Tips &Tricks – Chip and Co http://www.chipandco.com Disney Theme Park & Disney Movie News, Disney World & Disneyland Planning Tips, Disney Dining, Reviews and More! Thu, 28 Apr 2016 23:14:11 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.4.2 http://i1.wp.com/www.chipandco.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/512-icon-54ced060v1_site_icon.png?fit=32%2C32 Tips &Tricks – Chip and Co http://www.chipandco.com 32 32 15 Tips and Tricks for Mastering Disney World Transportation http://www.chipandco.com/15-tips-tricks-mastering-disney-world-transportation-235181/ http://www.chipandco.com/15-tips-tricks-mastering-disney-world-transportation-235181/#comments Wed, 27 Apr 2016 23:00:37 +0000 http://www.chipandco.com/?p=235181 Disney Transportation is great! Or at least, it can be. If you know some crucial tips and tricks, navigating the buses, boats, and monorail will soon become a breeze. With these small suggestions, you can save yourself time, money, and stress. There is no parking at the Magic Kingdom: what?! How can this be?! Instead […]

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Disney Transportation is great! Or at least, it can be. If you know some crucial tips and tricks, navigating the buses, boats, and monorail will soon become a breeze.

With these small suggestions, you can save yourself time, money, and stress.

  1. There is no parking at the Magic Kingdom: what?! How can this be?! Instead of parking directly at the Magic Kingdom, you will park at the Ticket and Transportation Center (TTC) lot. Once at TTC, you can then catch the monorail or ferry to the Magic Kingdom. The monorail and ferry and complimentary services and do not cost anything to use.
  2. If you are a guest of a Walt Disney World Resort hotel, you will receive complimentary parking at the theme parks for the length of your stay. If you are not staying at a Disney Resort, you will need to pay for parking.
  3. If arriving to the Magic Kingdom by bus, your bus will drop you off at the Magic Kingdom and you can bypass the TTC all together.
  4. Disney Resort Hotels offer complimentary bus services to and from the parks. Buses depart approximately every 20 minutes. Approximate is a loosely used term here. For peak hours (morning and night), you will see buses more frequently. For off hours (mid-day), transportation may take a little longer.
  5. If you are using Disney transportation to reach a dining reservation, or other time-sensitive event, make sure to leave your resort at least an hour before you need to arrive to ensure that you give yourself enough time.
  6. When leaving the Magic Kingdom to reach TTC, the ferry and the monorail have almost the exact travel time. Choose the shorter line, or mix up your experience if you are visiting more than once.
  7. Buses do not travel between the parks and Disney Springs. If you would like to visit Disney Springs after a park, you will need to take a bus to a Disney resort, and then board the Disney Springs bus from there.
  8. Ferry transportation to Disney Springs is available from Old Key West Resort, Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa, Port Orleans Riverside, and Port Orleans French Quarter.
  9. Stick around after the fireworks. As soon at the fireworks or evening parade ends, there is always a mad rush of guests trying to leave the parks. Stick around and enjoy the last few moments of the park instead of going in the cattle run. Shops stay open during this time and it’s a great opportunity to do some last minute shopping. Trust me, even if you hang around for an extra 45 minutes, you will still get back to your resort at about the same time.
  10. Friendship Boats provide transportation from Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club, Boardwalk Inn, and Swan and Dolphin resorts to Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. This boat is not a fast moving vessel – so expect to spend quite some time on the water. However, it is a relaxing ride and perfect if you are not in a hurry.
  11. The monorail only travels to Magic Kingdom and Epcot.
  12. Animal Kingdom can only be accessed by bus or car.
  13. The Magic Kingdom is within walking distance of the Contemporary Resort. Take advantage of the easy 5 minute stroll.
  14. The best way to avoid transportation stress is to plan ahead. Make sure to leave yourself plenty of time.
  15. Find what works best for you. Whether you chose to travel by car, bus, monorail, or boat – there is no right or wrong way to reach your destination. Try all of your options and pick the way that works best for you and your family.

Disney has dedicated a lot of resources to making their transportation systems as efficient as possible. However, it always helps to know a few tips and tricks before jumping on board. How do you get around Walt Disney World? Let me know your best time-saving tips in the comments.

Monica is an Alumna of the Disney College Program. When she is not walking down the middle of Main Street USA you can find her wandering the World Showcase, or enjoying a Dole Whip while racing to her favorite attractions. When she is forced to endure life outside of Walt Disney World, you can find her in Ann Arbor, Michigan where she lives and works. You can visit her Disney lifestyle blog here.

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Free Dining Offer Confirmed by Disney! http://www.chipandco.com/free-dining-offer-confirmed-disney-235043/ http://www.chipandco.com/free-dining-offer-confirmed-disney-235043/#respond Mon, 25 Apr 2016 09:32:08 +0000 http://www.chipandco.com/?p=235043 The moment you have all been waiting for is finally here…Disney has officially announced their FREE DINING offer! This promotion is undoubtedly the most highly anticipated offer of the year with the potential for huge savings. Everyone loves FREE food so be sure to act quickly as availability under the “Free Delicious Offer” is limited.  This special […]

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The moment you have all been waiting for is finally here…Disney has officially announced their FREE DINING offer! This promotion is undoubtedly the most highly anticipated offer of the year with the potential for huge savings. Everyone loves FREE food so be sure to act quickly as availability under the “Free Delicious Offer” is limited.  This special offer is available for the general public to book online now and phone lines open at 7am EST.

Read on for more details and restrictions…

Free Delicious Offer

Receive a FREE Dining Plan when you purchase a 3 night minimum non-discounted package that includes a room at a select Walt Disney World® Resort hotel and ticket with the Park Hopper® or Water Park Fun & More Option for arrivals most nights Aug. 23-Oct. 1, 2016, Nov. 15-21, Nov. 26-28 and Dec. 10-Dec. 21, 2016 when booked by July 8, 2016.

When you stay at a select Disney Moderate Resort, Disney Deluxe Resort or Disney Deluxe Villa Resort, you get the Disney Dining Plan with a variety of delicious dining options! When you stay at a select Disney Value Resort, you get the Quick-Service Dining Plan that allows you to enjoy a quick bite!

The number of rooms allocated for this offer is limited. Tickets and options must be used within 14 days of first use. Cannot be combined with any other discount or promotion. Advance reservations required. Offer excludes the following room types: campsites, 3-bedroom villas, Disney’s Art of Animation Resort—The Little Mermaid Standard Rooms and the Bungalows at Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows. Dining plan excludes gratuities and alcoholic beverages. Children ages 3-9 must order from children’s menu, if available. Some Table-Service restaurants may have limited or no availability at time of package purchase.

Booking Window: April 25 – July 8, 2016

Arrival Window:   Aug. 23 – Oct. 1, Nov. 15 – 21, Nov. 26 – 28 and Dec. 10 – 21, 2016

Disney Visa Cardholders Arrival Window: Aug. 14-Oct. 1, Nov. 15-21, Nov. 26-28 and Dec. 10-21, 2016

Length of Stay Requirements:
Minimum – 3 nights
Maximum – 14 nights

Full List of Offer Exclusions:
Campsites, 3-bedroom villas, Disney’s Art of Animation Resort—The Little Mermaid Standard Rooms, the Bungalows at Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows, The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort and Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter. Disney’s Port Orleans – Riverside is excluded during the following dates: November 15 to 21, November 26 to 28 and December 10 to 21, 2016.

If you would like to take advantage of the Free Dining offer but don’t have time to wait on hold all morning then email lbourget@mickeytravels.com or visit my Facebook page here.  I would be more than happy to provide you with a free travel quote and help plan your next Walt Disney World vacation, where hopefully you will be able to enjoy some free food! 

Photo Credit: Disney

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Top 10 Highest Grossing Disney Live Action Films of All Time http://www.chipandco.com/top-10-highest-grossing-disney-live-action-films-time-234991/ http://www.chipandco.com/top-10-highest-grossing-disney-live-action-films-time-234991/#respond Sun, 24 Apr 2016 23:00:54 +0000 http://www.chipandco.com/?p=234991 We recently took a look at the huge line-up of fairy tale live action films Disney has coming out over the next few years. Now it’s time to take a look back at what the top 10 highest grossing live action movies from Walt Disney Studios from of all time are! 10. Cinderella – The 2015 version of “Cinderella” […]

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We recently took a look at the huge line-up of fairy tale live action films Disney has coming out over the next few years. Now it’s time to take a look back at what the top 10 highest grossing live action movies from Walt Disney Studios from of all time are!

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10. Cinderella – The 2015 version of “Cinderella” seems well-deserved of a top 10 spot of Walt Disney Studios film, with incredible story telling, acting, and visuals. It is first film in the upcoming fairy tale live action movie trail. It could very soon though be bumped down to number 11 as “The Jungle Book” made $103.2 million opening weekend, compared to Cinderella’s $67.8 million opening weekend. “Cinderella” grossed $201,151,353

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9. National Treasure: Book of Secrets – With the first “National Treasure” film having such a big fan following, it’s no wonder this film makes the top 10, having had much fan excitement and anticipation of the film franchise releasing a sequel. The film grossed $219,964,115

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8. Oz The Great and Powerful – Everyone loves the class “Wizard of Oz”, and to see Disney paired with the world of Oz was like a fairy tale lover’s dream come true! The film grossed $234,911,825

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7. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tide’s – Many fans (including myself) flocked to theaters to see this movie, since it had been many years in the waiting to get a fourth “Pirates” movie. I am guessing that when the 5th movie comes out in 2017 it will take a top ten spot as well. The film grossed $241,071,802

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6. Maleficent – This movie was a must-see for any Disney fan. This villain is extremely mysterious and intriguing, and it was incredible to learn about a different point of view of Maleficent. Following the success of this film, there’s been much talk about a possible “Cruella” movie. The film made $241,410,378

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5. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe – This is based on a book dear to so many, and a part of most of our childhoods. It was incredible to see the world of Narnia come to life on the big screen! The film grossed $291,710,957

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4. Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl – The first “Pirates” film, and the one that started all the Pirates movie craze. This is my personal favorite Pirates movie, definitely worthy of a top 10 spot in my opinion! The film grossed $305,413,918

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3. Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End – This was the final film in the initial Pirates trilogy. I remember all of us Pirates fans had to get to theaters opening weekend, eager to see what happened next after the cliffhanger in the second Pirates movie! The film grossed $309,420,425

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2. Alice in Wonderland – The 2010 Tim Burton “Alice” was such a unique, whimsical take on this classic. It was a story we are all familiar with from watching the animated film, but was different enough to feel like a completely new movie. With such great box office numbers, it’s no wonder its sequel “Alice Through the Looking Glass” comes out May 27th. This film grossed $334,191,110

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1. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest – After the success of the first “Pirates” movie took the world by storm, and had three years to build a fan base, the first “Pirates” sequel was highly anticipated. The film’s opening even inspired Imagineers to include animatronics from the film in Pirates of the Caribbean rides at Disney parks. This film grossed a whopping $423,315,812

Having seen all of these fantastic movies, none on this list are surprising! (Also, does anyone else notice that Johnny Depp seem’s to be Walt Disney Studio’s good luck charm?) I anticipate “The Jungle Book” and “The BFG” might end up taking a top 10 spot once they’re released.

What is your favorite film on this list? What do you think is worthy of a top 10 spot?

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Become a Wilderness Explorer for the Day at Disney’s Animal Kingdom! http://www.chipandco.com/become-wilderness-explorer-day-disneys-animal-kingdom-232673/ http://www.chipandco.com/become-wilderness-explorer-day-disneys-animal-kingdom-232673/#comments Sat, 23 Apr 2016 11:00:54 +0000 http://www.chipandco.com/?p=232673 “The Wilderness Must Be Explored!!”  Kids and Kids at Heart can become Wilderness Explorers at Disney’s Animal Kingdom! Based on the Wilderness Explorers from Disney’s Pixar animated movie “Up”! When you are heading toward the Tree of Life entering the park you will see Wilderness Explorers Headquarters on the right hand side of the bridge […]

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“The Wilderness Must Be Explored!!”  Kids and Kids at Heart can become Wilderness Explorers at Disney’s Animal Kingdom! Based on the Wilderness Explorers from Disney’s Pixar animated movie “Up”!

When you are heading toward the Tree of Life entering the park you will see Wilderness Explorers Headquarters on the right hand side of the bridge to Discovery Island.  Stop here and recite the Wilderness Explorer motto and pledge…

“A Wilderness Explorer is friend to all, be it a plants or fish or tiny mole.” Then of course the signature “Caw, Caw, Roar!” to receive your FREE Wilderness Explorer Handbook and badge, and let the adventure begin!

Animal Kingdom

Adventure is certainly out there in Animal Kingdom and your Wilderness Explorer Handbook will make sure you find it all!  As you go through the park look for stations to receive your “badges”, which are stickers to place on each page in your book. Be on the lookout for the Wilderness Explorer logo at the badge stations.  The Wilderness Troop Leaders at these locations are fantastic and will help tailor the experience to the appropriate age level for everyone.  It is a great educational yet fun activity for kids throughout the park. Follow along on the pages for instructions and the activities that accompany getting your next badge!  If you are an amazing Wilderness Explorer and fill up all 31 of your badges, be sure to report back to Headquarters for another special surprise!

Wilderness Explorers

This activity will definitely help extend your time in Animal Kingdom as it helps you cover every area of the park.

  • Your first badge will be earned at Wilderness Explorer Headquarters, and your last.
  • 6 badges are at Rafiki’s Planet Watch/Conservation Station
  • 5 badges can be found along the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail
  • 3 badges near/in Dinoland USA
  • 3 badges around Expedition Everest Area
  • 3 badges along the Maharajah Jungle Trek
  • 4 badges in the Asia area of the park
  • 2 badges in coordination with Kilimanjaro Safaris
  • 2 badges in the Discovery Island area
  • 1 badge in Africa

You get to keep the Wilderness Explorer Handbook to take home and it becomes a great souvenir, all for free!  We keep suggesting on our visits that Disney create an actual sash for purchase with badges that can be ironed on as an additional option to the free version, similar to the different KidCot Passport options at Epcot!  Hopefully one day they will, because our little Wilderness Explorer asks for it every time, and I am sure others do as well!

Don’t forget Wilderness Explorers can also meet with Dug and Russell in Animal Kingdom as well, and show your badges proudly!  Next time you are at Animal Kingdom be on the look out to start your adventure!

Do you need more information or help planning your next trip be a Wilderness Explorer?  As an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner for MickeyTravels, I would be happy to help you plan your trip! Contact me anytime Liz@MickeyTravels.com, or on my Facebook page. Vacation planning services are 100% free!

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UK Free Disney Dining Offer for 2017 Suggests Dining Plan Changes Afoot http://www.chipandco.com/uk-free-disney-dining-offer-2017-suggests-dining-plan-changes-afoot-234896/ http://www.chipandco.com/uk-free-disney-dining-offer-2017-suggests-dining-plan-changes-afoot-234896/#respond Fri, 22 Apr 2016 11:39:50 +0000 http://www.chipandco.com/?p=234896 Historically a Free Disney Dining offer in the UK has served as a precursor to a similar promotion being offered stateside.  So those planning trips to Walt Disney World on both sides of the pond will be pleased to know that Disney Free Dining has officially kicked off for UK residents planning on hitting the […]

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Historically a Free Disney Dining offer in the UK has served as a precursor to a similar promotion being offered stateside.  So those planning trips to Walt Disney World on both sides of the pond will be pleased to know that Disney Free Dining has officially kicked off for UK residents planning on hitting the parks in 2017.  A look at the terms and conditions for the current Free Dining Offer also suggests that changes may be afoot with when it comes to what may be included in free dining promotions going forward as well as a possible restructuring of the dining plans themselves.

In order to qualify for a 2017 Free Dining Offer, UK residents must book a minimum of  a 5 night Walt Disney World resort package including a 14-day Ultimate Ticket (for the price of a 7 day) providing access to any of Walt Disney World’s 6 theme parks.  Those booking the offer before July 7, 2016 will also receive a $200 Disney Gift Card.

The current offer is made available for Moderate, Deluxe and Deluxe Villa bookers only.  Moderate bookers are given a free Quick Service Dining Plan,  with those in Deluxe and Villa accommodation being offered the regular Disney Dining Plan.  Value bookers are not totally left out of the dining mix.  However, instead of being offered the Quick Service Dining Plan, they will only receive free breakfast during their stay.

Those taking advantage of the Free Dining promotion in the UK have also noted that changes have been made to what is included in both the Quick Service and Disney Dining Plans suggesting a possible overhaul to Walt Disney World’s current dining packages.

The Quick Service Plan now on offer in the UK for 2017 includes:

  • 2 Quick Service Meals
  • 2 Snacks
  • 1 Refillable Resort Mug

The regular Disney Dining Plan will now offer:

  • 1 Quick Service Meal
  • 1 Table Service Meal
  • 2 Snacks
  • 1 Refillable Resort Mug

But for those thinking they are getting more dining for their Disney buck it has been suggested that by the time these plans go into effect, desserts will no longer be included with the Quick Service meals.

Those in the UK hoping to take advantage of this offer should note that this promotion is only available for those travelling to Disney World between January 1, 2017- March 29, 2017 and from April 17 2017- November 30, 2017.

Readers hoping for further information on a stateside free dining offer should check back for further details or send an email to mroden@mickeytravels.com to be notified as soon as information about free dining is released.

Do you want your Walt Disney World package to include delicious dining options?  As an agent with MickeyTravels not only can I make sure that you have package options that suit your family- included finding a dining plan that is just right for you, but I will even be on hand to help you book some of more the more hard to get dining reservations.  So get in touch today at mroden@mickeytravels.com or on Facebook.  My services are absolutely free. 

 

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5 Ways You Can Save For Your Next Disney World Vacation http://www.chipandco.com/5-ways-can-save-next-disney-world-vacation-234321/ http://www.chipandco.com/5-ways-can-save-next-disney-world-vacation-234321/#comments Mon, 18 Apr 2016 11:50:39 +0000 http://www.chipandco.com/?p=234321 If you’ve decided a Walt Disney World vacation is something you definitely see in your immediate (or even not so immediate) future, then one thing you’ll want to get started on right away is SAVING for it! Not sure where to begin or how you can save for a trip to The Happiest Place On […]

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If you’ve decided a Walt Disney World vacation is something you definitely see in your immediate (or even not so immediate) future, then one thing you’ll want to get started on right away is SAVING for it! Not sure where to begin or how you can save for a trip to The Happiest Place On Earth?

Then read on for 5 ways you can save for your Disney World Vacation:

Setup An Automatic Transfer: Get Savvy with your online banking by setting up an automatic transfer to a separate account that is just for your “vacation fund” – even just a small amount like $5 a week won’t be missed in your day to day budget, but will make a huge difference when it comes to paying off your vacation – that’s $260 a year alone! I set mine up to transfer each payday, and it goes right to a separate savings account from checking – and it’s the perfect way to start saving for Disney

Use Your Tax Refund: By now most of us have already filed our taxes, and some of us might be lucky enough to be getting money back. While there are plenty of ways to spend that money, one of the best ways is to use it to put down a deposit or pay off part (or all!) of your Disney vacation. My husband and I purposely have extra taken out so we can ensure we get at least SOME kind of refund each year, and that makes this the perfect time to book another Disney trip and put some of that tax money to good use

The Disney Gift Card: In case you didn’t know, you can pay off some (or all!) of your Disney trip using gift cards – so next time someone asks what you want for your Birthday or Christmas, instead of struggling to come up with an answer – simply tell them A DISNEY GIFT CARD! They can be purchased almost anywhere – including online or at most grocery stores with a gift card center (which is basically all of them), and they make a perfect gift for you or the Disney Lover in your life. They can be used to pay off the trip, or to pay for things while at Disney, too! They also make a great reward system – create a chore chart for your little ones with Disney gift cards as the prize and they will earn their own trip spending money in no time

Buy Disney Gift Cards At A Discount: Most people I know have a membership to a club store like BJ’s or Sam’s Club, and places like also have gift card centers, where you can get Disney gift cards at a discount. While the discount is usually no more than 5%, that’s still a $100 savings off $2000 worth of Disney fun – and that’s worth it to me! Another way to get discount gift cards is through Target’s Red Card program – I finally broke down and got myself a debit Red card last year, and while the 5% savings may not seem like much, it adds up when you’re constantly there buying diapers, formula, food, toys….the list goes on. Might as well grab some Disney gift cards while you’re at it – 5% makes a difference!

The Disney Chase Visa Card: This is a credit card that offers you $1 in “Disney Reward Dollars” for every $100 that you spend on the card. I use mine for all larger purchases, and also for gas and grocery shopping – and believe me – the reward dollars add up QUICKLY, and they can then be redeemed to a card that can be used like a gift card. I like to save my rewards dollars for Park souvenirs, and it has really been beneficial to me and my family. ALSO – they sometimes have bonuses for signing up/applying for the card, so keep your eye out for that if this is something you are considering

Now, I don’t want to make it seem like I am suggesting everyone run out and apply for credit or debit cards or go buy a BJ’s or Sam’s Club membership – but I will be honest with you – there are some BIG benefits to these for Disney Lovers! These happened to be things I already had/was already doing, so it really didn’t “cost” me anything up front to start saving for my next Disney trip

Once you’ve booked your next trip, I hope you are able to use these tips to your advantage! You should also hit up the dollar store for even more savings on Disney trip essentials – read more about that here. And be sure you check out my Disney Planning Do’s And Don’t’s for even more tips for ensuring your Disney trip is the best ever!

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Keep Cool at Walt Disney World with these 8 tips http://www.chipandco.com/keep-cool-walt-disney-world-8-tips-234220/ http://www.chipandco.com/keep-cool-walt-disney-world-8-tips-234220/#respond Sun, 17 Apr 2016 12:00:12 +0000 http://www.chipandco.com/?p=234220 Disney World is sunny and warm. Very warm. Extremely warm for many months of the year. And that sun is BRIGHT! As great as that sounds for those of us who are just coming out of winter, there is a downside. Here are a few tips to keep you comfortable, hydrated, and cool when visiting Walt Disney World, […]

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Keepin' cool at the Magic Kingdom!

Disney World is sunny and warm. Very warm. Extremely warm for many months of the year. And that sun is BRIGHT! As great as that sounds for those of us who are just coming out of winter, there is a downside. Here are a few tips to keep you comfortable, hydrated, and cool when visiting Walt Disney World, the happiest place on Earth.

  • Dress in light, breathable fabrics that will dry quickly if you get wet (or sweat). Stay away from jeans, spandex or heavy fabrics. Dressing in layers is a great idea, also – many attractions and restaurants are located in air conditioned building and they can get quite cool. A light jacket or sweater that you can tie around your waist or stuff into a bag or stroller compartment is ideal.
  • Sunglasses. Protect your eyes with sunglasses with UV protection. I usually pick of 3 or 4 cheap pairs of sunglasses before I travel – if I lose them (and I probably will) I’m not out too much money and I don’t feel like I have to backtrack and search for them.
  • Drink water. Staying hydrated is key! If you only take one piece of advice from this article, then this is the most important one to follow. Bring a water bottle with you to refill throughout the day to save a little money. Remember, you can visit any counter-service restaurant for a free cup of ice. I like to bring a wide-mouth bottle or my resort refillable mug so I can pour the ice in and let it melt for a continuously cool drink throughout the day.
  • Eat light during the day. A heavy breakfast or lunch will weigh you down and make you sleepy and sluggish – and who wants to drag their way through the Magic Kingdom!?! For breakfast, consider fruit and yogurt. For lunch, a salad is ideal! If greens aren’t your thing, a turkey sandwich or grilled chicken will give you plenty of protein without weighing you down. Want something a little more adventurous? Then try the tacos at La Cantina de San Angel (EPCOT, Mexico pavilion), the Vegetarian Plate at Tangerine Café (EPCOT, Morocco pavilion), or grilled salmon with cous cous and green beans (Magic Kingdom, Columbia Harbor House). Avoid eating too many fried foods or red meats, unless you plan on taking an afternoon nap.
  • Take a break! It’s hot. You’re sweaty. You’re tired. By all means, rest. If you need just need a quick cool-down, then take in a show in an inside theatre. Attractions that are great for a 10-15 minutes (or longer) rest include Carousel of Progress, Philharmagic, Country Bear Jamboree and The Enchanted Tiki Birds.  If this kids are getting hot but don’t want to sit down for a show, head over to Casey Jr. Splash ‘N’ Soak in the Fantasyland area of the Magic Kingdom (pictured above).
  • Have a cool snack. You have my permission to eat ice cream before dinner! Seriously, is there anything better than a Mickey ear ice cream bar or a Dole whip in the afternoon? Minute Maid Frozen Lemonade or Frozen Strawberry Lemonade, fresh fruit, or strawberry shortcake from Sunshine Seasons in the Land pavilion at EPCOT are other great choices.
  • Wear sunscreen and Mickey Ears (or a hat). The Florida sun is intense – not just in summer, but year round. Make sure to use plenty of sunscreen. Also, wear your Mickey Ears (or a hat) to protect your scalp from those rays. The thing about a burnt scalp is that you won’t know you have one until you shampoo your hair the next day and it feels like your head is on fire. It’s much better to prevent burns with a hat than try to treat them later.  However, if you do suffer any sunburns, treat them with an aloe vera-based skin cream or other lotion for mild burns. If you notice any blistering or if you begin to feel ill or run a fever, visit a first aid station or an urgent care clinic right away. Guest services can direct you to the nearest location.
  • Take a dip!  An afternoon swim?  Yes, please!  When the sun is too much to take, head back to your resort to take a dip in the pool.  You’ll feel completely refreshed and ready to head back to the parks for a fun evening.  Better yet, head over to Typhoon Lagoon or Blizzard Beach for some serious fun in the sun!

But don’t let the sun and heat scare you off from having a great vacation at Walt Disney World! Contact me any time to plan your next Disney vacation at Erica@MickeyTravels.com.

Photo courtesy of Disney

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Traveling With an Infant To Walt Disney World http://www.chipandco.com/traveling-infant-walt-disney-world-229868/ http://www.chipandco.com/traveling-infant-walt-disney-world-229868/#respond Sat, 16 Apr 2016 15:00:20 +0000 http://www.chipandco.com/?p=229868 Whether you choose to travel to WDW with just your infant, or you’re heading there with multiple children, there’s no doubt that traveling anywhere with a little one presents some unique challenges for both parents and the child, too. Schedules are interrupted, sensory overload happens, regular diets are all screwed up – all the ingredients […]

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Whether you choose to travel to WDW with just your infant, or you’re heading there with multiple children, there’s no doubt that traveling anywhere with a little one presents some unique challenges for both parents and the child, too. Schedules are interrupted, sensory overload happens, regular diets are all screwed up – all the ingredients are there to make a recipe for disaster. But fear not – to help alleviate some of the stresses that come with infant travel, I have come up with some Tips and Tricks for Traveling with a little one to Disney World:

Don’t Overdo It: There is so much to see and do at Walt Disney World that it’s almost instinctual to try and cram as much into a day at the Parks as possible – but RESIST THE URGE to overdo it, no matter how many awesome things you see that you want to do, just take it slow and do a few rides and take breaks often. Head back to your WDW Resort for your little one’s normal naptime – it may seem like a pain to leave the Parks just to return a few hours later, but your little one (and you!) will welcome the break, trust me. And trying to skip nap time is a BIG no no – that just will not work out well for anyone, so don’t even bother trying it

Pack Accordingly: You’ll obviously want to take a well-stocked diaper bag along with you when you head out to the Parks, and you’ll want to make sure it’s a bag that’s comfortable and easy to carry/wear – I suggest a backpack (leaves your hands free for kid-wrangling). Diapers, wipes, sunscreen, hats/sunglasses, extra changes of clothes (yes, multiple), sweatshirt/hoodie/blanket, some smaller toys, and PLENTY of snacks – seriously, if it seems like you’re overdoing it, then you still probably need more. Pouches, puffs/goldfish crackers, granola/cereal bars, pieces of fruit, water bottles/juice boxes – bring them ALL – as you will not want to have to pay for an adult sized snack every time your little one is hungry – as that would get costly in a hurry

Utilize The Baby Care Centers: All 4 WDW Theme Parks have one of these baby centers, which offer a quiet spot to change, feed and nurse your little ones. There are high chairs in the feeding area, a kitchen with a microwave, oven and sink, and an on-site shop where essentials like formula, diapers, and wipes can be purchased. It’s a great place to take one of your breaks, and offers a private place to nurse too. Plus it’s air conditioned – which can really be a huge plus on a hot Orlando day!

Bring A Baby Carrier: Strollers are great, and while they make it way easier to transport your little one, I personally prefer wearing my baby as much as possible when at WDW. For the littlest babies it keeps them close to mom or dad, and helps partly shield them from the sun and noise too. Toddler carriers are great too – they make ergonomic ones that reduce the strain on your back (we like this one!), and you wear them piggyback style, which leaves them able to check out their surroundings easily. Obviously even the littlest ones will feel heavy after a while – but take turns with your partner, and sit down often for breaks. A carrier may not totally replace a stroller, but I personally think it’s a great alternative and can really help out when you’re in big crowds (like there tend to be at Disney!)

Know Before You Go: Do your research on the various rides and shows to know the age/height restrictions – and make a list of ones that might work for you and your little one. Be aware that even the tamest of shows might scare them – so be prepared to get up and leave a show if need be, as the darkness or lights/sounds might be overwhelming to little eyes and ears

Above All – DON’T STRESS! There will be tantrums and meltdowns and crying – and that’s ok – it is normal, it happens, and it is best to just accept it now – it will make your trip much easier, trust me! Taking babies and toddlers to WDW can be a big undertaking – but it can have big rewards too – watching your baby smile at Mickey, or seeing their face light up as they see the castle for the first time – these are the moments that make it all worthwhile

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Movie Review – Disney’s The Jungle Book http://www.chipandco.com/movie-review-disneys-jungle-book-233617/ http://www.chipandco.com/movie-review-disneys-jungle-book-233617/#respond Thu, 14 Apr 2016 15:00:21 +0000 http://www.chipandco.com/?p=233617 This past Saturday evening I had the pleasure to attend a screening of the new live-action “The Jungle Book” from Walt Disney Studios. The screening was at the historic El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood, a very ornate theatre owned by Disney that is positioned right across the street from Grauman’s Chinese Theater and the Hollywood […]

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This past Saturday evening I had the pleasure to attend a screening of the new live-action “The Jungle Book” from Walt Disney Studios. The screening was at the historic El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood, a very ornate theatre owned by Disney that is positioned right across the street from Grauman’s Chinese Theater and the Hollywood Walk of Fame lining the sidewalk outside, it was truly an incredible Hollywood experience. I would love to share with our readers my review of Disney’s newest film–and don’t worry, it’s spoiler-free!

The marquee of the historic El Capitan Theatre displaying "The Jungle Book". Next door is the Disney Studio Store and Ghiradelli soda fountain While waiting for the film to begin, an organist plays Disney songs Outside the El Capitan Theatre is the Hollywood Walk of Fame

As it’s clear to see from just the trailers and posters alone, the visuals are incredible. The CGI jungle looks incredibly real, you would think the film crew were constantly on location in an Indian jungle. All of the animal characters were amazingly photo-realistic. When I first heard that the animals mouths would be moving, I was skeptical of how that would end up looking in the finished movie. The crew pulled this off beautifully, and even though the animals are talking they seem so natural in the film. I truly felt immersed in the story, with my mind never breaking away from the story’s version of reality. One could easily get lost in the story and the visuals and forget that you are watching a film due to the level of photo realism (talking animals and all!).

Something else I was blown away by was the film’s score, composed by John Debney. The score seamlessly wove together the moments of warmth and love with moments that were adventurous and thrilling. And something I particularly loved, which I think all of you Disney fans out there will appreciate, were pieces of songs from the 1967 animated film interwoven into pieces of the score. I could go on more about the music and sound, which you can check out more here, where I document “The Jungle Book” press conference.

And of course, the acting was brilliant. How could it not be with such an incredibly talented cast? When casting announcements were first being made, I was a bit confused. Christopher Walken as King Louie, Scarlett Johansson as Kaa; both wonderful actors but seemed like very unexpected casting choices. Director Jon Favreau’s casting instincts ended up being spot on. Him thinking outside the box really paid off, with each character being introduced on screen seeming exactly how you would hope to see these beloved characters portrayed, yet they still seemed exciting and fresh. Bill Murray seemed to be a match made in heaven to portray Baloo, and Sir Ben Kingsley also fit perfectly into the role of Bagheera. Neel Sethi, who plays Mowgli, did a stellar job in the role, despite this being his first major feature film. Truly, all of the actors were outstanding, and their voices seemed like a natural fit for each of their characters. All the actors put in an incredible amount of thought into the characters they portrayed, which they went into detail about at “The Jungle Book” press conference that I wrote about here.

The film was exciting, fast-paced, adventurous, and thrilling. At times I was gripping my seat in anticipation of what might happen next. The film is rated PG, and is one you can definitely see as a family, however for younger children around 7 or younger it might be scary at times. Most of it I don’t think would be scary for young children, but something to perhaps be aware of or talk to your children to warn them about ahead of time.

The movie exceeded my expectations, and had a perfect blend of nostalgia as well as new and unexpected material. I believe it’s a film that will really speak to Disney fans everywhere, and is a wonderful addition to the Disney live-action fairy tale movie line-up.

The film will be released in theaters April 15th, and tickets can be purchased here. I can’t wait to see what you all thought of this incredible movie!

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Are new changes coming to the Disney Dining Plan? http://www.chipandco.com/new-changes-coming-disney-dining-plan-234223/ http://www.chipandco.com/new-changes-coming-disney-dining-plan-234223/#comments Tue, 12 Apr 2016 15:00:15 +0000 http://www.chipandco.com/?p=234223 It has recently been brought to our attention that residents in the UK now have an additional snack credit added to their 2017 Disney Dining Plans, bringing their total to 2 snack credits instead of 1. While we’ve seen the proof on 2 different UK Disney travel sites, we haven’t heard word on whether or […]

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It has recently been brought to our attention that residents in the UK now have an additional snack credit added to their 2017 Disney Dining Plans, bringing their total to 2 snack credits instead of 1. While we’ve seen the proof on 2 different UK Disney travel sites, we haven’t heard word on whether or not this addition will be coming to US residents who purchase the Dining Plan in the future, but it sure would be nice, wouldn’t it?

UK residents also have had a Free Dining Announcement for 2017, while US residents are still waiting for 2016’s announcement still. We’re hoping to hear about a Free Dining Promotion for Fall 2016 very soon though, so stay tuned!

Currently the Dining Plans available for US Residents are as follows:

Quick Service Dining Plan

  • 2 counter service
  • 1 snack
  • 1 refillable mug
  • $44.13 per adult per night, $19.04 per child per night

 

Disney Dining Plus Plan

  • 1 counter service
  • 1 sit down
  • 1 snack
  • 1 refillable mug
  • $63.70 per adult per night, $22.85 per child per night

 

Disney Deluxe Dining Plan

  • 3 meals (any combination of sit down or counter-service)
  • 2 snacks
  • 1 refillable mug
  • $115.08 per adult per night, $35.49 per child per night

 

If you don’t usually purchase the dining plan, would you be more likely to if they offered another snack credit?

If you are unsure of where to begin with planning your Disney Parks vacation, contact me today to take advantage of my FREE vacation planning services! I specialize in Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, Disney Aulani resort in Hawaii, as well as Adventures by Disney. Contact me today at slawless@mickeytravels.com for a free quote, or you can find me on my Facebook page here.

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Plan a Grand Disney Adventure With the Grandkids This Summer http://www.chipandco.com/plan-grand-disney-adventure-grandkids-summer-234188/ http://www.chipandco.com/plan-grand-disney-adventure-grandkids-summer-234188/#respond Tue, 12 Apr 2016 12:30:59 +0000 http://www.chipandco.com/?p=234188   Walt Disney World is a magical destination that brings multi-generational families together while bringing out the inner child in everyone. If you’ve ever dreamed of experiencing Disney with the grandchildren, then this summer could be the perfect time to plan a trip. Exciting new attractions, stage shows, character meet and greets along with new restaurants and nighttime entertainment […]

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 Family

Walt Disney World is a magical destination that brings multi-generational families together while bringing out the inner child in everyone. If you’ve ever dreamed of experiencing Disney with the grandchildren, then this summer could be the perfect time to plan a trip. Exciting new attractions, stage shows, character meet and greets along with new restaurants and nighttime entertainment are set to debut across all four theme parks this summer. Start creating Disney memories with your grandchildren that will last a lifetime!

Plus, guests can save up to 30% on rooms at select Walt Disney World Resort hotels for stays most nights June 12 through August 25, 2016. The Awaken Summer offer is available to book now through June 10, 2016.

2It’s a Grand-New World!

With 4 thrilling theme parks and exciting new lands, attractions and more, there’s a world of magic for everyone in your family! The Wonderful World of your Disney childhood is now bigger, “grander” and more wonder-filled than ever! From intergalactic new Star Wars offerings and interactive Frozen fantasies to the drop-dead thrills of Twilight Zone Tower of Terror™, there’s no better time—and no better place on earth—to rekindle the magic of family than at Walt Disney World Resort!

4Hand-Picked Fun for Little Ones

Rediscover classic Disney magic and brand-new delights that you and your younger grandkids can enjoy together!It’s time to reunite the kids—the grandkids you adore and the little kid still living in you. Celebrate the wide-eyed wonder of childhood with carefully chosen shows, shopping and dining experiences like our kid-friendly new coaster Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Disney Junior – Live on Stage! or the unforgettable magic of meeting and dining with a real Disney princess!

5Must-Do Experiences for Teens & Tweens

Discover the most popular rides, restaurants and Resorts to share and enjoy with your older grandkids. What do teens and tweens like? Thrills, chills and spills top the list, like Test Track at Epcot—where kids create and “drive” their own virtual concept car—and Summit Plummet, a freefall water slide at Disney’s Blizzard Beach water park. Explore global cultures and cuisines at World Showcase, a herd of African elephants at Disney’s Animal Kingdom park, new Star Wars offerings, Disney Springs and more!

3Find Your “Home Suite Home”

The magic never ends when your entire family can stay together and play together at a Disney Resort hotel!

Why leave the magic at the end of the day when you can stay on location at a delightfully themed Disney Resort hotel! Enjoy the bliss of walking from your bedroom to your favorite park, or the easy escape to Resort pools, spas, restaurants and rides, all a simple stroll away, and family activities each night. The family that stays together—in family-size rooms or adjoining Disney Resort hotel suites—plays together!

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Child-Proof Vacation Planning

Not sure where to start? Disney’s planning tools and MyMagic+ remove the stress and guesswork, so you can make the best possible choices. Your Grand Adventure has never been closer or more doable thanks to these easy-to-use new vacation planning tools—designed to make your research, discovery, planning and booking process as easy and enjoyable as your vacation itself!

  • My Disney Experience – Manage your vacation plans anywhere, any time with the My Disney Experience mobile app.  View your plans for the day, make dining reservations, access park maps and even check on attraction wait times. Every moment with your grandkids is precious. To make the most of your days at the parks, take advantage of easy, fun tools that save time, increase convenience and remove common barriers—so you can focus on making magical memories with your family.
  • Fastpass+ – Avoid long lines by making Fastpass+ selections up to 60 days in advance of your check in date. Skip the stand-by line of popular rides, restaurants and entertainment. Guests are now able to make additional Fastpass+ selections from the My Disney Experience App once they’ve used their first three choices.
  • Everything In One Place – Keep everyone in your party on track by linking tickets along with Disney Resort hotel and dining reservations as well as Fastpass+ times in your daily itinerary. You can even add notes to each day’s plans so no one misses out on the magic.
  • Family & Friends – Connect to everyone in your travel group by linking My Disney Experience accounts. This way guests can view and make plans together as a group.  Do you have 10 guests that would like to dine and make Fastpass+ selections together? No problem!  You can coordinate it all in your My Disney Experience account by adding guests to your friends and family list.
  • MagicBands – Your MagicBand will serve as both your theme park ticket and room key throughout your stay. With a simple touch you can use it to check in at Fastpass+ entrances, pay for snacks and meals and connect Disney PhotoPass images to your account.
  • Memory Maker – Capture moments with the entire family and download unlimited PhotoPass photos with Memory Maker.  It is available to purchase for $149 in advance or $169 during of after your vacation.  There is even a one day option for $59.

Contact lbourget@mickeytravels.com, visit my Facebook page here or check out this eBrochure to start planning a Walt Disney World vacation with your family. I help coordinate large families to ensure everyone has a magical time and best of all, my planning services are always 100% FREE.  

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Top Ride Tips at Disney World… the inside track. http://www.chipandco.com/top-ride-tips-disney-world-inside-track-231530/ http://www.chipandco.com/top-ride-tips-disney-world-inside-track-231530/#respond Mon, 11 Apr 2016 23:00:42 +0000 http://www.chipandco.com/?p=231530 Test Track, Rockin’ Roller Coaster, Soarin’…we all know what rides to hit when visiting Disney World but did you know there are some secret tips for these rides? Whether you are a Disney World veteran or a first-timer I think you will enjoy this information and hopefully learn something new.  From not waiting in the […]

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Test Track, Rockin’ Roller Coaster, Soarin’…we all know what rides to hit when visiting Disney World but did you know there are some secret tips for these rides? Whether you are a Disney World veteran or a first-timer I think you will enjoy this information and hopefully learn something new.  From not waiting in the long standby line, to the best (or worst) seat on the ride, in my professional opinion as an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner with MickeyTravels these are some great strategies to enjoy your time at the parks even more.

  • RIDER SWITCH:  This is Disney’s way of making sure just because you are traveling with little ones you don’t have to miss out on riding the “Big” rides that have a height requirement. Here’s how it works… have all the members in your party see a Cast member at the ride entrance and ask for a “rider switch pass”. They will check the height of the littlest member of your party who is not eligible to ride and those waiting will receive a pass. It works just like a FastPass and one pass can be used for up to 3 people. Just remember that you do need to bring your entire group with you when asking for the pass and they need to see the child that isn’t tall enough for the ride. As soon as the first group finishes riding the ride, those waiting will enter with their pass through the FastPass lane with up to 3 people. So technically someone could re-ride the ride if they wanted to since only one adult needs to stay with the rider not eligible to ride.  One of the best things is that unlike FP+ the Rider Switch Pass doesn’t have a time on it so you can use it ANY TIME OF DAY! …it’s even good for up to a week so you can come back the next day and use it!
  • KILIMANJARO SAFARIS at Animal Kingdom is best in the early morning, so head there first! Animals are much more active in the morning on the reserve because as the day gets hotter they will just be lying around. There’s nothing quite like having to stop the safari vehicle for a giraffe or rhino to cross in front of your path.  The animals are also quite active in the rain, so don’t let the weather stop you from taking a Safari trip! They are also now offering Nocturnal Encounters where you can view the animals in their nighttime habitat which will also be a great time to ride. The best thing about this attraction is no matter how many times you do this experience, each safari ride will be different.
  • TOWER OF TERROR at Hollywood Studios is ride that’s a little more fun (& scary) to ride in the front row. It’s a 13 story drop and is my absolute favorite ride at Disney World.  Did you know that the drop sequence for each elevator car is selected at random by the attraction’s computer system?! So if you ride multiple times you will get a different experience!
  • The best way to experience SOARIN at Epcot is in the front row, as well. No dangling feet in your view and you feel that much more immersed in the ride. Just ask a cast member when you are being assigned your spot in the line up. You may have to wait one ride but it’s worth it. Also if you don’t have a FP+ for this ride go on it first right when the park opens because the line can get to be hours long during peak times. Don’t get sidetracked by walking into the park and seeing Spaceship Earth, keep your eye on the prize and head right to Soarin’.
  • BIG THUNDER MOUNTAIN RAILROAD at Magic Kingdom has the best seat in the last car of the train. It’s the fastest (the front goes slowly down the hills and if you are in the back you get the full hill) and not blocked by the big engine at the front. A little bonus tip is if you can plan to ride during “Wishes” fireworks you are in for an amazing view.
  • SPLASH MOUNTAIN at Magic Kingdom is a ride where you may or may not get wet. Personally, I’ve never gotten soaked on this ride and if it’s hot out it’s actually a fun way to cool off (you can actually get much more wet standing on the bridge watching). But beware on the right side at the end of the ride, just when you thought the chances of getting wet were over, look out for the waterfall. If this ride has a long wait time during the day and you don’t have a FP+, try riding late at night when it’s much less crowded.
  • EXPEDITION EVEREST at Animal Kingdom offers a “Single Rider Option,” now that my kids are older this has been a great option for us since we just care about getting on the ride the fastest more than where we sit. Also the front row is a great seat and you can ask a Cast Member for the option to wait for the front cart. The single rider line is a little tricky find, it’s near the exit.
  • TEST TRACK at EPCOT is another great ride with the “Single Rider Option.” We have gotten through the ride SO much faster with this option and there are times we end up in the same car anyway….but that’s not guaranteed.  Also just be aware that you don’t get to design your own SimCar for your ride on Test Track in the single rider line but that’s just because the line moves so much faster, a fair trade-off if you ask me. If this is your first time riding you may want to do the normal line just to participate in that part of the experience.
  • HAUNTED MANSION at Magic Kingdom has a “stretching room” you enter before getting on the ride as part of the experience and story. When you enter the room go towards the painting that has the young woman holding the sun umbrella, this is where the door will open after the room stretches to enter the ride and you will be first in line to get on.
  • ROCK ‘N’ ROLLER COSTER at Hollywood Studios also offers a “Single Rider Option.” This is a great way to skip the long wait times AND it also is a perfect ride to use the Rider Switch Option.
  • BUZZ LIGHTYEAR’S SPACE RANGER SPIN  at Magic Kingdom is a ride and game in one where you shoot at the “Zs” for points. My family and I love to compete on this ride for highest points. In the first room aim for the left arm of the robot on the left for 100,000 points. When you see Zurg, hit the bottom target of his space scooter for 100,000 points. Also aim for the top of the volcano for big points.
  • KALI RIVER RAPIDS is at Animal Kingdom and just know that you are going to get WET. Very wet. If you have a poncho, wear it and heads up on protecting your camera and phones. Also if you want to protect your feet from getting soaked put them on the silver ring in the middle because no matter what the water comes crashing across the floor and wet socks and sneakers are not a fun mix for walking around the park.
  • MISSION SPACE at Epcot is pretty tight quarters so if you are claustrophobic at all you may not like this ride. If you do decide to do this experience, you will need to decide whether to be on the “Orange Team” or “Green Team”. The Green version of this attraction is much less intense mostly because you won’t spin. It also usually has a shorter wait time. The Orange version is very intense and riders sustain a force of 2.5Gs…..there are barf bags if needed. This ride also offers the Single Rider Option.

BONUS TIPS:

If there is a popular ride you really want to get on and the standby lines are very long and you didn’t get a FP+ for it, get in line a half hour before the park closes. Disney has a policy that anyone in line when the park closes gets to ride, even if they don’t get on until the after the park closes. Also there will be very few FP+ riders at this time so the wait time will actually be much shorter than the posted standby time.

When booking the hard to come by FP+ option (i.e. Seven Dwarfs Mine Train at Magic Kingdom) get on My Disney Experience to book these popular options at midnight EST 60 days before your trip (for on-site guests) and don’t book your FP+ in the order of the days you are there but instead book the difficult ones first. Try booking on the website instead of the app, it’s a little easier to use. You can book your FP+ options for your entire stay. Here are the FP+ you should prioritize: Magic Kingdom; Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and Meet Anna & Elsa. Epcot; Soarin’ and Test Track. Hollywood Studios; Toy Story Mania. If you don’t get the attraction you want, be sure to check back and try again, it could always open up, sometimes it’s just about timing.

If you like my Disney World attraction tips here, imagine what kind of magical vacation I can plan for you when you book your next vacation with me! I have to keep some of my secrets & tips for my clients only of course. Contact me at mary@mickeytravels.com for a no obligation quote and let’s get planning something magical together.

Do you need help booking your FP+ experiences? Don’t want to be up at midnight 60 days out booking them? That’s where I can help! As an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner with MickeyTravels my services are totally FREE and you can contact me at mary@mickeytravels.com or on Facebook here.  From booking your accommodations, dining, FP+, answering your Disney questions or just adding that special touch. Contact me today and let’s get planning something Magical.

 

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Top 5 Things to do When the Sun Goes Down at Walt Disney World http://www.chipandco.com/disney-after-dark-top-5-things-to-do-when-the-sun-goes-down-at-walt-disney-world-231344/ http://www.chipandco.com/disney-after-dark-top-5-things-to-do-when-the-sun-goes-down-at-walt-disney-world-231344/#respond Fri, 08 Apr 2016 12:15:53 +0000 http://www.chipandco.com/?p=231344 There is a lot of hype about walking up early at Disney World to be at the parks in time for rope drop. And I totally agree that getting to the parks early is a great idea! But there is still something to be said about staying late at the parks. Once the sun goes […]

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MK

There is a lot of hype about walking up early at Disney World to be at the parks in time for rope drop. And I totally agree that getting to the parks early is a great idea! But there is still something to be said about staying late at the parks. Once the sun goes down, the crowds do too and there is something extra magical about Disney after Dark.

Disney days are bright, full of energy, and super colorful. But Disney nights are a whole different world. Everything is lit up with twinkle lights, the air cools down, and everything is a bit more relaxed.

Here are my top 5 experiences for Disney after dark.

Attractions: There are a ton of attractions that are better at night! Big Thunder Mountain, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Tomorrowland Transit People Mover, The Jungle Cruise, Dumbo the Flying Elephant – the list goes on and on. The best part is, many attractions will have shorter wait times because a lot of families (especially those with small children), leave the park before at sun-down.

Night Time Shows: There are some Disney experiences that can only happen at night; cue the fireworks! Whether you are watching Wishes, Main Street Electrical Parade, Illuminations, or Fantasmic! – you can only catch these shows in the evening hours. Many night time shows will run twice during the night – one earlier in the evening and one later on. If you can stay up, I suggest trying to catch the later show as the crowds will be lighter.

Take Photos: Some of my favorite Disney vacation photos have been taken at night. Whether you are using your own camera, or using Memory Maker with Disney PhotoPass, make sure to snap some pictures of your group in front of park icons once the sun goes down. Especially if you are visiting during the Holiday Season, you will not want to miss a photo of Cinderella Castle all lit up!

Special Events: Disney does their best to encourage guests to spend all day and night at the parks, and one way they do this is through special ticketed events such as Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, or Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. These events only happen during the evening, which is just another reason why Disney after dark is so great. Even if you aren’t attending a special ticketed event, head over to Epcot for Food and Wine Festival or Flower and Garden Festival. These festivals are included in the price of admission and the crowds are much lighter at night.

Talk to Cast Members: As a former Cast Member at Magic Kingdom, I can confirm that we are all a little loopy once it hits the wee hours of the morning. Magic Kingdom often stays open as late as 3am – and yes, Cast Members get tired too. But hyped up on sugar and energy drinks, Cast Members are the most fun to interact with at night. They are less busy because of lighter crowds and because most guests do their shopping during the day and their eating during meal times so they don’t have as much to do. Strike up a conversation, ask to pin trade, or ask them some Disney trivia that you’ve always wanted to know the answer to.

Whether you are an early riser, or come alive when the sun goes down, there is always something to do at Walt Disney World. Just because its dark doesn’t mean that the fun has to end!

What are your favorite things to do at night at Walt Disney World? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

Monica is an Alumna of the Disney College Program. When she is not walking down the middle of Main Street USA you can find her wandering the World Showcase, or enjoying a Dole Whip while racing to her favorite attractions. When she is forced to endure life outside of Walt Disney World, you can find her in Ann Arbor, Michigan where she lives and works. You can visit her Disney lifestyle blog here.

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Top 4 Disney World Resort Activities http://www.chipandco.com/top-4-disney-world-resort-activities-227877/ http://www.chipandco.com/top-4-disney-world-resort-activities-227877/#comments Thu, 07 Apr 2016 12:45:16 +0000 http://www.chipandco.com/?p=227877 When planning their Walt Disney World vacation, most people will tend to focus on the 4 Theme Parks and plan their days around their visits to these spots – and with good reason – the Theme Parks are FULL of amazing rides, shows, characters, food, parades, and more! But there’s also plenty to do outside […]

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When planning their Walt Disney World vacation, most people will tend to focus on the 4 Theme Parks and plan their days around their visits to these spots – and with good reason – the Theme Parks are FULL of amazing rides, shows, characters, food, parades, and more! But there’s also plenty to do outside the Parks too. Don’t believe me? Well, then I invite you to read on and learn more about all the great NON Theme Park things there are to do at WDW:

Shopping: You can definitely give your credit card a workout with all the amazing stores there are at Walt Disney World – and some of the very best ones are found outside the Theme Parks. Every WDW Resort has at least one souvenir shop that offers a wide variety of Disney gear – and most also offer some specialty shops as well. But the BEST place to shop at Disney, hands down, is Disney Springs (Formerly Downtown Disney) – where a veritable mecca of shopping options awaits – and we aren’t talking just Disney themed stores either – there’s a Harley Davidson store, art stores, jewelry and clothing stores, and MUCH more

Swimming: If you happen to be staying at a WDW owned Resort, then you’ll have multiple options for taking a dip – you’ll find family friendly pools with waterfalls, slides, and toddler play areas; plus there’s quieter/more secluded pools tucked away in various places around the Resort grounds too. Even if you aren’t a big swimmer, you can relax in the sun and enjoy an adult beverage from the nearby pool bar. If you aren’t staying at a WDW Resort – fear not, as it’s likely that your Resort will have at least one pool for you to enjoy – after all, you’re in Florida (where pretty much everyone has a pool)

Explore Your Resort: The Disney Resorts offer TONS of fun on site things to do – most have movie nights, trivia, activities for kids, and more. Plus – there are some great things to see if you take some time to walk around the Resort – play areas, cool photo ops, gardens and other cool décor and landscaping that all adds to the theming. Personally I love to wander around whatever Resort I am staying at, and I recommend you take some time to do this too – you never know what you might find!

Dining: All WDW Resorts (and most offsite hotels too) offer at least one dining location – and they are usually pretty great places to grab a bite! All WDW Value Resorts have large “food court” style eateries – and the food is actually REALLY good at them! There’s your standards like burgers, chicken nuggets, pizza – but there’s also unique items like a Mongolian grill menu, create your own salads, gelato, and plenty of grab’n’go options as well. Most Moderate and Deluxe Resorts offer quick service dining as well as sit down restaurants too – and there are some pretty great places to eat – sushi, steak, seafood, 5 star fare – you name it, the WDW Resorts have got it! So don’t limit yourself to eating just at the Parks – make sure you check out your Resort and neighboring Resorts for dining too

While the Theme Parks are one of the best things about WDW, I think that getting to stay on site at one of the WDW Resorts is almost as good as the Parks – there’s so much to do and see and explore! I HIGHLY recommend you take some time out and check out your Resort – it may seem like just a place to sleep – but it’s got so much more in store for you!

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New date for FastPass+ changes, including making additional FastPass+ choices from the My Disney Experience App http://www.chipandco.com/new-date-for-fastpass-changes-including-making-additional-fastpass-choices-from-the-my-disney-experience-app-233549/ http://www.chipandco.com/new-date-for-fastpass-changes-including-making-additional-fastpass-choices-from-the-my-disney-experience-app-233549/#comments Mon, 04 Apr 2016 13:13:54 +0000 http://www.chipandco.com/?p=233549 Ever since the information was released that you would be able to use the My Disney Experience App to make additional FastPass+ choices after you used your first 3 choices instead of using a Kiosk at that park, guests have anxiously been awaiting the actual rollout date for this new feature. We’re excited to say that […]

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Ever since the information was released that you would be able to use the My Disney Experience App to make additional FastPass+ choices after you used your first 3 choices instead of using a Kiosk at that park, guests have anxiously been awaiting the actual rollout date for this new feature. We’re excited to say that it looks like April 10th is going to be that day! According to Kenny the Pirate and WDW News Today, Sunday, April 10th is going to be the day the new changes come into effect.

Not only will the additional FastPass choice changes go into effect, but there will other great enhancements to the FastPass selection protocol as well! 

Now instead of having to choose your 3 tiered ride choices, and take the “best option” where they choose the times for you, you can now select one ride at a time (instead of having to select all 3 ride choices at once) and select a specific time for that ride. Other new features include the ability to remove individual guests from a FastPass+ reservation and the ability to cancel a single FastPass+ attraction reservation instead of all of them.

How do you feel about this new set of changes? We think it’s great, and will keep you posted if more details arise!

If you’re unsure of where to begin planning your Disney Parks vacation, contact me today to take advantage of my FREE vacation planning services! I specialize in Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, Disney Aulani resort in Hawaii, as well as Adventures by Disney. Contact me today at slawless@mickeytravels.com for a free quote, or you can find me on my Facebook page here.

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Disney Springs resorts “Spring into the Magic” offer http://www.chipandco.com/disney-springs-resorts-spring-into-the-magic-offer-233452/ http://www.chipandco.com/disney-springs-resorts-spring-into-the-magic-offer-233452/#respond Sat, 02 Apr 2016 12:30:29 +0000 http://www.chipandco.com/?p=233452 While staying on Disney property at a Disney Resort hotel can enhance your magical vacation, sometimes it’s nice to have a more budget-friendly option, which is where the Disney World Good Neighbor Hotels come into play. These hotels have a partnership with Disney, and while you won’t get all the same perks as you would […]

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While staying on Disney property at a Disney Resort hotel can enhance your magical vacation, sometimes it’s nice to have a more budget-friendly option, which is where the Disney World Good Neighbor Hotels come into play. These hotels have a partnership with Disney, and while you won’t get all the same perks as you would get staying on-site at a Disney Resort Hotel, you can still have a great experience, and at a more economical price.

Right now 7 of the Disney Springs Area resorts are offering a discounted rate as low as $69/night until June 30, 2016. There are some restrictions, and you can find the full details of the offer here.

The 7 participating Disney Springs resorts are:

  • The B Resort & Spa
  • The Best Western
  • Buena Vista Palace Hotel & Spa
  • Doubletree Suites by Hilton
  • Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista
  • Holiday Inn Disney Springs
  • Wyndham Garden Lake Buena Vista

These are all great options to have some Disney fun this summer, don’t you think?

 

If you’d like to book a trip to visit WDW this Fall to join in on the Summer fun, contact me today to take advantage of my FREE vacation planning services! I specialize in Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, Disney Aulani resort in Hawaii, as well as Adventures by Disney. Contact me today at slawless@mickeytravels.com or you can find me on my Facebook page here.

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Joffrey’s Coffee offering 20% discount at Disney Parks http://www.chipandco.com/joffreys-coffee-offering-20-discount-at-disney-parks-233368/ http://www.chipandco.com/joffreys-coffee-offering-20-discount-at-disney-parks-233368/#respond Thu, 31 Mar 2016 20:35:44 +0000 http://www.chipandco.com/?p=233368 If you’re a Joffrey’s Coffee fan like me, then you’re going to love the new 20% off offer they have for their coffee at Disney Parks! To get your discount, text the word COFFEE along with your email address to 21333. By doing this, you will be signing up to receive more messages from Joffrey’s, […]

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If you’re a Joffrey’s Coffee fan like me, then you’re going to love the new 20% off offer they have for their coffee at Disney Parks!

To get your discount, text the word COFFEE along with your email address to 21333. By doing this, you will be signing up to receive more messages from Joffrey’s, and you will need to show the cast member your message in order to get your discount, but it is definitely worth it to us!

Joffrey’s locations can be found at the theme parks and water parks as well as at Disney Springs, and you can even use Joffrey’s website map here to find the one nearest you while at Disney World or Disneyland!

I usually bypass all other coffee options, and head straight for the Joffrey’s Cart while I’m at the parks, how about you?

If you’re unsure of where to begin planning your Disney Parks vacation, contact me today to take advantage of my FREE vacation planning services! I specialize in Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, Disney Aulani resort in Hawaii, as well as Adventures by Disney. Contact me today at slawless@mickeytravels.com for a free quote, or you can find me on my facebook page here.

Photo Credit: Joffrey’s Coffee

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Packing For The Unpredictable Disney World Weather http://www.chipandco.com/packing-for-the-unpredictable-disney-world-weather-232899/ http://www.chipandco.com/packing-for-the-unpredictable-disney-world-weather-232899/#respond Sat, 26 Mar 2016 23:00:43 +0000 http://www.chipandco.com/?p=232899 Packing for your Disney World vacation can be a formidable task – especially if you’re packing for yourself AND your kids (and maybe even your significant other too?!). I recommend making a list and starting well in advance of your departure for WDW – but even if you aren’t into planning ahead, you’ll want to […]

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Packing for your Disney World vacation can be a formidable task – especially if you’re packing for yourself AND your kids (and maybe even your significant other too?!). I recommend making a list and starting well in advance of your departure for WDW – but even if you aren’t into planning ahead, you’ll want to read on and make sure you’re including these in your suitcase:

Rain Gear: Bringing your own ponchos is a MUST – I cannot stress this enough! It is pretty likely that it will rain sometime during your trip to Disney World – and you’ll want to be prepared for when it does! The Parks sell ponchos and umbrellas of course, but it’s much easier and cost effective to bring your own – local dollar stores sell thinner ones, and more durable versions can be purchased at stores like Wal-Mart or Target. Ziploc baggies and shopping bags in assorted sizes can also be a lifesaver to help protect valuables (wallets, cell phones, cameras, etc) from the rain. I like to also bring along a smaller hand towel, to help dry off exposed areas like arms/legs once the rain is done – not a necessity but certainly something that’s nice to have!

Keeping Comfortable In The Heat: Make sure you and your family are packing outfits that are loose, comfortable, and light colored as they will be the best at keeping you cool when the Florida sun makes its appearance. Sunscreen (multiple bottles) is also a must-have – I prefer the spray on kind – I find it more easily applied and absorbed, but whatever your family prefers, make sure to stock up ahead of time so you can bring it along to Disney. You’ll want to tuck a few empty water bottles in your suitcase alongside the sunscreen, as staying hydrated is really important, especially when it’s so hot out (bonus – you’ll save money by bringing your own water bottles and not having to buy bottled water at the Parks!)

It just might get cool at night: While it’s not likely that you’ll need a parka or mittens, you’ll want to make sure you’re packing at least a pair of jeans and a hoodie/sweatshirt in your bag. It can get cooler once the sun goes down, and you’ll be grateful for that hoodie, believe me!

Bag It: When heading to the Parks, stow all these items in a comfortable, easy to wear bag (since you’ll be carrying it around all day!) – I prefer a backpack with padded straps, and I like to choose one that’s gender neutral so that my husband and I can switch off carrying it and he doesn’t have to be embarrassed to tote around a pink glittery Minnie backpack (not that I own one of those…)

The weather in Orlando can change quickly – it can go from being hot and sunny to cold and rainy in a flash, so be prepared and pack for the WDW weather to save time, money, and frustration and help ensure your visit is the happiest it can be!

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Top five reason’s I love Disney World! http://www.chipandco.com/top-five-reasons-i-love-disney-world-231651/ http://www.chipandco.com/top-five-reasons-i-love-disney-world-231651/#respond Fri, 25 Mar 2016 12:30:34 +0000 http://www.chipandco.com/?p=231651 Walt Disney World is always thought of as the most magical place in the world, but why? With the 4 major theme parks, Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom, the water parks, Disney Springs, endless resorts and restaurants there is so much going on yet every detail feels so personal and magical. What […]

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Walt Disney World is always thought of as the most magical place in the world, but why? With the 4 major theme parks, Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom, the water parks, Disney Springs, endless resorts and restaurants there is so much going on yet every detail feels so personal and magical. What make Disney World so magical?

Here is my list of the top 5 reason why I love Disney World:

  1. Character Interaction – True some of the character’s meet and greets have been taken away recently but there are still tons of places to meet your favorites. Meeting characters is not just a chance to take a picture or get an autograph of a loved character but it is also a way to bring back childhood innocence, when I’m standing there next to Mickey I’m not thinking of any adult responsibilities, I am completely happy, like a child. This is one of my favorite parts of visiting the parks.
  2. Themed Restaurants/Character dining – Ok everyone needs food to survive, that’s a fact. But Disney does food in a fun and magical way. Whether you having a family dinner at O’hana with the Hula dancers and the bano Singer performing for you, or you are having breakfast at the Crystal Palace with Winnie the Pooh and gang visiting your table and parading through the restaurant, there is something fun happening to remind you there is magic at every turn.
  3. The classic ride – How could anyone not get happy singing their way through It’s a Small World or yo-ho-ho-hoing their way through Pirates of the Caribbean, or being scared silly in The Haunted Mansion? Classic Disney rides are classic for a reason, they bring you to a point of happiness that surpasses all the rest. Although they get updates and refurbishment they are the same ride you grew up loving and now can pass that enjoyment onto your children. These are rides I could ride over and over.
  4. The Mountains – Whether I’m riding in the dark through space on Space Mountain, coasting over the wild west on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, getting soaked along with Br’er Rabbit on my favorite of all the mountains Splash Mountain or chasing that Yeti on Expedition Everest, the mountains are one of the best parts of my visits to Disney World. I enjoy most of the rides in all of the theme parks but these are definitely my most must do’s
  5. The overall feel – Customer service is one of the most important factors in all businesses. Disney goes above and beyond in this aspect, you feel it from the second you board the Magical Express where you watch Disney related cartoons until you arrive at your resort. From the resort to the transportation to the theme parks there is not one part of this vacation that doesn’t make you feel like you are a VIP guest.

I know there are so many other experiences that could be added to the above list, Star Wars, the many shows, all of the night-time entertainment, but I went with my top 5, what do you include in your top 5?

Comment below! 

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Get a Trim at the Harmony Barber Shop in the Magic Kingdom http://www.chipandco.com/get-a-trim-at-the-harmony-barber-shop-in-the-magic-kingdom-232179/ http://www.chipandco.com/get-a-trim-at-the-harmony-barber-shop-in-the-magic-kingdom-232179/#respond Wed, 23 Mar 2016 15:30:10 +0000 http://www.chipandco.com/?p=232179 Did you know there is a real working barber shop on Main Street in the Magic Kingdom? Located in between City Hall and the Emporium, you will find that famous red and white candy striped barber pole in front of the Harmony Barber Shop. Walking inside the shop is like taking a step back in […]

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Did you know there is a real working barber shop on Main Street in the Magic Kingdom?

Located in between City Hall and the Emporium, you will find that famous red and white candy striped barber pole in front of the Harmony Barber Shop. Walking inside the shop is like taking a step back in time…

Our family has been getting haircuts here for the last several years, ever since we discovered it for our princess’s first haircut 4 years ago. The prices are reasonable and the kids love the magical touches.

Our most recent Disney vacation was pretty last minute so we were not able to make reservations ahead of time. During our first day at the Magic Kingdom, it was raining heavily. We decided we would check in to see if there were any slots available. We were told there would be about a 30 minute wait so we headed next door to the Emporium to browse around a bit.

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After about 20 minutes, we walked back over to the barber shop and all 3 kiddos were seated right away. The stylists were very friendly and gave extra care to make sure the kids were having a good time. They got to play with light up toys and were given stickers while the stylists did an excellent job working on the kids haircuts.

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There was a nice but very cozy sitting area where family could watch and take pictures. Afterwards, the kids got to choose between rainbow glitter or gold glitter.

At this point, Grampy decided he couldn’t let the children have all the fun and asked the stylists if they could give him a trim too. The stylists were so kind to fit him in as well and even let him play with the light up toys too! We were all pleased with the haircuts and the kids (including Grampy) had a magical time!

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Prices:

  • Baby’s 1st Haircut (includes certificate, Mickey Ears and a keepsake lock of hair) $25
  • Child’s Haircut (9 and under) $18
  • Adult Haircut $19

Reservations are highly recommended and can be made up to 180 days in advance by calling 407-939-7529. No shows and cancellations less than 24 hours in advanced will be subject to a $10 fee. Walk-ins are welcome. Tips are also appreciated but must be made in cash.

If you would like to know more about how to add magical touches like this one to your Walt Disney World trip, be sure to contact me today! I would love to help book your next Disney vacation and share my expertise with you. Please feel free to email me any time at Nikki@MickeyTravels.com or join my Facebook page here.

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