Author: Stephen

I'm Stephen Ashley. My wife and I are huge fans of Disney World. I'm the author of Walt Disney World With Disabilities. I also wrote a book called Walt Disney World Made Easy for Everyone, but rather than have it published, at this point we've decided to place all the material from the manuscript on this website so everyone can have access to it! I hope you enjoy it, and I hope it makes your day just a little bit brighter and easier.

We decided to take this Magic Kingdom tour on a November Disney visit. It’s one of the few things we haven’t done at Disney, and we really wanted to see Disney’s underground “Utilidor” system. The Magic Kingdom is actually built on raised ground, so most of the park is literally on the second floor. The lower level under the Magic Kingdom is where much of the behind the scenes work takes place. This tour takes guests below, into cast member only areas, and to areas within the park where you’ll hear behind the scenes stories and facts. Our tour guide…

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Take a smooth-riding boat ride to learn about the past, present and future of farming. First you’ll pass through various types of simulated climates such as a rainforest and a desert. You’ll then see different kinds of farming methods through time. These are displayed through a variety of means including scenes with Animatronics and film. Last, you’ll pass through a series of futuristic indoor greenhouses that house real a working Disney farm using high-tech procedures. Cautions: Includes scenes with lightning and thunder, alligators and large insects (they’re not real in the rain forrest scene), movies showing insects, flickering movies, times…

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Soarin’ is one of our favorite rides at Disney, and each location that you sit gives a very different experience! Here are some tips and observations: Tip 1. We’ve found that the seats on the far left side of the theater feel as though they’re rising the highest. We’ve been told that they don’t actually rise any higher than the rest of the seats, but we believe that this effect has something to do with the perspective of the images on the screen. If you have a fear of heights, request to be seated in the furthest right section in…

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Take a ride in a tethered, helium-filled balloon that rises high above Disney Springs. Located where the old Guest Relations used to be, it’s impressive just to watch. The balloon itself is about 50 feet in diameter, and stands about 100 ft high when it’s on the ground. It rises up 400 feet, four times the height of the Planet Hollywood restaurant, or two times higher than the Everest ride at Animal Kingdom. Painted bright red and yellow, it’s decorated with Disney characters that fly including Tinkerbell and Aladdin. Cautions:   Motion Sickness, vertigo, heart problems, expectant mothers, “all other…

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A very new addition to the Orlando area, this resort opened on April 3, 2008.  Within walking distance to theOrlando/Orange County Convention Center, it’s also close to Universal, Sea World, Aquatica and International Drive. It’s also not far from a wide variety of restaurants and stores including a Whole Foods and Walgreens Pharmacy. Located 12 miles from Orlando International Airport, it took us approximately 11-12 minutes to get to Downtown Disney, and 11 minutes to get to the Magic Kingdom entrance. Address: 9501 Universal Boulevard, Orlando, Florida 32819; Phone Number: 407.233.2200 Website: www.westinimagineorlando.com We enjoyed our stay at this resort and would describe it…

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Considered Epcot area resorts, they are located between Epcot and Hollywood Studios on Crescent Lake. The Dolphin is situated close to the Boardwalk, and the Swan is closest to the Boardwalk Inn. Although they are considered to be within walking distance to Epcot, some will consider it too far to walk. Address: 1500 Epcot Resorts Boulevard, P.O. Box 22653, Lake Buena Vista Boulevard, Florida 32830. Main Phone: 407-934-3000 or 407-934-4000. Reservations: 888-828-8850 or 800-227-1500. Main fax: 407.934.4884. Reservations fax 407-934-4710. Website: www.swandolphin.com. General Information: Between the two resorts there are 2,265 rooms along with a convention center. Though the resorts are owned by Starwood…

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General Details:This incredibly huge and elegant resort is so close to the Disney gate, that it can be a quicker drive to some parts of Disney than from locations on Disney property.  Though the Gaylord literature says it’s 5 minutes from the gate, it actually took us less than 3 minutes. Not only is the Gaylord close to Disney, it’s moments from International Drive and 192 where you’ll find a wide array of restaurants, a Publix Supermarket and a Walgreens Pharmacy.  There is a Super WalMart about 8 minutes away. Address: 6000 W Osceola Parkway, Kissimmee, FL 34746, Reservations: 407-586-2000  Hotel…

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There are 1,014 guest rooms, which includes 117 suites that may especially appeal to families. Though this resort is not owned by Disney, it’s right on Disney property and considered an official Disney hotel.  Situated on 27 acres, it’s almost directly across the street from Downtown Disney, and the Disney bus transportation depot. Address: 1900 Buena Vista Drive, Lake Buena Vista, Florida 32830-2206,  Direct: 407-827-2727 Reservations: 866-397-6516 We recently had the chance to stay there, and we were put on the 20th floor.  The view from our balcony of Downtown Disney was spectacular.  If you choose this resort, we feel it’s worth the…

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Address: 14200 Bonnet Creek Resort Lane, Orlando, Florida 32821, Reservations: (888) 353-2009  Hotel Operator: (407) 597-5500 Website: www.waldorfastoriaorlando.com This is one of the newer resorts in the Disney area, having opened October 2009. With a convenient location right in the heart of Disney, the Waldorf is located on land not owned by Disney. However it’s been deemed an Official Disney World Hotel, at least through 2019. This means that guests of this resort can participate in Disney’s Extra Magic Hours. On the down side, they will still only have the 30 day window for Fastpass+ reservations, and not the 60 days that guests of Disney World owned…

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Location: In the Downtown Disney Resort area. Address: 1960 Broadway, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830. Phone: (407) 827-1100. Fax: (407) 827-1151 Making the most of the beautiful back woods area on Disney property, Disney created a peaceful and uniquely appealing resort. If you love nature and you liked tree houses as a kid, here’s a one-of-a-kind experience that may be for you! Disney’s Treehouse Villas were closed for years, and re-opened in 2009. Redesigned with a lot of Disney magic added, the octagonal shaped units are elevated 10 feet off the ground (about 18 steps up, but there are handicapped accessible…

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Designed to resemble turn-of-the-century style summer homes on Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket, these upscale resorts are attached though guests must step outside to get from one resort to the other. Here’s the location and access info: Location: In the Epcot area. Yacht Club Address: 1700 Epcot Resorts Blvd, Lake Buena Vista, FL, 32830. Beach Club Address: 1800 Epcot Resorts Blvd, Lake Buena Vista, FL, 32830. Beach Club Villas Address: 1900 Epcot Resorts Blvd, Lake Buena Vista, FL, 32830. Beach Club phone: (407) 934-8000. Yacht Club phone: (407) 934-7000. Beach Club Villas: (407) 934-2175. Beach Club fax: (407) 939-3850. Yacht Club…

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Location: Disney Springs area. Address: 2201 Orleans Drive, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830-1000. Phone: (407) 934-5000 Fax: (407) 934-5353. Parking fee: $20 per night. Check-in: 3 PM. Check-out: 11 AM. Resort Type: Moderate. With just 1008 rooms, Disney’s Port Orleans French Quarter is the smallest and most compact of the moderate priced resorts at Disney World. Despite that, it still feels spread out and open. The seven three-story buildings are scattered along one side of the beautiful “Sassagoula River”. The theme here is the New Orleans French Quarter during Mardi Gras. We find it to be charming with its pastel painted buildings, intricate wrought iron…

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Location: In the Epcot Resort area. Address: 900 Cayman Way, Lake Buena Vista, FL., 32830 Phone: (407) 934-3400 Fax: (407) 934-3288. Parking fee: $20 per night. Check-in: 3 PM. Check-out: 11 AM. Resort Type: Moderate. Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort Overview If you’re longing to combine your Disney vacation with a tropical island getaway, this resort may be for you. Guest rooms are scattered in 33 unconnected, 2-story brightly colored buildings around a beautiful 42-acre lake called Barefoot Bay. The lake has white sand beaches and a tropical island connected by bridges. There are some incredible sunsets over this lake! This massive 200-acre resort has 2112 rooms…

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Facts at a Glance About Toy Story Mania!: Park: Hollywood Studios Location: Toy Story land Height Requirement: None Fastpass: Yes Quick Notes: Inspired by Disney Pixar’s “Toy Story” films, guests are “shrunk” to toy size to play games with the stars of the film. 3-D & 4-D moving motion base ride with short bursts of speed, and 360° fast spinning, jerking and sudden stops. Air is blown at you briefly. Some people will experience a minor water spray. Disney Warnings: Spinning. Ride a briskly-moving, rotating carnival tram through a wacky midway to play the Toy Story characters’ favorite 3D games, pausing…

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