Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Disneyland Refurbishment Schedule-Updated December 2019

Here is a list of projected closings or refurbishments at the Disneyland Resort in California.  Check with your Snapshot Getaways agent for assistance in planning your trip this year!

Subject to change

Disneyland Park 

It’s a Small World 1/7/20-TBD
Mark Twain Riverboat 1/7/20-TBD
Snow White’s Scary Adventures 1/7/20-TBD

Disney's California Adventure

Red Car Trolley-4/1/19-TBD
Cathy Circle (Restaurant & Lounges) 1/6/20-TBD

Walt Disney World Refurbishment Schedule-Updated December 2019

Be sure to check out our schedule before planning your trip to Walt Disney World Resort.  As always, a Snapshot Getaways team member is here to help plan your vacations!  

Magic Kingdom:
Walt Disney World Railroad Dec 2018-TBD
Splash Mountain-Early January through Late February

Test Track 1/13/20-2/26/20

As part of the ongoing transformation of Epcot Fall 2019-2020

  • Fountain View Starbucks will relocate to a temporary location
  • Club Cool will close to return in the future
  • Meet Disney Pals at Epcot will temporarily close with characters featured elsewhere throughout Epcot
  • Pin Central will operate temporarily out of a new location.  The Camera Center will close.
  • Heritage Manor will close and return next year
  • Art of Disney will operate from a new location 
  • Electric Umbrella will close sometimes this winter to be replaced by a new dining option
  • Mouse Gear will move to a temporary home this winter.

Disney's Hollywood Studios
None at this Time

Disney's Animal Kingdom
None at this Time

Disney's Water Parks
Typhoon Lagoon Annual Refurbishment 1/5/20-Mid March 2020 
Blizzard Beach Annual Refurbishment 9/8/19-Early 2020

All Star Music Resort
Calypso Pool Mid September 2020-Mid December 2020

Art of Animation Resort
Big Blue Pool Mid September 2020-Mid December 2020

Beach Club Resort
Beaches & Cream Soda Shop Closed Early August-Winter 2019

Disney’s Fort Wilderness:
Tri-Circle D Ranch will relocate to a nearby area.  The Draft Horse Barn and Pony farm will be redesigned into a new, enhanced barn.  Pony Rides have temporarily moved to the Trail Blaze Corral near the entrance.  

Polynesian Village Resort
Disney’ Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show 1/19/20-1/27/20

Pop Century
Hippy Dippy Pool January 2020-Early Spring 2020

Disney Springs
None at this Time

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Photo Tour Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights

This is the last year for the Osborne Lights, but there is still plenty of great holiday themed activities, and sights at Disney World.  Gina is a travel agent at Snapshot Getaways.  Email her at Gina@snapshotgetaways.com to plan for your holiday trip!

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Devoted DIY-Recycling T-Shirts

Photo Courtesy of DisneyStore.Com

We love Disney t-shirts, it's one of the most popular items purchased in the parks.  However, what to do when it’s unwearable?  Maybe worn out from too many trips, stained from the Turkey Leg or no longer fits (nothing to do with the Turkey Leg).  You can always recycle (or the new word is upcycle) your favorites. Here are a few ideas of my own and some fun tips I found while searching the internet.

Make a Quilt
Or if you are like me, have someone make a quilt for you.  There are many services out there that will take your old t-shirts,  cut out the image and sew into a quilt of memories.  What better way to have your trip memories available as a cozy blanket to wrap around you as you watch your favorite Disney classic on TV. If you are handy of course you can do this on your own and make it a family project!

Make a Story
Many of the photo printing sites out there offer soft and hard cover books of your photos.  Some even use Disney backgrounds and graphics.  Often there are great deal for free books or half price book.  Take a close up photo of the image on your t-shirt.  Either on you, or stretched out on the back of a chair.  Make a collage book of your favorite t-shirts and maybe include text with fun anctedotes of that particular trip.  For example: "This is the 2010 trip shirt we bought Andrew after he got soaked on Splash Mountain”.  You can even put in a few pics of your family wearing the shirt on a trip.  Then if the shirt is in good shape, give to a charity of your choice.  There are many kids that will never make it to Disney and the shirt alone will be priceless.

Make a Journal
Now this is a simple craft to do with your older children. Purchase a plain journal, preferably with a hard cover. Lay out the book and arrange the t-shirt image around the front and back. Leaving an at least an inch extra, cut out the graphic from the shirt and any extra material for the back. Simply glue the flaps down inside the cover, folding corners as needed. Use binder clips to keep in place while the glue dries.  Cut away any extra fabric.  Now you have a new journal. Maybe for recording memories of the next trip to Disney?
Repurpose the Shirt
  • Tote Bag:  The internet is full of ideas for repurposing t-shirts. One of the easiest is to turn it into a tote bag. It’s washable and durable and the world certainly has enough plastic bags! Click here for step-by-step instructions.
  • Throw Pillows:  What better way to decorate your child’s room (or your child at heart) than with throw pillows from Disney t-shirts.  Click here to get instructions for this fun project.
  • Wall Art:  No need to buy expensive art from Disney, use your t-shirts instead.  A quick trip to the art supply or craft store and you’re ready to redecorate.  Click here for the instructions to Disney decorate.
  • Laptop or Ipad Case: Keep those electronics protected and maybe disguised a bit. Click here for the instructions. 
I had fun finding some new ideas for recycling t-shirts.  Any ideas you would like to share?  Please leave them in the comment section!
Maria is a Travel Planner for Snapshot Getaways and has quite a few t-shirts to upcycle!  Contact her at maria@snapshotgetaways.com or visit her Facebook page for help planning your trip!

Monday, July 29, 2019

Candlelight Processional 2019: Updated with Narrator List

The Candlelight Processional is personally one of my favorite holiday events that takes place at Disney World's Epcot. There's nothing like seeing a favorite celebrity read off the story of a savior being born, accompanied by an orchestra and a choir to fill you with the holiday spirit. This is a must for anyone who is not in the holiday spirit and might need a little help. My family has enjoyed each time,  as each narrator and restaurant makes each experience unique. It is a must do at least once. So to help you and your family enjoy this event we have compiled some information.

What is the Candlelight Processional?
The Candlelight Processional is the biblical telling of a savior born in Bethlehem. The story is narrated by a celebrity.  It also includes a fifty piece orchestra and a full choir who enhance the story by filling the amphitheater with amazing music and beautiful harmonies. 

Where is the Candlelight Processional located?
First you need to head to Epcot. Then head back to the World Showcase. Next make your way  to the American Pavilion. It is located at the American Garden's Theater.

What is the Candlelight Processional Dinner Package?
The Candlelight Processional Dinner package is where you or your travel agent will call and make an advanced dining reservation (ADR) to one of the participating restaurants. You can book these packages up to 180 days in advance of your arrival. You will dine at your selected reservation time at the restaurant you choose from the participating restaurants. The package includes a 3 course meal or a full buffet for lunch or dinner depending on the restaurant you choose. At that time you will also select your show time.  You will then pay for the package at the restaurant  or use your dining plan.  Prices for the packages start at around $52 plus for lunch and $57 plus for dinner and may be higher depending on restaurant. If you choose to use your dining plan it will be two table credits. You will receive a sticker that you wear that has your showtime on it when you pay. This package will get you a guaranteed seat inside the pavilion to see the show. Just remember some narrators are more popular than others and those packages tend to sell out quicker.

Participating Restaurants:

Ale & Compass*
Chef de France
Coral Reef Restaurant
The Garden Grill* 
La Hacienda de San Angel
Nine Dragons
Restaurant Marrakesh
Rose & Crown Pub & Dining Room
San Angel Inn Restaurante
Spice Road Table
Teppan Edo
Tokyo Dining
Trattoria al Forno* 
Tutto Italia Ristorante
Via Napoli Ristorante e Pizzeria
*Breakfast Package Available

What if I don't do the Candlelight Processional Dinner Package?
I just want to say from experience that skipping the package may hurt your chances of being able to see the show. At the American Garden's Theater there will be two lines. One line is for those that have bought the dinner package and will be guaranteed a seat. They will be let in first. The second line in the stand-by line. If the theater does not fill up they will let the standby line in to stand in the back. However, I have seen them turn standby lines away before.

Narrators for 2019:

  • Ming-Na Wan
  • November 29 through December 1
  • Neil Patrick Harris
  • December 2 through December 5
  • Whoopi Goldberg
  •  December 6 and 7 
  • Isabella Rossellini
  • December 8 through 10
  • TBD 
  • December 11 through 12 
  • Gary Sinise
  • December 13 through 15
  • Pat Sajak
  • December 16 through 18
  • TBD
  • December 19 through 21
  • Steven Curtis Chapman
  • December 22 through 24
  • Edward James Olmos
  • December 25 and 26
  • Marlee Matlin
  • December 27 and 28
  • Lisa Ling
  • December 29 and 30

Other Tips:
  • This event does not require a separate ticket. However you will need admission to Epcot and that admission price is not included in your dining package.
  • Seating at the Candlelight Processional is first come first serve unless you have reserved a Candlelight Processional Dinner Package.
  • The show times are at 5 PM, 6:45 PM and 8:15 PM 
  • Narrators are subject to change
  • For best pictures of your narrator do not sit in the first three rows and sit more towards the middle.
I have personally seen Neil Patrick Harris,Trace Adkins and Edward James Olmos. All of the gentleman were amazing in their telling of the story. I do not think you can choose a bad narrator because they are telling a beautiful story. Our first year we chose to dine at Rose & Crown. The food was delicious but my children were not crazy about it. The next two times we ate at Via Napoli and that was a hit with my children. We are going this year as well. Our narrator again is Edward James Olmos and we will be choosing Via Napoli. Have you been to the Candlelight Processional? I would love to know who your narrator was and where you chose to eat for your package? Will you be attending this year?

Amanda Hansel is a self proclaimed Disney nerd who has 2 boys. She is also a travel agent with Snapshot Getaways. You can find her on Facebook and on Twitter. She would love to hear from you or chat about Disney with you.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Saving on Souvenirs at Disney World

For many of us the trips we plan to Disney are about making memories, family time and good old fashioned fun.  For our kids its about all that...and the souvenirs.  Let's face it Disney is pretty good at tempting us adults too!  They have exclusive "Park Only" merchandise and the cutest little sweatshirts, stuffed toys, trading pins...OH MY!  I could go on and on.  They have not been in business for this long without knowing how to merchandise.  Here are a few tips to keep your wallet happy as well as your kids (and you).

  1.  Buy Before You Go.  Check out the Disney Store or Disneystore.com for small gifts you know your kids will enjoy.  The key here is small as you are going to bring them with you on your trip.  Little princess cell phones, McQueen bouncy balls, stuffed Tiggers are all good ideas.  Looking for these items on sale is the objective.  Even other stores like Dollar Store, Five Below, Target, Kohl's or Toys R Us carry Disney items.  Pick up what you can and put it aside.  Tip:  If you are flying and have so much of this stuff that you require an extra piece of luggage, you probably aren't saving money.  If it makes sense you can also mail packages to your resort ahead of time.  Again weigh the cost here of shipping.

  2.  Make the Small Things Special.  This can involve the gifts you brought down or things you purchase at the gift shops in Disney.  A good idea is mystery pins (which are cheaper than trading pins), stickers, sweets, key chains, toy cars.  When you arrive at the park and your child has the "gimmie/get-me's" you can assure them that if they are a good boy/girl during the day;  Mickey might leave them something during the night.  After your children have been as good as gold you leave the little surprise on their nightstand.  Tip:  It never hurts to use your imagination here.  Hide the gifts in funny places.  Maybe even include a note from Mickey!  Have as much fun with this as you want.  I promise you it works! 

3.  The Cheapest Souvenir in the Park.  My favorite souvenirs are pressed penny machines. Make it remarkable by purchasing a Penny Holder Book at the Disney gift shops.  There are numerous penny machines in every park, and each one offers at least 3 options.  Many of them are outside the rides, and are specific to that attraction.  Most of the resorts also have penny machines depicting images from the resort.  To make things easier on yourself, empty out one of the plastic mini M&M containers before you leave on your trip.  What you do with the candy is up to you!  Put two quarters and a shiny new penny inside and repeat until full.   That way your money is at the ready when little ones are looking for something to "buy".  Here is a link to an interactive map to find all those machines!    Tip:  If you make subsequent trips take pictures of your pennies on your cell phone before you go to avoid repeats.   

4.  Free Stuff.  Each park offers buttons at the parks by the entrances.  You can also get them at the resort concierge desk.  They say "First Visit", "Happy Birthday", "I'm Celebrating" and more.  Your child's name is written in and and it's an invitation for cast members to give them Mickey stickers.  Your child will also feel pretty special about being singled out by a cast member.  I always tell my clients to enjoy the "pixie dust" if it comes your way, but don't make your child any promises!  Don't forget about toiletries, napkins,  menu's, maps, etc.  They are super fun to look at when you get home and are away from the Disney magic.  If you are creative you can even craft them into something else.
Tip:  You want Free?  Make your kids pay for their own stuff.  If they get an allowance or "Grandma Money" consider turning some of it into a Disney Gift Card for their use during the trip.  They will definitely be thinking about what they spend their money on more carefully!

5.  Admit Defeat.  You are on vacation at Disney!  Buy a few things for goodness sake!  But set yourself (and each child) a budget and try not to go TOO far over.  Disney Parks Merchandise is one of a kind and will make you and your children happy.   Part of the Disney Magic is in the memories you take home with you.  Even if some of those memories have a price tag.  Tip:  All the parks will deliver your purchases back to your Disney resort baggage area for free.  It takes overnight but beats carrying it around all day.

What are some of your tips for Saving on Souvenirs?

Maria is a Travel Planner for Snapshot Getaways and always tries REALLY hard not to spend too much on souvenirs at Disney.  Loooking to plan your trip?  Email her today or follow her page on Facebook!

Friday, August 12, 2016

Disney St. Louis? Almost!

Alright, Disney Fans, store this in the back of your mind for that Disney Trivial Pursuit question.  Back in 1962, Walt Disney himself was in the process of negotiating a Disney Theme Park in St. Louis, MO.  Wow, a Disney Midwest?

Mr. Disney was approached by some organizers of the St. Louis Bicentennial.  Their request was that he produce a film about the city.  So impressed was Walt with the newly expanding downtown area and the almost complete Arch, he had other ideas.

With a little inspiration from his Missouri roots, Walt began plans for Riverfront Square.  The location was planned about two blocks from Busch stadium.  The five-story, all indoor attraction would be topped off with an atrium ceiling.  Complete with simulated weather and time of day way before Harry Potter and Hogwarts.  The project was on the table from 1963-1965 and Disney Imagineers got pretty far in the planning process.

The park was to be divided into two portions, Old St. Louis and Old New Orleans.  The building would have overlooked the Mississippi with concessions, lounges and dining.  The planned attractions included a Lewis and Clark Adventure ride, theaters, a Davey Crockett ride, an opera house and a pirate ship.

So where is Disney St. Louis?  Many blame a public feud between Walt Disney and Augustus Busch Jr., who mocked Disney for thinking he could attract guests without serving alcohol.  More than likely the cost of acquiring the land was the major deterrent for Mr. Disney.  Especially considering the vast tract of land available cheaply in Orlando, Florida.  I think you all know what he ended up doing there!

However, Disney fans can thank the St. Louis project for many of it's most popular rides and attractions.  Pirates of the Caribbean, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and the Haunted Mansion were all derived from early plans for Riverfront Park.  An all indoor park was later realized in Orlando's DisneyQuest.

For an interview with Walt Disney and computer animations from the St. Louis News (KSDK), click here.

If you are ever in St. Louis, visit the Hilton St. Louis at the Ballpark.  That was the location originally planned for Disney St. Louis.  Then take time to enjoy St. Louis; many treasures, namely that pretty famous arch.

Maria is a friend to many Missourians who shared this piece of Disney history.  She loves to plan travel, including St. Louis.  Email maria@snapshotgetaways.com or visit her on Maria Huff-Agent with Snapshot Getaways Facebook Page!