Monday

Rainbow Loom Mickey Mouse

If your house is like mine, Rainbow Loom has taken over. For the uninitiated, Rainbow Loom is a
(relatively) inexpensive craft involving tiny rubber bands...you know....the kind your orthodontist used to give you.

I think Rainbow Loom is great for hand to eye coordination and figuring out spatial relationships. I am sure it is somehow enhancing the math faculties in my kid's brain.  I not sure, however if my vacuum cleaner is ever going to recover from this trend.

My oldest has become quite the Rainbow Loom whiz and has created a fantastic Mickey Mouse pattern.  I am not sure exactly how she figured it out, but in terms of leaving rubber bands everywhere this craft, I think she is darn near a genius.

I hope you enjoy the video, in two parts.




 

Free Dining Alert! Room Discount Alert!!

Attention Disney Visa holders!  Ready...Set...Go!  Some great new discounts have officially been announced.  Look for FREE DINING if you for check in dates from September 2-25.  Look for a ROOM DISCOUNT from August 15 - September 28.   

Attention everyone else!  Ready....Set....and get ready to go later this week when we expect the same announcement for the general public!

Free Dining

It looks very similar to other free dining promotions.  A free quick service dining plan will be available for guest staying in Value resorts.  You can upgrade to the regular dining plan for just the cost difference between the two plans. 

Guest staying in a moderate or deluxe will get the regular (plus) dining plan free.

The Little Mermaid rooms at Art of Animation, the campsites at Ft Wilderness, and the 3 bedroom villas are excluded from this offer.

Room Discount

  • 5% off – all Deluxe suites, All-Star Movies, Animal Kingdom Lodge (Savannah view and Club Level), Animal Kingdom Lodge Villas, Bay Lake Tower, Contemporary (theme park view & Club Level), Port Orleans-French Quarter
  • 15% off - Art of Animation (family suites)
  • 20% off – All-Star Music, All-Star Sports, Contemporary (standard rooms), Grand Floridian, Pop Century, Polynesian
  • 25% off - Caribbean Beach, Coronado Springs, Port Orleans-Riverside, Ft. Wilderness Cabins
  • 30% off – Animal Kingdom Lodge (standard/pool view rooms) Beach Club, Beach Club Villas, Boardwalk Inn, Boardwalk Villas, Old Key West, Villas at Wilderness Lodge, Saratoga Springs, Wilderness Lodge, Yacht Club

  • The Little Mermaid rooms at Art of Animation, the campsites at Ft Wilderness, and the 3 bedroom villas are excluded from this offer.

    Reminders

    Only one discount per room, so let us crunch the numbers to figure out which discounts are best for you!
     
    Not all room types are available for any given set of dates.
     
    There are a limited inventory of rooms available for the discounts! The sooner you book, the better chances of finding what you are looking for!

    And as always...

    Please let me know if I can help you plan your vacation!  We have the same prices that you find on Disneyworld.com with no extra charges or fees.  In addition to our free planning services, we also offer free gifts as a thank you for booking with us!  I would love to help!  ginger@tmctravelonline.com
     

    Wednesday

    Details for Fast Pass +? It is in the fine print!

    “A
    The internet rumor mill has been all aflutter for MONTHS concerning the so called "Next Gen" project, subsequently referred to as X Pass, then FastPass +, and now officially My Magic + .  There as been much speculation about how FastPass+ is going to work, and I think I have some pretty good scoop on the subject, but first...

    My Magic+ consists of three enhancements:
    • My Disney Experience - My Disney Experience is the collective name for the revamped internet presence.  You can view this new site via the same old website that has been updated with a nice new look and feel as well as a Smartphone app.   Both have a new modern look and feel and appear that they will offer a more customizable approach to planning and tracking your vacation details.  I will warn you, as with all new technology, there are still a few kinks that need to be worked out, but the site as a whole seems to be geared toward getting guests information they need when they need it.  All parks now have free Wi-Fi access making it much easier to get online.
    • The Magic Band - We have heard rumors of "the bracelet" for some time and it appears that it is coming to fruition soon.  The bracelet will be worn for the duration of your stay and will replace your park tickets. You will get a bracelet as part of your ticket purchase, but it appears that you can "upgrade" your boring bracelet to a fancier version with your favorite character.  Well played, Disney.  So what will the Magic Band actually mean?  A simple wave of your wrist and you can:
      • Open the door to your resort
      • Make a retail purchase
      • Enter a theme park
      • Store your photopass photos
      • Obtain a FastPass
      • Store your FastPass + selection
    • FastPass+ - Disney has done a fair amount of testing of the FastPass Plus system, but there has been very little information about how it is going to actually work. We've known that you are going to be able to schedule your FastPasses, but not much else.Well, you know that fine print that pops up when you sign up for an account on a website?  I am the nerd that actually reads it (well, sometimes).  When I signed up for a new My Disney Experince account, I did read the find pring and found some really interesting information.
        • ONLY ONE FASTPASS+ PER RIDE PER DAY AND ONLY ONE PARK PER DAY  - "You may make FastPass+ selections for one park per day. You may only select and redeem aFastPass+ selection for a particular attraction, entertainment or restaurant experience once per day."  EDITED: This is not one pass per day, but one pass per attraction per day.  This will actually make things more inflexible for guests that know how to effectively use FastPasses.
      • Free for RESORT GUESTS ONLY? - "A confirmed FastPass+ selection is not valid for admission to any theme or water park and valid park admission is required to make a selection and redeem a FastPass+ selection. To make aFastPass+ selection for you or your Friends, you must retrieve a Resort package reservation including valid park admission through your account or associate valid park admission to your account. "
      • A PAID ADD ON FOR OFF PROPERTY GUESTS? - "Ticket holders holding passes or tickets with block-out dates may not make FastPass+ selections for any block-out date without the purchase of separate valid park admission and assigning that admission entitlement to your account. "  I am not sure exactly what that means!
      • AVAILABLE AT SOME QUICK SERVICE RESTAURANTS - "A FastPass+ selection for dining at a FastPass+ designated table service or quick service location secures your arrival window and allows you to order meal prior to your arrival window. Each guest who has ordered ahead must have a FastPass+ selection for the same arrival time and location confirmed by the Site/App."  I am not sure that I would bother using  my sole FastPass+ for the day on a quick service meal, but maybe it is worth it to some.
      • THE SUPER FINE PRINT - You can start booking 60 days prior, the number of Fastpasses is limited and subject to availability, FastPass+ times will continue to be strictly enforced, can be used for shows, special viewing areas for fireworks, attractions and dining, times or attractions may be changed due to operational issues related to a particular attraction.
    So what you you think?  I think I am on board with FastPass+, I think it will be a nice enhancement without feeling you have to schedule every second of your vacation.  I like the Magic Band idea, but I am not sure how much I would enjoy a semi permanent plastic bracelet on my wrist in the heat of summer.  I think it is going to take a while for me to warm up to the My Disney Experience website.  While it is pretty, the glitches are driving me a bit crazy.  I am hopeful that they will be resolved sooner rather than later.  It is a little more cumbersome to set up but gives a nice reward for the effort..  The "vacationer" in me will ultimately enjoy it.  I am not sure the "travel agent" in me will ever love it in it's current format.  "A little more cumbersome" times many, many families really adds up.  That said, I am looking forward to taking it for a spin for my family's vacation this spring!
     

     

    Thursday

    No Free Dining for Early 2013? Disney Discounts Announced for Early 2013.

    Today not one , but two discounts were announced for select dates from Jan 2 to March 7.  One of the promotions is the typical Room Discount that we all know and love.  The second offer is for a discounted package that includes dining.  While the "Stay Play and Dine"  discount is more substantial than the room only discounts for the resorts I priced out, they are not quite as good as a free dining discount would be.  This leads me to believe that we might not see free dining this time around, folks.  My guess is that Disney feels they can fill the rooms with a more modest discount based on the buzz surrounding the Fantasyland expansion - and I have a feeling they are right.

    As a reminder the discounts announced today can only be booked by Disney Visa holders at this time.  This offer will be made available to the general public beginning on October 10.  (Not October 14, as I was mistakenly told this morning.)

    I would recommend that you take advantage of these offers while you can and not hold out for free dining, as I do not think that is in the cards for this winter.  If you are not a Disney Visa holder, but would like to go ahead and book you trip in anticipation of the discount rolling out on the 10th we can certainly get started, and I will just apply the discount that morning to your existing reservation. 

    If my gut is wrong and they roll out free dining later, I will simply change your reservation to take advantage of it!

    Here are the details...hot off the Disney Visa website.

    PS - I have no idea how the Stay Play and Dine offer is actually being calculated.  Is it a flat discount on a total package?  Is it a free day?  Is it a discount on a component?   I can't seem to put my finger on it and nobody that I have spoken with at Disney has been able to tell me.  Once I get my head around it I will let you know if there is any way to structure you trip to take better advantage!

    Free Dining for 2013, not yet! Room Discounts are here for Jan-Mar!

    There is still no official news, or even a reliable rumble about if or when free dining is coming for 2013.

    Room Only Discounts are out today for Disney Visa Holders, in varying amounts up to 35% for stays Jan 2 - March 7.

    Offers to the general public will be available on Oct 14.

    These offers are available through the end of the year, subject to availability.

    Please let me know if I can help plan your Disney vacation. As always if we get you booked on one offer and a better offer becomes available, we will automatically switch you over to maximize your savings!

    Email me today!

    Monday

    Free Dining is Back for Fall! 2013 Packages are on the way!

    ***5/6/2013 NOTE***
    We have some offical news!  http://www.themouseconnection.net/2013/05/free-dining-alert.html

    ***3/7/13 NOTE****  This blog post was from last fall. Disney announcd free dining for fall at the same time they announced that they were releasing 2013 vacation packages.  Google has unhelpfully combined the two separate headlines.  As of this writing, no dates for free dining has been released for 2013.  If you would to to be added to our free dining watch please email ginger@tmctravel or better yet start planning your vacation. 

    I hope that we will hear about free dining in September in March or April.  We will likely not hear anything about free dining in October-December until mid to late July.  That said, I really do recommend that you go ahead and get the ball rolling in terms of planning.  Because that time frame is typically a "free dining" period there is a run on dining reservations as soon as the announcement is made. (IF an announcement is made! :))  I like to have my families already booked and ready with their dining reservations made. That way the morning any discount is announced I am able to just apply it to their reservations.  If we guess the dining window accurately, we are all set.  If we miss by a day or two we just make a few minor adjustments.  If we totally miss then we can go back to the drawing board and are no worse off than if you waited until the announcement to book.

    As a reminter, there is absolutely no charge or fee for my services.  I have the same prices and discounts that you find on Disneyworld.com, and I have to abide by all of their booking rules.  Just like booking with Disney there is a $200 deposit required to hold your package and that is FULLY REFUNDABLE AND CHANGEABLE until your final payment date 45 days prior to check in.  That means that if your trip is dependent upon a free dining announcement that never comes, you can cancel your reservation and have your deposit fully refunded as long as you do so 45 days prior to travel.

    Once we get you booked, we need to wait until about 6.5 months before you travel for the crowd estimates park hours to come out.  Once it does, we can use that information to map out a plan.  Crowds can fluctuate SIGNIFICANTLY at that time of year, particularly at Magic Kingdom.  So we make sure we make the most out of your time.  Once we know which park you will be in each day we can plan your dining reservations around that.  I will be happy to make your reservations for you or give you all of the information you need to handle it on your own.

    There are a lot of extra perks for using TMC Travel to book.  First of all we offer worry free booking.  If a discount comes out after you book, we automatically apply it to your reservation.  You do not have to keep up with the latest and call to ask me to apply it to your reservation...I just "handle it".  If another discount comes out, I crunch the numbers and make sure we have your family on the best possible discount.  I have changed discounts 3 times for some families to insure they have the best deal!

    Other perks include a free gift for everyone in your travel party, a referral program ($20 gift card for anyone that is not traveling with you that books with me), tip cards to keep you organized, and finally I can help with last minute questions you may have.  

    Please let me know if I can help!
    Ginger
    ***END OF NOTE***


    This week looks to be a busy one!  As hotly rumored on the internet, Free Dining is back for fall.  If you are a Disney Visa holder...Congratulations!  You can start booking your trip today.  If you are not a card holder then your booking window is set to open on Thursday. 

    That is the good news....the bad news is that the dates seem a little more limited than they have in years past.  Here is the scoop:

    Free dining is available to guests checking in on the following dates:

    9/30/12–10/4/12
    10/19/12–11/1/12
    11/9/12–11/15/12
    11/23/12–11/29/12
    12/10/12–12/13/12

    As long as you check in during free dining, you will have it for the duration of your stay.  There is a minimum of a 3 night stay with  a 2 day ticket, and a maximum stay of 14 days.  You must book by 9/29, pending limited availability.  Little Mermaid rooms at the Art of Animation resort are excluded from the offer. 

    The guests at value resorts will get the quick service plan free, but can upgrade to plus dining for just the cost difference between the two plans.  Guests staying a moderate resorts, deluxe resorts, and deluxe villas will get the plus dining plan free.

    In other news...
    2013 Vacation Packages will be released on Wednesday.  If you have been waiting to book next year's vacation, it is almost "go time"!

    As a reminder, I am a no-fee travel agent specializing in Disney.  I would love to help you plan your free dining Disney extravaganza, your 2013 trip, or anything in between.  There is no additional cost for my services, and I offer free gifts for everyone in your travel party with a 4 or more day package.  Please feel free to contact me at ginger@tmctravelonline.com .  

    December Dining News!

    Chef Mickey's for Christmas lunch anyone?
    It appears that Disney has opened up lunch reservations during the Christmas crush.  I think a nice later lunch with Mickey on the way back to the resort for an afternoon break sounds like a FANTASTIC idea!   

    Candlelight Processional News
    The popular Candlelight Processional Dining Package will be available for booking tomorrow.  You will be able to book these reservations ONLINE!  In case you missed last week's announcement about narrators:

    November 23 to November 25, 2012 — Isabella Rossellini
    November 26 to November 29, 2012 — Neil Patrick Harris
    November 30 to December 1, 2012 — Whoopi Goldberg
    December 2 to December 4, 2012 — TBA
    December 5 to December 7, 2012 — TBA
    December 8 to December 10, 2012 — TBA
    December 11 to December 13, 2012 — Jodi Benson
    December 14 to December 16, 2012 — Olivia Newton John
    December 17 to December 19, 2012 — TBA
    December 20 to December 22, 2012 — Trace Adkins
    December 23 to December 25, 2012 — Gary Sinise
    December 26 to December 28, 2012 — TBA
    December 29 to December 30, 2012 — Marlee Matlin / Jack Jason

    As a reminder there are 3 shows 5:00, 6:45, and 8:15.  The 5:00 show will have late lunch times available for dining.  The 6:45 will have very early dinner times.  More "reasonable" early dinner times will be available for guests attending the 8:15 show.