The Disness Report Blog

/The Disness Report Blog

runDisney Race Weekend Touring Tips for NON Racers

runDisney weekends are super fun if you are participating in the races. If you aren’t however, you may just feel like running away from the crowds. As someone who has been both a racer and non-racer, here are five things you need to know to help better navigate the days, so you have the BEST possible Walt Disney World vacation you can have!

1. The first thing to know is that there are typically four runDisney race weekends during the year. These happen during the months of January, February, April and November. So if you’re planning a trip during these months, you’ll want to keep an eye out for the race weekend dates. You can monitor these at rundisney.com. BEWARE they do draw in a BIG crowd, but with the right planning with an expert travel planner, you’ll be just fine.

2. Secondly, it’s helpful to know there are either three or four days of races plus a day before they begin for racers to pick up race bibs and submit waivers. January’s weekend will have four races: 5K, 10K, 1/2 Marathon and Full Marathon. The other weekends just don’t include a Full Marathon. Racers will begin to arrive for these events from typically Wednesday or Thursday and will stay through Sunday/Monday.

3. This is IMPORTANT: All races begin at 5:30am, with transportation to the starting line beginning at 3:00am. (CRAZY early!) Most are on the bus by 3:30 to take advantage of the pre-run fun. This means two very important things: racers need to both go to bed and get up very early. To use this to your advantage, plan to be at the parks at ROPE DROP (before the park officially opens) to enjoy the lowest crowds each day of the races. A typical 5K race can be completed in about 30-60 minutes, but not a Disney race! There are character meet and greets along the way, so it does take a while to complete. Runners will start arriving to the parks in full force sometime after 10:30am on 5K day, 11:30am on 10K day, 1:30pm on 1/2 marathon day and late afternoon/evening on a Full marathon day.

While some runners will head straight to the parks after the event, most go back to their resorts to at least shower if not take a nap. The parks will begin to get very crowded during the afternoon, so plan to enjoy low standby wait times first thing in the morning on most attractions and schedule your FastPasses for noon and after. Take a midday break to enjoy the pool, have a sit down meal, tour other resorts, mini golf, or visit Disney Springs at the height of the theme park crowd levels mid afternoon. With many runners needing to get a good night of rest before the race, take advantage of the park with the latest nighttime hours. Parks won’t be empty, but much less crowded than the afternoons.

 

Magic Kingdom the morning of the 10K Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend

4. All resorts participate in runDisney transportation, so any on property resort has the potential to host a large number of racers. This can have a big effect on the quick service dining in the mornings of the 5k and 10k races, since those finish the earliest. Hungry racers coming back to their hotel are going to stop for something to eat.Ā  As noted above, I really recommend getting a very early start. Maybe NOT having breakfast at your resort on these days and either having a light breakfast in your room or just having a breakfast bar on the go so you can get more accomplished in the parks. If you want to plan a sit down meal, plan it for the afternoon or early evening when the attraction lines will be long.

5. Transportation can also be an issue IF you plan to use your own vehicle. There will be road closures, heavy delays and detours to accommodate the race route, so it’s best to rely upon Disney’s internal transportation during race days.

To recap: Get up EARLY, take a midday park break, stay out LATE and use Disney transportation to make the most of your vacation during a runDisney race weekend if you aren’t running. If you happen to see someone wearing a medal, go ahead and congratulate them! It’s not easy and many runners train all year long for these weekends. šŸ™‚

Want to plan your next Walt Disney World stay with an expert travel planner? We can help you get there! Simply fill out our quote form here or email us at travel@getdowntodisness.com and one of our incredible partner agents with Destinations to Travel will be in touch shortly.

 

By | February 24th, 2020|Disness Reports|

I Took the Agent Prep Course Plunge

Anyone that knows me knows that I am fanatical when it comes to all things Disney. Whether it be the movies, the soundtracks, the characters, the clothes and especially the parks I am ALL IN. I have loved traveling to Walt Disney World since I was a little girl and the love affair only grew once we had our two daughters and I can experience it through their eyes now. Planning our annual trips has been so much fun for me, we love counting down, we love planning our dining at the 180 mark, love the thrill of trying to get all of our FastPasses and that rush that comes from a job well done when everyone is having a seamless and easy vacation experience. As I’m not quiet about my Disney obsessiveness, I’ve helped many friends (and family) also plan their trips to Disney and the inevitable question always came, “Why aren’t you a Disney travel agent?”

Hmmm…why DON’T I do this for a living? As a 40-something stay at home Mom who left her job in Advertising nearly 10 years ago I guess reason number one was self doubt. Do I REALLY want to take on another responsibility? I love my life of volunteering at my girls’ school, running a small on-line craft store and even have an incredibly flexible part time job that I love; do I really want more?! Can I handle more? Do I have time for more? Would anyone even hire someone so far removed from the traditional work force? The answer to all of these I learned is YES!

When I discovered the Get Down to Disness Agent Prep Program I was in the throes of “what ifs” and the “should I” questions. Although I had booked dozens of trips for US and had helped friends, I really didn’t know ALL that went in to booking for strangers and that was daunting to me. I also knew that I didn’t want to get involved in something that would end up being a full time job or require a huge monetary investment from me. After learning what a single college credit is going to cost me (x2 kids) and knowing what I know now about the program, I 100% would have paid more. I loved that this course not only would give me tools to become a great agent, but it also answered all of those scary questions that you’d really not want to ask of a potential employer. It helped me work through the self doubt and figure out if this was something that would be right for me to pursue. And if I get talking about the incredible support group that Kat comes into live weekly for bonus training and that is filled with the most supportive friends, this post will never end.

The style and mechanics of this course are so user friendly and supportive. You really feel like you’re settling in with a good friend and just talking it all out. (Learning loads of info without feeling overwhelmed!) There are gorgeous handouts that serve as excellent learning tools but also act as support for me now post-graduation while I am currently booking clients of my own. (Gifts that keep on giving!)

One of my favorite parts of the course are the “truth bombs.” Truth bombs are hearty little nuggets of absolute truths and solid advice. Things that I wish came with every job before you signed on. (Maybe even came with the whole parenthood thing. But I digress…) Truth bombs are those things that EVERYONE needs to know and understand but not nearly enough people share with colleagues, friends, and especially perspective employees trying a whole new career path. You know what I mean, those things that you scream in your head,”WHY DIDN’T ANYONE TELL ME THIS!” This course is incredibly grounded in truth, and best of all personal experiences that encompass successes and setbacks. It is a real and candid look at the Disney travel industry.

Kat is a born instructor, she is a nurturer, passionate about Disney and overly generous with her time, knowledge and talents. All of these attributes come through in these Agent Prep lessons making them easy to follow, understand and if this travel agency life is for you, these lessons will ignite the enthusiasm and drive within you. The investment spent taking this course continues to be paying itself off as I find myself feeling more prepared, more confident and better equipped in building my own travel client base. I’m now a travel agent planning Disney vacations! I understand, (thanks to Kat) that success will not happen overnight (#truthbomb), my expectations are managed and my skill set is continuing to grow long after that final exam was completed. Best decision I could have made for myself.

If you want to learn more, visit the program website or join the public POP UP Facebook group.

 

By | February 14th, 2020|Disness Reports|

O’hana In-Room Twilight Feast at the Polynesian

Wanna pig out on O’hana’s delicious Asian inspired food, but wanna do it in your jammies? Friends, allow me to introduce you to the Twilight Feast in-room dining experience at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort.

Mark this in-room dining experience under the “deal of the century” category for anyone staying at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. O’hana, the Poly’s incredible family style table service restaurant, is one of the most popular dining experiences on Walt Disney World property and with good reason. The atmosphere is hard to beat, the views from the restaurant are stunning, the food is plentiful and delicious and the meal caps off with their signature dessert, bread pudding. The only thing hard to swallow about O’hana is, like most things at Walt Disney World, the price. At $54 per adult, it can be an expensive meal if you aren’t going to shovel in “all you care to enjoy”. While it’s not a buffet, it’s all you can eat of the foods they serve. (Of course if you are on the Disney Dining Plan, it’s only one table service credit and a good use of one at that.)

The Twilight Feast (pictured above), offered after 5pm and at $60 (per guest it states, but I will elaborate on that later) includes all the trimmings:

  • a loaf of Pineapple Coconut bread and butter
  • a large bowl Mixed Greens with Lilikoi Dressing
  • Sticky Wings (2)
  • Potstickers (4)
  • Sweet and Sour Chicken
  • Szechuan Sirloin Beef
  • Spicy Grilled Peel and Eat Shrimp (4)
  • SautĆ©ed Vegetables
  • Teriyaki Noodles
  • peanut and sweet and sour sauces
  • a carafe of Sunset Punch (Passion Orange Guava juice)
  • Bread Pudding

SO. MUCH. FOOD. In fact TOO MUCH FOOD for one person.

I mentioned above that the menu states it’s $60 per guest, but they allow and encourage sharing. When I called to order “for one” they asked how many would be dining. We ordered one Twilight Feast for the two of us. They sent two utensil rolls, two glasses and because we don’t eat shrimp, they doubled up on the wings, chicken and beef. Substitutions are definitely allowed. We pigged out and still had enough food (and drink) for both of us to have a big lunch the next day (with a couple of pieces of chicken to spare). So for $60 (plus 18% gratuity) we got four delicious meals!Ā We easily could have fed our family of three (two adults and a 16 year old healthy eater) and still had food left for one of us to fight over the next day.

Pictured below, (with the full size coffee pot for size reference) is the amount of food we had left over. Plus a half a bowl of salad, half a bread pudding and half a carafe of juice. We carb loaded on the bread since we were running the next morning. Yeah, that’s why we ate an entire loaf of bread. šŸ˜‰

The ONLY thing you may want to consider is adding an extra order of bread pudding if you plan to share this meal with more than two people. I am not a fan of the bread pudding (I know, I know) so my husband enjoyed it with both dinner and lunch the next day. If our daughter had been with us, there wouldn’t have been a crumb left after dinner.

It’s important to note that we stayed in a DVC villa, so we not only had a larger fridge to store the leftovers, we had a microwave, plates and utensils. If you are dining in a regular room, you won’t have those at your disposal.

As DVC members with the Polynesian as our home resort, it was decided that the ordering in the Twilight Feast would be a tradition each time we visit, we enjoyed it (and the bang for our buck) THAT much!

Want to plan your next Walt Disney World stay at the Polynesian Village Resort and enjoy the Twilight Feast for yourself? We can help you get there! Simply fill out our quote form here or email us at travel@getdowntodisness.com and one of our incredible partner agents with Destinations to Travel will be in touch shortly.

 

By | January 14th, 2020|Disness Reports|

The Get Down to Disness ULTIMATE Disney Lovers Holiday Gift Guide

Okay, the stuffed Mickeys are adorable. Who doesn’t love a fun, Disney inspired mug (check my cabinets, guilty as charged) or a cozy set of Mickey jammies? We all now Becky LOVES some glittery ears, what’s one more pair, right? But what if…what if some GENIUS holiday fairy dropped off some original, insanely personal, relevant AND useful gift ideas for the Disney lover in your life? (Not all Disney lovers are created equal, by the way.) Go ahead and table that creepy elf on the shelf because the Disness elves are here to save you time, money and make you the holiday hero you’ve always dreamt of being.

1. For the Family Disney Trip Planner

You know this person, no matter how many people are traveling to Disney, this person always willingly elects themselves the family Disney trip planner. They build spreadsheets, they email countless itineraries, they have post-it notes stuck in ever square inch of their home office or as they like to call it “Mousequarters.”

For us in the Disness office, this person is OUR kind of people. They speak the sacred language of the mega planner and we salute them. They were at the heart of The Get Down to Disness Daily Agenda Book’s inception. It was these kind of diligent planners that this agenda was created for and this is the gift they have been longing for.

You may not understand it, but when they unwrap this agenda with it’s…erasable pen (swoon)…your stock will rise immensely. The trip planner in your life will thank you and be delighted to know that you appreciate all the effort they put in to planning your family’s flawless Disney vacations.

The Get Down to Disness Daily Agenda Book, now in it’s 5th edition, has assisted over five thousand Disney-loving folks plan out their days so they don’t miss a thing! Naturally, we’ve included the erasable pen with the book because if anyone knows plans can and will change, it’s us! Our Amazon.com customers love it and have great things to say, you can read the reviews here.

 

2. For Those Darned Stockings

I can’t be the only one who agonizes over what goes into the family Christmas stockings year after year. Or the dreaded “White Elephant” gift exchange-how many candles/cheap blankets/tear off desk calendars can I try and regift?! You guys have GOT to check out ourĀ Magical Snack Match Card Game.

For one, this is completely unique. This is not something you can just find in any store. Chances are your recipient has never laid eyes on these beauties. (Unless of course they are in our Disness community, then they’re just super smart and doubly deserve a set for themselves.) For starters, there are so many fun card games that you can play with this one deck. (Think long car rides to Disney…now picture them happening in peace.) Secondly the photography on these cards are as mouth watering as the Disney Parks snacks they represent. You will feel like you are holding the beloved Dole Whip right in your hand. And lastly, the Disney Parks trivia buff on your holiday shopping list will certainly get a kick out of the fun facts that each card has about it’s respective snack. Check out the commercial we made for Magical Snack Match here!

 

 

3. For the Coffee Table Enthusiast

Call me crazy, but I love mail. I love good, old fashioned snail mail. I love getting real cards and letters, I even love junk mail, but what I love most of all is when my print copy of WDW Magazine comes to my mailbox. Flipping through those gorgeous glossy pages I am immediately transported to my most magical place on earth. Many copies I just keep intact because they’re just so lovely, but I also enjoy framing pictures and using them as background for our family trip pictures in shadowboxes or photo albums.

The WDW Magazine Calendar is also a great way to brighten up the family kitchen/command center, home or work office, anywhere that is in need of some Disney magic on a daily basis. (Hello-that’s everywhere, buy a bunch of these babies!)

The good folks at WDW Magazine also has a breathtaking coffee table book the “Best of WDW Volume 2”…it’s the perfect centerpiece to your living room, I love ours hanging out front and center and in arm’s reach whenever I need a Disney World fix.

If you happen to be giving the gift of Disney to someone who prefers their news and entertainment on the go, then definitely consider giving them a a digital subscription to WDW Magazine. As a former Long Island Railroad commuter, I know that if I had access to that back in my commuting days I probably would have been a whole lot less…Grumpy.

Use code BLACKFRIDAY for FREE SHIPPING on WDW Magazine Products!

 

4. For the BIG Dreamer Who Gets the BIGGEST Cheers

Okay, you’re planning on going to Disney this year ANYWAY, right? Why put off the big announcement, why not book that baby and let the whole family know at Christmas! (Man, talk about putting the big guy in the red suit in his place!) The best part is, you are just a click away from getting specialized planning, promotion monitoring, a wealth of Disney knowledge and a crazy amount of enthusiasm delivered right to your inbox or phone.

Once you contact one of our knowledgeable agents at Destinations to Travel the hard work is off your to-do list. They will respond to your inquiry quickly, listen, advise and create the best possible Disney vacation you can dream of and WITHIN your budget! No one is going to do any crazy up-selling or overcharge you, these agents work for you and at no cost to you!

For a FREE, ZERO OBLIGATION quote, click here.

 

5. For the Big Trip Reveal

We hear it a lot, families who have booked their trips and want to let the family know but in a cool, unique way and even better, as the star of the Christmas gift show. (After all, we are taking you to Disney, must we still buy the Legos!) We love the idea of giving personalized trip shirts from our good friends at Celebration Shirts.
(Use code Disness at checkout and receive an additional 10% off!)

If you can dream it, they can create it! And, even better, if your brain is just tired from all the holiday madness, there are plenty of pre-designed ideas to choose from. My favorite part is shopping from my jammies, coffee in hand, doggie at feet and I am marking off Christmas gifts like a boss!

Check out their “Mickey Shaped Snacks” shirt, it’s my favorite! As part of your trip reveal, any of the above mentioned gifts would be great along with a set of Mickey ears, a lanyard with some pins to trade or an empty autograph book that is just itching to be filled!

 

6. For the Amateur Planner Who is Ready to Go Pro

You’re reading this because the Disney fans in your life mean the world to you. You are looking for those perfect and special gifts that just SCREAM, “I get you.” You want something that doesn’t have a one size fits all feel, something that maybe they wouldn’t think to buy for themselves or they’re just always too busy worrying about everyone else that they just don’t ever invest in themselves. A gift that says both “I love you.” and “It’s YOUR turn.”

For many people in our Disness Facebook community they have an insatiable love of Disney Parks and travel. They are reading all the blogs, they are following all the specials, they are planning trips not only for themselves but for everyone they know and never are expecting anything in return, they.just.love.it. Imagine now if you could give the gift of becoming a paid travel agent to this special person in your life.

Imagine if you could give them a leg up on the competition? Imagine if you could give them the confidence boosting tools to becomeĀ  a Disney-focused travel agent and actually earn money for planning these trips?

Last year, our Chief Disnesswoman, Kat Wolfe, introduced the Get Down to Disness Agent Prep Program: Fundamental Steps to Launch Your Career as a Disney-Focused Travel Planner. It’s an online, 5 module complete program that sets students on the path to realizing their dream of being a Disney-focused travel agent. For any amateur planners wanting to go pro, give this program a serious look. There is no other program like it available. While anyone can a travel agent, not everyone will be successful. There is a formula that includes sales, marketing and customer service know-how, that without, success will be elusive.

But it’s not for everyone. Being a travel agent of any kind, in this case with a focus on Disney destinations, requires a certain set of skills and attributes before you can even consider enrolling in a program to get you on your way. Take a look here at this Skills Evaluation Worksheet and if you think your loved one has what it takes, look further into the Agent Prep Program. We’ve welcomed 70 students over the last twelve months and every graduate that has applied for an agent position has been hired. The entire program is a very nurturing experience, that doesn’t end when you complete the final exam. Like everything we do at Get Down to DisnessĀ®, this program is designed to uplift, surprise and delight. You can read just a few of the comments we have received from our students, here.

There are so many incredible ways to celebrate the true Disney lover in your life, and the best part, you’re already “in line” to make many of these purchases by just hanging out on your laptop or Smartphone. Say goodbye to mediocre gifts that feel impersonal, and DEFINITELY bid adieu to the craziness that is Black Friday and the mall parking lot. We all love that feeling of being seen and knowing that someone took the time to find something that speaks to us beyond the impulse rack at their local Big Box store. We’ll keep the fact that you had your own set of less creepy elves helping you out. Happy Shopping Heroes!

 

By | November 19th, 2019|Disness Reports|

5 Ways to Fa-la-la-la-la in Disney Without the Party Pressure

You are the ultimate holiday elf, you are the hero of the family. You are taking your family to the most magical place on earth during the most magical time of the year…Christmas in Disney! But now what…you aren’t really feeling the holiday party vibe, but you want the family to experience all of the Disney holiday FEELS. What’s a festive family to do if they aren’t hitting Jingle Bell Jingle Bam?! Don’t get your tinsel in a tangle, we are here to help.

It’s no secret that Disney does the ultimate Christmas; being “extra” is just how they roll and the holidays are no exception. There are so many popular, publicized events that they make having a Merry Christmas a complete no-brainer. For starters there’s Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, Hollywood Studios’ popular holiday party “Jingle Bell, Jingle Bam!” and of course the iconic and beautifully orchestrated “Candlelight Processional” at Epcot, but what else is there for you to do away from the fray? Here are my top five suggestions for immersing your family in holiday magic off the popular park party path. (Say that three times fast!)

 

#1: OH SNAP-I smell gingerbread cookies!

No one does gingerbread quite like Walt Disney World resorts! The scent is intoxicating andĀ is immediately associated with all things good, warm and Christmasy. (Which may not be a word, but absolutely should be!) Make it a point to tour the resorts if not for any other reason than to check out their amazing gingerbread displays. The Grand Floridian has larger than life gingerbread houses in their expansive lobby. (You can even buy a shingle to nibble on.)

The Yacht & Beach Club won’t be outdone as have a moving gingerbread carousel with a mini village and working train in their lobby. “It’s a Small World” fans may be interested in stopping by The Contemporary as they’ve been known to have displays done by famed artist and Small World designer Mary Blair. If gingerbread isn’t your thing but cozy fireplaces, enormous Christmas trees and the illusion of a Northeastern chill (but without the pesky snow and flight delays) are your thing, swing by Disney’s Wilderness Lodge and cozy up to their fireplace while relaxing in their spacious, yet cozy cabin-like lobby. You’ll never want to get up from their deep, comfortable couches.

 

#2: On Dasher! On Dancer!

What’s Christmas without a sleigh ride? There may not be any reindeer involved, but your family can have it’s own sleigh ride at either Port Orleans-Riverside or at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resorts. For a nominal fee, your family can be whisked away on a 25 minute sleigh ride while you discuss who REALLY made the naughty and nice lists.

 

#3: Toast to a Happy New Year in style

Kids don’t corner the market on holiday excitement, anticipation and cheer! Build in some adult time to toast to both the old and the new at somewhere fun like Disney Springs’ new Wine Bar George. Kick back with a glass of their holiday house specialty mulled wine and savor the holidays with the people you love. Wine Bar George is the perfect blend of laid back and elegant style. If you’re fortunate enough to be spending Christmas Eve in Disney, make your reservations NOW to have a delicious prime rib Christmas Eve dinner at Wine Bar George. Santa shouldn’t be the only one with a happy belly on Christmas Eve!

#4: Gazing at one, big Christmas tree is SO basic

Why “ooooooo” and “ahhhhhh” at just one giant Christmas tree when you can walk the Christmas Tree Trail at Disney Springs and be blown away by 27 Disney themed Christmas trees?! Stroll down the trail during a gentle snowfall and marvel at decorations only Disney could dream up. (A Haunted Mansion tree-yep, they’ve thought of that!) All of that strolling and marveling will surely work up an appetite which is great, because there are holiday snacks AS festive as the trees waiting to tempt your sweet tooth. How does Frozen Hot Chocolate or Frozen Egg Nog sound? (I’ll have one of each!) And you know, there will be a coveted holiday themed popcorn bucket for sale that you will just HAVE to have!

#5: Who am I kidding; we HAVE to go to the parks!

We aren’t going to lie, the parks are going to be BUSY. Lots of people had the same amazing idea that you did, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t check out all of the holiday magic that the parks have to offer. Magic Kingdom, of course will have amazing decorations, Santa will be hanging out at Tour Guide Gardens (next to City Hall) and characters will be decked out in their holiday best.

Animal Kingdom will FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER be putting their best holiday food forward and going all out with new lights, new music and a holiday dance party in Dino Land. Hollywood Studios will wow you with their snow, their amazing light shows and if the 10 ft tall Hamm sugar cookie in Toy Story Land doesn’t melt a frozen heart, I’m not sure what will.

But to me, Epcot is holiday central. I love the “cookie stroll” through the countries as well as the amazing “holiday kitchens” throughout World Showcase. Munch on tasty treats while listening to storytellers and holiday music. The kids (and adults) will get a kick out of Chip & Dale’s Christmas Tree Spree Scavenger Hunt throughout the park. Lastly, don’t forget there is a BRAND NEW nighttime show happening at Epcot now…and apparently “forever” as it’s ambitiously titled, “Epcot Forever.”

To me, Disney is always one of those places that is so much more than just the attractions and characters, there are gems hidden in plain sight all over the property. Christmas is the perfect time to dig a little deeper and discover some holiday magic where you may not have thought to look for it.

Are you looking to plan a Walt Disney World Resort holiday vacation ? Let us help! Send us an emailĀ orĀ fill out this quote form and tell us a little bit about the Magical Disney adventure you are looking to have. Our Authorized Disney Vacation Planners withĀ Destinations to TravelĀ are out of this world!

 

By | November 19th, 2019|Disness Reports|