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MouseStation 26 - Why use a Disney specialist travel agency?

MousePlanetWatch 26 - news feed for July 5, 2007

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We will be cutting the podcast into multiple, smaller shows starting next week in order to make it accessible to those who may not be able to listen to 90-minute or so shows. We'll be to breaking MouseStation into three 30-minute shows. (Times are approximate, of course, as we have no idea how long we're going to ramble on any given topic.) Anyway, we'd like your feedback on what you think of the idea, and whether you agree with our idea of breaking the show into a main feature show, a short subjects show and a listener feedback show, all published on different days each week. (The MousePlanetWatch news would continue as a separate show on yet another day of the week.) Our current plan is to have the collection of short subjects on Monday, the full-length feature on Wednesday, MousePlanetWatch on Thursday and listener feedback on Friday. Let us know what you think!

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MousePlanetWatch 26 run time 0:44:28

In the Walt Disney World news, most of the news came from this past Monday's Walt Disney World Park Update, and links to the various information reported can be found there. Here are some quick links:

  • In breaking news since the publication of the Update, a pipe bomb-like device exploded at Downtown Disney early Monday morning. The police issued an advisory that it did not appear to be intended to hurt anyone.
  • You can get more information about the Candlelight Processional narrators and dining packages here.
  • You can get a free backpack for booking a Walt Disney World, Disneyland or Disney Cruise Line vacation through Small World Vacations by August 1. For more information on what to do to get the backpack, see here.
  • The Hotel Royal Plaza is giving MousePlanet readers up to 20 percent off room rates plus free breakfast for those that book through MousePlanet.

In the Disneyland news, all of the news came from this past Monday's Disneyland Park Update. Here are some direct links to information from some of the stories:

In The Walt Disney Company news, several stories have related links.

MouseStation 26 run time 1:11:10

Our Tip of the Week came from MousePlanet columnist Shoshana Lewin, who called in to remind us that, with many new cast members "earning their ears" early in the summer season, guests should try to cut them a little slack, which should result in happier times for everyone.

Featured topic: Why should you consider using a Disney specialist travel agent?

We were joined by Sue Pisaturo of Small World Vacations, MousePlanet's preferred Disney travel provider, who talked about the many reasons why you might want to consider using a Disney specialist travel agency in planning and booking your next Disney vacation.

After talking about the various types of ways that people book their trips and who might book in each fashion, Sue talked about the things that keep people returning to Disney-specialist travel agencies, mostly established relationships or a need to have someone else do the work in getting the right room, right dining reservations, etc.

The fact that people are least aware of is that most Disney specialist travel agencies don't charge a fee.

The most-appreciated service that Small World Vacations provides is that they will actively find any newly-released discounts to lower the cost to their customers. As soon as new discounts come out, Small World agents rebook reservations to take advantage of the lower rates.

Small World Vacations has over 40 agents, who are required to have spend three or more nights in at least five Disney resorts over the past five years. Small World agents are the biggest reason to book with Small World instead of another agency. New customers have their requests (as noted in their booking questionnaire) routed to the most appropriate agent for their trip's requirements.

While Mark enjoys booking his trips himself, he will now use Small World Vacations to book some of his trips in some situations. Mike booked his last cruise through a Disney specialist travel agency.

Disney specialist travel agencies often book quantities of Disney cruises to grab rooms at the lowest possible rate, and can therefore provide the lowest possible rates for those cruises. Small World Vacations has group rates on 130 sailings in 2008, including the secret porthole rooms on most of those dates.

Disney specialist travel agencies can usually work with Disney to ensure that guests receive the best service possible. If necessary, Small World agents are available at all times via their own toll-free numbers to resolve any problems that might arise during their guests' trips.

Small World Vacations only books Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, Disneyland Paris and Adventures by Disney, and does not book off-property hotels.

When booking through a Disney specialist travel agency, guests can get a room on a two-week courtesy hold before having to put money down on the room. When booking through Disney, you need to put money down immediately, and there's no way to hold a room at a given rate.

Sue also just got back from a trip to Disneyland where she got to stay with someone that she knows in the Mickey Mouse Penthouse, and she gave a great description of the accommodations.

Before leaving, Sue announced a new promotion whereby you can get a free collapsible sturdy backpack for booking a Walt Disney World, Disneyland, or Disney Cruise Line vacation through Small World Vacations by August 1.

The backpack will be mailed with your final documents. If your reservation is canceled, this offer is null and void. Travel must be complete by December 31, 2008. This offer is not valid on previously booked reservations or room only reservations.

Let Small World Vacations know that you found them on MousePlanet and include the word "Backpack" in the special request section of the price quote form. The offer is good while supplies last. Substitution may be necessary if supplies are exhausted.

This week's Featured Attraction is Dinosaur at Disney's Animal Kingdom. Mike & Mark both enjoy the attraction, but give it about a 3.5 out of 5. Mark pointed out the significance of the chemical formulas on the red, white and yellow pipes in the loading area, which he used at a Trivia Question of the Week in the April 10, 2006 Walt Disney World Park Update. But Mark still prefers the Indiana Jones Adventure version of the ride at Disneyland Park.

This week's Review system spotlight focuses on the Tiki Juice Bar in Adventureland at Disneyland Park. Mike is a big fan of it, though he still laments the lack of sprinkles for his Dole Whip. Mark isn't into pineapple, for some odd reason, but notes that everyone that he's been with that has stopped there has enjoyed the refreshments offered there. MousePlanet readers enjoy the Tiki Juice Bar, as it was rated 4.3 out of five planets on the strength of 13 reviews. You can also find the Tiki Juice Bar in our Park Guide.

In this week's Ask the Kid segment, listener Vance Cope asked Mark's 8-year-old son: "Who normally wins when you ride Buzz Lightyear, you or your dad, and what is your best score?" Mark's son's low vision problem makes it especially hard to see in dark areas, which makes him uncomfortable on the attraction. The star tunnel is particularly problematic. He's only been on it once or twice, and Mark and his wife won't push him to go on it if he doesn't want to.

This week's Magical Moment came from listener Rick. Rick is an Imagineer who had an especially magical time while walking through the park with other Imagineers during the WDI previews of the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage.

In Listener Feedback:

  • Tracy said that splitting the show up into multiple, smaller shows would work better for her.
  • Steve Russo got the question that Mike tried to stump him with, then tried twice to stump Mike & Mark. The first question stumped Mike but not Mark, and Mike got the second one. Mike then put out another attempt to stump Steve. We'll have to wait for Steve to get back from his non-Disney (boo!) vacation to see if he gets it.
  • Disneygirl17 sent in a tip that we had used in Episode 2, so we ran it in listener feedback instead of Tip of the Week. Take photos of the back of your PhotoPass and park passes in case you need the number.
  • We tried to answer some of Stanton Wong's trivia questions.

Send in your suggestions, comments or tips via our email form or via voicemail on our toll-free feedback line (1-866-939-2278). You can also make suggestions by replying to this post.

If you want to contribute a story for our Magical Moment segment (and possible inclusion in the Cast Place column here on MousePlanet), you can either use our email form or the toll-free feedback line. (We like when you use the voice mail system, because then we can play it on the show.)

You can get your MousePlanet (or MouseStation) swag from the new MousePlanet CafePress store.

Thanks to our West Coast correspondent Andrew Rich, and audio engineer and sound editor Steven Ng.

You can subscribe to MouseStation from the main podcast page, or via your favorite podcast aggregator.

Thanks for listening!



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The MouseStation crew (@MouseStation) currently consists of Mark Goldhaber (@MPMark) and Mike Demopoulos (@MPMike).