Magical Moment

There is something about Disney World. It’s hard to explain or put into words what it is. More than one person has told me about “that feeling when you walk down Main Street and see the castle” , that feeling when you are there, the entire world goes away. I know it well, I feel it too and it’s why I love the place so much.

As much as I already loved it, there was a specific event that amplified the love of Disney for me. It was a chain of events that led to a very short 2 second moment. But that 2 second moment was so exciting and special, I knew I was hooked for life.

It started on our family trip in August of 2010. I took a video, a short little 6 second video with my Flip Camera. I took lots of videos. But this one was really cute.

This was the year Disney was prepping for their Share the Memories theme for the following year. In September they started a website where people could share their memories, pictures and videos of their magical moments. I shared this video and another cute one from our trip. And life went on.

In December I was contacted by Disney marketing. They wanted me to sign release forms because they may want to use my video for something or other. I did. They sent me some lovely character lithograph prints as a thank you and told me if it was used in a commercial they would sent me a copy on DVD. Commercials started popping up on tv where Disney used people’s actual home videos, some shared from that site to promote their Share the Memories theme. These were mainly people surprising their kids with trips, they all made me cry. In January, on my internet travels one day I saw that this new show would be debuting soon. The Magic, the Memories and You. A 10 minute lights and special effects show projected onto the castle each night before Wishes.

A few days later, was the debut for the media. One of the big blogs posted the video online the next day. I sat and watched it, teary eyed the whole time. Then it happened, almost at the end, the last possible moment, the last little face on the screen before it goes dark and Walt says, “to all who come to this Happy place…” there he was. My little guy’s face up on the castle at Magic Kingdom. I jumped, I screamed. I called my husband right away and  told him that we are going to Disney again this summer. We HAVE GOT to see this in person! That little moment from riding Dumbo made it into the show.

We did go that August. We sat right in front of the castle and got to see it in person. It was an incredibly magical moment. Fan for life now. And so is my little guy. He is my Disney nut.

We’ve had other pixie dust moments on trips, but that moment was the BIG one. The one that sealed the deal for me and my love of Disney.

I’d love to hear from you, what are some of your magical moments from your trips?

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Benefits of Using a Disney Travel Planner

A trip to Walt Disney World can be an overwhelming vacation to plan for. This is especially true for first-time visitors. There is so much to see and do and of course, everyone wants to “see it all!”

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First things first…you can’t and won’t see it all, no matter how many days your trip is. You can, however, maximize your vacation time with less stress by getting professional FREE planning help.

That’s right, the #1 thing many people don’t know is that using the services of a Disney Travel Planner is FREE.

Disney, like most other suppliers in the Travel Industry, pays agencies a commission. The Guest pays the same whether they do all the work themselves or have an expert do it for them.

When planning my first trip with my family I spent months…it was basically a full-time job for me, researching and planning our trip for several hours a day. I wanted it to be perfect and made it my mission to study everything I could find. Had I not been lucky enough to be a stay a home mom at the time, I would not have been able to devote that time to our vacation planning. Luckily I also had a professional background in the travel industry and had been to Disney World a few times prior.

 

A Disney Travel Planner will get you the best deal. They are current on all the best offers and can determine which one is best suited to your family and situation. Even if you are already booked, your agent will keep up to date and switch your booking over to a new special offer when it becomes available if possible. Your agent worries about getting you the best price, not you. Your agent will spend the time on the phone lines getting you the best option so you don’t have to.

A Disney Travel Planner will suggest and even book all your dining for you. Disney restaurant and special character meals can sell out fast, 6 months before your travel date! It can be daunting to even think about where you are going to eat 6 months in advance and then wrestle with the online booking system or spend hours on the phone with Disney Dining. But if you little ones have their hearts set on dinner with a certain character you’ll be out of luck if you don’t plan for it well in advance. Your Disney Planner can and will do this for you.

A Disney Travel Planner will give you as much itinerary planning help as needed. Whether it be just some simple tips if you have your own plan down to planning out a detailed itinerary if you want step by step guidance.

A Disney Travel Planner will recommend the best hotel option for your family. There are so many options at Disney World and a wide price range. A Disney Planner can narrow down the best options to suit you and your theme park touring style.

By getting help with the planning from a travel agent that works with an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner, like me :), you’ll be sure to make the best of the time you have and come home with the most MAGICAL of memories!

Stay up to date with me on Facebook or Twitter, follow this blog and be sure to contact me ( barbara@atimetotreasuretravel.com )when you are ready to head back to the House of Mouse!

Deals and Steals

WOW, lots happening today!

FREE DINING

The BIG news of the day is Disney has FREE dining back for the Fall. Most dates between August 31 and December 23 fall into the FREE dining promotion. Booking is open for Disney Visa Card holders and opens to the general public next week.

A non-discounted 6-Night/7-Day Magic Your Way® room and ticket package includes the Disney Quick-Service Dining Plan at select Disney Value Resort hotels and the Disney Dining Plan at select Disney Moderate, Disney Deluxe or Disney Deluxe Villa Resort hotels.

This special offer is for arrivals most nights Aug.31-Oct. 3, Oct.26-Nov. 1, Nov.9-20, Dec. 12-23, 2014. Book by Aug. 8, 2014.

ROOM Discounts

Disney Visa Card members are also eligible for up to 30% saving on room only bookings at select Walt Disney World Resort hotels for stays most nights Aug. 16-Oct 3, 2014 when they book by Aug. 8, 2014. Percentage based on resort category.

SPLASH into SUMMER

The summer promo is still going on as well.

Save on rooms at select Walt Disney World® Resort hotels for stays most nights June 15 – Aug. 28, 2014.

Save up to 30% when you stay up to 5 nights*
Save up to 35% when you stay 6 nights or longer*
Save even more when you stay 6 nights or longer and add minimum 6-day Magic Your Way® Tickets to your room!**

Booking Window:
Book March 17 – June 6, 2014

CRUISE DEAL

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And let’s not leaving cruising behind. Royal Caribbean has a WOW offer for the month of May as well.

Royal Caribbean is offering a BOGO Sale – Buy one get one 50% off for 2015/2016 sailing. Book from May 1-31.

Contact me for more details or to get a no obligation quote on any of these fabulous deals!

 

 

 

Treasure Hunting

Sunken Treasure

The ultimate summer poolside beverage! This is a secret drink only available at the poolside bar at the hotel pool featured in the picture. Can you guess where? It’s not on the menu, only those in the know, know to order it and only certain bartenders can make it. Happy Hunting!

What’s your favorite “poolside at Disney” beverage?

Happy Birthday Hollywood Studios

Today, May 1st, Hollywood Studios celebrates 25 years. The first 2 times I visited the park, it was still Disney’s MGM Studios and I call it that a lot still to this day.

On our last trip, this park became a favorite of my boys. They are getting older and having a few more thrilling rides was a big plus. We all love Toy Story Mania, but Rock N Rollercoaster became the boy’s new favorite. They even got me on it, and I had never been on a coaster that went upside down before then. I rode it at least 5 times and I am screaming and look like a dork in the picture on every single ride. It was fun though!

Toy Story Mania

Rock N Roller Coaster

My favorite ride though at Hollywood Studio’s has to be the Tower of Terror. Enter the Twilight Zone!

Tower of Terror

I am not crazy about the drops, especially when they do a lot, every ride is a different sequence. But I love seeing the park out the window for a few seconds before the drop and I love the old dilapidated hotel. The theme design at this attraction is just spot on! Right down to the Cast Members and their attitudes.

Tower of Terror Lobby

What’s your favorite attraction at Hollywood Studios?

Disney’s Yacht Club Resort

One of Disney’s Deluxe Resorts is the Yacht and Beach Club, two distinct hotels that share some recreational facilities.

The Yacht Club is a circa 1870’s mid-Atlantic themed hotel. Think Jersey Shore, Atlantic City or even New England.

Yacht Club lobby

Rooms
Standard rooms are comfortable and offer all the amenities. All Yacht Club rooms have a balcony, 2 queen or 1 king bed, many with an additional daybed. View options include Standard, Garden or Water. Club Level is offered at the Regatta Club with concierge service and a lounge serving continental breakfast, midday snacks and evening wine, finger foods, cordials and dessert.

Standard Room

Recreation
The centerpiece of the hotel is the shared pool. Except, it can barely be called a simple pool. Arguably the best pool on-site, Stormalong Bay, as it’s called is a three acre aquatic playground for young and young at heart. A pirate ship water slide, sand-bottom zero entry pool, lazy river with tubes (which are free to use), whirlpools and plenty of space to lounge. At night you can see some of the higher fireworks from Illuminations right from the pool.

Floating in the lazy river

The hotel offers the Sandcastle Club for the kids if parents want a night out alone. A lovely white sand beach for movies on the beach nightly. There is a quiet pool with a whirlpool and tennis courts as well.

Stormalong Bay

Dining
The Yacht Club features several dining options. Top tier dining at one of Disney’s Signature restaurants, Yachtsman Steakhouse is right in the hotel. A more casual Captain’s Grille serves Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. The lobby lounge, Crew’s Cup, offers coffee and some pastries in the mornings for a quick bite. The Ale and Compass Lounge offers lite fare in the afternoons and evenings.

Lobster Omelet at Captain’s Grille

Venture outside to Beaches & Cream Soda Shop for ice cream and burgers for lunch or dinner, overlooking Stormalong Bay. Of course, poolside dining and adult beverages are available for lunch and dinner at Hurricane Hanna’s, where kid’s meals come in a bucket with a shovel for playing in the sand later!

Additional close by options are restaurants inside the adjacent Beach Club Resort including their Marketplace for quick service meals and grab and go items. Or a stroll around the lake to the Boardwalk where there are more restaurant and quick service options. Or if you have Park Hopper, a must if you are staying in this resort location, you can hop into World Showcase at Epcot for dinner in the country of your choice or even grab breakfast in France in the mornings!

View of Boardwalk

Transportation
This location is optimal! A short 5 minute stroll brings you into the International Gateway at Epcot. This is located by the United Kingdom pavilion. A slightly longer walk, about 20 minutes, will take you to Hollywood Studios. Friendship Boats are also available for traveling to and from Epcot and Hollywood Studios. Buses to Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom as well as Downtown Disney, Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon pick up just outside the lobby of the hotel.

These photos are from our last family vacation to Disney World where we called the Yacht Club Resort home. My boys loved the pool and often chose the pool over more park time. We loved the convenience of getting to Epcot and Hollywood Studios and the Magic Kingdom bus was quick.

What’s your favorite Walt Disney World Resort? Where do you want to stay next?

Top 3 Memory Keeping Methods

How do you preserve your treasured vacation memories? My tried and true top 3 methods make it super easy to relive the memories quickly and easily whenever I want to.

1. Make a video

This is our last Disney vacation video, I make one for every trip, so much fun to watch and relive the trip.

2. Make a Photobook

There are plenty of photo printing sites and always deals available to make it an affordable option. A “coffee table” photobook makes it easy to view the fun photos anytime.

3. Photo Collage

This is my favorite way to get a bunch of my best most meaningful moments on display. I can’t display 20 pictures from each trip around the house, but I can blend them together into one photo. I usually have this printed on a Desktop Plaque and they look fabulous!

Summer of Dragons

14037843_SummerofDragons_Trade_Web_Banner_763x300px_V1 It’s the Summer of Dragons with Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines

Set sail with Hiccup and Toothless

Enjoy dragon-themed activities and family fun!

  • Movie Night
  • Summer of Dragons kids’ parade
  • Giveaways
  • Movie trivia, dragon school and cupcake decorating classes
  • All-new summer themed photo opportunities
  • How to Train Your Dragon 2 – releasing on-board the same day as theaters

Enjoy all this and much more during Summer of Dragons. Just imagine all the fun you’ll have! The Summer of Dragons starts this summer onboard Liberty of the Seas®, Allure of the Seas®, Oasis of the Seas®, Mariner of the Seas®, Freedom of the Seas® and Voyager of the Seas® for sailings departing June 7 – August 3, 2014.

Contact me for more information or to get a quote.

 

 

Epcot Video

Epcot is one of my favorite parks, but a lot of people tend to skip it thinking there isn’t that much to do there. Okay who am I kidding, I love all the parks, but some of my favorite things are at Epcot. Illuminations is my favorite nighttime spectacular, Soarin and Test Track are great, the Living Seas,  I love strolling through the countries in World Showcase and they have Grand Marnier Slushies,  I mean HELLO!

 

Here is a look at a day at Epcot.