Enchanted Tales With Belle

30 Sep

Nestled in the NEW Fantasyland in the Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World, is Belle’s cottage. This is an attraction that without my son, I would have probably skipped. I have to tell you I was pleasantly surprised with how cool it really was! My son, who was 14 months at the time, absolutely loved it! I don’t want to spoil the experience, but I wanted to share some general information.

There is a FastPass+ option for this attraction and it is usually quite popular with little ones. There is no age or height requirements and it a walk though experience so no need to worry about antsy little ones. You start out at Belle’s cottage and then travel to the Beasts castle. The experience is very interactive but don’t worry it is all voluntary. So if you have shy little ones, they can just watch. At the end, you get to meet Belle and pose for a photo. Each guest is given a photo pass with all of the photos from the experience.

I would consider this a must do with toddlers and little ones! My son was loving the entire attraction and I got some cute photos of him with Belle.

For more information on this attraction, please visit https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/attractions/magic-kingdom/enchanted-tales-with-belle/

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Breakfast at Whispering Canyon Cafe

5 Aug

IMG_7757

In June, I stayed at The Wilderness Lodge for the first time and loved it! My Mom, 14 month old son and I ate breakfast each day at Whispering Canyon Cafe located in the lobby of The Wilderness Lodge. This was also my first time eating at Whispering Canyon. It always amazes me that even though I have been to Disney 30+ times and lived/worked there for 6 months, that there are still things I have not done! Well after that first breakfast, we decided to eat there each morning and really enjoyed it!

The restaurant accepts the Disney Dining Plan and will cost you 1 table service credit for breakfast, lunch or dinner. The menu is American with a country feel. They are known for their all you can eat family style options and the ribs are a dinner time favorite. They also have a variety of healthier options.

The prices are a little less for breakfast and should be under $30 per person and lunch and dinner runs more like $15- $50 per person. Keep in mind that the higher prices are for the all you can eat options.

The food was delicious! Everything I ordered that week I loved! Below I have pulled my favorites from the menu on the Disney website!

Transportation to and from Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

25 Jul

In June I decided to stay at the Wilderness Lodge for the first time. Usually I stay in the moderate level (mostly Port Orleans Riverside) because I just cannot justify the expense of a deluxe resort. We literally only sleep in the room and usually don’t even use the pool.  However, I was able to get a “room promotion” and you saved 30% off a deluxe verses 20% off a moderate so that narrowed the price gap a bit. I absolutely loved the Wilderness Lodge and felt the price difference was well worth it! I loved the layout, the pool, the restaurants, the location but hands down the transportation was the BEST! I am sure I will blog about the other features at some point, but transportation had to be first!

BUSES- My mom, 15 month old son, and I NEVER waited for a bus more than 3-5 minutes our entire stay! We were there for 5 days in JUNE and still NEVER waited for a bus. I would chalk if up to good luck but really 5 days, of not waiting!? I have waited 20+ minutes at Riverside for a bus in the fall and winter slow periods. I don’t think not waiting at all is typical, but I can say without a doubt the buses run much quicker at Wilderness Lodge verses Riverside and Caribbean beach from my experience. This was true both to and from the parks. We also never had a bus full enough where we had to stand. This was wonderful! It was honestly the first time in years that I did not have to stand at all on a bus on my trip and I usually travel in less crowded seasons!

bus selfie

bus selfie

BOAT to Magic Kingdom- This was pretty much the most magical boat ever! Traveling with a young child, you spend so much time at the Magic Kingdom and the monorail resorts are not in everyone’s budget. If you plan to go with little ones, I HIGHLY recommend Wilderness Lodge because of the boat service. It is a direct boat ride to and from the Magic Kingdom and only services Wilderness Lodge. It is a short but beautiful ride and in the 5 days we only waited once. Literally the boat was unloading or pulling up every time we needed it except once. The one time we did wait, it was 15-20 minutes, but for 5 days it was pretty amazing! There are actually two types of boats that run the route and I have to say I did prefer one over the other. The smaller boat, a pontoon style, held less guests and you had to collapse your strollers. The larger boat was enclosed with a deck and you could roll your strollers right on. Please note that you do have to collapse strollers on all Disney buses but can leave them open on the monorail (for comparison). Another thing to mention is that two of our four nights we left during the fireworks (I have waited an hour or more for a bus in the past at this time) and we hopped right on a boat. You get an excellent view of Wishes (fireworks) from the boat. I wish the would play the music on the boat 🙂

Wilderness Lodge dock

Wilderness Lodge dock

smaller boat

smaller boat

ride to Magic Kingdom

ride to Magic Kingdom

Magic Kingdom dock

Magic Kingdom dock

I really cannot say enough great things about my experience at Wilderness Lodge and will definitely stay there again, especially while my son is young.

Are you interested in learning more about a Disney vacation? My services are 100% FREE!

Make it a magical day!

Julie Hauck *o*

Authorized Disney Vacation Planner

MickeyTravels, LLC

1-513-313-9531 (cell)

julie@mickeytravels.com

www.mickeytravels.com

Read my Disney Blog!

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Saving for Your Disney Vacation- 11 Tips You Can Use Right Now!

26 Jun

IMG_0663I have had so many people tell me that they want to go to Disney one day, but just don’t have the funds to do it. Well once I left my corporate job to be a SAHM and build my MickeyTravels business, I have learned how to save even on a budget! I am not an accountant, so I will not go into all the math involved (YUCK!) but I can tell you some great ways to save for your next vacation!

1) Saving on your grocery bills… This is an area that I have really decreased our spending on over the past 2 years. There is no extreme coupon-ing involved, just some basic principles. Make sure to shop the sales that week and use coupons on items that are already on sale. Make sure to look at the unit cost on different sizes, especially when there is a sale. Try to buy a store/value brand when possible. Buy less meat and boxed foods and more produce (not only great for your wallet but your heart, health and waistline!)

2) Use Cash… I can’t even tell you how much money I have saved used cash for most of my everyday spending. As much as I love getting credit card rewards, I have found that spending less is far more valuable than the rewards. I use credit for gas, large purchases (to get my Disney Visa points), and online purchases. Other than that, cash it is. Try it for a month and see how much you save!

3) Stop buying bottled water… We have a water filter on our sink so we just fill up our Tervis cups instead of wasting money on bottled water. Even if you don’t have a filter, Brita and other brands make bottles with a filter. This is an easy way to save cash.

4) Stock up on baby supplies during sales… I always buy my diapers and wipes in bulk during a sale. This saves a ton of money!

5) Get a Disney Visa…I know I said use cash, but you can’t pay cash for everything. When you do use your card you will be earning money towards Disney! I love that I just transfer my rewards balance to a gift card to use for tips and souvenirs.

6) Save your coins… Since I use cash, my purse tends to get weighed down with a lot of change. Each week (or so) I empty out my purses into a Disney popcorn bucket for our next vacation. This is not a huge amount, but it is FUN! I went to the bank and had $67 since our last trip. I also put the change I find doing my families laundry in here 🙂

7) Disney Gift Cards— Get in the habit of asking for Disney gift cards for holidays. I always get these and they can be applied  towards your Disney trip or be used while you are down there. I have many clients that buy them at Target to get the 5%. I always do Kroger so I can get the fuel points. If you are thinking about Disney, just buy some when there is a deal and put them in a safe place.

8) Eat a home…This is huge, especially for a family! Make pizza night fun by making your own pie. You will get exactly what you want and save money! This also goes for skipping the drive thru. We go out on weekends and special occasions but other than that, we eat at home. It saves money and is much healthier too.

9) Skip the gym membership…Really, how often are you really using it? You can get a great workout at home using a video or even just looking up routines online. So many people are fooled into thinking they need fancy equipment to get in shape. I can tell you, I am in great shape just running outside, carrying around my toddler, being active, and doing random workouts with my husband. You can also go on groupon for deals on fitness. For one month I did a $200 bootcamp and only paid $39, it was worth it before my beach vacation

10) Prioritize your money… Look back at your credit card reciepts and bank statments and really think about where all your money is going. Chances are you are spending it on impulse buys at Target, hitting up Starbucks a little more than you should and eating out more than you thought. If you gasp when you see the totals, time to make some changes. Figure out what you can cut from your budget to make room for that dream vacation.

11) Sell old stuff…Look around your house and I am sure you have some things you can sell. I have sold books, designer purses, and even some of my Disney pin collection on ebay and on yard sale sites on Facebook. I have gotten the most for my gently used designer clothes and purses. You could even have a garage sale. I love using ebay because the money goes into my paypal account and then I can use it from online purchases or transfer to my bank account. It was fun to buy my son and I some olaf shirts off Etsy with cash I made selling old stuff!

I hope this has inspired you to save money and I would love if you put that money towards at Disney vacation!

Are you interested in learning more about a Disney vacation? My services are 100% FREE!

Make it a magical day!

Julie Hauck *o*

Authorized Disney Vacation Planner

MickeyTravels, LLC

1-513-313-9531 (cell)

julie@mickeytravels.com

www.mickeytravels.com

Read my Disney Blog!

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Do You Want To Book a Disney Trip?

24 Jun

IMG_7889

“Do You Want to Book a Disney Trip”(sing to “Do You Want to Build A Snowman” tune)

Do you wanna book a Disney trip?
Come on, let’s get a quote
We never go anywhere fun
There’s Free Dining
Julie can plan it all!

We need a good vacation
Just to relax
And see new Fantasyland!

Do you wanna book a Disney trip?
Or Disneyland or Disney Cruise line…(?)

Go and call Julie…. Okay bye

 

Are you interested in learning more about a Disney vacation? My services are 100% FREE!

Make it a magical day!

Julie Hauck *o*

Authorized Disney Vacation Planner

MickeyTravels, LLC

1-513-313-9531 (cell)

julie@mickeytravels.com

www.mickeytravels.com

Read my Disney Blog!

“Like” my fan page on Facebook!

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Dear Kid(s): We’re Going to Disney Again (woo hoo!)

3 Jun

IMG_5803Not everyone loves Disney and that is fine. I find it kind of like not liking puppies or babies (kidding) but still it is totally cool if it is not your thing. However, I just read an article posted on the Huffington Post (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bunmi-laditan/dear-kids-were-not-going-to-disney-world-period_b_5393898.html) that is solely opinion based. This Mom hates Disney and is not afraid to tell the world. Sure I could go on and on with my opinions about how amazing Disney is, but really opinions are completely subjective. I prefer to share facts and experiences. I am not trying to make you change your tune about Disney, but really if you have never gone I would hope you would not skip going based on a opinionated blog.

The article mainly complained about crowds and cost. Yes Disney is crowded (probably because it is awesome) and yes all vacations have a cost associated with them. I would like to address these two complaints with some facts.

Crowds. I typically tell clients to avoid the period between Christmas and New Years and also Spring Break. As much as I personally love Disney, these time periods are just too much for me. Also, you will not get any discounts during these peak time frames. Summer is crowded but not as much (think everyone is spread over 3 months rather than a week) and you can usually get a Room Discount at the beginning of summer or Free Dining at the end of summer. I tend to steer clients to my favorite time, Fall. The crowds are lower, Free Dining is usually offered, and you can also visit the Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. Winter is also a great time to go to avoid the crowds. Even if you do decide to brave Christmas week of Spring Break, there are some tricks (like avoiding the parks with Extra Magic Hours) to get you around and on more rides.

Cost. All vacations are expensive in terms of needing transportation, accommodations, food, gear for kids and entertainment. Transportation is needed to get there and to get around once you get there. One great thing about staying on Disney property is the FREE transportation to and from the airport and also all around the park. Not needing a rental car is a HUGE savings (we learned that on our beach trip this year!). You also will not pay any parking frees staying on property ($15 per day at theme parks). As far as accommodations, Disney has value  level (starting at $85 per night) up to deluxe villas (starting at $318 per night). There is a room to fit every budget and taste. There are even accommodations that offer kitchenettes or full kitchens so you can bring your own food and ALL Disney resort rooms have FREE mini fridges and FREE WIFI. As far as food, there are dining plans to save you money (right now they are running FREE DINING) or you can buy your own groceries. I do have to mention that if you have any dietary needs (vegan, food allergies, etc) Disney is KING! They offer many allergy friendly options and will have a chef prepare your meal in a designated allergy free/meat free zone! As far as kid gear, if you fly you do not need a car seat on the plane, on the Magical Express transfer or on the Disney buses. You can get a packnplay for FREE in your room and highchairs are everywhere. If you forget something, all theme parks have baby care centers. As far as entertainment, yes you will buy park tickets but really that is all you need. If you go to Disney for one day of your beach vacation you are going to shell out a whopping $90+ for an adult. However, if you stay more days you save, you can visit for 5 days for $270 ($54 per day) for an adult and if you stay 10 days you are up to $320 for an adult (only $33.90 a day). $90 a day for entertainment seems pretty expensive but $33- $54 is doable and gets you access to all rides, shows, FastPass+ (most other theme parks charge for a similar service), character greetings, etc.

Something else I want to add is the Disney difference. Really the service there is amazing. One time I lost my blanket and they had the laundry staff on alert and found it and shipped it back to me. Last time I went I had to avoid all dairy products (even traces and cross contamination) and they made me a dairy free milk shake. I was treated like a dairy free princess rather than a pain. When I worked there in college, we were instructed to make our guests happy by any means appropriate. If I saw I kid drop their ice cream cone, I just scooped another one. No charge, no tears, just Disney Magic.

Are you interested in learning more about a Disney vacation? My services are 100% FREE!

Make it a magical day!

Julie Hauck *o*

Authorized Disney Vacation Planner

MickeyTravels, LLC

1-513-313-9531 (cell)

julie@mickeytravels.com

www.mickeytravels.com

Read my Disney Blog!

“Like” my fan page on Facebook!

 

Let Disney’s Magical Express make the journey hassle free!

14 Apr

I think we can all agree that the worst part about traveling, is well the traveling! You just want to get there and enjoy your destination. The car rental lines, the baggage claim and trying to navigate the airport are all road bumps in your journey…well, not when you stay on Disney property. Did you know that you when you stay at a Disney resort, you get FREE transportation to and from the airport and they collect your bags for you? Thanks to Disney’s Magical Express, your vacation can start off hassle free. Today, I want to talk about how staying on property have some wonderful benefits starting right when you step off the plane.

disney-magical-express

Checked Luggage- Before you check your bags at your local airport, you will attach special yellow luggage tags (sent to you by your travel agent) coded with all your Disney resort information. You will not need to pick up these bags at baggage claim, they will magically be delivered to your guest room at your resort!

Carry on Luggage- The items you travel with can be securely stowed under the motor coach and smaller personal items can be carried on the bus. Once you arrive at your resort, the resort can store your items until your room is ready. If I have an early flight I always do this so I can go and enjoy the park before my room is ready.

Magical Express Desk and Documents- You will receive a book with simple directions to the desk and it will also contain your flight information and transfer information. When you see the desk, you will proceed to the cast member directing guests to their buses. You do not need to stop at the desk. unless you need special assistance. With the introduction of MagicBands, your information will be loaded to your band and you will simply scan your band before getting in line for your bus.

On board Magic- The drivers are always very friendly and you watch a video about all the fun you will have while visiting Disney. The video also reminds you of the check in process to make everything simple. I have seen the DME video countless times but I still love it. You KNOW you are minutes away from your magical vacation! Drivers usually point out when you are actually going to enter Disney property and the bug purple welcome sign!

One more note, this is something that can be booked by your travel agent along with everything else for your Disney trip to make your trip truly hassle free!

Are you interested in learning more about a Disney vacation? My services are 100% FREE!

Make it a magical day!

Julie Hauck *o*

Authorized Disney Vacation Planner

MickeyTravels, LLC

1-513-313-9531 (cell)

julie@mickeytravels.com

www.mickeytravels.com

Read my Disney Blog!

“Like” my fan page on Facebook!