Category Archives: Holidays

Magic on the High Seas…..Part 1

After conquering the parks, we decided to conquer the high seas aboard the Disney Cruise Liner, The Fantasy. It’s been two weeks since we returned; and I still think back to each day’s activities, the people met and the places discovered.

We took the 7-Day cruise from Port Canaveral and traveled to Tortola, St.Thomas/St. John and Castaway Cay (Disney’s private island).

In this first blog post, I want to give you the details of booking and then arriving on the cruise.

We booked this late March ’16 cruise in September ’15 with travel agent, Kristie Bennett of Dreams Unlimited; and received a $400 onboard credit. She was wonderful and talked to me one day for 45 minutes explaining the ABC’s of a Disney Cruise. She is a fabulous resource.

Seventy-five days out (since we are first time cruisers), we were able to book our excursions and any onboard activities that need reservations such as brunch/dinner at Palo or Remy (adult-only restaurants), Bibbity Bobbity Boutique and Senses Spa. Note: 1) I booked my excursions at midnight, popular excursions book fast! 2) After your first cruise, you officially become part of the Castaway Cay Club (silver, gold, platinum levels). Then you are able to book your excursions, reservations, etc. 90, 105 & 120 days out.

It is recommended that you arrive for your cruise the day before. If your flight is delayed, the cruise will leave without you. We arrived in Orlando on Friday evening and stayed at the Airport Hyatt Regency. We ate dinner at the hotel’s restaurant, McCoy’s and it was excellent.

We chose to take the Disney Magical Express from Orlando to Port Canaveral. Unlike taking the “FREE” Magical Express from the airport to Disney World (must stay on Disney property), you must book the Disney Magical Express and it’s $70/per person, round trip. We felt the cost was worth it…..we left our bags in the Hyatt on Saturday morning and did not see them again until Saturday evening in our stateroom. Same for leaving the cruise, our bags were taken at 8:30pm the last night of the cruise and we did not see them until we landed in Cincinnati the next evening. Plus, Disney transportation is always reliable and one less thing to stress about.

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One month from arrival, you will receive your cruise itinerary booklet. This will include all luggage tags, reservations, stateroom, Disney Magical Express reservation information and much more. Keep this in your travel carry-on!

Day 1 of the cruise, we arrived at Port Canaveral at 10am (get ready to wait and have a snack in your purse). You will check-in and then immediately proceed to check-in your children at the activity center desk. They will receive their magic bands (their pass in and out of the onboard activities centers). Don’t do this on the cruise, there will be a massive line. Also, you will be charged $15 for this band. When you return it the last day of the cruise, you will receive a credit.

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At 11:15am, Disney began calling assigned groups to enter the ship. Not sure how to improve this number, but frequent cruisers were higher on the list.  We were group 11 (out of 40); and finally were on board around 11:50am.

Your stateroom will not be ready until around 3:45pm. Make sure to wear a swimsuit and coverup when arriving to the ship. As we entered the ship, we went straight to Deck 11 for swimming and lunch, which were already available.

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As we were chilling at the pool, drink attendants walked around with drinks of the day, etc. Make sure to create a drink budget. Milk, juice, soda and coffee are free. We also ordered bottled water and beer for our room for a nominal fee and it’s delivered to your stateroom.  For beer drinkers, be sure to get the Beer Mug deal.  The mug costs $15 (you get to take it home) and you receive 22oz beers for the price of 16oz the entire cruise.

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My next few posts will be about daily activities and excursions. Hope these logistic planning tips help!

Bon Voyage!

I Choose Fabulous!

I don’t typically believe in New Year’s Resolutions….because like most of you, I don’t keep them.

However after a year of hard realizations, I have made some lifestyle changes that have helped me become a more secure and happy person. So this year, I am challenging you and myself to be “Fabulous”.

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Here are 10 ways that will help make 2016 fabulous! It’s already helped 2015 for me.

10. Let It Go…

9. You don’t have to be perfect

8. Stay true to yourself and your beliefs, even if that’s unpopular

7. Exercise 10 minutes a day

6. Be a role model

5. Pamper yourself (and schedule annual doctor’s appointments…OBGYN/Dermatologist)

4. Be generous with your time and skills

3. Fall in love again and again

2. It’s ok not to be liked by everyone, it’s their loss not  yours

1. You are fabulous and don’t let anyone tell you different!

Happy New Years!

You’ve Been Boo’d

The scariest night of the year is fast approaching….and have you Boo’d or been Boo’d yet?!?!

This is one of my favorite Halloween traditions for kids and adults and here are the steps to surprising one of your neighbors:

  1. Print off the FREE template of your liking….many to choose from on Pinterest.

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2. Collect Tricks & Treats.

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3. Assemble your Halloween package.

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4. Then deliver….place on front door (remember you don’t want your neighbors to know who Boo’d them)

Then your neighbors will do the same for another family and more Halloween cheer will be spread in the neighborhood.

Happy Halloween!

 

 

 

Disney……FastPass+

At 1am, 60 days out from arriving to Walt Disney World, you may begin booking your FastPass+ experiences on MyDisneyExperience.com for each day you are at the parks. Now, it’s not necessary to wake up in the middle of the night, but the earlier you book the passes the better. You may select up to three Disney FastPass+ experiences in one theme park per day.

Once your FastPasses are booked, download the MyDisneyExperience App for your phone. Then you are able to change around your FastPass+ experiences on those days. Also, your FastPass+ experiences are linked to your MagicBands.

When you arrive for example at the Magic Kingdom; and have used your three FastPass+ experiences for the day, go to the FastPass+ kiosk and redeem an additional experience (a total of 4 per day). However we learned that if one of your party does not go on a ride, then you are unable to redeem the fourth experience. Ex. Mr. and Miss Modhousewife went on Tower of Terror and I did not. We were not able to receive our fourth experience. Then the next day at Animal Kingdom, I went through the line for Everest, clicked my MagicBand at the ride’s arrival window and then I exited the ride. That way the system believes you used your FastPass+; and now it’s time to book your fourth experience.

Note: If you use the Extra Magic Hours there are many experiences that FastPasses are not needed; and then you can change your FastPasses easily in your phone app.

FastPass+ Needed – 

Magic Kingdom: Splash Mountain, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Space Mountain, Peter Pan’s Flight, Princess Fairytale Hall (Ana & Elsa), Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and Wishes Fireworks

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Epcot: Mission Space, Test Track,  and Soarin

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Hollywood Studios: Star Tours, Tower of Terror, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, Fantasmic, Toy Story, Disney Junior – Live on Stage, Beauty and the Beast – Live on Stage and Frozen Sing-A-Long

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Animal Kingdom: Festival of the Lion King, Kilimanjaro Safaris, Kali River Rapids, Expedition Everest and DINOSAUR

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I hope this helps you book your FastPass+ experiences.

Have a magical day!

Disney….Be In The Know Before Entering The Parks!

Here is my list of things to know before entering Disney World’s magical parks:

1.  MagicBands – This is your key to fun! These are only available to Walt Disney annual pass holders and guests staying at Disney Resort hotels. This is your all-in-one device that unlocks your hotel room door, allows park entrance, FastPass+ check-in, links to the Memory Maker/Disney Photo Pass and syncs to  your credit card to make purchases.

If you are not staying at a Disney Resort hotel and are not a Passholder, you will receive a card when you purchase park admission—and you have the option to purchase a MagicBand online or at select retail locations at Walt Disney World Resort and beyond.

MagicBands are shipping to your home 30 days prior to arrival. Plus, you can add fun accessorizes that can be purchased at any gift shop.

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2. Ponchos – This is a Disney Must-Have! Either purchase before your vacation or at any Disney gift shop. Don’t let the rain keep you from enjoying your Disney vacation….it rains at least once a day. Also, if there’s hours of rain, get those ponchos on and hit the parks. Patrons tend to leave and the rides have no lines……why waste a FastPass+.

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3. The Backpack – As a family of three, we are only in need of one backpack. These are the items in it: ponchos, sunscreen, antibacterial wipes and liquid, bottled water, granola bars, cell phones. (Since the MagicBand is linked to our credit card, we do not carry a wallet.)

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4. Extra Park Hours – If you are staying in a Disney Resort, take advantage of extended park hours…Extra Magic Hours. This enables your family to enjoy time at the parks above and beyond the standard operating schedule. Ex. The morning Magic Kingdom opened at 8am, we were able to ride Space Mountain without wasting a FastPass+. Then we got on the MyDisneyExperience phone app and changed to new ride FastPasses+.

View Extra Magic Hours online or ask your concierge.

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5. Memory Maker – This trip we purchased the Disney Memory Maker. Disney PhotoPass service lets you capture your vacation memories in great photos throughout the parks. Purchasing the Memory Maker allows for unlimited digital downloads of all your memories including select rides photos and videos. If purchased before your trip, there is a $30 discount. (Note: I was disappointed that there were not more Photo Cast Members in the parks…I felt like I had to hunt these people out…..especially in Epcot.)

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6. Buttons – When making your travel arrangements or checking-in at your resort’s concierge, make sure to tell them if you are celebrating any special occasions: first time at Disney, birthdays, anniversaries, honeymoon, engagement, etc. A special button will be created that you need to wear at the parks and at meals/entertainment. Magical things could come your way!

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I hope my list helps….the next few blogs will focus on each park!

Have a magical day!

Disney…..The Experience Begins & The Polynesian Resort

9 months: Flights, Resort and Park Hopper Passes booked!
180 days: Dinning and Event Reservations booked!
60 days: FastPass+ experiences booked (1am)!

Also, 60 days from arriving at Walt Disney World, your resort check-in begins on MyDisneyExperience.com. For the Polynesian, I requested early check-in, the Rorotonga Building (building closest to the Main Lobby with Monorail transportation) and a balcony (I received all options requested).

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Arrived: After arriving in Orlando, we took the complimentary Disney Magical Express (30 minute drive) to the Polynesian resort. Once the bus ride began, I received a text from the resort informing me that our room was ready along with the room number. We were able to bypass concierge to check-in since our Magic Bands were automatically synced with our room. However, when we arrived at the Polynesian, a cast member was waiting for our family with leis, double checked our reservation and answered any and all questions we had.

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This was our family’s first visit to the Polynesian resort. The decor along with the friendly and informative cast members, created a welcoming island atmosphere. We knew our lugguage would be waiting in our room later in the evening, but we wanted to drop off our carry-ons and put valuables into the safe. Our safe was malfunctioning, but with the help of the maintenance staff our problem was fixed very fast and we were on our merry way to Disney Studios.

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But let’s talk more about the Polynesian.

1. Dining Options (All dining can be purchased with your Magic Bands….charged to your credit card on file)

‘Ohana / Tambu Lounge – Reservations required – serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. We did not eat here but I heard the food is excellent; and the character dining is magical for children of all ages. But their bar holds a special place is my heart…..The Pineapple Drink!

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Kona Cafe – Reservations required – serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. Voted “Best Breakfast” at Disney…probably for the Tonga Toast – Banana-stuffed Sourdough French Toast rolled in Cinnamon Sugar and served with a Strawberry Compote and your choice of Ham, Bacon, or Sausage. This was breakfast the last day:(

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Capt. Cook’s – Quick Service – serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. This was our go-to place for poolside breakfasts and lunches. The food is delicious…..try the grilled chicken sandwich on a sweet coconut bun!

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Pineapple Lanai – Quick Service for Dole Whip…need I say more! And it’s right by the pool.

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Kona Island – Quick service for coffee/pastries to cocktails/sushi. I got my iced non-fat latte’s here each morning and located right by the monorail entrance/exit doors.

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Barefoot Pool Bar – Right by the pool to make sure your afternoons/evenings are more enjoyable.

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Disney’s Spirit of Aloha Show – Reservations are required. Great food, wonderful entertainment and a Disney “Must-Do”. This is one of the hardest reservations to receive…so make sure to call immediately at 6am on your 180 day out mark. Also, this dining experience must be paid for in full while making reservations. There are two seatings: 5:15pm and 8:15pm 4 days a week.

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Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto – Stop by for some cocktails, appetizers and music on your date nights.

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2. Pool – Make sure to enjoy your resort. The pool and it’s views are amazing! We made sure to have downtime at the pool each day.

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3. Children’s Activities – Come to the pool for hours of games for the kids. Or make your child a reservation at the Lilo’s Playhouse if you need an adult night out. Miss Modhousewife participated in both. She loved the playhouse… especially dinner with new friends, making cookies, doing science experiments with the Nutty Professor, watching movies and a late night snack.

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4. Shopping – There’s a convenience shop for snacks and anything you may have forgotten at home. Plus there’s a great shop for souvenirs,  Boutiki! Note: If you purchase items in the parks, you are able to have them shipped to your resort’s main shop. Then you have the option to ship those items to your home. We had holiday ornaments shipped to our house.

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Well, I hope I am helping you begin your Disney experience. More to come….so much information to share with you!

Have a magical day!