Tuesday, March 30, 2010

This blog has moved

This blog is now located at http://mercdisneydiva.blogspot.com/.
You will be automatically redirected in 30 seconds, or you may click here.

For feed subscribers, please update your feed subscriptions to

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Once Again, Disney Extends A Great Offer

Disney has extended it's Gift Card Promotion through Aug. 14, allowing summer travelers a good deal when staying at a Disney-owned resort.
If you stay 5 or more nights in a deluxe resort you will get a $750 gift card (per room) when you check into your resort. If you stay at a moderate resort you get a $500 gift card. When you stay at a value resort you get a $300 gift card.
Disney traditionally doesn't offer specials in the summer but the promotion was extended shortly after the company reported flat sales in the theme parks for the last quarter. This is good news for those families who need to make their trips in the summer when the children are not in school.
In addition, Disney is also offering a room discount special. You will have to choose between the two since they don't allow stacking of promotions. I checked both and for my trip the gift card promotion is the better deal.
The gift cards are Disney gift cards and can be used for anything in Walt Disney World.
Just remember if you're considering taking advantage of this promotion that airfare is going to go quickly!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Have A Game Plan

Whether you've been to Walt Disney World lately or not, it's always a good idea to have a game plan for when you get there. In addition to four parks and two water parks, there is amazing restaurants, character dining, parades, fireworks, downtown Disney, backstage tours and much more!
Although my trips are yearly now and I talk about Disney on a daily basis for my job, I still have some sort of game plan when I go. And that plan usually depends on who I'm traveling with and the time of year we're traveling.
One of the first items I purchase every year to help me plan my trip is the Passporter for Walt Disney World. This spiral bound book with glossy pages, maps, and places for writing details about the trip, is one of my must-haves. It's written by Dave and Jennifer Marx and has valuable input from their two children. This veteran Disney family and their dedicated fans and staff give you their honest opinions on all things Disney.
From ride ratings from both adult and children's perspective to resort and park ratings, this book has it all. I always recommend it to my clients booking Disney vacations. It helps to sort out the details.
The Passporter is going to be even more helpful to me this year as our family plans my 2-year-old granddaughter's first trip to Disney. My oldest daughter was 5 when I first took her to Disney so we were beyond needing a stroller and afternoon naps. I'm learning from this book what rides she can go on, strategies for renting or taking a stroller and a plethora of other information I know will be helpful.
I've always purchased the book at larger book stores such as Barnes and Noble but the Passporter can be purchased on their website at: www.passporter.com
In addition to the book, we've purchased the Passporter Passholders. It's smaller than a wallet and holds park passes, room keys, cash and even lip balm! It's a great way to go "bagless" into the parks. You'll find that on the Web site also.
Although the Super Bowl approaches and some of us don't have a team playing this year, those of us with 2010 Disney trips on the horizon, will be starting to make our own Game Plan!

Friday, January 15, 2010

2010 Changes in Disney World

Some changes are going on in Disney this year including the removal of Toon Town to make way for the expansion of the Magic Kingdom.
The Crystal Palace restaurant in the Magic Kingdom is currently closed for refurbishment. Because it's character dining is so popular, they've moved characters to the Liberty Tree Tavern while Crystal Palace is closed. Another change in the Magic Kingdom is the reopening of Space Mountain after a 9-month long refurbishment. The People Mover - which passes through Space Mountain - was also closed. The voice recording that has entertained guests riding the People Mover has been changed and many people are not happy about that change. I'll reserve my opinion for after I hear it.
Another change taking place in 2010 is the price of the dining plan. The regular dining plan is now priced based on what season it is. So if you're an adult getting the dining plan in peak season, you'll pay $46.99 per day for the table service dining versus $41.99 per day during value season.
Disney has continued in 2010 with another promotion to get guests in the parks and at their resorts in a slower economy. If you book a Disney vacation and stay at a Disney resort before June 3, you can get a gift card of $300 if you stay at a value resort; $500 if you stay at a moderate resort and $750 if you stay at a deluxe resort. While it's not as good as the buy 4 nights get 3 free, it's close.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Save Some Money!

One of the hardest things to do when planning a trip to Walt Disney World is save! And I don't just mean saving for that wonderful vacation, I mean savings when you book that vacation!
There are some things I don't recommend cutting and other things I do. First, I don't recommend trying to save money by just buying the base ticket for the Disney parks. The base ticket gets you into one park each day. If you miss the Wishes fireworks in the Magic Kingdom because it rains the day you were there, you won't be able to just bounce back over there the next day after spending the day in Epcot (or another park). Getting the park hopper gives you the most flexibility and is well worth the extra cash.
Where you can save is on the Waterparks Fun and More option. If you only plan to go to one of the waterparks, it's more cost effective to buy a one day waterpark ticket when you go rather than add the waterparks fun and more option to your ticket.
Also, I've said this before and it bears repeating, I don't recommend staying off-site when going to Walt Disney World. You have much better transporation services to and from the parks staying at a Disney resort because the buses run from every resort an hour before parks open till an hour after they close. Having value, moderate and deluxe resorts to choose from means there's something for every budget. Other benefits to Disney guests include one park opening early each day and one staying open late each night just for guests of Walt Disney World resorts!
Disney's Buy 4 Get 3 Free nights promotion is ending Dec. 20th and travel must be completed by March 27th. But there is always the chance that they extend the promotion. If that's going to happen, they would likely announce it just before or after Dec. 20th. I'm going to go out on a limb here and predict they will extend it. Spending in Disney Parks was down by 4% in 2009 and resort occupancy was down also. I would like to see it extended to the end of June so those families that don't want to take their children out of school have some time to get there once school is out.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Behind the Scenes in Disney at Christmas

While you gear up to watch your favorite holiday shows, don't miss a new behind-the-scenes Disney special on HGTV.
David Bromstad hosted Behind the Magic: Disney Holidays which aired at 8 p.m. Sunday on HGTV.
While I knew some of these facts, there was a lot I learned!
Let's start with Cinderella's Castle. If you've ever seen it lit at Christmas, you know how beautiful it looks. Well, to get that way they use 200,000 white lights and 500 strobe lights all woven through fish net so it's undetectable during the daylight hours. Notice how the Castle changes color at night? That is with the help of 74 large spotlights that cover the Castle in many different colors.
The decorating of Walt Disney World for Christmas is the full time job of 25 Disney Cast Members who work year-round preparing. Then when it's time to transform Disney's 43-square-mile property, many others become 3rd shift elves and work while the parks are closed between 10 p.m. and 8 a.m.
In just 9 hours, Main Street in the Magic Kingdom is dripping in Christmas decorations. And throughout the Disney property they use 15 miles of garland and 300,000 yards of ribbon to decorate. Disney buys 100,000 poinsettias, 25,000 of which are planted in the Magic Kingdom! Approximately 1,300 artificial Christmas trees are brought by semi tractor trailers from their warehouse homes to decorate Walt Disney World. The largest trees are more than 60 feet tall!
Disney also creates 200 holiday topiaries and when complete, there is 4,000 acres of finished landscaping.
One of the most amazing displays is Disney's Spectacle of Dancing Lights in Disney Studios. That's where a city block is covered in lights that are in sync with Christmas music.
Disney begins decorating for that in August and doesn't finish till November. 30 cast members take 20,000 man (and women) hours to put them up using 35 miles of extension cords.
This is truly a can't-miss Disney special that will amaze and inspire you.
It airs again on HGTV Dec. 11, 20, 24th and 25th.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Disney's Christmas Decorating

Many people are still under the asumption that Disney decorates the entire property on Thanksgiving night and you will wake up the next day and the all the decorations are up. While this is the way Disney used to decorate for Christmas, it's not the way they do it now. Like every other business, they've brought the Christmas season out earlier. In early November Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party begins and before that happens, all will be decorated. So if you're going to Disney over the Thanksgiving holiday, it will be decorated!
This time of year is truly my favorite time to be in Disney. The weather is near perfect with low humidity during the day and cooler temperatures at night. The crowds are smaller (except Thanksgiving week and Christmas week). Cinderella's Castle is dripping in lights and the Osbourne Family Lights Spectacular at Disney Studios is the most amazing display of Christmas lights set to music that I've ever seen. If that doesn't get you into the holiday spirit, nothing will!
Another Disney holiday tradition is the Gingerbread House at the Grand Floridian Resort. Inside the resort's lobby Disney creates this life size house where they then sell smaller replicas of the house and gingerbread shingles.
Don't forget to get a photopass card because there are many more photopass photographers out during the holidays just waiting to take your picture in front of an amazing holiday backdrop! And remember, the photopass card is free and you can get as many pictures taken as you wish. You can then view the pictures online and purchase the ones you want.