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Why Book your Walt Disney World Vacation with Fairytale Dreams & Destinations?

Why Book your Walt Disney World Vacation with Fairytale Dreams & Destinations?

Wednesday, December 13th, 2023

Want to visit Walt Disney World and don’t have a clue where to begin?  Well then, you’ve just to the right place!  Because at Fairytale Dreams & Destinations, we assist by offering the best times of the year to visit, best resorts in each of Disney’s resort categories, remain on top of any promotions you may benefit from and more.  So, do you really need to contact Fairytale Dreams & Destinations if you already know when you’re going and where in Walt Disney World you’d like to stay?   After all, you could just ‘Google’ the rest of the details, couldn’t you?

Growing up, my parents took my sister and I to Walt Disney World on a yearly basis.  Back in those days, my mom would just call Disney, book a hotel, purchase theme park tickets when we arrived…and that was it.  If we wanted to have breakfast with Mickey and Minnie on the Empress Lily, we would just show up hungry that morning and walk in.  If it was all that easy, when planning a similar vacation only a few generations later, do you REALLY need a travel agent – or more specifically an agent who specializes in Disney Destinations?  If you’ve booked vacations on-line in the past, can’t you just book your visit to the Most Magical Place on Earth just the same?

I’ll tell you why, because the past is a place of reference, not a place of residence.  What I mean by that is the ‘good old days’ of not having to plan the details for a Walt Disney World vacation are long gone.

While we’ve been selling Disney Destinations since 2002, things started changing drastically back in 2005, when Walt Disney World introduced ‘Magic Your Way’ vacation packages.  These vacation packages allowed you to add theme park tickets to a hotel stay and introduced something called the Disney Dining Plan.  Which – when purchased in advance – offered a decent savings on food throughout The Walt Disney World Resort.   As a result, for the first time ever, you could no longer simply walk up to a restaurant and wait for a table.  In fact, if you didn’t have reservations booked for character meals and other such popular dining locations, you simply missed out on these experiences.  And these reservations had to be made (wait for it), 180 days in advance.  I don’t know about you, but I have enough trouble figuring out where I’m going to dine this coming Saturday night, never mind six months from now.

Enter the concierge service that is the reason to book your Disney Vacation with Fairytale Dreams & Destinations.  We began helping families plan their daily itinerary by getting to know each traveller, their cuisine preferences and making their dining reservations (there are over 200 restaurants to choose from) based on their tastes, interests and where they will be on that day.  This is important because Walt Disney World is over 122 square kilometres (it stretches from roughly Etobicoke to Scarborough).  And believe me when I say that this is back when planning for a Walt Disney World vacation was easy!

Currently?  Those dining reservations are still required, but there is a lot more to it than that.  There are now events that need reservations (building a lightsabre, having a drink at the edge of the galaxy or princess makeovers are some examples).  Additionally, Disney has introduced methods to skip the lines with their DisneyGenie+ and Individual Lightning Lane service.  But with four theme parks and experiences to delight Guests of all ages, how do you know if you should use Individual Lightning Lane for TRON / Lightcycle Run, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train OR both?  Or which attraction should you book as your first DisneyGenie+ selection and then subsequent selections?  The answers to these questions don’t just rely on the popularity of a particular experience, but which experiences are on which service, the individual attraction’s intensity, what day of the week you are visiting, and more.

And not to scare you – but yes – it is as confusing as it sounds.

Sure, you could spend hours Googling, joining Facebook groups, reading blogs, watching YouTube videos and more, but at the end of the day, what have you learned?  You’ll more than likely feel more overwhelmed than when you started your “research”.  That’s because no two Walt Disney World Vacations are the same and every single family has different needs and wants.  Which means you will without a doubt receive varying opinions.  Let’s be honest, when you tell friends and family that you’re thinking of going to Walt Disney World, it’s like telling them you’re getting married or having a baby in that EVERYONE has an opinion.  And of course they mean well – after all – they just want you to have as good of a time as they did.  But the reality is what worked for them, may not be what works best for YOU.  Are you travelling with young kids? Grandparents?  Young adults?  Thrill seekers?  Foodies?  The answers to these questions (and a LOT more) allow us to tailor your vacation to your specific travelling party.

All those bloggers, vloggers and more can visit the Walt Disney World parks multiple times a year.  In fact, most visit on daily basis.  So, what they recommend, is not necessarily the best option for first timers, someone who only visits once a year or for those who are on a ‘once in a lifetime’ vacation.  Not to mention that these influencers don’t have an invested interest in your vacation.  Which means it doesn’t matter to them if you spent half a day on your vacation going to over Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter to try the beignets and you didn’t feel they were worth the time spent.

Everyone’s vacation time and money is limited.  Which is why at Fairytale Dreams & Destinations, we take great pride in getting to know your family better because it would take you over two months to see and do everything that the Walt Disney World Resort has to offer, but you don’t have two months.  Nobody does.  Making getting to know your family better and zero in on what matters to you and your travelling party, the most important part of our job.  Sure, Dole Whips are awesome, but believe me when I say that it won’t ruin your Walt Disney World vacation if you don’t have the time to try one.

Do we want to meet Anna and Elsa? Pilot the Millennium Falcon? Dine with Mickey? All three?  Yep, we can set that up for you.  Our small, but mighty (like Ant-Man) team are available via email, phone and in person to see to it that all your magical wishes are met.  When booking your Disney Destination vacation with Fairytale Dreams & Destinations, you can rest easy knowing that you are working with the most experienced Disney affinity travel agency & Disney vacation planner in Canada.  Before you could Rise with the Resistance or help the Guardians save the Galaxy, we were making dreams comes true…one fairytale at a time.

– Christine Fiorelli

Contact Fairytale Dreams & Destinations to Plan your Magical Vacation Today!

(905) 857.3611 | 1.855.FDMAGIC
12598 Highway #50 Bolton ON L7E 1T6
www.fairytaledestinations.com


Why Stay at a Walt Disney World Resort Hotel?

Thursday, August 3rd, 2023

View from Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort of Cinderella Castle

There are two very distinctive types of vacations you can take to the sunshine state of Florida.  One involves enjoying the sun, sand and taking in the wonderful sights and sounds of the state.  The other is a Walt Disney World vacation.  And if you’re interested in the latter, you really should stay inside the Walt Disney World Resort.

The last time I visited the Disney theme parks (but didn’t stay inside Walt Disney World) was about 25 years ago.  And I vowed then that it would be the last time I would do so.  The beautiful Florida home we had rented was advertised as only ‘10 minutes from the entrance of Walt Disney World’ and don’t get me wrong, it was.  But what the advertisement failed to mention was that the entrance was at one end of the resort complex.  The Walt Disney World Resort is 122 square kilometres (roughly the size of Ottawa), so it takes a good 25 minutes to get to where you’re going once you pass through one of its eight entrances.

And the bigger hurdle is just how long that ‘10 minute’ drive is.  You see, Walt Disney World has put the state of Florida on the map.  Nothing existed in and around it’s home of Lake Buena Vista prior to its existence.  However – over the years – restaurants, mini-golf courses, dollar store style souvenir shops and many other businesses have cashed in on the Disney Guest by building as close to the resort as they possibly could.  To call the area just outside the complex congested is an understatement.  The congestion makes that 10-minute drive slow.  VERY slow.  Clifton Hill in Niagara Falls on Canada Day slow.   As a result, that last time I stayed off-site, my family departed EPCOT at about 9:20pm.  We didn’t get back to our ‘10 minutes from Walt Disney World’ rental home until just after 11:00pm.

Needless to say, proximity to the theme parks is a very big reason that when vacationing to the Walt Disney World Resort, you want to stay with Disney.  But let me take a moment to share with you a few more:

The zero-entry pool at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa

* The Disney Dining Plan | The only way to purchase a Disney Dining Plan is if you are staying at a Disney owned and operated resort hotel.  These dining plans not only save you money, but they allow you the convenience of pre-paying for your food.

Early Theme Park Entry | Each and every day, all four Walt Disney World theme parks will open 30-minutes early for resort Guests only.   This allows you with just enough time to get in that one favourite attraction before the park officially opens.  This is also a great perk if you plan to experience new and/or popular attractions as mornings may offer the shortest waiting time.

Transportation | Forget about the hassles of car keys and parking.  When staying in Walt Disney World, there is no need to rent a vehicle.  There are motorcoaches, water launches, monorails and a brand new skyliner transportation system to whisk you everywhere you need to be throughout their 122 square kilometre complex.

The Coney Island-style boardwalk at Disney’s Boardwalk Inn

Onsite Location | The ability to take a mid-day break to go for a swim, nap or just to re-charge your batteries is much more realistic when staying so close to the theme parks.

Character Calls | Various Disney characters are happy to provide your little (or little-at-heart) ones with a wake-up call in the morning.   The best part is that the call can be scheduled easily from the phone inside your Walt Disney World Resort room.

60 Plus Ten | Disney allows all Guest to make advanced dining reservations 60 days prior to their arrival (hence ‘60’).   However, Walt Disney World Resort Guests can book for their arrival date plus the next ten days of their trip (hence ‘+10’).

This is quite an advantage if dining is a priority, especially during the busier times, so you’ll want to make sure you book your Walt Disney World Resort Hotel before the dining reservation window opens for your vacation.  Those extra 10 days make the ever-so-popular dining reservations such as character meals much easier to reserve.

Safety | Safety has always been and always will be the number one priority for Guests of any Disney Destination.  So, in the unlikely event that a member of your family breaks a leg, or any similar emergency type situation, the help offered to you will be second to none.  Take comfort in the fact that there is nowhere safer to vacation to.

View of the Savanna at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

Disney Bubble | This is a very difficult perk to explain.  And that’s because it is truly something you need to experience first-hand to appreciate its worth.  It feels very fairytale like to wake up in Walt Disney World.  There is an undeniable excitement in being surrounded by the magic 24/7.  And something so enchanting about the overall immersive experience.

The Disney theme parks truly are an extension of their movies.  And Disney resorts are an extension of their theme parks.   Which is precisely why there is such a delightful comfort and warm familiarity in staying at a Disney owned and operated resort hotel.

– Christine Fiorelli

Contact Fairytale Dreams & Destinations to learn more about the benefits of being a Disney Resort Guest.

(905) 857.3611 | 1.855.FDMAGIC
12598 Highway #50 Bolton ON L7E 1T6

www.fairytaledestinations.com

* The Disney Dining Plans can only be added to vacation packages beginning on or after January 9th 2024 


Sailing on a Disney Cruise Line Vacation Without Children

Monday, May 15th, 2023

Getting ready to set sail!

Before my husband and I set sail on our first Disney Cruise Line vacation together, the first response people would say to us was, “You’re going on a Disney cruise without children? Why would you do that to yourself?”. To be honest – I get it! When you hear ‘Disney’ your first thought is not ‘adult’ vacation. However, this was one of our favourite vacations to date, so much so that we’ve already planned to set sail again for our 5th wedding anniversary this summer.

So let’s break down some of the reasons we love sailing on a Disney Cruise Line vacation without kids!

“And I look at you and I’m home” – Dory, Finding Nemo

Arriving in Cabo, Mexico

Those of you who have been on a Walt Disney Travel Company vacation (including but not limited to the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, Disneyland Resort in Southern California, Adventures by Disney, or Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa in Hawaii) will most likely agree that the Disney Cast Members provide some of the highest level of care and attention to ensure a magical vacation. I can assure you that when you’re at sea, it’s no different. When you check-in, a Cast Member will say “Welcome Home”, and that is exactly how I felt!

In the Fall of 2022, we sailed on a 4-night cruise from San Diego, California, roundtrip to Baja Mexico (Cabo San Lucas) aboard the Disney Wonder. The Disney Wonder is one of the original vessels of the Disney Cruise Line fleet. While the ship is small compared to the others in the fleet, one of the best parts is that you start to recognize the Crew Members pretty quickly! But you especially forge connections with your Stateroom Hosts whose task is to ensure your stateroom is comfortable and clean everyday (they visit twice a day!) and your Dining Team helps keep your thirst quenched and stomachs full! Rotational Dining is a great feature on the Disney Ship, it means your Dining Team (Head Server, Assistant Server, and Server) will follow your party every night to your rotational restaurant. They learn your name, get to know if you like your water with lemon and ice, or if you hate tomatoes!

Ariel statue in the atrium of the Disney Wonder

Our next cruise will be in the Mediterranean, somewhere neither of us have ever been. I’m a little nervous to travel so far from home but I can feel my anxiety levels decrease knowing I will find respite and relief when I step back onboard the ship each night. Travelling can make many folks feel uneasy, especially after being at home for so many years. Personally, I find it comforting to know I will still feel at home while I’m an ocean away!

“To all who come to this happy place: Welcome.” – Walt Disney

The big thing I hear folks complain about is that Disney is too… Disney! Especially if we are not traveling with kids! Let me remind you, one of the best features about the Disney brand is the evolution, development, and acquisition of new franchises. So, yes, you will see lots of the iconic Mickey Mouse symbols on the ship, whether it’s in the design of a chandelier or a carpet, or literally the Mouse himself strutting through the atrium, but depending on the sailing itinerary you might just spot your favourite Marvel superhero or Pixar pal! Our sailing was a special “Halloween on the High Seas” themed itinerary – so we saw characters like Jack Skeleton and Sally meeting Guests, occasionally hearing songs like ‘Monster Mash’ in the hallways and screenings of Hocus Pocus 2!

Tiana and the Crawfish Crooners at Tiana’s Place

Although much of the storytelling on board is Disney or Disney-adjacent, the attention to detail and commitment to the story is truly immersive. For instance, on the Disney Wonder you are transported to New Orleans when you dine at Tiana’s Place! As a fan of Princess and the Frog, I loved seeing Tiana greet guests around the restaurant but as a jazz fan, my husband enjoyed listening to the talented musicians in the Crawfish Crooners serenade the crowd with jazz and Disney-classics. So, even if you aren’t a big fan of any particular Disney brand, the commitment to the theming will still be something to marvel at, kids big and small.

“Hakuna Matata” – Timon and Pumba, The Lion King

Finding a relaxing spot to read

To some, a Disney vacation is synonymous with children running around screaming and long line ups. We did not find either of these stowed away on a Disney Cruise ship! Especially since we spent a majority of our time in the adult-only sections. For parents, they can enjoy these areas as their toddlers and little ones play in the Oceaneers Club or Lab, or as tweens and teens hang out in Vibe and Edge.

Pappardelle con Aragosta dish from Palo’s

For a Disney Cruise Line vacation there’s ‘me’ time (age-appropriate areas / activities) and ‘we’ time (fun for the whole family). Some of the ‘we’ time activities did not appeal to us, so when the whole family was enjoying lively deck parties we were lounging in the Rainforest Room* at the Senses Spa or on ‘Pirates Night’ during the fireworks, we opted for an intimate dining experience at Palo’s*. I highly recommend taking advantage of adult-only areas during off-hours to make the experience even better!

Escape into the Rainforest Room at Senses Spa

If you’re considering a cruise and you are looking for high quality service, immersive entertainment, and maximum relaxation, I highly recommend adding a Disney Cruise Line vacation to the top of your list!

 

 

 

 

 

– Miranda Burton

Ready to set sail? Contact Fairytale Dreams & Destinations to sail like a pirate!

(905) 857.3611 | 1.855.FDMAGIC

12598 Highway #50 Bolton ON L7E 1T6

www.fairytaledestinations.com

*Additional charges, but worth every single penny!

 


Enter the Grid…

Thursday, March 16th, 2023

I admit it, a week ago I didn’t even know what the heck ‘the Grid’ was.  I saw it all over Disney’s marketing for their brand-new TRON Lightcycle / Run attraction at the Magic Kingdom, but I had no clue of its meaning.

So, when invited to attend the media event for TRON, I decided to do a little homework the night prior and watched the 1982 film of the same name.  It was as every little bit ‘80s as you would expect it to be.  Featuring a very young Jeff Bridges with his ever flowing, great hair, a lot of Sci-Fi with a little bit of War Games thrown in.

The basis of the film is that Jeff Bridges’ character (Flynn) is a computer programmer and video game developer who is transported inside the world of a mainframe computer (otherwise known as the Grid).  Flynn interacts with various programs and video games in his attempt to escape.  It has without a doubt, some of the cheesiest graphics I’ve ever seen in a movie.  It really is amazing how far special effects in cinema have come since then.

I quickly learned where the concept of TRON Lightcycle / Run originated.  It’s a video game Flynn developed that he also plays inside the Grid in an escape for his life.  Lightcycles are futuristic style motorcycles, players ride without crashing into one another, the outer walls or the light trails left behind by the vehicle itself.

TRON is located inside the Magic Kingdom and its futuristic theming fits in flawlessly to Tomorrowland.  The internet tells me that this experience is an exact replica of the attraction of the same name in Shanghai, Disneyland.   I’ve never been, so I will take Google’s word for it.  The attraction canopy lit up a nighttime makes it by FAR the best exterior addition to a Walt Disney World Theme Park since Toy Story Land.  I loved standing there just watching the Lightcycles zoom by overhead.

Test Lightcycle Vehicle

The look of the Lightcycle vehicles themselves are VERY cool.  Sleek black with blue lights, making this attraction a must do at nighttime.  As a Walt Disney World theme park first, complimentary lockers are offered before boarding your Lightcycle for storage of your personal belongings.  However – what I absolutely loved is that your Lightcycle offers a small compartment to store your mobile device in –  so plenty of opportunity to get those selfies for the ‘gram!

TRON boasts being ‘one of the fastest’ roller coasters at any Disney Theme Park.  Which leads me to one of my favourite coasters in the Orlando area due to its sheer speed; VelociCoaster over at Universal Studios.  While TRON doesn’t compete in this department (60 mph vs VelociCoaster’s 70 mph), what it has over VelociCoaster is the sensation.  On TRON, you’re not sitting in a traditional style coaster car, but rather you’re straddling the ride vehicle, leaning forward. Due to the difference in the coaster car, TRON feels much faster than it actually is.  If you’ve ever experienced either/or, the Lightcycles felt like a mix between the ride vehicles for Avatar – Flight of Passage and the motorbike on Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure.

Chariot Style Ride Vehicles

Those of us who were born before the original TRON movie debuted, may have some difficulty lifting your leg and/or bending your knees comfortably to get into the Lightcycle.  But the great news is that once you’re in, it is far more comfortable than it looks.  However, if you have a challenge getting in (there is a test Lightcycle outside), you can still experience TRON.  The attraction offers a handful ‘chariot’ seats that you can ask a Cast Member to ride in instead.  Thrill seekers on the other hand will want to ask for the front row!

It’s soooooo smooth.  So smooth in fact, that if you suffer from head or back aches from Rock n’ Roller Coaster or any other similar attraction, I highly recommend giving this game changer a shot.  It’s fast, exhilarating and a must do for thrill seekers.  It’s difficult to compare it to any other attraction, but the coaster track is a much, MUCH faster Slinky Dog Dash with a LOT more thrill.

My only complaint is that it is short.  Too short, actually.  I wouldn’t be too happy if I waited in a 2-hour line up for that less than 60 second ride.  But even so, the ride is a do not miss experience.  So personally, I will opt to pay for an * Individual Lightning Lane on this attraction for as long as Disney offers one for it.

With Avatar – Flight of Passage (Disney’s Animal Kingdom), Star Wars – Rise of the Resistance (Disney’s Hollywood Studios) and Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind (EPCOT) opening over recent years, TRON is truly the much needed/thrill seeking addition that the Magic Kingdom so desperately needed.

Interestedly, TRON is situated right beside the fan favourite classic attraction, Space Mountain.  Seeing these two attractions side by side, I couldn’t help by recall visiting the Magic Kingdom as a child in the early 1980’s, when Space Mountain was the ‘newest and fastest roller coaster’ in all of Walt Disney World. And not unlike the computer graphics of the ‘80s TRON – boy oh boy – have Walt Disney World imagineers come a VERY long way since then!

– Christine Fiorelli

Ready to Join Team Blue?  Contact Fairytale Dreams & Destinations to enter the Grid, Today!

(905) 857.3611 | 1.855.FDMAGIC

12598 Highway #50 Bolton ON L7E 1T6

www.fairytaledestinations.com

* When TRON opens to the public on April 4th, 2023, there will be no stand-by queue.  You must either successfully book a spot in the virtual queue and/or purchase an Individual Lightning Lane to experience it.  


Pandora – The World of Avatar

Monday, December 12th, 2022

After 13 long years, the sequel to the record-breaking movie; Avatar is finally here. Avatar – The Way of Water will be released in theatres this week. The release of this sequel allowed me to reflect on Pandora – The World of Avatar found inside Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park.

Avatar tells the story of a paraplegic marine who travels to the moon of Pandora on a unique mission and becomes torn between following his orders and protecting the world he feels is his home. Or so reads the IMDB description of the film. But for me, Avatar is best described at almost three hours of my life I’ll never get back.

So, I was not overly excited when I heard that the Walt Disney World Resort was going to build a brand-new land inside Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park inspired by the movie of the same name.   The Disney theme parks are an extension of their feature films. So mostly, I didn’t understand the connection between Avatar and the Walt Disney World Theme Park’s brilliant storytelling.

Over my years of selling Disney Destinations, I’ve seen new lands in theme parks come to life and new ships sail the seas. And I am always absolutely blown away with how Disney brings so many amazing stories to life. But what exactly would we experience on an Avatar attraction – singing blue cats?

But I learned that instead of including characters or basing the land on existing plotlines from the movie, the emphasis would be on issues such as conservation. The focus on the environmental message, makes the land a standalone experience from the film. So, the connection between the two is absolute perfection.

When you cross the bridge into the Valley or Mo’ara – you enter the World of Pandora. With native plants, floating mountains and a nighttime bioluminescence forest, this land is pretty and so very peaceful.

The first attraction situated in Pandora; Na’vi River Journey is a dark boat ride through the Kapsavean River, showcasing the native fauna and flora of Pandora. It’s a very nice ‘break from the sun’ dark ride style attraction that is appropriate for all ages. And there is nothing wrong with Na’vi River Journey – but without a doubt – the absolute showstopper here is Avatar Flight of Passage.

Flight of Passage is a 3D flying simulator thrill attraction. It allows Guests to fly on the back of a mountain Banshee over Pandora. The simplest description I can offer is that Flight of Passage is that it’s Soarin’ on steroids. But the reality is it’s just so much more than that. Flight of Passage offers a level of immersion that I have never experienced on any simulator style attraction before.

The motorcycle riding position makes you feel much more like you’re a part of the action. Additionally, your individual seat leans from side to side. The row of seats you are seated in tilt back and forth. And the three rows of stacked seats move together vertically. It’s this vertical motion that really sets Flight of Passage apart from other simulators, as the vertical drop sensation allows you to believe you are diving off of a cliff.

Your view of the film feels entirely different, depending on where your attraction vehicle is located. And the film is BEAUTIFUL. The use of colours and story create a sense of calm and excitement all at the same time. I expected to be impressed, but I didn’t expect to feel a mist when my I flew near a wave. And I most certainly did not expect to feel the living banshee breathing between my knees.

I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing this attraction with die-hard fans of the movie. They certainly enjoyed the details in the queue (and understood their reference) far more than I ever could. But there is absolutely no way that they could have enjoyed the attraction itself any more than I did. And that’s because Flight of Passage is an attraction for everyone – those who have never seen, like, love or (such as my case) hate Avatar.

Avatar – Flight of Passage is one of only a very small handful of attractions that I will wait over an hour for and won’t complain about doing so. Not only is this unique attraction worth such a lengthy wait, but the actual ride time is about 4.5 minutes, so much longer than the average. The only complaint I have about the attraction is that it’s just not long enough. Every time I experience Avatar – Flight of Passage, I never want it to end.

Rumour has it that James Cameron wishes to bring new film elements to Flight of Passage to include Avatar: The Way of Water, along with future installments in the franchise. While I know I won’t be lining up to see any of the sequential movies, I do know that I’ll be lining up to experience the attraction – over and over again.

– Christine Fiorelli

Contact Fairytale Dreams & Destinations to Experience The Pandora, Today!

(905) 857.3611 | 1.855.FDMAGIC

12598 Highway #50 Bolton ON L7E 1T6

www.fairytaledestinations.com


Hurricane Ian at Universal Orlando Resort

Tuesday, October 11th, 2022

The Calm Before the Storm at Islands of Adventure

The Calm Before the Storm at Islands of Adventure

I just returned from a 13-day family vacation to Orlando, Florida. Our first stop was the Universal Orlando Resort. Universal knows how important a vacation is. And while they guarantee an incredible vacation experience, they unfortunately cannot make any guarantees about the weather.

Three days before we were scheduled to arrive at Universal, so was Hurricane Ian. At the time – the National Hurricane Center predicted Ian would take a path on the west coast of the state, resulting in only the outer bands of the storm reaching the central Florida area. Orlando is located 40 miles from the Atlantic coast, which means it is rare that the area is severely impacted by hurricanes. In fact, Orlando’s inland location makes it a primary destination for those who are seeking shelter from an approaching storm. Simply put, Orlando is the safest place to be during a hurricane in Florida.

We arrived at Lowes Sapphire Falls at the Universal Orlando Resort on Monday, September 26th. We enjoyed CityWalk that evening and on Tuesday, headed to Islands of Adventure. While in line for VelociCoaster, we learned that Hurricane Ian had taken a turn and the storm was now on route to hit Orlando directly. I knew from years of dealing with Florida theme parks and hurricanes that chances are the parks would close. So, we attempted to take in as much as we could and headed over to Universal Studios. Sure enough, at 4:45pm, while waiting to watch the Jason Bourne Stuntacular, I received notice that due to the approaching hurricane, both Universal theme parks and City Walk would be closed on Wednesday, September 28th and Thursday, September 29th.

Meeting Gru in the Lobby at Sapphire Falls

Meeting Gru in the Lobby at Sapphire Falls

We were only staying at Universal until Thursday, so we knew that our time at Universal was over. But not before we squeezed in a fantastic dinner at The Toothsome Chocolate Factory and picked up pizza from Red Oven Bakery to enjoy back at our hotel.

Lowes Sapphire Falls is a large, high rise style hotel.  It offers a full-service restaurant, a quick service dining location with grab and go items that serves Starbucks coffee, a bar, and a Universal Studio store. It has floor to ceiling windows in the rooms and throughout the lobby and hallways. Allowing us to watch the storm’s wrath, all the while remaining safe and dry inside.

On Wednesday morning, I received word that Walt Disney World (where we scheduled to move to the following day) was not allowing any check ins on Thursday. After having a mini heart attack, I visited the front desk at Sapphire Falls. The Team Member (Universal lingo for employee) not only extended our stay until Friday without issue – but to make things even easier – let us remain in the same room. 10 points for Gryffindor!

I learned then that Team Members work during the storm on a volunteer basis. In an exchange for volunteering, Universal puts them and their family up at the hotel. The same Team Members were with us for the full 48 hours. And they couldn’t possibly be more kind or helpful. Especially when considering they left their homes behind and won’t know how the hurricane will have affected their dwellings until it’s all over. Their kindness was in a word; infectious. Absolutely every single Guest we encountered was just as courteous, kind and patient.

As far as hunkering down for a hurricane goes, we could not have been in a better place to do so. Over the following two days, there were always Universal characters in the lobby, children’s activities, board games, movies to enjoy and more for Guest use in the board rooms. We used the fitness centre, took pictures with Gru, watched Jurassic World, souvenir shopped, ate, drank, and met SO many wonderful people (and their dogs)!

Downed Trees and Debris Along the Path to CityWalk

Downed Trees and Debris Along the Path to CityWalk

On Thursday morning, clean-up crews began clearing knocked over palm trees, debris from walkways, the pools and more. From our hotel room, we could see a hole that Ian ripped out on the side of the building that houses Jurassic Park River Adventure. I also read that a portion of The Incredible Hulk Coaster was under water. Later that evening, we attempted to take the walkway from our resort to City Walk. But we were quickly turned around by flooding, downed trees and more. It was then that I realized that the parks were closed in advance for two days: one for the actual storm and the second for clean-up. Then – depending on the amount of any damage – parks open back up the following day.

Throughout it all, we really enjoyed our time at Universal and Sapphire Falls. Without the parks closing, we would have never discovered the fantastic Strong Water Tavern, which turned out to be our favourite dining experience of the vacation. And I thought we would all be sick of Sapphire Falls come Friday morning – but to the contrary – we all agreed that we can’t wait to go back. Only this time, we’d prefer to spend more time at the Universal theme parks and only use the hotel to sleep and change. 🙂

Flooding Along the Path to CityWalk

Flooding Along the Path to CityWalk

It was upsetting to see the destruction Ian left behind – knowing that as awful at it was – what we saw wasn’t anywhere near comparable to the damage Hurricane Ian caused elsewhere. If you are resident or visitor of a coastal town and need to escape the path of a hurricane, I highly recommend heading to the Universal Orlando Resort to do so.

A massive thank you to Universal Orlando and the Team Members at Sapphire Falls. We will be forever grateful for the hospitality and kindness that they bestowed upon us.

– Christine Fiorelli

Hurricanes are natural disasters that form over open water primarily between the months of June and November. Hurricane Ian was a large and destructive Category 4 Atlantic hurricane. Ian caused widespread damage across western Cuba and the southeast United States, especially in Florida and South Carolina. It was the third-deadliest storm to hit the U.S. mainland this century behind Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Sandy.

You can help people affected by Hurricane Ian by donating to Redcross here:
https://www.redcross.org/donate/hurricane-ian-donations.html/


The Castle on the Sea – The Disney Wish!

Monday, July 4th, 2022

Following a six-month delay due to COVID, the newest vessel in the Disney Cruise Line fleet; The Disney Wish finally set sail on its Christening Cruise from Port Canaveral, Florida.  Of all the fantastic things I was looking forward to experiencing during the world’s return to normal, The Disney Wish was at the top of my list.  Not only am I an avid Disney Cruiser (admittedly, I prefer a Disney Cruise vacation to a Disney theme park one), but hello?  BRAND SPANKING NEW DISNEY SHIP!  Need I say more?

Upon first spotting The Disney Wish off in the distance when approaching Port Canaveral, I could already see that she was in a word; magnificent.  Not only was she massive, but the classic red and yellow Mickey colours tied into the elegance of ocean liners of the past…The Disney Wish is absolutely BEAUTIFUL!

The wonder and enchantment of this new vessel begins the moment you step on-board.  The atrium is as classy and inviting as the famous ‘meet me at the clock’ staircase from Titanic.  A statue of Cinderella sits front and centre here – just as she should – after all a dream is a wish your heart makes.  To compliment Cindy, blue, white and gold is woven throughout the floor and walls.

The staterooms are sleek and eloquent.  They feature hints of various Disney leading ladies, depending on which deck your stateroom is located on.   We were on deck 10 and ours featured everyone’s favourite Little Mermaid.  From flat screen TVs to a glass shower door, these staterooms are Disney’s finest on the seas.

The Disney Wish offers a LOT more elbow room at the pool and recreational decks.  Finally, Disney has made is so that those ‘relaxing days at sea’ will be just that, oppose to stalking another Guest for their deck chair.  The highlight here is the AquaMouse, which is a water slide ride combined with audio and visuals, making it the very first attraction at sea.  While lots of fun, it is temperamental.  So be sure to experience AquaMouse as soon as you can to avoid disappointment.  Little ones have an adorable Toy Story themed splash area, families have their choice of six pools and the adults only area features a hot tub and an infinity pool located at the aft of the ship.

I was disappointed that there wasn’t more shade to be found in the pool areas.  So be sure to pack your sunscreen.  I also wish that the adult pool was larger, easier to get in and out of and that it wasn’t such a long walk in the sun to get to or to grab some grub from.

Speaking of grub, one of the biggest surprises on ANY Disney ship is how excellent the food is.  The Disney Wish is certainly no exception to that rule.  As someone who has sailed with Disney many times over the years; I was very pleased to be provided with all new menus and dining options. Three brand new rotational dining restaurants make their debut on The Disney Wish1923, Arendelle and Worlds of Marvel.

1923 is the Wish’s Triton’s (Disney Wonder), Lumiere’s (Disney Magic), Royal Palace (Disney Dream) and Royal Court (Disney Fantasy).  And 1923 meets all those expectations you anticipate from these similar dining locations.  Here, you’re in for a walk down memory lane in this casual but refined restaurant that pays homage to Walt Disney and the golden era of animation.

Arendelle is similar to Rapunzel’s (Disney Magic) and Tiana’s Place (Disney Wonder) in that it is a show style dinner, featuring dishes from the story’s hometown.  In this case, the menu is inspired by Nordic cuisine.  This was a pleasant surprise for me, as Frozen is undeniably one of my least favourite Disney animated feature films.  But the theming, talent and food were all very impressive.  And I assure you that you haven’t heard Let it Go, until you’ve heard it performed by Oaken and Kristoff!

Worlds of Marvel features some of our friends from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, in a showcase of revolutionary quantum technology and world-class cuisine.  While a decent show, it is all pre-recorded video.  As a ship’s replacement to Animator’s Palette, I was hoping for something a little more interactive.  Asgardian Talk with Thor or seeing my drawing of Groot come to life would have been a vast improvement.  Regardless, I still laughed at Scott Lang’s shenanigans, enjoyed watching clips of some of my favourite movies and television shows during dinner and Ant-Man and Wasp making an in person appearance was a pleasant surprise.

One of the biggest draws of a Disney Cruise are the kid’s clubs and recreation.  Which makes sense because if Disney can’t keep little ones entertained, literally no other cruise line can.  The Oceaneers Club features Avengers, Star Wars, Princesses and more.  The Hero Zone offers indoor basketball, air hockey, ping pong and other such games.  And Edge and Vibe continue to be stand out areas for tweens and teens alike.  One of the best kept secrets of a Disney Cruise is that your children will be more interested in spending time in their spaces on the ship than they will be hanging out with mom and dad.

Due to legalities, every other cruise line is very limited to which music, characters and shows they can produce.  Disney on the other hand?  They own all of those said music, characters and shows, which means they can basically produce an endless line up of entertainment.  We were fortunate enough be given a sneak peak of Disney’s two new stage shows, Seas the Adventure and The Little Mermaid.  Both brought classic Disney stories to life in new ways.

I do miss the promenade deck (found on all previous four vessels) that is used for jogging as well as walking, with signs indicating the mileage.  For some unknown reason on the Wish, not only do you have to climb a set of stairs to continue along the promenade on deck 4, but you cannot make a full lap.  Instead, you reach a dead end and must double back.  On that note, unfortunately there are several dead ends to be found on The Disney Wish – so be prepared for this difference when exploring until you are more familiar with the layout of the ship.

Various bars, theatres and lounges are scattered throughout all decks.  Fans of the Star Wars franchise will find the drinks they are looking for at Hyperspace Lounge, you still have access to first run movies, but in TWO different theatres and at The Bayou, you can savour some beignets with your morning coffee!

The Disney Wish celebrates nearly 100 years of storytelling.  It is an extension of the films and characters we know and love from Disney.  It brings fantastic worlds and beloved characters to life in new and innovative ways.

The only thing major disappointment from our time on The Disney Wish was that our sailing was only three nights long.  Without a doubt, three-and four-night sailings are simply far too short to really experience all that this new Castle on the Sea has to offer.  There were several areas of the ship that I simply didn’t have time to enjoy or explore.  Therefore, if you’re looking to really experience the wonder and enchantment of The Disney Wish, I highly recommend opting for a back-to-back sailing.  This way, you can enjoy a full seven nights aboard this beauty.  Besides, who doesn’t want to enjoy  TWO full days at Castaway Cay? SIGN. ME. UP!

– Christine Fiorelli

Contact Fairytale Dreams & Destinations to Experience the Castle on the Sea Today!

(905) 857.3611 | 1.855.FDMAGIC

10 McEwan Drive West Unit 3 Bolton ON L7E 1H1

www.fairytaledestinations.com


It’s Time to Save the Galaxy!

Monday, May 9th, 2022

There are three fandoms that are without a doubt an obsession of mine: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Doctor Who and the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  I credit Disney for the latter obsession, simply because I never collected comic books as a child.  No. My complete fixation with everything Marvel began at the movie theatre with a little movie called The Avengers.

Disney acquired Marvel Entertainment back in 2009 for a whopping four billion.  But while they purchased the rights to over 5,000 comic book characters from the Marvel Universe, there were some very well-known characters whose rights were owned by other film studios.  Sony had the rights to Spider-Man, Fox held the rights to both X-Men and the Fantastic Four, and I would need a PhD to understand how it works when it comes to the rights of the representation of these same Marvel characters in theme parks.

So, what could Disney do when some of the biggest hitters aren’t allowed to play in their sandbox?  They did what they have always done best.  Disney marketed.  They opened the very big book of those 5,000 characters and pulled out; Ant-Man, Doctor Strange, Black Panther and many other unknown superheroes from the Marvel universe and turned them all into household names.

13 years later, Marvel is one of the biggest names in film.  And now we have a whole slew of new Comic Book characters who children want to dress up as for Halloween, whose action figures are on every toy shelf at Christmas, and whose identities can be brought to Disney’s world renown theme parks.  Specifically, the big one – in Florida.

Enter…Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind.

Last week I was invited to a preview of this brand new attraction coming to EPCOT.  I’m not going to lie; my expectations were set VERY high for it.  Reason being that I’m not at all a fan of the Star Wars franchise, but I am completely blown away with the Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance attraction at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.  It is the most technologically advanced attraction in existence today. It’s attention to detail, seamlessness of moving from scene to scene, and how believable the battle between the Resistance and First Order felt, makes it by far the most complex and immersive attraction I’ve ever experienced.  Which means I know exactly what Disney is capable of.   So, my expectation bar was set sky high for Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind.  I’m so happy to share that Disney met my crazy high expectations and then some.

Warning: SPOILERS AHEAD!

Cosmic Rewind replaced Universe of Energy (yawn) in the new World Discovery section of Epcot.  The building that houses Guardians is 140 feet tall and is rumoured to hold four Spaceship Earths inside.  It’s an indoor roller coaster, featuring rotating cars, a backwards launch, and because: Peter Quill (a.k.a. Star-Lord), some pretty awesome music.

Your adventure begins in the Galaxarium, a planetarium-like exhibition that explores the similarities and mysteries of the formation of Earth’s galaxy and Xandar, a planet from the Guardians of the Galaxy films.  Xandarians have come to Earth and are building their new EPCOT pavilion.  The known humour from the Guardians of the Galaxy movies is alive and well here.  Star-Lord expresses excitement about returning to EPCOT and enjoying Horizons and hearing the veggie, veggie, fruit, fruit song.   Which would make sense to Peter, given that he hasn’t been on earth since the 1980s.

Next, Nova Prime welcomes us and explains that we will be transported to a ship to see a demonstration of the cosmic generator, a device that creates shortcuts through space and time.   Once we are transported to the ship – Eson, a celestial being (or ‘that really big man outside our ship’ as Drax describes him) steals the Cosmic Generator, jumps back in time and it’s up to us to follow him to save the galaxy.

Then get ready to board a unique vehicle that Disney Imagineering has dubbed the OmniCoaster.  This ride vehicle can rotate 360 degrees with exact precision.  Don’t let the height restriction of only 42 inches fool you.  I would describe the thrill level of this attraction somewhere between Space Mountain and Expedition Everest.

Speaking of thrill, the ride begins with a show scene before you blast off BACKWARDS on an intergalactic chase through space and time.  The ride vehicles move swiftly and smoothly, but they are relentless.  The thrill factor does not let up – for a full three minutes.   But what makes this experience so unique is not only the ride vehicle, it’s the use of music and banter among the Guardians.

While music on a roller coaster is not a first for Disney (I’m looking at you, Rock n’ Roller Coaster – Starring Aerosmith), the difference here is that the coaster twists and turns in time to the beat, allowing you to dance in your seat should you choose to do so.

There are two types of being in the universe: those who dance, and those who do not.” – Drax the Destroyer

But let’s talk for a second about the music because tunes are very important to Star-Lord.   And even more important to the enjoyment of the overall experience.  The “Awesome Mix” of songs you may hear while racing across the galaxy include:

September – Earth, Wind & Fire
Disco Inferno – The Trammps
Conga – Gloria Estefan
Everybody Wants to Rule the World – Tears for Fears
I Ran – A Flock of Seagulls
One Way or Another – Blondie

I rode a total of six times.  I heard Disco Inferno, I Ran and both Everybody Wants to Rule the World and One Way or Another twice.  The latter song is currently my favourite track, but I’ll have to ride it just a few more times first to ensure I get to hear all six songs before making a final decision on that.

Disney imagineers tested out hundreds of tunes before opting for the final six listed above.  Quentin Tarantino once said that if you use a song in a movie right, the effect is you can never really hear the song again without thinking about that image from the movie.  I can tell you that the exact same rule applies here.  I’ve heard two of the songs above since I’ve returned, and I was not able to think of anything but saving the galaxy when I did.

Given that Peter only has a cassette tape to listen to music on, several other of his favourite tunes play in the exit area to help keep the excitement alive after you’ve just saved the galaxy and became honorary Guardians.

This attraction is going to be a MASSIVE hit for Marvel fans and thrill seekers alike.  Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind opens on May 27 only at EPCOT.

– Christine Fiorelli

Contact Fairytale Dreams & Destinations to help the Guardians save the galaxy (again!)

(905) 857.3611 | 1.855.FDMAGIC
10 McEwan Drive West Unit 3 Bolton ON L7E 1H1
www.fairytaledestinations.com


I’m Going to Miami!

Thursday, March 3rd, 2022

Almost every Canadian in the middle of winter misses the warm sun.  Which means that when my friend and her husband asked us to join them on an adult only 4-night Bahamian cruise out of Miami, we jumped on board (pardon the pun).  Safety always has been and always will be the number one priority of any Disney Destination.  So naturally when navigating travel during a pandemic, our first cruise line of choice for our winter escape was Disney.

I know what you’re thinking “ummm…an adult trip…on a Mickey ship?”  Granted, Disney Cruise Line is very well known as a family friendly experience, but I’m here to tell you that it should also be equally known for being an adult friendly one.

Don’t get me wrong – after all – this IS a Disney ship.  So, be prepared to see Disney characters, for the movies playing in public areas to be family friendly and to see the stories you know and love from the Disney brand come to life around the ship.  It’s worth noting that a Disney Cruise offers the same quality of food, entertainment, and service we all know and love from the Disney theme parks, but…without the exhaustion.  As far as a vacation goes, the biggest difference between the parks and the cruise is that a Disney cruise is the relaxing one.

We opted to fly in the day prior to our cruise to ensure no flight delays due to our great Canadian winter weather.  We arrived late afternoon, took the hotel shuttle over to the EB Miami* and welcomed with open arms, the 27-degree Miami heat.  In realizing that over the next four days, we would have no children to worry about, no dogs to walk and nowhere to drive to, we took a collective guess at how high our bar tab was going to be.

The following morning, we grabbed a light breakfast (because we all knew the abundant amounts of food that were about to face us), packed a day bag and took an Uber over to the Port.  Every Guest aged 2+ must partake in a rapid Covid test before boarding the ship.  I have to say, Disney has this portion of their check in process down to a science.  It was smooth and much more efficient than I had previously experienced.  We arrived at the port at 11:20am, went through security, performed our rapid tests, checked in for our sailing and were walking the gangway onto the Disney Magic at 12:10pm.

Once on board, we were greeted by Mickey, checked into our assembly station, grabbed some lunch and headed directly to where we planned on spending majority of the next four days, Quiet Cove.  This area is reserved for Guests’ ages 18+ and on the Disney Magic, Quiet Cove offers padded lounge chairs, a quiet pool, two hot tubs, a bar and Cove Café (similar to a Starbucks but with booze)!  We did a LOT of relaxing in this area.  After all, why not enjoy the sun when rumour has it that Elsa unleashed a powerful snowstorm back home?

The quality of food and entertainment is second to none on a Disney Cruise.  Rightfully so because Disney absolutely should be at the top of their game when it comes to these important areas of a vacation.  And anyone who has ever visited a Disney theme park or dined at a Disney owned and operated restaurant can attest to this.  The reality is that Disney owns the rights to just about…everything.  So, if they are not able to entertain you with their variety of Broadway style shows, fireworks at sea, live amusement and more – simply put – no other entertainment company can.

As fantastic as the food is on board, if you’d like to indulge just a little bit more, you’ll want to dine at Palo, an adult only Northern Italian restaurant with a modern twist.  It is an additional charge, but worth every single penny.  Palo is Italian for “pole” and is inspired by Venice, with decorative masks and decor matching the colours of the city.  It’s located in the aft on deck 10, which means that almost every seat has a spectacular view of the sunset during dinner.  And if you’re a dessert fan like I am, be certain you leave room for the soufflé.  I’ll go out on a limb and say that Palo will make your list of one of the best restaurants you’ve ever dined at – on land or at sea.

Once the sun set, there was no shortage of beer, wine, and spirit tastings to keep us amused.  And don’t underestimate how much fun the adult only evening events are around the ship.  The Cast who runs these activities and their natural comedic ability make them an absolute standout.  We attended Snippets, 80’s Music Trivia, Match Your Mate and more.  I honestly can’t remember the last time I laughed as hard as I did.

But if Disney related activities are more your jam and you think you know everything there is to know about it, I dare you to try any level of the Disney trivia.  After all, I’m sure every Disney fan knows who the first sitting US President to voice their animatronic at the Hall of Presidents was.

Perhaps the biggest highlight of a Disney cruise is the little slice of paradise in the Bahamas, Castaway Cay.  To those who have never sailed with Disney, Castaway Cay is to Disney Cruise Line what Cinderella Castle is to Walt Disney World.  It was the first private island in the cruise industry where the ship docks on the island, eliminating the need to tender.  This allows Guests to easily disembark the ship and walk or take the trams over to the adult only area of the island, Serenity Bay.  And if you get hungry, there is no need to head back to your cruise ship, because a wonderful buffet (with steak) is prepared for you.  Here, you can relax on a lounge chair, enjoy a drink, crack open a book and float your cares away in the blissful tranquility.

While there is no wrong time to sail with Disney, our choice to do so in the middle winter was one I would do again in a heartbeat.  As a bonus – ships are not sailing at full capacity just yet.  And lower crowd levels on a Disney ship during peak season are always a great thing.  More precisely, on our sailing there were 1,022 Cast Members and 1,033 Guests, which is a little less than half of full capacity.

So, if you’re looking to take a break from the long, cold, Canadian winter, I highly recommend going to see the line where the sky meets the sea.  Oh, and for those playing along at home, the bar tab was almost double what we predicted it would be and the first sitting US President to voice his animatronic was Bill Clinton.

– Christine Fiorelli

The Magic is Calling.

Contact Fairytale Dreams & Destinations to Answer the Call Today!

(905) 857.3611 | 1.855.FDMAGIC
10 McEwan Drive West Unit 3 Bolton ON L7E 1H1
www.fairytaledestinations.com

* Your Fairytale Dreams & Destinations Vacation Specialist can add a pre or post hotel stay to your cruise when sailing with Disney Cruise Line.

 

 

 

 


Disney Genie+ | The Good, the Bad & the FANTASTIC!

Tuesday, February 15th, 2022

Disney Genie+ has replaced FastPass+ at the Walt Disney World Resort.  It is a paid service that allows you to spend less time waiting in line at over 40 Walt Disney World Resort attractions.  Along with Disney Genie+ came Individual Lightning Lane, an express pass reservation system for highly demanded attractions (two at each theme park).

Attraction Wait Times on Wednesday, February 9th 2022

Cost for Disney Genie+ is $15.98 USD per person/per day.  And the cost for each Individual Lightning Lane varies but is generally between $7 and $18 USD per person/per attraction.  To confuse things, the Individual Lightning Lane attractions are NOT included in the Disney Genie+ service.

When this service was first announced, I was hesitant.  I mean why do I have to pay for something that was previously complimentary?  But it didn’t take me long to look beyond the cost and realize that this system is a game changer when it comes to a Walt Disney World vacation.

The Good

The Cost – Yes, the cost.  A big challenge with the previous system was that it was complimentary, so everyone was fighting over the same popular attractions.  Which meant if you weren’t staying on-site for four nights or longer, forget securing a FastPass+ for Avatar: Flight of Passage.  Whereas now, because it’s an additional cost, only about 50% of Disney visitors are paying for it.  Making it truly the premium service it was designed to be.  Don’t believe me?  There was a time many moons ago that the ability to park hop (visit multiple theme parks within the same day) was complimentary. Now that Guests must pay for this option, nowhere near the same number of Guests bother to visit Magic Kingdom in the morning and grab a bite to eat in the World Showcase at EPCOT at night.

Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance (Disney’s Hollywood Studios) – This attraction previously provided a virtual queue to book a return time to experience it.  Yet it is SO crazy popular that this complimentary queue was sold out by 7:02am.  I kid you not.  I spent many days in my youth trying to secure Madonna concert tickets and it wasn’t nearly as difficult.  Can you imagine, spending all your vacation time and money and then not being able to experience this ground-breaking attraction?  Now if you want to guarantee your chance to escape the First Order, you can simply pay a little bit more to do so.  Problem (and Guest Services line up about it) solved.

The Bad

Mornings – Your first Disney Genie+ selection can be made at 7:00am. I don’t like waking up before 7:00am on a workday.  Which means, I don’t like having to on vacation either. And yes, you need to if you wish to secure some of the more sought-after options such as Slinky Dog Dash (Disney’s Hollywood Studios) and Test Track (EPCOT).  I really hope that they change this to just a little bit later.  8:00am would work fine by me, or perhaps even allowing Disney resort Guests the ability to book them any time after midnight. Sigh…I can hope!

My Phone – Disney Genie+ requires you to be on your phone – a LOT.  Not only does this kill your phone battery, but I don’t like that it takes away from spending time with my family.  However, MyDisneyExperience requires you to be on your phone for Mobile Ordering, MagicMobile, Wait Times and more.  So, using it to book your next Disney Genie+ experience isn’t really THAT much more.  But just be sure to bring a back-up battery.  You’ve been warned.

Secondary Individual Lightning Lanes – For the love of Zeus, can we just have ONE attraction per theme park available on Individual Lightning Lane?  Disney did this over Christmas, and I wish it was something they kept all year round.  It would without a doubt simplify…well everything.  And if they were to do this, Space Mountain (Magic Kingdom), Frozen Ever After (EPCOT), Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway (Disney’s Hollywood Studios) and Expedition Everest (Disney’s Animal Kingdom) would all move over to Disney Genie+.

The FANTASTIC!

Guest Experience Team – These folks be easily spotted by their blue umbrellas and are located throughout all four theme parks.  The Guest Experience team are in a word; magical. Not only do they always have a smile on their face, no matter how many times I’ve (sadly) seen Guests yell at them, but they can solve any problem you have with the entire Disney Genie+ system to your satisfaction.  And I speak from personal experience when I say in true Disney Cast Member fashion, they can even sprinkle a dose of pixie dust when needed.

No Lines – One of the biggest complaints about a Walt Disney World vacation is having to wait in line.  No argument here!  But let’s face it, a Walt Disney World vacation is not cheap.  So, to pay just a little bit more to not have to wait in line? Sign. Me.Up!  Because I can tell you that when using Disney Genie+ in combination with Individual Lightning Lane access, you won’t have to wait in line…for anything.

I’ve been able to use this brand-new service a few times now and it works.  Most importantly it works with high crowd levels.  I was in Walt Disney World at the end of January and the insane crowds during what is historically one of the two slowest months of the year told me that the pent-up demand to travel post COVID is no joke.  So, you can count out any ‘slow’ times at Walt Disney World for some time to come.  I assure you that Disney Genie+ will help – a LOT – with this challenge.

So now the question is with SO many options to choose from on Disney Genie+, which do you prioritize? Peter Pan’s Flight?  Splash Mountain? Pirates of the Caribbean? And do you really need to purchase the express pass for ALL eight Individual Lightning Lane attractions? Not to worry because your Vacation Specialist at Fairytale Dreams & Destinations is here to help!  Included in your personalized Fairytale Guide, you’ll find both recommended Disney Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lane experiences best suited for your traveling party’s needs and wants – saving you even more time from standing in line.

– Christine Fiorelli

The Magic is Calling.

Contact Fairytale Dreams & Destinations to Answer the Call Today!

(905) 857.3611 | 1.855.FDMAGIC
10 McEwan Drive West Unit 3 Bolton ON L7E 1H1
www.fairytaledestinations.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Fairytale Dreams & Destinations
Fairytale Dreams & Destinations™ Inc. exclusively sells the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, Disneyland Resort in California, Disney Cruise Line, Adventures by Disney, Disney's Hilton Head Island Resort in South Carolina, Disney's Vero Beach Resort in Florida, Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa in Hawaii and the Universal, Orlando Resort.

Fairytale Dreams and Destinations™ Inc. is an Ontario Travel Industry Council of Ontario (TICO) authorized travel agency. TICO is an organization mandated by the Ontario Government to administer the Travel Industry Act, 2002 and an industry financed travel compensation fund. TICO Registration # 50010111
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