Disney World Ticket Price Changes Coming On October 16

 Disney World tickets will be subject to seasonal pricing as of October 16, 2018.

Disney has announced that they will begin pricing tickets by date starting October 16th in an effort to better distribute attendance throughout the year. In a nutshell, tickets may cost more or less depending on when you decide to visit Disney World. Another big change in that tickets will no longer be good for fourteen (14) days from first use but will now have a valid use window based on ticket length. Since tickets purchased prior to this date will be locked in at current prices and with current expiration policies, we strongly recommend that you book your 2018 or 2019 Walt Disney World Vacation package.

Click here for your no-obligation vacation quote

Daily ticket cost will be determined by your first ticket date. The prices/tiers have not been announced yet but Disney is anticipating a lot of excitement and big crowds due to the opening of Star Wars Land in late Fall 2019 (no exact date has been released at this time) so there is every reason to believe this change will raise prices for peak travel times.

When will date-based tickets expire?

1-Day base tickets are valid for admission on the specific start date selected. Multi-day tickets are valid for admission beginning on the start date selected and must be used within a limited time period.

2-Day Tickets are valid any 2 days within 4 days beginning on the start date

3-Day Tickets are valid any 3 days within 5 days beginning on the start date

4-Day Tickets are valid any 4 days within 7 days beginning on the start date

5-Day Tickets are valid any 5 days within 8 days beginning on the start date

6-Day Tickets are valid any 6 days within 9 days beginning on the start date

7-Day Tickets are valid any 7 days within 10 days beginning on the start date

8-Day Tickets are valid any 8 days within 12 days beginning on the start date

9-Day Tickets are valid any 9 days within 13 days beginning on the start date

10-Day Tickets are valid any 10 days within 14 days beginning on the start date

For example, a 6-day base ticket with a start date of April 1, ticket is valid any 6 days from April 1 to April 9.

Tickets purchased as part of a Disney vacation package will be valid for the length of time indicated above based on ticket length or for the length of stay included in your package, whichever is greater.

Adding the Park Hopper Plus Option to include visits to the Disney Water Parks and other attractions extends the period of time within which you may use your ticket by one day. For example, a 6-day ticket with the Park Hopper Plus Option with a start date of April 1, ticket is valid any 6 days from April 1 – April 10, instead of through April 9 which would be the valid use period for Basic or Park Hopper tickets.

Flexible Date Option: Guests who do not wish to select a specific date may purchase the “Flexible Date Option” for an extra charge. The price for this feature has not yet been announced.

Are tickets able to be modified – what happens if a guest needs to change their date?

Yes, you will be able to modify tickets online or through the Disney Reservation Center prior to the ticket start date. If the ticket is changed to a higher priced date, guest will be responsible for paying the difference in price. There will be no refunds to changes to lower priced dates. If modifications are needed after the ticket start date, guests must visit any Vacation Planning window.

I am planning to visit Disney World in the next year but I won’t be staying on property, should I buy my tickets now?

We’re all wondering if the crystal ball in the Haunted Mansion ride can help us out with this one but, given the way Disney keeps stressing how much money they’ve invested in new rides and attractions as they talk about this, we think that ticket prices are going to go up, at least during the seasons Disney currently ranks as “regular” and “peak” season. It is possible that they might lower value season tickets slightly for public relations purposes; there is no way to know for sure here but that’s what they did when they introduced seasonal pricing for one-day tickets. Currently, value dates are only certain midweek dates in the off-season. If you’re waiting for the opening of Star Wars land to visit, you’ll probably want to purchase tickets now, keeping in mind that tickets purchased separate from a package are not refundable.

Click here for your no-obligation vacation quote

Should I book my vacation package now?

You should probably book your trip before the change if you plan to go during busy times like spring break, summer, fall break, right around Halloween, Christmas break, around any 3-day holiday weekend, or once Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge opens at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Don’t delay; book today! If you are visiting at during the lowest season, there is small chance that you could benefit by waiting just to see if they lower value season ticket prices. Since you’re not a psychic, the safest approach is to let us put a courtesy hold on a package for you on October 15th so you will be able to wait a couple of days to apply the deposit. If the price drops, we can just cancel the hold and re-book at the lower price. If the price increases, your hold will have you locked in at the lower price and you just need apply the deposit to take advantage of the savings. Just check the courtesy hold box and add a note to the comments section of the form below letting us know that you want to do a courtesy hold on October 15 and we will take care of that for you.

Click here to request a courtesy hold

Confusing technical stuff about future discounts

If you book your trip now and Disney releases a promotion in the future for your travel dates, your tickets in the package may have to be adjusted to the new ticket structure to qualify. A classic example of this is the free dining promotion which always has a ticket requirement that is based on ticket prices at the date of the promotion release. You may be thinking, “if that’s the case, what is the point of even booking now?” The answer is that booking early guarantees you the best available pricing but we don’t know that that best pricing situation will be – during peak times when discounts are as low as 10% at the value resorts (or roughly $12 to $15 per night), families may save more by avoiding future price increases in tickets or other features, or they may save more with a great discount even if it does raise their ticket price. Think of it as insurance – waiting means you might pay more later, booking now means you definitely won’t pay more later and you might even have a chance at lowering your package price.

2019 discounts already available:

Disney World Play, Stay, and Dine discount for January 1 – March 9, 2019

Disney World Room rate discounts available for dates through April 27, 2019. This includes Spring Break!

Disney World Military Discounts for most dates through December 19, 2018 and January 1 – December 19, 2019 (excludes April 14 – 25)

Universal Orlando – Save up to $330 on a 4-night or longer package at an official Universal Orlando hotel that includes 3 park, 2-day Park-to-Park tickets with 2 days free for these dates: November 1 – December 25, 2018 and January 1 – 31, 2019. Must book by November 14, 2018.

Click here for your no-obligation vacation quote

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: 

Captain Jack Sparrow's Pirate Tutorial Is Gone - Magic Kingdom

Captain Jack’s Pirate Tutorial ended its twelve year run on September 29, 2018 in Adventureland, in the Magic Kingdom at Disney World. This was a cute show offered near the Pirates of the Caribbean ride where Captain Jack and his mate Mack invited some children from the crowd to join them in learning some pirate skills.

Click here for a list of pirate experiences at Disney World.

Click here for a list of Disney World ride closures and refurbishments during your visit.

 Captain Jack Sparrow’s Pirate Tutorial ended permanently on September 29, 2019 / Magic Kingdom - Walt Disney World Resort. #DisneyWorld #MagicKingdom #Disneyparks #Adventureland #PiratesoftheCaribbean #BuildaBetterMouseTrip

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: 

Tips For Riding Slinky Dog Dash Without Spending Hours In Line

 Disney World Tips & Secrets: How to ride Slinky Dog Dash without spending hours in line / Toy Story Land - Disney’s Hollywood Studios - Walt Disney World Resort - Florida.

Slinky Dog Dash is definitely the most popular attraction in the new Toy Story Land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios park; it is currently seeing mid-day waits of 60-80 minutes, even though crowds are moderate now that the kids are back in school. Here’s the good news: we can probably help you get onto both of the new attractions without long lines but it is going to mean waking up early!

Avoiding Long Lines at Slinky Dog Dash 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 a vacation 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 Toy Story Land attractions. If you plan to ride Slinky Dog Dash, you’ll definitely want to make this your FastPass+ choice because it is the more popular ride and gets the longest lines. The challenge here is that there are a limited number of FastPasses available for this attraction and you might not get one.

Stand-by lines are much, much shorter for the new Alien Swirling Saucers ride though Toy Story Mania! remains popular with the second longest waits in the area by virtue of it being a fun ride and the only ride in Disney’s Hollywood Studios that does not have a height restriction so that it is my second choice for a Toy Story Land FastPass if Slinky Dog is not available.

Avoiding Long Lines at Slinky Dog Dash When You Don’t Have FastPass+

Here’s what we did on our recent visit to Disney’s Hollywood Studios on a morning that did not have an Extra Magic Hour, the park was opening at 9:00AM and where we did not have a FastPass for Slinky Dog Dash. TouringPlans predicted low to moderate crowds but we would say that Disney’s Hollywood Studios felt much closer to moderate than low. We were able to get 9:45am FastPasses for Toy Story Mania:

8:10AM - We arrived at the park got through security quickly and lined up close fairly the front gates.

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.

8:35AM (25-minutes prior to the posted opening time) – We were allowed through the gates and down Hollywood Boulevard to where it intersects with Sunset Boulevard. If you don’t already have a park map and Times Guide, you can get those on the rack at the Crossroads kiosk that has Mickey Mouse on the top.

This tip will only work if your group is small and able and willing to move quickly: When you get in line, if all of the gates are not open, try to get in the leftmost line unless there is a compelling reason to avoid it because they may open additional lines as crowds are forming. Watch for that to happen and quickly move over when they do if it gets you closer to the gates. Once they let people in, start moving to the right side of the crowd.

Tip: When they let you through, you can usually move farther forward if you are on the edges of the crowd than if you are in the middle of the road. Try to be on the right side of the street, if at all possible but the left side is fine too - just go as far forward as possible.

DHS-Arch.jpg

At 8:45AM (15-minutes prior to posted opening time) – They opened the park and began leading guests at a very brisk walk to Toy Story Land. There were also people headed to the registration for Jedi Training Academy and there were others who were headed to Rock ‘n Roller Coaster. Some people headed to Toy Story Mania! which is close to the front of Toy Story Land and doesn’t have a height restriction but most people were lining up for Slinky Dog Dash.

Tip: We lost time in the bottleneck of the smaller hole through the arch. It may make sense to aim for the larger entrance unless you’re stuck behind a convoy of strollers and scooters.

9:02AM – We rode Slinky Dog Dash after waiting less than 10-minutes. We weren’t at the very front of the line but we were fairly far forward in the crowd.

 Disney World Tips for Riding Slinky Dog Dash in Toy Story Land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios
 Alien Swirling Saucers at Toy Story Land in Disney’s Hollywood Studios / Walt Disney World Resort - Florida.

9:10AM – We rode Alien Swirling Saucers with no line. This is the farthest ride back in Toy Story Land so it takes a little longer to get busy. We would’ve ridden Toy Story Mania! next if we didn’t have a FastPass for it because it’s position near the front of Toy Story Land which causes the lines to get longer earlier and then ride Alien Swirling Saucers after that.

The lines were posted at over one hour for Slinky Dog Dash by now but we could’ve easily gotten onto Alien Swirling Saucers in a timely fashion for a second ride if we’d gone back into the line. Instead, we decided to get a Raspberry Lunchbox Tart at Woody’s Lunch Box and to visit restrooms before using our 9:45am Toy Story Mania! FastPasses. We also took time to watch the Green Army Men stop and train some young recruits.

 Toy Story Land Tips for avoiding long lines on Slinky Dog Dash, Alien Swirling Saucers and Toy Story Mania! / Disney World

By 10:00AM, we had seen and done everything Toy Story Land has to offer. The day was getting hot and the people who don’t know to arrive early were coming in droves. The lines for both Slinky Dog Dash and Alien Swirling Saucers are outside, with only some patio style umbrellas along the route to provide shade so we were happy to be done and to head towards some indoor, air conditioned shows and attractions during the heat of the day.

 Tips for avoiding long lines for Slinky Dog Dash in Toy Story Land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios / Disney World.

Tips: Watch the weather; Slinky Dog shuts down for lightning - For research purposes, we went back in the afternoon and got into the line which had a 65-minute posted wait. We had gotten far enough forward to be under the covered area close to the ride when a lightning storm and heavy rain caused them to temporarily shut down the ride. Those waiting in the open were told to leave and take shelter and those of us under the covered area were given the option of leaving or staying. With no estimate of when the ride would reopen, some of the people in the covered area opted to leave but most, like us stayed. we ended up waiting 89-minutes to ride.

 Slinky Dog Dash at Night / Toy Story Land / Disney’s Hollywood Studios park / Walt Disney World Resort

The park was scheduled to close at 8PM so we returned to Toy Story Land at about 7:00PM to see what it was like after dark. It is delightful! We puttered around taking pictures and headed back to Slinky Dog Dash at about 7:40pm to check out the lines at that time. The posted wait was 60-minutes but we got through and rode in about 20-minutes but you should probably keep in mind that the earlier downpour had caused some people to leave early. Slinky Dog Dash usually stays pretty busy all day long.

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

Thursday 3: Comparison of Disney & Universal Family Suites - Value Resorts

Reservations are now being accepted at Universal’s Endless Summer Resort - Surfside Inn and Suites for dates beginning August 1, 2019. We recently compared the standard hotel style rooms so, today, I will cover the family suites 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 can help you plan a vacation that includes your stay at any of these resorts so request a free, no-obligation quote today.

 Disney’s Art of Animation Resort - Cars Family Suite / Walt Disney World Resort

Disney’s Art of Animation Resort - Cars Family Suite / Walt Disney World Resort

 Disney’s All-Star Music Family Suite / Walt Disney World Resort

Disney’s All-Star Music Family Suite / Walt Disney World Resort

 Universal’s Endless Summer Resort - Surfside Family Suite / Universal Orlando

Universal’s Endless Summer Resort - Surfside Family Suite / Universal Orlando

How do the rooms compare?

Capacity: All of these suites can accommodate up to six (6) adults plus one infant in a Pak ‘n Play crib.

Kitchenettes: All three options include a have a kitchenette with microwave, coffee maker and mini-refrigerator

 Disney’s All-Star Music Family Suite / Walt Disney World Resort

Disney’s All-Star Music Family Suite / Walt Disney World Resort

Size:

  • Universal’s Surfside Inn family suites: The 440-square-feet

  • Disney’s Art of Animation Resort family suites: The 520-square-feet

  • Disney’s Art of Animation Resort family suites: The 565-square-feet

Beds:

  • Universal’s Surfside Inn family suites: three queen beds with one bed in a separate room and the other two beds in the main area.

  • · Disney’s Art of Animation Resort family suites: one bedroom with one queen-size bed; one double-size convertible TableBed; one double-size sleeper sofa.

  • · Disney’s All-Star Music Resort family suites: bedroom with one queen-size bed; a living area with a double-size sleeper sofa; a sleeper chair; a sleeper ottoman.

 Universal’s Endless Summer Resort - Surfside Family Suite / Universal Orlando

Universal’s Endless Summer Resort - Surfside Family Suite / Universal Orlando

 Disney’s Art of Animation Resort - Cars Family Suite / Walt Disney World Resort

Disney’s Art of Animation Resort - Cars Family Suite / Walt Disney World Resort

Bathrooms:

  • Universal’s Surfside Inn family suites: one bathroom that has two compartments with the toilet and tub/shower in one section and a separate section with two sinks and a vanity

  • · Disney’s Art of Animation Resort family suites: two full bathrooms

  • · Disney’s All-Star Music Resort family suites: two full bathrooms

Seating

  • Universal’s Surfside Inn family suites: Concept art shows an adorable picnic table with a bench on one side and two chairs on the other.

  • · Disney’s Art of Animation Resort family suites: There is the sleeper sofa and the table with seating for four.

  • · Disney’s All-Star Music Resort family suites: Sleeper sofa, chair with ottoman, and a small round table with two chairs. There is also a chair in the bedroom.

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. Disney Magical Express transportation between the Orlando International Airport and these resorts is also available at no extra cost.

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. A neat perk of the official Universal hotels is that you are allowed to use the pools at any of the other official hotels, where Disney does not allow “pool hopping” in most cases.

2019 Cost comparison: Pool view rooms are available about Universal’s Surfside for an additional $20 per night. Finding Nemo suites at Disney’s Art of Animation typically cost more than the Cars and Lion King suites. Disney’s all-Star Music resort does not offer any upgrades for their family suites. For consistency, the lowest priced, undiscounted suite available was used for the cost comparisons below. Prices do not include tax.

Parking: Universal charges $12 per night and Disney value resorts charge $13 per night for self-parking.

August 15:
Universal’s Surfside - Standard View: $184
Disney’s All-Star Music - $309
Disney’s Art of Animation - $406

September 15:
Universal’s Surfside - Standard View: $184
Disney’s All-Star Music - $310
Disney’s Art of Animation - $405

October 15:
Universal’s Surfside - Standard View: $154
Disney’s All-Star Music - $300
Disney’s Art of Animation - $395

November 15:
Universal’s Surfside - Standard View: $184
Disney’s All-Star Music - $306
Disney’s Art of Animation - $395

December 15
Universal’s Surfside - Standard View: $189
Disney’s All-Star Music - $339
Disney’s Art of Animation - $425

Getting two standard location connecting rooms at Disney’s All-Star Music Resort or any of the value resorts is usually cheaper than getting a family suite and can sleep up to eight adults. On August 15, 2019, the cost of two connecting rooms at Disney’s All-Star Music is $270 which is $39 cheaper than the family suites. You can get guaranteed connecting rooms if you only have two adults in the party and more children age 17 or younger than one room can hold.

I limited the above comparisons to official theme park resort hotels but it is worth mentioning that DoubleTree Suites, one of the Disney Springs Good Neighbor hotels offers a less expensive suite option that runs about $245+ tax per night for the nights listed able and includes some great on-site benefits like Extra Magic Hours, bus transportation to the parks, and the ability to book FastPass+ reservations 60-days prior to arrival when you have a package that includes tickets. This hotel does not participate in Disney’s Magical Express airport transportation so you may need to include transportation costs into your comparison.

 DoubleTree Suites - Disney Springs - An official Disney World Good Neighbor hotel / Walt Disney World Resort - Florida

DoubleTree Suites - Disney Springs - An official Disney World Good Neighbor hotel / Walt Disney World Resort - Florida

In summary, the suites at Universal’s Surfside family suites are significantly cheaper than the Disney value resort family suites and they’ll be shiny and new when they open next August but they’re smaller and only have one bathroom. The Universal resort hotels do not offer complimentary airport transportation so that, if needed, will affect total cost. The Disney family suites are bigger and having two full-bathrooms is definitely a big advantage when you’ve got a lot of people all trying to get ready to get out the door in time for park opening. Families who need separate beds may find the two twin sized pull-out beds helpful at Disney’s All-Star Music resort. I didn’t dive too deeply into style and theme because Surfside only has concept art at this point but it should be noted that, although the most expensive, the suites at Disney’s Art of Animation are delightfully and adorably themed. Disney’s complimentary airport transportation may offset the higher price of the Disney resorts for larger families.

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!

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

A Rough Start to A Disney Vacation - We Want Better for You

 Disney Vacation Tips - Thoughts on getting off to a great start of your theme park vacation.

Disney Vacation Tips - Thoughts on getting off to a great start of your theme park vacation.

Steve and I were standing in line outside of For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration at Disney’s Hollywood Studios last week when the lady with three grandchildren asked us, “Do you understand FastPass and is it worth it?”  You know how a sound can cause an avalanche? Well, that is what happened to that dear lady; her simple question loosed an avalanche of too much information on her head:

  • We explained, in too much detail, how FastPass works

  • Told her that there is no extra cost to use FastPass so it is definitely worth it!

  • Even though she didn’t really understand how to get the first three FastPasses, we explained how to add additional ones once those are done

  • We told her that shows are not usually a good use of a FastPass because of their high capacity

  • We told her to arrive well before park opening if FastPass wasn’t available for certain popular attractions like Avatar Flight of Passage or Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.

  • Noticing the size and age differences of the kids at her side, we thought she needed to know about Rider Switch Passes

  • We asked if she had a park Times Guide and, when she didn’t, we gave her ours.

Poor lady, it was all too much and, if she did not gain a better understanding of FastPass, she at least learned the dangers of talking to enthusiastic strangers!  Steve showed her the spots on the park map where she would find Disney cast members to help her set up some FastPasses so I sincerely hope she went there and that they took care of her.

We gave her the best advice that we could but I was a little sad because, over the course of the conversation, I learned that this was a once in a lifetime trip for her extended family who find it hard to get away from the family farm for very long.  They had stood in line that morning to purchase their park tickets and I just kept thinking, “It would’ve cost a little less to buy your ticket in advance and you could’ve booked your FastPasses 30-days prior to arrival (they were staying off property), making your time in the parks so much easier.”  It is just too hard and stressful to try to figure out tickets, park maps and complex systems on the spot when the kids are clamoring to go do one of the bright and shiny things there in front of them. 

Making sure our clients get to the Disney and Universal theme parks knowing where to go, what to do and how things work is our number one priority and working with us before you arrive means you never have an experience like that classic final exam nightmare where you’ve arrived for the test but failed to study or even attend the necessary classes. If we meet you in the parks, we’ll try to help you even if you aren’t our client but we’d really love the opportunity to make sure you are well prepared and you don’t have to depend on the kindness of strangers.

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? 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: 

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.

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

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

Don't Miss Out On Great Experiences At Disneyland!

You are probably beginning to see how helpful and valuable it would be to have someone who really knows and loves Disneyland help with your trip.   Did you know that our travel agents that specialize in Disneyland add a lot of value to your experience without costing you any extra?    When you book through us, you receive advice and information to help make your trip a wonderful and memorable time as well as a handy guidebook or online subscription (your choice) at no cost to you that will help you stay ahead of crowds and out of long lines.   We book both Disney and non-Disney hotels and we love helping our clients have a great trip.   Contact us today with your questions or to get a free, no-obligation quote.

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 Disneyland Quote

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!

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

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!

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. Just have a question? Click here to email us. On a mobile phone? Click here to call.

Get A Disneyland Quote

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/

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: 

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.  

Let’s start planning a great vacation! Click the button and fill in as much or as little information as you know at this time and one of our agents will be in touch soon. no pressure, no obligation. Just have a question? Click here to email us. On a mobile phone? Click here to call.

Get a Quote

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. 

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: 

Related articles: 

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

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

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:

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 you some tips for riding Avatar Flight of Passage 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