I’m a huge fan of Disney Animation’s blockbuster hit “Frozen” and especially the ice queen, Elsa. However, we disagree on this: the cold does bother me. Anyway, with average temperatures of 78 degrees in Hawai‘i, Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, is the perfect place to thaw out this spring. While vacationing in a tropical paradise, be sure to explore the 112 miles of shoreline along O‘ahu. This beautiful island features world-class shopping, dining, sightseeing and cultural activities. One of my favorite days during my first trip to Aulani was driving along the North Shore and then hiking to the spectacular Waimea Falls! Learn more about the amazing O’ahu adventures you can do with your family while vacation at Aulani here.
And to ensure you have plenty of time to explore everything O‘ahu has to offer, the longer you stay in paradise on most nights from April 6 through June 15, 2015, the more you and your ‘ohana will save!
Save 10% on 3 consecutive nights
Save 20% on 4 consecutive nights
Save 30% on 5 or more consecutive nights
What are you most excited to do on your next Hawaiian vacation?
That’s exactly what you can do on an Ultimate VIP Tour. Imagine experiencing cherished attractions at three theme parks with fast-tracked access, private transportation and a Table-Service lunch in one of the parks, all in one day — accompanied by a cast member with detailed knowledge of Disney lore.
Entering via the FastPass+ lines made for minimal waiting. Tracy was also in constant contact with Brian, our coordinator, who stayed ahead to ensure everything went smoothly. Patient, personable and well versed in all things Disney, Tracy shared trivia, helpful hints and background information along the way, like giving Toy Story Midway Mania! point-scoring tips and pointing out a hidden Mickey in the flamingo pool on Kilimanjaro Safaris. What a fascinating window into the magic.
In all, we enjoyed 11 attractions in three parks — with plenty of sunshine left at the end to go exploring on our own — accomplishing a lot but never feeling rushed. A steady pace kept us on schedule. It’s a unique, specialized way to splurge on yourself and loved ones, especially if you’re pressed for time.
And though designed with mild thrills for families with children under 10 years old, don’t let the name fool you. The Ultimate Day for Young Families is not just for the little ones. In fact, Tracy said adults frequently enjoy the tour sans kids. In other words, everyone’s the right age. Because fun never goes out of style.
This unforgettable guided adventure (that feels intimate since there is one Tour Guide per every 10 people) through some of your kids’ (and your) favorites while spending less time in line is worth the memories. Heck, maybe you’ll discover something new in the process. I did. Okay, I admit it: Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin was a first for me. What a blast (pun intended)! No wonder it’s so popular.
The tour is offered Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays and lasts six to seven hours. Attractions and entertainment offerings subject to change. The cost is $299 per person, plus tax (theme park admission not included). Call 407-WDW-TOUR (939-8687) for reservations. You can also access the online VIP Tour Services brochure here for more info
It’s a new year – do you have a Disney Parks vacation on your bucket list for 2015?
Whether it’s new dining experiences, sports milestones, holiday celebrations or the return of annual theme park festivals, there’s a lot to look forward to at Walt Disney World Resort in 2015. Here are 15 reasons you should consider planning a trip this year.
2. Exposition Park Food Trucks – While we’re on the topic of food, 2015 will give you time to check out the recently opened food trucks at Downtown Disney. This dedicated outdoor area also has live entertainment at night (subject to change, of course).
4. Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto – This nightspot is based on the popular themed lounge at the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim, and is set to open here in spring. Trader Sam’s will offer tiki cocktails served in souvenir mugs, as well as smaller food offerings. Keep your eye on the Disney Parks Blog for more on this fun new location.
5. Walt Disney World Pro Soccer Classic – Soccer fans can get their kicks at the Walt Disney World Pro Soccer Classic February 1-March 1 at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. In it, eight pro teams, including six Major League Soccer squads, will compete in 16 games.
7. Starbucks to Open at Disney’s Hollywood Studios – A new Starbucks location will open at the park in February, 2015. The new location, dubbed The Trolley Car Café, will be themed to a classic trolley car along Hollywood Boulevard and offer a unique experience for coffee lovers visiting the park.
8. The Atlanta Braves Return For Spring Training – The Braves will return to the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex for their 18th consecutive year of spring training. Tickets will be available through Ticketmaster by calling (800) 745-3000 or visiting ticketmaster.com, as well as at the sports complex box office.
10. Star Wars Weekends Returns – This annual event will return to delight fans of the Force and the Empire May 15 – June 14 at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
11. “Tomorrowland” Debuts In Theaters May 22 – While it isn’t a theme park offering, how could any Disney Parks fan possibly miss out on seeing this one? AMC Downtown Disney 24 at Downtown Disney may be the perfect location. The trailer looks amazing!
13. New Eats at Downtown Disney – The area continues to evolve into Disney Springs, and in 2015, The Landing, the first of four interconnected neighborhoods will open to guests. Keep your eye on the Disney Parks Blog for more dates and details on the openings of Morimoto Asia, THE BOATHOUSE and STK Orlando, three restaurants planned for the area, as they come available.
14. Another Year of #DisneySide Fun - Guests loved showing their Disney Side – that side each one of us has that isn’t afraid to have fun and show our silly sides – at our parks in 2014. This year we’ll continue the fun by encouraging all of you to show your Disney Side at our parks (and at home) throughout 2015.
15. Your Family Vacation – If this is the year for your family’s vacation to the Walt Disney World Resort, then there’s nothing to look forward to more than your family’s special time together. If you visit our parks in 2015, we hope you have a wonderful time.
Which event or new offering are you looking forward to most? Let us know in the “comments” section below.
Disney Parks Blog readers know that everyone has a Disney Side – that side of you that comes out to play the moment you step through the gates at any of our parks. Well, this month, we’re “flipping” it and exploring how your favorite Disney characters show their Disney Side in fun and unexpected ways.
It’s already begun. From now until January 31, visit DisneyFlipSide.com to check-out videos and photos from Sam, the Disney Parks Insider, as he goes behind the scenes with all-Parks access, an arsenal of cameras and crafty disguises to show you never-before-seen Disney Sides of some of your favorite Disney Park personalities. While visiting, be sure to enter the Disney “Flip” Side Sweepstakes. There is a new winner selected everyday in January. That’s 31 winners who will receive a 5-day/4-night dream vacation at Walt Disney World Resort for four that includes:
5-Day Magic Your Way Tickets with Park Hopper and Water Parks Fun & More Options
$500 Disney Gift Card
Personalized “Disney Side” Welcome Basket
Glass Slipper Gift inspired by the new live-action film “Cinderella,” in theaters March 13
Round-trip coach airfare (If the winner resides more than 250 miles from the Walt Disney World Resort)
Visit DisneyFlipsSide.com and enter everyday for a chance to win. It’s Disney Side fun, flipped around just for you.
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Void where prohibited. Open only to individuals, who are, as of Entry, legal residents of, and physically located within, the 50 U.S., D.C., Puerto Rico or Canada (excluding Quebec) and who are not minors. Sweepstakes starts 12:01 AM (PT) on 1/1/15 and ends 11:59 PM (PT) on 1/31/15. The Sweepstakes is made up of 31 daily sweepstakes each beginning at 12:01 AM (PT) and ending at 11:59 PM (PT) each day. Limit one (1) Entry per daily sweepstakes. Click here for full Official Rules.
Will you visit the Walt Disney World Resort this week? A lot of families will head to our parks to ring in the new year, so we thought we’d share some tips on how to make the most of your trip during this busy time.
Traveling Around The Walt Disney World Resort
Using on-property resort buses, boats or Monorails can help you avoid traffic and arrive at parks sooner. Busses begin departing from Disney resort hotels 45 minutes prior to the park opening and run two hours after park closing.
If driving a personal car, please plan for additional travel time.
Magic Kingdom Park will offer an Extra Magic Hour from 7-8 a.m., daily, from Dec. 28-Jan. 1, 2015. Visiting the park early will help you get a headstart on your day.
New Year’s fireworks spectaculars will be displayed at Magic Kingdom Park on both December 30 and 31. (Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios will join the celebration with displays on December 31 only).
Walt Disney World Dining
Use the My Disney Experience app, visit Guest Relations or call 407-WDW-CNCL to modify dining reservations.
Consider choosing a dining time prior to 6 p.m. or after 8 p.m. to avoid the dinner rush.
We’ll be adding new numbers in the future, so make sure to follow our Pinterest account to collect them all. Once you’ve created your own countdown calendar, show us how you customized it by sharing on Instagram with #DaysTillDisney!
1. More time to play
All Disneyland Resort hotel guests enjoy admission to select attractions, stores, entertainment and dining locations in Disneyland or Disney California Adventure parks for one full hour before the parks open to the general public on select days!
2. A warm welcome
Everyone knows that a stay in a Disneyland Resort hotel begins with a warm “Welcome!” from the cast members at the front desk. At Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa, more than 50 of these cast members have learned to say “welcome” in 10 different languages to make all guests feel at home.
“Guests visit the Disneyland Resort Hotels from all over the world,” says Guest Services Manager Brian Elling. “When a cast member says ‘welcome’ in a guest’s own language, it creates an instant connection with the guest and puts them at ease.”
3. Surf’s Up!
Did you know that the PCH Grill at Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel is the only dining location at the Disneyland Resort where you can enjoy a meal with Mickey Mouse? The Surf’s Up! Mickey and Friends Breakfast is an all-you-care-to-eat breakfast experience, and seeing Mickey Mouse himself dressed in his beachy best is a perfect way to start surfing your way through a fantastic day at the Disneyland Resort.
“You definitely get to have a full experience with our characters during the breakfast,” says PCH Grill Area Manager Stacey Edwards. “Every guest gets to see Mickey in our photo location when they come in, and while they’re eating, guests can even get up and dance with the characters!”
4. Closer to the magic
Staying at a Disneyland Resort hotel puts you just steps away from all there is to do at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure parks and the Downtown Disney District. Plus, you’re surrounded by all the special Disney details that make the Disneyland Resort such a magical place to be – you never have to leave the Happiest Place on Earth until it’s time to go home!
Thirsty travelers over 21 years of age can order a Shipwreck on the Rocks or Krakatoa Punch at this tropical oasis at the Disneyland Hotel. But be careful, because the tiki gods might just create a fearsome lightning storm (complete with thunder and a sinking ship in a bottle) or cause a volcano eruption.
“We’re ex-skipper captains from the Jungle Cruise,” explains Bartender Roy Hanzal. “We kept wrecking the boats, so Trader Sam sent us over here to serve drinks to the guests instead.”
6. Kids have a getaway of their own
Pinocchio’s Workshop offers supervised play and themed activities each evening for children (ages 5 – 12) of hotel guests, providing parents an opportunity to have their own adventures. This fun-filled child activity center is located at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa but is open to guests staying at any of the three hotels of the Disneyland Resort.
7. A ‘Signature’ experience
While every guest room at a Disneyland Resort hotel includes special Disney touches, the six themed Signature Suites at the Disneyland Hotel fully immerse guests in the magic of Disneyland. From the replica of Davy Jones’ Dead Man’s Chest in the Pirates of the Caribbean Suite to a twinkling Tinker Bell turning on the lights of the Sleeping Beauty Castle model in the Fairy Tale Suite, it would take much longer than one night to see all the details in these extraordinary suites.
8. Something special for fitness fanatics
While a walk in Disneyland and Disney California Adventure parks is a great way to stay in shape during a vacation, a power walk before a park opens to the public is a special treat. The early-morning Get Up and Go Power Walk through Disney California Adventure Park and Fitness Fusion class at the outdoor fireplace at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa are open to guests at all three hotels.
9. See more with a tour
The Happiest Hotel on Earth tour at the Disneyland Hotel teaches guests about the history and heritage of the hotel, while the Art of the Craft tour at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa shows the influence of the Arts and Crafts Movement on the hotel. These tours are complimentary and available on select days to all guests, including those not staying at a Disneyland Resort hotel, though reservations are encouraged.
10. Time for a bedtime story
Everyone loves a good story — and there’s nothing quite like having your own personal storyteller at bedtime. Guests cuddle up with blankets and gather in the rocking chairs around the stone fireplace in the lobby of Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa to hear Tales from the Hearth. It’s a great way for the whole family to wind down after a day at the parks. But if you miss it, no fear: just turn to the designated channel on your TV at any of the three Disneyland Resort hotels to hear Disney’s Princess Story Time. What better way to have sweet dreams?
Special thanks to my fellow cast member, Madeline Des Jardins, for providing these great tips!
What better way to begin a new year than with a visit to the Disneyland Resort? If you’re planning a vacation to the Happiest Place on Earth between January and March, I’ve got some great offers to share with you!
First, you can save up to 25 percent on premium rooms at Disneyland Resort hotels on select nights, Sunday through Thursday, for travel from January 4 – February 12, 2015.
If your travel plans fall later in the winter, you can save up to 20 percent on premium rooms at Disneyland Resort hotels on select nights, Sunday through Thursday, for travel from February 13 – March 26, 2015.
To take advantage of these savings, be sure to book today through February 12, 2015. You can make reservations online here.
*Savings based on the non-discounted price for the same room at the same hotel for select Sunday through Thursday nights between 1/04/15 – 03/26/15. Book from 10/29/15 through 02/12/15, with travel completed by 03/27/15. 25% savings available on Premium, Deluxe and Woods/Garden/Courtyard rooms; select Concierge rooms; and Paradise, Artisan and Regal suites for travel between 01/04/15 to 2/12/15 and 20% savings available on Premium, Deluxe and Woods/Garden/Courtyard rooms; select Concierge rooms; and Paradise, Artisan and Regal suites for travel between 02/13/15 to 3/26/15. Ask about savings in other room types. Not valid on previously booked rooms. Advance reservations required. Subject to availability as the number of rooms allocated for this offer is limited. Excludes applicable fees and taxes. Limit two (2) rooms per reservation and five (5) people maximum per room. Not valid in combination with any other hotel discounts or offers. Subject to restrictions and change without notice. Separate Theme Park admission required to enjoy the Parks.
Winter is just around the corner and what better way to escape the cold weather than with a tropical vacation to Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, in Ko Olina, Hawai`i? If that is not tempting enough, the longer you stay and enjoy snorkeling at Rainbow Reef or relaxing at the infinity pool in Ka Maka Landing this winter, the more you’ll save! Take a look at the video below and you’ll see why Aulani has become a favorite destination for families around the world.
Starting today, book a 4-night stay at Aulani and enjoy the 4th night free with a complimentary breakfast at the Ulu Cafe! Click here to learn more. Or if you’re thinking your keiki will need more time at Aunty’s Beach House, our signature complimentary kids club, or you’ll need an extra day at Laniwai Spa, enjoy 30% off a 5-night or more stay – plus complimentary breakfast at Ulu Cafe. Click here to learn more.
You can book either of these special offers October 9, 2014, through February 23, 2015, for most nights January 4, 2015, through March 23, 2015. Visit www.DisneyAulani.com or call 866-443-4763 for more information.
*Stay 4 nights and get the fourth night free with daily breakfast offer for stays of four consecutive nights. Save 30% with daily breakfast offer for stays of five or more consecutive nights. All stays must be booked between 10/9/14 and 2/23/15 inclusive, with all nights between 1/4/15 and 3/23/15. 30% savings based on the non-discounted price of the same room. Number of rooms allocated for this offer is limited, and room availability may vary by dates of stay. Package includes daily breakfast for all Guests booked per room per night of your package stay. Breakfast is only redeemable at Ulu Cafe during normal breakfast operating hours, and includes one entree and one coffee or fresh rotating juice. Breakfast entitlements may not be redeemed for cash in whole or in part, sold separately, transferred or refunded and will expire at midnight on package departure date. Excludes Resort fees and taxes. Not valid in combination with any other discounts or offers. Offers exclude suites and 3-bedroom Grand Villas. Additional per-adult charges may apply if more than two adults per room. Limit two rooms per reservation and subject to room occupancy limitations. Advance reservations required. Subject to additional restrictions and changes without notice.