Walt Disney World: Back to Basics

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It’s been a long time since I had some time to write so it’s time to go back to basics! Let’s talk about the basics of Walt Disney World. This is the perfect way to plan for a first time visit or the first time in a long time visit.

Packages vs. room and tickets ala carte

In almost every single scenario, having your package bundled together is the best thing for you. First, it’s the ONLY way you can include a dining plan and second, it gives you the most protection of your money. Disney packages require just a $200 deposit to confirm (which can include as little as your room and tickets but as much as dining plan, travel insurance, and more!) If you purchase items ala carte, you’re going to pay a one night + tax deposit on your room space, separate purchase for your tickets (which is non-refundable), Memory Maker (non-refundable), and you don’t have the option to include travel protection insurance in case something happens. With packages, you can add travel insurance which protects your entire package and in many cases, you stand to lose less if you have to cancel your plans for the unexpected.

So what is a package?

  • In the most basic form it’s room + tickets booked together
  • Guests can also book a “ticketless” package – if you aren’t planning on going into the park, are an annual passholder, member of the military, or have old non-expiring tickets from a trip long ago, you can book room + dining together and skip the ticket portion
  • Packages can include the optional additions of dining plan, travel protection insurance, Memory Maker, or even flights!

The Resorts

What do the resort categories mean?

Disney has 4 unique resort categories with their own pros and cons…

Value Resorts. These are the most cost effective options out of any resort category. This isBoardwalk Across the water.JPG best for guests that are looking to save money on their resort experience. Keep in mind that these resorts are at many times host to youth sporting events and international tour groups so it can effect your resort experience if you’re planning on spending any significant amount of time at your resort, this may not be the best place for you. These are resorts are great for those that are going to be spending all day in the parks and not thinking about a resort break in the day – essentially a place to sleep and shower! The exception to this rule is Art of Animation which have family suites and can feel a bit more robust in terms of offerings and experience than the other value resorts.

Moderate Resorts. These resorts offer additional resort amenities on site. Some notable upgrades from the value resort experience – larger resort rooms (some of these resorts sleep up to 5 guests), water slides at the main pool, additional on site dining options, and covered bus stops (so if it’s raining or really hot, it’s a nice feeling of relief to be out of the elements). These resorts are more middle of the road in term of pricing and many first timers find this resort a comfortable starting point in terms of price point and resort experience.

Deluxe Resort. This is my favorite resort category. You add even more to the available amenities from the moderate category and you’ll find stronger theming throughout the rooms and resorts (NOT Mickey around every turn – just stronger central themes – like African Safari, Yacht Club, a tropical oasis, and more) These rooms are larger yet – most of which sleep a total of 4 guests and some can sleep 5 (or more in suites). These resorts Beach Club Inside roomalso have additional dining options (at least 2 if not more choices to dine on site), things like watercraft or tours available in the resort, a room with a view (theme park, savanna, fireworks, etc.) and often special park access – whether it be a different way to get to the parks besides a bus – boat, monorail, walking. The key to most of these resorts is location, location, location! We also feel a little bit more of the warm fuzzies when it comes the guest experience.

Deluxe Villas. These are similar to deluxe villas in amenities. The difference in these are the room layout and overall size. These rooms come in different sizes – studio (similar to a standard hotel room), 1 bedroom, 2 bedroom, and 3 bedroom grand villa. This is more like condo living. Studios have a microwave in room, and 1 and 2 bedroom villas have both washer/dryers AND a full kitchen inside each unit. It makes it feel a bit more like home plus the same benefits of the deluxe resorts above!

Theme park tickets.

Choosing your park tickets can be a difficult piece of the planning puzzle for everyone. Single day tickets, park hopper tickets, park hopper plus which includes water park access. I like the convenience of park hopper tickets for my family so we can go back to a favorite park and open up additional options for dining.

Park hopper tickets are incredibly important during the fall and winter months when Disney hosts some special events in Magic Kingdom which limit park hours as well as dining in that parks. Additionally, days without parties become VERY crowded (over the last 2 years it’s been almost unbearable on non-party nights like holiday crowds on mundane October Saturday night)! Park hopper tickets allow you to start your day in Magic Kingdom on a party night and hop somewhere else for the evening. And on the other side, start in another park in the morning and hop one night to Magic Kingdom to see the amazing fireworks show!

Water park tickets. When is this a good option? Disney water parks are amazing and a great heat relief. It’s also a really great addition for guests with longer stays as well. It’s a nice way to do a little bit of relaxing and do a little less walking than a normal park day. And with park hopper tickets as a park of your package, it’s a very inexpensive addition!

Dining plan

Disney has 3 dining plans for 2018: Quick Service, Plus Dining, and Deluxe Dining. Regardless of your choice, each member of your traveling party will receive a refillable mug to be used at your resort. It can actually be refilled at any resort during your stay. No refills at the parks though!

The quick service dining plan provides you with 2 quick service credits and 2 snacks for each night stayed.

  • Each quick service credit comes with an entree and non-alcoholic beverage whether you use it for breakfast, lunch, or dinner

PLUS dining (or the Disney dining plan) provides you with 1 table service credit, 1 quick service credit, and TWO snacks for each night stayed.

  • Quick service credit comes with an entree and  beverage (it can  be alcoholic OR photo 1(2)non-alcoholic) whether you use it for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
  • Table service credits come with an entree, beverage (it can  be alcoholic OR non-alcoholic) and dessert. No dessert will be offered if you choose to use a credit at breakfast.
  • Table service credits can also exchanged for a buffet or family style meal.

The Deluxe Dining Plan provides you with 3 credits which can be used for either table service or quick service and 2 snacks for each night stayed.

  •  Quick service credits come with an entree and non-alcoholic beverage.
  • Table service credits come with an appetizer, entree, beverage (it can  be alcoholic OR non-alcoholic), and dessert. No appetizer or dessert will be offered if you choose to use a credit at breakfast. (This is an appetizer per person – not for your entire group so if you have a group of 4 you will receive 4 appetizers)
  • Table service credits can also be exchanged for buffet or family style meals.

Dining plan makes your reservation a more “all inclusive” type of vacation. Cost wise, it’s close to “break even” in terms of paying as you go vs. using a dining plan (we often end up saving money with a dining plan. I also like the convenience of the dining plan so everything is paid in full ahead of time vs. spending a ton of money on a package and hen spending a ton more money on food (because people really under estimate how much money food actually costs once inside the Disney bubble!)

MinnieBox

A free gift for your Disney vacation! The amazing and exciting Minnie Box! (subject to minimum vacation package)

So that’s a primer of the basics of Walt Disney world? So what’s right for you? I’d love to talk about your next Walt Disney World vacation! My planning services are 100% free for guests who book a package with Magical Vacations! Talk to me about a free, no obligation quote today!

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Planning a July 2017 Disney World vacation

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This guide is specifically for guests traveling to Disney World in July 2017 (The rest of the year will come soon if you’re looking to travel later in the year!)

For complete months: January 2017, February 2017, March 2017, April 2017, May 2017, June 2017

July means summer season is officially in full swing with schools out around the country. Last year saw a dip in crowds in some weeks in July in comparison to previous years. This may be a change in overall crowd trends but it’s too early to tell. Plan on 4th of July weekend to be fairly busy with parents utilizing an extra day off of work and some unique holiday experiences.  In terms of pricing, you’ll see a similar dollar value no matter what the week. The entire month will be HOT. Doesn’t matter when. it’s the hottest month of the year.

July weather in Disney World

According to Weather.com the average high in the month of July is 92 and the low is 73. Be sure to check your favorite weather app prior to your departure to confirm actual temperatures before you pack. It will be warm and humid. Also expect rain as the humidity rises but it’s often a welcomed rain and not often an all day soaking rain. Plan plenty of pool time and maybe a day at the water parks!

Choosing Your Travel Dates/Events to be aware ofIMG_8755

  • Sounds like summer concert series in Epcot – not a huge crowd draw, but a way to add some free magic to your park time!

Special Offers/Promotions

  • No promotional offers will be available at the time of publication. Look to offers becoming available in Spring of 2017 (likely March) for summer travel dates(based on historical releases). In previous years, a room discount has been offered. Disney sweetened the deal last year and offered a unique MagicBand for all packages!

When to book dining

Dining reservations are available 180 days in advance of your arrival date which means you can book dining for July as early as January. If you have an active package, you’ll have the ability to book dining for your entire length of stay. If you’re inside that mark, you may not see every dining reservation available – especially popular things like character dinners (especially Cinderella’s Table, and Chef Mickey’s) and popular locations like Ohana and Be Our Guest. Don’t let lack of availability worry you, since all Disney dining reservations require a credit card guarantee, cancellations do happen so persistence and patience are key! As we start the month in Spring Break, planning for the incredibly popular locations are often best for later in your trip to secure prime dinner times!

Cost

Disney's Pop Century brings adults back to their childhood!

Disney’s Pop Century brings adults back to their childhood!

So how much will it cost a family of 4 to travel to Disney World in July of 2017? Let’s do the math. Remember these are NON-DISCOUNTED rates so your total could be less than the ones listed below.

The Smith family wants a fun an inexpensive vacation and are planning 7 days and 6 nights at a value resort. I suggested Pop Century in a preferred room since it’s most centrally located among the value resorts. They are taking mom, dad, Susie – 13 and Jenny – 9 on their first vacation! They have decided on 5 days of base tickets to really focus on one park each day and to save a little bit of money and will pay for meals out of pocket and bring some snacks with as well, so no dining plan. $2534.09

The Jones family wants a moderately priced vacation and are also planning 7 days and 6 nights, but they want to stay at a moderate resort. Their two daughters love Disney princesses so they are considering an upgrade to a royal guest room. They are also going to do 5 days of base tickets but are considering the upgrade to park hoppers to see more with their time. If the Jones family chooses the least expensive package options, their moderate vacation would cost them $2984.45 If they added park hoppers to their tickets, their vacation would cost them $3272.41. And if they wanted to upgrade to a royal room their vacation would cost them $3670.64

The Howell family wants to go all out for their two children’s first Disney World vacation and stay in a deluxe resort for 7 days and 6 nights. They definitely want park hoppers to see everything and they are considering the dining plan. Their preferred resort is Wilderness Lodge but with the construction scheduled, they are going to try out the recently renovated Polynesian resort to have access to Magic Kingdom. and Epcot. With 5 days of park hoppers, their vacation would cost them $5088.16 If they did elect to add the dining plan, their vacation would cost them $6445.40

The bottom line

July is a great time to travel to Disney World for those that don’t have the ability to take time out of school whether it’s your children’s school schedule or maybe a teacher in the family! It can be fun filled and a great way to explore water parks and more during your adventures!!

Start planning your July 2017 vacation

A free gift for your Disney vacation! The amazing and exciting Minnie Box! (subject to minimum vacation package)

A free gift for your Disney vacation! The amazing and exciting Minnie Box! (subject to minimum vacation package)

Ready to get started planning your 2017 Disney World vacation? Please contact me at any time for a free quote. The benefits to using an authorized Disney vacation planner include saving time before and during your vacation with itinerary planning which can help save you hours of standing in line each day. Plus you won’t have to watch for available discounts, research resorts, wake up early for dining reservations, or stay up late for FastPasses. The best part about using a travel planner instead of planning yourself? It’s totally FREE! Plus I’ll take away some of the stress and confusion of planning a Disney vacation (especially if it’s your first one!)It’s also a worry free vacation opportunity. I’ll walk through through all of the steps to the process with a few little insider tips along the way! If you already have your vacation planned and are interested in transferring your vacation, ask me how!

Friday Five: Water Park Adventures!

Just because summer is ending (sniff sniff) and schools are starting back in the next few weeks doesn’t mean that you can’t start thinking about having water fun during next spring or summer break.  In fact, planning this early will be advantageous for you in saving money and choosing your favorite resort!  The sparkling fun awaits you at the Disney World with their two water parks:  Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon!   Once you have visited them you will see how no Disney World vacation is ever complete without visiting the “splash-tastic” water parks. From serene to extreme, you will find an experience for everyone from rest and relaxation to extreme water fun for all ages!  Here are your Friday Five top points:

  1. There are plenty of chill rides to beat the heat!  From Crush n Gusher to Keelheel Falls and Ketchakidde Creek.  You will find slides and a lazy river that is an incredible time for all ages to float your cares away.My only suggestion for the lazy river is to take note of where you get in (they are well marked at all entrances for the river).  That way you will know when you have circled the loop and where to get back on land. (You can get out when you want, just in case…)
  2. Then there are awesome thrill rides for all ages can be found from Summit Plummit, , Teamboat Springs (a family fav of ours), and Tobaggan Races!
  3. Wave pools are everyone’s favorite in Typhoon Lagoon’s Surf Pool and Blizzard Beach’s Meltaway Bay!  I love hearing the “thunderous sonic boom” and the shrieks from the crowd as the waves (swells as large as 6 feet in the back) heads towards you.  The feeling in the air is electric!
  4. Snorkeling in the Shark Reef was my favorite but I love sharks and all “that stuff”!  This is a man made coral reef in 362,000 gallons of salt water and it is COLD but awesome and worth the try at no extra cost if you have never snorkeled.
  5. Relax on the sandy white beaches in a lounge chair or float in a tube in the gentle waves.  There are even fantastic cabanas for rent which made it so easy when we had a large family of 20 with us at Blizzard Beach.  We were able to use it as a “home base” for everyone…older kids were running around doing the big kid, thrill slides while moms ran after the toddlers in the Tike’s Peak area, while the Grandparents could chill in the shade of the trees.  It was a great addition to our family memories!

This video below can help you to get a drift of the fun that awaits you…..

 

MinnieBox

A free gift for your Disney vacation! The amazing and exciting Minnie Box! (subject to minimum vacation package)

So if you are ready to dive into your next Disney adventure, feel free to contact us for a free quote today!!  The benefits to using an authorized Disney vacation planner include saving time before and during your vacation with itinerary planning which can help save you hours of standing in line each day. Plus you won’t have to watch for available discounts, research resorts, wake up early for dining reservations, or stay up late for FastPasses. The best part about using a travel planner instead of planning yourself? It’s totally FREE! Plus I’ll take away some of the stress and confusion of planning a Disney vacation (especially if it’s your first one!) If you already have your vacation planned and are interested in transferring your vacation, please ask for more details!

 

 

What’s New Wednesday: May 4th edition – Walt Disney World

It’s been awhile since I’ve had an edition of What’s New Wednesday, but some exciting things are happening again around Walt Disney World! If you’re traveling soon, you’ve got more new things to look forward to. As mentioned a few weeks ago, a lot of new things are coming this summer with Disney’s Awaken Summer campaign. A 3rd track to Toy Story Mania to alleviate some of the standby line, a 3rd track and a new place to soar (around the World) with Soarin’, Frozen Ever After, Anna & Elsa’s big move to Epcot, and a whole new experiences (at night) in Animal Kingdom!

So what’s new? Princess Fairy Tale Hall in Magic Kingdom FastPasses opened up through June 11th which very likely means that all things Frozen will open up after that date since Anna & Elsa can’t be in 2 places at once!

Olaf is HERE! He’s ready to BRING BACK SUMMER in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Currently they are listed as “soft openings”. Wait times were not bad today, however it was a long day of almost constant rain. You can find him near the Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular.

Sorcerer Mickey is finding a new home as of May 8th! Currently he’s in a less than ideal location in an empty building next to Toy Story Mania. He’s getting a new set with a gorgeous looking backdrop and a great new location. Minnie is also joining him with a glam look ready for the red carpet – it is some very unique attire!

The Frozen Games are coming to Blizzard Beach this summer. Beginning, May 27th, join Olaf and Kristoff and participate in a variety of “frozen” themed activities. Only water park admission is required (remember, this is different than your theme park admission).

During Fulton’s Crab House’s current refurbishment, the restaurant will undergo a name change: Paddlefish. With this change a menu change is coming as well! Check back for additional details as Disney continues to update!

2016 Very Merry Christmas Party dates + helpful hints and tips for your winter adventure!

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Celebrate the magic of the holiday season with your family at Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, a special event held select nights in November and December at Magic Kingdom! Another fresh off the presses details released by Disney yesterday. Dates for the 2016 Very Merry Christmas Party:

  • November 7, 8, 10, 11, 13, 15, 18, 27 and 29
  • December 1, 2, 4, 6, 8, 9, 11, 13, 15, 16, 18 and 22

This festive celebration is filled with spectacular fireworks, a very special holiday parade and live entertainment featuring your favorite Disney Characters. Purchase of an additional event admission ticket is required to attend this event. Official on sale date for tickets has yet to be announced.

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party highlights from 2015:

  • The enchanted Castle Dream Lights on Cinderella Castle thanks to Anna & Elsa!Tips and Tricks for Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party
  • Mickey’s Once Upon A Christmastime Parade, complete with a special appearance by Santa Claus himself
  • An exclusive holiday fireworks extravaganza – Holiday Wishes: Celebrate the Spirit of the Season
  • Live entertainment featuring Disney Characters
  • Meet & greet opportunities throughout Magic Kingdom with some of your favorite Disney Characters
  • Opportunity to meet Santa Claus
  • Complimentary cookies and hot cocoa
  • A magical snow fall on Main Street, U.S.A.
  • Special access to many of the most popular Magic Kingdom attractions

Tips & Tricks for Special Events in Magic Kingdom:

  • Depending on your length of stay and number of days with park tickets, you have two options for the morning and early afternoon of your special event.
    1. For longer trips or those with park hopper tickets: Take the morning off! Sleep in (you’ll rarely hear me say this on a Disney vacation, so take advantage). It’s a great opportunity for a late morning character breakfast at Chef Mickey in Contemporary or the delicious flavors of Boma in Animal Kingdom Lodge. Enjoy your resort’s pool and explore to see some of the hidden things it has to offer. Use Disney’s transportation to navigate to another resort to explore (I choose the deluxe resorts!) or head to Downtown Disney for the morning.
    2. For shorter trips with only base day tickets, you may want to take the opportunity to “park hop”. Since you do not need your daily ticket and your special event ticket, enjoy a morning in another park
  • Regardless of your morning plan, eat a large late lunch before you arrive at Magic Kingdom! While quick service DSC_0178restaurants are available, you don’t want to use your precious time eating a meal you could have any other time during regular park hours.
  • Skip the long character lines and enjoy some of the special live shows and open attractions. You’ll rarely ever see lines that short! If there is a must do character, don’t worry about waiting! Do what is important to your kids (if characters are more important than rides, go for it)
  • Don’t forget the cookies and hot cocoa!! Take a break in Crystal Palace. Lots of space, it gives you a chance to see the location and it’s nice a warm location for those chilly December nights!
  • Say hi to Santa early in the night before the line gets unmanageable.
  • Arrive as close to 4 pm as possible. While the park may still be a bit crowded with ticketed day guests, you’ll want to use as much of your ticketed time as possible.
  • Rest up earlier in the day (make sure kids have napped appropriately). Bring a stroller for your younger ones to take a little snooze waiting for a parade or a place if they are just too tired.
  • Consider Memory Maker. It’s a great little add on to any Disney vacation, but why not grab a few holiday photos for your Christmas card or capture some lasting Halloween memories through the eyes of Disney! Even if you don’t add it on, you can still take advantage of Disney’s PhotoPass photographers throughout the park.
  • If you know you want to attend one of the parties, buy your tickets before your arrive. Advanced purchase is a bit cheaper (usually about $5) and some popular dates sell out.
  • If you are not attending the party and you have base tickets, avoid these party dates! You won’t get a fireworks show at the end of the night (unless you watch it off the Magic Kingdom grounds). If you have park hopper tickets, it’s a pretty good park to start your day with as many people do avoid Magic Kingdom on party nights!
A free gift for your Disney vacation! The amazing and exciting Minnie Box! (subject to minimum vacation package)

A free gift for your Disney vacation! The amazing and exciting Minnie Box! (subject to minimum vacation package)

Ready to get started planning your 2016 Disney World vacation? Please contact me at any time for a free quote. The benefits to using an authorized Disney vacation planner include saving time before and during your vacation with itinerary planning which can help save you hours of standing in line each day. Plus you won’t have to watch for available discounts, research resorts, wake up early for dining reservations, or stay up late for FastPasses. The best part about using a travel planner instead of planning yourself? It’s totally FREE! Plus I’ll take away some of the stress and confusion of planning a Disney vacation (especially if it’s your first one!)It’s also a worry free cruise opportunity. I’ll walk through through all of the steps to the process with a few little insider tips along the way! If you already have your vacation planned and are interested in transferring your vacation, ask me how!

Planning your Summer 2016 Disney World Vacation

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The holidays are over and guests across the country (and really around the world) are planning their 2016 vacations. It’s really the perfect time to talk about summer! This guide is specifically for guests traveling in June, July and August. There is a guide for early 2016 travelers and spring 2016 travelers which covers January – early June).

There is plenty of time to plan for ANY of these travel dates, whether it’s grabbing a dining reservation, and planning FastPasses. Guests planning mid to late summer vacations are still beyond the 180 day mark so you can still have the best of the best dining reservation!

The summer months are perfect for those that like the heat and don’t want to taken their kiddos out of school (and teachers as well who don’t have the option to take time off of their work schedules)! Generally temps are hot and crowds are moderate to high depending on your time of travel. As it gets later into August, you’ll see a dip in overall crowds!

During this time, Disney offers quite long park hours, so it’s a great time to maximize your experience (and skip the heat of the day). It’s a great time of year to enjoy Disney’s water parks as well (start a day in a theme park, jump to a water park, and then back for dinner and fireworks!!)

This time of year at least sees an afternoon shower which is typically a welcome cool off from the heat and humidity of the day. I would consider this somewhat a rainy season. Don’t let the rain chase you out of the park – pop on a poncho and enjoy your day!

Crowd Calendars

Below are projections of crowds for summer. Click the images below to see the images larger! These are subject to change. Please don’t be concerned about a “red days”. You will have a magical experience no matter what time of year you travel. Typically it’s not “wall to wall” crowds!

 

June 2016 Crowds Calendar (Click to Enlarge)

June 2016 Crowds Calendar (Click to Enlarge)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

July 2016 Disney World Crowd Calendar

July 2016 Crowd Calendar(Click to Enlarge)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

August 2016 Crowd Calendar (Click to Enlarge)

August 2016 Crowd Calendar (Click to Enlarge)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saving Money

Save up to 30% on your resort stay for travel dates in early June thanks to Disney’s current spring promotion!

Book By
February 28, 2016

Valid Travel Dates
February 22, 2016 through June 11, 2016

Important Details

  • Savings based on the non-discounted price for the same room.
  • The number of rooms allocated for this offer is limited.
  • Moderate and Deluxe suites may be available at a lesser discount.
  • Additional per adult charges may apply if there are more than 2 adults per room at Disney Value, Moderate and Deluxe Resorts.
  • Upgrade to a room and ticket package with minimum 4-day Magic Your Way theme park tickets, and receive one more complimentary ticket day.

Like all promotional rates, there are exclusions which include the usual suspects – Little Mermaid rooms at Art of Animation, Bay Lake Tower, Villas at Grand Floridian, the campsites at Ft Wilderness, and all 3 Bedroom Villas. This promotional offer also excludes Port Orleans French Quarter.

A summer promotion should pop up in mid-spring (think March!)

Refurbishments

This time of year is not often considered “peak” for refurbishment as Disney tries to provide the least amount of guest inconvenience. While you’ll still see some closures before the summer season, it’s typically reasonable! We’ve seen things closed like Test Track, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, and a few days of update on its a small world, but it’s not too bad!

  • Soarin’ (Jan 4 – Summer 2016)WL
  • Pizza Planet (Jan 11 – Late 2016)
  • Planet Hollywood  (Jan 6 – summer 2016)
  • Beach Club Villas Soft Goods Rehab (Jan 22 – August 17)
  • Wilderness Lodge & Villas (multiple refurbishment projects running through 2017)
  • Flying Fish Cafe (Feb 1 – Sept 30)

Thankfully, only Soarin’ is the only attraction with a “major” impact on guest travel!

Limited Time Experiences!

So what makes this time of year unique? A few really exciting things this year.

New Frozen attraction in Epcot! The update to the Norway pavilion will be complete by this time of year (it’s expected to be complete as of May 1st) this means a new Meet and Greet with Anna & Elsa as well as a new Frozen attraction in Norway. Expect this area to be buzzing with all things “new”

Update to Soarin’! With a 6 month refurbishment, this attraction will reopen sometime in summer (date TBD) with Disney World in the RainSoarin’ around the world and a THIRD track which should lower the overall standby line (HOPEFULLY)! Expect lines to be a bit longer as the attraction opens up – try and grab a FastPass!!

Growing Star Wars presence in Hollywood Studios. On December 1st, Disney opened Star Wars Launch Bay, updated Star Tours to include scenes from the new film, updated Jedi Training academy featuring a new villain and updated experience as well as a new themed stage, and new character meet and greets – you can visit the dark side and find Darth Vader or the light side and find Chewbacca! These experiences are available EVERY DAY instead of just limited time during Star Wars weekends!

Minnie’s Seasonal Dine at Hollywood & Vine. Each season, Minnie will host a character dinner at Hollywood & Vine which can be coupled with the Fantasmic dining package. This experience will allow you to meet Minnie and her friends (the holiday version came with Goofy & Mickey). In summer, you can have a beach bash with Minnie and her friends!

Sounds like Summer Concert Series. In previous years, Epcot has hosted the Sounds of Summer concert series. This experience is free with theme park admission and offers fun live music around the theme parks!

A free gift for your Disney vacation! The amazing and exciting Minnie Box! (subject to minimum vacation package)

A free gift for your Disney vacation! The amazing and exciting Minnie Box! (subject to minimum vacation package)

Ready to get started planning your 2016 Disney World vacation? Please contact me at any time for a free quote. The benefits to using an authorized Disney vacation planner include saving time before and during your vacation with itinerary planning which can help save you hours of standing in line each day. Plus you won’t have to watch for available discounts, research resorts, wake up early for dining reservations, or stay up late for FastPasses. The best part about using a travel planner instead of planning yourself? It’s totally FREE! Plus I’ll take away some of the stress and confusion of planning a Disney vacation (especially if it’s your first one!)It’s also a worry free vacation opportunity. I’ll walk through through all of the steps to the process with a few little insider tips along the way! If you already have your vacation planned and are interested in transferring your vacation, ask me how!

Small Business Saturday – Why to choose an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner

small business saturday

Happy Small Business Saturday! I first want to say thank you to every single one of my guests who has supported me whether it’s allowing me to help plan your Disney World, Disneyland, or Disney Cruise adventure or referred a friend or family member to me. It has truly been a blessing to work with each of every one of my hundreds of guests whether you found me through a blog or friend, truly, THANK YOU! You have allowed me the opportunity to make magic, enjoy what I do for my job, and allow me to stay home with my amazing and beautiful daughter as well as let me “work” in Disneyland for 8 beautiful nights last week!

I’d also like to make a quick thank you to all of you small business owners. I know very well how difficult things can be and why shopping local is so important! I try to do so whenever possible to pay it forward! Keep on keeping on! If it’s a rough time or a slow time during the holidays, it will bounce back. Keep the faith and stay positive! (this is typically my slowest time of year, so I get it).

Now the big question…why choose an authorized Disney vacation planner to help with your Disney World vacation? There are SO many reasons. I’ve touched on many of them before, but after returning from my planner conference last week, I have a few more additions that make Dawn and me (since we are a part of Magical Vacations LLC) unique and a cut above the rest.

Magical Vacations Logo - Landscape

  1. It’s FREE! Yes. F-R-E-E, no strings attached FREE! The price you can find on Disney’s web site is the same that I can pull up for you through Disney’s Travel Agent portal. All travel agents have the exact same cost available to them – we are not allowed to discount or offer “signing” bonuses to you, so it’s all about what your agent can do for you! Yes, we still get paid but it’s after you return home from your trip, so it’s in my best interest as a small business owner to work my butt off to make sure I exceed your expectations in hopes that you’ll recommend me to family and friends.
  2. It’s a time saver. Do you want to wake up at 6 am eastern time to make dining reservations (or even search through the 80+ menus of the table service restaurants available to you?)? Do you want to research FastPass strategy and get an idea of all of the available attractions to make the best choice and then think about how to organize them in a way to go around the parks and then stay up until midnight to book them all? AND Do you want to constantly monitor Disney’s web site for promotional offers, AK_EVRST3_7261858207changes in park hours, or attraction refurbishments leading up to your trip? I’d make a wild guess that most of you will say no to all of these things. THIS is where Magical Vacations makes such a big difference. We are a full service DISNEY ONLY* agency which means we know our stuff and know how to make our guests stays a better overall experience. Did you know that many agencies don’t require their agents to book FastPasses for their guests? At my conference, our group was the only one I found that truly booked everything. Yes, it’s a heck of a lot more time consuming, but it’s a heck of a lot more successful as well! It gives you as the guest an opportunity to follow our daily itineraries to help save you time inside the parks!
  3. It’s less stressful. Going back to all of the points in #2, you have someone here to take away the stress and anxiety of planning a Disney trip. Most guests spend several thousand dollars on your trip. Unless you have someone “in the business”, you wouldn’t spend several thousand dollars on your house to make renovations without talking to someone, would you? So allow me the opportunity to help answer your questions, calm your fears, and allow the true magic of Disney come out!
  4. Knowledge. I consider myself a Disney expert, especially Disney World! I’m rarely stumped by a question related to Disney World and if I am (kudos) and I’ll find you the answer! Did you know that you need to get your flight info to Magical Express before your departure? Did you know that getting a FastPass for Anna & Elsa is usually only available at the 60 day mark prior to your arrival (sometimes gone within a few minutes of that important midnight time frame?) Do you know of special events going on during your stay? I’m here to help with all of this knowledge and imparting it in a way that is not overwhelming in little bits and bites culminating in a gift for your family shortly before your departure.
  5. The Minnie Box. This is our unique gift to you and is unique to our agency! It was created and trademarked by our Magical Vacations owner and gives you the excitement of opening your big yellow bow like a present right before you arrive for your vacation! As Disney went “paperless” with the introduction of MyMagic+, there’s nothing much you receive directly from Disney to get you excited. While every Disney vacation is exciting, the Minnie Box just adds a little something extra!!
  6. Being in the middle of the magic! Will you remember the work that Ellie minniewent into planning your vacation and things that went wrong if you spend hours upon hours pouring over blogs, online information, and doing independent research? Probably! What Disney is truly about is the MAGIC! Remembering your child’s first meeting with a character – beeping Minnie Mouse’s nose, giving a big hug to goofy! Having the best meal of your life in one of Disney’s signature dining locations, or seeing the tears in your mother’s eyes as she watches Wishes fireworks with you. It’s those magical moments that I do what I do and not for the money! I’ve gotten asked to return to my office job more than once and I won’t do it because I love the magic making!

*Little asterisk to Disney only – We are also authorized to book Universal Orlando as it is becoming a big player in the area market so we also have training and authorization to help with a little bit beyond Disney!

A free gift for your Disney vacation! The amazing and exciting Minnie Box! (subject to minimum vacation package)

A free gift for your Disney vacation! The amazing and exciting Minnie Box! (subject to minimum vacation package)

Interested in experiencing a Disney World (Disneyland or Disney Cruise) vacation in 2016?  Please contact me at any time for a free quote. The benefits to using an authorized Disney vacation planner include saving time before and during your vacation with itinerary planning which can help save you hours of standing in line each day. Plus you won’t have to watch for available discounts, research resorts, wake up early for dining reservations, or stay up late for FastPasses. The best part about using a travel planner instead of planning yourself? It’s totally FREE! Plus I’ll take away some of the stress and confusion of planning a Disney vacation (especially if it’s your first one!)It’s also a worry free vacation opportunity. I’ll walk through through all of the steps to the process with a few little insider tips along the way! If you already have your vacation planned and are interested in transferring your vacation, ask me how! Thank you so much for supporting my small business!!