Disney Magic Goes Pop

My first trip report is not a good one. The Mature Mouse™️ posts take a positive look at a Walt Disney World vacation for adults; this is not just a vacation destination for kids. I have never been a Pollyanna. I realize Disney is not perfect. However, at the end of my first day I was beginning to wonder: Is Disney beginning to lose its magic?

After a very bumpy flight on Southwest, which required some fancy maneuvering by the pilot to land around some serious thunderstorms, The Mature Mouse™️ had returned to Orlando. I, along with a dozen or so other guests, boarded an empty Magical Express bus heading to Art of Animation and Pop Century resorts. We then sat and waited for close to twenty minutes as the bus slowly filled. It was a dreary, rainy drive to the resort.

Check-in went well, and the cast member was very friendly and welcoming. He even gave me a button to wear after I told him I was celebrating my 60th birthday. I easily found my remodeled, preferred room (less walking to the main building).

I headed over to the food court, which was packed. There were long lines at every station. And, there were numerous groups of teens eating, cheering, and playing games in the dining areas. Guests and cast members had trouble talking over the noise level. Ordering required a series of gestures to indicate your preferences. I took my food back to my room to eat in peace.

By 8 o’clock I was wondering about my luggage. Disney promotes delivery of your checked bag three-hours after your arrival. They do not specify if that is three hours from landing or arrival at your resort on Magical Express. So, I waited until 9 p.m., three hours after arrival at Pop, and still no sign of my luggage. I called the luggage desk and was told that it was here, at the resort, but the runners were out making deliveries. As soon as one returned, my bag would be delivered. 9:30 – still nothing. I started calling again at 10; no one was answering and my luggage had still not arrived. I finally went to the luggage desk, located next to the resort entrance. There were a few guests there looking for their luggage, and three people assisting these guests. I finally retrieved my bag and returned to the room to unpack.

It is times like these that I wonder what Walt Disney would say about the quality of guest experiences.

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Extra Fee for Extra Magic?

extra-magic-hours-logoThe Mature Mouse™ plans well in order to make the most of my time in the parks. I will use extra magic hour(s) whenever possible. Walt Disney World is now offering extra time in the parks for an extra fee.

According to the Walt Disney World website, for $149.00 –  “Enjoy Magic Kingdom park in the dark at an after-hours special event featuring many of your favorite attractions and Characters.” For now, this is a limited time offer.

It is being reported, on various websites, that there are plans in the works for a pre-park opening hard ticket, called  DISNEY EARLY MORNING MAGIC – FANTASYLAND. Nothing is official, but this event was recently seen on the Disney World websdisney_fantasylandite for a few hours. It quickly disappeared, so everyone is wondering when this option will be available. This extra perk will offer select guests an extra 90 minutes in the Magic Kingdom, specifically Fantasyland, for the low price of $69 for adults, and $49 for children. Reports also state that this event will include breakfast at Pinocchio Village Haus.

Please use the links for more details.

Would you pay extra for extra time in the parks?

 

The Mature Mouse™ returns to Walt Disney World

IMG_7770Magical News: The Mature Mouse™ returns to Walt Disney World this April. This will be another solo trip that will feature my first experience at the Epcot® International Flower & Garden Festival. I have heard that this springtime event has incredible Disney themed flower and garden displays, along with live concerts and unique food offerings. Although the displays contain Disney characters, it appears to be geared toward the older Disney guests.

As much as I would enjoy sharing my trips to WDW with family and friends, that cannot happen as often as I wish to visit. A solo trip offers an inexpensive way for me to return to WDW more often. There are numerous articles about the pros and cons of taking a solo trip to Walt Disney World on the net, like this one by Zach Basler on the WDW Prep School website. I do not want to focus my blog on the reasons why you might want to consider a solo trip.

I will share my steps in planning for this solo trip over the next few months. Hopefully, my steps in preparing for my visit will help you prepare for your next trip, regardless of what type of Disney vacation you will be taking. Of course, I will be posting reports while at WDW, and I will be gathering information, photos, and videos to share after my visit. Although I cannot promise, I might try Periscope while in the parks.

Normally, one would begin their planning by deciding when to visit Walt Disney World. However, as a high school teacher, my choices are confined to school vacations. I have now traveled to WDW twice in June. As I have researched WDW for this blog, I have considered a visit in April to enjoy the cooler weather, the Epcot® International Flower & Garden Festival, and, hopefully, “lower” crowd levels. April vacation can be a very hectic week at WDW, especially if it falls in the calendar around Easter. This year, Easter is early, so the crowd levels during the third week of April are lower, normal (if there is such a thing at WDW). An additional incentive for traveling to WDW this April is that Disney is offering a spring discount.

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Not having to decide when to visit, my first step in planning for this trip to WDW began with setting a budget. This decision would guide the decisions for my length of stay, type of a resort, possible meal plan, and flight options. My goal was to put a package together that would fit my budget of $1500. Yes, it is possible to make a trip to WDW for so little. A low vacation cost is a major perk to a solo trip. Of course, to assist me in this endeavor, I made a call to my travel agent, Jennie Nowers. Given her knowledge and experience with Walt Disney World, Jennie knows the best way to create a vacation package to meet each guest’s unique requirements.

My original goal was a 5-night/6-day trip, but this was not possible with my budget. To keep costs low, I realized that I would need to stay at a value resort, but which one was the question. So, after some research and many email discussions with Jennie, I settled on a 4-night/5-day trip, and booked my stay at Disney’s All Star Music Resort. I considered returning to Pop Century, but it cost almost $10 more a night than the All Star resorts. When dealing with a tight budget, it all adds up. I was in a position to include the quick-service meal plan, which worked well for me during my last solo trip. I also included park-hopper tickets to afford me flexibility in developing touring plans. So the final package, before adding the cost of round trip flights, was just under $1000.

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Fortunately, after a lot of online research, I was able to purchase round trip airfare for just under $600. Here is a tip: Google Flights. All things considered, even though I broke my budget of $1500, it is still a very inexpensive trip. Searching for, and booking flights first can be helpful. Being able to adjust your trip dates affords you the opportunity to find the best price on flights. However, as in my case, I have a fixed window of travel days.

In my next post, I will discuss my next steps in the planning process. This involves consulting Touring Plans, and other crowd calendars, to determine which park to visit on each day of my stay at WDW. There will be a lot of time planned for Epcot and World Showcase to experience the Flower and Garden Festival. And, of course, I will plan as much time as possible in Magic Kingdom, just because. I will find time to visit Disney’s Hollywood Studios, before the park, as we know it, completely disappears. However, I am considering not taking the time to visit Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

IMG_2098-0Please use this link to visit The Mature Mouse™ store for logo merchandise. Many of the items would make great gifts for the Disney fan in your life.

And, make sure you consult Jennie Nowers about your next Disney vacation. Tell her that The Mature Mouse™ sent you and receive a special gift from Jennie with your next booking.

 

10 Experiences That Give Us Disney Chill Bumps


Admit it, there are certain moments during your time in a Disney Park when you get chills, maybe even feel a tear or two well up in your eyes. The Mature Mouse™ has had those moments. It is those magical moments that keep us coming back. It is that something non-fans of Disney just do not understand.

Disney Dining has a created a list of 10 experiences that give Disney fans chills while on vacation in the parks. Did they miss anything? Is there something, some moment, not mentioned here that gives you an emotional reaction? The Mature Mouse™ feels that emotional tug while on the Haunted Mansion.

A travel agent who specializes in booking Disney Vacations is a valuable free resource when planning your next trip. I started planning my next Disney World Vacation by calling Jennie Nowers. When the Cool Summer Savings were released, Jennie was up early applying these savings to my trip, which saved me 15% on the price of my resort stay. I did not need to do a thing. Tell her that The Mature Mouse™ sent you and receive a special gift from Jennie with your next booking.

Please visit The Mature Mouse™ store for merchandise. Many of the items would make outstanding additions to your vacation gear and attire. Below are images of just a few of the featured items available through the store. If you are a mature fan of Disney, consider getting an item to let others know. I am a Mature Mouse™, are you?