Disney World

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

The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Hall of Fame is Being Removed at Disney's Hollywood Studios

The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Hall of Fame Exhibit has permanently closed at Disney's Hollywood Studios and is being replaced with a food and beverage marketplace.  Walt Disney World Resort - October 2016

The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Hall of Fame Exhibit has permanently closed at Disney's Hollywood Studios and is being replaced with a food and beverage marketplace.  Walt Disney World Resort - October 2016

The Orlando Sentinel has announced that the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Hall of Fame in the Echo Lake area of Disney's Hollywood Studios is being replaced with a food and beverage marketplace.   The exhibit featuring busts of TV stars has been behind construction walls since September 2016 and will be completely cleared by Thanksgiving.   The busts will returned to the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

Click here for a list of temporary Disney World closures during your upcoming visit

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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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Disney World Secret - Free Hair Glitter

Here's a great tip for your Disney trip - Castle Couture and Sir Mickeys are two gift shops in the Fantasyland area of the Magic Kingdom that will often have people 0n hand to sprinkle pixie dust (glitter) in your hair for free. Both of these gift shops are charming. Castle Couture has Aurora's ball gown and the pink dress the mice helped Cinderella make on display. Sir Mickey's is themed after Mickey and the beanstalk and you'll see the giant reaching inside.

Disney World Tips & Secrets - Get free hair glitter (pixie dust) in Sir Mickey or Castle Couture in the Fantasyland area of the Magic Kingdom. 

Disney World Tips & Secrets - Get free hair glitter (pixie dust) in Sir Mickey or Castle Couture in the Fantasyland area of the Magic Kingdom. 

Are you wondering why the photo above says Disney Freebie #3?   It is because we've put together a list of 45 great freebies at Disney World that we give to everyone that subscribes to our free newsletter.   We also send great tips and information to help you plan your Disney vacation and we'll be happy to send this all to you - just type in your email address in the box below.  Unsubscribe at any time.   

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 Vacation Planning Tip - When to Book Your Trip

Disney World Vacation Planning Tips & Information - How far in advance should you plan your trip?

I get a lot of clients that ask me when is a good time to book their Disney vacation. If possible, I would book my Disney vacation at least 7 months out. Why 7 months?

First of all, and most importantly, you can start making dining reservations at 180 days (6 months) from your date of arrival. If you want to eat at some of those more popular restaurants (Be Our Guest, Cinderella's Royal Table, etc...)you will NEED to book your dining 180 days out. If you book your vacation 7 months out, this gives you about a month to go through the planning guide that you receive from your Build a Better Mouse Trip travel agent, and decide which dates and restaurants you want to eat at.

Secondly, if you book at least 7 months out, you will have plenty of time to pay for your vacation! Disney doesn't require final payment on your trip until 30 days prior to date of arrival. At 7 months or more, you will have a good amount of time to pay off your trip!

Thirdly, there is a lot that goes into planning a Disney vacation! You want to give yourself plenty of time to make decisions such as dining, which days you'll go to which parks, which rides you want to ride, and what FastPasses you want to set up. I think 7 months gives you plenty of time to do all of this!

And lastly, you want to book far enough out to make dining reservations, but not too far out that it seems like your vacation will never come!!! Don't get me wrong...I've booked vacations for many guests that book a year or so from date of arrival. There is nothing wrong with that...plus it gives you more time to pay for your trip!

So, my answer to most people that ask me when is the best time to book a Disney vacation would be at least 7 months from the date you want to be there! Of course, in my opinion, it's ALWAYS a good time to book a Disney vacation!! So...when can I book your vacation?!!? :)

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.   

Click here to read Monica's full bio.

Let Monica help you plan 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 Monica 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.

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Shopping Tips for Disney World Trips

Shopping at Disney World! I don't know about you, but I LOVE shopping at Disney World. My girls are are known for trying on the huge assortment of hats at Disney World. Our tradition is to take a Three Amigos picture at the Mexico pavilion every time we go.). (Although it kind of ruined it for me when some lady told us her son got lice trying on hats at Disney World....kinda takes the fun out of it...) There is nothing like purchasing a new ornament for your Christmas tree, or getting that sweatshirt that makes you look freakin' fantastic! Well, here are a few tips to help make shopping at Disney World a little less hectic!

1) Shop as the park closes! Since everyone will be rushing to the buses, I take my time and shop then. While everyone is standing in lines to get home, I'm purchasing that cute set of mugs I've always wanted.

2) Did you know you don't have to carry your purchases around with you all day? Unless it's your second to last day, you can have Disney deliver them to your resort for you! A word of caution, though....if you are going to want it right away, don't use this service. It can take up to 24 hours to get it at your resort. I typically use this service a lot!

3) Did you know you can also have them ship your items home? Well, you can! They will ship them right from point of purchase and it's not that expensive! (Probably a lot less than paying for extra baggage on a plane, and it will be wrapped really well!)

4) If you want your purchases for the next day, or don't want to wait 24 hours, you can have them deliver your purchases to the front of each park! Then just remember to pick them up as you head to your transportation back to the resort.

5) I pack a fold-able duffle bag in my suitcase to carry all of my purchases home if I don't want them shipped home. I have a magnificent duffle bag that collapses to about 12" x 12" x 1/2" and fits perfectly into my suitcase. I try to fly Southwest so that I can fly with 2 free bags! You could also just put a few things in another suitcase and send it under on your way to WDW too.

6) Don't want to even bother with packing or shipping? There is a handy little app for your phone, called Disney Parks. With this app, you can scan the code on the item you want to purchase, and then just purchase it directly through the app and have it shipped home! Isn't that great?!?! Of if you need 3 of a certain item, and there is only one at Epcot, you can check on the app to see if it's available at any other park or resort! I have also scanned something I liked, put it in my cart, and then ordered it once I got home. It's a wonderful thing!!

Our friend Stacy offered these additional tips:  

  • I love shopping at the Mouse Gear shop in Epcot.  They have a wide variety and typically it's not super crowded.
  • I also love shopping at Disney's Character Warehouse at Orlando International Premium Outlets.  The selection is limited but the prices are great!  A shirt on the Disney website was $36.95 but available at the outlet for $9.99!  
  • I've scanned an item and when I discovered it wasn't available online, I knew I should purchase it before leaving the parks.  
  • Annual passholders get discounts (at some locations) on purchases with their membership cards so always have it on hand, a MagicBand won't work as a membership ID." 

So there you have it! Some wonderful shopping tips! 

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.   Click here to read Monica's full bio.

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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Disney World Tip - Wishes Fireworks Viewing Advice

In spite of what you might have heard, standing right in front of Cinderella's Castle in the Magic Kingdom is not the best place to view Wishes! If you stand right in front of the castle, you will be looking almost straight up and will miss a lot of the fireworks.

Disney World Advice - Tips for watching the Wishes Fireworks in the Magic Kingdom at Disney World. Here is a side view of Wishes (Christmas Wishes to be exact!). You can see how far away some of the fireworks really are!

Disney World Advice - Tips for watching the Wishes Fireworks in the Magic Kingdom at Disney World. Here is a side view of Wishes (Christmas Wishes to be exact!). You can see how far away some of the fireworks really are!

As you can see in the shot I took from the side of the castle, over near Big Thunder Mountain, the fireworks are far behind the castle! In order to see the full magnitude and beauty of the fireworks, the best viewing area, in my humble opinion, is right as Main Street opens up into the hub. You will be close enough to see the majesty of the castle, while being far enough back to see the magnitude of the fireworks. My absolute favorite spot to watch Wishes from?!?!? Hmmmm....that's a secret that I share with my clients! :)

Click here for a no-obligation vacation quote

Do you have any questions about Wishes or watching the show? Let me know!

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.   Click here to read Monica's full bio.

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 World Tip from Toni: Talk to the Cast Members!

Disney World Tip:  Take time to talk to the Disney Cast Members - they have great tips and stories.

Disney World Tip:  Take time to talk to the Disney Cast Members - they have great tips and stories.

Talk to the Cast Members! They're called "Cast Members" because they are part of the show.  Ask them where they are from and how long they have been at Disney. Chances are, you will hear some great stories or get some good tips.  Many of them live in Florida now but have their city or country of origin listed under their names on their name tag.

The Cast Members in the Epcot World Showcase pavilions are often from the represented country, giving you a unique opportunity to ask questions and visit with someone from another culture...someone who has intentionally chosen to interact with tourist!  This is also true of the Cast Members in the Asia and Africa part of Disney's Animal Kingdom park and the Goodwill Ambassadors over at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge

Here's another great tip - take time to talk to me, Toni, before your trip.  I can help you plan a great Disney World vacation starting with narrowing down hotels to those that are right for your budget and then we'll tackle dining and FastPass+ reservation and itineraries that keep you ahead of the crowds.  

Click here to read my bio and get a no-obligation vacation quote.

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

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Disney World & Universal OrlandoTip: Save Indoor Shows for the Afternoons

Monica's Tip o' the Day:

When planning your day at each Disney World and Universal Orlando theme park, try to save all the indoor shows/attractions for the afternoon!  Here's why:

  1. It's a nice break.  If you got to the parks before park opening (which we strongly recommend) you'll be ready for a little time off of your feet.  
  2. Orlando Weather - Afternoons are generally the hottest part of the day so that air conditioning feels great and gives you a little extra energy to push through the rest of the day!  Orlando also gets afternoon rain showers, especially in the summer, which is another good reason to wait on the shows.  
  3. Minimizing Lines - Since crowds are lowest in the first hour or so after park opening, you'll want to get through as many attractions with short ride times as possible in the morning.  Crowds peak in the middle of the day and lines are at their longest so heading to something with a large capacity that also takes more time(most Disney shows are about 20 minutes) just makes better sense.   

There are indoor, air-conditioned shows at every park. Be sure to pick up a Daily Show guide at the front of the parks to get the schedules. (Another quick hint: Pick 1 up at the front desk before you head out to the bus stop, and you can plan when to go while you're waiting for the bus, or riding the bus!)

One of our favorites is to ride Spaceship Earth at Epcot at around 2pm. The ride is about 20 minutes long, it's dark and it's cool! It give me just enough time to take a little rest, relax, and occasionally a little catnap! Of course, you'll want to be awake and smiling when they take the picture for these fun little Jetson-like scenes!

Have a magical day!

Monica

Travel Agent specializing in Orlando theme park vacations

Let Monica help you plan 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 Monica 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.

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Rain Poncho Tips for Disney World & Universal Orlando

One of my biggest tips for Disney World and Universal Orlando guests (or any other Orlando theme park) is to be prepared for rain! Florida is notorious for rain showers, so be prepared!  You can purchase them for about $10 each in the theme parks but I save money by buying a whole bunch of rain ponchos from Amazon and carry them with me. Most rain showers are over pretty quickly, so when rain comes, we put on our ponchos, grab a little snack (Dole Whip!!) and wait it out!  A lot of people flee the parks when the rain starts so coming prepared is a great way to take advantage of the shorter lines during rain showers.  No need to let a little rain ruin your day!!!   

You can also find inexpensive, disposable rain ponchos at most Dollar stores and in the camping section at Walmart.  My local Dollar Tree had them in the section where hair accessories are sold.   The fashion maven in your family may declare that they would NEVER wear a poncho but will probably change their mind when they see lots of people putting them on when the rain starts. 

Inexpensive disposable rain ponchos for your Orlando vacation are available on Amazon and at Walmart and Dollar Tree. 

Inexpensive disposable rain ponchos for your Orlando vacation are available on Amazon and at Walmart and Dollar Tree. 

Even if it isn't raining, you may want ponchos to help keep you dry on attractions that can soak you to the skin like Splash Mountain in the Magic Kingdom, Kali River Rapids at Disney's Animal Kingdom or Dudley Do-Rights Ripsaw Falls and Popeye & Bluto's Bilge-Rat Barges in Universal's Islands of Adventure

Have a magical day!

Monica,

Travel Agent specializing in 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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