Resorts

Disney World Enacts Length of Stay Requirements for Fall

Planning on booking a quick trip to Walt Disney World this fall? It might be a little difficult as the Walt Disney World Resort just enacted minimum length of stay requirements. This affects new bookings and modifications to existing reservations.

Availability across all Disney Resort hotels is now very limited from September through December. Shorter length of stays, or even 1 night room reservations are becoming increasingly difficult to find. For example, Disney’s Pop Century Resort shows available Oct 17 through Oct 26. However, it shows as unavailable for just 1 night - Oct 25 - 26.

Disney World Reservation System

If you have an existing reservation and would like to shorten your trip, you may not be able to do so. Disney will likely offer you 3 options: keep the reservation as-is, cancel it and try to rebook, or try a different resort. While this can be very frustrating, from Disney’s point of view, it doesn’t want holes in its reservation system. Holes are one or two nights scattered around that will likely go unsold. Holes are often created by short stays.

Travel agents who specialize in Disney can sometimes work with Disney on your behalf to get a modification to go through. As a travel agent myself, I know a few different routes to take, but no guarantees of course.

This is a pretty good indication that fall bookings are way up and that Disney World itself is reaching capacity. If you plan on visiting Walt Disney World this fall, the time to book is now!

Darren is a travel agent with Magical Vacations Travel, specializing in Walt Disney World travel.

2 Night/3-Day Offer Disney's Polynesian Village Resort

Special offer from Magical Vacations Travel on Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort this August.

Special offer from Magical Vacations Travel on Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort this August.

Right now you can book a 2-night stay from August 14th through September 3rd at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort with 3-Day Base Tickets for $199 per person, per day* with this Agency-Exclusive Offer from Magical Vacations Travel

*Based on 2 adults and 2 children (ages 3-9). Additional length of stay and ticket types are available.

Get your quote today from Darren Wittko, specializing in selling Walt Disney World travel: darren@magicalvacationstravel.com

For more ways to save money, View my list of Current Walt Disney World Offers

THERE ARE TWO VIP EVENTS THIS YEAR!

Event 1: August 22, 2019 - Magical Vacations Travel, Fireworks Spectacular Dessert Party at Epcot. 7:50 pm. After the fireworks, stay for a “magical moment” surprise.

Event 2: August 25th, 2019 - Magical Vacations Travel presents, A Toyrific Breakfast at Epcot - World Showplace 8:15 am. Adult-size games and Toy Story character meet & greet.

Special events are reserved exclusively for clients of Magical Vacations Travel.

The fine print:

  • The number of rooms allocated for this offer is limited, subject to availability

  • Advance reservations required.

  • Ticket valid for admission beginning date of check-in and must be used within a limited number of days, depending on length of stay and ticket.

  • Cannot be combined with any other discount or promotion.

Related:

Magical Vacations Travel - Labor Day Offer


Update: New Disney Resort Hotels Opening this Fall + Offers

Gran-Destino-Tower

To welcome fall travelers, Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort will open with its new 15-story Gran Destino tower (check out my exclusive offer in August), adding 500-plus guestrooms – including suites and concierge-level services – and crowned by a rooftop restaurant.

New waterfront dining and a retail shopping area have come to Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, while a mid-December opening is planned for Disney’s Riviera Resort, a Disney Vacation Club property inspired by the enchantment of the European Riviera.

Related:

Grand Destino Tower Offer Aug 14 - Sep 3, 2019

Grand Destino Tower

Disney Skyliner

Disney’s Caribbean Beach Offer Nov 17 - 30, 2019

New Video: Disney Skyliner at Walt Disney World

disney-skyliner-gondolas

Disney just unwrapped 55 gondolas for special test runs of the Disney Skyliner system that’ll transport you at Walt Disney World® Resort later this fall.

The Haunted Mansion themed gondola is one of my favorites!

Haunted Mansion themed Disney Skyliner Gondola

Haunted Mansion themed Disney Skyliner Gondola

The unwrapped cabins, some of which feature stunning graphics based on Disney films, attractions and characters, are now making test runs back-and-forth between Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort and Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

When fall arrives, Guests staying at the Disney Skyliner Resorts – Disney’s Riviera Resort, Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, Disney’s Pop Century Resort and Disney’s Art of Animation Resort – will be able to enjoy the benefit of traveling between Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios.  

Check out the Walt Disney World Offers page for fall 2019 offers. There are several offers for Disney’s Art of Animation Resort and for Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, both will be on the Disney Skyliner System. However, just keep in mind that an operation date for Skyliner has not yet been announced. Stay tuned for more information

New Character Experience - Disney's Beach Club Resort

Captain Hook’s Pirate Crew Now Open at Disney’s Beach Club Resort

Captain Hook’s Pirate Crew Now Open at Disney’s Beach Club Resort

Captain Hook’s Pirate Crew is now accepting new recruits at Disney’s Beach Club Resort. This all-new immersive group experience invites young adventurers into the world of pirate feasting and treasure seeking.

Receiving official pirate names and learning pirate skills, recruits ages 4-12 will join Captain Hook’s crew on a quest for hidden treasure. They’ll also solve puzzles and gather clues on land before setting sail on a pontoon boat around Crescent Lake.

Captain Hook’s Pirate Crew is priced at $55 (plus tax) per child. The experience is offered nightly from 5:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. at Seaside Retreat in Disney’s Beach Club Resort. For more information or to book a reservation, call 407-824-KIDS.

For Special Offers on Disney’s Beach Club Resort, check out the Offers Page!



4th of July Disney’s Contemporary Resort

disney_contemporary_resort

A rootin’ tootin’ DJ will spin Woody’s favorite tunes from a rustic toy set right in the heart of it all. Kids can go have some fun with activities like the Trick Ropin’ Toy, Make-Your-Own Toy Station, camp-style carnival games, and a larger-than-life balloon artist who can recreate their favorite Toy Story characters. And finally, at the end of the night, you’ll be invited out to the Porte Cochére to end the evening with a viewing of the famous Magic Kingdom Park nighttime spectacular.

This limited-time event is happening for three nights only, July 4-6, from 6:15-9:15pm each night at Disney’s Contemporary Resort. Space is limited, so be sure to reserve your client's spot before it’s too late! Tickets are $149 for adults and $99 for children ages 3-9, tax and gratuity included. 


New Images for Disney's Riviera Resort Released

Disney has released more concept art for Disney’s Riviera Resort opening at Walt Disney World Resort Fall 2019.

In this release, Disney shared that the artwork displayed in guestrooms and throughout the hotel will include Disney concept art with European settings, posters of Disney films as released in Europe, archival photography of Walt’s travels throughout the region, and references to the ephemera and book titles Walt gathered on his journeys.

Details on Topolino’s Terrace Coming to Walt Disney World

Topolino’s Terrace coming to Disney’s Riviera Resort at Walt Disney World.

Topolino’s Terrace coming to Disney’s Riviera Resort at Walt Disney World.

Topolino’s Terrace — Flavors of the Riviera, will be a new signature rooftop restaurant at Disney’s Riviera Resort offering 2 special experiences: a character breakfast and views of evening fireworks.

Topolino’s Terrace will be a Disney signature restaurant where you can dine indoors and then step out onto the terrace for a view of the resort down below and if you can time it right, view the fireworks of the nearby nighttime spectaculars at Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Guests can start their morning off with an exclusive Disney character dining experience inspired by the Riviera.

Stay tuned for more information on this exciting opportunity!

By Darren Wittko

Offer Alert! Disney's Gran Destino Tower Late August 2019

Gran Destino Tower at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort | Walt Disney World

Gran Destino Tower at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort | Walt Disney World

Beginning Aug 22 through September 3, 2019 you can save big on stays at the completely reimagined Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort, featuring hundreds of new guestrooms and a plethora of new amenities.

The offer includes the 15-story Gran Destino Tower with Standard View and Club Level rooms. Standard View rooms in the original part of the resort are also part of the offer.

Gran Destino Tower at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort

Gran Destino Tower at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort

By late August, all 1,800 existing rooms at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort will feature updated fixtures, furnishings and lighting. A fresh, sophisticated color palette will tie the entire resort together.

For more information on this offer through Magical Vacations Travel, contact Darren Wittko

Hilton Orlando and Waldorf Astoria Now Official Walt Disney World Hotels

Orlando Hilton Bonnet Creek and Waldorf Astoria now official Walt Disney World Hotels.

Orlando Hilton Bonnet Creek and Waldorf Astoria now official Walt Disney World Hotels.

With Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge opening this fall, Disney is anticipating record attendance and is already sold out for select nights this fall. Running out of hotel rooms appears to be a serious concern for Disney. In 2018 it was announced that Disney would extend benefits to some Disney Springs Area hotels a.k.a, good neighbor hotels, and later added benefits to the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin hotels.

Beginning today, Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek and Waldorf Astoria Orlando are now Official Walt Disney World Hotels. Each guest staying at these hotels in 2019 with valid Walt Disney World theme park admission will have access to the following:

  • Extra Magic Hours access

  • The ability to make FastPass+ selections up to 60-days prior to arrival

  • Complimentary MagicBands

  • Complimentary transportation around the Walt Disney World Resort and standard parking at Walt Disney World theme parks

  • Disney’s Magical Express service The ability to purchase Disney Dining Plan packages.

Beginning April 3, 2019, guests who have reservations at the Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek and Waldorf Astoria can begin linking their reservations to My Disney Experience.

For offers on Walt Disney World Resort hotels, visit the Offers Page

by Darren Wittko

A Look at Disney's Riviera Resort at Walt Disney World

New conceptual renderings of Disney’s Riviera Resort have been released.

The image above showcases the hotel’s feature pool, Riviera Pool, and S’il Vous Play, an interactive water play area.

The image above showcases the hotel’s feature pool, Riviera Pool, and S’il Vous Play, an interactive water play area.

The Beau Soleil leisure pool at Disney’s Riviera Resort

The Beau Soleil leisure pool at Disney’s Riviera Resort

Guests staying at Disney Riviera Resort can hop aboard a Disney Skyline gondola for a bird’s eye view of  Walt Disney World  Resort. Disney Skyliner will provide service to  Epcot  ‘s International Gateway and  Disney’s Hollywood Studios .kyliner

Guests staying at Disney Riviera Resort can hop aboard a Disney Skyline gondola for a bird’s eye view of Walt Disney World Resort. Disney Skyliner will provide service to Epcot ‘s International Gateway and Disney’s Hollywood Studios.kyliner

Why You'll Save Big if You Visit Walt Disney World This Summer

Summer 2019 Offers and Discounts for Walt Disney World Resort

As a travel agent who specializes in selling Disney destinations, I have to admit, I was very surprised when the Walt Disney Travel Company released a free dining offer for summer 2019 back in January. We know free dining is not really free but it is very tempting and it did drive some sales to what is turning out to be a slow summer at Walt Disney World. The slump is likely caused by those who are postponing summer trips to Walt Disney World until after Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge opens this fall at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Some are holding off until in 2020 instead. Some are waiting until the fall.

Speaking of fall travel, I already have an unprecedented number of fall bookings secured. Not just for Galaxy’s Edge, but for the 20th Anniversary of the Wine and Dine Half Marathon Weekend. Once marathon registration opens, usually in March, hotel bookings really heat up.

But if you want to save big, go to Walt Disney World this summer from June through August, there are several ways to save big with room and ticket offers from the Walt Disney Travel Company and Magical Vacations Travel. If you would like to explore your options with me, you can use the Online Quote Request Form to send me your info. or email me: darren@magicalvacationstravel.com


Special Summer 2019 Offers for Walt Disney World

Ways to save money with Magical Vacations Travel and from the Walt Disney Travel Co.

June 6 through June 16, 2019

  • Disney’s Pop Century Resort

  • Disney’s Art of Animation Resort Family Suites

  • Disney’s Port Orleans Resort French Quarter

  • Disney’s Port Orleans Resort Riverside

  • Disney’s Beach Club Resort

  • Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort

  • Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Resort


June 20 through July 5, 2019

  • Disney’s Pop Century Resort

  • Disney’s Art of Animation Resort Family Suites

  • Disney’s Port Orleans Resort French Quarter

  • Disney’s Port Orleans Resort Riverside

  • Disney’s Beach Club Resort

  • Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort

  • Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Resort


July 13 through July 28, 2019

  • Disney’s Pop Century Resort

  • Disney’s Art of Animation Resort Family Suites

  • Disney’s Port Orleans Resort French Quarter

  • Disney’s Port Orleans Resort Riverside

  • Disney's Beach Club Resort

  • Disney's Polynesian Village Resort

  • Disney's Wilderness Lodge Resort


August 1 through August 11, 2019

  • Disney’s Port Orleans Resort French Quarter

  • Disney’s Port Orleans Resort Riverside

  • Disney's Beach Club Resort

  • Disney's Polynesian Village Resort

  • Disney's Wilderness Lodge Resort

  • Disney’s Yacht Club Resort.


August 14 through September 3, 2019

  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

  • Disney’s Beach Club Resort

  • Disney’s Boardwalk Inn

  • Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort

  • Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort

  • Disney’s Yacht Club Resort

  • Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Resort


May 28 through September 30, 2019

(select nights) save up to 30% on select Walt Disney World Resort hotels with the Sun and Fun offer.



For a complete list of Walt Disney World offers, visit the Offers Page.



5 Reasons You'll Love Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge Resort in Orlando, Florida

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge Resort in Orlando, Florida

For the record I’ve got nothing against the classic Disney World resorts. I’m down with Disney’s Polynesian and Contemporary Resorts, Even Yacht and Beach Club. But gosh dang it, I’m sick of seeing hard working families toss aside one of Disney’s most beautiful hotels just because they think it’s too far from the parks. It’s by far the most unique hotel experience you’ll have without leaving the country and it’s right here at Walt Disney World! It’s also one of the cheaper Deluxe Resorts, not much more than some Moderate category hotels. To that end, here are 5 reasons to stay at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge Resort.


Authentic Africa - Disney Style

From the moment you pass the gates you’re immediately transformed into a whole new world. The lush landscaping has been carefully cultivated to resemble an African savanna. Here’s a Disney secret - the planting started two years before the resort opened so it had time to grow and mature. This gives the illusion that the plants and trees had always been there. Drive a little further and the towering thatched roof of the main lobby comes into view. At that moment you realize this is a very different kind of Disney resort. Upon entering the lobby you’ll discover rich woods, golden tones, and authentic African art throughout. There are over 380 museum-quality pieces throughout the hotel and over 4,000 handcrafted works of art in the guest rooms. A mud fireplace is always warm and giant floor-to-ceiling windows provide spectacular views of the animal savanna.


74 Acres of African Savanna

True, Animal Kingdom Lodge is remote, it’s built on 74 acres right in the middle of its own savanna. Surrounding the resort is an animal sanctuary with over 200 mammals and birds like zebra, giraffe, and impala that live authentically in the recreated African savannas. So the fact that this hotel is remote, is perhaps its very best feature! It’s an escape from the excitement and high energy of the theme parks. Here it’s quiet, tranquil, and relaxing. Yes, it’s possible to feel relaxed on your Disney World vacation! And speaking of location, let’s not forget that it’s very close to Animal Kingdom Theme Park including Pandora World of Avatar, Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Blizzard Beach.


Dining is a Culinary Journey

The signature restaurant, Jiko - The Cooking Place, is one of Florida’s most notable restaurants having won numerous awards and has the most South African Wines than any other restaurant in the United States. Boma is one of the most popular restaurants at Walt Disney World - it features an open kitchen, a wood-burning grill (that smells terrific from outside) and an incredible buffet. Victoria Falls is the mezzanine lounge that sits just above Boma and serves up specialty coffee, tea, South African vintage wines, international beers, and cocktails.

Jiko - The Cooking Place at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge


Handcrafted Rooms

Each of the lodge’s rooms feature handcrafted furniture and art — much of it made in Zimbabwe.

Animal Kingdom Lodge is one of two Deluxe Resorts that offers the option of bunk beds in many of the guestrooms. Also offered throughout the resort are standard rooms with 2 queen beds or 1 king-bed.

Upgraded room categories include one and two bedroom suites and Club-level (concierge) rooms. It’s worth noting that the Club-level lounge is one of the highest rated among all of the Walt Disney World Deluxe Resorts.


Wildlife Reserve

I know, this all sounds great but what about the animals! For the absolute best experience, try to be up just before sunrise (that’s early and you’re on vacation, but trust me it’s worth it). There are over 200 animals that live at Animal Kingdom Lodge and they become vocal and active just as the sky begins to turn brighter. And here’s a secret,  you don’t need to stay in a savanna view room to enjoy views of animals. There are several outdoor overlooks around the resort with prime viewing locations. There are also several animal and authentic cultural experiences and tours that are offered exclusively to Animal Kingdom Lodge guests.


For more on Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, check out this video tour below. And check for special offers on the Resort Offers Page.

Video: Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge



View the Offers Page to view special rates for Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

Average Nightly Rates for Disney's Gran Destino Tower

Walt Disney World’s newest hotel, Gran Destino Tower at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort is set to open on July 9, 2019. Reservations for Gran Destino are now available online, through your travel agent, or by calling 407-W-Disney. To book a room at the Gran Destino Tower online, look under Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort.


In addition to several room categories, including Club Level and suites, Gran Destino Tower will also house a restaurant: Toledo – Tapas, Steak & Seafood. According to Disney it will feature beautiful views of Walt Disney World Resort and offer a lounge with indoor and outdoor seating.


Average Nightly Room Rates for Disney’s Gran Destino Tower:


Tower - Standard View $255

Tower - Water View $312

Tower - Standard View - King Bed $324

Tower - Water View - King Bed $334

Tower - Standard View Club Access $363

Tower - Executive Suite - Club Access $632

Tower - One Bedroom Suite - Club Access $1073

Tower - Presidential Suite - Club Access $1503


Most rooms sleep up to 4 adults with 2 queen beds. King bed rooms sleep 2 adults. The Executive Suite and 1-Bedroom suites both sleep 4 adults. The Presidential Suite sleeps up to 6 adults.


Related:

Disney’s Newest Hotel Resembles Aladdin Las Vegas

Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort Brochure

Disney's Newest Hotel Lacks Imagination

Disney’s Gran Destino Tower resembles the now defunct, Aladdin Hotel and Casino is Las Vegas.

Disney’s Gran Destino Tower resembles the now defunct, Aladdin Hotel and Casino is Las Vegas.

Disney has recently announced that bookings for the new Gran Destino Tower will become available on November 27, 2019. The resort officially opens in July 2019, but no work yet on an exact date.

I’ve been writing about Disney for over a decade and have always been impressed with Disney’s projects. But I can’t help but think this hotel lacks true Disney imagination. Is it just me or does Gran Destino Tower look like the defunct Aladdin Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas? At the very least, it looks like a Holiday Inn. Is this the best Disney Imagineers could do?

I think Disney is known for building amazing and unique hotels. Think about Wilderness Lodge, Animal Kingdom Lodge, the Polynesian refurbishment, and even Art of Animation. These resorts represent the Disney Difference, truly unique hotels with over-the-top attention to detail, especially in regards to time and place.

So what happened with Gran Destino Tower?

Details on Disney's Riviera Resort Coming to Walt Disney World

Disney's Riviera Resort | Walt Disney World

Details on Disney's Riviera Resort Coming to Walt Disney World ©Disney

Disney’s Riviera Resort is projected to open Fall 2019. As you can see from this newly released rendering, Disney Vacation Club Members and other Guests will have a great view of fireworks spectaculars and easy access to the Disney Skyliner, which will have a station at the resort.

No word on a completion date but stay tuned! Disney’s Riviera Resort is not yet fully registered or available for sale.

by Darren Wittko

Disney Skyliner Opening Date

Walt Disney World Skyliner

Walt Disney World Skyliner

Previously I shared that the new Disney Skyliner gondola system will be operating at the Walt Disney World Resort in the coming year. We now know that it will begin service in the fall of 2019.

The Disney Skyliner will offer a new way to experience Walt Disney World Resort with unique views only available from the sky.

Disney’s new Skyliner system will connect Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Epcot to four resort hotels-

  • Disney’s Art of Animation Resort

  • Disney’s Pop Century Resort

  • Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort

  • Disney’s Riviera Resort.

By Darren Wittko


Big News for Disney's Coronado Springs Resort

Gran Destino Tower at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort

Gran Destino Tower at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort

Big news for Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort this week! All 1,800 rooms have now been fully updated with new fixtures, furnishings and lighting.

If you’ve ever stayed at Coronado Springs you know it’s a long walk from many of the rooms to the main lobby. Disney announced that new walkways will stretch across the lake will help shorten the trip. Plus a new restaurant is in the works and will be situated on an island in the middle of the lake!

The new tower, to be completed sometime in July 2019, will serve as the new main entrance at Disney’s Coronado Springs resort, and will add 545 Guest rooms and 50 suites, as well as feature a two-story lobby.

A second themed table-service restaurant is also planned for Coronado, this one at the top of Gran Destino Tower, which will offer views of the Walt Disney World Resort.

Finally the Disney Skyliner will be operational sometime in the Fall of 2019.

You’ll be able to book the Gran Destino Tower at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort soon, according to Disney. Stay tuned.

by Darren Wittko

September 2019 Walt Disney World Offer Update

Disney's Beach Club Resort

Disney's Beach Club Resort

SEPTEMBER 14 - SEPTEMBER 27, 2019

Magical Vacations Travel - Offer ESEP19 - Disney's Pop Century Resort, Disney's Port Orleans Resort French Quarter, Disney's Port Orleans Resort Riverside (Standard View and 5th Sleeper), Disney's Polynesian Village Resort (Standard View and Garden View Club Level), Disney's Beach Club Resort, Disney's Wilderness Lodge Resort

>> View All Walt Disney World Resort Hotel Offers