Welcome to the Williams Family Blog!

Now that you have found us, we invite you to return often for more adventures!

Christmas at Walt Disney World

Christmas at Walt Disney World

Opening Magic Kingdom

Opening Magic Kingdom

Monday, February 12, 2018

Upcoming Disney Vacation Dilemma

Yes, this is a first world problem; or you could even call it a Walt Disney World problem.  What is it?  It's that the planning/preparation for one vacation such as online check in windows and the opportunity to reserve port adventures and other ship activities will happen while we are in the middle of a Walt Disney World vacation.

We've had this happen before, but it was the opposite.  We were on a 7-night holiday sailing on the Disney Fantasy when our 60 days out Fastpass selection day arrived.  I solved this by getting a 5G data package for free on the ship and used the Walt Disney World app to make our Fastpass selections.

While Disney Cruise Line has an app, it is for use while on the ship and wouldn't be helpful to complete online check-in for our upcoming cruise.  Other possible options include navigating the internet on my phone or taking advantage of the Business Center at our resort--Disney's Coronado Springs.  The Concierge may also be able to help us.

Online check-in for Disney Cruise Line happens in 15 day increments based on Castaway Club Level.  First time cruisers, get to complete their online selections and check-in 75 days prior to the cruise.  Silver Castaway Club guests' window opens 90 days in advance, with Gold level getting to make their selections at 105 days in advance, and Platinum guests get first options at 120 days prior to sailing.  We are Gold Castaway Club members.  So, the worst thing that would happen if we didn't make our selections the day the window opens is that we would need to do it as soon as we came home.  There would still be time until the Silver level guests logged on.

My plan is to take our reservation information, logon, and at least make our port adventure selections and on board activities such as character meet and greet opportunities.  The rest of the online check-in could wait until we get home.

The good news is that Disney Cruise Line is able to pull up needed information based on your reservation such as your Passport number and other important information. . . unless, of course, it has changed.

Seeing if we can navigate this while traveling will be another adventure for us to experience; something we haven't done before!  Let's see what happens!

Note:  I entered our cruise reservation into the website and it has the same login as MyDisneyExperience account.  Now that the cruise has been added to "My Vacations" I can check-in from there.  Not the MyDisneyExperience app, but on Disney Cruise Line's website.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Looking Forward To More Than One Disney Vacation!

We are very grateful to be looking forward to more than one Disney vacation in the coming months.  Disney's Magical Express has sent us the luggage tags for more than one upcoming trip!

The trip to come first is a spring break jaunt to Walt Disney World.  We will be celebrating the husband's Birthday--who we have decided has celebrated more Birthdays at Walt Disney World than any of the rest of us!  We're staying at Disney's Coronado Springs for the first time since the summer of 2016.  Coronado Springs is undergoing refurbishment and building a multi-story tower of rooms to add to the resort.  Click here to read more about staying at Coronado Springs.

Our Fastpasses have been selected for this trip and grocery delivery is all set.  Packing is the what's left for this trip--that and making the husband his set of trip cards.

Some things that we are looking forward to during this trip include:

  • Dining at Raglan Road and House of Blues, both restaurants at Disney Springs.  
  • A parade viewing and dining combo package at the Magic Kingdom featuring lunch at Tony's on Town Square and reserved viewing location for Festival of Fantasy Parade.  I did not know this offering existed until I was making Dining Reservations and uncovered it in the list of options.  We'll let you know how it goes.
  • Backstage Magic Tour  which is a new for us experience and includes a 7 hour tour that includes at least two parks, experiencing the utilidors at the Magic Kingdom, and lunch at Whispering Canyon at Disney's Wilderness Lodge.  An Annual Pass discount was available for this tour.
  • Highway in the Sky Dine Around which is a 5 course progressive dinner of sorts that starts at The Contemporary and stops at all monorail resorts for a course and returns to The Contemporary for dessert and fireworks viewing.  This, too, is new to us.  We have been looking at this unique opportunity since last spring and either it wasn't offered while we were at Walt Disney World or it had no availability.    

The next countdown is for another trip to Walt Disney World.  We're staying at Disney's Pop Century, our fourth stay at this resort.  Click here to read about staying at Pop Century.  Some different experiences for this trip include:

  • Discovering Enzo's Hideaway Bar at Disney Springs.  No reservations are accepted so it's show up and see what happens.  Enzo's has a "Sunday Supper" offering that is on our agenda.
  • The opening of Toy Story Land at Disney's Hollywood Studios!
  • Taking Disney Cruise Line Transports from resort to port.  Taking the transports is not new to us, but we usually take the transport from the airport and arrive early at the port.  We're going to change things up this trip and take the transport from the resort, which will having us arrive at the port later--sometime after lunch.  
Which brings us to the next countdown and that is for a 5 night sailing on the Disney Dream.  We booked this cruise while on board last summer.  The itinerary includes two days at Castaway Cay, our favorite itinerary--click here to read more.

I read an article  about the positive effects of vacations and how cruises have a long-term positive effect for up to 6 months after the cruise.  I agree!

When we disembark the cruise, we're headed to Disney's Grand Floridian Resort for a 2-night stay.   This stay is complimentary to Disney as an apology gesture for some bumps in our vacation last summer.  We've known about a 2 night complimentary stay since last summer and decided to use it almost a year later.  What we're specifically looking forward to while staying at the Grand Floridian:

  • Exploring a new resort.  We've been to the Grand Floridian many times for dining, but have never stayed there, so exploring is on our agenda!
  • Getting tickets for the 4th of July Celebration at the Grand Floridian that includes steak & shrimp fry along with 4th of July fireworks watching at a reserved location.  Last year, the tickets went on sale May 8.  I've got my eyes peeled for any releases!  I called Walt Disney World and the event is in their system but they are not booking it yet.  
  • Trying Beaches & Cream, a restaurant located at Disney's Beach Club Resort.  We have a reservation for this restaurant for us first timers.
When people ask us why we keep going back, the lists above are just some of the reasons!  Walt Disney World has so many offerings and changes things up regularly so that there are new experiences for us to discover.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Dining At The BOATHOUSE At Disney Springs

The Williams Family dined at The BOATHOUSE at Disney Springs for a second time!  We made reservations for New Year's Eve, arrived before our reservation, and were seated immediately.
The BOATHOUSE is located on The Landing portion of Disney Springs.  The restaurant is decorated with various boats and boating memorabilia inside and out.
There is also an adjacent shop with BOATHOUSE souvenirs and boating trinkets.  The boys found a spot to take a rest just outside the shop.

The menu offers various seafood options along with steak, chicken, pasta, and salads.  This menu is posted outside the restaurant so guests can have a look.  Appetizers are on the menu, too, including a "raw bar."  The backside of the menu has a full list of wines, beers, and other adult beverages.  The boy said the best part of the meal is the bread service featuring warm rolls and honey butter.
The entrance to the restaurant and bar is a large open air doorway that leads to the bar.  The reservation desk is just to the right with the remainder of the restaurant adjacent. During our most recent visit, we also walked past another portion of the restaurant--Regatta Club--which by appearances is even more elegant and exclusive dining.

The boy enjoyed lobster bisque for an appetizer.  Note that we were seated inside but there are tables both inside and outside, and even another bar located on the pier like structure located outside the restaurant.
The husband enjoyed the swordfish with vegetables.  Yummy!  I had the jumbo lump crab cake.

The BOATHOUSE is open for lunch and dinner daily.  Reservations are available and recommended.  If using a Disney Dining Plan, the restaurant takes 2 table service credits per person as it is considered Signature Dining.  We did not use dining plan credits, and instead paid out of pocket with an Annual Pass Discount and the total, including tip was at the $100 mark for 3 entrees and one appetizer.

Click here for The BOATHOUSE website.

The BOATHOUSE is also the home of Amphicar Tours.  We did this during our first visit to The BOATHOUSE.  Click here to read about our tour experience.