November 30, 2012

Enter to Win this Prize Pack from Pixie Vacations!

Pixie Vacations is giving away this fun Prize Pack. Everything you see in the photo above could be yours!

This contest runs from December 1 - 15th, 2012. Entering is easy, all you have to do is complete the Rafflecopter form below. The following Facebook pages must be 'Liked' to earn entries, please visit them!

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November 25, 2012

Beware the Disney Ache!

I’d like to take a few moments to warn you all about a phenomenon that seems to affect people’s Disney vacations.  This phenomenon can hit at any time in the planning process, during your trip or after your return.  While a cure has not been found, I do have suggestions for how to deal with this issue.  This phenomenon is known as The Disney Ache!

Yes, the Disney Ache.  It can strike at any time!  Here are some of the most common instances:

The Disney Planning Ache

Timing:  This ache can hit as soon as you book your Walt Disney World vacation and you realize you still have 4, 6, 8 or 10 months until you arrive.

Symptoms:  Dreams of Disney…. Counting days on the calendar…. Reading Disney blogs….

Potential Remedy: For me, obsessing over details such as dining choices and daily schedules helps pass the time and ease the ache.
This site will cure any planning ache.

The Disney Walking Ache

Timing:  You’re going to be doing a tremendous amount of walking at Walt Disney World.  Or in some cases, say rope drop, running.  By the end of the first day, I find I’ve been hit by a serious Disney Walking Ache. 

Symptoms: Sore and tired legs and aching feet.

Potential Remedy:  The best way to avoid the Disney Walking Ache is to bring comfortable walking shoes and to get in the habit of walking before leaving home.  However, this doesn’t always help.  For me, the best remedy is to just deal with it.  I can deal with aching muscles while I’m at Walt Disney World.

Goofy found a way of dealing with his aching legs

The Disney Waiting Ache

Timing:  The Waiting Ache hits often at Walt Disney World.  There are a ton of people and there are bound to be lines that you have to wait in for buses, attractions, parades or meals.

Symptoms: Impatient children…Impatient Mommies and Daddies

Potential Remedy:  Disney does a great job helping to ease this ache with interactive waiting areas and pre-parade entertainment.  You can help children wait more patiently by bringing small toys or treats to entertain them as they wait.

Sometimes you just have to wait...

The Disney Shopping Ache

Timing:  This ache seems to hit me more disproportionally more than my husband for some reason.  It begins to affect me as soon as I see a shop at our resort and persists as late as seeing that Disney Store at the Orlando Airpor.

Symptoms:  An intense desire to walk into every shop on Walt Disney World property… Indecisiveness about what gifts to buy… A desire to buy everything...

Potential Remedy:  For me, I would give into the ache and go into every store.  However, this would bring on the ache for my children to shop.  That, combined with my shopping ache causes a different ache for my husband.  So, I actually come to Disney World with a list of people I want to shop for and a rough idea of what I would like to get them and spend.  This helps cut back the shopping ache some...

The Leaving Disney Ache

Timing:  For some, the ache of knowing you are leaving does not hit until the last morning of your trip.  For others, this ache may show itself early in the vacation.  For me, it starts two or three days before leaving. 

Symptoms:  Sadness…. Feeling like you need to see everything in the parks… The desire to grab onto a cast member and refuse let go….

Potential Remedy:  This is a tough one because unfortunately, every Disney vacation must end.  For me, the knowledge that I can plan another trip helps.  And, knowing that we get to go home and share photos from our vacation and pass out gifts to our family helps.

In Conclusion

You're bound to be affected by at least one of the Disney aches while you're at Walt Disney World.  For me, they are all small prices to pay for a fun and fantastic vacation.  Have you experienced any of these aches while you're at Disney World?

Hoping you don't ache too much!

November 15, 2012

I Transferred My Disney Reservation!

I have always booked my Disney vacations by calling Walt Disney World directly.  I make my own hotel, ticket and dining reservations because I love the planning process.  I have never used an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner.  Until recently I didn’t even know anything about their services.  Well, I have been reading many of Terri’s posts here on WDW Hints about the benefits of hiring a vacation planner and put it in the back of my head as a possibility for the future. 

One day, a few weeks before our trip, Tabitha from “Mouse”cation had a special promotion that would double her normal gift card bonus for booking or transferring a trip to her.  That would mean a $50 gift card for us just for transferring our reservation.  That sounded great, but I was nervous.  I really didn’t want my reservations to get altered right before our trip.  So, I asked her a few questions.  Ok, a lot...

The post goes on like that for a while and was followed about 8 million more questions sent over email.  And, Tabitha answered them all (patiently) and assured me nothing would change. 

So, I crossed my fingers, hoped for the best and I decided to transfer my reservation to Tabitha.  All I had to do was fill out a form she emailed me and send it back to her by email or fax.  Then about a week later the reservation transferred to her and NOTHING changed.  Well, one thing.  I had $50 more to spend at Walt Disney World!

Along with the gift card, Tabitha sent me a customized itinerary based on our schedule with suggestions of which parks to visit on each day along with park and parade hours.  She offered to do our online check-in, but again, we wanted to do that ourselves and she was fine with that!  She sent a number of helpful emails and offered to help in any way we could. 

One of the great benefits of using a Disney Vacation Planner for me was having someone who is just as excited about Disney as I am and who was happy to email back and forth about Disney World.  Tabitha was happy to chat about schedules, New Fantasyland and dining reservations.  What a bonus!

So what's in it for Tabitha?  Disney pays her a commission for the reservations that she books or manages.  That way she is able to book vacations for people at the same prices that they can get by booking through Disney.

I was skeptical moving my reservation, but in the end, it was a really fabulous experience for me!  I’ll be sure to call Tabitha when I book my next vacation to Walt Disney World. (Hopefully my husband is ready to book soon!) 


Tabitha Woodard is a Disney Vacation Specialist at "Mouse"cation. You may contact her for Disney vacation pricing via her website or through her Facebook page. To learn more about Tabitha, you may read our interview with her here.

November 7, 2012

Unique Character Photos

Here's a hint!  When you're at Walt Disney World taking photos with all of the characters, ask them if you can take a picture of them alone too.  You'll get some great shots of Mickey and the gang posing.  They love to show off their personalities and strike a pose.

Here are some of the character photos I got on my last trip.

The Amazing Donaldo - Donald, in Storybook Circus

Madame Daisy Fortuna in Storybook Circus

 The Great Goofini - Goofy in Storybook Circus

Minnie Magnifique, in Storybook Circus

 Ferb, with his next great plan!

 Mickey at his Main Street USA Meet and Greet

 Scarecrow Mickey, all dressed for Halloween

Minnie, ready for Halloween

I just love seeing personalities shine with these characters.  Have you ever gotten great shots of the characters at Walt Disney World?


A visit to New Fantasyland

This weekend I was lucky enough to get a preview of the New Fantasyland area in the Magic Kingdom. I knew this weekend was cast member previews only, but I was determined to see the area while we were at Disney World.

My family and I stopped by the entrance to New Fantasyland our first evening at Disney and talked to the cast members who were stopping guests from entering the area. They suggested we try first thing in the morning when fewer cast members would be at the previews. So, the next morning we were at the park before opening and ran right to New Fantasyland. My husband and I spotted the most "senior"-looking cast member. He asked if we were there for the cast member preview and I said, "I'm here to beg!" We gave him a whole spiel about getting in and he looked at my husband and said, "She's never going to let you hear the end of this if I don't let you in, right?" So, this super cast member told the rest of the cast members we were cleared to go in! (I was like a crazy person at this point, I was so excited!)

New Fantasyland is beautiful! The attention to detail is simply amazing.  Our first stop was the Under The Sea, Voyage of the Little Mermaid attraction.  This is a pretty traditional Disney attraction that takes guests on a musical ride (on a sea shell) through different scenes from the Little Mermaid.  We thought the attraction was great and will become a "must do" attraction. My boys wanted to ride over and over.  (Fortunately we were the only ones there, so the cast members let us...)

 Walk past Prince Eric's castle and through a fantastic nautical world as you approach the ride.

Here are a few shots from inside the attraction.

Next, we headed over to meet Belle at Storytime with Belle.  I'm glad we got to see this without waiting too long, because for us, this was probably a one time experience.  After walking through Maurice's cottage (very cute) you are magically transported to the Beast's castle.  Once inside, guests get to take part in a reenactment of the Beauty and the Beast story.  Belle comes out and participates in the show.  After, the guests who participated get a photo with Belle and a bookmark.  It was cute, but for children who are too shy to ever go up in front of a group (like mine) they just have to sit and watch Belle and don't get to meet her.  My kids were clearly disappointed.

You get a great view of the Beast castle from outside of Maurice's cottage

 Maurice's cottage

This is as close as we got to Belle

By now we were starving, so we stopped in Gaston's Tavern for some cinnamon rolls.  Yum.  The pub is fantastic!  The menu is small (roasted pork shanks, drinks, snacks), but the themeing is amazing.  We especially loved the statue out front that reads, "Tribute to Gaston - An extravagantly generous gift to the humble people of my village.  From me, Gaston."


 And, yes, there are antlers in ALL of his tavern's decorating

After our snack, we stopped in to see the merchandise at Bonjour! Village Gifts.  There was a nice selection of Beauty and the Beast and Magic Kingdom theme merchandise.

Finally, we were able to check out the new Be Our Guest restaurant.  It's a beautiful space, that unfortunately didn't photograph that well.  But, here are some pictures we took:


We really loved the new area of Fantasyland.  It was really beautiful and I think the restaurants and attractions will be a nice addition to the Fantasyland area.  

What are you most excited about in this new area?