Thursday 3: Comparing 3 Value Resorts - Universal and Disney Standard Rooms

Comparison of Disney & Universal Standard Hotel Rooms - Value Resorts

 A comparison of Disney World and Universal Orlando Value Resort Rooms

Reservations are now being accepted at Universal’s Endless Summer Resort - Surfside Inn and Suites for dates beginning August 1, 2019. This Universal Orlando value resort features standard hotel rooms with two queen beds and 2-bedroom suites so I am going to compare them to two Disney World value resorts that have both standard rooms and family suites: Disney’s All-Star Music and Disney’s Art of Animation Resort. We’ll cover the standard hotel style rooms this week and the family suites next week. We can help you plan a vacation that includes your stay at any of these resorts so request a free, no-obligation quote today.

How Do the Rooms Compare?

Beds: The standard rooms at Universal’s Surfside Inn and Suites have two double beds and a full bathroom. Rooms have mini-refrigerators but they do not have microwaves.

 Universal’s Endless Summer Resort - Surfside Inn and Suites Standard room Opening August 2019

Universal’s Endless Summer Resort - Surfside Inn and Suites Standard room Opening August 2019

At this time, the standard rooms at both Disney’s All-Star Music and Disney’s Art of Animation resort have two full-size beds. Couples or 2 guests + one infant can request a room with one king-size bed instead of two double beds; requests are not guaranteed but Disney tries to honor them when possible. Disney’s Pop Century resort, another value hotel, has recently undergone a renovation where it now has one queen bed and one full-size pull down bed; Disney’s All-Star Movie’s resort is currently undergoing the same type of renovation and we suspect that all of Disney value resorts will someday have this type of bed configuration. Rooms have mini-refrigerators but they do not have microwaves.

 Little Mermaid Standard Room at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort / / Walt Disney World

Little Mermaid Standard Room at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort / / Walt Disney World

 Standard Rooms at Disney’s All-Star Music Resort / Walt Disney World

Standard Rooms at Disney’s All-Star Music Resort / Walt Disney World

Official Disney Hotel Benefits: Staying at an official Disney resort gives you some great benefits like airport transportation at no additional cost, Extra Magic Hours not available to the general public, complimentary bus transportation to the Disney theme parks and the ability to book FastPass+ reservations 30-days ahead of the general public when you have tickets or a vacation package that includes tickets.

Official Universal Orlando Hotel Benefits: Staying at an official Universal Orlando hotel gives you benefits like Early Park Admission to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and complimentary bus transportation to the Universal Orlando theme parks.

2019 Cost comparison: You can upgrade to a preferred location room at Disney’s all-Star Music resort for an additional $30 per night. Pool view rooms are available about Universal’s Surfside for an additional $20 per night. The Little Mermaid standard rooms at Disney’s Art of Animation resort have been excluded from every discount since they opened.

August 15:
Universal’s Surfside - Standard View: $109
Disney’s All-Star Music - Standard Room: $135
Disney’s Art of Animation - $185

September 15:
Universal’s Surfside - Standard View: $99
Disney’s All-Star Music - Standard Room: $136
Disney’s Art of Animation - $184

October 15:
Universal’s Surfside - Standard View: $134
Disney’s All-Star Music - Standard Room: $126
Disney’s Art of Animation - $173

November 15:
Universal’s Surfside - Standard View: $129
Disney’s All-Star Music - Standard Room: $135
Disney’s Art of Animation - $174

December 15
Universal’s Surfside - Standard View: $99
Disney’s All-Star Music - Standard Room: $150
Disney’s Art of Animation - $195

Parking fees for overnight guests:
Universal’s Surfside Inn & Suites: $12 per night + tax
Disney Value Resort: $13 per night + tax.

In a nutshell, Universal’s Surfside Inn and Disney’s All-Star Music resort are pretty comparably priced most of the time though that can vary by date. If Disney continues to offer their Free Dining promotion in September, Disney’s All-Star Music will probably be the better value for most families of up to four people (or five, if the fifth person is an infant) when that promotion is available. The Little Mermaid rooms at Disney’s Art of Animation resort are quite a bit higher and, so far, those rooms have been excluded from all promotions since the resort opened. The queen beds are a plus at Universal’s Surfside Inn. We only have concept art for the Surfside pool yet so it is hard to say which pools will ultimately be the best but, at this time, the three pools at Disney’s Art of Animation resort are absolutely adorable!

Click here to learn more about Disney’s All-Star Music Resort

Click here to learn more about Disney’s Art of Animation Resort

This video tells you a bit about Disney’s Art of Animation Resort. Keep in mind that standard hotel rooms are only available in the Little Mermaid section though guests may use all of the pools and other resort amenities.

This short video gives you a good overview of Disney’s All-Star Music resort though the standard rooms no longer have the colored bedspreads. They’ve switched to the all white

Don't Get Overwhelmed By The Details - Let Us Help!

Vacation planning is always a lot easier when you have one of our travel agents on your side because we specialize in Disney and Universal Orlando vacation destinations and we can help you manage things like crowds, park hours, entertainment schedules, and dining options.  It can be a lot to think through but Imagine how much better your vacation will be when we:

  • Give you a "Best Days" itinerary that puts you in the best theme park for each day of your trip

  • Book dining reservation on your behalf (subject to availability) at times that don't interfere with parades and fireworks

  • Give you excellent theme park touring plans that keep lines to an absolute minimum.  

You get all of this expert service at no extra charge when you book your Disney vacation through Build A Better Mouse TripClick here for more information.

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Thursday 3: 3 Special Walt Disney Remembrances at Disneyland

Disneyland - Walt's Park

It is crazy to think that there are kids who are very familiar with the word "Disney" but have no idea that Walt Disney was a real person.  For our first Thursday Three, we're going to take a look at three very special "Walt" remembrances in Disneyland park in California.  Honestly, the park itself should probably be our first item and one of the things that makes Disneyland so special is that it is the only theme park that was built with Walt Disney's involvement at every level, from original inspiration to attraction design to opening day and beyond.  The park was a labor of love right up to the end of Walt's life; in fact, the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disneyland was the last theme park attraction that Walt Disney personally oversaw and developed.  Walt passed away in December 15, 1966 and the Pirates of the Caribbean ride opened to the public in March 18, 1967

#1: Walt's Bench: One of the hidden gems you'll find tucked away in an exhibit near the front of the park is the bench where the first thought of a theme park came to Walt Disney.  He first had the idea as he sat on a park bench watching his daughters ride the merry-go-round at an amusement park and he had the thought that there should be a place where parents and children could enjoy doing things together.   It was an idea that stuck with him and one that took a lot of time to develop but Disneyland opened 15 years later.

DLC-walt's-park-bench.JPG

#2: Walt's Lamp: Did you know that Walt Disney had a small but fully functional apartment built into the second floor of the Disneyland Fire Station?   This apartment isn't open to the public though you can sometimes peek into it in the "Walk in Walt's Disneyland Footsteps Guided Tour" (extra cost).  The story goes that Walt would put a lit lamp in the window of the firehouse window to let people know he was in residence. They now keep a lit lamp in the window to symbolize the idea of Walt's influence or spirit always being present at Disneyland.

DLC-Firehouse-walts-Light.JPG

#3: Disney Brothers Golden Initials: Look for Walt & Roy Disneys' golden initials in the railing above the Pirates of the Caribbean ride in the New Orleans Square area of Disneyland...really, it is maybe a little closer to the Gumbo stand.

DLC - POC-Walt-and-Roy-initials.JPG

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Tips for Keeping Work from Sabotaging Your Family Vacation

 Tips for keeping work from taking over your vacation so that you can focus on the people that matter. 

Tips for keeping work from taking over your vacation so that you can focus on the people that matter. 

Sure, you’re researching hotels and restaurants and what attractions you want to experience on vacation but did you know that a really important part of vacation planning is figuring out how to manage work when you’re away from work? A recent study found that half of all couples argue about how much time one spouse or partner spends attending to work while on vacation and it isn’t just adults that get upset – the kids notice when you’re with them, but not really with them too.  

“How many of us have seen parents standing in an amusement park line reading their email instead of connecting with their kids and spouse? Taking time to make the break from work and enjoy experiences with friends and family makes for professionals who are healthier, happier and more engaged upon their return.”

We know we should take vacations and our family probably even needs a vacation but we find leaving work at work hard to do.  Here are a few vacation statistics from a professional study by Korn Ferry:

  • 88% of study participants have cut short or cancelled vacation due to work pressures.
  • 34% connect with work multiple times a day while on vacation
  • Only 3% did not check in with the office while on vacation
  • 52% did not plan on using all of their vacation time for the year

This is an important thing to think through because daily life is demanding and vacations are important time set aside to strengthen relationships and to build memories through shared experiences. Unfortunately, spending too much time checking on work matters has the potential to really undermine that goal.  HomeAway partnered with researchers at the University of Texas on a study to determine what factors affect the memorability of vacations and they found that spending too much time spent working on vacation affects your ability to remember the trip later:

Working while traveling decreases trip memorability. Those who work while on vacation are less likely to recall all of their memorable events than those not working. This effect increases as vacationers spend more time working. Of those who used devices for work-related activities, just 43% who spent one hour or more working recalled all trip events, while 60% of those who spent less than an hour working recalled all events. Overall, working an hour or more on vacation made participants 43% more likely to have trouble remembering their trips than those who worked one hour or less. Those who used laptops, versus smart phones or tablets, also had significantly more trouble remembering their vacations.”   

Take a minute to let this really sink in because you would probably say that your spouse and children are a major motivation for doing well at your job – you want to provide the things your family needs to thrive, not just survive.  You probably already agree that, when you set aside time to spend with them, you need to be present in that moment to focus on those relationships and experiences. It can be challenging to keep the means of experiencing a good life from becoming something that ultimately detracts from a life lived well but here are a few tips from Sunset magazine to help:

1)  Set some boundaries and rules before heading on vacation that will allow you stay on top of work without neglecting your travel partner.

2) Before heading out on vacation, touch base with coworkers and establish a set time when you will be available for emergencies only. It shouldn’t need to be any more than 15 minutes per day.

3)  If you have circumstances that absolutely cannot wait until you get back to the office, you can use this time to let the kids interact with their screens before coming back to each other. This can help minimize resentment from family members feeling like they’re in a holding pattern while you are attending to those things.  Then make a commitment as a family or a couple to put the outside world aside while you spend some time doing things together.

4)  It becomes much easier to stick to screen limits by turning off push notifications from emails and work apps like Slack or Trello. Hardcore digital detoxers can even put their phone on airplane mode to eliminate temptations.

5)  The final step in cutting down work time is remembering to set an out-of-office message before heading out. This email can simultaneously refer inquiries to someone in the office, warn coworkers that you’re off the grid, and make everybody back home jealous.  Click here for out of office message writing tips.

Don't get overwhelmed by the details - let us help!

Vacation planning is always a lot easier when you have one of our travel agents on your side because we specialize in Disney and Universal Orlando vacation destinations and we can help you manage things like crowds, park hours, entertainment schedules, and dining options.  It can be a lot to think through but Imagine how much better your vacation will be when we:

  • Give you a "Best Days" itinerary that puts you in the best theme park for each day of your trip
  • Book dining reservation on your behalf (subject to availability) at times that don't interfere with parades and fireworks
  • Give you excellent theme park touring plans that keep lines to an absolute minimum.  

You get all of this expert service at no extra charge when you book your Disney vacation through Build A Better Mouse TripClick here for more information.

Let’s start planning a great vacation!

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A Poem About the Disneyland Hotels - by Toni

 A poem about the Disneyland Resort Official Hotels - Paradise Pier, Disneyland Hotel, and Disney Grand Californian hotel.  By Toni Scott.

Disneyland onsite resorts,
So far there are three.
All with-in walking distance
You will see.

Paradise Pier,
So shiny and bright
If you guessed a surf theme
You’re probably right!

The name gives homage to a land,
Which is no longer the same.
Pixar Pier in California Adventure
Isn’t that why you came?

The next one is my fave.
Its origins are true
If you like Disney History
Disneyland Hotel is for you!

Consists of three towers:
Fantasy, Adventure, and Frontier
Trader Sam’s, a monorail pool,
And even Dole Whips are found here!

Stunning details adorn the lobbies
Of Walt’s Era and Imagineer art
Themed-music rocks you to sleep
For a great park morning start.

Grand Californian is a hit
If Disney’s Grand Floridian
And Wilderness Lodge were to merge,
This hotel would be it!

This deluxe hotel, nearest to the parks
Shortest walking distance
And California Adventure
Has its own special entrance.

There you have it,
The DL onsite three
Another one is coming
Soon we will see.

About the poet - Toni Scott LOVES Disneyland which is why she became a travel agent specializing in theme park vacations.  She would love to help you plan a wonderful and memorable Disneyland vacation too!

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Disney World Resort Hotels Now Charging for Parking

Disney World Adding New Hotel Parking Fee for all reservations booked on or after March 21, 2018

 Disney World is now charging for parking at their official resort hotels. 

Disney World is now charging for parking at their official resort hotels. 

Disney is implementing a new parking fee for guests of their official Disney World resort hotels who book their vacation on or after March 21, 2018. Perhaps this change was inevitable, after all, Universal has charged its official hotel guests for parking for as long as I can remember and so have the Swan, Dolphin and Disney Springs hotels, but I am disappointed to see this change.  Free parking was a very nice perk. 

Here is Disney's official announcement:   

 "Effective for reservations made March 21, 2018 and thereafter, standard overnight self-parking is available to registered Guests for a fee that will be applied to their hotel folio upon check-out. All parking fees include applicable tax.

Standard Overnight Parking charges per Resort Category:

Disney Value Resorts: $13 per night
Disney Moderate Resorts: $19 per night
Disney Deluxe and Deluxe Villa Resorts: $24 per night

Complimentary standard parking is available to Guests staying at Campsites at Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort. Each campsite provides parking space for one (1) motorized vehicle.

Valet Parking:
Valet Parking is available at select Disney Deluxe Resorts and Disney Deluxe Villas for $33 per night (sales tax included).

Guests with Disabilities
Designated parking areas are available throughout Walt Disney World Resort for Guests with disabilities. A valid disability parking permit is required.

Disney Vacation Club:
Members will not be charged for standard overnight self-parking when staying at a DVC Deluxe Villa, regardless of whether they use vacation points or another form of payment. Members also will not be charged to park when using vacation points to stay at a Walt Disney World Resort hotel.

Day Guests:
Complimentary standard self-parking is available while enjoying select dining, shopping, entertainment, and recreation experiences at Disney Resort hotels."  Source: https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/guest-services/parking/

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Marvel Super Hero Character Dinner at Islands of Adventure

Universal Orlando has introduced a fun new Marvel Super Hero dinner at Cafe 4 in Universal's Islands of Adventure park.  

 Dine with your favorite Marvel Super Heros at the Marvel Character dinner at Cafe 4 in Universal's Islands of Adventure park at Universal Orlando.   

Dine with your favorite Marvel Super Heros at the Marvel Character dinner at Cafe 4 in Universal's Islands of Adventure park at Universal Orlando.   

Dine with: 

  • Captain America
  • Spider-Man
  • Wolverine
  • Cyclops
  • Storm
  • Rogue
  • Character subject to change without notice

These Marvel Super Heros will come right up to your table to sign autographs and take photos with your group so start practicing your best super hero pose today! 

Meal includes one digital photo taken during the dining experience (via My Universal Photos).   The digital photo ticket must be exchanged for a My Universal Photos card at the Marvel Character Dinner.   Guests must go to any My Universal Photos location to view and gain digital access to photo.  Click here for more information on My Universal Photos

Marvel Character Dinner Details: 

The menu may vary but the buffet will include fresh salads like orzo and mozzarella and tomato along with entrees like roasted rosemary chicken, shrimp scampi, chicken sallopini, Penne Bolognese, stuffed jumbo shells and specialty pizzas.  A selection of delicious desserts will able be available. 

  • Dinner only
  • Thursday - Sunday
  • Begins at 5PM
  • Cost: Age 10 & up - $49.99 + tax / Age 3 - 9 - $24.99 + tax

Reservations are required and must be made up to 24 hours prior to arrival.  This restaurant is located inside Universal's Islands of Adventure park and separate theme park admission ticket is required.  Ask your travel agent to make your reservation or call 407-224-3663.   

Click here for a free, no-obligation Universal Orlando Vacation Quote

More helpful information: 

Toy Story Land To Open June 30, 2018 At Disney's Hollywood Studios

 Toy Story Land in Disney's Hollywood Studios will open on June 30, 2018 / Walt Disney World news. 

Toy Story Land in Disney's Hollywood Studios will open on June 30, 2018 / Walt Disney World news. 

Disney announced today that the new Toy Story Land in Disney's Hollywood Studios at the Walt Disney World Resort will open on June 20, 2018. Disney has not given a date when FastPass+ reservations will be available for the new attractions but, based on normal FastPass+ availability, we suspect it might be right around April 20 - 22 for guests whose trips will include June 30th.

Click Here to Book Your Trip or Receive a Vacation Quote

The new Toy Story Land will include: 

As I have mentioned before, being there for the opening of a new attraction or land is exciting if you get to Disney World on a fairly regular basis and you don't mind spending hours in line just for the excitement of being one of the first to experience a new ride or attraction but it can actually be a bit of a bummer if this is a once-in-a-lifetime type trip or if you don't get to Disney often because park hours may get modified as Disney hosts media and travel trade events to build up buzz about the new area.   When Pandora opened last year, there were technical glitches with the new rides that had to be worked out in the days immediately following the opening.  For some people, it makes sense to give it a little time before you visit.

Click Here to Book Your Trip or Receive a Vacation Quote

In other related news, Disney has also announced that they will not be changing the name of Disney's Hollywood Studios in the foreseeable future.  Back in 2015, Bob Iger said that a new name might be in the works for the park that has already had one name change back on January 7, 2008 when the name was changed from Disney-MGM Studios to Disney's Hollywood Studios.  

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Disney World Mobile Ordering Now Available with Disney Dining Plans, Credit Cards and debit

 Disney Mobile Ordering now available  for Disney Dining Plans and Debit/Credit Card orders at many Disney World Quick-Service restaurants. 

Disney Mobile Ordering now available  for Disney Dining Plans and Debit/Credit Card orders at many Disney World Quick-Service restaurants. 

Did you see the announcement today that you can now use your Disney Dining Plan credits to take advantage of mobile ordering at the Disney World quick-service restaurants?   Quick-service restaurants are where you traditionally have ordered your food at the counter and carried it to the table.  With Mobile Ordering, you can totally skip the line to order your food; here's how it works....

Let's say you and your family are in line to see Festival of the Lion King at Disney's Animal Kingdom and you plan to have lunch at Pizzafari after the show.   You can use that time waiting for the show to order your lunch through the MyDisneyExperience app.   After the show, you just head over to the restaurant and, when you arrive, you go into the app and click the "I'm here - Prepare My Food" button while you and your family find a table.   The app will let you know when your food is ready to be picked up at the Mobile Ordering Pick-Up Window and the appropriate number of dining credits are deducted from your plan.  It is as easy as that!

Don't have a Disney Dining Plan?   That's fine - you can still pre-order using the app and pay will the credit card you've linked to your MyDisneyExperience account.   Mobile Ordering is not available when paying with cash.   

Check out the short video to learn more!

Beginning January 31, 2018, guests with Disney dining plans can redeem meals and snacks in Mobile Order, providing them with more free time to enjoy all of the attractions and entertainment experiences throughout Walt Disney World Resort. 

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Don't Miss Out On Great Experiences At Disney World!

We want to help you have the most wonderful, most memorable Disney vacation possible. We know that giving you good, up-to-date information and a few simple tools will make a huge difference in your Disney vacation. Long lines become short lines and you will have great memories of shared experiences instead of missed opportunities.  That's why we're called Build A Better Mouse Trip.

Here’s how we help you have a great vacation:

  1. Your travel agent – You have one agent from start-to-finish who knows your name and your priorities and who wants to do everything possible to help you have a wonderful experience.
  2. “Best Days” Itinerary – We’ll help you build an itinerary that includes your priorities for fireworks, parades, crowds and shows. Then we help with dining & Fastpass+ reservations.
  3. Saving Money – Of course we watch for discounts and promotion and automatically apply the best available offer to your reservation but we also help you avoid up-sells and options you won’t use.
  4. We Are Fee-Free - We book directly through Disney and we never charge a service fee so you never pay any extra to use our services when you book your trip through us.  You can have all the benefits Disney offers PLUS all the services we offer.  You can also purchase planning services through us if you've booked on your own or through another travel agency.

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See the Manatees at Blue Spring State Park - 1 Hour from Disney World

 Blue Springs State Park in Orange City, Florida is the winter home of hundreds of manatees.  Located a little over an hour away from Disney World. 

Blue Springs State Park in Orange City, Florida is the winter home of hundreds of manatees.  Located a little over an hour away from Disney World. 

Seeing the Manatees at Blue Spring State Park is a neat addition to your Disney winter months vacation (typically mid-November to very early March). The manatees head there when the spring’s 73-degree waters are warmer than the rivers and canals they swim in during the rest of the year.   When it really gets chilly, there will often be hundreds of manatees at the spring.   This is a wonderful way to experience a bit of "real Florida" along side of the manufactured wonders of the Orlando area theme parks. It takes a little over an hour to drive to Blue Spring State Park from Disney World.

The delight of being able to see so many manatees in such a beautiful natural setting has made Blue Spring State Park very popular and the park often reaches capacity so it is a good idea to arrive early.  Blue Spring State Park is open daily from 8:00AM to sundown and admission is $6 per vehicle; limit 8 people per vehicle. 

Blue Spring State Park is located at 2100 W. French Avenue, Orange City, FL 32763.  The park's phone number is 386-775-3663.  Take U.S. 17/93 to Orange City and go west two miles on French avenue to the park entrance.  For more info, see: https://www.floridastateparks.org/park/Blue-Spring

Click here to check out the webcam at Blue Spring

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Book Review: Service with Character: The Disney Studio & World War II by David Lesjak

 Service with Character: The Disney Studios and World War II by David Lesjak.  Produced by ThemeParkPress. 

Service with Character: The Disney Studios and World War II by David Lesjak.  Produced by ThemeParkPress. 

If you're into military history AND you love Disney, you'll definitely want to read Service with Character: Disney Studio & World War II by David Lesjak.  I was fascinated to learn about Disney's involvement in World War II. 

Did you know that Disney produced a movie called "Victory Through Air Power" that probably contributed to the U.S. Air Force becoming its own branch of the military? 

Did you know that the Disney Studios housed military forces, created over 1200 military insignia, helped sell war bonds and even helped people to think of paying income taxes as their patriotic duty (Taxes to beat the Axis!)?  Click here for more on that. 

Did you know that the studios produced one edition of a magazine for their employees serving in the Armed Forces that even included hand-drawn pin-up girls?  Click here to read more about that. 

As a somewhat religious person, I found the section on propaganda films especially interesting in light of the current political climate.  The book includes a portion of a memo Disney Production Manager Robert Carr sent about WWII propaganda films produced by Disney Studios for South America.  He wrote, "Animation, being a magical medium has profound potentialities for evoking sentiment and awe. 'Ave Maria' in Fantasia was only a beginning. We should make full use of this quality in many of the 'big' subjects suggested, CREATING A DEEPLY RELIGIOUS FEELING, AND ASSOCIATING THIS WITH POLITICAL IDEALS (emphasis mine). We can have beautiful and reverent scenes in which The Christ of the Andes is seen in the background, or a huge cross fills the sky; or more subtly, when the voice, the music and the artist's style of painting suggests a religious atmosphere....as when we see the Spirit of Pan American, or of Victory, standing behind our weapons. This will put over certain ideas impossible to present otherwise." (source: Service with Character: The Disney Studio & World War II, by David Lesjak, pp. 177 & 178). Social media is a relatively new, and very visual, medium that we're all having to learn to navigate. The above memo struck me as a good reminder that we need to be wise when religious themes or imagery are being employed to influence us.

I am not affiliated with the author or publisher in any way.  The men in my family served in different branches of the military and I'm a Disney fan who found this book really interesting and thought you might too.  It would also make a great Christmas gift for the history buff in your family.   This book can be purchased on Amazon. 

More Disney Related Book Reviews: 

About the reviewer: Annette, with her husband Steve, owns BuildABetterMouseTrip.com and is an avid reader; so much so that, as a child, her parents made a rule that she could not read during daylight hours because they were concerned she was developing a pallor best suited for the Haunted Mansion!

Tips for Riding Avatar - Flight of Passage without Spending Hours in Line

 Disney World Tips & Secrets - How to ride Avatar - Flight of Passage at Disney's Animal Kingdom without spending hours in line, even if you don't have FastPass+ 

Disney World Tips & Secrets - How to ride Avatar - Flight of Passage at Disney's Animal Kingdom without spending hours in line, even if you don't have FastPass+ 

Pandora – The World of Avatar has now been open long enough at Disney’s Animal Kingdom park for us to give which is currently seeing mid-day waits of up to 115-minutes, even though crowds are moderate now that the kids are back in school.  Lines are much, much shorter for Na’vi River Journey.  

Avoiding Long Lines with FastPass+

You can book FastPass+ reservation up 60-days prior to arrival when you have a reservation at an official Disney World hotel and at select "Good Neighbor" hotels when you have avacation package that includes tickets or you purchase your tickets prior to your trip and register them on your MyDisneyExperience account.   If you’re not staying at a Disney World resort, you can still book your FastPass+ reservations up to 30-days prior to arrival by purchasing your tickets prior to your trip and registering them on your MyDisneyExperience account.   You can make up to three (3) FastPass+ reservations prior to arrival but Disney has a tiered system for FastPass selection that only allows you to select one of the new Pandora/Avatar attractions.   If you plan to ride Avatar – Flight of Passage, you’ll definitely want to make this your FastPass+ choice because it is the more popular ride and gets the longest lines.   Ride Na’vi River Journey, using the stand-by line as soon as the park opens or come back about an hour prior to park closing.

Avoiding Long Lines When You Don’t Have FastPass+

We can probably help you get onto both attractions in a timely fashion but it is going to mean waking up early!   You need to arrive at Disney’s Animal Kingdom park and get through security at least 45-minutes prior to park opening (60 minutes prior during heavy crowds) and work your way as far forward as possible on the left side (as you face the park) of the entrance.   When crowds are at least moderate or higher, they will let you in and start forming a line for Avatar – Flight of Passage BEFORE the park opens; they may even start letting people ride the attraction before the official opening time.  Arriving early and being closer to the front of that line is key here –arriving 30-minutes, rather than 45-minutes prior to opening, will add an extra half-hour of line time and the line quickly grow to 40-minutes long as soon as the park opens.  If you hate getting up early the way I do, you’re probably thinking, “If have to get up early to arrive 45 minutes before park open and the line will be 40 minutes long at parking opening, why don’t I just sleep later and wait the same 45 minutes?”   That’s a fair question and the answer is that, by arriving early, you will probably get to ride Avatar – Flight of Passage before the park opens and you’ll get to move on to the next attraction.  Every minute you save in the early morning equals at least 10-minutes of cumulative line time as the day goes on.  

If you'd like to hear a first-hand account of how this worked, listen to Radio Harambe, Episode 118.  You can jump ahead to about 57 minutes into the episode. At about the 58-minute point, they go into how this worked for them and the difference between arriving 30 minutes vs. 45 minutes prior to park opening.

Click Here for the Radio Harambe Podcast

Tip for getting through security: Ideally, you should avoid taking any bags with you so that you can just sail through the "no bags" entrance.   If that just isn't possible, do a quick scan of the available security lines to see if one appears to be moving faster or have people who don't appear to be bringing all of their earthly belongings into the park.  Be sure you have all compartments of your bags open and ready.   

Transportation:  If you have your own vehicle, this is an excellent time to drive to the park.  The Disney buses will start running one hour before the park opens.   If it works with your budget and you don’t have a vehicle available, I strongly recommend that you take a taxi or Uber to Disney’s Animal Kingdom so that you don’t have to worry about transportation delays.

Click here to learn about line minimizing theme park touring plans

Breakfast – Satu’li Canteen, in Pandora – World of Avatar, serves a nice selection of breakfast choices, does not require (or even allow) advance reservations, and even offers mobile ordering through the MyDisneyExperience app to help you avoid lines at the restaurant.   This option only works if you’re paying with a credit card, debit card or Disney Dining Plan but cannot be used with the cash.  You just order and pay using the app prior to riding the attractions and then, when you get to the restaurant, go back into the app and press the “I’m Here, Prepare My Order” button.  You’ll receive a notification through the map that tells you when you can pick up your food at area with the “Mobile Order Pick-Up” sign.

Click here for Satu’li Canteen Menu & Pricing

Click Here for more Mobile Ordering information.

Don't Miss Out On Great Experiences At Disney World!

We want to help you have the most wonderful, most memorable Disney vacation possible. We know that giving you good, up-to-date information and a few simple tools will make a huge difference in your Disney vacation. Long lines become short lines and you will have great memories of shared experiences instead of missed opportunities.  That's why we're called Build A Better Mouse Trip.

Here’s how we help you have a great vacation:

  1. Your travel agent – You have one agent from start-to-finish who knows your name and your priorities and who wants to do everything possible to help you have a wonderful experience.
  2. “Best Days” Itinerary – We’ll help you build an itinerary that includes your priorities for fireworks, parades, crowds and shows. Then we help with dining & Fastpass+ reservations.
  3. Saving Money – Of course we watch for discounts and promotion and automatically apply the best available offer to your reservation but we also help you avoid up-sells and options you won’t use.
  4. We Are Fee-Free - We book directly through Disney and we never charge a service fee so you never pay any extra to use our services when you book your trip through us.  You can have all the benefits Disney offers PLUS all the services we offer.  You can also purchase planning services through us if you've booked on your own or through another travel agency.

Let’s start planning a great vacation!

Our “Quote Request” form is the easiest way to start planning your trip. Just fill in as much or as little information as you know at this time and one of our agents will be in touch soon. There’s never any pressure or obligation.

Get A Quote

Chef Mickey's Relocating Temporarily Late 2017

 Due to refurbishments, Chef Mickey's Restaurant will temporarily relocate to the Convention Center at Disney's Contemporary Resort from late November through December 2017.

Due to refurbishments, Chef Mickey's Restaurant will temporarily relocate to the Convention Center at Disney's Contemporary Resort from late November through December 2017.

Due to refurbishments, Chef Mickey’s Restaurant will relocate to the convention center at Disney’s Contemporary Resort from late November through December 2017. You do not need to make any changes to existing reservations for those dates - just know that you won't be going to the same location that you have in the past.

Don't Miss Out On Great Experiences At Disney World!

We want to help you have the most wonderful, most memorable Disney vacation possible. We know that giving you good, up-to-date information and a few simple tools will make a huge difference in your Disney vacation. Long lines become short lines and you will have great memories of shared experiences instead of missed opportunities.  That's why we're called Build A Better Mouse Trip.

Here’s how we help you have a great vacation:

  1. Your travel agent – You have one agent from start-to-finish who knows your name and your priorities and who wants to do everything possible to help you have a wonderful experience.
  2. “Best Days” Itinerary – We’ll help you build an itinerary that includes your priorities for fireworks, parades, crowds and shows. Then we help with dining & Fastpass+ reservations.
  3. Saving Money – Of course we watch for discounts and promotion and automatically apply the best available offer to your reservation but we also help you avoid up-sells and options you won’t use.
  4. We Are Fee-Free - We book directly through Disney and we never charge a service fee so you never pay any extra to use our services when you book your trip through us.  You can have all the benefits Disney offers PLUS all the services we offer.  You can also purchase planning services through us if you've booked on your own or through another travel agency. 

Planning a Disney vacation? You'll definitely want to subscribe to our free newsletter. You will receive a link to 45 great Disney World Freebies in your welcome note and several helpful “how-to” e-guides over the next week. Unsubscribe at any time.

Email: 

Disney Vacation Accounts Discontinued

 Disney Vacation Accounts discontinued - July 2017 

Did you see that Disney Vacation Accounts are being discontinued? 

There are 3 options for existing members:

  • Option 1: Use your balance to purchase a Disney gift card & Disney will add 5% to the value.
  • Option 2: Apply the balance towards a trip
  • Option 3: Do nothing and, some time after September 27,  Disney will send a refund check.
  • Option 4:  Request a refund and Disney will send a refund check.

Don't Miss Out On Great Experiences At Disney World!

We want to help you have the most wonderful, most memorable Disney vacation possible. We know that giving you good, up-to-date information and a few simple tools will make a huge difference in your Disney vacation. Long lines become short lines and you will have great memories of shared experiences instead of missed opportunities.  That's why we're called Build A Better Mouse Trip.

Here’s how we help you have a great vacation:

  1. Your travel agent – You have one agent from start-to-finish who knows your name and your priorities and who wants to do everything possible to help you have a wonderful experience.
  2. “Best Days” Itinerary – We’ll help you build an itinerary that includes your priorities for fireworks, parades, crowds and shows. Then we help with dining & Fastpass+ reservations.
  3. Saving Money – Of course we watch for discounts and promotion and automatically apply the best available offer to your reservation but we also help you avoid up-sells and options you won’t use.
  4. We Are Fee-Free - We book directly through Disney and we never charge a service fee so you never pay any extra to use our services when you book your trip through us.  You can have all the benefits Disney offers PLUS all the services we offer.  You can also purchase planning services through us if you've booked on your own or through another travel agency. 

Let’s start planning a great vacation!

Our “Quote Request” form is the easiest way to start planning your trip. Just fill in as much or as little information as you know at this time and one of our agents will be in touch soon. There’s never any pressure or obligation.

Get A Quote

Alcohol included in 2018 Disney World Dining Plans

 Disney World News - Alcohol included in 2018 Disney World Dining Plans for guests age 21 & older where available at quick-service and table-services restaurants. 

Disney World News - Alcohol included in 2018 Disney World Dining Plans for guests age 21 & older where available at quick-service and table-services restaurants. 

The big surprise in today's release of 2018 packages is that alcohol is now included as a beverage option in the Disney Dining Plans for guests age 21 or older. Here is the fine print: "Guests 21 and older can choose either one non-alcoholic beverage (including specialty beverages where offered) or one single-serving mixed cocktail, beer, or wine (where offered) within their meal entitlement. Guests 21 and older must present valid ID to be served alcoholic beverages. Alcoholic beverages may only be redeemed with a Quick-Service or Table-Service meal entitlement."

A single-serving alcoholic beverage includes items such as:

  • Beer or Cider
  • Wine or Sangria
  • Mixed Drinks and Specialty Cocktails

Please note the following ID requirements required to purchase alcoholic beverages at any establishment throughout the Walt Disney World Resort. Alcohol will not be served to anyone who does not present valid identification upon request.

Visitors from outside the United States are required to present both a valid passport and another form of government-issued photo identification from their country of origin. Foreign driver’s licenses or ID cards are not acceptable by themselves.

The following forms of ID will be accepted as proof of age:

  •  U.S. state driver’s license (includes U.S. territories – Puerto Rico, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, U.S. Virgin Islands and American Samoa)
  • U.S. state ID (includes U.S. territories)
  • U.S. military ID
  • Original passport
  • Copy of passport (either on paper or captured on a mobile device), along with a government photo ID that verifies the person and birth date show on the copy
  • NEXUS card issued by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (Canadian Guests only)

Non-alcoholic Specialty Beverages in 2018 Disney Dining Plans

Another great change is that some non-alcoholic specialty beverages have also been included: 

  • Artisanal Milkshakes
  • Fresh Smoothies
  • Premium Hot Chocolate
  • As always - Soda, Coffee or Tea

Don't Miss Out On Great Experiences At Disney World!

We want to help you have the most wonderful, most memorable Disney vacation possible. We know that giving you good, up-to-date information and a few simple tools will make a huge difference in your Disney vacation. Long lines become short lines and you will have great memories of shared experiences instead of missed opportunities.  That's why we're called Build A Better Mouse Trip.

Here’s how we help you have a great vacation:

  1. Your travel agent – You have one agent from start-to-finish who knows your name and your priorities and who wants to do everything possible to help you have a wonderful experience.
  2. “Best Days” Itinerary – We’ll help you build an itinerary that includes your priorities for fireworks, parades, crowds and shows. Then we help with dining & Fastpass+ reservations.
  3. Saving Money – Of course we watch for discounts and promotion and automatically apply the best available offer to your reservation but we also help you avoid up-sells and options you won’t use.
  4. We Are Fee-Free - We book directly through Disney and we never charge a service fee so you never pay any extra to use our services when you book your trip through us.  You can have all the benefits Disney offers PLUS all the services we offer.  You can also purchase planning services through us if you've booked on your own or through another travel agency. 

Let’s start planning a great vacation!

Our “Quote Request” form is the easiest way to start planning your trip. Just fill in as much or as little information as you know at this time and one of our agents will be in touch soon. There’s never any pressure or obligation.

Get A Quote

2018 Disney World Packages will be available beginning June 20, 2017

Disney has announced that 2018 packages will be available to book beginning Tuesday, January 20, 2017 for up to 499 days into the future.  This means that November and December dates will not be available for another couple of months. 

Disney has not yet announced any discounts or promotions for 2018 but you can book your trip now and a qualifying discount can be applied to your reservation (subject to availability) once one is released.   We do this automatically for all of our clients. 

Don't Miss Out On Great Experiences At Disney World!

We want to help you have the most wonderful, most memorable Disney vacation possible. We know that giving you good, up-to-date information and a few simple tools will make a huge difference in your Disney vacation. Long lines become short lines and you will have great memories of shared experiences instead of missed opportunities.  That's why we're called Build A Better Mouse Trip.

Here’s how we help you have a great vacation:

  1. Your travel agent – You have one agent from start-to-finish who knows your name and your priorities and who wants to do everything possible to help you have a wonderful experience.
  2. “Best Days” Itinerary – We’ll help you build an itinerary that includes your priorities for fireworks, parades, crowds and shows. Then we help with dining & Fastpass+ reservations.
  3. Saving Money – Of course we watch for discounts and promotion and automatically apply the best available offer to your reservation but we also help you avoid up-sells and options you won’t use.
  4. We Are Fee-Free - We book directly through Disney and we never charge a service fee so you never pay any extra to use our services when you book your trip through us.  You can have all the benefits Disney offers PLUS all the services we offer.  You can also purchase planning services through us if you've booked on your own or through another travel agency. 

Let’s start planning a great vacation!

Our “Quote Request” form is the easiest way to start planning your trip. Just fill in as much or as little information as you know at this time and one of our agents will be in touch soon. There’s never any pressure or obligation.

Get A Quote

Pandora - World of Avatar Review / Disney's Animal Kingdom

 Review of Pandora - The World of Avatar / Walt Disney World Resort - Florida. 

Review of Pandora - The World of Avatar / Walt Disney World Resort - Florida. 

I’m back from the Pandora - The World of Avatar at Disney's Animal Kingdom and want to pass along a few observations.  I went to Pandora having only seen Avatar once, years ago, and only vaguely remembering that it had blue people in it so I was pleased to find that the land was visually beautiful whether one is a fan of the movie or not.   The "floating mountains" and landscaping are impressive and I loved all of the water falls.  The whole area have a very tropical look and they've created Pandoran plants that are pretty by day and glow by night.  I was one of those curmudgeons who wasn't excited about them adding an artificial world to a park (my second favorite park) that celebrates the cultures and wonders of my real world but I'll admit that I was impressed.   In a way, it reminded me to be amazed by my own world - maybe we don't have flying dragons (bummer!) but you and I live on a planet with incredible mountains and waterfalls and even have bioluminescent animals (check out this Ted talk to learn more)

Pandora has two rides and I was amazed by Avatar Flight of Passage Most  of Universal’s recent new attractions have been 3-D, screen based – some, like the Harry Potter rides, are very well done but others feel like they simply re-purposed previous rides with this formula: 1) hand guests a pair of 3-D glasses and set them in front of a screen, 2) shake the ride vehicle while surrounding them with loud noises and random scenes.   While each of the rides may be fun on their own, it can feel repetitive so I was a little worried when I heard the Flight of Passage was going to be a 3-D screen ride but Disney really brought something new and exciting to the table.   It was visually stunning and technically impressive.   The ride vehicle (photo below) is unique in that you straddle it like a motorcycle and gentle restraints then come up against the back of your calves and the small of your back.  I wear glasses and I found that I had to adjust my 3D glasses during the ride as they would slip down on my nose; I am also hearing that children are having to adjust their 3D glasses during the ride.   The ride is exhilarating and exciting but not scary. If you've ridden Soarin' at Epcot, you'll find that the ride is similar as you soar and whoosh over incredible landscapes and scenes.

Na’vi River Journey is a sweet little ride and the movement of the singing shaman animatronic is so fluid that it is amazing.  I love Disney’s commitment to producing experiences that can be enjoyed by guests of all ages.   There are no drops or rapids so it is fine for toddlers, pregnant ladies and most anyone else.   Though it is a “nighttime” scene, it isn’t ever completely dark.  The boats have 2 rows that seat up to three (3) people per row, or possible four (4) if one is a baby on an adult's lap.   Honestly, it is a little too short a ride for the long lines that opening brings but worthwhile if you have a FastPass+ reservation or lines are moderate.

I had apprehensions about the Wilderness Explorer stops in the area; thinking that it might be confusing to kids if they were learning real earth science facts in other areas along with Pandoran “facts” but they actually did a great job of handling that…”we’re learning about Pandora by making comparisons to what we know about Earth” and then they gave little lessons about earth’s ecology.   The Wilderness Explorer uniforms seem a bit out of place in the setting but it is consistent with the park on the whole and with long lines at the headlining attractions, I’m glad there are other experiences for guests.

 Wilderness Explorers Station at Pandora - The World of Avatar in Disney's Animal Kingdom park at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. 

Wilderness Explorers Station at Pandora - The World of Avatar in Disney's Animal Kingdom park at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. 

Satu’li Canteen is delicious!  They do bowls where you pick your base (pilaf, sweet potato, salad mix, etc) and then you pick your protein (salmon, chicken, beef, or tofu) and you pick your sauce.  I ate at 1AM and the food was still fresh and tasty. They also do a vegetable curry pod and a cheeseburger pod (photo attached)  that have an other-worldly look.  I liked the taste of the vegetable curry pod but wasn’t crazy about the cheeseburger pod just because it had a fairly strong mustard flavor.  I only tried the chocolate dessert which was tasty; the blueberry cheesecake dessert is getting all of the rave reviews but I didn’t get a chance to sampleYou can pre-order your meal using the MyDisneyExperience app(not yet available with Disney Dining plan) - click here to learn more.    Indoor and outdoor seating; they also serve breakfast. 

Click here or on the photo below to find out about special hours at Disney's Animal Kingdom because of the opening of Pandora - World of Avatar.   You'll find information about hours for the general public and Extra Magic Hours for Disney World hotels guests. 

Don't Miss Out On Great Experiences At Disney World!

We want to help you have the most wonderful, most memorable Disney vacation possible. We know that giving you good, up-to-date information and a few simple tools will make a huge difference in your Disney vacation. Long lines become short lines and you will have great memories of shared experiences instead of missed opportunities.  That's why we're called Build A Better Mouse Trip.

Here’s how we help you have a great vacation:

  1. Your travel agent – You have one agent from start-to-finish who knows your name and your priorities and who wants to do everything possible to help you have a wonderful experience.
  2. “Best Days” Itinerary – We’ll help you build an itinerary that includes your priorities for fireworks, parades, crowds and shows. Then we help with dining & Fastpass+ reservations.
  3. Saving Money – Of course we watch for discounts and promotion and automatically apply the best available offer to your reservation but we also help you avoid up-sells and options you won’t use.
  4. We Are Fee-Free - We book directly through Disney and we never charge a service fee so you never pay any extra to use our services when you book your trip through us.  You can have all the benefits Disney offers PLUS all the services we offer.  You can also purchase planning services through us if you've booked on your own or through another travel agency. 

Let’s start planning a great vacation!

Our “Quote Request” form is the easiest way to start planning your trip. Just fill in as much or as little information as you know at this time and one of our agents will be in touch soon. There’s never any pressure or obligation.

Get A Quote

Disney's Festival of Fantasy Afternoon Parade Returns to 3PM on January 1, 2018

 The Festival of Fantasy parade schedule changes from 2:00PM to 3:00PM daily on January 1, 2018 / Magic Kingdom - Walt Disney World Resort, Florida. 

The Festival of Fantasy parade schedule changes from 2:00PM to 3:00PM daily on January 1, 2018 / Magic Kingdom - Walt Disney World Resort, Florida. 

Festival of Fantasy, the Magic Kingdom's afternoon parade will change from 2:00PM to 3:00PM daily on January 1, 2018.  

This change does not appear to affect seating times for Disney's Festival of Fantasy Parade Dining Package at Tony's Town Square (extra cost). Click here for more information.

Tiana's Riverboat Party - Ice Cream Social and Viewing Party will change accordingly.  There is an extra charge for this experience which is offered on select days during the week.  Advance reservations required.  Click here for more information. 

Disney Trivia - What time is the 3 o'clock parade? 

Did you know that "What time is the 3 o'clock parade?" is actually an important training question for Disney Cast Members?  It turns out that you're not supposed to just stare incredulously at the guest for a moment before responding "3 o'clock...duh."  Cast Members are taught to ask additional questions to find out what information the guest is really seeking with such an obvious question.  For example, they may be wondering when it actually passes through a particular section of the Magic Kingdom.   Cast members are taught that they can either give a blunt answer that will end a conversation in a way that embarrasses or disappoints the guest or they can use it as an opportunity to exceed the guest's expectation and begin a quest for richer discovery. 

Click here to read more about this in the Disney Institute blog

Don't Miss Out on Great Experiences at Disney World!

We want to help you have the most wonderful, most memorable Disney vacation possible. We know that giving you good, up-to-date information and a few simple tools will make a huge difference in your Disney vacation. Long lines become short lines and you will have great memories of shared experiences instead of missed opportunities.  That's why we're called Build A Better Mouse Trip.

Here’s how we help you have a great vacation:

  1. Your travel agent – You have one agent from start-to-finish who knows your name and your priorities and who wants to do everything possible to help you have a wonderful experience.
  2. “Best Days” Itinerary – We’ll help you build an itinerary that includes your priorities for fireworks, parades, crowds and shows. Then we help with dining & Fastpass+ reservations.
  3. Saving Money – Of course we watch for discounts and promotion and automatically apply the best available offer to your reservation but we also help you avoid up-sells and options you won’t use.
  4. We Are Fee-Free - We book directly through Disney and we never charge a service fee so you never pay any extra to use our services when you book your trip through us.  You can have all the benefits Disney offers PLUS all the services we offer.  You can also purchase planning services through us if you've booked on your own or through another travel agency. 

Let’s start planning a great vacation!

Our “Quote Request” form is the easiest way to start planning your trip. Just fill in as much or as little information as you know at this time and one of our agents will be in touch soon. There’s never any pressure or obligation.

Get A Quote

Planning A Disney Vacation - The Devil is in the Details

Do you need a travel agent specializing in Disney destinations?

 The types of people who benefit most from having the help of a travel agent that specializes in Disney destinations like Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise line and Adventures by Disney. 

The types of people who benefit most from having the help of a travel agent that specializes in Disney destinations like Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise line and Adventures by Disney. 

For every person who loves researching and planning trips, there is at least one busy person who just doesn't have time to wade through mountains of information and appreciates a disney-focused agent who eats, sleeps & breathes this stuff. For one thing, you don't know what you don't know and first time or infrequent visitors to Disney World find it helpful to have an agent that walks them through the vacation planning process.  Not only that, but there is a lot of old and just plain wrong information out there - we focus on the Disney destinations so that you get accurate, up-to-date information.

Here’s how we help you have a great vacation

Hotels and building location requests -  Picking a hotel that is a good fit for your needs is just the beginning of what your travel agent can do for youMost people don't add building location requests to their reservations and we do it for every client. (not guaranteed, though Disney does try).   Guests don't always realize that a few Disney hotels don't have elevators which is fine for a lot of people but becomes very difficult if someone in your party has mobility issues or if your drying to carry a sleeping child or stroller up the stairs. We also watch for discounts and promotions and automatically apply the best available offer to your qualifying reservation.

Dining Reservations - people sometimes don't realize the sheer size of Disney World and they'll book dining that has them wasting a lot of travel time or scheduled at times that cause them to miss parades or other priorities - we watch for red flags like that.   Not everyone plans a trip six months or more in advance, which is when you can start booking Disney Dining reservations, and they have trouble getting good reservations for their trip.  We can help with offering good alternatives and watching for cancellations.

All FastPass+ options are not created equal - for example, not everyone realizes that having a Seven Dwarfs Mine Train or Toy Story Midway Mania FastPass+ reservation is more helpful than any others in those parks and that certain FastPass+  options don't really bring any benefit to the table.  We can help guide you through these challenges.

We want to help you have the most wonderful, most memorable Disney vacation possible. We know that giving you good, up-to-date information and a few simple tools will make a huge difference in your Disney vacation. Long lines become short lines and you will have great memories of shared experiences instead of missed opportunities.  That's why we're called Build A Better Mouse Trip.

Your travel agent – You have one agent from start-to-finish who knows your name and your priorities and who wants to do everything possible to help you have a wonderful experience.

“Best Days” Itinerary – We’ll help you build an itinerary that includes your priorities for fireworks, parades, crowds and shows. Then we help with dining & Fastpass+ reservations.

We Are Fee-Free - We book directly through Disney and we never charge a service fee so you never pay any extra to use our services when you book your trip through us.  You can have all the benefits Disney offers PLUS all the services we offer.  You can also purchase planning services through us if you've booked on your own or through another travel agency.

Let’s start planning a great vacation!

Our “Quote Request” form is the easiest way to start planning your trip. Just fill in as much or as little information as you know at this time and one of our agents will be in touch soon. There’s never any pressure or obligation.

Get A Quote

Animal Kingdom Early Park Opening for Everyone - May 27 - July 4th

 Early openings at Disney's Animal Kingdom park for the general public from May 27 - July 4, 2017 in celebration of the opening of Pandora - The World of Avatar.   

Early openings at Disney's Animal Kingdom park for the general public from May 27 - July 4, 2017 in celebration of the opening of Pandora - The World of Avatar.

 

Pandora - The World of Avatar is a new land opening on May 27, 2017 in Disney's Animal Kingdom and it, along with new nighttime experiences, will really affect the crowds in this park.  There are two rides but you can only choose one for your advance FastPass+ selections. 

Animal Kingdom opens early 8AM for everyone on May 27 - July 4th.   Be there before 7:15AM and be ready to walk right to your first Pandora ride to enjoy the lowest crowds of the day but avoid Mondays & Saturdays when the park opens at 7AM for guests of the official Disney hotels.

Special Extra Magic Hours at 11PM to 1AM from May 27 - July 4: Disney is offering special Extra Magic Hours every night from May 27 - July 4 for guests of the official Disney World resorts.  This may help draw some of the crowds to the later part of the day and may make it easier to ride one of the Pandora attractions first thing in the morning, as soon as the park opens.  In addition to the Pandora area, these experiences will also be available:

  • Expedition Everest: Legend of the Forbidden Mountain
  • Primeval Whirl / TriceraTop Spin
  • Fossil Fun Games
  • Tree of Life awakenings
  • Rivers of Light
  • Discovery Island Carnivale

Regular Extra Magic Hour -  Monday & Saturday Mornings: Disney's Animal Kingdom will open an hour early to guests of the official Disney World resorts on select mornings.   If you're not staying at a Disney hotel or you are staying at a Disney World hotel but don't want to get up that early, avoid the Animal Kingdom on these dates so that you don't arrive and get in line behind people who have already been there for an hour or more.  

  • Opens at 7AM to Disney World hotel guests on May 27, 29, June 3, 5, 10, 12, 17, 19, 24, 26, July 1, 2017(Mondays & Saturdays)
  • Opens at 8AM to Disney World hotel guests on July 5, 8, 10, 9, 15, 17, 22, 24, 29, 31, August 5, 7, 12, 14, 19, 21, 26, 28, September 2, 4, 2017.  (Mondays & Saturdays)

Click here for more Pandora Tips & Information.

Don't Miss Out on Great Experiences at Disney World!

We want to help you have the most wonderful, most memorable Disney vacation possible. We know that giving you good, up-to-date information and a few simple tools will make a huge difference in your Disney vacation. Long lines become short lines and you will have great memories of shared experiences instead of missed opportunities.  That's why we're called Build A Better Mouse Trip.

Here’s how we help you have a great vacation:

  1. Your travel agent – You have one agent from start-to-finish who knows your name and your priorities and who wants to do everything possible to help you have a wonderful experience.
  2. “Best Days” Itinerary – We’ll help you build an itinerary that includes your priorities for fireworks, parades, crowds and shows. Then we help with dining & Fastpass+ reservations.
  3. Saving Money – Of course we watch for discounts and promotion and automatically apply the best available offer to your reservation but we also help you avoid up-sells and options you won’t use.
  4. We Are Fee-Free - We book directly through Disney and we never charge a service fee so you never pay any extra to use our services when you book your trip through us.  You can have all the benefits Disney offers PLUS all the services we offer.  You can also purchase planning services through us if you've booked on your own or through another travel agency. 

Let’s start planning a great vacation!

Our “Quote Request” form is the easiest way to start planning your trip. Just fill in as much or as little information as you know at this time and one of our agents will be in touch soon. There’s never any pressure or obligation.

Get A Quote

Disney World Hotel Rooms For Six People

We recently got a question about rooms at the Disney World hotels for six people and there are several options:

 Walt Disney World Resort Hotels that can accommodate six guests in one room or unit. 

The least expensive option is two standard rooms at any Disney World value resort  You would have a total of 4 double beds and 2 bathrooms.   You can also get connecting rooms at several of the Disney World moderate or deluxe resorts but some of the other options we've listed below may be cheaper.  In the case of a family with 2 adults and 4 children age 17 or under,  you can get  guaranteed connecting rooms with an interior door between them.  A party with three or more adults can request connecting rooms but they won't be guaranteed connecting rooms though it is worth noting that Disney does have a fair number of connecting rooms and will try to accommodate the request when possible.   If you only need three beds, it may be possible to get a room with a king bed that connects two a room with two double beds at the value resorts or two queen-size beds at the moderate and deluxe resorts. 

 A standard room with two double beds at one of the Walt Disney World Resort value hotels. Rooms with one king bed and connecting rooms may also be available.   

A standard room with two double beds at one of the Walt Disney World Resort value hotels. Rooms with one king bed and connecting rooms may also be available.   

The Family Suites at Disney’s All-Star Music (ASMu) or Disney’s Art of Animation (AoA) can accommodate six.  Disney's All-Star Music Resort is generally less expensive than Disney's Art of Animation resort and has 1 queen bed, 1 double sleeper sofa and 2 twin sized pull-outs, along with a kitchenette and 2 full bathrooms.   Disney's Art of Animation costs a bit more but is newer and has 1 queen bed, one double sleeper sofa, and 1 murphey-type table bed, as well as a kitchenette and 2 full bathroom.

 The family suites at Disney's Art of Animation resort can sleep up to six adults plus one baby in a crib. 

The family suites at Disney's Art of Animation resort can sleep up to six adults plus one baby in a crib. 

The Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Campground sleep six.  They have a bedroom with a queen bed and a twin size bunk bed, there is also a murphy bed in the living area.   This option only have 1 bathroom but it does have a full kitchen.  People either love or hate the cabins – I love them!   The challenge with the campground is that it is so large and there is an internal bus system so you have to catch a bus that takes you to either the boat to Magic Kingdom or the buses to the other parks, adding additional transportation time.

 The bedroom in the cabins at Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground can sleep up to four guests; two more can sleep on the Murphy bed in the main living area for a total of six adults + up to one baby in a crib. 

The bedroom in the cabins at Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground can sleep up to four guests; two more can sleep on the Murphy bed in the main living area for a total of six adults + up to one baby in a crib. 

The two- and three-bedroom villas at the Deluxe resorts are very nice, have full bathrooms, full kitchens, free laundry, in a wonderful resort setting with lots of great amenities.  The exact bed configuration may vary by unit size and resort.   Keep in mind that 3-bedroom units are excluded from almost every Disney sales promotion and some of the other villas are also often excluded from discounts. 

Some of the Disney World deluxe resorts have a limited number of specialty rooms or suites that can accommodate six adults (+ one baby in a crib) but these can be very expensive and have very limited availability.   Suites and deluxe rooms are also often excluded from discounts and promotions.

Don't Miss Out on Great Experiences at Disney World!

We want to help you have the most wonderful, most memorable Disney vacation possible. We know that giving you good, up-to-date information and a few simple tools will make a huge difference in your Disney vacation. Long lines become short lines and you will have great memories of shared experiences instead of missed opportunities.  That's why we're called Build A Better Mouse Trip.

Here’s how we help you have a great vacation:

  1. Your travel agent – You have one agent from start-to-finish who knows your name and your priorities and who wants to do everything possible to help you have a wonderful experience.
  2. “Best Days” Itinerary – We’ll help you build an itinerary that includes your priorities for fireworks, parades, crowds and shows. Then we help with dining & Fastpass+ reservations.
  3. Saving Money – Of course we watch for discounts and promotion and automatically apply the best available offer to your reservation but we also help you avoid up-sells and options you won’t use.
  4. We Are Fee-Free - We book directly through Disney and we never charge a service fee so you never pay any extra to use our services when you book your trip through us.  You can have all the benefits Disney offers PLUS all the services we offer.  You can also purchase planning services through us if you've booked on your own or through another travel agency. 

Let’s start planning a great vacation!

Our “Quote Request” form is the easiest way to start planning your trip. Just fill in as much or as little information as you know at this time and one of our agents will be in touch soon. There’s never any pressure or obligation.

Get A Quote