Disneyland Good Neighbor Resort Discount Just Released For Summer Travel!

Image

Wow, the discounts are sure flying off the shelves this week.  We just received word of another discount, but this one is exclusively for Disneyland.  And to be more precise those Guests who stay at the Good Neighbor Hotels that surround the Disneyland Resort.

Now, for you Disney World travelers, this may seem a little odd.  But at Disneyland the way the park is constructed lends itself to a natural working relationship with many wonderful hotels who have a very close proximity to the parks.  It’s just well, different!  And that’s okay because by being a Good Neighbor Resort Guest at the Disneyland Resort you get many of the same perks including Magic Morning entrances to the parks and offers such as these:

Now-Aug. 12, 2014, a 3-Night/4-Day Good Neighbor Hotel Vacation Package at the Disneyland Resort starts at $91* per person per day for a family of 4 and includes a 4-Day, 1-Park per day Disneyland Resort ticket. This offer is valid for stays most nights June 13-Aug. 16, 2014. Travel must be complete by Aug. 17, 2014.

So that can lend itself naturally to some big savings if you are a party of 4 wanting to take in Walt’s original park!  Just the base package for hotel and tickets could run about $1,456 with this discount.  So that’s a good deal for a 3 night 4 day package.  Contact us at info@upanduptravel.com to book this offer today!

Why Would You Use A Disney Travel Agent?

keepcalmandcallyourtravelagent1

We live in an age of instant information.  Some of the people I follow on Twitter, blogs I read or Groups I am a part of on Facebook in fact give me real time information from Disney so that I know basically at any moment what is happening hours and time zones away from my office.  If I want to know something, anything really, I can click on a search engine type my question and see dozens of pages of answers.  So in this age of constant data, why would you use a Disney Travel Agent to plan your family’s vacation?

1.) Time.  Just because you CAN plan your vacation doesn’t mean you HAVE the time to do so.  I know because I have been there.  The kids, your husband, your wife, the house, the job, Church, school activities, LAUNDRY, family, the car, the pets, trying to fit in a workout, or time for friends the list goes on and on; planning vacations is fun, believe me I love lists and spreadsheets, and that thrill of lining out a to-do, and looking at all of the sites and yes, I even love the hold music at Disney.  But, do you have the time to wade through the mountains of information and line out a thought out travel plan?  What is your time worth in this process?

2.) Experience. I count myself very lucky that my Grandparents saw fit to take me many times to Walt Disney World, and that I have had the privilege in my life of being a Cast Member and taking my own children several times.  And while I have traveled to a Disney Park many a time, I also have made knowing Disney more than just a hobby, it’s a livelihood.  We’ve been called “That Disney family” in most any circle of friends, and chances are if there is a movie on in our house, it’s Disney related.  If I’m reading a book for pleasure, it’s about the Disney Company.  Most of the social media groups and connections I have are to the Disney based Travel industry so that I stay constantly in the loop.  My 30 years of constant involvement in Disney I feel is an asset, and my purpose when I help families is not to sell them on something they don’t want.  I want to help families experience the Disney I know and love.  I want them to not need a vacation from their vacation and to also come up with solutions from contacts, so they don’t need to worry about breaking the bank to afford Disney.  We are going on our 4th Generation of Disney Traveling in our family, and I constantly draw from that storied history in order to craft the most desirable vacation for our Clients so they truly enjoy Disney and want to go back as soon as they board their return flight home.

3.) Cost. You ever look at what you need to get accomplished in a given day and wonder if you can clone yourself just to get it all accomplished?  I have.  I’ve looked at the ceiling and thought, “How on EARTH am I going to get through my list today?” And after pouring copious amount of coffee down my gullet I may get 75-80% accomplished if I am lucky.  Well imagine having for your Disney Vacation a personal assistant that you don’t have to pay?  It’s true.  My services come at NO COST to my clients.  I am paid a commission based on just the amount you book.  This doesn’t give me broad range to up-sell you on things you don’t want.  I truly want you to have the best Disney vacation possible for the most cost effective dollar amount.  But, no, my services are at no charge to you.  Seriously. On the flip side of this I am constantly on the look out for new promotions that effect your travel date and will AUTOMATICALLY REBOOK your vacation for the lesser amount so that you get the most Disney for the vacation dollar.  If you book on your own you have to keep aware of the promotions and hope to get them before they are fully booked up.  I am usually up by 5 a.m. on these mornings and on the phone rebooking Clients so that before the sun even rises they’ve saved hundreds if not thousands by my efforts.

4.) It’s Still Your Vacation.  While I help you plan, by making your reservations, dining plans, changes to your tickets, and can answer any number of questions about the various parks and resorts, it’s still your vacation.  We consider our planning a partnership.  I want you to be as educated as possible so that you are able to navigate the parks once you arrive.  So I will send to you travel packets based entirely on your travel dates that showcases your resort, special events, what new changes have happened to the parks, your dining plans, nighttime fireworks and shows, Smart Phone apps, what parks to visit on which days and so on.  In addition I will constantly point out any information I find that will help you become a Disney veteran Guest so you know how to work through your vacation and don’t feel lost upon arrival.  I make it so that Clients also have any number of means for communicating with me.  I have answered my Clients questions via text while they are at the parks in order to fully assist them with Dining reservations, rebook events, or help point in them in the direction of the nearest Walgreens.  I’m here to support your vacation in any way I can.

5.) Agency Specific Offers.  Chances are if you book directly with Disney you can get the exact same amounts I offer.  It’s true.  But, in addition to all of the other services I provide I also offer Agency specific upgrades for our Clients.  From referral percentages to gifts for my clients to Disney Gift Cards to use for your vacation I am constantly taking feedback so that the offers we provide are consistent with what our Clients want.  Will Disney give you a gift card or referral amount for booking with them directly or alert you to new promotions?  Probably not.  But, we do because we want to earn your business with every service we offer and make you an invaluable member of our company.  So it’s a part of our make-up it’s a perk that we offer.

So, you can book on your own, you can.  I did for many years.  But, when I think back on the amounts I could have saved, time spent, and advice I didn’t heed eh, I wish I had.  I’m fiercely independent at heart, but sometimes it pays to shelve that DIY-ness and rely on someone with experience to step in and guide so that you get the most use out of your time and expenses.  I welcome your questions, your input, and yes if you are planning on a  Disney vacation I would be honored to provide you a quote so that I have the opportunity to show you what I can provide your family.  If you would like to contact me please feel free!  My email is amy@upanduptravel.net.  Or if you would like a quote you can click here to fill out our handy dandy quote request form.  I look forward to earning your business and your trust.  And work for you so that I can help your dream vacation reach it’s full potential.

Dapper Days at Disneyland

Children attend opening of Disneyland in 1955

Few things capture the Disney fan’s imagination like thinking about what Disneyland was like on that fateful opening day.  Indeed there is a legend that the pavement was not allowed to cure long enough before park opening and if you look in specific spots you will see the divots from a multitude of well shod female guests heels as they trod (and possibly sank a bit) in the not fully hardened pavement.

Walt’s opening day is all over the park to this day and in some corners you can still hear his speech (New Orleans Square train station, the morse code beeping is none other than a transcript of that speech).  So it’s no wonder that an event such as Dapper Days takes over Disneyland (and now Walt Disney World, and Disneyland Paris) for a day of a look back in time.  When well dressed guests show their modern counterparts just how fashion ruled Main Street.

Ironically enough I was pointed to the event by an article on “Saving Mr. Banks” where the reviewer described the sumptuous back ground costuming in the Disneyland scenes thusly: “We see a Disneyland where every day was Dapper Day.” and they were so kind as to include a link.  I was intrigued, and as I began to view photos, look boards, and spoke with the event coordinators, I fell in love with this event.  Inside my head screamed, “YES! This is the perfect way to experience Disneyland!” and I was right.  See, I had never actually been to Disneyland as yet in my life.  I had visited Walt Disney World dozens of times, and am a former Cast Member there.  But can you think of a BETTER way to experience Disneyland as a Disney fan than to see it on Dapper Day?

BernieKropp

So, I started to plan.  I had recently before our trip found Disneybounding and again was in love with the idea of blending fashion (beyond quaint Disney tee shirts and sneakers) and my love of Disney.  So I took Disneybounding and I set a Vintage tone.  I also had a few factors to think about:

  • We are a family with Special Needs, and with Autism event specific clothing has to be almost over thought.  So I included our son in the planning of his outfit by asking what he thought he could wear for 3-4 hours with breaks in between (say taking off the hat, loosening of the suspenders, removing the bow tie, etc.)  We actually had no issues with his look at all and he remained comfortable the entire evening.
  • Heat and Humidity.  When we arrived in Southern California I was informed that Anaheim was experiencing a “freak” heat wave.  And we were planning on being dressed to the nines with the adults in the group wearing more inside the walls of a theme park than we ever had before.  So I made adjustments, vests stayed in the hotel, hosiery as well, shawls were carried in just in case the weather took a turn.  But the looks were designed for innate comfort to begin with so we wouldn’t be overheated.
  • Heels or Flats. Yes, this was a thought, and yes I wore heels. (And the next time I won’t.  If you do Dapper Days, wear flats or a low pump.  Those ladies in the fifties who made the divots in the sidewalk? They are better women than me.)
  • Have our hair done by a professional or do it ourselves?  (We ended up having this blended and I allowed our friend J to go in my place in the stylists chair while I did my own look.)

Overall our looks came out wonderfully vintage and yes kept us in Disney Style as we chose characters from Alice in Wonderland:

Mad HatterLook MarchHareDapperDayLook WhiteRabbitLookDapperDay AliceforDapperDay QueenofHeartsDapperDay

And this is how we all turned out:

We made reservations at the Blue Bayou which never fails to disappoint, and we will have a review of our dining experience there on this blog shortly.One thing I wish we had done was take more photos.  So many stopped us to take our group photo, but we never took one of all of us together.

If I could describe walking up Main Street dressed as Guests would have on opening day? I would have to say it was ephemeral and exhilarating.  Heads turned, no doubt.  People complimented us, and there is this sense of camaraderie amongst the attendees where you wish each other a “Happy Dapper Day!” and nod as you pass.  There is a gentleness, a politeness that is not stuffy but warm and welcoming.  I loved seeing everyone in their looks, vintage garb, and dapper duds.  While we didn’t get a chance to do a great many group activities I plan on next time being able to do so.  What can I say I’m hooked!

If you are thinking of going to Dapper Days at any of the Disney theme parks I encourage (no I INSIST!) you go on that day.  Are crowds heavier? Sure.  But man are they well dressed and polite!  If you can, join in by wearing Vintage looks as a family or a group of friends.  I thought I had had all the fun I could have at a Disney park, and I was wrong.  It truly is a remarkable time in the parks, where you get a glimpse at what it must’ve have looked like in that bygone era when Walt roamed the parks.

Check out Dapper Days at these following Social Media Links:

Dapper Day Website

Dapper Day on Facebook

Dapper Day on Twitter

Dapper Day on Instagram

ETA: It looks as though Disney (by pure coincidence) also blogged about this Fantabulous event today so be sure to check out their Style Blog Entry!

Ready to Party?

Image

We have some exciting news for our Disney Family!

Our family was selected to host a Disney Side at home Celebration and we will be blogging, pinning, tweeting, and posting all about it in the coming month!

There are so many ways for you to join in from the comfort of your own home!

Our Facebook Page will showcase our planning steps, photos, videos and so much more!

Make sure you follow along on our Twitter, and we will be hosting a live Twitter Party coinciding with the actual #DisneySide party on February 22nd!  More details of course to come, but we will be sure to let you know in every possible avenue way before that day.  You can RSVP for the event by clicking here!

We will of course have a Pinterest Board Dedicated to it as well: http://www.pinterest.com/amyjhughes73/show-your-disney-side-party/ where you can get some “Pinspiration” for hosting your own #DisneySide party, follow along with our activities, see ideas for Disneybounding and more!

We are also looking into a live video chat so that you can join in with our family everywhere and anywhere.  You can also Instagram your photos to us to be featured on our Facebook page, Blog and Twitter to show us your DISNEY SIDE!

This promises to be an amazingly fun event and we cannot wait to share our love of all things Disney with all of you.

I also want to thank each and every one of you, those who read here, follow our Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest!  Without you this wouldn’t have happened, so a HUGE thank you to all of you!

Now if I could sit down long enough to plan we’ll be good!

Disney Side image Copyright Disney, all rights reserved.

Disney Releases Guide For Guests With Cognitive Disabilities Including Autism

Image

image Copyright Disney

This morning I came upon a new guide book Disney has released in order to help Parents and Families traveling with someone who has Autism or Cognitive Disabilities plan a trip to the Disney Parks.  I wanted to be sure to post it here as I am reading it now and it appears to include many of the bases we have covered here, as well the needs and concerns that have been covered on other blogs and via social media by many other trip planners and parents.  The resource though takes that broad information and puts the official Disney stamp on it and really is a nice resource filled with visuals that you can view with your child or family member in order to pre-teach or plan.

Some highlights I have noted already:

  • A park by park, ride by ride guide on what to expect on each attraction and it’s features.  For example Pirates of the Caribbean features a drop in the dark some flashing lights, periods of darkness, bumps, loud noises etc.  A+ Disney on this breakout, seriously.  Well done!
  • Places in WDW and DLR where you can break and find some quiet.
  • How to use the new DAS pass and integrate Disney’s FastPass+ and FastPass systems
  • A guide for interacting with Characters
  • A before you leave checklist for items like visual aids, contact bracelets, and ear wear

Update: I think the more I see of this Resource, the more I like it.  It is already on my phone, my iPad and yes in my Resources I provide Clients.  While we as parents must plan in advance of our trips, it is nice to see a company like Disney make these leaps and stretch out the proverbial branch for our children and us when I think of it, to have a leg up before we arrive.  According to the law, they need do nothing more than provide a reasonable and equal accommodation, and this goes above and beyond in many ways.  There appears to be great care given here to touring the Park with fresh eyes.  As if the person writing (thank you whomever you all are) was touring from the perspective of a new Guest who had never traveled to the Park with a child with Autism.

So while the overall feel is a point of reference style, you can see that it starts with a plan of action (IEP words!), things to do before you leave, identifying Cast Members, what to do if you become separated, a heads up on what to expect sensorially and walking a Guest through entering the Parks.  Great work!

Check out the Walt Disney World guide via this link: https://wdpromedia.disney.go.com/media/wdpro-assets/help/guest-services/cognitive-disabilities-services/wdw_cognitive_guide.pdf

And for Disneylandhttps://secure.cdn1.wdpromedia.com/media/dlr_v0200/en_US/help/Disneyland_Guide_For_Guests_With_Cognitive_Disabilities.pdf

Have anything you would like to add to Disney?  Leave a comment below!

Arguments, Meltdowns and Unhappiness in the Happiest Place on Earth

Image

We’ve all been there.  We all know what it’s like to spend thousands of dollars, months of planning, nights dreaming, and years building the anticipation for a Disney vacation.  Only to have a speed bump or two happen once we arrive at our Destination.  You miss your ADRPeter Pan’s Flight ran out of Fast Passes.  There are WAY more people than you thought would be here in February.  The list of unplanned for issues or inconveniences are vast when you have so many Guests, in so many parks, operating for so many hours of the day.  And usually as is the case even with the most Saint like person there is literally only so much one person can take before all of those subtle disappointments boil over and guess what, You’re Grumpy.Grumpy_OK_214572K1a

I’ve been there.  But, guess what your spouse, traveling partners, etc. they usually are going through the same issues and add in heat, crowds, and sleep deprivation and you have the perfect brew for an argument.

Again, I’ve been there.  It’s not a topic a lot of people like to think about when planning vacation, is it?  I can count the number of times I’ve thought “I’ll be in Disney, why would be I upset.”  Only to get down there and things not go as planned totally and I reach a point where yes, I get grumpy and snippy.  Or my kids get tired and whiny.  Even the most open and honest family can get worn out and argumentative and if you look around you realize you aren’t the only ones feeling it.

375719_374839732617783_1060404788_n

So how do you get over it when an argument happens?  I’ve broken down my way of dealing.  Not saying this is the perfect solution for everyone, but since I do have two young children and one with special needs I usually have to reign it in a bit.  The more I dramatize a situation or over emphasize a problem it can potentially escalate my youngest into stemming and lead him to meltdown.  So my husband and I have gotten pretty good at dealing with stresses in a quieter fashion, more direct and putting them behind us faster.  Keeps things from snow balling into our kids attitudes and behaviors later.

First, be honest with yourself.  Are you tired, stressed, are you down because things aren’t going the way you planned?  That’s the bane of being a Mom at Disney sometimes.  Not all the time, but sometimes.  Moms are the planners (usually) when it comes to planning Disney vacations.  And usually we are victims of our own hype.  We fantasize about those hugging Mickey moments, the perfect outfits for our darling children, being able to walk on rides with little to no wait.  And the reality is great and Magical moments happen.  They do at Disney, but yes there are lines, and if you go in the Summer there is heat, and if you pack custom clothing and ask your child to change 4 times a day for photo ops they are going to get tired of it.  Eventually.  So be honest about those emotions you are feeling, don’t slap a smile on your face and pretend.  Just clearly state, “I think I overdid this, or I thought this would be different.”  Now you can work on solving it.

Solving It – If it’s another person’s attitude or actions that are mucking up what you anticipated would be a glorious vacation deal with them directly.  But in an emotionally fair manner.  A phrase that is fair may be: “When we planned the trip I lined out how we needed to be at our ADR at 8:00, you agreed, but now it’s 9:00 and we missed it.  This really sets us back for the day, can you go ahead and get ready if I call and reschedule?”  Be flexible, don’t jump up and down yelling that you missed your ADR, it happens.  But, it also gives a subtle hey, you agreed to this come on we had a deal to your voice.  I’ve been very direct with my husband before. “I’m just disappointed that I spent all these months planning meals only to have to reschedule now we’re here.”  Again, you’re just lining out how you feel, nothing at all wrong with that.  You aren’t name calling, just stating a fact.  I feel disappointed, I feel upset by, I am stressed because.  You aren’t nagging but simply lining out how actions of others are making their eventual consequences in your emotions present.  Oncce the other person knows.  They can help solve the problem with you.  And as often is the case if you state how you feel as fact, they are more inclined to work with you.  If you go on the attack the human response is to defend and then it just takes longer to get back around to this point.  Choose your words carefully.

Breathe – You would be amazed at how breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth can calm you down.  We do a breathing exercise with our boys before we fly, if we are in tense situations (lines, travel, transitioning) and it helps your brain with a supply of oxygen literally function better.  Take a few breaths, deep breaths, step back think (always think before you speak) but think about the situation in a clear manner.  And I usually ask myself the following: “Is it as big of a deal as I am making it?”  “How could the other members of my family be viewing this trip, situation, etc.?” This usually helps me look at the problem in a more fair less persecuted way.

Compromise – That’s a hard pill to swallow when you really feel angry and wronged isn’t it?  The last thing you feel like doing is compromising any more at that moment.  But, I am going to tell you that is the best thing you can do to come up with an exit strategy.  Usually after I have said “I’m disappointed, stressed, upset because…” my husband will respond with a “Sorry. Um, what can I do to make you feel…?” Which usually makes it better in some ways, it’s not resolved but it’s better.  Then we usually come up with a plan.  Last time we were at Disney he wanted to stay in the room on our last night, needless to say I didn’t.  So I took the kids and went to the Magic Kingdom while he stayed in the room and rested up.  The boys and I had a wonderful time, he rested everybody won.  Would I have liked for him to come with us?  Sure.  But, I knew he was plain wore out after a week at the parks and wanted to rest a bit before our flight the next morning.  So I guess that leads me to my last point, know your family’s limits!

Oh and stay hydrated.  If you work on keeping your body cool you are likely to be more rational.  If you get hot literally, you also get hot figuratively.  Oxygen, H2O, and Compromise.  Be honest but never attack.  And hug it out!

What are some ways you get over disappointments or arguments when touring the Disney Parks?