Vacation Planning Specialist – Nicole!

Independent Travel Agent with The Vacation Wizards!

Refurbishments #4 WDW Theme Parks

AS OF TODAY AUGUST 1, 2016 THESE ARE THE CURRENT UP TO DATE SCHEDULED REFURBISHMENTS AT THE WALT DISNEY WORLD RESORT’S THEME PARKS. CHECK BACK FOR MORE POSTS AS MORE NEWS BECOMES AVAILABLE!

MAGIC KINGDOM

Monorail: Now – Summer 2016: The Walt Disney World Resort Monorail System is undergoing refurbishment and may be on modified service and/or routes. If Guests plan to use this form of transportation during their visit they should check to be sure of the best option available on their day of travel, as alternative transportation options will be available.

Swiss Family Treehouse: July 6 – September 24, 2016

Liberty Square Riverboat: August 1 – 7, 2016

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad: August 8 – November 18, 2016

“It’s a Small World”: August 22 – September 15, 2016

EPCOT

None

Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Pizza Planet: January 19 – Late 2016

Muppet Vision 3D: August 15 – 22, 2016

Disney’s Animal Kingdom

DINOSAUR: July 25 – October 16, 2016

Dino Institute Shop: July 25 – October 16, 2016

Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park

NONE

Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park

Annual Referbishment October 23 – December 24, 2016

Disney Springs

Planet Hollywood: January 5 – Fall 2016

Fulton’s Crab House – reopening as Paddlefish: April 4 – Fall 2016

Cookes of Dublin: August 1 – 8, 2016

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Taking Disney by Land and by Sea!

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Disney’s All-Star Music Resort

Let the rhythm move you at this Resort hotel that pays homage to some of the world’s most popular music genres, including country, jazz, rock ‘n’ roll, calypso and Broadway-style show tunes. Large-sized, music-inspired icons outside and subtle song-and dance surprises inside provide a harmonious setting for music lovers of all ages.

– Themed Pools –

Calypso Pool, shaped like a guitar, this whimsical heated pool is home to a fountain of the Three Caballeros—Donald Duck, José Carioca and Panchito—playfully spraying water at swimmers. For the little ones, a kiddie pool is located nearby. Piano Pool, a grand piano-shaped watering hole featuring a deck of black and white keys, is also available for families looking to play it cool throughout the day.

– Intermission Food Court –

March to the beat of your own drum for breakfast, lunch and dinner at this expansive music-themed food court featuring a variety of serving stations plus a deli-style market. Burgers, sandwiches, pasta and other favorites make this one intermission that doesn’t interrupt the fun. In-room pizza delivery is also available for families looking to sing a different tune and dine in. Some or all of the items available here count as a quick service meal on the Dining Plan.

– Family Suites –

Strike a chord with spacious accommodations amid delightful music-themed décor for parties up to 6. Family suites include a bedroom with one queen-size bed; a living area with a double-size sleeper sofa; a sleeper chair; a sleeper ottoman; a kitchenette and 2 bathrooms.

– Additional Recreation –

Movies Under the Stars – After a day of fun at the parks, relax and unwind with a Disney film on select nights at Calypso Pool. Cozy up for a favorite Disney film shown outside in the fresh evening air. Complimentary movie screenings are available to Guests of Walt Disney World Resort hotels. Whether on the beach, poolside or surrounded by Floridian woodlands, enjoy relaxing evening entertainment that’s fun for the whole family! For movie schedules, please check with the Front Desk at your Walt Disney World Resort Hotel, or call  (407) 939-2273. Movies and entertainment are subject to cancellation or change without notice.

Jogging Trail – March to a different beat with a brisk one-mile jog or walk around Disney’s All-Star Resort area.

Playground – Little musical prodigies can swing and slide at the play area located near the Jazz Inn section.

Note’able Games Arcade – Fine-tune your gaming skills at this arcade in the Melody Hall building, adjacent to the food court.

If Disney’s All-Star Music Resort is the place that you would like to call “home base” during your Disney vacation, please feel free to CONTACT ME! If you are still unsure about where you like stay during your vacation you can check out these posts, “How to Choose a Walt Disney World Resort Hotel” or “Walt Disney World Resort Hotels”, here you will find out additional information about each resort. If you are ready to Get The Magic Started please feel free to fill out my FREE QUOTE SHEET!

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Crowd Calendar

As you might have guessed, the times throughout the year that have the most crowds are of course whenever school is out for a holiday or the summer. I have created a calendar that may be able to show you how to avoid the crowds all together or you might find that some holidays aren’t actually as crowded as you thought. Take a minute and have a look! If you have any questions please feel free to CONTACT ME! For more information about when is the best or worst time to visit Walt Disney World check out this post, The Best and Worst Times to Visit Walt Disney World”. You can click on each month’s image to enlarge. Hope my crowd calendar helps you get an idea of how crowded or not crowded it will be when you decide to take your Disney Vacation! 

January_2016

In the beginning of January crowds are still a heavy and dwindling down from the Christmas and New Year’s Holidays. Crowds also pick up on and around the marathon weekends as well. The three day weekend that is associated with the Martin Luther King Day, MLK Day, is a pretty crowded Holiday that a lot of people think that it’s not going to be. The month of January ends with a very light crowd that continues on into the beginning of February.

February_2016

February starts off with very light crowds, sometimes you feel like you are the only ones in the park! Usually the first weekend of February a cheer leading competition is held, crowds can seem to pick up. Also, depending on when Mardi Gras takes place, a lot of people from Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi head down to Disney on vacation because they have these days off. The second to last weekend in February, the Princess Half Marathon takes place and the crowds will pick up. February ends with very light crowds leading into March.

March_2016

March starts off with very light crowds. And ends with very heavy crowds due to spring break weeks for elementary, middle, high school, and colleges. Also, depending on when Easter falls, it too can bring heavy crowds to the month of March.

April_2016

The only thing bringing a crowd to the month of April is Easter. If Easter is early in the year than you pretty much have the park to yourself the whole month of Easter!

May_2016

Most of May is very light crowds. Most of the crowds here are end of the year school field trips. They usually always have some type of matching t-shirt and only go to one park for the day. So stay clear of the group of same colored t-shirts!

June_2016

The first part of June you will still see moderate to heavy crowds. This is also when Gay Days take place at Walt Disney World. From the middle of June until the end and on into July is when the heavier summer crowds begin.

July_2016

The whole month of July you can expect to most heaviest crowds to be at Disney World, besides at Christmas and Thanksgiving. The crowds are really heavy around July 4th, sometimes the Magic Kingdom can even close due to full capacity. So if you are going on the 4th and would like to see the special occasion fireworks, plan on being there pretty much all day.

August_2016

At the beginning of August the summer crowds are still in full swing. The middle and on into the end of August summer crowds start to decrease as the schools go back in session.

September_2016

Overall September crowds are pretty light. Crowds do pick up around Labor Day, but it is nothing to right home about. Also, some school fall breaks can fall at the end of September which can make crowds seem more than they are.

October_2016

For the most part the Fall Breaks determine the crowds throughout October. Some families take advantage of the Columbus Day Holiday and vacation at Disney for a long weekend. Usually the Central Florida schools have a two week fall break towards the end of October, which can cause crowds to be heavy on certain days. Also, Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival is going on during October which brings heavy crowds to Epcot during the evenings and especially on the weekends.

November_2016

There are a few events that happen during November besides Thanksgiving that brings crowds to Disney World. The second week of November is usually when the schools in New Jersey have some days off and families choose this time to head down to Disney during this time. The second weekend during November is the Wine and Dine Half Marathon, which usually brings a slight crowd to Disney World. Also, Epcot’s Food and Wind Festival is still going on and many locals attend during the evenings on the weekends bringing a heavy crowd to Epcot during this time. The week leading to Thanksgiving the crowds get pretty heavy. Sometimes the Magic Kingdom can close due to capacity. But, once Thanksgiving has passed crowds become very light and carries on into December.

December_2016

December pretty much always starts out with very light crowds. If you wold like to experience Disney when all of the Christmas decorations and events are going on, now would be the time to go. The prices on hotels and crowds are low which will allow you to experience all the rides, attractions and Christmas events with little to no crowds. Also, at the beginning of December is when they film the Christmas Day Parade at the Magic Kingdom that airs on TV on Christmas Day. The week prior to, the week of and the week after Christmas is probably THE most crowded time at Disney. The Magic Kingdom is more than likely to close at some point during the day due to high capacity inside the park. The heavy crowds finish out the month of December and continue into the beginning of January for New Year’s celebrations.

** Each year the dates will change for each month, check back each year to get an updated  color coded crowd calendar. The general flow of crowds will typically stay the same around each holiday or event that is taking place at Walt Disney World. The only thing that changes is when the holiday or events will fall throughout the year.**

If you are ready to Get The Magic Started for you and your family, please feel free to CONTACT ME or you can fill out my FREE QUOTE SHEET! I hope to hear from ya real soon!

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To Rent a Car or Not?

Here are a few pros and cons of renting a car while on vacation at the Walt Disney World Resort.

– PRO – Staying Off-Property – If you are planning on flying into Orlando and are staying in a resort, hotel or vacation home off of Disney World property, I would personally suggest getting a rental car. The hotels and resorts do offer shuttles to and from the Disney Parks, but they are nothing like Disney’s Transportation Services. If you rent a car you can come and go as you please form the parks and your hotel. Also, when you stay off property you are not available Disney’s Magical Express to get you to and from the airport to your hotel. You are however, available to use Disney’s Transportation services as long as you have purchased a park ticket.

– PRO – Staying On-Property – Time Saving! Keep in mind that Disney’s Transportation services via bus, boat or monorail is free to you to use when you purchase a park ticket. Disney Transport is very useful, it can save you time and money and their services bring you directly to your resort and theme parks! But, if you are vacationing in Disney during peak times it may take the transportation services longer than normal than if you had a rental car. If you have a rental car you could cut your travel time in half!

– PRO – When you are staying on Disney Property, parking fees are free! In your rental car you can come and go from any location on property whenever you need or want to. Plus at many Walt Disney World Resorts, you can park quite close to your room which would in turn eliminate the need to take a long walk to and from the bus stop. Who wants to walk even more just to get back to your room after walking at the park all day?

– PRO – Instead of getting mixed up in the mad dash to leave the park at the end of the night and possibly waiting for an hour for a bus, boat or monorail; with a rental car you could be back to where you’re stay somewhat quicker.

– CON – If you’re traveling on a budget, a rental car is not for you. After you add up the gas, taxes, fees and the rental for the car itself, it can get pretty expensive.

– CON – By using Disney Transport services you don’t have to worry about who is navigating. Once you climb aboard your transport vehicle you can sit back and relax until you get to your destination. If you have any additional questions of what source of Disney Transport services, you can always ask a cast member at your resort hotel’s front desk. You can always ask your Disney Travel Agent!

– CON – When you purchase a park ticket and stay on property, Disney Transport services are built into the cost of your stay. So by renting a car, you are declining services that your already paid for an are adding an additional cost to your trip. 

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BOOK 2015 CANDLELIGHT PROCESSIONAL DINING PACKAGES TODAY!

The rich sounds of a full orchestra and choir fill the America Gardens Theater, and a special celebrity narrator takes the stage for a stirring retelling of the Christmas story as Candlelight Processional returns to Epcot at the Walt Disney World Resort Nov 27-Dec. 30, 2015.

You and your family can enjoy guaranteed seating for this holiday tradition, as well as a delicious meal at an Epcot restaurant with Candlelight Processional Dining Packages – starting $35 for lunch and $50 for dinner for adults (plus tax and gratuity). Packages include an appetizer, entree, dessert and non-alcoholic beverage per person (or one full buffet where applicable).

Here’s a look at a few of the Celebrity Narrators scheduled to make appearances this year (subject to change without notice):

  • TBD Nov. 27-29, 2015

  • Neil Patrick Harris Nov. 30-Dec. 3, 2015

  • Whoopi Goldberg Dec. 4-5, 2015

  • Joe Morton Dec. 6-8, 2015

  • TBD Dec. 9-11, 2015

  • Meredith Vieira Dec. 12-14, 2015

  • TBD Dec.15-23, 2015

  • Edward James Olmos Dec. 24-26, 2015

  • TBD Dec. 27-28, 2015

  • Amy Grant Dec. 29-30

Showtimes are 5 p.m., 6:45 p.m and 8:15 p.m. nightly. Showtimes on Dec. 6 are 6:45 p.m. and 8:15 p.m.

Availability is limited. Please note Park admission is required and is not included in the price of the dining package.

Book a Candlelight Processional Dining Package for you and your family today by calling 407-WDW-DINE or visit Disneyworld.com/holidays. Don’t forget about using your local Travel Agent, ME! 

** To find out more information about where you can reserve dinner reservations at or get updated on celebrity narrators see the Walt Disney World Website for more details!**

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How Can I Get an Estimated Budget?

In order to get an estimated budget for your Disney Vacation, you will need to have a general idea of the following:

  • When will you be going? The price per seasons change tremendously over the year for Walt Disney World Resort Hotels. Dining prices will also change throughout the year. Best & Worst Times to Visit Walt Disney World.

  • Your family’s size and age on your planned arrival/check-in date: Children under three years old are pretty much free, meaning you will not have to purchase a park ticket for them. Children ages three to nine are charges a little less than an adult for theme park tickets and they are also charges a lot less for dining plans as well. Children that are ten and older are charges the same as an adult.

  • Where you plan on staying: There are so many Walt Disney World Resorts to choose from. You can choose from prices under $100 per night to well over $500 per night. See how to choose a Walt Disney World Resort by clicking here.

Once you have figured the above out, you can go to the Disney World Website and basically go through the booking process up until the point where you are asked to confirm your purchase. If you are not able to complete a step in the booking process, you can always contact me for help! You can also skip all that non-sense and get a free quote from me! You can simply fill out my free quote sheet and I’ll get back with you shortly with your quote!

Once you get an idea of how much your cost of your hotel room, park tickets, dining plan, etc. add your transportation costs and add $30-$50 per person per day for extras!

Always keep in mind that by using a travel agent you will releave so much stress and save time and money. CONTACT ME today if you are ready to book your Disney World Vacation. Stick around and check out my site! I have so much information available right here. Try checking out the Walt Disney World Tab to see what’s all going on, what’s new and refresh your memory of the classics! 

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How Far in Advance Can I Book a Walt Disney World Vacation?

The general answer to this question would be, 180 days out from your arrival/check-in date. But, technically you can book 499 days prior to your arrival/check-in date. There are a few things that you should take note of if you are wanting to book your Disney World Vacation that far in advance!

  • You will ONLY be able to reserve your room reservations at a Disney World Resort. You can either call the Disney reservation hotline or you could use a Disney Travel Agent, like myself, that will do the work for you.
  • The quoted price will be wrong! The price that you will be quoted will be the rate of that current year, which is most likely NOT going to be the price for the dates that you are booking! Your quote will more than likely increase unfortunately.
  • You will HAVE TO pay a deposit! You will be required to pay a deposit in order to hold your room reservation. This deposit will also change and will most likely increase once the rates become available.
  • When do the new RATES become available? Typically the rates for the next year do not become available until the end of that current year’s summer. 
  • When can I purchase my PARK TICKETS? Whenever the rates become available for you vacation’s selected dates, is when you may then add your park tickets to your already existing room reservation. Once you add your tickets, dinning plan, memory maker, travel insurance, etc.; you will then be able to get a final price quote for your Disney Vacation!

When you are 180 days out from your arrival/check-in date, you will then be able to book your dining reservations! If you plan on you and your family enjoying a character meal or a nice sit down restaurant, you may want to plan on getting up early on the 180th day in order to make that reservation happen. Make sure to have your list of restaurants ready before you go to call or book online! You would be surprised at how quick the popular restaurants get booked up! To find out more about Dining Plan Locations, CLICK HERE! You can also SEE HERE where some of the character dining locations are!

At 60 days out from your arrival/check-in date, it’s time to book your FASTPASS+ reservations! When you do this, it’s very important that you know a few things:

  • Do you have park hopper tickets?
  • Which parks offer early morning magic hours.
  • Best and worst parks each day
  • The best attractions to use your FASTPASS+ on.
  • Do you have smaller kids that would be scared of dark rides or have height restrictions?

You can choose to wait until a month out or book over a year in advance, it all depends on the type of vacation you want your family to have. If you have your heart set on a certain resort during peak season, then you might want to go ahead and book your trip as soon as possible. The same goes for restaurant reservations, you better be getting up at 7:00 am (eastern time) and making those reservations! But if you just want to play it by ear or decide to go at the last minute, you can do that as well. Just keep in mind that your first choice may not be available anymore!

An easy way of keeping track of all of this information and reservations is to book through a Disney Travel Agent! Using a travel agent will take away all of the work that you would have to do in order to book your Disney World Vacation. All you have to do is tell me all of your preferences and I’ll do all the work for you! I’ve made it even easier than that! Just fill out my FREE QUOTE SHEET! Plus I will be on the lookout for any OFFERS & PROMOTIONS that can be added to your vacation! To top it all off, ALL of my services are FREE! So why not sit back and count the days until your next Disney Vacation while I do all the work for you!

180 Day Out Calendar

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Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights

During the Holiday Season at Walt Disney World, the Streets of America in Hollywood Studios is transformed into the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights. Most people know the story of the Osborne Lights, but if you don’t stay tuned! If you do know the story skip on down to the next paragraph! The Osborne Family Lights began in Arkansas when Jennings Osborne put up a lot of lights one year for his daughter. Every year after that he would add more and more lights to his display. In the mid 1990’s, Jennings was sued but his neighbors for the traffic problems that his display was causing. A settlement was reached and ended the situation with the traffic, but Jennings violated the terms and was sued again. He was then ordered to take down his display. Then Osborne decided to share his lights and offered the display to the Walt Disney World Resort and has been on display ever since. A few things have been added by Disney Imagineers, but all of his original pieces are still a part of the display on the Streets of America.

The Osborne Lights draw heavy crowds, so be prepared to stand among a crowd while you watch the show. The lights go on at dusk which is normally around 6:00 pm during that time of the year. There is a short “turning on the light switch” ceremony with characters as well. After the light switch is turned on a the “snow” falls and over five million synchronized lights “dance” to some of your favorite Christmas songs.

While viewing the lights here is a fun game, try and find these ten items!

#1: Hidden Mickeys! There are a few Hidden Mickeys that are made from the light strands throughout the light display and more and more are added throughout the season! Make sure to look closely though! Some are very easy to spot while others are a little bit more tricky to find!

#2: The Halloween Cat: A Halloween decoration in a Christmas display? Yup, that’s right! Somewhere in the display you will find a purple cat figure that was mistakenly taken from the Osborne’s Halloween collection!

#3: The Light Canopy: This canopy is set up in the New York section of the Streets of America. This is no ordinary Christmas light strand display. This canopy is actually a large video screen made from individual RGB Video nodes. Each node has a single red, green, and blue LED that can be customized to create over a trillion different color effects. One of the color effects to look for is Jack Skellington, he can be seen during the song “What’s This”.

#4: Mickey & Santa Figures: Osborne created a figure of Mickey Mouse and Santa Claus shaking hands.

#5: Lone White Angel: A solid white angel was added to the collection in 2011 in memory of Osborne’s life and legacy. The Lone White Angel is featured in the display of suspended angels near the globe.

#6: The Flying Kite: Across from the Premiere Theater is a large snowman flying a kite. This seen was created by Osborne to represent his first date with his wife.

#7: Arkansas Razorback: The Osborne’s are from Little Rock, Arkansas and were huge fans of the football team. Disney Imagineers incorporated a razorback, a pig, into the light display at the end of the Streets of America.

#8: Osborne Family Stockings: Don’t forget to try and find the Osborne family stockings! Each family member has a personalized stocking that hangs above a giant fireplace.

#9: Nativity Scene: Osborne bought the nativity scene that was located in the Italy Pavilion at Epcot and added it to his display at Hollywood Studios. The nativity scene is located at the end of The Streets of America.

#10: Original Displays: All of the original displays that were in Osborne’s yard in Arkansas are still a part of the display today: the giant globe, the 100 flying angels, the twirling carousels, the 70 foot tree and all of the other figurines of elves, snowmen and carolers.

Grab a cup of hot cocoa and a sweet treat and your family of course and enjoy all of this Christmas Joy!

Don’t just watch the show, be a part of it! Click on the video below to see how you can become a part of the Osborne Family Christmas Lights!

** If you want to find out more information about other Holiday Events, Parties & Festivals that take place at the Walt Disney World Resort, CLICK HERE.**

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Downtown Disney Area (Future Disney Springs) Dining Plan Locations

Quick Service Locations & Table Service Locations

– Marketplace –

Earl of Sandwich – Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner –

Wolfgang Puck Express at Downtown Disney Marketplace – Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner –

Rainforest Cafe’ – Lunch & Dinner –

– The Landing –

Cookes of Dublin – Lunch & Dinner –

T-Rex – Lunch & Dinner –

Portobello Country Italian Trattoria – Lunch & Dinner –

Raglan Road Irish Pub & Restaurant – Lunch & Dinner –

Paradiso 37, Taste of Americas – Lunch & Dinner –

– West Side –

STARBUCKS at Downtown Disney West Side – Breakfast –

Food Trucks at Exposition Park – Lunch & Dinner –

Bongos Cuban Cafe’ Express – Lunch & Dinner –

The Express at Wolfgang Puck Grand Cafe’ – Lunch & Dinner –

The Smokehouse – Lunch & Dinner –

Food Quest – Lunch & Dinner –

Planet Hollywood – Lunch & Dinner –

Bongos Cuban Cafe’ – Lunch & Dinner –

Wolfgang Puck Grand Cafe’ – Lunch & Dinner –

Splitsville Luxury Lanes – Lunch & Dinner –

Crossroads at the House of Blues – Lunch & Dinner –

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