About Dana

I am a lover of any type of travel: in particular any place Disney. I am a travel agent who specializes in Disney destinations, Europe, all-inclusive resorts, and cruises.

Crystal Palace Breakfast

IMG_5757Quick Facts
Location: Magic Kingdom, at the end of Main Street
Hours: 8-10:30 am (Breakfast)
Characters: Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Eeyore, and Piglet (characters are always subject to change)
Dining Plan: 1 credit

Crystal Palace has been a tradition for us. Our favorite thing to do is to get an ADR for before the park opens and have our picture taken in front of the castle with no one else in it!

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The restaurant is decorated in a Victorian style and a beautiful topiary garden greets you as you walk announcing a welcome to “Our Friendship Day Celebration.”IMG_5553

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Menu
(items are subject to change)

  • Seasonal fresh fruit
  • Scrambled Eggs
  • Mickey waffles
  • Pork sausage and bacon
  • Breakfast Lasagna
  • Pooh’s Puffed French Toast
  • Pancakes
  • Breakfast Frittata
  • Corned Beef Hash
  • Omelet Station
  • Breakfast Potatoes
  • Grits
  • Muffins, Bagels, Pastries, and Croissants

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Your server will bring you your soda, juice, coffee or milk and then you are free to explore the buffet.

What sets this buffet apart from others: omelet station. Not many of the character buffets have this.

Crystal Palace also has some signature items, like the Puffed French Toast which is a cross between a cinnamon doughnut and French Toast.  And their breakfast lasagna is a fun twist with lots of sweet flavors packed in there.

Characters
Here you meet Winnie the Pooh and friends. Pooh is one of my son’s favorites so we have always enjoyed the characters here.

IMG_5609IMG_5455IMG_5476IMG_5721Additionally they do a Friendship Day Parade with all the characters and kids around the restaurant.

In Conclusion
We have done this restaurant almost every trip and we adore it for the great variety of food. There is something to be said about arriving at the Magic Kingdom before everyone else, have your photo taken without worrying about other people in them and when you’re done you have your pick of which land you can go to.

Grand Floridian Resort Tour

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The Grand Floridian Resort and Spa is Disney’s flagship resort, and it certainly lives up to its name. Starting with the majestic lobby in the main building with a bird cage elevator. In the evenings an orchestra entertains the crowds of people visiting and walking through to their room. There are 5 sit-down restaurants, a counter-service restaurant and a pool bar.

1002511_493545130733323_1027855527_nThe grounds are pristine, perfectly manicured and dotted with greenery and flowers. The pool and water features all fit so nicely. As with any Disney resort there are activities for children at the pool. For adults there is the Senses Spa, an indulgent treat and a great place for a non-park day. There is a marina where all kinds of motor craft can be rented.  There are several shops inside of the main building and a beauty salon. One of my favorite resort stores is right where you get off the monorail, it’s inside one of the Victorian turrets and offers a view down at the resort.

There are 2 pools, a beach and then a courtyard pool. Both pools are zero entry. The beach pool has a water slide and a child’s play area. This play feature is themed after Alice in Wonderland and is a lot of fun for the kids. 999180_493555457398957_937907191_n

The courtyard pool is has these beautiful spray jets and is extremely large. It is one of my favorite pools on Disney property.

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Even though this resort is luxurious in its offerings, it is not stuffy. We stayed here when my son was 16 months old and never felt like it wasn’t good for kids. We found quite the contrary. Our son had a blast playing in the pools and the water feature. The most child-friendly feature of this resort: it is just one monorail stop away from the Magic Kingdom. If you are a parent with stroller-aged children, the value of not having to fold up your stroller to get on a bus to get to a park has no limit.

IMG_3547The rooms are large, most at 440 square feet. Most rooms have a deck or a balcony. Some rooms are dormer rooms and do not have the balcony. Every room in this resort receives turn-down service each evening. Turn-down is a second maid service. They ready your room for the evening, empty the trash, turn-down your bed, leave chocolates on your pillow and ice in your ice bucket. They leave the room with the curtains drawn and a light on the dim setting. There is nothing like coming back to your room and having chocolates on your pillow.

1006029_493544167400086_1470217899_nThe bathrooms are generously large. There are two vanities and a separate room with the tub and toilet. There is also a hamper for towels to go after they’ve been used. They offer the Spa H2O toiletries, which is an upgrade over other Disney resorts.

This is my favorite resort on Disney property. I love how it is elegant, yet comfortable. Its location just can’t be beat, one stop away from the Magic Kingdom, but when you are swimming in that courtyard pool, you feel like you are miles away from the hustle and bustle of the Magic Kingdom.

To see more of my pictures of this resort, click here to check out the Grand Floridian Room Tour album on our Facebook page. 

 

Exclusive October Disney World Discount

We are offering discounted rates on rooms at select resorts for October 3-27, 2014. You may add the dining plan and discounted tickets to this offer, or book as a room-only reservation. Availability for the discounted rooms is very limited. 

10524619_669987979755703_6762596792665435933_nWalt Disney World Room AND Ticket Discount, October 7-18, 2014

  • Special Rates are available at the following resorts with savings up to 35% off Disney’s rack rate.
  • Up to 10% off theme park tickets with a free bonus visit to a Disney water park or Disney Quest.

Participating Resorts:

  • All-Star Music
  • All-Star Sports
  • Animal Kingdom Lodge
  • Pop Century
  • Port Orleans French Quarter
  • Port Orleans Riverside
  • Wilderness Lodge (Standard rooms and club-level rooms)
  • Yacht Club
  • Contemporary
  • Grand Floridian (Standard rooms and club-level rooms)

We are all travel agents for Magical Moments Vacations, Authorized Disney Vacation Planners. If you book your trip with us, it is at absolutely no extra charge to you. We can help you plan out an itinerary and make dining and Fastpass+ reservations or you can make them–whichever you prefer.

If you would like a free, no-obligation quote, please click here or email us at dolewhipped@gmail.com .

One of us would be happy to help you save some money on your vacation!

Disney Military Room Rates available from Sept. 28, 2014-Oct. 3, 2015

From the Disney Parks Blog: 

230411_1977671690245_1513986_nAt Walt Disney World Resort – from August 25, 2014, through September 30, 2015, active and retired U.S. military personnel (including active and retired members of the United States Coast Guard, National Guard and Reservists) or their spouses can purchase:

  • Disney 4-Day Military Promotional Tickets with Park Hopper Option for $177 each, plus tax
  • Disney 4-Day Military Promotional Tickets with Water Park Fun and More Option for $177 each, plus tax
  • Disney 4-Day Military Promotional Tickets with Park Hopper and Water Park Fun and More Options for $207 each, plus tax.

Walt Disney World Resort tickets may be used September 28, 2014, through October 3, 2015, except that the tickets may not be used December 22, 2014 – January 2, 2015 and March 29 – April 9, 2015.

292400_2296298135707_1808171_nAt the Disneyland Resort – from August 25, 2014, through October 1, 2015, active and retired U.S. military personnel (including active and retired members of the United States Coast Guard, National Guard and Reservists) or their spouses can purchase:

  • Disney Military Promotional 3-Day Park Hopper Tickets for $132 each

Disneyland tickets may be used September 28, 2014, through October 3, 2015, except that the tickets may not be used December 25, 2014 – January 4, 2015 and March 29 – April 9, 2015.

Active and retired U.S. military personnel can purchase Disney Military Promotional Tickets for themselves and up to five additional family members or friends. No more than six Disney Military Promotional Tickets may be purchased by any eligible member of the U.S. military (or spouse) pursuant to this offer. All tickets and options are non-transferable and must be used by October 3, 2015.

Active and retired U.S. military personnel can also take advantage of specially priced rooms at select Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resort hotels.* This offer is valid for stays most nights from September 28, 2014, through October 3, 2015, except for:

  • November 27 – November 29, 2014
  • December 24 – December 31, 2014
  • March 30 – April 4, 2015

Here are some other details you should know about:

  • Disney Military Promotional Tickets may be purchased at participating U.S. military sales outlets ONLY by Eligible Service Members (defined below) or their spouses (but not both), for use by themselves and other family members and friends, as provided herein. These Tickets may not be otherwise transferred, distributed or resold.
  • “Eligible Service Members” are active or retired members of the U.S. military, including the National Guard, Reservists and the U.S. Coast Guard.
  • The actual prices charged at the individual U.S. military base ticket offices for Disney Military Promotional Tickets may be less than the prices set forth above.
  • Participating military sales outlets must require that Eligible Service Members (or their spouses) present valid military identification to purchase Disney Military Promotional Tickets.
  • Disney 4-Day Military Promotional Tickets for admission to the Walt Disney World Resort are not valid until activated by the Eligible Service Members (or their spouses) at Walt Disney World theme park ticket windows. Tickets and options expire and may not be used after October 3, 2015. Valid military identification will be required for purchase and use.
  • Disney 3-Day Military Promotional Tickets for admission to the Disneyland Resort expire and may not be used after October 3, 2015. Valid military identification will be required for purchase and use.
  • No more than six (6) Disney Military Promotional Tickets may be purchased and (if applicable) activated by any Eligible Service Member or spouse (regardless of the place of purchase and whether purchased by that person or that person’s spouse). In addition, one of the six (6) Tickets purchased must be used by the Eligible Service Member or his/her spouse.
  • Each Disney Military Promotional Ticket must be used by the same person on any and all days.

*The number of rooms allocated for this offer is limited. Minimum length of stay requirements may apply. Valid Military ID will be required upon check-in, and military member (or spouse) must stay in the room. No group rates or other discounts apply. Advance reservations required. Additional per-adult charges apply at the Walt Disney World Resort if there are more than two adults per room. Other restrictions apply.

One of us would be happy to help you take advantage of this offer, click here to request a quote, or send us an email at dolewhipped@gmail.com .

Giveaway! Elsa Animators’ Collection Doll

We are celebrating Christmas in July Frozen style by giving away an Elsa Animators’ Collection Doll! These are an extremely popular Disney collectible and are flying off the shelves. Enter by 11:59 pm on Sunday, July 20.

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Click on the link below to enter to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Top 3 Reasons to Use a Travel Agent to Plan Your Disney vacation

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You have decided to take a trip to Walt Disney World. It’s the happiest place on Earth, so you can just book your trip and go, right? You can do that, but you will most likely not get all the value you would be able to if you had an expert help you plan.

Why exactly should you use a travel agent to plan your Disney vacation?

Reason 1: It’s free. 
Yes, you read that right: free. Not only do you get help with every aspect of your Disney vacation, a point of contact for all questions and concerns and you also do not have to pay a penny for it. We are paid by Disney through a built-in commission. You pay the same price booking with one of us that you do booking directly with Disney. Read on to see what free services we provide that booking directly with Disney you will not get.

Reason 2: We save you money.
We know when the base rates at the resorts are at their lowest and can recommend those times of year to you. Being experts in the 25+ Disney resort hotels, we can match the hotel that fits your budget and will work for your family. Once you are booked, we monitor your reservation for discounts. If a promotion comes out that matches your dates we will see how we can get you into that discount to save you money. If multiple discounts come out we do the math to see which promotion will save you the most money. Nothing makes us happier than calling a client letting them know they saved hundreds of dollars on their trip!

Reason 3: We take care of all the details.
Visiting Mickey requires a lot of planning, because let’s face it, he’s a popular mouse. For this reason, dining reservations need to be planned and made 180 days in advance. Also Fastpass+ ride reservations are made 2 months prior to your trip. We make these reservations for you after consulting with you and determining what would work best for you and your family. We then put together a personalized itinerary for you and tips for dodging crowds, favorite places for a quick bite to eat, and many more pearls of wisdom. Think of your agent as your own personal Fairy Godmother!

All of the members of the Dole Whipped Team are travel agents for Magical Moments Vacations, Authorized Disney Vacation Planners. We love what we do and it would be our pleasure to help you plan a magical trip to the Walt Disney World Resort, the Disneyland Resort, Disney Cruise Line, Aulani, or Adventures by Disney. 10303179_10152126860854423_83421002761103007_n

Please contact us at dolewhipped@gmail.com or click here to request a quote. One of us would be happy to help you!

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Epcot Character Spot

Inside of the Innoventions pavilion at Epcot is a bright and colorful place to meet the classic Disney characters, the Epcot Character Spot. We have met Mickey, Minnie, and Pluto here.

1486798_10202768206955060_1018886384_n The back drops are not my favorite, but they are colorful and my son has always liked them. The best part about this meet and greet is it’s inside which means: it’s air conditioned. 1003934_10202768205995036_156545144_n We have always had great times here, the characters took their time with Anthony and really played with him.

This line can get long, so it would be a good use of your category B Fastpass+ allotment for this park. 1468770_10202768205515024_496532339_n

4 Free Things to do at Disney World

You don’t need to tell me it’s expensive to go to Walt Disney World. Have you ever had a day where you did not buy park tickets, or have a trip without visiting one of the four theme parks? Perhaps prior to a cruise, you would like to spend a day or two in Disney World but not have to have the added expense of park tickets.

The following four activities are FREE to enjoy at the Walt Disney World Resort:

  • Park at one of the resorts at the Magic Kingdom or take the bus to the Magic Kingdom and take a monorail ride stopping at each of the three resorts: Contemporary, Grand Floridian or Polynesian. You can enjoy the views, take pictures, or have lunch at one of the hotels.
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  • Stop at the Contemporary and take a boat to Wilderness Lodge there is a beach there with a nice playground.
  • From Downtown Disney you can take a boat ride to the Port Orleans Resorts and back it’s a nice river ride. Each resort has a playground open for anyone to use.
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  • Campfire and Movie Under the Stars with Chip and Dale at Fort Wilderness usually around 8 PM, arrive around 7-7:30 (You can either bring your own S’mores ingredients or buy kits there, but the actual campfire and movie is free.) Check with your travel agent for the exact time for your trip.

Carsland: Shopping and Dining in Radiator Springs

IMG_7877Once you’ve met all the Car Celebrities, ridden all the rides, had your cone from the Cozy Cone, it’s time to shop! And shop you can! Carsland has plenty of spots to find unique souvenirs.

IMG_8596My favorite store was Radiator Springs Curios which is filled with traditional souvenirs from the town like magnets, keychains and shirts. Additionally you can find your Carsland collectibles like pins and Vinylmations here.

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Across the street from the Cozy Cone Motel is Sarge’s Surplus. If you want to buy a cone or tire-shaped hat: this is your store. There is also a lot of Lightning McQueen and Tow Mater merchandise.

In addition to the Cozy Cone Motel, there are two other dining options in Carsland.
IMG_8600Flo’s V8 Cafe is Radiator Spring’s quick-service location. This is a 50’s style- diner and I was able to grab a quick breakfast here the morning we rode Radiator Springs Racers. The food was basic: eggs, bacon, and potatoes but all were cooked well and had great flavors.
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If you are in need of a quick, healthy snack then Filmore’s Fill-In is the place for you. Fresh fruit, healthy snacks and bottled water, fruit and sodas are available.
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Radiator Springs has rejuvenated California Adventure and is a must-do for any Disney fan, especially if you have a Cars movie lover in your family. This is the last post in my series on Radiator Springs. To read past posts, see the links below.

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Character Spotlight: Pete’s Silly Side Show

 

Location: Magic Kingdom, Fantasyland’s Storybook Circus
Characters: Minnie, Daisy, Goofy, Donald
Photopass Photographers: Yes
Fastpass+: No

Nestled in the back corner of Storybook Circus is Pete’s Silly Side Show. This is a meet-and-greet attraction that incorporates this areas theme extremely well. When you walk in you have to chose between Minnie and Daisy or Donald and Goofy. If you want to see all four you will have to meet the first set, walk out the exit and then walk back into the building to see the other two characters.

Each character has their own themed area and has a circus name. Daisy is Madame Daisy Fortuna. She is dressed like a gypsy fortune teller in her area. 

Minnie is a French poodle trainer and her circus name is Minnie Magnifique. Minnie is pretty in pink and she had a blast with Anthony playing peek-a-boo!


Goofy is the daredevil, the Great Goofini, a daredevil stunt man. Goofy really loved Anthony’s Buzz Lightyear cape, he had to walk him over to Donald to show it to him!


Donald is The Astounding Donaldo, a snake charmer! His area in the tent is surrounded by snakes with twirling eyes.

We have visited Pete’s Silly Side Show several times and each time it’s not crowded and the characters spent a lot of time with Anthony. I don’t think this area gets much foot traffic because it’s tucked away towards the back of Storybook Circus, it really is a hidden gem. These characters have always been very engaged and really made our day!

One of the best parts of this meet-and-greet is that it is indoors and therefore is air conditioned! However, the lighting is dark so it’s good to utilize the Memory Maker and Photopass photographers to be sure your pictures come out nicely.