Column by Dan Hatfield
Welcome to my new regular Q&A column for Orlando Attractions Magazine. I’ve spent years in and all around Orlando’s various attractions and neighborhoods. Whether it is a visit to Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival, a ride on Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, a show at SeaWorld’s Bayside Stadium, a laugh at I-Drive’s Outta Control Dinner Show or a stroll around Lake Eola, I have seen and done so much in the City Beautiful. Now I will share that knowledge with you. Feel free to send me your questions. Now on to this column’s question:
While there are numerous guide books to help us plan our next Disney vacation, there’s something about watching videos that it much more exciting. And luckily for us, there are several resources that are useful and free.
The first place to start is on Disney’s own website. They host a vacation planning video tool composed of more than 100 clips covering every aspect of Walt Disney World. You create a customized video by entering information about your travel plans, what you’re interested in and your family. You are then able to choose which clips are of interest to you, and then add those clips together to form your own movie. If you approve of the video, you can e-mail a link to yourself or a friend. If you do not approve, you can easily start all over. You can find the Disney Video Planner site Here.
If you’re a little more old school, Disney will also send you a free vacation planning DVD. You can sign up for it Here.
Disney also has a new website as part of their “Let the Memories Begin” campaign. You can view guest submitted videos and photos, or even upload your own. While these aren’t vacation planning tips, they’re still a lot of fun to view. See them Here.
Now perhaps you’re feeling nostalgic about your first visit to Disney World. If so, YouTube user JeffFrmJoisey has uploaded Disney World vacation planning videos from 1996, 1999, 2000, 2003, 2005, and 2007. Ready to take a trip back in time? You can view them on his YouTube Channel.
Finally, if you just can’t wait to get to your on-site hotel at Disney, you can feel the excitement at home with Stacy’s famous Must Do Disney. This is the video that plays on all guest room TVs.
But we can’t forget about Universal Orlando and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter! These days, many visitors to Orlando are splitting their time between the two resorts. If you are planning a vacation like this, Universal has two official online video tools just for you. The first one, which was added to their site only a few months ago, includes a set of 10 clips that describe all the aspects of the resort. You can find it Here.
The second Universal online video site is much more interactive. Called “Script Your Trip,” the site allows you to pick and choose your clips to create a customized video that you can download or share via e-mail. Check it out at scriptyourtrip.com.
Now that you’ve spent a few hours online, it is probably best to get back to work!
PS. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Orlando Attraction Magazine’s YouTube Channel and their new online show. If you’re looking for online video about Orlando that is totally up-to-date, The Show your best bet. See the latest one Here.
• Dan Hatfield is an Orlando enthusiast, vacation planning specialist, local blogger, and full-time student at UCF’s Rosen College of Hospitality Management. He runs OrlandoInformer.com, a site dedicated to providing practical knowledge and insider tips about a wide range of Orlando vacation activities. You can reach Dan via his website, on Twitter at @OrlandoInformer, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.