Sara’s Snippets – March 13, 2013 – Celebration Buttons

Greeting fellow Mouse Fans!

If you've been to a Disney park in the last 5 years, you've probably noticed guests proudly sporting large button pins on their shirts! Disney has a button for many celebrations – Birthdays, Anniversaries, Just Engaged, and more. They also have a general celebration button that can be customized!

These buttons tell everyone that you are celebrating something.I got my son a button for his recent "Gotcha Day" trip. He proudly explained to every Cast Member who asked that he was adopted and we were celebrating the day we got him! (Yes, there were tears, not only mine but some tender hearted CMs got a little misty too!) He received his fair share of magic that trip. 

You never know what kind of magic may come your way when wearing a celebration button. One of my highlights was Prince Charming spotting my button from a parade float and wishing me a happy birthday along with a blown kiss! blush Be sure to let your Travel Planner know about any celebrations. Or stop at Guest Services at your resort or any theme park to pick up your complimentary celebration button!

Be well and make magic wherever you go!

Sara Varney
Travel Planner

My son proudly sporting his "Gotcha Day" celebration button

Posted in Sara's Snippets | Leave a comment

Sara’s Snippets – March 12, 2014 – Illuminations Sparkling Dessert Party

Greetings fellow Mouse Fans!

Starting today, March 12, 2014, guests have the opportunity to reserve a new experience at Epcot – the Illuminations Sparkling Dessert Party. The first party will be held on Saturday, March 15, 2014. Guests will have the opportunity to sample desserts and sparkling wines from around the world, while enjoying the nighttime spectacular, Illuminations: Reflections of Earth. 

Parties will be held on Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday nights at 8:00 pm. The price is $49.99 per adult (ages 10+), and $29 per child (ages 3 – 9). The price includes tax and gratuity. Guests can book this experience by calling 1-407-WDW-DINE. 

Be well and make magic wherever you go!

Sara Varney
Travel Planner

Illuminations: Reflections of Earth. Photo Courtesy of Disney®

Posted in Sara's Snippets, Walt Disney World | Leave a comment

Sara’s Snippets – March 6, 2014 – Frozen Frenzy

Greetings fellow Mouse Fans!

If you have a child under the age of 13 in your house, chances are that you have seen (and heard) Frozen AT LEAST once! Disney's latest blockbuster has had an unprecendented response from children. 

The number one question I have been asked recently by clients planning a Walt Disney World vacation is, "Where can my daughter see Anna and Elsa? What meal is that?" Sadly, Anna and Elsa do not appear at a character meal at this time but they ARE making appearances in the Norway pavilion at Epcot's World Showcase. They will also appear in the new Festival of Fantasy parade debuting later this month. 

If you have Frozen fans in your family, plan to make the Norway pavilion the first stop on your Epcot day. Wait times of 3 hours or longer are being reported for this meet and greet! The earlier your get in line, the sooner you see Anna and Elsa. 

Frozen merchandise is another hot item at Walt Disney World and Anna and Elsa costumes fly off the shelves. If your princess wants to dress as her favorite sister, plan to purchase the costume before your trip! 

Be well and "Let It Go!"

Sara Varney
Travel Planner

Anna and Elsa greet fans in the Norway pavilion at Epcot. Photo Courtesy of Disney®

Posted in Sara's Snippets, Walt Disney World | Leave a comment

Sara’s Snippets – March 5, 2014 – Epcot Flower & Garden Festival

Greetings fellow Mouse Fans!

Spring has sprung at Walt Disney World! The 2014 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival begins today. The festival features gorgeous topiary displays, amazing flower gardens, HGTV stars and workshops each weekend, the Flower Power Concert Series, and Outdoor Kitchens. 

The Outdoor Kitchens are making a return appearance this year. Kiosks located around the World Showcase will feature seasonal and organic foods. And yes – the very popular Dole Whip with Rum will be back! 

The Flower & Garden Festival runs through May 18, 2014. There is plenty of time to plan a spring getaway to stop and smell the roses!

Be well and make magic wherever you go!

Sara Varney
Travel Planner

Miss Piggy gets ready for her big debut at the 2014 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival. Photo Courtesy of Disney®

Posted in Sara's Snippets, Walt Disney World | Leave a comment

Sara’s Snippets – February 27, 2014 – Super Heroes runDisney Event Announced

Greetings fellow Mouse Fans!

Disneyland will host the Inaugural Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon Weekend, November 14 – 16, 2014. #smashthehalf The weekend will include a 5k, Kids races, and the Half Marathon. The Half Marathon will also qualify runners for the Coast to Coast Medal – a special medal for runners who complete half- or full- marathons at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World in one year. 

Registration for this event will start at 12:00 pm eastern on March 25, 2014. Expect these events to fill up VERY quickly! Better yet, if you plan to run, contact your Mouse Fan Travel Planner today to secure your Disneyland resort room!

Be well and make magic wherever you go! 

Sara Varney
Travel Planner 

 

Photo Courtesy of Disney®

Posted in Disneyland, Sara's Snippets | Leave a comment

Sara’s Snippets – February 26, 2014 – 2014 Star Wars Weekends Extended

Greetings fellow Mouse Fans!

Good news for Star Wars fans – the 2014 Star Wars Weekends at Disney's Hollywood Studios have been extended! Previously scheduled to end on June 8, 2014, the last Star Wars Weekend will now be June 13 – 15, 2014 – Father's Day Weekend. (Insert Darth Vader/Luke Skywalker joke here… wink

The theme for this year's event is "Join the Rebellion." Actor James Arnold Taylor will host this year's festivities. Taylor is the voice of many animated Star Wars characters, including Obi Wan Kenobi in "Star Wars: The Clone Wars."

May the Force be with you!

Sara Varney
Travel Planner

SWW144-poster

Artwork Courtesy of Disney®

 

Posted in Sara's Snippets, Walt Disney World | Leave a comment

Sara’s Snippets – February 20, 2014 – Dates Added to 2014 Food and Wine Festival

Greetings fellow Mouse Fans!

Great news for foodies… the 2014 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival has been extended and now starts even earlier in September! This year, the Festival runs from September 19 – November 10, 2014, making it the longest ever.

This means more days to sample food and drink from all over the world. (I am hoping the Kimchi Dog from South Korea makes a return appearance!) 

Be well and make magic wherever you go!

Sara Varney
Travel Planner

Photo Courtesy of Disney®

 

Posted in Sara's Snippets, Walt Disney World | Leave a comment

Sara’s Snippets – February 19, 2014 – Why Trip Insurance Matters

Greetings fellow Mouse Fans!

You can pretty much tell what the weather has been like in New England by when and how often I bring up the issue of travel insurance. Last time it was around the time of Hurricane Sandy, and now it is during what has been one of the worst winters in New England in recent memory!

I should be refreshed, relaxed, and sporting a subtle glow following a quick visit to Hilton Head to visit family. Instead I am pale, frazzled, and my house is a mess following three snow storms in one week that kept me trapped in the house desperately trying to entertain my family. I was very lucky in that none of my trip components were non-refundable so I do not have the added stress of having lost money this past week. (Just my sanity…)

Traveling is a bit of a gamble. You book a trip months in advance and pray that the weather gods cooperate and that nothing happens to disrupt your travel plans. You pray that no family members fall ill (god forbid), and that nothing major happens between now and your trip. But the simple fact is – life happens. 

I am a Travel Agent, not an Insurance Agent so I am not going to tell you what type of insurance you need, how much coverage to buy, or anything else for that matter! But I am going to tell you this – travel is risky, traveling without insurance even riskier. You insure your home, your car, the valuables. Consider insuring another valuable thing – your vacation!

Be well and make magic wherever you go!

Sara Varney
Travel Planner

The current view out my back window. Sigh…

 

 

Posted in Sara's Snippets | Leave a comment

Sara’s Snippets – February 13, 2014 – Splitsville at Downtown Disney

Greetings fellow Mouse Fans!

The MEI-Travel & Mouse Fan Travel team took over Splitsville last week and neither Splitsville nor our agents will ever be the same. (It's amazing how much you learn about people by watching them compete!) We split into teams and it was on like Donkey Kong. 

Splitsville Luxury Lanes is no mere bowling alley! Located in Downtown Disney's West Side, the location offers two floors, 30 bowling lanes, billiard tables, and more. Even a Sushi Bar! 

Music plays while you bowl and upstairs in the evenings, a DJ spins tunes. There may or may not have been a spirited rendition of the Cupid Shuffle by a few agents… ("To the left, to the left, to the left…") The DJ happily takes requests. 

Servers take your food and drink orders. And the food is really good! We sampled the pizza, sliders, chicken tenders, and more. I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the food! 

But my lasting memory will always be of our team of agents cheering each other on. Strikes, splits, gutter balls – we cheered for them all! Whether visiting with co-workers, friends, or family, Splitsville is the perfect place for some food, fun, and memories. 

Be well and make magic wherever you go!

Sara Varney
Travel Planner

MEI-Travel & Mouse Fan Travel Agents Yvonne Mulfinger & John Ames – our bowling champs!

 

Posted in Sara's Snippets, Walt Disney World | Leave a comment

Sara’s Snippets – February 12, 2014 – Disney’s Wild Africa Trek

Greetings fellow Mouse Fans!

Last week, I have the opportunity to try something truly amazing – The Wild Africa Trek at Disney's Animal Kingdom! This VIP Tour is available daily (weather permitting) and the price ranges from $189 – $249 per person.Guests must be at least 8 years old. 

When you first check in for your trek at the entrance next to Kilimanjaro Safari, they get the truly scary part over with right away – the weigh in! There is a weight restriction for this adventure. (Maximum 310 pounds.) The weigh in is done very discreetly, no one else except the Cast Member sees your number and in fact, you don't even know unless you REALLY want to. Next you will be outfitted with your Safari Vest and Harness!

A thorough safety talk and inspection is next. Be prepared to get up close and personal with your Safari Guides as they check to insure that your vest and harness are secure and walk you through some of the attachments and how to use them. 

Then you're off! The Trek starts off on foot and goes through some mild rough terrain so sneakers are a good choice here. You get a chance to see some pretty impressive animals and get MUCH closer than those on the Kilimanjaro Safari! I won't spoil the surprises but trust me – it's incredible!

Eventually you get to the most talked about part of the Trek – the suspension bridges. Once again when you arrive at the bridges, your gear will be checked and the safety procedures will be reviewed. As someone with a fear of heights – I admit, I was sweating a bit! But in no time at all, I was on the other side. Triumphant if a bit shaky!

Your Trek continues in a private Safari vehicle that takes you across the savanna. Best of all, this vehicle (unlike the Kilimanjaro Safari vehicles) can pull off and allow you to enjoy the view or spend a few minutes with a particular animal. 

Finally, you will enjoy a snack and some Jungle Juice in a Boma (shelter) while enjoying the view overlooking the savanna. 

Disney's Wild Africa Trek is perfect for a guest who is looking for something a little different from their Animal Kingdom Experience. A sense of adventure is a plus! But even the less adventurous among us will enjoy the chance to see Animal Kingdom from a different perspective. 

Asante Sana!

Be well and make magic wherever you go!

Sara Varney
Travel Planner

 

Wild Africa Trek 062 Wild Africa Trek 165

 

 

 

 

That's me on the left on the bridge! On the right, I enjoy a Jungle Juice toast with my fellow agents Caroline and Brock

Posted in Sara's Snippets, Walt Disney World | Leave a comment