Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Disney's Memory Maker...What is it???

Disney’s Memory Maker is an updated all digital version of Disney’s PhotoPass. If you want to get everyone in the picture and plan to take advantage of the PhotoPass photographers then the advance purchase of the Memory Maker is a GREAT value!  Make sure to have your travel agent add this to your package at least 3 days before your arrival to get it at the $149.99 price. If you don’t purchase the Memory Maker, then after your vacation you could be paying almost $15 for just 1 digital download of that awesome shot in front of the castle!

Ok, so you decided to purchase the Memory Maker…Now what??

With Disney’s introduction of the MagicBands, they have made keeping track of your room card, your credit card, and your photopass card, super easy and put them all on your awesome looking magic band! After you have had your picture taken with your favorite character, or in front of the iconic castle, the photographer will then ask to scan your magic band, and voila! They are magically added to your MyDisney Exerience account! (we’ll get to how to access or find your pictures when you’ve returned from your vacation a little further down in the blog)

There are many photographers around the park USE THEM!
Magic Kingdom Photos
  • Main Street USA in front of Cinderella’s Castle (try multiple stops along the way to get different perspective and views – there are up to 8 photographers available all with different vantage points)
  • Town Square – Meet Mickey and hear him talk in this one of a kind attraction
  • Outside the train station (photographers not always here, but a great place for a family shot nonetheless!)
  • Meet Ariel in her Grotto
  • Meet Cinderella & Rapunzel in Princess Fairytale Hall
  • Meet Anna & Elsa at Princess Fairytale Hall
  • Splash Mountain
  • Space Mountain
  • Magic Shots: The photographers nearest to Cinderella’s Castle can help you meet Tinkerbell in the Magic of Disney photos!
  • Magic Shots: Near Princess Tiana’s meet and greet, ask the photographers about kissing a frog
  • Magic Shots: Haunted Mansion – photographers can explain 2 different haunted shots here
  • Magic Shots: Pirates of the Caribbean – if you see a photographer with a sword, you may be able to fight Captain Hook
  • Magic Shots: Little Mermaid – hold Sebastian in your hand!
  • Magic Shots: Enchanted Tales with Belle – hold Chip in your hand!
Epcot Photos
  • Main Entrance (use the same school of thought to get multiple angles from multiple photographers – don’t forget about the photographers around the other side of Spaceship Earth).
  • Epcot Character Spot – enjoy Mickey and all his pals at this great indoor meet and greet
  • World Showcase – Check your daily schedule for an easy way to meet Disney Princesses in less time!
  • The bridge near International Gateway (overlooking France)
  • Outside Mission: Space – this is seasonal, but worth the walk to check it out!
  • Test Track
Hollywood Studios Photos
  • Hollywood Boulevard (use the same idea as Cinderella’s Castle – some cast members hold props!)
  • Overlooking the Hollywood Hotel
  • Overlooking Rock n Roller Coaster
  • The Hollywood Studios sign near Mickey’s Sorcerers Hat (photographers are typically here in the evenings)
  • Find Characters near the Magic of Disney Animation
  • The Avenue of Americas
  • Rock n Roller Coaster
  • Tower of Terror
  • Magic Shots: Some opportunities to pose with Mickey, Minnie, and sometimes Stitch
Animal Kingdom Photos
  • Main Entrance (in front of the Animal Kingdom sign overhead)
  • Around the tree of life (there are several vantage points)
  • Outside Expedition Everest (with mountain in the background)
  • Camp Minnie-Mickey
  • Character Meetings near Dinoland USA
  • Expedition Everest
  • Magic Shots: Ask photographers about holding Baby Simba in your arms
  • Magic Shots: You can have Stitch in your photo!
Additional meet & greets of some of your favorite Disney characters around each of the parks. Check your daily schedule or the My Disney Experience app for times and locations!
Ok so you’re back from your wonderful Disney vacation and you want to relive the memories right away…where do you find your photos?!

If you set up a account (and click HERE for a great instructional document for that tool) you can login and hover over the “My Disney Experience” logo and a menu will show up, scroll down to the Photography section and click Disney PhotoPass, and your photos will be there, listed first by park, then by time. 

Don’t worry if you didn’t set up a My Disney Experience account, you can set one up when you get back then link use the number located on the inside of your MagicBand to link your photos!

By Agent Heather
You can reach Heather for FREE vacation planning at

Monday, April 28, 2014

Disney's Magical Express does it work?

Updated information can be found here, but the information below still applies

Disney's Magical Express is a free transportation service provided to Walt Disney World Resort guests.
It is available for room only or ticket package resort reservations.  It is not available for Swan and Dolphin Hotels, or Shades of Green.  A trick to know if your resort is a "Disney" owned resort is it will have the world "Disney" in front of it, such as Disney's Pop Century or Disney's Polynesian.

All you need to do is make sure your flight information is linked to your resort reservation. About 30 days before your trip, you'll receive your packet.  Your packet will include your Magical Express vouchers (like a boarding pass), and yellow luggage tags.

Upon leaving, affix your yellow luggage tags to your bags that you will be checking. This lets the bag attendants know that they are Magical Express bags, and to not send them to baggage claim.  Just drop your bags off at baggage check at your home airport, and you're good to go.  

Upon landing, you don't have to worry about waiting at baggage claim, just head straight to Magical Express check in.  It is located on level one, B side.  There are signs telling you where to go.  At check in, you'll show your voucher (that you received with luggage tags) and they'll show you to the boarding area.

After boarding , you'll get the chance to ride stress free in a plush, comfortable, air conditioned motor coach. During the short, 30 minute (average) ride, you'll watch a "welcome" video.  It helps build up more anticipation for your trip.  

When the Magical Express arrives at your resort, you are greeted by several cast members.  It really makes a great start to your trip.  After checking in, head to the parks, swim, or shop.  Your luggage will magically appear in your room in a few hours.  When checking out, Magical Express departs three hours before your flight.  Just check in at the airline check in desk at your resort, and they'll take care of the rest!  

Some things to remember:  Magical Express does run 24 hours a day, but after 10 p.m., you have to retrieve your own luggage.  Don't pack anything you'll need upon arrival in your checked bags.  It takes hours for your bags to arrive in your room, so make sure you pack swimsuits, pajamas, valuables, or whatever you might need for those hours in your carryon luggage.  Magical Express may make several stops before arriving at your resort.  Buses are shared among other resorts.  Magical Express is only available at MCO airport, not Sanford.  

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By Travel Time Agent Leigh

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Saturday, April 12, 2014

50's Prime Time Cafe at Disney's Hollywood Studios

50’s Prime Time Café is the quintessential Disney dining experience. Great food, fun décor and theming, interactive cast members, and of course, milkshakes. That’s right, milkshakes (more on those later).

As soon as you walk through the doors, you’re in between Dad’s Living Room, which serves as the waiting area, and Mom’s Kitchen, which is the main dining area. After you’ve checked in and are waiting for your table, head on over to the Tune-In Lounge and grab a beverage of your choice. Dad’s liquor cabinet is stocked with just about anything you’re in the mood for. Glow Tini’s, draft beer, red, white, and sparkling wines, and of course soft drinks. If you’re traveling solo, or you don’t have an ADR for the restaurant, you can sit at the bar and order right off the full menu, although reservations for this very popular restaurant are always recommended!

You’ll know your table is ready when you hear your named yelled out by the host/hostess. “Johnson kids! – it’s time for dinner!” Once you make it to your table, you’ll meet your server. Your server will most likely introduce themselves as your cousin, your Aunt, or Uncle (remember, you’re eating in Mom’s kitchen). While you’re seated, make sure to look around at some of the 50’s style knick knacks, theming, even the black and white TV’s playing old sitcoms. A few things to remember when dining in Mom’s kitchen: no elbows on the table, eat all of your veggies, and don’t chew with your mouth open! Don’t let your server catch you breaking any of the rules, because you could end up sitting in a corner, or singing for the entire restaurant! If you enjoy fun interaction with the servers, you’ll really get a kick out of the experience. On our last trip, I mentioned to my cousin Emily (our server), that I needed a straw. About 3 minutes later, I had about 30 straws thrown in front of me.

You’re probably wondering about the food, right? If you enjoy good ol’ fashioned comfort food, you came to the right place. The entrees provide a generous portion of food, but if you’re in the mood for stuffing yourself silly (which is ok because you’re in Disney World), there are some nice options to get you started. Appetizers include Crab Cake, Seafood Salad, Chicken Noodle Soup (delicious), Onion Rings, and Iceberg Lettuce Wedge. The entrees consist of Dad’s Traditional Meatloaf, Aunt Liz’s Golden Fried Chicken (my personal favorite), Grandma’s Chicken Pot Pie, Mom’s Old Fashioned Pot Roast, the list goes on. Most entrees run between $13 and $17. If you’re like me, and you aren’t a fan of green beans, just stuff them in your napkin when your server isn’t looking. It help makes more room for the milkshakes and dessert!

Probably my favorite part about dining at the 50’s Prime Time Café are the milkshakes, and the desserts. I could probably live on just the Peanut Butter & Jelly Milkshake. That’s right…Peanut Butter & Jelly MILKSHAKE. Maybe I love ice cream way too much, or Disney puts some kind of magic elixir in the milkshake. Either way, the PB&J milkshakes are what legends are made of. 

You’ll notice that your dessert menus are old viewfinders. Some of my family’s favorites are Dad’s Brownie Sundae, Apple Cobbler, Cheesecake, and of course S’mores. 

Probably the second greatest invention after the Peanut Butter & Jelly milkshake is the one and only S’mores. They are served hot with plenty of chocolate, and no sticky fingers. The serving is definitely enough for two people to share…unless you’re like me and sharing isn’t an option.


The 50’s Prime Time Café is definitely a great choice if you enjoy comfort food, fun interaction with cast members and guests, and great theming. Compared to other options throughout Disney’s Hollywood Studios, 50’s Prime Time Café is also very reasonably priced. Though it’s not 5 star quality cuisine, 50’s Prime Time Café always provides a really fun family experience that you just can’t get anywhere else.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Character Dining at Disneyland Resort in California

The Disneyland Resort in California has five options for character dining, each offering the opportunity for meet and greats with some of your favorite Disney characters. Characters vary by location, time of year, time of day, and a number of other factors, but regardless of whom the characters are they are always fun to meet. Character dining gives you the opportunity to get autographs and have your pictures with characters while you eat. There is no need to wait in line or chase after characters, as the characters will circulate between the tables coming to you to meet you. 

The first character dining experience we will look at is Breakfast in the Park with Minnie and friends at Plaza Inn. Plaza Inn is located at the end of Main Street next to the entrance to Tomorrowland at Disneyland park.  Plaza Inn is a quick service restaurant for lunch and dinner, but for breakfast, it is a buffet offering guests the opportunity to meet a number of character favorites. The menu includes breakfast staples including cereals, bacon, sausage, eggs, and Mickey waffles. Characters can include Minnie Mouse, Tigger, Pooh, Eeyore, Rafiki, Captain Hook, Max, Fairy Godmother, Chip and Dale.

Surfs Up with Mickey and Friends at PCH Grill in the Paradise Pier Hotel is another breakfast buffet with characters. The theme of the dining experience is a beach theme, characters are dressed up in surf/ beach attire and it is a fun relaxed dining experience. There are fun activities such as surfing with the characters for the children to participate in. Characters to meet include Lilo, Stitch, Mickey Minnie, Pluto, Donald and Daisy. The menu includes items such as Grilled Peanut Butter and Banana with Chocolate-stuffed French Toast, Mickey-shaped Waffles, Minnie Pancakes, Breakfast Potatoes with Peppers and Onions, Chicken Apple Sausage Links, Country Pork Sausage, Crispy Maple Bacon, and an Omelet Station.

The third breakfast only character dining experience is the Chip n’ Dale Critter Breakfast at the Storytellers Café at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel. This is one breakfast dining experience that offers both buffet and menu dining. It is set in a country lodge that is the perfect setting to meet the Disney Critters that are hard to meet anywhere else; characters include Terk, Kenai, Koda, Meeko, Br’er Bear, Br’er Fox, Chip, and Dale. The buffet includes items such as made to order Omelets, Caramel French Toast, Eggs Benedict, Mickey Waffles, Bagels, Seasonal Fruit, and Pastries, while the Menu features a number of breakfast items such as omelets, Bacon/ Sausage and eggs, Steak and Eggs, Huevos Rancheros, and Eggs Benedict.

Goofy’s Kitchen at the Disneyland Resort Hotel is a buffet that offers the opportunity for meet and greets with your favorite characters for both breakfast and dinner. Upon paying for your meal, you get a family picture taken with chef Goofy before proceeding to your table. Once seated characters such as Alice in Wonderland, The Mad Hatter, Chip, Dale, Pluto, Minnie, Mickey and Fairy Godmother. The breakfast menu includes staples such as Mickey Mouse Waffles, Minnie Mouse Pancakes, French toast, sausage, bacon, eggs benedict, as well as chicken nuggets and Goofy’s Famous Peanut Butter Pizza and Dessert. The dinner buffet includes a carving station, fresh catch of the day, seasonal vegetables, tossed salads, fresh fruit, Pluto’s Hot Dogs, assorted pizzas, chicken nuggets, Goofyroni & Cheese, and Desserts.

The final of the five character dining experiences is Ariel’s Grotto. This a la carte fixed price dining experience is located on the waterfront at Paradise Pier in the California Adventure theme park and offers the chance to dine with the Princesses. The restaurant has characters for all meals excluding World Of Color Dining Packages. The restaurant is divided into two dining rooms, a waterfront patio with views of the boardwalk and Paradise Pier attractions, and “Under the Sea” an indoor dining room with an ocean setting. The breakfast menu has an appetizer of assorted breakfast pastries with fresh fruit, and entrees such as Belgian waffles with berries, frittatas, scrambled eggs with Tri-Tip, and an All-American breakfast including scrambled eggs, hash browns, and bacon or sausage, and Bircher Muesli. For lunch/dinner, the menu includes a starter of either soup or salad, with entrees such as Sautéed Shrimp and Angel Hair Pasta, Red Oak-Smoked Honey-Whiskey Barbecue Tri-Tip with mashed potatoes and seasonal vegetables, Fire-roasted Corn Cakes, Fresh Catch of the Day, Citrus-Glazed Chicken Breast, and a Grilled Lobster Tail Salad.

Each of the five character dining experiences on Disney property offers the opportunity to meet favorite characters in a unique setting, whether dining with the Princess on the Waterfront, or meeting some of Disneys hard to find Critters for breakfast in a log cabin setting, there is a character dining experience for everyone.

By Agent Melissa
Travel Time Travel