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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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Christmas can be found year-round at Winter Summerland

Posted by on 8:46 am in Thoughts and Opinions | 0 comments

Christmas can be found year-round at Winter Summerland

By: Allison Flynn
May 1, 2018

Imagine snowmen and igloos in the warm Florida sun. While it doesn’t sound possible, it is – with the help of a little Disney magic!

In addition to the great fun to be had inside the theme parks at Walt Disney World Resort, there are also two miniature golf courses to test your skills on!

Fantasia Gardens and Fairways Miniature Golf and Winter Summerland Miniature Golf offer you the chance to see who comes in under par in a fun and – in the case of Winter Summerland – festive environment. There is a fee to play the courses unless you have opted to purchase ParkHopper+ tickets with your Disney vacation package. My family did, so we used one of our “pluses” to play a course.


Winter Summerland greets you with Christmas spirit, which was welcome during our summer vacation. Even though it was very, very hot, I could imagine we were at the North Pole! There is a sleigh at the entrance, and if I’d planned better, we could’ve made our holiday card photo right then and there.

We opted to play the Winter side of the course. Guests can choose to play either side or both. I love Christmas, and from what I could see, winter looked like it was all about my favorite holiday. Boy, was I right!

Winter Summerland features many of the same hole conventions you’ll see on other miniature golf courses – obstacles to putt around, traps, and more. Never have I seen a course with such interactive features, though. On one hole there is ice fishing, and when you sink your shot, you hear Santa chuckle ho, ho, ho.

A3061CDC-224D-47EB-99CF-B5EB7618B337Each hole had unexpected surprises – like one where the ball goes into a spinning barber pole before coming out to roll toward the hole. My favorite hole was near the end, and featured Santa’s legs coming in and out of the chimney.

Hole 18 has a message delivered from Santa via the “winternet.” My boys enjoyed seeing him and planning ahead to what they’d ask him for in December.

The course took us about an hour and a half to play, and was a great way to kick off our last vacation. We had planned for it to be one where we did something new and enjoyed other activities outside of the parks, and this definitely fit the bill.

There are so many activities for families at the Walt Disney World Resort – from fun and games, to recreation, and arts and crafts. If you’d like to discuss how to fit these into your next itinerary, let’s talk! Visit me on Facebook or email me.

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Sandals Let Us Serve You Special Rates Military, Fire, Police & FEMA Personal

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Sandals Let Us Serve You Special Rates Military, Fire, Police & FEMA Personal

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Sea World Kids Eat Free Offer! Contact Us Today

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Sea World Kids Eat Free Offer! Contact Us Today

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Captivating Carthay Circle in Disney California Adventure Park

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Captivating Carthay Circle in Disney California Adventure Park

By: Sarah McClure
April 26, 2018

Hollywood’s Golden Age spanned three decades and gave us classic films and movie stars. From the late 1920’s through the late 1950’s, people were mesmerized by the glitz and glamorous lifestyles of film makers and actors.

Now we can relive this magical era by dining at Carthay Circle Restaurant in Disney California Adventure Park. A meticulous reproduction of the original Carthay Circle Theater, which premiered Walt Disney’s Snow White in 1937, Carthay Circle Restaurant is located on Buena Vista Street.

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Upon entering the lobby, guests are immediately taken back to an opulent time when Hollywood’s elite mingled. Photos of celebrities from the Golden Era are all throughout the restaurant. The walls are covered in burgundy, patterned wall paper, while touches of deep mahogany accent the space. The black marble floors are lined with classic carpet runners. Guests should take time to explore and notice the intricately sculpted archways.

The Carthay Circle Lounge is on the main floor of the building and to the right after entering. Here guests enjoy signature cocktails, beer and wine. The menu also includes Walt Disney’s favorite libation, the Scotch Mist. Dining choices include small bites, sushi rolls, plated dishes and sweet treats. Reservations are not accepted for Carthay Circle Lounge.

To the left is a beautiful stairway leading to Carthay Circle Restaurant on the second floor where reservations are highly suggested. The lavish scene is breathtaking. One’s eye is drawn to the center of the dining room and the four beautiful chandeliers. A prolonged look at the ceiling affords the view of stunning scenes from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

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The attention to detail in this dining room is remarkable. The rich, heavy, masculine elegance of Carthay Circle is comparable to the light, Victorian, feminine beauty found in Club 33. The color palate uses golds, reds and olive green. The furniture is strong, yet cozy and intimate with the high-backed booths and plush cushions.

There are four smaller dining rooms located off the main dining room. Each room accommodates varying party sizes, from 5 to 20. One special dining room holds a secret! The base of the table is a replica of Snow White’s wishing well.

My husband and I chose Carthay Circle Restaurant for our anniversary dinner and found the service to be impeccable and friendly. Our server started us off with fresh sour dough bread and butter, which was nice, but we had heard about the Signature Fried Biscuits and had to try them! These are stuffed with cheese, bacon and jalapeno (just a tiny kick) and are served with an apricot honey butter. The biscuits did not disappoint. They were a perfect mix of sweet and spice and paired nicely with the fresh Escarole Salad on a hot summer’s day.

For our entrees (to be shared, of course!), we ordered the Thick-cut Pork Chop served with peas, fingerling potatoes and plum coulis. The second dish we ordered was the Artichoke Crepes with eggplant, Portobello and parmesan. Both dishes had a stunning presentation and smelled lovely. Even though the pork had a nice flavor and was served with a plum sauce, we found it to be a bit dry. This was disappointing, as this dish had been suggested. I did try the pork on a subsequent visit and found it to be dry again.

The artichoke crepes, however, were absolutely wonderful and I thoroughly enjoyed the vegetables.

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Carthay Circle Restaurant is child friendly, offering a small assortment of Kids’ Meals, like pasta, tacos, salmon and beef filet.

We opted out of ordering dessert because of the sheer volume of food we had just consumed, with appetizers and entrees. Instead, we choose to get a treat during World of Color later that evening.

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My overall impression of Carthay Circle is that this is a lovely, unique, fine dining option at Disneyland Resort. Just like Steakhouse 55 and Club 33, the ambiance and décor is truly something to behold. While the entrees were wonderful, we expected a bit more from the pork and will select another meat dish next time.

I would love to help you create a magical Disneyland vacation that includes a reservation at Carthay Circle Restaurant, or any other fine dining experience. Contact me to learn more!
sarahmc@wishesfamilytravel.com

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Pop Century Resort: The Grooviest Place to Stay!

Posted by on 8:49 am in Thoughts and Opinions | 0 comments

Pop Century Resort: The Grooviest Place to Stay!

By: Corrie Krpejs
April 24, 2018

Want a resort that’s big on theming and fun? Then consider staying at Walt Disney World’s, Pop Century. Here are my top 5 reasons of why I LOVE Pop Century Resort.

  1. Theming – As you walk through the decades (50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s) you will see larger than life characters, phrases, and icons from the past – which makes this a great choice for couples and multi-generational families. You will have a great time walking the resort together while reminiscing and taking photographs!
  2. Everything Pop Food Court – I consider this to be one of the best food courts on Walt Disney World Property. It offers a Grill Station, Pizza/Pasta Station, Sandwiches/Soups/Salads/Flatbreads, Mom’s Kitchen (which serves as the waffle station in the morning), and lastly a Grab and Go Market. There is something for everyone here!
  3. Transportation – Conveniently located in the front of the main building, right outside of the food court. You can easily grab breakfast and then hop on a bus. Also, located next to each park queue is a board that shows you when your bus would be arriving. I have to say this was one of the best experiences that we have had with bus transportation.
  4. Renovated Rooms – We were lucky enough to stay in the 90’s building and stay in their newly renovated rooms. The room offered plenty of USB chargers throughout, the pull-down bed is great (and comfy) for kids, and everything was very clean and neat looking. Plus, after a long day at the parks the rain shower head was wonderful! One of my favorite parts is all the storage space. Lots of room in the bathroom as well as being able to store luggage under the queen bed.
  5. Activities – There’s so much to do here at Pop Century! We loved their #FlashbackFriday photo spot, scavenger hunt, pool games for kids, and movies under the stars. Be sure to allow yourself a day away from the parks or an evening free. There is so much to see and do here. Be sure to take some time and enjoy your home away from home.

Contact me today if you would like a quote for a Walt Disney World vacation that includes a stay at the Pop Century Resort! Corrie Krpejs corrie@wishesfamilytravel.com  336-682-8538

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Take a break!

Posted by on 8:51 am in Thoughts and Opinions | 0 comments

Take a break!

By: Tiffini Hensley
April 19, 2018

Congrats you’re headed to Walt Disney World!! This means that you are in for a vacation filled with magic, fun and…….LOTS of walking.

Walt Disney World is made up of over 40 square miles, and it’s normal to walk many miles in one day at the parks. Because of this, I highly suggest scheduling in some downtime and breaks from the parks.

Besides the obvious ‘head back to the room and take a nap’, there are many other options to relax and unwind, while still having fun! Here are a few ideas:

• Head back to the resort and go swimming!

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o The Disney resorts are known for their amazing pools, so be sure to take advantage of the fun and schedule in an afternoon to swim. Worried that it will be too cold in winter? Don’t be! Disney keeps their pools heated to 85 degrees, so even if it’s chilly outside, rest assured the water is nice and warm. In addition to the water set to a perfect temperature, the pools also include great amenities, such as water slides, underwater music, lazy rivers and water play areas. Although the amenities vary by hotel, they each are fantastic in their own right.

• Let the kids play on one of the playgrounds at the resorts!

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o Many of the Disney resorts have fun playgrounds where kids can run off some extra energy, while you can sit on the nearest bench and rest your feet!

• Rent a boat or pontoon and spend the afternoon on one of the lakes.

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o Some of the Disney Resorts have on-site marinas where you can rent a boat by the half-hour.

• Go fishing!

o It may only be catch and release, however you’ll still have a great time fishing in the afternoon from the dock at Port Orleans Riverside Resort.

• Go to the Arcade!

o Disney resorts are known to have fun things to do, but what kid doesn’t love to play at an arcade?!

• Go see the animals at Animal Kingdom Lodge, and grab a meal while you’re there!

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o Animal Kingdom Lodge offers up close viewing of well-known safari animals, such as giraffes, zebra and gazelle. The resort also offers some delicious meal options!

• Go shopping!

o Head to Disney Springs and find that souvenir that you forgot to pick up in the parks, or shop at some of your favorite luxury brand stores. There are also many entertainment and dining options at Disney Springs, so if you feel like making an evening of it, they have you covered!

• Head to the spa!

o Senses spa has two on-site locations at Walt Disney World, with one in the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa and the other in Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa.

• Go on a Carriage ride at Port Orleans Riverside Resort!

• Go ride a bike!

o Many on-site resorts offer bicycle and surrey bikes that you can rent by the hour and half hour, respectively.

Most of all, remember you are on vacation! Have fun and enjoy the “most magical place on Earth.”
If you’d like to see additional pictures and videos from my visits to Walt Disney World, please check out my Facebook page, www.facebook.com/thensley.wft. If you’d like more information, or to start planning your next vacation, please contact Tiffini@wishesfamilytravel.com

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My Grand Adventure

Posted by on 9:09 am in Thoughts and Opinions | 0 comments

My Grand Adventure

By: Becky Mullinax
April 17, 2018

My grandson was eight months old when he went on his first trip to Walt Disney World with me. I had booked a 3-night, 4-day trip. The road trip was an adventure with many stops, diaper changes and his bottles. It has been 20+ years since I traveled that distance with a child.

Our grand adventure began a week before we even started our trip. My daughter had the fun part of trying to pack everything that she would need for him. If you have ever traveled with a baby, you understand what that means. Once everything was ready we packed my SUV full and off we went on our travels.

My family started our adventure a day early so we could stop for the night in Savannah before we arrived at Walt Disney World. It was an adventure trying to get a hotel because of several conventions, etc. that were going on that weekend. Once our room was secured the next fun part was trying to arrange for a crib and a microwave for our room. My daughter needed to sanitize his bottles using a microwave sanitizer and once we had everything in place we were set for the night.

006365A9-BA93-43D2-92D1-8C2C738466DAThe next morning, bright and early, everyone was up and ready to go. We traveled another 4.5 hours and then we arrived at our beautiful resort. I had completed our online check in earlier and I received a text that our Arusha view room at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge was ready early. This was such a blessing as my grandson could nap before we visited our first park. When I took him outside on our balcony to see the animals that were roaming on the savanna he was so excited to watch them. There is an animal viewing list in the room and when you see the animals you check them off. This became a keepsake for his memory book.

I had already arranged for a stroller to use, which was another blessing. The weather was going to be hot that week so we were prepared with a baby cooling wrap and umbrella to place over his legs where the stroller canopy did not cover. We had a small cooler to keep his formula cold and his backpack was packed for a fun day. We did not want him to get overheated or dehydrated.

Day one: We were about eight miles from Magic Kingdom so the bus ride was long for us with a baby and all that went along with him. I scheduled our first Fastpass in Magic Kingdom to meet Mickey at his theater. My grandson, even at eight months old, loved Mickey’s Clubhouse and he could recognize Mickey. I was overcome with emotion and cried when Mickey walked up to him and rubbed his foot in his Mickey shoes. The expression on my grandson’s face made the long travel worth every mile! I heard the parade going by outside the theater and rushed to get him to the door and his little feet were going when he saw the big floats go by. He could sleep comfortably in his stroller and see all the excitement around him. Our first day flew by with stops to change diapers and bottles. Disney has a wonderful baby care station for use and I highly recommend this.

486F507D-A0CD-427F-AE26-E0FE1DB3AC19The bus trip back to our resort seemed longer after a tiring day in the park. It was such a blessing to be welcomed back home by the wonderful Cast Members at the resort. When we arrived, the crib and microwave we had requested were in our room. You can make these type requests through your Concierge Agent with Wishes to be noted on your reservation. They are not guaranteed but Disney will do their best to try and have these for you. He enjoyed being outside on the large observatory deck to see the giraffes after the day cooled down. The rocking chairs there are wonderful to rock a baby to sleep.

DF802E89-00C4-4D68-97E8-7F15391BBA07Day 2: I had planned our visit to Epcot and this day was going to be hotter than yesterday. The heat was a very big concern so I took him to areas that were air conditioned and shady while the adults used their Fastpasses that morning. We did not take him to the World Showcase because of the heat so we left early. When we arrived back at the resort I took him on a stroller ride through the resort to see all the animals through the windows.

289611B0-86D9-49D7-AEEA-874E9BFB1537Day 3: Our Animal Kingdom day I had scheduled an early Kilimanjaro Safari ride so he could see the animals. I learned something that day – you can’t judge how your early morning will start off with a baby so we missed our Fastpass. The day was going to be hot again so we checked him as with the days before. We had lunch at Tusker House and I anxiously waited for the characters to stop by our table. I wasn’t sure how he would receive that many at one visit but my anxiousness was for nothing because he received Mickey, Donald, Daisy and Goofy with joy and smiles. His little feet were going as fast as he could move them. He loved seeing all the animals, meeting people, the music and the whole experience of this park. We left early again due to heat and humidity at the park.

Day 4: We packed up to return home and I was sad to leave because this trip was so special for me to share my love of anything Disney with my new grandson. Our trip back home was long and hard on everyone but he did fine.

When traveling with a baby you need to be prepared for many things such as the packing and preparations, weather conditions where you are going and generally being prepared for as much as possible. I recommend that you purchase the Memory Maker so that you can have professional photos of your trip.

If you would like more information on my Grand Adventure please email me at becky@wishesfamilytravel.com.

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Celebrity Edge Culinary

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River Cruising on The American Empress

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Tips on maximizing your time at Universal Studios

Posted by on 11:47 am in Thoughts and Opinions | 0 comments

Tips on maximizing your time at Universal Studios

By: Missy Ryan
April 12, 2018

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Universal Studios combines a Hollywood movie experience with a quality theme park attractions and shows. Although, the ideal visit would include staying on site so you may get the ultimate experience, several guests opt for one day passes. Whether you are staying on property at Walt Disney World or just in the area for a day, getting a little taste of universal is what it is on the menu. With such limited time, you want to be sure you are getting all the experiences worth doing. This is where a Trained, Traveled and Trusted Concierge steps in with guided and helpful advice.

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  1. Buy your tickets in advance. The price is never guaranteed, so it is always best to get a quote and have the tickets purchased before arrival. Make sure you are getting a 1 day park to park ticket so you can ride the Hogwarts Express and take in both parks.
  2. Best time to travel to Universal? It is not always feasible, with works schedules, school and everyday life to schedule around park and vacation days. That is why planning ahead is always a great idea. There are always better days and times of the year to visit the park. However, Fall, Winter and Spring are lower peak times. Try and avoid days on or around holidays and keep the visit to a weekday.
  3. Express! This may seem like an added cost you do not want to do or can fit into your budget. However, let me tell you, how worthwhile the express pass can be to you and your family, especially for a one day park pass. What is an express pass you ask? Only the best add on you can get! Be able to skip the long lines on several selected rides. This is such a fantastic time saver that would be a shame not to add it to your tickets for the day.
  4. Arrive early. Are you familiar with the phrase, “The early bird gets the worm.”? Well early guests get the rides. Morning is key.
  5. Hit the Harry Potter rides and the Hogwarts Express first. Since Harry Potter is extremely popular and not part of the “skip the lines”/express pass, it is always best to try and get on these rides first. These particular rides will typically have the longest waits as the day progresses. Doing them first will give you so much more freedom and free time throughout the rest of your day.
  6. Bring your own water to the park. Universal does not allow outside food but you may bring water bottles and fruit to the park.
  7. Add the dining plan. Adding even the smallest plan can save you money. The Quick Service plan gives you 1 counter service entrée and a drink. Later in the day you may then redeem another drink and snack. The portions are very healthy and worth the additional $20 per adult and $14.95 per child. Eat lunch at off peak hours to avoid the crowds and long lunch lines.
  8. Do not forget to check your cell phones and backpacks at the free lockers provided near many of the rides. Universal will allow about the current wait time for the rides located closest to the lockers as free locker time for your personal belongings while you ride the rides. If you try to enter a ride with your backpack or cell phones, they will not allow you access to that ride. So do take advantage of this feature.
  9. Check out show times and parade times. The park has several throughout the day and it is a good idea to plan ahead so you can get there in time for good seating.
  10. Take advantage of the child switch feature. I love this little perk and think anyone with children should take advantage of it as well. If any of your children cannot ride a ride, an adult can wait outside with that child and when the rest of the party returns, you can switch and ride the ride without waiting in line.

A41BAA12-18FB-49B5-B1BB-C2FC60D7D67AI hope these tips have helped you to better plan your day at Universal Studios. If you are interested in learning more and want to purchase tickets or a package at an onsite resort, please contact me at missyr@wishesfamilytravel.com. You can also follow me on Facebook.

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