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Survivor’s guide to Walt Disney World: Wrap-up

Here are a few other tips that didn’t fit into the rest of the Family Travel Walt Disney World series:

There is a Disney lodging option if you have ties to the military — the Shades of Green resort. This is a full-service hotel on Disney property that largely caters to active duty military members and their families, but check the eligibility guidelines to see if you might qualify to stay there.

Be smart and avoid disappointment. Check Disney’s Operational Update page before you visit, to see ahead of time which attractions are closed for refurbishment, so little hearts aren’t set on some Winnie the Pooh thing that isn’t available. For lots of detail, check the Disney fan sites and blogs like Mouse Fan Cafe, Mousesavers, the Disney Blog, the Mousekingdom Blog and overview articles like this one in the UK’s Telegraph newspaper.

There are combinations of visits to the parks with a short Disney cruise. You can even make Disney your travel agent to plan kid-friendly international trips.

Florida not in your plans but you’d like to try Disneyland in California? Check out the spring Kids Fly Free promotion to see if the timing works for you.

Orlando always has a lot going on that is not associated with Disney, so always check the comprehensive Orlando Convention & Visitors Bureau Web site for the latest offers and details.

For example, there is the Discovery Cove resort with dolphin and manta ray encounters. The Nature Conservancy has just partnered with them for a “Rescue the Reef” program to help to raise awareness and funds for protecting coral reefs. Through a special offer, Discovery Cove will donate $25 directly to Rescue the Reef. Book a Discovery Cove dolphin swim and you’ll also enjoy 15% off your admission price. Go to DiscoveryCove.com and use promo code TNC when booking.

Does this series make you thoroughly sick of Disney/theme parks and eager to know if Florida has attractions that aren’t man-made? Check out some of the attractions in “Nature’s Theme Parks,” like manatees at Homosassa Springs, and other fun options at About.com’s Florida for Visitors.