Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Trips with Angie Cruise Special: Oasis of the Seas

The Royal Caribbean Oasis of the Seas is one of the largest cruise ships sailing the high seas. Check out this video for all the great features. 

The exciting news for you is that I have a few cabins left in a group I reserved over a year ago. You get the benefit of last year's rates for this year's cruise. 

On November 7, 2015, the Royal Caribbean Oasis of the Seas leaves Fort Lauderdale and visits Haiti, Jamaica, and Mexico. 

Interior cabins are $639 per person double occupancy. 

Balcony cabins with a view of the Boardwalk/Central Park are $769 per person double occupancy. 

Balcony cabins with an ocean view are $899 per person double occupancy. 

Taxes and fees are an additional $119.88 per person. 

Email to reserve your cabin. Cabins must be booked by July 1st. 

Monday, June 15, 2015

WDW 101: Using a travel agent to book a Disney World vacation

Can a travel agent get me a deal I can't get for myself online? Is it cheaper? Is it more expensive? Which one to use? What is the benefit in using an agent?
Disney has one price. This means every website or travel agent that sells a Disney vacation has to sell it for the same price. The flights can have some variation as that is considered separate so you’ll different pricing on packages that include flights. I focus on what is the best value for your vacation dollar. Is it really a better deal if you are 40 minutes from the Parks in two double beds if for $100 more you could have been two queen beds walking distance from Epcot? 

The benefit of using an agent is having someone who is in your corner helping you figure out the best options for your family, answering your questions, and providing support and assistance throughout the whole process. 

As to which one to use, I hope you’ll consider using me. 

Are there additional costs? If better deals come after I've booked, are you able to change/update reservations without additional cost or penalty?
I do not charge any fees. If the deals come out before your final payment, I can usually update your reservation without an additional costs or penalties. It just depends on the terms and conditions of the package you booked. 

Do you know from experience or does Disney give you a guide?
Both. Disney has a special training program for travel agents called College of Knowledge. I have graduated from that program. I also visit Disney World frequently so I have my own personal experience to use as well. 

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Review: Secrets Wild Orchid Montego Bay Jamaica

Over Memorial Day weekend, my husband and I headed down to Secrets Wild Orchid, an adults only luxury all-inclusive resort in Montego Bay, Jamaica.

Since it was only a two night trip, we maximized our time at the resort by:
1. Arranging VIP arrival service. A guide met us as we exited the plane and escorted us through immigration and customs. We went to a private lounge while someone went to make sure our transfer was there.

2. Arranging a Private transfer - Transfers to/from the resorts are included in many all-inclusive resort packages. We used Best of Jamaica. 

We arrived at the resort, checked in and headed to lunch. A room wasn't available until after 3 pm. We had our suits with us so we just went to grab lunch. We really liked there was an a la carte option for lunch in addition to the grill and the buffet. The menu was wraps. 

I had a jerk chicken wrap and it was very good. 

We had a great time at this resorts. The highlights were: 

-  The fun pool atmosphere. The bartenders at the pool bars were great. The entertainment staff organized fun games like poolside trivia, a male "beauty" pageant, and water aerobics. 

 - The night time entertainment. Almost all the restaurants are grouped together. They offer lots of outdoor seating plus a stage for live music after the sun goes down.

 The air-conditioned night club or the open-air piano bar keep the party going past 10:00 pm. 

-  The jacuzzi tubs in the rooms. These were the best jacuzzi tubs I have ever seen. 

- The location. The resort is only ten minutes from the airport. You see planes coming in for a landing now and then, but you can't hear them. 

- The snorkeling. I really enjoyed the snorkeling. You swim out to the reef with a guide. He dives down to bring up a couple sea creatures and points out all the different fish. We even saw a sting ray. 

As with any resort, there are some trade-offs 
- The beach. This is a man-made beach so the sand is coarse with broken shells. If you are looking for a beautiful long beach with white powder sand - head to Negril. 

- The time share salespeople. We quickly figured out that claiming your resort credits triggers a time share sales pitch. We weren't bothered at all since we didn't claim them. 

- The Peacocks.

 These birds are near all the restaurants. They are SO LOUD. They woke us up around 5:30 am both mornings. We didn't see them on the Secrets St. James side so maybe we will stay over there next time. 

- The dinner menus - Our experience at two dinners wasn't great. The service was slow and inattentive. The food was average. We were impressed by the breakfast buffet and love the room service continental breakfast. I had a great turkey burger at the beach front grill. 

The Secrets St. James property right next door. It's a mirror image for the main areas of the resort. The St James is closer to the Spa and tennis courts. Wild Orchid is closer to the restaurants and nightlife. 

We investigated the Preferred Club accommodations. The swim up suites looked great - you have an ocean front location and share a pool with the other swim up suites. 

The one thing we didn't like was that the Preferred Club pool didn't have a swim up bar. Instead, there's a regular bar in between the Preferred Club pool and the general swim up pool bar for the resort. But those bars had swings so that's a win!

Overall, I can't wait to go back. 

I love planning all-inclusive vacations. Click here to request my Top 10 Considerations when choosing an all-inclusive resort for free.  

If I can help you plan an all-inclusive vacation,  please let me know. 

Remember - my services are free to you! 

Friday, June 12, 2015

WDW 101: What unique activities, classes or tours are offered that the non insiders don't know about?

What unique activities, classes or tours are offered that the non insiders don't know about?

One of the most overlooked opportunities is the activities available at the Parks or the Disney tours available during different times of the year that take you Back Stage. 

A couple examples: 
Pirates and Pals Fireworks Voyage - You cruise the Seven Seas Lagoon as the Wishes Nighttime Spectacular lights up the sky. 

Kids Only events - Kids 4 -12 can take part on special events like a Tea Party or Pirate Cruise just for them - no parents. 

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

WDW 101: What are the best ages to truly enjoy the parks?

What are the best ages to truly enjoy the parks? 

Let's see - I'm 37.. so 37! 

I am guessing you are asking about the under 18 crowd. Here's my take: 

Under 5 years old  - Witnessing their excitement, joy, astonishment makes all those emotions contagious. They may not remember the experience. Depending on your kids' temperament, the experience could be a little overwhelming. 

 5 - 8  years old is a fun age because the magic is still real. They can manage around the Parks a little easier and start to ride some of the "real rides"

8 - 11 years old remembers it, has an agenda and you'll likely have to turn over the map. 

Over 12 years old really depends on your kids. Some kids still love it. Others find it a little boring since there aren't a lot of roller coasters. 

Once I know more about your kids, I will recommend the best options. 

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

WDW 101: Is it possible to do everything or mostly everything in 4 days?

Q: Is it possible to do everything or mostly everything in 4 days?

It depends on the age of your kids, how busy the Parks are, and what you mean by everything. There are four Parks: Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Animal Kingdom, and Hollywood Studios. 

If you don't do table service restaurants every day,  focus on just the attractions in the Parks and assuming the Parks aren't closing early for a special event, I can see a plan where you would  be satisfied after 4 days. 

Magic Kingdom is the largest park. You need at least a day or a day and half there to cover everything. You could likely do a half day at Animal Kingdom and hit the highlights. Epcot you could do in a day. Then a full day at Hollywood Studios. 

Friday, June 5, 2015

WDW 101: What is the order things I need to do and how far in advance do I do them?

180 days before Arrival
Reservations for dining and other special activities become available.

60 days before arrival 
If you are staying at a Disney resort - FastPass+ becomes available.

30 days before arrival
 If you are not staying at a Disney resort - FastPass+ becomes available.

WDW 101: What is a Magic Band?

What are those Magic Bands? How do they work?

A Magic Band is a band - pictured below - that links up to your Disney resort reservation or tickets. It is really designed to sync up with the My Disney Experience App. 

Once everything is linked - you can use your Magic Band for the Magical Express, Fast Pass+, dining reservations, room key, and charging privileges in the Parks. 

If you are staying off-property, you can purchase a Magical Band and link your tickets to it.