Disney Cruise Pirate Night

Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate’s life for me! You will have tons of fun showing off your inner pirate during the Disney Cruise Line Pirate Night.

Disney Cruise Line Pirate night Michelle T

Some guests go all out with pirate attire dressing up for the celebration. Be sure to bring along pirate costumes or accessories if you would like to dress up for the occasion. You will find pirate themed bandanas for everyone in your party placed in your stateroom. The celebration begins when you are greeted buccaneer style at dinner by servers dressed in pirate garb. My kids thought it was really cool that the menu looked like a treasure map. When you finish your pirate themed dinner, you will head to the main deck for the pirate deck party. You will notice the area has been transformed for a night of dancing and entertainment. Your favorite Disney characters will dance the night away decked out in their own pirate attire. You may even see a pirate stop by trying to take over the ship, but don’t worry a special guest will save the day.

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For my family, this is one of the main highlights of the cruise. Let me help you experience the pirate life. Contact me today for a no obligation quote.

Michelle Terry

MichelleT@travelwiththemagic.com

1-866-Hi-Miki-2

Royal Treatment on the Disney Dream

As a little girl, I dreamt of fairytales and castles, fancy meals and tea parties. Little did I know that as an adult those dreams would come true. For our sons senior trip we planned a Disney cruise on the newest ship the “Dream”. My expectations were undetermined because I had never cruised before. I did all of my research and planned every step of the cruise. The rotational dining is something I was most looking forward to. Although each restaurant had something special and it would be hard to choose which was better than the other, I have to say that upon my arrival to the Royal Palace, I instantly knew that my childhood dream was becoming a reality.

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As you walk into the restaurant you are greeted with a large staff dressed as if they were serving the King and Queen. The carpets are a royal blue with pillars through the room. The lighting fixtures are breathtaking, Cinderella’s glass slippers hang from the lights. The details are absolutely the most impressive thing I’ve seen on a ship. I felt as if I were really in a royal palace awaiting a fine meal. It took me several visits during our sailing to really grasp the décor.

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Our table was on the wall so we had a gorgeous view of the water. I felt like the window was taking us on a journey, we had the early seating so we were able to enjoy a skyline of waves and sunshine.

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My four course meal started with the Princess delight which was the best non alcoholic drink I’ve ever tasted I’m sure it’s because it was made for the queen. I ordered Jumbo Shrimp as an appetizer and then was served with Belle’s French Onion soup, the cheese itself was thick and delicious once I got through that I was able to enjoy a very rich onion broth that I could have eaten as my meal. It was amazing. I knew it was only going to get better as they brought our bread in the most adorable carriage that resembled Cinderella’s ride to the ball. My Husband enjoyed the Royal Market Green Salad, he said the dressing was excellent. We both enjoyed the same main course of Aged Angus grilled Beef Tenderloin. I think the title of the dish speaks for itself. It was cooked to perfection and the taste was mind blowing, rich and husky wood flavored is the only way I can explain it. I asked for potatoes from a different dish which they did with no questions asked. I hardly had room left for dessert but we were on vacation so how could I pass up a sweet treat fit for a queen? I couldn’t. I had the strawberry shortcake sundae. The strawberries were the freshest berries I’ve ever tasted and the whipping cream was pure perfection, creamy and just sweet enough to keep you going back for just one more bite.

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My night of dining in the Royal Palace was coming to an end, it did not disappoint and as I write this blog my mouth is watering and I keep looking at the calendar to plan another visit  on the Disney Dream so I can again be treated like royalty.

If you would like to be treated like a King and Queen, please contact me so I can make your next Disney vacation the trip of a lifetime.

Amy Blades

amyb@travelwiththemagic.com

1-800-397-4674

An Experience of a Lifetime

Blue Lagoon Dolphin Encounter

As I sit down to write this post it is 28 degrees outside and there is snow on the ground.  I am NOT a cold weather fan, so to say that I am dreaming of warmer climates and the feel of sun on my face is a definite understatement!  So, with that in mind, lets take a trip down memory lane to warmer, happier, time and place…..

Last year we took a cruise to the Bahamas on board the Disney Dream, and while we loved everything about the ship itself, one of the most memorable things we did on that trip was in the port of Nassau.  Our excursion of choice that day was a trip out to Blue Lagoon Island

The island itself is beautiful and there are several excursions to choose from.  There is a Sea Lion Encounter, a Dolphin Encounter, a Dolphin Swim or you can just elect to spend a day at their beach.  Your travel agent can help you decide which one works best for your family.  We chose to do the Dolphin Encounter and what an amazing experience it was!

First we were taken by boat out to the island, then we broke off into our respective groups.  After you are given a short training course to educate you about dolphins and their behaviors, they take you down to the docks.  There are lockers there where you can put your things during the encounter.  Then you get to meet your dolphin.  This was Andy

We had a pretty large group, so we actually worked with two dolphins, the other one was still in training and his name was Clarence.  The big group is broken down and you enter the water in smaller groups of about 8 people.  Here you get to ‘pet’ the dolphin, dance with him, feed him, play with him.

 

My husband thought it was quite funny when Andy decided to splash me

We ended our experience with hugs and kisses, and yes, I did kiss the dolphin, right on the lips!

What a special experience it was for my family to get to interact with these special creatures.  This was by far one of the biggest highlights of our trip!  I’d love to help you create amazing family memories like these, just drop me a quick email at michelle@travelwiththemagic.com and lets get started.  Remember, when you book your vacation with me, all my planning services are free!

Walt Disney World’s Park Hopper Option

The park hopper option can be added to any Walt Disney World base ticket and is good for the length of your stay.  This option allows you to visit more than one park in a day.  For example you could spend the morning at Magic Kingdom then “hop” over to Epcot in the afternoon. The park hopper option is an additional $35 per person to add to a one day ticket or $57 per person to add to a 2 day or longer ticket.  This cost is not per day, it is the total price per person excluding tax.

While park hopping can be useful for any length of stay, if you have 5 day or longer park passes then I highly suggest adding the hopping option.  Once you’ve experienced all four theme parks, hopping allows you to go back and hit the highlights at each park again without having to devote an entire day to one park.  This is great when you may only want to ride a couple of attractions or eat a meal in any one location.  You could spend the morning at Animal Kingdom which tends to be the first park that closes for the day and then hop over to the Magic Kingdom for dinner and fireworks.  Or spend the day at the Hollywood Studios and then hop over to Epcot Illuminations that evening.  Or use the hopping option to bounce over to another park for evening Extra Magic Hours.  The possibilities are endless with park hopping and this feature allows you the flexibility to go where you want, when you want, and experience what you want.

 

For the ultimate in park hopping visit all 4 parks in one day and experience at least one attraction in each!

 

Whether you choose to park hop or not it’s important to have a good itinerary with a solid plan of action.  This is where I come in!  One of my complementary services is to work with you to prepare a touring plan that fits your style and make sure you have ample time at each park to experience those things important to you.  I’d love to help you get started with a wonderful Disney Destination vacation.  My name is Susan Heidenrich and I am a Disney Destination Specialist affiliated with Travel with the Magic.  Contact me at SusanH@travelwiththemagic.com.  You can also follow me on facebook at www.facebook.com/SusanHeidenrichTravelwiththeMagic.com for information, specials and tips and tricks on Disney vacations.

Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant

Looking for a unique dining experience while vacationing at Disney World?  You’re in luck because there are quite a few but one that stands out to me in particular is Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant which is located at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, near the Streets of America.

From the exterior outside, nothing really stands out in particular.  You may even walk past it and not even realize exactly what it is.  When you walk inside the restaurant it looks as if you have entered a dimly lit soundstage with movie memorabilia scattered throughout. There are walls blocking you from seeing where the tables are at this point. There are a couple of benches and a desk where you check in but nothing too exciting…yet.  I have eaten at this restaurant several times (since it’s my son’s absolute favorite) and my experience is to expect a bit of a wait upon arrival, even with advanced reservations.

Once your name is called, you will follow the host on a walk down the hallway.  As you enter the room you will be dining in, you are immediately transported to a drive-in movie theater.  I’m always amazed as I walk in to this restaurant.  This is truly some of Disney’s best themeing, in my opinion.  The room is dimly lit and rather quiet which can be a nice break from the excitement of the parks.  You will see rows of 1950′s style convertible cars lined up facing a large movie screen. Each car has two or three rows for seating. There are also a few picnic style tables in the back of the restaurant so I would recommend requesting a car table upon arrival to add to the ambiance.  Be warned though, if you are sitting in a car table, you will not be dining face to face with your family.  More than likely you will be seated two by two with the “driver” (complete with driver’s license) in  the front and “hitchikers” in the back which can be a little cumbersome with younger children.

 

While dining, you will view campy horror movies that are just down right over the top and silly but it’s fun.  I was worried my son would get scared (he’s overly sensitive), the first time we dined here without knowing what to expect but he absolutely loved it. He now requests to eat at Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant each visit.

Besides the ambiance, some other reasons to like Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant are the following: The food is actually quite good, the servers I’ve had have all been wonderful and the prices are rather reasonable. You can find entrees such as Shrimp Pasta, Whole Grain Pasta, Rib-Eye Steak and various sandwiches but burgers, fries and milk shakes are definitely their specialty and what I would recommend.

If you haven’t dined at Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater, you should!  I think you’ll be glad you did!

If you are planning a trip to Disney World feel free to email me at corby@travelwiththemagic.com or you can call me at 800-670-4312 x128.

 

Discover the Magic of Disney World’s Electrical Water Pageant

 My family was so excited a few years ago when we first stumbled upon the electrical water pageant.  The pageant is a spectacular light display on barges that takes place in the Seven Seas Lagoon and Bay Lake.   You will see lit up screen images of King Triton, a turtle, a dinosaur, a whale, seahorses, an octopus, dolphins, a sea monster, and more.  Disney adds that extra bit of magic by playing an exciting assortment of music along with the parade.  The pageant ends with a salute to America to patriotic music.

 

You can view this parade from the Contemporary, Grand Floridian, Polynesian, Fort Wilderness or try to watch near the resort boat docks outside Magic Kingdom.

 

Below is the typical schedule.  Check with Guest to verify pageant times during your stay.

Polynesian — 9:00 p.m.

Grand Floridian — 9:15 p.m.

Wilderness Lodge — 9:35 p.m.

Ft. Wilderness — 9:45 p.m.

Contemporary — 10:05 p.m.

I would love to help you plan your next magical vacation to Disney World.  Contact me today for a no obligation quote.

Michelle Terry

MichelleT@travelwiththemagic.com

1-866-Hi-Miki-2

Magical Memories – A little “off-park” adventure

Winter – The Tailless Dolphin

Only about 1.5 hours away from Orlando, in the city of Clearwater, lives another celebrity.  Winter is a tailless dolphin that lives at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium (originally called the Clearwater Marine Hospital).  After reading the story in a children’s magazine, my son and I decided to visit this little marvel in 2009.  We fell in love with her and the Clearwater Marine Aquarium instantly.

Many of you may know the story – “A Dolphin’s Tale” – a movie released September 2011.  For those of you that don’t, here it is.  Winter was found in December 2005, off the coast of Florida in Mosquito Lagoon by a small fishing boat (yes that is the real story – not the Hollywood version).  Her tail had become entangled in a crab trap.  A team from Florida’s Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution and SeaWorld took her to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium.  Winter was 2.5 months old at the time.  Even though she survived her ordeal, the tail did not.  Due to prolonged lack of blood circulation, the tail flaked off.  She did learn to swim without a tail using a side to side motion that would eventually lead to spinal damage.  So with the help of Kevin Carroll and several other experts, a prosthetic tail was designed just for Winter.

News of her triumph and amazing tail was sent to NBC’s Today Show and the story quickly spread worldwide.  Eventually, you all know the rest, the movie “A Dolphin’s Tale” was created.  If you haven’t seen the movie, I strongly recommend it.  Have the tissues close by – you will cry.  After you visit the aquarium, you can take the trolley to downtown Clearwater to another attraction – Winter’s Dolphin Tale Adventure.  Here you can see recreated movie sets and many of the props on display.  Robert had a great time seeing and recognizing these things from the movie.

There one thing about this whole story that truly amazes me – Winter’s connection to individuals who also have prosthetics.  It has been reported time and time again, that an instant bond/connection is formed when Winter comes into contact with others who have a prosthetic limb like her.

The next time you are in Florida looking for something to do (other than Walt Disney World) – venture over to Clearwater and visit their aquarium.  It is a small facility.  Originally, it was design for animal rehabilitation and research.  There are a wide variety of animals at the aquarium that your family can see and learn about.  Another one of my favorites to see is Bailey.  Bailey is a green sea turtle whose rear flippers are paralyzed.  He also has a buoyancy disorder.  They created a simple contraption that helps Bailey to live out his years comfortably at the aquarium.  Your family can also pet string rays, watch otter play, see other dolphins perform, and even see Ruffus the pelican – another star from the movie.

The Clearwater Marine Aquarium offers a variety of other animal adventures that your family can add to their visit – dolphin photo opportunities, animal encounters, kayak adventures, behind the scene tours, trainer for a day programs, and a Sea Life safari boat tour.  Check out their link at www.seewinter.com.

If you have any questions and would like to use a planner for free – contact me at Robyn@travelwiththemagic.com or call me directly at 1-800-670-4312 ext 125.  I have an unexplained passion for Disney and making sure that everyone is getting the most that they can out of every visit

The Match Family

What in the world am I speaking of. You know, the families you see walking around in Disney World all dressed alike. I am one of those families. When we first took our kids to Disney World back in 2007 I had done little in the research department and was virtually clueless of how to make the most of my Disney vacation. After that first trip I became an avid reader of all things Disney and one thing I learned is that lots of families wear the same color shirts or even the exact shirt to the parks each day. At first I thought it was kind of dumb, but then I started to see how cool the pictures looked and decided for my next trip we were going to have matching shirts for at least one day. The other bonus to wearing the same color or shirt is that your family is always easy to find if you get separated.


I found a design online and added our names and date of the trip to it. Then I printed the design out on iron- on transfer paper and voila matching shirts. It took me a little while to learn that the iron on transfer paper for dark colors works best and was the easiest to work with. If you are not crafty or don’t have time you can go online to different websites and create a custom shirt just for your family.  For that trip we only had the one matching shirt but I really loved the pictures we took in them and we also got tons of comments from Cast members about our shirts. As most of you know if you look like a cool Disney family you may be the recipient of some extra “pixie dust”.
For our next trip I wanted to have matching shirts for each day so we pulled out our t-shirts that we purchased during some of our other trips. We always buy a new set when we go that all match or match as closely as possible. That trip I think we matched for four of the days so my pictures on those days were great. I can’t wait till our next trip in Feb 2013 to sport some new shirts and get more great pics.


For more information on anything Disney travel related contact me Laure Simms at laure@travelwiththemagic.com or call toll free 1-888-214-6954. I would love to help you plan your next Disney vacation.

Do you like to volunteer?

 On my last trip to Hollywood Studios, we just sat down to watch Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Show and they were asking for volunteers.  My kids both raised their hands but they wanted an adult.  I thought, why not, so I shot my hand in the air.  The announcer looked right at me and I was picked.  I ran down the huge arena and I was standing on the stage.

 They asked me a couple questions and then sent me to wardrobe.  I was put into a purple hooded robe and sent back onto the stage.  I got to be right in the action of the show.  I must say, it was a completely different experience being on the stage vs. watching the show.

Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Show is a 30 minute live show that takes clips from the movies and brings them to life.  There are explosions, a huge 12 foot tall rolling boulder, flames and a large stunt featuring a motorcycle and airplane.

Have you ever wanted to be part of the action?  Give me a call at: (877) 818-6106 and I will help plan the perfect action filled vacation!

Karen Kalinowski  – Karen@travelwiththemagic.com or (877) 818-6106

Finding Pixie Dust

At Disney World when magical things happen, it’s common to bring them up with the words “pixie dust”.  On our last trip, we were lucky enough to be sprinkled with Pixie Dust quite a few times!  Here are some of my favorite moments that we were lucky enough to capture with our PhotoPass photos.

On our very first morning in the parks, we headed straight for Fantasyland.  My oldest wanted nothing more than to ride Dumbo.  Unfortunately, it was raining and Dumbo was closed.  Carrousel, it’s a small world, Peter Pan’s Flight?  No.  So she and my husband went into a shop to kill time while my youngest rode the Carrousel with Grandma.  I snapped some pictures of the younger one riding and having fun and wandered into the shop.  I saw my husband and my daughter staring at Sleeping Beauty’s dress which was changing colors.  She was MESMERIZED.  Then I heard a camera click.  I turned around and there was a Disney PhotoPass photographer taking their picture.  He put his finger to his lips, asking me to be quiet.  When he was done, I handed him my PhotoPass card (while sobbing).  I couldn’t wait to see the pictures!

I was also surprised at how much time the characters took with our kids.  The first interaction I loved was my girls meeting Mike and Sulley (from “Monsters, inc”).  There was NO line and we walked right up.  Our youngest was a little afraid of Sulley but went straight to Mike – where he proceeded to try to get her to dance.  She was so confused!  But he just kept tapping his toes!

Woody and Buzz played tic-tac-toe in our autograph book and took my daughter’s monkey and played catch with him, even though there was a VERY long line.  They treated us like we were the only ones there.

Fawn (the fairy) had my daughters “fly” around the room.  And then, when she saw the Rosetta doll my oldest had and saw how DEVASTATED she was that Rosetta wasn’t there, she made sure she told her that she would talk to Rosetta and tell her she had stopped by.  She also made sure that the Rosetta doll was in the picture.

We also got to witness a Pixie Dust moment for another family.  While in line for Lotso, just as we had gotten to the front and were waiting for him to come back, we were approached by a Cast Member.  The Cast Member asked us if we minded if a Wish Child went ahead of us (a child who was there with Make-A-Wish).  He was scared to death of Lotso, but waved to him.  His family then stuck around for him to see our kids visit with Lotso.  After seeing my girls run to him and hug him, he got a second chance and seeing him hug Lotso is a memory I’ll have forever.

We had prepurchased the PhotoPass CD, so we stopped at every PhotoPass opportunity we had.  And there were a lot of character greetings where a photographer was present.  I’m so glad we did this, as we were able to get a LOT of pictures that I might have missed the “moment” if I had been the one taking the pictures.  By prepurchasing the CD, we saved a little bit of money and were then able to use them to make a photobook for each of the girls and a calendar.  They LOVE looking through the books of their old trips!

Do you want to find Pixie Dust?!   Contact me today!  I’d love to plan your family’s MAGICAL vacation!!  Amy@travelwiththemagic.com, http://www.facebook.com/TravelWithTheMagicAmy, or 1-800-670-4312, x129.