All posts by Tracee

Tracee's best advertisement is her Disney love and experience; she's visited the Walt Disney World over 20 times and loves to sample special events like : Epcot's Flower and Garden Festival, International Food and Wine Festival, Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party, Mickey's Christmas Party, the Candle Light Procession and the Osborne Celebration of Lights. Her family has even been chosen to be the Grand Marshall's in the Magic Kingdom Parade! If she had her druthers, she'd be at a Disney theme park every day, but - since SHE can't be there all of the time - she enjoys helping others experience "the magic" instead. She brings her enthusiasm for Disney to every client's vacation planning and offers service with an attention to the details of making a Disney experience magical. In her spare time, she is very active in her church and is a leader in the youth group. She loves spending time with her husband, Jeff, and her twin boys. Tracee is a bonafide "DisneyKin" who loves everything Disney! She adds , "Some of my fondest family memories are of Disney World!"

Out of this world Star Wars Experiences at Walt Disney World

A long time ago in a galaxy, far, far away… (sorry, I just had to do it!)

I’ve just returned from another fantastic Disney World vacation!  The most anticipated  part of our trip was the new Star Wars Experiences.  When Disney does something, it’s always out of this world!  When we entered Hollywood Studios on December 18th, everyone received a collectible BB8 pin.   bb8

The new Watto’s Grotto, located in the back of the park near Lights, wattoMotor, Action, was filled with merchandise.  Before you enter the store, there is a T-47 Airspeeder (best known in its modified Snowspeeder form) parked out front—a vital vehicle for the Rebel Alliance during the Galactic Civil War.  They had a Disney photographer that took our family photo.

Once inside the store, you are immersed in the world of Star Wars.  The back half of the store has a floor to ceiling Sand Crawler that is built into the wall.  The store offers tons of t-shirts, purses, pins, housewares and even a Darth Vader antenna topper.  (This was the only place that I was able to find it!)  Of course, they had a wide variety of Lightsabors.  Itseemed that the new Villain. Kylo Ren, was the most popular.  While we were in the store, they had a BB8 on demo.  The droid is a remote control that was driven by an IPad.  It was a cute little guy that made noise and was sneaking up on shoppers.   yoda

If you are familiar with Hollywood Studios, you will remember the Tatooine Traders that sits outside of the Star Tours ride.  It is still the same store with some new merchandise.  The rear of the store was the most crowded.  It was filled with kids (of all ages) creating their own droid.  They have several bins of heads and bodies to build lightsaber pick from.  There is also a build your own lightsaber area.  This obiwas pretty popular too.  This is where you must choose the dark side or to be part of the resistance and join the Jedi.

Speaking of Jedi, Disney has a thrilling experience for children called Jedi Training:Trials of the Temple.  The young Padawans  sign up at the Indiana Jones store.  From there, they are lined up and given their brown robes.  Under the tutelage of a Jedi, the recruits learn how to use the Force and to wield lightsabers. Now that the Empire has driven the Jedi to the distant corners of the galaxy, the training must proceed in secret at ancient Jedi temples.

After a short training session, the Jedi come face to face with  the evil forces of the dark side.  They must battle Darth Vader and the new villain, the Seventh Sister Inquisitor (from Disney XD series Star Wars Rebels) .  There are several shows throughout the day, so there are opportunities for everyone to become a Jedi.  There can never be enough good in the galaxy!tirals

The other new and very exciting Star Wars feature is Star Wars Launch Bay.  The huge building is located next to the Voyage of the Little Mermaid.  During our visit, we stopped by this attraction several times.  We were greeted by Stormtrooopers, soldiers of the Empire.  They posed for photos but were very strict about it.  They decided who they would pose with and exactly how each person would stand.  These guys were not to be messed with!  mitch saber

Once inside, you entered the Launch Bay Theater.  The 10 minute movie offered insight from writers and directors of past and present Star Wars movies.  One of the most exciting parts of the movie said that they will be releasing 3 movies in 3 years.  That means 2 more in the near future!

After the movie, you are free to explore the area and get an up-close look at replica props, models, costumes and artifacts from the Star Wars films.  One room is set up like the Mos Eisly Cantina from Episode IV, A New Hope.  Here, you encounter Jawa traders roaming jawaabout.  I was told that if I offered them something to trade, they would give me a trinket.  So, I dug through my purse and found a nail file.  I handed it to a Jawa and he looked it over very closely.  After a minute, he looked up at me and nodded.  He gave me a robot head!  So, I lost my finger nail file but gained an exciting experience with a Jawa.

What was the best new Star Wars feature, you ask?  It was a meet and greet with the Dark Lord of the Sith himself, Darth Vader.  This entire visit, from start to finish was fabulous!  The Empire staff was stern and to the point.  We were told that it will be at Lord Vader’s kids and darthdiscretion if he speaks with us.  We were taken back to the room and Vader was on the bridge, looking out the window.  Truthfully, I was a bit terrified!  He was huge and frightening. He turned to us and pointed to my sons.  They went over and he walked around them just looking and breathing that deep raspy breath.  He said “I sense great pride with you two.  This could be good or it could me and chewybe used for evil.  We will meet again”.  Next, was my turn.  I stood next to him, cowering.  Like I said he is HUGE!  After that encounter, we were able to meet  Han Solo’s trusty sidekick, Chewbacca,  He was everything that I’d expected him to be, sweet hug-able and furry!

After a grand day at the Studios, it all ended in a blast!  Disney has concocted a fantastic mixture of original score from the Star Wars movies and dynamic fireworks called Symphony in the Stars.  These were so good that I think they rival Wishes in the Magic fireworksKingdom!  Btw, the best place to view is on Hollywood Blvd, in front of Starbucks.

So, if you’re planning a visit to Disney World, be sure to check out the Star Wars areas.  I promise that you won’t be disappointed.  Follow the force and you will find all of the characters and new merchandise.

 

CELEBRATING NEW YEAR’S EVE DISNEY STYLE

happyWith all of the excitement of the approaching holidays, New Year’s Eve sometimes gets forgotten.  I know that I’m guilty of waiting to think about December 31st until after the 25th!  At that point, it’s usually too late for me to get something fun planned.

For those of you that want to celebrate Disney style, there are several great options this year, and now is the perfect time to plan for them. Walt Disney World has celebrations filled with music, spectacular fireworks and delectable culinary delights this New Year’s Eve:

Atlantic Dance Hall at Disney’s BoardWalk Resortdance

Are you ready to kick up your heels?  You can swing in the New Year at Atlantic Dance Hall at the Boardwalk.  They will have a great, Big Band style party with hats and horns, a viewing of the EPCOT fireworks at midnight.   Toast the new year with champagne. A VIP experience, which includes access to an exclusive VIP section with a bartender and dessert bar is also available. Continue reading CELEBRATING NEW YEAR’S EVE DISNEY STYLE

Disney World Planning–CRUCIAL QUESTIONS

When starting the conversation about a Disney World vacation, planning is the most crucial step.  When I hear families discussing the multitudes of choices that Disney has to offer, some of their questions include: when should we go, where should we stay, what is a Magic Band, caribbetc.  magic band

 

 

 

So, to answer the first question, “When is the best time to visit?”  This answer depends, mainly, on your family.  If you can tolerate the hot, summer weather, I would suggest late August.  The crowds tend to be low because it’s nice and hot!  There are often promotional discounts at this time, too. Continue reading Disney World Planning–CRUCIAL QUESTIONS

Universal Studios Orlando Holdiay Happenings –

I know that most blogs that you read from Our Laughing Place Travel are Disney orienteuniversald. I’ve decided, since we can help travelers with Universal Studios, as well, that I would write about the park’s great holiday happenings.

Unlike Disney World, Universal’s Halloween extravaganza is not for children and those looking for a “Not So Scary” event. “Halloween Horror Nights 24” takes place at Universal Studios and is not for the faint at heart! It consists of 8 haunted houses. I’m sure you will recognize walking deadsome of the house names, such as Halloween, Walking Dead: End of the Line, Alien vs. Preditor, From Dusk til Dawn and Dracula. These attractions pretty much let you know what to expect behind the doors. However, some of the haunts are not so easily the purgedetermined. In one house, Dollhouse of the Damned, you will be chased and mentally tortured by soulless dolls. If your greatest fear is clowns, you will want to stay clear of Giggles and Gore.

As you walk along the paths from house to house, you will be haunted throughout the streets, too. Universal has four themed streets. The Purge, Face Off, Bayou of Blood and MASKerade.  They are all to have you running and screaming for mercy!  I would pack a pair of extra pants! Continue reading Universal Studios Orlando Holdiay Happenings –

Disney World Candlelight Processional 2014

Disney World recently released the dates of one of my favorite holiday events…The Candlelight candlelightProcessional.  The event is held in the American Gardens Theaters in Epcot.  The theater surrounds you in awesome sound and lights.

The annual Processional is the story of Christmas told by a celebrity narrator.   They are joined by a 50 piece live orchestra and chior.  The Choir is made up of cast disney christmasmembers and changing guests choirs (from around the country) throughout the weeks.  Each year, Disney finds several different guests to tell the story.  They have many speakers that come back year after year and they always come up with someone new and exciting, too! Continue reading Disney World Candlelight Processional 2014

10 Different Things to do at Disney World

MickeyParadeIf you’ve traveled to Disney World “more than a few times”, like myself, you may be looking for something other than the theme parks.  I’ve compiled a list of 10 different things that you can do while visiting Disney World that may be of interest.

1.  Go Underground at the Magic Kingdom: A very unique way to view the Magic Kingdom is from underground.  The “utilidors” are a network of corridors that were constructed before the park opened.  They are actually the “ground floor” of the Magic Kingdom.utilidors

The utilidors serve a number of functions.  This includes waste removal, computer systems, kitchens, deliveries and Cast Members’ lockers.  This area is normally not seen by the guests but it is possible to explore.  You can sign up for the Keys to the Kingdom tour.  Along with heading underground, you will see backstage areas, too. Continue reading 10 Different Things to do at Disney World

What’s so great about a MagicBand at Disney World?

When you hear the words “Magic Band”, what comes to mind?  Guitars, drums, amps?magic band box  Well, when a Disney fan hears those words they think about the new bracelet-like band that Disney World has created.  A MagicBand is a key to the world…Disney World, that is.

MagicBands are the latest new technology at Disney World.  Travelers can order and personalize their bands on the MyDisneyExperience.com website.  Your OLP Travel Agent will teach you how to link your resort reservation to make it easy to place the order.  You can customize the band in your favorite color, (they come in pink, blue, green, yellow, red, gray and orange) and have your name inscribe into the inside. The bands ship about 30 days prior to your trip.   When you get to the parks, you can purchase fabric band covers, sliders and charms…all kinds of decorations!   The accessories are sold throughout the parks, resorts and Pin Traders in DownTown Disney.  This will truly make it your personal band.  Continue reading What’s so great about a MagicBand at Disney World?

Sounds Like Summer at Walt Disney World!

Epcot, Disney World, Disney travel agentSummer at Disney World–the parks are open until the wee hours of the morning, all of  the street shows are available at every turn, and the crowds are enjoying the splash pools and misters throughout the parks…  It’s called “Summer Fun!”  Among other great joys of summer, Walt Disney World brings out some of the best tribute bands for their “Sounds Like Summer” concerts in Epcot.

You still have time to grow your long hair and grab a pair of tight, leather pants and rock out to these stadium-style shows.  It will be a “Beautiful Day” when you listen to great classics from U2.  Be sure to “Take it Easy” with songs from the Eagles.  I’m sure you will have a case of “Night Fever” while listening to the cool sounds of the Bee Gees.  That’s nothing that a  dose of “Bad Medicine” can’t handle, while playing the air guitar with the classic covers of Bon Jovi. Continue reading Sounds Like Summer at Walt Disney World!

Star Wars Character Meals at Disney World!

star wars mickeyI have some great news for all of you Star Wars buffs!  First of all, do you have your Star Wars costumes ready, and are you all set to head to Disney’s Hollywood Studios this year for “super-galactic” Star Wars gathering?  Well, get ready for even MORE FUN than usual this year, because  Disney World is now offering two new character meals to enhance the Star Wars weekend.  The meals will be available between May 4 and June 15.  Both of the adventures will be held at Hollywood Studios, where the Star Wars weekends come to life.  Here are the details: Continue reading Star Wars Character Meals at Disney World!

The Pools of Disney World’s Moderate Resorts

3 pigsWith spring right around the corner, I wanted to share some information about the great pools at Walt Disney World’s moderate resorts.  The moderate resorts are a great choice for families that have a modest budget but still want a few  more amenities.

Ahoy Matties!  Take a dip in the Old Pirate Ship themed pool at the Caribbean Beach Resort. This is one of a  total of seven pools.  The main pool, which is a zero entry access,  caribbeanFuentes del Morro, is located in Old Port Royale Centertown.  This pool offers showers and a hot tub. Don’t worry about carrying your towel to the pool.  They are provided for you.  Nice amenity, right?

Adjacent to this pool, is a water area reserved for children under 48″ tall.  This play area is shallow and great for small children.  The water play area also has 2 mini slides and 2 medium size slides.  There is also a small kiddie pool. Continue reading The Pools of Disney World’s Moderate Resorts