Walt Disney World’s Park Hopper Option

The park hopper option can be added to any Walt Disney World base ticket and is good for the length of your stay.  This option allows you to visit more than one park in a day.  For example you could spend the morning at Magic Kingdom then “hop” over to Epcot in the afternoon. The park hopper option is an additional $35 per person to add to a one day ticket or $57 per person to add to a 2 day or longer ticket.  This cost is not per day, it is the total price per person excluding tax.

While park hopping can be useful for any length of stay, if you have 5 day or longer park passes then I highly suggest adding the hopping option.  Once you’ve experienced all four theme parks, hopping allows you to go back and hit the highlights at each park again without having to devote an entire day to one park.  This is great when you may only want to ride a couple of attractions or eat a meal in any one location.  You could spend the morning at Animal Kingdom which tends to be the first park that closes for the day and then hop over to the Magic Kingdom for dinner and fireworks.  Or spend the day at the Hollywood Studios and then hop over to Epcot Illuminations that evening.  Or use the hopping option to bounce over to another park for evening Extra Magic Hours.  The possibilities are endless with park hopping and this feature allows you the flexibility to go where you want, when you want, and experience what you want.

 

For the ultimate in park hopping visit all 4 parks in one day and experience at least one attraction in each!

 

Whether you choose to park hop or not it’s important to have a good itinerary with a solid plan of action.  This is where I come in!  One of my complementary services is to work with you to prepare a touring plan that fits your style and make sure you have ample time at each park to experience those things important to you.  I’d love to help you get started with a wonderful Disney Destination vacation.  My name is Susan Heidenrich and I am a Disney Destination Specialist affiliated with Travel with the Magic.  Contact me at SusanH@travelwiththemagic.com.  You can also follow me on facebook at www.facebook.com/SusanHeidenrichTravelwiththeMagic.com for information, specials and tips and tricks on Disney vacations.

Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant

Looking for a unique dining experience while vacationing at Disney World?  You’re in luck because there are quite a few but one that stands out to me in particular is Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant which is located at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, near the Streets of America.

From the exterior outside, nothing really stands out in particular.  You may even walk past it and not even realize exactly what it is.  When you walk inside the restaurant it looks as if you have entered a dimly lit soundstage with movie memorabilia scattered throughout. There are walls blocking you from seeing where the tables are at this point. There are a couple of benches and a desk where you check in but nothing too exciting…yet.  I have eaten at this restaurant several times (since it’s my son’s absolute favorite) and my experience is to expect a bit of a wait upon arrival, even with advanced reservations.

Once your name is called, you will follow the host on a walk down the hallway.  As you enter the room you will be dining in, you are immediately transported to a drive-in movie theater.  I’m always amazed as I walk in to this restaurant.  This is truly some of Disney’s best themeing, in my opinion.  The room is dimly lit and rather quiet which can be a nice break from the excitement of the parks.  You will see rows of 1950′s style convertible cars lined up facing a large movie screen. Each car has two or three rows for seating. There are also a few picnic style tables in the back of the restaurant so I would recommend requesting a car table upon arrival to add to the ambiance.  Be warned though, if you are sitting in a car table, you will not be dining face to face with your family.  More than likely you will be seated two by two with the “driver” (complete with driver’s license) in  the front and “hitchikers” in the back which can be a little cumbersome with younger children.

 

While dining, you will view campy horror movies that are just down right over the top and silly but it’s fun.  I was worried my son would get scared (he’s overly sensitive), the first time we dined here without knowing what to expect but he absolutely loved it. He now requests to eat at Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant each visit.

Besides the ambiance, some other reasons to like Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant are the following: The food is actually quite good, the servers I’ve had have all been wonderful and the prices are rather reasonable. You can find entrees such as Shrimp Pasta, Whole Grain Pasta, Rib-Eye Steak and various sandwiches but burgers, fries and milk shakes are definitely their specialty and what I would recommend.

If you haven’t dined at Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater, you should!  I think you’ll be glad you did!

If you are planning a trip to Disney World feel free to email me at corby@travelwiththemagic.com or you can call me at 800-670-4312 x128.

 

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.

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.

Tell me A Story

It is no secret that I love Walt Disney World during the holidays, everything is just so magical!  When we took our Christmas trip I was determined to fit in everything that is special and unique about visiting during this time of the year.  One of the things that was on our must do list was to see the Storytellers in Epcot.

You can see the Storytellers in all the countries around World Showcase at various times throughout the day.  Pick up a times guide as you arrive at the park and map out your plan of attack.  You can find the location by looking for these signs

Each Storyteller shares the traditions of their country through their story, which usually lasts around 10-15 minutes.  You then have a chance to meet the Storyteller and get your picture taken with them.  It was really fun to learn where a lot of our own Christmas traditions originated from!

Here is a list of who is available to see, typically from late November through the end of December

Mexico – The Three Kings

Norway – Sigrid tells the story of a mischievous little Gnome named Julenissen.  Julenissen plays tricks on Sigrid throughout the story and is really funny.  This was my favorite of all the Storytellers!

China – The Money King.  He was full of energy and was a favorite with the kids

 

Germany – Helga tells us all about the nutcracker and serveral other holiday tradtitions.  This one was especially interesting to me because of my German heritage, and the kids loved meeting the giant nutcracker at the end.

Italy – La Befana tells a beautiful and sometimes sad story.  She was another of my favorites

The American Adventure – You can meet Mr. & Mrs. Claus here as well as learn about Kwanzaa and Hanukkah

Japan – A Daruma doll seller explains the customs of the Japanese New Year

Morocco – Taarji shares the customs of Ramadan

France – Pere Noel

United Kingdom – Father Christmas, loved him as well!

And finally,

Canada – Nowell the lumberjack searches for Santa at Christmas

I was so glad that we made time to do this!  It was such a special and unique experience.  We were able to get through most of them during one afternoon/evening and the rest we caught at different times throughout our trip.

If you’d like to know more about the Storytellers or any of the other things going on at Walt Disney World during the holidays, you can contact me at michelle@travelwiththemagic.com  It doesn’t cost you any extra to book your trip through me and then all of my planning services are completely free.  I’d love to help you plan your next trip!

A Wonderful World of Color!

World of Color is a fantastic nighttime show at Disney’s California Adventure park (part of the Disneyland Resort in California). It is by far my favorite nighttime show of ANY Disney park. And I might be one of those people who cry and/or get goosebumps when I watch Fireworks in front of Cinderella’s Castle!

My husband and I were at California Adventure back in 2009 for the first time but there was quite a bit of construction going on for something called World of Color. It intrigued me even though I couldn’t quite wrap my head around what it was exactly.  I didn’t think we would be back to Disneyland Resort for many many years so I didn’t investigate too much, thinking I wouldn’t get to see it anyway.

2 years later we found ourselves back at California Adventure and I was ready to experience World of Color. I looked forward to it ALL day the first day. I was excited to find out that you can get a FastPass for World of Color to get prime viewing for the show. FastPasses are available first thing in the morning at Grizzly River Run FastPass machines.   World of Color takes place at Paradise Pier and there are no seats for World of Color (much like Illuminations at Epcot). Although there are plenty of places to sit and watch around the park (some spots are better than others).

Our first day there we didn’t make it in time to get a FastPass for World of Color. I was pretty disappointed until the show started. I was ready to have to strain my neck to see around all the tall people but as soon as the music started and the water shot up in the air I forgot all about that and audibly oooed and awwwed with the rest of the crowd.  The show is so well staged that most anywhere you could be is a unique and colorful view.

World of Color is tough to explain but I would say it is more of an experience than a show and that it is a collective experience. The whole park seems to pause and slow down as the show begins. Something magical happens when you are standing with that many people, surrounding that big of a space and seeing the show happen right in front of your face. The music, stories, color, water, and Disney Characters projected onto the mist draw you in as soon as the first note begins.  Disneyland Resort now offers special Mickey Ears that can be purchased called “Glow with the Show”. The Mickey ears are programmed to sync with the World of Color music and lights making it even more of a collective/interactive experience. The Glow with the Show Mickey ears will also sync up with a few of the attractions in the new Cars Land.

We experienced World of Color the next night as well and this time with preferred viewing (due to getting FastPasses first thing in the morning). It did not lose any of its surprises or magic seeing it again. I won’t give too much away but it is for sure a must see. World of Color Dining packages are also available and can be purchased in advance to give you a meal and preferred viewing for the show. World of Color is scheduled each night for 2 show times, usually 8pm and 9:15pm.

If you have little ones and are worried that Walt Disney World may be too overwhelming -OR- if you want to go on a Disney vacation but only have a few days…think about Disneyworld Resort in California. The 2 parks are right next to each other so no transportation is needed between parks.  A lot of my favorite attractions from Walt Disney World can also be found at Disneyland and California Adventures. Plus there are plenty of surprises that just might become a new favorite. Like World of Color!

For more information on a Disneyland vacation (or any other Disney Destination), Contact me today at Aleshia@travelwiththemagic.com or 1-800-670-4312 ext 139

Do you like to volunteer?

 On my last trip to Hollywood Studios, we just sat down to watch Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Show and they were asking for volunteers.  My kids both raised their hands but they wanted an adult.  I thought, why not, so I shot my hand in the air.  The announcer looked right at me and I was picked.  I ran down the huge arena and I was standing on the stage.

 They asked me a couple questions and then sent me to wardrobe.  I was put into a purple hooded robe and sent back onto the stage.  I got to be right in the action of the show.  I must say, it was a completely different experience being on the stage vs. watching the show.

Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Show is a 30 minute live show that takes clips from the movies and brings them to life.  There are explosions, a huge 12 foot tall rolling boulder, flames and a large stunt featuring a motorcycle and airplane.

Have you ever wanted to be part of the action?  Give me a call at: (877) 818-6106 and I will help plan the perfect action filled vacation!

Karen Kalinowski  – Karen@travelwiththemagic.com or (877) 818-6106

Making more Magical Memories at Disney’s Beach and Yacht Club Resort!

Last Spring, I had the opportunity to stay at Disney’s Yacht Club resort.  It was a wonderful experience.  The Yacht Club resort is right next door to the Disney’s Beach Club resort.  Both resorts offer wonderful accommodations, gorgeous pools, yummy snack bars and fun family activities while overlooking one of Walt Disney World’s many lakes.  We were able to take a short water taxi ride over to Hollywood Studios.  In the evening, your family can enjoy a beach campfire with sing-a-long songs and a movie.

Another great aspect of staying at Disney’s Beach and Yacht Clubs is the access to Disney’s Boardwalk area.  The Boardwalk is a fun, family area that offers several great signature restaurants, a candy store and ice cream parlor, ESPN Zone, dueling pianos, street performers and more.

One more great convenience of staying at either the Yacht Club or Beach Club is the back door entrance you will have to Epcot.  When staying here, you are a short 10 minute walk right into the countries of Epcot.  You can also take the water taxi over to Epcot if you choose.

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!

 

 

 

The Story of Christmas

There is no place more magical during the holiday season than Walt Disney World.  From the Osborne Lights at Hollywood Studios to Cinderella’s Castle dripping with lights in theMagicKingdom, the halls are all decked across the entire resort, and it is a beautiful sight to see.

Of all the festive things going on during the Christmas season, my favorite has to be the Candlelight Processional.  The Candlelight Processional is a special holiday event that is held nightly starting in late November and running through the end of December.  It retells the story of Christmas with a celebrity narrator who is accompanied by an orchestra and an amazing choir.

There are three shows times each night, 5:00 pm, 6:45 pm and 8:15pm, held in the America Gardens Theater in the World Showcase inside the Epcot theme park.  As you can imagine this is a very popular show and seats fill up quickly.  You can arrive early and wait in the standby line for a seat or you can purchase a Candlelight Dining Package that includes lunch or dinner, a guaranteed seat for the show and a special spot to view Illuminations.

Lunch packages range from $32.99–$55.99 for adults, and $12.50–$17.99 for children ages 3–9

Participating lunch restaurants include: Biergarten, Coral Reef, Le Cellier Steakhouse, Les Chefs de France, Nine Dragons, Restaurant Marrakesh, Rose & Crown,SanAngelInn, Teppan Edo, Tokyo Dining, Tutto Italia and Via Napoli.

Dinner packages range from $49.99–$66.99 for adults, and $14.50–$26.99 for children ages 3–9

Participating dinner restaurants include: Biergarten, Coral Reef, The Garden Grill, La Hacienda de San Angel, Les Chefs de France, Nine Dragons, Restaurant Marrakesh, Rose & Crown,SanAngelInn, Teppan Edo, Tokyo Dining, Tutto Italia and Via Napoli.

Current celebrity narrators for this year are:

November 23 to November 25, 2012 — Geena Davis
November 26 to November 29, 2012 — Neil Patrick Harris
November 30 to December 1, 2012 — Whoopi Goldberg
December 2 to December 4, 2012 — Andy Garcia
December 5 to December 7, 2012 — Blair Underwood
December 8 to December 9, 2012 — James Denton
December 10 to December 13, 2012 — Jodi Benson
December 14 to December 16, 2012 — Lea Salonga
December 17 to December 19, 2012 — Alfre Woodard
December 20 to December 22, 2012 — Trace Adkins
December 23 to December 25, 2012 — Gary Sinise
December 26 to December 28, 2012 — Amy Grant
December 29 to December 30, 2012 — Marlee Matlin / Jack Jason

If you would like my help in planning your very own magical Christmas at Walt Disney World just contact me at michelle@travelwiththemagic.com.  It doesn’t cost you any extra to book your vacation through me and then all of my planning services are completely free!

Rustic Beauty ~ Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Resort

On the edge of Bay Lake sits a grand tribute to the turn of the century lodges of the Pacific Northwest.  Think Yellowstone National Park ~ Disneyfied.

 

The Wilderness Lodge offers the feeling of seclusion while still being close enough to the Magic Kingdom to hear the train whistle through the trees.  The drive to the Lodge is down a heavily wooded lane with towering pine trees.  Look closely and you might spot some deer and rabbits tucked in the brush.

Inside the Wilderness Lodge is a huge 7 story atrium complete with an 80 foot rock fireplace (including good old fashioned rocking chairs), totem poles and rustic chandeliers.  While the space is massive, the colors, wood carvings and warmth provides a sense of intimacy.

 

This resort is in the “deluxe” category and offers several room views including standard, woods and courtyard as well as some rooms with bunk beds.  Junior suites and concierge service are also offered.

Dining options include two table service restaurants and a quick service location.  Whispering Canyon Café is fun for all ages. The food is home cooking and the cast member interaction is crazy ~ make sure you ask for a straw.  Artist Point is the resort’s signature restaurant and serves wild game and seafood in an upscale setting.  Roaring Forks quick service restaurant serves up grab and go food along with burgers and sandwiches.

Boat transportation is provided to the Magic Kingdom while bus service is provided to other theme parks, water parks and Downtown Disney.

For recreation there is a large, themed pool with a slide as well as two hot tubs.  There is a beach area for sunbathing and a marina which offers boat rentals.  Additionally there is a lovely walking path around the resort as well as bike rentals and fishing.  This truly is a resort within a resort!

 

The Electric Water Pageant can be viewed nightly from the boat.  In true Yellowstone form, there is a 120’ geyser that erupts every hour on the hour from 7am to 10pm.  You’ll find the Fire Rock Geyser down by the back of the pool area.  There is also a hidden mickey hunt unique to the Wilderness Lodge – ask for a clue sheet at the front desk.  If you’d like to learn more about the Lodge be sure to sign up for the “Wonders of the Lodge” tour offered on select days (check with guest services at the resort for current days and times).

The beauty and the grandness of the Wilderness Lodge makes for a relaxing retreat while its proximity to the Magic Kingdom and other theme parks provides a vacation within a vacation.  If you’d like more information about the Wilderness Lodge or any of the other Disney resorts or are ready to start planning that Disney vacation contact me at SusanH@travelwiththemagic.com.  You can also follow me on facebook at SusanHeidenrichTravelwiththeMagic for information, specials and tips and tricks on all things Disney!