Check Out the New Promo and Special Offer Page


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!


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

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


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 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. 


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!


Ready to test MagicBands yourself?  Book with Magical Vacations by Me at (314)494-9166 or 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

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Packing Pointer: Making it all fit

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+.  


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

Also be sure to check out current promotions for Disney vacations on the Promos and Special Offers page.

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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

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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 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!


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

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