Welcome to the latest episode of Traveling with the Mouse, where we discuss the best ways to save money on a Disney vacation! While there may not be many discounts on ticket prices, one area where you can save money is where you stay. Disney has a variety of resort types, each with their own unique experiences, but there are also options outside of Disney that can save you money. First, let’s discuss Disney’s resort options. From budget-friendly options like the Value Resorts to the luxurious Deluxe Resorts, there is something for everyone at Disney. We’ve personally stayed at many of these resorts and have found that they all have their own charm and benefits. When it comes to saving money, it’s important to consider the trade-off between cost and convenience. While staying off-site may save you money, it can also mean losing valuable time. You’ll need to factor in the cost of transportation and the time it takes to get to and from the parks. On the other hand, staying on Disney property can be more convenient, we still recommend driving your own car as bus transportation can be very slow. In the end, the best way to save money on a Disney vacation will depend on your individual preferences and budget. Whether you choose to stay on or off Disney property, there are options available that can help you save money without sacrificing the magic of a Disney vacation.
Monorail vs. Skyliner (Restaurant edition)
Episode 370: There is an ongoing debate in the Disney Community about which form of Disney transportation is best, Monorail or Skyliner. (sorry Bus) Well, in order to truly get to the bottom of that we must fully explore all of what makes them both great. There are truly some great restaurants that are on the monorail and if you include the boardwalk area there’s many more options on the skyliner. But which of these two forms of transportation has the best overall restaurants? We give our top 5 picks for each and then decide which one overall has the better restaurants. We do also cover some news stories. The Disneyland resort is finally allowing renewals of their Magic Key (annual pass) program. The prices are different though. We also talk a little about this year’s Mickey’s not so scary Halloween party!
A look back at Walt Disney World in July 2020, Part 2
Back in July 2020 it was a lot easier to get a reservation at signature restaurants like California Grill at Disney’s Contemporary Resort. This one happens to be my favorite restaurant on property. In fact this year in our March Madness bracket episode we named California Grill as the best thing at Walt Disney World! I love this restaurant so much that I chose to brave covid-19 and dine here last July. It was the first restaurant that I had visited since the start of the pandemic. I was definitely a little nervous but we quickly felt at home thanks to the wonderful cast that works here.
Why do we love California Grill so much?
First of all, the views are incredible. You can look down into the Magic Kingdom and see the tops of the mountain range. When fireworks are happening the restaurant dims the lights and guests can exit the restaurant onto the rooftop to have a unique view of the show. The food is fantastic and the drinks are top notch! I love the sushi, the flatbreads and the bread service is good as well. I almost always order the beef filet which is my favorite. I haven’t had anything bad here.
3 hour dinner
We enjoyed this experience so much last July that we stretched it out as long as we possibly could. We made this dinner last over three hours. It felt so good to have a semi-normal experience again that we didn’t want it to end. We asked our server to bring us everything slowly because we didn’t want to rush. Our kids had full charge on their iPads and my wife and I just sat and enjoyed our drinks. This dinner was a much needed break from the reality of the pandemic that surrounded us.
When it comes to the food. We wanted some of everything since this was our fist sit-down meal in months and at the time we didn’t know how long it would be before we would have another one. We ordered flatbreads for the kids and as an appetizer for us we ordered the sushi. My favorite one on the menu is the Spicy Kazan roll with the fireball sauce…delicious! For the entrées my wife chose the Grouper while I went with the Filet of beef. Both were outstanding! The desserts are also a winner here!
To sum up, We love the California Grill because the staff here make sure that you have a good time. Even when it looked as though we were going to have a very negative experience they more than made up for it. There was a time in 2019 where we were an hour late getting to our table. We had a large group but that was still no excuse. The manager more than made it up to us by comping some appetizers for the table and by giving us all additional fast passes for the next day because we missed out on some that night. That’s why I say it is the best restaurant on property. The food is great, the views are great but also the cast members who work there are amazing!
Walt Disney World Re-opening!
Episode: 269. Walt Disney World announced their re-opening dates and we go through all of the details. While it is good to finally know an opening date for the parks and resorts. It was a little surprising at first that they are going with July 11th & 15th. However, after we start going through the details it does start to makes sense. Also, DVC resorts are set to re-open on June 22nd and with likely soft openings of the parks. We break down what some new requirements will be in order for guests to visit the parks this summer. We also discuss some of the other news like what is going on a Disney springs now that they Disney operated stores are open for business…It’s pretty much how you would expect.
Disney Moderate Resorts
Episode 260: We discuss Disney Moderate resorts! On our recent poll the Disney Moderate resorts won hands down. We begin the show with a news discussion. We Talk about Haunted Mansion’s continued problems, The opening of Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway and we give our advice on how Disney can save money on construction projects during uncertain economic times. When then go into our main topic of the day, The Walt Disney World Moderate Resorts. We compare them by price, location, food & dining options, pools and amenities, and transportation. Which resort stands above the rest? It turns out the we all agreed on which 2 resorts stand out above the rest…Can you guess which ones? Tune in to find out!
News and More! 6/26/19
Episode 222: This episode is filled with too, too, too much good content! We start with some of the latest news and then go into a little game where we compare attractions that have similar ride systems. We start with Toy Story 4 and give our thoughts on the movie (no spoilers). We give some construction updates on the Disney Skyliner and Coronado Springs resort. We decided to play a game where we select two attractions at Walt Disney World or Disneyland that have similar ride systems but are not the same attraction. For example, Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree vs. Alien Swirling saucers. They are basically the same ride system but are themed totally different…so which one is the better attraction? Another example is Tower of Terror and Gardians of the Galaxy Mission Breakout. The rides are now very different in theme but have similar ride mechanics. Which do you think is better? Is there any that we missed during the episode that we should compare? let us know! Also, we are trying out a new schedule where we release a new episode every Wednesday and if we have any breaking news or a special topic to discuss we will release that episode at a different time during the week. Let us know what you think!
Where to stay at Walt Disney World
Episode 204: In this episode we cover the different hotel and resort options for a Walt Disney World vacation! Whether you like staying on property or prefer to stay close to Walt Disney world there are a number of things to consider. The price is obviously a big consideration but there’s also factors like, location, amenities, transportation, and theme. Disney has several categories of resorts to choose from and we help break down each one to help you decide which resort is the best one for you and your family.
Episode 185 – Pros and Cons of Disney Moderate and Value Resorts
Today on the show we list the pros and cons of the Disney Moderate and Value Resorts! We hope that this episode (and last week’s episode) will be helpful if you are trying to decide which Disney resort is right for you. (Also, We realized that we left out Animal Kingdom Lodge from the last episode so we include it as well. As we found out with the deluxe resorts there are conveniences that come along with them but with a hefty price tag. The Moderate and Value resorts have a much more reasonable price tag but with that you are giving up some of those deluxe conveniences. We hope that this series of episodes will help you weigh the pros and cons of the Disney resorts to find the one that is just right for you!
Episode 181 – Unofficial Disney 2019 Guide, Pt. 2
In today’s episode we continue going through the 2019 unofficial guide to Walt Disney World and give some more insight into the resorts and theme parks. This guide is really helpful when selecting a resort and room location because of the extensive survey data that touring plans collects. We go through several of those survey results, I think you will find them quite interesting. We may continue with a part 3 soon as we really enjoy discuss this topic. Let us know what you think!
Episode 179 – January Trip Report
In this episode, I discuss my recent Walt Disney World trip. This time I stayed at Pop Century resort and I give my opinion on my first stay at this resort. I also had 2 meals at the Japan pavilion at Epcot. Both were very good but all things considered I liked one a little better than the other. I also had a very special experience on Kilimanjaro Safari…We were there the day that a giraffe gave birth. Also, I discovered a nice quiet spot to view the Happily ever after fireworks at Magic Kingdom. This trip was also my first time visiting over a marathon weekend. I have some tips one how to make the most of the time if you are not involved with the marathon.
Episode 172 – Christmas at Disney
In this special Christmas episode of Traveling with The Mouse we are discussing our favorite Disney Christmas experiences (past and present). We look back on our first experiences with Christmas at Walt Disney World, Disney Cruise Line and Disneyland in California. We also discuss the experiences that are no longer available as well as things that we want to do in the future. We cover all of the various Christmas activities that you can enjoy at Walt Disney World including the resorts! Lastly, we talk about what we would do if we spent Christmas Day at Walt Disney World. Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas!
Episode 166 – A Trip Down Memory Lane
On this episode of Traveling with The Mouse Jon and I take a trip down memory lane and discuss some of the things from Walt Disney World that either have changed since we were kids or the rare things that haven’t really changed much over the years. We discuss everything from a promotional sign for Tower of Terror to extinct attractions at Epcot. We also talk about our home resort as kids, The Polynesian and how much it has changed as well as the restaurants that we frequented when we were young. We even cover things that we wished we had known more about back in the day like Beastly Kingdom plans at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. We hope you enjoy this somewhat open discussion/walk down memory lane.
Episode 160 – Disney Timeline, Pt. 2
Today we are revisiting our Disney Timeline series! This is a series that we started a few weeks ago where we pick a year at random from Walt Disney World history and we discuss the major highlights (or lowlights) from that year. This episode we randomly picked the following years, 1990, 2002, 1973 and 1996. We discuss short-lived attractions like the Fort Wilderness railroad and Mickey’s Birthdayland. Today’s timeline also includes the opening of several resorts like the Swan & Dolphin, Yacht & Beach Club, Disney’s Boardwalk and Pop Century. There were also several plans that never came to fruition that were announced in 1990. Let us know how you like the random format or if you would prefer chronological order in the future!
Episode 155 – News 10/25/18
Today’s news topics include:
- Disney confirms a New 900 room Nature-Themed Resort
- Will Pirates of the Caribbean movie series get a reboot?
- Friendship Boat Service to Epcot Suspended in November-December
- Filming Schedule released for Disney’s Christmas day special
- Jungle Cruise Movie Release Date Moved To Summer 2020
- Disney Patents New Rotating Car Technology for Guardians Coaster
- Bahamas Government Approves Disney’s Proposal to Purchase Second Private Port
Episode 152 – Disney’s Yacht Club resort
On Today’s episode we continue our tour of the Walt Disney World resort hotels with Disney’s Yacht club resort. We discuss the rooms, restaurants, pool and other resort amenities. Jon and I have both stayed at the Yacht club and we talk about our experiences there and how we feel about the resort when compared to the other Epcot area resorts. The rooms have recently been renovated and have a lot more storage. This resort ranks very high on both of our lists and it is definitely worth a visit!
Episode 139 – Character Meals
Today Jon and I discuss the character meal options at Walt Disney World. We go through each of the on property locations that are considered character meals and give our top 3 favorites. We start by talking about the character meals at the resorts and then move to the ones that are in the parks. We also talk about which ones have the best food, best atmosphere and best character interaction. Between the two of us we have done just about every character meal at Walt Disney World. Which one is your favorite?
Episode 138 – Open Disney Discussion
Instead of doing a regular news story this week we decide that since we are behind on the news stories that we would just have an open discussion on the current Disney related topics that we thought were the most interesting. We start by talking about Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and how we feel about the Halloween season starting in mid-August now. We then cover news topics like, the two tragic deaths that have happened on our near Disney property in the last week, Disneyland’s hotel battle with the city of Anaheim, and rumors of what attraction will replace Stich’s Great escape.
Episode 126 – Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort
Today we are doing our resort tour of Disney’s Caribbean Beach resort! This resort is one that Jon and I both stayed at together. However, it was 26 years ago…I guess we need to plan our return visit to this resort soon. Jon has visited the resort recently and we have had friends and family who have stayed at the resort recently as well. We give you an overview of all of the amenities and special things that this resort has to offer. We also give an update on the massive construction going on in this area….There’s construction on the resort itself, the Disney Skyliner, and the Riviera resort which is just footsteps away. This is Walt Disney World’s original moderate resort and the only one to be considered an EPCOT moderate resort.
Episode 115 – Fort Wilderness Resort
Today we continue our resorts series and take an in depth look at Disney’s Fort Wilderness resort and campground. This massive resort opened shortly after the Contemporary and Polynesian Village resorts in 1971. We take a look at details of this resorts including the different accommodations, dinning options, shopping and recreational activities. Let us know what you think of this resort and which resort should we cover next?
Episode 104 – News 5/16/18
Today’s news topics include:
- New Construction projects for Magic Kingdom Area and EPCOT area
- Maleficent Dragon Catches fire during the Festival of Fantasy parade
- Whispering Canyon at Wilderness Lodge is toning down their shenanigans
- Talking Mickey at Town Square Theater is now silent
- Toy Story Midway Mania will close for a week in June
- New Signature restaurant coming to the Japan pavilion
- New dates added for the Disney After Hours event at Magic Kingdom (See my Review here)
- Tony’s Town Square restaurant has some new menu items.
- Sifi Dine-in Theater also as new menu items
- Coronado Springs construction update
These Stories and More!