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Sunday, August 26, 2012

Disney+Dream = a great adventure awaits! Part II

     Good Sunday to our readers, and member alike.  Last week as you will remember, we began talking about the cruise portion of our magical journey.  We covered the sections on planning, passports, transportation to the cruise line terminal, and the check-in process.  This week, we will be covering the boarding process, grabbing something to eat and the mandatory safety drill.

     We begin this week with boarding.  Can't go anyplace on a ship without getting on.  That you should leave to Goofy, who I saw in the cruise ship cartoon about missing the boat.  After you go through the entry portal, you will enter into a fairly subdued hallway.  humm....subdued?  Does Disney really do anything in a subdued manor?  This will be interesting.  This is the location to have your "per-cruise" family photo taken.  It is suggested that you make yourself look as tired and stressed as possible, so when you have your "post-cruise" photo taken, you will look all happy and refreshed.  I don't know about that.........I will look "sadder" at the end, as I know I am not going to want to come home!

     After this is done, we will come to a doorway leading to a covered, air conditioned gangway.  After crossing this, we will find ourselves right in the middle of the grand lobby of the Disney Dream!  We should be ready and waiting to board when our time comes.  We should be arriving at the terminal by 1:30pm as we are planning on leaving our resort on the DCL bus right at check out time, or shortly after.  I know there is only one pick-up so hopefully it is a time that will work out for the best.

      After boarding, and if it's around 1:30pm our stateroom should be ready.  We will go find that, and then find a place to eat for lunch.  We have chosen second dinner seating, so we will need to get something to eat to tide us over.  The lunch location I would love to go to first, is Enchanted Garden.  The pictures I have seen are just beautiful, and I love the idea that it changes from a daytime motif, to night for dinner.......

     After dining, a visit to our stateroom is imperative, as the mandatory safety drill takes place promptly at 3:45pm. So, before making the decision to rest in a lounge chair, or jump in the pool, we shall have an important job to do.  Attendance is mandatory.  Skip the event?  Not a chance.....we would be breaking the law if we tried.  We will be attending the "Assembly Drill" that maritime law requires of us.  All passengers must attend before leaving the home port.  The drill will prepare us for the unlikely event that we would have to board the lifeboat.  Once you get to our stateroom, we will try on our life jackets, and prepare a good fit.  Then, they can go back on the shelf where they are stored as you do not have to wear them to the drill.   I remember my last cruise 30 years ago, you had to wear the life jacket to the drill.  (Not a great fashion statement!)

     We will listen for the ships general alarm 7 short blasts and one long.  This will give the signal to make our way to our assigned assembly area that will be marked on the back of our stateroom door.  We will be taking our "Key to the World" card with us, as this will be used to check us in for the mandatory roll call.  Once the drill is over, we will have completed our job, and we can really start to relax we can head back to our stateroom and pour a glass of wine, or have a beer  We can get ready for the 5pm deck celebration known on board the Dream as "Sailing Away". ( Just an FYI here,  The Disney Cruise Line has been rated #1 by the U.S. Power Squadrons, a non-profit group dedicated to making cruising as safe as possible.  Just another reason to pick DCL!  )

     As I said last week, you can actually watch us sail away if you are interested.  Just go to, and watch the ship pull our of the harbor. Our stateroom is on the port side, which you will be able to see and we might be there on our verandah, or up on deck with the masses.  But, the web-cam does zoom onto the ship, so ya just might see is wavin!

     This ship seems to be ready to satisfy well seasoned cruisers and even newbies to DCL like us, with all the great Disney touches and details.  The ship exterior recalls the majesty of early ocean going vessels.  Guests enter  a three-story atrium, where tradition and elegance expand into bronze Disney character statues and subtle cutout silhouettes along the grand staircase.    Recreation areas are designed for families with kids, and also areas for us "kid-free" adults in different parts of the ship.  There are fun in the sun activities, touring, lunches and even bingo!  Evening give way to sunset sailaway celebrations, themed dining and theatrical extravaganzas.

     Next week, we will cover accommodations, shops and pools!  See you then!


Sunday, August 19, 2012

Disney+Dream = a great adventure awaits!

Good Sunday to our members and readers of this blog.  Sunday means the start of a new week, it means we are one week closer to our next trip, and this week it also means we are shifting gears to a new topic. 
For the past several months now, we have focused on the Walt Disney World portion of this upcoming journey.  Now, I feel it is time to devote some exploration of the cruise segment of this trip.  You say, "what cruise?" Well,  yes indeed!  There is a cruise in our near future.  As a matter of fact after our 5 night stay at my favorite place in the world.......Walt Disney World......we will be embarking on the "second leg", the final segment of this "cancer free" vacation celebration.

It will be 30 years this October since my last cruise.  Really, a lifetime ago.  It will be our first Disney cruise, and my husbands first cruise ever.   We will be sailing aboard the Disney Dream from October 14-18, sailing out of Port Canaveral, Fl.  If any of you are interested in seeing us sail away, you can do it by watching the Port Canaveral webcam.  The web address is

At this point in time, we don't really know much about sailing on this ship except for stories from friends who have sailed on her, from things I have read, from my studies in my travel agent training, and from planning clients trips.  We made the choice of a four night cruise as I was not sure how Paul would like cruising since this is his first time.  I loved my last cruise, and would love to do seven days sometime.  I am hoping he will love it, and want to book for a year or two when we are on the ship.  You get a discount when you do that!

Passports: I really thought this process was going to take forever and we did procrastinate a bit in getting this process started, waiting until July.  The paperwork said allow 6-8 weeks for processing.  Paul applied for his on a Saturday in mid-July, and I did mine the following Thursday.  Mine arrived in record time, less that three weeks.  I belive I can attribute that to the fact that I had gotten security clearance when I was working for a water based casino and had to pretty much write the book on my history and send it in to the government.  At that time, you had to have a merchant mariners  license to work there.  That is no longer the case, but I think that is why mine breezed through......either that or I am still so squeeky clean it hurts!  I remember when I got that license, they all told me that it was the fastest they had ever seen one come through. 
Paul's arrived about a week after mine did, so we are both good to go.
I highly recommend getting a passort.  First off, adult passports are good for 10 years.  Second of all, I am a worry wart.  If one of us became ill in Nassau, we would not be able to fly home without having a passport.
You can, at this time travel on a Disney cruise ship with just a state ID, but I don't recommend it. It's just like taking out the cruise insurance.  I would not go without it.  It's another protection for the "what if".  You have the option to get a passport "card", but you can only cruise with that.  You will never be able to fly international with that.  So, still the "just in case" factor comes into play.

We will be taking the Disney Cruise Line bus from our resort at Walt Disney World directly to the Disney Cruise Line Terminal.  The cost of this, is the same as it is traveling directly from Orlando International Airport, $70.00 each guest for round trip.  They are beautiful buses, just like the Magical Express buses.  We actually rode in one when we left WDW on our last trip, as it was being used for transport on the day we left.

The terminal at Port Canaveral is so unique looking, I can't wait to see it in person.  The outside as well as the inside!  

Before you enter the main part of the terminal, all members of your party must go through a security check point.  It is a great deal like going through airport security, as you may be asked to remove your shoes, belts, jackets, etc.  Once you have cleared this area, your entire party needs to go to the check-in counter so security photos can be taken.  At the counter, you will be required to show your valid passport or identification you possess. ( Again, please note that I highly recommend getting a passport.)  Also, you will be asked to present your completed cruise paperwork that you printed as home from your on-line check in.  With Disney Cruise Line you have the opportunity to do an on-line check in way before you are even close to leaving.  This gives you time to have all your documents in order, and make choices for boarding times.   After you complete all the sections of this check-in, you can then print the form, sign it and bring that with you.  It's really great that you are allowed to do this, and take your time.

After the check in process is complete, and the 1pm hour has arrived, you will be able to begin boarding as soon as your boarding number is called.  This will be given to you at the check-in desk.  When your number is up, head for the gangway, and it's ALL ABOARD!

Join us next week, as we explore the boarding experience, finding your stateroom, dining options, and the "sail away deck party"!  See ya then pal!


Monday, August 13, 2012

Memorable Monday!

Well, here we are again at Monday.  Thankfully these weeks are passing by quickly we we approach our next trip "home."  We are now only 57 days away.  As I reminisce about past trips, one comes to mind as special. 

My children and I were on a trip to Walt Disney World for the 25th Anniversary.  It was their second time to visit.  We had a great time of course.  This one was really special because they were old enough to being to appreciate the magic.   My youngest son was not quite 2 on his first visit, so he remembers nothing. He was almost 4 on this visit, still a bit young to remember it all, but the older one really did. 
This visit we stayed at Wilderness Lodge, and for those who know me well, know this is my all time favorite resort. 
On this trip, Pirates of the Caribbean became know to us as "our ride."  From then on, we claimed it as our most favorite attraction.  It will always hold a special place in my heart, and will always be my all time favorite. 

We had breakfast at Olivia's at Old Key West Resort. At that time, they were hosting the character breakfast with Pooh and Friends, which has since moved to the Crystal Palace in Magic Kingdom.  This was a special breakfast, as my boys were really big fans of Winnie the Pooh, Piglet, Eeyore (moms favorite) and Tigger.  My youngest adorded Tigger.  Our first trip when he was so small, he cowered at the approach of the characters........not this trip!  He went up to each one to have a conversation.  They are pictured here together with Eeyore, and Tim is with Tigger, his "pal." 
The next picture is me, with bad 90's hair with my boys at EPCOT.  Don't forget to check out our cool shades! 

This was the year of the "Cake Castle," which of course sends chills up the spines of many Disney fans.  We thought it was great!  Come on, the creativity that went into this has to be apprecaited, and in the grand scheme of things, it was only there for a very short time. 

This is a scan of a postcard that we purchased on that trip. 

Last but not least, here are some of the souvenirs we brought home from this trip.  A 25th Anniversary Napkin, and also the stick on "badges" we received as "guests of honor."  Each one has the year we first visited Walt Disney World.  I know there were many people there that had visited before me, but having a badge that said 1976, made me feel pretty special! 

This was a trip that I will remember forever (just like all my other trips) to my "happy place/home."

If you would like to submit pictures, and a story about a memorable trip to a Disney location including a Disney cruise, or Adventures by Disney guided tour, or Aulani, please send an email to:  Please type your story and send the pictures as attachments.  I will then let you know what week you will be featured. 

Sunday, August 12, 2012

6 Top Things We Want to do at our Resort

Hello and I hope you have all had a great Sunday.  Sorry for the late entry today, but things have been a bit busy at the homestead today.  This week, we are going to cover information about the resort that we will call home on our trip in October.  We will be staying at Port Orleans Riverside.  I have stayed at Port Orleans French Quarter in the far in the past that it was just called Port Orleans.  That was way back in 1994, when I took my children to Walt Disney World for the first time.  I had thought about staying there again, but as a travel agent, I wanted to experience a resort that I have never stayed before.  I want to be able to give my clients educated information about places I have stayed with first hand experience.

 We will be staying in the Magnolia Bend area, and have requested the Magnolia Terrace building.

So, here we go with the things we want to experience at Port Orleans Riverside.

#6) SWIM!
Yes!  I know this sounds so mundane, but due to the fact that on our last trip "home" and even our extended stay in Florida was so chilly, (Feb. 2010) I did not put on a bathing suit for 10 days!  Really?  Does that really happen in Florida?  Yes.  Well, this time I want to be able to swim at our resort.  "O'l Man Island contains the main pool at Riverside, and there are also 5 other unguarded pools as well.  We could also take a jaunt over to French Quarter to swim in that pool. 

#5)  Have a cocktail at Muddy River Pool Bar

Muddy Rivers Pool Bar

Opening Hours: 11:30am — 9:30pm
This pool-side bar serves beer, wine, specialty drinks and soft drinks.  It is open seasonally, but I think we are safe on this trip for good weather! 

Specialty Drinks — Frozen

Bacardi Razz Rum blended with Piña Colada Mix and Raspberry Purée
Mango Margarita
Patrón Silver Tequila blended with Mango Purée
Tangerine Dream
Finlandia Tangerine Vodka blended with Orange Purée
Southern Sunrise
Southern Comfort blended with Orange Purée and Monin Passion Fruit

Specialty Drinks — Rocks

Captain’s Mai Tai
Captain Morgan Original Spiced Rum, Amaretto, and Tropical Juices topped with a float of Myers’s Original Dark Rum
Caribbean Limeade
Skyy Infusions Pineapple Vodka, Midori Melon Liqueur, and Simply Limeade
Paradise Punch
Coruba Coconut Rum, VeeV, Pineapple Juice, and Grenadine
Grand Margarita
Jose Cuervo Gold Tequila, Grand Marnier, Lime Juice, and Sweet-and-Sour
Banana Cabana
Cruzan Mango Rum, Coruba Coconut Rum, Crème de Banana, and Orange and Pineapple Juice with a float of Grenadine
Poolside Plunge
Bacardi O Rum, Bacardi Razz Rum, and Sweet-and-Sour, with a splash of Grenadine and Sprite

Beer, Wine and Sangria

Draft Beer$5.25—$6.00
Bottle or Can Beer$5.75—$7.75
   Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, or Merlot
NEW Superfruit Sangria
Eppa SupraFruta Red Sangria made from organically grown grapes and an organic blend of antioxidant-rich Pomegranate, Blueberry, Açaí, and Blood Orange juices topped with Veev Açaí Spirit
(Above prices are from a menu I located from August 2011)

#4)  Walk or take a boat over to Port Orleans French Quarter

Gotta go over to French Quarter to stroll around, and also get some Beignets!! 
As I have stayed at French Quarter in the past, I remember the delicious beignets they have at The Sassagoula Float Works and Food Factory.  My mouth is already watering 58 days before we go!  Of course, I also want to show my husband around this great resort as well.


#3 )  Go to the River Roost and see Yehaa Bob

This location is situated in a room designed as a cotton exchange.  This is a lounge that features specialty drinks and light hors d' oeuvres.  We will be stopping my here on the night we have been at Hollywood Studios.  Yehaa Bob  (Bob Jackson) performs here on select nights from 8:30pm to 12 midnight.  We are going to be meeting a Disney friend and her husband there.  Fun stuff!

 Are you ready to try something new on your next trip to Walt Disney World? If you'd like to do something fun without having to purchase a special ticket, check out Bob Jackson - who leads a great boogie-woogie sing-along at the River Roost Lounge in Disney's Port Orleans Riverside Resort.  For more information on Bob Jackson:

#2 )  Take a carriage ride around the resort

This seems like a "couple"  thing to do!  Horse-drawn carriages take guests for a 25 minute ride around the resort grounds.  Carriages hold up to 4 adults, but this will be a romantic thing to do, just us two! 

#1) Take a ride on the Sassagoula River Cruise!

Taking this boat ride down the Sassagoula River to Downtown Disney is one of my most fond memories of the last time I stayed at a Port Orleans location.  I am anxiously awaiting to feel this relaxing way to meander down the river.....with the wonderful scent of the cypress trees that line the riverbanks. 

One of the unique features of the Port Orleans resorts is that they were constructed on the banks of the Disney-created Sassagoula River, a gentle 2½ mile waterway which winds its way through the woods, past the Treehouse Villas and the Saratoga Springs Resort, to Lake Buena Vista and the Downtown Disney shopping, dining and entertainment complex.
The “Sassagoula River Cruise” ferry, a free service which takes guests from the Port Orleans resorts all the way down the river to Downtown Disney. The twenty minute boat trip is a very pleasant and relaxing alternative to road transport and shouldn’t be missed.
The fleet consists of 15 boats spread out over four routes, all decked out in a lively brightly-coloured yellow and blue livery, with suitably fitting Southern names:
  1. Memphis Miss
  2. Louisiana Lady
  3. Sassagoula Sunset
  4. Bayou Princess
  5. Crescent City Queen (spelled “Cresent City Queen” on the boat’s name plate)
  6. Magnolia Blossom
  7. Florida Queen
  8. Buena Vista Queen
  9. Saratoga Queen
  10. Blossom Queen
  11. Jazz Lady
  12. Delta Lady
  13. Azalea Bloom
  14. Southern Breeze
  15. Jazz Queen

Cute right?  Just can't wait for this!  The trip is getting closer each week! 
Come back next week, for another installment of things we want to do at Walt Disney World! After that section of the trip is covered, we will be staring on the DREAM cruise portion of this vacation!
See you all next Sunday!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Memorable Monday!

Good morning all!  Once again, it is Monday.  That dreaded start of the work week.  Hope you all had a great weekend.  This morning we are featuring a young woman who I have had the pleasure of working with at my former agency, and also got to meet and spend time with at the D23 Fanniversary event this past June, which took place in Chicago.  Kristal Tinsler is our featured member this morning!  Enjoy her story and pictures!

This past May, we gave our boys the surprise of a lifetime...A  Disney cruise!

My husband and I had been before, for our honeymoon, but the boys, had been asking forever it seems, when they would be able to go.
I booked a year and a half before our trip date, and wanted at so many moments to just scream, we are going on a Disney cruise!! But, I held it, and held it... it got SO hard as it got closer!

I had everything planned out! We were staying at all star movies the night before, which the boys LOVED! Then, we had a limo pick us up to take us to port, we told the boys we had to go to another hotel, so they didn't question why we were leaving with our luggage.
As we got close, you could see the ships, and my heart was in my throat! I thought I was going to scream, and cry, all at once!

We pulled up to port, and the boys didn't noticed the ship, somehow!! We went in, and I told them I had to do some work stuff, and that they could hang out with Mickey and look around for a few, all the while, I was checking us in :)
I got all our cards, and met my husband and kids over by the ship model, it was time for the big reveal! I handed them each their key cards, and told them that they were their room keys, they asked why they had Donald on them, if we were not at Disney anymore, and I told them that the ship in the model behind them, was our hotel for the next 4 days.. my oldest put two and two together, and screamed, "Are we going on a Disney cruise?!?!" I said yes we are, and he and my youngest started jumping up and down, then, my oldest hugged me so hard, and started crying.. it was the greatest feeling in the world!

The boys had such a wonderful time, riding the aqua-duck, eating junk whenever possible, playing shuffle board,,, it was the most amazing family time we have ever had!
When we got off, my oldest asked if we can go again, I said of course we could! And he proceeded to ask if we could do the 14 day cruise next time! I told him we should stick to maybe the 7 day next time ;)

We spent the remainder of our trip, in the Pirate room, at Caribbean Beach Resort, at EPCOT and Magic Kingdom.
I have to say, this was by far, the BEST family vacation, and will be very hard to ever top!!!

 Thank you so much to Kristal for sharing this great story, and these awesome pictures from your last cruise! 
If any of you are interested in sharing your story with us for Memorable Monday, please send me your story, with pictures in an attachment to: 
As Mickey says, see ya real soon!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Our Top 5 "To-Do's" At Walt Disney World Outside the Parks That We Have Never Done Before

     Here we are at Sunday again.  Another week gone by, and another week closer to our trip.  I can't believe we are now only 65 days away.  Even though we are so anxious about this trip, I almost wish that time would slow down.  Summer always goes by so quickly, it's not surprising that this trip is fast approaching.  I almost have to start getting my clothes ready!
     Last week, we finished up with our top 5 "to-do's" in the parks that we have never done before.  This week, we are talking about the things outside the parks.  There are great places to visit, and to shop that are at resorts, and also the Downtown Disney area.  Since we are staying at Port Orleans Riverside this visit, DTD will be more accessible.  So, we can take a leisurely boat ride from the resort, and just walk around and meander in and out of shops, even if we don't buy much.  My list was really about 10 things long, but I narrowed it down to 5.  So, here we go, starting with the fifth top item.

#5 - Orlando Harley-Davidson

Of course we will not be making a motorcycle purchase, but since Paul does own a Harley, we will have to go in and visit this location.  We will at least have to pick him up a shirt.

#4 - shop at Goofy's Candy Company

This sweet shop looks so amazing!  Probably won't be buying much since we will be attending Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party and "trick or treating" at that.....but gotta buy an few things and check out all the awesome goodies at this store.  All the pictures I have seen feature such awesome looking sweets!

Discover the formula for confection perfection at Goofy's Candy Company, a fun-filled-factory in Downtown Disney Marketplace where Goofy dreams up treats like cupcakes, cookies and candy in every color of the rainbow.

Make your birthday extra sweet with a celebration in the private party room at Goofy's Candy Company.
Regular hours of operation:
Sunday - Thursday: 9:00 a.m to 10:30 p.m.
Friday - Saturday: 9:00 a.m to 11:00 p.m.

Operating hours are subject to change without notice.

#3 -  shop at Basin

This is a new store at Downtown Disney Marketplace since our last trip.  I am really into bath products and candles, so this place has my name written all over it!  We really can't be buying any candles as we are going on the cruise right after our stay at Walt Disney World, but they sell soaps, bath crystals and bath bombs.  A sampling area allows you to "try before you buy". 
Let your senses be your guide at this charming shop that features bath bombs, shampoo bars, moisturizers, exclusive soaps and other bath and beauty products. Mix your own custom candles or create a fragrance that's uniquely your own. Whether you're shopping for a personal souvenir of a fragrant gift, you'll discover a variety of chemical-free, pampering products at Basin, located at Downtown Disney Marketplace.
Regular hours of operation:
Sunday - Thursday: 9:30 a.m to 11:00 p.m.
Friday - Saturday: 9:30 a.m to 11:30 p.m.

Operating hours are subject to change without notice.

#2 - Take a "Friendship Boat" over to the Swan and Dolphin Hotels

We have never been to either of these locations, wo we really want to go investigate.  I would love to gain some personal experience, and perspective that I can pass along to my clients who show interest in staying at either the Swan or Dolphin.   The architecture of both these hotels is breathtaking, and I can't wait to see what the interiors look like as well.  May just have to find an interesting lounge there and relax with a specialty cocktail!

#1 - Disney Pin Traders

I have really gotten into Disney pins big time since our last trip.  I can't wait to shop at the store that boasts a "tremendous assortment of collector pins and accessories".  In fact, it is Walt Disney World's most elaborate pin trading center.
Disney's Pin Traders, in Downtown Disney Marketplace, is the headquarters for the avid or novice Disney pin trader. Swap with friends, other Guests and Disney Cast Members to get in on the pin-trading craze that's been sweeping Walt Disney World Resort.
Regular hours of operation:
Sunday - Thursday: 9:30 a.m to 11:00 p.m.
Friday - Saturday: 9:30 a.m to 11:30 p.m.

Operating hours are subject to change without notice.

 Well, that takes care of this segment.  Next week we will be diving into things that we want to do at our own resort.  All if it will be new to us, as we have never stayed at Port Orleans Riverside.  See you all next week!