Disney Through the Ages

Disney is a must for every family at least once during their lifetime. BUT, when is the best time to go? Do you go when the kids are young and believe in princesses, but may not remember? Or, do you keep waiting until your family has aged so that all can remember the vacation?

Talking to Krista Stocke, a travel agent at Ambassador Travel, made me learn about the magic that a Disney vacation can bring to any family at any time during their family life cycle. Krista has been to Disney 7 times with her family over 25 years! (She’s even planning another Disney vacation for her family next year!) Too often families wait for the ‘perfect’ time to book their Disney vacation, but Krista has a lot of tips on how you can make any Disney vacation a dream vacation.

Krista said that her favorite memory from all the trips would be her very first vacation with her children, Ariel and Ethan, especially this special moment.

“One of my favorite things about that trip was getting to see Beauty and The Beast on stage with the kids.  Ariel and I loved that movie and watched it over and over, so of course her little brother watched it too.   Watching Ariel’s face and her huge smile, plus when the Beast came out, Ethan who was 3, started growling and had his hands up like claws imitating the beast.  That was priceless!”

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Ariel and Ethan on the famous Alice in Wonderland, tea-cup ride!

Krista couldn’t stress enough, that her number one tip would be to stay on a Disney property. Her are her top reasons…

  1. Disney properties provide direct transportation to and from the parks at all times of the day.
  2. Having easy transportation allows for frequent breaks for younger families to get those much needed naps in throughout the day.
  3. The pools and other amenities are perfect for a day of relaxation and to rest your sore feet.
  4. With the different ranking of Disney properties, every family can find accommodation within their price point!

Going to Disney even as an older family can be a rewarding vacation, even if you have teenagers! Krista still advised to stay on a Disney property, because teenagers tend to enjoy the pools and other amenities that the resorts and hotels have to offer. Most importantly, for every vacation her family goes on, Krista asks her children to write down a list of their “must-sees” during the vacation. This way you can make sure every child’s wishes are being met during the vacation, so you can enjoy the parks all together.

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Krista and her daughter, Ariel, with Tigger and Pooh! 

To wrap it all up, Krista came up with a list of the top four things a traveler would need to do while starting to plan their Disney vacation.

  1. Go to a travel agent! (She isn’t just saying that because she is one!) Disney has a lot to offer families, which means planning can get complicated really quickly. Reservations for different experiences need to be made in advance, and agents have the expertise to make sure that you don’t miss anything important.
  2. Decide on the type of resort! You can choose from Value, Moderate, Deluxe, Deluxe Villas, and Downtown.
  3. Choose dates that are during off-season time to maximize park time!
  4. Visit Disney’s websites to start looking at your families must-sees!

So come on down to Ambassador Travel to visit a travel agent to start planning your dream Disney vacation. Now is the PERFECT time for your family!

Happy 50th Anniversary, Princess!

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It all started in 1965, when Stanley B. McDonald chartered the very first Princess Cruise ship, the Princess Patricia. Leaving for its very first cruise to Mexico in 1967, Princess Cruise set off for incredible things. Their success has been proven, 50 years later.

Since both Princess and The Sound of Music are celebrating their biggest milestones yet, they want to celebrate with you.To commemorate Princess’ biggest success yet, we wanted to share our favorite things about Princess along with photographs courtesy of our Cruise Expert, Theresa Hayes.

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Travel Expert Theresa Hayes:
The consideration of the staff made it a better cruise. They went out of your way to feel comfortable and welcome. To me, that’s an incredibly important thing for anyone to have.

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Travel Expert Kristie Staton:
Princess was the definitely the most beautiful ship I’ve ever been on. It was classic, not flashy like you were in Vegas.

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Travel Expert Jill Sensmeier:
Princess was the first cruise ship to do the outdoor movie theater. It’s casual and fun. Watching a movie while being under the stars, sipping a glass of wine is so relaxing.

IMGP0004Everyone should experience feeling like royalty at least once in their lives and Princess certainly knows how to achieve that. Happy 50th Anniversary Princess, we’re proud of you!

European River Cruises with Travel Expert Pam McGinn

River cruising is an easy way to see Europe in-depth. I have had the privilege to travel on five different ships and with three different companies: AMA, Uniworld, and Viking. My itineraries included Holland at tulip time, the Danube from Nuremberg to Budapest, the German Christmas markets from Nuremberg to Heidelberg, France from Lyon to Aries, and the Black Sea from Istanbul to Budapest.

All ships have three floors and seventy-five rooms. Word of advice, make sure you book a year in advance or they may be sold out. The have one restaurant, a large lounge with a bar, exercise room, beauty shop, gift shop, and library. Most have sun decks and some have wading pools on top. The cabins have the floor to ceiling windows with french balconies or you have the option on some ships of a full walk-out balcony. Shore excursions, wine, beer, soft drinks(at dinner), transfers, and food are all included.

The most popular cruises are the 7 night Rhine or Danube cruises. You may also add pre or post hotels to the package. My favorite was the Christmas Market cruise in December through picturesque German villages. The villages had food and Christmas gifts in each square under red striped booths and thousands of twinkling lights making the town look like a fairy tale. The advantages of river cruising is that you unpack once and you can leisurely explore the small villages of Europe. It is great for sightseeing, shopping, and sitting in the cafe’s of Europe.

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On the Amacello

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Arles, France

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Istanbul, Turkey

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This is a postcard I brought back.

Pam’s Journey to Africa

Photo credit: Wikicommons, submitted by: Mart Bouter

Photo credit: Wikicommons, submitted by: Mart Bouter

Our agent, Pam, recently got back from a trip with her friend to South Africa.

Photo credit: courtesy of Pam

Photo credit: Courtesy of Pam

Pam stayed in Africa for eight nights. While in Africa, Pam and her friend went on a mini tour taking the Garden Route. First, they started in Cape Town, then through Outshoorn, and finally Kynsna.

Three nights of their time spent in Africa was on a private game reserve. During this time, they experienced animal drives at 6 am for three hours, and 4 pm for another three hours. According to Pam, the animals were the most memorable part of her trip. She said on these safaris you can never predict what kind of animal you’ll see next.

Photo credit: Courtesy of Pam

Photo credit: Courtesy of Pam

Photo credit: Courtesy of Pam

Photo credit: Courtesy of Pam

During her open Jeep safari, she said she had the chance to see giraffes, elephants, lions, hippos, zebras, and wildebeests from just six feet away.

To her, Cape Town was like a combination of Sydney, Australia and San Francisco, California and was her favorite part of the trip. She said the locals were all very friendly, and the cuisine was delicious. During her stay, she had the opportunity to try kudu, antelope, ostrich, and nyala.

Africa was on her bucket list of places to go, now that it’s marked off, where will she go next?

Hotel Hopping in Costa Rica

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Hola! Costa Rica is a tropical getaway, but still close to the United States’ shores .

Recently, our Agent Theresa Hayes visited Costa Rica in June. Theresa went on an adventure by visiting different cities by “hotel hopping.” She shared her experience with us…

No matter where you go, the smell of warm rain and vegetation always resonates with you. Despite being home a couple months now, I still miss the beautiful views, soft sand, and the occasional light rain.

I traveled to Costa Rica in June. Although it is the beginning of the rainy season (June-October), it only rained an hour per day in the late afternoon.

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