Tag: Disney planning

Top 10 Holiday Must Do’s At Walt Disney World

August 21, 2014

There is always magic abound at Walt Disney World, but the Holidays bring about some pretty extra special experiences. Some of my favorite Disney memories took place this time of year. It is truly an enhanced vacation as well as holiday experience. In typical Disney fashion, there is something for everyone! Here are my Top 10 Holiday Must Do’s:

Hollywood Studios

10. During the holidays, there are beautiful Christmas Trees all over the property. You can easily make a day of it and make your own tour to view all the trees. They are usually themed based on the park or resort. For example, the tree at Hollywood Studios is film themed. The one at Animal Kingdom is Animal/Safari themed.   You should also check out the trees in the resort lobbies. My favorite is the one at the Wilderness Lodge, but every resort is adorned for the season.

9. The Jungle Cruise ride was transformed for the first time in 2013 into the Jingle Cruise. All of the boats and docks are decorated for the holidays and the snarky and sometimes silly jokes the drivers tell are also revamped with a holiday theme. I prefer to ride after dark when the boats are lit up with twinkle lights.

8. Gingerbread Artwork at the Resort lobbies is a feast for the senses during the holiday season. WDW pastry chefs work diligently to present what are true works of art. You will be in awe of the visual artistry but then there is the yummy smell of the gingerbread that fills the air. The Grand Floridian has a humongous gingerbread house that is so immense and intricate. The Boardwalk Resort has a Carousel made out of gingerbread and the Contemporary Resort has a Gingerbread Holiday Tree. All three have a shop where you can purchase a little taste of gingerbread heaven.

Jingle Cruise

7. The Christmas Day Parade at Magic Kingdom is certainly a special event. Many people are not aware the television taping of the parade is actually in early December. The floats are characters are dressed in lots of red and green and the finale is Santa and Mrs. Claus themselves!

6. Specialty Food & Drinks pop up all over WDW in November. I admit to being a Disney Foodie so I have to include this as its own “must do”. The wonderful flavors of gingerbread and pumpkin make it into cookies, ice cream, cupcakes and many other treats. I love to wash it down with Hot Spiced Cider, especially on a chilly night. Another favorite can be found at the French Pavilion at EPCOT. It is the Buche de Noel au Chocolat. You will be hooked once you try it too! But these tantalizing treats are seasonal so grab them while you can.

5. The Festival of the Seasons at Downtown Disney is pretty amazing! It is more than just a typical holiday shopping experience. DTD is decorated with breath taking decorations. There is holiday music everywhere including carolers, live performers, and dance parties. Your little ones can visit with Santa here as well. The Christmas shop is open year round but it is extra awesome this time of year!

4. The Very Merry Christmas Party is an extra special ticketed event at Magic Kingdom. For an extra fee, guests can attend the best holiday party you will ever be invited to. The party starts at 7PM and guest with a ticket will have special access to lots of merry fun! Select rides will be open.   Cinderella Castle is covered in “ice” and is truly a breathtaking sight. You can grab some free hot cocoa and cookies and even stand on Main Street while it snows. There are special characters and parades. It is truly a unique holiday experience.

The Festival of the Seasons

3. Another favorite is the World Showcase Storytellers. Each country tells holiday stories from their homeland. Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanza are all represented. You can meet Santa and Mrs. Claus at the American Pavilion. Mrs. Claus even sets up a bake shop at the American Adventure. You can get in the holiday spirit with these special stories and also learn about different cultures.

2. Illuminations is always a wonderful show but there is a holiday themed ending tagged on this time of year. This fireworks/light show is beautiful to watch and all about peace, love and harmony in the world. Also at EPCOT is the special Candlelight Processional.   Located at the American Gardens Theater, there is live music and a celebrity narrator that tells the story of Christmas. You can also couple this with a dinner package to get special guaranteed seating.

1. My favorite at Hollywood Studios. The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights is a holiday attraction is overwhelmingly gorgeous sight to behold. Set in the Backlot area of the park, the lights are all encompassing. There is music and choreographed “dancing” of the lights as they twinkle and sparkle all around you. It snows here as well.   This experience is included in your park admission. The experience will bring you yuletide cheer for sure!

There you have it…the top 10 things to do at Disney World during the holiday! Please contact me to learn more about planning your MAGICAL Disney vacation during the holidays or any time of year!

For other Top 10s To Do at Disney visit:

Top 10 must-dos at Disney World
Top 10 Walt Disney World Attractions For Toddlers – #3 is a MUST do!


Jennifer Robertson
Authorized Disney Vacation Planner
MickeyTravels, LLC
(888) 400-1845
Click here to join my facebook page


Top 10 must-dos at Disney World

August 20, 2014

Having grown up with Disney, I have seen so many attractions come and go in the 40 years that I have been visiting the ‘Most Magical Place on Earth’. There is one, eh, or 10 things that remain constant, that is, my top 10 must dos every trip. When clients ask what are the top MUST DO things to do, my answers are always the same.

1. Stay at a Walt Disney World resort. Not only, will it save you time, but it will, in the long run save you money after you factor in parking fees, transportation, and dining. Remember, you cannot purchase a Disney Dining Plan if you are not a Disney Resort Guest. That in itself is a HUGE savings. I have done the math……over and over again. My clients always return to say, ”I am so glad we decided to take your advice and stay on the property.”


2. Always purchase a Disney Dining Plan. Always. It will never be less expensive to pay out of pocket for the same meals. About 10 trips ago, my family decided to “just try it”. We were going to be “smart” about our meal choices. We kept all of our receipts to add up our food and drink expenses and then compare them with the cost of the meal plan. We were there on a 6 night package. I was so excited to get home to add it up and see just how much we actually saved. We quickly realized that we were’t so smart. We spent a whopping $490 more, you read that right, than we would have spent purchasing the Plus Dining Plan. ALMOST $500 MORE! Since then, I will never go to Disney any other way.

3. Choose your dates wisely. I get calls every day from clients who want to go when Disney is least crowded. Typically, Disney is most crowded when schools are out, so choose a date when the least number of schools are out, perhaps a State Holiday like Mardi Gras in Louisiana. If you choose a national holiday, the crowds will be heavier.

4. Don’t skip any of the 4 theme parks because you heard that one was not that great. I can’t tell you the number of clients who will call and tell me they want to skip Epcot because their “kids will be bored with nothing to do in the countries”. I am here to tell you that if you give it a chance, all 4 theme parks have something for everyone. One of our favorite rides is Maelstrom in Epcot’s Norway Pavilion. Don’t miss it.

5. Don’t miss the classics. Dumbo, Pirates, The Jungle Cruise, Splash, Space and Big Thunder Mountains, It’s a Small World, Carousel of Progress all at Magic Kingdom. ALL CLASSICS! They are part of the history of Disney World. Put them at the top of your list.

Top 10 must-dos at Disney World

6. Date night! Mom and Dad deserve some grown-up fun! Have your travel agent make reservations at one of the children’s activity centers or in-room childcare. The children will have a fabulous time making crafts, playing games and watching movies at one of 5 centers at Walt Disney World while mom and dad partake in the adult festivities that Disney has to offer such as a romantic dinner at California Grill on the top of Disney’s Contemporary Resort as you look through the window and watch Wishes Fireworks over the castle as you dine. Want something more casual? How about drinks around Epcot’s World Showcase with a stop in your favorite country for dinner followed by Epcot’s Illuminations Dessert Party. The possibilities are endless.

7. Dine with the characters. If you have little ones who want to meet the characters, this is the way to go. Sure, you could stand in line at the parks, but if you dine where the characters are, you can meet 4-5 characters with no line. Characters will come right up to your table during your meal. They will sign autographs, pose for photos and spend a little personal time with your family. The best part……character meals are included on the Disney Dining Plan.


8. Weigh your ticket options. Base, Park Hopper, Water Park Fun and More…..choices….choices…..choices. If you truly plan on enjoying just one park per day, knowing that some parks close at dusk, as well as following a strict itinerary regarding dining venues, then base tickets are for you. If a more flexible schedule with the ability to hop from park to park in the same day, then consider adding the Park Hopper option to your tickets. If water parks and DisneyQuest are in your plans, then you will want to add the Water Parks, Fun and More option, as well.

9. Do not miss the opening and closing at Magic Kingdom. Even if you have to go back to your resort for a mid-day nap, get to Magic Kingdom before it opens. Stand in the crowd at rope drop. This is truly an indescribable magical moment that so many people miss. Likewise, there is absolutely nothing like being at Tomorrowland Terrace or Fantasyland watching Wishes overhead. If you are lucky, Tinkerbell will fly right over you!

10. Do have a game plan before you even leave. I make itinerary for all of my clients so that they do not get overwhelmed and know exactly which parks they are going to and where they are dining for breakfast, lunch and dinner, everyday of their stay. The biggest mistake guests make is showing up without a plan and most of their day is wasted running back and forth to different attractions. If you have a good travel agent, a good game plan, and utilize My Disney Experience for fastpass reservations with the help of an experienced agent, you are sure to experience the most in the shortest amount of time, saving you time and money.

For more information on all the MUST Dos at Disney World please feel free to contact us for a free quote! All of ourDisney planning services are 100% FREE!

Making Magic One Vacation at a Time…

Important Things to Do Before You Leave Home for Your Disney Vacation

August 19, 2014

Getting ready for your Disney vacation can be exciting and fun — planning meals, fastpasses, reading up on rides, etc., but here are a few practical things to do before you leave home for that wonderful Disney vacation!

*  Have your mail stopped so it doesn’t pile up:  https://www.usps.com/manage/manage-your-mail.htm

*  Make sure you have your airline tickets, boarding passes, park tickets (if you purchased paper tickets), confirmation numbers, etc. all in one place and easy to access.  You don’t want to forget any important documents!  Also, if you a Disney Cruise is part of your vacation, be sure you have your passports or birth certificates for your documentation.

customized maps

*  Set your thermostat to a temperature that will keep your house from getting too hot or too cold in your absence, but that makes good financial sense.

*  Call your credit card company and bank.  If you have a diligent bank or credit card company, it’s a good idea to let them know ahead of time that you’ll be traveling.  Often if they see several charges in another state, they will put a freeze until they can check with you to verify the transactions.  This is especially true if you are cruising and will be visiting various islands.

*  Let a neighbor or family member know.  You may want to let a family member or neighbor know you’ll be gone so they can keep an eye on your house, collect any packages that do make it to your doorstep, etc.

*  Make arrangements for your pets and plants.  Don’t forget to arrange boarding ahead of time for your pet as boarding places do fill up–especially during popular vacation times.  Also find a neighbor or friend to water your plants if you have a green thumb and don’t want all of your hard work to go to waste!


*  Begin packing early and make a list of items you don’t have but you need.

*  Don’t forget to pack your prescription medications and other essentials.  When flying or cruising, you are often instructed to keep medications in their original bottle.

*  If you think it will be a close call, weigh your luggage at home before heading to the airport.  Most airlines have a pretty hefty charge for overweight bags so it’s usually more cost effective to pack an additional bag than to have one that is over the weight limit.

things to do before you leave for Disney

*  Prepare a trip bag with snacks, games, goodies, etc. to pass the time on your drive or flight.  Trivia games and Disney movies/music are fun car activities and an ipad with Disney games or movies make a flight “fly” by!

*  Just for fun, make your customized maps ahead of time and enjoy them on your plane ride or car ride!  They are free, but make them in advance so they have time to arrive:  http://customizedmaps.disney.go.com/

*  And, of course, watch the Disney planning DVD for your destination and get excited!!!  Get a free one here:  https://www.disneyvacations.com/vacation-planning-tools/

For more information on what to do prior to your Disney vacation and for ALL my FREE Disney vacation services, please contact me!


Leanne Phelps
1-888-755-9626 (direct)



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