This summer, when guests head on down the highway to Disney California Adventure® Park at Disneyland® Resort, they’ll be able to meet one of the newest stars from Disney·Pixar’s “Cars 3,” Cruz Ramirez. Cruz has joined Lightning McQueen and Mater in Cars Land. She’ll also be taking a summer road trip down to the Sunshine State, stopping in on Pixar Place at Disney’s Hollywood Studios® at Walt Disney World® Resort.
In Disney·Pixar’s “Cars 3,” Cruz Ramirez is a top-notch technician at the Rusteze Racing Center where she’s assigned to train the team’s talented rookies. Cruz always had racing dreams of her own, but it isn’t until she meets Lightning McQueen that she realizes her passion to compete is still there. Now she’ll finally get the chance to see if she’s got what it takes to win.
Woodbrey Family Travel
Have you ever wanted to meet BB-8 the droid from Star Wars: Force Awakens? Well starting this spring at Disney’s Hollywood Studios at the Walt Disney World Resort guests will have the opportunity to meet the famous droid. He will be meeting guests in the parks Star Wars Launch Bay.
BB-8 will appear in addition to Kylo Ren (or Darth Vader) and Chewbacca, the characters from the Star Wars galaxy who guests can regularly encounter at Star Wars Launch Bay.
Woodbrey Family Travel
Over the last year, Minnie Mouse has been inviting guests to meet her friends for a fun and exciting dinning parties at the Hollywood Vine restaurant in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. For this upcoming Halloween season, Minnie and her friends will be dress in their all-new Halloween costumes for the parties. Minnie’s Halloween Dine starts on September 12th and runs through November 6th. The cost for this event is $46.99 per adult and $27.99 per child, plus tax and gratuity. Guests can book this character dining experience today online at DisneyWorld.com/dine or by calling 407-WDW-DINE.
Disney is excited to debut all-new Star Wars experiences at Disneyland Park in Southern California and Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Florida in the coming months.
Beginning Nov. 16, 2015, guests visiting Disneyland Park will have the chance to jump to lightspeed with Season of the Force, featuring opportunities to meet some of their favorite Star Wars characters, experience an exciting twist on a favorite attraction and more.
Opening at Disneyland Park on Nov. 16 will be:
- Star Wars Launch Bay – This new area will offer opportunities to visit with favorite Star Wars characters, special exhibits, peeks at the upcoming Star Wars: The Force Awakens and much more.
- Star Tours – The Adventures Continue – This popular attraction will feature a new scene inspired by the upcoming film, Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
- Jedi Training Academy : Trials of the Temple – Coming in December, a twist on the Jedi Training experience will introduce new characters and a new villain from the popular Disney X D series, Star Wars Rebels.
- Hyperspace Mountain – For a limited time, guests will join an X-wing starfighter battle in this reimagining of the classic Space Mountain attraction.
- Other limited-time experiences include:
- An opportunity to revisit favorite scenes from classic Star Wars films at Tomorrowland Theater.
- Special themed food and beverage, merchandise and entertainment.
Disney will have release dates to share soon for Season of the Force at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Florida.
Disney Parks is also preparing to take guests to a galaxy far, far away with new Star Wars-themed lands. With groundbreaking scheduled to take place in 2016 for our largest single-land expansions ever, building the new 14-acre lands will be major projects at both Disneyland Park in Southern California and Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Florida.
Work to make room for this new land at Disneyland Park in California will require the Rivers of America and the Disneyland Railroad to close temporarily. The following will suspend operations at the end of the operating day on Jan. 10, 2016:
- The Disneyland Railroad, including all stations
- Attractions along the Rivers of America, including:
- Mark Twain Riverboat and Sailing Ship Columbia
- Pirate’s Lair on Tom Sawyer Island
- Davy Crockett Explorer Canoes
Elsewhere in Frontierland, Big Thunder Ranch – including Big Thunder Ranch Barbecue, Big Thunder Ranch Petting Farm and Big Thunder Ranch Jamboree – will close permanently at the end of the operating day on Jan. 10, 2016.
Stay tuned for more details on Season of the Force!
– Cody Woodbrey
The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights has become a tradition for many families and guests traveling to the Walt Disney World Resort. Located in the back of Disney Hollywood Studios on the Streets of America hang over 5 million multicolored lights, covering every building top to bottom. There are literally hundreds of displays to see as you walk along the streets. You will see things like a twirling carousel, Santa and his reindeer, flying angels, toy soldiers, snowmen, bells, a giant rotating globe with Peace on Earth displayed across it, 42 hidden Mickeys, and of course, the traditional manger scene.
Disney didn’t just stop with the millions of lights, but it has synchronized the lights to high-energy traditional Christmas music while covering their guests with some light snow flurries. That’s right. Disney makes it snow the entire night. Each night they go through about 100 gallons of snow fluid and have 66 snow machines to create this winter wonderland. It is the best light display and show you will ever see.
Can you imagine how long it would take to hang over 5 million lights stretching over 10 miles, including rope lights, 130 angels, a hundred different displays, and 32 miles of extension cables? Well, they start putting everything together starting in August and continue almost every day up to the opening night. Pretty amazing if you ask me!
It all started with a father’s Christmas gift to his daughter in the town of Little Rock, Arkansas. Each year he would put up more lights and more displays. When he ran out of room he bought the two houses next to his so he could expand his display. Well, his neighbors didn’t like it very much, so through a court battle he had to take it all down. This is where the Walt Disney Company stepped in and continued their fun and exciting tradition. It was only in 2006 they synchronized everything to music.
In addition to everything else, each year Disney cast members hide a purple cat, and guests try to find where they put him. The cat is one of the original displays from the Osborne family. Most of the displays were replaced or updated throughout the years. The Osborne Spectacle of Lights really is something everyone needs to experience, at least once in his or her lifetime.
– Cody Woodbrey
There are a lot of different types of snacks and desserts found at the Walt Disney World Resort properties. Here is a list of the top 15 choices from my guests’ favorite snacks and desserts while they visit Walt Disney World… Try not to get too hungry reading blog!
1. Dole Whip Ice Cream or Dole Whip Float – Location: Aloha Isle In Adventureland at the Magic Kingdom and at Capt. Cook’s in Disney’s Polynesian Resort
2. Mickey Premium Ice Cream Bar – Location: In all parks
3. Funnel Cake – Location: Sleepy Hollow at the Magic Kingdom and at the Funnel Cake stand near the American Pavilion in Epcot
4. Churro – Location: Mexico Pavilion in Epcot
5. Frozen Lemonade – Location: In all parks
6. Carrot Cake Cookie – Location: Writer’s Shop in Disney’s Hollywood Studios
7. Mickey Mouse Shaped Pretzels- Location: In all parks
8. Fish & Chips (Fries) – Location: Rose and Crown Rub in Epcot
9. Turkey Leg – Location: Toluca Legs Turkey Co. in Disney’s Hollywood Studios
10. Popcorn & Pickles – Location: In all parks
11. Strawberry Tart- Location: Les Halles Boulangerie & Patisseries in Epcot
12. Ghirardelli Hot Fudge Sundae – Location: Ghirardelli Soda fountain shop at Downtown Disney
13. The Grey Stuff – Location: Be Our Guest Restaurant at Magic Kingdom
14. LeFou’s Brew- Location: Gastons’s Tavern at the Magic Kingdom
15. The Kitchen Sink (The Biggest Ice Cream Sundae You Can Imagine)- Location: Beaches & Cream Soda Shop at Disney’s Beach Club Resort (Along the Boardwalk)
Again, there are a lot of great snacks even beyond these 15 choices. Feel free to comment and share some of your favorite desserts below.
– Cody Woodbrey
There are several ways in which to get the most out of your “meet and greet” with your favorite Disney Characters. As a performer at Walt Disney World, I can tell you that I’ve seen and experienced it all – the good, the bad, and everything in between. I have therefore compiled some tips and information for you in order to help make this experience the best for your family. This blog post is created to help you better your experience and maximize your “meet and greet” time with the characters.
Lesson 1: Be Prepared
There are a couple of things you can do to be prepared before you ever meet the character.
1. Have your autograph books and cameras ready. This will give you more time to play and interact with the characters versus trying to get your book out or camera ready. This also helps the line go quicker.
2. Take off jackets, bags and/or ponchos. Doing this makes for better-looking pictures. Waiting until you get up to the character takes away from your time to interact with them.
3. Put down any food or drinks. The characters will not take pictures with them in the picture.
Lesson 2: The Approach
When you approach the Disney character, don’t shove your book into their hands.
1. They want to say hi first with a hug or a high five. They want to know you are there for more than just a signature.
2. Make sure the character sees you approaching. They don’t have the best eyesight, and at times they don’t even realize there is a young child by their legs.
3. Please do not jump up on them.
4. Be careful when touching their heads – it’s actually preferred that you don’t touch their heads at all.
5. Everyone must be wearing shoes unless they are being held.
6. They cannot hold your baby.
7. Don’t be rough with the characters. They can be hurt!
Lesson 3: Helping Unsure Kids
I’ve seen hundreds of families that wait in long lines to see the characters only to get up to them and find that their child no longer wants to see them or is crying. These tips will help you get those pictures without the big hassle or need for convincing.
1. Let them watch the character interact with the other families and talk to them about all the fun the other families are having.
2. Holding the child or getting down to the child’s level helps the child feel safe and protected.
3. Hold the child’s hand while walking up to the character.
4. Ask someone to take the picture for you so you can stay with your child. I usually ask the family behind me to do it just in case there isn’t someone at the front of the line to do it. Always check the photo before moving on, as not everyone knows how to use a camera correctly.
5. When taking a picture with your child, put them on the outside shoulder away from the character. By doing this you will help keep them from looking at the camera instead of at the character and/or help them stop crying.
6. If the opposite shoulder strategy doesn’t work, take several steps in front of the character, get their attention to look at the camera, and take the picture. This helps because the child is far enough away that they feel a bit safer and you still get a picture with the character.
Lesson 4: Writing Material for Autographs
By having the right kind of writing utensils it will help you get the best signature possible.
1. Even before you hand the character the autograph books, make sure you use the words “Please” and “Thank You”. These words are often forgotten, but greatly appreciated!
1 – 2-inch pens are hard for anyone to write with, and with a paw it is even harder.
2. Light ink pens or coloring utensils make it hard for the characters to see what they are signing. Use dark ink or colors for signing. When the character can see what they are signing you will get a great signature.
3. Larger-than-life pens are also not the easiest to write with for the characters. The thickness of the pen does make it a bit hard to get a good grip for a great signature.
4. Disney characters’ favorite type of writing utensil is a regular-sized SHARPIE. The inks are thick and they are extremely easy to hold.
5. Characters love it when you use different colors – For example: Tigger loves using Orange colors, whereas The Green Army Man loves using Green to write.
6. The characters also love writing with the fun different Disney pens. They love tickling your faces with the ones with the fuzz on the ends or twirling the character on the end of the pen. They especially love pens with themselves on them.
7. 2-inch size papers or loose papers without something hard behind them are hard to sign on. If you are going to have the papers loose, then use a small clip board. Doing this will help you get the best quality of signatures possible.
Lesson 5: What Characters Can Write On
Disney characters love to sign their name on things, but there are a few things they cannot sign.
1. They cannot sign currency, checks, receipts, other important documents, or things with inappropriate materials on them.
2. They can sign shirts, hats, toys, blankets, and things like that
3. They can’t sign anything while it is being worn. You can take the item off only if it doesn’t reveal skin or undergarments.
4. They can sign the cast of a broken arm or leg – this is the only exception to the previous rule. (Signing casts at the Walt Disney World parks is allowed but NOT at Disneyland parks)
Lesson 6: Creating a Little Bit of Extra Magic
1. The characters love holding, signing, and playing with things that have them on it. Buzz Lightyear loves pretending to fly with his action figure… Or should I say, “Falling with style.”
2. They love giving hugs and high fives
3. Be creative with your pictures. Don’t just stand there; strike a pose! They take thousands of pictures a day with guests posing the same way and they are eager to do something different. Go with the flow – If they want you to pose a certain way, do it. They do some great poses. You can even ask them, “What pose should we make today?” and they will respond with some great ideas. If you have some ideas, they will also join in, as long as it is appropriate.
4. Use more than just your phone camera – you will get better pictures using a real camera.
5. Take a “Selfie” with the characters.
6. Share with the characters why you love them and are there to see them.
Lesson 7: Leaving
When you leave, make sure you thank the Disney characters and the character attendants for letting you come and see them. It’s not easy standing out in the heat all day, but it’s worth it when they feel appreciated and loved. Give last minute high fives and hugs!
If you are planning a trip to one of Disney’s theme parks or a Disney Cruise, please contact me for more information.
– Cody Woodbrey
Guests often ask me, “What benefits are there to staying on Disney property and do guests really save money?” or “We don’t spend a lot of time in our resort, will it make a difference in our trip experience?” The answer is, “YES!” and here is why.
1. Free Transportation – No need to rent a car or pay for any toll-road fees when staying on Disney Property. Guests can enjoy free transfers to and from the Orlando International airport with Disney’s Magical Express. Included with this service is luggage pick up. Disney will pick up your luggage from baggage claim and deliver straight to your hotel. This will you time and a hassle of getting your own bags. On your return home, Disney will check your bags for your flight home right from your hotel. So you don’t have to drag them with you to the airport. To top it off, transfers to and from your resort to the various Disney theme parks, water parks and Disney Springs are also included with your package.
2. Free Parking at All Disney Theme Parks – It doesn’t matter if you choose to rent a car or take your own vehicle, Disney resort guests will not have to pay the daily parking fee to park at the various theme parks or water parks. The parking fee right now starts at about $20 per vehicle.
3. Proximity to the Parks – One of the main reasons for staying on property is the ability to get to the parks easily and quickly. Taking a quick break in the afternoon to get away from the crowds and heat has never been easier. There is nothing like enjoying a dip in the pool a hot summers day. Also, many of the resorts have multiple forms of transportation options to the parks like the taking the monorail or a boat. Some resorts are even so close you can walk from your resort to the park.
4. Free Magic Bands – Disney Resort guests will receive free Magic Bands for each person traveling. Which is a savings of about $22 per person. The Magic Bands connect your room key, park tickets, meal plan, Memory Maker, FastPasses and you can even make purchases for merchandise, food and more. Who really wants to carry all those extra cards around anyway?
5. Extra Magic Hours – One of the other benefits for staying on property are the extra park hours reserved exclusively for resort guests. Guests can enjoy extra time in the parks either an hour before the park opens or two hours after the parks close.
6. FastPass “+” Those staying with Disney have the chance to pre-pick Fastpasses up to 60 days before checking into their hotel. Giving them a 30 day head start over those not staying at a Disney Resort. The extra time allows the guest the opportunity of getting the desired attractions and times they want verses taking what’s left over.
7. Disney Atmosphere – From the moment you step on to Disney Magical Express to the time you arrive back to the airport you are immersed in that fun and exciting Disney Magic. Disney Resorts provide guests with a unique experience you can only get staying on property. From hidden Mickey’s in sheets to larger than life figures around your resort you will not get a grander and more Magical experience staying on property. Each resort has multiple pools with fun and exciting themes. Plus, there are great and unique photo opportunities at each of the resorts – Say “Cheese”!
8. Dine in the Magic – As we all know eating in the parks can be quite expensive and stressful. Well, Disney has come up with a delicious way in lowering this cost. Resorts guests can add one of the Disney meal plans prior to their trips and save about 25% of the cost of their meals. There is No reason for guests to choose the cheapest options of the menu or go hungry any more!
9. Package Delivery – When you buy merchandise in the parks you have the option for Disney to send it straight to your hotel so you don’t have to carry it around the park or carry it with you back to your hotel room.
10. Memory Maker Sharing – Let Disney’s professional photographers document your trip for you! Disney has photographers throughout each of the theme park ready to take your pictures. Enjoy an unlimited array of photos taken by Disney photographers which include pictures taken in the parks, at select dining experiences, attractions and videos from select attractions. You don’t have to purchase each photo individually any more, because you get digital copies of each picture taken. When traveling with a larger group you still only have to buy one Memory Maker for the whole family. Talk about savings!
11. Magical Extras – Each package will receive four vouchers to both Disney’s onsite miniature golf courses, four vouchers to visit the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, plus additional discounts at Disney Springs for savings of 10-20% off various goods.
12. 24-Hour services – Disney Cast members are available 24 hours – Which means you have less things to stress about and more time to relax and have fun!
My name is Cody Woodbrey and I specialize in planning Disney vacations and as someone who has worked years in the parks, I provide the insider’s touch that few travel consultants can offer.
Since my first trip to Disneyland when I was four years old, my passion for this company and what it offers to families has grown exponentially. I find myself wanting to share that passion, as well as my experience and knowledge with others so they in turn may grow to love what this company has to offer.
When I travel to Disney destinations, I cringe when I see families struggle to enjoy themselves because they are stuck in line, or are just not aware of the amenities and services that Disney provides. As someone who has worked on, and lived near the Walt Disney World property, has experienced Disneyland more times than I can remember, and has cruised multiple times on the Disney Cruise Line, I can help guests and their families plan a vacation that is built around their dreams and is specific to them. In the words of Walt Disney, “If you can dream it, you can do it.”
My goal is to provide guests with the most current information, and best advice to make sure they spend their time exactly how they would like to. My services are ABSOULTELY FREE to those who book with me.
This blog is an extension of those services. With advice on all things Disney travel. I am excited to share my love and passion of all things Disney Travel with you.
Your Disney Travel Expert,