Disney World Hotel Reviews (+GIVEAWAY)


Thinking about staying at a Walt Disney World resort hotel, but not sure which is right for you? In our Disney hotel reviews, we share the strengths and weaknesses of each hotel, give our opinion as to whether they are worth the money, and offer an idea of what type of guests (families, honeymooners, commando tourists, etc.) will like or dislike each hotel.

Each full Walt Disney World hotel review contains photos from the hotels, including room photos and photos of main areas of the hotel, to give you an idea of whether the decor of the rooms and the theme of the hotel will appeal to you. In addition to this, the reviews offer Walt Disney World resort hotel tips, information about amenities, and dining recommendations at the hotels.

We have stayed at every on-site hotel at Walt Disney World, so unlike many hotel review sites that crowdsource or aggregate information from other sources leading to inconsistent ratings or uninformed “opinions”, our reviews are all first-hand accounts of our personal stays at each of the hotels at Walt Disney World. You may totally disagree with our opinions, but at least you’re getting the actual opinions of the same two people who have stayed at each of the hotels.

We are missing full reviews for a couple of Walt Disney World hotels because we either forgot to take room photos of the hotel or last stayed at the hotel before we started taking room photos (hey, how many of you take hotel room photos?!). Additionally, Disney has been aggressively refreshing its hotel rooms in the last year or so, and we haven’t yet had a chance to stay in every new room and update the photos. Our goal is to have this completed by early 2015.

Off-site and third party hotels at Walt Disney World like the Swan & Dolphin, Waldorf Astoria Orlando, Four Seasons Resort Orlando, Downtown Disney Resort Area Hotels, and other similar hotels are next on our list of places to start staying at and reviewing, so check back regularly and stay tuned for those reviews! To kick off our coverage of these hotels, we’re doing a giveaway of a 3-night hotel stay at the Downtown Disney Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista, so scroll below the hotel synopses and reviews to enter the giveaway!

Below we have blurbs with quick-hit pros and cons of each Walt Disney World hotel if you just want basic information. If you want to know more about each hotel and see Walt Disney World hotel photos, click the name of the hotel to go to its full review! (more…)

Disney Fitness Tips

Disney Fitness & Weight Loss Tips

Whether your goal is to lose weight or get in shape for your Disney vacation, or prepare yourself to run in the Walt Disney World Marathon, you need a fitness plan. If you’re a bit unsure of where to start with your Disney World fitness plan, fear not, as you aren’t alone. We originally made this plan in preparation for our first runDisney event, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Miler (click that link for our review of the race and to read how we did!) at Walt Disney World Resort.

It’s hard to believe that it was over two years ago when we first started to get in shape for our first runDisney event! Now we’re back to it as we have sort of fallen out of shape in the last couple of years. We want to get fit for Disney again and have a new idea about which we are really excited (scroll down to the Fitbit Community Motivation section for that) that we think might help both us and you. If you’ve already read this post before, go right to that section, as the rest of this post consisted of our original ideas…

At first, we had no idea how to get fit for running. We both used to be pretty fit, and I’ve gone running for short distances before, so I have a basic idea, but that’s about it. However, with a little research and after talking to some friends who run and re-listening to podcast episodes devoted to the topic of Disney marathons, we think we’ve developed a pretty good plan of attack that will have us first getting in shape, in general, and then start us training for the race. Not a bad plan for us to get in shape, in general, as I really enjoy water parks, and I don’t want to be too embarrassed to head to Typhoon Lagoon or Blizzard Beach!

Obviously, there are a myriad of ways to approach fitness, but I’m going to detail ours. I’m not a fitness expert, but the methods described here have worked for me and others (so they’re proven!), so your mileage may vary. I’m not going to weigh this down with countless legal disclaimers, so here’s the important one: don’t be an idiot. If following any of the advice here isn’t reasonable for you for whatever reason (pre-existing health conditions, pregnancy, etc.) don’t follow said advice. We aren’t responsible for your stupid decisions

With that said, let’s get in shape! (more…)

Tips for Buying Discount Disney World Tickets

Money-saving Tips for Buying Discount Walt Disney World Tickets (from authorized sellers!)

Walt Disney World offers a wide array of tickets. These tickets are expensive, but luckily, if you shop right, you can find good discounts on Disney tickets to save money. When it comes to a Disney vacation, the tickets are likely going to be your second-most expensive expenditure after your hotel room and perhaps airfare. For some people, they might actually be the most costly portion of the trip! Disney raises its ticket prices about once or twice per year with the last increase coming in February 2014, so it’s best to buy your tickets as early as possible, before your trip.

Given their cost, and the myriad of different ticket options, it’s important to know as much as you can about the different types of tickets, and what your family will probably need. Purchasing Walt Disney World tickets can be overwhelming, as there are many different choices and add-ons. If you’re willing to do a little homework, all of the options are a good thing, as you can buy exactly what you need and not waste money on unnecessary extras. In this article we sort through the different options and give you recommendations on what types of tickets are best, plus where you can save money on Walt Disney World tickets. (If you’ve come looking for info on discount Disneyland tickets, you’ve come to the wrong place–but we do have an article on that, too.)

If all you’re looking for is the best place to buy cheap, legitimate Walt Disney World tickets from an authorized reseller and don’t need to read this entire article, click here.

Ready to get started? Here are our tips for saving money on 2014 Disney World tickets! (more…)

How To Convince Someone To Visit Disney

Convincing someone who doesn’t like Disney to go to Walt Disney World or Disneyland is no easy task. Many people have negative preconceptions about Disney, had a bad experience at some point, or have some other reason for disliking Disney. I think any Disney fan will tell you that they receive comments on a regular basis along the lines of, “Why do you like that place so much, it’s so [insert pretty much any negative attribute here].”

These negatives run the gamut from expensive to commercialized to fake and more. In fact, if you run a Google search on “hate Disney,” you’ll come across an incredible number of results presenting laundry lists of reasons why Disney theme parks are awful places. Many of these articles are from journalists and academics (the top professions predisposed to disliking Disney based on our highly unscientific research–lesson for Disney fans: never date a journalist or academic), not just online trolls spewing vitriol.

The good news is that if you search “love Disney,” you’ll come across even more articles extolling the virtues of the Disney theme parks. Moreover, these pieces are written by a range of individuals, from students to moms to world travelers to highly intelligent professionals. Despite what naysayers may have you believe, people from all walks of life do like Disney theme parks. They aren’t just places where parents reluctantly take their children as a rite of passage, or places frequented by unrefined adults who are too dense to comprehend that they’re being “duped.”

Point being, regardless of the background of the person you’re trying to convince, it is possible to convince them to go and (more importantly) for them to have a good time. You have to know how to approach the trip and convince them to go in with an open mind. Although this is (fortunately) not a problem Sarah and I have had since we share a passion for Disney, we have encountered many people with what we call “the problem of the reluctant spouse.”

Here are some of our tips for convincing your spouse, or anyone else, to take a Disney vacation. (more…)

Star Wars Weekends 2014 Tips & Info

Star Wars Weekends 2014 will occur May 16-18, May 23-25, May 30-June 1, June 6-8, and June 13-15, 2014 at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Walt Disney World! Star Wars Weekends are geared towards all things Star Wars (including the animated TV show, Star Wars: The Clone Wars). Celebrities are in attendance, there’s a special parade, shows, and every day ends with fireworks! It’s a lot of fun whether you’re a hardcore Star Wars fan or just a fan of fun (we fall into the latter camp).

If you’ve been to Walt Disney World countless times (and it’s probably not a bad assumption that you have if you’re reading this blog), you might be looking for ways to see the place a-new. One way to to find new experiences is to visit during a seasonal festival or weekend event. One such weekend event is Star Wars Weekends, held in May and June at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

This post has been updated for 2014 to reflect changes to Star Wars Weekends, including the ‘retirement’ of Hyperspace Hoopla and the addition of the Symphony in the Stars fireworks, as well as new strategy and tips. We attended Star Wars Weekends the weekend of May 23, 2014. 

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