Monday, November 18, 2013

$100 Amazon or Visa Gift Card Giveaway-Winner's Choice!

Just in time for holiday shopping, I've teamed up with a great group of bloggers/websites for a new giveaway.  From midnight (MST) 11/18/13 thru 11:59pm (MST) 11/25/13, you can enter to win your choice of either a $100 Amazon or $100 Visa Gift Card (one winner!).   Entrants must be 18 years or older and be a legal resident of the United States.  Please see the full Terms & Conditions at the bottom of the Rafflecopter entry form.

What a great way to get some extra holiday money!  What would you use the $100 gift card for if you are the lucky winner?

Don't forget to share the giveaway with friends and family :-)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Giveaway! $1000 in Disney Gift Cards Starts November 1st!

And you thought the giveaway from September/October was big?  Just in time for the holiday season, I’ve teamed up with an amazing group of other Disney bloggers and sites to co-sponsor this spectacular giveaway for $1000 worth of Disney gift cards!  One grand prize winner will receive a $500 Disney gift card, and two runners-up will receive a $250 Disney gift card each.  Just think of all the wonderful Disney things you could get with those...or how much of your next Disney trip would be taken care of if you’re one of the lucky winners!

Here’s the details: The giveaway starts Friday, November 1, 2013 at midnight and runs through Monday, November 11, 2013 at 11:59pm.  It is open to people in the United States only who are 18 years old or older. Each regular entry (liking a Facebook page, following on Twitter, etc) will be worth two entries into the giveaway; sharing or tweeting about the contest will be worth five entries each.  If you complete all the entries, including all the tweets/shares, you could earn 354 chances to win!  Winners will be notified by email once the giveaway ends and will have 24 hours to reply to claim their prize.  

Ready to enter?  Just check out the Rafflecopter form below starting at midnight, November 1st...don’t forget to share the giveaway with friends and family so everyone gets a chance to win...and good luck!  Be sure to comment below on what you'd use the gift card for if you win :-)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

October Disney Prize Pack Giveaway!

So I wanted to do a quick October Prize Pack giveaway for some fun Disney items.  I'm a one-person show over here so I don't get as much time to write up the longer blog posts as often, but I at least like to do one of my own little giveaways each month so I can share the Disney fun with others, even if it's only on the small scale ;-)

This month there's a couple of Halloween-themed items in the pack in addition to some of the regular fun lucky winner will receive:
October's Disney Prize Pack
A 3" Classic Rock Donald Duck Vinylmation figure from the Tunes series

A Duffy the Disney Bear Halloween pin
A pack of Villains Disney Bands elastic bracelets and a pack of the Fab 5 Disney Bands elastic rings
A Walt Disney World coloring book
And of course a Disney Parks Growth Chart :-)
The giveaway starts at 12:01am Thursday, October 24, 2013 and runs thru midnight, Tuesday, October 29, 2013 and as always entries are done using the Rafflecopter entry form you see below.  The winner will be notified via email, so please make sure you are using a current, valid email that you check regularly (and be sure to check your spam folder!).  The giveaway is open to those with a shipping address in the United States who are at least 18 years old...please see the "Terms and Conditions" on the Rafflecopter for more detailed info.

So, ready to enter?  Don't forget to share the contest with friends, family, anyone you know who loves Disney!  I've once again added a special entry option for those who request a Disney or cruise vacation (Disney or other) quote from me as well since some of those requesting quotes hadn't heard about my giveaway.  But please, only use the quote request entry for serious inquiries (must have dates, # of guests, room/ticket/dining/etc needs and so on)...see the Rafflecopter entry form for details and links.   

Good luck everyone!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Tuesday Tip-Take Your Time-Refresh, Recharge and Don't Rush

Walt Disney World is an exciting, fun vacation destination with tons of things to do and see.  Many guests are in such a rush trying to do everything and see everything that by the time it's time to head home, they are totally exhausted and wondering why the heck they decided to make the trip.

Some things you need to know about heading to Walt Disney World--yes, the resort is HUGE and yes, there's more things to do there than you could ever imagine.  It's not just four theme parks...which, honestly, if you've never been to WDW before, then no-you're not going to be able to see everything in every park if you only spend one day in each.  You also have 2 water parks, 2 mini-golf courses, Downtown Disney-where you can shop, eat, enjoy live entertainment, go bowling, see a movie, explore an indoor interactive, virtual reality theme park at DisneyQuest, catch the amazing La Nouba Cirque du Soleil show...not to mention the golf courses, water sports, fishing, hay rides, carriage rides, dinner shows...and a whole lot more.

If you really want to experience everything the Walt Disney World Resort has to offer, first realize that you are not going to be able to do everything in one trip-even if you do the commando-park thing from open to close each day.  And honestly, if you want to enjoy your vacation, you're not going to want to approach it like that to begin with.  Yes, I know there are those of you out there who are totally gung-ho and love doing the park commando routine; but for your average guests-especially those with families and small children, a more relaxed approach is the key to a low-stress, enjoyable vacation.

So, on to the Tuesday tips...

First, make sure you allow yourselves enough days for your trip.  You may have to save your pennies for longer, but in the end you'll appreciate not having to rush through the parks trying to get everything in before you go.  If you've never been to WDW before, I'd recommend at least a full week for your first trip.  The Magic Kingdom and Epcot are both at least two days if you want to see and do everything in those parks.  Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom you can probably handle in one day for each one.
Epcot itself can fill two whole days of your trip-maybe even more!
Next, while you may want to get to each park at "Rope Drop" (just before the park opens) and stay until the park closes down, you're looking at anywhere from 7 to 15 hours of constant go-go-go if you go that route.  That's a lot of time on your feet and waiting in lines.  So your second tip is to take a break.  Head to the park early in the morning while the crowds are low and the temperatures are too.  Then take a break around lunch time until late afternoon.  Use the time to head back to your resort for some relaxation at the pool or a nap in your room before heading back out to either the same or-if you have Park Hopper tickets-a different park in the evening after the heat and crowds have started to dissipate.  If you're staying on Disney property, this tip is even easier to execute since the time to go back and forth from the parks to your resort is drastically shorter.  You may think you can go without the break-but it will sure make your days go smoother and help you feel less stressed if you take some time out to relax and recharge each day.
Pool or nap time can help you recharge
Finally, don't rush.  Take your time and really look around you at the parks, hotels and the rest of the property.  Little details are everywhere-Disney has made sure of that so you are totally immersed in not just each park, but each area of each park, hotel, shopping areas and so on.  You're not going to see everything in one trip--really.  It's just not possible-and some of the attractions you want to experience may not even be available during your trip if they're being refurbished.  Plan out your days so you can see all of your must-do's, just realize you'll need to come back if you really do want to see and experience everything the Walt Disney World Resort has to offer.  Don't blow through each day of your vacation trying to see everything-you'll wind up exhausted and disappointed that you couldn't get to your entire list.

Your Walt Disney World vacation should be fun and enjoyable.  Allow yourself enough time for your visit, take time to rest and relax along the way, and don't rush yourselves.  You'll have a better time with great memories if you're not dragging every day trying to accomplish the impossible.
Mickey wants you to have a great time :-)
Are you a park commando, or do you take your time and take breaks during your days at WDW?

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Where in Walt Disney World Am I Wednesday

These views can both be found in the same area at Walt Disney you know where they are?

Once you figure out where these are, leave a comment telling what your favorite attraction is in the park where these pictures were taken.  Ready?  Go!

Don't forget to enter the Disney Gift Card Giveaway while you're here-you could win either a $200 or $400 Disney Gift Card!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Tuesday Tip-Be Prepared-Walt Disney World Weather

Ah, Florida...the Sunshine State!  Well, usually.  The Walt Disney World area is known for its sunshine, and also for its crazy, here-one-moment-gone-the-next thunderstorms.  So how do you prepare for the wide range of weather you might encounter while on your WDW vacation?  Plan ahead...and be prepared!

While I know a lot of people worry about whether they'll get rained on during their stay, quite often when it does rain it doesn't last a long time and you can usually expect to see storms in the late afternoon, mostly during the summer months.  Rain is pretty easy to handle-a few ponchos that you buy beforehand at your local dollar store will let you keep on roaming the parks.  Be sure to check out my earlier post on what to do at WDW when it's raining for ideas to keep you dry.
Just throw on a poncho and keep on going!
The sun and heat...that's what a lot of people first think of when it comes to Florida weather.  The heat is worst from June thru September-the same time frame when you'll see the majority of the rainy weather as well.  Summer days can see temperatures soar into the nineties with humidity levels to match.  While staying hydrated is always important, it's even more so during the scorching summer months.  You may not think you need that drink of water, but believe me-you do.  If you're already thirsty, you may already be dehydrated...and if you've been sweating and the sweat stops-though the heat hasn't-that's a big red flag that you need to grab something to drink.  Don't keep pushing yourself without properly hydrating your body along the way or you may find your magical vacation losing all of its pixie dust very quickly.
Sunscreen (including lip balm with sunscreen in it), hat, sunglasses-necessities in the Florida sun!
To go along with staying hydrated, I can't stress enough the importance of using sunscreen.  Have you ever gone on vacation and seen people wandering around looking like they just stepped out of a pink paint factory because they've gotten a really bad sunburn?  Trust me, you don't want to end up like that-and in addition to the pain that a horrible sunburn can cause, you're upping your chances of skin cancer every time that happens.  Central Florida sees sunshine almost every day-even if there's cloud cover, the powerful Florida sun's rays are still getting through...and you won't realize it until that night when you take a look at yourself in the mirror.  And don't let those cooler late fall, winter and early spring days fool you-the sun is still strong and will still burn you if you don't take precautions.  So pack your sunscreen (I'd use one with a minimum 30 SPF), wear a hat, put that 30 SPF lip balm on...and while you're at it, don't forget those sunglasses as that same Florida sun that will burn your skin will also be blinding to your eyes.

Now, back to those cooler months.  Things start to cool off a bit around mid to late October and stay that way until around the end of March.  December thru February is usually extraordinarily pleasant with very little rain, comfortable temperatures usually with highs in the mid-70s and plenty of sun.  But don't let that fool you--every now and then it can get a bit chilly, especially during the winter nights when you might see temperatures dip into the 50s or even 40s (and yes, 30s are not unheard of!).  Okay, Florida's idea of chilly might be your idea of shorts and a tank top back home, but relatively get my drift, right?  And for a real anomaly, look no further than Disney's Marathon Weekend from 2010.  That Saturday we had snow flurries, sleet and freezing rain and on Sunday after the wet weather moved out, lows dipped into the teens in the early hours of the pre-dawn morning.  Yes, really.

So your Tuesday tip is to be prepared--check and re-check the weather before you go.  WDW's zip code is 32830, so you can use that on whichever is your favorite weather site to check your 10-day, 5-day, and next day forecast so you can plan appropriately-not just for those bikinis and shorts, but also for those sweatshirt and jacket kind of days.  And remember, regardless of the temperature, rain or clouds...always, always, always bring your sunscreen.

How do you prepare for the crazy Florida weather for your WDW trips?  What's the wildest, oddest or most unexpected weather you've experienced while at WDW?

Friday, October 4, 2013

New Winter/Early Spring Room-Only Discount Release for Walt Disney World-1/5-4/12/2014

A new room-only discount was released for January 5 thru April 12, 2014 for the Walt Disney World Resort!  Booking is available for Disney VISA Cardholders from October 3-7, then the discount will be released to the general public on October 8th.  Those of you headed to WDW for Marathon Weekend or Princess Half Marathon Weekend, this discount covers those dates...and since the Epcot Flower & Garden Festival normally starts in March, at least a portion of the Festival dates will be covered as well.  Here's the details:

Save 15%-Art of Animation Resort-Family Suites
Save 20%-All-Star Sports, All-Star Music and Pop Century Resorts
Save 25%-Coronado Springs, Caribbean Beach, Port Orleans-Riverside, Fort Wilderness Cabins, Animal Kingdom Lodge-Savannah View/Club Level/Jambo House/Kidani Village, Wilderness Lodge-Courtyard View/Club Level and The Villas at Wilderness Lodge
Save 35%-Yacht & Beach Club, Boardwalk Inn, Polynesian, Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, Animal Kingdom Lodge-Standard or Pool View, Contemporary Resort, Wilderness Lodge-Standard or Woods View, Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa, Old Key West, Boardwalk Villas and Beach Club Villas
The fine print: The number of rooms allocated for this offer is limited; savings is based on the non-discounted price of the same room.  Length-of-stay requirements may apply.  Excludes 3-bedroom villas, campsites and villas at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort and Spa, and is not valid at Disney's Art of Animation Resort-Little Mermaid standard rooms.  Deposit must be made at the time of booking with your Disney Visa Card or Disney Rewards Redemption Card.
From March 6-March 13, a slightly reduced discount will be available due to that week being the main Spring Break week in Florida.
Need a quote or to book?  Just send me a message or use the quote form here to contact me for more info.
Don't forget, the giveaway for $600 worth of Disney Gift Cards is still going on, be sure to get your entries in for your chance to win!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Disney Gift Card Giveaway-$400 & $200 Gift Cards!

Yep, you read that title right :-)  I've teamed up with a great group of other Disney bloggers to sponsor a HUGE Disney gift card giveaway!  There's lots of fantastic sites involved in the giveaway, so be sure to check them all out, give them a like/follow and in the process learn a ton of interesting things about our favorite topic-Disney!  Here's the main details (be sure to check the full terms and conditions in the Rafflecopter form)...

There's not just one, but TWO amazing Disney gift cards up for grabs-one for $400 and another for $200.  You can enter using the Rafflecopter form below (you can also find it on the other sites sponsoring the giveaway as well as many of our Facebook pages).  You do need to be at least 18 years old to enter, and the giveaway is only open to people in the United States.  The giveaway opens at midnight Saturday, September 28, 2013 and runs thru 11:59 PM on Monday, October 14, 2013 with the winners being selected on Tuesday, October 15, 2013 (winner notifications will be via email, and if you are a winner you'll need to respond via email as well).

And if you complete all of the available entries every day of the giveaway, you could earn up to 350 entries!  That's 350 chances to win!

So, my question to you--what will you do with either gift card if you win?

Good luck everyone!

PS-Interesting fact for you...a vacation package at Walt Disney World requires a $200 deposit to book the trip...and the gift cards in the giveaway are $200 and $400...hmmm.... ;-)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Tuesday Tip-Getting the Best Price for your Disney Vacation

While some guests don't have to watch what they spend when considering a Walt Disney World vacation, most of us are usually counting all of our pennies trying to get the best value for our vacation dollars.  This is especially important for a destination like WDW where everything can add up quickly-from room to tickets to food to souvenirs...and don't forget those incidentals that you might not expect like medicine if someone gets sick, ponchos or an umbrella (if you forgot yours) and other similar unexpected extras.'s Tuesday Tip is how to get the best price for your Disney Vacation.
Visiting the Mouse can really add up-save with discount promotions!
Depending on how far in advance of your trip that you decide to book, you may or may not see any special promotions or discounts posted on WDW's website for the time you'll be traveling.  The further out you want to book your trip, the less likely that there will be a promotion available.  BUT--don't let this deter you from booking your trip for the dates you want.  If you are booking a package (room & tickets; room, tickets & dining; Annual Passholders-room & dining), your deposit is going to be $200 per room.  Room-only reservation deposits are equal to the cost of the first night of your stay on the reservation.  The part about getting the best price comes in once discounts do start getting released for your travel dates, because as long as you qualify for a discount when it comes out...meaning your stay is within the dates of the promotion, category of resort, length of stay, can get that discount applied to your reservation, lowering the cost of your trip and getting a bigger bang for your buck.  And saving money on the biggest costs-room, tickets and dining-means more money available for the fun extras and those unexpected problems that may come up.
Snagging a discount promotion could mean you have enough in your budget to upgrade to a Deluxe resort!
Don't have time to keep checking back to see if a new promotion has been released?  This is when using a travel agent that specializes in Disney destinations can really pay off since most of those agents that specialize in Disney (like me) will continuously monitor your reservation for any promotions, then get discounts applied to your reservation as soon as they are released as long as your trip qualifies.  I know I've been able to save my clients plenty this way-some just a small amount, but others hundreds of dollars.  And most travel agents--especially those who specialize in Disney--don't charge any fees so your trip will not cost you any more than if you had booked on your own...without the headache of having to track your reservation constantly for the release of discounts.

So, whether you want to do it yourself or you use a travel agent, remember that even if you book at rack rate (the maximum charged for a room), Disney will allow discounts released after you book to be applied to your reservation to help lower your cost.

Have you ever had a discount applied after already booking your trip?  How much have you been able to save by getting a discount after your initial reservation?

Need help booking a Disney vacation?  You can request a free quote from my travel agent website or use the Contact Me information in the tab at the top of the blog. As always, there are no extra fees for booking with me :-)

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

September Disney Prize Pack Giveaway!

It's that time again-time for another fun giveaway for my readers!  This month the prize pack includes a Figment Nerds Rock! Vinylmation figure, 1-Princess Disney Bands bracelets pack, 1-Princess Disney Bands rings pack, 1-Princess Mic-KEYS key topper, 1-Walt Disney World New Fantasyland art print and 1-Disney Parks Growth's the pics:

The giveaway runs from midnight, September 18 thru midnight, September 24, 2013 and is open to those with a US mailing address who are 18 years or older (see terms & conditions at the bottom of the Rafflecopter widget for more information).  I've added a special entry option this time for those who request a Disney or cruise vacation quote from me as well since during my last giveaway, some of those requesting quotes hadn't yet heard about the contest.  But please, only use the quote request entry for serious inquiries (must have dates, # of guests, room/ticket/dining/etc needs and so on)...see the Rafflecopter entry form for details and links.

So, if you're ready to try your luck, here's the Rafflecopter form (need a mobile-friendly link?  Use this link instead):

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck everyone, and please help spread the word by sharing this post using the Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc options at the end of the post...thanks all!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Tuesday Tip-Checking the Refurbishment Schedule

Have you ever gotten to Walt Disney World (or any theme park), excited to ride your favorite rides, only to experience the total let-down of seeing those infamous wooden walls around an attraction and a sign saying it's "Closed for Refurbishment"?  Yeah, me too.  To keep yourself from being disappointed when you arrive at the park, you can always check the refurbishment schedule before you go to see what attractions will be closed while you're there...then you can plan an alternate park touring schedule so you don't waste any time heading for a ride when it's not even going to be available.

I've added a Refurbishment Schedule tab above where you can check out the latest closings at the Walt Disney World resort.  As a travel agent specializing in Disney, I get this information directly from their travel agent portal and I'll be updating the page weekly for you.  You may want to bookmark the Refurbishment Schedule page so you can easily check back for any new information before your trip.  And as always, feel free to use the information on the Contact Me page if you have specific questions you'd like to ask.

Arriving at the parks to find your favorite rides or restaurants are closed can really throw a damper on your day or even your whole trip.  I've actually had people adjust the dates of their vacation so they can avoid the closure of their favorite rides!  Be sure to plan ahead by checking the schedule before your trip.

Have you ever moved your trip dates to avoid ride refurbishments?  What ride closures would put a damper on your trip if you didn't know about them ahead of time?

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Giveaway-Win a Special Disney Prize Pack!

I can't believe it's been just over one year since I became an independent travel agent with Magical Moments Vacations so I could specialize in Disney Destinations!  I love what I do, and to celebrate my one-year business anniversary, I'm sponsoring a special Disney prize pack giveaway to thank everyone for making this possible...and there's some really cool prizes going to the winner:

One set of Disney artwork from the 2012 Passholder calendar (includes some rare and original art from the Disney archives)
One New Fantasyland art print
One Disney Britto vinyl Mickey tote bag
One Vinylmation-D-tour King Mickey, 3"
Here's an out-of-the-box look at King Mickey-the prize though is in a sealed box

A shot of all the prizes including a Disney Parks Growth Chart
Two packs of Disney Bands Rubber-Band Style Bracelets, one Toy Story themed and one of the Fab Five

The extra-special part of the prize pack-a one-day, one-park complimentary Walt Disney World theme park ticket!  Please note, this ticket does expire 5/27/2014 and cannot be upgraded.
Want a chance to win this fantastic prize pack?  You can enter using the Rafflecopter form below (please note, it may not work with mobile devices)...and please, be sure to share this post with friends, family, anyone who loves Disney!  You can use the share buttons after the post to share on Facebook, Twitter and Google+.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Tuesday Tip-Free Activities for Kids (and Adults!) in the Walt Disney World Theme Parks

We all know that a vacation in Walt Disney World can get a bit pricey, so it’s always great to find free things the kids can do while in the parks.  Here’s some for you to try on your next trip:

-Wilderness Explorers-Animal Kingdom-Inspired by the Wilderness Explorers in the Disney/Pixar film “Up”, this experience is included in theme park admission.  Kids can complete up to 30 different challenges to earn badges (stickers) for their “Wilderness Explorer Handbook”.  And shhh...don’t tell the kids, but they’ll get to learn too--about the animals, nature skills, folklore and more.  Kids can pick up their field guide from the “headquarters” (on the bridge between the Oasis and Discovery Island) or the Wilderness Explorer stops to begin the challenges.

-Kidcot Fun Stops-Epcot’s World Showcase-Many guests with small children tend to shy away from the World Showcase in Epcot thinking the kids will be bored.  Enter the Kidcot Fun Stops in each country where your child can get a free cardboard Duffy the Disney Bear that they can decorate with supplies available at each station.  The Cast Members at the stops will also give a stamp of Duffy in each country, as well as tell about their native land (again, shh...don’t tell the kids they’re learning on vacation!).

-Disney Phineas and Ferb: Agent P’s World Showcase Adventure-Epcot’s World Showcase-This adventure lasts anywhere from 30-45 minutes.  You’ll pick up your interactive handheld device from either the Odyssey Bridge (that connects Future World to the World Showcase), Norway Pavilion, Italy Pavilion or near the International Gateway, then look for clues throughout the World Showcase so you can defeat Dr. Doofenshmirtz from carrying out his dastardly deeds.  This activity is free with your park admission as well.

-Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom-Stop by the Firehouse on Main Street in the Magic Kingdom to become an apprentice sorcerer to help fight the forces of evil. You’ll get a Sorcerer Key card and a package of Spell Cards (you can get one pack of spell cards per day, per admission ticket-for FREE!) to help you unlock Magic Portals and challenge Hades and his henchman as you complete missions in the park to thwart the evil Disney villains.  *Special note-you can sometimes score extra “special edition” spell cards-last year when I went to the Halloween Party, there was a special card given out to partygoers keep an eye out for things like this!

Free pack of spell cards
Special Edition spell card from the 2012 Halloween Party
-Pirate’s Adventure: Treasures of the Seven Seas-Magic Kingdom-This interactive quest is inspired by the “Pirates of the Caribbean” films and turns you into one of Captain Jack’s pirate recruits. There’s five different pirate treasure raids throughout sure to pick up your magic talisman at The Crow’s Nest in Adventureland so you can read the maps and help Captain Jack complete each mission.  Each of the five missions takes about 20 minutes to complete, and again-this fun adventure is included with your park admission.

Freebies on vacation are always a plus, especially when they can add so much fun to your trip!  And just between us, you don’t necessarily need to be a kid to do all of these... ;-)

Have you or your kids tried any of these free adventures while in the WDW theme parks?  What did you think?  Would you recommend them to others?  If you've done more than one, which is your favorite?

Keep an eye out--a special August giveaway will be posting very soon!  You won't want to miss this one!