All Four Disney World Parks in One Afternoon: Part 4

This is the last part in a four part series. If you arrived here without reading the previous articles, you may want to start at the beginning.

Part 4: Disney’s Magic Kingdom and Epcot

After saying goodbye to my parents for the night I walked out to the bus stop at the Yacht Club to catch the bus to Magic Kingdom. This turned out to be a bad idea. The amount of time I spent sitting at that bus stop waiting for the Magic Kingdom bus I could have walked from Yacht Club, to the International Gateway entrance to Epcot, all the way thru Epcot, out the main entrance of Epcot, and to the Epcot bus loop. I may not have arrived at Magic Kingdom any sooner, but at least I would have been in Epcot instead of sitting at a bus stop. Not to mention, I could have hopped on the Monorail at Epcot and had a more interesting ride to Magic Kingdom. I am not sure if this is typical, but in my experience, the bus service from the Yacht and Beach Club resorts has been less than stellar. [Read more…]

All Four Disney World Parks in One Afternoon: Part 3

This is Part Three in this article series. If you arrived here without reading Part One, you may want to start there. There will also be more posts in this article series so please use the buttons to the right to like our Facebook page or follow us on twitter to be notified when this blog is updated.

Part 3: Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Dinner with my Parents

On the way to Hollywood Studios, I called my parents to make dinner plans. I needed something close to Hollywood Studios so I told them to meet me at Beach Club. My plan was to be at Beach Club about one hour after arriving at Hollywood Studios. Figuring about a 20 minute boat ride from the Studios to the Yacht and Beach Club dock, that leaves me about 40 minutes in the Studios. I knew that unless the lines were very short I wouldn’t be getting on any big ticket attractions but I figured I would have time for Star Tours and a leisurely loop around the park. [Read more…]

All Four Disney World Parks in One Afternoon: Part 2

This is Part Two in this article series. If you arrived here without reading Part One, you may want to start there. There will also be more posts in this article series so please use the buttons to the right to like our Facebook page or follow us on twitter to be notified when this blog is updated.

Part Two, First park of the afternoon: Disney’s Animal Kingdom in under fifteen minutes

Luckily, after all the distractions I ran into leaving the resort, the ride to Animal Kingdom from Animal Kingdom Lodge is very short, putting me in the park ten minutes before closing. Thinking that the last safari from Harambe was 45 minutes before closing, I figured I had no shot of catching it, so I took my time walking back towards Africa. As I came over the bridge into Harambe the last safari sign reads 5PM! Its three minutes to closing and I’m goin’ on Kilimanjaro Safaris! When I got to the safari vehicle the front row had three people and the second row had two people. I left an empty row and had the fourth row to myself with nobody behind me. The clock struck 5 and we were off on the very last safari of the day. [Read more…]

All Four Disney World Parks in One Afternoon: Part 1

My Plan for visiting All Four Disney World Parks in One Afternoon

On a recent trip to Walt Disney World with the family, I was able to take an extra day off of work and fly down in the morning, with the rest of the family catching their flight after work and school. Since we had already tackled all four disney world parks in one full day on a previous trip, I figured I would give it a shot by myself, on the day that I arrived in Orlando Airport at 1PM. I know, sounds crazy, but realistically I am not expecting to be able to hit many attractions. The goal is to set foot in every park, grab a few photos, and maybe hit a ride or two. [Read more…]

Eat to the Beat Concert: Howard Jones

On October 22nd I got to see someone that I haven’t seen for 27 years, someone who brought back fond memories and total nostalgia. I, once again, got to see Howard Jones in concert! Now, I’m sure some of you are probably saying “Who? I’ve never heard of him!” (Dave included), but if you were an “alternative” music child of the 80’s, when synthesizers and drum machines were the instruments of choice, then you know exactly who I am talking about.

Back in 1984 Howard Jones was a one man show, just him and a circular, revolving stage with all his keyboards, drum pads, etc. For this show, part of the Eat to the Beat concert series during Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival, he was joined by two other gentlemen, one on a keyboard, one with a drum kit. Howard Jones was front and center though, with his own keyboards and still the solo singer.

Howard Jones with his synthesizers at the 2011 Epcot Eat to the Beat Concert Series at Walt Disney World

Howard Jones with his synthesizers at the 2011 Epcot Eat to the Beat Concert Series at Walt Disney World

Howard Jones' drummer with his electronic drum kit at the 2011 Epcot Eat to the Beat Concert Series at Walt Disney World

Howard Jones’ drummer with his electronic drum kit at the 2011 Epcot Eat to the Beat Concert Series at Walt Disney World

Like the rest of us (the audience was mixed, but it was the 40 something women who were truly enjoying themselves) he looked a little older, a little rounder in the face, had a little less hair. But when he sang “No One Is To Blame”, I was that high school student all over again, cranking my Dream Into Action cassette in my ’73 Volkswagen so loud the metal dashboard rattled.

Some of the 40 something women who were truly enjoying themselves...

Some of the 40 something women who were truly enjoying themselves…

Unfortunately I only caught one of his shows that evening. Each show lasts about 30 minutes and he performs different songs for each set, so if you stuck around for all three shows you would enjoy the complete concert experience. Traffic in World Showcase was especially (or maybe typically) congested that Saturday and we just couldn’t get back to the stage to catch any more. I got my fix, though, and it was fantastic. Time has treated Mr. Jones well, his voice is still strong and he’s still a handsome Englishman. Hopefully he will continue to be part of the Eat to the Beat concert lineup in the future, his show was truly a bonus to this Disney trip!

You can view the rest of the photos from this show at our SmugMug Gallery!

All Four Disney World Parks in One Day

I once read an article about the challenge of riding 10 Magic Kingdom rides/attractions before 10am. It can be done according to the person who wrote it, and I don’t doubt for a moment that it’s true. The majority of our trips to Disney have been somewhat commando-style, with detailed plans organized by extra magic hours and park layout. So our last trip we challenged ourselves to do all 4 parks in one day. (So you don’t think we are totally crazy, we did not have the kids with us on this trip.) Our idea wasn’t to do as much as possible at each park, but just to do our favorites and enjoy a few special things that each park has to offer.

[Read more…]

The First Day of Our First Disney Trip

Not only was this our first big trip to modern day Disney World, it is the first time the kids ever flew on a plane!

There's our plane!!!

There’s our plane!!!

We had a direct flight from Rochester, NY (leaving at 9:18am) to Orlando, Fl (arriving at 11:55am). Two hours and 37 minutes. A quick flight, but seemingly endless wait to finally arrive in Florida for the vacation we had been looking forward to for almost six months. The flight was smooth and uneventful. I always enjoy flying and hoped to share that with the kids for their first flight. I wanted to point out the acceleration on take off and reassure them when they heard the clunking of the retracting landing gear. I guess they were too distracted by the destination, since the kids had no noticeable enthusiasm for their first ride on an airplane. Or maybe they just aren’t as geeky as I am… [Read more…]

Historical Overview

Our first Disney trip was April 1st thru 8th, 2008 (7 nights). The kids, Braedan and Tabitha, were seven and ten. The trip had been in planning since September 2007 and was booked October 20, 2007. Seven nights at the Caribbean Beach Resort, round trip air from Rochester, NY, airport transfers on Disney’s Magical Express, and eight days of park hopper passes for the four of us was $3453.98. The kids had no clue we were doing this. We decided to tell them by leaving subtle hints around the house. Mickey and Minnie stuffed animals came to the top of the pile of toys. We found these tiny plastic stick-on Mickey heads and stuck them in odd places around the house. Occasionally one of the kids would find one of the “Hidden Mickey’s” and ask about it. We just changed the subject. Once, Tabitha asked, “Are we going to Disney or something?” Again, we changed the subject. On the day we decided to tell them we made them find all the remaining “Hidden Mickey’s” before we would confirm their suspicions. When we finally told them we really were going to Disney World they went nuts. That’s all we heard about for the next three months.

The second Disney trip was July 8th thru 15th, 2009 (7 nights). After unfortunately overlooking the notice when we booked that the main pool at the Caribbean Beach Resort would be closed for refurbishment, and then witnessing the huge construction effort in progress during our first trip, the kids knew they wanted to go back there for the next trip to experience that pool. They just didn’t know when we would be going back. This trip was booked February 11, 2009, for a total of $3005.73, this time with the addition of the Water Park & More option on the park admission tickets. The savings of about $450 over the last trip comes from the “buy 4 nights, get 3 more free” deal that was being offered, as well as lower airfare pricing. This offer being extended into the summer when the kids were off of school is what triggered us to go for it. This time the trip was announced on Easter morning by writing hints on strips of paper and putting them inside plastic Easter eggs. Since we had been saying for months that there wasn’t really enough money to do another trip they were surprised but being the second trip we got lots of input from them as to what they wanted to do and where they wanted to eat.

November 13th thru 18th, 2009 (5 nights) was the third Disney trip, this time just for the adults. This trip was $1544.26 for the two of us to stay at the Port Orleans Riverside Resort with Park Hopper tickets and the Disney Dining Plan, which was included for free during the fall promotion. I did not book air transportation thru Disney since for some reason they could not get the exact times I was able to find on the AirTran website. Total air fare for the two of us was $326.80 for a trip cost of $1871.06. For comparison, adding 6-day park hopper tickets ($533) and airfare ($326.80) for the kids would bring the total to $2730.86 for this 5 night trip. We told the kids about a month before our planned trip and they were not nearly as excited to be staying home while we were in Disney.

So, after three trips, and seeing how much there is to see and do and plan and enjoy at Walt Disney World, we decided we would start this blog…

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