Posts filed under ‘Rides and Attractions’

Top Travel Agent Tips for a Better Disney World Vacation

 Partners Statue featuring Mickey Mouse and Walt Disney in the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort. Walt Disney Word: Travel Agent Insider Tips from Build A Better Mouse Trip ~

  • Think through Extra Magic Hours.  Disney has special “Extra Magic Hours” that allow Disney World Resort Hotel guests.  This is where – on select days – the Disney Theme Parks open one hour early or stay open an additional three hours after closing to the general public  A lot of Disney hotel guests plan an itinerary that includes every Extra Magic Hour but this isn’t always a good idea.  For one thing, the Extra Magic Hour park is always the most crowded park of the day so you may actually enjoy more attractions with shorter lines by going to a less crowded park, especially during peak travel seasons.   The parks generally open at 9:00AM, so the Extra Magic Hour begins at 8:00AM – which means that you need to leave your resort by 7:30AM – at the latest – to take advantage of this early opening.  Will your family be interested in getting up that early – especially if they were up late watching fireworks the night before?   Epcot stays open until 9:00PM every night and the Magic Kingdom and Disney’s Hollywood Studios are also often open late.  Will your little ones really be able to enjoy Extra Magic Hours that begin at 9:00PM or later?   We’re not saying that you should always avoid Extra Magic Hours – we just want you to consider crowds and the potential for exhaustion levels when you plan your Disney vacation itinerary.
  • Disney Theme Park Touring Plans – Did you know that people who use theme park touring plans generally cut their time spent in line by 3 hours per day during the busy summer season?   A touring plan is simply using good information to see and do everything that is important to you in a way that minimizes lines and long waits. We are so convinced of the value of a good touring plan that we provide them free to anyone who books their vacation through us. For more information, see:
  • Book T-Rex, Rainforest Cafe, and Raglan Road reservations directly through the restaurants, rather than through Disney dining.  Communication has never been good between these three restaurants and the Disney Dining Reservation system.   Call the restaurants directly, if you’ve been having trouble getting a reservation:   Phone numbers: Raglan Road – 407-938-0300 / Rainforest Cafe (Animal Kingdom) – 407-938-9100 / Rainforest Cafe (Downtown Disney) – 407-827-8500 / T-Rex – 407-828-8739.   These restaurants all participate in the 2012 Disney Dining Plans.
  • Having trouble getting your favorite Disney theme park restaurant reservation?   Go to the restaurant podium as early as possible on the day you’re in that park.  They’ll be able to check for last minute cancellations and may be able to give you a spot, if you can be flexible with dining times.
  • Need to check in for your return flight 24 hours before departure? The guest services desk at the Disney theme parks or the concierge desk at your Disney World resort hotel can help you check in for flights and can even print boarding passes but be sure to bring your airline confirmation number with you.
  • Don’t carry souvenirs & purchases all day – Disney offers package pick-up service at each of the Disney theme parks.  Anything you purchase during the day (cut-off time applies) can be sent to a pick-up desk at the front of the park.  You retain your receipt so there is no worry about lost items.   Guests staying at the Disney World resort hotels can have the items sent to a pick-up area at their resort – they’ll arrive the following day so don’t use the resort delivery service on your day before heading home.
  • Disney Rider Switch Passes for families with small children – Did you know that Disney offers Rider Switch Passes for families that have members who cannot ride a height restricted attraction?  This allows one family member to stay with the non-rider while everyone else rides, then you can switch and the person who waited can ride without having to go to the end of the line.  Disney knows that no one wants to ride alone so the rider switch pass is good for 2-3 riders.  You can read all about it at
  • There are lots of things to do at Disney World that don’t require a theme park admission ticket.  See our list of free things to do at Disney World at
  • Get schedules for Disney World live entertainment (shows, street performers, etc) at
  • Free Activity: Staying at a Disney Resort?  Find out what outdoor movies will be shown at your resort during your stay at
  • Our list of the best quick-service meals available at Disney World can be found at
  • Driving Directions to Disney World

Thank you

Steve & Annette

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

Build A Better Mouse Trip is an independent, Disney-focused travel agency.   We book directly through Disney but are not employees of the Walt Disney World Travel company.


August 1, 2012 at 3:33 pm Leave a comment

Disney World in August – Temporary Attraction Closures & Resort Refurbishments

Disney World Refurbishment Sign Disney World Temporary Attraction Closures & Resort Refurbishments for August 2012:  

One of the great things about summer is that Disney tries to keep ride closures to an absolute minimum so that there are lots of attractions for people to enjoy.

  • Magic Kingdom: The big Fantasyland expansion is well underway and has changed the places you go to see some of your favorite characters. You can see the Little Mermaid characters intermittently at the Adventureland Verandah Porch (check your theme park times guide) but please note that Ariel appears in her human form here and does not have fins. The Disney Princess, Mickey Mouse, and Minnie Mouse Meet-and-Greets are now offered at the new Town Square Theater. FASTPASS tickets available. TinkerBell & Friends now meets guests at Tinker Bell’s Magical Nook in Adventureland.
  • Magic Kingdom: The Liberty Square Riverboat will be closed from August 4 – 10, 2012.
  • Magic Kingdom: The Country Bear Jamboree with be closed from August 22 – October 16, 2012.
  • Epcot: Test Track will be closed April 2012 – Fall 2012.
  • Downtown Disney – Characters in Flight balloon closed indefinitely.
  • Disney’s Beach Club Resort – Cape May Restuarant closed July 9 – August 4, 2012.
  • Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort – Citricos Restuarant closed July 23 – August 3, 2012.
  • Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort – Gasparilla Grill & Games (food court) closed from August 24 – December 16, 2012.
  • Disney’s Yacht Club Resort – Yachtsman Steakhouse Restuarant closed August 27 – September 14, 2012.
  • Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort – Surf Pool wil be closed from August 6 – September 7, 2012. The Grand Slam pool will remain open.  If you enjoy the pools, you may want to call your travel agent to see if you can move to one of the other Disney value resorts with no pool closures without increasing your cost.
  • Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort – Courtyard pool closed August 24 – early December 2012. The Beach Pool will remain open during this time.
  • Disney’s Magnolia Golf Course closed August 6 – 12, 2012.
  • Disney’s Palm Golf Course closed August 13 – 19, 2012.
  • Disney’s Lake Buena Visa Golf Course closed August 20 – 26, 2012.
  • Disney’s Osprey Ridge Golf Course closed August 27 – September 2, 2012.
  • Disney’s Magical Express (Airport Shuttle Service) – This wonderful service providing transportation between the Orlando International Airport and your Disney resort hotel is offered 24 hours a day but luggage service is not offered for arrivals after 10:00PM.   If you have a late-night arrival, you simply need to collect your bags and take them with you on the bus.

New Disney World Resort – Disney’s Art of Animation Resort is now open.

  • Disney’s Art of Animation Resort – The Finding Nemo and Cars sections are both now open at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort.  Construction continues on the Lion King & Little Mermaid areas.   Did you know that they’ve included special recordings of music and the Finding Nemo characters that you can only hear under the water in the “Big Blue” swimming pool?   We’ve added a lot of great new photos of this resort here.

Build A Better Mouse Trip gives you a better Disney vacation by taking the stress out of trip planning & providing theme park touring plans. We book directly with Disney so you never pay more than if you booked the reservation yourself and we provide lots of help and advice designed to take the stress out of vacation planning at no extra cost to you.

1) Help with selecting the right resort or hotel for your budget. We don’t just book Disney resorts – we’re happy to make reservations at other accomodations too.

2) Help with building a Best Days Itinerary – a daily schedule that puts you in the best park for each day of your trip

3) Help with dining reservations (subject to availability)

4.) At no extra cost to you, we will provide 1) a subscription, 2) Tour Guide Mike Subscription – or – 3) the newest edition of The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World when you book through

 Contact us today for a free, no-obligation quote

Thank you


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


July 31, 2012 at 6:39 pm Leave a comment

Snow White’s Scary Adventures Closes Forever on June 1, 2012

Snow White's Scary Adventure closes forever on June 1, 2012 - Magic Kingdom / Disney World.  Walt Disney World announced that Snow White’s Scary Adventures – a ride in the Fantasyland area of the Magic Kingdom – will close forever in June 1, 2012.   The area will be changed to a Disney Princess Meet-and-Greet location.

We have a list of all the places you can find the Disney Princesses at Disney World – see:


  • In addition to Disney World, this there are Snow White’s Scary Adventures rides at Disneyland, Tokyo Disneyland, and Disneyland Park (Paris).
  • Snow White did not appear in the 1971 version of Magic Kingdom’s Snow White’s Scary Adventures. The idea was for riders to feel like they were experiencing the scenes from Snow White’s perspective, though most guests didn’t understand that concept and wondered why Snow White wasn’t even in her own ride.   In 1994, the ride was redesigned to include Snow White.
  • The 1971 version of the attraction had seven figures of the witch, while the current version has six witch figures.

This is just my opinion but Snow White’s Scary Adventures isn’t one of Disney’s best attractions.   If you’re going to Disney World between now and the end of May, go ahead and ride it just because it is closing.    Don’t despair about missing it, if you haven’t ridden it – Disney is in the midst of a major Fantasyland expansion and it sounds like some great things are coming soon.

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

February 24, 2012 at 4:02 am Leave a comment

Last Minute Tips for Visiting Disney World in December

December is such an amazing time to visit Walt Disney World. The theme parks and resorts are all decked out in their full Christmas glory and there is special holiday entertainment in each park. We’ve compiled a few tips to help you have a Better Mouse Trip.

Continue Reading December 2, 2011 at 5:57 pm Leave a comment

Walt Disney World in December 2011 – Crowds, Special Events & Ride Closure Information

Hey there! Your December 2011 trip to the Walt Disney World Resort & Theme Parks is coming up quickly – are you excited? I want to pass on a little information about crowds, ride closures, and special events that might affect your trip

Crowd Warnings:

  • Avoid going to the Magic Kingdom and Epcot on Christmas Day and New Years Eve. There is a good chance that the park could close because of capacity level crowds and the lines will be horrible. Disney’s Hollywood Studios & Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme parks are much better choices for these days.
  • December 1 – 21, 2011. News is getting out about the fun to be had in Walt Disney World in early December but the crowds are only mid-level and quite manageable. Just be sure to watch your “Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party” dates because the Magic Kingdom will close early those nights and won’t have the Disney’s Main Street Electric Parade, which replaced the SpectroMagic Parade.
  • December 22, 2011 – January 2, 2012 – Christmas Break! You will experience “Holiday Crowds” which are even heavier than “Peak” crowds. Disney closed to capacity crowds several times during 06 Christmas Seasons and they expect the same thing to happen again this year. A good touring plan with “Best Days” information is absolutely essential if you don’t want to spend your whole vacation standing in line.
  • Fantasmic! (Disney’s Hollywood Studios) –We’re so happy to report that Fantasmic! is being offered every night this month. This is a very popular show and we highly recommend it – arrive 70-90 minutes early, if you do not have a Fantasmic! Dinner package. Disney may add a second, later performance on certain evenings during the winter break – if they do, the later showing of Fantasmic! will always be less crowded than the earlier one. Warning: This show is excellent but it does feature villains for a good 8-10 minutes. The scene is fairly intense and can be frightening to small children.
  • Disney’s Main Street Electrical Parade (Magic Kingdom) – This wonderful nighttime parade is not offered every night and the Magic Kingdom will be more crowded on days featuring a Disney’s Main Street Electrical Parade. The Disney’s Main Street Electric Parade will be presented on December 1, 3, 5, 8, 10, 12, 15, 17, 19, 20, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31 and January 1, 2, 3. If Disney offers a second evening parade, the later parade will be less crowded than the earlier.
  • Extra Magic Hours – (Special hours only available to Disney resort hotel guest) – We recommend that everyone avoid the Extra Magic Hour park of the day. Disney has 33,000 hotel rooms and no one goes to Disney alone – that means too many people are pointed in the same direction at the same time. You’ll have a much nicer time by going to a less busy park. This is doubly important if you are not staying at a Disney resort – you don’t want to get to the theme park and find a bunch of Disney guests in line in front of you.
  • Pop Warner National Football, Dance, & cheer Events at Walt Disney World – December 3 – 12, 2011. These events take place at ESPN Wide World of Sports and the events themselves will not affect you. You may encounter groups of young athletes and their families in your resort, especially at the All-Star Resorts, and at the theme parks. Don’t let the chatter on some of the forums scare you – this event has a minimal impact on crowds. Enthusiastic youths can raise the noise level at the resorts though; guests staying at a value resort may want to add a request for a room in a quiet location to your reservation. Expect the resort food court to be busy at breakfast, if there are athletic groups staying at your resort.

A good touring plan is a very important tool for dealing with Christmas Break crowds. You can have a great trip and avoid long lines by doing just a little advance planning that will make sure you see and do the things that are important to you in a way that keeps you ahead of the crowds.We provide three choices for custom touring plans – 1) a subscription to Tour Guide Mike, a highly respected online planning service and Disney planning community with 45,000 members, 2) the Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World, the most popular guide book available with information on every resort, restaurant, attraction and activity, or 3) A subscription to – at no charge to you when you book your trip through Build A Better Mouse Trip. Call us toll free at 877-815-6515.

New Character Meal  at Disney World:

  • Beginning December 4, 2011 – Character lunches with Daisy and Donald Duck will be added to Tusker House Restaurant in Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park. This location has offered a character breakfast for some time now and we’re very excited about the addition of lunch. In our opinion, character lunches are better than character breakfasts because you get to ride the rides while the crowds are at their lowest (morning) and then sit down for a meal when the crowds are heavier and you’re ready for a break. This location does participate in the Disney Dining Plan.

Special Events for December: Christmas at Disney World

  • November 11, 2011 – January 3, 2012  – Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights at Disney’s Hollywood Studios theme park. Millions of lights decorate the Streets of America backlot area. No extra charge – included with the cost of admission.
  • Candlelight Processional (Epcot) – November 25 – December 30th, 2011. Nightly: 5:00, 6:45, & 8:00PM. A large choir, orchestra, and celebrity narrators retell the Christmas Story in the America Gardens Theatre. This beautiful production is extremely popular and fills to capacity. TIP: Arrive at least 45 minutes early for the 5:00PM performance for your best chance to get in with a minimum wait. This year’s celebrity narrators (subject to change without notice):   Nov. 25 – Nov. 27th: Mira Sorvino  /  Nov. 28 – Dec. . 1: Michael W. Smith  / Dec. 2 – Dec. 3: Whoppi Goldberg / Dec. 4 – Dec. 6: Edward James Olmos  / Dec. 7 – Dec. 9: Isabella Rosselina  / Dec. 10 – Dec. 12: Neil Patrick Harris   / Dec. 13 – Dec. 15: Lorraine Bracco  / Dec. 16 – Dec. 18: To Be Announced  / Dec. 19 – Dec. 21: Trace Adkins  /Dec. 22 – Dec. 24: Susan Lucci / Dec. 25 – Dec. 27: Blair Underwood  / Dec. 28 – Dec. 30: Marlee Matlin with interpreter Jack Jason
  • Holiday’s Around The World (Epcot) – November 25 – December 20, 2011. The World Showcase pavilions will each feature a special holiday storyteller that tells about Christmas (or other holiday) festivities in that country. No extra ticket needed – included with your park admission. Check your Epcot Times Guide. Storyteller Locations: American Adventure: Story of Hanukkah, Santa Claus, Story of Kwanzaa /Canada: Papa Noel China: The Monkey King /France: Pere Noel / Germany: Helga /Italy: La Befana / Japan: Daruma Vendor / Mexico: The Three Kings  /Morocco: Taarji / Norway: Julenissen /United Kingdom: Father Christmas
  • Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. Magic Kingdom – 7 PM to Midnight – November 8, 9, 11, 13, 15, 18, 27, 28, and 30; December 2, 4, 6, 7, 9, 11, 13, 14, 16,  and 18. This event requires a special ticket – your Magic Your Way ticket won’t get you in. Tickets are $55 – $67 depending on the date and age of the participant. It is a fun event but it costs a chunk of change so use your own judgment as to whether this is a “must do” event for your trip. Just call and we’ll be happy to answer your questions or to book those tickets for you. If you are not doing this event, you will want to be aware that the Magic Kingdom closes early – at 7PM – on the nights of the Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party and they generally won’t have the Disney’s Main Street Parade those nights.
  • Animal Kingdom – Mickey’s Jingle Jungle Parade ~ November 8, 2011 – January 3, 2012. A special holiday parade where Mickey Mouse and his friends celebrate teh season safari style.
  • Christmas Church Service at Walt Disney World – December 25, 2011. Religious services are being offered at Disney’s Contemporary Resort in the Fantasia Ballroom. Catholic mass is December 25th at 8:00AM and 10:15AM. Protest service offered at 9:00AM. Guests are asked to use the WDW transportation to the Contemporary Resort – parking will not be available at the resort. Start at the Magic Kingdom and take the monorail to the Contemporary Resort or use the walking trail. Guests parked at the Walt Disney World Ticket and Transportation Center (also Magic Kingdom parking) can take the monorail to the Contemporary Resort.

Temporary Attraction Closures and refurbishments:

  • Ariel’s Grotto & Pooh’s Playful Spot (Magic Kingdom) have closed to make room for the big Fantasyland expansion project.
  • Mickey’s Toontown Square (Magic Kingdom) closed on February 11, 2011. A new area is being contructed in this space. The Walt Disney World Railroad will continue to run but the Toontown Station will be closed during construction. The Disney Princesses, Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse Meet-an-Greets are now in the new Town Square Theater; FASTPASS tickets available. Tinker Bell and Friends are meeting guests at Tinker Bell’s Magical Nook at the Adventureland Verandah in the Magic Kingdom.
  • Honey, I Shrunk The Audience 3D (Epcot) has been replaced by Captain EO, featuring Michael Jackson
  • Yakitori House (Restaurant – Epcot) will be closed August 8, 2011 – December 1, 2011.
  • Disney’s Blizzard Beach (water park) – is closed October 20 – December 3, 2011 for its annual refurbishment.
  • Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon (water park) – will be closed December 4, 2011 – March 17, 2012 for its annual refurbishment.
  • Disney’s Polynesian Resort – Beach Sand Renourishment from Dec. 24, 2011 – Jan. 10, 2012.
  • Disney’s Grand Floridian Spa will be closed from September 19, 2011 to Mid-2013. The fitness center will remain open. Spa services are available at The Spa at Disney’s Saratoga Stprings Resort.
  • Disney’s Magnolia Golf Course will be closed November 28 – December 7, 2011.
  • Disney’s Oak Trail Golf Course will be closed December 8 – 16, 2011.
  • Disney’s Osprey Ridge & Lake Buena Vista Golf Courses will be closed Christmas Day, Dec. 25, 2011.

Disney’s Magical Express (Airport Shuttle Service) -New luggage procedure for late night arrivals. Luggage service will no longer be available for arrivals to Orlando International Airport after 10:00PM. Collect your luggage at baggage claim and take with you to the Disney’s Magical Express check-in desk.

Disney Theme Park Touring Plans:

At Build A Better Mouse Trip, we are convinced that everyone can benefit with good touring plans – this is even more important during holiday travel seasons. During busy times, a good plan will absolutely keep you ahead of the crowds and out of the lines – our clients typically wait less than 20 minutes for rides, even thrill rides and headliners. During less crowded times, a good plan factors in shorter park hours and fewer performance times. But the most important benefit of a good plan is that everyone gets to ride and see the things that they are looking forward to because everyone’s priorities are included in a plan that tours the parks efficiently and effectively.

We offer three great options for touring plans at no extra cost to you when you book your Disney vacation through Build A Better Mouse Trip – For more information, see:

Do you need this information for some other month?  You can see all of our newsletters at

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

November 21, 2011 at 5:41 pm 1 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

Monthly Disney World Crowd Information and Special Event Newsletters

Are you looking for information about crowds and special events at Disney World?   Would you like to know which Disney theme park rides and attractions will be closed during your vacation?   We’ve compiled all that information into one convenient location for you on our website’s montly Walt Disney World Resort newsletter page:

You can scroll down the page or just select the month you need on the navigation bar on the left side of the screen.   You don’t need to join any mailing lists – it’s free and right there on your computer screen.  Because it is accessible to everyone, it’s super easy to make sure everyone in your party has this information.

We hope this information helps you get the most from your Walt Disney World vacation.

Thank you,

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

May 19, 2011 at 7:07 pm Leave a comment

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