I recently got airfare on Southwest to Florida for $15.00 for 3 people. Yes, you read that correctly. Did you know that Southwest has a VISA and if you sign up, from time to time, they will give you 50,000 bonus points. Yes, the VISA does have a $69 annual fee but you add that to the $15.00 it still comes out a LOT cheaper than 3 plane tickets. They have recently added a stipulation that you must spend $1000 within the first 3 months before you get the 50,000 bonus points. Well, if you are planning on taking a trip to Disney, you could easily spend $1000. Charge your Disney reservations to the card and BINGO you have spend the $1000 and have gotten 50,000 bonus points. Then just watch for the Southwest Sales, which come out usually every Tuesday afternoon and use those points to buy your tickets to Disney. If you are a couple thousand short (if you are a family of 4) then you buy the extra points which amount to about $75 and you have 4 plane tickets to Disney for about a total of $164 ($20 for taxes and fee, $69 annual fee and the $75 for extra points) – well under the regular price of 4 plane tickets.
It is my pleasure to have Terri’s first blog here on “Mouse”cation. Thanks Terri for a wonderful article!
When you have an allergy, going out to eat can be daunting! Some restaurants just aren’t on top of things – whether it’s lack of knowledge, cross-contamination issues within the kitchen, or simply forgetfulness. It can be difficult all-around trying to find a trustworthy, knowledgeable location to eat out.
So, is there good news? YES! If you’re reading this blog, you’re interested in a possible Disney vacation. Rest assured, you and your food allergies will be well taken care of by the excellent chefs on Disney property!
Planning ahead for allergy-free dining can be a little frustrating, as Disney no longer provides a current list of allergy-free foods that remain available at certain locations. The fact-of-the-matter is that menus change, and vendors can’t always keep items stocked, so any ‘current’ list of allergy-free foods available becomes out-of-date pretty quickly.
You can still head to Walt Disney World (or any other Disney location) with confidence though! If you have an allergy, you can dine at ANY table service restaurant. When you’re seated, tell your waiter that you’ve got a food allergy. When it’s time to order, the Chef himself will come out to speak to you. He may point out things on the menu that you can eat, or he may offer to make you something not even on the menu – and when they do that, you know it’s going to be fabulous! When the waiter brings out the food for your table, the Chef comes out as well, carrying YOUR allergy-free plate! He’ll reassure you that everything on the plate is free of the allergen (or multiple allergens) that you mentioned. You’ll feel treated like royalty and the food will taste regal as well!
Quick service dining, in most places, can be accommodating to your allergy-free needs. Keep in mind though, that the term ‘quick service’ doesn’t apply to the allergy-free service. You will need to be patient and likely wait 10 to 20 minutes longer for your meal to be ready. Quick-service locations do take your allergy to heart though. When you go up to order, the cashier will page a manager to come and speak to you – that way you are ensured that your meal will be allergy-free.
Disney is one of the best places to vacation if you’ve got a food allergy or intolerance. They use best practices and proper measures to assure your food will be allergy-free. If you’re wanting to find reviews of restaurants (both table service and quick service), check out AllergyFreeMouse. Many helpful tips and reviews can be found there, which may help put you more at ease when wondering where and what can you eat while vacationing at Walt Disney World!
Terri is owner and writer for WaltDisneyWorldHints. She has experience with allergy-free dining, as she eats gluten-free due to having Celiac disease. Walt Disney World is her favorite place to vacation, because Disney truly understands how to prepare allergy-free meals!
Here is the information that Disney sent to us agents today:
On the Disney Dining Plan, Be Our Guest is one quick-service entitlement for lunch, and one table-service restaurant entitlement for dinner. When booking a reservation, you will be required to provide a credit card number in advance and you will be charged $10.00 per person if a cancellation isn’t made at least one day in advance. This helps ensure that more Guests can enjoy the dining experiences available at Walt Disney World Resort restaurants.
Located at the base of the mountain below Beast’s castle, this themed venue transports diners to the magical world of “Beauty and the Beast.” Lunch is quick and casual (no reservations required), with Guest-activated terminals that make ordering a snap (there also will be traditional cashiers for cash orders and special dietary requests). Once you have ordered, they simply take a seat and lunch will be delivered to their table – on china, not paper. Dinner is table service.
Cuisine is French inspired to match the hit animated film’s theme. Dinner selections include the usual favorites like steak, poultry and fish; but with a French flair befitting of the environment. Grilled strip steak with pommes frites (French fries), French onion soup and thyme-scented pork chop are just a few of the things found on the dinner menu. For lunch, you will be able to enjoy salads like the tuna Nicoise and sandwiches such as the Croque Monsieur (ham and cheese) and grilled steak sandwich with garlic butter spread. There will also be heartier fare, like braised pork and vegetable quiche.
The restaurant features three themed dining rooms: the mysterious West Wing with the “enchanted rose;” the Rose Gallery with twirling, larger-than-life figures of Belle and Beast; and The Ballroom with elegant details, such as a domed ceiling, twinkling chandeliers and glimpses of softly falling snow outside.
If you have ever been on a Disney Cruise you may have seen things hanging outside a person’s cabin door. Did you wonder what it was? Well, it probably was a Fish Extender. What is a Fish Extender you might ask? Well, a fish extender is a kind of mail box that hangs from a string, held together by a set of dowel rods along the top and bottom of the fabric. The fish extender has 2 or more pockets made from fabric which are added along the front.
It can be fancy:
Or it can be simple:
You need to make sure your Fish Extender is no more then 8″ wide. What do you exchange?
Pretty much anything goes here! Some of the things people have given are:
– – – Magnets from their home state
– – – Anything Pirate
– – – Anything Disney
– – – Anything with our cruise sailing dates on it (pencils, pens, candy . . . )
It isn’t about how much you spend, it is about the fun in exchanging and seeing what you get! Who can join? Anyone and everyone! Even if your stateroom is 2 adults, you can join and have just as much fun!
You can join a group that has already planned to do the Fish Extender on the same cruise you are going to be on. You can find groups here: “Disboards” or you can just do your own thing. If I was going to do this, I would probably join a group to ensure that you get things in your Fish Extender.
Every stateroom has a fish hanging on the wall outside the door. This is part decoration and part message center. The fish is there for Disney to place important communications to you such as excursion tickets and notes from the Cruise staff. It is like a mailbox for your room.
You can Google Fish Extenders and find lots of more information. This is just the basics of Fish Extenders. Have fun with it!
Disney announced today that it will begin taking Advanced Dining Reservations (ADR) for Be Our Guest Restaurant starting on August 20th 2012! Also that this all new restaurant will be open to the public beginning on December 6th! Online reservations start August 22, 2012.
I was on the phone with a wonderful lady from Disney’s Dining and she said that she has gotten information that Be Our Guest and ALL OF FANTASYLAND will be open to the public on Nov. 19th. So if you are going to be there anytime after Nov. 19th you can get reservations to Be Our Guest. She told me that dinner is 1 dining credit NO CHARACTERS, there is a West Wing and Ballroom for Dinner and there is a Twirling Larger than LIFE Belle and Beast in the other room and that is where the Quick Service will be at lunch time. She said there is FIREWORKS SEATING INSIDE THE CASTLE. Any special requests for seating need to be made at the podium. She suggested something that I thought was a PERFECT way to get your seating you want…… Stop in the Castle in the morning, tell them you have reservations at such and such time and you would like to be seated in the West Wing or Ballroom or where you can see the fireworks and they should be more likely to accomodate you rather than walking in 5-10 minutes before your reservation and tell them where you want to sit.
I asked this question of a Florida native and client. Here is her response:
It really depends, but there are definitely times in Dec & Jan when it’s warm enough for the pools. Just this past year we went to Wilderness Lodge in December and then to Port Orleans in January and February. My kids went in the pools each time, but I only went in in Feb because they wanted me to try the waterslide. I thought it was cold, but they didn’t. Of course, once they got out of the water and the wind blew they were cold. In the afternoon it can sometimes be in the 70s or even 80s, but the evenings can get chilly. However, the previous year we went to All Star in December and it was the coldest time we had ever been at Disney. FL had a very cold winter that year as did the rest of the country. So, it’s really hard to say. It can be nice & warm, but you never know.
Thanks Heather for helping!
There is a very simple way to get an autographed photo of your child’s favorite character. No standing in line. It will just cost you the price of a stamp. I would say that is a great deal!
If you just write a letter to a character at Disney (Walt Disney World Communications P.O. Box 10040, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830-0040), they will send you an autographed photo back!
Many people wonder what is the best way to get from the Airport to Disney World. There are cabs and other shuttle services but why pay for those services when you can use Disney’s Magical Express for free?.
Getting from Orlando International Airport to Walt Disney World can be expensive! So why pay for it when Disney’s Magical Express is free? Not only that but very easy to use. Here are some simple instructions when using Disney’s Magical Express:
- When you or your Travel Agent make your reservations you just include your flight information, both arrival and departure. This gets the Magical Express all set to go. If you make flight reservations and times change you just call Disney’s Magical Express 45 days prior to your arrival (no earlier) and inform them of the changes (or better yet, have your AGENT call them). Disney’s Magical Express will make the changes before mailing your paperwork.
- When you get your paperwork you will receive 1 yellow luggage tag for each person on your reservation. If you need more, just call Disney’s Magical Express and they will get them to you. The tags are for your checked baggage.
- Put the tags on your checked luggage before you go to the airport and check in as usual.
- That is all for the arrival trip – your luggage will be picked up and magically delivered to your resort room, normally within 2-4 hours after you land. You do not have to be in the room when it is delivered. You do not have to do anything else! There is an exception – if your plane arrives before 5:00 AM or after 10:00 PM. If you do arrive during these times you can either pick up your own luggage and take it on the motor coach with you or let Disney take care of it the next day (or later that day if you arrive early). Then just head on over to the Disney’s Magical Express pick up area on Level 1, Side B.
- The day before you check out you will receive a packet with Disney’s Magical Express instructions including the motor coach pick up time (about 3 hours before your flight time) and the phone number to call to pre pay your baggage charges. On check out day just bring your luggage to the Disney’s Magical Express counter at your resort and check it with them for your return flight. Your luggage will be waiting for you at your home airport.
- Things to remember on checkout day – you must check your baggage no less than three hours prior to your flight time. You can check your luggage with Disney’s Magical Express up to twelve hours (but no more) prior to flight time. The Disney’s Magical Express counter is only open certain hours – those hours are found in your packet.
Here are a couple of important phone numbers: Disney’s Magical Express is 866-599-0951 and Baggage pre pay service is 407-284-1231. You can review Disney’s Magical Express details by going to their Website.
Here are some ideas for what you can do with your left over credits:
- Go to the Main Street Bakery to use meal credits. Main Street Bakery is located in the Magic Kingdom and a meal consists of a pastry, a whole piece of fruit, and a drink. If you pick a bottled drink you can easily take it with you.
- Order a pizza from your Quick Service location at your resort. You get a non alcoholic beverage, a full size pizza, and two desserts. This will use TWO ADULT meal credits. It can easily feed a family of five.
- Visit your Quick Service location at your resort and you can take some cereal, fruit, bagels, pop tarts, cookies, bottles of drinks, etc. etc. You can also pick up a Mickey shaped rice krispie treat or a Goofy decorated sugar cookie at The Confectionery on Main Street USA.
- Some resorts offer an option to put your own salad together.
These are a few possible options for using up your meal and snack credits. Don’t leave Disney with your credits, you paid for those! Have you ever left Disney with unused snack or meal credits?
I was recently contacted by Terri Miller, creator of WDW Hints to be featured in her series on Disney Travel Agents. It was an honor to be selected. Check out her website at www.wdwhints.com and check out my interview with Terri:
Pin Codes…….. These are one of the most sought after discounts that Disney offers. Disney releases discounts that are available to everyone but there are a few discounts that only get circulated through e-mail or mail and these are known as Pin Codes.
There is no sure way to get a Disney Pin code, but here are some tricks. These Pin Codes are non transferable and are linked to you and your address so you cannot share these with your friends or family. However, you can book 2 rooms with them.
- Play around on the Disney sites. Create a vacation and save it. Search the deals and offers. Just make sure your logged in. Disney monitors what you do on their website. Do this every day or every few days. I have done this several times and I have received several pin codes by mail.
- Order a Disney Planning DVD. Do this every year – it’s free and doesn’t cost you a thing.
- Go to the Disney World or Disneyland site and create an account. You can sign up with your work email and personal account.
- Get an account with Photopass too. This is a great service at the parks to ensure you get pictures of your whole family. How many times is someone missing from your pictures because that person is taking the picture?
- Register for Giveaways. The more active you are on the Disney websites, the better your chances.
- Another thing to keep in mind when you do get that pin code…..even if it says it is good for a certain month, check with Disney because I have done this and found that it was good during another month that I really wanted to go. So it never hurts to find out if you can use it for the exact dates you want.
- You may not get one right away, but just keep trying. Sign up everywhere you can with Disney.
Just announced today:
New Fantasyland Grand Opening Set for Dec. 6, 2012, at Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World Resort!
The grand opening for the New Fantasyland expansion at Magic Kingdom® Park at Walt Disney World® Resort will take place on Dec. 6, 2012! Attractions included in this opening are Under the Sea ~ Journey of The Little Mermaid, Be Our Guest Restaurant, Enchanted Tales with Belle, Ariel’s Grotto, Gaston’s Tavern and Bonjour! Village Gifts.
Previews of these attractions will begin earlier, on Nov. 19.
As previously planned, the New Fantasyland expansion will continue with the opening of Princess Fairytale Hall in 2013 and the debut of a new Disney “mountain” in the form of the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train in 2014.
The Storybook Circus section of the New Fantasyland expansion, which includes Barnstormer – Starring the Great Goofini, the Casey Jr. Splash & Soak Station, and Dumbo the Flying Elephant, opened to Guests in July.
Where can families of 5 or more stay at Disney World?
There are plenty of spacious accommodations for parties with 5 or more people at Walt Disney World® Resort. Whether you’re celebrating a special occasion, planning a family reunion or just want some extra room and privacy, you can find a Disney Resort with just the size for you and your family.
A few options are:
Value Resort Hotel – Sleeps Up to 6 Guests
Disney’s All-Star Music Resort, located near Disney’s Animal Kingdom® Theme Park. This Disney Resort’s family suites, which sleep up to 6 Guests, have a separate bedroom, pull-out sofas in the living room, 2 bathrooms and a kitchenette.
Disney’s Art of Animation Resort invites you to step into the story inspired by classic Walt Disney and Disney·Pixar animated films. Each suite sleeps up to 6 Guests and features 2 separate bathrooms and 3 separate sleeping areas, including a private master bedroom.
Moderate Resort Hotel – Sleeps Up to 6 Guests
Spread out and relax in the home-style comfort at The Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort! The spacious, secluded Wilderness Cabins sleep up to 6 Guests and feature more than 500 square feet of living, dining and sleeping area, as well as a private patio with BBQ grill and picnic table. The kitchen is fully equipped, but don’t worry about the dishes—we’ll do them for you!
Deluxe Villa Resort Hotels – Sleeps Up to 8 Guests
Disney Deluxe Villa Resorts include one and two-bedroom villas. Each two-bedroom villa sleeps up to 8 Guests and includes amenities such as a full kitchen, a whirlpool tub, DVD player, washer and dryer. Choose from locations such as these:
- Animal Kingdom Villas – Jambo House or Kidani Village
- Saratoga Springs Resort
- Boardwalk Villas
- Old Key West
- Beach Club Villas
- Villas at Wilderness Lodge
- Bay Lake Tower at Contemporary Resort
Treehouse Villas at Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa – Sleeps Up to 9
These Villas are stand-alone Deluxe Villas nestled just around the bend from Downtown Disney® Area. The 60 three-bedroom vacation homes-elevated 10 feet off the ground on pedestals and beams designed to blend into the lush wilderness environment-sleep 9 Guests and feature modern luxuries such as cathedral ceilings, granite countertops and flat-panel TVs.
Contact me today for your FREE no-obligation quote.
Why should you choose a Disney Cruise? Well, here are a few reasons:
1. All inclusive – Once you get onboard everything is taken care of. There’s no schedules to be done and no park hours to worry about and plenty of things to do. And best of all, no dining plan to pick because it’s all included and there’s plenty to choose from.
2. Not much planning – Pick your sail date and destination and you are ready to go. There are very few decisions to make. All you have to do is pick when/if you’d like to eat at Palo and what shore excursions you would like to do, everything else is set! Disney Cruise Line tells you where to eat and when, the show schedule is set and the rest you can decide on the go.
3. Entertainment – Disney Cruise Line has entertainment for everyone and it’s already planned, all you have to do is show up. The stage shows are like Broadway shows and perfect for the whole family.
4. Be as busy or inactive as you want – No hurrying to this attraction or racing to get that Fastpass necessary. Pick and choose what you’d like to do each day when your Personal Navigator arrives in your stateroom. The pools are always open, relax in the sun, or relax in the hot tub. The possibilities are endless.
5. Be pampered – You can expect that same great Mousekeeping in your stateroom. Your stateroom host (or hostess) will be replenishing your toiletries, making towel animals, making your bed and leaving chocolates on your pillow. You never lack for anything and feel like a queen or king.
6. Kids Club for the kids – The kids clubs are divided with age appropriate activities. The teens can do their own thing in their own area (no adults allowed) and the younger kids can find adventure in the Oceaneers Club, Oceaneers Lab or even Flounder’s Reef nursery. They will have so much fun they won’t even care you are not around.
7. Rest, Eat and Enjoy – There is plenty of relaxing, food is endless, and there are plenty of activities to keep you busy if that is what you want.
What are some of your reasons for cruising?
Don’t Waste Your Snack Credits On These:
-Bottled water/soda – These cost around $2.50, and on hot days there is nothing better. However, bring a water bottle from home and bring it to the Parks with you, or fill your resort mug before you leave for the Parks in the morning.
-Ice Cream Cones – These generally cost under $3 so they aren’t a great value. Plus they are messy on hot days!
-Bags of Chips/Pretzels – They are usually priced around $2.50, so you aren’t getting the most of a Snack Credit if you use it on chips/pretzels.
-Pieces of fruit – Apples/bananas/oranges are available for about $1.50 each.
-Muffins/Danish/Bagels – Most are under $3.
Instead, Use Snack Credits For These Items:
-Boxes of Crackers/cookies – They come in larger quantities than your typical single serve snack. While they aren’t the most exciting items, they are easy to throw in your bag and carry them with you to the Parks, and they can be shared.
-Cupcakes: They tend to be HUGE.
-Cinnamon Roll – These are huge and gooey and can easily be split between two people for a snack, or use one as breakfast.
-Mickey Bars – While these don’t totally maximize your snack credits (as they only cost around $3), but they are delicious and a fun Mickey shaped.
-Mixed Fruit Salad – This is one of the few healthier items available as a snack credit.
-Ice Cream Sundae – You tend to get more with a sundae than a cone, and they come in a bowl which makes them much easier to eat.
-Other Ice Cream/frozen specialties – things like root beer floats, iced coffees, smoothies, ice cream cookie sandwiches, etc – these are considered “specialties” and therefore cost more than just an ice cream cone, which make them a better use of a credit
-Cake Pop/Piece of Cake/Cheesecake – Cakes and cheesecakes at WDW are usually pretty good and can be a decent use of a credit.
General rule of thumb is to get as close to the $5 max as possible.