bonus, WDW Planning

Planning a WDW holiday | part 5

Another post, another park. This time, EPCOT. A little bit of trivia for you, EPCOT stands for Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow and was a longtime dream of Walt Disney. He wanted it to be an actual community for people to live in, it eventually evolved into a theme park and was opened in 1982.

The park itself is big, more than twice the size of Magic Kingdom, so to experience it properly you should give yourself two days here. Continue reading “Planning a WDW holiday | part 5”

bonus, WDW Planning

Planning a WDW holiday | part 4

This post is going up a little later than I had wanted. Trying to collate all the information for the most popular of the parks took a little longer than I had anticipated. Our trip countdown is now in double digits and it’s getting very real now. Time to change up a gear with the planning. Continue reading “Planning a WDW holiday | part 4”

bonus, WDW Planning

Planning a WDW holiday | part 3

Welcome back to part three of my Planning a Walt Disney World holiday series. If you missed the first two parts you can read them here and here.

So far, we’ve covered creating a basic framework upon which to create a personalised itinerary. So now, with a set day on which to go to each park, and dining and FastPass+ reservations made, it’s time to dive into my personal recommendations on how to spend a day at each park. And I’ll start with the first park we always head to… Animal Kingdom. Continue reading “Planning a WDW holiday | part 3”

bonus

Planning a WDW holiday | part 2

Hi again,

Welcome back to my blog and this series of posts I’m writing about planning a trip to Walt Disney World. If you missed the first part you can catch up here.

Once you have decided which attractions you want to visit and which you don’t, you can start to plan how you will work all these into your day. Depending on the time of year you will visit, the opening hours will differ. If like me, you are visiting in the height of summer, the parks are open from early in the morning until late at night. The only exception to this being the water parks which tend to close earlier. (although they are still open until 8 pm when I’m going).

If you’re yet to decide on a time of year to visit you can take a look at a crowd calendar, which gives you an idea of when the park will be at it’s busiest. If you have the option to go at a quieter, cooler time of year I’d highly recommend it. But, if you’re restricted to school holidays or the summer you’ll have to be prepared for the heat, humidity and crowds. Here’s a crowd calendar I found online that gives a quick and easy at-a-glance look at projected crowds throughout the year.

Disclaimer: The following information is not first hand, as FastPass+ was only just being rolled out the last time I visited WDW. It’s an amalgamation of information I have found on planning websites, WDW’s own website and experience of people I know who have been more recently.

The ability to plan your day, almost to the minute, weeks if not months before you go is a real possibility now. You are able to make dining reservations up to 180 days from the day you visit. If you’re travelling at a busy time of year, the more popular time slots will fill up quickly, so this is why I recommend planning which parks you will visit on certain days so you won’t be disappointed when trying to land a lunchtime reservation at one of the more popular venues.

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Picture from the WDW website

For instance, since we booked this trip last January we knew we wanted to eat at Be Our Guest, in the Magic Kingdom. The decor is stunning, resembling the ballroom from the 1991 animated classic, Beauty & the Beast. They even have the ‘grey stuff’ on the menu! This restaurant is very popular, so as soon as that magic 180-day mark rolled around we booked a table.

To save yourself an international phone call to Guest Services in Florida every time you want to make a reservation though, you should consider downloading the My Disney Experience app (which is available for iOS and Android) Using the app you can make dining and FastPass reservations, as well as see maps, wait times and show times.

FastPass+

For the uninitiated, Disney has had a system in place for some time to help reduce wait times for the more popular ride, this was called FastPass. The new FastPass+ system is an updated version of that. Before, you could take your park entry ticket to a Fastpass kiosk and print off a ticket to return to the ride during a one-hour timeslot later in the day. You would then join a special queue along with others that had been given the same time slot. This could reduce waits from two hours or more down to 15 minutes or less.

The updated system works in a similar way, with a few tweaks. You can now pre-book your FastPass time slots up to 60 days before your visit (if you’re staying at a Disney resort, 30 days if you’re off site).

fastpassIf you’re staying on site, you will get a Magic Band that will act as your ticket. If you’re off-site, like we will be, you get a card. Both act in the same way, in that you scan them at the entrance to the park, and they contain all the planning information, such as dining reservations and FastPass+, that you save via the app or your Disney account. If you’re off-site, you can purchase a Magic Band starting at $12.99 plus tax from the retail outlets in the Parks or from the US DisneyStore website. While the US DisneyStore does ship internationally, you’re going to have to pay shipping and perhaps even customs charges, so I’m going to hold off and look at getting one in the Parks.

You can pre-book up to three FastPass+ rides. They cannot overlap and they cannot be for the same rides, meaning if you want to go on a ride twice in a row, you’ll have to choose the ‘standby’ line for the second one. Once your first 3 reservations have been used, or the time slot passes, whichever comes first, you can make a fourth. If you anticipate a ride being busy and book an FP+ for it but when you get there the line is short enough to wait in, you can change the reservation via the app.

Each Park has its headliner attractions, and I’ll go into more detail for those in different posts, but at the time of writing EPCOT and Hollywood Studios are implementing a tier system with their attractions. When you are booking your three initial FP+ rides, you can only choose one from Tier 1 and two from Tier 2. You are not able to choose three Tier 2 rides as an alternative.

As this part contained an awful lot of information, I’ll leave it there for now. The FastPass+ system does sound confusing, but I’m sure it makes more sense in practice.

Next time, I’ll do an in-depth look at the attractions in each park, along with my own recommendations.

Until then…

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bonus

Planning a WDW holiday | part 1

This week marked an exciting milestone in the countdown to our family holiday to Florida. I’ve been counting down the months since last July, but now we’re getting closer I’ve changed to counting down the weeks. We’ll also enter the double digit days soon, so I thought it was time to start planning a flexible itinerary. Continue reading “Planning a WDW holiday | part 1”

bujo, Bullet Journal, monthly review

March 2017 | review

I don’t normally write a monthly review post, but I’m going to give it a go and see if it makes a difference to my planning habits for next month.

Did you know, it’s been a whole year since I started this blog, (here’s the very first post I wrote) and since I started using my bullet journal. While I still have a long way to go, I can definitely see an improvement to my life since using it. Also, having a blog, and various social media outlets, has allowed me to exercise my writing skills again, and I intend to continue to grow.

February was a very good month for me planning wise, March… not so much. It’s been a bit of an upside down, higgledy-piggledy kind of month. I fell ill at the beginning of the month, then my son had to go to the hospital, then it was my daughter’s birthday and all the planning that goes with that. Phew. There have been plenty of reasons excuses not to plan consistently.

Looking at my monthly goals page is a bit depressing, out of the five goals I set myself, I only achieved one, I did grow my Instagram following to over 600. I need to re-evaluate my goals and try harder for next month.

The mood mandala has turned out quite nicely. I admit I didn’t colour it in consistently every day, but I have gone back and filled it in in retrospect. It’s something I will keep in next months collections.

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My Gratitude and Memories doodle page started strong, but I didn’t keep up with it after the middle of the month. Same goes for my One Line a Day page. I found it hard to find something unique to write or draw about each day. That’s not to say I couldn’t find something to be grateful for. If you wake up in the morning, that’s the first thing to be grateful for. But, I couldn’t write that every day. I’m happy with the entries that I did add, though.

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The next two spreads are embarrassing! The time tracking didn’t go according to plan, and the Spring Cleaning spread didn’t get used at all. I’m hoping that March was just a blip and I can get back on top of all the things in April. The housework and habit trackers were left unfilled after the 10th of the month too. This is not to say I didn’t do the cleaning or habits, or at least some of them, I just didn’t come back and fill in the trackers.

I don’t know if the same applies to other people, but there are certain times of the year when I feel a burst of motivation. September and April are two months where this happens to me. I began my journey last April, and I will move up a gear again this April.

I hope you will join me for my next post, which will be up in a few days, where I set up for April. Thank you for joining me in this fledgeling year, I really appreciate the support.

See you again soon

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