Be Our Guest Podcast Fundraiser

The Be Our Guest Podcast annual fundraiser for Give Kids The World will take place on June 11, 2014 beginning at 11:00am Eastern time and will continue for 12 hours!  You will be able to listen to this event on Magical Mouse Radio found on Live 365, and there is usually an overflow site available.

BOGP GKTW 2014

The goal for this year is $10,000! I hope you will all consider how you might help and reach deep into your pockets to help Give Kids The World serve more families! I love GKTW and have chosen to get the word out when ever and where ever I can!

Visit http://www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/beourguestpodcast/twelvehourliveshow2014 for more information and giving!

For now, have a Blessed and Magical day, my friends!!

Split Stays at WDW

One way to enhance your stay at the Walt Disney World Resort, is to do what is called a Split Stay!  

A Split Stay is when you split your time at WDW between two, or more, on property resorts.  There are a few things to consider when looking into using this strategy, and I’ll try to cover a few of those here!

First, when thinking about doing a Split Stay, you must decide which resorts you want to use.  Generally speaking, I would recommend that you start in the lower category resort and finish at the higher category resort.  For instance, you could do 4 nights at Disney’s Pop Century Resort, and then 3 nights at Disney’s Beach Club Resort.  In order to make this work, you will need to contact Disney directly, or your Disney Authorized Vacation Planner, to make these arrangements.  

One benefit to a Split Stay is that you can have your luggage transferred between resorts using Disney services, and you can head to a park, Downtown Disney, or where ever else you choose.  When you are ready, head to your new resort and check in.  Your bags will be delivered to your room promptly, and you are free to enjoy the amenities available to you!

If you are going to be going to the parks during both resort stays, you may want to purchase your park tickets with your originating resort, this will make things a lot easier.  Using the Dining Plan with Split Stays can be troublesome, however, so make sure you ask your reservationist or travel agent how that might work.  

Finally, when considering a Split Stay, you might want to determine how you are going to use the resort you are hopping to for the end of your stay.  Are you going to spend most of the time at a specific park?  You may want to choose a resort that is in closest proximity to that park.  Are you looking to relax and enjoy the amenities of your new resort?  Choose one that best fits what you want to accomplish.  Pampering, use a resort with a spa.  Swimming?  How about one with a fabulous pool area?  Are you a foodie?  Choose a resort with much talked about restaurants serving the cuisine you are most drawn toward!  

Split Stays can be fun and adventurous!  Just make sure you put as much time into planning this part of your stay as you have the rest!  And, ENJOY!!

I wish you a Blessed and Magical Day, my friends!!

Walt Disney, A Memorial Day Tribute

When Walt Disney was 16, he tried to join the Army, but when he was turned down, he lied about his age and signed on with the ambulance service of the American Red Cross. Why, you may ask? Because Walt Disney believed that the freedoms of this country were worth defending, so he chose the only way he could, at the time, to fulfill his desire to do his duty!

Image

 

On this Memorial Day, in the United States, it seems appropriate to look at ways that patriotism is represented at Walt Disney World. There are three items that jump to mind when considering this line of thought. Let’s take a look at those, now!

In the Magic Kingdom, The Hall of Presidents is an obvious choice when considering how the US is represented in the parks at WDW. Based on Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln at the 1964 World’s Fair, the Hall of Presidents offers a look at every president who ever held office in the United States of America. And, it is in Liberty Square, so it’s easy to find. One of the coolest things about this attraction, is that it is one of the coolest places to cool off in the Magic Kingdom!

Also in The Magic Kingdom is the Flag Retreat Ceremony! This takes place everyday at 5pm and is the official retirement of the US flag for the day. The respect and care of this 10 minute event reflects the importance of the American Flag as a symbol of the freedom we have here in the states. It is an awesome experience, and I highly recommend it! Here is a YouTube video from Undercover Tourist of the Flag Retreat, http://youtu.be/cIOG1iln7S0 Enjoy!!

Finally, we travel to EPCOT for the last attraction for today. The host pavilion for The World Showcase is also a giant representation of the patriotism and spirit of The United States. Of course, I am talking about The American Adventure! Most days, you can catch the Spirit of America Fife and Drum Corps. as they bring a unique sound to a couple of patriotic melodies. Inside, you will be greeted by the Voices of Liberty who will welcome you with beautiful harmonies that will raise the hair on the back of your neck, and raise a flag in your heart!

It seems fitting on this Memorial Day, to look at the patriotism that Walt Disney displayed in his lifetime and the legacy of patriotism he gave us all through these experiences in the parks of Walt Disney World!

For now, have a Blessed and Magical Day, my friends!!

The Empress of WDW

Empress Lilly  Riverboat Lake Buena Vista
Empress Lilly
Riverboat
Lake Buena Vista

Years ago, the Downtown Disney Area was simply known as The Lake Buena Vista Shopping Village, and one of the most notable venues was The Empress Lilly, named after Walt’s wife and life partner, Lillian Disney. It is a building designed by Disney Imagineers in the shape of a Mark Twain era paddlewheel riverboat. The detail on this was exquisite and it was very difficult to see whether or not it is an actual boat, or an outstanding piece of architecture.

My first visit to The Empress Lilly was on my first vacation to Walt Disney World in October of 1982. I was with my cousin and we decided to go for a Disney Character breakfast! It is one of the most memorable parts of that vacation and brings a smile to my face thinking about it, right now. We saw Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Pluto, and Donald, and I think a few princesses made the rounds, as well! How I wish I still had the pictures from that meal!

Fulton's Crab Shack Courtesy of Mouseplanet
Fulton’s Crab Shack
Courtesy of Mouseplanet

The Empress Lilly is now Fulton’s Crab Shack, and I’m not sure how it is figured into the plans for Disney Springs, but I vote to return Lilly to her former glory and let her shines as she once did! I would still go for character meals, if she went under a retroactive redo!

Anyway, those are my thoughts on the matter! Have a Blessed and Magical day, my friends!

On and Off Property Benefits at WDW

Many of us debate whether to stay at one of the Disney Resorts when we visit Walt Disney World, or find a hotel off-property. Here is my list of benefits, in an attempt to be fair to both arguments. If you can think of anything I missed, please add it to the comments below to share with all our readers, thank you!!

Wishes! Magic Kingdom Walt Disney World
Wishes!
Magic Kingdom
Walt Disney World

Walt Disney Resorts:

1. You are completely inside the Disney Bubble.
2. There is transportation provided to all of the theme parks, Downtown Disney, and the Water Parks.
3. Advanced Dining Reservations are good at 180 + 10 Days before your arrival.
4. Fastpass+ selections at 60 Days before your arrival.
5. Package delivery to your resort from any Disney property retail outlet.
6. Early morning, or late evening Extra Magic Hours.

Non-Disney offerings:

1. Could be less expensive. (make sure to include any resort charges that may not be included in your price).
2. You have your own transportation to come and go as you please. Remember, once you pay parking, you can travel between parks with no extra charge.
3. Morning meals can be less costly if you are eating outside the resort.
4. Advanced Dining Reservations can still be make 180 days out, just remember one day at a time!
5. Fastpass+ selections are available 30 days before your arrival.
6. There is freedom to go to other area attractions.

As you can see, there are definitely benefits to both types of vacation strategies. Choose what works best for you, and get your plans made! And, don’t forget, there are many travel agents who are able to help you in either case. Let me know if you need help and I’ll get you in touch with one of my friends!

That’s it for now! Have a Blessed and Magical Day!!

Holidays at WDW

About this time last year, we were beginning to plan our visit to Walt Disney World for the first week of December 2013. I had my ADRs already made and we were following the developments of the Magicbands with deep interest…well, at least I was!

Pretty Christmas themed lighting for Cinderella Castle, Magic Kingdom Park
Pretty Christmas themed lighting for Cinderella Castle, Magic Kingdom Park

Because of the time we were going to be in The World, it was important to keep a finger on the pulse of yet to be announced events, particularly the Candlelight Processional at EPCOT. We had already determined that Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party wasn’t going to be on this trip! So, that actually made it easier to plan your five days in parks! Let me add here that if you are going to take in the Candlelight Processional, that you make and ADR for the dinner package as most of the seats at the America Gardens Theater are reserved for those plans and general seating is very limited. Details have not been released, yet, but should be available soon!

So, how do you plan for one of these holiday events? Let’s take a look at that, shall we?

Starting on September 1, 2014 and running on select dates through October 31, is Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party at the Magic Kingdom. Tickets for this event start at $62 per person and may be higher depending on dates, and certainly as you get closer to Halloween the cost will be a bit more. One benefit is that you can usually get into The Magic Kingdom at about 4pm, so you have time to take in some attractions before the event begins. Many of the attractions will also be available after the party starts at 7pm!

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is slated to begin on November 7, 2014 and will be on select nights through December 19. Tickets for this event start at $67 per person, and the same benefits and hours are applicable as the Halloween Party. It amazes me how quickly they turn The Magic Kingdom around between parties! Watch a YouTube video sometime to see it in action!

These are the holiday events that probably need the most attention in the near future! Others take place, but only require you putting them into your plan of attack, if you wish to see them. And, with the Free Dining Offer in place right now, planning for the special events becomes a little more interesting!

Also taking place during these times will be: Nights of Joy September 5 – 6, 2014, and the EPCOT International Food and Wine Festival September 19 – November 10, 2014. If you want a sneak peek at some of the Food and Wine offerings visit https://www.youtube.com/user/travelwithrick to see his 31 day tour from 2013! I believe you will enjoy his thoughts!

Happy Planning for those of you headed to the Vacation Kingdom of the World for the fall and holiday seasons. Wish I was joining you, but not this year! In the meantime, have a Blessed and Magical Day, my friends!!

A Journey of the Imagination

Spaceship Earth
Spaceship Earth

Today, I want to take a trip in my imagination to my favorite park at Walt Disney World. Welcome to Epcot Center! Yes, that is what I called it and will continue to call it the rest of my life!

After making Rope Drop, I am headed to Test Track! I love getting it done early when crowds are more manageable, and I can design my car without being rushed! I have been on both versions and don’t know if I really have a favorite, but this is what we have and I’m going to enjoy it on it’s own merit! After the high speed conclusion, I am headed to Spaceship Earth! To me this is the definition of a classic Disney attraction! I don’t like some of the changes, especially at the end, but at least most of the history is in tact and enjoyable.

Now to use my first Fastpass+ for Soarin’! Like many, I am hoping for an update to both the film and the theaters! Rumor of recent flyovers for filming are circling around, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed. Once my feet are back on the ground, it’s time to make a pass through Nemo.

Now, I know my choice for lunch can be somewhat controversial, but I love Nine Dragons! The Five-Spiced Fish is awesome, and the service we received on last visit makes it worth a second glance. And, it’s time to tour World Showcase…first stop, Norway and my second FPP on Maelstrom! Love the ride and this pavilion is beautiful!! I hope they leave the ride alone and dowse all of these Frozen rumors! They can stick Frozen someplace else!

Next stop, The American Adventure! My absolute favorite World Showcase stop! I don’t know about any of you, but I always cry at the sound of Golden Dreams! My patriotism comes out anytime I walk into this building. The Voices of Liberty and the Fife and Drum make the entire experience memorable and special!

wpid-IMAG0136.jpg

A quick pass through Morocco to look at some of the mosaic tiling, and Japan for the drummers, then off to Canada for the O Canada movie and some Off Kilter, love this band!! A trip back to the America Gardens Theater for Starship at the Flower Power Concert, then I am headed to Garden Grill for dinner before using my final FPP for Illuminations! After the fireworks, I am going to Rose and Crown for the EPCOT Wind Down before headed back to my room at Disney’s Beach Club Resort!

Hey, If I’m using my imagination, I can do anything I want to, right?

How would your day go? I’d love to hear about it either in the comments below or by email at threestrandswdw@outlook.com.

Have a Blessed and Magical Sunday, my friends!