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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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5 Reasons to join Wishes Family Travel on our Princess Group Cruise

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5 Reasons to join Wishes Family Travel on our Princess Group Cruise

Corrie Krpejs


Wishes Family Travel will be sailing on the Caribbean Princess on May 14, 2019. We will be sailing for 4-nights from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida and visiting Cozumel, Mexico. Still need a reason to consider joining Wishes Family Travel on our Princess Group Cruise? Well I have five wonderful reasons to join! Now sit back, relax, and see why you should consider cruising with us.



  1. Enjoy the newly renovated Caribbean Princess.

Whether it’s an inside stateroom or a suite, you will love your comfortable stateroom onboard the Caribbean Princess. You can also enjoy “Anytime Dining.” This means that between 5:30-10:30pm you can eat whenever you like with whomever you like. So, if you are looking for a cruise that gives you a little bit more freedom then this is your cruise! You can also enjoy a casino, pools, hot tubs, and shopping while onboard. Take in a musical production or even a movie under the stars!

  1. Options for all ages.

Want to bring your family? No problem! Princess Cruise Line has something for everyone. They offer Kids Clubs for ages 3-17 years and they are included in the cost of your cruise. Need more room for your family? Princess also offers a 2-bedroom stateroom that sleeps up to 8 people. While the kids are enjoying their clubs that means its time for the adults to unwind. Enjoy time at Club Fusion, Skywalkers Nightclub, or take in a show at the Princess Theater. There is even an adults-only retreat called, The Sanctuary.

  1. It’s time to be pampered.

Sometimes we forget that we need to take some time and take care of ourselves. The Lotus Spa onboard the Caribbean Princess is an award-winning spa that offers facials, massages, manicures, pedicures, and many more relaxing treatments.

  1. Incredible food.

Bring your appetite because you will have the opportunity to enjoy some amazing dishes! There are plenty of Included Dining Options: Salty Dog Grill, a Pizzeria, World Fresh Marketplace, Coffee and Cones, an International Café, and in the Main Dining Room you can enjoy the work of award-winning chef, Curtis Stone. Princess Cruise Line also offers Specialty Dining. On the Caribbean Princess you have five restaurants to choose from. Or, enjoy a luxurious dinner in the privacy of your own balcony! You can also enjoy Chocolate Journeys. Master chocolatier Norman Love designed some amazing chocolate desserts that can be enjoyed while cruising with Princess Cruise Line.

  1. The amazing shore excursions.

There are plenty of great options to choose from in Cozumel and they offer a variety of different activity levels. If you are wanting something for the history buff in your family, then you have the option to explore Mayan ruins. For the more adventurous, there is ziplining or an ATV adventure. Want to relax, then enjoy a beach break or a catamaran sail and snorkel. For the foodies, you can visit the Mayan Cacao Company or a Mexican Taco Tour. Lastly for those animal lovers, enjoy a stingray or dolphin encounter. As you can see there are plenty of options to choose from. Now to decide which one!

After reading all of the great reasons to join our Wishes Family Travel Group Cruise, let’s get to the Booking Bonus! Each Stateroom receives a bottle of wine, chocolate covered strawberries, and two travel mugs. There are plenty of other reasons to sail with us but I do hope you decide to join us on May 14, 2019 on the Caribbean Princess.

Contact me for more information and your FREE Travel Plan!

Corrie Krpejs – Wishes Family Travel


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5 Signs You Have Disney Cruise Withdrawal

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5 Signs You Have Disney Cruise Withdrawal

Nicole Couch


A Disney Cruise is the ultimate vacation experience; one sailing and you will be hooked! The food, the entertainment, and service that is second to none! Anyone who has been lucky enough to experience a Disney Cruise first hand also knows the one downside to cruising, DCW: Disney Cruise Withdrawal. It is a well known phenomenon that most cruisers will experience anywhere from weeks to months following a Disney Cruise.

Here are five signs that you may be suffering from DCW: Disney Cruise Withdrawal

1. Your kids are expecting you to feed them… AGAIN!
On a Disney Cruise there are so many dining options that kids and adults will have plenty of choices for food throughout the day. There is a buffet, Cabanas, along with plenty of quick service options on the main pool deck. With all those choices, no one will go hungry and YOU don’t have to lift a finger!

2. You realize someone keeps forgetting your towel animals and chocolates! Wait, you have to make your own bed?!
Disney Cruise Line provides everyone with a Stateroom Attendant that makes sure you come back from your exciting day to a freshly made bed adorned with chocolates, and most nights a cute animal made out of towels! If you are traveling with kids, the couch in your room turns into a bed, and another one drops down from the ceiling. The Stateroom Attendant sets up the beds while you are at dinner, and during breakfast hours puts them away so you can enjoy more space in the room.



3. You are outraged that they are making you pay at movie theaters!
Onboard a Disney cruise, there is a theater that plays movies continuously throughout the day. They play family friendly movies all day and more current releases in the evenings. If you are lucky enough to be onboard when a new Disney movie is released, they will give a special sneak peak onboard! All of the movies are included in the price of the cruise for no additional cost!

4. You find your everyday life dull, mundane, and lacking in amazing, entertaining activities!
On Disney Cruise ships there is always something exciting going on! From Broadway quality shows, to Bingo games, to Disney trivia, there is something for everyone! Check your Navigator every night on your cruise to see what activities interest you for the following day. There are character meet and greets, water slides, fantastic excursions, mixology classes, gameshows, along with clubs to dance the night away!




5. There is an empty place in your heart where soft serve ice cream used to be
In addition to the multitude of restaurant options, there is an ice cream cone station aboard every Disney Cruise. It is open from 11 am to midnight and has a variety of flavors including vanilla/chocolate, banana/chocolate, and banana/strawberry. There are cones available, or you can grab a cup and a spoon from the drink station, fill It up, and save yourself a couple trips!


There is only one cure for Disney Cruise Withdrawal, and that is to start planning your next Disney Cruise! If you or anyone you know is suffering from any of these symptoms, I would love to help you plan your next adventure aboard a Disney Cruise. If you would like more information, please contact me at or (804) 514-3918. You can also check out my Facebook page by clicking HERE.

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What Does All-Inclusive Actually Mean?

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What Does All-Inclusive Actually Mean?

By Kylie Morrow | July 17th 2018

An all-inclusive resort is one where your worries quite literally melt away.

But still, a lot of people wonder: what does all-inclusive mean? What exactly is included? What do I have to bring?

When you go all-inclusive, you pay upfront for everything that you need to enjoy an epic vacation. So, once you arrive at your resort, you can kick back and enjoy everything the luxurious destination has to offer, safe in the knowledge that you won’t have to shell out any more money, unless a little souvenir shopping takes your fancy.

What is included at an all-inclusive resort?

Some resorts use the term to mean different things, but in short, all-inclusive means that guests pay one fee for their entire stay, which covers their accommodations, food and drink, tips and taxes, and a few specific activities.

At the best resorts, watersports and other activities will be part of your vacation too. At some Sandals resorts, for example, you can even enjoy a range of motorized water sports for no extra fee. So, all inclusive is the definition of a luxurious vacations, where guests can indulge as much as they like, without ever having the worry of a massive bill at the end of the trip.

What does all-inclusive mean at Sandals resorts?

There are all-inclusive resorts all over the world, but the term all-inclusive does tend to mean different things in different regions. At Sandals Resorts, however, all-inclusive really does mean that everything is included.

When you book your vacation with Sandals, you’ll be able to enjoy amazing accommodations, gourmet cuisine, alcoholic and soft drinks, high-end spirits, entertainment and so much more. There are no hidden surprises and extra costs. When we say everything is included, we mean it!

If you find yourself still skeptical, we’ve got one piece of advice:

Book your next trip to a Sandals all-inclusive resort and experience what it means for yourself. You’ll be amazed not only at the beauty of our Caribbean destinations, but at the great value you’ll enjoy while you’re there.

Experience authentic cuisine from some of the best restaurants on the islands, within our resorts, and immerse yourself in the spirit of your tropical escape. Once you start changing up your vacations to go all-inclusive, we guarantee you won’t want to go back. This is the lap of luxury, at its finest.

Is all-inclusive worth it?

Anyone who has ever wondered “are all-inclusive resorts worth it,” only needs to try the high-end take of all inclusive offered at Sandals Resorts.

Often, anything bad said about all-inclusive vacations are due to a few resorts that charge guests extra for things they know their guests will want to enjoy while they’re there, like premium spirits or watersports.

However, at Sandals, you won’t find yourself surprised by added extras like these. If you need a little extra convincing, just check out the long list of inclusions for your vacation package at Sandals resorts.

Still wondering what going all-inclusive means?

Sandals Resorts boast some of the most innovative and beautiful accommodations across the Caribbean. Opulence is the name of the game at Sandals, and stays here come complete with breathtaking panoramic views of some of the world’s most impressive scenery, to Skypool Suiteswhere guests enjoy personal butler service, 24 hours a day.

Not only that, there are infinity plunge pools at some of our resorts, and fabulous over-the-water villas to set the scene for romance.

Here are some other things to consider when thinking about what all-inclusive means:

Gourmet Cuisine

Sandals Resorts include unrivaled dining experiences for guests. They are home to no dozens of different themed restaurants, enabling guests to experience a taste of the world when they book a stay at one of our resorts.

Travelers can be a little put off by the all-inclusive label, fearing that they may be limited to one restaurant for their entire trip. However, at the best resorts, you’ll be able to choose from a wide range of fabulous, varied restaurants, so you’ll never get tired of the delicious food available.

Premium Spirits

Nothing says vacation like a glass of ice cool rum punch, or a mojito sundowner. Most resorts allow you to indulge in your favorite cocktails all day long, without worrying about the bar bill.

Sandals resorts go one step further, enabling guests to enjoy their favorite drinks 24 hours a day. The bars are open from 10 am to 3 am, however guests’ rooms are fully stocked with beer and wine for you to enjoy whenever you wish. Premium spirits are also stocked in the Concierge and Butler suites.

World Class Entertainment

Sandals resorts are unique in that they offer inclusive scuba diving. Your vacation cost includes the very best scuba diving equipment, expert dive staff and access to breathtaking dive sites. Even if you’re a complete beginner, you can jump straight in, as you’ll be able to complete the PADI® Resort Certification Program at your resort.

Sandals turns the traditional meaning of all-inclusive on its head, adding watersports including paddle boards, wakeboarding, waterskiing and so much more. Our resorts even offer some motorized watersports at no extra cost.

Come see what Sandals has in store

Whether you’re an all-inclusive lover or you’ve never tried one before, you’ll be absolutely blown away by the Sandals experience.

Leave your worries at the door because at our resorts, everything’s covered. And we really mean everything!

originally posted:

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Tips for Avoiding “Disney Exhaustion”

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Tips for Avoiding “Disney Exhaustion”

Becky Criswell

One of the most common phrases I hear from clients after they return from their Walt Disney World vacation is, “I need a vacation from my vacation!”. There’s no doubt that while Disney World is magical, exciting, fun-filled and just plain awesome, it can also be exhausting! This is especially true if you are traveling with little ones and caring for them along the way. In my opinion, coming home tired is a sign that you had an amazing, action-packed vacation, but I’m offering some tips today that will hopefully help you to avoid feeling completely worn out!


  • Be prepared that YOU WILL WALK A LOT. It helps if you know this up front so you aren’t completely shocked when you get there and realize that it’s very easy to walk 10 miles a day when you are visiting the parks. Pack very comfortable shoes!
  • If at all possible, plan at least one “off” day in between park visits. I realize this is not always possible if you have a limited number of days for your vacation. However, it is extremely helpful if you can take a day mid-week to move at a slower pace and perhaps enjoy your resort pool or other amenities. This is especially helpful if you are traveling with small children who may not be able to handle back-to-back days in the parks. This could be a day that you try to keep them on their normal routine and nap schedule to avoid a complete melt-down by the end of the trip. If you cannot take off a full-day from the parks, perhaps you could consider doing a half-day to allow yourself at least one relaxing morning or evening.f-26-14-11948855_0hCekqNq_DSC_0011_1_D1GZ
  • Know your limits! I will tell you a short personal story. On our last family vacation (which was a total of 10 days), my husband and I had the opportunity to go out one evening while my mother-in-law kindly stayed with our kids. The Magic Kingdom happened to be open until 1am and we just HAD to take advantage of this opportunity, right? We had a blast and got back to our room around 2:00am, but I paid for it for the rest of the trip! There’s no slowing down when you have 3 small kiddos in tow, and this late night really did me in!
  • Strollers! Of course you will need a stroller for your small children, but as kids get older, people often question whether or not a stroller is really necessary. You know your child best and you know their ability to keep up while walking long distances. If you are at all in doubt, bring or rent a stroller! Even children who are normally okay with lots of walking will usually benefit from a stroller in Disney World. I may have mentioned this already but you will do a TON of walking. If your child cannot keep up, you will find yourself carrying them around or giving piggy-back rides and this will only add to your exhaustionf-26-19-11948855_CsCeccMp_140_1
  • Remind yourself this is vacation. Disney World can be very fast-paced and you might feel pressure to try to fit everything in. There’s no way you can see and do everything in one trip, so try to remind yourself that it’s about family time, building memories, and enjoying each moment even if you don’t check off everything on your list.

I hope you find these tips helpful and useful for avoiding complete exhaustion. But if you come home exhausted, one of our experienced agents at Wishes Family Travel would be happy to help you plan a relaxing beach vacation for your recovery!

If you are ready to start planning your Disney vacation, please email me at!

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Lunch in Paradise – A Review of Ama Ama at Aulani

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Lunch in Paradise – A Review of Ama Ama at Aulani

Leslie Dinunzio

Ama Ama is yumma yumma!


If you ever travel to Disney’s Aulani Resort and Spa in Ko’Olina, Oahu in Hawaii, please treat yourself to a wonderful signature meal at Ama Ama! Aulani has many dining options from quick serve options at Mama’s Snack Stop and Ulu Cafe to shaved ice (with Mickey ears!) to character dining at Makahiki. The most breathtaking location for a special meal is Ama Ama, where you can enjoy breakfast, lunch, or dinner and enjoy a view of the beach. If the adults in your party want to enjoy a meal sans children, Auntie’s Beach House (kids club!!!) is literally just across the walkway. Convenience at its finest. While the views of the Hawaiian sunset are spectacular from this location, my family chose to enjoy a leisurely lunch one sunny August day.

While not an overly strict dress code, Ama Ama requests a coverup be worn over a swimsuit. My daughter and I had damp hair (from a shower, not the pool) and were asked to confirm we hadn’t just exited the pool area before dining. When you enter fruit infused water is available while you wait for your table.


The lunch menu is great – casual but still upscale. There is a full bar menu though we opted for soft drinks/water/iced tea.


As far as our dining choices direct from the menu descriptions (sample menu), my husband ordered the “‘AMA‘AMA Chopped Salad with crispy Wonton Strips, Bacon, Chopped Tomatoes Avocado, Egg, Furikake, Capers and House-made Ranch Dressing”, my 12 year old ordered the “Harris Ranch Natural Angus Chuck Burger Smoked Gouda Cheese, Red Onion Marmalade Kamuela Tomatoes, Arugula, Bacon Aïoli on a Brioche Bun” (likely with no marmalade), I had the ‘AMA‘AMA Soup and Sandwich Combo 1/2 Chicken Salad Sandwich with a cup of Kahuku Corn and Crab Chowder” (with sweet potato fries) and my son had the kids cheese pizza and ice cream :)


This was a great meal. The food was very good and you can’t beat an open air restaurant overlooking the Pacific Ocean in paradise. For more information about a trip to Aulani (or any other Disney destination), please contact

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Cool Facts About Cool Places: Pirates of the Caribbean at Disneyland Park

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Cool Facts About Cool Places: Pirates of the Caribbean at Disneyland Park

by , Editorial Content Director, Disneyland Resort

Ahoy Mateys! This summer, we are sharing some of our favorite places to cool off at the Disneyland Resort, along with cool facts you may not have known!

Pirates of the Caribbean at Disneyland Park

Since its debut in 1967, Pirates of the Caribbean at Disneyland park has transported millions of guests on a thrilling, immersive adventure. The engaging experience debuted as a technological marvel and storytelling masterpiece and, for decades, this award-winning attraction has been considered one of the pinnacles of theme park experiences. The original attraction even inspired a global phenomenon and launched a highly popular film franchise.

Pirates of the Caribbean at Disneyland Park

Pirates of the Caribbean is the perfect attraction to unwind on during warm days. Here are five cool facts about this classic experience:

  1. Disney Imagineer X Atencio, who wrote the attraction’s memorable tune, “Yo-Ho (A Pirate’s Life for Me),” is the voice of the Jolly Roger skull and crossbones, seen just before guests plunge down the first waterfall.
  2. Guests ride through the attraction for approximately 15 minutes, on one of the longest rides at Disneyland Resort.
  3. Approximately 120 animated characters (human characters plus nine different types of animated animals) appear in the Audio-Animatronics cast of Pirates of the Caribbean.
  4. The attraction façade was partly inspired by the Cabildo building in Jackson Square in New Orleans that served as the seat of the Spanish colonial government in 1799. It is also noted for being the site where the Louisiana Purchase was signed in 1803.
  5. The Aztec pirate chest used in the film “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl” appears in the Treasure Room as the last thing guests see in that scene.

For more “cool” experiences, be sure to check out my roundup of favorite Disneyland Resort attractions to enjoy during the warm summer months.

Originally Published:

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A Visit to Vancouver, British Columbia

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A Visit to Vancouver, British Columbia

Juli Russ

One of the most beautiful cities I have had the privilege of visiting is Vancouver in British Columbia, Canada. The city sits along the Pacific Ocean and is nestled in the Canadian Rockies. Truly gorgeous scenery along with a bustling city and numerous outdoor activities make Vancouver an amazing vacation destination.

Our hotel, the Vancouver Marriot Pinnacle Downtown Hotel, was walking distance to great restaurants and nightlife. One of our favorite restaurants was located in Coal Harbor. We stopped at Cardero’s for lunch on a sunny afternoon and chose to sit outside in order to enjoy the view of the boats, ocean and mountains. Cardero’s is known for the most amazing fish I have ever eaten, Sablefish. It is a melt in your mouth delicacy like you have never imagined.


We were also able to walk to one of Vancouver’s oldest districts, Gastown and take in the Victorian architecture. It was fun to stroll through the shops and pop in to the many pubs. If you are lucky, you might catch a movie or television show being filmed on the streets of Gastown.

After exploring the city, you may be up for some adventure and to do a little hiking I would highly recommend a visit to the Capilano Suspension Bridge. The 450-foot-long suspension bridge crosses the Capilano River 230 feet below. Once across the bridge you can hike along the trails or go up in the trees and experience the Treetops Adventure. The Treetops Adventure reminded me of the Ewok village in Star Wars!

Cliffwalk is another experience to enjoy at Capilano. The Cliff walk will take you over the edge to view the rainforest in an incredibly unique way.


A short, picturesque drive north of Vancouver is the ski town of Whistler. It wasn’t ski season when we were in Vancouver but there was still plenty to do. The village was bustling with tourists in town for a Tough Mudder competition and many people were mountain biking on the ski trails. There were many shops, restaurants and bars along with live entertainment.


Vancouver is an incredible city to visit whether you are departing from the port on an Alaskan cruise or just looking for a unique vacation destination. I would love to help you plan a visit to Vancouver. For more information email or visit my Wishes Family Travel – Juli Russ Facebook page.

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VIDEO: SoundSeeker: Behind the Science of Creating a First of Its Kind AI-Powered Tool

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VIDEO: SoundSeeker: Behind the Science of Creating a First of Its Kind AI-Powered Tool

Royal Caribbean teamed up with experts from Berklee College of Music, and technologists from around the world, to create the unique song generator. More than a year in the making, SoundSeeker entailed more than 600 hours of machine learning, reviewing hundreds of music tracks alongside 10,000 photos and matching each of the 2.5 million combinations to one of 11 moods. The AI-powered tool is set to redefine the modern vacation album.

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A Resort Like No Other

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A Resort Like No Other

By: Erica Kocher

Have you ever wanted to stay at a resort that makes you feel as if you are visiting a whole different place? If so, Animal Kingdom Lodge is the choice for you. It consists of two different resorts, Jambo House & Kidani Village. As you drive up to the resort, you can tell it’s different than anywhere you have ever stayed before. If you happen to be arriving during the day, you will see the hustle & bustle of bell services, but what is most surprising is the sound of live African drums welcoming you.

Walking into the lobbies of both resorts is absolutely breathtaking. They have open ceilings and a giant glass wall in the back so you can see out to the savannah. The décor definitely transports you right into the heart of African culture. Located in the lobby is Bell Services, Check-in, Concierge, and a gift shop.

Johari Treasures is the gift shop located at Kidani Village. In this shop you will find snacks, a refillable drink counter, essentials that you may have left at home, along with a few souvenirs. For a full size gift shop, I recommend checking out Zawadi Marketplace, located at Jambo House. Zawadi has a larger variety of Disney themed souvenirs, as well as African art, instruments, and apparel. At times, you will be lucky to find an artist inside the Marketplace creating one-of-a-kind African art for you to take home.


Kidani Village is a Disney Vacation Club resort, so chances are you would be staying at Jambo House when visiting. Personally, I prefer Jambo House because of the larger gift shop, the larger pool, and more restaurant choices. When choosing your room at Animal Kingdom Lodge, you can choose from standard view (sometimes the parking lot or foliage/other times obstructed views of the savannah), pool view, and savannah view. There are different types of rooms to choose from: standard rooms have 2 queen size beds, 1 queen bed & 1 bunk bed, or a king size bed & a daybed. These rooms fit 4-5 adults. For larger groups, you can get a 1, 2, or 3 bedroom villa complete with a full size kitchen & living room. At Jambo House, the entire top floor is reserved for club level guests. No matter which resort you stay, there is a shuttle that can take you to the neighboring resort for pool hopping, shopping, and meals.

Of the room choices, I definitely recommend the savannah view rooms. Animal Kingdom Lodge has a 33-acre wildlife reserve that is home for over 30 species of African wildlife. You can find a Wildlife Field Guide in your room or obtain one from the lobby concierge. Jambo House is home of Arusha Rock, an elevated savannah viewing area where at night you can hear stories from cast members and borrow night vision binoculars to view the wildlife. If you are a fan of hidden Mickeys, there are three giraffes carved into the side of Arusha Rock, one of them includes a hidden Mickey.

If you are like me, you enjoy trying new meals while on vacation. Animal Kingdom Lodge has three table service restaurants, one quick service restaurant, and two pool bars where food can be ordered. At Jambo House, you will find Jiko and Boma for table services meals and The Mara and Uzima Springs Pool Bar for quick serve meals. At Kidani Village, you will find Sanaa (it is a quick service restaurant for breakfast & table service for lunch and dinner) and Maji Pool Bar for quick service meals. There are also specialty meal choices, Wanyama Safari (which ends with a meal at Jiko), Private Dining (room service) Jiko Wine Tasting, and Dine with an Animal Specialist. If you like to enjoy a cocktail to wind down, there are three lounges to choose from, Cape Town Lounge and Wine Bar, Sanaa Lounge, and Victoria Falls Lounge. Over 10 years ago, I found a desert/snack that was little known then, but is now a fan favorite. It’s called Zebra Domes and can only be found at Animal Kingdom Lodge. They are a great choice for a snack on the meal plan, but can also be found on the dinner buffet at Boma.

Each resort is home to their own unique swimming pools. Uzima Pool is a 11,000 square foot zero-depth entry that was built to represent a natural watering hole with lots of trees and vegetation surrounding it. Uzima Pool also has a waterslide, a children’s wading pool, and 2 whirlpool spas. Samawati Springs Pool at Kidani Village has a thrilling waterslide and 2 whirlpool spas. Another feature at Samawati Springs Pool that is worth hopping over to Kidani is Uwanja Camp, a water playground for children with squirting Venus flytraps, a rope bridge, and water cannons.


There are a few other amenities that are worth checking out, Zahanti Spa & Fitness Center, Simba’s Clubhouse, Hakuna Matata Playground, & Pumba’s Fun and Games Arcade. Zahanti is a full service spa where you can go to relax or fit in a quick workout before heading to the parks. Simba’s Clubhouse is a children’s activity center where kids can come for a fun evening while you have an adult only evening out (there is a fee of $15 per hour with a 2 hour minimum for this service). Hakuna Matata Playground is a 24-hour outdoor playground located at Jambo House for children can go to monkey around. Pumba’s Fun and Games Arcade is located next to the pool and The Mara at Jambo House. Disney’s activity cast members host games, crafts, and parties around the pool during the days and in the evening, they stay on hand to host evening campfires and movies under the stars. We have made lifelong friends with some of the Disney activity cast members.

As with any Disney resort, by staying at Animal Kingdom Lodge, you will also be able to take advantage of Disney’s Bus Transportation, Disney’s Magical Express, resort wide Wi-Fi, and Resort Airline Check-in. By using the bus transportation and Magical Express, there is no need to rent a car and have to pay the $24 per night fee to park at the resort. My favorite bonus is the Resort Airline Check-in. If you are flying to MCO via Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Airlines, Jet Blue Airways, Southwest Airlines, and United Airlines, you can check-in for your flight right in the hotel lobby. The best thing is you won’t have to carry luggage around the airport and wait in the long check-in lines.

As you can see, there are many reasons to book your stay at Animal Kingdom Lodge! You never know what you are going to see from your hotel balcony.

Are you thinking about a visit to Walt Disney World? I am an agent with Wishes Family Travel, an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner.  As your agent, I’ll be on hand to help you with everything from finding your perfect package to grabbing those hard-to-get dining and FastPass reservations. I work with all Disney Destinations around the globe. Best of all, my services are absolutely FREE. You can contact me at 1-618-514-5536, by email at or through my Wishes Family Travel – Erica Facebook group.

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



Maybe you’ve heard? There’s a little something coming soon along with the opening of Universal’s Aventura Hotel on August 16th. Our first-ever rooftop bar and grill – Bar 17 Bistro. And I’m here to tell you what all the buzz is about!

Perched up on the 17th floor of this stylish and modern hotel, Bar 17 Bistro will be the place to see and be seen. This bright, open-air venue will be surrounded by glass panels, giving you stunning views of all three Universal Orlando theme parks. Personally you’ll catch me up here during sunset – the most gorgeous time of day to take in the view.

But the real showstopper here will be the delicious food and unique cocktails. Reminiscent of the small plates and craft cocktails found at trendy hotspots in cities across the globe, Bar 17 Bistro will offer all of this at Aventura Hotel’s Prime Value price point.

Here’s a sneak peek at a few of my favorites.

Complex Frozen Drinks Aventura Hotel


First up, our complex frozen drinks. These are freshly-made frozen drinks (no pre-made mixes are used) with unique flavor profiles like rum, matcha and lime or bourbon, maple and grapefruit. They’re a modern take on the traditional frozen drink and we know you’re going to love them.


Bao Buns Aventura Hotel


We’ll have an entire section of our menu that features bao buns, with fillings that range from braised pork belly to lamb satay to tempura baby vegetable. My favorites are the braised pork belly and the firecracker shrimp bao buns. Why so many baos, you ask? They’re easy to share and ours will feature lots of textures and colors. They’ll be delicious and they’re pretty to look at too.


Firebird Aventura Hotel


Another favorite on the drink menu is the Firebird. Our Firebird is made with tequila, jalapeno, strawberry and cilantro – a refreshing cocktail with just the right amount of kick. Since Aventura is more of a lifestyle hotel, we wanted to bring refreshing ideas to the food and drink offerings, while still keeping the stylish vibe of the hotel.


Summer Beet & Glazed FIg Salad Aventura Hotel


Speaking of refreshing, our salads will showcase some of the best Florida-grown produce from the region. We wanted to have something light, refreshing and citrus-inspired on the menu. These salads are pretty food that’s easy to eat and best of all – this is a guilt free indulgence!


Pineapple Turmeric Lemonade Aventura Hotel


Not into alcoholic beverages? We got you. This pineapple turmeric lemonade will be a featured mocktail on the menu. The flavors come together for a thirst-quenching and revitalizing beverage that’s perfect for a rooftop bar in Orlando.

Wagyu Beef Sliders Aventura Hotel


My final sneak peek item is the Wagyu beef sliders. This is our take on burgers. They’re gourmet sliders that will be easy to share. You’ll love the locally-made brioche bun and French cheese. With horseradish mayo, gruyere cheese, roasted pepper chutney and watercress, served with a side of pomme frites, these burgers are something special, and just a little bit adventurous.


Almost Sangria Aventura Hotel
Braised Pork Belly Bao Aventura Hotel
Devil's Umbrella Aventura Hotel
Dew Point Hooligan Aventura Hotel
Wagyu Beef Sliders Aventura Hotel
 Don’t forget – Bar 17 Bistro will open daily at 4:00 pm. Be sure to book your roomsoon so you don’t miss out on our limited time offer! If you book a four-night stay or longer, you’ll receive a free $50 hotel dining credit, which can be used at Bar 17 Bistro.

Let me know what you’ll be eating and drinking when you take in these epic views. See you at the top!

Must be 21 years and older with valid identification to purchase or drink alcoholic beverages.

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