Ten Ways to Make Your Vacations Extraordinary
How can you make your vacations extraordinary? Do you feel like your vacations are monotonous? Do you tell your friends where you are going or what you did and they say “me too”? Well, it’s time to customize your vacations. Yes, customization can add extra costs to your vacation. However, with strategic planning, you can add-on one benefit and cutback on another budgeted item. With or without VIP spending power, you can plus your travel routine! Your next vacation can absolutely stand out. With creative planning, you can even add special moments to your trip at no additional expense. By trying a new destination or just adding in a new activity, you’ll have a vacation that is personalized. Let’s check out ten ways to make your vacations extraordinary. Don’t be afraid to do something different.
1. Change Your Mode of Transportation
Do you always fly to your destination? Or maybe you like the adventure of a road trip? Think about how exciting it would be to change your mode of transportation.
Tour a foreign city using the underground metro system.
If the kids are used to piling into your vehicle for a road trip, try flying to this year’s vacation destination. This might mean cutting back on other costs — and that’s okay! So, instead of renting a large beach house, fly to Washington D.C. and tour the free museums.
Fly to your next destination.
You can also change your transportation at your location. Do you always rent a sensible car for a couples only trip? Try renting a convertible or a jeep and see how much fun you add to your vacations.
Rent a convertible for memorable fun.
Do you usually take Disney’s Magical Express from the Orlando International Airport (MCO) to your resort? Surprise the family with a car service; extra points if it’s a limo! If you use a car service on an airport trip, you’ll get that extra dose of “special” as soon as you land.
Reserve a limo!
From your port of call in Italy, is your first inclination to walk around the town or take a guided bus tour? Instead take the train to a place you’ve always dreamed about and travel with the locals.
Take a train to see a bucket list place — like Pompeii!
When you’re traveling to multiple locations, think how you can make the journey a little bit different. From Los Angeles to San Francisco, take the train. London to Paris? EuroStar!
2. Try a New Recreational Activity
Sure, you could go skydiving to really standout. But, you don’t have to go to that extreme. At the beach, take a surf lesson, go fishing, or go back-to-basics and fly a kite.
Wright Brothers Visit National Memorial at Kitty Hawk in North Carolina, then…
Go fly a kite!
Flying Kite on Sand Dunes at Jockey’s Ridge State Park, North Carolina.
On your next cruise trip, dance, rock climb, zipline, or ice skate. Learn a new dance routine to really shake things up!
Dance the night away! Dazzles, Royal Caribbean.
Many of us gear our Walt Disney World trips around the theme parks. On your next trip, spend a day outside the parks to enjoy playing miniature golf, boating, fishing, horseback riding, or learning archery.
Rent a Sea Raycer. Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort.
3. A New Destination or Time of Year
This one may seem obvious but many of us tend to go to the same destinations at the same time year. Of course, familiar vacations are memorable. Traditions are also important to families. Still, you can change your routine just a little bit to make your next journey extra special. If you usually travel over Spring Break, book this year’s trip for Thanksgiving. Try visiting your favorite location during the festive holiday season and see the locale in a whole new light.
Merry Christmas Slipper Dessert at Grand Floridian Cafe on Christmas Eve.
A new destination can sometimes be daunting. Will you enjoy it? Usually, the answer is yes. Ditch the beach and go to the mountains. Stuck on land-based vacations? Take a cruise.
Take a cruise!
Or just change beaches: Hilton Head Island instead of Myrtle Beach; Destin, Florida instead of Gulf Shores, Alabama; Rehoboth Beach, Delaware instead of Ocean City, Maryland; a West Coast beach instead of East Coast getaway, and so forth. Even if you return to your once familiar vacation for the following year, you’ll find yourselves reminiscing…
Huntington Beach over Thanksgiving!
Or think farther away and go to Europe. Sail the Mediterranean instead of the Caribbean. Head to Hawaii instead of Mexico. The possibilities are endless.
Sailing into the Grand Harbor, Malta.
Touring Colosseum in Rome, Italy.
Try a new-to-you vacation spot!
If you’re a Disney World fan that always attends the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival, try visiting during the spring instead and tour the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival. Or plan to attend the Halloween festivities in the Magic Kingdom.
4. Splurge on Amenities
Amenities are the little things that make us feel special. From chocolate-covered strawberries delivered to your cruise stateroom to balloons delivered to your Walt Disney World resort, added amenities are always memorable. And instagram-worthy!! 😉
Order special treats to enjoy during your vacation!
5. Tweak Your Traveling Party
If you always travel with kids in tow, take a couples only trip. Invite the grandparents and/or aunts and uncles. Take a parent-child only trip for special bonding time — this works for parents of grown children too. Try a guys trip to the Caribbean to scuba dive or a ladies trip to New York City to see a show. Imagine the possibilities!
Travel with family!
6. Make Your Trip a Celebration
From a destination wedding to a birthday getaway, your trip is the perfect time to celebrate. Don’t let those annual milestones go unnoticed. This year, take a weekend trip for your anniversary, go on a cruise for your birthday, or take your child to Disneyland Paris for graduation.
Our son’s January birthday celebration aboard the Disney Wonder.
For our 10th anniversary, we renewed our vows in Walt Disney World!
A splurge for our 10th anniversary vow renewal — riding in Cinderella’s Coach!
Whenever someone asks me what I want to do for my birthday? The answer involves travel. I’ve spent my birthday on a cruise ship, in Barcelona, in Paris, on a road trip heading home from Yellowstone, at beaches, and so on. Of course, I’ve been in Walt Disney World a number of times! Skip the gifts and make some priceless memories instead.
7. Take a Tour
You could take a guided tour for your entire vacation or add on tours during your trip. Some of my favorite tours: Stonehenge from London; Normandy from Paris; a cruise ship tour of the captain’s bridge; a plantation in St. Croix; a Magic Kingdom tour; Roswell, New Mexico; and Carthage and Sidi Bou Said in Tunisia.
A tour to Stonehenge.
Tours can often be pricey, however they add convenience and/or in-depth education that is usually not regretted.
8. Cross Off a Bucket List Item
On every single trip, you have the opportunity to cross off a bucket list item. Bucket list achievements come in all sizes.
Devils Tower Wyoming
Try one of these personal goals:
- Teach your child to ride a bike.
- See the Milky Way.
- Picnic in a beautiful setting.
- Watch a turtle crawl to the sea.
- See the Chincoteague ponies.
- Dine somewhere special; extra points if it’s for New Year’s Eve or another celebration.
- Get a tattoo.
- Learn to…. paddleboard, ski, golf, mix a delicious cocktail, make authentic pizza, etc.
- Swim with a dolphin.
Bike riding on vacation!
Proud bike rider!
Go exploring via bicycle!
See the Chincoteague Ponies in Virginia.
Horseback Riding at Bill Cody Ranch in Wyoming.
9. Take More Pictures
Hiring a photographer to take pictures of the whole family is an extra special way to commemorate your trip. Whether it’s a once in a lifetime adventure or an annual vacation, photographs will always keep the memories alive.
Take lots of photos!
And here are two important tips: * Give each child an age-appropriate camera. Some of the most touching or extremely hilarious photos that we have viewed were from our young child’s eyes. * Include the family’s photographer in photos. I’m usually the photographer in the family and well, there just aren’t a ton of photos of me. Do better than we did — you won’t regret it. Every now and then, have a photo watching night at home. Which vacations were your favorites? Take a vote on where to travel next.
Finally, there’s nothing like an upgrade to make your vacation stand out. Upgrade your accommodations (get a balcony stateroom or a Magic Kingdom view), meals, souvenir purchases, excursions, and other vacation components.
Concierge Room at the BoardWalk Inn.
Do you usually sail in an interior cabin? Next cruise, drive to the port instead of flying and upgrade to an oceanview cabin. Or try a cruise line (like Disney or Royal Caribbean) that is new to you. Not sure which one is right for you — read my Disney vs. Royal Caribbean Splashdown.
Magic in the Med!
Headed to Walt Disney World for a week of quick-service meals? Maybe try a few table-service meals instead of purchasing more Mickey Ears and other souvenirs.
Pizza at Epcot’s Via Napoli!
Of course, there’s something to be said for the familiarity and tradition of visiting the same location each year. Just change it up a bit. Make your vacation extraordinary!
How have you made your vacations extra special? Share in the comments below or join the discussion on our Facebook Page.
Springtime at Walt Disney World
The Florida sunshine is simply gorgeous (and warm!) during springtime at Walt Disney World. Flowers, smiles, and magical experiences are blooming in every park and resort.
And as spring arrives, pastel colors explode! It’s a whimsical time to visit the Happiest Place on Earth.
Stop by Contempo Café for delicious treats!
Also, springtime in Walt Disney World brings the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival, Spring Break, Easter, and the Star Wars Half Marathon. Plus, Mother’s Day and more!
Epcot’s International Flower and Garden Festival
Even before the official start of the season, Epcot’s International Flower and Garden Festival gets underway. I can’t wait to see what’s blooming next year!.
Find out what’s blooming at the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival.
Here, you’ll want to dig into the tasty bites at the Outdoor Kitchens. Or listen to a concert. My favorite part of the festival? The stunning topiaries! This event is fun for all ages.
You won’t want to miss the topiaries at the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival.
Spring Break Brings Crowds
Spring Break is a popular and thus crowded time to visit WDW; this makes the month of March very crowded. You’ll find springtime touring less chaotic from around the second week of April to mid-May. Of course, the timing of Easter is also a factor.
Still, Spring Break is a great time to visit Walt Disney World. If you’re traveling from a colder climate, you’ll really appreciate the warm, Florida sunshine. You can explore the theme parks day and night or opt to relax by your hotel pool. With so many things to see and do, this is a Spring Break location that promises fun for all ages.
Easter at Walt Disney World
Look for treats, eats, and customized baskets. Buy a pre-made basket or build your own! You’ll find Mr. and Mrs. Easter Bunny greeting guests in the Magic Kingdom. Look for other Easter activities at the resorts.
Purchase pre-made Easter Baskets.
Cookies and Candy for your Easter Baskets!
The sweet aroma will lure you into the Disney bakeries, including Main Street Confectionery.
Don’t pass up the seasonal cookies!
Don’t miss a smorgasbord of shopping, dining, and entertainment at Disney Springs.
Vera Bradley bags are great for Easter and Mother’s Day gifts.
Look for colorful merchandise.
Star Wars runDisney Event
Runners will want to start prepping for this event usually held in April. Get your race on!
Spring Activities at Walt Disney World
Find a place to picnic. We love these outdoor tables at All-Star Music Resort.
- Swimming at your resort pool.
- Visit a water park.
- Have an outdoor picnic.
- Watch an outdoor movie.
- Go fishing.
- Sit by a campfire.
- Watch your resort’s activity schedule for Easter festivities.
- Rent a boat — cruise on a lagoon, go fishing, or take a fireworks cruise.
Outdoor Activities at Polynesian Village Resort
Spring in Walt Disney World is rejuvenating! Are you ready to say goodbye to winter hibernation, boots, and heavy coats?! If so, plan a weekend or week-long stay at the Walt Disney World resort in Central Florida.
What’s your favorite time of the year to visit Walt Disney World? Do you have a favorite spring activity that you must do on every WDW trip?
Valentine’s Day at Walt Disney World: Romance and Family Fun
Yes, that sometimes chaotic theme park in central Florida can be a romantic and fun option for the upcoming holiday. Let’s take a look at how you can enjoy Valentine’s Day at Walt Disney World!
In your planning process, make sure to take the photographic tour of our favorite hotels for couples at WDW.
Opt for family fun, romance, or a combination of both vacation styles for your Valentine’s Day at Walt Disney World. As you plan your special day, you’ll find temptations all around the resorts and parks. From red and white festive baked goods to holding hands in the Haunted Mansion, your theme park day is sure to be a memorable celebration.
Of course, you can splurge on special events, magical add-on experiences, or candlelit meals. Or you can keep it simple with a cupcake, balloon, and moonlit walk.
Get your sweetheart a balloon.
Whether you tour with your loved one or the whole family, be sure to get PhotoPass pictures taken to commemorate your Valentine’s Day at Walt Disney World on February 14th!
2018 Valentine’s Day at Walt Disney World Details
As with all holidays and celebrations at WDW, the bakeries will showcase specialty treats. Mickey Mouse shaped cookies, Mickey Mouse Rice Krispy Treats, and an assortment of cupcakes will boast colorful sprinkles and frosting. And that’s just for starters. Take a look at these special treats found on a past Valentine’s Day at Walt Disney World:
An example of the Valentine’s Day Treats that you may find in Walt Disney World.
If you plan to visit the Magic Kingdom, a visit to the Main Street Confectionery is a must for you and your sweetie(s).
You’ll find shopping, dining, and entertainment at Disney Springs. At Sprinkles, you’ll find new seasonal cupcakes — Raspberry Chocolate Chip or Red Hot Velvet. Or indulge in a scoops of Cherry Vanilla ice cream now through February 28!
Romantic Restaurants at Walt Disney World
If you’re looking to impress, make an Advance Dining Reservation at the five-diamond Victoria & Albert’s restaurant at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa.
Other fine dinner choices include the award-winning California Grill at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Narcoossee’s with its waterfront real estate at Disney’s Grand Floridan, the unique ambiance of Jiko at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, or the Pacific Northwest décor at Artist Point at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge.
For in-park dining, consider Monsieur Paul and Chefs de France in Epcot, Tiffins in Animal Kingdom, Be Our Guest at Magic Kingdom, and Hollywood Brown Derby at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
We loved our meal at The Boathouse at Disney Springs on a previous Valentine’s Day at Walt Disney World!
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Most restaurants will require booking 180 days in advance, especially for holiday dining. However, last minute cancellations do occur, so keep checking!
WDW Add-On Experiences
Valentine’s Day Spa Package
Created exclusively for Valentine’s Day in Walt Disney World, Senses – A Disney Spa has announced the “Part of Your World” package.
From February 10 – 18, 2018, the package includes a couple’s massage with apricot-infused body oil, a chocolate hand-hydration treatment, sparkling wine served in a chocolate champagne glass and a take-home, custom-blended bath salt.
$340 (plus tax) for 50 minutes and $450 (plus tax) for 80 minutes. A 20 percent gratuity is added automatically. Disney Vacation Club Members (DVC) will receive a 15 percent discount by calling Member Services.
To schedule, call (407) WDW-SPAS or (407) 939-7727.
Dressed up for Valentine’s Day.
Walt Disney World Date Ideas
- Dine at Narcoossee’s, watch fireworks, then stop by Disney’s Grand Floridan Lobby to listen to the Grand Floridian Society Orchestra.
- Stroll around the Boardwalk at Disney’s BoardWalk Inn, sip on a cocktail at Belle Vue Lounge, and share an ice cream flight at Ample Hills Creamery.
- Keep your eye out for seasonal flavors at the specialty shops at Disney Springs.
Valentine’s Day Seasonal Flavors at Vivoli il Gelato in Disney Springs.
- Take a moonlit walk outside and look for giraffes. Sit by a wood-burning fire and share roasted marshmallows. Wherever you roam at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, you’ll find family fun and romance due to the exotic ambiance.
Beautiful Valentine’s Day cookie treat!
- From Port Orleans Riverside, take a horse-drawn carriage excursion. Reserve your extra-fee ride in advance by calling (407) WDW-PLAY. Afterwards, take the Sassagoula River boat to Disney Springs for more shopping, dining, and entertainment options. Don’t forget to get a treat at Goofy’s Candy Company!
- Dine at a Disney Springs restaurant, then shop for sweets to share back at your resort.
- Play mini-golf before heading to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Take the plunge together on Tower of Terror.
- Go horseback riding at Disney’s Fort Wilderness, followed by a dinner and show at the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue.
- Look for Hidden Mickeys — every time you find one share a kiss.
Family Fun on Valentine’s Day
Most of the date ideas above can be customized for family fun. In addition, you may want to try these family-friendly options:
- Guests ages 7 and up can learn archery at Fort Wilderness. Pick up supplies at the Meadow or Settlement Trading Post and have a picnic.
- Visit a water park, then return to your hotel and sip hot chocolate.
- Have each family member choose part of the day’s itinerary. One person can choose where to breakfast, another can pick the afternoon activity, and so on. Finish the day with an outdoor movie at your resort.
- Speaking of movies, why not head to the AMC Disney Springs 24 Dine-In Theatres?!
- Take the monorail or boat from the Magic Kingdom to the Grand Floridian, Polynesian Village, and Contemporary resorts. At each stop, choose a favorite or new-to-you snack. You’ll find Dole Whip at the Polynesian Village. Yum!
Valentine’s Day Trivia at Fantasia Market in Disney’s Contemporary Resort.
The options are endless. These are some ideas to inspire you to find your own special magic during Valentine’s Day at Walt Disney World.
What’s your ideal date at Walt Disney World?