Sara’s Snippets – March 4, 2015 – Disney Dream

Greetings fellow Mouse Fans!

It seems like a lifetime ago in but reality, it was only about a month back that my famil set sail aboard the Disney Dream. I am just now far enough past the withdrawl to be able to talk about it. (I wanna go back!!!) 

Let's start at the beginning, shall we? As all well trained cruisers know, it is a good idea to fly in the night before your cruise. This is never more true than in the fall and winter when weather can play a huge part in whether or not you make the ship! We flew into Orlando on the night prior to our cruise and stayed at the Hyatt Regency in the Orlando Airport. 

I LOVE this hotel! Conveniently located actually inside the main terminal, you can be off your plane and into your room in no time. We split up – my husband and son went to grab our luggage and I went to check us in. By the time we met back up, we headed straight up to our room overlooking the gates! 

The room was spacious, the beds were comfy, and best of all, even though we overlooked the gates – quiet! I was concerned about noise when I looked out the window, but did not hear anything at all. And being right in the airport meant Chick Fil A for breakfast! Yummmmm….

A huge convenience for Disney Cruise Line passengers staying at the Hyatt, they will transport your luggage to the ship for you! Just tell them at check in that you are a DCL guest and they will give you special tags for your bags and a letter explaning the procedure. You can leave your bags in your room the next morning and bell services will come retrieve them and get them to the ship for you! We happened to still be in the room when they arrived so we were able to thank him, provide a gratuity, and head down to the motorcoach pick-up unencumbered by our luggage. 

Then it was off to Port Canaveral! More on that tomorrow. 

Be well and make magic wherever you go!

Sara Varney
Travel Planner

Photo Jan 25, 3 20 47 PM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My guys on the shuttle bus to the airport. Ready for a vacation! 

 

Posted in Disney Cruise Line, Sara's Snippets | Leave a comment

Sara’s Snippets – February 26, 2015 – 2015 Halloween and Christmas Party Dates Announced

Greetings fellow Mouse Fans! 

Halloween and Christmas are coming early this year! Walt Disney World has announced the dates for the 2015 Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party and Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party. These events take place in the Magic Kingdom after the park closes and require separate admission. The parties are magical with exclusive shows, characters, parades, and fireworks. (It even snows on Main St USA during the Christmas Party!) Tickets will go on sale in April. But for planning purposes…

Dates for Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party are September 15, 18, 20, 22, 25, and 27, October 1, 2, 4, 6, 8, 9, 12, 13, 15, 16, 18, 20, 22, 23, 25, 27, 29, and 31, and November 1, 2015. Dates for Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party are November 8, 10, 12, 13, 15, 17, 19, 20, 29, and December 1, 3, 4, 6, 8, 10, 11, 13, 15, 17, and 18, 2015.

Don't forget to make to factor these parties in to your plans! Dining reservations in the Magic Kingdom will go quickly on party nights. 

Be well and make magic wherever you go!

Sara Varney
Travel Planner

Toy soldiers fill Main Street, U.S.A., during "Mickey's Very Merry<br /><br /><br /><br />
Christmas Parade" at the Magic Kingdom.

Photo Courtesy of Disney®

 

Posted in Sara's Snippets, Walt Disney World | Leave a comment

Sara’s Snippets – February 25, 2015 – Pirates of the Caribbean Closing for Extended Rehab

Greetings fellow Mouse Fans!

The rumors appear to be true… Pirates of the Caribbean will be closing for an extensive refurbishment on May 11, 2015. The attraction is expected to reopen on September 25, 2015. 

Liberty Tree Tavern will also close for an extended time from early July through mid-November. 

Be well and make magic wherever you go!

Sara Varney
Travel Planner

 

A PIRATE'S LIFE FOR ME -- Starring a comical cast of rascals,<br />
scoundrels, villains and knaves, Pirates of the Caribbean

Photo Courtesy of Disney®

Posted in Sara's Snippets, The Rumor Mill, Walt Disney World | Leave a comment

Sara’s Snippets – February 19, 2015 – Happy (Lunar) New Year

Greetings fellow Mouse Fans!

In Korea, China, and Vietnam, this week marks the start of a New Year. This is a huge celebration in Hong Kong Disneyland but is also celebrated state-side at the Disneyland Resort and the Walt Disney World resort! 

Disney California Adventure will be serving Asian treats at Bayside Brews and the Lunar New Year food cart. The Paradise Gardens area will be transformed with music, dancing, craftsm and character appearances featuring Mickey, Minnie, and friends in their New Year's best. 

At the China Pavilion in Epcot at Walt Disney World, special acrobatic performances and New Year's crafts will be available. 

"Happy New Year!"

Be well and make magic wherever you go!

Sara Varney
Travel Planner

lnylny7232211

Photo Courtesy of Disney Parks Blog

Posted in Disneyland, Hong Kong Disneyland, Sara's Snippets, Walt Disney World | Leave a comment

Sara’s Snippets – February 18, 2015 – Richard Petty Driving Experience to Close

Greetings fellow Mouse Fans!

The Richard Petty Driving Experience and the Exotic Car Driving Experience at the Walt Disney World® Resort will be closing in late June 2015. The closures will make way for new unspecified transportation improvements. (Oooooo… let the speculation commence.) 

To make reservations for one of the driving experiences before they close, call 407-WDW-PLAY!

Be well and make magic wherever you go!

Sara Varney
Travel Planner

2 stock cars covered with decals including “Petty” and “Walt Disney World” race on the speedway

Photo Courtesy of Disney®

Posted in Sara's Snippets, Walt Disney World | Leave a comment

Sara’s Snippets – February 12, 2015 – Freedom of the Seas Dining

Greetings fellow Mouse Fans!

Once I had finished running around the ship snapping pictures of the activities, it was time for some grub! Dining options abound onboard Freedom of the Seas. During our cruise, I had the chance to sample items from the specialty dining locations – Giovanni's Table, Chops Grille, and Sabor. I also had the chance to dine in the Main Dining Room, Leonardo's for both lunch and dinner. And I enjoyed Windjammers and Jade (the buffets) on multiple occasions! The food was excellent. Highlights included the guacamole at Sabor, the sushi at Jade, amd the salad bar at Leonardo's. 

Photo Jan 30, 11 21 52 AM

 

 

 

 

 

 

Deck 11 Dining onboard Freedom of the Seas

Photo Jan 30, 11 27 40 AM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coke Freestyle Machines in WindJammers Buffet

Photo Jan 30, 11 48 48 AM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The elegant Leonardo's Dining Room

Photo Jan 30, 11 10 02 AM

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sabor serves authentic Mexican cuisine including table side guacamole. Yum!

Photo Jan 30, 11 23 27 AM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The espresso machine is slightly intimidating but very beautiful at Giovanni's!

Photo Jan 30, 11 23 05 AM

 

 

 

 

 

 

The open kitchen a Giovanni's Table

Be well and make magic wherever you go!

Sara Varney
Travel Planner

Posted in Sara's Snippets | Leave a comment

Sara’s Snippets – February 11, 2015 – Freedom of the Seas Activities

Greetings fellow Mouse Fans!

As I mentioned last week, I recently had the opportunity to cruise on Royal Caribbean's newly refurbished Freedom of the Seas. Upon boarding the ship (and big kudos to Royal Caribbean for their organized boarding procedure!), we began to race around the ship trying to see absolutely everything in less than 48 hours. I headed straight for the upper decks to check out the pools and the fantastic outdoor activities. 

Photo Jan 30, 11 21 12 AM

 

 

 

 

 

 

The H2O Zone on Deck 11

Photo Jan 31, 4 13 51 PM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The "FlowRider" on Deck 13

Photo Jan 31, 4 29 50 PM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Rock Climbing Walls on Deck 13 (Fearless MEI-Travel Agent Kim Niblett tackled the the wall!)

Up tomorrow, dining onboard the Freedom of the Seas!

Be well and make magic wherever you go!

Sara Varney
Travel Planner

 

Posted in Sara's Snippets | Leave a comment

Sara’s Snippets – February 5, 2015 – Freedom of the Seas

Greetings fellow Mouse Fans!

Along with a group of fellow MEI-Travel agents, I recently had the opportunity to spend two nights onboard Royal Caribbean Cruise Line recently refreshed Freedom of the Seas. This was my first time on a Royal Caribbean ship in over 20 years, so I was thrilled to get a chance to experience a new cruise line. (Especially since I was on the Disney Dream immediately prior to my Freedom of the Seas cruise.) It was a great opportunity to compare the ships side by side.

Over the next few weeks, I will be sharing my experiences onboard both of the ships! But for now, here is one of my favorite photos from the Freedom – cupcake decorating at the Cupcake Cupboard! 

Be well and make magic wherever you go!

Sara Varney
Travel Planner

Photo Courtesy of Rebekah Mahnken. MEI-Travel Agents: Front Rov: Sandy Myers, Sharla Manglass, Sue Passauer, Robin Norrell, Natalie Puhala  Second Row: Kim Niblett, Lori Rogers, Sara Varney, Brock Taylor

Posted in General | Leave a comment

Sara’s Snippets – February 4, 2015 – Be Our Guest Changes

Greetings fellow Mouse Fans!

Disney has been testing a FastPass+ system for lunch at Be Our Guest restaurant over the last few months. That test will be ending on February 24, 2015. Advanced reservations will be available for lunch and dinner beginning February 25, 2015, although lunch will remain "fast casual" and be a counter service credit on the Dining Plan. Guests can pre-order their meals up to 30 days in advance on My Disney Experience. 

Be well and make magic wherever you go!

Sara Varney
Travel Planner

Magic Kingdom Guests Dine in Splendor at Be Our Guest Restaurant

Photo Courtesy of Disney®

Posted in Sara's Snippets, Walt Disney World | Leave a comment

Disney’s Beach Club Resort Undergoing Renovations

Disney's Beach Club Resort is currently undergoing a 16 month renovation of all guests rooms and many of the public spaces. They began on the 5th floor with a whole new look to the concierge lounge. The guests rooms on that floor are now complete and as of a week ago they were working on the 4th floor. Check out some pics of the beautiful new hallways and rooms.

The hallway colors are much more rich with an upscale feel

2015-01-12 14.38.53
 

Standard size room with day bed

2015-01-12 14.40.07

2015-01-12 14.41.03

2015-01-12 14.41.58
 

Plenty of new electric & USB outlets between beds and at desk

2015-01-12 14.43.10

2015-01-12 14.40.01
 

The bathroom features & tile have all been completely replaced 

2015-01-12 14.39.30

 

2015-01-12 14.36.07

2015-01-12 14.45.09

2015-01-12 14.36.41
 

This room configuration is 2 queen beds without the daybed. 

2015-01-12 14.34.17

2015-01-12 14.36.51

2015-01-12 14.35.46

At last check the hours of renovations are between 10 am to 4 pm. If you don’t plan on being in the room during that time, you shouldn’t hear or see to much of an impact while they work on the guest rooms. You may be sent to a different elevator etc. to avoid the work areas. If you do plan to spend time in your room for kids naps, or your own… you may want to request a room that is not directly under the area that is being renovated that week. Just in case.

I stay several weeks a year at Disney's Beach Club Resort. Mainly due to the location and ease of getting to the parks where we frequently have events. Frankly I was never a big fan of the overly light pastel shades in the rooms. Personally I am drawn to the dark colors and rich interior over at Yacht Club which I have been told is next on the list for a makeover, 

However with this new update, Disney's Beach Club Resort just may move ahead on my preference list.What do you think?

Posted in General | Leave a comment