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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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Back to School: Make Paradise Your Virtual Classroom! Palace Resorts Extends Kids & Teens Stay Free Promotion

Posted by on 7:00 am in Special Offers, Thoughts and Opinions, WFT Specials | 0 comments

Back to School: Make Paradise Your Virtual Classroom! Palace Resorts Extends Kids & Teens Stay Free Promotion

September 21, 2020

By: Carolina Guerrero, Palace Resorts

Virtual learning and remote working has never been this easy!

Palace Resorts is excited to announce the extension of its Kids & Teen Stay Free promotion through the remainder of the year. Given that most children will be returning to the classroom virtually, and most parents continue to work remotely, it’s a win-win for parents and kids, who can now “work” in paradise at huge savings. There’s no need to plan around saved-up vacation days or school holidays. And with high-speed and always-complimentary Wi-Fi throughout all our resorts, you can pop your laptop up poolside, focus on some reading down by the beach, respond to those emails from the comfort of your balcony or, take learning to our state-of-the art business centers, which are being transformed into mini-classrooms fully stocked with computers and printers. Transforming suites into remote learning centers makes this the best back-to-school yet!

Originally posted August 17, 2020: https://thepalacelife.palaceresorts.com/back-to-school-make-paradise-your-virtual-classroom-palace-resorts-extends-kids-teens-stay-free-promotion/?fbclid=IwAR1aqIrqwe4s1PFcMqLdQSHshlF6msYgMel2Cr1Nv-d4FezOkNO3PjUWK0k

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Best Places to Visit in October

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

By Mark Ellwood by cntraveler.com

After months cooped up inside, some of us are starting to consider dipping our toes into travel again. Even amid current constraints, there are options for a rewarding trip. How far from home you might go is based on personal comfort levels, but during the current pandemic, all vacations should be planned as responsibly as possible, with an abundance of caution.

If you’re staying domestic, check entry requirements at each state you’re visiting—and where you’ll be returning. If you’re comfortable traveling overseas, remember to check CDC guidelines on your destination. Remember, as well, to update your travel insurance, ensuring that the coverage you have will apply during the pandemic, whether it’s a standalone policy or insurance that’s bundled with one of many travel-focused credit cards. The places we’ve chosen for 2020 are all open to Americans, but if you’re not quite ready to travel this fall, it’s never too early to start planning for next year.

Derby Street, in Salem, Massachusetts
Jon Bilous/Alamy

Salem, Massachusetts

It’s Halloween this month, so where better to book a trip than America’s unofficial witching capital. Book a room at The Hotel Salem or The Merchant (they’re both owned by Lark Hotels, famed for its funky makeovers of countless New England inns) and then make your way into town. Salem celebrates its connection to the occult all month with a program of events, including a fair with psychics on hand to read your future. All events are subject to change, depending on pandemic protocols, but an updated list of happenings is here

During the festivities, it’s worth pausing to consider the history of Salem’s witch trials at the 1692 Salem Witch Museum. The museum recreates the trials using actual documents as the basis for its life-size stage sets, and hosts an exploration of witchcraft in all its forms through the ages. Take a moment at the city’s memorial: The names of everyone who was accused and executed in the mayhem are inscribed on the 20 stone benches. And of course, remember to check state guidelines before booking anything: Massachusetts requires certain out of state visitors quarantine and current requirements will be updated here.

Sunset at Sonoma California patchwork vineyard at harvest
Karen Wibbs/Getty

Sonoma, California

The best time to explore Sonoma’s more than 400 wineries is during the thriving harvest season. Though the pandemic means that many of the typical events have been canceled or postponed for a year—the Harvest Fair, for example—there will still be celebrations at the various wineries and vineyards themselves. Consider a four-course food and wine pairing dinner ($55 per person) at Kendall-Jackson, served on the outdoor patio, or book a tasting at Siduri, a deliberately unfussy winemaker headquartered in a warehouse that’s renowned for its pinot noir. The best place to stay is the Hotel E downtown, housed in a Beaux Arts–era building on Old Courthouse Square and within easy walking distance of most restaurants and bars. Note that there are no restrictions on travel to and from the state, per California’s own edicts, but the tourism body has issued guidelines, dubbed the Responsible Travel Code.

Carlisle Bay, Antigua & Barbuda
Getty

Antigua and Barbuda

Although the country reopened to international visitors without quarantine requirements on June 1 (coronavirus testing is mandatory upon arrival), many resorts here remained closed through the summer months—traditionally a slower period for the region. In October, though, most of the hospitality industry will reopen for the winter season, including the gorgeous all-inclusive Curtain Bluff on the southwest coast. Such widespread reopening is pegged, in part, to the traditional period of celebration in the run up to Independence Day on November 1. The government hopes to host socially distanced concerts and events during this month, though the schedule remains in flux (check the latest here). Otherwise, there are plenty of other things to do outdoors, like the half-day hiking route across Mount Obama (also known as Boggy Peak) or the zip line trails that whizz over the canopy of the rainforest. It’s also an ideal time to visit the Frigate Bird Sanctuary, one of the largest in the world. Of course, you can always just go to the beach: Antigua and Barbuda claims to have one for every day of the year. Try the pink sand Half Moon Bay on the Atlantic coast, which is ideal for windsurfing.

Bermuda, Port Royal Golf Course
Cliff Hawkins/Getty

Bermuda

The second edition of the Bermuda Championship, a new tournament on the PGA tour at the Port Royal Golf Course, is slated to take place from October 26 to November 1. Golf fans can come watch the pros, while also playing a few rounds themselves at top-tier courses like the 200-acre Tucker’s Point. If you come a little earlier in the month, closer to the full moon in the first week, keep your eyes peeled on the ocean at night, when glow worms light up the water. Bermuda reopened to international visitors in July; it requires that arrivals take a PCR COVID-19 test at the airport, and wait for eight hours at their accommodation until negative results are confirmed, so why not book a plush room to hole up in while you wait? The Rosewood Bermuda is offering 35 percent off nightly rates on any of its suites or residences through the end of the year.

Hudson Valley in New York
Alamy

Hudson Valley, New York

Make a leaf-peeping trip to the lush, tree-filled Hudson Valley in upstate New York. It’s the perfect time to go apple picking, or just sip some hard cider made from local produce at Angry Orchard, if you’re feeling lazy. Alternatively, take in a movie at the Four Brothers Drive-In Theater or celebrate Halloween with the Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze in the grounds of Van Cortlandt Manor (advance reservations required). More than 7,000 pumpkins are displayed there each night, including a 25-foot-tall Statue of Liberty, all of which are carved onsite by a team of 1,000 volunteers. Book a room at Troutbeck, the 250-acre boutique resort designed by interior designer Alexandra Champalimaud and owned by her son Anthony; the hotel has just added a new fitness and spa facility, the Wellness Barns, built from wood reclaimed from the original Tappan Zee Bridge. Most of New York’s facilities have now reopened, but visitors from 31 U.S. states and territories are currently required to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival. It’s under constant review, however, so check updated COVID-19 travel advisories here.

Hay field in Big Sky country, Southwest Montana
Andrew Kandel/Alamy

Montana

Many travelers have sought to reconnect with nature as a result of the pandemic, and there’s no better place to do so than the original Big Sky Country, Montana. In October, when the weather is crisp and clear, and you’ll see national parks like Glacier and Yellowstone lit up by fall foliage. It’s the tail end of fishing season, too, the ideal time to catch a few salmon. If you’re adventurous, consider biking down the Bitterroot Trail, close to the western border with Idaho: a paved parkway, it shadows US-93 for 50 miles between Missoula and Hamilton. The state is also renowned for its ultra-luxe lodges set in the spectacular countryside, many in safari-style tents for the ultimate glamping adventure. To fully explore, though, it’s easiest to work with a travel specialist like Original Travel, which can help coordinate an itinerary and any coronavirus-related requirements—updated mandates will be found here.

Cliffs at El Arco, or The Arch Los Cabos, Mexico
Lindsay Lauckner Gundlock/Alamy

Los Cabos, Mexico

The resort region at the tip of Baja California has long felt like a self-contained country-within-a-country, a standalone from much of the surrounding region. Once synonymous with all-inclusive resorts, in the last five years it has pivoted its focus to the luxury market. New five star openings over that time include Zadún, the fourth property in Ritz Carlton’s toniest collection, Reserve, and the Rosewood-run Las Ventanas al Paraiso. If you’d prefer more seclusion, book a villa like La Datcha Cabo San Lucas, on the southernmost tip, which can accommodate up to 20 people. However, all properties here, most of which reopened in July, are operating at reduced capacity to allow for social distancing, which only adds to a sense of splendid—and safe—isolation. If you’re comfortable with international travel, flight schedules from the U.S. are increasing again, making it easier to reach the region, and you’re almost guaranteed good weather every day; the rainy season has passed, and highs this month hover in the low 90s.

Barbados, Beach near Garrison
Alamy

Barbados

Forget visiting for a few days in October—why not move here for the year? Barbados, which has logged just over 100 cases of COVID-19, recently announced its Welcome Stamp visa for sun-seeking digital nomads. Valid for 12 months, it allows anyone earning over a certain salary to live and work remotely temporarily. If you’re not ready to commit to a year-long visit, it’s still worth flying down here this month: Book an oceanfront villa at The Crane, on the southeast coast, one of the country’s finest resorts, and spend a few days exploring the Bajan rum circuit. Though it’s now ubiquitous across the Caribbean, rum was formally first distilled at the Mount Gay Rum HQ in 1703. Head to its visitor center and you’ll be able to learn more of that history, as well as sampling a range of great dark and white blends. Compare its product with those from Foursquare in Saint Philip Parish, and Mount Gilboa, a 100 percent pot still rum made by the Mount Gay distillery.

Originally posted: https://www.cntraveler.com/gallery/best-places-to-travel-october?fbclid=IwAR3GfW-WeoON0QTr0Xfsg8PQrUWMnY5h2r1yPE7QAtDshHEiKqHKwIFUWcI

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Everything You Need to Know About Fish Extenders on Disney Cruise Line

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Everything You Need to Know About Fish Extenders on Disney Cruise Line

September 17, 2020

By: Christina Szewczuk

What is a Fish Extender and how does it work?

A Fish Extender Exchange (or FE) is a gift exchange – kind of like a Secret Santa! A group, or several groups, of people who are cruising together on the same cruise organize a gift exchange. You are assigned to a group of fellow cruisers. There are groups of different sizes so your commitment can be larger or smaller. (The one I did last time was a group of 10 cabins that all exchanged with each other. There were groups of 5 as well.) You’ll get their names and stateroom numbers and they get yours. You will exchange gifts with each stateroom. You can either give a gift for each person in the room or do one gift per cabin. It is best to chat with your group and get to know them so you can figure out what would best suit each person. Is it a room of friends? A family? A couple? Once you are on the cruise, you distribute the gifts in secret and leave them for people to find outside their cabin door. But don’t get caught! It’s so exciting to come back from dinner to an extender full of fun stuff or wake up to a surprise!

OK I’m in. How do I sign up?

The easiest way to sign up is to search for your sailing on Facebook and join a group page. They generally have a whole group with people who will be on the same sailing. You can post questions, answer questions(,) or just get to know some people before going. It’s a great way to meet people and get information. It’s really fun to run into them on the actual cruise! You can ask about Fish Extender groups there if you don’t see a post about it. There is usually someone within that group who will be organizing an exchange.  If you are not on Facebook, you can Google your sailing too. Some of the message boards have threads for your sailing and you can sometimes join a group there. However, it’s more popular on Facebook.

Why do they call it a Fish Extender?

Outside your stateroom door, there is a little silver fish, starfish or seahorse with your stateroom number below it. Disney Cruise Line uses these to hold messages, and other communications for you throughout your cruise. You hang your “Fish Extender” on here and the members of your group will fill it up with gifts. It’s an “extension” of your fish to hold messages and gifts from your fellow cruisers!

So this extender thingy…. What does it look like and is it expensive?

All of that is completely up to you! You can buy one or make one or just use a bag. It can be a Disney bag, a new bag, an old bag or even just a plastic grocery bag. Some Extenders are personalized, some have individual pockets for each person in the stateroom, and some are plain. It can be as simple or as fancy as you’d like it to be! There are countless Pinterest boards, “how to” blogs and Etsy shops you can use for inspiration or to find one you’d like to purchase.

I made our extender for my most recent cruise. We each had individual pockets personalized with our names on them. I got an organizer with 4 pockets because there were 4 of us and I decorated it with ribbon and iron-ons I made with my cutting machine. It was cost effective, practical(,) and we loved the way it turned out!

What kinds of gifts do you exchange?

There are so many different types of gifts you can exchange! You can decide how simple or fancy these gifts will be. It can be something handmade or purchased. Personalized or not… It does not have to be elaborate and expensive. My favorite gift was a set of coasters one of the couples on our cruise made. I use them all the time! (In fact, I am using one as I write this!) Some examples of things I received are in the photo below. What I gave out was a personalized lanyard for each person in the room and then I made a cabin gift. It was a flashlight that shines Mickey Mouse on the wall along with a magnetic whiteboard clip and a marker to write messages on it. A good friend of mine made regional bags to share some of her favorite treats that were unique to her hometown. She purchased really cute canvas bags with the sail date on them and filled them with treats and a letter explaining what each thing was and how it pertained to her area. Nightlights and flashlights are a great idea because it gets really dark in the room at night. Its nice to have a little light so you can find your way to the bathroom without waking everyone up or tripping. Some other common gifts are sundae kits, magnets, drawstring bags, personalized toothbrush holders, ornaments, towel clip for your beach/pool towel, (a) frame with sail date, drink cups, bracelets, drink cozies, and homemade gifts like soaps, coffee cup holders or potholders… This is another topic you can (find many) examples on Pinterest, Google, and Etsy.
TIP: Make sure to include a tag on your gift so people know who the gift is from.

When do you distribute your gifts?

You can give them out whenever you want- so you never know when you’ll find something in your extender! There is no schedule or strategy, just give them out at your leisure. Consider doing it the second or third night in so everyone doesn’t get all of their gifts the first night. You may have done a Pirate Themed gift that you’d like to give out on Pirate Night. If you’ve chosen a gift that’s good for use during the cruise, you may want to consider distributing that kind of thing the first night so people have a chance to use them during the cruise. This is completely up to you.

What are Pixie Dust Gifts? Do you have to do that?

Sometimes people will make a few extra gifts to hand out to people around the ship that are not in their Fish Extender group. These are “Pixie Dust” gifts because like any dose (of )“Pixie Dust”, it’s an unexpected random act of kindness. You can put it in any extender you see around the ship. These are optional but they are fun to give out.

Is an Ornament Exchange the same thing as a Fish Extender Exchange?

No, ornament exchanges are separate from Fish Extender. Some cruise groups choose to do an ornament exchange. It’s one ornament for each person you’re exchanging with. It works similarly to Fish Extender, but you’re only exchanging with another adult or couple rather than a stateroom of people. So you would sign up for an ornament exchange separately and you may have different people in your ornament exchange than you have in your Fish Extender group. You can choose to do one or the other or both.

Do they do this on other cruise lines?

The simple answer is no, this is just a Disney Cruise Line thing. Although the Fish Extender Exchange is unique to Disney Cruise Line, Disney Cruise Line does not run it, nor does it have any affiliation with Disney Cruise Line. It is simply a gift exchange organized by cruisers for cruisers. 

However, some other cruise lines do have things like Rubber Ducky Hunts aboard the ships. People bring their little rubber ducks and hide them on the ship. If you’re lucky, you’ll find one. There is usually a little note attached. Generally, you take a photo and say where you found it. Its your choice to hide the duck for someone else to find or keep the duck for yourself. This is another thing that cruisers plan ahead of time with no affiliation to the cruise line. So if you’re ever on another cruise line and find a random rubber duck – you know what that is too!

What do you think, would you do it again?

Yes! I absolutely loved this. It can be time consuming depending on what you choose to make or buy but I felt that it was worth it. I can’t wait to do it again on my next cruise. I already have ideas!!!

Are you going to participate in a Fish Extender on your next Disney Cruise?

I’d love to hear about it!

For more travel tips and information or to just follow my travel adventures, follow me on my social media accounts!

www.facebook.com/cszewczuk.wft
www.insatagram.com/Christinaatwishes
www.twitter.com/wisheschristina
www.pinterest.com/christinaatwishes

Also, feel free to email me at Christina@WishesFamilyTravel.com.

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My Worst Trip to Walt Disney World Ever

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My Worst Trip to Walt Disney World Ever

September 15, 2020

By Caitlin White, Vacation Experience Architect

My last trip to Disney World with my boys was the absolute worst trip to Disney in my entire life. Even though the trip started to feel like a comedy of errors, that’s not how they remember it. Spoiler alert: Even when a trip goes off the rails, it can bond you closer as a family.

While visiting family in Florida last October, we made a day trip to Orlando to go to Mickey’s Not-So-Scary-Halloween party. It was my first trip to Disney after becoming a Wishes Family Travel Concierge Agent and I had been planning that brief trip for months. Halloween costumes that wouldn’t be too hot in the Florida heat, check. Gallon baggies to hold all the trick-or-treating candy, check. Ponchos in case of rain, check. Charged cell phone and backup battery charger for tons of happy family photos, check. I was ready to make some memories! We certainly did-just not the kind I had originally planned on!

Our trip started off great. We spent the day at Disney Springs shopping and having lunch before heading to Magic Kingdom for early entry into the Halloween party. We rode a few rides (Haunted Mansion- my favorite!) and then decided to ride Splash Mountain. My boys were thrilled we were lucky enough to ride in the front row. We, of course, got soaked. My phone was less thrilled with the ride and stopped working because it had gotten so wet. Mistake #1- not putting my phone in plastic baggie or even just my backpack to protect it from water. My plans for taking lots of photos went out the window. (Mistake #2- not purchasing Memory Maker. In hindsight, I should have purchased Memory Maker. I hadn’t because it was “just one day”. I learned my lesson and will always purchase it from now on.)

We spent a few hours trick-or-treating through the park getting so much candy that the gallon baggies I packed were bursting with treats and taking up lots of space in my backpack. We took advantage of the short wait times to ride lots of attractions.  It had started to rain some, but it didn’t slow us down since we had ponchos.  The weather cleared and we did some souvenir shopping. At that point, I was running out of space in my backpack and decided to ditch the ponchos since the rain had passed.

As we exited Space Mountain around 11 pm, the skies opened up. Rain poured down in sheets.  And we began to slog through puddles on the long walk back to the parking lot. The temperature dropped and what had been swelteringly hot was now chilly and uncomfortable. Main Street started to flood with standing water up to our ankles. The boys began to whine. They were tired. They were cold. Why was it raining so hard?! After a long walk and a freezing ferry boat ride, we got back to our car. The boys changed into dry clothes and promptly fell sound asleep. I drove home soaking wet and questioning why I even wanted to go on vacation in the first place. Mistake #3- the rain has never really passed in Florida. Always keep the ponchos.

The next morning, in the light of day and in dry clothing, it didn’t seem quite so bad. It was actually kind of funny. As the boys talked about the trip, they weren’t focused on the bad parts. My youngest talked about how much he loved his “three favorite mountains”- Splash Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, and Space Mountain. My oldest was excited for the souvenirs he bought for friends back home. They raved all the trick-or-treating and riding Pirates of the Caribbean with their grandparents and getting to meet Jafar. The rain became a funny story to tell their friends- the amount of rain and their peril at walking through the flooded Main Street getting greater with each retelling. It became something we “survived” together, making us even closer as a family.

Looking back on the trip months later, it isn’t the mistakes I remember (although I will definitely learn from them!). I remember the joy of spending time with my children at Walt Disney World. I remember how important it is to travel and explore as a family. I remember that even when everything seems to be going wrong, we are making memories together. And that makes even a long walk in soaking wet shoes totally worth it.

I would love to help you make memories with your family and plan your next vacation! Contact me at 443-299-9197 for complimentary vacation planning services.


caitlin@wishesfamilytravel.com
www.facebook.com/cwhite.wft
Instagram: caitlin_wishesfamilytravel

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Up to $30 Food & Beverage Credit per day at MGM Resorts in Las Vegas Book By 11/2/2020

Posted by on 7:00 am in NON Disney Specials, Special Offers, WFT Specials | 0 comments

Up to $30 Food & Beverage Credit per day at MGM Resorts in Las Vegas Book By 11/2/2020

September 14, 2020

Up to $30 Food & Beverage Credit per day at MGM Resorts in Las Vegas Offer: Valid on new package bookings made between 8/19/20 and 11/02/21 at participating MGM Resorts. Requires minimum of two (2) nights’ accommodation. The daily credit for each night of the stay is valid for the corresponding calendar day through 11:59 p.m. PDT (subject to outlets’ operation hours). Unused daily credit does not accumulate or carry-over to a subsequent calendar day. Unused daily credit will be forfeited. Credit is valid only at participating M life Rewards destinations outlets. Credit can be used towards applicable taxes but cannot be used towards gratuities. Additional restrictions and blackout dates apply. Offers subject to promotional availability.
Not responsible for errors or omissions. Pleasant Holidays acts only as an agent for cruise & tour providers listed. CST# 1007939-10. Copyright©2020 Pleasant Holidays, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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

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7 BEST REASONS TO TAKE THE TRAIN TO THE NATIONAL PARKS

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

7 BEST REASONS TO TAKE THE TRAIN TO THE NATIONAL PARKS

By Amtrak Vacations

View of national park from inside an Amtrak train

When most people think of transportation options to get to our great national parks, they think of flying or driving. There’s a tendency to forget about the most iconic way to travel across the country and discover the land we love, and that’s by rail.

Whether you are looking to have a simple national park experience, a short weekend getaway, or seeking to immerse yourself in all of nature’s glory, traveling to our national parks by train offers a unique and relaxing adventure for anyone who is looking to add another check to their bucket list. Allow us to present the seven best reasons to take the train to these treasured gems. And if you’re still looking for more reasons, contact us today for more information and to create the perfect national park train vacation for yourself!

1. THE NATIONAL PARKS AND THE TRAIN GO HAND-IN-HAND

Hidden Lake Trail, Glacier National Park, Montana, USA

The National Park System and railroads have a historic relationship that goes back decades. America’s early railroad companies played a pivotal role in bringing awareness to our national heritage by actively promoting visitation to the parks and expanding the railroads to reach numerous gateway communities. Today, seeing the national parks by rail is not only an excellent alternative to traditional travel options, but a unique way to get a taste of history as you explore America’s heartland.

2. THE JOURNEY IS PART OF THE EXPERIENCE

Amtrak train traveling by a river

When you travel on an Amtrak train, it’s so much more than just getting to your destination as quickly as possible. From the moment you step onboard the train and make your way to your seat or room accommodations, you’ll feel the difference. There’s actually time to relax, have a meal, and reconnect with family, friends, and fellow passengers. And there’s a unique opportunity to learn more about and connect with the land you’re traveling through. As you pass great rivers, mountains, and vast desert landscapes, it’s hard not to develop a new appreciation for our protected lands.

3. DIRECT ACCESS TO U.S. NATIONAL PARKS

sunset image of the grand canyon where passengers are standing on the edge

Because of the long-standing relationship between the train and the national parks, many of Amtrak’s most famous routes transport passengers close to the top parks. In the case of Glacier National Park, the train station is only a few steps away from the park’s entrance, making it one of the easiest parks to get to by train. While hotel accommodations inside or adjacent to the parks can be hard to come by (as they sell out fast in season), Amtrak Vacations can help travelers with securing these coveted rooms.

Sign up join our FREE WEBINARS, to learn how you can SAVE up to $300 on your next national park rail vacation!  Register Today »

4. THE VIEWS ARE INCLUDED

California Zephyr Passengers in Observation Car

The best way to truly see America is from the broad windows of an Amtrak passenger rail car. Stretch out and recline in your private accommodation or admire the all-encompassing views from the Sightseer Lounge or the Observation car. Enjoy scenes of the country not accessible by any other means of transportation while you travel in comfort. As you get closer to the national parks, take in iconic scenes of the area, from the sweeping pine forests of Glacier National Park to the red rock structures of the Grand Canyon. Your personal scenic experience is right outside your window on the train.

5. NO LINES, NO HASSLE, NO STRESS

a couple walking through the train station

Simply board the train at one of the 500+ Amtrak stations across the country and you’re on your way to the national parks! No airport lines, no security checks, no frazzled, stressed-out passengers. Amtrak’s generous luggage guidelines let you bring two carry-on bags and two personal items on board, and there’s always the option to check two bags for free if need be. Imagine getting right to the heart of your destination relaxed, refreshed and ready to explore!

6. SEE MULTIPLE PARKS IN ONE TRIP

buffalo by the geyser at Yellowstone National Park

With Amtrak Vacations, it’s easy to take the national park train vacation of your dreams – whether it’s spending more time at just one or two parks, or visiting up to 12 national parks in a single vacation! Check out the popular itineraries below for examples of exciting multi-park train vacations.

Grand National Parks of America – This epic, around-the-country rail exploration of 12 of America’s top national parks will shorten many a bucket list! See the best of the country’s greatest national parks – including the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Yosemite, and Glacier National Park – the way they were meant to be experienced – by iconic Amtrak train. >> Learn more

Grand Tetons and Yellowstone Rail Journey – Explore two of America’s grandest national parks on this fabulous rail vacation! Travel through the wide-open landscape of the Heartland of America by rail before reaching Salt Lake City. Continue on to Jackson Hole for an exploration of Grand Teton National Park and its spectacular wildlife. From there, the journey north continues to Yellowstone National Park, where you can take in the amazing scenery that has made this destination a must-see for decades >> Learn more

Grand National Parks of the Southwest – Discover five incredible national parks of Utah – Arches, Canyonlands, Zion, Bryce, and Capitol Reef – on this seven-day rail journey from Chicago. Be treated to breathtaking sightseeing tours of each park and spectacular views of the unique geography of the area, including the dramatic arches, spires, pinnacles, balance rocks, and fins you may have only seen in photos. >> Learn more

Grand National Parks with Yellowstone, Yosemite, and Glacier National Park – Prepare for a journey to three of the nation’s greatest national parks! Experience the best of the American West as you travel across the Great Plains and through the Rocky Mountains aboard Amtrak. Stop to explore all the sites and wonders of timeless Yellowstone National Park. Yosemite also awaits where your tour takes in all the natural glory to be found in this astounding national park. Glacier National Park is an endless natural beauty with thousands and thousands of acres of pristine wilderness, soaring mountain peaks, and abundant wildlife. >> Learn more

7. CREATE YOUR OWN NATIONAL PARKS ITINERARY

water fall at Yosemite national park

The options for visiting national parks by train are endless. With the help of our friendly Rail Vacation Specialists, you can create an itinerary that includes the park or parks you want to visit and only the tours, activities, and accommodations that work best for you and your travel companions.

Originally posted: https://www.amtrakvacations.com/blog/7-best-reasons-to-take-the-train-to-the-national-parks/?mkt_tok=eyJpIjoiTldSbFptRTRNRE5pTURaaCIsInQiOiJHUityUEY1VTdEeGlRbHo2RjVxbnNQVWJCdUZkdkFxR0FpeE00NjB6K2lObWNyc2s0dkt4eThPak50ZjBuTkhhM0YyR1pSMGtod1pVV1JUMitlZkhVSE0ydlwvK1hLZnB4d2VMN0NDa3FubEc3cCs1WmxXYURJRGY3eVg2TTQrbGIifQ%3D%3D&fbclid=IwAR08VBcAmtrMMrgzAXGGVEP9v3-O6f0FJsPNAQyDzxbN-En0OJhyCVyjsMg

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Mommy and Me Have So Much to See…Let’s Travel the World!

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

Mommy and Me Have So Much to See…Let’s Travel the World!

September 10, 2020

By: Missy Ryan

For those who follow me, and as many of you are aware, I am a mother of six. I have been a mother for 25 years. I can’t say I know it all, because I don’t. I can’t say that I have done it all, because I haven’t. What I can say is, for 25 years I have dedicated my life to raising my children to the best of my ability. There have been good times, rough times, big smiles, tears, ups and downs. Through my years of parenting, I learned that with each new experience there came a memory, a learned adventure, a new chapter to add.

Knowing that these times would fly, I made it and still make it my personal mission to include travel in each of their lives.

Aside from the family trips, the family vacations to the beach, camping, local parks, and everyday adventures, I wanted more for them. I wanted chapters that only they could reflect on. Only they could say that they wrote that page to their book, they shared that smile with Mom, they were the title of that adventure.

Personally, this also made me realize that each of my children benefited so much more with one on one time with me.

My desire to travel has been passed down to each child at a young age.

While some may be planning for large family trips, I always have enjoyed the small one on one trips where I could fully immerse myself with a Mommy and Me travel date. Watching the joy through their eyes, seeing their smiles, hearing every word, feeling their happiness rush through with each giggle. Having that special time has allowed me to shift my focus and to be more present as a parent. It has taught me to value those moments as memories were developing.

When I first decided to travel solo with my children, a lot of planning went into my itinerary.

As more trips developed, I realized that my planning did not have to be as detailed, as this was ultimately robbing the fun out of the adventure.

I learned quickly that the planning was more for me, my children were completely happy just having that time alone and being the center of attention.

I have planned many trips through the years. Some have been day trips, others have been weekend adventures.

I have gifted my children adventures for birthdays, graduations, Christmas, and other special achievements.

These gifts have been presented through various ways such as destination displays, cakes, cookies, guessing games.

All which have added to “their” special chapters.

Personally, my favorite one on one trips have been to Walt Disney World.

One of my favorite getaways was with my son Jack. He and I took a trip last December and spent five nights at Pop Century.

We made matching shirts, planned matching ears and buttons, and mapped out our days with where we wanted to eat and our top 3 must dos.

It was extremely rewarding to hear him thank me and tell me how happy he was. My heart was filled with so much joy that nothing at that moment could compare.

I urge any parent that has more than one child to try to incorporate some type of individual adventure if it fits into their budget, schedule, life.

If it takes saving up in a special Vacay Fund jar, do it. Maybe start small with horseback riding at a ranch, or a weekend that includes a local theme park, then work your way up.

Make your goals and adventures attainable.

Talk about them with your child. Let them know they are an important part of the process.

Depending on your location of choice, give gift cards for Birthdays and Holidays. Ask family and friends to do the same. Have your child participate in paid chores and set aside a percent that will go towards their next adventure.

Create a vision board and place it someplace that they will see it every day.

Write your goals down. It is a proven fact that more than 50% of goals are achieved when written down.

Have a yard sale and sell items that are no longer useful to you but can be another person’s treasure. Consignment shops are always looking for clothes, kid sales are also a popular place to make extra money. Save those items that sell and put them aside for your Mommy and Me time.

We have 18 beautiful summers with our precious children. Make them count, make them special.

Your next Adventure is Out There!!

If you would like more tips or help in creating a dream come true please contact me at Missyr@wishesfamilytravel.com.

You can also follow me on Facebook and Instagram

Looking forward to helping you add pages to your chapter!!

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VIDEO: Best All-Inclusive Resorts for Foodies

Posted by on 7:05 pm in Thoughts and Opinions, Video, WFT Specials | 0 comments

VIDEO: Best All-Inclusive Resorts for Foodies

September 9, 2020

Here’s food for thought: the best all-inclusive resorts offer a true food vacation for those with a taste for the gourmet. And no other all-inclusive resort serves up authentic international cuisine like Sandals® Resorts. With 5-Star Global Gourmet™ dining, you’ll savour mouthwatering cuisine at up to 16 restaurants per resort. From casual beachside grills to white-glove fine dining, it’s all included, all the time, any time. #5StarGlobalGourmet #FoodiesVacation #LuxuryIncludedVacation

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Disney Cruise: Part 1

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

Disney Cruise: Part 1

September 8, 2020

By: Lisa Perna

My first Disney Cruise was on the Disney Dream. Before boarding the ship, you have to check in. The check in process runs smoothly. When you enter the building, you will start by going through security. Once you are finished with security you enter the main building.  They have a huge waiting area where you sit and wait for your group number to be called. While waiting you can look at the large replica of a Disney ship. When your group number is called you will go through the check in process.

I remember walking by the ship and being overwhelmed by its size and beauty.  In all honesty, I was a little bit nervous about going on this cruise. Since this was my first cruise, I was worried about getting seasick and wondered if the cruise was really worth the money I had spent. 

As you enter the ship you are announced by crew members. They are waiting to welcome you to your vacation. Once your family is announced, you walk down a red carpet and the crew members cheer you on and clap. I had not been expecting this, and it took me by surprise!

Once I boarded the ship, I was completely surprised at the beautiful reception area I had walked into. The high ceilings and elaborate chandeliers soon made me forget I was on a ship.  It felt like I had entered a grand hotel from years past. Beautiful artwork from classic movies lined the walls. My favorite was a stunning mosaic from ”Sleeping Beauty.” The amount of detail and thought put into every decoration is amazing.

By looking around at this incredible ship, I was in this moment of pure awe! The excitement, amazement, and wonder hit me all at the same time. I was ready to start this trip and see what adventures there were to be discovered. To be continued….

This review is based on a recent trip on the Disney Dream in 2019.  While onboard this ship, I did not receive any discounts. This is my unbiased opinion. If you have any question, feel free to contact me at lperna@wishesfamilytravel.com Follow me on Facebook and Instagram!

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Choosing Your Perfect Palace Resorts Destination Wedding

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

Choosing Your Perfect Palace Resorts Destination Wedding

September 7, 2020

By: Palace Resorts Weddings

There’s nothing easy about planning a wedding. And fun, well, the concept of having a good time while planning a wedding is a fairytale seldom told. At least, that’s what we’ve been told over and over.

Choosing Your Perfect Palace Resorts Destination Wedding

There’s nothing easy about planning a wedding. And fun, well, the concept of having a good time while planning a wedding is a fairytale seldom told. At least, that’s what we’ve been told over and over.

But while there is a tremendous amount of planning that goes into putting together the perfect ceremony and the related celebrations, no one ever said that the bride has to be responsible for it all. Or that part of the experience couldn’t be as enjoyable as the wedding itself.

Choosing Your Perfect Palace Resorts Destination Wedding

That’s exactly what Palace Resorts offers future married couples with its Preview Paradise program. Couples are invited to a complimentary two-night stay at one of Palace Resorts’ properties in Mexico or Jamaica where they get to not only enjoy the exclusive all-inclusive resorts, but just as importantly preview how their unforgettable wedding will unfold.

It’s the perfect way to see exactly how a couple’s special day would become a reality. Some of the perks include meeting with planners and suppliers, checking out wedding locations, exploring decor options, and sampling cuisine and cake.

The Preview Paradise is almost like a Pre Honeymoon that became a thing some years back. The biggest difference is that you get the added benefit that Palace Resorts’ Preview Paradise will help ease any anxieties or doubts about your actual destination wedding, while letting enjoy yourself with your partner.

Choosing Your Perfect Palace Resorts Destination Wedding

Combined with all the little extras, including free airport transfers, mini bridal shows, and more, don’t be surprised if memories of your Preview Paradise compete with your actual destination wedding as among the most unforgettable of your life.

Plus, couples can take full advantage of the resort’s amenities during their preview visit, from lounging by the beach to fine dining.

Think of it as a glimpse into just how magical your wedding day will be. All you’ve got to do is say yes.

Originally posted by Palace Resorts Weddings: https://weddings.palaceresorts.com/en/blog/choosing-your-perfect-destination

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