Best Way to Budget for Disney

Want to know the easiest way to save money for your dream Disney trip? It’s really easy – plan ahead! It’s like a virtual layaway plan!

Let me explain….You can book Disney World trips more than a year in perfect castleadvance. This means that you can make payments, on your own terms, for over a year! All you need to get started is a $200 deposit, which is fully refundable until 30 days from your travel date. And any payments you make toward that trip are refundable as well (with the exception of travel insurance premiums). So you can pay a little each week or once a month – whatever works best for you.

Right now you can book trips through the end of 2018. Sometime this summer, Disney will release bookings through the end of 2019, in case you really want to plan ahead! (And with the coming Star Wars Land set to open in 2019, you just might want to plan really far ahead!)

Another reason planning ahead saves you money – I watch for discounts that will save you money. If you already have a trip booked, I automatically apply that discount to your trip, assuming there is availability, which means you’re first in line on discount release days. And it costs you nothing to use my services when you stay at a Disney resort. Disney knows that planning a trip can be overwhelming so they pay me to assist you without passing that cost on to you. I help you determine which resort, park ticket, dining plan, etc., will work best for your family’s needs.

If a Disney cruise is what you’re planning for – you can book those even further in advance. And Disney rewards cruisers who plan ahead. Disney cruises are priced similarly to hotel rooms – the more full the sailing becomes, the more expensive it is to get a stateroom.

So, what are you waiting for? Bet you didn’t know it could be this easy! All you have to do is contact me – fill out the no-obligation quote request form, email or call me. Whatever works best for you! I promise to make planning your Disney trip simple – all you have to do is pack a bag!

HOW TO CONTACT ALISON: Email achambers@neverlandadventureguides.com, call/text 501.772.3137 or send a FaceBook message! REQUEST A NO-OBLIGATION QUOTE: Request a Quote


Get Ready for a Galaxy Far, Far Away in 2019!

Disney Announces Projected Timing of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge Opening in 2019

Disney has FINALLY announced roughly when Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge (AKA: Star Wars Land) will open! While it’s not as good as exact dates, at least we have something to work with when booking trips for 2019!

So if you want to see Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge as soon as possible, then let’s plan your trip to head to California as it will be opening there in the summer of  2019 at Disneyland Resort. Or you can wait for the opening in late fall 2019 at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida! Either way, you will will land in the middle of the action as you live you own Star Wars story.

I hope to see options for booking 2019 travel sometime in late June/early July. If you’d like to get a jump on planning, get on my wait list here. Fill out the quick form and I’ll email you options once they become available. It only takes a refundable $200 deposit to secure a booking and my services are complimentary when you book your travel with me!

And to sweeten the deal a little – if you book your trip with me within 1 week of the packages being released (meaning you have paid your deposit) I’ll enter you into a drawing for a $50 Disney gift card that will be delivered with your travel documents! Can’t get much easier than that!

Call me today at 501.772.3137, email me Here, or check out my Facebook page Here.

In the meantime, take a look at this incredible sneak peek at these new immersive lands! This video is SO cool!


What’s So Special About 180 Days?

It’s hard to believe, but it’s 180 days from the summer travel season! That may not seem significant to you, but when planning a Disney trip, it is the BEST time to begin making important plans! That means book now so we can get a jump on JUNE planning!

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Ballroom at Be Our Guest Restaurant

Want your princess to eat with the princesses at Cinderella’s Royal Table? Dream of eating in the Beast’s Castle at Be Our Guest? Want to hang at Chef Mickey’s with the “Fab Five” (that’s Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy and Pluto – for those of you who aren’t Disney fanatics)? These are some of the most-coveted dining reservations and 180 days before your trip to Disney is the earliest date you can make Advanced Dining Reservations.

For my clients, I’m online bright and early at 4:45 in the morning, waiting for that Advanced Dining Reservation window to open at 5 a.m., so I can get the best dining reservations at the most convenient times for my clients. (Or, if you’re a glutton for punishment, you can do this yourself!) One client described the night before her 180-day window opened as being “like Christmas Eve! I can’t wait to wake up in the morning and see all the great reservations Alison got us!”

Can we plan a Disney trip with less than 6 months’ lead time? Absolutely! Can I get you dining reservations at great restaurants? Absolutely! It just might take us a little longer to get your plans exactly the way we want them as we wait for cancellations to open up at the restaurants you want.

The moral of the story is this: If you are thinking this summer is the perfect time to go to Disney World (as if there’s not a perfect time) then let’s start planning now so we are able to create your ideal trip to The Happiest Place On Earth! What are you waiting for? There’s great food to be had!

HOW TO CONTACT ALISON: Email me at achambers@neverlandadventureguides.com, call/text me at 501.772.3137or send me a FaceBook message! REQUEST A NO-OBLIGATION QUOTE: Request a Quote


End the “I Want it Now” Battle!

When I tell people that I’m going to Disney World or Universal Studios or some other fantastic destination for a work trip, they assume that I’m going to be playing in the parks all day. But really, I’m like a super-secret ninja spy scoping out the parks to make sure you have the best possible travel experience.

Seriously, the reality is that I make a point of going to the parks regularly so that I can stay on top of new things happening that might affect the way you tour the parks. You wouldn’t want to use a travel agent who uses Google to answer all of your questions, would you? You want boots-on-the-ground perspective and I aim to give it to you! In addition to staying current on changes, I like to troubleshoot issues I see people having and finding ways to spare my clients the same mishaps.

I like to look for what I call the “breaking points” for people – the areas where families find themselves at the end of their rope, frustrated and ready to call it a day before they’ve really gotten going. One of the biggest breaking points I have found is at the exit of a ride. Theme park designers are marketing geniuses, spilling you off of a ride into a store with merchandise related to the fantastic ride you just enjoyed. Parents and children are arguing over yet another toy their child just has to have. Inevitably, I see parents telling their kids no, leaving the store with a child in tears, questioning why they decided to take a vacation if all their child is going to do is cry over a silly toy.

This is where my “ninja” skills come in. I have a solution for you! Kids like to feel they have control, and they are inundated with things they “must” have. Rather than dread the battle, try giving some freedom to your child, while still calling the shots.

Before you leave home, give your child his own wallet, with his own money in it. The plushdisplayterms are that you will let him spend this money on whatever he wants. You won’t argue over his choice, even though you know he doesn’t need another stuffed animal. But when that money is gone, it’s gone. There will be no more. The key here is that you have to stick to those terms. If you waiver at all, or enter into negotiations at any time, then this system will not work.

Whatever amount of money you decide to give your child, put it in their wallet in small bills. Children don’t grasp the concept of money well, but they do understand when they have a lot of something and when that starts to dwindle. You can hold on to their wallet for them so that it doesn’t get lost or you can let them have that responsibility.

I have tested this method on my three children, now ages 14, 10 and 9, since each of them was 3 years old and it has never failed me. I have been shocked at how it ended the “can I buy it now” battle and how much money it saved me! It also teaches the life skill of money management. So now your vacation is a valuable learning opportunity as well!

Do you have a question about touring the parks that you’d like to ask me? Let me know! I love to share the love of Disney magic!

Want to benefit from more of my expertise? Let me plan your trip!

HOW TO CONTACT ME: Email achambers@neverlandadventureguides.com, call/text 501.772.3137 or send a FaceBook message!
Or GET STARTED HERE: Request a Quote


Why You Need a Travel Agent to Book Disney

With the ease of the Internet, you might be wondering why you need to use a travel agent to book a Disney trip. I specialize in all things Disney, so I could give you tons of reasons, but here’s my Top 5:

1. It’s FREE! It would cost you exactly the same to book your trip on your own directly with Disney as it costs to book through me. Disney realizes it can be overwhelming to plan a trip, so they compensate me without passing that charge on to you (so there’s no need to price shop!)

2. I watch for special discounts and work my hardest to get those discounts applied to your vacation, even after you’ve already booked your trip! So using me actually can SAVE you money!

3. I guide you through all of the planning process – I help you figure out which of the 27 resort properties is best for your family and which time of year works best for your needs; I get up at 5 a.m. 180 days before your trip to get you the best dining reservations; I help you plan your park itinerary and FastPasses (Disney’s “ride reservation” system); I make sure you know how to navigate the parks and the technology Disney employs to make your trip as seamless as possible. In a nutshell – I handle it ALL! You just pack and go, and I even give you a packing list!

4. Think of me as your personal “Google” when you have questions! Did you know that if you search “Disney World,” there are 181,000,000 entries? Do you really want to sort through all of that to figure out what information is still relevant when you could just send me an email, text or Facebook message and get a quick, accurate answer?

5. I work for an EarMarked Travel Agency, a designation given by Disney to recognize our extensive knowledge of all things Disney. We are experts in the Disney resorts, restaurants, rides, and more; Disney Cruise Line; Adventures by Disney (guided tours to destinations all over the world); and A’ulani, a Disney resort and spa in Hawaii.

Quite simply, helping plan your dream Disney vacation isn’t a job to me – it’s my passion! Let’s get started! Request a quote here: Request a Quote
Or you can call me at 501.772.3137 or email me at achambers@neverlandadventureguides.com. You can also get the latest updates by “liking” my FaceBook page at Alison Chambers – Neverland Adventure Guides


“I Survived a Tropical Storm!”

For those who have had the misfortune of traveling with me, they will tell you that where Alison goes, there will be rain. Our most recent trip to Disney World was no exception. BOY! Did it rain!

As my son says, “We survived a Tropical Storm!” And technically, he’s right. Tropical Storm Hermine made landfall to the north of Orlando and we were left to make the best of our vacation in the deluge that preceded and followed the storm.

Here is what Hermine was gracious enough to teach me:

  • Sing and dance with your kids in the rain. Whether the rain ruins your trip depends less on how wet you get and more on how you react to it. Your kids will look to you to decide if the rain is going to ruin their dream trip, so my advice to you? If it’s going to rain, dance your way through and make the best of it. Keep your sense of humor.
  • Scotchgard works! It is common to have an afternoon shower in Florida but when I realized we were looking at more than the typical rain, I started looking for some additional ways to keep dry. We put Scotchgard on our shoes, backpacks, hats, pretty much anything you can put it on. And I was shocked by how well it worked. Think like a Boy Scout and be prepared!
  • Outerwear is your friend! I always recommend taking a poncho and keeping it in a Ziploc bag so you can put it back in your bag after you are finished wearing it without getting everything else wet. But if you know you are likely to have tropical storm-type rain, invest in some high-quality rain gear. It’s worth the investment (and because I know it’s always going to rain since I have to travel with myself, I’m sure to use it again! Chances are you will, too.)
  • Protect your feet. I pack two pairs of shoes for everyone so that if it rains a lot on one day, you’ll have dry shoes the next day. If you have comfortable shoes that can get wet (like Chacos, because you need support), then wear those if you can. Wet feet are more likely to get blisters in tennis shoes. But flip-flops won’t give you enough support. You can also get creative with how you dry your shoes. I stick a hairdryer in each shoe and let that do the work for me. You can also take out the insoles and stuff your shoes with newspaper, which should help them dry overnight.
  • Don’t forget your stroller needs shelter, too! If you don’t have a rain cover for your stroller, consider buying one. If you don’t have one made for your stroller, you can use heavyweight shower curtains and clips to attach it. They are sturdy enough to keep everything dry and can be tied to the stroller if wind becomes an issue. Most of the stroller parking areas are not covered, so you will want something to kimg_7378eep them dry while you are staying dry.
  • Get creative! You know those hand dryers in the bathrooms? You can flip those upside down and you have a great way to dry your hair or clothes!
  • Be flexible. I don’t mean it’s time to start stretching to show off your athletic prowess, I mean be willing to toss the plans you originally had for the day according to the forecast. If you know it’s likely to be raining when you had planned to be taking a break in the room, you should modify that plan so you can take advantage of the driest part of the day. Get to be best friends with your My Disney Experience app and change those FastPasses around. It’ll be OK!
  • GO – into the parks! I know the temptation is to stay in the room and wait it out, but that is exactly what eimg_4043veryone else is doing! Seize the (wet) day! Almost all of the rides and attractions will still be running and you’ll be able to get on and off of them with no wait! A Disney dream come true!
  • Ask Alison. This one may be the most important – be sure to find out when I will be visiting Disney. It might be in your best interest to avoid being there when I am! Seriously, if you book your trip with me and it looks like you might experience a lot of rain, have no fear! I will be sure to send you my extra-special, super-secret list of rain tips not mentioned here.

Have tips of your own? Please share!

HOW TO CONTACT ALISON: Email achambers@neverlandadventureguides.com, call/text 501.772.3137 or send a FaceBook message!
GET STARTED HERE:Request a Quote


Sorry Folks! Time is NOT Going to Slow Down

It’s back-to-school time and we are seeing cute first day pictures and comments like “Look at my baby starting high school! Where did the time go?” or “They’re growing up so fast! Time please slow down!” But that’s the thing. Time won’t slow down. We have to make the most of it while we have it. And I don’t know anyone who feels like they have an abundance of time.

In 17 days, my family and some awesome friends get to step into the “bubble” that is Disney. I won’t be looking at the news or watching TV or reading through Facebook because I’m bored. I’ll be soaking up time with my loved ones. Precious time, creating memories not just for them but also just as much for me. Because those little people will eventually grow up to have their own families and I’m going to cherish these memories of time spent together.PicMonkey Collage

You hear a lot about Disney “magic,” and everyone will have his own definition of what that is. For me, Disney provides the perfect setting to block out the sadness and anger in our world today and focus on laughing and seeing things through the lens of my kids. Disney vacations are unique because there are very few places where you have the ability to bridge the gap in ages in your family. Do you have a teenager and a toddler and want to have the grandparents on vacation, too? You can all have a great time without needing to bring a friend along to entertain the teenager or worrying about keeping everyone happy. You can all have fun together. PicMonkey Collage2

And that’s why you NEED a Disney trip pronto! Our world is so deeply divided right now and day after day our Facebook newsfeeds are full of sadness, anger and hate. We need a break from the madness. And because no matter how badly we beg for it, time isn’t going to stop. So take advantage of it while you can!

Let me save you TIME by planning your trip, at no cost to you when you stay on Disney property! Great discounts for the Fall were just released this week!

HOW TO CONTACT ALISON: Email achambers@neverlandadventureguides.com, call/text 501.772.3137 or send a FaceBook message!
GET STARTED HERE: Request a Quote

 

 

 


Maximize Your One-on-One Time with Disney Characters

Getting character signatures is sure to be a highlight for your kids so I’m sharing a collection of tips to help you get the most out of your time spent with Disney’s costumed celebrities.

Think Outside the Book: You might spend a lot of time gathering those precious signatures, so don’t put them in an autograph book that will be forgotten a month after your trip! Get creative and put them on display so you can talk about all the fun you had! Some ideas:sigs

  • Use a picture frame mat and get signatures using different color Sharpies. When you get home, pick your favorite photograph from the trip and put it in a frame with the mat. To keep the mat from being damaged while you tour the parks, place it between two pieces of foam board and then put it inside a padded envelope.
  • Buy a 9-inch Create-Your-Own Vinylmation character from the Disney Parks Merchandise app or eBay. These make for great display pieces.
  • Take several quilting squares and get one signature on each. Have them made into a quilt.
  • Get signatures on Mickey ears, a t-shirt or pillowcase.

Think ahead: At character meals, seat your children on the outsides of the tables so they can easily get up and down to get autographs and pictures with their favorite characters. The characters make a loop around the restaurant, stopping briefly at each table. They only have a few minutes before they have to move on to the next table, so be ready when they get there.

Unexpected surprise: Your kids might not react to the characters the way you think they will. Let your child be in control and smallkidsautographsdon’t force them to take a picture. You might try holding him for a few pictures or standing between him and the character – you still get the shot but without the tears. Before you know it, he may be fine with characters and wanting to meet them all!

Use the app: Looking for a certain character? Use the character locator button in the My Disney Experience app on your phone. This will tell you what characters are where, and more importantly, when to expect them to be there.

Do your homework: Some characters can’t be seen at a character meal or at random places in the parks. Want to see Anna and Elsa? You can only meet them in the Norway pavilion at Epcot. There isn’t a FastPass for this opportunity, so plan ahead and get to the park at least 45 minutes prior to opening and head straight there to be at the front of the line.

Have other suggestions? Please share in the comments here or on my Facebook or Twitter pages!

HOW TO CONTACT ALISON: Email me at achambers@neverlandadventureguides.com, call/text me at 501.772.3137or send me a FaceBook message! REQUEST A NO-OBLIGATION QUOTE: Request a Quote


To Stroll or Not to Stroll?

Debating taking (or renting) a stroller for your Disney trip? “But,” you say to yourself, “he doesn’t ride in a stroller at home.” Or, “She’s 6, does she really need a stroller?”

Do you want to end up like this?

Chances are if you are considering the need for a stroller, you probably need one. The average person walks anywhere from 6-12 miles a day at Disney World. Your child is taking at least 2 steps for your every one. That’s a LOT of steps! Do you want to jeopardize everyone’s sanity over a stroller? No? Then plan to take a stroller or rent one. (Nevermind that your best friend just got home from her trip and said her kid didn’t need a stroller – she’s not you. Or your kid. Do what works for your family!)

There are a few things to consider when making a stroller decision:

  • If you bring your own stroller or plan to rent one from a company that will deliver it to your resort, remember that it must be foldable to use Disney’s transportation system.
  • Speaking of stroller rental companies, Disney only allows certain companies to deliver and pick up from the resorts, so be sure you use one of the approved companies. I recommend Kingdom Strollers to my clients.
  • If you take your stroller from home, you can roll that bad boy all the way to the gate of the plane! They will take it from you right before you enter the plane and have it waiting on the ramp when you get off. Great way to keep little ones contained in the busy airport!
  • If you are considering renting one of Disney’s strollers, do yourself a favor and don’t. They are large. And made of hard plastic. If you have a small child, they will flop all around in it. If you have an older child, they will be miserably uncomfortable. And you will have to wait in line to pick it up at the beginning of the day and to drop it off at the end of the day. And repeat that process the next day. And, you might find that your child rides in the stroller to get back to the room after a long day in the parks.
  • Be aware that you will have to park your stroller in certain designated areas before entering rides. Occasionally, Disney
    Strollers Everywhere!

    Look for the designated stroller parking areas.

    Cast Members will move your stroller to a location closer to where you will exit your ride. So it might not be in the exact same place you left it. Don’t panic! Just ask for help!

  • A lot of strollers look alike! I know that’s hard to believe, but trust me, you might start to walk away with another family’s stroller without realizing it so be sure to check that you are taking your own stroller. You could attach a balloon or bandana or something to the handle to help differentiate yours if you are worried about finding it.
  • Lastly, please, please, please be considerate of others who are walking in the parks. Just because you are pushing a stroller doesn’t mean you can use it to bulldoze your way through the crowd. Everyone is trying to get somewhere, so practice the Golden Rule and be patient!

So there’s my 2 cents (or 604 words)! And if you take your stroller and your kid ends up not using it? Well, at least you have someplace to put all your stuff!

HOW TO CONTACT ALISON: Email me at achambers@neverlandadventureguides.com, call/text me at 501.772.3137or send me a FaceBook message! REQUEST A NO-OBLIGATION QUOTE: Request a Quote


Disney “Must-Dos”

Disney World is a great big place with 4 parks covering 47 square miles. That’s a lot to see in the average week-long trip! Obviously, that means that you will have to pick and choose what to see and do. If you asked 10 Disney fanatics what you absolutely must experience on your Disney trip, you will get 10 different answers. So – for all you soon

monorail

-to-be Disney fans, here’s my opinion, in no particular order, and I’m sure I will have left some off. Please share yours!

  1. You have to ride on the monorail! Even if you have no reason to get on it, jump on the resort monorail loop at Magic Kingdom, which makes stops at The Contemporary, The Polynesian Village and The Grand Floridian resorts before taking you back to Magic Kingdom.
  2. There are some classic Disney rides that must be ridden because they are icons (even if you can’t stand the “It’s a Small World” song): Peter Pan’s Flight, It’s a Small World, Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, Jungle Cruise, Dumbo the Flying Elephant, Spaceship Earth, Soarin’, Kilimanjaro Safaris and Tower of Terror. Obviously there are loads more rides that I wouldn’t miss, but this isn’t a list of my favorite rides, it’s a list of rides that you really should experience at least once.
  3. Have a Dole Whip! You won’t regret it.
  4. Have at least one meal with the characters. My personal favorite is Chef Mickey’s, where you will see the “Fab Five” – Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy and Pluto.
  5. See the new Happily Ever After fireworks at Magic Kingdom.Wishes Fireworks
  6. Arrive at least 30 minutes before Magic Kingdom opens to see the Good Morning Show.
  7. Press at least one penny to keep as a souvenir.
  8. Trade a few pins. Cast Members will trade collectible pins with you, which is a great way to kill time if you are standing in line. Buy trading pins on eBay before your trip and save yourself a bunch of $$!
  9. See the Fantasmic! show at Hollywood Studios. This is way more than fireworks – you’ve got live actors, animation, fire, water, music – it’s really an amazing way to end a trip!
  10. Have your picture taken in front of Cinderella’s Castle.
  11. See the Festival of the Lion King show at Animal Kingdom. It’s amazing. The Beauty and the Beast production at Hollywood Studios is a close second.
  12. Get some character signatures and pictures. We like to have the characters sign a white picture frame mat in different-colored Sharpies. Then we put one of our favorite pictures from the trip in the frame.
  13. Find at least one Hidden Mickey. What’s a Hidden Mickey? It’s a Mickey shape that appears in a place where Mickey wouldn’t normallyHidden Mickeybe placed. Sometimes it’s a shadow on the ground or the shape a ride makes when you look at it from above. They’re everywhere. Make a game of it and see who can find the most.
  14. Look at the animals carved into Animal Kingdom’s Tree of Life. More than 300 animals are carved into the tree and it took more than a year to complete – it’s magnificent.
  15. See Illuminations at Epcot. The telling of the history of the world through music, fire, water and pyrotechnics is pretty cool.illuminations
  16. If you have a huge princess fan, then you won’t want to miss the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, where she can receive a princess makeover.
  17. Walk around the World Showcase at Epcot. Don’t miss the little details like the miniature train set in the Germany pavilion. The set’s decor even changes to match the season.
  18. Buy a pair of mouse ears – even if you aren’t brave enough to wear them.
  19. Try Beverly at Epcot’s Club Cool.
  20. Hear the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse closing theme song on the Magical Express bus ride back to the airport. I always tear up when Mickey says “See ya’ real soon!” (Yes, I’m aware I have a Disney addiction. The first step is admitting it, right?)

HOW TO CONTACT ALISON: Email me at achambers@neverlandadventureguides.com, call/text me at 501.772.3137or send me a FaceBook message! REQUEST A NO-OBLIGATION QUOTE: Request a Quote