Ask a Disney Travel Expert

Ask A Disney Travel Expert: Mike Belobradic

Ask a Disney Travel Expert

Do you have a question about upscale travel to Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Vacation Club (DVC) or Disneyland Paris?

Mike Belobradic, Disney Travel Expert: As a longtime luxury Disney traveler, I have strong opinions on all aspects of upscale Disney travel, which I am happy to share. My opinions are based on a lifetime of regular Disney travel experience. My expertise is different than those who are local to each resort and who  visit and write about the parks from that perspective. That is different than the advice required by Disney travelers. If you are looking for an opinion or Deluxe Disney Resorts, Disney Vacation Club (DVC), Disney dining and so on, please feel free to contact me.

Stressing Out Over a Disney Travel Question? Get a Second Opinion

If you are planning a Disney vacation and have a question, feel free to reach out. I am always happy to offer my opinions to fellow Disney travelers. Please do not answer specific fact-based questions. That type of information is available on the various Disney websites or through your travel agent if you use one. However, if you are wondering what I think about a certain resort, a restaurant, this versus that, or a single aspect of your Disney vacation plans, I am happy to weigh in on those types of questions.

My Thoughts & Advice: Take It or Leave It

My opinions are my own. They are not definitive answers: they are my opinions. So please take them as such. You may choose to ignore them, or go with the advice of some other source and that is perfectly fine. If you’re like me, you’ll seek out the opinions and input of many sources before making a decision for yourself. Consider my input as another source in that regard.

One very important thing that I can guarantee, however, is that I have no ulterior motives behind my responses. I am not a travel agent who is trying to sell you on something and I have nothing to gain by responding a certain way or trying to steer you in a certain direction. I am very opinionated, and that is probably why you’re here.

My opinions are:

  • Unbiased.
  • Unaffiliated.
  • Unfiltered.
  • Based on 50 years of first-hand experience.

I do not work for the Walt Disney Company, I do not work for a travel agency and I am unencumbered by any third party whatsoever. So you can rest assured that my opinions are my own. They are based on extensive Disney travel experience — 100+ upscale vacations to Walt Disney World alone since the resort first opened.

My responses to you here are the same responses that I would give to my best friends and colleagues. So if you’re looking for additional input or perspective on a Disney travel topic, please feel free to ask away using the form below.

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    Please Note: While I do my best to answer all questions that I receive, I cannot always give individual responses. Responses may come in many forms: a direct reply to your inquiry, a blog post on the subject, or answers posted to your question on this page (I’ll do a consolidated response for questions that I receive frequently).  So please feel free to browse the Disney travel questions and answers below to see if I have already offered my opinion on a given Disney travel topic.

    Disney's Grand Floridian Resort

    Recent Disney Travel Questions and Answers

    Q. “Can patio doors at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort be locked from the outside?”

    A. No. They cannot. They are like standard sliding doors on a home. They lock by flipping a latch on the inside. There is no external keyed entry or RFID on the outside of the patio doors.

    Q. “Is there a Disney hotel where you can walk to all parks?”

    A. I’ll break this down by a few Disney destinations.

    Disneyland Paris: Yes. The Disneyland Hotel will allow you to walk conveniently to both parks.

    Disneyland Anaheim: Yes. In particular, Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel and the Disneyland Hotel make it easy to walk to both Disneyland Resort parks. 

    Walt Disney World Resort: No. Given the sheer size of Walt Disney World (43 square miles), the parks are not all in one area. However, three of the four parks have Disney hotels within walking distance. I wrote a blog post on this topic, so you can find full details there. Enjoy!

    Q. “Is it possible to get into any rides with a FastPass if I am booking a last minute Walt Disney World vacation?”

    A. Yes, it is very possible. In fact, we have had some pretty good success booking last minute FastPasses while on site at Walt Disney World.

    Of course, they will mostly be gone due to people who have made their FastPass bookings far in advance. However, people do cancel their bookings and when that happens you can snap one up if you have luck on your side. We’ve often been lucky enough to get high-demand FastPass bookings for popular attractions like Slinky Dog Dash within hours of when we wanted to use them. The trick is to keep checking the app/website and refreshing the FastPasses. Sometimes you get lucky and one pops up because someone has cancelled theirs. 

    By the way, it’s always a good practice to cancel a FastPass if you know you can’t use it, instead of just not using it and letting it expire. I was once told by a Cast Member that Disney knows that you didn’t cancel and didn’t use the FastPass, which cost someone else the opportunity to do so. You are then marked for this behavior and penalized when you search for FastPasses of your own. You won’t be shown the full selection of FP opportunities as compared to someone who is more diligent about cancelling to give opportunities to others. Think of it as Disney FastPass karma.

    I hope that helps.

    Q.Is it worth it to book club level (Contemporary Resort, Beach Club, and Polynesian) when you usually spend most of your day at the parks? We usually don’t eat enough for the Disney Dining Plan and find it restricts our freedom during the day at a park if we know we need to be at a table service reservation at a certain time, but would consider Club Level for breakfast and snacks. We’ve only stayed at Beach Club Club Level and honestly don’t think we got much out of it because we were at the parks.”

    A. The “is it worth it” question is always tough to answer because it is usually a very subjective decision for each traveler. If you didn’t get much out of Club Level for your family at Disney’s Beach Club Resort, then it might not be any different for you at any other resort. We enjoy Club Level for the overall experience, lounge area, food/drinks/snacks, concierges and so on. Like you, we do not partake in the Disney Dining Plan. With that said, the Club Level lounges at the three monorail loop resorts are generally larger and superior to the Beach Club lounge.

    If it is only the food part that you are looking as an option to the dining plan, then as an alternative it may be worth your while to make a grocery stop on the way to your resort to stock up on breakfast items that you can keep in the mini fridge in your room (assuming you’re at a Deluxe Resort). You can’t make toast, but you could get milk, cereal, bagels with cream cheese, snacks etc. Don’t forget paper plates and cutlery (you could bring from home).

    I hope that helps a bit with your decision making.

    More Disney Travel Questions and Answers:

    Q. How much does it cost to join Disney Vacation Club (DVC)?

    Q. Should I join Disney Vacation Club? Is it worth it?

    Q. Which floor at Bay Lake Tower should I request?

    Contact Me for More Information

    If you want to contact me for any other reason, please do not hesitate to contact me on my Contact Page. I will be happy to answer any inquiries that you may have.

    Mike Belobradic: The Finer Side of Disney Travel
    Luxury Travel Blogger and Deluxe Disney Travel Specialist

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