Who Says Disney is Just for Kids?

I had no idea what to expect as I was traveling to Walt Disney World for the first time with no children. As a 38 year old going on an adults only vacation what I came to find out is that … it was absolutely AMAZING!

Before I left I was kind of overwhelmed with the thought of being surrounded screaming kids and not being able to have a good time. I know Disney is the “Happiest Place on Earth,” but I also know the reality that when kids are tired, hungry or not getting their way, they will act out… no matter where they are. Once I was there I was relieved to find out that I was having way too much fun doing my own thing to get worked up over anything happening around me.

I know there is nothing like the joy of seeing Disney through a kids eyes, but the selfish part of me loved the fact that I got to do what I wanted to do. My kids are not into thrill rides, and thrill rides are what I live for! It was so awesome to be able to set up my FastPasses for things more my speed. Space Mountain, Tower of Terror, Aero Smith’s Rockin’ Roller Coaster… If there are large drops and speed, sign me up! Avatar Flight of Passage in Pandora is a must!

We were also there during Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival. It was so nice to be able to partake in this event without being told “I’m bored.” It also was nice to be able to enjoy a couple adult beverages without having mom guilt. This is a great event and I would highly recommend checking it out if you are to plan an adults only Disney experience. This festival usually runs sometime in September through November.

I would highly recommend checking out the evening entertainment in Disney Springs! When   Disney Springs was considered Downtown Disney, I felt it was something you could go to, but it was a necessity. Disney Springs has definitely become a destination in its own right. It’s a great place to shop, dine, drink and find entertainment. We went to Raglan Road Irish Pub for some late night snacks, refreshments and entertainment… It was definitely a major highlight of the trip! We got a table right by the stage and they had an amazing band playing Irish tunes such as The Galway Girl, Molly Malone, and Whiskey in the Jar. We were so exhausted after a full day of Disney, but this stop is something I’m so glad I did not miss out on! The energy at Raglan Road gave us our second wind and we were able to go out with a bang.

I would highly recommend visiting Walt Disney World as an adult, it’s a completely different experience. It was amazing to feel like a kid again and reminisce my youth.

Pirate’s Adventure at Magic Kingdom

Looking for something new and exciting to do at Disney World?

Help Captain Jack Sparro in finding 5 lost treasures hidden throughout Adventureland park. Be on guard though along the way! You may need to fend off Captain Barbossa as he tries to beat you to the loot. This is a FREE  interactive scavenger hunt for the ALL AGES and anyone who wants to try something out of the box at Magic Kingdom.

To play the game you first need to head to what used to be The Crow’s Nest shop at the far west end of Adventureland, just beyond the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. Present your Magic Band to the cast member and they will be happy to enlist new recruits. You will be assigned one of five different treasure hunts and each mission takes about 20-30 minutes to complete. For every successfully accomplished mission you will receive a special treasure finder card. If you collect all 5 cards you’ll earn a completion card signed by Captain Jack himself, so cool!! After completing just a couple missions you might even yearn a FREE FastPass+ for the Pirates of the Caribbean ride!

Each of the quest maps will guide you around Adventureland to unbury and there are 5 different hidden touch points throughout the park. Once you’ve uncovered a touch point location from your map, use your Magic Band to activate the game. The touch points are all marked by the symbols you see on the map and after activating the touch point the park comes alive! Cannon balls will fire, skeletons will awaken … and so much more! After activating each of the five touch points and completing your quest, return to The Crow’s Nest to collect your treasures.

Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate’s life for me!

Food and Wine Festival at Walt Disney World

Looking for food, wine and a REALLY good time? Then you must head to the Food & Wine Festival at Walt Disney World. The festival typically runs from the end of August through October. The event takes place at EPCOT Center and this is a park suitable for ALL ages. 

For the Kids:
The Junior Chef Kitchen is quite the experience for your little ones. The kids learn how to make candy sushi … yummy! There is plenty of kid-approved dining options available with all their favorite dishes. Plus, don’t miss out on the special play area for the kids that’s inspired by Ralph breaks the internet.

For the Adults:
Who likes cheese and wine? If so, then it’s time for you to attend the cheese and wine seminars that are held throughout the festival. If you enjoy cooking there are culinary demo’s that give you tips and samples from chefs like Jamie Deen (Paula Deen’s Son), Tiffani Thiessen, Buddy Valastro (Cake Boss) and Carla Hall (Co host of ABC’s the Chew) …  just to name a few 

Make sure you take advantage of one of the several dining packages at the restaurants within EPCOT Center World Showcase. Be sure to stop at as many food stands  as possible. They are set up in front of each country in World Showcase for you to purchase speciality foods from that country. 

There is plenty of entertainment as well. My personal favorite is the Eat the Beat Concert Series that is performed at American Pavillon. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing great artists such as; Village People, 38 Special, Night Ranger, and Air Supply.

If you have not yet been to the Food & Wine Festival at Walt Disney World you are missing out. Contact me today and I would be happy to help with the planning and share more about my personal experience.

The Magic of VIP Tour at Disney Parks!

We have all heard of FastPasses and many of us have used them, but are you familiar with the VIP Tours Disney offers? The VIP Tour is FastPass  X1000.
You don’t want to wait in lines … well here you go! You get to skip the lines and go to the font of the FastPass line.

You only have 3-hours and want to do ALL the most popular rides at the parks. We were able to get on three rides at Magic Kingdom and three rides at Animal Kingdom, including Pandora the flight of passage. It was amazing!

You usually have to wait in long lines to get into the park, but not when you are on a VIP Tour. You access the parks through a secret passage.

You can scheduled a VIP Tour Guide for the hours that best suit you and your family. If  you want to go to Magic Kingdom in the morning then go back to your hotel to take a nap … go for it. Then head back after you are rested for dinner and fireworks—no problem, they can handle this for you. There won’t be any lines or calling for reservations.

If you want dole whipped treat again, no worries, your VIP guide will make sure you get what you want on the way to an attraction! Plus, your guide will provide great insights on what to see and do.

This is the BEST way to do Disney. You’ll make everlasting family memories at a fast pace. I’d be happy to help book your VIP Tour!

How to “Adult” a Disney Cruise

When you think Disney I am sure the first thing you think of is a kid friendly, family trip. But did you know that there are adult only sections on each Disney cruise ship? Each Disney cruise ship offers a number of areas reserved exclusively for guests 18+.

 Stylish nightclubs and lounges featuring cocktails, entertainment and dancing! Who doesn’t want to put on their dancing shoes!The Quiet Cove Pool where you can swim, enjoy whirlpool spas or soak in the sun.

 There are state-of-the-art fitness center which offers workout equipment, exercise and toning classes. It is easy to stay in shape while at sea! Why not take advantage of one-on-one personalized fitness sessions.

 There is adults only dining at Paolo, an Italian-themed restaurant. And aboard the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy there is Remy, a French dining experience.

If you are traveling with your children you can still enjoy some adult time. Simply drop the kiddos off at the Kid’s Club and enjoy a date night.

Family Spring Break Planning Tips

The warm glow from a family vacation lasts long after you’ve returned home. With spring break here,  below are some tips for planning a fun and memorable getaway with the kids.

First, decide what type of vacation you want to take. You’ll have lots of company if you’re traveling during a school vacation week, so start planning early and take advantage of the expertise provided by a travel advisor from Travel Leaders.

For example, if you’re thinking about Disney World, let your travel advisor book your stay at a Disney resort. It’ll give your family perks like the ability to get earlier access to the most popular rides. If a cruise is on your vacation bucket list, your travel advisor can help you decide which excursions to go on as a family, and which ones you may want to skip so that you can enjoy the ship at a time when there are fewer people onboard.

Mexico and the Caribbean have excellent choices for all-inclusive resorts that offer amenities for the whole family, from kids’ clubs and waterparks to spas for the adults. Your travel advisor can help you explore all the options.

Once you’ve booked your trip, it’s time to get down to packing.

If you’re flying to your vacation, space in overhead bins is likely to be at a premium. Make sure that your luggage meets the airline’s size and weight restrictions for both carry-ons and checked baggage.

The Transportation Security Administration allows each passenger one quart-sized bag of liquids and gels that are 3.4 ounces or smaller. But medications and certain items for children are an exception to the 3-ounce rule. Infant formula, breast milk and juices for infants and toddlers, as well as ice packs to keep them cool, are allowed through airport security checkpoints in higher, yet reasonable quantities. Just make sure you keep them separate from the items in your one-quart bag.

When traveling with young children, make sure they’re wearing comfortable clothing. If your child is young enough, consider giving him or her a ride to the security checkpoint and gate in a stroller. It’ll help keep them in tow and keep your stress level low.

Children age 12 and younger never have to remove their shoes or lightweight jackets at airport security, and they don’t need their own TSA Precheck boarding pass. They can go through the TSA Precheck with any qualified adult with whom they’re traveling. If you’re traveling outside the United States, children under 18 don’t need to get their own Global Entry, as long as they’re with a parent or legal guardian.

For help planning a family vacation, contact us today

Mixology Class Aboard the Disney Dream

Traveling as an adult aboard the Disney Dream doesn’t only mean indulging your inner child.  There’s plenty to engage the travelers who are there to relax and unwind without the kiddos.

Disney is always known for its fantastic entertainment from first run movies, extraordinary live performances and deck parties.  And they also intrigue adults with top notch dining experiences at Remy and an entertainment district with lounges and nightclubs to suit any taste.

I was lucky enough to be invited to attend a Mixology Class at Skyline.  We learned how to mix 4 different cocktails and got samples of them all.  My favorite was an elderflower margarita – yum!  Did I take my knowledge home and try it out on my husband or friends?  Not yet.

Disney also offers Mojito & Caipirinha Tasting, Tequila & Margarita Tasting, Champagne or Wine Tasting, Beer or Bourbon Tasting – basically almost anything you can imagine.

 The seminars do vary based on ship and itinerary and a nominal fee does apply. 

Recipe:

  • 2 oz reposado tequila
  • 1 oz St-Germain Elderflower Liquor
  • 1 oz fresh squeezed lime juice

Pour all ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice.  Shake vigorously.  Strain and serve with a lime wheel slice as garnish.

Romantic Fine Dining at Disney’s California Grill

Disney World is best known for family-friendly character dining but there are actually a lot of great romantic fine-dining options available. One of my favorites is the California Grill at Disney’s Contemporary Resort.

This restaurant offers the perfect ambiance with sophisticated décor and an amazing view from the top of the world. I would highly recommend a window table and if you plan things just right you will be able to see the fireworks show while you are eating. How cool!

One of the best parts about the dining experience is that there is an onstage kitchen and the staff prepares the meals.  The menu offers fresh seasonal ingredients. The wine list … is never ending! There are over 250 wine to choose from, plus craft beers, ciders and signature cocktails created by some fantastic mixologists.

So drop the kids off at the kids club, put on your best dress, and head out for an adult evening.

Time for a Romantic Dinner at Blue Bayou, Disneyland Resort

Romance is in the air for this experience!  Enjoy Nighttime in N’awlins!  Stepping down into this truly unique setting where the bayou is, literally, by YOU!

Always ask to be seated on the water’s edge!  You will spot passenger boats from inside Pirates of the Caribbean as they sail through the eatery.

Looking around, you are surrounded in the essence of New Orleans as overhead strings of colorful balloon lanterns cast an enchanting glow, dotting the darkness where crickets chirp, frogs croak and fireflies wink while providing amazing ambiance like none other.

When I visited this beautiful restaurant, it was so dark (and romantic), I wasn’t sure how I would be able to read the menu.  To my surprise, when you open the menu, it lights up!  Talk about a little Disney magic!  I will never forget my experience here.  We loved waving at the boats on the ride, and the food was simply amazing.  I ordered steak that melted in my mouth!  Best ever.

So if you are looking for a little romantic escape on your next adventure to Disneyland Resort, check out this restaurant, you won’t be disappointed!!!

Going to Disney? Make a Stop at Animal Kingdom!

There aren’t many places in the United States where you can see elephants, rhinos, giraffes and zebras, but you can on the Kilimanjaro Safari at Animal Kingdom. You may have to wait on the road for a few minutes as a group of antelope cross the trail ahead of you. It’s a true Safari experience that you won’t want to miss.

If you go in the evening you can experience the Nocturnal Encounters. You will venture out onto the savanna for a nighttime safari tour. You can expect a little more movement and possibly spot some animals feeding.

While at Animal kingdom you can enjoy American, Asian and African inspired dishes. The entertainment is endless … attend a  broadway-style musicals,  meet beloved Disney Characters or catch one of the animal shows. Plus, there is shopping!

      

You also don’t want to miss one of the newest attractions, Pandora, a one of a kind experience. I highly suggest the Avatar flight of Passage and Navi River journey.  These rides are UNBELIEVABLE …  your surroundings are simply breathtaking.

There is SO much to do at Animal Kingdom! It’s a very unique experience and you don’t want to miss it.

Family Spring Break Planning Tips

The warm glow from a family vacation lasts long after you’ve returned home. With spring break just around the corner, here are some tips for planning a fun and memorable getaway with the kids.

First, decide what type of vacation you want to take. You’ll have lots of company if you’re traveling during a school vacation week, so start planning early and take advantage of the expertise provided by a travel advisor from Travel Leaders Group.

For example, if you’re thinking about Disney World, let your travel advisor book your stay at a Disney resort. It’ll give your family perks like the ability to get earlier access to the most popular rides. If a cruise is on your vacation bucket list, your travel advisor can help you decide which excursions to go on as a family, and which ones you may want to skip so that you can enjoy the ship at a time when there are fewer people onboard. Mexico and the Caribbean have excellent choices for all-inclusive resorts that offer amenities for the whole family, from kids’ clubs and waterparks to spas for the adults. Your travel advisor can help you explore all the options.

Once you’ve booked your trip, it’s time to get down to packing.

If you’re flying to your vacation, space in overhead bins is likely to be at a premium. Make sure that your luggage meets the airline’s size and weight restrictions for both carry-ons and checked baggage. Make color photocopies and digital copies of important travel documents, including your passport, the front and back of credit cards and health insurance information for you and your children. If you’re traveling internationally, bring a copy of your children’s immunization records. For safekeeping, pack all copies in a separate location from your identification.

The Transportation Security Administration allows each passenger one quart-sized bag of liquids and gels that are 3.4 ounces or smaller. But medications and certain items for children are an exception to the 3-ounce rule. Infant formula, breast milk and juices for infants and toddlers, as well as ice packs to keep them cool, are allowed through airport security checkpoints in higher, yet reasonable quantities. Just make sure you keep them separate from the items in your one-quart bag.

When traveling with young children, make sure they’re wearing comfortable clothing. If your child is young enough, consider giving him or her a ride to the security checkpoint and gate in a stroller. It’ll help keep them in tow and keep your stress level low.

Children age 12 and younger never have to remove their shoes or lightweight jackets at airport security, and they don’t need their own TSA Precheck boarding pass. They can go through the TSA Precheck with any qualified adult with whom they’re traveling. If you’re traveling outside the United States, children under 18 don’t need to get their own Global Entry, as long as they’re with a parent or legal guardian.

For help planning a family vacation, contact us today!

Favorite Attractions at Disney World for Kids 8-12 Years of Age

During my recent trip to Walt Disney this past September I found out how beneficial it is to purchase the Park Hopper Pass.

I got to experience so many rides during my stay that you won’t want to miss when you make your next visit.

Here are my top rides from each park for school age kids:

Magic Kingdom
In the Magic Kingdom I narrowed it down to 2 attractions. One is the climbing adventures of Swiss Family Robinson’s Treehouse. There is so much to hear and see every step you take. This is a self guided tour that takes you up to the crows nest! I can’t wait for you to experience the view! My other favorite ride in Magic Kingdom was the Pirates of the Caribbean. The calming boat ride takes you back in the day of pirates. Make sure you keep your eyes peeled for all the different treasures along the way!

            

Animal Kingdom
While in Animal Kingdom I went straight to the Kilimanjaro Safari ride. Walking the trails to get to the ride was so eye catching it’s hard to concentrate on where you intended to go! The guides sure put on a show in case you miss all the animals right beside your jeep! Yup, we had 2 adult giraffes and a baby cross right in front of us. You won’t want to miss this exciting adventure!

            

 

Hollywood Studios
As I made my way to Hollywood Studios I was met by Star Troopers securing the premises! Surprise character visits can show up anywhere! As I looked ahead I saw this huge, colorful roller coaster. And there is was, the newest attraction, Slinky Dog Dash. This is such an exciting roller coaster you’ll want to get back in line to ride again! I highly recommend adding this ride to your Disney Experience!

         

Let’s set you up with a Park Hopper Pass … it’s time to head to Disney!

Merida from Brave is my Favorite Disney Princess!

Merida has become one of my favorite Disney Princesses! She’s passionate, feisty and so much more. Her fearlessness and adventurous spirit is just so inspiring to watch. Merida is not your typical princess when it comes to love as she has no desire to marry her prince charming and live happily ever after. She yearns for her freedom and she will do just about anything to gain it … like turning her mom into a bear.

Without saying too much, in case you haven’t seen the movie, Merida overcomes some head budding conflicts between her and her mother throughout the film. This is very symbolic to me, and a big inspiration to show that you can change; your expectations, your fate, your actions, your flaws, and still be you. Her character development throughout the film is by far one of my favorites of all the princesses.

If you haven’t seen Brave please add it to your watch list. 

The Disney Dining Plan … Is It Worth It?

This is one the most asked questions I get from clients who are planning to Walt Disney World.  A few things they wonder … Does it actually save me money? Are there a lot of menu selections? Are there plenty of locations for us to choose from?

The Dining Plan is something that I HIGHLY recommend. Here are a couple of reasons why…

  • Prepay & Save. You are going to buy food at Disney so why not prepay for it and save a few dollars. By purchasing the Dining Plan you will make your vacation package feel more “all-inclusive.”
  • What’s Included. The Disney Dining plan comes with 1 quick service meal, 1 table service meal and 2 snacks per person, per day. Trust me when I say that this is more than enough food, you will not go hungry.
  • Convenience. By purchasing the Dining Plan you take away the constant need to pull out your wallet. There is nothing more stressful then the feeling that you just keep constantly spending money.

The food at Disney World is a bit on the pricey side and if your child doesn’t finish their meal, and you just spent $13 on a hot dog … you might get upset. And did I mention that the $13 does not include your drink? Who wants to be upset while they are at the happiest place on earth?

The savings, inclusions and convenience are well worth the money. When you’re ready to head on a magical vacation add the dining plan and I bet you’ll never look back.

Avatar Flight of Passage

One of Disney’s newest attractions at Animal Kingdom Park is Pandora – The World of Avatar.   Without a doubt, my favorite ride at Disney World is the Avatar Flight of Passage. This ride is a 3D flying simulator attraction within Pandora. You ride a mountain banshee and take in the breathtaking views of the beauty of Pandora on a rite of passage.

The ride itself is only 5 minutes long … I highly suggest using a FastPass as this is a VERY popular ride.  I was still left speechless and amazed by how realistic everything was. I highly recommend making the Avatar Flight of Passage part of your Disney world experience!