Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Every Dollar Counts

One of our clients was kind enough to write us and tell us why she chose to book with Magical Travel.
I'm delighted to share her comments with you:
"I received our travel documents yesterday. Thanks for the great service and the gift card! It was a pleasure doing business with you. Just wanted to let you know that my daughter's college roommate's mom has a (Disney) travel agency. I received a quote from her also, which was exactly the same as yours, but she didn't offer the $75.00 gift card. I remember my friend telling me about the gift card and that stuck in my mind. It's a great idea and made my decision to book through you. Every dollar counts these days!"
We know you have a budget. And we know you don't want to waste your time or money.
So we'll work with you to make sure you get the most for your a few magical extras!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Why You Shouldn't Just 'Wing It'

When I was growing up our family had a "coin jar." Our vacations consisted of a few days at the beach each year. We weren't poor, but a trip to Disney World seemed extravagant.

So, my father took an old Mott's apple juice jar (remember when they were glass and not hard plastic?) and taped a handmade sign to it that read, "COINS FOR DISNEY WORLD." At first we were really motivated. We ran around the house looking for pennies in the sofa cushions and at the bottom of purses. It seemed we were finally going to be on our way to meet Mickey Mouse! 

*Spoiler Alert: We never saved enough to get to Disney. 

We made it eventually, but no thanks to the coin jar. 

As you've probably guessed, our plan was flawed from the get-go. Mostly because we had no plan. We had no idea how much everything cost. Airfare, hotel, theme park tickets, food, car rental, etc. We just haphazardly tossed money into a glass jar hoping we'd have enough.

We had no roadmap. 

No clear path - just a blurry vision of the four of us standing in front of Cinderella Castle.

There was no Internet to rely on (this was the 1980s) and travel agents charged a hefty commission. So we were mostly on our own. As a result, we never made it to Disney as a family until after my sister and I both graduated high school.

What Does Your Roadmap Look Like?

You wouldn't go on a trip without a roadmap or a GPS, would you? I mean, if you live in New England and you want to go to Florida, would you just start driving south? Of course you wouldn't!

You'd get your plan in place. You'd think about rush hour in the cities you'll need to drive through or near (Boston, New York, DC). 

You'd think about your passengers and how many breaks you'd need (food, restroom breaks, diaper changes). 

And you'd think about how much money you would need (gas, food, hotel). In short, you'd make a plan. 

TOP 4 Things to Think About Before You Start Planning Your Vacation
  1. YOUR BUDGET: How much are you willing to be flexible with your money? Or how little? 
  2. YOUR TIMEFRAME: Will you take the kids out of school (during a less crowded time of year) or will you go in the summer or on school breaks when it's busier?
  3. YOUR MUST-SEE LIST: If your daughter wants a picture with Cinderella, your son wants to drive a race car and your husband wants to golf, how can you make these things happen?
  4. Your OK-To-Skip LIST: Knowing what you and your family don't want to do is just as important as your must-see list. Identifying this in advance will save you time and help you plan your days more efficiently. 
Taking the time to PLAN YOUR VACATION is key to reducing stress and getting the most for your time and your money. 

Piggy banks (or coin jars) are fun. They can even be great motivators. But without a plan, it's like dropping pennies in a wishing well. 

So how do you plan your vacation? Is it stressful? What would make it easier?

Thursday, July 25, 2013

The BEST Time To Take a Disney Cruise

OK let me begin by saying that in my opinion, there is no WRONG time to take a Disney Cruise. Oh sure there are times when it's not as crowded, but overall it's the perfect getaway and one of my favorite vacations to take.

You might not believe me, but one of the best times to go on a Disney Cruise is over the holidays. Think about it. No laundry. None of the holiday stress, no shoveling snow... 

Sounds great, right?

Well this November, each of the four Disney cruise ships (the Magic, Wonder, Dream and Fantasy) will become magical winter wonderlands at sea. 

And you won't have to lift a finger to do any of the decorating!

The ships are planning lots of activities for you and your family including - 

  • Building gingerbread houses
  • Meeting Santa
  • Storytelling with tales of Hanukkah, Christmas and Kwanzaa
  • Singing and dancing at the "Deck the Deck Holiday Party"
  • Meeting all of the Disney characters dressed in their holiday best

To kick it all off, there'll be a special tree-lighting ceremony for the three-deck-tall tree in the ship's atrium lobby.

Mickey's best pal having some fun at Castaway Cay!
And Castaway Cay, Disney's private island, won't be left out of the fun. 

I won't give away all of the secrets, but let's just say that somehow snow will fall in the balmy island in the Bahamas.

The celebrations begin in early November and last through the New Year. If you'll be cruising over Thanksgiving, there'll be plenty of turkey and NFL football, too.
If you're traveling over Christmas, Santa will make a special stop on the cruise ship before making his special deliveries. And there will be caroling and a traditional Christmas dinner menu. 

There's always something special on the Disney Cruise, and this holiday season is no exception. 

So if you had your choice, which holiday would you most want to spend on the Disney Cruise? 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

TOP 4 Things to Bring to Castaway Cay

Disney's private island in the Bahamas, Castaway Cay, is a favorite stop on the Disney Cruise. The ship pulls right up to the island. So when you debark, there are no buses or ferries to wait for. You're right there on the island! 

Here are the TOP 4 Things you'll want to bring with you for a magical visit to Castaway Cay!

  1. Beach toys! If you've got kids, a pail and shovel might be in order. Looking back on my Disney Cruise last year with my two young girls, I really wish I'd thought to pack some beach toys for them. The ship's stores sell toys, but I could've saved a few bucks and brought my own.
  2. A waterproof camera.  Even if snorkeling isn't your thing, you'll want to have a good waterproof - (and for that matter sandproof) - camera or phone to capture all of your memories.

  3. Your appetite! There's a huge outdoor restaurant that serves up barbecue, grilled chicken, veggies, fruits, french fries and more for no additional charge (except for alcohol). The food is delicious and there's even ice cream to cool off after a warm day on the beach.
  4. Your favorite person...
    if you're not traveling with kiddos, grab your best adult friend and take the short tram ride to the other side of the island. The quiet, adults-only beach is tranquil and so relaxing. You can even pre-book a seaside massage to maximize the relaxation. 


So what did we miss? What would you say are the most important things to bring to Castaway Cay? 

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Why I Love Main Street USA

Don't you just love walking down Main Street USA?

Most people usually race down Main Street hurrying to get Fast Passes for their favorite rides, but I like to linger. 

I love the quaint storefronts, the old-fashioned light posts, the fire station and the parts where the pavement meets up with cobblestone and bricks. 

I love the glorious aromas coming from the bakery, the sweet sounds of the Dapper Dans as they sing classic Americana and the colorful balloons dancing in the soft Florida breeze.

But one of my most favorite things to watch is the Trolley Show on Main Street. It varies from season to season and this summer it's better than ever. 

The colorful costumes, music and dance numbers are all-new. And they're guaranteed to make you smile!

What's your favorite thing to do on Main Street USA?

Are you a people-watcher? Popcorn-lover? Bench-warmer?

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Candlelight Processional Packages On Sale Now!

The Candlelight Processional at Epcot is handsdown my all-time favorite holiday show at the Walt Disney World Resort.

Have you seen it? If you have, then you know it's not something you see just once! It's a spectacular show you'll want to see year after year as part of your family's holiday tradition.

Candlelight Processional
It's a live story-telling of the biblical Christmas tale, accompanied by a 50-piece orchestra and a mass choir. The music is glorious, the narration is stirring, and the voices of the mass choir are powerfully brilliant. Past celebrity narrators include: Neil Patrick Harris, Phylicia Rashad and Edward James Olmos. This year's list is still being finalized, but tentatively includes Ashley Judd, Blair Underwood, Amy Grant, Whoopi Goldberg and Trace Adkins.  

Shows are performed nightly from November 29 - December 30, 2013.

Outdoors at the America Gardens Theater at Epcot.


Candlelight is one of the most popular holiday shows at the Walt Disney World Resort.

There are standby lines each day and guests wait for hours in hopes of securing a seat for that night's performances - but there's never a guarantee.

Beginning today, 2013 Candlelight Dining Packages are on sale - and the benefits are terrific.

Here's what you get with a Candlelight Dining Package:
  • Guaranteed seating to the Candlelight Processional
  • Lunch or dinner at a select Epcot restaurant
  • VIP viewing for Epcot's nightly fireworks show, "IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth"
 (*Please note that theme park admission is not included in the Candlelight Dining packages)

Want to learn more? Ready to book your Dining Package? Call us at 1-866-207-8387 or let us work our magic online for you by requesting a free quote.

And then, send us your pictures from this year's Candlelight Processional! Such a special magical memory for you and your family.