Tower of Terror

This is a family favorite of ours. For me, it’s more the whole theming of the attraction that I love. My kids, love the drop. It’s that simple.

Tower of Terror Walt Disney World Hollywood Studios

This is a ride where the queue area is fun to walk through and you don’t necessarily want to Fastpass it. It also moves fairly quickly when it’s operating at full ability with all 3 elevators functioning since it loads in large groups. And watching guests trying to get the Castmembers to break character is funny.

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Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

It’s open! It’s open!

It seems like so long in the making, I’ve been watching this being built for 3 years now. Finally, today the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is officially open to everyone.

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It’s a tame family coaster perfect for anyone!

Contact me now  ( barbara@atimetotreasuretravel.com ) to plan a trip for Fall so you can reserve those FastPasses at 60 days out and be sure to skip the long lines that are sure to linger for this new attraction for awhile! Free Dining or Fall Room Offers now available.

 

July Fourth

Cinderella Castle during Wishes

This is one of my favorite pictures that I took on our 2011 trip. We were sitting right in front of the castle for the Magic the Memories and You show and it was really a little too close for a good viewing of Wishes, but we didn’t move. A lot of the fireworks were blocked by the castle, but they looked really cool in the pictures afterwards. This one seems to have a July 4th feel to it with star and the red and blue.

Wilderness Lodge

Disney’s Wilderness lodge is themed after the Pacific Northwest, the beauty and majesty of the great outdoors abounds! The lobby of this hotel is spectacular and worth a visit just to see it.

Rooms

This rather small and compact resort has 725 rooms and 181 Villas in the adjacent Villas at the Wilderness Lodge Disney Vacation Club property. Which incidentally, has it’s own lovely lobby dedicated to Walt Disney’s love of trains. Rooms range from the standard 2 queen bed configuration, but also offer a bunk bed option and a few king-bedded rooms. The Old Faithful Club is the Club Level offered at the Wilderness Lodge with it’s concierge lounge, continental breakfast, midday snacks and evening wine, hors d’oeuvres, cordials and desserts.

1 bedroom villa at Villas Wilderness Lodge

Dining

Many visit the Wilderness Lodge for one of the very popular restaurants on properties, Whispering Canyon Cafe. This restaurant offers a fun playful atmosphere and comfort BBQ style food. Kids can play, run around on wooden horses and see the mayhem ensue when someone asks for ketchup!

The Wilderness Lodge also offers a Signature Dining venue . I consider Artist Point to be one of the most underrated restaurants in the World. Few know about this rustic yet elegant choice offering American cuisine with Pacific Northwest flavors.

Roaring Forks quick-service is located right inside the hotel, not far from the pool area with indoor and outdoor seating.  A pool bar outside with seating and a cozy lounge near Artist Point round out the options.

Recreation

The Resort offers two heated swimming pools, one by the Villas and the main pool with a slide by the Lodge overlooking Bay Lake. There is a children’s pool, whirlpool, beach for sunbathing, marina with watercraft for rental, arcade, playground, health club and movies under the stars. Another fun feature, bike rentals and access to the trail to Fort Wilderness. Don’t miss the hourly erupting Geyser!

Geyser

The Wilderness Lodge also offers a children’s club so parent’s can get a night out, Cub’s Den is located right by the doors leading to the covered walkway to the Villas.

Transportation

The Wilderness Lodge is a just a stone’s throw from the Magic Kingdom and accessible via Water Launch. Boats go between the Lodge and Magic Kingdom as well as a separate boat to Fort Wilderness and the Contemporary Resort. A large and smaller boat alternate, on the larger boats, strollers do not need to be folded up. All other parks as well as Magic Kingdom are reached by bus.

Boat Dock at Wilderness Lodge

The Wilderness Lodge is a spectacular resort on the lower level of Disney Deluxe Resorts making it a perfect choice for easy “off the monorail” access to Magic Kingdom. It’s in the heart of the Magic Kingdom resorts, but still completely away from it all.

Disney Cruise Line Fall 2015

Disney Cruise Line just released their new Fall 2015 itineraries and they’ve got some exciting things going on.

Back in Galveston!

That’s right, they’ve returned to the port of Galveston, Texas for a limited time. Holiday season sailings to the Bahamas and Western Caribbean.

The Wonder is will be in Hawaii for 2 special 10 night sailings September 7th and 17th. Then she is off to San Diego for the month of October with 6 sailings to Mexico!

Of course, the traditional sailing from Port Canaveral Florida continue with Bahamas and Caribbean itineraries which all include a day at Disney’s private island paradise, Castaway Cay.

Contact me to get pricing on these fabulous cruise itineraries, these limited engagements will book up quickly!

 

Disney Resort News

The iconic Walt Disney World Resort hotels, Disney’s Polynesian Resort, is undergoing a complete re-imagining! The  renovation includes a new food & beverage experience, Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto. Plus, the hotel is returning to its original 1971 name, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort.

Disney's Polynesian ResortThe biggest construction impact will affect the beloved pool. The Nanea Volcano Pool and Slide will close for “enhancements” beginning July 26 through early 2015.

Guests staying at the resort while the main pool is closed will receive one (1) complimentary ticket for each member of their party to visit Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park during their stay. Transportation will be provided and guests will enter through a dedicated check-in point where they will receive their complimentary tickets and towels.

In the Great Ceremonial House, several areas will be revamped including the lobby.

 

 

MyMagic+ and FastPass+

If you haven’t been to Walt Disney World in the last year, things…they are a changing! A new system has finally been completely rolled out although it’s still being tweaked and kinks are still being worked out.

MyMagic+ is a complete system of keeping all data together and simplifying the experience for guests. The My Disney Experience tool, MagicBands, FastPass+, all work together.

What is FastPass+

One of the big changes is to Disney’s FastPass system. The old familiar FastPass Ticket system is gone. All the ticket machines have been removed. FastPass+ is in full effect. Guests can book their Fastpass+ selections 60 days in advance for Resort guests and 30 days for non-resort guests. This gives an advantage to buying your tickets in advance and not waiting to get them at the park.

MagicBand

Guests can choose 3 FastPass+ selections limited to one park. Then, once they have used up those 3 experiences, they can book additional Fastpass+ attractions, one at a time at kiosks  in the parks. They are not limited to one park for the additional ones. So a guest could schedule their 3 for a morning in one park, then hop to another park and book at the kiosks there based on what is available.

Booking FastPass+

So how do you book these FassPass+ attractions? Using the My Disney Experience website or app on a smartphone or tablet. You sign up for an account and set everything up linking your reservation and ticket numbers. Have the lead person set it up, add your family and friends and then you can book the FastPass+ for everyone in your traveling party. You can use the app in the parks to check wait times and maps, and of course change your FastPass+ selections on the fly if you need/want to.

How does it work:

The system works by using an RFID (radio frequency identification) chip embedded on the tickets or in the Magic Band. Ticket media are now like credit cards with the chip embedded with your My Disney Experience profile and information. Magic Bands are a band/bracelet you wear embedded with the chip. Non resort guests can buy Magic Bands if they wish.

Magic Bands

Magic Bands are free to resort guests and can be customized by choosing colors and names printed on the inside of the band.  They ship out before your trip (or can be picked up at your resort at check in) and can be used right from your arrival at Orlando Airport for Disney’s Magical Express if you are using that option. You Magic Band is your Key to the World card. It will open your hotel room door, it is your park ticket and FastPass+ ticket, and it can be used with a pin number to make purchases and charge to your room. Your ADR’s (Advanced Dining Reservations) can also be stored booked through your My Disney Experience account and they will be listed there for you. The bands are comfortable to wear and waterproof.

MagicBands

If it all seems complicated and overwhelming, no worries. It’s not too bad once you get the hang of it and experience it and of course, a good Disney Travel Planner, like myself,  will do a lot of the set up and booking for you or with you, free of charge!

 

Contemporary Resort

100_0223Disney’s Contemporary Resort is the “face” of Disney Resorts. The first resort to open and the sight of it is what most people associate with Disney resorts.

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Disney’s Contemporary Resort offers some unique features that make it an excellent choice for families. While lacking in an over-the-top theme that many of the other resorts have, the resort is modern, fresh and fun!

Rooms

The Contemporary offers 655 rooms between the main Tower with either Theme Park or Bay Lake views and the Garden Wing. Rooms are exactly the same in either building but note that in the Garden Wing, 1st-floor rooms have a patio, but second-floor rooms do not have a balcony. Garden Wing rooms are often a better bargain and a much quieter location just a short few minutes walk to the Tower. Club Level is offered via their Atrium Club or Tower Club. Club level offers concierge service, lounge with continental breakfast, midday snacks and evening wine, hor ‘d oeuvres, cordials, and desserts.

Recreation

Two heated pools with a slide, whirlpools, water feature, poolside cabanas available for rental overlook Bay Lake. A beach for sunbathing and viewing the evening Water Parade, tennis, health club, arcade, and a marina with watercraft rentals. Activities at the resort include movies under the stars and poolside fun in the afternoon led by Cast Members.

Dining

Disney’s Contemporary Resort offers one of the best signature dining establishments on site. The California Grill is located high atop the hotel with its own private terrace for viewing the nightly fireworks show, Wishes at Magic Kingdom.

Downstairs, the Wave serves breakfast, lunch and dinner while on the 4th floor concourse Chef Mickey’s offers your favorite characters for a buffet breakfast, lunch or dinner. Also on the 4th floor concourse, the Contempo Cafe is a quick-service with plenty of seating, dine while watching the monorail come and go. A poolside bar and grill serves up snacks and meals and beverages.

Transportation/Location

LOCATION LOCATION LOCATION!

That’s right, the location of this resort is a major benefit of staying here. It’s walking distance to the Magic Kingdom park. A short 7-10 minute stroll along a pathway brings you to the front gates of the Magic Kingdom. Nothing beats walking home after the fireworks while everyone else is scrambling for the buses and boats.

Another super benefit…the Monorail goes right through the hotel’s main concourse. It’s a sight to see and entertainment in itself. Hop on the Monorail (resort line) to get to the Ticket & Transportation Center where you can switch to the Epcot Express. Or stay on and visit the other Deluxe resorts on the Resort Line. Stops at the Polynesian Resort, the Grand Floridian Resort and then the Magic Kingdom Park before arriving back at the Contemporary. Buses will take you to Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom as well as Downtown Disney. The Contemporary boat launch offers service to the Wilderness Lodge and Fort Wilderness as well.

The location and convenience of the Contemporary is perfect for families, especially those traveling with young children and using strollers. The walkway and the monorail eliminate the need to wake a sleeping child, and we all know kids need all the sleep they can get after a day in the parks. When we stayed here, the walkway was our favorite feature, because it was so easy and convenient we stayed for fireworks and spent more evenings at Magic Kingdom than we would have otherwise.

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Have you stayed at the Contemporary? What did you prefer, the walkway to Magic Kingdom or the Monorail being right there?

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