Magical Vacation Planner

Magical Vacation Planner
Contact me for free no-obligation quotes on Disney Cruise Line, Walt Disney World Resort, Disneyland Resort, Aulani (Disney Resort and Spa in Hawaii), Adventures by Disney, Sandals/Beaches Resorts, Royal Caribbean, and Universal Studios. As always, my services are 100% free!

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Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Dancing Cruise Girl- Part 2

My daughter dances like no one is watching, other than the world-famous Disney characters. You can make memories like this when you embark on a magical  voyage on Disney Cruise Line. Contact me today for a free, no-obligation quote!

Monday, February 26, 2018

Disney Cruise Line New Year's Eve Cruise

A lot of people love celebrating New Year's. It's out with the old and in with the new. When I ask what keeps people from traveling over New Year's more than not, their response is, "I don't want to deal with large crowds and traffic." Well, when you embark on a Disney Cruise, you are at sea and the crowds are the same no matter what cruise you are on. The ship only holds a certain amount of people. Yes, on your way home from your amazing voyage, you might deal with traffic depending on what day you are returning. There's always an option of extending your vacation with a back-to-back cruise or a few days at Walt Disney World. Enjoy this album! This is from our New Year's Eve cruise on Disney Dream when we broke in 2018, and in my opinion, there is no better way to bring in a new year!
(click the link to access the album)

So, what's so special about the NYE cruises? Everything! The atmosphere, the celebrations, the special characters, special gifts in your stateroom, champagne at midnight with a toast with 1000's of people, live music, fireworks at sea, etc. Not to mention, you are on a Disney ship, bringing in a new year in the middle of the ocean! 

After seeing my pictures and videos, you will decide you want to take a cruise over New Year's, so feel free to contact me for a free, no-obligation quote! If promotions are released for your sale date, I will be happy to apply them to your account. Go ahead, contact me today!
704-299-4862 (no solicitors)

Magical Vacation Planner is a Platinum Earmarked company with the Disney Travel Company. I can help you plan your magical voyage on Disney Cruise Line. Contact me today for a free, no-obligation quote.

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Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Disney Cruise Line- What's Included?

Do you ever wonder what's included on your Disney Cruise Line vacation? I've included some valuable information on what the value of your cruise includes and ways to make your vacation as magical as possible.
Contact me for a free, no-obligation quote.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Disney Cruise Line Destinations

Can't decide where to cruise to? Check out this blog on Disney Cruise Line Destinations.  It is chocked full of valuable information to help you plan a magical voyage.
Contact me for a free, no-obligation quote.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

2018-2019 Disney Cruise Line Sail Dates and Itineraries

Contact me today to book your next (or first) voyage on Disney Cruise Line.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

New Link to this Blog for Social Media Pages

Today, I'm trying out new ways to make this blog stand out and adding social media covers for Pinterest, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. I'm using to do so. It's a learning curve, but seems like it might help. If you read this blog and write your own, please leave feedback on how you make your blog stand out. 

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Top 21 Tips and Tricks for Port Canaveral Terminal and What to do Before Setting Sail

1. Get to Jetti Park around 5:30 AM and watch the ship come into port. Here you can feel sorry for those getting off the ship and get really excited that in just a few short hours, you will be taking their place. Once the ship came in, we went to Ron Jon Surf Shop (open 24 hours) and walked around, then parked near Fish Lips and got a few Z's (we drove straight there from Charlotte the night before).
5:30 AM

7:00 AM
2. Connect your phone to the Navigator App and get ready to turn it on airplane mode to avoid international charges. You can even check out the menus for dinner at your assigned restaurant for that night. Below is just an example of the menu at Enchanted Garden. It was actually 6 screens. As you can see, I also had a message.

3. Things to do in the terminal: check-in (past Disney cruisers AKA Castaway Club get lanyards, otherwise new cruisers bring your own...see below for Castaway Club benefits), check kids into Oceaneers Club and pick up magic bands (kids will use these to check in and out of the clubs), watch Disney shows/movies, meet and greet Disney characters, view a model of the ship, and walk through the mouse ears!
Magic Bands for Kids Club
Look at the model of the ship inside the terminal

Inside the model of the ship in the terminal
You will get to walk through the Mickey Ears too!

4. You will be issued your Key to the World Card (KTTWC) when you check-in at the port. This is your credit card, ID, and room key. Don’t lose it! No worries if you do as long as you report it asap! You can go to Guest Services and get a new one issued. You can give your children purchasing privileges or withhold them. Make sure if you don’t want them to be able to make purchases you tell them at the terminal.

5. Castaway Club: After you complete your first cruise, you are in the Castaway Club. Cruises 2-5=Silver, 6-10=Gold, 10+=Platinum. Members get a nice gift in your stateroom. Gifts are distributed based on your level. Here is our Gold Castaway Club gift. You can find a list of all the perks for each level below.
 *Top left picture is the newest CC gifts! The bag is very small, but perfect for smaller items to take with you to the beach. We used it for our WDW trip last week to keep ponchos and phones/chargers in. It is not waterproof, so keep electronics in a ziploc bag.

6. No cameras are allowed on in customs. You have to wait until you get to the terminal upstairs to turn them back on. This is a rule for security reasons. Once you are in the terminal, snap away! It’s fun to take pre-cruise photos in the terminal and then meet people on your cruise and see them in your pre-cruise photos.

7. Look for the hidden Mickey's! Our last sailing was the first time we actually looked for them. I'll post one here, but the rest you will have to find on your own.

8. Stop for pre-cruise photos before you board the ship. If you buy a photo package, they are included (all photos package). If you don’t want to take your photo, you can skip right by it and board a little sooner.

9. The magic continues beyond the terminal. Get your cameras ready for walking onto the ship. Disney announces your family’s name! I’ve been on two other cruise lines and Disney is the only one that makes a big production of your arrival!
Disney Dream Welcome's Aboard The Inch Family! Click here for the video

10. Decorate your door with magnets! It’s a great way for you and your kids to find your stateroom. I recommend you personalize your items in case of sticky fingers! Make sure you don’t put any adhesives on your doors. You will be fined for them because they could mess up the paint.

Hint: The walls in your stateroom are magnetic! Bring extra magnets to hang notes for your family you don't want the rest of the passengers to see (not a great idea to let everyone know you are out of your room, but OK to let your travel party know). I also hung artwork my daughter did on our cruise on the wall and the next day navigator with highlighted events.
Also, the wooden panels outside the stateroom doors are also magnetic. Sometimes you will be allowed to decorate those as well.

11. Review the Navigator (via app or paper copy) before you set sail (and each night you are on the ship). You will be given one when you check-in. You can pass time by looking over it while you wait for your boarding number to be called.

Hint: Bring highlighters (one color per member of your family) to highlight what you want to do the next day. It folds into a handy tri-fold. You can pick up extras at Guest Services. I’ve included a couple pictures of the inside of the navigator which indicates the activities schedule that you would fold and carry with you, or of course, you can just use the app.

12. Explore the ship as a family. Kids AND adults are allowed in the spa, workout area, kids clubs, and adult clubs/bars on embarkation day before the ship sets sail. This is a great way for kids to be able to see other parts of the ship they normally wouldn't. This is also one of the only times adults can take pictures in the Youth Activity Areas (there are other open houses where you can do so as well).

Become familiar with the ship. Luckily, Disney's ships are "classic" and very easy to get around on without getting lost unlike other cruise lines. Carry a ship map with you (free at Guest Services) or use the app to help you navigate.

13. As soon as your luggage comes, pull out your kids stuffed animals and toys. Leave them out and more than likely, your mousekeepers will do something creative with them when they turn down your room each night!

14. Speaking of luggage, watch for your luggage before the Muster Drill. It will be placed outside your room. You do not need to sit and wait for it, but try to remember to clear the hall before you head out to your evening events so that people in wheelchairs and scooters can get by. Ours has historically been delivered before the Muster Drill. If it is not all there, you can check back just after the drill or after the Sail Away party, but I wouldn't wait any longer than that, just so the walkways are clear.

15. The Life Boat Drill (AKA Muster Drill) is mandatory and begins at 4:00! All ships services will be suspended during this time. Take your KTTWC with you so you can be scanned in. Your muster station is the large bold letter on the bottom left of your KTTWC. There will be crew members directing you to the right place if you get lost. Please don’t be late or try to skip it. We all want our cruise to start. The quicker we get through the dreaded muster drill, the quicker we can relax and forget about reality for a while. After the drill, hurry up to the Sail Away Party with your favorite Disney characters.

Hint: Some people will be assigned inside, while others outside. If it is hot or cold, be prepared to stand outside for an extended amount of time and wear appropriate clothing. Look at the map on the back of your stateroom door before you go to the drill and know if you will be inside or outside.

16. Let your friends and family watch in envy as you leave port and sail out into the sunset. The Sail Away Party after the muster drill is on the pool deck. I find that if you go to the Starboard Side (right side) top deck and wave to people at Fish Lips you could be seen on the Internet because each sailaway streams live on Get your family and friends to watch you sail away!

17. Before you set sail, go to the Port Adventures desk (deck 5 on Dream and Fantasy) and sign up for the Princess Gathering and Anna/Elsa Meet and Greet, and register for the FREE 5K on Castaway Cay. You can also sign up for the Princess Gathering when you complete your online check-in prior to your cruise. There is also a character breakfast and Bibbidy Bobbidy Boutique (BBB) you can sign up for (both have associated fees and have limited spots, so try to get there early). You will get tickets, so hang onto them because you will need them at your event!

18. If you are Disney Vacation Club members, attend the FREE DVC reception. Here, there is free champagne and bottles of water, DVC gifts, and sometimes (not always) light snacks. Get there early, and you just might get a chance to meet one of your favorite Disney characters. 

19. Ride the Aquaduck and swim in the pools. If you get there early enough, there will be no lines and the pools will not be crowded. The pools will close for the Muster Drill so you don't have to worry about missing it. 

20. Eat lunch at Cabanas or Enchanted Garden. Cabanas is my favorite because we can eat outside or on the pool deck. If you like quieter, more intimate lunches, eat at Enchanted Garden. They have the same menu, but have different hours, so check the Navigator to see which will be open when you arrive.
My desserts at Cabanas on Embarkation Day.

21. Lastly, don't worry about getting your picture with the statue in the atrium early on. There will be plenty of opportunities throughout the cruise where you can do so without having to wait. Don't worry about much at all. I've embarked before without any prior knowledge of the cruises or any prior planning and we still had an amazing time. Relax and enjoy your vacation from reality!

I hope you were enlightened with this blog post. If you liked it, please let me know and share this with all your friends and family! Also, subscribe for more posts like this!

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

6 Things You Should Know About Pin-Trading on Disney Cruise Line

Many people who have sailed the high seas with Disney Cruise Line have also been to the parks and seen people trading pins. You may have run into cast members wearing lanyards or seen signs about "Official Disney Pin Trading." If you've ever stayed at a Disney resort, you may have noticed the pin book sitting on the counter, a pin board behind the counter, or crossbody pouches and lanyards on cast members at the counters. You might be an experienced pin trader, a novice pin-trader, or a rookie pin trader and wondered what all the hype is about. No matter you experience level with Disney pin-trading, you can have so much fun looking at new pins with cast members and guest alike. Pin-trading is a social event that, in my opinion, brings strangers together and is a great conversation starter.

*Tip- We buy cast member pins in bulk on Amazon or Ebay (last bundle was $60 for $100 pins) to trade while we vacation.

Read on the find out all about pin-trading on Disney Cruise Line.

1. What if you are wanting to take your pins aboard a Disney ship in hopes of finishing off a collection? Well, you are in luck! Guest Services is limited to the amount of pins they have, but go into most of the shops and they have large pin trading books available for you to browse through. Unlike the Disney parks, where you are limited to trading only 2 pins per cast member, there is no limit on a Disney ship (at least from our experience).

2. Bring your pins into the shops to get some magical attention from the merchandise team. We showed interest in pin trading, looked through the books, but when we saw pins we wanted, we didn't have our pins with us. They were upstairs in our cabin. We said, "Hold that pin, we'll be right back!" (Note: there is no guarantee if you leave the pin will be there when you return). The merchandise crew member saw our excitement and when we returned with our amazing pin books, he knew we were serious! I think my daughter and I traded about 5 pins each just in one shop. It was fun on sea days to hop around to the different shops. The crew members remembered us and looked out for specific pins we needed. We love Alex, Owayne, and Amit on the Disney Dream!

3. You can trade pins with guests on the ship as well. But, I did notice that most of the pins on guests lanyards were the real fancy, limited edition or limited release pins that the guest was proud of and had no intentions of trading. Just keep that in mind before grabbing for someone's pins. Remember your etiquette! Always ask before picking up someone's pins! It is a guests' right to show-off those amazing pins and not want to trade! Others see this as teasing, but I'm all for it!

4. Check back often to try to find a special pin you are looking for. Since there is no limit on how many pins you can trade (again to my knowledge and based on my experience), the better chance you have of finding it if you return often. Plus, you might just find other merchandise you want since it is plentiful on the ships!

5. You can purchase pins on the ship and at Disney's private island, Castaway Cay. Some of the ones on Castaway Cay are exclusive to the island so don't miss the opportunity to buy the one pin (or dozen) that you want. Once you leave the island it will be hard to find them.

6. Each sailing I have been on there was an Officer Pin Trading Night. These are not only fun because you get to interact with the officers, but you have a really great chance to get that perfect pin. What's even better, interact with the merchandise team and show you are serious about pin trading and you could be selected as an honorary officer for Officer Pin Trading Night. My daughter has been selected on each of our last 3 cruises.

You will never have to pay to trade pins with anyone, so if anyone asks for money, walk away. Make sure the pins are authentic with the Disney Pin Trading logo on the back, a straight pin back with ridges to keep it from spinning, and clear, crisp colors and words. If Flounder is supposed to be yellow and he looks green on the pin, it's probably not authentic. If you are determined on wearing those beloved favorite pins on your lanyard, hat, jacket, or whatnot, be sure you have a locking back on them. They sell them in the shops for about $10/pack. You will need to keep up with the Allen wrench that comes with the backs.

My Pins 1 of 2

My Pins 2 of 2

My Daughter's Pins

Locking Backs: Highly recommended if you plan on wearing your pins

More than anything, have fun! If you enjoyed this article, please share it with your pin-trading friends!

Contact me today for a free, no-obligation quote for your next Disney Vacation. Magical Vacation Planner is a Platinum Ear-Marked Company with the Disney Travel Company. You can have faith and trust that I will use pixie dust to help you plan your magical vacation.