Tag Archives: travel

Strong Water Tavern

Strong Water Tavern at Loews Sapphire Falls Resort at Universal Orlando Resort is a hidden gem and worth a visit even if you are not staying at this resort.

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A wall of vintage rums, your own rum specialist, a ceviche bar and a patio overlooking the lagoon combine to make Strong Water Tavern an exceptionally cool and stylish watering hole. Featuring tapas-style dining options with rum tastings, this is a true jewel at this very tropical island feel resort.

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On a recent visit to Universal Orlando, I visited twice. The service was wonderful each time and the food delicious! It was impossible to choose drinks and tapas, but our server made suggestions and following those proved to be the right choice.

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Fountain of Youth
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Seafood Ceviche
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Florida Ceviche

My companion and I shared a few tapas, the Florida Ceviche and the Seafood Tostadas which were both incredible. Especially the Florida Ceviche which came highly recommended by our server. She was not wrong, we got it again on our next visit!

While they have anything you could want including wine and beer, Rum is their speciality as we went with rum drinks. Fountain of Youth the first visit for me and to accompany our Florida Ceviche on our second late-night visit, a Cayman Island Iced Tea.

The bar was full late afternoon on our first visit, pre-dinner drinks going strong, tables were plentifully available though. During our late-night visit, there were considerably more people, but we still were able to be seated immediately, it’s a very large space.

Next time you are at Universal Orlando, be sure to stroll over or take the water taxi over  You can even walk to Loews Sapphire Falls Resort from Citywalk.

Strong Water Tavern is an absolute gem!

Review: Sandos Cancun

Sandos Cancun offers the perfect long weekend escape from reality! It’s right on a gorgeous stretch of beach in the hotel zone, just minutes from the airport.

 

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A high rise compact resort, nothing is far away and while it’s not technically an adult-only resort, children will be few and far between because the resort does not cater to children. There are no kid’s clubs or activities for children.

BEACH

The white sand beach is exactly what you have been dreaming about. With beach service, you can enjoy a refreshing mojito without leaving your lounge chair. Located between the pool and the beach is the popular St.Trop restaurant serving up freshly baked pizzas straight from the wood oven. And the best fish tacos I’ve ever had!

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SPA DEL MAR

Treat yourself to a well-deserved full body massage and a variety of health and beauty treatments. Service here is impeccable.

FITNESS CENTER

Stay fit or start getting in shape at the fully equipped gym, complete with treadmills, recumbent bikes, elliptical trainers, free weights, resistance machines, yoga mats, and everything you need for a full-body workout.

ACCOMMODATION

There are 5 different room options available with all the facilities and amenities you´d expect from a high-end all-inclusive resort in Cancun. Modern suites with jacuzzis and picturesque ocean views of the beach and blue waters of the Caribbean. Rooms include free Wi-Fi, air conditioning, pillow menu, and more.

SUPERIOR ROOM

Superior Room sleeps up to 3 people in 450 square feet of living space and offers astonishing views of Cancun’s famous white sand beach and the rich turquoise blue waters of the Caribbean. These rooms come with a 32-inch flat-screen TV, spacious bathroom with separate shower and soaking tub.

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DELUXE ROOM

Watch the sunrise from the fully furnished balcony which offers excellent views over the beach or Nichupté Lagoon. The Deluxe Room sleeps up to 3 people in 450 square feet of living space.

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LAGUNA SUITE

The two private balconies highlight the eye-catching views in this spacious suite: one balcony overlooking Nichupté Lagoon, and the other overlooking the Caribbean Sea. The Laguna Suite features a calming master bedroom with a king bed, as well as a separate living and dining area with a well-equipped kitchenette.

SANDOS SUITE

The Sandos Suites provide 800 square feet of living space which is more than enough room for 3 adults. A highlight of the suites includes excellent views from the balcony.

CARIBE SUITE

Take in some of the best views the Riviera Maya has to offer from the luxury Caribe Suite which provides1160 square feet of living space. Caribe Suites have two spacious bedrooms with their own private bathroom, separate living and dining area with kitchenette, and modern decor. One of the highlights of this luxurious 2 bedroom suite is the huge furnished balcony where you can enjoy your morning coffee with panoramic views of Cancun’s famous turquoise waters.Sandos_Cancun_Suite_Caribe4_0IMG_5136

RESTAURANTS

Choose from 4 exquisite gourmet restaurants and dining options including the Seasons steakhouse, the chic Gaijin serving authentic Japanese cuisine, A La Carte Italian cuisine at Frattini´s, and Zangos international buffet. Delicious Caribbean dishes, traditional Mexican food, and a broad selection of snacks and delicious goodies will keep you going throughout the day. Don’t forget 24-hour room service to make that dream of waking up to breakfast in bed overlooking the Caribbean Sea a reality.

 

BARS

Stretch out and soak up the sun on the luxury sun loungers in the manicured gardens of the hip Bar Two positioned just in front of the white sand beach. Bar One is a sophisticated lobby style bar where you´ll find everything from exotic cocktails to a selection of popular wines and beer.

ENTERTAINMENT

Besides the beach, and three outdoor infinity pools that seemingly blend into the turquoise waters of the Caribbean, there’s plenty of entertainment available at Sandos Cancun. Live the “Rhythm Experience” where you’ll enjoy a different genre of music each day of the week with themed events and extravagant shows. From 11am to 5pm the resident DJ sets the mood by the pool area and as the sun sets the party begins in Bar Two. Looking for a more relaxed ambiance, head to Bar One where you can zone out to the chilled out vibes set by the DJ.

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Contact me to plan your next romantic getaway or friends weekend in Cancun at Sandos Cancun Lifestyle Resort.

Toothsome Chocolate Emporium and Savory Feast Kitchen

As a lover of all things CHOCOLATE, I had to try out Toothsome Chocolate Emporium and Savory Feast Kitchen for myself. I mean look at the milkshakes!!!

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Toothsome is an impressive sight from across the water at Citywalk. It sits just outside the entrance to Islands of Adventure and appears to be a Willy Wonka’esque contraption rising from the water.

Inside, the theme is steampunk head to toe and it’s a fully immersive experience. The story of Penelope and how she created the Emporium to find her family is entertaining. Penelope and her chocolate creating friend Jacques wander from table to table chatting with guests. The building houses the restaurant, the foundry (milkshake shop), a pastry shop and a gift shop. And upstairs a small bar.

The restaurant offers more than just chocolate though. The menu has some eclectic choices and comfort food with a twist. The menu is expansive with everything from burgers, flatbreads, steaks, pasta and of course an amazing dessert menu.

We started with a chocolate drink of course!

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On this particular trip, my companion and I shared a few appetizers.

The Totchos,  fried tater tots, spicy green chili, crispy pork belly, andouille sausage cheddar cheese sauce.

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Forest Mushroom Flatbread, Mushrooms, goat cheese, caramelized onions, arugula, white truffle oil

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Both were excellent, the totchos were nice and crispy and the flatbread was simply divine.

After ducking into the parks for a bit to close them down, we returned to Toothsome for the icing on the cake, or whip cream on the milkshake, or something like that.

They taste as great as they look!

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I chose the Chocolate X5 and it was delicious! Not gonna lie, they are a bit difficult to eat, but worth every messy napkin involved.

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Finding a spot to sit can be difficult, but there is plenty of seating along the wall outside.

This is definitely on my return visit list. So many more things to try on the incredible menu and just a fun vibe. Have you tried a meal or a milkshake at Toothsome? I’d love to hear about it!

A look inside a Universal Fam Trip

I get comments all the time when I go on a “work” trip. “What is it that makes it work?” or “you aren’t really working!”

Fam Trip stands for familiarization trip and is usually hosted by a hotel group, travel company or even tourist board for a country. They are limited to travel agents, spouses, friends, tagalongs are almost never allowed. Usually, you have to share a room with another agent.

I’ve been on fam trips in Ireland, hosted by hotel groups, Germany hosted by the German Tourist Board, Sandals Resorts in Jamaica where we toured almost all their Jamaica properties, see that trip here. A small hotel chain in Mexico last year, Disney, and most recently Universal.

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Contrary to popular believe, fam trips are not free. First off, you have to get there and that cost is never included. Sometimes there is also a fee associated with the actual trip and meals are not always or all included as well as other miscellaneous things. It’s an investment in your business to learn all you can to better help your clients, that’s why we go on these trips. Are they fun? Sure, we have fun, but they are also a lot of work. They do require you to attend all mandatory workshops and site inspections and you can be booted out or charged full price if you don’t.

I just returned from a Universal Orlando Training trip. I arrived in Orlando on Tuesday afternoon, met up with my fellow A Time to Treasure Travel agent/friend/roommate Melissa and we made our way to the host resort, Loews Sapphire Falls Resort, and after checking in and having a snack made our way to the official check-in for the fam. A lovely buffet dinner was included and a visit from a minion for pictures! After dinner, we were set free and headed over to Universal Studios for a few rides before closing. After a long travel day, we made our way back and to bed.

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Wednesday we met back at the conference center across the street or a very long walk through our hotel’s conference center which connects to the conference center at Royal Pacific where our workshops were being held. A buffet breakfast awaited and then we were split into groups of about 15 with the Travel Sales Reps and off we went to tour several resorts and Volcano Bay. We boarded a bus that took us across the street to Cabana bay, toured this entire resort, saw 2 rooms in 2 different buildings then walked the path from Cabana Bay to Volcano Bay. We did a quick spin of Volcano Bay. It’s really not fun to walk through a water park fully dressed on a hot day. Then we exited Volcano Bay and walked by Aventura Hotel and got back on the bus. Next up was Royal Pacific where we toured the resort and saw a room. From here we walked back downstairs to the conference center where our late buffet lunch was waiting.

My fitbit registered 17,000 steps at this point. It was about 1pm. Next up after lunch was a workshop so we rested in our chairs for a few hours after walking all morning. Our workshop ended at 5:30pm and we had the evening free. We headed to Toothsome Chocolate Emporium and Savory Feast Kitchen because neither one of us had been there and wanted to try it. After that, we hopped into Islands of Adventure right next door and had a bit of time, did a few rides and saw the Hogwarts Castle light show. We ducked into King Kong on our way out of the park. Stopped back at Toothsomes for a milkshake! Back to the hotel and bed.

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Thursday morning we grabbed a coffee and pastry at the New Dutch Trading CO. and made our way to the conference center at Royal Pacific. No breakfast this morning, but a 1-hour training on the booking system we use to book Universal. Then we had a brief tour of Aventura Hotel across the street including the rooftop lounge, Bar17 with incredible views of all of Orlando. At the end of this tour, at about 11am, we had the rest of the day free. Melissa and I made our way back to our hotel and jumped on the water taxi to Citywalk. We stopped to buy BlueMan group tickets, neither of us had experienced this and wanted to. There was an entrance to Universal Studios right by the box office so we popped in that way and made our way to Diagon Alley and the Leaky Cauldron for lunch. We rode Gringotts and got ice cream then hopped on the Hogwarts Express to Hogsmeade over at Islands of Adventure. Here, we contemplated the new Hagrid’s Magical Creature Motorbike Adventure, but the line was about 120 minutes and rain was threatening to shut it down so we opted for the Hogshead Pub for frozen Butterbeer! Then we made our way out of the park slowly and back to our hotel to enjoy a relaxing hour by the pool before getting ready for our dinner at Cowfish and the BlueMan group show.  After the show, we headed back and went over to Aventura Hotel to check out the night time view from Bar17 and then came back to end the night at Strong Water Tavern in our hotel before calling it a night.

Morning meant the shuttle back to the airport and flights home.

This fam trip actually had a good amount of free time and Thursday morning’s offerings were optional, it could have been a full free day and was for many, but the training that morning was informative and I’m glad I went.

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All in all, yes, fams are fun and we get some time to do our own thing, but they are also a lot of walking and listening. Taking notes and hundreds of pictures.

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We represent our agency on these fams and we share what we learn with everyone else in our agency. We cannot all go on all of them, so we take turns and share our learning.

Universal SuperStar Shuttle

Heading to Universal and wondering:

How are we going to get there? Rent a car and pay for parking? Uber or Lyft?

Universal Orlando Resort offers a great transportation option from the Orlando International Airport (MCO) for a very low rate.

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This is a great option if you won’t be needing a car. Superstar Shuttle does need to be booked in advance and can be added to any Universal package booking.

How much does Universal’s SuperStar Shuttle Cost? 

  • Adult: $39, tax inclusive, Roundtrip
  • Child (3-9): $29, tax inclusive, Roundtrip
  • Children 2 & Under: Free

What if I have a child that requires a car seat? Car seats can be brought and used but they will not be provided.

You will receive confirmation in your E-Travel Document with instructions on where to go. The Universal SuperStar Shuttle check-in desk is located across from the Hertz rental car counter on Ground Level 1, head towards Disney’s Magical Express, but it’s well before that. It’s to your left as you pass the Hertz counter and if you pass Starbucks you just went by it.

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At the check-in desk, if you are within normal hours (7:30am-8:30am), they will have your packet with your tickets, coupons, everything you need. If it’s after hours, the packet will be available at the Vacation Planning Desk at your resort the following morning.

The shuttle takes about 30 minutes to get to Universal and may make multiple stops based on where everyone on the shuttle is staying. On a recent trip, we waited less than 10 minutes for the shuttle and were the first stop.

K%atOOt6RjqiENa2kHGXsQYou will be given your return time at check-in as well, which you can have them adjust if you would like. The shuttle picks you up in front of the hotel lobby where you were dropped off.

Superstar Shuttle is an easy peasy way of getting to and from Universal Orlando!

Loews Sapphire Falls Resort at Universal Orlando

Loews Sapphire Falls is a Caribbean themed resort located on the water path at Universal Orlando Resort. It boasts the largest pool on property and a laid back casual Carribean vibe. 

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This resort is beautiful! 

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Cascading waterfalls and views of the water, the lagoon on one side and the spectacular pool on the other really lend to the relaxed vibe at this hotel. The vast lobby houses The New Dutch Trading Co, which is a partial Starbucks and more quick-service type fare. Next to the showcase staircase, a feature of all Loews hotels is Strong Water Tavern. This place is a gem. With over 75 kinds of rum in addition to a regular full bar selection and incredibly tasty tapas and small plates. Service is impeccable!

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A Universal Store with a great selection as well as a Fuel Rod kiosk and of course the Vacation Planning Desk with kiosks where you would print your package tickets.

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Avis is the Universal car rental partner and there is a desk at every hotel. Complimentary WIFI is available throughout the hotel. Valet and self-parking, both for a fee. Room service operates 24 hours a day. A fitness center and game room/arcade is available on the second floor.

Amatista Cookhouse™, a full-service restaurant that offers scenic water views and serves breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Spectacular Pool!

The largest pool at Universal at 16,000 square feet with 2 sand beaches, zero-entry area, a fabulous water slide, and water play area for the littles. Also by the pool are cabanas available for rent for a very special day by the pool. There is also a fire pit, movies by the pool in the evenings and complimentary life jackets.

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The Drhum Club Kantine, a pool bar and grill offers a fresh seafood inspired menu and taste-tempting drinks.

Access to the parks

Easy access to Citywalk and the theme parks via the water taxi. At Universal, you will go through a security checkpoint on the boat dock which means no waiting in a long bag check line at the theme park entrances.

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Exclusive Benefits of Sapphire Falls

  • Early Park Admission to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ and select attractions at Volcano Bay™ water theme park, one hour before the theme parks open (valid theme park admission required)
  • Complimentary water taxis or shuttle buses that take you directly to Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure, Volcano Bay and CityWalk™
  • Resort-wide charging privileges with your room key card
  • Complimentary delivery of merchandise purchased throughout the resort to your hotel
  • Complimentary access* to select live entertainment venues at Universal CityWalk™ for the length of stay.
  • Start your day with a wake-up call from one of your favorite Universal Orlando characters
  • Golf Universal Orlando™ program offers an exclusive program for golfers that enables guests to take to the links during their stay. You can reserve a perfect tee time, arrange for complimentary transportation* to and from select courses and more. For more information please contact the Universal Orlando Ticket Center in the hotel lobby.

This resort has 1000 rooms including the most suites of any other Universal resort. A mix of hospitality, Sapphire and Kids suites. Rooms have all the amenities including a refrigerator, Keurig and a magic mirror!

The door that closes off the shower/toilet space is a sliding door and it does lack total privacy as there is a sliver of space left, it doesn’t quite close all the way.

 

We also go an exclusive look at a Kids Suite: A king bedded room with an attached 2 twin bedded room only accessible from inside the suite.

 

Loews Sapphire Falls offers incredible value for the amenities offered at the resort. With water taxi to the theme parks and the ability to walk to Volcano Bay via Cabana Bay across the street, the location cannot be beaten.

Contact me to start planning your Universal Orlando EPIC vacation!

Vanellopes Sweets and Treats

Everyone’s favorite little spitfire from Wreck-It Ralph has her own Sweet Shoppe on the Disney Dream and Fantasy.

This is such a fun spot, colorful with scenes and characters from the movie everywhere.

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Vanellopes’s treats are not included in your cruise price like the soft ice cream right outside. But it’s well worth it for a special treat. Here you will find bulk candy, pastries and of course ice cream, frozen yogurt and best of all, gelato!

Vanellope's Sweets and Treast Menu

The gelato selections will vary. Below is a sampling of what may be available.

  • Red Velvet ’N’ Cookies Gelato
  • Amarena – Cherry Gelato
  • Oreo Cookie ’N’ Cream Gelato
  • Key Lime Pie Gelato
  • Blueberry – Lemon Zest Gelato
  • Tiramisu Gelato
  • Candy Explosion Gelato
  • Strawberry Gelato
  • Cupcake Gelato
  • Cappuccino Gelato
  • Pistachio Variegate Gelato
  • Hazelnut Gelato
  • Mascarpone Cheese and Raspberry Gelato
  • Cherry Chocolate Chip Gelato
  • Mango Swirl Cheesecake Gelato
  • Pina Colada Gelato
  • Candy Cane Gelato
  • Pumpkin Gelato
  • White Chocolate and Roasted Almond Gelato
  • Mixed Berries Gelato

The ice cream, sorbet and frozen yogurt selections will vary. Below is a sampling of what may be available.

  • Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
  • French Vanilla Ice Cream
  • Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream
  • King Candy Ice Cream
  • Salted Carmel Ice Cream
  • Peaches ’N’ Cream Ice Cream
  • Belgian Chocolate Ice Cream
  • No Sugar Added Vanilla Chocolate Ice Cream
  • Strawberry Cheesecake Chunk Ice Cream
  • Midnight Cookies ’N’ Cream Ice Cream
  • Dulce De Leche Ice Cream
  • Strawberry Cheesecake Chunk Ice Cream
  • Cookie Dough Dynamo Ice Cream
  • Mango Citrus Sorbet
  • Raspberry Sorbet
  • Black Cherry Frozen Yogurt

Bulk Candy Selections

  • Crazy Bananas Candy
  • Hot Tamales
  • M&Ms
  • Milk Chocolate Raisins
  • Mini Jawbreakers
  • Reese’s Pieces
  • Jelly Belly Jelly Beans (49 Assorted Flavor Mix)
  • Cry Baby Tears
  • Licorice Pastels
  • Sour Balls (Assorted)
  • Mike and Ike
  • Dark Chocolate Almonds
  • Tootsie Roll
  • Warheads Extreme Sour Candy
  • Gummy Sea Critters
  • Sour Patch Kids
  • Caramel Creams
  • Zotz
  • Mini Dark Chocolate Rainbow Nonpareils
  • Chocolate Double Dipped Peanuts
  • Skittles
  • Salt Water Taffy (Assorted Flavors)
  • Atomic Fireballs
  • Lemon Heads

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The best thing about Vanellopes is you can order a special treat and have it sent to your dining location at dessert time. We tested this out on our recent cruise for my ice cream loving son’s birthday. That afternoon, I went to Vanellopes and ordered a race car sundae choosing the gelato and toppings. They fill out a form and then give you a small card with instructions to hand this card to your server when you sit down for dinner. Your server will then take care of calling up and having them make the treat and deliver it to them and they will bring it out. Worked like a charm!

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Vanellopes is well worth the extra splurge!

Disney Dream with Teens

There are a lot of cruise lines to choose from, but Disney offers the best experience for tweens and teens and that might be surprising to some. And let’s face it, parents generally make the decisions on where the family vacation is going to be and teens don’t necessarily get a big say. My kids were excited to go on their first cruise but less than thrilled it was Disney. They love Disney World but thought there would just be too many kids and it would be all about characters. They ended up having a great time and didn’t meet any characters and didn’t stand in any lines, except the AquaDuck once or twice. Sure, there were a lot of kids, but with their own spaces, they hardly had to see them.

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We sailed on the Disney Dream 4 night Bahamas cruise in April 2019. The boys were 13 and 15, turned 16 on our sea day.

Here are 3 reasons I think the #DisneyDifference makes all the difference in a teen’s experience on vacation. 

Exclusive spaces beyond compare…

Disney Cruise Line offers the best teen lounges/clubs on the high seas. Tweens have Edge, which on the Dream is located in the funnel! And teens have Vibe. On the Dream and Fantasy, Vibe has its own sun deck on the front of the ship with its own pool away from all the little ones. Vibe offers games and activities run by counselors and video games and a smoothie bar. Check out my Vibe post and video here. Be sure to visit the teen clubs on the first day to register the kids and check it out. The Navigator App will list the continuous stream of activities available through Vibe. They play “get to know you” games and Heroes vs Villains and do scavenger hunts.

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Freedom…

Parents will feel so comfortable on a Disney Cruise with the incredible service and cast members. It allows them the ability to give teens the freedom to make their own choices on what they want to do and where they want to spend their time. Use the Navigator app to keep in touch with your teens while allowing them some freedom. Set guidelines for meeting up, for dinner for example and a curfew, but then let them fill the space in between. There are sports simulators, basketball court, miniature golf, movie theatre, self serve soft ice cream… Our teens basically did their own thing all day long. They had each other and didn’t really make friends, but they went off to Vibe or up to the sports deck, back to the room. A stop a Cabanas for some food. We barely saw them the entire cruise.

Bonus: This gives you lots of time to use the adult-only areas and do your own thing. 

Unlimited food choices…

If your teens are anything like mine, a lot of time is spent standing in front of the open fridge saying there is nothing to eat. Not a problem on a Disney Cruise. Between the buffet, Cabanas and quick service location on the pool deck, in addition to the main dining room and free room service…teens will never run out of food options.

Don’t underestimate their own comfort level with dining alone either, my tween went up to the buffet on his own for his second or third lunch almost daily, he’s an athlete and eats a lot. And when we scheduled an adult-only dinner at Palo, I offered room service or grab a bite on the pool deck and the boys, a tween and teen, both wanted to go to the main dining room we were scheduled for that night, on their own. They loved our server and wanted to see him. We met them there towards the end of their meal and were greeted by our table neighbors saying what well-behaved and mature children we have. They were well taken care of by our servers, my little athlete had 3 cleaned plates in front of him, a regular occurrence, he ordered 3 meals every night.

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We opted for late seating as there are less little kids at late and early was just too early. It worked out well for us and the kids that were in the dining rooms ate and were whisked away to the kids club quickly so we barely noticed them.

With all the food choices, amazing teen spaces and the comfort at allowing them some freedom, the #DisneyDifference shines bright on cruises with teenagers!

 

 

Residence Inn Daytona Beach Shores

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I searched long and hard for a place to stay for a few days before our Disney cruise. We were planning on spending 2 full days, 3 nights in Florida before the cruise and decided against Disney or Universal. Our kids had not been to the ocean since they were little when we went to Cape Cod so we decided on a few days at the ocean. In the end, I settled on the Residence Inn Daytona Beach Shores. This could not have been a better choice.

We had a little trouble arriving due to storms and came in a day later than planned losing a full day, but it wasn’t a great weather day so we didn’t miss too much. When we finally arrived, a full 24 later everything was ready for us and we even managed a meal and a little walk on the beach in the dark. The hotel had a restaurant and a bar and the bar opened to the pool outside for drinks during the day. The pool and hot tub overlooked the ocean.

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Sunday was now our only full day to spend there and we rented chairs and an umbrella right from a truck set up on the beach nearby and enjoyed a day at the ocean. The weather was great. We also had a little friendly competition at Pirates Cove Mini Golf. Always fun, even with teenagers.

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The hotel suited us nicely. Free breakfast buffet and a few restaurants right across the street. We had a 2 bedroom suite with a full kitchen which we didn’t really need, I wasn’t planning on cooking, but we did get takeout for dinner and the table came in handy. The nicest part was before being crammed into a tiny stateroom on a cruise for 4 days, we had space to spread out and the kids had their own room with 2 queen beds and we had a room with a king bed. Each with their own bathroom. From the balcony, we could see both the ocean and the bay and were looking towards Daytona Beach.

It took a little less than an hour to drive from Daytona Beach Shores to Port Canaveral Monday morning. It was a very easy drive, no traffic at all.

We arrived exactly at our port arrival time and followed the procedure, Disney is very efficient when it comes to organizing crowds. We were walking onto the ship within 45 minutes of arriving, including parking, security, checking in, etc…as soon as we checked in they called our boarding group.

Palo Dinner Disney Dream

As is typical on most cruise lines today, Disney offers choices beyond their Main Dining rooms. Already not typical with rotational dining and 3 main dining rooms, Disney offers Palo and Remy. Palo is Northern Italian cuisine on all 4 Disney ships. Remy is French cuisine on the Dream and Fantasy only. Both are adult-exclusive.

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Upcharges and dress codes apply to both restaurants, but Palo is a little less restrictive than Remy. For Palo dinner, the charge was $40 per person.

Dress to Impress

To preserve the elegant ambiance of this restaurant, you are asked to adhere to a dress code when dining at Palo. We recommend dress pants or slacks and a collared shirt for men, and a dress, skirt or pants and a blouse for women. Jeans may also be worn if in good condition (no holes). Please no tank tops, swimsuits, swimsuit cover-ups, shorts, hats, cut-offs, torn clothing, t-shirts with offensive language and/or graphics, flip-flops or tennis shoes.

On our recent cruise, we had dinner at Palo on pirate night, which was the 3rd night of our 4 night cruise and our Castaway Cay day. We weren’t terribly interested in pirate festivities, our children are teenagers and we would be done in plenty of time to see the fireworks. On the Dream Palo and Remy are next to each other on the top deck in the front of the ship with the Meridian Bar in between. When you arrive you are escorted into the bar to wait for your escort into the restaurant.  We had a drink here and then were escorted to our table. All tables have a wonderful view of the ocean.

The service is nothing short of outstanding! We ordered wine, and then Mircea our server brought the bread service and then the antipasto cart and we watched as our server prepared a plate of “a little bit of everything” to try.

 

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We ordered several Primi to try and share, Calamari Fritti, Gnocchi and the Wild Mushroom Risotto. So so good. Even the gnocchi, which are usually not great in restaurants when you are used to my father’s homemade version, was wonderful.

 

Next, was a palette cleanser…

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Then the main course, Rack of Lamb for me and Osso Buco for my husband. Cooked to perfection.

 

The dessert course was next. When you order your main course they will ask you if you will be ordering the chocolate souffle, their signature dessert because it does take some time to make. I knew about this in advance and was definitely getting it. There are no words, it was heavenly.

 

And there was other stuff, including a Happy Anniversary plate.

 

The dinner was well paced and lasted about 2 hours, but didn’t feel long at all. The restaurant was quiet, there were several tables around us, but it wasn’t full by any means.

Palo is well worth the upcharge and can be prebooked in your cruise account when your activities window opens.

Have you eaten there? I would go back in a heartbeat and next time will try the brunch too, I hear it’s phenomenal.