Room Only Discounts for Fall 2014!


Disney released Free Dining and a Room Only Discount to Disney Visa cardholders earlier today.  Which I am still on hold helping clients make those all important changes (hundreds if not over a thousand dollars in savings)!  But wanted to share the details we are seeing for the Room Only Discount coming later in 2014.  All of the offers being released today must be booked by August 8th, 2014.

Contact us at or via phone at 1-877-WDW-WISH (939-9474) to get a no obligation quote as this offer is limited!

Deluxe & Deluxe Villas:

Save 30% on the following:

  • Disney’s Boardwalk Villas
  • Disneys Old Key West Resort
  • Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa
  • Disney’s Boardwalk Inn
  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge (Standard Viewor Pool View Rooms)
  • Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
  • Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
  • Disney’s Yacht Club Resort

Save 20% on these Deluxe and Deluxe Villas:

  • Disney Beach Club Villas
  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge – Jambo House & Kidani Village
  • The Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
  • Disney’s Beach Club
  • Disney’s Contemporary
  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge (Savanna or Club Level)

It gets a little different when we look at Moderate and Value Resorts:

Save 20% August 16-28th or Save 25% August 29th-Oct 3rd, 2014 on Moderate Resorts

  • Disney’s Caribbean Beach
  • Disney’s Cornado Springs
  • Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside
  • Disney’s Fort Wilderness Cabins
  • Save 20% August 29th-Oct 3rd, 2014 on Port Orleans French Quarter

Save 15% August 16-28th or Save 20% August 29th-Oct 3rd, 2014 on Value Resorts

  • Disney’s All Star Sports & Music Resorts
  • Disney’s Pop Century Resort
  • Save 10% August 16-28th  or Save 20% August 29th-Oct 3rd, 2014 on Disney Art of Animation (Family Suites Only)
  • Save 15% August 29th-Oct 3rd, 2014 on Disney’s All Star Movies Resort & the Campsites at Ft. Wilderness

Contact us at or via phone at 1-877-WDW-WISH (939-9474) to get a no obligation quote as this offer is limited!


New Nighttime Show Coming to Disney’s Animal Kingdom


A new nighttime show is coming to Animal Kingdom.  As you may know in the past Disney has stayed away from a lot of nighttime activities at Animal Kingdom in order to give the animals a bit of respite.  I believe some of this change is now due to the impending Avatar land that will be coming soon to this park.  According to Disney’s blog today, the new nighttime show will be called “Rivers of Light” and appears at first blush to follow in a similar show pattern as Fantasmic at Disney’s Hollywood Studios or World of Color in Disney’s California Adventure.  Though I am sure they will put a new twist on the show to not only fit with the park overall but add in new technologies.

Per the Disney site: “Rivers of Light” promises to be an innovative show unlike anything ever seen in Disney Parks, combining live music, floating lanterns, water screens and swirling animal imagery. The show will magically come to life on the broad, natural stage of the Discovery River, between Discovery Island and Expedition Everest, delighting our guests and truly capping off a full day of adventures at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

We’ll of course follow any news as it develops and be sure to share here anything we hear!

image copyright Disney

It’s He-ere! Free Dining Is Back for the Fall!

ImageDisney’s Free Dining Promotion for later in 2014 was announced for Disney VISA cardholders this morning, and will open to the General Public on May 7th!!

Contact us at  or call 1-877-WDW-WISH (939-9474) to get started on this great and money saving offer!

This is for the following dates of travel:
August 31-October 3
October 26- November 1
November 9-November 2
December 12-December 23

Some exclusions apply including the following resorts:  All-Star Movies, Port Orleans Riverside, Port Orleans French Quarter, Grand Floridian Villas, Fort Wilderness Campsites, Art of Animation Little Mermaid Rooms and all 3 Bedroom Villas.

Booking Dates for this offer are between May 7 – August 8, 2014. To receive free dining you must book a resort package with a minimum of 3 night stay and 2 day park ticket.

As well a Room Only Discount will also be available for travel between 8/16 – 10/3.

Princess and the Frog Movie Night


Well, it is Mardi Gras after all so we decided to celebrate before calling it done for Ash Wednesday tomorrow morning.  So, what better film to wrap an impromptu movie  night around than The Princess and the Frog?!  As I said in my earlier post today, this movie is just beautiful.  The last hand drawn effort from the Disney Studio, and we love it.  The film is simply, B E A utiful in story, song and art.  For other reasons we love it, check out this post!

Part of the challenge was coming up with a recipe that fit with the film, but also our weekly menu, Tuesdays are for Tacos after all!

We start as always with our menu:

Broiled Cajun Shrimp Tacos

Rice and Beans

Beignets for Dessert

For The Shrimp Tacos:
We order from a company called Coast of Colorado and they deliver to us direct some of the best Shrimp you could imagine.   photo 3

We flavor with Old Bay Seasoning and  with Lemon.  photo 4

We have a boiler we use on the stove to steam them and it takes about 20-30 minutes.  You don’t want them too fast, you want them to be able to marinate!

photo 2

Chipotle Lime Sauce:
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 limes, juiced, divided
1 chipotle pepper in adobo (with drippings), finely chopped

Mix together the sour cream, mayonnaise, juice of 1 of the limes, and the chipotle pepper in adobo.  Cover and store in the refrigerator until ready to use (let it sit for at least 1 hour to maximize the flavor).  Make it Healthier by omitting the sour cream and using plain Greek Yogurt and use Olive Oil based Mayo.

To Serve: Prepare the tacos by putting a few pieces of shrimp, tomatoes, and lettuce in each tortilla and then top off with the chipotle-lime cream sauce.  Serve Warm, or Cold!

photo 3

This also makes a terrific salad if like me you are attempting to get ahead of those Lenten promises, ahem:


For the Beignets:

1 tsp. yeast
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
3.5 cups flour
3/4 cups warm water
1 tsp Salt
1/2 cup undiluted evaporated milk
1/4 cup soft shortening oil, for frying
Confectioner’s sugar


In a large bowl, sprinkle yeast over water, stir to dissolve. Add sugar, salt, eggs, and milk. Blend with rotary beater. Add the flour. Cover and chill overnight.  It should look like this:

photo 1

Roll out on floured board to 1/8″ thickness. Cut into 2 1/2″ squares.

photo 1


Deep fry at 360 degrees 2-3 minutes or until lightly browned on both sides. Drain on paper towels. Sprinkle heavily with confectioner’s sugar. Makes about 2 dozen.

NOTE: Dough keeps well in refrigerator for several days. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and punch down occassionally.

This is the recipe from Disney’s Port Orleans French Quarter Resort!

And here is how our Beignet’s turned out!1904172_10152700492915715_1849759830_n

While I was cooking we had on the Original Dixieland Stompers for impromptu celebrating!  We made some masks to go with our celebration and settled in for a viewing of Princess and the Frog, before calling it a day!  Laissez Les Bon temps Roullez everyone!  I hope you had a wonderful Fat Tuesday, and I hope you have a miserable Lent 😉

Laissez Les Bon Temps Roullez!

Yes, he kissed her hand and said “You must KEEES Me!” Adorable.

Yes, he kissed her hand and said “You must KEEES Me!” Adorable.

So it’s Mardi Gras, and what else could I talk about today but the Princess and the Frog?  We love this film, it’s our youngest favorite fairy tale, and honestly who doesn’t love a Disney score peppered with New Orleans jazz and a tapestry woven with the beauty of the French Quarter, hot Beignets and the beautiful but dangerous Bayou?

I actually have a story about how Prince Naveen and Princess Tiana saved our family from a pretty bad meltdown on our last trip to Walt Disney World, which makes The Princess and the Frog even more favored in our family.  We were coming back into the Magic Kingdom after a stop over in the resort to rest and refresh.  Our youngest, Thomas, was not having it, he wanted to go to the Haunted Mansion and that was that.  So I could feel him start to stem, his voice became higher pitched, his shoulders raised, toe walking, echolalia.  I could sense a total meltdown coming.

As we crossed the bridge from near the Crystal Palace into Liberty Square a small crowd was gathered waiting and Thomas was growing ever more impatient with the process.  I said, “Thomas, it’s going to be alright.”  Little did I know we were being observed.  Above the crowd a friendly accented voice called out above the noise:

“Hey!  Thomas!  I love your shoes!” It was Prince Naveen and he was pointing at the bright green Crocs on Thomas’s feet.  It felt like we were transported instantly into a movie as Thomas stopped, his stemming ceased and he turned and smiled and stuck out his foot. He waved and said “Thank you Prince Naveen!  I love you and Tiana!”  And that was that, the meltdown was over.

I smiled, beamed really, that someone had the observational talent to notice us above all of the crowd, to hear me say my son’s name, and to react IN CHARACTER, in that moment to the situation to help.  It astonished me.  It’s Disney Magic, it’s Pixie-Dust.  It’s an experience I cannot ever replicate.  The way the whole of the situation fell together was natural and syncopated a rythym as any riff Prince Naveen would play on a ukelele.  I can never express my gratitude enough to this couple for stopping a meltdown that was sure to have ruined our son’s night.  I sought out Guest Services and informed them, hopeful that the Royal Couple would receive our words.

I may never know exactly how to let this particular Cast Member know how much in that moment I needed their help.  But, if this blog ever were to reach them I would simply say “Thank you.  You knew exactly what to say, how to say it, and you surmised the situation in an instant.  For that you have my gratitude as a mother and a former Cast Member.”

Similarly when we were in Disneyland, Thomas was getting agitated and upset that his brother and Dad had disappeared into the Pirates of the Caribbean and the Haunted Mansion there was closed to be redone as Nightmare Before Christmas.  As we were waiting he heard a friendly and familiar southern voice near the water front.  I have never seen a bee line like the one he made.  He waited ever so patiently to meet Princess Tiana where he regaled her with tales of dancing with Pirates and asked to kiss her hand.  He was and remains in love, but he’s a ladies man, so what are you going to do?

Since that moment Princess Tiana and Prince Naveen have become Thomas’s favorite Royal Couple, and he has asked we visit with them each time we go to a Disney Park.  In fact this evening we are planning to watch the Princess and the Frog as we celebrate Mardi Gras with Cajun Shrimp, Rice, and Beignets for dessert!

Have a character experience yourself?  Share with us in our Comments!

Timer Apps for Guests with Autism

So part of working with the DAS is helping those with Autism understand the concept of waiting to come back to the attraction after a specific time, same with using the Fast Pass system. Being a Parent to a child with Autism I understand what happens in these situations: “Mom is I time yet, how about now, what is the matter with this time, why can’t it go any faster?! Come on, can’t we just go? Is it time now?” Those with Autism, have a looser grasp of the concept of time. So I have listed below some highly visual Smartphone Apps to help wait on their return times.

Of course most Smartphones come with a standard timer countdown app located on my phone in the Clock App.  The additional ones on this list are more visual so as to better line out a quantifiable result that is engaging and customizable to hold their attention in a positive way.

For iOS only devices, I looked for Android specific but really the only Apps I could find were for parental controls on those devices versus “visual timers”:

Screen Shot 2014-02-18 at 11.38.42 AM

Kids Timer App, Free Download:  This highly visual app shows a tree blooming from a winter scene to growing leaves and eventually fruit over the course of the allotted time.  As well the sun in the upper left hand corner acts as a visual quantity timer and as the time passes goes from yellow to orange.

From the developer: Set the timer to any time between 1 and 60 minutes. Press start and see an apple tree grow fruits. Eventually the apples will fall off the tree. As time passes, the color of the sun changes. The sun acts like a normal clock. Once the time is up you will see the bright yellow sun blinking and hear birds chirping.  Download Here

Screen Shot 2014-02-18 at 11.24.09 AM

Kids’ Timer- Lickety Split, by Swirly Studios, LLC, Free Download, This app allows you again to customize the task, waiting for the Haunted Mansion return time, or Fastpass+ Reservations for a show like Fantasmic!  Once the timer is up you can customize a specific song from your iTune library to play to alert your child that it is time to go.  If like us you have a plethora of Disney music, this would also be good to have your child select a song they really love so they look forward to hearing it and become alerted that it is time to return to the attraction or show!

From the developer: “The Lickety Split Musical Timer turns daily tasks into a fun, beat-the-clock game. Accelerating classical music encourages dawdling kids to get going, while an animated hourglass counts down. The abstract concept of time becomes tangible for kids. The timer uses encouragement and the power of music to motivate children as they move through daily transitions. So, instead of nagging, grown-ups are free to champion their kids!” Download Here

Screen Shot 2014-02-18 at 11.42.52 AM

Childrens Countdown – Visual Countdown Timer for Preschoolers, Free Download: So if your child is like mine, they really don’t care if something is meant for a child younger than they are (like Elmo, we still can’t get over Elmo’s World or Sesame Street and go through phases of retouching on that cornerstone of our past); this app is primarily intended for preschoolers and as the timed amount disappears, a photo (which you can customize from your iPhoto library, to be the attraction you are waiting for) will appear ever more fully in the background.  Once it is completely visible, it’s time to go back to the attraction and ride!

From the developer: “Watch as the timer runs from green to amber to red, helping the child understand that time is running out. A fun picture is slowly revealed as the time runs down and when the time is up the child is rewarded with an exciting sound and the picture spins. Background image changes to match the time of day, so that your child is given subtle hints as to what time of day the task they are being asked relates to.”

Per the reviews there is one slight draw back in there is a gentle, yet persistent, ticking sound which you cannot turn off.  You can turn off the sound on your phone, but remember to turn it back up after you use the app.  Download Here

Screen Shot 2014-02-18 at 11.44.35 AM

Time Globe – by TOKIMATA

This is basically an Alarm Clock, but features soothing motions and relaxing colors and photos.  You can add new themes, but the ability to customize is limited somewhat to their specific themes for the app.  You can set a photo from your iPhoto library as the background, and a tip is to show your child how to use the app so they can select the themes and visuals present.  It is slightly interactive in that if your child taps on the phone more “drops” will appear in the background.

From the Developer: “This entertainment app is super easy to use, simply open the app and begin to tap on the time, Double tap to show menu then musical note (to turn sound on or off), question mark (for help menu), pencil (to add your own custom text), smiley face (to add your own photos), crown (to remove ads), Modes (b-bubbly, n-normal, f-flutter, s-space), Colors (c-changeable, w-white, F-fixed), and seconds for something special.”  Download Here

Screen Shot 2014-02-18 at 11.31.46 AM

My Video Schedule, $11.99 per download

Specs from the developer: A scheduling app made especially for kids and adults with special needs, such as autism. The app includes photo and video modeling as well as rewards for scheduled activities and behaviors. The library of photos and videos includes items such as brushing teeth, eating breakfast, getting on a school bus, going to the grocery store, and more. Parents or teachers can also add their own videos. For kids who respond well to visual cues and rewards, My Video Schedule could be an invaluable tool to help reinforce structure and necessary tasks in their daily life.

The great thing I can see on the outset for this app is you can customize it on your travels to include videos or photos and rewards.  So say you are touring and your child really wants to go on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.  Well you can customize the photo of Big Thunder Mountain to appear when the time is up along with the customized reward for their patience!  The major drawback is the price point, yowza.  But if it works, I’m willing to spend roughly $12 if it saves us from a meltdown. Download Here

So there are five to get you started!  Have one you know works that you would recommend?  Let us know in the comments below!