Author: Adrianne Owen

Standard Rooms at Walt Disney World That Can Accommodate Families of 5

Along with my family of 4, my sister (also a contributor to this website) often travels to Walt Disney World with us.  Because of this, we are often looking for accommodations for a group of 5, which isn’t as easy as it sounds, especially when you’re penny pinchers like we are.  Our recent stay at the Boardwalk resort was great, in part, because their DVC studios have a single Murphy bed that allowed the room to better accommodate our group.  While a 1 bedroom, 2 bedroom, or one of the family suites offered at Art of Animation and All Star Music would obviously offer even more room, those rooms also come with much heftier price tags.  So we came up with a comprehensive list of standard, studio rooms that Walt Disney World offers that will sleep at least 5 people.

Moderate Resorts

Unfortunately, no value resorts offer studios with enough space for 5 people.  However, two of the moderate resort do.  These include Caribbean Beach and Port Orleans Riverside.

layout courtesy of yourfirstvisit.net

Note that you will need to be specific when booking to insure you are booked in a room with a Murphy bed.

Deluxe Resorts

Several of the deluxe resorts offer extra in the sleeping arrangement, including Beach Club, Yacht Club, Boardwalk Inn, the Contemporary, Grand Floridian and Polynesian.  The only Deluxe resorts to avoid if you need sleeping for more than 4 are Animal Kingdom Lodge and Wilderness Lodge.

Deluxe Villas/Disney Vacation Club Resorts

You guys know by now that we are big fans of renting Disney Vacation Club points for the majority of our vacations.  Thankfully, several of these resorts also have studio rooms with extra sleeping.  Of the DVC resorts, it includes Beach Club Villas, Boardwalk Inn Villas, Wilderness Lodge – Boulder Ridge, Grand Floridian Villas and Polynesian Villas.  

Most of the studio resort rooms will accommodate the 5th person via a pull down Murphy bed, however some will have an additional pull out couch.

 

Top 10 Attractions in Walt Disney World That the Whole Family Can Enjoy (according to my kids)


After multiple trips with my kids splitting up into smaller groups to make sure everyone was able to ride their favorite rides, and no one had to ride anything they didn’t like, my husband and I issued a challenge.  Among yourselves (a 7 year old and a 4 year old), find 10 attractions that you both like that we can ride together as a family.  The conversations in my car on the rides to and from school were truly hilarious and full of bargaining and bickering, but eventually they came up with a list that they could both agree on.

Magic Kingdom

Tomorrowland Speedway – while this is definitely NOT on my top 10 list, the kids absolutely love it.  My daughter loves to drive, and my son loves anything to do with cars, so they’re definitely into it.  As a parent…I suffer through for the kids.  As it turns out, my daughter is NOT a good driver, and I almost always come out of this attraction with a headache thanks to her driving, the heat and the smell of the cars.

Barnstormer – the cutest little family coaster!  My kids call this one the “goofy ride”.  It’s just a good little coaster, fun for all ages.  I have a wonderful memory from our first Halloween party where my son rode 6 times in a row, to the point where the cast members didn’t even make us go through the line again!

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train – Currently the most popular ride in Magic Kingdom, Seven Dwarfs is another family coaster with impressive animatronics.

Under the Sea: Journey of the Little Mermaid – Indoor, which is always a plus, this attraction very rarely has a long line.

Dumbo – a classic!  Fly high above Fantasyland and get great views of the castle and Tomorrowland.  Another plus to this attraction is the queue.  Instead of waiting in a long line, there is a children’s play area indoors with a pager system letting you know when it’s your time to ride.

Jungle Cruise – Excuse the quality of the picture, it’s from a looooooong time ago that I happened to find during my first night-time ride on this attractions.  If corny jokes are your thing, it’s a must-do.

Magic Carpets of Aladdin – Similar to Dumbo except Aladdin themed, this attraction rarely has a long line.  Watch out for the camels though – they spit!

Epcot

Living with the Land – an easy ride through the Land Pavilion in Future World, get behind the scenes looks at a variety of gardens with foods and plants.  Many of the foods are used in Garden Grill, the table service location in this same pavilion.

Animal Kingdom

Navi River Journey – one of the newest attractions in Animal Kingdom (along with Flight of Passage), it’s also quite beautiful.  A slow, dark boat ride that shows off the land’s famous bioluminescence and one of the most amazing animatronics I’ve ever seen.

Kilimajaro Safaris – take a jeep ride through Africa with lots of wildlife!

Honorable Mentions 

It’s a Small World – another Disney classic, the song will get stuck in your head, but it’s a must-do at least once!

Peter Pan’s Flight – a classic Disney dark ride, this one often has a long line, so grab a Fastpass+ for it if you can!

 

The Seas with Nemo and Friends – I love this attraction, it’s easy going, indoors and relaxing.  Take a clamshell trip through the Aquarium while on the search for Nemo.

Gran Fiesta Tour – located in the Mexico Pavilion in the World Showcase, take a boat ride to find Donald and follow his friends through an adventure in Mexico.  I’ve never waited more than 5 minutes for this attraction, which is always a plus!

Triceratop Spin – another Dumbo-style attraction, this one Dinosaur themed.  If your kid likes one of these, it’s a good chance they’ll like them all!

Christmas in Disney!


It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

My family and I had been dreaming of a trip to Walt Disney World during the holidays for years, and this year we finally got to make it happen.  From December 14th to December 19th, 2017 we had a magical, fun-filled, and believe it or not, relaxing vacation in The Most Magical Place on Earth.

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Staying at Disney’s Boardwalk Resort: Christmas 2017

Prior to this vacation, I would have told you that Animal Kingdom Lodge was my favorite resort on Disney property.  Now, the Boardwalk has moved into that top spot.  I’ll talk about exactly why as we go through, but to sum it up, Boardwalk has an amazing location, great food options, it’s GORGEOUS and the entertainment can’t be beat.  Let’s take a look around.

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When Perfect Plans Don’t Turn Out The Way You Want

Yep, another Fastness+ post.  Sunday October 15th was officially 60 days until my December trip and it was, you guessed it, time to make my Fastpass+ reservations.  I woke up early (6:45) and got breakfast going so I could get my brain in some sort of working order before logging into My Disney Experience at exactly 6:58 and continuously refreshing until my dates showed up.

Priority #1 was Flight of Passage.  I was already at a bit of a disadvantage as our Animal Kingdom day was towards the beginning of our trip (this is exactly what I have warned against in previous posts), but it couldn’t be avoided as when we were planning this trip (months and months ago), I didn’t anticipate the absolute insanity it would be trying to get one of those Fastpasses.  In times past, the hot ticket attraction Fastpasses were still possible.   I might not have gotten the exact times that I wanted, but the actual fastpasses have always been available to me.  Flight of Passage, though, has been a different beast.  I wasn’t able to get one for our June trip, granted that was less than two weeks after Pandora had officially opened, or for our September trip.  Well, initially, in the craziness that was replanning following Hurricane Irma, I did manage to snag one, but no one was more shocked than me.

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It’s Almost That time, and I refuse to panic

In 4 short days, it’ll be time to wake up bright and early and choose Fastpass+ reservations for my family for our Christmas trip this upcoming December.  No matter how many times I’ve done this, there’s always slight panic.  I go through the same process every time:

  • talk with all adults and children to determine what the MUST DOs are so everyone gets a say in the plan
  • look over our broad weekly plan, daily plan and any dining reservations to determine the optimal time for each attraction
  • write down the priority attractions, best times for the aforementioned schedule, and alternates for the hard to get Fastpasses (looking at you Flight of Passage)
  • pray

Do you ever wonder if planning a trip to Disney World is this complicated or if you just make it this way?  Secretly, I think I enjoy all of it.  It helps to “calm the itch” so to speak between trips.  I get to collaborate with my just-as-Disney-crazy-as-I-am sister as we go over every possibility and all of our options.  When you get to go through and plan what the day will be like, it’s almost like you’re getting to live it before it even gets there.

Maybe you aren’t like me, and the planning is stressful, I’m here to tell you just breathe.  It’s never going to be a perfect plan.  As much as I enjoy planning everything down to the smallest detail, do you know how often those plans change?  All.  The.  Time.  More often than not, my perfect plans get thrown out the window due to illness (yes, my kids have gotten sick on vacation), fatigue (we have skipped mornings and evenings in the parks simple because we were too tired), ride closures, evacuations (waiting 3 hours for Flight of Passage just to get walked out of the building at the LAST possible moment), and a host of other things.  I’m on my phone searching for new fast passes and checking wait times more often than not and it’s all OK.  I never come back to my resort thinking it was all a waste, I come back thinking “What a day!  I can’t wait to do that all over again!”.

Behind the Scenes Tours at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

My husband and I are planning an adult-only visit to Walt Disney World sometime in 2018.  While there is nothing I love more than planning any Disney World trip, I really love incorporating special requests from my family.  Because I tend to be so type-A, research-mama, crazy planning chick, my husband often leaves the bulk (read 99%) of the planning and scheduling to me.  For this trip, however, he made a special request.  Since Animal Kingdom has started staying open into the late hours of the night, it has quickly become one of our favorite parks.  My husband requested that I look into the special tours and opportunities available because he really wanted to know what was going on in that lookout you can just see jutting out from the Kilamanjaro Safaris path.

So, being who I am, I dove right into the world wide web to find out all I could about the special tours offered in Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

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Childcare Options in Walt Disney World

Ready for a confession?  Even on a family vacation, sometimes I need a break from my children.  There are times when my husband and I want to spend some child-free time together in the parks or go to a restaurant that’s less than kid-friendly.  When these times come up, I am grateful that Disney offers childcare centers and baby-sitters.
 When I mention using Disney childcare, I’m often met with disbelief from family and friends that I’m allowing a stranger to watch my children.  However, all childcare cast members for the in-room baby-sitting are rigorously vetted and have an impressive list of qualifications, including:

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