Wheelchair Accessible Vacation Rental

Should I Bring My Child’s Own Stroller With Us to Disney

Baby relaxing in Own Stroller

We have just got a beautiful new granddaughter and we, and her parents, can’t wait to bring her to visit Florida and especially to see Mickey and Minnie. One of the myriad of things we have discussed  is whether to bring her own stroller to Disney, or should we just rent one when we get there. Here are some of the reasons that we have decided to bring her own stroller.

1 – It’s all about the Cash

We know that we are lucky having Disavillatee but like every one else we do have to save for our Orlando Vacation and the budget isn’t limitless  but we try our best to make the magic memories! So, why not save a few dollars? If you’re going to have 5-day trip and you can purchase a length of stay single stroller rental pass. This provides you with a stroller when in the parks and at Disney Springs. Daily rental of a single stroller is $15 with a discount of $2 if renting for multiple days so  you should plan on budgeting roughly $65-75 on the rental. The price increases to approximately $135 -$155  if you need a double stroller. Also, remember you have to place a $100 deposit that you will receive back upon the final return of the stroller if you rent a stroller at Disney Springs. The low end, $65 fee for 5 days, will cover the cost of a quick service meal for a family of 4. Even when renting a stroller from an off-site location, the fees add up so Save those dollars and bring your own

2 – Not Another Line!!!

You’ve got up at the break of dawn , you’ve arrived at the park nice and early and  you have your excellent plan on where to head to first but hang on ….. you’ve got to pickup a stroller first.. Whether you are purchasing a stroller just for one day or have a length of stay ticket, you’ll  still have to wait in line to obtain a stroller.  Bring your own stroller and you’re ready to rock. It’s one less worry when entering and leaving a park. Park hopping? You can’t go from park to park with the same stroller so if you park hop even twice, you have to visit the rental place four times to pick up and return the stroller

3 –Always to Hand

You will have your stroller 24 /7? Having your own stroller saves the headache (and backache) of having to carry baby around on your hip as you set out to enjoy the sights and sounds of Orlando. It’s wonderful knowing as soon as you step out of the car distances won’t be an issue with your own stroller.

4 – Stroller Hunting

Stroller parking at Disney is wonderful to have but  Having Cast Members move your stroller because to create more space is not so wonderful! It’s happened to us You go on a ride, have a blast, come off the ride… where’s the stroller? Disney strollers all look identical ! With your own stroller, you can rest easy that your stroller will stand out among the others. Tie  a piece of ribbon or a helium balloon to the handle and it will really POP out in a sea of strollers

5 – Everyone Stays Comfy

Switching strollers for a little one must odd. It’s like how an adult feels when they’ve to drive someone else’s car … weird , You can’t get the comfort level right,  the pedals are too far away , the steering wheel is too high and jeez, there’s never enough cup holders! You’ve got to remember at Disney, one of the most important things is your little one’s comfort level. If they’re happy you’re happy. If things are  as “normal” as they usually are at home, there’ll be fewer meltdowns and panicking happens less while in the parks. If they’re in their own stroller  they are relieved that something is the same as usual. They know where their snack is , where their sippy cup is and they relax and  they feel relaxed enough to doze over when they’re tired, which just makes life easier for you!  As well,  your stroller likely has more storage space for your backpack and shopping than a Disney rental stroller would have.

However you move  your baby around you all will surely have a wonderful time. Just to keep it simple. Too bad they don’t just offer pixie dust at the entrance!

KEEP SAFE – Tips for Keeping Safe From Germs At Walt Disney World

No Worries

With the reopening to visitors of Walt Disney World Resort, the four theme paerks are just waiting for you to rediscover them. How ever there are changes to the rides, with new safety measures designed to protect you and minimise the spread of germs including sanitation measures. There are also lots of other ways you can keep your loved ones safe  after all you don’t want to put yourself at risk but you do want to experience the magic a little more worry free. Hakuna Matata!

picture of timon and puma

Be Prepared

Before you go, keep up to date with all things Disney World – this is vital. Safety measures to be aware of include temperature screening at entry points and mandatory wearing of face covering. All guests ages 2 years and up must wear face coverings at all times except when dining and swimming. The masks should be of at least 2 layers of breathable fabric, fully cover the nose and mouth and not be open at the chin and must be secured by ties or ear loops. Neck gaiters are not allowedAs well as a valid admission ticket,  you now have to make a reservation in advance to enter the parks. Do this using the Disney Park Pass  Reservation System.  It really does help to keep up to date before you go and you won’t feel as if you are entering the unknown

Cast Members in Masks in Disney Springs

Dont Touch Your Face or Mouth

Touching your mouth or face is a reflex action which comes as second nature if you’ve an itch, or making sure there isn’t any remnant of a delicious snack by licking your fingers.Unfortunately this is also one of the most effective ways of catching germs, so remember oneof the most effective ways of avoiding catching a germ is to reduce or eliminate  the number of times you touch your face. Think of your hand as a transport system to your mouth.

Use the Hand Sanitising Stations

The elimination of germs at their source should be the first line of attack. SO make the most of  the hand sanitising stations in the queueing areas and in fact throughout the parks . Don’t go overboard, just make sure you sanitise thoroughly after touching any thing – and make sure everyone your party does so also. It helps to carry your own sanitiser with you

Disney Hand Sanitising Station

Remember to Social Distance

Social distancing is the rule throughout Walt Disney World Resort. The measures are still in place but, there will always be people who forget, or  people who might not be paying as much attention to the guidelines as they should be. Remember if its possible to keep your distance from others ( although this isn’t always easy to do while in line). And  while it’s virtually  impossible in certain areas, do try to keep your group as close together as possible

Wash your Hands Before and  After Eating

Obviously, face coverings can be removed while you’re eating and drinking. You’re likely be going on more rides afterwards, so be sure to be careful  whenever you do eat or drink. Always wash your hands before and after – especially if you’re eating foods like burgers or anything else you might touch directly with your hands (delicious cotton candy being one of the riskiest culprits!). You no longer are permitted to eat  or drink on the go , you must be stationary.

Social Distancing in Disney World

If its Not Yours Don’t Touch It!!

you see someone else’s  property that  they’ve dropped getting on off a ride and you want to be sure it gets to its rightful owner. Instead of picking it up inform a Cast Member. Also please don’t touch any contact points  like walls , ropes, handles etc when in line – just don’t give those pesky germs a chance

Follow All Posted Instructions

Posted instructions are  dotted throughout the entire resort, including the queuing systems. They will probably cover everything covered in this article, but, be sure to keep a lookout for them anyway. Now  several months into the CoVid crisis, it’s still all too easy to forget to do certain things at times. Keep reminding your loved ones’ attention to these instructions. In fact, one of the most effective things you can do to keep your family safe is to keep them all in check!

Some rides may have limited availability, and others may even be closed.If so try  not to be too disappointed. I know it’s easier said than done, of course, but these are unprecedented times and Walt Disney World Resort wants nothing more than for all its guests to have a safe and magical experience.

Lady Enjoying Disney World

Face Covering Policy updated at Walt Disney World

mickey in face mask

Mickey Mouse in Scrubs

Since their phased reopening began, Walt Disney World has been adapting and modifying policies and closing loopholes as necessary. it has been noticed in the parks that when guests had a drink or snack in their hand they weren’t being asked to continue wearing their face covering but Disney has caught on to this and the policy has changed. 

Now on the Walt Disney world website under “Face Coverings” guests are informed:

Mickey Mouse Big Wheel

Face coverings are required for all Guests (ages 2 and up) and Cast Members. Please bring your own face coverings and wear them at all times, except when dining or swimming. You may remove your face covering while actively eating or drinking, but you should be stationary and maintain appropriate physical distancing.

All face coverings (whether disposable or reusable) must:

  • Be made with at least two layers of breathable material
  • Fully cover the nose and mouth and secure under the chin
  • Fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face
  • Be secured with ties or ear loops and allow the Guest to remain hands-free
  • At this time, based on guidance from health authorities, neck gaiters and open-chin triangle bandanas are not acceptable face coverings.
  • Costume masks are also not considered appropriate and are prohibited from being worn, in alignment with existing rules
  • The use of face coverings is not a substitute for physical distancing.

Minnie Mous Taco
Minnie Moouse Cookie Dough Taco

This will alter the snacking and drinking at all parks and at Disney Springs where usually you see many guests walking around with their masks down as they are eating or drinking now they will have to find somewhere to stay stationary or sit down to enjoy their drink or snack

International Coffee Day

Mickey Mouse Cappuccino

October 1 2019
It’s International Coffee Day today , here are some of the best coffee shops in Orlando – that aren’t Starbucks:

Drunken Monkey, 444 N. Bumby Ave a haven for art lovers who also serve organic coffee and vegan pastries – there’s stand up comedy on Friday and Saturday night

Bubble & Co, Iced Coffee and Bubble Waffles, Plain Espresso and Fresh Pastries to be found on 6400 I Drive

OK, But First Coffee, Brazilian Gourmet coffee with French Toast, Sandwiches or Pastries 7535 Sand Lake Rd

Cups and Pups Coffee have no fixed location but can be found at many local farmers markets. They specialise in rich Butter Coffee

Joffreys Coffee and Tea Company at Disney Springs- refreshing specialty beverages, including lattes, nitro cold brew, hand-blended teas, and spirited beverages. Hot or iced. Joffrey’s baristas can even turn your latte into a work of art featuring Disney characters!

World Tourism Day

world tourism day

September 27, 2019 is World Tourism Day. The object of World Tourism Day is to cultivate and create awareness among society globally on the significance of tourism as the best teacher in the world.

Why not celebrate World Tourism Day in EPCOT which is dedicated to the celebration of human achievement, technological innovation and international culture . It showcases modern innovation and enterprise through educational and entertaining attractions and a national of the world exposition.

Disney  have also announced this year  that there soon will be 4 distinct neighbourhoods in Epcot ,

World Celebration: the home of “new experiences which connect us to one another and the world around us

World Nature: focusing on understanding and preserving the beauty, awe and balance of the natural world

World Discovery: this neighbourhood will host several thrill attractions including Guardians of the Galaxy:Cosmic Rewind, Test Track and Mission Space

World Showcase will continue to be a celebration of cuisine, culture, architecture and traditions, infused with  a new magic

Until these changes occur EPCOT will continue to welcome guests, in fact in 2018 it welcomed almost 12.5 million guests who continue to appreciate culture and tourism

 

IMMERSE in Orlando 2019

acrobat at IMMERSE

IMMERSE  in Orlando 2019

One of the most unique artistic offerings in the Orlando is Immerse, presented by the Creativity Project and made possible by  the Dr Phillips Center for the Performing Arts. This event takes place in the street and public Areas of downtown Orlando and isdue to happen in October 18-19.

Immerse is interactive and inspiring and just plain immersive  and you’ll see everything from breakdance to ballet, small ensembles to full orchestras. There’ll be large scale art installation and mind bending displays inviting you to join in the spectacle and it’s mostly suitable for all ages except  for the last two hours  every evening when IMMERSE  moves into the PG13 territory

Funky Wunks in Action

Funky Wunks

With more than 1000 artists taking part many from more than 100 arts organisations and collectives , including Orlando ballet, Opera Orlando  and central florida commiunity Arts Jazz Band IMMERSE really does have something for everyone. There are also some new acts to be seen with performances and interactive installations from over the USA and abroad including the international phenomenon that is the BLUE MAN GROUP, celebrating the power of human connection via art, music and comedy, Architects of Air creating huge inflatable environments to invite guests to explore winding paths, inspirational domes and colourful light corridors , which can be seen at DrPhillips Center’s Seneff Arts Plaza until October 27.

Architects in Air

Immerse is very affordable  – general admission tickets are only $10  – that includes the   BLUE MAN GROUP performances andthere are other packages including VIP ones available. All in all there are hundreds of creative experiences at IMMERSE that you can’t find anywhere else. IMMERSE is for Art Lovers and people who think they  don’t like art at all  – You have to see it to believe it

Walt Disney World Resort service for Guests with Special Needs

 

A great time can be had for guests with any type of disability at the OrlandoTheme Parks including WDW. Probably the best option to avoid the crowds and the hottest part of the day , is to go early in the morning, having a break midday and then returning in the evening. The theme Parks Guest Services centres and can provide assistance for guests with special needs and the guest services centres can be found close to the entrance at each park.

aitoff / Pixabay

Walt Disney World Resort Services for Guests with Special Needs

A comprehensive guide for guests with cognitive disabilities including autism is available from Walt Disney World and they also provide one for guests with mobility disabilities. This latter guide also includes information about which attractions allow guests to remain in wheelchairs

Visitors who cannot wait in lines can obtain a Disability Access Service (DAS) pass at any Guest Services Lobby, where a photograph will be taken at registration to ensure the pass is not abused. TheDAS provides the guest and 5 other party members with a return time when the wait is more than 25 minutes. Once given a return time the DAS works like the FastPass+ program

Guests with cognitive disabilities can take a break in one of the several quiet areas in the WDW theme parks

If there are more than two adults in the party and a child does not want to or cannot ride an attraction , families can make use of the Rider Switch option

Almost all attractions have a wheelchair accessible queue ir and alternate entrance to ensure guests can ride the attraction . Some attractions require guests in wheelchairs to transfer into the ride vehicle.

 

 

It is possible to rent wheelchairs and electric scooters near the entrance of WDW parks if you don’t already have one. There are even pool wheelchairs for use at the water parks

If you have a valid disabled parking placard valet parking is free at WDW

Most food allergies and special dietary needs can be accommodated if you let a cast member, server or manager know and guests can also bring food and snacks into the park.

Guests with cognitive special needs should bring a bracelet or name tag, headphones or earplugs, a favorite device ,reinforcers for good behaviour and a sensory toy if needed

Parking for the Magic Kingdom is at WDW TTC . from there guests can transfer by monorail to MK or Ep , ferry to mk and busses to other parks. Parking for the other disney parks is located in front of the parks’ entrances . All parks have trams to take guests from their car to the entrance and back again when its time to go home. Disability parking is located at the front of each parking lot

Should you lose a party member , immediately make contact with WDW cast member who will help you and bring you to the lost persons location. WDW suggest that family members with cognitive disabilities should be provided with a name tag to and a photo taken of them in case they get lost or tend to wander off

photos courtesy of Michael Holden – Thank you Michael

Orlando Festivals For Foodies This Fall

Visit Orlando Magical Dining Event. There are more than 120 of Orlando’s best restaurants offering three course, prix fixe dinners for just $35. This is the 14th year for the Magical Dining and it’s all for a good cause as local charities will  benefit to the tune of $1 for every meal served. So round up your family, friends and colleagues and plan to enjoy magical meals at fantastic prices all the while supporting a great cause

Epcot International  Food and Wine Festival at Walt Disney World

This world famous, festival at Walt Disney World Resort has been running since 1995 and has inspired several other Orlando area food festivals  It’s included with admission to Epcot and will run for 87 days from August 29 to November 23.  The festival gives you the opportunity to sample food and drinks from more the 30 Global Marketplaces.. There are plenty of old favourites returning and some new ones also such as `Cool Wash where you can create frozen beverages and the shimmering sips mimosa bar.  The menu choices are complemented by special events and live entertainment beginning with the 249 Eat to the Beat concerts.

This year’s festival also has special events for children, including Remy’s Ratatouille Hide & Squeak Scavenger Hunt and the popular Candy Sushi interactive experience. Last but not least, expect a wealth of new merchandise commemorating the festival as Chef Minnie joins Chef Mickey for a sprinkle of fun. 

Craft Beer Festival at SeaWorld® Orlando (Weekends, Sept. 7 – Oct. 27)

This event isn’t just back by popular demand, its also been expanded to run for 8 weekends, 6 of which run along with the Halloween SPooktacular  at Seaworld. You have the opportunity to sample more than 100 Floridian craft beers on draft as well as international and domestic favourites. And if course you can’t taste beers with out a bite to eat so come hungry as the are a selection os gourmet dishes designed to complement the beers.  Admission is included in the park admission

 

Wonderfall Food and Beverage Guided Tour at Disney Springs

Running form September 20, foodies can savour the comforting  spicy fall flavours  courtesy of special menus at the restaurants through out Disney Springs

Food and Wine Weekends at Waldorf Astoria Orlando September 13 -November 24 

just  minutes from WDW the Waldorf Astoria Orlando  is offering 11 weekends packed with impressive menus of mouthwatering gourmet treats paired with  exquisite wines.These are ticketed events.

Orlando Theme Parks and Hurricanes

Here’s some timely information about what happens in The Orlando Theme Parks when there’s a hurricane.
Severe weather is no stranger to Central Florida.It’s the lightning strike capital of the world, and people who live in or visit central Florida have come to expect the afternoon thundershower as a normal part of life. But sometimes the weather turns really nasty and a hurricane barrels toward Disney World? Disney is so good at the smallest of details, that it’s not surprising that Disney World has plenty of safety procedures in place for guests and cast members alike during such a weather event. Here is what you need to know about hurricanes and Disney World.

1 – Central Florida Hurricane Season
June 1 marks the start of the hurricane season in Central Florida and this runs through until November 30. A hurricane in June or July is rare, but it can happen and hurricanes in August and September are more likely. And the likelihood decreases although they are possible in October and November are possible. Most recently, Disney World operations were impacted by Hurricane Matthew in October 2016 and Hurricane Irma in September 2017.
2 – Past Closings at Disney World

Cinderella's Castle
Demko / Pixabay

In the past hurricanes have prompted closures at Disney World.In 1999 Disney World, Universal and Sea World all closed for the first time ever as Hurricane Floyd threatened Florida in September of that year. Luckily the storm changed course and did not impact the area. Again, the big three closed during a string of hurricanes in 2004: Charley (August), Frances (September) and Jeanne (September).Hurricane Frances caused the most problems and closed several attractions for two days. Animal Kingdom and Disney’s Hollywood Studios (at that time MGM Studios) closed for three days. Charley only affected the parks for one day.In 2016 Disney World was closed by Hurricane Matthew for one evening and a full day because of the threat to the Orlando area in early October. and in September 2017 Hurricane Irma, a category 4 hurricane hit Central Florida directly and Disney World Parks were closed for two full days. Other events like the second night of Night of Joy and Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party also were cancelled.
3 – Cancellation Policy During a Hurricane
Needless to say Disney has a Hurricane Policy in place. Here is the official policy:
If a hurricane warning is issued by the National Hurricane Center for the Orlando area—or for your place of residence—within 7 days of your scheduled arrival date, you may call in advance to reschedule or cancel your Walt Disney Travel Company Magic Your Way vacation package and most room only reservations (booked directly with Disney) without any cancellation or change fees imposed by Disney.
If you have products and services provided by third-party suppliers included in your vacation—such as airlines, hotels, car rental agencies or vacation insurance companies—you will continue to be responsible for any non-refundable payments, as well as cancellation or change fees assessed by those suppliers. The policy does not apply to certain special events or dining experiences.

Universal Orlando

Universal Orlando
rafaelsamir / Pixabay

Universal Orlando has a policy similar to that of Disney but Universal’s also applies to tropical storm warnings. If the National Hurricane Center issues a hurricane warning or if a state of emergency is declared for the Orlando area or your place of residence—within seven days of your arrival—Universal will allow you to cancel or reschedule your vacation package, hotel room and tickets without fees.

SeaWorld Orlando, Busch Gardens

SeaWorld Orlando
Huskyherz / Pixabay

There’s a “Peace of Mind” policy at the Seaworld Parks, which is also known as its Named Storm Policy. When under effect, the parks will reschedule or refund vacation packages or park tickets without cancellation or change fees. The policy applies to packages and park tickets booked through SeaWorld Vacations, Busch Gardens Vacations, DiscoveryCove.com, SeaWorld.com, BuschGardens.com, or the contact center.

Legoland Florida

Legoland Florida
paologhedini / Pixabay

If the National Hurricane Center issues a hurricane warning for Central Florida or a guest’s hometown within seven days of your arrival, you can reschedule or cancel your vacation package, tickets, hotel reservations without penalties or fees.

T

Cinderella's Castel
rgrivas10 / Pixabay

Everything You Need to Know About Pool Heat

Soon it will the the time of the year when the nightly temperatures fall. As this happens, the water temperature in the pool will also fall and you will need your pool heated if you wish to swim. We recommend adding pool heating to your reservation between October and March as they time temperature can be from mid 70’s to mid 80’s and nightly temps drop to 50’s and 60’s. If the air temperature falls below the pool water temperature heat will be lost and so the pool cover provided should be used.

Our pool is heated by an electric heater which works in a heat exchange mechanism drawing heat from the ambient air and applying it to the water. Therefore the higher the ambient air temperature the quicker the pool heat up. For this reason the pool heater is never run at night in the colder months as the night air doesn’t have enough heat to actually do anything unless the ambient air is above 60F. Our pool heater is set between 85 and 87F so any time the air temperature is lower than this heat will be lost from the pool, this is why our pool heater runs form 8-9am to 5-6pm – when the sun is up and the air is warm.

If you order pool heat it is usually turned on the day you arrive or maybe the day before so that the pool is up to heat for your arrival, unless its an exceptionally chilly day. Pool temperature can be affected heavy rain, a heavy rain storm of cold water will lower the water temperature. Low pool water level can also lower the pool temperature when you top up the pool with gallons of cold water.

There is also more evaporation from hotter pool water. In the coldest months a heated pool can lose 2-3 inches of water per week , so keep your water level about halfway up the filter vent so the circulation can work properly

Occasionally guests ask for the pool heater to be set higher than 85-87F and most owners or management companies will say no as the pool is only serviced once a week. During a pool service the pool is cleaned and the water is tested.The technician adds chemicals to make sure the water is clean and safe to swim in as the PH levels can change due to pool use, rain etc. If the temperature is set too high then the pool chemicals burn off too quickly and won’t last until the next service. This causes the pool water to become cloudy or start to turn green. Generally the water should look crystal clear at all times unless the pool guy has just been and added some chemicals to the water. They normally leave a note to say not to swim for a few hours if this is the case.

The best way to keep your pool warm and toasty in the winter months is to keep the cover on it. Our home has a pool cover or blanket on a roller and . We recommend that anytime you are not swimming for a long period of time you keep the blanket on. These do a great job of retaining the heat and actually also add heat to the water. If you are sunbathing by the pool during the day and the air temp is in the 80s, then its OK to leave the cover off during the day. But on a cold January day , it is better to keep the cover on. Sometimes in January and February we get a very cold North wind blowing, sitting in a sheltered area in the sun and out of the wind , it will feel lovely and warm to you but the air temperature can be much lower, so the pool will lose a lot of heat unless you keep the cover on except when you are swimming

swimming pool cover on roller
swimming pool cover on roller

Pool blankets are brilliant at retaining the heart and I know its a nuisance to put it on but the difference between a pool that has been covered and one that hasn’t is unbelievable. Our blanket is on a roller and there is no reason not to use it, it’s so easy, but please don’t pull it too hard cos it can rip. Also it can get brittle so if its crumbling in the pool its probably seen better days, so please let us or our pool guy know so it can be replaced

Hopefully I have explained how the pool heaters work and why you need to use the cover and I hope this information helps you get the most out of using the pool at Disavillatee in the colder winter months. Fingers crossed it will be a mild winter.