Socerers2

Apprentices wanted at Walt Disney World!  Did you know that there is an interactive game included with your park admission to Magic Kingdom?  Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom is an interactive trading card adventure that kids of all ages will love that involves battling various Disney villains throughout Magic Kingdom’s themed lands (except Tomorrowland) using special spell cards.

 
Socerers3To get started, guests need to check-in at the Main Street Firehouse, where you are given a specialized park map pointing out the various locations of the game, along with a Sorcerer Key card that activates the game screens and keeps track of your progress in the game, and a set of Spell Cards.  
 
The main play areas are Magic Portals located throughout Magic Kingdom.  Merlin opens up the portal and allows you to interact with the characters and defend Magic Kingdom park from an army of Disney villains   To activate the magic portal, a guest scans their key card at a keyhole which activates the Magic Portal screen.  The spell cards hold various attacks of differing strengths used to fight the Disney villains.  The game can be played in 15 to 20 minute segments throughout your day at the Magic Kingdom, or you can continuously play for up to 2-3 hours.  Socerers
 
You can get more cards every time you visit the Magic Kingdom and trade your duplicates with other guests.  However, there are some special cards only given out during the Halloween and Christmas parties.  Additional booster packs of seven cards, one board game, and tokens can be purchased for $11.95 at various retail outlets throughout Walt Disney World for playing in the park or if your family wants to continue the fun once they return home.
 
Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom is just another fun “extra” that Disney provides for its guests.  It’s a fun and interactive game for all ages, but at our house its a favorite for those who have read the Kingdom Keeper series of books.

Tressa Krippel

Travel Specialist

 

 

 

dscn4391The shows on the Disney Magic can be considered elaborate and grandiose but there is another show that the Disney Magic offers that is intimate and just as captivating. The Art of the Theme Show Tour is an adult only tour of the ship that gives you insight into how the Disney Cruise Line’s first ship became the new standard of family cruising on the high seas.

Meeting outside Palo, the Magic’s adult only restaurant, the tour starts by taking you back to the building of the ship in Venice. Paying tribute to that great city, the details in Palo are explained and the story is given of the Venetian mask that hangs in honor in the restaurant, and the maker of the mask who gave it to the Magic as a thank you for being able to watch this great ship being built.

Next, the tour takes you down a few decks to the children’s activities floor where you learn how the height of the ceiling was purposefully dropped to an appropriate height for the children they want to warmly welcome. You also get the chance to hear the story of how Flounder’s Reef Nursery was created from a kitchen when the need for the nursery so quickly became apparent. Included in the story is how the sister ship, the Disney Wonder, had to convert their kitchen into a nursery during the voyage from Europe to North America and its successful opening, only hours after arriving in New York City.

On the fourth deck, the stories take you outside to see the yellow lifeboats. You learn how the Disney Magic was the first ship to have yellow colored lifeboats approved for safety, and the challenges they needed to overcome to have the color yellow approved by all official agencies.

Throughout the tour, the optical illusions aboard the Disney Magic are slowly revealed to the guests. Subtle touches allow you to feel the majesty of the ship and how Disney has taken these measures to ensure you have a most memorable and delightful cruise. Next time you are on the Disney Magic or another of Disney’s amazing cruise ships, look for the Art of the Theme Show Tour on your navigator and check it out. Your eyes will open to the delight that only a Disney cruise can provide!

Michelle Browne

Travel Specialist

 

dscn4583Taking a cruise on the Disney Magic is simply that – magic! From the youngest family member to the oldest and for multiple generations, time spent on the Disney Magic will become memories that will last forever. Here are my top 10 favorite memories of a week spent on the Disney Magic:

10. Marvelous Menu! With rotational dining in 3 different onboard restaurants, the menu options on the Disney Magic will satisfy all culinary tastes. Menus change each night and you will often be torn on what to order. The buffets and quick service dining are just as fantastic and when you add in the included room-service, a delicious treat is available around the clock!

9. Caring Crew! The crew on the Disney Magic is what makes the magic come alive for every guest. The staff want you to have a great time on board and will do their best to accommodate all your needs.

8. Mega Movies! Included in your cruise package, all the latest Disney movies for those old and young are showing in the Buena Vista Theater, including many in 3D. Hold off seeing these in your local theater and see them on the big screen when you are looking for a rest from all the other onboard activities.

7. Activities Abounding! Activities are found from morning til night for all ages. From swimming in the 3 different pools, to crafts that interest young and old, from games to sports, and parties with Disney characters, you will never run out of things to do onboard.

6. Superb Shows! With multiple Broadway style shows and fantastic entertainers, you will laugh and delight in the productions offered on the Disney Magic.

5. Yea for Youth Activities! From the youngest babies on board, to the teens, the Disney Magic has an area just for them. The youth activities counselors are fantastic and your kids will be asking to go to their club multiple times a day.

4. Alone with Adults! From tours of the ship to food and wine demonstrations, and lectures on various topics, the adults have activities that are all their own. Simply looking to get away? Palo offers adult only dining and the Cove offers an adult only pool and lounge chairs where you will not be disturbed. After 9pm, Beat Street turns into another adult only area to sit back, catch a show or a performer, grab a drink at the bar, or dance the night away!

3. Crazy Character Interaction! Various characters are scheduled for appearances all around the Disney Magic when they are not featured in a show. There is no shortage of opportunities for pictures with them and they also dress up in accordance with the various themes of the day. Really, who can resist a picture with Mickey Mouse?

2. Castaway Cay! An island just for Disney cruise guests, you will find yourself in paradise on the island. You can start your day with a 5K run, rent a bicycle to tour the island, lounge on the beach, snorkel to find Mickey under the water or take part in many of the other activities found on the island.

1. Family Fun! On the Disney Magic, families spend time together. Without many of the distractions that we have in our lives, you will make fabulous memories as a family and it is very obvious to see many grow closer to each other during their Disney Magic vacation.

On the Disney Magic, they say all you need is “faith, trust, and pixie dust” and with these the magic on the Disney Magic is real, tangible and a treasure you will always remember!

Michelle Browne

Travel Specialist

Epcot with Preschoolers (1)

 

With all the attractions specifically for preschoolers at the other parks, Epcot seems like it might be a bore. But make no mistake, Epcot can be fun for adults and preschoolers alike!

The Seas with Nemo and Friends is a great place to start with your little one. Climb aboard a Clamobile and have your preschooler find Nemo among the fish in the aquarium. When you are finished, take in a Turtle Talk with Crush – an interactive experience where the kids are integral to the show. Be sure to prepare your preschooler with a question they can ask Crush before they go in, so that they get an opportunity to be part of the show. 

If some in your group want to take in some of the bigger rides, like Test Track or Mission Space, know there is a great indoor, air-conditioned area you can wait with your preschooler. To get to it, go through the store at the end of Mission Space and you’ll walk out into Space Base which includes a space themed playground for the kids. They will climb until their hearts content and the time spent waiting for your friends and family to finish their ride will pass in what seems like an instant.

World Showcase doesn’t need to be avoided with preschoolers but make sure you have a stroller to handle the long trek around World Showcase Lagoon. Many characters can be found in their native countries and the lines for pictures are generally shorter than those in other parks, not to mention the backdrops for those pictures are beautiful. Find the KidCot station in each country and let you child color a cardboard cutout of Duffy the Bear and get Duffy’s carrying stick stamped with a stamp unique to each country. When visiting Mexico, be sure to ride the Gran Fiesta Tour starring the Three Caballeros.

This is a lot more to do with preschoolers at Epcot than just these highlights mentioned. Take your time, enjoy the day and make sure to have Epcot part of your dream Walt Disney World vacation with your precious preschooler!

Michelle Browne

Travel Specialist

Headed to Disney World with Preschoolers? Hollywood Studios should NOT be missed!!! There is lots of fun and experiences to enjoy with your preschoolers at Hollywood Studios.

Toy Story Mania is first on the list for preschoolers. For any Toy Story fan, this is the ultimate ride of fun. Stepping into Andy’s room complete with Candyland pieces, View Master slides, and Lincoln Logs, your kids will delight in seeing all of Andy’s oversized toys as the prepare for an interactive, midway-style 4D adventure. Be sure to head here first, grab a fast pass for later and get in line to take a ride. This is one adventure everyone in the family will want to ride more than once. You will find Woody, Buzz Lightyear and Andy’s Army Men also in this area for meet-n-greets.

Next, head over to Animation Courtyard to the enjoy Disney Junior – Live on Stage. Try to sit in the middle of the room to enjoy this new updated interactive show now featuring Doc McStuffins, Sophia the First, Jake and the Neverland Pirates, as well as our favorite characters from Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. The kids will delight in some surprising special features that occur during the show. Also in this area, you will find the Voyage of The Little Mermaid. Be sure to stop in the Magic of the Disney Animation. At the end of this experience, you will exit out to a meet-n-greet with more great Disney characters. You can often find Sorcerer Mickey, the Incredibles and recent Disney film characters, like Wreck-It Ralph and Vanelope, who are ready to sign autographs and take pictures.

You will want to have a prime seat (we like sitting on Hollywood Boulevard) for the Pixar Pals Countdown to Fun! Parade that happens every day at 3:00 p.m. Preschoolers will love seeing all their favorite Pixar characters from Monsters Inc., UP!, Toy Story and A Bug’s Life dancing and interacting with guests as they parade through the main streets of Hollywood Studios.

At the Streets of America, your little ones will love meeting up with Phineas and Ferb, Lightening McQueen and Mater, and Mike and Sully from Monsters Inc. Muppet Vision 3D movie and the Honey, I Shrunk The Kid’s Movie Set playground is also located here. If your preschoolers are still up for more fun, there is the Beauty and the Beast live show, Star Wars flight simulator (height requirement) and Fantasmic!- the nighttime laser and light, fireworks spectacular event everyone will enjoy.

If your headed to Walt Disney World with your preschooler, you will find a lifetime of smiles and memories made at Hollywood Studios theme park.

 

Tressa Krippel

Travel Specialist

 

Disney is known for its amazing entertainment. On your next Disney World Vacation, be sure to check out some of these live stage shows that will be sure to delight and amaze you!

At Magic Kingdom, Dream Along with Mickey is set in front of Cinderella’s Castle. Featuring not only all the classic Disney Characters, princesses and princes, many of their arch enemies show up to sing, dance and entertain you as the battle between good and evil  is reenacted.

Hollywood Studios stage shows are available for those young and old. For the littlest of your group, Disney Junior – Live on Stage! might be their favorite. Planning Minnie’s best ever birthday party, you’ll see Handy Manny, Little Einsteins and Jake and the Neverland Pirates all come together to create a memorable day for Minnie. When the kids aren’t seated on the ground to watch, they will be jumping and dancing right along with their Disney friends and squealing with delight when bubbles start floating down from the ceiling.

Another favorite show at Hollywood studios is the reenactment of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. The costumes and scenery will amaze you as they are able to recreate scenes from the movie with dancing plates and cutlery in such creative and spectacular ways.

If you are a fan of reality TV, be sure to check out An American Idol Experience and even try out for a coveted stage performance. Guests of Hollywood Studios are featured in this singing competition where the audience members become the judges of the day. The best of the day’s performances compete for a Dream Ticket performance at a regional American Idol audition. You might see the next American Idol when you are there!

At Animal Kingdom you will not want to miss Festival of The Lion King and Finding Nemo – The Musical. At Festival of The Lion King, the audience is divided up into four animal groups for the celebration. You will be in awe watching the acrobats and fire juggler along with the other performers. The show appeals to all ages and you end up happily humming the songs all the rest of the day at the park.

The story of Nemo is weaved perfectly through puppetry and song in Finding Nemo – The Musical.  You feel a part of the ocean when sea life characters wind their way through the audience and bubbles float down from the above. Catch a seat right by the runway off the stage and Nemo may even come out and give you a good look in the eye!

Disney World is such a great place to see top of the line stage shows. Be sure to catch some of them on your next vacation and let us know what your favorite shows are!

Michelle Browne

Travel Specialist

Photo Pass

PhotoPass+

You never know when that perfect photo opportunity is going to take place so it’s nice to know that there are Disney PhotoPass Photographers at Disney World and Disneyland theme parks, resorts, water parks (May through September) and attractions. 

What the PhotoPass+ includes:

  • PhotoPass+ Card and Lanyard
  • Gallery CD with more than 400 Disney World stock photos
  • Code to create and order a Photo CD with all your photos online at DisneyPhotoPass.com; Print Packages at select Dining locations; Digital Downloads at select attractions (Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin, The Twlight Zone Towner of Terror, Rock ‘n Roller Coaster, Expedition Everest, and Dinosaur.

 This link shows when you can find photographers:

http://www.disneyphotopass.com/skins/100147/help/AboutDPP-Maps-Tips.pdf

Benefits of using PhotoPass:

  • By pre-ordering you’ll save money, just let us know when you make your final payment.  Cost is $199.95 at the parks but if your pre-order the cost is $158.69 (this includes tax).
  • Professional photographers are taking the pictures; they’ll help you get just the right pose in front of those iconic spots.
  • Not fumbling for your camera when your child runs up to give their favorite character that oh so sweet hug.
  • Go online for up to 30 days after your trip to order your pictures.  I’ve ordered the calendar in the past, and loved the quality.  After the year is over I then have pictures for scrapbooking.
  • Unlimited number of photos in your account.
  • Convenience, come home and take the CD to your local photo shop and have all the pictures you want printed AND you’ve already gotten a picture for your Christmas card!!!     

What to expect:

  • Add PhotoPass+
  • Receive voucher in your Disney Documents
  • Take voucher to Photo Center in any of the Parks, they will activate it and give you your lanyard and photo pass card
  • After vacation you have 30 days to modify, edit, add borders etc.
  • Upload your own personal photos and finalize
  • Disney will send your CDs along with copy-write permission to print photos

Also for all those Disney Visa Cardholders out there go to Character Connection in Epcot, show your Disney Visa and you’ll be taken to a private area where you can meet some Disney characters.  Go to the Camera Center and you can get your free 5 x 7 photo!!

 For all of the details:

http://www.disneyphotopass.com/specialoffers/wdwlearnmore.htm

My husband’s family lives all across North America and getting everyone together once a year was turning out to be a lot of work. We had 17 people that required transportation, lodging, food and activities appropriate and enjoyable for all ages and personalities. This took hours of planning and coordination with people working to cook or clean up around the clock and not having the time to really cherish those we were supposed to be spending time with.  But then we found the magic in a family reunion at Walt Disney World and reunions turned into the highlight of our year.

On a Disney family reunion, no single person in the family is responsible for food, lodging, entertainment, nor transportation. It allows each one to enjoy their gathering to the fullest. The Magical Express and Disney busses take away any need for separate car rentals. Linked reservations allow hotel rooms close to one another for visiting. Sharing meals together are simple and uncomplicated as Walt Disney World’s restaurants are well equipped to handle very large groups and everyone, including those with food allergies and picky appetites, are able to satisfy their food cravings. Different personality types are all accommodated as rides, parades, shows and shops for all ages can be found at each park within the resort. Even more special, a Disney family reunion allows the bonding between different generations. Watch a grandparent’s eyes light up when your child asks them to be their passenger on the Tomorrowland Indy Speedway. Delight when your child overcomes some of their fears when their uncle convinces them to go on the Tower of Terror and they love it! Take the initiative and spend time with your relatives from far away and hear their stories of their first Disney related memory as you stroll around World Showcase Lagoon. Each moment will be a memory that you will treasure in years to come.  

So next time a family reunion is talked about in your family, suggest a Disney vacation. It may just be the best time you and your extended family have ever had together!

Michelle Browne

Travel Specialist

When visiting Walt Disney World, Main Street U.S.A. is an area NOT to be missed.  With all the excitement of characters and rides, sometimes Main Street U.S.A. is quickly bypassed. However,  there are “magical moments” on Main Street at Walt Disney World.

One hidden treasure is the Harmony Barbershop on Main Street.  Reservations for resort guests can be made up to 180 day in advance, but walk-ins are also welcomed.  Early in the morning and during parades are a great time for walk-ins.  “First Haircuts” are their specialty, which includes a certificate to remember the experience, as well as “My 1st Haircut” mouse ears .  This package cost $18.00.  Confetti, colored hair gel and pixie dust for girls and pirate dust for boys are also available for an additional cost.  

This full-service barbershop shouldn’t be missed!  With the red and white barber pole outside to the antique cash register being used inside, the Harmony Barbershop is a treasure hidden among Main Street.  As you sit back and enjoy a haircut, a shave or a mustache trim, you may delight in seeing and hearing the Dapper Dans quartet singing outside the barbershop at various times throughout the day.

 

Tressa Krippel

Travel Specialist