Tag Archives: planning

Top 5 Hidden Gem Attractions at Magic Kingdom

While you’re waiting for that coveted Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Fastpass time to roll around why not beat the crowds vying for their spot on the 3 mountains or other headliners and try some of the hidden gems of the Magic Kingdom.

Okay, maybe they aren’t actually hidden. They are actually in plain view, but they tend to be less popular and have short to no wait times most of the time.

5. Prince Charming’s Regal Carousel

It’s a Royal carousel which makes it that much better than your average carousel. The special treat is finding Cinderella’s stallion, it’s white with a golden bow on its tail.

4. Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse

Just at the entrance to Adventureland, the treehouse is a climb, but well worth it. Take your time exploring the treehouse and enjoy the view from the top. It’s also all shaded.

3. Monsters Inc Laugh Floor

It’s a really funny show and it’s air-conditioned. Kids and adults alike will enjoy the silliness and watch out…the show is all about audience participation! You will find it at the entrance to Tomorrowland.

2. Tom Sawyer Island

A short raft ride in the blazing sun takes you to a little piece of wilderness right in the middle of the Magic Kingdom. The chaos fades away and the shade provides a comfortable place to cool off, especially if you venture far enough to discover the caves and fort.

1. Tomorrowland Transit Authority’s Peoplemover

“It’s just a tram ride.” “It doesn’t do anything.” Naysayers! The Peoplemover is a classic! Yes, it’s true, it doesn’t do much other than speed up and slow down, but it’s an absolute must do! You’ll get an overview of all of Tomorrowland, get a peek inside Space Mountain and Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin and the music is great!

So in between the more thrilling rides, be sure to take some time for a few of the quieter attractions that are sure to become fast favorites.


What are the Disney Visa Rewards Perks

Make the most of your vacation with Walt Disney World ®

Do you have a Disney Visa Rewards Card? Do you know of all the perks that come with it?

Disney Character Experience at Our Private Cardmember Location

At Walt Disney World® Resort, stop by our private location—reserved just for Cardmembers—to meet and pose with some of your favorite Disney Characters. You’ll receive downloads of your photos, too! Just present your Disney Visa Card to enter this exclusive event, offered daily 1pm to 7pm at the Disney Visa Photo Spot at Epcot®. Our new location is located in Future World next to Journey Into Imagination With Figment.

Star Wars Character Experience at our Private Cardmember Location

Feel the power of the Force at the Star Wars Character Experience, offered daily from 11am to 4pm at the Star Wars Launch Bay in the Animation Courtyard at Disney’s Hollywood Studios®. You’ll receive downloads of your photos to mark your visit to the dark side! Simply present your Disney Visa Credit Card to enter this exclusive location.

10% Off Select Merchandise

Receive 10% off select merchandise purchases of $50 or more at select locations at Walt Disney World® Resort.

You can enjoy this discount any time during normal Theme Park hours. Just use your valid Disney Visa Card or Disney Rewards® Redemption Card and mention this offer.

10% Off Select Dining Locations

Receive 10% off select dining locations most days at Walt Disney World® Resort (restrictions may apply). Just use your Disney Visa Card or Disney Rewards Redemption Card at the locations below and mention this offer to receive the discount.

Save at Select Walt Disney World® Resort Operating Participant Coffee/Tea and Merchandise Locations

Receive 20% off entire purchase at Joffrey’s coffee/tea kiosks throughout Walt Disney World® Resort, at Tea Traders Café by Joffrey’s, and online at Joffreys.com with code: VISABEANS. Plus, receive 10% off select merchandise purchases of $50 or more at the following Walt Disney World® Resort Operating Participant merchandise locations including Basin®, Basin White®, Chapel Hats, Good Fortune Gifts and House of Good Fortune, kidsHeritage and Marrakesh Emporium Arts & Crafts.

15% Off Select Guided Tours

Receive 15% off the non-discounted price of select guided tours at Walt Disney World® Resort. Just use your valid Disney Visa Card or Disney Rewards Redemption Card and mention this offer.

10% Off Select Recreation Experiences

Receive 10% off the non-discounted price of select recreation experiences at Walt Disney World® Resort. Just use your valid Disney Visa Card or Disney Rewards Redemption Card and mention this offer.

15% Off at Select Spa and Salon Locations

15% off the non-discounted price of any salon treatment valued at $45 or greater or any 50-minute or longer spa service most days at the spas and salons at Walt Disney World® Resort.

Create more magic and memories on your next vacation. Use your Disney Visa® Card to treat your family to amazing perks while you relax, dine and play throughout Walt Disney World® Resort!

Remember, even though you might have your Disney Visa Card linked to a MagicBand or RF-enabled card, you will still need to present your Disney Visa Card at the Cardmember Character Experience locations and use it for purchases to receive your Cardmember perks throughout your stay.


Staying Cool at Disney World

I often have people asking me how we survive traveling to Disney World in August, which is when we always go. For various reasons, school, work…it really is the only option we have. Yes, it’s HOTTER than the surface of the sun most of the time!

Channel your inner Olaf!

But, with some strategic planning and accessories it can still be a very enjoyable vacation.

Beat the summer heat at Disney World with these tips!
  1. Rope Drop – I hear you, you want to sleep in on your vacation, but getting to the parks early at opening, or even Extra Magic Hour opening even better is really one of the best ways of beating the heat. The coolest part of the day, relative to the heat of Florida in the summer of course, is before noon. Which leads right to the next tip.
  2. Schedule a midday break – If it’s a short trip it might be difficult to schedule downtime, but a midday pool break will save your sanity and hopefully prevent those kid meltdowns when they’ve just been pushed too far. Doesn’t matter how hot it is, being in the water or under an umbrella with an icy drink will keep you cool.
  3. Stategic FP and Queue Planning – Choose the longest queues that are outdoor for your Fastpasses in the afternoons. Become familiar with the queues as many are inside and have a/c or even outdoor ones have fans and are shaded. It helps…a lot. Outdoor ones that are kept fairly cool are Rock n Rollercoaster, Tower of Terror, Big Thunder Mountain, Splash Mountain, and Expedition Everest. Inside queues where you might enjoy a slight wait to cool off include Test Track, Soarin, Space Mountain, Toy Story Mania and Dinosaur.
  4. Plan those WET attractions – There are rides that you WILL GET WET on in most of the parks. Plan those for afternoon, noon – 4pm. It’s amazing how even a little bit of water can make a difference, and you’ll dry quickly. These include Kali River Rapids which will get you soaked. Splash Mountain and even a little splash on Pirates of the Caribbean is possible.
  5. Water Parks – If you have any interest in the water parks, summer is the time to explore those. If you have a long enough trip 1-2 afternoons at the water parks is a great way to stay cool.
  6. Accessories – Cooling towels like Frog Toggs or iCool Towel will keep you cool and misting fans can be bought in advance from Walmart for less than the ones they sell in the parks.
  7. Showtime – Shows such as Mickey’s Philharmagic, Turtle Talk with Crush, Finding Nemo the Musical, It’s Tough to be a Bug, Indiana Jones (although outdoor it’s covered and there are fans) are another great way to cool down and rest, mingle them into your schedule.
  8. Use Disney transportation – Nothing is worse than getting into a hot car that has been baking in the Florida sun for hours. Use the air conditioned monorails, buses, boats to get from A to B.

Disney actually did a very good job of creating waiting areas and queues to ensure the least amount of time out in the heat and sun.

Don’t forget your sunscreen and sunglasses!

With a little bit of strategic planning which I am happy to help you with if you book your trip with me, you can prevent melting in the hot Florida summer sun.

Top 5 Shopping at Disney World

Shopping at Disney World is fun! So many interesting things, not just gifts but for the home as well.

Here are my favorites:

5. The Lego Store at Disney Springs. My boys really enjoy this store and so do I. Lego is fun. They have things you’ll never find anywhere else and the Lego creations are incredible.

4. 365 Days of Christmas at Disney Springs. Do I even have to say why? Because it’s Christmas… always. Christmas is the best.

3. World of Disney at Disney Springs has everything which is fitting as it is the largest Disney Store in the world. Even the decor is amazing to see.

2. MouseGear at Epcot smack dab in the middle of Future World. I particularly love the selection of t-shirts and hats here. I could spend hours in this place!

1.The Emporium on Main Street. This store runs almost the entire length of Main Street and it’s a great way to beat the crowds and heat by walking through it instead of the street! You can find anything and everything here and if you don’t want to carry your purchases, have them sent to Guest Services to be picked up on your way out or if you are staying at a Walt Disney World resort, have it shipped there. And let’s face it, there is just something special about shopping right inside the Magic Kingdom on Main Street USA.

Be sure to take some time to check out these fabulous shops on your next visit to the House of Mouse!

Volcano Bay Rises

Volcano Bay at Universal Orlando Resort is set to open May 25, that’s just a month away!

And as details emerge I am more and more excited to visit! Here are my top 5 things I am looking forward to at Volcano Bay. In no particular order.

1. Kopiko Wai Winding River™

Yes, that’s right. I LOVE me a lazy river. It’s my favorite thing to do, just lounge and float along.

2. Premium Seating

For a very reasonable price, just $29.99 + tax you can have 2 padded loungers with an umbrella and a lockbox in an area with food and drink service. Umm, yes please. Sign me up.

3. Tapu Tapu

This is Universal’s new virtual line system, so no waiting in long lines for  rides. You tap the totem pole by the ride entrance with your wearable Tapu Tapu bracelet ( similar to Disney’s Magic Bands), and get a return time. Then come back at that time and tap and enter.

4. Express Pass

Even better, most rides will also offer Express Pass options to bypass even the virtual line system.

5. Dining

The dining at Volcano Bay looks incredible. Imaginative options in-keeping with the South Pacific Island theme.

Volcano Bay is going to be a fantastic addition to an already exciting vacation experience at Universal Orlando Resort. Read more about a Universal vacation here and here.

To start planning your EPIC Universal Vacation, contact me at Barbara@ATimetoTreasureTravel.com

Royal Pacific Paradise

Staying onsite at Universal Orlando Resort has many benefits and staying at one of the 3 deluxe resorts  includes the best benefit of all, included Unlimited Express Pass.

  • SKIP THE REGULAR LINES with Universal Express SM Unlimited ride access* in both theme parks – a FREE benefit worth up to $89 per person, per day^
    (valid theme park admission required)
  • Early Park Admission to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™, one hour before the theme park opens (valid theme park admission required)

Loews Royal Pacific offers the lowest cost option of the deluxe resorts and is an absolutely gorgeous resort. Easy walking distance to both parks and boat service as well.


Dine on exceptional cuisine; delight in the impeccable service; and soak in the breathtaking splendor of lush tropical surroundings at a white sandy beach of the lagoon-style swimming pool; all while enjoying the latest in modern conveniences.


Royal Pacific offers several room categories, from standard, water view, suites and their fun kid’s suites…Jurassic Park themed!


Guest Room Amenities

  • 1,000 guest rooms including 51 suites; rooms start at 335 sq. ft
  • Flat panel television with HD channels and On Demand® in-room movies (fees apply)
  • iHome clock radio and docking station
  • Keurig coffee maker featuring Emeril’s Gourmet Coffee and assorted teas
  • Refrigerator
  • Cotton signature bathrobes
  • Nightly turndown service (upon request)
  • Iron, ironing board, hairdryer and in-room safe
  • Complimentary* wireless internet access in each guest room and most common areas of the hotel
  • Upgrade to Premium Plus^ wireless internet access for optimal entertainment and business needs
  • 2 telephones (1 cordless) with dual voice lines, data port and voicemail
  • Club Level rooms feature complimentary continental breakfast, access to the fitness center, and more



Hotel Amenities

Whether it’s relaxing in the serene lagoon-style pool, the sights and sounds of our weekly luau, or a workout in the fitness center, Loews Royal Pacific Resort has something for everyone.


One of the most impressive features of this resort is the lagoon-style swimming pool and sandy beach. Sink your toes into the sand and ease your body into your lounge chair. Lagoon style swimming pool featuring a white sand beach and the following:

  • Two (2) hot tubs
  • Beach volleyball court
  • Private cabanas for rent

Mandara Spa® & Fitness Center

Visit the full service Mandara Spa® next door at Loews Portofino Bay Hotel. Mandara Spa® offers comprehensive wellness services, a de-stressing zone where you can work out, or tune out with a delicious spa treatment.

Supervised Kids Camp

When Mom and Dad want to enjoy a night on the town, drop the kids off at the supervised children’s activity center.

Kids will enjoy an arts & crafts table, storybook corner, computer desks, a movie room, and more. Counselors are trained to supervise toilet-trained children ages 4-14 only. One counselor for every 8-10 children.

COST: $15 per hour, per child / $15 per meal

HOURS: Open from 5:00 pm to 11:30 pm, Sunday through Thursday and from 5:00 pm to midnight on Fridays and Saturdays. * Times are subject to change.


Emeril’s Tchoup Chop

In both atmosphere and menu, Emeril’s Tchoup Chop offers diners a unique and exotic journey through the Pacific Seas, a perfect complement for the Loews Royal Pacific Resort, complete with bamboo, waterfalls, sculpted gardens and giant woks in full view.

Islands Dining Room

Enjoy savory chef-inspired creations featuring noodle bar dishes, rice bowls, wok and hibachi specialties. At breakfast, join us for traditional favorites, along with several Polynesian-influenced morning specialties.

Jake’s American Bar

Jake’s American Bar is the perfect place to meet for drinks and lively conversation after your day’s adventures.

Wantilan Luau

Sit back and experience an evening of authentic Polynesian food and entertainment at the enchanting Wantilan Luau, a weekly Hawaiian dinner show featuring an all-you-can-eat buffet of Polynesian specialties, live Hawaiian music and traditional hula dancing. Hula and fire dancers delight the audience and entice a few to even learn the hula! (Fees apply; reservations required)

Orchid Court Lounge & Sushi Bar

Enjoy a continental breakfast or a tropical cocktail at the Orchid Court Lounge, which overlooks a serene orchid garden. The Orchid Court Sushi Bar features modern, inventive sushi and sashimi presentations along with Asian-inspired desserts and South Seas martinis.

Bula Bar & Grille

Bula means “welcome” in Fijian, and you’ll definitely feel right at home at this poolside eatery serving up food and beverages with a tropical flair.


Stay more nights and save up to 35%!

Contact me to get starting planning your EPIC vacation at Universal Orlando!

Epic Savings Event – Vacation Package


All Vacation Packages Include:(per night rate shown)

  • 4-Night Hotel Accommodations
  • 3-Day Park-to-Park Ticket^
  • Early Park Admission one hour before the theme park opens to one (1) Universal Orlando® theme park as determined by Universal Orlando
  • Access to select live entertainment venues^^ at Universal CityWalk®

Rosen Inn International

Starting from $99* per adult, per night, tax inclusive

  • FREE scheduled transportation^^ between hotel and Universal Orlando
  • Discounts~ on merchandise, food & non-alcoholic beverages at select theme park & Universal CityWalk® locations
  • Additional Universal Partner Hotels available

Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort

Starting from $145** per adult, per night, tax inclusive

  • Complimentary transportation to both theme parks and Universal CityWalk® make getting around the resort fast and easy so you can make the most of your time
  • Complimentary delivery of merchandise purchased throughout the resort to your hotel
  • Resort-wide charging privileges with your room key card 

Loews Royal Pacific Resort

Starting from $219*** per adult, per night, tax inclusive

  • FREE Universal Express℠ Unlimited ride access to skip the regular lines in both theme parks – a benefit worth up to $89 per person, per day††
  • Complimentary transportation to both theme parks and Universal CityWalk® make getting around the resort fast and easy so you can make the most of your time
  • Complimentary delivery of merchandise purchased throughout the resort to your hotel
  • Resort-wide charging privileges with your room key card
  • And more!


Hard Rock Hotel

Starting from $239**** per adult, per night, tax inclusive

  • FREE Universal Express℠ Unlimited ride access to skip the regular lines in both theme parks – a benefit worth up to $89 per person, per day††
  • Complimentary transportation to both theme parks and Universal CityWalk® make getting around the resort fast and easy so you can make the most of your time
  • Priority seating at select restaurants throughout both theme parks and Universal CityWalk®
  • And more!

Loews Portofino Bay Hotel

Starting from $249***** per adult, per night, tax inclusive

  • FREE Universal Express℠ Unlimited ride access to skip the regular lines in both theme parks – a benefit worth up to $89 per person, per day††
  • Complimentary transportation to both theme parks and Universal CityWalk® make getting around the resort fast and easy so you can make the most of your time
  • Priority seating at select restaurants throughout both theme parks and Universal CityWalk®
  • And more!

Subject to availability, room type, hotel, and travel dates selected. Rate valid for bookings 3/31/16 – 4/4/16 and valid for travel; 4/3/16 – 6/10/16.


Top 3 Reasons to be at Rope Drop

Rope Drop is what opening is called at the Disney theme parks. At Magic Kingdom, they have a Welcome Show each morning as a part of their Rope Drop. Occasionally, the other parks have had shows as well, but not regularly.

Why should you plan to be at the Magic Kingdom in time for Rope Drop?


3. It’s a fun show! The train pulls into the station with most of the characters on it, there is singing, dancing, waving, confetti and often a Family of the Day picked from the early arrivals to the park. Often there is fun going on just inside the park as well, cast members waving hello, the Dapper Dan’s may be out. It’s exciting!

Rope Drop
Welcome Show at Magic Kingdom
Rope Drop
Where else can you see Drizella and Anastasia getting into trouble with Stitch!

Rope Drop

2. Parks are empty! You are walking into an empty park. A cast member will lead people to the main attractions and there are photo ops with  fewer people than you will see for the rest of the day. You can ride the big ticket rides with little to no wait, more than once if you’d like.

Liberty Square
An empty Liberty Square

Liberty Square

1. The number one reason is to maximize your time in the park! By arriving at opening when crowds are minimal and many are still sleeping in, you’ll have access to many rides with little to no wait for an hour or two. You’ll get much more accomplished in the morning than in the afternoon and it’s not quite as hot either.

Tomorrowland at rope drop
Heading to Space Mountain first thing at Rope Drop, nobody ahead of us!


While sleeping in is nice, my number one recommendation on a Disney trip is to be at Rope Drop and make the most of your time. Relax by the pool later in the afternoon when the lines are long and the parks are crowded.


Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party

Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party is a Halloween-themed special event held on select dates in Magic Kingdom® Park. Purchase of an additional event admission ticket is required to attend Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party.fhufhu736921211

During Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, Guests of all ages are encouraged to dress up in their favorite Halloween costumes. Even better, you can collect delicious candy as you trick-or-treat around Magic Kingdom Park.

In addition to many favorite Disney attractions, Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party is filled with special entertainment, including:

Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party

  • “Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular” – a new Cinderella castle forecourt stage show, will take place exclusively at Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party this fall. “Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular” features the mischievous Sanderson Sisters from Disney’s “Hocus Pocus” as they return to the mortal world for one night during the Halloween season to cast a spell on everyone in the Magic Kingdom Park. The show also includes appearances by the Disney villains, and features dancers, projections and special effects.
  • Mickey’s “Boo-to-You” Halloween Parade – including Disney Characters and the stars of the Haunted Mansion attraction. The parade begins with a spook-tacular ride by the Headless Horseman.
  • Happy HalloWishes – a spectacular fireworks show where the Disney Villains go trick-or-treating in the sky.
  • Many favorite Disney Characters and Disney Villains in special Halloween costumes.
  • Special lighting, music and theming effects transforms special areas of Magic Kingdom Park into happy haunted hollows.

The tone of the event is, well, “Not-So-Scary”, and is appropriate for children of all ages.

Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party will return in Fall 2016.

Here is the full list of this year’s dates:

  • September – 2, 8, 11, 13, 16, 18, 20, 23, 25, 29, 30
  • October – 2, 4, 6, 7, 10, 11, 13, 14, 16, 18, 20, 21, 23, 25, 27, 28, 30, 31

Tickets will go on sale soon!


Refurbishments 2016

Disney World is constantly making improvements to its parks and resorts, it’s a never-ending process.

Here is what is happening in the coming year.

Magic Kingdom

Splash Mountain
Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin
Liberty Square Riverboat
Magic Carpets of Aladdin
Mad Tea Party
Jan. 10 – 14, 2016
Jan. 18 – Feb. 11, 2016
Jan. 18 – 22, 2016
Jan. 25 – Feb. 3, 2016
Feb. 22 – 26, 2016


Re-Imagination of Maelstrom
Oct. 15, 2014 – Apr. 30, 2016
Jan. 4, 2016 – Summer 2016

Hollywood Studios

Pizza Planet Jan. 11 – Late 2016

Animal Kingdom

Maharajah Jungle Trek
Kali River Rapids
Flights of Wonder
Jan. 4 – 21, 2016
Jan. 4 – Feb. 11, 2016
Jan. 25 – Mar. 17, 2016

Typoon Lagoon

Annual Refurbishment Jan. 4 – Mar. 12, 2016

Blizzard Beach

Annual Refurbishment Oct. 4, 2015 – Jan. 3, 2016

Resort Hotels

Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort
Bay Cove Pool Feb. 1 – March 18, 2016
Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort
Surfboard Bay Pool Jan. 25 – 28, 2016
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas – Jambo House
Jambo House Soft Goods Rehab Jan. 1 – May 20, 2016
Disney’s Art of Animation Resort
Schoolyard Sprayground Jan. 3 – Mar. 11, 2016
Disney’s Beach Club Villas
Soft Goods Rehab Jan. 22 – Aug. 17, 2016
Disney’s BoardWalk Inn
Exterior Repair and Painting Aug. 17, 2015 – May 5, 2016
Flying Fish Restaurant Feb. 1 – Sep. 30, 2016
Disney’s BoardWalk Villas
Guest Villa Renovations Through Spring 2016
Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort
Old Port Royale – Path of Travel Impacts
Guests in some parts of Martinique and Trinidad North may experience some contruction noise.
Jan. 3 – Feb. 28, 2016
Jamaica Pool Jan. 6 – 8, 2016
Martinique Quiet Pool Jan. 11 – 13, 2016
Fuentes del Morro Pool Jan. 13 – 16, 2016
Trinidad North Quiet Pool Jan. 27 – 29, 2016
Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
Courtyard Pool Jan. 16 – 19, 2016
Disney’s Hilton Head Island Resort
Pool Slide Feb. 1 – 17, 2016
Disney’s Old Key West Resort
Sandcastle Pool Jan. 4 – 6, 2016
Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort
General Construction
During this time, Guests will observe construction taking place and certain pathways and buildings may be unavailable.
Through Spring 2016
East Pool
Closed for enhancement. Guests may see or hear work in progress.
Now – Spring 2016
Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside
Ol’ Man Island Pool Jan. 11 – Feb. 29, 2016
Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa
Grandstand Pool Jan. 20 – 22, 2016
Disney’s Wilderness Lodge & Villas
General Resort Refurbishments
Due to multiple resort refurbishment projects, Guests will notice construction work in various areas. Noise may be overheard while this work is being completed, but construction will not begin until after 9 a.m. Certain pathways, including the nature trail, will be unavailable. The Hidden Springs leisure pool area (the leisure pool at The Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge), resort beach, playground, Marina and Recreation fire pit will be unavailable.
Through 2017
Cub’s Den (Children’s Activity Center) – unavailable Jan. 3, 2016 – Through 2017
Disney’s Yacht Club Resort
Stormalong Bay Slide Jan. 11 – 15, 2016