Thanks to my strategic shopping skills, the money saved has paid for my daughter’s dance classes, as well as her Jiu Jitsu training. It’s eliminated my need to pay OUT OF POCKET for gifts throughout the year for birthdays, anniversaries, celebrations, and holidays. It’s a beautiful thing. However, I wanted to push myself even further, and last year I booked a cruise to Disney for this summer. And gosh darn it, all that expert strategic shopping got our family the Disney vacation of our dreams. As soon as I made the final payment, I sprung the news on the kids. Perhaps, not my greatest MOM MOMENT, but I couldn’t keep it in any longer. I was BURSTING to share the news.
Well, it’s been NON-STOP questions about the cruise, and everything we’ll be doing. The cruise includes not just the cruise, but a day at Disney, as well. Yup, you guessed it, that’s DOUBLE the questions from my kids. Now, I haven’t been there in quite a few years. The last time I went I was pregnant with my daughter, and we went to Epcot for a day. My husband’s cousin celebrated her 40th birthday at the Grand Floridian with a big party, and lots of weekend festivities. On a day off from it all, my husband and I escaped to Epcot, figuring that was the best option for a pregnant lady! So I was totally out of the loop on the topic of Magic Kingdom. Plus, I’d never taken a Disney cruise before, so that was something I knew nothing about.
What’s a Mom to do? Find INFORMATION on both so I could answer some of the questions being torpedoed at me on an hourly basis. I got super lucky, stumbled upon a fantastic chance to review two amazing guidebooks. I was given Planet Explorers Disney Cruise Line 2012 A Guidebook for Kids and, believe it or not, a copy of Planet Explorers Walt Disney World 2012 A Travel Guide for Kids. Amazing turn of events. The universe knew I needed help, and brought me Laura Schaefer and her phenomenally easy-to-read guidebooks.
My kids are too young to read the books. However, I’m not!!! Since the book is written for kids, it’s laid out rather nicely. It’s got fun facts about the cruise line, the four ships in the Disney fleet of ships: Magic, Wonder, Dream and Fantasy. Each boat has it’s own “chapter”, which tells kids about all the cool stuff to do on the boat, where to eat (and what they serve at each place), which pools are for kids, adults, and perhaps younger siblings. There’s great tips to find activities to do on the ship, along with reminders of what NOT TO MISS on the ship as far as shows, and the final farewell.
Every one of the ships, including the new one out this year, Fantasy, has it’s own dedicated section in the guide. All of the sections are set up the same way, so it breaks each section into smaller sections like What is there to do on board for kids? and Shows and live entertainment, etc. Just pick the boat you’re interested in learning about, and read up. Once all the boats have been fully explored, it tells you about all the various ports each of the boats stop at. Starts with Castaway Cay and goes through every port of call, from the Bahamas, to Alaska.
Our trip includes a Park Hopper pass. Which means our family can hit every darn Disney Park we want on the day we’re docked there. Personally, that’s too much for our family, so we elected to do Magic Kingdom, because I read through the Planet Explorers Walt Disney World 2012 A Travel Guide for Kids. It’s jammed with information for every Disney park, but also each section within each park. It’s so cool. I tore through it super fast, and found great tips on where to find all the characters my kids love to watch when we’re in the park. Is it a guarantee the characters will be there, no. But there’s a better shot if I know which ones frequent which areas in Magic Kingdom. PLUS, if you really want to get the inside scoop on where to find characters, there’s a guide book dedicated to that, too. It’s called Walt Disney World 2012 Character Finder: A Planet Explorers Travel Guide for Kids. It’s crazy amazing how Laura thought of everything when creating this series of books. They are also EXTREMELY AFFORDABLE at about $4.00 each. On Amazon they range, but all are totally inexpensive!
Prior to getting my hands on the book, we had figured we’d head to Magic Kingdom. What little girl doesn’t want to get made up at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique in Cinderella’s Castle? Plus, it’s more geared to the younger crowd with rides. Although, after reading the book, I thought we might TRY to get to the Disney Hollywood Studios, because my son LOVES Cars. It seems like there’s a lot of that around the studios, but we’ll see.
What I found very helpful, for me as a parent, is her attention to detail when creating the book. It actually notates which “adventures” are scary, dark, awesome (don’t miss this attraction), thrilling and wet. Super important to know when you might get soaked on a ride, and where you’ll get the most wet when sitting ON THE RIDE. Super helpful for our family was knowing that most of the height requirements for rides is 40″, which knocks my two little ones right off that list. Unless they grow 3 inches before we leave this summer. NOT LIKELY.
The amount of fun facts, tips, and just all-around DISNEY LOVE shared in these books, is astounding. You can tell a true Disney lover spent time putting the guides together, and made them great for kids. Not boring at all, which you worry about when it’s got “factoids” included. If you’re a hard-core Disney traveler, and your kids have been there more than I’ve been alive, then the books probably aren’t for you.
If you’re a new Disney visitor, with kids that are driving you nuts with questions about your upcoming Disney trip, I highly recommend getting the books, so they can explore what the adventure will entail for them! There’s a bunch to choose from, and even within the guides, you can click on certain links to learn more about various facts about not just Disney! Subjects like The World’s Fair, and who the Sherman Brothers are. Just full of great information, done in a kid-friendly, short attention span, kind of way!
PS-It’s not just books about Disney. There’s books about London, New York, and so much more.
*I received copies of both Planet Explorers Walt Disney World 2012: A Travel Guide for Kids and Planet Explorers Disney Cruise Line 2012: A Travel Guide for Kids. No other compensation was given. All thoughts, opinions are MINE and mine alone.