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6 Steps to Planning a Vacation

Our family’s motto is the family that plays together, stays together.  We love to spend that “play time” traveling.  It’s the only time when we all disconnect from our jobs and other responsibilities and focus on each other 100 percent.  One thing all vacations have in common is that they require planning.  I have friends who say they enjoy planning their vacations almost as much as they enjoy taking them.  Planning a vacation includes everything from choosing a destination to taking the trip.  How much planning you do is entirely up to you.  Some people like to “wing it” on vacation, while others enjoy scheduling as much of their time as possible.  Neither is right or wrong; how you plan is entirely up to you.  I have selected what I think are the six essential steps to planning a successful vacation.

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1.  Choose Your Destination.  On the surface, this may sound simple and sometimes it is.  Sometimes a destination is chosen for you when you’re attending a family reunion or joining a larger group on a trip.  If you have a purpose for your vacation, then choosing the destination is much easier.  If you are starting your planning from scratch, I would recommend making a list of at least five places you want to travel.  If you are traveling with extended family or friends, go ahead and ask if they have any ideas.  Talk about the options such as whether you are looking for something close to home, thinking about a cruise, or playing at the newest attractions at a theme park.  Make your choice.  If you are part of a larger group sometimes agreeing to take turns deciding, compromising on a destination, or flipping a coin are necessary to help make the choice.  You may need to consider Step 2 before deciding on a destination if money may be a factor.

 

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2.  Setting Your Budget.  Sometimes this step is helpful to be done before or in conjunction with choosing your destination.  If you think you know where you want to go, sit down at your computer and do some research…or call your travel agent.  Be sure you are checking prices during the time when you will be there.  Prices can be significantly lower if traveling during that destination’s off season.  Don’t price during the off season if you know you’re going to be traveling during peak season.  Be sure to check on taxes, resort fees, and parking fees at a hotel.  Check prices of the restaurants in the area and cost of tickets to attractions you want to visit while you’re there.  Be realistic and scale back where you need to stay on budget.

3.  Making Travel Arrangements.  If you plan on flying to your destination, it’s time to book those airfares.  You can sit down and compare prices easily on sites such as Orbitz or Expedia.  You may also to check and see if there is a discount by booking your hotel with your flights.  Research if you need to rent a vehicle.  You can check with your hotel to see if they offer free transportation to and from the airport.  Find out how close they are to public transportation to the sites you wish to see while you are there.  You may choose to drive to your destination.  If you are going to drive to your destination, you should make sure that all maintenance is up to date and the car has been checked before you leave on your journey.

4.  Finding Accommodations.  The most important thing when finding a hotel is to know what amenities are important to you choosing your hotel.  Is a free breakfast or large outdoor pool?  Will you be spending long periods of time at the hotel or is it just a place to sleep?  Prioritize those amenities and do a search on websites such as Hotels.com to see what is available in your price range.  You may wish to consider other options such as Airbnb should you want something more like a home away from home.

5.  Planning Your Vacation Activities.  This is the step where you get to begin planning your activities.  You can check with your local library system to see what type of travel guide books are available for free for your destination.  There are lots of websites and blogs loaded with information about destinations.  Choose the activities that are appropriate for your group.  If time or money doesn’t allow you to do everything you want, you can prioritize and rank the activities to help choose take off your list and save for another trip.  Book any special activities that you want to do in advance so that you aren’t disappointed when you get there.  Leave some unplanned or down time in your schedule so you don’t come home from your vacation feeling like you need a vacation from your vacation.

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6.  Packing and Preparing for Departure.  Make a packing list for your trip.  If you don’t know where to start, there are lots of great packing lists that can be found online with a search.  Keep your packing list so that when you pack up to come home you can make sure you’ve got everything you left with.  Bring enough money to be sure you have enough for any emergencies and incidentals that may pop up.  You should make preparations for being gone from home.  This may include things such as setting your pet up with a pet sitter, making sure the home is ready or have someone house sit, and putting your mail on hold with the Post Office.

Whew!  Now that you’re ready to leave on your trip, the last thing to do is to go and have fun.  Remember, family and friends that play together, stay together.  Happy planning!

Disney Travel News for Week of 06/17/2018

Disneyland Resort

Sweet Candy Tears Coming to Bing Bong’s Sweet Stuff in Pixar Pier at Disney California Adventure

Photo Credit:  Disney Destinations

Remember Bing Bong–that pink fluffy, imaginary friend from Disney/Pixar’s “Inside Out”?  He’ll be bringing some very sweet treats to his new shop at Disney California Adventure Park.  Bing Bong’s Sweet Stuff will open later this summer.  

Walt Disney World Resort

Video:  It’s a Great Day for Epcot

New video released “It’s a Great Time For…Epcot.”  Epcot is a magical place for you to discover the wonders of the world…and beyond.  You can take a boat ride journey through Arendelle and have an extra special day with our Frozen friends:  Anna, Elsa, Olaf, Kristoff, and a few others on Frozen Ever After.  

Bus Times at Walt Disney World Resort Will Now Be Available on the My Disney Experience App

 

Photo Credit:  Disney Destinations

Disney rolled out a new bus time feature in the My Disney Experience mobile app.  You will not be able to spend less time waiting at the bus stop and more time preparing for a day at the parks.  

2019 Walt Disney World Resort Packages Now Available for Booking

Photo Credit:  Disney Destinations

2019 Walt Disney World Resort vacation packages are now available for booking.  Use the Contact Form for more information.  Happy planning!  

Finishing Touches Being Placed on Toy Story Land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Photo Credit:  Disney Destinations

We’re less than two weeks from the opening of Toy Story Land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.  It will open on June 30, 2018.  

The First Looks at Toy Story Land at Night Featured in New ‘Inside Disney Parks’

Check out this new video put out by Disney Parks Blog and see the first glimpses of Toy Story Land at night.  In addition, Disney Imagineers share a look at the new land attractions.  You can also get a sneak peek at the new toys created just for Toy Story Land.  

Disney Cruise Line

Halloween on the High Seas Will be Haunting Disney Cruise Ships this Fall

Photo Credit:  Disney Destinations

During the month of September, each Disney Cruise Line ship will be transformed into a Halloween wonderland for another season of Halloween on the High Seas cruises.  These select cruises are packed with haunted tricks and fun-filled treats.  For more information on booking one of these cruises, use the Contact Form.  We’d be happy to book this haunted delight for you and all your ghouls.  

 

Disney Travel News for Week of 06/10/2018

Disneyland Resort

“Incredibles” Float Will Be Joining the Paint the Night Parade at Disney California Adventure Park Beginning June 23rd

During the limited-time Pixar Fest at Disneyland Resort, the Paint the Night Parade has made its way to Disney California Adventure.  The parade include floats with characters from the beloved Pixar films.  The floats and performers are covered in over 1 million dazzling lights and play along to the high-energy music from the films.  

Photo Credit:  Disney Destinations

Beginning June 23rd, 2018, a new float that has been inspired by the Disney/Pixar Films “The Incredibles” and “Incredibles 2”.  This float is joining the Paint the Night Parade during Pixar Fest, which is a limited-time celebration happening now through September 3, 2018.  Come see it before it disappears.  

Walt Disney World Resort

Enjoy Evenings at Disney H2O Glow Nights at Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park

On 16 select evenings between June 21st and August 11th, 2018, you can enjoy Disney H2O Glow Nights at Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park.

Photo Credit:  Disney Destinations

Join Rex the “Dinosaur of Ceremonies” and his Toy Story pals for this special party with lighting and entertainment that will transform the park.  From 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. on select evenings, you will have the run of the park as you have access to all of the park’s attractions, a DJ dance party on the beach, and special character greetings with some of your friends from Toy Story such as Woody and Jessie.  

Tickets to the Disney H20 Glow Nights are $55 plus tax per adult (ages 10+) and $50 plus tax per child (ages 3-9).  The number of tickets is limited.  Feel free to use the Contact form for more information or let us know how we can help you plan your next vacation.  

Epcot International Food & Wine Festival Signature Dining Events are Now Available to Book

There are nine popular Epcot Signature Dining Events that are now open for reservations.  Each event will offer an exclusive, immersive and tasty dining experience at a World Showcase restaurant.  

Photo credit:  Disney Destinations

The nine signature dining events are as follows:  

  • Mexican Tequila Lunch – La Hacienda de San Angel, Mexico Pavilion
  • Italian Food, Wine vs. Beer Pairing at Via Napoli – Via Napoli, Italy Pavilion
  • Italian Regional Food & Wine Pairing Luncheon – Tutto Gusto, Italy Pavilion
  • Parisian Breakfast – Chefs de France, France Pavilion
  • French Family Meal Traditions – Monsieur Paul, France Pavilion
  • The Parisian Afternoon, Sandwiches, Macarons and Bubbles! – Monsieur Paul, France Pavilion
  • The “Hibachi” Experience:  Iron Chef – Teppan Edo, Japan Pavilion
  • Tokyo Pairing – Tokyo Dining, Japan Pavilion
  • Mediterranean Food & Wine Pairing – Spice Road Table, Morocco

For prices, times, and availability, please feel free to use the “Contact Us” form for more information.  

Enjoy ‘The Guardians of the Galaxy – Awesome Mix Live!’ at Epcot

Now through August 19, 2018, you can enjoy “Guardians of the Galaxy – Awesome Mix Live!”.  Gamora and Star-Lord from Guardians of the Galaxy will take you on a musical journey at the American Guardians Theatre at Epcot.  The show will be presented five times a day.  It is included with your theme park admission and is part of the “Incredible Summer” offerings at Walt Disney World Resort.  

You can also drop into the American Adventure at Epcot where you can find some special edible offerings inspired by the “Guardians of the Galaxy – Awesome Mix Live!”.  The Liberty Inn will be offering a Groot Sipper Cup that comes with your choice of fountain or frozen beverage and a Rocket Fuel Slushy with bourbon and frozen Coca Cola.  

The Fife & Drum Tavern will be offering an “I am Float” Root Beer with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream and mint leaves or an Awesome Mix Slushy consisting of layers of frozen lemonade, blue raspberry, and strawberry.  You can also indulge in a Galaxy Cupcake with buttercream and an adorable white chocolate Groot.  

Article and photo credit:  Disney Destinations

Golf Course Enhancements Coming to Disney Golf This Summer

Currently, the Palm course is undergoing its regular aeration process and is getting re-imagined bunkers and improved drainage.  It will be opening back up on June 18, 2018. 

Bunkers at the Lake Buena Vista course will also be getting enhanced bunkers, including a new white sand bunker.  At Oak Trail, greens are being resized and resurfaced.  The new developments on these courses will begin June 18th at Lake Buena Vista and June 25th at Oak Trail.  It is estimated that both courses should be completed by mid-August.  

Special discounted rates at both courses will be offered.  

Article and photo credit by:  Disney Destinations

 

Disney Travel News for Week of May 6, 2018

Adventures by Disney

Save up to $500 Per Person on Select Adventures by Disney Departures

Book early and save up to $500 per person on select Adventures by Disney departures when you book May 7 – July 6, 2018 for travel between January 1 – December 16, 2019.

You can save $500 per person on select international departures and $400 per person on select North America departures.

This offer excludes Japan, Iceland, and South Africa itineraries, Long Weekends, and Disney Cruise Line related packages.

*Early Booking Rate offer valid for select Adventures by Disney land package departures with travel start dates between January 1, 2019, and December 10, 2019, inclusive.  This offer is not valid for Japan, Iceland, and South Africa departures, Adventures by Disney River cruises, Adventures by Disney Long Weekend land packages, and Disney Cruise Line related packages.  Qualifying land package departures have an Early Booking Rate designation on the applicable Rates and Dates page on AdventuresbyDisney.com; provided that the Early Booking Rate designation may not reflect real time offer availability; accordingly, availability of Early Booking Rate is subject to confirmation at time of booking reservation with Adventures by Disney.  Availability of the Early Booking Rate for select departures will be determined at the time standard trip deposit is paid.  Any courtesy hold, without payment of the standard trip deposit, will not guarantee availability of the Early Booking Rate for selected departure date.  Early Booking Rate offer terminates on July 06, 2018, or when the limited spaces on the applicable departure date have been booked, whichever is earlier.  The Early Booking Rate is $500 less than the rate applicable to the same departure date and Adventures by Disney land package after the termination of the Early Booking Rate offer for select destinations outside the United States and Canada and $400 less than the rate applicable to the same departure date and Adventures by Disney land package after the termination of the Early Booking Rate offer for select destinations within the United States and Canada.  A limited number of spaces are available on each applicable departure date at the Early Booking Rate.  Spaces on the land packages at the Early Booking Rate are subject to availability.  Early Booking Rate is valid on new bookings only.  Lead guest of the booking party must travel on the land package booked.  Offer not transferable or redeemable for cash in whole or in part.  Early Booking Rate cannot be combined with any other offers, discounts, or promotions.  Not valid for group bookings.  Offer is subject to change without notice.  Booking subject to restrictions and Adventures by Disney’s standard terms and conditions.  Void where prohibited.

Credit/Image:  Disney Destinations

Disneyland

Reservations Now Open for New Character Dining Experiences at Disneyland Resort Hotels

Reservations are now available for Mickey’s Tales of Adventure Character Breakfast at Storytellers Cafe and Donald Duck’s Seaside Breakfast at Disney’s PCH Grill at Disneyland Resort hotels.  These dining experiences both start on July 10 and are the perfect way for your Clients to start their Disney day.

Mickey’s Tales of Adventure Character Breakfat

At Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa, Guests dining at Storytellers Cafe will join Mickey Mouse and his friends for Mickey’s Tales of Adventure.  Discover the fun with your adventurous storyteller, Mickey, as he welcomes you into his immersive tales of adventure through his magical Adventurer’s Journal.  Enjoy a bountiful Farmer’s Market Buffet of all-you-care-to-enjoy breakfast specialties, including made-to-order omelets, Mickey waffles, fresh-baked goods and seasonal fruit.  Mickey’s Tales of Adventure will be offered Monday-Thursday, 7-11:30 a.m. and Friday-Sunday, 7 a.m.-2 p.m.

Donald Duck’s Seaside Breakfast

Over at Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel, Donald will be reunited with his heart-throb Daisy at Disney’s PCH Grill, and is bringing all the beachy fun with him!  Soak in those rays and catch some waves on the dance floor with Donald, Daisy, and Stitch, as you chow down on an all-you-care-to-eat breakfast buffet.  Try the build-your-own-parfait stations, chef’s signature flatbreads, egg white frittatas, chilaquiles, smoothies, smoked salmon, and more.  Kids will love the Mickey waffles, Minnie pancakes, Bananas Foster French toast and a selection of hot and cold cereals, sausage, bacon, and seasonal fresh fruit.  Donald Duck’s Seaside Breakfast will take place Monday-Thursday, 7 – 11 a.m. and Friday-Sunday, 7 – 11:30 a.m.

Credit/Image:  Disney Destinations

Walt Disney World Resort

A Closer Look at Disney H2O Glow Nights

With glowing beach balls, inner tubes, and other lighting effects, Disney H2O Glow Nights is a rare opportunity for you to experience Typhoon Lagoon under the moonlight.  On select nights beginning June 21, 2018, Typhoon Lagoon becomes a luminous, nighttime hotspot featuring a DJ Dance Party on the beach, plus special character meetings with Buzz, Woody, and Jessie from Pixar’s “Toy Story,” as they visit Typhoon Lagoon for the first time.  And let’s not forget about the host, Partysaurus Rex, who is inviting Guests to this one-of-a-kind experience.

You can also play party games, try unique food and beverage treats, and enjoy all attractions at the water park with minimal wait times, including Crush ‘n’ Gusher, a thrilling water coaster and Miss Adventure Falls, the newest attraction at Typhoon Lagoon.

While the kids are splashing about, adults can visit The Wharf.  This adults-only oasis is unique to Disney H2O Glow Nights and is only available when Typhoon Lagoon transforms at nightfall.

Tickets cost $55 for adults and $50 for children, ages 3-9 (plus tax).

Credit/Image:  Disney Destinations

Celebrate in DisneyStyle at Disney Springs West Side for Grand Opening Event on May 12

Modern Disney fashionistas will discover fresh and stylish apparel and accessories when DisneyStyle, the newest merchandise location to open at Disney Springs West Side, celebrate its grand opening on May 12, 2018.  This shop contains a curated assortment of fashion-forward products inspired by beloved attractions at Disney Parks and timeless Disney characters.

A larger than life framed image of Cinderella Castle at Magic Kingdom Park greets Guests as they enter the shop.  In one corner of the shop, you can snap a selfie inside a Mad Tea Party teacup, while another corner has iconic lanterns from Disney’s “Tangled” floating above product displays.  Oversized icons of popular Disney treats are placed throughout the shop, while colorful images from the “it’s a small world” attraction decorate the fitting room area.

Shoppers can step up their fashion game with collections of eye-catching accessories and apparel created by Disney Parks Merchandise.  Embody favorite Disney characters with colorful apparel, hats and headbands, or Spirit Jerseys with nods to Disney Princesses.

Other collections include tops emblazoned with images of Disney Parks’ characters such as Orange Bird, Big Al, and Mr. Toad.  New T-shirts salute classic Disney attractions like Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room and the Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover, each with playful graphics and phrases.

Guests are invited to join the grand opening celebration for this new location on May 12, 2018, beginning at 10 a.m.  The event will include complimentary in-store make up touch-ups with the new “Patrick Star” collection by M.A.C Cosmetics from 10 a.m.-noon; a special treat with purchase for the first 500 guests; and exclusive photo opportunities from Disney PhotoPass.

The shop is located on the corner between AMC Theaters and Star Wars Galactic Outpost.  DisneyStyle joins a dynamic lineup of Disney-themed merchandise locations found throughout Disney Springs, a one-of-a-kind environment combining family-friendly entertainment, dining, and shopping.

Credit/Image:  Disney Destinations

Space-Themed Restaurant Lands in Future World at Epcot

Last summer, Disney shared the news that a one-of-a-kind, space-themed restaurant is currently planned for Epcot that’ll offer you amazing meals and a spectacular view – from high above Earth.

Today, Disney shared that this restaurant will be built in a newly developed area located between the park’s Mission:  SPACE and Test Track attractions.

Once completed, the restaurant will invite you to travel to space for an amazing dining experience in the stars.  The new restaurant will be operated by the Patina Restaurant Group, led by Nick Valenti, which operates several other restaurants around Walt Disney World Resort, including Tutto Italia and Via Napoli at Epcot and Morimoto Asia and Maria & Enzo’s Ristorante at Disney Springs.  

But Epcot Guests don’t have to wait until the restaurant opens to enjoy a thrilling adventure in space.  Last summer, the park’s Mission:  SPACE attraction launched new experiences:  the enhanced Orange Mission offers a truly intense experience that lets your Clients feel the force of an actual space launch en route to Mars; while the all-new, family-friendly Green Mission takes them on an exciting orbit around Earth.

And this summer – starting June 9, 2018 – Star-Lord and Gamora from “Guardians of the Galaxy” will take your Clients on a musical journey through the cosmos in “Guardians of the Galaxy – Awesome Mix Live!” as a part of “Incredible Summer” at Walt Disney World Resort.  You can catch “Guardians of the Galaxy – Awesome Mix Live!” at the America Gardens Theater at Epcot, five times a day from June 9 – August 19, 2018.

Credit/Image:  Disney Destinations