Getting your dose of Frozen on your Disney World vacation

It’s no secret that Frozen is the biggest thing to hit Disney fans since the inception of princesses in general. Disney World has embraced this craze with many different ways to join in the fun. While some of these are limited time options and some coming soon, there will always be something Frozen for everyone!

Magic Kingdom

Anna & Elsa are available for meet and greet at Princess Fairy Tale Hall. Originally it was limited hours daily and lines got really long. Disney has made some big adjustments to this process to help more kids of all ages meet their new favorite princess (and queen). This is by far the most difficult FastPass+ to secure. Even at 60 days out at 12 am eastern time, it’s a tough grab. Your best bet is to make sure at least one Magic Kingdom day is near the end of your trip and make that day the first set of FastPasses you choose. That gives you the best chance at success!

Wave a big hello to Anna & Elsa during the Festival of Fantasy parade. The parade is just amazing anyways, so take a few minutes out of your day to enjoy!

Celebrate the Magic – the show that precedes the evening showing of Wishes each night has added a whole Frozen piece and it’s amazing! I’ve only seen it in videos, but I can’t wait to see it in person. The Imagineers of Disney have really outdone themselves this time!

The Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutqie in Cinderella’s Castle does have some Frozen themed costumes (although they continue to be the most popular choices. If it’s an absolute must have, I’d suggest hunting down a costume before your arrival and booking a package without the dress!

Epcot

Just announced, a Frozen attraction will be replacing Maelstrom in the Norway Pavilion in 2016! While that’s more than a year away, I’m excited to see what they dream up. I’m guessing it will be similar to the Under the Sea/Little Mermaid ride in new Fantasyland. It’s going to be a very popular attraction in a small area, so they’ve got to make it something that’s a quick load and unload (at least I hope so!)

Hollywood Studios

The Frozen summer fun is coming to an end at Hollywood Studios. September and October brought some really fun events like the Royal Welcome, Frozen Fireworks, Oaken’s Frozen Funland, and some very special food and merchandise. It sounds like they will be keeping the First Time in Forever Sing-along celebration and expanding Oaken’s Trading Post for Frozen merchandise but Disney is keeping that under wraps!

Nothing to mention at Animal Kingdom, but haven’t you had enough?! I’d really expect to see a bigger Frozen presence as time goes on. It’s not something that’s going away! I’m hoping for some additional meet and greets or even the ladies of Frozen at a character meal! It would lighten the load of the meet and greet line!

A free gift for Disney vacation! The amazing and exciting Minnie Box! (subject to minimum vacation package)

A free gift for Disney vacation! The amazing and exciting Minnie Box! (subject to minimum vacation package)

Need help planning your  Magical vacation?! I’m here to help. Please contact me at any time for a free quote or use the form below. The benefits to using an authorized Disney vacation planner include saving time before and during your vacation with itinerary planning which can help save you hours of standing in line each day. Plus you won’t have to watch for available discounts, research resorts, wake up early for dining reservations, or stay up late for FastPasses. The best part about using a travel planner instead of planning yourself? It’s totally FREE! Plus I’ll take away some of the stress and confusion of planning a Disney vacation (especially if it’s your first one!) If you already have your vacation planned and are interested in transferring your vacation, please feel free to use the contact form below.

Tips and Tricks for Disney World’s Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique Reservations

Bibbidi Bobbidi what? Disney World has 2 Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique locations: one in Downtown Disney and the most coveted reservation inside Cinderella’s Castle in Magic Kingdom. As all in park attractions and distractions, valid theme park admission is required.

So what is it? One word for it is AMAZING! Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique (BBB) is a makeover for princes and princesses ages 3-12. There are varying packages and prices based on your budget, but the experience is excellent nonetheless. Your princess will be paired up with a fairy godmother to make her dreams come true!

Some tips and tricks to get you in the door, choosing the best reservation and preparing before arrival:

Making your reservation:

  • Booking begins 180 days prior to your arrival. If you are an advanced planner and have your Disney World resort reservation or package reservation made by that point, you have some advanced opportunity to book more than 180 days out. This gives you a chance at a reservation before the park opens. It’s an amazing experience to see Cinderella’s Castle and take some photos.
  • Booking your boutique reservation must be done via phone using the specific boutique phone number. These cast members can also help you book dining if you’d like some personalized help planning your vacation (or use a travel agent to take care of everything for you).
  • Phone lines open up at 7 am EST, so chances at the first reservation go early. Set an alarm!
  • If you’re not sure what package you want, you can tell the cast member helping you it’s a bit TBD and make your final decision upon arrival. It’s still best to do your own independent research beforehand so you know what you’re getting into.
  • If you call too late and no boutique reservations are available, check Pirates League – there’s a Mermaid package available for girls. While it isn’t the princess makeover you may be hoping for, it’s still a fun experience!
  • You can make a Pirates League reservation for your swashbucklers at the same time. Just make sure you have enough adults to split between the two.
  • Make sure to mention any celebrations – birthdays are a BIG DEAL at the boutique!!

Planning your day:

  • Think about a princess lunch or dinner reservation on the same day you have your makeover. If you have base tickets and want to your meal to be in Epcot, you’ll have to use the Downtown Disney location for your makeover.
  • The three great princess meals are: Cinderella’s Royal Table (Magic Kingdom), Akershus Royal Banquet Hall (Epcot), and 1900 Park Fare Happily Ever After Dinner (Grand Floridian). 1900 Park Fare does not require park admission to dine so it’s a really great opportunity.
  • If you don’t want to add on a costly character dining experience, add some princess FastPass+ options. Magic Kingdom is the only park that has the service with the option of Anna & Elsa or Cinderella & Rapunzel. You will find several princesses in Epcot (just no FastPass+ option)

Saving money:

  • If you still want the experience but want to save money, bring your own costume! No one is stopping you. Your princess will still enjoy her time. Costumes are also based on availability so if it’s Anna or die, you better find one online and bring it with!!

Other additions:

  • With many memories to follow your experience, I highly recommend Memory Maker (What is Memory Maker?) It will capture all of your princesses memories for her boutique experience as well as any princesses she meets afterwards and throughout your entire trip.

Preparing for your arrival:

Disney has several policies all princesses must adhere to for their reservation:

  • Each princess must bring their own comb or brush to the appointment
  • Hair and nails must be clean
  • A parent must be with the child during the entire makeover process
  • Arrival 10-15 minutes prior to the appointment is ideal to choose a package (if applicable), pay for the package, and get set up.

The experience is unlike any other! I wish it was around when I was younger to transform into a princess. I guess Disney will just be getting more of my money as my daughter gets older! (As if there was any question!!)

A free gift for Disney vacation! The amazing and exciting Minnie Box! (subject to minimum vacation package)

A free gift for Disney vacation! The amazing and exciting Minnie Box! (subject to minimum vacation package)

Need help planning your  Magical vacation?! I’m here to help. Please contact me at any time for a free quote or use the form below. The benefits to using an authorized Disney vacation planner include saving time before and during your vacation with itinerary planning which can help save you hours of standing in line each day. Plus you won’t have to watch for available discounts, research resorts, wake up early for dining reservations, or stay up late for FastPasses. The best part about using a travel planner instead of planning yourself? It’s totally FREE! Plus I’ll take away some of the stress and confusion of planning a Disney vacation (especially if it’s your first one!) If you already have your vacation planned and are interested in transferring your vacation, please feel free to use the contact form below.

Planning a last minute trip to Disney World

Most of my Disney World advice stems from booking well in advance of your arrival date. So what if that’s not possible or you just didn’t know? Well fear not, there are still some great opportunities to plan a last minute or soon-ish Disney World trip without too much difficulty. In the most ideal world, it would be in your best interest to book your vacation package a minimum of 60 days prior to your arrival. This will allow you to take full advantage of FastPass+ reservations!

Looking for rates. First check discounts. If no reasonable options are available, check the non-discounted costs. At times there are some value and moderate resorts that will save you more money than available discounted rooms. Sounds strange, but it’s true!

First, are you more than 45 days from your arrival or less than 45 days from your arrival? The major difference between these two dates is whether you will be required to pay in full when you book your vacation or are able to make a smaller deposit while you gather up funds for your final payment.

Uh oh! I’m within 45 days but I don’t have $2500 to spend at this exact moment, is there anything you can do to help? Of course there is. Booking a room only offer is the way around this little difficult situation. You would be required to book your theme park tickets separately. It’s worth noting that you better be absolutely sure that you’re going to Disney World using this method as your tickets are non-refundable when purchased a single/stand-alone product! Once you link your reservation and park tickets, everything else will work just as if you booked everything together!

Now for the overwhelming part! So you’ve booked your trip, there’s a lot to do in a very short period of time!

  1. Choose your theme parks each day. Check Disney’s web site for park hours and use the appropriate strategy
  2. Check for dining reservations. While most of the popular options are likely gone, you’ll be able to find some reasonable options!
  3. Book your FastPasses at 60 days out – if you’re within that time frame, book now!
  4. Customize your MagicBands! Make sure you have them done 30 days prior to your arrival as that’s the ideal time to ship

Thankfully, you don’t have the long, painful wait until your trip. You can get excited, pack, and head for the happiest place in Florida!

A free gift for Disney vacation! The amazing and exciting Minnie Box! (subject to minimum vacation package)

A free gift for Disney vacation! The amazing and exciting Minnie Box! (subject to minimum vacation package)

Need help planning your quick upcoming Magical vacation?! I’m here to help. Please contact me at any time for a free quote or use the form below. The benefits to using an authorized Disney vacation planner include saving time before and during your vacation with itinerary planning which can help save you hours of standing in line each day. Plus you won’t have to watch for available discounts, research resorts, wake up early for dining reservations, or stay up late for FastPasses. The best part about using a travel planner instead of planning yourself? It’s totally FREE! Plus I’ll take away some of the stress and confusion of planning a Disney vacation (especially if it’s your first one!) If you already have your vacation planned and are interested in transferring your vacation, please feel free to use the contact form below.

FREE Things available around Disney World

You spend money on your Disney World Resort, Park Tickets, Water Park Tickets, and Dining Package. Now you have to shell out more money on gifts and souvenirs. So what can you do for free?

Magic Kingdom

Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom: A game that allows you to obtain trading cards from Magic Kingdom to help Merlin defeat Disney Villains. Stop at the Firehouse on Main Street for a brief lesson and to pick up your trading cards

Insider tip: You are allowed one set of cards per day, per person in your party. If you have a park hopper pass, you can grab an extra set of cards each day to increase your collection!

Electric Water Pageant: Nightly water pageant on Seven Seas Lagoon. This can be seen from any of the “monorail” resorts as well as Magic Kingdom.

Insider tip: Check the daily schedule at Magic Kingdom or one of the monorail resorts for times. Subject to cancellation for inclement weather.

EPCOT

Club Cool: Try Coca Cola products from around the world. Typically there are 8 flavors available to try and the flavors rotate periodically. Located in Future World near Innoventions West.

Insider tip: This is a great place to stop on a hot day for a free beverage or to wait out a brief Florida shower.

Downtown Disney

Legoland: Free play area for kids and amazing lego creations in the surrounding area!Woody

Raglan Road: Often has live music in the bar (especially on weekends)

Disney’s Boardwalk

At times there are street performers in the evening. Walk around and enjoy!

Other

Transportation: Transportation throughout Walt Disney World is free for Disney Resort Guests! This includes the monorail, bus system, and boats

Insider tip: Try and ride all the modes of transportation during your trip! Monorail service is available around Magic Kingdom, the front entrance of EPCOT, and from the Ticket and Transportation Center. Boat service is available along the Magic Kingdom Resorts and the Ticket and Transportation Center as well as Friendship Boats which have service from Disney’s Hollywood Studios to the rear entrance of EPCOT with stops at Swan/Dolphin, Boardwalk, and Beach/Yacht Club. A wonderfully relaxing ride! Bus service is available from all resorts (limited based on other modes of transportation).

Photographers: Disney’s load of PhotoPass photographers are available at all the best locations at Walt Disney World.

Insider Tip: Activate your PhotoPass Card before your departure and bring it with on your trip. Also bring a digital camera or smart phone. When you hand off your photo pass, ask the photographer if they would mind taking a photo with your camera as well. Most are happy to oblige.

What are your favorite freebies at Disney?

Planning Your August 2015 Disney World Vacation

This guide is specifically for guests traveling to Disney World in August 2015. The rest of the year is coming soon. (See already completed January 2015  February 2015March 2015April 2015May 2015June 2015, July 2015. August continues the the summer season at Disney. Toward the end of the month, crowds begin to dwindle as it becomes back to school season! Don’t expect to see the best discounts until the very end of the month.

August  weather in Disney World

According to Weather.com the average high in the month of August is 92 and the low is 73. Be sure to check your favorite weather app prior to your departure to confirm actual temperatures before you pack. Stay hydrated during hot days! Make sure you pack your sunscreen, take frequent breaks, and take advantage of your resort’s pool. Expect a threat of rain every day during your stay. It’s probably welcomed due to the high humidity levels!

Choosing Your Travel Dates

Below is the predicted crowd calendar for August 2015. You’ll notice there’s no green in sight!

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

Disney World Special offers for August

None currently available for 2015. Discounts will likely be released in mid 2015. Historically Disney has offered a room only discount (which can be booked as a package with park tickets) offering up to 30% off resort rooms.

Refurbishment

TBD. Nothing scheduled at the time of this post.

When to book dining

Disney allows their resort guests to book dining reservations for their entire trip 180 days from their arrival, a benefit that will give you a leg up to get some of those hard to make reservations. If you don’t have a reservation or are staying off site, you can make any dining reservation 180 days prior to your arrival, but don’t expect some of the best places to have prime time offerings! Click the chart below to enlarge to see what your magic number is.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Cost

So how much will it cost a family of 4 to travel to Disney World in August 2015?

The Smith family wants a fun an inexpensive vacation and are planning 7 days and 6 nights at a value resort. I suggested Pop Century since it’s most centrally located among the value resorts. They are taking mom, dad, Susie – 13 and Jenny – 9 on their first vacation! They have decided on 5 days of base tickets to really focus on one park each day and to save a little bit of money and will pay for meals out of pocket and bring some snacks with as well, so no dining plan. $1990.38

The Jones family wants a moderately priced vacation and are also planning 7 days and 6 nights, but they want to stay at a moderate resort. Their two daughters love Disney princesses so they are considering an upgrade to a royal guest room. They are also going to do 5 days of base tickets but are considering the upgrade to park hoppers to see more with their time. If the Jones family chooses the least expensive package options, their moderate vacation would cost them $2449.30. If they added park hoppers to their tickets, their vacation would cost them $2704.90. And if they wanted to upgrade to a royal room their vacation would cost them $3122.32.

The Howell family wants to go all out for their two children’s first Disney World vacation and stay in a deluxe resort for 7 days and 6 nights. They definitely want park hoppers to see everything and they are considering the dining plan. Their preferred resort is Wilderness Lodge to have access to Magic Kingdom. With 5 days of park hoppers, their vacation would cost them $3508.18 If they did elect to add the dining plan, their vacation would cost them $4715.08

The bottom line

August is a popular time to travel to Disney World!  A family of 4  can have a reasonably priced vacation and enjoy some of the summer-like activities like Water Parks, Disney’s Pools, and clear skies! For more Disney World tips and tricks, sign up for my monthly newsletter!

Start planning your August 2015 vacation

A free gift for Disney vacation! The amazing and exciting Minnie Box! (subject to minimum vacation package)

A free gift for Disney vacation! The amazing and exciting Minnie Box! (subject to minimum vacation package)

Ready to get started planning your 2015 Disney World vacation? Please contact me at any time for a free quote or use the form below. The benefits to using an authorized Disney vacation planner include saving time before and during your vacation with itinerary planning which can help save you hours of standing in line each day. Plus you won’t have to watch for available discounts, research resorts, wake up early for dining reservations, or stay up late for FastPasses. The best part about using a travel planner instead of planning yourself? It’s totally FREE! Plus I’ll take away some of the stress and confusion of planning a Disney vacation (especially if it’s your first one!) If you already have your vacation planned and are interested in transferring your vacation, please feel free to use the contact form below.

 

10 Ways to Save Money at Disney World

10 ways to save money on your disney world vacation

If you are like me and money doesn’t grow on trees, you’re looking to save money while still having a great time in Disney World. You’re probably heard some of these before, but hopefully a few of them are new and can be applied to your upcoming vacation!

10. Plan an off day. If you’re in Disney for 7 days and 6 nights, start with 5 days of theme park tickets. While it only saves you about $42 for a family of 4, that’s the equivalent of a quick service meal. If things are going well and you want another park day, you can stop at any ticket booth and add a day for the same cost as if you booked it with your package.

9. Skip the park hopper. It’s a pretty significant price difference adding the park hopper option. While it’s very convenient to jump from park to park (especially if you end up somewhere crowded), you can easily spend a full day in each of the 4 theme parks.

8.  Share meals. All quick service meals and many table service meals can be shared based on Disney rules. If your table service meals are pre-plated, a dinner show, or buffet they cannot be shared. If you’re unsure if you’ll still go hungry, ask the server about portion sizes.

7.  Skip the sides! For quick service meals – ask to skip the fries or the chips that come on the side. You’ll just pay for your main dish.

6. Grab a drink at Club Cool. Try soft drinks from around the world in Epcot Future World. This is FREE! The cups are small, but feel free to grab a refill. Go earlier in the day to save yourself from sticky shoes later. It’s a great way to both cool off and quench your thirst!

5. Use FastPass+ for character meet & greets. Skip the expensive character dining meals and just FastPass it! The only theme park that does not offer a meet and greet via FastPass+ is Hollywood Studios. Sometimes it’s also worth your time to stand in one of the non-FastPass+ character lines to meet some of your favorite Disney friends!

4. Bring your own snacks. Disney allows food brought into the theme parks. No glass and no alcohol. It can be a life saver when you have impatient kids waiting in line too.

3. Use Magic Your Way Coupons. By purchasing a Disney World package, you’ll receive several coupons with your luggage tags. Free entry to DisneyQuest, Free Mini Golf, a discounted meal at Planet Hollywood.

2. Skip the big souvenirs. Snag a personalized set of mouse ears the first time each member of your family travels and think about a small trinket or souvenir. Skip the other shirts, hats and other costly items! You can also grab some gifts from the dollar store or make yourself some pressed pennies! Buy or bring your little princess her own costume – it will save you a boatload over Disney park prices!

1. Know when to go! The non-discounted difference in staying at Wilderness Lodge in January vs. June is $55 per night. Let’s do the math – Over the course of a 6 night stay, that’s $330 (plus tax) that you’re shelling out. Take your kids out of school and go to Disney World! You’ll enjoy it more because the crowds are lower and the temps are a heck of a lot more comfortable. What can you do with $330?? That could pay for park hoppers or a week’s worth of quick service meals (which by the way, you might get for free or a deeply discounted price if you’re traveling during a slower time).

A free gift for Disney vacation! The amazing and exciting Minnie Box! (subject to minimum vacation package)

A free gift for Disney vacation! The amazing and exciting Minnie Box! (subject to minimum vacation package)

Ready to start planning your  Disney World vacation?  Please contact me at any time for a free quote or use the form below. The benefits to using an authorized Disney vacation planner include saving time before and during your vacation with itinerary planning which can help save you hours of standing in line each day. Plus you won’t have to watch for available discounts, research resorts, wake up early for dining reservations, or stay up late for FastPasses. Start all inclusive from the beginning! The best part about using a travel planner instead of planning yourself? It’s totally FREE! Plus I’ll take away some of the stress and confusion of planning a Disney vacation (especially if it’s your first one!) If you already have your vacation planned and are interested in transferring your vacation, please feel free to use the contact form below.

 

Disney World FastPass+ for Character Meet and Greets

Disney World FastPass+ for character meet and greets

FastPass+ again changes the game when it comes to touring Disney’s theme parks. If you’ve got little ones who are character crazy, using one of your 3 daily FastPass+ allotments is a great opportunity to see the magic come to life. You have character meet and greet options in 3 of the 4 theme parks (Hollywood Studios is the only one lacking in this great opportunity – but you don’t be fooled, there are some great character meet options available without FastPass capability. I can make an argument that it’s one of the better places since others are becoming so well known! This also gives you the experience of characters without the added expense of a character meal!

If you’d like to use some of your FastPass+ allotments for character meet & greets, here’s what’s available:

Magic Kingdom

  • Anna & Elsa at Princess Fairy Tale Hall
  • Cinderella & Rapunzel at Princess Fairy Tale HallAnna & Elsa - Frozen
  • Ariel at her Grotto
  • Mickey Mouse at Town Square Theater
  • Tinkerbell at Town Square Theater (NEW)
  • Enchanted Tales with Belle (kind of a stretch, but I’ll count it!)

Epcot

  • Epcot Character Spot (Usually Mickey, Minnie, and Pluto)

Animal Kingdom

  • Meet Disney Pals (Usually Mickey and Minnie)

Remember, these are just the options available via FastPass! You have PLENTY of other character meet and greet options all over the 4 theme parks (a future blog post with all of those details coming as soon as I can get my head wrapped around all the new updates from spring and summer 2014!)

Make sure you know all of the details of FastPass+ and how to make the most of your time!

A free gift for Disney vacation! The amazing and exciting Minnie Box! (subject to minimum vacation package)

A free gift for Disney vacation! The amazing and exciting Minnie Box! (subject to minimum vacation package)

Ready to start planning your  Disney World vacation?  Please contact me at any time for a free quote or use the form below. The benefits to using an authorized Disney vacation planner include saving time before and during your vacation with itinerary planning which can help save you hours of standing in line each day. Plus you won’t have to watch for available discounts, research resorts, wake up early for dining reservations, or stay up late for FastPasses. Start all inclusive from the beginning! The best part about using a travel planner instead of planning yourself? It’s totally FREE! Plus I’ll take away some of the stress and confusion of planning a Disney vacation (especially if it’s your first one!) If you already have your vacation planned and are interested in transferring your vacation, please feel free to use the contact form below.