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Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party (MVMCP)

MVMCP, Disney’s biggest holiday event,  features exclusive holiday entertainment, snow falling on Main St., & complimentary cookies and hot cocoa.
This is a special event with its own ticket. The event “officially” begins at 7:00 pm and lasts until 12:00 am.  However, if you don’t have a theme park ticket to enter the Magic Kingdom for that day, the Castmembers will generally allow MVMCP ticket holders entrance about 4:00 pm.
2016 event dates are:
November 7, 8, 10, 11, 13, 15, 18, 27 and 29
December 1, 2, 4, 6, 8, 9, 11, 13, 15, 16, 18 and 22

People often ask about the least crowded parties and which days they should attend. November party dates will almost always be less busy than December dates, and Tuesdays are usually less crowded than parties offered on other days of the week.

“Mickey’s Most Merriest Celebration” will make its debut for the 2016 holiday season. In this all-new show, Mickey and his pals invite some of their friends over for an unforgettable Christmas party filled with music, dancing, color and fun. Look for Woody and Jessie from “Toy Story,” Fantasyland friends such as Peter Pan and Snow White, and many more!

Not all of the rides and shows will be open during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, but many will and with very little wait times.
Note that FastPass+ is not available during the party (and for most attractions, it’s not needed anyway).
You have 5 hours to enjoy the special events that take place during this party so use your time wisely.

Things you should do:

  • Watch the parade but wait until the second one since it’s less busy and you can do other things during the first one.
  • See the fireworks.
  • Attend the shows – they are exclusive to this party and can’t be seen any other time of year.

Things you should not spend time doing:

  • Eating – you can get cookies (including a gluten free option), cocoa, apples, and apple juice at many locations and there are some restaurants open but we wouldn’t spend too much time on that. Be sure to eat before the events begin so you can spend your time doing other things. Have a big sit down lunch this day!
  • Doing things that are not exclusive to this party which includes meeting some characters and riding rides. If you’re attending on a busy night, focus on the exclusive things as opposed to things you could ride during the day. If you’re attending on a less busy night, the short lines for rides are a lot of fun to take advantage of.

Here’s a sample itinerary plan for the party:

  • If you want to do a popular character meet, line up early. If you want to meet popular characters like Jack Skellington and Sandy Claws, line up around 4:30 for that (he often shows up before the party begins, sometimes as early as 5). If you want to meet the Seven Dwarfs, line up around 6:00 so you can see them as soon as they begin meeting people at 7. Want to meet the princesses w/their princes? Get in line around 6:30 for that.
  • Celebrate the Season at 7:30 p.m.
  • Frozen Holiday Wish at 8 p.m. (or at 6:15 p.m. before the party begins)
  • Go on some rides, pick up some cookies and cocoa, attend the dance party or watch VoicePlay
  • Celebrate the Magic at 9:15 p.m.
  • Holiday Wishes Fireworks at 9:30 p.m.
  • Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade at 10:30 p.m.
  • Rides, cookies, character dance party
  • Totally Tomorrowland Christmas Show at 11:35

Is it worth it?

For $60-70/person, you get up to 8 hours in the park with an exclusive parade and fireworks, special character interactions, low wait times on rides, with cookies and cocoa.

We love the Christmas party and think it’s worth it for most people, although due to the late hours, we don’t suggest it for most families with young children. Late nights and sleepy kids turn into grumpy families – no pixie dust there!
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No More Disney Dollars!

Disney is discontinuing the sales of Disney Dollars after almost 30 years.  The final day to purchase the soon-to-be collector’s item is May 14, 2016, due to the increased use of gift cards and other digital media.
There is no expiration date on Disney Dollars, so they will still be an accepted form of currency at all Disney Theme Parks and the Disney Stores.

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Ample Hill Creamery at Disney!

A re-imagined take on the turn-of-the-century ice cream parlor is set to open this spring at Disney’s BoardWalk Inn & Villas at Walt Disney World® Resort. Ample Hills Creamery, a Brooklyn-based company known for their creative approach to all things ice cream, will open its first location outside of New York City.

The new creamery will be located on Disney’s BoardWalk, overlooking Crescent Lake—a short walk from Epcot® and a relaxing boat ride from Disney’s Hollywood Studios®. Guests will be able to peek into the promenade-facing kitchen windows, where ice cream and mix-ins will be handcrafted the old-fashioned way.

Inside, you can sample as many flavors as they’d like, including signature creations like Ooey Gooey Butter Cake, Coffee Toffee Coffee, (my personal fav, can’t wait to try this!) Malty Salty Pretzel Punch, Cotton Candy, and more. They’re even working on a special one-of-a-kind flavor developed exclusively for Walt Disney World Resort.

Disney FREE Dine /25% off Rm. Rate

FREE DINE! It seems EVERYONE wants and/or waits for Walt Disney World to offer (what now has become) the traditional fall offer for FREE Dining Plan! Well it’s open for booking as of this morning, April 25th! Woo-Hoo!
Now for the other news… Disney has also announced 3 additional money saving offers!
Go figure – Let’s make everyone’s life just that much more complicatefree dine 0d – Right?

Everyone assumes that the best value is going to be Free Dine. However, this will not necessarily be the case.
You have to be smart about it all. Dates, rates, Resorts, length of stay AND the dining plan choice itself ALL play a major factor in the final cost.
When you decide to stay at one of the Disney Value Resorts, you will automatically get the Quick Service plan with the Free Dine offer. You can upgrade to the Disney Dining plan that includes the Table Service option.
If you decide to stay in one of Disney’s Moderate, Deluxe or Deluxe Villas, then the Disney Dining Plan (one Table, one Quick and one Snack service per person, per night) will be the dining plan included in your package. Yes, you can even upgrade to the Deluxe plan from there.
Beware, there are restrictions.
Now, the 25% off the room rate can save you more money depending on which Resort you stay in. Staying in a Deluxe Resort with this offer and adding a Quick service plan can be a better value to you in the long run. Even staying in a Deluxe Resort in the Club Level (with access to the Club Lounge which offers breakfast, snacks throughout the day, evening cordials and desserts) can fill in making the Quick Service Plan a winner. Oh LaLa!
25 offThe other 2 offers are:
“Early Fall Kid-Size Package”
Enjoy a 2-day/3-night stay in a standard room at a select Disney’s All-Star Resort with one park per day Magic Your Way® base tickets for just $998 for a family of 3. Book by August 31, 2016 for stays most Sunday through Thursday nights from August 1 through November 5, 2016.
“Back-to-School Savings”

Enjoy a 4-day/4-night stay in a standard room at a select Disney’s All-Star Resort with one park per day Magic Your Way® base tickets for just $1,850. Book through August 31, 2016 for stays most Sunday through Thursday nights from August 1 through November 5, 2016.

Confused Yet??? Don’t be… Call or email us, the travel professionals at Magic Itineraries, Inc. Tell us when you want to go, and we’ll help you get the best offer! 610-639-0138 610-754-1511 owners@magicitineraries.com

Tutto Italia Ristorante in EPCOT offers special 3-course prix fixe lunch!

Tutto Italia is one of our favorite restaurants, along with Tutto Gusto Wine Cellar and Via Napoli. But normally these places are thought of more for dinner than for lunch. Mostly because World Showcase doesn’t open until 11:00 am and the majority of guests are still lingering in Future World due to the fact that this area has the majority of the attractions the kids are more interested in and the scheduling of FP+ will cause you to still be in Future World about lunchtime.

This is a shame, because amazing world class dining is in World Showcase, and having both lunch and dinner reservations (for lunch sometimes walk-up is possible too) would thrill any foodie!! Most lunch menus are the same as the dinner menus, just less costly!

Tutto Italia’s idea of the fixed pricing for lunch is wonderful for this most excellent dining experience. Here is what you can pick from and it includes a non-alcoholic beverage:

You have your choice of four appetizers: Antipasto, Insalata Mista (salad), Caprese (mozzerella, basil and olive oil), and Minestrone soup.
For the main course select between: Scaloppine di Pollo (chicken scaloppini, cremini mushrooms and marsala sauce), Filetto Di Sogliola (parmesan encrusted filet of sole with spring salad and citrus vinegrette), Chicken Ceasar Salad, and Spaghetti with meatballs.
Finally, dessert is a tough choice between: Cannolo, Tiramisu, and a trio of Gelati(chocolate, vanilla and stracciatella)

For $27 plus tax and tip, this is very reasonably priced, compared to other options when looking at table service restaurants on property. We would recommend considering paying out of pocket for this, and not using your dining plan UNLESS you have dining plan options to spare. Be aware, however, this prix fixe lunch is for a limited time!! Starts on May 3rd and runs through August 31st. Just in time for Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival to start!

Magic Itineraries Vacation Planning Professionals can help book this venue into your itinerary, help you decide if using your dining plan option would benefit you or not and help you select other great dining options as well! Contact us today!!

Disney’s Early Morning Magic

Enjoy Breakfast, Fly With Peter Pan, Explore the Seven Dwarfs Mine and More During Disney Early Morning Magic – who wants to pay extra for this experience?

Fantasyland looks even more magical in the golden light of morning, and now Disney Early Morning Magic presents a new option perfect for people who want to get an early start at Magic Kingdom® Park – but it will cost you extra for the opportunity.

The Disney Early Morning Magic package will allow a very limited number of Walt Disney World® Resort Guests to be among the first to enter Magic Kingdom Park where they’ll enjoy a hearty breakfast Pinocchio Village Haus and experience three of Disney’s favorite Fantasyland attractions.

Most everyone who’s ever visited Walt Disney World, especially with young children, will tell you that Peter Pan’s Flight ALWAYS has long lines and wait times. It’s an attraction that one should always attempt to get a FP+ for. Same is also true for the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train attraction. From the day of it’s opening, less than a year ago, long wait times and “sold out” FP+. So, to have quick access to Peter Pan’s Flight, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, may be of great value to purchase the Disney Early Morning Magic ticket just for the chance to get on these 2 attractions alone without lines and wait times – plus breakfast – win-win, right?

Disney Early Morning Magic requires a separate ticket – $69 for adults and $59 for children ages 3-9 (plus tax) – in addition to regular theme park admission. Disney Early Morning Magic will take place on select dates (Tuesday’s and Saturday’s) from 7:45-10 a.m., beginning April 26, 2016.

Please note Disney Early Morning Magic will be offered on different dates than Extra Magic Hours.

 

We think this option has value to some, but it’s not for everyone. It seriously depends on your value of time, money and what you want most from your Disney experience. We have to say too, that we think $59 for children 3-9 is rather steep!

 

We can help you plan your Disney vacation to include this Early Morning Magic ticket or not. Remember that there’s also the option of the new Disney After hours ticket, allowing you to enjoy the Magic Kingdom on select nights for 3 hours after regular park closing!

Dates for this event are April 14, 21, 28, May 5, 8, 12 & 19. Tickets are on sale now.

Liberty Tree Tavern & ‘Ohana – Recipes!

Liberty Tree Tavern in Magic Kingdom

It’s a New England style clam chowder, which means it’s made with milk and ends up creamy instead of brothy in the end. This delicious goodie has been a staple on the Liberty Tree Tavern menu for years, and it’s a guest favorite.

 

New England Clam ChowderPicture2 copy

Ingredients (Makes 6 Servings):

  • 1/2 cup celery, diced small
  • 1/2 cup onions, diced small
  • 1/2 cup green bell pepper, diced small
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 24 ounces clam juice
  • 1 12-ounce can chopped clams, with juice
  • 1 quart milk
  • 1/8 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon white pepper
  • 2 cups potatoes, cooked, cut in 1/2-inch cubes

Directions:

In a 4-quart saucepan, melt butter or margarine. Add celery, onions, and green peppers. Saute about 5 minutes until tender. Add flour and cook an additional 5 minutes to form a roux. Stir in clam juice, chopped clams, and milk and bring to a boil. Reduce heat immediately and simmer for 15 minutes. Continue stirring while chowder thickens. Season with thyme, salt, and pepper and add cubed, cooked potatoes.
When potatoes are hot, serve immediately.

 

Picture4 copy‘Ohana in the Polynesian Village Resort

‘Ohana Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes
‘Ohana means family – and this unique Polynesian inspired
restaurant, serving family style dinners and all-you-care-to-eat
character buffet breakfasts to a crowd pleaser to guests of all ages.
Yield: 4 servings
Ingredients:

  • 1 lb potatoes
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup cheddar cheese, grated
  • 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1/4 cup sweet onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Method:

  • Place a layer of potato slices and onion in a buttered shallow dish.
  • Sprinkle with some of the cheeses and salt and pepper.
  • Repeat layers and then pour cream over the potatoes.
  • Bake at 350 for 1 hour and then let stand 5 minutes.

Disney Resort Tours

While the there are many Special Tours throughout Walt Disney World® Resort property to experience, Magic Itineraries recommends that you take a look at ALL of them before deciding which one or more are the right ones for you.

We never recommend first time Disney guests taking a “Behind the Scenes” tour – it’s not a good idea to “reveal” any on the secrets to the magic until you’ve had a chance to be totally immersed in all the Disney Magic, at least once.

For the Disney Fan, Disney Vacation Club members, Annual Pass Holders and those lucky people who visit the parks multiple times, then we recommend enjoying many of these great tours.

Beware that most have age restrictions (age 16 usually is the youngest allowed for most) and some can be costly.
Several take most of the day and can include lunch or breakfast.

 

Here are quick links for lists of all the current tours:

Below are theResort Tours – the first two (2) are the newest ones available.

Sense of Africa

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

This 3.5-hour-long breakfast and tour is designed to immerse guests in the richness, culture and history of this African-inspired resort and give a backstage peek at the care, feeding, well-being and social interactions of the resident animals.
A typical tour begins with a unique twist on breakfast at Boma—Flavors of Africa, followed by encounters with animals such as okapi, giraffe, ostriches and red river hogs. Sense of Africa is a feast for all five senses.
The experience will be offered on Tuesday and Saturday mornings. The cost is $249, and staying at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge is not required. Experiences may vary.

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The Floridian Express

Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa

Experience the charm of Southern Florida during the turn of the century and see how it shaped the heritage and culture of the Resort during this one-hour walking tour. Travel through time and discover the hotels and individuals who inspired Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa. This tour includes a behind-the-scenes look at the spectacular 5 star restaurant, Victoria & Albert’s.
The Floridian Express is offered Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. The tour departs around 9:00am and is limited to 10 Guests. Price is $15 per person (plus tax). This tour is available for all Guests ages 10.
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Starlight Safari

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

Witness the wild as it comes to life in complete darkness during this thrilling, hour-long expedition. Set out for after-dark adventure on an exclusive safari experience, reminiscent of an African game drive through the savanna. Guests will have use of night vision goggles to make the most of their viewing experience.
The Starlight Safari is offered daily at 9:45pm. The safari departs around 10:00pm.and is limited to 10 Guests. Price is $70 per person (plus tax). A portion of the tour price is donated to the Disney Wildlife Conservation Fund. This safari is available for all Guests ages 8 and up.
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Wanyama Safari

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge Guests Only

This 90-minute safari experience at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge resembles an African afternoon game drive. Guests will be able to learn about the natural history and management of the animals and architecture of the resort. The safari is offered daily and begins with a pre-safari reception from 3:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. The safari departs at 4:00 p.m. and concludes at Jiko for a multi-course meal. The tour cost is $190.64 per person (price includes tour, meal, tax and gratuity). Not available for Guests under the age of 8. (Not included in Magic Your Way Packages). The Wanyama Safari and Dinner can only be booked by the itinerary planning office or Concierge at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge.

Disney World Waterpark adventure

Are you planning on hitting the water-parks at Walt Disney World® Resort this year? There are 2 of them and they make for a great addition to your family vacation. Check the water-park options out below and see what you’re in for when you hit the Florida sunshine!

Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon

This is one of the popular water-park areas at Disney for a cool day in the hot summer sun. There’s a variety of rides including water slides, a children’s play area, with age appropriate body slides and raft rides and ever popular the lazy river, Castaway Creek. Test your thrill limits on the Humunga Kowabunga or visit the less intimidating Mayday Falls, Gangplank Falls or Keelhaul Falls! Body Slides are fun too at the Storm Slides. If you would like to have an up close and personal animal encounter then head over to Shark Reef.

Disney’s Blizzard Beach

Another great location to cool down during the hot Florida summer is at Disney’s Blizzard Beach. This is an exciting water-park adventure just waiting for you and your family with Christmas tunes playing in the background! Grab a bite to eat at the variety of shops located on-site after you’ve enjoyed the Cross Country Creek or Runoff Rapids. There’s also the Snow Stormers, Summit Plummet and Teamboat Springs that are sure to please. In the kids area you’ll find Tike’s Peak with pint sized slides and activities for the little ones. You’ll also find Polar Patios and umbrellas throughout the park to help you keep cool when you’re not in the water.

Getting Most Out of Your Trip

One of the easiest ways to get the most out of any of your Disney trips is with the authorized Disney vacation planners at Magic Itineraries. You can make the most out of your family vacation by taking the time to allow the authorized team to assist you. They know the behind the scenes details at each of the park locations that can make or break your trip. They can inform you of the Extra Magic Hours for Resort guests only, the best times to hit character dining, and when the peak times to avoid are. They can even get discounts and better prices on dining, accommodations and traveling than you can by yourself.

Work with one of the experienced travel professionals at Magic Itineraries today to get your family vacation planned. Be sure you discuss with them any unique situation you have so they can help you accommodate these needs. They will be able to book advance dining and show reservations, select and schedule FastPass+, create a customized itinerary, and help you make sure everything is taken care of. They take the stress and hassle out of planning so all you have to do is enjoy your vacation.

The talented team has been planning family vacations like yours for years and they can help you make the most of any visit to and Disney Destination. When visiting Walt Disney World® Resort, whether you want to visit the water-park areas, Magic Kingdom or Animal Kingdom, Magic Itineraries is the agency you want. You can rest assured your family will make lifelong memories seeing their favorite characters in person, experiencing amazing shows and exhilarating attractions. Call or explore the website today to start planning your one of a kind vacation. You’ll be glad you did when you are enjoying your time away and your friends are still frantically planning their family vacation.
Have a MAGICAL Day!