Ten Ways to Make Your Vacations Extraordinary

Ten Ways to Make Your Vacations Extraordinary

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. Mix it up and you'll be on your way to a trip that you'll be talking about for years. Click To Tweet

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.

London Metro Westminster.

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 via Southwest or your favorite airline.

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. This one is at the Biltmore Estate.

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.

WDW Transportation Option Limousine

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!

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.

Fishing Thousand Islands New York

Try fishing!

 

Wright Brothers National Memorial at Kitty Hawk in North Carolina

Wright Brothers Visit National Memorial at Kitty Hawk in North Carolina, then…

 

Fly a kite at the sand dunes in North Carolina.

Go fly a kite!

 

Flying Kite on Sand Dunes at Jockey's Ridge State Park, North Carolina.

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.

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.

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 Grand Floridian Cafe Christmas Eve

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.

Jewel of the Seas Royal Caribbean Cruise Line

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… ...remember the year we went to_________________. Dare to fill in the blank! Click To Tweet

Huntington Beach, California.

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.

It's like sailing back in time as your ship sails into the Grand Harbor at Valletta, Malta.

Sailing into the Grand Harbor, Malta.

 

Touring Colosseum in Rome, Italy.

Touring Colosseum in Rome, Italy.

 

Disney's Hilton Head Island Resort South Carolina

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!

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!

Family travel Walt Disney World.

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.

Our son’s January birthday celebration aboard the Disney Wonder.

For our 10th anniversary, we renewed our vows in Walt Disney World!

Cinderella's Coach Vow Renewal 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.

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

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 at Disney's Hilton Head Island Resort.

Bike riding on vacation!

 

Make memories on vacation by teaching your child something new like bike riding.

Proud bike rider!

 

Bike Riding Currituck Club Outer Banks North Carolina

Go exploring via bicycle!

 

See the Chincoteague Ponies.

See the Chincoteague Ponies in Virginia.

 

Horseback Riding at Bill Cody Ranch in Wyoming.

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.

Taking photos at the Grand Canyon

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.

10. Upgrades

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.

BoardWalk Inn WDW Concierge Room

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.

Disney Cruise Line's Magic in the Mediterranean.

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. Italy Pavilion Walt Disney World.

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!

Walt Disney World Date Ideas
Date Ideas for Valentine's Day at Walt Disney World

How have you made your vacations extra special? Share in the comments below or join the discussion on our Facebook Page.

How to Make Your Next Vacation Extraordinary
how to make your vacation stand out
How to make your vacations stand out!
Springtime at Walt Disney World: Why You Should Visit!

Springtime at Walt Disney World: Why You Should Visit!

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.

Pink Cupcake at Contempo Cafe.

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!.

Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival - springtime flowers blooming near Space Ship Earth.

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.

Minnie and Pluto Topiaries at the spring Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival.

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 at Walt Disney World.

Purchase pre-made Easter Baskets.

 

Cookies and Candy for your Easter Baskets at Walt Disney World.

Cookies and Candy for your Easter Baskets!

The sweet aroma will lure you into the Disney bakeries, including Main Street Confectionery.

Find Easter cookies at Candy Cauldron in Disney Springs during springtime at Walt Disney World.

Don’t pass up the seasonal cookies!

Don’t miss a smorgasbord of shopping, dining, and entertainment at Disney Springs.

Vera Bradley Bags at Disney Springs.

Vera Bradley bags are great for Easter and Mother’s Day gifts.

 

Spring Merchandise at Disney Springs.

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

Picnic Tables at All-Star Music Resort.

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.
Kids playing outdoor activites at Polynesian Village Resort

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.

Walt Disney World Date Ideas
Date Ideas for Valentine's Day at Walt Disney World

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

Valentine’s Day at Walt Disney World: Romance and Family Fun

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.

Valentine's Day at Walt Disney World

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.

A pink Mickey balloon shimmers in front of Cinderella Castle.

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

Special Treats

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.

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!

The Boathouse Disney Springs Walt Disney World Valentine's Day Dinner

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.

Candy Apples dressed up for Valentine's Day at Walt Disney World.

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

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.
Iced Sugar Cookie Valentine's Day at Walt Disney World

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 WDW

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.

Walt Disney World Date Ideas
Date Ideas for Valentine's Day at Walt Disney World

What’s your ideal date at Walt Disney World?

Walt Disney World Holidays: Thanksgiving Tips for WDW

Walt Disney World Holidays: Thanksgiving Tips for WDW

Families headed to Walt Disney World for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday will find the parks and resorts already decorated in their holiday best.

Disney's Grand Floridian during the holiday season features a beautiful tree.

Disney’s Grand Floridian during the holiday season.

WDW will be immersed in a wonderland of candy canes, ornaments, and catchy seasonal tunes. Remember, you won’t see much décor with pilgrims, the Christmas trimmings will add to the festivities. Yes, you’ll need to embrace the holiday season along with your Thanksgiving meal.

Thanksgiving Tips Walt Disney World

Thanksgiving Dinner

Gratefully, your family won’t go hungry as there will be a bounty of menu options. From quick, casual meals with traditional entrees to table service meals with specialty fixings, your loved ones can easily find a familiar holiday meal on Thanksgiving day.

The "Yacht Club" Club Sandwich at The Boathouse.

The “Yacht Club” Club Sandwich at The Boathouse.

In fact, you’ll find 28 dining locations offering a full buffet or special plated meal of traditional turkey day cuisine. Some of the places that your family can feast are:

• Akershus Royal Banquet Hall – Lunch and dinner
• Biergarten Restaurant – Lunch and dinner
• Chef Mickey’s – Dinner only
• Coral Reef Restaurant – Lunch and dinner
• Jiko – The Cooking Place – Dinner only
• Le Cellier Steakhouse – Lunch and dinner
• Olivia’s Cafe – Lunch and dinner
• The Wave… of American Flavors – Lunch and dinner
• Whispering Canyon Cafe – Lunch and dinner

Carving Board Turkey Dinner at Port Orleans Riverside.

Carving Board Dinner at Port Orleans Riverside.

More festive flavors will be offered at:

  • Magic Kingdom’s Pecos Bill’s Tall Tale Inn and Café – turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, green beans, cranberry sauce and gravy.
  • Plus, Pinocchio’s Village Haus has Thanksgiving-inspired flatbread that is offered all month. The menu boasts cheese, turkey, stuffing, and cranberry sauce drizzled in gravy.
  • Epcot’s Sunshine Seasons – turkey with gravy, mashed potatoes, stuffing, green beans and cranberry sauce for lunch and dinner.
  • Animal Kingdom’s Satu’li Canteen will feature the Na’vi’s version of a holiday meal. On Pandora, wood-grilled roasted turkey breast with gravy, apple and sage stuffing, green beans, orange marmalade glazed sweet potatoes with candied pecans, mashed potatoes and cranberry boba pearls will be served; available in both adult and kids’ portions. You’ll find a delicious pumpkin cheesecake mousse for dessert.
  • Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’ at Disney Springs is offering a Thanksgiving roast turkey special.

Or… you might want to make the holiday even more memorable by noshing on a turkey leg or a decidedly non-traditional meal like Via Napoli’s Italian offerings in Epcot’s Italy pavilion.

Pizza at Via Napoli in Epcot

Pizza at Via Napoli.

Suggested Thanksgiving Itineraries

  • Reserve a carriage ride. Dine at your hotel food court. Take a walk around your resort. Visit Disney Springs for dessert. End your evening with miniature golf.
  • At Epcot, take in some of the shows around World Showcase that you’ve skipped on other trips. Collect photographs with characters. Stop by the Liberty Inn for dinner; get cobbler for dessert.
  • Go horseback riding at Fort Wilderness and then have a take-out meal/picnic from P&Js Southern Takeout. Take the boat to Disney’s Contemporary Resort to check out the holiday decorations. Board the monorail and visit the Polynesian Village and Grand Floridian resorts; pose for family photos in front of the holiday trees for your Christmas cards.
  • Find a football game on in one of the resort lounges before going to dinner at your resort hotel. Take a walk around the BoardWalk, then get ice cream at Ample Hills Creamery.
BoardWalk Resort WDW

Take a walk around the boardwalk from Beach Club to BoardWalk.

Go shopping at Disney Springs, graze at the quick service spots, then go see a movie. I love the idea of having an appetizer at one place, entree at the next, and finishing up with dessert at another location.

AMC Disney Springs 24 with Dine-In Theatres

See a movie.

Thanksgiving Day Planning

If you’re just planning a last minute trip to Walt Disney World, don’t despair. While most restaurants are booked to capacity, you won’t go hungry. Some restaurants still have availability and many quick service venues offer delicious meals. Next year, plan 180 days in advance to secure your first-choice Advance Dining Reservations.

The most popular restaurants, including Liberty Tree Tavern, offer traditional meals in a memorable atmosphere.
No reservation? Think of an alternate plan; for example, try Columbia Harbour House in the Magic Kingdom’s Liberty Square. Get your meal, then dine upstairs on the second floor.

Find quaint Thanksgiving Day seating on the second floor of the Columbia Harbour House.

Find quaint seating on the second floor of the Columbia Harbour House.

Thanksgiving Touring Plans

Your Thanksgiving touring plans should accommodate the crowds. Utilize FastPass+; checking for last minute availability as some families will decide they are too tired to tour after their holiday feasts. Plan to use single rider lines.

Eat a holiday meal at your reserved restaurant. Hit up a park and ride the overlooked attractions that have little wait. How long has it been since you’ve seen Carousel of Progress or rode the train around the Magic Kingdom? Finish the night with a caramel apple on Main Street U.S.A.

Caramel Apple WDW

Finish your holiday with an old-fashioned treat.

Look for information on the Thanksgiving Parade of Bands. This mass marching band performance includes award-winning bands from around the country, along with the Boston Brass. They have performed traditionally at 2PM in Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Finally, don’t forget about Black Friday at Disney Springs! Arrive around opening time at Disney Springs for an uncrowded experience and some fun deals. Crowds pick up around 11AM.

Disney Springs - a great place to unwind.

Plan some time at Disney Springs.

Walt Disney World Holidays are always fun. With our tips you’ll find navigating Thanksgiving at WDW to be memorable. Turkey dinner has a variety of options; look for quick service meals featuring a traditional menu or full service restaurants offering special plated entrees.

From carriage rides, movies, and fishing to shows, rides, and shopping, Walt Disney World serves up a bounty of Thanksgiving fun!

We’ll be in Walt Disney World for the Thanksgiving week. We hope you’ll follow our holiday explorations; we plan to dine at Tusker House for our holiday dinner!

Share your Thanksgiving holiday experiences at WDW with us.

Romance at Walt Disney World: Favorite Hotels for Couples

Romance at Walt Disney World: Favorite Hotels for Couples

Romance at Walt Disney World: Favorite Hotels for Couples

Romance at Walt Disney World?! If you’re reading this article, you are either looking for romantic ideas for your Walt Disney World vacation or you are wondering how couples are finding lovely moments to share at a theme park.

I’m writing this so that you don’t doubt for a moment that couples can find romance at Walt Disney World. I’ve got date suggestions coming soon too. For now, let’s delve into the hotels at Walt Disney World. This photographic tour will point out our favorite hotels for couples at WDW.

Join us on this romantic journey; better yet, grab your sweetheart, a fabulous beverage, and start planning your trip together.

Romance at Walt Disney World. Romantic Hotels.

In the spirit of fairytales, these resorts inspire us to dream in settings similar to the Disney classics. Reserve a room at any of these hotels and let their charm woo you and your beloved.

Disney’s Grand Floridian

Some guests love the old world charm, others find it a little too reminiscent of their grandmother’s parlor. Either way, look a little closer at Disney’s Grand Floridian.

The Grand Floridian lobby is a relaxing place to hang out at WDW.

Let time go by at the GF Lobby.

Yes, I have a bias here. Michael and I honeymooned at the GF; we also have spent many anniversaries holding hands and staring up at the gabled roofs.

Disney's Grand Floridian Resort.

Victorian elegance at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort.

What makes it so grand? It’s a quiet evening listening to the Grand Floridian Society Orchestra.

Romance at WDW: Request your favorite tune by the Grand Floridian Society Orchestra.

Request your favorite tune!

A waterside table at Narcoossee’s will have fireworks flying between the two of you. Don’t forget to find the perfect spot to watch fireworks from the resort. We recommend a table or the patio at Narcoossee’s, a Magic Kingdom fireworks cruise from the marina, a balcony from your lagoon view room, or a cozy spot on the dock.

Grand Floridian Resort at WDW. Narcoossee's waterfront restaurant.

Narcoossee’s waterfront restaurant

With a spa, a lobby filled with fresh cut flowers, an assortment of restaurants, beautiful rooms (request a dormer or “attic” room), maids on parade (do they still do this?!), two featured pools, and a view of Cinderella’s Castle, the Grand Floridian should definitely be a top choice for your romantic weekend or week-long stay.

Disney's Grand Floridian at night.

Disney’s GF is GRAND.

Our most romantic moment ever in Walt Disney World? Renewing our vows for our tenth wedding anniversary!

Vow Renewal Grand Floridian.

Our 10th anniversary vow renewal.

We rode in Cinderella’s Coach, exchanged vows at Disney’s Wedding Pavilion, had a small reception at the Grand Floridian, and ended the evening with an Epcot IllumiNations dessert party for our family and friends.

Disney’s BoardWalk Resort

At first glance, the BoardWalk Resort seems to be too busy for romance. However, the goings-on at the BoardWalk add to the mystique.

Evening at the BoardWalk Resort at WDW.

Evening at the BoardWalk.

For rooms, we recommend a Concierge garden view or a two-story garden villa with a charming and private entrance. Rooms facing the boardwalk will be noisier so do request a quieter location.

BoardWalk Inn Club Level Garden Room

Club Level Garden Rooms have private gardens!

Quiet morning or evening strolls around the BoardWalk or a walk to Epcot’s World Showcase for a memorable meal are just some of the reasons the BoardWalk is sure to steal your heart.

We recommend escaping to the Belle Vue Lounge to toast your own love story before lounging in your room.

Concierge room at BoardWalk Inn, WDW.

Concierge room at BoardWalk Inn.

Then, head down to Ample Hills Creamery to indulge in an ice cream flight.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

Set under a thatched room in an exotic setting, the Animal Kingdom Lodge will delight your senses. Wood crackling fires, intoxicating smells, a sprawling pool with shaded lounge chairs, moonlight illuminating a giraffe on the savanna — these are all reasons to cozy up to your loved one at this unique resort.

Animal Kingdom Lodge Lobby at WDW

Animal Kingdom Lodge Lobby

We love exploring the nooks and crannies of AKL. There’s always some where to sit back and take in the wonders of the lodge. Or sneak kisses at an outdoor overlook. At night, sip grown up beverages in the Victoria Falls Lounge or stop by the campfire at Arusha Overlook.

Firepit at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge.

Firepit with cozy rocking chairs.

You’ll find both Jambo House and Kidani Village to offer romantic surroundings.

Disney’s Port Orleans French Quarter

What moderately priced hotel at Walt Disney World exudes charm? For us, it’s Disney’s Port Orleans French Quarter.

Fountain at Disney's Port Orleans French Quarter.

Sit by the fountain.

The wrought iron railings, lantern lighting, paved walkways, and gorgeous fountains beckon lovers on romantic walks.

Disney's Port Orleans French Quarter Resort WDW Romance

Take an early evening stroll.

Along the way, you’ll run into the Sassagoula River with water gently lapping against the riverbank. Around the bend, is our next choice for romance and it’s another moderate resort…

Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside

For a romantic stay, we recommend requesting a room in one of the three-story mansion buildings. Grand staircases, bubbling fountains, and white stately columns welcome guests at Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside Resort.

Fountain at Port Orleans Riverside.

Gorgeous fountain at Riverside.

A stroll through the mansion section of this resort soothes weary souls.

Romantic walkway at Disney's Port Orleans Riverside.

Romantic walkway.

You’ll find your hearts melting as you admire the horse-drawn carriage slowly meandering through the lush landscaping with picturesque azaleas and magnolias lining the way. Reserve your extra-fee ride in advance by calling (407) WDW-PLAY.

Horse Drawn Carriage Ride at Disney's Port Orleans Riverside Resort

Horse-drawn Carriage Ride.

In the late evening, take a walk to French Quarter and share beignets with your sweetie.

Beignets at Sassagoula Floatworks and Food Factory..

Sugary sweetness.

Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort

Exotic flowers and dark woods are featured throughout the lobby of the Polynesian Village. Romance is in the air in the colorful but soothing Great Ceremonial House.

Disney's Polynesian Village Resort Lobby

Cute Tiki Statue welcomes guests to the south seas atmosphere at Polynesian Village.

Watch for hula lessons; extra points if you both join in! Afterwards, find a warm and cozy place in the tropical themed lobby.

At night, the tiki torches will light your way as you stroll to a beachside hammock with a Dole Whip to share from Pineapple Lanai.

Tiki Torch at Disney's Polynesian Village Resort

Tiki Torches light your way.

Lovebirds will find lots to do: sip a Lapu Lapu out of a coconut, find a serene spot to sit at the quiet pool, listen to the sounds of the ferry boat in the distance, enjoy a beverage at Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto.

Trader Sam's Grog Grotto outdoor patio

Visit Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto.

Purchase some wine and chocolate-covered macadamia nuts to enjoy in your room or at your private Oasis patio right by the pool.

Disney's Polynesian Village Resort Macadamia Nuts

Wine and Chocolate Macadamia Nuts!

The above are all solid options for a romantic getaway at Walt Disney World. With the right planning, most hotels at Disney World can be romantic. Just add a picnic meal, a beverage in the moonlight, or hold hands while watching an outdoor movie. For rates and availability, visit my Disney Vacation Planning page.

Finally, make sure to sign up for our newsletter to stay tuned for in-depth hotel reviews.

What’s your favorite romantic Disney hotel? Contact Us or Follow Us on Facebook (or any of our social media channels) and share your photos!

Paris Travel Theme: France, Epcot, and Las Vegas

Paris Travel Theme: France, Epcot, and Las Vegas

Paris Travel Theme

Bienvenue à Paris – welcome to our Paris Travel Theme.

Eiffel tower Paris France.

An iconic landmark.

You’ll never forget your first trip to Paris. Steeped in romance and indulgence, the streets lined with bakeries and boutiques are sure to delight your senses. Around every corner, history and art merge in memorable architecture. And if you love the Eiffel Tower (and puzzles) as much as I do, try the Eiffel Tower 3D Puzzle!

Arc de Triomphe Paris France

Arc de Triomphe.

Paris, France

Paris will likely stop you in your tracks — countless times as you explore this very special city. From the labyrinth hallways at The Louvre to the awe-inspiring, sky-scraping Eiffel Tower, there are sights to take in all around you. Step inside the treasured buildings for jaw-dropping scenery.

Notre Dame Interior. Paris, France.

Inside Notre Dame.

Paris captures hearts and makes you fall in love with architecture, history, art, food, and wine.

Paris Las Vegas Hotel and Casino

While the splendors of Paris are difficult to duplicate elsewhere, travelers can find a small taste of Paris while vacationing in Las Vegas. At Paris Las Vegas you’ll find the excitement of the City of Lights. There’s even a crepe stand inside. YUM!

Paris Las Vegas Hotel and Casino Sign

A small dose of Paris in Las Vegas.

Full hotel review — coming soon!

France Pavilion in Epcot

Walking through Epcot’s France pavilion, Walt Disney World guests can sample Parisian food and wares.

View of France Pavilion in Epcot.

View of France Pavilion in Epcot.

From the bakery to the ice cream parlor to the crepes on the street, Epcot’s France pavilion serves up plenty of sweet treats. Table service dining is a huge draw here too. Ever since Chef Bocuse first opened Les Chefs de France at Epcot in 1982 (it was the first and only Bocuse-affiliated restaurant in the U.S.A.), guests have been savoring the sips and bites at this family-friendly location.

We always start our meal with the French Onion Soup.

French Onion Soup Les Chefs de France Epcot WDW

Baked to perfection!

Bonus Paris Travel Theme: LEGOLAND

Even built with LEGOs, Paris themes are recognizable.

LEGOLAND California features The Paris Las Vegas Hotel among the other hotels on the Las Vegas strip. Want to impress the kids? Take them to a LEGOLAND park!

Paris Hotel built from LEGOs at LEGOLAND California.

Paris Hotel built from LEGOs.

Paris Las Vegas Hotel at LEGOLAND Florida

Paris Las Vegas Hotel at LEGOLAND Florida.

Paris is love at first sight. Travel to Paris via France, Epcot at Walt Disney World, or Las Vegas!

Paris Travel Theme. Paris Themed Travel.

What’s your favorite place to tour in Paris? Do you have a Paris themed travel idea to share?