Travel Agent Advice

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 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 Bunnell


Universal Orlando Resort Perks

When completing the Universal Studios Training, as a travel agent, the top 3 reasons Universal gives for staying at one of their awesome themed resorts are:

  1. Proximity to all the parks (we are talking walking distance people!)
  2. Simplicity. – Zero worries towards your schedule and transportation needs to each park
  3. Exclusivity.- You get special access and benefits during your stay!

Universal also has great deals with their partner hotels that can offer discounts on merchandise and food & drinks. I love all the options they give you! In this blog post we are going to focus on each of Universal’s main resorts and what each offers you and your family. 

Universal places each of its resorts into 3 different categories: Prime Value, Preferred, and Premier. 

Aventura Hotel: This is one of their newest additions and it is over 17 stories tall! This is in the “prime value” category- making it one of their least expensive options for staying at Universal. When staying here you get early park admission, free shuttle bus to and from the parks, close proximity to Volcano Bay, in-room tablets and room key cards, along with 4 awesome dining options right at this resort. Their pool is outside along with a splash zone for kids.  To tie everything together, enjoy the virtual room and a fire pit!


Cabana Bay Beach Resort: Also, in their “Prime Value” category. Cabana Bay has two towers that overlook Volcano Bay Park.  Again, your perks are early park admission, free shuttle buses, free room delivery for all purchases in the parks.  They have standard rooms and family suites (up to 6-8 people). They offer some awesome themed restaurants along with two pools that have water slides and even a lazy river. There is a bowling lane (for additional fees), a game room, and fire pit.


Loews Sapphire Falls Resort: This is in the “Preferred Hotel” category and will include a one-hour early admission each day, water taxi and shuttles, free room delivery for all purchases.  They have standard rooms, family suites, and even kid-themed suites! There are lots of fun dining options including a character-themed breakfast, as well as pools with water slides, game rooms, and a fire pit. 


Loews Royal Pacific Resort: This is the first in their “Premier Hotel” selection. You get a one-hour early admission per day, FREE UNIVERSAL EXPRESS UNLIMITED PASS (for both parks! That is saving your over $120/day per person! And it is UNLIMITED so that means as many times as you want to ride your favorite rides – YOU CAN!) All water taxis and shuttles are included for transportation, in-room delivery for all purchases, and priority seating at certain restaurants. Standard rooms and family suites are available, including Jurassic Park themed kid suites. There’s a lot of great dining available at this resort along with a Wantilau Luau show and buffet. The pool is “beach themed” that includes real sand and saltwater, torch lighting each night, and there is a water play area for kids and a game room.


Hard Rock Hotel: This is in the “Premier Hotel” category as well. You get a one-hour early admission per day, FREE UNIVERSAL EXPRESS UNLIMITED PASS (for both parks! That is saving your over $120/day per person! And it is UNLIMITED so that means as many times as you want to ride your favorite rides – YOU CAN!) All water taxis and shuttles are included for transportation, in-room delivery for all purchases, and priority seating at certain restaurants.  Standard rooms and family suites are available including Rock Star Suites!  There are a lot of great dining options, a sand beach pool with underwater music and a slide, a game room, and even yoga! You can even borrow guitars and turn tables to make your own family band music! 


The last, but definitely not the least hotel, is the Loews Portofino Bay Hotel.- This is also staying in the “Premier Hotel” category. You get a one-hour early admission per day, FREE UNIVERSAL EXPRESS UNLIMITED PASS (for both parks! That is saving your over $120/day per person! And it is UNLIMITED so that means as many times as you want to ride your favorite rides- YOU CAN!) All water taxis and shuttles are included for transportation, in-room delivery for all purchases, and priority seating at certain restaurants.  Standard rooms and family suites available including Despicable Me kid suites!  They also have some pretty awesome dining options along with 3 unique pools including a slide. 

Contact your agent at Touch of Magic Travel today to see what kinds of package deals they can get together for you to make your Universal Studious vacation perfect! 

If you have any questions I can answer, please feel free to reach out to me at  

~ Katie Bunnell


Walt Disney World Tickets…. How many are there?

Best. Day. Ever. You have finally committed to going to the most magical place on earth, Walt Disney World. You are ecstatic. You jump right in with trip planning and researching- step one: TICKETS! How many days? Which parks? Special Events? Park Hoppers? Wait–Park Hopper PLUS? Do you get one of each? Overwhelmed yet? 

Today we will dive right into our discussion on the differences of each ticket package so you can pick the very best for your own Disney Vacation.

Disney has passes from 1-day tickets to 10-day tickets. Including season passes. The best way to start is deciding how many days you think you and your family would like to explore the Disney Parks. I highly recommend at LEAST a 4-day pass so you can see a little of everything without being rushed. You can easily spend a full week at Disney World and still not see every attraction! You can pick the first option of 1 Park per Day ticket which is a great way to enjoy the entire day at each park.

Disney then offers the ability to jump from park to park so you can visit multiple parks each day; this pass is called the Park Hopper. While this is an awesome feature, and I always recommend getting this, it can add anywhere from $60-80 per ticket depending on how many days your pass is valid. Let’s say you start at Magic Kingdom, and you didn’t realize they had a special event on the schedule and the park is full.  With a Park Hopper you have the freedom to leave and enjoy any other park and avoid the crowds.  

This is a great way to hit lots of fun areas- I always tell my clients, keep it at two parks per day though. It takes anywhere from 1-2 hours transporting to each park and you don’t want to waste any more time than that during your park days!

The next feature Disney offers with their tickets it the Park Hopper Plus Pass! This gives you the same benefits of your park hopper pass AS WELL as the chance to check out Disney’s two, out of this world, water parks; Disney’s Blizzard Beach and Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon! If you have a 4-day park hopper plus ticket you would get up to 4 visits, etc.

The next option Disney has available is “Disney After Hours” this is normally a 3-hour event, where the park closes at their regular scheduled time, but those with this special pass get to stay and enjoy the park and extra shows with a lesser crowd level. Right now, these tickets are running $129/each. 

*This is not to be confused with their “Extra Magic Hours”. Any guest that stays at any Disney Resort will receive this awesome benefit. Each day, at least one of the parks will offer an Extra Magic Hour, sometimes in the morning- sometimes at night. They are usually 1-2 hours and a great way to hit fun rides before the main opening of the parks!

During the Holidays Disney likes to party- and they want all their guests to party with them! They have many special events like, “Mickey’s Not-so-Scary Halloween Party”, or “Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party”. Again, these are an additional fee per ticket and run anywhere from $120-$140 a ticket (travel tip: the closer it gets to the actual holiday the more the tickets cost). These are awesome parties where, again, the park closes to the general population and only those with the pass get to stay. They add extra parades and celebrations, free food and drinks, and souvenirs. It is a great way to hit those rides you normally can’t get to without a Fast Pass! 

To get the most bang for your buck- combining whichever ticket package you select into your Disney Resort stay will save you buckets! Check with your a Touch of Magic Travel Agent for any additional questions!

If you have any questions I can answer, please feel free to reach out to me at  

~ Katie Bunnell


When you don’t have a million dollars to spend but you don’t want to sleep in the car.

Walt Disney Resort Options

We all love us some Disney. We all know that Disney magically takes all our money while we’re there too! (… well I HAD to get those Mickey Ears, and did you TASTE the churros? I will have 5 more please). As soon as an awesome client reaches out about the possibility of planning a trip to Disney we need to find that sweet spot where we’re not breaking the bank, but still be able to  enjoy all the fun conveniences Disney offers to their guests! 

Here is the thing- Disney World has a TON of resort options; over 25 resorts in all. And when they say they can fit any budget I feel they really work hard to do that.

Here are my favorite perks that Disney offers EVERY single guest when they stay on property:

  • Early Access to Fast Pass schedules- you can start 60 days before arrival as to only 30 days when staying off Disney.
  • Extra Magic Hours! You can spend extra time at one park per day with any valid ticket!
  • Complimentary Magic Bands- you can have them mailed to your home or they can be waiting for you at your resort.
  • Each Resort is magically themed and decked out for all ages to enjoy! Food, pools, gift shops, character encounters and more! 
  • Complimentary Transportation 
  • Disney Dining Plans- a fun way to make your trip seem “like an all-inclusive resort” and have your food always paid for before you even get there!

Okay so back to the options of resorts- Disney likes to break them up into different categories’: 

  • Value Resorts: these will be the least expensive. They are all located pretty close to Animal Kingdom. They all offer free shuttle transportation to and from each park. (Pop Century now has the option of the NEW Skyliner). They each boast different themes like sports, music, movies. All rooms have two double beds or one king-sized bed (all perfect for a family up to 4) and some resorts have even been upgraded to include a queen-sized bed and a queen-sized table bed. There are some family suites available at certain resorts in this category that will hold up to 6 for larger families. Each resort has multiple pools (heated), dining options, and a gift shop.

Pros: Get Value Package- if you are hoping to get room/tickets/dining included on a tighter budget, or you want to spend your money on other events and not so much on lodging- can’t go wrong with a value resort!

Cons: The only option to get to and from resorts (without driving yourself) are shuttles. They run every 15 mins but wait times can vary. Not as many amenities at each resort. 


  • Moderate Resorts: These are going to run a little more than the value resorts (sometimes you can get some super great deals on these rooms!) Each resort has a different theme and all the great Disney details will show even in their rooms! Normally two queen beds or a king and some even offer a 5th sleeper pull-down option so families that have 3+ kids might like this option. These resorts will have larger pools and more of them, more recreation and dining options as well. You can take shuttles, ferry boats, Skyliner to these resorts and they are scattered all over the Disney property. 

Pros: larger beds, 5th sleeper options, more pools and things to do around resorts. More dining, including some table dining options, and transportation options.

Cons: Sometimes prices can vary per resort and time of year. 

  • Deluxe Resorts: conveniently located to specific parks which opens up your transportation options and decreases your wait line significantly. You have the options of shuttle, monorail, or ferry boats to get to the main parks from these resorts. They offer signature dining as well. Their themes are going to be tremendous; one even offers views of a wildlife reserve right out your window as an example. The typical standard room will have two queen beds or one queen with bunk beds. They have suite and villa options as well. Each resort will have multiple pools, playgrounds, health clubs, and select spa services. The best part? Characters are constantly interacting and even dining with guests at these resorts. This option gives the ultimate resort experience.  

Disney gives you multiple options in each category. Travel tip: make a want/need list and then match those with the amenities at each resort to help you make the best choice. Disney likes to keep everyone coming all year round- and offers promotions even during “off-season” and during lower crowds. If you opt to get one of the Disney Dining Plans, each resort has food options (Quick Service, sit down, even some character dining) for each of them as well!

My family has stayed in at least one resort in each category and each one worked great for what we had going on during that specific trip. The number of kids, ages, supplies, (looking at your bulky double stroller) walk, and wait time when leaving each park, how much resort downtime you plan to have, and your length of trip are all factors when picking a resort.

Give your travel agent a shout out to get all the intimate details about each resort. Between the group of us, I am sure each resort has been stayed in or at least visited in person. 

If you have any questions I can answer, please feel free to reach out to me at  

~ Katie Bunnell