Bruce Elliott Travel Consultant Disney World and Cruise Specialist 519-670-0902

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Grand Bend, Ontario N0M 1T0

ELS and Company Inc.         519-670-0902

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January 28th, 2018

Just when you think you’ve mastered FastPass+, Disney goes and changes the system again. For years, the status quo of FastPass guaranteed that your paper ticket would get you on your favorite rides. Even as Disney theme parks tightened down on systemic abuse, Disney Vacation Club members still knew the ins and outs of the system like the seasoned pros we are.


In 2014, The Walt Disney Company introduced the latest iteration of their queue system, FastPass+. In only two years, they’ve already modified it multiple times, which means that if you haven’t visited Walt Disney World since 2013, you don’t even know what you missed. If you’re like most DVC members and go home at least once a year, you may feel some confusion about what you can and can’t do. Don’t worry! Your friends at DVC Resale Market are ready to help! Here are six crucial FastPass+ facts for your next trip to the park.


The Basics Are Still the Same

FastPass+ as a system shares the same fundamentals as the old ticket-based version. Disney provides impending park guests with the opportunity to reserve up to three rides a day in advance. You use these reservations tied to your Magic Band to avoid the longer line of the regular waiting queue. Instead, you enter the FastPass queue. Generally, this line is much faster, getting you on the ride in a fraction of the time.


As an extreme example, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train frequently lists its average wait time in excess of an hour. Guests who use a FastPass can board a mine cart in as little as five minutes, even when the other line is still an hour. All that time saved is a precious resource during your park day that you can expend elsewhere. Through clever usage of the system, you can enjoy exponentially more attractions than a guest who simply waits in the regular line for everything.


FastPass+ operates the same as FastPass in that you’ll have a 60-minute window of arrival for your ride. Let’s use the park opening of 9 a.m. as an example. You can visit right when the window opens at Rope Drop at 9 a.m. or wait until the last moment at 9:59 a.m. Both options have advantages depending on the rest of your schedule, as you’ll read below.


Maximize Your Booking Window

What’s important is that you schedule your selections as soon as possible to book your preferred windows. Visitors staying at Disney resorts – i.e. virtually everyone reading this – can book up to 60 days in advance. Anyone staying offsite at a competing hotel or villa can book 30 days in advance.  As a DVC member, you should take full advantage of the 60-day window. Reserve your FastPasses when you’re precisely 60 days out.


The most popular attractions such as Frozen Ever After can and do sell out their FastPass selections that far in advance. Fortunately, you’ll have the ability to book all of the days of your trip when you’re 60 days away from arrival. Even if you’re staying for two weeks or more (as DVC members are wont to do), you can schedule FastPass+ reservations for all 14 days at once. Taking advantage of this perk guarantees that you’ll have your pick of all the attractions you want once you arrive.


One final note: Disney recently changed the FastPass+ reservation system to fix a prior flaw. The booking window previously opened at midnight, requiring guests to stay up late to gain FastPass selections as soon as possible on what was basically the 61st day. Disney has since pushed that window to 7 a.m. Eastern Standard Time each day, similar to the Advance Dinner Reservations process.


From a user perspective, all you need to know now is that when the MyDisneyExperience app says you’re 60 days away from your trip, you can book FastPasses starting at 7 a.m. This change is much more user-friendly. You no longer have to remember two time windows when booking your ADRs and FPs.


You’ll Need Your Phone

Bringing one’s phone to a Disney theme park is a divisive topic. Some guests believe that paying too much attention to your screen distracts away from the majesty of Disney’s landscapes. That’s a completely valid opinion. Disney has to cater to everyone, though.


Since 72 percent of Americans own smartphones, their engineers would be irresponsible to neglect this market. If the point wasn’t clear when FastPass+ debuted, park guests spelled the issue out with their boisterous complaints about kiosk usage, the in-park alternative to booking FastPasses on a smart device. Long lines and visitor frustrations became a recurring theme during the early days of the new queue system.


In practice, guests would use their first three line passes. Then, they’d wait in their first long line of the day. Oddly enough, it was the line to get another FastPass selection. After walking up to a trio of attractions during the first two hours of park time, guests understandably felt irritation that the FastPass booking kiosks were the bottleneck.


That’s not the way Disney employees intended the service to work. Once they had enough information to trust in the process, Disney switched to the current system. You can now acquire all your FastPass+ selections by phone. The MyDisneyExperience app can handle everything.


One Is Better Than Three

One of the worst aspects of the initial version of FastPass+ was that it forced guests to book three selections at once. Here’s the problem with that approach. Let’s say that you’re visiting Epcot and only care about getting a FastPass for Frozen Ever After. Previously, you’d have to book two other selections, and you’d run into one of the flaws with Disney’s system.


At Epcot and Hollywood Studios, Disney divides their attractions into Tiers. The most popular rides such as Toy Story Midway Mania!, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith, Soarin’, and Frozen Ever After are in the first tier. Guests have to choose their favorite at each park as their Tier 1/Tier A selection. They cannot add another reservation from this group.


Why is this setup a problem? The current Epcot Tier 1 attractions include Soarin’, Test Track, and Frozen Ever After. You know them as the three Epcot rides with the longest wait times. You have to pick the one that you want to ride the most and wait in the regular line for the others. The offshoot of this Sophie’s Choice of Epcot is that you previously wound up with two additional FastPass selections for The Seas with Nemo & Friends, Journey into Imagination with Figment, or Spaceship Earth. None of the regular lines for these attractions is over 30 minutes as a rule.


Your FastPass doesn’t help you any for them. Even worse, you couldn’t book new FastPass selections until you’d either used your current ones or the reservation window had expired. You were stuck for a couple of hours of valuable park time.


In the spring of 2016, Disney acknowledged the flaws with that system and altered the rules. Now, you can get a single FastPass if so inclined. And that strategy does make sense from time to time.


Let’s say that you plan on visiting two (or more) parks in the same day. The instant you stand in the abbreviated line for your Frozen Ever After FastPass, you can pull out your phone and claim a FastPass at a different attraction, including Tier 1 options at other Disney parks. The new system has restrictions in place that prevent guests from reserving multiple Tier 1 FastPasses in the same theme park (Epcot, in this example), but that doesn’t matter when you park-hop. You can schedule Frozen Ever After ahead of time then try to book Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster or Toy Story Midway Mania!


The one caveat is that you only have options for FastPasses that have availability. Under the prior system, you couldn’t start trying to make a new reservation until you’d used the previous three. That left you with no options until after 11:15 a.m. By that point, most Tier 1 FastPasses had sold out.


Thanks to the recent changes, you can turn the FastPass system into part of your Rope Drop routine. Start the morning by heading to the attraction for which you don’t have a FastPass. In our example, Soarin’ is the most likely option. Then, you head to Frozen Ever After and use your FastPass. While you’re in the quicker line queue at the Norway Pavilion, you can pull out your phone and book a new FastPass, possibly even a Tier 1 at Hollywood Studios! By 9:30 you’ll have a guarantee that you’ll ride three of the most popular rides at Walt Disney World that day! The key is not to book pointless FastPass selections. If you only need one, you can only book one now. That’s a game-changer.


Ultimate Hacks – Dining Tactics

When booking your FastPasses in advance, you’ll need to plan ahead a bit. As a Disney Vacation Club member, you’re plenty used to that. Whether you booked your hotel stay 11 months or seven months in advance, you’re used to making ADRs well before your trip. The same is now true of FastPasses.


When your 60-day window approaches, you’ll need to consider which parks you want to visit on which days. Your ADRs will actually impact this strategy a bit. As an example, if you’re eating dinner at Olivia’s at Old Key West at 6:30, you don’t want to book FastPasses in 5PM to 7PM window. Otherwise, you may run into transportation issues that cause you to run late for your meal.


A vintage looking seating area outside at Disney's Old Key West Resort


Similarly, if you are returning to a park after your meal, you’ll have a one-hour window from the start of your FastPass. Even so, Disney Table Service meals tend to take at least an hour, and you have to allow for the transportation time back to the park.


Lunch is similar, which is why you might consider setting up breakfast and/or lunch ADRs at the parks or adjoining Disney hotel restaurants. A strategy my family employs at Hollywood Studios is to book a FastPass plan of Toy Story Midway Mania! at 9 AM, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at 10 AM, and Star Tours – The Adventure Continues at 11 AM. Then, we book lunch at Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater at 11:30.


With this strategy, we get to ride three of our four favorites at the park. When we’re done, we only have to walk a short distance from Star Tours to the nearby restaurant to enjoy our most beloved meal at all of Walt Disney World. That saves wear and tear on our feet, and we have the entire lunch to decide our next course of action, whether it’s more time at Hollywood Studios, a move to a different park, a ride to Disney Springs, or a return to the DVC property to enjoy an afternoon swim.


By anticipating how you want to spend your days at Disney, you can schedule convenient FastPasses at your 60-day window. You’ll never have to worry about sellouts, and you’ll have general scheduling guidelines for a key portion of your trip. It takes the stress out of a day at a Disney park, which you know from experience can get intense.


Ultimate Hacks – Park Strategies

Finally, consider the location of each attraction when you make your FastPasses. One of the easiest mistakes is to schedule two different attractions at opposite ends of the park. You’ll wind up feeling frazzled as you sprint from one end of Animal Kingdom to the other. I speak from experience on this. That place is cavernous, and a FastPass can wind up feeling like work rather than relief if you’re having to dash from Africa to DinoLand U.S.A. Look at a park map as you’re considering your later FastPasses, assuming that you’re doing more than one.


Alternately, only pick one then keep your schedule open for the rest of the day. Magic Kingdom in particular rewards savvy FastPass users. A fellow DVC member recently traveled to the park for the first time under the new FastPass+ system. They discovered that the days where they had the most fun were the ones where MyDisneyExperience opportunities drove their decision making.


Whenever they reached the FastPass line queue for an attraction, they’d pull up MyDisneyExperience to see what else was available. Then, the family would vote for their favorite, and they’d reserve it. Simply by letting their location and FastPass availability determine their course of action, they wound up with an unforgettable day at Magic Kingdom. And they used almost 20 FastPasses that day!


Don’t let the critics fool you. The new FastPass+ system is just as amenable as the paper-based one. You simply have to understand how your standard park behavior blends with the new technology in place. Follow the tips above to maximize your enjoyment during your next trip. Also, if you have any other suggestions for FastPass+, helpfully leave them in the comments section for other Disney visitors!



“Italy Day Trips from Disney Magic”


5 of 5 stars Reviewed 30 August 2014


Originally I booked Disney Adventures to supplement our Disney Magic 7 day cruise of Italy from Barcelona. The cost was too much to bear so I booked Disney day excursions to Florence, Rome and Pompeii. When reading a trip report on Disney Cruise lines I heard about Rome in Limo Tours. It was so glowing that I cancelled my Disney excursions and booked with Romeinlimo. This was by far the best part of our trip. We were just four but all adult sized so I requested a Van for our tours. Jany in the office quickly answered all emailed questions right away and made us feel comfortable that we had done the right thing. On the first day we met Angelo in a newer van that was spotless and he took us to Pisa and Florence. He is a wonderful man, willing to give you as much detail of his beloved Tuscany region as he can. We enjoyed his company very much. He got us so close to the Leaning Tower of Pisa that it was hardly a walk at all. The tour busses were parked over half an hour away. In Florence he was able to get us right into the old city, point out a fantastic restaurant and show us where to go to sight see. He took us for a gelato that was so far superior to any that we had ever had, his favourite spot. We were back to the ship in plenty of time. In Rome we used the services of Franco as a driver. He kept our heads turning with his knowledge of every part of the old city. He took us right inside the Coloseum to make sure that we got our preordered tickets before leaving us. He picked us up right at the curb outside the exit. The entire day was like that. The restaurant he took us to was a local favourite and the food was exceptional. My favourite memory was the Key Hole, something that we would never have known, ever. He dropped the family off at the Sistine Chapel at the curb and the guide from RIL took the family through the Vatican with an abundance of knowledge. I was too hot and tired to revisit the Vatican so Franco toured me around, bought me a Gelato and let me wait in air conditioning for the family. He checked on me and brought me fresh squeezed orange juice. He was spectacular as a resource for our visit. In Pompeii we had Giovanni as a driver. He was a real treat. He took us right to the entrance of Pompeii and introduced us to Paula our guide. After explaining that the heat was wearing us down and the tour seemed daunting she led us up the easier entrance to the site. She was so pleasant, happy, knowledgeable and just such a positive person that we all thought of her as a friend. With her understanding and commentary we loved our tour of Pompeii. We travelled on to Sorrento and had lunch and shopped. Giovanni understood how tired we were at the end of the day that we asked to be dropped off a little early at the Disney Magic and he fully understood. We would like to thank Rome In Limo tours and their workers for making our trip to Italy fun and exciting and worry free. Do what they say and purchase all of your entrance tickets early or you may not get to experience your attraction especially in August when crowds are above normal.


What is the Fantasmic! Dining Experience?


 The Fantasmic! Dining Experience includes dinner at one of the participating Disney's Hollywood Studios restaurants and reserved seating in the Fantasmic! amphitheater. As of this writing, only Brown Derby,  Mama Melrose, and Hollywood & Vine are participating.


 This means that instead of waiting in line for 60-90 minutes outside the theater, you can walk right up to the theater 30-45 minutes before show time, (no waiting in line!) and still have a seat.


Is there a charge for the package?


 There is no additional charge for the package itself. However, the package, which includes the Fantasmic! seating pass, MUST be guaranteed at the time of booking with a credit card, and a $10 cancellation fee applies if not cancelled at least 48 hours beforehand.


 As of June 2009, you may order from the Brown Derby or Mama Melrose a la carte menu.


Hollywood & Vine $26.99 adult/$13.99 child (3-9) not including admission, tax, and gratuity (no characters). All you care to eat buffet. Choose from a number of selections including; oven-roasted Prime Rib, Citrus Baked Chicken, Pan-seared Salmon, and Stir-Fry Noodles with Sesame. Also includes fresh salads and build your own ice cream/dessert bar. Adult beverages NOT included.  Child's meal includes beverage.


 All packages include a special pass for seating at that night's Fantasmic! and dinner at the restaurant chosen.


 Report to your restaurant 10 minutes before your Fantasmic! Dining Experience Reservation, and you'll receive your special Fantasmic! seating pass at that time. Theme park admission is NOT included.


Can I Use the Magic Your Way Dining Plan with the Fantasmic Dining Experience?


 Yes, a the Magic Your Way Dining Plan can be used to purchase a Fantasmic Dining Experience. You can also get the Fantasmic Dining Experience if you have the Magic Your Way Premium Package or the Platinum Package.

Hollywood & Vine and Mama Melrose's Ristorante Italiano both count as one Table Service meal for the Dining Plan, while the Brown Derby counts as a Signature experience, or two Table Service meals.


 When you call to make a reservation, your credit card number will be taken, but the charge won't be put through (unless you are a no-show, or do not cancel at least 48 hours before your dining date). You will pay with your Magic Your Way Dining Plan when you dine, just as you would for any meal.


Do I have a reserved seat?


 No, only the section itself is reserved for those with the Dining Experience. Within the reserved section, seating is on a first come-first served basis, so if you want your choice of seats, you should arrive early.


How do I book the Fantasmic! Dining Experience?


 You can book the package now for dates 180 days in advance by calling 1-407-WDW-DINE.



Purchasing Tickets at Disney World - 2009-08-30 -  Tickets are another surprise when you get to Disney.  Are you aware of the price to get into the parks?  Are you aware that there are many different levels of tickets.  Do you know the difference between Park Hopper Pass and a One Park Per Day Pass.  It will pay to learn the difference.  I do not like going to different parks in one day but my best friend hits two or three parks every day he is there, and he is there three times a year.  It all depends on your level of energy, plans to rest on your holiday or the demands of your children.  Park Hopper Tickets cost the most and are great if you are going to several different parks and want to go to Disney Quest, water parks, Sports and do it every day.  Park Hoppers do not expire at the end of your holiday I believe so you can use it the next time you go down there.  Or you can get a single park pass that is much less expensive.  The more days you buy the less expensive it is per day at the end.  You can get these tickets as well as non expire tickets but that raises the price.  What I suggest is that you buy the most days you can and make it non expire, then in a couple of years when you come back you can still use those tickets.

It can get very pricey if you do not plan out your trip.  It you are going for two weeks you will find it cheaper each and every day so buy the 10 day ticket - it is like an extra 2.00 a day at 10 days.  Something silly like that.  What we do is this.  I get every point that I can on Air Miles.  I buy all my gas at Shell with a BMO Mosaic card with Air Miles.  I use my air miles card at the pump and the Mosaic card so that I get air miles twice each time.  Then I buy my 7 day Disney Park passes from Air Miles as a reward.  I buy the one park a day pass rather than the "Park Hopper Pass" because going to more than one park a day is more than a parent should be asked to do.  I then go to the park customer service window at the first day we go into a park.  It is the service wicket not the ticket wicket.  I ask to up grade the tickets I got from Air Miles and make the tickets so that they never expire.  It costs about $117.00 for a 7 day pass.  Then we use the tickets for two trips to disney so your next trip the tickets are free.  The 7 day pass is only about 2250 points for an adult.  Now if you plan before you go to Disney what parks you are going to go to and what waterparks you are going to go to then you can conserve your tickets.  For a seven day trip we plan on staying at the hotel at the pool on the first day.  You get used to the heat and have fun swimming on the first day.  Then pick a park to go to the second day.  Then go to Typhoon Lagoon the third day cause it is so much fun in the wave pool.  Then on the fourth day go to Downtown Disney shopping and then back to the pool.  Then pick another park to go to on the fifth day.  Then on the sixth day go to the Magic Kingdom and finish with a bang.  Then on the seventh day you are usually in the pool in the morning and then packing for the trip home, then on the plane.  That way you have used 3 park days and paid cash for the water park.  You will be too exhausted and wont be rested at all when you get home if you go to a park each day.  You walk about 40,000 steps in each park, we have measured it.  If you must buy your tickets, do it in advance from home.  It will save you the taxes on the sale if you buy them online and have them sent to Ontario.  Plus you can buy them in advance and spread out the cost of the trip by buying months ahead of the trip.

Take Souvenirs With You - 2009-09-01 - A quick tip to save a bundle of money.  Months before your trip go onto  Go to the sale area and look for inexpensive trinkets.  You can get specialty hats made up, get group t-shirts, get hoodies, get coverups for the pool.  There are some really fabulous deals.  I suggest that you get a bunch of things and take them down with you.  When you leave for the day at the parks put one of the trinkets out so that the kids find them when they get home.  They will be getting some of the stuff that they are looking at all day and you are not spending the huge amount of money that they want you to spend.

Free Dining - 2009-09-01 - My best deal ever was to get a value resort, park tickets and dining plan all in one plan.  Disney needs to fill its parks with people in slow periods so they offer a special deal where they throw in the Dining Plan.  What a deal.  Look for this at the end of August, Sept - Oct.  It is also hurricane season so book wisely.  We have only had to leave and run for home once even though we have travelled there in hurricane season several times.  Value resorts are great, a little boring, not a great feature restaurant but more than adequate rooms.  The value resort pool does not have a slide.  But if you can catch a great cheap flight on Spirit, catch one of these free dining deals for 5 or 7 nights you can truly have an inexpensive holiday at Disney.  It is between 1200.00 and 1400.00 for 5 nights all inclusive.  All you have to do then to make your holiday inexpensive is stay away from the shopping.  See below to control that cost.

Fast pass+ - On My Disney Experience you can book three Fastpass for each day.  If you don't do that you can still do it because sometimes when you visit the parks the most popular rides have long line ups.  I have waited an hour and a half to ride Buzz Lightyear and that is insane.  What I should have done is go get a FastPass and walk past the line later in the day.  Here is how it works:  when you get to the park one of you takes all the park passes and goes to the most popular ride that all of you want to ride.  Go to the little yellow Fast Pass wickets that are usually beside the entrance of the ride and put in your park pass.  It will dispense a ticket with a time on it later in the day, usually gives you an hour window.  When you return during that time you walk past all the riders waiting in line and go almost to the front of the line.  You wait for a little bit and get on the ride almost immediately.  It is so cool walking past all those hot bored people.  Be humble though cause they will walk past you on one of the other rides on the park so no gloating.  Here are the tips.  We go on some rides where a couple of us do not ride.  We give those fast pass tickets to the people who want to ride so they can go in twice.  In Epcot get to Soaring right away cause by 10:00 the fastpass is set to 5:00 pm.  Or you can go to Test Track.  In Magic Kingdom you would want to go to Big Thunder Mountain or Splash Mountain or Space Mountain where the line ups are huge.  In Disney Studios go to Rocking Roller Coaster or Tower of Terror.  Lots of people dont ride Tower of Terror so I dont think the line ups are that long.  In Animal Kingdom go immediately to Asia and get on the  Everest roller coaster.  You can only hold one fast pass per time zone.  You have to wait till the first time has started before you can get another one. So if it says that you can return at 1 then at 1:01 you can get an additional fastpass.  That is the only way that you can have two at a time.

Dinner and a Movie - Disney Springs - Let me tell you about a hidden jewel in Downtown Disney.  For $16.00 a movie we purchased tickets to go see a movie - as it turned out an inappropriate movie for my 14 year old - my mom did the same with me when I was 14 and I never forgot it - and we got Dinner and a Movie seats.  This is really cool and will be a regular event for us.  For $100.00 for dinner for four we had a blast.  They take your liquor order first and it arrives when you are reading over your menu in the most comfortable seats imaginable.  You sit in front of a long table that is four seats wide.  You order your dinner from a menu that is presented to you by your waitress.  When it is ready during the movie they deliver your hot food to you.  The food was great quality and huge amounts.  We loved doing this.


Gospel Brunch at the House of Blues - Ha, here is another one that I almost forgot.  I try to find something new each year for us to do.  It helps to distinguish one trip from the other.  This time I was really looking forward to the Gospel Brunch at the House of Blues.  I have heard from the Thomas's that it was a lot of fun.  I booked our tickets really early and we got seats in the first table right dead in the middle of the stage facing the stage.  Perfect seats.  The food was really really good.  The omelette bar was great - the hot meat station had ham, roast beef and turkey - the other stuff was just delicious.  But the band - holy cow - they were great.  And to my friend the lead singer, yes I am your friend.  He kept asking me that during one of his songs.

The music was a mixture of gospel blended with rock and pop.  Filled the stage with people playing music, singing music, background singers and additional lead singers and a free motion dancer.  They even let the 3 year old come up on stage and steal the show.  I absolutely loved the experience.  It could not have been better.  Pet Peeve again - people were not tipping the staff.  I dont know if they thought that the tip was included or if it was a buffet so there was no need to tip or because tickets were bought through the box office but nothing was being left for the servers.  I found our girl and slipped them some money, but  did not have enough in my pocket because in Disney there is little need for cash, just your room card

Illuminations cruise! - Epcot - 2012-03-26-

 Finally got to book the Illuminations cruise!  I have been trying to do this for ten years.  Well, in honesty we were trying to book Breathless as a cruise but this pontoon boat will suffice.  We are going to have dessert delivered down to the boat so that we can sit out under the France - England bridge and watch the Epcot fireworks.

Here is a secret hint on how to win at Buzz Lightyear ride. This is only for those of you who have taken the time to come to my blog to read about Disney.  Dont tell the kids in your family and you can win on the ride each and every time and amaze them!!  Hey, how many times can we beat our kids at anything electronic?  Here is your chance;


First room:

The big orange robot on the left side. Shoot for the target inside of his left hand.


Then hit the claw before you leave to earn 100,000 points.


If you hit both several times, Steve said you should earn 500,000-600,000 points before leaving that first room!!


In the second room:


Look for the volcano. The target there is worth 50,000 points.


Next, find then monster in a box. That target is worth 50,000 points.


In the third room:


The target on the bottom of Zurg’s ship is worth 100,000 points


In the last scene, where Zurg is animated, there is a target near his head worth 75,000.


Michael, who was our guide on our second day, pointed out that by turning your car around and shooting from the reverse angles, you can get better aim at each of those targets, so get moving!


Whether you want to share these tips with your kids is up to you. But following these tips, someone is going to earn a LOT of points and have a blast!  One last thing - just hold down the trigger and get a continuous stream of shots.  Also hit the same target over and over if you have its range because you will score each time.  Good Luck Parents!!

2011-09-10 - When to go to Disneyworld? -  We had a great time in Disney.  It was the last week in August.  The crowds thinned out a lot after the weekend due to the Americans returning to school.  Well, we dodged the Hurricane Irene.  You take a real chance of disappointment if you go this time of year because you are tempting fate and the hurricanes.  But it things work out you get a holiday that is not crowded, and one that is not as expensive, look for deals.  This year we voted and decided to go even though Irene was supposed to land right on top of Orlando.  What could it hurt?  Maybe two days of rain.  The Hurricane stayed out to sea and really barely affected Orlando.  Score.  We did have about two hours of rain almost every day but at temps like 96-98 and real feel of 109 it was a relief.

2009-09-19 - The Boardwalk is a large area of great entertainment, a little for everyone.  It is on the water side of the Boardwalk Inn Resort and looks out to the Beach Club Resort across the water.  It is a great place to stay as you can catch a ferry to the International Entrance of Epcot or go the other way to the Swan and Dolphin Resort where they have some of the best restaurants on the property.


BOARDWALK ENTERTAINMENT -- Disney's BoardWalk is home to a wide range of activities that differs from day to day. Seasonally, you will find midway games, jugglers, entertainers, hand wax molds, food vendors, magic shows. Surrey bike-riding along the Boardwalk is a popular past time. At night, the night clubs and restaurants spring to life. For more details on the various venues scattered around the BoardWalk and in the entire Epcot Resort Area, follow the links below:

 The Buskers are really great, mimes, magic acts and they all play to the crowd as it gathers around them.  We have enjoyed them a lot.  We also like to shop here but more for candy, pastries and DD got her hair braided with coloured strings here.  I have seen guys draw funny portraits and we have had great dinners here in Flying Fish - have the steak it melts in your mouth.  They have just opened a new restaurant here based on mediteranean food but it looked a little strange for our family.


 Atlantic Dance is open five nights a week. Tuesday through Saturday there's a DJ Dance Party with open requests. Closed Sunday and Monday. Open 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. Call 407-939-2444 for more information. There's NO cover charge and you must be 21 to enter. 407-939-2444.


 Boardwalk Buskers   are an assortment of live entertainers who perform 6:30 - 10:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturdays outdoors on the BoardWalk. From sword swallowers and jugglers to magicians and strolling musicians! For more information on Disney's BoardWalk live entertainment, visit Steve Soares' WDW Entertainment Website.


 ESPN Club features 100 screens -- there are even TVs in the bathrooms! -- with all of the latest sporting events. There are regularly scheduled Trivia Nights and Sports Talk Live! shows, with   live ESPN sports hosts bringing celebrity interviews, game analysis and sports trivia contests. They also feature NFL Playoff games, up to the Super Bowl. On the menu, you'll find the usual suspects: sandwiches, burgers and fries, plus, a variety of salads.  Call 407-939-1177 for more information.


  Fantasia Gardens Miniature Golf -- Fantasia Gardens is 18 holes of whimsical miniature golf for the whole family, with a dancing hippo and xylophone stairs. Or, if you're looking for a more challenging experience, there's Disney's Fairways -- 18 holes that will test your skill a bit more with hazards, traps and roughs. The complex is open 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. (may vary according to season). A round of golf costs $10.65 (including tax) for adults, $8.52 (including tax) for children 3-9.   Discount of 50% off for Annual Passholder and up to three guests at Disney's Fantasia Gardens Miniature Golf Course.


Jellyrolls -- A sing-along bar, with dueling piano players who take requests. Weekends can be SRO, so try to get there no later than 9! Jellyrolls is open from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. nightly. There's a $10 cover charge, but no drink minimum. Must be 21. And tell Ray we said HI!


Midway Games -- located along the main BoardWalk. Games of chance, with stuffed animals and prizes.


Surrey Bike Rental -- One of the favorite activities for families and groups is renting these pretty, fringed surrey bikes on the BoardWalk. You can pedal your way around Crescent Lake, over to the Yacht and Beach Club, or the Swan/Dolphin. (Surrey bikes are not allowed on the walkway to Epcot's World Showcase.) Rentals are available on the Boardwalk itself, until 10:30 p.m. every night.



The Yard Arcade -- located next to the ESPN Club. This gameroom has an urban playground theme and features the latest in sports-themed video games. And so you don't miss a minute of the latest sports action, the audio for the games being televised next door is piped in.


2009-09-19 - Surfing - Ok, here is a cool tip that very few people know about - In Typhoon Lagoon you can rent the entire wave pool for yourself and 11 more people for 2 hours first thing in the morning.  They supply a teacher, surf boards, on land training and in the water supervision, life guards etc.  You get the help you need to get up and surf.  The waves are set to max for your experience and it is one of the best kept secrets.  If you are going with a group and are willing to get up and going early you can have a great time.  It is 150.00 split between 12.  Now, you do have to leave the park at the end or produce your tickets and stay for the day.  But the 150.00 does not include staying all day.  But heck if you have learned to surf, then off you go to a park and have fun.



 Description: This is a wonderful way to get a taste of surfing. Craig Carroll's Coco Beach Surfing School is fun and is held at Disney's Typhoon Lagoon Water Park. You must be 8 years of age or older and a  very good swimmer.  Two instructors are available at each class.


Days and Times:  Every Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday mornings from 7:30 am to 10:00 am.


Directions:  Surfing lessons are held at Disney's Typhoon Lagoon Water Park.


Cost:  $135.00 per person tax is included however admission into Typhoon Lagoon after class is completed is an extra charge.


 Reservations: Reservations can be made by calling 1 407 WDW-PLAY.


2009-09-19 - Bass Fishing - We went bass fishing on the lake in front of the Contemporary and Polynesian.  Our guide was really fantastic, she was professional fisher who competed professionally.  For the money, I think about 260.00 you can take up to 5 people.   They supply all equipment, a drink, bait fish etc.  We were out for about 2 hours.  We caught a lot of fish, it was catch and release.


Bippidi Boppidi Boutique - Downtown Disney - 2009-09-19 - This is a great treat for little girls, and now boys too!.    This is a salon in the main Disney Downtown Shopping store.  The hair dressers are really friendly.  They do a great job of making each little girl feel and look special.  Parents can go in and sit and watch the performance on a couch in the middle of the room.  This makes the little ones feel comfortable and they allow you time to take pictures.  One tip - when you register at your hotel or when you see a photographer in a park get them to take picture of your group then get the Photopass card.  When you go to the salon there is a photographer that will take all the pictures that you want and just zap them onto your account.  You can then buy all your pictures when you get home or even before you leave.  I suggest that you wait till you get home then you can go online and edit your pictures with their backgrounds/foreground.  The photographers are all over the park and they use the most famous features in the background and they are very experienced and friendly.  The disk at the end costs about 120.00.  If you are daring you can wait till just before your eligibility period expires and they drop the price in half.  The Salon offers a wide range of products.  You can buy a plan that gives you the gown, the big hair, the slippers etc for a huge amount of money, or you can just get colour, extensions or look like a rock star.  They have expanded their offerings.  Their menu just expanded as I read this week.


The Disney My Experience - you can create an account at home and link your reservations for hotel and dining and make Fastpass+ reservations from your computer, iphone or laptop at home.  It is all in one place and you are supposed to be able to view your reservations in the parks.  Unfortunately the wireless kept kicking us out and we could not access the app information while we were in the park.  Make sure that you use the Fastpass+ before you head to Florida.  This guarantees that you will get into three attractions even on the busiest days.  We never waited more than 5 minutes in line for these attractions even at Christmas time.  use it use it use it.   If you cannot get into one of your attractions they will update your My Disney Experience and allow you to use the Fastpass on any other attraction.  All of your Fastpass+ passes are all loaded onto your band so it is so easy to use.Tables in Wonderland - 2012-09-15 -  If you are a DVC member here is a deal that cannot be beat.  Get 20% off at 100 restaurants around the property.  Buy a Tables in Wonderland card at Guest Services.  You get a discount on food and liquor for up to 9 people in your party.  You have to pay for the whole thing but everyone gets the discount.  It costs you 100.00 but is good for 13 months.  We saved a bundle.  You have to remember to take the card with you.  Some places demand to see the card, others will believe you but don't take a chance - take the card with you to the restaurant.  Tell the server up front - it does not diminish the level of services - they just think that you are smart.Boat Rentals - Rent the boats for the kids, must be 14, they wont forget it.  Lots to do. Waterskiing, Wakeboarding & Parasailing  Great instructions and lessons with world champion Sammy Duvall and his instructors.  Waterskiing  Includes instructors, boat, and equipment. Water Skiing•½ HOUR $80.00/ Walk-ups only•Hourly $140.00/ up to 5 guests•PREMIUM $165.00/ Min. 2 hours, includes pick-up•Also, they now offer Personal Watercraft or “wave-runners” at the Contemporary Resort.   Parasailing  Flights can reach an altitude of 450 feet and last up to 10 minutes. Solo flyers must weigh a minimum of 100 pounds. Children under 14 years old must be accompanied by an adult. Parasailing  • Single Flight : Regular- $90.00 per flight (8-10 minutes at 450 feet) Premium- $ 112.50 per flight (10-12 minutes at 600 feet) • Tandem Flight: Regular- $140.00 per flight (8-10 minutes at 450 feet) Premium- $162.50 per flight (10-12 minutes at 600 feet) Personal Watercraft or “wave-runners” at Disney's Contemporary Resort•GUIDED TOURS $100.00/ Up to 3 guests•FREE RIDE $100.00/ Up to 3 guests•$65.00/ Walk-up ½ hr. Marina Rentals  Mercury Marine WaterMouse boats, sailboats, Pontoon boats, canopy boats, pedal boats, row boats, and canoes are available to rent at the following Disney Resort Hotels:  Disney's Beach Club Resort Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort Disney's Contemporary Resort Disney's Port Orleans Resort - Riverside Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa Disney's Polynesian Resort Disney's Port Orleans Resort - French Quarter Disney's Wilderness Lodge Disney's Yacht Club Resort Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground Disney's Old Key West Resort Downtown Disney Marketplace  Cost - To be determined by which craft is rented.  Reservations - Not required.  The buses worked well but when necessary grab a cab.  Why go to a fancy dinner on the bus system when you will be so much more relaxed if you arrive in a cab.  We always ask for a Taxi Van.  You may wait for a couple of minutes but you aren't jammed into a regular taxi in your good clothes.  They are always available.