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Showing posts with label Magical Mondays. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Magical Mondays. Show all posts

Monday, April 2, 2012

Magical Mondays - PhotoPass+, an Enhanced Package to Debut at WDW

A report on has been posted that a new, enhanced "PhotoPass+" service will debut at Walt Disney World this Wednesday, April 4th.  Guests can purchase the new package at any theme park, resort and even at Downtown Disney for $199.95.  This new package will provide guests access to high quality digital photos taken in-park by the 
PhotoPass photographers.  In addition to the photos themselves, guests will receive: 
  • PhotoPass+ Card and Lanyard
  • Disney Gallery CD with over 400 Stock Photos for their personal use
  • Personal Code for their own PhotoPass Photo
  • On-ride photos, from locations which currently include:
o   Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin
o   Dinosaur
o   Expedition Everest
o   Rock 'n' Roller Coaster
o   Space Mountain
o   Splash Mountain
o   Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
  • Select Photo Print Packages at participating dining locations, which include:

o   1900 Park Fare
o   Akershus
o   Cinderella's Royal Table
o   Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue
o   'Ohana
o   Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show
o   Tusker House

Since this is still a brand new package yet to be rolled out, there are details that remain to be announced – things like how premium dining locations that already provide a photo package with the meal (Akershus Royal Banquet Hall and Cinderella’s Royal Table) will mesh with the current pricing structure, among others.   But looking at the prices for a la carte character meal photo packages and on-ride photos, if a guest typically buys several of the existing photo packages during their Walt Disney World vacation, this enhanced PhotoPass package could save a good deal of money. If a guest typically does not buy the photos, this deal might just be enough to get them to make that leap since all in-park photos would be included.  Normally we skip the in-park photos and dining location photos, but depending on how it actually plays out, we will probably give it a look on our next WDW vacation.

Since this has only been on unofficial sites such as Touring and so far, watch for actual details from official sources at Disney very soon.  

Monday, March 12, 2012

Magical Mondays - New Royal Guest Rooms at Disney's Port Orleans Resort

The Royal Guest Rooms at Disney's Port Orleans Riverside Resort have officially opened their doors to guests this past  Friday. There are 512 of these new storybook rooms available at the resort, joining the 384 pirate-themed rooms at Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort, with prices starting at $189 per night.  

Like other parks and resorts at Walt Disney World there is a "back-story" that has been created for these new storybook rooms, which says that the Disney princesses have visited Princess Tiana at the resort and left special gifts behind for Tiana and Naveen.  Gifts such as the Genie's (from Aladdin) magic lamp-inspired bathroom hardware and a Magic Carpet-inspired design in the floor coverings, to artwork of the Disney princesses and their princes visiting the resort. Inside the rooms you'll also find special headboards which include inlaid fiber optic fireworks, similar to those currently available at the Disneyland Hotel at the Disneyland Resort in California.  Click on the link below for a preview of what the rooms look like. 

Monday, March 5, 2012



The very popular FREE DINING promotion that has become common at the Walt Disney World Resort throughout the last 7 or 8 years has once again returned... at least, you can now book the vacation package as of this morning regardless of whether or not you are a Disney VISA Cardholder.  Beginning last week the package offer was only available to Disney VISA Cardholders, but as of this morning at 7 am, it is now available to the general public.  All you need to do is call me,  to put in your quote request and I'll take care of the rest for you.  It's that simple.  

Let's take a quick look at what the package entails:

Booking Dates: Now – May 18, 2012

Arrival Dates: August 25 – September 29, 2012

Details: The number of packages available at these rates is limited. Tickets valid for one Theme Park per day and must be used within 14 days of first use unless the park hopper option is purchased. No group rates or other discounts apply. Advance reservations required.

Excludes gratuities and alcoholic beverages. Children ages 3-9 must order from the children’s menu if available. Some Table-Service restaurants may have limited or no availability at the time of package purchase.


Monday, February 27, 2012

Magical Mondays - Making it Easier

Did you know that not only can I help you with your cruise plans, your Disney vacations, and other exciting destinations - but thanks to the strong travel network resources provided through Cruise Planners, I can also provide Air, Car, Hotel & Vacation Home Rentals?   Sure enough!  Take a look at my website, and you’ll see how.  

This convenient booking tool offers you state of the art technology to research and book your Air, Car, Hotel, and Vacation Home Rentals, and will make your travel planning, with or without a cruise, much easier, and if you require additional service or help with the reservations, I’m just a phone call away.

This technology includes over 100,000 hotels worldwide, many of which offer specially negotiated rates.  Plus this will include Trip Advisor, the most popular and largest travel community in the world, with more than 32 million unique monthly visitors.  I encourage you to take a look at this powerful tool to book all your traveling needs.

Available 24 hours a day 7 days a week, this one-stop shopping feature offers all the services other travel websites offer without the hassle of searching through them all.  This new tool includes special rates plus an easy-to-navigate format, making searching for multiple reservation deals effortless.

So, call me to book your next vacation, and be sure to visit my website for additional travel reservations beyond your cruises, Disney, Universal, or other exciting vacations.  Or, feel free to use this new technology for your non-cruise travel needs.  Your complete vacation is just a few easy clicks away.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Magical Mondays - River Cruising: The Pros About Going Small

River cruising is a HOT new way to explore, since nothing quite compares with the river. Where else but on the river can you journey into the heart of the world’s greatest cities and towns, and discover the true nature of the land? Comfortable and convenient, river cruises offer a greater variety of destinations than you could encounter any other way. Spend less time getting there and more time being there. Little wonder that river cruising is the fastest-growing segment of the travel industry.  With River Cruising, you get up close and personal on the rivers of Europe, China & Egpyt.

For those only familiar with the rules of big ships, here are three reasons riverboat fanatics come back, time and again, for more.

Forget buffet dining with 2,000 strangers. River cruises average about 200 passengers per boat, so the waitstaff will likely know your name by the end of the first meal (and so will your fellow travelers).

Evening Entertainment
Instead of dance clubs, karaoke, and glitzy Vegas-style reviews, nightlife on river cruises trends toward string quartets, guest lectures on regional history, and staring out at actual scenery, not just a watery horizon.

Extra Costs
The dirty little secrets of ocean cruises? They always charge extra for excursions, and beer and wine costs are on par with pro sports arenas. River cruise lines opt for flat fees up front.

River cruising is such a fast-growing trend that there are twice as many new river ships debuting in 2012 than there are traditional big ships. In fact, Viking River is building 6 new ships to accommodate the demand. I for one thought that this was for the older generation but I was completely wrong in more ways than one. This new way to cruise is for the adventurous. You are docked right into the heart of the city. You walk on cobblestones. You are eating pho, knockwurst and other traditional foods. You are there to really experience the cultures and sounds of the world.  This is for the “Bucket List” crowd. 

If you would like to learn more about river cruising, let me know, and I'd be happy to discuss ships, itineraries and more with you.  

Monday, January 2, 2012

Magical Mondays - All-Inclusives: Are They Worth It?

The all-inclusive resort used to be considered the “budget inn” of travel. Images of a rowdy crowd drinking in the hot tub, bland food, forced group activities and limited entertainment was the norm. Today, the all-inclusive concept has expanded to unlimited activities such as golf on a championship golf course, gourmet meals, and more upscale and intimate resorts.

More and more vacationers are looking into all-inclusives and the industry is listening. The reasons for the popularity of all-inclusive resorts are time and value. Travel experts say that pre-paying for all the food and drinks ahead of time allows you to have a more enjoyable getaway because you don’t have to think about how much you are spending and you don’t have to worry about carrying your wallet around the resort. Think of it as a no-hassle, stress-free vacation.

An all-inclusive resort usually include:
·         Accommodations
·         All meals
·         Room service
·         Drinks including wine, beer and spirit
·         Daily activities
·         Entertainment
·         All tips and gratuities and more.

It’s best to choose the resort that has the activities and atmosphere that best matches your interest. Kid-friendly or romantic hideaway? Beach or snow? Whatever’s your fancy, there is one just for you.

All-inclusive family resorts have everything for everyone, young and old. Some of the most popular resorts are located in Mexico and the Caribbean. Great beaches, fun watersports and awesome age appropriate kids program. But wait. There’s more!

In addition to the “normal” inclusions, you can also expect the following at most family all-inclusives:
·         Family/connecting accommodations
·         Kids Club
·         Kids Only Dining Room
·         Teens Only Club
·         Organized games and activities
·         Family activities
·         Kid-friendly pools and waterparks
·         Themed character activities such as the gang from Sesame Street

But when I am looking to steal away with just my lovely bride, you bet I’m going to hit one of the upscale hideaways. The upfront sticker price may be a shock at the beginning, but when you do the math, it is all worth it. Plus, not having to think about pulling out the credit card and tipping the attendant every single time is, well, what a vacation is all about. Not a single care in the world!

Let us do that for you. Give us a call and we’ll take care of everything else. We work with the best land and tour partners in the world that offers everything from a hut in Fiji to an all-inclusive family suite in Turks and Caicos. Check out some of our partners at  or – make this YOUR land and tour page.

 Are all-inclusives worth it? Yes! More than ever. 

New Year, New Opportunities, New Challenges, New Dreams

Time continues to march onward, ever pushing us forward as we have once again passed from one year and entered into a new year.  2011 has officially entered the history books as we move into 2012.  This will be a year of some big milestones in my household, as well as numerous new opportunities, new challenges, and yes, even new dreams.  I'm looking forward to them all, as I was very much looking forward to shutting the book in 2011.  It was a difficult year for us in many different ways. While I won't say it was a banner year, nor will I say it was my favorite, I don't believe it was a terrible year either. There were many good things that happened for both my family and for me personally in 2011, those great things just got a little overshadowed by the not-so-great things.  So I am true, looking forward to this new year.  So far the new year is still very much like the American Girl doll my daughter received for Christmas...all soft and pretty, but bound to change as she continues to cuddle it, love on it, and play with it.

Personally, I'm excited about several opportunities for the new year.  My eldest son is getting closer to completing his quest for the rank of Eagle Scout, and this will be the year he achieves it.  His project was approved in December, so now he begins the fund-raising process as well as securing workers to help him complete it.  The project itself will be done in the springtime. All of the other requirements for Eagle are complete (except for the all-important Board of Review which is the last step anyway), so once the project is completed, he's nearly there.  We're hoping to celebrate his achievement with an Eagle Court of Honor in the summertime this year.  Additionally, my middle son will be moving from Star Scout to Life Scout next week, and he will then begin his own Eagle quest.  He has merit badges and other stuff to do, but once he becomes Life, he too can begin planning his own project.  Unlike his older brother, he says he wants to get the project done first and then worry about the required Merit Badges... so who knows, we could have two different projects going this year!

Both boys are going on mission trips with church this year, and I am hoping to be able to go on one myself.  I really want to make the trip to Kenya this fall.  I wasn't able to the last two times, but I'm praying that this is my year.

Like her brothers, my daughter is growing so fast - and it's a treat to watch.  She's becoming a beautiful little lady.  She'll be starting gymnastics next week and is so very pumped about it.  She was such a timid little thing for so long, but she is making some good strides forward to be a bit more boldly, less trepidatiously.  She too will be experiencing something new this summer as she'll have her first experience with church camp.  She's nervous, yet excited as well since several of her friends will be there with her.

Professionally I'm excited about all of the different things that I've been doing with this whole Cruise Plannersthing.  There have been lots of mundane, legal aspects to work through; but there have been lots of fun aspects as well. Meeting with various vendors. Networking and getting to know people within my community.  On-site training and ship inspections.  Lots of learning and exploring has happened and is yet to happen.  I'm looking forward to a FAM, or "familiarization" trip to Hawaii later this month, as well as determining when the next cruise will be.  This whole venture began as a dream, evolved into an opportunity, becoming a challenge, but remains a big dream of mine.  I'm looking forward to seeing how it plays out, grows, and transforms throughout the new year.

Dreams for the new year continue to grow, and as they work their way from dreams to reality, I'll share.  Until then, know that I'm not sitting on my laurels, but rather am working to turn those dreams into some sort of reality, whether here in 2012, or a little beyond.  I hope you are doing so with your own dreams as well.

I wish you all well throughout this great new year ahead of us.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Magical Mondays - Thanksgiving Week Reflections

It's Monday once again.  A day of the week that so many in our society dread, because the weekend is over and it's "back to work" or "back to school."  But on this Monday in particular, the Monday prior to Thanksgiving here in the U.S., I am not dreading the day ahead, but am thankful for this day because I'm alive and am able to continue push forward in building something new for my family and the second half of my life.

I'm thankful as I reflect on my immediate surroundings.  I have walls and a ceiling surrounding me, keeping the elements out.  I have clothes to wear, and food on my table each day.  I have been blessed through the years with the means to support my family, and to provide for many of our wants or desires in addition to meeting our needs.  I have a lovely wife, and three beautiful children - all of whom I appreciate for their similarities to and differences from me.  I have I have been fortunate to be able to take my family on vacation each year to destinations across this great country, including favorite destinations such as Disneyland and Walt Disney World.  I'm thankful that the Disney "magic" still flows through my veins, and I am still very much a little boy-at-heart, and that I have a wife and children who also "get" and enjoy that magic.

I have friends nearby, and family members still alive to enjoy.  I have people who care about us and help us out when times are a bit troublesome.  I have a fabulous Scouting family, and am so very blessed to be able to mentor young men and serve with many other adult leaders.  I have a terrific church family, and am blessed able to serve my community.  I have a solid faith with a personal relationship with Jesus of which I am very grateful for, and not ashamed of.  I recognize that others might not share my spiritual beliefs, but I am very grateful that in this country we still have the right to differ in our beliefs.  I do not have any debilitating diseases or short of having to wear glasses each day any major disabilities, but even if I did, I would be thankful for whatever circumstances God placed me in because I have learned the importance of making the best of each situation and give my all to those around me, because that's what He calls me to do.

Even though I do not have a "traditional" job any longer, I am thankful.  I am thankful for 19+ years of experiences that are great building blocks for the new venture that I am embarking on.  Steps 1 and 2 of going into business for myself have now happened.  I am thankful for those around me who have helped shape and guide the process, and for a wife who is very supportive of what we are looking to undertake together.  I am thankful for a lifetime of volunteering experiences that are also building blocks to help mold what will come.  I'm thankful today that even though I am in the middle part of my life, I'm not so completely risk-averse that I'm not willing to try.

What are you thankful on this Monday?

Monday, November 14, 2011

Magical Mondays - World of Color Marks 1,000 Performances

I just read elsewhere that WORLD OF COLOR at Disney California Adventure just marked its 1,000th performance, and has been seen by millions of guests.  That's so very cool.  It is an amazing show, and certainly a "must-do" in my book.  The show is performed on Paradise Bay in the Paradise Pier section of the park. It first premiered in early June 2010 to rave reviews, and continues to receive them.  The 28 minute show features favorite Disney and Pixar characters; a gorgeous orchestral soundtrack; as well as fountains, lights, lasers, mist screens, and fire; and oh yeah, you might get wet too.   

Did you know that the show uses over 1,200 fountains on a "show table" that rises up to the surface of the water for the performances, and is hidden during the day?  Did you know that the show was created by Steve Davison, the same genius who designed "It's a Small World Holiday", and various fireworks spectaculars such as "Wishes!", "Remember...Dreams Come True", "Believe in Holiday Magic" and "Holiday Wishes!"?  Did you know that the show table the fountains rest upon is actually comprised of 3 separate show tables, each able to raise or lower independently?  Did you know that the show table is longer than a football field?  Did you know that since the show is 100% computer generated, it can easily be modified for seasonal or promotional tie-ins such as last year's "Tron" overlay at the end, "Pirates 4" and now Christmas additions?  Did you know that the show's title drew its' inspiration from Walt Disney's transition from black & white to color on his Sunday night television show - "The Wonderful World of Color?" but the show itself was inspired by the fountains at the Bellagio in Las Vegas?  Did you know that both Mickey's Fun Wheel and California Screamin', other Paradise Pier area attractions are used as part of the show during various sequences? You may not have previously known these details, but now you do.  

I absolutely love this show, and highly recommend it to anyone heading to the Disneyland Resort.  Perhaps someday a version of the show will make its way east to Walt Disney World as Fantasmic! did years ago, - maybe it will even be added in the water near Pleasure Island & Downtown Disney as several online rumors have suggested - but for now... you can only experience it for yourself in Anaheim.  Check out this video from You Tube and you'll get a glimpse of just how big the show really is.While this view does not use any music from the show, rather just a bland piece of audio, this clip shows a great aerial perspective of the show that no regular guest can ever see:

Here are just a few images from the show, and one short clip as well:

Monday, November 7, 2011

Magical Mondays - Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom - 2012... You Just Interested Me

So I was just reading through the Disney Parks Blog for interesting things to post on my Facebook page, and saw that Yzma & Kronk will be included in the list of n'er-do-wells that will populate this new interactive game throughout Magic Kingdom Park next year.  That is so cool. I've never gotten into Kim Possible, nor have my kids, but this one seems like one that we might try - if only because of Yzma & Kronk!  We absolutely LOVE "The Emperor's New Groove" - and have often discussed what kind of cool attractions could be added to the parks based on those amazingly fun characters. Just think of it - an "Yzma's Secret Lab" coaster?!?  I would LOVE that, provided of course they don't slap tacky, over-sized earrings on each guest as they go careening downhill!  That film just cracks me up time and time again. I have driven cast members nuts before searching for Yzma pins to collect. There aren't many.  A few. But not many.  I'm glad to see that they will be used in the park, even if only for a virtual, interactive game.

Magical Mondays

It is somewhat dreary Monday morning here in central Indiana. While I may not be feeling so magical right now, the sparks are clearly there. It's been 8 weeks since I lost my full-time gig within Corporate America. I have spent 19 years of my life chained to a desk, metaphorically speaking, and I'm so very tired of it. I have come to the conclusion (finally), that I do not want to continue spending eight, nine, 10 or more hours per day sitting in an office doing something that truly only benefits someone else. After years of wanderlust and "back-burner" desire, I believe that it is finally time to go into business for myself. Sure I keep searching for and applying for another full-time gig, but that's not where my heart is at all.  Just ask my wife, or any of my friends, and they'd be able to tell you that almost in a heartbeat.

During the past year I've been dabbling in the travel planning business. It has been frustrating at times, but lots of fun and rewarding as well. Most importantly, it's given me a real sense of doing something for myself. Make or break, it's up to me. If I don't keep at it, nothing will come of it. The successes and failures will be mine. I get it, and through it all, I've been preparing myself mentally and emotionally for that responsibility. It won't be easy, but then nothing that is truly worthwhile is all that easy, is it?

During the past two months since those shackles were first removed from my wrists and I was laid off from work, I have felt such a weight lifted from my shoulders. Sure I still need to provide for my family, but through it all, I feel that I have really been given an enormous gift as well. In hindsight I should have left my last job three or four years ago of my own free will, but self-doubt and fear of the unknown kept me tied to it. This is a chance to truly start fresh, and to make the 2nd half of my life whatever I want it to be. I want it to be magical for myself and my family - because I really want to enjoy what I'm doing, but I also want it to be something that can a make a difference. Something that will allow for time that was craved-for, but not allowed-for in my last situation. Time to get out and do some good for the community, and in other countries through short-term missions with my church. Something that I can do anywhere I happen to be thanks to technology. Is it all a pipe dream? Perhaps. But those dreams are part of what make our lives magical in the first place. If we don't dream, and reach for those dreams - we're nothing.

I'm doing my homework. Meeting with experts. Planning. Praying. Preparing to make a new life out of the current rubble. There will be challenges, but nothing is impossible. As one of my favorite songs says, "It doesn't matter what you've heard, impossible's not a word, it's just a reason for someone not to try."

Monday, October 24, 2011

Magical Mondays - Dreaming of Being There

How often do you find yourself day-dreaming of being at your favorite Disney destination? For me it's at least 3 or 4 times each week - I still can't shake living just 10 minutes from Disneyland all those years ago and heading over to the park for lunch, dinner, a ride, taking my then young son for "daddy-son time", or just to people watch. As I prepare to head west for my father-in-law's funeral, naturally I am dreaming of visiting Disneyland while there, but don't think I'll be able to squeeze a visit in this trip. I am looking forward to a visit to Florida in early December, and getting abck to Walt Disney World. And of course Aulani is just calling my name. I really want to get over to Hawaii to check out the resort so that I can be fully equipped to book vacations for guests. It looks incredible!