Travel

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge Now Open at Walt Disney World!

Photo courtesy of The Kingdom Insider

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge officially opened at Disney’s Hollywood Studios this morning and the crowds were not disappointed. By 4am people were already lining up for this much anticipated opening, to be transported to the remote planet of Batuu and to experience the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of this planet. To get to Batuu, your boarding group will enter this 14 acre land in Hollywood Studios on Grand Ave near Muppet*Vision 3D. Once you step onto Batuu, guests can enjoy galactic food and drinks, build your own lightsaber or droid and so much more!

Here are just a few things to experience while on Batuu: soar the galaxy on the Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run by stepping into the Millennium Falcon’s cockpit and taking control as the pilot, gunners or flight engineer while on a mission to deliver smuggled good. Stop and enjoy a cocktail at Oga’s Cantina or grab some food in Docking Bay 7. You can also grab a quick snack at Kat Saka’s Kettle or try the popular plant based Blue Milk or Green Milk at the Milk Stand. Don’t forget to pick up some souvenirs of Batuu at the Black Spire Outpost, which is a bustling marketplace full of vendors showcasing their wares from across the galaxy. While there, you can build your own Lightsaber or customize a droid. As you are walking around exploring Batuu, be on the lookout for Chewie, Rey, Kylo Ren, Stormtroops and the Resistance Spy Vi Moradi.

If you are headed to Hollywood Studios, be sure to check out your My Disney Experience App and join a Boarding Group. This virtual queue will give your party a time to check back in and enter Batuu. Also, guests staying at a Walt Disney World Resort Hotel can enjoy Extra, Extra Magic Hours from September 1, 2019 – November 2, 2019 when Hollywood Studios opens just for you from 6am – 9am!

In addition to all of that, on December 5, 2019, Rise of the Resistance will open in Hollywood Studios. This ride will will take you on a mission where your transport is captured by a First Order Star Destroyer, with Kylo Ren aboard. The Resistance fighters will aid you in your escape on this new and exciting multi-platform attraction.

I would love to help plan your vacation to check out Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge as well as everything else a Walt Disney World Resort vacation has to offer! For as little as a $200 deposit, you could surprise your family with an out of this world vacation that doesn’t have to be paid in full until 30 days prior to traveling. My services are FREE to my clients, contact me today for a free, no obligation quote and don’t forget to follow me on FaceBook @KristieRyan.travel to stay up to date on Disney Travel offers!

Travel

Authorized Disney Vacation Planner, do I need one?

I was on a Disney Fan Facebook page recently and saw a debate about using a Disney Vacation Planner when planning your upcoming Disney vacation or if it’s better to just do it yourself. The comments ranged from “it’s great to have someone else do all the work” to “I don’t want to lose control of my trip” and even “I’m not going to pay someone else to book my vacation when I can do the same thing online myself”. This isn’t the first time I have seen or heard these comments so I wanted to share a little about how an authorized Disney Vacation Planner can help, even if you are a seasoned visitor to a Disney property. Here are the top 4 things that I typically talk to potential guests about using my services.

Training: To become an authorized Disney Vacation Planner, you are required to go through Disney’s training course and pass all of their testing and criteria. You are also required to stay current on any updated training that is provided. Many of the agencies also have requirements regarding training and even traveling to the various Disney properties so that you can provide firsthand knowledge and experiences to your guests. There are many training tools and information sharing that we have access to so even if I personally haven’t run into a particular situation, I can pretty quickly find someone to help me to get my guest an answer.

 Customized Experience: An authorized Disney Vacation Planner can be as involved or as “hands off” as the guest prefers. For example, a first-time visitor to the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida can easily get overwhelmed with the planning. There are multiple parks, resorts to choose from, tickets, dining, FastPasses, special events, waterparks and it’s all spread out over miles of property. This can be very overwhelming for a guest who may not know where to begin. As an authorized Disney Vacation Planner, I can help narrow down all of these items until we create a vacation that is perfect for your family. After booking the package, I am available to my guests anytime a question arises. I send reminders to be sure they are aware when important dates such as dining opens or FastPasses can be scheduled. I can help with the booking of dining and FastPasses also.  For a more seasoned guest, I may only be booking their vacation package and they may choose to book their own dining and FastPasses or may just ask me for recommendations. At the end of the day, this trip is about finding what is the best fit for your family based on budget and availability and tailoring how involved I am to what the guest is comfortable with.

Advocate for the Guest: Once a guest has booked their vacation, my job doesn’t stop there. In fact, my job isn’t complete until after the guests have returned from their Disney vacation. On a regular basis I am watching for discounts that may be able to be applied to any of my guests’ packages, I will spend hours on the phone getting these discounts applied (if applicable) so that the guest does not have to make the call into Disney Travel themselves. If problems arise, I do my best to resolve the pieces in my control. For example, if a flight is cancelled due to weather I can’t change the flight but I will call into Disney and see if we can cancel that dining reservation you are now going to miss and see if we can reschedule it or what options we may have to make situation a little better.

We LOVE Disney: Disney Vacation Planners are often some of the most passionate people about Disney and Disney Vacations! This is a labor of love for many of us, we get paid from Disney via our agencies and never directly from a guest. We do not, and are not allowed, to charge guests for our services. Disney Vacation Planners are typically frequent Disney travelers themselves and stay up to date on parks, rides, attractions, entertainment and resorts so they can help you create the trip that best suites your family.We do this because we are usually the ones at the parks before rope drop, checking wait times and FastPasses on the My Disney Experience app, are always looking for the next time we can plan our own Disney vacation. I enjoyed helping family and friends make plans for their Disney vacations and I was always on the various Disney sites to find out about the latest news and offers so this is my dream job. My family has traveled to the Walt Disney World Resort over 10 times in the last seven years because we love it so much, so often that my pre-teen can navigate through the theme parks like a pro and is now starting to help me make our family plans.

For me, the decision to become an authorized Disney Vacation Planner was a dream come true and I am grateful every day that I am affiliated with Academy Travel, an EarMarked Diamond Travel Company, which is the highest honor Disney Travel gives to an agency. I am proud to be an authorized Disney Vacation Planner and helping others plan their dream vacations and make memories. Disney has so much to offer with theme parks, cruises, adventure travel options and much more so if you haven’t been on a Disney vacation before or if it’s been a while, I would love to help you plan a trip of your dreams. Contact me for a Free, No Obligation quote and let’s start creating your magical adventure together!

http://www.facebook.com/KristieRyan.travel

Travel

How to beat the heat in a Disney Theme Park

Summer is in full effect and being in a theme park on super hot and sunny days can be brutal. Here are a few quick tips I have when heading to a Disney Park during the summer.

1. Get a cool treat! Nothing tastes better than a Mickey shaped ice cream treat or (my fav) a Dole Whip.

Photo credit to Disney Food Blog

2. Head over to a splash area. Did you know that Epcot & Magic Kingdom have areas where your little ones (or you) can splash and cool off in the water?

3. Ride an indoor ride like Carousel of Progress at Magic Kingdom or Soarin in Epcot. Take in the Lion King show at Animal Kingdom or the Beauty and Beast show at Hollywood Studios.

4. Drink plenty of water. You can bring water bottles into the park to save some money. Ice is free at the kiosks so get a free cup of ice and spend your money on the cool, refreshing ice cream treat. 😉

Summer isn’t over yet and there is still time to book a Walt Disney World Resort vacation for this year! Contact me for a quote and remember, my services are FREE for my clients!

Travel

From infants to grandparents – traveling to Disney as a family.

More and more it is becoming common to not just travel as an immediate family (parents & kids) but to travel with extended family also. This usually means there will be multiple generations on the vacation and it can seem difficult to keep everyone happy. With a Disney Park vacations, there truly is so much that every age can enjoy together. Here is a list of a few of our favorites!

  1. Take in a show – Did you know that there are several live action shows throughout the Disney theme parks? Check out strolling entertainment like The Dapper Dan’s in Magic Kingdom to the Citizens of Hollywood in Hollywood Studios. These incredible performers put on a show the whole family can enjoy. Want to get out of the Florida sun for a while? Head to an indoor show such as Beauty and the Beast – Live on Stage in Hollywood Studios or Festival of the Lion King or Finding Nemo – The Musical in Animal Kingdom.
  2. Character Meet & Greet – Meeting your favorite character is not just for kids. Take the family and meet Mickey & Minnie, a princess or your favorite Disney character. The characters love to interact with kids of ALL ages, not just the little ones! Bounce like Tigger for a cute family pic or flex your muscles in a picture with Gaston. The entire family can get into the picture. Be careful if you meet Edna Mode in Hollywood Studios, she WILL critic your outfit. After all, she is a designer darling.
  3. Enjoy rides together – There are several rides that a family can enjoy together that are friendly for everyone in your group even when traveling with very little ones. In Magic Kingdom everyone can enjoy Small World, Peter Pan’s Flight, Under the Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid, Jungle Cruise, the Enchanted Tiki Room, Pirates of the Caribbean and more! In Epcot, be sure to head over to the World Showcase and in Mexico the family can enjoy the Gran Fiesta tour – starring the three Caballero’s or in Norway check out Frozen Ever After to watch Elsa bring the ice and snow to life. One the most fun places for my family in Epcot is The Seas with Nemo and Friends where after riding in a clamshell and finding Nemo you can explore a 5.7 million gallon saltwater aquarium, play among Bruce and his friends while you learn about sharks or talk to everyone’s favorite Sea Turtle Crush in Turtle Talk with Crush.
  4. Go for a swim – Don’t forget to make time in your vacation plans to enjoy the pool area at your Walt Disney World Resort. There is so much fun to be had hanging around the pool with your entire family while you relax and enjoy each others company. Many of the moderate and deluxe resorts have water slides and plenty of room for everyone to splash, swim and play.

Regardless of who you might be traveling with or how many people are in your travel party, be sure to be in the moment and enjoy yourself. Let the photopass cast members take family pictures so you have a family picture to cherish for years to come. You can either purchase your photo pass picture from Disney or you can ask the cast member to take a photo using your camera or phone, they will be happy to do so.

Walt Disney World vacation pricing for 2020 is due to be released on June 18, 2019. Head over to my Facebook page and let me know if you would like to be notified when I can assist you in booking a 2020 Disney World vacation! http:// www.facebook.com/KristieRyan.travel

Travel

Make time for golf during your stay at the Walt Disney World Resort.

There really is so much to do at the Walt Disney World Resort outside of the theme parks. Did you know that the Walt Disney World Resort is home to four incredible golf courses? Each of the courses are rated 4 stars by Golf Digest and boast gorgeous greens and landscaping.

Disney’s Palm Golf Course is an 18-hole championship course located at the Shades of Green Resort in the Magic Kingdom resort area. Play among lakes, tropical sands, palm trees and sloping greens. This course will challenge the novice or the pro in your group with 9 holes that have water hazards and 59 bunkers throughout the course.

Disney’s Magnolia Golf Course was designed in a classic tour style and is the longest of the Walt Disney World golf courses. Not only will you be playing among majestic magnolia trees, this course features elevated tees, spacious greens and water hazards. Located at the Shades of Green Resort in the Magic Kingdom resort area this course is great for serious golfers as it boasts 11 holes with water hazards and 97 bunkers. Not only is this course beautiful but it is certified by Audubon International as a Cooperative Wildlife Sanctuary.

Disney’s Oak Trail Golf Course is the third course located at the Disney’s Shades of Green Resort in the Magic Kingdom resort area. This is a 9 hole walking course that allows you to test your skills. The holes range from 132 to 517 yards from the white tees. Three of the holes route around a deep canal and beautiful pond. This course is also certified by Audubon International as a Cooperative Wildlife Sanctuary.

Disney’s Lake Buena Vista Golf Course was designed in a classic country-club style that winds through the pastel villas and gorgeous landscaping around Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa in the Disney Springs area. This amazing course has 18 holes featuring elevated bunkered greens and a 7th hole that will test your skills with its challenging island green. The Lake Buena Vista golf course has hosted the PGA Tour, LPGA Tour and USGA events.

Rental equipment is available at each of the courses including clubs and golf shoes. This is the perfect place for the traveler who is a golf enthusiast but isn’t able to bring their clubs on vacation, to test out another brand of clubs. Junior US Kids Golf rental equipment is provided complimentary at the courses. If you love to golf, make sure you leave some time in you vacation plans to golf on one of these amazing courses.

Travel

Sizzle in Summer Fun with a Kid Sized Vacation Package.

All-Star Movies Resort

Make memories that you’ll cherish forever when you stay in the middle of the magic at a WDW All-Star Resort. Disney has released their Summer Fun package that includes a 2 day / 3 night stay at one of the three Disney All-Star Resorts; All-Star Movies, All-Star Music and All-Star Sports. For as low as $1,205, a family of 3 (2 adults 1 child aged 3-9) can enjoy a 3 night stay in a standard room at a Disney All-Star resort and a 2 day theme park base ticket. Sample package price is based on an arrival Sunday – Thursday June 2nd – June 25th and July 7th – Aug 29th.

All-Star Music Resort

When you book this offer for arrivals in June, you will receive a Disney gift card upon resort check in, $10 per room per night. The gift card is only valid for arrivals between May 28, 2019 to June 30, 2019; one gift card will be issued per reservation per night of stay.

All-Star Sports Resort

This package is available for arrivals between June 2, 2019 – June 25, 2019 and July 7, 2019 – August 29, 2019. The number of rooms allocated for this offer is limited and may be available at additional resorts for an increased price. Summertime is a magical time a the Walt Disney World Resort, contact me for additional information or for a free, no obligation quote via email or my Facebook page; Kristieryan.travel@gmail.com or http://www.facebook.com/KristieRyan.Travel.

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‘Ohana at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort

One of my favorite traditions is having breakfast at ‘Ohana with our favorite alien, Stitch! ‘Ohana, at the Polynesian Village Resort, is always where my family enjoys breakfast on the last day of our vacation. It has a south seas, family friendly vibe, where everyone is your “cousin” and you enjoy a family style meal in a tropical setting of warm woods, lush plants and impressive tiki gods.

Enjoy the “Best Friends Breakfast” featuring Lilo and Stitch where Stitch, Lilo, Mickey & Pluto greets guests, takes pictures and signs autographs. Enjoy a family style all – you – care – to – enjoy meal of waffles, eggs, sausage,potatoes, fresh fruits, assorted breads and the most delicious juice we have ever had. Kids get to participate in a parade with their Disney “cousins” through the restaurant.

Dinner at ‘Ohana is full of delicious all – you – care – to – enjoy Polynesian cuisine. Guests age 21 and older can enjoy wine and tropical alcoholic drinks from the full bar. During dinner, children can participate in coconut races – using brooms to sweep coconuts across the restaurants hardwood floors. Everyone is invited to dance the hula and relax to island music during a celebration of birthdays and anniversaries.

Both breakfast and dinner seating books up fast so advanced dining reservations are highly recommended. The Disney Dining Plan and Disney Deluxe Dining Plan are both accepted at ‘Ohana. Dining reservations can be made 180 days in advance.

Interested in booking a Walt Disney World Resort Vacation? Contact me for a free, no obligation quote! I am affiliated with Academy Travel, an agency that has received a Earmarked Diamond designation from Disney Destinations. Earmarked Diamond is the highest designation that Disney Destinations can bestow upon a travel agency. My services are free to my clients, contact me by email or via my Facebook page; Kristieryan.travel@gmail.com or http://www.facebook.com/KristieRyan.travel

Travel

Epcot: Whole Day, Half Day or Skip it?

Out of the four Walt Disney World Resort theme parks, Epcot seems to be the one that I often hear potential clients with kids unsure if they want to send an entire day exploring until I share all there is to offer. The reality is that there is a lot to see and do, plus exciting things coming soon! The park is divided up into “Future World East”, “Future World West” and “World Showcase”.

Always have to have a picture in front of Spaceship Earth

When you enter the park you can’t miss Spaceship Earth (a.k.a. the big ball) which has a nice slow ride through the sphere that takes you through the history of innovation. From here, head into “Future World East” to find exciting rides for the thrill seekers in your family. Test Track allows riders to design their own virtual concept vehicle and then take it through hairpin turns, hills and straightaways. On Mission Space, choose from two intensity levels and head into space on this NASA – style training of a simulated space launch.

When you get to Future World West, you won’t want to miss out on meeting some of your favorite characters like Baymax, Joy & Sadness or Mickey & Pals. One of our favorite things to do here is to explore The Seas with Nemo and Friends where you can ride a “clamobile” through a few of your favorite Nemo scenes, have a conversation with Crush in Turtle Talk with Crush or explore the SeaBase which is a 5.7 million gallon aquarium. If you want a little more excitement, visit The Land where you can soar around the world on Soarin as you fly, feel the wind on your face and see the world from a different view. If that’s not your speed, The Land also has greenhouses where some of the food for WDW is grown and on Living with the Land you can take a nice relaxing boat ride and check this out. While you’re here, be sure to make a reservation for Garden Grill and enjoy a family style dinner with Chip & Dale and friends. The younger kids in the family will enjoy Imagination! with Figment as they explore the imagination and visit an interactive area.

World Showcase represents 11 countries and each one boasts food, drinks, souvenirs and a Kidcot area where kids can interact with cast members from the country to learn more. Visit Mexico and take a boat ride with the 3 Caballeros or take a tour of scenes from Frozen in Norway on Frozen Ever After. Explore China, Germany, Italy, America, Japan, Morocco, France, United Kingdom and Canada. You also will often find some of your favorite characters in their home country like Anna & Elsa, Aladdin & Jasmine, Belle, Snow White and Mulan.

Even with all of this, construction has already begun on new experiences like the much anticipated Guardians of the Galaxy ride that is scheduled to open in 2021. This will be one of the worlds largest enclosed roller coasters and will keep guests fully immersed in the story from launch to finish. Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure is currently under construction in the France Pavilion and will be a 4D experience where you will shrink down to the size of Remy as you scurry through Gusteau’s Kitchen.

Epcot also has live performances, special events throughout the year and plenty of places to eat, drink and shop. What do you think, could you family enjoy an entire day at Epcot?

Travel

May the 4th Be With You; sneak peek at the special merchandise and planned events to celebrate.

May the 4th will be here tomorrow so I wanted to give a sneak peek at what fans who will be at Walt Disney World can experience.

In honor of the annual fan-proclaimed “Star Wars Day,” Disney is releasing several new items, including a Star Wars T-shirt, drinkware and several pins.  The special themed merchandise will be available on May 4 at Hollywood Studios’ Tatooine, Launch Bay and Mickey’s of Hollywood as well as at Disney SpringsStar Wars Galactic Outpost and Star Wars Trading Post.

Tickets are also now on sale for a special Disney After Hours celebration on May the 4th at Hollywood Studios.  During this special Disney After Hours event you will have the opportunity to encounter Chewbacca with Rey, Kylo Ren with Captain Phasma and more! There will also be themed merchandise and special treats available for purchase.

During May the 4th, it’s also a great time to ride Star Tours – The Adventures Continue at Hollywood Studios and enjoy other Star Wars experiences, including:

  • Star Wars Guided Tours – Enjoy the full Force of Star Wars with this all-access tour.
  • Star Wars: Galactic Spectacular Dessert Party at Hollywood Studios where you can enjoy Star Wars-themed desserts and drinks (with a souvenir stein) while watching the show from a reserved viewing area.
  • Star Wars Launch Bay: Meet Chewbacca
  • Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple – Young Guests can train in the ways of The Force and put skills to the test against the Dark Side.
  • March of the First Order – You can witness Captain Phasma leads her squad of stormtroopers up Hollywood Boulevard.

Even though we won’t be at Hollywood Studios to celebrate, my family will be decked out in our Star Wars gear to celebrate this unofficial holiday. Have a magical weekend and remember “May the 4th be with you”!

Travel

Celebrating 30 years of Disney’s Hollywood Studios!

May 1st kicked off the 30th Anniversary celebration of Disney’s Hollywood Studios and there is much to celebrate. The day started with a star studded parade led by Mickey & Minnie who were joined by many of their friends and ended with the debut of the new projection show on the iconic Chinese Theater, “Wonderful World of Animation”. A newly designed logo was also revealed which includes BB-8, Woody and Mickey. There will be plenty of 30th anniversary merchandise available to commemorate this milestone such as shirts, hats, Tervis tumblers, ornaments and more.

Artist renderings of the new Hollywood Studios logo, decor in Roundup Rodeo BBQ and scenes from Wonderful World of Animation projection show.

There is much to be excited for the upcoming year because there are many new things coming to Hollywood Studios. A new table service restaurant will be opening in Toy Story Land called “Roundup Rodeo BBQ” where you will be surrounded with toys, games and play sets. Also coming to Toy Story Land will be a new pop up merchandise location at the end of “Toy Story Mania!” that will celebrate the June debut of Toy Story 4 and will include a variety of products from the film. Opening August 29th will be “Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge” which is a 14 acre immersive land that will allow guests to live out their own Star Wars adventure. One more exciting opening to come will be “Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway” which opens in Spring of 2020. This ride will be the first ride through attraction in Disney Parks history to feature Mickey & Minnie.

There is so much to enjoy at the Disney Parks this year. Contact me for a free, no obligation quote for Walt Disney World Resorts and Parks.