Disney World

Are you a Disney-LANDER or Disney-WORLDER???

One of the most heated questions in all the Disney Universe…

I primarily grew up closer to Disneyland so that is where my family vacationed.  We were there for all the new additions: Indiana Jones, Toon Town, and of course the building of California Adventure! I remember when Fast Passes became a “thing” and how annoying it was to watch people cut in line! But that is beside the point here.! 

I remember the first time, as a teenager, my parents took us to Disney World. We headed into Magic Kingdom and I remember walking down Main Street USA- thinking, “okay…okay this is all the same or really close to the same….” And that is about where that line of thought stopped! So many differences good and bad with Disneyland VS Magic Kingdom. 

I am in an active duty military family now, and we have lived on the East side of the country for the last 5 years.  Naturally, Disney World has become our family’s destination.…. And let me tell you what, it’s a bit of a shock when you switch! You think you “know Disney” or that both parks run the same, and that my friends- is just not the case.  Today I thought I would point out some obvious differences and some not so obvious differences for each location. For those of you that either want to try out both parks someday or are still deciding between LAND or WORLD.

Let’s start with Disneyland located in Anaheim, CA. This land just keeps growing and growing! Presently this land is 500 acres total (compared to Disney World at 43 squared MILES). This park has Disneyland, California Adventure Park, and as of 2019, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is a new land located inside of Disneyland Park. Disneyland consists of 10 different lands or areas.  Main Street, USA, Adventureland, New Orleans Square, Critter Country, Frontierland, Mickey’s Toon Town, Fantasyland, and Tomorrowland. Some attractions that you will NOT find at Magic Kingdom Park in Florida would be Indiana Jones Adventure, Pinocchio’s Daring Adventure, Casey Jr Train, Snow White’s Scary Adventure, Mickey’s Toon Town, and Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride just to name a few. 

Star Wars, Galaxy Edge is also part of Disneyland and you can access it from multiple lands. Both Disneyland and Disney World will have this new addition. Disney World has its Star Wars, Galaxy’s Edge, located inside Hollywood Studios Park. You might notice a couple of differences like the rock color schemes, and where the ships are located at each park. You can book the most popular attractions (Savi’s Lightsabers, Droid Depot, and Oga’s Cantina) which can be reserved 180 days out.

You will notice the layout of Disneyland is different from Magic Kingdom and it is definitely recommended to check out some maps before you head to either location so you have a little bearing before you start! (you want to hit those rope drops running!)

You can then literally walk right across the road (the awesome road that turns into Downtown Disney) and you are right inside of California Adventureland! So as far as park hopping tickets go- Disneyland is definitely the place you can easily take advantage of that perk over and over again! 

California Adventure has 7 main areas, Buena Vista Street, Hollywood Land, A Bugs Life Land, Cars Land, Grizzly Peak, Pacific Wharf, and Paradise Pier. This land might seem a little like “Hollywood Studies” in Disney World, but again they are very different. You are going to get all sorts of fun changes in this park including Cars Land, Bugs Land, Pacific Wharf and instead of Tower of Terror you now get, Guardians of the Galaxy- Mission: Breakout! You can easily spend a day or two at each park! 

One of the biggest differences in Disneyland vs Disney World is the amount of time you need to reserve things in advance. You need to stick pretty close to your 180 dining reservations for Disney World if you want to get the times and places you have your heart set on and definitely 60 days for all your Fast Passes. Disneyland is a little more “relaxed” in your pre-trip-prep! You can book everything 60 days in advance but it’s not as necessary.

Speaking of dining, Disney World offers 3 dining packages (Quick Service, Disney, and Deluxe) that can be added to any Disney Resort Hotel reservation. Disneyland, at this time, does not offer that option. However, both parks have amazing food options throughout!

Disneyland has 3 main resorts, The Disneyland Hotel, Paradise Pier, and the Grand Californian Hotel. Each is within walking distance to both parks and has great added bonuses to staying with them! Disney also partners with many hotels and motels right outside the park entrance, they’re Good Neighbor Hotels. There are a couple of options for transportation to and from the airports close to Disneyland, none are complimentary though.

You also do not deal with Magic Bands, My Disney Experience app, or Fast Pass Plus.  This means being there right at rope drop each morning is a pretty great idea! Your Disneyland experience can typically be wrapped up in a 3-Day Park Hopper Pass! And in case you were curious, 5 days of tickets is the longest pass you can purchase there.  

Overall this will be a great experience for the whole family!

Now as we move across the country to Orlando, Florida. Home to the massive swamplands, also known as Disney World! Disney World is made up of 4 main theme parks and 2 water parks along with ESPN Wide World of Sports Center. You can get single-day tickets all the way up to 10-day park tickets here! They offer a complimentary shuttle from the Orlando airport called The Magical Express.  The Magical Express is free to any families staying at one of the many Disney World Resorts.

Disneyworld is where you will want to really pre-trip plan! You will first want to select your travel dates, reserve your resort room (they have over 30 resorts available!) and then set up your “My Disney Experience” account as this is where you can book everything from dining to fast passes to special events. It is the central hub of your vacation. You also can get the app on any smartphone and utilize it to keep your Fast Passes going, check wait times, and special events during your trip. You can reserve your dinning up to 180 days in advance and your Fast Passes 60 days in advance. 

Disney World has Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Animal Kingdom, and Hollywood Studios. Each park has its own theme with many, many attractions that will appeal to every age. We normally suggest at least a 4-day park hopper pass to enjoy your experience, but 5-7-day passes would be best! 

What most people find surprising is how large it is, and how long it takes to get to each park! We suggest you plan on at least an hour to park hop! You will spend a lot of your time waiting for the bus, monorail, ferries as you park hop. I tend to tell my clients, no more than two parks a day or you end up wasting too much time traveling to and from places! You will want to check out the park hours during your stay and plan your itinerary around which park stays open the longest, Extra Magic hours, etc.! 

Again, Disney World provides a wonderful family getaway that will give you such fun memories together! The best way to find the park that fits your family, have a blast and try both! We, obviously, suggest trying both parks out to see which one works best for your family! 

Contact your awesome agent with A Touch of Magic Travel to start planning your dream vacation and you can finally decide once and for all, are you a Disney- LANDER or Disney -WORLDER…. Or maybe you are like the rest of us and you’re a bit of are BOTH ☺ 

If you have any questions I can answer, please feel free to reach out to me at Katie@ATouchofMagicTravel.com.  

~ Katie Bunnell


Magical Character Dining in Disney World for 2020

One of the most popular things to do at each of the Disney Parks is to enjoy a character dining meal with some of your favorite Disney characters! It’s an awesome way to see your favorite characters all at once, snag a few pictures and autographs, and enjoy delicious food!

Most dining experiences are buffet style and very family-friendly. Now, these don’t come
cheap, but no matter what experience you choose, it will soon become one of your favorite vacation memories, kids most of all.

Most experiences run about $35-$59 per person. Almost all Character Dining meals are included in the Disney Dining Plan but there are a few that are not, such as the Garden Grove, so definitely double-check with your travel agent before making a reservation. These are very popular and it’s recommended to book right at your 180-day check-in so that you can get the time and location you want.

Character Meals are all over Disney World. Some are located at the Grand Floridian Resort, Riviera Resort, Polynesian Village Resort, Swan Hotel, Contemporary Resort, Wilderness Lodge, Boardwalk Resort, Beach Club Resort and, of course, the 4 main parks: Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, and Epcot.  Sometimes it’s fun to schedule one of these on your check-in or check-out day so that you can just enjoy the experience and not feel rushed. You can visit any and all resorts on the Disney property even if you aren’t staying at the specific resort. Other times, if you just need a break from all the hustle of rides and attractions, having a fun break in the day with great company is a great way to recharge.

We suggest planning around 90 minutes for your Character Dining meal. Even with
reservations, there are sometimes small waits, or longer character interactions, etc so better to plan for more time than being rushed.

If you are opting not to have a Disney Dining Plan then we recommend selecting the breakfast option for a character meal because these are always cheaper in cost and it’s a super fun way to start your day!

Another tip: if picking a character dining location inside one of the parks, try to shoot for one of the earliest times because there will be a lot less wait time, and easier to keep up with your Fast Pass Plus selections for the day. Most breakfasts are in a great location for rides or attractions right when you walk out the door.

A lot of these character dining locations will have a Photo Pass Photographer available, but if they don’t, cell phones and personal cameras are definitely welcomed and recommended.

If you are looking for the Classic Disney Characters like Mickey, Minnie, Pluto, Goofy, Donald, and Daisy you are likely to find some of them at Tusker House, Cape May Café, Chef Mickeys, Garden Grill, Hollywood & Vine, ‘Ohana, Topolino’s Terrace, Ravello,  and Garden Grove.

For your Princess Fix, we suggest 1900 Park Fare (Cinderella’s Happily Ever After After Dinner), Artist Point (Evil Queen from Snow White!), Akershus Royal Banquet Hall, Cinderella’s Royal Table, Trattoria al Forno. Another really special event is the Perfectly Princess Tea Party.

Disney Junior characters will be at Disney Jr. Play n’ Dine Breakfast at Hollywood & Vine.  Winnie the Pooh friends are at Crystal Palace.

Wonderland Tea Party- offered at specific times weekly, will be Alice and Wonderland crew.

Disney also takes things to a different level by offering some of these locations and character meals to time with all their amazing firework shows. After you eat, you can get the best seat in the “mouse house” to enjoy the fireworks or night time shows!

Any more questions or thoughts please reach out to your awesome A Touch of Magic Travel Agent and they can get all your questions answered!

If you have any questions I can answer, please feel free to reach out to me at Katie@ATouchofMagicTravel.com.  

~ Katie Bunnell


New Villains Caravan and More Coming to Disney Villains After Hours at Magic Kingdom Park Next Year!

By: Disney Destinations
December 18, 2019

We are counting down the days until Disney Villains After Hours returns to Magic Kingdom Park for 24 select nights starting February 7, 2020.

Based on the popularity of Maleficent dragon’s journey through the park, we are enhancing the experience to include even more villainous fun. New this year, the Villains’ Cursed Caravan will join Maleficent the dragon as she creeps through the park twice nightly. The wicked procession will feature Gaston, Oogie Boogie, Cruella DeVil, Captain Hook and more! As a reminder, this event does not include character greetings.

There is more villainous action at the event of course!

  • Hades and Meg from “Hercules” will set the castle stage ablaze in “Villains Unite the Night,” featuring appearances by Jafar, The Queen, Dr. Facilier and Maleficent.
  • During this sinister soiree, guests can dance the night away as a party DJ spins monstrous music on the Cinderella Castle Forecourt stage.
  • Guests can also experience the surprising, villain-inspired enhancements at Pirates of the Caribbean and Space Mountain.
  • As they make their way through each land, guests can strike a pose as they come across sharable photo opportunities scattered throughout the park.
  • Disney Villains After Hours also includes wickedly good food and beverage selections. A few of the new treats this year are Painting the Roses Red (Available at Cheshire Café), a cheesecake mousse with raspberry gelée, red cocoa butter, and buttercream leaves; Body Language (Available at Storybook Treats), a cookies and cream mousse with chocolate cake, glaçage, and meringue tentacles garnished with a chocolate shell; and Five Dozen Eggs Slush (Available at Gaston’s Tavern). A frozen custard with brown sugar topped with whipped cream and garnished with a cinnamon stick. Be sure to check back on Disney Parks Blog for the Foodie Guide to Disney Villain After Hours – a complete listing of all the delicious food and beverage offerings!
  • Across the park, guests can enjoy access to more than 25 attractions and experiences.
  • Guests can also purchase new event merchandise, as well as items from a curated collection of the best Disney villain merchandise available.

Event tickets allow entry as early as 7 p.m., which gives you time to enjoy fireworks before heading off to the attractions. Select complimentary snacks and beverages are also included in the cost of admission.

Margaritaville Cottages Orlando!

Your agent at A Touch of Magic Travel can now book these vacation cottages that are offered by vacation home rental companies Rentyl and VStays. The cottages range in size from two to five bedrooms and offer many amenities, including daily housekeeping, full kitchens, washers and dryers, pet-friendly accommodations and, in some instances, private pools.

Guests staying at Margaritaville Cottages Orlando have access to everything at Margaritaville Resort Orlando, including the onsite Sunset Walk retail center, the fitness center, multiple pools and much more. Please note that this does not include the Island H2O Live! water park. Guests can also take Margaritaville Resort Orlando transportation to the Walt Disney World® Ticket and Transportation Center, where they can access Walt Disney World® transportation to theme parks and more.

Click HERE to get a quote for these amazing cottages!

Mickey Mouse Breaks Through to a New Location at Epcot in 2020

The exciting transformation of Epcot® has begun, with groundbreaking attractions and other unforgettable experiences debuting in the coming months and years. Among them will be new places to meet and interact with some of your favorite Disney characters, including Mickey Mouse himself!

Mickey will soon be making appearances in a new location at the Imagination! pavilion, as part of the Disney & Pixar Short Film Festival. Just inside the entrance, you will discover Mickey greeting his fans and celebrating his on-screen stardom.

Mickey’s imagination has led to a career in the movies for 90 years and counting, featuring roles in dozens of short films such as “Get A Horse” which you can enjoy as part of the festival. You can look for Mickey to arrive at the Disney & Pixar Short Film Festival in early 2020!