Using Your Credit Card Abroad

Are you planning to travel abroad, and unsure if your credit card will work overseas? With Canada, Europe, and much of Asia already using “chip and PIN” credit cards, here’s what you need to know before your next trip.

In the summer of 2014, I joined two friends on a cycling trip across Europe and visited 17 countries over the span of three months. We didn’t want to carry three months’ worth of cash (in ten different currencies, mind you), so we relied on our credit/debit cards for everything. However, we soon learned that our American “swipe-and-sign” cards were becoming a thing of the past—the distantpast, judging by the reactions we got from servers and storeowners as they shook their heads incredulously at our swiping motions.
Over the past several years, Europe has switched from traditional magnetic-stripe credit cards over to “chip and PIN” credit card systems in an effort to reduce credit card fraud.These new cards contain a tiny visible microchip and require a PIN for validation, rather than a signature. Instead of swiping a credit card through the reader and signing a receipt, customers insert these “smart” cards (sometimes called EMV cards, for Europay, MasterCard and Visa) into a slot on the card reader and type in their PIN.
chip and pin
Photo Credit: bestofcategoryreviews via Compfight cc
These microchipped cards are effective at preventing credit card skimming, which accounts for37% of credit card fraud in the U.S. Credit card skimming devices snag the information from the magnetic stripe on a credit card, and copy it onto another card that can then be used to make fraudulent purchases. The microchip, on the other hand, creates unique data for each transaction that can’t be copied.
Since the U.S. seems to lag about 5 years behind Europe in many ways (policy, fashion, etc.), it’s not surprising to learn that financial institutions in the United States are finally starting to warm to the new technology. As of October 1, 2015, a “liability shift” has shifted the financial responsibility in the event of fraud onto banks, credit card companies, and retailers. As you might imagine, this has created a powerful incentive to switch over to a system that makes in-person purchases more secure. Banks have been issuing EMV cards to American consumers left and right—perhaps you’ve already received new microchipped versions of your credit / debit cards in the mail—and American retailers are starting to update their credit card readers. But there is an important distinction to make between the EMV cards in the U.S., and the EMV cards used in Europe.
The new microchipped credit cards that we’ve been receiving in the U.S. are mostly “chip and sign”, rather than “chip and PIN”. They require a signature for verification, just like our old “swipe and sign” cards. That won’t cause you any problems here, where our new card readers are prepared to accept both versions. But at self-service kiosks or ATMs in Europe, you might run into some issues if you don’t have a PIN.
credit card types
Or, you might not have a problem. MasterCard and Visa have said that “chip and sign” cards should still work abroad, and Rick Steves doesn’t seem too concerned, but my personal experience makes me skeptical. Many of the ATMs or the new portable card readers that were presented to me in Europe did not have a place for a signature, and were not able to bypass the PIN requirement. (Another way the EMV cards prevent fraud is at restaurants, where servers used to take your credit card out of your sight to run it through their POS – giving any less-than-upstanding servers the perfect opportunity to write down your credit card information for later use. Now, the card readers are brought to the table for customers to enter their PIN directly.) And trust me, nothing compares to the feeling of trying to buy a train ticket from a kiosk while the train is approaching, only to panic when asked for PIN that you don’t have.
Besides, even if mag-stripe or “chip and sign” cards can be accepted in Europe, it doesn’t guarantee that they will be. We ran into a few store owners and restaurant servers who had the technology to accept my old magnetic-stripe MasterCard, but still refused to do so for their own protection. Others simply didn’t know how to process non-chip credit cards, and couldn’t complete the transaction. I had to endure a few embarrassing incidents when a friend had to cover my meal because I couldn’t use my “swipe” credit card to pay my bill at a restaurant, or when had to sheepishly abandon two bags of groceries upon learning that the Lidl or Aldi I was shopping at would not accept my credit card. So, although you certainly might be able to get by in Europe without a “chip and PIN” card, you may find it to be a major inconvenience.
But the good news is – preventing such headache and humiliation before your next trip is actually pretty easy. If you’re not sure whether your new EMV card is “chip and sign” or “chip and PIN”, the easiest way to find out is to call your bank and ask. If it turns out that you have a “chip-and-sign” card, then you’re already halfway there– all you have to do is ask the bank for a PIN. Be warned that you might still run into a few issues at self-service kiosks (gas pumps, train stations, etc.), but these can often be solved by finding an attendant or cashier to help you.
If you’re really concerned about not having a true “chip and PIN” card for your next travel adventure, you may be able to get one—ask your bank if they can offer one, or check out this handy U.S. chip card guide. Here’s another helpful resource for finding “chip and PIN” options at decent rates.
A Few Last Pieces of Advice
Bring more than one credit / debit card with you! Upon landing in Denmark, I tried to buy a bus ticket at the airport, but my debit card simply would not work at any of the kiosks. I could’ve easily been stranded in Copenhagen with no access to money and no means of calling my bank to sort out the problem. Fortunately, my other credit card did work, so I was able to happily proceed with my trip.
If you are worried that your card might not be accepted, withdraw some cash ahead of time. The panic I felt while trying to purchase a train ticket from a kiosk in Colchester (as the last train of the night approached the platform) might have been easily avoided if I’d just withdrawn a few extra pounds to use at the ticket kiosk. Fortunately, one of my friends was able to spot me.
When in doubt, ask first! It didn’t take long for me to learn that the simplest way to make sure my credit card was going to work at a shop or restaurant was to ask someone first. Even though I didn’t speak any of the languages that I encountered in Europe, all I had to do upon walking into the grocery store was to greet a clerk with a smile, make a swiping motion in midair with my credit card, and then look at the clerk inquisitively. They either understood what I was asking and nodded “yes” or “no”, or they would respond with a motion of inserting an imaginary chip card into a reader, at which point I would thank them and leave.
Still have questions? Check out these additional resources:
Rick Steves – Chip and PIN cards
LA Times – Chip and PIN? Chip and signature? Here’s what travelers need to know
TIME – Here’s why your credit card now has a chip and why you should care
Bankrate.com – Will your credit card work abroad?
US News – Chip and PIN cards to consider before traveling to Europe
CreditCards.com – American travelers’ guide to chip-and-PIN cards

3 Things to Consider When Traveling with a Dietary Concern

One of the perks of travel is to taste new and different cuisines. This can be hard if you have dietary concerns. After all, you are special; your needs and wants are important and when it comes to food, these needs can make or break your trip.

  1. Know and stick to your dietary concern.

There are 7 types of vegetarian.  Do you know the differences? There are ovo vegetarian, lacto vegetarian, lacto-ovo vegetarian, pollotarian, pescatarian, vegan, and flexitarian. There are also allergies, food intolerances, and dislikes.  There are a lot of choices, it’s no wonder chefs and restaurants in foreign countries sometimes have a hard time understanding what your dietary need is.
Your travel agent or tour operator acts as the middle-man when it comes to your dietary concern.  Your requests are given to airlines, hotels and restaurants where food reservations were made on your behalf. When you check-in for flights or arrive at a restaurant please double check your dietary request has been received.
It is also prudent to stick to your dietary requests.  The staff has gone out of their way to accommodate your request; it is not the time to come off your diet because your neighbor’s dinner looks appetizing. You may laugh at this, but those that relay their dislikes or food intolerances have the luxury of changing their minds as their dietary concern is a preference not an allergy, I’ve seen it happen, it’s not polite. If you do change your mind, talk to your tour manager or host and they will see what they can do to change your upcoming meals, not the one that is currently being served.

  1. Don’t expect a substitute for everything.

You are not at home or in Kansas anymore. Food will be different, embrace it.  Chances are you will not find gluten free bread in Europe.  If your group dinner is having chocolate cake and you are a vegetarian, a chocolate cake made without eggs will not appear.   On the bright side, Europe has fantastic, fresh cuisine.  With all the in season vegetables,  fresh cheeses,  and meats, you will not go hungry.

  1. Bring Snacks.

Just like at home, you may not be able to eat when you are hungry.  Having a stash of non-perishable snack you can eat will be very helpful. They also help if you end up leaving a meal still hungry.

Performing in Germany

Germany promises to be a top performance destination for Witte’s 2015 season and also looking ahead to 2016 and 2017. When music educators think of destinations that include opportunities to “Follow the Footsteps” of great composers, perhaps the first places that come to mind are Salzburg, Vienna and Prague. When visiting those marvelous cities, there are reminders of Mozart, Haydn, Dvořák and many other great composers in virtually every church.

Knowing of our shared interest in music history, my colleague Keith Cole recently gave me the book, In Mozart’s Footsteps: A Travel Guide for Music Lovers by Harrison James Wignall. I knew that the young Mozart had performed all over Europe, but until I read this book, I didn’t quite realize that from the age of five until the last year of his life at age 35, Mozart toured nine European countries and performed or passed through over 200 European cities— more than 22 cities just in Germany! Wow!—and this was in the days when travel was far less comfortable than it is today in our Witte motorcoaches.

While I am not suggesting that anyone tries to plan an itinerary around Mozart’s exhaustive performing tours, many of the cities Mozart performed in are wonderful places to include in a performance tour itinerary. Adding a music history component to a concert tour enriches the experience.

Performing in Germany? Consider a visit to some of these cities with a rich music history

Bonn—In the first leg of Mozart’s “Great Western” tour of 1763-66, the Mozart family stopped briefly here en route to Paris. However, Bonn is of far greater interest to music lovers because of Beethoven. While in Bonn, a visit to the Beethoven-Haus Museum is a must. In addition to being Beethoven’s birthplace, the museum also contains the largest Beethoven collection in the world.

Heidelberg—On July 25, 1763, Mozart played the organ at the Heilig-Geist Church. This church and the beautiful city of Heidelberg are still well worth a visit.

Leipzig—In May 1789, Mozart improvised “without compensation” to a large audience at the Thomaskirche (often referred to as the Bach Church). Leipzig (with reason) is very proud of its musical heritage. Johann Sebastian Bach worked here for decades as the director of the famous St. Thomas Boychoir, still world renowned as one of the best boy choirs in Germany (and all of Europe). Other composers who lived and worked in Leipzig included Felix Mendelssohn, Robert and Clara Schumann and Richard Wagner. The three music-themed museums in Leipzig feature Bach, Mendelssohn and the Schumanns.

Other cities in this area of Germany were also home to famous composers including—

Halle—George Friedrich Handel was born here in 1685.  Because of this, the city is often referred to as “The Handel City”. The Handel House Museum celebrates the composer’s life and works through its exhibits and musical events.

Weimer—In addition to its importance as an early 20th century center of design and architecture, the composer Franz Liszt spent part of his life here, documented in the Liszt House.
While visiting the towns and cities where great composers lived, worked and performed, we will also create wonderful experiences for your groups. A performance tour can include a variety of experiences including—

  • Singing as a guest choir for a morning worship service or Mass.
  • Short, informal daytime performances in the historic churches.
  • Full concerts—often in smaller towns where there is more opportunity to interact with local audiences.

Depending on school schedules, many German schools and communities are very interested in having exchange concerts with American performing groups. In the late spring and summer, town squares often have outdoor stages. This makes Germany a wonderful destination for band performances. And—if all of this hasn’t convinced you—there are beautiful castles, villages along the great rivers, spectacular scenery in the Bavarian Alps and much more. All of our Group Tour Specialists have had extensive travel in Germany and two of them are fluent in German (Kristina Choura and Whitney Korstange). Any of us would love to talk to you about planning your next tour!

 

by Jane Larson
Manager, Performance Tours

3 Reasons to Visit China in 2014

A web search for reasons to visit China brings up a variety of responses, with the food and culture on almost any list.  While I don’t doubt the food is excellent and the culture enticing, those two responses can be said about most foreign destinations.

Great Wall of China
By Ofol [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Travelers to China are ready for adventure, new experiences and stories to send home.  Often travelers to China have traveled before and seek a place more unfamiliar than Europe. If you ask me, my three reasons to visit China this year are:
1. Adventure – Adventure seekers to China have a wide definition of this word. Think of adventure travel in this case as anything exciting and thrilling.  This may mean hiking to Tibet or biking along the Great Wall but many find excitement in less obvious ways.  For a lot of people, adventure is found new cuisine, alternate forms of transportation such as rickshaws, trying to haggle in a foreign language, making their way back to the hotel after not being able to read the map, exploring local towns, going “unplugged” for the duration of the trip, or in making a new friend. Whatever your definition of adventure is, China has activities that will exceed your expectations.
Food of China
By Jakub Hałun (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
2. New Experiences – There is a quote from Mary Anne Radmacher that says “I am not the same having seen the moon shine on the other side of the world.” What an eloquent statement. Travelers looking for new places, venues, journeys are are looking to expand on what they know.  For those of us considered western, the language, culture, religion and food of China is often novel.  Exposure to unfamiliar situations creates life long memories.
3. Price – Right now it is cheaper to offer a comparable tour to China than it is to Italy.  Deals are out there to be found.  Witte and other tour agencies are offering China packages that have full itineraries, good hotels and include airfare, all for low prices.  This is an excellent way to see many of the sights of this big country.
Simply google tours to China or view our China Tour Brochure to start dreaming about your upcoming trip to China.  And if I may- my favorite thing about our China tour are the dates.  The outstanding itinerary, first class hotels, almost half your meals- don’t top the fact that this tour ends on the 22nd of November.  Just in time for a short work week! With Thanksgiving the week the tour returns there is plenty of time to rest and recover from your time overseas.

 

by Whitney Korstange | Group Tour Specialist

Witte – Ahead of the Curve

Paris one of the top places to visit
Paris Metro Signage By tendencies (Flickr) [CC-BY-SA-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
It’s the start of the new year and with that comes the host of trend setting articles.  Every industry has them, top colors for 2014, 5 must use wonder herbs of the new year, top rated automobiles for safety…  need I write more?  The travel industry is no different.
Out of curiosity, I have been perusing the lists.  It’s fun to read that according to Huffington Post, Grand Rapids, home of Witte Travel, is the top US destination for 2014.    Another list I enjoyed reading was Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2014 – top 10 cities.   The cities on this list are:

Paris, France | Trinidad, Cuba | Cape Town, South Africa | Riga, Latvia | Zürich, Switzerland | Shanghai, China | Vancouver, Canada | Chicago, IL, USA | Adelaide, Australia |Auckland, New Zealand

Did you know, Witte is or has worked in all these top destinations?

 As a company you want to be a trend setter.  While Witte Travel & Tours may not be publishing top 10 travel destination lists, we are definitely ahead of the curve.  You can feel confident that Witte is and has been working in all the top destinations. So pack your bags, what country are you touring this year?
Need some ideas?  Check out what open tours we are offering.
Luggage
Bluebell Line Train Luggage By jans canon [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

by Whitney Korstange | Group Tour Specialist

Performing in Great Britain

by Jane Larson
Manager, Performance Tours
WJane_Larsonhile France and Italy have been the top destinations for 2012 and 2013, Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) will be number one for Witte’s 2014 performance tour schedule. This is consistent with statistics from “Visit Britain” who report a 14% increase in travel from North American visitors this year.
In the last few years, the Royal Wedding, the Olympics, and then the Royal Baby have kept Great Britain in the public eye.
But, according to “Visit Britain,” 67% of U.S. visitors to Great Britain do not venture beyond London. This is definitely not the case with Witte’s performance tours! Beyond London, our groups are traveling to and performing in great cathedrals throughout the isle, from sharing joint concerts with Welsh Choirs to exploring Presbyterian heritage in Scotland.
Whether you are planning a concert tour to Great Britain in 2014 or in the future, here are a few things to think about:

  • British cathedrals and their choral traditions are strongly linked. During medieval times, when many of the great cathedrals were built, the monks would chant the offices, comprised of eight services or hours (Matins, Laudes, Prime, Terce, Sext, None, Vespers and Compline). During the 12th century, many Lady Chapels were built, in many cases specifically for the boychoirs. The Lady Chapel in Ely Cathedral is world-renowned for its acoustics and two of Witte’s touring choirs – First UMC Birmingham and Santa Barbara Madrigals – gave midday concerts there this past June.
  • Regular midday concert recitals at the cathedrals offer wonderful opportunities for visiting choirs. Our choirs have performed in many cathedrals including Canterbury, Chelmsford, Chester, Lincoln, Salisbury, York, and St Giles’ in Edinburgh. Most only offer concerts on certain days of the week and, while pianos or choir organs are sometimes available, choirs should plan on a sacred repertoire that can be performed a cappella.
  • Many of the great cathedrals have professional choirs as well as choir school. In addition to singing for the Sunday services, the weekday Choral Evensong is one of the most important roles for the cathedral choir. While most cathedrals do not accept visiting choirs except when their own cathedral choir is on holiday, opportunities do exist. Choirs who want to sing during an Evensong service need to know and be able to sing the appropriate music, including the proper psalms for the day. Or you could plan to attend a Choral Evensong service for a unique opportunity to hear a cathedral choir at work.
  • Beyond the great cathedrals, many American church choirs travel to England to explore their Methodist roots. The Methodist Churches in England are often much smaller than American Methodist churches, but many are very welcoming to visiting choirs and instrumental groups. Concerts are often done to benefit the church or a local charity, and a hosted meal or reception before or after the concert performance is a wonderful opportunity to connect with the local audiences.
  • Presbyterian Choirs often travel to Scotland for the same reasons that Methodists travel to England – St Giles’ Cathedral in Edinburgh and The Church of the Holy Rude in Stirling are two of the historic churches where groups can give performances. Even if you do not have Presbyterian roots, the spectacular Scottish scenery and smaller picturesque towns make Scotland the perfect destination for many groups.
  • What about Wales? This is the smallest of the three countries that make up Great Britain but unquestionably one of the world’s powerhouses of choral music. The country of Wales is even traditionally referred to as “The Land of Song.” There are excellent mixed choirs – both for youth and adults – but the Welsh Male Voice Choirs are truly special and unique. These choirs have their roots in the community choirs forged in the coal mines and iron works of the South Wales valleys and the quarries of the North. To hear a genuine Welsh Male Voice choir is a very special and moving experience. We have contacts with several such choirs in northern Wales who are very interested in having joint concerts with American choirs. The town of Llandudno is a great choice with several beautiful churches with strong traditions of choral concerts.

If you haven’t already brought your group to Great Britain, we hope you will consider visiting one or more of these very special countries on an upcoming performance tour!

Performing in France

When most Americans think of France, some images that probably come to mind are romantic views of the Eiffel Tower, fabulous cuisine and stereotypes about chic but slightly snobby people. Except for jazz musicians, France may not be a destination that immediately comes to mind for choirs, orchestras, bands and handbell ensembles. Well, quelle surprise!—for 2012 la belle France has overtaken Italy as the number one destination for our performing groups!
Jane Larson, Witte Travel & Tours Manager of our Performance Tour Division is also our staff Francophile. Jane is a French Government Tourist Office “France Certified Agent.” As a longtime student of French language and culture, she continues her French studies at the Alliance Française de Grand Rapids (where she also serves as a member of the Board of Directors). In her 18 years at Witte, Jane has developed an extensive network of contacts throughout France. She is the first to admit that our true VIP and the man responsible for the success of concerts in France is the incredible Mr. Gilles Daziano, fondly known as Mr. D.
Between September 2010 and November 2011, Jane made three trips to France—two were behind the scenes planning trips for our groups. From March 31 to April 7, 2011 she traveled with the Battle Creek Choirs while they were on tour.
Here are a few words from Jane with some tips on traveling to and performing in France:
One of the questions that I am frequently asked by clients, colleagues and friends is, “why do you love traveling to France so much?” I can honestly say that it all started with my first French class in 7th grade. The language seemed magical and I couldn’t wait to have the chance to use what I learned! Because I got “hooked” on traveling to Europe when I was still in high school, I am passionate about creating quality travel and performance opportunities and experiences for students.
From my first trips to France as a student, to the most recent trip in November, I have learned how much most French people LOVE to hear an American speaking French. I know that the French language (and yes, even the French people) can be intimidating to Americans. However, it is a grossly outdated and inaccurate stereotype to think that French people refuse to speak anything but French and make fun of people who don’t speak French perfectly.
On the other hand, I ALWAYS tell people who are planning a trip to France that if they can at least learn a few key words of French they will “open doors”—and often the hearts of the French people they meet. The absolute minimum every traveler to France should learn are these words: bonjour (good day), bonsoir (good evening), s’il vous plait (please), merci (thank you) and au revoir (good-bye).
This past spring, after working for over two years in planning their tour, I was fortunate to travel with the Battle Creek Choirs. On the first full day of the tour, for our independent lunch in the small town of Port en Bessin in Normandy, our large group of almost 80 broke into smaller groups. I was with about 10 from the boychoir. As we lined up in a small shop to individually order our freshly made baguette sandwiches, each boy asked me how to correctly pronounce the name of their sandwich and in turn, said, “Je voudrais (I would like . . .) ___ sandwich s’il vous plait— then politely said, merci and au revoir.” When I saw the smile and impressed look on the shop owner’s face, I could not have been more proud of these young people!
That evening, the Battle Creek Choirs gave their first concert in a Gothic style 12th-century church in a small town in Normandy. This concert was sponsored by a local choir, the mayor of the town and also the organization France États-Unis, (founded after WWII to promote friendship between the French and American people).
By the time the concert was about to begin, it didn’t seem as if they could squeeze another person into this church that held about 300 people. At the last minute, Mr. D. turned and said to me, “Of course you will also need to stand with the sponsors and say a few words in French.” Gulp… suddenly all my years of French hadn’t prepared me for this! My words, first in French and then in English, were short but heartfelt—“It is a great pleasure to be here this evening with the Battle Creek Choirs from my own state (Michigan) from the United States. Thank you for welcoming us here in Normandy, France.”
The beautiful singing of the Battle Creek Choirs enchanted the French audiences, who hosted us to a lovely reception after the concert. This was the first of five concerts and each performance was equally well received. One of the tour participants and singers in Ars Voce (the adult ensemble) was Brooks Grantier, former director of the Battle Creek Boychoir. In a post tour letter to me, Brooks wrote:

“I’m writing on my personal letterhead, as a tour participant, to let you know that I found my experience with Witte Travel & Tours one of the finest performance tours I have ever made (and I’ve made a lot of them)… Venues were superb, and nicely mixed from the prestige places, to the memorable parish churches. Arrangements by Mr. D. were perfect… I was exceptionally proud to be associated with Witte Travel & Tours on this trip. I have received so many compliments about the service and professional style of the operation.”

What other advice can I offer those of you who will be taking your group on a performance tour to France in 2012 or in the future? First—don’t just think Paris! The regions of France are tremendously diverse and the smaller towns offer more unique “people to people” experiences. Besides teaching your group the basic French greetings, teach them to be patient, tolerant and flexible. The French can be a bit more formal than Americans and they are very appreciative of polite behavior. Please be sure to bring some small gifts to give to the local concert organizers.
Post concert reviews also generally comment on the concert dress—so make sure your group looks professional and polished, even for informal daytime concerts. In preparing your repertoire, plan a primarily sacred program because the best venues are usually churches. When performing in cathedrals, a more “traditional” sacred repertoire is required. For the full concerts—the French audiences LOVE to hear American songs—especially spirituals and more upbeat songs.
If France isn’t in your plans for 2012, I hope you will consider this very special country for a future concert tour. To give you fair warning, be careful if you don’t want to get hooked! A visit to France is like the first spoonful of a delicious chocolate mousse—you’ll be back for more!
Jane Larson
Manager, Performance Tour Division

Performing in Italy

For the past few years—and especially for 2011, Italy is one of the top destinations for our groups performing and touring in Europe. Everyone who has ever traveled in Italy agrees that there is a sense of magic in the great cities of Rome, Florence, and Venice. The country is filled with beautiful churches that have fabulous acoustics—AND the Italian people LOVE music.
Witte Travel has found that a winning formula for most groups is to have some concert performances in historic churches—often participating in a regular Mass. When possible, we schedule the full concert performances in some of the smaller towns and cities where there is more opportunity to connect with local audiences. Here are a few words from one of our local concert organizers.

The deconsecrated church of San Bevignate is a wonderful place for concerts. The city owns it and has restored it. The concert was great—the Varsity Men’s Glee Club is really a very gifted ensemble and the audience called them back for an encore! Some of them were American students at the University. It was touching seeing them meeting in that occasion in Perugia!

— Daniela B., local concert organizer

Although churches are the most popular places for choral performances, we have other wonderful venues for instrumental groups or for choirs that want to perform secular as well as sacred music. For the 2011 season, we have also purchased a high quality electronic piano so that groups can take this on tour to use for full concert performances.
Here are a few tips for choirs performing in Italy:

  • If you are interested in performing in a Mass at St. Peters or another historic church, your repertoire should include some sacred works that can be performed a cappella—especially songs appropriate for opening, offertory, communion, and closing.
  • For full concert performances, we recommend including some American music and spirituals.
  • For historic center city venues, try to keep your concert dress simple and easy to carry and change into.

One of our experienced Sales Representatives or Group Tour Specialists will be delighted to talk to you about the destination that would be a perfect fit for your group’s goals. Request a Proposal or call us at 800 GO WITTE.

Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party

“Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party” at the Magic Kingdom.
Fall is in the air! Time to rake leaves…enjoy the beautiful colors of the trees…and, of course, start making plans for Halloween! I can’t imagine a better Halloween Party than “Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party” celebrated on select dates in the Magic Kingdom during the month of October.
During the party, ghosts and goblins of all ages are encouraged to wear their favorite Halloween costumes and “trick or treat” around the Magic Kingdom.
Not only will you be able to enjoy all your favorite attractions in the park, you’ll also enjoy special entertainment such as:
*Mickey’s “Boo-To-You” Halloween Parade. This parade includes Disney Characters and the residents of the Haunted Mansion attraction. The parade begins with a ride of the Headless Horseman!
*”Happy HalloWishes” fireworks show where the Disney Villains go trick or treating in the sky!
*Special lighting, music and effects will transform special areas in the Magic Kingdom into happy haunts!
Keep a watchful eye out around the Magic Kingdom…you never know who you’ll spot! But remember…it’s Halloween! So you may not recognize your favorite character when they’re all dressed up in their costumes!
And parents…don’t worry! This is “Mickey’s Not-So-Scary” Halloween Party so it is appropriate for children of all ages! This is a special ticketed event and the number of tickets sold for each date are limited. Call Witte Travel & Tours today for exact dates and pricing at 1-800-GO-WITTE.
Happy Haunting! BOO!