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Opening Magic Kingdom

Opening Magic Kingdom

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Disney Cruise Line and Walt Disney World--Summer 2011--Here We Come!

 I’m so excited and I just can’t hide it. . .! Our summer of 2011 travel plans are finalized! Airfare has been purchased. And, once that happens, there’s no turning back—at least without a hefty fee.

We were already booked on a 5-night sailing aboard the Disney Dream. We booked that cruise while on board the Magic over a year ago. We found that re-booking on board typically includes a discount and on-board credit towards your next cruise.

Then we added a night’s stay at Walt Disney World prior to our cruise since we are flying the day before. When we have flown prior to a cruise, we have stayed at the Hyatt at Orlando International, but this time we wanted a bit more Disney.

Our plan is to go to Downtown Disney that evening, then have a character breakfast the next morning before a Disney bus whisks us away to Port Canaveral.

After our cruise, we will once again be magically transported via Disney bus, to Walt Disney World for a 7 day/6 night stay. Yeah!

We learned that Disney’s Magical Express will take you to your resort hotel, even if you not purchasing park tickets, meal plans, etc. We are staying one night, that’s all, and we will still get the lovely bag tags to have our luggage magically appear in our room after we check it in at the airport. I love that part!

We learned that our favorite airline, AirTran, has the best rates out of Moline, Illinois. Now, where we live, there are several airports within a 2-4 hour driving distance. . . Kansas City, Des Moines, Omaha, Cedar Rapids, St. Louis. After checking—repeatedly, Moline had the best rates. I say that with the tone of a whisper, as this small but mighty airport is great to navigate. We can also get a park ‘n’ fly room just across the street for about $60, which is a great savings over paying to park our car for 13 days.

We learned that while Disney has offered land/sea packages in the past and the land portion could only be before your cruise, there are now many more options available for guests wanting to take a Disney Cruise and make a visit to Walt Disney World.  Even a recent spot from the Disney Mom’s panel, suggested taking the cruise first before tackling the parks, which is exactly what the husband wanted to do.  Reason being that the cruise is typically the most expensive part of your vacation—tips, port adventures, etc. and that getting to the port can take longer than returning from the port, so you can get the most out of your day at the parks if you go after you disembark.  All true!

Our dining has been decided. Now we wait for the 180 day window to open to make our ADR’s. Deciding on dining made for some interesting conversations at the dinner table last night. OK, which do you prefer—Teppan Edo or Coral Reef? That one was so hard to decide, that we are doing both. We are leaving off Chef Mickey’s this trip in exchange to try out a new restaurant at EPCOT. I did put Crystal Palace back in the rotation. Since we are using the Disney Dining Plan, we have 6 table service credits, and we are using half of them at EPCOT. The husband said, “Well, they just have lots of good restaurants there.” Yes, they do! And, we have that goal of eating around the world at World Showcase.

The laptop came to the breakfast table Sunday morning as we browsed the deck plan of the Disney Dream. Goofy’s Sports Deck on deck 13 was a fascination of all. With 9 holes of miniature golf, sport simulators, walking track, and a basketball/volleyball/soccer court, I imagine we are going to spend a lot of time here during our cruise. When we stayed at an all inclusive resort in Cancun a couple of years ago, the resort had a miniature golf course. That was our nightly stop after dinner. I imagine that the miniature golf course will used almost daily on the ship, too.

So, why book now? Well, January is AAA’s Disney Month. Our travel professional is a AAA travel professional. So, not only did we receive AAA’s great rates—which were lower than the on-line rates at the Disney web-site, we get a $25 gift card and free Disney photo book. Also, if Disney offers a special between now and our time of travel, it is possible to change our reservation and take advantage of any specials.

Cruise #4 and Walt Disney World trip #8 here we come! When will #9 be?

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