Magical Beginnings & “Little Ones Travel Time”
2007 Dates Announced: From August 26 through October 28 this year, Walt Disney World Resort will again host Little Ones Travel Time. During this special travel time, your family can dance and sing with Playhouse Disney in Concert presented by HUGGIES and PULL-UPS. Playhouse Disney favorites – The Doodlebops, Johnny and the Sprites and Dan Zanes – are just a few of the acts scheduled to appear. There will also be special Disney entertainment created just for you and your little one.
Little Ones Magic Hour — Add extra magic to your Little Ones Travel Time visit by being one of the first in the park during Little Ones Magic Hour. Guests staying at a Walt Disney World Resort hotel can visit Fantasyland an hour early on Sunday, Wednesday and Friday mornings from August 26-October 28. Many of your favorite rides will be open, and you may even get the chance to play "Peter Says" with Peter Pan or ride with Stitch on Dumbo the Flying Elephant.
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (April 25, 2006) — Disney today announced a new, breakthrough program devoted to families traveling with toddlers or preschoolers. Called Magical Beginnings, it was custom designed based on both consumer research and guest feedback and is aimed at reducing the hassles and increasing the magic for parents when vacationing with toddlers and preschoolers.
"Magical Beginnings is all about making our parks and resorts even more accessible and appealing to a huge and important group of people — families with very young children," said Jay Rasulo, chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. "Magical Beginnings reinforces our commitment to creating an easy-to-plan, easy-to-navigate vacation filled with activities that allow families to create lifelong memories."
Disney theme parks in Florida and California have always been the perfect playground for the whole family, but new attractions, shows and amenities make the parks and resort hotels even more welcoming to "little ones."
Timeless attractions, special kid's menus, character dining, children's programs, length-of-stay stroller rental at the theme parks, plus kiddie pools, play areas and in-room babysitting at Disney resort hotels were all created with young guests in mind.
The new Magical Beginnings program offers value travel packages, captivating entertainment, targeted planning tools and a host of services and amenities to make navigating Disney parks with children five years and younger easier then ever.
Recent research released by travel marketing experts Yesawich, Pepperdine, Brown and Russell (YPB&R) shows that eight out of ten families believe the ideal age to take a first major vacation with children is when the children are five years old or younger. The research revealed the families are seeking family-friendly destinations that offer activities for both kids and parents. Florida and California are the states family travelers want to visit most, with Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort as the preferred destinations. And nine out of ten preschool parents would consider taking their young children on a theme park vacation as long as the park offered age-appropriate rides and services.
"Age-appropriate activities and attractions are very important to this group of family travelers," said Peter Yesawich, chairman and chief executive officer of YPB&R. "That's why theme parks and, in particular, the Disney parks, are a natural vacation choice for families vacationing with toddlers and preschoolers."
Rekindling childhood memories and creating new family traditions is easy at both Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resorts as each features myriad attractions and entertainment options relevant to preschoolers.
"We continue to survey our guests around the world and evaluate our attractions and entertainment to remain as relevant as possible," said Rasulo. "Magical Beginnings is really the product of that listening and research. We think this new Magical Beginnings season will really resonate with families with toddlers and preschoolers."
Walt Disney World Introduces a Travel Season Just for Little Ones
Walt Disney World Resort has created an exciting seven-week travel period filled with savings and special events ideal for youngsters and parents during a traditionally less busy time of year.
* From Aug. 13 to Sept. 30, 2006, these families can enjoy a new package that offers free dining for the entire family. Packages include a five-day, four-night stay at a value resort, "Magic Your Way" theme park tickets and free Disney Dining plan (one table-service meal, one snack and one quick-service meal per day). Packages begin at $950 for two adults and one child (ages 3-9), $173 per additional child.
* Throughout the special travel time Disney will showcase dynamic concerts and special entertainment for little ones. "Playhouse Disney in Concert," presented by Huggies and Pull-Ups brands, includes performances by Disney Channel favorites The Wiggles, who will perform multiple shows daily, Aug. 29-Sept. 1. The award-winning Australian foursome will rouse the crowd with songs like "Yummy, Yummy" and "Big Red Car" as they headline a kid-friendly concert at Disney-MGM Studios. Youngsters can dance and sing along with other favorites including the Doodlebops; Johnny & the Sprites, featuring Johnny Tartaglia; Dan Zanes and more — all scheduled to appear during the seven-week travel time. Plus, Disney Live family entertainment featuring the new "Mickey's Magic Show" created by Feld Entertainment will make its first-ever park appearance.
* During the Little Ones Travel Time, Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom will open an hour early on select days for Disney guests and their small-fry for favorites such as Dumbo the Flying Elephant, it's a small world and Peter Pan's Flight, and a new play area called Pooh's Playful Spot. Plus, youngsters can meet favorite characters during the special edition Extra Magic Hours. While guests must have Resort ID and valid ticketing for the parks offering this Fantasyland Extra Magic Hours, there is no additional charge to enjoy this extra time in the parks. This early access allows families with young ones to get an early start to their day and maximize park time before heading back to their Disney resort for an afternoon break.
* Character dining experiences have traditionally proven to be a great way to introduce little ones to Disney characters, with a dozen offerings throughout Disney parks and resorts. Coming this summer, kids can now dine and get autographs with Playhouse Disney pals JoJo and Goliath, and characters from Disney's Little Einsteins will meet and greet guests at Hollywood and Vine at Disney-MGM Studios.
* Other magical experiences for little ones include the new Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique at World of Disney in Downtown Disney. A little girl can be transformed into her favorite princess with fancy hairstyles, glittery nails and dazzling costume makeovers. Reservations for Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique are strongly encouraged by calling 407/WDW-STYLE. And young adventurers can pretend to sail the high seas and hoist the Jolly Roger in the new, interactive Adventure Room in World of Disney. Young heroes and heroines can fill treasure chests and skulls with pirate plunder, create their own seafaring hat and interact with a new pirate named Rusty Blade.
* Planning a trip and navigating the parks will be easier than ever thanks to on-line planning tools, a Magical Beginnings in-park map highlighting age-appropriate attractions, hassle-reducing services and specially trained Disney reservation agents. For more information, visit disneyworld.com and select "Something For Everyone" and choose "Preschoolers" for more details and travel tips.
* Guests traveling by air don't need to worry about carting their luggage and their little ones through the airport. With the innovative and complimentary Disney's Magical Express, guests check their bags at their hometown airport, bypass baggage claim at Orlando International Airport and are whisked to all the Disney fun while their bags are delivered to their hotel rooms. The Disney magic even extends to the trip home for guests flying on many major airlines as guests can check their bags and get their boarding passes right at their Disney resort hotel.
Bookings for the new travel package during the Little Ones Travel Time at Walt Disney World Resort can be made through June 4 by calling 407/WDW-PREK, or disneyworld.com/preK. For more information on Magical Beginnings, contact disneymagicalbeginnings.com.
… from Terri: We just came back from a one-week trip to Disney World where we utilized the Extra Magic Hours for resort guests. For those of you staying at a Disney resort with little ones, DO NOT MISS the morning Magical Beginnings Extra Magic Hour at Fantasyland in Magic Kingdom (Sunday, Wednesday and Friday). Our kids got to ride Snow White's Scary Adventures with Snow White, Peter Pan's Flight with Wendy, and the Mad Tea Party with Alice in Wonderland! Other characters played games with children. It is SO worth getting up early for!
… from Vanessa, along with other readers who emailed us with a similar story: Living in Florida and being passholders, we figured we'd head over to see the Doodlebops on Sunday, August 20. Well, there was no information about tickets being given out for guaranteed seating on the Disney website. So we showed up at around 9:45 a.m. and were hopeful to see the 11:15 a.m. show. By the time we got to the ABC Theater, it was 10:15 and the tickets were all gone for all four shows that day. Our only hope was a standby line. Many people were frustrated by this and I thought if we all knew beforehand, we would have arrived earlier. We did get to see the 1:15 p.m. show after standing on line for almost three hours. You are now warned — arrive early!
EDITOR'S NOTE: As Senior Editor Deb Koma reported last week, a pass is required for the Playhouse Disney in Concert shows at Disney-MGM Studios. When you enter the Studios, check with a Cast Member or the daily Times Guide to learn where the passes are being distributed. (Last week they were handing out the passes near Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show, and along Mickey Avenue in front of Soundstage 1.) The extremely popular children's group, The Wiggles, will be performing three shows daily in the Studios in the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular Theater through September 1 (10 a.m., 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.). We expect tickets for these shows to go fast, so if you are interested in seeing The Wiggles, you will have to, as Vanessa suggested, arrive early that morning.
… from Senior Editor Deb Koma: I went to see Mickey's Magic Show, which was being performed in the Disney-MGM Studios last week as part of the Magical Beginnings program's "Playhouse Disney in Concert," geared toward families with preschoolers. The show was performed in Soundstage 1, which is located on Mickey Avenue, between where Sorcerer Mickey holds his daily "meet and greet" and the former (just closed August 19) "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire — Play It!" You have to get a pass to attend the show — although they called it a FastPass, it was really just a card with the show time and number in my party. Passes were being distributed near the Extreme Stunt Show's FastPass machines, and also in front of the Soundstage. I don't think the pass was crucial for the show I attended (no one ever asked to look at my pass or collected it), but I imagine for upcoming shows with more popular performers (e.g. The Wiggles), you won't be able to get in without the pass. (If you're planning to attend, be sure to get the pass very early in the day.) The magic show itself was cute, and definitely designed for little ones. It was about a half-hour long and featured Minnie, Mickey, Donald, Daisy, and Goofy along with various human assistants and magician Brad, performing a variety of familiar magic tricks, all set to catchy tunes. The show ended with Mickey conjuring up a slew of Disney princesses — Jasmine, Belle, Snow White, and of course Cinderella. My biggest criticism of the show is that for a program that's designed for little children, the seating was awful. Sitting on chairs, looking up at the elevated stage, many of the little ones couldn't see a thing, having to crane their necks to see around big adults or taller children. Even sitting on a mom's lap didn't help the little girl next to me. And while the girls in the audience were enchanted to see the princesses appear, as the mother of a son I couldn't help but think, "Give the poor boys a break, already!" Does everything have to have princesses in it? Just my opinion of course, but I did note a few little boys around me lose interest as Cinderella and her prince took to the dance floor. Upcoming shows in the "concert" series, which currently runs until the end of September, include The Wiggles, Johnny and the Sprites, Ralph's World, the Imagination Movers, and Dan Zanes. Mickey's Magic Show also returns for another engagement from August 24-27.
… from Heidi Sayut: We are wrapping up an 11-day stay at our favorite place, and this morning we took advantage of the Magical Beginnings Extra Magic Hour for little ones. It was the first day of the program, and while we have been here many, many times, we have NEVER had such a magical morning! The crowds were light, the Cast Members were friendly, Fantasyland was glowing in the morning sun, and the characters were out and ready to play! In 60 minutes my 6-year-old son and 4-year-old princess played "Ring around the Rosie" with Snow White, had a wonderful game of hide and seek with Tigger and Piglet at Pooh's Playful Spot, played "Following the Leader," "Peter Pan Says," and "Wendy, May I" with Peter Pan, Wendy and Captain Hook, rode the Peter Pan ride in a pirate ship WITH WENDY!! and hit all the other Fantasyland rides. Even though we love this place and have tons of great memories from throughout the years, nothing can compare to the memories we made this morning! We stopped quite a few Disney management-types who were observing the first day of the program and told them this ranks right up there among their best ideas ever! We just wanted to pass along what a magical time we had and let other families know that we highly recommend the Magical Beginnings morning!