Wednesday, June 19, 2019

5 great reasons to visit Walt Disney World this year

Hey guys! There are a million great reasons why I think you should visit Walt Disney World at any given time, but there are some really exciting things springing up lately! From new attractions and lands, to new restaurants and stores at Disney Springs, there is always something new popping up here! In the recent years, I’ve had the pleasure of being able to visit twice a year, and every time I’ve gone, I’ve found something new! Walt Disney himself never wanted Walt Disney World to be complete, and his vision is truly taken to heart! Let’s visit some of the most exciting new additions to hit Walt Disney World in 2019!

1) You need to check out Toy Story Land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios
I am OBSESSED with Toy Story Land. It is perfect. It’s so visually pleasing to the eye- I love the bright colors and interesting shapes everywhere you look. My family enjoyed breakfast at Woody’s Lunchbox back in February, and it was easy and delicious. And the three attractions in Toy Story Land are all standout attractions- Toy Story Midway Mania, which first opened back in 2008, remains a family favorite, and the new attractions Alien Swirling Saucers and Slinky Dog Dash are amazing as well! Toy Story Land was a highly anticipated land for my family, and it has 100% not disappointed!

(Having fun at Toy Story Land at Disney's Hollywood Studios)
(My son and our friend's daughter outside of the ride exit for Toy Story Mania)
(In line for Toy Story Mania, one of our family's favorite rides at Walt Disney World!)



2) Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge
You’d have to live under a rock not to have heard about the new Star Wars-themed lands opening this year at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World. The agency owner at the Travel Agency I work for was invited by Disney to the preview of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disneyland, and from what she has shared with us, it’s astounding! You can not only pilot the Millennium Falcon in Smugglers Run, but you can enjoy a concoction and listen to music at Oga’s Cantina, and even build your very own lightsaber, which I believe is going to be VERY popular (my son and husband would already be waiting in line for this experience if they could!). Galaxy’s Edge opens August 29 at Walt Disney World!

(Concept art for Galaxy's Edge)



3) Disney Springs is introducing new shopping and dining experiences all the time
Disney Springs has gone through a MASSIVE redesign, and it just keeps getting better and better! The past two trips to Walt Disney World that I’ve been on, I have spent a better part of the day here, and honestly, I could have spent even more time! Some of my favorite new stores include Lilly Pullitzer and Vera Bradley, along with my old favorites Under Armour and The World’s Largest Disney Store, which also just received a remodel! Some of our family favorite restaurants are here as well, including Morimoto Asia (my husband loves the Wagyu Beef!), Earl of Sandwich (our favorite sandwich restaurant EVER!), and Chicken Guy!, which was created by Guy Fieri himself! The two Port Orleans Resorts, Saratoga Springs, and Old Key West are great resorts to stay at if you plan on frequenting Disney Springs, as all four of these resorts feature fun water taxi transportation over to Disney Springs daily!

(Enjoying lunch with my mom and aunt at Chicken Guy! in April)
(My son LOVES checking out the merch at World of Disney!)
(Trying on a fun hat at World of Disney)


4) Skyliner Transportation system
I am really looking forward to this one, I think because it makes me so nostalgic for the old Skyway at the Magic Kingdom (this used to be an attraction back when the park opened that would take you to Tomorrowland from Fantasyland, or vice versa). The Disney Skyliner Transportation system will run from Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios to the following resorts: Pop Century, Art of Animation, Caribbean Beach, and Riviera (which has yet to open). My family loves checking out other resorts, and so having 4 resorts within easy access of one another is going to be amazing!!

(Skyliner concept art)



5) Two words: Family vacation
I will do whatever I have to do to be able to take a family vacation. I will eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for a month straight to be able to save enough. You can NEVER go wrong with spending this precious time with your family- as my husband and I always say, tomorrow is never guaranteed. Making memories with family is my number one goal in life, and Walt Disney World is the perfect place to visit to make a million memories that will last for a lifetime.

Family time at Disney's Hollywood Studios
(Family dinner at 1900 Park Fare at the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa)
(My family LOVES our Walt Disney World vacations!)


Thank you so much for checking out my blog- feel free to email me at dana_w@wishingonastartravel.com with any Disney-related inquiries! Happy Travels!




Thursday, May 16, 2019

5 Walt Disney World Bucket List Activities

Hello, and Happy Spring!

It has been the absolute LONGEST winter in the history of winters here in Central Indiana! I’m optimistic that we’ll FINALLY be seeing some warm weather that’s here to stay!

So this month I’d like to discuss a few ‘Bucket List’ items that might be fun for your families, and may or may not impact when your family will travel to Walt Disney World! Let’s get started!


1) A Disney Fine Art Photography photo session




My family and I first did one of these sessions back in November 2017, and we enjoyed it so much! The only problem is, our youngest son was not born yet, and so we have no professional family photos at Disney that include him! Our solution was to do another session this fall- we have chosen to do the Mini Magic Kingdom Portrait Session this time (our last session was at our favorite resort, Grand Floridian), and we are very excited to have some beautiful family photos with Cinderella Castle as the backdrop!

There are 3 packages for under $500, including the Mini Magic Kingdom Portrait Session. If you would like to read about our experience doing the Mini Portrait Session at the Grand, you may read my previous blog post HERE.


2) A runDisney event




It’s no secret that I LOVE runDisney events- I have competed in three Princess Half Marathon weekends, and one Wine and Dine Half Marathon weekend. These weekends are so well-organized, and there is SO much camaraderie between runners- I just can’t get enough of runDisney! The Runner’s Expos are amazing, the Disney medals are spectacular, and the races themselves are out-of-this world fun! It is VERY difficult for me to run any other race- I always ask myself, ‘where are the characters?’ and ‘where is all of the entertainment along the course?’

You can run any of the 4 Marathon weekend races in January (5k, 10k, Half Marathon, and Marathon), and then the 3 shorter distances in February at the Princess Half Marathon weekend, in April during the Star Wars Half Marathon weekend, and in November at the Wine and Dine Half Marathon weekend.

See my 2016 Disney Princess Half Marathon preparation blog post HERE

And my 2017 Wine and Dine 5k and 10k weekend recap post HERE


3) Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party or Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party




For the first time in 2017, we attended Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. It was beautiful. It brought tears to the eyes of my mom, aunt and I. Even though we attended the party in the first week of November, we felt festive and ready to take on the Holiday Season! I can not recommend this party enough if you will be visiting in November or December!

This fall, we will be checking out Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party for the first time, and I simply cannot WAIT! I plan to make a simple family costume, and my son is already talking about trick-or-treating through the Magic Kingdom.

You can check out my short YouTube video showcasing a few party highlights HERE


4) A Fireworks Dessert Party




Even though we have been looking into these parties for several years, my family has yet to do a Fireworks Dessert Party. We had wanted to do the Ferrytale Dessert and Fireworks Cruise on our short anniversary trip last November, but the Cruise is only offered on select nights, and it did not coincide with our plans. There are fireworks parties at all 3 parks that feature a nightly fireworks show (Magic Kingdom, Epcot, and Hollywood Studios)- some friends of ours just attended the Star Wars Dessert Party at Hollywood Studios last month and had nothing but wonderful things to say about it!

If you are interested in learning more about the parties, feel free to email me at Dana_W@WishingOnAStarTravel.com.

5) Club Level




My family’s latest obsession. My last blog post talked all about Club Level, you can read that post HERE. We have enjoyed Club Level stays at the Grand Floridian as well as the Beach Club Resort, and both stays have been phenomenal. This is not a cheap splurge, but it is just that- a splurge- and if you’ve got something to celebrate while on vacation at Walt Disney World, this is the ULTIMATE way to do it! Amongst other perks, you are given a number to text, and if you think of anything you need while you are out and about- more pillows, for example- you can text the number and consider it done. The amazing cast members, along with the delicious offerings in the Club Lounges (not to mention the complimentary alcohol!), have made Club Level stays something we long for!

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about some fantastic splurges and Bucket List items! Remember- whatever you choose to do on your Walt Disney World vacation is going to be amazing- you simply can’t go wrong when it comes to a Walt Disney World vacation!

If you would like any travel planning help, please remember that I am a Travel Agent specializing in Disney destinations, and my services to you are always complimentary! Have a Magical Day!

Dana_W@WishingOnAStarTravel.com

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Club Level at Disney- Is it worth it?

Wow, it has been a while since I’ve posted here! I created this blog in 2014- nearly 5 years ago!- and for many years, I posted once a month. I just haven’t been able to give my blog the love it deserves lately, as I have become a Travel Agent specializing in Disney destinations, Universal Studios Orlando, and Royal Caribbean Cruise Line, and that has taken up much of my former ‘blogging time’. However, this blog has seen SO MUCH love- at this point in time, I have over 15k page views, which I am astounded at! I cannot promise to post every month, but I really hope to post more frequently than I have been!

(My beautiful family at Epcot on our short November visit)


In 2019, I am blessed to have three upcoming Walt Disney World vacations. Two of those will be spent either partially or fully in Club Level, which my husband and oldest son are especially looking forward to!
Before November of this past year, my family had never paid much attention to Club Level. We didn’t know much about the lounges, or about the extra perks that can be enjoyed when upgrading to this room category. However, in November, we enjoyed two nights in two separate room categories, both of which offered Club Level amenities, and we were hooked. Come with me as I tell you about this AMAZING splurge that we have decided is worth every penny!

(Toasting to 10 years of marriage at the Royal Palm Club Lounge at the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa)

Our first night of our November 2018 trip was spent at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa in a Deluxe King Room in the Main Building with Club Level access. The Grand was our DREAM resort, and we were beyond excited to finally be staying here. This stay did not disappoint. The Club Lounge was spacious and comfortable, the cast members, who we really enjoyed chatting with, were attentive and warm, and we LOVED being able to hear the music from the Grand Floridian orchestra as we sat and enjoyed a nightcap and some delicious dessert before we retreated down the hallway for the night back to our spacious and comfortable room in the Main Building. (Check out a video I made of our stay HERE)

(The GORGEOUS view out of our windows in our Deluxe King Room at the Grand)

The Grand Floridian actually features two Club Lounges, and is one of only two Disney Deluxe resort to do so (the other being Disney's Contemporary Resort with the Atrium Club and the Tower Club)- the Royal Palm Club is the Club Lounge in the Main Building, and Sugar Loaf is the Outer Building featuring Club Level. My family did prefer the Royal Palm Club, but I think at some point, we will probably stay in an Outer Building, and I don’t doubt that we will love Sugar Loaf as well!

(You can catch a glimpse of the Sugar Loaf Club Lounge in my video here)


Besides the Grand Floridian, you may stay Club Level at these Disney Resorts:
Polynesian Village Resort
Contemporary Resort
Wilderness Lodge
Yacht Club Resort
Beach Club Resort
Boardwalk Inn
Animal Kingdom Lodge

We were able to enjoy all of the services offered during our stay, which includes a light breakfast and coffee and tea, late morning/ early afternoon snacks and drinks, hors d’oeuvres plus beer and wine in the early evening, and dessert and cordials later in the evening. An extra benefit of the Grand Floridian Club Level is afternoon tea, where we enjoyed scones and various tarts, plus hot tea.

(Breakfast at the Royal Palm Club)
(Dessert at the Royal Palm Club)
(Another dessert plate at the Royal Palm Club)


We also loved having comfortable robes in our room, as well as slippers monogrammed with the Grand Floridian logo on them. The turndown service, which included delicious Ghirardelli chocolates (the same ones as they give you on Disney Cruise Line if you have ever cruised with them!) made our night extra sweet, and having a DVD player right in our room added a nice touch! We also enjoyed the extra toiletries which are provided to Club Level guests.

(Relaxing in our Deluxe King Room)
(Sweet Disney Dreams!)

Edit: As of April 2019, we have also stayed Club Level at the Beach Club Resort, enjoying the Stone Harbour Club Lounge. I'd like to point out that each club lounge has different foods, as this one had ice cream bars and small cartons that the Grand did not feature, as well as some different non-alcoholic beverages. While we were given robes at the Beach Club, we did not have any slippers in our room, which I admittedly did miss. The toiletries were the same at both resorts and included sunscreen which was a nice touch! We also had personalized guides in our rooms at both resorts, as well as turn-down service with Ghiradelli chocolate on our pillows to ensure we had sweet Disney dreams!

If you have any questions about Club Level, have any ideas for a future blog post, or are interested in booking a Club Level stay (or any Walt Disney World vacation!), feel free to contact me at Dana_w@WishingOnAStarTravel.com. Thank you, and Happy Travels!