dinner.

Quick service dining is quite limited, with just small venues at the back of the distant Beach Club gift shop and by the main pool, plus pastries and coffee in the lobby bar in the morning.

However, the preview art for the re-opening soon Yacht Club gift shop suggests it will have more quick service options than has historically been the case.

For more on dining at the Yacht Club, see this.

THE POOLS AT DISNEY’S YACHT CLUB RESORT

The Yacht Club and Beach Club share the best pool complex at any Disney-owned resort (the Four Seasons has the best overall pool complex on property).

Hot Tub Disney's Beach Club Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

Known as Stormalong Bay, there’s actually three pools in the complex, plus a stunning water slide.

There’s also a smaller pool at the Yacht Club, plus two smaller pools at the Beach Club.

For more on Stormalong Bay, see this.

KID APPEAL AND CONVENIENCE AT DISNEY’S YACHT CLUB RESORT

Resorts are ranked on this site for first time visitors based first on their kid appeal, and then on their convenience.

On this basis, Disney’s Yacht Club Resort is the seventh-best deluxe resort for first time family visitors to Walt Disney World.

Kid Appeal.

The kid appeal of the Yacht Club Resort, such as it is, comes from its pool and beach, not its design, architecture, or theme.

Stormalong Bay, the pool that the Beach Club and Yacht Club share, is the most fun and kid-appealing pool among the Disney-owned resorts.  

Otherwise, nothing about the design or architecture of the Yacht Club shouts out that it was built for kids, and in fact it feels formal and austere to many of them.

Convenience. Disney’s Yacht Club Resort is the seventh-most convenient of all the Walt Disney World resorts in carrying out the itineraries for first-time family visitors on this site.

All of the Epcot resorts are convenient to Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Epcot is a moderate walk from the Yacht Club, and the Studios are a longer walk or a boat ride away.  (Epcot can also be accessed by boat.)

The other two parks are accessed by buses, which are shared with some of the other Epcot resorts.

Map Disney's Yacht and Beach Club Resorts

BEST PLACES TO STAY AT DISNEY’S BEACH CLUB RESORT

This site suggests that first time visitors stay in standard rooms, not preferred rooms.

This is because they won’t be spending much time in their rooms.

The single exception is visitors to the Animal Kingdom Lodge, who should always pay for savanna views.

On the map, the Yacht Club Resort is on the left, the Beach Club is center-right, and the Beach Club Villas are at the top right. The walkway to Epcot is at the far right, and the boat dock shared by the Beach and Yacht Clubs is at the center in the lake.

The room areas of the Yacht Club–at the left on the map–are in a long, narrow building with only two elevator banks, one central, and one on the left side.

As a result, some rooms on the left side of the Yacht Club can be a hike from the main pool and central services and restaurants area–and from Epcot.

So you should ask for a room as close to Epcot as possible. The current room request form won’t allow for that–but you can call and ask!

BEST FOR:

Any first time family visitors who can afford it, but can’t get into or don’t want to stay at Disney’s Polynesian Resort or the Beach Club.  Here’s what we say in The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit 2017 about the difference between the sister resorts the Yacht and Beach Club:

Yacht Club vs Beach Club from The easy Guide

WORST FOR:

Families seeking the highest degree of kid appeal. Families too large to fit even its 5 person rooms. See this for more on large families at Walt Disney World.

THEMING AND ACCOMMODATIONS AT DISNEY’S YACHT CLUB RESORT

This review continues here.
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April 18, 2017   No Comments