Dessert Party Changes for Magic Kingdom

There is a ‘new’ dessert party coming to the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World.  Or, it may be better to say it’s a revamping of the old Tomorrowland Terrace Dessert Party.  Beginning, July 5, 2015, the Wishes! Fireworks Dessert Party debuts and will also be held at the Tomorrowland Terrace with an improved view of the fireworks over Cinderella Castle.

Wishes!
Wishes!

Desserts include chocolate dipped strawberries, chocolate mousse, ice cream, season fruit and cheese, and Disney character themed cupcakes.  Beverages include hot chocolate, a signature lemonade, coffee, and tea.

Now here’s the real change!  The cost for the party is $49 for adults, and $29 for children, including tax.  As of March 20, 2015, reservations are available by calling 407-WDW-DINE or at http://www.disneyworld.com.

Thanks for reading and….PARTY ON!

Disney Parks…Fun In A Day

Disney has announced two all day events with a different theme on each coast.  But, it will all occur on the same day.  Let’s look at how they will differ.

Disneyland Resort in California will launch their Diamond Celebration with a 24-hour event beginning at 6AM on May 22, 2015.  The event will include some special offerings and will include both Disneyland AND Disney California Adventure.  “Paint The Night” will be the first all LED lighted parade in a Disney Park.  It will have over 1.5 million twinkling lights, and resort guest coming to Disneyland Park will be among the first to see this new parade.

“Disneyland Forever” Fireworks will also be premiering during this 24-hour event, and will light the night, and there will be special effects on all of the Main Street buildings, the Matterhorn, and It’s A Small World.

“World of Color – Celebrate! The Wonderful World of Walt Disney” will be hosted by Neil Patrick Harris and Mickey Mouse.  This show will look at Walt Disney’s influence on animation and the dream of Disneyland Park.  This is also a new show debuting during this 24-hour celebration.

Meanwhile, the east coast will be celebrating the “Coolest Summer Ever” hosted by Olaf from Disney’s hit movie “Frozen”.   Beginning at 6AM on Friday, May 22, 2015.  Guests are encouraged to come in costume and be ready to enjoy some of the coolest attractions in the world!  There will be some special event merchandise, and there will be food and beverage available throughout the night. And, can I just way that I wish there would be a second park open during this 24 hours, also?  Afterall, California gets two parks.  I know they are closer together and not as big, but still it would be nice!

Park admission is required for both events.

Thanks for reading!  Please have a Blessed and Magical week, my friends!

Changes In Ticket Prices at WDW

WDW2015

It has happened, my friends.  The annual, sometime semi-annual, ticket price increase has taken place overnight!  The biggest impact is to the one-day ticket price, but all prices have increased!  Here’s what it will cost you now.

One-day Adult Ticket to Magic Kingdom…………$105.00 plus tax for a total of $111.83 each.

One-day ages 3 – 9 Ticket to Magic Kingdom…….$99.00 plus tax for a total of $105.44 each.

One-day Adult Ticket to EPCOT, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom  …………………….$97.00 plus tax for a total of $103.31 each.

One-Day ages 3 – 9 EPCOT, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom………………..$91.00 plus tax for a total of $96.92 each.

3- day Adult Magic Your Way Tickets………………$275.00 plus tax for a total of $292.88 each.

3 – Day Age 3 – 9 MYW Tickets………………………..$256.00 plus tax for a total of $272.64 each.

You get the idea!  Most of the daily changes are only a few dollars, but those add up with larger families.  Multiple day tickets are still the best way to go as the daily average decreases considerably with the more days you plan to be in the parks.

If you want to add the Park Hopper Option, you will pay an extra $64.00 per ticket, and it doesn’t matter how many days are on your ticket!  So, let’s look at an example of the Adult Ticket portion of a vacation package.

A 5-day Magic Your Way ticket……………………$315.00

Park Hopper Add-On…………………………………….64.00

Tax………………………………………………………………24.64

Total…………………………………………………………$403.64

You can add Water Park and More for an additional $64.00, as well. Or, combine Park Hopper and Water Park and More for a combined package of $90.00.  And, Memory Maker can also be added for $169.00 if done at least 4 days ahead of your arrival.

Thanks for reading, my friends, and have a Blessed, Magical, and hopefully warm day, today!

News from around THE World of WDW

Hot off the presses!!!  Be Our Guest Restaurant will be accepting reservations for lunch beginning February 25, 2015.  There is also the option to pre-order your meal beginning at 30 days out up to 5 minutes prior to your arrival time. Lunch will be served from 10:30am – 2:30pm.  Call 407-WDW-DINE to make your reservation.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios welcomes Starbucks into the park under the banner of The Red Trolley Car Cafe located at the corner of Hollywood Blvd. and Sunset Blvd.  With this addition to the Starbucks locations, only Animal Kingdom has yet to open a location.  But, no worries, it’s on the way this summer!

From the Disney Blog
From the Disney Blog

Speaking of DHS, the Sorcerer’s Hat is nearly gone!  Latest pictures show only the naked base remained as of Friday, February 6.  Once completed, the view from the main entrance will be the facade of The Great Movie Ride.  A view I hope to see, soon!

There are only a few days left to save up to 30% on select Disney Resorts at Walt Disney World!  You need to book this deal before February 16, 2015 to get this savings!  And, it’s good for travel on most days between February 22 and June 15, 2015.  After that, the savings is ONLY 25% if booked before March 28, 2015!  AND, if you upgrade to as room and ticket package, you receive one more Disney Park ticket day FREE!

If you have any questions about any of these items, or anything else, feel free to contact me at: threestrandswdw@outlook.com.  I will be happy to refer you to one of the many Disney Travel Specialists I have become acquainted with over the past few years.

Thanks for reading and have a Magical and Blessed Weekend, my friends!!

FIRST TIME VS. SECOND, THIRD, AND BEYOND AT WDW…PART TWO

First View

In our last post, we looked at some ideas for first time guests. Today, we look at the return guest experience. If you read this blog, you are likely a fan of Walt Disney World, or pretty much any part of the Disney universe. I can tell you that, for me, return visits are just as exciting as first visits. Why? Because, it is an opportunity to have new experiences, see new attractions, take in the details, or even revisit a few favorites from previous trips.

On my last trip, I decided I wanted to experience one of the Disney World tours. So, I took the Backstage Magic tour. It was fun, but very long! It is a seven-hour tour starting and ending at EPCOT. You see something in all four theme parks, and have lunch at Whispering Canyon Cafe (my favorite part). It is also quite expensive, but if you really want to dig into some history, imagineering, and story, it’s worth taking. There are also many smaller tours at various location and prices. Look into one, if you are making a return visit in the future. Check out the many offerings at Events and Tours At Walt Disney World

As for details…It is said at Walt Disney World, you see the REAL Disney IN the Details! One of the coolest things to do is to find a bench, table, or stretch of wall to sit on for even a few minutes. Look, Listen, and Smell the details that have been put into your park experience. Did you know that most, if not all, of the areas have some background music playing at a low volume? If you are spending your time running one place to another, you likely have never heard all of the areas that have music! Look at the architecture, especially on Main Street U.S.A. in Magic Kingdom, at World Showcase, in Harambe at Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Blvd. at Disney Hollywood Studios! And, if you decide to go during Halloween or Christmas, well there are enhanced details to say the least!

My next trip, I plan on slowing WAY down and enjoying the atmosphere of the entire resort. Slightly more hotel pool time. Maybe a water park, some mini-golf, a horseback ride? I will make the minimum FPP and ADR reservations to fit my style for this trip, but probably not much else! I might even work on some romancing of the Mrs.! Yes, that CAN be done at WDW!

I guess my point to all of this is that no matter your age, no matter how many times you visit, there is something for EVERYONE at Walt Disney World! How your tour depends largely on your personality, group makeup, and goals. So, enjoy the planning. Or, if you don’t want to do all of the planning yourself, contact a Disney travel agent for assistance. If you need one, I’d be happy to help you! You can just email me at threestrandswdw@outlook.com, and I’ll hook you up with one of the fine agents at Magical Starr Travel, to official agency of threestrandswdw! Check them out at http://www.magicalstartravel.com!

Thanks for reading! May you have a very Blessed and Magical Weekend, my friends! Bye now!!

Measuring Up At WDW

Many of the rides at Walt Disney World have minimal height requirements for safety reasons.  It is one of the most asked questions we get.  I will attempt to give you an accurate idea of how to measure up in the parks.

Magic Kingdom…

Space Mountain®…44″  Splash Mountain®…40″  Big Thunder Mountain Railroad®…40″  Stitch’s Great Escape…38″  Tomorrowland Indy Speedway…52″ to ride alone

EPCOT Center

2013-12-07 09.34.01Test Track®…40″  Soarin’®…40″  Mission: Space®…44″

Disney’s Hollywood StudiosDSCF5665

Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster®…48″  Twilight Zone Tower of Terror™…40″  Star Tours® – The Adventure Continues…40″

Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Expedition EverestExpedition Everest – Legend of The Forbidden Mountain®…44″  Kali River Rapids®…38″  Dinosaur…40″  Primeval Whirl®…48″

Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon

Humunga Kowabunga…48″

Disney’s Blizzard Beach

Slush Gusher…48″  Downhill Double Dipper…48″  Summit Plummet…48″

Keep in mind that Disney Cast Members are not very forgiving for an inch or two!  So, I would recommend following these guidelines very closely to avoid any issues.

Thanks for reading and have a Blessed and Magical Day, my friends!!

Snack Alert: Citrus Swirl

One of the best finds of my last trip was the Citrus Swirl!  You can find this refreshing snack at the Sunshine Tree Terrace, which is kind of behind Aladdin’s Magic Carpets.

Citrus Swirl Sunshine Tree Terrace Photo: Disney Parks Blog
Citrus Swirl
Sunshine Tree Terrace
Photo: Disney Parks Blog

I am not a big pineapple fan, so the Citrus Swirl seemed like a good alternative, and it was!!  I had two of them within 20 minutes of each other, and I could have practically made a meal out of them!  The flavor is very creamy, and rich in orange flavor.  And, it’s not badly priced, for a WDW snack.

Just look for the Orange Bird on the sign.  You can check out the menu at https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/dining/magic-kingdom/sunshine-tree-terrace/menus/.

Thanks for reading! Have a Blessed and Magical Day!

What Is It About Walt Disney World?

With all of the places we could choose to take a vacation, why do we continue to visit Walt Disney World?  The reasons can be varied, and many time very simple!  My love for the Disney product began when I was a kid watching “The Wonderful World of Color” on Sunday evenings before getting ready for school the next day, and going to bed.  I loved the stories, the visuals, and the commentary by Walt Disney himself!  If they ever decide to run the shows again, you would see in color what was in Black and White when originally aired.  Walt was a forward thinking man, and always working to stay ahead of the curve.

When I first heard of Walt Disney World, I would have been about 11 years old at the time, I wanted to go, but my parents said there was no way we could afford the trip.  It wasn’t until I was 21, that I made my first entry into The Magic Kingdom!  And, as an added bonus, the next day we went to the newly opened, 2 day old, EPCOT Center!  And, all I could say was WOW!

Walt Disney World, as a whole, is an attraction!  It attracts people from all walks of life!  It pulls people from all around the world to spend their vacation time, and money!  And, once we are exposed to the magic, many of us return time and time again.  Personally, there are only a few other places in the world I want to see, and they happen to also be Disney Destinations!

The anticipation begins the first day you decide to make your trip, and continues beyond your last day of your vacation.  When you decide to go, will affect how much time you have to nurture your excitement.  I typically plan 9 months to 1.5 years in advance.  And, that is determined by the time of year I plan to visit!  Spring breaks, 4th of July, and Christmas are times that may require more advanced planning because of the heavy crowds.

What is hardest is to have to wait so long between visits to WDW!  But, thanks to the digital age there are ways to soften the heartache!  One way, is to listen to WDW Podcasts, such as the Disney Parks Podcast, to keep up on changes, planning tips, and even some Disney World “celebrities” who may drop by for a visit! You can also make use of YouTube to watch some of your favorite attractions, jog good memories, or just forget about real life for a moment or two.  There are WDW specific Facebook groups, many dialog boards, and other social media outlets to talk and share your experiences and questions about Walt Disney World!

But, the best way I know to soften the blow between trips, is to begin planning the next one.  Even if you don’t have a specific date to travel, start talking about what resort you may want to try?  When do you want to go?  Are there any special events you may want to try to include?  Do you want to celebrate a special occasion?  Then, start asking questions in Facebook, or other source.  Send questions to Disney Parks Podcast, or other resource.  Or, contact a Disney Specialized travel agent!

Planning is a big part of the fun for the Disney enthusiast!  Almost as much fun as the trip, itself…okay, maybe not!  And, there are many who are content with just visiting anything Disney for their vacation!  Are you one of us?  You will be…You WILL be!

Matthew Wallace is a Travel Planner for Magical Starr Travel, living in Ohio, and specializing in Disney Destinations!  You can contact Matthew by email at matthew@magicalstartravel.com or by calling 888-534-3569 ext  1.  Visit our website at www.magicalstartravel.com.

You Have Arrived…Walt Disney World!

You’ve spent endless hours planning your vacation at Walt Disney World in Orlando!  You’ve checked, double-checked, and triple-checked your lists!  There are as many different ways to start your time at WDW, as there are people who visit!  Here are a couple of my favorite ways!  LET’S GO!!

2013-12-04 13.11.13

Whether flying or driving, when you plan to arrive is key to determining what your first day might look like.  One if my favorite ways to begin my time at WDW, is to first make sure I arrive as early as possible.  Once I have checked into my resort, and hopefully my room, I tend to grab a quick bite at the resort food court and head for a bus stop!  My first stop…MAGIC KINGDOM! 2013-12-05 13.04.55

If this all works out, I will be in the Magic Kingdom around noon or shortly after.  I have successfully done this on at least 4 occasions!  This gives me plenty of time to get to a few of my traditional attractions and take in a bit of the surroundings.  My first ride?  Typically, It’s A Small World!  I usually stop here on my way to The Haunted Mansion, and I never regret the choice.  Small World is full of classic Disney Imagineering designs.  Sure, the music can be a bit repetitive, but it’s part of the charm.

Second stop is, as mentioned above, The Haunted Mansion!  I still can’t tell what part of the stretch room is “actually stretching”…hahahaha.  But, again, it is a classic WDW attraction and it helps get me into a magical frame of mind!

Another way to begin my stay, done twice, is to just enjoy the resort!  It is difficult for me to spend the kind of money required for a WDW resort and NOT get to see some of it!  So, if my arrival is later than 10am, I tend to make use of the resort pool, grounds, food court, and even just stay in the room!  After all, the rooms are nice!

On our last visit, we arrived at the resort, Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, about 10am, checked into our room, and my girls and I grabbed a bus to Downtown Disney, and the Earl of Sandwich!  I had a coupon to use for my birthday, and had always heard how good the food was here.  So, off we went!  The bus ride wasn’t bad and gave us a chance to see a little of Saratoga Springs along the way!  My oldest daughter loved that!

We then went back to the resort, walked around, used the pool a bit, and then we drove over to Disney’s Beach Club Resort for a taste of Beaches and Cream!

This was dinner!
This was dinner!

May I say, the No Way Jose’ was YUMMY!  We walked around the Boardwalk for a short time, before heading back to AOA for a good night’s sleep in preparation for an all out assault on The Magic Kingdom.

I can recommend taking the first day to relax and take in a few things outside of the parks.  There is a lot to see, and we don’t always take the time to enjoy these areas.  But, don’t give up on the idea of hitting a park, if you can be there by early afternoon, either.

Thanks for reading and have a Blessed and Magical Day!!

Planning 101 for WDW

When it come to planning a trip to Walt Disney World, there are some basics that I think everyone needs to consider as you prepare to make your reservations.  Even the simplest of plans can be a benefit to getting the most out of your WDW Vacation!  So, today, we will look at some of the basic things needed when getting ready to visit The Happiest Place On Earth!

 

 

Disney Time

When it comes to planning, there are several categories of the types of planners.  Today, I’m going to attempt to boil it ALL down to a few basic ideas, that you can choose to build upon, or not, and still have a wonderful time on your vacation!

First, make sure you know what time of year you want to visit!  This makes a difference because of crowd levels!  For instance, if you are wanting to head to WDW during the week of Christmas to New Year’s, crowds will be very, VERY heavy.  New Year’s Eve is typically one of, if not THE, busiest times of the year throughout Walt Disney World!  And, particularly at The Magic Kingdom!  If you go in with no plans, you may end up with no vacation.

Spring and Summer breaks can also be heavier times to visit.  And, having a good crowd calendar for planning purposes can be invaluable.  There are two that I recommend.  One as at http://www.easywdw.com/category/calendar/ for a very well organized and up-to-date planning tool!  And, it’s free!  The other does cost a little bit of money, but it’s reasonable, and if you listen to WDWToday podcast, there is a discount code to help defray a bit of that cost.  It is found at http://www.touringplans.com!  I have used this one myself on the past few trips and find the numbers to be highly accurate and helpful.  There is also a chat feature on the site to ask planning questions, if you need extra assistance in putting things together.

The next thing I think is important for any WDW trip is what do take in your luggage.  There are a lot of packing list ideas available online.  One of the best, that I have found, is at http://wdwprepschool.com/the-ultimate-disney-world-packing-list/.  This is a very complete list, and you can tailor the list to fit your specific needs.  But, it has some good suggestions of things you might not think about without the guidance!  There is also a short weekly podcast, that I found recently, where there is discussion about some of these planning ideas.  Give it a listen, it’s worth the time!

Finally, let’s talk about food!  If you want to eat at WDW, especially at a more relaxed, sit-down type restaurant, you will truly want to know what your travel dates are before you get to the six-month mark!  The reason is that at 180 days from the start of your visit to Walt Disney World, the reservations system opens up for you to make your dining plans.  And, IF you are staying at a Walt Disney World Resort, you can use the 180 days plus 10 rule!  That allows you to make your Advanced Dining Reservations (ADRs) up to 10 days into your vacation.  And, that becomes very important if you want some of the harder to get reservations like Character Meals, or popular spots like ‘Ohana, or Be Our Guest!Be-Our-Guest-Bridge-Entrance

These are the three basics I suggest to everyone going to Walt Disney World, anytime of the year!  And, even though there are lower crowd times through the year, there are really no truly Low Seasons at WDW!

One more thing, if you don’t want to face the mountains of planning, may I suggest using an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner to help with the arrangements?  Your specialized planner will take care of all of the details for you!  You can be as involved as you wish, or just have them tell you when to leave and where to go once you get there!  I can point you in that direction, if you need help.  I have several friends who do a wonderful job assisting their clients!

Well, that’s it for now!  Have a Blessed and Magical weekend, my friends!  See you next time!