Thursday, May 2, 2019 so beautiful!

Pandora at Animal Kingdom is one of my new favorite places to walk around, especially at night. It's just so beautiful.

Take a look for yourself!

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Why me??

Why me?

Why consider booking your family’s vacation through a travel agent, like myself?

~ I take the stress out of planning any Disney destination vacation. Disney vacation planning can be complicated and overwhelming for many people, which is why there’s serious value in booking through me. I make it easy. I make it fun!

~ I offer knowledgable, enthusiastic service and apply it to your particular circumstances, preferences, and needs.

~ I’m passionate about what I do. I know Disney inside and out. I’m literally tested on it every year. I'm eager to share my love of Disney vacations with my clients and friends. I plan every vacation as if Im planning it for my own family.

~ I book dining. I book Fastpasses. I answer all questions. I give detailed advice. I problem solve. I am IT support. I plan itineraries. I set up Magical Express. I prioritize celebrations. I customize Magic Bands. And more! I would be happy to be as hands on with your planning process as you want me to be.

~ Best yet? There’s no cost to you to utilize my services. I am paid a commission by Disney on the trips I book, so you don’t pay anything extra.

~ You have one contact (me!) who gets to know you, is responsive to your requests and questions, and has a vested interest in making sure you have a magical trip.

So the real question is: Why not me?

Thursday, April 4, 2019

The Disney Dining Plan!!

One more amazing advantage to staying on-site at a Disney resort is the dining plan!!! It's only for resort guests!

Here is a description of the plan:

The Disney Dining Plan includes 1 table service meal per night, 1 quick service meal per night, 2 snacks per night, and a refillable mug for the resort’s beverage station. So for a 7 night stay, you'd have 7 sit down meals, 7 counter meals, and 14 snack credits per person, to use throughout your stay. 

Table service meals include most character meals, buffets, and a la carte restaurants all around Disney’s parks, resorts, and Disney Springs. Meals include a non-alcoholic or specialty beverage, or an alcoholic beverage for guests over 21 years of age, and an entree and dessert. Gratuity is not included. Guests must pay that separately. Signature meals use two table service credits. Quick service meals are ordered at a counter and when ready, presented on a tray. They include a non-alcoholic or specialty beverage, or an alcoholic beverage for guests over 21 years of age, and an entrĂ©e. There are many locations all around the Disney property. Snack credits can be used on a variety of things, such as popcorn, soft pretzels, ice cream bars, beverages, Starbucks coffee, etc…

I like to point out....ALL meals on the dining plan include an alcoholic beverage! 

There are two other plans if this one isn't quite right, a Quick service plan with all quick meals, and a Deluxe plan with all sit down meals!

Just one more amazing reason to stay at a Disney resort!!

Thursday, March 21, 2019

One more reason to stay onsite!

Another amazing perk for guests who stay at a Disney World resort: EXTRA MAGIC HOURS!
Disney will open the parks either one hour early or stay open 2-3 hours late ONLY for resort guests! That means short lines and way less people in the parks!

Thursday, March 7, 2019

5 Lessons Learned the Hard Way

A Disney Parks vacation is the most magical family vacation, in my opinion. Nothing whisks you away from reality quite like Disney does. Most of our trips have been filled top to bottom with amazing memories and so much fun. BUT...... we have experienced unpleasantness, too. You can't always escape it or even prevent it, but you can be prepared.

Here are my top 5 lessons learned the hard way :( Hopefully you can learn from them.

#1- Rain

It rains in Florida. Sometimes just a little. Sometimes a lot. It depends on the time of year. But if you're traveling in rainy/hurricane season, which can be anywhere from July to November, you need to be prepared for inclement weather. I always knew it could happen, so we always brought dollar store ponchos. Those teenie tiny clear plastic things that are almost as thin as Saran wrap. I'm sure you know where this is going. Some years they were fine, but not when there is a torrential downpour. If you will be traveling during rainy season, please invest in some good ponchos or rain coats. Something with some weight to it. Even better if the sleeves are gathered at the wrist so they can't blow all around. And bring some kind of footwear that does not need to be worn with socks. Water shoes, good flip flops, Crocs, Keens, etc.. Even if you just throw them in your bag or stroller and change into them only if necessary. It is NOT fun to walk through unavoidable deep puddles in sneakers and socks.

#2- Sick Kids

Many trips are great and no one gets sick. But it's happened. Minor things to almost as bad as you can imagine. Once I woke in the middle of the night to my daughter scrambling to get to the bathroom to vomit. Another trip my son's breathing issues had become so bad due to the high Florida humidity that he had to be taken to Celebration hospital, then transferred to Orlando hospital. We spent the first 3 days of our trip there.

My only advice is to take preventative measures ahead of time and load up on Vitamin D, Airborne, etc...(but I'm still not convinced that really works) and have a plan just in case. When my daughter was sick, my mother in law volunteered to stay with her so we could visit Magic Kingdom with my parents that day, who were only at Disney with us for 2 days. My husband had planned on doing it until she offered. When my son was hospitalized, we rented a car and took turns staying with him while the other took our daughter to the parks. Pack every med you might need, even though they do sell most common medications at the resort gift shop.

It makes me so sad to look at this awesome pic and my daughter and mother in law are not in it :(

He looks pretty happy in his hospital bed :) He had some good moments, but much of the experience he was miserable :(

Here he is the day he was released from the hospital. We headed to Magic Kingdom and he had a great time!

#3- Heat

It's unavoidable. It's hot in Florida, especially if you travel between April and October. All you can do is be prepared. Dress in light fabrics and colors. I prefer skirts and sundresses in the summer months. Bring sunglasses and hats. Purchase personal misting fans at home or buy the ones they sell in the parks. Take breaks. Especially midday. If you don't want to leave the park to go back to the resort and swim, do some indoor attractions. It's a great chance to do those things you might have skipped otherwise. Get a Fastpass for water attractions midday- like Splash Mountain and Kali River Rapids. Stay hydrated. The kids WILL whine about the heat, so prepare yourself for that too! Listen to your body and don't overdo it.

#4- Sore Feet

Another inevitable thing. They say the average person walks an average of 10 miles per day! That's a lot of time on your feet! Not counting the standing in place, which is worse in my opinion. My solution is to wear a different pair of shoes every day. I don't mean you need a different pair for each day of the trip, but at least 2...3 is better. Never wear the same pair two days in a row. And decent shoes. Not cheap flip flops. I actually have fabulous flips flops from Teva and Clarks, and those are great. I love my Crocs sandals and ballet flats. Hubby swears by his Keen sandals. Bring a stroller for the kids, even if they are way too old for it. Kids don't have the stamina we do, and severely lack the ability to keep their complaints to themselves. It's better for everyone to have it. I have no shame in admitting I brought a double stroller to accommodate both kids until my daughter was 9-1/2. (She has always been very petite) And our last trip with the stroller for my son was when he was 5-1/2.

#5- Cold

Believe it or not, Florida can get downright cold, especially if you're traveling between December and February. One trip, there was unusually cold weather the entire winter and it got downright chilly. Lows in the 30's! Even as life-long north-easterners, we weren't quite prepared, and had not brought anything heavier than sweatshirts. I remember the coldest day that week...we all had on two long sleeve tees, two sweatshirts- one with a hood- and the kids were in the double side by side stroller with a fleece blanket tucked around them. I think the Photopass photographer thought we were completely nuts because we shed our sweatshirts for one photo. We all had homemade matching shirts on and I wanted at least one picture of them! We bought hats and gloves. We had to. So my advice for that time of year- bring coats and hats and gloves. Bring long johns! Bring an extra suitcase if you need to. You might regret not doing it.

The one pic we all took our sweatshirts off to take. It looks so deceiving. Sunny, but very very cold!

So there ya have it. My top five lessons. Hope they help you!!

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Magic Bands!!!

If you haven't been to Walt Disney World in the last few years, you might not understand what all the hoopla is about Magic Bands. Well....I'm here to help you!

In the simplest of terms- Magic Bands are everything at Disney World. Your park ticket, room key, Fastpasses, dining...and a way to charge purchases to your room if you so desire. It's a flexible bracelet of sorts, comparable to a Fitbit. They're pretty lightweight and very adjustable. They can be made small enough for the tiniest of wrists.

To use it, you simple press the Mickey head on your band to the scanner...which will also have a Mickey head on it. The scanner will glow green when its verified. That's pretty much it! (I'll explain the rest below.)

Your first experience using the band will most likely be Magical Express. You don't need to have it on...your boarding pass from your voucher book will be sufficient. We didn't wear them the first time, but did the second time, and I preferred using the band. I didn't have to fidget with the booklet. And I felt kinda special already having it on....and I wasn't even on Disney property yet!

Next you'll use it to enter your Disney resort room. You'll see the same Mickey head on your door. Hold your band to it and wait to hear the click of the lock, then walk on in. No glowing green light here :(

Next up! The parks! When you approach the turnstiles, you'll see that same Mickey head scanner. He'll glow bright green and the you'll be prompted to scan your finger. Security! Gotta have it! That way, if you lose your band and someone else finds it, they can't use it.

I LOVE the Magic Band for Fastpasses! No more papers to keep track of and pull out. They're all linked to your Magic Band. Just scan your band and walk right in!

If you have a Disney Dining plan attached to your reservation, you use it for that too! For snacks and counter service meals, the cashier will have a Mickey scanner. They will then have you key in your pin number, chosen at check in. Everyone who is on your reservation must use the same pin number, so make sure everyone knows it. Or they won't have access to their dining credits. For sit down meals, the waiter or waitress will scan your band at the table and ask for a pin, then print out a receipt right then and there. Proceed just as you have in the past with gratuity.

Photos! Every time you pose for a photo with a Photopass photographer, he or she will scan your band and wahlah! It appears in your My Disney Experience account.

You can use your band to purchase souvenirs too! Or anything! When you check in, you can link a credit card to your reservation and choose which guests on the reservation have charging privileges. When you make a purchase, simply scan your band, just like with your dining credits, and punch in your pin number. Done! I'd like to point out that your credit card will not be changed immediately...but rather the purchase is charged to your room. You can then choose to pay the balance any way you'd like, or just have Disney charge your credit car on check out day.

Magic Bands come in several colors: red, orange, yellow, green,. blue, purple, pink, and gray. You must customize in your My Disney Experience account ahead of time or they will come in the default grey. Or you can purchase a specialty band online. They range in price and have all kinds of characters on them. Visit Disney's website or the Shopping tab on the My Disney Experience app. There are also D-Tech locations inside Disney world where you can purchase a custom band. There are also ALL kinds of trinkets and charms to decorate your band with.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Disney Quick Service Dining plan!

I love to eat. I find zero shame in admitting that. And I especially love to eat in Disney World! The Disney Dining Plan has made eating very easy! Here are 4 reasons why I love the Quick Service Dining Plan!

1- SAVES TIME! For shorter Disney trips, we like to soak up every minute we can and use them to our fullest ability. Counter meals are just faster, especially if you dine during off times. We usually eat early lunches. Most counter places open at 11, some are 11:30. We get there right after opening. The lines are short and we have no trouble getting a table. Same with dinner. We'll shoot for 4:30-5 ish, after the lunch crowd has dined and the dinner crowd isn't ready. We can be in and out in maybe 45 minutes, as opposed to the hour and a half it takes at most sit down restaurants.

2- YOU GET MORE! I've done the math. Even if we all ordered the cheapest meal, shared drinks, skipped dessert (or at least only treated ourselves occasionally) we don't come out ahead of what the Quick Service plan costs. I don't know about you, but I would much rather spend the same amount of money and get MORE! Especially now that the plans include an alcoholic beverage with every meal!

3- RESORT MUG! Yep! Even the Quick Service plan comes with a refillable resort mug for every guest on the plan! It is only fillable at your resort, but it is definitely a great perk!

4- SNACKS! For me, a Disney trip is special because of all the fun treats I don't get to experience at home. Dole Whips, Mickey Bars, Smoothies, Floats, every awesome treat in World Showcase! There are a thousand different things to try and you get to try one every day of your trip!

So...what do you think? Have you done the Quick Service Dining Plan before? Would you do it again? What's your favorite use of a snack credit???