Disney Dates Announced

Well…surprise, surprise!  We have some date that people have been waiting for, in some cases, years to hear!

rivers-of-lightRivers Of Light

First, the Rivers Of Light at Disney’s Animal Kingdom will begin floating past the crowd on February 17, 2017!  This nighttime experience has had a few setbacks along the way, but I have faith that WDI has solved the mysteries that have eluded them and will bring a spectacular show!  Related to this event, Disney has also announced that there will be dinner packages available to get preferred seating for Rivers Of Light. Eligible restaurants include Tusker House, where you can choose to eat Breakfast, Lunch, or Dinner for $37 for adults and $23 ages 3 – 9, tax and gratuity not included.  And Tiffin’s, where you get appetizer, entree, dessert and a non-alcoholic beverage at a cost of $67 per adult and 32 for ages 3 – 9, with tax and gratuity not included.

happily-ever-afterHappily Ever After

Next, say goodbye to Wishes!  Beginning on May 12 a new fireworks spectacular will be taking place in the Magic Kingdom! This new show will include music and clips from some of Disney’s newer films.  Look for Zootopia, Moana, Brave, Big Hero 6, and many others! The Tomorrowland Terrace Dessert Party will continue to be offered and will offer some of the better views of the new fireworks!  Take a look at the video that Disney released!  This is going to excite you!!

Thanks for reading, my friends!

Keeping the Magic Alive!!

magical_matthew

Security Change for Magic Kingdom

A new security checkpoint has been established at the walkway leading from Disney’s Contemporary Resort to Magic Kingdom Park.  A single access point is located as you exit the walkway.  This should make clearing security a bit easier for some headed into the Magic Kingdom.

I can’t help but wonder how the rest of the secured area may change now that the Welcome Show is now located inside the park at Cinderella’s Castle.  Could it be that each entry point will have it’s own set of security checkpoints?  Would that lighten up the congestion?

What about the other parks?

Security is certainly at the forefront of everyone’s minds these days.  And, personally, I have no problems with additional checkpoints.  Anything that allows the flow to keep moving without compromising on security is okay by me!

Thanks for reading and Let’s Keep The Magic Alive!

WDW Bits, Pieces, and More

We had a few pieces of news on Thursday, March 17, 2016…

  1. Adventures By Disney is will begin offering a Walt Disney World and Central Florida package.  Included in this package are some behind the scenes moments around the WDW Parks, Preferred seating for Rivers of Light at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Festival Of Fantasy Parade at Magic Kingdom Park, VIP access to Seven Dwarf’s Mine Train and Toy Story Midway Mania, and a private Animal Kingdom Safari.  You will also get a chance to visit a few other central Florida attractions featuring Kennedy Space Center where you will have lunch with an Astronaut! For more details, contact your favorite Authorized Disney Vacation Planner (whoever that may be) and start planning your next visit!
  2. The line-up for for the Nights of Joy concerts have been announced.  This year the concerts are being held at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex!  There will be service provided by Disney Transport to and from the venue to the parks and resorts.
    • Sept. 9 – MercyMe, Casting Crowns, Chris Tomlin, Francesca Battistelli, Crowder, Matthew West, Stars Go Dim, Zealand Worship
    • Sept. 10 – newsboys, for King & Country, Young & Free, Switchfoot, Red, Thousand Foot Krutch, Tim Timmons

There will also be more ticket options available for this year’s event.  The options are:

  • A single-night ticket for Friday’s concerts – $39 plus tax (in advance); $45 the day of the show (if available).
  • A ticket which would include a day at one of the four Walt Disney World Resort theme parks and the concerts for Saturday night – $99 plus tax (in advance); $114 plus tax the day of the show (if available).
  • A 2-Day ticket which includes both nights’ concerts, a day at one of the four Walt Disney world Resort theme parks – $119 plus tax (in advance).

Plus, if you purchase the 2-Day ticket before Aug. 9, 2016 will also receive one (1) admission to their choice of Disney’s Blizzard Beach® or Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon® Water Parks from Sept. 6-12, 2016. Group discounts also are available. Tickets will go on sale in mid-April.

WDW…We’re Going In!

MagicBand turnstiles
MagicBand turnstiles

Once you arrive at your resort, the next adventure is choosing which park to go to first.  So, I was thinking about what we go through to get it to the parks, once we decide.

Leaving from your resort is the first issue that must be decided upon.  If you drove, I would suggest driving to all of the parks except The Magic Kingdom.  It is quicker than the buses and parking is free if you are staying at a Walt Disney World Resort.  If you are going for Rope Drop, you should be able to walk to the gates in most cases.

No matter which park you choose to attend, the entry procedure is the same.  As you walk up toward the gates, there will be a security area for checking any bags you may be bringing in with you.  Security Cast Members will want to inspect your bags completely before clearing you into the queue area just ahead of the gates.  This is usually painless and, unless very crowded, only a minor delay.

When you are ready to queue the gates, make sure you have your Magicband, or Key Card, ready to scan.  It doesn’t really matter which media you use for Magicband-Boxentry, it’s more of a personal choice.  The bands add a bit of magic to the process, though.  As you enter, a Cast Member will direct you to hold the Mickey on your band up to the Mickey on the post.  Then put your finger on the scanner on top (make sure you use the same finger each time).  And, that’s all there is to getting into a park for the day.

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

WDW Potpourri

Disney World Arch

When going to Walt Disney World, there are some little things to remember, and a few to be ‘warned’ about.  Today, we’ll look at a few of these things.  Here we Go!

If you are traveling to WDW with little ones, remember that there are Baby Care Centers in all of the parks.  These are great places to go to feed and change your baby, as well as a good place to take a bit of quiet time if you, or you baby, need it.  Just ask any Cast Member where to find the Baby Care Center in the park you are visiting.

Photo from wdwprepschool.com
Photo from wdwprepschool.com

There are Stroller and Wheelchair or ECV rentals available just inside each park entrance.  There are also rentals available at Downtown Disney (Disney Springs).  There is a daily fee for the use of these items.  And, if you leave the park to go to another park, you will need to drop at the park you are leaving and pick up another one at the second park.  If you have a need for a longer stay, you may want to consider an off-site provider as they are typically more affordable.

Whether you are staying at Port Orleans Resort – Riverside, or visiting while at WDW, consider going to see Yehaa Bob at the River Roost Lounge.  But, be warned that this is an AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION live show.  Yehaa Bob is

Yeehaa Bob
Yeehaa Bob

usually playing Wednesday – Saturday evenings beginning at 7:30pm.  But, get there early as seating is limited, and Bob comes around to visit before each show to say hello!  Go to http://www.yehaabob.com for more information and to check the schedule.

Considering going to EPCOT for Food and Wine, or Flower and Garden?  You might want to limit your visits to weekdays.  There are a lot of locals that come out on the weekends and the crowds are larger and sometimes more  obnoxious.

Pack some patience!  There is no quicker spoiler to a vacation then a bad attitude.  If you have kids, think about keeping their schedule the same as when you are at home.  Taking a midday break can save the good memories to be made while you are visiting Walt Disney World.  And, sometimes, it’s not a bad idea for us parents!  Or, schedule an in park ADR and take advantage of the down time to recharge while you enjoy a meal together.

Well, that’s it for today!  Feel free to add your comments about some of the Little Things that can come in handy on a WDW vacation.  For now, I hope you all have a Blessed and Magical Weekend, my friends!

One Man’s Dream? Gone? From DHS?

One Man's Dream

As a rule, I don’t like to dive into rumors, but this one seems like it may be real, given other information available.  Walt Disney One Man’s Dream appears to be another attraction placed on the chopping block for the anticipated Re-Imagining of Disney’s Hollywood Studio.

Along with Voyage of the Little Mermaid, One Man’s Dream may be scheduled to close as early as the end of September 2015.  At this time, there is no word on if it may be relocated to another park, or re-opened under another moniker after once the park is completed.

And, while I know that there are many people out there who never knew who Walt Disney was, I believe it is still important to save something of the LEGACY of the man responsible for so many smiles, on so many faces!  It is my sincere hope that this is not the Disney boards way of erasing Walt from the company!  Instead, just a temporary displacement of something that allows us a small glimpse into the man whose name is Walter Elias Disney!

Hopefully, we’ll know more after the D23 Expo coming up in a few weeks!

Thanks for reading, my friends!  I hope you have a Blessed and Magical day!

WDW…Did you hear?

With News from Walt Disney World, this is threestrandswdw!

A new refurbishment has been scheduled at The Magic Kingdom.  Sadly, for many, Pirates of the Caribbean will be out of circulation beginning May 11, 2015 and lasting through summer until September 25, 2015. It has been reported that there are many enhancements being made as well as some safety upgrades.  It will be interesting to see how this plays on lines for other nearby attractions.

Also at The Magic Kingdom, the project to expand and enhance the hub area is beginning to wind down.  The area in front of The Crystal Palace is now available, and looks stunning! Take a look at this video from iThemePark to see where things are, and get an idea of how it might affect your touring.

As Downtown Disney continues it transformation into Disney Springs, there is yet more construction taking place in and around the area.  Roadwork on Buena Vista Drive continues through March 2016.  And, construction on the East Garage and the Town Center continues to develop and is scheduled to be completed in August 2016.  With all of the restaurants and shops coming to Disney Springs, this is all necessary to aid in the flow of both car and foot traffic.

EPCOT FandG

The EPCOT International Flower and Garden Festival gets underway this week!  The gardens look amazing, and I hear that there will be food to taste, too!  Beautiful gardens and topiaries will decorate the park.  And, the Outdoor Kitchens are returning with some fan favorites, as well as new offerings to delight the palate.  You will need admission into EPCOT to enjoy this wonderful time if the year, but once inside the displays and entertainment are included.  You will have to pay to taste, however!  The festival runs from March 4 through May 17, 2015.

And finally, dates have been announced for both Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, and Mickeys Very Merry Christmas Party.  MNSSHP dates are: September 15, 18, 22, 25, 27; October 1, 2, 4, 6, 8, 9, 12, 13, 15, 16, 18, 20, 22, 23, 25, 27, 29, 31; and November 1.  MVMCP dates are: November 8, 10, 12, 13, 15, 17, 19, 20, 29; and December 1, 3, 4, 6, 8, 10, 11, 13, 15, 17, 18. Tickets will go on sale in April, so start planning now!
2013-12-05 13.04.55

That’s it for now!  Thanks for reading!  Have a blessed and magical weekend, my friends!

Spontaneous WDW

The advent of the MyMagic+ stuff, makes the ability to be spontaneous seen as though it has gone the way of the Dodo bird.  But, after a bit of thought, it seems that there may still be the ability to do some things without having to plan it down to the second.  Let’s look at a few of those today!

Welcome to Walt Disney World
If you feel you need to make a few FastPass reservations, by all means, go ahead.  For me, I like to get primary attractions done early, and then chill the rest of the day.  I like to take in the atmosphere and maybe catch a show or two along the way.  If I’m walking by and attractions with say a 15 minute or less wait, and I want to go on it, I do.  Character meets can be fun, too!  Especially since so many of them are going the majority of the day.  Of course, I am NOT including Frozen in this plan.

If you want to eat, and not make an Advanced Dining Reservation (ADR), you can attempt a walk up request at many of the restaurants.  Since the implementation of penalties for no shows on reservations, cancellations are happening everyday throughout the resort.  In park restaurants may be the most difficult to secure on a walk up, but if you are willing to check during ‘off hours’, you may find yourself eating in a very nice place that wasn’t a part of any plan!  But, don’t forget about the resort hotels!  Some have easy access to a few of the parks, and can offer a quiet and comfortable place to recharge

Don’t forget, either, that there are plenty of things to do outside of the Theme Parks, to help you be spontaneous.  There is miniature golf, water parks, shopping at Downtown Disney (soon to be Disney Springs), and much, much more!

As you can see, there can be day-to-day flexibility that allows you to decide what park to visit, if you are willing to not see everything.  AND, it may be a more satisfying visit, also!  If you go into the vacation with the understanding that you will not see it all, then you will keep the level of disappointment in check.  And, you will know that you have reason for a return visit.

So, don’t let all of this ‘planning’ get in the way of having a relaxing, rejuvenating visit to Walt Disney World!  Just pick your dates and your resort, and let that be all of the planning you need!

Thanks for reading!  Have a Blessed and Magical evening, my friends!!

Magical Express to WDW

Magical Express Bus
Magical Express Bus

So, you’ve booked your trip to the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida.  You’ve decided that since Disney provides all of the transportation you might need once you get there, that a rental car is an unnecessary expense. But, how do you get to your resort from Orlando International Airport (MCO)?  Simple, make use of Disney’s Magical Express service provided by Mears Transportation.  Here’s how it works!

Once you have decided to fly into MCO, and have made your package booking at Walt Disney World, make sure that your travel agent has your flight information, both in and out of MCO, and they can call to make the reservation for use of Disney’s Magical Express.  Doing this will simplify your transition from Aircraft to Motor Coach!  One of the coolest benefits is that Disney will send you special bag tags to put on your luggage.  You will check it in at your departing airport, and the next time you see it will be in your room at WDW.  You may want to pack a few things in your carry-on in case your need to change once you arrive at your resort.  Should you decide that you are more comfortable claiming our luggage at MCO, that’s fine, just leave the bag tags off of your luggage.

Magical Express  Bag Tags
Magical Express
Bag Tags

After you get off of your airplane, just follow the overhead signs to Disney’s Magical Express.  It is on the ground level of the B side of the main terminal.  It will likely take you about 20 minutes to get to this point by the time everyone makes a pit stop, gets acclimated, and find your way.  Yea, it’s a bit of a walk, but trust me, it’s worth it!!  Make sure you don’t pack your MagicBands in your checked bags, you will need them for smoother entry into the DME queue.  Disney’s Magical Express operates between 5:00am and 10:00pm.  So, if you arrive before 5am or after 10pm, you WILL NEED to claim your luggage to carry along on the motor coach.

MCO Map to DME

When you check-in for your Motor Coach, you will be told which line to queue up in that will take you to your resort.  Some coaches will service more than one resort, depending on the number of passengers.  But, generally speaking, you will be at your resort within an hour after departing the airport.  And, it’s an enjoyable ride!  There is a welcome video to get you into the magical mood.  And, you may have a driver that enjoys Disney as much as you do who will ask some trivia, point out some highlights, and interact with you along the way.

When the sad time comes to have to return to your ‘real’ home, Disney Magical Express will once again provide you with your ride back to MCO.  There is a Resort Check-In desk in each resort.  Just take your bags to that desk, and they will be checked through to your destination, and you will get your Boarding Passes.  If you have a carry on, you can leave that with Bag Services so you can visit a park, grab a favorite snack, or visit Downtown Disney before you leave.  Yes, we Disney fanatics call this the Tragical Express, but none the less, we all have to go sometime.

If you have any questions about Disney’s Magical Express, just ask!

Have a Blessed and Magical Day, 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!!