Welcome Back to the Magic!

written by Crystal Boston, Travel Specialist

Since Walt Disney World in Florida reopened its properties on June 22, 2020, I have been back to the magic several times already!


I have experienced all resort hotels currently reopened as well as all 4 parks and, while some things are different, so much is still the same and Disney magic is still there! One of the biggest and most noticeable differences, due to capacity limits, is crowd levels – the resort hotels and parks are empty in comparison to “normal” and, while this is amazing for those “doing Disney” right now, it is a bit eerie and the vibe just doesn’t feel as magical at times but I didn’t realize just how much I missed the magic until I was back on property because the magic is definitely still there!!

Staying on property will offer the most healthy and safe experience as Disney has implemented many new touchless features, such as online check-in that allows you to skip the front desk on arrival, and enhanced cleaning protocols.



All Guests that I have had contact with have been great with wearing face coverings properly and maintaining physical distancing and Cast Members are attentive with reminding Guests to replace or adjust their face coverings when needed.

Disney has always been exemplary with sanitation and cleanliness and even more now! Cast Members are constantly working to keep touch points clean. There are sanitizer stations throughout the parks and resort hotels and rides are closed at various times throughout the day for additional cleaning. Even at resort hotel pools you are asked to fold your lounge chairs closed or tip your chairs towards the table when done so that Cast Members and other Guests know that these areas have been used and need sanitized.



To maintain physical distancing protocols, there are markers throughout the parks and resort hotels, at every ride and store – anyplace where a line could potentially form – and Cast Members are often on the side of the lines at certain spots to ensure everyone is maintaining physical distancing. In addition, there are now plexiglass partitions between many spaces where you could come into direct contact with other Guests, even for complimentary transportation.





Something you will notice that has changed is character experiences… There are characters still in the parks and all 4 parks have “Character Cavalcades” or, as I like to call them, “pop up parades”! These character experiences are not announced in advance to ensure that crowds do not gather but here’s a #wishtip – when you hear the music get louder that is your signal that a character cavalcade is on its way and at Animal Kingdom Park these “pop up parades” are on the river, which runs through the park, and you can wave to the characters as they pass under the bridges on the walkways.


While there are no traditional character meet & greets right now there are still plenty of character interactions!

In Epcot you can take a selfie with Mary Poppins or Alice in Wonderland in England or find Joy or Pooh playing in the fenced grassy areas.

In Hollywood Studios you will find Stormtroopers, Chewbacca and Rey in Batuu where you can also take a selfie with each.

At Magic Kingdom you can snap a selfie with Captain Jack Sparrow in Adventureland.

At Animal Kingdom, however, I didn’t see any opportunities for character interactions other than the “pop up parades” when I was there.

And, if you purchase Memory Maker, there are also new and fun “magic shots” in all 4 parks and the PhotoPass Photographers have all been super fun and are working to offer some great photo opportunities.

Each park offers at least 2 Relaxation Stations where you can sit for a bit and remove your face covering. Some are air conditioned but all offer some type of shade.

Each park offers at least 2 Relaxation Stations where you can sit for a bit and remove your face covering. Some are air conditioned but all offer some type of shade.


Even with lower capacity levels I still suggest planning to arrive just before the scheduled park opening time, especially for Hollywood Studios if you want a Boarding Group for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, and head back to your resort late afternoon to enjoy the amazing pools on property. Currently, most parks and other experiences are closing earlier than normal but most pools will remain open until 9 – 11 pm.

For dining, it is very important right now, due to limited capacity requirements, to secure advance dining reservations for sit-down dining experiences. I saw many Guests turned away, even at locations that would sometimes previously accept walk-up’s (I always recommend advance dining reservations for my Guests to insure no disappointments!). You can use the QR Code at the host stand to check in or you can also use your MDE Mobile App to check-in for your dining experience 15 minutes in advance and restaurants are offering digital menus that you scan by QR code to insure a more touchless experience.




And, there are also 2 Character Dining experiences available, Topolino’s Terrace – Flavors of the Riviera at Disney’s Riviera Resort [Breakfast à la Art with Mickey & Friends] and Garden Grill at Epcot [Chip ‘n’ Dale with their Disney pals], modified for your health and safety but still so magical!!



For Quick Service dining experiences, be sure to always use your MDE Mobile App to place your order by either logging in to your account or scanning the QR code at the dining location. You will then be notified when your food is ready and that is when you will be allowed into the dining venue, again, due to current limited capacity requirements.



If you have questions about anything when in the parks or at the resort hotels just ask any Cast Member. They have all been great with answering questions about anything and everything that is new and different and, if they do not know, they will find out for you.

My final piece of advice or tip – now is a GREAT time to “do Disney”!

Limited capacity provides – Shorter wait times and ride cars all to yourself – Common areas at resort hotels and parks are less crowded – Pixie Dust (i.e.: magical surprises) is still there

Even though some experiences have changed there is still so much that hasn’t changed (park maps are still available!) and the [necessary] changes implemented to help insure that we can all continue to experience the magic in a healthy and safe way are still just as magical!!


Remember to check the Walt Disney World Know Before You Go web page for the most up to date information regarding health and safety protocols to insure the best experience possible!

Come experience the magic for yourself, contact your Wish Upon A Star With Us Travel Agent today to book your Disney vacation!

Disney World Park Pass Reservations

Disney World has implemented a new Park Pass Reservation System requiring guests to make reservations to visit the theme parks.  This system has been put into place to help control crowd levels during the upcoming months as Disney World moves towards reopening their parks and focuses on adhering to the CDC guidelines.

IMPORTANT:  In addition to a valid theme park admission, you MUST make a park reservation to enter one of the theme parks!  You will be able to make reservations one day at a time.

Step 1: Login to your My Disney Experience Account

Here is the link to access your account:  My Disney Experience

If you do not have an account, you will need to create one to get started.  Your My Disney Experience Account will allow you to plan several pieces of your Disney World vacation.

You may receive this screen while you wait for the system to load.

Step 2: Link Resort Reservation and Tickets to Your My Disney Experience Account

If your resort and tickets have not been linked in your account, you will need to do so in order to continue.

      • In the top right-hand corner, click My Disney Experience on the menu then select “My Plans“.
      • You will see options to link your resort reservation which may include tickets or where you can link ticket only purchases.
      • Once linked, you should see the resort details listed under “My Plans“.

Step 3: Verify your Traveling Party

If you are traveling with another party, you will want to make sure that you are connected through family and friends, so your complete travel party is available in your account.  This way, you can select everyone when you make your Park Pass Reservations.

Step 4:  Make your Park Pass Reservation

Click My Disney Experience across the top of the menu, then select “Disney Park Pass System“.

Click the blue button labeled “Make a Disney Park Pass Reservation”.

Step 5:  Create Your Party

Simply select the members of your party that will be joining you at the park that day.

Step 6:  Select a Date and Park

You will see a calendar at the top of the page. Navigate to the month you will be visiting Disney World and select the day that you want to reserve.

Step 7:  Select a Time

There will only be one time available which is the park’s full operating hours. Guests can arrive any time during this timeframe.

Step 8:  Review and Confirm

Review your park selection and your party then check the box to agree to the terms and conditions, including the COVID-19 liability waiver.  This waiver must be completed by a member of the travel party and not by a travel agent.

Step 9: Viewing your Park Passes

Once your park reservations are made, you can see them from your account under “My Plans”.

Step 10: Know Before You Go

For more details on what to expect as Disney World prepares to reopen, visit this LINK to see what you need to KNOW BEFORE YOU GO.

Travel – FACTS not Rumors…

written by Crystal Boston, Travel Specialist

First, we hope you and your family, friends, and co-workers are staying home [unless you are an essential employee, then THANK YOU!] and staying healthy during this crazy time we are living in.

As a Travel Agency specializing in Disney and Universal vacations, our agents have been working to take care of our Guests directly affected by resort and park closures as well as cruise itinerary cancellations for Disney Cruise Line.

While working with our Guests we have received many questions related to rumors posted on other blogs and social media pages. This blog was created to explain the current situation with information direct from Disney and Universal – this information is not rumor, this is FACT!

Walt Disney World
UPDATE – May 20, 2020Phased Reopening
Disney Parks, Resorts and Disney Springs began a phased reopening on May 20, 2020. Please contact your Wish Upon A Star With Us Travel Agent to book your reservations or for updates about an existing reservation.

Disneyland
UPDATE – JUNE 24, 2020Plans CHANGED for the Phased Reopening of Disneyland Resort Theme Parks, Resort Hotels and Disney Stores
Disney Parks, Experiences and Products previously announced proposed plans for a phased reopening of the Disneyland Resort. The State of California has now indicated that it will not issue theme park reopening guidelines until sometime after July 4. Given the time required to bring thousands of cast members back to work and restart business, reopening of theme parks and resort hotels has been delayed until approval is received from government officials. Once there is a clearer understanding of when guidelines will be released, we expect to be able to communicate a reopening date. Downtown Disney District will reopen on July 9 as previously announced with health and safety protocols in place for cast members and guests. Your Wish Upon A Star With Us Travel Agent will be reaching out to discuss your options for rebooking or refund.

UPDATE – JUNE 10, 2020Plans Unveiled for the Phased Reopening of Disneyland Resort Theme Parks, Resort Hotels and Disney Stores
Sixty-five years to the date after the historic opening of Disneyland park, theme park gates are planning to open once again on July 17, 2020, welcoming guests back to the Disneyland Resort.
Disney Parks, Experiences and Products today announced proposed plans for a phased reopening of the Disneyland Resort. Pending state and local government approvals, Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa and Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel plan to reopen on July 23, 2020, and Disneyland park and Disney California Adventure park will plan to reopen on July 17, 2020. Additionally, Downtown Disney District will begin reopening on July 9, 2020.
This phased reopening will demonstrate a deliberate approach, with limits on attendance and controlled Guest density that aligns with guidance on physical distancing. That means certain experiences that are known to draw large group gatherings – such as parades and nighttime spectaculars – will return at a later date. In addition, “high-touch” experiences such as makeover opportunities, playgrounds and character meet and greets will remain temporarily unavailable, but characters will still be in the parks to entertain and delight Guests.
Because theme park capacity will be significantly limited as Guests are welcomed back to the magic, attendance will be managed through a new theme park reservation system that will require all Guests to obtain a reservation for park entry in advance. More details about this new reservation system will be available soon. Your Wish Upon A Star With Us Travel Agent will be reaching out to discuss your options for rebooking or refund.

UPDATE – MAY 27, 2020Plans Unveiled for the Phased Reopening of Walt Disney World Resort Theme Parks, Resort Hotels and Disney Stores
Pending Orange County and state approval, the Walt Disney World Resort proposal plans for Magic Kingdom Park and Disney’s Animal Kingdom to begin a phased reopening to the general public on July 11, 2020, followed by EPCOT and Disney’s Hollywood Studios on July 15, 2020.
This phased reopening will demonstrate a deliberate approach, with limits on attendance and controlled Guest density that aligns with guidance on physical distancing. That means certain experiences that are known to draw large group gatherings – such as parades and nighttime spectaculars – will return at a later date. In addition, “high-touch” experiences such as makeover opportunities, playgrounds and character meet and greets will remain temporarily unavailable, but characters will still be in the parks to entertain and delight Guests.
Because theme park capacity will be significantly limited as Guests are welcomed back to the magic, attendance will be managed through a new theme park reservation system that will require all Guests to obtain a reservation for park entry in advance. More details about this new reservation system will be available soon.
Your Wish Upon A Star With Us Travel Agent will be reaching out to discuss your options for rebooking or refund.

Disneyland Resort theme parks, hotels currently remain closed and a reopening date has not been identified.

Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa
UPDATE – September 24, 2020Aulani Resort will plan to begin a phased reopening on November 1, 2020
Given Hawaii’s recent announcement of a pre-arrival testing program for those traveling from out-of-state, we are working toward a phased reopening of Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa beginning on Sunday, November 1, 2020. Your Wish Upon A Star With Us Travel Agent will be reaching out to discuss your options.

Disney Cruise Line:
Update: Sept. 15, 2020Disney Cruise Line Sailings Suspended Through December 12, 2020
Your Wish Upon A Star With Us Travel Agent will be reaching out to discuss your options for rebooking or refund.

Update: Aug. 6, 2020Disney Cruise Line Sailings Suspended Through October 31, 2020
In alignment with yesterday’s announcement from Cruise Lines International Association regarding the voluntary extension of suspended passenger operations from U.S. ports until at least October 31, 2020, Disney Cruise Line will be cancelling all October sailings, as well as the following November sailings:

Disney Dream: November 1, 2020 (7-night Eastern Caribbean) & November 8, 2020 (5-night Western Caribbean) sailings
Disney Magic: November 1, 2020 (6-night Eastern Caribbean) & November 7, 2020 (5-night Eastern Caribbean) sailings
Disney Wonder: November 1, 2020 (5-night Baja) & November 6, 2020 (14-night Panama Canal) sailings

UPDATE: July 20, 2020Disney Cruise Line Sailings Suspended Through September 30, 2020
Due to the recent extension of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention No Sail Order for cruise ships through September 30, 2020, Disney Cruise Line has cancelled all September sailings. Your Wish Upon A Star With Us Travel Agent will be reaching out to discuss your options for rebooking or refund.

Update: June 19, 2020Disney Cruise Line Sailings Suspended Through September 15, 2020
In alignment with today’s announcement from Cruise Lines International Association regarding the voluntary extension of suspended passenger operations from U.S. ports, Disney Cruise Line is cancelling Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy sailings through September 15, 2020. Your Wish Upon A Star With Us Travel Agent will be reaching out to discuss your options for rebooking or refund.

UPDATE – June 8, 2020Disney Magic Sailings Suspended Through October 2, 2020
With the wellbeing of our Guests and team members as our top priority and in line with direction from health experts and government officials, Disney Cruise Line is extending the suspension of Disney Magic up to and including the October 2, 2020 sailing. Your Wish Upon A Star With Us Travel Agent will be reaching out to discuss your options for rebooking or refund.

UPDATE – June 2, 2020Disney Wonder Sailings Cancelled Through September 14, 2020
The Canadian government recently extended its decision to not allow cruise ships to dock in any Canadian port until October 31, 2020. As a result, Disney Cruise Line has cancelled all sailings on the Disney Wonder that were scheduled to depart between August 3 and September 14, 2020. Your Wish Upon A Star With Us Travel Agent will be reaching out to discuss your options for rebooking or refund.

UPDATE – MAY 13, 2020Disney Cruise Line suspends sailings through July 28, 2020
Your Wish Upon A Star With Us Travel Agent will be reaching out to discuss your options for rebooking or refund.

UPDATE: April 27, 2020Disney Cruise Line suspends sailings of Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy through June 18, 2020 and Disney Magic through July 2, 2020
Your Wish Upon A Star With Us Travel Agent will be reaching out to discuss your options for rebooking or refund.

UPDATE: April 15, 2020Suspension of Disney Magic departures extended through June 7, 2020
With the wellbeing of its guests and team members as its top priority and in line with direction from health experts and government officials, Disney Cruise Line has decided to extend the suspension of Disney Magic departures through Sunday, June 7, 2020. Your Wish Upon A Star With Us Travel Agent will be reaching out to discuss your options for rebooking or refund.

UPDATE: April 10, 2020Disney Cruise Line extending suspension of Disney Dream, Disney Fantasy and Disney Magic departures through May 17, 2020
Yesterday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced it would extend its suspension of cruise departures from the United States. In line with this direction and with the wellbeing of our guests and team members as our top priority, Disney Cruise Line is reaching out to all guests booked on departures of the Disney Dream, Disney Fantasy and Disney Magic through Sunday, May 17, 2020, to advise that these sailings have been cancelled. Your Wish Upon A Star With Us Travel Agent will be reaching out to discuss your options for rebooking or refund.

UPDATE: April 6, 2020Disney Wonder Sailings Cancelled Through End of June 2020
The Canadian government has announced that it will not allow any ship with more than 500 passengers to dock in any Canadian port until July 1,2020 at the earliest.
Given that Disney Cruise Line has not been able to secure an alternate homeport, it is necessary to cancel the Disney Wonder sailings for Alaska and Hawaii through the end of June 2020. Your Wish Upon A Star With Us Travel Agent will be reaching out to discuss your options for rebooking or refund.

Our agents have advised all Guests with upcoming travel plans thru May 17, 2020 of the current situation and offered the options available to them at this time. Each Guest must choose how to move forward with what works best for them and their family.

Crew members with Disney Cruise Line have been “quarantined” onboard since they suspended all sailings and they are not interacting with the “outside world”.

Adventures by Disney:
UPDATE – October 19, 2020ALL Adventures by Disney Departures Suspended Through December 31, 2020
With the wellbeing of our Guests and team members as our top priority and in line with direction from health experts and government officials, Adventures by Disney has made the decision to suspend departures through December 31, 2020. Your Wish Upon A Star With Us Travel Agent will be reaching out to discuss your options for rebooking or refund.

UPDATE – July 22, 2020ALL Adventures by Disney Departures Suspended Through Sept. 30, 2020
With the wellbeing of our Guests and team members as our top priority and in line with direction from health experts and government officials, Adventures by Disney has made the decision to suspend departures through Sept. 30, 2020. Your Wish Upon A Star With Us Travel Agent will be reaching out to discuss your options for rebooking or refund.

UPDATE – June 23, 2020Adventures by Disney Departures Suspended Through Sept. 15. 2020
With the wellbeing of our Guests and team members as our top priority and in line with direction from health experts and government officials, Adventures by Disney has made the decision to suspend departures through Tuesday, September 15, 2020. NOTE: This does not include the Paris Escape vacation departing on September 15, 2020. Your Wish Upon A Star With Us Travel Agent will be reaching out to discuss your options for rebooking or refund.

UPDATE – June 16, 2020All Adventures cancelled for August 2020.
With the wellbeing of our Guests and team members as our top priority, and in line with direction from health experts and government officials, Adventures by Disney has made the decision to suspend departures through August 31, 2020. Your Wish Upon A Star With Us Travel Agent will be reaching out to discuss your options for rebooking or refund.

UPDATE – June 2, 2020Disney Wonder Sailings Cancelled Through September 14, 2020
The Canadian government recently extended its decision to not allow cruise ships to dock in any Canadian port until October 31, 2020. As a result, Disney Cruise Line and Adventures by Disney has cancelled all sailings on the Disney Wonder that were scheduled to depart through September 14, 2020. For clients who purchased the Adventures by Disney Alaska Cruise package on the August 2 or August 10 sailings as part of their vacation, the package will automatically be refunded back to the original form of payment. Your Wish Upon A Star With Us Travel Agent will be reaching out to discuss your options for rebooking or refund.

UPDATE – MAY 18, 2020All Adventures cancelled for July 2020.
Your Wish Upon A Star With Us Travel Agent will be reaching out to discuss your options for rebooking or refund.

UPDATE – MAY 13, 2020Select Adventures by Disney Cruise and Escape packages cancelled for July 2020.
With the wellbeing of our Guests and team members as our top priority and in line with direction from health experts and government officials, Disney Cruise Line is extending the suspension of departures through Tuesday, July 28, 2020. As a result, the Adventures by Disney Cruise and Adventures by Disney Escape packages booked in conjunction with these cruises will also be cancelled. Impacted sailings include Disney Magic departures on July 13 and 25, 2020, and Disney Wonder sailings on July 6, 13 and 27, 2020. Your Wish Upon A Star With Us Travel Agent will be reaching out to discuss your options for rebooking or refund.

UPDATE: May 6, 2020Adventures by Disney River Cruises and the associated Escape trips cancelled for July 2020.
With the wellbeing of our Guests and Guides as our top priority and in line with direction from health experts and government officials, Adventures by Disney along with AmaWaterways has decided to suspend July River Cruises and the associated Escape trips. Your Wish Upon A Star With Us Travel Agent will be reaching out to discuss your options for rebooking or refund.

UPDATE: April 27, 2020Adventures by Disney Mediterranean Cruise packages and Rome Escape packages cancelled for late June, early July 2020.
Your Wish Upon A Star With Us Travel Agent will be reaching out to discuss your options for rebooking or refund.

UPDATE: April 20, 2020Temporary Suspension of Adventures by Disney Departures through June 30, 2020
With the wellbeing of our Guests and team members as our top priority and in line with direction from heath experts and government officials, Adventures by Disney has made the decision to suspend most departures through June 30, 2020. Your Wish Upon A Star With Us Travel Agent will be reaching out to discuss your options for rebooking or refund.

UPDATE: April 15, 2020Adventures by Disney Mediterranean Cruise packages and Barcelona Escape packages cancelled for late May, early June 2020
Disney Cruise Line has decided to extend the suspension of Disney Magic departures through Sunday, June 7, 2020. As a result, the Adventures by Disney Mediterranean Cruise package or Barcelona Escape package you may have purchased as part of your vacation will automatically be refunded back to the original form of payment. Your Wish Upon A Star With Us Travel Agent will be reaching out to discuss your options for rebooking or refund.

UPDATE – April 8, 2020Temporary Suspension of Adventures by Disney Departures thru June 2020
With the wellbeing of our Guests and Guides as our top priority and in line with direction from health experts and government officials, Adventures by Disney along with AmaWaterways has decided to suspend June 2020 River Cruises and the associated Escape trips. Your Wish Upon A Star With Us Travel Agent will be reaching out to discuss your options for rebooking or refund.

UPDATE: April 6, 2020Adventures by Disney 7-night Alaska Cruise Packages Cancelled Through End of June 2020
The Canadian government has announced that it will not allow any ship with more than 500 passengers to dock in any Canadian port until July 1,2020 at the earliest.
Given that Disney Cruise Line has not been able to secure an alternate homeport, it is necessary to cancel the Adventures by Disney 7-night Alaska Cruise Packages for Alaska through the end of June 2020. Your Wish Upon A Star With Us Travel Agent will be reaching out to discuss your options for rebooking or refund.

For all other itineraries, Disney has suspended all new departures through the end of May.

Our agents have advised all Guests with upcoming travel plans thru May 31, 2020 of the current situation and offered the options available to them at this time. Each Guest must choose how to move forward with what works best for them and their family.

Universal Parks & Resorts Vacations (Florida & California):
UPDATE: April 9, 2020 – Universal has closed all parks and resorts thru May 31, 2020 when the current situation will be evaluated.

Universal has closed all parks and resorts thru April 19, 2020 when the current situation will be evaluated.

Our agents have advised all Guests with upcoming travel plans thru May 31, 2020 of the current situation and offered the options available to them at this time. Each Guest must choose how to move forward with what works best for them and their family.

Other Cruise and Land Vacation Destinations:
While our agency does specialize in Disney and Universal vacations, we also help book and plan other cruise and land vacation destinations and we have been keeping our clients that have been directly affected by closures and cancellations updated about their options.

Cruise Lines:
UPDATE: April 13, 2020 – Currently, many cruise lines have suspended all sailings. Be sure to check with your Travel Agent or whoever you booked thru for specific details about your specific reservations.

Land Destinations:
As for land vacation destinations, it depends on the destination, but most have suspended check-in dates thru May 31, 2020. Please check with your Travel Agent or whoever you booked thru for specific details about your specific reservations.

Airlines:
Airlines are still operating but on a limited schedule and are adjusting travel dates and times based on occupancy of certain itineraries. Please check with your Travel Agent or whoever you booked thru for specific details about your specific reservations.

For all travelers, if you booked your travel plans thru a Travel Agent and they have not yet reached out to you this is likely because your travel dates are not yet directly affected and they are working to take care of their clients with travel plans that are currently directly affected by closures and cancellations, April and some May travel dates. Please be patient, in this type of situation, it is typically in your best interest to wait until your trip is cancelled by the supplier before making any decisions about cancelling or rebooking your future travel plans.

Please do not hesitate to reach out to your Wish Upon A Star With Us Travel Agent with any questions or if you would like more information about anything. We will share as much as we know and can share. We will also post updates as they become available on social media platforms.
(i.e.: If you are not our client we cannot legally or professionally advise you about your current travel plans, you will need to reach out to whoever you booked thru. But, if you are not yet booked for future travel and wish to discuss future travel plans, we can assist and advise to the best of our ability with the information we have available).

While the White House has issued an April 30 social distancing guideline, please follow this or the guidelines set by your state or county. If you are not an essential employee, please stay home. This is being implemented for the safety and well-being of everyone and the more of us that follow this guideline the better off we will all be in 14 – 30 days and we will then [hopefully] be able to get back to a more normal way of life again very soon!

Stay healthy, stay home and practice social distancing!
CDC / WHO

Working with a Travel Agent for Your runDisney Experience

written by Crystal Boston, Travel Specialist

You train hard for your runDisney experience, let the planning be taken care of by a Travel Agent Specializing in Disney destinations and experiences!

It’s the best of both worlds when you work with a Travel Agent that specializes in Disney who also knows all about runDisney – they can expertly assist you with ALL of your plans!

As a runner you are dedicated to your training and preparing for your runDisney experience. Your training should continue to be your main focus and you shouldn’t need to stress over the details of your travel plans.

There are many avenues for finding a Travel Agent and many that specialize in Disney and runDisney, but you want to be sure to find the “right” Travel Agent to help you with your runDisney travel plans!

runDisney races are unique. You want someone who will partner with you and help you navigate the process. When running at a runDisney event, you do have to earn your placement. This system is in place to be inclusive of all people that want to join in.

And be cautioned – if your Travel Agent offers you higher corral placement that hasn’t been earned or unusual package requirements outside of those required by runDisney BEWARE. Just like in any industry, there are some people who take advantage of the system and this affects everyone and can cause disqualification to participate.

Even if a Travel Agent is recommended by others in runDisney groups, be sure to check reviews before selecting your Travel Agent.

– Do they have extensive travel planning experience?
– Do they take the time to understand your wants and needs rather than a “one size fits all” experience?
– Do they have personal experience with runDisney events?
– Do they have personal experience with resorts on property so that they can offer the best recommendations for you?

Once you decide on the best Travel Agent for you, it’s not out of line to expect the following:
ACCURACY – All information for your reservation and race registrations should be accurate and correct. Having extra people on your reservation or other inaccuracies should be brought to the attention of your Travel Agent. You should have no surprises at check-in.

– Are your travel dates correct?
– Are you booked at the resort hotel with the park ticket type, dining plan and race bibs that you requested?
– Are all names on your reservation the same as you requested for your travel party?

RESPONSIVENESS – A good Travel Agent will respond to your emails and phone calls efficiently and effectively and will help you beyond just making your reservations. A good Travel Agent is there to help you with as much or as little as you want or need.

Having a Travel Agent to help guide you thru the runDisney process can add value to your experience and costs nothing extra! They have a passion for what they do, so it is a win-win for you. Make sure your Travel Agent is a good fit while being knowledgeable, ethical, and responsive to your needs.

Contact your Wish Upon A Star With Us Travel Agent and Disney Specialist today to assist you with your runDisney plans – Happy Running!

Toledo – Tapas, Steak & Seafood

written by Crystal Boston, Travel Specialist

During the holidays I had the opportunity to experience the newest dining experience on property – Toledo – Tapas, Steak & Seafood at Gran Destino Tower at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort.


Toledo – Tapas, Steak & Seafood opened July 2019 and has been a hit from opening day! The new Gran Destino Tower at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort is quite amazing, feeling more like a Deluxe Disney property than a Moderate resort.

This unique rooftop dining experience is just one of three new options at Gran Destino Tower at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort offering both food and beverage, with Toledo and Dahlia Lounge offering spectacular views as well!

The menu choices are inspired by the flavors of Spain and include tapas, steaks and seafood created in the on-stage tapas kitchen.

The atmosphere and experience was amazing and the service top notch! The food presentation was impeccable and everything was prepared to perfection!


We started our meal with an order of Tronchón Cheese Gratinado from the Cazuelas (Spanish for cooking pot) menu. This was essentially a cheese bread with tupelo honey and lavender, it was very flavorful and you could smell and taste the lavender.

Our entrées included Scallops (fava hummus, olives, harissa vinaigrette, roasted carrots, yogurt powder), Manhattan Filet (olive oil-potato purée, grilled onions, dates, sherry vinaigrette) and the Red Wine-braised Chicken (grapes, sherry vinegar, roasted tomato ‘bomba’ rice). In addition, we ordered the Roasted Cauliflower and Olive Oil-Potato Purée as sides to share.
My only critique was regarding the descriptions and recommendations from our server – – – my husband and I ended up switching plates once our food arrived because our server was not accurate with his information.


I would definitely recommend the Manhattan Filet (which is what I ended up eating) and feel that the Red Wine-braised Chicken is a heavier meal (which my husband ended up eating). And, definitely order the Roasted Cauliflower side dish – I am not a fan of cauliflower but this dish was amazing!

If you aren’t looking for a table service dining experience, but have the time, I highly recommend simply going to this new resort on property to check it out – the new lobby, Barcelona Lounge, Dahlia Lounge and Three Bridges Bar & Grill all offer amazing experiences and the feel of a Deluxe resort. And, yes, I have experienced and enjoyed it all!!

I am in LOVE with the lobby area – the lighted panels randomly change colors and the tables all have charging ports!

Barcelona Lounge

Three Bridges Bar & Grill

Let your Wish Upon A Star With Us Travel Agent know that you would like to experience Gran Destino Tower at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort during your next Walt Disney World vacation!

The NEW Disney Skyliner

written by Crystal Boston, Travel Specialist

The newest transportation option is the Disney Skyliner – magic in the sky!

Check out this video of my ride from Disney’s Pop Century Resort to Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort.

Magic is in the air at Walt Disney World® Resort with the new Disney Skyliner transportation system.

Disney Skyliner connects Epcot® and Disney’s Hollywood Studios® to four Disney resort hotels – Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, Disney’s Pop Century Resort, Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort and the forthcoming Disney’s Riviera Resort, set to open December 16, 2019. The system serves as a magic carpet, floating Guests through the air aboard approximately 300 gondolas, nearly half of which are wrapped in whimsical Disney scenes of beloved characters, fan-favorite movies, theme park attractions and more. 

While riding Disney Skyliner, you will be treated to never-before-seen views of Walt Disney World Resort as you float along the treetops and waterways alike. The system provides bird’s-eye vantage points of Disney icons such as the Hollywood Tower Hotel and Spaceship Earth. 

Come experience the magic for yourself, contact your Wish Upon A Star With Us Travel Agent today!

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge Boarding Group Virtual Queue

written by Crystal Boston, Travel Specialist

UPDATED: 7/24/2020 – With the reopening of Disney’s Hollywood Studios Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance is also open again in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and, while the Boarding Group process is very similar as originally introduced, there are a few changes and face coverings are required at all times…

Confirming a virtual queue in the My Disney Experience app will still be the only way to experience Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. Most importantly – as availability allows – you will have an opportunity at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. to request to join the virtual queue. This means there is no need to arrive early to the park to check the virtual queue. 

Here are a few important details to know before arriving: 
  • First, make sure to download the My Disney Experience Mobile App. Once you enter the park, you’ll need to log in to your account at one of the distribution times (10 a.m. or 2 p.m.). 
  • Once logged in, select “Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance Virtual Queue” on the home screen. This is where you will be able to view the current status and next steps for joining the virtual queue.
  • The app will indicate when there is no availability for a specific distribution time. 
  • As long as your My Disney Experience account is linked to park tickets for yourself and the others in your group, you can enroll your entire party in the virtual queue at the same time. In order to give as many guests as possible the opportunity to join the Resistance, each guest can enter the virtual queue no more than once per day.
  • Be sure to make sure push notifications are turned on for My Disney Experience so you will be alerted when your group is called to return. You will have up to an hour from the time of the alert to go to the entrance of Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. 
  • Please note that joining the virtual queue does not guarantee the ability to experience Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance.  

If you have any questions or need assistance with joining the virtual queue, Cast Members at Guest Experience Team locations throughout the park are available to assist. While waiting for a virtual queue group to be called, you can enjoy other experiences at Disney’s Hollywood Studios including the newest experience, Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway.

UPDATED: 1/29/2020 – Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance is now open in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and, currently, you must use the Boarding Group feature in your My Disney Experience Mobile App to reserve your place in line for this new experience, there is currently no standby line or FastPass+If you do not join a Boarding Group you will not be granted access to the queue for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance but you will have access to enter the land and to ride Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run either as standby or, if your vacation dates are February 19, 2020 or after, if you secured a FastPass+ time. In addition, you will want to keep an eye on park hours as they have been adjusted daily since opening of this new experience and the Boarding Groups become unavailable for the day very quickly, in most cases by 8 am or earlier depending on park opening time.

You must scan your MagicBand or park ticket and enter Disney’s Hollywood Studios before you are able to join a Boarding Group and you can then only join a Boarding Group once Disney’s Hollywood Studios officially opens.

You can follow the Boarding Group information provided below to join a Boarding Group and should receive a notification when your Boarding Group opens. You will be assigned a Group number and estimated wait time for return to the land to join the line for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. Your MagicBand or park ticket will be scanned again before you are allowed access to the ride queue. During this time you are free to enjoy any other experiences at Disney, including going back to your resort to sleep!

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge  is now open and you can use a Boarding Group feature in your My Disney Experience Mobile App to reserve your spot in line to experience Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance  rather than waiting in a physical line. Access to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge does not currently require a Boarding Group.

Early morning visitors wishing to ride Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance will need to join a Boarding Group once the park opens. If you simply want entry to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge , you will be able to head directly into the land to experience shopping, dining, and the Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run attraction either as standby or, if your vacation dates are February 19, 2020 or after, if you secured a FastPass+ time.

As the day progresses, there may be times when a virtual queue will be used to enter Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, allowing you to enjoy the rest of Disney’s Hollywood Studios while waiting for your turn to enter Batuu. Guests should check either the My Disney Experience mobile app or with the Guest Experience team that can be found within the park for the land’s current status.

To make sure that you’ll be able to join the virtual queue, you’ll need to have the latest version of the My Disney Experience mobile app downloaded on your phone. If you’ve enabled push notifications for the app and you have entered the virtual queue, you should be notified when it’s time to return to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. If you don’t, you’ll be able to view the boarding group status in the app, or check the various digital status boards throughout the park.

To see if the land is open or if Boarding Groups are available, you’ll launch your My Disney Experience mobile app and look for the Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge: Status and Access section – tap the “Find Out More” button.

The land’s status will show ‘Closed’ until actual park opening time for that day. If the land’s status shows ‘Open’, and you do not want to secure your spot in line for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, you’ll be able to proceed directly to the entrance near Grand Avenue just to the right of Muppet Vision 3D.

If there are Boarding Groups available, and you want to experience Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, you will then click the “Join Boarding Group” button.

Once you select “Join Boarding Group” you will see the information below in your My Disney Experience mobile app. Click “Continue”.

In the next screen you will select your Party and click the “Join a Boarding Group” button.

You will then be assigned a Group number and estimated wait time for return. Click the “Done” button.

You will be assigned a Group number and estimated wait time for return. If you have push notifications set up on your phone you should receive a message when your Boarding Group opens with a return by time.

For those who don’t choose to use the My Disney Experience mobile app, and you would like to join a Boarding Group, you’ll need to visit a Guest Experience Team kiosk.

As a reminder, for those with reservations for Oga’s Cantina, Savi’s Workshop – Handbuilt Lightsabers, or Droid Depot, if the land is full and you have a reservation, you will be allowed into the land.

Contact your Wish Upon A Star With Us Travel Agent now to book your Walt Disney World or Disneyland resort package for your Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge experience!

Disneyland Resort in California

written by Crystal Boston, Travel Specialist

I have been to Disneyland in California several times – when I lived in California and again in September 2016 when I participated in the runDisney Coast-to-Coast Half Marathon – I didn’t know at the time, but this was the last year for this runDisney experience in California. However, a lot has changed even since 2016 so I was very excited to be chosen to participate in a Travel Agent learning experience at this Disney Destination!

While we toured all 3 of the Disneyland property hotels, we stayed at the Disneyland Hotel. Even though you are in the heart of Anaheim, this is still a very large property with 3 towers for rooms. We stayed in standard rooms that all had magical Disney touches from the light fixtures to the headboards to the faucets! Everything was so “Disney”.


And we toured a themed signature suite at this hotel – Adventureland Suite – which was AMAZING! This suite takes guests on the most luxurious safari ever. With the feel of an explorers’ camp from the 1930s, the Adventureland Suite features a master bedroom fashioned as a safari lodge with a claw-foot bathtub in the living area. In the master bathroom there is a grotto with a foot spa, steam and rain showers, and lighting and sound effects that make you feel like you’re in a rain forest or savanna. There is also a second bedroom, which makes you feel like you’re sleeping in a safari tent. The Asian/Indian-inspired main living area includes a wet bar, a flat-screen TV hidden behind artwork above the faux fireplace, and a “hidden” closet (hint: try the bookcase). When you’re in this suite, it even sounds like you’re in the jungle: the doorbell “rings” with tiki gods playing drums, and – for the first time in a Disneyland Hotel suite – themed background music plays three separate tracks inspired by the Jungle Cruise, Disney adventure-themed movies and music first created for Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park.

There are also 3 other signature suites at the Disneyland Hotel – Fairy Tale, Big Thunder, Mickey Mouse Penthouse and Pirates of the Caribbean. All signature suites include concierge level access.

All of the property hotels have signature suites and concierge level service. The concierge service is different than Walt Disney World where you book the Club Level room type for concierge level services. At Disneyland Resort you book any room type and then pay additional to add on the concierge services per person per night. And, unlike Walt Disney World, you are encouraged to take food and beverage from the concierge offerings to enjoy when in the parks.

During our resort tours we also enjoyed Brunch at Storyteller’s Café with Mickey and Friends! This character dining experience offers a delicious buffet with great character interaction for Breakfast and Brunch. It was a fun experience and I would definitely recommend it for your Disneyland vacation!

Dining reservations open 60 days in advance and walk-ins are typically not available.
There are 5 locations for character dining:
– Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & SpaDisney Princess Breakfast Adventures (Napa Rose) – Breakfast with Disney Princesses
Disneyland Park – Breakfast with Minnie & Friends at Plaza Inn – 7 -11 am *Park ticket required
Disneyland HotelGoofy’s Kitchen – Breakfast & Dinner
Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & SpaMickey’s Tales of Adventure (Storyteller’s Café) – Breakfast and Brunch – after 2:30 pm there are no characters
Paradise PierDonald’s Seaside Buffet – PCH Grill is a small venue and characters are only at Breakfast – this dining experience is known for the best character interaction.

There are 2 parks at Disneyland Resort – Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park – and they are only separated by a small courtyard-like area so park hoppers are definitely the way to go with tickets at Disneyland. Disneyland Park is very similar to Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort except it’s a bit smaller – or at least seems smaller. This is where the new Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge will open Summer 2019.
Note: With Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge scheduled to open Summer 2019, non-Star Wars fans should plan to visit NOW before opening date.


Disney California Adventure is similar to Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World Resort. The two new attractions, Incredicoaster and Guardian’s of the Galaxy, were definitely on my “to-do” list as they were not open yet during my 2016 trip! Neither disappointed but Guardian’s of the Galaxy was my favorite – but one of my favorite rides at Walt Disney World is Tower of Terror and Guardian’s is a similar experience with different theming and a bit different experience but close.

Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa also offers a secret entrance for guests staying at that hotel. This hotel sits “inside” Disney’s California Adventure and offers great views of the park.

And, if you are looking for a quiet spot to get away from it all – the Alfresco Tasting Terrace is the perfect little spot!

The Downtown Disney area offers shopping, dining and entertainment with many outdoor areas to enjoy during the day and at night. Splitsville is new to Disneyland and more new venues will be opening soon!

I also highly recommend adding MaxPass to your resort package. MaxPass will allow you to make advance FASTPASS selections the day of your visit and also includes PhotoPass. If you aren’t heading in to the parks first thing in the morning, be sure to walk over to the Monorail entrance to activate your park tickets – just enter the Monorail area, scan your ticket and exit – you can then make FASTPASS selections if you have MaxPass. Without MaxPass you will only be able to use the paper FASTPASS system once inside the parks. With MaxPass you can have mobile FASTPASS selections and also paper FASTPASS selections for the same or overlapping times.

The PhotoPass system is a bit different at Disneyland than Walt Disney World… for ride photos you will want to take a screenshot of your photo code and enter it into your Disneyland Mobile App as the photos do not automatically capture to your account like they do with your My Disney Experience (MDE) account at Walt Disney World.

And, once you link your park ticket to your mobile app, take a photo of it to save to your phone in case your internet is not working once at or in the parks. They can scan the photo of your park ticket instead of needing to open your mobile app.

Disneyland Resort is a great way to kick off a Southern California vacation – Disney/San Diego/Hollywood – and we can book it all for you! At Paradise Pier there is an Alamo Car Rental office which offers no drop fee to pick up at one location and return to another. So, for example, you could rent a car at Disneyland and drop it in San Diego for your return flight home without any additional drop fees.

If you are looking for a laid back, more spontaneous Disney vacation experience, where you will often see the characters roaming around and interacting with Guests, then Disneyland is for you! Contact me to help you book and plan your Disneyland Resort vacation!!

Storybook Dining at Artist Point with Snow White

Snow White

written by Crystal Boston, Travel Specialist

I recently experienced the new Storybook Dining at Artist Point with Snow White at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, which opened December 16, 2018.

If you have eaten at Artist Point previously, you will notice a few changes… First, the check-in host is now located at the bottom of the ramp before you get to Territory Lounge.

And, while the layout of the restaurant has not changed much, there are new “rustic” features, inspired by the Disney film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, creating an Enchanted Forest.


If you have dined at Artist Point in the past, the menu cover will be familiar but the menu selections and experience have changed.

This is now a prix fixe dinner and Snow White, along with Dopey and Grumpy and the Wicked Queen, make appearances for meet & greets as well as song and dance performances.

For this prix fixe dining experience, you will have shared appetizers for the table. However, they bring enough for each Guest to have their own “small plate”. My favorite was the Wicked Shrimp Cocktail (center photo).

For your entrée, you will choose individually from the menu selections. With our group of 6 we ordered Magic Mirror Slow-braised Veal Shank, Royal Prime Rib Roast and Brother’s Grimm Roasted Chicken. Of these, I had the veal, which was DELICIOUS – I requested the Roasted Brussels Sprouts instead of the Wilted Winter Greens and they went very well with my veal and Celery Root Mashed – a great side to steak or chicken, tastier than mashed potatoes with half the carbs – it tasted a lot like mashed cauliflower and was delicious and light, perfect with my veal. As with all Disney dining experiences, there are also children’s selections on the menu.

And, for dessert, you have a shared experience again with plenty for everyone at the table. I love dessert but the “Poison” Apple was my favorite – I might have eaten two!

At the end of your meal your server will deliver a very special treat…
The Hunter’s Gift to the Queen – Crackled Maple Popcorn with Ganache Hearts – presented with white gloves in a royal treasure chest!

Even the adult beverages are themed! Our group enjoyed the Enchanted Apple (vodka martini) and Evil to the Core (berry margarita).

And, there is a PhotoPass Photographer on hand at the end of your meal to capture you with the Wicked Queen so be sure to purchase Memory Maker with your resort package! It’s a fun but challenging Photo opp – you want to smile for a photo but you also want to follow character with the Queen…

This is a fun character dining experience. If you are a Snow White or Wicked Queen fan, or you just love those cute Dwarfs, be sure to make a reservation for your next Disney vacation! Advance reservations are a must (they were turning Guests away when we checked in for our reservation) and are currently available via your My Disney Experience account and some Dining Plans are accepted.

Please note: Disney Characters join guests for dinner only. Character appearances are subject to change. Menu items are subject to change.

Shared Photo and Video Credit with William Coleman

Child Anxiety on Vacation

Simple Ideas for Lowering Childhood Anxiety on a Disney Parks Trip

Have you dreamt of taking your children to Disney, but worry about the way one or more may react due to crowds, an unknown environment, and over stimulation?

Having traveled numerous times with children who are prone to, what I call, over excitement, I have a few tips!

1. Children under eight will benefit greatly from a stroller. I love to bring my trusty umbrella stroller. Any ride with a comfy back, and sun cover (this is a must) will do! Strollers act as more than just a ride. The shade can be used for blocking the sun along with the feeling of protection against crowds. When not riding in the stroller kids can occupy themselves by pushing it. A stroller is an all around win!

2. Bring a new or favorite toy! It can be used as a mental escape as well as something to hug and hold in order to promote a feeling of safety. While visiting Magic Kingdom, just this year, my youngest son was overwhelmed with the environment. The heat, the crowd, and just all the unknowns, were working his little nerves. I watched him engage with a beloved Toy Story hero, as we were exiting our first stop. It was a must buy. As my older son and I were walking ahead of, my newly appointed space ranger now zooming through the galaxy, I explained the reason we bought him this was to get his mind off his worries. This time the older brother glanced back and said, “wow, ok that did work, he’s happy”. We went from pre-meltdown, to a space ranger with one purchase… why? Mental escape, by way of a special item to focus their energy on. It works wonders!

3. Eat outside! While every parent loves a good sit-down meal, this can be a very stressful time for little ones prone to anxiety….unknown foods, close spaces, having to be quiet, need I go on? Save the stress and sit outside. Disney has many quick service options, with outdoor seating. There’s also the option of bringing lunch. Disney allows you to bring any food and non-alcoholic drinks into the parks. Keep in mind, glass and hard side coolers are NOT permitted.

4. Shorter park trips. I know, with the price we pay to go to Disney World we feel like we should be there all day. Now listen to me, I feel the same way. If I’m with my travel ladies, I’m there from open to close. When we’re with our little ones, that have problems with crowds, they need time to unwind. Plan for down time within the day. I find showing up early, and leaving for a mid day swim at the hotel is perfect! A hotel break gives the kids time to cool down and relax. Then its back to the parks ? for less sun, the nighttime shows, and lower crowds!