Category Archives: Secrets

Disneyland Parks Secrets

Honoring our Heroes

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Happy Memorial Day to all of us, especially those who have served their country!!

I am fortunate to have close friend’s who are military families. It’s always such an honor for me to help plan their Disney vacations! As such, I’ve become very familiar with the Disney Military Discount Offers. Honoring our Heroes is one way Disney can give back to those that are serving and/or have served. It’s an incredible feeling when I speak to one of our military families to answer any questions. I love being able to help Disney in Honoring our Heroes! It’s truly one of the greatest parts of my job!! I am becoming my own Military Disney Vacation expert, with a lot of help of course.

As we all know, those serving our country don’t get to be home often enough. It’s truly awesome that when they come home for leave that they have time to spend with their families. What could be better than spending that time at Disneyland or Disney World! Disney makes it a real possibility for them all.

I realized though that there may not be a lot of information out there for our heroes and their families on what is available to them. Disney truly wants to Honor Our Heroes, the loyal men and women of all the branches of the military, active and retired, as well as their families. This includes all our heroes in all branches of service, reservists, Coast Guard and National Guard included. There are some ‘rules’ that need to be followed, but none too complicated that I’ve experienced. It’s simply a matter of finding the dates that work and speaking with a Disney Specialist to get you set.

The greatest way Disney is Honoring our Heroes is the offer to purchase the promotional 3 day Park Hopper at Disneyland for about the regular price of a 1 Day Park Hopper!! Total Purchase price of $125 for a 3 Day Park Hopper! This ticket offer is only for the military member and their immediate family, and is currently available through September 28, 2013. Keep in mind that unless your Naval Officer Uncle is visiting the parks with you, he can’t buy the tickets and give them to you. You will need your military identification to activate the tickets purchased at your nearest Military sales center. These tickets also include Extra Magic Hours.

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In addition to the Park Hopper Tickets, Disney Resort Hotels offer discounts up to 40% off! There are a few restrictions and at times the amount of rooms available are limited, such as the height of Summer. Just check in with a travel agent or Disney directly to get prices and availability of rooms. Most travel agents can also find out which good neighbor hotels offer military discounts. Unfortunately, Disney Vacation Planning does not have this information available. Know that you’ll need your Military Identification when you activate your park tickets at Guest Services, as well as need it when you check into your hotel to retain the discount.

Walt Disney World also offers discounts on Walt Disney Resort Hotels. At around the same discount rate. Keep in mind that this promotional offer is also limited to a specific number of rooms and doesn’t apply during certain black out periods.

This isn’t the only way Disney is Honoring our Heroes. There’s a lot of ways that Disney does this.  For example servicemen and women are invited to participate in the Flag Retreat Ceremony. Additionally Disney has donated Christmas Trees. There are many more ways that Disney will continue Honoring Our Heroes, this is but a small but important list that will allow our servicemen and women to know the fantastic savings available to them!

Overall, Disney wants to Honor Our Heroes and ask that they visit the parks to spend time with their families! Let’s share this information with all of our military so that they can spend time at the Happiest and Merriest Places on Earth!

To learn more, please reach out to me. I’m ready to help you plan a fantastic vacation!

I hope you find this information fun, new and worthwhile.

 

 

Pre-Planning Aulani Trip

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Have you been considering a visit to Disney’s Aulani Resort and Spa? When you think of a trip to Hawaii what are you looking for? Warm sandy beaches with a fruity drink in your hand? Scuba or snorkeling around the islands? Sitting by the pool while the kids are entertained? Interacting with local species and natural wonders? Do you want to go Island hopping? What else are you thinking of when Planning A Visit To Disney’s Aulani?

I have some good news for everyone, Aulani is able to provide all of these options and of much more.

When you first start planning a trip to the middle of the Pacific Ocean to visit Hawaii and Aulani, you need to make some decisions, and honestly you should call a travel agent.

What’s My Budget: With all vacations, most of us have to start here. We all wish we didn’t have to of course, but this is a necessary truth. Once you’ve established your own comfort level you can begin to narrow down the rest of your trip.

How Many Days Should I Plan to Visit: Personally, I would suggest no less than 5 days at Aulani. With so many activities to experience, this would be the minimum amount of time to get some of the island flavor. Snorkeling, lazy rivers, scavenger hunts, Auntie’s Beach House for the kids, and so much more.

When Should I Plan To Visit: This is the easiest of all things to decide, there is no bad time, if you base it on weather, to visit. Hawaii has year round beautiful weather. Go in January or August and you’ll find the temperatures aren’t far apart. August brings in at high 70’s and January is low 80’s. July would be in the high 80’s.

What Else Do I Want To Do: Aulani is about 20 minutes from Waikiki. Consider if you want to stay a few days in the bustling crowds and shopping of the Waikiki area. You can also plan day trips from Aulani to visit. Additionally, plan a few other day trips. Head up to the North Shore, Dole Plantation and perhaps a visit to the Polynesian Cultural Center. All of these are located on Oahu as well. If you want to visit a volcano or other Hawaiian features, you can have your travel agent book some excursions for you. Short flight or long-boat trip to the other islands.

We’ve started here with how to pre-plan your trip to Aulani, keep checking back for more in-depth information on Aulani. In the meantime, enjoy this video from Disney on the Behind the Scenes Magic at Aulani:

Check back often for more information on Disney’s Aulani Resort and Spa.

I hope you found this information useful and fun. I am here to answer questions and would happily help you plan your trip to Aulani. Visit me at my Agent Page for more information.

Main Street U.S.A. Secrets

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When you first enter the park the ground is red brick. Walt wanted you to feel like you were entering on a red carpet, being treated like royalty. Also he added the tunnels to walk through so that once you came through them you would feel you were entering a new world. I’d say he hit it right with the tunnels. Thankfully he was talked out of walking through curtains. Imagine the disarray that would have caused.

When you are at the end of Main Street, USA looking towards castle, Imagineers used “Forced Perspective” to make castle appear larger. It’s a trick where the buildings get smaller the further down the street you go. Disney has used this “trick” in every theme park since.

Did you know the names on the windows above the shops, on Main Street U.S.A. are real people? Most are Imagineers who were essential to fulfilling Walt’s Dreams. You’ll see up there is UB Iwerks. UB was the first one to join Walt at his new studio. UB is also co-creator of Mickey. Many more Imagineers and other key people are immortalized on these window panes as their own proprietors.

Those Imagineers and Walt sure did come up with some amazing tricks to get us visitors to do the right thing. For instance the only place in the park that has a black street is Main Street… Why? Black gets hotter than any other color which in turn makes you want to move towards the castle and not create a bottleneck along Main Street…

Have you noticed that if you stand on the sidewalks of Main Street the trees block your view of the castle? And vice versa if you’re on the street? Here’s why! It was decided if you were on the sidewalk the best way to get you into the stores was to block the view of the castle and surrounding park… Just as if you’re standing in the street, the trees block the stores and will not distract you from moving along towards the castle. No wonder they are called IMAGINEERS!

Here’s one most people don’t consider but will have a “D’uh!” moment when you read this. You never hear the sounds of Anaheim which is right outside the gates. Guess what else you don’t get from Anaheim…???  The smell. Yup Disneyland has what are called Smellitzer’s around the park. You never knew it happened, but you also aren’t smelling car exhaust or any other city smells. Most people know the instance of the citrus smell on Soarin Over California. That’s one you could hardly miss, but many more exist to give all your senses access to the magic! How bout some fresh baked cookies on Main Street, USA? Yeah you probably thought they were being baked right then.

Keep checking back for more secrets! There’s lots more to share.

Disneyland Star Wars Land?

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A long time from now in a city not so far away we may all get to visit Star Wars Land at Disneyland. The Disneyverse has lit up more than a Death Star explosion with the news of a survey being addressed to Annual Pass Holder and Fanatics. This survey includes a number of references to a Star Wars Land and asks what the respondents think of this expansion idea. What do you think? Would you like a Star Wars Land at Disneyland?

We’ve known of plans to add a Star Wars Land to Disneyland Paris since last year when the imagineers let that out. The Star Wars Land is said to include Star Tours, Jedi Academy and a Mos Eisley Cantina. Without any ground breaking yet, we don’t know for sure where it will go. However, the rumors state that likely it will take over Pizza Planet and Captain EO which are next to Star Tours. They will then expand it to become its own Star Wars Land.

Here’s what we know:

  1. Disney spent $4 Billion to buy Star Wars
  2. Disneyland Anaheim is asking guests to take a survey about Star Wars
  3. Disneyland Paris Star Wars Land planned opening in 2015
  4. Star Wars VII is planned for release in 2015
  5. Star Wars Weekends at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

As my imagination runs wild, here’s what I predict, Star Wars Land will open in both Disneyland Anaheim and Disneyland Paris around the same time as Star Wars VII comes out. Disney didn’t get to where they are without knowing how to do things big.

We all know that Disneyland Resort doesn’t have a lot of unused space. So the question becomes, where does it go? Everyone has their own ideas and most are pretty good thoughts. I’ve read that perhaps it will replace Tomorrowland, or maybe it will go in the much alluded to “Third Gate” that is supposed to open sometime in the next few decades. Maybe, just maybe Disney is holding out on us and has already been purchasing up additional space around Disneyland that we haven’t heard about yet.

While we don’t have a lot of solid evidence to give yet, we do know that Star Wars Land at Disneyland is a real possibility. Don’t book your trip just yet, but do keep checking back with us for any new information. What do you think of a possible Star Wars Land at Disneyland? Let us know!

One last juicy bit of gossip to share, just read that perhaps, maybe, just maybe Walt Disney World will get a Cars Land & Star Wars Land combined at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Now that’s a big stretch, but hey we can all dream right? Didn’t Walt teach us all to keep dreaming and reaching?

Travel Agent? Isn’t that what the Internet is for?

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Do you remember the time before smart phones? Internet Searches? Planning travel was a lot of phone calls, friends recommendations, driving to AAA or other places for maps and lots of other work. Sometimes people used a Travel Agent, but usually only on those big once in a lifetime trips. So now, we have our iPhones, HTC’s, Tablets, Laptops, and a wealth of information on all things, including Travel destinations. Nowadays the internet has taken over for all those calls, all those trips to the library and more to get stacks and stacks of information for your vacation.

Let me start by telling you a little about how I started in this business. I had two separate but each very good friends suggest to me that I should be a Travel Agent for Disney Vacations. When they first suggested it, I thought to myself “Are they insane, Travel Agents are a thing of the past, everyone uses the internet, right?” So I started looking into it more and more. Then I spent some time pondering the amount of my own time I spent planning my vacations. I was already a self-described expert whose friends would ask for help and suggestions from. It seemed a perfect fit. I realized I love all things Disney (and Universal, and Hawaii, and Cruises, and… Well traveling in general) and I love helping people to plan their trips. So yeah why not? It was probably the best decision I’ve made in a long, long time! Which if you know me, isn’t saying much…

I do often wonder if it gets easier with all this information or is it now just overwhelming? If you want to visit a place like Disneyland or Walt Disney World you could get lost in the amount of information and never make it back out. The pictures alone can be mesmerizing. But you don’t think of asking for help? Why? Travel Agents are still out there, and we are ready to help! Today more than ever Travel Agents are the best bet you have to navigate the information overload highway and keeping you on track. Most Travel Agents today are also specialists in specific areas. Take me for instance, can you perhaps guess where my specialties lie?

So I’ve shared a little with how I decided to become a Travel Agent. Really though I want to share with you why you need a Travel Agent (like me).

  • There is NO COST to you!
  • Disney, Universal and others Certifies Travel Agents
  • We are Experts in our specialties – for me that’s Disney, Universal, Hawaii, Cruises and Southern California
  • We know all the Promotions – Seriously we get daily emails
  • We do the boring research, pricing options and more, then report back to you
  • We offer suggestions and will plan your trip with as much detail as you want
  • Free Gifts! – Really, why wouldn’t you want free things?
  • No Stress Vacation Planning
  • No hours spent researching
  • Knowledgeable advice on restaurants, park tours and more
  • Travel Agents work around your schedule and budget

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Still not sold on a Travel Agent? Saying to yourself you’ve been to Disneyland and Disney World as much as anyone, why do you need someone to plan it for you? Well if the lure of the free gifts doesn’t give you incentive, perhaps I can convince you another way. Having spent numerous hours at Disney parks, Disney Resorts, on Disney Cruises, and more, I can tell you I have never sat down at my computer and quickly done the reservation. I’ve looked at all the different dates, the different resorts/rooms, the different parks, Extra Magic Hours, calendar of events, and much much more. It takes me hours and hours sometimes to plan a week vacation. Why ever would you want to do that anymore? Travel Agents do all of that for you AT NO COST TO YOU!

Did you know that Travel Agents will also sit down and go through your trip, offer restaurant recommendations, perhaps even suggesting one you’ve never been to… However, if you want, I will personally offer to put your trip together in calendar form to give you a complete itinerary, including for any who want it, a complete daily breakdown of your day at each park. All For Free! If you already know what you want, then I’ll do the scheduling for you. Yes I say I a lot, but that’s what I do… Honestly, it’s what almost all Travel Agents would do for their clients.

With all I’ve said, I should warn travelers that Travel Agents aren’t the best at airfare any longer. Unfortunately, airlines no longer pay a commission, so it’s not a service a lot of Travel Agents promote. However, when asked by a client to check for them, I’m happy to do it, and I’m certain most other Travel Agents will as well. Keep in mind that we no longer have the same level of access as years past. Generally speaking it’s better and easier for you to find your own airfare. You know if you’re willing to fly red eye, or if you need to leave after a certain time. Never be afraid to ask your travel agent for help and/or suggestions. We do generally hear of the best airlines from the different areas of the country.

Joining forces with a Travel Agent only makes sense in todays world of too much information. You are planning a trip to spend time with your family and friends, yet you spend all your free time before the vacation in front of your computer planning. Let us take care of all that, we will spend the time finding the best pricing and promotions for your vacation! In addition, you make a new friend with your agent centered around something you both love, Travel!

If you’re still not sure after all my compelling reasons, I’d love to know why. Leave a comment below with your comments.

Contact me or another Travel Agent soon to get you the best value available for your next trip to Disneyland, Disney World, Disney Cruises, Universal Studios, Hawaii or anywhere you are looking to visit!

Contact me today to book your first, next or best Disney, Universal, Cruise, Hawaii or other Magical Vacation!

Daniel is a self-proclaimed Disney Geek, Disney Vacation Planner and a Disneyland Specialist. When he’s not adding to the plethora of Disney Trivia in his head, you can find him on his Facebook Page and/or follow him on Twitter