EPCOT

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3 Steps to Save for Your Trip to Disney! By Guest Author Poet Mase

Published May 28, 2014 by Disneyways.com

3 Steps to Save for Your Trip to Disney! ~ Written By Poet Mase

So, the decision’s been made…you’re going to Disney! Congratulations! A world of fun and excitement awaits! Whether you’ll be staying for a day or a week, you’re in for a great time!

But first, you’re going to need to make sure that your funds will hold out for as long as you’d like them to. It’s no fun when money worries intrude on your time at the Happiest (or Most Magical) Place on Earth, and a little planning before the trip will keep the good times rolling. So, here are three steps to ensure that the magic never ends on your Disney vacation:

Set a Savings Goal!

Saving for a trip to Disney is a little like running a race. If you don’t know where the finish line is, you’ll have a hard time finishing. By defining a concrete goal, you can craft a timeline for your savings, making it easier to monitor how far you’ve come and how far you have left to go.

When setting your savings goal, it’s important to consider all of the expenses that go with a Disney vacation so you don’t end up kicking yourself later. What time of year are you going to visit? How long are planning to stay? Which hotel or resort fits your budget and preference? Which parks do you want to visit? Is a dining plan a good option for your family? Will there be any money left over for snacks and souvenirs? Tally up all of the relevant financial considerations, and you’ll be well on your way to a great vacation!

Stay on Track!

Just as important as defining your savings goal is making a plan for how you’ll get from here to there. There are a hundred daily temptations threatening to drain your growing vacation fund, so your best defense is devise a savings strategy.

If you have room in your regular budget, the best way to save for your family’s Disney adventure is to set aside regular contributions directly from your paycheck each pay period. By making automatic contributions, there’s less temptation to divert your dollars elsewhere. The key here is to make contributing to your vacation fund into a routine, regardless of the amount of money actually put aside every week or month, so even if it’s only five or ten dollars, stick to the schedule!

Once you start contributing, though, stick to your saving strategy by making your chosen account, cookie jar, or spot under the mattress untouchable. Staying true to your saving strategy can be difficult when unforeseeable expenses crop up, so try getting ahead of the game by identifying opportunities to spend less on daily purchases. Can you nurse one cup of coffee throughout the day instead of buying a second in the afternoon? How about cooking up some pasta instead of ordering take-out one night a week? If your resolve ever wavers, just imagine the look on everyone’s faces when they’re walking down Main Street U.S.A. after arriving at Disney on your vacation!

Plan for Fun!

Now that you’ve got your goal in sight and you’re chipping away with regular contributions, it’s time to think about ways to maximize your ability to pay for fun at the park.

When I was a kid, my family’s approach was to build a “slush fund” for fun things that would normally be out of the question for a family as frugal as ours – things like snacks, souvenirs, and video games. Whenever someone had some spare change – or even a few extra dollars – he or she would toss it into a large plastic jug. After almost a year of watching our slush fund grow, we counted it all up and were amazed by how much we had saved!

The slush fund is a great way to avoid tantrums and grumbling tummies on your trip, but it’s also a good way to get the entire family involved in saving for your Disney vacation. If the trip is going to be a surprise or if your kids are already responsible savers, you can even choose not to divulge the true purpose of the slush fund until just before the trip. Watch everyone’s excitement when the big secret is revealed!

Whatever your financial means may be, making a plan to pay for your trip to Disney is hugely important. With a little planning and self-discipline, you and your family will be rewarded with a magical vacation full of smiles and memories!

What are your favorite ways to plan for a Disney vacation? Share your ideas in the comments below!

Poet Mase is a writer of fiction whose passion for life translates directly to his work. A firm believer in the power of story to explain and to evolve notions of the human condition, Poet favors allegorical narrative structures that develop meaningful themes while relentlessly driving captivating plot lines. Poet is a founding member of the Order of the Raconteur and is currently working on several independent projects in the adventure and science fiction genres. His stories run the gamut from flash fiction to novel-length tales.
Prior to focusing on his creative work full-time, Poet wrote for IGN.com‘s Comics channel, contributing comic book reviews, interviews, and the occasional editorial as a freelance writer. Poet can be reached on Twitter at @PoetMase, on Facebook, and via his blog at http://poetmase.wordpress.com/

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Megabus Trip ~ Written by Tamara Botzum

Published April 10, 2014 by Disneyways.com

Let’s face it, a vacation to Walt Disney World can suck your wallet dry. Or does it have to?  I decided to try to find the least expensive way to get to Walt Disney World, spend two nights, and visit one park.  It’s cold in northeast Ohio and I need to see some palm trees. I even found a friend who can take the time to travel with me.
First, the transportation.  Flying is out because that would be around $200 round trip.   Amtrak isn’t an option either because that is more than the flight!  $376 to be exact.  Then I remembered a very affordable bus line called Megabus.  I can go from Cleveland to Atlanta Georgia, then hop another Megabus to Orlando.  The total round trip cost will be $98 per person. Now I’m getting somewhere!
I checked out the Walt Disney World website and found a discount on a room-only reservations. The cost of a Value resort is within my budget.  I booked a room at Pop Century resort and added a ticket for one park, Magic Kingdom.  The cost per person is $275.
So right now, my costs are $336  for the entire trip.  I anticipate the cost of a public bus to be under $10 as we will need to take one to Downtown Disney so we can get a Disney bus to our Value resort.
This isn’t going to be the fastest way to get to my resort. It will take approximately 16 hours on the Megabus to Atlanta. Then, the 6 hour layover until our Orlando bus arrives.  The ride to Orlando will be approximately 9 hours. It will be a long trip.

THE TRIP

Long doesn’t begin to describe it. Sitting for endless hours on a bus with sketchy or non working wifi isn’t easy. There was a bus change in Cincinnati, Ohio.  For 45 minutes we transferees huddled together on a dark and dirty street. Fortunately, the next bus arrived on time.

This Megabus took us to Georgia with stops in Kentucky, Tennessee and North Carolina.  We finally arrived in downtown Atlanta at 6am. Now, much isn’t open at this time of day.  Upon the suggestion of a local, we found our way to a nearby hospital and chose to rest there. The time here passed quickly and pleasantly.  We even had breakfast and then a light lunch.

We finally arrived in Orlando at 9:30pm at the Orlando Lynx transportation center where we caught a local bus to Downtown Disney for $2.    From there, we took a Pop Century resort bus to check in.  By midnight, we were fast asleep.

Total travel time ended up being 32 hours of bus travel one way.

The time at Walt Disney World was delightful. But not perfect. My issues of MS, lack of proper sleep on the bus, and a disagreement with my stomach, I began to feel the toll of my long bus ride.  I wish I could say I endured the long tortuous Megabus ride back to Ohio, but I didn’t. I became so ill, I chose to fly home after we checked out.  This added $450 to my inexpensive trip including the cost of a hotel room, taxi ride to the hotel, and my one way flight home.  No cheap trip goes unpunished.

Would I ever take such a bus trip again?  No. I prefer not to.

Tamara Botzum is a graduate of The Disney College of Knowledge and is happily selling Disney travel through CruiseDirections.com. Tamara and husband Spencer have visited Walt Disney World over eight times so far. Their first trip together was in 2006.  They have also visited Disneyland twice.  When Tamara is not selling Disney vacations, she enjoys reading, interacting with Disney friends on Facebook, traveling, writing short stories and crafting.

Tamra

The Muppets Most Wanted – Great Constantine Caper

Published April 9, 2014 by Disneyways.com

Have you heard? For a limited time, there’s a new interactive adventure at Epcot! Projected to last only during the The Flower and Garden Festival 2014 – you can help capture Constantine in the new Muppets Most Wanted – Great Constantine Caper! To find the kiosk where you will begin, just enter World Showcase, start walking towards the Mexico Pavilion. You will see it on your left. Cast members will ask you to choose from 2 different adventures, hand you a passport, and send you on your way. Big thanks to our Man-On-The-Scene reporter Ramon Rodriguez of ThemeParkConcierges.com for the photos taken inside Epcot today. He described the Constantine Caper as simple but fun! I can’t wait to check it out for myself – how about you?

 

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An Interview With Author Ridley Pearson on the Disney Parks Podcast

Published March 25, 2014 by Disneyways.com

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Episode 107 of the Disney Parks Podcast is our very special interview with author Ridely Pierson. March 24, 2013 was a pretty big day for me. I got to have lunch at Epcot with my very sweet friend and because of timing – I was able to skype with Ridley and Tony for this interview from my super (not so) secret location inside Disney’s Beach Club Resort!

Ridley Pearson, is truly an amazing man with an amazing career. He has brought a lot of joy to thousands (and thousands!) of people. I think you can tell how nervous I was. Special thanks to my friend Beatrice Feeney for supplying us with a couple of great questions for Ridley.

You can catch this episode by visiting HERE. Look for the small grey circle with the sideways white triangle inside. Click on that circle and make sure your speakers are on. The show will begin immediately.

Check out Ridley’s blog and all of the wonderful books and products that he has available HERE.

Thanks for tuning in and have a magical day!

Egg-ceptionally Fun Offering Returns to Disney!

Published March 23, 2014 by Disneyways.com

Remember the egg hunt at Epcot from last year? If not, check out the Disneyways write ups Part One and Part Two from 2013!

This year it’s back, with a few changes.What can you egg-spect? From April 10 – 20, you’ll be able to search for special hidden “eggs” themed to Disney characters at Epcot.

The fun takes place at Epcot in Heritage Manor (American Adventure Pavilion), Disney Traders, International Gateway, Pin Central and Port of Entry.
There are a dozen reasons for you to love the event this year! New characters have been added, but it’s up to you to find them. Whether you choose to hunt for eggs or not, return your map to Disney Traders in Epcot and participate in an ‘egg-scramble’ to pick up your surprise.

Disney is hinting that your prize will be one of these adorable guys!

eggs

You can purchase as many maps as you’d like—while supplies last—and play again and again! No discounts apply. You should also know that separate admission is required to enter Disney Theme Parks and the experience is subject to restrictions and change without notice.

Disclaimer: Disneyways.com provides exciting Disney news and information sprinkled with Disney treasures you won’t find anywhere else. Please see our full mission statement HERE.  We strive to bring you original content that is from our unique point of view. However, from time to time, data such as menu items, ticket prices, dates, and event notifications may be repeated verbatim on other sites. If you feel that any of the photos or content listed here on Disneyways.com by myself or any of our guest authors is copied fromoriginal content from your site and you were not credited – please contact me directly at Disneyways@Disneways.com and we will work with you to resolve the issue.

Enter to Win a $200 Disney Gift Card and Disney Themed Prize Pack!

Published March 1, 2014 by Disneyways.com

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That’s right! It’s our biggest giveaway to date! One person will win it all and it might as well be you!

During March of 2014 you can enter to win a $200 Disney Gift Card

and a Disney Themed Prize Pack! Total value $470 for one winner!

Our thanks to these wonderful companies for helping us make this giveaway possible!

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CLICK HERE TO BE TAKEN TO THE RAFFLECOPTER SO YOU CAN ENTER!

Contest ends March 28, 2014 

3 Quick Tips for Keeping Fit on Your Disney Vacation ~ By Guest Author Scarlet

Published February 27, 2014 by Disneyways.com

With every step in Disneyworld you face temptation, extensive buffets, delicious desserts and enough fast food to last a lifetime – all of which are practically impossible to resist.
Now you are in the happiest place in the world, so I by no means suggest that you deny yourself – but after months of planning (and, if you’re anything like me, a few panic gym sessions to get water park ready) the last thing you want is to ruin your trip by feeling bloated and sluggish and uncomfortable in your clothes.
water park
First of all, the probability is that you’ll put on a little weight over the course of your Disney holiday – so I certainly wouldn’t advise saving your tightest, figure hugging outfit for the last night – but here are a few cheeky ways to help you to get a bit of exercise in to ensure the weight gain is a just pound or two rather than half a stone.
Now, if you’re lucky enough to find yourself staying at one of the luxurious Disney Spa resorts you’ll be able to take advantage of the on-site gyms… but, if you want my personal opinion, the last thing you want to do is to waste valuable Disney time slaving away on the treadmill. So here are my top three ways to exercise without taking away from the magic…
Get Your Walk On!
You’d be surprised at the amount of walking that you do every day, not just the hours upon hours you spend roaming around the parks but, (if you’re staying on-site) the countless trips back and forth to your hotel room for various forgotten items, outfit changes and the essential unlimited diet coke refills from the food court. If you want a bit of perspective then invest in a $15 pedometer to wear on your first day – it’ll help give you an insight how many calories you are burning off on an average day and you may find out that you don’t need to feel guilty about that dessert after all! That said, please don’t start wearing your pedometer everywhere you go; ladies, clipping it to the elastic of your knickers under your favourite dress is a definite no-no, unless you want to look like you have an unsightly growth!
Get Clenching!
This is a bit of a strange one, but make the most of those precious half hours that you spend queuing and clench your bum! A few tight squeeze and releases a day and you’ll find you’ve got an ass than can rival Pippa Middleton’s in no time!
Find your inner child!
The water parks and resort pools are a fabulous way to cool down after a long morning in the parks – not to mention a source of great photos – but all that running up the steps to the slides will burn off a surprising amount of calories – and if anyone asks, it’s interval training not immaturity!
Most importantly, enjoy yourself and don’t let worrying about your weight affect your holiday in the best place on earth!
***

Ever since her first trip aged 10, Scarlett has been WDW obsessed. She’s a huge advocate that Disney isn’t just for kids and also the author of Scarlet Wonderland, a lifestyle blog for people who are fabulously imperfect, up for a laugh and don’t take themselves too seriously.

A Can’t Miss Webinar for Anyone Doing Disney on a Special Diet

Published February 24, 2014 by Disneyways.com

Sarah Norris and I are working on a new webinar series for Disney vacation planners and Disney guests on a special diet. It will be all about helping you get the most from your dining experiences at the Walt Disney World Resort. We’re kicking it off with a trial run this Thursday, 2/27 at 7:30 pm EST. Sarah will be giving a brief presentation – but the bulk of this session will be for us to listen to the agents. We want to find out what sort of information they need most and how they would like for us to package that information for them. We want to help them work smarter and not harder – in addition to helping their guests with special diets have the most magical vacation possible. This session will last no longer than 1 hour. Any travel agents or guests who would like to attend should fill out this form.

AK Special Diets Kiosk

 

Please check out this facebook  Post  for a link to our latest Disney Parks Podcast Episode featuring Sarah Norris.

Breaking News! 2014 Flower and Garden Festival Menus Announced

Published February 17, 2014 by Disneyways.com

Breaking News! Flower and Garden Festival menus are here! For those who don’t know, this is the Outdoor Kitchens’ second appearance at the Flower and Food…I mean Food and Garden…I mean FLOWER AND GARDEN FESTIVAL! 🙂

The Outdoor Kitchens were introduced last year under the name, “Garden Marketplace Kiosks.” These Kitchens serve up delicious, fresh food and beverages that gather their inspiration from springtime flavors. This year there are some fantastic new dishes, mixed in with some previous favorites. New this year is Urban Farm Eats , and it appears that the Intermission Cafe in the Festival Center is officially included in the fun. It will offer up quite a few tasty treats, too!

Photo 1
Here are the full menus for each of the Outdoor Kitchens:

Jardin de Fiestas (Mexico Pavilion) – this booth offers tapas that are spring light and cooked just right.

  • Tacos al pastor – Corn tortilla filled with achiote-marinated pork, garnished with grilled diced pineapple, onions and cilantro
  • Quesadilla de hongos con queso – Flour tortilla filled with mushrooms and cheese
  • Flan de chocolate Abuelita – Mexican chocolate custard
  • Tecate draft beer
  • White Mexican sangria
  • Franbuesa (raspberry) margarita on the rocks
  • Tequila flight – blanco, reposado and añejo
  • Dasani bottled water

Lotus House (China Pavilion) – try a garden-fresh take on spring-influenced flavors.

  • Beijing-style candied strawberries
  • Spring pancake with grilled chicken and green apple
  • Vegetable spring rolls
  • Popping bubble tea
  • Kung Fu Punch – Vodka and triple sec with mango and orange juice
  • South Sea Storm – Guava juice with light and dark rum
  • Plum wine
  • Tsing-Tao beer
  • Lychee aerated water

Florida Fresh (Germany Pavilion) – Savor fresh Florida ingredients that are grown and produced locally

  • Watermelon salad with pickled onions, BW Farm baby arugula, feta cheese and balsamic reduction
  • Shrimp and stone ground grits with andouille sausage, sweet corn, tomatoes and cilantro
  • Florida kumquat pie
  • Watermelon passion fruit slush featuring Simply Lemonade®
  • Hurricane Class 5 White Sangria featuring Simply Lemonade, Florida Orange Groves
  • Garda Italian Wine Blend, Quantum Leap Winery
  • Rogue Valley Pinot Noir, Quantum Leap Winery
  • Blonde Ale, Orlando Brewing Company
  • Cotton Mouth Belgian Style Witbier, Swamp Head Brewery
  • Feast of Flowers Farmhouse Ale, Florida Beer Company
  • Florida Avenue Blueberry, Cold Storage Craft Brewery
  • Beer Flight – Blonde Ale, Cotton Mouth Belgian Style Witbier, Feast of Flowers Farmhouse Ale and Florida Avenue Blueberry
  • Simply Orange

Primavera Kitchen (Italy Pavilion) – Sample some of this country’s many flavors.

  • Caprese – Fior di latte mozzarella, roasted peppers and olio verde
  • Three cheese manicotti – Egg pasta stuffed with ricotta, mozzarella, parmesan, tomato sauce and béchamel
  • Torta di ricotta – Lemon cheesecake with limoncello-marinated strawberries
  • Placido Pinot Grigio
  • Placido Chianti
  • Bosco del Merlo Prosecco
  • White peach bellini – Prosecco and white peach puree
  • Strawberry rossini – Prosecco and marinated strawberries
  • Frozen Italian primavera – Assorted fruit slushy with limoncello and vodka
  • Moretti Lager
  • Moretti La Rossa

The Smokehouse: Barbecue and Brews (American Adventure Pavilion) – Celebrate the truly American tradition of barbeque, paired with craft brews from across the country.

  • Pulled pig slider with cole slaw
  • Smoked beef brisket with collard greens and jalapeño corn bread
  • Smoked turkey “rib”
  • “Piggylicous” bacon cupcake with maple frosting and pretzel crunch featuring Nueske’s Applewood Smoked Bacon
  • Magic Hat #9, Magic Hat Brewing
  • Maduro, Cigar City Brewing
  • Fat Tire, New Belgium Brewing Company
  • Billy’s Chilies, Twisted Pine Brewing Company
  • Beer Flight – Magic Hat #9, Maduro, Fat Tire and Billy’s Chilies
  • The Original Rib Shack Red Wine

Hanami (Japan Pavilion) – enjoying delicate bites and refreshing beverages.

  • Frushi – Fresh pineapple, strawberries and melon, rolled with coconut rice, topped with raspberry sauce, sprinkled with toasted coconut and served with whipped cream on the side
  • Temaki hand roll – Sliced Panko fried chicken, curry sauce, rice and pickled julienne carrots wrapped with Nori
  • Hanami sushi – A flavorful combination of salmon, scallop and beef-topped rice balls served atop a shiso violet sauce
  • Japanese puffed rice cakes with green tea whipped cream and azuki
  • Kirin draft beer
  • Pinepple Paradise with Yuzu Slushie – Frozen blend of sweet sake, pineapple juice and crème, flavored with a hint of Yuzu citrus juice
  • Orange Mango Slushie – Frozen blend of Nigori sake, mango and orange juice

Taste of Marrakesh (Morocco Pavilion) – Discover the tastes on North African spices.

  • Lamb brewat roll with prunes and sesame
  • Harissa chicken kebab with couscous salad
  • Baghrir – Moroccan pancake with honey, almonds and argan oil
  • Mint iced tea
  • White sangria
  • Guerrouane red
  • Casa Beer
  • Desert Rose – Sparkling wine with pomegranate liqueur

Fleur de Lys (France Pavilion) – Indulge your senses in France’s most magnificent culinary masterpieces.

  • Gnocchi Parisien à la Provençal – Parisian-style dumplings with vegetables and mushrooms
  • Confit de canard, pommes de terre Sarladaise – Pulled duck confit with garlic and parsley potatoes
  • Macaron à la fleur d’ Oranger – Orange blossom macaron with white chocolate ganache
  • La Vie en Rose frozen slush – Vodka, Grey Goose Orange, St. Germain Liquor, and white and red cranberry juice
  • Kir Imperial – Sparkling wine, Chambord and black raspberry liquor
  • Rosé pamplemousse cocktail – Rosé wine mixed with natural grapefruit syrup
  • Kronenbourg Blanc 1664 – Fruity white beer with citrus notes

Buttercup Cottage (United Kingdom Pavilion) – Delight in afternoon tea offerings and fresh garden flavors.

  • Freshly baked potato and cheddar cheese biscuit with smoked salmon tartare
  • Field greens with Plant City strawberries, toasted almonds and Farmstead stilton
  • Pork and apple sausage roll with house-made piccalilli
  • Freshly baked lemon scones with berry preserves and crème fraÎche
  • Chilled rose blush lemonade featuring Simply Lemonade with Raspberry (nonalcoholic)
  • Twinings® Cold Brewed English Classic with lemon grass syrup
  • Berry tea cocktail – Twinings Cold Brewed Mixed Berry Tea with Florida Cane vodka and Plant City strawberry, flavored with raspberry and açaí syrup
  • Iron Horse Fairy Tale Cuvee
  • Deloach Pinot Noir

Pineapple Promenade (Canada Pavilion) – Enjoy all kinds of treats featuring juicy pineapples.

  • Pineapple soft serve
  • Pineapple soft serve with Myers’s dark rum
  • Pineapple soft serve with Parrot Bay coconut rum
  • Sweet potato cinnamon waffle with pineapple soft serve
  • Frozen desert violet lemonade featuring Simply Lemonade (nonalcoholic)
  • Tropical Mango Pale Ale, St. John Brewers
  • Once Upon a Vine’s The Lost Slipper Sauvignon Blanc

Urban Farm Eats – Taste treats from this booth’s all natural menu, with dishes that have been cultivated entirely from the soil.

  • Pickled beet salad with goat cheese cream, mizuna and pistachios
  • Land-grown eggplant “scallop” with romesco sauce and spaghetti squash
  • Ghost pepper-dusted tilapia with crisp winter melon slaw and mint oil featuring The Original Sauce Man’s Kick It Up Rub
  • Cucumber lemon spa water, finished with a sprig of fresh mint
  • The Vegan Vine Chardonnay
  • The Vegan Vine Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Redbridge Gluten-Free Sorghum Beer

Intermissions Cafe (Festival Center) – Pop inside to find all kinds of fine food and beverages.

  • Grapes
  • Fruit & cheese plate
  • Vegan trio
  • Southwest chicken wrap
  • Tuna salad with pita
  • Side salad
  • Asian tuna salad with noodles
  • Caprese Push-Pop – Tomato, mozzarella and balsamic
  • Hurricane Class 5 White Sangria, Florida Orange Groves
  • Garda Italian Wine Blend, Quantum Leap Winery
  • Rogue Valley Pinot Noir, Quantum Leap Winery
  • Martini Prosecco
  • Strongbow Cider, Bulmers Cider Company
  • SweetWater Blue, SweetWater Brewing Company

So what are you most excited to try this time around?

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, we are giving away a $50 Disney Gift Card!

Published January 24, 2014 by Disneyways.com

kiss

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, we are giving away a $50 Disney Gift Card!

This giveaway is sponsored by Little Keiki Bou-Tiki

CLICK HERE TO BE TAKEN TO THE RAFFLECOPTER SO YOU CAN ENTER TO WIN!

Little Keiki Bou-Tiki is THE place to shop for custom applique and embroidery designs for you and your family! Imagine spending your first time at Disney, or maybe your birthday, anniversary, holiday, or just because – all decked out in custom designs from Little Keiki Bou-Tiki. They can do a complete birthday party set up from the cake toppers to the custom birthday outfit for your little one, hair bows, banners, decorations and more!

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