Sunday, August 9, 2015

Beyond the Parks...Part 2

Continuing from the previous post, I wanted to share another Fall event at Disney World that is a must do for anyone who enjoys the finer foods and beverages that life can bring.

The Epcot Food and Wine Festival brings together chefs, culinarians, wine and spirit experts, and all those that enjoy food and drink to one place, offering tastings, classes, and special events.

This event happens at Epcot from September 25 - November 16 this year, so it coincides with Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party (see above post for more info! :)  ).  Think of it as the Halloween party for adults!

Not that kids can't enjoy themselves...but, truth be told, it is definitely geared toward the more "Young At Heart" visitors versus the Princes and Princesses that normally flock to Disney.

What can you expect if you attend the Food and Wine festival?  I like the way Disney puts it, so I'll let them describe it for you:

From wine pairings and seminars to culinary demonstrations and signature dining experiences, separately ticketed Premium Events take you on an unforgettable journey of cuisine and culture. And this year, you can enhance your culinary adventure with new experiences such as the Rockin’ Burger Block Party, Party for the Senses Yelloween Masquerade, and Eat to the Beat Dining Packages.

The best place to look for information is on the dedicated Food and Wine Festival website at:

As always, be sure to contact your travel agent, Authorized Disney Travel Planner, or, best help you book any of the special events and experiences that Disney has to offer that go beyond just the parks!

Until Next Time....


Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Beyond the Parks--Events at Disney....Part 1

This will be the first of a series of posts about other things to do at Disney aside from the typical "theme park" activities.

The first thing I'd like to talk about is one that is coming up this fall, and is one of my brother and sister-in-law's favorite things at Disney World....

Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party!!

The dates have been released for this family friendly fall activity, and, if you are thinking of going to DW during the fall months, this should be on your Must Do list for your trip.

First, the nitty gritty.  Magic Kingdom will close to the general public early on the nights of the Halloween Party. At that point, only those that have tickets will be allowed to stay.  Full information is available on the Disney Travel site, as well as through your Authorized Disney Travel Planner, but just to make sure I do my due diligence to my readers, here are the dates and prices:

Ticket prices start at $69 per person.

Mickey’s Halloween Party takes place on the following nights:

Friday, Sept. 25; Monday, Sept. 28; Wednesday, Sept. 30; Friday, Oct. 2; Monday, Oct. 5; Wednesday, Oct. 7; Friday, Oct. 9; Monday, Oct. 12; Wednesday, Oct. 14; Friday, Oct. 16; Monday, Oct. 19; Thursday, Oct. 22; Friday, Oct. 23; Sunday, Oct. 25; Tuesday, Oct. 27; Thursday, Oct. 29; and Saturday, Oct. 31. may be asking "Why should I spend ANOTHER $65 on top of my normal ticket?!?" The answer to that is multifaceted, but I'll try to hit the highlights.

First off, the characters themselves are dressed up in different costumes. You may see Pirate Mickey...or Princess Minnie...or any of a number of other "different" versions of the characters you love to see, and can only see like this during the event. Second, the characters that you have the opportunity of seeing are different as well. Routinely, many of the villains, who are notoriously hard to find at Disney are available and even have their own show that evening. Lastly...and your kids will think most importantly...every child can Trick Or Treat in the park and walk out with enough candy to make Willy Wonka blush!!

Is that all? Of course not, but I don't want to ruin all the fun!! Check it is very worth the extra cost.

Until next time,


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Paying for your trip.

A few days ago, I posted about maximizing your dining plan while at Disney.  Today, I want to talk a little bit about maximizing the one part of a Disney trip that everyone dreads....paying for it.  I was reminded to do this post after a client paid their trip with me using a method I'll mention below...quite a good way to maximize your money! ....  Read on!

We all love the planning...deciding on the time to go, where to stay, what to do, etc.  We love while we are there, and the anticipation is palpable.  It always goes sideways, however, when it comes to money.  Disney is affordable...but definitely not cheap.  That being said, there are ways to maximize your potential to not get a big hit in the pocketbook before you go.

First off, we all know to save.  Saving a little bit here and there is huge when it comes to any big purchase, and a Disney vacation is no different.  Taking even as little as $50 per week will get you a long way toward getting the trip totally paid for.  I never advocate leveraging your credit in order to pay for a trip, but if you can save bit by bit and pay it off, that's the best way to go.  Booking directly through an Authorized Disney Travel Planner is the best way to do that since the trip is booked with a small deposit and then can be paid slowly off until 45 days prior to travel.

One specific way to save is to take the earmarked (pun intended) and purchase gift cards.  You can pay for your trip using Disney gift cards just as you would money.  The client I mentioned above paid the final $2800 of their trip all in gift cards they had purchased and saved over the last few months.  That way, the money is gone from your budget and can only be used for that purchase.  It keeps you honest, in a way.

Truth be told, you can take this one much farther as well.  For example, I've seen Southwest Airlines gift cards at stores as well.  If you know you are going to fly Southwest, begin to purchase gift cards in small increments to save for the trip.  Food is another way to save here.  Disneyland, which I haven't spent too much time talking about, is much different than Disney World in that it is much easier to eat out of the park at restaurants instead of in.  In fact, it's a way to save on costs while visiting that park.  Why not do a bit of research and see what restaurants are around your hotel (if you don't stay at one of the three Disneyland Resorts) and purchase gift cards for those?  Again...earmarking the money before you go so that you can plan.  You can also use the Disney gift cards to pay for meals...just use them like money in the parks at both quick serve as well as table service restaurants. (Keep in mind, you can't use a gift card to leave a tip, so you will need to have some cash on hand for that).

Taking it one step further, if you purchase your gift cards at whatever local store sells them with your Disney Visa card, you can make your money go even farther.  Each purchase on your Disney Visa gets you Disney dollars you can put on a card to use just like cash at Disney, on, or in the Disney Store.  It's all about making the money work for you, right?  The Disney Rewards Card can be used like cash at the parks, or can be used (like we do) to get those gifts and things we might want to purchase in the park beforehand at  

Lastly, there is no reason not to take it a little bit further.  Our local Kroger grocery store has a gas pump in front.  We have a Kroger Plus card that gets us fuel points for each dollar we spend.  If we accumulate 100 points, we can take 10 cents off per gallon of gas, up to 35 gallons.  If we make it to 1000 points, we can use up to $1 off!  Now....stay with me here....Purchase your gift cards for the trip with your Disney Visa Card, while Kroger is doing 4 times fuel points....that gives you Disney Reward Bucks for the purchase, Fuel Points that you can use to fill up your car, and gives you the savings flexibility to pay for a magical vacation without breaking the monthly budget.  Win, Win....Win!!'s all about making the money work for you.  If you can get something out of a purchase more than that purchase, do it!  It makes it all worth it in the end.

Have a Magical Day!!

Sunday, January 18, 2015


So, unless you've been under a rock, in outer space, with blinders and headphones on, you've heard at least a little something about Frozen.  From the music, to the characters, Frozen has taken not only the US, but the world by storm.  It is the highest grossing movie in Disney history, and is still setting records for merchandise and media.

The characters are mainstays at Disney on both coasts, and are now going to be staples on Disney Cruise line.

But....does Disney stop there?  Why, of course not, silly!!   According to my friends over at Chip and Co. (, Disney is expanding a section of Epcot to include a Frozen attraction.

Here is what is being said from Disney:

Documents have been filed for Epcot’s Frozen Expansion. The new “Frozen” attraction will be located between Norway and Mexico. It will be taking over the old Maelstrom ride and then some. The new documents were prepared for the South Florida Water Management District and the Reedy Creek Improvement District.
It will be quite the expansion, it includes a 13,000 square foot building which will house the main attraction.


I definitely found myself drawn into the whole Frozen trend, and I, for one, can't wait.  Honestly, I think this is going to be the biggest thing for Disney World since the most recent Fantasyland expansion!

Wishing you a Magical Week,