Disney World Adding Preferred Bus Service from Park to Park

Magical Express BusDisney World is beginning, on December 7, to offer preferred bus service that will run between locations inside the four theme parks. Although many details have not been confirmed publicly by Disney, the service is said to operate from 10 AM until park closing from pre-determined locations inside the theme parks. The stations are as follows:

This service only travel to the theme parks and the cost is $15 per person, per day or $24 per person for multi day use. Guests are able to purchase this upgrade when buying park hopper passes or by visiting guest relations locations. We will release further details as they are known.

River’s of Light Open for Cast Member Previews

Rivers of Light at Disney's Animal Kingdom at NightThe opening Rivers of Light appears as though it may actually happen in the not so distant future. This past weekend Disney World previewed the show to their own cast members, which is most typically the first step in the opening of a new attraction or show. No further information is known at this time, but everything points to the opening of Rivers of Light happening pretty quickly. Let us know your thoughts below!

Disney Offering Private Cabanas for Rental in the Magic Kingdom

15181481_10102959759420369_7049671399896229526_nDisney has been coming up with many new and unique ways to increase their profit margins in the past couple of years, but is a new trend starting? Disney World is now offering private cabana rentals in the Magic Kingdom in an area in Tomorrowland between Space Mountain and Carousel of Progress. The “Kingdom Cabanas” are available for daily rental and come with a price tag of $649 for the day.

The Cabanas can be used by up to eight guests and included the following:

  • cold beverages
  • private/shaded seating
  • sunscreen, hand sanitizer, & insect repellant
  • cold beverages & snacks
  • lockable storage cabinet
  • electronic device charging station
  • a small refrigerator
  • one fruit basket
  • one time delivery of ice cream treats, desserts, and Mickey bars
  • personalized Mickey ears
  • reserved viewing location for parades and fireworks

Guests can book these cabanas by calling 407-WDW-PLAY or by visiting guests services in the park or in your resort hotel. Let us know your thoughts below or on Facebook.

Pandora – The World of Avatar Confirmed Opening in Summer 2017

avatar-landDisney World has just announced something we have all been waiting for, Pandora – The World of Avatar will open sometime in the summer of 2017. Of course that could me May or it could mean August, but at least we have a target time of year as we eagerly await this new land at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park. Disney announced this during a recent D23 event and even said the scaffolding has been removed from the bridge that connects Pandora to Discovering Island and the rest of the Animal Kingdom Park.

Disney also announced some of the details on the story behind this land:

According to the storyline developed by Walt Disney Imagineering and Lightstorm Entertainment, this bridge was built during a time when a destructive company called the RDA came to Pandora. Now that they’re long gone, nature is breaking down evidence of their presence. This bridge will soon serve as an entry into the base camp of Alpha Centauri Expeditions, the eco-tour group that is preparing Pandora for future explorers and adventure seekers.

The entire Pandora – The World of Avatar land is set to open in 2017, and will transport guests to a visually stunning world complete with floating mountains and bioluminescent plants. Here, guests will be able to experience two excursions that will truly push adventure to the next level. First, the family friendly Na’vi River Journey will send guests down a sacred river hidden within a bioluminescent rainforest. Their journey will end in an unforgettable encounter with a Na’vi Shaman, a figure who has a deep connection to the life force of Pandora. And second, the Avatar Flight of Passage excursion will offer the jaw-dropping experience of riding on a Banshee over the world of Pandora.

Let us know your thoughts below on the opening of Pandora – The World of Avatar.

New “4 Park Magic Ticket” Announced at Disney World For Limited Time

Annual PassesDisney World has been making changes to its theme park ticket structure over the last year since they announced tiered pricing on one day tickets. Now, Disney appears to be testing a new ticket type for a limited time called the “4 Park Magic Ticket”.

This new ticket gives guests a chance to go to each of the four Disney theme parks one time as it can be used for one day at Magic Kingdom, one day at Epcot, one day at Hollywood Studios, and one day at Animal Kingdom. It appears as though the ticket will work like a normal ticket in that you can enter and exit the same park, but it does not provide park hopping privileges. Also, like other Disney World tickets this ticket must be used within 14 days of first use.

One very unique part of this ticket is that Disney is marketing it as allowing guests to visit the parks for four days for just $70 per day, or a total ticket cost of $279 for adults and even less, $259, for children ages 3-9. Also unique is that the ticket is only going to be valid from now until May 26, 2017, even if you have days left on the ticket they will expire on that date. Another restriction is that these special tickets are only going to be sold through March 2, 2017, so if you want them make sure you get them by that date. A final restriction on this ticket is that they do include blackout dates from December 17 through January 2 and from April 10 to April 21. You can currently book the tickets at DisneyWorld.com/tickets. Let us know your thoughts on this new ticket type below.

The Great On-Property vs. Off-Property Debate

Trip Planning Tuesday CastleOne of the most difficult decisions when it comes to planning a Disney World vacation is to decide on your hotel. Before you can decide on where you want to stay you must face the difficult question of whether to stay in a Disney World resort, which will be called “On-Property” from now on, or an “Off-Property” resort. This decision is not one that we are going to tell you an exact answer on because there are many factors that you must look at and answer based on what will be best for your family. So below we are going to give some of our top reasons to stay on-property and some of our top reasons to stay off-property. As always, make sure you comment below if you have any questions.

Top Reasons to Stay “On-Property” When Visiting Disney World

  1. Location, Location, Location! – One of our top reasons to stay on property when visiting Walt Disney World is the location and ease of getting to the theme parks. When you say off-property you have to consider the hassle of driving, parking, riding the tram, and all of the other steps involved in getting into a theme park. When you stay on-site you are just a bus, monorail, or boat ride away from the parks, and you don’t even have to walk through the parking lot. The Disney transportation system is not perfect, but for the most part the location of being on Disney property is a great positive.
  2. It’s All in the Theme – Another of our favorite reasons for staying in a Disney resort is that you get to be completely immersed in the theme of a Disney resort, known to us Disney nerds as the “Disney Bubble”. The theming of Disney resorts are above and beyond anything off-property and it just makes you feel like you are on vacation and in a completely different place.
  3. You Mean I Am Actually Saving Money – Although the price of staying in a Disney resort is often higher than staying off-site you do get some features that could actually save you some money on your vacation. First, due to the free use of Disney’s Magical Express as well as the Disney Transportation System you can save on the cost of a rental car as well as gas money while in Orlando. When staying off-site it is almost impossible to do a trip without renting a car which can cost $250 or more for the week. Add that $250 to the cost of gas while you are in Orlando as well as $20 per day to park at the theme parks you could have an expense of close to $400 for transportation which you save when staying in a Disney Resort. This is an area you must look closely at when planning a trip and see where the biggest bang for your buck is.
  4. Disney’s Magical Express – One great feature of staying at Disney World is the added feature of free use of the Disney’s Magical Express service. Read more on this service in our blog post here.
  5. Extra Magic Hours – Disney really markets the use of Extra Magic Hours when staying at their resorts. We don’t actually recommend the use of this time a whole lot because they tend to be a crowd magnet, but it is still a nice where that every day one park opens an hour early or stays open two hours late for only Disney resort guests.
  6. Use of the Dining Plan – Another benefit many people enjoy that is only available when staying on-site is the availability of the Disney Dining plan, which in effect allows you to purchase your meals as part of your vacation package. Disney will market that the dining plan saves you money and it certainly has the ability to do that, but we do urge you to make sure you consider your family’s eating habits to figure out whether or not it is right for you.
  7. Uniqueness of Repeat Trips – This final reason we love Disney resorts is that when staying in these resorts complete with their fantastic themes you can take repeat trips to Disney World, but it feels like a completely different vacation destination. You can stay in a Caribbean Beach Resort on one trip and then return the next time to a relaxing stay in the Pacific Northwest at Wilderness Lodge. We feel that repeat trips being a unique experience for a family is a great positive for Disney Resorts.

Top Reasons to Stay “Off-Property” When Visiting Disney World

  1. Saving on Hotel Cost – No doubt, the biggest reason people stay off-site when visiting Disney World is that you can get a hotel for much less cost than on-site. These hotels will not be fancy, nor will they have a theme like those on-property, but they will almost always be clean and well kept and serve your family well. It is important to see #3 above and see if you can save enough by staying on-site to make this a tough decision, but if you can pay less for your hotel, rent a car, and pay for gas and parking, and still be less expensive than a Disney resort off-site may be the best option for you. We would be the first to tell you if you can take a trip and stay off-site or not take a trip at all, by all means, take the trip and stay off-site!
  2. Different Room Sizes – A great benefit to staying off site in a hotel or rental property is the ability to get rooms suited for bigger families. Disney has a lot of hotel rooms that sleep four people, but the options get drastically smaller once your family gets larger than that. Off-site you have all kinds of options in terms of multiple bedrooms condominiums to renting a house nearby that you can find something for any type of family for a price that works. Disney prices go up at very fast rates for rooms that sleep more than four people.
  3. Added Benefits at the Hotel – Some off-site hotels may have added benefits that a Disney resort will not. The major benefit we hear people talking about is hotels that service a free hot breakfast which is a great way to jumpstart your family before a long day in the parks. Another benefit may be a short walk to things such as restaurants and shopping. These restaurants may be cheaper than what you would find in the parks and would thus save you some money on your trip budget. Finally, if you have a membership in a certain hotel chain’s customer appreciation program (i.e. Wyndham Rewards) you may get a better rate, special perks, or free nights with your points.
  4. Ease of Visiting Other Orlando Attractions – A final reason we think staying off-site can be a benefit is if you are interested in visiting other attractions in the Orlando area such as Universal Orlando, SeaWorld, or LegoLand. If you are staying off-site you are probably closer to these attractions and already have a rental car which will be easy for you to get your family to these places. If you are staying on-site you would have to purchase transportation which could eat into the budget and make a trip to those locations as easy as if you were staying off-site.

Please leave a comment or question below about this topic and we will be by to answer your question as soon as we can.

New Enhancements Soon to Be Rolled Out Aboard the Disney Wonder

The Disney Wonder embodies the Disney Cruise Line tradition of blending the elegant grace of early 20th century transatlantic ocean liners with contemporary design to create a stylish and spectacular cruise ship. (Todd Anderson, photographer)

The Disney Wonder, one of the classic Disney Cruise Line ships, is fresh out of its latest dry dock and will very soon be setting sail from Galveston, TX. Here are a few of the new enhancements that were recently released by the Disney Parks Blog.

Super hero sightings, a New Orleans-style street party celebration and “Frozen” fractals all around are just a few of the things that will wow your family aboard the transformed Disney Wonder. This week we are debuting an incredible lineup of enhancements, with something exciting for every member of the family.

Tiana's PlaceOne of the biggest enhancements came in the kids area of the ship as they have added the Marvel Super Hero Academy similar to the Disney Magic after its renovation. Here kids can meet Spider-Man, Captain America, Black Widow, and other super heroes from Marvel. We will also seeing the opening of a new restaurant on board, Tiana’s Place. Here you will get to enjoy dinner in the charm of the Louisiana bayou itself. The southern-style cuisine will lead the way for the great atmosphere and your dinner will even include a live jazz band, a parade, and performances by Tiana herself.

Frozen Adventures - OlafGuests will also get to enjoy a new stage musical, “Frozen, A Musical Spectacular”. In this new show guests will feel as if they’ve stepped in to the middle of snowy Arendelle and will get to hear all of their favorite songs and see all of their favorite characters from the Frozen movie. Another first of its kind addition to Disney Cruise Line will be the ability for kids to be dropped off at Wandering Oaken’s Trading Post for a special show featuring their “Frozen” friends. After watching the show the kids can play in the Frozen Adventures area in the youth club including hands-on activities as well as interactions with Anna, Elsa, and Olaf. A final new addition for the adults aboard is the Crown and Fin Pub. This authentic British tavern will gives adults time to grab a drink and relax after the long and busy day onboard.

These are not the only enhancements aboard the re-designed Disney Wonder. Once the ship officially opens we will outline any other changes, additions, or modifications. Let us know your thoughts on the new Disney Wonder below by commenting here or on Facebook.

Disney News & Listener Questions from 11/6/2016 – Episode 14

cropped-NEW-Icon-Edit-A.jpgIn this week’s episode, for November 6, 2016, Jon and Lysa will be discussing news and current events at Disney Destinations around the world as well as taking your listener questions on Disney travel.

Please send any questions about the show to host@mousedreamsblog.com and visit our website, www.MouseDreamsBlog.com for more information. Also, like our Facebook page at Facebook.com/MouseDreamsblog and follow us on Twitter @MouseDreamsBlog.

Finally, thanks to our sponsors and friends at Big Dreams Travel, an Authorized Disney Travel Planner. Visit them at www.bigdreamstravelusa.com to help with your next vacation.

You can submit Disney trip planning questions for us to answer on the show by e-mailing us at podcast@MouseDreamsBlog.com, by tweeting your question to @MouseDreamsBlog on Twitter, or by visiting the listener questions page on our website at www.MouseDreamsBlog.com/podcastquestions. We would love to answer your questions on travel including Walt Disney World, Disneyland, or Disney Cruise Line. Have a great week everyone and thanks for listening!

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Disney to Debut New Holiday Light Show at Disney Springs

Just last week the FAA granted Disney World the right to fly small drones over their property for entertainment purposes. Disney has wasted no time putting that to use as they have given us a sneak peak at one of the ways those drones are going to be used in an all new and super innovative nighttime holiday light show at Disney Springs. The Disney Parks Blog stated the following:

This holiday season, the idea of “wishing upon a star” will take on an even more magical meaning in the skies of Disney Springs.

They also released this video of a behind the scenes look at the show. Be sure and watch and let us know what you think by commenting below or on Facebook.

Festival of the Holiday’s Menus Released for Disney California Adventure

'DISNEY ¡VIVA NAVIDAD!' – At Disney a Adventure Park, “Disney ¡Viva Navidad!” take
DISNEY ¡VIVA NAVIDAD!

Earlier this year Disneyland announced the addition of Festival of the Holiday’s to this years holiday festivities. This new event at Disney’s California Adventure park will celebrate the cultural diversity present in holiday celebrations around the world. It will feature musical presentations from around the globe as well as internationally inspired food dishes for everyone to enjoy. Just this week Disneyland has released the menus associated with this event. Here is what we know about the different dining options at this point according to the Disney Parks Blog.

Heritage Cottage

  • Braised Beef Short Rib with smashed potatoes and sauerbraten sauce
  • Weisswurst Sausage & Sauerkraut with stone ground mustard and pretzel crumble
  • Vanilla Rice Pudding with apple compote and cinnamon streusel crunch

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Making Spirits Bright

  • Wines by the glass and tasting flights
  • Warm Holiday Spiced Wine
  • Sparkling Apple-pomegranate Juice

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Nosh & Nibbles

  • Brisket Potato Croquette with horseradish crème
  • Sweet Spiced Noodle Kugel
  • Reuben Potato Smash with Russian dressing and Rye toast

Good Fortune’s Feast

  • Adobo Pork Bao with shaved red onion and crispy garlic chicharron
  • Smoked Duck & Vegetable Spring Roll with cabbage and sweet plum sauce
  • Chilled Papaya Shrimp Salad with chili-garlic vinaigrette and crispy noodles
  • Winter Mint Milk Tea

Spice Salutations

  • Chicken & Potato Curry with Kefir cream and grilled naan
  • Carrot & Chickpea Fritters with coriander-almond sauce
  • Cardamom & Saffron Sweet Cheese Tart with mulled fruit
  • Mango Lassi

Brews & Bites

  • Local, Seasonal & International Beers and tasting flights
  • Holiday Cheese Ball with crackers & pretzels

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Mistletoe Morsels

  • Holiday Swedish Meatballs with creamy gravy and Lingonberry sauce
  • Classic Crab Cake with lemon tartar sauce
  • Shrimp Cocktail Martini with chili sauce and jalapeño olive
  • Holiday Eggnog Cocktail with whipped cream and nutmeg dusting
  • Merry Berry Sherbet Punch

Southern Home Holidays

  • Grilled Spicy Chicken Sausage with red beans and rice
  • Southern Mac & Cheese with jalapeño cornbread crumble
  • Sweet Potato Pie with candied pecans
  • Cranberry Sweet Tea topped with berry foam

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Winter Sliderland

  • Roasted Turkey Slider with cranberry sauce and gravy
  • Kalua Pork Slider with pineapple jam and cider slaw
  • Praline & Bourbon Whoopie Pie
  • Sparkling Apple-cranberry Juice

Fiesta en Familia

  • Green Chile Pozole with Vegetables
  • Red Chile Pozole with Pork
  • Fresh Fish Ceviche with chili-lime tortilla chips
  • Guava Agua Fresca

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Yuletide Yummies

  • Mini Turkey Pot Pie with cranberry drizzle
  • Pesto Puff Pastry Twist
  • Gingerbread Bundt Cake with orange-vanilla sauce
  • Eggnog Cheesecake with spiced whipped cream
  • Mocha Yule Log with candied chestnuts
  • Raspberry Linzer Tart
  • Sticky Toffee Pudding with Brandied Cream
  • Frozen Chocolate Milk with whipped cream and sprinkles
  • Pumpkin Spice Hot Chocolate with house-made cinnamon marshmallows
  • Inspired wine and beer selections

Mosaic Delights

  • Roasted Lamb with masala spice Basmati rice and poached raisins
  • Mini Falafel donuts with pickled vegetables and Tahini drizzle
  • Baklava with walnuts, pistachios and honey
  • Iced Moroccan Mint Tea

Abuelita’s Kitchen

  • Chicken Cilantro Tamale with roasted Tomatillo salsa verde
  • Beef and Cheese Tamale with red chili sauce
  • Chorizo Bean Sopes with Cotija cheese and fresh crèma
  • Spiced Peanut Brittle
  • Pomegranate Margarita

Treats for Santafoh-12

  • Mickey Snowman Cookie Decorating Kit
  • Harvest Puff Pastry
  • Assorted Cookies
  • Classic Panettone
  • Candied Chestnut Panettone
  • Peppermint Bark
  • Pumpkin Seed Brittle
  • Walnut Fudge
  • Warm Bourbon Cider
  • White Hot Chocolate with house-made peppermint marshmallows
  • Holiday Fruit Punch

As you can see, the list is actually very extensive, probably much more extensive than most people had imagined when this event was announced. Let us know your thoughts below on this event and even specific menu items you would like to try.