Author Archive | Melissa

To Hop or Not To Hop

Prior to becoming a Disney Vacation Planner, when we went to Disney I always purchased the Park Hopper feature. It is currently approximately $61(including tax) per person to add the park hopper at Walt Disney World. Now after having planned hundreds of tips, I still feel the exact same way. It is the best $61 you will spend! 

For those of you that are not familiar with how the tickets work, Disney sells a Base Park ticket that allows you to enter one park per day. It can be any of the four parks at Walt Disney World: Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, or Animal Kingdom. At The Disneyland Resort it allows you to enter one of the two parks: Disneyland Park or Disney’s California Adventure. If you add the Park Hopper option you can go into multiple parks in one day. This is why I think you should add it:

1) It allows you the most flexibility with your dining schedule. Not everyone actually books their dining at 180 days. If you are my client and this is an advance planned trip, sure your dining is booked at 180 days out but if not and it’s a last minute trip or if you are choosing one of the most popular restaurants, it is nice to be able to take the reservation that is available and not worry about which park you should be in that day.

2) Some parks just don’t take as long as others. Animal Kingdom is a prime example. I have never spent open to close in that park. This park has some of the earliest closing times so the animals can get their rest and there’s not much to see after dark there. This often leaves a lot of hours left that could be spent at another park.

3) Even with the best planning, some days you just aren’t feeling like a particular park. Or you didn’t get to a ride you really wanted to do at another park and you want to hop over and squeeze that ride in. The year we ended up at the Magic Kingdom during the Christmas Parade taping was the time that sticks out the most when something unplanned happened to our stay. It was a makeup taping day so we weren’t expecting it. The crowds were much higher than expected and the park was broken up where you couldn’t get from one land to the next as easily as usual. We left and went to enjoy another less crowded park. 

4) And what about the unexpected events that can happen. You might oversleep one day and miss rope drop at a critical park or you might need to shift your plans to accommodate a late night the night before. You can’t do that as easily if you don’t have the park hopper. 

5) In the grand scheme of your total trip, this is a small dollar amount of an option and the return is much greater with it than without. 

Overall, I always recommend to HOP. Not everyone takes this advice and I can certainly plan a vacation without the hopper, but if it was my trip(and when it is my trip) I opt for the hopper every time for the most flexibility and best value of the tickets.


Should I use a Disney Vacation Planner?

First things first, not all planners are created equal when it comes to Disney.  Disney requires that vacation planners complete a training course called Disney’s College of Knowledge.  Once you have completed that you are eligible to become a Disney Travel Planner, however in my opinion that isn’t nearly enough to do an effective job.  You want to check to make sure that your agent is working with an agency that is a Disney Earmarked Authorized Vacation Planner agency.  This is a separate designation to Disney’s top agencies.  Those agencies require more of their planners.  For example, Mouseketrips, the one I work with, requires that you have real life hands on knowledge of Disney.  So their agents have been to the parks, on cruises, experienced Disney weddings, etc.  They also require their agents go through a more extensive training program than College of Knowledge. When choosing an agent, choose a Disney’s College of Knowledge graduate and one working with an Earmarked Disney Authorized Vacation Planner.  (hopefully ME but if not me, then make sure they do have these qualifications)
Now that that is out of the way, some people think it will cost them more if they use a travel agent.  Not true at all.  A Disney Travel Agent should always be FREE.  How is that possible?  Disney pays the agencies a commission and the agencies pay their planners.  This is another area in which not all agencies are created equal. One of the things that I led me to choose Mouseketrips is the attention to customer service.  We make sure that we are only recommending the options that are truly good for your family and your budget. I personally feel that you are going to be a happier, and hopefully repeat client if you have received a great value for your vacation and that means only the options you need.
You receive one on one attention when you book with a planner. Instead of calling into a call center and getting someone different every time, when you choose a vacation planner like myself you have direct contact with that person. My clients have my cell phone number and my email address and they know when they contact me I already know what they are celebrating, who is going, and all other important details of their trip.
In addition to all of those reasons, I also give my clients a personalized vacation itinerary. It has all the information they could possibly need to have the most magical trip so they just get to sit back and countdown the days to their vacation!

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