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!!

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!

Free Dining Strategy

brownderby1

While I agree with most about the use of the Disney Dining Plans in terms of determining whether or not it’s a worthwhile expense, when it comes to Offers for Free Disney Dining, I’M IN!! Why? Let me explain my reasoning!

When Free Disney Dining is offered, I like to use it because it gives me an excuse to try things I wouldn’t spend a nickle for otherwise! For instance, on our 2012 visit to WDW, we had free dining and were able to eat at ‘Ohana and Le Cellier. Had we had to pay out of pocket for those meals, we probably would have skipped them! We also did a couple of character buffet meals that would have been WAY too expensive. So, now when we plan a trip, we try to hit the Free Dining windows if we want to be a bit more adventurous! Speaking of adventurous, I think Sanaa must be on our next trip! I hear great things about that one!

The current offer is out there and available, so book soon before all the good accommodations go away! Bookings are available August 8 for most arrival dates Aug. 31-Oct. 3, Oct. 26-Nov. 1, Nov. 9-20, Dec. 12-23, 2014. This is, of course, for as long as rooms remain available! Be aware that there are some restrictions involved with this offer. Art of Animation – Little Mermaid, Port Orleans French Quarter AND Riverside are excluded from this offer!

Contact your favorite Authorized Disney Travel Planner for more details and booking! If you can’t find one, send me an email at threestrandswdw@outlook.com and tell me how you linked to my blog and I’ll get your information to one of my friends!

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

WDW In Summer!

Tips, Refurbs, and other stuff!!

Disney-Where-Dreams-Come-True

While I am sure many of you know these tips, but it never hurts to put together a few reminders. When traveling to WDW during the summer months is hot, humid, and pretty darned uncomfortable if you don’t prepare for the weather in Central Florida. For starters, pack light colored clothes to help with the sun and you may also want lightweight to help. Also, don’t forget to take sunscreen with you! The sun can be very strong through the summer around Orlando and it doesn’t take long to get a sunburn. Hats would be a good idea to help keep the sun off of your face, as well. Take a break if needed and head back to your resort pool. One tip to consider is making use of early morning and later evening hours. The temperatures are typically cooler and the lack of sunshine means that the parks take on a different personality. Also, you can buy cases of water before you get to your resort to carry into the parks, or just ask at any counter service location for a cup of ice water, it’s free!!

As for scheduled refurbs, WDW is actually doing a couple of major projects this summer. Here is the list as of this time…

Magic Kingdom

Carousel of Progress – May 16 – 22, 2014
Tomorrowland Transit Authority – Peoplemover – Jun. 2 – Aug. 4, 2014
Astro Orbiter – Jun. 2 – Sep. 19, 2014
Liberty Square Riverboat – Aug. 4 – 8, 2014

Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Festival of the Lion King – Jan. 6, 2014 – June 2014
It’s Tough to be a Bug – Jul. 7 – Aug. 11, 2014

And, don’t forget, Disney’s Polynesian Resort is undergoing refurbishments that include the DVC addition and changes to the Great Ceremonial House as they prepare for the return of Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort.

Finally, expect crowds to be heavy, especially on the weekends! There will be people everywhere! But, with a good plan and enough Fastpasses, you can do all you desire and have a fabulous vacation!

I hope you are having a Blessed and Magical week, my friends!!

Starting Monday

This may be old news by now, but yesterday Walt Disney World announced that beginning Monday, April 28 that Fastpass+ will be able to get more than 3 FP+ per day and also allow Park-Hopping.

MyMagic+

From the Disney Parks Blog:

Guests will be able to make one additional selection at a time, based on availability. After they redeem that additional selection, they can go to a FastPass+ kiosk to make another selection, and so on. (The additional FastPass+ selections must be made at a kiosk only.)

Guests will be able to make their additional selection(s) for an experience at which they already redeemed a FastPass+ selection earlier that day.

Guests with valid park-hopping privileges will be able to make their additional selection(s) at another park. Those selections must be made at a kiosk in the park where the desired experience is located.
Stay tuned to Disney Travel News for more MyMagic+ information.

In the words of my beloved wife…”That’s All I Wanted!”

Have a Blessed and Magical Friday, my friends!!

2014 Vacation Video

I have gotten the Vacation Planning Video every year for several years, and when I ordered this year’s version, I wasn’t expecting much. Was I every surprised!

2014 Disney Vacation Planner Video
2014 Disney Vacation Planner Video

The 2014 Vacation Planning Video has been completely reimagined, to use Disney terminology. A lot of good visuals showcasing everything from Theme Park overviews to more specific looks at rides, dining options, and entertainment all around the resort.

This video is an excellent tool to use, in conjunction with your Authorized Disney Travel Planner, to help put together the most magical experience you could ever design, and even introduce you to some different ideas to make that possible. And, it even gives you a very brief look at each resort available on the WDW property. I only wish there had been a bit more said about each resort to give us a better idea of what they have to offer.

You can view both Walt Disney World in Florida AND Disneyland in California on this presentation. So, you can plan your vacation to either destination, or get a quick Disney fix if you are something of a Disney Parks Addict, like me!

So, order your copy today by going to https://www.disneyvacations.com/dv/en_US/VacationPlanningDVD/index to request your copy! Then, contact your favorite Authorized Disney Vacation Planner to begin dreaming! If you don’t know anyone, message me at threestrandswdw@outlook.com, and I’ll be happy to connect you with one of my friends!!

I hope this puts a little touch of magic into your lives! Blessings…Mr ThreestrandsWDW

Planning for Special Events at WDW

Disney fans all over the world have special times of the year they like to visit Walt Disney World. One of the questions I often see asked is, When do I plan to go to…? Today, we will try to give you answers for that question.

Walt Disney World has it’s annual celebrations all year long. And, planning for those times can be a bit confusing. Two of the events have pretty much the same time frame each year. In the Spring, around the beginning of March and going until about the middle of May is the EPCOT Flower and Garden Festival. This is a time when the grounds around EPCOT are at their most beautiful as the Disney plant growers and topiary designers get to show off the skills that have been a part of the ‘landscape’ since the opening of Walt Disney World in 1971. Planning for this event can pretty much be done anytime. Especially if you aim for the middle of the event.

The Fall equivalent, on a much grander scale, is the EPCOT Food and Wine Festival. This event, again, is usually about the same time each year. And, if you make plans for the middle of the range, you should be just fine in getting the accommodations you desire for attending this time of year! Food and Wine does seem to attract larger crowds, and a lot of the locals visit, also. You may want to plan you F&W visits for midweek.

Other Annual Events of Interest:

Star Wars Weekends at Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party at The Magic Kingdom
The Candlelight Processional at the America Gardens Theater in EPCOT
Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party

One other note to add: If you are planning to attend one of these events, go ahead and make your plans! Don’t wait until the last moment! If a special offer comes along, you can always make a change to your package without losing what you have booked. Better yet, use one of the MANY Disney Authorized Travel Planners to keep watch over your vacation and they will do the work for you! That usually means saving you money!

That’s it for now, my friends! May you have a Blessed and Magical weekend!

threestrandswdw.com

Mobility and Babies at WDW

I see a lot of questions online about using mobility devices and strollers at Walt Disney World. Here, we will attempt to answer a few of the most common questions! The first thing to be aware of is, YES, you can rent from WDW in each of the parks, but generally those are just for the day, in the park you are attending, and quite expensive. If you are in a pinch, of course, make use of this service!

If, however, you are trying to plan ahead, like many of us, you might want to consider an off-site supplier. But, remember that the off-site contractor must be a Disney Approved supplier. Most will bring what you need to your resort the day you are due to arrive, and pick up the day you depart. And, there are usually different styles and types available based on your particular needs at that time.

One of the most popular wheelchair and scooter rental companies is Walker Mobility. Walker can actually supply chairs, scooters, AND strollers. You can check out their offerings at http://www.walkermobility.com for all the options that are available.

You can also check out Buena Vista Scooter Rentals! They also provide scooter and stroller rentals. They are a Disney Featured ECV Provider and they even rent bicycles! Be sure to check them out a https://www.buenavistascooters.com/ for more details.

One final thought, if I may? Using scooters on Disney Transport buses to and from the parks is really quite well done! Scooters are loaded FIRST, to allow for ease of boarding and to make sure that you are properly situated before the rest of the passengers are boarded. This is not a preferred service, it just makes sense! Also, if you ARE using strollers for your kids, please fold them up before boarding, and if able before the bus actually arrives. This will assist in getting everyone on board, and on the way to your park or resort quicker. Also, it is a federal guideline that nothing block the aisle of a passenger bus in case of emergency.

I hope this is helpful, and if you have any other tips, please feel free to leave a comment at the bottom to help others seeking assistance!

Have a Blessed and Magical Sunday, my friends!!