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About Our Agent Bloggers

All Agents are College of Disney Knowledge graduates, with some also holding additional specialties like:   Accredited Cruise Counselor, Universal Specialist, Sandals & Beaches Specialist, as well as other destination specialties.   Our Agents are experienced travelers.  If your specific agent hasn’t experienced “it”, there is someone in the Agency that has; so you have access to first-hand, experienced advice.  That’s how we can provide you this experiential based travel planning service!  We are an entire Team working together!

Our Agents will ALWAYS, without fail, no exceptions – tell you the truth and do what they say.

Trained. Traveled. Trusted.  It’s Who We Are.

 

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My Butler Service at Sandals Royal Caribbean Resort – Jamaica

Posted by on 9:01 am in Thoughts and Opinions | 0 comments

My Butler Service at Sandals Royal Caribbean Resort – Jamaica

By: Anna Trosper
July 20, 2017

butler1I don’t know of very many- if any- people who can say that they’ve ever had a butler before. I can officially say that I’ve checked that off my bucket list as of December 2016!

When I visited Sandals Montego Bay, I opted to stay in a room that offered butler services; it was definitely as magical as it sounds. Your experience with the butlers begins even before you step foot on the resort. Sandals has an option available on their website to customize your preferences for your butler. You’re able to choose what snacks, drinks, and types of adult beverages you would like your butler to provide.

Each guest is given two butlers who work alternating shifts. Orlando was definitely our favorite! Courteous, dutiful, and friendly, he would make sure our bed was made and sprinkled with rose petals nightly. He even wrote us sweet little notes, always reading “love is all you need.”

Having a butler does take some getting used to. While they’re available 24/7, I personally did not feel comfortable calling ours up at 3 am for a late night (early morning?) snack. It did become a little easier as the week went on, however. Orlando was always there to bring us snacks and champagne when we called for him- whether it was sitting by the pool, or relaxing in our room.

Orlando truly tried to get to know us and cater to our needs. He went above and beyond: keeping a cooler stocked with our favorite drinks, walking us to dinner, and he even gave us a tour of the resort when we first arrived.

I must say, I highly recommend everyone to experience having their own butler at least once in her life. Having Orlando made my trip leagues more enjoyable! There is definitely no harm in considering spending a little extra money to enjoy having your own personal butler on your Sandals vacation.

I would be happy to talk with you more about a Sandals vacation. You can visit my Facebook page or you can email me. Wishes Family Travel is a concierge level agency, we take pride in taking care of your clients. I would love to help you find the right Sandals resort for your needs.

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Lasting Memories

Posted by on 9:02 am in Thoughts and Opinions | 0 comments

Lasting Memories

By: Becky Criswell
July 18, 2017

LastingMem1I was just about to turn 12 years old when my parents planned a trip to Disney World for the three of us. I had been before at the age of 6 and I remembered enough to know that it was a special place. However, I could not have anticipated what an amazing vacation we would have. It was a vacation that instilled a lifelong love for Disney and ultimately led me to the job that I am doing today.

Maybe it was the rides that amazed me. I had never seen anything like them. In seconds you can be completely immersed in a world that is completely different than your own.

Maybe it was the characters. After all, they are so adorable and friendly and can bring a smile to the young and old and everyone in between. I specifically remember dining at the Crystal Palace, which has become a tradition for me.

Maybe it was the amazing food, or the outstanding service we received, or the breathtaking fireworks, or the beautiful resort.

LastingMem2

But do you know what I think really made this vacation so special? Experiencing it with family. To this day I remember sharing these moments with my parents. I remember the laughs and feeling like we were in a place where there were no worries or concerns. It was uninterrupted quality time. These memories are the reason that Walt Disney World is my happy place. I’ve been countless times since and as soon as I arrive, I am flooded with memories and a warm happy feeling that takes me back to being a kid.

This is the reason I do this job. When you plan a Disney vacation, you are making memories. These. Memories. Will. Last! You may think your children won’t remember but they do! They will remember this happy moments with mom, dad, sister, brother, grandpa, grandma, etc.! They will treasure them. This is why I love my job. I love playing a small role in building these lasting memories. It’s something I want to see every family experience.

Are you ready to build these memories! I would love to help! Email beckyc@wishesfamilytravel.com

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Wicked Offer From Walt Disney World Book by October 7, 2017

Posted by on 10:02 am in Current Disney Specials, Disney Destinations, Disney Specials, Uncategorized, WFT Specials | 0 comments

Wicked Offer From Walt Disney World Book by October 7, 2017

58756-WDW-Q1 Offer-Ursula-Webpage_ALB

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The Top Five Reasons to Work for Wishes Family Travel

Posted by on 8:54 am in Thoughts and Opinions | 0 comments

By: Tiffany Morse
July 13, 2017

If you love travel, have a knack for planning, can pay attention to detail, and love to make people’s dreams come true, then a job as a Concierge Agent with Wishes Family Travel may be right for you.  Are you always wanting to learn more about different places? Do you know and love Disney? Do people ask you for your travel advice? Maybe you should consider a career with Wishes Family Travel.  Here are the top 5 reasons why!

5.) Work from Home or Anywhere! The flexibility is incredible.  You can work in your pajamas, from your couch, or on the road.  You can also set your own hours and work around your schedule.  

4.)  Traveling! This job encourages you to travel and learn more about places abroad and at home. A job where travel is encouraged? Amazing! Wishes agents know their destinations and their advice comes from having first-hand experience. It is always easier to give someone advice about a place after you have been there.  The more you travel, the more knowledgeable you become and the better you can assist your clients.  

3.) Team Spirit! We are a team.  We all work together and help each other.  If you do not know something, there is always someone there to help you.  We constantly encourage and support each other through all kinds of situations; professional and personal.   

2.) Training! You get wonderful training that is free of charge to you. Many companies require you to pay hundreds of dollars upfront; not Wishes. Wishes Family Travel has an Agent-In-Training curriculum and all new agents also complete the College of Disney Knowledge program.  Ongoing training also comes from individual suppliers as well as from Wishes Family Travel.   You get expert training on every step of the process as well as help from everyone on the team.  You also have constant access to a discussion page where you have open communication with your team for friendly help and advice.   

1.)  Trusted!  You can trust the training you will receive so that your clients can trust you.  Wishes Family Travel is an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner agency which means we have to meet goals and exceed expectations that Disney sets for us year after year. You can trust you’re working with the best! Wishes Family Travel is a personalized agency with small town roots! Our home office and store front is located in Gaffney, South Carolina. Wishes is affiliated with both CLIA and IATA which means we are a proven leader in our industry and thus have a substantiated past and future as a travel agency. We are honest and full of integrity.  Wishes Family Travel is a wonderful place to work where you can grow professionally and personally and live out your dream of becoming a travel agent! 

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Port Orleans Riverside – Southern Charm

Posted by on 8:34 am in Thoughts and Opinions | 0 comments

Port Orleans Riverside – Southern Charm

By: Megan Kline
July 11, 2017

Are you looking for spacious rooms in a resort offering Southern charm and elegance? Then you’ll find this at the Walt Disney World Resort’s Port Orleans Riverside.

There are three different styles of spacious rooms that you can choose from – Alligator Bayou, Magnolia Mansions, and the Royal Rooms.

The rooms in the Bayou are rustic and give you the feeling of rural bayou. The Royal rooms are fit for every prince or princess – they are grand and feature special magical touches. These are definitely worth the extra cost if you want the extra Disney magic surrounding you at all times.

The final option is the mansion style rooms, this is where my family of four stayed. We were in a king size room with a pack n play for our little one. The room was very clean and featured a desk with chairs, a large dresser, a spacious closet, and a very elegant bathroom with double sinks. It’s nice to have these luxuries in your resort that you are accustomed to at home.

My favorite part of our room was the headboard. There was a beautiful scene painted on it from the movie The Princess and the Frog. Princess Tiana and all of her friends are featured and it’s kind of like a game of eye spy when you first look at it!

Our room was located in the section right near the main resort area which was very convenient. We were closest to Ol’ Man Island Main Pool and it was a short walk to the Riverside Mill Food court. There is also a pool in the Alligator Bayou area of the resort. The main pool area also features the fishin’ hole, campfire, and kids play area.

You really feel like you are deep in the South every step of the way at this moderate resort.  Another reason to love Riverside is the short boat ride you can take over to Disney Springs. This is a great way to relax before heading over for a big meal and shopping trip. After your dinner and shopping at Disney Springs, make sure to head to the River Roost Lounge to visit Yehaa Bob – he is favorite in these parts!

I know your family will love staying at Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside just as much as mine did. Please contact me to start your magical vacation. Click here to contact Megan!

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Universal Orlando’s – Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville

Posted by on 8:39 am in Thoughts and Opinions | 0 comments

Universal Orlando’s – Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville

By: Anna Trosper
July 6, 2017

mar1Be honest- you definitely started singing along to Margaritaville in your head the second you read the title, didn’t you? Never to worry, you’re definitely not alone in that. Margaritaville is a world-famous restaurant chain with a location smack in the middle of Universal Orlando’s City Walk, amidst the hustle and bustle of the tourists.

When you first enter, you can either sit inside the restaurant or outside, overlooking City Walk. Once you’re seated, you’re given an expansive menu and faced with possibly one of the most difficult decisions of your life: what to eat. I, for one, recommend the Volcano Nachos- but make sure you’ve worked up an appetite first! There are other great options, too. From Jimmy Buffet’s iconic cheeseburger in paradise, to tried-and-true fish tacos, there’s something in store that even the pickiest of eaters are bound to enjoy.

Margaritaville is the definition of fun inside some thousand square feet of bricks and concrete! It’s loud, bombastic, energized, and worth every penny. It’s also very family-friendly, with fun interior design and great food options for the little ones. Of course, adults can have their fair share of fun, too!

Inside Margaritaville are four unique bars, all island-themed. There’s a huge drink menu available, from beer and wine, to your standard spirits, to delicious cocktails. You’ll probably want to keep the drinking light, however- otherwise, how are you gonna electric slide your way to the dance floor?

Along with great food, you also can experience live entertainment every night, with bands playing your favorite oldies hits and a dance floor available to get your groove on. You may even be hit with a surprise sing-along as the wait staff invites you to join in on one of Jimmy Buffet’s top hits, so make sure to warm up those vocal cords first!

If you have a big appetite and a big hankering for a fun night, then I totally recommend stopping by and wasting away (again) in Margaritaville. For more information on this or help planning your Universal Orlando vacation contact me through my e-mail or my Facebook page.

FINS UP!!!!

mar4

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MagicBands!

Posted by on 8:37 am in Thoughts and Opinions | 0 comments

MagicBands!

By: Kelly Rodriguez
July 4, 2017

magic_bandsFor those of you who will be experiencing the Walt Disney World Resort for the first time, congrats! Get ready for a busy and magical vacation.You’re probably curious about the MagicBands you’ve received. What do they do?

If you’re staying at a Walt Disney World Resort, MagicBands are free. They come in 8 different colors – purple, pink, red, blue, green, orange, yellow, and grey. You can customize the inside up to 9 characters. You will receive them by mail a few weeks before your vacation.

So, what do they do? If you’re flying and need Disney’s Magical Express (complimentary motorcoach transportation to and from the Orlando International Airport for Disney resort guests), they will scan your MagicBands in order to place you on the correct motorcoach to head to your resort.

Once you get to your Walt Disney World resort, your MagicBands are already activated and will serve as your resort key. If you opt to do so, you may use it to charge souvenirs to your credit card. (You will set a 4-digit PIN that will be needed for transaction, so there is no need to worry about accidental charges.) Your tickets and FastPasses are also loaded to your MagicBand.

MagicBands are a magical way to easily connect all of your plans. It also helps alleviate back pain – you don’t have to worry about keeping up with key cards, park tickets or money!

If you would like to book a Disney vacation please contact me at KellyR@wishesfamilytravel.com

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Ariel’s Grotto in Disney’s California Adventure

Posted by on 8:35 am in Thoughts and Opinions | 0 comments

Ariel’s Grotto in Disney’s California Adventure

By: Sarah McClure
June 29, 2017

Ariels_Grotto_Sign
Let’s go under the sea and dine with our favorite princesses! Located in California Adventure Park’s Paradise Pier, Ariel’s Grotto is the perfect option for a delightful character meal. Ariel and her Princess friends are available to meet your family, sign autographs, share stories and take photos during the breakfast and lunch celebration.
ariel-s-grotto-welcome
It is important to know that Princesses will not be at the Dinner Celebration or the World of Color dinner package.
Ariel’s Grotto is a very popular restaurant and it is best to make Advanced Dining Reservations 60 days prior to your visit.Ariels_Grotto_Ariel

Once you have checked in at the front desk, you will be escorted downstairs to meet Ariel. Along the way, be sure to notice the fun bubbly décor and the view of Paradise Pier. Ariel always looks so beautiful in her celebration gown! Enjoy a few moments with her before your host takes you to your table.

Indoor and outdoor seating is available. We have enjoyed exploring the décor while inside and we have loved the views of the water while dining outside on beautiful Disney days.

Ariels_Grotto_StartersYour meal begins with a beautiful, warm loaf of sour dough bread in the shape of a “star fish”. This is followed by your choice of soup or salad. We found both of these options to be enjoyable. The pear salad had a light vinaigrette dressing, candied walnuts and dried cranberries. This is the perfect choice for a warm park day. My husband ordered the soup, which was a clam chowder and his favorite. The kid’s meal even comes with a starter basket of fresh veggies and ranch dressing for dipping.

Ariels_Grotto_ShrimpPastaSince we are under the sea, you should expect the menu to include some delightful seafood dishes. My favorite is the Sautéed Shrimp and Angel Hair Pasta. Although, the portion is piled high and loaded with vegetables, I still find that I make quite a dent in this yummy dish!

Ariels_Grotto_ChickenMy two oldest daughters ordered the Pan-roasted Chicken Breast. This came with couscous and vegetables. They loved the couscous and found the chicken to be very moist with a very mild flavor.

Ariels_Grotto_TriTipMy husband opted for the Tri Tip and was disappointed because the meat was a bit over done and dry. The flavor with the seasonings was nice, but we were all underwhelmed with this dish.

Ariels_Grotto_HotDogMy youngest daughter had been waiting months to order Ursula’s Octo-dog! The presentation is great for kids and she was thrilled when our server delivered her plate. The mac and cheese was creamy and yummy.

During your dining experience, the Royal Footman will announce the arrival of each Disney Princess. She will then make her way around the restaurant greeting families. Ariel’s Grotto is one of the best ways to meet so many characters and have quality one on one time!

Ariels_Grotto_Princesses

Of course, you will want to save room for a little sweet treat before making your way back into California Adventure Park. The adults’ dessert platter was a combination of Crème Brule, a chocolate s’more cake and a chocolate dipped strawberry. The children’s dessert plate had cupcake, cookie and chocolate dipped strawberry. These were all lovely treats!

Ariel’s Grotto is the perfect way to “go under the sea” as you combine a wonderful meal with relaxed character interaction. There is truly something for everyone in your family!

I would love to help you create a magical Disney vacation! Contact sarahmc@wishesfamilytravel.com to get started today. You can also follow my Facebook page for great travel news and tips at www.facebook.com/smcclure-wft.

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I’ll Take the Deluxe Please

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I’ll Take the Deluxe Please

By: Missy Ryan
June 27, 2017

I have enjoyed several resorts while traveling to Walt Disney World. I make it a point to try different places to stay at with each visit. If there is one I favor over another I may try a different room or upgrade to something like a new view or club level. Overall, I have always been pleased with my stay while traveling and being a resort guest. The grounds are always clean and up to par on safety. Cast members are all equally friendly and eager to help make your stay more magical. Each resort has a pool, area to eat, and daily activities, however that is where amenities start to differ. While value and moderate are wonderful and great places for families to make memories, there is so much more to be found at a deluxe resort. If your budget allows for a deluxe resort stay, I highly recommend that you give it a try.

While everything is beautiful and full of Mickey’s Magic, I must say the deluxe are by far the most amazing. These resorts are so much more than merely just a place to sleep each night.

Here are 10 tips and secrets for staying at a WDW Deluxe Resort;

10. Use the Children’s Activity Centers

Did you know that there are centers located on the resort grounds that will allow children from ages 3-12 to attend? They cost about $15.00 per hour and require a 2 hour minimum. These centers have activities such as games, arts and crafts that involve ceramics and other fun hands on activities. Cast members are trained and the environment is safe and geared towards each age level. You may even book a night out and they will provide dinner. Some clubs are located directly in the building like Beach Club, where others may be in another building on property such as at the Polynesian. All and all these are great opportunities for families to utilize and have an adult night while vacationing.

9. Daily Activities

There are several activities planned throughout the day, that you can even plan a day to play at the resort. Resorts such as Animal Kingdom Lodge offers tons of children’s activities ranging from cake decorating, making giraffe food, drawing in the lobby. Each time an activity is complete your child will earn a bead. These make activities enjoyable as the earn and learn.

The Grand Floridian is known for having cast members meet and greet guests. You may have opportunities to encounter musical performances, story tellers and other fun off the cuff entertainment.

deluxe18. To bus or not to bus

Most of the deluxe resorts offer other transportation other than the typical shuttles. For example if you are staying at one of the 3 resorts on the monorail, you guessed it, you get to take the monorail to Magic Kingdom (or Epcot)! There are also options at other resorts such as the ferry boats or boat launch. These alternative modes of transportation make it all that more exciting. They are an experience and ride in itself!

7. Eat well, live well.

The dining you will find at a deluxe resort will most likely be some of the best dining you will find on property. The great part is you have access to it daily and can go before a park day, middle of a park day or end your day with a great meal and have less travel. Dining is another fun factor in your overall experience, so it is nice to have such fun and delicious options at your fingertips. California Grill, Ohana, Boma, Sanaa, Cape May, and Chef Mickey’s are just a few places your taste buds will thank you for.

6. Spoil yourself; there are enough crowns for everyone.

Disney does need to be just about the parks. Treat yourself to a day of pampering. Many of the deluxe resorts have spa services. Some may be a full spa while others offer massages and other services. Cast members are fully trained and do a great job of making you feel extra special. Just like dining, these special services can be booked 180 days in advance!

5. Check out the trails

There are many places to run, walk and get your daily exercise on property. Yet, nothing beats the amazing views and peaceful surroundings. It is true that you are walking a lot during your scheduled park days, but there is something about enjoying the beautiful back drop around you that makes it more special and relaxing.

4. Rent some fun

Depending on which fabulous resort you are staying at, some offer some amazing recreational opportunities. You may be able to rent boats, jet skis, horse and buggy rides, bicycles, and more. There are so many hidden options that several guests do not even know to ask about.

3. Take a tour and learn some more

Resorts have history and many will offer a free tour explaining a little behind the scenes. If you are looking for something more interesting try to the night time Safari at Animal Kingdom. You will be invited to wear night vision googles as you admire the night activity of each animal. Or sign up to feed a flamingo. Want to learn to hula? Polynesian offers lessons! These unique experiences are exclusive to the particular resort you are staying at, so be sure to check your resorts events calendar.

deluxe32. Plan a Pool Day!!!

Honestly I cannot say this enough. Take a day to relax and enjoy yourselves without the hustle and bustle of the parks. The pools are fantastic! Take Beach Club for example. There are 7 different sections of the pool. A lazy river, a water slide that is in equal in size to a water park slide, a lagoon area for little ones, and the best part of all…heated sand!! These pools are exclusive to resort guests only. You may not enter a pool section unless you have a magic band that is linked to that specific resort. Other pools such as the Poly have zero entry for little ones, which makes it wonderful for parents. The views from this pool include the castle at Magic Kingdom and the fireworks in the evening. Deluxe resorts also all have water slides which really boost up the pools awesomeness. Some pools even have rental cabanas where you can eat, rest and relax. It truly is a wonderful way to break up your week and recharge.

deluxe21. Club Level

What better way to upgrade your vacation then to spend it on the best floor offered. Club level is usually one of the higher floors in your resort building. Only members of that floor may enter. Your magic band is typically your key and will allow you to go to club level from the elevator. While staying club level you are spoiled with morning snacks, tea, coffee, mid-day treats, after noon happy hour with wine, beer and hor d’oeuvres, endless candy bowls and fruit. There is a lounge and small area with TV for children. Club level also offers small touches such as turn down bed service (a special chocolate on your pillow), newspaper, and a concierge to help with any added questions. Club level is one of my favorite experiences hands down. My kids absolutely love it and wish it could be part of all their vacations.

All in all your experience at the deluxe resorts will be one vacation you will always reflect on. From the small details all the way to the big, nothing will compare to the memories you will create.

If you would like to know more about deluxe resorts or any resort on WDW property, please email me at missyr@wishesfamilytravel.com

You may also follow me on Facebook at Wishes Family Travel – Missy Ryan

I look forward to helping you plan your next magical vacation!

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Great Dining at Universal Orlando City Walk – Vivo Italian Kitchen

Posted by on 8:50 am in Thoughts and Opinions | 0 comments

Great Dining at Universal Orlando City Walk – Vivo Italian Kitchen

By: Anna Trosper
June 22, 2017

Universal Orlando’s City Walk offers so many wonderful attractions, from shops, to entertainment, and- possibly everyone’s favorite- dining!

vivo-italian-kitchen

Located at 6000 Universal Blvd, near the Cowfish sushi and burger bar, Vivo is a quick stroll away if you’re staying in any of the Universal resorts, or a cheap Uber ride from your off-site hotel. As you may have already guessed, Vivo Italian Kitchen offers Italian cuisine. A great alternative to Olive Garden, their food options are all very reasonably priced and incredibly delicious! The most expensive option on the menu currently is the Risotto at $27- not a bad deal for Italian cuisine. For the pizza fans out there, never to worry- they have some of the most phenomenal pizza I’ve ever eaten, straight from a classic wooden stove. Their pasta sauce is also beyond phenomenal! The wine connoisseur in you will also really enjoy their wine selection with options from both USA and Italian vineyards. There are, as of the publishing of this blog, sixty-one different wine selections to choose from, on top of a mix of refreshing cocktails and wines on tap.

vivo-pizza

Vivo’s atmosphere is very relaxed, without feeling like you’re eating at a fast food joint. The overall aesthetic is very much a rustic Italian kitchen with a Tuscan feel, making it perfect for a romantic dinner that won’t break the bank, or even just a relaxing evening meal with your family after a long day at the parks. The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner, which should be very convenient for everyone’s busy schedules. Reservations are recommended, however; Vivo Italian Kitchen is very popular, and rightfully so!

So next time you find yourself in Orlando, even if for a day, definitely try to make your way down to Universal’s City Walk and grab a table at Vivo Italian Kitchen. Tell them Anna sent you!

If you would like more information or help planning your trip to Universal Orlando I would be happy to talk with you. You can e-mail me or visit my Facebook page.

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