10 Tips For Your First Trip to Disney World

10 Tips For Your First Trip to Disney World

Written by Jennifer Jamieson – Magical Tripcations Travel Planner Your first trip to Disney World can be a truly magical and memorable one but take it from us, planning is a must!  Even if you’ve been before but it’s been a few years, read on as so much has changed that you might find yourself bewildered and late for a very important date!  Disney World is huge and spans 40 square miles (roughly the size of San Francisco) and has 4 theme parks (6 if you count the 2 water parks).  And navigating through the transportation, parks, FastPass+, My Disney Experience App, restaurants, fireworks and shows can be a little daunting and a big waste of time if you’re not prepared!  Good news is there are lots of tools that can help you along the way and we hope that our tips and tricks can help you get started.  Having the honor of planning countless trips for our Magical Tripcations clients has given our team an edge when it comes to the ins and outs of heading to the most magical place on earth.  Check out our top 10 tips for your first trip to Disney World. 10. Stay at a Disney World Resort   With more that 25 unique Resort hotels, there is likely one that will fit your needs and budget.  Staying on property is well worth it and not as expensive as you may think.  Our team of travel planners have stayed at hotels both on and off property and hands down recommend staying on the resort property. Disney has various resort levels ranging in price from...
5 Tips for Using Disney Gift Cards to Save on Your Next Disney Vacation!

5 Tips for Using Disney Gift Cards to Save on Your Next Disney Vacation!

When it comes to saving for your Disney dream vacation, every penny counts!  When we’re working with our Magical Tripcations clients, we provide as many tips and tricks for saving time AND money as we can.  Of course we are dedicated discount hunters and we work hard to find the perfect Disney deal for our clients; however, once we land on the perfect package, we don’t stop there.  Did you know that you can use Disney gift cards to pay for your Disney Destination vacation?  Did you know that you can purchase Disney gift cards at a DISCOUNT? No??  Well, there’s magical savings to be found for savvy shoppers so, read on!  Here are our 5 tips for using Disney gift cards to save on your next Disney vacation! #1 Purchase Disney Gift Cards Using your Target REDcard   If you are a regular Target customer, then you are probably familiar with the Target REDcard (debit or credit) that saves you 5% on your purchases when you use it.  This 5% savings is applicable for Disney gift card purchases because Target considers these gift cards as “entertainment” gift cards so the discount is applicable.  You can purchase gift cards in the store and online (as a REDcard holder, you also get free shipping). $50 Disney Gift Card – $47.50 $100 Disney Gift Card – $95.00 Tips for Purchasing Disney gift cards with your REDcard: If you are planning to make a large gift card purchase ($800 or more), you might check with your bank if using the Target debit REDcard as banks cap daily debit purchase amounts. Since this is...
Top 12 Disney World Tips & Tricks

Top 12 Disney World Tips & Tricks

Coming up with a list of top tips & tricks to assist you on your first or next magical Disney World vacation is no small order.   You know it’s a tough job, but somebody’s got to do it and the team at Magical Tripcations is thrilled to offer up a few of our tried-and-true tips to make your park experience a little easier and a lot more magical.  Let’s dig in with our top 12 Disney World tips & tricks! 1. Go Left! When faced with a fork in the road or standing in the hub of the park, take the road less traveled and go left!  It’s human nature to go right for whatever reason and same is true at Disney Parks.  Even when there’s a choice in a queue to go right or left, go left, and you’ll find yourself saving a little time waiting in line. 2. Free Water! Did you know that you can request a cup of ice water at any counter service restaurant or snack location that serves fountain drinks in any Disney Park?   It’s so important to stay hydrated while touring the parks and ice water really helps you cool down.   We’ve even carried flavored drink packets in our park bags to mix with the FREE ice water.  Truly FREE and you don’t have to be ordering a meal and it’s ok to ask for a large cup! 3. The Early Bird Catches the Worm! Want to beat the crowds?  Arrive 30 minutes to an hour (in peak season) prior to official park opening or ‘rope drop’ and you’ll be well on your...
Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party:  See What the BOO is All About!

Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party: See What the BOO is All About!

Holidays are celebrated in a big way at Walt Disney World.  The parks are decked out with beautifully themed decorations and some holidays even have a special party.  One of the most spooktacular and hauntedly rated events is Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party held at Magic Kingdom on select nights in the fall.  The party is a special ticketed event and takes place after hours when Magic Kingdom closes to all except those that have a party ticket.  Have you ever thought about attending the Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party (MNSSHP)?  Or, not even sure what it is?  Is it worth the additional cost?  Is it scary for kids?  What’s included?  Let’s dig in and find out what the BOO is all about!     Even though park visitors can enjoy the lovely decorations displayed throughout the park in September and October, only Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween party attendees can enjoy and experience the special Halloween themed entertainment and take part in special activities.   On select nights, the party starts at 7 p.m. after non-party guests exit the Magic Kingdom park; however, party guests can enter Magic Kingdom as early as 4 p.m.  The party ends at midnight giving you plenty of time to take in all the special entertainment, attractions and activities.  In true Disney style, the tone of the event is “not-so-scary” which means children of all ages can enjoy all of the party fun!  Let’s take a look at some of the special activities that take place at the party:   Trick-or-Treating Each attendee upon entering the event will be given a trick-or-treat bag (or you can bring your...
Top 16 Things You Must Do This Summer at Disney World

Top 16 Things You Must Do This Summer at Disney World

Written by Jennifer Jamieson – Magical Tripcations Travel Planner Of course there is always so much to see and do at Disney World; however, this summer or early fall promises to bring some truly amazing new attractions, entertainment and more to all four parks!  Disney has been releasing so much information on coming attractions, updates and new offerings that they are keeping our team of travel planners on our toes!  So, we decided to highlight the best of what is to be unveiled during Awaken Summer 2016.  Here’s our top 16 things you must do this summer at Disney World. The Force is Strong at Disney’s Hollywood Studios     There’s so much in store for Star Wars fans this summer at Disney’s Hollywood Studios!  The force is definitely strong and will bring new shows and updated experiences to the park.  Here’s a breakdown of what’s ahead for Awaken Summer 2016: 1. The new Star Wars Fireworks show – “Star Wars:  A Galactic Spectacular” is set to debut in June at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.  This new nightly show is the next generation of the current Star Wars inspired fireworks show and will be the biggest show ever to light up the skies over Disney’s Hollywood Studios.  The show will combine fireworks, pyrotechnics, special effects and video projections that will turn the skies over the Chinese Theater into multiple Star Wars destinations. 2. The Live Stage Show “Star Wars: A Galaxy Far, Far Away” debuted April 4, 2016 and celebrates iconic moments for the Star Wars Saga with live vignettes featuring fan favorites BB-8, Kylo Ren, Chewbacca, Darth Vader and Darth Maul.  Be sure to stop by center...
Top Three Disney Terms:  My Disney Experience, MagicBands, and FastPass+, OH MY!

Top Three Disney Terms: My Disney Experience, MagicBands, and FastPass+, OH MY!

Written by Jennifer Jamieson – Magical Tripcations Travel Planner     Congrats, you’re going to Walt Disney World!  Or maybe it’s more along the lines of… congrats, you want to think about planning a trip to Walt Disney World but you’re feeling a little overwhelmed from the first website view.  MagicBands, My Disney Experience and FastPass+, OH MY!  But wait, what?  What do these words mean?   We’ve said it before that planning a trip to Walt Disney World involves several moving parts. Getting up to speed on Disney Speak can be challenging and confusing but, our team of travel planners are ready and able to walk you through everything you need to know about My Disney Experience, MagicBands, and FastPass+ so you can leave the OH MY behind.    Here are some of our tips to tackling the top three Disney terms you need to know before you head to the most magical place on earth. Top Three Disney Terms:  My Disney Experience (MDE)   When planning your Walt Disney World vacation, you can build your itinerary online at MyDisneyExperience.com and access your plans from the My Disney Experience Mobile App on your smartphone.  Once you link your tickets and reservations to your account, your resort and dining reservations appear in your plans.  You can build your itinerary from start to finish online including Advanced Dining Reservations and FastPass+ selections and update your reservations on the go from your smartphone.  You can also use the mobile app for park maps, current wait times, restroom locations and where to find your favorite Disney Characters.  Traveling with a big travel party?  You can connect to everyone in your travel group...
From Boyfriend to Betrothed:  A Royal Proposal at Cinderella Castle

From Boyfriend to Betrothed: A Royal Proposal at Cinderella Castle

Written by a Magical Tripcations Travel Planner Magical moments both big and small happen every day at Walt Disney World.  What could be more romantic and magical than getting engaged at the most magical place on earth?  But where do you start?  Do you just “wing it” in front of Cinderella Castle with a few thousand of your closest friends?  It’s nerve-racking enough to reach the point of proposing.  And saying it OUT LOUD to friends and family that you intend to make your princess your wife…and hope she says yes…can be down-right daunting!  Needless to say, planning the perfect proposal can be overwhelming!  Sounds like work for a Fairy Godmother.  Recently, a Magical Tripcations client facing this task took a big step towards going from boyfriend to betrothed with the help of his own Fairy Godmother.  Well, a Fairy Godmother he found in the form of a Magical Tripcations Travel Planner.   Meet prince charming, our client Jonathan, and his Fairy Godmother, Mary-Morning, a Magical Tripcations Travel Planner.  Mary-Morning and Jonathan had already been hard at work planning he and his girlfriend’s vacation to Disney World when he contacted Mary-Morning with the exciting news.  Jonathan knew that he wanted to get down on one knee and propose to his love.  He knew beyond a doubt who he wanted to marry but he needed the how and where to propose and the magic.   Instead of winging the proposal on his own, he needed a little extra help to plan this one last enchanting detail for their upcoming trip.   Mary-Morning went to work to find the most romantic way her client could propose and found...
Top 6 Things We Love About Disneyland

Top 6 Things We Love About Disneyland

Written by Jennifer Jamieson – Magical Tripcations Travel Planner For 60 years, Disneyland has welcomed and enchanted the young and the young at heart.  It is as charming as it is magical.  Coming up with reasons to visit is never a challenge; however, narrowing down our favorite memories and why we love Disneyland is a bit harder to do.  After much reminiscing and recent travels to sunny California, here is our list of the top 6 things we love about Disneyland. 6)  Disneyland is Walt’s park. Disneyland is the only theme park that Walt Disney himself spent time in.   The moment you walk through the gate, you can feel that you are in a happy place and you can experience it, too.  If you’re planning a visit, don’t miss Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln at the Opera House.  There, you’ll not only find a special presentation by the Great Emancipator but, you will also find the park bench on display that Walt Disney sat on as he dreamed of building Disneyland. While you’re at the entrance hub on Main Street, U.S.A., be sure to look up above the Disneyland Fire Dept. where you will see a lamp in the window.  This window is in Walt Disney’s personal apartment that he built and stayed in when visiting the park.  He would turn the lamp on when he was there and today, the lamp is left on at all times in remembrance of him.  You can read more about it here: Image: ©Disney 5)  Disneyland is compact. Whereas Disney World has four theme parks, Disneyland is comprised of two and you...
Character Hunting at Disney World:  Tips to Magical Moments

Character Hunting at Disney World: Tips to Magical Moments

Written by Jennifer Jamieson – Magical Tripcations Travel Planner Do you remember the first time you met Mickey Mouse?  Or do you know someone who dreams of meeting their favorite princess or a character from a galaxy far, far away?  A trip to Walt Disney World© is as magical as it is memorable and no experience adds to the magic more than meeting your favorite character, princess, or villain.  However, quite a bit has changed over the years when it comes to meeting Mickey and the gang. Most characters do not roam the parks but have set spots or venues where they reside and you line up to meet them, grab an autograph and snap a picture. There are four Disney Parks at Disney World and not all characters can be found at one single park.  Being prepared ahead of time with an idea of which characters are at the top of the list will save you time and ensure that you capture moments with the favorites on your list. So, where do you start?  Before leaving for the house of the mouse, do a little research on where to find the characters you are most interested in meeting.  You can find information on specific park attractions, shows and character meet and greets on the Walt Disney World© website.  Or you can ask one of us!  To help you in your quest to meet Mickey, a Princess or two, Chewbacca or Winnie the Pooh, here are our go-to resources for character hunting at Disney World and tips to magical moments. Minnie is so sweet! Character Meet and Greets Each...
Top 9 Disney Cruise Tips

Top 9 Disney Cruise Tips

Written by Jennifer Jamieson – Magical Tripcations Travel Planner Ahoy, mateys!  No doubt about it, any Disney fan worth their pirate’s booty will tell you that the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction is hands down a swashbuckling load of fun!  And we all know how the trek to a forgotten jungle outpost is not-to-be missed.  But today, we’re going to “sea” what magic awaits you aboard the Disney Cruise Line. And just so you know, the Disney Cruise Line does not disappoint when it comes to pirate adventures.  So, what sort of insider knowledge can we share to ensure that you have the most magical time aboard the Disney Cruise Line?  Here are our top 9 Disney Cruise tips. ©Disney # 1 Keep Up with the Navigator The Navigator is a newsletter delivered nightly to your stateroom and contains the listing of the next day’s events.   It is your go-to-guide for everything from ship to shore.  Carefully review it to plan your excursions, character meet and greets, and to take note of hours of operation, etc.  Take it with you when you leave the ship as it contains information such as emergency contact information and when you need to be back on the ship. Before you board the ship, download the Navigator App available for iPhone and Android phones.  You will be able to connect to it using the ship’s free WiFi; however, the free WiFi is only available for the Navigator App.  The app lists restaurant menus and other helpful information only accessible via the app. ©Disney #2 Dining Part of the fun of cruising is noshing on...