Our 2017 Disney Vacation - 14 Day Countdown

Walt Disney World has to be one of my absolute FAVORITE places in the world! With over 25 onsite hotels, 4 theme parks, 2 waterparks, 1 Disney Springs, you truly feel immersed in the magic!

The big question I often hear is, "What's the difference between Disneyland and Walt Disney World?" Besides the size, I would have to say the planning aspect between both coasts is vastly different! 

I won't go into too much right now, but when you're planning a trip to Walt Disney World you're looking at quite a bit of pre-planning! Between choosing the best resort to stay at, reserving your meals 6 months in advance, and picking your Fast Passes 2 months in advance there's so much to do! Confused? Shocked? Overwhelmed? That is why it is SO important to have a Travel Agent who specializes in Disney help you every step of the way! {That's me!} I promise the entire experience will be a lot of FUN! 

In today's blog, I want to share with you our Disney World experience as we prepare to leave in just two weeks from today. 

We will be staying at two different resorts. Our first 3 nights will be spent at Disney's Yacht Club. This is one of my favorite resorts! We love that we can take a boat, yes a boat, to two of the theme park entrances. I believe it has the BEST pool on property, and we truly feel like home when we walk through the front doors. Our last 2 nights was gifted to us by Disney. We'll be staying at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. It is just a few steps from Magic Kingdom's entrance. It's on the monorail loop that circles the Seven Seas Lagoon. It's famous for it's Christmas time decor - so we can't wait to experience it firsthand! 

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At this point I have booked all of our dining reservations. In Disney World, eating is a HUGE part of the experience! With hundreds of different themed restaurants, you'll definitely want to have a plan in place! [Most restaurants do NOT accept walk-ups!] We have also chosen our 3 Fast Passes per day we are there. Fast Passes help you bypass the standby line and gets you on the rides faster! We have also purchased our tickets to Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party, an exclusive ticketed Christmas event.. There's nothing better than Christmas at Disney!

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We're also ready to go with our MagicBands! When you stay onsite in Disney World you receive these bands as a part of your package. You can choose from multiple colors and even personalize the back of them - for free! These bands are your room key, your Fast Pass ticket, your theme park ticket, you can make charges to your room, and there are even special effects that happen throughout the park thanks to your MagicBand! These bands truly give you the all inclusive feel.

When you book a package you also receive complimentary luggage tags! Look how cute these Minnie Mouse ones are! 

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We have also received our luggage tags. This is one of my favorite parts of Disney World! When we check our bags in at our home airport, we won't see them again until we're in our room! That's right, when your bags have these luggage tags on them - you don't have to sit and wait at baggage claim! Disney does it for you! Nervous they will lose your bag? All your information is on the tag, and they take these bags off of the carousel before it goes out to the general public. Once we get to Orlando International Airport we will simply walk to Disney's Magical Express. A FREE bus that takes us directly to our resort! Not only is it super comfy, they play videos along your journey to kick-off your magical vacation! About 2-3 hours after we arrive to our resort, our luggage will be delivered straight to our room. Talk about amazing service!

With two weeks to go, all we have to do now is pack and wait! It will be here before we know it! I'll be doing a few more additional posts such as our trip review, what to pack when going to Disney, foodie tips, and much more! 

Have a question about Disney World?
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My Top 5 Favorite Things To Do In NYC

The hustle and bustle of New York City brings in millions of visitors every single year, including me! Nearly every single year you'll find me walking the streets of Manhattan in the winter. I just love being lost in the city surrounded by strangers, bright lights, Christmas decorations, amazing shopping, and of course dirty waterdogs on every corner!
I'm constantly being asked the best places to go while visiting New York City, so I've decided to list them below! Make sure to check back - A Christmas specific list will be coming soon! 

1) Explore Times Square
Times Square is my favorite place in NYC! There's nothing quite like the bright lights of this spectacular part of 7th Avenue. I definitely recommend taking in the sights during the day and at night! This is the place to get your cheap Broadway show tickets, shop in Forever 21 until 2am, and get those classic NYC photos! 

2) Pedicab Tour in Central Park
I found one of my favorite traditions in NYC - on accident! On my second trip to New .York City, I decided that I truly wanted to explore the beauty of Central Park. When we arrived to our favorite entrance {the one near The Plaza Hotel}, there was a sea of pedi-cabs. We approached one for prices, and after we negotiated with our driver, we were on our way! This 1 hour tour was the BEST! We visited the "Friends Fountain," the famous Central Park steps, the bridges featured in "Elf" and "Enchanted," Strawberry Fields, the Ghostbuster building, etc. Our driver was amazing! We were able to stop and take pictures and explore the places we wanted to see. I HIGHLY recommend doing this at least once throughout your visit to the big city!

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3) Shopping in Soho/Eating in Little Italy
Are you looking for the best shopping and restaurants in NYC? My personal favorite spot would be Soho/Little Italy! Soho is filled with little shops, popular retailers, and the trendiest boutiques! Just a few blocks over you'll find yourself wandering through Little Italy. Home of Lombardi's Pizza - the first pizzeria in the United States! Don't forget to top your pizza off with a cannoli!

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4) Rockefeller Center/Top of the Rock
Most people think you will find the best views in NYC at the top of the Empire State Building. While I think you should definitely visit, I would have to disagree! If you're looking for picture perfect views - visit Rockefeller Center/Top of the Rock. You start the tour by going up an elevator 67 floors complete with music and lights. Once at the top there are 3 levels. The higher you go - the more beautiful it gets! On one side you will see the NYC Skyline with the Empire State Building as the centerpiece. On the opposite side you see the stunning Central Park in all it's glory. If you're looking for the views of a lifetime and the best place to take a selfie - take time to visit this famous attraction!

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5) Big Bus Tour
If you're looking for the best way to get around Manhattan and Brooklyn, I highly suggest buying passes for the Big Bus Tour. Not only will you see all of the major sites and attractions, it's an easy way to get around the city. You'll climb aboard a red double decker bus and put on a pair of headphones. As you travel throughout the city you'll listen to your tour guide as they point out the best parts of the city. It's a hop off/hop on tour, so as soon as you arrive your destination you can get off an explore. If you're not into riding the subway, or if you don't want to spend money on a taxi - check out this tour. You won't regret it!

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BONUS
6) Max Brenner A Chocolate Restaurant

One of my favorite places to eat in NYC would have to be at Max Brenner's! This chocolate restaurant includes a little bit of chocolate into every single meal and dessert! If that's not heaven - I'm not sure what is! Everything we've eaten there has been absolutely delicious! If you're a chocolate lover - make sure to check out this eatery! 

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Are you ready to book your New York City Adventure? 
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Vacation Saving Tips!

One of the hardest parts about planning a trip - is saving money! 

I get it. It's so hard to save when you see that cute pair of shoes, commercial free Hulu exists, and who wants to give up Taco Tuesday?!

But, memories will always be more valuable then things, so let's talk money tips! 

Here are some of my favorites; 

The Change Jar; This is one of my favorite ways to save throughout the year. I put every. single. coin I come across in this jar. It's nothing special, or classy - it's a simple plastic jug. It is absolutely amazing how quickly change can add up! Would you believe there is almost $60 in this jar right now?! This is something anyone can do, and it's super fun for kids to physically watch the money "grow." 

The Savings Account;

I know this might seem like an obvious one, but I've found out that not a lot of people use a savings account. I opened one at a different bank then my day to day checking account. I leave the card at home tucked away, and every paycheck I automatically put a certain amount in that account. I also put "spent money" in there as well. If I buy something, then return it. The money I receive back goes straight to that account. Anything extra goes into this savings. I do my best not to look at it often so that I'm surprised by how much I saved when it's time to go on a trip! Yay for spending money! 

*Are you going on a Disney Vacation? There are many ways to save for Disney - including making payments up to a year in advance, or by using a Disney Savings Account. Message me if you want more information! 

Find The Best Deals;

Over the years I have spent hours and hours researching the best airfare, hotel prices, ticket prices, and anything I can do to save on the trip itself. This is something that's not easy, and definitely comes with experience. That's where I can come in! If you work with a Travel Agent {that's me!} I'll use all my years of experience and TA resources to find YOU the best deals! Send me a message here!

Buy Things Throughout The Year;

I typically know at least a few months in advanced before a trip. I try and buy things I know I'll need throughout the months leading up to the trip. I put all of this into a special box. This includes new clothes, accessories, travel gear, bags, etc. I also keep all my small travel toiletries and makeup together so I can reuse it each trip. It also helps me know what I need to rebuy or refill before the next getaway. This cuts down on the overall cost leading up to a trip.

Quality over Quantity;

It's taken me probably longer than it should have to realize that quality is almost always better than quantity. While it may cost a little more upfront, it makes up for it in the future. This goes for quality clothes, shoes, bedding, suitcases*, backpacks, etc. Plus it's nice to have nicer things you can keep longer and appreciate more! 

** Let's take a moment and talk about suitcases. I think it's SO important to have good suitcases! I made the mistake of having non-quality luggage, and boy did I pay for it! My fabric luggage broke while I was on a cross country tour, and not only did I have to ship things  home, it made the rest of the trip extremely difficult when it came to transporting everything. Here is the luggage I bought the day I got home. These pieces have been all over the world and I'm OBSESSED with them! They have been nothing but amazing! I can't say enough about this luggage set, and for the price? You can't beat it! {I got them in gold - and they're beautiful!} Click the pic below to buy now! 

Budget;

This is the most important one. Before each trip I write down absolutely everything from airfare, hotel, tickets, tours, and anything else that will need to be bought and create a budget. That way I know exactly how much I need to save and after I pay bills, how long it'll take to save up! 

And the most important one -

You need to make it a priority. You can do it! 

Did I miss any of your favorite money saving tips?Let me know!

Top 5 Reasons To Book A Cruise

There are SO many ways to travel, but cruising might be one of the best! You can cruise all over the world and choose from thousands of itineraries. If you want to go for 2 nights or 20 - there's a cruise for you!

Here are my Top 5 Favorite Reasons to take your next vacation on a cruise! 

1) It's all inclusive!

This means all of your food, entertainment, and accommodations are all included in your fare. There are many cruise lines that offer $100 per person, per night, which is much cheaper then a regular hotel room!

The more upscale cruises can be even more inclusive with alcohol, soft drinks, gratuities, shore tours, onboard spending credits, and even flights are bundled into the package.

2) Food is available 24/7!

Want a pizza or a chocolate chip cookie to your room at 3:00am - you've got it! Are you craving a steak or lobster at 10:00am - you've got it! Do you want to eat macaroni and cheese for breakfast, lunch, and dinner - it's yours! The best part? It's all included! This also gives you an opportunity to try new things - without

wasting money. You can even have the option of having the same waiter on each night of your cruise, so that they know exactly what you like, dislike, and can give you the best quality service! The dining options are unlimited while onboard! 

3) You can visit multiple destinations and you only unpack once!

Whether you want to see all the cities in the Eastern Caribbean, enjoy the beauty of Europe, adventure through the Panama Canal, or explore all of Alaska, you can see it all - and stay in the same room the entire time! There's no need to worry about multiple flights, catching taxis, hauling your luggage to each hotel, or risk getting lost. Simply walk off your boat to a new destination each day! Have you always wanted to visit somewhere, but were too nervous about the language barrier or the country's customs? A cruise is one of the best ways to visit! Each port will allow you to see the country's best features and highlights through a variety of excursions. You can take a cooking class in Italy, ride a dog sled in Alaska, snorkel in the Bahamas, or you can even take a personalized tour with an English speaking tour guide. Adventure is out there - and it's easy to get there! 

4) Cruises are family friendly!

From babies to teens, adults, and grandparents, cruises are perfect for any age! Ships now have huge kids clubs split by age. Teenagers will have their own cool hangouts, and adults will have their own pool, bars, and restaurants.

** Hey parents - you can even have a romantic dinner alone!

Don't worry, there are countless ways to spend time together by swimming, eating meals together, and of course off shore excursions!

5) Ships are basically floating cities!

Cruise ships have everything you could possibly want onboard. Wi-Fi, cell service, and satellite TV are usually available if you want to stay in touch with those on land. There are shops for those necessities you forgot to pack, medical centers can provide meds or doctor services if needed, laundry facilities are available, and of course there are gyms, multiple restaurants, movie screens, spas, swimming pools, theaters, and dances.

Cruises are a perfect way to meet new people and see new places. Once onboard all you need to do is, well, what YOU want to do! With hundreds, if not thousands of staff on board, all of your questions and concerns will be answered at anytime. If you want simple, relaxing, adventurous, and all inclusive - a cruise may be perfect for you! 

There are hundreds of cruise lines, itineraries, ships, and ports to choose from. Including themed cruises such as Halloween SpookTacular, Christmastime, Disney Characters, Dr. Seuss, Star Wars, etc. As well as countless opportunities for free upgrades, free additions, free onboard credit, amazing discounts, and more! I can help you plan the perfect trip for you and your family at the best price possible!  Message me today for more information!