Toy Story Land is Open!

What this means for your Day at Hollywood Studios.

Yee-Haw! Toy Story Land in Disney’s Hollywood Studios is finally open and it’s more fun than a Barrel of Monkeys! Just like the Cars Land addition at Disney’s California Adventure and the Pandora expansion at Animal Kingdom, new lands generate a lot of Buzz and excitement. Folks have been anticipating the new land for almost three years when it was first announced at the 2015 D23 Expo. So you can imagine the lines to get in are longer than a game of Chutes and Ladders!

ToyStoryLand2

Here are a Five Tips to help you experience everything this new Land has to offer without waiting to be chosen by Claw to save you from the lines!

Take advantage of Extra Magic Hours (EMH)
Toy Story Land is hosting Extra Magic Hours starting at 7am until August 25th. Only Guests staying at a Disney Property will have access to these highly valuable hours. With the hot Florida summer weather, having access to the morning EMH will not only help you avoid super long lines, you’ll get to get in and out before you melt like a box of crayons.

Bag Security Check
If you can avoid taking a bag into the park you can skip the Bag Check line and hop right through the ticket terminals. Otherwise, Do Not Pass Go, and enter your first line of the day. If you must take a bag into the park have it/them organized and open (and even smaller bags inside opened) and ready to go to get through the process as quickly and smoothly as possible.

Put on your Sunscreen and pack a little extra Patience
Everyone is excited to get in and play with the Toys in Andy’s back yard. Even with the advantage of Extra Magic Hours, Disney is limiting the number of people into the Land at any given time to help keep the crowds somewhat controlled. Those with FastPass+ reservations have priority. The attractions have outdoor queue’s and there is limited shading and seating.

You’ve Got a Friend in FastPass+
Hollywood Studios utilizes a tiered FastPass reservation system. The three rides in Toy Story Land – Toy Story Mania (the classic ride), Slinky Dog Dash and Alien Swirling Saucers (both new attractions) – are all in Tier One. This means you can select only ONE from the new land and two from the remaining options in the park. So far, Slinky Dog Dash has the longest wait times. Securing a FP for this ride will be your best bet from a waiting stand-point. If you are not able to obtain a FastPass for Slinky Dog Dash get there early and ride it first.

Woody’s Lunch Box and Mobile Order
Woody’s Lunch Box is the new quick service food location in Toy Story Land. It’s a fairy small venue with only two ordering podiums. This is a great opportunity to take advantage of the new Mobile Ordering system in the My Disney Experience App. Place your order, tell it when you are ready and get a notification when to pick up your order.

I hope these tips helps you Play Big during your next visit to Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

If you have any questions or would like help planning your next visit contact me at Heather@CrazyImaginationTravel.com

To Infinity and Beyond!

My First Visit to the Magic Kingdom (aka Disney Disaster!)

You might think, after reading about my first visit, that I would never want to return to the most Magical Place on earth, because the account is less than magical on so many levels. But you’d be entirely wrong.

October 1996. The Magic Kingdom was celebrating its 25th Anniversary and Cinderella Castle was decked out as a giant (nauseating) blow-up, candy covered, birthday cake concoction. But I had never seen the real thing so what did I know? There were banners lining Main Street with Lumiere on them so I may have been distracted from the awkward castle. Lumiere graced many of the 25th Anniversary collectibles I added to my stash that weekend. Collectibles? Yes. The entire reason for my visit to Orlando.

I went to spend the  weekend with friends I’d met online. We were all Beauty and the Beast collectors and had been chatting and trading for a while, so we decided to meet-up to… shop! Our intention was never to actually go to the parks, it was to hit Downtown Disney and the surrounding gift shops and malls on the hunt for treasures that eluded our collections. Who needs a Disney Park when you are finding a smorgasbord of new items to take home!?! Ahem.

We had a wonderful weekend getting to know one another, shopping and talking about our favorite subject. But alas, all good things must come to an end. And this is where my love of Disney Parks begins.

My boyfriend (now hubby,  Michael) was with me for this crazy trip. He couldn’t care less about my collection or Disney, but a get-away is a get-away. Sooo, he tagged along, even with the beginnings of a cold/flu/thing. He hung in there for the weekend and was super thoughtful to make sure I could experience a little of the crud too which I kept pretty well at bay until our departure day. We had a really late flight home so we decided to drive around and find something fun for lunch.

Somehow we ended up at Universal Studios. And I made the incredulous suggestions that if we were going to pay to get into a park for lunch we should go to Disney instead… Wait. What? Pay to go in to a park, just to eat lunch??? Um, yeah, I’ve learned a few things since then. But a one day park entry was *only* $38.50 in 1996. So off to Disney we went.

We arrived at the Magic Kingdom and I was so excited to go in! But, you see, we weren’t *at* the Magic Kingdom. We were in the parking lot of the Ticketing and Transportation Center because there is no parking lot at the park. (I told you, I’ve learned a lot since my first visit.)  We needed to purchase our tickets to get into the Magic Kingdom so we waited in our first line! Wahoo! Which lasted FOR-E-V-E-R, as I recall. You know what it’s like once you start anticipating your “vacation” and are in the car… Are we there yet? Are  we there yet? Are we there yet??? All the while the ick that had manifested was become more aggressive.

Three hours later (that time may be inaccurate, it’s been over 20 years after all, and I didn’t feel well) and we were on the Monorail headed to the Most Magical Place on Earth! Annnnd once you get to the park you have to go through the ticketing turnstiles. Which, as I recall, took another decade, or hour – whatever. THEN we were IN THE PARK. Remember we came to get lunch and by this time we were hangry, getting sicker by the minute and clueless. Where should we eat? I dunno, what’s here? What are you in the mood for? I dunno, etc., etc., etc.!!!

A little walk down Main Street had me all flabbergasted. I was *in* the Magic Kingdom! I was taking pictures of Lumiere on the street poles and the Castle from every step down Main Street all while the head cold surged on. Then we saw Casey’s. Hot dogs sounded ok. So we got our dogs (most expensive hot dog ever – ball parks got nothing on this dog) and sat to take it all in for a minute. As we were eating it started to rain. Since we came totally unprepared for a day at the park we bought the ridiculously overpriced ponchos (which I still use to this day, so I guess I’ve really gotten my money’s worth!) so we could explore the park as comfortably as possible. Alas after a stroll around the Hub with no clue where to go or what to do, we were both feeling so terrible we decided to just go to the airport an rest before our flight.

Yes, you read that correctly. My first trip to the Magic Kingdom consisted of taking a few photos and eating a hot dog. We didn’t ride a single ride, not one character interaction, no parade – nada!

It DID, however,  put that little spark of magic in my heart. I could feel something special and knew I needed to go back to experience all that Disney has to offer. So I began reading and researching everything I could about the parks and started making my plans to return!

I became a Cast Member at my local Disney Store soon after and began traveling to the parks once, twice (or more if I could) a year. Over the years my love for Disney only continued to grow.  After many trips under my belt and continual questions from family and friends about what they should do for their own trips serendipity stepped in and offered the opportunity for me to help folks plan their vacations – for real! In 2012 I became a Magical Vacation Planner.

I love being able to “do Disney” on a daily basis. Even when I am not there, I get to live vicariously through the families I help plan with. So, THANK YOU, to all the families that have allowed me to join you on your magical vacations and do what I love. I promise, your first visit will be much more magical than mine! ºoº

Disney World 101

The Walt Disney World Resort consists of more than 47 square miles of magic (about the size of San Fransisco). There are more than twenty Disney resort hotels, four theme parks, two water parks, a world-class shopping district, golf courses, spas and more!

Here are a few key elements to consider when starting to think about your magical vacation:

Parks and Entertainment

  • Four Theme Parks: Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios™, Disney’s Animal Kingdom®.
  • Two Water Parks: Disney’s Blizzard Beach and Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon.
  • Shopping & Entertainment: Disney Springs, Disney’s BoardWalk.
  • ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex: Multi-sport complex for cheer, gymnastics, RunDisney, spring training and other events.
  • Golf Courses: Disney’s Palm, Magnolia, Lake Buena Vista and Oak Trail Golf Courses.
  • Word-Class Spa & Health Clubs: Senses Spa and Mandara Spa are located in select resorts.

Park Tickets

  • Base Ticket Entrance to one theme park per day.
  • Park Hopper Entrance to any of the four theme parks on the same day.
  • Park Hopper Plus Entrance to any of the four theme parks as well as the Disney water parks.
  • Special Event Tickets Entrance to park for special hours such as Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party,  Morning Magic and more!

Resort Hotels

Disney Resort hotels are divided into the following categories:

  • Value ($) Just the basics A food court, pools and a modest 260 square feet with two queen beds.
  • Moderate ($$) A few extras Themed pools with slides with additional dining options, lounges, recreation and amenities. Rooms are 315 square feet and sleep up to five guests with two queens and one twin.
  • Deluxe ($$$) Steps from the theme parks these hotels offer comfortably-sized accommodations with private balconies (some overlooking the parks!), concierge services and more. Most deluxe hotels sleep up to five guests per room in two queens and one twin. Multi-room and presidential suites are available at these hotels.
  • Deluxe Villas ($$$ – $$$$) These one, two and three bedroom villas provide all the comforts of home including a full kitchen, dining room, living room, washer and dryer and daily housekeeping. They are perfect for families vacationing together. Accommodations sleep between four and twelve guests depending on the villa.
  • Cabins and Campgrounds ($ – $$$) These one bedroom, one bath cabins complete with a kitchen, dining room, living room and patio, sleep up to six guests. Campsites are available for tents and RVs.

Vacation Packages

Packages include your hotel and Theme Park tickets plus any of the following:

  • A Disney Dining Plan Choose from Quick Service, Disney Dining Plan or the Deluxe Disney Dining Plan.
  • Memory Maker Enjoy unlimited digital Disney PhotoPass photos. Price is discounted if purchased with package prior to arrival.
  • Enchanting Extras – Unique Access Tours, Dessert Parties, Spa Services, Make Believe and more!
  • Insurance We strongly recommend the insurance. Ask for additional information.

Benefits of Being a Disney Guest

Guests staying at a Disney owned and operated hotel receive the following at no additional cost:

  • Round Trip Transportation from Orlando International Airport (MCO).
  • Extra Magic Hours Enter an hour early and stay up to three hours after closing.
  • Complimentary Door to Door Transportation between your hotel and the parks
  • Early access to FastPasses  Available to book 60 days in advance.
  • Complimentary MagicBands Personalize your MagicBands with names and colors.
  • Magical Extras A list of Magical Extras, like tour and merchandise discounts and more,  are included with your quote. 

Staying at a Walt Disney World Resort hotel puts you right in the middle of the fun but you still need a well thought out plan to make sure you get the most out of your vacation. That’s where I come in! I will help you navigate through all of the options and decisions to make sure your Disney vacation is a dream come true. I can’t wait to help you Start the Magic!