Thursday, September 24, 2015
Disney Visa Play, Stay and Dine Package Offer
The percentages off seem to be a little different this time around. For example, the Grand Floridian is only 15% off, and the Fort Wilderness Cabins are 20% off. Normally deluxes are higher, so this is a change.
LIVE RIGHT NOW Disney Visa cardholders get a discount on a vacation package of at least 3 night minimum that includes a dining plan and at least 2 day tickets. You must check in between 12/13/15 to 12/19/15 or 1/2/16 to 3/7/16 to be eligible for this offer. DISCOUNT IS LIVE RIGHT NOW.
This offer will become available to the general public on Monday, September 28, 2015. If you don’t have a Disney Visa card but want to get a jump on getting this offer, you can contact a Travel Time agent and no matter what time zone we will be up bright and early to get you the best price possible!
Offer excludes Villas at Grand Floridian, Bay Lake Tower, Bungalows at Polynesian Bungalows & Villas, Little Mermaid rooms at Art of Animation Resort, Port Orleans French Quarter, campsites and 3-bedroom villas. Port Orleans Riverside is excluded in December 2015. As with all Disney promotional discounts, some resorts, room types and date combinations will not be available. It’s important to be flexible if you want to book a discounted room. You must make an immediate deposit using a Disney Visa card when booking this offer. If you have an existing reservation, you just have to HAVE a Disney Visa card.
Disney Visa Late Winter Package Offer
LIVE RIGHT NOW Disney Visa cardholders get a discount on the room portion of a Magic Your Way Vacation Package of 2 nights minimum, for stays between 1/2/16 to 4/13/16.
This offer will become available to the general public on Monday, September 28, 2015. If you don’t have a Disney Visa card but want to get a jump on getting this offer, contact a Travel Time agent for help!
In the past room discounts of around 10%-15% for Value resorts, 15% to 20% for Moderate resorts and 25 to 30% for Deluxe resorts are typical. They seem to be different this time.
Offer excludes Villas at Grand Floridian, Bay Lake Tower, Bungalows at Polynesian Bungalows & Villas, Little Mermaid rooms at Art of Animation Resort, campsites and 3-bedroom villas. As with all Disney promotional discounts, some resorts, room types and date combinations will not be available. It’s important to be flexible if you want to book a discounted room. You must make an immediate deposit using a Disney Visa card when booking this offer if you are booking before the general public.
Friday, September 11, 2015
The rumors are now true - Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights 2015 is the last year. Disney has announced that this will be the 20th and final year for the lights at Disney’s Hollywood Studios as construction begins on Star Wars Land and Toy Story Land expansions
Disney Blog: As you plan ahead, we also wanted you to know that this holiday season will mark the finale for The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights. The display of lights has enjoyed a successful run at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, going all the way back to when it first appeared on Residential Street.
In order to prepare for some incredible experiences coming to the park, including the recently announced Toy Story Land and a Star Wars-themed land, we will not be able to present The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights in the future. Our heartfelt thanks go out to the family of Jennings Osborne for letting us share their family tradition year after year. And thank you to all of you for being part of the spectacle with us. Here’s to making more memories in this, the 20th and final year.
This announcement was made in preparation for two new offerings coming to the Osborne Lights for this final season.
Two more options for holiday fun at Walt Disney World Resort will soon be available to book: the Merry & Bright Dessert Party (Nov. 6-Dec. 30) and the Merry & Bright Dinner Reception (Jan. 1- 3), both overlooking The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
With the dessert party, guests will enjoy holiday-themed desserts while surrounded by the amazing light display. New for 2015 is a dinner reception Jan. 1 – 3, featuring a selection of small bites including beef, shrimp and turkey, plus wine, beer and specialty beverages. You’ll be able to book these experiences beginning Sept. 16,so be sure to check with our Travel Time Agents to help plan yours! www.traveltimetravel.com
Tuesday, September 8, 2015
CONTACT your Travel Time agent today for tickets! www.traveltimetravel.com
Mickey’s Boo To You Halloween Parade – 8:35 p.m., 11:15 p.m.
Celebrate the Magic – 9:45 pm.
Happy HalloWishes – 10 p.m.
Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular – 8 p.m., 9:40 p.m., 10:20 p.m., 12 a.m.
Cadaver Dans (Frontierland and Liberty Square) – 7:15 p.m., 8 p.m., 9:15 p.m., 10:15 p.m., 10:50 p.m.
Tomorrowland Monstrous Dance Party – 7 p.m. – 12 a.m.
Emporium – Event T-shirt and MagicBand
Mickey’s Star Traders – Event T-shirt
Box Office Gifts – MagicBand
Frontier Trading Post – Trading pins
Enchanted Tiki Room
Pirates of the Caribbean
Tom Sawyer Island Dock (featuring Peeps)
Liberty Square Riverboat
Peter Pan’s Flight
Under the Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid (Featuring Werthers Candy)
Pete’s Silly Sideshow
Trail from Barnstormer to Space Mountain
Space Mountain (featuring Ocean Spray Craisins)
Stitch’s Great Escape
Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress
Main Street USA
City Hall – Unknown
Town Square Theater – Mickey Mouse and Tinker Bell
Across the Bridge – Tarzan and Friends
Swiss Family Treehouse area – Aladdin and Friends
Magic Carpet meet area – Jafar
Pirates of the Caribbean – Jack Sparrow
Chip n Dale’s meet area – unconfirmed
3 Unknown meet areas marked on map
Fairytale Garden – Merida
Fairytale Hall – Anna & Elsa, Cinderella & Rapunzel (no Princes)
Behind Carousel – Snow White and Princess Aurora (no Princes)
Fantasyland Wall – 7 Dwarfs
Mad Tea Party – Alice and Friends
Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh – Pooh and Friends
Gaston’s Tavern – Gaston
Ariel’s Grotto – Ariel
Storybook Circus Tent – Jack and Sally
Barnstormer – Goofy
Storybook Circus Train Station – Cruella DeVil
One other Storybook meet – 2014 was Donald & Daisy, Minnie
Next to Carousel of Progress – Buzz & Lotso
Main Street USA
Main Street Bakery
Plaza Ice Cream Parlor
Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe
Liberty Square Market
Columbia Harbor House
Pinocchio Village House
The Friar’s Nook
Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe
The Launching Pad
Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom
Swiss Famiy Treehouse
The Magic Carpets of Aladdin
A Pirate’s Adventure
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
Country Bear Jamboree
it’s a small world
Peter Pan’s Flight
Prince Charming Regal Carrousel
Enchanted Tales with Belle
The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
Mad Tea Party
Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
Under the Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid
Dumbo the Flying Elephant
Tomorrowland Transit Authority Peoplemover
Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin
Monster’s Inc Laugh Floor
Stitch’s Great Escape
Sunday, September 6, 2015
For the review posted after attending this party, click HERE
If you've never attended Universal Orlando's HHN party, you can't grasp what it really is. You probably imagine some cool haunted houses, some neat characters, riding some rides at night and a general party atmosphere. You would be wrong. HHN is so expertly crafted that everywhere you turn, you will feel as if you are in a horror movie. The characters might as well be real, they are so absolutely perfectly made up. There are nine haunted houses, each one more terrifying as the last. This is not an event for children, or anyone squeamish or faint of heart. Anyone with a heart condition should not even go in my opinion, because even if you avoid the haunted houses, there are the five street scare zones to contend with.
For those that enjoy the fear, nothing will top this event. Words do not do it justice.
They let guests in for the party at 6:30. If you closed the park that day, there are holding areas where you can stay. If you are an onsite hotel guest, there is a special line until 8 PM just for you. The party goes on until 2 AM.
Be prepared for a lot of drunks, but they are good drunks usually, in good spirits. They sell good drinks, as well as shots in blood bags which are a perenial favorite. Lots of local teens hit these parties, as they do offer a Frequent Fear pass for those that attend often.
Lets go through some logistics. Ticket prices will make you scream, at $101.99. If you already have a ticket for Universal Studios or Islands of Adventure, you can do an add on ticket, which ranges from $49.99 to $60.99, depending on the party. Florida residents with specially marked cans of Coke will pay between $49.99 to $60.99, also depending on which party.
You can use your ticket before and after the party to gain free entrance to some of the clubs at Citywalk (which you also can do if you are an onsite guest). Just show your ticket!
The Express pass you enjoy and adore for staying at one off the three Deluxe Universal resorts is useless at this party, you must buy it if you want it, and it is good for entrance once for each haunted house and ride. I debated whether or not to spend the extra cash, which is between $69.99 to $119.99, but our party is a $119.99 party, which means major crowds are expected and I was not about to spend 1-2 hours in line for a haunted house on my daughter's 21st birthday. So I took the plunge and paid nearly $400 for the Express pass for three of us, in addition to our tickets. Can you say ouch for my bank account?
They offer RIP Tours, which are behind the scenes tours that come with Express pass and access to the VIP lounge, along with a couple of other perks. The prices are $139.99-$199.99 (guess which one ours would have been). They also have a Behind the Screams Tour during the day, which begins at $64.99. The tours and the Express passes are limited, so if you want one, buy it now.
Here's a quick synopsis of each of the nine haunted houses:
- The Walking Dead: The Living and the Dead. Walk through burnt ashes of Terminus, flooded food pantry basement, and churchyard.
- Freddy vs. Jason. Visit the camp by Crystal Lake and good old 1428 Elm Street. They fight, and the prize is you!
- Insidious. Go through the three parts of the Insidious saga.
- The Purge. Vigilantes utilize their right to purge.
- An American Werewolf in London. This is an old favorite, and you'll find yourself on the English moors experiencing bone crushing transformations.
- Jack Presents: 25 Years of Monsters and Mayhem. That is pretty much exactly as it sounds, you will relive moments and monsters of the last 25 years. I'm hoping to see Bloody Mary, personally.
- Run: Blood, Sweat and Fears. Run from assassins as they go after you for points.
- Asylum in Wonderland 3D. Follow the white rabbit into a killing 3D Wonderland. You know this will be on my to do list!
- Body Collectors: Recollections. Collecting body parts in Shadybrook Asylum is the goal.
The strategy for haunted houses, especially if you don't have an express pass, is to get there semi early and head for the houses in the back of the park. The ones at the front will fill up quickly, and you'll experience more if you hit the back houses first.
The five outdoor scare zones are:
- Psychoscareapy - Unleashed. Inmates of Shadybrook escape and go after partiers at a block party in New York.
- Icons-HHN. Have fun with icons from the last 25 years of HHN. My guess is you'll meet Jack the Clown here, as well as lots of other frightening characters from years past.
- Scary Tales - Screampunk. Classic fairytales, twisted.
- Evil's Roots. Go through Central Park as you've never seen it before.
- All Nite Die-In Double Feature. Experience a closed drive in theater in a murderous way.
There are two shows, and to be blunt, I am underwhelmed. Maybe they are better than they sound, but I'm perturbed they left out Rocky Horror Picture Show.
- Bill & Ted's Excellent Halloween Adventure. Okay, what is with Universal and Bill & Ted? Seriously over it. Find something more current, Universal.
- The Carnage Returns. Jack the Clown carries on murderous mayhem with his followers. This one might be fun.
There are only a few rides open during the party:
- Transformers The Ride - 3D
- Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit
- Revenge of the Mummy
- Men In Black Alien Attack
- The Simpsons Ride (want to puke? Go on this ride)
VERY IMPORTANT THINGS:
- No masks or costumes allowed. They'll even give you trouble for hats, I've personally witnessed it.
- No food, drinks, bottles, recording, flash photography,flashlights or lasers in the haunted houses.
- Try to stay onsite. The parking lot and entrance can get extremely clogged.
- If you are terrified but stuck there, stick to the sidewalks. Or if just want a break, that is a good plan, because the characters tend to leave the sidewalks alone.
- Eat before you go. Do you really want to spend over $100 on an event and waste 2 hours of it with a sit down restaurant?
- The characters can't touch you. Sort of. For the most part they won't, sometimes they'll make you touch something icky.
- Interact with the characters in the scare zones. Some of them will just have zombies and such that won't talk to you (they might just go after you with an ax) but there are some speaking characters that love to interact with guests. One creepy one asked my daughter, who introduced her twin brother, if she wanted to have her own birthday. Yikes! Yes, I was a terrible mother and brought them at age 10. Picture them at Rocky Horror and you are about right...Mother of the Year.
Be ready for fun, fright, drinks, and a general party atmosphere. But trust me when I tell you that you will actually feel like you are inside a movie, running in terror for your life, several times during the evening. Good times!
Thanks to HHN website for the photographs. For ours updated for 2015, click HERE
Let us make your vacation even easier! We'll help you plan from the start and can advise you and handle your arrangements, including dining, fast passes, room requests, discount application, and celebrations. We are the same price or less than if you book on your own, and you get us for FREE! Have an expert on your side at zero cost to you and contact one of our agents today!
New and Top Things to Do at Disney World's Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party 2015, as well as a little Strategy
We've written before about the Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party, an event I consider Disney's best for the year. There are certain things that are favorites from the years past. In addition, there are a few new fun items to mention, so get ready to be not scared!
The party hours are 7 PM to midnight. With your party ticket, you can actually enter the park at 4 PM or after, giving you some extra park time. I always suggest dining early on these nights. Do you really want to pay almost $80 for a ticket then spend an hour and a half of the party at a restaurant? So plan accordingly. I typically dine at 4 or 5, then I'm ready to go earlier than the party starts. You can also choose to forgo a lengthy sit down meal and just use quick service, or snack all night. There are plenty of fun, party only goodies to snack on!
If you aren't going to the party, any dinner reservation you have must begin BEFORE 7 PM. If it is at 6:55 you are golden. Go eat, and when you are done, you'll have to leave, because cast members will check for wristbands at the entrance to every ride, and along the parade route. It is extremely difficult to stay without a party ticket, and boring, since you can't do anything. In many cases, a cast member from the restaurant will actually escort you out.
Characters that normally don't make an appearance are in attendance, and many are in costume. You'll see Lady Tremaine and the Stepsisters, the Fab Five all in costume, and many other surprise characters. The Villains are out in force, many of whom you can't catch any other time. The coolest thing in my opinion is getting a photo opportunity with all seven dwarfs!
The Boo To You Parade, which occurs twice each evening, is a must do. MUST.
It is so much fun, with the best floats and awesome music. Watch carefully at the beginning, because the Headless Horseman comes out flying by on horse, and is easy to miss because he's fast. I dare you to get a clear photo.
Notably, the Haunted Mansion characters are wonderful, the dancers will enchant you and they even have a real hound dog! In addition the Villains segment is fun, and will have you dancing to the music even if you fight against it.
Parade strategy? Many people swear by going to the second parade, because it is "less crowded." Personally, I find that it doesn't matter, because no matter what, if you want a good spot, you need to get it at least an hour ahead. And if I attend the second parade, afterwards it is so late that it feels like the night is almost over. For some reason, going to the first one gives me the illusion of lots of time afterwards. If you sit on Main Street, especially the hub, get a spot an hour and 15 minutes prior to start time. Tip...the parade is coming from Frontierland and Liberty Square, so if you sit a ways from the castle on the right side (facing) then you'll see the floats coming with the castle in the background! Fun.
The Villains Mix and Mingle show is fun. Of course, I know the song by heart...but even if you are a newbie, you'll really enjoy it. I find Jafar's head bobbing around while he dances to be quite amusing...I bet you will too! And you even get a glimpse of the Queen of Heart's unmentionables (gasp!). After, a few select Villains will come out in front of the castle for photos and autographs.
Hallowishes is the best. The BEST. Fireworks show Disney has. Certain parts are 360 degrees, and they'll surround the park. The music is awesome. It is not to be missed and only happens once during the party!
View of Hallowishes as seen from the Grand Floridian
There is a new interactive feature this year, called Minnie Mouse's Costume Chaos. Minnie, Daisy Duck and Clarabelle the cow dress as witches, and you can get a card to play the interactive game only at the party. This is like the Sorcerer's of the Magic Kingdom, but just for Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween party guests.
As far as the treat trails, meh. I mean, if you are passing by, go for it. But I always tell my kids if they don't get enough candy I'll buy them a freaking bag at the end of the night. They always have enough, and I am not going to spend precious party time standing in line for candy when I can be riding Splash Mountain four times in a row.
The dance parties are fun, especially for little kids. Once my daughter danced with Donald Duck dressed in a pumpkin costume for at least 30 minutes, mostly by herself (that would be rare). She was Cinderella, and boogying like she'd danced all her 3 years of life. It was one of the most adorable memories we have of all the times we've gone to Disney.
As far as costumes go, don't feel pressured. There are plenty of guests that don't dress up, or just stick a Halloween pair of Mickey ears on. Some just have special tshirts. Some go all out! It is the one time a year that adults can dress in costume (other than the 24 hour event which isn't guaranteed each year). Personally, I'm attempting to find a seamstress to make me a Haunted Mansion tightrope umbrella girl costume, wish me luck. For kids though, costumes are a must. Sometimes the cast members will ask those in costume to sign an autograph book.
Photos by the Photopass Cast Members should be taken advantage of here, especially with the Castle backdrop. It is worth the expense. They are expert shots and there are places around the park where you'll have private photos with amazing backgrounds, and no other people.
You can also get photos with hitchiking ghosts. As you can probably imagine, the Haunted Mansion is a popular attraction at these parties, and for a better reason that it is just scary and goes with a Halloween theme. It is surrounded by fog, and you'll meet a ghost that talks to everyone out front. Sometimes she makes sense, sometimes she doesn't. And photos are great with the black hearse. Don't miss the mansion! Semi new to Magic Kingdom is a shop for Haunted Mansion merchandise, called Memento Mori. Stop by and find park exclusive Haunted Mansion goodies!
This party is my favorite and will most likely always be.
Travel Time Travel
Tuesday, September 1, 2015
Great Wolf Lodge. Just the name is imposing…rustic, majestic, maybe crackling fires fill the mind. What it doesn’t inspire are thoughts of a giant indoor water park and hundreds of shrieking kids, but that is exactly what it is…shrouded in the cover of a wilderness theme.
Now, if you have a shrieking kid or two of your own, you’ll fit right in. An important thing to remember with this vacation that makes it different from others is the hotel IS the destination. On most vacations, you check into your hotel, which is a haven, a restful place after a day of fun filled tourism. With this vacation, the hotel IS the vacation, so the tourists surround you every second except when you are safely behind your “cabin” door. People are everywhere, all the time…the hallways are filled, as are obviously the rest of the public areas.
You can check in a 1 PM. We arrived around 2 PM. It took about 30 minutes in line, which in retrospect wasn’t bad, considering the lobby was a madhouse.
Line in the lobby
The employee that checked us in was fantastic. Very friendly, he was efficient and genuinely seemed to want to help us. He offered us free wolf ear headbands, which we gleefully accepted, adults included.
Us, the wolf pack. Sorry, I don't share my family online, but you get the fun filled point.
I texted my daughter to tell her where to park (she was pulled up in front of the hotel) and was informed she had a problem, so I went outside. There was an employee opening doors for those entering and exiting, several cars lining both sides of the front of the entrance, and one “special” car that had entered the wrong way, stopped, parked in the middle of the way, and a group of women stood by the trunk, chatting the day away, while all the cars around were literally stuck there. I pointed it out to the employee, who stared at me blankly, and said “Oh.” So I walked over to the chatty cathies and said “excuse me, you entered the wrong way and there are at least 8 cars blocked by your car.” One of the women (taking her time) meandered to her door and finally moved the car, allowing all that were blocked to move. Here I would normally put “SMH” on Facebook.
At least a two day stay is recommended. We braved just a one night stay, although that did include entrance to the water park after 1 PM on check in date, and throughout the second day. Pretty good value when you think about it. We paid $250 for the night, and that automatically includes entrance to the park. The park is just for hotel guests, so the general public cannot gain entrance. Our $250 got us a very nice room, with two queen beds, a pull out sofa in a little living area, a fridge, microwave, and a good amount of counter space, as well as entrance for the four of us to the water festivities.
Each guest gets a wristband. The adult’s wristbands open the door to the room, and you can use it to charge anything you buy at the resort. All the bands get you entrance to the water parks. The band was convenient, and reminded me of a dumbed down Disney Magicband.
We brought in our own coolers, stocked with drinks and food. That turned out to be extremely helpful, because the restaurants were very packed at dinner time, so we munched on the subs and cheese platter we brought with us. The fridge was weird; it had a very strange non shelf on the door that served zero purpose.
There were also little flip flop stickers on the door to the bathroom…not part of the normal décor. I’m guessing one of the little mini guests that stayed in the room before us left us a little decoration.
The room was clean and comfy, with a definite Pacific Northwest theme. Of course, since this was the Centralia Washington location, we were in the Pacific Northwest, so it isn’t as impressive as I imagine it would be elsewhere.
After we got settled, my son and youngest daughter changed into swimwear and went to the water park, to get started on the fun and save us a spot (I am not into crowds or lines so I needed a “safe” space, lol). My oldest daughter and I had a cocktail in the room and took our time changing. Then we headed down to the great unknown.
The water park was extremely fun and really great for all ages. The wave pool was very fun, all four of us bobbed and swayed to the waves when it started each cycle, and laughed. Those that are not great swimmers should not go that deep, it can get pretty rough. There are lifeguards everywhere, and they do seem very diligent. My daughter is a lifeguard and she was impressed with the staff. The slides are great…although we went on the biggest and my brave little 10 year old had a look of sheer terror on her face when the huge round slide holding all four of us went all the way up the cyclone side. There are several play areas for the munchkin sized set, as well as standing pools for playing kid sized basketball. There are “lily pads” and ziplines, a giant bucket that dumps water on all around every couple of minutes, and many more spots of fun. The one major thing I found missing was a lazy river. The tables aren’t plentiful, we were there mid week so it wasn’t bad but I would imagine on weekends table space is at a minimum.
They do have lockers available, although we didn’t use them, we just didn’t bring anything valuable to the water park.
In the evening we did go to the arcade. It was a lot of fun, but their credit system is very weird, and it had to be explained to me a couple of times. Let me say, I’m not a mathematician, but generally I can add numbers below 10, and I had a rough time at first figuring out this system. The rewards counter closes early, and I mean they close, with a giant fence surrounding it. We just redeemed our tickets the next morning. The arcade was busy, but we generally only had to wait for one person to finish to get to each game we wanted to play.
Girl, not mine, with a thousand tickets
We spent the rest of the evening in our hotel room, playing board games. We played Telestrations, which is seriously hysterical, and had to take this photo of one of the drawings:
We also brought a box of “decorate a twinkie” minion set, and giggled for at least 30 minutes as we decorated them.
Now, let’s talk about the wands. There are mysterious “wands” that you can buy, and throughout the hotel, there are kids that wave the wands at things, that talk, and move, and unlock. It is a world in which I chose not to delve. The children playing seemed enthralled, and I imagine it is like the magical wall games on the Disney Dream or Fantasy, or perhaps the Kim Possible game or the like at Epcot. Anyway, it was both too expensive and too complicated for my family…keep it simple. Give us food, a water slide, some Ski ball and a Mai Tai, and we are all covered. Good clean family fun.
Travel Time Travel
Travel Time Travel