"In the Tiki Tiki Tiki Tiki Tiki Room...in the Tiki Tiki Tiki Tiki Room...."

Friday, November 19, 2010

Christmas in the Happiest Place on Earth!

I am going to be working on this!! Just had to "space save" and take out the Halloween stuff.....but anyway - Christmas in Walt Disney World is fantastic.  What a jolly fun time to visit the wonderful world of Disney.

Be back in a bit with pics and info and more!


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Fall in the Magic

The autumn months are a fun-filled & magical time to visit the Walt Disney World parks.  I am going to miss my annual October visit to the magic this year and I'm feeling pretty bummed about it.  Especially now that I am looking over all my photos from past trips.  We had so much fun over the years.  I think our first Halloween party in WDW was in 2003....and we were hooked.

In my mind I am plotting HOW...how can I sneak something in.....it just won't work no matter how I finagle options in my head.   I can't sneak away with my Disney buddy kids or without them.  My older daughter is now a freshman in high school and involved in too many things and AP classes (good for her - bad for me!) - she can't even miss a few days and my younger daughter is in sports & busy with her school life - so... my days of quickie last minute fall trips to the magic are done.  (That's a hard pill to swallow) But I love looking at the photos of the Magic Kingdom all decorated for fall even if it makes me envious of others that are able to pick up and leave and head to the world.   There is so much to see and do and with the extras that the months of September and October bring to the parks, it just makes it all the more special a time to visit.

Autumn is in the air  in central Florida beginning in September.  It''s still summery here in Illinois, but you can tell something special is brewing as you enter the Magic Kingdom during September and October!  Pumpkins and Jack-o-Lanterns glow along the roof tops, the buildings are draped in orange and gold, and harvest leaves and fall floral details are placed in every little nook. During Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Parties, from dusk to dark Main Street glows with orange, violet, and green and later in the evening ghosts drift over the shops and sidewalks as villains voices haunt the air while festive music plays and puts everybody in a trick or treat fun mood.

The Wicked Step Mother and Step Sisters hold a meet and greet

The Villains Mix and Mingle in the Castle forecourt

The lighting on Main Sreet is fantastic
The Magic Kingdom hosts the spectacular Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party on 24 evenings during September and October.  These are phenomenal parties.  The parade and fireworks alone are worth the cost of admission.  You will see characters in their Halloween costumes - and rare characters come out to join in the fun, too -  throughout the Magic Kingdom are trick or treat stations lit up with huge glowing signs and ghosts floating overhead, special  shows at the castle and in Belle's story area, dance parties where characters jam to the festive the music with the crowd, the headless horseman racing through the parade route,  the most amazing fireworks display, and more!  Beware of hitchiking ghosts -   Disney knows how to throw a party & they may want to join in the spirit of the fun.   If you are a pin collector, Disney puts out special limited edition pins available only to guests attending these parties.  I have always also seen  other party only merchandise & souvenirs out for sale - and once the party ends, the items are placed in the back until the next party night.  You'll leave the Magic Kingdom with a bag of candy weighing you down and the mega catchy "It's not so very scary - Boo to you...." parade theme song resounding in your head.   Believe me...everybody but the headless horseman will be singing that song afterwards!  We came home with the party music CD a few years ago and that has become a standard in our house from mid September to Halloween.

Party Facts and Information

The event will be held from 7pm-12am September- November, 2010*

Order tickets online now or by calling (407) WDISNEY or (407) 934-7639. Guests under age 18 must have parent or guardian permission to call.

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 theme park.

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

* 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 Villians in special Halloween costumes.
* Special lighting, music and theming effects transforms special areas of Magic Kingdom theme park into happy haunted hollows.

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

* Tuesday, September 14, 2010
* Saturday, September 18, 2010
* Tuesday, September 21, 2010
* Thursday, September 23, 2010
* Saturday, September 25, 2010
* Tuesday, September 28, 2010
* Thursday, September 30, 2010
* Friday, October 1, 2010
* Sunday, October 3, 2010
* Thursday, October 7, 2010
* Friday, October 8, 2010
* Monday, October 11, 2010
* Tuesday, October 12, 2010
* Thursday, October 14, 2010
* Sunday, October 17, 2010
* Tuesday, October 19, 2010
* Thursday, October 21, 2010
* Friday, October 22, 2010
* Sunday, October 24, 2010
* Tuesday, October 26, 2010
* Thursday, October 28, 2010
* Friday, October 29, 2010
* Sunday, October 31, 2010
* Monday, November 1, 2010

*Advance Purchase Price not available on 10/8, 10/22, 10/28, 10/29, 10/31. All other select nights, when purchased prior to the day of the event: $53.95 + tax (Ages 10+) $47.95 + tax (Ages 3 - 9); Day-Of Event Prices: $59.95 + tax (Ages 10+) $53.95 + tax (Ages 3 - 9); Premium Pricing (10/29, 10/31 ): $64.95 + tax (Ages 10+) $58.95 + tax (Ages 3 - 9)

Standard Magic Kingdom theme park admission tickets will not allow Guests to attend Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party. 

More info, photos, and comments Magic Chat Live

And don't forget the 15th annual EPCOT Food and Wine Festival which takes place
in The World Showcase
from October 1 to November 14th 2010  
*No extra admission required*

There are some terrific Disney deals out now for room and or dining savingsIf you have questions about booking a magical WDW vacation & want a hassle free planning experience, contact me at Channing@TravelWithTheMagic.com for a FREE no obligation quote on my FREE planning services. 

Happy & Magical Travels,
800-670-4312 Ext 124
Come join our friendly forums over at Magic Chat Live! 

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Magic Chat Live Contest!

I own the website Magic Chat Live and we are now running our very first contest.
  Just for sharing your story, you could win 
a $25 Disney gift card. 

The contest is based on your best or worst 
Disney dining experience.  
Come share the magic of a great time at a restaurant in Walt Disney World or Disneyland-  OR 
come on over and vent about the worst time you've ever had and why you'll never ever be back!  

We've all had good and bad - One thing we can be sure of at WDW is the inconsistency.  Just write a short review or summary, or pictorial - however you think you can get the story across best.  Let's have fun with this one - Photos are always a good thing - a picture tells a thousand words.  There are some sample stories up now posted by members.  It is FAST AND FREE to register for this fun Disney Vacation planning website.   You can be anonymous!  Be creative, colorful (watch the language a little though, though *wink*) and have a good time sharing!  Nobody will be graded on grammar or spelling LOL - just have a good time.

Does this name make you SHUDDER?

Have you had a really bad burger?

Dinnner at the Castle a royal rip?

Was Narcoossee's the bomb?

The voting will begin August 1, 2010. On August 15th, 2010 a winner will be announced.

Dining Contest Rules

Arrow To enter you must register for MagicChatLive (it's fast and free) and start your own thread in this contest forum about your best or worst dining experience at Walt Disney World or Disneyland.  *Have fun*

Arrow Tell us all about your experience (go ahead and let it fly now's your time to vent) and include pictures if you would like - pics are good!

Arrow Come back and vote once a day for your favorite story. Please only vote for your own thread one time. Let's keep this fair -the prize is $25 not a WDW trip. Icon12 Voting will start on August 1, 2010. On August 15th, 2010 voting will close and a winner will be announced on August 16th.

Arrow The winner will receive a $25.00 Disney Gift Card that we will mail USPS priority mail as soon as the winner has been notified and we have their shipping address. The winner will have 7 days to reply to us with their mailing address, if they do not we will ship to the 2nd place winner.

Arrow For extra entries please fan Magic Chat Live on Facebook and post on the wall letting us know that it is an entry for the contest

If you have questions please contact us at WhereTheMagicLives@comcast.net with Disney Contest in the subject line

Magic Chat Live Information
Magic Chat Live is a fun place with friendly Disney loving people that enjoy sharing their trip planning and other tips, information & photos.  Everybody is welcome!  Come join - it's easy and fast!

Do you want to 
Travel With the Magic?
Are you thinking Disney?  Have a trip already planned or maybe you are dreaming of a Disney destination & don't know where to start? Let me help you arrange a terrific trip!
Even if you have a trip already in the works, I can take it over with some simple information from our
Travel With the Magic take over form  
Come "Like" me on FaceBook and see my client reviews -
  Let me add some magic to your vacation! 
We know our Disney!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Plans are Finalized!!!

I started packing yesterday!  Wow what a pain...I guess it's better than unpacking!  Packing for myself is bad enough but packing for a family - *faint* ....it is a little easier now that my youngest is past the princess days.  We aren't schlepping a variety of gowns, crowns, shoes and hairbows.   So we are packing "light".  For us.   (We still have a wardrobe of ears (I am so happy the girls will still wear "ears") and a huge Disney pin collection and of course tons of flip flops.

I finalized my dining.....  I added the princess breakfast in Norway - it's been 2 years since we've done that & Jo is still young enough to enjoy it.  I actually got a "go" from Lucy, too.   In May, I ate dinner in the castle, and I have to say DISAPPOINTING.  I would not do it again for a long time.  I felt like it was dirty, sticky, and just over all bleh - but expensive.  Hopefully the Norway experience will be different.

 I saw a trip report  where there were photos of food and the photos of sticky toffee pudding dessert at lunch at Liberty Tree Tavern tempted me - so I had to add that and do some rearranging to fit that one in.

For the birthday people (my daughter and husband) I listened to their requests, and have a Cape May Cafe breakfast booked and Le Cellier late lunch.  I am one of the people that thinks Le Cellier is way over rated, but last time we ate dinner there it WAS very good.  I am not having any high expectations, though.

Our usual at DHS is the Sci Fi Drive in Diner.  That's a hit with everybody in my family.  The food is OK but the atmosphere is a lot of fun.  Those black and white funny science fiction movies have been distracting my kids for about 15 years now and allowing me ME time while I eat.  It's a must do each trip.

We like eating outside on the patio at Rose & Crown and I was lucky enough to book a 7:40pm dinner reservation.  I hope we wind up outside for Illuminations viewing.   Plus I love the beer there - and their stilton cheese salad dressing & the cheese bread rolls.   My husband likes the fish and chips and honestly, I am not sure what the kids eat there......not a lot of options that are kid (picky eater) friendly.  We shall see.

My youngest is 10 years old - and she actually WANTED Bippity Boppity Boutique.  That really surprised me.....I was able to get her an appointment in the castle.  I figured I'd better appreciate her wanting to do this now.  After this, the next time I get to take a little girl to BBB will probably be when I'm a grandma lol...because I think soon enough Jojo won't want to be done up with fakey make up, colorful hair extensions, and goo put in her hair.  For now, she does - and I'm going to enjoy every minute of it.

Ohana.....wow - our last experience there was nasty.  It was a big bummer disappointment because it has been a staple dining place for us for as long as I can remember.  Well....last time we did eat there was 2 years ago and we all agreed NEVER AGAIN.  Just horrid service & yucky food.  Well, I have heard they've made some changes to the staff and it's getting some raves again.  We are giving Ohana another go.  They must be doing something right because the best I could get for us was an 855pm dining time.  Another we shall see in the works.  I hope it's good again because it was a WDW vacation tradition for us for so long.

Another tradition for us 1900 Park Fare.  We have the dinner booked with Cinderella and her wicked step sisters.  Those sisters are the best.  They make the experience what it is.  Looking forward to that again.

My older daughter, Lucy, is a big Eeyore fan, Jojo is a Piglet fan, and Zack always liked Tigger - so Crystal Palace has always been on my ADR list.

We love the trip over to Wilderness Lodge.  It's a little adventure just getting there - so I booked us Whispering Canyon Cafe.  Last time we ate there, Jojo was having attitude and not in the mood to be anywhere except in front of the TV watching Hannah Montana & playing with her Disney Princess Polly Pockets.  Well, that dinner turned out to be one of the highlights of our trip.  We had such a fun waiter - he completely picked up on Miss Jojo's baditude and played right up to her.  She was a star and she loved all the attention.  The food was pretty good and the atmosphere a lot of fun and laughs.

OK I even am taking one for the team.  I booked us a dinner at Tony's Town Square...that place gets horrible reviews.....but I have clients that ask about it and I turn them off to eating there.  Well, honestly it's been 3 years or so since we put ourselves thru the Tony's experience, so we're going to have to try it again so that I can give a fair review of the place.  Our last dinner there, our waiter must have been low man on the totem pole, because he was the restaurant garbage guy....we would see him take out the trash, change the garbage bags, *cross our fingers he washed his hands* and laugh...."When he came back to take our order,  my son even asked him, "Did you wash your hands?" and we all just cracked up....I guess you had to be there but that's part of the family vacation fun....all the silly things you remember and laugh about later.  We had fun there, but the food....eh.  Get the Rolaids and the Tums.   I cannot even guarantee my family will suck it up and go along with this one.....

On MY birthday, I figured a little R&R and spoiling so I booked us a pool cabana at the Grand Floridian.  And then later a late lunch at the tea room.   We have done "tea" here a few times before and my daughters really really enjoy it.  Kind of funny, I wouldn't think they would like it as much as they do, but it's such a nice relaxing break away from the park craziness and the other LOUD restaurants.   Sort of like the Plaza Restaurant.  That's a simple one, too - and one of their favorites.  

My favorite vacation drink is a pina colada with a shot of Kahlua drizzled through it.  I can taste it now.....

On our last morning, I booked the breakfast with Lilo and Stitch.  I figure we'll be out monorail shopping and picking up those last minute souvenirs - so a stop over at the Polynesian fits with that plan.

I am getting really excited...but almost the kind of excitement that sends me into neurotic feelings of "Something might go wrong to spoil this trip".  (I am crazy that way LOL) The countdown is on and as of today I have five days left of neurosis....but so far *knock on wood* so good.  Looks like it's all systems go.

  I have a lot of plans I hope we can fit in  - movies on the beach at both the Yacht Club and the Grand Floridian, I wanted to take a boat over to the Fort Wilderness Campgrounds and just check it all out and see what that area is like, I'd love it if we made it to Downtown Disney for shopping, a trip up in the hot air balloon, and ice cream, the girls want to do lots of pin trading & expand their immense collection, and then we have to find time for swimming breaks and just relaxing and people watching from our balcony.  

Renting a pontoon boat is always fun in the afternoons, too....  

 My daughters  always like to do the "Pick a Pearl" in Japan in EPCOT - the uglier the oyster, the prettier the pearl is what we learned.  Jojo is a champion pearl picker - she always gets a jumbo or twins.  There are sterling silver settings for a decent price and the jewelry makes a nice lasting souvenir.

This will be a strange trip in a way as my son won't be coming with.  He is almost 20 and pretty much outgrown family vacations. (it's a mutual thing - we've outgrown him, too LOL)   His idea of a family vacation is sleeping til 2 pm and then being on his cell phone with friends.  So...this is it.   Just the four of us this time around. Somebody is going to lose their thrill ride buddy.

Kind of a new step in the family vacation situation - but at least the four of us are all Disney fans and really thrilled about taking this vacation and spending time together.   I have so many memories of past family trips when the kids were young & want to repeat everything - but it gets harder and harder as the kids get older and the experiences pile up.  I guess we'll have to make new memories - just the four of us. That will be easy, though -  we are going to be on the move cramming in all the fun we can handle for 10 days straight. 

Happy travels!

Free dining is back for fall and there are still discounts for summer - Make some family memories!  
Contact me at Channing@TravelWithTheMagic.com for a free quote.  

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


Well, we are just under two weeks until our trip!! I had delusions of getting some fantastic SWA Ding fare that would allow me to change my dates a bit and RE add on my last 2 nights (that I - during temporary insanity) chopped off because I wasn't (in my head at the time I made this change) up for moving to a third resort during one trip.  The closer my trip gets the more I ask myself...why did I shorten it?!?!?  We really like to do a split stay between two resorts - one on the EPCOT side of the "world" and then over to the Magic Kingdom side.....but moving a third time left me bleh.  So I added one more night to my Grand Floridian reservation and chopped off 2 Wilderness Lodge nights.  Yeah, a confusing mess, but what
it comes down to is 4 nights at the Yacht Club and 6 at the Grand. 

What happened to SWA Dings?!?!?  I used to get Dings here and there that would send me to fun places.....now it's Indianapolis & Cleveland most often....not fun..... So, no such fun destination Ding arrived for me.....and I feel like I am paying more for air for this summer trip than we have paid in years.

Yesterday I was reviewing my park plans and ADRs.  I use Tour Guide Mike to plan the "best days" and I have found him to be useful and helpful.  But my handwriting and scribble scrabbled notes all over my trip notes page had me lost.  It took me a LOOOOOooooong time to figure out WHAT?!?! What did I want to do?? And WHY?? My reasoning a month ago seems to conflict with my 2 week out reasoning haha.  So I had to back track, head over to TGM and then try and figure out what time and where I did want to dine.   I plan for other people in a nice legible logical way, but my own plans and ideas for my family trip get added here and there when I have a few minutes and become scattered LOL -  I guess it's like the plumber with the clogged drains all over his house.   So, after rereviewing TGM and double checking my ADRs online, I am now good to go with a new plan of attack!!!

 I booked our flight to Florida based on my 13 yr old daughter's high hopes of seeing the midnight showing of the Twilight movie, "Eclipse"  haha.....her birthday is July 1 and she had visions of me taking her and several friends to the midnight opening showing on June 30.....omg.....I am now in denial mode.  WHY did I agree to that?!?!?  I can't even think about the reality of doing that.......  I have never read the books, not seen the movies, am going to snooze thru this movie from midnight to 2 am....and then have to deal with driving a throng of teen girls to our house to spend the night  and dealing with them in the morning while trying to throw everything all together and get us out of the house for the airport.   I selected a 2 pm flight, thinking that works.....but how do I get roped into these crazy schemes.......  I am still (when feeling a reality check) trying to plot a way out of doing these plans.

So now that I have the ADRs and schedule the way I like it.....time to start dealing with things here on the home front.  I have started taking Miss Mischief Penny to a doggy daycare to prepare her for when she'll be kenneled there.  She just turned 8 months old and has never been away from home.   Have to make sure everybody has good park shoes.....shorts and more.....start getting the toiletries together, stuff for the flight...lots of Target runs before a vacation.....I am actually getting butterflies in my stomach while thinking of this list of have to dos!!!  I am a last minute packer - I don't like the pressure of doing it that way, but I don't enjoy packing and procrastinate til it has to be done.  I always bring too much.....so make more work for myself than I should.  I am going to TRY my best to leave home without 400lbs of junk in 8 bags.  Coming home to have to put that away (AFTER laundering 400lbs) is the pits.   I have an almost 20 year old son and he won't be coming with this time.  Part of me is jumping for joy because the last time he did come with (he was 17.5 at that time) he was a huge buzz kill and downed us all out.   But...then I think about being 1200 miles away from him for 10 nights and get a bit of a sick panicky feeling.  I just have to work that out in my head.....but I am sure out of sight out of mind may be what happens once I step onto the colorful mosaic floor in MCO and hop on their monorails!!! *LOL*

We don't have anything super special planned during our trip.    With my crazy family it's hard to even stick with my schedule because inevitably somebody wants to do something else.....or isn't hungry at ADR time.....or is tired or hot....flexibility is a necessary thing for us on our vacations.....We just plan on hitting the parks early (ya right - we shall see..... - flexibility needed here haha) returning for a swim and then back to the parks in the late afternoon/evenings and stay til close.

Three of us have birthdays during the first week of July but my younger daughter is a January baby...I don't want to make a giant deal out of us three birthday people when she has actually never been during hers.  My older daughter and husband and I chose where we want to eat for our days but I didn't mention BIRTHDAY on the reservations.   Last year I let my youngest daughter have my birthday.....she wore the button and got the cupcake at lunch.  She got my year and birthday calories.  What a deal.

Well.....we are finally seeing the sun here in good old northern Illinois, so I am going to soak some up and get a nice tan going so I don't burn in Florida.

I CAN"T WAIT TO GO!!!!!!!  

Happy travels, all!!


Free dining is back!!!  From August 14 to October 2
save big with free dining.  If you are interested, 
please contact me at Channing@TravelWithTheMagic.com 
or phone toll free 800-670-4312 Ext 124  

Let us add some MAGIC to your trip!!