Disney Night of Joy 2017, New Ticket Options

The 2017 Night of Joy talent lineup looks amazing, and this year Disney has introduced a new ticket structure as this popular event returns to ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World® Resort Sept. 8-9, 2017.

Tickets will go on sale in early June; let me know if you are interested & I can email you when they are released.


Guests will be able to buy both concert-only OR theme-park-and-concert-combination tickets for either evening – or also a two-night ticket.

Ticket options include:

  • Single night concert only tickets will be $45 plus tax in advance
  • Two-night concert only tickets will be $69 plus tax in advance
  • Single night concert tickets plus a (1) day at a Walt Disney World theme park add on will be $107 plus tax *
  • Two-night concert tickets with a (1) day at a Walt Disney World theme park add on will be $131 plus tax **

There also will be premium seating packages available for an extra charge; and groups of 10 or more will be able to get discounted tickets, as with past events.

A little reminder about this year’s talent: (Entertainment subject to change.)

  • Friday, Sept. 8 – MercyMe, TobyMac, Zach Williams, Natalie Grant, Danny Gokey, Matt Maher, Colton Dixon, Rend Collective.
  • Saturday, Sept. 9 – Amy Grant, Steven Curtis Chapman, Kirk Franklin, Jordan Feliz, Crowder, Jeremy Camp, Tye Tribbett.

* Add-on Theme Park Ticket Option is good for use any one day September 8-30, 2017 at any one of the four Walt Disney World Theme Parks

**2-day Concert plus 1-day Theme Park Advanced ticket will also include (1) admission to your choice of Disney’s Blizzard Beach or Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park for one use September 8-30, 2017. Individuals must purchase by August 8, 2017 to receive water park ticket. Groups must purchase by August 25, 2017 to receive water park ticket. 

Thank you for reading,
My name is Melissa and I am a Disney Fanatic; I’m also a travel agent.  You will find me in one of the Disney theme parks with my family almost every weekend.  I love exploring the parks and helping people plan their own magical vacations.  All of my booking and planning services are FREE.  Planning your next Disney vacation all starts with a free quote.  Visit my website or contact me.
Melissa Mathies, Travel Designer & Destination Specialist


Pandora, World of Avatar Preview

Avatar is a movie that has touched my soul.  There are people that love Star Wars, Marvel, Star Trek & more.  Myself, I am more of an Avatar gal.  I love animals, nature & the message of this movie.  Pandora in Animal Kingdom really brought all of this to life for me and I may have or may not have squeaked a tear when I rode the Flight of Passage attraction; there is no proof.  Disney has done a phenomenal job of bringing this movie off of the screen & into reality.  It feels like standing on another planet; the design is flawless, the sounds of the indigenous species surround you and some of the plants are interactive.  If you are an Avatar fan like I am, you must not miss this new land in Animal Kingdom!
Be sure to scroll all the way to the end of this article for a video of my Pandoran preview experience.

156-foot-tall “floating mountains” are the centerpiece of the Valley of Mo’ara
Pandora Preview Map
Pandora preview Map inside

One of the first things that we came to as we entered Pandora was a giant plant that smoked & made sounds when you touched it.  Right next to the plant was one of two brand new Wilderness Explorer stations located in Pandora.
For those of you that are not familiar with this program, you can pick up your Wilderness Explorer guide at various locations around the park and work through the (now 32) learning experiences throughout Animal Kingdom and earn badges (stickers) for each experience and a completion sticker at the end.


Wondering through the Valley of Mo’ara was visually stunning.  Floating mountains, bright plants from another world, waterfalls and sounds of the Pandoran primates  from all directions immersed me in this distant world.


We stopped for a few pictures before heading off to use our fastpass on the Flight of Passage attraction.  On the way we encountered an Amplified Mobility Platform, which is the huge motorized suit that the soldiers drove on Pandora.

The elaborate queue design for the Flight of Passage attraction is entertaining in itself.  The science lab in the queue was not operational during our visit & I look forward to seeing the Na’vi, growing in the fluid filled tube, on my next visit in a few weeks when the park opens to the public.  As we passed through the queue, we were given numbers & separated into different chambers to be ‘debugged’ for our link with our avatar.  Jackie Ogden appeared onscreen and took scans of our bodies and brain waves.  We proceeded from one room to the next where we were instructed by Sigourney Weaver on what to do for our experience with the Banshee flight.
The height restriction for Flight of Passage is a minimum of 44″

One of the preparation rooms for the Flight of Passage.  You are asked to move around & as they scan you on the screen.

Once you are prepared and handed your flight glasses, you enter the room where you will link with your Avatar which is already seated on a Banshee high in the mountains.  You straddle the seats’ bike style’ and the back of the seat comes up behind you to hold you in.  Get ready for an amazing flight!!!  You can feel the Banshee move & breath as you ride.  (I’m not tearing up writing about this truly unique, amazing experience! really… I’m not)


During your unbelievable flight through the stunning landscape of Pandora, every one of your senses is engaged.  The visually stunning landscapes rush past as you smell, feel and hear each and every minute of your flight.

Once your flight is over you exit into Windtraders gift shop where you will find numerous unique souvenirs.  My kids could not resist adopting their own banshee from the Rookery while we were there.

Spending time in Windtraders is an experience in itself.  Parents be cautioned, the Banshee Rookery will draw you in & you may just leave with a new member of the family for the bargain price of $49 + tax
I almost expect Disney to eventually release a new version of the Banshee that is interactive with the Pandora park surroundings.


Next Stop… the Na’Vi River Journey.  This peaceful boat ride takes you on a journey down the sacred river where you encounter bioluminescent plans, spinning orange disks, moving silhouettes of lizards and more.  Perhaps the star of this attraction is the anamatronic Na’vi Shaman singing toward the end of your journey.  This is the most advanced anamoatronic I have seen so far in a theme park; the Na’vi is so real & life like that you have to wonder if it is not a person in costume.
Scroll to the bottom on the article for a full ride through video of this attraction in my Pandora video on YouTube



By the time we were done with the River Journey, our time in Pandora was almost over.  We wanted to be sure & stop for a few Photopass pictures to remember the night.


near the entrance / exit of the park is a musical set of trees with drums embedded in the tree stumps.  Drumbeats will respond to you when you interact with these trees.

Although the restaurants were closing for the night, we took a few minutes to wander through them and look at the menus.  The food is unique and something that you will not find anywhere else.  You can pre-order your meal through the Disney Parks app & pick it up once you arrive to avoid the wait at the order counter. (another first in Disney tech)  I guarantee I will be eating a few meals there when the park has officially opened.


As the sun set for the day, the pathways lit up with bioluminescent plant life.  They were still working on the details and not all of the affects were available.  Another reason for me to return in the near future.

If you would like to follow me through some of my Pandoran preview, feel free to watch the YouTube video below:

Thank you to all of my fans for reading and following as I share my adventures with you!
I am a HUGE Disney fanatic and I’m also a Travel Agent.  I charge NO additional fees to help you plan your next vacation, it costs exactly the same to book through me or directly through Disney.  Why not take advantage of a little free planning assistance?

My name is Melissa and you will find me almost every weekend in one of the Disney parks with my family.  We never run out of things to do, taste, try, experience & explore.  I look forward to helping you plan your own adventure to Pandora!

Melissa, Travel Designer & Destination Specialist


Holiday Party Tickets Now on Sale for Walt Disney World.

If you are visiting Walt Disney World sometime between August 25th, 2017 and December 22nd, 2017, you may want to consider adding holiday party tickets to your vacation.  Both Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas party are festive events in Magic Kingdom which offer special character meets, parades, shows, fireworks, delicious treats and more.

Cinderella’s Castle, brightly lit with thousands of lights during the Christmas holiday season

Having been to both parties for numerous years, our family now considers these festive events a tradition.  The Halloween party offers unlimited, delicious candy and the Christmas party has now added new cookie & drink flavors as options.  Our favorites in 2017 were the candy cane cookies.  So go ahead, treat yourself and buy tickets to these fabulous parties.


Dates & Prices for Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party:





Our candy haul from the 2016 Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween party

Dates & Prices for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party:



Cookies, that we didn’t eat, that we brought home with us from Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas party.  left to right, you can see… Sugar Cookies, snickerdoodle cookies, pappermint bark cookies, more sugar cookies, and ginger molasses cookies.  Each cookies station served hot cocoa or spiced apple cider.  YUM!!!

Now… who’s ready to celebrate the holidays with Mickey???  I know I am!!!

My name is Melissa and I am a Disney fanatic; I’m also a travel agent.  If you would like help planning your holiday vacation, I can help you book and plan at no added cost to you.  You will find me in one of the Disney parks almost every weekend with my family and we DO plan to attend both holiday parties this year.  I can’t wait!!!
Planning your trip all starts with a free quote, contact me or visit my website.
Thank you for reading!
Melissa, Travel Designer & Destination Specialist


Fall Room Discount – Save up to 25% on Rooms at Disney World Hotels

It’s 4:00am and new offers are starting to be announced for fall Walt Disney World travelers.  I’m up and ready to transfer my guests to any new offer that might save them money and help other people with new vacation reservations.  I anticipate that the next few days are going to be very busy, the best way to reach me will be through an email or a message on my Facebook page.  Rooms for these offers can fill up fast.


It’s the perfect time to stay in the middle of the magic! Guests can save up to 25%* on rooms at select Walt Disney World® Resort hotels for stays most nights Aug. 1-Oct. 7, 2017 when they book by Aug. 31, 2017.

With this offer, you can enjoy distinctive Disney Resort Guest benefits and amenities – including early access to Disney FastPass+ planning, Extra Magic Hours, complimentary Resort transportation, standard parking and entertaining amenities!

Plus, guests can uncover a magical mix of new and unforgettable experiences when they add theme park admission, including Pandora – The World of Avatar at Disney’s Animal Kingdom® Theme Park.

Booking Window: through Aug. 31, 2017
Travel Window: Aug. 1-Oct. 7, 2017

*The number of rooms allocated for this offer is limited. Length-of-stay requirements may apply. Savings based on the non-discounted price for the same room. Additional per-adult charges may apply if more than two adults per room at Disney Value, Moderate and Deluxe Resorts. Cannot be combined with any other discount or promotion. Advance reservations required. Offer excludes 3-bedroom villas, Disney’s Art of Animation Resort – The Little Mermaid Standard Rooms and the Bungalows at Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows. 25% savings for select Disney Deluxe and Disney Deluxe Villa Resorts; lower savings may be available at other select Disney Resort hotels.

Thank you for reading,
My name is Melissa and I am a Disney fanatic, I’m also a travel agent.  You will find me almost every weekend in one of the Disney parks with my family.  I enjoy trying new experiences so I can help guest plan their own Disney vacations.  All of my planning assistance is FREE; it never costs extra to plan with me over planning directly through Disney.  Why not gain the assistance of someone with countless hours of personal experience?  Contact me for a no obligation quote today.
Melissa, Travel Designer & Destination Expert – Pixie Dust Adventures
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Pandora Dinner Event in Walt Disney World

As many of you know, I was thrilled to be invited to a special Pandora Dinner event at Disney’s Contemporary Resort on May 6th.  This was a great opportunity to learn, in person, about the new expansion, opening in Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park on May 27th.

This dinner did not include a personal visit to Pandora, but… I will be there for a preview on May 15th.  Be sure you watch for my full review in the following days.

Not wanting to miss a minute of this dinner, I left my house early to avoid the heavy traffic on I-4.  I was one of the first few to enter the convention center at the Contemporary Resort; the size of this area never ceases to amaze me.  Disney’s event team had decorated and put out a few canvas photos of Pandora.  (below)

Once the doors to the Fantasia Ballroom opened, I was not disappointed.  From the iridescent purple & teal table clothes to the fancy sparking wine, that made a cloud effect when swirled, it was a flawless presentation typical of Disney.  Each place setting at the table had a Pandora notepad and light up Pandora pen.

Clair Bilby welcomed us to the dinner and thanked all of us for all of our hard work.  Immediately they began to bring around our tantalizing meal.  For you foodies, here are the details of the dinner menu:

Appetizer: Lush baby greens salad with apple and date chutney, rainbow vegetable tendrils, cucumber, and tear drop tomatoes and topped with Riesling Vinaigrette dressing and a beautiful edible flower.  Yes, I did eat the flower.  It had a pleasant crunchy texture but not a lot of scent or taste.

Main Dish: Flame grilled breast of chicken with pomegranate sauce paired with hearth braised beef short rib with Demi-glace.  Served with roasted sweet and red potato hash, green bean pods with olive oil and sea salt.  dinner rolls & butter were also on the table.

Dessert: Na’vi Forest Blueberry Cheesecake with lemon curd.
This dessert was such an amazing mix of complementary flavors, that I ate every bite.  The cheesecake will filled with just enough fresh blueberries and perfectly complimented by the lemon custard.  It was topped with an edible flower and surrounded by delicious meringue kisses.  The sweet, blue outer coating sparked in the light.  It was almost to pretty to eat.

We were not told if these dishes would be served in Pandora when it opens.  However, I do see some similar items, especially the dessert on the menu for the Satu’li Canteen.  You can bet that I will be stopping in at the Satu’li Canteen the first chance I get and ordering the Blueberry Cheesecake.

Kenny Pitchett was the main presenter tonight and he began the presentation asking us not to take photos or video.  Darn, I will have to wait to share more pictures with everyone when I enter Pandora on May 15th.

You can take your own journey to Pandora when you visit Walt Disney World after May 26th and Disney resort guests will get exclusive extra magic hours on select nights for a limited time this summer.  During the extra magic hours, only the resort guests will be allowed into Pandora.

Pandora is thought of by Disney as its’ own world and not just another park in Animal Kingdom.  Because of their similar messages and values, Animal Kingdom was the perfect place to build a bridge that will be the entry way into this new land.

When you cross the bridge to Pandora, ACE or Alpha Centeri Expeditions, will welcome you to the planet that is 4.4 light years away from Earth.  While you are in the World of Avatar explore the flora and fauna in the valley of Mo’ara and learn about the purpose of each unique plant.  If you’re hungry, visit the Satu’li Canteen (don’t forget to try the blueberry cheesecake); if you’re thirsty, stop in at Pongu Pongu, which means party party in Na’vi.  There are 2 main attractions in Pandora.  A family friendly Na’vi River Journey and Avatar – Flight of Passage, where you can view Pandora from the back of a Banshee (height requirement of 44in).  Don’t forget to stay until after dark when you will be able to experience the bioluminescent plant life.

At the end of the event we were given an envelope of Pandora posters for our office walls.  You can bet that I will be hanging mine soon.


If you will be visiting Pandora, you will want to be sure and take full advantage of the Fastpass system for the attractions.  The best way to plan your trip, is to enlist the help of an experienced travel agent who has personally traveled to Pandora.  😉

Thank you for reading.
My name is Melissa and I am a Disney fanatic; I’m also a travel agent.  You will find me almost every weekend in one of the are theme parks with my family.  If you would like FREE planning assistance for your next vacation, contact me or visit my website for a no obligation quote.
Melissa Mathies, Travel Designer & Destination Specialist
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Why use a Travel Agent for your next Disney vacation?


Comparing Walt Disney World Resort Categories

With more than 25 different resorts to choose from, deciding where to stay can often be the most difficult part of planning a Walt Disney World vacation.  They all have stunning & bright design & top notch Disney service.  It really all boils down to personal preference and taste and maybe even your budget might play a part.

When you book a package, at any Walt Disney World Resort, you will get:

• Free transportation from & to the Orlando airport via Disney’s Magic Express
• Free MagicBands (one per person)
• Exclusive Extra Magic Hours in the parks, for Disney resort guests only
• Complementary parking & transportation to all the Disney Parks and Disney Springs
• Early access to Fastpass+ planning
• Early access to dining reservations
• Complimentary entertainment and recreation at your resort
• Access to refreshing pools at your resort

Value Resorts

All value resorts offer:
• Several themed pools but no water slides
• Bus transportation to all the parks and Disney Springs (only 1 internal bus stop)
• Rooms that open to outside hallways
• 260 – 277 square foot standard rooms, with 2 double beds or 1 king bed, that sleep 4 guests.
• Art of Animation & All-Star Music Resorts offer family suites that sleep up to 6 guests.
• Food courts and pizza delivery, but no table service restaurants
• Family friendly theming that is bright & fun with larger than life icons around the resort
• Price Range: $96 – $214 for the standard rooms

Value resorts are Disney’s most economical choice for your vacation.  They offer the best ‘value’ for your dollar and are perfect for people that plan to spend most of their time in the parks and less time relaxing at the resort.

My favorite value resort has to be a tie between Disney’s Pop Century Resort and Art of Animation.  Art of Animation has amazing theming around the resort, lobby & pools with a more upscale feel to the food court, but is at the upper end of the value resorts.  I also like Pop Century resort, while still well priced, it has it’s own bus service that it does not share with other resorts, an satisfying food court and great pools.

Moderate Resorts

All moderate resorts offer:
• A ‘feature pool’ with a water slide and other quiet pools throughout the resort
• A calm and romantic atmosphere with beautiful landscaping and walking paths
• A table service restaurant (except for French Quarter), food courts & pizza delivery available
• Recreation options on-site for an additional fee as well as free recreation & entertainment
• Large resorts with spread out layout
• Bus transportation with multiple stops throughout the resort, to all the parks & Disney Springs.  The Port Orleans Resorts have boat transportation to Disney Springs.  Port Orleans French Quarter is smaller and only has 1 bus stop.
• Rooms that open to outside hallways
•  314 – 340 sq ft rooms with 2 queen beds or 1 king bed.  Most standard rooms sleep up to 4 guests.
• Riverside and Caribbean Beach Resort have some rooms that sleep up to 5 guests
• Coronado Springs Resort has Jr Suites that sleep up to 6 guests
• Riverside and Caribbean Beach Resort have special themed rooms
• Price Range: $182 – $285 a night for standard rooms

Moderate resorts have a more upscale feel, but also less bright and ‘Disney’ themed areas.  The resorts all have wonderful landscaping with nice walking pathways around the resorts.  The quick service food options are a little more upscale and most of the moderate resorts offer a table service restaurant.

It’s so difficult for me to choose a favorite resort out of these four fabulous choices.  I LOVE the pools at the Caribbean Beach and Coronado Springs resorts, but the quaint size of the French Quarter Resort is also nice.  My kiddos have really enjoyed staying in the themed rooms.  Choosing your resort is really unique to your family and to what kind of experience you are looking for.

Deluxe Resorts

All deluxe resorts offer:
• A ‘feature pool’ with a water slide and other quiet pools throughout the resort. Many have hot tubs to relax in.
• Amazing, unmatched theming with luxurious lobbies and gift shops
• Table service restaurants (with 1 upscale option) and quick service food, but no food courts.
• Bus transportation to all of the Disney Parks and Disney Springs
• Non-bus access to at least 1 park (except Animal Kingdom Lodge)
• Walking paths from some of the resorts to the one of the theme parks
• On-site gyms, salons and valet parking available
• Recreational options for an added fee
• Free fun and recreation scheduled daily around the pools and movies at night
• Rooms that open to inside hallways
• Standard room sizes that start at 316 sq ft and sleep up to 5 guests
• Some deluxe resorts offer villa rooms that have multiple bedrooms, bathrooms and kitchenettes and sleep up to 12 guests
• Price Range: $320 and up, per night.  Animal Kingdom Lodge and Wilderness Lodge are the least expensive

If you want your vacation to be unforgettable in upscale style, than you should consider a deluxe Disney resort.  At the deluxe Disney resorts I could easily spend a  relaxing day sitting around the pool and enjoying the food & free recreation.

It would be difficult for me to choose a favorite resort in the deluxe category.  I like the Beach Club Resort for it’s easy access to Epcot Park, but I also like the Polynesian resort for it’s rich theming and monorail access to the Magic Kingdom.  The Contemporary is such a Disney icon and Animal Kingdom Lodge has a special place in  my heart because I love Animal Kingdom and watching the animals from my savanna view room.  Each deluxe resort offers impeccable amenities and service.

Perhaps the best advice that I can offer when choosing the right Disney Resort for you family is to enlist the services of an experienced Travel Professional.  (((Maybe even yours truly)))

For more of my personal resort photos, visit the gallery on my website at www.PixieDustAdventures.com
– OR –
explore my Pinterest boards:  https://www.pinterest.com/PixieAdventures/

Thank you for reading.
My name is Melissa and I am a Disney Fanatic; I’m also a travel agent.  I have stayed in all of the value resorts, all of the moderate resorts and a number of the deluxe resorts.  You will find me almost every weekend in one of the Disney parks with my family.  Contact me today for FREE planning assistance with your Disney World vacation.  It never costs anything extra when you book your trip through me compared to booking directly through Disney and you will get personalized advice based on countless hours of experience.
Melissa Mathies, Travel Designer & Destination Specialist
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2017 Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas party, Official Dates

Although the tickets have not yet gone on sale, it is great to see the official dates finally announced for these popular holiday parties.


In 2017 guests can enjoy 53 days of fun this fall at Magic Kingdom® at Walt Disney World® Resort as Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party return in all their glory.

For Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, 32 spook-tacular dates include:

  • August 25, 29
  • September 1, 7, 10, 12, 15, 17, 19, 22, 24, 26, 29
  • October 1, 3, 5, 6, 9, 10, 12, 13, 15, 17, 19, 20, 22, 24, 26, 27, 29, 31
  • November 1

Returning to the Magic Kingdom fright-fest are the Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular stage show in front of Cinderella Castle featuring the mischievous Sanderson sisters from the hit Disney film “Hocus Pocus;” Mickey’s “Boo-to-You” Halloween Parade; and Happy HalloWishes.

For Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas, 21 holiday-tastic dates include:

  • November 8, 9, 12, 14, 16, 17, 26, 28
  • December 1, 3, 5, 7, 8, 10, 12, 14, 15, 17, 19, 21, 22

Returning favorites for the holidays include Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade, Holiday Wishes, A Frozen Holiday Wish and Mickey’s Most Merriest Celebration.

Stay tuned for the announcement of the ticket sales release.

My name is Melissa and I adore the holiday parties in Disney World!!!  I have gone with my family every year for the past 5 years.  I am a Disney fanatic and also a travel agent.  If you would like to plan a trip to Disney World, take advantage of FREE planning assistance with you book your trip through me.  I never charge extra & can help you plan based extensive personal experience.  You usually find me with my family in one of the Disney parks almost every weekend.  😉  Contact me today to start planning your holiday vacation.
Melissa Mathies, Travel Designer & Destination Specialist
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