Jun 022010

When you get in trouble and you don’t know right from wrong
Give a little whistle! Give a little whistle! — Jiminy Cricket

Do you have a Disney dilemma? Are you wondering about a certain attraction? Are you curious about a resort or a cruise? Give us a little whistle and we’ll help you sort out how to handle it. Questions should be sent to whistle@magically-speaking.com. If your dilemma is trip-related, please include when you will be traveling.

Q. We are planning a trip to Disney (next June) and were wondering if next year will there be some kind of year-long celebration for the 40th anniversary or will there be something in the summer or something around October? (Submitted by Deann)

A. Nothing has been released regarding next year’s theme with Disney, but traditionally fall seems to be the time when the upcoming promotion is announced. This year’s Give a Day, Get a Disney Day promotion was so popular that Disney gave out the planned million free tickets (and more) back in March, so the 2010 promotion is effectively over (although of course people who signed up to volunteer prior to the March 9 finish can still use their Give a Day tickets through the rest of the year.

As for visiting in June, if you happen to be Star Wars fans, Disney’s Hollywood Studios hosts Star Wars Weekends. It is an opportunity for guests to find their “inner force,” meet celebrities from the movies, and pretty much immerse themselves in all things Star Wars. At Epcot, you enjoy the Sounds Like Summer concert series. This summer, Disney’s promoting its Summer Nightastic! events, but that’s probably a one-time deal that won’t be running for you next summer.

In October, Epcot’s International Food and Wine Festival gives guests the opportunity to sample “specialty food items” and be part of “culinary events, sophisticated parties and live musical entertainment.” For the first time, Walt Disney World is hosting the Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon on Saturday, October 2. If you’d rather keep it lighter, Mickey’s Halloween Family Fun Run 5K is the same weekend. Also, Mickey’s Not so Scary Halloween Party is a chance to be part of a private party at the Magic Kingdom where guests can trick-or-treat, visit characters in costume, and partake in lots of other fun fall events. Don’t miss the Headless Horseman!

Whichever time-frame you pick, Deann, have a magical vacation!

Q. Is the balloon ride still available at Downtown Disney? We rode it last year, but haven’t heard anything on the blogs, etc. about it. It sure was exciting and not too expensive at $16 a person. (Submitted by Lois)

A. Absolutely! Characters in Flight was closed in April for a refurb, but it’s definitely operating now, on Downtown Disney’s West Side.

For those who haven’t done it before, the Characters in Flight balloon has a gondola which holds between 10-3- guests (it’s weather-dependent) plus the pilot. The 72-foot diameter balloon ascends to a height of 300 feet. If visibility is good, passengers can see up to ten miles away. Operating hours seem variable, but, weather permitting, it’s up and running at least 10:30 a.m. through 11:00 p.m., seven days a week. Tickets are purchased right there at the attraction. Currently the cost is $18 per adult, $12 per child (3-9), and free for guests under two. Kids under 12 need to be accompanied by an adult. The balloon is wheelchair accessible. Strollers and ECVs aren’t allowed on board.

Disney has contracted this attraction with Aérophile, so it’s not run by Cast Members, but still manages to be a fun extra during a Downtown Disney visit.

Q. We are going on our first Disney Cruise this November, a three-day on the Wonder. If it goes well, we are thinking about booking a longer cruise for Easter 2012. When will the 2012 itineraries be released? Is there any advantage to booking our second cruise while on the first? (Submitted by Kerri)

A. Kerri, Disney Cruise Line doesn’t have predictable timing for announcing a new year’s worth of itineraries. We’re eagerly anticipating the 2012 line-up, though, since it should incorporate plans for the newest ship, the Disney Fantasy. Keep an eye on this newsletter, as Magically Speaking will definitely include news of the 2010 DCL announcements. And for even quicker notification, you can always count on a Disney-specialized travel agent.

As for on-board booking, definitely go for it! You’ll get a nice percentage discount off the cruise price, plus a better-than-usual On Board Credit to spend during the booked cruise. If the 2012 itineraries aren’t released by the time of your November cruise, no worries. Just book “dummy” dates, dates for sometime in 2011, and then you can change your reservations to the correct dates, once DCL releases the 2012 plans.

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