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.

Ariel’s Adventure at Fantasyland in the Magic Kingdom

I was at Disney World in November and had a chance to experience Ariel’s Adventure at the new Fantasyland. If you have any questions contact me at Tracy@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.

My First Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party

 

This year I was lucky enough to cross off one more item on my Disney bucket list – I went to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.  I love Christmas time and of course, I love Disney, so combining them was something I have long dreamt about.

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is a separate hard ticketed event meaning that even though it takes place at the Magic Kingdom, your Magic Kingdom admission alone does not gain you entrance into the party.  The party lasts from 7pm to midnight and admission tickets can be purchased for about $54-$68 depending on dates attended and the age of the guests.   Check out http://www.travelwiththemagic.com/2012-mickeys-very-merry-christmas-party.html for more party information.

During the party you will experience many exclusive experiences including Character greetings not available during normal park hours, Mickey’s Once Upon A Christmastime Parade, complementary  hot cocoa and cookies, Cinderella’s castle like you’ve never seen it before and a fireworks show that will stay with you long into the new year.

The party is scheduled to begin at 7 pm when the Magic Kingdom closes to non-ticket holding guests, but on most nights guests with party tickets can start entering the Magic Kingdom at 4 pm.  If you were at another park that day, or not visiting a park at all, you simply present your Christmas Party ticket to enter the park.  Once inside the turnstiles, Cast Members will present you with a special wristband to confirm that you have used your Christmas Party ticket for admission to be in the park past closing.

If you have been in the Magic Kingdom that day, you will need to proceed to one of the wristband stations (one at the main entrance or one in Adventureland) around 4 pm or so to receive your wristband.  Early in the evening we were stopped multiple times by Cast Members asking to see our Christmas Party wristband to verify our admission.

Some of the Christmas Party events actually start before 7 pm (probably to entice those who haven’t purchased the party tickets to think about purchasing them next time!) including Cinderella arriving on the castle stage with her Fairy Godmother to “wish” her castle transformed and then right before your eyes, the castle is covered in icicles.

The holiday themed light show on the Castle is amazing.  Make sure you get a spot near the castle so you can see all the amazing details in the show that happens on the castle.

And what would a party at the Magic Kingdom be without fireworks?  The “Holiday Wishes: Celebrate the Spirit of the Season” fireworks are everything you expect from Disney and more!  Seeing them over Cinderella’s dream light covered castle brought tears to my eyes.  Holiday Wishes is a fantastic fireworks show.

The Once Upon a Christmastime parade is not to be missed!   But don’t worry, it runs twice during your party.  Prepare for Disney to exhilarate all of your senses – especially sight, hearing and SMELL.  I won’t say more because I don’t want to ruin the surprise, but keep your nose open!  We met characters and rode attractions during the first parade hoping that the crowd would thin out for the second parade, which it did somewhat, but was more crowded than I expected.  I would definitely recommend getting to your viewing area ahead of time if you want a good seat with a good view!

During the Christmas party, all park aspects reflect a special Christmas cheer.  There are character greetings that can only be seen during special events including Cinderella, Prince Charming, her Stepmother and Stepsisters all greeting guests as a group.  The Princesses, in special holiday attire, are never far from their Princes and you can even find characters like Uncle Scrooge during the party.

The shops will be open during the party and some of the stores carry special Christmas Party merchandise that is ONLY available during parties, so if you see something you like, make sure you buy it.

There are even character dance parties!  Club Tinsel (inside Cosmic Ray’s) is one of the spots where you can find some of your favorite Disney characters cutting a rug!  We danced with festively dressed Chip and Dale and Goofy dressed in his finest Santa suit.

A lot of guests use the parties as a way to ride their favorite attractions with VERY minimal wait times.  Even on a sold out night we were able to walk on to Pirates of the Caribbean, the Haunted Mansion and Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin.  Not all attractions operate during the party, but we had a blast riding the ones that were open!

Don’t forget to eat!  Even though the park is open until midnight, some of the dining locations close earlier).  I would recommend eating at a quick service location to maximize your time in the park during this event.  We ate at Pinnochio’s Village Haus and I was pleasantly surprised by their new menu items.  I had a caprese flatbread pizza and tomato basil soup.  The quality was definitely similar to a sit down restaurant back home (rather than a fast food type meal).   Complementary hot cocoa and cookie stations are set up throughout the park and are identified on the map and on an inflatable signpost outside of the location.  Unless you’re exceptionally cold or hungry, don’t rush to get in line for these free goodies – they will be there all night!

One of my favorite memories of the night was walking down Main Street with SNOW falling!  It was such an amazing night and an experience I cannot wait to share with my family.  The Magic Kingdom during this time of year is beautiful (day or night)!

If you would like to attend Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party (or want more information about any of the other special events that happen throughout the year at Disney World), contact me today!  I cannot wait to help you plan your MAGICAL vacation!  Contact me at amy@travelwiththemagic.com, 1-800-670-4312, x129 or on facebook (www.facebook.com/TravelwiththeMagicAmy).

New Fantasyland

I recently returned from a family vacation at Disney World.  One of the highlights of that trip was when  I happened to stumble upon the first day of dress rehearsals at New Fantasyland in Magic Kingdom.

I had tickets for the Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party that evening and I decided to go to Magic Kingdom early so I could take some pictures of the fabulous fall décor before it got too dark.  While I was there, I went to Storybook Circus Land to check out the new Pete’s Silly Side Show and Big Top Souvenirs and Big Top Treats since they had recently opened.  Little did I know something was about to catch my eye while I was over there.  I looked over to Beast’s Castle and noticed the waterfall was turned on.  It was truly beautiful!  I decided I needed get closer and perhaps I would be able to take some exterior pictures of it.  It’s always seemed so far away behind those big construction walls with the castle peeking over the top.  I walked over and noticed a large cast member presence but few crowds and that is when I saw the sign, “Welcome to our Dress Rehearsal of New Fantasyland”.  I truly can’t explain the giddy feeling I felt!  I’ve been watching construction for two years and here I am finally being able to see what’s behind those walls!  My Disney geek radar truly went through the roof just thinking about being one of the first people to set foot at these new attractions.  So now I’ll share with you some of what I saw.

 

As soon as you enter the area past the new majestic looking castle walls which separate Fantasyland from New Fantasyland, you’ll notice it’s very open yet it has a cozy feel to it at the same time.  The first attraction you will see is Enchanted Tales with Belle, which is part interactive show, part meet and greet.  There is quite a bit of foliage and it looks as if it’s been there forever. You’ll feel as though you’ve been transported into the movie, Beauty and the Beast as you see Maurice’s humble cottage with Beast’s castle off in the distance.  Next, you’ll find the very mysterious looking Be our Guest restaurant which is truly breath taking.  It has a very medieval, regal, rich look to it complete with broken archway, iron gates, heavy draperies, and knights in armor and majestic chandeliers.  The bridge to get to the restaurant is almost daunting.  This new restaurant will offer a French inspired menu.  It will have quick service for lunch and table service for dinner.  The restaurant features three different themed rooms for guests to dine in: the elegant ballroom which will feature a snow falling effect in the windows, the rose gallery and the mysterious west wing.  Next up is the very masculine Gaston’s Tavern where you will find dark wood and antlers galore!  You can grab a pork shank, cinnamon roll or the already very much talked about LeFou’s Brew.  It’s a delicious frozen concoction that will certainly be a hit, particularly with the souvenir goblets!  There was always a line when I passed the entrance. Next to Gaston’s Tavern is Bonjour! Village Gifts which is a quaint gift shop with more of an upscale vibe to it.  And finally, there is Under the Sea: Journey of the Little Mermaid which is an adorable ride that takes you through the story of Ariel under the sea in a clam mobile.

One word that I feel describes this new area is DETAIL.  No detail is left behind!  The Imagineers truly outdid themselves with themeing.  You’ll even HEAR details like frogs croaking at Beast’s castle and waves crashing in Under the Sea: Journey of the Little Mermaid.  It truly is a lovely addition that is sure to be a hit.  Soft openings for New Fantasyland begin November 19 with a grand opening on December 6. And don’t forget the final addition, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Coaster, which will be opening in 2014 as well.

Are you interested in planning a family vacation to Disney World?  Would you like to see the New Fantasyland?  I would love to assist with your vacation planning!  Feel free to call me 800-670-4312 x128 or email me at corby@travelwiththemagic.com.

So many ticket options to choose from…..HELP!

When we travel to Walt Disney World we always take the park hopper option! When you are spending money on your magical vacation you do not want to be limited as to when and where you go during your stay. This can make dining reservations a little easier as well. Play at one park all day and eat at another at night. However when my Sister and her family go they always choose the Base ticket to save money and time at the park of their choosing. There are different options for different folks…that’s one of the things I love about Disney.

 The four parks at Walt Disney World are Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Hollywood Studio’s and Animal Kingdom. Disney has also added 2 Water Parks, Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach. They didn’t stop there with an incredible addition of Disney Quest, an indoor interactive theme park.

 

With Disney World you have a couple options when you buy your tickets. Base tickets, Hopper tickets and Water Parks and more. The base ticket will get you into any park of your choosing for the day but you cannot go to any other park that day. The Park Hopper option will let you Hop between whichever parks you want to all day and night long.

The Water Parks and more option include the following. Admission to Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon, Admission to Disney Quest, Admission to Wide World of Sports, A round of Mini Golf at Fantasia Gardens and Winter Summerland, And a round of golf at Oak Trail Family Walking Course. You can use these choices each day you have a park ticket.

As you can tell there are many different options to your Park ticket!

For a FREE quote and FREE service contact me today and will help make the right ticket fit your family’s needs!

Amy Blades

amyb@travelwiththemagic.com

1-800-497-4674

Kids fun at Disney!

What’s a great idea for kids to do at Disney?  How about getting autographs from all of their favorite characters!   On our most recent trip, I ordered autograph books before I left, and the kids went and bought special pens.  We were ready to go as soon as we arrived at the Magic Kingdom.  Our first stop was dinner at The Crystal Palace.   We got Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Eeyore and Piglet to sign our books.  A character meal is the perfect place to get autographs.  You don’t have to wait in any lines.  All the characters come up to your table and are ready to take pictures and sign your books.

Here are some pointers for getting autographs.  Get a bigger marker for the characters to sign with.  They have big gloves on, so a small pen does not work.  Open the marker and have a page ready for them to sign.  Take a picture with the character and attach it inside the autograph book when you get home.

These autograph books make great memories for kids, and they have a blast meeting all of the fun characters.

Let me help you plan your next magical vacation. My services are always FREE. Call me, Karen Kalinowski (877) 818-6106 or e-mail: Karen@travelwiththemagic.com.

Making more Magical Memories! Ticket options!

To hop or not to hop…..

Many people always ask me “Do you get the hopper tickets for every visit?” and my answer is always “Yes” because that is what works for my family.  Here is some information to help you decide what will work for your family.

First, an explanation of the parks at Walt Disney World for those who have not visited:

There are 4 theme parks (Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom), 2 water parks (Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach), Downtown Disney (shopping and DisneyQuest – a 5 story indoor arcade) and the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.  Disney really has a little bit of everything for everyone!

 

Now, an explanation of the ticket options:

Base ticket option – you may visit 1 of the 4 theme parks per day.  You can come and go from that park, but you may only go to that 1 theme park.

Hopper ticket option – you can visit as many of the 4 theme parks in a day as much as you want.

 

What is best for your family?  This is where having a planner can really help.  A planner (like me) can talk with you about what each theme park has to offer your family and help you decide between the hopper and base ticket.  For us, especially when Robert was younger, we would only spend half of a day at some of the theme parks.  This is why hopping works for us.  When we did everything we wanted to do at one park, we can “hop” on over to another park.

Now, you may be wondering the best option for enjoying the water parks or ESPN Sports Complex.  Walt Disney World also offers the Water Park Fun and More option.  This option gives you access to both water parks, DisneyQuest at Downtown Disney, the ESPN Sports Complex and 2 Miniature Golf courses.    This option can easily be added to either the base or hopper tickets.   This is a great and inexpensive way to enhance your stay.

 

I hope this helps to shed a little more light on to the ticket options for Walt Disney World.  If you have any questions and would like to use a planner for free – contact me at Robyn@traelwiththemagic.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!

It Just Never Gets Old

I’m getting ready to go to Disney World and I am so excited I can hardly stand it!  I find myself questioning how it’s possible that I get so excited each time.  You’d think it was my first visit but I get like this before each and every single visit and I’ve grown up going to Disney World!

Not to get too psychological but I think what it goes back to is the fact that Disney World brings back so many feelings of nostalgia and comfort from my childhood, yet there’s always something new to try so it keeps things fresh and exciting at the same time. There is also something for each member of my family so everyone is happy which is very important to me while on vacation.  I love the same feeling I get as I walk down Main Street, seeing Cinderella castle in all her glory.  I love the night time parade, particularly Main Street Electrical Parade. I just can’t control myself from doing a jig each time I hear the Baroque Hoedown! Yes, my family rolls their eyes at me each time but oh well!   Seeing the fireworks makes me teary (embarrassing but true). I love riding Spaceship Earth, Haunted Mansion, the People Mover, and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.  Just the smells of Disney make me smile.  There is nothing quite like the scents of the Main Street Bakery, riding in a boat on Living on the Land, smelling the burning scene in Rome on Spaceship Earth or flying over the orange groves during Soarin’. These are some of my favorite things that I enjoy time and time again.

I’m not one who likes mundane things.  I like change in my life.  So how do these things not get boring? I’m sure people wonder how I can go the same place for a vacation multiple times a year.  I try to change each trip up by staying in a different resort, eating at a new restaurant, trying a new special event, seeing a new show, etc.  I am fortunate enough to go multiple times a year and I still haven’t run out of new things to try.  I find it keeps things new.  Only at Disney can you get completely immersed by staying in a particular resort.  You can view animals on a savanna from your room, walk through Radiator Springs and feel like you’re staying in the middle of a Pixar film. You can also  feel like you are staying the South Seas or an upscale yacht club and so much more.  I love that I can make my vacation completely unique each time yet get that same feeling of comfort because I know my surroundings so well and that’s what keeps me returning time and time again.

If you need assistance planning your own unique Disney vacation, feel free to contact me!  I’d love to help!  You can email me at corby@travelwiththemagic.com or give me a call at 800-670-4312 x 128. I look forward to hearing from you!

 

Why I Love the Magic Kingdom

Magic Kingdom for me is my favorite park.  Don’t get me wrong I love being at Walt Disney World where pixie dust really does exist and everyone is treated like royalty.  But there is nothing like Magic Kingdom as soon as it opens.

If you are one of the first to walk through the gates at Magic Kingdom in the morning its breath taking as you start down main street there is no one to be seen and the Castle in all its glory is welcoming you the hustle and bustle has not started yet and the stores are opening and the smells are so welcoming.  As you continue your walk you are greeted with Disney music and happy cast members and Disney magic.  My excitement at this point is overwhelming.

Being at Magic Kingdom is like coming home after being away too long.  By the time you have gotten to the circle in front of the Castle the crowds have caught up with you but for a very short moment it’s like this fairytale world was just yours even if it was just for a moment.