Welcome to Gina @ MickeyTravels!


Welcome to Gina @ MickeyTravels!

I'm so glad you stopped by!  Gina @ MickeyTravels is home to all the latest Disney Travel Company news, fantastic travel offers and itinerary advice, as well as tips and tidbits to help your Disney travel experience to be the best it can possibly be. 

So visit often for frequent doses of pixie dust and bits of Disney Magic as you get ready to explore the world of possibilities for a fabulous Disney vacation!

See you real soon!

Gina

Parents' Night Out? The Magic of Resort Kids' Clubs!



Dinner at the California Grill?  A Couple’s Massage at the Grand Floridian Resort Spa?  Cocktails and relaxation by the pool?  An evening  of music and dancing at the Boardwalk’s Atlantic Dance Hall?  Although a visit to the Walt Disney World Resort is often a whole-family affair, there are plenty of opportunities for adults to relax and reconnect during a Disney vacation.  But how can parents take advantage of all those grown-ups only offerings with the kids in tow?  Disney’s Resort Children’s Activity Centers are the solution!

The Nursery Window at the Neverland Club
Several of the deluxe resorts on the Walt Disney World property are home to themed children’s activity centers, staffed by fabulous cast members with loads of tricks up their sleeves to keep kids cozily engaged in their own fun while Mom and Dad head out for some well-deserved R&R.  At the clubs kids can play games, make crafts, watch a classic Disney film, and make some new buddies.  Kid-friendly fare is provided for dinner—chicken nuggets, hot dogs, and the like—let the club know in advance if you have special dining needs.  Kids get to “order” their own dinners making the little ones feel very grown up, although the Neverland Club at the Polynesian Resort features a buffet-style dinner.

Parents are eligible to reserve a space for children at any of the kids’ clubs on Disney property—you do not need to be staying at the resort where the kids’ club is located in order to use it—and space is also available for the children of off-site guests.  Let’s take a look at the 5 different activity centers around the Walt Disney World Resort!

Simba’s Cubhouse at the Animal Kingdom Lodge has murals featuring Disney’s Lion King and a nice view of the animals roaming the savannah outside.  It is located near the Uzima pool on the first floor of the Lodge and is a large room full of toys, games and activities to keep kids happily busy during their stay.

The Neverland Club at the Polynesian Resort is probably the largest and most elaborately themed children’s center on Disney property.  Parents check in at Wendy’s Bed and children fly off to their evening of fun through the nursery window.  There are games, activities, toys, and a fantastic costume area.  

The Sandcastle Club at Disney’s Beach & Yacht Club Resort is not as themed as some of the others, but consistently gets rave reviews from both kids and parents.  The cast members here are known for organizing impromptu dance parties with the kids in addition to fun crafts & games.

The Cub’s Den at the Wilderness Lodge has a super-cute woodland theme with wood furniture and bright murals and is located off the resort’s main lobby.  Along with toys, games and western-themed crafts, the Cub’s Den has a large (and secure!) outdoor sandbox area adjacent to the indoor space.

Games at the Cub's Den
The Mouseketeer Club at the Grand Floridian Resort is located just outside of the Gasparilla Grill and is the smallest of all of the activity centers, making it best for littler ones.  It offers similar activities and toys as the other centers as well as Disney movies and video games.  If you have older children or your children will be there for more than a couple of hours, they’ll likely have more fun at the Neverland Club at the nearby Polynesian.

Camp Dolphin at the Dolphin Hotel is the one club that is not owned or run by Disney but is still conveniently located on Disney property.  Situated next to the health club on the Dolphin’s lower level, Camp Dolphin is chock-full of activities and games to engage kids throughout their stay.  As with the Disney clubs, dinner is provided as well.

All of the children’s activity centers are open daily from 4 or 4:30 until midnight and are open to children ages 3-12.  Children must be potty-trained to attend.  The clubs cost $11.50 per child per hour.  Each club has a 24-hour cancellation and will charge $20 for a missed reservation.  Reservations will be held for 30-minutes if you happen to be running late.  Club Dolphin is open daily from 5:30-midnight and is available to children ages 4-12.  Several clubs offer discounts to DVC members.


Everything but the Parks--YeHaa Bob!


YeHaa Bob Jackson!
I had the idea to start a series of posts titled "Everything but the Parks" that focuses on, well, everything the Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resorts have to offer outside of their fabulous theme parks.

There are a million and one activities in which to partake while on Disney property and so often families become park commandoes and forget to take the time to explore some of Disney's other magical offerings.  It's also just hard to tear oneself away from the parks, isn't it?

Over our President's Day winter break, my girls and I headed to the World for a two-day dose of Disney magic on our way back north from our Miami road trip.  We stayed at Port Orleans Riverside for two nights and did not set foot in the parks while we were there.  Instead, we spent our time gallivanting around WDW and checking out all sorts of magical tidbits we don't make time for when we are there for the parks.  It was during this visit that we discovered a true Disney gem--YeHaa Bob--at POR's River Roost Lounge.

Bob Jackson has been performing at the River Roost for about 14 years now and has a long history playing at myriad venues around WDW including the Diamond Horseshoe Revue at the Magic Kingdom and for many of the live shows on Disney property.  His show at the River Roost is a combination of slapstick humor, hysterical audience participation ("You'll never see these people again!"), incredible musical talent, and old-fashioned comedy.  His piano playing ranges from ragtime to stride to boogie-woogie and includes everything from Elvis and the Beatles to the Hokey Pokey and the Oscar Mayer theme song. 

The River Roost Lounge is one of the Disney resorts' coziest.  It features lots of delicious appetizers, nice wines, specialty drinks, and both bottled and tap beers.  There is no cover charge for Bob's show, but it's best to arrive early to get a good table.  We actually arrived after the 8:30 show began and were lucky enough to score a four-top that was being vacated by a family with tired kids.

It is important to note that Yehaa Bob's show is absolutely family friendly.  His jokes resonated for both adults and children alike and my three girls, age 6, 8 & 10, had a ball--although my shy 10-year old spend a lot of the show ducked down in her seat petrified that Bob would call her up to flap her arms like a chicken or something! My other two girls happily joined the kick line by the piano and stood up front performing Head, Shoulders, Knees & Toes as fast as possible while Bob pounded out the tune on his crazy, rocking piano.

Bob's shows are every Wednesday through Saturday night (unless otherwise noted on his website) starting at 8:30 p.m.  Bob arrives at the River Roost around 8:00 to mingle and chat with lounge patrons gathering lots of personal information which he will later incorporate into his schtick.  His memory for names and details is amazing and his way of weaving audience members into his performance is seamless and incredibly entertaining.  He had my daughters and I standing up repeatedly the night we were there shouting like Tarzan while thumping our chests!  There are two sets each night Bob performs, so if you don't arrive in time for the first one, he takes a break around 10 p.m. for photos with audience members and to collect more ammunition from new arrivals.  

So the next time you are at the Walt Disney World, make a point to get to the Port Orleans Riverside Resort to check out YeHaa Bob.  A nice evening would be dinner at Downtown Disney followed by a relaxing boat ride from the Downtown Disney Marketplace to Port Orleans Riverside and the River Roost Lounge.

YeHaaaa!

For more information about Yehaa Bob as well as for his schedule, check out his website at http://www.yehaabob.com/Home_Page.html


The Perks of Using a Disney Vacation Planner


The sheer volume of information required to plan a Disney vacation is more than the average traveler can comprehend.   Just selecting the best theme park ticket options can be a daunting challenge, not to mention what time of year to travel, which resort to pick, what restaurants are best for your family – and that's just the beginning!  There is an abundance of information out there devoted to planning a Disney vacation, but what if you don't have the time to do all that research?   What if you just want someone to break down all your options and guide you through the process?  What if you want someone to watch for any discounts that come out and apply them to your vacation?  That's where the benefit of a specialized Disney World travel agent comes in!

Traditional travel agents aren't always a good fit for a Disney vacation.  The Walt Disney World Resort is unique among travel destinations in many ways.  Disney World is 47 square miles, consisting of 20 resorts, 4 theme parks, 2 water parks and hundreds of dining and shopping locations. Unless you've visited the parks for years, you're not going to know how to get the most out of a Disney World vacation.  Add to that the other Disney destinations--the Disney Cruise Line, Adventures by Disney and Disney's fabulous beach resorts and the average travel shopper's head begins to swim in the sea of choices.

It takes someone who has first hand experience with these destinations, especially the Walt Disney World Resort, to truly understand the nuances of planning the ideal Disney trip.

So what are some of the perks of working with Gina @ MickeyTravels to plan your trip?

  • I make myself available outside of regular office hours.  I work from my home office, so I have great flexibility!  I am glad to meet with clients in my local area at their convenience to discuss their vacation ideas and am available both evenings and weekends for phone calls.  At the same time, if I get an email at midnight I will answer it at 12:15 if I am still awake!
  • I will be sure to get you the absolutely best price possible.  One of the most valuable services I can provide is to be aware of new discounts and promotions that are released by Disney after you book your vacation.  Not only do I make it my business to find out about these discounts, but I will also make sure they get applied to your reservation without you ever having to lift a finger.  It's always a happy day for me when I get to call someone to tell them their vacation price has gone down!
  • I can help you get ahead of the crowds.  Believe it or not, there is a science behind which is the best park to visit on any give day.  Crowds can swing wildly from day to day for any given park.  I will create a customized vacation itinerary for you as well as daily park touring plans if you so request.  No more standing at the park entrance wondering what to do first and arriving with the rest of the throng!
  • I can make your advance dining reservations and suggest dining experience for your group.  I am well-versed in the area of Disney Dining--from restaurants to dining plans to dinner shows and everything in between.  I can recommend restaurants that are the best fit for your family and will work tirelessly to secure those hard-to-get reservations!
  • I can help you navigate the world of Disney Travel.  I have lots of insider tips about all of the different Disney travel destinations.  From maximizing your time on board a Disney Cruise to choosing the best shore excursions, from discovering an unknown spot to view fireworks or a parade to discovering the hidden treasures throughout Disneyland and Disney World, I will help to make your Disney vacation experience truly magical!
  • I accept transfers.  If you booked your trip yourself  and are unsure about it or just need some extra help, I can transfer your reservation and help you just as if you were my client from the beginning.  Then you will reap all of the benefits that I offer to all of my clients!
  • MickeyTravels is an "Earmarked" agency and has been given the title "Authorized Disney Vacation Planner."  MickeyTravels is proud that Disney as awarded us with the title of Authorized Disney Vacation Planner.   We meet benchmarks set by Disney to qualify for and retain our designation. It is truly an honor to be chosen as one of Disney's top agencies. It is a testament to our hard work and our love of all things Disney.
  • Best of all, my services are 100% Free!  When you use Gina @ MickeyTravels to plan your dream Disney vacation, everything that I do for you is free of charge.  When I issue you a quote for your vacation, that is your quote from Disney.  As an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner, I receive commission from Disney for my work.  The only thing you have to do is relax--and start your vacation before your vacation. 

So let me make some magic for you today!  Contact me at 914.330.6274 or email me at gina@mickeytravels.com to start planning your Disney vacation today!


'Tween Boys in Disney World--No Princesses Allowed!


Fairy tales, castles and princesses.  Pixie dust, magic wands and snuggles with Winnie the Pooh.  These are often the images that come to mind when one thinks about visiting the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando.  But what many people do not realize is that beyond the world of tulle and tiaras lies Disney World’s alter-ego—the world of lightning fast race cars, roller coasters that send you flying down an 80-foot drop or hurl you forward from 0-60 mph in 2.8 seconds, roguish pirates, haunted mansions, spiraling missions to space, death-defying stunt shows, and fabulously themed, interactive gaming attractions.  Enter into the sphere of Disney World for ‘tween boys.  Toto, we’re not in Fantasyland anymore!

I’ve compiled a list of the most exciting, boy-friendly attractions, shows, activities, and dining experiences at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando in order to dispel the myth that Disney has little to offer to ‘tween and teen boys.  With an itinerary filled with such adventures, families with boys who roll their eyes and say, “Disney World is just for girls!” will be clamoring for more! 

Beat Your Top Score on Buzz Lightlyear's Space Ranger Spin!
The Magic Kingdom
*Splash Mountain
*Big Thunder Mountain
*Space Mountain
*Pirates of the Caribbean
*Astro Orbiter
*Monster’s Inc. Laugh Floor
*Mickey’s Philharmagic (incredible 4-D film experience)
*Haunted Mansion
*Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin (interactive, computer animated, gaming experience)

Flying Around the Test Track
Epcot
Future World Section
*Mission Space
*Soarin’
*Test Track
*Sum of All Thrills
*The Universe of Energy
*Club Cool
*The Jammitors

World Showcase Section
*The Dragon Legend Acrobats in China
*Sergio the Juggler in Italy
*Mo’ Rockin’ & their belly dancer in Morocco
*Serveur Amusant in France
*Off Kilter in Canada

Ready to Rock Out at 60mph on the Rock n' Roller Coaster
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
*The Rock n’ Roller Coaster
*Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
*Toy Story Midway Mania
*Star Tours-The Adventure Continues
*The Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular
*Lights, Motor, Action Extreme Stunt Show
*Disney’s American Idol Experience
*Studio Backlot Tour
*Fantasmic! Nighttime Spectacular

The Dreaded Broken Tracks on Expedition Everest
Animal Kindgom Park
*Expedition Everest
*Dinosaur
*Kilamanjaro Safaris
*Kali River Rapids
*Primeval Whirl
*Flights of Wonder
*It’s Tough to be a Bug

Resort Hotels
Disney's Wilderness Lodge is one of many GREAT Choices!
There are over 20 different resort hotels on the Walt Disney World property designed to meet the budget of every Disney guest.  Resort accommodations range from quirky and fun to luxurious and magnificently themed.  Each and every one is host to truly world-class Disney service, amenities, recreation opportunities, dining, family activities and more.  And practically all of them have something fabulous in store for families with ‘tween and teen boys!

Dining
The Walt Disney World Resort is home to an incredible array of restaurants from family-friendly counter service locations to memorable, signature dining experiences.  Below is a list of some definitely ‘tween & teen boy-friendly eateries throughout the World.

Magic Kingdom & MK Resort Area
*The Liberty Tree Tavern (Magic Kingdom)
*Pecos Bill’s Tall Tale Café (Magic Kingdom—Counter Service)
*‘Ohana (Polynesian Resort)
*Whispering Canyon Café (Wilderness Lodge)
*Trail’s End Restaurant (Fort Wilderness)
*California Grill (incredible views from the Contemporary Resort)

Dining Beneath the Volcanoes at Epcot's San Angel Inn
Epcot’s World Showcase
*San Angel Inn (Mexico)
*Via Napoli (Italy)
*Restaurant Marrakesh (Morocco)
 *Teppan Edo (Japan)

 Epcot Resort Area
*Beaches and Cream (Beach Club Resort)
*ESPN Club (Boardwalk Area)
*Big River Grille & Brewing Works (Boardwalk Area)

Hollywood Studios & Animal Kingdom
*Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano (HS)
*50s Prime Time Café (HS)
*Sci-Fi Drive-In (HS)
*Pizzafari (AK-counter service) 

Downtown Disney Area
*T-Rex Café
*Splitsville
*Ghiradelli Soda Fountain and Chocolate Shop
*Goofy’s Candy Company


Other Activities at Walt Disney World
*A day spent at one of Disney’s water parks—Typhoon Lagoon or Blizzard Beach (this may be a must-do with the boys!)
*A day at the Fort Wilderness Resort—fishing, bike rentals, boat rentals (canoes and kayaks at the bike barn and motor boats at the marina)
*The evening campfire and movie at most resorts, but especially at Fort Wilderness Resort (it’s fantastic!)
The Crush n' Gusher Slide at Typhoon Lagoon
*Yee Haw Bob—hysterical, vaudeville-style, slapstick piano player in the River Roost Lounge at Port Orleans Riverside Resort
*A round of miniature golf
*The Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue at Fort Wilderness Resort (Disney’s longest running dinner show—it is totally corny but an absolute hoot—the boys would love it!)
*An afternoon spent at DisneyQuest in Downtown Disney

Contact Me Today!
The Walt Disney World activities that appeal to 'tween and teen boys are unlimited and this type of Disney adventure is sure to be one your kids will always remember.  I would be thrilled to help you plan your magical Disney vacation!  Contact me when you are ready to get started or with any further questions you might have.  And as ever, have a magical day!

Gina Vercesi
1-888-762-4142 (toll free)
914-330-6274 (cell)