How to Handle the Heat When You Take the Grandkids to Disney World

August 30th, 2014

The Florida sun can be brutal during the hot summer months. In a perfect world you’d wait to take the grandkids until the comfortable winter months came along, but if that’s not an option then you’ll appreciate these simple tips to keep you safe from heat related ailments and meltdowns.

Get there early and leave late

The best way to beat the heat is to be at the parks 30 minutes before they open, get as much done as you can before noon, and then head back to your resort or vacation home during the hottest hours of the afternoon. Once it starts cooling off, usually around the time the sun goes down, you can head back to the parks. As an added bonus, this touring plan won’t just keep you out of the hottest rays of the sun – it’ll also keep you away during the busiest parts of the day.

Be prepared!

There are many items that can help keep you and the grandkids as comfortable as possible. Here are a few examples:

  • Sunscreen
  • A mister fan
  • A spray bottle
  • A handheld fan
  • Ponchos to cover you in the case of rain

Keep in mind that virtually all of the items you need can be purchased in the parks, but they’ll easily cost you twice as much as you’d pay to buy them at home and bring them with you.

Consider your clothing

Dark clothing can bring the heat close to you and keep it there. Tight clothing can become soaked with sweat and keep you warmer. Look for loose fitting, light colored clothing. Moisture-wicking socks and shirts are a great option to ensure you’re not getting bogged down by sweat. These can be found at your local sports or athletic store.

Bring your own cooler

Disney allows you to bring soft-sided coolers and any non-alcoholic beverages – except those in glass bottles. Staying hydrated is a must-do in the heat of the summer, and bringing in your own beverages makes it easy to keep an eye on how well you and the kiddos are meeting your water goals for the day.

Please click here for more helpful articles for Grandparents bringing their grandchildren to Disney World.

5 Incredible Tips to Improve Business Travel

August 28th, 2014

Business travel can be a lot of fun, but it can be a stressful experience, too. Dorie Clark over at Entrepreneur has posted 5 great tips to improve your business travel experience. You can check it out there or our highlights below.

1.         Make use of a travel checklist

Even if you’re a frequent traveler, you can still benefit from a travel checklist. In fact, it’s even more useful because frequent travelers will often get into “the zone” and leave behind something essential – like their laptop! No matter what your job is, your goal is to optimize performance. Be the best business traveler you can by following a checklist.

2.         Pain relievers are your friends

An hour or two before you leave for the airport, take a couple of pain relievers. It’s common for travelers to get headaches due to dehydration, neckaches from carrying heavy bags, and stomachaches from eating at unusual hours. Pre-emptive pain relievers can help you avoid this unnecessary suffering.

3.         Carry an energy bar at all times

Delays happen – and multi-hour delays happen, too. If you get stuck at an airport with many other flights that are also stuck, you can find yourself in a situation where the vendors are no longer open, or they can literally sell out of food. Have an energy bar on hand in case this happens to you.

4.         Always write down room numbers

Even if you’re great with numbers, it’s easy to confuse last week’s Houston hotel room number with this week’s Orlando number. Just open your smartphone, get into a “notes” function, and jot down your room number. It can save you a lot of time and grief in the future.

5.         Make a point of having a good meal on every trip

Use an app like Yelp to discover the best local foods at every destination. Try a new spot every trip, even if you’ve found a delicious spot in the past. Cab drivers typically know the best food in the area, so don’t be afraid to hop in a cab and trust the driver to take you to a delicious, locals-only spot.

Please click here for money tips for business travelers to Orlando.

The Top 4 Ways to Save Money on Food at SeaWorld Orlando

August 27th, 2014

Compared to the non-stop excitement you’ll experience at the Disney World or Universal theme parks, SeaWorld can feel like a much more relaxed, laid back option. It can also be more affordable than the big parks, but the costs can certainly add up – especially if you stay all day and need to eat several meals there. Take a look at these 4 tips to help you save money on food at SeaWorld Orlando.

1.         Get a refillable cup

You can purchase a refillable souvenir cup at any of SeaWorld’s restaurants, and at most of the drink carts. Buying a basic cup will run you $7.99, while fancier cups can cost up to $16.95. Some of the souvenir shops also offer SeaWorld cups and sports bottles. Once you buy any of the above mentioned cups or bottles, you can get unlimited refills at every visit for only $0.99. These cups actually work at several parks nationwide, including Busch Gardens, Aquatica, Adventure Island, and SeaWorld San Diego.

2.         Buy a refillable popcorn bucket

A similar program is available with the SeaWorld popcorn bucket. It costs just $4.79 and comes filled. If you want additional refills you can pay just $1.99. As with the refillable cup, you can have this refilled at parks across the country.

3.         All-day dining deals

If you plan to spend the entire day at SeaWorld, the all-day dining may save you money. You’ll pay a fee up front, which changes based on the season, and can go through the lines at any restaurant as many times as you want. It begins as soon as the park opens, with the Seafire Inn serving breakfast, and ends 30 minutes before restaurants close. You could start eating at 9 in the morning and have your last meal at 9:30 at night, all for one price.

4.         Bring your own food

SeaWorld doesn’t allow you to bring coolers into the park, but unlike the other Orlando theme parks the parking lot is a short walk from the gates. Simply leave your cooler in your car, enjoy your morning in the park, and walk back to your car, grab your food, and bring it in for a picnic lunch. They even provide plenty of picnic tables so you’ll have a shaded, comfortable spot to enjoy a relaxing lunch.

These tips can help you save a ton on food costs at SeaWorld and free up money to enjoy more of what Orlando has to offer. Please click here for more money saving tips.

4 Romantic Tips to Celebrate Your Anniversary at Disney World

August 26th, 2014

Is there anywhere in the world more romantic to visit for your anniversary than Disney World? Whether it’s your first adults-only trip, your first trip ever, or your 100th, there are some romantic spots you’ve likely missed in the past. US Travel has an interesting list of Disney World anniversary spots. Check it out there, or read more about it below.

1.         Schedule a couple’s massage

Paying the premium prices required to stay in Disney’s resorts is not typically worth the huge price tag – especially when you can take advantage of many of the amenities without staying there. For example, you can book a couples massage at the Grand Floridian. The on-site luxury spa is a great place to arrange a couple’s massage and other relaxing, rejuvenating experiences.

2.         Take a carriage ride

There are several places to take carriage rides on Disney property, including Port Orleans Riverside and the Wilderness Lodge. These intimate horse-drawn carriage rides last 25 minutes and take you through truly breath-taking scenery. They’re a great way to get away from it all and relax on your anniversary trip.

3.         Have an elegant dinner

There’s no question that you have many, many incredible restaurants to choose from at Disney World. Whether you want one of the best steaks you’ll ever eat in your life, a delicious Mexican dinner, or dinner with a view of the nightly fireworks display, you’ll find an option at Disney World. For the best of the best, try to book at Victoria and Albert’s. This is a truly gourmet restaurant that’s black-tie only and a truly luxurious experience. Plan ahead though – these reservations fill up months in advance.

4.         Find the perfect Disney wedding souvenirs

There are many unique wedding mementos to be found within Disney World. Bride and groom Mickey and Minnie ears are one of the most popular choices. These may be generally worn by those who are newly married, but they’re also a great way to remember your own big day, however many years ago. Don’t forget to grab your “Happy Anniversary” pin from Guest Services so everyone will know what an exciting trip it is for you.

We hope you liked this article, please click here for more articles for couples visiting Disney World.

Reserving a Vacation Home in Advance: 4 Questions to Answer

August 25th, 2014

So you’ve decided to rent a vacation home for your next Orlando vacation. You’ve made an excellent decision! Now you just need to narrow down your options. Here are 4 questions you can ask yourself to find the right home for your needs.

All of our vacation homes are located within 15 minutes to Disney World

All of our vacation homes are located within 15 minutes to Disney World

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How many bedrooms do you need? You’ll find a wide range of homes available from Orlandovacation.com, including homes starting at 3 bedrooms and all the way up to 7 bedrooms. Depending on the season you’re visiting, and what other amenities you’re looking for, the price difference between each can be smaller than you may realize. For example, you may think you’ll save a few bucks pairing kids up together, but adding another bedroom so everyone has plenty of room can actually be very cost effective.

What do you want to be close to?

All the homes we have for rent are within 15 minutes of the Disney theme parks. This is the ideal distance because you’ll be away from some of the inconveniences of the bustling theme parks, yet close enough that you won’t have a huge commute in the morning.

How do you want to pay for your vacation home?

It takes just a $50 deposit to reserve your Orlando vacation home. You can then cancel 15 or more days before you’re scheduled to check in. The final balance is due at that same 15 day before arrival juncture. You can decide if you want to the pay the entirety up front, pay the deposit and the total balance due on the due date, or make payments along the way.

Which amenities are most important to you?

You can get all sorts of great amenities in vacation homes, including private pools, chefs kitchens, and separate living and sleeping areas. If you reserve in advance and are flexible with other issues, you can get all the amenities you want. Take a look at the current inventory and decide which amenities are most exciting to you.

Is Disney a Good Choice for Special Needs Kids?

August 24th, 2014

Many parents who take the plunge are surprised to realize that Disney World can be a fantastic place to take their special needs children. We recently saw a blog on Trekaroo that summarized some of the ways to make sure your kids have the experience of a lifetime. You can check out our favorite tips below or read the entire article.

disney-world-guest-assistance-cardBefore you leave

  • Bring a copy of your child’s diagnosis. It’s true that Disney isn’t legally allowed to ask for proof of their diagnosis, but it can give you the confidence boost you need in the event you need it.
  • Don’t over plan. Take it easy. Expect to take numerous breaks. If your child can handle more it’ll end up being icing on the cake.
  • Bring the things that make your child comfortable. This might include blankets, games, toys, or even their favorite foods.
  • Go straight to Guest Services. You’ll be able to pick up your Disability Access Service Card. The Cast Member will explain to you exactly how this works and how to best use it to your advantage. Remember that you don’t have to get into the specifics of your child’s diagnosis – but you should be prepared to let the Cast Member know what the main issues are. This lets them give you the best advice possible.
  • Go to the park you’re most excited about first. Take a look at the maps to see which parks your kids will be most interested in. The first day they’re in the parks can set the tone for the remainder of the trip.
  • Keep an eye on quiet locations. In the event of sensory overload, you’ll never be far from a quiet location. Be sure to scope out the scene to know where they are before you need them.

disabilities-disney-worldWhen you get to the park

  • Go straight to Guest Services. You’ll be able to pick up your Disability Access Service Card. The Cast Member will explain to you exactly how this works and how to best use it to your advantage. Remember that you don’t have to get into the specifics of your child’s diagnosis – but you should be prepared to let the Cast Member know what the main issues are. This lets them give you the best advice possible.
  • Go to the park you’re most excited about first. Take a look at the maps to see which parks your kids will be most interested in. The first day they’re in the parks can set the tone for the remainder of the trip.
  • Keep an eye on quiet locations. In the event of sensory overload, you’ll never be far from a quiet location. Be sure to scope out the scene to know where they are before you need them.

Of course the most important tip of all: remember to have fun! You may be surprised by how well your children handle the crowds, overload, and excitement of Disney World.

Is Star Wars Finally Coming to Disney World?

August 23rd, 2014

orlandovacation_disney-star-warsDisney World has done a great job of staying ahead of the curve and constantly adding new attractions and lands. The Magic Kingdom’s New Fantasyland, the largest expansion in Magic Kingdom history, completed its massive unveiling with the 7 Dwarves Mine Train this summer, and a new Avatarland is slated to open in the Animal Kingdom in 2017. But that’s not what teens are talking about today.

The Announcement

At this point, it’s more an announcement of an announcement: CEO Bob Iger announced that in 2015 Disney Parks would announce big plans for Star Wars. This comes as no surprise – Disney recently bought the rights to Star Wars and fans have long hoped that these two massive brands would come together in an amazing way.

orlandovacation_jedi-training-academyWhat Fans are Saying

So what do people think the announcement will be? What Iger specifically said is that there will be a “far greater Star Wars presence” and that the plans are going to be “significant.” Some are dreaming that it means a 5th theme park devoted entirely to Star Wars. Others believe that the Star Wars Weekends that happen in early summer at Disney’s Hollywood Studios will be expanded.

What We’d Like to See

The Magic Kingdom recently had a huge expansion in New Fantasyland, but can you imagine a better place for a galaxy far, far away than Tomorrowland? We’d love to see Star Wars incorporated, though we don’t want to see our favorite rides moved or revamped. While the details at the moment are slim, one thing’s for sure: we’ll be anxiously awaiting the specifics.

We hope you enjoyed this article please click here for more articles that will help parents of teenagers plan an Orlando vacation.

Dad’s Guide to Disney World: Avoiding Princess Overload

August 22nd, 2014

When you take your daughter to Disney World you do want her to have a magical time – but you don’t want to go crazy with princess overload. These 3 tips will help ensure that she gets her magical time and that you can enjoy your trip, too.

orlandovacation_cinderellas-royal-table1.         Consider character meals

There are numerous character meals at the Disney World parks, including the popular Cinderella’s Royal Table. Located in the castle, this meal includes visits from some of your daughter’s favorite princesses. This is a great chance for her to get what she wants, while you relax and enjoy some delicious food. You can also consider a spot like Crystal Palace. While you’ll find Pooh and friends there instead of the princesses, it’s a great choice if you have both boys and girls.

2.         Make use of FastPass+

FastPass+ allows you to book attractions ahead of time and skip the lines. Every park allows you 3 to start with, and if you use those 3 you can book another within the park. You can actually set these up 30 days before your trip. Take a look at some of the princess meet and greets and have them set up before your trip. You’ll still be meeting the princesses with your daughter, but you’ll be able to skip the lines.

orlandovacation_meet-belle3.         Compromise before your trip

Sometimes there’s no way around it: no matter how much time you devote to letting your daughter immerse herself in the princesses, she wants more time. To avoid a meltdown, discuss the logistics before your trip. Don’t tell your daughter she’s limited, bring it up in a way that gives her choices. For example, you may say, “I’ve decided you can see 2 princesses every day! Which 2 would you like to see on our first day?”

Above all else, remember that your daughter will only be interested in princesses for a few short years. When she’s a teenager chatting on the phone all night you’ll miss the days of being dragged all over Disney World to get a signature from Belle!

We hope you liked this article, please click here for more tips for Dad’s visiting Orlando.

Orlando Vacation Homes 101: Myths Debunked

August 21st, 2014

orlandovacation_vacation-rentalYou have many options in accommodations when you visit Orlando. Whether you’re going to Disney World or Universal Orlando, your accommodations can make up a significant part of your vacation budget. One option available to you is vacation homes. There are numerous advantages to this option, which many travelers aren’t aware of.

Vacation Homes are Incredibly Affordable

One of the biggest things that stands in the way of many families choosing a vacation home is the perceived cost. They assume that renting an entire house with tons of amenities would be much more expensive than staying in a resort hotel. The reality is that these homes start at just $99 per night.

You’ll Stay Close to Disney World

Many people also believe that renting a vacation home means you’re far away from the theme parks. The reality is that all vacation homes available through Orlandovacation.com are no more than 15 minutes from the Disney parks.

orlando-vacation-home-rental-kitchenYou Get an Incredible Amount of Amenities

Your vacation should be a balance between relaxing and exciting. Our vacation homes give you exactly that balance. If you think you’ll be missing out on the hotel pools, you’re wrong: you can rent vacation homes with incredible private pools. You’ll also get a ton of other amenities like washers and dryers, full kitchens, and separate living and sleeping quarters.

You Don’t Have to Pay the Full Balance When You Book

One of the reasons some families say they stay on the much more expensive Disney properties is because they want to be able to put down a small $200 deposit and pay it down as their trip approaches. The truth is that it will cost you just $50 to put a deposit down on our vacation homes and the total balance isn’t due until 15 days before you check in.

You Can Choose Your Own Home

There are some companies that don’t let you choose your own vacation home, but when you work with Orlandovacation.com you’ll always get to choose your own vacation home. This makes it convenient and gives you the peace of mind that you know exactly what you’re walking into.

orlandovacation_pool-home-rental

Business Trips: 3 Things You Need to Know Last Minute Orlando

August 20th, 2014

You don’t always know months in advance that you’re going to be heading to Orlando on business. When a last minute trip comes up, there are 3 things you can do to make the most of your trip.

1.         There are still plenty of ways to save money

Some travelers assume that last minute travel means playing top prices for everything. The reality is that, depending on the season, you can still get a great deal on everything from resort hotels, to vacation home rentals, to theme park tickets. Take a few minutes to research your options and make sure you’re not falling into the trap of paying more when you don’t have to.

orlandovacation_radisson-wo

2.         Making dining reservations

It’s true that there are some top notch restaurants in Orlando, and it’s true that some of them can book months in advance. However, it’s also true that this is a city that caters to business travelers and tourists. There are always plenty of reservations available, even the night of. Too often travelers decide to simple show up and take their chances. This might get you a table, but a few minutes of calling around can assure you don’t get excited about a restaurant and pay to valet, only to get turned away at the door.

orlandovacation_amura-sushi

3.         Don’t try to do it all

With proper planning, you can visit Orlando for 5 days, get plenty of work done, and still see the major parks in the area. However, when you don’t have a solid plan you’ll find this type of trip much more challenging. As a result, understand that you can’t do it all. Identify two things you really want to do while you’re here. It might be visiting the Magic Kingdom, or seeing Cirque de Soleil in Downtown Disney. Whatever they are, prioritize those two things and anything else you get done will be gravy.