Reasons to Return #2: The Food!

In case you felt like you need another reason to return to Walt Disney World, here ya go….THE FOOD!

Let me start by boring you with the facts.  If you search dining on Walt Disney World’s website you will find 330 options to choose from.  Now this does include things like snack stands and pool bars so you don’t have to feel quite so overwhelmed.

Gastons-DHRThere are 156 locations that you would consider “quick service” such as counter service restaurants, food trucks, and snack stands.  Then you have 131 “table service” restaurants where you, of course, would sit at a table (I know….go figure!) and your food would be brought to you!  There are 17 of these restaurants where you might just be visited by a character during your meal!  You could also choose to overindulge yourself at one of the 23 buffets on property or perhaps you a person of fine taste and prefer the refined experience of one of the 23 fine dining restaurants or maybe you like to have fun with your food at one of the 3 dinner shows at Walt Disney World?

If you prefer to relax to something light with a nice adult beverage at the end of the day, don’t worry, you have 49 lounges to choose from!

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Getting my point yet?

A great reason to return to Walt Disney World is the practically unending menu items there are on property, especially considering many of the restaurants regularly revise their menus.  I haven’t even mentioned the resort’s annual Food & Wine Festival that takes place every fall for about 2 months!

Even if you are on a tight budget I would still encourage you to experience the food at Walt Disney World because there are so many unique snack and quick service items.  You don’t have to settle for “theme park food” at Walt Disney World and you shouldn’t!

Okay, so now that you know how much food there is at Walt Disney World, let’s talk about the quality.  Yes, there are going to be some restaurants that many pass on due to the lack of quality in their menu items but on average, Walt Disney World’s food is very good quality, whether it is a snack, quick service, or table service.  When I am trying to convince an adult it’s not only okay to go to Walt Disney World without kids but you should go without kids, I always tell them Disney offers some of the best restaurants you could ever eat at.  Sure there is typical “park food” but there is plenty of unique and fine dining options if you are up for it!

The perfect example of this is one of the top 5 restaurants in the United States (according to TripAdvisor’s 2014 Travelers’ Choice awards) and a 10-year recipient of the AAA Five Diamond Award, Victoria &n Albert’s.  The menu changes daily to ensure guest receive the freshest and best quality food during their seven course meal.  The restaurant has a strict dress code and kids are not allowed.  If you want to plus your experience even more you can try to nab a reservation at the chef’s table where you will walk away with a custom menu listing the ten course meal made just for you!  This is on my Walt Disney World bucket list!

Now for some food porn….for your viewing pleasure I have put together a few photos I have collected over my last few trips.  If you want to dive more into the food of Walt Disney World check out The Disney Food Blog.  Yep, there’s an entire blog dedicated to Walt Disney World’s food…..as there should be!

What’s your favorite Walt Disney World food or restaurant?

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

575054_106783406183121_554385829_nWant a quote or ready to start planning your next trip? Send me a message through the contact page or call (314)494-9166 or email me directly at joey@magicalvacationsbyme.com

Also be sure to check out my current promo for Disney Cruise Line and other Disney Destination offers on the Promos and Special Offers page.

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What’s with the Toy Story Mania Test?

??????????Maybe you have heard of or been victim of the most recent FastPass+ test Walt Disney World has conducted. October 6th through the 9th Toy Story Midway Mania was only available to guests with FastPass+ reservations, meaning the standby queue was closed.

My first thoughts were for those unfortunate guests traveling during that time who are not on the up-and-up about WDW news because they didn’t not give guests much of a heads up about the test so those who were unaware likely did not get to ride during their stay but this happens occasionally with closures due to refurbs and breakdowns. It just means people have to take another trip to Walt Disney World right?

jpg167My second thought was I hope they do not have plans to make Toy Story Midway Mania FastPass+ reservation only. If this were the case then they might as well get rid of the tiered FastPass+ system at Hollywood Studios because very very very few people would choose anything but Toy Story in tier A.

 

I have mixed feelings about the potential of losing the rope drop dash to Toy Story experience. I love doing rope drop at Hollywood Studios because I can often get 2 rides through the standby queue before the wait gets over 60 minutes and when you combine that with my FastPass+ reservation, that means I get to ride it 3 times in a day! On the other hand, by eliminating the need to rope drop run, it does free me up to do other things and maybe have a more relax start to my Hollywood Studios day. I would most likely turn on Sunset Blvd. and head straight for Tower of Terror and then its next door neighbor, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster.

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It appears the Toy Story Mania test is some attempt by Disney to resolve the unrelenting wait times Toy Story Mania possesses pretty much year round. It is relieving to see that Disney recognizes there is an issue and is looking for ways to free up more time in a guest’s day by reducing this wait.

After thinking more about the move by Disney and the recent closure of the Backlot Tour, which is just down the road on Pixar Place, I wondered if this was the appropriate approach for Disney to take on the problem. Is limiting guests to FastPass+ reservations really the answer? Apparently the answer is no.

My initial thought once I heard the Backlot Tour was closing for good was that the much rumored and anticipated Star Wars land was soon to break ground but after this Toy Story Mania test I could not help but think part of this newly available land should be devoted to an additional Toy Story Mania track. After doing a little more research I found that many share my opinion. I have not found anything official from Disney so right now this remains a very popular rumor. Disney’s test leads many to speculate if Disney adds a track one track may become FastPass+ reservation only and the others will remain standby.

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If the comes to fruition, which I hope it does, I am interested to see how much it will truly reduce wait times because I think there is a wait time threshold for many guests. Whether it’s guests who go to Walt Disney World unaware of Toy Story Mania’s popularity or guests attempting to use the standby for multiple rides, I think there is a point where they will look at the estimated wait time sign and just turn around and walk away. I don’t think creating another track will lessen the estimated standby wait time as much as it will allow more people to ride in a day because now the people who would normally turn and walk away will actually stand in line, putting the wait time right back to where it is today.

Whatever rumors turn out to be true, I do believe it will be a positive change and a much needed change as Toy Story Mania continues to be arguably the most popular attraction in all of Walt Disney World, next to the adored sister duo, Anna and Elsa.

575054_106783406183121_554385829_nWant a quote or ready to start planning your next trip? Send me a message through the contact page or call (314)494-9166 or email me directly at joey@magicalvacationsbyme.com

Also be sure to check out my current promo for Disney Cruise Line and other Disney Destination offers on the Promos and Special Offers page.

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SEPCOT? Stagnate Experimental Prototype Community Of Tomorrow

I have had this topic saved as a draft for a couple of months and now that we are starting to see changes come to Epcot I figured I would go ahead and write it before my point is completely moot.

sept 21 nikon 035If you have been to Walt Disney World in the last three years or have been keeping track of WDW news, then you are familiar with the numerous changes that are taking place all over Walt Disney World property.  When I get asked why I go back so much, one of the reasons I list is there is so much I have not done and so many things constantly being changed or added.  As I was trying to convince a coworker why they should go back to WDW, I began talking about all of the changes that were currently taking place.  As I started listing them, park by park, I realized I left Epcot out.

After reflecting more on the topic it seems as though Epcot has been put on the back burner.  The last major refurbishment we saw was when Test Track was “re-imagined.”  I don’t consider the addition of Spice Road Table and Starbucks or the changes to France’s dining locations a major change.

tangled-towerMagic Kingdom has had a major overhaul in Fantasyland the last few years which I think many consider to be a great improvement to the park.  Animal Kingdom has added a new theater for the Festival of the Lion King to make way for the addition of a land themed to the movie Avatar.  We have also seen the park add a special event which featured an evening street party called Harambe Nights and are still anticipating several other changes that will transform Animal Kingdom into a night park, one of which is a nighttime spectacular called “Rivers of Light.”  Hollywood Studios popularity increased with the addition of a few special events themed after the Disney’s recent blockbuster animated film Frozen.  After Bob Iger’s announcement that Star Wars will become more present in the parks and the closing of two attractions (The American Idol Experience and The Backlot Tour) many are anticipating big changes soon for Disney’s Hollywood Studios.  Even Downtown Disney is getting a massive overhaul!

That leaves poor Epcot.  Soarin’ and Test Track remain popular but it seems the rest of Future World has become very lackluster to many guests.  World Showcase is still a favorite among adults for it’s unique dining experiences and entertainment but Epcot’s popularity seems to rely heavily on its numerous special events.

??????????Epcot has more “abandoned” buildings/areas than any of Walt Disney World’s other parks.  The Odyssey restaurant and the old Wonders of Life buildings still get some attention for special events but the upper floor of the Imagination pavilion seems to be completely abandoned.

I realize Disney has their hands very full right now but I hope Epcot is next on the list for a facelift.  I think the Innoventions buildings could use some updating.  Many of the exhibits are outdated and remind me of what you would find in a cheap kids museum.  I would like to see Disney bring in some exhibits that really showcase some truly innovative ideas and technology.  I know it is hard to keep attractions like this current but it’s overdue for an update.

disney-092I hope Epcot’s recent presence in WDW news for it’s changes to the entertainment in World Showcase and the closing of Maelstrom to bring in a Frozen attraction is a sign that Disney also realizes it’s time to give Epcot some love!

What do you think?  Does Epoct need some updating?  What would you change or add to improve the Epcot experience?

575054_106783406183121_554385829_nWant a quote or ready to start planning your next trip? Send me a message through the contact page or call (314)494-9166 or email me directly at joey@magicalvacationsbyme.com

Also be sure to check out my current promo for Disney Cruise Line and other Disney Destination offers on the Promos and Special Offers page.

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10 Phrases NOT to Use Around a WDW Fanatic

I have always said that everyone has their “thing” they geek out on.  Whatever you geek out on, you are most likely a stickler when someone is discussing it.  If you come across someone who appears to be misinformed about your geek subject, you likely correct them, if not out loud then in your head.  You know it to be true!

My geek subject, of course, is Walt Disney World.  Nowhere is safe for a Walt Disney World fanatic when it comes to phrases that make us cringe!  We hear them from friends, family, and our coworkers.  Even once we pass under that glorious sign and set foot in the apparent haven of our beloved 30,000 acre resort, we still are subject to the pangs of phrases from the mouths of blasphemers!  Without further adieu, in a semi-particular order, here are my top 10:

10. Harry Potter World is my favorite Disney park.

Yes, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is spectacular and is very much on the same level with Disney Imagineering but it is not Disney.  It is a very magical land but is located in Universal Orlando.  Walt Disney World transportation will not get you to the Harry Potter World, unless there is a knight bus this muggle doesn’t know about.

9. Animal Kingdom is a half day park.

safariI will begin by saying many WDW “fanatics” also claim this to be true but I believe a WDW fanatic would understand that touring a Disney Park is much more than just hitting all the “attractions.”  This is a park that was meant to be explored.  The whole park is an attraction and where I do believe this is the case for all the Disney Parks, it is even more true in this park than any other.  Go to Disney’s Animal Kingdom for a half day and report back to me all the things you did and I will list even more you didn’t do.

8. Why do you go back so much?

I get this question a lot and there are so many ways to answer it.  In fact, I have a few working drafts of a blog series called Reasons to Return where I cover just why you should return to Walt Disney World.  Without spoiling all of my future posts I will attempt to answer this one as briefly as possible.  I have not even come close to seeing and doing half of what there is at Walt Disney World.  The things I have done I love and want to do again!  Because I grew up going there with my grandparents, it’s like another home to me.  I have been home to visit my parents before but I still go back. The same is true for Walt Disney World.  When the Walt Disney World bus recordings say “Welcome Home,” it’s not just some cheesy gimmick, it rings true in the ears of many!

7. The park with the big golf ball.

??????????The only golf balls you should be referring to on Walt Disney World property are the ones at the 4 championship golf courses or the 2 miniature golf courses.  The “big golf ball” people often refer to is Epcot’s weenie, Spaceship Earth.  If Spaceship Earth could speak, it would no undoubtedly say, “I have a name you know!”

6. Call an attraction a ride

I know this one might sound petty but it bothers me because weird, nasty fairs and carnivals have rides and I cannot bare to even come close to accidentally comparing Walt Disney World to those places.  It is so much more than just a ride at Walt Disney World.  The attraction begins as you approach the queue.  I have even heard some people refer to some Walt Disney World attractions as rides and they don’t even move!

attraction-vs-ride

5. Use Disneyland and Walt Disney World interchangeably

The kind of looks someone may get if they hold up an apple an ask if it’s an apple or an orange would be very similar to the look a Disney fanatic would give to someone who confused Disneyland and Walt Disney World.  To a Disney fanatic, it’s easy to distinguish.  It’s second nature.  Something we have never had to think about.  Some haphazardly use one for the other unknowingly and some think Magic Kingdom is Disneyland or also called Disneyland.

4. We just go one day

Come again?…..I must have misheard because I thought you just said you only go one day to Walt Disney World!  This is pure torture for Disney fanatics!  It’s not that there is nothing else to do in Orlando but there is just so much to do at Walt Disney World.  I feel like you didn’t really go to Walt Disney World if you just went for one day.  It was more like you just stopped by.  For me, 4 days is a minimum and borderline torture but, yes, I guess one day is better than none.

3. We don’t eat in the parks

Walt Disney World is more than just rides and shows.  I already explained that Walt Disney World has “attractions” and one of the attractions is the food! ??????????Whether it’s a table service restaurant, quick service, or a snack, the food is part of the experience.  I understand that some people want to save money but if you know where to eat you can get some great food without breaking the bank.  I think the convenience of eating in the parks out-ways not having to leave the parks to eat or bringing your own food into the parks.

2. We stay off property

??????????Much like my argument about food, I truly believe staying on property is part of the Walt Disney World experience and the convenience far out-ways the money you might save by staying off property.  I never want to leave the magic of Walt Disney World so when I go, I park my car and don’t get back in it until I have to go back home.  Plus, if you close enough at those off-site places you may find the expenses can rack up.  You may still “save” money but you have sacrificed a little bit of money for a lot of time.  More to come on this subject.

1. Isn’t that place just for kids?

I  have mixed emotions when I get asked that question.  I am first annoyed by it as if they are attempting to belittle or judge me like a parent scoffing at an adult playing in the McDonald’s Play Place.  Then I feel a sense of sadnessiphone photos 088 I imagine Peter Pan often felt when he offered to take someone to Neverland and they told him they were to old for that.  Don’t be afraid to be a kid even if you are 45 years old!  I plan on never growing up.  I will answer the posed question with a resounding NO!  Even if you do not want to let go and be a kid for a little bit, there are still many things Walt Disney World offers that is great for or even just for adults.

If you are part of the Walt Disney World fanatic clan, I am sure you can attest to my list and even add some of your own.  If you are not part of the clan I must warn you, there are more of us out there than you realize so heed these 10 phrases as a warning!  Correct the error of your ways or you might find yourself corrected by a complete stranger.

575054_106783406183121_554385829_nWant a quote or ready to start planning your next trip? Send me a message through the contact page or call (314)494-9166 or email me directly at joey@magicalvacationsbyme.com

Also be sure to check out my current promo for Disney Cruise Line and other Disney Destination offers on the Promos and Special Offers page.

Posted in Disney Geek, Disney's Animal Kingdom, Disneyland, EPCOT, Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Guaranteed $50 On Board Credit for Disney Cruise Line

1460000_476951712428169_870777455_nIf you were on the fence about taking a Disney Cruise before the end of this year, maybe this will help.  Who says last minute shopping or a  little procrastination never pays off?

If you book a Disney Cruise that sails and returns by Dec 31, 2014 you will receive one of the following:

If your cruise is between $0 and $1,999.99: $50 on board credit.
If your cruise is between $2,000 and $2,999.99: $75 on board credit.
If your cruise is between $3,000 and $4,999.99: $100 on board credit.
If your cruise is $5,000 or greater: $150 on board credit.

This is not a Disney promotion nor is it an incentive through Magical Vacations by Me.  This is only and perk I am offering my clients and it’s only for a limited time so book now and start planning your magical vacation!

575054_106783406183121_554385829_nWant a quote or ready to start planning your next trip? Send me a message through the contact page or call (314)494-9166 or email me directly at joey@magicalvacationsbyme.com

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Giving Away $375 in Disney Gift Cards and Other Fun Prizes

If you have been following the blog the past year you might have noticed every once in awhile I will team up with some other great Disney bloggers or fan pages to offer you some free Disney stuff!  It’s that time again!  Giveaway time!

I have teamed up with my friends at Mouze Kateerz  and other travel agents within Magical Vacations by Me to bring you a very special giveaway! You could win a $250 Disney Gift Card or a $125 Disney Gift Card or a Sword & the Stone Blu Ray/DVD, or a Cinderella Blu Ray/DVD or a Jungle Book Blu Ray/DVD or a Frozen Blu Ray/DVD or a Minnie Chunkie necklace or a set of Chewie and Yoda Plush (AKA Stitch & Goofy). Entering is easy. Just click on the link below. Make sure you earn an easy 10 points by allowing Magical Vacations by Me to give you a complimentary quote at info@magicalvacationsbyme.com and make sure you tell them Joey (aka: Magical World of Walt or Mouse Host) sent you!  Best of luck to you!

ENTER FOR YOUR CHANCE TO WIN HERE

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Giveaway Details

The Giveaway begins at 12:15AM on Tuesday, July 9, 2014, and continues until 11:59PM on Sunday, July 13, 2014.  The winners will be selected from all the eligible entries on Monday, July 14, 2014, and will be notified via email to the email address specified in their entry information.  The winners will have 24 hours from the time the email is sent to them to claim their prize, and if they fail to do so, another winner will be chosen.  The winners may also be notified via social media avenues, but they must claim their prize via email.

The giveaway is only open to people aged 18 years of age or older living in the United States only.  To enter, complete the entry details you find in the Rafflecopter widget , and good luck everyone!  There are entries for every day of the giveaway, so keep coming back to get your maximum number of entries!

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Ready to start planning your next trip? Book with Magical Vacations by Me at (314)494-9166 or joey@magicalvacationsbyme.com

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American Idol to Close at Hollywood Studios

american-idol-headlingAfter a fairly short lifespan (4 1/2 years) Disney announced The American Idol Experience at Disney’s Hollywood Studios would close in January 2015 which will be just a month short of running 6 years.  The show would see over 30,000 contestants perform and gave away over 2,000 dream tickets during its run.

This was not the first time Disney’s Hollywood Studios offered guests the opportunity to be the contestant.  Eight years before American Idol would make its appearance in Disney Parks Who Wants to be a Millionaire-Play It offered guests the opportunity to sit in the hot seat as their trivia knowledge was tested in front of hundreds of people.  Who Wants to be a Millionaire-Play It closed in 2006 and would be replaced by our beloved Toy Story Midway Mania.

I have been fortunate enough to experience both Who Wants to be a Millionaire Play-It and The American Idol Experience (twice).  I don’t currently have any photos from Who Wants to be a Millionaire Play-It but you can read about my first experience performing on The American Idol Experience in a previous post.

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So now the question on everyone’s mind is: What are they going to do with that space?

There have been so many rumors circulating about converting a large section of Hollywood Studios in to a land themed after Star Wars or a Lucas Films themed land much like what we saw with the addition of Cars Land in Disney California Adventure.  Some suggest that The Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular and The Backlot Tour will soon join Who Wants to be a Millionaire Play-It and The American Idol Experience on the “remember those attractions?” list.  That however is a topic for another blog post.

??????????I don’t foresee Disney doing anything with this show building right away for a couple of reasons.  One: although they just finished a major project with the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, there is still a great deal of construction going on around the Walt Disney World Resort.  Two: I agree (and hope….to an extent) with the speculators who predict a Star Wars themed land will come to Disney’s Hollywood Studios.  After the purchase of Lucasfilm Ltd. by Disney and the increasing presence of Star Wars in the parks, I think Disney would be doing a disservice to itself and its guest not to.  Three: I think the American Idol show has quickly plummeted in popularity and I think this has affected Disney’s attraction as well.  The show has run its course and people are over it for the most part.  They have moved on to new shows like The Voice.

Is Disney just going to abandon the building for the time being.  We have seen Disney do this in Epcot with the Odyssey Center and The Wonders of Life pavilion.  This buildings only see guest during special events like Food & Wine Festival.  The American Idol Experience theater is an awfully large show building to just completely demolish and start from scratch but we all know Disney dreams big!  So will you miss The American Idol Experience?  Have you ever performed? What do you think will come of this building or area?  What do you hope to see?

575054_106783406183121_554385829_nReady to start planning your next trip? Book with Magical Vacations by Me at (314)494-9166 or joey@magicalvacationsbyme.com

 

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MyMagic Plus Test: Check-In Process

skip checkinWhat would be better than being able to FastPass+ the front desk to check-in to your resort?  Skipping the front desk check-in all together!

Did you hear about the new MyMagic+ test going on at Walt Disney World?  Disney’s new test allows you to go straight to your room once you arrive at your Walt Disney World resort hotel.  Yes, that means you can skip the front desk!  In order to take advantage of this perk, you would have to do the online check-in through your My Disney Experience account, link a credit card to your room, and consent to receive email and text message so that you can be notified once your room is ready and what room number.

The test began June 16th and is continuing through the 28th at these select resorts:

  • Disney’s Contemporary Resort
  • Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort
  • Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside
  • Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter
  • Disney’s Pop Century Resort
  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge Villas – Jambo House and Kidani Village

The only thing that surprises me about this test is that they are just now testing it.  It seems to be a pretty obvious way MyMagic+ cut down on the time guests spend preparing to begin their magical vacation and increase the amount of time they get to enjoy their time at the resort.  I am interested to see how quickly and smoothly this change occurs.  They call it a “test” but I suspect it will quickly make its way to the other resorts.  Do you think cutting out the front desk face-to-face interaction with cast members is a good thing in this instance?  If given the option, would you opt to bypass the front desk or check-in with a cast member?

575054_106783406183121_554385829_nReady to start planning your next trip?  Book with Magical Vacations by Me at (314)494-9166 or joey@magicalvacationsbyme.com

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My Magical Wedding

I apologize for my recent disappearing act!  I have neglected my blog too long!  Would you accept getting married as a valid excuse?  Unlike a lot of future husbands, I did help plan a lot of it.  Since I was very involved in the planning process you know there had to be some Disney reference somewhere.  I did sneak it in where I could.  My wife is not a huge Disney fanatic (yet) like I am so our whole wedding was not Disney-fied.  That just meant I had to sneak it in subtly which I think was more fun!

It started with the invitations.  I designed them myself so I built two hidden Mickey’s into them.  There was one on the front and one on the back.  Can you find them?

invitation front with mickeyinvite

At our rehearsal dinner my family decorated the tables with various photos of some of our adventures together, with the majority of them being from our recent trip to Walt Disney World together.

The next Disney reference occurred during the wedding which played out very interestingly and someone who did not expect it ended up being surprised.  I have a decently musical family so I had asked my mom, aunt, and sister if they would like to sing during the ceremony.  They of course said yes and I gave them the reigns for picking the song.  A couple of weeks away from the wedding, it was time to send the DJ the song and I was designing the wedding program (which also had a hidden Mickey on it) so I called my sister and asked if they had picked one yet and if she could send it to me.  She was very cryptic and told me just to put “love medley” on the program and asked me to send her the DJ’s email so she could just send the song to him.  She said she didn’t want me to have to be the “go between” and create more stress for me if there were any issues.  My sister is very sweet and she would absolutely do something like that for me but I knew there was more at work here.  I humored her and sent her the DJ’s email.

Later that night as I recounted the conversation to my fiance’ I told her my suspicion was that they were planning to do some Disney love songs.  Little did I know, she knew already.  She was in on it but I would not be the one surprised!  Once my family found out my suspicion they caved and spilled their guts.  The one thing I didn’t suspect that I wish they had surprised me with was they had got my best man in on it and he was going to take over at one point during the song.  Fast forward to two nights before the wedding.  My family and best man were practicing at my aunt’s house and of course I was singing along because….well they are Disney songs!  How could you not?  They decided it would be a great idea to finish the “love medley” by singing to my bride!  Although I didn’t really want to add anything else stressful to my plate (especially since Liz and I had another surprise lined up) they twisted my arm enough and I conceded.  My best man was originally supposed to finish out the medley with You’ve Got a Friend in Me but now he was starting the song and I was finishing it by singing the last verse to my lovely bride!  So even though Liz thought she was “in” on it the whole time, she was the one who ended up being surprised.  She didn’t see it coming and the look on her face was priceless!  Here is a short clip of the end of the song.

During the ceremony, our pastor ad-libbed some a Disney reference in by addressing Liz, letting her know she is also swearing allegiance to all things Disney by marrying me too!  She understood that and most of our guests did as well!  I thought it was a nice touch and no I did not ask him to do that.

wedding1

Our wedding was outside and our reception was in a pavilion right next to where the ceremony was held.  As guests were leaving the ceremony area and entering the reception area I had the DJ play Stellar Kart’s version of Kiss the Girl, A Whole New Worldand Be Our GuestThe DJ must have quickly picked up on the Disney theme because he play instrumental Disney songs during dinner and we did not ask him to do this.  I thought it was a very nice touch!  He was a fantastic DJ and all our guest were raving about him!  The serve in Knoxville and the Tampa area so check him out if you need a DJ at www.swordsounds.com

One of the last Disney touches we had planned for our wedding day was in our first dance.  The reason I was so hesitant to agree to sing during the wedding was because I already had the stress of performing our first dance.  That’s right, we choreographed our first dance.   It started off as a slow dance for about 2 minutes and then we busted into Can’t Touch This followed by a few other fun songs and we ended with Stellar Kart’s version of Can You Feel The Love Tonight.  Check out the video.  Sorry I don’t have the whole thing.  With all the wedding commotion, I forgot to ask someone to video our whole dance.  Oh, and only our photographer, coordinator, and DJ knew about the dance.

hiddenmickeyMy wedding day was absolutely perfect!  Everyone had a blast!  My only complaint is that it went by way to fast!  I married a wonderful girl who accepts me and my Disney obsession.  I someday hope to convert her to the Disney side!

Be sure to also check out our DJ’s blog about our wedding: Sword Sounds Blog.  He did a nice article and took numerous photos and a few videos.

 

It’s good to be blogging again!  Please stay tuned for more posts and as always, please contact me if you are interested in booking a vacation.  I specialize in Disney travel but can book just about anything else you can think of!  My services are complementary and I will do my best to make sure you have a magical, stress-free vacation!

575054_106783406183121_554385829_nReady to start planning your next trip?  Book with Magical Vacations by Me at (314)494-9166 or joey@magicalvacationsbyme.com

Posted in Disney Geek | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

We’re Giving Away Disney Stuff!!!

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Magical World of Walt has teamed up with several Disney fan pages to  bring you another great giveaway!  You can win one of these great prices when you enter!

Giveaway details

The Giveaway begins at 12:15AM on Friday, February 21, 2014, and continues until 11:59PM on Sunday, March 2, 2014.  The winners will be selected from all the eligible entries on Monday, March 3, 2014, and will be notified via email to the email address specified in their entry information.  The winners will have 24 hours from the time the email is sent to them to claim their prize, and if they fail to do so, another winner will be chosen.  The winners may also be notified via social media avenues, but they must claim their prize via email.

The giveaway is only open to people aged 18 years of age or older living in the United States only.  To enter, complete the entry details you find in the Rafflecopter widget , and good luck everyone!  There are entries for every day of the giveaway, so keep coming back to get your maximum number of entries!

If you share the giveaway on Facebook you can earn extra entries!  Also be sure to follow me on Twitter and Instagram @mousehost and check me out on Pintrest

CLICK HERE TO WIN ONE OF THESE GREAT PRIZES!

575054_106783406183121_554385829_nReady to start planning your next trip?  Book with Magical Vacations by Me at (314)494-9166 or joey@magicalvacationsbyme.com

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Our First Walt Disney World Trip

I jokingly said the only reason I signed up to run the Disney Marathon was because I knew my fiance would come to support me.  Thus I would get her to Walt Disney World before we got married.  A test…….if you will.  One: to see if she could handle living with a Disney geek.  She knew I was crazy about the Mouse but had never seen me released in The World.  Two: to see her reaction to Walt Disney World as there will be many more trips in our future.  Though I jest, I have to say the trip was a success!

iphone-photos-050Unfortunately our time was limited to 4 days this trip and 2 of them ended up being half days as far as park time goes but I think it was enough to whet her appetite!  We drove down after work on Friday and arrived at her friends house in Orlando at 4AM.  We slept for almost 5 hours before having breakfast at a wonderful local cafe.  We stopped by ESPN Wide World of Sports to pick up my race packet before heading to our first Disney home, All Star Sports Resort.  This was my first time visiting Wide World of Sports and though we were practically running in and out so we could get to Animal Kingdom, it was cool to check out the complex!

our-first-WDW-trip-3-071Usually I do Kilimanjaro Safaris in the  morning but since we got a late start we had FastPass+ reservations for the evening just before sunset.  I have now been converted to an evening Safari guy!  Even if the animals aren’t active the savannah is beautiful at sunset!  I would go even if there weren’t any animals!  From a photographer’s prospective, it was a great change!  Fortunately there were animals and they were more active than I have ever seen!  We saw two cheetahs interacting and playing with each other, had the best views of the lions I have ever had, and saw the elephants playing.  Some were chasing each other and one performed a nice little dance for us!

iphone photos 319We ate at the newly renovated End Zone Food Court several times during our trip.  I rarely eat at my resort but really enjoyed the create your own burger option and my fiance even had a veggie burger twice.  They cooked the burger right in front of you which took a little while but you know if was made fresh.  There were several toppings and three different sauces that you could choose from.  The garlic sauce was addicting but does a number on your breath!  The Food Court looked very good and clean and Disney even added a tribute to Hidden Mickey guru Steven Barrett.our first WDW trip 3 175

We woke up at 3:45am to get ready to head to the marathon starting line.  I brought headphones so I could listen to music while I ran but there were so much going on throughout the whole race that I never put my headphones in!  My sister and her husband also came to cheer me on.  They all bounced around all over Walt Disney World to encourage me.  I was surprised at how many places they were able to meet me.

iphone photos 137After a quick rest my fiance and I headed back to Epcot around 3 so are time was limited.  We had FP+ for Soarin’, Mission Space, and Nemo (not that it was needed), and we used singler rider line for Test Track.  My appetite finally came back so we ate at Sunshine Season and then played around in Innoventions some.  We had a little time before having to stake our claim to our IllumiNations spot so I took my fiance to see the jumping fountains that she saw when she rode the monorail while trying to meet me during the race.  Unfortunately we never made it to World Showcase this trip but now we have a reason to go back right?

We were sure to be at Hollywood Studios for rope drop so we could do the mad dash to Toy Story Mania.  They let us in early and we rode Toy Story once before the park officially opened.  They standby queue was showing 30 minutes after our first ride so we decided to go back through.  After our second go round it was time for our FP+ so we rode a third time!  It was glorious but our arms were sore!

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We also had FP+ for Tower of Tower and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster.  We rode The Great Movie Ride twice because the second time we wanted to look for all the hidden Mickeys.  My fiance loved hunting for hidden Mickeys.  She also loved the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular!  She loved the joke and punchline in the show for those of you who are familiar with it.  We ended the day on the back row (the best spot I think) viewing Fantasmic!

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We ended our trip in Magic Kingdom.  It started off rainy but didn’t really do anything except make the crowds lighter.  We hit Space Mountain 3 times included our FP+ option and the Tea Cups twice (kids at heart)!  We used FP+ for Enchanted Tales with Belle and I was selected to be a suit of armor.

We ate lunch at Be Our Guest Restaurant which was fantastic!  We made reservations online before our trip so we wouldn’t have to wait in line for 30 minutes.  We even preordered our meal to make it faster but they seemed to be having system issues that day so we had to reorder anyway.  I will spend more time on this subject later.

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We were so busy running around having fun we waited too long to eat dinner.  Our dining locations are a little limited since my fiance is a vegetarian and by the time we tried to find food most of the places with good veggie options closed already so we just chilled between the hub and Main Street waiting for Celebrate the Magic and Wishes.

Our first Disney home

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This was the first of many but we had a great first trip together!  It wasn’t near long enough but it was definitely enough to get her excited about going back.  She is already excited to go back and explore the many places we weren’t able to get to this trip.

Sorry for the long absence and the long post but stay tuned into the blog.  I have some big changes coming that I am excited about!

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Ready to start planning your next trip?  Book with Magical Vacations by Me at (314)494-9166 or joey@magicalvacationsbyme.com

Posted in Disney's Animal Kingdom, Disney's Hollywood Studios, EPCOT, Food, Magic Kingdom, Special Events, WDW Bucket List | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Marathon Weekend Pretrip Report

Today we are heading south!  The days leading up to this trip have been a lot different from my past trips.  I am excited but not to the extent as I have been with other trips.  It’s not at all because I am losing interest in my beloved Walt Disney World……please!  Don’t even go there!  I think it has to do with the 26.2 miles I paid to run…

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My sister and I back in the day

I am actually excited for the race as well but am a little nervous too because I have never ran a Marathon and the most mileage I have completed is 16.5 miles.  I am not looking for a record time.  I just want to be able to walk for the rest of our trip since we will have two and a half park days after the race.  I think I will be fine as long as I keep my pace slow.  I have a tendency to try to push myself.

My sister and brother-in-law will also be coming to the race.  My brother-in-law had to go to Orlando for business so my sister is flying with him and will spend a few days in Orlando.  They plan to come to the race and check out some place called Universal Studios.  I hope to meet up with them one night in Downtown Disney.  I also hope meet up with the owner of Magical Vacations by Me and another fellow travel agent after the race.

We are driving down Friday after my fiance’ gets off work at 5PM and plan on driving all the way to Orlando that night.  We will stay with some friends of her in Orlando that night (or morning rather).  Saturday morning we will first head to the Expo at the Wide World of Sports to pick up my race packet.  Then we will be off to Animal Kingdom.  We will probably just drive to the park since we will already be in the car.  I am going to try to leave the park before it closes, which will be very difficult for me to do but arriving in Orlando around 2AM that morning and having to run 26.2 miles the next day at 5:30AM makes me think I should get some sleep. 

sept 27 canon 052I am really excited to take my fiance’ to Animal Kingdom because she loves being outdoors, exploring, and hiking so I look forward to exploring the park with her.  She is also a huge advocate for not being wasteful, recycling, and all that good stuff so I think she will really appreciate the theme of the park . 

We have FP+ reservations for Expedition Everest, Kilimanjaro Safaris, and DINOSAUR even though MDE shows I also have 3 reservations in Magic Kingdom as well.  When I changed our schedule from starting off in Magic Kingdom to starting in Animal Kingdom, our Magic Kingdom FP+ selections never fell off.  Apparently this is a common issue but the Cast Member assured me the Animal Kingdom reservations would work.   

sept 22 010We have the Quick Service Dining plan so we will be eating well.  My finance’ is a vegetarian so we will  be hitting up the restaurants with good vegetarian options.  We will most likely go for Restaurantosaurus or Yak and Yeti counter service in Animal Kingdom for lunch and probably End Zone Food Court at All Star Sports after the park.  I hear the build-your-own burger is pretty good although I will probably go for the pasta.  I don’t think a burger and fries is the best fuel the night before a marathon.  I do look forward to checking out the newly renovated food court.  I hear there is even a hidden Steven Barrett in there!

I hope to finish the race in under 5 hours the next morning but my prediction could be way off since this is my first Marathon and I haven’t been training like I should.  My fiance’, sister, and brother-in-law will be at the race cheering me on…..probably mostly bored the whole time but they will be there cheering when I finish!  After the race I plan on racing back to the resort to get cleaned up and head out to Epcot. 

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At some point in the day I plan to meet up with the owner of our travel agency and another fellow agent for drinks….you know, to dehydrate.  We have FP+ selections for Mission Space, Test T, and The seas with Nemo & Friends (I know….I didin’t know what to spend my last one on).  I am thinking Tangerine Cafe (if Spice Road isn’t open yet) and maybe Lotus Blossom Cafe for our meals.  There is always Sunshine Seasons as well, which never disappoints.  My fiance’ also loves fireworks so I amexcitedfor her to see IllumiNations.  I am a sucker for that show!     sept-22-051

The plan for the next day is to be at rope drop for Hollywood Studios.  I want to go through the queue for Toy Story Mania as many times as possible before it gets too unbearably long even though we have FP+ reservation for it later in the day.  We also have reservations for Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster and Tower of Terror.  That’s right, I got my selections in before they made the switchover to picking from the 2 categories.  We will probably hit up Backlot Express and Studio Catering Comany for our meals since they have a grilled vegetable sandwich.      

Some say you should start your Walt Disney World vacation at Magic Kingdom but I don’t follow this rule.  I base my schedule off of crowd calendars, park hours, whether I have a Park Hopper, and other factors in my schedule like special events.  This trip just so happens to have us ending in Magic Kingdom.  I am not sure which would be a more magical experience: beginning your trip in Magic Kingdom or ending it there.  I think it will be a nice end to our first trip to Walt Disney World together. 

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We have FP+ reservations for Peter Pan’s Flight, Enchanted Tales with Belle, and Space Mountain.  I think we will head for Tomorrowland after rope drop and hit Space Mountain and Buzz since Splash Mountain will be closed.  We have FP+ lunch reservations for Be Our Guest Restaurant which I am super excited about!  I was fortunate enough to be able to take a tour of it in September before the park open but now I will get to taste the food!  I hear lunch is even better than dinner there!

After drying my eyes from watching Wishes with my fiance’ we will probably head to Downtown Disney for a little wandering, shopping, and maybe sit and relax with some drinks reminiscing about the highlights of our trip and start planning our next!  Follow Mouse a Host on Facebook for updates and photos during our trip!

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Ready to start planning your next trip?  Book with Magical Vacations by Me at (314)494-9166 or joey@magicalvacationsbyme.com

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Video: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

Who’s ready for this?!!!  It is set to open sometime this Spring!  I will try to post an update as soon as I know a date so you can book your trip to check it out!  I’ll be sure to get pictures of the Imagineers’ progress while I am down there this week.

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Book with Magical Vacations by Me at (314)494-9166 or joey@magicalvacationsbyme.com

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Magical World of Walt: 2013 in Review

Happy new year readers!  I want to thank everyone who has stopped by, stumbled upon, or commented on my blog this year!  I still consider myself fairly new to the blogging world and it is a challenge to keep up at times but it truly is a labor of love!  I enjoy doing it very much and hope that it will help at least one person have a more magical experience during their next Disney vacation.  Here are just a few stats for the year of 2013.  Be sure to check out some of the popular posts if you missed them and feel free to comment or message me anytime!  I look forward to another busy but magical Disney year and hope you have a great one as well!

Crunchy Numbers

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 5,400 times in 2013. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 5 trips to carry that many people.

nashville and hike 176In 2013, there were 56 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 95 posts. There were 288 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 187 MB. That’s about 6 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was November 2nd with 244 views. The most popular post that day was My MagicBand Experience and Helpful Hints.

Attractions in 2013

sept 29 066These are the posts that got the most views in 2013.

How did they find Me?

Some visitors came searching, mostly for country bear jamboree, tom sawyer island, kingdom camera rentals, and tips and hidden treasures at magic kingdom.

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Posted in Magical World of Walt | 2 Comments

5 Reasons to Book with Magical Vacations by Me

I try my best not to participate in anything unless it is something I believe in or would be proud to be a part of.  I am fortunate to be part of a great group called Magical Vacations by Me!  So I am doing a shameless plug for Magical Vacations by Me and myself because I believe we can help making your next vacation even more magical!  Let’s look at this as more of educational post rather than a shameless plug though….

Only the Best Promos

We modify reservations when promotions come out to save you money!  Even if it takes being on hold for 5 hours!  Contact me to book your next trip!

An infamous time among travel agents but our clients were happy!

Disney announces special promotions all throughout the year and often times the travel dates are only a couple months away.  We know many people like to have their trips planned and booked 6 months out or more.  So what happens if you book your trip and 2 months later Disney announces FREE dining for your dates?  If you booked your trip through Magical Vacations by Me then chances are we are already on hold with Disney to have the promo applied to your package.  Disney announced a great promo late this summer and some of our agents were on hold for hours at a time in order to save our clients money!  I was able to save my clients over $1200!  I receive notices as soon as Disney releases a new promotion so I am constantly checking them with my clients travel dates.  Even if you don’t have a trip planned and a great promotion comes out I think you might be interested in I will not only post it on the Promotions and Special Offers page but I will also let you know personally.

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Personal Vacation Planner

I can be as involved in your planning as you would like me to be.  I will even go and be your personal guide if you want to pay my way….wink wink!   Some people love the nitty gritty details of planning a Disney vacation.  I am one of them, which is why I became a travel agent.  For some, trying to figure out the best way to tackle the complexities of Walt Disney World or other Disney destinations frightens and stresses them out.  I don’t want you to be stressed or unprepared so I am happy to help you customize your trip to your needs and interests.  

I can help you set up and navigate your way through My Disney Experience to help you prepare for your trip, as well as figuring out those MagicBands and making suggestions for your FastPass+ selectionsI can also offer you suggestions on which park to visit and which parks to avoid on each day of your trip.  This will help you to avoid the larger crowds allowing you to make the most of your time.  I also try to make myself as available as I can during your travel dates in case you need to call with any questions or advice.  

Plussing You Experience

I can help you plus your Disney vacation by adding special experiences to your trip.  There are so many different ways to experience something new and different on every Disney vacation, even if you go every year.  There is a great variety of experiences that will appeal to all different types of tastes in entertainment.  So if you have someone crazy in the family who is less enthusiastic about a trip to Walt Disney World, a special experience might be the ticket to opening their eyes to the idea that Disney is not just a bunch of It’s a Small World rides.  I can make recommendations and reservations for special experiences that would be most appealing to you and the people in your party to make your trip more magical!  

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Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue

One of the best ways to plus your experience is by eating.  I tell people all the time that Disney has some of the best restaurants you will ever eat at period.  You will not only have great food and great service; you will also have a unique experience.  Whether you plan on doing table service meals or not, I always suggest eating in the restaurants while on a Disney vacation.  It is just as much part of the experience as riding The Haunted Mansion or watching Wishes.  If you are interested in table service I can call and make your dining reservations as well as make recommendations for both table service and counter service locations.

Thank You Gift

Here are a couple of reasons to book with Magical Vacations by Me!Like I said, I love the nitty gritty details in planning a Disney trip so I am very grateful when people book with me!  Besides the benefits of your business, I love sharing with you the magic of planning and experiencing a Disney vacation.  It brings me joy to see and hear how wonderful of a time my clients have on their vacation!  It comes in a close second to actually going on a Disney vacation myself.  To show my gratitude to you for allowing me to share in your special experience I will often offer a thank you gift.  Sometimes you may know what it is before hand like the current gift card I am offering which is listed on the Promotions and Special Offers page.  Other times the gift may be a surprise that arrives with your travel documents or may be waiting for you in your room when your arrive to your destination.  Sometimes Magical Vacations by Me will also have a special offer or giveaway that you could receive along with my thank you gift.  Currently, anyone who books with us through the end of the year will receive and entry into a drawing to win a $500 Disney gift card.  Click here for details. 

It’s Complimentary

recFree: One of our favorite words in the Disney community because it often is followed by our second favorite word….food!  This time I am not referring to food.  I am referring to my services.  Everything I have mentioned is completely free to you when you book through me.  You pay nothing for my services when you book a Disney vacation.  You pay the same price you would pay if you booked directly through Disney but you get SO much more when you book through Magical Vacations by Me.  If you have booked with me before a refer someone else to me who also books a trip I will also send you a little thank you gift for you referral!

575054_106783406183121_554385829_nReady to take advantage of the many services I offer?  Book with Magical Vacations by Me at (314)494-9166 or joey@magicalvacationsbyme.com and be entered for a chance to win a $500 Disney gift card!!!  See details here.

 

Posted in Disney Cruise Line, Disneyland, Magical Vacations by Me, Special Offers, Trip Planning, Walt Disney World | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

How to Use Your FP+ Selections

Not long ago my countdown to my next trip to Walt Disney World reached 60 days.  This presented me with the difficult task of making my FastPass+ selections.  After my last post about the FP+ testing going on in Epcot and Hollywood Studios I was asked what I would select for each park.  So instead of giving you my selections FPPand reasoning behind my selections I thought I would highlight some of the FP+ selections for each park to offer you some things to keep in mind when making selections for your next trip.

Eliminate

First you should filter out the attractions that you do not want to use or should not use a FP+ selection on.  Eliminate attractions that are not important to you or anyone in your group.  For instance, I have no interest in using my FP+ on Princess Fairytale Hall even though it can have one of the longest waits.  If you have kids that may be a different story.  If you have young kids you may not want to use one of your selections on Space Mountain.

sept 24 nikon 007(2)Before you go any further in to the FP+ decision making process you will want to eliminate attractions that you should not use FP+ on.  You might be asking, “Why are they using FP+ at the attraction if we shouldn’t us it?”  I am saying this as a rule of thumb.  I am not saying it is never a good idea because everyone tours differently and has different likes and dislikes but there are some attractions where the wait time does not get long enough for it to be an economical use of a FP+ selection.  You can probably guess most of these attractions but a good resource to use is touringplans.com but you do have to purchase a subscription.  If you book through me I will include this information and help you personalize your FP+ selections as a free perk.

Headliners

Your next step should be to look at headlining attractions you are interested it.  As a more popular attraction, headliners are naturally going to have a longer wait.  Again, touringplans.com or my services can help you with these details but for the most part you know the headlining attractions.  Here are a few attractions from each park that will maintain longer wait times than most attractions:

Magic Kingdom  

      • Space Mountain, Peter Pan’s Flight, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Splash Mountain,  The Many Adventures with Winne the Pooh, Princess Fairytale Hall, Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin, Haunted Mansion

Epcot

      • Test Track, Soarin’, Maelstrom, Character Spot

Hollywood Studios

      • Toy Story Midway Mania, Tower of Terror, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, Start Tours

Animal Kingdom

      • Expedition Everest, Kilimanjaro Safaris, Kali River Rapids, Primeval Whirl

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At this point you can use your 3 FP+ selections on any of the participating attractions in Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom.  So you can pick 3 headlining attractions if you wish but that is no longer the case for Epcot and Hollywood Studios.  Disney is testing a new FP+ arrangement where you can only use one of your FP+ selections for a headlining attraction.  Click here for details on this change.  

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Your Wait Experience

Something else you might want to keep in mind when making your FP+ selections is what kind of experience you will have in the queue of attractions you don’t have FP+ for.  I assume you are going to experience more than 3 attractions when you visit a park so waiting in line is inevitable.  So if you are having difficulty deciding how to use your 3rd FP+ selection start thinking, “If I use my FP+ on ______, then I will have to wait in line for ______.  With that being said, now ask yourself, “Is there a queue that I don’t want to wait in?” and “Is there a queue that I want to or wouldn’t mind going through?” 

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Had to stay in the park until 3am to see this rare sight

If you are visiting in the summer it is going to be hot so you might want to keep in mind what attractions have indoor queues and which have outdoor queues.  For instance, I would rather wait in any other queue in all of Walt Disney World over Peter Pan’s Flight.  It is outdoors and it can get really stuffy winding back and forth!  Space Mountain on the other hand has quite a bit of its queue inside so if I wanted to ride both equally as much and only had one FP+ to use between the two, I would use it on Peter Pan’s Flight.

“Is there a queue that I want to go through?”  Who would ask that?!  Walt Disney World has been incorporating more and more interactive queues lately which makes waiting a lot more entertaining and I do suggest you take the time to experience some of them.  They are part of the attraction too!  Even some without interactive elements have been themed so well they can be quite entertaining during your wait.

Shows and Fireworks  

fireworksIt seems Disney has been testing the use of FP+ on some shows and fireworks.  I have never used a FP+ on any of these and personally probably never would.  There is a FP+ availability for Finding Nemo the Musical in Animal Kingdom but I have heard that it does not include any special seating.  It’s just basically a faster way in and unless you are going during an extremely busy time of year, this show is not difficult to get in.  I can’t speak personally about the FP+ viewing of Wishes, IllumiNations, and Fantasmic but I have heard numerous people suggest not to use FP+ on them.  The viewing spot for Wishes is in the Rose Garden which doesn’t give you the classic view because it is off to the side.  I personally like to be in the back of Fantasmic because it’s easier to escape the crowd after.  There are so many good viewing spots for IllumiNations I don’t think it is worth using your one headliner on.  So again, as a rule of thumb, I would not use FP+ on shows or fireworks. 

Summary

I believe all parks will eventually implement the testing (or some form of it) that is going on at Epcot and Hollywood Studios.  It may seem frustrating but I believe they are doing this to decrease the wait time of the FP+ queues of headlining attractions.  I will leave you with one last pointer: pick a FP+ time during the middle of the day when the wait times will be longer and use the standby queues while wait times are lower.

575054_106783406183121_554385829_nReady to test FastPass+ yourself?  Book with Magical Vacations by Me at (314)494-9166 or joey@magicalvacationsbyme.com and be entered for a chance to win a $500 Disney gift card!!! See details here.

     

Posted in Disney's Animal Kingdom, Disney's Hollywood Studios, EPCOT, Magic Kingdom, Trip Planning | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Happy Birthday Walt

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“I hope we never lose sight of one thing – that it was all started by a mouse.”

-Walter Elias Disney

Walt Disney gives credit to Mickey Mouse but we all know the magic we are blessed to be able to experience through motion pictures and theme parks all over the world is the result of one man’s dream.  Walt Disney’s hard work, determination, inspiration, and imagination has reserved him a title as one of the greatest (if not the greatest) names in entertainment history.  There will never be another like him!

One-man's-dream blog additions

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Trip Saver Tip: Unused Park Tickets

Have unused Walt Disney World tickets piling up in your drawer?  Take photos of them in case they get lost in the wilderness that is life.  If that 2-day base ticket you bought just to get free dining gets lost, Disney should be able to reissue your ticket using the ID# on it.  Another great way to keep your ticket safe would be to link it to your My Disney Experience profile.  I would probably still take a photo and save it on your computer just to be safe though.  Happy trip planning!

MDE-tickets

575054_106783406183121_554385829_nBook with Magical Vacations by Me at (314)494-9166 or joey@magicalvacationsbyme.com and be entered for a chance to win a $500 Disney gift card!!!  See details here.

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FastPass+ Changes at Epcot and Hollywood Studios

headingDisney debuted a new test in the FastPass+ system at Epcot earlier this month and now that test seems to have made its way to Hollywood Studios.  At both Epcot and Hollywood Studios, guest can no longer select any three participating attractions as their FastPass+ reservations.  Guests will still be able to select three attractions but the attractions have been put into two categories.  They will get one selection form category A, which is mostly headliners, and two selections from column B which consists of the rest of the FP+ attractions.  If you have already made your selections foHS FP+r Epcot or Hollywood Studios before this switch and were able to choose more than one headliner, keep in mind if you alter your plans you will have to make your new selections according to this new system.  My FP+ selections for Epcot during marathon weekend are under this new system but I was able to schedule my Hollywood Studios reservations before the switch so I do not plan to change mine because I like my Toy Story Midway Mania, Rockin ‘n’ Roller Coaster, and Tower of Terror selections!  Below are the current selections for each park.

Epcot FastPass+ Selections

Column A (Choose ONE preference)

  • IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth
  • Maelstrom
  • Epcot Character Spot
  • Soarin’
  • Test Track

Column B (Choose TWO preferences)

  • Captain EO
  • Journey Into Imagination with Figment
  • Living with the Land
  • Mission Space
  • Spaceship Earth
  • The Seas with Nemo and Friends
  • Turtle Talk with Crush

Hollywood Studios FastPass+ Selections

Column A (Choose ONE option)

  • Beauty and the Beast – Live on Stage
  • Fantasmic!
  • Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster
  • Toy Story Mania!

Column B (Choose TWO options)

  • The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
  • The Great Movie Ride
  • Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular!
  • Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show
  • Muppet*Vision 3D
  • Star Tours: The Adventures Continue
  • Disney Junior – Live on Stage
  • The American Idol® Experience

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Ready to test MagicBands yourself?  Book with Magical Vacations by Me at (314)494-9166 or joey@magicalvacationsbyme.com and be entered for a chance to win a $500 Disney gift card!!! See details hereAlso be sure to check out the special offers page.

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Check Out the New Promo and Special Offer Page

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I have added a new page to the website to help you keep track of all the current promotions that Disney is offering as well as offers our travel agency, Magical Vacations by Me might be offering.  Occasionally, I will also have something special to offer my readers who book their Disney vacation through me so be sure to be on the lookout for those as well!  If you see a promotion you are interested in please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or to get your free, no obligation quote.   Check out the new Promotions and Special Offers page to help start planning your next trip!

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Thank You Veterans!

disney-037One of the most touching experiences in all of Walt Disney World occurs in the Rotunda of the American Adventure Theater when The Voices of Liberty honor all the veterans by singing the fight song of each branch of the military.  They encourage guest who served to stand when they hear their fight song and it is truly an amazing heart warming experience.  If you are like me, you try to hold back the tears as you gratefully applaud these heroes as they sing along with the one song they probably will never forget. I love that Disney goes out of their way to honor our veterans and it is a very special experience whether you are a veteran or not!  Disney also American-Adventure-(1)honors veterans every evening in the Magic Kingdom with the Flag Retreat.  The American Flag in Town Square is ceremonially lowered and removed from the flagpole everyday at 5 o’clock, often by a veteran.  I encourage you to check these out next time you are at Walt Disney World whether it is Veterans Day or not.  Any day is a great day to honor our veterans!  Thank you so much to all who have served!

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Want a quote or ready to start planning your next trip? Send me a message through the contact page or call (314)494-9166 or email me directly at joey@magicalvacationsbyme.com

Also be sure to check out my current promo for Disney Cruise Line and other Disney Destination offers on the Promos and Special Offers page.

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Jingle Cruise Coming to Adventurelands

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Headed to Walt Disney World for the Holiday season?  Well, soon you will be able to jingle all the way on the Jungle Cruise.  If you recently visisted Walt Disney World you were most likely disappointed to find those increasingly common constuction walls keeping you from your tour with the wittiest skippers in the jungle.  Well, the Cruise is back but with a jingle!  Unable to make it home for the holiday this year, the skippers decided to bring the holidays to the jungle.  They have decked the queue, boathouse, and attraction with Christmas decorations and even gave the boats holiday themed names.  The new version of the cruise referred to as the Jingle Cruise is set to debut in Disneyland November 12 and in Magic Kingdom November 8.  What do you think about this temporary change to the Jungle Cruise?  If you are headed to Walt Disney World soon, please come back and tell us what you think and share pictures!       

575054_106783406183121_554385829_nReady to test MagicBands yourself?  Book with Magical Vacations by Me at (314)494-9166 or joey@magicalvacationsbyme.com and be entered for a chance to win a $500 Disney gift card!!! See details here.

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What I Want for My Birthday

wpid-IMG_20131105_092847-1.jpgIt’s my birthday today!  Not my blogs birthday, but mine.  Want to get me something for my birthday?  I will tell you the same thing I told my mom.  Instead of getting me anything, you can donate to through the WDW Radio Running Team to the Make A Wish Foundation.  Read about my involvement here.

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My MagicBand Experience and Helpful Hints

nashville and hike 176I was fortunate enough to be part of the MagicBand testing on my last trip to Walt Disney World.  Disney has plans to begin testing in all resorts by the end of the year so I thought I would write a review of my experience and offer a few tips that might help some of you who may be using it for the first time on your next trip.  As you read, please remember that Disney is still in the testing phases of MagicBands and FastPass+ so what I write about is not set in stone.

Before You Go

Before your trip be sure to check your account on My Disney Experience (MDE) because it is there you can customize your MagicBand by selecting a color and choosing the name that will appear on the inside of the band, which is helpful if you are traveling with someone with the same color band.  If a shipping address is confirmed MDE then the bands will be sent before your travel date.  If you receive your MagicBands in the mail before your trip and are flying, be sure to pack them in your carry-on so you can have them on hand…or on wrist rather, when you arrive at Walt Disney World and you can hit the parks right away.   

MDEIt is also important to log into you account on MDE because this is where you will schedule your FastPass+ reservations.  I was only able to make a reservation for 3 different attractions at one park per day.  There are rumors of moderate and deluxe resort guests receiving more than 3 reservations and questions as to whether, in the future, if guests will be able to make reservations for multiple parks in one day.   

Park Entrance

In my opinion, MagicBands have made entrance into the parks so much easier and faster.  The bottlenecks caused  by guests attempting to corral through the narrow, annoying turnstiles are a thing of the past at Walt Disney World parks!  This has opened up the entry way making much easier and faster, especially for guests who might have difficulty fitting through turnstiles or guests with strollers.  All that exists now are posts with a Mickey on them, along with a finger scanner.  All you have to do is touch the Mickey on the MagicBand to the Mickey on the touch point post.  Once the touch point Mickey lights up just place your finger on the scanner until it lights up green.  Then it’s off to the races for Toy Story Mania!  Another advantage to the Untitled-1new system is the space that has become available after the removal of the turnstiles.  Not only if there more space but there seem to be more touch point posts than there were turnstiles.   The increased amount of entry points along with the quicker, easier entry process will allow you to enter the park quickly, no matter how larger the pre-rope drop crowd may seem. 

FastPass+

Overall, I thought the FastPass+ system was great!  Most people know what attractions they are going to get FastPasses for before they hit the parks so scheduling my FastPasses was not a problem for me.  Of course, between the time I left for Walt Disney World and the time I was hitting the parks for the last day of my trip, my plans had changed.  This was not a problem because there are multiple ways to alter your FP+ reservations. 

MDE-mobile-004The most convenient way to change your FP+ reservation is to use the free My Disney Experience app on your smart phone.  I originally planned to hit the Magic Kingdom for the half day before my flight home so I had FP+ scheduled for that park but since I spent more time there during my stay than I had anticipated, I decided to have one last go at Toy Story Mania before heading home.  I got a late start on that day because I checked my luggage and checked into my flight at the resort before hitting the park.  On the bus ride to Hollywood Studios, an hour after the park had opened, I schedule FP+ selections for Toy Story Mania, The Great Movie Ride, and Tower of Terror.  When I arrived at the park, I scanned my MagicBand and finger and went straight to Toy Story Mania and was a minute early for my scheduled FP+ time!  I used my other 2 FP+ reservations and utilized the single rider line on Rockin’ Roller Coaster.  Pretty good for a last-minute schedule change!  I would have never been able to do that on the old FastPass system.

We all know that Walt Disney World is a magical place but unfortunately some of this magic is used to drain your smart phone battery twice as fast as anywhere else in the world.  If this happens to you, like it did me, or maybe you do not own a smart phone (my fiancée), you can still reschedule your FP+ selections.  The other way to alter you FP+ selections once you are in Walt Disney World is by using one of the FP+ kiosks in the parks.  All you have to do is scan your band and reschedule like you would on My Disney Experience.  There is usually a Cast Member hanging around to assist you so do not fret if the system scares you.  There is always someone to help! 

The unfortunate part about using the kiosks to reschedule your change your FP+ selections is you can only make changes for the park you are in.  For instance, I could not change the selections I had for Magic Kingdom later that night from the kiosk in Epcot.  I have not heard of any changes being made to this but I feel like it would be an easy to implement.  I also think it would be good to have at least one kiosk at every resort, ideally at the bus stop.  I realize most people have come to the dark side (smart phones) so kiosks may not be utilized by the majority but I would use a kiosk at a bus stop if it meant saving my phone battery.  Whether you have a smart phone or not, write down your FP+ schedule for the day because if you are like me you will forget and you will either have to guess at your return time or possibly backtrack to the kiosks for a reminder.     

Linking a Form of Payment to Your MagicBand

I did not get to do this but wanted to and tried.  The Cast Member who assisted me seemed to be having issues getting it set up but ended up handing my MagicBand back to me and told me I was all set.  I thought this was odd because I thought I remembered reading that a pin must be set up in order to use the MagicBand for financial transactions even if using a credit card.  I found out I was correct when I tried to pay for something and they asked for my pin.  sept 29 104The MagicBand would not be easy to lose as long as it’s on your wrist but if it were to be misplaced and you had a credit card stored on it you would not have to worry about someone buying 100 Dole Whips with it.  I prefer the ease of swiping my MagicBand as payment over searching all my pockets or digging into my backpack frantically looking for my credit card.      

A Few Other Notes and Summary

  • ??????????The MagicBand is waterproof so feel free to wear it in the pool, shower, and at the water parks.  This is very handy if you like to purchase food at the water parks.  Now you don’t have to carry a form of payment with as long as you have a card linked to your Band.
  • There are many accessories available to customize your MagicBand to make it unique.  Accessories range from charms to covers and can be found in gift shops all over the Walt Disney World Resort.
  • Keep the paper the Cast Member writes your resort room number on unless you have a good memory.  Otherwise, you will be like me, going door to door the first night trying my MagicBand until I get a green light on the lock. 

Disney’s motivation behind MagicBands was to enhance a guest’s overall experience.  I think they are well on their way to accomplishing this.  I believe the current MagicBand system, despite a few existing bugs/flaws, can enhance your Walt Disney World vacation once guests fully understand it.  I can also see and have heard rumors of even more potential possibilities for MagicBands that could create an even more unique experience while visiting the Walt Disney World Resort.  I think and hope that this is only the beginning! 

What are your thoughts about MagicBands and MyMagic+?  Do you love it or are you skeptical?  I’d love to hear your experience, thoughts, questions, concerns in the comments below!

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Ready to test MagicBands yourself?  Book with Magical Vacations by Me at (314)494-9166 or joey@magicalvacationsbyme.com and be entered for a chance to win a $500 Disney gift card!!! See details here.

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Happy Halloween

Boo to you and happy Halloween!  Here is a slideshow to celebrate the occasion!

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575054_106783406183121_554385829_nStart planning your next magical vacation by contacting Magical Vacations by Me at (314)494-9166 or joey@magicalvacationsbyme.com

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Packing Pointer

sept 21 nikon 002After assembling all your essentials for your Disney vacation, do you ever wonder, “How in the world am I going to fit all that in my suitcase?!”  I asked myself this as I looked at the pile sitting next to my suitcase when preparing for my most recent trip.  As I began packing my clothes it became clear that I would have plenty of room!….maybe too much room.  The trick is to roll your clothes.  I start with my shirts and roll them real tight and squeeze them in the bottom of the suitcase between the two bars that run down the middle.  Also, make sure the heaviest part of your suitcase is at the bottom.  If it is at the top you might have a difficult time getting your luggage to stand upright without it falling over all the time.  Because I pack my clothes so tight, the area where I pack my clothes is usually the heaviest so I pack the majority of my clothes at the bottom of my suitcase.  Hope this helps relieve some of your packing anxiety!     mousehost

Be sure to check me out on Facebook for photos from my most recent trip and watch the blog for a post about my experience with the MagicBand and FastPass+.  

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Book with Magical Vacations by Me at (314)494-9166 or joey@magicalvacationsbyme.com and be entered for a chance to win a $500 Disney gift card!!! See details here.

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Avatar Coming to an Animal Kingdom Near You

AVATAR Coming To Disney Parks

Remember the movie Avatar?  Well, if you have wandered around the Disney blogosphere at all, you probably have heard Disney acquired the park rights to the film that was nominated for 9 different Academy Awards for 2009.  Disney plans to incorporate key attractions reminiscent of the film in a land themed, in typical Disney fashion, to the moon of Pandora, which is the setting of the film.  This new alien land is set to make its way to an Animal Kingdom near you!

That’s right, the next park to get a new land looks to be Disney’s Animal Kingdom, not Hollywood Studios as some predicted an hoped for (Cars Land).  Why Avatar?  Why Animal Kingdom?  Since this is not a movie review blog, I will refrain from reviewing the film but I do suggest you see it.  If you have easy access to a time machine and can go back in time and see it in an IMAX 3D theater, I highly recommend it.  It really is pretty phenomenal!  Now, to answer the two questions I made you ask….

Why Avatar? 

Besides Avatar being the highest grossing box-office film in history, the better question might be “Why James Cameron?”  Again, I will refrain from side tracking to a biography on James Cameron but if you take time to read about his work in developing the film you will find out Cameron had the idea for Avatar long before production ever began on the film.  In 1997 Cameron also had the highest grossing box office film, Titanic, and was already working on Avatar but the technology he wanted for the film was not yet available.  Cameron was very instumental in the development of the technology that was finally used for the film in 2009.  Much like Disney, James Cameron is a renowned name in the film industry and is known not only for his quality productions but also for revolutionizing the industry he works in.  Both Disney and Cameron exemplify the popular Horizons quote, “If you can dream it, you can do it!”

Why Animal Kingdom?  

For those of you who have seen the film, you might have picked up on the theme of learning to live in harmony with nature.  I think the theme of Animal Kingdom and of Avatar could not go more hand in hand.  It’s hard not to pick up on this same theme in Animal Kingdom as it is built into almost every attraction and even in the atmosphere of the park.  The addition of a land themed to Avatar will just be an extention of Animal Kindom’s environmental edutainment.     

My Thoughts

I was originally skeptical about this coming addition to Animal Kingdom, thinking it would not fit well in this park because of it’s highly fictional storyline but after hearing and seeing more from Disney about its development, they have won me over. 

I think there is a great deal of potential for the atmosphere of the land with all of the effects they can incorporate to portray the bioluminescent setting of Pandora.  The effects will be most effective at night, which we all know Animal Kingdom is not a night park but that is going to change as well, which I am extremely excited about!  They are also developing a nighttime version of Kiliminjaro Safaris and a nighttime show for the park as well!

I am excited to see this new land in action!  It will be taking over Camp Minnie Mickey, which I feel has been a dead end in the Animal Kingdom for the most part with the exception of Festival of the Lion King.  I think this will be a better use of that space.  I do not recall seeing Disney refer to the new land as “Avatarland” and I really hope they do not.  I believe it would be more appropriate and effective to call the new land what it is, Pandora.  I believe Pandora more accurately reflects the reason it was added to Animal Kingdom.  Avatarland would be more reminiscent of the movie whereas Pandora would be more reminiscent of the theme of the movie, which is also a theme of Animal Kingdom.    

What do you think of Avatar being represented a Walt Disney World and in Animal Kingdom?  Check out this video by Disney Parks and check out the articles on the Disney Parks Blog for some concept art of the newest land coming to Walt Disney World!

Ready for your next magical vacation?  Contact me for your FREE no obligation quote and for a chance to win a $500 Disney gift card!

575054_106783406183121_554385829_nStart planning your next magical vacation by contacting Magical Vacations by Me at (314)494-9166 or joey@magicalvacationsbyme.com

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Glow with the Show Makes its Way to Walt Disney World

Unfortunately, I have not been to Disneyland but last year I stumbled across an article about the Glow With The Show at Disneyland.  After reading the article and seeing a video, I thought it would be a great addition to Walt Disney World and I even created a draft to write a post about my opinion!  Well, the higher ups at Walt Disney World must have heard my thoughts because Walt Disney World now has Glow With The Show!  The light-up ears made their debut last night at Hollywood Studio’s nighttime spectacular, Fantasmic! and will make their first appearance during Celebrate the Magic and Wishes in the Magic Kingdom beginning October 19th!  Have you ever had the pleassure of seeing Glow With The Show at Disneyland?  Check out this cool video from Disney Parks Blog!

Boo575054_106783406183121_554385829_nk with Magical Vacations by Me at (314)494-9166 or joey@magicalvacationsbyme.com and be entered for a chance to win a $500 Disney gift card!!! See details here.

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What’s Better Than a Party?…A Disney Party!

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Hey locals!  Magical Vacations by Me is inviting you to a Disney party! Join us to learn more about planning a Disney vacation or just to get excited about your next trip.  Stay the whole time or just stop by to get your questions answered and to pick up some information.

To show our appreciation to you, Magical Vacations by Me is giving away a *$500 Disney gift card! Here are 3 ways you can earn entries: attend the party, bring a friend, and **booking your next Disney vacation with us! Come to the party for a glimpse of the unforgettable magic you can experience on a Disney vacation and to learn how you can earn more entries for the $500 Disney gift card giveaway! See ya real soon!

*Winner will be announce on January 2, 2014 12:00 pm EST ** Must book by December 31,2013 (11:59pm EST)

Vienna-Coffee4chamber4webWhen: 4-7pm on October 19th

Where: Vienna Coffee House conference room- 212 College Street, Maryville, TN 37804

Please RSVP on the contact page or by emailing joey@magicalvacationsbyme.comMagical-Vacations-by-Me-Logo

Ready for your next magical vacation?  Contact me for your FREE no obligation quote and for a chance to win a $500 Disney gift card!

Start planning your next magical vacation by contacting Magical Vacations by Me at (314)494-9166 or joey@magicalvacationsbyme.com

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My Experience with Kingdom Camera Rentals and Special Offer for You

kingdom-camera-rentalsAbout a year ago I stumbled upon a company that rents camera equipment whose target customers were guests at the Walt Disney World Resort.  Being a fan of both Walt Disney World and photography, I thought this was a great concept and knew it was something I would have to try.  My most recent trip to Walt Disney World I participated in the Agent Education Program where we did walking tours of numerous resorts and one of the Disney Cruise Line ships.  I knew it might be difficult to capture some of the resort lobbies and rooms in one photo so I thought an ultra-wide angle lens would do the trick.  I do not currently own a ultra-wide angle lens so this trip was and ideal opportunity to try out the services of Kingdom Camera Rentals. 

lens1 002My experience began on their website which is pretty simple and easy to navigate.  You can search for packages or individual pieces of equipment.  If you are a beginner photographer and are considering an upgrade to a DSLR but not quite sure you are ready to commit a package might be a great option for you!  The packages provide you everything needed to get started in DLSR photography, including multiple camera bag options.  A package might also be ideal for you if you do not want to lug all your camera equipment on a plane to Walt Disney World or if your camera just happens to stop working right before or even during your magical vacation.

If you do not need all of the equipment in a package you can also rent individual pieces of equipment from camera bodies to SD cards.  The bodies and lenses they offer are Canon or Nikon.  They do not have every lens out there but they definitely offer plenty of options to allow you to be creative and try new things on your next trip to Walt Disney World, whether you are looking for great family photos or an artistic perspective of the resort.   Being able to rent individual pieces of equipment could prove to be a trip saver if you discovered you left your camera battery at home or your SD card all of a sudden decides to quite working on the monorail ride to Magic Kingdom.

You can rent your equipment completely online or you can call.  I decided I would call to ask a few questions before I ordered.  I did not get an answer on my first attempt but before I could even set my phone down I received a call back.  I spoke to a man named, Ron who offered me suggestions on a lens selection once I told him what I was looking to do on this trip.  He was extremely nice and helpful.  After our conversation, I went through the complete checkout process online which I found to be very user friendly.  Even though I was only renting a lens, each rental comes with a complimentary camera bag so I was given a choice of multiple types and sizes of camera bags!  I chose a backpack with two straps which allowed me to pack my camera along with two other lenses and a bunch of other park survival items I pack into the park like a pack mule!    

Kingdom Camera Rentals drops off and picks up the equipment which is extremely convenient!  They will meet you in the lobby of your Walt Disney World resort with your gear and you can pick the time that works best for you!  I chose to meet at 7:30am because I like to be in the parks at rope drop.   Ron, the man I spoke to on the phone was there with my equipment.  All I had to do was sign, confirming the receipt of the equipment and I was off to the parks.  He said he understood how valuable park time was so he provided me with a business card in case anything went wrong with my equipment and they would meet up with me as soon as possible.  I returned the equipment the same time a week later and again, all I had to do was sign confirming it was returned and I was off, back to bed!

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Taken with Canon EF 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 UltraWide Zoom rented from Kingdom Camera Rentals

Whether, you are considering getting into photography or consider yourself to be a veteran, I would definitely recommend checking out Kingdom Camera Rentals for your next trip to Walt Disney World.  If anything, it would be good to have their number on hand in case your equipment malfunctions while at Walt Disney World.  Check them out and be sure to tell them Joey sent you.  In fact, they have been kind enough to offer readers of Magical World of Walt a discount now through 11/9/13.  Just use promo code MAGICAL10 during checkout and receive 10% off your order!  They also have a great refund policy!  If you change your mind and want to cancel, you will get a full refund as long as you cancel 7 days or more prior to delivery.  If its within that 7 day window its a $50 charge. 

If you have used Kingdom Camera Rentals in the past or end up using them on a future trip feel free to comment on your experience here!

Ready for your next magical vacation?  Contact me for your FREE no obligation quote and for a chance to win a $500 Disney gift card!

575054_106783406183121_554385829_nStart planning your next magical vacation by contacting Magical Vacations by Me at (314)494-9166 or joey@magicalvacationsbyme.com

      

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What I Would Spend a $400 Disney Gift Card On

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I am a park guy so if I could enter in this contest and win I would use the card to go toward a trip to Walt Disney World!  Maybe stash it in a drawer and save it for a honeymoon?….  Well, we haven’t made it that far in our planning yet but I do need to figure out when my next trip will be after Marathon weekend in January.  I can’t leave Disney property without having a countdown to my next trip.

What would you spend a $400 Disney gift card on?  Leave your suggestions in the comments below and don’t forget to enter!  Good luck to you and have a magical day!

Ready for your next magical vacation?  Contact me for your FREE no obligation quote and for a chance to win a $500 Disney gift card!

575054_106783406183121_554385829_nStart planning your next magical vacation by contacting Magical Vacations by Me at (314)494-9166 or joey@magicalvacationsbyme.com

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6 Parks 1 Day

So my roommate at the Agent Education Program and fellow Magical Vacations by Me agent decided we would attempt to do all 6 parks in one day.  As part of the program we were give a 5 Park Hopper and Water Park Fun & More comp ticket.  We both have annual passes so we really did not need this ticket but both decided we would try to check out the water parks sometime during our stay since our annual passes do not grant us admission to the water parks.  I have only been to Typhoon Lagoon and it was a long time ago and my roommate had never been to either.  Well, our idea quickly developed into visiting all four theme parks and two water parks in one day.  The description of the ticket in our AEP welcome 1094665_405473039576037_1585514065_opacket made it sound like we could only visit one water park using this ticket so we had to settle for 5 parks in one day…still a lofty goal.  Luckily, had acquired a number of special fastpasses good for any attraction and we had some for every park.  These were given to us to use during our travel agent training and several of the agents did not use all of them and graciously gave them to us before they left.

We were upgraded to a family suite in Art of Animation for Saturday night because of some difficulty checking in the night before so first thing in the morning we went and checked into our new room.  Luckily they had an available room ready so we took our bags up and our adventures began.

857198_405784762878198_1633369327_oWe made our way to Hollywood Studios since it had morning extra magic hours and opened at 8am.  Checking in beforehand put us behind a half hour so we did not make it into the park until 8:30.  We decided on the bus ride over that to make this legit, we had to do at least 3 attractions in each park.  Upon arriving to Hollywood Studios we made our way to Toy Story Mania but noticed on the sign at the corner of Hollywood and Sunset Blvd that Toy Story was down.  1262454_405784116211596_520479317_oWe immediately diverged to Rockin’ Rocker Coaster.  We could have done single rider line here but decided to use one of our fastpasses.  The fastpasses we had for Hollywood Studios was good for up to 5 guests so we just used one and invite a few people to skip the standby line with us.  Then we jumped over to Tower of Terror.  After finishing up on Sunset Blvd, we glanced at the board again and Toy Story was still down so we shot over to Echo Lake and rode Star Tours.  Before making our way back to the front of the park we check on Toy Story and it was back up so we used another fastpass to play!  Hollywood Studios: check!

sept 29 066We finished up Hollywood Studios a little after 10am so the water parks just opened.  We made our way to Blizzard Beach.  Of course we had to start with Summit Plummet and then of course we had to do it again!  I didn’t realize the first time that it clocked your speed!  I had my roommate watch for my speed the second time.  40 mph!  We then did two other slides and I grabbed by camera and ran around snapping a few AK and MK 113photos.  Before leaving the park we asked guest services if our ticket would get us into Typhoon Lagoon and they confirmed it would!  Change of itinerary!  6 parks in 1 day!

Since Animal Kingdom was right next door we caught a bus over there and did a loop starting with Dinosaur, then Expedition Everest, and finally Kali River Rapids.  I usually avoid Kali because I don’t like walking around wet but I still had my swimming shorts on and our plan was to hit Typhoon Lagoon next so we did it and we were the ones that got soaked!  We were both starving by this point and Flame Tree Barbeque was calling our name.

1233284_405935796196428_1759388203_oTransportation from Animal Kingdom to Typhoon was a little tricky.  We caught the first bus to a resort nearby Typhoon Lagoon, which may have been a mistake.  We caught a bus to Beach and Yacht Club when maybe we should have wait for a value resort bus.  Beach and Yacht Club have much nicer pools than value resorts so I think their guest would be less likely to visit a water park.  Another thing working against us was time.  It was after 4:15 and we were still waiting for a bus to the water park, which closes at 5pm.  We finally caught a bus and the driver, the cast member at the Typhoon Lagoon gate, and the locker rental counter all proceeded to remind us the park closes at 5.  This did not stop us or slow us down.  Of course there were no lines at all so we practically ran up the stairs of Crush n’ Gusher and rode all three slides!  We ran to Humunga Kowabunga and attempted one other slide but were halted, raft in hand.

We scurried out of the Lagoon and just missed the bus to Art of Animation because of some slow people blocking the walkway (or runway for us)!  We waited a good 10 minutes before a cast memeber came over and said they would have to shuttle us to Downtown Disney and we would have to take a bus to our resort from there because they would not be running buses from Typhoon Lagoon anymore.  They stop running buses 5 minutes after close?!

1294524_405975896192418_294907783_oWe then waited over 20 minutes in Downtown Disney for a bus back to Art of Animation!  This was frustrating but at this point we know we would be able to achieve our goal since Epcot was open until 10pm and Magic Kingdom was open until midnight.  We went back to the room and got cleaned up and went back to it!

In Epcot we used our fastpasses on Soarin’ and rode Mission Space Orange and Spaceship Earth on our way out to the Monorail.  At this point fatigue had begun to set in but we were on the home stretch!

sept 29 089We invited guest to join us for a go at Emperor Zurg on Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin.  Then we continued our galactic journey on Space Mountain.  Our third attraction that made our adventure legit and complete (according to us) was the Wedway People Mover or Tomorrowland Transit Authority as some like to call it!  I nice, relaxing attraction to complete this tiring feat!  I also pushed on to ride Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress and Splash Mountain before heading back to the resort to pass out!

It may have not been the most time effective touring and I try not to think about the total amount of time we spent in transit that day but it was totally worth it!  We had a blast and don’t regret it one bit but will probably not do it again!

Ready for your Walt Disney World grand tour?  Contact me for your FREE no obligation quote and for a chance to win a $500 Disney gift card!

575054_106783406183121_554385829_nStart planning your next magical vacation by contacting Magical Vacations by Me at (314)494-9166 or joey@magicalvacationsbyme.com

Posted in Disney Geek | 37 Comments

Trip Saver Tip: Flying with MagicBands

??????????If using Disney’s Magical Express, be sure to pack your MagicBands in your carry-on luggage so you are able to enter the parks once you arrive at Walt Disney World.  When using Disney’s Magical Express, your checked luggage may arrive to your resort room up to 3 hours after your arrival.  So if you are planning on hitting the parks as soon as you check in be sure you have that MagicBand with you!

575054_106783406183121_554385829_nBook with Magical Vacations by Me at (314)494-9166 or joey@magicalvacationsbyme.com and be entered for a chance to win a $500 Disney gift card!!! See details here.

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Giving Away $600 in Disney Gift Cards

CelebrateMickeyFriendsI have teamed up once again with fellow Disney bloggers to show our appreciation to our readers.  This time we managed to scrounge up $600 to give away!  So this time we will have 2 lucky winners!  One will win $400 and the other will win $200.  Not a bad deal right?  You don’t have to do anything but enter  to win!  Click the link below to get in on this deal!  Tonight was the official opening of Food and Wine Festival at Walt Disney World and I was there for the delicious chaos!  That gift card could go a long way when eating and drinking your way around the world!…..I’m just sayin!

The sweepstakes will run from Saturday, September 28, 2013 at Midnight until 11:59PM on Monday, October 14, 2013.  The winners will be selected on Tuesday, October 15, 2013 and notified by email.  He or she may also be notified via social media outlets, but the official acceptance of the prize must be in the form of a reply email to the one that we send out, so make sure that you provide good email addresses that you check regularly.

Please be sure to swing by the sites of my fellow Disney bloggers!  It’s really a great community to be a part of!  Come back each day for more entries to increase your chance of winning!  Good luck!

Posted in Special Offers | Tagged | 52 Comments

Wish You Were Here?

wishesmousehost

Don’t you just love Facebook stalking people who are at Walt Disney World?  Well, now you have another chance!  I am on my way to Walt Disney World and will do my best to help supply you with pictures, news, and updates of my activities!  I will be posting to my Facebook page, Mouse Host, so please take time to “like” the page and stalk away!  Also, it’s not fair to keep all the stalking to yourself so please share my posts with others who might enjoy them! 

 Book with Magical Vac575054_106783406183121_554385829_nations by Me at (314)494-9166 or joey@magicalvacationsbyme.com and be entered for a chance to win a $500 Disney gift card!!! See details here.

Posted in Trip Report, WDW News | Tagged | 6 Comments

How Much Magic Could a MagicBand Make if a MagicBand Could Make Magic?

nashville and hike 169Lately Disney has been in the testing phase of one of the newest technologies in the theme park industry.  This technology comes in the form of wristband….a MagicBand, if you will.  Disney has combined technology they have been using for quite some time with new, innovative technology to make your vacation even more magical.  Disney is still in the testing phases of the MagicBand and the details could change but it seems to be quickly moving from the testing phases to the implementation phases.  If you are unsure of what MagicBand is or are skeptical, you have come to the right place.  I was happy to find out that I will get to test the MagicBand with my 2 night reservation at Art of Animation this month.  I will go over a brief synopsis of what it is here and will revisit the topic after my trip to give a review of my experience.

MagicBands use RFID (Radio-Frequency Identification) technology to store a guest’s information.  This information currently ranges from park tickets, credit/debit cards, resort room entry, FastPass+, and PhotoPass.  There have been rumors about numerous other potential functions of this fashionable device but I will not go into those right now.  To use the MagicBand, just simply hold it up to one of the touch point locations for it to read the require information. 

nashville and hike 176Personally, I love the idea of MagicBands, despite how much Dinsey may have spent on them.  I think it will improve a guests overall vacation experience.  It should not only make a guest’s trips easier but I think it really could enhance their vacation, giving them a more magical experience.  Stay tuned into the blog for a review of my MagicBand experience after my trip and follow on me Facebook while I’m a Walt Disney World next week! 

Boo575054_106783406183121_554385829_nk with Magical Vacations by Me at (314)494-9166 or joey@magicalvacationsbyme.com and be entered for a chance to win a $500 Disney gift card!!! See details here.

 

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It’s Never Too Early to Plan for Christmas

??????????It’s the most wonderful time of the year and it’s even more wonderful at the most magical place on earth!  Plus, the jolly holiday begins in Novemeber so there is plenty of time to experience Christmas at Walt Disney World!  Disney decks the lobbies of their resorts with beautiful decorations making the resorts a must-do attraction.  Christmas time at Walt Disney World also offers numerous special experiences such as Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights, and the Candlelight Processional, just to name a few.  Disney has already started decorating for Christmas by covering the castle in thousands of little lights.  If Disney has started preparing for Christmas then it is okay for you to as well!  Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party offers a Holiday version of Wishes, a Christmas parade, and other special entertainment and is a hard ticketed event so contact me to start planning your Walt Disney World Christmas vacation!mousehost

I have an exciting couple of weeks ahead of me and hopefully they will be exciting for you too!  Stayed tuned in with my Facebook page for updates during my upcoming trip and  watch the blog for updates after my trip.  Also be on the lookout around the end of the month for another possible chance to win a Disney gift card!

Book with Magical Vac575054_106783406183121_554385829_nations by Me at (314)494-9166 or joey@magicalvacationsbyme.com and be entered for a chance to win a $500 Disney gift card!!! See details here.

    

Posted in Magic Kingdom, Special Events | Tagged | 12 Comments

My WDW Packing List

I have said it before and I will say it again and again…Walt Disney World is not like other theme parks.  You cannot (or should not) just waltz right through the turnstiles with nothing but your ticket and the clothes on your back.  You might be able to get away with that at Six Flags but Walt Disney World is whole different animal.  That is why there are resorts on site and spread out all over Orlando.  Guests have realized tackling a place such as WDW requires more than one day per visit.  With this brings a whole different challenge you won’t face when visiting any other theme park: packing!

??????????There are so many things to consider when packing for a trip to the most magical place on earth.  Some items will help you survive and others are for fun.  Each person may be different when it comes to their approach to touring the parks.  These difference will show in what they pack in the car and what they pack in the parks.  If you spend some time in the Disney blogosphere you will run across many packing lists and will see some very creative items you might not have thought of that could benefit you on your next trip.  There are also some that may make you scratch your head.  Every one is different and is entitled to their own packing list.  Without any further ado, here is my packing list for my upcoming trip! 

    • DSLR camera with 50mm lens and ??????????55-200mm lense
    • Point-and-shoot camera
    • extra battery and memory card for DSLR and point-and-shoot cameras
    • backpack
    • tripod
    • ponchos (bring extra in case I run into some guests in need)
    • ziplock bags
    • hand sanitizer (there are a lot of safety bars and seat belts and a lot of people touch them)
    • quarters and pennies for pressed pennies
    • flip flops (For water rides and rain!  No one likes wet shoes.)??????????
    • Starbucks VIA iced coffee packets
    • Crystal Light packets (I’m not paying for drinks and the water can taste a little funny.  Plus, you can get some with caffeine that will help you power through the day!)
    • Disney Visa
    • Laptop
    • Cell phone equipped with My Disney Experience app
    • mini notebook and pen for making notes
    • MagicBand
    • Annual Pass

Do you have Disney Parks survival list?  Are there items you won’t head to Walt Disney World without or something you must take in the parks with you?  Please share something from your list that helps you or might help someone else on their magical vacation! 

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Book with Magical Vacations by Me at (314)494-9166 or joey@magicalvacationsbyme.com and be entered for a chance to win a $500 Disney gift card!!! See details here.

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There’s No Place Like Disney Cruise Line for the Holidays

Very MerryTime Cruises

Looking to switch up you travel plans for the holiday season?  Well I have just the thing!  From November 9th through December 31, 2013, you can celebrate the season aboard Disney Cruise Line!  Disney decks the decks with Christmas decorations and you can look forward to special activities and festivities.  There will be parties, holiday themed merchandise, storytelling, and holiday meet-n-greets, including the big man himself (Santa Claus)!  For more information or to get your free, no obligation quote contact me or call at (314) 494-9166.

575054_106783406183121_554385829_nBook with Magical Vacations by Me at (314)494-9166 or joey@magicalvacationsbyme.com and be entered for a chance to win a $500 Disney gift card!!! See details here.

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What to Know Before You Go: “My Disney Experience”

MickeyMy number one tip for anyone visiting Walt Disney World is to plan, plan, and then plan some moreA Walt Disney World vacation can seem intimidating but do not fear.  One, I am here for you!  Whether you have booked a trip through me or not, I am here to answer any questions I can and I hope to provide you with information that might help you have a more magical vacation!  Two, Disney also understands that just showing up might not provide you with the best experience.  Your Disney vacation experience can and should start before you even pack your bags. Disney has created a helpful and fun tool that makes planning a Walt Disney World vacation fun and easy!  My Disney Experience (MDE) is a free online tool that is available to all Walt Disney World guests that allow guests to do everything from exploring maps of the parks to planning and reserving times to visit their favorite attractions.  The site is pretty extensive and you could literally spend hours on it but I will try to highlight some helpful features.

MDE

My Reservations

This feature is probably the most important.  It allows you to link your existing reservations which includes: resort hotel reservations, tickets and passes, dining reservations, and FastPass+ reservations.  Linking your resort reservations and tickets is imperative as this is what is going to be used for many of the other planning features including your daily itinerary and possibly most importantly, FastPass+.  Linking your park tickets is also a great way to safeguard against losing your unused park tickets that may mysteriously disappear from that drawer you have been storing them in since last year.

Friends and Family

This feature allows you to add friends and family whom you may be traveling with to your MDE account which will make your planning easier and more efficient.  You can invite those who travel with you frequently to your “Family” list which makes sharing your plans simpler.  You also have the option of allowing friends and family to see all of your plans or just those plans your share for when you are traveling together.  Linking those you are traveling with will make other features on MDE easier down the road so I highly suggest it!

My Wish List

As you explore Walt Disney World’s website you can save attractions, experiences, and even dining locations to your “Wish List” to help you keep track of what looks appealing to you as you prepare for your trip.  You can also narrow your search by using the many filter options which will help you quickly find attractions and experiences that are more fitting for your travel party.  This feature will also come in handy when creating your itinerary.  Just click the little heart next to what you are wanting to save!

My Wishlist

My Itinerary

This part of My Disney Experience will listed everything you have planned for a particular day.  You will find details on your resort reservation, like when you are to check in and when it is check out time.  If you have already made FastPass+ selections for this day they will also appear on this page.  As you find shows or character meet-n-greets that interest you, just click “Show in My Plans” and you can select the day and time you want to add and it will show in your itinerary.  Last but not least, if you have linked any dining reservations they will also show in that day’s itinerary.    

FastPass+

This feature will eventually apply to all Walt Disney World guest but as of now it is only for those who have been sent MagicBands as part of the testing phase of this new technology.  As of now, I am only able to schedule 3 FastPass+ selections per day for one park but the details of this program are subject to change since it has not officially been rolled out to all guests.  Be on the lookout for my post on MagicBands and FastPass+.  For now, all you need to know is this is where you will schedule your FastPass+ selections before your trip.

Disney PhotoPass

Tphotopasshis feature is for after your trip.  If you participated in Disney’s PhotoPass service you can link all the photos from your trip to you My Disney Experience profile.  Just enter the code on the back of the PhotoPass card to link your photos.  You can even link photos from multiple cards, so collect the cards from your entire party and start ordering and downloading photos immediately! 

Summary

MDE-mobile-004My Disney Experience is much like Walt Disney World itself; there is so much to it, you may not see or use it all, but don’t worry!  It is a lot of information but it may not all be for you.  Personally, I would never golf at Walt Disney World but I would recommend it in a heartbeat to an avid golfer.  I think My Disney Experience is a great tool to not only help you prepare and excite you for your next trip but it is also a great way to ensure you get the most out of your Disney vacation.  Personally, I think guests who use My Disney Experience before their trip will get more out of their trip than those who don’t.  You may be asking how all this work (if you want to call it that) before your trip will help you during your trip?  Don’t worry, you don’t have to lug your laptop into the parks or print out thousands of pages of your itinerary to keep track of it all.  It will all travel with you on your smartphone!  Just download the free My Disney Experience app and log in and all of your plans as well as the ability to change them are all in the palm of your hand!

Have questions, personal experiences or tips about My Disney Experience?  Leave a comment below and please share this with anyone you know that is headed to Walt Disney World.  Thanks for reading and have fun playing on My Disney Experience!

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Book with Magical Vacations by Me at (314)494-9166 or joey@magicalvacationsbyme.com and be entered for a chance to win a $500 Disney gift card!!! See details here.

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What’s Better Than FREE?

575054_106783406183121_554385829_nI’ll even do you one (or two) better than free!  If you book your new Disney 4 night or longer vacation package with Magical Vacations by Me and travel before December 31, 2014 you will be automatically entered into a drawing for a $500 Disney Gift Card.  Click here for official rules.  PLUS you will receive the best promotion for you. If you book a vacation package before a promotion is out, then we will automatically update your confirmation when the new promotion is released.

Animal-Kingdom-032Since winning the $500 Disney gift card isn’t a guaranteed thing, I’ll give you something that is!  If you book a Disney vacation package with me between now and December 31, 2013, for travel in either 2013 or 2014, I’ve got the following incentives for you to sweeten the deal:

  • If your package is between $1,500 and $1,999.99: $25 Disney Gift Card.
  • If your package is between $2,000 and $2,999.99: $50 Disney Gift Card.
  • If your package is between $3,000 and $4,999.99: $75 Disney Gift Card.
  • If your package is $5,000 or greater: $100 Disney Gift Card.
Note: A Disney vacation package consists of a Magic Your Way plan, with Disney tickets, and optional Disney Dining Plan.  Gift card amounts are based on the total trip cost at time of travel; airfare is NOT part of the total cost for this promotion. Gift Cards will be delivered with final travel documents.
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25% Off Park Merchandise and FREE Shipping!

Now Through Thursday! Take 25% Off Disney Parks Plus Free Shipping | Shop NowThe Disney Store is offering 25% off park merchandise AND free shipping on orders over $75!  Take advantage of this great deal and stock up for your next Disney vacation.  Buying those must-have Disney shirts and souvenirs online before your trip will save you from aimlessly wondering through the vast, numerous gift shops that around every corner.  Unless you like shopping in the parks.  Personally, I love drooling over the merchadise in the parks but it’s dangerous for me to do so. 

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Boo to Who?

Boo to Who?

If you don’t think Boo To You Parade is the best Walt Disney World parade well then…….Boo to you! I got a lot of attention during this parade! Some characters, like the 2 famous Disney pirate captains, appreciated my costume and others I think just liked to be photographed, this one in particular. She was kind of vain if you ask me.

 Contact me to reserve your tickets to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party!

575054_106783406183121_554385829_nBook with Magical Vacations by Me at (314)494-9166 or joey@magicalvacationsbyme.com and be entered for a chance to win a $500 Disney gift card!!! See details here.

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It’s Almost Halloween Time at Walt Disney World

MNSSHP-train-stationIf you love Halloween and you just can’t wait until October 31st then you are in luck!  On select nights from September 10 through the 31st Walt Disney World will be hosting the popular Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party.  The parks are adorned with festive fall decorations and the party is filled with special experiences like trick-or-treating, dance parties, meet-n-greets, a special Halloween parade, and a unique version of Wishes called HalloWishes.  The parade is a must see and just might be my favorite parade!  Don’t forget to pack your costume because trick-or-treating isn’t the same without one!  Yes, adults, I am talking to you too!  This is a hard ticketed event, meaning you have to purchase separate tickets for the party and space is limited so contact me to get your hands on some!  If you are still up in the air about it, keep watching the blog for more photos as party time approaches!    

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Book with Magical Vacations by Me at (314)494-9166 or joey@magicalvacationsbyme.com and be entered for a chance to win a $500 Disney gift card!!! See details here.

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Help Me Make a Wish: WDW Marathon Fundraising

I am participating in my first marathon and my first Walt Disney World race in January 2014. I am really excited for a number of reasons. One: it’s 26.2 miles! Two: it is another Walt Disney World first for me. Three: I get to be part of a great team that works for a great cause!

untitledI am a regular listener of the extremely popular podcast, WDW Radio, which I have to thank for rekindling my love for Disney back in 2010. It’s host, Lou Mongello is an extremely kind, generous, and inspirational person who makes a great community, like the Walt Disney World community, even better!ML0002_DreamTeamProject-logo-300x300

Lou has put together a team of his followers, called The Dream Team, to raise money for the Make A Wish Foundation. As part of this effort he also created the WDW Running Team to participate in the many running events held at Walt Disney World and to contribute to the fundraising efforts of The Dream Team. I am honored to join this team and their efforts to raise money for the Make A Wish Foundation! Many of you may know it is my goal to convince as many people as I can to take a trip to Walt Disney World! I love the idea of being able to help a child with a life-threatening illness and their family to be able to experience the magic of Walt Disney World but I need your help! Please help me and the WDW Radio Running Team’s efforts to making dreams come true! Follow me for updates on my training, fundrasing efforts, and my WDW marathon experience!

To donate in my name just visit The Dream Team’s page on the Make A Wish site and put “WDW Radio Running Team sponsoring Joey Hill” in the notes section. Thank you for your support! Please, comment and let me know that you donated!

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Book with Magical Vacations by Me at (314)494-9166 or joey@magicalvacationsbyme.com and be entered for a chance to win a $500 Disney gift card!!! See details here.

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My Park Gear Upgrades

Something I am really looking forward to on my next trip is doing a photography walkabout!  Photography is one of my favorite Walt Disney World activities.  For one, it’s free!  And two, it is such a beautiful unique place, you can hardly take a bad photo!

I am by no means anywhere close to a professional photographer but I can do more than just point-and-shoot and I like to be creative.  My next trip is a solo trip so I will have a lot of time to take photos without having to worry about anyone else in my party missing out on anything because I am taking 20 different angles of some rocks.

nikon-008Another reason I am excited about this trip is because I have recently added to my photography arsenal!  When I started my blog a little over 2 years ago, all I had was my Canon 50D with the 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 kit lens.  Before my October and November trips in 2012 I added a Nikon point-and-shoot so I could have something smaller in case I don’t feel like lugging my DSLR and backpack.  Plus the point-and-shoot allows me to do macros I couldn’t do with my DSLR kits lens which are good for food photos.  The point-and-shoot also does video which I hope to soon “plus” the blog with.

The first lens that I added was a Canon 50mm f/1.8.  I am really excited about playing with this lens in the parks!  It is a great lens for low light situations which will hopefully allow me to capture some decent photos in some dark rides.  The lens is also great for portraits and I can also get creative with some bokeh photography.

lens1 002lens-006

The other lens that will make is first trip to the World in September is a Tamron 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3This will now be my primary walk-around lens.  It will allow me to get those close up photos but will also allow me to zoom in and get a close up which will come in hand in those places where Disney just won’t let you get any closer….like the lion section of Kilimanjaro Sarfari.

Both of these lenses were great, inexpensive additions to my photography gear that will suit my needs just fine and will keep lens changing to a minimum while allowing me to capture better quality photos than a point-and-shoot could.  I look forward to sharing the photos I capture with my new toys!   

To see some of my Disney photography visit my Facebook page!

575054_106783406183121_554385829_nBook with Magical Vacations by Me at (314)494-9166 or joey@magicalvacationsbyme.com and be entered for a chance to win a $500 Disney gift card!!!  See details here.

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Festival of the Lion King’s New Home

Disney Parks Blog recently announced that “Festival of the Lion King” will be moving to a new home within Disney’s Animal Kingdom, the Africa themed land.  Why you may ask?  Besides it making more sense for it to be in Africa instead of Camp Minnie-Mickey, is it possible they are making room for Avatar Land?  This is one of theories going around and it makes sense.  There has also been rumors floating about of teasers regarding Disney and Cameron’s partnership at this years D23 Expo August 9-11.  Unfortunately I will not be attending the Expo but I will keep you updated on what I find out about the announcements at the Expo.

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If you have never seen the Festival of the Lion King, I highly recommend it!  It is an interactive, acrobatic, musical festival experience that is certainly a unique experience great for kids and adults.  I have not heard anything of any closings for the show as of now and can’t imagine it closing until they are ready for the move planned for 2014.

Have you seen Festival of the Lion King?  Is it a “must see” or a one-timer?  Why do you think they are moving it?  If not for Avatar Land, what do you think will or should take its place?

Ready for your next magical vacation?  Contact me for your FREE no obligation quote and for a chance to win a $500 Disney gift card!

575054_106783406183121_554385829_nStart planning your next magical vacation by contacting Magical Vacations by Me at (314)494-9166 or joey@magicalvacationsbyme.com

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FREE DINING + $500 Disney Gift Card= Win!!!

There’s never been a better time to book a Walt Disney World trip than now!  You’ll want to read this whole post!  Trust me!

Free Dining

Free dining was announced today for select dates this fall but you must book by September 15 for this delectable deal and the number of rooms is limited so contact me for details and to get the sweet hook up!??????????

Arrival must fall within these dates:

    • Sep. 29 – Oct. 2
    • Oct. 18 – Nov. 2
    • Nov. 11-23
    • Dec. 12-22

Room Discounts

If free dining isn’t your taste then check this deal out!  You can save up to 30% on your room through select nights throughout the end of 2013!

    • Save up to 30% at select Deluxe Villas and Resort Hotels
    • Save up to 20% at select Moderate Resort Hotels
    • Save up to 15% at select Value Resort Hotels

Booking Windows:

  • Book Aug. 1 – Sept. 15, 2013, for travel Sept. 29 – Nov. 9, 2013
  • Book Aug. 1 – Nov. 3, 2013 for travel Nov. 10 – Nov. 22, 2013 and Nov. 30 – Dec. 23, 2013

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$500 Disney Gift Card

As a bonus, if you book your new Disney 4 night or longer vacation package with Magical Vacations by Me and travel before December 31, 2014 you will be automatically entered into a drawing for a $500 Disney Gift Card.  Click here for official rules.  PLUS you will receive the best promotion for you. If you book a vacation package before a promotion is out, then we will automatically update your confirmation when the new promotion is released.

Last But Not Least

In case, after all that, you are still up in the air about booking a trip, I’ve got another special offer to sweeten the pot a little that you can be added to these other great deals!  If you book a Disney vacation package with me between now and December 31, 2013, for travel in either 2013 or 2014, I’ve got the following incentives for you to sweeten the deal:

  • If your package is between $1,500 and $1,999.99: $25 Disney Gift Card.
  • If your package is between $2,000 and $2,999.99: $50 Disney Gift Card.
  • If your package is between $3,000 and $4,999.99: $75 Disney Gift Card.
  • If your package is $5,000 or greater: $100 Disney Gift Card.

Note: A Disney vacation package consists of a Magic Your Way plan, with Disney tickets, and optional Disney Dining Plan.  Gift card amounts are based on the total trip cost at time of travel; airfare is NOT part of the total cost for this promotion. Gift Cards will be delivered with final travel documents.

There is limited space for free dining and room discounts so please contact me to make your $200 deposit to lock in your reservation!

575054_106783406183121_554385829_nStart planning your next magical vacation by contacting Magical Vacations by Me at (314)494-9166 or joey@magicalvacationsbyme.com

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