Travel

Disney World Resumes 2020 Ticket Sales TODAY!

Cars section at Art of Animation Resort

It’s an exciting morning in our household because Disney World has resumed both ticket sales and Disney Resort bookings for 2020! Earlier this year, Disney put a temporary hold on ticket sales and resort bookings while they implemented their new Disney Park Pass System, which requires guests to have both a park reservation as well as a valid ticket to enter the theme parks. When Disney released the bookings for 2021, they did not reopen bookings for 2020 so that they could give guests with existing reservations time to book their theme park reservations. This morning, I am happy to say, we can start booking for 2020 vacations again!

I was already on the site this morning and was able to choose between value resorts, Pop Century and Art of Animation. There were several moderate resorts showing availability such as Coronado Springs and Caribbean Beach Resort as well as deluxe resorts such as Animal Kingdom, Contemporary, Riviera Resort and more! This is great news because that means no matter which level of resort you prefer (value, moderate or deluxe), there is availability for 2020.

If you are booking your own Walt Disney World Resort vacation, be aware that they are expecting high volumes online so you may be directed to a virtual waiting room to help manage the volumes. Once you book your vacation, or purchase tickets, don’t forget to log into the Disney Park Pass System found in your My Disney Experience account to reserve your days in the parks.

I also highly recommend that you check out the “Know Before You Go” page on DisneyWord.com to find information and tips related to the new safety guidelines. Even though experiences may be different now then in the past,there is still so much to see and do at Walt Disney World this year!

If you would like help booking a future Walt Disney World Resort vacation, I am an authorized Disney Vacation Planner and would be happy to assist you! With so many changes surrounding travel at this time, I’m here to help guests navigate the changes as related to the Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland as well as book their vacation packages, I sit on hold or in virtual waiting rooms so you don’t have to. Send me a message if you would like a free,no obligation quote for a vacation package.

Have a magical day!

Travel

Walt Disney World opens up 2021 reservations!

This morning, June 24th, the Walt Disney World Resort officially opens up their booking system for 2021 reservations through September 26, 2021! While June is typically the month that we can begin booking resort packages for the following calendar year, this year seems even more special since it’s been so long that any of us could enjoy the magic of Walt Disney World. There is so much to look forward to over the coming year, but there are also changes to how we enjoy the parks and resorts with added safety features in place as well as how we plan and navigate the property.

In 2021 we will see a lot of changes to how we experience the parks and resorts. When we start booking for 2021 today, there will be no park hopper passes or dining plans to be offered. This is still partly due to the response from Disney for the handling of safety measures for COVID-19 and the new Park Reservation System. When guests are booking their 2021 vacation packages, they will need to log into their My Disney Experience account and link their reservation so that they can go in and select their park reservations. While it may be difficult to know which park you want to attend a year from now it is extremely important to do this immediately so you can be sure to have a reservation, the good news is that those park reservations can be modified at any time, based on availability. Disney is expecting to bring back park hoppers and dining plans at some point in the future when they can safely accommodate them, until then we need to make plans without them. Disney will also be proving a “Know before you go” link with up to date information for guests before they travel.

We will also see an upgrade in the My Disney Experience app which will move some of the functions of the Magic Band into the app! With the upgrade, guests will be able to by pass the front desk at check in with the online check in process, unlock their resort room (at Disney resorts), chat with a guest services cast member, check in for dining reservations and order food online at select dining locations, scan their park tickets and check out from their resort without stopping at the front desk. With this upgrade, Disney has announced that they will not be providing complimentary Magic Bands for guests with check in dates January 1, 2021 and later. Now, if you are like me, you may have several Magic Bands and might be wondering what to do with them! The good news is, Magic Bands will still be available for purchase and any Magic Bands that you have linked to your My Disney Experience account will still work, they just are not sending out complimentary ones in 2021. For guests that don’t have a Magic Band and don’t want to purchase them or guests not wanting to use their smartphones for everything, Disney will be providing a free Key to the Kingdom card which will act as your park ticket and room key.

October 2021 marks the 50th Anniversary of Magic Kingdom and while details have not been released at this time, we are all excited to hear what Disney has in store for this celebration! Currently we are not able to book past September 26, 2021 so packages are not available yet for this celebration, but they will go fast once they open for booking so it’s going to be important to watch for announcements.

Travel over the next year will look different than it has in the past with mandatory face coverings, social distancing, recommended cashless transactions by using credit cards, gift cards etc as well as how we book and navigate the Walt Disney World Resort. It is important to stay up to date on all of the guidelines and changes happening with the Walt Disney World Resort for your upcoming stay. Now, let’s start planning and RETURN TO THE MAGIC!

Be sure to follow my blog for continued updates and send me a message if you would like help booking your next Walt Disney World Resort vacation!

Travel

Returning to the Magic!

Whew! It’s been a whirlwind of updates regarding Disney travel over the last 24 hours, I’m going to do my best to cover as much as I can at this point. All of my information comes from Disney and I alway wait to hear confirmation before posting so that there are no rumors. I’ll start with the newest news to break (in the last few hours) which is, the CDC is recommending cruises sailing from the US through September 15, 2020 be suspended. Disney Cruise Line has agreed to uphold this decision from the CDC and while Disney is still working on their official update on how we (as travel planners) need to proceed to help our guests, they have not yet released how refunds or rebookings will be handled. We should hear something over the next few days and I’ll update everyone at that time. Disney Cruise Line had previously suspended cruises departing from Canada until September 14, 2020 and Europe until October 2, 2020.

Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, MNSSHP for us Disney fanatics, has been officially cancelled for 2020. This is an incredible and fun event that Disney puts on at Magic Kingdom and I personally have several disappointed travelers that were looking forward to attending this year. Disney’s main priority during this time is safety for their guests and cast members and unfortunately MNSSHP was not able to move forward for this year. Guests who had already purchased tickets through Disney for this 2020 event will be refunded by Disney.

As an authorized Disney Vacation Planner, the biggest question I have gotten lately is when can we change or book reservations for end of 2020 and 2021 at Walt Disney World? Well the good news is that we can start this all very soon! Next week will be a big week for bookings as well as seeing a lot of changes to the current way guests experience Disney. When the Walt Disney World Resort reopens in July, guests will not only need to have a park ticket but also a park reservation to enter a theme park. This is due to the limited park capacity that Disney will have in place at the theme parks, the capacity will be managed with the reservation system located in your My Disney Experience account. Any guest that currently has a resort and ticket reservation for 2020 (from July – Dec 2020) will be able to book their park reservations on Monday June 22, 2020. On Wednesday, June 24th, packages for January 2021 – September 26, 2021 will be available for booking! Then on Friday June 26th, Disney Annual Passholders can book their park reservations as well.

While there will be changes for the safety of guests and cast members, this still is very exciting news! Things may look and feel different when Disney Parks and Disney Cruise Line reopen, but we can be sure that the MAGIC will still be there. I can’t wait for my guests to start arriving and for my family to start planning our next visit. I will be sharing more about the park reservation system and process, as well as other information, in the upcoming days so be sure to follow my blog for more details.

Travel

Walt Disney World Announces Reopening Dates!

Walt Disney World Reopening July 2020

Get ready to head back to the magic! In a meeting this morning with the Orange County Economic Task Force, Walt Disney World announced their planned reopen dates as well as safety measures they are putting in place to keep guests and cast members safe. The Walt Disney World Resort will do a phased reopening with Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom theme parks opening on Saturday July 10, 2020 and then Epcot and Hollywood Studios opening on Wednesday July 15, 2020. Prior to these opening dates, Disney will welcome cast members into the parks to allow the parks to launch, learn and adjust their procedures as needed so that guests can have the best possible experience when returning to Walt Disney World.

When guests return to the Walt Disney World Resort on July 11th and 15th, there are a several things that they should expect such as masks being required (they will be provided if a guest does not have one), social distancing throughout the parks, restaurants, shops as well as reduced capacity and temperature screenings. In addition, Disney is expanding their mobile ordering opportunities for restaurants, encouraging cashless transactions with Magic Bands, Apple Pay and Google Pay options and Disney gift cards. We will see enhanced cleaning and sanitation throughout Walt Disney World especially in high touch areas.

In order to reduce gathering of large groups, Disney will be suspending parades, fireworks, character meet and greets as well as closing play areas and water effects. While the suspending of parades, fireworks and character meet and greets will be difficult for many guests, me included, this is the safest way that Disney could implement social distancing in high volume gathering areas. We will also see reduced capacity throughout the parks and prior ticket purchase requirements. More specific details should be released as we get closer to reopening.

Disney also debuted their new “Social Distancing Squad” with the opening of Disney Springs last week and you will see them throughout the Walt Disney World property. These cast members will be helping guests with the new requirements. Signs will also be found throughout as soon as you enter Walt Disney World Resort property notifying guests of the requirements and keeping them informed.

With the rules being released, how do you feel about going back to the theme parks?

Contact me if you would like help planning your next Walt Disney World vacation as we Return to the Magic! I’m also on Facebook and Instagram so be sure to follow me there for the latest park and resort news.

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Travel

Shanghai Disney Reopening Today!

Shanghai Disney reopens today, May 11th, with additional procedures in place to help keep guests and cast members safe. During this initial opening phase, Shanghai Disney is limiting attendance with requiring advanced ticket and reservations, allowing for social distancing in queues and increasing the frequency of sanitization with additional disinfection practices.

As the park opens today, guests will see that while the majority of attractions and rides, along with some shows, shopping and dining are open with limited attendance, that other areas will remain closed. Many of the interactive areas such as play areas and theater shows will remain closed at this time. Disney characters will appear throughout the park, making appearances in the various lands however close interaction and close-up photos with the characters will not be taking place at this time. Parades and nighttime spectaculars will not be returning initially also. Guests will be able to see a special character procession, Mickey and Friends Express, several times during the day. In addition to that, the Enchanted Storybook Castle will come to life with a light and music show at dusk in Evening Magical Moments.  

Here are the guidelines from the Shanghai Disney press release outlining what Shanghai Disney guests should expect during this opening phase:

  1. All tickets must be purchased in advance. There will not be any on-site ticket sales. Annual Pass holders will need to make a reservation for their visit prior also.
  2. Guests will be expected to provide basic information including name, phone number, ID type and ID number via Shanghai Disney Resort’s official online channels after purchasing a ticket and prior to arriving at the resort.
  3. Guests will register for a Health QR Code prior to their arrival, which will be required to be presented upon entering any location at Shanghai Disney Resort. Only guests with a green Health QR Code will be allowed to enter the resort.
  4. Guests should be prepared to present a China government ID card, or valid travel document, for each guest at the park turnstiles (photos or printed copies will not be accepted).
  5. Guests will undergo temperature screening procedures upon arrival.
  6. Guests will be required to wear an approved mask during the entire visit to the resort except when dining.

While we are anxiously waiting for a reopening date for the Disney parks here in the US, what do you think of the guidelines for the opening? Are these something that you would be comfortable following if Disney utilizes this at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida or Disneyland in California? Let me know your thoughts.

Even with the parks being closed here in the US, we are still booking for Fall & Winter 2020 and now is the perfect time to lock in your vacation dates for 2021. There are so many cool things happening at Walt Disney World in 2021 that you will not want to miss it. Contact me today for a free, no obligation quote for a Walt Disney World or Disneyland vacation! Don’t forget to follow me on Facebook and Instagram to stay up to date on the latest news for Disney, Universal Orlando and more!

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Travel

What does a travel planner do when no one can travel?

As we all know, the world is in the middle of a pandemic which is shutting down schools, businesses, travel and in some instances cities. The travel industry has been largely impacted and we have seen unprecedented closures like Disney Parks and Universal Parks, cruise lines docked and resorts closing their doors. All of these closures are not just a disappointment for families counting down to their vacations but also are costing families additional time to rebook or cancel and extra money in some cases as well as putting a lot of stress and pressure on customer service reps for the businesses trying to help accommodate guests as best as possible while still worrying and caring for their own families. So how can booking through a travel planner help in times like this? Let me share with you what I, as well as other travel planners, have been doing since rumors of closures and quarantines started (before actual closures began).

Since talk of the coronavirus began, I started watching the official announcements from all of the vendors where I book clients vacations. It’s been important to watch for official updates and not stress about the rumors, my social media feeds are still full of them and they drive me crazy because they unnecessarily cause more stress and frustration to the public. I receive official updates from Disney Travel, Universal and SeaWorld which are where all of my currently booked guests are headed. I also receive updates from my affiliated agency, Academy Travel, who has direct points of contact at each of these places and can get updates directly from them as well.

Disney Parks rarely, if ever, close for an extended period of time so news of Disneyland and then Disney World closing for several weeks was major news! Unfortunately I do have guests that were only a few days from traveling and then received the news that their vacation needed to be rebooked, I have many guests anxiously waiting to hear if they will need to rebook their upcoming vacations. The first few days after the announcement, the wait time to reach a Disney agent to rebook or cancel was over 3.5 hours and that was IF you could even get through or if the call didn’t drop after waiting an hour or so. Since my guests booked with me, they didn’t have to wait on hold for over 3 hours or keep trying to get through. All they had to do was let me know what they wanted to do and I did the rest. Please know, that once I was able to get through to Guest Relations and Customer Service cast members, they were still very helpful and I appreciate all of their hard work during this time also!

Since many people are not planning their next vacation with everything going on right now, I’m taking advantage of this time to do additional training, become certified for other cruise lines and resorts and working on additional items that will be helpful to my travel clients. I’m taking virtual tours of places I haven’t traveled to yet and finding new places to recommend to my clients. I’m also staying up to date on new announcements with the companies I work with currently on changes or offers for future travel.

I am thankful to get to do what I love as a way to not only help support my family, but to help others plan a vacation that will be meaningful to them. Even though these are difficult times, this will pass and we will be back to traveling (hopefully soon). If you haven’t booked with a travel planner in the past I encourage you to look into it, we are here to help take the work off of our guests so they can relax and enjoy! Please check out my FaceBook and Instagram pages for more information about my travel services, and please know that there are no hidden or extra fees for my services. Stay safe everyone!

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Travel

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, Virtual Queue Boarding Pass System

With the opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disney’s Hollywood Studio’s we also were introduced to the Virtual Queue Boarding Pass system. This was used most recently in Disneyland for the initial opening of Galaxy’s Edge, here is a look into how it works.

The boarding passes will only be available as the park starts to fill up so you will want to check your My Disney Experience App after entering Hollywood Studios and while headed towards Galaxy’s Edge.

If there is still room available for guests to enter the land, your app will look like this:

Your MDE App will note that the land is OPEN and that Boarding Groups are not required.

If Boarding Groups are required, the “Join Boarding Group” button turns red and you simply click it to join a Boarding Group for your party. The App will tell you which Boarding Group is currently “boarding”, so make sure you have downloaded the most recent version of the My Disney Experience App and have turned on your Push Notifications.

While you are waiting for your turn to enter, you can enjoy the rest of Hollywood Studios.  

Just a reminder, you will need reservations for Savi’s Workshop to build a lightsaber, Droid Depot to build a droid or for Oga’s Cantina. If you have a reservation for one of these locations, you SHOULD be able to enter Galaxy’s Edge at least 15 minutes before your reservation time, a Cast Member should be able to answer any questions regarding that while you are there.

There is so much to see and experience at Walt Disney World and even more new and exciting things to come. Contact me today for your FREE, NO OBLIGATION quote for your next Walt Disney World vacation!http://www.facebook.com/kristieryan.travel

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

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

Disney Skyliner Takes Flight on September 29, 2019!

On Sunday, September 29th the Disney Skyliner gondolas will take flight and begin transporting guests around the Walt Disney World Resort. Disney Skyliner connects Epcot and Hollywood Studios to 4 resorts, Art of Animation, Pop Century, Caribbean Beach and the new Riviera Resort. Travel the sky and see some amazing views in cabins decorated with some of your favorite characters and themes such as Mickey, Minnie Mouse, Pluto, Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean, Monsters Inc, Coco and more!

It’s always a great time to book a Walt Disney World Vacation, contact me for a free, no obligation quote!

Video courtesy of Disney Park Blog