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 when you have avacation package that includes tickets or you purchasing 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, 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 and cannot be used with the Disney Dining plan but 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

New Time for Disney's Festival of Fantasy Afternoon Parade

The Festival of Fantasy parade schedule changes from 3:00PM to 2:00PM daily on August 20, 2017 / Magic Kingdom - Walt Disney World Resort, Florida. 

The Festival of Fantasy parade schedule changes from 3:00PM to 2:00PM daily on August 20, 2017 / Magic Kingdom - Walt Disney World Resort, Florida. 

Festival of Fantasy, the Magic Kingdom's afternoon parade, will change from 3:00PM to 2:00PM daily on August 20, 2017.  

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 from 2:30pm to 1:30pm beginning August 20.  There is an extra charge for this experience which is typically offered on Sundays, Mondays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.  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

How Disney Got People to Pay Their Income Taxes!

How Donald Duck and the Disney Studios convinced Americans that it was their patriot duty to pay their income taxes and pay them on time.   Taxes to beat the Axis!

How Donald Duck and the Disney Studios convinced Americans that it was their patriot duty to pay their income taxes and pay them on time.   Taxes to beat the Axis!

I learned something interesting in Service with Character - The Disney Studio & World War II by David Lesjak.   The expenses of World War II meant that 7-million American workers would need to pay income tax for the first time so the US Treasury Department contracted the Disney Studios to create a cartoon short to convince these people that it was their patriotic duty to pay their taxes and pay them on time.   Disney studios created the short film below, named "The New Spirit" with the slogan: Taxes to Fight the Axis which was distributed freely to theaters throughout the United States and was seen by an estimated 3.5-million people.   Disney Studios produced the film at cost but when the Treasury Department submitted the cost ($80,000) in an appropriations bill, Congress denied the funding saying that the taxpayers would not approve of having their money spent on cartoons when there was a war going on.   It was a very heated, very public debate that was covered widely in the news.  Despite the fact that The New Spirit was produced at a loss and the free distribution of this film was costing the Disney Studios  $50,000 to $60,000 in lost bookings for other cartoon shorts, the Disney Studios received hate mail accusing them of being war profiteers as a result of the negative press.  Congressional never did budge on their veto but the US Treasury Department did finally pay the Disney Studios out of funds on hand. 

A second film called The Spirit of 43 was created a bit later that encouraged people to set aside money to pay their taxes.   It had some new footage and reused a large portion from The New Spirit.   It is notable for being the first appearance of a prototype of the character that would later be named Scrooge McDuck. 

This post is lovingly dedicated to Monica and Laura, two of our hard working travel agents who are feeling the burn of tax day.   Chin up, my friends...your taxes will keep democracy on the march!

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.

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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. 

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

Universal's Volcano Bay Water Park Will Open May 25, 2017

Universal Orlando has announced that you can "live the carefree island life at Universal’s Volcano Bay™. It’s an all-new water theme park like no other where thrills and relaxation flow in perfect harmony. With the power of the TapuTapu™ wearable there’s no standing in long lines, wrestling with tubes, or waiting for the fun to begin. It’s a tropical paradise just steps away from everything Universal Orlando Resort™ has to offer. Your clients will want to include an additional day to their vacation and experience a water park different from any other.

Universal's Volcano Bay Water Park Will Open May 25, 2017 / Universal Orlando - Florida. 

A Full Day of Tropical Thrills & Relaxation

  • The park boasts 18 incredible attractions, including some that take you right through the iconic volcano.
  • Unique daytime and nighttime experiences make it an entire day’s worth of fun.
  • Guests can rent two-story cabanas, enjoy concierge services and other resort-like amenities.

World-Class Theming & Storytelling

  • Only Universal’s award-winning designers, the same team responsible for creating the incredible environments of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™, could create such an immersive experience.
  • The culture and architecture of the fabled Waturi islanders are brought to life amid the park’s lush tropical landscaping.
  • Guests can play and relax in four unique areas of this South Pacific paradise where “Water is life. Life is joy.”
  • Towering high above the island is the mighty volcano Krakatau™, which cascades water by day and illuminated lava effects at night.

Technology & Design to Make the Most of Your Stay

  • The park has been designed so there’s no standing in long lines or carrying inner tubes from ride to ride.
  • It’s ideal location within Universal Orlando Resort™ makes it easily accessible to guests of the resort’s on-site hotels.
  • On-site hotel guests enjoy early park admission* (valid theme park admission required).
  • With the power of the TapuTapu™ wearable, there’s no standing in long lines, wrestling with tubes, or waiting for the fun to begin.

Don't Miss Out on Great Experiences at Universal!

We want to help you have the most wonderful, most memorable Universal theme park vacation possible. We know that giving you good, up-to-date information and a few simple tools will make a huge difference in your Universal vacation. Long lines become short lines and you will have great memories of shared experiences instead of missed opportunities.  

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.
  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 - The World of Avatar Will Open at Disney's Animal Kingdom on May 27, 2017

Disney has announced that the much anticipated Pandora - The World of Avatar land at Disney's Animal Kingdom will open on May 27, 2017.   

The World of Avatar land at Disney's Animal Kingdom will open on May 27, 2017.   

Here is Disney's Official Announcement: "Pandora - The World of Avatar, a new land in Disney's Animal Kingdom park, will transport guests to the visually stunning world of Pandora. Here, guests will wonder at floating mountains and bioluminescent plants, and can join the Na’vi on two excursions that take adventure to the next level.

First, the family friendly Na’vi River Journey will send guests through a bioluminescent rainforest. Their journey will end in an unforgettable encounter with a Na’vi Shaman, a figure who has a deep connection to the life force of Pandora. And second, Avatar Flight of Passage will offer guests the jaw-dropping experience of exploring the world of Pandora atop a Banshee.

You will also be able to dine at Satu’li Canteen, grab a drink at Pongu Pongu or shop for Na’vi cultural items, toys, science kits, and more at Windtraders.

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

"Happily Ever After" Nighttime Spectacular to Debut May 12

Disney World:  Wishes Fireworks in the Magic Kingdom will be ending May on May 11th and will be replaced on May 12th with “Happily Ever After,”

Disney World:  Wishes Fireworks in the Magic Kingdom will be ending May on May 11th and will be replaced on May 12th with “Happily Ever After,”

Disney has announced that the Wishes Fireworks in the Magic Kingdom will be ending May on May 11th and will be replaced on May 12th with “Happily Ever After,” a new nighttime spectacular that will combine the magic of Disney storytelling, beloved Disney characters, fireworks and so much more.

According to Disney, "The spectacular will inspire guests to seek out and find their own “Happily Ever After” by showcasing some of the greatest adventures Disney characters have taken to achieve their dreams. The show will feature the latest fireworks and pyrotechnics and original animation, plus a heart-tugging original score. And thanks to the inclusion of state-of-the-art projection mapping technology, more Disney characters than ever before will be featured in the show, including moments from “Moana,” “Brave,” “Big Hero 6,” “Zootopia,” “The Princess & The Frog,” “Aladdin” and many others."

The Fireworks Dessert Party at Tomorrowland Terrace will continue to offer up a scrumptious way to view the nighttime fun as “Happily Ever After” makes its debut.

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

Rivers of Light (Animal Kingdom) to Debut Feb. 17

“Rivers of Light,” the newest nighttime experiences at Disney’s Animal Kingdom® Theme Park, will officially debut on Feb 17, 2017.  According to Disney, "This new show has live performers, a soaring musical score, grand theatrical imagery and innovative water special effects that celebrate the relationship between animals and nature. "Rivers of Light" comes to life on select nights after dark on the Discovery River between Discovery Island and Expedition Everest."

Rivers of Light, a nighttime spectacular at Disney's Animal Kingdom park / Walt Disney World Resort - Florida. 

Disney also announced that, "starting immediately, you can book "Rivers of Light" Dining Packages at Tiffins and Tusker House Restaurants. Similar to the popular “Fantasmic!” Dining Packages at Disney’s Hollywood Studios®, the “Rivers of Light” Dining Package includes reserved seating at the new show. At all-you-care-to-eat Tusker House, you can choose the breakfast, lunch or dinner buffet on the day of the show (but you will have to dine at least 2 ½ hours before the show). Breakfast is $37, $23 ages 3 to 9, plus tax and gratuity; lunch and dinner, $49, $30 ages 3 to 9, plus tax and gratuity. Tusker House Restaurant is on the Disney Dining Plan and counts as one table-service meal.

At Tiffins, “Rivers of Light” Dining Packages are available at both lunch and dinner. You can choose an appetizer, entrée, dessert plus a non-alcoholic beverage. Dining must take place at least two and a half hours prior to showtime. Cost is $67, $32 ages 3 to 9 plus tax and gratuity. Tiffins accepts the Disney Dining Plan, and counts as two table-service meal entitlements."

As of this morning, dining packages were available for dates through June 30, 2017.  Book through your  MyDisneyExperience account or by calling 407-WDW-DINE.  Glitches and technical issues are common whenever Disney introduces anything new so try again or call Disney if you're having trouble.

Elephants and tiger floats from the Rivers of Light nighttime spectacular at Disney's Animal Kingdom park. 

Elephants and tiger floats from the Rivers of Light nighttime spectacular at Disney's Animal Kingdom park. 

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

Important Information for Your February Trip to Disney World

Here is some information that will help you have the most wonderful, most memorable Disney vacation possible.  

 Weather:  Bring a jacket and plan on layering your clothes because February can go from shorts weather to jacket weather within the same day, especially when the sun goes down. You can rent lockers near the front of the parks if you don’t want to carry jackets or extra clothes.  The Disney World resort hotel pools are outdoors and are heated to about 82-86 degrees.  The Disney World moderate and deluxe resorts have towels available near the pools; the value resorts and campground do not provide pool towels so be sure to request extra towels from housekeeping. 

  • Average high temperature: 74°
  • Average low temperature: 52°
  • Average humidity: 71%
  • Average Rain: 7 days in January / 2.4 inches of total precipitation.  

Disney World Ride Closures and Refurbishments:

  •  Magic Kingdom - Hall of Presidents will be closed from January 17 to June 29, 2017.
  • Magic Kingdom – Walt Disney World Railroad will be closed from January 9 to March 2, 2017.
  • Animal Kingdom – Kali River Rapids will be closed from January 3 to February 13, 2017.
  • Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park will be closed from December 25, 2016 to March 11, 2017.  Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park will be open, weather permitting.
  • Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort Fantasia pool is closed February 6-10, 2017 but the Mighty Ducks pool is open.
  • Disney’s All-Star Music Resort Piano pool is closed December 12, 2016 – February 2, 2017 but the Calypso feature pool is open.
  • Disney's Beach Club Resort Tidal pool is closed February 20 - 22, 2017.
  • Disney's Boardwalk Resort Garden pool is closed February 13 - 15, 2017. The Community Hall pool is closed February 27 - March 1, 2017
  • Disney’s Old Key West Resort – Sandcastle pool (main pool) is closed January 3– February 24, 2017 but the resort’s two smaller leisure pools will be open.
  • Disney's Yacht Club Resort Admiral pool is closed February 22-24, 2017.
  • There may be more pool refurbishments - you can check for updates at http://www.buildabettermousetrip.com/wdw-february-crowds-closures-special-events/

Disney World Ride Special Events in February:

Epcot International Festival of the Arts (January 13 – February 20, 2017) will debut on January 13, 2017 and will run for six weekends (Fridays through Mondays).  Guests will get to enjoy the works of past Disney artists like Mary Blair as well as works by current artists like Joe Kaminski and Costa Alavezos, including live demonstrations. Disney Theatrical will bring an exciting new showcase of favorite music and Broadway talent to the America Gardens Theatre stage, including songs from Disney on Broadway's award-winning shows The Lion King, Newsies and Aladdin.  The culinary arts will also be celebrated in the Food Studios area of the festival.   Most of the festival experiences will be included in the cost of Epcot admission; some dining and other events will have a separate cost associated with them.

Atlanta Braves Spring Training begins on February 25th – Tickets on sale beginning Dec. 12th.   The Atlanta Braves do spring training in the Champion Stadium at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex at Disney World. Click here for additional information.

Have you booked your accommodations? Discounts must be booked by December 21, 2017 - Disney World has released two promotions – a room rate discount and the popular “Play, Stay & Dine” offer - for February and availability is limited. It’s okay if you don’t know where you want to stay, I can help you select a hotel that is a good fit for both your family and your budget.   I can also help with Universal Orlando resorts and other area hotels.

Now is the perfect time to start planning your itinerary -  Disney has released their February 2017 calendar and park hours and it is a good idea to map out which theme park(s) you want to visit on a given day during your trip so that you can book dining and FastPass+ reservations that don't have you running all over Disney moderate from most of the month but spike to high levels for February 17 – 20 (Presidents Day Weekend).  Did you know that the parks are not equally crowded on any given day?  For example, on February 25, the projected crowds for Disney’s Hollywood Studios’ expected crowds will be about a "9" on a scale of 1-to-10 but Epcot has projected crowds of “4” that same day.  Disney’s Animal Kingdom crowds will be around “8” and the Magic Kingdom are an expected "7"  that day.  I can help you map out an itinerary that lets you take advantage of the best relative crowd and show conditions during your trip. When you book your trip through us, you’ll receive either a copy of the Unofficial Guide to Disney World (printed guidebook) or a subscription to TouringPlans.com because we really know for a fact that their touring plans will save you a lot of time otherwise wasted in line and help you make the most of shorter hours when crowds are low.  

  • Clip-out theme park touring plans (itineraries) are available beginning on page 814 of the 2017 Unofficial Guide to Disney World.
  • Printable theme park touring plans (itineraries)  are available in the Touring Plans tab of our TouringPlans.com account or you can access their itineraries through their smartphone app.
  • We also include printed, standardized plans in the packet of documents and information mailed to you shortly before your trip, when you book through us.

We’re Here To Answer Your Touring Plan Questions - Do you know which plan you want to use? Do you have questions about how to use the plans or how to include your FastPass+ & dining reservations into the plans? We don't expect you to figure it all out on your own; Steve, our theme park guy, is available most evenings and on the weekends to talk with you about your touring plan questions.   With a little advance planning, you can have a great time regardless of the crowds.   

 Have you booked your Disney Dining Reservations?  There are still some great options available and you may even be able to snag a reservation at popular locations if your schedule is flexible. I can help you narrow down the restaurant choices to options that you will really enjoy so we can lock in some great options before they’re gone.

In a nutshell, here’s how we will help you have a great vacation:

1.   Your travel agent – You will have one travel agent from start-to-finish who will know your name and your priorities and will 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, and shows and help with dining and Fastpass+ reservations.  The theme park touring plans we provide will help you stay ahead of the crowds and out of the long lines. 

3.   Saving Money – Of course we will watch for discounts and promotions and automatically apply the best available offer to your reservation but I also help you avoid up-sells and costly 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.  This way, you can have all the benefits Disney offers PLUS all the services we offer.  If you booked directly through Disney within the last 30-days, you can also sometimes have us listed as the "agent of record" on your existing reservation and still receive our services for free or you can purchase vacation planning consulting services from us if you booked more than 30-days ago or through another travel agency.

Does that sound like a good plan? 

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

Important Information for Your January Trip to Disney World

Are you headed to Disney World this January? I want to pass on some information that will help you have the most wonderful, most memorable Disney vacation possible. 

Weather at Disney World in January

Bring a jacket and plan on layering your clothes because January typically has the coolest temperatures of the year.  It can go from shorts weather to jacket weather within the same day, especially when the sun goes down, or it can be on the cool side all day. You can rent lockers near the front of the parks if you don’t want to carry jackets or extra clothes.  The Disney World resort hotel pools are outdoors and are heated to about 82-86 degrees.  The Disney World moderate and deluxe resorts have towels available near the pools; the value resorts and campground do not provide pool towels so be sure to request extra towels from housekeeping. 

  • Average high temperature: 71°
  • Average low temperature: 49°
  • Average humidity: 70%
  • Average Rain: 7 days in January / 2.4 inches of total precipitation.

Disney World Ride Closures and Refurbishments

  • Magic Kingdom - Hall of Presidents will be closed from January 17 to June 29, 2017.
  • Magic Kingdom – Liberty Square Riverboat will be closed from January 3 to 12, 2017.
  • Magic Kingdom – Walt Disney World Railroad will be closed from January 9 to February 16, 2017.
  • Animal Kingdom – Kali River Rapids will be closed from January 3 to 29, 2017.
  • Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park will be closed from December 25, 2016 to March 11, 2017.  Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park will be open, weather permitting.
  • Disney’s All-Star Music Resort Piano pool is closed December 12, 2016 – February 2, 2017 but the Calypso feature pool is open.
  • Disney’s Pop Century Resort Computer pool is closed through January 3, 2017 but the Hippy Dippy feature pool and Bowling Pin pool are both open.
  • There may be more pool refurbishments - Click here for updates.

Disney World Ride Special Events in January

  • Epcot International Festival of the Arts (January 13 – February 20, 2017) will debut on January 13, 2017 and will run for six weekends (Fridays through Mondays).  Guests will get to enjoy the works of past Disney artists like Mary Blair as well as works by current artists like Joe Kaminski and Costa Alavezos, including live demonstrations. Disney Theatrical will bring an exciting new showcase of favorite music and Broadway talent to the America Gardens Theatre stage, including songs from Disney on Broadway's award-winning shows The Lion King, Newsies and Aladdin.  The culinary arts will also be celebrated in the Food Studios area of the festival.   Most of the festival experiences will be included in the cost of Epcot admission; some dining and other events will have a separate cost associated with them.

Accommodations, Dining, FastPass+ and Itinerary

Have you booked your accommodations? Discounts must be booked by December 21, 2017 - Disney World has released two promotions – a room rate discount and the popular “Play, Stay & Dine” offer -  for January and availability is limited. It’s okay if you don’t know where you want to stay, I can help you select a hotel that is a good fit for both your family and your budget.   I can also help with Universal Orlando resorts and other area hotels.

Now is the perfect time to start planning your itinerary -  Disney has released their January 2017 calendar and park hours and it is a good idea to map out which theme park(s) you want to visit on a given day during your trip so that you can book dining and FastPass+ reservations that don't have you running all over Disney World.   Did you know that the parks are not equally crowded on any given day?  For example, on January 5, the projected crowds for the Magic Kingdom are a "10" on a scale of 1-to-10 but Disney’s Animal Kingdom has projected crowds of “4” that same day.  Epcot crowds will be around “8” and Disney’s Hollywood Studios’ expected crowds will be about a "9" that day.  I can help you map out an itinerary that lets you take advantage of the best relative crowd and show conditions during your trip.

Do You Know How to Use Theme Park Touring Plans to Manage Crowds? Crowds will be high through January 7th but drop to low to moderate levels beginning January 8th .  When you book your trip through me, you’ll receive either a copy of the Unofficial Guide to Disney World (printed guidebook) or a subscription to TouringPlans.com because we really know for a fact that their touring plans will save you a lot of time otherwise wasted in line and help you make the most of shorter hours when crowds are low. 

  • Clip-out theme park touring plans (itineraries) are available beginning on page 814 of the 2017 Unofficial Guide to Disney World.
  • Printable theme park touring plans (itineraries)  are available in the Touring Plans tab of our TouringPlans.com account or you can access their itineraries through their smartphone app.
  • I also include printed, standardized plans in the packet of documents and information mailed to you shortly before your trip when you book through us. .

We’re Here To Answer Your Touring Plan Questions - Do you know which plan you want to use? Do you have questions about how to use the plans or how to include your FastPass+ & dining reservations into the plans? We don't expect you to figure it all out on your own; Steve, our theme park guy, is available most evenings and on the weekends to talk with you about your touring plan questions when you book your trip through us. With a little advance planning, you can have a great time regardless of the crowds.   

Have you booked your Disney Dining Reservations?  There are still some great options available and you may even be able to snag a reservation at popular locations if your schedule is flexible. I can help you narrow down the restaurant choices to options that you will really enjoy so we can lock in some great options before they’re gone.

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

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

2.   “Best Days” Itinerary – We will help you build an itinerary that includes your priorities for fireworks, parades, and shows and help with dining and Fastpass+ reservations.  The theme park touring plans we provide will help you stay ahead of the crowds and out of the long lines. 

3.   Saving Money – Of course we will watch for discounts and promotions and automatically apply the best available offer to your reservation but we also help you avoid up-sells and costly 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.  This way, you can have all the benefits Disney offers PLUS all the services we offer.  If you booked directly through Disney within the last 30-days, you can also sometimes have us listed as the "agent of record" on your existing reservation and still receive our services for free or you can purchase vacation planning consulting services from us if you booked more than 30-days ago 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

Free 2017 Disney Planning DVDs Now Available

2017 Free Disney Vacation Planning DVD  - Every year Disney creates a vacation planning DVD that you can have delivered right to your mail box or you can view it online.  Just click the image below to request your free copy.

It is a little cheesy but a lot of fun and can be used to tell the kids about your Disney vacation plans. This free DVD provides some great basic information about the Disney World and Disneyland theme parks and resorts but won't help you plan an itinerary that puts you in the best theme park for each day of the trip but don't worry - we'll help you with that when you book your Disney vacation through Build A Better Mouse Trip.

The online version is available in both English and Spanish.   The DVD is only available in English.  If the banner above doesn't work, you can click here to request the free Disney World Vacation planning DVD.

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:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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
The 2017 Free Disney Vacation Planning DVD is now available.

The 2017 Free Disney Vacation Planning DVD is now available.

This is a sponsored post. Build A Better Mouse Trip receives a commission on each free DVD requested through the ad in this article.

New PhotoPass Studio in Disney Springs - Disney World

Choose from several great backgrounds at the PhotoPass Studio in Disney Springs / Walt Disney World Resort - Florida.

Choose from several great backgrounds at the PhotoPass Studio in Disney Springs / Walt Disney World Resort - Florida.

Here are a couple of the images taken at the new PhotoPass Studio in Disney Springs. You get to choose your own backdrop. My daughter wouldn't get in the picture with me so it's a little awkward with just 1 person in the picture! (Plus I wasn't a fan of the posing....)

 There are view stations available so you can preview your photos and you can purchase prints of the photos right there, if desired.   Your photos taken at the PhotoPass Studio are included in the Memory Maker and are linked to your MyDisneyExperience account. 

To have photos taken, you go to the PhotoPass Studio in Disney Springs, and tell them you have the Memory Maker and you want the studio pictures taken that go with it. You then get to choose your background (I'm not sure if you just get to choose 1 or several....I told him I am a Travel Agent and was interested in seeing how it worked and showing clients so he let me choose a couple of them). They take the pictures and they show up in your Memory Maker!

PhotoPass Studio in Disney Springs - images are included in the Memory Maker package / Walt Disney World

PhotoPass Studio in Disney Springs - images are included in the Memory Maker package / Walt Disney World

The PhotoPass Studio is located between The World of Disney Store and Ghirardelli's Chocolate in Disney Springs.   Click here for additional information.

Map courtesy of Google

Map courtesy of Google

About the Author: Monica is the most experienced agent at Build A Better Mouse Trip, a travel agency specializing in Disney World and Orlando theme park vacations.  Click here to read more about Monica.

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.

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