Walt Disney World & World Travels

Archive for the ‘Disney planning & tips’ Category

This is the news that EVERYONE loves to hear!  Disney has just released new Free Dining dates for this fall through March 2012.

Here’s the quick rundown of example pricing:

Buy 4 Nights and 5 Days at a Select Disney Moderate Resort in a Standard Room for $89* per person, per day, for a family of 4, and get the Disney Dining Plan FREE (valid for stays most nights Oct. 2-6, 2011; Oct. 23 – Nov. 5, 2011; Nov. 27 – Dec. 3, 2011; Dec.11-17, 2011). That’s a total package price of $1,773.

Buy 4 Nights and 5 Days at a Select Disney Value Resort in a Standard Room for 73* per person, per day, for a family of 4, and get the Disney Quick-Service Dining Plan FREE (valid for stays most nights Oct. 2-6, 2011; Oct. 23 – Nov. 5, 2011; Nov. 27 – Dec. 3, 2011; Dec.11-17, 2011). That’s a total package price of $1,442.

Ask about packages for other lengths of stay. Also, ask about other great rates for arrivals most nights Jan. 8-14, Jan. 22 – Feb. 4, Feb. 12-18, March 4-10 and March 25-31, 2012.

Call or email Second Star Travels today for your no-obligation quote.  Toll free 888-619-1675 or michelle@secondstartravels.com   Don’t wait too long, rooms at these rates are limited and will disappear quickly!

I have been a very bad blogger! I really admire those that find the time to sit down and write something interesting on a daily basis. I can’t seem to find the time and when I do, I struggle to write something interesting. Like most of you, I’m busy with life.  As a wife & mother I get caught up with everything else going on in the house.  The kids have sports & school events; I have my company which is growing (YAY!) and then there’s everything else.  I’ll try to be better and sit down to write more often.

Disney Events:
Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival is still going on through Nov 12th. Still time to take a quick trip to enjoy some delicious foods & beverages.

My favorite time of year to visit Disney is coming up soon. For me, there’s nothing better than the special events & decorations for the holidays. Instead of Raindrops on Roses and whiskers on kittens, it’s Snowflakes on Main St and Gingerbread houses. Those are a few of my favorite things. Of course those are just the tip of the iceberg! The Candlelight Processional takes my breath away just thinking about it and I can’t help but smile when I think of the finding the purple cat in the Osborne Lights.

I’ll dedicate a post to each of the parks and their special holiday events.   Until then, thanks for reading! If you have any questions or would like to hear about anything specific, please post a comment here or drop me an email at michelle@secondstartravels.com with “blog question” as the subject line.

Have a Magical Day!

Today’s guest post is from Megan, a 16 year old who knows Harry Potter as well or better than JK Rowling herself.  As excited as Megan was to go to check out the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Islands of Adventure, she was also a bit worried that it wouldn’t live up to her expectations.  Here are her thoughts on WWoHP:

I first started reading the Harry Potter series in first grade, just after Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire was released.  I went to the midnight release parties for the final three books and stayed up all night to read them.  I’ve seen all the movies and read the books a million times over.  Now, as I am starting eleventh grade, they are still my favorite books.  I have grown up with Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, and the entire Weasley family.  I know all the details in all the books.  I have extremely detailed, over-developed pictures in my head of Hogwarts castle, Hogsmeade village, and the Hogwarts Express.  Needless to say, I had high expectations for the new Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

The morning started around 7, much earlier than I like to wake up in the summer, when we got ready to leave our room at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort for a night at Loews Portofino Bay Resort at Universal. We checked in at the resort and got to Islands of Adventure around 8:40—just in time to get back to the Wizarding World for early entry.  Early Entry was a great resort benefit, especially since we were there for the Wizarding World’s opening week.  At regular opening, there was a 4 hour wait just to get into the Harry Potter section of the park.  We cut across a couple islands and arrived at the entrance to the Wizarding World.

We walked into the beautiful, snow-capped village of Hogsmeade, where we could see the Hogwarts Express pulled into station and landmarks like the Three Broomsticks that readers have been imagining since the beginning of the series.  The Hog’s Head Pub and Zonko’s Joke Shop are also there, as well as a new, second location of Ollivander’s wand shop.  Throughout the village there are stands selling all types of wizarding necessities: wands, brooms, and cool, frothy butterbeer.

After entering the Wizarding World, we headed to its headlining attraction: Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey.  The queue area for this attraction is almost as good as the ride; Hogwarts is holding an open house for muggles (non-magical people), and you are on a tour of the castle.  On your tour you go through the Herbology greenhouses, various classrooms, and hallways in which some of the portraits may start moving and talking in their frames.  The effects in the castle are fantastic; it’s impossible to tell which portraits will move and which will not, and the oil paintings are beautiful.  I will not divulge much about the ride except a quick warning.  If you get motion sick, take Dramamine before you ride; the Forbidden Journey is an absolute don’t-miss, but it’s much more enjoyable if you don’t feel like hurling.

After we rode the Forbidden Journey, we made a short walk over to Flight of the Hippogriff, a small, fairly gentle coaster with a cute theme, based on Harry and Hermione’s rides on Buckbeak in the third book.  It’s faster than I expected, but the track is similar to Goofy’s Barnstormer at Disney World’s Magic Kingdom.  The rest of the family went to ride Dragon Challenge while I recovered from my Forbidden Journey motion sickness (Really, be prepared and take the Dramamine before you ride!).  Dragon Challenge is based on the first event of the Triwizard Tournament, when Harry has to capture an egg from a particularly volatile dragon.  There are two tracks for the coaster, each a little different.  Supposedly, the blue track is better than the red track, but if you get a chance, try both and compare them.

After hitting all three attractions in the Wizarding World, we stopped at a stand for butterbeer.  Cold and sweet, butterbeer is the Coca Cola of the magical world; it is a butterscotch-flavored soda with a thick, foamy head like a beer, available regular or frozen.  Though rich, it is a decadent way to cool off on a hot day.

Butterbeer in hand, we wandered around Hogsmeade and the area surrounding Hogwarts Castle.  The attention to detail in the Wizarding World is truly incredible—a step up over everything else in Universal and even areas of Disney (Am I going to be excommunicated as a heretic for saying that?).  As a rabidly obsessed and picky Harry Potter fan, I don’t do this often, but I give the Wizarding World of Harry Potter my stamp of approval.

Just ran across this classic cartoon from 1937 and thought it was a great way to get in the mood for planning a Hawaiian vacation.  Disney’s new Aulani Resort & Spa in Hawaii will start taking reservations the first week of August 2010 for stays starting Fall of 2011.  It’s going to be an amazing resort and as we get closer I’ll write more about it.  In the mean time, enjoy the cartoon.

Disney Hawaiian Holiday

While I haven’t been out to Disneyland yet to see this, the video is beautiful!  Really makes me want to get out there as soon as possible.

World of Color Disney California Adventure

If you’d like to see it in person, call or email Second Star Travels for a no-obligation quote.  There are some great deals for Disneyland vacations available right now and World of Color is a great reason to go!

http://www.secondstartravels.com

There are a lot of ride time applications available  for free or for a small fee.  I was curious how some of them worked and if they were worth the money.   Today you get a guest posting from my 13 year old son.  While on our recent Disney trip, I gave him a job; download the Verizon-Disney Mobile Magic application and test it for the week.    Here is his report on it:

Mobile Magic

Mobile Magic is an  application for Verizon phones created by Disney and Verizon to show accurate wait times in the park that you are currently in.  Mobile Magic is a very simple application to use.  We found  that the app was always right compared to other applications out like Ride HopperRide Hopper (a free, social reporting application) was very random, it could have wait times with-in 5 minutes or it would be 2 hours off.  Mobile Magic was always right in all four parks on wait times but that’s not all the application can do!  The app can help you find your favorite Disney characters  or locate a restroom or dining or whatever you will need.  Overall, Mobile Magic was a great application to have while we were on our trip.

One of my problems with it was that it was very slow, it could take a while to load when you are at a resort with good cell service, and it took forever to load in the parks with not as good cell phone service.  Is it worth the money?  I say it is, besides the loading problem I found that the application was great.  I think it is worth the money.  It was great you could wait in line for one ride and right after say let’s go get fast passes for Space Mountain.  It would give you fast pass return times and the wait time.  It would also show you a map of the park which is useful when finding food. Again, I think that the application Mobile Magic is worth the money every little bit.

Thank you Jason for your review!   A few extra things to know;  the cost is $9.99 for 180 days of access.   You do need to have a cell phone that can access the internet and data charges are separate.    Data usage does add up, especially when playing games or trivia while waiting in line for your favorite rides or on the bus ride to/from the parks.  Tip: add a monthly data package instead of paying per MB, then drop the plan when you get home from vacation.

Did you wish that you could take advantage of the FREE Dining promotion at Disney World, but the dates didn’t work for your family?  Good news, the dates have been extended!

Book your trip by Aug 14, 2010 and you can get the FREE Dining offer for stays into December!  A family of 4 can stay in a Value Resort for as little as $60 per person, per day.  That’s 5 nights, 6 days with FREE Quick Service Dining & a 6 day Magic Your Way ticket for $1440.  Or, upgrade to a Moderate Resort for as little as $77 per person, per day.  This package includes the FREE Disney Dining Plan & 6 day Magic Your Way ticket in a Moderate Resort right in the heart of all the Magic.

Travel dates are 8/15 – 10/7, 10/22 – 10/28, 11/12 – 11/18, 11/27 – 12/2 and 12/10 – 12/21/10

Contact Second Star Travels today for a No-Obligation Quote and start planning your Magical Vacation with FREE dining!


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