Friday, December 28, 2012

Guess who's back.

Hi there!  I'm rolling into 2013 with some real momentum.  I really want to expand my Disney travel business, and help many more families make their dreams come true.

Won't you give me a chance to plan your family's dream vacation?

Email me -

Back to your regularly scheduled posting, soon.  <3

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Run baby run

So, in preparation for the Princess Half Marathon 2013, I've been a runnin' fool. I'm up to about 2 miles every other day, usually doing 1 minute on and 1 minute off with walking. Anyone else training with me?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Know Before You Go

This post originally appeared on MouseBuzz.

One of the biggest mistakes I see with Disney vacation travelers is the lack of planning. A little planning can go a long way to ensure that you have a magical vacation!

The best use of your time to ensure you trip starts out well is to choose your hotel wisely. There is a raging debate between the “On-Site” and “Off-Site” crowds, and honestly there is no one right answer for everyone. One of my favorite articles on this subject was written by my colleague Keith … check it out … The Many Splendors of Disney Hotels

Disney offers a resort for every family – for those on a budget, all the way up to those spending the trip of a lifetime at the resort. Knowing what your family needs – and wants – in a resort will help you choose the best one for your family. Do you want an amazing pool with a themed water slide? How about signature dining opportunities? A kid-friendly paradise? Or just a place to crash after an exhausting day at the park? Disney has just what you need!

Not only are there great sites like MouseBuzz to help you out … many of the Disney resorts have Unofficial Fan Pages. My personal favorite is Tikiman’s Polynesian Site – check it out at TikiMan Pages.

Spending just a few minutes to be sure of your resort choice will pay off when you arrive at Walt Disney World!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Visiting Disney When You’re On The Spectrum

This post originally appeared on MouseBuzz.

Do you have a family member on the Autism spectrum? Disorders considered as “autistic” include not only classic Autism, but Asperger’s, some forms of ADD, and PDD-NOS (pervasive developmental disorder, not otherwise specified). These disabilities can wreak havoc on an otherwise magical vacation if not properly planned for. My stepdaughter is a recently diagnosed “Aspie” with inattentive-type ADD. And if that wasn’t enough … she also has moderate binaural hearing loss. These different-abilities certainly made us think carefully when planning our most recent trip to Disney World.

Luckily, Disney does an amazing job of accommodating those with all sorts of disabilities. The stimulating and inclusive environment allows children of all ages to enjoy a magical vacation. However, if you are not careful, the stimulation may lead to a “meltdown”. Here are some of my tried-and-true meltdown-avoiding tips:
  1. Have a plan. Booking your vacation with a travel agent that understands your needs is important. He or she can assist you with finding the right resort for your family, dining reservations, and touring plan suggestions. Know your family’s needs, don’t be afraid to share them, and be an advocate for them.
  2. Know your family. What are the “triggers” that you face? Waiting in lines? Being hot? Too much sun? Not enough to eat? Understand what can cause drama, and avoid it. Having a solid touring plan will really make a huge difference – you don’t have to be militant about your day, but knowing what to ride and when will make a difference.
  3. Get a GAC. Disney is very accommodating to those with different-abilities, and has ways to make the experience better for those with special needs. This is done by issuing a GAC, or Guest Assistance Card. These cards are not meant to replace a good touring plan or the Fastpass system, but they’re meant to make the visit more enjoyable for everyone involved. My next article will explain the GAC in more detail.
What have you found that has helped out during your trips on the spectrum?

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Happy happy joy joy

Hi there!  Long time, no post.  I've had a lot of exciting things going on, so ... sorry 'bout that.

As I mentioned before, I'm now an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner.  This has kept me VERY busy, but in a good way.  I never realized just how much I enjoyed making dreams come true.  :)

And now, I have another amazing project. 

I'm a guest blogger on MouseBuzz

I've added the posts to my blog below, and will continue to do so each time I post a new article. 

Love and pixie dust to all!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Signature Dining: Yachtsman Steakhouse

This post was originally featured on MouseBuzz.

On my family’s most recent trip to Walt Disney World, we chose the Deluxe Dining Plan. To make the most of this experience, we chose a few Signature meals.

Signature meals are among Disney’s most delicious – and expensive – options. In fact, for the Plus Dining and Deluxe Dining plans, two table service credits are required to “pay” for your meal. It does seem a bit steep, but in many cases, they are very much worth the expense.

Photo courtesy of Alex4981 on Flickr
My personal vote for a Signature meal? Yachtsman Steakhouse.

Now, I wouldn’t advise anyone that’s averse to meat to go to Yachtsman … because thick, juicy, delicious steaks are their calling card. Quite possibly, Yachtsman cooked up the best steak I’ve ever had. My husband and I are “foodies”, so that’s saying a lot.

Upon arrival, we checked in at the hostess stand. Our table wasn’t quite ready, so we were shown into the Crew’s Cup Lounge. This full bar offered not only the typical bar seating, but several comfortable booth-and-table setups. They also had several flat-screen TVs on the walls for your viewing pleasure.
Our table was ready quickly, and we were escorted to the dining room. There are several “rooms”, with many tables. There was a mix of family tables as well as those clearly on a kid-free night out.

Photo courtesy of Dilbertian on Flickr
We quickly chose our meals, including my daughter who is still a Disney Child (for one more year). The kid’s menu included some steak, so of course she was happy. The server guided us through the menu; including pointing out some of the more adventurous choices, since we had mentioned that we liked to try new foods. He deftly suggested the charcuterie plate, the cheese sampler, and the escargot. My daughter, not nearly as adventurous as the rest of the family, went with the safe-and-tasty chicken noodle soup. For our entrées, each of us ordered steak. My husband, his daughter, and I all ordered the filet mignon; my daughter had the children’s steak meal. For dessert, I chose the crème brulee, my husband had the lemon dessert, and my stepdaughter had a chocolate concoction. However, our desserts all pared in comparison to my daughter’s. She got the Mickey Puzzle … a white chocolate puzzle with a paintbrush and three delicious sauce “paints”. We all had a great time putting the puzzle together, and helping her paint it.

Now that we’re back home, we are still talking about our delicious meal at Yachtsman. It was one of the culinary highlights of our vacation. I highly recommend making reservations at Yachtsman Steakhouse if you have the opportunity – it was delicious!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Exploring Your Disney Resort

This post was originally featured on MouseBuzz.

One of the most overlooked opportunities for making memories on your Disney vacation is to spend time exploring your resort.

At every price point, your Disney resort offers great opportunities for family time. Many people miss what’s offered right outside your hotel room door, in an effort to spend every waking moment at the parks. Of course, going to the park is the main reason you visit Walt Disney World. But you can really miss out on some amazing memories if you don’t take the chance to stop and enjoy your resort.

In your travel documents, there is more to see than just your luggage tags. Really! There are some great discounts available in that package, and few people actually put them to use. I recently stayed at Disney’s Polynesian Resort – my “home away from home”. And rather than plan day after day at the parks, I made sure that we had plenty of down time to put those discount coupons to use. And boy, am I glad that I did!

One of the discounts we used was the coupon for the water sports. We chose to use our coupon on the Sea Raycers, also known as “Water Mice”. These adorable two-seater mini-speedboats can be rented by the half-hour or hour, and piloted out on the Seven Seas Lagoon or Bay Lake. My daughter (9 years old) and I were in one boat, and my husband took his 11-year-old daughter in the other with him. We put the 9.9 horsepower motors on the boats to work as we zoomed around the Lagoon. We didn’t really time our trip, but we spent a half-hour on the open water. The cost was quite reasonable, especially with the 15% discount voucher. Both girls really enjoyed the excursion, and they both asked to do it again. I’d say that was a “win”.

Another discount we used was the arcade discount. My family is “that family” … we often have wars over the Galaga machine at arcades, and we weren’t disappointed with the selection of fun games at the Polynesian’s arcade. Granted, the discount coupon in the book wasn’t of much value (100 points was only four rounds of Galaga), but it was still a free bit of gaming. And we wouldn’t really have sought out the arcade otherwise.

Have you ever considered having an adults-only dinner while at Walt Disney World? There is a discount coupon for the Child Activity Centers (also known as “child care”) in your documents as well. My girls were guests of the Neverland Club while my husband and I enjoyed a delicious and romantic dinner at Narcoossee’s. The price for competent and safe child care while at Disney was excellent, and the discount voucher made it an even better value. My girls had such a great time at the Club that they asked to go back a second time. As a result, my husband and I had a second delicious and amazing dinner at Yachtsman Steakhouse. I can highly recommend this service, because the kids have as much fun as the adults do.

Finally, another often-missed opportunity for family fun is the nightly movie held at most resorts. Many of the resorts have a large inflatable movie screen, and if your resort has a beach, it can often be found there at night. Check out the Resort Guide given to you at check-in for times and movie selections. It’s a great chance to grab a snack at the counter service location on-site (or an adult beverage for the grown ups), and watch a great movie with your family to end the day.

I hope that I’ve given your family some new things to try while at Walt Disney World … and some new ways to Let The Memories Begin!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Well, that was a fail.

Clearly, NetworkedBlogs didn't work the way I'd hoped.  No worries.

I have plenty of posts in the hopper for everyone.  I'd like to share a bit of my wisdom that I've shared on Second Wives Cafe with everyone ... it's called my Disney 101 series. 

As a sponsor of SWC, I have spent a good deal of time typing up some basic Disney info for everyone.  I'll be pleased to share it here too ... just you wait. 

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Is this thing on?

What, with FREE DINING and all, I've been a bit busy.  I'm testing this Networked Blogs app to see if I can sync up all of the things that I use to communicate.  I"ll let ya know if it works.  :) 


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