Magical Memories; How to Build a Lightsaber

The next time you wander the streets of Downtown Disney, take a moment to visit the “Once Upon a Toy” shop. You will not be disappointed. Located in the center of the action figures and blasters, lies a neat activity – Build your own lightsaber! What child wants to pass up the opportunity to create their very own lightsaber. They have the advantage of being able to choose each and every piece. It is a lot of fun!

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My son has a blast doing this. He can choose whether he wants to build a single or double saber. He also gets to choose the color, handles, and more. There is always a cast member supervising the station, offering assistance. They are there to make sure that all of the pieces get locked into the right place.

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There are 2 locations for your child to have the chance to create their own piece of magic from your trip – Once Upon a Toy in Downtown Disney and at the shop in Hollywood Studios called Tatooine Traders. Tatooine Traders is shop designated strictly for the Star Wars fan on your trip. The shop is located right next to the Star Tours attraction. There is not much difference in price between a single or double saber – $21.95 for a single and $24.95 for a double. After they build weapon of destruction for battling the dark forces, they can climb on this speeder located just outside of the Tatoonine Traders.

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If you have any questions and would like to use a planner for free – contact me at Robyn@travelwiththemagic.com or call me directly at 1-800-670-4312 ext 125. I have an unexplained passion for Disney and making sure that everyone is getting the most that they can out of every visit!

Vacationing in Cabins – Disney Style

This past week I was lucky enough to take a tour of cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort. I was absolutely amazed at the beauty of this resort and by how spacious cabins were. If you love the rustic outdoors, this resort is the place for you!

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The cabins were nestled back from the road, surrounded by trees, but close enough that you can pick up the bus from your nearest Disney bus stop. Each cabin had a small grill out front, perfect for some great outdoor eats. Enjoy your dinner on your own private patio equipped with a picnic table, or bring your own lawn chairs to set up.

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At this resort you can take advantage of the Disney dining plan but also pick up some tasty food to cook up from one of two Trading Posts located at the resort. These trading posts are fully stocked with groceries and supplies to make your cabin experience a very comfortable one.

Cabin Bus Stop

Golf carts are available to rent so you can take them around the resort grounds and not have to worry about getting too tired for the parks! There are also bikes to rent, and even some nature trails along the way for a nice evening stroll. Don’t forget the main pool area for a nice cool dip after a long day! And there is also a whirl pool and multiple quiet pools located around the property.

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The cabins sleep up to six adults and are very roomy and comfortable. There is a full kitchen area in each cabin. The bedroom consisted of a queen size bed, bunk beds, and in the living room, a Murphy bed that when put back up blended so well into the wall I didn’t know it was even there!

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These cabins are great for families of any size and age. There are so many out door activities to do that these are perfect for the family who may want to take a break outside of a Disney park, but still get the same Disney feel right in their own back yard, literally!

I can’t wait to get my family together and take a trip to the cabins. Have you stayed? I would love to book your cabin today. Please contact me, Tracy@travelwiththemagic.com and let’s get you to these rustic cabins right in the heart of Disney!

Kid’s Nite Out

As you know, Disney World is a wonderful place but days upon days morning until night with your children can be exhausting at times. I have two words of advice for you. Date. Night. Let me fill you in on a little secret I recently discovered…Kids Nite Out.

Whether you are looking to celebrate a special anniversary, get pampered at the spa, go on a tour, play a round of golf, or just want to get a break from your precious little angels for a few hours, Kids Nite Out has you covered. Kids Nite Out offers a wonderful sitter service where a professional caregiver will come to your hotel room. It doesn’t get more convenient than that!

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Some Disney resorts offer children activity centers which are wonderful but children must be at least 3 years old and potty trained. This was the issue I had when my husband and I wanted to enjoy a nice meal out to celebrate our anniversary. We were at Disney and our youngest was 2 and not potty trained. Kids Nite Out will watch children as young as 6 weeks old up to 12. Problem solved! They are not a Disney owned company but they are the exclusive in-room childcare provider. They not only serve Disney hotels but many hotels in Orlando and are also the in-room childcare provider for Loews Hotels at Universal Studios as well.

I should mention, I’m very picky over who watches my children. I rarely use a baby sitter while at home and have issues trusting someone with my children but I was referred to Kids Nite Out and was assured they were good. I decided to give it a go. Our resort was nearby so what did I have to lose? I made a dining reservation at Narcoossee’s and then I called Kids Nite Out. I love the message that you are greeted with over the phone. It has a woman with a lovely British accent. I just couldn’t help myself from envisioning The Nanny knocking on my hotel room door. After going through the options I spoke with a very nice professional who immediately made me feel like my children would be in good hands.

Their rates are hourly and vary depending on how many children there are, for instance:

1 child is $16/hour

2 children are $18.50/hour

3 children are $21/hour

4 children are $23.50/hour

*There is a 4 hour minimum as well as a transportation fee of $10, tip and possibly a meal (if over 8 hours). Cancellations must take place prior to 24 hours.

One important thing to note is no water activities are allowed so no swimming at the pool and no baths. The sitter we had was very professional and she had a background as a special education teacher which I really appreciated. She had a suitcase full of goodies for the kids to keep busy with and my husband and I went on our way!

suitcase of toys KNO

We had a wonderful date night, just the two of us…ahhhh. When we got back to the room, there were our kiddos, tucked in bed sound asleep. The sitter had detailed notes on what they did which put my mind at ease. The next day the kids raved about their sitter and told me all about the activities they did in the room. They played all kinds of games, blew bubbles, played ball, ate dinner and had a blast. It was definitely a win win for sure!

What really sold me on Kids Nite Out was when we returned to Disney the following year. The kids actually begged us to get a sitter to come to the room again. This will definitely be a tradition for our family. It allows the kids to have fun and it gives adults a nice, enjoyable time away. I highly recommend giving it a try!

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As a side note, Kids Nite Out does offer other services as well including pet setting and equipment rental. Caregivers can also be a parent’s helper at the park if you would like some extra help. Not only are they located in Orlando but also in Anaheim as well.

If you are planning a Disney vacation and would like some assistance, I’ll be more than happy to help! Feel free to contact me at corby@travelwiththemagic.com.

Secrets of Adventureland

Last month we discovered several little known secrets about Liberty Square. This month we’ll move down the path and check out the imagineering secrets behind Adventureland at Walt Disney World.

Adventureland is located on the west side of the Magic Kingdom, right off Main Street USA. This area holds beloved attractions such as Pirates of the Caribbean, the Jungle Cruise and the Enchanted Tiki Room. Adventureland was designed to represent many areas of the globe where one might find adventure – from the south pacific to Africa to Arabia. The original Adventureland in Disneyland was Walt’s idea. It was based on his love of his True-Life Adventure Films and early Adventureland was referred to as True-Life Adventureland.

As in any land at Walt Disney World, the architecture here helps to tell the story. You’ll find jungle huts, thatched roofs, Victorian buildings and Middle Eastern bizarres all blended together. Imagineers designed the transition from Main Street to Adventureland to be anchored by the Crystal Palace restaurant – a Victorian themed building that transitions from turn of the century Main Street to 19th century British rule in Africa.

“Visual intrusion” is when a building or attraction can be seen in a themed land other than the one in which it resides. Imagineers had to deal with visual intrusion with the top of the Enchanted Tiki Room, which can also be seen in Frontierland. So, imagineers used an Asian water buffalo on the roof as it would look like a longhorn when viewed from Frontierland – problem solved!

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The Jungle Cruise was born from Walt’s love of animals. In fact, he originally wanted to use live animals in the attraction but quickly realized he couldn’t control the “show” when using live animals and they also slept quite a bit during the day. Audio animatronics solved that problem Check out the crates and boxes in the queue here. The names on these pay tribute to the Disney imagineers and cast members who worked on the attraction. . All of the scenes in the Jungle Cruise were taken from Walt’s True-Life Adventure films. Notice the plane wreckage scene – the front part of this plane is used in the Casablanca scene at the Great Movie Ride at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

The queue at Pirates of the Caribbean has a cell with two skeletons playing chess. If you are a chess player you’ll realize this game is at a stalemate. There are no more possible moves. You’ll find actual movie props from Pirates of the Caribbean films in the gift shop – look up towards the ceiling.

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Check out the sidewalk around the Magic Carpets of Aladdin and you might find some hidden jewels. And watch out for spitting camels!

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The Enchanted Tiki Room at Disneyland was the first attraction to use audio animatronics. The voice of Fritz in the Enchanted Tiki Room is that of Thurl Ravenscroft, also known as the voice of Frosted Flake’s original Tony the Tiger.

My name is Susan Heidenrich and I am a travel professional with Travel with the Magic. I’ve visited Walt Disney World over 20 times and I would love to help you plan your next Disney vacation. Email me at SusanH@travelwiththemagic.com and follow me on facebook for tips, tricks and information on all things Disney!

Rainforest Cafe – Frequent Diner Club

Recently my son Sean and I had a “boys night out” in which we had dinner at our favorite restaurant, Rainforest Cafe!  We’ve loved eating there ever since our first trip to Disneyland when we had dinner at the Downtown Disney RFC. So we’re fortunate to live close to three other locations to relive a bit of that magic.

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I felt compelled to share a little tip! Landry’s Select Club, the “frequent diner club” of Landry’s Restaurant Group, owners of RFC is a dynamite value! The moment you join (one-time membership fee of $25 bucks) you get a Welcome Reward added to your card of . . . $25 bucks!

Plus the card entitles you to 10% off retail merchandise and 10% of food on subsequent visit at any Landry’s property.  So it practically pays for itself immediately and then it’s all about saving cash. Cha-ching!

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On top of that, they send you a $25 credit on your birthday as well as the occasional surprise like a free appetizer or kids meal.  Dinner for my son and I cost $10, because I ordered a beer (doesn’t cover alcohol.) Were I not in the club, it would have cost me a lot more!

Why am I bringing this up on a Disney travel blog?  Along with the previously mentioned Disneyland location, there are 3 Landry’s properties at Walt Disney World – 2 Rainforest Cafes and T-Rex Cafe at Downtown Disney.  Joining prior to a trip could get you your credit in plenty of time, meaning 25 less dollars you need to spend on vacation.

Perhaps the biggest value of all, not the savings, not the credit . . . it’s the VIP treatment that little green card affords you.  Club members get priority seating. We showed up around 6:00 pm, the dinner rush on a Friday night, and once I presented that card at the elephant, I was directed right up front, past the irritable hungry hordes,  We were seated in just a couple minutes, ahead of would-be diners who were waiting when we got there, and still waiting as we sipped our drinks! And we were given a six-top table (for the two of us) right next to one of the saltwater tanks. Can’t beat that!

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When you’re on vacation and tired & hungry after a day of adventure, that priority seating is almost better than monetary savings!

Take my word for it – if you live anywhere near a Landry’s property, or are going to Walt Disney World soon, join the Select Club.  It is well-worth it!!

Bart Scott  – Bart@travelwiththemagic.com  (800) 670-4312 x 141

Disney Buttons: Not just for Birthdays!

As far I am concerned a Disney trip is its own reason to celebrate! Those of you that have booked a Disney trip before have been asked the question “Are you celebrating anything?” Disney wants to celebrate with you! So ANYTHING you are celebrating let your travel agent know. Then, when you check into your resort, you will have some “bling” to wear and let everyone celebrate with you.

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First Visit

I admit, when I honeymooned at WDW my first reaction was not to wear my “Happily Ever After” Button. I am not one to draw attention to myself but at the urging of a Cast Member I went ahead and wore it. I cannot tell you how fun it is for EVERYONE to say Congratulations. The buttons are a great conversation piece but they can also give you some extra “magic” and “pixie dust”. My husband and I have received free desserts, meet and greets with characters, special PhotoPass pictures and more just form wearing buttons. We have celebrated our honeymoon, anniversaries, new jobs, and special milestones. We have even made a few friends that we keep in touch with and the conversations started with our buttons!

button benefits

On a recent visit we were chatting with a very friendly Cast Member at the Polynesian Resort. When he found out that my husband had just been offered a new job AND we were celebrating the completion of his PhD, he went searching for a rare but special button; the My Magical Triumph button. I had never seen one and the rest of the week other Cast Members asked where he got it. Even some of the Cast Members had never seen it before. What a fun and unique souvenir!

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SO, whether you are celebrating a 1st Visit, a new job, a special milestone or accomplishment, a birthday, anniversary, honeymoon, family reunion, retirement, ANYTHING. Be sure to let your travel agent know. I also recommend mentioning it when you check in at your resort (they usually ask but not always) and again at Guest Services in any of the parks (in case the resort doesn’t have a button for your celebration). The buttons are FREE, they make great souvenirs and magical memories! (And while we are talking celebrations, let me remind you that Disney has some amazing cakes you can order and customize for any celebration!)

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I would LOVE to help you plan your celebration! Contact me for information, answers to your questions, and free, no obligation quotes for Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, Aulani, and Adventures by Disney.
~Aleshia Sokoloski~
Aleshia@travelwiththemagic.com or 1-800-670-4312 ext 139.
Find me on Facebook and Pin with me on Pinterest.

Parasailing in Walt Disney World

In July my daughter and I were able to go parasailing on Bay Lake.

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Sammy Duvall’s Watersports is located at Disney’s Contemporary Resort. They offer more than just parasailing; they also offer water skiing, personal water crafts & tubing

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We had the deluxe package flying 600 foot above the World. We were on Bay Lake on a state of the art parasailing boat. The boat allowed us to take off and land right on the back of the boat. We flew the tandem flight. This allowed us to see Cinderella’s Castle, The Polynesian, the Grand Floridian and the surrounding area, with a bird’s eye view. This was so peaceful and intoxicating. The 10-12 minutes flying like a bird with the wind in my face with my daughter next to me, was one of the most amazing things we have ever done together.

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When we arrived, we signed in and filled out our Liability Forms. All minors need to have a parent or guardian to sign them in. My husband was also able to sign a Liability Form so that he could ride the boat with us. He didn’t get to fly, however he was there cheering us on. To fly tandem you must be between 130 and 330 lbs. Thank goodness we made it.

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The Captain and the First Mate prepared the boat and we headed out. Wearing exactly what we had on in the parks, we were fitted for a harnesses and life jacket. The First Mate gave us our safety rules and guides so that we were safe for the entire experience. The First Mate secured us into our harness and off we went. It was smooth rising into the air. When we reached 600 foot, the Captain drove us around Bay Lake and we were truly amazed. We giggled and laughed like two school girls. Pointing out everything we saw. When it was time to come down it was just as smooth as the takeoff.

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I would totally suggest this to anyone who has 30 minutes to spare during your vacation. By purchasing the photography package, I received a memory card with the entire experience to share with everyone.

Allison King ~Travel Agent

If you are interested in booking you next family vacation at Walt Disney World Resort, I would love to help you. Contact me at Allison@Travelwiththemagic.com or 1-800-670-4312 ext. 134

Planting the Disney Seed

Planting the Disney seed? What exactly does that mean and where do I get these so-called seeds? Will I be able to grow Minnie and Mickey plush animals? (Far fetched as it is, one can dream right?) Planting the Disney seed is about cultivating a love for Disney. Why you ask is this a good idea? This love for Disney will be the foundation of your child’s excitement when they find out you are taking them to the happiest place on earth!

How do we plant the Disney seed? It’s easy! Here are just a few ways that we have planted and cultivated our love for Disney.

1. Watch Disney movies and television shows. At our house there isn’t a week that goes by that we haven’t watched Cars, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse or Jake and the Neverland Pirates.

2. Story and activity books. One of our favorites is a collection of Disney bedtime stories.

3. Give them that one special Disney plush toy to cuddle and play with.

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It’s never too early to plant the Disney seed. As you can see in our family we start as soon as we get home from the hospital!

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Have you started planting the Disney seed with your children? Contact me at Lizeth@TravelWithTheMagic.com, on Facebook or by phone at 1-800-670-4312, ext. 143. I can’t wait to help you and your family plan your next Disney vacation!

You’re Going to Disney World Again?!?!

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I get this reaction quite often so I thought I would take the opportunity to tell what keeps my family coming back to Disney World. After eight visits under our belt, it is still my family’s favorite vacation destination. I get excited when I get to tell others what keeps us going back for more.

MAGICAL

I feel magic during our vacation that you can only experience at Disney World. It has a way of making you forget about the real world and feel like a kid again. I am always amazed at the level of detail in everything Disney does. From the architecture and landscape to the hidden mickey’s, Disney definitely has a high standard of excellence in all they do.

ATTRACTIONS

We have our favorite rides that we look forward to riding over and over, but we also discover something new each time we visit. Disney is always improving by updating and creating new attractions and shows. Disney World’s most recent major update was the new Fantasyland expansion that I can’t wait to see on my upcoming trip. There are attractions that appeal to all ages.

HOTELS & RESTAURANTS

There are so many places to stay and dine while visiting Disney World. We make each trip unique by staying at a different resort each time we go and have not been disappointed yet. I can sum the food up in one word, “YUMMY”. I am always blown away by Disney’s dining options. Disney has many restaurants to choose from that makes our dining experience a very fun part of our trip. After all the hustle and bustle in the parks, I am happy to sit down and enjoy a nice meal.

AFFORDABILITY

With some careful planning, Disney World really can be an affordable vacation. We always take advantage of one of Disney’s discount promotions.

MEMORIES

Last but definitely not least are the priceless memories that we make. It is memories of seeing my children’s faces light up. It is seeing their smiles and hearing their laughter. I will cherish those memories forever and look forward to making many more.

Disney is just a part of my family! This is a few of the reasons that we keep going back for more. Let me help your family create new memories by planning a magical vacation you will never forget.

I would be glad to help you plan your next Disney family vacation. Contact me for a no obligation quote.

Michelle Terry

MichelleT@travelwiththemagic.com

1-866-Hi-Miki-2

The planner gets a Surprise!

As a Disney Travel Planner, I start arranging my Disney vacations almost a year in advance. For my most recent trip, I began the planning in January, and the trip was scheduled for the week after Thanksgiving. I wanted our family to enjoy the lovely holiday decorations in all the parks at an un-crowded time. I was thrilled about this vacation!

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In April, I figured out which parks we’d visit on which days. Oh, the excitement! In May, I made reservations for all our sit-down meals and character experiences. In October, I created itineraries for each day of our vacation, including a schedule of every ride we planned to enjoy. Yes, I love planning!

Two weeks before our trip, I made detailed lists of what to pack for each family member. I remembered to include items on my list like breakfast foods to eat in the room, a backpack with snacks and a first-aid kit to take to the parks, and everything we might possibly need. Such joy!

When our travel day arrived, we put the plans in motion, and it all went just right. We arrived at the Cabins at Fort Wilderness Resort in the evening, and we all got settled in to sleep for The Big Day: Magic Kingdom on our first morning!

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We got up, fed all the kids, rode our golf cart to catch the boat to Magic Kingdom, and waited for the opening ceremony! If you haven’t been there for opening time, you should really give it a try! I love the songs, and it’s such a magical way to start the day.

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The plan was all coming together! We walked down Main Street and stopped to have our picture taken by one of the Disney photographers, with the castle in the background.

FAMILY

After a few photos, my boyfriend of six years went to collect our PhotoPass card from the photographer while I gathered up the kids. Then the photographer said “Hey, let’s get another shot! This time without the jackets and backpack and stuff!” Okay, I’m always game for more Disney photos. So we took the picture.

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And then he said “Hey, how about another one with just Mom and Dad?” Sure, okay.

And that’s when my boyfriend got down on one knee and pulled out a ring! Of course, I said YES.

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He had planned it all along, and I had no clue! He proposed at my favorite place, and even enlisted the help of the photographer and got pictures of the event! How completely magical. The photographer accomplice got buttons for us to wear, and we went on our way.

“So, where are we headed?” my family asked. And I was so flustered, I had not the slightest clue. And it was lovely.

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Whether you’d like a lot of help with planning, or just a little, contact me or one of our other agents for your next Magical vacation! Brenda@travelwiththemagic.com