Thursday, March 31, 2011

2011 Ultimate Blog Party!!!!

Ultimate Blog Party 2011

Hi there!!  If you are new here I would like to take this opportunity to introduce myself!  My name is Teresa and I am a mother of two crazy kids!  Emma is five, wait excuse me - 5 and a HALF, can't forget that half!!  Owen is three.  I have been married to my husband Jon for almost eight where did the time go?  Isn't that something we all wonder?  Well I know where a good deal of it was spent - Disney World.  This is why I started my business and this blog.

So what can you find here, well I am going to be honest here, I got lazy for awhile, but I am back and better then ever and determined to make this business and blog be the best it can be!  We are in the midst of redoing our main website, so all the important stuff can be found here and of course on Be Our Guest Vacations on Facebook and @BeOurGuestVacas on twitter.  So be sure to follow and like us!

On the blog you will find - all things Disney!  I focus almost solely on Walt Disney World in Florida because, well it's what I know.  I unfortunately have not made it to the other resorts around the world, but they are all on my bucket list and I can help you book them!  I am starting a few regular posts - Tuesday Tip, Free Fun in Disney - or pretty darn cheap!,  Resort Reviews, Disney on a Budget, and more.

Disney is something I know and I know it well.  I can just start spouting information like nothing else out there.  It is my passion - besides my kids and family! - and there is nothing like making your passion your job and that is what I hope to do.  I will help you book and plan your dream vacation for FREE!  That's not all - when you book a package with me you get a $15 Disney gift card AND if you have already booked your trip and transfer it to me (I have a word doc to make it simple!) you get a $25 Disney gift car.  That's right - I do all the work for you, it's free and you get $25 for transferring it my way.  :-)

On top of all my Disney love, I also am very involved in my kids lives.  Volunteering regularly at their preschool and helping out the area manager of our local mom's group - Moxie Moms.  I have always loved helping my family and friends plan their trips and now I hope to welcome you into that group and help you with yours!!

I am giving away a $25 Disney Gift Card as part of 5 Minutes for Mom's 2011 Ultimate Blog Party!  So be sure to follow me here and twitter, and like me on facebook!  Then go and win win win!!!  :-)

Good luck everyone and LET'S PARTY!!!  :-)

Resort Review - Port Orleans Riverside

Welcome to the resort that is full of Southern Charm!  The Port Orleans Riverside is the sister resort to the Port Orleans French Quarter (review later) and has to be my favorite of the moderates!  As with the other reviews take a look at this great video from AllEarsNet!

When you walk in you immediately notice the large atrium ceiling.  The grandness of the south greats you.  From here you can enter into the shop, check in or down a ramp to the dining areas.  Port Orleans Riverside is the ONLY moderate with a table service restaurant - Boatrights.  Try it out one time for breakfast - the sweet potato pancakes are delish!  There is also a bar at Port Orleans Riverside that on some nights offers live entertainment - a piano player, so be sure to take some time to enjoy this as well!!

The buses pick up right outside the lobby doors and there is also a boat ride to Downtown Disney!!  Another great extra you can enjoy when staying at either of the Port Orleans resorts!  The Riverside is a LARGE resort with several sections, meaning extra bus stops, so be prepared for that.

I have to say one of the biggest pluses of this moderate resort is the option for a family of five to stay here!  As many with more than two children can atest too the accomodations for a family of five or more is limited on Disney property.  Well for those that are a family of five, here is your solution!  You will be able to have a trundle bed in your room!  The Alligator Bayou section of Port Orleans Riverside is where they will like to put you first.  This section is themed after the less affluent areas of Port Orleans - Cajun Country.  The other section is Magnolia Bend, themed after the richer section, also known as the Mansion buildings.  Not only are the outer buildings differing in themes but so are the actual rooms!  Here are some pictures:
One of the Alligator Bayou Buildings - courtesy of

One of the Magnolia Bend Buildings - courtesy of

One of the Alligator Bayou rooms - courtesy of

One of the Magnolia Bend rooms - courtesy of
Ol' Man Island - courtesy of
Pools and other entertainment - There are several quiet pools (5 to be exact) scattered throughout the resort, but the main pool is behind the main building and centrally located.  It has a waterslide - an upgrade you get when staying at a moderate over the value resorts.  There is also a marina where you can rent boats and bikes!  Great information can be found here!  Not only that but there are pirate cruises you can take, horse drawn carriage rides, fishing, playgrounds, an arcade and more!!!  Here is some great detailed information.

So there you have it - Port Orleans Riverside in a nutshell.  I haven't stayed here in awhile, so I had to do my research on it!  I really do love it there and hope to stay there again soon!

There is a great site I found when looking for pictures and information about the two Port Orleans resorts.  Check out The Unofficial Visitor's Guide to the Riverside and French Quarter.  The pictures of the buildings and pools are from this site.  It also has a great FAQ and way more information then I would ever have about these resorts.  They put great effort into their site and it is terrific if you are deciding to stay at either the Riverside or French Quarter, so be sure to take a look!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Linking your Reservation to & ADRs

How to link your reservation to your account and set up ADRs!

Linking your reservation to your account is great for many reasons!  But the biggest one is it's help in the Adavanced Dining Reservation online booking system - aka ADRs.  Gotta learn that Disney lingo!  :-)

Click on My Reservations ^
Now click on Retrieve Reservations.
On the Walt Disney World site click on my reservations.  If you are not already signed in or registered with them you will be prompted to do so now.  To the far right you will see a spot to Retrieve Your Reservations.  And a pop up will appear and you.
 Here - if you booked through me, which I am assuming you did (wink wink!) - you will go to the drop down and put in through a travel professional and then put in your confirmation email.  Disney will load up your reservation and give you the number of days til your vacation.  If like in my case for today you are at the magic 180 day mark you now want to click the Where to Eat tab and select Make Dining Reservations.
See...I told you EASY!

Once you have done that you will come to this lovely screen!
No go on and book away!  Of course if you want I will help you with all of this, but you will have to give me login information to have it set to your account.  As you can see in the above screen shot there is a link that says "I want to use my dining plan to book reservations".  If you booked a Magic Your Way plus dining package you can use this.  Comes in handy for those ADRs you have to prepay for - think Cinderella's Royal Table.  Yes a credit card will still be needed to hold, but you won't have to prepay!  Keep in mind if you get there and decide to pay out of pocket (I recommend this as it is not worth 2 dining credits!) you can, but also know that if you don't show or don't cancel within 48 hours they will charge your credit card that you used to hold it.  So back to using your dining plan to the link and then get to this screen:
Put in your information and yay all linked up!
Now you can start booking.  Once you have booked them because you have associated it to your reservation you will find all your ADR information on your main My Reservations page!

Like I said I will gladly do this process for you, but it will require that I get your password.  You can always change it if you want!

Happy Vacation Planning Disney friends!!!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Free Shipping with Tangled Purchase

Head on over to the Disney Store today and get FREE shipping with any Tangled purchase!  So many great cute items to choose from!  Happy Shopping!!  Disney Store - Free Shipping Today!

Tuesday's Tip - Park Hoppers

Heellllooooo Disney Fans!

So you are here to hear the tip of the day?! Well my favorite ticket upgrade is the Park Hopper Option!

Why - well you can really get the most out of your stay and your Disney tickets if you add this - I think - inexpensive add on.  What is great about it?  Well you can go to as many parks in one day as you want. Lets say you planned and planned. Went to and found out what the best park was and everything, but you get there and BAM it is INSANE for some reason. Who knows why, but all you know is it is not where you want to be! So go...leave and head over to another park. Maybe there was two best parks listed, try the other. If you don't have the park hopper, you are stuck there. You have entered, that is your park for the day.

Another reason I LOVE park hopping - food! Epcot has some terrific restaurants, but I don't necessarily want to be in Epcot every day. Or maybe I could only get Le Cellier on Wednesday, but that is the day that Epcot is listed as the worst and super crowded, but MK is supposed to be great. Well I can go to MK all day and have fun, hop the monorail and boom I am in Epcot and can go eat my dinner and as a bonus catch Illuminations!

Can you do a Disney trip without the park hopper - sure can! I know many that do, but for me it is a must have! If you want to start out without them that is fine. It is another great thing about Disney, if you change your mind, just go to the ticket counter and ask to add it on. For me I like having it all paid for before I go! :-)

Happy park hopping! ;-)

Monday, March 28, 2011

Tangled - Release date is tomorrow 3/29!!

I don't know about the rest of you, but I thought Tangled was a super cute movie.  The kids really enjoyed it and I did too.  Well it gets released TOMORROW!!  Woohoo!  It is available at Amazon with free shipping - no minimum purchase required - and you can preorder it right now.  It is also at Target for $1 more, but hey instant gratification right?! 

Disney on a Budget! - Part One

One of the major points I hear from people when they are considering Disney is how it is just too expensive.  I persoanlly believe that to not be true.  It is a completely attainable and affordable vacation destination, but you have to know how to do it and do it right!  There are so many tips that I am going to break this up into a few separate stay tuned!!

1.) Book with a Disney Vacation Specialist.  I know I know I am a bit bias since I am one, but really the service is free for you, so what do you have to lose, except for the headache of it all!  Why should you?  Well for one, chances are you will get a better deal than if you booked with Disney on your own.  Now this is not 100%.  Maybe you are Disney Savvy and keep your eyes and ears open for all the latest and greatest deals, but what if you miss a booking deadline, or just don't realize that the latest deal might be the one to be on.  That is where I come in, it's my job to make sure that you are on the best deal and you don't even have to think about it.  When a new deal is released, I will run the numbers and see if that deal works better for you and automatically make the change.  Still not convinced?  How about I throw in a $15 gift card when you book a package?! 

2.) Consider a Meal Plan.  Many I know think they won't utilize this plan right and don't want to do it.  And I will say the Disney Dining Plans are not for everyone.  Read Debate: Dining Plan or No Dining Plan to learn more about all the plans and weigh the options for your family.  You will see in there that I discuss why I love it for us.  We have learned how to make it work for us and really save.  It is also great to know, at least for me, that we are all expenses paid.  When we arrive in Disney we don't have to pay for anything extra, minus the tips on our dining, unless we choose to.  You get more than enough food with the plan to take care of you for your stay.

3.) Planning Meals.  If you have decided that the meal plan really isn't for you, then be sure to plan your meals in a smart way.  What do I mean by this?  Try eating a late lunch in replacement of dinner and then have a light snack or share the counter service meals for dinner.  Why?  Well lunch is almost always cheaper than dinner.  Even if we don't eat lunch late we make sure that is our big meal.  The best way to do this too is the buffets.  Take this example of Crystal Palace's pricing (obtained from

Breakfast:  $22.99 adults; Children $12.99 (3-9)

Lunch:  $24.99 adults; $13.99 children 3-9

Dinner: $36.99/Adults, $17.99 Children ages 3-9

That is a huge jump between lunch and dinner!!  Think of the savings!!  You still get the characters (Pooh and friends) but you pay $12 LESS per adult!!  Well right there is the price of your counter service dinner that is big enough to share.  And be sure to share when you get counter service meals.  Especially the kids.  Don't order off the kids menu, buy order your kids meals off the adult menu and have them spilt it.  The chicken tender bites are 1000 times better then the nuggets offered on the kids menu anyway!
So that's it for part 2 look for knowing the seasons, resort categories and more!

Happy Monday!!

Hello to all my Disney friends!

I hope this Monday finds you refereshed after a wonderful weekend.  We had a pretty good one here.  My husband and I went to see Elton John live and I have to say that was INCREDIBLE!!  We haven't been to a concert in some time and as parents to two kids time for the two of us to go out is minimal, so this was a great change!  Otherwise my weekend was spent researching and planning ideas for the blog and my new website.  Oh and I booked a few trips as well!  :-) 

As I warned you - the Kids Stay and Play and the room discounts that were offered are now over.  Disney has not released any new deals as of yet.  I am hopeful to see an annoucement tomorrow, but don't expect it.  Sometimes it is up to a week later.  Disney has been very weird with how they have released discounts in the past year, so there is no real way of even guessing or projecting what will happen.  I will say that besides people that are on message boards there haven't been any significant rumors as to what is to come.  Usually there is some rumblings from people in the know, so that has me a bit worried that there might be a tailing back of sorts on the discounts, but who knows!

I booked my family's Disney vacation yesterday and we hit our 180 day mark today!  What that means for me is that I get to start booking my dining reservations!  I already got Chef Mickey's, 1900 Park Fare, Le Cellier Steakhouse!  Three tough reservations to get and I had my pick of times!  Gotta love that!

As for the blog - I am working on two new features for it.  One is Free Fun in Disney.  In this you will learn about great fun activities to do in Disney for Free or for pretty darn cheap.  There is more of this than you know, so stay tuned.  The first of this feature has already been posted - Hidden Mickeys - so check it out if you haven't already!  Another feature I will be doing is Disney on a budget.  I am working on part one of this feature right now!  Basically it is inspired because I hear so many people tell me they can't afford Disney or Disney is too expenisve.  I want to discount all of that with these featured posts!  I am also going to work on posting information directly pretaining to ride closures and reopenings so that you are in the know on that as well.  This information can also be found at the official Disney World site, but I will take care of that research for you.  Postings on this will be monthly.  You will see the first on Friday!

Ok so there you have it!  Have a Magical Monday everyone!!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Free Fun in Disney!

So I have decided to include a new part of the blog and give you tips on free fun things to do in Disney. It might not all be 100% free, but it will be pretty darn close. I am going to start with activity I am really wanting to try on our next trip. Searching for Hidden Mickeys. This is such a popular activity that there are books written about it, scavenger hunts set up, iPhone apps and entire websites that focus just on this topic!
Hidden Mickeys: A Field Guide to Walt Disney World's Best Kept Secrets, 4th Edition

So what's a hidden Mickey?
 Well to give you a proper history lesson, I went to and searched Hidden Mickey, there is a whole section on it!  Tells you how big a deal this Hidden Mickey business is!!  The below information is credited to The Hidden Mickeys.

What exactly is a Hidden Mickey?

  A hidden Mickey is a image of Mickey Mouse, usually the head, blended in to the design of a building, hotel, rides, trash can foliage or anything else in a Disney Park.

The classic hidden Mickey is the three circles, two smaller ones for the ears. There is also the profile Mickey. It is not uncommon to see images of Mickey’s pants or gloves floating around also.

How did it Start?

It all stated as a joke with the Disney Imagineers. Urban legend has it that when they were designing EPCOT, the original plans were to not include Mickey and company anywhere in the park. To spice things up, the Imagineers decided to include Mickey, but in a somewhat understated fashion – hence the birth of the Hidden Mickey.

Since then, they Hidden Mickeys have made their way around all the parks. Just because there is a Mickey head somewhere does not make it a Hidden Mickey. Anything done with the intent to be seen by all does not qualify, and not as hard to find either.

 Now back to me!  :-)  There are apparently over 600 that have been documented although the Walt Disney Company does not keep track of how many are actually out there in the parks and also in movies too!

They aren't just in the parks - you can go resort hopping (another free activity to be covered later) and find them in the carpets, on water slides, on the walls, you name you could look and find a mouse!

Like I said I keep an eye out daily as do my kids.  It is a fun little game and keeps the magic close to home for us.  Here is kinda one that I found, it was good enough that I snapped a shot of it and posted it to facebook!!
Do you see it???  Hahaha!!!  The kids did!

So here is an activity that you can do, whether in the parks, or just on the resorts grounds that will cost you nothing!  You can even get lists at The Hidden Mickeys telling you where to find them or check out the book I posted here.  :-)

Happy Mickey Hunting!!  

Do you know where to find a Hidden Mickey or have a picture of one you have encountered?  Email me or share the image on the facebook page - Be Our Guest on Facebook and of course you can comment below!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Website and other fun Friday tidbits!

Hello Disney fans!!

Well I am in full on mode to find the write place to host and design the website now that I have taken it from Vistaprint.  Having my site down caused more problems than I think they realize.  Including another Be Our Guest Vacations being formed...yikes.  Still processing that.  So I will definitely keep you updated here as to what is going on with that and where you will be able to find us on the web soon.  For now continue to check in here and of course the facebook page.

We are two days away from the Kids Stay and Play for Free offer expiring!  If you are planning on traveling to Walt Disney World between now and October 1 get in on this offer.  I have had some tell me they are hoping for Free Dining.  My advice get in on the promo that is being offered and then if the Free Dining is offered AND a better deal for your family I will make the alterations.  No work for you at all.  The good thing about doing it that way, is you get the piece of mind of knowing that 1) you are locked in to a great deal if no other deal is offered and 2) I am there watching your back for a better deal - whether it be Free Dining or something else!  So be sure to contact me asap if this deal works for your dates!!

I hope you are liking the new look of the blog for now.  I am still ivestigating some other choices and then there is the fact that the whole darn thing might move on over to wherever I decide to host my website.  Decisions Decisions!!  I am not super tech savvy, so luckily I have some tech savvy family members out there!

And last thing....I am going to take a friends advice and possibly arrange some sort of giveaway either here or on the Facebook page.  What I will giveaway I am not sure of yet.  But for either to happen I want to get more likes on the Facebook page and get some followers on the blog!  So I think that will be a requirement - follow the blog and help me reach ____ amount of likes.  I haven't decided what that number will be!

Well have a Magical Friday my fellow Disney friends!!  And remember contact me today for that quote!

Also - if you already have booked your trip or if you have a friend that has - tell them or yourself (LOL) that I will give you a Disney gift card for transferring it over to me!  You will get a $25 gift card for transferring it and then you get me to keep an eye out for all those special deals and you can sit back relax and wait for the fun to start!  And if you refer a friend - remember you get a $10 gift card - not necessarily to Disney, but to wherever.

Again have a Magical Day!!!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Time Is Running Out!

Disney fans you don't want to miss out on this great deal!  Park tickets are one of the most expensive parts of a Disney package.  Well what if I told you that if you book by the 27th you can get your park tickets for your children for FREE!!  That's right, children under 10 get FREE park tickets when you book a Magic Your Way Vacation Package. 

My family is taking advantage of this great offer as are several others, but you have to book by the 27th of March!  Travel must start by the 1st of October. 

If this isn't the right one for you because you have older children or maybe you are a couple going down or friends for a long weekend - take advantage of the room discounts being offered.  These also expire on the 27th!  Packages can be added to the room reservation!  You can save up to 40%!!!

What are you waiting for???  $200 secures your Disney Vacation!!  Book today!!

Resort Review - Pop Century Resort

Ok I will admit this to all of you....I am a resort snob!  Yup I said it.  I was one of those, only liked to stay at the best of the best and blah blah blah.  Well recently we went to Disney and I finally tried out a value resort.  The one I decided to try was the Pop Century and I really enjoyed it!  I don't have anything negative to say about it.  And my kids - well ask them where they want to stay and the answer - "The one with the BIG doggies!"  They are referring to the incredibly large Lady & the Tramp statues.

Just as I did with the Wilderness Lodge I will share with you a video done by one of my favorite Disney based sites -  Double click to enlarge and you will be sent to

Pulling up to the Pop Century you will see fun signs welcoming you to the resort!  Find a parking spot - if you have a car - or hop on out of the Magical Express bus and walk into the lobby.  The lobby area is themed based on the decades.  It is retro and bright.  There is an area for the kids to watch a show while you check in.  After checking in walk around and check out your surroundings.

Hippy Dippy Pool - The main pool at Pop Century
Down the hall from check in is the resorts mercantile store, the arcade, and the large quick service restaurant.  The quick service restaurant has many stations and array of options.  There are several beverage bays and TONS of seating.  Some seating even has flat screen TVs surrounding them with Disney Channel favorites playing.  If you walk out the back of the seating area you will be at the Hippy Dippy Pool - the main pool of the Pop Century Resort.  This is also the 60s building - one of the preferred buildings if you book that option.

So where is your room?  Well what did you book?  For a little extra you can get a preferred room category, which I do recommend for this resort.  It isn't a big cost and you will be in either the 60s or the 50s building.  Why is this worth it?  For one you are a very short walk to the many pool, mercantile and quick service as well as the lobby.  Also you are a close walk to the only bus stop for the resort.  This is located out the front doors and to the right of where you originally walked in.

Our large Lady statue!
When we stayed we were in the 50s building - which is where the Lady and The Tramp statues were, as well as the bowling pin shaped pool!  The stair cases were also encased in bowling pins and there were 50s style sock hop dancers decorating the buildings.  We were a short walk from the elevator.

The rooms are on the smaller side and the beds are definitely a bit tighter than the queen I sleep in at home, but I was very satisfied with it.  It was clean, nicely decorated, and had the right amount of space for our group - 2 adults and 2 small children.  Rather than go into detail with words, also happened to post a video of the interior of the room:
This gives you a good idea of what to expect!  You enter from the outside - motel style.  You will see a nice feature offered is the curtain that can be pulled to separate the bathroom area from the rest of the room.  Perfect for having the privacy needed in small quarters for dressing.  The sink is outside of where the toilet and shower are.  There is no closet but there is a hanging area and shelf by the sink.

We were only there for 4 nights and 5 days, so I did not get to overly explore as most of our time was spent in the parks.  But that was one of the main reasons this resort is so perfect for us.  We are park crazies!  There morning til night and really only using our rooms to sleep, shower and dress.  So for us being in the lap of luxury is not as necessary as it once was.  Also for me I wanted the extra money to use down there, rather than have it out into my room.

If you have never stayed at a value, but have been thinking of giving it a try and just weren't sure, I say go for it!  Like I said the kids LOVED it.  It is where you will find us in the fall while we take advantage of the kids stay and play offer (have you booked your trip yet???) and may be where we are for years to come!  Although I will still be making stops at my other must stay locations...ahem Wilderness Lodge...ahem!

Happy Reading Disney friends and have a magical day!!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Crazy Crazy Day!!

Hello to my fellow Disney fans!

Well today has been a crazy day for Be our Guest Vacations!  Late last night I found out that someone else had started a Disney based travel business named...........Be Our Guest Vacations.  It happened as a fluke as the guy just started the business.  Facebook was running slow and I was typing in the page to go and make some additions.  Well I ended up typing in the whole name since it was going so slow and imagine my shock when there was another Facebook page with the same name?!  So I immediately contacted the owner of the page and went on to tell him that I had filed paperwork in PA and that this was my business name.  I thought I was pretty nice considering I felt like I had the wind knocked out of me, but long story short we went back and forth and he didn't do his homework - no google search?!  - and well I have no legal action against him. 

So as if that wasn't bad enough....I have, or should I said had, Vistaprint hosting my site.  It was what I used to build it and everything.  So in the last month I have been having problems with them and not been able to update my billing info, well all that led to them suspending my site, even though the problem is on their end not mine, AND it won't be fixed for at least a month.  Ummmm I am an internet based business, my site can't be basically down for a MONTH!

So BIG changes are coming!  The blog is going to be moving to the website when it is all said and done and I couldn't be happier.  Like many supportive friends on Facebook told me, everything happens for a reason, and I think the reason this happened is to wake me up as to how much I enjoy doing this! 

I want to give a very special thank you to all of you that were so supportive today!  It was a rough day and a real wake up call.  It has been a LONG overwhelming day, but I think in the end Be Our Guest Vacations will be EVEN better and so will I!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Tuesday's Tip

Hey there Disney Fans!!

Ok my tip today is a simple one! Take pictures of your passes! Did you know that if you lose your Disney park ticket you can get it replaced? Now for some of you this is not an issue - Annual Passholders simply go to the ticket counter with your ID and they will reissue it, those with a Key To The World (what you get with a vacation package) just need to get a new Key To The World from the front desk of your resort. But those that just have a park hopper - whether it be from the Disney Store, a broker, or where ever, if you lose that ticket it's gone right? WRONG!!

If you lose your ticket and have the numbers that are on the back they can reissue your ticket!! That's right, Disney will replace the ticket if you produce those numbers. The old one will become void. So the way I have handled this in the past - take a picture with my phone AND digital camera. Plus I usually write it down on a slip of paper that I keep in the room safe. Seem a bit like overkill, well maybe. But what if I lost my bag and my camera, ticket and phone were in there. First I am bummed, but if that was also holding all my ticket records I am even more bummed!! So having a slip with it in the room is a good back up. :-)

Also jot down your photopass number and take a picture of it as well. Why? Well if that gets lost and you have the number you can still access all those photos on when you get home! You create an account and can input several photopass numbers on that account!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Resort Reviews - Disney's Wilderness Lodge

Disney's Wilderness Lodge Resort
The Wilderness Lodge Resort - this will cover both the villas and the standard I guess you would say part of the resort.
First here is a video, courtesy of  This is really well done and really gives you a feel for the resort.  (double click to make it bigger and it will redirect you to youtube.)

When you pull into the resort you will be in awe of the larger than life Lincoln Log Hotel, or as my daughter likes to call it "the green roof hotel."  You will be surrounded by wilderness and pull up under a great big green roof, where you will be greeted by wonderful Disney cast members.  If you have chosen to take Disney's Magical Express from the airport, you will pull up and be helped with your luggage (if you got it yourself) and then you will get to enter one of the most beautiful lobbies on Disney property!

Lobby of the Wilderness Lodge
The lobby at Disney's Wilderness Lodge is impressive to say the least and this is reason number 1 that it is one of my favorite places to stay.  You enter and just look up at the massiveness of it.  It goes up 7+ stories and makes you feel like you have just entered the coziest and nicest log cabin home ever.  And it will be your home, for the duration of your stay.  Off to the side there is a nice area for the kids to sit in rocking chairs and watch some Disney classics while you check in.  There are comfortable chairs everywhere to take a rest or read a book by the fireplace.  There is a small bridge and a little stream that runs out to the pool area.  My kids favorite spot!  (Tip: take a dollar up to the check in counter and ask for two rolls of pennies!  My two love throwing coins into the stream and this will save you a lot of aggravation!)  Also in the lobby area is one of the two restaurants that the hotel has - The Whispering Canyon Cafe.  You can also find the hotel store here as well, where you can get anything from souvenirs to some food and drinks for your room!

Ahhhhhh your room.....take the elevator on up to your room and be ready to relax and enjoy.  If you got a standard room, meaning you didn't pay any extra to upgrade you will probably have a view of a parking lot or some other not so great view.  But who really cares!  You have a balcony and I have been in a standard room that while it looked out and the cast member parking it also had a perfect view of the fireworks at the Magic Kingdom every night!!  Bonus!!  You may have chosen to upgrade to woods view or even courtyard view.  I have stayed in both.  And both are nice.  The woods view gives you a view of....yup the woods!  And the courtyard view looks out at the pool area or Bay Lake.  In the woods view and courtyard view rooms you can also upgrade to have a set of bunk beds instead of two queen size beds.  I have not done this yet, but I do plan too at some point!

Regardless of the view you get a balcony with your room.  Out here you will find two chairs and a small table.  I find this a great spot to sit and unwind after a long day while the kids go to sleep in the room.  Most rooms have two queen size beds, which is an upgrade from moderates and values that have full size beds.  Some rooms do have one king size bed, which they will not put you in if you have children, don't worry!  And then of course there is the upgrade that I mentioned with the set of twin bunk beds in lieu of the one queen bed.

Your bathroom is separated - you have the two sinks outside the actual bathroom where the toilet and tub/shower are.  This is nice and helpful when getting ready in the morning!  Your room will also have a small cube refrigerator, a closet with a safe in it, a pack in play is usually provided as well and you will have a flat screen TV.  Some rooms even have DVD players in them.  There is a small table and two chairs and this is where you can also plug into the Internet with a good old Ethernet cable - yes I know...where is the wireless???  Beware - the Internet comes with a NIGHTLY fee of $10/night!  So there you have it your room....nice huh?

Villas at the Wilderness Lodge
But wait there is more - at the Wilderness Lodge you can also stay over in the Villas at the Wilderness Lodge.  Here you will find Disney's Home Away from Home rooms.  These are Disney Vacation Club rooms, but can also be made available through Disney when booking a room.  Here you can have a studio, a one bedroom or a two bedroom villa.  I have stayed in all of them and they are very nice.  It is a bit darker at this end of the resort because it is set more into the woods.  You do not have view choices, so you get what you get and it is a bit of a walk to the boat that takes you to the Magic Kingdom and to the counter service restaurant.

In the studio you will have a queen size bed and a sleeper sofa.  These rooms are slightly larger than the standard rooms in the main building.  You will also have a small kitchenette.  No stove or anything, but you have sink. microwave, a "college" size fridge, larger coffee maker, some dishes and silverware, etc.  It is a nice little area.  Your closet is smaller and you get one sink at your vanity, but the bathroom area is still separate.  

In the one and two bedroom you definitely get a BIG upgrade.  The two bedroom is simply the one bedroom with a studio attached to it, although sometimes it is a dedicated two bedroom meaning that you will have basically a standard hotel room and not a studio attached.  So what do the one and two bedrooms have that's so great?  Well a full kitchen for one thing!  Think stove, large fridge, counters, the whole deal.  Now I don't like to cook on vacation, but this is a definite plus!  Comes in handy, just for space if nothing more.  You also get a large bedroom that has a king sized bed, tv, and enters into the LARGE bathroom with a jacuizzi tub with a sink.  The closet is here as well.  This connects to antoher part of the bathroom with a shower stall, another sink and then yet another door that leads to the toilet room!  Then you get a family room, with a sleeper sofa, table and chairs, tv and the entrance to the balcony.  Off of the main room is also a stackable washer and dryer - a definite plus!!

Those are the rooms you can stay in if you pick the Wilderness Lodge.  I have stayed in every level of room there and I have to say I haven't had a bad night sleep!  

The Pool @ Disney's Wilderness Lodge
The pool area is also to die for.  There is a pool bar here and you can walk back into the hotel to the Roaring Forks - the resort's quick service restauant.  There are a couple of hot tubs, a kiddie pool and a water slide.  You can look out at Bay Lake while you relax on a pool side chair.  Be sure to watch for Old Faithful - the geyser that goes off periodically thoughout the day.  Another fun tidbit if you chose to stay at the Wilderness Lodge - ask at check in if you can be the Flag Family.  It is a first come first serve extra that you can do and can only be booked when you arrive.  If you are able to do it, be sure to.  It is a site to see.  You will have to get up early and meet a Cast Member in the lobby.  Then you will be guided up to the roof, where you get to raise the flags on the top of the resort and see views that you can't get anywhere else!

I also love that the Wilderness Lodge has a boat that takes you to the Magic Kingdom.  This is a major plus in my mind if you have little ones!  If you get lucky and get the big boat, you don't have to fold up your stoller - hugely helpful if you have a sleeping child!!

All in all I love the Wilderness Lodge.  When I walk in there I feel like I am at home.  It is my all time favorite and while it is not as affordable as a value, I think it is a must do for at least a couple nights at least once!!

Resort Reviews

Whenever I am booking a trip for someone I always get asked where to stay, or where do I like to stay, or, well you get the idea!  First I will say I LOVE staying at Disney on site resorts.  I have never stayed off property and I don't think I ever will.  That being said I am going to start giving you all some reviews on resorts I have stayed at.

So which ones have I stayed at?  Well it is easier to tell you which ones I haven't....

I have never stayed at:
Disney's Grand Floridian Resort (Deluxe)
Disney's Polynesian Resort (Deluxe)
Disney's Old Key West Resort (Villa resort)
Disney's Cornado Springs Resort (Moderate)
Disney's All Star Music Resort (Value)
Disney's All Star Movies Resort (Value)
Disney's All Star Sports Resort (Value)

So as you can see I have stayed at all the others for at least a night.  :-)  I will do my best to give you my perspective on the resort.  If any of you have stayed at one that I haven't and would like to write a guest post let me know!!

Let the reviews begin!!  I will be starting with my favorite and then going from no particular order!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Happy Saint Patrick's Day Disney Fans!!!

Just popping in to say a quick hello!!  I hope the luck of the Irish is with you all today!  :-)  So did the crazy leprechaun play any tricks on you?????

P.S. - Here is a great deal for Disney Family Fun Magazine!

PPS - Only 10 more days to book the Kids Stay & Play deal!!!!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Rider Switch

Going to Disney with a little one and think that means you won't be able to go on the "BIG KID" rides? Think that you have to wait again after the other adult you are traveling with has gone on with the child that is tall enough for you to get to experience the fun of Splash Mountian? Well think again!!! Disney has a great program called Rider Switch. I am always amazed at how few people know about this handy tool and I find myself making sure to tell everyone I help book a trip that I know it will benefit. So how does it work....
Well basically you go up to the entrance with the child that is too small for the ride in question. (This works only for height requirements as far as I know, not for children that are simply too scared to ride.) There will be a cast member there, tell them you are in need of a rider switch ticket. This is what you will receive:
As you can see it says the ride it is for, the date (it is only good on the date it is issued) and that it is good for up to 3 guests! That's right you don't have to go on alone or wait in line again. Nor do you have to go on as soon as the rest of your party gets off. Simply get your ticket and arrange a meeting place with those in your party that are going to ride then and off you go. Head on over and do some shopping if you are lucky enough to have the little one sleeping in their stroller, or if they are up take them on some rides that they can do.
This is a great way to make the most of your time in the parks too rather than sitting and waiting for your group. I have to say it will be a sad day when we no longer have a little on in our party that we can get a rider switch pass for! It is something we have been using for the past 8 to 10 years at least! And the older kids love it too because they get to ride again without waiting in the long line or waiting for a new fast pass to become active. Remember if you are in a large group with several kids that are too small and more than one person sitting and waiting then be sure to get more than one rider switch pass. Each person waiting will have to walk up with the child they are waiting with, but it is so worth it!!
So there is a secret, although it isn't meant to be one, so I guess a better way to describe it is a little known fact about making your Disney touring a little easier and more fun! Oh and it takes the argument out of who is going to sit out and wait!!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Amazon Mom - FREE Shipping

Hey there Disney Friends!!

I just wanted to pass along this terrific deal!  I know it is not completely Disney related, but hey it can save you that you can use for Disney, so there I related it!!  :-)

Amazon Mom is a great service provided by  When you sign up you get 3 months of FREE Amazon Prime Membership.  So what's so great about Amazon Prime?  Well you get FREE 2 day shipping!  And there is no minimum.  That's right, FREE!  Now regularly with Amazon you can place an order and if it is over $25 you can get FREE super saver shipping.  And that is great, I love it and use it all the time.  But what is even better - how about no minimum and have it get her in 2 days instead of 3-5?! 

You can extend the 3 months free by purchasing $25 or more in the baby store.  Every $25+ purchase earns you another month.  So you could end up with 12 months (that's the max) of Free Amazon Prime.  My time ran out, but I do need to buy a few packages of diapers and a birthday present for my nephew so I am hoping those purchases will bump me back in for a couple more months!  I had it at Christmas time and LOVED it!!

Amazon Mom - sign up here

Tangled is coming out soon!!! - March 29th!

I personally cannot wait for Tangled's release! Emma and Owen LOVED it. And so did I. I think it was a very cute movie and had great songs. Amazon has it for preorder and it is $16.99. The price could come down more so keep your eyes out for deals. If you see it for a better price please let me know!

Tuesday Tip - Photopass

Smile Disney lovers!!

My tip today - use the photopass photographers to your advantage!! Yes they can snap your picture and upload it to your photopass, but you can also get them to take your picture with your camera! How many vacations have you been on when one of you is not in the picture because you are behind the camera? No more!!! They are EVERYWHERE! At all the hot spot picture locations.

Another tip that I have not taken advantage of, but know others who have is to get the photopass CD. You can prepurchase it on for $99 or get it once you get home for $149.
It gives your the copyright to all your photos taken so you can print them anywhere for much less! Considering the price of a 5x7 it is quite the deal!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Autograph Tips

One of the benefits of booking with me is you will get a giftcard ($7.50 per child) to be able to purchase a Authentic Disney Parks autograph book as seen here. We usually get a new one every trip. It's just one of the things my kids love to do! I know of some people that make their own at home or buy just a notebook. There are other fun ways I have seen people collect autographs from their favorite Disney characters that I am thinking of trying on our next trip - one is getting them on a hat or a T-shirt. Be sure to bring a sharpie marker with you if this is your plan!
We get the majority of our autographs at character meals. But I have been known to stand in the lines if they aren't too long. In fact for some characters this is the only way. Think Tinkerbell....we waited about an hour to meet this famous fairy!!! Her home was once in ToonTown in the Magic Kingdom. Sadly Toontown is gone now. I know my kids and I will miss it. It was a great character meeting area - Princesses and Fairies were here along with other random caharacters and of course this was the place to meet Mickey Mouse.

You can easily find Character Meeting spots on your park maps and by signs throughout the parks. Some signs will even specify what character and the time frame you will be able to see them. Another way to locate character meet and greets and their times of being there is to look at the Times Guide you can pick up upon entering the park and at many concession stands throughout the parks. (These are also helpful in locating park hours, parade and show times, etc.)

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Preschool Fun!

So do you have a little one that LOVES Disney Junior - previously Playhouse Disney? Well I know I do! And because of this one of our favorite places to eat is Play and Dine at Hollywood and Vine! In the past they had the Little Einsteins Leo and June and and oldie but goodie - Jojo and Goliath form Jojo's Circus. On our last trip Leo and June were still there, but Jojo was gone.

While we missed Jojo, my kids were excited about the new addition of Special Agent Oso and Handy Manny!!
The kids get to meet the characters as they come to the table. You can get pictures - as you can see above - and can get autographs from their favorite characters. Also the kids get to join in on a dance party with the characters a few times during the meal.
It is a buffet and the character meal is available for breakfast and lunch. Dinner at Hollywood and Vine does NOT include the characters, so keep this in mind when making dining reservations!

After you finish your meal head on over to Disney Junior LIVE! A live show with all your favorite Disney Junior characters. Recently added was Jake and the Neverland Pirates. (This part of the show replaced My Friends Tigger and Pooh.) Featured in the show is Little Einsteins, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Handy Manny and Jake and the Neverland Pirates. I have not seen the updated show as this just happened, but I am sure it is just as good if not better than it was before! Please note - the seating for this show is on the floor. There are some benches along the back wall, but know this going in!

I hope you enjoy the meal and the show!! It truly is one of our favorites!!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Tuesdays Tip - Strollers

For me strollers are a HUGE neccesity with small children. I am talking 6 and under AT least! My daughter will rarely sit in it for long periods of time anymore - she is 5 and a half now (can't forget that all important half!) - but man oh man at the end of the day that stroller comes in handy. When she isn't using it, well sometimes we will just leave it parked in the land are we are in or we use it to tote all our stuff. Now my 3 year old - I couldn't make it in Disney without my stroller!!
Some people don't like to bring a stoller with them though. They don't want to deal with it in the airport if they are flying or have it take up space if they are driving. Totally understandable, but here is a money saving tip: DO NOT RENT FROM DISNEY!!! They really are a rip off on pricing and if those kids are tired as you are trying to get to your form of transportation at the end of a LONG day or worse if they are sleeping, you have to turn that baby in as you exit. Well that walk and wait in line can be made even LONGER with a sleeping child (dead weight) or the cranky kid that just woke up or is too tired to stand. Not to mention they aren't the most comfortable looking things. (See picture!)
So what to do? Rent from an off site location! They will drop it off to your resort! It is cheaper (WAY cheaper) than Disney and you get to keep it with you at all times. At the end of your trip they pick it back up. I have never used this service, but have heard people mention it on the Check out the family board and see what people there recommend as far as a company goes. Me I just bring my own. I LOVE my strollers - I have a Maclaren Quest and a Graco Travel System - the biggie that holds all the good stuff! It is just my preference. :-)

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Worst Blogger Ever

Hi everyone!

I know I am the worst blogger ever, but since I still haven't gotten any real followers yet, no biggie right?!

My goal this year is to get this blog on a regular posting schedule and to get some good regular followers!!

My other goal to SAVE you money and help you plan your Disney trip for FREE!!! One way to do that - get down to Disney the beginning of May - LOW LOW crowds according to the Crowd Calendar on and a price that is right!

A Family of 4 - 2 adults and 2 children ages 3 to 9 - can go to Disney World for 4 nights and 5 days with park hopper tickets, hotel stay, and quick service dining for just under $1700!!!! Let me tell you I am tempted - are you???!!!