Disney World Fun for All Ages

 

Beyond the Parks there is a whole collection of experiences and things to do at Walt Disney World. Some are designed for all ages and some just for adults. Some are available year round and some are special events. Most require reservations that need to be made way in advance.

Here are a few selections to consider when you get “parked out.”

  1. Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue at the Fort Wilderness Camp Ground is one of the longest running and most popular dinner shows at Disney. A great evening for the whole family.
  2. YeHaa Bob Jackson at River Roost Lounge (  ). If you are staying at Riverside or Port Orleans try to catch Bob’s show in the lounge. Bob usually performs to standing-room-only crowds, so try and get a spot early. There is piano playing, comedy and of, course, sing-along.
  3. An evening at Disney Springs. Evenings at Disney Springs usually feature a number of free shows and concerts and a Strolling Piano (yes a strolling piano act that motors around the Springs). Plan on dinner, some shopping and fun.
  4. Eat with some characters. Pick from a number of restaurants featuring breakfast, lunch and dinner with the kids’ favorite Disney characters. Check with your hotel for locations and reservations.
  5. Take the family bowling at Splitsville (  ) over at Disney Springs or
  6. Have dinner or lunch with a movie at the AMC Dine-In-Theatre also at Disney Springs.
  7. Every evening the Boardwalk Resort area features a series of entertainers that include jugglers and magicians. Along with the performers you can enjoy funnel cake, ice cream, pizza, margaritas, popcorn and carnival games.
  8. The Boardwalk area also offers some adult fun at Jellyrolls Dueling Pianos (one of our favorite things to do). There is non-stop music, a full bar and free popcorn (admission is $12.50, higher on some nights like New Years Eve).
  9. Again, for the grown-ups, is the Atlantic Dance Hall  also at the Boardwalk. Dance the night away to selections from a DJ at an iconic Atlantic City boardwalk dance hall.
  10. Go over to the Animal Kingdom Lodge for animal viewing and narrative by naturalists. At night they pass out night-vision goggles on the viewing patio. Relax around the fire-pits with a drink (both outdoors and in the lobby). Spend a little time looking at the exhibits in the lobby and strolling around the grounds.
  11. Play Fantasia miniature golf at two 18-hole courses based on Disney’s classic animated film Fantasia. One designed for family fun and one for people with some serious skills. The complex is located near the entrance to the Swan Hotel.
  12. Watch some fireworks. Find a location with a view of the evening fireworks. For the Magic Kingdom there are a number of good locations
    Fireworks over 7 Seas Lagoon

    around Seven Seas Lagoon. Some of the restaurants offer tables sited for watching. Over at the Boardwalk you can catch the Epcot fireworks from the bridge between the Boardwalk and the Yacht Club resorts or on the Boardwalk down near the Atlantic Dance Hall. There are also a couple of locations on the Boardwalk where you can catch a glimpse of the Magic Kingdom fireworks across the lake.

In addition to the four theme parks and the two water parks, the people at Disney World have added a few seasonal park specials and premium events. One of the most popular is “Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party” which is a special evening admission ticket to the Magic Kingdom on specific nights over the holidays. Similarly, there is “Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween” at the Magic Kingdom in the Fall. You can purchase tickets through the Disney web site or at Disney Stores.

Epcot has two seasonal events that do not require special tickets. (Entry is included with your Epcot ticket.) Both festivals tend to be much busier on weekends then during the week as there are more lectures and demonstrations during that time.

The “Food & Wine Festival” in the fall, usually runs from early September to mid October. The festival has the look and feel of a street fair where you can purchase sample foods from around the world as well as a number of featured wines and beers. In addition there are cooking demonstrations and lectures. The other event is the “International Flower & Garden Festival” usually running from early March to late May. This festival is all about flowers, featuring sample gardens, topiary, lectures and demonstrations. Weekends during this festival also include music concerts.

There is also a selection of dessert parties around “The World” including:

Celebration at the Top – Sip, Savor, Sparkle

Ferrytale Fireworks: A Sparkling Dessert Cruise

IllumiNations Sparkling Dessert Party

Pirates & Pals Fireworks Voyage

Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular Dessert Party at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Tiana’s Riverboat Party

Fireworks Dessert Party at Tomorrowland Terrace

They all require reservations well in advance, some also require park admission and all have a fee involved.

For an up-to-date listing of special events around Walt Disney World click HERE.

Advertisements

Walt Disney World – MagicBands…

Using FastPass and MagicBands

Make FastPass+ Reservations

Years ago one of the sure things to expect when the family visited Walt Disney World was spending a lot of time waiting in line. Probably the biggest limiting factor in the number of rides you could take in was the length of the wait lines. Disney was one of the first innovators in reducing this time. Initially the FastPass system used your admission ticket once you were in a park to allow you to schedule a ride or two. Even this system greatly increased the number of rides you could fit in but there have been a number of upgrades since.

While the newest FastPass is again an incremental improvement it is becoming really important that anyone planning a vacation or just a visit to Disney World understand how the system works. If you don’t take the time before your trip you could end up riding a lot less rides. Because FastPass allows people to schedule rides weeks in advance it also makes getting onto a ride the day of a visit a bigger challenge

How To Use FastPass+

There are different ways to make Fastpass+ reservations that depend on where you are staying and what type of ticket you have. In order to make FastPass+ reservations you must have park tickets or a purchase confirmation number. Before you begin you need to decide in advance as to what parks you will visit and on what dates. You will also need names and ticket numbers for everyone traveling with you.

If you are staying at a Disney resort: You can make your first FastPass+ ride reservations 60 days in advance of the hotel reservation date. Once you have made your first reservation you can add ten days to the sixty to make FastPass+ selections in other parks. Also before you start making FastPass+ reservations you should investigate Extra Magic Hours for parks during your stay. That information will help you plan which parks to visit on what dates.

Pirates of the Caribbean

Staying at a non-Disney resort you will be able to make your FastPass+ reservations 30 days in advance.

Before you begin you should have an internet connectable device and we would recommend that you use a smart phone for easy use inside the parks. Download the Disney World App. Next set-up a My Disney Experience  account so you can make and record FastPass+ reservations. The only way to make Fastpass+ reservations before your trip is to use your account at the My Disney Experience website. You will also need to provide an email address and be sure to use one that you can access on thru you Disney World App thru your portable device.

Disney MagicBands

 If you are staying at a Disney Resort at Walt Disney World you will be issued a MagicBand for each guest in your party. The band looks like a bracelet or watch and uses a battery to communicated with a number of devices around “the World”. Before you arrive you will probably be asked for your choice in color but without making a choice it will be gray. The bands have your name printed inside and not to miss an opportunity Disney stores and gift shops also sell decorations that can be added to personalize the MagicBands. With a MagicBand you can link it to My Disney Experience and add reservations (both current and future) along with park tickets and FastPass+ reservations. Wearing the MagicBand you can open your room door, charge meals at Disney restaurants and food concessions and go shopping at Disney stores that are charged back to your hotel account. You can use them to enter the parks (provided you have synced tickets to your account), identify your account to Disney photographers, and use FastPass+. You can manage your MagicBands on you’re my Disney Experience on line both now and for the future. The MagicBand is set-up where you provide a pin number for all money transactions and just like a card based passkey you can restrict charging privileges to certain members of your group.

It’s A Small World

Because all purchase transactions on a MagicBand require a pin the process is pretty secure. Even if you lose a band someone would still need you pin to use it for shopping or meals. There is however a possible concern around this remarkable system. Disney has capitalized on a phenomenon that the credit card industry has understood forever. People generally spend more money when using a credit card rather than spending cash. The MagicBand takes advantage of this characteristic in a big way and other than knowing that there has been a spending cap agreed to on your hotel account, it is very difficult to confirm the charged balance on your account. The only way we are aware of is to check at the hotel Concierge desk.

Walt Disney has also made a big promotion for meal plans associated with your room reservation. There are a number of different levels, naturally at different prices. These meals are also recorded on you account and accessed again using your MagicBand.

Epcot

When you eat at a full service restaurant you will get a receipt that shows how much service was used and how much remains. Unfortunately for a full accounting you will again need to check at the hotel Concierge desk.

Our primary criticism with this completely integrated system that includes The WDW App, the My Disney Experience website, MagicBands, park tickets and FastPass is the inability to check the money and meal plan balances. It would seem a reasonable approach to give you access thru the WDW App?

HOME

FYI Links

In browsing and doing research we often come across web sites that we think are worthy of sharing. Most are relevant to articles on this site or the purpose of The Intentional Traveler. Some, at times, do not relate directly to a specific post and we have decided to occasionally offer a post dedicated to providing links to these sites. Please consider the following links:

WiseBread – This is an article on travel reward credit cards from a popular financial site.

Clothing Arts Ltd – Travel and Adventure clothing with advertised “pick-pocket proof “ pants. A serious concern in some areas where we find ourselves. Let you know if we stumble into a field test.

Travel Blogs – There is a whole world of travel opportunities and an equally large assortment of blogs sharing ideas and the experiences of fellow travelers. Below we offer a number of recent finds that you might find interesting. In some cases the link is to a facebook page and depending on the page type you may need a facebook account of your own to access the page:

Facebook Intentional Tourist – An excellent site by an adventurous lady chronicling more exotic travel.

Traveling with the Jones – Featuring a couple doing frequent trips and reporting in a journal format. Lots of articles with good info.

Adventurous Retirees – Don & Renee travel the world offering their experiences and recording their finds. Two dedicated travelers.

Traveling with Sweeney – Inspiration and information for the best in luxury, cultural, and active travel. Travel articles with good depth Sweeney does a good job of offering suggestions and comparisons.

Intentional Traveler Blog – Discoveries of a retired couple RVing around North America.

Enjoy…

 

Insurance & International Travel

A recent incident involving an acquaintance and a conversation with a travel friend have highlighted the importance of international travel insurance. We will take this opportunity to offer our thinking on this matter along with the results of a little research. Please understand that this is focused on American travelers but we are also aware of similar plans offered in Canada and other countries.

There are a number of different categories of travel insurance and you need to understand how your specific travel plans should determine the insurance you buy. Generally, insurance is available to cover problems in five specific areas:

  • Trip Cancellation and Interruption
  • Theft of Property Loss
  • Health and Accident
  • Medical Repatriation
  • Life

In truth, we have maybe been too casual in selecting our own travel insurance. Our concerns have been focused in three main areas. First is a concern in having to cancel an expensive trip at the last minute and losing our invested money. The second is travel interruption causing us to miss difficult connections or a cruise sailing. Lastly are medical cost concerns while being out of the country.

We usually buy a cruise policy for longer cruises to cover us in the event we have to cancel or we unavoidably miss a sailing. Normally we forgo this insurance on shorter cruises because the potential loss in dollars is small and there is little likelihood of missing the cruise. In general, these policies provide medical cost reimbursement and property theft and loss protection. Some also, but not all, cover the cost of medical repatriation.

As a habit, we do not buy air travel insurance. The cost of these policies is mainly focused on the life insurance component and not on trip interruption, which, in most cases, is the airlines responsibility.

Our health insurance does have an international travel component that pays up to $50,000 with a lifetime cap of $50,000.

We have also carried a medical evacuation and repatriation policy for the past number of years that, to us, seems a reasonable expense. Less than $200 for an annual plan.

Situational Considerations

Cruise only – Let’s say you are taking a Mediterranean cruise with flights into and out of the sailing port, a cruise insurance policy probably provides the appropriate amount of coverage in most areas. We have at times been charged for medical services while onboard and had to submit documents to get reimbursed under these policies. We also had one occasion where a camera was stolen and we never seemed to be able to provide enough proof to get the loss paid but that is typical with many insurance policies. Most cruise policies also cover medical expenses if you need care in a local clinic or hospital while on the cruise as well as medical evacuation and repatriation. The same policy usually covers booked cruise/land packages.

Cruise with an extended land itinerary – If you are taking that Mediterranean cruise but then plan to go off on your own for a couple of weeks in Europe, chances are that a cruise policy will terminate on disembarking the ship. For that reason you need to understand that you will not be covered for medical emergencies above the limits of your American health insurance and, based on the incident involving our friend, that can be financially catastrophic.

Frequent international travel – If you are a frequent international traveler it is most important to analyze your risk concerns and how much you are comfortable paying. You have options of buying a complete medical plan (Geoblue) , a medical evacuation plan (EA+) or a complete annual insurance policy (Allianz, Amex) that offer some coverage in virtually all areas. Most policies however only provide coverage while on trips of less than 60 days each.

In our case we take a number of cruises and international trips a year and our biggest concerns are medical emergencies and evacuation so we keep an annual MedEvac plan in place. We believe our Medicare supplement offers adequate (we hope) medical coverage for now and will buy cruise policies on individual trips as mentioned above.

There are also complete annual travel policies, which should be considered if you travel internationally often. Generally they have lower limits on coverage, especially in areas like trip cancellation and property loss. For example most annual policies limit cancellation protection to $2,000 per year. Following is an example from a recent annual generic quote provided by Alianz for a typical retired couple.

Note: 26 European countries require health insurance to visit.

In early 1995 twenty-six European countries signed an agreement that abolished enforcing their borders between member states. As a result the area mostly functions as a single country for international travel purposes, with a common visa policy. Anyone from a country that requires them to apply for the Schengen visa to enter Europe must have international health insurance.

The 26 countries in the zone are Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.

A letter from your insurance company is required, and this needs to mention that you will be covered in Europe for any medical, evacuation and repatriation expenses during your whole stay. The medical expenses have to be covered for at least 30,000 euros.

Americans and Canadians along with a number of other nationals do not need this visa to visit. Because of the immigration crisis of the past years there have also been a number of Schengen countries that are again enforcing their borders on an emergency basis.

 

Welcome

 

Santorini, Greece

This site is dedicated to all those people who have the time and resources to feed their wanderlust and are looking to enjoy a certain level of comfort.  At the same time are not inclined to waste money that could be put toward more traveling…

Visit Us On Facebook

 



CONTENTS


DESTINATIONS

TECH TIPS

RESTAURANTS

TRAVEL TIPS


With this site we hope to share some of our travel experiences and offer some useful advice. We are hoping some of our travel friends will help out from time to time as well. We are just getting started but hope you will check back often.

Please take note of a few features on this site. Any underlined blue text is a link to another website with additional information. The general menu has a search page entry that has additional links and a search bar. Comments are not generally posted in an effort to reduce clutter and avoid confusion but we do welcome comments and contributions. Please email us at:

TheIntentionalTraveler@gmx.com

Of specific interest are recommendations on hotels and restaurants and overviews of destination cities. We are also looking for details on getting around a city or if you experienced a particularly interesting event we would love to hear about it.

Visit our Facebook page

Skagen, The Watch & Town

A few months ago when we started this blog we mentioned buying a Skagen watch in Skagen and we actually did. For a long time we have admired Skagen watches. Generally they are stylish, thin and not outrageously expensive. So when we found ourselves visiting Skagen, Denmark on a cruise it seemed a natural thing to do. Skagen (pronounced as if the g wasn’t there), Denmark is a smallish port located on the Jutland peninsula and Denmark’s northernmost town. Besides having a watch company named after it, Skagen is also noted for its scenery. On the northeastern outskirts, Grenen Beach is at the convergence of

Town Square

the Skagerrak and Kattegat seas. We walked into town and found THE Skagen watch shop along with a few hundred of our fellow shipmates. Maybe the shop isn’t accustomed to the number of people a cruise ship can deliver to their door, or at least that is how they acted. First you had to get the help of a sales clerk to answer questions and write up your order. Not efficient, but so far so good. Next you had to wait in line to pay at the counter and that is where things really broke down. Two or three hundred customers times ten to fifteen minutes divided by

Watches in the Skagen Store

two cashiers means you are going to spend the day here. At the time of the visit we really didn’t know much about the watches other than we liked them. We should have done our research. The watches are made in China and use a Japanese Miyota quartz movement. They have never been made in Skagen. Founded in 1989, the company has always been based in the United States. Started by Henrik and Charlotte Jorst, who moved from Denmark to the US in 1986. According to the Wikipedia , the company, Skagen Designs Ltd. was named for Skagen, Denmark , with the stated corporate aim to present honest, simple, purposeful designs and thus share Danish ideals globally. After locating the Danish-owned clock and watch manufacturer, Comtech Watches, a supplier that could manufacture watches at a lower price through its Hong Kong factory, the Jorsts began designing their own watches, Today Skagen is a subsidiary of Fossil, which agreed to

skagan4.jpg
Welcome to Skagen

buy Skagen Designs and its international affiliates for about $236.9 million in cash and stock in 2012. While we can claim that we bought our Skagen watch in Skagen we discovered that we paid manufacturers list price. Since then we have also learned that we could have saved considerable time and money buying the same watch onboard ship or in duty free shops elsewhere.

Before leaving Skagen we did some shopping and discovered Glaspusterblaeser, a great glass blowing shop in an old post office building located at Sct. Laurentii Vej 13. We bought a number of hand blown Christmas ornaments for our tree and to give as gifts.

SEARCH SITE 

International Travel and Email

You’re traveling and you go to recover your email and, without warning, access is denied. If you travel overseas and you haven’t experienced it yet, you eventually will. We already use or have used multiple email accounts with primarily Google, Apple and MicroSoft and have had degrees of this issue with each one.

Our experience is that MS Outlook is the most problematic and difficult to get working again but almost all of them have similar protocols. They detect that you are accessing your account from an international IP address, think that you are being hacked and then lock your account and send out a notice to that effect. You can arrange to be notified by most of them via text message but you still have to go thru the process of going online, verifying your account information and confirming that you were the one that triggered the event; all while using unsecured public internet service or paying an internet fee. There have also been times when our emails just stop, leaving us to try and figure out what happened.

Frequently our email begins to get delayed for hours or a day while traveling and we’ve never found an explanation. When that happens it is usually a problem that effects most of our email accounts and is something we have just accepted in the past. The issue where access gets denied is, at times, a much bigger bother.

A couple of years ago we looked into options that would avoid these issues and we found GMX. This is a German based email provider that actually promotes their solution to the problem. It seems they just don’t put the sort of security systems in place that Gmail and Outlook use. Maybe for some that is problematic but we are not sure what value hackers would get from reading our email, other than picking up an address or two. We have set up a number of GMX accounts and when we travel we have email forwarded to them. This avoids the problem with the main accounts and we can also selectively forward specific emails like notices of credit card transactions or messages from specific people. All in all this approach has worked out pretty well.

Another tip regarding email: if you are concerned that you are not getting messages and you use an email application, the best way to double check is to use a browser and log directly into your email server (Apple iCloud account, Google Gmail account, etc.). We also request that our family members and friends time and date their e-mails at the beginning of the text so we can be made aware of excessive delays. (We know we can display the “long header” and get this info, but having it in the text is easy to recognize and actually more accurate).

CLICK TO SEARCH SITE      BACK TO TOP