Thursday, December 5, 2013

Disney's Port Orleans Riverside

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Port Orleans Riverside is a beautiful resort. The deep south mansion-like setting is breath taking. Right over the bridge from the main lobby you see what looks like mansions from the south. The manors as they are called have amazing split stairs going up to the second level. I like to take the boat transportation instead of the bus to downtown Disney at night. The lights are gorgeous on the front of the mansions.

 How about an early dinner at Boatwright's and finishing with a carriage ride to start your evening off with a touch of romance or just a great way to see around the resort with the whole family.
 Try to save one day for the two hour fishing excursion. Reservations need to be made at least two or three days in advance. Your very own fishing guide will bait the hook and even remove the fish for you. All you need to do is wait and reel your fish in. A great time, go ahead and let the guys brag about who is going to catch the largest fish. This mom caught the largest one on our fishing excursion.

 Port Orleans Riverside has something for everyone.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Disney Pin Trading 101 by Travel Time with Mickey

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What is Disney Pin Trading?
Disney Pin Trading is an exciting, interactive experience where our Guests can trade Disney pins with our Disney Cast Members and other Guests. It's fun for the whole family and CREATES cherished "pin pals" to last a lifetime! Start a new collection or exchange pins for the ones you've always wanted.
How can I experience the magic?
It's simple and fun! Just visit Walt Disney World, the Disneyland Resort or Disneyland Paris, locate a Cast Member wearing a lanyard with Disney pins and find a pin you'd like. Then present another Disney pin to the Cast Member in trade. Bringing home the magic is that simple. Plus, we have some quick and easy
guidelines to help you trade at each park.
"The Trading Tradition"
Disney has always offered collectible Disney pins in each of its parks, but with the kickoff of the Millennium Celebration in October 1999 at Walt Disney World, we began a new tradition of Disney Pin Trading. Now thousands of Guests trade each day with our Cast Members as well as other Guests throughout the parks and resorts. Like sharing Disney stories with your children and grandchildren, sharing pins is a delightful tradition for each generation. Mark the beginning of the century with pins you love and memories you'll treasure.
Which ones should I collect or trade?
The fun of Disney Pin Trading is in the amazing variety. Find YOUR FAVORITE pins to personalize your Disney experience. Guests of all ages can hunt for favorite characters, attractions and features. Whether it's the Little Mermaid or Mickey Mouse you seek, pin hunting is guaranteed to add thrills to your Disney adventure. Go find the pins you want and make some new friends! It is all up to you! Have fun! Disney Pin Trading is a great way to share the magic and bring home wonderful Disney memories.

Pin Trading has become a Disney tradition with thousands of Guests and Cast Members trading in the Theme Parks and at special locations throughout Walt Disney World® Resort. Pin Traders can also participate in special events, meeting fellow enthusiasts and finding special-edition pins that make their collections unique. For younger Pin Traders there are Cast Members wearing green lanyards that can only trade with Guests 12 and under. Pin Trading is an experience the whole family can enjoy!

Be sure to ask Cast Members wearing a pin-trading lanyard about special "Hidden Mickey" collectible pins only available from them in trade.

Getting started on Disney pin trading is easy! Just follow these simple steps:

1. Look for a Disney Cast Member wearing a pin trading lanyard.
2. Find a Disney pin with your favorite Disney attraction, event or character.
3. Trade Disney pins with the Cast Member.

Visit these Walt Disney World® Resort locations to be a part of this great interactive tradition:
  • Magic Kingdom® Park - Uptown Jewelers and Frontierland Trading Post
  • Epcot® - Pin Central
  • Disney's Hollywood Studios™ - The Sorcerer's Hat
  • Disney's Animal Kingdom® Theme Park - Island Mercantile
  • Downtown Disney® Marketplace - Disney's Pin Traders

Please note ~ pins are not toys and have sharp points that can harm young children and are not recommended for children 3 and under.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Gingerbread Cookie~ Recipe!!!

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Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa 
Makes 36 cookies

2 sticks softened butter
2 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted
2 eggs
1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 2/3 cups all purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 1/4 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground star anise
1 teaspoon ground fennel
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground clove
1/4 teaspoon ground mace
Ingredients for decorations optional
1/4 cup milk
1 cup colored sugar granules


  1. Cream the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl until smooth using an electric mixer. Add the eggs and mix until combined.
  2. Sift all the remaining dry ingredients in a separate large mixing bowl and mix well. With the mixer on low, slowly add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture until a dough forms
  3. Remove dough from the bowl and wrap in plastic wrap; place in refrigerator until firm, two to four hours.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease cookie sheets.
  5. Remove dough from refrigerator and allow dough to sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes, until pliable. Divide dough in half and place on floured work surface. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out until about 1/8 inch thick. While rolling, flour the work surface and rolling pin as needed.
  6. Cut out desired cookie shapes with cookie cutters. Transfer cookies to a greased cookie sheet, placing them 1 inch apart.
  7. Lightly brush cookies with milk and sprinkle with sugar granules as desired.
  8. Bake until firm and edges begin to darken, 10-14 minutes. Allow cookies to cool on the cookie sheet for a minute, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Adventures By Disney Montana and Alberta Canada

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Get ready to enjoy a 7 day/6 night Adventure to Montanna and Alberta Canada.  Roam the Rockies on this Montana and Canada vacation that puts you in the heart of the Big Sky Country and the Edge of the Continental Divide.  Explore glacial clifts, gleaming lakes and churning rapids on this adventure deep into the natural beauty of North America.

Adventure Highlights include:

* White Water Rafting on the Flathead River
* Canoeing at Moraine Lake
* Columbia Icefield
* Bike along the Bow River
* And more!!!

Accommodations for this Adventure include the Glacier Park Lodge, The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise and The Fairont Baniff Springs.  The minimum age for this Adventure is 4 but the suggested age is 8 plus.

Call us today to book an Adventure of a lifetime.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Diney Trivia

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Disney Trivia

     Walt Disney was a man who brought dreams to reality. Creating a magical place such as any Disney themed property, park, activity, or any other entities related to Disney is filled with a life time of memories.

     Did you know that Disney is always finding ways to expand and to offer magical Disney experiences for each person who comes through the gate, regardless of age. Starting back in 1955, Walt Disney opened the doors to Disneyland. To follow in 1971, Walt Disney World was then opened to the public.  As I could go on for days about the history of Disney, let us focus on the here and now, and the future of Disney.

Can anyone tell me where the next Disney park will be located and when it will open?

What about the newest Disney resort and vacation destination that has been added to the list?

ü  Here is a hint… Which tropical location can you enjoy the spirit of Aloha?

     Disney is always looking for opportunities to create the most magical and special experiences for anyone who enters a Disney property. Any of these locations make the most memorable vacation destinations for the entire family. Regardless of the number of people of your party or the age of the travelers, each person will find his or her most favorite Disney memory to cherish forever. 

Stay tuned for the answers and more trivia questions. I encourage you to answer these questions to test your Disney Knowledge.

If you have any further questions about anything Disney, please let us know!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Disney Dining Plans: Part 2

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By Travel Time Agent Melissa 

We are going to now look at the dining plan at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California. This dining plan is new and not as well-known as the dining plan in Florida is. Along with being less well known,  it also works quite differently than the Florida plan. To start it is important to understand the layout of Disneyland, and the neighboring area. 

Disneyland Resort consists of three hotels: The Disneyland Hotel, Disney Grand Californian, and Paradise Pier Hotel, two theme parks (Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure Park) and Downtown Disney. Outside of the resort there are numerous hotels and restaurants. Many of the hotels in the neighboring area are considered good neighbor hotels, and though their onsite restaurants are not included in the dining plan, if you book your hotel stay as part of a package through Disney you can add the Disneyland Dining plan to your package. 

So basically with the layout of Disney it is definitely a feasible option to eat outside of the park if you so choose, this is not to say you should never eat in the park, but it is something that you need to consider more carefully as both options have pros and cons to them. With this in mind let us start looking at the options. Below there is a table showing the different dining plans you can choose from (prices are for 2013 and are subject to change every year). 

Donald’s 2-Day
Goofy’s 3-Day
Minnie’s 4-Day
Mickey’s 5-Day
Snacks ($5.00)
$15.00 voucher
Character Dining($33.00/$17.00)
Premium Character Dining ($43.00/$22.00)
Adult Price
Child Price (3-9)

So say you have a 5-night trip to Anaheim, 5 days in the parks, but you know there are some restaurants outside of the park you are set on going to (Sunday Gospel Brunch at House of Blues, Rainforest Café etc.) you could choose to take a shorter 3-day dining plan. That is right you can choose how many days of dining plan you want to have, it is not based on the number of nights you are staying. To purchase the dining plan you must book a package staying at either a Disney Hotel or a Good Neighbor Hotel booking through Disney (Travel Time Agent can do this for you).

If you purchase a dining plan you will receive a book of vouchers that can be used for up to the value associated with the voucher at any participating carts or restaurants. I will give some specific examples of this in a moment but first let us look at what counts as a snack, a character dining meal, and a premium character dining meal. Snacks are bottled beverages, individual popcorn, frozen novelties, corn on the cob, or other similarly priced items available at carts throughout the parks and hotels. Character Dining is valid for the following character breakfasts: Minnie and Friends Breakfast at Plaza Inn on Main Street USA in Disneyland, Surfs Up with Mickey at PCH Grill in Paradise Pier Hotel, and Chip ‘n’ Dale’s Critter Breakfast at the Storytellers Café in Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel. The two Premium Character Dining experiences are Goofy’s Kitchen buffet at the Disneyland Hotel, and Ariel’s Disney Princess Celebration at Ariel’s Grotto restaurant in Disney’s California Adventure Park.  So one theme that you may have noticed, these locations are all in the hotels or the parks, the dining plan is currently not accepted at any restaurants in Downtown Disney or off property (including at Good Neighbor Hotels).

So if you are a family of four (2 adults and 2 children ages 7 and 5) and have a five day package including a four day dining plan, your first day you could have breakfast at your hotels free continental breakfast (hotel dependent), an ice cream (snack voucher 1) in the middle of the day and then use your premium character dining for an early dinner at Goofy’s Kitchen before heading back to the park.. For your second day you could go for buffet breakfast at Surfs Up at Paradise Pier hotel before entering the park, purchase a snack for lunch, and have a burger and fries using  (1)$15.00 voucher for dinner. The next day you have breakfast at your hotel before leaving for the park again, and for lunch you use one of your character dining experiences(1)and (2) 1 snack voucher  towards lunch at Carthay Circle, and have pizza and a drink for dinner using $15.00 voucher( 2). For your fourth day you could have a pastry from the bakery on Main Street for breakfast using your snack voucher (3) then use your character-dining voucher (2) towards lunch at Blue Bayou, and have dinner off property later in the evening. For your final day you could have breakfast with Minnie and Friends in the Park using your final character dining experience, have a salad lunch using $15.00 voucher (3) have a cob of chilli lime corn in the afternoon as a snack (last snack voucher) then use your final $15.00 voucher towards dinner at Wine Country Trattoria.

The above example of dining is not the best use of all your dining vouchers but it shows the different ways that the vouchers can be used. If you do not want a character breakfast every day (buffets every morning) you can apply the allocated dollar value towards a meal at another restaurant. If you do not need a snack every day you can combine two vouchers towards a more expensive sit down meal. The important thing to remember if you are doing this is you cannot get change back from vouchers, whether you are using one voucher or combining them. Also, the character and premium character vouchers include tax and gratuity when used at the designated locations, but if you use them at another restaurant they do not go towards the gratuity. 

 If you work out the value of each voucher included in each dining plan individually it totals the amount that you are paying for your dining plan. Therefore, you are not necessarily saving money by purchasing the dining plans, though you still could be. The value of the character and premium character dining experiences is the cost of the meal you would be getting, not including the tax and gratuity, but if used for the designated dining it also includes these costs. Therefore, for a single person for one meal that can be up to about $10.00 savings. Now if you use your snack vouchers worth $5.00 for an ice cream worth like $4.00 you are not getting money back so you are losing money there.  This is one of the disadvantages, you have to be so careful about your planning to make sure you are not losing money more often then you are saving money. Another disadvantage is they are vouchers not just a card, if a voucher gets lost or misplaced that voucher is gone; the vouchers do say not to tear out before paying and they have the right to not accept a voucher that is not still attached to the book so unless you lose the book you shouldn’t have problems losing vouchers. Another disadvantage to some people is that at some meals you will have to pay additional money, the $15.00 voucher does not cover a whole quick service meal as is defined in the Walt Disney World Dining plan (entrée, drink, and dessert), so therefore if you want a quick service meal including all of these items you would most likely have to use some cash or a second voucher towards it. I personally had a soup in a bread bowl and a fountain drink in a souvenir cup, it came out to like $18.50 or so, if I got my drink in a regular cup it would be far under the $15.00 value, but by taking the souvenir cup I had to use $3.50 cash towards the cost. The last kind of disadvantage is that you are kind of committing yourself to eating a certain number of meals (or at least spending a certain amount of money on meals) either in the parks or at the hotels. The dining plan is not accepted in Downtown Disney, and cannot be used towards World of Color or Fantasmic Dining packages.

There are also a number of advantages to purchasing a dining plan. You can buy options ranging from individual meals to a 5 day plans regardless of how long you are staying. Many of the sit down restaurants on Disney property require or recommend having priority seating, so committing to meals at the time of purchasing a package encourages you to make all your necessary dining reservations (or have your Travel Time Agent make reservations on your behalf). Your meals are mainly paid for in advance, minimal budgeting for meals is required during your vacation. Though eating off property is a feasible option, and sometimes nice to get away from park food, chances are you will still want some meals in the park, it is convenient, and there is a certain magic to dining in the magic. Buying the dining plan should not cost you more than you would spend on dining, in fact if you plan well it should still save you some money, even if it is just $20-$30 a person, that is money you can spend on souvenirs or on your next trip. 

Knowing your family is a key to making the most of your Disneyland dining package, knowing if they are picky or up to trying different things, if they are light eaters that snack a lot, or like large infrequent meals, knowing if your family likes to try different meals or if they are okay with repetition all help make the best decision. Along with this, it is important to have someone that knows Disney Dining, knows the restaurants in the parks and surrounding the parks, and can help you to make the most of your dining plan, whether that is using the dining vouchers or planning meals outside of the parks. 
Contact Melissa
1-855-468-8896 Ext 128