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Journeywoman's Disney Birthday Party

 

Where to stay...

At Disney, visitors are faced with a myriad of excellent accommodation choices – everything from deluxe resorts to more rustic family campgrounds. The nice thing to find out when choosing is that within the Disney Park all rooms are designed to house families – that means enough space for rambunctious kiddies to play while mom, dad or grandma put their feet up, watch TV, and enjoy a glass of wine.

My family felt that staying within the Disney grounds was the perfect solution for us. That meant that we would happily avoid all worries about renting cars and negotiating crowded parking lots. And best of all, as on-site guests we could enjoy exclusive early morning access to the most popular rides in the Park. Boy, was that ever helpful.


We chose a Polynesian theme...

Mainly because it was located directly on the monorail line, our resort of choice became the languid and lovely Polynesian. That meant nice, easy rides to the parks each morning. Then later in the afternoon when we began to see signs of child ‘meltdown’ we could hop the train and get back to our hotel in a flash.

We especially enjoyed the laid back vibe at the Polynesian. At the end of the day it was an inviting haven to come home to -- the perfect antidote to the hustle and bustle of the crowds in the Park. Think South Pacific ambience – enormous swimming pool, sandy beach, cool breezes, swaying palms, waterfalls, thatched roofs and over 75 different types of tropical and subtropical flora and fauna. The lobby (dubbed the Great Ceremonial Hotel) was Hawaii–Central. Guests stayed in ‘longhouses’ – hotels units that were spaced intermittently throughout the resort.

Party headquarters, for us, was a row of three, large, adjoining hotel rooms within a longhouse. Grandmother and grandchildren slept in the center room. That’s where all the cartoon watching, afternoon napping, snacking, storytelling, secret sharing and jumping on the beds took place. Each set of parents had their own quarters – one couple on either side of us. That meant that parents enjoyed some private quiet time and the kiddies, when necessary, could access their parents with a simple knock (make that, bang) on the door. It was a perfect arrangement!


Mickey Mouse called each morning...

From the moment the Disney's Magical Express bus from the airport passed through the main Disney Gates the children in our party were wired. The first morning they were up at dawn ready to go off and explore. Grandma wasn’t, so she conspired with her son-in-law next door. We informed our little charges that everybody must rest quietly in bed until Mickey called to wake them up. Each morning after that when ‘son-in-law in disguise’ called the room, the children sprang out of bed and raced to the phone. In a high pitched voice ’Mickey’ informed the kiddies that they were splendid for not disturbing anybody early in the morning. He reminded them to eat their breakfast, put on their sunscreen and that he would see them in the park later that day. The ruse worked. With apologies to Walt Disney, I promised myself I would tell my grandchildren the truth about those wake-up calls only when they went off to college.


Planning our activities...

Think big! Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando covers a total of 47 square miles (twice as large as New York City at 23 square miles). It contains four theme parks (Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney-MGM Studios and Disney’s Animal Kingdom), two water adventure parks, 22 resort hotels, 99 holes of golf, two full-service spas and much, much more.

Since each of the adults in our party knew at least one mom who had already visited Disney, we held pre-departure networking sessions with these experienced gurus. From their helpful suggestions and by visiting the Disney World website, our strategy began to take shape.

There are many different types of entrance tickets one can buy. We chose the Magic Your Way Base Tickets and then added privileges that gave us the most programming flexibility. We learned that the longer your stay with Mickey, the less your ticket costs are per day. For example, a ticket that might begin at $59.75 per person per day on Day One of your visit is reduced to $46.50 per person per day by the time Day Four comes around. To help us to decide which type of entrance ticket to choose, we used Disney’s Ticket Recommender.

Find out how Cinderella won a little boy's heart...

 

 

 

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