Tuesday 2 February 2016

Life Long Love Affair: #DisneyWorld Over the Years. #travel #familytravel #traveltuesday

For me Disney World is a magical place, where so many memories have been made.

Disney Over the Years

I was in Grade 7 the first time I went to Disney World. It was a big deal, and the first big vacation our family had taken. Back then Magic Kingdom was the only Disney theme park, with Epcot opening a few years later. The trip took place over the Christmas holidays, and Santa brought me and each of my siblings a Mickey Mouse watch. Mine had a clear back so the gears could be seen, my older sister's was a huge wall clock that looked like a watch, my younger sister's was a cute red banded one, and my brother's was a fob or pocket watch. 

It was the beginning of a life long love affair with Disney World. We stayed at a resort called Lake Buena Vista that was one of the three Disney Resorts that existed at the time, the others being the Contemporary and the Polynesian. Each time the mono-rail stopped mid-trip 25 feet above the ground, it provided endless entertainment as we all immediately mimicked the automated announcement "Please take all small children by the hand and watch your step". 

On our first trip with the kids Disney's Animal Kingdom had just opened and it turned out be almost as awesome as Magic Kingdom. We stayed at the Caribbean Beach Resort, in my opinion a fantastic choice for families with young kids. and had a wonderful time in spite of the fact Thing 2 aka danger boy fractured his collar bone falling off the bed he was jumping on. Not really a big shock when he become a skaterboy just a few years later. While at Animal Kingdom we foolishly bought a large stuffed Tigger, and realized moments after paying we'd have to carry it around the park all day. Before I could even voice my concern we were told it could be delivered to our room. It was posed looking out the window as if watching for us, when we returned to our room later that evening. 

I love that everything from the luggage tags, to the waffles are Disney themed. There are perks to staying on-site like extended or early park hours, character meals, Tigger delivery service, and twice when we have gone at the end of August a free meal plan promotion, which was a huge savings.

When we returned a few a few years later I was surprised at how many rides and attractions the kids remembered when we returned a few years later. Thing 2 was only 18 months old on our first trip. The Tiki Hut apparently left quite the impression. This was the trip the Buzz Lightyear ride became an all time favourite. This was also the trip that marked the start of the Downtown Disney Lego store tradition. We visit and buy at least one Lego keychain on each visit to Disney. We stayed at a very nice hotel close to the parks called the Bohemian Hotel Celebration.

For our next trip to Disney World we once again returned to the Caribbean Beach Resort, for another wonderful memory making trip. Both times we stayed at this resort we were extremely happy with the rooms, dining options, service and selection of activities available right at the hotel. I would happily go back, and always check price and availability here before looking for other accommodations. It was on this trip we were introduced to the lanyard and collector Disney pin exchange. We had a riot with the Disney staff both at the parks and the resort exchanging pins and finding out which ones were limited edition or rare.

In keeping with tradition ... we head back again, this time staying off-sight at the Caribe Royale - Orlando, The hotel is very nice, but we were there at Spring Break and traffic getting in or out of the hotel and around this part of Orlando was brutal. We could literally walk faster than the traffic was moving. So if you plan on going out for meals or to theme parks, we found it very frustrating. Also local calls and wi-fi were not included in the cost of the room. In general that is a deal breaker for me, but this trip was planned last minute so our options were somewhat limited. 

Yep, back again! This time staying at the Hilton Buena Vista Palace an Official Walt Disney World Hotel located directly across the street from Downtown Disney. The hotel is beautiful and service and room were great, and we loved everything about it except the unexpected resort fee of $22.50 US per night. We were informed about this mandatory resort fee at the time of check-in. I gather this is quite common for Orlando hotels now but multiply that by 7 nights and it adds up. The resort fee included free local calls, internet and park shuttle service, but personally I find fees like that sneaky. If I don't have a choice add it to the price and show me the true cost so I can budget accordingly. We did used the shuttle bus to the parks for the first time ever and that was convenient, easy and included in the cost of the room. Each evening we walked over to Downtown Disney for dinner,a visit to the LEGO store, to shop and take in the many activities and performances. 

We have been stayed at Disney twice at the end of August, and found that time of year has some of the lowest of the year, and in the past have had free meal plan promotion at this time of year. In my opinion staying on-site at a Disney Resort when the kids are young makes everything easier and worth the paying a bit more. The perks, and promotions they often can make it the same cost overall. Certainly the free meal plan makes for substantial savings

My wish is that everyone gets the chance to experience the magic of Disney at least once in their life, because you're never too old for Disney. 

Yep, just me Cathy thinking out loud about the happiest place on earth. 

Note: I have not been compensated for this post. The purpose of this post is merely to share my experiences with my readers.


  1. Fun! Gotta love the delivery service... and that it wasn't just placed inside your door. As far as the resort fee's, you'll be hard pressed these days not to find a hotel in Orlando that doesn't charge one...from budget to highend. Yeah, it's silly and kind of sneaky, but it is always in the fine print. Just build it into the price is what I say!

    1. Thanks for reading Heather.I agree with you it's pretty much standard for hotels in Orlando now. It's the same as flights I wish they would just tell me the all in price so I can budget properly rather than guessing what add on fees are yet to come.That being said I do love my Florida Orlando and Disney.