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!

Monday’s Magical Tips: Disney World with Picky Eaters

Picky eaters can drive a mom (or dad) crazy!!  Trust me, I know with 2 of my own.  However, you are in Disney World and they will try their best to make everyone happy,  🙂

I thought that I would name a few of my picky eaters favorites to help you on your next trip:

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  • Tony’s Town Square (Italian – spaghetti or just butter noodles if wanted)
  • Casey’s Corner (hotdogs, etc)
  • Crystal Palace (character buffet)
  • Golden Oak Outpost (chicken nuggets, waffle fries, etc..)
  • Liberty Tree Tavern (American, burgers, etc…)
  • Be Our Guest (my son says they have the BEST mac-n-cheese EVER!)
  • Pinocchio Village Haus (one of our favorites!)
  • Gaston’s (HUGE cinnamon rolls-not a meal but really good)
  • Cosmic Ray’s (a little bit of everything)

Hollywood Studios:

  • ABC Commissary (cheeseburgers, salads, nuggets, etc…)
  • Sci-Fi Drive In (kids favorite with American usuals)
  • Hollywood Brown Derby (hubby’s favorite but kids love Filet Minion too!)
  • Backlot Express (a lot of everything)
  • Mama Melrose (Italian – huge portions to share)
  • Pizza Planet (you can’t go wrong with a cheese pizza!)

Epcot:

  • Electric Umbrella (burgers, salads, nuggets,…)
  • Garden Grill (inside The Land where Soarin is)
  • Sunshine Seasons (food court style)
  • Coral Reef (popcorn shrimp are always a kid’s favorite)
  • Each of the countries have something that a child could find to eat I think…

Animal Kingdom:

  • Rainforest Cafe (right outside of the park on the left)
  • Tusker House (character buffet)
  • Restaurantosaurus (burgers, salads, nuggets…)
  • Pizzafari (again it’s pizza!)

I hope this helps some who have a hard time with the wee little ones.  Also, note that every restaurant (counter or table service) have vegetarian and gluten free options now available.  What is your favorite “picky eater” eatery??  Let us know!

And if you are ready to get started planning your Disney World vacation? 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 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, ask me how!

Disney Springs New Boathouse Restaurant


IMG_8759The old Downtown Disney is slowly turning into Disney Springs.  As a veteran of West Side and the Marketplace, I must admit that I was a little sad with all the changes. (I still long for the Adventure’s and Comedy clubs) However, I do like the new additions with the smart tech parking decks (see last post) to the great new dining options.

IMG_8762One new options is the new Boathouse Restaurant which offers upscale, waterfront dining.  The atmosphere is nicely nautical from regattas trophies, boat motors everywhere, and phenomenal artwork throughout.  Disney always has that attention to detail so make sure you walk around to soak it all in.  Hopefully you will be lucky enough to get to dine in one of the “boats” – how fun!!  If not, then no worries since every seat has a great view of the water.  I personally like the outside, dining area- if the weather will cooperate.IMG_8763 2

The menu made it hard to choose from all the great choices and a bit pricey however, the meals are good size so you are able to share many dishes.  My sister and I halved the Stuffed Crab BLT sandwich which was a special for the day and it was incredible.  It got two thumbs up from her as well who knows her crabs being from Annapolis!  I can’t wait to go back for the surf n turf!IMG_8761 2

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The best “show” is outside of the restaurant which is the new Amphicar which is a car AND a boat!  You can experience your own cruise experience with a guided captain for a 25 minute boat tour of Downtown Disney as it floats on the water.  The aqua-car has seating for four with the price tag of $125 and you can purchase the tickets in the gift shop.  We stood for a while and watched the Captain drive a family into the lake with a splash.  It was fun to cheer them on from the shore as they floated away from the dock.  I believe that this is the only place in the world to ride in these great vintage vehicles so don’t miss seeing it while around Disney Springs!

Lastly, do not forget the gift shop. I have to mention the ducks.  Yes, I said ducks.  They are in every “theme” you can think of and only $20.  My kids LOVED the ducks and they were fun to see all the many different ones to choose from.

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If you are ready to eat at the new Downtown Disney/Disney Springs restaurants or float away in the Amphicar 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 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 feel free to use the contact form below.

Friday Five: 5 reasons to get excited for Disney holidays!

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So it’s Saturday, but that doesn’t mean it’s too late for the Friday Five. Today I’m talking about why I LOVE the holiday season in Disney World. Disney starts the “holidays” early – the 2nd week of November. All of the full holiday decor will be out after Thanksgiving, but if you want to get a taste of things without the crowds and the price of Christmas and New Years, there is plenty of good time and availability to travel. Here are some of my favorite things about the holidays in Disney:

  1. Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. This event occurs several times per week in Magic Kingdom. It requires a special ticket to enter, but it’s truly magical. What’s not to love? Snow on Main Street, Christmas Carols throughout the parks, special character meet and greets, an amazing set of holiday fireworks (set to Christmas Music), and an amazing holiday parade. Plus free cookies and hot chocolate (grab it from Crystal Palace so you can sit down and enjoy it!)
  2. Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree! Everywhere you look there are Christmas trees. Between all 4 theme parks and the resorts, you’ll find uniquely themed trees that are larger than life! These also become an additional photo opportunity (even in the resort). We got some great family photos in Animal Kingdom Lodge and Wilderness Lodge after some appropriately timed dining reservations! Take time to marvel at the detail.
  3. Life-sized Gingerbread House. In true Grand Floridian fashion, you can find a life sized gingerbread house FullSizeRender 5with little details unique to each year. It is truly amazing to see. Similarly, you also have amazing edible displays at Beach & Yacht Club, Contemporary, and Boardwalk. Take time away from the parks for a little bit of an amazing experience
  4. Candlelight Processional. This event in Epcot is free with park admission but doesn’t start until after Thanksgiving. A celebrity narrator tells the story of Christmas with a huge orchestra and choir. It’s truly a way to get into the Christmas spirit. Seeing Neil Patrick Harris as a narrator is on my bucket list (maybe someday). While the event is free, you may see yourself waiting a long time to get a coveted seat. To guarantee a seat, book a Candlelight Processional dinner package at one of Epcot’s restaurants. It will give you an opportunity to sit and enjoy the whole show. Out of the budget or can’t snag a reservation? You can stand behind the stage and still catch some of the show (we stayed for about 15 minutes before my toddler had an “I’m tired” meltdown). Life still happens in DisneyIMG_4280
  5. Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights. I saved the best for last! This is my favorite Disney World
    holiday tradition. I can guarantee you that a few tears where shed the first time I experienced the floor to ceiling lights, snow, and carols all around. It’s nothing short of magnificent. Photos, videos, and words just can’t do it justice. You’ll be able to see this amazing experience beginning the 2nd week of November and through the holidays. It does get crowded the first few days and Christmas through New Years so there may be specific walking paths. Both times I visited in 2014, it was open walking. I sat on a curb for awhile and just reveled in the beauty!
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 holiday 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!

The New Downtown Disney Parking Garage Finds Your Spot!

How crazy is it to get excited about a parking garage but I actually was when we were just there and I don’t think that I am alone. 🙂  The whole area of Downtown Disney is turning into Disney Springs and a lot is happening!

The Orange Garage for the West Side of DTD

The Orange Garage for the West Side of DTD

The first of two garages is open and I finally got to experience it first hand.  The smart technology is awesome!  As you enter you will find a sign to your right that tells you how many spaces are open on each floor!  The first floor was being used for valet (unless they change it in the future) and the main walkway down is on the second floor which is where we parked.

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Then as you reach each floor, the rows will tell you how many are open there as well.  Each parking space has a little green/red light above it to show if it is empty or full.  The only problem I found with this is that we came upon an open, green light and there was actually a motorcycle in the spot so I guess it did not “trigger” the light system (you can see hanging down in the picture).  However, it is a nice touch!

Inside the garage

Inside the garage

There are well marked stairs, escalators and elevators along with plenty of personal to help get you where you need to go.

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Marked well and easy to follow

Also, they recently had the opening of two new walkways that will give guests a direct connection to the West Side.  These new bridges are accessible on the second floor of the Orange garage.  You will come out from both of these at the intersection of Splitsville and Planet Hollywood and can take the bridge to your right towards the Marketplace or go left at the new huge Starbucks for  Splitsville and the many others on the Westside.  We went to the right because had dining reservations at the new Boathouse (it was wonderful) and came upon the Aquacar.  It was too cool and caused crowds but I will save that for another post.

Build another one for the Marketplace!

Building another one for the Marketplace!

Although the construction traffic is a inconvenience at the moment know that it will be worth it in the end and go experience these enhancements for yourself-you will love them.  There is so much new to explore so we hope your next visit is just around the corner and if not then we can help!

Just ask for your free quote today to get started planning your 2015 or 2016 Disney World vacation? 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 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 feel free to use the contact form below.

Memory Maker Magic

I can not say enough about the new Memory Maker package!  My husband and I are it’s greatest fans and we most definitely use it to it’s full potential!  We have over 300 pictures from one trip!  This photo service gets everyone in the picture at all the prime locations which is so nice to have all four of us in all our Disney photos.  Once the picture is taken, the photographer asks for one Magicband from the party (my kids would take turns using theirs) and he/she “zaps your band” and they magically appear in your Disney PhotoPass account.  My husband would see how long it would take for them to show in our account from his iPhone as we walked away from each attraction.  They were pretty fast to showing up and impressed us!  Then you download the pictures and videos to share and print them out at your convenience.

There are Disney PhotoPass Photographers everywhere through out the parks to capture all the memories of your family smiling together in front of Beast’s Castle, hugging Mickey and Minnie Mouse and much more.

Hey, who's on your arm?!!

Hey, who’s on your arm?!!

The attraction shots and videos are awesome and I admit that we do pose for them – granted not as lavishly as some that I have seen on the internet but still we do have our fun moments. Our favorites have to be the photos of us whizzing by on Expedition Everest, plummeting down Splash Mountain and my hubby’s new favorite is the slow-motion video as we zoom around a corner on Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.

Magic Shots are a new Disney Magic touch that Disney does so well.  You can have Chip or Tinker Bell in the palm of your hand as well as Olaf and his snow cloud right beside you.  Dining Photos are now available as well at select restaurants and dining experiences which is nice to have added!

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

Your downloads will even include some great pictures of characters around the parks and of certain attractions.  So, if you are planning a trip any time soon I would love to help you order yours before you go or help plan your trip.  The price for the  Memory Maker in advance will save you $30 at the price of $169.00 but once you are at the parks it is $199.99.

Then get ready to have fun and SMILE!

Ready to get started planning your 2015 Disney World vacation and make great memories with your Memory Maker? 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 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 me how!

Disney Cruise Line’s Piece of Paradise: Castaway Cay

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One of our favorite things about sailing the high seas on a Disney Cruise is Castaway Cay – your very own private island.  It is the ultimate destination for the Caribbean and Bahamas cruises.  I thought I would list just a few of the “need to knows” about the tropical paradise…

This exclusive 1,000 acre piece of tropical paradise is for Disney guests only.  Once you walk off the boat you are on the dock built just for you with easy access to where your beach towels are handed to you. (I love how the boat is docked right there for easy access to come and go as you please throughout the day.)  You then jump on a tram to the many different points throughout the island retreat. If you want to walk to the closest beach, this is only about a 15 minute stroll.  You might even meet Captain Jack Sparrow or Mickey and Minnie on this route for photos.

We Love Minnie!

We Love Minnie!

You can grab your complimentary beach chair and umbrella on Castaway Family Beach to splash in the water, ride bikes out to the look-out point or take a nap in a glorious hammock.  Disney always designs many unique activities for all ages  There are the kid’s club (Scuttle’s Cove) and the teen’s club (Hide Out) or the Serenity Bay Beach just for adults. There are two water play areas: Pelican Plunge and Spring-a-Leak.

The island has your choice of water toys and equipment for any water sport enthusiast!  Snorkel-gear, paddle boats, sail boats, kayaks, water cycles, and floats are all available for rent.  Fun excursions that Disney offer are such as fishing, sting-ray feeding (which was great!), para-sailing, and even the personal water-craft ski adventures around the island and through the fantastic mangroves!

Paddle Boats

Paddle Boats

The island has two BBQ all-you-can-eat buffet dining options: Cookies and Cookies II where there is no shortage of food!  It is a covered outside area with picnic tables and very informal but fitting for the beach.  The soft serve ice cream was my kids favorite and we also love the street dance party after lunch with many different characters.  There are bars for the 21+ crowd and private cabana rentals if you wish to truly pamper yourself for the day.

Lastly, Disney offers shops to cater to your every need whether it be sun screen, sand toys, or your favorite Castaway Cay souvenir.  If you would like to send a postcard back to the inland for your not-so-luck family and friends then you can at their very own post office with special Castaway Cay stamps – but cash is needed for these.  All other costs can be charged on your Key to the World card so sit back and enjoy!

The Dream in the distance

The Dream in the distance

Disney definitely knows how to do things right and they do not skimp of this perfect piece of paradise!  It is most certainly first-class entertainment, atmosphere, recreation, food, and great forever-memories as only they know how to do. So come relax on the beautiful white sand beaches and clear turquoise waters. It is very safe to say that the island has Disney’s magic and fun for all!

Disney’s Special Cruise Offer until February 15, 2105:  if you book now through February 15th for any 2015 Disney cruise then pay only half of the deposit on the day you book.  The remainder of the deposit will not be due until your final payment.  Don’t let this great deal sail you by so contact us today!  Sailings are filling fast for 2015!

Castaway Cay

Castaway Cay from our verandah

Pelican Plunge

Pelican Plunge

Hammock View

Hammock View

The Dream in the distance

The Dream in the distance

The Look Out Point by bikes ride

The Look Out Point by bike

Heading back to the Dream after a fun-filled day of paradise. See ya real soon!

Heading back to the Dream after a fun-filled day of paradise. See ya real soon!

Ready to get started planning your 2016 or 2017 Disney cruise? 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 time and frustrating trying to research the information yourself! 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!