Archives for April 2014
Several years ago I won a Passporter’s Walt Disney World Travel Guide through a blog giveaway. I have thoroughly loved this book and have used it as a resource in planning all our WDW trips since 2009. But Walt Disney World has changed A LOT since 2009! Fantasyland has expanded, new resorts have opened, attractions have closed, prices have increased and events have changed. I realized it was time for an updated Passporter!
Since we are in the middle of planning our next trip, I thought it would be the perfect time to offer a review and giveaway of the 2014 Passporter’s Walt Disney World Travel Guide on A Disney Mom’s Thoughts.
When I received my book I was impressed by the size, durability, organization and content. This guidebook has 350 pages of information, tips, maps, photographs and planning tools. The spiral bound pages allow readers to keep the book flat or fold it back to read one page at a time. None of my other Disney planning books allow this. The thick, glossy cover includes a large rubber band and external flap to cover 4 of the 6 sides to this book. The top and bottom are still exposed. This book covers 8 areas: Planning, Getting There, Staying in Style, Touring, Feasting, Making Magic, Index and Notes & More.
The organization aspects of this book are what impressed me most. On each page of the Passporter’s Guide, you will find vertical tabs to show you which part of the book you are using. Along the top, you can see the chapter and topic (Chapter 5: Feasting and Snacking, Topic: Epcot Eateries). Each park has a beautiful fold out map that are bound into the spiral part and are made of a thicker card stock paper.
For each of the parks, the rides/ attractions are grouped by the land where they are located. Each attraction is color coded by the target audience: Thrill Seekers, Family Friendly, Loved by Little Kids and Everything Else. I like that I can see the type of attraction at a glance based on color. Next to each description, you can also see Passporter’s age appropriate ratings, the height requirement, the thrill factor, average wait time and duration of the ride.
For each resort review you will find 4 pages describing the ambience, resort layout & rooms, eating & drinking, playing & relaxing, getting about, tips, notes, ratings, resort map, best locations, room rates and contact info. What I like the best are the photos, maps of the resort and floor plans, the travel time chart from the resort to each park, and the tips!
The organizing tools to help you plan your vacation add a nice touch to this book. At the end of each major section of this book you will find worksheets for making notes to help plan your vacation. These tools allow for you to make decisions and alternate plans if needed. Some of the worksheets include a budget, travel plans and packing lists, lodging and compare/ contrast tables, touring parks planning, meal reservations and reservation numbers. These worksheets help you organize your thoughts, decisions, and reservations all in one place.
In addition to the planning worksheets you use while preparing for your trip, Passporter also includes “PassPockets” in the back of the book where you can continue to make notes, once you arrive at Walt Disney World. You can write your final plans, memories, thoughts and notes while on vacation. You can also keep your tickets, maps, coupons, and other paper memories in the pockets which are divided by day of your trip. Think of these “PassPockets” as a journal, scrapbook, or a vacation slam book. You can also use the included stickers and labels to further customize your PassPorter.
Not only does PassPorter provide a great planning tool for your future Walt Disney World vacation, they also have an incredible online presence. You can register your PassPorter and find additional material at PassPorter.com. You will be able to find free material as well as e-books that won’t break the bank. There is also an active online community to further help you plan your perfect vacation!
Now, I’d like to offer you the opportunity to win your own copy of PassPorter’s Walt Disney World Travel Guide! Follow the Rafflecopter form below to enter! Good Luck.
My husband and I stayed at Port Orleans French Quarter on our “no kids allowed” trip in February of 2012. We stayed a week and had a lovely time. Being “southern” and having spent quite a bit of time in New Orleans, we both loved the charm of this resort. We both honestly felt like we were strolling the streets of New Orleans.
This resort opened as Disney’s Port Orleans Resort in May of 1991. The sister resort, Disney’s Dixie Landings Resort opened in June of 1992. In 2001, these two resorts merged into the new Port Orleans Resort consisting of French Quarter and Riverside. Disney’s French Quarter has 1,008 rooms in seven 3 story buildings. The buildings are divided between the South Quarter and North Quarter.
Each room at Port Orleans has two queen beds with some rooms offering King size beds. These rooms are a good size for a family of 4 at 314 square feet. Along with the bed(s), each room has a dresser with a flat screen TV, a small table with 2 chairs, a night stand, a refrigerator, safe, coffee maker and free WiFi. Each room has a separate vanity area with double sinks and a bathtub with shower head and a toilet off the vanity area.
Guests can choose between a standard view, garden view or water view room. Standard rooms will get a view of parking lots. Garden view rooms open to the “streets” throughout the resort. The water view rooms will have a view of the Sassagoula River.
The lobby is the “Mint House” which was based on a turn of the 20th century mint. You can check in here, shop in the gift shop, eat at the food court or play in the arcade. The check in desks are designed as a bank teller window as a nod to the mint. If you read music, you’ll notice the music notes mural behind the desk are the notes to “When the Saints Go Marching In.”
The Sassagoula Floatworks & Food Factory is the food court and the only place at French Quarter to get food. Here you can choose between several “New Orleans” style items here such as gumbo, chicken with red beans and rice, beignets and other Creole dishes. You can also find burgers, pizza, ice cream and baked goods. The food court is in a warehouse setting complete with Mardi Gras parade props.
Along with the arcade located in the lobby area guests can swim at the Doubloon Lagoon. This pool is built around a sea serpent and the pools slide is the tongue of the serpent. There is a whirlpool near the pool and guests are invited to also swim at Riverside. The gift shop, Jackson Square Gifts & Desires has Disney merchandise, clothing and sundries. All French Quarter guests are invited to visit Riverside Resort to rent bikes and surrey bikes, pedal boats, kayaks, canoes, Sea Racers and more. Carriage Rides are available and chartered fishing excursions are also available.
At Port Orleans, we loved the size of the resort. It was large enough to take a nice walk through the buildings, but not so large we felt lost. No matter which building you stay in, you are just a short walk to the food court, pool and bus stop. The theming of the resort was also a plus for us “southerners.” We loved the bright Mardi Gras theme at the pool and Mint House and the New Orleans garden district themed buildings were perfect. One of our favorite parts of this resort was the river boat ride down the Sassagoula River.
One thing in particular we didn’t like about this resort was the noise in our room. We couldn’t hear the noise outside our room in the courtyards, but we could hear our neighbors very clearly. We could hear the TV, the conversations and the toilets flushing. It seems like some extra insulation might be needed!
If you ever stay at Disney’s Port Orleans Resort, you MUST visit Yehaa Bob Jackson! Yehaa Bob performs 2 FREE shows each night Wednesday through Saturday starting at 8:30 at the River Roost Lounge. Don’t let the fact that this show is in a “Lounge” or bar keep your family from attending. It was great family entertainment and I look forward to taking my 2 & 5 year old boys on our next trip. Yehaa Bob sings oldies, Disney, show tunes, classics, kid songs and more. He plays his own instruments and gets the entire audience engaged in the songs. He even had my husband up and “dancing!” Amazing.
Check out Yehaa Bob’s web site complete with his performance schedule!
- It’s Tough to Be a Bug! is a very intense attraction with many special effects that may scare children or those with bug phobias! The theatre is also dark and loud.
- Cast members are available to park, but not watch, guests strollers… so take any valuables with you.
- FastPass+ is available, but there is rarely a wait longer than 30 minutes. You may want to save your FastPass for another attraction!
- The theatre is wheelchair accessible.
|image from dispatchfromdisneyland.com|
Back in March, I shared a press release for a new Disneyland book~ Dispatch from Disneyland: Stories and Essays from the Happiest Place on Earth. The author, John Frost, was gracious enough to send me a digital copy to review on my blog.
I’ve spent the past month reading these stories and essays each day. All of these stories are easy to read and very entertaining. As I read, I could picture myself in the story walking down Main Street, sitting on a park bench or interacting with a character. They are beautifully written and each story left me wanting to read another! All of the stories are between 2-5 pages long.
My favorite story, by far, was the Esmeralda story. I don’t want to give anything away, but anyone who is a fan of Disney magic and Disney characters needs to read this story in particular! Amazing. I also loved the “Elements of Magic” in the Addenda part of the book. These are “stories that make up the elements of the magic kingdom that is Disneyland.” Fifteen different buildings and attractions at the park are included in these stories. These are like “hidden secrets” of Disneyland in my mind.
Along with the great writing and stories, you will find beautiful photographs throughout the book. There are 107 pages that hold 17 “Dispatches”, 8 “Essays” and 4 “Addendas.”
I believe anyone who is a Disney fan, whether you have been to Disneyland or not, will enjoy these stories in this book. It’s always nice to read about Disney Magical Moments, even if they didn’t happen to you!
If you are interested in purchasing your own copy of “Dispatch from Disneyland” visit John’s web site with the same name. The PDF digital copy is $9.95 and the paper version from Amazon is $9.86 with the Kindle version only $4.99.