In this do-it-yourself world we live in, with everything we could possibly want just a click away, it is seems easy to book your own travel. With sites like Travelocity and Expedia, it is easier than ever before to take your next vacation. Let’s face it, most people use these sites because they want to avoid paying a travel agent to plan their trip, thinking they are saving money on commissions. The sad truth is that the commissions are baked into the prices and you pay commissions to someone, and when you use Travelocity, Orbitz and Expedia, you pay it to them, and you do all the work. If you use a travel agent, the same commission is paid to the travel agent and they do all the work.
Contact a travel agent when you are planning a vacation that is important. I recently stood in line behind a couple who booked their vacation through Orbitz and when they arrived at the hotel, there was no booking for them on record. They were meeting other family members for a major celebration and needed that reservation. The hotel took no responsibility so they called Orbitz who said they could not find any record of their reservation and could not help them. Fortunately, after about an hour of tension and emotion the hotel stepped up and found them a room. If bookings are made through a travel agent, there is someone to call who will help. Mix ups can happen, but a travel agent has many more resources at their disposal to resolve these types of problems thus eliminating your stress.
Contact a travel agent when you are traveling outside your own country. International Travel is just much more complex and you want to make sure your travel documents are in order. Even traveling between friendly countries has rules and travel agents can help you wade through everything and keep you on the right track.
the reasons I specialize in Disney vacations is because it is not as simple as buying the tickets and getting in line. The Disney parks are busy and whether it is your first time or your fiftieth, a good plan will help you get the most for your money.
Contact a travel agent when you just don’t have the time to plan a vacation. Travel agents are a huge asset for helping you research prices, locations, comparing resorts and so on. The most savvy travelers know that doing all the travel research can be time consuming and mind numbing. If you are short on time, a good travel agent will help you wade through options and stay on budget.
Traveling is one of the most exciting and interesting activities. We all work hard for our time off and getting that vacation right is very important. Don’t leave it to chance, trust an travel agent to make your vacation perfect and handle all the details.
Disney news abounds everywhere and so I thought I would add some news I get every day. Here is a little Disney News that might help if you are are planning a Disney vacation in 2018.
Florida residents can save 30% on Walt Disney World theme park admission with the 3-Day and 4-Day Disney Select Tickets. Florida Resident Disney Select Tickets can be used on nonconsecutive days and give you access to one theme park per day for up to 4 days. Tickets don’t expire until 6 months after their first use which must occur on or before December 31, 2018. Contact Your Mouse Expert for more details.
The Annual Walt Disney World Marathon is one of the most popular race events in the U.S. You’ll find that registration often fills up within days of opening. Although you have missed this year’s event, tickets for January 2019 go on sale April 17, 2018. So start training and mark your calendars.
Mardi Gras at Universal Studios
Universal Orlando’s Mardi Gras festivities will kick off in less than a month, and the four of the acts that will be playing on the Music Plaza Stage have been revealed. The Beach Boys will be featured on February 10th followed by Kelsea Ballerini on February 17th, Andy Grammer on February 18th, and Foreigner on March 17th. More information is forthcoming.
Mardi Gras runs every night from February 3 through April 7, 2018, but the concerts will only occur on select weekend nights and Your Mouse Expert can help you plan a trip to Universal Studios.
Dates to Keep in Mind in 2018
April 13: Pixar Fest Begins at Disneyland Resort
Coming this summer to Disney California Adventure Park, Pixar Pier will transform the southern shore of Paradise Bay at Disney California Adventure park with whimsical neighborhoods filled with characters from some of your favorite Pixar stories.
Coming this summer also is Toy Story Land at Walt Disney World
in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. All the Toy Story characters and friends will welcome guests in the new Toy Story Land.
When you are planning a sun-and-fun-filled visit to Walt Disney World® Resort, staying in the middle of the magic will help them make the most of their vacation – and now is the time to book for you, Magical Disney savings!
With this Magical Disney savings offer, you can save up to up to 20% on rooms at select Disney Resort hotels.
For stays most nights Feb. 18-April 14, 2018. Book through March 7, 2018.
For stays most nights April 15-June 10, 2018. Book through April 7, 2018.
Plus, there are more Magical Disney savings when you upgrade to a room and ticket package that includes a minimum 5-day theme park ticket with the Park Hopper® Option or Park Hopper Plus Option, they can get one more day added to the ticket, FREE!*
The following room types and Disney Resort hotels are excluded:
Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort
Cabins at Copper Creek Villas & Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
Bungalows at Disney’s Polynesian Villas and Bungalows
Disney’s Art of Animation Resort – The Little Mermaid Standard Rooms
Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter
This Magical Disney savings offer is available to book as “Sun and Fun Room Offer” through the “Room Only” path in the “Quote or Book” module on DisneyTravelAgents.com, or by calling the Disney Reservation Center.
Campsites included at 10% discount for Sunday through Thursday stays April 29 through May 24, 2018. Moderate and Deluxe suites may be available at a lesser discount.
*Tickets and options must be used within 14 days of first use. First use must be by 12/31/18.
For immediate information call Your Mouse Expert 214-264-7146 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Happy New Year! Disney is starting the year off right with some cool Disney specials that you may want to take advantage of. With snow flying most of the country it is fun to dream about warmer climates with sun and sand.
Disney Specials happen throughout the year. The biggest advantage of working with an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner is that we follow your reservation to make sure that you are taking advantage of the best Disney special available for you.
Now-May 9, 2018, you can save up to 30% off Ocean & Partial Ocean Views, and 25% off Standard, Island Garden & Poolside Views at Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa for travel dates April 9-June 7, 2018. They can even save up to 25% on 4 consecutive night stays, with 25% off Ocean & Partial Ocean Views, and 20% off Standard, Island Garden & Poolside Views. And when your Clients book this offer before Jan. 10, 2018, they’ll also receive a $150/stay Resort Credit.
Early Booker Disclaimer:Savings based on the non-discounted rate for the same room. The number of rooms allocated for this offer may be limited. Resort credits may not be redeemed for cash in whole or in part, sold separately, transferred or refunded, and expire at 11:59 p.m. on package departure date. Limit 2 rooms per reservation. Excludes suites and 3-bedroom Grand Villas. Additional charges may apply if more than 2 adults per room. Cannot be combined with other discounts or promotions. Advance reservations required.
Broad Disclaimer: Savings based on the non-discounted rate for the same room. The number of rooms allocated for this offer may be limited. Limit 2 rooms per reservation. Excludes suites and 3-bedroom Grand Villas. Additional charges may apply if more than 2 adults per room. Cannot be combined with other discounts or promotions.
For immediate information call 214-264-7146 or email email@example.com. You can also fill out our convenient request form.
Why keep on dreaming of exotic places, find out where Disney can take you.
As a Disney Vacation Planner, I often have clients call me who book alternative accommodations in the Orlando area but need help planning some Disney activities. Since I don’t charge clients for my planning service because I am paid by Disney when I book accommodations and the like, they wonder if I can still help them. The short answer is yes, I can help. When you already have accommodations but need a little help planning your Disney vacation, the Disney vacation planners with Ears of Experience developed the Concierge Service. Whether you want to know the best time of the day to visit Walt Disney World® Resort, or you need dinner reservations after a day on the rides, we are here to answer any questions you have and will help you plan down to the smallest detail.
Your Authorized Disney Vacation Planner with Ears of Experience offers two concierge packages customized to your needs. When you want an itinerary and dining reservations or you want a hassle-free Disney vacation experience we have a package to help.
Whether you have your own accommodation or not, the services of an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner will save you time. If you don’t stay on a Disney property we can give you some tips and tricks to help you navigate the parks and still have a Magical Vacation. For more information contact Your Mouse Expert at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Over the years Walt Disney World has developed many ways of helping guests get the most of their time spent in the parks. The latest development is the advent of the Fast Pass. In the not-too-distant past, a Fast Pass was obtained by taking one’s entrance card to the nearest Fast Pass dispensing machine and selecting the rides for which a Fast Pass was desired. It always meant that when entering a Walt Disney World park, that one member of the party did a mad rush to a machine with the cards for the entire party in hand. Usually the most “fleet-of-foot” in the party was elected to the task.
Today, Walt Disney World has invented the Magic Band and My Disney Experience app, the process has been much simplified. One can actually make Fast Pass selections in advance of the trip, making the entrance into the parks much more leisurely.
There are some key things to think about when choosing your Fast Passes, even in advance. Here are a few tips for those of you who prefer to do your own planning.
At 7:00 am 60 days prior to your arrival date at a Disney resort, your party can reserve up to 3 Fast Passes per day (equal to the number of days you have on the park tickets in your My Disney Experience account). You cannot choose to have more than one Fast Pass per attraction. Once you choose your Fast Passes they will automatically link to your Magic Band.
Fast Pass selection for Epcot and Hollywood Studios are available in two tiers. The tiers are determined by the popularity of the attraction so you can only pick one attraction from tier one and your remaining 2 (of 3 per day) selections must be made from tier 2. Test Track, Frozen, and Soarin’ are in tier one in Epcot. Toy Story and Rockin’ Roller Coaster are in Tier one at Hollywood Studios.
Once you have used all 3 of your initial FastPasses, you can select another fast pass for another attraction – one at a time and based on availability.
Additional Fast Pass selections can be made within the app on your smartphone or you can visit a My Magic kiosk. Please note: before you can select additional Fast Passes, your 3 pre-selected FastPasses for the day must all be used or expired.
Remember that if you get to the park at opening the lines for many rides will be much shorter. Choose to Fast Pass attractions later in the day or to maximize the number of attractions you can get to and still avoid lengthy wait times.
Although Disney has made it easier than ever to get your magical vacation in place, not everyone has the time for all the details. Your Mouse Expert can help you plan the perfect vacation. Services are free and can save you both time and money. Click here to get more information or request a quote.
With the world being what it is, the folks at Walt Disney World have taken some measures to ensure the safety of guests and cast members. With that in mind, visitors will note that there is increased security and bag searching at each of the Disney parks. Proactive visitors should know that they should avoid trying to take things into the park that may get turned back at the gate. So many people are asking “what can it take into Disney Parks?” This short blog will give you some ideas of the items likely to be turned away.
Items That May Surprise You when You Ask “Can I Take This into Disney Parks?
Selfie sticks – although these are not a security risk, they can be annoying and Disney has determined that they will cause confusion and traffic jams that could be avoided,
Wagons – you will see a sea of strollers at any Disney park but never a wagon.
Shoes with built in wheels – although I am not sure how these shoes would be identfied at the gate unless someone “wheels” through the gate, they are none-the-less prohibited. If one does wear them, I would suggest that you could be asked to leave if you start wheeling around. Cast members consider they are a risk for running into others inadvertently, and cast members are never far from sight and they take their jobs very seriously.
Folding chairs – I know that it would be wonderful to have a chair for the parade, but can you imagine the kaos if we could.
Items That Will Make You Glad They Aren’t Allowed
Skateboards – I have never seen anyone try to bring these in, but are you glad they can’t?
Drones and Remote Control Toys – Can you imagine the kaos that would ensue if Disney let these items into the park?
Suitcases, coolers and backpacks – Before asking “Can I Take this Into Disney Paks?”, here are some guidelines that will help get them admitted.
If the cooler is required to carry medication it will be admitted but may be stored in a locker or with Guest Relations. The other items have a size limit, which is 24″ long x 15″ wide x 18″ high, so measure before you go. Remember you can store some items in a locker to avoid having to carry everything all around the park in a large bag.
Item You Should not Have to Ask “Can I Take This Into Disney Parks?”
Weapons – Even though this should go without saying, Your Mouse Expert has actually seen someone detained for trying to get a gun in the park. It is prohibited. This includes (toy guns, toy blasters, squirt guns, etc.)
Alcoholic beverages – Although many of the sit down dining establishments serve alcohol, one can not carry alcohol into the parks.
Pets – (unless they are service animals, defined as any dog or miniature horse trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability)
Wrapped Gifts – Seriously, they don’t know what’s in the box. All gifts must be able to be unwrapped, so if you are planning a birthday party in the park, put gifts in bags.
Although we all know that it is prudent on the part of Walt Disney World, security lines can be annoying, but guest can avoid delays by avoiding trying to sneak items into the park. and not carrying everything in but the kitchen sink. We have gone through these lines many times and we go to great lengths to not carry any bags and reduce the time we spend getting into a park. If you must carry a bag(s), have them open and ready for inspection. Disney does a great job of trying to get everyone through quickly so that everyone can have a “magical day”. Be polite and be prepared.
As an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner, I am always telling my clients how important it is to stay at Disney resorts because of all the perks staying on a Disney property gives them when planning a vacation. However, Disney resorts offer guests a unique vacation experience that goes beyond the perks of the parks. Each resort has a unique theme and envelopes guests in charm and character.
Disney offers guests something unique at each Disney resort. This blog will give you a little overview of Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. We expect to see animals at The Animal Kingdom Park, but at the lodge? Remember this is Disney so the answer YES! You will discover over 30 species of African wildlife, including zebras, giraffes, gazelles, kudu, and flamingos. Each room offers a guide to help you identify all the animals you can see on the property.
Disney Resorts Offer Great Spots to Relax
Sick of the crowds at the parks? Take your vacation to the next level. We often find ourselves enjoying the luxury of the various Disney resorts and The Animal Kingdom Lodge offers guests some beautiful places to do just that. Escape the Florida heat in an 11,000-square-foot pool with an exciting waterslide and gently sloping, zero-depth entry point similar to that of a natural watering hole. The pool area is trees and Floridian palms, and Uzima Pool includes a children’s wading pool and 2 whirlpool spas.
Guests can also cool off at Samawati Springs Pool, which offers a thrilling waterslide, 2 whirlpool spas and Uwanja Camp—an animal observation site-themed water playground with squirting Venus flytraps, a rope bridge, water cannons and more. Samawati Springs Pool, located just a short walk away from Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas – Kidani Village.
Children ages 3 to 12 can enjoy arts and crafts, watch Disney movies, play with a variety of toys, video, and board games, and even make new friends! Dinner, snacks, themed activities and cool keepsakes make it an experience they’ll rave about for days to come.
Disney Resorts of Great Dining
All of the Disney resorts offer amazing dining options and the Animal Kingdom Lodge is no exception. Enjoy an African style buffet for African themed dishes from over 50 African countries.
Enjoy African cooking with an Indian flare at Sanaa. Enjoy Indian-style bread service, refreshing salads, slow-cooked meats and decadent desserts. There is something for everyone to enjoy.
Visit Jiko and discover a delicious blend of traditional African, Indian and Mediterranean cuisine. You will enjoy a variety of meats, vegetables for both children and adults, all infused with the flavors unique to these regions.
Evenings at The Animal Kingdom Lodge
As the day winds down take a few minutes to watch the animals eat dinner, or relax around one of the fire pits at the animal observatory area. Children can watch movies under the stars. Disney resorts are great for long evenings of relaxation and fun. Don’t miss the advantages that a Disney resort can offer.
Whenever you take a Disney Cruise you may be lucky enough to visit Castaway Cay. Not sure what there is to love about Castaway Cay?. Once you visit, this island fast becomes one of the favorite parts of a Disney cruise. Although a private island is not unique to Disney Cruise Lines, Castaway Cay is Disney’s private island where Bahamian cruises and most Caribbean cruises visit on their itinerary. It is a quiet island that for the most part is uninhabited until a Disney cruise comes in. It is a wonderful place to relax, swim, snorkel, bike or whatever you want to do. Here are some of the cool things that you can do while on Castaway Cay.
Castaway Cay’s Pelican Plunge
While your Disney Cruise ship is anchored on Castaway Cay, you can enjoy Pelican Plunge, a floating water slide and play platform located in the ocean near the family Beach. With two water slides, a giant bucket dump of water, and water cannons to shoot targets this area provides hours of fun and excitement. Remember that unless you are 38 inches in height you must wear life jackets which are provided. The platform is in the ocean and you will not be able to touch the bottom.
Scuttle Cove is a supervised children’s play area and is supervised by counselors from the ship. Children may be dropped off in this are worry-free.
Spring a Leak at Castaway Cay
This is a water play area for kids where the leaks from a “broken water pipe” spray everywhere. Your little ones will love all the water fun for hours.
As the name implies, this is a great place for your teens to hang out. This is the beach area for teens complete with loungers and umbrellas. A place away from parents for games and relaxing.
Disney Cruise Lines Invites Adults to Serenity Bay
Serenity is the name of the game in this adult only beach. A quiet spot to relax, read or even take a nice swim in the quiet, calm waters, adults will revel in Serenity Bay. Looking for a massage, well Serenity Bay offers cabanas for a private message. Make sure you book them ahead of time, they go fast.
Bike Rentals on Castaway Cay
A great way to see the island and get a little exercise is to rent a bike. There are assorted sizes of bikes available to rent, including those with training wheels and kids’ seats for the littlest riders.
Activities and Excursions
There are a variety of tours and excursions available to be reserved on the island offering a little of something for everyone: parasailing, deep sea fishing, fishing charters banana boat rides, aqua trikes, sea kayaks and inner tube rental and feeding the stingrays.
Life vests are available free of charge. Popular tours like the fishing charters and sting ray feeding sell out quickly, so you may want to book your excursions online or a few days prior to your Castaway Cay visit. If for some reason the tours are canceled Disney typically will issue a refund.
Lunch is an event on Castaway Cay with three BBQ buffet locations on the island to choose from and all free just as if you were still on the ship. The BBQ buffet style lunch is usually served between 12:00 – 2:00 pm. After 2 pm there will be the option of grab & go options that include pre-made and wrapped sandwiches, cookies. 1) Cookie’s BBQ – located on the near side of the family beach 2) Cookie’s Too – located on the far side of the family beach 3) Serenity Bay BBQ – is the adult beach option
The meal offers a variety of choices with ribs, chicken, hamburgers, hot dogs, fish, salads, corn on the cob, fresh fruit and self-serve soft serve ice cream. There are refreshment stations located all around the island to keep you hydrated serving soft drinks, water, juice, and iced tea.
You can also purchase the stamps onboard and they will be charged to the room. This is important as the post office isn’t always open when the ship is docked there. You can opt to either drop the postcards off at post office themselves or cast members can do that for them.
Character Meet and Greet
There will be ample opportunity to meet characters on Castaway Cay all around the island, so don’t forget your camera! You may even be lucky enough to meet Captain Jack Sparrow along the way.
Sign up to do the Castaway Cay 5K or morning yoga class on the beach. The 5k sounds easy but it is often very hot and humid so make sure you practice a little before signing up and make sure you do it first thing when you get off the ship. You can also walk or bike along the 5k route. Each participant receives a special Disney medal for completing the 5K event.
If you are interested in more information you can request a quote or fill out our contact form. You can also call Your Mouse Expert at 214-264-7146
There is a first time for everything! The first day of school, first dance, first kiss and…your first time to visit Walt Disney World. And like most first times, a visit to Walt Disney World can be very overwhelming. There are rides you have never heard of, things to learn to save you time and money and terms that no one else in the world but Disney uses. In this post, Your Mouse Expert (Authorized Disney Vacation Planner) will give you some definitions to make your visit to Walt Disney World just a little more magical.
These are the “keys to the kingdom” so to speak because they open your resort room door, admit you into the parks, act as your fast passes for rides and even allow you to charge merchandise to your room. If you are a Disney resort guest, they are complementary, if not, you can purchase them at various Disney venues throughout the park. As your authorized Disney Vacation Planner, it is one of the things that I make sure you will receive.
Those park guests who are staying at other resorts will be issued key cards with the purchase of park tickets. So if you see guest using cards as admittance into the park it is because they are not staying on a Disney property.
You can also reuse a Magic Band on subsequent trips. Your Magic Band will be linked to your My Disney Experience Account. If you have several Magic Bands you can deactivate those you are not using through that account.
My Disney Experience Website/APP
Your Disney Vacation Planner and general Mouse Expert set up your personal My Disney Experience Website and tell you where to download My Disney Experience App. From this website, you can manage your vacation. You will link your resort reservation, dining reservations, fast passes and even add a credit card to allow you to pay for merchandise. You can also link your party to your My Disney Experience and set up all your appointments as a group.
My Disney Experience also offers a convenient App that can be downloaded from App stores for most smartphones. It allows you to connect to your site and keep up with your schedule while out and about in the parks.
A Fast Pass is an appointment for an attraction. For a single theme park per day, you can make up to 3 FastPass selections in advance either online or by using the mobile app and you may change or cancel your selections any time. You can also get assistance from the Lobby Concierge at your Walt Disney World Resort hotel or at a FastPass+ kiosk in any of the parks.
Once you redeem your initial set of FastPass selections (or the last arrival window has passed), you can make another FastPass selection for the same day at an in-park kiosk or on your mobile device, up to park closing. After you redeem the additional FastPass+ pick, you can return to a kiosk to make more selections (one at a time), subject to availability.
Park Ticket Types
Disney offers several different options for tickets. There is the One Day/One Park option which is, as the name applies, good for one park per day only. You may come and go from that same park throughout the day, but only the park you started with that day.
The second option is the Park Hopper. Your Authorized Disney Vacation Planner and Mouse Expert enjoys this one, especially if you are at the parks for a short time. It is a great way to navigate crowds and get your money’s worth out of your trip. The Park Hopper allows you to go to as many parks as you wish in a day. You can catch “It’s a Small World” and “Pirates of the Caribbean” in the morning, have lunch at Epcot and catch “Soarin”, walk through the World Showcase and take a boat to Hollywood Studios for some Star Wars action and finish up the evening with dinner at Yak and Yeti and a Safari Ride at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Of course, you will need the help of a Disney Vacation Planner to put that together but with the Park Hopper Pass, you can do it.
If you love water parks and you are in the area in the summer months you will enjoy the Park Hopper Plus option because it gives you the option to enjoy Disney’s two water parks, Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon.
Special ticketed events
When planning your trip be sure to ask your Disney Vacation Planner what special ticketed events may be available at that time. These can range from Christmas or Halloween parties to special fireworks dessert parties. Many of these events afford visitors extra time in the parks when the parks are closed to other visitors. It makes rides more accessible and Disney always makes these events well worth the money.
Disney’s Magical Express is the transportation for guests who fly into the Orlando International airport. They pick up your luggage for you and take it directly to your room and you ride for free directly to your resort. Your Authorized Disney Vacation Planner can set this up for you as soon as you give her your flight info.
People are often confused by the various forms of transportation that Disney offers their guest. When guests stay at Disney Resorts, they have access to buses, steamboats or regular boats, and the Monorail system that can take them from resorts to the various parks. These are all free and run from early morning to park closing at about 20-minute intervals. This is extremely convenient because although non-Disney resorts may offer free transportation to the parks, it is usually once or twice in the morning and then not again until the evening.
Disney Dining Plan
The Disney Dining Plan is simply a way of prepaying for meals while visiting Walt Disney World. Plans vary from paying for Quick Service dining to Full-Service sit-down dining or a combination of both. For detailed information about how the Disney Dining plans work, visit this previous blog post.