Sunday, July 20, 2014

Trip Report : 2 Days at Disney World and Disney Dream Cruise (Cruise Portion of the Trip!) CASTAWAY CAY

     Castaway a word....AWESOME! Just above is the view of the Dream docking in Castaway Cay. The ship eased in so quietly and gently. We all gazed out to see the tie up of the ship and then scurried on down to disembark. Of course we already had breakfast and were ready to go as some of the first off the ship. It's interesting, some folks take their time and get off later. You can get on and off the ship as you please on Castaway Cay. It was only the Dream docked that day so just us! 
     Once we were off the ship we noticed the small "post office". You can mail postcards and such to get this tropical address stamped on your mailings. Our plan, which worked perfectly, was for three of us to "tram" our way over to Serenity Bay (adults only) get some seats and then "tram" back to our group for a prearranged snorkeling excursion. 
     So got on the tram....took a nice Disney ride to the other side where we saw this:

     It was so lovely. The sand was beautiful, the water clear and blue. So quiet and peaceful. Seriously, we were all in awe. This is the definition of vacation for me. There are plenty of loungers with umbrellas. We never saved any seats on the ship for lounging and found out that we really didn't need to...that was essentially the same here. Plenty of seats and with just one ship...we were good. However, I will say this..just to take that tram and see a bit of the island and see that deserted beach early in the really was worth it. Once we headed back on the tram (and they come often so no problem traveling the island), we really had something to look forward to in the way of relaxing after what is soon to be a bit of craziness with snorkeling!!
     SNORKELING....well it was interesting. The check-in was right back near the ship. Very easy of course and we had already pre-booked on Disney Cruise Line within our reservation. It was $55 per person. I believe about a 2 hour trip. So the five of us headed out on a catamaran of sorts (I need to get my boat lingo straight but let's just stick with that-a medium sized craft intending to take 30ish or more people out at a decent speed). We found seats to enjoy the ride and were provided instructions as to what would happen with our excursion and then our snorkel life vest (yellow, much, much smaller and more compact than a regular life vest), our goggles, snorkel and fins.  
     It was fun for everyone to get their gear on. We looked like a bunch of inexperienced snorkelers and we were. I was the only one in our group to have done it and I have only gone twice. The boat has a deck that you can ease into the water via steps or just jump off the side. I think for the most part everyone jumped. My mom...she eased. We had one in our group get a bit of anxiety but she worked it through. My mom seemed like she was really struggling. It turns out that she had fins that were slipping off and in turn I think she was so worried about losing them that it kind of ruined her snorkeling experience. She told me after that she really enjoyed the water...looking at fish....etc. but those fins were driving her nuts. All in all it was totally fine and a fun experience. Going out on the boat and riding back in was definitely worth it. Here's the view of some of our group snorkeling and then coming back to the dock....

     After snorkeling, we dumped our wet towels, grabbed a few more and took a short walk to the tram for a ride over to Serenity Bay (you can walk from beach to beach by the way-but not sure why you would??). We did stop along the way to look at some cute kiosks of Disney Castaway Cay merchandise. There are some things here you can't get on the ship. I purchased several post cards and some little nick-knacks. The shops are very cute, simple and if you need some beach necessities, they have it. 
     Side note here...the 5k takes place a bit early in the morning on Castaway Cay and I believe it is a regular occurrence for all ships. I could not think of anything I would rather do less than a 5k for me personally but maybe I am being narrow minded. When we took that first tram to get seats on Serenity Bay, several folks were running/walking an assigned course to get their exercise on! There is an old run way on this island. It serves as part of the tram road but also a place for part of the 5k and bike rides. Anther side note: bike rentals are $10 and you can ride over to an old tower and take a look at the island from there. 
     So back to the tram...we rode back over to Serenity Bay, settled in and enjoyed the water, drinks and just generally relaxed the say away. Lunch was very close and there was a lot to choose from. Kinda like a BBQ with meat, salads, drinks and ice cream of course. Everyone liked lunch. 
     Late in the day some of us had our chairs (those low ones) parked at water's edge just sipping frozen margaritas, watching the water, listening to the sounds (a storm moving in slowly) and really enjoying the day. We also walked along the beach (and you can go quite a distance) looking for sea shells. There are shells to be found but this particular beach has lots of the super tiny shells. We ended our day by bobbing in the water only to get out at the last possible time to catch a final tram. I think it was close to 5pm. We must have been the last people on the ship and it was great. Took some final pictures and headed on board with no fuss or muss. Perfect day!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Trip Report : 2 Days at Disney World and Disney Dream Cruise (Cruise Portion of the Trip!)

    So when we last left.....sorry about that.....we had just checked out our rooms, found some goodie bags and now we got ready to explore the ship some more and relax!
     We went to the adult pool area. Really kind of the goal of the entire trip is to relax, unwind, hang out and this is a great place to start. The Quiet Cove pool area on Deck 11 is for those over 18. It's located right behind the spa area on the front of Deck 11. The Cove Cafe is there along with the other pools lining up the deck. The Quiet Cove area has lot of deck chairs and of course, hot tubs on each side that overlook the ocean. The pool itself is not large...more like a big plunge pool but it has some what I call "zero entry" sides to it that are next to a bar. You can sit in the water without being submerged and just sip on whatever you want, get some sun! There are stairs leading to the upper deck where they are lots more lounge chairs to get even closer to the sun. I have heard that the adult area on the Fantasy is even better and I can't wait to try that but this is really nice. We went to this pool several times as well as the hot tubs. 
     When it got close to the sail away festivities, we went to our cabins, got out of wet suits and headed back up the upper decks (Deck 12) to watch from the front of the boat and then lounged in some great wicker chairs to see the port drift away. The evening was gorgeous and we took some great pictures. There is a bar on Deck 12, Waves I get something to drink. 

     Dinner that night was at the Royal Palace, Deck 3. We had 3 table mates in addition to our 5. Food was good. I stuck to vegetarian dishes at the dining rooms. I would not call myself a strict vegetarian but getting there so my food reviews probably would not be too much help. However, my companions had a bit of everything and all I can say is again, the food is good. It's meant of the large occupancy of the ship therefore I would never say it's totally unique, out of this world, etc. but all my meals were good, satisfying, pleasant, good service and I was happy. I however, in my own opinion, am easy to please food wise. I do not require substitutions but my sister is a bit picky and she was fine. She's a meat and potatoes-don't do anything fancy type and she survived just fine-perhaps because it is Disney. There are some food joint up on the pool deck for quick and easy pizza, burgers, chicken tenders, fries, and more. There are also soft serve ice cream dispensers (we really like the strawberry/vanilla combo) as well as drink dispensers with a wide variety of pop, ice tea, water, coffee and the like. It's great! Bring your own large insulated cup and fill up for the afternoon. Other ships make you pay for pop. So if you like pop, you are in business! Finally, there is room service with a nice selection and you can order that anytime. Secret here: you can order Mickey ice cream bars from room service. They are not on the menu. We had a few of those...really good.
     The next day, we were in Nassau Bahamas. We came into the port, Aft first and it was a beautiful site with other cruise ships, some yachts, and Atlantis off in the distance. We were at the Windjammer eating some breakfast when we came into port. You will get a schedule of all the time requirements for port stops. We had scheduled to do Disney's Atlantis Water Park Day. I don't think that's the official title but it was an all inclusive day at Atlantis and it was admittedly expensive, $169 per person, including lunch.
     We were directed to a meeting place, close to Walt Disney Theatre and checked in for our excursion. I did take my passport and ID as I usually do on all excursions. They will specifically tell you if you need either one. You also always need your key card.  They mention it's a good idea to bring bottled water on this one as it is expensive in the resort. We did each bring a few bottles and then there were some locals selling bottled water when we waited in line for our shuttle bus. So after grabbing ample towels, we were ready to get on with the day...and what a day it would be...a day to remember....

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Trip Report: 2 Day at Disney World and Disney Dream Cruise (Cruise portion of trip!)

     WOW! This was a great part of the trip. Loved it. I cannot say enough about how fun, clean, charming and classic this ship is. But in my usually wordy way, let's start from the beginning...
     I booked this trip as a "girls" trip for relaxation on a cruise and it morphed into adding the Disney World days but the cruise did not disappoint. The ship itself is really just a big hotel/resort on the water. Really it's that simple. But it adds a bit more intrigue when you are traveling along in the ocean. You definitely disconnect if that's what you are seeking on vacation.  I will explain more about that in a bit.
     We were scheduled for the 4 night Bahamas cruise (Itinerary B)...this itinerary is offered very frequently from Port Canaveral. Nothing too special...a night on the ship, arrival into Nassau, a day at sea and then onto Castaway Cay (Disney's private island), then back to Port Canaveral.
     We started leaving from Pop Century after some breakfast back to the airport. One caveat here, you get free Magical bus transport to and from the airport if you stay at the Disney resort. However, if you are just going back to the airport without a flight, that seems to confound the staff a bit.  Yes, they do have transport to the ship but our goal was to meet our friends at Orlando airport and all take a shuttle to Port Canaveral (not the Disney shuttle). So the advice here is that if you do something similar, just pick a flight later in the afternoon and give Disney that info for your Magic transport tickets back to the airport. Seriously. It seemed like understanding we did not have a flight and we were taking another company for transport just did not flow as smoothly as it should have although we did get the Magical transport back to the airport! Our shuttle was the Florida Sunshine Shuttle (easy to google-great web site). Great service and much cheaper than the Disney shuttle to port. I believe on our sailing date, Disney shuttle was $70 round trip, per person plus tip. Florida Sunshine Shuttle was $40 plus tip round trip. For the five of us we had one very nice new van with a nice driver (Gene) and luggage was no problem. I had made and paid in advance for the service and we simply called when we were all at the airport and together-Gene picked us up, no problems whatsoever. It was great and we saved some cash. Of course we did not get to experience the Magical shuttle to the port with the TV of Disney instructions and cartoons-but that's okay. I actually have already done it and once or even never is enough! We tipped Gene and on our way to the ship! 
     Once at port we had an awesome porter who took our bags (we had put the cabin tags on in advance-they come in the mail well before your trip) and he pointed the way for us to take to the terminal. We went across the street and up the elevator to an upper level walkway. It was very easy, not crowded and once through security, we were on our way to the Castaway Club line for check in. 
     I was the only one of our group to be a "member" of the Castaway Club (which in the very least is one previous Disney Cruise) but the staff member whispered we could all go together. So off we went. You need your ID (passport) and your cruise document that is signed (you print that off through the Disney Cruise web site check in) and it's very quick and easy. My sister's passport had not arrived in time for this trip so she used driver's license and a certified birth certificate and that was no problem. (Note's better to always have a passport in case you get stranded in a foreign country. You need that to get on an airplane outside the US so order well in advance) You receive your card "key" and a bit of info including a Navigator (daily program of events for the evening) and they whisk you through to board the ship. Once we were closer to actually boarding you zip your key card through for entry. Mine didn't work. So I was rerouted just off the path for a new key card. It literally took 60 seconds and I was back with my group. I think people tend to get a little crazy boarding and trying to be first or whatever. There really is no reason to do that. As long as you are there at your time (which is available when you do paperwork online), it all goes really smoothly and there are tons of staff to assist! I have found that on the three cruises I have taken. It's just easier than it looks. There are some professional photo ops on the way. We skipped that and just went on through. 
     Once on the ship, another key card stop and photo for security. Let me just say here, the whole boarding process our group found, was really exciting and easy. I assume for those who have done this numerous times it's old hat and not a big deal but I relish every moment. Seeing the ship for the first time arriving at the port was really cool. My family and friends were in awe at just how big the ship is docked at the port. They were so excited that I just had a great time watching them! One other fun note, I received a silver lanyard with "Castaway Club Member" on it or whatever it said. I took alot of crap for that as the crew says "welcome back!" all day the first day and everyone expects that you know everything-which I don't and by the way, it's different ship that my other Disney Cruise. 
     Once on the ship we made our way up to the Windjammer. Windjammer is on the back (aft) of the ship and is the big buffet restaurant where you will have many meals-usually breakfast and lunch. You will get tips that perhaps other places are open for eating, etc. Simply ask a crew member when you board. I forgot-they announce your name as you board and there are drinks of the day and I believe some additional photo ops. Drinks of the day cost money by the way-we skipped. 
     The Windjammer is generally full of people but we did find a table just outside near the pool and got food. Really not a problem for us but I can see how some people would prefer a quieter location. The food is really good. As you can imagine they are feeding thousands of people so you are not at a Parisian restaurant. It's good, it's plentiful and there are lots of choices. What more can you ask for!? I am not sure but I have seen boards where folks complain about food on difference cruises. Our group parked with our day bags (rooms ready about 1:30pm) and one by one or two by two, we got food, drinks and wandered around deck 11 of the ship exploring and eating. 
    Slightly after-say about 1-1:30pm, we headed to our rooms. We were on the 9th deck, #9166 and #9164 (Class 6A and 7A respectively-if you book rooms in the future, the classes of room can help you decide on what are the better cabins!) -back of the ship. The rooms were fantastic! They are big with the nautical look and split bathrooms (one bathroom with tub/shower and sink; the other bathroom with toilet and sink-fabulous idea!). Our veranda was perfect and we had a great view. Another tip here...our rooms were side by side but not connecting. We asked the steward to unbolt the veranda so that our verandas were connecting. Not sure who came up with that idea but it was brilliant. It was like having apartments next to one another with easier access but not full access like a connecting room. We could just hang out all together on a larger veranda! 

     Our rooms both had large baskets from our travel agent -Dreams Unlimited with tons of useful stuff including dry erase boards, plastic travel mugs (3 in each basket!), treats, extension cords, etc. We were really shocked by those baskets. They were gorgeous and really useful! Actually they were not baskets really but a travel bag filled with stuffer. I also received a Castaway Club gift (more sturdy travel bag, another dry erase board and clock thing that you could attach to a bag). In our cabin were also our tickets for off ship excursions-look for those on your desk or bed. Ok... more to come later! 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Disney Cruise News


   Disney has announced it summer 2015 sailings. Europe and beyond. These will get booked incredibly fast so....if you are even thinking about doing one, the next few days are critical. Planning this far in advance gives you lots of time to pay! I have found, as many others have, the best Disney cruise blog. It's a great place to start. Look through the drop down menus and check everything out but the article on the 2015 summer sailings (even has some price details) and then use a travel agent or book with Disney directly. You can always make changes later. You pay deposit first, then in full usually 90 days before sailing. Look for the best deals from on board spending account money! Click below:

Great place to book. I use Tammy Omar. She is wonderful. Click below:

My favorite site to just browse deals (resorts and all cruise lines-put in your criteria to browse whatever you want) and I have booked through this agency as well. Click below:


Trip Report: 2 Days at Disney World and Disney Dream Cruise (Disney World: Epcot and Magic Kingdom)

     Ah the Magic Kingdom (that crane spoiled my picture!! They are doing some work there)....I think there is alot of magic at the Magic Kingdom. It goes on behind the scenes to be sure. My overview comment of going to Disney some research before you go but don't plan down to the nitty gritty-you need to be flexible. I can honestly say that I think you have to go there at least once to really know what you are doing (maybe several times).
    I have been to Disneyland at least 5 times over my lifetime-with my kids and without. However, that does not prepare you for the amount of choices you need to make at Disney World!! Sit down with your main travelers and have a conversation. Planning can be part of the fun and anticipation! Here is a list of some of the choices:

1. Who are you taking to DW and what to do they want to do? (ages, walking ability)
2. What kinds of shows, rides do you want to do?
3. Do you want to meet characters? when and where
4. Order of going to parks or whether you have time to go to all of the parks and downtown Disney (etc.)
5. transport? Discussed that a bit in my last post
6. Money....You can actually go pretty frugally (by lugging your own stuff) or eat in the parks. 
7. Souvenirs...What's important and what gift perhaps do you bring back?

     Let me say this...going to these parks involve ALOT of walking. There are also tons of folks in strollers, wheel chairs, scooters, etc. It stands out. I wondered when I was there, whether perhaps a very small percentage of those in scooters/wheel chairs just did it for the easier entrance into rides, shows? I believe I came across a news piece where a tour company was busted for hiring out "handicapped" tour guides just so those who could afford to pay for these tour guides had less wait times at the parks. Don't get me wrong, I don't think the wheel chairs and scooters are bothersome, it's just that I find it ironic these parks have numerous visitors that are physically challenged and they are in a place where you could literally walk 10-even 20 miles in one day.  I think it all goes to the level of access, detail, cleanliness and "magic" that Disney World affords its guests. People love this place and it shows. Marketing genius.
   That all being said, our group of three did 2 days starting at Epcot. As I mentioned above, we planned loosely beforehand for some of the attractions but mainly planned on the go. The best and most helpful tool ever....the Disney World app (available on Iphone and Android). Absolutely fantastic and don't go without it. This app allows you to fast pass, check wait times, maps, all at your convenience and discretion. My sister and I were linked on the reservation and we could look at what each other was imputing into the app. So that's the can now integrate your web access on Disney, your reservation, magic bands, all to your app on your phone. Your phone now at Disney World operates as a concierge, communicator and photographer. This is a big change from my Disneyland days. The down side-battery life. My recommendation and what my sister had..the case that also is a second charged device all in one. You don't really see folks charging at DW like you do the airport where literally everyone is plugged in or looking for plugs. Look at MOPHIE Juice Pack or OH cases per Google-and probably other brands. I don't have one of those cases but believe me, having power on the phone is critical-DEFCON 1 (not sure how the DEFCON levels work but 1 sounds the worst???).
     So our group set off to Epcot first This was based on the hours posted for the parks during out stay. Some parks have extended hours for folks that are guests at the Disney resort hotels-very cool. Epcot is simply wonderful. If you buy into Disney and how they do things you are going to love it. I know there are those out there that just cannot get in the spirit. That's okay. How can you force it?  Just being with family or friends in a fun place is enough for me but not for everyone! We did rides around the main part of the park first. I think for our group, I would not go that route on another trip. I would start with the countries and the big walk around the water. Disney does an excellent job of recreating (in a sterilized way of course) a little slice of selected countries, including food and shopping. Unique foods and gifts at each place. There are also movies in each country and little nooks to sit and people watch with a beverage or listen to music. Explore this place-it's very cool. At the end of the day-late is the light show/fireworks called Illuminations. Truly a highlight and extremely well executed. Google "best seats for Illuminations" and you will get all kinds of good advice. Hopefully you still have some power in that battery- or maybe take your parent's phone if they are with you (they usually have alot of battery-my mom's did!!!!) We sat in "France" at a little "cafe" right on the water. Perfect.
     We did Magic Kingdom next. A note here, we were at Disney during the Princess Marathon. It was a busy weekend. The Magic Kingdom is like going back in time to all those childhood movies or a little less farther back for folks in midlife-like all the movies you bought for your now adult kids. We rode all the classics and walked like no tomorrow. There seems to always be a new something going up and of course crowds at the big attractions. We just steered clear of the crowds as much as we could and definitely used the DW app to check wait times and fast pass to the limit. We had a small down pour but that wasn't so bad. Made for a very crowed lunch crowd at the Cosmic Ray's Starlight Cafe but we got food and a table in a decent amount of time. I hear that Be Our Guest in Fantasyland is a fun place to go. On our visit it was too crowded and we had not reserved ahead. . Note can make reservations for restaurants on the App. Also, rain ponchos are for sale at the gift stores-I believe $8 and they are sturdy enough to use many times. You could purchase some cheap ponchos at the Dollar Store and just have them in your tote bag. We really liked our DW ponchos and will hold onto them. My sister, clever one that she is, decided to do a "selfie" album during her day at the Magic Kingdom. A cool idea really. She got shots of herself of course but lots of scenery behind and didn't bother asking everyone to stop and do a pic. I on the other hand, took normal bothersome pictures of as much as I could.
     All in all, Disney World is what you make of it-like anything. Have some patience, chill out. That's what you really need. Don't sweat the crowds. You can't control it anyway. Disney does a pretty good job of working on that issue. Try to do things a little off the normal times. Lunch earlier or later. Stay late if you can! The Magic Hours allow you to have more time in the park and fewer people. They will know by swiping your magic band (probably should be capitalizing that...Magic Band). The Magic Band has all the info! Tickets for adults....$184 for two days when you buy at the park in a two day deal. No park hopping on that. They always have photographers for the special places-again you swipe the Magic Band and it goes to your account for ordering later.
     A final funny note on Epcot (and believe me, I think I could go on the on about these parks....but I won't), we were leaving and noticed the ride in the Epcot Ball, Spaceship Earth. We actually had walked right by it upon entrance but duhhh... just kept going. Well we did that ride, without Mom who was sooo tired, during Magic Hours so no wait. I kept thinking, "ok!! this is going to be the biggest thrill has to be. It's in the iconic ball, lots of walking up to it"...NO. The sign upon entering the final steps to board says something like "A slow journey through time". That really made me laugh. Point being, there really are not that many thrill rides at Epcot or the Magic Kingdom. It's more about Disney at those parks, the characters, the countries. I hear the thrill rides are at Hollywood Studios (research that and know your travelers!) However, we were pleasantly surprised at what a great ride that was. Don't miss it and the fun stuff at the end. Always look for the fun stuff at the end of the rides. There really is alot of thought put into your exit from the rides-gift shop but usually some cool activities including things like send an email "postcard" where you get to put yourself and family into it.
     So that's my trip report on Disney parks. We agonized a bit over which parks to attend. There are pluses on all of them!!! If you can, spend 10 days at this place to absorb it all. For us three, 2 days was pretty good. I must admit I was tired. I first thought when I was there that "this is it, I am Disneyed out". But as I look back I think-maybe another trip to see the attractions I really liked and then some more I didn't get to see. The beauty of Disney marketing.....there is always more to see! Oh and they will send you emails afterward luring you back.......

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Trip Report: 2 Days at Disney World and Disney Dream Cruise (Disney World, Part 1, Pop Century :-))

     As you can read from my first entry, I spent some time at Disney at the end of February, 2014. Specifically I spent 7 total days with 3 nights at Disney World and 4 nights on a Disney Cruise. The recommendation is that if you go to both, do the park first so that you can relax on the cruise. That is good advice!!

     The room on the left of the bottom floor is where we stayed. This is the Pop Century Resort. It is a budget resort-basically a clean Motel 6 -"Disneyfied". The room was spartan, somewhat small with two full/queen beds, nice split bath with a separate tub/toilet combo. There is a table and chairs, t.v., small refrigerator and nice area for storage/closet for clothes. It's very clean and our room, in the 60's building, was directly in front of the Hippy Dippy Pool. This is great location near the main building which houses the restaurant, gift shop, bus stop and the reception for the hotel. My mom who walks just a bit slower with some feet issues, did fine in this location. There are several other buildings-much farther away that I cannot imagine even doing all that walking back and forth to the restaurant. The best part was the closeness to the main building, second the pool. There are alot of people at this place-groups, families, etc. But it seems that you can get food, swim, do all you need without much wait. It's a Disney budget stay at our average cost of $185 per night. I believe we were just right in a busy time on the cusp of a slow time at Disney. The time you select to go definitely affects your cost. I had advice of a 20% discount on this particular stay (offered directly by Disney) and we took advantage of that sale. After I researched the possible hotels at Disney, I used a travel agent "Fairytale Journeys by Sara" to actually narrow in my room selection. Sara is awesome. She is experienced at the nitty gritty. I found Sara just by looking at blogs, etc. 

      This picture of the pool was the view from our front door. Where you see "POP" is the main building. The restaurant in the main building consists of several stations of food as well as self serve areas for food and drink. Just like the park, there are several cashiers to check folks out. When you book a Disney resort hotel and have park tickets, you should receive information ahead of time about "Magic Bands". Magic Bands can be customized and sent ahead to your residence or you get them when you check in. I learned that ordering them ahead of time allows you to customize the colors of the bands. If you get them at the hotel, they are gray. Magic bands open your door and can be attached to your park tickets for entry, fast passing, etc. You can also attach a credit card and just touch a special unit at all retail outlets to pay for your gifts or food. Seems like a great idea and we really liked it. No cards hanging from your neck.
     The bus stops heading to all the different parks are out front of the main building. I do believe there are other bus stops at other buildings. Research that before you go! Our experience with the buses was really positive. Not a long wait either coming or going, clean and very easy to use. I debated on getting a rental car. Because we chose to use the buses, I can't really comment on the usefulness of a rental car but I hear that is a very convenient option, especially if you are going to different parks in one day or just in general needing to get places quicker. We did 2 parks, one each day. We also did not have any kids, just 3 adults. So different needs may call for different modes of transport. Also with regard to transport, Sara sent me our magic bus access passes to get from the airport to the resort. This is included in your price. It's very easy and at Orlando Airport, everyone knows where the Disney transportation hub is and there are lots of signs. It's a no brainer. Of course, even with my big folder of paperwork, I forgot those passes. I simply gave them my hotel registration info and received our tickets to ride. My experience at Disney is that there are always staff to help with any questions, getting extra copies of stuff and they are very nice. I think that is the basic reason people like Disney so much and keep coming back. Good service. 
     Final thoughts on Pop Century and staying at Disney: I am in no way an expert at the different Disney resort hotels (call or email Sara on that) however, in my research and talks with friends who truly are experts (having gone to the parks probably 20 times each) where you stay is very important. If you want to be on the Monorail in a more upscale resort-there is a plan for that. If you want to stay budget (is $185 a night budget?? I am still thinking on that) there are at least 4 different budget resorts. Book early, look for discounts on the budget places. They fill up!!! Personally, and I make a decent living working for the government but really don't have tons of extra cash, I might pick a more upscale place to stay next time. I guess if it's vacation, you really want to stay at a level that feels like a vacation. There is so much information on the different places that you can really get a good idea before you select. 

Friday, March 14, 2014

     Above is one of my favorite pictures this year. It represents an awakening in me over the past year to my love of travel.  I am lucky that I have been to a "few" fantastic destinations in my life but I realize that WOW, there is so much more I want to do. 
     The picture above is the Disney Dream. We are leaving Port Canaveral and just looking back to that awe inspiring sky. The trip was a "girls' trip" just a couple weeks ago that has really propelled me to do this blog. I have learned so much about cruising in the past year, but again, there is so much more out there that in reality, I have only scratched the surface. I have reviewed SOOOOO many blogs and discussion boards in preparation for the 3 cruises I took this past year. I have been wowed by those blogs and discussions that provide so much information for today's traveler. However, I want to try to put my own stamp on traveling.       This blog is a way to document things I am doing and that I want to do. I love to share what I have learned. I have had so many people ask me about trips lately and I just encourage them to go! Pay a deposit, make a plan. It's easier than you think. Use your vacation time! 
     So thus, I begin my own travel blog. I am also going to document and hopefully provide pictures of other fun things happening in my area or close to. Again, as a way to motivate myself, and maybe some of my friends to join me...LIFE IS TOO SHORT!!!!