In hosting Imagineer Podcast, I receive many questions about how to best plan for and make the most of a Disney vacation, whether it’s a trip to Walt Disney World, Disneyland, or any other Disney destination. To further complicate the planning, Disney has created many new systems, procedures, and options in recent years. Despite these changes and additions, a trip to Disney can still be just as magical, if not even more. It just requires knowing what to expect and planning out the optimal vacation experience for you and your family.
In this podcast episode I chat with Colleen Bentley from WDW Park Planners and Kim Collins form Magical Park Vacations to answer your questions about traveling to Disney. We discuss such topics as Disney Genie+, traveling to Disney on a budget, choosing a resort, making the most of a one-day park visit, selecting dining options, and more.
When is your next trip to Disney?
[Intro music plays Matt in and continues to play under him]
Matt: Hello and welcome to the Imagineer Podcast, your unofficial guide to all things Disney. I’m your host Matthew Krul and you’re listening to episode 130 of the Imagineer Podcast. In today’s podcast episode, we’re going to be answering all your questions, or as many as we can possibly answer about traveling to the Disney Parks and Resorts in particular providing some advice on how to make the most of your next Disney vacation, whether you’ve been to the parks recently or haven’t returned to Walt Disney World or Disneyland or any of these destinations in a number of years. We’ll outline some of the changes that have taken place and how to make the best use of your planning time, things to look out for in terms of even advice regarding Disney Genie+, restaurants to consider for your next visit, and how to ensure that you are able to get the most popular restaurants at Walt Disney World if that’s your wish, and so many other pieces of advice that we can offer. My guests on this episode are Kim Collins and Colleen Bentley who run Magical Park Vacations and WDW Park Planners, they’re our new travel sponsors and partners for the podcast and I’ll spend some time at the end of this episode and encourage you to stick around to learn a little bit more about the services that they offer, how they can help you to make the most of your next Disney vacation, and how to get started in planning your next Disney trip. Before we get started, I as always want to give a special thank you and shout out to our other sponsor WDW Magazine, the premier magazine focused on Walt Disney World. I’ve shared that I am an author and a contributor to WDW Magazine and a subscriber and you can learn about their print and digital editions and how to get started by clicking on the link in the show notes of this episode or by heading to ImagineerPodcast.com or just head straight to WDW Magazine’s website as well at the end of the episode I’ll come back and tell you a little bit more about how you can connect with the Imagineer Podcast on all your favorite social media channels and how you can help to inspire and create the future of this show. So grab some headphones, pull up your favorite armchair, and enjoy this episode of the Imagineer Podcast.
[Music fades out]
Matt: Hello everyone, welcome to our Disney travel Q&A we’re gonna answer all your questions, or as many as we can possibly get to about traveling to Walt Disney World or Disneyland or even Disney Cruise Line, Aulani, any Disney related travel questions you might have, it feels so good to be back on InstagramLive it feels so good to be back behind the mic this is the first time I’m recording an episode since Maggie’s been born so I have so much to share and I while I would love to spend an entire episode devoted to just talking about Maggie I am of course going to focus our attention on talking about Disney travel, in order to do that I had teased out on Instagram about our new sponsorship with Magical Park Vacations and WDW Park Planners and Kim and Colleen from both of these organizations are going to be joining us today I’m gonna let them into our InstagramLive Room in a just a moment and hopefully it goes through we’ll chat with both of them and answer all your questions there’s Kim gotta make sure Colleen gets here as well, so hang on one second, only lets me do one at a time on Instagram, I don’t know why they have me do that, one at a time, as you have questions I will say, before I go ahead and introduce Colleen and Kim, as you have questions today feel free to leave them in the comments below on InstagramLive or leave them in the question sticker we’ll get to as many as we possibly can today. Kim, Colleen I wanted to first start off by welcoming you to InstagramLive and to Imagineer Podcast, I’ll start with Kim, how are you Kim?
Kim: Good how are you Matt? Thank you so much for having us on.
Matt: I’m doing so great, I am so glad to have you here let’s also introduce and say hello to Colleen, how are you Colleen?
Colleen: I’m great Matt, so excited to be here. Thanks again for having us.
Matt: Absolutely, I’m so excited to have you both with me today, sharing your expertise and your insights you know I go to Disney a lot, I feel like you go to Disney more often than I get the chance to go, which I am so jealous about, but that makes you the perfect candidates especially with your businesses to talk about anything Disney travel related I’ll kick it back over to Kim, why don’t you talk a little bit about yourself and Magical Park Vacations.
Kim: Yeah, so my name is Kim, I live in upstate New York, so it is actually snowing here right now [laughs] I’m in the cold but yeah Colleen and I actually started Magical Park Vacations last February of 2021 we just celebrated our year anniversary of the travel agency. And it has –
Kim: -been, thank you, it’s been nothing short of amazing we have the most amazing agent center team I know we’re biased but they really are absolutely amazing and it’s still what she said how we go to Disney all the time I have to pinch myself that this is our job now that we get to go to Disney for our job and it’s amazing.
Matt: Absolutely I congrats again on one year of Magical Park Vacations, it’s a big milestone and I’m looking forward perhaps celebrating with you when you reach that five year milestone, maybe we’ll all do a Disney trip together maybe we’ll do it sooner, let’s plan a two year anniversary, I can’t wait four years, so maybe we’ll do that.
[Kim, Colleen, and Matt laugh together]
Matt: Colleen why don’t you introduce yourself and introduce WDW Park Planners for those who might not know what you offer.
Colleen: Yeah of course, so again my name is Colleen Bentley I live in the suburbs of Chicago we’re getting 50 degree weather today, so I actually got to go for a walk and was not in the snow which was a nice change of pace so
Colleen: But yeah, so that’s where I’m from, you know I do travel down to Disney you know almost every month you know every other month give or take but it’s been really great, we’re annual passholders, we’re DVC members so we are lucky enough to be able to go down so often which is wonderful but I started WDW Park Planners, which is the concierge planning service three and a half years ago, we’re going on four years in September which is so hard to believe, but, started with just me, one man team a few years ago and now we have a team of five planners, I just hired my first full time planners, so there’s six of them now, which is really really exciting you know we do all the advanced planning we work well with Magical Park Vacations to get the bookings all set up so that’s why Kim and I opened the agency together the concierge service does all the advanced planning and also assists while our clients are down you know, in Disney and actually traveling, and we also have Magical Park Tours now which is the in-person tour guide option so it’s an add-on for all of our clients so lots of great offerings.
Matt: It is, I I really reasons that I’m really looking forward to working with you both because I have known you both for a while I trust and respect everything that you do and I whenever nowadays whenever I’m thinking about who I would reach out to when it comes to planning a Disney vacation if I had questions, it truly would be the two of you I would reach out to and that is a genuine endorsements, but of course I’m very excited because of that reason to be working with you as an official sponsorship and well perhaps I guess, especially towards the end perhaps if it comes up in conversation as we chat today talk a little bit more about what you have to offer but for the sake of those who are watching and participating I do want to make sure that we get to as many questions as we possibly can, before we get to any specific questions that were sent in because I know that there are a ton that were submitted and continue feel free to continue to add them as you’re watching on InstagramLive today, there are a lot of folks who haven’t been to the parks in a while and that’s, now things are starting to I feel you know, as a as a culture, a lot of us are starting to get back to travel mode, we’ve seen that the parks have increased in park attendance I know a lot of friends of mine who are Disney Vacation Club members, they sorta delayed their trips and are now after a couple of years taking all those banked points and going to Walt Disney World, or going to Disneyland, Kim for you, starting with you thinking about the planning process of getting ready for what might be your first trip in let’s say three years, you haven’t been since before the pandemic, what are some of those key points that you share for anyone who calls you and says ‘where do I start?’
Kim: Yeah I think it’s just having that initial conversation with the client, of what they’re looking for, we are a one stop shop now because we have the agency we get you booked, then WDW Park Planners step in and help you with more of the intricate planning of the trip, but I think it’s just really with us, with the agency trying to find out what resorts to start with for them, and where they want to stay I think all the resorts now are officially back open which is amazing and we now have all of them to choose from again there was that point in time when we didn’t and it was kind of tricky, but now they are all back open which is amazing and it’s just having that initial conversation with them and seeing what they’re looking for.
Matt: Yes, I I agree, I’m so glad that there are so many resorts, if not all of them back up and running at this point or taking reservations, it’s great to be able to for instance, Port Orleans Riverside was one that I grew up going to for years and it was it was closed for a while and it’s so great to see it reopen and all the resorts are are such wonderful places to stay. Colleen you do a lot of really intricate planning when it comes to literally thinking about day-by-day, all, hour-by-hour or how families can best navigate the parks, and even resort days, so when you have a a client or a guest that comes to you and says how do I start thinking about my, my day if I have let’s say a five day trip to Walt Disney World, what advice do you typically offer, when it comes to planning out the specific itinerary and perhaps what’s new and what might have changed since before the pandemic?
Colleen: Yeah I think for us and for our planners, the first part is really having that conversation with the client and talking about what’s most important to them we try to get to know the family you know, are there kids traveling what are the kids ages, what are their favorite characters, all of those things really go into all of the detail planning that we’re doing for the family so I think that’s a pretty unique aspect of our concierge service because like you said, we get as intricate as mapping out the days for our families and saying, okay here’s the best order for you to follow, but just getting to know the families because no two families are the same. The other piece of that is there is so much to do at Disney you’re not going to do it all, whether this is your first trip, your tenth trip, there is just so much to see and do, and so much constantly changing, especially with COVID but now with the 50th and all the new things that are happening which is really exciting you need to just set your expectations, that hey you’re not going to hit everything that’s okay our job is to help pick and choose what the priorities are for that family so we really focus in on what they’re going to enjoy the most, to make it as memorable as possible for the family, again because no two families are the same, so that’s a big part of the service that we offer.
Matt: Yeah and you’re right, definitely no two families are the same and for me even no two vacations of mine are ever the same, of course it’s really different now that I have Maggie in the picture we will be going this summer I say will, I am hoping that, no new, assuming that nothing else happens, and something crazy, the world has been a crazy place lately, so assuming things stay relatively consistent with that way they are now, we will be going this summer very different type of trip then when it was just Joanna and myself going, very different then when we go with family members, different then when I was younger things consistently change and no two families are the same and one of the things, we’re gonna call it out right from the beginning because I did see someone post it into the comments, talking a little bit about Genie+ this is one of those new perks or new offers I should say that Disney has introduced in the last year they rolled it out October of 2021 I had a lot of thoughts and opinions I’ve shared it before on InstagramLive I personally because I haven’t been as often as the two of you I the only trip I’ve taken since Genie+ has been around and that’s thanks mostly to again my daughter who is the best reason not to go to Disney, right now I love being home with her, but I have only had the opportunity to use Genie+ once, and because I wasn’t at the, Disney for a full day, I was at Destination D23 so I I knew that going to the parks for a couple hours it just didn’t make sense to even test it but I am looking forward to testing it out on our next trip, so Colleen I know this really comes into play because your service is thinking about planning an itinerary for clients, for guests day-by-day, what has been your impression of Genie+ plus from, not just your own experience, but from those who you’ve spoken to and assisted with their planning of their Disney trips?
Colleen: Yeah so I’ll start by saying I use Genie+ at all four parks multiple times I’ve done the individual purchases so I feel like personally I do have a really good feel for how it works, that being said it is constantly evolving, and Disney’s making little tweaks and changes to it so it is important to stay up to date on those changes because it really impacts how you’re planning, so that’s another thing we do for our clients, and we’re constantly getting feedback from clients that are down there so when our clients are traveling, the planner that’s assigned to their family is always checking-in and answering questions via text, phone, whatever it is so we are getting a lot of feedback from the families that are traveling all of that being said, Genie+ is different then the Fastpass system we knew and loved before, so it’s very different you know instead of planning in advance, where you would pick your three rides, book your three windows of time each day of your trip, now everything, the timeline has shifted to everything is done that day, so the day you’re going to Magic Kingdom you know that’s where you’re going to start booking your Genie+ Lightening Lanes my biggest piece of advice is you need to know what you’re doing, do the research or work with someone like us who can give you so much guidance on it cause you know at 7am the day you’re going to Magic Kingdom, you need to be ready to go, you need to know what ride you’re going to try and select for your first selection for the day because that will really set you up for success for the rest of the day so I would not recommend going into it blindly and just trying to wing it because there are so many intricacies to Genie+ and like I said before a lot has been changing, small changes, but they impact how your making selections, what you’re able to select so you know, know what you’re doing, do the research beforehand all of that being said, I do think it’s worth the extra money fortunately or unfortunately it does minimize wait times quite a bit like I said I’ve done all the individual purchases and I think those are really really worth it, those are most comparable I think to the prebious Fastpass system where you’re choosing your one hour window of time, but now you’re just paying a little extra money to skip the line you know what’s hard is that it does add up, especially for families of six or more where you know everybody is going and going that ride together you’re paying a lot more to skip the line so you know I understand that it’s frustrating but if you’re looking to get the most out of your experience and minimize wait times as much as possible those are things to think about as you’re budgeting for your trip.
Matt: All great points, and we’re keeping it real here, right we want to make sure that –
Matt: – anyone going to Disney is fully aware of what the strengths and the weaknesses are of Genie+ and I think a lot of strong sentiments come into play when you only focus on what those positives or those negatives are I remember real old school working at Walt Disney World and there were people who, original Fastpass system, would come up to me and talk about how much they miss when Fastpass didn’t even exist, and this is when it was a free service because of how complicated it is now and it was very, it use to be so much better, when you used to just be able to, everybody waited in standby and it was all very fair, and then Fastpass+ came into play and people started talking about how much they miss Fastpass there’s, and now Genie+ is in the picture and people talk about how much they miss Fsatpass+ but you have to remember these systems come into play because of feedback that Disney gets from guests Disney of course listens to what people are saying on social media but they care far more about the experience of guests that are in the park experiencing this themselves and nothing happens in a short period of time, I know there’s a lot of feeling that perhaps Genie+ was thrown together nothing, having worked there, nothing at Disney happens that quickly, it takes years of development to develop something so complex especially a piece of technology this is something that’s been in development and thought out for years at Disney and there is going to be I think Colleen to your point a continued evolution of Genie+ to where it will become better as we get, give Disney more feedback, as we experience it for ourselves and that I am excited to see what Disney continues to change and evolve it and I have seen they have made these small tweaks here and there to continue to improve upon that system, I’ll also add real quick and then we’re going to get back into some other questions that personally, I still standby the point that you can absolutely go to Disney, wait in standby, not use Genie+, and have the best time in the world, it is not going to directly impact your ability to do your must do attractions at Disney you might need to have a game plan in place or be a little bit more strategic about being there for rope drop but Disney has not cut off access to anybody to wait in standby and so you can absolutely go do standby, have go and have an amazing time and you can still have the most magical time at Walt Disney World without it, or Colleen to your point go ahead and do it if you think it’s worth that investment and either way I know that Colleen in particular can help your family to sort of pick and choose what makes the most sense for your individual needs and what you’re looking to accomplish. I did see a question that came up that I’m actually going to throw over to Kim first which is regarding timeline of planning, because now I, I’ve looked at the resort availability and depending on when you’re looking it seems like resorts can be you know especially particular room types can book up relatively quickly in a lot of cases so when a client comes to you Kim, what’s sort of that best case scenario of someone who’s reaching out and saying this is when I’m going and perhaps well we know the worst case scenario’s probably the next week
Matt: But what’s the ideal timeline for planning out that first step of knowing when you’re going to go and what resort you’re going to pick?
Kim: Yeah so I would say probably anywhere between six months to a year right now things are only open through for packages til the end of 2022 for Disney World they haven’t released 2023 packages yet fingers crossed those come out soon cause we have a waitlist already for people waiting for those but right now is crazy, I’m not gonna sugar coat it, availability is crazy right now, even through the end of the year so if you’re thinking of going in 2022 I would reach out sooner than later I think like you said earlier people are wanting to travel, they’re wanting to get out there and we have definitely seen that, the increase in people reaching out and the availability with Disney World right now is not the greatest things will be there one minute and literally five minutes later it’s gone so you need to plan little bit further than maybe in the past if you want to go and get the resort that you want, obviously we can probably get you into a resort it just may not be your first choice and we are good and we try and we continue to look for you if that first resort that you want I will continue to look for it until it opens up but it is kind of crazy right now with availability, so I would say with that six months to a year if you can plan that out I would suggest that.
Matt: Yeah I also I’m not sure if you sense the same thing I get the feeling that 2022 is a very unique year, and that’s because again a lot of people were delaying their trips, they used to go maybe every year or they had a trip planned for 2020 0r 2021 and we’re seeing that now in 2022 which is why I always tell people to not take those headlines about crowds too seriously I don’t believe this is a new normal case I do think this is a very unique year for Disney with all those families now going in 2022 because they didn’t get the chance to go or they didn’t feel comfortable going for the last couple of years we do see that travel has really picked up in general and Kim just keeping it with you for a second I wanted to talk a little bit more about what Magical Park Vacations can offer. And in particular why could should consider working with you. I’ll be completely honest in saying, I was always in the camp of I don’t want to work with a travel agent, I would rather much do it myself, I just love sitting on hold with Disney and listening to that music –
Matt: – Back in the old days when I did everything by phone and even now I love researching on the website and seeing what resorts are available, picking and choosing my budget seeing what I can possibly do what are the advantages or working with you and can you talk a little bit about the fact that you also are a complimentary service, because I think anybody hear’s complimentary, there’s got to be a catch like there’s no way I can get all of this and not pay an extra dime for it, so I’d love if you could talk a little but about how that works as well for those who might not have worked with a travel agent in the past.
Kim: Yeah so our services are complimentary, we actually get paid through whatever vendor we’re booking through, so if we’re booking a Disney trip, Disney is paying us directly as agents to book through them, and you’re not paying any more to book on your own versus using a travel agent the same price is gonna be the same price for the room, tickets, whether you book it yourself or book it through an agent and then you get our expertise, so all of our agents are trained through Disney, we have to pass certain tests through Disney and we have to stay up to date on things that Disney gives us anything new that comes out we have to take a training for and then as an agency we are always making sure that we are doing trainings with our agents not we don’t do just do Disney we do Universal as well, so we try and stay up to date on everything that’s going on and it’s our job to do that, so just to have that person in your corner we’ve been talking about a lot has changed, a lot is changing Disney is constantly always changing, new things happening, even just like food choices there are things that are always coming out, so just to have that person in your corner, you mentioned staying on hold I know you like the hold music –
Kim: – after a certain amount of time it does kind of get [laughs] –
Matt: It does repeat, I’ll admit –
Kim: It does repeat –
Matt: like the hour waits, the hour waits are a little much –
Kim: yeah after like –
Matt: yeah I have to agree
Kim: – fifteen minutes I think it loops through again, but we will be the person to stay on hold and holds times have been pretty long lately I think the longest I’ve waited was three hours, four hours, on hold, and we will be the ones to do that for you even if it’s just a small change you need to make sometimes you can’t do it through the site and you need to call Disney, so let us stay on hold for you for that amount of time we will book the dining early in the morning for you as well, you can pick all your choices if you want and still have control over all of that, but we will be the ones that get up early and do it for you, get those hard to get reservations and we’ll do all the research on all the resorts for you we’ll pull the quotes, we’ll you know have a conversation back and forth with you and continuing pulling the quotes to make sure you get what you want and if there’s ever a sale that goes on after you’ve booked, we will go in and see if that sale applies to your trip and automatically apply it for you so you don’t have to worry about doing that.
Matt: That’s the part that really sold me because I might book things way in advance and not realize that a sale comes into the picture later and then figuring out do I cancel my trip, do I call Disney do I wait on hold, the fact that literally in the background you just saved me money is the the deal breaker, not the deal breaker the deal maker, that’s the part that I’m like, I’m sold and I’m really glad that you brought up restaurants too as much as I enjoy the thrill of waking up at 6am and getting ready on the 60 day, 60 days prior to my first day of my vacation, booking that dining it is so stressful, especially with a larger family that last trip we were with 10 people and we had to book two separate reservations and we had three people on it, literally three people on at the same time booking reservations for each other and at different places, we had a whole game plan of who’s getting what reservation and it’s it’s it’s complicated if you really want the most popular places in particular so the fact that you go in and do that for families as well, is really such a great perk and I get to sleep in which is another great, another great perk. Let’s talk about food, because I do love food and there were some questions, specifically about restaurants, there are new places that have opened up, this year, last year, 2020, and even right before that in 2019 I find that there are so many new places to dine at Walt Disney World, I have not been to them all Colleen I’ll go to you first, what are your top three places that for anyone who hasn’t been in a while you say you have to, it it could be table service or counter service, you know what are, what are some of those top recommendations that you suggest for those that haven’t been in a while?
Colleen: Yeah definitely so it’s hard to narrow down to three but I would say right now –
Matt: It is
Colleen: – my current favorite three would probably be, I still love California Grill, that’s a classic that has been there forever but I feel like it is just such a wonderful dining experience and I love being able to watch the fireworks, they have a special viewing area there, so if you have dinner at anytime throughout the night you have access to their special rooftop viewing spot for fireworks so Kim and I actually did that this past November, which was really really fun they pipe in the music there, so I just think the overall experience, the food’s delicious, the wine’s delicious, just everything you know you want in a good nice meal at Disney and I feel like when people think of Disney they don’t think of good food and experiences necessarily so this is one that’s a little higher end, a little pricier but if you’re looking for a nice dinner to celebrate something, that’s your go to. Another one that Kim and I just went to when we celebrated our one year anniversary in February cause we were in Disney for the together, we went to Toledo, which is one of our favorites, at the top of the Gran Destino Tower, which is at Coronado Springs I’ve been there probably nourish, four or five times in the past four years and its is s good, it’s tapas style, Spanish Mediterranean food, it’s really good we had a great experience there, I love that you can see the parks from either side, you can look at Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom, so it’s a really fun atmosphere as well, and then my number one favorite, and Matt I know we’ve talked about this a lot, how we need to not put it out there so much into the world –
Colleen: – because now everyone knows about it is Nomad Lounge. Nomad Lounge is at Animal Kingdom, it’s a walk up spot, they don’t take reservations and but then you do have somebody waiting on you. The food, the drink, the ambiance, I always tell people it’s like the one relaxing spot at Disney where you can just kinda unwind a little bit so I love it for that, I love the food and drinks, I love sitting outside because it is on the water, so for families, especially with little ones the cavalcades with characters on the boats come by as you’re sitting there during the day so that’s kind of a nice touch I think, but it’s just a great rest spot for families, couples, whoever it is traveling, we went there when we were back there in February with our team and had a delicious lunch so, that would be my number one go to consistently at Disney.
Matt: And this is how you know that Colleen and I are friends and cause I literally by the one by one those would be my top three recommendations as well the only other one I would throw in would be Topolino’s either for breakfast –
[Colleen humming her agreement]
Matt: – or dinner doesn’t matter, yeah Colleen and I have been friends for a few years now –
[Colleen chuckles throughout Matt’s next question]
Matt: – and we you know we’re both listening to the Pandora: World of Avatar soundtrack as we’re planning our reservations for California Grill or for Toldeo. Kim, do you have any other recommendations that you would add on top of that list?
Kim: Yeah so Toploino’s was gonna be on my list for breakfast, I think hands down it’s the best breakfast on property food is delicious and the character interactions there I think are amazing you get Mickey, Minnie, Donald, and Daisy and I just feel like their interactions there are so much different than any other character meal so that would be my top choice for character dining, Ohana has always held a special place in my heart, and I love the food there but then also, like if you plan it right you can eat and then go down and get a Dole Whip at the Pineapple Lanai and then go to the beach and watch the fireworks, to me that’s like a perfect evening at Disney and then my last one would be Three Bridges at Coronado Springs I Iove this, it’s a lounge but you do get a waiter like at Nomad Lounge just the atmosphere there is amazing and the food is good, the drinks are good, we’ve discussed many atimes that Coronado Springs Gran Destino Tower is on the top of our resort list the three of us and just he atmosphere there is just amazing.
Matt: Yeah I’ll I second Topolino’s perhaps being the best breakfast on property especially for characters, we are absolutely planning to bring Maggie there for her first trip when I was thinking about character meals I spoke about this with Joanna as well and I said are we gonna go with the traditional ones the you know the Crystal Palace of Chef Mickey’s and both us said no, Topolino’s we have to go to Topolino’s for breakfast forget tradition, that’s absolutely the best character breakfast that I’ve been to in a long time and the food in particular is absolutely some of the best food you can get on property. There was a really good question that was left in here, that was a challenging one and I’m gonna throw this one over to Colleen because it does have to do with planning and if I can find it I will actually post it to InstagramLive here if not I’m gonna ask it as I am looking for it anyway a question came up regarding having one day at the parks at Walt Disney World, oh, its, it was literally the top one I skipped right over it thinking it wasn’t the top one. If you have only day at the parks, I find that I’ve talked about them on the podcast before if you’ve listened to for instance, the Disney Vacation Club Staycations episode, we literally talked about how to spend an entire trip at Walt Disney World just enjoying the resorts but let’s say you don’t want to just do the resorts, but you only have one day at Walt Disney World, Colleen for you personally, sorry one day at the parks at Walt Disney World, so Colleen for you personally what would you personally do and then how do you if someone does ask you that question walk someone through the process of deciding what to do for that one day at the parks?
Colleen: I’ll start with me personally, I I mean it’s tough to narrow it down, I would definitely park hop so I’d recommend that to any client, you definitely want to have a park hopper ticket which allows you to go to more than one park per day. I’m a fan of that, regardless of the length of your trip, I like the flexibility of being able to do one park in the morning and a different park in the evening so especially if you have one day and you’re wanting to see a lot definitely want a park hopper ticket. For me you know if it were just one day I’d probably want to hit Magic Kingdom in the morning and maybe Epcot in the evening if I had to pick two parks again even though Animal Kingdom is my favorite park, if you just have one day I feel like you gotta hit Magic Kingdom and I do love dinners at Epcot and spending an evening there just walking around World Showcase and I love the new show, Harmonious, which is the new nighttime spectacular that they have, it’s –
Matt: Me too
Colleen: – Yeah it’s –
Matt: Me too
Colleen: – quickly become one of my favorites so I’m, I’m very happy with that show so I think that’s what I would do personally but for clients, you know obviously we would talk about, what I kind of mentioned before who’s all traveling, what’s important to their family, talking about kids ages, favorite characters, and then we can start to put together a good game plan because if they’re wanting to see Anna and Elsa from Frozen, well the Frozen ride is at Epcot so most people think to skip that park if they have little kids not realizing okay that’s where can get a meet and greet with Anna and Elsa so you can actually get that one-on-one time with them and pictures with them that just came back less than two weeks ago, so that’s pretty new to have that one-on-one time with them and then the Frozen ride, like I said, is there so we talk through some of that stuff to figure out what makes the most sense for that family if Star Wars is a priority, obviously they’re gonna wanna hit Hollywood Studios so we will help, you know, make those recommendations, and we do that again regardless of the length of time for trips if you’re really looking to hit a lot of rides you know that’s where you should maybe consider doing an in-person tour guide so like I mentioned before we have Magical Park Tours so I’m the co-owner of that with my partner Conor Brown, so we started that a few months back where we actually take the clients around the parks to really help them maximize their time, minimize wait times much as possible, we don’t have access to skip to the front of the lines, but just being Disney experts knowing the ins and outs of Genie+, you know we handle all of that and our guides handle all of that for the families so they’re the ones actually doing all of the technology, and making the Genie+ selections so you know they know the ins and outs so well where it feels like you’re barely waiting and I will say we did a mock tour on our team training weekend a few weeks ago with Conor we did eight attractions before noon at Magic Kingdom on a Saturday which I would say the average family probably does not hit that many, we also saw two cavalcades, so two mini-parades with tons of characters and tons of other little things along the way again the average family, if you’re going into it probably wouldn’t be able to hit that much so that was nice for me as the family planner normally I’m usually the one telling people where to go and what to do to have somebody else lead you around and just take that stress off of you is just really really nice so I would say if you’re looking to just hit a lot of rides you may want to consider that in-person guide option for your day.
Matt: It is a great option I absolutely remember working as a cast member and family would come down and they you know I would basically take the day off and be a chauffeur around the parks having been there so many times and knowing so much about the parks whether it’s a distant relative I haven’t seen in years or you know a close family member or friend of course I didn’t charge them anything for that but it’s essentially like hiring a Disney expert a Disney friend to come with you for the day and sort of help you navigate and the complex part of course is things happen during the day and I’ve seen Conor post stories on Magical Park Tours about how you go to the park and you’re getting in line for Rise of the Resistance and all of a sudden Rise of the Resistance breaks down and there’s a delay what do you decide to do, do you wait in line or do you go somewhere else, and where do you go, and that’s those types of in, on the spot decisions that for a lot of families might be difficult but having a tour guide through Magical Park Tours can really help to sort of like put the pressure on somebody else, like alright, what do we do tour guide what do we do [laughs] so that that I think is really helpful. I do wanna show some love to the West Coast cause there were some questions that came in about Disneyland and I also post a lot asking for feedback about Imagineer Podcast and one of the things I get frequently is please talk more about Disneyland because people do love to go to Disneyland and you know there’s just so much to talk about with Disney World and we’ve gotten to Disneyland before but I I wanna make sure we do show some love to the West Coast, there was a question that came in specifically about planning a Disneyland trip for the first time and I’ll start with Kim because I think part of this is deciding where you stay, Disneyland is really different than Walt Disney World and you know that begins not only with the sheer size of it but also the options that are available at Walt Disney World you have 31 resorts in the Disney Resort Collection and at Disneyland you have three so [laughs] –
Matt: – there’s only a few to choose from so where do you start with when it comes to advice for planning the the framework for the for a trip to Disneyland?
Kim: Yeah I mean it’s kinda not the same as Walt Disney World but again getting to know the family and kinda what they’re looking for and their budget on what they wanna spend and then we kinda go from there on pulling the quotes for them, usually for Disneyland we’ll pull all three of them and and then maybe a couple of the Good Neighbor hotels as well because there are a lot good, good Good Neighbor hotels out in Disneyland as well that are close to the parks and usually we recommend doing two days at the parks because there are two parks they’re right next to each other you can get to them fairly easy so two days in the parks is usually a good amount of time to get everything done that you wanna get done so ticket wise that’s kinda where we kinda lead them to and yeah then talk about dining, it’s really a lot of the similar steps that we take in Walt Disney World just kinda getting to know what the family is looking for.
Matt: Yeah, Kim to your point, easy to walk, easy to get from one to the next –
Matt: – you literally turn your head to the left and you see Disneyland you turn your head to the right you see Disney California Adventure –
Matt: – they’re literally right next to each other, but you’re right two days is certainly the ideal amount of time that you devote to, I’ve done both in parks in one day, it is a long busy day and you don’t get everything done, two days you can pretty much guarantee that you will hit every attraction at both parks which is a really nice benefit if you can do three days you can do them more but you know I I think probably two to three days is probably the right mix. Colleen, do you have any other additional advice you offer when it comes to planning a trip to Disneyland?
Colleen: Same as Disney World, you’re gonna wanna work with a planner, someone that knows what they’re doing to maximize the time that you’re actually in the parks Disneyand also offers Genie+ there are different tricks and ins an outs to it then Disney World so you really need to know what you’re doing to know the difference between the two if you’ve been to Disney World and used it there you know it’s similar but again there’s nuances to it that you’re gonna wanna know and be prepared for you know I would what you mentioned Matt, having two days is great, we went to Disneyland this past summer we planned on two park days, ended up adding a third while we were there because there were still things we wanted to do and see so even though there’s only two parks and it is so easy to get between the two you know the more time the less pressure that’s on you to hit everything and especially if you’re going on the weekends it is busier with a lot of the locals obviously visiting so we noticed a big difference between our Thursday Friday days versus the Saturday that we added on so those are the things to start thinking about and that’s what we help our clients with as well and kinda talk through that and figure out, okay how much time do they have let’s see what we can work in to help them maximize the experience.
Matt: Yeah it’s really different at Disneyland, I for those who haven’t gone in a long time, or if they’ve never been I always say first of all as much as you love Walt Disney World and love going back, if you are a Disney fan you have to go to Disneyland at least once, I I tend to go prior to the pandemic at least, at least once every two years if I had the time and the budget I would do it even more often, but it is such a different experience going to Disneyland it is the place the Walt physically walked it was his original park and it feels so charming and yet so well kept it it looks like, although the attractions have changed and you have new experiences it looks like it is still straight out of 1955 but brand spanking new every time you walk in there because they maintain it so well and it has that same type of small theme park charm to it but what always impresses me this is still one of the most popular episodes of the show, episode two, Disneyland versus Magic Kingdom and one of the things I mention there is I’m always impressed by the fact that while Disneyland is a smaller park than Magic Kingdom by square footage, they cram so many attractions into that space and in such a way that you wouldn’t even notice that when you are standing by one attraction, that there is the the show building for another right next to you but you can’t see it because of the way that it’s designed and the theme park is laid out so all those reasons it’s it’s real- and then Disney California Adventure especially since the refurbishment that they made that major overhaul that they made in the the early 2010s about 2011 2012 is when they finished that and the new experiences they’ve added on to it plus now Avengers Campus it is a worth worthwhile destination to go. Radiator Springs Racer, probably one of my favorite attractions at a Disney park period Indiana Jones Adventure same exact story over at Disneyland park in fact shout out at my friends over at Beyond the Mouse podcast, they had me on as a guest this year and we did a March bracket about all the Disneyland attractions I won’t spoil which one of those won, but it was an attraction that you cannot get at Walt Disney World, there’s quite a few of those so head over there and check it out. I also want to throw into the mix here, because I although it didn’t come up directly in the questions, I do get this question a lot and it is one that especially for the last year or two I’ve been thinking very deeply about and quite often just because of the number of times I get this question and that’s regarding budgeting because there is this sense especially if again you believe every headline you read that if you’re the average American family you can you know, quote unquote no longer do a Disney trip that it’s not affordable to do a Disney trip anymore, there’s even some prominent publications that have published similar sentiments around the rising prices of staying on Disney property and going to the parks and doing any other experience that might come with it so in my point of view, just having experienced Disney in many different ways as a, you know my whole life I remember, and I’ve told people that when I was a kid growing up literally like the my first eight, nine Dsiney trips in my life my family, coming from New York, drove down we stayed in a motel off-property we went to the parks for two days and we tied it into a larger Florida vacation where we also went to Tampa and South Florida, made it sort of a week and a half trip especially factoring in that time that you spend going back and forth and while not everybody wants to drive down to Florida, stay in a motel off-property, and go the parks, you know that’s not the quote unquote Disney experience that they’re looking for there are so many options even with staying on-property that are possible even things like going, if you can go for a week only go to the parks for two days and spend the rest of your experience at Disney Springs or enjoying the resorts which have a ton of amenities but for someone who’s reading a lot about, and and crunching the numbers about cost of a Walt Disney World vacation in particular who is worried about the expense of the trip again Kim I’ll start with you because I think part of this is starting with the you know where to stay question and and how to get there and how long to spend and how many parks, how many days to go to the parks what do you offer as advice for someone who is perhaps a little more crunched for money but still wants to have that Disney experience?
Kim: Yeah I think, I mean you kinda already mentioned this but Disney has so much to offer for every budget they have the value resorts they have the moderate resorts, obviously they have the deluxe resorts as well but the fact that they have different levels for every budget I think is great and I think the value resorts are wonderful especially with Art of Animation and Pop Century being on the Skyliner it gives you that extra mode of transportation and they are so well themed, Art of Animation is one of my favorite themed resorts with the larger than life Disney characters in there so in like you said you don’t have to go to the parks everyday, so if you just want to stay at the value resorts and go to the parks a couple days and there’s so much to do in Disney that you don’t have to pay for and we will definitely talk through budgets with families and there’s also, I mean right now there’s still the save up to 500 dollars at the resorts so there are points during the year that Disney does throw out some sales, so if you can go during those, I would highly suggest that not going during the crazy times, like the holiday is probably not the best if you’re on a budget because the prices are usually higher during those times, so just talking through like all that with a a client and coming up with what works best for them and there are a lot of great off-site resorts as well even just the Swan and Dolphin that’s a great option as well and it’s more on the moderate side of pricing so there’s so many different options to choose from and that’s why you should work with a travel expert because we know kinda more the ins and outs of time to go, where to stay, you know all the different features of the resorts as well.
Matt: Yeah and of course there’s always a lot of scrutiny it’s it’s an annual headline I read, literally every year about Disney raising prices, they’re not the only ones by the way, it’s literally every theme park in existence –
Matt: – pretty much raises their prices every year [laughs] along with any other travel destination for that matter but the other benefit of only going for a few days is the park tickets that were unaffected by price increases this year are those you know one to three day base ticket, one to two day park hoppers did actually not see a price increase since last year so you’re actually not spending any more on those park tickets than you would’ve in 2021 so another great advantage of going with those smaller windows of time and going to the parks. Colleen for you of course you spend a little bit more time thinking about the day to day and the more specifics around the vacation and how to navigate all of that, so what other advice would you offer in terms of budgeting when it comes to anything else, dining, merchandise, add-on experiences or when it comes to the resorts and the parks themselves?
Colleen: Yeah so, what our planners do is really talk to the family like I reiterated over and over like talking to the family getting to know what’s important to them is a huge part of our planning process, so that’s where we’ll start to prioritize, okay do you want to dine at Cinderella’s Royal Table, is that the big thing for your trip, if so we know exactly how much that’s going to cost, you prepay for that so we’ll talk through some of those extra options that are you know maybe on the pricier end and focus in on where where do you want to be spending your budget, there is so many extra things that Disney offers in terms of Firework Dessert Parties you can do like the Fireworks Cruise on the pontoon boats, you know so if some of that stuff is important, again we know the pricing in advance so you can plan accordingly and with dining, there’s so many different options for dining so a lot of people ask about the Disney Dining Plan, it has not come back yet, we don’t know when it’s gonna come back at this point, but you know we’ll you know if that is coming back later this year, which I, we’ve heard rumors that’s where we will kind of talk through with the families, like okay is that worth it for you know your budget, sometimes they offer great deals with that so and also with dining there’s different levels of dining experiences, so if we are wanting to do Cinderella’s Royal Table which is actually dining in the castle then we balance it out with maybe doing some quick service spots throughout the rest of the trip so you know we just kinda plan accordingly with the family and focus in on what’s the most important again you don’t have to do it all, you’re not gonna do it all in Disney so narrowing it in on what’s important and spending your dollars there to get the most magical experience for that family specifically you know is really where we can you know help the most with them.
Matt: For sure and to reiterate for anyone who’s listening or watching who’s wondering if the cost of a Disney vacation is attainable I would absolutely recommend first of all either reaching out to Kim or Colleen and their teams to figure out what it is that you want to accomplish, they can, like both of them mentioned, help you to identify within your budget what are the things you can do and if you know worst case scenario if if it’s not the things that you want to do or not within the budget help you to decide either ways that you can scale it back a bit and still work within your budget or you know maybe maybe instead of doing the trip like Kim mentioned during that holiday week the week of Christmas maybe you do it, in the following summer at a more off-peak time of the summer very different weather I know and very different times of –
Matt: – the year but sometimes it is a matter of figuring out when is the most practical time to go because really the prices vary for everything and that includes also airfare, really strongly varies if you are gonna be flying to to a Disney depending on if you’re going during a peak time or an off-peak time, and speaking as someone who only goes around the school calendar, I can tell you that there are still, while you’re not gonna have ever an empty Disney and you know school’s out of session there are still absolutely times of the year that you can go that are not, that are not the peak crowds that still fall within the school calendar so speaking of which, someone did ask in the question, I do want to ask that, assuming you had all the free time in the world, right you you’re you had the time to request off from work or you’re taking a year off, you’ve saved up and all you wanna do is travel and you do want to spend some time at Disney, when would you consider to be the best time to visit Disney, I’ll start with Kim.
Kim: [Laughs] I feel like this is a hard question to answer –
Kim: – for crowd-wise, again we’ve talked about this year is a little different but usually January time frame after the holidays is usually a little slower and into the beginning of February and then after school starts, so that end of August, September time frame is usually less crowded again this is a different year though so it may not be that this year but my favorite time to go is around the holidays it’s the Halloween or Christmas just because it’s so magical down there, Christmastime is my absolute favorite time to be in Disney I love Christmas and the magic of it and Disney just does it to the next level so that’s my favorite time to go, I know it’s probably not the ideal to go for families but like Colleen was saying also with the extras like the holiday parties, even though they’re really expensive I think they’re 100% worth the price you get so much done in the time frame that you’re paying for, so if you don’t want to purchase the ticket and just purchase that you can get on almost every single ride during that time frame, during the special event so.
Matt: Yeah and I think a lot of people don’t even realize that that you can actually book that event ticket separately without –
[Kim murmurs agreement]
Matt: – having to pay for that park ticket for that day if that is how you want to go about your day I always tell people depending on what you want to see with the holidays if you don’t care so much about the special parade or the special fireworks, or you know like the free, the free goodies that come with the party package there’s a course a lot of perks but you can still also go that time of year and see all the holiday decorations still pay for some of those holiday treats that you might get at the party and get that you know, you have the holiday area music you have still really you’re immersed in that holiday feeling at Disney without necessarily doing the the ticketed event but it can go literally either way just to a ticketed event, just to the park ticket or park hopper, or both depending on what it is within your budget. Colleen for you what’s your favorite time or the time that you recommend to families with an open calendar –
[Colleen murmurs agreement]
Matt: that they consider going to Disney?
Colleen: So it’s funny my family we grew up going the first week of August, every summer like before we went back to school and now in retrospect I’m like you know it was fun to do it before we were back in school but I’m like why did we do that, it’s so hot and humid, it rains –
Matt: It is hot
Colleen – all the time, but that being said we didn’t know any different and I still love it and I still go in the summer and enjoy it you know summer tends to be a little quieter if you can bear the heat and humidity I think that is an okay time crowdwise sometimes even with locals going it still it’s people want to avoid the heat so I feel like that is reason enough where maybe crowds aren’t quite as crazy but I tend to recommend for families like Kim mentioned January February normally, this past year was not the case, but normally are a little bit quieter and milder weather wise and then September is a good time after Labor Day, avoiding holiday weekends, but also throughout the year there are little pockets of time, like right after Thanksgiving is a little bit quieter, the week before Christmas is a little bit quieter, so crowdwise depending on what season you’re looking for there are those little pockets, so we talk through that with our families a lot and figure out what makes sense. My favorite time to go though probably like now-ish I would say because I love Flower and Garden Festival at Epcot that’s one of my favorites so I’m actually going to be down there next week for a few days so I’ll get to go experience all of that but I went in May last year and that was a really nice time to go, it wasn’t super busy, I love Flower and Garden like I mentioned, it’s you know just beautiful the parks it isn’t rainy season yet so I would say May or Christmas.
Matt: Excellent times to go and you’re both right there’s really no wrong time –
Matt: – it really depends on all all the factors that come into play how you care about crowds, whether additional events, activities, decorations, there’s a lot of, and of course availability and budgeting there’s there’s a lot of things that come into play but those are great answers. For me it’s, it really depends too I I have I usually say for my answer the fall season, it’s especially towards the like October area when you still have the Food and Wine Festival over at Epcot and you still have the Halloween decorations over at Magic Kingdom, it’s it’s probably my favorite time, if I if I had no no other you know decisions to make about like taking time off or you know taking Maggie or Joanna taking off it would, I would probably say the October November time frame would probably be my favorite time of year to go. So sort of rounding out this discussions, we, we’ve answered a lot of questions, this is you know we could go one for a long time answering questions about Disney one question that did come up that I did want to ask as sort of a last question it was specific but I’ll make it a little broader, the question was about Space 220 because that is one of the newer places to eat and I know that it can be a little challenging to perhaps get a reservation there so Colleen I’ll throw this one over to you do you have any recommendations when it comes to booking Space 220 and along the same lines, any popular restaurant, like Cinderella’s Royal Table you know at Disney if someone says I have to do this on my Disney trip?
Colleen: That’s where I would say work with a travel agent or a concierge service, or both we have little tricks that we use without giving too much away about our secrets of how we get reservations but we will be the ones that you know if you’re already within the 60 day window which happens a lot of the time, we have families that come to us for the concierge service that you know are getting pretty close to their trip and then all of a sudden realize they want help and need help planning the trip so we have little tricks and things to monitor reservations and keep an eye out for it, and I will say you know we’re pretty successful with it, I personally have been Space 220 three times already which you know I feel very lucky and I love it so much I love space, I always did as a child so I feel like that dining experience just kinda blew my mind and every single time it was just as great, so you know the hype is real for that restaurant, not my favorite food necessarily but just for the overall experience, I mean there’s nothing really that compares to it so but my advice would be you know work with someone who knows what they’re doing and can handle it for you because, it’s it’s challenging it’s competitive you know and there’s there’s tricks to it so work with someone who knows what they’re doing.
Matt: Yeah absolutely, the, a great great piece of advice it’s always useful to work with with someone who who knows what they’re doing and it’s for those popular places in particular, it can get tricky and it’s it’s not always while we can offer you know tips and strategies you know making sure you book really far out, as far out as you possibly can I always tell people if it’s your must do, if you have a ten day trip or let’s say a seven day trip maybe ten is a little long, if you have a seven day trip do Space 220 on your seventh day of the reservation because you can book it technically 67 days out being, if as long as you’re staying on Disney property so there’s there’s like little tricks that that can work for anybody buts sometimes especially with your when you’re in the 60 day window it, you kinda need an expert to help you to [laughs] help you to help get those reservations or just honestly to be persistent for you [laughs] to makes sure that that happens so so to wrap things up I have talked about this on Instagram I haven’t really talked too much about it on the podcast before I’m really excited to be working with both of you because I feel between our our three or four companies we really can offer a lot when it comes to, as a collective unit helping you watching or helping you listening to book a Disney vacation and to make the most of your travel of course Imagineer Podcast remains that place where you can get more information and develop your love and appreciation for Disney and when you go, some of the best feedback I ever get from people who message me is they say I went down to Walt Disney World after listening to your Tower of Terror episode or Haunted Mansion episode or Rise of the Resistance episode I caught so many things, I was pointing it to my family and friends they wanted me to stop talking but I [while laughing] loved it so much –
Matt: – had to point out all these fun facts, so Imagineer Podcast remains that place where you can get more great information and just help you to cope with your Disney blues between Disney vacations with all the great content that we offer but then when it comes to planning as we’ve talked about for the last hour, of course reach out to Kim and her team at Magical Park Vacations for your your planning of your trip and then if you’re looking for a little more of an extra touch, you can work with Colleen and her team over at WDW Park Planners or Magical Park Tours to get that concierge service before you go and that assistance while you’re at the parks or of course the in-person I need a Disney friend with me who to help walk me through the parks and tell me what to do because I really want that level of service and I I had shared this on Instagram as well I will share this on the podcast it’s one of my favorite things about this sponsorship other then the fact that I both trust and respect Kim and Colleen and their teams to help you we’re not tracking anything through this sponsorship so I’m just directing you to them I’m not giving you an affiliate link I’m not earning any commissions for these vacations, of course we have a sponsorship agreement so there is, I I will get some hosted trips and some fun little perks for for sharing all this with you but I I highly recommend just reaching out to Kim and Colleen directly they’re, you know again no tracking if you decide it’s not for you that’s fine but I and if you decide it is for you we’re not gonna come back and make sure you went through Imagineer Podcast to get there, whatever means to get to Kim and Colleen I highly recommend them. Long story short I wanna turn it over to both Kim and Colleen once again if you are looking for that next step in your, in your planning process Kim I’ll first turn it over to you where should people go to learn a little bit more about Magical Park Tours and I’m sorry and not Magical Park Tours, Magical Park Vacations and get that process started. I’ll get to Magical Park Tours in a sec [laughs]
Kim: [laughs] Yeah so if you just go to magicalparkvacations.com we actually have a form right on our website that you can fill out and that kinda starts the process and then we will reach out to you to kinda have more conversations about your vacation and what you’re looking for, the link is in our bio on our Instagram so you can just click on that and it goes right to our, our website.
Matt: Yep, I will make sure the link to the website by the way is in the description, I know I said I’m not gonna track it, but I will include the link there so you can find it [laughs] in case you’re curious where to go [laughs] Colleen I’ll, I’ll throw the question over to you and also sort of part one or part two for anyone who’s interested in sort of, both services or all three services do you recommend contacting Kim first, or you first like what’s what’s the order you recommend as well?
Colleen: You know if you are looking to get booked starting with Kim is great and we do in that form have like asking if you’re interested in using the concierge service with WDW Park Planners or if you’re interested in the tours as well with Magical Park Tours so you know when the form is submitted there we’re aware if you are interested in working with the additional options that we offer so starting with there, if you’re unbooked is great, if you’re booked already which happens a lot of the time we have families that come to us that are already booked themselves but just want help with all the day to day planning or are interested in the tour guide option so reach out to us directly, wdwparkplanners.com or magicalparktours.com for the tour service as well but either of those, really you can reach us from any of the three websites on Instagram, you know we’re available and keeping an eye out for those messages to come through, so we’re all very tightly connected and in communication with each other.
Matt: Great advice, I also you know I’m looking forward to to working with you as a client myself so I know that we’re in the midst of of planning out my first trip officially I’m using Magical Park Vacations and WDW Park Planners and I’ll probably test out Magical Park Tours as well I’m looking forward to sharing sort of my experience with those of you who are watching and listening to give you a little bit more of a a personal take on on using Kim and Colleen’s services, but I already know it’s going to be an amazing experience, so I’m really looking forward to it and with that I will say thank you to Kim and to Colleen for joining on InstagramLive and in this [music beings to play underneath] discussion answering all these questions if you have any other questions that come up course reach out to any one of us and we’ll direct you to the right place and help you out but Kim and Colleen thank you so much for being here.
Colleen: Thank you for having us
Matt: Yeah thank you so much Matt
[Music continues to play under Matt]
Matt: And with that we close out episode 130 of the Imagineer Podcast. I want to give a very special thank you once again to Colleen and Kim for being my guests on this episode and I do want to start out by sharing some more information about our partnership, of course we talked a little bit about it in this InstagramLive discussion, of course if you’re looking to book a trip to Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, Adventures by Disney, Aulani, or any other Disney destination definitely look into Magical Park Vacations just head to magicalparkvacations.com and I have links and more information in the show notes of this episode and imagineerpodcast.com as well. As Kim shared it is a complimentary service it comes at no additional dime to you and the prices that you get through Magical Park Vacations are exactly the same prices as those on the Disney website, we talked about how that all works so really if you’re looking for an expert to help plan out how to make the most of your next Disney trip, to work within your budget, to offer suggestions, and to keep an eye on prices so if there is a discount they can go in and automatically apply those to your vacation go ahead and check them out, reach out to them directly and they’d be happy to provide you with a free quote for your next Disney vacation, and if you’re looking for a little bit of an extra personal touch, definitely look into the concierge service WDW Park Planners which Colleen runs, and of course Colleen shared some more information about that in our podcast episode but WDW Park Planners, I’ve worked with them before I’ve had them help to plan out my Disney vacation, I was incredibly impressed because I’m really picky when it comes to a Disney vacation and Colleen and her team really helped to plan out such an amazing vacation for Joanna and myself, this was back when we were just a couple, before Maggie was born, I was really impressed and that’s why I I strongly endorse their concierge service and encourage you if you do want that really extra personal touch if you don’t know how to make the most of your day at Disney or just want another piece of advice, someone to really sit down with your family and plan out what those specific recommendations would be that’s really where they can offer a great value and the best way to reach them is wdwparkplanners.com and again I have a link there in the show notes or at imagineerpodcast.com and last but not least if you’re looking for that in-person guide to be with you on your Disney vacation I think of it as a Disney friend with you a Disney expert to help you navigate the parks it is definitely worth checking out Magical Park Tours at magicalparktours.com and you can again find the link in the show notes or at imagineerpodcast.com to learn more about how to get started there, we answered a lot of questions today but I wanna turn the conversation over to you because I know that we can’t necessarily cover everything in an hour so we will be returning again at some point in the future to talk about the latest updates and some more information and answer more questions, so I wanna turn that conversation over to you and hear what questions you have about traveling to Disney, whether it’s about a particular thing like any questions about how to make the best use of the Genie+ service at Disney or recommendations for places where to stay or any specific questions you might have you can send me answers and feedback as always in many different ways and I would encourage you to reach out on social media you can find Imagineer Podcast on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and LinkedIn @ImagineerPodcast I would really encourage you, especially since I last recorded the a podcast episode which was back in the mid-December I have really put a lot more effort into our Facebook Group, the community has become an even more engaging place I’m really striving to make it a place where you can come and gather and connect with fellow listeners and other Disney fans whether it’s just talking about the things we love most about Disney and conversing together it really has more of a community feeling then some of our soc-, other social media channels so if you really want that conversation, sort of build new friendships and have this positive space where we talk about the things we love about Disney and share some advice for how to make the most of your Dis-, next Disney vacation really look into our Facebook group, you’ll find the link in the show notes or very simply head to Facebook type in ImagiNation or just type in Imagineer Podcast Disney Fan Community or just type in Imagineer Podcast under groups, you’ll find it there and just hit the request to join button, I approve people very quickly, literally as soon as I see a notification on my phone, I go in and hit approve so definitely request to join and I look forward to seeing you in that community. You can also follow Imagineer Podcast on Twitter @Imagineernews if you don’t already subscribe to the show make sure you hit that subscribe or follow button whether you’re listening on Apple Podcast, on Spotify, iHeartMedia, Amazon Music, or any other podcast app that just ensures you never miss an episode as soon as one becomes available it goes straight to your phone and you can download and listen whenever you get the chance, and if you really want to help the show I encourage you to leave us a rating and a review in the Apple Podcast store or on Spotify which helps to increase our relevance if you search for Disney podcasts helps other people discover the show and especially with reviews on Apple Podcasts let others know what they can expect, perhaps you can even leave a recommendation for a great place to a start or why people should consider listening to Imagineer Podcast, I always appreciate and read each and every review that I get and thank the more than 600 of you who have left a rating and a review in the Apple Podcast Store and the 150 plus of you who have helped to maintain that nearly five-star rating on Spotify as well. If you have any other suggestions or things you’d like to see in the future on the show, of course, please don’t hesitate to reach out, and if you’d like to take your love of Imagineer Podcast to the next level check out our Patreon group become an ImagiNation passholder you can learn more about that on the Imagineer Podcast website at imagineerpodcast.com/community or head to pateron.com/imagineerpodcast there you can help to support the show and in return get exclusive perks, benefits, and rewards, things like bonus podcast episodes, daily content that’s exclusive for members, we have weekly Disney+ watch parties it’s probably my favorite perk, I love getting together on a Monday night with our Pateron members, we chat together as a we watch a Disney movie together it’s really probably one of my favorite parts of the group in general the community itself is is the reason why I always recommend this opportunity for those of you listening, it’s a great way to help support the show, a portion of all proceeds go to charity at every level of membership such a positive little community within our positive community so again you can learn more and see what perks are being offered beheading to imagineerpodcast.com/community or again patreon.com/imagineerpodcast last but last not least I want to encourage you as I always do to go after your hopes, dreams, goals, whatever they might be, don’t delay on making your dreams come true, it really does take you to make your dreams come to life and the hardest things is that first step but if you envision a better life for yourself if you’re just out there dreaming of wanting to do something start doing it today, you’ll also be amazed that the journey itself is sometimes if not more often even more rewarding than the destination and you’ll be so much happier if you are to pursue your dreams, live your dreams and follow your passions, so don’t delay, take that first step to make your dreams come true and remember as always that inspiring quote from Horizons, if you can dream it, you can do it, thank you so much for listening to the show and we’ll see you again in a future episode of the Imagineer Podcast.
Monorail announcement: Please stand clear of the doors. Por favor manténgase alejado de las puertas. [Doors close and monorail noises start as it begins to move] To our new passengers, aloha and welcome aboard, for those of you standing please hold onto the hand rails throughout our journey and stay clear of the doors, for the comfort of others no smoking please, our next stop is Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa.