Disney World

New Disney Policies for Strollers, Smoking & Ice

STROLLERS:

2019 Updated Disney Policies concerning Strollers, Wagons, Smoking, and Ice.

2019 Updated Disney Policies concerning Strollers, Wagons, Smoking, and Ice.

Beginning May 1, Disney is adjusting guidelines on stroller sizes, which will require them to be no larger than 31" (79cm) wide and 52" (132cm) long or smaller. The good news – many of the strollers on the market, including many double jogging strollers, fit within these size guidelines. Also, just a reminder that wagons are not permitted in the Disney parks. Beginning May 1, stroller wagons will also no longer be permitted. These updates are designed to help guest flow and ease congestion, making the parks more enjoyable for everyone.

TIP: The smaller your stroller, the easier it is to navigate and maneuver the parks. At Walt Disney World Resort, you can rent a single or double stroller once you arrive, and they can be rented each day. Or, they can choose a Length of Stay Rental, which will save them time and money. While Walt Disney World already offers a double stroller rental, Disneyland Resort will soon offer one too.

SMOKING:

Also beginning May 1, smoking areas will no longer be present inside Walt Disney World or Disneyland theme parks, water parks, ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex or Downtown Disney in California.

TIP: Designated smoking areas will be available outside the entrances to the areas listed above, and at Disney Springs in Florida. For guests who have room or dining reservations, smoking areas are also available at Disney Resort hotels.

LOOSE ICE

Beginning today, if you plan to bring a cooler or cooler bag to store snacks and drinks for theme park or water park adventures, it’s important to know that loose or dry ice are no longer permitted.

TIP: We recommend you use re-useable ice packs instead. Complimentary cups of ice are available at Food & Beverage locations inside the parks if needed.

Click here to request your no-obligation Disney vacation quote.

Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge Opening Dates Announced

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge will open on May 31st at Disneyland and August 29th at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Florida

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge will open on May 31st at Disneyland and August 29th at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Florida

Disneyland California – Phase 1 opening on May 31, 2019

Disney’s Hollywood Studios – Phase 1 opening on August 29, 2019

Hey, Star Wars Fans -

Today Disney announced opening dates for the first phase of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at both Disneyland in California and Disney’s Hollywood Studios at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida.   In this first phase, the shops, restaurants, and the new Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run attraction will be open.  For an extra cost, you can create your own lightsaber or purchase your own droid modeled on R2-D2 or BB-8.  Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance will not open until later this year (dates not yet announced).   This is going to be an amazing, immersive Star Wars experience!

Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run will put you in the seat of the cockpit of the Millennium Falcon as either a pilon, engineer, or gunner where you will blast off, jump into hyperspace and face danger at every turn.  This thrill ride features small drops, darkness and loud noises so guests must be at least 38-inches (97cm) to ride.   Guests age 7 years or younger must be accompanied by a person age 14 years or older and it comes with all the usual warnings that riders should be in good health without high blood pressure, heart troubles, back or neck problems or other conditions that could be problematic.  Expectant mothers should not ride.

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is the first land designed to interact with the Play Disney parks app. Click here to learn more.

Important Information

Disneyland (California) – This is going to popular because it opens during summer vacation.  

  • Reservations required May 31 – June 23.   The no-cost reservation system has not been implemented yet but guests visiting Disneyland from May 31 to June 23, 2019 will need to purchase theme park admission prior to booking a no-cost reservation (one per ticket) to enter Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. Guests staying at one of the 3 Official Disneyland Hotels will get a designated reservation during their stay.   Book your trip now so that you make your reservation to enter at the earliest opportunity.

  • Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge will not be included in the Disneyland Extra Magic Hour or Magic Morning at Disneyland

  • Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run will not initially be included in either FastPass or MaxPass.

  • Capacity is limited.

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Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Disney World:

  • Reservations are not being offered to enter Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.  Entry will be first come/first served and capacity is limited.

  • Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run will not initially be included FastPass+

  • Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge will be included in Extra Magic Hours which is a great benefit of staying at one of the official Walt Disney World Resort hotels or the select group of Good Neighbor hotels that qualify for Extra Magic Hour benefits.

WARNING: Availability at the official Disney World hotels is already EXTREMELY limited in early December – around Dec. 6-14 – because of the Pop Warner Super Bowl and Cheer & Dance National Events taking place at the ESPN Wide World of Sports. Most of the value resorts and several room categories at the moderate resorts are already booked to capacity.Good Neighbor hotels might be a good option.Contact us as soon as possible if this is when you want to visit.

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More information about Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge

What Is A Dole Whip?

Dole Whips at Disney World and Disneyland

Imagine yourself miserably hot and humid - you dread moving because that'll just make you even hotter. Then someone (maybe an angel) hands you a dish of a cheerful yellow, softly frozen pineapple (flavored) treat. From the first bite, your outlook brightens while visions of hula girls dance in your head. Okay, that might be a little bit of over-sell but Dole Whips are just plain wonderful! My whole family loves them and we'll use any excuse to get one.

If you prefer hard facts to hyperbole, here is the official (though uninspiring!) description: "Dole Soft Serve Mix is a lactose free dry mix that is reconstituted with tap water and frozen down in a soft serve machine. Marketed under the popular Dole brand name, this unique product delivers an intense, natural pineapple fruit flavor, yet is fat free and cholesterol free.". That may be technically accurate but it certainly fails to capture the joy your taste buds experience when introduced to a Dole Whip

Where To Get A Dole Whip at Disney World

Aloha Isle - Magic Kingdom Theme Park - Adventureland Area :This refreshment stand carries both pineapple and vanilla Dole Whip. You can also get pineapple spears, pineapple juice, and Dole Whip floats here. If you're on a Disney Dining Plan, you can use one of your snack credits to get a Dole Whip. There are those - even in my own family - who get sprinkles on their Dole Whips. Sprinkles!?!? Yuck! Click here to learn how to skip the line at Aloha Isle using mobile ordering.

The floats have Dole Whip floating in pineapple juice - very refreshing.

TIP: If there are multiple lines, check to see which server gives the bigger servings and get in that line.

Tamu Tamu - Disney’s Animal Kingdom - Africa Area: This location sells a cups of Pineapple Dole Whip suitable for children and teetotalers like myself but they also offer a very popular option that includes dark rum or coconut rum for those who can present photo ID proving that they are at least 21-years old.

Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival is a seasonal event usually held from early March to Early June. The festival’s Pineapple Promenade usually features both regular Dole Whip and a pineapple float made with Coconut Rum.

Marketplace Snacks at Disney Springs also sells Dole Whip.

Everything Pop at Disney’s Pop Century sells pineapple soft-serve and pineapple floats from 6PM to 11PM.

Pineapple Lanai, at Disney's Polynesian Village Resort Hotel - located just outside the Great Ceremonial House (main building), sells Dole Whips but doesn't carry as many items as Aloha Isle, in the Magic Kingdom. No sprinkles here but you can buy a souvenir tiki bowl or sipper.

Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto, at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, sells a drink called Spikey Pineapple that features Barbancourt Pango Rhum blended with Dole Whip. Must be 21 or older.

TIP: My family loves to buy a Dole Whip at Pineapple Lanai just before going out to the Polynesian resort's "beach" area to watch the Magic Kingdom fireworks and the Electric Water Pageant (floating parade). This is one of life's simple pleasures.

Where to Find Dole Whip at Disneyland

Tiki Juice Bar - Disneyland Theme Park - .Did you know that the Tiki Birds were the first Disney Animatronic figures? It is a quaint show and the line for Dole Whips is often shorter on the show's courtyard side than on the Adventureland side. You can use Disneyland app mobile ordering to skip the line at this location.

Tangaroa Terrace - Disneyland Hotel now serves Dole Whip soft serve, Dole Whip floats and Dole Whip floats with Rum.

The Coffee House - Disneyland Hotel sells Dole Whip and Dole Whip floats.

Dole Whip at Aulani - A Disney Resort & Spa in Hawaii

Aulani - A Disney Resort & Spa on beautiful Oahu Island in Hawaii has Dole Whip available for purchase at the Ulu Cafe.

Of course, you might also want to visit the Dole Plantation while you’re on Oahu and try a Dole Whip there.. The Plantation Grill offers Dole Whip cones, cups, waffle cones, waffle bowls, a float and Dole Whip cups with topping.

Does Everyone Like Dole Whips?

Strangely enough, there is a small minority of people who think Dole Whips are terrible. There are also some people who think Dole Whips are entirely over-rated - they aren't bad; they're just not amazing. I'll admit that nostalgia may be part of the attraction since many people experience these for the first time while on vacation.

Disney sometimes goes a little crazy around Christmas, serving Dole Whips that are tinted green or red and some people find that just a little weird.

What Is In Dole Whips (Ingredients)

Water*, Sugar, Dextrose, Pineapple Juice Concentrate, Coconut Oil**, Stabilizers (Cellulose, Xanthan Gum, Locust Bean, Karaya Gum, Pectin), Silicon Dioxide (Anticaking), Corn Syrup Solids, Citric Acid, Sodium Caseinate (A Milk Derivative), Artificial Flavor, Potassium & Sodium Phosphate, Mono & Diglycerides, Artificial Color (Yellow 5 & 6), Soy Lecithin.

*This ingredient statement was written with water added according to the recommended preparation instructions. Product is sold without water.

**Adds a trivial amount of fat.

Serving size: 1/2 cup

Calories: 80 per 1/2 cup serving

Calories from Fat: 5 per 1/2 cup serving

Nutrition: Clearly you're confused about the purpose of a Dole Whip...this ain't about nutrition. (there are trace amounts of vitamin C)

You Can Make Dole Whip at Home

If you have a sorbet maker, you can purchase a 4-pound bag of Dole Whip mix from Amazon for about $25 and enjoy a Dole Whip at home any time you want. The video below tells you what to do. Click here to order Dole Whip Mix - they even have other flavors.

Similar to Dole Whip - Recipes to Try at Home

It may not be convenient for you to head to Disney World for a Dole Whip or to purchase a bag of Dole Whip mix so here are a few look-alike recipes that might get you through a Dole Whip craving. These include dairy products but they're probably more nutritious that the real Dole Whips.

Dole Whip (Easy Version)

Ingredients:

  • Frozen Pineapple Chunks

  • Juice of one fresh lime

  • Coconut milk, other milk, or pineapple juice

Put the pineapple chunks, lime juice and enough coconut milk to keep things moving in your blender and blend until smooth. Try not to add too much liquid, if possible, but you can just put the mixture in your freezer for a little while before serving if the mixture is too soft. We tried this first without lime juice but we find the lime juice actually enhances the pineapple flavor.

DOLE WHIP (VERSION 2)

Ingredients

  • 1 quart pineapple juice (Dole)

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

  • 3 cups cream

  • 3 cups sugar

  • milk

Directions

Mix the pineapple juice and sugar -- make sure that the sugar is dissolved. Next add the cream and vanilla. Pour the whole mixture into a 4-quart Ice Cream freezer container. Add milk to finish filling to the "fill line". At this point simply follow the instructions on your ice cream maker. When the ice cream is ready you can serve it as is or you can stick it in the freezer for a while and let it set up a bit. Makes 8 Servings

DOLE WHIP (VERSION 3)

Ingredients

  • 2 cans (20 oz. each) DOLE crushed pineapple

  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice

  • 2 tbsp. lime juice

  • 1/3 cup sugar

  • 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream, whipped

Directions

Drain pineapple: reserve 2 tbsp. juice. Set aside.Place pineapple, lemon juice, lime juice, sugar and reserved pineapple juice in blender. Cover and blend until smooth.Pour into two 1-quart freezer zipped bags. Store bags flat in freezer. Freeze 1 1/2 hours or until slushy. Stir pineapple slush gently into whipped cream until slightly blended in large bowl.Return to freezer until completely frozen, about 1 hour and serve.

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

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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.

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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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Click here to check out the webcam at Blue Spring

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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 kitchen with a refrigerator, dishwasher, convection/microwave oven, and two counter top burners.  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.

DoubleTree Suites by Hilton - Orlando - Disney Springs has spacious and comfortable suites that can accommodate up to six guests or seven, if the group includes an infant in a crib. These suites feature two (2) queen beds in the bedroom and a sofa sleeper in the living room. This Disney Springs Good Neighbor hotel offers great exclusive Disney benefits like Extra Magic Hours, Early FastPass+ booking privileges, and complimentary transportation to the Disney World theme parks but it does not participate in Disney Magical Express airport transportation. Click here for more information.

Going to Universal?

How Universal’s Endless Summer Resort - Surfside Inn Family Suites compare to the family suites at the Disney World value resorts.

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.

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Free Disney Planning Videos Now Available

2018 Free Disney Vacation Planning Video  - Every year Disney creates a vacation planning video that you can view online.  Just click the image below to request your free copy.

It is a fun way to tell the kids about your Disney vacation plans. This free video 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.  If the banner above doesn't work, you can click here to view.

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

This is a sponsored post. Build A Better Mouse Trip receives a commission on each person who views the free video available through the ad in this article.

New MagicBand Packaging

Disney World has introduced new packaging for MagicBands that is fully recyclable and is printed on recycled paper.  The Walt Disney Travel Company also includes gift luggage tags that come in the sleeve on the left side of the box; the straps for the luggage tags are in the gray MagicBand holder. The new packaging includes printed information for sizing, wearing, and using MagicBands

New, fully-recyclable packaging for  MagicBands  from the  Walt Disney Travel Company . 

New, fully-recyclable packaging for MagicBands from the Walt Disney Travel Company

MagicBands are included as part of Walt Disney World Resort room only reservations and vacation packages and are mailed to guests from the United States. Guests from other countries and guests who book less than a month prior to arrival will receive their MagicBands when they check in at their Disney resort.  You will need to set up a MyDisneyExperience.com to link your resort reservation and tickets (if purchased separately) to your MagicBands.

MagicBands contain a RFID chip that can be used:

  • To check in to your resort
  • To check in to Disney's Magical Express upon arrival.  Paper vouchers are still used on departure day.
  • To unlock yourhotel room
  • To enter the theme parks, if admission tickets have been linked to your account.
  • To access your resort feature pool & laundry areas
  • To use Disney Dining Plan credits, if you have purchased a Disney Dining Plan.  
  • To charge purchases to your room, if linked to a credit card and a 4-digit PIN has been set up.

Guests not staying at a Walt Disney World Resort hotel can purchase MagicBands at Disney World or prior to their trip through the Disney Store.   

MagicBands can be reused on future trips and have a life expectancy of about two years before the enclosed battery dies.

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.

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Magical Moments at the End of the Disney Day!

Great reasons to stay until park closing at Disney World

Great reasons to stay until park closing at Disney World

Did you know that if you enter an attraction line at 10:59pm and the park closes at 11pm, that they will run the ride until everyone in line has gotten to ride?!? Well they do! It also works at any closing time, not just 11pm.

This is an excellent time to ride those rides that generally have longer lines like 7 Dwarfs Mine Train. The line may be really long, but they'll continue to keep it open until everyone in line at closing gets to ride it. I like this because it isn't wasting precious park time since the park would be closed anyway! Our favorite ride to ride at closing is Big Thunder Mtn! I swear it goes faster at night!

As a side note, one of my favorite times to be in the parks is after closing. The crowds usually cram their way towards the buses, but I head back into the park! I take a nice leisurely stroll through the park, while everyone else is standing in a long line to ride the bus. I also do my shopping at this time so I'm not wasting precious park time shopping! I would not recommend this if it's your last day, however. Sometimes they will close shops at some parks right at closing (Hollywood Studios is the worst about closing them right at closing, but Magic Kingdom is really good about it!) so you want to make sure you get that treasure before closing. The buses run for at least an hour after park closing, so no need to hurry out!

I love being at the parks after closing....how about you? Have you ever stayed in the park after closing?

Have a Magical Day!

Monica

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.  

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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Ian's Tip for A Better Orlando Trip: Know Your Sunscreen

Your Disney World or Universal Orlando vacation is not the time to experiment with a new sunscreen. Know what works for you and your family BEFORE you go. Don't get badly burned at Blizzard Beach or Volcano Bay, baby!

Tip for A Better Disney World or Universal Orlando Trip: Know Your Sunscreen!

Tip for A Better Disney World or Universal Orlando Trip: Know Your Sunscreen!

Take a few minutes and educate yourself about SPF (higher isn't always better), UVA and UVB protection AND the LIE of "waterproof" SUNSCREEN. It's hot, humid, and sweaty - especially at the water parks.

Oh, and repeat after me: "Re-apply, re-apply, re-apply."

About the Author:  Ian and his wife Toni work together to help their clients have wonderful Disney World, SeaWorld, and Universal Orlando vacations.  There is no extra charge to get their expert help for your trip when you book your vacation through them.   

Click Here To Get Ian's Help On Your Next Vacation

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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Disney World Tip - Good Communication is Key!

Ian's Tip for A Better Disney Trip: Communicate!

Disney Advice from Ian - Let people know what you want to do. 

Disney Advice from Ian - Let people know what you want to do. 

Everybody has their own idea of what a Disney vacation looks like, but nobody else knows what's in your head unless you tell them!

You don't have to micro-manage every second of your trip or squeeze in every single attraction (newsflash- you can't get 'em all), but if you have something you want to see, do, or eat - you have to actually TELL somebody!

Before (and during!) your excursion, communicate with each other so that everybody knows what's in everybody else's head that day. Even if you can't get to all of it, the really important things can take precedent and help eliminate bruised feelings, sulking, pouting, and those oh-so-awkward public arguments!

About the Author:  Ian and his wife Toni work together to help their clients have wonderful Disney World, SeaWorld, and Universal Orlando vacations.  There is no extra charge to get their expert help for your trip when you book your vacation through them.   

Click here to read more about Ian

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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Disney World Tip from Toni: Give Yourself Permission to NOT do it all!

Disney vacations are a huge investment, and many people try to do EVERYTHING to feel like they're getting their money's worth and end up stressing themselves out to the extent that they don't actually enjoy the trip!

We plan these things for a living, and any good agent will tell you you can't do it all. Give yourself permission to enjoy the time you're spending with your friends and family without feeling you're missing out on something - the only thing you're missing is your own sense of enjoyment.

About the Author: Toni is a travel agent who specializes in Disney World and Orlando theme park vacations.   Because of her extensive experience, she is a great one to have in your corner when you're headed to Orlando.

Click here to read Toni's bio and request a no-obligation 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.

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Purple Magic Bands Now Available Through My Disney Experience

Purple Magic Bands now available as one of the custom colors available when you stay at one of the Disney World hotels.  

Purple Magic Bands now available as one of the custom colors available when you stay at one of the Disney World hotels.  

Great news!  Disney has now added purple to the list of complimentary colors available for Magic Bands provided at no extra cost when you stay at a Walt Disney World Resort hotel.  You’ll need to create or log into your My Disney Experience account, link your resort reservation to the account, and follow the instructions to customize your Magic Bands.  When you do, you’ll see a screen like the one pictured above that lets you select the color you want for your Magic Band.   If you’ve already done this but your trip is at least a month away, you may still be able to go in and modify your color selection. 

Magic Bands an easy and convenient way to:

  • Check-in for your Disney Magical Express transfers at the Orlando International Airport
  • Open your Disney World resort hotel room
  • Enter the Disney World theme parks, if you’ve linked your tickets to your account
  • Check in for FastPass+ reservations
  • Connect Disney PhotoPass photos to your account
  • Pay for meals and snacks using your Disney Dining Plan credits
  • Charge food and souvenir purchases to your Disney Resort hotel room

Other Magic Band colors available:

  • Grey (default color)
  • Red
  • Orange
  • Yellow
  • Green
  • Blue
  • Pink

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 Quote


New purple Disney world Magic Band

New purple Disney world Magic Band

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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Why You Should book your Disney World Vacation Before a Free Dining Promotion is Announced

When Disney World releases a free dining promotion, people book their trip and then they start booking their dining right away and popular locations like Chef Mickey, O'hana, Teppen Edo, and Be Our Guest fill to capacity almost immediately.  Free Dining is usually announced sometime between late March and early May for late August or early September arrivals.  Disney World dining reservations can be booked 180 days prior to arrival, which means that you can begin booking dining reservations into the typical Free Dining Promotion period in early March.   The easiest and most relaxed way for you to plan your vacation and get the restaurants you want is to let one of our agents get your trip booked now and we'll help you map out which park you'll visit on each day of your vacation, then we'll book your dining reservations on your behalf as soon as your 180 day reservation window opens.  Your top choices will be secured for you before the free dining frenzy begins and then your agent will apply the free dining promotion to your existing reservation just as soon as the promotion is released, subject to Disney terms and conditions.  Your agent will let you know right away if any modifications need to be made to participate.  You don't have to keep watching for a promotion release because we're taking care of that for you.   The deposit is only $200 and is completely refundable up to 30-days prior to arrival so there is absolutely no risk - you can cancel for a full refund if free dining is not offered or your plans change.   Booking your trip now is like getting all the "Black Friday" deals and getting to sleep in on the day after Thanksgiving!

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.

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Click the photo below if you'd like to sign up to receive email alerts every time Disney World announces a Free Dining Promotion.


Anna-the-Anxious Rides Rock 'n Roller Coaster

Anna, who has an anxiety disorder, recounts her experience riding Rock 'n Roller Coaster at Disney World.

Rock’N’Roller Coaster at Disney’s Hollywood Studios holds a special place in my heart for many reasons. For one, it is no ordinary Roller Coaster (but we’ll get back to that in a minute). For two, it was my very first real (by real I mean, you go upside down on it) roller coaster. Finally, my family has a heart for Classic Rock and adores making fun of one line in particular of the pre­-show.

So what is the coaster like? Well, terrifying.

You see, since it was my very first grown­up coaster, I was already super nervous. To make matters worse, my mother made me spit out my gum beforehand because, and I quote, “I really don’t want you choking on your gum from this.” My little sister (who had been on it many times) held my hand and told me I probably wouldn’t die. I had a nice little hyperventilating fit in the pre-­show, managed to calm down, got in the second line, and told myself "there is no turning back now." This of course is not true; you can turn back all the way up to the point that you strap into your seat. As I mentioned before you can turn back up to the moment they strap you in.  I hopped in the seat while forcing myself to take deep calming breaths, yanked the harness down as tight as I could physically make it, and waited... I waited for what felt like an eternity, until I heard Steven Tyler's voice shout, "5" (Oh gosh, my heart!),  "4" (I CAN'T DO THIS!), "3" (I'M STUCK!!!), "2" (I held my breath) and "1!!!" Off like a rocket! 0­-to-60mph in 3-­point­ something seconds, and after that three seconds the worst was over. I laughed hysterically! In retrospect I think I was having a minor breakdown. I laughed and laughed and laughed and tears rolled across my face. Then in an instant, it was over... I was so pumped I rode it twice more, and then I never got back on it again.

 I conquered my fear and decided I didn't like the feeling in my stomach whilst accelerating at an unreasonable rate. I don't like being forced to listen to loud noises while my body is being thrown about. If this sounds terrifying to you, you should probably sit this one out. If you get motion sick, enjoy the super cool Aerosmith themed gift shop, where you can watch all the excited riders look at photos of their scrunched up faces as they exit the ride. There is plenty to do while the others ride, and please don't feel bad, or dumb for not wanting to ride. There are so many reasons not to go! My go-­to reason is "I'm nauseous, and who of you wants to sit next to a nauseous person on a roller coaster?" Your reason can be as simple as "I want to enjoy my visit to Disney World, and look back at it fondly, I don't want you to remember me crying in line."

Anna-face.JPG

I'm going to leave you with quote from my dad. "If you don't ride because you don't want to, that's fine. Just don't let fear stop you from something you truly want to do." I wanted to conquer my fear of Roller Coasters, so I went of the most extreme one at Disney World in a moment of peer pressure, and I'm glad I did. If you really don't want to go, just don't.  That's okay! 

About the author:  Anna was always a cautious child and was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder in her teens.  She works hard to keep it from running her life.

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.

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Courage quote by Malcolm Gladwell.

How To Get the FastPass+ Options That Will Save the Most Time

Are you wondering which FastPass+ reservations are best? We give an Unofficial Guide or a subscription to TouringPlans to each of our clients.  These fantastic resources are full of powerful and up-to-date information that will help you keep lines and waits to a minimum. 

Click Here to Find Out How You Can Get Free Disney World Touring Plans

If you have the Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World (printed guidebook), look at the touring plans found near the back of the book and select a plan that is right for your group. You'll find FastPass+ recommendations and best times so that your theme park touring plan and your FastPass+ reservations work together to give you the best way to keep lines to an absolute minimum.

Disney World Tip - How to pick the FastPass+ options that provide the biggest benefit.

If you have a TouringPlans subscription, look under the "Touring Plans" tab, select a park and you'll find the FastPass+ recommendations in the gray box near the top of the plan.

Where to find FastPass+ recommendations on a TouringPlans.com plan.

Where to find FastPass+ recommendations on a TouringPlans.com plan.

If you aren't using a Disney World theme park touring plan or itinerary, here are the attractions I recommend you try to get FastPass+ reservations for:

Magic Kingdom:

  • Seven Dwarfs Mine Train - this is the Magic Kingdom's newest attraction and is very centrally located so long lines are always an issue here.

  • Peter Pan’s Flight - Surprised? Again, the central location is an issue but this ride also has a very low rider capacity and relatively slow loading and unloading so a FastPass here can free up a lot of time you would've spent in line.

Note: Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is a new roller coaster (you don’t go upside down) that is Magic Kingdom’s newest attraction and that, along with the central location, means that lines are horrific.  Peter Pan's Flight suffers from low loading speed, low rider capacity and a central location so its lines also are terrible.  

How to Beat the Crowds at Magic Kingdom
The 14-minute below shows you where the “hot spots” are in Disney World’s Magic Kingdom, and more importantly, how to move to avoid the crowds.

 Epcot:

  • Frozen Ever After – popularity of Frozen plus the fact that this is Epcot’s newest attraction means long lines.

  • Test Track and Soarin' are always popular but Disney will only let you choose one of the rides mentioned in this section so go with Test Track or Frozen Ever After and ride Soarin' using the standby line as soon as the park opens.

How to Beat the Crowds at Epcot

The 11-minute video below helps you plan a day at Epcot that will keep you ahead of the crowds and out of the long lines.

 Disney’s Hollywood Studios:

  • Disney is currently only allowing guests to choose one FastPass from the new Toy Story Land.

  • Slinky Dog Dash is new and will also be very popular - this FastPass option can be hard to get, even 60-days early. Also, a lot of its line is outside which means your wait can be really hot without FastPass.

  • Toy Story Midway Mania – the fact that this is the only ride in this park that is truly appropriate for all ages causes long lines and has no height restriction.

  • Rock 'n Roller Coaster and Tower of Terror are always popular choices for thrill seekers.

  • Alien Swirling Saucers is easier to get and lines aren't usually as long; I wouldn't choose this one.

 Disney’s Animal Kingdom:

 You don’t typically need FastPass+ for shows or 3D movies.

The 9 1/2 minute video below will explain the crowd patterns at Disney’s Animal Kingdom so you can avoid - or at least manage - them and have a great day.

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 Unofficial Guide book is full of great information to help you have a better Disney World experience. Learn how you can get this book for free at http://www.buildabettermousetrip.com/free-touring-plans

The Unofficial Guide book is full of great information to help you have a better Disney World experience. Learn how you can get this book for free at http://www.buildabettermousetrip.com/free-touring-plans

Save Time by Pre-Ordering Food at Be Our Guest (Breakfast & Lunch)

Pre-order your breakfast or lunch at Be Our Guest, a re. taurant in the Magic Kingdom at Disney World, to save a lot of wasted time.

Be Our Guest is a beautiful and very popular restaurant in the Fantasyland area of the Magic Kingdom.  The restaurant is a table-service location during dining but is a Disney quick-service location at breakfast and lunch.   It is so popular and the lines were getting so long that Disney has made this one of only two quick-service location that accepts advance reservations; the other quick-service restaurant that accepts reservations is ABC Commissary at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.  You can check availability and make reservations by logging into your "MyDisneyExperience" (MDE) account on a computer or by using the MDE app on your phone or by calling 407-WDW-DINE (407-939-3463).   If you booked your trip through us, your agent will be happy to take care of this for you, subject to availability.   

Once you have a quick-service reservation at Be Our Guest in the Magic Kingdom, you'll definitely want to take advantage of the option to pre-order your food prior to your vacation. Several of my clients have reported really long waits (up to 40-minutes) just to get to order. Pre-ordering takes a little time and thought at home but cuts one line and a lot of wasted time out of your Magic Kingdom experience.  You can pre-order food up to 180 days prior to arrival by logging into your "MyDisneyExperience" (MDE) account on a computer or by using the MDE app on your phone.  This restaurant is a table-service location at dinner so your server will take your order once you are seated.

TIP 1: It is easy to forget what everyone picked when you order your meal weeks in advance so you may want to set up some kind of reminder for yourself.   Some ideas I've heard are to use the appointments or notes function of your smart phone or to schedule an email for delivery on the day of your reservation to an email address you receive on your phone.   If you're using a printed touring plan, you may want to write down the list of who ordered what on that.   You could also write down everyone's name next to their order and take a photo with your phone so that you can just look at that if there are questions and confusion.   

Tip 2: If your party is in more than one room and is on a dining plan, you'll want to book as many reservations as rooms.  You'll probably be able to sit together but all of the dining credits for the group will be taken from the account of the reservation of the person who booked the reservation if you don't break it up by room.   They cannot split the credits up by room when you arrive. 

Click here for full instructions on ordering your Be Our Guest meals in advance.

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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