Things said to a Travel Agent #2

Magic kingdom Castle

By Frances

By popular demand, here is a second installment of Things Said to a Travel Agent. As a travel professional, I pride myself on knowing details about a destination and lot of ins & out. These are some more comments or questions that have taken me off guard in my years in the travel business. You can imagine my responses. Please enjoy with a great sense of humor. EPCOT Flowers

~ I would like to stay at a clothing optional resort at Walt Disney World. (I did giggle a little when asked this)

~ Client:  I would like my 9 year old to have charging capabilities on his Magic Band. I would like for him to be able to purchase things when I’m not with him and to able to use the dining plan. Me: {knowing it’s a single dad and only his son on this trip} Oh! Will another family be joining you? Client: No, I will find a good spot to sit and let him do all of the rides by himself. I would prefer to read my book and people watch than to ride rides.

~ I can’t afford to pay off my trip. My kids are super excited. Can you pay the balance and I can pay you back with my tax returns?

~ Client: Could you please tell me some of the best places to hide and smoke at the parks? Me: You don’t have to hide, there are designated smoking areas at each resort and at all of the theme parks. Client: They let you smoke pot at Disney?

Seven Seas Lagoon

Seven Seas Lagoon

~ I would like the garden view room at the Contemporary please. I will then find something wrong during my stay and raise hell. They will upgrade me then to an atrium room and I won’t have to pay for it.

~ Client: How many bottles of water can I take into the parks? Me: I don’t believe there is a limit on how many bottles you can take as long as you can comfortably carry them. Client: So you don’t think 6 – 24 ounce bottles is too many? Me: For the 4 of you, I think that would be fine but you can get free refills of water at any restaurant. Client: Oh, they won’t be filled with water. I’m filling them with vodka.

~ {A woman} I will go into the men’s restroom with my 5 year old son. I don’t want him to feel uncomfortable going into one with out me?  Me: The men’s restroom?  Client: Yes Ma’am!

~ I know Stormalong Bay at the Beach Club is only for their resort guests but can you tell me how to sneak in there?

~ Can you please tell me how to cheat the magic bands? I want my friends staying at the Hilton to use our passes too.

 

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Some Real Questions Asked to Travel Agents

magic kingdom story time with belle

As a travel agent, I like to think that I already know the questions that will be asked before I pick up the phone to contact a client. There have been a few that have taken me off guard. I’m now able to laugh at all of them but some of them did have me and other agents a little perplexed as to “Why would you tell me this?”Magic Kingdom Pete Fantasyland

Please enjoy with a great sense of humor:

  • My son has a warrant out for his arrest. Do you think he will still be able to fly?
  • Client: I would like to go to Disneyland in Florida.    Agent: Great, Disneyland is in California. Is it the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida that you wish to travel too?   Client: No. I have been to Walt Disney World in Orlando. I would like to see Disneyland in Florida next.
  • Does travel insurance cover a cancellation if my husband is arrested for a little felony?
  • Client: I saw the new Harry Potter world was open at Disney. Will I get a chance to see it when I’m at the Magic Kingdom?   Agent: The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is located at Universal Studios and it’s not a Disney Property.   Client: But the internet says it’s located at the Magic Kingdom.
  • In an email: (Attachment picture of a child) Do you think my 5 year old could pass as a big two year old?
  • How do I make my child look like he’s disabled? I don’t want to wait in lines.
  • I’m only going to make a reservation for four people but there will be 7 of us staying in the room at Pop Century. Do you think we Magic Kingdom Crystal Palace restaurantwill all be comfortable?
  • (Email received after client arrived home after trip to WDW. They traveled the second week in July) We had a great trip except it was very hot. I wasn’t expecting it to be in the 90’s with a heat index around 100 every day.
  • May I pay my balance when I get home from my trip?
  • Client: I can’t believe they made me take my cooler full of beer back to the car. It’s not like they sell it at the Magic Kingdom.  Curious Agent: How many beers did you have in the cooler.  Client: Oh, I took a whole case. I didn’t want to run out.
  • Client: {Laughing} I’m so excited. My mother in law is going to pay for my trip to Disney. Here is her credit card number.   Agent: I need her to sign an authorization form first. Where can I send it?  Client: Oh, I just took the credit card out of her purse. She doesn’t know she’s paying for it yet.
  • I don’t want to pay your commission. Could you please tell me how much you make and I will remove that from the invoice. (No, it wasn’t a service issue)

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Unofficial Changes to the Guest Assistance Card

sky over castle

Here is some unofficial information about the new Disability Access Service Card (DAS) that will replace the current Guest Assistance Card (GAC) on October 9, 2013.

My son is autistic so the GAC has been a huge part of our trips to Disney. No one will deny that changes needed to be made to the old beourguestrosewindowsystem. The abuse was crazy. I think that the new Disability Access Service Card (DAS) is a great start and knowing Disney, it will be tweaked as they see fit in the future.  This is a change that has not been taken lightly by Disney and it has been awhile in the making.

The new Disability Access Service Card (DAS) will start on October 9th.

Disney worked closely with AustimSpeaks, park leaders from both coasts, and other disability advocacy groups. It will be used the same at The Disneyland Resort and The Walt Disney World Resort. Its sole purpose is to create a consistent similar experience for all guests from the average guest to one with an extreme disability.

DAS Card Description

  • A photo of DAS cardholder will be on the front along with name, date, location issued, and # of guests in the party.
  • The guest or guardian must also sign a terms and conditions on the DAS card that says they understand how it works, that they won’t abuse it, use it for commercial gain, or give it to someone else. If they breach this contract, it can be revoked and they can be asked to leave the park immediately.
  • The DAS cards can only be issued for up to a 7 day period or until the return time slots are filled up, including for pass holders.
  • On the back of the cards are lots of return time slots. No more different stamps.
  • The card will be paper and slightly larger than the existing GAC card.
  • Make-a-Wish and Give Kids the World guests will not use DAS. They will have a separate lanyard issues prior to their visit that will allow expedited waits. Nothing changes for these folks on how they access the attractions, only what they will use.
  • Guests with a stroller being used a wheelchair sticker will not need a DAS unless they have other needs that warrant it. Attraction based procedures will used to accommodate these guests.
  • Guests needing Front Row Seating will not need a DAS. Attraction based procedures and accommodation will be used.
  • Guests who only have mobility issues will not need DAS. Attraction based procedures and accommodation will be used.
  • The card also has a QR code making it easy for Guest Relations to reprint new ones with the information ready to go if needed.
  • It is still limited to only 6 guests per card including the one it’s issued for.

Space Mountain photo, space mountain ride, The Disney MomsProcedures

After getting a DAS card, guests will approach the attraction they wish to visit. Each attraction will have a cast member at the entrance to assist you. (Not a kiosk as first reported)

  • If the wait is less than 10 minutes, they are admitted through an alternate entrance or Fastpass queue.
  • If the wait is more than 10 minutes, they are issued a return time on their DAS card. The return times will be based on the current posted wait time minus 10 minutes.
  • Only 1 (one) active return time can be written on a DAS card placing you in a virtual standby queue. Just like a regular guest in a standby queue, you can’t be in multiple lines at once. You are free to go stand in line for another attraction, go shopping or eat.
  • The DAS card holder (photo and name) does not need to be present to receive a return time which allows families with children with autism a chance to stay clear of the attraction while a member gets the return time to avoid potential meltdowns by not getting to ride right away.
  • Once the return time has arrived, you will arrive to the attractions alternate entrance or Fastpass line to redeem.
  • Once a return time has been redeemed it is crossed off and no longer active allowing you get a new return time.
  • Crossing off a return time also voids or cancels it to the equivalent of getting out of line.
  • Fastpass & Fastpass+ are not tied to this program and can be used in conjunction. So you can technically be standing in two lines at once.

Here is a difference between a DAS & a Fastpassanimal dog

DAS Return Times have the same policy as a Fastpass when it comes to early arrivals, but they do not expire at a certain time of that day allowing those with special needs to not be restricted to returning back by a specific time if it doesn’t work for them. The catch however is that it will still remain active and additional return times can’t be gotten until it is used.

  • The DAS card holder (photo and name) must be present and experiencing the attraction in order to use the return time. If the person isn’t present or choose to sit out and let their family ride, they will be turned away and potentially have their card revoked. After all, the card is designed to assist the card holder and a few other companions or family members, but it is not designed to solely assist the family or companions when the card holder chooses not to or can’t ride.
  • If an attraction is broken, they can’t give you a return time. If you return and it’s broken, they will accommodate you by giving you a Fastpass to come back later and clearing your DAS return time to allow you to get another.
  • If all your return slots get filled, you have to return to Guest Relations for a new one. This would likely only fill up for someone that is staying on property for all 7 days.

Additional Procedures

  • Attractions that are not fully accessible through the standby queue may also have return cards. These are only for guests with wheelchairs, scooters, & strollers acting as wheelchairs who do not have a DAS card. Space Mountain is an example of a place that already does this, but additional attractions will soon be getting a similar procedure. The return times for these are just like DAS, but because they are attraction specific cards verses a global DAS card, you are able to grab multiple at once if you visit attractions that require it. Not all attractions will have this.

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6 year old Child Falls Off Balcony at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge

Last evening a 6 year old girl from New York fell off a third story balcony at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge Villas at the Walt Disney World Resort.

Orange County deputies said the child was trying to reach something, so she moved a small table to the balcony railing, but lost her footing and fell from the third floor balcony. She fell into the giraffe area of the savanna. No animals were in the area.

Deputies say the girl’s father was in the shower at the time. Her mother saw the her fall and tried to grab her, but was unable to get to her in time.

The girl was airlifted to Arnold Palmer Hospital in Orlando with minor injuries. She was treated and released from the hospital.

Disney hasn’t released an official statement at this time. Disney does have locks on the sliding glass doors for child proofing. They are located at my eye level (5 ft 9in) or higher depending which resort you are staying at.

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Candlelight Processional Narrators Announced

candlelight-processional-00-full

photo courtesy of Disney

One of the great things about Disney is how it does holidays. No exception is the Candlelight Processional at EPCOT. The celebrity narrators have been announced for 2013.

  • TBD
    November 29 to December 1, 2013
  • TBD
    December 2 to December 3, 2013
  • Ashley Judd – NEW!
    December 4 to December 5
  • Whoopi Goldberg
    December 6 to December 7, 2013
  • TBD
    December 8 to December 10, 2013
  • Dennis Haysbert – NEW!
    December 11 to December 13, 2013
  • James Denton
    December 14 to December 16, 2013
  • Edward James Olmos
    December 17 to December 19, 2013
  • Trace Adkins
    December 20 to December 22, 2013
  • TBD
    December 23 to December 25, 2013
  • Blair Underwood
    December 26 to December 28, 2013
  • Amy Grant
    December 29 to December 30, 2013

Celebrity narrators, dates and other entertainment are subject to change without notice.

You can wait in a standby line or you can book a Candlelight Dinner Package that will give you priority/reserved seating. Please know that if you are on the Plus Dining or Deluxe Dining Plan, these packages will use two table service/ dining credits.

You must have admission into EPCOT to enjoy this program.

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Magic Kingdom is at capacity and I don’t know what to do!

Disney fireworks, Magic Kingdom fireworks, Main Street, U.S.A.,

By Frances

When going to the Disney Parks during any peak holiday season, one or more of the parks will close due to capacity. There is a system to them closing the entrance and it’s always good to know.

Closing Phases

Phase 1

Guests with ‘Magic Your Way’ base tickets, or a ‘1-Day 1-Park Ticket’, Guests without an admission ticket, and Cast Members using Main Gate & Silver Passes will be turned around at the parking lot booths.

Phase 2

Admission is limited to:

Disney Resort Guests (including the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin, and guests arriving by bus from the Hotel Plaza Boulevard hotels)

Annual and Premium Annual Passholders

Guests with Hopper tickets coming from another park

Guests re-entering the park

Guests with dining reservations

Magic Kingdom Guests with reservations for Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique or The Pirates League

Guests using Walt Disney World Resort Transportation will be admitted.

Phase 3

Admission is limited to:

Disney Resort Guests (including the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin, and guests arriving by bus from the Hotel Plaza Boulevard hotels)

Annual and Premium Annual Passholders

Guests with dining reservations

Magic Kingdom Guests with reservations for Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique or The Pirates League

Phase 4

Closed to all guests.

3 Important Point To Mention Again!

1. Guest that are staying at WDW resort (on property) are granted entrance until Phase 4. You may pay a higher price buy you can get in.

2. Reservations on holidays can save the day. If staying off property make dining reservations inside the park you want to attend or at Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique or Pirates League inside the Magic Kingdom.

3. When the park is at phase 4 you will not be allowed to enter no matter if you have reservations or if you are staying at a WDW resort. On peak holidays, I have know for the Magic Kingdom to be at phase 4 as early as 12 noon. If you have 7pm reservations, plan to be at the park all day! If you leave, you take a chance of not being let back into the park for your reservation time and you will be charged for missing your reservation. OUCH!

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ARGH! Save your doubloons or join the crew at The Pirates League?

The Pirates League

Pirate flags decorate the walls of The Pirates League

If you didn’t know it was there it would be easy to walk right by The Pirates League. It is tucked away in the Magic Kingdom between Pirates of the Caribbean ride entrance and the gift shop. Even worse, while everyone seems to know about Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique with all their ball gowns and glitter, it seems that The Pirates League does a pretty good job of keeping a low profile. Just like with the princess counter-part, The Pirates League is a chance for kids to dress up, only here – it’s the pirate life for them. They can choose to add costumes or simply the face painting and accessories. But is it worth the money? Here are three reasons you should part with your doubloons for this experience.

Yo-ho, a pirate's life for me

The Pirates League offers options for boys who want to get dressed up but don’t want to spend their time in the castle with pixie dust!

1. Boys go to Disney too! This one should also include, not all girls want to be princesses all the time. Disney has absolutely cornered the market on the “Happily Ever After” princess tale. From meet and greets to meals to expensive makeovers at Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique. But for a long time that left boys feeling a little left out of all the dress up fun. Most boys I know love to dress up it’s just that most of them don’t want to dress up as Prince Charming – a black eye and a sword, now you are talking their language! The Pirates League gives them an escape from all the pink and glitter. Not to be forgotten are the little girls who want to sign up for the pirate’s life. There is the Empress package or the Mermaid package that gives them a makeover with pirate accessories necessary to go plunder the Magic Kingdom.

The Empress package

A great alternative for the girls who would rather be a pirate than a princess!

2. The Pirates Oath and your pirate name. Before you head back to get made over and join the crew – you have to pick out a pirate name. And in true pirate fashion – you must stick to the code. Based on your birthday and letters of your name you are given your new pirate name. Learn it because for as long as you are there, that is your name! Kids love getting their new name and the older ones will tend to remember their pirate name long after the experience is over. And to me that is what part of the Disney magic is all about – remembering those magical moments long after the vacation is over and “real life” has set in again. And the pirate oath is one of my favorite things that they do at The Pirates League. Once your new pirates makeover is complete, he or she will have to say the pirates oath (with the help of the veteran pirate who is initiating them to the crew). And since it is one big crew, of course all new pirates must be announced as having joined the crew – usually with the clanging of bells, some yelling and shouting and a whole lot of fanfare. (What do you expect, these are pirates after all!)

The pirates oath

Taking the Pirates Oath before being allowed to join the crew

3. The secret room. Again, pirates and their secrets! This is a closely guarded pirate secret, so secret in fact that the new members of the crew are not allowed into the secret room until they have said the oath and been welcomed to the crew. Now, what could a pirate keep in a secret room? Why – treasure of course! (And since it is Disney, a photographer too.) The treasure room is the prop room for the photo shoot at the end of your makeover. This is perhaps my favorite of all Disney photo spaces. Between the lighting and the treasure that lines the room, the photos do look like you have a plundering pirate worthy of the set of Pirates of the Caribbean.

Ready to take to the high seas

The pirate portrait in the secret treasure room. It doesn’t get much cooler than that!

And a bonus reason to love The Pirates League, the pirate makeovers won’t leave you feeling like your wallet has been plundered. Without a costume, the packages start at $29.95 + tax and go up to $39.95 + tax. Reservations can be made by calling 407-WDW-CREW and they accept reservations up to 180 days prior.

So next time you will be in the Magic Kingdom – consider checking out The Pirates League to have your pirates singing “Yo-Ho, Yo-Ho a Pirate’s Life for Me”.

 

mel-at-epcotAbout the Author:

Melissa Rhodes is a stay at home mom to two Disney addicts, one princess and one pirate. She is also a Disney Vacation Specialist with Magical Memories Travel, where she helps other families plan the Disney magic that she loves experiencing with her own family. Melissa made her first visit to Disney in 1978 and has made more than 50 trips since.

Melissa would love to help you plan your next Disney vacation. You can reach her at Magical Memories Travel at  703-688-2WDW or 1-888-908-7718 , ext 122.  When she is not dreaming about Disney, Melissa can be found at Mickey By Mel or on Facebook at www.fb.com/mickeybymel

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Disney Tattoos for You!

By Frances

Mouze Kateerz has had such great responses from post about the Disney tattoo that we are updating a post to bring you even more inspirations for your own.

mickey tattoo

My tattoo pays homage to my great love of Mickey, but that’s not all!  My children and husband’s initials are in there too!

Lisa

Tattoo

I got mine after running the Disney Half Marathon and for my love of Disney. I saw this image on merchandise at Disney years before adding my own flair and getting it inked. ~ Angela Beadle.

tattoo    Tattoo

The Mickey head on my hand was my 15th wedding anniversary present this Feb! It is my “brand”…I have a passion for all things Disney and the Mouse!
The larger tattoo is very recent, I just got this one April 20th…it represents my love for Disney and my kids! I have 3 kids who’s names all begin with “C”…so each had their own icon here: Jiminy represents my oldest daughter Cricket (her real name), next is my daughter Camdyn with the pink Minnie bow (and pixie dust), and the castle for my son Castle Elias. There is even a “hidden mickey” in there!
~Casie Crowder, Sumter, SC

tattoo

It’s my favorite Quote from Walt. Some hidden mickeys and all connected with a Dumbo hat.

Keep is in my handwriting. Moving is my moms handwriting. Forward is my late dads handwriting.

So special.  ~ Ellen Conner

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The Fantasyland Expansion Continues

Disney Princesses, How to Look like a Disney Princess, Disney Princess Characteristics

By Frances

The Disney Princesses are getting a new meet and great area! It will open at the end of this year!

The seven dwarfs are getting their own ride that will be filled with twist and turns.

Be sure to watch the video on the Disney Parks Blog. I love how the cast members talk about how it’s a show vs a ride.

SNEAK PEEK TO THE DISNEY PARKS BLOG!

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Tips to plan a Disney Vacation for a Group or Family Reunion

liberty belle boat and big thunder mountain

By FrancesContemporary Resort pool, DVC pool hopping, DVC pool

The Walt Disney World Resort & The Disneyland Resort are truly the happiest places on earth. However, that can completely turn if you plan a vacation with a large group. Here are some tips to make your Disney Family Reunion or Group of Friends a memorable and enjoyable vacation.

1. Decide who will be traveling with you: Just because you are related to someone or your best friends doesn’t mean that you should travel together. Keep in mind that everyone will be cranky, everyone’s feet will hurt and everyone will have lack of sleep at some point during the vacation. Separate rooms can help keep the peace and in some cases separate resorts also keep the peace 🙂

2. Decide on one main planner: Many hands in the cookie jar can cause problems, miscommunication and problems. One person should be the main contact for everyone. Consider using a Disney Travel Specialist. They are very knowledgeable and they are a neutral party. Consider using our friends Magical Vacations by Me ~ mickeyinfo@magicalvacationsbyme.com 404-414-6198.

Disney Resorts, Disney landscaping, Disney Movies3. Decide on a month and then decide on the week to go: Narrow down by voting. Usually it’s easier to find out when people can’t go vs. when they can to start the planning process. Please keep in mind that everyone may not be able to stay the entire time due to scheduling conflicts.

4. Decide where to stay: Each family may be on a different budget and shouldn’t feel pressured to stay in a resort that doesn’t suit their budget or their wants. (This is a great reason to use a Disney travel specialist.) With Disney transportation, you can easily meet up at Downtown Disney or at a Park.

5. Touring together or Separate?: I know that when you start thinking of your family you may envision everyone skipping down main street and singing in harmony. However, that’s not reality. You can’t please everyone and everyone won’t want to ride Space Mountain 12 times. My best advice ~ Everyone go your separate ways. Make dinner reservations so everyone can meet up and share their day or plan on meeting at a pool for a nice afternoon break.

6. Plan ~ Plan ~ Plan: Plan a couple of meals together. Plan to be flexible. Plan to compromise. This will allow everyone to have a magical vacation.

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