Is It REALLY Free?

freeI get asked this question all the time. Honestly, it does seem too good to be true, right? Free help sorting through all the options of a Disney vacation, booking your trip and dining reservations for you, personal reminders about key dates in your trip planning process, always looking out for a better deal for you, a customized trip itinerary, and always being able to quickly get in touch with someone who knows you and your trip when you have questions? There’s got to be a catch. But there really and truly isn’t.

So you might be wondering why Magical Memory Planners (MMP) agents do this work and how we offer our services for free to our clients.

First, the why. We LOVE Disney! It is truly so much fun for us to help you plan your vacation. We have extensive knowledge and experience with Disney and enjoy using those skills to help you have the most magical vacation possible. If you are curious about how we plan your vacation, you can read all about that here.

And now the how. We do get paid for our work… just not by you. Disney wants you to have a great vacation! They also know that the options and process of planning a magical Disney vacation can be overwhelming and complicated. That is why they pay us a small commission as a thank you for planning and booking your vacation for you. That said, we only get paid if you book your trip with us. And that is why we limit our help to our clients only. We are happy to help others with their Disney trip by pointing them in the right direction of resources, but the benefits of using a MMP agent are reserved for our clients.

Our magical services are not just limited to Walt Disney World. We love to work with clients to help them plan Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, and even Adventures by Disney trips!

So, as you can see, it really is a win for everyone involved to book your vacation with a Magical Memory Planners agent. You get a magical vacation built just for you along with the other perks of being our clients, Disney gets happy visitors who want to return again, and we get the joy of sharing the Disney magic with you… and a paycheck.

Want to start planning your magical Disney vacation with us? Fill out our quote form here and we’ll be in touch soon!

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Getting the Most Out of Memory Maker

MM MMP2I often get asked if Memory Maker is worth purchasing. My answer is always an emphatic YES! I love having my whole family in every picture. Knowing that the ride photos and character interaction photos are included as well make it a really wise purchase for capturing the magic of your Disney World vacation. However, there are some things you should know beforehand to be sure you are getting the most out of Memory Maker.

1. Be sure to purchase Memory Maker at least 3 days before your trip to save yourself money and to ensure it will capture all the photos from your vacation! And remember to link all the members in your traveling party together through your mydisneyexperience.com account so that everyone’s photos will be added to your account.

2. Check your park maps for Photopass Photographer locations. Stop at as many as you like as they will all take photos from different locations/angles/backgrounds and they all have different “magic shots.”

3. Ask every single photographer for magic shots! They will ask you to do something silly or that may not make sense – just have fun with it. These shots always turn out really cute!

4. All character interactions will have their own photographer. Be sure you touch your Magic Band or Photopass card to their scanner to have these added to your Memory Maker account.

5. The following rides have photos taken, which will automatically be added to your Memory Maker account:

  • 7 Dwarfs Mine Train (a photo and video will be added to your account!)
  • Space Mountain
  • Splash Mountain
  • Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin
  • The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
  • Rock ‘n Roller Coaster
  • Expedition Everest
  • Dinosaur
  • Test Track

Enchanted Tales with Belle and Jedi Training have photos taken only of the children who are invited to participate. If you are selected, a photopass card will be given to you to link to your account, as these photos will not automatically show up on your Memory Maker account.

6. The following dining experiences will have photos taken, which will automatically be added to your Memory Maker account:

  • 1900 Park Fare (Breakfast & Dinner)
  • Ohana (Breakfast)
  • Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show
  • Chef Mickey’s (Breakfast & Dinner)
  • Cinderella’s Royal Table (all meals)
  • Tusker House Restaurant (Breakfast & Lunch)
  • Hoop Dee Doo Musical Revue
  • Princess Storybook Dining at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall (all meals)

7. If your child has a makeover at Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, be sure to stop by Castle Couture afterward to have a princess photo shoot and link all of the BBB experience photos to your Memory Maker account. Photos taken from your child’s makeover at Pirate’s League will also be added to your Memory Maker account.

8. If possible, check your Memory Maker account at the end of each day to be sure all your photos were linked. This will need to be done from a computer as you cannot access Memory Maker from your phone. If any photos are missing, there is a link from your account to report missing photos. They are usually found and added within 24 hours.

9. When you get home, browse through the borders to add to your photos before downloading them. They have really nice borders for each park with the year included. These make such nice souvenir photos! Each ride that has a photo taken has a cool border you can add to the photo as well.

 

10. Be sure you download all your photos before the deadline!

Have more questions about Memory Maker or want some FREE help planning your vacation? We’d love to help! Just fill out our quote form here to get in touch with one of our agents.

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Disney Cruise Line Door Magnets

Disney Cruise Line Door MagnetsLots of people like to decorate their door on a Disney Cruise. As long as you use magnets and don’t damage the doors you are safe. As I was looking for some Disney Cruise Line door magnets for our upcoming cruise, I found this great business on Etsy called Grayson Tags and More .The owner Doug worked with me to make some amazing magnets.

Disney Cruise Line Door MagnetsEach magnet is printed on heavy paper and laminated. He puts a very large magnet securely on the back too. He sells these smaller magnets in sets of 6 to 8 and the prices are very reasonable.

He also has collections of pirate magnets, sets that are designed for different holidays, and more.

Looking for Fish Extender gifts? Check out what Grayson Tags and More has to offer. You can get a great gift that will be hit on your next cruise. You will give something people can use right away as well as enjoy on future cruises.

Doug had great communication through the purchase process since I had quite a few questions before I made the purchase. I completed the purchase late in the evening and they were in my mailbox within 5 days. I think that’s amazing! I would recommend shopping at Grayson Tags and More for your Disney Cruise Line Door Magnets before you set sail on your next magical Disney Cruise vacation.

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Disney Dinner Shows

 

What are your favorite Disney Dinner Shows?

Spirit of AlohaThe Hoop Dee Doo Revue, the Spirit of Aloha Luau, and Mickey’s Backyard BBQ are the 3 Disney dinner shows. Have you tried them? On our last trip we decided to do both the Hoop Dee Doo Revue and the Spirit of Aloha Luau so that the kids and I could compare them and see which one we liked better.

Location

The Hoop Dee Doo Revue is located at Fort Wilderness and the Spirit of Aloha Luau is located at Disney’s Polynesian Village. Both are very easy to get to from Magic Kingdom by boat or monorail. That is the preferred way to get there! If you are coming from another park then you will be dropped off by the bus. At the Polynesian its a short walk to Luau Cove through the Great Ceremonial House and then all the way to the far end of the Polynesian to Luau Cove. At Fort Wilderness, if you come by bus, you will be dropped at the Outpost bus stop. You can take any of the buses (yellow, orange, or purple) to get to the Settlement bus stop near Pioneer hall.

The Hoop Dee Doo Revue takes place indoors at Pioneer Hall. The Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show takes place outside at Luau Cove. Keep that in mind when you are deciding. If its a time of year when the evenings are cold or still REALLY hot/humid that might affect your decision.

* Hoop Dee Doo Revue wins for easiest transportation (Boat from Magic Kingdom) and being indoors.

Food

The Hoop Dee Doo Revue starts with delicious cornbread and salad. The entree includes fried chicken, ribs, baked beans, corn, and mashed potatoes. The dessert is strawberry shortcake.

The Spirit of Aloha  starts with salad, noodles, and bread. The entree is mixed vegetables, BBQ/pulled pork, BBQ ribs, and rotisserie chicken. They did have additional options for kids (on request) such as pizza but my kids liked what was served so I didn’t ask them to bring it out. The dessert was the best bread pudding I have ever had!!

Spirit of Aloha Dinner

Spirit of Aloha Dinner

Spirit of Aloha

Pineapple Bread Pudding with Caramel Sauce

Both Disney dinner shows have the same selection of drinks including, soda, iced tea, juice, milk, beer, wine, and sangria. The sangria was delicious!

 

 

Overall my kids enjoyed the food at both locations. It was quite hot so I think they ate a little bit better at the Hoop Dee Doo Revue because we were indoors and more comfortable but…

* Spirit of Aloha Luau wins for food (the dessert pushed it over the edge).

Entertainment

The Hoop Dee Doo Revue is about an hour in length. My kids LOVED it. They laughed at the jokes, sang along, and had a great time. The show had an excellent “flow” with times for us to eat and then just as the kids were finishing their food the show started up again. There was time for the adults to have seconds and not be rushed as well.

The Spirit of Aloha Luau is a bit longer. It was almost 2 hours long. It had a very cute part of the show when all the kids got to go onstage and learn a little bit of a hula together. The kids also enjoyed the dancers that used fire in their act. The show was a big long for my kids though (5 and 9). There wasn’t always a good flow too. For example, we were served our dinner while an exciting part of the show was happening, but then there was a break just as we were finished eating and the kids were bored. Since it was outdoors it was sometimes hard to hear the story line of the show also. We had category 2 seating so I don’t think we had really bad seats but it just made it hard to stay engaged with the story. I think the adults would enjoy this a little more than the kids.

*Hoop Dee Doo Revue wins because it was fun for everyone.

Dining Details

All Disney Dinner Shows can be reserved up to 180 days in advance. For guests NOT on a Disney dining plan full payment will be made at the time of booking. For guests on a Disney dining plan (not including Quick Service dining) a credit card will be taken to guarantee the reservation. Both alcohol and gratuity are included in the cost of this reservation. Tickets can be picked up at your resort (I like to do it at check in) or at the location. If you are picking up tickets at the location you will need to arrive 45 minutes before the start of the show.

Have you done Disney Dinner Shows? Which one is your favorite and why?

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Height Requirements for Walt Disney World Parks

Planning ahead and wondering which rides your little ones will be able to enjoy (or which rides your bigger kids have outgrown)? This height chart should come in handy!

height requirements MMP

Want some FREE help planning your Disney World vacation? We’d love to help! You can fill out a quote form here.

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Magical Memory Planners Gear

We have some new and exciting Magical Memory Planners gear.

White Autograph Mat - DavidOur Disney clients (Disneyland, Walt Disney World, Disney Cruise Line) already receive one of our unique autograph mats and you can also purchase autograph mats directly from us as well if you need extra.

 

We now have 2 new products available.

 

Lanyards

Our lanyards have a clip at the bottom and also a small pouch to hold your cards. (not pictured) They are perfect for collecting Disney pins and/or  holding your room keys/cards on a cruise. These are available for $4.95 plus tax and shipping.  Lanyard




 

 

Drawstring BackpackDrawstring Backpack

This is a lightweight drawstring backpack and has a front zippered compartment to keep those items you may need to grab fast.  These are available for only $5.95 plus tax and shipping.




 

You can purchase all these items directly through our website using the papal link next to the item OR if you want to purchase multiple items you can email me at Info@MagicalMemoryPlanners.com and I can put together the best shipping deal and put it in one order.

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Disney Dining and Special Diets… Will I Find Anything to Eat at Disney World?

You can even get gluten free Mickey waffles!

You can even get gluten free Mickey waffles!

The short answer is YES! A lot!

Having special dietary restrictions or food sensitivities can quickly take the fun out of vacation, especially if you can’t find anything yummy and safe to eat. In true Disney fashion, they go above and beyond when it comes to catering to a wide variety of special diets.

Quick Service Meals

Most quick service places are burgers, pizzas, and sandwiches. Not eating wheat pretty much rules these options out for many people with food sensitivities. Except, it doesn’t! If you let your cashier know what your food restrictions are, they will send the manager out to discuss your options with you. Each manager has been trained to know ALL of the ingredients in everything they offer as well as how to specially prepare food for those with allergies and restrictions. Need a gluten free meal? No problem! They have gluten free buns and even gluten free brownies. The manager will prepare your meal separately on a special tray to avoid cross contamination. Sugar free? Easy! They have lots of sugar free options. No dairy? No problem. Nut free? No shellfish? Can’t eat eggs? No soy? Other restrictions? They will go through all the ingredients in everything in your meal with you to be sure you are not exposed to anything that will make you sick. Vegan? Same deal. FYI, the famous Dole Whip is vegan and gluten free, so enjoy! :)

Table Service Meals

If you mention to your host or server that you have dietary restrictions (and mention it when you make the dining reservations as well), the chef will personally come to your table and either go through the menu items with you or walk you through the buffet line to point out items that are safe for you to eat. At one of our meals, I ended up with only 1 item on the entire buffet that I could eat, so the chef asked if he could make something special just for me. I was delighted! He asked if there were any foods that I didn’t like and then disappeared into the kitchen. About ten minutes later, he personally delivered my meal to me and explained what was in it. He made me a gorgeous salad and the best salmon I have ever eaten. Not only did I have a wonderful meal, I pretty much felt like royalty.

Snacks

Snacks vary greatly, but most are centered around sugar. You can ask the cast member about ingredients and they will do their best to help you select a snack you can eat. The best place to find allergy free snacks is at Animal Kingdom at Garden Kiosk near Adventurer’s Outpost. They sell nothing but various allergy free snacks and are experts at helping you select restaurants that will suit your dietary needs! I hope the other parks will soon open similar snack spots.

New Gluten Free Menus

New gluten free menus are now being tested at the following locations at Disney World:

  • World Premiere Food Court at All Star Movies Resort
  • Flying Fish Café at Disney’s BoardWalk
  • Kona Café at the Polynesian Village Resort
  • Captain Cook’s at the Polynesian Village Resort
  • The Hollywood Brown Derby at Disney’s Hollywood Studios
  • Sci-Fi Dine-in Restaurant at Disney’s Hollywood Studios
  • ABC Commissary at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

For specific questions or requests, you can contact Disney World directly at SpecialDiets@DisneyWorld.com or (407) 824-5967.

A great blog with information on enjoying Disney Dining with food restrictions is http://www.allergyfreemouse.com.

Your MMP agent is happy to help you make any arrangements needed for special dining needs. With a little planning and the information above, your dietary restrictions won’t take the magic out of your Disney vacation!

– Jo

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How to do your Disney Cruise Online Check-In

If you’ve never sailed on Disney before, they you are able to do your online check in 75 days prior to your sail date.

Those that have sailed 5 times and under (silver status) can log in at 90 days and those that have sailed 5-10 (Gold status) are at 105 days and 10+ (Platinum status) can complete their check-in at 120 days prior to sail date.

Here is what you need to know to get your check-in done.

Midnight EST of the day you CAN check-in opens up the excursion/Palo booking window. 3AM the check-in opens.

WHY check-in early?

1. Early Passenger arrival time. Meaning you can board sooner than the other thousands who book late or don’t check-in on time. Meaning, you get on the ship to EAT, PLAY and HAVE FUN sooner. The sooner, really the better!

2. Secure Palo/Remy/Nursery/Spa/Cabanas. Cabanas, probably not, I doubt if this is your first sailing there will be any cabanas left, but you won’t know unless you log in at midnight! Palo and Remy are specialty dining rooms for adults only. Fine and scrumptious dining. However, if you are on your 1st sailing, I say pass on this unless you are doing a 5 night or more because the main dining rooms are superb.

3. Excursions. Dolphins! The dolphin excursions sell out quickly. Be the 1st of the last group to try to grab that memory of a lifetime.

OK, Now let’s chat HOW to do it!

1. Go to DisneyCruise.com

(Make sure you have an account as soon as you book your trip. That way you can play around with the system and see all the fun choices on your sailing. UPPER RIGHT/REGISTER)

2. Upper right under planning center, hit “My Reservation”. Enter your reservation number along with your password and anyone’s birthday in the cabin.

3. You’ll be directed to a page with 13 animated pictures, which are pretty self explanatory. Look for My Online Check-In.

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4. There are 3 mandatory forms you need to fill out here.

        a. These forms are: Guest Information Form (legal names, birthday, address, citizenship and emergency contact)

       b. Payment authorization form. Choose the way you want to pay on the ship. We usually choose cash and pay it the last night. If you choose cash, you can only spend so much before you get cut off and have to pay that balance. BUT if you have giftcards etc…it may be best to choose cash then head straight to Guest Services on the ship and add those.

       c. Online check-in and signature form. Read, Sign and Print. IF You don’t bring these, then you have to fill it all out again AT the port.

Other important things under this online check-in process is:

1. My Cruise Activities. This is where you can do the excursions, specialty dining, nursery and spa. You can also see the ship’s itinerary and special events (like pirate night) they are having.

2. Fun Aboard. Register your kids online. Chose a password, fill in their nickname, list any allergies or issues etc. This saves some time at the port or on the ship. DON’T forget that password! They ask for it in 75 days when you check your kids in and out!

3. Onboard App. Download it. I love it. It works on the ship’s wifi, which I actually found sorta hard to work last time on my iphone but I did manage to do it. Shows the daily navigators, movies, shows etc

4.Character Calls. Schedule a free call to your kiddos!

5. Packing List. Things you can and cannot, yada yada. I personally like my own packing list better. See it here: http://magicalmemoryplanners.com/2014/02/2562/

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5. Air and Ground Transportation. Guidelines, approximate times etc.

6. Passport and Travel Documentation. Make sure you have the right docs or they will leave you behind! Closed-looped (start and stop at same US port) cruises only need a birth certificate and adult’s need a driver’s license. You may want to consider a passport in case you get stuck in another country.

7. Stay Connected. Enter your email address and you will get some fun reminders and tips from the cruiseline.

8. In-Room Gifts and Shopping. You can pre-buy wine and drink packages (soda and coffee ARE free and you can bring all your own alcohol on board as well). You can also grab birthday gifts, cakes, flowers, trinkets, and more.

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9. Driving Directions. The address and parking information you can find here. I recommend parking off-site if you want to save lots of money although having a car at the port when you disembark is totally awesome.

10. Pre-Arrival Guide. Inside this guide that you can either print or have them email to you is a summary of your reservation and everything else you’ve done so far! It’s like a print out of ALL that I’ve just gone over!!

Now, start packing!!

-Danielle

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Walk In Walt’s Footsteps

Let me start by saying I have never done a tour at any Disney Park. I grew up at Walt Disney World, having gone probably 200 times and each time I visit any park, I see something I have never seen before. Therefore, getting the chance to visit Disneyland and do an actual tour based on the history of the park, made me feel like a kid in a candy shop.

            Here is a peak of what I saw at Disneyland while “walking in Walt’s footsteps”.
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We started by meeting at the tour center, directly to the left when you enter Disneyland, there are shaded seats and a small restroom. We are met by the tour guides and handed earpiece systems, so that the guide can walk and talk, this is a fantastic advantage to those who have trouble hearing in crowds! Our first stop is under the very apartment Walt lived in! Typically the tour takes you inside, however they are currently doing some construction behind the scenes in preparation for an additional exit for the mass crowds guaranteed for the 60th anniversary. We are told about why Walt wanted to be on-site and hands on, turns out traffic was awful even back then! When Walt was on property, he always left the light on in the window, so that the cast members knew to be on their best behavior. To this day, that light is kept shining 24/7, to remind the cast members that he is always there and to always be your at your peak!

Walking toward the castle, we look at the windows and the names written on them is a tribute to all that helped make Disneyland successful. Take your time when you walk down main street to see the small details up above. We stopped at the center hub and heard Walt’s speech. Walt’s voice at Walt’s creation equals tear jerker! There, we are told of some of the issues that opening day battled. Did you know that there was a plumbing strike? That Walt basically had to choose between working water fountains and plumbing for the toilets? (He thankfully chose the toilets) Have you heard that women’s high heels stuck into the newly paved main street because the heat was brutal and the cement obviously wasn’t done drying! Did you know that a man, who owned property adjacent to the park, charged people to use his ladder and climb over the Disneyland fence, hence why the actual numbers of who entered that inaugural day are just guesses. Walt, being overly involved with a live taping of this event with the local television station did not come to find out any of these issues until the next day! Despite these epic failures, Disney did not see it that way. Despite these catastrophic problems, they welcomed the 1 millionth guest within 2 months and 5 millionth within another month.
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As we walk through the park, we are reminded that each step we take, is a step that Walt created for us. We learn of how some of the attractions changed from the original ideas and how some of the things Walt dreamed, never came to fruition. Currently the tour takes you inside the Dream Suite, a 2 bedroom apartment made for the 2008, year of a million dreams launch. This apartment was originally to be made for Walt and his family and friends being that the one above the fire station was very small. The location is set in the New Orleans area, next to his beloved Club 33 and 1901. This is something that only those doing the guided tour can see, and it is truly amazing! The imagineers took Walt’s own ideas of this apartment and actually made them very true to the plans.
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There is so much to see at any Disney Park and if you are a true lover and historian of Walt, I beg of you to take a guided tour. Bring some tissues, because the song you hear at the end, standing in the center of Disneyland is sure to bring some tears. -Danielle
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Disney Halloween Costumes

Disney Halloween Costumes

Heading to Disney World or Disneyland for the Not So Scary Halloween Party? Are you booked on an amazing Halloween on the High Seas Disney Cruise? Maybe you are going to be trick or treating around the neighborhood.

Disney Halloween Costumes are now available at  DisneyStore.com in the new Halloween Shop.  Shop Now! You can even save with this treat Up to 40% off Costumes and Costume Accessories at Disney Store!

If you are not heading to the parks this year and want to see whats available you can shop in the Disney Halloween Shop. The Disney Parks Halloween Shop is open! Shop Spooktacular Thrills for the Family!

Do you dress up on a themDisney Halloween Costumese? We did Toy Story last year on our Halloween on the High Seas Disney Cruise.What are your idea for this year? Are you going to be the Incredibles? Are you doing a frozen theme? What are you kids into? We would love to hear your good ideas!

 

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