Monday, February 27, 2017

10 Things to know about Iberostar Grand Paraiso

10 things about Iberostar Grand Hotel Paraiso

1.       It's an adults-only all-inclusive resort that's part of a five resort complex south of the Cancun airport in Mexico. The other four resorts are family resorts.

2.       The entry-level suites here are very nice.   You can see the bathroom is large as well as the room has a lot of space.

3.       It’s a great option for groups with couples, friends, and families since it offers suites with two beds. I like that the resort offers rooms with two beds.

4.       The buffet is great. I am not a buffet person, but I was very impressed with the buffet at this Resort.

5.       Avoid the Latelier restaurant. The menu is really weird. I can see what they were going for in terms of avant-garde Cuisine. However, tuna tartare should not be served with strawberry soup.

6.       Take advantage of the other resorts. If you are looking for a little change of pace or a livelier pool experience all you have to do is head over to one of the other Resorts. The other benefit of choosing the Grand Hotel is you have option to eat at any of the ala carte restaurant in any of the five resorts.  

7.       Head over to the shopping complex. We were pleasantly surprised that it had restaurants. bars, and a nightclub included in the all inclusive. Our favorites were the tacos and gelato! Try the burger bar and the tequila bar. Plus you can find little shops where you could shop for souvenirs and the large spa.

8.       Lunch at the grill by the pool. We love that you could get virtually any protein you wanted grilled to your liking at the pool Grill. Now, the Grill Master was a little surly. The chefs stirring the giant vat of paella were super friendly.  

9.       The indoor pool. The resort has a gorgeous indoor pool with a retractable roof.  It’s huge and similar to the spa wet areas that other resorts require you to pay extra to access.  It’s an awesome place to retreat during the afternoon rain showers.

10.    Use the opportunity to try a lot of different drinks if you drink alcohol. This Resort had some very skilled bartenders in the lobby bar that made really interesting cocktails.

Check out a full tour: 

Friday, February 24, 2017

Disney World Refurbishment Update February 2017

Below is the latest updates on refurbishments and closures at Disney World:

Magic Kingdom

The Magic Behind Our Steam Trains Tour
Walt Disney World Railroad
Hall of Presidents
    Jan. 1 - Feb. 28, 2017
    Jan. 9 - Mar. 2, 2017
    Jan. 17 - Jun. 29, 2017

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Disney Cruise 2018 Summer itineraries are available

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.

For more information on these sailings, email me or set up a time to chat.

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.

River Cruise Comparison

Many people have seen the advertisements for Viking Cruise Lines - especially those of you who are big fans of Downton Abbey.

Did you know that there are several River Cruise Lines out there?

In the European market, you have several options of river cruises to choose from. So how do you tell the differences? The itinerary and what’s included are important considerations. Click below to get a copy of my River Cruise Comparison Chart.

Get Comparison Chart

The other big differences are the number of people onboard and the cabin layouts.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Disney World Updates

A lot of great news from Disney World in the last few weeks. You can keep up-to-date on these great developments in two ways:

Click here to join my private Facebook Group

Click here to get these great updates delivered right to your inbox. Plus you'll get a free copy of Keys to the Kingdom - A Disney World Planning Workbook

Rivers of Light will make its official debut at Disney's Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort February 17th!

I got a sneak peek over the weekend:

Dining and FastPass+ reservations for this new show are now available. I do expect that many performances will have glitches since part of the show includes projection on water. Florida's weather could make it difficult to hold the show.

The 2017 Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival Concert Line Up is here.

March 3rd – May 29th popular artists perform “Garden Rocks” concert performances each Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday of the Festival. Show times are at 5:30 p.m., 6:45 p.m. & 8 p.m. each night.. Artists include Jon Secada, The Pointer Sisters, Plain White T’s, Gin Blossoms, and Starship.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Ten things to know about O'ahu

1.     The name O’ahu means The Gathering Place
2.     70% of the Hawaii’s population lives there (1 million)
3.     2016 was the 75th anniversary of Pearl Harbor
4.     Pearl Harbor and USS Arizona Memorial are best visited as part of a tour to avoid waiting in line for standby tickets.
5.     If you are headed to Waikiki Beach, be sure to check out Duke’s Restaurant.  

Thursday, February 9, 2017

What You Need to Know about Basic Economy Fares

Several major airlines have introduced Basic Economy fares. These fares are designed to complete with the bare bones airlines such as Spirit or Frontier. It's really important you understand the differences in fares.

United's Basic Economy fares - You are not allowed to bring a full size carry on. You can only bring a personal item.  Your seat assignment will be automatically assigned prior to boarding, and you won't be able to change your seat once it's been assigned. Groups or families may not be seated together. No flight changes and no refunds.
Delta's Basic Economy fares - You will not receive a seat assignment until after check-in or at the gate. Passengers traveling together, including families, may not be seated together. You will board in the last zone and not be eligible for paid or complimentary upgrades or preferred seats, even with Medallion® Status. 
American's Basic Economy Fares - You are not allowed to bring a full size carry on. You can only bring a personal item.  Your seat assignment will be automatically assigned prior to boarding, and you won't be able to change your seat once it's been assigned. Groups or families may not be seated together. No flight changes and no refunds. You will board last.

Whenever you are comparing airline fares, it's important to understand all the fees that may apply and how they will impact your experience.

I'd love to share travel updates, promotions and tips with you right in your email inbox. Click here to sign up.

Vacation Planning Fail #3: Losing sight of the goal

This is the idea that a lot of people get really locked in on price and totally forget the initial goals for their vacation. I get it. Budget is so important. In fact, I probably take it too seriously. I've had clients come back and say I wish you would have push me to upgrade.

Vacation Planning Fail #2: Trusting Your Friends or the Internet

Be sure to check out Vacation Planning Fail #1: Unrealistic Expectations

Okay, Okay, I may have overstated that. Recommendations from people you know, like and trust are critical when making any choice. I do see some of my clients head down a tangential path when their friends' recommendations don't line up with what is most important to them. 

If you are friends with someone, but you would never go out to eat with them because you do not have the same taste in food, you may not want to take their advice if they recommend a resort based on the food.

Vacation Planning Fail #1: Unrealistic Expections

Every day, I see families make three mistakes that set their vacation up for failure.
Fail #1: Unrealistic expectations.

When it comes to resorts, three of the most important things are location, amenities, and price. A lot of people come to me and say I want the cheapest resort, in the best location with amazing amenities. This just isn't possible. You can have two of those things, but not all three. You can have a resort with amazing amenities in a fantastic location, but it's not going to be cheap. You can have a cheap resort with great amenities, but it's not going to be in the best location. And you can have a resort in the great location that is super cheap, but it's not going to have great amenities. It's all about deciding what those three things is the most important to you.


Friday, February 3, 2017

A Sneak Peek at the new Avatar

Check out this amazing sneak peek into one of the Walt Disney World® Resort’s most exciting expansions: the construction of PandoraThe World of AVATAR, which will open at Disney’s Animal Kingdom® Theme Park this summer.