Traveling to Disney for the first time with a young child

Learn about my first trip to Disney with a young child and some hints and tips to make your trip go as smoothly and fun for all as possible!

 

Disney’s Quick service dining plan

 

On our recent trip to Disney World in Early December, My husband and I were able to take advantage of the free dining promotion that Disney offered during that time.  Since we were staying in the brand new Art of Animation resort, the promotion offered a free quick service dining plan. Usually when Disney does free dining promotions you get the quick service plan if you are staying at a value resort or the Disney Dining plan if you are staying at a moderate or deluxe resort.  We had the option to upgrade to the Disney Dining Plan for the difference in price and we toiled back and forth with what to decide. Since we were going on a budget (we are big believers in budgets!) we decided in the end to stick with the Quick Service plan (free is good!)

Big Collage

Quick Service meals are a part of every Disney Dining Plan.  A common myth regarding quick service is that it is just fast food with no real dining experience. I beg to differ.

I was able to eat around the world in Epcot taking in the sights, sounds, smells, and cultures of countries such as Japan, Morocco, and France. I ate breakfast at Main Street Bakery on Main Street USA. I ate on the waterfront with a perfect view of Mt. Everest and local wildlife at Flametree BBQ in Animal Kingdom. I dined in the grand ballroom of the Beast’s castle while watching the snow magically fall at Be our Guest.

Dining Experiences

Snacks are a really fun part of the dining plan. Below are a few of my favorites. Since I don’t usually eat dessert with every meal I ended up saving a lot of my desserts for later as more snacks. You also have healthier options like fresh cut fruit at many locations for your dessert or snack. I figure if I’m walking 5+ miles per day at Disney I can eat whatever I want while I am there. SO I had lots of cupcakes, cookies, and dole whips for my desserts and snacks!  A Cinnamon Roll at Main St. Bakery is a snack so even some of my breakfasts only “cost” one snack credit.

Snacks

All in all I was very happy with the quick service plan. It allowed us to have some really amazing dining experiences, great food (and more than enough), wonderful variety. We also enjoyed the flexibility to eat whenever we wanted since we didn’t need reservations and the ability to split meals (which you cannot do at table service meals) allowing us to try a lot more foods and locations.

If you need dining recommendations of any kind, need help choosing a dining plan, or have any other questions or needs concerning a Disney vacation please contact me!  I would love to help you plan a magical (and delicious) vacation!

–Aleshia Sokoloski  Aleshia@travelwiththemagic.com 1-800-670-4312 ext, 139

Character meet and greets around Disney World

Are you looking forward to meeting your favorite characters when you visit Disney World?  Take a look at some of the characters you can meet around the Disney Parks.  Who will you meet today?

 

The Match Family

What in the world am I speaking of. You know, the families you see walking around in Disney World all dressed alike. I am one of those families. When we first took our kids to Disney World back in 2007 I had done little in the research department and was virtually clueless of how to make the most of my Disney vacation. After that first trip I became an avid reader of all things Disney and one thing I learned is that lots of families wear the same color shirts or even the exact shirt to the parks each day. At first I thought it was kind of dumb, but then I started to see how cool the pictures looked and decided for my next trip we were going to have matching shirts for at least one day. The other bonus to wearing the same color or shirt is that your family is always easy to find if you get separated.


I found a design online and added our names and date of the trip to it. Then I printed the design out on iron- on transfer paper and voila matching shirts. It took me a little while to learn that the iron on transfer paper for dark colors works best and was the easiest to work with. If you are not crafty or don’t have time you can go online to different websites and create a custom shirt just for your family.  For that trip we only had the one matching shirt but I really loved the pictures we took in them and we also got tons of comments from Cast members about our shirts. As most of you know if you look like a cool Disney family you may be the recipient of some extra “pixie dust”.
For our next trip I wanted to have matching shirts for each day so we pulled out our t-shirts that we purchased during some of our other trips. We always buy a new set when we go that all match or match as closely as possible. That trip I think we matched for four of the days so my pictures on those days were great. I can’t wait till our next trip in Feb 2013 to sport some new shirts and get more great pics.


For more information on anything Disney travel related contact me Laure Simms at laure@travelwiththemagic.com or call toll free 1-888-214-6954. I would love to help you plan your next Disney vacation.

Be Our Guest Restaurant

 

The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights

The most spectacular light display returns to Disney’s Hollywood Studios® each year in November and December.  As you stroll down New York Street and the streetlights fade and snowflakes begin to fall, you’ll be dazzled by the millions of lights, dancing in synchronized splendor to a high-energy holiday symphony.  I recently visited Disney’s Hollywood Studios with my family and we had a wonderful time watching this show.  If you have any questions please contact me at Casey@travelwiththemagic.com.

Have a happy holiday!

Add some Disney Magic to your Christmas….

 

         What puts your family in the Christmas spirit?  Many activities put my family in a Christmas state of mind – wrapping presents, baking, and especially putting up holiday decorations.  For most families, holiday traditions reflect memories from Christmases gone by.  This is certainly true for any family who has spent Christmas at Walt Disney World.  The joy of the holiday season, combined with the magic of Disney creates Christmas memories that we will cherish forever.

          Although we would all love to spend every Christmas at Walt Disney World,  finances, schedules, and other obstacles might get in the way of this dream.  But everyone can bring a little of the Disney Magic into their homes, creating their own unique holiday experiences.  How can we do this?  Here are a few ideas.

small Disney Holiday tree

          If you have been to Disney at the holiday season, you know that there are beautiful Christmas trees everywhere.  Unique themes and decorations make each tree a delight to see.  Why not make a uniquely Disney tree in your home this Christmas?  You can use a big or small tree, depending on the space you have available.  Using ornaments that you have purchased on Disney vacations, character decorations you can pick up at chain stores, like Walgreen’s or Walmart, or ornaments your family makes (Mickey head ornaments would be especially easy to create, even for young ones), you can make create your own slice of Disney holiday magic, right in your own home.

Mickey Mouse & Jack Skellington

          Under your beautiful Disney tree, you can also add some Disney magic with character themed wrapping paper.  Classic characters, such as Mickey and Donald, our favorite princesses, and new friends like Wreck It Ralph are all featured on wrapping paper this year.  Who wouldn’t love to find a gift under the tree wrapped in their favorite characters?

          At the end of a busy day, sit back and enjoy your Disney decorations while enjoying another great Disney holiday tradition – gingerbread cookies and cocoa.  Walt Disney World at the holidays is a wonderland of gingerbread houses and other creations.  Delicious gingerbread cookies are sold throughout the parks.  You can easily recreate these cookies at home using your favorite gingerbread recipe, or even a pre-made gingerbread mix.  Use Mickey Mouse cookie cutters and other Disney decorations to make some fun and delicious holiday treats.

Snow White cookie cutters

          These are just a few ideas of how you can bring some Disney magic to your holidays.  There are many other ways that you can incorporate the Happiest Place on Earth into the most wonderful time of year.  Just be creative, have fun, and enjoy.  Here’s hoping that you and your family have a truly magical holiday!

           Contact me Tammy Cain at TammyC@Travelwiththemagic.com or you can call me at 1- 800-670-4312 ext 137 for your next magical vacation.

Build your own Droid in Hollywood Studios

During a recent Mom and son trip to Disney, I was thrilled that my 8 year old son was excited to ride Star Tours in Hollywood Studios. He has been slow to catch on to the awesomeness that is Star Wars and I was beginning to wonder if he was truly part of my family (I kid!). After exiting Star Tours, we poked around a store called Tatooine Traders (Stores at the exits are just pure genius but take such a horrible toll on my wallet!).

In the middle of the store is something fairly new – Droid Factory. Here, you can build your own droid. Yes, all you Sci-Fi fans… create your own. That means you – Dads, Grandpas, Uncles… You’re safe from judgement. Here, anyway. There are 71 different pieces you can use to create your droids. Choose a dome, body, legs and novelty hats (Mickey ears on my droid? Yes, please!). When finished, they will stand around 4 inches tall. 71 pieces… This means lots of different combinations. This also means that your child (or adult) will likely have a one of a kind droid to call their own!

Once you are finished building your droid you can select the packaging. Single ($11.95) and double packaging ($19.95) is available. Note that if you plan to keep one for yourself and give one as a gift, you must put each one in a single package for purchase. We found out from personal experience that they will not give you 2 single packs and charge you the double value price. It ends up costing a few dollars more to do it this way but hey, what’s a few dollars? This way we were able to give one as a gift including packaging and we have one with packaging as well. Who knew that packaging was so important to an 8 year old?

Every droid needs a name. Not sure what to name yours? Take your time. A sticker sheet is given to you at checkout so you can flash your droid’s name right on the front cover of the packaging!

This is such a great and unique thing to do with the kids…especially the boys who have already made lightsabers and are looking for something new to do.

Contact me for more info or for a free quote today!

Erin Santamaria 1-877-377-0505 or erins@travelwiththemagic.com

You can also find me on Facebook or Pinterest.

My First Christmas at Disney

I know Christmas isn’t officially here until the 25th of December, but at Disney, it arrives pretty much as soon as they can put the Halloween decorations away.  And for me, that’s just fine.  I recently made a visit to Walt Disney World the beginning of November.  It was so exciting to see many of the holiday decorations already up in place.  On my short visit there, I was going to get a chance to attend Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party and watch the famous Osborn Light Spectacle at Hollywood Studio’s.

 

To attend Mickey’s Christmas Party, we had to have special wristbands to attend the festivities that night.  It was pretty exciting to know we were going to experience all the holiday celebration with a lot less crowd that night.  Many of the rides were open late for those that wanted to enjoy them as well.

One of the first things we witnessed was the Fairy Godmother lighting up the castle for the holidays, which was an amazing color show in itself.  Then, we watched one of the most gorgeous parades I have yet to see at Magic Kingdom.  The holiday parade was amazing.  I think every Disney character was  decked out in their holiday best to join in and welcome all the guests that night.

 

After the parade, there was a short break, which gave us plenty of time to sneak in some free cookies and hot chocolate before the next surprise.  Hot chocolate in Orlando?  Well, it was a little cool that night, but with hot chocolate that tasted that good, I think I might even drink it during the day.  And fresh, warm, homemade cookies.  Definitely a special addition to the night’s affair.

Everyone was gathering down Main Street to get ready for the fireworks display, while snow fell upon them from the roof tops.  This was quite the site to see as well.

Fireworks – WOW!, and then some.  Seriously, if you think you’ve seen the best that Disney has to offer, you’ve not seen anything like this.  The colors absolutely lit up the sky while choreographed to beautiful music for almost 20-25 minutes straight.  The castle would change colors, the sky was a glow.  It was simply amazing.

So, now I can say I have had the great pleasure of enjoying Christmas at Disney, though it was a little early.  I’d definitely do it again without hesitation.  If you would like to as well, be sure to get your tickets for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party as soon as they go on sale, as this event does sell out quickly.  And dress in your favorite Christmas shirt or sweater and join in with everyone else in all the holiday fun.  You are guaranteed to have memories of this for a very long time.

Contact me for a free quote and help with all your ticket, show and dining reservations as well.  Happy Holidays everyone.   Cindy@travelwiththemagic.com

A Little bit of Disney Magic Created with Water!

       Some of the things I love most about Disney World and what I feel makes it special is its uniqueness, attention to detail and element of surprise.  It’s all about the little things.  The unexpected. For example, on a recent trip, we happened to stumble upon not one, but three of these pieces of water art!

     The first time I was able to witness these artists in action we saw a gentleman dressed as a custodian carrying a broom and bucket, dressed in janitor attire.  I immediately knew what he was about to do because I had read about it being the Disney nerd I am.  I stopped to watch as most guests kept walking by not paying any attention, which is easy to do when you are in a theme park.  At first, it looks like he’s cleaning but then you start to notice he’s actually drawing, only you can’t tell what it is at first.

     That’s where the fun begins.  We enjoyed watching and taking turns guessing which character it was going to be.  I will admit to being wrong with each guess.  As he continued to draw, more guests began to take notice and pretty soon he had a little crowd anxiously awaiting to see the finished product.

 

     It added a little bit of spontaneity and surprise when we weren’t expecting it.  It provided some entertainment and awe in something as simple as a bucket of water.  Something only Disney could do at it’s best.

 

     The next time you are visiting Disney World, I encourage you to slow down and take time to witness the “smaller” things.  You never know what you might discover!

     Are you interested in traveling to Disney World?  I’d love to help!  Feel free to email me at corby@travelwiththemagic.com or call me at (800) 670-4312 x128.