Trial Allows Dogs in Rooms at 4 Walt Disney World Hotels

In your news today, Walt Disney World will now allow dogs to stay in 4 select hotels on property.  This trial opportunity is currently available for hotel stays October 15, 2017 to October 15, 2018.  The four hotels included are Art of Animation, Port Orleans Riverside, Yacht Club, and the Cabins at Fort Wilderness.

There is a nightly charge of $50 at the value, moderate and cabin options.  The charge is $75 per night at the deluxe option.  Two dogs per room are permitted.  Rooms will have easy access to green space, which likely means first floor rooms at the hotels.  Rooms with dogs receive Pluto’s Welcome Kit with special items for your furry friends.

Among the requirements for this trial are that dogs must be well behaved, on a lease in public spaces and up to date on vaccinations.  Special door hangers indicating dogs are in the room are required and housekeeping will only occur upon request with the owner of the pets present.

Read below for more information about this four legged friendly trial.

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New 2018 Walt Disney World Discounts

The first offers for 2018 Walt Disney World vacations are now available!  There are two main offers, plus variations on those offers.  See the end of this post for more details.

The best offer is the Play, Stay, Dine offer, which is among the best discounts offered on Walt Disney World packages.  This offer covers January, February, and early March 2018.  This offer applies to packages that include your hotel, tickets, and a dining plan.

The other offer now available is Gift of Magic room discount.  This is a good discount that covers various dates from January through April 2018.

Winter is one of my favorite times to visit Walt Disney World.  The weather can vary a lot, but I love having a sunnier and warmer destination vacation to look forward to when it’s cold and snowy at home!  These discounts cover the 2nd Festival of the Arts in Epcot, plus the beginning of Flower & Garden Festival in Epcot.

If you’re planning a spring break trip to Florida, now is the time to start looking at packages so you can have your pick of more hotel and room options!  Request your free Walt Disney World quote today!

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Hurricane Irma – Summary of Impact

Hurricane Irma kept us in suspense for over a week as we watched her strengthen and slowly move across the Atlantic.  Even in her last throes she surprised us with a move inland and aimed more directly at central Florida than was predicted.

The Walt Disney World resort closed all four parks, two water parks, Disney Springs, and sensitive locations like Fort Wilderness beginning over the weekend.  The airport and parks remained closed Sunday to Monday.  The strongest part of the storm hit overnight and brought landscaping damage, some water and minor building damage.  The four parks reopened, with some rides still temporarily closed, on Tuesday, September 12.  MCO began limited operations on Tuesday, with full operations beginning as airlines and staff return.

rain at riverside

Summer rain storm – not Irma

Going forward, the resort will continue to be cleaned up and gradually reach full, normal operations.  If you have a vacation planned for the near future, you will find most of your visit run as usual.

Airlines will take some time to recover from mass cancellations across Florida.  Check your flight status directly with your airline as you approach your trip so you are aware of any changes before arriving at the airport.

Disney Cruise Line shortened a Dream Bahamian cruise and a Fantasy Caribbean cruise to return to Port Canaveral early on Thursday, September 7.  The ships sheltered in Cozumel during the storm.  Two Bahamian cruises aboard the Dream and 1 Caribbean sailing on the Fantasy were cancelled.

Port Canaveral is steadily preparing to reopen to cruise traffic.  The ships should pick up their regular schedules on September 15 and 16 for the Dream and Fantasy respectively.

Itinerary changes have not been announced, but are expected.  The US Virgin Islands and British Virgin Islands, which are the backbone of an Eastern Caribbean itinerary, were badly hit by Irma’s Category 5 ferocity.  See a satellite view of the destruction from NASA.

We hope you, dear reader, are safe at home.  Our thoughts go out to everyone impacted by Irma as well as Harvey.  Thank you to all the Cast who worked through the storm and kept everyone safe!

What to Expect: 2018 Walt Disney World

Picking the dates of your Walt Disney World vacation is one the first decisions you’ll make.  If you’re not sure when you’d like to travel and would like an easy overview to help you decide, you’re in the right place!  Already selected your trip dates and want a little more insight into that time of the year?  Scroll down to find out more!

(Event dates accurate as of 8/2017. Some events have not released 2018 dates and will be updated as more info becomes available.)


  • Marathon Weekend January 3-7
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Day January 15
  • Pro Bowl in Orlando Jan 28
  • Festival of the Arts in Epcot starting January 12. New for 2018, this occurs all week with special entertainment on the weekends.
  • Crowds higher through the first weekend after New Year’s and around MLK Day
  • Ride and hotel pool refurbishments common.  One water park closed for annual maintenance.
  • Blizzard Beach closed through January 6.  Typhoon Lagoon closes January 7.
  • Weather can vary, be sure to check forecasts and pack accordingly.  Cold weather, 50s and below, can close the only open water park.


  • Mardis Gras February 13
  • President’s Day February 19
  • Princess Half Marathon February 22-25
  • Festival of the Arts in Epcot ends February 19. New for 2018, this occurs all week with special entertainment on the weekends.
  • Crowds higher around Mardis Gras and President’s Day, otherwise a slow month.
  • Ride and hotel pool refurbishments common.  One water park, Typhoon Lagoon, closed for annual maintenance.
  • Weather can vary, be sure to check forecasts and pack accordingly.  Cold weather, 50s and below, can close the only open water park.

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My High and Low of 2017 D23 Expo Announcements

If you haven’t heard, more announcements than I can count on two hands were made at 2017’s D23 Expo.  Many of these have been floating around as rumors for some time, but some took me by complete surprise.  If you need a refresher on the announcements, here is a recap post from the Disney Parks Blog.

Out of all the announcements made, here are the highs and lows I can’t stop thinking about!

Third ship added to Disney Cruise Line expansion
Last year Disney Cruise Line announced two new ships (similar in size to the Dream and Fantasy) that would launch in 2021 and 2023.  DCL has been quiet since the announcement, so a surprise third ship due in 2022 is icing on my I’m-excited-by-the-idea cake.  So little is known about this expansion it’s hard to be excited about specifics.  I remember when the Dream and Fantasy launched in 2011 and 2012 and I’m ecstatic to see more ships expand the line.  I can’t wait to see what destinations and experiences this brings to Disney Cruise Line!

Space restaurant in Epcot
Normally I give a big eye roll to restaurant announcements for Epcot, but the new space themed restaurant near Mission Space has me pumped.  The kid inside me, who wished to go to space camp, who watched Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century more times than you could guess, cannot wait for opening day!  I don’t care what space food they feed me, I’m ready to make my reservation!

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innkeepers club lounge

Boardwalk Innkeepers Club Review

The Innkeepers Club is the concierge level of the Boardwalk Inn.  Club Level at Walt Disney World hotels involves a designated set of rooms, pre-arrival concierge services, on-site concierge desk, and Club Lounge.

The Innkeepers Club is located on the 4th floor of the Boardwalk Inn.  Most of the Club Level rooms are located inside the keyed access door (use your Magic Band to open) next to the Club desk.  A few rooms on floor 4 and 3 are located outside of the controlled access hallway, and all of the Garden rooms are located on the ground level below this. There are Standard Rooms that sleep up to 5 +1 child under 3 and face the Boardwalk or the Gardens/leisure pool. There is a Deluxe Room that sleeps 6 adults +1 child under 3 that face the Boardwalk. The Garden Rooms sleep 2 +1 child under 3. A few special suites are also part of the Innkeepers Club.


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Fall 2017 Walt Disney World Discount

New room discounts were released for select dates October through December 2017!  There are also package versions of this same discount.  Some weekend and holiday check-in dates are excluded from the discount.

If you’re thinking of a trip this year, now is the time to book!  Some popular travel dates are already sold out at many hotels, so the earlier you can book the more options you’ll have for your hotel and room type selection.  Request your free Walt Disney World Quote today!

Magical Holidays 2017 Room Discount

You can save up to 20%* on rooms at select Walt Disney World® Resort Hotels for stays most nights Oct. 8-Dec. 24, 2017.

Booking and Travel Windows:

  • Book by Oct. 7 for stays most nights Oct. 8-Dec. 24, 2017.
  • Book by Dec. 24, 2017 for stays most nights Dec. 8-24, 2017.

When you stay at a select Walt Disney World Resort hotel, you’ll enjoy benefits like first access to Disney FastPass+**planning, complimentary MagicBandsExtra Magic Hours in a Theme Park each day to enjoy select attractions (valid Theme Park admission and Resort ID required), complimentary transportation and standard parking, plus more!

*The number of rooms allocated for this offer is limited. Length-of-stay requirements may apply. Savings based on the non-discounted price for the same room. Additional adult per-adult charges may apply if more than two adults per room at Disney Value, Moderate and Deluxe Resorts. Cannot be combined with any other discount or promotion. Advance reservations required. Offer excludes 3-bedroom villas, campsites, Cabins at Copper Creek Villas & Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, Bungalows at Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows, Disney’s Art of Animation Resort – The Little Mermaid standard rooms. 20% savings for select Disney Deluxe and Deluxe Villa Resorts; lower savings may be available for other Disney Resort hotels.

**Valid Theme Park admission and online registration required. Disney FastPass+ attractions and entertainments experiences, the number of selections you can make and available arrival windows are limited.

Book 2018 Walt Disney World Vacations

2018 Walt Disney World rooms and packages are now available for booking!  From the initial release, rooms are only available 499 in advance.  By August 19, 2017 all 2018 Walt Disney World hotel rooms will be available to book.

There are some changes to the Magical Extras included with Magic Your Way Packages.  Changes to these discounts are normal.

The big news for 2018 packages is a change to all Dining Plans.  New for 2018, your beverage credit at quick service and table service meals may be redeemed for alcoholic drinks (age 21 and over, photo ID required, where available.)  Here are the new options for meal beverage redemption-

  • Soda
  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Hot chocolate
  • Smoothie
  • Milkshake
  • Beer or cider*
  • Wine or sangria*
  • Mixed drinks*
    *Must be 21 and over, photo ID required

Note that these new drinks options are only for meal credits.  You cannot redeem a snack credit for an alcoholic beverage.  Redeeming your meal drink for an alcoholic beverage results in 1 single serving drink.

One change that is not unique to 2018, but will affect all 2018 packages, is the new ticket structure.  Ticket add-on options have been streamlined, allowing you to select Park Hopper or Park Hopper Plus.  The new Park Hopper Plus ticket includes admissions to Disney’s two water parks.

Another prior change that continues for 2018 is that 1-Day theme park tickets cannot be included in a Magic Your Way Package.  If you need only a 1-Day ticket you will buy your ticket separately from your room accommodations.

Memory Maker can currently be added with an advance purchase discount at $169.  Adding Memory Maker to your package is a great way to lock in the price while benefiting from package payment policies.  Memory Maker that is added within 3 days of usage is priced at $199.  Memory Maker allows you to download all of your Photopass photos, including on-ride photos!

We’re ready and waiting to send you a free, no-obligation quote for your 2018 Walt Disney World vacation!  It’s ideal to book 6 months or more in advance for best hotel availability, so now is the perfect time to start planning your next Disney vacation!

Fall 2018 Disney Cruise Line Itineraries

Disney Cruise Line has released itineraries for fall 2018! Schedules are out through December 2018.  Early 2019 schedules will be released later in 2017.

This is the first time the new Castaway Club staggered booking has been used.  On Monday, May 15 new itineraries open to Platinum Castaway Club members.  On Tuesday, May 16 they open to Gold members, then May 17 for Silver Castaway Club.  On Thursday, May 18 the new itineraries open to the public.

Booking early gives you the best stateroom availability and locks in your cruise price.  This can be especially helpful if you need or want connecting staterooms.  We offer onboard credit for most Disney Cruise vacations.  Request your no-obligation cruise quote today!

The Dream will sail 3-Night and 4-Night Bahamian cruises out of Port Canaveral, Florida.  These cruises include a stop at Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay.  These are great for first time cruisers, adding in conjunction with a Walt Disney World vacation, and for a short getaway to relax and recharge.

There are two special cruises on November 19 and December 31, 2018 that feature a second day at Castaway Cay in place of Nassau.  These are sure to be popular!

The Fantasy continues to sail alternating 7-Night Western Caribbean and 7-Night Eastern Caribbean cruises from Port Canaveral, Florida.  All of these Fantasy cruises include a stop in Castaway Cay. These cruises balance days at sea with ports of call to offer you the best of action and relaxation.

The Magic returns to the US with a Westbound Transatlantic cruise on September 9, 2018. Once the Magic is relocated to New York, she will sail two new one way 7-Night Canadian cruises between New York and Quebec City.  These exciting new itineraries feature 3 new Canadian ports of call, with a 2 day stay in Quebec City.

Throughout October the Magic will be sailing to another new port of call, Bermuda!  These 5-Night and 6-Night Bermuda cruises highlight one port of call at King’s Wharf, and spend 2 or 3 days in port respectively.

Beginning in November 2018 the Magic will sail 7-Night Bahamian cruises that include a stop in Port Canaveral and Castaway Cay.  Your cruise includes a 1-Day Park Hopper ticket and roundtrip transportation between the port and Walt Disney World.

On November 24, 2018 the Magic sails one way from New York to San Juan.  Then one short cruise relocated the Magic to Miami, where she’ll finish out the year sailing short Western Caribbean and Bahamian cruises.

The Wonder ends its Alaska season with a relocation cruise from Vancouver to San Diego on September 10, 2018.  The Wonder then sails short Baja cruises to Mexico through mid-October.  On October 19, the Wonder has a 14-Night Eastbound Panama Canal to relocate to Galveston, Texas.

Once in Galveston, the Wonder sails Western Caribbean and Bahamian itineraries through the end of the year.  A 6-Night Western Caribbean cruise sneaks into January 2019, which may the last sailing out of Galveston for the season before another relocation.  These cruises are a great opportunity to save on transportation to your cruise if you live in Texas or nearby. The Wonder doesn’t say in Texas for long, so jump on these plans while you can!

These new itineraries offer lots of exciting vacation opportunities!  Where will you sail next?

2017 Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party Tickets

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party tickets are now on sale!  Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party takes place on select dates in November and December.  The party features themed entertainment, characters, cookies, a unique parade and fireworks.  These parties take place in the Magic Kingdom from 7 pm to midnight and the park is closed to all non-ticketed guests.

Save time and money by purchasing your tickets in advance.  Parties can sell out, especially the most popular dates, so be sure to purchase in advance.

There are three options for free ticket delivery.  Print at home is quick and easy.  Standard domestic US delivery is free via USPS.  Will call allows you to pick up a ticket on property.

2017 party dates and prices are listed below.  Prices do not include tax.  Party tickets are purchased separately from vacation packages and are non-refundable.  Party tickets can be linked  in My Disney Experience.

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party 2017

November 12, 14, 16 – $89/adult, $84/child 3-9 advance purchase

November 9 – $94/adult, $89/child 3-9 advance purchase

November 10, 17, 26, 28; December 1, 3, 5, 7, 10, 12, 14, 17 – $95/adult, $90/child 3-9 advance purchase

December 8, 15 – $99/adult, $94/child 3-9 advance purchase

December 19, 21, 22 – $109/adult, $104/child 3-9 advance purchase

If you’re planning to visit Walt Disney World at the end of this year, book now before your favorite hotel sells out.  Submit your quote request today!