There are two kinds of travelers in the world: Those who plan, and those who don’t. I get it. There is something freeing about heading somewhere and just going for it without a set schedule. I believe there are times when this type of travel can be wonderful. However, in general, I believe that making a plan actually gives you more freedom when you arrive at your destination to do what actually matters to you. Let me explain.
A few years ago, my husband & I were heading to London. We were very excited & I had done a lot of research about what we could do while in town, we had identified what each of us “had’ to do, and felt like we had a pretty solid plan. I’m personally of the opinion that if you’re going to pay to get somewhere, you should experience it for what it is. And knowing what there is to do, is the first step. Anyway, I was talking with a friend prior to our trip and we realized we were both going to be in London at the same time over the course of a few days. I asked him about what his plans were, curious to see if he knew about something that I didn’t. His reply to me was, “We’re just going to go and see what happens.” I was shocked that he would go all that way and not do ANY research on what he might like to see. I told him as much and even made several suggestions, but he insisted that was how they wanted to do things.
The time came, and we both found ourselves in London. We met up one evening for a dance concert & we asked if they would like to join us the next day for what we were doing. He said yes and the next day we had a lovely breakfast together and he tagged along as we went through what we had already planned to do that day. We were leaving that evening, so after helping him buy an Oyster Card (tube pass so they could get around town), we left them to their own devices. Fast forward a few weeks and I see this friend again. Naturally, I asked him how his trip went and he said, “You know, I think you’re right about making a plan. We got more done with you in that one day than we did the rest of the trip.” I learned that they had done a few other things, but not very much & they ended up staying in the room a lot of the time. I thought, “What a tragedy!” We had such a great time in London & it made me sad that he didn’t have the same experience.
There are a few points I want to make here. First, you don’t know what you don’t know. Traveling to someplace you’ve never been to can be overwhelming. It is often a new culture with new experiences that can be tricky to navigate if you’ve never experienced it before. Knowing beforehand what your choices are can help you start to make a plan to navigate this new place and experience. Second, if you know what your choices are, you can spend your limited time on vacation doing what you’re actually interested in. I believe there is something for everyone everywhere, but you have to know what there is so you can find what you like. A little bit of research can go a long way & your travel agent can help you navigate that.
Travel agents by their very definition help “plan” people’s vacations (Obvious, I know). Usually that means helping to acquire hotels, attraction tickets, airfare, etc. These services are super helpful (see our post on “Why Use a Travel Agent”), but did you know that as agents, we often have a well of knowledge about many destinations that our guests simply aren’t tapping into?
At Woodbrey Family Travel we pride ourselves on creating personalized itineraries based on where people are going & who is going. For example, we provide a multi-page document that outlines how to navigate the Disney parks based on your group type (traveling with kids or with only adults will look very different), or how to prepare for & make the most of your cruise, etc. Our goal is to help you know as much as possible about your destination before you travel. However, as previously mentioned, we’ve noticed an interesting trend in how people approach being given this information. Either people soak up every word of the information we give them, or they ignore it completely and just go off on their own. I’m not saying it’s wrong to just “go for it,” but I can tell you that after helping thousands of people with their trips, and traveling all over the world ourselves, those who had a plan almost ALWAYS have a better time than those that don’t. There is nothing worse than getting somewhere and then wasting time standing around asking each other, “What do you want to do?” “I don’t know, what do you want to do?” I would encourage all travelers to use the resources your agent provides & do your research!
In the case of planning a vacation, the people who do their research & start to formulate a plan actually enjoy that process. It’s kind of fun to think about and make plans for vacation. Plus, you have the added (and more important) benefit of knowing how to tailor your time on your vacation. If you choose to stay in your hotel room the whole time, great. At least you’ll do it because it was a conscious choice and not out of ignorance of what your options are. There are too many amazing things to see in this world to travel without a plan. Remember, a little bit of planning never hurt anyone!
To request a quote from Woodbrey Family Travel so we can help you make that plan, visit our website: http://woodbreyfamilytravel.com/getaquote.php
Adventures by Disney announces the introduction of its first-ever river cruising itineraries. Sailing with AmaWaterways, the travel industry’s premier luxury river cruise line, Adventures by Disney river cruises offer a new way for you to experience the heart of Europe in a way that is active, immersive and easy.
In 2016, Adventures by Disney will offer sailings along the Danube River, allowing you to explore the iconic locations and hidden gems in eight destinations across four countries – Germany, Austria, Slovakia and Hungary.
These 8-day/7-night active departures will take you off the beaten path in search of the culture, art and unique stories intrinsic to each European city and town visited. From medieval activities at Devin castle in Bratislava and a walk along the tree tops in Kopfing to a visit of locations filmed in “The Sound of Music” in Salzburg and biking in every port, the opportunities for exploration are endless!
As you explore, you will sail aboard the all-new, 170-passenger AmaViola, a river cruise ship that is being custom built by AmaWaterways with families in mind. New family-friendly design elements include specific room configurations, including six sets of connecting staterooms, as well as some rooms and suites that accommodate three- and four-person families, and other unique details that lend themselves to luxury family vacations.
Onboard activities will offer something for everyone. Adults can enjoy wine tasting, music, dancing and an onboard fitness center, along with some of the finest cuisine and service available, while Junior Adventures can enjoy activity nights, movies, karaoke, relay games, life-size chess lessons, video games and more. Teens will also find activities created specifically for them.
These exclusive Adventures by Disney sailings will take place July 7-14, July 14-21, July 21-28 and July 28 – Aug. 4, 2016. A special holiday themed sailing, departing Dec. 22, 2016, will also include visits to the renowned Christmas markets in Budapest and Vienna, a Vienna Boys Choir Christmas performance in the Hofburg Palace Chapel and a special holiday menu lunch.
And, if you’re looking for even greater immersion into local culture, they can add an Adventures by Disney guided 3-day/2-night pre- or post-stay land package in Prague, Czech Republic, which includes a variety of active experiences, such as a cultural immersion tour of Prague with a local guide, dinner at Folklore Garden with traditional music and dance, a Prague river cruise featuring monuments and architectural highlights and much more.
Adventures by Disney River Cruises will be available to Adventure Insiders, past Adventures by Disney Guests, beginning today, April 14, 2014. They will open to the general public tomorrow, April 15, 2015.
Contact me for more information or to book one these All-New River Cruises.
– Cody Woodbrey
Guests often ask me, “What benefits are there to staying on Disney property and do guests really save money?” or “We don’t spend a lot of time in our resort, will it make a difference in our trip experience?” The answer is, “YES!” and here is why.
1. Free Transportation – No need to rent a car or pay for any toll-road fees when staying on Disney Property. Guests can enjoy free transfers to and from the Orlando International airport with Disney’s Magical Express. Included with this service is luggage pick up. Disney will pick up your luggage from baggage claim and deliver straight to your hotel. This will you time and a hassle of getting your own bags. On your return home, Disney will check your bags for your flight home right from your hotel. So you don’t have to drag them with you to the airport. To top it off, transfers to and from your resort to the various Disney theme parks, water parks and Disney Springs are also included with your package.
2. Free Parking at All Disney Theme Parks – It doesn’t matter if you choose to rent a car or take your own vehicle, Disney resort guests will not have to pay the daily parking fee to park at the various theme parks or water parks. The parking fee right now starts at about $20 per vehicle.
3. Proximity to the Parks – One of the main reasons for staying on property is the ability to get to the parks easily and quickly. Taking a quick break in the afternoon to get away from the crowds and heat has never been easier. There is nothing like enjoying a dip in the pool a hot summers day. Also, many of the resorts have multiple forms of transportation options to the parks like the taking the monorail or a boat. Some resorts are even so close you can walk from your resort to the park.
4. Free Magic Bands – Disney Resort guests will receive free Magic Bands for each person traveling. Which is a savings of about $22 per person. The Magic Bands connect your room key, park tickets, meal plan, Memory Maker, FastPasses and you can even make purchases for merchandise, food and more. Who really wants to carry all those extra cards around anyway?
5. Extra Magic Hours – One of the other benefits for staying on property are the extra park hours reserved exclusively for resort guests. Guests can enjoy extra time in the parks either an hour before the park opens or two hours after the parks close.
6. FastPass “+” Those staying with Disney have the chance to pre-pick Fastpasses up to 60 days before checking into their hotel. Giving them a 30 day head start over those not staying at a Disney Resort. The extra time allows the guest the opportunity of getting the desired attractions and times they want verses taking what’s left over.
7. Disney Atmosphere – From the moment you step on to Disney Magical Express to the time you arrive back to the airport you are immersed in that fun and exciting Disney Magic. Disney Resorts provide guests with a unique experience you can only get staying on property. From hidden Mickey’s in sheets to larger than life figures around your resort you will not get a grander and more Magical experience staying on property. Each resort has multiple pools with fun and exciting themes. Plus, there are great and unique photo opportunities at each of the resorts – Say “Cheese”!
8. Dine in the Magic – As we all know eating in the parks can be quite expensive and stressful. Well, Disney has come up with a delicious way in lowering this cost. Resorts guests can add one of the Disney meal plans prior to their trips and save about 25% of the cost of their meals. There is No reason for guests to choose the cheapest options of the menu or go hungry any more!
9. Package Delivery – When you buy merchandise in the parks you have the option for Disney to send it straight to your hotel so you don’t have to carry it around the park or carry it with you back to your hotel room.
10. Memory Maker Sharing – Let Disney’s professional photographers document your trip for you! Disney has photographers throughout each of the theme park ready to take your pictures. Enjoy an unlimited array of photos taken by Disney photographers which include pictures taken in the parks, at select dining experiences, attractions and videos from select attractions. You don’t have to purchase each photo individually any more, because you get digital copies of each picture taken. When traveling with a larger group you still only have to buy one Memory Maker for the whole family. Talk about savings!
11. Magical Extras – Each package will receive four vouchers to both Disney’s onsite miniature golf courses, four vouchers to visit the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, plus additional discounts at Disney Springs for savings of 10-20% off various goods.
12. 24-Hour services – Disney Cast members are available 24 hours – Which means you have less things to stress about and more time to relax and have fun!
There are literally hundreds of photo opportunities while cruising with Disney. Here you will find the top 25 ideas and places guests like to take pictures while cruising. These do not include the top places to take pictures on Disney’s private island, Disney’s Castaway Cay nor on port adventures. Comment below, if you have other places you like to take pictures while cruising with Disney!
1. In the port terminal before you board the ship
2. By the main statue in the Atrium
3. Of the Lobby Chandelier
4. While sitting in one of the large port holes around the ship
5. Of the stateroom door and Stateroom
6. In the different restaurants – Animator’s Palate is the top restaurant to take pictures of
7. With your servers, room host and other cast members
8. While playing the various games onboard
9. By the Walt Disney Theatre picture, right before the entrance of the theatre
10. In front of the big red stacks with the Disney Cruise Line logo – Try taking daytime and nighttime pictures
11. While playing and relaxing around the pool areas
12. Of the dinner menus and food – Great way to keep track of what you ate and what you liked during your cruise
13. With Captain Mickey
14. While on board the ship at the different ports of call
15. At the different deck parties and activities
16. While enjoying Pirate Night
17. Of all the kids areas: Andy’s Room, Oceaneers Club, the Vibe and so on
18. With Disney’s VIP Characters dressed in their different outfits – Outfits change nightly
19. With the main theme backdrops for each night – they change nightly
20. While exploring the ship
21. Of all the different towel creations
22. Of all the different clubs on board
23. With the Golden Mickey’s statue
24. By the ship when it’s docked
25. By the “All aboard”, “Welcome Home” & “We’ll See You Real Soon” signs
– Cody Woodbrey
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