What’s New Wednesday! Weekly roundup around Disney destinations

It’s a new installment here on A Little WDW Magic called “What’s New Wednesday”! It’s a way for us to get you the new information for the past week around Disney destinations (Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line for the most part with a little bit of Adventures by Disney and Aulani news here and there). It will allow both new and old readers to get the tips and tricks they love and need while keeping updated on some of the new things happening around Disney parks and destinations. So let’s check out this week’s roundup…

Disney World

  • Downtown Disney OFFICIALLY becomes Disney Springs today! It’s an exciting transition that has been in progress for a few years now. All of the online presence on Disney’s web sites now says Disney Springs. They have been working on changing signage around property over the last month or so.
  • Morimoto Asia in Disney Springs will be opening this week! Another great addition to the area providing some unique and delicious dining. You will see this location available for dining on DisneyWorld.com/Dining in the coming months
  • Jock Lindsey’s Hanger Bar is now open in Disney Springs! This nod to Indiana Jones has been a popular destination since it’s opening. This location does not accept Disney’s dining plan, but it’s a great place to grab a drink and some tapas style appetizers.
  • Hollywood Studios popular Jedi Training Academy will be closed for a refurbishment beginning October 4th. No word on how long this refurbishment will last, but lots of disappointment fall travelers on this one!
  • TWO new promotional offers available for Disney World travel 2016 travel dates in January, February, March, and early April. Check out the full details HERE.
  • The Salute to the Military offer for military members and their families has returned for 2016!

Disneyland

  • Seasons of the Force will begin on November 16th at Disneyland which includes:
    • Star Wars Launch Bay – Offering opportunities to visit with favorite Star wars characters, special exhibits and peeks at the new Star Wars; The Force Awakens
    • Star Tours the Adventure Continues – Updated attraction with scenes from the new film!
    • Jedi Training – Trials of the Temple – Coming in December to Disneyland. It will introduce new characters and a new villain!
    • Hyperspace Mountain – Reimaging of the classic Space Mountain ride (for a limited time only)
    • Opportunity to revisit favorite scenes from classic Star Wars movies at Tomorrowland Theater (limited time)
    • Special themed food & beverage items (limited time)
  • The New Star Wars Land will break ground in early 2016 which will permanent close some attractions in Frontierland , Big Thunder Range including Big Thunder Range BBQ, Petting Zoo and Big Thunder Ranch Jamboree. The last day for these attractions will be Jan 10, 2016.
  • The following Disneyland attractions will close for approximately 1 year beginning Jan 10, 2016:
    • Disneyland Railroad (all stations)
    • Fantasmic!
    • Mark Twain Riverboat & Sailing Ship Columbia
    • Pirate’s Lair on Tom Saywers Island
    • Davy Crockett Explorer Canoes

That’s this week’s WHAT’S NEW! We’ll continue to update you on important breaking changes!

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 late 2015 or 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!

Cruising the High Seas on the Holidays – Disney Style!

I know nothing better than making magical memories with loved ones as you celebrate the holidays in a new and exciting way on a Disney cruise.  With unbelievable holiday parties, decorations, activities, unforgettable ports to explore and much more are now available on select itineraries.  Let’s take a look at the next four months and what Disney has in store for you and yours…

Halloween: Fall festivities await with the upcoming October this week you can start your Halloween spirit filled fun with “happy haunts on the High Seas!” Experience thrills and chills on select sailings now through the end of October 2015. Be sure to pack you costume!

You will find treats, tricks, magical mischief and spooky ambiances as you celebrate Halloween on the High Seas! Thrills and chills await you at every turn with Halloween-themed parties, entertainment and extravagant decorations—including an evolving Halloween Tree that spookily transforms throughout your cruise. Too cool!! Check out the special sailing dates below:

Ship Sail Dates
Disney Magic 10/4/2015 –10/28/2015
Disney Wonder 10/1/2015 –10/23/2015
Disney Dream 9/7/2015 –10/30/2015
Disney Fantasy 9/5/2015 –10/31/2015

You cam also find these additional special experiences included:

  • Mickey’s Mouse-querade Party, an atrium party scare-a-bration (in addition to Pirate Night) with ghoulish games, trick-or-treating*, dancing and some favorite Disney Pals in their Halloween attire”.
  • Haunted Stories of the Sea – a spooky storytelling experience.
  • Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas Sing and Scream, an interactive movie experience where you’re part of the action, followed by a rare visit and meet-and-greet with Jack and Sally.
  • Halloween-themed activities for tweens/teens, including pumpkin-carving and mask-making.
  • Halloween Isn’t Just for Kids – an adults-only party (finally!) that includes a costume contest and much more fun!

Thanksgiving: Thankful harvest and more while you enjoy traditional festivities on Thanksgiving day, including a delicious feast, football game showings and other holiday-inspired touches. Enjoy your most relaxing Thanksgiving yet with Disney Cruise Line. Just picture that on Thanksgiving Day, Disney will feature an array of Thanksgiving events, including:

  • A traditional turkey dinner with all the trimmings
  • Special football game showings
  • Holiday décor, including Thanksgiving towel animals – who doesn’t love those?!!!
  • Your beloved Disney Characters in holiday-themed costumes
  • Best of all, when you celebrate Thanksgiving with Disney Cruise Line, you can leave the cooking, cleaning and decorating to us—and enjoy more quality time together with loved ones as you sail from one spectacular port to the next.

Merry Christmas!: Make a new holiday tradition by enjoying family time together at sea. Onboard, you’ll find yourself submerged in an imaginative winter wonderland of our Very Merrytime Cruises. This holiday season, come celebrate at sea with Very MerryTime Cruises—a Disney Cruise Line event—available on sailings departing November through Christmas! Share seasonal splendor with loved ones as you enjoy a twist on holiday traditions. See sailing dates below:

Ship Sail Dates
Disney Magic 11/11/2015–12/23/2015
Disney Wonder 11/6/2015–12/24/2015
Disney Dream 11/9/2015–12/24/2015
Disney Fantasy 11/14/2015–12/19/2015

Holiday Cheer at Castaway Cay

A winter wonderland awaits you aboard each ship—as well as my favorite port – Castaway Cay! This island paradise is transformed with “snow” flurries, a Christmas tree and more. Be on the lookout for Mr. and Mrs. Snowman, dressed in their island apparel. Plus, the island’s tram is decorated to resemble a reindeer, complete with antlers and a tail. How fun!!!

Onboard Experiences

Once onboard the ship, discover a festive blend of holiday-themed entertainment, activities and decorations—with a life-sized gingerbread house, 24-foot Christmas tree, garlands, poinsettias, shimmering lights and so much more!

Other holiday activities include:

  • Deck the Deck Tropical Holiday Party, a celebration (in addition to Pirate Night), with candy-cane limbo, dancing and games.
  • Santa Claus meet-and-greet, an exciting opportunity to take family pictures and see Santa and his elves up close and personal!
  • Meet-and-Greets with some favorite Disney Characters, dressed in their holiday garb.
  • Holiday storytelling, with new and old tales about holidays at sea.
  • Tree Lighting Ceremony, where the big and little kids can help light the tree to kick off the holiday festivities.
  • Themed activities and crafts for kids—decorate stockings, make holiday cards, or even go on a holiday scavenger hunt! Yay!!
  • A life-sized gingerbread house made completely with edible ingredients—and the opportunity to make your own gingerbread house.
  • Holiday merchandise – fun and new merchandise is available for this event only here on aboard.
  • Teen/tween-only holiday parties—they will have their own fun in private celebrations where even the teens/tweens can hang out with new friends and have some holiday fun.

Plus, on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day (December 24 and 25), enjoy additional holiday fun below:

  • Cookies on Christmas Eve
  • Special holiday towel animals
  • Holiday caroling with the kids and crew
  • Religious Services
  • Special holiday surprise

New Year’s: Ring in the New Year with an outstanding celebration! Plus, enjoy an exciting start to the year as your cruise to incredible ports of call-including Disney’s our island paradise – Castaway Cay!  New Year’s Eve festivities include:

  • A special New Year’s Eve dinner menu
  • New Year’s Eve deck party
  • Holiday-themed giveaways, like hats, horns and much more
  • Meet-and-Greets with some of your favorite Disney Characters, dressed in their holiday apparel
  • Teen-only and tween-only holiday parties— they will have their own fun in private celebrations where even the teens/tweens can hang out with new friends and have some holiday fun.

So if you are wanting to sail with Jack and Sally and a few happy haunts, or dance with Mickey to Christmas carols, or even start the New Year with a fresh viewpoint as you sail from one captivating port of call to the next, enjoying Disney entertainment, activities and remarkable views along the way then please contact me at any time for a free quote or use the form below. The benefits to using an authorized Disney vacation planner include saving time before and during your vacation with itinerary planning and familiarizing yourself with your cruise ship. 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, ask me how!

Friday Five: 5 Theme park events included with your park admission

Today is opening day for the International Food & Wine Festival, so today we are going to talk about 5 amazing events that happen each year that are included in your park admission!

1. Food & Wine Festival (Epcot). This is the best of the best in terms of special events. Epcot World Showcase (and part of Future World) get transformed into a bustling marketplace full of amazing smells and tastes! Take your taste buds on a trip around the world with more food and drink than you could ever consume. The biggest trouble you’ll have here is figuring out how much you can eat. This is a GREAT place to use your snack credits if you have a Disney dining plan. This event happens every fall typically late September through early to mid-November.

A little taste of Osborne lights!

A little taste of Osborne lights!

2. Osborne Festival of Lights (Hollywood Studios) 2015 marks the end of this amazing experience which runs from early November through the holiday season (usually into January). Streets of America gets turned into millions of lights from all directions and the lights are choreographed to amazing holiday music. I could sit on the ground and watch it for hours. There are so many lights that cast members begin to put them up in SEPTEMBER. Seriously, a not to be missed experience and this is the last year it will ever be seen in Walt Disney World so what are you waiting for?

3. Flower & Garden Festival (Epcot). This festival has becoming a mini food & wine festival with the addition of pop up “kitchens” around World Showcase. Originally, the event started as over 100 topiaries of Disney characters old and new lined much of Epcot. It has become a favorite event of ours because crowds are not often high and there are all sorts of fun snacks, drinks,and things to see! There’s even a butterfly garden! It makes Epcot more appealing for those who think it’s not a worthy park to visit. This event typically runs from early March through early  Mary.

4. Star Wars Weekends (Hollywood Studios). An event that will likely grow and grow. Star Wars weekends

happen in Hollywood Studios from Mid-May to Mid-June. Special meet and greets with star wars characters,Star Wars themed dining, special fireworks and a themed parade are highlights of this event. It’s truly fun and unique whether you enjoy Star Wars or not! If not, you better start enjoying it with the Star Wars presence only growing (Disney announced a Star Wars land coming to Hollywood Studios in the next few years)

5. Candlelight Processional (Epcot). This event comes with a little asterisk. While this amazing holiday experience is free to the general public, the theater it is held in is small. Disney offers dinner packages to allow you to guarantee a seat to experience the retelling of Christmas by celebrity narrators accompanied with an orchestra and choir. It’s a magical way to enjoy the holiday season. This event happens 3 times nightly (with a few exceptions). Still a very loved experience by my family! This event begins after Thanksgiving and runs through the Christmas season.

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 enjoy one of these amazing Disney experiences? Please contact me at any time for a free quote. We can talk about the best park tickets, resorts, and package inclusions for you! 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!

Disney World: To park hop or not to park hop – THAT is the question!

Park hopping at Disney World

It’s an age old argument among Disney veterans, should your family park hop when visiting Disney World? Generally, my answer is yes! I think it gives you a lot more flexibility in planning, extra time in your favorite theme park(s), and opens up additional options for dining and FastPass. Let’s break it down!

Planning 180+ from your arrival

If you’re planning beyond the 180 day mark, you can first see how easy it is to make your preferred dining reservations. At time, a day you were hoping to be in Epcot is the only day Be Our Guest has availability for dinner or Cinderella’s Table has that pre-park opening for breakfast. It’s a good time to consider park hoppers here! Then you can start your day with Cindy at breakfast end end in Epcot, or spend most of your day in Epcot before heading to Magic Kingdom for Be Our Guest for dinner.

How many dining reservations do you want?Tips and Tricks for Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party

Do you have 3 different dining requests in Epcot and none for Animal Kingdom? Sounds like a PERFECT case to park hop!

Length of stay.

Planning on less than 5 days of theme park tickets? Then most definitely park hop! This gives you the opportunity to spend more than just 1 day in Magic Kingdom. I think it takes 3 full days to get through most of the magic (I still maintain it’s impossible to do everything in one trip – there are still things we haven’t done there). It also lets you combine a 1/2 day in Animal Kingdom with a 1/2 day in another park since currently it’s still a park that closes around sundown.

Time of year.

Traveling during a more peak travel season? Park hopping is a way to maximize your time. You can start your day in a park with extra magic hours in the morning and get out of dodge as it starts to fill up mid-day. Have a swim break, take a nap, or just relax and then hop to another park for the afternoon/evening and to use your FastPasses.

If you are planning on traveling in fall during the Halloween or Christmas party season, you also may want to park hop. It gives you time in Magic Kingdom to enjoy a morning in the park and head somewhere else when the parties start. Typically, these are not incredibly crowded days because those with base tickets do no want to “waste” a Magic Kingdom day without the opportunity of fireworks!


Hoping for dining cancellations. 

So let’s be real. This fall has been difficult to say the least to get the big ticket dining reservations. I’ve never had so much trouble finding the big ticket items for guest stays. When park hoppers are involved, it does make the process a little bit easier to find the high value items like Cinderella’s Table because it gives me the opportunity to look at multiple days instead of just a single day and hoping that the stars align. You don’t necessarily need to start with park hoppers, just be open to the option of them and be flexible. It’s also deciding of an additional $50-$60 per person is worth the cost of getting that high value dining reservation as that’s the general cost of park hopper tickets.

Time.

The only complaint I get from park hopping is that you lose time. I won’t argue that point. It takes a little bit longer to get everywhere in Disney without a car. Going from park to park – plan on about a 60 minute trip while you wait for your mode of transportation to arrive. With a car, things definitely move a little more efficiently, but still can take 30-45 minutes going from one destination to another. Disney property is HUGE after all!

So as a quick wrap up, park hopper tickets definitely give guests a lot more flexibility during their stay as well as opens up some doors to enjoy more time in the theme parks. The additional cost is often worth the expense. Remember, park hopper tickets are good for your length of stay whether you use them or not. Don’t feel like you have to park hop every day to get you money’s worth. 1-2 uses will still make them worth their while! In our last 10 stays, we’ve done park hoppers for 9 of them. The time we did not, we had 7 days of theme park tickets over a 10 day trip which makes it easier to stretch things out with an extended period of time!

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 2015 or 2016 Disney World vacation? Please contact me at any time for a free quote. We can talk about the best park tickets, resorts, and package inclusions for you! 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!

Friday Five:  5 ways to have a successful Disney Water Park day!

 

While this time of year doesn’t really spark the water park conversation, the weather in Florida stays warmer longer, so today’s Friday Five is how to have a successful Disney World Water park day. There are lots of little tidbits here and there, and most of them agree on many of the tips below. 

1. Research ahead of time Know the routes you are going to take and the first few slides/rides to do first. At Blizzard Beach, if you dare to do Summit Plummet, you better know to go straight there. Do not pass go, do no collect $200. It’s actually better if someone in your group (like me for my family) doesn’t want to ride. That person can be the designated towel holder, chair grabber for the day and can even grab a locker for your stuff. Another piece of important research is to know what your park tickets offer you. If you are purchasing a 1 day water park ticket, it is now technically a water park hopper ticket so you can visit both water parks in the same day. If you have the water park fun and more tickets with your package, you can use 2 allotments to visit both water parks in the same day. Why is this important? Well, if you are renting a locker, it’s a money saver. Keep your receipt and just pay your refundable deposit (which you will get back at the time you return your key)

2. Bring your own towels & rent a locker Did you know that towels are not free at the water parks? There is a non-refundable deposit required at each of the water parks. If you water park hop, they are also not included in the cost. We take towels from our resort room and bring them with to save the fee. We also bring big beach towels from home and keep them in our car. If you are using Disney transportation, rent a locker and bring a change of clothes before your return back “home” at the end of the day. The worst feeling is leaving the water park wet and cold and then getting a freezing cold bus!

3. Arrive early (or arrive really late) The old Disney adage – arrive early! If you’re ready ANY of my previous posts, it’s the key
to every Disney vacation. This holds true for the waterparks as well. It is very important to be on one of the first buses there and wear your swimsuit there. Don’t waste time changing after arrival. The first 20-30 minutes of the park opening is precious. The earlier you arrive, the closer to the front of the line you will be in. Many of the water park buses share with another resort, so be aware of that as you plan your departure time. If you can’t arrive early, plan on arriving really late – meaning arriving within the last 2 hours the park is open. This is about the time many people are leaving for dinner reservations or evening theme park time (especially when the park closes at 5 or 6 pm). We found the parks fairly empty and enjoyed walking on to almost everything!

4. Important things to purchase prior to your arrival. Sunscreen, water shoes (or decent sandals) and some sort of holder for sunglasses (if you don’t want them lost or broken). You may need to take your shoes or sandals off for some of the rides (especially body slides) but for most slides, you can wear them. It’s a great way to combat the HOT sun on the sidewalks. Disney does have little misters to cool some of the sidewalks but there were lots of people with very hot feet running from one place to the ends. Not for me! I like to saunter 🙂 

5. Use the lazy river as transportation For the ultimate in laziness…if you are going from one side of the water park to the other and not in any hurry, hop in the lazy river! It was our preferred mode of transportation. There are several entry and exit points around both parks, so you might as well enjoy the ride!

Disney water parks are well themed, a fun diversion from the water parks, and an enjoyable way to beat the heat during the warmer months of the year! For those with little ones – a little bonus tip – Typhoon Lagoon felt a little more family friendly than Blizzard Beach. It also always feels a little less crowded when both water parks are in full operation.

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 2015  or 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!

How Disney World Crowds have changed over the last year and what it means for your next vacation

wdwcrowds

The biggest request I get when guests start to plan their Disney vacations is “what are the lowest crowd times?” I have always told guests that September is historically the best time to travel as well as much of January and Feburary. In the past couple of years, Disney has made great strides in increasing crowds throughout the year so there’s no one time of year that you’ll see a consistent low crowd or empty parks. With conventions, competitions, and promotions for guests across the world, I wouldn’t expect a completely empty park anymore!

Don’t fret, there are still some great times to travel to Disney World and it’s very similar to the best times you’ll see throughout the year which include…

  • January outside of marathon and MLK Jr. weekend
  • February outside of half marathon, Valentine’s Day, and President’s Day
  • End of April into early  May
  • Mid-May at least 4-5 days prior to Memorial Day weekend
  • September (the earlier in the month the better)
  • Mid to late October (especially on Halloween if you you are ok being outside of Magic Kingdom)
  • The week after Thanksgiving
  • First two weeks of December

I’m not saying ONLY go during these times. I understand that it’s hard to take kids out of school (especially as they get older and schools become more strict on attendance policies) and that it’s hard to get days off of work outside of the holidays. What I AM saying is that these are likely going to be the lower crowd times you’ll find in Disney.

This was our view in Animal Kingdom walking from the Expedition Everest to Kilimanjaro Safaris right after the park opened. Not a person in site!

This was our view in Animal Kingdom walking from the Expedition Everest to Kilimanjaro Safaris right after the park opened. Not a person in site!

My family was fortunate enough to travel twice in 2015 – once at the end of April and a second time at the beginning of September and the feel around the parks is that crowds were LOWER in April than in September which goes against everything I’ve ever thought of Disney vacations and planning. April had a blip of time with a cheer competition that flooded an afternoon at Magic Kingdom and a morning in Epcot, but the entire trip in September was much more crowded than we expected as it got toward the middle of the day. One day in Hollywood Studios the wait was 105 minutes which is UNHEARD of for that time of year!

As you start to plan your Disney World vacation, the best advice I can give is to have realistic expectations of your travel time! Know that Disney World will come with lines. Throughout all of our travels, my husband and I joke that the longest line we stand in is waiting for a bus after fireworks even on busier than anticipated days in Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios. Patience and a little bit of planning truly make the biggest deal! Flexibility is also key to make sure you accomplish everything you’d like to do. Arriving early is truly the biggest marker of success. Plan on arriving to your preferred park 20-30 minutes before the scheduled park open and know what your plan of attack is as you start your day. Plan your FastPasses appropriately (or have a professional do it for you) and know how to make changes to FastPasses on the fly once you arrive in 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)

Ready to get started planning your 2015  or 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!

Friday Five: My 5 Favorite Disney World character meet & greets

Happy Friday before a long weekend my friends! It’s no secret that my family is big on meeting characters (mostly because of my daughter). Today I’m gong to highlight 5 of my favorite character meet and greet experiences. Hopefully some of them are new to you or a little unique option.

  1. Pete’s Silly Sideshow. As an adult traveling without kids, I saw this on all sorts of Disney touring plans and Petes Silly Sideshowthought “what the heck is this?” Well it’s a great Fantasyland (Magic Kingdom) character meet and greet. You have 2 sides to this meet and greet – Goofy & Donald and Daisy & Minnie. We try and get there about 5 minutes before the scheduled opening time as the characters come and invite guests in (my daughter got to hold Donald’s hand all the way in – she was in LOVE! For some reason, these characters are extra amazing and fun. It’s a great little place to do a Rider Switch break for those with little kids and outside of peak travel time, it’s a quick way to meet a character or two or four.
  2. Disney Visa Card Holder Meet & Greet in Epcot. This one is especially for Disney Visa Card holders and is available in the Innoventions building from 1-7 pm. Every time we have gone it’s been Minnie & Pluto inside but from what I’ve heard from other guests, you may see some additional characters available. Unless you got right as the experience opens, don’t expect more than a 5-10 minute wait. You will need to show your Disney Visa card to obtain entry and you will receive a coupon for a free printed 5×7 photo.
  3. Meet Mickey at Town Square Theater. This may actually be my favorite experience even though it’s not listed as the top experience on my list. Mickey TALKS here with the perfect Mickey voice everyone knows and loves. He’s got a couple of different “spiels”. For younger kids I’ve seen him ask them to do the Hot Dog Dance, bounce like tigger, or pose like a princess if the girls are in a fancy dress (and he is their prince of course). He can speak a little bit of Spanish and do card tricks. It’s truly a unique experience. We’ve done it countless times and I still can’t figure out how it works!! Town Square Mickey
  4. Meet Goofy & Pluto in DinoLand USA. This is one of the few recommendations I will have that’s outside, however the line is rarely long that it would be an exhausting wait. Goofy and Pluto here are FANTASTIC! A little silly, a lot fun and amazing. We love them. It’s also a good diversion for rider switch families who want to enjoy Dinosaur (and it’s not too terribly far from Expedition Everest if you’re willing to take a little walk to get there).
  5. Meet Woody & Jessie. This is located in Frontierland in Magic Kingdom (near Splash Mountain). Again, a good rider switch opportunity with both Splash Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad in the area. Woody & Jessie are known to have a rootin’ tootin’ good time with their friends who want to say hello! At times you may see just Woody here (but Jessie is likely shortly behind). If you’re not sure, ask a cast member! It’s how my daughter truly fell in love with Jessie after hugs and snuggles.

What are your favorite character meet and greets? I obviously left a few big ones off the list – Anna & Elsa, Cinderella and Rapunzel, Ariel in her Fins! We’ve done them all, but the above 5 are the favorites of my family!! You’ll likely find your child’s favorite character somewhere around at least one of Disney’s 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 2015  or 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!