Review: Fodor’s Guide to WDW With Kids 2012

If there is only one tip that I can give to families who are planning to visit Walt Disney World, it’s this: Do Your Research!

Sure, you could hop on a plane and just see where the magic takes you, but if you’re spending your hard-earned money on a family vacation, don’t you want to make the most of it? Yeah, me too.

The Fodor’s Walt Disney World With Kids 2012 is the guidebook that helped us through our first two “official” family trips. (Full disclosure: I do work for the publisher, but I have my Mickey ears on right now – not my marketing hat.)

I particularly liked this guide because it breaks down the rides and attractions by age range, so you can focus on the features that make sense for your family.

There are charts with height restrictions, scare factors, and ride time that are so helpful. Take it all in bearing your kids in mind though — you might have a four year old who’s tall enough to ride Star Tours, but will it freak them out? (By the way, we skipped Star Tours because we heard that the ride can get pretty intense and jostle you around, so we told our 3.5 year old that we’d tackle that one next time.)

I would recommend this guide for people who are still in the “thinking about it” phase, and haven’t actually made reservations yet. There are great descriptions of the value, moderate, and deluxe resorts that will help you narrow down your choices.

When planning your dining, you’ll find tips and charts about table service, quick service, and character meals.

There are also tips throughout the book from “real world” parents that were very interesting to read.

The only thing missing in this guide book are colour photos. I know, not a big deal right? But photos would help visualize attractions, and give the reader a little more of that magical excitement as they prepare for the trip of a lifetime. (Okay, was that a bit much? Yeah, I think so too.)

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If He Really Wants To Be a Cowboy…

Today’s quest: To find a Woody coyboy hat and matching belt (with holster!) for one small boy who was just itching for it.

I did my research before we hit the road. Mastermind toys only had a hat. And it was a pretty fancy one, at a steep price of $25. Uh, no thanks.

Only the Disney Store seemed to have the one we wanted. The online store listed it at $12.50 USD, so that’s great…it’ll probably run around $18.50 CDN. SOLD!

We hopped in the car and made the trek to the nearest Disney Store, which happens to be in one of the busiest malls in our area, and we hate going there because of the crazy crowds. But we do whatever we can to make our wee one happy, right? 🙂

Can you believe this toy was priced at $26.95 CDN? That’s more than twice the US price! Now, we’re used to paying more for stuff up here, but come on. That’s a ridiculous markup.

Of course, we bought it for him anyways. And he looks pretty darn cute when he tips his hat and says, “Howdy, pardner!”

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When Friends Find the Magic

Disney - Main Street Balloons & Cinderella Castle (Explored) Some friends of ours just told us they’re planning a trip to Disney World in April. I just get so excited when I hear this! Of course, I am slightly envious, because really, we’d like to go there every month if we could.

But mostly, I am psyched because I know what’s in store for them. This will be their first time, and it’s bringing back so many memories of our first family trip back in October 2011.

They’re staying at the Wilderness Lodge, which is going to be amazing, I’m sure. So far we’ve only stayed at the value resorts, but our next trip will be to Port Orleans Riverside (fingers crossed!).

It’s funny how a little research can go a long way before you call to book your trip. Figure out what your budget is, which resorts and packages will suit your family, and I can’t state this enough: plan out your daily itinerary! I’m not saying you have to plan for every minute — that’s going overboard and you’re likely to end up frustrated and cranky. Nobody likes a crankypants at Disney. 😉

No, I mean do your research to plan which park you’ll go to on which days, and make your dining reservations according to that to make travel time easier.

Oh, I have so many things to say about this…but that will have to wait for another day. I’m off to research our next trip! 🙂

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The Princess and the Pea

What do Matthew Morrison, Zooey Deschanel, and Carol Burnett have in common? They all starred in Disney’s film version of the classic musical Once Upon a Mattress. Did you know that? I had no idea!

I happily discovered this movie last night, and giggled my way through it. It’s a cross between Broadway spectacle and Monty Python, really. Bob Mackie designed Carol’s costumes, which were gloriously bedazzled and hilariously over-the-top.

Tracey Ullman starred as Princess Winnifred (you can call her Fred), and I couldn’t get over how amazing she was. Winnifred comes to visit as she heard Prince Dauntless was looking for a mate (although mummy dearest was trying her best to prevent her darling little boy from getting married). The Queen has decreed that no one in the land may wed ’til Dauntless shares his marriage bed — a sure problem for Lady Larkin (Deschanel) and Sir Harry (Morrison) since they are soon to have a child.

The Queen devises a test that Princess Winnifred will surely fail: Sensitivity! She places a tiny pea under a mattress, and ensures the Princess will get a good night’s sleep, and subsequently fail the test, ruining her shot at the Prince.

But luckily, a certain someone intervenes, and the Princess doesn’t sleep at all that night.

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New Free Disney Dining Offer

In case you haven’t already heard (the internet is simply buzzing with the news), Disney has announced another Free Dining Package for select dates through September 2012.

Our last two trips to the World included the free Quick-Service Dining Plan, and we loved it. It was so wonderful not to worry about how much money we were spending on food, and just enjoy it!

Check out the details of this new offer over at Pixie & Pirate Destinations. I’ve never booked travel through them, but have heard marvelous things.

Unfortunately, the timing on this one isn’t going to work for my family, but fingers crossed for more free dining through the end of the year.

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Have a Magical Leap Day!

Disney is making history today! For the first time ever, Disneyland and Walt Disney World will stay open for 24 hours, celebrating the leap year and One More Disney Day. As part of the fun, they’ve created this great Tale of Two Disney Parks split-screen video:

What would I do with “One More Disney Day?” I’d be strolling around the Magic Kindom with a Mickey Ice Cream Bar in one hand and a box of yummy popcorn in the other, taking in all the magical sights and sounds. For me, Magic Kingdom is less about the rides, and more about the ambiance of being immersed into these different lands completely. The attention to detail (like sound effects and landscaping) really brings everything to life there.

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10 Signs You’ve Been Bitten by the Disney Bug

Mickey MintsYou know that look. The one people give you when you randomly insert Disney trivia into a conversation? Right…here are a few more signs that you (and when I say you, I really mean me) have been bitten by the Disney Bug:

 

  1. You set your ringtone to play music from Fantasmic! (Oh yes I did!)
  2. 90% of your internet browse time is spent on Disney blogs.
  3. When someone asks for an Altoid, you offer them a Mickey Mint.
  4. You set daily reminders in your calendar to enter the current Disney Sweepstakes.
  5. You browse the Q&A’s on the Disney Moms Panel just for fun – even when you’re not planning a vacation.
  6. When saying farewell, you wish everyone a “magical day.”
  7. When colleagues tell you about their upcoming Disney vacation, you help them plan their itinerary whether they ask for help or not. (But they usually do!)
  8. Family movie night turns into a Disney double-feature. Every night.
  9. Your motivation to exercise is Disney’s Princess Half Marathon.
  10. You start a blog as an outlet for all your pent-up Disney passion. Like this one. 🙂

What are the little things that you do, fellow Disney fans, to show your obsession passion?

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