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Orlando

Disneyland vs. Disney World

Disneyland/It’s a Small World

There is often confusion when it comes to Walt Disney World and Disneyland. If you’ve ever been to one of these two Disney resorts in the U.S., you might think the other is exactly the same, but that’s definitely not true. Disneyland on the West Coast and Walt Disney World in the Orlando have plenty in common, but have just as many differences.

Read on to learn about out 10 major differences between these two famous theme parks.

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620x400_FlickrBrian Hart_DisneyRulesIf you’re headed to Disney World, it’s easy to get caught up in a frenzy of booking hotels, buying park tickets, making dining reservations, and picking your FastPass+ ride selections. So we understand if you’re overlooking a few details. In fact, we’re pretty sure park policies are far from your mind during the booking process. Here are a few things you should know before you sprint through the park gates.

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cedar point 1With summer rapidly approaching, it’s time to start thinking about weekend getaways – those holiday weekends, after all, tend to creep up sooner than you think. While hiking a beautiful national park is always an option, adrenaline seekers might be craving something a littler more, shall we say, stomach-turning? Each year, a collective 290 million people visit America’s 400+ amusement parks, a clear testament to Americans’ love of fast rides; planning the right time to go, however, can be tricky. Below, we help you strategize how best to time your visit.  Read more

magicband - disney - 620

Forget plastic hotel key cards and paper tickets. The Walt Disney World Resort has forged full speed ahead into the 21st century with a snazzy new tech-based system called MyMagic+. The star feature of the program is a customizable plastic bracelet, dubbed MagicBand, with which you can seamlessly access every aspect of your next Disney vacation. Here, a look at how it works and what it means for your wallet.

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Disney World EntranceWhether it’s your first trip or your twentieth, a trip to Walt Disney World should always feel exciting. You’ve researched the rides and shows, picked out where you’re going to eat, and know the hotels like the back of your hand. Once you get there, though, it’s easy to hit a wall.

Here are 10 ways you can avoid Disney burnout – so that you won’t have to take another vacation just to recover from this one.

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orlandoHiltonFor Harry Potter fans, this summer’s most anticipated event is the opening of the Diagon Alley and Hogwarts Express expansion at Universal Orlando’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter. The latest news is that opening day is going to be late June, so fans had better start planning their trips now.

Helping to keep costs down, the upscale, resort-style Hilton Orlando (a 10-minute drive for the park) is offering reduced nightly rates to coincide with the big expansion. The hotel is offering $99 rates on select dates from June 13 to August 31. Note that the lowest rate of $99 is only available on Saturdays and Sundays, but that’s quite a savings on regular June rates, which start at $219. Weekday rates start at $149.

You can book through the website or by calling. Note that these rates are based on availability, and that blackout dates apply. There’s also a daily resort fee of $20.

Disney dining - Mickey cookies

Flickr/jfer21

OK, you’re shouting it from the rooftops: you’re going to Disney World. But the decision to go may be the easiest one of the trip. From booking your perfect hotel, to choosing your park tickets, there’s a lot to think about.

And you can’t forget about food. First-time guests and even seasoned visitors have to ask themselves whether they should purchase a Disney Dining Plan. These pre-set meal plans don’t come cheap, but can save you lots of headache and even money – if you choose the right one.

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Grand Floridian, Orlando, FloridaIf you’ve ever stayed at one of the Walt Disney World Resort hotels, or even just researched them, you know that the 20-plus properties are all different. Each has its own theme, dining options, recreation, and level of service. Plus, the properties are broken down into four categories (Deluxe, Villas, Moderate, Value, and Campgrounds) to accommodate guests’ different budgets, needs, and preferences.

If you’re on the fence about which Disney hotel to choose, we’re here to help. Just match yourself up with the type of traveler you identify with most to find your ideal hotel.

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Epcot Center, Walt Disney WorldIf you’re visiting the “Most Magical Place on Earth” anytime soon, you might have to dig a little deeper into your pockets to pay for park tickets: Walt Disney World recently raised the price of admission for all four of its theme parks.

Now it’ll cost you $99 for a one-day ticket to enter the Magic Kingdom and $94 for a single ticket that gets you into Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

But don’t fret! We have some ways you can save on admission.

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620x400_Flickrkathika_DisneyWorldchristmasDuring the major holidays, Walt Disney World doesn’t exactly toss up a few decorations and call it a day. Instead, look for over-the-top celebrations that only Disney can deliver.

Whether you’re planning a visit the resort for Easter, the Fourth of July or Christmas (holidays that often coincide with kids’ school vacations), we’ve got you covered. Here’s a quick guide to what you can expect during the holidays at Walt Disney World.

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free disney souvenirs

Flickr/chuckwaters83

Price of a Walt Disney World sweatshirt: $59.95.

Price of a Sorcerer Mickey mug: $14.95.

Price of a Disney iPhone case: $34.95.

We’ll give you a second to get over the sticker shock, but yes, those are the real prices of some Walt Disney World souvenirs.

You should know, though, that it is possible to score some freebies in this famous Orlando theme park. You just have to know where to look. Here are some to seek out on your next visit to the House of Mouse…

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wasbar-belgium-antwerp-gentAcross the globe, bookstores, beauty salons, and even laundromats are incorporating full bars into their ethos. And we’re not talking about attractions with a drink menu, or themed bars. These brilliant watering holes are true hybrids that patrons hit up for quality beverages and an additional service, whether it’s groceries or manicures. Bottoms up!

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620x400_Flickrhyku_DisneyWorldCastleToss aside the notion that Walt Disney World is just for kids. The Orlando resort is a popular vacation destination for adult singles and couples alike; it’s even become a hotspot for weddings and honeymoons. But even without kids, the price of accommodation, park tickets, and dining adds up fast in the House of Mouse. Fortunately, Walt Disney World actually offers plenty of activities that are free or reasonably inexpensive, and fully geared toward adults. Here are just a few…

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denver-airport-long-lines-alice-daerNo matter where you’re traveling, there’s nothing like a long line to put a damper on your vacation. Which is why we were happy to learn about SecurXpress, a reservation system for security lines that’s being tested at Montréal, Canada’s international airport. After passengers submit their flight and contact info online, they receive a text with an arrival time. Then, when they get to the airport, they can head straight to security and skip the line. Not bad. This free service is available for all domestic and select international routes, and each reservation covers up to five travelers.

While it’ll take some time for other airports to adopt the system – clearance rules make it especially tricky for flights in and out of the U.S. – ticketed reservations aimed at slashing wait times aren’t new. Here’s a quick look at similar systems that are helping travelers avoid the wait…

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Norwegian Air Flight DealsThis year, Europe’s third largest low-cost carrier, Norwegian Air Shuttle began a new transatlantic service with non-stop flights from New York City to Oslo and Stockholm, and they’re set to add services from Fort Lauderdale to the two Scandinavian capitals in late November, too.

Early 2014 will see an even bigger expansion for the airline, with flights from New York to Copenhagen launching in February; Los Angeles to Oslo, Stockholm, and Copenhagen in March; Orlando to Oslo in May; and Oakland to Oslo and Stockholm, also in May. The airline will also offer connecting fares to dozens of other European cities –and even beyond Europe, to Bangkok.

We’re pretty excited about these new flights, which will offer the first non-stop service by a low-cost carrier on the Boeing Dreamliner 787, and even more excited by their fares! We did a little digging around on Norwegian’s website, and here’s what we found: Read more

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