Epic Savings Event – Vacation Package

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All Vacation Packages Include:(per night rate shown)

  • 4-Night Hotel Accommodations
  • 3-Day Park-to-Park Ticket^
  • Early Park Admission one hour before the theme park opens to one (1) Universal Orlando® theme park as determined by Universal Orlando
  • Access to select live entertainment venues^^ at Universal CityWalk®

Rosen Inn International

Starting from $99* per adult, per night, tax inclusive

  • FREE scheduled transportation^^ between hotel and Universal Orlando
  • Discounts~ on merchandise, food & non-alcoholic beverages at select theme park & Universal CityWalk® locations
  • Additional Universal Partner Hotels available

Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort

Starting from $145** per adult, per night, tax inclusive

  • Complimentary transportation to both theme parks and Universal CityWalk® make getting around the resort fast and easy so you can make the most of your time
  • Complimentary delivery of merchandise purchased throughout the resort to your hotel
  • Resort-wide charging privileges with your room key card 

Loews Royal Pacific Resort

Starting from $219*** per adult, per night, tax inclusive

  • FREE Universal Express℠ Unlimited ride access to skip the regular lines in both theme parks – a benefit worth up to $89 per person, per day††
  • Complimentary transportation to both theme parks and Universal CityWalk® make getting around the resort fast and easy so you can make the most of your time
  • Complimentary delivery of merchandise purchased throughout the resort to your hotel
  • Resort-wide charging privileges with your room key card
  • And more!

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Hard Rock Hotel

Starting from $239**** per adult, per night, tax inclusive

  • FREE Universal Express℠ Unlimited ride access to skip the regular lines in both theme parks – a benefit worth up to $89 per person, per day††
  • Complimentary transportation to both theme parks and Universal CityWalk® make getting around the resort fast and easy so you can make the most of your time
  • Priority seating at select restaurants throughout both theme parks and Universal CityWalk®
  • And more!

Loews Portofino Bay Hotel

Starting from $249***** per adult, per night, tax inclusive

  • FREE Universal Express℠ Unlimited ride access to skip the regular lines in both theme parks – a benefit worth up to $89 per person, per day††
  • Complimentary transportation to both theme parks and Universal CityWalk® make getting around the resort fast and easy so you can make the most of your time
  • Priority seating at select restaurants throughout both theme parks and Universal CityWalk®
  • And more!

Subject to availability, room type, hotel, and travel dates selected. Rate valid for bookings 3/31/16 – 4/4/16 and valid for travel; 4/3/16 – 6/10/16.

 

Top 3 Reasons to be at Rope Drop

Rope Drop is what opening is called at the Disney theme parks. At Magic Kingdom, they have a Welcome Show each morning as a part of their Rope Drop. Occasionally, the other parks have had shows as well, but not regularly.

Why should you plan to be at the Magic Kingdom in time for Rope Drop?

 

3. It’s a fun show! The train pulls into the station with most of the characters on it, there is singing, dancing, waving, confetti and often a Family of the Day picked from the early arrivals to the park. Often there is fun going on just inside the park as well, cast members waving hello, the Dapper Dan’s may be out. It’s exciting!

Rope Drop
Welcome Show at Magic Kingdom
Rope Drop
Where else can you see Drizella and Anastasia getting into trouble with Stitch!

Rope Drop

2. Parks are empty! You are walking into an empty park. A cast member will lead people to the main attractions and there are photo ops with  fewer people than you will see for the rest of the day. You can ride the big ticket rides with little to no wait, more than once if you’d like.

Liberty Square
An empty Liberty Square

Liberty Square

1. The number one reason is to maximize your time in the park! By arriving at opening when crowds are minimal and many are still sleeping in, you’ll have access to many rides with little to no wait for an hour or two. You’ll get much more accomplished in the morning than in the afternoon and it’s not quite as hot either.

Tomorrowland at rope drop
Heading to Space Mountain first thing at Rope Drop, nobody ahead of us!

 

While sleeping in is nice, my number one recommendation on a Disney trip is to be at Rope Drop and make the most of your time. Relax by the pool later in the afternoon when the lines are long and the parks are crowded.

 

Here Come Mickey and Santa

Join Mickey at this festive winter celebration for live entertainment, spectacular fireworks and an oh-so-jolly holiday parade.

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Here Come Mickey and Santa

Start planning for a marvelous gathering with family, friends and some familiar Disney faces!

When Mickey celebrates the season, Magic Kingdom park lights up with excitement for Guests of all ages. Cinderella Castle shimmers. Joyful music fills the air. Disney Characters don their most festive attire. Favorite attractions take on a holiday theme. And enchanting surprises lie around almost every turn!

Mickey dressed in seasonal holiday clothing dancing in formation between two life-size nutcrackers

Held on select evenings, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is currently scheduled to take place on the following dates in 2016:

  • November 7, 8, 10, 11, 13, 15, 18, 27 and 29
  • December 1, 2, 4, 6, 8, 9, 11, 13, 15, 16, 18 and 22

Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party

Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party is a Halloween-themed special event held on select dates in Magic Kingdom® Park. Purchase of an additional event admission ticket is required to attend Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party.fhufhu736921211

During Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, Guests of all ages are encouraged to dress up in their favorite Halloween costumes. Even better, you can collect delicious candy as you trick-or-treat around Magic Kingdom Park.

In addition to many favorite Disney attractions, Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party is filled with special entertainment, including:

Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party

  • “Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular” – a new Cinderella castle forecourt stage show, will take place exclusively at Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party this fall. “Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular” features the mischievous Sanderson Sisters from Disney’s “Hocus Pocus” as they return to the mortal world for one night during the Halloween season to cast a spell on everyone in the Magic Kingdom Park. The show also includes appearances by the Disney villains, and features dancers, projections and special effects.
  • Mickey’s “Boo-to-You” Halloween Parade – including Disney Characters and the stars of the Haunted Mansion attraction. The parade begins with a spook-tacular ride by the Headless Horseman.
  • Happy HalloWishes – a spectacular fireworks show where the Disney Villains go trick-or-treating in the sky.
  • Many favorite Disney Characters and Disney Villains in special Halloween costumes.
  • Special lighting, music and theming effects transforms special areas of Magic Kingdom Park into happy haunted hollows.

The tone of the event is, well, “Not-So-Scary”, and is appropriate for children of all ages.

Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party will return in Fall 2016.

Here is the full list of this year’s dates:

  • September – 2, 8, 11, 13, 16, 18, 20, 23, 25, 29, 30
  • October – 2, 4, 6, 7, 10, 11, 13, 14, 16, 18, 20, 21, 23, 25, 27, 28, 30, 31

Tickets will go on sale soon!

 

Save up to 30% on Rooms at Select Walt Disney World Resort Hotels This Summer!

Save up to 30% on Rooms at Select Walt Disney World Resort Hotels This Summer!

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Save up to 30%* on rooms at select Walt Disney World® Resort hotels for stays most nights June 12-Aug. 25, 2016 when you book by June 10, 2016.

Awaken Summer MagicBand

Plus,  receive an exclusive “Awaken Summer” graphic MagicBand when you upgrade to a room and Theme Park package with a minimum 2-day Magic Your Way® Ticket. The MagicBand will activate a surprise sound and lighting feature at select touch points throughout the Walt Disney World Resort.**

Booking Window:
March 14-June 10, 2016

Travel Window:
June 12-Aug. 25, 2016

Rooms are limited, contact me soon to book your package for best availability.

Save

Refurbishments 2016

Disney World is constantly making improvements to its parks and resorts, it’s a never-ending process.

Here is what is happening in the coming year.

Magic Kingdom

Splash Mountain
Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin
Liberty Square Riverboat
Magic Carpets of Aladdin
Mad Tea Party
Jan. 10 – 14, 2016
Jan. 18 – Feb. 11, 2016
Jan. 18 – 22, 2016
Jan. 25 – Feb. 3, 2016
Feb. 22 – 26, 2016

EPCOT

Re-Imagination of Maelstrom
Soarin’
Oct. 15, 2014 – Apr. 30, 2016
Jan. 4, 2016 – Summer 2016

Hollywood Studios

Pizza Planet Jan. 11 – Late 2016

Animal Kingdom

Maharajah Jungle Trek
Kali River Rapids
Flights of Wonder
Jan. 4 – 21, 2016
Jan. 4 – Feb. 11, 2016
Jan. 25 – Mar. 17, 2016

Typoon Lagoon

Annual Refurbishment Jan. 4 – Mar. 12, 2016

Blizzard Beach

Annual Refurbishment Oct. 4, 2015 – Jan. 3, 2016

Resort Hotels

Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort
Bay Cove Pool Feb. 1 – March 18, 2016
Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort
Surfboard Bay Pool Jan. 25 – 28, 2016
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas – Jambo House
Jambo House Soft Goods Rehab Jan. 1 – May 20, 2016
Disney’s Art of Animation Resort
Schoolyard Sprayground Jan. 3 – Mar. 11, 2016
Disney’s Beach Club Villas
Soft Goods Rehab Jan. 22 – Aug. 17, 2016
Disney’s BoardWalk Inn
Exterior Repair and Painting Aug. 17, 2015 – May 5, 2016
Flying Fish Restaurant Feb. 1 – Sep. 30, 2016
Disney’s BoardWalk Villas
Guest Villa Renovations Through Spring 2016
Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort
Old Port Royale – Path of Travel Impacts
Guests in some parts of Martinique and Trinidad North may experience some contruction noise.
Jan. 3 – Feb. 28, 2016
Jamaica Pool Jan. 6 – 8, 2016
Martinique Quiet Pool Jan. 11 – 13, 2016
Fuentes del Morro Pool Jan. 13 – 16, 2016
Trinidad North Quiet Pool Jan. 27 – 29, 2016
Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
Courtyard Pool Jan. 16 – 19, 2016
Disney’s Hilton Head Island Resort
Pool Slide Feb. 1 – 17, 2016
Disney’s Old Key West Resort
Sandcastle Pool Jan. 4 – 6, 2016
Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort
General Construction
During this time, Guests will observe construction taking place and certain pathways and buildings may be unavailable.
Through Spring 2016
East Pool
Closed for enhancement. Guests may see or hear work in progress.
Now – Spring 2016
Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside
Ol’ Man Island Pool Jan. 11 – Feb. 29, 2016
Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa
Grandstand Pool Jan. 20 – 22, 2016
Disney’s Wilderness Lodge & Villas
General Resort Refurbishments
Due to multiple resort refurbishment projects, Guests will notice construction work in various areas. Noise may be overheard while this work is being completed, but construction will not begin until after 9 a.m. Certain pathways, including the nature trail, will be unavailable. The Hidden Springs leisure pool area (the leisure pool at The Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge), resort beach, playground, Marina and Recreation fire pit will be unavailable.
Through 2017
Cub’s Den (Children’s Activity Center) – unavailable Jan. 3, 2016 – Through 2017
Disney’s Yacht Club Resort
Stormalong Bay Slide Jan. 11 – 15, 2016

 

Save Up to 25% on Rooms

Save Up to 25% on Rooms at Select Walt Disney World Resort Hotels This Spring!

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Save up to 25%* on rooms at select Walt Disney World® Resort hotels for stays most nights April 14-June 11, 2016 when you book by March 31, 2016. Other great rates for stays most nights Feb. 22-April 13, 2016.

Plus,  receive 1 more ticket day FREE when you upgrade to a room and ticket package with a minimum 4-day Magic Your Way® Ticket.

Booking Window: Dec. 28, 2015 – Feb. 28, 2016
Travel Window: Feb. 22 – Jun. 11, 2016

Full list of offer exclusions : campsites, 3-bedroom villas, Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter, Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, Bungalows at Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows and Disney’s Art of Animation Resort – The Little Mermaid Standard Rooms.

Final Whirlwind in Jamaica

It’s been a whirlwind few days in Jamaica and now it’s Monday, our last full day. And it is a full day. We’re off touring in Ocho Rios today, but luckily everything is close by, no long drives.

We start with a tour of the resort we are staying at, Sandals OCHI Beach which I reviewed here.

Next we hop on our bus to go next door to Sandals Royal Plantation, the All-Butler resort in the Sandals lineup. This is a small resort, only 74 all ocean view rooms tucked into a magnificent coral bluff.

Royal Plantation features Villa Plantana, a private 3 bedroom villa with it’s own private pool and stunning views.

Sandals Royal Plantation offers many of the land and water sports as all other Sandals and full use to Sandals OCHI next door as well.

Afternoon tea service, private cove beaches, 5 restaurants and unlimited golf at Sandals Golf Club nearby. Roaming peacocks, manicured lawns and Jamaica’s only champagne and caviar bar make this the perfect romantic hideaway.

Back on the bus to nearby Beaches Ocho Rios for a tour of this family friendly resort. Beaches is for everyone, single, families, groups, girlfriend getaways and family reunions.

Welcome beverage upon arrival.

Beaches Ocho Rios makes everyone happy! Grownups can unwind with margaritas at the pool while the kids play at the exhilarating waterpark. Unlimited play for everyone, even kids, at nearby Sandals Golf & Country Club.

Beaches Ocho Rios  offers all the inclusions of Beaches Negril, unlimited land and water sports, 7 restaurants, 3 pools, teen club, Xbox Lounge, etc…

Cookie Monster
Greek Village under renovations

We ended our tour with a lovely lunch and Sesame Street photo op.

After lunch, we were off to Sandals Golf Club for a brief visit before returning to Sandals OCHI Beach Resort for some free time to explore the resort before our farewell dinner.

When dinner ends, a group of us head out to find the infamous Rabbit Hole speakeasy, we got the password earlier in the day. Jackpot! The Rabbit Hole is a great entertainment venue harking back to the 1920’s style, think HBO’s Boardwalk Empire. Good fun and creative drink menu.

Next morning it’s check out and a trip back to the airport and the end of a great learning experience with Sandals Resorts. As they say in Jamaica…

Soon Come Back!

 

Join the party at OCHI

The Jamaica FAM Trip continues…after a lovely lunch on the beach at Beaches we boarded our bus for Ocho Rios. It’s almost a 3 hour drive from Negril to Ocho Rios, so we stopped in  Montego Bay for a brief rest at  Sandals Montego Bay.

It was close to 7pm and dark by the time we reached Sandals OCHI, formerly known as Sandals Grande Rivera.

This Garden of Eden is Sandals largest resort…

Recently undergoing a 60 million dollar transformation, Sandals OCHI Beach Resort is the ultimate party and entertainment resort in Jamaica!

OCHI is divided into hillside and seaside sections, all with lush landscaping. 529 rooms, villas, suites offer fantastic mountain and ocean views and an exclusive all butler village on the hillside.  As all the others,  this Sandals also  offers Club Sandals and Butler Elite.

Romeo & Juliet Butler Suite
Romeo & Juliet Butler Suite with private pool and whirlpool.
The Hop is a shuttle that takes guests between the Seaside and Hillside and OCHI Beach Club. It runs continuously all day.

Gourmet Discovery Dining

With one of the largest assortment of dining options, you won’t go hungry at OCHI.

Hillside: Dino’s Pizzeria (pizza), Great House Cafe (Jamaican), Le Gourmand (French), Manor Houses (Jamaican), The Jerk Shack (Jerk), The Southern Table (buffet breakfast and lunch, American South dinner).

Riviera/Seaside: Bella Napoli Pizzeria (pizza), Kelly’s Dockside (grill – Butler only), Reef Terrace (pan-caribbean), Tapas on the Riviera (international), Valentino’s (Southern Italian), Vista/Sky (buffet breakfast and lunch, seafood dinner).

Club Level and Butler Level also have room service option.

Luxury Included…

As with all Sandals Resorts, a myriad of land and water sports are available, weekly events, entertainment, bars, 7 main pools and 22 hot tubs.

OCHI features one of the best night spots, a genuine speakeasy that will take you back to the 1920’s! The Rabbit Hole offers wonderful entertainment, signature drinks and a  fabulous time. The thing is, harking back to the speakeasy time, you’ll need a password to get in and you have to find the place…there is no signage.

A sneak peek when closed.

I’ll give you a hint…it’s on the hillside. That’s all I’m sharing. It’s well worth the effort of finding it, don’t miss out!

Complimentary green fees at Sandals Golf & Country Club including transfers.

Sandals OCHI is on a15 minute drive from Sandals Golf Club. Green fees and transfers are included which makes this resort a great choice for a golf group or avid golfers.  Designed by PK Saunders and rates 4 star by Golf Digest magazine. They offer complimentary “welcome to golf” clinics for adults and kids. Caddies are required for a small fee and club rentals are available and you can room charge.

Available at an extra charge:

The Red Lane Spa offers a complete list of treatment options. (The Red Lane Spa offers a sauna and steam room and hot and cold plunge pools in the zen garden which are free for anyone to use.)Touring offered by Island Routes, laundry/dry cleaning available, private airport transfers, a photo shop, and special occasions options like a candlelight dinner on the beach.

*Sandals has a “no tipping” policy for all team members except Butlers and Spa Therapists.

Overall, this resort is lively and fun with lots going on all the time. A great choice for a group of couples vacationing together, active couples or golfers. Lots of excursions are available in the Ocho Rios area as well, including the famous Dunns River Falls waterfall climb.

Full photo tour on my Facebook page.

Beaches Negril Resort

Next we’re off to nearby Beaches Negril where we are treated to lunch on the beach! Beaches is the family version of Sandals, offering families the same amazing luxury inclusions couples enjoy at Sandals.

Beaches is located on the widest stretch of Negril’s seven mile white sand beach!

It is very much tailored to kids of all ages, in addition to all the usual Sandals inclusions, Beaches offers Kid’s Clubs with all day supervision of children of all ages and lots of activities, including Pirate Island, and water theme park with 8 slides and a lazy river.

Beaches is also in partnership with Sesame Street and Xbox. The Xbox Lounge is appealing to the older kids, as will be the Xbox in each room. You can ask them to remove it before you arrive if you prefer. 😉 Sesame Street characters make appearances at special times for a parade and a few other special things.

A unique extra is having a Sesame Street character of tour choice come and tuck in your child and read them a bedtime story.

Gourmet Discovery Dining

Arizonas (Tex Mex), Bar B Q Park (Jamaican), Cafe de Paris (cafe), Dino’s Pizzeria (pizza), Kimonos (Japanese), The Mill (International), Soy (Sushi), Stewfish (Jamaican Seafood), The Venetian (Italian), Sweeties (ice cream), Doggies (hot dog stand)

Lunch on the beach set up for us.

Accommodations

The architecture blends Caribbean influences with tropical greenery. Beaches Negril offers Concierge and Butler Level rooms.

Beachfront Concierge 2 bedroom Family Suite

Sesame Street Tuck In

Luxury Inclusions

All the usual water and land sports you can imagine! The beach, pools, Teen Center, Kids Camp, Fitness Center, Pirates Island Water park, weekly events..

Teen Club

Kids Camp is open from 9am to 9pm daily offering a wide range of activities supervised by trained Nannies. Xbox Lounge open from 9am to 11pm.

Luxury Extras

Red Lane Spa treatments, beach cabanas, Scuba Certification, Island Routes excursions, laundry/dry cleaning, photo shop, special private dinners and more are available at an extra cost.

As always, there is a “no tipping” policy for all team members except Butlers and Spa Technicians.

Find a full album of photos of Beaches Negril on my Facebook page.