Disney Gift Cards

Sadly, Disney announced the closing of the Disney Vacation Account program on July 25, 2017.  They are no longer available for use. 

In another twist to gathering your dollars for the mouse, Disney has established the Disney Vacation Account (DVA).  The Disney Vacation Account is a savings account offered by Disney that allows you to pool your money while you accumulate the full amount.  The money that you save in your DVA is easily used to pay for upfront costs (such as Magic Your Way packages, rooms, tickets, cruises, etc).  The downsides are that the money you save is captured for use at Disney (it can’t be directed to a different vacation if plans change) and doesn’t accrue interest.… Read the rest

Food Cost, Hotel Cost, Shopping, Ticket Cost, Travel Cost

When we plan a Disney World trip, we break the trip into 5 basic components.

Transportation

This is the cost to get you and your family to Disney World.  Transportation costs vary based upon the way you choose to arrive in Orlando, the distance involved, and the level of luxury you desire.  Driving from three hours away in a small family car is going to cost a lot less than driving 24 hours in a large SUV.  Flying usually costs more than driving, especially if a rental car is involved once you land.  You can, of course, skip the rental car and just use Magical Express if you are staying on Disney property!… Read the rest

Disney Cruise

During a recent Disney Cruise, we participated in the Mixology class.  The class is a chance to try your hand at making (and tasting) five different mixed drinks.  The class costs $20 per person and the amount is charged to your room.  It is important to note that if you would like to do one of these classes, you should sign up when you board the ship on the first day.  We looked in the Navigator we picked up in the port terminal to find the signup location.  For our cruise on the Fantasy, that was in La Piazza.  We waited around a few hours before going to sign up and we managed to grab the last two spots for the Mixology class on the first sea day. 

Skyline Lounge
Skyline Lounge

The location for our class was the Skyline lounge, which is the martini bar on the Disney Fantasy (and the Dream as well).  We arrived for our class at 2 PM and the lounge was already set up for the class.  The bartender teaching the class, Damien, had already put together some of the base ingredients for the drinks  as well as the glasses to help speed the class along.  As the participants began to filter into the lounge, the bartender and his two assistants collected our tickets or checked our names off a list he had.… Read the rest

Disney Cruise

Hello!  This is an article about the 12 year old perspective of the Edge.  The Edge is the Disney Cruise Line club for kids from 11 to 14.  Normally, around the time you turn 11, you just want to go to the Edge, and not hang around the Oceaneer Club and Oceaneer Lab as much.  This is a guide about how the Edge works, because it is slightly different from the Club and Lab.… Read the rest

Disney Cruise

Disney Fantasy Stateroom 6146
Disney Fantasy Stateroom 6146

We recently went on the Disney Fantasy for a Star Wars Day At Sea 7 Night Eastern Caribbean Cruise.  We stayed in room 6146, which is a Category 5D Deluxe Oceanview Stateroom with Verandah.  It is located on the port (left) aft (back) side of the ship on Deck 6.   Here are our pictures of the room!… Read the rest

Travel

Planning 1 | Planning 2 | Planning 3 | Travel | Disneyland  (1234) | Arrival | Surfing | Aulani | Excursion | Hyatt

It was finally time to leave Aulani.  We had been at the resort for a total of six days.  I think perhaps we stayed at the resort one or two days longer than we should have without leaving.  We still had two days left on Oahu staying in Waikiki.  We decided to take a tour of the island and see some additional spots!  We had to check out of Aulani and couldn’t check into our next hotel until 4 pm, so we had a lot of time on our hands.… Read the rest

Travel

Planning 1 | Planning 2 | Planning 3 | Travel | Disneyland  (1234) | Arrival | Surfing | Aulani | Excursion | Hyatt

We had planned to spend most of our time at Aulani at the resort, enjoying the amenities.  However, I’m a big history buff, so there was no way we would leave Oahu without a visit to Pearl Harbor.  We thought booking a tour of Pearl Harbor through Disney would be the easiest way to go without having to attempt to drive into Honolulu.  We booked the Pearl Harbor Remembered tour for our second day at the resort.  The tour bus picked us up from the resort early in the morning, about 8:30 AM.  The start of the tour was a little rough for a few reasons.  The tour group leader gave people in the group conflicting instructions, which started everyone off in a bad mood.  The second issue was the tour bus air conditioner was really loud and made it almost impossible to hear in the back, which is where we were sitting. 

After boarding the bus, we headed to downtown Honolulu.  We stopped at Aliiolani Hale to see the statue of Kamehameha the Great as well as the royal palace.  Pro tip, the Aliiolani Hale houses the State Supreme Court, but also has bathrooms!  You do have to go through security to get into the building though.… Read the rest

Travel

Planning 1 | Planning 2 | Planning 3 | Travel | Disneyland  (1234) | Arrival | Surfing | Aulani | Excursion | Hyatt

After our surf lessons, we headed towards Aulani.  We’d booked six nights at the resort and only had plans to leave the resort for one day.  I’ll talk about the resort itself with this post and detail the excursions in another post. 

We arrived at Aulani around 4 PM or so.  I dropped the ladies and luggage off at the front door and went to park the car.  Since we had rented DVC points for our room from David’s Vacation Rentals, we got free parking for our entire stay here.  We grabbed our luggage and went to check in, which was smooth and friendly.  The ladies each received a flower lei and I received a kukui nut lei. 

Guest Services
Guest Services
The lobby of Aulani is beautiful.  It is open air, like most things in Oahu. 

Room

We choose a Pool View room when we rented points, mainly because it was the lowest cost room available.  Our room was on the 2nd floor, which is the level you enter on.  Overall, the room reminded me of our stays at the Wilderness Lodge.  Lots of dark warm wood.  There was one large bed and a sleeper sofa.  The kids slept on the sleeper sofa, but it was actually pretty comfortable compared to some others they’ve slept in.  The room also included a fridge, toaster, microwave, and coffee maker.  Here are pictures of the room.… Read the rest

Travel

Planning 1 | Planning 2 | Planning 3 | Travel | Disneyland  (1234) | Arrival | Surfing | Aulani | Excursion | Hyatt

After spending two days at the Hilton Hawaiian Village, it was time to head out for Aulani.  We couldn’t check in there until the afternoon, so we thought we would plan a fun day.  We headed up towards the North Shore.  Our first stop was at some shops just south of Haleiwa.  The girls were looking for souvenirs, but all we managed to find was some chickens.… Read the rest