Weekend Getaway In Boston

Memorial Day Weekend 2013 my family traveled to Boston for my son to receive an All American Top Scholar award through Pop Warner. This was our first trip to Boston and we tried to fit as much as possible into our three day trip. We checked into the Marriott Copley, which is downtown close to great dining, shopping, and entertainment.  After checking in we wasted no time and walk across the street to hop on a Duck tour. We absolutely loved this tour. We were entertained and informed on Boston’s history.  The State House, Bunker Hill, Boston Common, Newbury Street, and many more are some of the sites we saw.  For the water portion of our tour we plunged into The Charles River.  We had amazing views of the Boston skyline.  Our Conducktor picked my son to drive.  He was thrilled!  We ended our tour back at Copley Square. We grabbed a quick bite to eat and called it a night.

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The next morning we attend the award ceremony for my son.  It was a wonderful event and Disney was one of the sponsors.  After the ceremony we jumped on an Old Town Trolley tour.  We pre-purchased the tickets online which gave us the second day free.  The great thing about this tour you are able to hop on and off as much as you like.  There are over twenty stops on this tour.  We spent the whole day hoping on and off touring the different sites.  Some of the highlights are Faneuil Hall, Old North Church, Bunker Hill, Boston Public Library, M.I.T, Beacon Hill, and The Boston Tea Party Ships.  We ended our day eating at The Union Oyster House, which is the oldest restaurant in America. The food was amazing!

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Sunday morning we were feeling very adventurous and decided to walk The Freedom Trail. The Freedom Trail is 2.5 miles long and passes through 16 of the cities historic landmarks. It starts in Boston Common. We picked up a free map at the visitors center. Here you can hire a tour guide, but we decided on doing our own self guided tour.  On the trail we saw some of the same sites we already seen on our previous tours, but this was a great way to get up close and really see the sites.  We passed by the Massachusetts State House then we stopped in the Old Granary Burial Ground.  It was really neat to see the tombstones of John Hancock, Samuel Adams, and Paul Revere.  From there we traveled to the First Public School, Old Southern Meeting House, The Boston Massacre Site, Faneuil Hall, and Paul Revere’s House. At this point we were in Boston’s North End. The narrow cobblestone streets are lined with Italian restaurants. We stopped in Mike’s Pastries for a cannoli, which was incredible!

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After our snack we were back on the trail. We passed by the USS Constitution then we ended our tour at Bunker Hill.  It took us about eight hours with all our stops to complete The Freedom Trail, but it was well worth it!

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We ended the day eating dinner at Cheers.  Cheers is located in Beacon Hill neighborhood.  The next morning we packed up and headed to the airport.  We were sad our trip was over.  My family and I absolutely love Boston!  The people of Boston are so friendly and did not hesitate one bit to stop and help us out with directions.  The historic streets are so magnificent. The sites to see are endless.  We can not wait to go back!

Tonya Vega – (800) 670-4312×142 or Tonyav@travelwiththemagic.com

Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival

I have to start off by saying this is one of my favorite times to go to Disney. As my children were young, we never did the Food and Wine Festival so it was time to go on a mom and dad trip only.

As my husband is a foodie, he was really looking forward to this event. An event that you can actually visit approximately 30 countries (no jet lag a plus) and have a taste of their authentic foods and wine.

You start off by getting your passport and a map, and off you go. As you go to each country they stamp your passport. This is a great reminder and keepsake as to which countries you visited. We had to visit a few countries more than once! We loved their food and would not have been able to try it otherwise.

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Only Disney can actually make you feel like you are visiting each country feel real. The market place booths for every individual country is made to look like a landmark of that country. The cast members are mostly from the country they are representing…which again, puts you in the mode of being there. The food offerings are more of a tapas (small) serving, as they offer 2-3 different types of food, and of course the wine pairing to compliment each. Some countries specialize in beer and this is a must try! (my husband’s favorite)

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There is even wonderful entertainment to see which is called “Eat to the Beat” a concert series of popular bands. We saw the Hanson Brothers a few years ago and they were amazing and still going strong! It was nice to see these brothers still making music together.

The dates this year are September 27- November 11. If you are planning to visit Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival, I would be happy to help plan your trip and give you some wonderful suggestions!

Georgia Sioutis

Georgia@travelwiththemagic.com

1-800-670-4312 ext. 130

Dessert Wishes

Tomorrowland Terrace Fireworks Dessert Party

Who doesn’t like dessert?  And who doesn’t love a great fireworks show?  Combine the two and you have the Tomorrowland Terrace Fireworks Dessert Party held most nights in the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World.  I’ve had the pleasure of being able to experience this for myself and really enjoyed it!

 The dessert party starts roughly one hour before the nightly showing of Wishes.  You check in at Tomorrowland Terrace where you receive a wristband and then are shown to your reserved table

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You are then free to hit up the buffet which is filled with just about every kind of dessert you can think of.  Here is just a sampling of what they have to offer

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It was all good, but my favorites were the chocolate covered strawberries and the pistacio crème brulee!  While enjoying our goodies, we were able to relax and watch the castle as it changed colors throughout the evening

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Before long it was time for Wishes to begin.  Watching the fireworks from this location makes them appear to be off to the side of the castle instead of directly behind it like they do when watching from Main Street

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 But the trade off of being able to relax and watch with an unobstructed view, from the comfort of your own table, without hundreds of people surrounding you, is well worth it.  Not to mention, one of the best part of viewing from this location is that you are able to see Tinkerbell fly directly over you!

 Advanced reservations for the dessert party are strongly recommended.  Cost varies between $21.99-$25.99 plus tax per adult and $11.99-$13.99 plus tax per child.  Prepayment is required at the time of booking.  The dining plan is not accepted and theme park admission is also required.

 Would you like help planning your family’s trip to Walt Disney World?  I’d love to be your travel agent.  It doesn’t cost any extra to book your vacation through me and all of my planning services are free!  Drop me an email at michelle@travelwiththemagic.com or check me out on facebook and let’s get started!

Food & Wine, What a Wonderful Way to Dine

I’m pretty sure that my favorite time to visit Walt Disney World is in October.  The weather is great, the humidity from the summer months is all but gone, and it is still plenty warm enough for shorts and swimming.

I love all the fall decorations.

Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party is so much fun, with special fireworks, a parade and trick or treating inside theMagicKingdom.

But the biggest reason I love Disney World in October is because of the Food & Wine Festival held annually at Epcot.

I really enjoy strolling around World Showcase and snacking on different foods and drinks from locations all over the world.  I’ve tried things I never thought I would, and developed a love for all different kinds of food.  The portions are small, allowing you to sample many items, and if you are on one of the Disney Dining Plans you can use your snack credits for many of the offerings.  This is a great value for your snack credits!

There are seminars, demonstrations and special dining experiences that you can sign up for.  These will cost you extra and they vary in price.  But, there is plenty to see and do that is included in your regular park admission.  There are taste seminars, HGTV seminars, book signings and the popular “Eat to the Beat” concert series.  These concerts are held nightly during the festival in the American Gardens Theater and include performances by many well known artists.

I’d love to help you plan your trip to Walt Disney World!  You can email me at michelle@travelwiththemagic.com or give me call (800) 670-4312 ext 127.  You can also find me on facebook,  facebook.com/travelwiththemagicmichellebeam

Dine With Some Pretty Fantastic Fish!

You may have had the pleasure of enjoying the Seas with Nemo and Friends pavilion in Future World at Epcot but did you know you can actually dine inside of the giant aquarium – no scuba suit required?  Tucked around the back of the pavilion is the Coral Reef restaurant which not only offers delicious food but a unique dining experience as well.  This is one of only two table service restaurants located in Future World.

Inside the restaurant you’ll find colors complementary to the huge glass walls that showcase the aquarium.  Soft blues and aquas, along with shell lighting, enhance the under the sea mood.  The lights are dimmed and seating is tiered so everyone has a good view of the sea life.

 

At every table you will find a guide to the different fish as well as other animals you might see during your meal.  The aquarium is so huge that Spaceship Earth would fit inside with room to spare!  Also, keep your eyes open for the divers that feed the fish as well as a certain famous mouse that’s been known to make an appearance in his scuba suit.

The food here is, as you would expect, mostly seafood.  The menu offerings include lobster soup, trout, salmon, seasonal fish and lobster ravioli.  If you are a landlover you have options as well including chicken and steak and a vegetarian dish.  The kids menu includes choices such as Mahi Mahi, chicken breast, pizza and grilled fish.

Typical of the table service restaurants at Walt Disney World the desserts are not to be missed.  The most popular dessert by far is the Chocolate Wave – a chocolate cake filled with a liquid chocolate center served with ice cream and raspberries.  It is heaven on a plate!

The Coral Reef is a wonderful spot for a mid-day break or a nice dinner before Illuminations.  Kids (and adults) of all ages will enjoy the sea life and the relaxing atmosphere of this restaurant provides a respite from the crowds.

If you are using a Disney Dining Plan the Coral Reef will utilize one table service credit.  Priority seating reservations are available 180 days in advance and are recommended.  The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner.

I would love to help you plan your next Disney Destination vacation.  My personal concierge trip planning services are free.  Contact me at SusanH@travelwiththemagic.com and follow me on facebook at www.facebook.com/SusanHeidenrichTravelwiththeMagic

A Special Treat at the Magic Kingdom

On our last trip to Disney World, we were walking through The Magic Kingdom and were stopped by two cast members.  We had just walked by  The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh and the cast members asked us if we had seen Mickey running away.  We said no!  They told us that Mickey was just at Storybook Treats and ordered an extra-large sundae.  Mickey had to leave to go to his own parade on Main Street.  He asked the cast members to find a family who would like to share this HUGE sundae.  And they chose us.  The sundae had 6 scoops of ice cream, chocolate chip cookies, brownies, fudge, whipped cream and cherries to top it off.

By the time I got my camera out to take a picture of the huge dessert, this was all that was left.

We were very sorry not to see Mickey, but very happy to eat his ice cream sundae!  You never know when you might be stopped by a cast member at Disney World and treated to a nice FREE afternoon snack.

Let me help you plan your next magical vacation.  My services are always FREE.  Call me, Karen Kalinowski (877) 818-6106 or      e-mail: Karen@travelwiththemagic.com

The best place to conquer your cravings while visiting Disney World.

It never fails, that when we visit Disney, we have to visit Downtown Disney as well.  Not only is the shopping there terrific, the snacks you can find are pretty awesome as well.  My family’s favorite place is none other than Goofy’s Candy Co.  This great find is located on the east end of Downtown Disney, near the Rainforest Café.

 If you want something sour, sugary, salty, gooey, this store has the ingredients to calm any craving you may have.  It’s usually the sugary pick-me up that my family is looking for about half way through our trip.  Having gone non-stop enjoying all the parks, we always find the time to take a trip to Goofy’s Candy Co. and get our snack on!

 

To make things even more exciting, they offer self serve for several different items in the store.  Mix up a bag of those special jelly bean flavors, or combine all the gooey goodness of their other candies to mix as well.  And, for those who enjoy the pixie stick sugar thrill, you can even custom fill your own pixie stick right there for yourself.

Our favorite, is designing our own sweet attack.  Mmm, delicious.  All you need to do is pick up an order form, fill out your delicious requests and a Goofy’s Candy Co. cast member is there to design it right before your eyes.

All the dipping of chocolate, dunking in crushed oreos, mini M&Ms, Reese’s chips, sprinkles, and then drizzling some more chocolate over top.  Oh yeah.  And then, it goes in to the deep freeze for a few minutes to make sure all that gooeyness stays in tack while you attempt to eat it in one sitting.

These delicious goodies make for a great snack on plane rides home too.  It definitely gets the looks from the stewardesses as they pass on by with peanuts and cookies!

So next time you are visiting Disney World, make sure to take a side trip to Downtown Disney on the east end to Goofy’s Candy Co. and create your own mouthwatering sensation to enjoy.

For help in booking your next trip to DisneyWorld, please contact me for a FREE quote today.

Cindy Presley  cindy@travelwiththemagic.com   https://www.facebook.com/TravelwiththeMagicCindyPresley

Polynesian Concierge Level

I recently got a wild hair over the summer and I decided to take the kids to Disney World by myself.  I planned the trip in 4 days which is very unlike me. My kids are ages 8 and 2 which can be a bit tricky at times with the large age gap and different interests.

I contemplated on where to stay as a mother with two young children traveling solo.  I wanted to be in a safe location and I wanted things to be as convenient as possible.  I decided to splurge and stay somewhere I’ve always wanted to stay, Polynesian Resort Concierge Level.  Some of the reasons I enjoyed this experience are:

 

All concierge rooms are located in the Hawaii building.  The Hawaii building has it’s own card reader so only guests staying there can enter.  It is has a wonderful location that is extremely convenient to the volcano pool, beach as well as the Grand Ceremonial House which features a quick service restaurant, table service restaurants, a sushi bar, coffee bar, and retail stores. This was important to me when wrangling kids to and from places.

Upon arrival, there is no need to go to guest services in the Grand Ceremonial House.  Instead they whisk you away on a golf cart to the Hawaii building.  Concierge cast members will be waiting to check you in at the lobby of the building.  I typically saw 3 cast members at the various desks located on the first floor tending to guests in the Hawaii building.

They can make reservations for you, answer questions, purchase tickets and more.You receive a special gift in your room upon arrival.There is a lounge on the second floor of the building that you are given access to with an amazing view of the castle, perfect for fireworks viewing in a comfortable setting.  They even have music piped in.The lounge provides treats during various times of the day.

    7:00-10:30AM: Continental breakfast featuring pastries, bagels, cereal, fruit, oatmeal and coffee.

                    Noon-4PM: Cookies, goldfish, trail mix, jelly beans, sodas, juice, tea, coffee, water.

                    5:00-7:00PM: a variety of hot and cold Hors d’oeurves, wine and beer.

                 8:00-10:00PM: Desserts and cordials

                 If you don’t see something you’re looking for, you can knock on the door and a cast member will be happy to assist you.You can receive nightly turn down service. It’s always a treat to find chocolates waiting on the bed in the evening!If you purchase items in the parks, they will deliver it not only to your resort but to your room.

I found the extra convenience to be worth it.  I’m glad I made the decision to stay concierge level and I look forward to doing it again in the future.

Are you curious about concierge level? Thinking of trying it for your next Disney vacation?  Contact me and I’ll be happy to assist!

Cupcakes that are healthy…. sign me up!

On my recent trip to Walt Disney World to see the new Art of Animation resort, I had to take a pit stop to try a cupcake at the famous “babycakes nyc”.

What you might ask is “babycakes nyc”? That to was my question when my son told me we had to go to try this new concoction. Sweet treats that are made from all organic ingredients. Free from eggs, dairy, gluten and carein. There are no toxic chemicals or sugar. The sweets were also recently certified kosher,parve and vegan.

When he explained this to me, my thoughts were how in the world can something without all of that be at Walt Disney World…I mean I’m not sure about you but I like sugar in my cupcakes and prefer not to know what else is in them.

In order to show that I could be a team player and a team sport I made my selection of what cupcake to try. They looked like normal cupcakes, full, creamy and delicious so I did what every Mom would do and dug in to my Red velvet cupcake…the result, spectacular. The cupcake was moist and tasty so good in fact I figured I should take one for team and try another , this time my choice was the “French Toast” Cupcake. My 7 year old asked for a bite and was hooked immediately. I had to tell my son he was right which is not always easy but in this case true. His favorite flavors were the carrot cake as well as the mint. He also really liked the brownie.

When you are on your vacation at Walt Disney World it is a must to take a pit stop to Downtown Disney so you to can enjoy this incredible invention!

If you or a friend are planning a trip to Disney please contact me to help plan your vacation at amyb@travelwiththemagic.com . My service is FREE.

Amy Blades

1-800-397-4674

The Benefit’s to Disney’s Deluxe Dining Plan

 

I love what the Disney dinning plan has to offer. My family prefers the deluxe plan. One of the reasons I believe the Dinning plan to be a benefit is because before you get to Disney it’s already paid for, so it’s like an all inclusive plan, which is excellent.  Another benefit is the deluxe dinning allowing me and my family to eat, eat, eat and snack without worrying about the cost of Disney snacks or food … The deluxe plan allows us to do specialized dinning and still eat more food then we can consume in one day. The deluxe meal plan gives you 3 meals a day either sit down or quick serve it’s your choice as well as 2 snacks per day. The meal credits are based on the nights you are staying at Disney as well as how many are in your party. Each member of your party will also get a souvenir mug that you can refill throughout your stay at your resort.

Another benefit is the snacks… If you don’t use them all at the end of your trip you can cash them out for treats to take home….. I love coming home and having a Mickey Mouse muffin.. Plus you can bring home treats for family and friends.

Disney’s Deluxe Dining is a must do for our family. I love the fact my kids can eat healthy or not so healthy while on vacation, no matter what they have a great choice between, meals and fun snacks. They are also able to have a great dining experience for less… If you haven’t tried the Disney Dining Plan you are missing out on the great benefits of it.

Tammy Cain

tammyc@travelwiththemagic.com