On our last visit to Walt Disney World, my son was mesmerized…by the characters, the shows and also by the remote control cars. Did you know that you can build your own cars in Downtown Disney? In the back of Team Mickey is a car lover’s dream! Here you can create a model or remote control car.



Kids (and adults) can customize their own car piece by piece. Be prepared to spend some time here, parents. There are LOTS of options… In fact, there are more than 650,000,000 different ways to create your car! Once you have the pieces you want to use, a cast member will use their tools to put the cars together.


This is a great place to check out if you are traveling with that teenager who doesn’t seem interested in the “kid stuff”, but don’t be surprised when your little one wants in on the action as well. Once you create your masterpiece there is an area for you to test out your speed and check out everyone else’s ride. We watched cars drive around for what seemed like an hour. It was a great way for the kids to chat with each other and show off their cars. The final product is a little on the expensive side (few are less than $50 when put together) but the look of pride on those little faces is well worth it.


Tip: You will need to put your cars away before leaving the store. They don’t allow you to drive them around Downtown Disney.

For more information on shopping, dining, parks and more – Contact me today!

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

Harmony Barber Shop, First Haircut Package

barber shop my 1st haircut ears (2)

If you are planning a trip to Disney World and want a special place to get your child’s first haircut I would strongly suggest making an appointment at the Harmony Barber Shop. Harmony Barber Shop is located at Magic Kingdom, no other place than on Main Street USA. As you you pass under the train station, look to your left and you’ll see City Hall, the Fire Station and Harmony Barber Shop with it’s red and white striped pole out front.

barber shop

They provide the following services:

Adult Hair Cut $19

Child Hair Cut (12 and under) $15

My 1st Haircut Package $18

Gel and pixie dust (colored gel not being offered at this time) $5

barber shop exterior sign

I had been anxiously awaiting for my daughter to get her first haircut (she just turned 3!) and decided Harmony Barber Shop would be the perfect spot. I made my reservation over the phone at (407) WDW-PLAY prior to arrival. They do accept walk-ins but I noticed quite a few guests walking in and being told they were full so I would strongly encourage calling ahead of time to be on the safe side. They are open daily from 9AM-5PM.

barber shop inside

As you enter the Harmony Barber Shop, the first thing you’ll probably notice is it’s very tiny. There’s not a whole lot of room with only 3 chairs with 3 barbers. It has old fashioned charm to it complete with black and white flooring, tile ceiling and ornately carved wooden mirrors.

My daughter was seated in the chair soon after we arrived and she wasn’t too sure about what was about to happen. I could see her lip start to tremble and tears welling up in her eyes. Diane who was cutting her hair had it all under control. She was calm and patient and began putting Mickey stickers on my daughter’s dress and blankie to distract her and then gave her a bottle of bubbles. Bubbles always make my daughter smile so any fear she had was forgotten in no time.

barber shop henley bubbles

While my daughter was getting her first haircut, my son had mentioned he wanted to get his hair styled with gel as he had seen some kids sporting at the parks previously. They were no longer offering colored gel but he did get a pretty funky “do” with regular gel and “pixie dust”.

Barber Shop Banks hair

Once my daughter’s hair had been cut, Diane handed us her freshly cut locks which were placed in a white mesh bag complete with sparkles sealed with a Mickey sticker. She was also given a certificate proclaiming that her first haircut was at the Harmony Barber Shop and an adorable Mickey Ear Hat with “My 1st Haircut” embroidered on the back. Cutest first haircut keepsake ever!

barber shop certificate

I highly recommend a visit to the Harmony Barber Shop, particularly for a child’s first haircut. It will be an experience you won’t forget and you’ll get to take home some cute souvenirs from the occasion.

barber shop first locks

*It is important to note that the Harmony Barber Shop is unable to accept tips using credit cards so please bring cash.

Barber Shop Henley with ears

If you are planning a trip to Disney World, I’d love be of assistance! Please feel free to email me at corby@travelwiththemagic.com.

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!


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!

yachtsman steakhouse

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.

Goofy’s Candy Co.


I love candy…candy, candy, candy. I am the female Willy Wonka. For this reason, Goofy’s Candy Co. is a must visit when we are exploring Downtown Disney. But this isn’t your typical candy store. Sure, they have row after row of every candy imaginable…but here they do things a little differently. Here you can make your OWN treats!



Your customized snack begins with an order slip. This is so fun! You can choose from a Caramel Apple, Rice Krispie Treat, Marshmallows, Pretzel Rods and Cookies. Sound delicious? You’re just getting started!

The next step is to choose which type of chocolate to dip it in. I go for the white chocolate – my fave! Next are the toppings. If you can think of it, it’s likely a choice. Sprinkles, M&M’s, chocolate chips, cinnamon and sugar, crushed Butterfinger…you name it! Once you’ve made this hard decision (believe me, it’s hard) it’s time for the drizzle…

Once you’ve finished your order slip and hand if off at the counter, it will be about 10-15 minutes before you have your very own, customized snack. Be prepared… you will want to make another after the first bite!


As if this candy playhouse wasn’t enough, there are also slushies here! Goofy’s Glaciers come in 8 yummy flavors AND – in keeping with the “build your own” theme- hat and feet pieces are available to customize your Glacier cup! Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Stitch or Princess…or you can mix and match. Goofy Princess, anyone?


Possibilities in this candy Heaven are endless. Looking for the perfect place to pick up some souvenirs? Look no further. There are tons of pre-packaged candies and snacks for sale here. This is also the perfect place to use those Disney Dining snack credits…You’ll find something for everyone!

For more information on shops, dining, parks and more – Contact me today!

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

T-REX… A Prehistoric Family Adventure

When I ask my son to tell me the coolest restaurant he’s ever been to, his answer is T-REX.  Located in the Pleasure Island area of Downtown Disney, this is not your average restaurant.  From the minute you step through the entrance you’ll feel instantly transported back in time complete with a 15 foot tall T-Rex and other life-sized creatures.


Let’s start with the food (I like to eat)…

T-REX serves lunch and dinner (American cuisine) with a bit of prehistoric attitude. Here you can find chicken, steak, seafood, pasta and many different specialty drinks. Whether you’re in the mood for a “Neanderthal New York Strip Steak”, “Layers of the Earth Lasagna” or a “Prehistoric Smoothie”- you’re sure to find something for everyone. Reservations are suggested at this location as it is a popular place for a sit down meal. One table service credit is required on your Disney Dining Plan.


Now, let’s move on to the atmosphere.  There are so many cool details here that I don’t know where to begin.  You will be seated in one of a few different rooms- each having their own theme.  In the undersea room, be sure to notice the 13 ft. wide octopus that seems to envelope the bar area;  its tentacles stretch up to the ceiling. Jellyfish hang from the ceiling and aquariums surround this area.


Animatronic insects move and buzz in the prehistoric insect room.  The blue and pink ice age cave is home to animatronic wooly mammoths that seem to watch as you eat.



The dinosaur area is also home to a gift shop. Here you will find the perfect souvenir for your little paleontologist. They can Build-a-Dino (T-REX partners with Build-a-Bear Workshop – the dinos are super cute!) and check out lots of cool prehistoric merchandise.  Paleo Zone is an area where kids can dig for dinosaur fossils and play on interactive screens. Panning for precious gems and stones and splitting geodes is also fun in Discovery Creek.


As if the atmosphere alone weren’t cool enough here, every 20 minutes a 2 minute meteor shower takes place in the “sky”. When this happens, asteroids fly through the sky and every animal in the restaurant roars, screams and basically goes bananas! The ice age room glows from blue or pink to an orange color.  This is meant to signify the ice melting. A word of warning: We did witness a few very young children who did not like the meteor shower and found it a bit scary…but most children love it!

For more information on restaurants, dining, parks and more – Contact me today!

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

You can also find me on Facebook or Pinterest.

Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster

“Can we do it again? Right now?”- That was my 9 year old son’s reaction after his first ride on Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster. It was exactly what I said after my first ride years ago. This FAST roller coaster opened in 1999 at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and is located next to Tower of Terror on Sunset Boulevard.


If you know me, you know I love music – so I love that music is the first thing you’ll notice when approaching this attraction. Aerosmith music plays outside and almost forces you to sing out loud (Admit it!) as you walk toward the BIGGEST guitar imaginable. After waiting in the shaded, outdoor queue line, you’ll notice posters on the lobby walls of real talent signed to record labels owned by The Walt Disney Company. Kids love pointing out their favorite artists while they wait! From here, you will enter the recording studio where Aerosmith is not quite finished with a session…but it will have to wait- They are late for a concert! Don’t worry, Steven Tyler wants you to meet them there…so he sends his fastest limo. The rest is…CRAZINESS!


Upon getting into the “limo”, you can already feel your adrenaline rushing. The limo slowly approaches a tunnel and waits for the green light to go. No matter how many times you ride this coaster, you will always feel that anticipation waiting for the red light to turn green. When it does, you’re sent on an awesome, upside down, corkscrew highway (modeled after LA Freeways) complete with an Aerosmith soundtrack (5 speakers per seat!). Your limo will go from 0 to 57 mph in 2.8 seconds. But you will love it… I promise! When your limo finally delivers you to the red carpet, you’ll have experienced the 2nd fastest attraction at Walt Disney World (aside from Test Track) and you’ll want to do it again, and again, and again…


There are fun Hidden Mickey’s to be found all around this attraction area; in the pre-show, the limos and the track itself. See how many you can find – but you must be 4 feet tall to ride!

For more information on attractions, parks, restaurants and more – Contact me today!

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

You can also find me on Facebook or Pinterest.

The Walt Disney World Monorail System

A guide to using Walt Disney World’s monorail.

Disney’s monorail system (affectionately known by Disney lovers as the “Highway in the Sky”) has been moving guests at Walt Disney World since opening day in 1971.  For many of us the monorail is as much a symbol of Walt Disney World as the castle with its own t-shirts, toy sets, figurines and other products.  Each train is identified by a uniquely colored stripe running down its side.  When my sister and I were little our dad would pay us 25 cents if we could guess the next color monorail that would pull into the station at the Polynesian Resort.  These days the tradition continues with my children as we all pick colors on the Magical Express bus and whichever person picks the correct color of the first monorail we see wins.

new monorail1

But the monorail is so much more than a fun game of guess the color.  It is the workhorse of the Disney transportation system moving approximately 50 million guests a year over its almost 15 miles of track.

The monorail system runs 3 different routes using 12 trains.  The number of trains in service on any given day depends on the crowd levels. You do not need a park pass to use the monorail.

Resort Route ~ This is a circle that runs from the Magic Kingdom all the way around Seven Seas Lagoon stopping at the three resorts located on the monorail line along with the Ticket and Transportation Center.  These resorts are (in order of the stops) the Contemporary Resort, the Ticket and Transportation Center, the Polynesian Resort and the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa and then back to the Magic Kingdom.  This line is primarily for those staying or dining at one of the three resorts although there are no restrictions as to who can use these trains.

 new monorail2

Express Route ~ This route runs the opposite direction of the resort route and only stops at the Ticket and Transportation Center and the Magic Kingdom.  The trains do go by the three resorts along the track however they do not stop.  This route is designed for those parking or being dropped off by bus at the Ticket and Transportation Center.  It’s also used by guests “hopping” from the Magic Kingdom to Epcot and vice versa as they change trains at the Ticket and Transportation Center to catch the monorail to Epcot/Magic Kingdom.

new monorail3

Epcot Route ~ This route runs from the Ticket and Transportation Center to Epcot and back.  When you pick up the train at the Ticket and Transportation Center you will be treated to a pleasant 10-15 minute ride that will end with a quick pass through Future World at Epcot.  This is a great way to get an overview of the park and check out the crowds.

new monorail4

You don’t have to be staying at a monorail resort or visiting a park to ride on the monorail so next time you are at Walt Disney World treat yourself to a round trip ride on the “Highway in the Sky”!

 My name is Susan Heidenrich and I am a Disney Destination Specialist affiliated with Travel with the Magic.  I would love to help you plan your next Disney vacation.  Contact me at SusanH@travelwiththemagic.com or on Facebook and we’ll get started!

Old Key West Resort

On my most recent Disney vacation, we stayed at Old Key West Resort. The whimsical beauty of this large resort was amazing. Full of pastel colors and gingerbread accents, the theme makes you feel as though you are nestled right in the Florida Keys!


This was a special trip for my family, as our best friends were traveling with us for their first Disney visit. There were four of us adults, as well as four children ages 4, 3, 2 and 1. Needless to say we were hoping for a smooth stay with all the kids.

As we arrived for check in, all four kids were greeted and were able to pick out their own balloon swords to keep. We had just finished doing a little grocery shopping down the street at a local grocery store, and they were able to keep all of our groceries in their refrigerator until our room was ready. We headed toward the bus stop and headed straight for Magic Kingdom! We received a text a couple of hours later letting us know our room was ready.

That night when we returned we walked down to the Hospitality House area, where most of the main activity centers are. Here is where Olivia’s Café table service and Goods to Go quick service restaurants are located. They are situated facing the water where the ferry dock is located, which can take you straight to Downtown Disney.


We stayed in a two bedroom villa, which gave us plenty of room for all of our kids. We were able to get up and fix breakfast for everyone in the full kitchen  every morning before heading into the parks.




Old Key West has the following types of rooms available:

Deluxe Studio: will sleep up to 4 guests

  • 2 queen-size beds with 2 pillows each
  • TV and DVD player with remote, AM/FM clock radio
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Wet bar sink, small refrigerator, microwave, toaster and 4 cup coffee maker
  • Private porch or balcony

1 Bedroom Villa: will sleep up to 5 guests

  • 1 king-size bed in the master suite
  • 1 master bathroom with whirlpool tub
  • Queen-size sleeper sofa and 1 twin sleep chair in living room
  • TV and DVD player in living room and 19″ TV with remote and AM/FM clock radio in master bedroom
  • Full kitchen
  • Dining room table with chairs and a bar area
  • Laundry area with stacked washer and dryer, vacuum, broom and dustpan, starter box of detergent
  • Private porch or balcony with parsons table and 2 chairs

2 Bedroom Villa: will sleep up to 9 guests

  • 1 king-size bed the master suite
  • 2 queen-size beds in the 2nd bedroom
  • Queen-size sleeper sofa and 1 twin sleep chair in living room
  • TV plus DVD player in living room and 19″ TV with remote and AM/FM clock radio in each bedroom
  • 2 bathrooms (one is a master bathroom with whirlpool tub)
  • Full kitchen
  • Dining room table with chairs and a bar area
  • Laundry area with stacked washer and dryer, vacuum, broom and dustpan, starter box of detergent
  • Private porch or balcony with parsons table and chairs

3 Bedroom Villa: will sleep up to 12 guests

  • 1 king-size bed in the master suite
  • 2 queen-size beds in the 2nd bedroom
  • 2 full-size beds in the 3rd bedroom
  • 1 queen-size sofa bed in the living room
  • TV plus DVD player in living room and 19″ TV with remote and AM/FM clock radio in each bedroom
  • 3 bathrooms (one is a master bathroom with whirlpool tub)
  • Full kitchen
  • Dining room table with chairs and a bar area
  • Laundry area with stacked washer and dryer, vacuum, broom and dustpan, starter box of detergent
  • Private porch or balcony with parsons table and chairs

There is a wide variety of recreation and activities to choose from. Rent a watercraft or bikes for the family, enjoy a game of volleyball, tennis, basketball or bingo, or take a relaxing swim in one of the four heated pools. You can work out in the state of the art exercise room, or unwind in the sauna. Take the kids to the playground or one of the two game rooms. All of these options you can find right on the resort property.

Your options do not stop with recreational activities, there are also a few places to eat on property as well:

Olivia’s Café – table service (dining plan accepted)

Enjoy your meal inside, or outside on the covered terrace with beautiful views of the water! On the menu you will find comforting foods such as omelets or pancakes for breakfast, to pork chops, prime rib or seafood for lunch and dinner and so much more!

Good’s Food to Go – quick service and snacks (dining plan accepted)

Stop by for breakfast, lunch or dinner! Menu items include bagels, muffins and danishes for breakfast, and soup cheeseburgers and hot dogs for the rest of the day. Refills for your refillable drink mugs are here!

Gurgling Suitcase – dining plan not accepted

This Key West style bar offers mixed drinks, wine, and both domestic and imported beer.

Turtle Shack Snack Bar – quick service and snack (dining plan accepted) open seasonally

This snack bar is located in the Turtle Pond pool area. Menu items include nachos and cheese, personal size pizza and salads. This is another location to refill your dining plan mugs.

For more info about Old Key West or any other Disney property email Casey@travelwiththemagic.com


Great Deal on Great Photos with Disney’s Photopass+

            Nothing captures the magical memories of your Disney vacation like Photopass photography.  Although I had traveled to Walt Disney World many times, my family had never really used the Photopass services.  Throughout all of the Disney parks, and at several of the resorts, you can find Photopass photographers who will happily take beautiful and unique photos of your family.  These images are recorded and can be viewed and accessed at any Photopass kiosk or online, using the Photopass card provided to you.  It wasn’t until a dear friend showed me some of her amazing Photopass photos that I realized what a great opportunity I was missing out on.  For the last several trips, my family has taken many photographs with Disney photographers, and everyone that sees them compliments us on what excellent pictures they are.

            So as I began planning our summer trip to Walt Disney World, I was excited to learn about a new program that Disney was offering called Photopass+.  This new program offers all of the traditional benefits of the Photopass program, with some new and exciting additions.  For $199.95 purchased at the park, $169.95 preordered online, or $159 when added to your package by your Travel with the Magic vacation planner.   Photopass+ users receive a cd containing all of the photos taken by Disney photographers, plus photos from select dining locations AND all of the attraction photos taken at the park!  Also included in the package is an extensive library of stock photos of characters and park attractions.  I was impressed by the deal and immediately preordered my cd.  Shortly thereafter, I received a package consisting of a cd of stock photography, a coupon with the redemption code to order my photo cd after my trip, and a voucher for my Photopass+ lanyard.  If you add the PhotoPass+ to your vacation package, your vouchers will be waiting for you when you check in at your resort.  I was ready to go and excited!

            When we arrived, we were easily able to obtain our Photopass+ lanyard at the park. We then used this throughout the parks.  On a few occasions, we split up and got new Photopass cards.  These photos were easily added on to the Photpass+ lanyard, so all of our pictures were in one spot.  We found that Photopass photographers were especially attentive when they realized that we had Photopass+.  A great photographer at Blizzard Beach took our family to two different locations for group shots and took individual shots of each family member.  We also found that Photopass+ was a real savings when it came to specific dining photography.  We were able to get family shots from Chef Mickey’s and Hoop-De-Doo Review for no additional charge.  Just these photo packages would have cost nearly $60, but instead, we spent nothing!

            By far, the greatest fun my family had with Photopass+ was on the attraction photography.  My children had always asked to purchase these pictures, but we never had before.  At $14.95 per photo, this was just not budgeted into our trip.  They were so excited that they could have, not just one, but ALL of their ride shots this trip.  I must say, that these are some of my favorite trip photos and make me laugh whenever I see them.

tammy 1

            When I got home, I had great fun going through our pictures.  Another benefit of Photopass+ is that you can take any individual photo and turn it into many more by cropping, adding borders, and personalizing it in any way you wish.  I also loved that I didn’t have to decide what photos to order right at that moment.  I simply ordered my cd and made decisions later about which photos to print.  This came in especially handy when choosing a photo for our Christmas card.  My whole family sat down and took our time choosing a photo that we all liked.

            All in all, I found Photopass+ plus to be an amazing deal.  With stock photography, park photos, and dining and attractions pictures, we were able to get more than $500 worth of photos for $169.95.  Photopass+ is a great deal on great photos, and an excellent way to capture the wonder of any Disney vacation.

 Contact me Tammy Cain at 1-800-670-4312 ext 137 or TammyC@travelwiththemagic.com for your next magical adventure.

Bowling at DisneyWorld

Cindy jan 1

 Who would have thought of this, right?  Well, if you run in to a situation where you are looking for something to do, and still enjoy the Disney Magic, then make sure you check out Splitsville at Downtown Disney’s West Side.

 Cindy jan 2

If you are familiar with the West Side, you might recall a really large building on a corner that was home to Virgin Music.  Well, this building has been turned in to a two-story retro-classic bowling show place.  There are all kinds of other bars, restaurants and entertainment options on the West Side, but this is the first sports bar to arrive.  In addition to the bowling, there are billiards, over 60 flat screen TVs, and even a dance floor.

Cindy jan 3

Cindy jan 6

There are 30 lanes in all, scattered all over the two stories with four here, six there, you name it.  Your lanes are all set up beautifully with tables and chairs right at your lane so you can take in a snack or meal while you bowl as well.  Food options include pizza to steak and even sushi!  There is even a “lane concierge” that delivers your bowling shoes right to you.

 cindy jan 4

Splitsville is the place to go and have a great time with your family, group or just the two of you.   Splitsville is also Handicap accessible as there are elevators to the second floor.   Splitsville is open from 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. every day.  Be sure and check it out.  You’ll definitely enjoy all the fun is has to offer.

 Cindy jan 5

Cindy jan 7

If you’d like more information on great things to do at Disney, or a free quote for an upcoming trip, feel free to contact me at cindy@travelwiththemagic.com.  Also, follow me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/TravelwiththeMagicCindyPresley .