Disney Spring Break 2018 – Land & Sea

As you can tell by now, my family is crazy for “The Mouse”! And before we venture to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida or onto a Disney Cruise Liner, I take my time to read up on new adventures to explore that will create even more magical memories.

Here are the new experiences my family shared on our 8-day Disney Land & Sea Spring Break:

LAND

Disney’s Boardwalk Inn/Villas

Because we were only staying for one night in Disney World, we decided not to explore all the parks and only play at Hollywood Studios and Epcot. Plus, we did not want to deal with crowded public transportation. So the perfect resort for our family’s trip was Disney’s Boardwalk Inn/Villas. This charming turn-of-the-century Atlantic City hotel has spacious and comfortable rooms; and is located within walking distance to both Epcot and Hollywood Studios. And the unique eateries and nightlife really topped off a magical experience at the Boardwalk.

   

Note: The Boardwalk Bakery has the best sweet rolls in the morning!!

Ale & Compass Restaurant – Yacht & Beach Club Resorts

There are so many restaurants at Disney World, we always make sure to try something new during each visit. My husband found Ale & Compass (short walk from the Boardwalk Resort); and after reading all the amazing reviews, it did not disappoint. Famous for it’s burgers and seafood, the Ale & Compass is now a family favorite. Make sure to book 180 days out from your visit.

  

Epcot Morocco Pavilion – The Art of Henna

Henna is a plant; and the dye is made from dried crushed henna leaves, lemon juice, water, sugar and eucalyptus.  Depending on the design chosen, the application will take 5-10 minutes and cost varies. Henna is a tradition in Morocco; and most commonly done on women for weddings in Morocco…. the day before the ceremony the bride’s hands and feet are decorated.

  

Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival

This was our first time to experience the amazing works of flower art at Epcot for the 25th Annual International Flower & Garden Festival. The grounds are absolutely gorgeous; and make sure to enjoy the festival’s food and drink pavilions too!

   

SEA 

Senses Spa Facial & RainForest Room

We love Senses Spa! And this cruise, I enjoyed a relaxing facial. Also, my husband and I both enjoyed the RainForest Room…this fabulous spa secret includes aromatherapy showers, saunas, steam room and heated stone loungers. We booked a couples RainForest 3-day pass.

     

Tequila & Margarita Tasting

My husband and I enjoyed an hour of adult time learning about the culture, region and tradition surrounding Mexico’s most popular spirit. Such a great time enjoying tequila and meeting new people. Book when reserving excursions or at guest services.

 

Star Wars Day at Sea

  • Darth Vadar Takes Over The Ship (Star Wars Day at Sea Eve) – This event is NOT in your daily Navigator. In the Lobby Atrium (Level 3) at 10:15pm the night before Star Wars Day at Sea, Darth Vadar takes over the ship. Don’t miss this super fun/secret event.
  • Star Wars Bibbity Bobbity Boutique – They can turn your little into a prince or princess, a pirate or wench and now a Jedi or Imperial Forces. This was the first time I have ever seen grown men getting into character at the Bibbity Bobbity Boutique. Make sure to reserve your spot when booking excursions…this is the BBB’s most popular day on the cruise. (prices vary)

      

Sweet On You

And I saved the best for last…..the new old-fashioned ice cream parlor offers sea-goers gelato, ice cream, candy and baked goods. Sweet On You also is the home of the Minnie Signature Sundae; and it’s amazingly yummy. (Serves 3-4 people)

 

Have a magical vacation!

#VegasStrong

I have just returned home from my first trip to Las Vegas. My first impression…this city is larger and brighter than life. And in the few weeks after the Mandalay Bay/Route 91Harvest Festival tragedy, Las Vegas has proven it’s a united community showing the world it will not be beaten….Vegas will remain strong and overcome.

My girlfriend and I enjoyed three days in Vegas, which is the perfect amount of time. With all the activity, it’s very easy to tire out. Plus, I want to save some attractions for my next visit!

Here’s our Girls’ Weekend itinerary. This was created after hours of blog reading and researching in order to have the perfect Vegas weekend. I hope it inspires you to visit Sin City:

Friday

-9:30am (12:30pm EST) Arrived at McCarran Airport  

-10:15am Dropped off luggage at our hotel..New York, New York  (Check In: 1-3pm)

-10:30am Began walking the famous Las Vegas Strip. Arrived at Planet Hollywood Box Office to retrieve our Britney Spears: Piece of Me concert tickets for that night’s show. I purchased tickets a month earlier on Vegas.com.

-11:30am Lunch at Lobster Me. Great New England Lobster Rolls and Lobster Bisque. We ate at the Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood.

-1pm Walked to the Venetian Hotel and enjoyed the sites and an outside Gondola ride. Gondola ride tickets are purchased onsite.

-3:30pm Arrived back at New York, New York to check into the hotel and rest. Then prep for these evenings events.

-5:30pm Dressed and ready for a night on the town, we taxied to The Venetian for dinner on the canal: Canonita Mexican Restaurant. The Coca Pina and Vaquero Beef Rib are outstanding!

 

-7:30pm Taxied to Planet Hollywood for the 9pm Britney Spears concert. She did not make an appearance on stage until 9:30pm. She still has it. The dancing and production of the show is incredible. It’s worth it…plus the people watching is two thumbs up!

 

-11:45pm – Taxied back to New York, New York for a good night sleep.

Saturday

11:30am – We slept in! With the three hour time change and a Friday full of walking, we were exhausted. The sleep felt great.

12:30pm – Walked the Strip to find lunch. 800 Degrees is highly rated for it’s brick oven pizza….and it did not disappoint. Highly recommend for your pizza fix.

 

2pm – After browsing the Hershey Store and M&M World, we decided to spend the rest of the afternoon at the hotel pool.

7:30pm – Taxied to the Bellagio for dinner at Prime. We had a wonderful view of the fountain show and the food is 5 stars!

 

9:45pm – Taxied to the Excalibur Hotel for the 11pm show of the famous Thunder Down Under male review. This was a fabulous girls night out!

 

12:30am – Walked to New York, New York for a good night sleep!

Sunday

11:00am – Checked out of New York, New York; and walked the Strip for a little shopping. Then we enjoyed brisket melts from Virgils BBQ.

 

1pm – 5:30pm – Enjoyed more of the Strip. Bought cupcakes from Sprinkles and then browsed the high end shops and relaxed at the Bellagio. My favorite shop is SJP….Sex and the City Shoe Heaven.

 

 

6pm – Our last dinner in Vegas was at Holstein’s in the Cosmopolitan Hotel. Fantastic burgers, chicken and of course, the best ice cream shakes in Vegas.

 

7:30pm – Walked to New York, New York to pick up our luggage and taxied to the airport for our Red Eye flight.

Las Vegas was incredible. I hope to make lots more trips in the future with girlfriends and my husband…so many things to see, so little time. And remember, what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.

Happy Travels!

Sailing Disney…Where Dreams Come True

It’s been almost two weeks since we boarded the Disney Dream…ready to set sail on our 3rd Disney Cruise. This was not only our first time on the Dream (sister ship of the Fantasy), it was our first time on a 3-night cruise to the Bahamas.

We arrived in Orlando on a Thursday afternoon, and stayed at the Hyatt Regency Orlando Airport Hotel.  We enjoyed an evening filled with wonderful food, spirits and lots of swimming in the rooftop pool.

The next morning, we walked to the Orlando Airport Disney Bus Terminal to board the Magical Express for Port Canaveral. The rain was pouring as we entered the ship (no swimming), but there was so much to explore and activities to participate in on the Disney Dream.

Here is the itinerary:

Day 1 

  • 12pm Lunch
  • 1pm Explored Ship and Youth Activity Center (Oceaneer Lab/Club)
  • 3pm Disney Vacation Club Members Celebration
  • 4pm Mandatory Guest Assembly Drill
  • 6pm The Golden Mickeys Broadway-Style Show
  • 8:15pm Dinner at Enchanted Garden Restaurant
  • 9:30pm After-dinner coffees at Cove Cafe
  • 11pm Picked up child from Oceaneer Club

 

Day 2 – Atlantis

  • 7am Mr Mod wakes to run 6 miles on Deck 4 (but he brings coffee back to the room)
  • Room Service breakfast (included in the cost of your cruise)
  • 9:45am First Port of Call – Nassau, Bahamas
  • 10:30am Exited ship for our excursion to Atlantis Resort (15 minute bus ride)
  • 11am Aquaventure – Atlantis is an amazing sight from the ship deck; and an incredible, awe-inspiring resort to visit. The Aquaventure is a 1st-class waterpark with one-of-kind slides, rivers and pools for the entire family.
  • 5pm Returned to the ship and rested in our stateroom.
  • 7pm The Pirate Night Deck Party – Dress up in your pirate finest!
  • 8:15pm Dinner at Royal Palace
  • 10pm Pirate Party Fireworks

     

Day 3 – Castaway Cay  

My family decided not to disembark on Castaway  Cay. We were very tired from Atlantis, and wanted to spend a relaxing day on the ship. Note: On port days, the ship is empty….take advantage of the quiet and enjoy all the amenities offered to your family.

  • 9am Breakfast at Cabanas buffet (Mickey waffles are the best!)
  • 10am Deck 11 Poolside and watching Cinderella and Lion King on the Funnel Vision. We also enjoyed no lines on the AquaDuck.
  • Noon Lunch at Cabanas with a gorgeous view of Castaway Cay.
  • 2pm Empty movie theater (Buena Vista Theatre) enjoying Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.
  • 4:30pm Back to the stateroom to pack (bags must be out in the hallway by 10pm if taking Disney Magic Express back to airport)
  • 6pm Rest/Relaxation
  • 8:15pm Dinner at Animator’s Palate
  • 9:30pm After-Dinner Coffees at Cove Café

   

After a 3rd Disney cruise, I can honestly say that Disney knows cruising. We plan to set sail on our 4th Disney Cruise Spring Break 2018. Please see my earlier Disney Cruise blogs for more information….and have a magical time.

Laser Hair Removal

Do you have embarrassing and unwanted hair? Well I do; and for years I have been thinking about laser hair removal. And today, I finally did it. If you are a Cincinnati local, I highly recommend the professional staff of Radiant Laser Hair Removal in Blue Ash.

After turning 30, I began getting chin hair. I have been plucking for years, and it’s a pain in my a**. This was the main reason for my visit to Radiant Laser Hair Removal. I was welcomed by Michelle Bicknell, C.T., licensed by the State Medical Board of Ohio; and started working in the laser field in 1994.

The office is fresh and inviting; and I began my visit with a consultation by their in-house physician to review my health history, skin sensitivity, etc. Michelle described how hair removal works and when I would need to return to the office.  Then I entered the treatment room where Michelle explained the procedure and the equipment. Then it was time to laser my chin, upper lip, unibrow and under arms.

Is a fear of pain holding you back from have laser hair removal? Well, no need to worry.  I am a big baby when it comes to vaccinations or drawing blood. This is so easy and relaxing.  The whole procedure took 10 minutes; and it felt like tiny pinching or a tickle (ice and air were used to numb the areas). My follow-up appointment is in two weeks to review the areas….and I may have another area done😉

Radiant Laser Hair Removal is affordable and convenient (location and flexible scheduling), plus your first treatment if FREE!!! For more information, contact them today at 513-489-1900.

 

Disney Cruise….May The Force Cruise With You!

It has been almost a month since my family and friends returned from our second Disney cruise (sorry, it was hard getting back to real life); and I am so excited to share all the details of this fabulous Star Wars vacation!

Let’s go day by day: For details to plan your first Disney cruise, click here!

Friday April, 14th:

Again, it is recommended to arrive a day early for every cruise. After an early flight, we arrived (Disney Magical Express Bus from airport to Disney resort) at our hotel, the beautiful Bay Lake Towers at the Contemporary Resort, and then enjoyed the day (and Fast Passes) at Magic Kingdom. Then the evening was spent at Hollywood Studios for the first-ever Star Wars Galactic Nights…a ticket-only exclusive event celebrating the eight movies through special character greetings, attractions and food.

Fast Passes at Magic Kingdom: Haunted Mansion, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train & Big Thunder Railroad…extra Space Mountain.

Food: Lunch at Casey’s Corner (Magic Kingdom), Appetizers/Drinks at Tambu Lounge & Kids Dinner at Captain Cooks (Polynesian Village Resort) and Snacks at Hollywood Studios Galactic Nights.

 

 

Saturday, April 15th:

The next day, we woke ready for a delicious breakfast at Kona Café (Voted Best Breakfast at Disney World….Polynesian Village Resort); and then traveled by private van to Port Canaveral to board the Disney Fantasy Cruise Liner. Note: Since we were traveling with 7 people, it was more cost effective and faster to travel by private van than take the Disney Magical Express to port. I highly recommend the staff and vehicles at Happy Limousine.

Once at Port Canaveral, we checked in (luggage and verified reservations), boarded the Fantasy and relaxed on Deck 11 for pool time and lunch. (We arrived at our scheduled boarding time with no wait, however, rooms would not be ready for a few hours. It’s best to arrive in pool attire to make the most of the on-board entertainment immediately when boarding.)

When rooms were ready, (It’s fun to purchase pre-cruise Stateroom Door Magnets from ESTY) all guests were required for a mandatory safety demonstration; and then we prepared for early dinner seating (6:15pm) at the Enchanted Garden. After dinner, the kiddos headed to their clubs while the adults enjoyed trivia in the English Pub and cocktails in the Ooh La La Champagne Bar. Then we ended  the evening with both families enjoying warm cookies and milk in our staterooms.

 

   

Sunday, April 16th:

Happy Easter! This gorgeous day at sea included a workout, coffee, pool/movie time and good food. My daughter had her hair braided to fight against the humid Caribbean air (Note: $2 per braid).

The second day at sea also included Formal Night. Dress in your finest for the Captain’s Reception, dinner at the Royal Court and tons of formal photos. And of course, the kids wanted to go to their respected clubs while the adults finished the evening in the Cove Café enjoying delicious coffee drinks.

  

Monday, April 17th (Cozumel, Mexico):

We arrived at our first port of call…Cozumel, Mexico. Our excursion took us to the Yutan Peninsula to see the Chitin Itza ruins.

Note: The ruins were amazing. However I have to complain about the entire travel experience. First, the ferry ride from Cozumel to Playa de Carmen was extremely choppy. My daughter and a few others became very ill. Once on dry land, we boarded a bus to travel 2 hours. The bus driver was slow; and we arrived to the excursion with only 50 minutes out of the 1.5 hours to enjoy the sites. Then we were rushed back on the bus to eat a sack lunch. The bus then stopped 3 times to check the engine belt. What should have been a 2 hour drive ended up being 3 hours. As a result, the ferry/Disney Fantasy left port late. Disney compensated us with free snorkeling at Castaway Cay.

Important: If on a Disney sponsored excursion, the Disney Cruise Liner will wait for your group to come back before leaving port.

This was also Pirate Night! After quick showers, my daughter was transformed into a wench at the Bibbity Bobbity Boutique. Then our group headed to dinner at Animators Palate for fun Crush drinks. The Cove Café for the adults and kids clubs ended the evening.

  

Tuesday, April 18th (Cayman Islands):

Instead of doing an excursion at this port of call, my family decided to have a boat day. Our friends enjoyed the Cayman port shopping. It was a very relaxing day; and after dinner everyone enjoyed the “Wishes” stage production. Then off to bed early…

(Note: We had the boat to ourselves that day!)

Wednesday, April 19th (Falmouth, Jamaica):  

Let me start out by saying, “I LOVE JAMAICA!!!”. Ok, now that it’s out of my system, I will proceed with my review. We docked in Falmouth and traveled by luxury bus to Ocho Rios for snorkeling and climbing the Dunn’s River Falls. This entire excursion and the people were amazing! We even ate authentic jerk chicken and pork; and the rum drinks were delicious.

That evening, the adults went clubbing, enjoyed drinks and laughed at the hilarious newlywed game.

 

 

Thursday, April 20th (Star Wars Day at Sea):

Our last day at sea….Star Wars. Prior to this day, in your stateroom is a form to fill out that includes your character choices for a photo session (2 will be chosen for you) . Make sure to get the form to your Stateroom Host immediately.

Dress in your finest Star Wars attire or costumes the entire day…..trust me, you will fit in just fine. In the morning, as we walked out of our stateroom, the halls were filled with the Star Wars musical score. We ate breakfast at Cabanas while we people watched….the costumes were amazing.

Remember filling out the character photo session choices, we received R2D2 & C3po and Chewy. However, throughout the day, tons of Star Wars characters walked around Decks 3,4 & 5 for photo opportunities. And, if you bring the Jawas something shiny, they will give you a special gift in return.

The entire day is filled with family-friendly Star Wars activities, speakers and of course, the movies. Our dinner menu was dedicated to our favorite characters; and personally, that menu was the best of the entire cruise.

After dinner, my family watched Rouge One and then headed to Deck 11 for the Star Wars show and fireworks display. Cabanas also had a special late night Star Wars buffet.

Friday, April 21st (Castaway Cay):

We started the day with the Castaway Cay 5K…boy was it hot!!!! (My hubby placed 3rd.) Then we enjoyed the rest of the day on the island paradise owned by Disney. We ate, swam, drank, played….

This was also our final night on the ship. The kids went to the dining room to eat dinner (then to the clubs), while the adults enjoyed a fantastic dinner at Palo (adult only dinning….reservations required).

When the evening was over, we went back to our rooms to pack and leave our the luggage in the halls. We would see our luggage again tomorrow morning.

Saturday, April 22nd:

The end. After breakfast at Animators Palate, we exited the ship. Our private van took us to the Orlando International Airport.

I hope you enjoyed reading about our second Disney cruise. No matter a Star Wars fan or not, Disney does everything right!

We booked another cruise for Spring Break ’18 (book while sailing, there’s a discount).

Happy Cruising!

Disney…Not Just For Kids

As you have read in previous blogs, my family loves everything Disney……bring on the magic! And after reviewing our five-year vacation plan, we decided to become Disney Vacation Club (DVC) members in order to save money and enjoy even more of what Disney has to offer.

Our latest Disney vacation had a theme…. “No Kids”. Disney World (Land, Cruises, Destinations) have itineraries just for adults. This is your time to relax and just be a “big kid”.

It’s been almost two months since we returned from our first “no kids” Disney vacation. We went with a fabulous couple (Douggiestyle.com) who are also DVC members. This trip was designed around the Ecpot International Food & Wine Festival and the Wine & Dine Half Marathon.

Here is a look at all the fun we had without the kids…. no guilt was had by all participating;) :

Thursday:

    

Friday:

  • Enjoyed a giant cinnamon roll (Gaston’s Tavern) and Starbucks in the Magic Kingdom. We found a small and quiet cove off of Main Street USA to eat in each morning. (Must arrive at Kingdom when park opens).
  • Bused to ESPN’s Wide World of Sports to pick up my husband’s race packets for the Wine & Dine 10K and Half Marathon (otherwise know as the 19.3 Lumiere’s Challenge).
  • Returned to Magic Kindgom for a day of rides and of course, Dole Whip.
  • Monorailed to the Polynesian Resort’s  Tambu Lounge for Pork Nachos and Lapu Lapu drinks (you get a whole pineapple!).
  • Returned to the resort to prepare for our late night dinner at California Grill.

       

Saturday:

  • My husband woke at 3:30am to make the 4am bus to Epcot for the Wine & Dine 10K.
  • He returned after a successful run and slept.
  • Spent the morning in Magic Kingdom (Cinnamon rolls, Starbucks, character photos and Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom).
  • Headed to Epcot for attractions and the International Food & Wine Festival.

  

   

Sunday:

  • My husband woke at 3:30am to make the 4am runners’ bus to Epcot.
  • I woke at 4:30am to make the 5am spectators’ bus to Epcot.
  • He completed the Wine & Dine Half Marathon thus completing the Lumiere Challenge of 19.3 miles.
  • Rested all morning and went pooling around noon.
  • Arrived back at the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival for more food and fun.
  • Ate dinner at Canada’s Le Cellier Steakhouse.
  • Enjoyed the private Wine & Dine Half Marathon party at Epcot. With your ticket (tickets are given to marathoners and may be bought by those in a marathoners’ party). Epcot is closed to everyone else.
  •        

Monday:

 

Tuesday:

  • Spent our last morning eating a the Polynesian Resort’s Kona Café rated Disney’s best breakfast (Tonga Toast).

 

As you can tell, Disney is definitely not just for kids. We ate, drank and just touched the surface of all Disney has to offer for adults. And we did so much walking, none of us gained a pound.

We had such a blast; and will be making this trip an annual destination each year. And next November, I will be competing in the Lumiere Challenge.

Have a magical vacation!