Monday, February 17, 2014

A Unique Travel Option...A Review

Walt Disney World in Florida

by Al Kessel

Well, regular readers of the Tales From The Mouse House Disneyland Podcast blog (phew, that's a mouthful) know that typically, we are asked to review movies, and occasionally a product or two. However, recently, we were contacted by a Disney lover who is offering a very unique service - one I at least have never heard of.  One that, quite honestly, looks a bit interesting. 

Andrew, owner of a new, online business called Mouse Consultants, specializing in offering affordable vacation planning and consultations for guests visiting the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida. (At least for the time being, the only resort he has recommendations for is this one) According to Andrew, his goal is to "help visitors avoid the infamous Disney crowds and have the most seamless vacation possible". Lofty goal, huh? Well, Andrew offered us a 'review copy' of his services, and recommended the 'MegaMouse Vacation Package', which offers the most extensive planning and travel advice he has. I'll get into detail on the other packages he offers later. So, of course we took him up on his offer - hey, it was free! Only problem was, we weren't planning a trip to Walt Disney World any time in the near (or semi-distant) future, what with our current situation and all. I explained that to Andrew and we decided to go ahead anyway, and just act like we were...

Now, the whole thing starts out by visiting Andrew's website at and clicking on the Featured Products page. Here you'll find five packages (at the time of this writing) to choose from:
  • One Day Disney Park Touring Plan - Consists of a personalized single-day touring plan for any park(s) at the Walt Disney World Resort. Features recommended attractions for you and your family; suggested timing to minimize wait times; proposed dining locations within the Parks. Cost of this package is $19.99
  • Disney Hotel Package - Walt Disney World features 23 resort hotels, each designed to accommodate different tastes and budgets. After purchasing this package, you will receive a list of the top three, best-suited hotels for you and your family. Cost of this package is $24.99
  • FastPass+ Planning Package - In 2013, the Walt Disney World Resort unveiled a revolutionary new system, called FastPass+. It allows visitors to make reservations for their favorite attractions, up to two months before their trip. This package includes: An in-depth introduction to the FastPass+ system; suggested FastPass+ scheduling for each day of your vacation; email support for the 'My Disney Experience' website and app. Cost of this package is $24.99
  • Five Day Disney Parks Touring Package - It takes at least five days to see everything Walt Disney World has to offer! With our Five-Day Disney Vacation Package, you can be sure to make the most of your stay. This package includes: Suggested Park Touring Plans (5 days) to minimize wait time; recommended attractions and dining locations for your family; personalized travel tips. Cost of this package is $39.99
  • MegaMouse Vacation Package (the one we were offered) - The MegaMouse Vacation Package combines all of our travel plans and advice to help you make the most of your Walt Disney World Vacation! The package includes: Suggested Disney Park Touring plans to minimize wait times; List of Recommended Disney Attractions & Restaurants; Top Three Proposed Disney Resort Hotels 
  • -Personalized Travel Tips & Suggestions; Ideal Timeline For Booking Hotels, Restaurants and Attractions; Unlimited Email Support Up-To And Through Your Vacation; Support For The "My Disney Experience" Website And Mobile App. Cost for this package is $59.99
All the above information will be personally tailored to the family's needs, and will be both mailed and sent electronically.  AND...this is important: Andrew is NOT a travel agent, therefore he does NOT book anything for you, nor does it arrange hotel reservations, dining reservations, show reservations, etc. His services RECOMMEND all of these things. So, keep that in mind.

Now, once you purchase your desired package, Andrew will send you a link to a survey form asking the typical questions you'd expect about your vacation wish list. Once he receives your answers, he starts working on a package (depending on your purchase) based on the survey. He'll also recommend optimal times to visit (such as the Holidays). The next thing you can expect is a reply with all of his recommendations (in a first draft, just to see if you're comfortable with his preliminary work), and once you approve those, he'll send you a follow-up email going in to much deeper detail in terms of restaurants, attractions to visit, how to avoid lines, etc. Very helpful stuff. 

As I mentioned, Andrew offered us the MegaMouse package. Now, one of the things I explained was that I had never visited Walt Disney World...ever. So, he designed a vacation (again, based on our answers to the survey) that included arrival date and departure date,  a hotel from our choice of 'comfort level' (and price range), with a price per night, car rental, and Park tickets. No airfare or flight information was included. Andrew also included a general itinerary indicating which parks to visit on which days. Also, with the MegaMouse package, once we approved the plans he sent, he would have included the FastPass+ and touring plans. Here's an example of the itinerary he devised for us, based on our desire to visit Walt Disney World during the Holiday Season:

-Saturday (12/6): Arrival at Resort
-Sunday (12/7): Disney's Hollywood Studios 
-Monday (12/8): EPCOT
-Tuesday (12/9): The Magic Kingdom
-Wednesday (12/10): Disney's Animal Kingdom
-Thursday (12/11): The Magic Kingdom
-Friday (12/12): EPCOT
-Saturday (12/13): The Magic Kingdom 
-Sunday (12/14): Departure

Also, since I indicated I had never visited WDW before, Andrew included some history and a brief overview of each park - a very nice touch. 

Ok, now, for MY thoughts on this...well, I think it's an extremely clever idea. I do. Good on Andrew for creating a business out of something he truly loves. It is very clear that he has both a love and deep knowledge of the Walt Disney World Resort. I honestly applaud anyone who sets out to make a dream come true, especially if that dream includes earning (or attempting to earn) a living doing something that you love doing. And I can (I think) see where this idea came about. Anyone who is a FAN of a Disney Park, and gains any sort of reputation for their knowledge of said Parks, soon becomes the 'go-to' person for friends, friends of friends, etc. 'Hey Al, we're thinking of taking a trip to Disneyland someday. Got any suggestions?' Ah...YEP! So to me, I think that's how Andrew got his inspiration.

But the question is: are the services Andrew, through MouseConsultant, offers worth spending money on? Well, that's up to you. Remember, Andrew is not a travel agent. What you are paying for is his knowledge and his RECOMMENDATIONS on what you SHOULD do based on his experience. If you like what he's suggested, then it's up to YOU to book and pay for everything. So, if you're the type who doesn't want to do the research for themselves, and are ok with paying someone to make recommendations for you, then sure, this service is for you. Would we recommend MouseConsultant? I think so, but with the caveat that this is all stuff that you can find on your own, or perhaps through a friend who also has knowledge. OR, through a Disney Travel Agent who CAN book all of these things for you. 

If you'd like more information on Andrew and MouseConsultants, visit him at 

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