Disney’s “Paper” Fast Pass Tickets in a New Digital Age.

Here is a tip for keeping your FastPass+ times right at your fingertips. If your like me its hard to remember exactly those FastPass+ return times each day and without the paper Fast Passes to reference throughout the day I easily forget. Here is what I have found is the easiest way to have them ready at a glance. First thing in the morning open the My Disney Experience app to todays list of FastPass+ selections and take a screen shot right on your phone. Then  just go to your photos and set that image as your lock screen.

FastPass+Here is what you will see on your phone display. Its just like having the old paper fast pass tickets only in a new digital format. You will also have any dining reservations or any other plans you may have throughout the day.

IOS Users- press the home button and the lock screen button at the same time adds a screenshot to your camera roll.

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A Birthday Suprise…Your Going to Disney World Right Now!

Queue up the music its time for another Magical Disney Moment! That’s right, the weekend is finally here that we Surprise our son Bret with the Birthday present of a lifetime….a trip to Walt Disney World, and its happening Right Now!

Both my wife and myself have been to The Magic Kingdom on our birthday’s and Bret has always said he wanted to be able to get that birthday button for himself. So we decided this was the year to make that happen!

We only decided to do this in the past few weeks so I have been diligently booking our resort stay at Pop Century as well as flights, Disney’s Magical Express,  Fastpass+, dining reservations for his Birthday Dinner at Teppan Edo, and so much more all while he had no idea this was being done.  We did all of the packing while he was at school, I will say it does make it easier that we keep most of the essentials like cellphone chargers and toiletries packed from trip to trip.  I have made sure not mention the trip on any social media site, we all know how tech savy a 13 year old is now days. Do you know how hard it is to be excited to be going to Disney World and not tell anyone? Its not easy!! Even this post was not written until we were on the way to the airport.

The plan was simple, he would go to school this morning not knowing that anything was happening over the long weekend other than his usual marathon of video game play. We would pick him up from school at noon because today was to be a half day and out Friday and Monday. Then the snow storm hit and no school today (Thursday) either so time to come up with plan “B”. Being that everything is packed and ready to go we will still not tell him until it is time to leave the house to hand him his present, which is a new set of MagicBands and to be told “Your Going to Disney World……Right Now!”

So where are we now, on our way to the airport for a flight to MCO then its off to The Magic Kingdom after a quick stop at Pop Century!

Want to follow along? I will be posting to Twitter @WDWRLD as well as Instagram WDWRLD all weekend.



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Disney Has A Delicious Deal This Fall — It’s Free Dining!

Get a free dining plan when you purchase a non-discounted 6-night/7-day Magic Your Way package (includes room and theme park tickets) at select Disney Resort hotels. This offer can be booked through September 15, 2013 and is valid for arrivals most nights:

•September 29 to October 2, 2013
•October 18 to November 2, 2013
•November 11 to November 23, 2013
•December 12 to December 22, 2013

•Select Disney Deluxe Resort Hotels and Disney Deluxe Villa Resort Hotels Receive the FREE Disney Dining Plan.

Select Disney Moderate Resort Hotels Receive the FREE Disney Dining Plan.

•Select Disney Value Resort Hotels Receive the FREE Disney Quick-Service Dining Plan.

The number of rooms allocated for this offer is limited. Tickets are valid for one theme park per day and must be used within 14 days of first use.
Offer excludes:
•3-Bedroom Villas
•Disney’s Art of Animation Resort
•Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort
•Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter
•The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa

Contact me today at brianskinner@magicalmouseplans.com for all the details and a FREE no obligation quote from MMP Travel!

Images Copyright the Walt Disney Company.
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Your Questions For My Upcoming MagicBand Test

As many of you know I was selected to test out the new Disney My MagicBand on a upcoming trip to Walt Disney World. Well time has come, bags are packed and I am ready to go! Sunday morning I fly to Disney World and this will be the day I will be using the MagicBand for my room key, charging privileges, and to use the Fastpass+ system. So this is where you come in, I want to know what questions you have for how this will work. I will do my best to find the answers out to your questions and post them in my review post after the trip is over. Please leave as many questions as you have below in the comments section. You can also follow along with my day at both twitter@WDWRLD and facebook/brianskinnerMMPTravel as I make this a Coast to Coast venture. That’s right Im going to visit the Magic Kingdom in Florida Monday afternoon and will be in Disneyland in California Tuesday all within 24hours. I will also be at the 2013 D23 Expo over the weekend so be sure to follow along for all the up to the minute happenings of the “Ultimate Disney Fan Event”.

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Get a FREE Day at Disney or Universal!

To honor those that protect and serve MMP Travel is offering a FREE DAY in the parks for ALL US and Canadian Military (active duty, retired, reserves) as well as Police Officers, Firefighters and Medical Personnel!

This offer is good for those who book at least a 4-day (or longer) Walt Disney World vacation package with at least a 3-Day Ticket or a 3-day (or longer) Universal Studios with at least a 2-day ticket get’s a FREE day in the parks for everyone in their reservation!

Now is the time to book that Disney or Universal vacation and take advantage of this great offer and let MMP give back to those who do so much!

Contact me today at brianskinner@magicalmouseplans.com or visit www.MMPTravel.com today for a FREE no obligation quote!

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D23 Expo App Now Available in the App Store!

The D23 Expo, The Ultimate Disney Fan Event takes place at the Anaheim Convention Center August 9-11 2013 and yes….there’s a app for that! Now available in the App Store is the 2013 D23 Expo app complete with Presenters, schedule, FAQ, Photo Booth, Fun, Share, Maps, Collectors Forum, and Shopping. Its currently available for download but is still being updated with the latest information on events.

Download here in the App Store!


D23 Expo App

D23 Expo App

D23 Expo App Menu

D23 Expo App Menu

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Testing the new Disney MagicBand

I was recently selected to test out the new Disney MagicBand for a upcoming trip to the Walt Disney World Resort. I received a email with instructions on how to log on to the site and customize my band as well as link my Resort reservation. You can custiomize your band with your name and various colors. The main part of every band is grey and you can choose from red, blue, green, orange, yellow, and pink as well as your name that will be printed inside. I did this late on a Sunday evening and the band arrived around noon today. It is shipped in a plain brown box with a return address that gives no indication as to what is inside. This is great if you are surprising kids with a vacation.

Disney MagicBand Box

Disney MagicBand Box

When you open the outer box Mrs. Incredible greets you with “Here’s the key to making your experience Incredible” printed on a very nice box.

Disney MagicBand Packaging

Disney MagicBand Packaging

Inside you will find your MagicBand as well as instructions on wearing and how to resize it for smaller guests. On the outside of the band is simply a Mickey logo and the inside has your printed name as well as some identification numbers which I removed in the photos.

Disney MagicBand

Disney MagicBand

I will be traveling to the Walt Disney World Resort soon and live tweeting my experience using the BagicBand at twitter@WDWRLD.

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First Look at the Busch Gardens Va Food & Wine Festival

Today Busch Gardens Food & Wine Festival officially opened. This event is held throughout the park and features samplings of food dishes, wines and specialty beers from thirteen kiosks. The event also has cooking demonstrations from local Chef Virginia Willis, as well as other fun events such as Grape Smashers, a interactive Grape Stomping show. The event runs weekends from 11:30am till 1 hour prior to park closing.

Today I arrived at the park well before the opening to get a few photos. I picked up a “Your Guide to the Busch Gardens Food & Wine Festival 2013″ book and headed into the park. Remember to bring a pen to check off when you try a dish and to take notes in your book!

Busch Gardens is offering a wristband system of payment as well as cash and credit cards. I tried out the wristband but was told when I picked it up at Bella Casa that they would go on sale at 11:30 when the event started. I was told that as of now this was the plan but could change later. If you use a credit card you are charged $50 to start with, then if you use that up it will automatically charge again $50. At midnight the wristbands are de activated and any remaining amount on the wristband is refunded to your credit card. Also for Passholders, you must show your pass for each transaction, it is not tied to the wristband in any way. The wristbands are offered at the following locations…

Food & Wine Festival Welcome Center
Castle O’ Sullivan
Griffon Gifts
Der Marktplaz
Bella Casa
Pompeii Gifts

I did not try any of the foods this morning as we will be going back this evening to work our way through as much as we can eat. From opening at 11:30 till around 1pm the booths had hardly anyone trying dishes. This is likely because of the large number of school groups at the park today. I was hoping to get to see more of the preparation but there wasn’t much activity at any of the booths with the exception of Crepes & Coffee. Here there was only a couple guests in line but what did surprise me was that the Crepes were prepackaged and frozen. There was also only one Discus Crepe Machine in the booth and that was being used to thaw the product not cook it. That was very disappointing as I really expected to have fresh made product at all the booths. This also makes me wonder how much is pre packaged product in use at other booths.

Other than that the event looks like it will be a success, and as with all Busch Gardens events it takes a couple weeks to get all the kinks worked out. One thing they do need to add is more High Top Tables, there are very few places to sit your samplings as you try them. There are a few High Tops and some tables but tables with chairs are not great at this type of event. Most today were taken up by park guests just taking a break, not sampling food. At one point I saw Carl Lum, park President eating off a trash can lid near the Scotland booth.

Bon Appétit

Evening Update….Upon returning to Busch Gardens around 6pm there were still hardly any one at the various booths. We first stopped at Scotland for a Scottish egg and walked right up with no wait. Our second stop was Greece which had about 6 people waiting which was a good sign….except they were all waiting for the Griddle Cheese. They were moving very slow and we waited about 10 minutes for them to prepare our order. From then on there was never any wait with the exception of the Crepes & Coffee which we skipped tonight, we need to save some for tomorrow, right?

Venison Sausage & Corn Porridge _ Canada - $5.00

Venison Sausage & Corn Porridge – Canada – $5.00

Overall this dish was very good and my best savory choice of the night. The sausage was cooked just right, caramelized onions were flavorful and the polenta was good.

Pumpkin Caramel Mousse - Canada - $2.00

Pumpkin Caramel Mousse – Canada – $2.00

This “Crème Brulee- Style” dish was nothing what I expected. It was a cold mousse that was almost frozen with a great pumpkin flavor topped with caramel. The caramel to me tasted like maple syrup but this was a good dish.

Paprikash - Austria - $4.00

Paprikash – Austria – $4.00

This savory dish had a decent amount of flavor, chicken was tender but not overcooked, and it was topped with sour cream which really pulled everything together. Very good!

Schinken Nudel - Germany - $3.00

Schinken Nudel – Germany – $3.00

This Noodle bake to me tasted just like chicken soup. It was tender and full of flavor with the ham and cheese adding just the right amount of texture to make this dish great.

German Carrot Cake - Germany - $3.00   Note: this replaced the Griesspudding in the Festival Guide

German Carrot Cake – Germany – $3.00 Note: this replaced the Griesspudding in the Festival Guide

This was my overall winner for the sweet category. This dense Carrot Cake covered with berry compote was sweet but not too sweet. I could have had two of these!

Venera con Jamon - Spain - $7.00

Venera con Jamon – Spain – $7.00

This dish was on the higher priced side but overall was good. The scallop wrapped in bacon was very tender and full of flavor. The sauce it was paired with to me tasted like it should have been on a pizza. The rice was cooked well but had limited flavor. I expected to taste some heat in this dish, yet there was none. Over all good.

Souvlaki Tzatziki - Greece - $5.00

Souvlaki Tzatziki – Greece – $5.00

This skewer was not a winner for me. The meat was dry and lacked flavor, and it was paired with greens of no flavor. The sauce was good but did not help overall. I just had the impression this was prepared much earlier in the day and had been kept in a hot box too long.

Halloumi - Greece - $4.00

Halloumi – Greece – $4.00

This griddled cheese was a winner. Grilled just right to bring out the flavors of the cheese and paired with a small piece of toasted bread drizzled with honey.

Scottish Egg - Scotland - $4.00

Scottish Egg – Scotland – $4.00

This half of a sausage wrapped breaded egg was very good. The sauce was slightly spicy and had a great flavor profile.

Finally we have the “Grape Smashes”. I thought this was going to be a demonstration on how grapes were stomped to make wine. However this was a very short “Game Show” which pitted 4 pre selected park guests to “stomp” grapes against each other and see who could fill a carafe first. This was all a show and was not what I expected for the Food and Wine Festival.

That about wraps up day one of the Busch Gardens Va Food & Wine Festival. Please leave any questions or comments below……Bon Appétit

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Busch Gardens Food & Wine Festival, The Week Before!

With only one more week before the first ever Busch Gardens Va Food & Wine Festival opens things are looking very promising for a successful event. Tonight I was at the park and not expecting to see so many new additions along with some of the actual menus posted. The photos below arent the best but you see how much detail they put into this event so far. Also open today and pictured below is the new Coca-Cola Market located in Festa Italia. Offerings here are basically the same as was previously available.

Busch Gardens Food & Wine Festival opens this Friday so come on out to the park and enjoy all the park has to offer.
Dates: Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from May 31 – June 23
Time: 11 a.m. until one hour before park closing

Admission to the festival is included with park admission, and individual tastings range in price from $3-$7.

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Busch Gardens Va’s New Concert Ticket Policy

As rumored Busch Gardens Va has implemented a new ticket policy for both its Busch Gardens Live and Glory at the Gardens concert series. The following information is now on the website.

Ticket Information for Busch Gardens Concert Series:
• General concert seating tickets are for guaranteed general seating at the Royal Palace Theatre.

• Tickets are free with admission and are available one-per-person on a first come, first served basis (while supplies last). All party members must be present for tickets.

• General concert seating tickets are only available at the Guest Relations building situated on the right side of the walking path leading to the park’s main entrance. Tickets may be picked up on the day of the concert only.

• General concert seating tickets are not available at the Royal Palace Theatre.

• General concert seating ticket distribution will begin when Busch Gardens’ main entrance opens.

• Tickets can be redeemed at the Royal Palace Theatre entrance when the theatre gates open.

• Please refer to the general concert admission ticket and park handouts for more information and restrictions.

This new plan is a attempt to avoid the huge lines that were seen last season at some of the most popular concerts. Some events in the 2012 season had people lining up almost as soon as the park opened to get into the Royal Palace Theater. There is no word on how early you will be allowed to enter the parking lots or line up at the Guest Relations window for tickets but be sure many people will be there very early!

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