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NOTE: The Grand Gatherings offerings -- Safari Celebration Dinner, Good Morning Gathering and International Dinner & IllumiNations Dessert Reception -- will not be offered as of January 28, 2012. You can continue to book these experiences for your Grand Gatherings of eight or more until that time.
At the October 2003 Press Event, WDW announced a new program called "Magical Gatherings" designed to assist groups plan their vacation to WDW.
NOTE: The online planning tools mentioned in the early press releases have since been removed.
WHO: More and more travelers are planning group vacations with extended family and friends, according to travel industry research. Magical Gatherings vacations are designed to make vacation planning easy for these groups of travelers.
WHAT: Magical Gatherings is an innovative program with new products and services designed for extended travel groups planning a Walt Disney World Resort vacation. And groups of eight or more staying at a Walt Disney World resort can book new Grand Gatherings experiences that include the "Safari Celebration Dinner," "International Dinner and IllumiNations Dessert Reception," "Magical Fireworks Voyage" and "Good Morning Gatherings." Dedicated planning specialists will assist Grand Gathering groups with special celebrations, dining and recreation reservations.
WHEN: Groups can make reservations for Magical Gatherings.
WHERE: Magical Gatherings vacations can take place at Walt Disney World deluxe, moderate or value resorts, with an itinerary that covers the theme parks, water parks and other entertainment and recreational locations within the 47-square-mile Vacation Kingdom.
DETAILS: The Magical Gatherings vacation-planning program includes a Vacation Planning Kit complete with DVD or video.
Exciting new shows and attractions give vacation planners plenty of reasons to visit Walt Disney World Resort. At Magic Kingdom, "Wishes" is the most impressive fireworks show ever, and "Mickey's PhilharMagic" -- a 3-D spectacular -- debuts in Fantasyland; at Epcot, Mission: SPACE launches guests out of this world; and the value-priced Disney's Pop Century Resort celebrates fads and fashions of decades past.
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Cathy calls Rob and shares the idea first sparked by a Walt Disney World television commercial: Let's plan a family reunion! Three months later, Cathy, her cousin Rob, and 13 other family members are headed for a Magical Gathering -- a well-orchestrated visit to the world's leading vacation destination. With a vacation itinerary already in place, Cathy, Rob and their entourage are set to relive favorite family memories and make new ones while enjoying an experience tailor-made for their group.
Disney's Magical Gatherings program is a new, multi-faceted concept designed to help extended travel groups -- whether they're families or friends -- organize and enjoy their time together at Walt Disney World Resort. The program makes planning simple with a step-by-step process available to anyone. Guests can take the first of four easy steps on the telephone to schedule a Magical Gathering starting Nov. 24:
Request a Vacation Planning Kit complete with video or DVD and step-by-step information on how to plan a Magical Gathering.
Use the Magical Gatherings Web-based planning tools designed for custom itinerary building, e-mail invitations, group chats and consensus building related to shared activities.
If your group includes eight or more people staying at a Walt Disney World resort, link up with a Magical Gatherings planning specialist who will assist with dining, recreation, golf tee times, special celebrations and other reservation needs for these Grand Gatherings.
Groups of fewer than eight guests can create their own Magical Gathering by working with one of many Walt Disney World reservationists.
Guests who request a Vacation Planning Kit video or DVD also can receive specialized planning brochures for groups that include preschoolers, including information about favorite attractions for younger children, child-care options and tips for a well-planned vacation with preschool-aged children. The interactive DVD features a highly detailed map with zoom-in capabilities to rides and attractions. It also includes special sections on thrill-seeking, grown-up fun and even resort room layouts.
The planning video and DVD also cover group recreational and relaxation opportunities beyond the parks -- including golf, parasailing, horseback riding, boating, bass fishing, dining, nightlife and spas.
Magical Gatherings planners can arrange a variety of special Disney experiences for Grand Gatherings (groups of eight or more staying at a Walt Disney World resort), including a "Safari Celebration Dinner" at Disney's Animal Kingdom, a "Good Morning Gathering" character breakfast at Magic Kingdom, the "Magical Fireworks Voyage" on Seven Seas Lagoon and the "International Dinner and IllumiNations Dessert Reception" at Epcot.
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- With the click of a mouse and a wave of Tinker Bell's wand, you can begin making online plans with family and friends for a Walt Disney World Resort vacation.
Disney's Magical Gatherings is a new, multi-faceted program designed to help groups of travelers organize and get the most from their Walt Disney World vacations, and Magical Gatherings interactive online planning tools provide an easy way to build a complete group vacation itinerary.
As soon as you download the Magical Gatherings Planner at www.disneyworld.com/magicalgatherings, your online vacation-planning session begins, and the famous animated fairy from Peter Pan flits across your computer screen to guide you through easy itinerary-planning steps. The user-friendly Web planning tools allow you to:
Establish a group to plan your Magical Gathering, then create and send electronic invitations to family and friends
Participate in group chats to discuss vacation plans
Compile your own and group "favorites" of Walt Disney World attractions
Produce custom polls and cast votes on "must-see" activities for the group's itinerary
Walt Disney World Web pages and share them with group members
Build a complete vacation itinerary
Embellish messages to group members with animation of Tinker Bell as she winks, pouts, or pixie-dusts the screen
The Magical Gatherings Web-planning tools are designed to provide an online environment in which friends and families can have fun and feel comfortable sharing their vacation-planning ideas.
"Our Web tools provide the vacation planner with a fun and unique combination of collaborative tools for building consensus and creating an itinerary," said Paul Yanover, general manager of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Online. "It's simple and intuitive enough for easy group planning."
The colorful Web pages and entertaining graphics invite users to design a vacation around reunions, birthdays, anniversaries and other events. An invitation window lets you choose an occasion around which to build a vacation -- from there, invitations can be sent directly to friends and family.
The first group member to log in and begin planning a Walt Disney World gathering becomes a group leader with total access to every Web tool, including the "Create a Poll" feature with voting prompts. Group leaders can appoint other members as leaders, providing them access to create polls with multiple-choice options and collect votes on topics that range from, "What Disney resort would you like to stay at?" to "What do you want to do on Tuesday?" Leaders also can interact online to revise the group's itinerary.
During a vacation planning session, the "Browse and Chat" feature lets group leaders share pages from disneyworld.com about attractions, restaurants and activities when members participate in an online discussion about how each participant wants to spend vacation time. Once your itinerary is complete, call 407/W-DISNEY to make resort and dining reservations and to lock in recreational activities, including tee times.
The Magical Gatherings dedicated vacation-planning online tools provide a helpful tutorial for anyone needing assistance and a direct link to the disneyworld.com site. A custom calendar on your planning page "counts down" the days until your Walt Disney World Resort vacation.
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Shiver me timbers! Captain Hook has snared you, and now "Patch" the pirate -- that crusty scalawag -- has commandeered the vessel for an evening voyage around Seven Seas Lagoon at Magic Kingdom. Arrgh! Relax. After shoving off, ye buccaneers are too busy enjoying the scenery, playing Disney trivia games and singing sea songs to worry about walking the plank or sharpening the swords.
The adventures are magical and the planning is carefree for Grand Gatherings -- Magical Gatherings of eight or more guests staying at a Walt Disney World hotel -- who won't want to miss the "Magical Fireworks Voyage" with Patch . . . or three other brand-new Magical Gatherings experiences at Walt Disney World Resort.
Grand Gatherings is a whole new way to enjoy a large-party vacation at the Vacation Kingdom. These guests are offered a host of new products and services that make planning a big get-together easier than ever -- even for a novice. In addition to new online tools offered to all Magical Gatherings groups, Grand Gatherings have a team of specially trained reservation agents who can help book everything from priority seating for group dining to a trip to the spa to a golf outing to a memorable group photo session. Also designed specially for these larger groups are four special experiences, which guests can book at least 90 days prior to their visit:
"Magical Fireworks Voyage" -- After bidding farewell to Captain Hook and Mr. Smee on shore, your group will sail with Patch the pirate along Seven Seas Lagoon by Magic Kingdom. This memorable evening includes ideal "seaward" viewing of the "Electrical Water Pageant" and the spectacular new "Wishes" fireworks extravaganza over Cinderella Castle. The voyage features group trivia and song activities and a celebration for special occasions like birthdays, reunions or anniversaries. The irrepressible Patch regales you with tales of Peter Pan on the trip back to shore. Speaking of Peter Pan, he awaits your return to pose for photos and sign autographs. Ages 10 and older, $39.99; ages 3-9, $18.99.
"Safari Celebration Dinner" -- You'll gather in the exotic African coastal city of Harambe at Disney's Animal Kingdom for high adventure on Kilimanjaro Safaris. Your group will journey through the park's authentic jungles and across the sweeping, baobab-studded savannah as you spot giraffes, elephants and other wild African creatures. The experience continues at Harambe's Tusker House Restaurant for an African-inspired dinner, Disney character appearances, "up-close" animal experiences and live entertainment. Ages 10 and older, $59.99; ages 3-9, $19.99.
"International Dinner and IllumiNations Dessert Reception" -- There's no need to jet around the globe to experience dining around the world. At Epcot, international culinary favorites are on the menu for adventurous groups looking for a storybook ending to their day. Children can join in the dinner's special storytelling experience, which is punctuated with a surprise character appearance. A special viewing area is reserved for the evening finale, the nighttime Epcot spectacular "IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth." Ages 10 and older, $59.99; ages 3-9, $19.99.
"Good Morning Gatherings" -- Breakfast with famous Disney characters enters a whole new dimension with this new group gathering served up with plenty of morning merriment at Tony's Town Square Restaurant in Magic Kingdom. Your group will not only meet favorite characters but will participate in song-and-dance numbers. Mickey Mouse makes a one-on-one appearance with each guest for photo sessions. Ages 10 and older, $39.99; ages 3-9, $19.99. (Price includes 6.5% tax and 18% gratuity.) Guests will be invited to experience Mickey's PhilharMagic, with reserved seating at the very next show after their breakfast.
Grand Gatherings groups must include eight paying guests -- ages 3 and above -- staying at a Walt Disney World hotel. And, of course, there is no additional charge for children under 3 years of age.