8 Reasons to Stay on Property When Visiting Walt Disney World

Here is an awesome article on 8 reasons to stay on Disney property from the Charming Travels Blog!

Featured Image -- 394

Charming Travels llc

Many times I am asked if it’s “really all that great” to stay on property at one of Disney’s resorts when visiting Walt Disney World. And each time I give them the run down of why it Really Is all that great and advantageous! So I figured if so many people that I talk with are questioning where they stay, others may be too. Disney has so many options when it comes to staying on property that you can find the perfect resort for you and your family/travel party. Without a doubt, I highly recommend staying on site and here are my 8 reasons why:

8.  Packages & Discounts

Disney offers Magic Your Way packages that allow you to have all of your plans set up for you before you check in for your stay. Tickets, dining and other add-ins including waterparks, Disney Quest (a multi-floor arcade complex), golf and…

View original post 819 more words

Fun Fact Friday- Holiday Disney Stats

I hope you all had a wonderful time spent with family this week!  I ran across this illustration and thought it would be fun to share!  So here are a few fun facts about Disney during this time of year!

disney_holiday_info_580

Photo was taken from the Disney Parks Blog

Click on the photo to enlarge!

If you’re interested in traveling to any Disney location please contact ashley@charmingtravelsllc.com for your free quote!

DVC Coverband Review and Giveaway!

Hello Mouskaholics!  On Monday we talked about magic bands and how they’re shaping the future at Walt Disney World.  Click here to read Monday’s article

One of the hottest trends in magic band fashion is customizing your magic band!  My husband I decided to customize our magic bands when we got them for our trip in August.  I am a person who likes to research, so I did my homework on the best way to customize our magic bands.  I saw tutorials on painting them, and I saw that I could purchase charms to go on them, BUT the easiest way that I found to customize our magic bands was to order “Cover Bands” from DVC Central.  For only $6 per coverband Craig and I were able to pick unique designs for our magic bands!  They were awesome and we both got tons of compliments on them!

What I liked about the coverbands-

1) They were waterproof!  I knew that the magic band itself was waterproof and that I couldn’t go swimming.  I was a little skeptical about going into the water with my magic band with the coverband on, BUT it definitely held up!  I went swimming multiple times on our trip and there was absolutely no lifting of any sort!

2) It was easy to apply.  I was able to very easily apply the coverband to my magic band.  It is essentially a sticker (A high quality one!) so you just peel it off of the paper and stick it right on the magic band!

3)  It was a fast way to customize my magic band!  I was able to add the coverband to my magic band in less that 1 minute.  (I saw a lot of ways to customize that involved painting etc and were pretty time intensive)

4) There are TONS of designs!  Craig and I had a lot of fun looking through the designs!  It was really hard to decide what we wanted for our coverbands because there were so many options!

5) They aren’t too expensive!  In the grand scheme of a Disney trip, $6 per band to customize isn’t that expensive at all!  Especially when you compare it to the fancy magic bands they sell when you get there or even the little charms and accessories they sell for them!  In my mind it was $12 well spent for our two magic bands!  I absolutely plan to get more for when I travel for the marathon in January!!!

SOOOOOO… now that I’ve gone on and on about how AWESOME DVC Coverbands are, it’s time for a Giveaway!!!  DVC has graciously given me two sets of coverbands to giveaway!!!

Both sets of coverbands are from their new holiday line!  The First, Damask Tree Band Pack set includes 5 coverbands and has a value of $25.00.  The second is their Christmas Light set includes 3 coverbands and has a value of $15.00.  Entering is simple!  To enter, like my facebook page, like Michelle at Marvelous Mouse Travels facebook page, and like DVC Coverband’s facebook page!  It’s that simple!  Feel free to share the contest with your friends too!

Click here to enter!!!

Damask Christmas Tree Pack ($25 value)

Damask Christmas Tree Pack ($25 value)

Christmas Lights Pack ($15 value)

Christmas Lights Pack ($15 value)

Disney Customer Service

I have never had an unenjoyable Disney experience.  (Well once when I was in 6th grade I did catch a touch of the flu while at Disney and that wasn’t the most pleasant, but still the trip itself was enjoyable).  I am such a Disney geek that even the little non-park Disney experiences like- looking up a restaurant menu, researching an attraction, listening to Disney music, and yes, even calling Disney customer service truly makes me happy.  For my upcoming Disney trip (for the Disney marathon weekend) my husband has decided that it won’t be prudent to travel with me.  It has been a very busy time for him at work, and he was unsure if we was going to be able to take the time off.  With that being said, I asked my mom and my aunt to travel with me!  I am very excited to have them come along on this journey!  The only trouble is when I booked the trip, I booked for hubby and myself.  I had to make a call to customer service a few weeks ago, and within about 10 magical minutes we had switched the reservation from my hubby’s name over to my mom and my aunt’s names.  I logged in not to long ago though to set up our magic bands and it was still showing a magic band for my husband and not my mom.  Oh darn, another call to the magical land of Disney!  Generally I am a person who does not enjoy making phone calls to take care of little tasks.  My general experience with customer service departments is not usually positive, however working with the customer service cast members at Disney is downright magical 🙂  They truly went out of their way to make solving this problem easy!  They communicated very clearly and were very kind.  When I had to be transferred to a different department the first agent made sure to communicate to me how long the approximate wait would be, and even waited until I was passed off and introduced me to the next agent that I would be working with (Added bonus- I got to listen to Disney music while on hold!!!).  The level of service and commitment that Disney shows its guests always amazes me.  Disney has amazing attention to detail, even in their phone centers  🙂

 

6a00e54ee3905b883301901e4f68a7970b

4 Parks, 1 World- Part 2 of 2

Yesterday I began a two parter on what we know as Walt Disney World!  There are many people who have never been to Disney World, and don’t realize how much is offered there.  To recap from part 1, within WDW there are 4 theme parks, 2 water parks, countless resorts, and a major shopping and dining district.  Yesterday we took a look at the two parks that have been at Disney World the longest- Magic Kingdom, and Epcot, and today we will be taking a look at the newer parks, Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom.

The third park that opened up at Walt Disney World was “MGM Studios.”  It opened on May 1, 1989.  The theming at this park was designed after the golden age of Hollywood.  The MGM Studios name was changed in January of 2008 to “Disney’s Hollywood Studios.”

Much like it’s predecessors at the resort, Magic Kingdom and Epcot, Hollywood Studios is divided into several areas, each with unique theming.  At Hollywood Studios you will find-

Hollywood Boulevard

Echo Lake

Streets of America

Animation Courtyard

Pixar Place

Sunset Boulevard

Hollywood studios is a well rounded park for families and thrill seekers alike.  You will find more thrilling attractions like Tower of Terror and Aerosmith’s Rockin Roller Coaster, as well as more family oriented attractions like Disney Junior Live On Stage, The Voyage of the Little Mermaid and Toy Story Midway Mania.

Hollywood Studios is also home to the Star Tours ride, so many Star Wars fans greatly enjoy this highly themed area of the park!  Because of the huge worldwide following and love of the Star Wars movies, Hollywood Studios is host to Star Wars Weekends.  For four weekends (usually at the end of May and beginning of June) Star Wars essentially takes over the Hollywood Studios parks.  There are meet and greets with Star Wars characters from the movies and cartoons, special parades and overall the force is very strong in the park during that time. (Also side note, it has been confirmed that Star Wars will have a stronger presence in the Disney parks after the acquisition of the franchise.  There is concrete details as to what will be coming to the Disney Parks, but to me it would make the most logical sense to merely increase the Star Wars area that is already present at Hollywood Studios).

Map of Hollywood Studios

Map of Hollywood Studios

The newest park that was added at Disney is Animal Kingdom.  It opened on Earth Day (April 22) 1998.  Although Walt Disney himself never lived to see the Florida parks opened, if he were alive today I feel that he would have a special love for the Animal Kingdom.  Walt loved animals and had a passion for conservation.  He actually wanted the Jungle Cruise at Magic Kingdom to include real animals, and when that proved to be completely unrealistic they decided to go with Audio Animatronics.  Walt’s vision of using real animals is the basis for the Animal Kingdom park.  The wonderful thing about the Animal Kingdom park is that it is way more than a zoo.  It is a way to have up close experiences with the animals as well as giving the animals TONS of space to roam.  The animals obviously have some forms of containment to keep say the tigers away from the elephants, but the space that is given to the animals to roam is massive.  Because of the space for the animals the Animal Kingdom is the largest of the four parks.  Here at the Animal Kingdom you can learn about the conservation of animals, take a safari ride, and visit the top of Mount Everest.

Animal Kingdom is divided into the following areas-

Oasis

Discovery Island

Africa

Rafiki’s Planet Watch

Asia

Dinoland USA

And currently under construction- Pandora (aka Avatarland)

Animal Kingdom Map

Animal Kingdom Map

What I just described are very very brief overviews of the two parks, keep following my blog and I will be getting into more details from each individual park along the way!

Walt Disney World- 4 parks, 1 world (Part 1 of 2)

Hello Mouskaholics!

Today I am going to start a 2 day series breaking down and explaining a little about the four parks individually.  I had a friend recently ask me what the difference was between the parks at Disney world, so I thought that I would make sure I explained a bit about each individual park.  Even though it’s Walt Disney “World” there are 4 theme parks, 2 water parks, and many many resorts that make up WDW. When Walt opened Disneyland in 1955, he immediately realized one flaw, there wasn’t enough space.  Almost overnight the Anaheim area exploded with restaurants and motels that weren’t Disney owned.  When he had the idea for a second park on the eastern side of the country he knew that it would have to be a HUGE land purchase so that everything could be on Disney property.  In fact, the land in Orlando that is owned by Disney is bigger than the island of Manhattan.  (I will go more into the history of the land purchases at another time)

 

The Magic Kingdom-

This is the most recognizable park at WDW.  When most people think of Disney World, the image of Cinderella Castle comes to mind.  This was the first park that was built at WDW, and opened in October of 1971.  While it has its similarities to Disneyland in California, there are some differences.  It has a castle as a main hub and from the hub it branches off into 6 unique lands.  Each land is carefully themed and contains rides and attractions that fit the theme.  At the MK you’ll find these areas-

Main Street USA

Tomorrowland

Fantasyland,

Liberty Square

Frontierland

Adventureland

This park is the most whimsical of the four, and if you’re only going to visit 1 theme park, I would say this is the one to go with.  It is great for small children and adults alike.  The adults will enjoy the more thrilling attractions like Space Mountain, and Big Thunder Railroad, while the little ones will enjoy It’s a Small World, Flight of Peter Pan, and Pirates of the Caribbean.

This theme park also just finished the largest renovation in the history of the park.  They took out a section known as toon town and expanded Fantasyland.  With this expansion there are even more ride and attraction options.  It is absolutely spectacular.

There is so much more that I could write about the magic kingdom, but I will stop here for today.  Sometime soon, I will dive more into specific Magic Kingdom topics.

Here is a scanned copy of the map from our trip (Sorry for the quality, the maps are HUGE and was difficult to scan!)

Magic Kingdom Map

Magic Kingdom Map

Epcot

This was the second park was opened in 1982.  When Walt was envisioning his “Florida Project” (what it was known as in its early stages), he envisioned a futuristic community that would be housed on the property.  He wanted people to live and work in this Experimental Prototype Community Of Tomorrow (or EPCOT).  While Epcot was never intended to be a theme park in Walt’s vision, it still focuses on a lot of Walt dreamed of.  EPCOT is a place where both learning and fun co-exist.

Epcot is divided into two main areas, Future World and The World Showcase.

Future World is home to 7 main pavilions, each with unique theming and attractions.

The Universe of Energy Pavilion

Test Track Pavilion

Innoventions

Mission Space Pavilion

The Seas with Nemo and Friends Pavilion

The Land Pavilion

The Imagination Pavilion

Again, there is so much that I could tell you about all of these different pavilions, and over the course of the next few weeks I will dedicate time to each area of Future World!

The World Showcase is home to 11 different countries (I have written a little bit in the past about how there is room for more countries, but there are no plans to expand).  The awesome thing about each individual country is the authenticity that you’ll see in each pavilion.  The materials that were used to build each section were sent from that particular country, and built by craftsmen from that country.  When you visit a country the cast members working there are from that country!  When you purchase something in a gift shop, guess what, it’s from that country!  Oh, and don’t even get me started on the food… I could spend DAYS in the world showcase just eating!

Some countries are home to a ride along with their gift shops and restaurants, others have a movie, while some just have the shops, restaurants an other forms of entertainment.  There is lots to see and do in the World Showcase, and the night show “Illuminations- Reflections of Earth” is set around the “World Showcase Lagoon” and is a celebration of all of the cultures represented.

Here are the countries you will find in the World Showcase

Mexico

Norway

China

Germany

Italy

America

Japan

Morocco

France

United Kingdom

Canada

Again, I could do an individual blog focusing on each country alone and what they have to offer!  Watch for future blogs about the world showcase!

Map of Epcot

Map of Epcot

Tomorrow I will continue to write about the last two Disney Parks, and next week will touch on the water parks at Disney!

 

 

 

Park Day 4- Hollywood Studios

Alright today is Hollywood Studios day!  So much to see and do!

 

The Earful Tower at Hollywood Studios

The Earful Tower at Hollywood Studios

6:30 – Wake Up Call

7:00- Split a Quick Service Breakfast and a Snack at resort

8:00- Extra Magic Hours at Hollywood Studios

10:00- Fast Pass for Tower of Terror

11:55- Fast Pass for Toy Story Midway Mania

12:30- Split a Quick Service Lunch

1:30- Fast Pass for Star Tours

2:30- Return to resort for napping and pool time

5:00- Return to Hollywood Studios

5:50- Dinner at Sci-Fi Dine In

9:00- Get in line for Fantasmic

10:30- Fantasmic

11:15- Return to Resort

 

What we plan to do during Extra Magic Hours– We will definitely be checking out Aerosmith’s Rockin Roller Coaster during this time.  The big three wait times that you’ll see at Hollywood Studios are Toy Story  Mania, Rockin Roller Coaster, and Tower of Terror.  These are the most thrilling rides in the park, and generally have the highest wait times.  The way they have it set you can either choose Toy Story or Rockin Roller Coaster for a fast pass, but not both.  Because of that we will be checking out that ride first thing!  Depending on how quick we get in and out of that ride we may go check out Toy Story again prior to our fastpass!

What we plan on doing that we’ve never done before- We will be eating dinner at the Sci-Fi Dine in restaurant which will be a new experience for us.  The only attraction/show that we’ve never really seen at Hollywood studios that isn’t geared for toddlers is the “Lights, Motor, Action!- Extreme Stunt Show” so we are definitely going to try to check it out 🙂

There are two Fantasmic shows, one at 9pm and one at 10:30pm, why did we choose the later showing– We are SLEEPING IN TOMORROW!