Tag Archives: Vacation

Special Order!

Disney has dropped a great promotion this morning.  Disney Bound guests who book their packages by July 7, 2018 and stay during limited dates between August-September and November-December 2018 will receive this promotion. These packages are VERY LIMITED, so if you are interested, get in touch with me today!  debbie.lands@magical-vacations.com

Friends on the Other Side (of the Castle)

A week ago, my plane landed in Orlando, and I was off to my home away from home. Disney World, for an agency training.  Keep in mind…I was about to share a room with three other ladies, two of which I had never met or really spoken with.  I was also about to meet 15 other agents whom I have spoken with just over social media, and a handful of phone calls to a few of them.  Yet, in true Disney fashion,  some extra special pixie dust was spread over this entire work trip.  These ladies have my heart now.  We are definitely not strangers anymore.  We laughed, we cried, we laughed until we cried, we sang in the rain, we ate until we had one too many food comas, and we screamed our heads off on some amazing rides and experiences.  It’s hard to imagine that eight days ago, I didn’t really “know” any of them.  Now, I can tell you wonderful things about each of them.   One of the key things I took from this training had nothing to do with Disney.  We discussed how much we should support each other’s careers and want the best for each other.  It was truly some of the best adult conversations that I have had in a long time.  We live in a world where everything seems ultra competitive.  Yet, here we were, giving each other tips and strategies, ideas and “a-ha” moments.  That is the way it truly should always be in this world.  I am blessed to be part of this, and that is just one reason why.

When our training was over, all of us began departing at different times.  Our 16 slowly dwindled down, and I ended up having about four hours before my flight.  Not once, during any of my trips, have I ever had “solo” time to doddle around.  It gave me a chance to see Disney through a fresh set of eyes.  When you are alone, you take things in more passionately, and that is exactly what I did.  I noticed things I had never noticed before, because during my previous trips, I always had an agenda, or was always talking to someone.  My mind and body were definitely on the “go”.  But this time, things were different.  It made me appreciate my job, my family, and my life, so much more.  It made me thankful for the opportunity to be there, and also appreciative of the chances I have had in the past to be there.  Disney is definitely my second home.  My heart is there, and I leave a piece of it behind with each visit.  I am blessed to have a family that supports my passion.

Let me show you how amazing Disney can be.  Let’s plan some magic together for 2018 or 2019.  Securing a trip is easier than you might expect and quotes are free.  Take it from someone who knows and loves Disney.  Contact me today:                  debbie.lands@magical-vacations.com

 

I’ve Got a Dream!

I’m a dreamer….I always have been.  I was always the type who saw the glass half full, I always looked on the bright side, and I always believed that our own version of fairy tales could come true.  I rooted for the underdog and I believed in love at first sight.  I also believed that there were certain places that could take away all of your troubles, even if it were for only a brief moment in time.

That’s what Disney is for me.  Every visit, every moment spent there, I put the world and it’s problems behind me, and live in a world where there are endless possibilities and dreams that do really come true.  The goosebumps I feel when I enter the gates or when I stare at the fireworks….the chills I get when I hear a song from a movie I once loved more than anything….the raw emotion I feel when I glide through a ride, screaming with sheer excitement.  That is what Disney gives to me, and that is what I hope to give to all of you.

Dreams really do come true.  Love truly is enduring.  Family can be forever.  Memories can last a lifetime.  While I know this world can throw things at us that can knock us down,  it has been the memories that I have made, with my family, that has helped me persevere.  Let’s make some magic together.  Contact me today to get your dream vacation planned.  Maybe you want to sail away on a cruise or explore the world.  Maybe you would rather relive your youth in a theme park.  Or maybe you feel Hawaii calling your name.  Let’s build something beautiful, that you can reflect on in those moments when you just want to be a kid again.  Let’s face it….we all deserve that chance to feel young again.    debbie.lands@magical-vacations.com

Best Day Ever! (Epcot in 1 Day)

Continuing the “Best Day Ever, Disney in 1 Day” series, today I am focusing on doing Epcot in a day.    Epcot has such a different vibe than the other parks.  I remember on my anniversary trip with my husband, I didn’t feel the pressure to walk at a fast pace to try and cram it all in, as I have done at some of the other parks.  Every time I have visited Epcot, I am instantly thrown into a fantastic mood, ready to see what adventures lie ahead.  Fasten your seatbelts….here is Epcot in 1 Day.

But first….Frozen

Starting the day off with trying to hit all of the “big ticket” rides, as you enter Epcot, head directly for Frozen and try to be amongst the first few to take in this ride.  It is an experience like no other.   Then, make your way back to fly into The Land and soar around the world on Soarin.  Now…some choose to do this in the reverse order as I have listed them.  My personal reasons for doing Frozen first, are that even if you were fortunate enough to snag a Fastpass+ for Frozen, it is a ride worth doing a second time, as the lines tend to get incredibly long for this ride, and in my experience, the standby time for Soarin is less than Frozen.  Then, meander over and buckle up for Test Track, my son’s favorite ride at Epcot.  As he bravely said on our first ride in the “fast lane”….”Mom, I am SO driving like this someday!”.  So…to start your day off:

  • Frozen
  • Soarin
  • Test Track

Mid Morning Must Do’s

After a high speed morning and with your adrenaline running, it’s time for a quick bite to eat before continuing down the path.  You can either eat first, then attempt more attractions, or if you are still full from eating before entering the park, try these rides then grab some tasty deliciousness.  Here are my suggestions for that mid morning trek:

  • Sunshine Seasons, a food court located in The Land Pavillion, is a great food choice if you want fast and on the go.
  • Garden Grill, also located in The Land Pavillion.  A rotating restaurant featuring Chip and Dale, Mickey and Pluto.  Devour the Mickey waffles and Chip’s Sticky Buns.
  • Living with the Land
  • The Seas with Nemo and Friends
  • Journey into the Imagination with Figment (this is what catapulted my son’s love of all things Figment)

An Afternoon Around the World (Showcase)

This is quite possibly one of the most educational and beautiful things you can experience while traveling through Epcot.  I tend to forget I am truly at Disney World when I venture through the World Showcase.  The Pavilions are so authentic, so deep in cultural history, that you feel that you are truly immersing yourself into somewhere farther away than Florida.  My biggest suggestion is to tap into every country.  Some love to fill up their “passports”.  Some love to “Snack Around the World”, and others prefer to “Drink Around the World”.  Whatever your preference is, you won’t regret all the culture and history that you will take in.  Here are a few of my favorites:

  • Morocco:  Meet Jasmine and Aladdin, and sit down and indulge in a henna tattoo like my daughter did.
  • France:  The gardens….the replica Eiffel Tower, and meeting Belle and Aurora was at the top of my list for France.  Not to mention the baked goods at Les Halles Boulangerie-Patisserie, “c’est délicieux”!!!
  • China:  Reflections of China, meeting Mulan (she’s beautiful), and the Jeweled Dragon Acrobats
  • Italy:  The gondolas, the juggler, the gelati, the authentic architecture.
  • American Adventures:  a wonderful Audio-Animatronic of our country’s history

(Club) Cool Down

After venturing through the World Showcase, it’s definitely time for a late afternoon break.  What better way than to head over to Club Cool and sample FREE soft drinks from around the world?  My kids loved this.  The kid in me loved this.  Do it…you won’t regret this pit stop.

Ciao Down

After you cool down, it’s time to chow down, and what better way to rejuvenate before finishing out your evening, than to head back over to Italy for a delicious pizza.  Via Napoli is definitely the best pizza at Disney World.  However, if you want the ultimate character Meet & Greet at Epcot, head over to Norway and dine at Akershus.  Similar to Cinderella’s Royal Table at Magic Kingdom, this is a great character interaction and photo opportunity all while you enjoying your tremendous food.

Mission:  Possible

While your food is digesting, there is still time to hit a few more notable attractions before ending the night.

  • Mission:  Space.  I love this ride, and they have two levels, one more intense than the other.
  • Spaceship Earth:  This ride is a must do for your day at Epcot.  You get to go inside the “golf ball”…no, it’s not a golf ball, but that is the big joke about it!  It’s really a geodesic sphere that doubles as the icon of Epcot and also a dark ride through the history of communication.
  • The Art of Disney- While this isn’t a ride….it is a beautiful gallery of Disney paintings, sculptures, and trinkets.

Illuminate the Night

End your night right by watching the history of the world through fireworks.  It pays homage to multiple cultures and makes us all realize that we are all in this together.  A glorious production of color and light, fireworks, pyrotechnics, water fountains, fire effects, lasers, and searchlights on the park’s World Showcase Lagoon.

There you have it!  A “Best Day Ever” event for one day at Epcot.  Stay tuned for my next post continuing “Best Day Ever” featuring one day plans for Hollywood Studios.   Don’t forget to contact me to plan your Best Day Ever, whether it be at Walt Disney World, Disneyland, a Disney Cruise, a stay at Aulani, or jetting off on Adventures by Disney.  I can also make your dreams come true at Universal Studios in Orlando.  Find me at:  debbie.lands@magical-vacations.com or visit my website at www.magical-vacations.com/debbie.lands  See ya soon, pals!

 

 

 

Best Day Ever! (Magic Kingdom in 1 Day)

Today I will be beginning a blog series on how to do Disney in a day, specifically, how to do each Disney park in one day.  We will begin by jumping right into Magic Kingdom, and how to make the most of a day at the most famous park at Walt Disney World.

But first….Fantasyland

The ideal way to start your day at Magic Kingdom is to hit Fantasyland first.  Fantasyland tends to draw much bigger crowds as the day progresses, so hit this area first before the stand by lines grow deeper.  These attractions will be worth your while:

  • Peter Pan’s Flight
  • Enchanted Tales with Belle
  • Journey of The Little Mermaid
  • It’s A Small World

Mid-Morning Must Do’s

After conquering Fantasyland, and the day begins to warm up a bit, it will be time for a mid morning snack.  I suggest hitting up my favorite, Aloha Isle, for the very famous Dole Whip.  While over there, stroll over and begin these next attractions:

  • Pirates of the Caribbean
  • Jungle Cruise
  • Haunted Mansion
  • (if time allows) Space Mountain

Lunch Power Hour

Grab a quick bite, at one of the amazing quick service restaurants to save valuable park touring time.  It will give you a chance to rejuvenate and power up for a fun filled afternoon.  My suggestions would be:

  • Be Our Guest (quick service for breakfast and lunch only)
  • Cosmic Ray’s
  • Columbia Harbour House
  • Pinocchio Village Haus

Afternoon All-Stars

The Florida sun can be intense, so take advantage of some of the air-conditioned attractions as you blaze through the early to mid afternoon hours.  Here are some of my favorite places to cool down and take in some magical moments:

  • The Country Bear Jamboree
  • Mickey’s PhilharMagic (my favorite!)
  • Space Mountain
  • Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover
  • The Hall of Presidents
  • Parades and Dance Parties
  • Honorable Mention:  Princess/Character Meet & Greets (if time allows)

Dinner Break!

Time to take another food break, as you have survived the heat of the day!  Here are some awesome places to take a break, relax, and prep for the most magical time of the day.

  • Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn
  • Tortuga Tavern
  • Sleepy Hollow Refreshments

Nighttime Nostalgia

To cap off the evening, here are a few things that are even better to experience at night.  First of all, you HAVE to make time/space to see the “Happily Ever After” nighttime fireworks show.  It is beautiful….magical….and experience you do not want to miss.

Then….if you choose, you can always try to catch some of these throughout the day, especially if you see a short standby time.  However, they are extra magical at night, with Magic Kingdom lighting up the night sky with the fantastic fireworks displays if you choose to ride instead of watch the fireworks from near the castle.  If you are a first timer, go see the fireworks.  If you are a returning guest, and are ok to get a glimpse of them from atop of ride (which is amazing, by the way), here is my list of  favorite nighttime adventures:

  • Dumbo
  • Astro Orbiter
  • Splash Mountain
  • Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
  • Liberty Belle-Riverboat
  • Jungle Cruise
  • Seven Dwarf’s Mine Train
  • Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover
  • Peter Pan (while this is an inside ride, it has been my experience to find shorter standby lines as the night progresses)

There you have it!  A “Best Day Ever” event for one day at Magic Kingdom.  Stay tuned for my next post continuing “Best Day Ever” featuring one day plans for Epcot.   Don’t forget to contact me to plan your Best Day Ever, whether it be at Walt Disney World, Disneyland, a Disney Cruise, a stay at Aulani, or jetting off on Adventures by Disney.  I can also make your dreams come true at Universal Studios in Orlando.  Find me at :  debbie.lands@magical-vacations.com or visit my website at www.magical-vacations.com/debbie.lands  See ya soon, pals!

Under the Sea

Many struggle to know exactly what type of vacation to take with their family each year.  Some go to the beach, some go hiking, some hit the theme parks, some go camping, and some take road trips across the country.  Some like a way to mesh their love of multiple travel ideas together into one fantastic voyage:  a remarkable cruise.  A cruise allows you to have that time to relax while on board, dine at amazing restaurants, relax by the pool (and when hitting the ports, relaxing by the beach or venturing into town), and also having that time to connect with your family and friends on a memorable journey.

So, what does someone need to know prior to going on a cruise for the first time?  Here are a few tips about finding a Disney Cruise that is right for you:

When to Go

One of the first questions I am asked by guests is “when is the best time to take a cruise?”.  If you are looking at finding the best price, there are two things to keep in mind.  First, booking typically opens up 18 months prior to a cruise sailing, so you are able to look well into the future to see what would work best for your schedule.  The quicker you can book after the dates open up, is initially when you can get the best price, before rooms begin to fill up.  That doesn’t mean that you can’t score a sweet deal within 6-8 weeks prior to a cruise date, but you will most likely have less wiggle room in finding a room category that you may feel works best for your family.

Secondly, pricing typically is the best in January and September, with February and August sail dates also having some great pricing available.  Again, the quicker you can book your trip, the better chances you will have of finding the price range that works for your family.

Food/Drinks

One great thing about Disney Cruises is that the food and non-alcoholic drinks are included in the price.  On top of that, you can drink as much as you want, all day long (again, non-alcoholic beverages), and there are many places throughout the cruise ship to grab a quick bite without an additional charge.  Also, as dinner is set up on a rotational dining plan, you can order as much as you would like during your dinner time.  If there is something you would like, just ask your server.  You can even set up your “tips” for your server and housekeeping prior to your departure, so that you don’t have to pay as you go for these extra expenses.  Keep in mind, the Disney workers do work very hard to keep you happy on your cruise, so giving them a well deserved tip should be a no brainer.

Fireworks and Shows

While the fireworks experience won’t be the same as in the park, who can resist an amazing Disney fireworks show?  To be on the cruise, surrounded by water, and seeing the night sky light up in all these glorious colors is only something that Disney is able to do.  You simply can’t miss this end-of-the-night experience.

Just like the fireworks, the shows at Disney are top notch.  Amazing actors, Broadway style productions, and familiar stories from the days of our past bring tons of Disney Magic and Pixie Dust to life.  You won’t be disappointed by engaging your mind into these fantastic nightly shows.  Whatever you do, don’t miss these!

Room Choices

Room choices are another way that first timers may feel overwhelmed.  There are some basic choices involved:  inside, oceanview, and verandah.   This is where you need to determine what you are willing to spend and how much time you will be in your rooms.  There are great deck plans that your travel agent (me!) can go over with you to help you decide what would be best, and how to stretch your dollar even further.  It also depends on what you are going to see and how long your cruise will last….as a dear friend returned from their Disney cruise to Alaska last summer, one of the first things they noted were the views.  Seeing whales, eagles, and all the Alaskan landscape from their room was magnificent.  Being able to see it from your own verandah may be something that you decide is important.

Adult Time and Kid Time

Disney Cruise Line offers adult only restaurants AND beach areas as well as Kids and Teen Clubs where your children can be creative in their own world while adults can splurge on a private dinner or a couples massage.  There are also shore excursions for teens and amazing glass bottom boats that adults or even whole families can take tours in.  The list of excursions is endless and Disney makes sure you feel that you have the opportunity to “see and do” it all.

You Can Relax!

Park days are sometimes long days and can include getting up early for rope drops.  Cruising is different.  Many people love to relax, love to catch up on their sleep, and just take a nice relaxed vacation, Disney style.

Proper Identification

Make sure you have the proper identification before heading to the ship.  Check with your travel agent to know what you need for your trip.

If this sounds like an amazing opportunity for you, contact me to get your dreams started and earn your Minnie Box.  debbie.lands@magical-vacations.com   See ya soon, pal!

A Pirate’s Life

Ahhhh, the fireworks.  Probably one of the most magical of elements that Disney has to offer.  It seems to be the culmination of everything Disney that you feel inside your heart.  From the sights of the glorious colors and the giant arrays of light, to the flashes of nostalgia as you watch memories of Disney productions flash before your eyes, to even the smells of the freshly lit fireworks blazing high in the sky, Disney really knows how to put on a show, and how to dazzle its audience in the process.

So what are your fireworks options?  Here is one of my favorite fireworks excursions that we have been able to experience.

Pirates & Pals Fireworks Dessert Voyage

This was an amazing experience that not only my children enjoyed, but my mother and I did as well.  We began our evening at the Contemporary Resort, heading downstairs to check-in.  The kiddos set off on a scavenger hunt for “treasure” while we waited for the party to begin.  While they were looking around, there were tons of themed decorations everywhere, really getting my son in the mood to be a pirate for the evening.  Think treasure chests, almost a “One Eyed Willie” scene from “The Goonies”.   I personally loved it.  After we checked in, we were all given bandanas to wear as well, and a little pouch full of “gold”.  Disney doesn’t disappoint with its packages.  They make sure that even though you pay a little extra, you definitely come out on top with what you are given in terms of experience and having something to walk away with.

When it was time for the party to begin, we arrived back and entered a room full of decadent sweets and enough drinks to quench the thirst of every adult and child attending.  There was music playing, lights flashing, and none other than Captain Hook and Mr. Smee dancing and carrying on with all the littles.  Everyone had the opportunity to have their photo taken with those two crazy characters.  When the photos were over, Hook and Smee began mingling with the families again.  Smee found his way over to my mom, who had on a “Smee” shirt, Hook found me and loved my “Hook” shirt and he gave my son a VERY hard time about his Peter Pan shirt, but all in good Disney fun, of course.

When the dance party had ended, we followed Captain Hook out to our “ship” where we sailed out on the “high seas” (aka Seven Seas Lagoon) and had the most roaring time with our captain.   Captain Hook and Mr. Smee stayed on land while we set sail, singing songs,  listening to pirate tales, engaging in some Disney trivia, and our captain made sure that every child attending got a prize from the treasure chest before disembarking.  As we were out on our boat, we were able to see a glorious version of the Magic Kingdom nightly fireworks show, and also hear it as well, as it was being projected through the speakers on the boat.  As we returned to the Contemporary, we were greeted by a very special guest:  Peter Pan.  I was able to keep this a surprise from my son, who at the time, was a huge Peter Pan fan.   Definitely worth the money spent on this trip and I would definitely do this one again.  While you don’t get as close of a view as some other shows will give you, the character experience was amazing.

When I think of this trip to Disney, this is one of the first memories to pop in my head.  First, it was my mother’s FIRST trip to Disney.  EVER.  And to have this kind of experience was beyond anything she could compare it to.  This really set the bar high for other experiences.  Great job by all cast members on this excursion.

Let’s make some magic together for your next adventure.  Contact me today:  debbie.lands@magical-vacations.com or go to my website to receive a custom quote.  Make sure to select Debbie in the agent drop down box: www.magical-vacations.com/debbie.lands

See ya soon, pals!