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.

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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!

 

Disney World Tips and tricks: More time savers

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So you want to take a Disney World vacation in 2014. Now where to stay?

With 29 on property resorts to choose from, how do you decide? It’s the age old discussion of time vs. money. Typically resorts with multiple modes of transportation or those that are very close to the theme parks are more costly. It’s no surprise that the Deluxe resorts are located in close proximity to Magic Kingdom, Epcot, and Hollywood Studios. One of the major questions I ask my clients outside of budget constraints is what’s more important: time or money.

In Disney, you can save time and spend a little more money on your “home” location or you can save a little more money and spend a bit more time in transit. Depending on your resort and location of that resort, you can spend an additional 15-30 minutes either waiting for or riding the buses. Taking your own vehicle could knock off some of the waiting time), however you will still have to walk or wait for parking lot trams to take you to the front entrance of the park.

Melissa’s insider tip: If you have the funds and are willing to spend a little extra money, especially on a first trip or a trip with little ones, I would suggest staying at a resort close to Magic Kingdom or Epcot. This will help save you from additional lines and any travel confusion using your own vehicle.

New Discounts available to general public on Monday

That’s right, a new discount is available to the general public as of Monday, January 6th. A sneak preview was given to all Disney Visa card holders. For the details, check yesterday’s blog post. For those value hunters, a 5-night Disney World vacation for 2 adults and 2 children can be less than $500 per person. This includes 5 full days of park tickets (one free thanks to Disney!) While booking is available via the web, sometimes the system is difficult to navigate and can be confusing. It is sometimes difficult to tell whether you have a discount (or the best discount) applied for your vacation package. Your other options: call Disney or contact a travel agent to do all of your heavy lifting. Obviously I’m a little bias towards option #2!

Disney sent a reminder e-mail to all travel agents reminding them that January and February are the busiest times of year on their phone systems, especially with a new special offer. Those who already have their vacation packages booked must now call and have the offer applied to their account which leads to long wait times and bogged down web servers. It’s not uncommon for Disney’s servers to have intermittent outages which can be extremely frustrating to new and seasoned users alike.

Melissa’s insider tip: Let a travel agent (especially one who works specifically with Disney) help you book your dream vacation. We can often provide insider information and ensure that you are not only getting a discount, but the best discount that Disney has to offer. If additional discounts become available, we will continue to save you money.

When NOT to travel to Disney World

It’s common knowledge that the time between Christmas through New Year’s is a busy time at Disney World. For my knowledge, I commonly review my Disney apps which show current wait times in the Disney parks. On New Year’s Eve it was common to see wait times in both Magic Kingdom and Epcot in the 2-4 hour range. Yes, FOUR hours for Test Track! To me, that doesn’t sound much of a vacation or a fun experience.

Melissa’s insider tip: Be aware of peak travel windows. For the best times to travel, check an earlier blog post. If you have the ability to stay away from peak travel times such as Christmas, New Year’s, Thanksgiving (and the week leading into Thanksgiving), and the majority of the summer months, you will save time AND money! And we all know time is money.


Ready to get started planning your 2015 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!) 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!