Sunday, October 12, 2014

Cars Land: Early Entry at Disney California Adventure

by Jennifer Dowling

I was lucky enough to go to Disneyland this year for the very first time for an Agent Education Program. I knew time would be limited so my co-agent, Cass, and I decided to come in a couple of days early so we could have some park time on our own.

On our first full day we went to California Adventure's Early Entry for Disneyland Resort Guests.
I am going to tell you about that experience here.....

First tip, when arriving at the park for early entry, the lines will be very long. Do NOT get in the first line you see, as often the lines further away or in the middle are shorter if you look.

Once you get in, you will be stopped by a rope. It isn't a free for all, so be mindful of the Cast Members and stay out of the roped off areas.

Once the first rope was dropped we quickly made our way towards Carsland to the next rope. The advice given to both Cass and I were to stay wide and right. When you go to Radiator Springs it will funnel all down to the right and those on the right tend to get in faster.

We went to the right side and just about the 2nd row back from the rope.

Here they come!!!!!!!!

That gas hose was going to be the new “rope” to take us back to Carsland.

And we are waiting!!!!

And waiting!

This is a good sign…the welcome committee is here!

Then they slowly walked us back towards Carsland. At one point we saw the people who used the Grand Californian entrance walking in too, but we were several steps ahead of that group. I have heard this is not always true, so keep in mind you will merge with another group.

As we walked, some people started pushing their way in front of us.

We kept walking fast and yes we tried not to let people in front of us if possible.

At one point some pushy ladies stepped on my feet to get by and I really thought if they needed to be that far ahead that they were stepping on people’s feet….then let them! In other words, be courteous as you walk, but keep in mind, not everyone else will be.

As we approached the ride, the fire truck came out and he basically made it clear to all those on the left that you had to go right and it got a bit more crowded then.

A CM led us into the queue so there was no running through it to get to the front. This part was orderly.

As we walked through we could see some empty cars going by. How exciting!!!!
Getting closer!

Time to start loading.

I believe Cass and I ended up being within the first 20 in line. We didn’t make it in the first set of cars, but we did make the first car of the 2nd set.

And we’re off!

We go out just a little ways and then stop again for a seatbelt check. I took a picture of Cass then! She always has cool poses on rides. Half the time I look like I am hanging on for dear life.

The ride starts out slow with a leisurely drive around the outside.

Once we went inside it was much harder to get pictures.

Someone went tractor tipping.

This part always made me laugh, the green jeep would call the van “hippie”.
Time for a new paint job.

Time for the big race.

We then raced another car, going back outside on some bunny hills and turns. This is so much fun. Better than Test Track at Epcot, but with a similar feeling. We laughed and giggled and our hair whipped all over.
I believe we won the race, though I am not positive, but it was so much fun.

We got stopped here, and then the cars take turns going to the unloading area.

And the ride was over, we exited and made our way out.

It was so much fun that we went back about 20 minutes later and rode it again, this time using the single rider line. I do suggest this option to you as well, if you would like to ride a second time in the morning. Many people are not aware this line even exists, especially in the morning, so wait times will be much shorter. Later in the day, the single rider line will get longer, but still faster than the standby line.

Contact Jen to book your Disneyland vacation and experience Cars Land firsthand!

Friday, May 16, 2014

Five things to do on your next Disney cruise

By Cass Pettigrew

Have you been on a Disney Cruise before? Maybe even a few of them? You're not alone! On any given Disney cruise, about half of the passengers are returning guests. I can hardly blame them really. I've sailed with Disney 6 times myself and I don't plan on stopping any time soon!

For many reasons, Disney is the cruise line of choice for me and my family. One of those reasons is that there is so much to do on every Disney ship, even after 6 cruises, there are still places I haven't seen and activities that I haven't tried yet!

On our first Disney cruise, back in 2002, we followed the crowds, we dressed up in our finest for Formal and Semi-Formal Nights, we saw the evening shows, got our photos taken in the Atrium and then we headed to our assigned Dining Room for dinner every night. We did an excursion in every port, we attended as many of the activities that our schedule would allow and it was AWESOME! And believe it or not, our first two Disney cruises were adult-only ones since we didn't start our little family until 2006! That's right folks, Disney is not JUST for kids! We did what most other cruisers did on the next few sailings as well and we were very happy with our experiences as evidenced by the fact that we keep coming back for more!

Formal Night Pictures in the Atrium
Pirates IN the Caribbean Party

St Thomas, USVI, with Jet Boat excursion we took running in background

For our most recent cruise, in November 2013, we did things a little differently this time and it turned out to be the best cruise we've ever taken as a family. One of the many reasons why it was the best was because we did things our way. We really slowed down and took the time to enjoy things at our own pace. In all honesty, we didn't really have a choice as my health hasn't been the greatest these past couple of years, so I was sort of forced to slow down and I am so very thankful I did!

Here are some things that we enjoyed on our last cruise that I highly recommend trying yourself:

1- Skip the main dining rooms and have dinner at Cabanas. 
On most nights, (check your Personal Navigator for times!) Cabanas offers a sit-down dinner with a limited menu, served by Cast Members training to become servers in the Main Dining Rooms. This is a great option for those of you who don't want to dress up for Formal and Semi-Formal Nights but want something more than pizza, burgers or hot dogs from the fast food places. The service and food were superb and we wore shorts and tees!

Delicious steak and baked potato at Cabanas!

2- If you are on a 7-night or longer cruise, attend the matinee performances of the spectacular Disney shows performed in the Walt Disney Theatre. This will free up some time during the evening. Take advantage of this time to enjoy the empty top decks while everyone else is either eating or at the evening show. We did this 3 times on our cruise and the pools were almost empty every time! The other option is to skip the show entirely but I only recommend this if you've seen it before as the shows are truly amazing and are a must-do, at least once!

During the evening show, our daughter is the only one in the Mickey Pool!
Mickey Slide 8 times in a row, no waiting!

Aquaduck over and over again, no waiting!

3. Watch as your ship sails out of port. Most people hurry back on board and get cleaned up and then are onto their next activity and they miss one of the great little experiences of cruising. Next time when leaving a port, take some time to relax on your verandah or one of the top decks and watch as your ship sails away. This is especially fun if you are the first big cruise liner to leave as the guests from other ships often wave good-bye. It is really fun when the captain sounds the ships' horn, the best in the industry, and everyone else cheers! Also, keep an eye out for the Pilot, a local expert that comes aboard to help the captain navigate the ship safely out of the harbor, to return to his boat.

Norwegian Epic and Freedom of the Seas at Havensight Point, St. Thomas.

Hubby saw a few Canadian flags on this ship so he decided to show off ours.

Pilot ship coming to pick up the Pilot.

The pilot received a big cheer from those watching and waved back
in appreciation.

4. Skip a port and enjoy an empty ship! If you're sailing to a port that you've visited before or just one you don't particularly care to explore, stay on the ship and you will be rewarded with a lovely empty ship! Obviously, there are not as many activities scheduled during a port stop but there's still tons of things to do! Our daughter loved going to the kids clubs during this time because it wasn't busy and she got to do everything she wanted with no waiting.

Empty adult-only Satellite Falls while docked in St. Thomas!

5. Enjoy the pools and hot tubs at night! Most people visit the pools during the day but if you're like me and you can't handle the sun/heat/crowds, make sure to visit them at night. They are often empty and you can relax and enjoy a unique experience of swimming under the stars on the high seas!

Enjoy a movie while swimming!

So there you have it, a few different things to do on a Disney cruise. On your next cruise, be sure to try at least one of them and let me know how it worked out for you! 

Contact me for your free, no-obligation quote on a Disney cruise and cruise your way.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

NEW Character Dining Option at Walt Disney World during Star Wars Weekends!

Do you have Jedis in-training who would love to dine with the Star Wars characters?  Well, now you can!  During Star Wars Weekends, being held May 16 - June 15th, 2014 at the Walt Disney World Resort, you and the Star Wars fans in your life can enjoy two brand-new dining options featuring some of your favorite Star Wars characters.

Star Wars dining is available for dates May 4-June 15.  The Star Wars Galactic Dine-In Breakfast will be available at the Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater, and will feature Stormtroopers, Boba Fett, Jawa, Darth Vader, and Greedo.  The movie screen at Sci-Fi will also be playing Star Wars movie clips, trailers and music!  Reservations will be available from 8AM - Noon and is $47.99 for adults, and $29.99 for children.  Also included in your meal is a digital photo of your family on a commemorative Photopass card.

The dinner option, Jedi Mickey’s Star Wars Dine at Hollywood and Vine, will feature some of your favorite Disney characters as their Star Wars counterparts!  You’ll be able to meet Ewok Chip & Dale, Jedi Mickey, Leia Minnie, Darth Goofy and Stormtrooper Donald Duck. There is a Fantasmic dinner package available with this option; a commemorative family photo with Chip & Dale, via digital download, is also included.  Seating for dinner is available from 4:15 - 9:30PM and will correspond with park hours.  The Fantasmic dinner package is $59.99 for adults, and $36.99 for children.  To enjoy just the character dinner is $55.99 for adults, and $33.99 for children.

These Star Wars character meals are also available as part of the Disney Dining Plan, and can be redeemed for 2 Table Service Credits per person.

To learn more, and to book your family’s out-of-this-world vacation to Walt Disney World, contact your Mouse World Travel agent! 

Thursday, January 30, 2014

WestJet's Magic Plane

by Cass Pettigrew

In early December 2013, Canada's choice airline, WestJet, introduced its' newest and most enchanted plane, dubbed "Magic Plane", on a flight from Calgary to Orlando. This amazing custom-painted  Boeing Next- Generation 737-800 features Sorcerer Mickey, Cinderella Castle and a whole lot of pixie dust.

Less than two weeks after its' inaugural flight, my client, Ashley Kennedy, along with her husband Kevin and 6-year old daughter, Brianna, were lucky enough to begin their family vacation to the Walt Disney World Resort and Caribbean cruise on the Disney Fantasy with a fabulous flight on the Magic Plane.

I've asked Ashley to tell us a little about her experience on the plane and here is what she said:

"If you’re on a direct flight from Calgary to Orlando, there’s a good chance you’re all heading to the same place. You start to find each other as you enter the airport, smiling tentatively in the security line at those around you wearing their Disney vacation apparel. Who cares if it’s an acid wash jean jacket if Mickey’s on the back? The great thing about this kind of travel is everyone at the gate is in a good mood.  What could possibly add to this excitement? A whisper begins through the crowd of passengers waiting to board. Soon there’s a line up at the glass and phones flashing pictures.  Could it be? Yes! The Mickey Plane! Officially WestJet has named her the Magic Plane but not a single person we met ever called it that.  Everyone is in a hurry to board and can’t wait to see inside.  The seats are adorned with pixie dust stars as is the lavatory mirror. For the most part however, once you’re seated and facing forward it’s easy to forget that Sorcerer Mickey is personally winging you south to Florida.  There are subtle Disney touches – Disney Parks napkins instead of the usual WestJet ones, and packages of Mickey cookies during the last service.  The big draw for the little ones though is a channel devoted to Disney cartoons. It came in particularly handy on our trip when the pay-per-view and satellite TV went out. 

What really surprised me was the reactions we got from people we met during our vacation upon hearing that we rode down on the Magic Plane. I had no idea it was such big news! Americans from all over, and British, Australian and South African cast members on the Disney Fantasy had all heard about it and I think were more excited than we were! It was nice to be able to share the experience with so many people we met.  We got to relive the little thrill throughout our entire holiday.

I’m glad we had the experience but I’m also happy that others will be able to enjoy it on other WestJet routes.  Especially those who have never (and may never) have the opportunity to visit a Disney Park. It’s like bringing a little piece of the Disney enchantment to all passengers – I guess that’s why they call it the Magic Plane." 

And here are some photos from their flight from Calgary to Orlando:

The Magic Plane will be flying everywhere that WestJet does, including 18 different countries and 35 cities, so you will see it all over Canada and the USA, so keep an eye out for this beautiful work of art!

To learn more about the Magic Plane and to see a video of how they painted it, check out WestJet's Blog.'s

Friday, January 17, 2014

Featured Agent: Katie Miller

Hi, my name is Katie Miller and I have been with Mouse World Travel since Fall 2013. One of my favorite things to do is to plan my own Disney vacations, and I love that I can now help others make those memories, too!

I’ve been a fan of Disney movies and characters since I was a little girl, but didn’t take my first Walt Disney World vacation until I was 17 years old. To say I was hooked is an understatement. I was totally captivated with the magic of Disney the first moment I stepped into the Magic Kingdom, and I have to say I still get that magical feeling each time I go to Disney.

I have traveled to Walt Disney World a total of 13 times, and at the end of January 2014 I’ll have taken my 5th cruise on the Disney Cruise Line, having sailed at least once on every ship. I have trips in the works to Disneyland in California, and also out to Aulani, Disney’s newest resort in Hawaii.

I really enjoy sharing my love of Disney with my family and friends; my 4 year old niece delights in telling me, “I can’t wait until you take me to Disney World!” (I have taught her well)

Here are a few of my favorite things to see, do, and eat at Disney:

Favorite character: Sorcerer Mickey, hands down. I am not ashamed to admit that I tear up a little when I see him at Fantasmic!

Favorite movie: Favorite live action would be Mary Poppins (how can you not love Julie Andrews); favorite animated movie is Sleeping Beauty.

Favorite attraction: Soarin at Epcot. I could do this over and over again....and I have!

Favorite place to stay at Disney: I honestly haven’t disliked any of the resorts I’ve stayed at, but I would say my favorite is the Beach Club, both for its ambiance and its location between Epcot and Hollywood Studios.

Favorite food at Disney: O’Hana is always a must-do when in Orlando; oh that bread pudding, I could write novels about that bread pudding. For quick service, I can’t pass up the flatbread pizzas at Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa; the BBQ Chicken one is the BOMB.

Thanks for letting me tell you a little about myself! Pixie dust to you and yours!

Contact me for your next Disney vacation: