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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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Breaking News: Royal Caribbean Joins Norwegian in Dropping Vaccination Requirements for Some Cruises

Posted by on 11:48 am in Cruises, News | 0 comments

Breaking News: Royal Caribbean Joins Norwegian in Dropping Vaccination Requirements for Some Cruises

by Dori Saltzman / August 12, 2022

Royal Caribbean COVID Testing Rules Requirement
Photo: Philip Armitage / Shutterstock.com

Starting with September 5th departures, all travelers regardless of vaccination status can cruise on select Royal Caribbean itineraries so long as they meet the testing requirements to board. However, while cruisers can board ships without a vaccination, they may not be permitted to go ashore in some ports without proof of vaccination status.  

The new rules apply to all cruises from Los Angeles, Galveston, and New Orleans, along with all sailings out of European homeports. 

For the first three, guests ages 2 to 11 years of age who are not fully vaccinated must bring a negative test result for a COVID-19 antigen or PCR test taken within three days of boarding, regardless of the duration of their cruise.  

Additionally, all guests (vaccinated or not) must bring a negative test result for a COVID-19 antigen or PCR test taken within the three days before boarding day on sailings that are six nights or longer. Testing is not required for fully vaccinated guests on shorter itineraries. (The same rules about which tests are accepted still apply.) 

Tests must be arranged by travelers; there are no at-port options available.  

On cruises that include a visit to Grand Cayman, guests will not be permitted off the ship in port without showing a valid vaccination record.  

On cruises that depart from a U.S. homeport but visit Canada, all guests will need to be vaccinated except for those ages 11 or younger. All will need to take a COVID-19 test. Vaccinated guests (regardless of age) must show a negative test result for a PCR or antigen test taken no more than two days before boarding.  

Unvaccinated kids, ages 2 to 11, must show a negative test result for a PCR test (not antigen) taken no more than three days before boarding day. They will also need to pass an antigen test taken at the port on boarding day.  

On cruises from a European homeport, guests that are not up to date on their vaccination status per European Union standards will need to take a test onboard to get off the ship in Greece and Spain.  

Originally posted August 12, 2022, by Travel Market Report

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Turtle Time in Jamaica

Posted by on 7:00 am in Thoughts and Opinions | 0 comments

Turtle Time in Jamaica

11 August | Missy Ryan

During my most recent trip to Jamacia, I wanted to do something that filled my heart; an experience that would be unique and special. After doing some research and looking into options, Ochi is one of the select areas that participates in what is called “The Turtle Release.” The best time to watch these turtles hatch is between July and December. Lucky for me, my trip was in November. 

Upon arrival I did go to Sandals excursions desk and inquire, as they only release the turtles once a week. Also, something to keep in mind is that Ochi is the only location on the island that participates in these hatchings. There is not another location or time of the year other than the few months that the turtles are released. 

After signing up and paying for my spot, I also learned that proceeds are donated to the conservation of these turtles! I truly was happy with my decision to make this experience a priority. 

After a short bus ride, we were taken to a beach that was located on the island. On the beach there are several eggs that are buried within the sand. We were told that several natives to the island were locating the eggs and selling them for profit. In order to eliminate and save the endearment of the eggs, these volunteers take the eggs and dig below the typical depth. Then they create a map with coordinates so they can locate where the eggs have been hidden. This is truly one of the most intriguing volunteer crews I have witnessed. 

After locating the eggs, we watched the miracle of birth as each sweet turtle broke through their shell. We were encouraged to take as many babies as possible and wash them off in the ocean. After washing them, we were instructed to exam each turtle to be sure it was formed correctly and did not have any visible disabilities. Absolutely wonderful to be able to oversee such small creatures as they wiggled their way into the world. 

We were told that over three hundred eggs had hatched but sometimes a handful do not make it. After examining each turtle, we took them and lined them up right before the shoreline. As they headed to the sea several were eager to get to where they naturally were programmed to swim. Some fell behind and were taken to be nurtured some more. 

There are four types of Sea Turtles that can be found in Jamacia. They include green turtle, the loggerhead, hawksbill, and leatherback turtles. It turns out that the leatherback and hawksbill are endangered species! 

The turtles are said to head to the Galapagos Islands and have the knowledge and memory to be able to return in less than a year to where they were released! Through this experience myself and others were able to guide almost three hundred sea turtles to safety. Due to this wonderful organization, the survival rate of turtles has increased, and hatchlings have had a better chance of life. 

If you are traveling and heading to Ochi or would like to know more about this wonderful project that Sandals participates in, please feel free to reach out! missyr@wishesfamilytravel.com 

Want to travel alongside me via social media? 

Follow me on Facebook or on Instagram 

Looking forward to planning your next adventure! 

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Royal Caribbean Takes Dining to a Whole New Level

Posted by on 7:00 am in Thoughts and Opinions | 0 comments

Royal Caribbean Takes Dining to a Whole New Level

8/4 | Anna Trosper

While dining on a cruise ship can feel repetitive and uninspired sometimes, Royal Caribbean’s Wonderland restaurant has stolen my heart. The inspiration, as you can guess, is Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. Here you will be taken into Wonderland as you walk through the door and enter a world of imagination.  

When you enter Wonderland, you will experience a magical molecular gastronomy restaurant. Its stunning dining room has all of the whimsical touches of Alice in Wonderland. Make sure to look closely – you never know what you might find! 

After you are checked in and walk through the magical door, you will be taken to your table. Right from the start your dining experience is captivating. Once seated everyone will be given a blank sheet of paper in a frame with a paintbrush and magical water. You paint your paper to reveal your tasting menu. 

The waiter will go over the menu with you and confirm if there are any dietary restrictions in your party. My friend is a vegetarian, and they went above and bond for her. The menu is broken down into Elements (Sun, Ice, Fire, Earth and Sea).  

Tip: At the end of the meal, feel free to ask for more helpings of that one dish you just couldn’t get enough of.  

First off, we ordered drinks. Even the drinks are mystical. I had the Cheshire Cat Cosmo, named for the cotton candy in your glass that disappears when your beverage is poured into it! Be careful – they are very good and sneak up on you. 

Our first course was “Sun .” I ordered the reconstructed caprese. Like I said earlier- nothing is what it looks to be. It blew my mind. So good and yet so different. The tomato water made this dish very refreshing. 

Our second course was “Ice.” We were served Crispy Crab cones and Oceanic Citrus. This was… definitely different; It was like a lime snow cone on top and then spicy tuna in the bottom.  

The third course was “Fire.” The waiter brought out the Shrimp Kadaifi – I loved this! I am not a fan of smoked food, and this was not smoky at all. The shrimp is wrapped in what I would say kind of like shredded wheat – I had more of this one! He also brought out The Birds Nest. Very smoky flavor in the eggs I did not eat them. 

Following that, our fourth course was “Sea” – Liquid Lobster – This was also very good. It came in a large spoon – liquid and a small piece of lobster. 

The fifth course, and last of the elements, was “Earth.” I tried all they had on this one. T Short Rib was great! 

Finally, it was time for dessert, which was called “Dreams.” The dessert lover in me rejoiced over all the amazing sweets I got to try.  

Every dish I had was delicious, but the one must-have dish would have to be the chocolate ball. It is presented as a chocolate ball with gold dust, and then a gold sauce is poured over the top to melt the top shell, revealing the ice cream interior. The entire presentation is unlike anything I’ve ever seen and was the highlight of my dinner.  

With its stunning atmosphere, amazing service, innovative plating, Wonderland was definitely the highlight of my last cruise on the Symphony of the Seas. I enjoyed it so much I went there 3 times on my sailing! 

I would be happy to talk with you about your next adventure. Please reach out to me at annat@wishesfamilytravel.com or you can follow me on Facebook also.  

Thank you 

Anna 

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Disney Fan Confessions: I Kind of Loved Genie Plus. (Part 1)

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Disney Fan Confessions: I Kind of Loved Genie Plus. (Part 1)

Part 1: What is Genie and Genie Plus and what’s an Individual Attraction Selection?

28 July | Christina Szewczuk

Genie/Genie Plus and Lightning Lane has been the subject of lots of controversy in the Disney fan world these days. Genie/Genie Plus is available at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World Parks. The inclusions are different at each location. I tried it for 3 days at Walt Disney World. I honestly went in with low expectations, not knowing if I was going to like this new service or not. But I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked it!

For those of you who don’t know, the old complimentary Fastpass ‘front of the line” system has been put out to pasture and has been replaced with a new pay to play product called Lightning Lane. No more planning rides out 60 days ahead! Now you can go day by day. To access Lightning Lane, you must have the Genie Plus version on the Walt Disney World App. For those of you familiar with Disneyland’s Max Pass system, you will find that this Genie system is fairly similar. There are 3 new products here in this product line, so I will explain them each below.

Disney Genie
The Disney Genie is a free service on the Walt Disney World Parks app. It will give you some suggestions on what rides to ride and the most opportune times for riding. It has a Tip Board and there is a chat feature. This can be helpful to answer any general questions. Disney is touting this as a “planning tool”, however, it seems to be more of an attempt to bring attention to attractions that are commonly overlooked or are not quite as popular as the big “E Ticket” rides.

Disney Genie Plus
You can upgrade Disney Genie to the Disney Genie Plus version, which will provide you access to those Lightning Lane enabled attractions. You can make your first Lightning Lane selection at 7:00am EST. You can add on another one two hours after park opening and then every two hours going forward. You can keep adding them to your list of attractions creating what we have been calling a “stack” of attractions. This is a nice feature I am hoping will remain as it adds lots of value to the Genie Plus product. The list of included attractions keeps evolving, so I suggest checking the Disney Parks website for the most up to date list before hitting the parks. Some rides will run out of return times faster than others. Talk to your travel agent to determine how to maximize this product ahead of time!

In addition to Lightning Lane, you get these fantastic Photo Filters and AR lenses. To access them, you click on the photopass lens icon from the home screen and it launches an interface similar to Snapchat. You can take a still photo or make a little video. You do not have to have
Photopass to save these particular photos. These are included with Genie Plus. Some are location specific; some can be done anywhere on Disney property. These filters are hilarious, adorable, and totally worth the price! I had so much fun playing around with them. They are a great pass-time in cues or while waiting for busses. Well done, Disney!

Another thing you will have access to is Audio Tales. These tales give you a little back story on select attractions. They tell you information surrounding the attraction, some Disney history or some fun facts about the park. You may find these interesting, so give them a listen. Maybe you’ll learn something for a future trivia night!

The nice thing about Genie Plus is that you don’t have to pay for it for every day for every park if you don’t want to. You can choose whether or not to add it on each day. (But decide before 7am so you can make your first selection!) With a little patience, you can manage the parks without using it at all. Genie Plus seems to work the best at Magic Kingdom since they have the most Lightning Lane attractions available. I was able to stack several there. If you have a Park Hopper, you can add plans for your second park while still at your first park. This is another improvement over the Fastpass system where you were not able to make passes in multiple parks. The pricing for Genie Plus is currently $15 per person, per day. If you figure this into the price of your vacation, it really is not incredibly pricey for what you’re getting. I know, its not free; but this does give you more than just the Lightning Lane access!

Individual Attraction Selections
At each park, there are one or two attractions that are an additional charge for access to their Lightning Lanes. These are individually priced and are not tied to Disney Genie Plus. So, you do not have to have Genie Plus to access these particular Lightning Lane attractions. You can purchase up to two a day, however you can only purchase one for each attraction. For example, you can buy one for Rise of the Resistance and one for Ratatouille in the same day (if you have park hopper), but you couldn’t get two for Rise of the Resistance in the same day. In order to ride twice, you would have to wait once in the traditional cue and use the Individual Attraction Selection once. The pricing for these varies by attraction, time of year and crowd size. For example, at Christmastime when there are more people in the parks, the Individual attraction price may be $10/per person, but at a less busy time, it may be $7/per person. The app will tell you the cost when you go to book it so you can decide if you’d like to purchase or not. If the ride goes down during your return time, you will get an open return time for any time later that day.

So these are an overview of the three new products surrounding Genie/Genie Plus and Lightning Lane. Three products, lots of options! What do you think so far? Will you be trying Genie Plus? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

To hear more about my Genie Plus Experience, Check out Part 2 of my series! (Coming soon!)

I’d love to help you with your next vacation!
You can reach out to me via email at christina@wishesfamilytravel.com
Follow me on my socials for tips and fun facts!
Instagram: @christinaatwishes
Facebook: @cszewczuk.wft

When I tried this product, I participated in an agent education program where I was hosted by Walt Disney World. However, I was not paid for my opinion and everything in this blog is my honest opinion.

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Universal Trips are for Everyone!

Posted by on 7:00 am in Thoughts and Opinions | 0 comments

Universal Trips are for Everyone!

21 July | Missy Ryan

Typically, when someone thinks of taking a trip, they immediately think family vacation.

For years families have saved their weeklong vacations for trips to enjoy bonding and making memories. While these are wonderful and an important part of growth within family structure, it is not always feasible or typical for everyone.

It’s becoming more popular and reoccurring that people are breaking their vacation time up into smaller getaways. Recently my husband and three older boys embarked on their first “Boy’s Trip.” This was unchartered waters for all of us. Usually, it is myself traveling with a kid, a few kids, other agents, or my husband. I usually plan it all and everyone just shows up!

During the planning process there were few things to consider. Schedules aligning, availability at the resort, reasonable airfare, and planning with enough wiggle room for spontaneity. As we moved forward, we decided that Universal Orlando would be the perfect destination for the first annual boy’s trip.

Universal has so much to offer and a great balance when it comes to fun and sun!

They offer three parks. Volcano Bay, which is an amazing water park that offers water rides, lazy rivers, fierce rivers, food, and a volcano that cannot be missed. Islands of Adventure caters more to the marvel side of things, has a good portion of thrill rides, food, and of course for those Harry Potter fans, Hogsmeade. Universal itself is home to Diagon Alley, several popular simulating rides such as Transformers, The Mummy and Escape to Gringotts. Want to try a hot butterbeer? A cold Butterbeer? Butterbeer ice-cream, fudge, or pudding? You are at the right place!

While each park offers treats, dining locations for a quick meal or somewhere to kick back and be waited on, there are other options outside of those main areas, like City Walk. City Walk is known for entertainment, several shopping locations, and of course- more food!

Food being a top priority, I was happy to be able to secure these locations for their trip. As the planning continued, we were able to score reservations at Big Fire (try the smores dessert!!) and my all-time favorite, CowFish!

Universal Orlando also offers several lodging options as far as for groups, families, etc. We decided on Surfside because they wanted to try a resort they had not experienced yet.

Surfside Inn and Suites is a new to the lineup at Universal and considered a value hotel. With that said, they offer buses to and from the parks, have an impressive large main pool, a quick service option on site, along with a Starbucks and bar.

Surfside décor is based and built around the idea of, you got it, surfing. With a simple beach theme, accents of surfboards, and overall seaside feel, the hotel has really nailed their theming to match their name.

One thing to consider with the value properties, however, is that the tickets do not come with Express, which needs to be added to your park tickets. Express is a feature that allows guests to skip attraction lines between the two main parks, with only about three attractions not on the list.

Here are some other great addons to consider!

  • Park to park tickets, which allow the guest to go back and forth to each park throughout the day
  • Photo Pass, which captures all your photos and gives you the opportunity to have some fun photo ops in the green room and includes two prints.
  • Refillable mug at your resort or refillable cup at the park. Your mug can be purchased on hotel property, where the cup can be used at the parks.

These were and are all wonderful components in helping a trip go as smoothly and stress free as possible!

Planning for a short group getaway can be a fun opportunity to reconnect and recharge. Seeing the smiles on my boys faces and watching them through social media as they bonded and connected again on levels that sometimes gets lost during months of busy schedules, is something you cannot put a price tag on. Getting together and making memoires is something we never regret!

I would love to talk more about travel and getting a group or your family organized for fun. Keep up with my own adventures on Facebook or follow me on Instagram.

I am always happy to curate a free quote and welcome emails at missyr@wishesfamilytravel.com

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Bigger Savings For Greater Vacations At Sea, Book with Norwegian By 7/29/2022

Posted by on 7:00 am in Cruise Specials, Cruises, WFT Specials | 0 comments

Bigger Savings For Greater Vacations At Sea, Book with Norwegian By 7/29/2022

July 17, 2022

Sail into more savings with Norwegian Cruise Line Summer is about to sizzle in savings with Norwegian Cruise Line. Book today and enjoy 40% Off all cruises – all over the world. From glacier-gazing in Alaska to sunset strolls in the Greek Isles to getting your hula on in Hawaii, now’s the best time to book your dream vacation with Norwegian. The best part, you can also enjoy Free Open Bar, Free Specialty Dining, Free Excursions, Free Airfare for 2nd guest & much more. This offer won’t last long, so book today!

For more information, contact your Wishes Family Travel Agent!
info@wishesfamilytravel.com
864-649-1016

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Skyliner at Walt Disney World

Posted by on 7:00 am in Thoughts and Opinions | 0 comments

Skyliner at Walt Disney World

7 July | Leslie Dinuzio

The Skyliner is the newest transportation system at Walt Disney World to help get guests from resort to park or vice versa. A typical question that is asked is which parks and resorts have the ability to utilize the Skyliner? How does it work? There are a couple different routes that the Skyliner can take which are outlined below. 

The main resort “hub” for the Skyliner is Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort. From this resort, guests can travel directly to the back (World Showcase) entrance of Epcot (or the Boardwalk area for dining!) or to Hollywood Studios. The other resorts that are serviced by the Skyliner are Disney’s Riviera Resort, Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, and Disney’s Pop Century Resort. Phew! Each of those resorts, however, will require a transfer of Skyliners depending on the park you wish to visit. 

From Riviera Resort, which has its own dedicated station, it’s a straight shot right to Epcot! Well, kind of. While it’s one Skyliner ride with no transfers, there is a fun 90 degree turn during your trip. 

The Skyliner station lies directly between Pop Century and Art of Animation Resorts and is shared between the two. From these resorts, the Skyliner travels directly to Caribbean Beach Resort. From there, guests will need to transfer Skyliners to either Epcot or Hollywood Studios. The signage is very well marked and fool-proof! There are also multiple Cast Members to assist with any questions. 

The Skyliner is a great mode of transportation. Guests can bring a scooter or stroller right on the gondola, with no need to fold up strollers. In addition, the views of the parks and resorts from up in the air are unique!  

I’d love to help your family plan a Disney trip to experience the Skyliner for yourself! I can be reached at Leslie@wishesfamilytravel.com

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How To Save Money on Gas

Posted by on 7:00 am in Thoughts and Opinions | 0 comments

How To Save Money on Gas

5 July | Carrie Fulton

How can you save money on gas? 

  1. It starts with your tires 
  • Under-inflated tires can increase your fuel consumption 3% because it causes more rolling resistance. So check your tires at least once a month! 
  • Check your owner’s manual or the wall of your tires for the correct PSI for your tires. 
  • Narrower tires also help your car be more aerodynamic so long as they fit the wheels property and give the traction necessary for you to be safe. 

2.  Avoid Rush Hour 

  • Idling is the worst thing for gas milage!  It actually takes more fuel than turning off and restarting your car. 
  • Adjusting your schedule to miss rush hours can save you both time and money. 
  • When on a road trip, use those rush hours to explore a new city, enjoy a meal or explore a park so kids can get their wiggles out before getting back into the car for the rest of the drive. 

3.  Watch your speed 

  • Frequent breaking and acceleration is rough for fuel efficiency so when you can set your cruise control. 
  • Once you reach 50mph, you’ve hit the sweet spot for a road trip.  Above that can use fuel faster than if you stay closer to the speed limit. 
  • Keep your tank at least 1/4 full!  Because levels lower than that require your fuel pump to work harder decreasing its efficiency. 

4.  Check your engine 

  • We all want to ignore the check engine light but sensors that can trigger it to go off can impact your fuel efficiency by 20% or more.   
  • Be sure to take your vehicle in for a once over before your next road trip to ensure your engine is up to date for its maintenance.  Be sure they check your oxygen levels, spark plugs, engine emissions and air filters.   
  • Calculate your fuel mileage between service visits.  If you see a significant drop, there’s likely something wrong with your car! 

5.  Road trip rules 

  • Consider a rear mounted cargo box which impact fuel economy 1-5% rather than a roof mounted one which impacts it up to 17%. 
  • Clear out as much clutter as you can to make your car a light as possible.  
  • Keep your windows up on the highway but keep your air conditioning as low as you can to minimize stress on the engine. 

To get more travel insight and help, contact me at CFulton@WishesFamilyTravel.com or 513.304.4103.  I would love to help you plan the vacation you want and deserve! 

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Turn procrastination into a Caribbean Sea-cation. Book with Virgin Voyages by 7/12/2022

Posted by on 8:00 am in Cruise Specials, Cruises, WFT Specials | 0 comments

Turn procrastination into a Caribbean Sea-cation. Book with Virgin Voyages by 7/12/2022

July 4, 2022

Never Too Late to Sale — when it’s from $572 per Sailor

No summer plans yet? No problem — we’ve got epic last-minute offers from $572 per Sailor this summer. Because you shouldn’t have to sit back and watch everyone else on your Instagram feed sipping cocktails at sunset in far away places — you deserve to join in. So turn your procrastination into a Caribbean Sea-cation and grab this offer by July 12th.

For more information, contact your Wishes Family Travel Agent!
info@wishesfamilytravel.com
864-649-1016

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Make Summer Unforgettable, Book with Royal Caribbean by 7/31/2022

Posted by on 7:00 am in Cruise Specials, Cruises, WFT Specials | 0 comments

Make Summer Unforgettable, Book with Royal Caribbean by 7/31/2022

July 4, 2022

30% Off Every Guest + Kids Sail Free

It’s time to take charge of your vacay destiny with unbelievable deals on unforgettable adventures. Snorkel through colorful coral reefs off the coast of Cozumel, take in Old World architecture and charm on a walking tour through Rome, or unwind with some much-needed beach time in The Bahamas. Plus, score incredible savings, like 30% off your whole travel crew. And for a limited time — kids sail free! Also, if you have a Future Cruise Credit, you can redeem it to receive a bonus of $100 in onboard credit. Come Seek the Royal Caribbean®.

Hurry, offer valid July 1 – 31, 2022!

For more information, contact your Wishes Family Travel Agent!
info@wishesfamilytravel.com
864-649-1016

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