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APRIL

Growing up is Optional

Experience the magic of Disney

By Diana Barnett

I

loved “The Mickey Mouse Club,” and every Sunday evening, my family gathered around the television to watch “Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color”—even though on our set, it was in black and white. What kid didn’t want to visit a Disney theme park after seeing the wildlife adventures, the spinning teacups and Sleeping Beauty’s castle on TV? Fast-forward a few decades, and my husband and I finally made the trip to Orlando to spend a week with my aunt and uncle at their timeshare at Walt Disney World. They

Diana and Brad with the Mad Hatter

had been there many times before, chaperoning students from the high school where they both worked on science-class field trips where they spent several days behind the scenes observing the physics of Disney World. Like most visitors, my aunt and uncle fell in love with the magic. This past summer marked my aunt’s 56th trip, so we knew we were in knowledgeable hands.

Lodging Disney World covers more than 43-square miles and includes four theme parks and numerous on-site accommodations, ranging from modest motel rooms to luxury resort suites. (For the young and adventurous, there are also campgrounds, which is the least expensive option.) Each resort is an experience itself. Explore the halls of the All-Star Movies Resort and look up to see statues of Disney characters tower over you. Or relax in the pool accented with waterfalls, fountains and greenery at the Wilderness Lodge. With over 30 lodging options to choose from, it’s important to do some thorough research to get the most from your experience. Don’t be intimidated by the high-tech MagicBand, the

their d, right, with Diana and Bra nd Jane, left guides, Tom a r u to d ce n ie er exp

computerized Disney wristband programmed to serve as your hotel room key and pass to the theme parks. You can also use it to pay for meals and Disney memorabilia. The cost of staying on Disney grounds is well worth the price, as it includes easy transportation to theme parks, resorts and anywhere within the complex via shuttles.

Inside the parks Even though shuttles can take you everywhere, there’s still a lot of ground to cover inside the park, which can require a lot of walking and waiting in lines. But scooters are almost as common as strollers within the park and can be rented by the day or week. They also fit easily on shuttles. (Another perk is that individuals using scooters or wheelchairs usually have a separate entrance to most park rides, allowing immediate access to ride seating for you and those with whom you are traveling.) It’s important to have a

strategy for visiting the parks. Of course, you’ll want to see them all. Day passes to the parks are less expensive the more days you attend. We planned on spending five full days at Disney. That way, we had a day reserved for each park, and an extra day to spend a little more time exploring the grounds or relaxing at the resort. One tool we found to be essential in our planning is the Magic Guide for Disney World app. Download it on your smartphone and you’ll have all the information you need to plan your trip and navigate through the resort, including detailed maps and information on each theme park, wait

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B Ki

Beacon APRIL 2017  

Beacon APRIL 2017

Beacon APRIL 2017  

Beacon APRIL 2017

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