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!”
Krista couldn’t stress enough, that her number one tip would be to stay on a Disney property. Her are her top reasons…
- Disney properties provide direct transportation to and from the parks at all times of the day.
- Having easy transportation allows for frequent breaks for younger families to get those much needed naps in throughout the day.
- The pools and other amenities are perfect for a day of relaxation and to rest your sore feet.
- 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.
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.
- 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.
- Decide on the type of resort! You can choose from Value, Moderate, Deluxe, Deluxe Villas, and Downtown.
- Choose dates that are during off-season time to maximize park time!
- 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!
For as long as I could remember, I have dreamed of going to Walt Disney World. My parents planned a trip for our family to go when I was three during Christmas time; however, that all changed when they thought another Christmas present would be better… my baby sister! I don’t think I ever let her live it down! I remember we got a Disney Planning DVD in the mail. I would watch it over and over in hopes that my “expertise” would one day take me to the “Happiest Place on Earth”. I haven’t made it there yet, but I’m still planning in hopes that one day I’ll be able to meet my favorite princess, Ariel.
Traveling to Disney can be complicated, especially if you’ve never gone. Disney has so much to offer every family that comes to visit, and a really well-planned vacation will help you get the most out your time. The best way to do that is to come to a travel agent. A lot of our travel agents have made multiple trips to Disney, giving them the “insider scoop” on how to have the BEST Disney vacation.
Meet Samantha, Krista, Rachel, and Michelle! They are travel agents here at Ambassador Travel who love going to Disney.This week we want to highlight food at Disney, and specifically the Disney Dining Plan!
What restaurant would you say is a MUST when visiting the Disney parks?
Samantha: “We LOVE Chef Mickey’s for breakfast! It’s a buffet and the kids love it! Fun, entertaining and you can meet the FAB 5!”
Both Krista and Rachel said Be Our Guest is a must. Rachel even recommended to “try the grey stuff… it’s delicious!”
If you know you’re going to want to dine in the parks and resorts during your time at Disney, you should look at the Disney Dining Plan! Part of the Magic Your Way package, the Disney Dining Plan gives families a variety of options for eating while at the Happiest Place on Earth. The basic package includes:
1 Table-Service Meal (includes an entree, dessert, single-serving, non-alcoholic beverage)
OR 1 buffet
1 Quick-Service meal
1 Resort-Refillable Drink Mug
You also have the option to trade table-service meals for character dining experiences, such as dining at Cinderella’s Royal Table!
Our agents love this plan too!
Rachel said”It gave a family of 4, like ourselves, the opportunity to share good, light meals or even a table service dinner, once a day, to the option and not have to budget food into the mix…Being able to use this service, pre-plan a few reservations at the table-service locations and know that i didn’t have to pay anything extra over what I originally paid, made it worth every penny.”
Michelle said, “It is worth every penny. It is very versatile, you can use it for restaurants and fast food dining, not the mention the snacks and refillable drink mugs. The biggest plus is that it’s already paid for so you don’t have to be concerned about getting out your wallet.”
It’s important to plan these aspects of your vacation early, because reservations for the popular restaurants and character dining need to be made way in advance.
Krista advised, “Reservations for Cinderella’s Royal Castle, Be Our Guest, and Chef Mickey need to be made right at the 180 day prior date!”
Our agents have even more tips about Disney, so put on your mickey ears and start planning your Disney vacation with Ambassador Travel!
My grandma always told me that if she could go anywhere, she would go to Alaska. This may have to do with her pure addiction to all the survival shows on TV. I feel like she would survive better in the wilderness than I would. 🙂 But, after researching the vast state, I can see why Alaska pulls in her eye and so many other tourists on an annual basis. Its natural beauty and wildlife come with the stereotype; however, an aspect that goes unnoticed are the many opportunities for pure adrenaline that can only be found by taking a jump out of your comfort zone with an adventurous excursion.
In my opinion there are three stages of adventure; observing, participating, and being a pure adrenaline seeker. Your journey through Alaska could help you become more adventurous than you ever thought you were. Are you ready? I hope so!
To start off your path to ultimate adventure, how about one of Discovery Channel’s recommended excursions? Panning for gold in Fairbanks! Start by boarding a train on the Tanana Valley Railroad to Gold Dredge 8, and eventually getting to pan for yourself. This excursion is family friendly and receives a high rating among the past visitors. Plus, who wouldn’t want a chance to hit it big? If you want an equally fun excursion, with an extra element of cuteness, visit the Husky Homestead in Denali. You’ll get to meet the pups that will eventually be dog-sled racers. You’ll even hear first hand stories from the Iditarod Champion, Jeff King. Animal Planet even recommends this excursion!!
Jumping off the Edge to PARTICPATE in the Adventure
Now that you’ve taken the initial steps to become the ultimate adrenaline junkie, check out this excursion to get your feet “wet”.
In Juneau you can get an up-close look at the glaciers by kayaking in the Mendenhall wetlands. You may even get a glimpse of some Alaskan wildlife while enjoying scenic views. If water isn’t your cup of tea, then you could try catching some air, while zip-lining through Skagway. This excursion highlights eleven zip-lines and four suspension bridges, which all hover over many waterfalls. The views are sure to take your breath away if the adrenaline doesn’t.
Do you have what it takes to be a “Pure ADRENALINE Seeker”?
Now that you’ve gotten your feet “wet” or “dry”, it’s time to push you to become a pure adrenaline seeker. The first activity starts in Ketchikan where you’ll put on your wet-suit to dive into the cool waters to go arctic snorkeling. You’ll get to see urchins, sea cucumbers, kelp forests, and you may get a glimpse of the colorful sunflower sea star. This creature can have up to 24 arms and grow up to three feet in diameter. Even though the water is cold, don’t worry! They make sure you have all the proper gear to stay warm. I’ve also been told you get a warm beverage after… Nothing a good hot chocolate can’t cure!
For our finale of grand adventure, I present to you the ultimate excursion. We’re back in Skagway and you’re getting ready to board a helicopter. During the flight you’ll see gorgeous views of glaciers, waterfalls, rivers, mountains, and so much more. After about 20 minutes you’ll get a once in a lifetime opportunity, you’ll land among the glaciers and put on glacier boots to start a 40 minute hike through the glaciers. After you’ve worked off your delicious lunch, you’ll re-board the helicopter and fly back to the port. How many people can you say have done that?!
By traveling with Princess Cruise Lines, there are 100’s of options for different excursions. Each port has so many opportunities, too many for me to even begin to cover in this blog. If you want to learn even more about adventure in Alaska and excursions that Princess Cruises to Alaska offer, come to our FREE event on October 13th at Oak Meadow Country Club! RSVP by calling 812-479-8687.
From seeing husky puppies to walking among the glaciers, adventure is in Alaska for all those willing to participate.
Now, I may have fibbed a little in the title, because I’m pretty sure you won’t see any lions or tigers in Alaska. However, bears and other wildlife that you couldn’t dream of seeing anywhere else are plentiful. You just have to be in the right place at the right time.
The Big Five is a term that Alaskans use for the five mammals that are located in Denali National Park. They include, caribou, Dall sheep, grizzly bears, wolves, and moose. Locals compete against each other every hunting season to catch one of each. Not many complete the challenge, but those that do get major bragging rights. They probably feel like Michael from the Office…(“World’s Best Hunter” instead of boss).
Now if hunting isn’t your thing, don’t be alarmed. There are tours available where you can attempt to see all the animals with the help of a guide. Pro tip: Bring a pair of binoculars for optimal safety! No one messes with momma bear! The grizzly bear is also known as the brown bear; however, don’t let that confuse you! Grizzly bears can be a multitude of different colors, from brown to black to even red. In the Lower 48 states Grizzly Bears are seen as a “threatened” species; however Alaska has over 30,000 Grizzlies. With Alaska’s smaller population, that means that there is one bear for every 21 people!!
Wolves are also really common to see with an estimated population of 7,000 to 11,000. Wolves are able to live in such a harsh environment because of their adaptability. Wolves live in various terrains and climates across the globe! They even differ between regions in Alaska. There are about 175,000 to 200,000 moose that roam Southeast Alaska. Only the males have the famous antlers and they only appear in the moose’s first year and every summer. You may even see Rudolph… I mean a caribou, in Denali! These are less common because of their specific habitat requirements.
The final member of the Big Five is the Dall sheep. They are named after a naturalist named William Henry Dall. Warmer weather brings out more sheep who are known for the curled horns on top of their heads. They are also very skilled climbers.
Alaska isn’t just known for it’s diverse wildlife, but also for what lies underneath the water. Can you guess what I’m referring to?
You guessed it! Whales, more specifically humpback whales! In the summer they head up to Alaska to spend time in the nutrient-rich waters, before heading back to Hawaii to mate and give birth. These whales are best seen from a whale excursion. Princess Cruises offers an excursion to Mendenhall Glacier and get up and personal with whale tails (whale watching). You’ll want your binoculars again, because along with whales you could see sea lions, harbor seals, Dall’s porpoises, bald eagles, deer, or even bears! By going on the cruise you get to see the animals first-hand while simultaneously enjoying the warm cabin with panoramic windows. Alaska seems to be like a far away land where no one dares to visit, but it’s many mysteries are what make it an ultimate travel destination.
You can learn more about Alaska by coming to the Oak Meadow Country Club on October 13th at 5:30PM to learn more about planning your dream Alaskan vacation, sponsored by Princess Cruises and Ambassador Travel! Spaces are limited so RSVP by calling 812-479-8687!