Mike and Carla talk about their Disney World travel guide and blog

Mike and Carla run a blog and travel guide about Disney World called Disney Daily Dime, which provides updates about the park and helps people to plan their own adventures. The couple are obsessed with the theme park and all things Disney, and they are eager to help others to learn more!

Mike and Carla, why did you decide to start Disney Daily Dime?

Carla is a lifelong Disney fan.  Growing up in Florida, she has always had a passion for the parks.  Mike on the other hand came to it much later in life.  After we got married, Carla insisted it was time for a trip to her happy place and we had the best time Mike could have imagined.  We continued our trips off and on over the years, had a couple if little girls and then Carla got sick.  She developed an autoimmune disorder called polymyositis.

We continued on with life, but it slowly became clear that our lives were going to be forever changed by this.  Carla had to scale back her work and Mike had to be much more involved with the kids.  One thing we decided to do was to increase our trips to Disney World.  Given Carla’s medical issues, we aren’t ever sure when these trips may become more difficult.  Hopefully it’s never, but hope isn’t a plan.  So, we go more frequently now to make the most of our time.

Since we go more, we feel like we experience more and have hopefully they are interesting experiences to share.  We feel like we have unique experiences too.  Between Carla’s autoimmune disease, her gluten free eating and having two young kids there’s a lot that is different when you compare us to many of the other bloggers in the Disney World space.

So, we figured why not start a blog to document our experiences.  At worst we get to share our experiences with others and hopefully empower people fighting some form or chronic illness to continue living their lives via Disney World.  Hopefully we teach our girls about perseverance and taking control of your life when you have unexpected things thrown at you.  And if it takes off, maybe we can have a life where we get to do something we truly love, covering a place we love, and help others along the way.

How often do you visit the park?

We go to the parks around four times per year.  We try to make it once per quarter, but the schedule doesn’t always allow for that.  Between Mike working a full-time job, kid’s activities, and the myriad of activities that happen in the fall, things can get really busy.  Depending on the time of year and what all we have going on, some trips are relatively abbreviated.  They may be 4 days long.  At Christmas time and during the summer we try to take full week to 10-day long trips.

How long would you say it takes to see Disney World properly?

If you really want to see Disney World in all of its glory, we’d say you should try to stay for seven or eight days.  Part of that is because parks like Magic Kingdom and Epcot truly need two days set aside for each them.  There’s so much to do, you can’t get it all done in one day.  For Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios you can still get by with one day.  How Hollywood Studios changes once Galaxy’s Edge opens remains to be seen.

But in addition to the parks themselves, we don’t think the average tourist realizes just how much there is to do besides the rides in the parks.  Many of the resorts have top notch pools that can allow you to have a relaxing day off your feet so you can get a break from the parks.  We usually like to do this in the middle of our longer trips.  Don’t want to do the pools, but would like a day away from the main park.  Disney World has two full sized water parks!

Are you a foodie?  Did you know Disney World has some of the best restaurants in Florida?  Top name chefs like José Andrés and Wolfgang Puck have restaurants on property.  There’s the prestigious Vitoria & Albert’s which annual receives awards for their food.  Last year they received the AAA Five Diamond Award.

If you like to camp, you can stay at Fort Wilderness and sleep in your own RV or just pitch a tent on Disney property if you like.  I could go on for a while, but the different options are numerous.

We generally think an ideal trip involves allocating six days for going to the parks and then one or two days to get away from the parks and do something different.

Do you have a favourite restaurant?

Oh yes!  And I didn’t even mention it in my above information on food.  California Grill, which is located in the Contemporary resort, is our all-time favourite Disney World restaurant.  We actually just did a blog post reviewing it a few weeks ago.

This is another restaurant where the food is top notch.  It has a diverse menu, featuring anything from steak, to sushi, and other dishes with varying flavours.  The one thing that is consistent amongst all of these dishes is their quality.  Match that meal, with the great service we have come to find at California Grill and it is well worth a visit.

The other unique aspect of the restaurant that we love is the view.  From the restaurant’s large windows, you can look out over Magic Kingdom.  With that view you can take in the night time fireworks spectacular known as Happily Ever After.  Don’t want to look out the windows, you can actually walk out onto the terrace and watch.  It truly is a sight to behold.

We love to dine here as a bit of a parent’s night out.  We usually take the girls to the Pixar Play Zone so they can have a fun “kids’ night out”, while we have some quality time together.

Have you been to the other Disney theme parks around the world?

We’ve both been to Disneyland in California, but Mike was around 8 years old when he did that.  Carla went to Disneyland around 18 years ago.  As we continue to develop the site, we’d love to expand our traveling experiences to the other parks around the world but we’re pretty focused on Disney World for now.

If someone only had one day at Disney World, what should they do in that day?

If you’ve only got one day and you have kids, you have to go to Magic Kingdom.  For your kids (and maybe you) Magic Kingdom IS Disney World.  They are synonymous.  This is especially true if you have little girls like us.  Having the chance to meet princesses is something very unique to Magic Kingdom.

But beyond that, Magic Kingdom has enough rides that you can experience something that everyone will enjoy.  Ride a few rollercoasters, have lunch inside of Cinderella Castle, check out Splash Mountain and Pirates of the Caribbean.  These are some of the more iconic Disney World rides.  Finish it up with dinner and then watch the fireworks show.  It’s a full day and you’ll be tired after it, but you should feel like you’ve seen and done a lot!

If you are going without kids, we would actually say to head to Epcot.  There are some fun attractions here, but there are also some interesting exhibits, shows and food.  If you happen to be there when a festival is going on, even better.  The good thing is that there are festivals happening at Epcot for about 8 months of the year.  You’ll also find some of the best park dining around.  Can you tell we like food?

What is it about Disney that captivates the pair of you so much?

The magic of Disney World.  The fact that when we are there, we have such a joyous time.  It’s a place where you can truly get away from it all.  Assuming you want to let it all get away.

This has been especially true since we’ve had the girls.  One of our fondest memories is from when our oldest daughter Elsa got to meet Mickey and Minnie for the first time.  She had just turned one year old.  As we got into the room to meet them in Town Square Theatre, a cast member told us that Mickey and Minnie were going to go on a break after seeing us.  We got the impression that this was not just a coincidence, but we aren’t 100% sure.

This allowed our little one year old to toddle her way over to them and give Mickey and Minnie all the love and affection she had.  She spent the next 5-10 minutes going back and forth between them kissing their noses and hugging them.  No words, just pure joy on her face.  Mickey and Minnie got down on the floor with her so she could look them in the eyes.  It was truly magical.

I could recount several more stories like this where a Disney cast member went out of their way to make a moment special for us or our girls.  And that’s why we keep coming back.  Because the memories we make will last a lifetime for us and the kids.

Mike and Carla, thank you for sharing your thoughts!
You can follow up with Mike and Carla at https://disneydailydime.com

Mike Smith
Mike Smith
Executive Editor at Best in Australia. Mike has spent over a decade covering news related to business leaders and entrepreneurs around Australia and across the world. You can contact Mike here.
Share this