8 reasons why your first Disney Vacation won’t be your last

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Once you’ve been bitten by the Disney bug, there’s no going back.  I am here to tell you – I would spend every one of my spare weekends at Disney World, on a Disney cruise, or trekking to Disneyland.

Why?  Let me tell you!

1.  One of a kind resort stays.

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2.  Memorable & endearing character interactions.

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3.  Amazing, addicting, dream-about-while-away food options (pictured: Disneyland’s famous corn dogs)

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4.  “Diamond in the Rough” attractions that capture the magic of Disney (pictured: the Peoplemover in Magic Kingdom)

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5.  You feel at home.  Like you were meant to spend the happiest days of your life there.

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6.  The customer service is amazing.  Seriously.  You won’t find happier people at work anywhere else, and it’s infectious.

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7.  Did I mention the food yet??  It’s seriously amazing.

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8.  Once you go – you’ll be planning your next trip back before you even leave.  🙂

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Thinking about a trip to Disney World, Disneyland, or a Disney Cruise?  I’d love to help!  As a travel specialist working for an authorized Disney travel agency, my services are completely free to you!  Disney pays my commission directly, which means that you can take advantage of my planning and advice absolutely free of charge!  If you have questions or want to chat more about this, you can email me anytime!

Email:  sarad@fairytalejourneys.com

Thinking about a Disney Cruise? Check this out!

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I am taking my very first Disney Cruise this October and I have been up to my eyeballs in research on cruising with Disney.  I love learning fun facts and tips on Disney Cruises, not only for myself this October, but also for my clients 🙂

If YOU are thinking about cruising with Disney this year, definitely send me an email (sarad@fairytalejourneys.com) or go here to fill out a quote request.  There’s some great deals running on Disney Cruises right now and I’d love to help you book your trip!

Here’s my favorite Disney Cruise Discount running right now:

Travel Dates: September 28 – November 16 and November 30 – December 7, 2013

Disney Cruise has announced a special on board credit promotion, as well as discounted rates for select 7-night Fall sailings on the Disney Wonder sailing from Galveston, Texas, during the travel dates listed above.

The following rates are per person, based on double occupancy:

7-night Bahamian or Western Caribbean Disney cruise

  • Inside stateroom starting at $699
  • Ocean view stateroom starting at $749
  • Verandah stateroom starting at $899

On Board credits you will receive:

  • Inside stateroom: $100
  • Ocean view stateroom : $150
  • Verandah stateroom: $200

In addition to the great rates, at the time of your booking, you will only pay half of the normal deposit to book your cruise.

This offer is for cruises on the Disney Wonder only, and must be booked by June 30, 2013. There are some additional restrictions:

  • Government Taxes and Fees and Port Adventures not included
  • Per person government taxes and fees are approximately $80 per person for 7-night Bahamas and Western Caribbean cruises (all amounts subject to change)
  • Excludes categories with restrictions (IGT, OGT and VGT)
  • Half-off deposit valid for categories 00T – 11C
  • Deferred deposit due at final payment
  • This offer cannot be combined with any other offers, discounts or onboard credits
  • Shipboard credit is non-refundable and non-transferable

http://www.fairytalejourneysbysara.com

Disney Cruise FAQs, Tips, Tricks, and Advice….

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A few helpful TIPS I’ve discovered as I’ve planned cruises:

1.  This is the best guidebook out there on Disney Cruises:  Passporter’s Disney Cruise Line Guidebook.  If you are the kind of person to read a guidebook, get this one. 🙂

2.  If you want tips and reviews on the food, restuarants, and bars on the DCL, you should go to the Disney Food blog.  There are several great articles with lots of pictures, that will help you plan and decide about the food aspect of your cruise.

3.  If this is your first Disney Cruise, book with an Agent.  I’m not just saying this because I am an Agent, I promise! 😉  There are lots of questions that arise as a first time cruiser, and it’s invaluable to speak to the same person each time about your concerns and questions.  Plus your agent should be a great free resource for information on Ports of Call, staterooms, activities, etc..  It’s a win/win because Disney travel agents are fee-free, as Disney travel company pays them their commission.

4.  Book your cruise EARLY!  It may seem insane to book a cruise a year in advance, but people book cruises early, causing the good rooms to be booked up.  The prices on cruises are typically cheaper the earlier you book AND if a discount is released after you booked your cruise and you booked with a Disney travel agent, your agent should automatically apply the discount to your existing reservation, saving you money!

And the FAQs that I get as an agent, with their answers:

Q:  How do I find a cruise, customize my cruise, choose a specific stateroom, and pay for my cruise?  In other words, where do I start??  Help!

A:  Simple – contact me and I will learn about your family’s unique values, desires, and dreams when it comes to your cruise, and recommend the best cruise, stateroom, and vacation experience for your family!  It’s the easiest, hassle-free way to book a Disney cruise!

Q:  Do I need a passport?

A:  Yes and no.  Everyone in your party will need a valid, approved form of I.D, but it doesn’t have to be a passport.  This is the list of acceptable forms of I.D.:

All Guests claiming U.S. citizenship must present one of the following as proof of U.S. citizenship:
  • A valid U.S. Passport
  • A valid U.S. Passport Card
  • A valid state-issued Enhanced Driver’s License – this is a special type of license that provides proof of identity and US citizenship; not all states offer Enhanced Driver’s Licenses – visit http://www.getyouhome.gov for the most up to date list of participating states
  • A valid Trusted Traveler Card (NEXUS, SENTRI, FAST)
  • Government-issued photo ID along with one of the following:
    • Original or copy of their state issued birth certificate
    • Consular Report of Birth Abroad issued by the Department of State,
    • Certificate of Naturalization issued by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
  • Guests under the age of 16 may present one of the following:
    • Original or copy of their state issued birth certificate
    • Consular Report of Birth Abroad issued by the Department of State
    • Naturalization Certificate issued by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

Q:  Can coolers, food items, alcohol, etc… be brought onboard the cruise ship?

A:  Coolers are not permitted except for those needed for medications, baby food or items related to dietary constraints.  Only pre-packaged food items (not homemade) can be brought on board via your carry on bag.  Water bottles can be brought onboard the ship on your carry on bag, too.  Unopened alcohol can also be brought onboard the ship, via your carry on bag.

Q:  How early can I board the ship?

A:  For Disney’s Bahamian and Caribbean cruises, check-in registration begins at 11:00 a.m. and embarkation begins at 1:00 p.m. All Guests must board the ship no later than 4:00 p.m.  For the European and Mediterranean cruises, check-in registration and embarkation typically begins at 11 a.m.

Q:  What forms of payment should I bring with me on my Disney Cruise (cash, credit cards, foreign currency)?

A:  On the ship, you won’t need any form of payment because Disney Cruise Line has a convenient “cash-free” system on board the ship. When you arrive at the Disney Cruise Line terminal at Port Canaveral, your signature will be requested for check-in. At this time you may also present a credit card, which will give you charging privileges aboard the ship.  You may, however, want to bring cash or a major credit card for Ports of Call.  In the Bahamas and the Caribbean, U.S. dollars and major credit cards are accepted almost everywhere. For European and Mediterranean cruises, bring traveler’s checks to the ports to exchange for local currency.

Q:  Is there babysitting on a Disney Cruise?

A:  Yes!  Group babysitting is available for children 12 weeks to 3 years old.  Guests may book babysitting times online in advance of embarkation or may sign up their children on embarkation day. The facility is open for select hours every day. Rates and times are subject to change and space is limited.

Q:  I’ve got a teenager – what is there for them to do on the ship?  Will they be bored?

A:  There’s lots of things for teenagers to do on a Disney Cruise and the last thing they will be is bored!  Teens can enjoy music, movies, video games and other teen-only activities inside the ship’s teen-only lounge (ages 14-17). Teens will find big-screen plasma TVs, a lounge area, dance floor and the latest gaming technology. Teens have plenty of freedom on a Disney cruise under the watchful eyes of trained counselors.  There are also teen-only excursions on Castaway Cay, Disney’s private island.

Q:  Are there things we can do as a family on a Disney Cruise?

A:  Being together as a whole family is an important part of your cruise vacation and Disney Cruises offer lots to being the whole family together!  Family activities include deck parties, original Broadway-style live shows, a family pool, family karaoke, first-run family films, family-friendly excursions on land—plus nightly family dining options that are one-of-a-kind.

This post will be a work in progress…as I continue to get questions, I’ll add them to list.  If YOU have a question, add it to the comments section, and I’ll answer it 🙂

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New Fall 2013 Disney Wonder Cruise Discount!

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Travel Dates: September 28 – November 16, 2013

Disney Cruise has announced a special on board credit promotion, as well as discounted rates for select 7-night Fall sailings on the Disney Wonder sailing from Galveston, Texas, during the travel dates listed above.

The following rates are per person, based on double occupancy:

7-night Bahamian or Western Caribbean Disney cruise

  • Inside stateroom starting at $699
  • Ocean view stateroom starting at $749
  • Verandah stateroom starting at $899

On Board credits you will receive:

  • Inside stateroom: $100
  • Ocean view stateroom : $150
  • Verandah stateroom: $200

In addition to the great rates, at the time of your booking, you will only pay half of the normal deposit to book your cruise.

This offer is for cruises on the Disney Wonder only, and must be booked by May 15, 2013.

Email me for a FREE quote:  sarad@fairytalejourneys.com or go to my website:  www.fairytalejourneysbysara.com

Disney World Freebies (yes, that’s right – freebies!)

Did you know that there are a lot of fun, small freebies in the parks and resort areas of Disney World that you can take advantage of?  I mean, I know that it costs an arm and a leg to get there, but once you’re there, make sure to enjoy the little fun freebies that can make your trip special.

Personally, my favorite, is getting free sparkles at the Bippity Boppity Boutique.  Yes, I am 28 years old, and I get free sparkles.  My husband is just glad I don’t dress up like a princess.  But one of these years, I’m gonna.  😉

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Free things you can find and do at Disney World!

  1. You can ask the cast members for free ice water at the Disney counter service restaurants.
  2. In the Barber shop or Bippity Boppity Boutique, cast members give out free sprinkles or sparkles.
  3. Use Disney’s free bus transportation to visit the Boardwalk resort area.  You can stroll around and enjoy street performers and ambiance.
  4. Window shop in Downtown Disney, making sure to stop at the fun, interactive Lego store and World of Disney store.
  5. Take time to ride the monorail – You can get off and explore each resort, or just enjoy the ride and the view.
  6. Take a boat ride (several leave from Magic Kingdom to various places, or from the Port Orleans area to Downtown Disney)
  7. Sing around a campfire and watch a free Disney movie at Fort Wilderness, open to all Disney resort guests.  This event is held every evening – check when you arrive for the time.
  8. Enjoy your resort’s swimming pool!
  9. Take an evening stroll and explore the lovely walkways of your Disney resort or any of the Disney resorts.
  10. Watch the Electrical Water Pageant. This floating parade is visible nightly; usually starting at 9:00pm.  It can be viewed from Disney’s Magic Kingdom-area resort hotel docks and beaches.
  11. Check your resort for a schedule of free children activities and programs.
  12. Often, if it’s your birthday and you mention that to your server, you will get a free birthday treat!
  13. All Disney resort guests can enjoy free package delivery to their hotel rooms.
  14. Let your hotel or travel agent know what special occasion you are celebrating on your vacation and you’ll get a free special occasion button to wear during your stay.
  15. Stop by the firehouse in Magic Kingdom to get free spell cards for the Sorcerer’s of Magic, an interactive roleplaying game at Magic Kingdom.
  16. Check out “Club Cool” in Epcot, a free soda fountain where you can sample different sodas from around the world.  (Located in Future World.)

 

http://www.fairytalejourneysbysara.com

7 Helpful tips for your next Disney Cruise.

I’m planning my first Disney cruise this October/November time frame.  I know, I know – you’re shocked I’m a Disney travel agent and I haven’t been on a Disney Cruise.  I’m shocked, too!  What’s wrong with me??

The truth is I love Disney World so much, that when vacation time comes around, I can’t tear myself away.  The one time I did go to Disneyland, I had already been to Disney World that year.  My husband calls me spoiled.  I say I’m deprived.  I only get to go to Disney World once a year – how do I survive the other 51 weeks?

But I digress.

Anyway, being a Disney travel agent, I know a lot about Disney cruises even if I’ve not personally cruised myself.  I keep them around, for my upcoming trip, and for my clients.

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What you should know for your next Disney Cruise:

1.     Make sure to bring a watch with you.  I personally use my cell phone to find the time, but once you leave the port, your cell phone’s time won’t be correct anymore.

2.     Since there are only a few outlets in each stateroom, if you think you might need more, pack a power strip to use in your room for all your electronics and whatnot.

3.     A tip on tips – you can pre-pay all your tips in advance (a list of what pre-pay tips looks like: http://disneycruise.disney.go.com/faqs/onboard-services/gratuities/) and not worry about tipping on the cruise.

4.     You don’t need much cash – most everything on board the ship is included and what isn’t included is charged to your room.  In many instances cash won’t be accepted as a form of payment.

5.     Be aware that on the day you board your ship, there will be safety drill, which is mandatory for everyone.  It’s quick and painless, but don’t skip it!  Safety first 🙂

6.     On the morning of your arrival back into port, be aware disembarking will be early!  Typically the earliest time passengers exit the Disney Cruise line ships is around 7:30am and the latest passengers coming of the ships is around 9:45am.

7.     Pack swimsuits in the bag you carry onto the ship. If you board as soon as they let you, typically noon, you will have several hours before you see your bags and you will want to use the pools. This is about as uncrowded as the pools get, and your kids will beg to have their swimsuits and jump in immediately!

 

http://www.fairytalejourneysbysara.com