Food & Wine, What a Wonderful Way to Dine

I’m pretty sure that my favorite time to visit Walt Disney World is in October.  The weather is great, the humidity from the summer months is all but gone, and it is still plenty warm enough for shorts and swimming.

I love all the fall decorations.

Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party is so much fun, with special fireworks, a parade and trick or treating inside theMagicKingdom.

But the biggest reason I love Disney World in October is because of the Food & Wine Festival held annually at Epcot.

I really enjoy strolling around World Showcase and snacking on different foods and drinks from locations all over the world.  I’ve tried things I never thought I would, and developed a love for all different kinds of food.  The portions are small, allowing you to sample many items, and if you are on one of the Disney Dining Plans you can use your snack credits for many of the offerings.  This is a great value for your snack credits!

There are seminars, demonstrations and special dining experiences that you can sign up for.  These will cost you extra and they vary in price.  But, there is plenty to see and do that is included in your regular park admission.  There are taste seminars, HGTV seminars, book signings and the popular “Eat to the Beat” concert series.  These concerts are held nightly during the festival in the American Gardens Theater and include performances by many well known artists.

I’d love to help you plan your trip to Walt Disney World!  You can email me at michelle@travelwiththemagic.com or give me call (800) 670-4312 ext 127.  You can also find me on facebook,  facebook.com/travelwiththemagicmichellebeam

Cinderella’s Castle Suite

          In August of 2008 my Daughter was turning 10. We were in Disney for her annual birthday trip. I had become friends with a Cast Member through MySpace and we would meet when we went to the parks. She had asked me to meet her near the check in for Cinderella’s Royal Table; she had a birthday present she wanted to give to my daughter. The Cast Member was working at the time so I didn’t think anything of it. Once we arrived we were greeted by a special cast member that asked my daughter if she was ready for her birthday surprise. Not knowing anything we were escorted to a private doorway that lead up to Cinderella’s Castle Suite. We were totally blown away when we exited the elevator.

Disney describes the apartment this way in their official press release:

Cinderella’s Castle Suite is four stories above the surrounding Magic Kingdom — a salon, bedchamber and bathroom off of a private marble-floored foyer, all replete with rich details:

Fluffy feather comforters beneath the regal canopy draping of two queen beds … A cut-stone bedchamber floor inspired by the mosaic art masterpiece that adorns the castle’s breezeway entrance to Fantasyland … A parlor sofa that invites kicking off the shoes and curling up to read a chapter beneath the richly detailed vaulted ceiling of the salon … Familiar castle-gray stone walls, rich hardwood paneling and ornate stained-glass windows.

In the foyer of the suite, guests will discover a design of the fairytale pumpkin coach in the marble floor inlay. A memorable artifact from the story, the famous glass slipper, adorns a cove. And through the doorway, the bedchamber and salon are appointed with furnishings in the style of the era of “the Louies,” as Silvestri refers to the French rulers of the period inspiring the castle and Cinderella story. Nooks showcase clocks, porcelain and accessories befitting the period. Doors are richly detailed; the walls are covered with wood panels and wall coverings. In the bathroom, hand-decorated copper basins sit atop the vanity, recalling a time when fresh water was carried to the bedchamber.

Despite all the careful attention to centuries-old details, the amenities of the Cinderella’s Castle Suite are definitely 21st century. There’s a lavish garden tub plus a shower. There are also wheelchair accessible bathroom and bedroom facilities and elevator access to the suite. As for an ornately framed, 17th-century-style portrait of Cinderella above a regal fireplace in the bedchamber: it magically changes into a modern, 21st-century flat-screen HDTV. Also in the den there is a mirror, but can be turned on to reveal another flat-screen.

This was totally amazing. The windows in the sitting area told the story of Cinderella and also overlooked Fantasyland. We did not spend the night in the suite but for that moment in time I sure did feel like I was someone special.

This was a once in a lifetime experience one I will never forget.

Let me help you make your vacation one to remember. Call me today to set up your Magical Memories.

Allison@TravelwiththeMagic.com

1-800-670-4312 ext. 134

FREE Chip and Dale Campfire Sing-Along

Are you looking for a fun filled low-key night with young kids at Disney World?  Well look no further!  The free Chip and Dale Campfire sing-along at Fort Wilderness will be a hit for the entire family.  The sing-along is open to anyone staying on Disney property and does not require a reservation.

You will start the night out roasting marshmallows around a campfire while taking part in the sing-along.  You can bring your own marshmallows, hot dogs, and sticks if you have them.  If not, these items can be purchased at the event.  Chip and Dale will make a guest appearance during the night so be sure to bring your camera and autograph books.  The sing-along will last about 40 minutes.  You can continue to unwind as you enjoy watching a Disney movie shown on a large screen following the campfire event.

The campfire sing-along takes place in the middle of Fort Wilderness near the Meadow Trading Post.  You will need to catch the internal Yellow bus line once you arrive at Fort Wilderness.  Take the bus to the 1500 stop at Meadow Trading Post & Recreation area.  Cross the bridge and you will see the outdoor theater where the campfire takes place.  There are benches available to sit on.  Feel free to bring a blanket or your own chairs if you wish.  The time varies, but the event begins sometime between 7pm and 8pm.  The event is held nightly weather permitting.

I would be glad to help you plan a magical Disney vacation.  Contact me today for a no obligation quote.

Michelle Terry

MichelleT@travelwiththemagic.com

1-866-Hi-Miki-2

Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party!

Select dates September 11, 2012 through October 31, 2012.

The Magic Kingdom theme park turns into a magical Halloween party that is “Not-so-Scary” and appropriate for kids of all ages beginning at 7:00pm until 12:00pm.

This is a special ticketed event, meaning it requires an additional ticket to attend. Purchasing tickets in advance will give you a discount.

Guest of all ages is encouraged to dress up in their favorite Halloween costumes.

The party allows all guests to collect special treats while Trick-or-Treating around the Magic Kingdom at nine designated Trick-or-Treat locations and two “Not-so-Scary” Trails, one in Frontierland and one in Fantasyland.

Mickey’s “Boo-to-You” parade will have 2 nightly showings beginning in Frontierland at 8:15pm and 10:30pm that includes, The Headless Horseman.

Happy HalloWishes is a spectacular fireworks display that lights up the sky atop of Cinderella Castle, beginning at 9:30 pm which includes the Disney Villains.

Tomorrowland & Liberty Square will host Character Dance Parties, fun for all. In front of Cinderella Castle there will be a Villains’ Mix and Mingle at 7:45pm, 8:50pm, 10:05pm and 11:15pm. You cannot miss this. The party wouldn’t be complete without your favorite Disney characters dressed up in their favorite Halloween Costumes meeting guests intermittently throughout the event.

Many of your favorite Food & Beverage locations will be open during the party along with many of your favorite attractions running all night, just waiting for you to ride.

Dates of MNSSHP:

Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Friday, September 14, 2012
Tuesday, September 18, 2012
Friday, September 21, 2012
Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Friday, September 28, 2012

Sunday, September 30, 2012
Thursday, October 4, 2012
Monday, October 8, 2012
Thursday, October 11, 2012
Sunday, October 14, 2012
Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Thursday, October 18, 2012
Sunday, October 21, 2012
Tuesday, October 23, 2012
Thursday, October 25, 2012
Sunday, October 28, 2012
Tuesday, October 30, 2012
Friday, November 2, 2012

Friday, October 5, 2012
Friday, October 12, 2012
Friday, October 26, 2012

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Contact me Allison King:

 Allison@Travelwiththemagic.com

Or find me on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/Crazy4Dizney

1-800-670-4312 ext. 134

La Nouba a must when visiting Walt Disney World.

(photo courtesy of cirquedusoleil.com)

Having been to Walt Disney World many times, I sometimes look to do things new and different.  One trip in particular, when I was without kids, I decided to check out several tours and I also purchased tickets to go see La Nouba, by Cirque du Soleil.

 The building that houses La Nouba is in Downtown Disney’sWest Side.  They have a gift shop and also a snack bar for those of us who can’t go 90 minutes without something to drink and snack on.

 I had reserved our tickets in advance and we stopped by will call to pick them up, then grabbed some cinnamon almonds from the snack bar (these are sooooo good!) and went to find our seats.  We had category 2 seats and were very happy with our seat location, I think I liked these seats better than I would have liked the higher priced ones. Sitting back further allowed us to see the entire stage and not have to strain our necks up to see the aerial stuff.

(photo courtesy of cirquedusoleil.com)

I honestly can’t say enough good things about this show! About 10 minutes before show time a couple of clowns came out to entertain us while we waited, soon after the parade of main characters came out and walked through the venue. Their costumes were so colorful and different, I had a feeling we were going to see a very impressive show. There were so many awesome acts, bike stunts, men in man-sized wheels rolling around the stage, trapeze & high wire acts, a highly impressive display at the end with trampolines and a building full of windows where you had performers bouncing in and out of windows, walking up the side of the building, etc – it was amazing! I also really loved the artistry of the performers who wrapped themselves in the huge sheet like pieces of material that hung from the ceiling – I don’t even know how to put into words what they did – it was just beautiful! But, my absolute favorite part of the show were the young girls with the Chinese yo-yo’s. They were spectacular and definitely a crowd favorite!  I wish I had pictures to share with you, but they are not allowed during the show, flash or otherwise.

 The show is 90 minutes long, and it is so entertaining that those 90 minutes just fly by.  I swear when it was over I thought it was just intermission, I couldn’t believe it had already been an hour and a half!

If anyone is on the fence about attending this show, I’d say GO, even with kids.  All the ones around us really loved the show as well.  Ticket costs for La Nouba run from $73-$128 for adults and $58-$102 for children ages 3-9.  Reservations can be made up to 6 months in advance.  I’d love to help your family find new and exciting things to do at Walt Disney World.  Book your trip with me, and my services are completely free!  Contact me at michelle@travelwiththemagic.com and let’s get started!

Oh Boy! What Your Little Prince Will Love at the World – Part 1

I just had a client ask what kinds of things they can do with their son at Walt Disney World, and it got me thinking.  There is so much at the World for parents to do with their daughters, and with their children, but what is there to do with their sons?  Amidst all of the pink, the princesses and the pixie dust, there are things to do with your little fella.  Promise!

Following is a list of recommendations for you and your boys of any age (yes, husbands count too!).  Some are included with park admission, some are extra activities.  This is definitely not an exhaustive list, and there is no reason a young squire wouldn’t enjoy some time with those lovely Princesses or Pixies either…just like there is no reason your little lady wouldn’t enjoy a trip to see Lightning McQueen or Captain Jack Sparrow.  No stereotypes here – just some good recommendations!

Disney’s Family Magic Tour
Magic Kingdom
Pre-paid Tour Experience

This is a 1.5 to 2 hour guided interactive quest to save Magic Kingdom from the evil plans of a Disney Villain.  Your tour group will search for clues, solve puzzles and participate in a scavenger hunt throughout the park to save it from the Villain’s scheme.

Theme park admission is required.  This tour is $39 per person.  All ages are welcome, but it’s probably best for guests aged 4 to 10 years and their parents.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pirates and Pals Fireworks Voyage
Contemporary Resort
Pre-paid Tour Experience

During this voyage you will have the opportunity to watch the Magic Kingdom fireworks show along with hearing pirate tales, answering Disney trivia and, on select nights, watching the Electric Water Pageant – all from the perfect vantage point of your seat on a “pirate ship” in the Seven Seas Lagoon.

You will start at the Contemporary Resort, where you meet your group and gather whatever snacks and non-alcoholic beverages you would like to take with you on your trip.  Then you will head to the docks, where Captain Hook and Smee are available for photo opportunities.  After the festivities, on the voyage back to the docks, your pirate host, Patch, tells the story of Peter Pan.

Normal operating hours are Friday through Monday, with the event starting one hour and 30 minutes prior to the scheduled fireworks show. Each of the two boats accommodates up to 60 Guests.  The cruise lasts from 1 to 3 hours, and is a pre-paid experience.  Guests aged 10 and over are $53.99 and kids between 3 and 9 are $30.99 each.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Pirates League
Magic Kingdom
Pre-paid Package

Select from different packages to transform into a pirate at Magic Kingdom – you get an official pirate name, a complete pirate makeover (depending on what package you choose), and a pirate portrait is taken.  Then you get to participate in the Adventureland Pirate Parade (weather permitting).

Package Information:

Jake and the Never Land Pirates package includes:

  • Jake and the Never Land Pirates bandana with faux hair
  • Jake facial effect
  • Sword and sheath
  • The Pirates League bag
  • Unique pirate coin necklace
  • Participation in a daily Adventureland Pirate Parade

 

The First Mate package includes:

  • Choice of facial effect (5 options)
  • Reversible bandana
  • Earring and eye patch
  • Sword and sheath
  • The Pirates League bag
  • Temporary tattoo
  • Unique pirate coin necklace
  • Personalized pirate oath
  • Official pirate name
  • Participation in a daily Adventureland Pirate Parade

 

Pirates League also offers an Empress package (similar to the First Mate package) and a Mermaid package for little (and big) ladies.

 

Packages at the Pirates League range from $29.95 to $39.95 plus tax.

Theme park admission is required, they are open 7 days a week from 9am to 4pm (last reservation time is 3:30pm), ages 3 and up, and reservations are strongly recommended.

 

Jennifer Lassiter

jennifer@travelwiththemagic.com

800-670-4312, ext 133

http://www.magiconcrescentlake.com

http://www.facebook.com/travelwiththemagicjenn

Christmas in July

Cinderella’s Castle at Christmas

 

Yes, it is July and I am already excited about Christmas.  It is time for those of you visiting Disney World this holiday season to start thinking about whether or not to go to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.  Disney World goes all out for the holiday season, and the Christmas party is no exception.  It truly is a Magical experience.

 

For those of you not familiar with Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party at Magic Kingdom, let me fill you in on the excitement.   It is a special night of holiday entertainment with Christmas shows, parades, fireworks, and more.  The Party requires purchase of a separate admission ticket.  Although the official holiday celebration is 7pm to midnight, guests are often permitted to enter the park as early as 4pm.

Toy Soldier’s marching in the Christmas Parade

The spirit of the season can be captured throughout the park with all of the Christmas lights, decorations, towering Christmas trees, and Christmas music.  You will be in awe of Cinderella’s castle as it is magically transformed to an ice palace with thousands of beautiful twinkling lights. There are also wonderful holiday shows where some of your favorite Disney friends come to life.  Don’t miss “A Totally Tomorrowland Christmas” in Tomorrowland featuring Buzz Lightyear and the mischievous Stitch.  “Celebrate the Season” is performed at the castle stage starring Mickey and his pals.  Grab your complimentary hot cocoa, cookies, and apple slices and watch reindeer, toy soldiers, gingerbread men, Santa, and your favorite Disney characters as they make an appearance in the “Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmas Parade.“  I can’t stress enough just how magical this parade is.  The party also has a spectacular display of fireworks, Holiday Wishes, narrated by Jiminy Cricket and accompanied by Christmas music.  The party would not be complete without snow in the forecast.  If you are dreaming of a white Christmas, do not miss the magical snowfall on Main Street.

 

Santa wishing everyone a Merry Christmas!

If you are looking for an unforgettable way to spend time with your family and friends this Christmas season, I highly recommend Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.  I cannot think of a better way to celebrate “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year”!

 

2012 Dates

November 9, 12, 15, 16, 25, 27, 29, 30

December 2, 4, 6, 7, 9, 11, 13, 14, 16, 18, 20, 21

 

Michellet@travelwiththemagic.com

1-800-Hi-Miki-2

A Candlelit Celebration

A Candlelit Celebration

Anyone who has celebrated the holidays in Walt Disney World knows that they do it right.  The Magic Kingdom is strung from one end of the park to the other with festive greenery and more ornaments that you can possibly imagine.  Hollywood Studios has the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights – something truly amazing for a family to behold.  Even Animal Kingdom joins in the festive fun with beautiful decorations and a holiday-themed midday parade.  One of the best events during the holiday season, in my opinion, takes place at Epcot – the Candlelight Processional.

Candlelight Processional is a big part of Holidays Around The World, Epcot’s multi-cultural celebration of holiday traditions from across the globe.  During this evening spectacle, a celebrity narrator tells the story of Christmas accompanied by a 50-piece orchestra and a mass choir.

My family had the opportunity to attend a showing of the Candlelight Processional back in December of 2010.  Whoopi Goldberg was the celebrity narrator that evening, and we were very excited to finally see what we had been hearing such wonderful things about.  We were not disappointed!  You can always depend on Disney to do entertainment on a large scale, but what pleasantly surprised me was how moving the show was.  I am a sucker for a nice choir, so I guess I may be an easy target, but even so, this is really one of the most memorable holiday experiences of my adult life.

My family booked an event dining package for the Candlelight Processional.  Anyone who has stood in line to get a decent seat (or any seat) for the big Fantasmic! show at Hollywood Studios knows that these event dining packages are amazing and can really keep your wait time to a minimum.  There are many nights (as with Fantasmic!) when having this package will be the only way you get to get a seat for the Candlelight Processional.  We ate at Rose & Crown (which was delicious, as usual) in the England Pavilion and received our preferred seating voucher for the show.  Cast Members allow those who have these vouchers in first, and we were able to get pretty good seats.  Whoopi was great, the choir was great, everything was amazing!  Interspersed throughout the beautiful story of Christmas are wonderful carols, traditional and contemporary, and each member of the choir holds a lit candle.  It makes for a very touching experience.

This unforgettable show is held on select nights during the holiday season at the America Gardens Theatre in Epcot’s World Showcase, and, because it is so beloved and popular, it will fill up quickly. To ensure you have a seat, I do recommend that you book Candlelight Processional Dining Package – another plus, in addition to the awesome meal and the guaranteed seating, is that you also get a special viewing spot for that other amazing spectacle at Epcot – IllumiNations.

The 2012 dates for the Candlelight Processional are November 23 – December 30, 2012 with showtimes at 5:00 pm, 6:45 pm, and 8:15 pm each evening.  Some celebrity narrators have been booked, and they include Isabella Rossellini (11/23-11/25), Neil Patrick Harris (11/26-11/29), Whoopi Goldberg (11/30-12/01), Jodi Benson (yes, folks, that’s Ariel!) (12/11-12/13), Olivia Newton John (12/14-12/16), Trace Adkins (12/20-12/22), Gary Sinise (12/23-12/25), and Marlee Matlin (12/29-12/30).  Theme park admission is required.

Jennifer Lassiter

Contact me at Jennifer@travelwiththemagic.com if you have any questions.

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Dine with an Imagineer – January 2011

For my 30th birthday, I was lucky enough to talk my husband into experiencing something at Walt Disney World that I had been dreaming of – Dining with an Imagineer.

First, a little bit about me. I have an engineering degree. I am also married to an engineer. And although I’m not an active engineer, my brain still VERY much works that way!! And I’ve always been obsessed with all things Disney. My husband – not so much. He was converted on our first trip together as parents. I mentioned this dining experience to him after that trip and he decided it was a must-do!

Dine with an Imagineer is a dining experience held on select days at the Hollywood Brown Derby (for lunch) and at the Flying Fish Café (for dinner). It is limited to 10 people and you must call ahead for reservations. It’s a fairly expensive meal – our lunch was about $75 per person with tax and tip. BUT you get a wonderful 4 course meal, a special souvenir and conversation with an Imagineer.

After checking in, and getting our AWESOME souvenir nametags, we were able to see the “opening” of the Brown Derby. Since it was marathon weekend, the “celebrities” that day was a trio that had run the 5K, the half marathon and the marathon (one lady had done ALL three!)

Our FABULOUS nametags!

The women were given boas and the man put on a top hat and the manager escorted them out of the restaurant to the end of the “red carpet.” A Brown Derby Cast Member (dressed as a paparazzi photographer) followed them and photographed them the whole way. They were then escorted to the entrance to the dining room, which was roped off. The manager made a big announcement to the waiting area, introducing them, telling us of all of their marathon accomplishments and that THEY were the celebrities of the day, opening the restaurant for business. It was a very neat experience and not one I’m sure most people know about!

Once all of our party had arrived, it was time to tour the restaurant. Many of the photos on the wall inside the restaurant are of the original Brown Derby in Hollywood. Our waitress gave us a lot of information on the restaurant and just how similar it is to the original.

We were then led to the Bamboo Room, where our meal would take place. Each place setting had a souvenir menu.

The food was wonderful. I could have made a meal on the soup and the Cobb salad alone. I had to force myself to stop eating it! I ordered the Grouper and it was just okay but my husband’s beef was very good. The noodle bowl was huge and smelled wonderful (it was ordered by the man across from me!). I think if we went again, I would definitely try the noodle bowl.

The highlight was definitely talking with Jason. He had us go around and talk a bit about ourselves and what we liked best about Disney. Then he kind of used our answers as launching pads to talk more about the parks, the attractions, everything!

Jason has been with Disney since 1993 in a variety of positions. He seemed to know about EVERYTHING we asked him. While we were there, one of the monorail cars was wrapped to look like a vehicle for Tron (although we never actually saw it!). Apparently it caused a big uproar. While were dining, he even received an email about it, passed me his Blackberry and had me read it aloud! He also hinted at some of the changes that have since been announced (like the closing of Snow White’s Scary Adventures) and told us as much as he could about the rest of the Fantasyland expansion (and hinted at other things!). It’s been exciting for me to watch it all develop after talking with him about the process and just how quickly ideas and plans can change in Imagineering.

My husband ordered the grapefruit cake and I ordered the crème brulee for dessert. But since I was wearing my Birthday Pin, they also brought me a slice of triple chocolate cake with a candle in it! The entire group sang to me (and one other girl celebrating her birthday as well). The crème brulee was wonderful. It was very light and creamy. The triple chocolate cake was heavenly. (I think I retract my earlier statement – I could make a meal with the soup, the Cobb salad and the chocolate cake!)

At the end of our meal, we also received another booklet that looked like a menu. But when you opened it, it was a mini-biography of Jason AND a group photo. (Mine was a special one!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You also receive a souvenir plate that the Imagineer personalizes for you. But when we went, they had just switched to a new style of plate and they weren’t available yet. The waitress took our addresses and sure enough, a few weeks later, these arrived!

Overall, Dining with an Imagineer, was an amazingly incredible experience and one that I definitely would want to do again. My husband said that he wouldn’t want do it again because everything about our experience was so perfect. The 3 hours FLEW by and the conversations we had were definitely worth the money.

If you (or someone else in your traveling party) are a Disney fanatic and love learning about the behind the scenes of Disney World, I would definitely recommend it. The Disney website recommends this experience for ages 10 and up but I would not take my children until they are at least teenagers (13 or 14).

Thank you to Jason for an AMAZING experience (and a great birthday present to boot!)

For more information about this experience contact Amy at Amy@travelwiththemagic.com or fill out the contact form below and I will get back to you!

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