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Showing posts with label Disney Trip Planning. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Disney Trip Planning. Show all posts

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Should I add the park hopper option to my Walt Disney World Tickets?


I've planned a number of trips for a number of wonderful families.

One persistent question I receive is about theme park tickets, especially for Walt Disney World. There are a couple of different options that can drastically affect a Disney vacation. 




Park hopping is a fairly easy concept. It might sound a little funny to the non-Disney theme park visitor, and doesn't require any actual hopping. A smile, maybe. Patience, sure. And a little extra cash, definitely.

The Park Hopper option for Disney theme parks works like this: you can visit any theme park you want, just as long as you have a valid theme park ticket for the day. Wait, what? Here you go- you can visit Magic Kingdom in the morning, "hop" over to Epcot over the afternoon hours, and then finish the night at Hollywood Studios.

It's also helpful to explain the alternative. If you don't have the park hopper option, here's how it works. You visit Magic Kingdom in the morning, well, then you are only able to visit Magic Kingdom for that day (or whatever park you decide to visit). Yes, you can leave the park and come back to the same park. 

Why is this a problem? Well, there are a couple of drawbacks. First, you are limited in your dining options- you may only eat at the Disney resorts or at a restaurant at the theme park you start at. Some people don't use free Disney vacation planning services (like I offer), and go to a theme park, and forget they can't leave to go for their Dining Reservations in another theme park. However, you can definitely plan ahead to try and avoid any problems if you don't have the park hopper.
Another issue is that all theme parks at Walt Disney World might not require a full day visit for some families. However, all of the theme parks offer marquee attractions, and may be you or your childs favorite attraction. It's crazy for someone to go to WDW and skip out on some of the world's best rides because they didn't want to spend a whole day in a specific theme park. On a related note, a family may find that they really enjoy a particular ride or area, and will want to come back and spend more time there. The park hopper option will allow you to do that.

Some of the draw backs?

Well, you are going to spend more time on Disney transportation (or driving if you have a car). There can always be minor frustrations that occur during this time. I know I've spent plenty of trips on a Disney bus with one holding my 2 year old son, the other holding our stroller, and standing because all of the seats are full. I feel like I'm walking a tight rope and I feel every bump. 

Also, it's going to cost you more. How much more? $60 to be exact. And here's the deal- it doesn't matter if you have 1 day or 100 day theme park tickets. It's going to be an additional $60 per ticket. So, if you want to visit WDW and get 5 day theme park tickets, then it will be an extra $60 for the park hopper. Want to add an extra day? The only price increase would be for the theme park tickets, but there's no increase in the park hopper option.

Is it for everyone? No, definitely not. But this is a big decision, and for many, a necessary expense. It is important to being knowledgeable, so you can make an educated decision. And if you need any help, well, you know where to find me!

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Sofia the First- Coming to a Disney Theme Park near you?

First off, my daughter is in love with the Sofia the First series. She loves to dance around and sign the "I'm not ready to be a Princess" song. It's such a cute show!

Princess Sofia is hot, hot, hot right now. Move over Kate Middleton!

 My husband sent me an email with a link to some gifts for our children for Valentine's Day- one was Sofia the First's amulet necklace on the Disney store website. They had a tiara, and Sofia the First dress. Notice the word had. We went back the next day to buy it, and it was SOLD OUT! A $9.99 necklace is now being sold for $30 on Ebay and $40 on Amazon! Um no... I'll think I'll just pick up a similar one from Etsy for half the price!

Everyone wants to know- when will Sofia appear in Disneyland or Walt Disney World? Well, I don't think you'll have to wait too much longer!



As I have mentioned before, Princess Sofia and Doc McStuffins (my daughter's two favorites... I can't wait to go!) will be appearing in the Disney Junior- Live on Stage! show in both Disneyland and Walt Disney World, starting February 15. Sorry if your kids were a Little Einsteins or Handy Manny fan, because they are the shows getting the boot!

But what people really want is a chance to MEET Princess Sofia in the flesh!

And for that.. all I can say is soon! They already have the character made- she first appeared at the Christmas parade in Walt Disney World. They also have Disney Junior characters at the Hollywood & Vine meal in Hollywood Studios-but no Sofia the First yet.

I can also see her being placed in Fantasyland at Walt Disney World.... but all I can say right now to those Sofia fans-hold on! It's obvious she's quite the popular character- example A is her merchandise selling out- and Disney will want to expand her brand. It's just a matter of when. My hunch is she'll be out in full force before the summer busy season hits.

As always, I'll let you know when Princess Sofia hits the Disney theme parks, and you can meet her in person. Part of my Disney trip planning is making sure you see your favorite characters with the least amount of time waiting, and Sofia will be no different.


For a sneak peak at what Princess Sofia will look like, check out the video below!


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

How to get your kids ready for Disney?

I get asked often how I prepare my kids for Disney. Well, living in a Disney-everything household, that makes my job a little easy. Everyone might not have a spouse who is willing to put up with their Disney obsession!

But, one good way is books. We have lots and lots of Disney books. I'll share some of my favorite with you. Today is a gem I found on Amazon- it's a Disney pop up book. It's a great way to show your children the parks and... READ! I was always fascinated with pop up books as a child and my children are no different. I love this Walt Disney World book.

This book also gives you all kinds of random facts about Disney World. It's a great conversation starter between you and your kids, and what goes on at the theme parks and what to expect. It's a great way to just get them excited.

It's called "Popping up around Walt Disney World." I love it!

Take a look-of course my children had to be models for the photo shoot!

 Kind of hard to see with the glare- but there are facts all over the page about Walt Disney World!



Spaceship Earth at Epcot in Walt Disney World... aka the "Big Ball!"


One thing to point out- it's not Hollywood Studios in this book, it's MGM. The name changed of the park after the book was printed.


Tree of Life at Animal Kingdom



And here's a closer look at some of the facts- you'll be amazed at what you learn (and your kids!)






This is a great book for your kids- but when I opened it, I realized, what a great collectible! And right now, you can buy it as cheap as 50 cents on Amazon! If you want to purchase it for your own home, just click here!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

2013 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival Dates released!

Disney has released the dates for the 2013 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival for 2013-
September 27, 2013- November 10, 2013!

This allows me to share one of my favorite Disney commercials-




 This is truly a food and wine paradise. I'm not a wine drinker, but it's so much fun to sample wine from all over the world. The food....words can't describe how wonderful this event is!

There are different food carts, aka "Marketplaces," set up around Epcot, and you simply walk right up, view the menu, and try whatever dish you'd like. Portions aren't tiny, but they aren't large- this way, the prices are inexpensive and you are able to try many of items. You could certainly replace a meal.

That's one added perk of this time- you are able to use snacks from the Disney Dining Plan for the food. If you plan on going during this time, you have to get the dining plan, it's a very economical way to try food from all over the world, that you would otherwise  maybe never experience.


I also added this piece from the Disney website-


Festival Highlights
Throughout the festival, delight in outstanding food, fun and entertainment. Festival highlights include:

Nearly 30 international food and beverage Marketplaces
Signature dining experiences with celebrated chefs
Culinary demonstrations and wine seminars
The Eat to the Beat concert series, with nightly performances from popular hit-makers.

The Eat to the Beat concert series has featured some well known acts- last year they had Smash Mouth, Sugar Ray, Boyz II Men, Hanson, Air Supply, Sister Hazel, and Blues Traveler, just to name a few. You're in Disney, get a concert for free with park admission, great food...

It's also a perfect time of the year to go. Crowds are so much smaller- you'll find the wait times for rides are a fraction compared to the busy season.

If you are interested in going, send me an email at disneytripexpert@gmail.com- you can at least find out the price, and I am giving anyone who books with me in January a free Disney gift card...maybe you could use it on a trip to Disney World!

Here's a video you can watch to check it out- the music is a tad annoying, but you can see the festival in action. Fast forward and skip through the video to see some of the different parts. A great event!


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Disney Trip Advice and Tips

A little over a week, I had a Disney gift card giveaway on my Facebook page. If you haven't liked my page-I'm going to give one away again soon, so go ahead and like it!

To qualify for the the free Disney gift card, I simply asked my followers to share their favorite Disney travel tip. I was amazed at the responses!

I have complied some really useful Disney tips that were posted, along with some of my thoughts. Click for some great Disney travel advice!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Limited Time Magic at Disney Parks

Disney is going to make every week a little magical in 2013-they have special events planned for each week-and once a new event happens, the old one is gone. That's 52 weeks of magic!

Special food, merchandise, characters, fireworks-it's all coming in 2013!



Every vacation will be a little extra special. I love this promotion. It will certainly make your trip unique, and a fun surprise.

The only problem is that I know I am going to be crazy and jealous over some of these... I'll want them to happen during my trip!

Check out what Disney has already released as a preview-

Monday, October 15, 2012

Update on Fantasyland

(Image source: Bay News 9)


Well, if you are not going to Disney anytime soon, my news updates might seem a little redundant. Rides opening and closing. However, if you ARE going soon, then you may be in for a bit of luck!

Last Friday, Disney World let some people in for parts of the new Fantasyland expansion, in preparation for the soft opening on November 19.

What's the big deal? Well, you are certainly would be one of the first people to visit this soon-to-be-packed space....and, ride times will be a fraction of what it will be soon. The only part not open is the "Be Our Guest" restaurant.

Reviews have been glowing of the new addition-this will be another notch in Disney's belt. I know I can't wait to see it on my next trip.

There are no guarantees that this will remain open if your trip is scheduled between now and November 19th, but there is certainly the possibility!

For more photos of the area, click here.

Friday, October 12, 2012

See ya real soon Splash Mountain...Closed for refurbishment dates

Yesterday, I happily posted the dates for Test Track to reopen, along with Fantasyland.

Unfortunately I also have to post today about when Splash Mountain will be closed-again, they do this just before my own vacation! Come on Disney!

However, this is how Disney stays on top. They are constantly updating, painting, improving, and working on their rides. It comes at a cost-like people not being able to visit iconic rides-but it keeps the ride iconic and not run down. While sad, it is a necessary evil.

Anyway, here are the dates that Splash Mountain at Disney World will be closed....Also, how it could affect other rides!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Disney FAQ: What is the Park Hopper option on a Disney theme park ticket?

One of the most asked questions I receive are about Disney theme park tickets.

There are so many options- you can just base theme park tickets, Park Hopper tickets, tickets that allow you to go to the water parks, tickets that don't expire... of course, for all of these perks you will have to pay for them.

Let's take a look at one of those Disney park ticket options- the Park Hopper.

This is one of the most used, and can be very beneficial for you.


Friday, September 7, 2012

First look at Disney's new Fastpass+ Experience

Today is a special post- I have been extremely lucky to have a guest blogger, Paul Gibson. Paul is going to Disney World soon, with his family- and they have been selected to take part in the trial run of the Fastpass+ Experience!

Paul has so graciously agreed to share his experience. Read on to find out about the future of Fastpasses at Disney!





Tuesday, August 28, 2012

What NOT to do at Disney

Do this, buy this, bring this.....I've posted all kinds of tips and advice about what you should do when trip planning.

However, I am going to have to switch gears and get a little Negative Nancy here. Many people are tempted to do this. I'm about to tell you what NOT to do at Disney. Don't. NO NO NO NO NO. I TOLD YOU NOT TO! DON'T DO IT!


Monday, August 27, 2012


Walt Disney World® Fall 2012 Savings


There are no shortage of autumn experiences for your family to enjoy this year at the Walt Disney World® Resort. Enjoy tasty samples of popular dishes from around the globe at Epcot’s®International Food & Wine Festival or “party it up” at either Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party or Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party in the Magic Kingdom® Park.

Plus, the Walt Disney World® Resort is offering savings of up to 30% at select Disney Resort hotels for stays most nights Sep. 30, 2012 – Nov. 16, 2012 and Nov. 24, 2012 – Dec. 22, 2012!

Offer Details:

Book by Sep. 29, 2012, for stays most nights Sep. 30, 2012 – Nov. 16, 2012 and Nov. 24, 2012 – Dec. 22, 2012 and:

Save 15% – 20% at Disney’s Value Resorts (excluding Disney’s All-Star Movie Resort and Disney’s Art of Animation Resort – Little Mermaid Standard Rooms)
Save 20% – 25% at Disney’s Moderate Resorts (excluding Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter and Campsites at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort)
Save 15% – 30% at Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club Resorts, Disney’s Boardwalk Inn, Disney’s Polynesian Resort, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge (Standard View only), Disney’s Contemporary Resort (excluding Magic Kingdom® view rooms) and Disney’s Wilderness Lodge.
Save 25% – 30% at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort, Disney’s Old Key West Resort, Disney’s Boardwalk Villas, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge – Jambo House and Kidani Village (standard view).


THESE ROOMS ARE LIMITED!!! CONTACT ME TODAY! If you are already booked through me, I will be adding this discount to your reservation!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Things to Bring to Disney- Two of the most helpful (but forgotten) items!

I'm going to start off the week with some simple, but very effective advice.

I've had a couple of posts about packing for Disney- now, I'm going to list two items that many people don't think to bring, but they could really use.



Even better- they are cheap, found everywhere, and are not a hassle to carry along.

So what are they?


Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Missing Disney? Bring a Disney theme park to your home!



I, like many other people, wish I could visit Disney every day.

Disney World & Disneyland are such magical places... I am bursting with excitement each time we plan to a trip, all the way until I'm at Disney, but then there's always that let down once we are on our way home.

 Unfortunately, I'm stuck in the middle of the United States in Missouri, and I don't think a Disney park is moving any closer....and for that matter, my bank account isn't getting any bigger. So, what to do?

Here's one cheap, easy, and awesome way to bring a Disney theme park right into your house!


Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Disney FASTPASS Holder

In a post I did last week, I described how the Disney Fastpass works.

The Disney Fastpass is NOT something you want to lose- it's your only way to get on all or some of the major attractions at Disney theme parks!

I can attest to this-on our last trip to Disney World, my husband left our Fastpasses at our hotel room. He didn't realize it until he was on the bus from Bay Lake Tower... so he was able to make a fun round trip back! While he wasted some time on the bus, it was still better than waiting in line for Toy Story Mania (which is what our Fastpasses were for).



I have one easy solution so you'll always know where your Disney Fastpass is!


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Disney's Fastpass- What is it and how does the Fast Pass work? Does the Fastpass cost?



Some of the most common questions I get are about Disney's Fastpass.

The Fastpass is great... even better if you know how to use them.

A Fastpass allows you to skip the line at a ride that makes the one open checkout line at Wal Mart at 5 pm on a Friday ( very specific on this because it's one of my pet peeves- seriously, why can't I ever just walk up to an open checkout at a Wal Mart?) look like a breeze.

 Sometimes, at a Disney World ride like Toy Story Mania, you might celebrate another birthday while waiting in line..people flock to certain rides like june bugs to a light. That's why knowing what rides need a Fastpass and when to get them are a must ( and of course, something I can help with!).

They are free, and you use your Key to the World or Park Ticket to pick them up- there are kiosks located near the entrance or exits of participating rides to distribute the Fastpass. You simply walk up, pop in your Key to the World, and out spits your Fastpass, which allows you to skip the long wait and enter a separate line, where you fly through the queue line. People without a Fastpass in the other line will sometimes look at you with giant sad eyes, like a basset hound.


Read on for more valuable info!


Thursday, July 19, 2012

How to tell your kids you're going to Disney!



Surprise! Surprises are the great unknown- many people don't like them, because they like to plan. Others are scared... I used to scare my great grandfather when I was little by hiding around a corner. Not a good surprise (although I am sure he figured me out pretty quick, and just liked to see me laugh), but I think he could have won an Oscar with the different ways he'd react. One time I surprised my father-I made him a turkey sandwich, except I had some surprise toppings...such as chocolate syrup. Needless to say, he was not too happy.

We kept the birth of our two children a surprise- we didn't know their gender until they came out. It was painful at times, but it was so worth it. It was awesome both times- there was second guessing, then we'd have our firm beliefs, and we were always surprised. We overheard (by accident) someone at the hospital say our second child was a girl. We were dejected-not that we were having another girl, but that we found out. Long story short, we were shocked when our son was born a month later! Obviously, I'll never forget the moment when our children came out. However, the element of surprise just added to that wonderful time of our lives.

One of the most fun things you can do is surprise your kids with a trip to Disney. Once you get involved, and take the extra steps, you'll be so involved in your trip- it will create a memory that will last a lifetime.... for you and your children.

One of the best questions I have been asked is how to surprise your kids with a trip to Disney World (or Disneyland). Yes, we adults like to go....but really, if you are going as a family, it's all about the kids. You have a golden opportunity to make this already special trip even more magical, so why not?


I've put together a great list ideas that I have complied over time- click the link to find out some of the best to surprise your kids you're going to Disney!

Also- if you have any stories, pictures, videos (now or in the future) of surprising your kids- please share them with me at disneytripexpert@gmail.com!



Thursday, July 12, 2012

Disney Dining Plan Prices-Is the Disney Dining Plan worth it? Part 1

Disney recently revealed their 2013 vacation packages. I love it- it's when I can finally quote my clients for next year, and book Disney vacations!



It's also when Disney reveals their Disney Dining Plan's cost per day. This is one of those hot button issues-the President has health care, Disney has the Dining Plan.

The most asked question- Is the Disney Dining Plan worth it?



There are many pros and cons when it comes to the Dining Plan- before I dig too deep, let me give you the easy answer.



Disney recently came out with free dining for select fall dates. If you can go at all during these periods, it's absolutely worth it.

You can also pay a small difference to upgrade from the basic dining plan to the deluxe, if you'd like.

Free dining is typically offered only once a year-however, it's also impossible to plan for. Either you have great luck and free dining falls on your already planned vacation, or you wait until Disney offers the Free Dining promotion.

The problem with that second strategy-waiting for Disney to release Free Dining dates- is
a) it may not happen,
b) it may not occur at a time you can take a trip-they usually release it during times they are less likely to fill the park, meaning it's harder for the average person to take off, or
c) either you can't get reservations to popular restaurants or you are only left with impossible times because everyone loves the free dining promotion. (Note: I can help plan your trip for the free dining this fall-and get you in your favorite restaurants...but don't delay in requesting a quote!)

So, now back to the rest of us- what if you don't get free dining?

I did some analysis to determine if the Disney Dining Plan is worth it for you.  This is part 1 of 3, where I will analyze all of the Disney Dining Plans available.


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Kids Scared of Disney Characters? Tips for preparing your kids to meet Mickey



Imagine waking up your kids the day of your trip. You've been keeping it a secret, and can finally let it out. "Come on kids, we packed your bags, today we're going to Walt Disney World!"

Your children are jumping all over the place. This is their first trip to Disney, and they have been watching Disney Junior for years, and can finish the words for half of the Disney movies. This is going to be a trip of a lifetime!

You board the Magical Express, get dropped off at your hotel... first stop, Magic Kingdom! Hey, look, there's Crystal Palace! We have the a dining reservation for half an hour from now. Let's stop and eat before we hit the parks! And then the magical vacation quickly takes a turn-

AHHHHHH! Its.... WINNIE THE POOH (Not Ursula, no Scar... Not a witch or Cruella Deville.. It's the willy nilly silly old bear)! This doesn't have to be you! There are some steps you can take to prevent/ease these situations. 

Monday, June 25, 2012

My Favorite FREE Souvenir at Walt Disney World-UPDATE!

Awhile back, I wrote about my favorite free souvenir at Walt Disney World- and if you missed it, you can find it here.

However, I now have an exciting new update, that many of you will be sure to love!