You’ve seen the headlines: “Woman Gets Gored by Bison,” “Man Falls Off Edge of Grand Canyon While Taking Selfie,” “Tourist Arrested for Defacing Local Treasure.” It seems that fairly consistently, there is some tourist or another doing something totally dumb. You may think you would never do something so bold as what you find in the headlines, but the little irresponsible things tourists do can also add up. I get it. You’ve paid a lot of money to get where you’re going and you’re just so excited! However, too often it seems that tourists leave their brains at home and it is giving us all a bad name. After all, you’re a guest wherever you go. You heard me. You are a GUEST wherever you go. It truly is a privilege, not a right, to visit the amazing places around the world and it’s time we start acting that way. So, let’s talk about some common problems and solutions (that are really just a reminder to use your common sense) that are important for ALL tourists to be aware of.
The Problem: Petting or feeding the wildlife.
Don’t do it. Ever. No really. It’s never okay to pet or feed the wildlife no matter where you are. Unfortunately, when you’ve left your brain home, the part of you that says, “But they’re fluffy and cute,” tends to win out. “Just one Cheeto won’t hurt this chipmunk.” “This bison seems nice.” “I’ve seen them do this on Shark Week.” Trust me, I know. No one likes a cute animal more than me. But they are wild and if they have a way to hurt you, they will use it and there’s no telling when. Besides the obvious biting/goring issues, are you aware that many animals often carry diseases? For example, out here in the Western United States, rodents like Prairie Dogs or ground squirrels carry Bubonic Plague. You read that right. Bubonic Plague. You want to leave that nonsense alone. By feeding or petting them, you are putting them and yourself in danger. Giving them food habituates animals to humans. It messes with their natural diet and makes them dependent on humans so they can’t survive on their own. And petting them! That’s a sure-fire way to get trampled, gored or bitten. If I see one more headline about someone petting a bison and getting gored, so help me! I’m going to say it. If you pet an animal, or get too close and you get hurt, it’s 100% your fault.
Even when you’re being responsible in your wildlife viewing, there is always a risk and that risk should be respected. For example, we were recently traveling in the Grand Teton National Park and wildlife viewing is one of the highlights there. We had come across a mama moose and her twin babies. The cutest! We and a group of people were watching from a safe and appropriate distance, when Mama Moose started getting agitated and moving towards us. If you’ve never encountered an angry moose, count yourself lucky. They are huge and mean when they want to be. Anyway, we were moving away as she got closer when all of a sudden, she started charging and ran right through where we had all been standing just moments before. Fortunately, most everyone was able to move out of the way because we noticed her agitation beforehand and were trying to keep our distance. However, there was one woman taking video that wasn’t as quick as she should have been to stay out of the way and she nearly got trampled. If she had, likely that Mama Moose would have had to be put down and those cute twin babies would have been orphaned and likely killed too. A lot of people don’t realize their actions often lead to an animal being euthanized because it’s no longer safe to have it around humans. It’s tragic for everyone involved, especially the animals.
The Solution: Leave wildlife alone.
Keep your distance and be aware of their behavior so you can get out of their way. Respect them for the incredible creatures they are and remember you are a GUEST in their natural habitat. You yield to them. You don’t pet them. You don’t feed them. Like the Mama Moose we were watching, their behavior can change fast, and you are responsible to make sure there is enough distance between you and the animal to make sure you can get out of its way and everyone stays safe.
The Problem: Tourists are Oblivious to their Surroundings.
Selfies are killing people. Okay, that may be a bit dramatic, but it’s also true in some instances and the point is, getting a picture is not worth risking your safety or ruining the experience of the people around you. You know what I mean. You’ve traveled somewhere great and have got the perfect shot lined up, only to have some oblivious tourist step into your shot to get a picture of their own. If this has never happened to you, you are likely the oblivious tourist ruining other people’s photos. Not only is it discourteous, it can also be dangerous. Often, amazing places we love to go have an inherent danger to them (i.e. the Grand Canyon is a collection of cliffs, the waterfall is slippery, the cobblestones are uneven, etc.). When you’re not aware of your surroundings, you can quite quickly become a headline yourself. Just because it’s a tourist attraction, doesn’t mean it’s been made completely safe, nor should it be. Often the beauty is in the natural rawness of a location.
The Solution: Slow down & be aware.
Be courteous and look around. Are you about to block someone’s shot? Can you wait ten seconds so you both can get a great picture? Are you standing on the edge of a cliff and need to take a few steps away before turning your back on it to take a selfie? In my opinion, there is almost always enough time and space for everyone to get those social media-worthy photos. Slow down. Enjoy where you are. See it through your own eyes instead of just through your camera. If you just take a minute to think, observe and be courteous, we can all do it safely and without making the other guests around us mad.
The Problem: Not appreciating/degrading the local culture.
Have I mentioned yet that no matter where you travel, you are a GUEST there? So why would you think it’s okay to make demands in someone else’s “house” as it were? One of the best parts of traveling is learning about and experiencing different cultures. One of the most unfortunate things I’ve witnessed in my travels is someone getting angry at a local because they aren’t speaking the tourist’s language, or they in some way aren’t conforming to what the tourists thinks they deserve. News flash! You have no right to bully the locals (or anyone – let’s be real) because their culture is different than yours. Nothing gives tourists a worse name than irate, entitled jerks who think they’re better than everyone else. This also goes for recognizing important locations for what they are and not just as a tourist destination. For example, in Italy (and many European countries) they require that shoulders and knees are covered in order to enter their churches and cathedrals. St. Peter’s Basilica may just be a tourist destination to you, but it’s an important place of worship to many and should be respected as such. It is your responsibility to adhere to their requests in a respectful manner. It is not for you to decide what is appropriate in someone else’s house. What is appropriate is to show respect for different cultures and the places that are important to them.
The Solution: Do your research about the local culture & customs before you travel.
Not only will this be helpful to you, but it’s kind of fun. There are so many interesting people and places to learn about. If you’re going where they speak another language, learn a few words in that language like: Hello, goodbye, please, thank you, where’s the bathroom, etc. You do not need to be fluent, but showing that you respect their language and are trying, often endears a level of goodwill among those you are visiting, and they are much more willing to try to accommodate you. If you need help, download a language app like Google Translate. It can certainly be a great tool in communicating what you need, or finding your way around, while still respecting the local language/culture. Also, research the places you’re going in advance and take note if there are special considerations you should be aware of (i.e. dress requirements, they only accept cash, tipping is offense, etc.). This can save you a lot of embarrassment & frustration in advance. Remember, your lack of personal education on a destination doesn’t give you the right to demand things from the locals. Be a respectful guest!
The Problem: Vandalism is vandalism is vandalism.
“But everyone is doing it!” Most people probably wouldn’t spray paint a wall when they’re traveling, but are you aware that scratching your name into the rocks, trees, bridges, benches or walls is just as bad? Even stacking rocks along a trail is vandalism if they aren’t being used as an official trail marker. Vandalism takes many forms and many tourists excuse their behavior because others have done it too. For example, here in the western United States, we are lucky enough to have beautiful Native American artwork from up to thousands of years ago both etched & painted onto rock faces. It’s a wonderful thing to see, but nothing ruins it like the words “S & A 4ever ” scratched into the rock right next to it. Well, but there’s also a “Wanda was here 2006” scratched right next to that, so it must be okay, right? WRONG! Two wrongs don’t make it right, it just means there are multiple people who left their brains home and who are selfish enough to ruin culturally significant sites for their own pride. It is wrong and as a guest wherever you go, you are responsible to leave things better than you found them.
The Solution: If it’s not yours, don’t touch it.
Seriously. Is that painting in the museum yours? No? Don’t touch it. Is that rock art yours? No? Don’t touch it. Is that sculpture in the park yours? No? Don’t touch it. Tourist-related vandalism is real and unfortunately, too prevalent. It may not seem like a big deal at the time, but if thousands and thousands of people do the same thing because they’ve seen others do it too, then we all have a big ugly problem. You wouldn’t vandalize the walls of a home you’d been graciously invited to, so don’t do it anywhere you travel either. As a guest, leave it better than you found it.
Remember, it’s your vacation, but it is NOT all about you. Quite the opposite in fact. It is about where and who you’re visiting. It is their chance to show off their corner of the world and it is our privilege to be invited in as a guest. But it is an invitation, not a right. Keep your brain with you, practice common courtesy, and enjoy immersing yourself in this joint experience with those around you & we may just be invited back.
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
Travel agents are pretty fantastic people (if I do say so myself). If you need a refresher on why, check out our blog about “Why Use a Travel Agent.” That being said, there is one thing we can’t do: read minds. I ordered that crystal ball, but it must have gotten lost in the mail. Consequently, in order to help you plan your dream vacation, we need a little bit of help from you first.
Let me illustrate what I mean. It is not uncommon for us to receive emails like this, “Hey! Me and my family want to take a cruise in October. What can you do for us?” That’s it. That’s all the information we are given, and although we appreciate that you are thinking of using us, it creates a bit of a problem. Namely, we don’t know your budget, details of your family or expectations. For this specific example, there are literally hundreds of cruise options each month that will completely change depending on your personal circumstances. Consequently, we felt it would be useful to our guests to learn more about what they need to think about in advance of reaching out to your travel agent. Trust me. It will save both you & us a lot of time.
CREATE A BUDGET
The absolute most important thing you can do as you start thinking about a vacation is to establish a budget. I remember as a kid, my parents worked really hard, but we didn’t always have a lot of excess money for trips. So, they would look at their budget and say, “Okay, how far can we get with how much money we have?” Some of our best trips were the simplest, and our family never went into debt for vacation. You may have a different philosophy as you plan your budgets, but regardless, it is VERY important that you establish what you are willing & able to spend upfront.
As a travel agent, this helps us because we will only present you with options that fit within your budget. There are fantastic places to stay and things to do at EVERY price point. Our job is to find what works for you & your family & we are happy to do that.
As you create your budget, we recommend considering at least these five basic categories:
- Lodging (Telling us what you’re willing to pay nightly helps a lot!)
- Attraction Tickets
- Transportation (Airfare, Rental Car, Trains, Taxis/Rideshares, etc.)
- Incidentals/Spending Money
Keep in mind, you don’t necessarily have to have all the money in the bank when you book your trip. Depending on how far out you are planning, you may have the option to put a deposit down when you book your trip & then the remainder is due a few weeks before you travel. A lot of families use this option to pay incrementally and/or save up for that final payment while still booking in advance & getting what they want. This may help you spread the financial burden of your trip out over several months, or even a year or more. Regardless, you still need to budget in advance and be prepared for what you can legitimately come up with in the timeframe you have & then share that with your travel agent.
WHEN ARE YOU GOING & WHO IS GOING WITH YOU?
This seems like such a simple thing – but we all know it’s not. Work schedules, health issues, personal budgets, etc. can really make a difference on when you go on vacation & with whom. However, it is in your best interest to try & nail this down as best you can before you request a quote.
As a travel agent, we want to give you accurate information, but prices vary widely depending on when you go & who you go with. For example, ticket prices change based on if someone is a child or an adult. Additionally, a lot of hotels charge extra if there is a third or fourth adult in the room. Plus, hotels & attraction ticket prices can vary day by day, so even shifting a trip by just a few days can make a difference in the price you pay. Now to be fair, you may have some flexibility in the dates you’re looking at, and you just want to go when it’s the least expensive. That’s totally fine! However, if you can narrow it down to a specific few weeks prior to requesting a quote, that would go a long way in helping us get you accurate information.
IDENTIFY YOUR NEEDS & WANTS
We’ve all been there. It’s the age-old question: “Do I need this or do I just want this?” As with most things in life, it is good to identify your needs & wants when you travel & to communicate those to your agent. For example, perhaps someone in your party uses a wheelchair & NEEDS an accessible hotel room – tell us up front so we can make sure that happens & we are only quoting you rooms that meet your needs. Or perhaps one of your friends NEEDS to have their own bed, so even though there are only four of you, you need three beds – tell us so we can quote you only for the rooms that meet your needs. Other needs/wants that you may want to consider may include things like: hotel type, breakfast availability, free parking, distance to attractions, pools, types of views, etc. Please tell us your expectations up front so we have the chance to meet them.
That being said, we are all familiar with the phrase “Managing expectations.” That is our job too. As previously mentioned, our mind-reading abilities haven’t come in yet, so if something is important to you, tell us! We will do our best to find what meets your requirements while still fitting within your budget. But notice that I previously mentioned that there is a difference between needs & wants. Please keep in mind that depending on your budget, you may have to determine what is a need verses a want & then be a little flexible in that regard. For example, an accessible room may be an absolute need, but the only place that has an accessible room doesn’t have the free parking you wanted. What are you willing to compromise on? Do you have any flexibility in your budget to get what you want? These are the types of questions you need to ask yourself in advance & then tell your travel agent up front. We will do our best to give you everything you need & want, but we also respect your budget enough to recognize sometimes compromises need to be made. If they are articulated in advance, it makes the process easier for everyone.
USE THE GET A QUOTE FORM
At Woodbrey Family Travel, we have built a “Get a Quote” form that you can access on our website. We highly recommend using this form when making requests. We have designed it so that it asks a lot of the questions we need answered prior to getting you an accurate quote. Additionally, we’ve left space for you to leave comments & tell us anything extra we need to know, like budgetary constraints or your needs & wants. We hope you can recognize how thinking about these things in advance & communicating them to your travel agent up front will help everyone involved. We look forward to working with you & appreciate that you would consider how you can help us, help you!
Often when people ask what we do and we say, “We own a travel agency,” it is not uncommon for the next words out of their mouth to be, “Do people still use travel agents?” The answer is, “Yes! Or at least the people who want to save time, money, hassle & have a great experience do.” The truth is, travel is more accessible, and therefore more complicated, than ever. Travel agents are your own personalized search engine who can give you the best & most relevant information to make your dream vacation a reality. Still not convinced to allow someone else to shoulder the stress of planning your vacation? Read on! Here are our top five reasons you should use a travel agent.
There is no substitute for a human with experience.
Imagine traveling to a new place. You’re not familiar with the culture, the food, or how transportation works. Or maybe you’re been to that place, but it’s been a few years and you’re not sure what changes you’ll have to navigate. Wouldn’t it be nice to talk to someone who has “been there & done that?” That is what your travel agent is for!
In order to sell products, agents often have to go through significant training & most often, they also have the personal experience of traveling to those locations to back that training up. For example, at Woodbrey Family Travel, we specialize in planning Disney vacations (though we can and do book ANYTHING). But did you know that five out of six of our agents are either former or current Disney cast members? We have lived near & worked in the parks & you better believe we all make multiple trips each year. We make it our mission to stay up-to-date on what is happening so we can give you the BEST information possible.
Unlike the internet, travel agents care about the type of experience you have and are invested in your vacation. We WANT you to feel confident in your choices & to reduce the chance of unwanted surprises. We become your ONE point of contact & are happy to take care of any requests or adjustments you need to make. We will help you work through what you actually want & need while accurately rating hotels & experiences. We will give you the facts & information that is relevant. In a world where time is short & stress is high, let a travel agent save you both!
Our Services are FREE!
At this point maybe you’re thinking, “Okay, I can see the value of using an actual human. But what is that expertise going to cost me?” When you use Woodbrey Family Travel, the answer is NOTHING. No really, there’s no catch. The answer is NOTHING. So how and why?
The answer is simple. Our partners (Disney, Universal, Expedia, all major cruise lines, etc.) take care of us, so we can take care of you. It is a well-established fact within the travel industry that customers have a better experience when they work with a travel agent & they are more likely to return because they have a positive experience. Our partners believe in this so much, they are willing to cut into their own profits to pay us at no extra cost to you. Because they are willing to do that, we accept that as sufficient payment & do not charge you for our services. If you get all the benefits of working with an actual human & it doesn’t cost you anything, what are you waiting for?
We aren’t just trained, we’re “Authorized” too!
As previously mentioned, in order to sell various products, agents often go through training designed by our partners to help us become familiar with what they offer (plus, we travel A LOT). Once we complete these trainings, we are then “authorized” to sell the product on behalf of that organization (i.e. Disney, Universal, all major cruise lines, etc.).
However, sometimes an organization has even higher and more elite credentials. For example, the IATA & CLIA programs are industry certifications that have to be earned by an agency & renewed every year. Woodbrey Family Travel has its CLIA certification & we will continue to stay up-to-date on industry requirements to keep that credential.
Additionally, Disney also has a higher tier of agencies that only a few earn. Almost any travel agent can sell the product, but only a select few agencies are known as being “Earmarked” with Disney. Woodbrey Family Travel is one of those agencies and we are proud to be able to say we are officially “Authorized Disney Vacation Planners.” Why does that matter to you? If one of the world’s most successful & admired companies designates another company to represent them to their guests, it’s for a reason. Where Disney doesn’t have the ability to remember you as an individual, we do! Where they will not provide you with a personalized itinerary to navigate the parks, we will! We have the time to pay attention to you & we’re good enough at it, Disney has given us their stamp of approval.
From a monetary standpoint as well, the organizations we are partnered with send us daily updates on their products & promotions so we can get you the best deals out there. If you book through us & later on a promotion that is relevant to you comes up, we will know about it & can make the necessary changes to your reservation to save you money! When you book online, it is very rare that you’ll be made aware of new promotions & will be able to change it. Most of the time, whatever you pay, sticks. With a travel agent, you can be confident we will do our best to take care of you.
Avoid Costly Scams
Have you received a questionable email or text lately? Maybe a strange pop-up opened when you went to a certain website. In this day and age, sometimes it seems like there are more scams out there than legitimate enterprises. Unfortunately, the travel industry is not immune. In an effort to save a few bucks, many travelers will try to find the cheapest options out there. They will scour the internet looking for any sort of deal, and often, they don’t do adequate research on the companies they are using. We have seen situations where sometimes the organizations offering tickets or hotels for super cheap will take your money & not deliver the products, or maybe you show up to the hotel & instead of the four-star resort with the spectacular pictures you saw on their site, it’s a two-star motel and now you’re stuck. Even the legitimate sites that offer “discounts” often don’t give you the full price upfront.
For example, I had a guest who was buying Disney World tickets for her family. She said my price (which came directly from Disney) was $500 more than what she could get online with a third-party seller. I cautioned her to make sure the tickets were the right type (child vs. adult tickets) and that taxes were included. Turns out, even though she has four “kids,” some of them were over the age of 10, and are thus, considered “adults” when it comes to park tickets. The third-party website was trying to sell her child tickets instead of the necessary adult tickets and sure enough, the taxes were not included. Can you imagine the hassle she would have experienced if she got to the parks & at the gate they said, “I’m sorry, this is a child ticket and your teenager is obviously not a child?” Because she bought through a third-party “discount” seller, now she’s out the money for the ticket she bought from them, plus the price of a new appropriate adult ticket at the gate.
There are MANY third-party sellers out there who will buy tickets/hotel rooms in bulk & sell them for “cheaper” than what you can get through the company or their authorized travel agents directly. BEWARE of these providers. The best deal you will find will be through the organization you’re visiting directly. You can feel confident when you use an authorized travel agent that you will get what you pay for with no hidden fees or questionable products. How much is peace of mind worth? Remember cost & value are NOT the same thing. I can guarantee the value you receive from a travel agent will be greater than the few dollars you save buying through questionable websites.
You will be supporting a small business.
In a world where the “little guy” often gets lost in the shuffle, it’s more important than ever to frequent small businesses. When you use a travel agent, you not only get the vacation of your dreams with less stress, you are also supporting the livelihood of individuals you personally know. We work hard for no guarantee of your business, we will find the right answers to your questions, and we add value that can’t be quantified. We will appreciate your business in a way a faceless search engine cannot & we would love the opportunity to prove it to you! Please think small & use a travel agent the next time you’re booking a trip!
Well, there you have it! Our top five reasons to use a travel agent. We hope you can see the value we provide & will seriously consider using us for your next vacation. To request a quote with Woodbrey Family Travel, visit our website: http://woodbreyfamilytravel.com/getaquote.php. We look forward to working with you!
The longer you stay, the more you save when you take advantage of this special offer—valid for stays most nights August 1 through November 22 and November 28 through December 21, 2020, with check-out on December 22, 2020.
- Save 35% on select rooms for stays of 5 or more consecutive nights
- Save 30% on select rooms for stays of 4 consecutive nights
- Save 25% on select rooms for stays of 3 consecutive nights
Book through October 24, 2020.
No matter how long you stay, you’ll enjoy a magical vacation that includes something for everyone: stunning pools, exhilarating water slides, a relaxing lazy river, an idyllic beach—and so much more!
This offer excludes suites and 3-Bedroom Grand Villas.
- Savings based on the non-discounted price for the same room and the same travel dates. Book from June 16, 2020 through October 24, 2020. Travel must be completed by December 22, 2020.
- Not valid on suites and 3-Bedroom Grand Villas, or on previously booked rooms.
- Advance reservations required.
- Subject to availability as the number of rooms allocated for this offer is limited.
- Excludes applicable fees and taxes.
- Limit two (2) rooms per reservation and occupancy restrictions apply per room.
- Additional charges apply if more than two (2) adults per hotel room; not applicable for Suites or Villas.
- Not valid in combination with any other hotel discounts or offers.
- Subject to restrictions and change without notice.
- Select activities require additional fees.
Contact us for more information and to book your next Aulani Adventure!
Woodbrey Family Travel
Creating Dream Vacations
In early 2020, Disney Cruise Line will offer families even more ways to explore the world together with the addition of a brand-new home port in New Orleans, Louisiana and a highly anticipated return to the Hawaiian Islands. Disney Cruise Line will also return to Puerto Rico for a limited time and continue guest-favorite itineraries to tropical destinations from Florida and California.
First-time Home Port in New Orleans
In 2020, the Disney Wonder will embark on a variety of Caribbean and Bahamian cruises from New Orleans – the first time Disney Cruise Line will have a home port in Louisiana. Not only will this provide families from the region with the magic of having a Disney ship in their own backyard, but it will also draw families from farther away to discover this incredible city before they set sail.
Before or after their Disney cruise, Guests can venture into the city to savor the distinct flavors of famous New Orleans cuisine, visit family-friendly museums and parks, and revel in the sweet melodies of world-renowned jazz music. Travelers will delight in the Southern charm of this new home port, and Disney fans will find magic around every corner as they experience the iconic sights and sounds that inspired the beloved animated film “The Princess and the Frog.”
The Disney Wonder will embark on six cruises during this limited-time season from New Orleans, including four-, six- and seven-night Western Caribbean sailings; a seven-night Bahamian cruise; and a 14-night Panama Canal voyage, departing February 7 through March 6.
Long-Awaited Return to Hawaii
After a five-year hiatus, the Disney Wonder will return to Hawaii in early 2020 for two special cruises: a nine-night voyage to Honolulu from Vancouver, Canada, on April 29, and a 10-night sailing back to Vancouver on May 8.
During these dream vacations, guests will discover the breathtaking beauty of the Hawaiian Islands, including the famous beaches of Waikiki on Oahu; the views from high atop the summit of Haleakala Crater on Maui; the lush tropical gardens and waterfalls of Kauai; and the diverse natural wonders of Hawaii Island.
Popular Itineraries from Puerto Rico and California
The Disney Wonder continues its standout season with returns to popular home ports on both coasts. First, the ship sets sail for the Southern Caribbean during two seven-night voyages departing January 19 and 26 from San Juan, Puerto Rico, followed by a five-night Bahamian cruise. Then beginning on March 20, the ship embarks on seven sailings to Baja and the Mexican Riviera, ranging in length from two to seven nights, from San Diego, California.
Unforgettable Tropical Getaways from Florida
Disney Cruise Line will have three ships sailing to the Bahamas and Caribbean from Florida in early 2020, and every cruise includes a day of fun in the sun on Disney’s private Bahamian island reserved exclusively for Disney Cruise Line guests, Castaway Cay.
- From Miami, the Disney Magic will sail three-, four- and five-night Bahamian cruises and five-night Western Caribbean cruises.
- From Port Canaveral, the Disney Fantasy will sail seven-night Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries, plus two special sailings at six- and eight-nights each.
- From Port Canaveral, the Disney Dream will sail three- and four-night Bahamian cruises to Nassau and Castaway Cay.
With a variety of options from Florida, Guests can choose the vacation that provides something for everyone in the family, combining the adventure and relaxation of tropical destinations, the ease and indulgence of an ocean cruise, and the world-class entertainment and service of a Disney vacation.
When To Book Early 2020 Itineraries
Platinum, Gold or Silver Castaway Club members, can take advantage of the opportunity to book early 2020 itineraries before they go on sale to the general public on October 4, 2018. Book either online or by phone during the designated booking window.
- October 1, 2018: Platinum Members
- October 2, 2018: Platinum and Gold Members
- October 3, 2018: Platinum, Gold and Silver Members
- October 4, 2018: all Guests
Please contact us, for more information or to book one of these amazing Disney Cruise vacations!
Woodbrey Family Travel
In fall 2018, Disney Cruise Line will sail on new itineraries and to new ports, including first-time visits to Bermuda and Quebec City, Canada—both with multiple days to experience these captivating destinations. In addition to the new itineraries from New York to Bermuda and Canada, three special sailings from New York will take Guests to Walt Disney World® Resort and Disney’s private island in the Bahamas, Castaway Cay. Sailings from California, Texas and Florida round out the 2018 fall season.
New sailings to Bermuda from New York
For the first time, Disney Cruise Line Guests can sail to the beautiful island of Bermuda. Each of the five-night sailings includes two full days in Bermuda, while one special six-night sailing includes three days there.
An idyllic setting for outdoor enjoyment, Bermuda offers its famous pink sand beaches, lush forests and a range of water activities. Shopping and sightseeing are plentiful and, at only 21 square miles, the island is easy to navigate and explore. With its own distinctive blend of British and Caribbean culture, Bermuda boasts a rich history in sailing, a passion for cricket and a truly unique national attire—Bermuda shorts.
Disney Magic cruises to Bermuda from New York set sail in October 2018.
New cruises between New York and Quebec City, Canada
Quebec City, Canada, a new port for Disney Cruise Line, will be featured on two new itineraries sailing from New York. Both of these sailings include two full days in Quebec City as well as stops at other Canadian ports new to Disney Cruise Line—Saguenay and Baie-Comeau.
With towering fortresses, lavish castles, cobblestone streets and French-inspired cuisine, Quebec City offers a taste of European charm. Must-see sights include the historic and grand Chateau Frontenac hotel and the impressive Montmorency Falls, which measure 30 meters taller than Niagara Falls. Both Saguenay and Baie-Comeau offer natural beauty, picturesque ports and local cuisine featuring plentiful seafood, wild game and the indigenous and delectable cloudberries.
Two seven-night Disney Magic cruises between New York and Quebec City depart in September 2018.
More magic from New York on sailings to Walt Disney World and Castaway Cay
Fall 2018 Disney Magic sailings from New York also include three seven-night voyages to Walt Disney World. Each cruise includes a stop in Port Canaveral, Florida, located near the Walt Disney World Resort, and a day at Disney’s private island in the Bahamas, Castaway Cay.
Adding to the magic on these special sailings, every Guest will receive a one-day Walt Disney World Park Hopper® ticket and round-trip transportation between the ship and the theme parks.
Back by Popular Demand: Cruises from New York, California and Florida
- In September and October 2018, the Disney Wonder will sail from San Diego, California, to Baja and the Mexican Riviera. Baja sailings visit Cabo San Lucas and Ensenada, Mexico, both famous for stunning beaches and exciting water activities. Mexican Riviera itineraries feature the snorkeling and scuba diving hot spots Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlán and Cabo San Lucas.
- In November and December 2018, the Disney Wonder returns to Galveston, Texas, with a variety of Caribbean and Bahamian itineraries. All cruises to the Bahamas include a stop at Disney Castaway Cay.
- In December 2018, the Disney Magic will return to Miami with voyages to the Western Caribbean and Bahamas, including stops at Key West and Disney Castaway Cay.
- During late 2018, the Disney Fantasy and Disney Dream will continue to sail a variety of Caribbean and Bahamian cruises from Port Canaveral, Florida, with every sailing including a day at Disney Castaway Cay.
When Can You Book Fall 2018 Itineraries?
- Monday, May 15, 2017 – phone reservations open for Platinum Castaway Club members.
- Tuesday, May 16, 2017 – phone reservations open for Gold Castaway Club members.
- Wednesday, May 17, 2017 – phone reservations open for Silver Castaway Club members.
- Thursday, May 18, 2017 – phone and online reservations open for all Guests.
Contact us for more information or to book one of these amazing cruises!
Woodbrey Family Travel
In summer 2018, Disney Cruise Line will sail on new itineraries and to new ports, including first-time visits to destinations in Italy and Ireland. Disney Cruise Line takes Guests on a grand tour of Europe with visits to the Mediterranean, northern Europe, Norway and Iceland. Plus, adventures continue with sailings to Alaska, the Caribbean and the Bahamas.
New sailings from Rome and Barcelona
For the first time, Disney Cruise Line Guests can experience more of the rich culture of Barcelona and inspiring history of Rome in a single cruise. In Rome, Guests can explore the Colosseum, the Trevi Fountain and the Vatican, and sample authentic local cuisine. Barcelona offers beautiful beaches, the market streets of La Rambla, the artistic architecture of Gaudi and the famed Sagrada Família church.
On June 16, 2018, the Disney Magic will sail a seven-night cruise from Barcelona to Civitavecchia (Rome). Ports of call include Marseilles and Villefranche, France; and Genoa (Milan), Livorno (Florence, Pisa) and Naples, Italy.
On June 23, 2018, the Disney Magic will sail a seven-night itinerary from Civitavecchia (Rome) to Barcelona. Ports visited on this cruise are Naples, Livorno (Florence, Pisa) and Genoa (Milan), Italy; and Cannes and Marseilles, France.
First-time visits to Milan, Italy
Disney Cruise Line will call on Genoa, Italy for the first time in 2018, as part of three special sailings from Barcelona and Civitavecchia (Rome). The historic port town of Genoa, located on the Italian Riviera, is a gateway to the beautiful metropolis of Milan and the picturesque locale of Portofino. Milan is a global capital of fashion and design, featuring top-name designer stores, boutiques, open-air markets and art galleries.
A 10-night Mediterranean itinerary sailing from Barcelona on July 7, 2018, calls on Genoa, as well as other popular ports in Italy, France and Spain.
First-time visit to Cork, Ireland and first seven-night British Isles
The Disney Magic will call on Cork, Ireland for the first time as part of a first-ever seven-night British Isles cruise, departing on September 2, 2018. Additional ports visited on this sailing include Dublin, Ireland; Greenock, Scotland; and Liverpool, England. Cork is home to a vibrant culinary scene and a plethora of pubs, shops and cafes. It invites visitors to connect with Ireland’s ancient past, with historic sites like Blarney Castle, where visitors can kiss the famed Blarney Stone.
Throughout the summer, the Disney Magic will continue to tour Europe with engagements in the Baltic, Norwegian fjords, British Isles and the Mediterranean.
Return to Alaska
In 2018, the newly re-imagined Disney Wonder will return to Alaska for the summer season, opening up a world of breathtaking natural vistas, magnificent glaciers and awe-inspiring wildlife. A variety of five-, seven- and nine-night itineraries will depart from Vancouver, Canada, with stops in Juneau, Skagway, Ketchikan, Icy Strait Point and Tracy Arm Fjord.
Southern Caribbean Special Sailing
In 2018, the Disney Fantasy will embark on a special 11-night southern Caribbean itinerary departing June 30, visiting tropical destinations renowned for beautiful sun-kissed beaches, including Aruba, Barbados, Martinique, St. Kitts, Puerto Rico and the Disney private island, Castaway Cay.
Castaway Cay – More Opportunities to Explore Disney’s Exclusive Private Island
Castaway Cay, Disney’s private island in the Bahamas, is consistently a top-rated destination. In 2018, the Disney Dream will sail a series of cruises that include two stops at Castaway Cay so Guests can have twice the fun in the sun and enjoy even more of the pristine island paradise.
Bookings open for Platinum and Gold Castaway Club Guests on February 22, 2017 and to all Guests on February 23, 2017.
Woodbrey Family Travel
An all-new character dining experience will debut this spring at Disney’s BoardWalk, with appearances by adventurous royal couples from beloved Disney films! A delicious breakfast awaits you at Trattoria al Forno, as you get ready to set out for a day of endless magic at Walt Disney World® Resort. It’s a hearty “bon voyage” celebration, featuring popular characters from favorite Disney stories like “Tangled” or “The Little Mermaid.”
This unique, new character breakfast is slated to begin in late spring.
Woodbrey Family Travel
Today is Cody’s birthday, which means it’s time to celebrate! In honor of his real birthday and your Very Merry Unbirthday, Woodbrey Family travel will be giving away $500 towards a future Disney trip! There will also be two runners-up who will win Disney Gift Packages with Disney merchandise. The celebration ends on February 29, 2016. Click here to entered to win the giveaway. Gain an extra entry by donating to the Kellsie’s Hope Foundation, click here to donate.
Here is How to Win
To be eligible for the GRAND PRIZE $500 credit towards a future Disney vacation package, please follow these steps:
The grand prize winner will be chosen from participants who have completed all four steps above.
Two additional winners will be chosen for a Disney Gift Packages with Disney merchandise.
Good Luck and thanks for sharing and may you have a Very Merry Unbirthday!
– Cody Woodbrey
Woodbrey Family Travel Giveaway Official Rules: No Purchase Necessary to Enter or Win. Some restrictions may apply. The Woodbrey Family Travel: Happy Unbirthday Giveaway (“Contest”) runs from 2:00 p.m. Mountain Time (MT) on February 3, 2016 until 11:59 p.m. Mountain Time (MT) on February 29, 2016. Contest is sponsored by Woodbrey Family Travel. This Contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook or Twitter. You understand that you are providing your information to Woodbrey Family Travel and not to Facebook or Twitter. Eligibility: The Contest must be over eighteen years of age as of the beginning of the Contest. Contest is subject to all federal, state and local laws and regulations. How to Enter: To enter, you must do the following; 1: Each participant must fill out the entire entry form with his or her information 2: Accept Giveaway Terms and Conditions. 3: Be a fan of Woodbrey Family Travel on Facebook and/or Twitter. 4: Share the Very Merry Ubirthday Facebook post. Participants must enter to win by February 29, 2016 at 11:59pm. Winners will be announced within 48 hours. Prizes: There will be one grand prize winner of a $500 credit to use towards a future Disney Vacation Package. There will be two additional winners of whom will win a Disney Gift Package with Disney merchandise. Attempts made by the same individual to submit multiple entries by using multiple or false contact information, including multiple Facebook or Twitter accounts, may be disqualified. The $500 credit can only be used through bookings with Woodbrey Family Travel. 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- Maiden Voyage: August 15, 1999 – 4 Night Bahamian Cruise
- Passenger Capacity: 2,400
- Gross Tonnage: 83,000 Tons
- Length: 964 ft, Beam: 106 ft, Draft: 25.3 ft
- Speed: Cruising – 21.5 Knots, Max – 24 Knots
- Crew: 950 Cast Members on board at all times
- Ship Cost: $350 Million
- Lobby Statue is Ariel
- Donald Duck is painting the back of the ship – Each ship has a different character
- Ship Builder was Fincantieri (Marghera, Italy)
- Godmother of the ship is Tinker Bell
- On a 7-Night cruise over 15,000 pool towels will be used
- There are 877 Staterooms – Inside: 256, Oceanview: 259 and Verandah 362
- The ship horn whistles, “When You Wish Upon a Star”
- There are 5,390 pillows on board
- On an average 7-Night cruise, 10,000 lbs of Chicken are consumed
- The ship can make 500,000 gallons of fresh water from seawater each day
- Disney Wonder is almost as long as the Eiffel Tower is high
- One anchor alone weighs more than 3 elephants
- On arrival day, cast members will transport approximately 10,000 suitcases
- There is 1,367 miles of cable on the ship
- The ship is painted in Mickey Mouse-inspired colors – black hull, superstructure, yellow trim and two giant red funnels, each with the Disney Line Mickey Mouse Logo.
- Wood is used throughout the whole ship, which is rare for newer ships
- On average there are 86 different nationalities of cast members
- All pools are filled with freshwater and are heated when the temperature drops below 75 Degrees
– Cody Woodbrey
Disney Cruise Line is excited to introduce more variety than ever in Summer 2016! For the first time ever, the Disney Magic will be sailing to the British Isles- including visits to Scotland, England, Ireland and France. Disney Cruise Line will also return to Norway, Iceland and ports of call in more than 15 European countries.
In addition to the tour of Europe with select sailings to Northern Europe, Norwegian Fjords, Iceland, British Isles, Greek Isles and the Mediterranean, Disney Cruise Line will revisit favorite destinations elsewhere around the globe including Alaska, the Caribbean and the Bahamas!
New British Isles
On June 5, 2016, Disney Cruise Line will sail from Dover, England on its very first British Isles Itinerary! The 12-night cruise on the Disney Magic will sail for the first time to Invergordon, Kirkwall, and Greenock (Glasgow), Scotland; Newcastle and Liverpool, England; Dublin, Ireland; Le Harve (Paris), France; and Guernsey; one of the Channel Islands.
On this stunning itinerary, Guests can explore the majestic beauty of Scotland, experience Highland culture, sample traditional cuisine and spirits, and discover the country’s iconic castles. Elsewhere on the itinerary, Guests will experience the merry, cosmopolitan city of Dublin, the culturally rich and romantic Paris, the birthplace of the Beatles and the British Invasion in Liverpool, and the charming Countryside of Guernsey.
Ports: Newcastle, England; Invergordon, Scotland; Kirkwall, Scotland; Greenock, Scotland; Liverpool; England; Dublin, Ireland; Le Harve, France; Guernsey; Dover, England
Departure dates: Disney Magic: Jun. 5, 2016
New Iceland and Norway Itinerary
Disney Cruise Line Guests can explore the natural wonders of Iceland with two new 12-Night Disney Magic sailings. Each itinerary includes two days in Reykjavik and a stop in Akureyri, Iceland; Bergen, Norway; and Kirkwall, Scotland. Departing from Dover, England and concluding in Copenhagen Denmark, then the June 17 cruise also visits Stavanger, Norway and New Castle, England. The July 13 cruise departing from Copenhagen, Denmark and concluding in Dover England also visits Olso and Kristiansand, Norway and Invergordon, Scotland.
On this itinerary, three days in Iceland provides time to explore the country’s rich natural wonders, from volcanoes, lava fields, to glaciers and thermal springs. In Norway, Guests are immersed in the splendor and charm of the country with exciting ports steeped in Viking history.
Ports: Jun. 17: New Castle, England; Kirkwall, Scotland; Reykjavik, Iceland; Akureyri, Iceland; Bergen, Norway; Stavanger, Norway; Copenhagen, Denmark
Jul. 13: Olso, Norway ; Kristiansand, Norway; Bergen, Norway; Akureyri, Iceland; Reykjavik, Iceland; Kirkwall, Scotland; Invergordon, Scotland; Dover, England
Departure dates: Disney Magic: Jun 17, 2016; Jul. 13, 2016
New Norwegian Fjords from Dover
For the first time, Disney Cruise Line will sail from Dover, England on a seven-night cruise to the majestic Norwegian fjords. Departing on May 29, the Disney Magic will visit Stavanger, Alesund, Geiranger and Bergen, Norway.
In Norway, Disney Cruise Line Guests will discover breathtaking natural wonders such as magnificent mountain ranges, massive glaciers and majestic fjords. The enchanting Scandinavian culture of the region comes to life through local attractions, stunning architecture, storybook villages and historic city centers.
Ports: Stavenger, Norway; Alesund, Norway; Geiranger, Norway; Bergen Norway
Departure dates: Disney Magic: May 29, 2016
More Summer 2016 Itineraries
During the summer of 2016, the Disney Magic will return to favorite destinations in Northern Europe, the Greek Isles and the Mediterranean with a variety of seven-night and longer sailings.
From May through August 2016, the Disney Wonder will return to Alaska, sailing from Vancouver, Canada to Tracy Arm, Skagway, Juneau and Ketchikan.
In 2016, the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy will sail from Port Canaveral to the Bahamas and Caribbean on a variety of itineraries. Most of these cruises include a stop at Disney Castaway Cay, a private island paradise.
Please contact me for more information or to book one of these AMAZING Disney Cruises.
– Cody Woodbrey
If you have never considered a Disney Cruise, now is the time! If you have any doubts, check out my top 18 reasons to cruise with Disney and you are sure to change your mind.
1. Disney Cruise Line is the top rated and award winning cruise line in the World
2. Staterooms on average are 20% larger than other cruise lines
3. Disney is the only cruise line who does fireworks at sea
4. Main Dining features Disney’s innovative Rotational Dining system which lets you “rotate” to one of 3 distinctly themed restaurants each night, for your main dining experience your servers follow you from venue to venue. No other Cruise line does this and you never have to wait to be seated or for another family to finish eating
5. Disney Cruise Line ships include state-of-the art theatre spaces that showcase live shows and first-run films during your cruise
6. Disney has award winning Broadway-caliber, Disney-themed live shows for the entire family that you simply won’t find anywhere else
7. There is no extra charges for a soda or ice cream – Many cruise lines charge extra for these features
8. All port and fuel charges are included in the price – no secret charges down the road
9. Disney has their own private island, Disney’s Castaway Cay where they provide food and adventures for everybody for free. No extra charge!
10. All Disney Cruise Line shows are appropriate for the whole family, even for the adults
11. Disney is the only cruise line who has a water-coaster at sea, the “AquaDuck” and all the pools on board are fresh water… No salt water here!
13. Room service is completely free
14. The Disney Cruise Line has created fun and adventures for all ages, including adults!
15. All Kids activities on the ship are included. No other cruise line comes close to the array of activities and the caliber of youth counselors
17. There is not a casino on board and there is only one area on the ship where smoking is allowed
18. There are several adult-only areas including a swimming pool, jacuzzis, sun decks, and lounges. Special adult-only shows are offered every night. Don’t worry! They are still clean and to “Disney” standards
– Cody Woodbrey
- Maiden Voyage: July 30, 1998 – 4 Night Bahamian Cruise
- Passenger Capacity: 2,400
- Gross Tonnage: 84,000 Tons
- Length: 964 ft, Beam: 106 ft, Draft: 25.3 ft
- Speed: Cruising Speed 21.5 Knots – Max Speed 24 Knots
- Crew: 950 Cast Members on board at all times
- Godmother of the ship is Patricia Disney, Former wife of Roy E. Disney
- Goofy is painting the back of the ship – Each ship has a different character
- The Magic is longer than Main Street U.S.A at the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World
- There are 877 Staterooms – Inside: 256, Oceanview: 259 and Verandah 362
- The ship horn whistles “When You Wish Upon a Star”
- Lobby Statue is Helmsman Mickey Mouse
- On an average 7-Night cruise, over 71,500 eggs and are consumed
- The ship can make 1,200 tons of fresh water from seawater each day
- The ship has 11 decks
- One anchor alone weighs 28,200 pounds
- On arrival day, cast members will transport approximately 10,000 suitcases
- The Disney Magic was built in two halves about 100 miles apart
- The Magic was the first cruise ship to ever have split bathrooms for guests
- The Disney Magic was just recently renovated in October of 2013. Some of the new highlights include; The AquaDunk water slide, new Brazilian-themed restaurant, a new kid’s club, new splash zone water play areas and new adult nightclubs.
- Wood is used throughout the whole ship, which is rare for newer ships
- On average there are over 86 nationalities of cast members
- 70% of staterooms have a view of the Ocean and 60% of them have a private verandah
- All pools are filled with freshwater and are heated to 75 Degrees
- The Walt Disney Theatre can seat 977 guests and expands three decks
– Cody Woodbrey