Disney Minus Stress

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Disney and stress almost go hand & hand these days with so many things you must know and remember and then there are all the parks and water parks and Disney Springs and resorts!  WHEW!!!!  I’m tired JUST thinking about it all.  This is one reason why I had a client come to me recently that stated she would never go without using my free services from here on out.  She had called last year and decided that she could do it herself and then learned (the hard way) how stressful and frustrating their “vacation” turned out to be.  Why not use my expertise since it is at NO extra cost to you?!?!  I thought I would dedicate this blog to her and all those that return from their vacation with more gray hairs than they did when they left home.  🙂

Here are just a few reasons why you should use a Disney Travel Agent/Specialist:

  • We do know a good deal about Disney and we have years of experience.  A dedicated Disney travel agent is a graduate of the Disney College of Knowledge and we have yearly training and updates that are on going.  I have planned trips in every month for every season and event for not only singles, couples to 3 generations at a time, as well as for every budget.   And if I make a suggestion on a certain time for a ride etc…then it usually in your best interest and to work around that stress thing.  I want you happy and stress free!  We know our Disney and if we do not have an answer then we can go to our co-workers and get one for you.  Two heads are always better than one!
  • We want you to have the most magical vacation that you can possibly have!  Let’s face it, an unhappy client will always tell more friends about a terrible experience than a happy client will tell about a great stress-free trip.  Plus a Disney trip is no small cost to your budget and most families have invested a great into their vacations.  I try to save you as much money and time as I possibly can, and then work your itinerary around you personally.  With helping to make your time at Disney as magical as possible, I hope that I have earned not only your repeat business, but your trust as well.   In fact, so many clients have become such great personal friends!  Plus we work really hard, even if you do not see it.  For example, I have taking time away from my vacations or family time on a Saturday/Sunday night to help a client that was encountering some resort problem during their stay or even to find a last minute dining reservation for a incredible princess. We get up at 5:00 AM to book dining reservations and Fastpasses for our clients, and so much more to make your wishes come true.  But please note that we are not magic and we cannot control certain things, such as the weather (recent hurricane comes to mind!), crowds, rude people, or how much your souvenirs may cost. These and so much more I would LOVE to control but cannot.  Oh – and dinner at Cinderella’s Royal Table for 8 on Christmas Eve 2 weeks prior will just not happen unless there is some freak cancellation the day before.  I wish I could but I cannot.
  • We are here to help save you time and money.  If you use me, you will not spend any more money than you would spend if you booked the trip yourself. We don’t add on sales commissions or extra fees.  Plus for your protection, all payments go directly to Disney and, if you cancel, your refund comes straight from Disney-less stress for everyone!  I am not an employee of the Disney Corporation but I do receive our pay from Disney – I never take extra money from my clients for all our special extras.
  • This is our job and how we make our living.  My major pet peeve is people who take up hours of my time (which is our time away from real paying clients  – and  not to mention our families) to ask me question after question, to get all my knowledge and expertise, and then book the vacation themselves online with the all that I have provided to them.  I am always happy help and please take all the time you need to get your information without any obligation to me/us but please know that this is how we pay for our groceries, etc…. just as you do.

I hope these help you realize how you to can go to Disney and come back with less gray hairs and have magical memories!  We are here to help and to make your vacation a real vacation. Please contact me at any time for a free quote. I would love to help!!  The benefits to using an authorized Disney vacation planner include saving time before and during your vacation with itinerary planning which can help save you hours of standing in line each day. Plus you won’t have to watch for available discounts, research resorts, wake up early for dining reservations, or stay up late for FastPasses. The best part about using a travel planner instead of planning yourself? It’s totally FREE! Plus I’ll take away some of the stress and confusion of planning a Disney vacation (especially if it’s your first one!)It’s also a worry free cruise opportunity. I’ll walk through through all of the steps to the process with a few little insider tips along the way! If you already have your vacation planned and are interested in transferring your vacation, ask me how!

 

 

 

Friday Five: Disneyland’s Newest Announcement for 2017

 

2017 is expected to be an incredible year for Disney World and Disney Land.  Today, I thought I would touch on a few of the great new offerings coming from California!  As you might know, the Rivers of America and the Disneyland Railroad are temporarily closed at present as plans for the all-new Star Wars-themed land is underway. However, these two areas will reopen this coming summer ,2017, at Disneyland:

  1. “Fantasmic!” will be back – oh, how my boss will be excited! 🙂
  2. Mark Twain Riverboat and the Sailing Ship Columbia-I learn so much on these voyages!
  3. Pirate’s Lair on Tom Sawyer Island – we LOVE this area for exploring.  It is so fun to see the kid’s (and adult’s) imagination come to life!
  4. Davy Crockett Explorer Canoes – who doesn’t love canoes!
  5. The north bank of the Rivers of America: you will find next year that there will be a beautiful new waterfront with a new bridge for the Disneyland Railroad.

Lastly, but not least by all means….Sleeping Beauty’s castle will be restored to the way before the 60th anniversary celebration.  However, the special festivities are still now through September 5th, 2016, if you want a glimpse of history while you can-just let me know!

Your favorite nighttime spectaculars will also return on September 6th, 2016: the original version of “World of Color” in California Adventures and “Fantasy in the Sky” fireworks will sparkle over Sleeping Beauty’s Castle in the Disneyland Park.

So, let’s get to planning your 2017 Disneyland vacation!!  The benefits to using an authorized Disney vacation planner include saving time before and during your vacation with itinerary planning which can help save you hours of standing in line each day. Plus you won’t have to watch for available discounts, research resorts, or wake up early for dining reservations.  The best part about using a travel planner instead of planning yourself? It’s totally FREE! Plus I’ll take away some of the stress and confusion of planning a Disney vacation (especially if it’s your first one!) If you already have your vacation planned and are interested in transferring your vacation, please ask me how.

Friday Five: Water Park Adventures!

Just because summer is ending (sniff sniff) and schools are starting back in the next few weeks doesn’t mean that you can’t start thinking about having water fun during next spring or summer break.  In fact, planning this early will be advantageous for you in saving money and choosing your favorite resort!  The sparkling fun awaits you at the Disney World with their two water parks:  Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon!   Once you have visited them you will see how no Disney World vacation is ever complete without visiting the “splash-tastic” water parks. From serene to extreme, you will find an experience for everyone from rest and relaxation to extreme water fun for all ages!  Here are your Friday Five top points:

  1. There are plenty of chill rides to beat the heat!  From Crush n Gusher to Keelheel Falls and Ketchakidde Creek.  You will find slides and a lazy river that is an incredible time for all ages to float your cares away.My only suggestion for the lazy river is to take note of where you get in (they are well marked at all entrances for the river).  That way you will know when you have circled the loop and where to get back on land. (You can get out when you want, just in case…)
  2. Then there are awesome thrill rides for all ages can be found from Summit Plummit, , Teamboat Springs (a family fav of ours), and Tobaggan Races!
  3. Wave pools are everyone’s favorite in Typhoon Lagoon’s Surf Pool and Blizzard Beach’s Meltaway Bay!  I love hearing the “thunderous sonic boom” and the shrieks from the crowd as the waves (swells as large as 6 feet in the back) heads towards you.  The feeling in the air is electric!
  4. Snorkeling in the Shark Reef was my favorite but I love sharks and all “that stuff”!  This is a man made coral reef in 362,000 gallons of salt water and it is COLD but awesome and worth the try at no extra cost if you have never snorkeled.
  5. Relax on the sandy white beaches in a lounge chair or float in a tube in the gentle waves.  There are even fantastic cabanas for rent which made it so easy when we had a large family of 20 with us at Blizzard Beach.  We were able to use it as a “home base” for everyone…older kids were running around doing the big kid, thrill slides while moms ran after the toddlers in the Tike’s Peak area, while the Grandparents could chill in the shade of the trees.  It was a great addition to our family memories!

This video below can help you to get a drift of the fun that awaits you…..

 

MinnieBox

A free gift for your Disney vacation! The amazing and exciting Minnie Box! (subject to minimum vacation package)

So if you are ready to dive into your next Disney adventure, feel free to contact us for a free quote today!!  The benefits to using an authorized Disney vacation planner include saving time before and during your vacation with itinerary planning which can help save you hours of standing in line each day. Plus you won’t have to watch for available discounts, research resorts, wake up early for dining reservations, or stay up late for FastPasses. The best part about using a travel planner instead of planning yourself? It’s totally FREE! Plus I’ll take away some of the stress and confusion of planning a Disney vacation (especially if it’s your first one!) If you already have your vacation planned and are interested in transferring your vacation, please ask for more details!

 

 

Friday Five: Best Disney World Tours

 

Want to learn more about your favorite Disney park or how they make the MAGIC?  I thought that I would help with five of the best tours at Disney World and let you know if they are even worth it in the end….personally, I love to soak up all that I can in and about Disney that is possible.

  1. Keys to the Kingdom at Magic Kingdom is offered daily and is a four & a half hour to five hour tour which celebrates the true Disney Magic and what better place to learn of the Pixie Dust!  You get to learn about Magic Kingdom’s history, backstage secrets, hear and see Walt’s visions and dreams as well as his incredible accomplishments. You will even get an inside look at how the Magic Kingdom operates by touring downstairs underneath and also where they store the parade floats.  I love this one because lunch is included in this tour and it is usually at the Columbia Harbor House.
  2. The Floridian Express at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa (yes, at the resort!) is now offering this one-hour resort tour that focuses on the charm of Southern Florida during the turn of the century and those who inspired the Grand Floridian. This tour also includes a behind-the-scenes look at Victoria & Albert’s restaurant (which is on my Bucket List). The age for this is 10 and up but it a great one if you love the Grand like I do!
  3. DiveQuest at the Living Seas (Epcot) you can dive with 203 feet of clear sea water and swim with over 4,000 Caribbean animals consisting from giant sea turtles, stingrays, and sharks (which are my favorite!) to all the tropical fish you could dream of!  Of course you must be a certified scuba diver to live this ultimate diving dream and at least 10 years old. Your family members and friends can view your dive and you can purchase a DVD of your dive as well for a keepsake.  I have had clients do this and loved it!
  4. Behind the Seeds at the Land (Epcot) is a shorter tour (just an hour) so the cost is less as well but this is a really nice one since it takes up minimal time away from the parks and in the AC if it is hot out.  In this walking tour you see the LAND labs, fish farms and greenhouses plus over 60 different crops from around the world, along with some of the latest techniques used to help grow and improve plants in almost any kind of climate. My grandfather LOVED this one!
  5. Wild Africa Trek at Animal Kingdom is a three-hour, expert-led wildlife experience that I am simple WILD for! Here you will get to explore the most remote back areas of the Harambe Wildlife Reserve.  You will tromp through vine and fern forests on a bushwalk, cross a rope bridge over the Safi River (with an attached safety harness on you) and cliff hang at the edge of the hippos home-so fun!!  All this plus at the end, you will rest in a private “safari camp” that is elevated above the savanna for animal viewing, and lastly some of the African tastes/snacks.  Although this tour takes a good chuck out of your park time it is well worth it for the adventure!
MinnieBox

A free gift for your Disney vacation! The amazing and exciting Minnie Box! (subject to minimum vacation package)

Just note that your park admission is not included in the tour prices and most fill up fast so let us know when you want to get a little closer to the MAGIC and we will be glad to set everything up for you!

So if you are ready to dive into your next Disney adventure, feel free to contact us for a free quote today!!  The benefits to using an authorized Disney vacation planner include saving time before and during your vacation with itinerary planning which can help save you hours of standing in line each day. Plus you won’t have to watch for available discounts, research resorts, wake up early for dining reservations, or stay up late for FastPasses. The best part about using a travel planner instead of planning yourself? It’s totally FREE! Plus I’ll take away some of the stress and confusion of planning a Disney vacation (especially if it’s your first one!) If you already have your vacation planned and are interested in transferring your vacation, please ask for more details!

 

 

Friday Five: New this Fall on the Disney Wonder

I “wonder” what will be exciting for this fall??  Ha!  Ha!  Well, this fall, new incredible experiences for the entire family are coming to the Disney Wonder.  Here are just a few new things to look for:

Marvel Super Hero Academy
Just on the Disney Wonder you will find the Marvel universe come to life in the Marvel Super Hero Academy. This is where your little ones can train to develop the adventurous and always brave heroes that are inside each of them. This new addition to the Oceaneer Club will offer even more engaging and interactive activities for your children.  One is an integral role with mentors being some of Marvel’s greatest heroes in person and via a large digital display that is interactive (I love technology!).  Lessons learned will be the value of teamwork, problem solving and great bravery through programs just for them!  For example one mission has Spider-Man will appear in person to help children find their “spider senses” by working on their skills of reflex, sharp minds and spidey speed. As they work on their web-slinging, they get to see themselves in the headlines of the “Daily Bugle.” It’s pretty cool!!  Throughout the academy, you will find displays of Captain America’s World War II shield, Iron Man’s helmet, Spider-Man’s web shooters and Black Widow’s gauntlets.

More Oceaneer Club Fun
Even more new play spaces and more character interactions than ever before can be found on the Wonder for those ages 3-12.  Frozen Adventures with Olaf leading games and sing-a-longs on a digital screen and others can help plan a visit for the royal sisters, Anna and Elsa.  In the Club Disney Junior they can find their favorite Disney Junior characters, games, storytelling, and even help Doc McStuffins diagnose and treat the stuffed animals when she pays a visit to the club.  And then in Andy’s Room (where kids feel toy-sized in the multi-level play space themed from the “Toy Story” movies) can have a hoedown with Woody and Jesse in person to join in a scavenger hunt.  I love how the kids can not only meet their favorite movie characters but also get to “play”, dance, sing and more with them!

New Nursery Theme
A new “it’s a small world” nursery will make the your youngest light up in delight with a new whimsical world inspired by the style of the legendary theme park attraction.  Who doesn’t love that ride??!!

Tiana’s Place Restaurant
Another Disney Wonder exclusive, Tiana’s Place restaurant will transport you to an era of jazz entertainment, southern charm, and street parties like no other. The menu is influenced by southern-style cuisine that is good for your body and soul – straight from the bayou, and showing you that “dreams and dishes come true.”  Live music will set the tone of the French Quarter and you’ll be tapping your toes all night!

English Pub Cheers
The adult district includes a brand-new pub that invites you to take a jaunt to an authentic English tavern just like in bloody ole England! Along with the English dark woods, plush leather furniture and brass accents, you are certain to feel the friendly neighborhood pub experience when you walk through the door! An incredible selection of British and specialty beers by pint (or cocktails if you’d rather), also help to create that “perfect pub atmosphere.”  I heard there will even be a pub exclusive brew for you to try!

Lastly, of course Disney does it right and has so much more to offer. Here are a few other enhancements that I will shortly list if you are interested:

After Hours – a new adult district featuring two new additions
An updated Senses Spa & Salon and a new Chill Teen Spa
Animator’s Palate main dining restaurant updated to introduce the popular “Drawn to Magic” and “Animation Magic” dinner shows
D Lounge enhanced for family games and entertainment
Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique providing magical makeovers for children
Edge club for tweens ages 11-13
Cabanas casual dining location
Palo -the specialty restaurant has had a makeover with Venetian-inspired décor
A brand-new Walt Disney Theatre production
The ship’s upper decks also will be redesigned for a few new waterfilled additions

MinnieBox

A free gift for your Disney vacation! The amazing and exciting Minnie Box! (subject to minimum vacation package)

The Disney Wonder will show off all these new enhancements starting November 10, from Galveston, Texas.  The Disney Wonder will continue to sail from Galveston to the Bahamas and Caribbean, until the ship sails to San Juan, Puerto Rico on January 20, 2017. So contact us to see about your next Disney adventure aboard the Disney Wonder!!  The benefits to using an authorized Disney vacation planner include saving time before and during your vacation and help navigating all of the things to do and planning excursions for your cruise!  The best part about using a travel planner instead of planning yourself? It’s totally FREE! Plus I’ll take away some of the stress and confusion of planning a Disney vacation (especially if it’s your first one!) It’s also a worry free cruise opportunity. I’ll walk through through all of the steps to the process with a few little insider tips along the way! If you already have your vacation planned and are interested in transferring your vacation, ask me how!

Disney Date Nights with Kid’s Clubs

Some of our best “grown up” memories are at Disney World without kids – just for a night though! I thought I would share a few ways to get away for an adult/couples night out while on vacation with the little ones:

Children’s Activity Centers will keep the kids entertained in a secure and well supervised environment at four resort locations throughout Walt Disney World.

Clubs and locations are:  Lilo’s Playhouse at Polynesian Resort, Simba’s Clubhouse at Animal Kingdom Lodge, Sandcastle Club at Beach Club Resort, and Camp Dolphin at Walt Disney’s Dophin Hotel (ages 4-12 here).

In each of these cool clubs, children (ages 3 to 12) can enjoy arts and crafts, video and board games, watch Disney movies, play with a toys, and even make new friends – my son met a new pen pal named Edward from England! They had a blast together!

Themed activities along with dinner, snacks and even some cool crafts/keepsakes make it a truly unforgettable experience they’ll have a hard time not talking about for a long time.  Different nightly programming may include: learning about physics by decorating a volcano and watching it explode like a real ones.  Decorate cookie with a Disney pastry chef or train like a pirate buccaneer and come face to face with the one and only Captain Hook!

 

 

 

Prices will vary by location: Camp Dolphin and Simba’s Cubhouse have an hourly rate of $15 per child, with a 2-hour minimum. And then Lilo’s Playhouse and Sandcastle Club, charge a flat rate of $55 per child for the duration of the evening.  Dinner is included in the cost of the service and parents can order kid-friendly meals for their children at time of check-in. If given early notice, they can accommodate special dietary needs and mealtimes are served at 6:00pm with snacks at 10:00pm.  The club hours vary based on each location and advance reservations are recommended for all locations (please note that hey are required for Camp Dolphin).

 

Please note that activities are subject to change and we will be glad to make reservations for you in advance – up to 180 prior to your trip. Same day walk-ins are also welcome but note that they are based on availability.

Also, Disney offers convenient in-room babysitting as well and we loved this option when our kids were small (4 years and 18 months) because I believed in a strict bedtime and the nanny came to our resort room to stay with the children once I had put them to bed.  Ours were easy since they were already asleep but arts and crafts, reading and playing games are among the fun-filled activities for children 6 months to 12 years of age if you would like.

With this service an independent childcare provider Kid’s Nite Out offers one-to-one babysitting in the comfort of your Walt Disney World Resort hotel room. Prices range from $18 per hour for 1 child to $26 per hour for 4 children, etc…Please note that after 9:00 PM, a $2.00 charge will be added per hour and an additional one-time transportation fee of $10.00 is also required. We also paid ours a tip but this is not required. (Please note that rates are subject to change without notice.)
Lastly, if you would just like some down time around the pool without a cost then check out the resort activities for the children.  My favorite are the pool parties every afternoon at any of the resorts (weather permitting).  And my all time favorite resort for family/kid activities is the Animal Kingdom Lodge – there is so much to do and see there! So let’s get started planning your Disney vacation!

MinnieBox

A free gift for your Disney vacation! The amazing and exciting Minnie Box! (subject to minimum vacation package)

Please contact me at any time for a free quote. The benefits to using an authorized Disney vacation planner include saving time before and during your vacation and help navigating all of the things to do and planning excursions for your cruise!  The best part about using a travel planner instead of planning yourself? It’s totally FREE! Plus I’ll take away some of the stress and confusion of planning a Disney vacation (especially if it’s your first one!) It’s also a worry free cruise opportunity. I’ll walk through through all of the steps to the process with a few little insider tips along the way! If you already have your vacation planned and are interested in transferring your vacation, ask me how!

Is Staying on the Monorail Worth it?

You do not have to ask me twice – the answer will always be YES.  We just got back from staying at the Polynesian Resort and we LOVED it!  I have such a great childhood memories from there when I was 7 years old and now my own children have them.  It makes me smile (and maybe a tear or two)!

Here are just a few points of why I believe that these resorts are worth every penny:

  • Each resort is an experience not just a”hotel”.  When I walk onto the Polynesian property I feel like I am transported to Hawaii with the lush tropical plants and running waterfalls, decor and then hearing “Aloha!” from everyone that passes you.  Plus these resorts (Polynesian, Contemporary, and Grand Floridian) have a much more quiet and laid back feel for relaxation.  I love watching Magic Kingdom’s firework’s from the beach (or hotel if you request a lagoon view).
  • Rest and Relaxation:  if you are ever able, take a Disney vacation with down days.  I always try to fit one in for my clients because it can be very exhausting and it is supposed to be a vacation.  We took two night this last week and just ate at the resort and played in the pools/hot tub.  If you know my family, we close down the parks every night (it’s our favorite time) so this was a change for us but it was wonderful!
  • Dining: all Disney resorts have great quick service but the Deluxe resorts will have a couple of great sit down dining meals available as well.  Ohana’s, 1900 Park Fare and Chef Mickey’s are the top three for the Monorail resorts.
  • Transportation: I guess this should really be first point since it is the biggest draw due to all the back and forth to parks to room for nap time (if you have little ones), these resorts offer the smooth transportation between park and resort which is important!  I always recommend them to families with small children or with not-so mobile grandparents as well.  The buses and boats are also there for easy transportation.  I know we closed the park down one night past 1:30am and the Monorail was not working so we had to take the boat but it was a nice change of scenery and it got us there just as fast.
  • Resort Hopping:  this is one of my favorite things to do especially during Christmas time with all the incredible decorations around each resort!  This past week we ate dinner at the Grand Floridian one night and then sat in the lobby for a bit to enjoy the ambiance and live band.  And if I am not at the Polynesian (usually I am not) then I will make a Monorail stop there for some Dole Whip and to enjoy the breeze on the beach.

Poly monorail

MinnieBox

A free gift for your Disney vacation! The amazing and exciting Minnie Box! (subject to minimum vacation package)

These are just a few reasons why I feel that the Monorail resorts are worth the money.  And if I had to choose one of the three then I would have to say my family’s favorite Monorail resort is the Contemporary.  We love the fact that Magic Kingdom is right across the street from the resort and only a short 5 minute walk!  Last, the Water Pageant that comes around to each of these three resorts nightly is a joy for me.  The music alone brings such great childhood memories (sniff sniff).  If you are ready to plan your magical memories at one of these fantastic resorts or at any of the incredible Disney resorts then contact me so we can start planning!!   Please feel free to contact me anytime for a free quote. The benefits to using an authorized Disney vacation planner include saving time before and during your vacation with itinerary planning which can help save you hours of standing in line each day. Plus you won’t have to watch for available discounts, research resorts, wake up early for dining reservations, or stay up late for FastPasses. The best part about using a travel planner instead of planning yourself? It’s totally FREE!  Plus I’ll take away some of the stress and confusion of planning a Disney vacation (especially if it’s your first one!)

 

Disney Cruise Dining Tips & Tricks

 

If you are planning your first cruise on a Disney boat then hopefully these pointers will come in handy for you. Know that all food while onboard and at Castaway Cay is included in the price of your cruise (even seconds), with the exception of Palo/Remy, where there is a small cover charge per person.

Dress Code – Most other cruise lines have formal nights but Disney really does not do this DCL Pirateand just another reason why I love the Disney ships. You can dress up if you want but I am on vacation and one less “thing” for me, as a mom, to worry about!  However, be expected to have “cruise casual” which is casual pants and polo style shirts for men/boys and a sundress or casual pants and top for the women/girls.  It is always fun to dress up in pirate garb for that fun themed evening and fireworks after.  Also, a nicer more dress up night makes a really nice photo opportunity for the family with  Mickey!  Lastly, if the adults are planning a special meal at Palo or Remy then prepare for a nice jacket for men, dress or pantsuit for women.

Dining Rotations – most don’t realize but Disney was the first to start the dining rotation concept which allows you to experience a different restaurant each night for dinner while your servers remain the same – they follow you to each evening!  I loved the fact that after the first night our servers knew which drink to have waiting for each of us before we even sat down.  And they even had a birthday cupcake celebration for my daughter on her big day.

There are two dinner seatings each evening, an early seating and a late seating.  Early seating times are either 5:30pm, 5:45pm or 6:00pm and late seating times are either 8:00pm, 8:15pm or 8:30pm.  Ours on the Disney Dream, had our dining times as 5:45pmLiv Bday dcl and 8:15pm.  The first seating is the most popular but I have learned to enjoy the later one now in my older years – it is easier with the older children – just a tip. You can request which seating you prefer when you first book the cruise, or change it once you board which is subject to availability, of course. Please note that the dining rotation only applies to dinner, and to breakfast on debarkation day. You are free to have breakfast and lunch wherever you wish through out your trip.

Once on board, you will receive a “dining ticket” which will list your restaurant location for each night, and your seating time.  There are three restaurants onboard each ship so on a three night cruise you will dine in each of the three restaurants over the three nights once. If you are on the four night cruise you will dine in each of the three restaurants, plus one will be repeated. Usually, on the repeat night you will have the Pirates Themed dinner.  Then if you are lucky enough to be on a seven night or longer cruise then you will keep rotating through each of the three restaurants for the duration of your cruise. Your table number will also be printed on your dining ticket, and will be the same each night, regardless of which restaurant you will be in.  I always carried my ticket to dinner and handed to the host/hostess to be seated.

A free gift for your Disney vacation! The amazing and exciting Minnie Box! (subject to minimum vacation package)

A free gift for your Disney vacation! The amazing and exciting Minnie Box! (subject to minimum vacation package)

The process of booking a Disney cruise can be VERY confusing, so let a professional help you! Please contact me at any time for a free quote.The benefits to using an authorized Disney vacation planner include saving time before and during your vacation! Plus you won’t have to watch for any possible rate drops, research everything there is to offer, or keep track of milestone dates for any “extras” you want during your voyage.  The best part about using a travel planner instead of planning yourself? It’s totally FREE! Plus I’ll take away some of the stress and confusion of planning a Disney vacation (especially if it’s your first one!) If you already have your cruise planned and are interested in transferring your vacation, ask me how!

 

 

 

Top 10 Tips for First Time DCL Cruisers

 

I have a lot of first time cruisers for Spring Break this year and I have put a list of best tips for them so thought I would share with you!

Best Price:  Your best pricing will generally when the first booking dates open up and then the closer to the date you want and as availability lessens, the price will increase.  If there are some sailings that are not fully booked there might be a discount on non-booked rooms, but they are non-refundable and non-changeable.  Of course these rooms are not always offered but worth a try if you want a quick get-away.  Surprisingly, I did just book one for a month out (got the last 4 person cabin for them, too) and it wasn’t that bad of a price so I was excited for them!

Getting to the port:  If  you are driving your own car then you can park at the Disney garage there beside the terminal just for Disney.  However, this can get pricey but there are a couple of other near by garages that offer free shuttles if you would rather do that to help save. If you are traveling in a group then you might want to have a town car/van service  take you to the port.  It could be much cheaper than the Disney motor coach so check it out (or I will be glad to set it up for you).

ID’s:  Please make sure that you have your ID and all documentation for each person in your party ready at the terminal, and make sure they are properly signed. Without the proper documentation you may not be able to board and I have seen a family crying over the fact that “Susie” didn’t have her paperwork signed by the dad to go with mom and step-dad, etc…It is sooooo sad but Disney will turn you away so be prepared!  Arrive early but be aware that the terminal/parking lot do not open until 10:30AM.  You will be given a time to arrive for your registration and this helps make everything go smoother.

Kid’s Clubs:  Speaking of going smoother….remember to sign up your children for the special programs for them on the ship. The kids really do love all the fun activities and mine even hated to leave when we would come to pick them up!  At the terminal you will register them at a separate desk (hopefully you did the online check in for them to make it go faster – and I can help with this) and they are given a GPS bracelet to wear which is part of Disney’s important security safeguards for the children.

Adult Time:  Please take full advantage of the adult only areas of the ship.  The pool, adult activities, and bars are incredible!  And then the on board spa for some pampering is wonderful; no one does it like Disney! Remember that the spa time slots get booked quickly so don’t wait to schedule your time. The best price for a treatment will be the day you depart from the port!

Bars/Alcohol: Be aware that you can bring your own alcohol on board in your carry-on luggage…no larger than 750 milliliters — or six beers — no larger than 12 ounces — on board at the beginning of the trip and at each port-of-call.  Liquors and spirits, along with over-the-limit wine, champagne and beer will be stored until the end of the cruise. Alcohol packed in checked luggage will be removed and stored until the end of the cruise. This new policy went into effect fall 2015.  Also know that if you bring a bottle of wine to your dinner table then you will pay a $20.00 corking fee.  There are some restrictions such as you cannot consume your own alcohol in a public lounge. But if you want a drink in your stateroom prior to dinner, and you bring it on the boat to save yourself a good bit of money.  And be prepared to have the bars add a 18% gratuity to your purchase automatically.  I will usually give a few extra if they bring it to my chair on Castaway Cay though.

Packing:  Easier said than done for me but don’t over pack.  My hubby gets onto me because I am “too prepared” but that’s the girl scout in me!  Remember that there are laundry facilities on board just like any nice hotel to help with this. Find out how many formal, semi-formal or theme party nights will take place on your cruise so you know what to take other than cruise casual clothing.  If traveling Disney then there are no real “formal nights” like other cruise lines so a nice sundress will be fine.  You might want to pick cute matching outfits for a formal photo with Mickey or dress in Pirate grab for the Pirate/fireworks party!

Photos:  Talking about pictures with Mickey….you might want to plan on purchasing some of the photographs taken on board.  There are pre-sail packages that you can buy that help save money. And if you are taking your own photographs make sure you have a way to upload the digital photos or have enough digital cards so you won’t be limited on pics while on ship. Make sure you pack extra batteries or charging devices.  We have forgotten the charger once …..once was all it took!

Customs:  Understand the customs requirements for the areas you are visiting and have your paperwork and itinerary in order (I make a great book that comes in your Minnie Box for you!).  When you work with us, Disney Cruise specialists, then we will help you with all of that.

Know your budget: Lastly, know what the ENTIRE cruise will cost you from port parking to ship staff gratuities.  You want your vacation to be a relaxing one with your family so avoid feeling stressed out about the finance part.  If this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience then get the best cabin you can afford and plan on a couple of port excursions.  I always lay out every detail for my clients because I do not want them to be surprised at the end!

MinnieBox

A free gift for your Disney vacation! The amazing and exciting Minnie Box! (subject to minimum vacation package)

I hope this helps you and I would love to help plan your next magical memories aboard a Disney cruise ship! The process of booking a Disney cruise can be VERY confusing, so let a professional help you! Please contact me at any time for a free quote.The benefits to using an authorized Disney vacation planner include saving time before and during your vacation! Plus you won’t have to watch for any possible rate drops, research everything there is to offer, or keep track of milestone dates for any “extras” you want during your voyage.  The best part about using a travel planner instead of planning yourself? It’s totally FREE! Plus I’ll take away some of the stress and confusion of planning a Disney vacation (especially if it’s your first one!) If you already have your cruise planned and are interested in transferring your vacation, ask me how!

 

 

 

Tips for First Time Flights to Disney

 

I just had a client to ask me about some first flight tips for their Spring Break trip to Disney World so I thought that I would share a few of mine with you…

First, start booking your flight and browse airline sites (Delta and Southwest are my two favorites).  Look for direct flights to save time and frustration.  Although those tend to be higher in price but I always feel that $50 more is worth my time and stress when traveling especially with children!  (And of course I will be glad to book your flights for you to help alleviate your stress, if needed.)

Next, prepare for your flight by first printing or downloading your boarding passes.  I recently put mine in my “Wallet” on my iPhone for my Disneyland trip and they just scan your pass from your phone – I LOVE technology!!  Mark your checked bags with a ribbon or colorful duck tape especially if you have a black suitcase along with everyone else – this will make yours easy to spot on the baggage claim carousel.  I always carry on my makeup and prescription medicines (if needed) and liquids in 2 oz. clear bottles.  Also, make sure you have easily removable shoes to help speed up your time through security.

Don’t forget your Magicbands-needed for your Magical Express bus ride to the resort!  And to keep the kids busy by bringing along books, coloring books/crayons, word searches, hand held games, DVD players, headphones, tablet/phone with the wonderful app Disney Movies Anywhere – my kids love it!

Airport arrival needs to be no less than an hour and a half prior to take off.  I would much rather be sitting at my gate than stressed and running though an airport with children and bags in tow – WAY too much stress!!  Have your ID and boarding passes easily accessible (that iPhone Wallet is awesome) and check those bags in.  Remember that any bag over 50lbs will cost you money so pack carefully!  Go through security and find your gate.  A restroom break is wise and I always grab a bottled water and snack for the flight before boarding the plane.

Then before you know it, you are flying to Orlando and Mickey is waiting for you!  The stewards will ask you to place all electronics in airplane mode and then will give you steps to link your electronics to the planes wifi if it is offered  – Southwest has free wifi!  I always keep gum in my pocket/easy accessible for take offs and landing to help with the ear pressure.  If you have babies then a bottle/pacifier is a great way to help them alleviate the pressure.

Once landed, get on the tram towards the Main Terminal/Baggage Claim for the Magical Express and if you used the yellow tags from your Minnie Box then all you do is go to the Magical Express bus.  They will gather your luggage and have it delivered to your resort room for you.  It is SO nice!  Have your Magicbands available for them to scan at the Magical Express counter – my kids like to put theirs on while driving to the airport before we even leave.  Now relax and let Disney pamper you!

MinnieBox

A free gift for your Disney vacation! The amazing and exciting Minnie Box! (subject to minimum vacation package)

I’d love to help you plan and enjoy your Disney vacation stress-free!Please contact me at any time for a free quote. The benefits to using an authorized Disney vacation planner include saving time before and during your vacation with itinerary planning which can help save you hours of standing in line each day. Plus you won’t have to watch for available discounts, research resorts, wake up early for dining reservations, or stay up late for FastPasses. The best part about using a travel planner instead of planning yourself? It’s totally FREE! Plus I’ll take away some of the stress and confusion of planning a Disney vacation (especially if it’s your first one!)It’s also a worry free vacation opportunity. I’ll walk through through all of the steps to the process with a few little insider tips along the way! If you already have your vacation planned and are interested in transferring your vacation, ask me how!