The Dos and Don’ts for First Time Disney Travel

IMG_0843
If you’re a Disney Addict like me, I know it’s hard to believe, but not everyone has been to Walt Disney World or Disneyland multiple times.  My family and I have been to Disney World so many times, we can tell you where every bathroom is located, shortcuts to avoid traffic jams of people, and the quickest way to get to your next Fastpass ride.  If you have never visited Disney World in Florida or Disneyland in California, or if it’s been a long time since your last visit, there are several mistakes that guests tend to make.  Even well traveled guests may not be aware of some of the most common dos and don’ts.  I’ve put together a few suggestions to make your first trip to the most Magical place on earth (or the Happiest place on earth)  a little more magical.
  • Don’t Sleep in Late. –  I know, it’s your vacation, so you don’t want to get up early.  However, the best time at the parks is first thing in the morning.  It’s generally cooler and less crowded.  Plan to get up and be at the park about 30 minutes before the scheduled opening (this is known as “rope drop”).  Some of the parks have a little opening show, that you will miss if you’re not there early.  You can get through security and ticketing, and be ready to roll when the rope drops.  Then you can get to that big attraction that you usually have to wait 60 minutes for if you go later.  My daughter likes to head to Big Thunder Mountain in Magic Kingdom first, so we can ride it a few times in a row before a long line starts to form.  I also suggest eating breakfast in the park.  My husband prefers a Table Service breakfast buffet, but a quick service breakfast works fine too.  Enjoy the early part of the day, go back to your resort for lunch and a nap, then return in the evening refreshed and ready to enjoy the cooler and less crowded night activities.

 

  • Don’t Leave the Park Early.  –  Just like being there early, it’s generally cooler and less crowded after the sun goes down.  If you took my advice and got to the park early, then went back to your resort for a nap you, should be good to go for the evening.  Book your Advance Dining Reservation (ADR) for 6-7 pm in one of the parks and then enjoy the nighttime parades and fireworks after dinner.  The last few times I was at the Magic Kingdom, I was at the back of the park at closing time.  Sometimes I take my time walking to the front and stop in the shops on Main Street…those stay open about an hour after the park closes.  About an hour after closing time, there is a “kiss goodnight” at the castle.  It’s really short and it’s not publicized, but it happens each night.  You really need to see it at least once.  Plus, the buses, monorails and boats are much less crowded by that time.  Another thing a lot of guests don’t know is that if you’re in a line at closing time, you can remain in that line until you ride the attraction.  It doesn’t matter if you get in line for the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train 5 minutes before closing, you’ll still be able to ride the ride before you leave.  It’s a nice way to squeeze in one last ride before you leave the park.

 

  • Don’t Eat at Peak Times –  One of the worst things to do at Disney is trying to eat lunch at 12:00 noon.  Try to avoid eating at a quick service restaurant between 11:30 and 1:00.  The lines will be very long and you won’t find any place to sit.  You’ll get frustrated trying to carry all that food around without bumping into someone.  If you got to the park early, you’ll probably be ready to eat lunch by 10:45 or 11:00.  Or if you ate breakfast in the park early, you can wait until after the lunch crowd.  Bring a snack or get a Mickey shaped pretzel around 11:00 to hold you over until after 1:00. Waiting in line for Starbucks in the morning is a big waste of time, as well.  Grab some coffee at your hotel before you head to the park.

 

  • Do use Fastpass and Fastpass+ –  Disneyland still has regular Fastpasses that you go to each attraction, insert your park ticket, and it gives you a paper Fastpass.  Disney World now uses Fastpass+ which allows you select your Fastpasses up to 60 days before your trip if you’re staying on Disney property (30 days if staying off-property), and you choose 3 each day.  There is absolutely no reason for you not to take advantage of them.  It’s free for every park guest.  You don’t have to pay extra for this like you do at some other theme parks.  At Disneyland, you get your paper Fastpass 1 at a time.  When you use one, you can then go get another one, and so on… all day long until they run out.  The more popular attractions tend to run out mid to late afternoon. The Fastpass gives you a time frame for you to return to ride the ride with little or no waiting.  It’s usually a 1 hour window and you need to return during that time.  When you book your Disney vacation with me as your Disney travel planner, I will help you understand and take full advantage of the Fastpass system.

 

  • Do make Advanced Dining Reservations (ADR)  This is one of the things that I can help you with as your Disney Travel planner.  Disney World and Disneyland have some wonderful restaurants, but if you don’t make ADRs you more than likely will end up eating chicken fingers and hamburgers every meal.  The Table Service restaurants are extremely popular and are generally booked well in advance.  We can schedule your ADRs 180 days before your trip for Disney World, and 60 days before your trip to Disneyland.  Some of the most popular locations like Cinderella’s Royal Table and Be Our Guest fill up within minutes of hitting the 180 day mark.  I will get up early to make sure you get the reservations you want.

 

  • Do use the My Disney Experience App –  Disney World has free Wi-Fi in the parks which is great when using the Disney apps.  Be sure to download the My Disney Experience app on your phone to keep track of your Fastpassses and ADRs.  You can also check-in to your hotel with the app.

 

  • Don’t Park Hop Several Times in a Day –  It’s okay to park hop once, but any more than that, you’ll be wasting time in transportation.  My suggestion is to go to the park early, head back to your resort for an afternoon nap, then head out to a different park in the evening.  Pick a park that stays open later that night.  We love to go to Magic Kingdom on evenings it’s open late.  The rides tend to not be as crowded, and it feels like a different park at night compared to during the day.  It’s my husband’s favorite time to be there.

 

  • Don’t Watch the First Parade –  If there are 2 different times scheduled for a parade, always go to the second one.  The lines for rides will be much shorter during the parade, and many people leave after the first night time parade.  That means you get to ride more rides during the first parade, and then watch the second parade with less crowds.  Hit one or two last rides after the second parade while most people exit the parks.  By the time you leave, the transportation lines back to the resorts will be less crowded.

 

  • Do use a Disney Travel Planning Expert –  A Disney Travel Planner like myself, has graduated from the Disney College of Knowledge and knows many secrets and tricks to make your vacation less stressful and more magical than doing it yourself.  My service is free to you.  I’ll find you the best deals for your family.  I’ll keep checking for new discounts even after you’ve booked.  Then if something better comes along, I will adjust your reservation.  I’ll stay up late and get up early to make those ADRs you really want, so you don’t have to.  You will never pay a penny extra for a Disney Travel Planner to book your trip.  If you have a problem during your vacation, you can text me, email me, or give me a call, and I’ll take care of it for you.  There are a lot more secrets that I will share with you when you book your Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line,  Adventures by Disney, or Aulani vacation with me.
Advertisements

Summer Discounts are Here!

Awaken Summer MagicBand

Summer Discounts were released on 3/14/16, with a new Star Wars themed discount.

With the new Awaken Summer Discount, you can save up to 30% on rooms at select Walt Disney World Resort hotels this summer!  Plus, get an exclusive MagicBand when you upgrade to a room and Theme Park ticket package! For stays most nights 6/12-8/25/16.

https://scontent.ftpa1-2.fna.fbcdn.net/hphotos-xft1/v/t1.0-9/10336663_1262098093804494_2697706611431718924_n.jpg?oh=def314479cf21266b0a7ac46a9ba0bde&oe=5753692C

Contact me for a free quote today!

Special Offer – Disney Cruise Line

Receive a Free $75 Disney Gift Card when you book a Disney Cruise for $3500 or more.

tada-mickey-2-0.1x

Ways to redeem this offer:

  1.  Go to http://www.mickeyvacations.com/jennyw/JennyW_Res_Form.htm and fill out the quote request form.  I will follow up with you to gather more information about your destination of choice, length of cruise, etc.
  2. Answer the following questions and email your answers to me at Jenny.Westbrook@mickeyvacations.com to receive your free vacation quote.
  • Do you have a destination in mind?
  • Cruise length?
  • How many adults and children will you have traveling with you?  Children’s ages?
  • What type of stateroom are you interested in?  Inside, oceanview, verandah?
  • Are you interested in a land and sea package?
  • Month of travel?  Do you have specific dates in mind?
  • Any other information you think I should know?

 

Terms:  Redeem this offer by doing one of the options listed above:  Filling out request form or emailing me with the answers to the quote questions.  A deposit is required to book your cruise. Once your cruise is paid in full, you will receive a free $75 Disney Gift Card to use on your trip. Cruise vacations must be over $3,500 to qualify for this offer.

If your cruise is over $8,000, please ask about my bonus offer.

 

Other Services Available (Non-Disney Destinations)

I get this question a lot.  Do you book other vacations besides Disney?  The answer is yes.

323

I specialize in Disney Destination vacations.  That is my true passion.  It’s the destinations that I continue to be trained on to stay up to date, and it’s my family’s vacation of choice. But…I can book a variety of other vacations besides Disney vacations.

Here is a list of just some of the vacations I can book for you:

Universal Studios Orlando
SeaWorld
Cruises – Carnival, Princess, Royal Caribbean, and Norwegian
Beaches Resorts
Sandals Resorts
Delta Vacations
United Vacations
Apple Vacations
Travel Impressions

If you have a destination in mind, but aren’t sure if I can book it for you, please feel free to send me a message to ask. In most cases, I will be able to assist you.

 

As a travel agent, my job is to try to make your vacation planning experience as hassle-free as possible.

Day Dreaming about Disney’s Blizzard Beach

It’s hot and humid where I live, so it has me thinking about water parks.  I used to love water parks as a kid, but it’s been awhile since I’ve been to one.  One of my favorite water parks is Blizzard Beach at Disney World in Florida.

Blizzard Beach is a 66-acre themed water park.  The theme is a ski resort that didn’t do so well in the Florida heat, so it is now a watery wonderland.  The first time I went to this water park, I was only 14 years old and it had only been open for two months.  I absolutely loved it.  I even did the big attraction there, Summit Plummet.  It was fun to try when I was younger, but I’m not sure if I’m brave enough to try it as an adult.  Maybe I will brave it again once my daughter is a little older and talks me into it.  I’ll just have to wait and see what the future holds.  For now, I’m enjoying this short video of Blizzard Beach.  Take a look for yourself.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/vm_MPMKaYj8?rel=0&controls=0&showinfo=0“>

Have you ever been to Blizzard Beach?  Have you been on Summit Plummet?  Feel free to share your thoughts and experiences.  I’d love to hear them.

Disney’s Port Orleans Resorts – Riverside and French Quarter

Disney’s Port Orleans Resorts (Riverside and French Quarter) are moderate resorts.  It offers more amenities than a value resort, but not as many as a deluxe resort.  The price generally starts out at $170 and up a night, but can be cheaper with a discount.  Disney offers many specials throughout the year that can save you money, and help you stay within your budget while staying at the hotel of your choice.  Prices can vary depending on the time of year you travel (peak season vs. off season).

The Port Orleans Resorts transport you to New Orleans.  The details at the resorts are amazing.  Families can enjoy horse drawn carriage rides, swimming in a Mardi Gras themed pool, southern inspired food, and royal guest rooms.

Watch the video below to discover what the resorts have to offer.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/ltRUt8XkKmU“>

If you’re interested in receiving a free vacation quote, please click on the link below.

http://www.mickeyvacations.com/jennyw/JennyW_Res_Form.htm

Have a magical day!

Current Disney Vacation Offers

Walt Disney World Resort Vacation Packages
Click on any available links below to view current Walt Disney World® Resort Featured Offers.

Click here for the latest Walt Disney World Information including Special Offers!


Disneyland Resort Vacation Packages
Enjoy Disney magic with Seasonal Packages and Special Offers to the Disneyland® Resort. Click on any available links below to view current Featured Offers

Click here for the latest Disneyland Resort Information including Special Offers!

To learn more about Disney vacations, go to my website at:

http://www.mickeyvacations.com/jennyw

Contact me today for your free vacation quote.  My services are always FREE to you, the customer.  I am here to help you plan your magical Disney vacation.

Jenny.Westbrook@mickeyvacations.com

Some of these vacation offers are ending soon!  If you want to lock in one of these current offers before they’re gone, book now.

FreeQuoteQuestions (1)

Favorites at Walt Disney World

People made from legos outside the Lego Store at Downtown Disney.

Made from legos outside the Lego Store at Downtown Disney.

1.  What are your favorite rides at Walt Disney World in Florida?

This is a hard one.  Some of my favorites at Magic Kingdom are:  Space Mountain, Haunted Mansion, Pirates of Caribbean, Big Thunder Mountain, and the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

I also have a soft spot for some of the old classics like It’s a Small World and Carousel of Progress.  I grew up going on those rides with my family.

I enjoy going on Test Track at Epcot, Star Tours (Star Wars ride) at Hollywood Studios, and Dinosaur at Animal Kingdom.

2.  Where are some of your favorite places to eat?

Tusker House in Animal Kingdom has become one of my favorite places to eat breakfast/lunch.  The food is good, and the characters come to the table to take pictures and sign autographs.

Some of my other favorite places to eat are:  Sunshine Seasons in Epcot, 50’s Prime Time Cafe in Hollywood Studios, and Liberty Tree Tavern in Magic Kingdom.

3.  What are your favorite Disney resorts?

My favorite resorts that I’ve stayed at are Art of Animation (Finding Nemo Suites) and the Wilderness Lodge.  

The resort I absolutely love, but have never had the pleasure of staying at yet, is the Polynesian Village Resort.  It’s such a beautiful resort with great restaurants.

4.  Do you have a favorite parade or fireworks display?

My favorite parade has always been the Electrical Parade at Magic Kingdom.  It is a must-see for me on every trip.

5.  What are your favorite snacks?

Ice cream at L’Artisan des Glaces in the France Pavilion at Epcot is one of my faves.  Last year, I tried the croque glace and it was perfection.  I could barely stop eating long enough to take a couple pictures.  It was definitely worth a snack credit on the meal plan.  This ice cream place puts a scoop of ice cream on a brioche bun, puts it into a hot press, and the end result is this amazing cold and hot dessert.  It was some kind of wonderful.

Here’s a link, if you want to see pictures of the croque glace and how it’s made.    

http://www.wesh.com/orlandomyway/orlando-theme-parks/try-the-croque-glace-at-epcots-lartisan-des-glaces/29142886

I also enjoy a refreshing Dole Whip at Magic Kingdom, and a Jalapeno Cheese Pretzel or a Sweet Cream Pretzel at Epcot.  Actually, I love snacking around the World Showcase in Epcot.  There are so many snacks to choose from, so it’s a lot of fun. 

6.  What is your favorite activity outside of the parks?

It would probably be walking around Downtown Disney.  It’s fun to walk around there at night when they have a live band playing outside.  We explore the stores, eat dinner at one of the restaurants, and have a relaxing stroll.  It can be a welcome break from the theme parks.

HOCUS POCUS VILLAIN SPECTACULAR SHOW coming to MICKEY’S NOT-SO-SCARY HALLOWEEN PARTY

Disney has announced an all new show that will bring extra Halloween fun to Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom this fall.

Hocus_Pocus_Villain_Spectacular-6699d

Concept art by Disney

The new show, Hocus Pocus Villain Spectacular, features the mischievous Sanderson Sisters from Disney’s classic Halloween movie, Hocus Pocus.  In the show, the Sanderson Sisters return to the mortal world for one night during the Halloween season. With only a few hours to run amuck, the three sisters decide to use their magic to throw the best, evil Halloween party this side of the graveyard.

With the help of the Disney villains, the sisters gather together to conjure the ultimate Hocus Pocus Party Potion and cast a spell on everyone in the Magic Kingdom Park.

The show includes appearances by Dr. Facilier, Oogie Boogie, Maleficent, and other great Disney villains.  It also features dancers, projections, and special effects that combine to make this an unforgettable Halloween treat.

Hocus Pocus Villain Spectacular will be presented exclusively during Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party from Sept. 15-Nov. 1, 2015.

To learn more about Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, or to get your free vacation quote, contact me at:

jenny.westbrook@mickeyvacations.com

Go to my website to find out more about Disney vacations, special events, and special offers.

www.mickeyvacations.com/JennyW

Why choose a Disney Cruise?

There are many Cruise Lines to choose from, and they all offer different dining options, activities, staterooms, etc.  They all travel to incredible destinations, and they have beautiful cruise ships.  So the question ends up being, why choose a Disney Cruise?

Well….when you sail on a Disney cruise, the magic and memorable experiences for families are seemingly endless.  You’ll have access to outstanding entertainment, dining, amenities, and much more.  Most experiences are included in the cost of your cruise.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/BGzug44TYxU“>

There are plenty of family friendly activities included in your cruise fare:

  • Live, Broadway-caliber Disney shows
  • State of the art theatres that screen 3D, first-run and classic Disney movies
  • Deck parties and fireworks at sea on most itineraries
  • Pool areas — including a family pool, kids pool, splash zones, water slides and adult-exclusive pool
  • A sports deck
  • Plenty of Disney character experiences
  • Activities for families, including poolside movies, trivia, game shows, live music, and more

There are activities exclusive to kids, tweens, teens, and adults.

Kids Only

Each ship features exclusive youth clubs for kids of all ages, available at no additional charge:

  • Kids club for ages 3 – 12
  • Tween club for ages 11 – 14
  • Teen club for ages 14 – 17

While the kids enjoy time at their exclusive clubs, parents can enjoy adult exclusive amenities.  Parents can relax knowing their children are being supervised by experienced childcare professionals.  Wave phones are available to keep parents and kids in touch at all times.  For kids under the age of 3, Disney does offer a nursery, but it comes with an additional fee and you must make reservations.

Adults Only

Adults can enjoy the best of both worlds.  They can have time with their kids, and time alone. Adults enjoy complimentary access to:

  • A tranquil pool and whirlpool spa
  • Adult District nightclubs and lounges
  • A fitness center
  • Select activities and entertainment

Adults can enhance their cruise with upgraded experiences that are available at a fee, like adult exclusive dining, spa services, nightclubs, and lounges.

Staterooms

Disney Cruise Line staterooms are designed with your family’s comfort in mind. Standard stateroom amenities include:

  • Attentive housekeeping services twice a day — including turndown service
  • In-stateroom toiletries
  • Split bathrooms (in most staterooms)
  • Ample storage space
  • Refrigerator
  • Hairdryer
  • On-demand television and in-room movies

Dining for Every Taste

Choose from a wide variety of dining options on a Disney cruise. The following are included with your cruise fare:

  • Main Dining
  • Casual Dining
  • Quick Service Dining
  • 24-hour room service
  • Complimentary soda, tea, and coffee on deck and in the dining rooms
  • All-you-care-to-eat ice cream
  • Late night snacks in the Adult District
  • Kids club dining

Adult exclusive dining experiences are available for an additional fee.

Special Offerings 

On a Disney cruise, you’ll enjoy signature Disney service and attention to details. Special offerings include:

  • Special holiday events onboard during Halloween and winter holidays
  • 24-hour Guest Services
  • Wave Phones that let you call and text fellow passengers while onboard or at Castaway Cay

Castaway Cay

Castaway Cay is Disney’s private island paradise, and it’s a port of call on most Bahamian and Caribbean itineraries. Complimentary offerings include:

  • A buffet-style barbecue lunch
  • Coffee, tea, and soda
  • All-you-care-to-eat ice cream
  • Tram transportation
  • Beaches, including a family beach and adult-only beach
  • Beach chairs, umbrellas and hammocks
  • Beach towels
  • Island entertainment
  • Clubs for kids and teens
  • Hiking trails
  • Beach sports
  • Yoga classes
  • Splash zone
  • Pelican Plunge water slide

You can enhance your island time with Port Adventures, which are available at a fee.

Also, all 4 Disney cruise ships made it on USA Today’s 10 Best Cruise Ships for Families.  Not bad, right?  The Disney Dream came in #1.  Check out the list for yourself at the link below.  Once you go to the link, scroll down the page to get to the Best Cruise Ships for Families list.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/destinations/2015/05/01/10best-readers-choice-family-travel-winners/26696565/

Disney Cruises are amazing for families and for groups of friends looking to get away, but they can also be wonderfully romantic for couples.  The next time you’re thinking about taking a cruise, consider a Disney Cruise.  You may be surprised by how much it has to offer.

Interested in learning more about Disney Cruises, or receiving a free vacation quote, contact me for more information.

www.mickeyvacations.com/jennyw