2017 Disney World Packages

Guess what? You can now book a Walt Disney World room or vacation package for dates in 2017! (499 days in advance, so currently as of end of June I can book through the end of October/beginning of November). 2017 Disney packages came out yesterday, and I have already been busy quoting for my clients.

2017 disney packages

The best part about these packages is that it only requires a $200 deposit (for room only it’s a deposit of one night of the price of the room + tax) that’s it! Also, the balance isn’t due until 30 days prior to travel! You can make changes, switch dates, cancel, etc. up until that point.

I have been booking Disney travel for my clients over six years and would love to plan a vacation for your family. Common misconception: It does not cost you anything extra to book through me. Why wait on hold on the phone or stress about how the website works, or how to get discounts when I can do it for you, and give you all of my best tips and knowledge from years of experience? I can make it easy for you!

Heather plan your next DCL vacation

I can also book your Disneyland or Disney Cruise Line vacation for you, as well as Universal Studios Orlando. Simply email me for a free no obligation quote. I would love to get you started or answer any questions you may have. heather@travelwiththemagic.com is where you can find me. Let’s get to planning, I can’t wait for you to experience the vacation of a lifetime!

QOTD: Are you planning to visit Disney in 2017?

FREE Dining at Disney World This Fall

Tomorrow, Free dining comes out at select resorts for certain dates at Walt Disney World in Orlando, FL!

free dining

I would love to book your family on a magical vacation! If you aren’t a fan of the dining plan, there are deals on just rooms for certain dates as well, check out the info below:


FREE DINING for select night August 31 through December 23, 2014. Your package must include a minimum of three nights at an on-site Walt Disney World Resort hotel and a minimum 2-day Base Ticket at full price.

Valid Arrival Dates include:
8/31/14 – 10/3/14
10/26/14 – 11/1/14
11/9/14 – 11/20/14
12/12/14 – 12/23/14


-If you stay at a value resort, you will receive the quick service dining plan for free (you may pay the difference to upgrade to regular dining).

-If you stay at a moderate or deluxe resort, you will receive the regular “plus dining” plan for free.

A $200 deposit is due at the time of booking. Rooms at Port Orleans French Quarter, Port Orleans Riverside, All-Star Movies, Disney’s Ft. Wilderness Campsites, 3-bedroom villas, The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa and Little Mermaid rooms at Art of Animation Resort are not included in this offer. The number of rooms available with this discount is limited and not all resorts and room categories will be available, so act FAST if you want to find the best availability.


Please email me at heather@travelwiththemagic.com as soon as possible so that we can discuss your quote for the morning of the 7th when the rooms are available. Remember, it costs you NOTHING EXTRA to book with me, and I do all the work for you!

QOTD: When is your next vacation?

February 2014 Disney Trip Recap: Part 2

We left off part one of my recap on Saturday night after eating at Trail’s End Buffet. The next morning, I was up at 2:45 for the runDisney Princess half marathon.  I ran the race, Bobby met me at the finish, and we went back to the resort so I could shower and eat. I was feeling a little better this day, so instead of napping we all headed to Animal Kingdom.

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We did a Bug’s Life, and Bobby did Everest. We happened to be walking by right before the Flights of Wonder show started. They were doing a fun pre show with some of  the birds and Bobby was a volunteer.

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We watched the show after and really loved it. Those birds can do some cool things! If you have never seen it I highly recommend it.

We had lunch at my favorite, Flame Tree BBQ, and then headed back to the resort (and THEN I took a nap!) That night we had dinner at California Grill. I was so looking forward to it and was bummed that I started feeling crappy and sick. We had a great view, but I just felt bleh the whole dinner.

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Mom and dad wanted to take the monorail to the Grand Floridian and walk around after dinner, but I was ready for bed so Bobby and I took a cab back to the resort. I was SO glad the next day I didn’t have to wake up early and maybe would be able to make it through the day at the Magic Kingdom!

On our last day, we went to the Magic Kingdom.

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We introduced my parents to Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom. I’m not sure my dad got it ha.

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We may have had Dole Whips at 10:00 in the morning.

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We had fastpasses for Haunted Mansion, Peter Pan, and the guys rode Big Thunder Mountain.

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They crack me up.


We had fastpasses for lunch at Be Our Guest, and then we headed back to the resort for a nap, then we wandered around the Boardwalk and the boys got into trouble.

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That night, we walked over to the Beach Club for dinner at Beaches ‘n Cream. My parents had never been there, so it was a fun experience. We all split burgers so we would have room for dessert.

We split burgers AND all four shared this thing. We barely finished it. I have no idea how people eat one all by themselves.

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The next morning we took Magical Express back to the airport, and just like that our trip was over. There were some really fun moments, but I was also really bummed at how sick and tired I felt most of the time. It was really hard to just have fun and enjoy everything, and after all those months of planning I was bummed at the timing. Oh well, just means we have to go back again!

QOTD: Do you order dessert on vacation? Have you played Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom?

Disney MagicBands Review

Last week when I was in Disney World for the Earmarked conference for authorized Disney vacation planners at Disney’s Contemporary resort convention center, I had the opportunity to test out the new MagicBands that are currently in the testing phase.

magic band pink

They work in conjunction with the My Disney experience phone app which I KNOW all of you have downloaded onto your phones. Smile You can also use your account on a PC if you don’t have a Droid or iPhone.

I have gotten several questions about the bands, what they can do, how they work, etc. so I am hoping to answer those questions here, and of course if you have a question that I don’t answer please ask in the comments, it may be a question someone else has, too!

1.) What do they cost?

Nothing! The magic bands will be standard issue for all Disney resort guests once they go live. You will receive a box in the mail with your customized bands once you order them through my Disney experience. You can customize them up to six days prior to your stay and get the customized bands at check in. Even if you don’t customize them, you can still get them at check in, but they will be grey bands.

magic band box

Beautiful box your bands come packaged in, straight to your house!

2.) What do they do?

Oh my friends, they question is what DON’T they do! You can attach your theme park tickets to your Disney MagicBands so you tap your band to get into a park, into your hotel room, through a fastpass line, or when paying for food or merchandise, it’s amazing! If you are using Disney’s Magical Express service, you will also use them to get on a bus to go to your resort. So convenient, but be sure to pack them in a carry on! Since the bands are still in the testing phase, I was also given a regular key to the world card as a backup to get into my room.


Me testing out the MagicBand at the earmarked conference

3.) You mentioned fastpasses….how does this work?

There is a new system called Fastpass+. You can go into your Disney account online and set up three fastpasses for the day at one park. No more running to the fastpass machines at park opening, or leaving your family in line for one ride while you go get fastpasses for another. You pick your rides and times online, and show up at your designated one hour window and tap your band to go through the fastpass line. Super easy! ***Edited to add that now once you use all 3 of your fastpasses that you schedule, you can go to any kiosk in the park or park hop to another park and add  more fastpasses one at a time!***


Fastpass+ to get on Soarin.

4.) Shopping? Food? How! This seems so easy!

When you check in, you will be asked to enter in a pin code that you will use during your trip to make purchases on your account/credit card that you provide. When you go to a store, at checkout you simply tap your band and enter your pin, that’s it! Same thing at restaurants. Servers have a small portable device you tap your band against.

5.) Fastpass+ sounds awesome, are there other things you can use it for besides rides?

Yes! You can use fastpass+ for parade and fireworks viewing areas, as well as character meet and greets. Disney is going to be adding many more experiences to fastpass+ in time, so be on the lookout for these experiences. Also, I was able to attach my annual pass to my band so I can reuse it if I wanted to on my next trip.

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Kelly using her MagicBand to enter EPCOT

6.) I saw you posted a photo on Instagram of some charm looking things on your band. What is this?

These are called bandits. Something fun for you to collect and personalize your band with. There are also fun covers called sliders, so many options and ways to personalize. Also a great way to tell bands apart if your kids order the same color (their names are also on the underside for identification if you customize ahead of time online). You can buy accessories at the resorts where the bands are being tested.

Disney MagicBands

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7.) My family is really active, will we have to take the Disney MagicBands off to get in the pool or what if we get sweaty?

The bands are waterproof and do well in heat, so they won’t melt or die at the waterparks or in the pool. The only thing I noticed is I did get a little sweaty on my arm wearing mine on a hot day, but I imagine if I had a slider on it it would help.

8.) Fastpass+, customizing bands, this all seems overwhelming, HELP!

Absolutely! I would love to book your family vacation for you an walk you through this new process as it rolls out. You can email me at heather@travelwiththemagic.com for a free quote, or go to travelwiththemagic.com and request a quote. Just be sure to put my name on there so it goes to me. Smile

Want to see what resorts are being included in the testing? Check out this link on Travel With the Magic. 

QOTD: Thoughts on the Disney MagicBands? Any questions?

Weekend Happenings: I’m Going to Disney World!

Guess where I am going today? DISNEY WORLD! This time, I am going for work. There is a special travel agency conference every year and I was invited to go with my boss as a delegate, meaning I will be attending seminars and meetings. We are going a couple days early to have a little fun and do some research before the conference begins, but yup, work trip. Not that’ I’m complaining. Smile 

I will be staying at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge tonight and tomorrow night, and then will move to the Contemporary until Thursday. I am so excited, I have never stayed at the Contemporary before. I will also be attending Mickey’s Not so Scary Halloween party, so stay tuned if you want to see my costume!


I will have my laptop with me and will still be blogging and on social media thanks to my handy dandy Blackberry Q10 and it’s awesome mobile hotspot capabilities. My husband and I are pretty amazed at the internet speed coming from that little device. It’s super fast!

Speaking of little thing, we are also loving the Blackberry mini stereo speaker I received. Bobby clips it onto his shorts and listens to music from it when he is outside working in the yard of BBQ-ing. It has really good sound quality, much crisper and louder than coming straight out of a phone (especially one in a case).

I hope everyone has a fabulous weekend! Winner of my Raw Threads giveaway announced soon!


QOTD: Do you use a special speaker or docking station for your phone? Headphones?

Disclosure: I am participating in the Verizon Wireless Ambassador program and have been provided with a wireless device and three months of service in exchange for my honest opinions about the product.”  #VZWA #VZWVoices

Vacation Information

Good morning! Simple post today because honestly, I am very very busy. We are heading home from the beach today .

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(sad times, didn’t we just get here?!?) and, 2014 prices and packages come out today for Walt Disney World, and Disneyland! Remember, I can book a trip for you at NO extra cost to you.

Also keep in mind I can book all kinds of other trips for you like Universal, Sandals, Atlantis, etc. and cruise lines like Royal Caribbean and Carnival. If you are unsure if I can help you, never hurts to email me and let me take a look for you.

You can email me at heather@travelwiththemagic.com

Travel-With-the-Magic-LOGO with blue border

Those of you who have already emailed me about a quote, don’t worry I haven’t forgotten you, please be patient as it will take me awhile tomorrow to get to everyone! Have a great day!

QOTD: Where are you planning to travel next?

Beyond the Parks Part 2


In my last installment of beyond the parks of Disney world, we discussed golf, working out/spa, waterparks, water craft, afternoon tea, and bike rentals. Today I will discuss a few more of the hidden fun things to do while vacationing in Disney World beyond the standard theme park rides (which are still great by the way!)

ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex:

I wouldn’t have known this existed if I wasn’t a runner. This is where Disney holds the expos for their races. There are plenty of events held here such as Pre-season training for the Atlanta Braves and the Tampa Bay Bucs. SO, depending on the time of year, you could hit up one of different sporting events! WWOS is also home to the Playstation Pavilion. They have 17 PS3 systems, wi fi, and more. It costs $5 to play for thirty minutes.


Characters in Flight: This hot air balloon located in Downtown Disney will take you a soaring 400 feet above the ground (tethered to it, of course!) for the best views of Walt Disney world. You get to enjoy your view for 8-10 minutes flying high in the sky. Weather permitting, hours of operation are 10:00 am to midnight.



Fireworks Cruise:

You can board a boat for the Wishes or Illuminations fireworks in Walt Disney World. Price of the wishes cruises includes snacks, and you can even have Private dining whip you something uo to eat onboard. What a great way to enjoy the show from the 7 seas lagoon!

For the illuminations cruise, you can also have private dining have food for you, as you cruise around the water in EPCOT watching the show.

Another option is the Grand 1 Yacht at the Grand Floridian. It is a 45 foot boat staffed with a captain and deckhand. Ride the lagoon in Grand style as you enjoy the Magic Kingdom Fireworks.

Lastly, there is the Pirates and Pals Fireworks voyage. You are provided snacks before your voyage, where you can watch the electrical water pageant and Wishes fireworks. Captain Hook and mr. Smee may show up for photos, before you sail the lagoon, docking nearby to watch the fireworks. You may even get to see Peter Pan as the voyage concludes.


Horse drawn carriage rides:

At Fort Wilderness, you can take an old fashioned horse drawn carriage ride, first come first served. The ride lasts 45 minutes and departs from Pioneer hall twice nightly. During Halloween, you can book a haunted 25 minute carriage ride through the woods. Spooky! There are also Holiday “sleigh rides” that you can book in advance.

There are also regular25 minute carriage rides at Fort Wilderness and Port Orleans Resort.


These are just a sampling of the many, many fun things to do in WDW. This is one reason we keep going back. We do new fun things every single trip, and have a blast! If you would like more information on any of the things I mentioned above, please contact me at heather@travelwiththemagic.com and I would be more than happy to help you plan your vacation AT NO COST. Our services are free for our clients!

Be sure to click on the Free Disney Travel Quote tab on my menu bar for more info and current offers!


I ran 3 miles in the treadmill last night. my first three miles since the injury! It was really hard (and slow) but I did it! Next run on Thursday I will go for 3.5. Movin on up, yall! Thanks again for all the support and encouragement!


QOTD: If you had Disney world to yourself for a whole day what would you do?

Grand Floridian/Polynesian Resort Gym


Baby it’s cold outside! It was warm and muggy yesterday, but the rain brought in a cold front, and it’s in the 40’s this morning. BBbbrrr! I like it though, it felt more like April than December yesterday. Today I have a good bit of work to do, calls, etc. and I hope to get in an ab/arm workout. I am on day 8 of the boot, and pray all the time it is actually working .

*The spa part of the fitness center is closed for 18 months for refurbishment. This started mid September, but the workout/gym area is still open for use.


Due to some construction at the Grand Floridian, the walkway has been re routed to get to the gym. Just head towards the beach/waterfall pool and you will see signs directing you down the path towards the building. Coming from the Polynesian, head towards the wedding pavilion along the sidewalk and it will be on your left.


You walk into a nice Lobby area, where you are greeted by an employee who will check your key card to insure you are in fact a guest of the Grand Floridian or the Polynesian. You turn to the right and go through a door into the gym area. Not only does the gym have pretty much all the equipment you will need to workout, but they have towels, magazines, and a place to get (very cold I might add) in the corner.


There are plenty of treadmills, bikes, and elliptical all facing flat screen televisions for your boredom breaker enjoyment.


There are also plenty of weight machines, as well as free weights.



The back wall has mirrors all the way across the wall as well.


There are also mat’s and an exercise ball you can use for floor work or ab work.

Generally, if I am going to workout I will walk fast or jog the path to the gym as my warm up, and then walk or slow jog back for a cool down. It’s the perfect distance away for that purpose, and I hope I will continue to be able to go back to the gym to get my sweat on!

QOTD: When you workout on vacation, do you just run, or do you hit the gym for weights or cross training as well?

Disney Races


Hola! Terrific Tuesday! I am starting to get so excited for my trip to Disney! Speaking of Disney, and of course, running, as usual…I thought I would do a post on all the Disney races!

Seriously, Disney knows how to put on a race. No, I am not just saying this because I am a Disney freak, but they REALLY do it right. If you can swing it, I highly recommend running a Disney race at least once in your life. They have so many to choose from!


From the awesome expo, to fireworks at the start, to characters along the course and an awesome finishers medal, it can’t be topped. Make sure you check out my races page and look at my recaps from the Disney half and full marathons.


  So, here is a list starting from the next one Disney is hosting and going for the next year….

September 2-4 2011: Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend

The Happiest Race on Earth!

-includes 5k, half marathon, kids races

September 30-October 1 2011: Disney’s Wine and Dine Half Marathon Weekend

The Runner’s Night Out

-includes relay option

-5k, half marathon, kids races

January 5-8 2012: Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend

The smiles easily outnumber the miles!

-includes relay option

-includes 5k, half marathon, marathon, kids races

January 27-29 2012: Disneyland Tinkerbell Half Marathon Weekend 

You can run. You can run. You can run.

-includes 5k, half marathon, kids races

February 24-26 2012: Disney’s Princes Half Marathon Weekend

Because Your Fairy Godmother Carries a Stopwatch

-includes 5k, half marathon, and kids races

May 7 2012: Expedition Everest Challenge

Do you have what it takes to conquer the challenge?

-includes challenge, and kids races


SO many options!!! So exciting! I have been to January Marathon weekend twice, and plan to be at Princess in February 2012. If you have any questions about any of these races or how things are run, questions about the races themselves, expo, etc. Let me know! Not to mention, I would be more than happy to BOOK YOUR TRIP for FREE! So if you are seriously considering running any of these races please contact me for a free quote, I can really help you out with all aspects of your trip!

QOTD: Have you or do you plan to run any runDisney races this year?