Archive for October, 2011

Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort Photos & Information

I’m thrilled to report that I finally got the presention done for Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort – a moderate level hotel at Walt Disney World.    When we launched the business, we had all kinds of time to work on the website.  Then the business grew to the point where we were too busy to work on the website but couldn’t yet afford to pay someone else to do it.   We recently added to fantastic agents (Traci & Lisa), giving me a little more time to add content – which is something I love to do.

Please take a minute and check out our Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort page at

Thank you,


Build A Better Mouse Trip
Toll free: 877-815-6515




October 24, 2011 at 12:40 am Leave a comment

Google Doodle honors Disney legendary artist Mary Blair

Google Doodle honoring Mary Blair

Legendary Disney artist Mary Blair was born 100 years ago today and is being honored with today’s “Google Doodle”.  She was a gifted artist with a bold eye for color who worked on concept art and color design for many Disney films like Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, Song of the South, and Cinderella.

Mary Blair is credited with the color scheme for the “it’s a small world” attraction.

Mary Blair and Walt Disney show "it's a small world" concept art

Her bold, contrasting color scheme used pure primary colors “straight from the tube” in a style that is called “faux naive”.

"it's a small world" artwork

There’s a great blog about the creation of “it’s a small world” that you’ll want to check out at and another well-written blog about Mary Blair in the 1940’s at

Mary Blair also designed the 90-foot mural that is the focal point of the concourse  at Disney’s Contemporary Resort.

Mosaic Mural at Disney's Contemporary Resort

Mary Blair travelled to South America with Walt & Lillian Disney as part of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Good Neighbor tour.   If you’d like to know more about that, you should watch “Walt and el Grupo” (available to stream on Netflix).

Walt & el Grupo movie poster

Mary Blair died of a cerebral hemorrhage on July 26, 1978.   She was given a Disney Legend award posthomously in 1991.

Build A Better Mouse Trip
Authorized Disney Vacation Planners
Toll free: 877-815-6515

October 21, 2011 at 4:30 pm Leave a comment

Shoppers can save 25% at Downtown Disney benefit sale on November 5th

Shoppers can save 25% at Downtown Disney benefit sale

If you don’t mind getting up before dawn, you can get a jump on holiday shopping and save 25 percent off select merchandise at Downtown Disney next month.

Disney World is partnering with the United Way to again host The Benefit Sale from 5:30 to 9:30 a.m. Nov. 5. Shoppers each purchase a $5 voucher for the event, which allows them to enter the participating stores during the sale.

The discount applies to most merchandise at World of Disney, Tren-D, Team Mickey, Disney Days of Christmas, Once Upon A Toy, Disney Pin Traders and Mickey’s Pantry.

To purchase vouchers, go to Vouchers can be purchased online until Nov. 3 or at Downtown Disney on Nov. 5. Vouchers must be exchanged for wristbands to participate in the sale. For questions, call 407-429-2129.



October 18, 2011 at 9:07 pm Leave a comment

Disney’s Animal Kingdom / Kilmanjaro Safari Trivia

The song played on the radio of your Kilimanjaro Safari vehicle (Disney’s Animal Kingdom) is “Hapa Duniani”, performed by African Dawn, and is actually The Lord’s Prayer in Swahili.

October 18, 2011 at 6:58 pm Leave a comment

A Royal Caribbean Fan’s Perspective on Disney Cruise Line

Here’s a strange confession from a Disney-focused travel agent: before going on a Disney Cruise, my family were committed fans of Royal Caribbean Cruise Line.  Royal Caribbean is very highly rated in the market for older teens & college aged people for good reason – things like the ice rink, climbing wall, & flow-rider.   I even told my kids, “I know that you’re not going to like Disney Cruise Line as well as you like Royal Caribbean and I want your honest assessments but please try to be fair.”   Disney is top dog in the market for families with younger children but they haven’t always scored as well with teens and young adults.  I was really surprised when my two girls (12 & 17 at the time) said that they actually preferred the Disney cruise.  

Here’s what we liked:

  • Disney does your arrival and cast-off better than other cruise lines.   For example,  you are announced when you board.   They might say, “The Jones Family, from New Jersey, have arrived and are sailing with us for the very first time!”  Then there are several crew members in dress uniform who clap enthusiastically like you are royalty.  I assume they do this on the bigger ship too but don’t know for sure.   It’s so great.  Then they encourage everyone to go on deck when it’s time to sail away from the pier.   There’s the Disney themed sounding of the horn and confetti and Disney employees on a deck back at the terminal who wave (again) enthusiastically.   It’s like being on the maiden voyage of the Titanic…or something…anyway, it is great.   You spend a lot to go on a cruise and they make the it such a celebration…not only are you going on a cruise but people are seeing you going on a cruise.  My mother would say that all that attention will give one “the big head” but I thought it was marvelous!
  • The Disney cruise terminal in Cape Canaveral is very nice – Disney designed it from the ground up so it is just easier and more pleasant than some other ports.  Getting to teh port is a breeze too – no big city traffic or confusing streets.   For driving directions, see:
  • Disney Cruise Line tries to evoke the feel of the golden years of transatlantic cruises.  To that end, Disney’s décor is more elegant where Royal Caribbean & Carnival are more glitzy.   We thought the ship was just beautiful.
  • The staterooms are definitely larger on the Disney cruise and our family really appreciated the split bathroom.  On past cruises, my husband had to step out of the stateroom while our girls got ready for formal nights because there just wasn’t much room.   Having one space for showering and another space with a sink & toilet allowed 4 people to have privacy while sharing a bathroom.
  • The movie theatre on-board was very nice.   I don’t really go on cruises to see movies but we got to see a first run movie in a very nice setting, which the girls loved.
  • My girls felt like there were more activities that we could enjoy together, as a family.   The other cruise lines have excellent kids’ programs and excellent activities for adults but somewhat limited offerings for kids & adults together.   Disney had lots of activities geared towards multi-generational participation.
  • My youngest daughter appreciated that the activities in the children’s program actually started when scheduled.  We tend to do things as a family when on a family vacation so Michaela would check in to the kids’ program only when something was of particular interest.  The kids program on Royal Caribbean is excellent but starting & ending times for activities are approximations.   On Disney, even if one activity ends a little early, they wait until the posted time to begin the next activity.   We knew when to check her in and didn’t have to worry about her missing out on something that she wanted to. 
  • I liked the pagers they provide parents when kids are in the kids program.  Michaela could send messages like “ we need a little extra time” or “I’m ready to be picked up now”.  It made me feel more comfortable with leaving her when I knew that she could communicate with me, if she needed me.
  • My daughters – raised on a steady diet of all things Disney – loved the evening shows.   I agree that the productions and performers were better than those on Royal Caribbean but they are just SO Disney (Toy Story – The Musical, for example).   I would’ve preferred something a little less child-centered; of course, I may suffer from Disney over-exposure a bit as a Disney-focused travel agent.  We did really enjoy the “Golden Mickey’s” show.
  • The Rotation Dining (different restaurants) were fun and it was nice to have the same servers at each of the restaurants.   In fairness, I must say that the Disney food was good but not exceptional.   I felt like our head waiter was just more attentive than what we’ve experienced on other cruise lines.  Because you do rotate between restaurants, the head waiter helps you find your table or connect with your servers, as needed, when you go into a new restaurant.   When I wondered how many plates & bowls the ship needed to serve so many meals, our server got the head waiter who came over and gave me a full accounting of the dishes – it was very interesting.   On other cruise lines, I felt like I only saw the head waiter on the night when tips were distributed.  
  • Castaway Cay (Disney’s private island) is incredible and beautiful.   A highlight of the cruise, for sure!  If I ever jump ship – it’ll be a Castaway Cay.
  • The staff was excellent and the ship was clean – very Disney in that regard.
  • I do feel compelled to say that the swimming pools on the smaller ships are a bit of a disappointment, if you’re used to the larger Royal Caribbean Ships.  I haven’t been on the Disney Dream yet so I can’t give a first-hand perspective on  the bigger ships’ pools – they look incredible and are getting rave reviews.    

I’d be very happy to help you and your family or friends with a Disney cruise.   I can answer your questions and get a brochure to you.  Once you book, we’ll send the Passporter’s Guide to the Disney Cruise Line and Ports of Call to you as a thank you gift.  And you can just let me know what else you need all through the vacation planning process.  

Please let us know how we can be of service!

Thank you,


Build A Better Mouse Trip
Toll free: 877-815-6515

October 16, 2011 at 5:28 pm Leave a comment

Important Disney Dining Reservation Information – New Credit Card Hold Policy

As of October 26, 2011, Disney World is instituting a new policy requiring a credit card to hold/confirm  certain dining reservations.   Making a reservation at select signature and character dining locations throughout Walt Disney World’s hotels and theme parks will require submitting credit card information up front.  Nothing is charged to the credit card at the time of booking but you will be charged $10 per person if you are a “no show” or if reservations are not cancelled more than 24 hours before the reserved time.

Since the launch of Disney’s online dining reservation system in 2009, there has been an issue with guests booking multiple reservations at the same time with few restrictions or penalties for multiple bookings or not showing up for the reservation without canceling first.  This made it difficult for other guests to get a fair opportunity to book legitimate dining reservations. The potential of being charged $10 per guest should result in diners thinking twice before booking excessive numbers of reservations.

The phone number 407-WDW-CNCL is now available to assist with cancellations.

The policy applies to the following locations and restaurants:

Walt Disney World resort hotel restaurants:

  • 1900 Park Fare / Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort
  • Artist Point / Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
  • California Grill / Disney’s Contemporary Resort
  • Cape May Café / Disney’s Beach Club Resort
  • Chef Mickey’s / Disney’s Contemporary Resort
  • Cítricos / Disney’s Grand Floridian
  • Flying Fish Café / Disney’s Board Walk Inn
  • Jiko – The Cooking Place / Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
  • Narcoossee’s  / Disney’s Grand Floridian
  • ‘Ohana  / Disney’s Polynesian Resort
  • Yachtsman Steakhouse / Disney’s Yacht Club Resort 
  • Victoria & Albert’s ($25 per person fee) / Disney’s Grand Floridian  

Magic Kingdom:

  • The Crystal Palace


  • Akershus Royal Banquet Hall – Princess Storybook Dining
  • The Garden Grill
  • Le Cellier Steakhouse 

Disney’s Hollywood Studios:

  • The Hollywood Brown Derby
  • Hollywood & Vine
  • Fantasmic! Dinner Packages  

Disney’s Animal Kingdom:

  • Tusker House Restaurant 

Pre-paid Walt Disney World dining locations already operate under a similar policy, with an even stricter rule. If reservations at dinner show locations are not cancelled in advance of 24 hours before the reserved time, the full dinner price is still charged with no refunds available. This policy exists at:

  • Disney’s Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show
  • Cinderella’s Royal Table
  • Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue
  • Mickey’s Backyard BBQ 

At Build A Better Mouse Trip, we are always happy to book dining reservations (subject to availability) on behalf of our clients – it is one of the services we offer to make vacation planning easier for you.  Please let me know if you have any questions about the above information – we’re here to help.  

Thank you,


Build A Better Mouse Trip
Toll free: 877-815-6515

October 12, 2011 at 5:06 pm 1 comment

Recent Posts


Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 11 other followers